Thursday, October 12, 2006

CPT Update


There is a whole new crop of little green tomatoes out there, and I am so excited to eat them because they look really good. They're not splitting as the mid-season tomatoes did. The only problem is that it's supposed to freeze this weekend, so I may not have time to wait for the new ones to ripen. Maybe I'll just have to partake of a lot of fried green tomatoes in the next few days. Some of them have already reached a good size for eating.

Friday, August 11, 2006

CPT Update

Because I'm going on vacation for a week starting on Sunday and Susan will be in charge of plant-watering, and because I don't want to burden her with even more anal retentive cat-feeding/plant-care duties than I already have, I did a midsummer CPT calculation today. I am now at $2.38 worth of production costs for each tomato.

In other gardening news, I planted a lavender a week or so ago to try to introduce a potent good smell to the deck, but I am not sure that it's really taking hold. It started with three shoots, two of which have died. The third looks like it's getting taller and producing some new growth, but it's a slow process. Sometimes I think that it might just be staying the same size.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ten Trials of Overall Run

1. Before we even left the house, I caught my toenail on one of my pack straps as I lifted my pack off the floor to test its weight. My toenail bent back a little bit and hurt greatly, but it was fine in the end.

2. Every time we've ever printed directions from, they've been a little wonky. These were no exception, and we had some trouble locating the correct parking area.

3. While we drove around looking for the correct parking area, the gas gauge dropped abruptly from 1/4 tank to E and lights began flashing at us. Then it went back up to 1/4 tank again. We didn't know what to believe.

4. I had been hiking for approximately two hours before the balls of my feet started hurting so badly that I thought seriously about removing my boots and walking barefoot over the rocky path. I spent a long time immersed in an analysis of exactly where I could cut my foot off in order to get rid of the pain I was currently feeling while still having enough appendage left with to walk effectively.

5. The temperature was, quite possibly, near 100 degrees.

6. The directional wonkiness extended beyond the parking lot mystery to include a mathematical error and some measuring discrepancies that ultimately meant that we had to cover 2 miles and 2700' more than we'd anticipated.

7. We had loaded more weight into our packs than we would have done if we had known the extent of the hike. On the bright side, we take our excess weight in the form of 3-liter bottles filled with water, so once we decided to start dumping ballast, we just poured the extra water over ourselves.

8. We knew we couldn't get back to the car in time to fill up the gas tank at the nearby ranger station before it closed.

9. It threatened to thunderstorm over us, but didn't. It only rained on us, which was felt good because we were so hot and sweaty. I still had heat rash on my chest by the time we were done, though.

10. We saw 5 black bears, which is 5 more bears than I've ever seen in Shenandoah in my whole life!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Once More, With Feeling

Last year, I got a lot of wrong number phone calls from people looking for a doctor's office. I finally called one person back after she left about 10 messages on my voice mail. She was trying to make appointments on behalf of clients, and I took pity on her because she was starting to sound a bit stressed over the fact that the "doctor" wasn't returning her calls. Anyway, she told me that she had received a flyer from somewhere with my number listed as the phone number for some health clinic. Then she promised to stop giving the flyer to people and to figure out what the correct number was. I didn't get any doctor calls for about a year.

Today, a woman called three times. I picked up the phone the third time because I had been in the bathroom for the first two. She told me that she had missed "mah 'ppointment" back in March. Even though I don't work in or have any connection to the doctor's office, I was immediately not impressed. Who calls four months after a missed appointment to try to do something about it? I told her that she had the wrong number and then she told me that I needed to call "411 or something" to get it straightened out. I tried to explain to her that Verizon actually has a perfect grasp of the situation, which is why the phone rang in my house and not the doctor's office, but she really didn't get what I was trying to say. She kept telling me that I needed "to do something about it."

Why can't people think? In what world could it possibly be my fault that she had the wrong number? I didn't give her my number, and I certainly don't give a shit whether she sees a doctor or not.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I Wish That I Were Not So Easily Pushed Into Excessive Introspection, Especially Over Minor Things

I've spent a decent chunk of my thought-energy today trying to suss out my philosophy of taking the weight plates off the machines at the gym when I am finished using them. The trigger happened last night at the gym: Josh and I had finished using the leg press and were moving on to the next machine when a random old man came up to me to ask if we had finished doing squats. Thinking that he wanted to use the machine, I said that we were done. Josh, also not realizing where it was headed, went off to start his hip exercises.

The old man asked if I'd mind helping him to strip the weight plates from the machine. I asked if he wanted the weights somewhere specific, but he said no and then went on an asshole rant about how people leaving weights on the machines caused him to have to "waste time" stripping the machines himself. Um, yeah, jackass... that's what happens when you unnecessarily take responsibility for random shit in the world... you waste a lot of time.

