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Monday, November 1, 2010

City of Wonder.

Hi, my name is Rebecca.  And I am addicted to the Facebook game City of Wonder.

Having once been obsessed with the games Mobsters and Mafia Wars (I have found that obsessions are easy to come by when one is bored at work), I am aware of just how easily (and quickly) I fall under the spell of things that for all intents and purposes appear to be competitive.

By golly, I want to win the competition.  No matter what it is.

It starts out so innocently.  You begin to build your civilization.  Grow your population.  Add allies (that is if you are able to convince any of your Facebook friends that it is absolutely necessary to life that they start playing the game).  Then, all of a sudden, your slow and steady progress isn't good enough.  You want more.

The creators add items that you can "purchase" for your land only through parting with exorbitant amounts of gold.  The only problem is, you earn one bar of gold every time you reach a new level.  That insane asylum you want (a special just for Halloween - and something you may very well end up needing in real life) costs 35.

But wait - I can take surveys to earn more gold!  Except that 7 times out of 10 you don't qualify for the survey - and you can only attempt to gain gold this way once per day.  So, countless time is spent attempting to qualify for and take mind numbing surveys, all for a measly four to ten gold each.

Then you start dabbling in other ways to earn gold.  Buy a subscription to Shape magazine for 28 gold!  Sign up for Netflix for 60 gold!  Join Columbia House for 80 gold!  When you find yourself starting to consider parting with your hard earned money to straight out purchase gold, you have to ask yourself, "Do I have a problem?"

The answer is most likely yes, you do.

Funny how a click of the mouse can become so addicting, isn't it?

Looks like I might have to quit this one cold turkey.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The dark side of getting older.

Dear Metabolism,

I suffered deep and utter embarrassment today when at the university health benefits fair I had to divulge my weight to a petite (and very much skinny) younger woman.

(Yes, I am at the age now when suddenly because I work on a college campus most everyone must be younger than I am.)

(Except for tenured faculty, of course.)

(And perhaps the secretaries of the various departments on campus.)

I "volunteered" to tell this woman my weight so that she could tell me:
  • (a) that I am obese according to my body mass index (of which, by the way, the Wii Fit had already informed me months ago thankyouverymuch) and
  • (b) that my body fat percentage also lies outside of the healthy range (what a shocker there).
So, my older and increasingly loathed (not to mention much slower) metabolism, would it really be so hard to function at the capacity of my late teens/early twenties?

It sure would make things a whole lot easier on me.

(And by that I mean I could continue to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.)

(After all, the unhealthy choices just taste so much better.)

Begrudgingly yours,
One Not So Mindful Eater

Friday, May 7, 2010

World's Dumbest Employees.

You've heard of the television show World's Dumbest Criminals, right? Well, yesterday I could have been on the show World's Dumbest Employees.

It all started with a rocky Monday, followed by an email received Tuesday morning that sent me over the edge in terms of anger towards and complete dislike of my job (not the job itself, but rather certain individuals who have the innate ability to suck any and all joy out of the work environment).  Having contemplated looking for alternate employment for quite some time, I finally decided to take the plunge.  In addition to searching for open positions at several universities out of state, I applied to four positions posted on the human resources website for the university at which I currently work.

My intentions were never to keep my job search a complete secret from my boss, but rather to wait and see if I landed any job interviews before discussing the matter with him.  I saw no need to rock the boat and jeopardize what little comfort I have by prematurely announcing my hopefully impending resignation.  As fate would have it, however, the public announcement of my job search would not occur at my own discretion. 

(Can you see where this is heading?)

Thursday afternoon, a graduate student from another laboratory randomly said to me, "Oh yeah, you applied to a position that was posted by [your boss]."  I can just imagine what the look on my face must have been.  Color drained, an expression of utter disbelief followed by an unspoken plea for mercy.  Least to say, the next time I crossed paths with my boss, he told me to stop by his office before I left for the day.  Talk about AWKWARD.

Lesson learned?  When searching for a new job, only apply to listings that are clearly in no way even remotely related to my current position.  In other words, don't be such a dumbass.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cruel to be kind?

A week ago today, I made a decision that I will be questioning for quite some time.

Late Saturday evening, January 23rd, I was startled when I caught a glimpse of something outside on my patio as my two cats, Gabriel an
d Juliesan, frantically walked back and forth through the blinds. At first I thought the two were chasing an insect that had found it's way inside my apartment, but upon closer inspection I realized the cause of all the commotion was a stray cat sitting directly outside the sliding glass door.

