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Still looking for work. It's hard not to be discouraged some days. This is one of them.

Today I got the results of the library assistant exam I took last week. There were 89 questions.

I got pretty excited when I read "Congratulations on passing with a score of 89". Then I read the next sentence:

"Your rank on the eligibility list is 12."

You might be asking yourself how I could get every question correct and still be 12th on the eligibility list. Well, I'm not a veteran, I'm not a woman, and I'm not a minority. The City of Tacoma is required to give you extra points on the exam if you happen to be any of those.

Twelfth place is apparently as high as I could possibly get.

Now, they'll be calling in the top three candidates for each position, of which there are between one and four openings.

That means that even though I got the highest score I could possibly get, I will not be called in to interview unless there are four openings.

Given what I know of Tacoma's library budget issues, fat chance.
My portfolio page is finally finished!

It includes samples of scripts, finished video excerpts, manuals, excerpts of books and collateral I've designed, game writing, design, and cartography, and even some travel writing samples.

So if you know anybody looking for a writer, editor, copy-editor, desktop publisher, or anything vaguely related... send them there!

The résumé may be found here.
So I'm unemployed, and my former employer is now reportedly shredding documents.

And check out the toxic comments - ouch. Of course, one of the complaints is "pay raises for do-nothing employees". I have to say that neither me nor anybody I knew there ever had a pay raise in the time I was there.

Perhaps we did too much there to be considered for a raise.

And my complaint that my final paycheck was several hundred dollars short remains unanswered. I rather suspect it will remain unanswered forever.
Since I'm on the job hunt, I thought I'd better update my résumé and put up a page of writing (etc.) samples on my web page.

So I did.

The samples page has video, scripts, book layout samples, and some Cruenti Dei excerpts.


Now, perhaps, dinner.


28 Jun 2010 15:03
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (rude penguin)
My entire division was just laid off, effective 30 June.

No severance pay, 48 hours notice.

Anybody looking for a writer?
... won for the Vancouver Hop-On Hop-Off tour we did this season. One is for the content itself, and the other is for innovative marketing or some such. Technically the team won them, not just me, but since I can't afford to purchase the duplicates of the statues, I'll label the picture whatever I want. (Cue maniacal laughter)

Thom poses with his Accolades
Feast of the Holy Innocents
Sounder Train

My one, dear Reader,

If you are one of the twenty-six people who attempted to phone me in the last few days, I deeply apologize. My four year old free cellphone appears to be coming perilously close to the end of its useful life. It suffers from an ailment known as "intermittent ring tone", meaning I can apparently only receive your call if I happen to be looking at the phone at the moment you call and can see the face of the phone illuminate.

Christmas was fantastic. On the eve, Francine and I decorated the tree with the help of fully 50% of the various children and step-children*. For dinner, that number bumped to 75%**, the maximum allowed by law.

Christmas Eve Mass (I can't really call it "Midnight Mass" since it began at 10PM) was simple and homey. It's a small parish, Saint Rita is, and in need of a little liturgical renewal*** to put some of the solemnity back into the celebration. We're singing the "Mass of Glory", which sounds suspiciously like a Billy Joel pastiche. It makes me grind my teeth, and that can't be a good thing at Mass.

Father's homily was electric, and the place was packed.

On the day itself, this merry throng of five was joined by an additional three, as Francine's niece Cara, her boyfriend Erik, and Cara's mother arrived.

I may have more thoughts on this later.

Among the eight people there, I counted at least three colds and one miscellaneous physical ailment. We went through an unexpectedly large amount of tissue.

Several hours later, with the parlour demolished and everyone sufficiently egg nogged, presented, and stuffed, the party dispersed. Eventide, Francine, Sam, and I headed over to [ profile] singingbarista's for more food (duck! duck, I say!), games, and general jolliment. There's really nothing like a game or three of Guillotine to liven up Christmas!

This was followed by two days of illness, lethargy, and collapse.

This week, I'm back to work. Fortunately, I only have to go into the office today. It's amazing to think that only 21 months after I was promised I could work at home two days a week, they're finally going to let me. This one time.

I'll be fairly close to the only one in the office today. Everyone in my division is on holiday. In fact, my writing partner Andy Spletzer and his wife Heidi are currently in Paris. Most of the rest of the company are likewise engaged elsewhere.

I hope you are enjoying your holidays, as many or as few days as you have.

* Victoria and Sam, for those keeping score at home.

** Add Michaela.

*** AKA "Reform of the Reform", "Counter-Reform", or "Can we move out of the 80s now, please?"
Four of our video tours won Telly awards, two silver and two bronze. The bronze are, frankly, participation trophies, but there ya go.

Last time I got an award, it was for perfect attendance in the 8th grade.

Looky - we won awards!

And yes, I'm aware the photo is terrible.

