Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hot Bod 2012 Post 9

This past week, I managed to get two days of heavy lifting exercises, two days of yoga, and one day of the new sprinting routine. I have avoided the yogiliates DVD and don't know if that will change if I have to stay late at the paying job this upcoming week.

My lower back and hips still feel owie, and it just occurred to me that I may have been looking at the wrong part of anatomy for why it hurts. My abs are flabby and that is probably the reason why my back hurts. The yogilities DVD concentrates on abs, so I need to get my life in gear to use it.

My sprint session only lasted for 5 minutes, so I will need to build up to the fifteen minutes recommended. I have given up on the wall squat and moved onto the assisted squat, which I can actually do. I have hit the goals on the Elevated< Jack Knife press and the Hand/Knee Side Plank over three weeks, even with the week off, so I have moved onto the Jack Knife Press and Forearm/Knee Side Plank.

The pattern that has developed over the last six weeks over my weight loss numbers is that I hold for a week, then drop again. This is my hold week, so next week hopefully new numbers. *crossing fingers*

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm Not at the Paying Job!

Yes, I have successfully left the paying job and now am watching to commercials at the movie theater for the Dark Knight Rises. What happened in Aurora, Colorado this morning didn't change my plans, but I am watching the people entering the theater and really took notice of the exits. It's a different world again.

Next week, I'll probably be staying late again so I deserve this treat. And getting in for a 4:30 feature was the best plan; no fighting for a seat.

After the movie: Wow, just wow. Do not wait to see this movie! I don't see any way of continuing without spoilers, so SPOILERS!

My inner Cat/Bat shipper is purring like a kitten. Bruce does show his legendary trait of picking the wrong woman, but in his defense, I think he picked up on a resemblance between Bane and Ra's al Ghul. Tom Hardy in the mask looked like Liam Neason a few time for me. And let us rejoice that there is no Damian in the Nolan Bat-verse!

Sticking with Bruce for a bit, the whole hermit/recluse thing was the one wrong note in the whole shebang. Problem one, he gives up on life because Rachel is dead. Ugh, too much power to an OC. Problem two, didn't Bruce gain an appreciation for what Wayne Enterprises meant at the end of Batman Begins? That's what I took away from him retaking control of the company.

The fanon explanation I'm building in my head: Batman vanished 8 years ago, taking the blame for Two-Face's murders. Bruce channeled money and energy into building the fusion power McGuffin, and then up pops the scientific paper that turns it into a nuclear warhead. Damnit, Gotham doesn't need Batman with the Dent Act and all he managed to do was build another weapon instead of anything useful like his father had done (the elevated train system), and that is what triggers the full recluse state a few years after Batman retires.

Anne Hathaway was brilliant as Selina Kyle! ChrisDee's Cat Tales are my favorite portrayals of Selina Kyle, but Anne was a better blend of the Frank Miller goggle-whore with the classy feline grace fans prefer than we could have gotten. Her character arc growing from a taker from the Have-Too-Much to a hero who rescues her man is pitch-perfect. THIS is the Catwoman that travesty of a Halle Berry film didn't even try to be.

Detective work unfortunately took a back seat and then was dropped by the wayside as the plot built up from the first two movies with graceful shout-outs to Knightfall and No Man's Land. But it did manage to lurk in the backstory, namely John Blake figures Batman's secret out. Then he figures out a lot more but not in time to do anything about it.

Now to talk about John Blake, the character the Internet couldn't figure out (maybe someone did guess successfully, I was avoiding spoilers). Kudos to the writers and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for pulling off a combination of traits from all the Robins: Dick Grayson's work as a cop, moral compass, and wise-ass nature; Jason Todd's anger at his orphan state, and the detective skills from Tim Drake. This is a great example of an OC done right, sorry poor dead Rachel. What I kept waiting for them to do was to tie Blake back to the kid Batman and Rachel saved in the Narrows, but they didn't.

Fanon exercise: If the timeline supports that kid being Blake, he is Blake. After all, Gordon went from having an infant in Batman Begins to two kids 10 or slightly under by the Dark Knight. If the timeline doesn't, that kid is going to become Nightwing's Robin.

Alfred, oh my god, Alfred. If you don't get teary eyes and sniffles when he breaks down at Thomas and Matha's graves saying how he failed them, you have no heart.

