Random stuff

16 09 2007

Boring weekend, moderately busy week at work. Lots of change is in the air.

Mom says she’s bought a hex bug that she wants to give to me. It’s essentially a ROBOTIC COCKROACH. Which is just what I need. I’ve killed a few roaches this week, as well as pantry beetles that have been spotted in here on a few occasions. I think I’ll like this high-tech bug thing. It just might help me bridge the gap between myself and my six-legged friends.

I am being informed that Equus is coming to NYC this year and it’s being suggested jokingly that I go. I can only giggle in response. (Actually I’ve already sort of unintentionally [meaning I didn’t exactly make a strong effort not to see them] seen pictures of the dreaded scene, so it’s probably all downhill from there. Is that too much information?)

Clones win! I find it amusing that the Register actually made a serious graphic diagram of the big last-minute play. I’m still waiting to hear about ASU’s game vs. San Diego State. Georgia Tech and the Braves both lost from what I’ve heard.

It’s nice and cool outside, about 60 degrees.  Winter is coming soon and fall is upon us. On one hand I’m happy and on the other hand I don’t like cold weather.

Bleed American

7 09 2007

So where have I been all my life? Or at least this past week or so. That’s a good question. The answer is I’m currently ready to start sleeping off a long week. See, it’s Labor Day week and that means … you know what that means. So recent highlights include:

  • Working some heavy hours due to reduced holiday staffing and a desire to keep things at a reasonably productive level
  • Celebrating the contributions of the Working Man to the United States of America over Labor Day weekend by
    • A. Working (To be honest, everything is either closed or crowded, so I don’t mind working on this kind of holiday.)
    • B. Checking out the Dragon*Con (sci-fi/fantasy/anime/Star Trek/everything convention).
  • Riding the train home from work on Sunday and meeting a guy covered in fake blood holding a sign that says “free hugs”
  • Watching that guy and another guy not only engage in physical contact of the friendly-male sort, but also eat some of the bloodstuff
  • Finding out that the blood has a strawberry-mint essence
  • Getting “evil energy” drinks for free
  • Waiting in line
  • Fighting my way through crowds
  • Eating tasty Willy’s Mexican Grille chow in an eating area full of Storm Troopers
  • Watching a storm trooper trying to buy sundries in the souvenir shop without removing their costume.
  • Watching a storm trooper rip his helmet off in disgust and say to the security guard telling him to go to the other door: “Awwww, man!”
  • Not being able to tell friend from foe from security guard because everybody looks evil and weapons-equipped
  • That guy dressed as a robot with a cardboard codpiece made out of an Apple Macintosh box.

I like codpieces. They’re the best part of Ren Faires, which are otherwise typically hot, dusty, expensive and generally difficult, with often nightmarish traffic.

There’s a certain society in these Cons (at least this one) and it can be a little odd for people like me who feel sort of like outsiders. On the other hand, I saw a good deal of people doing Cosplay that wasn’t really true sci-fi or fantasy. There were Spartan cheerleaders, and I couldn’t count the number of “Clerks 2” work uniforms and Silent Bob wannabes. (Granted, there is a tiny bit of geekery present in these fandoms)

I think a funny storyline for a movie (of the cheesy romantic comedy sort) would be a person who tries to geek themself out to attract someone. I mean think about the humorous possibilities of Joe Cool…

[Pause to kill speedy roach intruder. Seriously.]

…trying to learn about D&D and putting on a fur suit at a convention. I think it would be totally sweet. Hell, I’m going to write it up.

It’s about time I got back to work on the Great American Novel. Until later, I bid you adieu. Anyway why am I dinking around on teh Internets at 3 a.m.? Shame on me.

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!

Running commentary

29 07 2007

Some commentary on life as of late.

  1. Finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was a good read. The ending was satisfying. I just felt the pacing was off (much too slow to start) and the ending could have been better conceived and executed. Still, a pretty darn good read and a decent way to finish. I think adapting this book to film will be a fairly easy process if they cut out all the flotsam for the beginning and maybe play up the ending a little more. I’m really excited to see the 6th and 7th books adapted for the big screen. They’ll make excellent movies. The 6th book, by the way, is awesome. So at this point, I’ve read the 1st, 6th and 7th books and seen all the movies thus far. If I decide to backtrack on the reading, I might just skip (or skim) the second and go straight to the third.
  2. This has not been a good weekend for air travel. Check the news.
  3. I’m beginning to rethink the romanticism I sometimes feel about the college years. Those were pretty savage times. Did it have to be that way? I don’t think so. Knowing what I know now, there are different approaches I could have taken. But to what end? Maybe those occasionally fruitless or painful experiences were essential. In fact, they are essential. And the funny thing is, the journalism landscape now is totally different than it was when I was just starting out. It’s a lot more me-friendly now. Maybe ridiculously so. ALSO: The West has a different attitude from the South and from the East. The people I went to college with are almost a world away from the people I currently work with. People out here, whether from the area or from somewhere else, are just a lot more chill. Relaxed. No hurry. No rush. No pretense (relatively speaking). Be that good or bad, I’m not sure. But this attitude is less prevalent in Arizona, which picks up on the fast-paced nature of Los Angeles, although to a lesser degree. Image is of greater importance in Arizona. People are more sarcastic. Sometimes bitter, in fact. I don’t know why, but I know I had to tone it down a little when I moved here so that I fit in a little better. Somehow the traditionalism of the South cuts down on a lot of things: women wearing clothing that is too revealing, use of bad words, use of sarcasm, etc. But you know… for the most part, it’s that same sun-belt mentality of sunshine and possibility. That I like.
  4. Went out, bought a vacuum and two area rugs, and then took them to Starbucks with me. And then I carried both these items on the train.

