Thursday, March 30, 2006

a change in plan

The bunny feet were supplanted by cat feet. Three of them, to be exact, sprawled out on my lap through the evening. A book, a comfy couch, a warm blanket, and a sleeping kitty keeping my lap warm...and me petting him with love, in honor and memory of Big Boy.

If you aren't a cat person, you won't understand. And if you are a cat person...hail fellow. Well met.


Long day...8pm and just heading home. Bunny feet pajamas, here I come...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Just found out that my friend has to put her cat to sleep tomorrow. He was a sweetie, and part of her little family for many, many heart is breaking for her.

Safe journey, Big Boy...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

pass it on

As I was walking out of Long's last night, a man asked me for spare change. I gave my now sadly automatic, "Sorry, I don't have any" response...then for some reason stopped, turned around, and asked if I could buy him a sandwich.

"I'd like that. That's why I was asking for change...I'm trying to get something to eat."

So we walked down to Quizno's, ordered some sandwiches, chatted a bit while waiting [his name was David, he's originally from Massachusetts, he's having some rough times], and then we went our separate ways. As we left, he thanked me...I asked him to do the same for someone when he can. Good luck, David...pass it on.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Just can't sleep lately. It's those brain monkeys...they are loving the wee hours of the morning. I'm at a decision point for a few things in life right now, and that is apparently serious monkey fuel. And there are various sub-classes of 'brain monkey', including 'life monkey' [the more general one], 'love monkey' [sounds dirty but it's not], 'work monkey' [he's an active little bugger right now], and a few others that pop their eek-eeking heads up when they feel like it.

Well, enough stalling...need to get the morning routine going and head into work.

Time to make the donuts....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

the importance of being thorough

Called SBC/AT&T to have them run their tests again before I closed the case, and sure enough, they still show a short in the line. Going to call them once more before they come out on Wednesday, in case it clears up [they say it might be due to weather], but they agreed that it was a good thing I didn't just close the case once I had a dial-tone.

Sometimes being a paranoid anal-retent pays off...

soliciting your input

Started my own Johari window, and soliciting input. The Johari window is an interesting psychological tool; it is based on the fact that you often don't see yourself the way others do. You have your "arena", which is the part you know and that others see; your "facade", which you see but others don't necessarily see; your "blind spot", which is what others see about you but you don't see about yourself; and the "unknown", which is, well, stuff that's unknown to anyone.

I've done this once before in a previous life, and now the beauty of the internet makes it even easier to pull it together. If you are a friend/compatriot of mine, I'd love to get your's at

[thanks, Susy!!]

and to answer your question...

...I posted the "I have no network" blog entries using my Blackberry. :^)

could it be??

I appear to be back online and have a working phone again...I am once again a member of the human race. Not going to believe it fully until a few more hours have passed...I'm learning about SBC/AT&T reliability in this area.

Not sure when it came back. It wasn't working, then I went out to run some errands [drop stuff off! buy crates to pack up cube when the time comes! fun!], came back and heard the Gaim <bing-ding> of someone logging in...the sound of civilization.

Okay, off to continue with errands and enjoy being in touch with the modern world [while it lasts]...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

is it any wonder?

My life recently has had more than its share of people telling me how important I am to them, but then not following words with actions. In both work and love, I'm facing the truth that it is easy for people to *say* things [and I do think they mean what they say], but when it comes down to it, for whatever reasons, they aren't able to or simply won't back up their words with deeds.

And I am left to pick up the pieces, wonder what it is about me that isn't quite enough for them, and then take responsibility for myself and look ahead. Is it any wonder I'm tired and jaded, and losing that easy trust I once had?

Life happens around you. It can either happen *to* you, or you can make it happen. Time for me to make it happen, and stop waiting for others to live up to their words. I gave them chances galore...time to take care of me.


No joy, and they can't expedite, current repair queue is 4-5 days. Yup...days. So home phone is forwarding to mobile, and I am now offline for as long as it takes.


phone troubles

Woke up to a blinking red light on the DSL modem and no dial-tone on any phone. After trying to call SBC/AT&T's outage line (thankfully I have a mobile) and failing because it wouldn't take my phone number (grr), I navigate the general number and quickly get frustrated with the voice response system ("I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Did you say 'yes' or'no'?"), I got forwarded to...

...the same outage number that didn't like me before.

