This site runs through a series of really trippy tricks and illusions that will mess with your head, but in a good way. The one with the red dot is crazy!

I like those dogs that are so huge and fluffy they could pass for bears.

I think chili is delicious, nutricious, and surprisingly easy to make.

Burritos from the Taqueria the form to which all other burritos aspire.

I’m a fan of the floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor of the library at Whitman College.

I enjoy waking up earlier than usual, surprisingly refreshed, and enjoying the extra time in the morning.

Erasing completed list items from the whiteboard in the squad room.

Grinning at strangers.

Showers with the water turned up slightly too hot.

Clean sheets.

Feeling the expanse of infinite possibility.

Who wears a high school letter jacket to their campus tour/prospie weekend?

Also, I’m very excited to watch the USA in the World Cup.

John Lennon once said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s horribly cliche now, but I’m sure it was novel, deep, and profound when he said it. I think he was wrong, however. In my experience, life appears to be much more cause-effect oriented than Lennon seemed to think. So far, my life appears to be the sum of a series of plans enacted, more or less effectively, with rather predictable results.

I spent most of high school, for example, planning to go to college. My grades did restrict those options a little but the basic plan was go to college, get a degree. I followed the plan, and now I have a degree. Senior year of undergrad, I started looking for a job. The plan was to find a good “transition to the real world” position. Check. It goes like this: Plan>>>Execution>>>Result. I find this pattern troubling.

The problem with this outlook is that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the individual to make good plans. In Lennon’s worldview, it doesn’t really matter what you plan to do. You can count on life to just sweep me up and carry you where you’re supposed to go. Sure, that’s a problem if life decides to carry you over a waterfall but it’s also liberating. Don’t worry about what to aim for–just chill out.

The cause-effect model is much more stressful. If your plans actually matter, than they’d better be good because if life ends up sucking you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

I often complain that I hate buying things like pens because there are just too many options. Rollerball? Gel ink? Fine point? What brand? Making plans for life presents the same dilemma with infinitely higher stakes. Law school? Travel the world? Get a real job? What city? There are too many questions, and not enough answers.

Bitch Slap is sure to be a cinematic masterpiece of a quality unseen on the American silver screen since the release of Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.

“Cram this in your clambake, bitch cake!”

I have officially learned how to make a decent lentil soup/stew thing. It’s very exciting because A) lentils are cheap and healthy and B) this brings the total number of dishes I know how to make into double figures with 10. Lentils are also awesome because overcooking them seems to have no impact on the taste of the food. They just get mushier and mushier but taste exactly the same.

Ingredients:

  • Bag of lentils (sold near the rice)
  • Water–twice as much by volume as the lentils
  • A few carrots
  • A fatty onion (yellow is tastiest)
  • Ham
  • Salt
  • Tabasco sauce

Directions:

  1. Combined in a pot made of something that won’t melt, bring the lentils and water to a boil and then turn the heat way down.
  2. Chop up the onion, carrots, and ham, and add them to the pot.
  3. Add salt and tobasco sauce to taste. You’ll probably end up adding way more than you expected because lentils just soak that stuff up.
  4. Wait for a while. Twenty minutes seems to be pretty good.
  5. Eat ‘em!

Yesterday was election day in Washington, where I’m living these days. I usually don’t get campaign calls because, as a young person, I don’t fit the standard profile for a likely voter. On Monday, though, I got a surprise phone call from a campaign volunteer urging my to get my ballot in (I did) and vote against a domestic partnership measure in Washington (I didn’t). I’m guessing the caller I heard from was not a volunteer. I could here the strain in her voice–it’s an unmistakable sound if you know it. A call center worker’s voice has this tortured quality to it, a product of florescent lighting and brain cells offing themselves to escape the boredom.

I have worked for a lot of call centers over the years. My first real job was doing telephone surveys for a political polling firm in Oklahoma. I’ve done cold calls for an insurance agent, I’ve made thousands of phone calls recruiting volunteers for campaigns, and I’ve taken thousands of phone calls reporting car accidents for a different insurance company. I *get* what it’s like to work in a call center. Here’s how a typical day goes:

  • 5:00pm: Log-in to the automated system that keeps track of your phone time down to the second. Make sure to go to the bathroom first, because once you’re logged-in you can’t leave your headset until your federally mandated 15 minute break three hours later.
  • 5:01pm:   The automated computer dialer connects your first call. It’s almost definitely an answering machine.
  • 5:02pm: Surreptitiously sneak your book out of your bag and into your lap. With good concentration you can get threw two or three pages before you have to actually talk to someone.
  • 5:07pm: Your first angry answer. If you’re lucky, they hang up before yelling at you. If you’re really lucky, they use offensive language and you get to hang up on them.
  • 5:15pm: Your first confused, elderly answer. Either due to dementia or hearing loss, poor old Mrs. Beale has no idea what you’re talking about, but she’s also too lonely to hang up on you. This conversation will last until exactly the last question on the survey, when Matlock will come on and she wanders away.
  • 5:16pm–6:45pm: Read a paragraph out of your book, talk to an angry middle-aged person or a confused elderly person, repeat.
  • 6:46pm: Manager spots your book. Sheepishly put it away and wonder whether or not you’ll be downsized.
  • 6:58pm: Particularly rude respondent puts you in an even worse mood. Begin smiling into the phone while you give your spiel to hide the seething hostility in your voice.
  • 7:10pm: Entertain yourself by leaving random movie quotes on strangers’ answering machines.
  • 7:14pm: Jesus…still 16 minutes till your break.
  • 7:30pm: Break time! Buy a diet coke and try not to make eye contact with your coworkers–you don’t have the emotional strength to see something so pitiful right now.
  • 7:45pm: Back to the auto-dialer. First call up is invariably the worst of the evening. You’re working so hard to contain the seething that tiny blood vessels in your eyes start popping. Careful…if you go blind you’re fired.
  • 8:11pm: Guy answers with an obviously fake Indian accent and starts talking about random nonsense. He thinks his clever prank is getting you back for interrupting his night, but really it’s the most amusing thing you’ve heard in four hours.
  • 8:53pm: Seven minutes before your shift ends, you get a doddering old man on the phone. Disaster. You can’t leave mid-call, which means you’re stuck at work until the old guy finally completes the survey. Hopefully he won’t take so long you miss you bus.
  • 9:07pm: Call with the old guy ends just to early to justify rounding up to an extra quarter of an hour, and just too late to make it to your bus on time. Have fun standing in the rain for an extra half hour. At least you don’t have to make any more phone calls…today.

Fortunately, my call center days are probably behind me. Please remember, though, the next time you get an irritating phone call, that the person on the other line has a much more soul-crushing, mind-numbing job than you do. It’s not their fault. And the “Do Not Call” list doesn’t apply to political communications.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.