In other news, I just got my seasonal flu shot. Huzzah!
Feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden (old calendar)
Victoria, British Columbia

Dear friend,

We have had technical failures throughout this trip. Always some vital piece of equipment suddenly stops working exactly when we need it to. At the moment, both GPS aquisition and playback are working, so I expect the car to quit now.

Victoria is a city in which one could spend some weeks in a different pub every evening and not near the end of it.

Unlike Vancouver which is (as we have discovered) what happened when a bunch of ex-pat Londoners attempted to build Seattle, Victoria is what resulted when a bunch of ex-pat Seattlites attempted to build London.

It reminds me, for some reason, of this quote from G.K. Chesterton:

I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.

And that's all I have to say about that. Break time is over; back to work.
Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Vancouver, British Columbia

Dear reader,

Vancouver appears to be the result of a horde of ex-pat Londoners trying to build Seattle.

It's becoming clear to me that this is the Platonic Ideal of a city built in the 20th Century the way New York is for the 19th.

Back to the Sea to Sky Highway today, ultimately to film at Whistler.

But first, breakfast at the Tomahawk.

Did you know Whistler was named after a marmot?


6 Oct 2009 12:52
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Do you have a flag?)
Feast of Saint Bruno
Whistler, British Columbia

My dear, single reader,

I'm working for the week out of a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia. Today and tomorrow my co-writer, Andy Spletzer, and I are working on the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics™.

Right now we're on a break while we download files from the video camera. We're hanging out in a café called "Hot Buns Bakery". You can't make this stuff up, folks.

The clientele varies from rotund and elderly tourists right through skinny narrow dirt bikers with more metal sticking out of their faces than in their bikes.

And the soundtrack is Bob Marley.

Thursday and Friday, we're working on firming up the GPS waypoints for the Vancouver to Victoria bus tour. A particularly observant and astute reader may notice that this would seem to indicate a bus tour over open water.

Well, the BC ferry fleet has more ships than the Royal Canadian Navy (or whatever they're calling it these days), and for several hours the bus is on a ferry.

We don't have to write content for that bit, which is just as well considering the ferries are going to have a pretty difficult time consistently hitting GPS waypoints with a 15 meter radius.
Commemoration of Saint Placid

Off to Vancouver BC until Friday. Sadly, it's for work and not pleasure so much.

Commemoration of the seven Holy Sleepers of Ephesus

Dearest Reader,

Saturday was spent at Tacoma's Ethnic Fest, an excuse for sampling foods from restaurants previously unknown and browsing through merchant kiosks of cultures entirely unfamiliar.

The weather has been beastly hot, though the nights have been cooling off. This is, no doubt, due to the angel of hot night time weather deciding he couldn't stand up to [ profile] singingbarista's suggestions for defeating him; so he just threw in the towel.

Sunday was a surprise party for our pastor, Fr. Carmine Sacco, SJ. He was celebrating his 65th anniversary of becoming a Jesuit. No, that number is not a typo. He's baptising the grandchildren of people he baptised...

Sunday evening was a rousing splatter of Call of Cthulhu, just so Tristan would have one last game before his sentencing on Wednesday. Thanks to [ profile] chordam7 for running the game and to Robin and Corey for hosting. And! most especially to [ profile] sulky_girl and Robin for transportation to and from Olympia.

I took this morning off work for a last meeting with Tristan's attorney, followed by some time with Tristan to work on his statement to the court, should that be warranted. The words are his, though I did help by asking him questions and getting his thoughts put in order. Although what we wrote was very short, he could not read it aloud without tears.

Whether or not he actually reads it in court is up to his attorney.

I also wrote a statement for the court, which will be entered into the record during sentencing. I made Tristan's attorney cry.

Statement of Thom Ryng in support of Tristan Ryng, his son )

I had planned to go into work after the meeting, but after speaking with Tristan's attorney I decided to call in. After sitting down with Tristan, I'm a bit shattered, so this was clearly a good decision.

Blathering just a bit now, dear reader, but I hope that you will forgive me. I'm good for very little else today.

Tristan's sentencing is on Wednesday at 3:00 PM at the Pierce County courthouse in Tacoma. It will be a melancholy affair, but please, if you wish to come out and support Tristan, please come down.
Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
On the Sounder Train

Dear Reader,

Work continues to be a succession of crazy deadlines. Our current round of corporate videos required my working until about 10:30 Friday night, and some small edits and corrections on Saturday morning. To clear my head I went for a walk.

In the process of wandering the neighbourhood in pursuit of a pipe rack at no less than nineteen assorted yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales (a pursuit in which I was wholly unsuccessful) I became rather too warm. The temperature was upwards of 85°, and at some point I became dehydrated and simply stopped perspiring.

While the condition did not go as far as heat stroke, I was plainly not doing well by the time I arrived back home. I drank a large amount of liquid refreshment and, fortified by a "MythBusters" marathon on the televisionary engine, I slept on the couch much of Saturday afternoon.

