Monday, July 27, 2015

I like my boss

I basically spent last week lending support to a coworker on a project that technically we are all responsible for.

As a result, I fell behind in my work.

My boss gave me the talk: "Tell people you can't help them because I said so."

It's pretty great, I got to work on math and programming all day. Glorious.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Two Birds, Two Collisions

Today I was hit in the head by a bird while discussing office safety at a team meeting. A minute earlier my coworker complained about having the meeting outside since there were huge horseflies around.

"Do they bite?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"We can just kill them," said another coworker.

I barely felt it when the bird hit me. A flutter of feathers at the back of my head, then there it was, smaller than my fist sitting on the ground next to my chair.

"Did a bird just hit me?"

My coworkers laughed. "You hit the bird! You better apologize."

"I've seen The Birds. I'm very sorry, little bird."

The bird wasn't moving much but it did crane its head around and blink at me a few times.

We continued with the meeting. This past month I had just watched the HBO movie, The Girl, about Alfred Hitchcock sexually harassing and obsessing over the female lead to The Birds, Tippi Hedren. The Birds had been on my mind.

Last week I had been driving to work, talking on my bluetooth to Monrovia, when a peacock stepped out from in front of a Prime Time Shuttle in the lane to my left. I yelled, I braked, I heard a thud and saw a ball of feathers flap away. I grew up in peacock country. It's common for peacocks, peahens, and peachicks to roam freely in my hometown. Raised with the firm belief that it was a federal crime to touch let alone harm a peacock, I knew that I had sinned.

Today, at the meeting, I found myself looking back at that little bird sitting beside my chair. Its comrades chirped away for it from all directions in the quad where we sat. One bird sang from an umbrella the next table over. The bird on the ground, after resting beside me for about fifteen minutes, recording my license and getting a copy of my insurance, flew up to meet its mate on the umbrella, and then off to tell the others what it had done.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I've been taking yoga at the gym at work.

The gym is in the basement. There is the bigger room, filled with stationary bicycles, treadmills, free weights and some machines I still don't understand. Then there is the smaller room, where classes are held. They offer yoga, spin, some martial arts, but no tai-chi. I asked them when I first joined.

"I had been taking classes at my university," I said.

"Do you think you could teach tai-chi?"

This is not the story of how I faked my way into teaching tai-chi at my new job. I joined yoga.

Yoga is a lot tougher than tai-chi.

Tai-chi, or at least as far as I got, was all about figuring out your center of gravity and doing stretches to improve flexibility. It was about stability rather than strength; efficiency of movement was the key principle.

Yoga is about twisting yourself and using your own body as a weight to build strength and endurance. You hold poses that test your balance.

Back at Irvine my tai-chi instructor talked about how easy it would be to knock someone over if they were holding a yoga pose. A tai-chi pose, on the other hand, is planted.

It's a silly put-down.

I'm definitely not getting better at it. It hurts my knees. I have no upper-body strength.

At the end, as we're resting, we take time for meditation. It always makes me late for work, but it's worth staying later for that payoff after the grueling vinyasa. I am not quite asleep, because I can still hear my instructor. Sometimes, though, I drift so deep that even though I can hear her, I do not comprehend her words any more.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Time Skip

For my readers far out into the distant future, it might be less jarring for you if I straight-up tell you: there's been a time skip.

When last we left off, I had pretty much told you every painful memory from my time in Westwood, and had only vaguely and ambiguously mentioned the difficulties coming back to Irvine.

I crossed the finish line at Irvine. I have a job now, a real-world job. A job where, if they fire me, I go right back on the market as an economist with a doctorate.

I am not afraid of that kind of institutional rejection any more.

I eat dinner with Monrovia and Duarte at least once a week. They let me vent about the job and build wild new ambitions. Duarte told me he's happy I found a good place. I think he's just happy to see me happy again.

I am happy again. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don't have homework. When I go home, my time is mine. In grad school, my time was never my own - any minute not spent on research was a minute spent feeling guilty about not spending that minute on research.

I actually like my coworkers. I like my work environment. I like having a job.

I had promised myself I could share certain things that happened in Irvine on this blog after I got out, after there was nothing they could do to stop me from finishing. It's been months since I've gotten out and I'm no longer certain I care enough to share those stories with you.

There's one major change in my day-to-day life that I'm still not used to. At work, we're not allowed to listen to music. Day one I tried to hit up pandora or youtube, but they were blocked. I miss the music.

I'm reading. A lot. I'm exercising, but probably not as much as when I was in Irvine, since there is far less daily walking to be done at a desk.

I suppose, all that's left now is to write.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Short Stories

The other day I told Monrovia that I had read two short stories the previous night.

"That's great!" she said.

The next time I saw Duarte, he said, "Monrovia says you wrote two short stories!"

I let them know I didn't say that, I didn't do that, I had read the stories, not written them.

"That's too bad. I was so happy for you," Monrovia said.

So here we are.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Today at the corner of California and Arroyo, a couple of idiots wearing pre-tied bow ties and rented tuxes almost ran me down at the crosswalk.

Now, I don't know if that means anything. I know that I decided to cross. I know that the car decided to accelerate towards me. I know that I had a second to decide whether I would trust they would slow down and I could continue walking, or if I didn't trust people who didn't know how to tie their own bow ties to be able to avoid hitting me.

I jumped back. They slowed, but didn't stop. Someone from inside the car called out, "Sorry!"

They were smiling.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Problem with Bamboo

I've been having a problem with my Wacom Bamboo Pad Wireless. I downloaded the app for Windows 8, Bamboo Page. It's a very basic program - only 7 colors, 1 pen, 1 highlighter, 1 eraser, no options for size. The app is free and it's been an easy way for me to get acquainted with my new tablet. The problem is sometimes I start a sketch and then half of what I have sketched will disappear. I get one more heartbeat before the entire program closes and forgets it ever opened. When I bring the program back up it opens to the last saved sketch.

I've been searching online for explanations and I've tried to recreate it, but it only seems to happen when I really don't want it to.

Current hypotheses:

  • I'm clicking the button on the stylus and that does something somehow
  • I'm clicking the button on the bottom of the Bamboo Pad and that does a thing
  • Bamboo Page was programmed to be sadistic