1. I think I’ve been reading/watching too many British things because I was typing up something, and where I meant “vacation”, I kept using “holiday” instead. Luckily I caught it (wouldn’t have been horrible if I hadn’t, but may have confused a few people), but it did annoy me. Not that there’s anything wrong with the British way, mind you, it’s just that, well, it’s best to use American English with an American audience. Unless you’re British, and then Americans find it adorable. But I’m not British, so people would probably just find it obnoxious.

2. Don’t ever read The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer. It’s a romance novel set in 1700s England. It’s not exactly something I’d ever pick, but it’s a book club book, and if others in the group read the science fiction books I pick, it’s only fair that I read what others pick. (I don’t always pick science fiction books.) But good heavens, I loathe this book. I mean, there are some books our book club reads that I just really don’t get into (and quite a few lovely surprises, books I never would have picked on my own, but quite enjoy), and that is completely normal, but this one I actively despise. I want to stab every single obnoxious character. I want to burn England to the ground just in case there are people there that might actually still be like this. (Luckily, I’m lazy and England is, you know, way over there, and I imagine burning an entire country would be hard. Well, unless you had a couple nuclear weapons. Though, I don’t know… nuclear weapons mixed with obnoxious 18th century characters is a pretty jarring combination. I don’t think I could live with that aesthetic. Also, I don’t have any nuclear weapons. So England is safe.) You’d think I’d just bail on the book and not finish, but no, I want to reach the end. It is the only way to reach the culmination of my hatred so I can move on afterward. Otherwise it will linger and fester. Also, I enjoy the discussion more if I’ve finished the book.

3. Job interview on Thursday. It’s at the same location as the second worst job interview of my life, but in a different corner of the organization. Would love to work there, though I’m not sure that corner is the best employment fit, but certainly no harm in getting more info. Latitude and longitude have been acquired so I can tell my GPS where to take me.

4. I’m writing a user guide for some software. It is not going well. Stress.

5. From last night’s episode of Bunheads in reference to a book club reading Fifty Shades of Gray: “Just so you know, these are the people that like and accept me. These women find me interesting and invited me into their club. And yes, maybe that means I have to read a terrible, terrible, simply awful, dreadful book, but at the end of that book is cake. And friendship.”

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A Facebook friend mentioned that she and her fam were heading to Udvar-Hazy to hang out with airplanes and the shuttle a couple days ago. I love the place, but wish we could touch the things there. I ache to run my fingers across the surface of the SR-71 Blackbird. I crave a physical moment with the shuttle. Alas, it is not to be. I am entirely sympathetic with why we don’t get to, but oh how I wish I could.

This brings to mind a business trip from a few years ago. I was on yonder eastern coast-ish area at an Air Force base for a huge field test. It was exhausting: test days that started at 3:30 in the morning and then continued with 12 hours or more wandering around the flight line. It really was quite fun, though, and we were so close to the runway, which was frequently busy, and that was just cool. I helped with set up and take down of test-related stuff each morning and afternoon, but in the middle, when the test itself was in motion, all I did was follow around the photographers and observe, with the idea that it would help me in writing the test report afterward. (And it did.)

We (the photographers and I) had a program manager as our guide. His job was to focus the photographers on key areas, to explain things to me so I fully understood the test, and to keep all of us out of the way so we wouldn’t interfere with anything. Our test began with a C-130. I was totally excited about this detail. I love flying things! If I could have, I would have run out to the C-130 with my arms open wide, a huge smile on my face, giggling with delight, and upon reaching the plane, I would have embraced it and given it a kiss.

Luckily, I restrained those impulses. As a general rule, I try not to freak out others trapped on this planet with me.

Thus it was, on our first test day, I found myself next to the just-arrived C-130 (it was loud), the photographers busy photographing, and the test proceeding as planned (though a few hours late due to a late-departing AWACS in our way). I was delighted to be so close to the flying thing! There it was, all… gray! And big! And cool looking!

