choco_frosh: (Default)

So there's this dichotomy:
μέν: This morning I processed a couple of letters* addressed to "Herrn X,** Department of Y, Z University". And something inside me wondered, Why don't I get letters to Herrn Schreiber anymore? Why don't I have a REAL job, doing something prestigious, corresponding internationally? Why, basically, am I eating these husks?

δε: On Friday, as some of you know, I left my credit card at a Friendly's. Sunday night, I was attempting to remove the air conditioner that my roommate had lent me from my window...
You know those scenes - in movies, in dreams - where something drops into the bottomless pit, while the protagonist scrambles frantically to hold onto it? Well, I recreated that with the AC.

Fortunately, there wasn't anything underneath it other than my landlady's lawn, so only the AC got totaled.
But now, thanks to my klutzhood, I am temporarily without a credit card, and out the cost of a replacement air conditioner, and it's times like these - note I say LIKE these - that I wonder why I'm even allowed to go on existing at all.

I want to be able to forgive myself, so that I can enjoy this week*** ...but that's going to be hard. And unfortunately, I could call up my parents, but ... ...actually, let's not get into that.

σύνθεσις: 1. Either way, thinking about these things makes me feel terrible.
2. On a partly unrelated note, Maybe I should go back on antidepressants. I stopped because μέν they weren't making me happy per se, δε so I possibly needed some other combination of drugs, but for THAT I really want an actual qualified psychiatrist prescribing 'em, and I don't really have the time to do all those appointments, δε I could manage without the drugs, wasn't suffering from anhedonia or anything. But I'm having trouble...humaning, as I think of the verb.
More about this later, maybe.
3. ...I should finish this up, and try to get my smart phone activated before my lunch break is up.

* among 2000+.

** For non-linguists: Herrn is the accusative form of the German Herr: letters in the German-speaking world are usually addressed "Herrn [or Frau] X".
μέν and δε are Greek particles: both have multiple meanings, but the important thing is that they are used to set up sentences in the form of "On the one hand...but on the other hand..." My Greek textbook REALLY liked this construction, so it got used a LOT, and consequently it's one of the things I actually remember.

*** The non-work parts are going to be pretty awesome! Work, not so much, but...
choco_frosh: (Default)
Silly's is a Portland institution. Founded in the eighties, it is implicitly a hippy joint. Perhaps "restaurant for hippies and their families" would be more precise: it's smoke free and aggressively kid-friendly. But it's also open super late, serves enormous portions, has vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options on everything, will put anything you request in a milkshake (or, probably, a burrito wrap), and thus seems designed by nature for catering to the late-night munchies. So while the atmosphere is not actually filled with wreaths of marijauna smoke, that seems like a simple oversight.
[Also, a very dangerous place if you live within six blocks--as my brother did after graduation, or as I do now--and are trying to keep either your waistline or budget under control. Otherwise, you could easily wind up there for fried pickles and mead milkshakes every other night.]

Story #1: Capture the Flag. Somebody has apparently just formed a capture-the-flag Meetup group, so my own Geek Club decided to take them on at their first meetup this past Sunday. Which would have been a great idea, had we actually had their contact info.
As it was, we failed to find them. And apparently wound up playing SEPARATE games of CtF, at opposite ends of the park, each group thinking the other was a bunch of losers. (Oh well, we had fun, even with lightning three-on-three games. Even with several of us complaingin of strained hamstrings when we next saw each other.)
Among our number was an 18-yo n00b, both to Portland and to meetup schtuff, so after all this strenuous exercise we felt it incumbant upon us to introduce him to Silly's. But having hiked over there, we found out that it was, in fact, closed for ten days. To say we were bummed was an understatement. Ah well, there will be other opportunities.