It turned out that he didn't want to use the machine OR the weights. It's just that his OCD apparently takes the form of needing to keep the weight room pristinely organized.

Once I realized that he had embarked on an asshole rant, I walked away in the middle of his talking. Josh said that I should have told him to "toughen up, old man!" He might have been old, but he had that kind of former-quarterback booming manner that puts me off, and he was burly, so I just wanted to go away. It was annoying because I don't like admitting to being wrong, but I actually did it even though I thought his presence and manner were irritating, and then when he went on the asshole rant I decided that he wasn't a good test subject upon whom to practice being a better citizen.

Technically, the rule is that you leave the machine totally clear for the next person, so my lawyer brain knew that he was right.

But then I thought about it on and off all day today. For me, it boils down to the following principles:
1. You should not leave your sweat, head grease, and other bodily grime for the next person to find.
2. You should also not leave the smooth-surfaced 100 pound weights hanging on the bar. I don't even know if I can lift that shit, and even if I can, I don't want to.
3. You should also not leave small weights on the bar, because it's likely that the next person is going to have to take those off.

Josh and I left 45 pound plates on the machine, which I am usually ok with doing because whenever I arrive at the machine and find it already stocked with 45 pound weights, I feel like it's a good karma day at the gym. Plus, most people that I see using the leg press do it with some combination of 45 pound weights.

But maybe my whole analysis is too me-centered, I started to think. I don't like the 100 pound weights, I like the 45 pound weights. Maybe other people feel about the 45s as I do about small plates and the 100s. Maybe the old man himself feels that way. So then I can see the his point, which is that it's better to fully clear away all of your weights when you are finished, because you really don't know what the next person will want.


I'm still not totally convinced, though. A world where you have the prospect of finding what you want (45 pound weights already on the machine, for example) and the risk of finding what you don't what (say, 100 pound weights already on the machine) seems better to me overall than a world in which all outcomes are known (the machine will always be clear for you). But maybe not all of the gym goers feel that way.

You know, I used to dislike finding the 100 pound weights on the squat machine because I wasn't pressing 200 pounds at the time, but now that I am pressing that and more, I could probably come around to feeling good about finding even them on the machine. So at least that's one firm realization to come out of all of this internal babble.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Universe Orbits Me

One college type guy to two others: "...I always forget that there's this whole subculture of people who get up before noon..."

Overheard at 12:30 this afternoon as I walked along R Street between Connecticut and 19th.

I am pretty sure that even when I slept until noon myself, I was well aware that I was in the subculture, and not the other way around.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Meeting the Cat People

I never thought about it until yesterday, but it is much easier to meet dog people than it is to meet cat people. Whenever I walk Maxx and we go to the park, I meet lots of dog people. Yesterday I was walking home from the vet with Sandy in the animal carrier bag hanging off my shoulder, and I unzipped the top a little bit so that he could put his head out if he wanted. I was surprised that he did want to. I thought he would cower at the back of the bag like he often does, but I think that maybe having the top open allowed him a small amount of control and made him feel better. At any rate, he stopped wriggling around and just sat there leaning against me and watching the world go by. It was much nicer that way. Let me tell you in case you don't know, having 13.5 pounds of cat scrambling around in a bag hanging from your shoulder is a real workout.

And I met a ton of cat people. They wanted to praise Sandy for being so brave as to stick his head out into the world because their own cats are fraidy, they asked whether he is ever allowed outdoors alone (no), the gave him the head-scritchity, they told me about their own cats... ultimately, they started telling me about their trips to India and before I knew it, we were comparing the unusual vaccinations we had had.

In short, it was just like meeting dog people, except that we started talking because of cats. I liked it. I wish I had more reasons to carry Sandy around with me outside. Maybe I should start doing it just for the hell of it... get a stylish bag, make him more of an accessory... like people do with chihuahuas.

Another thing I discovered yesterday is that cats can get acne. I was afraid that the bumps we felt on Sandy's chin were crusty wounds or tumors, but the vet told me that they are acne. Now I have what is basically kitty Proactiv, and I'm supposed to put in on him twice a day. I felt ridiculous about it until the vet told me that, left untreated, acne-fied cats may scratch up their skin because the breakouts annoy them.

So far, I have escaped serious wounding as a result of applying the kitty Proactiv, but I know from experience that he will only get better at finding the weak spots in my routine, and he will get me one of these days. I think that he could deal with the application, but the problem is that I have to distract him from licking the area until the stuff is dry. Ahhhh... pets.