Fully recovered by Sunday, after Mass Francine and I constructed another section of back yard fence.

Work has continued on various Cruenti Dei projects, including Turn 12, a Renaissance Rules expansion, and background for a new continent or two. Francine found a fantastic application called NoteBook by a company called Circus Ponies. It has proved indispensable in the writing process of these new books.

I continue to re-read The Lord of the Rings. What astonishes me about these books is how much I missed on previous readings. In details great and small these are proving extremely Catholic books. Some of the details - as small as odd phrasings that in previous readings I simply glossed over - have changed my understandings of characters and even events.

Of course, it might simply be that I'm more aware at 42 than I was at 12, or even at 30.

One particular detail struck me so forcefully that I searched the very internets for confirmation of my observation, finding it in Paul Kocher's book Master of Middle-Earth. It is just this: that every event in The Lord of the Rings is told from the perspective of the smallest person.

Depending on the chapter, this is Frodo, or Pippin, or even Gimli.

This is a detail easily overlooked - indeed, I overlooked it the previous twenty or so times I've read the books - and yet it completely colours the narrative.

For those of you in the area, I'd like to re-extend my invitation, found here.
Commemoration of Saints Zeno and Zenas

Dear single and faithful reader,

I have not been posting much of late. Mostly it's because I hate to whine to you. My job is killing me by inches, but I have a job, which is more than I can say of many of my friends. I've written not a word on two different stalled novels, but Cruenti Dei thrives. And so it goes.

And then there was today, which in my current state permits me to share this poem, which I have just written and not revised at all. Caveat emptor. Or something.

A Sort of a Sonnet Written on the Occasion of My Son Pleading Guilty to Homicide

There is a place where water meets the sea
A beach of bled-white powdered bones ground fine
As moments for a perfect sand that coats
Every choking lung and gritty grey lips
That purse as if to kiss each dead moment.

And only here is the mystery stripped,
The mystery of human suffering
Stripped bare as bones, bleached as a desert bone,
Stripped bare for what it is - the swirl of motes
In a single reedy shaft of sunlight.

We fail because we cannot bear to be
In that bright place where water meets the sea.

I am leaving work to go to the Cathedral. Then home.

yours, as always,



22 Sep 2008 17:51
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Spiffy)
My executive producer and my co-writer spent the last week in Westport, Connecticut conducting a series of tours designed to show off our pilot project.

Results were mixed, though generally positive.

We discovered some unanticipated issues with the attention span of passengers watching on-board video versus just looking out the window.

So, as we seem to do every month, we completely changed what it is we do and how it is we do it.

Wherein our author whinges mightily )

I think I'll buy a kilt and a barn full of rum.
For all the words of encouragement and well-wishes and most of all the prayers, thank you.

I start Monday.

Full medical/dental/vision/401k. Good pay. Bonus program.

In a room with three other writers. Ground-up company that has enormous financial backing, impatient customers, and enough backed-up work to keep us in kippers through June.

Thank you.

Deo gratias.
I have been unemployed now since All Saints Day, November 1. My state unemployment claim has been denied, so as of this moment I have officially zero income.

OK, that's not quite true. I've been doing some odd publishing and layout contracts, but this is not going to pay the mortgage. Or the wedding.

So I've been going to Tulley's every morning, just to keep a steady routine. They've got a conference room with a great view of the Tacoma streets that I'm using as my own private looking for work office.

I've also been doing a lot of work on Cruenti Dei. I seriously underestimated the amount of work these maps would be. I've got two more difficult ones to do, and then a handful of easy ones, similar to the sample posted.

Come hell or high water, the rule book is going to the printers on Saturday.

For your pleasure, some links to make your day shine.

Lovecraft computer games

Adopt a penguin

Steampunk Dalek

The Castaigne Collection

... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.


1 Nov 2007 14:03
thomryng: Carcosa (Carcosa)
This Saturday, Freighthouse Square is hosting Tacoma's first annual literary convention: Tacoma Word!

We'll be there all day, representing Sardarthion Press and Pilgrimage House. You won't be able to miss us: the table will be half Lovecraftian horror and half Catholic spirituality - the darkness and the light, together again.

I'll be signing copies of both The King in Yellow and Three Black Ravens, so come on down!

... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.
(Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound)

Two people have now asked me about the use of Latin on my journal.

Since that's a sizable percentage of the readership (possibly half), I thought I'd better address it. Here several reasons. Take your pick.

  • I'm a mediævalist. I like old things.
  • I'm a Roman Catholic. It's our language, even if we don't use it much.
  • I love the sound and elegance of the language.
  • Did I mention I like old things?
  • I am, in fact, a pretentious git.

Is there anything finer on a blustery day than a cup of tea and a good book?