It was cold and rainy that evening, so against my better ju
dgment I slid open the door to let the stray cat inside. Not wanting to chance any aggressive behavior between the stray and my two cats, I coaxed the stray to the second bedroom, which is solely the "cat room." Aside from a couple of instances of hissing, the stray followed me willingly and without hesitation. I worked quickly to set up a clean litter box, food bowl, and water bowl for the stray cat, while also moving Gabriel and Juliesan's things to a different location outside of the room. The stray cat started purring almost immediately, and was extremely affectionate, albeit being obviously malnourished and having been outside for quite some time. After determining the stray cat was a male, I decided I could not in good conscience put him back outside to fend for himself, yet I knew I could not permanently keep him either. Although he appeared to be healthy, to be on the safe side I kept him separated from Gabriel and Juliesan.

Fast forward to Monday. In the morning I called the Humane Society to schedule an appointment to bring the stray cat to the shelter. By this time I had given him a name - Jack. The earliest appointment the Humane Society had was nearly three weeks away, and I knew I was already in danger of becoming attached to my new furry friend. I went ahead and made the appointment, unsure of what else to do. With the appointment so far away, coupled with having discovered blood in Jack's urine, I scheduled an appointment for him with Gabriel and Juliesan's vet to have him examined. At the vet, Jack was given a physical exam, along with a de-wormer (for precautionary measures) and a urinalysis. Jack's urinalysis came back clean, which meant that although he would not need medication, he would need to be put on a special diet. Armed with samples of food and a hefty bill (even with the discount the vet gave me), I brought Jack back home and got settled in for the next couple of weeks.

Throughout the days leading up to my appointment at the Humane Society, I continued keeping Jack separated. I would visit him in the morning and after getting home from work, petting him and attempting to play with him. (I say attempting to play with him because without fail after the second or third time I would tease him with a toy, he would unintentionally end up getting my fingers rather than the toy with his claws, and they were sharp. There was no competing with the speed of his reflexes.) Juliesan did not like being kept ou
t of the room knowing I was inside with another cat, so once or twice I let her in to see if she and Jack would get along. While Julie is fairly accepting of new and unfamiliar cats, Jack was not so open to making a new friend, so least to say his interaction with Juliesan was short lived.

I could feel myself growing increasingly attached to Jack as each day passed, and I tried the best I could to find him a new home. Unfortunately, everyone I know currently has all the pets that they want. I even put a desperate plea on Facebook, asking if anyone was willing to take Jack in. My resolve wavered between knowing I could not keep Jack (not only because of the stresses it would bring to my already overburdened finances, but more importantly because there is a two
pet limit at my apartment complex, and with biannual inspections coming up I could not risk breaking the rules) and trying to figure out a way I could make keeping him work.

On Wednesday, February 10th, it took every ounce of my willpower to walk into the Humane Society for my appointment to surrender Jack. Luckily the process was relatively short, as I spent the entire time struggling to hold
back tears. Once Jack was taken out of the carrier I brought him in and placed in a holding cage, he looked directly at me and let out a sorrowful meow, as if asking me why I was abandoning him in that strange place. I turned to leave, and before I could even get through the door leading outside the tears began to fall, and I proceeded to cry like a baby until well after I reached home.

Every day since, I have obsessively checked the adoption listings on the Humane Society web page to see if Jack has been made available for adoption. So far, he has been listed under a separate area for found and stray animals, although I highly doubt anyone will claim him. The vet did say he had been neutered, which leads me to believe he did at one time have a home, but he was not microchipped. Jack's listing was also lacking a photograph, and without there being a picture of him it is not likely anyone would recognize he is their missing cat, if he indeed belonged to someone prior to showing up at my door. I have thought several times about going to the Humane Society and trying to get Jack back, but they would probably think me crazy and would not release him to the person who brought him there in the first place. Last night I had a dream that I did return to the Humane Soceity. Jack was sitting on an examination table, and when he saw me he immediately jumped down and came over to me, purring and rubbing up against me as cats do when they want attention. It was all I could do to keep myself from crying all over again.

Not a day goes by that I do not miss Jack. Unfortunately I was faced with two equally unappealing choices - either put him back outside, or take him to the Humane Society. I chose to take him to the Humane Society with the hope that although it might be a scary and stressful place at the start, someone will see him and fall in love with him the way I did, and will provide a healthy and happy home for him. I just wish there was a way I could have communicated to Jack that by giving him up I was not abandoning him, but rather I was trying to do what was best for him, regardless of the way I felt.

I just hope I made the right choice.