Chaos Attraction

99 Bags Of Blue Poop On The Moon

2020-07-16, 8:56 p.m.

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Cast list as of November 2019

Woke up to find that someone was taping paper over my door, which was surprisingly loud and weird. I guess they were painting in the hallway today because the morning was filled with extremely weird mechanical noises and 70's classic rock blasting all morning....Scott's favorites. Sigh. I had to use headphones in my last meeting of the morning and put myself on mute and type all my replies (can't use headphones and talk at the same time with my setup). What a racket.

All staff meeting today and BigBoss had some extremely confusing updates?
* She will never be permitted to have her assistant back.
* She mentioned two positions in my unit, "Tigress's replacement" and the other coworker who used to work at the front counter's replacement. Since we were told we were getting the one replacement for Tigress (who she barely mentioned was coming...Monday? Next next Monday? HUH?), I don't get what the heck this was about. Is she still trying to hire them? I thought we were told hiring 2 people to replace Tigress was a nonstarter, but now she's all "it made it past one level of three." She's not bothering with the last one? And we're going to get budget cut anyway.
* She still can't ask about hiring anyone in scheduling for a few months.

So a few weeks ago, we were officially notified in a vague official way over email that someone had symptoms. I assumed at the time it was our young assistant, but uh....I GUESS NOT? Because now we were told it was someone in another office in the building, who had to physically come into the office, and then the remaining employees had to leave. For the record: you have to get "determined by a doctor" before they shut down the office for your suspected case. So now Official Policy is "how to work remotely for almost everything" and the giant org "would prefer if we weren't working on site." Except our office has to have a few people come in to deal with the mail. Since we are screwed if the younger employees can't work*, the giant org is actually springing for sixteen laptops (!!!!) for the young'uns to be able to work from home. Probably not going to be set up until fall, but that is actual good news here.

* Also, BigBoss wants to have the phone answerers also do Zoom calls. WITH WHAT FREE TIME?!? They can't manage their workload as is!

"We will be remote longer than we hoped. Longer than anyone expected. Make a plan to be out longer." Apparently even in the large offices they will only allow one person because they can't maintain six feet of distance to walk in and out of the office. (Have any of them been to the grocery store lately? Not that I have, but I hear this isn't doable when you are out in buildings in public anyway. I couldn't maintain six feet of distance from other people in Kaiser in the hallway.) Our safety coordinator was all, "Wearing a mask is not fun. Having to work and wearing a mask constantly." GET USED TO IT. Also, we are not doing directional arrows in the hallway, you just can't enter the hallway if someone else is in it. One person asked about coming in once a week to water her plants and was told she should not be doing that. Unless you have to do essential work or pick something up, don't go in there. As for fall plans, all news is still on hold.

BigBoss said, "We really would like to see people on the meetings." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NOT GONNA GODDAMNED DO IT I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR OPINION IS ON THIS. The plant watering coworker isn't doing it either.

I was amused that after the scheduling supervisor said they were doing well, her supervisor said, "How mindblowing it is to hear that scheduling is doing well."

After that, we had some meetings on writing down procedures and stuff like that. Lioness shared a picture of her grandson jumping into a pool and said "I had professionals take pictures of him as his birthday party." Aaaarrrrrghhhhhhhhhhh. On COVID WATCH, we are on day five. She still seems okay, as does Coworker Sarah, but who knows?

I counted how many Important Documents I produced in the last few weeks. 264 of them. I am not kidding when I say this is all I do right now, people.

At lunch, Yemi told a story about how she was getting attacked by the angriest turkey she'd ever seen at 7:15 a.m. on X Street in Sacramento. Did she stay and fight the turkey, or jaywalk through a busy street? "I made the choice to live." She jaywalked. I would have done the same.

I got called and texted to confirm my upcoming eye doctor appointment in a month. I cannot fucking deal with this. I did not respond.

After work, I watched an interview with Mary Robinette Kowal, and I squeed when I saw that she dressed in character as Nicole!* Pearls and fifties/sixties hair and a cardigan and a space patch on it! I love it. She is an excellent interview and you get a lot of dish and facts and background with her.

* Note: the narrator of her most recent book, an astronaut/politician's wife.

On the sexism that her characters encounter in the Lady Astronaut series: she talked about how many periods in time would come after a period of relative freedom, there'd be whopping sexist pushback. "I did not see any way to write this where people weren't trying to shove women back in the box." She based some characters on real people from history, such as Helen an Myrtle, and noted that women in England could vote until 1865. "There are always periods of time where women are being shoved back in the box."

When asked about Elma taking Miltowns: "There was a brief period of time when we did not stigmatize mental illness." Miltowns were mentioned everywhere, Milton Berle suggested changing his name to Miltowne Berle, she saw a sign that said "We have Miltown and ice cream!" But it was addictive, so....

On herself; "I'm a pretty cheerful depressed person."

On foreshadowing: "I was not expecting a pandemic this year, but the way everything else has panned out..."

Was Parker based on someone she knows? Yes. "The patterns for sexism are the same, it doesn't matter where you are, what field you're in." Parker is based on a puppeteer she knew and considered a friend for fifteen years, who would pick a person to pick on. She made excuses for him, saying things like "We know it's him, not you." Then he snapped and started picking on her and she realized, "Wow. This reassuring I've been doing is bullshit. This is doing nothing helpful."

