Huh?

30 06 2007

Weird. I try to update with a new post and it screws up the whole page. Now it appears to be working. You never know with these themes… I chose a rainbow overlay gradient design thingy by chance. I think it looks nice… and no, I’m not trying to drop any hints about my personal life.





Bullet points

30 06 2007

Those of you who hang with me in other online locale(s) know that I used to have an occasional (friends-locked) entry known as the “bullet points” rundown. When I worked Monday through Friday, these would usually be done on Thursday nights as a sort of celebration of the end of the week. When I started working on a different schedule, the whole concept of writing an entry on Wednesday night didn’t really strike me. But you know, those were some tasty entries. I thought I would try a more populist version of that here. Here’s how it works: We sum up the events of the week in a vaguely humorous fashion. So… without further adieu…

* By now, it’s no secret that change is in the air at my workplace. Let’s just get that elephant out of the room…
* The thing about elephants is, they never forget. Especially Babar, the charming elephantine French storybook character from France.
* But wait… from Wikipedia comes a buzzkill out of the blue: “Underneath they could be seen as a justification for colonialism, with the benefits of French civilisation being visited on the rustic African elephant kingdom.”
* In the previous bullet, “they” refers either to the storybooks or to weasels.
* Anybody for a game of Mad Libs? I love that game. You know there’s certain words you can stick in there that are guaranteed to be goofy.
* I know what words of which YOU are thinking, but I’m thinking of words like “weasel.”
* I think my next entry will be done Mad Libs style… yes.
* Is Babar really a justification for colonialism? Let’s dissect this story: So this one king “accidentally” eats poisoned mushrooms, at which point Babar the France-Loving Elephant takes over as King and decides to impose his love of French culture on the people. He even throws out their Freedom Fries and renames them French Fries. Then, he brings some old lady to hang with him. Meanwhile, he’s established an autocratic rule over the populace that is TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF ANY ELECTED BODY. The Wikepedia notes that, “Besides his Westernizing policies, Babar engages in warfare with the warlike rhinoceroses.” Uh oh.
* Well you know, he kinda did colonialize the joint, especially with the whole French Fries thing. On the other hand, we could be totally reading too much into this. Hard to say.
* By the way, I did mention that this would be a Populist entry. Therefore, I must decry the gold standard. Excuse me for a moment…
* S-I-L-V-E-R! Get some of this and be a star! S-I-L-V-E-R! This time, gold has gone too far!
* Along the lines of the whole Babar thing, remember how the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz is William Jennings Bryan and the whole party of goofballs is taking a yellow brick road that represents treacherous gold so they can go ask the president, er, wizard, in the Emerald City, which is actually the White House, about how they can fix stuff? And then Dorothy’s silver slippers are the answer? Only they kind of got changed to ruby slippers, which kind of messes up the whole thing? Of course you don’t! So never mind!
* Enough of this nonsense. My point is, Babar is out of the room and we can stop worrying about work and let him get back to eating his French Fries.

Aargh, sidetracked again. Maybe some other time!





Dentistry

29 06 2007

You can pretty much ignore this entry if you want. Excuse me while I rant about going to the dentist. Today I took the day off and that’s one of the things I did….

So I switched around my work schedule and was able to go to a long-planned dental appointment and in general get my relaxation on. And when I say long-planned, I mean long-planned. I must have made this appointment in January or something. But you know, going to the dentist is not one of my favorite things to do, and I’m guessing that you, unseen reader, feel the same way.

