over and under, all over again

As I was writing the post I put up Monday, I found myself having a bit of a soundtrack going through my head. Most prominent was “Over and Under,” by Joydrop. “Down Under,” by Men at Work came to mind. And at one point “Overpowered by Funk,” actually came up on the playlist I had playing. (Theo likes The Clash, so I will play it for him when he’s fussy. It’s good bouncing music.)

It may not shock you that I have, in the past, enjoyed putting together playlists by theme. (One of these days I will show you my question and answer playlist.)

So as I wrote my…um…poem…I found myself also jotting down song titles. And then I took it another step, and put together a playlist. Which made a sort of poem or story itself.

    Over + Under (Joydrop)

    Overachievers (Crash Test Dummies)
    Overkill (Men at Work)
    Blue Overall (XTC)
    Overpowered by Funk (The Clash)

    Under Control (The Strokes)
    Under Pressure (Queen and David Bowie)
    Overcome (Tricky)
    Pushover (The Long Winters)
    Under my Thumb (Social Distortion)

    Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel)
    Under the Milky Way (The Church)
    Over the Rainbow (Innocence Mission)
    Head Over Heels (Tears for Fears)
    Overhead (Furslide)
    Undertow (REM)

    Under Water (Mary’s Danish)
    Underground (Ben Folds Five)
    The Ugly Underneath (XTC)
    Underwear (The Magnetic Fields)
    Underneath it All (Nine Inch Nails)
    Down Under (Men at Work)
    Underwear (Pulp)

    From Under the Covers (The Beautiful South)
    All Over the World (Pixies)
    Over There (The Housemartins)
    Over and Over (Camper van Beethoven)
    Over and Over (Morcheeba)

    It’s Over (Tom Waits)
    Over (Portishead)
    It’s Over (Filter)
    I know it’s Over (The Smiths)

    Over Now (Alice in Chains)
    All Over Now (Aimee Man)
    It’s All Over But the Crying (Garbage)

    Now the Day is Over (Innocence Mission)
    Over and Done With (The Proclaimers)
    I Am Over It (The Dandy Warhols)

I am a highly trained stunt procrastinator. Don’t try this at home.

Well, actually, do try it. It’s fun. Just go to your iTunes library, or whatever source of songage you choose, and pick out song titles that write a story or a poem. (This is not unlike Magpie’s book stacking task, which I keep meaning to try. You should try that, too, while your at it. Because you need more distractions.)

Advanced Topics in Procrastination

The Department of Procrastinatory Arts and Sciences at Big Urban University announces its Fall, 2008 course offerings:

PR 101: Introduction to Procrastination
Topics covered include puttering, stalling, and dawdling for beginners. Required of all students working towards degrees in Procrastination. (Requirement may be waived if the student has avoided registering for the course for 3 or more semesters.)
Instructor: TBD

PR 125: Procrastinators Throughout History
Leaders, visionaries, revolutionaries. This survey course highlights the great procrastinators of the world and the accomplishments they would have been famous for, had they ever managed to complete them.
Instructor: Putterington

PR 126: Procrastinators Throughout History II: The Arts
This course examines the works of the Grand Masters of Procrastination. Students will learn to appreciate the unfinished symphonies, uncompleted novels and half-painted canvases that might have rivalled the finished works of the artists’ better known contemporaries.
Instructor: TBA

Procrastinating 225: Special Topics in Procrastination
Details on the course topic are expected to be available by the fourth week of the semester, by which time the professor hopes to have finished writing the syllabus. Or at least started it.
Instructor: McDawdle

PR 234: Getting Things Partially Done
This hands-on productivity course will help speed you along in the steps from thinking about doing something, getting started in deciding to get something started, and starting to get something done that will look like progress towards the accomplishment of things.
Instructor: TB

PR 235: Putting Things Off
Postponed until Spring semester

Other courses, which are planned for some time later:
PR 175: The Science of Stalling and the Fine Art of Puttering About
PR 187: The Procrastinator in Contemporary Society
PR 285: Creative Time Mismanagement
PR 335: Advanced Seminar in Dawdling

This course bulletin is offered up for this week’s Monday Mission, which asked for posts in the form of course descriptions.


