Name that rat

20 08 2007

By the way, we were having a slight rodent issue for a while, and then I saw one that had gotten run over by a car. I named the flattened body “Flatatouille.” Thankfully, I haven’t seen much of that since I’ve gotten back, although there was a GIANT green bug thing on the wall tonight. It’s like living in the Amazon some days. Not to mention the flattened/dessicated dead frogs I had been finding before….





About that Phx trip

20 08 2007

OK, so essentially what I did on the most recent trip, from which I returned Saturday evening, basically consisted of sleeping and eating. Which is cool. There was quite a bit of good food to be had; Thai cuisine at the Pink Pepper, British fish (well, shrimp) and chips at The Codfather, sushi at Hiro shortly after a full shish kabob dinner at Shish Kabob House, excellent Indian food at Tandoori Village, salads/soups at Wildflower Bread Company… I could go on and on, but there you have it. Not to mention those cupcakes. [Angel halo] Oh and Jamba Juice, which is not available in Georgia at all. And El Pollo Loco, which is opening some Georgia locations in the next few weeks

There were a few small get-togethers of sorts and I spent as much “quality time” with the family as I could, despite the fact that my parents didn’t have any days off during this time. Dad and I spent a couple hours talking about life and his many travels and various civil engineering stuffs, which takes on added weight in light of recent events. I found it fascinating, and he managed to reinvigorate my dormant and vague interest in engineering. However, for the most part, I was on my own. On a relatively cool day I headed out into downtown Phoenix to check out the ASU downtown campus and the construction on the light rail line, as well as all those new buildings that were finished in the last year or so. It didn’t really start to feel uncomfortable until the late afternoon. I did notice, however, that the sun was very bright. It’s pretty bright on a sunny day in Atlanta, which is at roughly the same latitude, but there is a certain intensity to the desert sun that is hard to describe unless you’ve been away from it and you come to it. I never noticed this when I lived there; I didn’t really know anything different. I think it’s because of a c4ombination of the atmosphere and the reflection of light off the pale desert floor, versus a blanket of trees. And then you catch even more light from the sunlight reflecting off the glass-walled buildings downtown. I also stopped briefly at the Biltmore Fashion Park outdoor mall, which I quickly began to regret because it was an outdoor mall and I was starting to sweat.

All in all, there’s a different attitude in Arizona that can’t be described unless you actually go there and stay for a while. I just don’t get the same feeling about Atlanta, for example. But that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate Atlanta; it’s been a good adoptive town, and I sometimes get the feeling that it’s actually Phoenix with trees. The urban issues are the same, although the setting is different. (I was a geography major, albeit a mediocre one; I’ve got to analyze these things.)

I tried to stay away from the Internet except for a few photo dumps and a few Internet searches… OK, more than a few… dang. And a little facebooking, which revealed that a former classmate (I didn’t know him very well, but I had traveled with him) had passed away a couple days after I got to Phoenix. That was quite sad to see, especially given that he was so young and still in college — may he rest in peace.

I’ve noted that the flight back was tricky; I almost got bumped off of it, but then I got put back on at the last minute. They were trying to keep the weight down on the plane due to “weather” concerns, which I believe were mostly unfounded at that time. At the last minute, some people volunteered to wait until the next day to fly out (and get free air tickets) so I got to get on the plane. I was afraid they would start saying, “You’re too heavy to fly” or something to people. Ha, that would be controversial, eh? If I had gotten bumped, I would have had to fly out on Sunday night and I probably would be just getting into town on Monday morning. Blech. Not to mention the weather was worse on Sunday, so there’s no guarantee I would have gotten to fly out then either. And then there’s the whole part about having to get someone to cover my shift at work. No, it was sheer luck that allowed me to get on that plane.

And that’s all folks. A decent break from the daily grind, which has now officially ended. Back we go!





Come on people

4 08 2007

Easy on the inappropriate Harry Potter searches, will ya?  Look, I don’t want to sound creepy, but I like to look at the stats for this blog and find out what’s bringing people here. A lot of it is to find out the dirt on Harry Potter. You ain’t gonna find it here, folks.

Anyway. I updated my family blog. I forgot to add in there a tiny highlight of today, for family members reading:  After visiting the post office again (read below) I snuck out for dinner at the Fanous (or Fanoos) Persian restaurant. Man, that place is awesome. I didn’t take an photos since I didn’t want them to think I was a restaurant reviewer or something. My plate of food was beautifully arranged and tasty too. I can’t recommend this place enough.