So I call back, finally get a human (who thanks me for being "a loyal AT&T customer"), and find out that there is indeed a problem with my line, and a technician will be sent out as early as possible. Unfortunately, "early" to them is (wait for it)...Wednesday the 29th.

I say that isn't acceptable, that I can't be without phone and internet for four days, especially as my job requires me to access internet from home, and tell the woman that I have had nothing but disappointment with SBC/AT&T,and that I'm very frustrated.

She was very helpful, I will say. She immediately called repair herself to see if they could get to me earlier, and kept coming back on line to let me know she was still trying and that she hadn't forgotten me. Repair told her to ask me if I used a cordless phone, and if so, to unplug both power and phone for *everything* that is attached to phone line, wait 3-5 minutes, then try again. She then gave me the direct toll-free number to Repair so I didn't have to fight the system again. Angela, you gave good customer service, and I thank you.

So I'm sitting for 3-5 minutes...we'll see if it works. I really hope it does...and if so, then I've got a new trick in my arsenal if I lose dial-tone again.

Cross your fingers...

Friday, March 24, 2006

held captive

Ever been sitting with a cat zonked out on your lap, and you don't want to move and disturb the sweet thing but you have to, and you are about to bite the bullet and get up, but just then he gives a little snort, stretches sleepily without opening his eyes, and ends up in that painfully adorable "upside down with one paw over his nose" position, making it even more impossible for you to shift even a micron for fear of bothering him, in spite of the fact that your legs are going numb and your hip is starting to ache and you really, really need to pee, and so you start to plan how you can pick him up as gently as possible, move out from under him without disturbing him much and then quietly place him back down in the warm spot on the couch and hope that he can get back to sleep again, but just are you are about to grit your teeth and put the plan into action, he gives that deep little sigh and snuggles in just a little bit more, completely crushing any will you had of your own, and so you sit back and decide that your legs are doing all right and you really don't need to go the bathroom *that* badly and no, really, you're fine and just look at that little face and those little twitches as he sleeps and isn't he just the most peaceful thing you've ever seen....?

Nah, me either.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

random vanity

a curly hair day
a curly hair day,
originally uploaded by tiredcynic.
Is it still vanity even if you don't like the picture? Wore my hair curly today...still trying to decide if I like it. The photo is slightly fuzzy because I had to take it without the flash [which reflected off the mirror too much].

That's the previously mentioned camera I'm holding, by the gusta. You can also see my ladybug necklace [mentioned below].

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

oy, what a day

First day back at work after the time off. The consultants did what they could to hold things together, but unfortunately what I do isn't something that can easily be outsourced...too much of it is very specific knowledge of the company, processes, infrastructure, software, history, and so on. So ironically, with so much work to be done, the consultants found themselves with little they could actually do...which meant a large part of it was waiting for me to return [and another part, slightly smaller, needed to be undone or redone]. Not sure whether to be pleased or's a double-edged sword.

So tonight I am completely wiped. Worked straight through lunch, didn't get out until after 7pm. Need to get a bite to eat before it gets too late, then hoping to drag myself out for a walk tonight.

Tomorrow is another day <groan>.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I've just uploaded my pictures to Flickr. These are only the ones from my camera, and sadly only through half the trip, since the camera died in Canberra, but it's a start. Jen is going to send me her pics and the ones we took with her camera; once I get those, I'll upload them and let you know.

The photos are here if you'd like to see them...

costco rocks

Took my camera back to them, they refunded money with no problems, no muss, no fuss, and then they took the time to find out which area store had another in stock so I could get it today. Found it at the Santa Clara store [for $80 less...bonus!], and have it home and charging the battery now.

Needless to say, I will be purchasing the extended warranty for this one.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

one last meat pie...

...and it's off I go.

the beginning of the end

Packing for the trip home...sigh.


That's the sound you make after a meal like we had tonight: oofta. Started with a greek salad, then I had prawns and scallops with a lemon garlic cream sauce over rice. Dessert was a decaf latte and crepes with strawberries. Oh, and I tried a Carlton...not bad. Had some of Jen's lamb and tried her stickydate pudding (yum).

Then a strange and goofy walk around the water and back to the hotel.

Just watch out for those high pressure gaslines.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

type quickly!

Back at hotel for a bit while we figure out what to do for dinner. Excellent day today: Queen Victoria Markets, tram ride, people watching at St. Kilda Beach.

