Monday, February 10, 2003

Weekend Update

Well, this has been a very interesting weekend. Every thing I did took way longer than I thought it would.

On Friday, after writing the rather uninspiring bit of drivel directly beneath this one, I was so sleepy that I actually lay down on the floor of my office with my head resting on a ream of paper... and went to sleep! I was so surprised... I almost never fall asleep unless I'm in my PJs (or birthdaysuit equivalent) in a bed or sofa, with blankets and pillows, and otherwise quite comfortable. But I guess that last bit of flu was on its way out of my system, and so the system shut down for the purge. I slept for about an hour, woke up with a carpet-nap pattern pressed into my face and arms, and went about the rest of my day with a nice clear head.

The task at hand for the day was to send out ballots so that I can get a new boss... actually, there were several ballots involved, for the president, the treasurer, and the delegates (who probably won't be) attending the statewide convention. All of these things have to be done by secret mail ballot, using a double-envelope system. I hate doing these things, but I do them all the time anyway. I should only have to do them once a year for the convention, and once every two years for the executive body... but there are always resignations and retirements and what-nots to deal with, so I end up doing three or four elections every year, much to my eternal chagrin.

So I started the task by reconciling my membership database with the District payroll registers (something I hadn't done in quite some time, though I ought to do it at the beginning of every semester), deactivating all the people who had retired or died or simply stopped working in this District. First, I check the name on the database screen, then confirm that it also appears on the paper register; if not, I see if the name appears on one of the five other registers, to which the name might have been moved; if not there, I check and see that it didn't appear on any of last month's six registers, either; and if not there, deactivate the name. That took about six hours, to deactivate eighty out of seven hundred and sixty-odd members... and it was so boring that I wanted to slit my throat.

And then I started printing the envelopes. I thought I was being sooooo clever, figuring out how to print all the envelopes with my printer instead of printing labels and applying them one at a time. Unfortunately, I neglected to think about how long it takes to print each envelope with the envelope-feeder, which turns out to be an average of thirty-seven seconds (barring misfeeds) each. And each envelope had to be fed through individually, so one couldn't leave the printer to its own devices and go do something else, one has to sit beside it and feed a new envelope every thirty-seven seconds... six hundred and forty-two envelopes at thirty-seven seconds each (plus misfeeds); I was in the office until almost two in the morning.

Not that I was just sitting here the whole time, mind you... as always when I have an envelope-stuffing job to do, Caroline was with me. She actually enjoys doing this sort of thing, freak that she is, so all I have to do is provide a nice meal and she brings her invaluable obsessive-compulsive skills to the task, as well as simply keeping me company. So while I was printing the ballots and the ballot instructions on the photocopier, and wrestling with the paper-cutter and the paper-folder, she fed the envelopes into the printer. Then we went for dinner at our new favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, at our new favorite mall, Bay Street. Then we came back here and Caroline surfed the internet and kept me abreast of her online dating while I sat and fed one envelope after another through the printer and did a bit of surfing of my own.

And this was all just for the inside envelopes... we then needed another full set for the outside envelopes, which have to match the inside envelopes name-for-name. I of course abandoned the envelope-feeding thing for the outside envelopes, having no intention whatever of spending another five or six hours hovering over this damned printer, so I just printed the usual labels and called it a day.

Saturday, Caroline came over again and we started stuffing the envelopes. It took a while to start, because it took a long time to set up my living room with enough card-tables and TV trays so we could production-line the envelopes and still see the television. And then Caroline was so fascinated by the documentary on TV (E! True Hollywood Stories: The Cosby Kids) that she wasn't paying attention to the names on the inside and outside envelopes, and so we had to redo twenty or so of them.

Since our minds just weren't on the job, we went shopping instead, as Caroline needed to get some things at Costco. I always love going to Costco, since I don't have my own membership and so have not had the opportunity to become bored with it. It's just so amusing to go to a store that carries furniture and video games and dishes and vitamins and salmon and books and tents and clothes and tomatoes and ice cream and plastic-wrap and crackers and everything else the human heart could desire, all in gigantic sizes and super-duper cheap. There are so many people wandering around, too, some dazed and confused, some really hot, some tragically dressed, some just funny... it's a great people-watching venue. But again, we spent almost three hours there and at Target (Grandmother needed Rubbermaid storage bins, and they were on sale), when we had only meant to pop out for an hour or so to rest our minds.

Once back in harness with our ballots and envelopes and stickers, we watched four hours of VH1's I Love the 80s (even though I do not, in fact, love the Eighties... I barely even remember them), from '85 through '88. It was all very silly, and in fact I never would have watched such a show on my own recognizance; but this is the kind of thing Caroline loves, and since I wasn't paying her in coin I paid in remote-control. But it was fairly entertaining anyway, and it kept my mind occupied enough to be able to stuff the envelopes without trying to slice open my jugular with the edge of a ballot (though I of course managed to garner quite a crop of paper-cuts on my hands).

