Tag Archives: blatant self-promotion

Banana. Hammer.


(From this NPR story about things people are doing in the cold.)

For the record: What I am doing in the cold is wearing my Lightning toque at work.

...and looking kind of angry. Need more coffee.

…and looking kind of angry. Need more coffee.


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How I Make the Team Win

When people ask me if I’m superstitious, I answer assuredly, “Nope!”

I played NCAA Division I soccer, and a lot of competitive soccer to get there. (And no, I’m not going to get tired of bringing that up.) Throughout my career, if I didn’t have the right shirt, the right bra, stepped on the sideline or not, whatever, I was ok; I never thought about what order I put my gear on, which shoes I tied first.

And yet, as a fan? I get so idiotic following my temporary, impulsive, newly imagined superstitions. They’re not even legit, consistent game-to-game superstitions; they’re just what occurs to me during the course of a single game. I compulsively follow whatever idea suddenly pops into my had as good luck—and those impulses must be having an effect, otherwise I would’ve learned from logic and stopped trying right?

I think I’m going to call it Helpless Fan Syndrome: You can’t be on the field, so you invent ways to be proactive.

Is anyone else so…Mormon with their superstitions? Just top-of-the-head, “It came to mind, therefore it must be God’s law”? I make fun of it, and then my brain goes all, “For the Bolts to win, you have to wear the same underwear that you wore while eating that really great sandwich you had last Wednesday, and take out your left earring, ’cause it’s an away game,” and I’m like, “OH, SHIT, DUH.” […* dutifully changes underwear, removes earring.]

While it’s obvious that my techniques are still being developed (as of the Bolts/Rays results in the last 24 hours, and the Bucs…well, pretty much all the time), here are some things I did right to cause the Rays to win Wednesday: (And it’s not at all a coincidence, then, that I did none of these things today–hence the blowout.)

  1. Drank out of the same glass I used during Monday’s win. (Unwashed. Duh.)
  2. Refused to let that glass go empty.
  3. Did not wear any of my Rays gear. (One of my longer-standing superstitions deems that wearing team gear—or even using team-branded items like cozies and whatnot—is bad luck.)
  4. Nor did I wear anything blue or yellow or green.
  5. Answered only “yes yes” and “woo” to any IMs I got in support of the Rays during the final two innings.
  6. Kept my phone plugged in throughout the ninth inning, even though it was fully charged midway through.
  7. Knocked twice on my head, wooden TV tray and wooden coffee table (in a random order) with my right hand, then on my head and coffee table (random order) with my left hand every time an announcer said something jinxy.
  8. Made this list eight items long, ‘cause eight is a good number.

When in doubt and your team is down, you can always go to the time-tested and proven “rally shot.” In the best circumstances, this involves the cheapest tequila available at the bar (see: El Toro, Pepe Lopez)*. Among many success stories, this shot’s greatest achievement? The USWNT comeback win over Brazil, during which CCB, the Deelios and I, in an unparalleled moment of patriotism, took one (apiece) for the team. And then this happened:



In a pinch, you can use whatever somehow detestable shot you have on-hand that you can suffer through without ruining your experience for the rest of the game.

But lastly, a few words of warning for wielding the power of the rally shot:

  1. Never take a rally shot when your team is up or tied. (That means it’s rallying for the other team.)
  2. Be very, very careful taking a second rally shot—you never know if the first one is still working, and you may counteract it and/or die.
  3. And speaking of: Never take a rally shot after midnight. I dunno if it’s bad luck, but I’m pretty sure it’s just straight-up a bad idea.


*Holy god with those websites. Now I see where they get their power…

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How To Convince Yourself to Work

Busy week this week. Managed to be decently productive this morning, which was impressive and also a great indicator of just how busy I expect this week to be—I was in panic-production mode from the get-go. (‘Course then I got something done, and had another thing canceled, so the productivity didn’t go too far.)

It’s a full week of writing, too, which is neat—better than a week of meetings and interviews—but also intimidating. Creativity-on-deadline is a stressful thing, even if it usually winds up ok when I just keep putting one word in front of the other. The first sentence is the hardest.

So I’ve got a big feature due (I’m done with the research, which is always a relief but means I need to, say, create a document for the writing, at the very least—considering they do want it this week, and I assured them that that was possible) and another smaller section of a feature (most of which I finished this morning, yay me). Column was canceled due to space restrictions—which is fine by me—and I’m getting frighteningly un-stressed about slacking on my work blog.

Tomorrow is our weekly Tuesday afternoon meeting, but then at 3:30 I’ve got a ticket to a film festival flick about hockey. This is a good thing, but I know missing official working hours panics my bosses about getting my writing done—and when my bosses are panicked, I am more so.

Wednesday I’ll stay home to write. This is a luxurious option for a full-time job, but like I said: Productivity is expected. Come into the office, and I could have decent excuses for not getting stuff done. Stay home to write, and I’m expected to…write.

Thursday I’ve got another film festival flick in the evening, and another film festival thing Friday night. These shouldn’t necessarily interfere with my writing, but they are other things to think about.

This is what my Wednesday will look like, except hopefully with more words on the screen.

This is what my Wednesday will look like, except hopefully with more words on the screen.


Saturday looms large with such vast openness and…stuff…that it’s hard to ponder, knowing there are still 1,800 unwritten words between now and then.