Got good gifts at the Queen Vic Market, got in some good relaxing (and great people watching) at the beach, did some walking, had fries with chicken salt (yum!) for lunch. Nice and relaxing...

seeing the sights

Lots of walking today...felt good, since I've been eating like a tourist (carbonara on Lygon! chicken on Brunswick!). I rationalize it by telling myself "how often are you in Australia?? Enjoy!!" Now if I could just get my waistline to accept the rationalization as well...

Saw the city from up on high at the Rialto Tower (I'm fond of city towers...some good memories from them). Walked up through Melbourne to Brunswick Street, a crunchy, quirky street of cafes and shops. On the way, we stopped at the Sofitel, to see the "loo with a view" - 35th floor restroom with a glass wall, with a great view of the city (thanks for the tip, David!).

Then on to the Melbourne Gaol and beaucoup Ned Kelly. Interesting, but a bit guided tours, and it really could have used some way to bring the history alive a bit. Did get a Ned Kelly doll for my cube, which I like. It wasn't until we left that Jen and I realized we'd gone in through the exit, and thus missed the "pay $12.50 each to get in" part.


Hit a "Big W" (Walmart's Aussie store) for a face washer (wash cloth), then over to Safeway (yup, same one) for some chicken salt (I hear good things about it...can't wait to try it). Stopped for some iced chai and sat for a bit on the way back, then "home" to rest, shower, and gussy up for a night on the town. This place is *happening*...a definite party atmosphere with the Commonwealth Games in town. Wheee!!

(A side note: A weird thing that Jen pointed out and that I saw in action tonight is that stores close down way early on Saturdays up around 5pm and they are locked up. Tough for an American used to
"convenience culture" and shopping on weekend nights. We are spoiled.)

Okay, off we go...I'm thinking a salad for dinner (and my jeans will thank me for it, I'm sure).


Friday, March 17, 2006

an awesome evening

In Melbourne now. Found the hotel, no problem (a bit dodgy, more of a backpacker hotel than we expected, but with the Commonwealth Games in town, we take what we can get).

Down Bourke to Russell to Lygon for dinner...a great walk, a caloric dinner. Jen got hit on by Zak, we both got invited to a club for drinks and dancing. A store has their front done up as various rooms of a house, with four bald men of varying ages vamping to the crowds. Playing LPs of dance songs, dancing hilarious routines, taking baths and goofing was extremely entertaining.

Tonight is a recharge night...tomorrow is wandering, shopping, touristy stuff, then back to rest, shower, and hit the clubs for some dancing (Zak gave some recommendations of clubs the locals go to).


Thursday, March 16, 2006

whoo hoo

Waiting for the cab to take us to the airport...then on to Melbourne.

a bad day

Crap! My camera screen is shattered! And it's the LCD screen *under* the glass, which doesn't have a scratch on it. It looks like a defect...if I could take a picture of it, you would agree. Now to get Panasonic to agree as well.

Poo. One more thing to deal with, darn it. And I really like this camera...I miss it already.

a good day

Wrapped up a very good day at the office...spent time with Dave, checked in with the US folks and got some stuff done, met a bunch of folks, had some good talks, and shared the Hershey's chocolates.

Very productive, very good...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Today is the day I go in to the Canberra office to work for the day, and big shocker: brain monkeys, little sleep, and bad dreams when I did sleep.


I *am* looking forward to meeting people in person...that is the plus side. I'll be giving the US office a call to check in with them "up there", spending time with the AU IT guy, working on Jen's machine (since it's a US system), and catching up with folks in general.

Now to relax a bit before I truly start the day...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

starbucks down under

Sitting in a Starbucks in Manuca, Canberra, sipping an iced chai tea latte, typing this on my Blackberry. How trendy of me.

Walked to Parliament House (in 90-something heat), snuck into a tour there. Impressive place, huge, modern. Sat in the House of Representatives, walked through the Senate, played tourist and bought postcard for Jen (Aussie slang) and one for me, and found a not-too-expensive Canberra t-shirt.

Going to wander Manuca for a bit, then head on back to relax a bit and freshen up before Jen gets home. It's been good being with her...I've missed her. Jason is wrong: we aren't "peas in a pod", but our differences really mesh, and our similarities are fun.

