Wednesday, January 20, 2010

no ordinary bulb

see spot run

Monday morning, as I ate my cliff bar and trolled the interweb, the kitchen light (the only light on at the time) finally gave out. It's been getting weaker and weaker in the last couple of months, and in the wee hours of the morning it went kaput. Charrow managed to squeeze in a trip to the hardware store to get a replacement light (it's no ordinary bulb), but the kitchen remains dark. According to the Super, the problem isn't the bulb, it's the [insert very important word that he couldn't remember HERE]. We have to go buy said important piece and have him install it if we can't figure it out ourselves.

Last night, I cooked a dish of cumin black beans by the light of my camping headlamp (who needs candles when you've got pinpointed LED at your disposal?) The night before that, I made a stir fry with cilantro peanut sauce by headlamp. And in a few minutes, I will go wash the dishes, yes, by head lamp (running water under LED looks very futuristic/CGI-ish).

Whenever you lose a convenience that is so completely ingrained in your routine*, it takes awhile for the reflexes to stop firing. Several times now I've approached the dark kitchen and flicked the switch only to be mildly outraged at the stubborn darkness. But I'm getting the hang of it faster than I did when the radio in my car wouldn't work. For about 6 months, the radio in my Honda was hibernating (not dead, so much as just not on) because I couldn't find the security code** that would unlock the sleeping music box. Out of sheer laziness, I took to using my ipod while driving instead of going to the Honda dealer to get the code. The habit of turning on the radio was not an easy one to phase out of my physical lexicon. Even towards the end of my radio free period, whenever I found myself ipod-less and stuck in traffic, I would take a jab at the radio button to make the traffic go away. No dice.

Now I'm thinking, maybe this whole kitchen light thing isn't a problem. Maybe what we should do instead of fixing it, is order charrow a headlamp so that we can both function in our makeshift wilderness while we cook meals that will keep us in tupperware during this ridiculously busy time.

*this post was originally supposed to about the pitfalls of autopilot and how we should try to be more conscious of our actions, but I got sidetracked by the novelty of my headlamp.

** Honda's have a security feature that requires you to enter a code whenever the power source for the radio is turned off. This is supposed to make the radio inoperable in the event of theft. It also makes the radio inoperable in the event of routine maintenance work that requires disconnecting the battery.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

it's a dog eat dog treat kind of world

is that a treat?

The world has gone to the dogs. I'm not talking financial crisis or unemployment or telling bankers to avoid congregating in groups of more than 12 people. I'm talking four legged, butt licking, drool slinging, frisbee chasing canines. Two close friends have gotten a dog in the last month. There was a Sunday profile of an animal planet dog trainer in the NY times today. Charrow* and I swoon at the sight of a dog, even the drop-kick variety (a term Charrow has dubbed for what I refer to as ankle-biting yappy dogs).

And last, but not least, I have enrolled in dog training school. I could blame it for my blog inactivity, but we all know that I don't actually require a good reason to go into hiding from my own words. Tomorrow is the start of week 3 at Anthony Jerone's School of Dog Training, located very, very far away from my apartment. 2 trains, a bus, and a 7 minute walk. Only for dogs would I ever bother with a commute this long. In fact, I was thinking about it the other day, and there's absolutely no way that I would drive for an hour and 40 minutes, one way, for a regular job (the return trip is 15 minutes shorter thanks to the fast, but pricey express bus). But sitting on a train with the rest of the Monday through Friday world, I can read (assuming I can stay awake) or geek out to NPR podcasts, and the commute is over before I know it. Just think how many self-help books I can get through in 8 weeks! Kidding. Well, sort of.

The first day of my commute, I was standing on a crowded B train reading Pamela Slim's Escape From Cubicle Nation when I noticed the person sitting next me was reading a business book called "Leading Change." I'm not sure the juxtaposition could have been more poetic (and amusing) because Slim's book** is a down to earth exploration of entrepreneurship (try typing that 5 times fast) and from what I could tell, my fellow train rider's book was rooted in big business management and change implementation strategery. If that isn't clear enough for you, this should help: the subtitle for Slim's book is "From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur."

Coma inducing logistics aside, I'm pretty excited about the training course. It's not the most engaging instructional style (think poorly produced videos from 1978-1989), but there is a ton of hands on work required for certification, and that is something you can't get from an online course, especially when you live in a co-op that doesn't allow dogs. I'll try not to regale you with too many dog stories, but I can't make any promises. I'm going to be operating on sluggish mode until this thing is over with so I may not have the faculty for much more than a rundown of how I taught a dog to heel after 27 tries.

*Blogger's spellcheck really doesn't like Charrow's name. The first suggestion for the correct word is chariot. Maybe I should start calling her that.

**Highly recommend to anyone, cubicle bound or fancy free.

*** Today's picture is of Dixie, the dog we used to walk in Atlanta. To see more of her cheekiness, visit her blog.