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.





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.




Gah!

20 07 2007

People are coming to my blog with some very INTERESTING KEYWORDS lately, most of them involving Harry and/or Draco.  Ahem. And then some crap about clowns.

I’ve just been … not in the mood to blog as much as I have been. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good to get away from the computer every now and then. I certainly don’t want to be chained to this thing.

I really feel that things are looking up in Real Life. Granted, I still hate Iowa its their bureaucracy, but I can at least deal with it. 30 days minimum to process my birth certificate request? Were that many people actually born in Iowa that it takes that long? Whatever, I’m in a zen state.
I’m really fascinated with Harry Potter now as an example of a cohesive work of art. I am studying Rowling’s text very carefully because I intend to do some writing someday. Maybe someday soon.

Last night I bit the bullet and saw the fifth movie and I’m now in the process of reading the Half-Blood Prince. My favorite movie is the fourth movie. The fifth is very suspenseful though and I dig the whole deal about the mind stuff and youknowwhatImean.

My latest train story is a few days ago, I sat down and then this ogre-ish guy sat next to me. He was just really icky, like an ogre. Like something out of a storybook. Sorry but it’s true. And then, he spots a mousy mother pushing her cute little blonde daughter in a stroller, and he offers her his seat and just keeps going out of his way to be nice to her. She’s like, yeah, that’s OK, I’m fine, Mr. Ogre. And so she stands in the baggage area. And then the ogre just keeps making cutesy little faces at the little girl, and then he finally walks over toward the mother and tries to make conversation. “What’s her name? XXXX you say? That’s the prettiest name I’ve ever heard!” And he just keeps on talking to them and it’s just really creepy. I dunno. And then he eventually goes back to the seat by me but he continues to make cutesy faces at the little girl, and he takes his shoe off and starts itching his sock foot. And then at some point I got off and breathed a sigh of relief.

Oh, and then there’s the problem of rain/condensation. Today, the train made a sudden stop and water poured out of the air conditioner and onto the floor. Like a ton of it, like someone turned over a bucket. I’ve seen this happen before and unfortunately, if you’re unlucky you might get a surprise bath. Just somethin’ weird.

Thank Godness for the weekend.





The meaning of life and rubber chickens

14 07 2007

On Friday, yesterday, I faced a major conundrum: to buy a rubber chicken or not to buy a rubber chicken. (I’m pretty sure Shakespeare had a few situations like this in his day.) I opted not to, and now I regret it.

This happened to me before in Vegas. I was in a magic shop and I came close to buying a rubber chicken but I just couldn’t do it. Every time I get the chance, it’s like I freak out and I can’t go through with it.

In a way, rubber chickens are a metaphor for life. Do you seize the moment and grab that rubber chicken by his spindly neck, or you, uh, chicken out? How many times have you missed out on the rubber chickens of your life because you thought it was too indulgent, too trivial?

Seriously though, one of these days I’ll buy one and walk through the city so that for once, I can be the freekazoid in someone else’s blog.

In other news, the train operator kind of forgot to stop at the station before the one where I get off. Without apologizing, the operator simply said, “Those of you who were going to get off at the last stop can get off at the next stop and catch the train going back in the other direction. It should be coming soon.” Well I should hope so. (I once had an experience where I got to my station and then the doors near me wouldn’t open. By the time I realized what had happened, we were off to the next station and it took me forever to get back. And then I got the same defective train door situation and almost missed getting out *again*… heh. And then there was the time when I got off the train and trudged up the long, broken escalator, only to find that all the doors out of the station were locked. Running up the side stairwells (5 or 6 stories high) was to no avail as they had a grate covering the front of them as well. The only solution was to run back to the platform and wait for a train to come, at which point I asked an operator to buzz for help.)

[WARNING: THIS IS KINDA GROSS] Oh, and to get rid of that thing on my face, that two-in-one tunneling cyst of doom, I’m on (pricey!) antibiotics and the occasional delightful hydrocortisone shot right in the bullseye. Apparently there is a slim-to-none chance that it will go away on its own. So far, so good. It’s already a lot less noticeable and it’s only day 1 of treatment. A funny thing happened on the way out of the doc’s office as I tried to run out before someone saw the bulging, pulsating sack of cortisone on my reddened cheek: A woman approached me and asked, “Are you here for your skin?” Uh, yes. “Is it expensive?” Heh. [END GROSSNESS]





Gazhundheit?

11 07 2007

I got another weird train story for ya. Eventually I’m going to have to find something else to write about but these are pretty funny so I’m gonna telling ’em as long as I gots ’em. So I’m riding on a crowded to the gills train this morning and I spot one open seat next to an odd guy. We’ll call him OG for short. He was slightly odd. And so am I. So I have sympathy. So he seems relatively harmless; I mean he’s making nervous gestures and wiping himself feverishly with a white washcloth, but that’s nothing I can’t handle.

Then I notice that he’s sneezing and blowing his nose or wiping his nose/mouth area with this cloth, and then, for some inconceivable reason, he’s wiping this cloth on an empty seat to the side of him. Essentially, he is smearing gook from his oral-nasal area onto the seat via washcloth. This is kind of driving me nuts. And then, he proceeds to pas gas in a very obvious manner. It made a funny-sounding noise, and I kind of smiled and giggled. WHOOPS! Oops! I shouldn’t have done that. Dang. I haven’t evolved to the point where I can remain maintain stoic countenance even as flatulence occurs around me. So I pull a book out and proceed to attempt to read it and distract myself from this guy and his wiping. As I’m reading, I feel little drops of wetness dripping on me. My first thought is, Oh, God, is he leaking bodily fluids on me? And then I realized it was just condensation from the air conditioner. Whew. Wait. Actually, ick. This is a train we’re talking about.