Which leads me to what I overheard in the theater during the credits. A couple down the row from me brought up the possibility that the last scene was a fantasy constructed by Alfred. While eating supper after the movie, I came up with an outline of why I thought it was real. Then when I got home and poked around the movie's IMDB page, I found out that Nolan constructed the ending so that both meanings could be read into it. And that was okay, because my outline of support became the basis for a fanfic expanding on what we didn't see.

Have a taste of what I came up with for the opening:

The bastard. Selina's fingers manipulated the lock picks automatically and left her mind free to run on the same track it had been running on for the past few days. The man she had mocked as a parasite, the man who gave Gotham everything he had, the man she had betrayed, the man who forgave her and trusted her to follow his path, the man she saved, the man who got past her claws and walls, the man she kissed without any ulterior motive, the man who died so a city might live.

Calling him the bastard was the trick to keeping her tears at bay.

Trust me, I have a lot more than that already. Which relieves me terribly, for it proves that all this overtime hasn't killed off all creativity.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Question to Never Ask a BookWorm

Candi by Starline Hodges Read Free!
The BookWorm

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tales From the DOI

All in all, this week hasn't turned out as bad as I feared. Monday was the worst. In second place, Wednesday with the totally unnecessary and also not-admitted-by-the-culprit dash out to the parking lot because the smoke detectors went off. I'm guessing that Thursday is coming in at third worse since I'm still here at work trying to make paperwork get off my desk. So Tuesday was the best day and then I had to admit to the CCFairy that I had fallen off the finance wagon a bit.

Let's go in chrono order. Monday was buckets of mail. I was checking assessments and grouping them and didn't stop until 1pm, when I left for a post office run, lunch, and massage appointment. Post Office had line from hell, lunch was quick, and the massage was just what I needed. I hit the post office again after and managed to mail off my package. So feeling guilty natch, I called in. No one had done any batching on the assessments since I left. I processed 112 checks from 3:40 to 8.

Tuesday was catch up on what was left from Monday and I had no guilt about going home after my meeting.

Wednesday will not be forgotten because at 1:30pm the fire alarm goes off. Grab everything important and go down the stairs. When you hit the second floor landing, the smell of burnt popcorn hit you across your nose for daring to breath. There has already been a false alarm caused by someone burning up their popcorn once before, so to have to trudge across the hot parking lot to the safe zone for another episode of the same really ticked us off.

Turns out it wasn't popcorn, but rather someone's lunch that was left in the microwave until it caught on fire. That someone has also not come forward and admitted to walking away from the microwave, which pisses the rest of us off some more. Just apologize for your goof up so we can watch you like a hawk so the microwaves don't get taken away from the rest of us who brown bag. What's so hard about that?

Today, I'm staying late because tomorrow I will leave here on time and go straight to a movie theater and demand a ticket for The Dark Knight Rises. I'm hoping by getting a 4 or 5pm feature there will be seats available. But that also means getting the stupid paperwork done now. I'm actually on the stuff I batched today, WOOT! Maybe I'll get to sort out my inbox basket tomorrow.

Not letting the stress crack open can after can of diet soda caffeinated goodness has done the trick on returning my sleeping back to normal, even with the not leaving the DOI until 8pm. Time for me to finish things up so i can go bright and early tomorrow.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hot Bod 2012 Post 8

Despite the week of hell and not getting proper sleep or exercise, my weight dropped to 185.5 lbs. Right now, I'm attempting to soak up some sun to keep me in a good mood for the upcoming week. Some changes I need to make the next time I attempt this: 1) buy a lawn chair (all the ants in the grass are visiting my yoga mat and towel), and 2) set up in one of the side yards because the oak tree keeps the front yard super shady until about 1pm.

Yesterday was the worse case of exhaustion I have had in years. I nearly slept for twelve hours and only got dressed to go grocery shopping. Then I had to fight with the Inner Workaholic who kept pushing that I wasn't getting website work done, I wasn't getting stories written, I wasn't washing dishes. I should have made yesterday the lay out in the sunshine day, but I was too tired to rub on the oil.

Today is better. Not only am I taking enforced outside time and plan on putting myself to bed at 7pm--with a blindfold because of Daylight Savings Time--I feel awake enough to deal with creative tasks, find the kitchen again, and cook meals for next week.