There really wasn’t a whole lot to do for a while, as the test proceeded and the photographers photographed. The PM who was our minder was ex-Air Force, so he started up a conversation with one of the Air Force guys who arrived on the C-130. I was bored. I wanted to touch the plane. I wasn’t sure if that was allowed. Slowly I wandered inch by inch closer to the plane. No one seemed to care. There I stood next to the plane. No one even seemed to notice. I reached out my hand and touched it. Ahhhh…. Still no one seemed to care, so I continued running my hands across it, and knocked on it, and wandered around and compared different sections. It was very fulfilling.

You can imagine my ecstatic joy (which was carefully suppressed to nothing more than a giddy but vaguely professional smile) when we got to wander all over inside on the second test day (and touch whatever we wanted!), and then I got to sit in the cockpit while it was taxiing on the third test day.

So you can see why I would ache to fondle the flying things at Udvar-Hazy. But alas, we can only look. Still, despite that minor disappointment, Udvar-Hazy rocks.

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by Heinrich Hoffmann

Mamma and Nurse went out one day,
And left Pauline alone at play;
Around the room she gayly sprung,
Clapp’d her hands, and danced, and sung.
Now, on the table close at hand,
A box of matches chanced to stand,
And kind Mamma and Nurse had told her,
That if she touched them they would scold her;
But Pauline said, “Oh, what a pity!
For, when they burn, it is so pretty;
They crackle so, and spit, and flame;
And Mamma often burns the same.
I’ll just light a match or two
As I have often seen my mother do.”

When Minz and Maunz, the pussy-cats, heard this
They held up their paws and began to hiss.
“Meow!” they said, “me-ow, me-o!
You’ll burn to death, if you do so,
Your parents have forbidden you, you know.”

But Pauline would not take advice,
She lit a match, it was so nice!
It crackled so, it burned so clear,
Exactly like the picture here.
She jumped for joy and ran about,
And was too pleased to put it out.

When Minz and Maunz, the little cats, saw this,
They said, “Oh, naughty, naughty Miss!”
And stretched their claws,
And raised their paws;
“Tis very, very wrong, you know;
Me-ow, me-o, me-ow, me-o!
You will be burnt if you do so,
our mother has forbidden you, you know.”

Now see! oh! see, what a dreadful thing
The fire has caught her apron-string;
Her apron burns, her arms, her hair;
She burns all over, everywhere.

Then how the pussy-cats did mew
What else, poor pussies, could they do?
They screamed for help, ’twas all in vain,
So then, they said, “We’ll scream again.
Make haste, make haste! me-ow! me-o!
She’ll burn to death, we told her so.”

So she was burnt with all her clothes,
And arms and hands, and eyes and nose;
Till she had nothing more to lose
Except her little scarlet shoes;
And nothing else but these was found
Among her ashes on the ground.

And when the good cats sat beside
The smoking ashes, how they cried!
“Me-ow me-o! Me-ow, me-oo!
What will Mamma and Nursy do?”
Their tears ran down their cheeks so fast.
They made a little pond at last.

- . – . – . – . – . – . – . – . – . – . – . – . -

Ah, poetry is such a beautiful art form. Nineteenth century poetry intended to warn children never to disobey adults is particularly entertaining. According to Wikipedia, the book from which the poem above was taken, ultimately entitled Struwwelpeter, was written by the author for his 3-year-old son. He initially published the book anonymously as Lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder mit 15 schön kolorierten Tafeln für Kinder von 3–6 Jahren (Funny Stories and Whimsical Pictures with 15 Beautifully Colored Panels for Children Aged 3 to 6) in 1845. We’ve lost something in our modern age. Think how much better Sesame Street would be with a few flaming muppets. “Now, honey, don’t touch these matches. Remember what happened to Ernie. He screamed pretty loud and Bert looked pretty sad at his funeral. You don’t want that, do you?”

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1. Some sexist acts of chivalry bug me, but I have to admit, when the bishopric decides during the heat wave that the women can stay in the air-conditioned chapel and the men can go to the un-air-conditioned Relief Society room (it is crazy hot in there), all I can do is say, “God bless ‘em,” and be grateful.