(Ooh! Just as I finished typing this, James Blunt came on..."Cry". I really like him...wish I could afford tickets to his upcoming SF shows. Maybe I'll make it happen...)

a productive day

Odd to have a productive day while on vacation, but that's what yesterday was. I did laundry, paid bills, caught up on email [personal, not work...leaving that for when I return], wrote and mailed postcards, got some shopping for supplies done, bought a Fodor's guide for Melbourne. And also managed to fit in a nap and a walk into town. Not too shabby.

Today is a lazy day. Get ready whenever, wander into Kingston, check out the highly recommended Silo Bakery, then head on down the road towards Manuca [pronounced "monica"] for more wandering. From there, it's either walk to Parliament House, grab a cab into "downtown" Canberra and hit the shopping center, or come back, put on a bathing suit, grab a towel, and head to the lake front.

Decisions, decisions... :^)

Monday, March 13, 2006

posting from the road

Stealing a bit of time on my friend Jen's computer to catch up on some mail, get some addresses for postcards, and send this quick update. Just spent the last three days in was incredible. It's a beautiful city, painfully picturesque. We walked for miles [literally...we probably did 7-10 miles of tourist wandering, in 90+ degree heat and humidity], pretty much did all the shoreline around the harbour. Ferry rides, the zoo [obligatory pics of koalas, roos, echidnae, emus], tourist sunburn, tchotchke shopping, all the highlights.

Found a necklace that I love...I'll have to get a picture of it. It is a rectangular brushed silver pendant with a cute teeny little ladybug stamped out of a corner of it. My mom calls me 'ladybug', so it's a special souvenir for me. [UPDATE: Just added the photo...]

In Canberra now, at Jen's place [which I really like]. A day or so of downtime, doing some laundry and stocking up, going to wander some local shops, try to hit the beach and expose these lily-white legs to the sunlight for the first time in ages. Then in to the office for a day to work with some folks there [looking forward to meeting everyone], then off to Melbourne for the weekend [and then home, but I'm not thinking about that right la laaaa, I'm ignoring it, it's not there, nope, no sir!].

A girl could get used to this...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

hurry up and wait

Packing for the trip. Trying to pack for 10 days is tougher than a long weekend or a month. With a short trip, you can bring enough clothes for every day and trial sizes of toiletries. With a very long trip, you bring fewer clothes that are more versatile, knowing you will be doing laundry; you either bring full size toiletries or know that you will buy them as needed along the way. Packing for ten days, though, is makes you play more games with your packing, figuring out what is really important and what can be worked around.

Of course, being the person I am, I find the mental side of it kind of fun. As a former love used to tell me, I'm a "bin packer"...I get enjoyment out of finding ways for things to fit efficiently into the space available, and I'm pretty good at it.

Or, to put it another way: I'm a freak. :^)

The "hurry up and wait" part is right now. Laundry is going. I've packed or put aside as much as I can without it, so now I wait for it to be done. The hardest part is not to keep revisiting what I've already set aside...that's the way my brain works. I call it the 'yeahbutwhatif' syndrome. It's a blessing, it's a curse.

[Aside: You know, blogs are an easy way to kill a little bit of time. Though I pity anyone who ends up reading this boring bit of daily life...]

When it comes down to it, all I *truly* need is passport, driver's license, credit card, medication, itinerary. All the rest can be faked, bought, or somehow acquired. And when I remember that, I relax a bit.

Until I start thinking again.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the care and feeding of IT folks

** The Care and Feeding
** of IT folks

* Use 'please' and 'thank you'.

We are doing our jobs the best we can, just like you.
A little bit of politeness can go a long way. And the
nicer you are, the nicer we will be. Honestly.

* Get the wording and details of any error messages.

As much as we'd like to be, we aren't clairvoyant. Saying
"it gave some error" just means we have to spend more of
your time troubleshooting. Giving as much information as
you can will help us research the answer that much faster
for you.

* Remember that you aren't our only customer.

We support an entire company full of people, all of whom
need IT assistance. Please understand if someone else's
emergency has to be dealt with first.

* Be patient.

Like you, we are juggling a thousand different things. If
we aren't able to get to your request immediately, trust
us, we *will* get to it as soon as we can.

* Our priorities have to be different sometimes.

We know that any IT issue you encounter is very important
to you, but sometimes other issues have to be dealt with
first. In IT, we have to do triage on user issues,
constantly reshuffling our caseload to deal with the
changing severity. A major network outage will always come
first; a user with a completely dead machine will have to
be addressed before one with a printing problem.