It’s just, I have to do tricky things with my brain to get my writing done. And yes, I’ve got a decent amount of experience with this, but it’s still a weird little mental dance. Stress too much, and I’m paralyzed; don’t stress enough, and I won’t bother with it at all. Gotta keep slipping away from the stress while still focusing enough on it to get the document in front of my eyes and my fingers on the keyboard. It’s like a magic-eye picture: Look right at it, but…don’t look at it. Right?

I dunno; I always sucked at those things. I’m better at trying straight-up try-hard than that subversive look-like-you’re-not-trying bullshit. And I’m pretty lazy for straight-up try-hard, too.

In the end, I’ll get it done. What I don’t know is how much sobbing and rending of garments will be involved.

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The Christmas Temp-Job Poem

Looking back, this 10-year-old poem takes a rather harsh look at a post-college temp gig (mostly I don’t hold nearly so much disdain for my coworkers as I apparently did then). But the fact that I wrote this on the job, in my cubicle, is still a work-slacking triumph that stirs pride for my snotty 22-year-old self.

T’was the month before Christmas and I sold my soul
To [redacted]’s data-entry and filing patrol.
The folders were nestled all snug in their drawers
While I entered numbers for all 90 stores.

Stars of David were hung in the kitchen with care,
In rebellion against all the Christmas crap there.
And no one quite knew just who’d had the balls
To write things in Hebrew when decking the halls.

In my cubicle, nestled amongst all the crap,
I’d just settled in for my mid-morning nap,
And lulled by the sounds of those suckers still typing,
I dreamed better jobs in the sleep I was swiping.

And so in the pose of ideal corporate tool,
I awoke in my gathering puddle of drool
When what by my nearsighted eyes should be seen
But errors galore on my IBM screen?

Then up from saliva I sprang with a splash
And heaving computer parts into the trash,
I hopped o’er the cubicle and gave out a yell,
“I’m through with this temp-working boring-ass hell!

“I’ve had it with all of your corporate crap,
Your forms and your filing, your Christmassy pap,
Illiterate workers and mind-numbing work.
It’s time to ask Santa to bring you a clerk

“Who’ll make all the copies and beg you for more,
Who won’t Judaize your Christmas décor.
Call me lazy or stupid or mean or a snob,
But I’m jingle fed up with this holiday job!”

Then floating about me, invoices in shreds
Came snowflaking down upon all of their heads;
In the wake of my tirade a calm so serene
O’er my redneck-filled Chanukah Wonderland scene.

Then I fled from the building in holiday cheer
For I knew the true meaning of Christmas that year.
So now, with my heart set in festive enjoyment,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all unemployment!

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10 Birthday Week Facts

1. I turn 33 on Wednesday. Other notable 33-year-olds include NFL quarterback Drew Brees and “¡Ask a Mexican!” columnist Gustavo Arellano.

2. I was born at 5:30 in the morning, Aug. 8, 1979. Exactly 33 years later, I will be asleep.

3. My father’s birthday is also on Wednesday. So considering us two and the twins, Ma is the only one in the family with her own birthday. I think she did that on purpose.

4. After Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Ma’s birthday, Thing 1’s anniversary, Independence Day, May Day, Labor Day and World Hepatitis Day, my birthday is the ninth most important holiday in the Wallace Family Summer Calendar.

5. Wednesday is also the big-time final proof day for the September issue, for which I supplied approximately 75 percent of the edit (although only four pages of that are actually, like, readable). So I will be celebrating my 33rd birthday by sitting in the kitchen and reading 40 pages worth of really riveting nonprofit listings.

6. The average temperature here during my birthday week will be 33 degrees Celsius. Well, maybe.

7. 33 is a palindrome. And so am I.

8. My 33rd birthday occurs during the 32nd week of the year. Actually, I kind of wish I knew that last year, dammit.

9. On my 33rd birthday, I will weigh exactly 33 times what I weighed when I was born. If I weighed five pounds when I was born. Which I probably didn’t.

10. Since I’m taking Friday off, I’m only working four days this week. And since I’m writing this blog at my desk right now, I’m really not even working that much.


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Doing Work

They say the key to being a writer is to write consistently, every day. Not that I’m one for following rules like that. (I say the key to being a writer is to have someone pay you for the things that you write, heh.) But I do think writing in volume is important to learning how to listen to yourself.

I wrote the previous paragraph on Monday, in my PJs, working from home to finish a feature that I had, as usual, over-researched and under-…started. Volume aside, probably for the best that I concentrated on the feature rather than finishing a blog post that obviously had nowhere to go but tedious.

So Tuesday morning was exhaustion–and trying to write when you’re written out is hard, but fortunately I got tons of practice in college. Like a marathoner. (I mean, I’m guessing.) Push through the pain, there’s a little euphoria in every step, every noun-verb agreement and decisive period. And when you finally get to the end, it feels so good.

That? Is where I’m at now: Today I sent that 2,000-word story to art–a mercifully short turnaround after turning it in yesterday afternoon–plus an 18,000-word database to art. And just for funsies, polished off a 300-word intro and a 250-word department. Write that volume, bitches.

Rushed home in time to make the 6 o’clock workout:

Finished in 43:20.

It’s not boasting, exactly; I’m just psyched. Writer’s high. Wednesday was good to me. I’m-a try to keep it going.

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My Spreading A-Peel

(Courtesy of a former colleague vacationing on Panama City Beach.)

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