Story #2: Involving Peter. In my case, opportunity called yesterday, since I was picking up Peter for the weekend and didn't feel like cooking. First, though, I had to survive so long.
See, I'd been out late the previous night...and the night before...and whether or not this was related, I was nodding off at the wheel as I approached the New Hampshire border. Actually drifted off for a second on the far side of Kezar Falls, to discover I was skidding off the road. By the grace of GOD I managed not to go into a ditch or cause a multi-car pileup, but somewhere in the course of that dreadful minute I seem to have done something to the car--whether the relevant wheel, the clutch, the brakes or all three I know not; all I know is that it started to make a horrible grinding noise--which Peter likened to a train starting up--at low speeds. So while Khusrau is still running fine, and I was able to get Peter, my bike and a trunkful of boxes back to Portland without incident, I have been trying like hell to avoid driving since, and we'll be paying another visit to my mechanic on Monday.
We'd probably have walked to Silly's anyway. It's not very far.
It was only as we were preparing to head out the door that it occured to me that I didn't know whether they'd reopened yet. I was intensely relieved to see the Open sign when I got there; but it was clear that most of the rest of Portland had been jonesin' in the interim as well.
"Cut them some slack," I advised an irate fellow-customer whose ticket had been mislaid, as the waitstaff got in traffic jams around the newly redesigned kitchen. "They only reopened yesterday."
"Actually we only reopened two hours ago," interjected a haggard-looking waitress. She had reason to be haggard: on a Friday night, after a ten-day hiatus, and what with the vastly expanded space next door and out back, I think I overheard that they'd fed six hundred people in those two hours.
Under these circumstances, I started to wonder whether we would get served before midnight: other people in the same circumstances were splitting, and the management was (very politely and diplomatically) pleased to see them go, even with the risk of losing a customer and the certainty of already half-prepared meals that would be neither eaten nor paid-for. Again thank God: a quick inquiry determined that my Diesel wrap would be ready in less than ten minutes, and that in fact Peter's chicken and fries was ready now: would we like it? An almightily Silly question: but I love them too much to fault them for it.
(Other people I can't fault? Peter, for coping with delayed dinner with [reasonable] patience; the waitress who found him "a few" crayons [read: a couple of dozen. See above under aggressively kid-friendly.])

Uh. There's more I should post about: medications, who I may be quitting the cathedral, and my apartment and neighborhood. ANd there's probably something productive I should be doing re: classes next week, or even for looking for other work/money stuff. But I'm braindead and Peter is probably going to demand to get up at dawn again, so I think I'm going to cut my losses and head for bed...
choco_frosh: (Default)
Why does the hardware on my laptops keep breaking?
Read more... )
choco_frosh: (Default)
...So the night before last we were attempting to watch Russian Ark (A rather bizarre film--it´s a tour of the Hermitage Palace in St. Petersburg´s history and art collections, all in one shot). I say attempting, because a) the various video programs on our computers have issues, and b) on Grace´s computer, it kept stalling at chapter 12. Hence, I tried it out on MY computer. And, after some trial and error, manage to get it to actually work. So I invited Grace over to our makeshift couch/daybed, and plugged it in.
A word about plugs. My computer has the standard power converter etc., but German plugs have a different shape than US ones; so while the computer is perfectly happy to run on European current, it needs a plug adaptor. For this purpose, I use an old thing that I think was actually designed for electric rasers.
So you can probably imagine what happened when I tried plugging this arrangement into the (rather old) multiple-plug extension cord under the day bed.
Yep. The lights went out. We managed to remain calm. Grace discovered that the lights over the kitchen sink and in the bathroom still worked; I went out into the front hall and located the fuse box for the building. Unfortunately, it WAS a fuse box...and I have never been initiated into the anceient art of Fuse Replacement. Nor were there any spare fuses, either there or (after some hurried searching) in the apartment.
I called the Hausverwaltung. No response. I looked up the word for "blew a fuse" (man sagt tatsächlich, "Die Sicherung ist durchgebrannt"), and called our landlord´s secretary.
"Herr Burson! How nice to hear from you! It´s been a long time! How are you?"
"Im moment nicht so gut...Die Sicherung ist durchgebrannt..."
We discussed this for a few minutes, discovering in the process that NEITHER of us actually knew the word for fuse. She said she would call her husband, who hopefully would.
Half an hour and a phone call to my landlord later, she was there, with husband, who examined the fuse box and revealed that there were in fact no fuses in the plugs for our apartment. We knocked on the door of our neighbor (whom we'd never met), in the hope of advice and/or spare fuses.
"Do you think it's too late?" flustered Frau Rabe. "I can hear him watching television..." I replied. He proved to be a somewhat irascible old man, but he gave us the vital information that HIS electricity was controlled by a separate panel. Armed with this information, we opened the closet by the front door, and discovered a row of Stromunterbrecher (Argh, what's that in English again?) Mission accomplished.
But I still don't know how to change a fuse.

Meantime, it's Saint Patrick's day. I feel like I ought to be out at an Irish pub drinking green beer, but I'm really not in the mood. Top o' the evening to ye, though!
choco_frosh: (Default)
Yes indeed: yesterday there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to admit a large electrician in coveralls, here to have a look at the Waschmaschine situation. I took him down to the basement, and showed him the washing mashine, the taped together plumbing and the non-functioning pump. Then had to do this a couple more times as we were joined by
Another guy in coveralls (Installateur, which more or less=plumber), who opened up the pump (strong smell of sulpher) and the piping (further gush of water and smell of something growing...). In THEORY he´ll be back tomorrow to fix the pump.
Landlord´s wonderful scretary
Representative of the building management, who informed us that they now want to have the possibility of MULTIPLE washing mashines in this part of the basement, with SEPARATE plugs.
By this point, with five people all examining the situation, it really was starting to resemble the New Cooker Sketch...


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