I had a marginally eventful day today, with various unrelated things happening that gave me some pause.

  • The first event was being met with this message:

    Scrabulous is disabled for US and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.

    I was just saying last night that I needed to buckle down and get stuff done. And mentioned my “other methods of procrastination.” Well, as it turns out, this was one of them: I’ve been playing a few games of Scrabulous (the Scrabble rip-off) on Facebook with a few friends.¹ It’s not a huge time sink, since a whole day usually passes between turns. But I was usually playing 2 or 3 games. (Okay, and I’ve tried a couple of other word games as well. What can I say? I love to play with words.) But now the makers of Scrabble are suing for intellectual property/copyright infringement (and I can’t say I blame them). So no more Scrabulous for me. And seing as I was just hinting at needing to cut down on my procrastination, this seemed to be a sign. Or perhaps a S₁I₁G₂N₁.

  • This evening I also experienced some more signs that my pregnancy is progressing. I’ve had quite a few (painless) contractions and various other sensations that remind me how little time may be left before the little guy makes his appearance. I’m almost 37 weeks along, and as such, I could go any day now. I’ve sort of been counting on having a few more weeks to get stuff done.
  • The final sign of the day was more unambiguously welcome. A box of brownie mix that has been sitting around for weeks (or months) caught my eye. In particular, the directions calling for 2 eggs. We had eggs for dinner last night, in part to try to finish them up before their expiration date. After last night, we had 2 eggs left. Exactly 2 eggs. Eerie, don’t you think? Add to that a craving for chocolate, a mixing bowl out of the dishwasher and not yet put away, and evening temperatures cool enough to consider turning on the oven, and I ask you: could the universe be sending me a clearer message than that?

  • —-

    Okay, there was one more event that happened today that got me riled up, but I can’t say I took it as any sort of a sign. I got into a bit of an altercation with a truck driver in Boston. He was trying to “help” me out of my parking space (which he, or perhaps another truck driver, had half-blocked me into) by yelling out somewhat useless and conflicting instructions. Which were then supplemented by rather patronizing and sexist comments. I was about ready to engage in fisticuffs. Perhaps I’ll have time to share the full rant later, now that I’ll have gained all that time from abstaining from addictive word games…


    Oh, and there was some other good news. A good sign, even, one might say. Phoebe used the toilet at daycare for the first time today. (And second and third.) After my rant just last night. Further, she wore the same diaper home that she left home in. (And no, not due to neglect. Nor due to her stubbornly holding back all day, which did cross my mind.)

    ¹ So, az, it looks like I can’t play for a bit. How does this affect Canadians living in Spain, by the way?

    catching up, bearing down

    I don’t have much time tonight, as it’s 10:30, and I’ve got some work to do before a meeting tomorrow. However, I feel compelled to give an update.¹

    Pregnancy seems to have finally caught up with me. After feeling strangely spry for the first 2 months of the 3rd trimester, my body apparently caught sight of the calendar. Suddenly, the heartburn has kicked in stronger. I’ve started having joint pains. Gravity is now exerting a greater than normal force on me, causing me to be more strongly adhered whatever surface I happen to be sitting on. And most irritatingly, the sausage feet that visited me occasionally have not only returned, but apparently camped in for the long haul. I feel like I am walking around with a 5 pound weight strapped to each of my feet, and I can barely shove my feet into the pair of sandals that had previously fit just fine. When I take my sandals off, I get a couple of big stripes of puffiness and dents that would make the Michelin man proud. Attractive as this may sound, there is a downside. My feet hurt, dammit.

    I’ve been trying to keep my feet up when I can, but this is not as often as one might expect when one is tending to a toddler. While Phoebe has gotten quite capable at many tasks, showing amazing fine motor skills in her paper-folding abilities, she has not yet mastered the art of cookery. Letting her have a go with the cooking knives did not go well, and she struggles with even the most rudimentary recipes. (This should not surprise me, considering previous research.)