It seems like invariably a dentist sees my two intact, unopposed, relatively healthy wisdom teeth (the lower two never came in) and salivates at the thought of removing them. Why, it’s a hygiene issue. And of course, the hygiene is never good enough. (I like to munch on sweets and I only brush my teeth once a day, which ought to be plenty in my book, but apparently it’s not.) And I really haven’t had issues with my two unopposed third molars on the upper part of my mouth, so why get them out? On the other hand I have a hard time keeping them clean…

[DAYDREAMING SEQUENCE COMMENCES … Elevator music plays softly in the background] I can’t help but think of the dentist scenes in Little Shop of Horrors. By the way, one of the best musicals ever made… but what ever happened to Rick Moranis? Suddenly I feel an urge to watch Honey, I Shrunk the Kid. I loved that movie, that and Back to the Future(s), when I was little. [FADE OUT FROM DAYDREAM SEQUENCE]

So that’s a decision that remains. The thing I hate about going to the dentist is I feel so vulnerable with my mouth all open like that and someone sticking sharp, often vibrating tools in it. It’s such a humbling experience. I did have “subgingival calculus” going on. I like math and I enjoyed my brief encounters with basic and integral calculus in high school and college, so it’s hard for me to imagine what’s wrong with that. So, I have mathematically inclined teeth. Jealousy perhaps? But alas, this necessitated numbing up my gums and sticking a prod in there to loudly scrape all sorts of Tooth Goblins out of there for about a half an hour. In October, I’ll go back to have a “finescaling,” which is… I’m not sure, but I think they go in there with some kind of vibrating tool or something. I dunno. Fun stuff! And I don’t even want to think about getting my wisdom teeth extracted… I’m not yet sure if it’s worth it, but if I do it, it’s probably better to do it while I’m in my mid-20s rather than wait, if I’m sure that problems will result. But that’s the thing; my last dentist thought my teeth would be fine…

Also: I thought it was amusing that they were playing some boring classical shite in there and then the dude comes in and goes, “What is this? A funeral dirge?”





Good news?

24 06 2007

I got a pretty substantial tax refund in the mail and a note that the IRS found a mistake connected with my return. Can this be real? I thought I owed them money. Did they find a mistake on my form or somewhere in the process and decide to SEND ME MY MONEY BACK, PLUS MORE MONEY? Is this a hoax? This can’t be right. But maybe it can! Time to think positive. And to be more careful next year! 🙂





Of shoes and trains

23 06 2007

Today, among other things I did, I bought five news pairs of shoes on the cheap: blue-green-brown Kangaroo sneaks, floral-patterned purple sneaks with blue athletic-style stripes down the side (these shoes are a thing of beauty), brown-and-white loafers with a palm tree pattern on the side, white-and-beige leather Kangaroos and a pair of girly pink Nike sandals. Each one of these shoes is super awesome. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite. Actually, my favorite is the pink sandals, although I won’t be able to wear these outside of my complex. I wear shoes out pretty quickly due to my long-standing orthopedic issues, so I’d like to have multiple shoes going on so I can spread out the damage and channel certain kinds of shoes to certain activities, etc. I can’t wear high heels and I’m restricted to wearing shoes that will accommodate the bulky custom-made insole I wear on my left foot only, which makes shoe shopping a nightmare. Inevitably, my right gets the short shrift and I have to find a happy medium somewhere. I focus entirely on comfort and rely on stylish designs and patterns to express myself.

Anyway, I have a mildly odd train story for today. I took the train back, and when I got to the station with all my groceries and my shoeboxes in my hands (and some stuff in my backpack), a 20-something guy (he wasn’t a homeless guy or anything, and I theorized he might be a foreign exchange student or something) came up to me in the station and asked me what station we were in and how far the next station was/which one it was. Pretty standard line of questioning. And then he said, “I have to ask you something, and it’s going to sound really stupid,” and I was like uh-oh, and he’s like, “I parked my car at one of the train stations and I don’t remember which one it was.” And I’m like, “Uh, well, can you describe the station for me?” And he’s like, “I think it was a little bit longer than this one.” And I’m like, “Well… I don’t know. What did it look like?” He wasn’t sure. “Um, was it inside or outside?” He wasn’t sure. “Was it above-ground or underground?” Thankfully, he finally remembered that it was underground, and I was able to direct him to the only subterranean station in the area. Had he been in an above-ground station, he would have been screwed. I think you had to be there for the full effect… but that’s the story.





