I’m Great with Kids (Not)

I’m Great with Kids (Not)

I’m squatting at my balcony, smoking and minding my own business. Apparently, me minding my own business does not impress on others that they had better mind their own business too because after a while, I’m hearing some high-pitched shrieking noises that won’t stop. Then I notice it’s the neighbour’s kids jumping up and down at the common backyard and screaming, Mornin’!

They seem to be looking straight at me, though I can’t be sure, as I’m badly short-sighted. I turn my head antagonistically in their direction and yell back, Morning what? The kids, pleased to have established contact, enthusiastically cry back, G’ mornin’! I grunt, I wish it were, and continue minding my own business, hoping the kids will take the cue.

They don’t. Soon they’re yelling again, We have a tiny little problem here, missus! I interpret this as an act of war and rise up to the challenge. My joints squeaking a bit, I stand up to the full extent of my medium height. I do a hair toss with the half of my head which has hair and rub thoughtfully the half of my head which is buzzed. I pet the cat sitting on my shoulder and cough up a furball.

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How is this picture relevant to the story? I don’t know. You tell me.

While I’m preparing myself thus to confront the enemy, the kids shout that they accidentally threw a ball on the roof. I’m genuinely dumbfounded, so I say, How is that any of my problem? The boy kid says, Duh, and, Can I climb for it? I take a long draw of my cigarette in lieu of a dramatic pause. I say, I don’t know. Can you? The boy kid accepts the challenge and assures me he can.

Then it dawns on me that the kids are of the tender age when they still believe that grown-ups have answers to all the world’s problems. So I decide to take responsibility and yell at the kid that using a shopping trolley to climb somewhere isn’t a good idea because, duh, wheels. Unless you’re suicidal, of course, I add. The kid doesn’t know what suicidal means. One lucky bastard.

While I’m at it, I warn the kid that if he damages the roof, his parents are going to pay for it. Literally. Finally, I suggest that they summon their parent or legal guardian, finish my cigarette and retire, hoping the kid won’t break his neck. On the other hand, it would probably discourage him from nagging random people in the future. I’m great with kids, aren’t I?

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather (Not) Be

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather (Not) Be

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be.

I’d rather not be, but if I had to be, I’d rather be my cat.

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More Instagram Crap

More Instagram Crap

I do crap. Because I can. I mean, because I can’t. Can’t do better, that is. Since you appear not to hate my Instagram-to-WordPress reposts enough, you have condemned yourselves to another week’s worth of instant snaps. One day, one snap. Each snap is crap with an even crappier story to go with it. Here’s proof.

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29 Jan: I went on an adventure. To Tesco. I met this lost and lonely hairpin, symbolical of my dead and discarded dreams and hopes, and it was so moving. So moving that I snapped this and moved on. 
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30 Jan: There was an actual sunset, which means that there was an actual sun out during the day. Whew. It gave me a fright. I already forgot what sun was and mistook it for fire.
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31 Jan: You wouldn’t fucking believe it. I know I didn’t. A month later, I actually unpacked my new yoga mat and started using it. Once I hopped on it, I started to hate myself for having waited so long to break it in. It’s all kinds of awesome. 
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1 Feb: Today, nothing happened. Except I ventured in front of the building to take the dust bin out for the dustmen. Dustpeople. Let’s be gender correct. Or dustentities. In case the council employs not-people too. 
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Feb 2: I painted my nails. I thought the colours would stand out best in monochrome. Duh. They’re black anyway, with one nail tentatively yellow. I’m a wasp. 
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3 Feb: The cat is shedding like her survival depended on it. I can’t even drink coffee these days without swallowing and then coughing up a furball. Cat hair everyfuckingwhere.
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4 Feb: I got up. Got dressed. Painted my face. Did my hair. It was so awesome. I mean, it was a bloody bother, but I was surprised to find myself comparatively pretty after like a two-hour prettifying procedure. And I didn’t even go on a date.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved Kitty

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved Kitty

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved.

 
I recoiled in horror as I beheld the prompt for this week’s challenge. It’s been here before a thousand times and it doesn’t allow as much manoeuvring space as many other prompts. I’ve responded to this question earlier and my answer remains the same. Cat.

Well, this wasn’t much of a challenge. Giddy up, guys, and come up with something nice next time! Say, Hated? That’d probably inspire me. Not to a hateful post, but to an inspired post in which I’d actually have to do some thinking. This one I’m posting while asleep.

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My Week on Instagram

My Week on Instagram

Hey, I have some crappy photos on my Instagram, so why not slap them here? (That was a rhetorical question.) Each photo represents one day in the last week. (Be advised that I have no life, hence my photos are no photos.) For explanations, even duller than the photos, see captions.