Next week: I have to have three meals for five days prepped to brown bag. Monday I have a massage session scheduled and will probably be the only day I get home at a decent hour. I already pack breakfast and lunch, but bringing supper will keep my eating normal. I tweaked my schedule to keep exercising. And I need to strictly limit the caffeine and see if that helps.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Friday Already?

Fifteen minutes late on a Friday, not that it ultimately mattered. After the insanity all week, Friday is my breakdown day. I was hoping it would wait until Saturday.

Paying bills is actually what made me late along with not getting up on time. Notice I'm not in bed yet, the posting time is actually accurate. Back on the bills: everything I thought I was doing to save money--like changing my phone plan--won't take effect until next month. I had to drop off this month's payment on a loan and misjudged the time. Then one of my coworkers called in with a car breakdown; we never saw her for the rest of the day.

After the deposit was delivered, I found a Fraud Assessment payment on my desk that I had missed yesterday. The scanner didn't work. Nobody's scanner worked because something was wrong on the other end. That was 9am. We opened mail, I put my returning check letters together, and the scanners finally came back on at 12:30pm. That set our scanning today's work back by hours.

More mail came in at 3pm, at least four full batches. Another coworker couldn't arrange a later ride home, so she left at 4pm. Since I wasn't going home until I had finished batching and had matched all the assessment payments with their copies. Yes, before we mail out the invoices, we have to make a copy for our files. This year we had to make copies of the amended invoices and keep the wrong invoices. Then we have to match the coupon the companies send back with their payments to the copies. I had two days worth of batching that I needed to match up and then separate what we are going to have to refund.

I left the building at 8pm. 7:15pm made twelve hours at the paying job.

I'm still waiting for the caffeine to wear off so I can go to bed. I'm getting there, finally. Plans for tomorrow: grocery shopping and then avoiding the public for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully, my brain will turn on so I can do something creative with it.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Time Scheduled For Me

I mostly got out of the paying job on time, leaving a new problem to deal with in the morning. Good news: I believe it is just a problem for one company (Thursday morning: found a second company with the same issue, damn.) and isn't indicative of another system wide issue (Thursday: it doesn't affect every company but it may necessitate the IT contractors tweaking the program again). But I'm not putting any money on that either. (Thursday: smart, I still had functioning brain power when I composed this last night).

My chiropractor realigned my back and I scheduled an hour-long massage on next Monday, which means I'll have to take off early. Oh darn, I'm so broken up and guilty about that. Especially since I spent today in so much pain and took Aleve just after lunch to make it through the afternoon. I haven't been able to write, edit, or tweak websites in three days and that is so not helping my mental state. Exercising has been hit just as hard.

So the massage, early bedtimes for the rest of the week (hasn't happened yet damn Daylight Savings Time), and squeezing in some creative writing are on my agenda to pamper myself. The weekend day of rest will probably end up being two. I'd love to slather on some suntan oil and lay out on the lawn and bake a while, but I'm keeping my options open.

In other news, I'm wading out into active website administrating after having dropped it for years. I made a stab at it before and it didn't stick. This time I decided to put 15 minutes six days a week and an hour on Saturdays to what needs doing. Procrastination has a harder time building up if I stick with that schedule.

The test sites are still the bane of my existence on the web. I created a local server on my old computer and the motherboard fried. I created one on my current computer and found I couldn't import the databases because they were too big.

So my latest bright idea: set up the development sites as subdomains with a copy of the database. And all I can get are 500 Internal error pages. My hour ran out before I could figure out what I did wrong. What I have discovered: "copy database to" works to create a new database with the same information. You can't make the database and chose it to write over it, even if you left it blank to do that. I don't know if the old database tables are what is frakking with the sandbox sites, but I haven't crashed the live sites while I'm getting this straight. When it gets too hot or rainy to sunbath Saturday, I'll be working on them again.

I'm relieved I've left the Library as static pages. Currently, my fifteen minute days are spent on it. The project list has developed into a lengthy one while I was ignoring the sites.