2. I always figured I’d do the missionary thing again when I was old and retired (if I ever retired). I just learned that there are no humanitarian or proselyting assignments available for single senior sisters. Only couples. Single sisters are stuck doing family history or employment centers or that sort of thing. Blech. That is incredibly disappointing. So there really isn’t a point to ever retiring after all.

3. I hate job hunting. September 30th (the last day I can be an employee of my current job) quickly approaches. Stress.

4. Finally scored another job interview. It went okay – I’ve had better interviews and I’ve had worse. Good location, interesting work, uptight office, lower pay, very unstable contract. I’d probably take it if they offered it to me.

5. Acquired three more library cards today, one from Maryland and two from Virginia. They do the reciprocal library thing here, so if you live or work in the metro area, you can get library cards from any of the metro area libraries, which is quite a few counties/cities. Why do I want more library cards? E-books! Many a time have I sought a desired e-book, only the DC library didn’t have it, but a neighboring library did. So today I upped my options. When I rule the world, libraries will be higher on the priority list for funding.

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It’s really hot out there

Last night’s storm was crazy. Downed trees all over the place. (The wind! The lightning!) Over a million people without power, and the power company saying it will take days to get them back up. (And a power outage is just what you want in the middle of a horrible heat wave.) Though my power flickered last night, it stayed on, and for that I am very grateful.

Still, armed with that knowledge, a couple friends and I stuck to our original plan of hitting a thrift store or two. We’re optimists. Or fools. Whatever. The mile after mile of powerless stop lights didn’t deter us (fear the intersections on multi-lane highway type roads!), and though we worried our target thrift store might be powerless, we continued on.

It had no power. Alas.

At that point we wised up and tried to call the a couple others on our list. No one answered. We abandoned our thrift store plans and went to Great Falls instead because, hey, it was close, so why not. Truth in advertising: there were falls and they were pretty great. I wished I had my camera. I want to go back after summer is over (October sounds good) because the little walking involved about killed me with the heat and humidity.

With hunger encroaching, we retreated to the car, cranked the air conditioner, and returned to DC for lunch (we picked a Mediterranean place) and macarons.

My plans for the rest of the day involves AC and hydration. And a book.

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I love Antarctica. Sure, I’ve never been there (yet!), but nevertheless I am obsessed with the place. A new documentary is coming out, and it looks beautiful. They have a Kickstarter project set up to get money to put together the soundtrack. They’re basically doing DVD/Blu-ray pre-orders so they have the money now. They’re getting down to the wire and haven’t quite pushed over the top of the Kickstarter amount, so if you have a few dollars kicking around, please donate! Two trailers are available on the Kickstarter page, and they look promising.

And, hey! Penguins! Come on, you know you want to see penguins!

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A good use of taxes

Oh, DC government. Why are you so cruel to me?

On Saturday I got one of those cards that says the mail carrier tried to deliver a certified letter, but no one was there, and now I had to go to the post office to pick it up. Sigh. Who is so mean as to send me a certified letter? Oddly, the post office listed on the back was a different one than usual, but since I noticed that ahead of time, I don’t hold it against them. Also, it’s actually a more convenient post office – it’s slightly farther, but there’s parking. Yay parking!

I went yesterday after work. It wasn’t there yet, even though I was there well after the time the card listed. Apparently it got sent to a different post office before going there. No idea why (it wasn’t a glitch; it was normal procedure). Sigh. Went back again today. I just love leaving work early twice to make it to the post office before it closes. The letter was there and I signed for it and went on my way.

What was so important that it had to be sent by certified mail? Well, remember how CVS gave me the wrong medication? Again? I filed a complaint with the pharmacy board. This letter was merely a paragraph saying, “We acknowledge receipt. It will probably take us months to deal with it. Thanks.” This was so important it had to be sent by certified mail? Really?

Here’s the kicker, though. It is identical to a letter they sent by regular mail a week ago!

Oh, government. You are fools.

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