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15 Jan: A business trip. A photo that says more than thousand words nothing but proves that I rose to the occasion, got up and got dressed. Also, see my nails. I didn’t #wakeuplikedis, I had to paint them. Extra effort.
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16 Jan: The first proper snow of this winter came in the week when it was my turn on the building’s chore wheel. Convenient. Not. I probably should’ve shovelled the shit but, instead, I waited a few days for it to thaw. Problem solved.
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17 Jan: I found neither peace nor anything else during my meditation, however, I still have painted nails and these cute yoga pants on top of it. 
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18 Jan: Breaking in a new candle. It smells vaguely of mulled wine. Give me a candle anytime and I’ll burn the world down (the same when you give me mulled wine). I wonder if candle lovers are closeted pyromaniacs. 
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19 Jan: I must’ve been watching too much Breaking Bad because whenever I see a powdered substance, I want to snort it. Also, this is magnesium and I swear it’s the best placebo I’ve ever had because it helps me shake less when I’m anxious. Which is all the time, duh.
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20 Jan: The ultimate cat box. A perfect fit for your cat. Order a yoga mat now and receive your gratis cat box! A fun note: I haven’t tried my new yoga mat yet and am still using the old one because I believe I don’t deserve nice things. Yeah, I know.  
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21 Jan: The fucking chore wheel has been haunting me all week. Sunday looked like the deadline for cleaning the building. So I was sweeping cigarette butts (not my own), stray tinsel (not my own) and dead tree needles (not my own). It’s not like I have to dispose of dead bodies, I don’t know why I hate doing this so intensely. 
A Quick Log

A Quick Log

Bought a new yoga mat. Nothing wrong with the old one, but the cat needed the box.

What I’ve Been Up to during the Holidays

What I’ve Been Up to during the Holidays

My holiday programme could be summed up in one word: nothing. But then I’d have nothing to blog about, so let’s elaborate.

I spent the holiday with my family: Ella, Lena, Apple, Broken Bastard and, most important, WiFi. In other words, I was home alone (plus one, that is, cat). So as not to be lonely, I was spending quality time with the cat (the above-mentioned Ella) and my favourite devices, which I named (like Robinson’s Wilson the Ball). Lena is my laptop and my bestie. Apple is the iPad with whom I have a love-and-hate relationship and only use it for reading Kindle books. The Broken Bastard is my electric heater, which is broken, hence bastard. As to WiFi, duh, self-explanatory.

My festive mood was oscillating between severely depressed and fiercely grumpy. On the Christmas Day, I was flooded with seasonal wishes on Facebook, which were mostly the identical Facebook-generated card. I soon developed a strong allergic reaction against it.

On a whim, I texted my academic colleague a customised wish: “Though Christmas is a social construct, have a good one!” She replied with happy holidays and the wish that god may bless me. That made me grumpy. How many times do I have to publicly declare that a) I’m Buddhist and don’t celebrate Christian holidays (and, obviously, don’t believe in god’s blessings); b) I’m depressed and grumpy, hence wishing me a happy anything is really a waste of a perfectly good wish.

On the Christmas Eve, I found myself digging in the Windows registry for fun. Even I considered this a twisted way to spend the holiday. So I went to reorganise my desktop folders instead. Seeing that this was not much better, I proceeded to change my phone ringtones. I was really just waiting the season out.

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That’s me in the ball

On the New Year’s Eve, I started to organise my work and life for the new year, obsessively filling in my several planning diaries and journals. A good try, alas, I failed in all instances. I switched on a boring radio station so as not to miss the countdown to midnight. I didn’t miss it, but it was anti-climactic. The moderator invited a charwoman to the microphone and they both dispensed their best wishes.

I tried to toast to my cat (not toast my cat as in putting her in a toaster), but she was shitting herself with fright from the fireworks under the sofa and refused to come out. And the next thing I remember is a hangover and another shitty year beginning. The cat foretold it right.

I’m particularly proud of the new year’s wish I posted on Instagram, so I’ll repeat it here: If you’re a guy, may your new year not suck. And if it sucks, may it at least swallow. (This joke I stole.) If you’re a gal, may your new year not be a dick. Actually… (This one I didn’t steal.) Well, let’s hope my new year will be a dick.

Also, I do not offer my apologies for my somewhat inappropriate sense of humour. I’m true to myself. Which is actually the moral of The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne:

Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!

So, this is where sex jokes and classics of American literature meet.

Image

If You Must…

Whatever. Here’s my painstakingly hand-crafted happy holiday card.

Dark Violet Snow Flakes Christmas Thank You Card

Repenting Caturday

Repenting Caturday

I was reproached (in the kindest manner) for posting heavy stuff on a Saturday morning. I shall repent and rectify. Here’s a cat.

Making the World a Better Place

Making the World a Better Place

Because that’s what you say in tech, right?

I’ve always wanted to be a software tester. (Always means ever since I got sense and shifted my flaming passion for Scottish Literature—why, yes, Scotland has a literature—to all things tech. After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that code is poetry.) If you’re, like me, deeply in love with WordPress and testing, I have a secret to tell you. You can totally test WordPress! Check out WP Horizon testing environment! (This so deserves exclamation marks in two consecutive sentences.)

That’s however not how I got to be a WP tester myself. (No, I’m not really a WP tester, but I had a go at it, twice!—another excited exclamation mark.) A few days ago I received an email from WP offering me to take for a test drive a new commenting interface. I nearly spammed the message (because, hello, if it’s too good to be true, then it must be spam). Then I googled the sender, who actually appeared to be WP staff. (Either that, or I’m the victim of a conspiracy scheme. Or I’m just paranoid.)

