Punishing California

Or, Threatening Other States Not to Follow Our Lead:

I’ve long been aggravated by gas prices in California, prices that, where I live, average about 30 cents a gallon more than prices for comparable fuel in Louisiana. But I’ve always known better than to complain much–after all, prices here are still pretty tiny compared with prices in other countries. And even within the US, there are worse places; after all, prices in Hawaii are inevitably 25 to 30 cents a gallon higher than in Los Angeles. Which only stands to reason; every drop of gasoline that arrives in Honolulu must go through some system of trucks, ships, and more trucks before hitting the pump.

Imagine my horror, then, during last week’s trip to Hawaii, when I discovered that gas in Honolulu was 30 cents a gallon cheaper than in SoCal. This is not an exaggeration; the day I flew out, gas in Clareville was going for approximately $2.97 a gallon, and when I arrived on the island, the first place I spotted was charging $2.69. And that price stayed relatively stable during the week, while gas at home was at $3.09 by the time I got home.

What gives? The story that’s been told (scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page) as long as I can remember is that because California has banned MTBE from its fuels, only a very few refineries can supply the state. But I’m deeply dubious–particularly when that gas is now 10% more expensive than it is on an island in the middle of the fucking Pacific ocean. R.’s theory is that the oil companies are both punishing California for its emissions-control regulations and threatening other states not to follow in California’s footsteps. I’m pretty convinced. After all, can the proximity of the recent spike in gas prices and last year’s passage of Proposition 87 be entirely coincidental?

That’s Just Mean

After waking up at 3 this morning, utterly unable to sleep, and after struggling both before and after lunch to take a stupid nap, but finding myself too exhausted, and thus too hopped-up, to doze off, I finally fell asleep for a little while this afternoon.

And immediately had a protracted dream about sitting in a committee meeting at my institution.

And it was a committee I’m actually on! Discussing an issue that we actually need to discuss!

And just to add insult to injury, a senior (male) member of the faculty whom I’ve never seen before wandered in and disrupted our meeting by telling a joke about how feminists have no sense of humor. To which I responded with the ever-witty “if you said something funny, I’d laugh.” Except the rest of the committee was laughing. And so I wound up appearing unreasonably bitter and uncollegial and sense-of-humorless.

Can you blame me? All I want to do is get some freaking sleep, and I end up in a freaking committee meeting.

Days I Wish I Were Anonymous

The thing that has taken up the vast majority of my time this semester — and something on the order of 95% of my emotional energy — is something I absolutely, positively cannot write about. Not even in allegorized form. And it’s less of an exaggeration than I’d like to think to suggest that this unmentionable thing is killing me: I’m developing an ulcer, I’ve only gotten a few decent nights’ sleep in the last few weeks, and my stupid floppy mitral valve has been producing intermittent chest pain. All stress-induced, of course, and precisely the kind of thing that it usually helps to vent about.

But I can’t, not this time. Instead, I cut my hair, bought good ass-kicking boots, and am counting the days until I can get the hell out of here.

This is not how I want to feel about my job. And this is certainly not how I want to feel about my life.

You Decide

She’s at it again. I’ve just gotten an email message from tagged.com asking me to confirm my new account with them. I didn’t sign up for any such account. And it’s the same bloody email address this kid has been using, over and over again.

Do I:

  1. Write to the abuse folks at tagged.com and ask them to do something about this?
  2. Confirm the account, log in, and:

    1. Attempt to figure out who she is, in order to get her to cease and desist?
    2. Post all manner of unseemly stuff about her love for Laura Ashley dresses and the Anne of Green Gables novels?
  3. Just delete and ignore?

I think my judgment may be off here, as I’m feeling quite wrath-of-webgod about it. So your advice would be most appreciated.

Ways in Which Today Sucks

1. I was awake from approximately 1.30 am to approximately 5.00 am, for no apparent reason. And when the sun rose, and when the construction guys commenced jackhammering outside my bedroom window, I was awake again. And none too happy about it, I might add.

2. I got July’s electric bill today. June’s electric bill was not terribly shocking, though it was five dollars shy of the highest bill I’ve had since moving into the condo. July’s bill is nearly TRIPLE June’s. It’s enough higher that I’m considering calling somebody out to make sure no one’s siphoning off my meter.