It has been a trying week. On Thursday, I gave a presentation to the Pierce Deanery Principals for which I had been preparing nearly a month. It was just a bit stressful, as Principals are taught in Principal school the fine art of the stony, blank expression.

Only one of them actually engaged, and I later discovered that he wasn't a Principal at all. He was, in fact, assistant superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese. I can't venture an opinion on the Principals, but this fellow was convinced.

To relieve a bit of pent-up stress, I took Friday off and worked on Cruenti Dei. This is not nearly so decadent as it sounds, as I'm only actually paid for 30 hours a week, and I'd passed that mark on Wednesday evening.

The (final) rules draft for Cruenti Dei is done. Now I'm waiting for some illustrations and working on the maps. Stat sheets are next. I'm most emphatically not looking forward to doing those. I'm also studying up on the Little Ice Age. Tremble!

After receiving several earnest inquiries from people (chiefly my relatives) about wedding registries and such, I've added a Paypal button on the right hand side of this journal. There's really nothing we need, of course, but this gives those who wish to give us a gift an opportunity to do so.

(Parenthetically, it also makes it slightly more unlikely that we'll end up with nine mis-matched candlesticks.)

Wedding planning and preparation continues apace. Many details were sorted out last Saturday, and I'm extremely grateful to those who attended. I actually feel like this is going to come off, now. Invites are at the printer, and the various committees have set down to their work. My list, finally, looks manageable.

Yesterday I attended an LMI class at the chancery in Seattle. More on this program and my ongoing formation soon. But not today. The classes are, by and large, utterly fascinating. Reminds me, I need to get some homework done.

In the evening, Francine and I had dinner with Fr. Bryan at Paddy Coyne's downtown. It's the closest thing Tacoma has to a proper pub, since E-9 lost its soul.

I can't go to Paddy Coynes without being reminded of Droyne, for reasons obvious perhaps to several old Traveller hands here.

Somehow, I missed reading Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" until just yesterday. Ah, what a fool I've been.

Quote of the day: "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering." (Doctor Who - who can tell me the episode?)
First, your meme of the day, courtesy of [ profile] literary_equine :

How smart are you? - Intelligence Test

That's 24 out of 25 correct. I wonder which question I got wrong?

We'll move on now to the geeky Church news portion of today's entertainment. Never mind Catholic / Orthodox rapprochement (a thousand years of schism can't be wrong!), it seems the Russians are upset with Constantinople (that's Istanbul, for you young Turks out there). I blame Estonia. If they'd only converted to Unitarianism, none of this would have happened.

And as I've long suspected, the Pope really is crazy like a fox. I won't bore you with his other chess moves (they're mostly liturgical), but for those who thought this would be a transitional Papacy, Benedict is increasingly making Pope John Paul II look like he was the transition.

And when did BBC stop capitalizing God?

On a more personal note, my schedule has really screwed up my praying of the Hours. I'm trying to fix that, but it's been a struggle.

Meanwhile, wedding plans are the chaos that wedding plans apparently always are. Still, we've finally got another planning session put together, so that's a good thing.

My plans for continued employment with Catholic schools in Tacoma is collapsing like a startled soufflé.

Plan A is proving a difficult sell - a month I've been on-and-off working on a presentation to the Principals and Pastors, and it only started coming together yesterday in any meaningful way. Trouble is, the plan only makes financial sense if you assume that the goal is to (eventually) open several more schools. It's rather difficult to get these folks to that view, when their paradigm is built on "can we afford to stay open for another year?"

The demographics support twelve or more schools where we currently have seven, but I don't think I can get them to look that far ahead.

Plan B is increasingly looking unlikely. The Archdiocese just hasn't budgeted for the position I'd fill.

Plan C involves sending out résumés. This, I started yesterday. Looks like Frank Russell is looking for a FrameMaker guru. Why not?

Oh, and my laptop finally died. There went my savings account.

Cruenti Dei continues to stumble on towards the starting line. I'm very pleased with [ profile] amphigori's illustrations. I still haven't seen anything from [ profile] badhairs , which doesn't surprise me given his life situation, nor from [ profile] starkad67 , which is quite worrying.

I'm still trying to get up to speed on Campaign Cartographer 2 - I'm was hoping to have these maps done pretty quickly, but it's proving more difficult than I thought. I may have to go with hand-drawn maps. Not my first choice, but I'm trying to work to deadline, here.

I did get the Preview PDF put together, complete with a couple of illustrations and a silly little sketch map. [ profile] amphigori's Wenemet sketch makes the whole thing worth downloading, though for the final masterpiece, you'll have to purchase the rulebook when it's available.

Speaking of which, the rulebook is pretty much done, except for the tables and the illustration inserts. So that's something.

Did I mention I've been really busy?

