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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 19, 2024, 08:24:29 PM »
I don’t know how much of an update this is going to be because it’s been a very blah day.  I’m not pushing myself to do much in the hope of boring myself into being eager to get out and do the acting project at the end of the week.  Right now I’m more apprehensive than otherwise, though getting confirmation that I’m hired helped.  It also puzzled me, since I didn’t think that was a question.

The thing I like least about the acting project is having to rely on someone else, though I can't deny I'm glad to be working with someone, since I'd be nervous to do it on my own.  My concern is for the two days we'll have to figure out where to meet, since we'll be checking in with our handler via zoom instead of in person.  I rather wish we checked in physically every time even if it was out of the way, just so whoever arrived first would have somewhere to sit and wait, not to mention make a last pitstop before starting the work.  I know I'm as reliable as mass transit allows, but I don't have a lot of faith in other people.

I'm still so happy about the lock!  I do have to retrain myself to push down on the lever thing with less enthusiasm now that I don't have to get a running start to have a chance to get the bloody thing to go into place and stay there.

For the first time in ages, a cat came to visit the outside food bowl.  Twice, in fact.  I didn’t get much of a look because it was so nervous that it took off when I got within about ten feet of the door, but it was enough for me to see that it was a tabby, and somewhat scruffy looking.  I’m hoping it will continue to visit, preferably through when it’s warm enough to have the glass door open so I’ll be able to talk to it through the screen door and maybe make friends.  Sad to say, part of my hope comes from my fear that we might not have Albus for too much longer.  He’s been skinny for years, but now he’s showing signs of being less steady on his paws.  He’s also having some eye goop, but so am I, so I’m inclined to chalk that up to something in the air.

I’m giving up on the mesh drain cover in the tub because James can’t be bothered to clean it off and make sure draining continues after he takes a shower.  The result is that there’s still standing water when I go to take my own shower the next morning, and that’s just nasty.  As long as he’s around, he can deal with pulling out hair balls when they get big enough to form clogs, which is easier and less irritating for me, and I figure I’m entitled to think of nothing but myself once in a while.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 18, 2024, 06:42:28 PM »
This probably won’t be much of an update because Sunday.  Also, I got a good night’s sleep, but that’s not keeping me from lacking in energy or inspiration.  I’m just made of fail.

Is it bad that I'm already getting nervous about the acting project?  I can't help worrying about things like finding a bathroom part way through, because there's no way I'll be able to hold it for the whole time we're doing our thing at five places plus transportation between them and back home.  Also, I'm hoping I'll be able to stuff a very late lunch into my face before I leave home because otherwise I'll be ravenous before we're done.  Logistics like that are definitely the hard part.

The big news of the day is that we have an almost completely functional deck door lock again for the first time in ages.  It's not completely functional because for some reason James couldn't figure out, locking from the outside doesn't work.  That's OK.  It's the easiest part to work around by locking from the inside and going out the building door.  I'd probably have gone on doing that anyway, since using the key in the outside lock of the deck door and then getting the key back out without unlocking the door has always been a pain. 

The installation was a bit more of a process than it probably needed to be.  First James dropped the lock mechanism into the frame, where it was virtually impossible to extract, and had to go out for another one, and then some parts gave him an argument.  Anyway, it's done, and I feel a lot more sanguine about our security.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 17, 2024, 07:29:58 PM »
Last night I had the bed all to myself, but I still had a terrible time falling asleep.  I was still too wound up from the acting Zoom meeting, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I might approach the field work.  I really shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about it, at least not until after the training on Wednesday.  They’ll probably want to keep what we do fairly standard, since it is a research study, and they’re likely to want an apples-to-apples comparison of what gets sales and what doesn’t across our performances.  Yesterday I forgot to mention a small problem I had:  They use the term Poly Substance for their studies because they also do the same thing for alcohol in bars, and they had the meeting titled PolySub Actors.  To me that can have a very different connotation, which of course is where my adult mind went, making me wonder if I was in the right place.

Laundry went smoothly aside from Albus trying to help fold one shirt.  James almost missed getting the sweats he sleeps in when he sleeps on the couch into the second load because he wasn’t paying attention.  After about nine years of seeing the same routine almost every Saturday, he should know the signs, so I didn’t remind him.  He claimed he was so late because he was eating, but since he was down to the last few bites when I went upstairs, and it took me longer than that to clean the lint trap, move the first load from the washer to the dryer, and reload the washer, I doubt that was the case.  Anyway, it’s done for another week.