    Then there’s the potty training, which continues to be the bane of my existence. We are on our third chart now, each glimmering with sparkly stickers of victory. 28 stickers on each completed chart. And not a single potty usage at daycare. (The child, who apparently has some sort of will of her own, has announced her intentions of using her diaper at daycare. She can do well keeping her big-girl underwear clean and dry at home, but if she is wearing a diaper, she tends to use it. And the daycare provider is not comfortable with kids wearing underwear until they have demonstrated an ability to use a potty for a couple of weeks.)

    I had an ultrasound today, as the new kiddo was stubbornly keeping his head up at my last appointment. Happily, he is now facing the general direction of the exit. Also, he appears to be growing well. (I actually had an ultrasound 4 weeks ago, too, to check on growth. My external measurements were not increasing over a whole month, which was a bit unsettling. We’ve both caught up, though.)

    I also had my last violin lesson for some indeterminate amount of time, which should at least make my schedule feel slightly lighter as I continue to grow heavier. Which is good, since I am feeling the pressure of time bearing down on me. I still have work/school goals I haven’t yet abandoned, and there is some chance I can get some of them done.²


    ¹ I’m apparently still addicted enough to this blogging business that I will take a break from my other methods of procrastination in order to blather on.

    ² Assuming I stop procrastinating.³

    ³ I’m still also working on finishing up writing about our experiences with Early Intervention. I’ve also got some pants on the backburner. (And I say Phoebe has trouble with cooking?) So, as soon as I have a chance to catch up….

    she picked black for the background of the most recent chart.
    Phoebe's progress charts. Note the evidence that Phoebe is our child: she picked black for the background of the most recent chart.

    no damn cat, no damn hat

    So I sat on my ass
    All this cold dreary day
    And I said “How I wish
    I had more time to play.”

    No time to write posts
    That are well thought-out rants,
    No time to write lists
    about movies with pants.

    So I all I can do is to
                    and moan
    And each time the phone rings
    Shout “leave me alone!”

    No damn cat came in wanting
    To show me his “things”
    But the living room’s trashed
    And the bathtub’s got rings

    Glued to the keyboard
    With deadlines a-loomy
    The house is a mess
    And my mood is all gloomy.

    I should do my work now
    While the clocks say it’s lating
    But this is a fun way
    Of procrastinating.

    I couldn’t resist this week’s Monday Mission, which asked for a post in the style of a children’s book or poem.

    procrastinator’s horoscope for today…or tomorrow

    The Procrastinator’s Horoscope, September 10, 2007:
    For today or tomorrow. Or maybe some time later this week.

    Aries (March 21-April 19): That deadline is fast approaching, so you’d best get cracking. That project absolutely needs to be done by Friday, and you have a lot of work left to do. Wait, Friday? That’s days away! I mean, practically a week. You can afford to spend a little bit of time online before you dig in. Surf’s up!

    Taurus (April 20-May 20): It’s about time you wrote the email you’ve been putting off writing. It’s a sensitive matter, so make sure to choose your words carefully. Stare at your computer screen. Type “Dear Bob.” Wait, does “dear” sound to personal, or maybe too formal? Better delete that and start over. Type “Hey Bob!” No, that’s too informal. Delete that. Hey, look, you got an email! Your buddy sent you a link to a really funny YouTube video. Man, YouTube is cool. I wonder how many videos are up there that have “Bob” in their title?

    Gemini (May 21-June 21): Before you get started on your day’s tasks, check on your blog, if you have one. How’s traffic on that last post? Any new comments? Any interesting search terms? How about now? Ok, that’s enough. Let’s get to work. But wait, any new comments now? What about now? Now? If you don’t have a blog, today would be a good day to start one. Maybe two.

    Cancer (June 22-July 22): It’s time to pay bills again. Get yourself organized. You’ll need the checkbook, a pen, and some stamps. Oh, and the bills. Where are those bills? Oh, right. Under the pile of catalogs. Hey, what’s new at L.L. Bean, by the way? Didn’t you need to look for some gloves? Ooo, and look at that sweater on page 17.

    Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): The day is already half gone, and you’ve barely even thought about the work you need to do. You must need some coffee. Go get some coffee right now. Go for a walk, even. You know, get that blood pumping. You can absolutely start working after you’ve had a quick walk and some coffee. And maybe a nap. Walks can zap the energy right out of you.

    Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your kitchen is a mess, and you have relatives coming over tomorrow. It’s time to scrub the floor, clear off the counters, clean out the furry things from the fridge, and tackle that huge pile of dishes. But have no fears, cleaning can be fun with the right tunes. Maybe you should put together a cool playlist on iTunes. You might need to add to your collection a bit to get just the right mix, too.

    Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23): It’s about time you got around to sorting through that pile of boxes in the basement or closet. Start by restacking the boxes neatly. Doesn’t stacking boxes remind you of Tetris? I bet you can find Tetris online these days.

    Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21): If you don’t do laundry today, you won’t have any clean socks to wear tomorrow. Gather up your dirty clothes, and sort through them. That’s a cool shirt. Didn’t you want to get another one like that in another color? You’d better go buy one now before they run out. You can buy socks for tomorrow, too, while you’re at it.

    Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Today is the day to start being more productive. Absolutely today. The first step is to make that decision. See? That wasn’t so bad, was it? The next step is to get yourself savvy about the ways of the uber-productive, by reading some books or websites or something. Write that down on a Post-it. Aren’t Post-its cool? Hey, remember how Romy and Michelle pretended to have invented Post-its? That was a funny movie. Put it on your Netflix queue. Wow, it’s been a while since you’ve updated that queue.

    Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): With fall around the corner, now would be a good time to finally start that home repair project. Before you get going, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need. You’d better check in some home reference books for details. Or maybe some magazines. Or wait, isn’t there a home improvement network on TV?

    Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Spend at least an hour futzing around before you consider attempting anything. For good measure, you may also want to loaf, putter, amble and goof off. Time’s a wasting. That’s your motto. Or make that “Time’s for Wasting.”

    Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Just stay in bed today.

    Brought to you by this week’s Monday Mission, which solicits posts written in the form of a horoscope.

    (I should have done laundry) yesterday

    (I should have done laundry) yesterday

    All my laundry seemed so far away
    Now I need to dress for work today
    Oh, I believe
    In yesterday

    I’ve lost half the clothes I want to wear
    Can’t find any of my underwear
    Oh, yesterday
    Was laundry day

    What I’ll
    Have to wear I don’t know
    This shirt won’t do
    I spilled
    Something blue now I’m screwed
    For meeting day

    Laundry seemed an easy task to shirk
    Now I need some socks to wear to work
    Oh, I believe
    In yesterday

    Where I
    put my pants I don’t know
    I couldn’t say
    Goofed off
    All day long now I long
    For yesterday

    Laundry seemed an unimportant job
    Now I’ll look like a disheveled slob
    I’ll wear what I
    wore yesterday


    This post can be blamed on the Monday Mission, a phenomenon with a long history of which I only recently became aware, and which is currently being hosted by Painted Maypole. The mission, which I chose to accept and inflict on any unwitting readers, was to rewrite some song lyrics.

    If you enjoy this sort of thing, I must refer you to a masterful song re-writer. Mixmaster KC brought to the world an enlightened version of Baby Got Back, as well as a host of other insightful song rewrites.

    Update: Still not had enough? To read others of this Monday’s Mission, head over here.

    finding pants in unexpected places

    From the pantheons of pants I bring to you the the ultimate excercise in pants procrastination¹. Upon my recent realization that the word procrastination contains the letters of the word pants, my mind has suffered an onslaught of other words which contain pants. You see, pants are that pervasive. So I offer to you the following bit of complete nonsense, just for the sake of using all these pants-containing words.

    I recently read an article about a distinguished pantologist, who is being recognized for her life’s work.

    She is best known for her prediction of an alignment of planets, for which she used computations based on her observations of a species of bee that pollenates resupinate plants. She also recently received international attention for her study on the mating habits of the spantangus, large percentages of which were highly unexpected by the scientific community. She has hundreds of publications in dozens of fields, on topics ranging from pantheism and theories of pantisocracy, to histories of Pakistan and Palestine, to the cultivation of eggplants. She holds patents for many inventions, including a method for stapling using only dental floss, and various contraptions, such as one for plasticizing antipasto displays for restaurant windows, or another for separating vast quantities of egg whites from the yolks. It is hard to say which of her many achievements is most representative of her work.