I've also not been sleeping very well for the last few weeks, something that I seem to share with a number of people on my friendslist. I suspect that R'lyeh may be poking its wee head above the waves. I've also been having quite the surreal nightmares. Interestingly, I've not been to Carcosa in a while.

As of orientation day yesterday, Visitation is at 172 registered students, with four additional students pending contracts and another handful in-process but unregistered. Both Pre-Kindergarten classrooms are full. Full! Laudate Dominum!

This is a tremendous success, achieved in only two years, and I'm pretty darn pleased about it. I recognize that this was not all my doing - nowhere near it in fact. This was the result of the hard work and prayer of an entire school community. My job was simply to mold parents into evangelists for the school and keep them on message. Ora et labora indeed.

And now, I'm taking a short holiday. I've four days off for the Memorial day weekend, and I intend to take it.
Just working like crazy. Doing what I did for Visitation Catholic School for Holy Rosary School.

And what exactly have I done for VCS? Well, our PK-8 June 1 2006 enrollment number was 118; for June 1 2007 it was 141. Right now we're at 152, which is just five shy of where we ended last year, and we still have the prime August recruiting season to go.

As of this morning, our Pre-K at Visitation is full at 18 students, and our satellite Pre-K at St. Ann stands at three students. Now, you might think three isn't such a hot number, but most Pre-K and K registrations typically happen in August. This time last year, our main Pre-K stood at five, and we ended the year there with fourteen, plus nine at St. Ann.

Did I mention our Pre-K at Visitation is full?

I think what I'm trying to say here is woo hoo!

In lieu of actual content, here are some news links to keep you amused.

The shame of 'Hello Kitty'

Reincarnation in China now requires a license

The Cardinal who said kaddish for his mother

Sardarthion Press gets a makeover


(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)


12 Jun 2007 17:26
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Stupor Mundi)
The madness that is the second-to-last week of school, with its graduations and field day gyrations, has given way to the collapsing soufflé that is the last week of school.

I'm feeling much better about life in general, and the stress level has noticeably dropped. It hasn't quite dropped to the Summer Holiday level, but it's hovering right near the Now, What I Was Supposed to be Doing? level.

Some time in the next month, I rather suspect it will be at the Sangrias on the Patio level, a state of affairs to which I look forward with no little anticipation.

The weekend was gardening in the rain, followed by gardening in the sunshine. The fig has been joined by an olive. In between, there were Irish (sic) pubs and gawdawful fish and chips at a place that should probably stick with pizza.

I don't think I mentioned it earlier, but I built fully half of Piazza della Pistachio on Memorial Day, just so we would have some place to put the grill.

Today is my last day of staying late at work.
Due to bugetary issues, my employment contract with Visitation Catholic School has not been renewed.

We're trying to sort out whether my last day is end of June or end of August.

This was, bar none, the most challenging and personally satisfying job I've had, and I will miss it greatly.

If anybody's looking for a writer, layout person, designer, or really whatever, let me know.
Today was a crazy busy day at the school. Not only did we have our Friday all-school Mass this morning, we also awarded honors certificates after Mass, held tryouts for the school talent show mid-day, and had a student-council assembly in the afternoon.

I'm pooped.

Tomorrow evening is our gala school auction, our major fund-raiser for the year. Our more casual "family" auction, held last Friday, raised almost 40% more than last year. This is utterly fabulous, and I can only hope and pray that tomorrow will bring more of the same.

It's a sad fact of life that Catholic schools need to raise money. The tuition we charge doesn't begin to cover our costs. Since most of our students are from working-class families, they're strained paying what we charge now. Over a third of our families have some sort of financial aid.

We don't get money from the State or the Feds or the Archdiocese, except in the form of grants, which are unpredictable at the best of times.

Our teachers are paid about 90% of the public school standards, although I know of at least two who have waived that and voluntarily taken lower pay. And all of them spend their own money on materials for their classroom.

So I guess what I'm saying is, please pray (or send good vibes or whatever you're comfortable with) for the success of our auction tomorrow.

Well, "Klara" is out the door again, this time to Glimmer Train.

As I told someone recently, she's got more rejections than the Titanic has ice cubes. Now that I've got an agent telling me she does not suck ostrich eggs through straws, I'm a little more enthused about sending her out again.

I did a couple of minor edits that I think strengthen the villain Svejk a little and give a little more atmosphere to the Clock interior. We shall see.

Last night Francine and I had the perfect Geek Date™. After fish and chips at a new place on St. Helens, we talked writing and gardening at Doyle's, and finished the evening next door at King's Books* for an execrable poetry reading and to browse. I know Patrick, the owner, and we chatted a bit about writing and the latest news.

Francine today is off to get one of the kittens to the vet for a checkup and to schedule a spaying. Then she's heading to Kent to hang out with some knitting buddies.

I, on the other hand, am going to All Saints in Puyallup to our Junior High's last basketball game of the season. They're (miraculously) 4-2 right now, and I feel like I should see one of their games.