* We do try to be flexible.

Even when our hands are tied, we still try our best. We
really do understand how important it is that you get
things done at end of month or before that big meeting,
and we will do what we can. Explain nicely and we'll try.

* Rank does have its privileges.

No one likes to admit it, but if the CEO calls while we
are working on your issue, we are often going to have to
take care of them. It is nothing personal.

* Be considerate when interrupting.

Just because we are staring at our computer doesn't mean
we aren't working. Often we are elbows deep into someone's
problem and heavy in thought. Be gentle when interrupting;
remember, it might be *your* issue we are working on when
someone else interrupts.

* IT folks are people too.

Contrary to rumor, we have feelings, we like our jobs
[usually], and we enjoy doing what we do. We have bad days
just like you; we also have good days, hectic days, and
amazingly productive days. We are all in this
together...common courtesy and a bit of empathy will
really make things go smoother.

(c) 2006 - stacey gladman

"Troop" is NOT SINGULAR, people!!

This has been driving me crazy. For some reason, reporters and newsfolk have been using the word "troop" as a singular noun, saying things like, "12 troops were killed in a bombing today in Iraq." Even my trusted NPR station uses it.


"Troop" is a collective noun, darn it. To quote Merriam-Webster, "troop" is:

"1 a : a group of soldiers b : a cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company cplural : ARMED FORCES, SOLDIERS
2 : a collection of people or things : CREW
3 : a flock of mammals or birds
4 : the basic organizational unit of Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts under an adult leader"
Get it? A group, a unit, a collection, a flock. A bunch of things, not one thing.


my friend Brian is an evil man

He gave me the DVD set of Joss Whedon's "Firefly". He warned me it was disappointing. Oh, not the series itself...the disappointment comes when you watch the last episode and realize that's all there is. You want more, but there isn't any.

Darn him.

He was right.

testing, 1, 2, 3...

Testing the 'post by email' feature of blogspot...this could be cool.

the countdown begins

Last day at work before I head down under. Going to be hectic, but I'm expecting hecticness [hecticosity, hecticiferousness] right up until I settle onto the plane. Work will be nuts, then comes the packing fun. Packing for a retent is interesting...plan, think, stage, confirm, change, update, think, think, think, think. Tiring, but effective.

I have an entire rolling suitcase [I call them "pet suitcases", 'cause you constantly see people taking them for walks] of stuff to take for friends and co-workers. Things that I'm told are hard to get down there: Hershey's chocolate and other candies, Finesse hairspray, Mega M&Ms, that kind of stuff. Carrying a couple of bottles of perfume down for our CEO, for a friend of his down there. I'm a mule!!

Got together with friends last night to discuss house/cat sitting. They got a cat a little while ago, and they are very much cat people now. It was fun, sitting around, sharing the stories ["And does she come in while you are using the bathroom? Mine too!!!"]. Heh. Non cat people just wouldn't get it...

Okay, I've stalled enough. Off to do the scrubby-showery thing and face the day. Just a few more hours of hanging in there, and then I'm trading one type of hecticliciousness for a completely different of my own choosing [and that has made all the difference].

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

weird morning

It's one of those weird, rough mornings where you feel down, drained, and just want to crawl back into bed and let the world go on without you for a while.

Work is really taking its toll on me. While it is quite validating to realize just how much you do at a company, and to have other people seeing more of that than they had before, it is tiring to be the only remaining US IT employee. I'm trying to just roll with it, at least to survive until I leave for Australia, but it's hard...and I'm getting increasingly worried about when I return, and what I'll be coming back to.

Very tempted to leave...the job, the Bay Area, make a fresh start somewhere. The only problem with that plan is that it takes energy, which I'm a little low on right now...

Monday, March 06, 2006

the clan

the clan
the clan,
originally uploaded by tiredcynic.
And for my first photo blog [thank you, flickr], I present... family.

I love this picture.


Signed up for a flickr account, going to post my pictures there. Got a few can check them out at


My first post here at blogspot. I was at 'myspace', but I'm not liking a few things: the fact that people have to join in order to see anything I post, and the annoying spamming and people who seem to phish for new accounts based on my photo and the fact that I clicked "female".

Hoping this will be a kinder, gentler place to blog...