Chinese food menus

22 06 2007

Who the heck is sticking those Chinese food menus in my door? I can never catch them — this person is amazing. I mean I’ll leave for five minutes to check the mail, and then I come back and there’s a menu in the door. I probably get one every other day during peak times, but it ebbs and flows. And it’s from different companies, and it’s always Chinese food. I just don’t get it, man. This used to happen to me in college, too, but at that time it would always be pizza places. I guess it’s just the curse of a communal living environment.

In other news, I did some social networking investigation and found a site called “ning.com” where you can create a social network of your own. I was thinking it might be funny to actually create a “social network” of my very own, so I did. Of course, now I’m thinking I should have used some other technique. Anyway, it’s called “Dude I totally rock: Survival of the hottest.” I’m curious if anyone’s actually going to join. I’m thinking I might just create some fake profiles of fake people and populate the site that way. I don’t know why I would do this, other than to make people laugh. I mean if you think about it, the premise behind social networking sites is good but also kind of skewed. I personally couldn’t care much less (in the intellectual sense) about having the longest list of “friends” or whatever. I have 90-some-odd people going on over at facebook and then far fewer in some locations, and yet far more activity in these “some locations.” So you know, who cares? The trouble is I can’t help but feel a twinge of shame at my measly friends list or whatever. It’s just bizarre, you know? An emotional thing. It’s just not worth the trouble of worrying about, but the primitive cavewoman in me is bashing a club on the ground and trying to invent fire and just getting really exasperated about the whole deal.

So the point is, visit the site, have a good laugh and whatever you do, DO NOT take yourself too seriously. That is my advice to whatever souls randomly end up here.





Absurdity report

18 06 2007

Weird stuff is everywhere, man. At the risk of sounding like I’m mocking other individuals’ preferences and circumstances, and that’s not really the goal here, there have been a few odd things I’ve seen in the last few days (and in between, a few details from my daily life):

  • Someone was really cranking up the bass on their classical music the other day.
  • In a 20-minute span, I was panhandled on the train by a woman with a mustache and a mute man carrying a sign saying, “Help me, I’ve been in a train wreck. Please give me your cash.”
  • Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2 were on sale together for $10. That was an absurdly good deal.
  • While at Arby’s trying to get breakfast in my early-morning Sunday stupor, we had some super/deluxe issues. For you see, I asked for the Roast Beef Deluxe, but that apparently doesn’t exist, but I could have sworn it did. “You want the super roast beef?” asks the clerk, and I reply, “I want the one with lettuce and tomatoes.” The other clerk chimes in, “You want the beef and swiss?” And I say no, I just want the beef sandwich with the lettuce and tomatoes. “Oh, you want market fresh?” And I respond, “Well, actually I just wanted a roast beef sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes. I was really asking for the super roast beef, even though I said I wanted the roast beef deluxe. I guess I was a little confused, but that’s what I meant.” So the clerk says to the other clerk, “She wants the super roast beef. She thought there was a roast beef deluxe.” I suppose this story would have had a better ending if they had given me chicken cordon bleu or something, but hey, they gave me what I asked for and that is awesome.
  • Chicken bones. What is it with chicken bones in Atlanta? Everywhere I go, I see them, like people are munching on chicken wings all the time and then discarding them about their ambient environment. I guess it’s a little different in the crazy old desert, where chicken is just a potential ingredient and iced tea is not sweetened by default. Here, it’s a cultural thing. Chicken, chicken, chicken. But you know, maybe they have a point. Good chicken *is* hard to find. I mean, those hot wings I had at the Hooters casino were nasty/disgusting. At least I’ll  not be having that problem here.
  • The Best Buy clerk asked me for my ID and I forked over my AZ license (Note to self: Get to DMV, stat) and she said, “I’ve never met anyone from Arizona before. Is it really as hot over there as they say it is?” I told her, it’s the difference between cooking yourself in an oven or a steamer. You’re cooked either way, but it feels a little different, you know. Actually, I hear it’s about 109 for the high in PHX, which is somewhat warmer than normal.