Afterwards, I will find a lovely café and write.

Now for the shower.

* The sign is yellow. I am not making this up.
A week ago today I was running a fever, every organ in my body ached, and I was loopy to the point of delerium.

So I stayed home from work. In the middle of the dreaded Catholic Schools Week.

Since then I've worked most every day, including our open house on Super Bowl Sunday®. I haven't managed to shake the plague, so I'm working from home today. So far, I've actually done quite a bit. There's something wonderful about working in one's jammies.

Plus, I'll eat an actual lunch. Crazy.
Catholic Schools Week is over for another year.

Now, perhaps, I can have a life again for a bit. And kick this cold.

More when coherent, but our open house today was splendidly well attended.
I came to work yesterday, though once again there was no school due to ice on the ground. Growing up in Chicago, where an overnight foot of snow wasn't enough to close my high school, I am consistently amazed at how little winter is required to shut down western Washington.

There was no heat in the building. By noon, I was shivering so hard that it was difficult to work with Adobe InDesign - the mouse was just shaking all over the place. My Principal, the only other person working in the building, took me to lunch. We didn't get back until about 4:00PM. Fortunately, I'd e-mailed the advertisement to the newspaper before we left.

This morning, it snowed again. Initially, we were going to open two hours late. I got the cancellation call when I was already on my way to work. Today, though it was just me and the janitor, at least the building was heated. I updated the web site and worked on some more details for Catholic Schools Week - I'm assuming that we won't get another Ice Age between now and then.

The bus slid all over the road on the way here, so I stuck it out until midafternoon in hopes that it would get a little warmer. This strategy was only marginally successful. Home now, and desperately trying to warm up. Hmmm. Perhaps some tea...

In one bit of spectacularly good news, Senator Barack Obama has formed a Presidential Exploratory Committee. This can only be good for the state and level of discourse in this country. It's 1968 all over again (hopefully sans assassination this time).
So I spent the morning waiting for the guy from ADT to come and upgrade our house alarm system. This he did, though it took rather over two hours, during which time he set off the REALLY OBNOXIOUSLY FRICKIN' LOUD alarm system, in various configurations, for five or ten minutes at a time.

I have a crazy splitting horrible headache.

The original plan was to head into work at this point. I'm going to give it a go, though I'm still fairly ill (and did I mention the headache?) but only because we're at the end stage of this stupid annual report that I'm supposed to get to the printer tomorrow. I'm only missing two bits of data, but attempts by e-mail to procure them have thus far failed.

Looks like I need to go in and rattle some cages. Huzzah.

But at least the alarm works, and I know how it works.


22 Sep 2006 08:39
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Get thee to a Wombattery!)
I called in sick today because my body is in PAIN. I mean, my toes hurt.
Today be o' courrrse Interrrnational Talk Like a Pirrrate Day, and a bottle of rum!

Me? I'm prrreparrrin' a rrreporrrt ferrr th' school commission and then rrrunnin' o'errr t' th' vessel t' adrrrop anchorrr at th' arrrrrrival o' local Russian deliverrry swashbucklerrr Andrrrei (cash only, please), and a bottle of rum!

Pirrrate Trrranslatorrr


5 Sep 2006 10:29
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Get thee to a Wombattery!)
It's the first day of school. We had no less than three priests at our opening ceremony this morning, something I'm told hasn't happened in thirty years.

For Victoria, tomorrow is the first day of school. She'll be in the castle for the first time. Her hair will be red.

My son Tristan, the graduate, was on the front page of The News Tribune yesterday. They spelled his name wrong, but there was a very cool photo on the print edition.
Today is the feast of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe. I was reminded that, had my daughter Victoria made the mistake of being born a boy, his name would have been Maximilian Josef.

In other meanderings, I was pall-bearer at my grandmother's funeral. It turns out that the woman I knew as Florence Janowski had been born Slavomira Sufleta. Apparently her first grade teacher couldn't pronounce "Slavomira" and decided that she "looked like a Florence". So there you go. I could probably say something profound about the names we wear, masks, and identity, but frankly I'm not capable of such higher brain functions just at the momement.

I worked most of Saturday flogging the school, and we gave out over 500 helium balloons with brochures attached. Several were let loose into the air by the children (and adults) holding them, so I'm hoping that somewhere in south Tacoma, a brochure from our school has literally fallen from the heavens on to someone who needs the information. I've got 13 callbacks set for this afternoon.

My laptop is currently winging its way to Cuppertino for repairs, so several projects for work and pleasure (Hârn, anyone?) are on hold for the moment.

It's almost 1:30 - I should find some lunch...


2 Aug 2006 16:02
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Beer for the Pope)
I'm looking for some local Tacoma-area folks with strong backs and a pickup truck to help me move some school desks from St. Ann Parish to Visitation Catholic School on Friday, August 4th.