We stuffed the last envelope at about 12:30, which meant that I had missed another day of postage (I was supposed to get these things out before midnight on Friday)... since the postage meter stamps the date, but not the hour, there was no reason to rush and finish the job until Sunday night. So I put off going back to the office and run the stuffed envelopes through the meter and put on the return-address labels.

Sunday comes around, just as one might expect, and Grandmother woke up early enough to get dressed in time for church... meaning that of course I have to get up and go to church as well. Church was another one of those incredibly boring and yet wildly irritating Special Programs... they're starting these little "Small Groups" in order to give people something to do on a Sunday evening, and that was pretty much all they talked about (and, interestingly enough, managed to convey ZERO information while maundering on endlessly about "Small Groups"); and they also did a big whoop-de-doo about Communion, letting the crackbrained Music Minister (who I think would be happier in a Pentecostal church) babble and sing and dance and have his own way for an hour and a half. It was quite tiresome, and we had to leave before it was even over with.

As soon as I got the Grandmother home and changed my clothes, I had to jet right back out again to make it to my Living Sober Musical rehearsal in San Francisco. Now that was an interesting experience... talk about making oneself feel rather less than perfect. First we tried out a song all together so that the new music director (who prefaced his work by stating that he had never worked with musical theatre before, having been entirely devoted to classical music and church choirs) could hear our voices and get an idea of how to proceed. Since the score for the show hasn't been written out or copied yet (most of the music is to be lifted from Hairspray the Musical, with "original" lyrics), all we had to work with was "I Hope I Get It," the opening number from A Chorus Line, which is a surprisingly difficult song to perform cold.

After an hour of singing badly, we broke from the piano and did Movement, which made me feel even stupider than the bad singing, all uncoordinated and heavy and stiff... I just can't dance in flats, you know? Besides, I was not dressed in a way that camouflages the weight I've suddenly put on in the last couple of weeks, and everywhere I looked there was a reflection of my pudgy tummy in an ill-chosen white t-shirt. Fortunately, most of us were similarly elephant-footed and bear-bellied, so at least I wasn't the only one. The only thing worse than looking like a chubby klutz in a big mirrored room is to look like the chubbiest klutziest person in the room.

After rehearsal, I went out with my co-star (in both the Musical and the Galaxy) Cookie Dough. She had discovered a little vintage shop, Verunica on Noe at 17th, that is moving to new premises in Hayes Valley and had everything on clearance for 75% off... aside from enjoying a great chat with Willow, the co-owner, I came away with the cutest 1950s gold lamé purse you ever saw (check out all three images... it's really cute), a black glass ring from the 40s, a gorgeous rhinestone necklace and brooch... and a real collector's item, an incredible 50s Hobé barrette with faux pearls and gold mesh and imitation faience. All in mint condition, and all together for just over a hundred dollars. Bargains like that are better than sex.

After our shopathon, we met up with Cookie's mister, Michael, and had a fun and lovely dinner at Pasta Pomodoro on Market... where we were waited on by the cutest boy I've seen in many a long day. When I close my eyes, I see Kenneth's angelic little smile, his laughing eyes, his coat-hanger shoulders, his tiny waist, his beautiful long hands, his cute little butt in baggy jeans. Mmmmmmm... and the gnocchi vitello was pretty good, too.

Then it was back to the office, where I sat and put labels on envelopes and ran them through the postage meter, while surfing for Suzanne Somers and other jewels at eBay (but not finding anything worth buying). Considering how much longer than expected it took to do everything involved in this particular ballot, I was quite surprised that it only took me three hours to finish the project and get the whole thing shoved into the boxes at the Post Office.

When I got home I sat down and played my new computer game, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (which I'd bought at Costco on Saturday). I have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, too, and I enjoyed it a lot... though I still can't get past the Snitch-winged Key room and have abandoned the idea of ever completing that game. The sequel is far more complicated and beautifully rendered, and of course runs rather slower because of this. It's still very nice, visually satisfying with it's wonderfully architectural Castle and audially quite pleasing with it's voices and sound effects, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

So, that pretty much brings us up to date. I've been listening to the Hairspray the Musical soundtrack all day (in preparation for the Living Sober Musical, and also because it's got really great music... though Harvey Fierstein drags down the soundtrack with his raggedy laryngitic frog-voice; I love Harvey, but really honey... he sounds worse than Lucille Ball in Mame). This afternoon I'm going with my coworker JB to see Chicago, for which I also own the soundtrack and I am very much looking forward to seeing the film. Also today I have been enjoying the Abercrombie & Fitch website, and am looking to buy some things in order to get a copy of the new Catalog, which apparently crosses all the lines between fashion and porn. I kind of like their clothes (though I can't figure out their sizing charts... since I have a thirty-four inch waist and a thirty-four inch inseam, apparently I wear a 32L), and I love their catalogs, but it never before occurred to me to buy the one to get the other. Sometimes the simplest solution is always the most difficult to see.

And speaking of the new Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, this isn't difficult to see at all! Scrummy!

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