I think that about covers it. You’ll see that I have a love for bullet points. They rule.





How the trip went down

11 06 2007

Here’s a basic overview of the trip. Note that I might have the itinerary off by a day or so or have things a little mixed up. It’s all a blur:

For the real “New York” experience…
SATURDAY, JUNE 2
An uneventful flight and a pleasant journey. Checked into the hotel. Not enough bed space. My dad took the floor. I didn’t feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars for my own room. Visited Hooters and Planet Hollywood casinos for the first time. They were duds. Spent a lot of time walking up and down the strip. Briefly stopped by the Paris. It was a very painful trip around. I had several minor encounters with Elvis or Elvis-related things throughout the trip, but they always turned out to be duds. Like on this day, we saw an Elvis out by the Grand Canyon West (i.e. Skywalk) tours booth, but he wanted tips for a pose. He hid behind a rail to keep his face away when I tried to snap a candid shot. The fact is, my photos are natural for the most part. I don’t like to pay for my shots. Not to mention I don’t want to shell out more money than I have to.

Cirque’s midgets
SUNDAY, JUNE 3
I bought Elvis glasses so I can look like the King. We got some weird-arse lunch at the Italian place in NYNY. The choice came down to octopus-and-potato salad or the antipasti sampler, and I decided the latter sounded safer. Come on, it said it was an “antipasti sampler.” I didn’t realize that “antipasti” apparently translates to “sushi.” I was basically eating several items consisting of partially cooked fish or other seafood. Even the simplest-looking item, appearing to be merely a diced-tomato sauce on a piece of toast, was soaked in fish oil. That said, it was pretty good and I didn’t get sick afterward, but it didn’t go down too easy. I did enjoy the eggplant salad and the pickled onion. In retrospect, I should’ve gone with the octopus. That night we went to see Zumanity, a Cirque du Soleil show at NYNY that is aimed at an “adult audience.” It was kind of a good show. Really. Not the kind of thing that I would seek out voluntarily, but hey, if I’m going, it’s all good. The fishnet ladies and the codpiece-wearing midget made me laugh. Strange dreams that night, though… sorry, I said no weirdness, but I would be remiss if I didn’t write about this. Dad and I walked around the hotels later that night, touring Luxor and Mandalay Bay. This led to more fun…

Eel life
MONDAY
Toured the lion habitat at the MGM Grand and promptly exited. Toured “Shark Reef” and then saw Louie Anderson at the Excalibur. First — I enjoyed the reef. Sure it was crowded, but there was some nice shiznit there. I enjoyed it as much as the Georgia Aquarium and methinks it had a better gift shop… the eels were a big hit. To me, they looked like Muppets with their funny facial expressions. Anyways… about Louie. This show was the cheapest and the best. Louie is a really funny guy and his commentary was spot on. We got professional pictures with him afterward but I forgot to snap an amateur. One snafu: I mistakenly raised my hand when Louie asked if anyone was there with there parents. No one else raised their hands. So he banters a little and asks where we’re from. We hesitate and say, uh, “Phoenix and Atlanta.” He responds: “You hesitated there. You’re not sure which one? That’s a long drive to make every day, Phoenix to Atlanta.” Something like that. I have a hard time quoting from memory. He had an Elvis impersonator hanging around there, but he wasn’t in costume. Come to think of it I’m not really sure what he was doing there — I think he’s a friend of the show(s) there. For you see… the theater is the same place where “Thunder Down Under” performs (Australian man-meat show). We got crazy hats (now on my desk at work) and I got a tiara. I’ve always wanted a tiara. I dunno.

Mountain drive
TUESDAY
Drove up to Mount Charleston and saw the pretty land. Saw a nuclear blasting site from a distance. It was nice. We toured a lodge up there and had delicious food for lunch that was better and cheaper than on the strip. As the day went on it became windier and windier. The news was reporting winds of 25 mph with gusts of up to 50 to 60 mph. At some points, I wondered if the wind would blow me off cliffs and whatnot. As we got back into town, visibility was very very poor on the streets of Vegas. We stopped at the Wynn and visited for a while. Dad and I walked further up and down the strip.