Shein sent me another delay notice on the toaster, so I looked on Amazon, found something that comes out to costing me $10 less, and cancelled the Shein order.  I'd have liked to wait for a $5 gift card from the survey place to hit first, but the current price is a temporary deal, and I didn't want to miss it.  It's scheduled to arrive on Thursday, and hopefully it actually will because that's when I run out of muffins.

James is finally doing something about the deck door lock, which has been getting progressively worse.  What got him off his bum was having a lot of trouble getting it to work the last time he tried, making it an inconvenience for him, which of course is what counts.  He took the whole thing apart so he could take the parts to the hardware store, and right now there's a screwdriver stuck through the hole to block the cold wind outside.  He probably won't get home in time to install the new lock while he can see what he's doing, which will mean dropping a stick of some kind into the slot the door slides in to keep it from sliding if someone tries to open it from outside during the night.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 16, 2024, 10:12:12 PM »
I got to spend all night last night in the bed, though it did not end well, starting with James’s alarms.  As he tends to do, he found the way to delay getting up that maximized the impact on me.  That pretty much killed my energy for the day.

It was a day of zoomy goodness.  The first thing was for the acting/secret shopping project, which turned out to involve going to pot dispensaries with a partner, where one of us will act drunk and try to buy a pre-rolled joint and the other will observe everything else going on.  Going by the meeting, they’re very well organized, and the person leading the meeting was not the least bit thrown by my lack of a car.  In fact, she asked the other attendees to let her know if they had a vehicle. 

We’ll have training on Zoom next Wednesday, and then field work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  We’ll be paid $30 per hour, and the people who drive will get reimbursed for mileage and parking.  Because I take mass transit, my work time will start when I leave the house and presumably end when I get back here, which I think will turn out to be a better deal in the end.  In any case, getting paid will be lovely, and it may turn into more than a one-shot deal because they’ll be doing followup studies in April and June.

Right after that was the general monthly chat for the esoteric Christian group.  Only four of us showed up, but it was a different four from usual which made for more interesting chat.  One of the other people, who now lives in California, was originally from Rochester, New York, which is where I went to college, so we got to reminisce about stuff from there.  I definitely enjoyed the walk down memory lane, and we agreed that we don’t miss those winters at all.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 15, 2024, 06:58:48 PM »
Last night was my third in a row of ending up in the new-cat room.  This time I had to leave the bedroom door partly open because the cats decided to stay on the bed.  The move actually worked to my advantage because I’d been having nasty foot cramps, and the small couch is just the right size for me to have my feet flat against the arm at that end.  Also, I’m finding that I’m warmer with less coverage, possibly because the comforter, which I keep folded in half, is under me as well as over, forming a pocket to hold onto my body heat.  In any case, I did pretty well in the sleep department, and I was ready to get up at the earlier time I’d decided on.

The downside was that I had another one of those mornings when I was feeling so cranky that I almost talked myself out of going to the Mensa breakfast.  I'm glad I didn't because I had fun.  There was a new person this time who turned out to be another expat New Yorker.  We got all nostalgic about some of the odd things we miss, like Greek diners and real bagels.  She is a former model who is trying to get back into that and possibly acting as well, and I was able to help her out by giving her the names of some of the Facebook groups I use for acting stuff.

I think I might finally have nailed down the timing on the transportation to the breakfast location.  To start with I took the earlier bus, which would have led to my arriving too early, so I got off the light rail at the stop before the one that’s right beside the location and walked the rest of the way.  That took up exactly the right amount of time.  I got there just as the organizer, his wife, and a couple of other people were setting up our table, and I even helped a tiny bit with that.

The winter weather advisory turned out to be a nothingburger.  We did get a typical “if you don’t like it, wait five minutes” mixed bag of weather – cloudy and cold enough for gloves on the way to the breakfast, raining lightly when I came out of it, sunny enough to make me wish for sunglasses while I was waiting for my second bus – but no sign of anything warning-worthy.  I’m not complaining, not even slightly, though a forecast accurate to plan clothes with would be nice once in a while.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 14, 2024, 06:32:53 PM »
Might as well bang this out and post it since it’s not going to be much of an update.  I’ve totally failed to accomplish anything useful, and still I have no idea where the day went, but it’s mostly gone.

Well, last night turned into another new-cat room night.  I must have slept well because James leaving didn't wake me up, and it usually does.  The cats found somewhere else to sleep rather than yelling and trampling me over and over, which had to have helped.  I love them dearly, but sometimes I'd like to string them up by their tails.  I’m hoping for real sleep tonight because I need to get up slightly early tomorrow to hit the road to the monthly Mensa breakfast.

