It's a good title. Explanation can be found at meno's blog. Go see her, do. She's got a purdy keyboard.
Me, I'm gonna get started with a few vignettes and see where it goes.
Vignette one: The Inside Of A Home Office
So Ver' Ver' Big Home Health Company bought me a nice HP multifunction machine when I took this job, to go along with my new lappy and my two flat panel monitors and my funky freakout internet-connected hellophone. It seems, however, that the powers that Be didn't take into account the fact that we'd all be printing almost a ream of paper A DAY in reports, and these little machines aren't nearly designed for that level of workload. So, they break. A lot.
Now me, mine's not broken, but you know me, I believe in maintenance. When the little rubber feed wheels started to squeak just a little I popped a trouble ticket into the IT line to see if I could get a maintenance kit, which is basically a plastic bag of little rubber feed wheels that you stick in, and you're good as new. Except not with this model. See, with the HP LaserJet M2727nf (and yes, I spell it out intentionally, so others can find this and be warned) there are no end user serviceable parts inside. Zero. None. Except the toner cartridge, which don't count. So when, say, the feed wheels start wearing out after three months of heavy use or the fuser goes bad you're pretty much screwed, because you're gonna have to pay an HP tech to come out and fix it.
Except VVBHHC paid for the three year extended maintenance plan! In a day I had a replacement machine on my doorstep. I unpacked it, set it up, packed up the old one and was ready to go again. I noticed that this one had slight cosmetic differences, but didn't think anything of it. Until this afternoon, not 6 hours into its life when I realised it was faxing blank pages. The scanner part of the fax machine had died, you see. Because this is not a new machine, it's a refurb, which is industry shorthand for "a used piece of shite that HP foisted off on us because we had the foresight to purchase the extended warranty/replacement plan."
So now that I've sent my other machine back, the NEW one, the one that really did work pretty good (it certainly faxed okay) I have to wait for another refurb machine to show up on my doorstep tomorrow evening, so I can lather-rinse-repeat the process and pray that the second refurb machine works for longer than six hours.
I've never regretted being proactive until today.
Vignette two: Outside A Very Pregnant Dog
Because as the old joke (more or less) goes, inside a very pregnant dog there's no room for anything, much less reading.*
Belle is about two weeks short of squirting out into the world a passel of puppies, and it's really starting to show. Much like a woman very close to her due date she's...er...big. Very big. Wide, in fact. In human terms she's about three days from her due date. In dog terms she's got about two more weeks. As such she moves slower, she eats a whole lot more, and she's cranky. Watching her lie down is an awful lot like watching a very pregnant woman try to sit down in a recliner, which in itself is sort of like watching a very old man try to back his 1954 Cadillac into a very small parking spot. Oh, there's room for it, but it takes a certain level of concentration, skill and just plain bloody-mindedness to make it work. When she decides to lie down you can tell she's really thinking hard about it:
"Do I really want to lie down? Because it's gonna take a while, and when I get there it's gonna take even longer to get back up again."
Yesterday at the midwife's (Mrs. I) behest I touched a certain spot on Belle's very round, very tight belly and could feel the lumpy outline of a puppy. It wasn't quite as powerful, emotionally speaking, as feeling my daughter in utero but it was fairly close. They're not quite old enough to move, for which Belle I'm certain is giving thanks, but they're very nearly there. In another week Belle is going to start nesting very seriously, and The Book of The Bitch, which is not, as the title seems to indicate, a primer on women but is in fact a handy reference guide for dog breeders expecting a litter, is going to be in hand a lot more. Certain chapters will be underscored and re-read, and final preparations will be made. Including bringing in the plastic wading pool from the yard (sanitized and lined with old blankets and newspapers for shredding) and moving some furniture around in the den in order to make it the Puppy Birthin' Room
And yes, photos will follow. As will the link to the website as soon as I buy the domain name.
Vignette three: The Zombie Walk
Yes, I'm excited. I'm downright giddy. For the local foodbank, and to coincide with National Zombie Day (October 11th, also Weerelephant's birthday oddly enough) a local city is hosting a zombie walk. At their local mall. Too good, I know! You dress up as much or as little as you want, bring some non-perishable food as your 'entry fee' and you're in. We get a brief lesson in zombie walking (for the n00bs) and then we're off for a moaning, groaning, shambling...er...shamble around the mall for an hour. Makes me wish I lived in Shreveport because the local film center is doing a three-night zombie retrospective filmfest. Damn you Shreveport for having culture!
I decided, after a brief tour through our local Hallo'een store to go as a zombie priest (Monsignor Macabre, perhaps,) as an homage to the priest in the basement of the tenement building in Romero's second landmark movie. Mrs. I is going to continue the theme, going as a zombie nun (Sister Mary Gruesome,) and my daughter is going to finish our ghoulish trio by going as a zombie cat. Yeah, I know it doesn't really fit the religious theme except maybe as a witch's familiar, but I'm not about to stomp on her creative side. I even broke down and bought a semi-professional style prosthetic wound (which will cover either half my neck or all of one cheek and down across my jawbone,) and the necessary liquid blood, spirit gum and makeup to make it truly gruesome and deliquescent icky.
Still, there were two things that bothered and continue to bother me:
1) The vast preponderance of Sexy (fill in the blank) Costumes at the costume store. 95% of the teen/adult women's costumes there involved exposed breasts, mesh hosiery, corsets and micro skirts. The photos of how you-yes-you would look in each costume was an endless procession of blonde supermodels with Barbie doll figures and faces just as plastically vacuous as you'd expect. Since when was Hallo'een about sex? It's the season to have the freckles scared off you, not be enticed by a woman whose costume looks like it came from the bastard child of a dominatrix police officer and a fifty dollar a night stripper. What further bothered me was the hundreds of high school girls who were buying these costumes like they were going out of style. And before you get to be a punk, Stucco, yes I was looking and yes it was enticing, but it's HALLOWEEN for shite's sake, not National Be A Sexual Predator's Favourite New Toy For A Day Day. What is wrong with people? Moreso, what is wrong with people's parents? Which is itself another post.
2) I really wanted to go as Zombie Jesus but the costume was $75 and I don't have the time to put one together out of bits and pieces. But could you imagine? Zombie Jesus. Oooooh how good would THAT have been? "Verily I say unto thee 'Go in peace, and devour the flesh of the unbeliever.'"
THAT'S what Samhain is all about.**
* For those of you not familiar with the quote: "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read." ~Groucho Marx, world's greatest moustache wearer.
** And yes, I also fully realise that the origins of what we call Halloween are based in festivals centered around Fall harvest time and end of the year/end of the world fears and as a preparation for winter's long night, but really now, "Sexy Barmaid"? How is that scary? Unless maybe you wear a hook for a hand.