The total distance between the two is less than three miles. This should only be for a couple of hours.

Quite a busy weekend, best evidenced by the fact that I'm only writing about it on the following Thursday.

Friday evening [ profile] jaynefury and I saw the latest X-Men opus. It was, as the saying goes, not horrible. It did make me want to see the other two, which I had been avoiding. Thus, the past two nights have involved the DVD player, a comfy chair, and mutations galore. What impressed me most about the films, I think, is that the third is very neatly a complete inversion of the first.*

On Saturday we headed up to Seattle's FolkLife festival with Victoria, [ profile] gaelfarce, [ profile] pi_radical, and [ profile] singing_barista and her James sans LJ. Before we left, I checked three different weather services, and each gave completely different forecasts. Hot? Cool? Raining? Sunny? They all said something different.

Odd thing was, they were all correct in turns. I took off and put on my jacket and sweater so many times, I could feel myself burning calories in the effort to maintain a constant body temperature and surface moisture.

So. Drumming, dancing, eating, and watching folks prance around with bells, sticks and waving hankies. Good times.

Sunday after church was some major Hârnination. A combination of transporting a large rock, various peoples prosecuting a Kaldoric civil war, and the odd insane Sheriff proved a nearly lethal trifecta for the players. I'll try harder next time.

Monday was a day of errands oft neglected, though we had a nice dinner with [ profile] singing_barista and her James.

Meanwhile, at work we continue moving towards the hectic end of the year, preparing for next year, and dealing with a new pastor (a swell guy, but not yet arrived) and a new principal (not yet hired). No stress there. Huzzah!

- - - - -
* Islands on opposite coasts, curing mutants vs. mutating everyone else, and lots of other things I can't quite remember just now.
Here's why: (may require free registration)

I'd love to get a copy of the video, which apparently was the first story on the news tonight.

Because, yes, I work here!


24 May 2006 12:20
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Beer for the Pope)
Attention denizens of Pugetopolis:

Can someone (preferably several someones) please record the KING-5 television news (both 5:00 and 6:30) for me in their entirety?

I will gladly recompense for tape.

More later.
Utterly exhausted at the moment. I've managed somehow to get all of the deadline items on my calendar finished, at least until next week, except for the school play. Right now I'm at 10 days work in a row, many of them 15 hours long or more. It will be 16 days by the time I'm through. After the Cinderella weekend, my days will be much shorter, and I'm off Friday the 5th to take [ profile] jaynefury to Whidbey Island for a long weekend.
301 santa maria maggiore side chapel
I owe dinner to a fine band of Paladins, and an explanation of "Pod Parishes" to several snarky friends. Both will wait a bit longer, I'm afraid. At least a couple of days.
Today is the anniversary of the deaths of both Julius Caesar and of H.P. Lovecraft. This surely cannot be coincidence.

When I was a young man, my father confided to me how he finally realized he was middle-aged. "There is no morning," he said, "where something doesn't hurt when I wake up." Just so. It has gradually dawned on me that I am nine months from my fortieth birthday, and I cannot remember a morning when I woke up and something didn't hurt.

Yesterday there were 78 pieces of SPAM in my work e-mail account. They fell generally into three categories: hot stock tips, deals on software, and assorted medical means of helping out the hardware, so to speak. It occurs to me that I wasn't interested in any of it.

I spent several hours over the last few days beginning the transformation of a small room in the school from "piled high with junk we really need to have hauled away" to "computer lab and study hall". I was flabbergasted to learn that several teachers do not approve of this transformation, as they don't want to have to march their class up there to use the computers. As if I'm going to hold a gun to their heads and force them to use freely available resources.

We have a grant proposal due today. Aiiiee!

This morning on the bus, I discovered to my dismay that I'd somehow contrived to leave my breviary at home. Threw off my whole morning routine.

Two headlines on page 3 of my local paper: "FBI watched activists, say ACLU" and "Government still after Google data". On page 1 we have "Judge bars terror evidence" and "Young lungs earn woman top tuba seat". So for the front page we've got witness coaching and a tuba player; you've got to actually open the paper to learn that your civil rights are more theoretical than real. Oh, and the Iraqi War makes it to page 4.

Thesis: I'm feeling old and tired and helpless and not nearly eldrich enough.

Either that or I need a beer.

Edited to add: Upon further reflection, I could not remember having my breviary last night, either. I called the Pierce Transit lost and found. Sure enough, they've got it.

What the heck has happened to my brain? I suspect this is what they call "early onset dottiness". Harrumph.
I have taken all possible counter-measures. I can only hope they were enough and in time.

Meanwhile, today is "pajama day" here at school. I'll let the true horrors of that sink in to your mind, dear reader, whilst I go and continue vainly to prepare thousands of postcards for bulk mailing - postcards upon which were affixed mailing labels. In some cases, by first graders. Many of those will have to be thrown away and new cards hand-addressed.