It’s a Persian “tea house,” which translates roughly to “Hookah! Hookah!” in English. Still, the food is the main reason people go there. It’s a lot like the Darvish tea house, but with (I dare say) lower prices and better food. I ordered a chicken kabob with iced tea and hot tea for a total of $18, including tip. It sounds like a lot but consider this: The price also included a nice appetizer selection including crisp pita pieces, Shirazi salad (cucumber, tomato and onion in a salted lemon sauce), mustokhiar (sp — yoghurt sauce with pieces of cucumber and mint), and a dip that I believe is called borani-e bademjan (zesty seasoned eggplant drizzled with yoghurt). The kabob came with basmati rice and a grilled tomato. In short, I loved it. I couldn’t finish it and I didn’t want to take leftovers with me. Which means it probably won’t last. Heck, I like this place way better than Darvish, and it’s got a pretty nice location in a strip mall on Roswell Road. But it seemed like it didn’t have the same kind of popularity that Darvish has, and it didn’t have as thick of a crowd as the other restaurants in the strip mall. Still there were definitely people there and I know from the research that was done that it has some loyal fans. All in all, the Persian Tea House model is quite different than the quieter, more intimate and more low-key kinds of Persian food you will find in the Phoenix area. It’s more aimed at the younger crowd, which I think is something that would be good to have in Tempe, AZ. If you come to visit me, family, I will take you there.

Yeah, so I had to go to the post office again to see if they would give me my mail. I guess the postman got sick of stuffing my mail in there; I let it go for too long and it was the finally last straw. Now, he isn’t delivering to my box anymore. He left a note saying it was at the USPS postal store, but I went there this evening (after the Gosh-awful heat/humidity combo settled down) and they told me I should just call at 8:30 a.m. to find out what happened to my mail. They think he might have taken it to the warehouse down the street. I’m thinking they probably threw it away or lost it. The best I can hope for is to convince him to deliver my mail again, if I promise pretty please with a cherry on top that I’ll check it more regularly. This is so stupid!

No answers yet, for now. This better get fixed soon so I don’t miss getting my birth certificate from Iowa. Anyway the USPS visit seemed like a good excuse to get the Persian food while I was out, and to get a little minor grocery shopping done at Whole Foods. (There’s a Kroger too.)

I’m also tired of dodging crappy traffic and seeing people give each other the finger for stupid reasons. On the plus side, there are fewer of those road-rage shootings in the ATL than the PHX. I suppose I’ll take middle fingers versus guns. I’m also tired of lousy intersections and broken “walk signal” buttons. I swear people break them on purpose. Also, I’m tired of the lack of sidewalks on some streets. Con(des)truction on the sidewalk leading to one of my favorite OTP shopping centers has made a trip there far more hazardous than it should be. I’ve actually stopped going there altogether since there are other plazas with the same stores that are less dangerous. And closer, too.

ALSO: Bus routes here are sometimes complicated, which is why I rarely ride the bus. I’ve only done it a few times and it’s sucky. It’s often easy to get somewhere, but hard to get back because you don’t have the option of taking multiple buses at some destinations. The stops are spaced apart from each other and the drivers won’t stop at the stops for the other route to pick you up. Frankly I think it’s pretty lame that two bus drivers drove right past me at stops because I wasn’t at the exact stop they were looking for.

And by the way, just a thought about dealing with people in general (and not to single out bus drivers, if that’s what you’re thinking — this is a generic comment): I’m tired of lousy customer service. There are way too many people out there who are making it obvious they hate their jobs. Look, I know you hate your job. Frankly, I would hate to have your job too. (Is that cruel to say?) I might even hate my life altogether. But for Pete’s sake, and we love Pete, let’s not show the world how miserable we are. Instead, let’s try to find some pleasure in life. I’m not saying sing the “happy happy joy joy” song all the time. But I firmly believe that if you can sap some tiny bit of joy from your miserable, slug-like existence, you may find your existence isn’t so miserable anymore. If that makes sense.

OH and ATTENTION ALL BURGLARS AND TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA MENU INSERTION FREAKS AND POSTAL POSTFOLKS: I be goin’ to Phoenix next week. Flight is next Friday.

Oh, and I just killed a flying cockroach in my living room! Just now. Go me. They love the crappy humid weather we have right now. I think since it has (had) been a drier, cooler summer than last, roaches haven’t been much of an issue. Now that it’s hotter and humider again, I think I’m going to see more of these fellas. Still, probably not as many as last summer.

That is all folks… time to go back to living. And sleeping. Over and out.