    She is a passionately creative spirit as well, and one of her favorite leisure pastimes is spattering colorful paints on paper, and pasting on patterns of pastina. She is also a talented pianist, and tapdances whenever she has the opportunity.

    The pantologist attributes much of her early explorations into vast areas of knowledge to the eccentricities of her parents, with whom she has a strong relationship, and whose intellectual partnership was an inspiration to her. Her father was once a pantomimist, known for a routine of silent stamping of feet (clad in his signature pantoffles) and for his impersonations of 17th century philosophers and contemporaneous politicians. He left the entertainment industry after a complaints from a reviewer suggesting that his acts catered only to the whims of his sycophants. He then became quite reclusive, and dedicated his efforts to designing closets and pantries for small apartments. Her mother once had aspirations to become a paleontologist before becoming a veterinarian, with a specialization in elephants (which are known to be disproportionately challenging patients). Upon retiring, her parents devoted their time to running the family’s plantations, which primarily grow plantains and peanuts.

    The distinguished pantologist’s record is not untarnished, however. There were some phantoms of rumors of misappropriation of funds, as well as some speculation about the ethics of some of her experimentations. There was the well-publicized scandal of 1983, during which she received some criticism for a study on the benefits of regular naptimes, in which participants were misled about the compensation they would receive. Her interpretations of data have also sometimes been called into question, and her explanations have not always been transparent. Her fan base, however, anticipates that these minor problems will soon be forgotten, and that she will be remembered for her accomplishments.

    An award ceremony, an event with all the trappings for which elaborate preparations were made, was held last week. The article contained a brief transcript of the highlights of the award presentation, during which the distinguished pantologist surprised the audience with a spontaneous anecdote about an embarrassing incident from her youth involving the mispronunciation of the word cephalopod. The article was also accompanied by a few images, some with rather cryptic captions.

    Okay, there it is. Anyone want to count how many words in this post contain the letters p-a-n-t-s? (I actually haven’t counted yet myself. I have work to do, you know.)
    ¹ An expression for which I now have (thanks to azahar, and the anagram generator to which she referred me) a veritable abundance of anagrams:

    How about A Catnap Torsion Sprint? Or A Transact Pinion Sport? Or maybe A Tsarina Popcorn Stint?

    and they were like, “yeah, whatever, it’s the quotative like”

    So here I was, sitting here with my laptop when I should’ve gone to bed. And having just finished a task of actual work, I continued to poke around on my laptop, looking around what other folks have written. And then (dude!), what catches my eye but a post on the quotative like.

    As you may know, I’m all over the quotative like. So I couldn’t help but to check it out. And what’s more, I learned that there’s even a recent New York Times Magazine column on the topic. And I was like, “Woohoo! Quotative like is hitting the mainstream!”

    The article’s a quick read, and generally fairly accepting of the quotative usage of like. However, I don’t entirely agree with the author’s categorization of the quotative like as a function word:

    O.K., the new like is hot and it’s useful, but is it legit? Aren’t some rules of grammar or usage being broken here?

    Linguists and lexicographers say no. It’s natural, they say, for words to take on new roles. In this case, a “content word” (one that means something) has become a “function word” (one that has a grammatical function but little actual meaning). Academics call the process “grammaticalization.” It’s one of the ways language changes.

    I would tend to categorize the quotative “like” as a content word, not a function word. But it’s a bit tricky. But it does make me ponder the origins of the usage. I wonder if it arose from the hedge-like interjection form of “like.” You know, the one that, like, people toss in that doesn’t, like, add a lot of meaning? I can imagine an origin based on a usage like (such as) “…and then he said, like, ‘no way.'” or “I thought, like, ‘his use of that discourse marker was infelicitous in that context.'” If my hunch is right, then this would be a case of a word becoming more contentful…