11 Jan 2006 07:59
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Default)
This morning, in a fun (but ultimately pointless) little quiz I nicked from [ profile] vonjunzt, I found out I am not a heretic.

Read more... )

Yesterday I made a big wall chart of all the things I've got to finish before Catholic Schools Week. Then I put my head on my desk and wept.

Today, it's full steam ahead!

Talked with Scott Glancy last night, and we're clear on how to proceed on TKIY. Soon, precious, soon...
Yesterday I received the proofs of The King in Yellow, and I have to say it looks good. I'm going through the text, and I've found a handful of errors, but these will all be a relatively simple fix. I'm planning on getting the fixes in over the long weekend approaching while [ profile] jaynefury is off on her photo shoot.

Work continues to be crazy busy. We had tours for prospective families on Friday, Monday, and two today, so something is going right. On the ground here, it all feels like a desperate attempt to tread water. Wow. A seriously mixed metaphor.

The alarm didn't go off this morning, so I've been running an hour late all day. Two tours today, a handful of letters to get out, an article due Thursday, ads due Friday and Tuesday. Glurg.

Oh, and I get to gently yell at somebody from the Catholic Schools Department of the archdiocese today. Huzzah!
He lives!

Updating from the Mandolin Café in Tacoma.

Still no internet at the flat. This is causing quite a bit of consternation, but after spending almost two hours on the phone with EarthLink (sic) the last time, I'm loathe to call them again. Except, perhaps, to cancel service (sic) entirely. Even given the holidays, we should have gotten a call to schedule repairs sometime late last year.

Francine is on the other side of the café setting up a photo shoot with [ profile] singingbarista and Lisa sans LJ. A quasi-bluegrass ensemble is playing behind me, and I'm sharing the table with two students who appear to be working on a translation from Greek. I think I'm beginning to like this place. I could write here.

Too stupid-busy to update at work. One of our big recruiting efforts, the dreaded Catholic Schools Week, is coming up at the end of the month, and there's so much to do I'm frankly swamped. There are moments when I look at what I've yet to do, and when I've got to have it done, that I'm in near-despair. And then I remember what their recruiting looked like before I got there, and I don't feel nearly so bad.

Based on the ship date, I should have gotten the proofs for The King in Yellow today. I didn't. Given the nature of the postal service around here, I am unsurprised but disappointed.
Another pointless meme, I suppose, though if anyone has any questions or requires clarifications, I'm sure I'd be happy to oblige.

Today was simply horrific. And I'm only exaggerating a wee. Yesterday was the school's Christmas Program, so of course I didn't get home until after 11:00, what with the buses and the missing of buses and the walking home from downtown in the freezing air bits.

So I was dragging a little today.

So far today I've: toted around Extremely Heavy Things, scooped ice cream to 150 or so students, witnessed a student have an allergic reaction so violent that paramedics were called and walls had to be mopped, helped with auditions for the school play, and watched several otherwise rational and together people have breakdowns due to assorted reactions (and lack of same) to projectile vomiting and assorted emergency medical procedures.

Oh, and I had to wash ice cream off of my sweater. Naturally, the blazing radiator in my office picked that very moment to shut off, so hours later the sleeves are still wet.

So yeah, one of those days. Exhausted and finding it difficult to concentrate or focus or much of anything. And I've got some serious housecleaning to accomplish before Saturday afternoon.

Right. So here's the Meme:

Read more... )
We just had a fire drill. Ah, the life of an elementary school employee!
OK, this is just cool: Catholic Schoolgirls Unravel DNA (thanks to [ profile] annabellissima for the link).

In other news, I spent much of today as a first grade student at Visitation Catholic School, my place of employment.

While first grade is not nearly so exhausting as kindergarten (see entries passim) it is nevertheless still a workout. I am amazed at the energy of these children, as well as their compassion and affection. At what point is that beat out of us?

The teacher is new; in fact this is her first year. She has something of the fresh-out-of-college-cheerleader-sorority aura about her, but gosh does she have those kids toeing the line. Her patience and the obvious love she has for her vocation and her charges is a true inspiration to me.

But enough mushy stuff.

Today (on the western calendar) is All Souls' Day, where we remember those who have died. Last year (as I recall) it sort of blurred by me. This year, as I am praying the hours, it was brought home in a particularly powerful way, as the prayers for this day are taken from the Office for the Dead, and includes the hymn Dies Irae.

I mean, wow.



2 Sep 2005 14:42
thomryng: Captain Haddock (Haddock)
I just turned in my first draft for the technical reference I've been writing since June.

It's 388 pages.

That means that over the life of the project, I completed 38.8 pages a week for an average of roughly a page an hour every day for ten weeks.

I'm going to have a cocktail now.