I heart your general direction
WEDNESDAY
What the heck did we do on this day? I know we went back to the Wynn and saw Spamalot. It was a decent show, I guess. To be honest, the set and the pre-show area were more entertaining. However, it is an enjoyable thing to see Monty Python’s holy grail stuff adapted for the stage. My main gripe is the cost of the show. It wasn’t better than the other shows we saw, and yet it cost significantly more (for the cast and ornate stage decor, I suppose). Also, the show and plotline are very surreal. It’s just very weird and hard to follow at some points. On the other hand, if you’re zoned into the Vegas Blur State of Mind, it probably doesn’t matter much anyway.

Vertigo, anyone?
THURSDAY
A morning trip to Circus Circus to see a Circus show and then return the rental car, but then we had to keep the car until the next morning. We went to an Irish pub and then I know I got a jumbo daiquiri and fell asleep… it seemed like a weak drink in that it had no effect on me, but I totally crashed, so who knows. I think it was this day… and at some point I got up and did something, but I’m then again really not totally sure what happened this day. Anyway for sure I can say that we drove down to the Stratosphere Observation Tower and Hotel and Resort and Casino and went up there, and saw the crazy rides. (There’s a Starbucks up on top, lest you should go five minutes without access to one.) There used to be a roller coaster but that’s no more. Instead there is Insanity, a spinning ride over the abyss, and a ride that slides you forward on a “tongue” over the strip, slamming abruptly before the fall so you get scared into thinking you’re going to die a bloody death. And then we tried to get dinner at the Monte Carlo. But that place kind of sucks. The brewery was playing Marilyn Manson and I had a headache… yeah.

Flights of fancy
FRIDAY
Packing and leaving. Long waits in the heat for the shuttle and then flying out of Vegas.

Flights not so fancy
SATURDAY
Chicken sightings. There are chickens that cross the road several times every day in the morning when it’s cool. Another flight. Serious delays in PHX — just as we were ’bout to take off, the pilot announced we had to go back to the gate. The repairs took two hours. Thankfully they let us off (and warned us to get food because the supply of on-plane food is very limited). It’s almost like PHX didn’t want me to leave.

Back to reality
SUNDAY
Finally touching down and basically heading straight to work. Working. Cursing the heat and humidity and then shutting myself in my apartment to avoid it. ATL is pretty nasty right now, weatherwise. Nasty — since I have to walk around a lot in it.





OK, so I’m traveling

2 06 2007

I’m trying to get this thing going man… it’s not easy… and it’s not my first blog. But this time around, I said I was going to make this one public, and I’m sticking by that call. No goofy stuff, no weirdness, no truthiness and no references to anything objectionable whatsoever, not even the occasional sly reference to panda porn (or lemur porn for that matter). This journal is as public as public can be. Coworkers, cohorts, cohabitants, comorbids, collaterals and copilots alike have access to this site, so keep that in mind. This isn’t the time to get wacky.

And… Since I’m taking a trip right now, this would be a good time to kick it off. OK. OK. So I’m on my way to Las Vegas. Right. And when I get there, I’m going to see stuff. Lots of stuff. The only thing is I’m not sure where I’m going to sleep. I am traveling with my family and we will have to share a room for the first night. i.e., I will sleep on the floor. So I don’t know how long that’s going to last or if I’m going to give up and shell out for my own room. We’re staying in the New York New York, which I’ve never stayed in before. I’ve stayed in many others; the Luxor, Excalibur, Aladdin, Las Vegas Hilton, Stratosphere, Treasure Island, oh gosh there has to be more to add to this list….

I feel a little guilty for being out West during this particular week, and I pity those who must pick up my slack — but not necessarily enough to stop me from taking this trip. It is nice to be out here, though.