Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Lounging outside in a tank top and flip flops in the evening on Christmas Eve makes me feel so lucky and good at picking a climate. I am glad my parents took me to the snow in the mountains every year or two as a kid, but I am reading on blogs and facebook about how lovely storms are, or bundling up, and I can just tell that's not for me. After we moved to Northern California when I was 8, we would go back down south most years to see our extended family (on both sides) so extra temperate weather, palm trees, and the ocean also feel festive to me.

We had a cold snap last week, where it got down to 28 degrees at night and didn't ever warm up all the way during the day, and it was pretty grueling. The yurt is neither insulated nor enclosed, and I was fine and not even cold (thanks, down sleeping bag!) but my elephant palm either died or went into hibernation. And my 5am bike commute was just horrible. And my feet would hurt from the cold floor in the house because I don't have any slippers. I read a headline today about a life threatening power outage in the Northeast, and okay, I want everyone to be comfortable and live but they chose a life on the edge of survival when they moved to a region with that climate.

ETA: I feel like mentioning that it is less that I don't care if people die from freezing temperatures and no heat, but more that I was sad in advance that people try to live in that climate, like I am sad when I find out one of my friends is comfortable driving drunk.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Experiment re:Black Customers

After I read the life hacking/white privilege article (or maybe it was a supporting response piece) I immediately started noticing it at work, that black customers just get shut down a lot (though Latino customers don't, which is different than in the article). I don't think its the yellow car phenomenon; I think it is really happening. This made me feel a little helpless and sick, so today I started actively extending the benefit of the doubt to black customers, they way I do naturally for really young earnest people and also people who are really terrible and aggressive. In the case of very young people, I know that they are navigating something new and I want them to succeed. I mean, any roadblock I can easily remove for a pregnant 19 year old with a handwritten page of things she learned from our call center is gone, and the same goes for an 18 year old who is the only person in his family with a credit card (I know because they all come with him and counsel him). For the aggressive folks, I just appease them as little as possible to avoid making a minor issue/absolute non issue my boss's problem. So as an experiment I am just extending that discretion to more people. Like, today someone returned a Rug Doctor after 49 hours instead of 24. Normally I would charge him for two days instead of the three that I could technically charge, but his contract notes showed that he had been keeping our call center informed about his efforts to turn it in after we closed yesterday and as soon as possible after he got off work today, so I charged him for one day.

To make a long story short, I don't know what to do, ever! But I am trying.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

USA Always Stamp

I got photoshop in lieu of a scanner, to make my greyed out skewed photos of my art look like my art. I am kind of afraid that if I make anything from scratch it will look like people's deviant art magic the gathering dragon bff playing cards. I feel like I have paid my dues by making really terrible paintings and drawings for years and years, and I don't want to face . But I kind of think no one has fixed the USA/Forever Snape stamp into a USA/Always stamp, so I tried, and I think it worked.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Between the time my car broke down and the time I got it fixed, I got 4 biweekly paychecks, and they won't cover the cost of the repair.

At work I am supposed to be able to tell with  glance whether all the engine fluids in a truck are leaking. Since I started in August, the gritty innards of trucks and cars are starting to resolve into parts I can name, but after I rolled into work with a shuddering, jolting car that couldn't leave under its own power I asked for a refresher. Well, first I called a tow truck and started biking 10 miles to work in winter, and then after I stopped feeling so sorry for myself (or rather, after I became accustomed to feeling extremely sorry for myself), I asked for a refresher. Everyone was nice about it and it turns out that I couldn't've checked the transmission fluid anyway because on a standard transmission there is no dipstick and you have to get underneath the car. As far as I can tell, only $400 of the $2500 bill could have been avoided by taking the car in as soon as I noticed anything wrong, since I imagine the clutch wouldn't have failed if I didn't let the transmission run dry.

I told myself a LOT of mantras when I was waking up in my unheated yurt at 4:00am in December to leave by 4:45 for a 6:30 shift, but they got a lot less positive after the first three weeks. These last two weeks have been more on the grueling side, and the mantra has been "28 degrees is not lethal, so I am fine." Yesterday in particular, I got a flat tire in the morning (my fourth since I started commuting by bike) and had to walk 3/4 of a mile to a gas station, where I found that the air compressor was out of service. Luckily the second gas station on my route was just another quarter mile or so.

Before I was forced by circumstances to get into shape, I would complain about the bike and everyone would say, "That's because you have a horrible bike. If you had a decent bike you wouldn't believe how much better it is." Because I hate the bike, it was easy for me to agree that it is horrible, but actually the quality of the bike is not the reason it is below freezing every morning, or the reason I can't see far enough with the bike light to ride fast after dark, or the reason I have to stuff groceries into my pockets because they are too bulky for my backpack. It's also only kind of the reason riding in the rain leaves me a grubby mess, since some nice bikes have fenders but some don't and would just kick up more water by being faster.

The biking has really been good for my mood, and I got to know my new town a lot more by using side streets instead of the freeway.