That wraps up everything I had wrote at supper Wednesday night. Thursday, my supervisor returned from her trip and proceeded to go handle supervisory things with the Assessment snafu (like yell at other department heads why in the new system we can't amend our assessments when the company sends us the paperwork we have always asked for). The decision was made to accept the overpayments and use the new refund system that nobody told us was going live. I warned my contact in the Fiscal division; the rest of them are on their own. Tomorrow I should be able to actually mail back payments for the companies who owe us zero second thing in the morning that I never got a chance to do today. I'm also hoping beyond hope to get a chance to write something fictional. Don't hold your breaths on that one.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twelve-Hour Work Day

Started on July 9, 2012: It doesn't happen often, but when it happens it is killer. I'm typically the first one in at the paying job around 6:30am. My shift runs from 7am to 3:30pm with an hour-long lunch break. Today I didn't get to leave until nearly 6:30pm and I didn't get the full lunch break.

July 1st is the beginning of our assessment season. We mail the insurance companies invoices June 30th (or as near as the calendar allows, we fix the snafus as they appear, the payments trickle then gush in, and the Department gets its operating budget for the next fiscal year. But every year there is a snafu.

Last year was the Great Address Disaster, when we lost count of how many invoices the Post Office returned to us because another division decided keeping the addresses updated was too much work. This year is so much more worse. I didn't even want to blog about it over the weekend (Author's note: and I've been too busy to type this up for two days now).

All the assessments are based on a percentage of the written premiums minus some lines that are exempted by law. Life premiums aren't assessed but half of Health and Accident premiums count. Since we have moved to sending out invoices, we've never had to mistrust our totals. When I first started this job, we let the companies do their own math and then had to double check it. The companies never got the math right.

This year the IT contractors unveiled the new tax program they built, which included our assessments. We had trouble getting our invoices printed but we mailed them out right on time. Then we came back to work after Happy United States Day to find out that over half of the invoices totals were wrong. The computer program included Life premiums, and all the excluded lines from Property and Casualty, printed out invoices that we mailed for companies that are exempted and have never had to pay.

Monday, we finally had amended invoices to mail to the companies (Yes, it took the contractors two days to fix the program to calculate the totals right.), which we got out on time at the expense of not batching the incoming mail. So we stayed late to get that done. I also have the joy of answering the emails of the companies who noticed something was wrong and contacted us, but another coworker took the phone calls so I ain't complaining about that. Then we had to separate the payments that had already started coming in: the ones that are the correct amount and the ones that aren't. We don't want to cash any checks when the company doesn't owe us a payment (those are getting sent back with an apology letter). The payments in which they overpaid we still haven't figured out the best way to deal with them.

Tuesday, more of the same but without a mail-out I got to leave at 3:30pm. But it's always something new to make the IT contractors fix. We found a company that was missed completely. 83 Risk Retention companies (which are exempted) were still listed as owing the Department assessments until I got those taken out.

Wednesday, I hurt from the base of my skull to my tailbone because my back ties itself into a pretzel when I'm stressed. New things that IT contractors have to fix: just found a company who we changed contact information last year was mailed to the same wrong address this year, which we were promised wouldn't happen when we took over updating the addresses. Wrong payments outnumbered the right payments that have arrived so far. Hopefully by the end of the week, the mail-out will reach the companies and the wrong payments will stop. We still need to contact the companies who owe us less than what they sent, because we really don't want to refund over 700 companies if we don't have to and we're pretty sure they don't want to wait for their refund checks.

Lunch is over and the companies are emailing.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hot Bod 2012 Post 7

Another week of lingering at the previous week's progress. I didn't work out as much as I should have. Today I woke up too late to do any sprinting before the heat climbed up, and I've been avoiding the yogilities DVD. Do better next week.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

Monday, July 02, 2012

Hot Bod 2012 Post 6

Lesson #1: Do not try to implement changes to exercise program during that special week of the month. You'll be lucky if you can maintain what you've already started.

Lesson #2: The exercise routine travels well (except for the Yogilites DVD). But if you don't DO them, it doesn't count.

Lesson #3: 80/20 rule of moderation is most definitely in effect for travel weekends. However, if I'm going to be going every other week to participate in the RPG, I will need to shop/cook stuff I can have.

Despite the setbacks, my weight dropped to 188 lbs!

Given that I ate more fried chicken than I probably should (limited options and all that), I was expecting another week at 191. So this was a great surprise to start the week.

My goals for this week: add in the more exercises I wanted to last week and keep an eye on my back. Some muscles are triggered that I didn't even know were and I can't tell this morning if it's getting better or worse.

Read Free!
The BookWorm