Today's weather is the sinus-killing kind:  humid but not raining with wind making the tree branches wave.  We got a winter weather advisory, though I'm not sure why unless it doesn't apply to this immediate area.  Our advisories tend to include what they call the Portland area, which encompasses a lot of ground.  I’m hoping the sn*w in the forecast doesn’t materialize around here, since that might foul up mass transit.

I might have found more acting work.  It’s actually a combination of secret shopping and improv that involves going to bars and trying to get served while acting like I’m already drunk.  Or something like that.  My first contact with the people running the whole thing will be a zoom meeting on Friday afternoon, where hopefully we’ll get more details.  And hopefully they won’t decide they don’t want me after I tell them I need locations that are mass transit accessible.  Surely there are enough bars that don't (ironically) require a car to get to, and if whoever decides where to send people is warned in advance, they can send me to those.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 13, 2024, 08:05:17 PM »
This is going to be a so exhausted I feel barfy type short update.  Last night was a dreadful sleep night.  The first problem was that I lay down and was immediately wide awake.  Baal must have been the same because he kept walking on and around me, particularly on my head and pulling my hair.  Then James couldn't or wouldn't stop making noises, and he did stop responding to pokes.  By then I was ready for a pitstop and more antacids, so I took care of that and moved into the new-cat room.  My sleep was still restless, but at least I got some.

I managed to drag myself out to the ATM, but that was all.  I'd been tentatively planning to see a movie, but I just didn't have the energy.  Besides, the sun the forecast promised yesterday didn't happen until much later - too late - and I wasn't in the mood for getting caught in the rain that was threatening.  Freakin' weather.  It's looking like rain for the whole rest of the week, which would figure, since I was hoping to get off the train a stop before the one for the monthly Mensa breakfast on Thursday and walk the rest of the way to avoid getting there ridiculously early.

I kept my eyes open and focused long enough to finish the second book in the Darynda Jones set of four, and the third is in the current book spot on my computer cart.  I am enjoying them, and again I’m grateful to the random online commenter who made me aware of them, though, oddly, I don’t remember seeing the line they quoted, which was supposed to have been in the first book.  Oh, well.  Life goes on.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 12, 2024, 05:01:28 PM »
First, let’s get caught up:

Yesterday’s adventure started when I went upstairs to do my morning bathroom routine and get dressed.  James was semi-awake and apparently decided that minding my business was a good idea.  I decided otherwise and cut my answers to his interrogation short, since I knew he wouldn’t remember anything I said while talking in his sleep anyway.

I got out early enough to catch the earlier of two possible buses, which meant walking to the transit center.  As it turned out, our wonderful mass transit company was treating the schedule like a suggestion, and neither the bus I went out of my way to catch nor the one before it ever came, which meant that one of my fellow passengers had been there for an hour by the time the next bus arrived.  Ironically, he got off so early in the route that he could easily have either ridden his bike or walked to his destination faster, but that’s neither here nor there.  Management wonders why people don’t want to take mass transit.  Here’s a clue:  no-show buses.

In any case, I got to downtown Vancouver with time to spare to make the connection to the bus across the river.  Same deal with the connection to the light rail, which dropped me right outside the building where the shoot was taking place.  I was barely on time, but I made it, and all that was going on was socializing anyway.  It was an interesting bunch of a half-dozen of us in total, seated in a row against a wall the way we’d have been in a waiting room, doing things of varying degrees of strangeness.  The gal next to me was stabbing felting wool to eventually make a felted stuffed animal.  She’d never done it before, and she kept stabbing herself by mistake.  That actually turned into some of her schtick for the film.  We were the last two people at one end of the row, and being told to swap positions for color scheme purposes put me at the very end, which facilitated one of the things I wanted to do:  Every time the guy calling out ticket numbers called a new one, I stood up, pulled my ticket out of my pocket, acted disappointed when I wasn’t called, put the ticket back in my pocket, and sit back down.  Being at the end of the row meant that I wasn’t blocking anyone else.

I really liked the approach that guy in change Vincent took.  His background with acting was heavy on improv – in fact, he’d taught improv classes – so he encouraged and appreciated whatever creativity we brought to our performance.  That was a major contrast with my last role (with the chihuahuas), where the director’s idea of what she wanted was set in stone, and she dictated everything down to my exact facial expression.  I understand having a vision, but she might as well have used an AI generated image.  Being able to exercise my imagination let out a lot of what had been building up inside me almost like contents under pressure.  It also left me wanting more, and I’m glad I’ll be starting an improv class in a couple of weeks so I’ll have another form of release.