I replied not at my earliest convenience, not even ASAP, but immediately. I jumped at the opportunity, obviously, and reserved my slot for a video call straight away. Another day, I found another email from WP in my inbox. It was an invitation to do user testing of WP’s new editor. (Yep. That’s how popular I am.) I tried to act casual. It didn’t work out because I replied in the affirmative (What’s more than affirmative? Superlative?) and hastily signed up for a slot for another video call. (Whew!)

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WordPress swag ❤

I got instructions that I didn’t need to prepare for the testing in any way. So I took a day off to prepare for the testing. (Yes, I know.) On D day, as the H hour was approaching, I started to panic. For no good reason, but try telling that to my anxiety. I ended up medicating. (Perfectly legit and prescription sanctioned.) Shaking just a bit, as the Lexaurin was starting to take effect, I opened the link for the video call as my clock struck five. (Kidding, I don’t have a clock, this is the 21st century.)

A youngish good-lookish male face popped up on my screen (the youngish good-lookish guy would surely prefer not to be named here and I can’t vouch for the youngish and good-lookish part because the picture was small and blurry). But, that was a reason to panic. I know what a video call is but it didn’t occur to me that we’d be exchanging faces. I thought we’d be exchanging screens (screen is not an euphemism). Damn it. Seriously. I wasn’t presentable. I was wearing pants, but a hairband and no make-up isn’t presentable. (Of course that no one cares, but I do. Full stop.)

For convenience, let me call the youngish and good-lookish guy GOD. (At the uni, I’d idolise professors, now I idolise tech people, so GOD it is.)  God spoke to me: I can’t see you. I talk back: It’s a good thing you can’t (not what I said). Of course God can’t see me, I have my camera covered for paranoia security reasons. (Also, I didn’t switch on the video function in the app—duh.)

After initial ice-breakers (Hello, I’m God and I am who I am. — Hello, I’m Mara and I don’t have a life and you’re the first person I’m speaking to in days, so please excuse my, uh, everything.), we got down to the testing. I opened the new commenting interface and went aww. Seriously, guys, it’s pretty and practical and when I love it, you’ll love it too. I wouldn’t bother praising something I don’t adore.

I was being extremely helpful. Such as: Oh, the Spam icon is the same red colour as the Bin icon, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On which I went to my desktop to check what colour my Windows bin is, and it was grey. God, shall we make the bin grey, pretty please? I got an hour to play around with the new interface. According to God, it should roll out in a few weeks. Also, I was granted permission to blog about it because it’s apparently not secret. (Unless it is, and I’m an Edward Snowden.)

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Packed with Jetpack

The testing was awesome and thoroughly enjoyable. I even got excited. (I never get excited unless there are kittens involved.) I was so excited I could hardly talk. You’d never believe they gave me a doctorate in English Literature if you heard me struggling with conditionals and spontaneously constructing new, never heard-of tenses at the spot. (*shrug*) At the end, I was asked for some general feedback on WP. I complained that with my second-world earnings, the cost of the paid plans is a small fortune. (Another greatly helpful feedback. Not.)

We said goodbyes. And God will never know I’m pretty. (Does one qualify as pretty when one is only pretty when made-up and dressed-up?) Anyway.

Cut. Enters God2. That’s the nickname for the other youngish and good-lookish WP guy whom I had a video session with. This testing was about the new editor. (But really, it was all about me. Better than therapy.) God2 says that he isn’t testing me and that there aren’t right and wrong answers. I say: Sure. (And I think: Sure, that’s what you say, but I’m prepared, and I start: “WP was founded in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and is currently running on more than 60 million websites etc. etc.” Because I’m a Wikipedia.)

To start off on the right foot, I immediately offend God2’s professional pride by confessing how I disapprove of the new editor. However, I blame myself. (I’m not sure why but I say so, and that’s enough.) God2 is visibly upset and blames himself. On which I’m sincerely sorry, from the depth of my cold black heart, and I mention kittens. Not related to anything whatsoever, but kittens! God2 cheers up because he has three of them. Kittens. I cheer up because he’s a cat gentleman (the male mutation of a cat lady).

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I have a rainbow WP sticker and the cat isn’t impressed

I beg God2 to outlaw hamburger menus and toggle options. Because I WANT TO SEE IT ALL. At once. That’s how greedy I am. In exchange, I promise God2 that I will give the new editor yet another chance. I mean it. For God2’s sake, I’m writing this in the new editor! Also, to give the impression that I’m knowledgeable (and to pass the test which isn’t a test but it is), I throw around random terms: Calypso. Framework. CMS. target_blank. White screen of death (no, seriously, that’s a thing!).

I wanted to conclude with something deep and important but I forgot what. Instead, I’d like to thank everyone involved, that is, WP staff, particularly God1 and God2, my laptop Lena and myself, who collectively made all this possible. Also, I’d like to thank my cat (who makes the world a better place too). The testing opportunity was a geek girl’s dream come true. So you know, WP people are really trying to do their job, as I’ve seen for myself. Let’s gloat in that. Here’s to WordPress (*raises her mug of generic brand coffee*)!