Commuter hell

9 07 2007

Pardon me, this entire entry is a big ol’ rant. Fair warning. If you don’t like a good rant, go **** yourself. No, just kidding, just skip this entry. 🙂 By the way, is it possible to have italic smileys? I guess it kind of is, and it kind of isn’t. 

Sunday for me is commuter hell. It’s probably a good day to drive in Atlanta but it’s a bad day to be going to work at 6 a.m. via train. On the plus side, I’ve actually been getting some *sleep* lately, for a change… so let’s begin this story for today, shall we? It’s kind of like a storybook tale. Let us begin…

Once upon a time, there was a wise King named Arthur, who ruled a vast kingdom called Atlanta along with his nagging wife, Queen Marta. Everything was peachy keen in this peach-infested land until one day, Marta decided she’d had enough of the faulty trains. She called for track work all through the kingdom, especially on the north-south lines. But she wasn’t sure how to do it without disrupting service, so she hit up her homegirls for some ideas. When they failed her, she called on MC Merlin, Wizard of Funk, to share his ideas. Unfortunately, Merlin had had some of that “special” mushroom pizza that day. Still, he had some flashes of brilliance left in him, even through all the psychedelic colors that were flying through his brain.

“Why don’t you just run all the trains on one track? They’ll just take turns. Sure, there’ll be some delays, but you can always thank people for their consideration and/or understanding if things get too bad,” he said, and Marta was thrilled. “That’s so wonderful!” she said.

So from then on, trains were delayed at off hours. At certain points where routes split off in two, travelers were required to transfer to another train for the split-off part to keep the track segments as short as possible. Thus it remains today. The problem is they’re not very vigilant about making sure you have a train to switch to when you get to one of the transfer points, especially not on Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m. (They try much harder at busy times) So not only do trains run every 20 minutes, but you have to get off and wait another 20 minutes for your transfer.

So I get on there and get to a transfer point, and I sit around for a long time. (Keep in mind, it’s literally the plumber-butt crack of dawn and I really need to get to work.) And then, a northbound train arrives, but I need to go southbound. Logically, I should wait for a southbound train to come, right? Wrong! The platform operator, one of the Knights of Marta, directs everyone on the center platform to get on the northbound train to go southbound. OK, “directs” is more like “hollers and shouts.” OK, all right. So I get on the northbound train to go southbound, and the driver announces that we’ll be going northbound. So then some people ask the operator whether we’ll really be going northbound, and she’s like, get on this train to go southbound. And I’m like, you better tell the driver that. The doors on one side start to close and we end up blocking the doors on the other side so the train can’t leave until we get some answers. “Southbound!” they continue to say, gesturing at the northbound train.

So a southbound train appears and we’re all jazzed to get on it, but we’re informed that although this train has stopped here and opened its doors for us, we are not to get on it. It’s out of service. So we wait for the empty train to leave southbound so we can catch another train directly behind it. *shrug* And that’s it. Finally, I got out and walked the rest of the way instead of bothering to wait for my final transfer.

The moral of this story is I need to hurry up and figure out some other way of getting around! First, I need to change out my driver’s license, and then we’ll move from there. Of course, I still think I’ll take the train a lot during rushy-rushy-hour situations; I just hope to not be dependent on it so much.

I love the night life

3 07 2007

I actually made some effort to get out some. We had a workplace whatever eating drinking thing and I did attend and it was a good time. I did learn quite a few interesting things about my cohorts, as one always does at these kinds of things. Also, I kind of said I wanted to karaoke-sing “Last Dance” by whoever sings it, Gloria Gaynor I think? Whooops. [UPDATE: It hath been pointed out to me that the singer is Donna Summer. I guess I could have Googled it… Ha.]

The margaritas are good at this place, No Mas Cantina, because they dip the glasses in lime juice and a special chile salt. It’s delicious. I’ve actually never seen that before, even in Arizona (home of the cilantro margarita — delicious). I didn’t really eat much except a few chips, though, because I just don’t like to eat en masse. I ate some of my spinach and mushroom quesadilla and called it a night. Wasn’t feeling the food. Now, I’m kind of hungry.

Then, I took the “long way home” so I could look at the foggy city at night. It feels cool and windy and humid like you’re at the beach. It’s beautiful outside tonight.