Vincent and I also turned out to have a lot of things in common, like music background, though he never learned to read music and seemed impressed that I did.  I explained that my parents had started me learning to play clarinet when I was nine, though I’d long since given it up.  One of our odder commonalities was having a Jewish mother and an Irish Catholic father.  What religion we actually practice didn’t come up, but it probably will at some point.  And, yes, he expressed interest in working with me again.  He even said I was an absolute delight to work with, which came as a relief since I was concerned that I might have been too vocal because I kept having ideas.

The biggest issue with getting there half an hour later than planned was that I didn’t have a chance to find coffee and something to eat for breakfast.  I mentioned that, and immediately one of the production team decided that coffee sounded like an excellent idea, so three of us hiked over to a nearby coffee place.  Now I really need to hit the ATM before Thursday’s Mensa breakfast because coffee place prices.  I don’t know how people can afford to get their coffee at places like that every day.

We wrapped right at the time we were told, and then I got to deal with the trip home.  Keeping with the theme of the day, the first train that arrived was out of service, and I had 15 minutes more of waiting at a stop along with somebody busily talking to himself and pacing around.  The fun continued with the next train, where another constant talker to himself sat right near me.  At the station where I made the connection to the bus back across the river, the driver sat in plain sight on the bus while keeping us waiting on line outside for a solid 20 minutes, until I wasn’t sure I’d make the connection to the bus home.  No worries there.  That bus was about 20 minutes late.  If I’d known, I could have visited the ATM across the street, but I didn’t dare risk missing the bus since that route only runs once an hour on Sunday.

Last night I was so exhausted that I crashed at 10, and other than a quick pitstop in the middle of the night, I slept through to James's alarms.  I'm still feeling slightly groggy with a touch of post-acting letdown depression.  Also, my appetite is conspicuous by its absence.  I could probably help that by going out for a walk, but I just can't be bothered.  According to the forecast, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, so I'll push myself harder then.

While I have the keyboard downstairs, I finally tuned the ukulele I got what feels like ages ago.  The strings are new and stretchy, and I already had to adjust a couple of them before I'd finished with the other two, so I'm going to keep the keyboard downstairs until the tuning has stabilized.  So far I haven't felt inspired to pull out any of the songs I used to sing with uke accompaniment, so there's no huge flaming hurry on the tuning.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 11, 2024, 06:37:45 PM »
This update is going to be short even for a Sunday.  I got crap sleep last night, thanks to James deciding not to stay up late and taking over the bed for the first Saturday night in as long as I can remember.  I moved to the big couch downstairs, but the damage was done. 

The shoot was lots of fun but also exhausting, so at this point I'm so tired I can hardly see straight.  I'll write up the whole thing tomorrow, when I'll have the place to myself and also enough brain to string words together coherently.

In other annoying news, I got a delivery delay notification about my toaster.  Apparently Shein is getting too many orders for their staff to fill as quickly as they'd like.  I'm glad I have plenty of muffins for breakfast.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 10, 2024, 08:00:07 PM »
Here comes a short update for a day that tried but never got off the ground.  My sleep last night was much better, though I did wake up early and had a certain amount of trouble getting back to sleep.  I'm hoping I'll be able to sleep tonight since I have to get up early tomorrow, though the odds are not in my favor.

I'm curious to see how many background folks they got for the waiting room.  They were looking for 4-6, but I don't know how many people are interested in doing something that's unpaid and relatively early on a Sunday morning.  I was thinking more about the whole Purgatory idea and realized that it could also be turning the story of Lucifer's fall on its ear by making it so only people who question and rebel against authority can move on.  Or maybe I’m overthinking it, and it’s just a weird waiting room for something undefined that some people find worth waiting for forever.

I was surprisingly hungry for lunch.  We’ll see how I do for dinner.  I have one leftover slice of pizza, and I wouldn’t mind getting it out of the way before the crust dries out even though I had the other two slices for lunch.  It’s Little Caesar’s stuffed pretzel crust, which reheats fairly well, though I wish they used the regular tomato sauce instead of the cheesy stuff they use instead.  I had another apple for dessert.

Comet has been showing Firefly all afternoon, and it will continue until well after my bedtime.  For some reason they’re showing it crazy out of order.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why, since presumably the original order did not come to be by accident.
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