"Trust your own taste, interrogate your own experiences." You start out copying the masters, but at a certain point "you have to have something new to add to it, and that something is yourself."

When she wrote "Shades of Milk and Honey," she didn't think African-American people lived in England at the time.

She said that all of the love interests in her books are based on different aspects of her husband. She notes that Elma's husband Nathaniel isn't perfect. ""There is not a scene in this book when he's not working," and even in bed they are still talking about rockets and he always brings up work. (I asked if he's a Capricorn. She said no.)

At one point she broke out a puppet and had the puppet refer to herself as "my valet." Then her cat got into the cupboard after she did that and had to be removed.

'It's funny what people's threshold is for sex scenes." She said there's three sex scenes and the sex is implied, but people think the first book has tons of sex. Also.... "Elma and Nathaniel know that the rocket innuendo is ridiculous. I am not intending for the rocket innuendo to be sexy. But I have it on authority from rocket scientists that they do that."

Fun fact: people did dye their hair funny colors in the 50's/60's, so if you have funny colored hair and want to cosplay as that time period, go right ahead!

She said she tries not to put real people in as characters unless they are long dead (example: Lord Byron) because ""the thing about a fictional character is you have to give them actions and opinions" and she tries to avoid that because even the dead have family.

She advises people to "Make the kinder choice."

When asked to talk about Bessie Coleman, she got SO EXCITED and summed up up as I'm going to casually teach myself French, move to Paris, learn to fly, and do all this while making money doing hairdressing.

On the excuses out of NASA about not wanting women in space, she said that her favorite was that they wouldn't let women go into space because they didn't know how to let women pee in space. But they didn't know how to do it with guys either.... Alan Shepard going into space for the first time was supposed to be a 15 minute mission, but they had so many launchpad delays that he had to go and couldn't be removed... They eventually decided that "if he pees in the suit, it will not compromise the integrity and he won't electrocute himself." They eventually put men in a "sheath" that kept coming off. Why? Because they were all claiming they needed the "large" size. "They did not need larges." They had to rebrand as "large," immense' and "unbelievable." Just like Starbucks.

Fun fact: When you use the bathroom on the ISS, you may end up with giant pee globes spinning around that you have to clean up. But what she found out too late to put into a book was, these pee globes are BRIGHT PURPLE AND ACIDIC. "MISSED OPPORTUNITY!"

Other fun fact: When going to the moon, "you've taped a bag to your rump," and you have to have a special glove because you have to separate the poop from your body, and then mix a disinfectant in....which turns your poop blue. THERE ARE 99 BAGS OF BLUE POOP ON THE MOON. "I did get that into a book. So much joy."

She wishes she could have written more about astronauts doing survival training in the desert and would like to do a scene of Elma and Parker in the desert, with Elma liking the dry heat because she's from the South. "Short story sometime."

She has mission patches from her world that she was going to hand out as swag on the book tour... before.

She wanted to do two more books in the Ghost Talkers universe, but the book sales went waaaaaaay down after the 2016 election.

Anyway, that was really cool to hear. She's a delight.

I have had next to nothing to eat today because I'm not hungry and nothing sounds good to eat anyway. Is that bad? Or just keeping off the corona pounds?

In other news, Jackie asked her uncle to invite her to more family gatherings a while back so she could try to get closer with her cousins, and that has not happened. She has a long history of buying them stuff and them ignoring it and her, so she decided to write her uncle a long letter (which will apparently be a text) saying thanks, but don't invite me any more, I've decided I'm not going to try to get affection out of people who don't care and who I spend thousands on every year and they ignore me. To which I was all GOOD FOR YOU, I stopped trying with my cousins years ago with the gifts and things and they didn't even notice. I do think it might be a bomb drop in the family if anyone gives a shit, but frankly, they might not, so what the hell, go for it. Or just stop buying them stuff and see if they notice, whichever. Anyway, I am down to encourage her to stop spending lots of money trying to buy the affection of people who don't care.

I read this today:
"But since the pandemic, this hasn't materialized and we've been slowly losing touch. Whenever I reach out, he immediately responds and we proceed to have long conversations over text, but if I don't initiate the conversation he rarely reaches out on his own accord.
I have since stopped, because I feel that if he indeed wanted to move forward with this, he would have taken more initiative. But, in truth, I still have feelings for him and would like to explore where our relationship could go. Maybe I am letting a good thing slip away?"

The advice: "My advice is to ask for what you want. Let that be one thing that comes out of this stuck-at-home experience for all of us. There is no reason be passive-aggressive or to drop hints (this is advice for all of us). If you need something, say so.
Tell this man that you still want a second date. If you're comfortable with socially distant walks, ask him to join you for one. If he's not interested, he should make that clear. Hopefully.
Yes, it would be nice if he was the one to say, "Hey, let's put on some masks and meet up." It would also be lovely if he initiated these texts. But we don’t know enough about this man to make guesses about why he waits for your contact. I suppose I can guess. Maybe he's shy. Perhaps the state of the world has made him less motivated to attach himself to someone because he doesn't know when it would be safe to see them. Asking for what you want will clarify this. And if it doesn't, you can move on."

I wish I could do that. But...too much with someone I never dated, obviously. I'm afraid to ask for what I want in general, as I come from Guess Culture and if a person doesn't want to volunteer it, I don't feel okay demanding it. Also they might be pissed off.

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