3. I lay down to take a brief nap after lunch, and had to drag myself up after only half an hour of dozing, in order to go to a meeting. ‘Nuff said.

4. I’m now heading to the dentist, where he can take a look in my mouth and come up with a figure with an annoying number of digits, representing the amount he’s going to charge me to repair the crown I cracked on Friday. Which crown I cracked while eating sushi. And I will pay said figure, which will represent a sizeable chunk of my already dwindling savings (see #2 above), at the end of which investment I will not have a vacation in the Bahamas, or a new piece of electronics, but will merely once again have a working fucking crown, just like I did before this one decided to make for the territories, one small chunk at a time.

5. Oh yeah: t-minus 36 hours until R.’s departure. That, too.

How Pissed Am I?

Seriously pissed.

Remember this?

It just broke again.

And it’s got the disc we were watching last night — disk 3 of 6 of season 3 of 24 — stuck inside it.

I’m about to take the fucker apart to see if I can get the disk out. The cursing you hear is probably me.

[UPDATE, 8.34pm: Unbelievably enough, I fixed it. With my very own screwdriver. The disk changer was stuck in an eject-loop, trying to get rid of the disk in slot 2 — except there was no disk in slot 2, and it couldn’t figure that out on its own. And poor Jack Bauer was stuck in slot 1, waiting. I took the thing apart and found a way to slip that disk down into slot 2 while it was in eject mode, and voila. The amazing thing is that now it seems to believe everything is hunky-dory. I’m still pissed, but I can at least feel righteous in my indignation, as I apparently fucking rule. Sony still sucks, and it’s clear to me now that this thing need replacing, post haste. But for now: on to what remains of the evening of Veronica Mars I had planned.]

Words I’ve Decided I Hate, Volume 1

Migraineur. One who has migraines.

Every time I hear this word, my brain jumps to connoisseur and flaneur, and it just pisses me off. As though having migraines was some kind of lifestyle choice. As though their victims compare notes about their finer qualities. As though there were some masochistic pleasure to be had in the delectation of the experience of the migraine.

Also, it just sounds dumb.

Can’t Stop That Day

Every semester for the last two and a half years, I’ve arranged things such that my scheduled commitments for the week all fall between Monday and Wednesday. The good news in this is that generally speaking, by Wednesday at 5.00 pm, I’m free to operate by weekend guidelines (that is, appointment-free: working with the door closed, if in the office; working at home, if I feel like it; working in the most comfortable clothes possible, in any case). It would be hard to call the Thursday-to-Sunday stretch a “long weekend,” given that I usually take no more than one day of it “off,” and that one’s only spent not-working in order to take care of all the details of my non-work life that are utterly neglected six of seven days out of the week. Nonetheless, the absence of scheduled commitments during those four days creates a feeling of freedom that, if illusory, is nonetheless damned nice.*

That’s the up side. The down side is that Monday, not to put too fine a point on it, sucks. The intensity of the Monday-to-Wednesday stretch is such that I’m left feeling pretty battered by Wednesday at 5.00 pm, and it all begins with Monday. I get whatever work done in the morning I can manage, zip to the gym if there’s an hour to spare, run to the noon department meeting, rush off to teach my two afternoon classes, and conclude with a just shy of two-hour long committee meeting. After which I usually end up in the office, cleaning up details and answering neglected email, until nearly 8.00 pm. The result is that I wake up every Monday morning absolutely dreading what’s ahead.

I’m not sure that the alternative — spreading the commitments out over five days — would be any better. But I have fantasies of this leisured professorial life I keep hearing about, and wish somebody could help me figure out how to get it.

*Not to mention that it’s the only tenable way I’ve found to maintain a long-distance relationship. But that’s another story.


Somebody somewhere apparently crossed the streams earlier today, and everything around here went kerflooey. Not in Claremont, at least not as far as I know; I’ve been at school all day, where the energy crisis of some years ago resulted in our being outfitted with mondo generators that we move seamlessly to in time of blackout. But my otherwise fabulous and enormously reliable hosting provider went down sometime in the 1.15 pm vicinity, and the site only just came up moments ago.

Sigh. And I was having such a good blog day.