And… that’s the story. Sorry folks, that’s all for now. Tune in next time for Train Stories II: The Passenger of Azkaban.





Never look at a balloon animal the same way again

10 07 2007

Warning: This entry touches on sexual and adult themes that I consider to be PG or possible PG-13 in the context of storytelling, but nothing too offensive or gratuitous. Still, reader discretion is advised.

I guess I should write about the bizarre references to piracy of the “aarrrrrhh” sort that I saw during the day that was. I saw a girl dressed in an actual pirate costume during the morning commute. A girl across from her, not related or in the same party, was wearing a head wrap that looked like something a pirate maiden would wear. There was a guy wearing something of that sort a few seats down. And then, when I walked out of the train into the station, I saw a guy with a black eye patch. How many guys have you seen with an eye patch in the last year? I think it’s been a couple years since I have seen an actual eye patch being used for eye purposes and not “aaarrrrhhh” or “aye” purposes.

Pretty eerie, I tell ya.

Oh, on the way back? Ballroom dancing during the lengthy wait at the transfer point (off hours).

This makes me want to write about my “costumes on a train” experiences. Whenever there is a convention or big event, one will encounter these kinds of characters. For example, during the dragon conning thing, a girl in a full vintage pirate costume accompanied me on the way home. (There was an odd mixture of intentionally/unintentionally costumed geeks along with jocks from various sporting events.) I’ve sat with balloon handlers from parades and others of the sort. On the street, I’ve encountered fully costumed patrons of Santa conventions in the middle of February and the occasional HEADLESS EASTER BUNNY at the mall.

But possibly the strangest transit-character experience I’ve ever had (not including “Mr. Happy Hands,” the day-after-Christmas committer of lewd acts) is this one clown that sat with me on a bus in Phoenix during Mardi Gras in 2006. I was riding home late one evening after staying late at work in Tempe. This was during a weird time when I was staying up in North Phoenix and commuting (by bus! or car occasionally) to my job in Tempe, shortly before I made the Southern Migration. So this clown gets on the bus and he sits near me — I think next to me — and I’m like, oh geez. Not a clown. And he’s like, hi, I’m a clown, haha, and I’m like, yech. He’s got this mobile balloon-blowing unit with him and it’s taking up part of the aisle.

So we talk a little about the clown life, about makin’ balloon animals and whatnot, and I’m like, gotta keep him happy. Gotta keep him talking. Smiling with that little clown smile and little clown nose. And so then, we get talking about working the Mardi Gras and the craziness of it all. Wow, Mr. Clown, that must be wild. All that debauchery. Whoops, now he’s talking about how he likes to please the crowds and so on and so forth, and how he often will make adult-oriented balloon animals with sexual themes. People request them. Isn’t that hilarious? Haha. The most popular isn’t what you would think; it’s of dogs. Two of them. Of course, he only makes them after 9 p.m., because they’re not appropriate for the kiddies and they ought not to get lessons about the inflatable sorts of birds and bees too soon. Would I like one? Haha, no thanks. Oh, you’ve got to get going so soon? It was nice meeting you, Mr. Clown. Have a good evening!

I’ve never been able to look at a balloon animal the same way again.





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.





Wackiness timeline

7 07 2007

So today was pretty wacky, man. Let’s go over the timeline here:

08:30 — awaken from slumber in the morning. As in por la manyana. Something ain’t right about this. Proceed to dink around on the Internet and read Canadian advice columns. That they are Canadian is merely coincidental, but it does hold my attention a bit longer.

09:30 — discover fairly large and apparently dead frog on steps to apartment. This is not a typical thing to see. I’m not sure if it was a pet or something that lives in one of the trees or what. We do have a lot of cats roaming around and they might have found some prey. It was a pretty sad sight, actually. As I’m looking at it, a maintenance man drives by and says, “It’s dead. We just found it there. It looks like a frog.” I can see that everyone else who walks by it is stopping to examine the body. I wasn’t sure whether I should call the frog police or what. I just left it there. It’s gone now.

12:30 — finally start doing laundry. Proceed to drop various items of clothing at inopportune times.

5:30 — finish laundry. Attempt to head downtown to complete errands. This proves futile.

17:00 — Mud pie at Dairy Queen and then a smoothie from Orange Julius. Odd conversation with the Julius guy, who announces to me and two other guys near me, “It’s getting hot in here! So buy a smoothie!” And I’m like, huh? And he’s like, “You know Nelly, who sings ‘It’s getting hot in here?’ You know that song? He wasn’t singing about girls, he was singing about smoothies!” And then he proceeds to sing the song. Meanwhile, there is a convention for the blind going on, and there are blind people EVERYWHERE. I almost trip over their guide polls, they almost trip over each other and the guide dogs make new friends. Look, I don’t want to make light of blind people and disability, but it was getting a little chaotic in there. So then I see this guy walk straight into a bench, which shifts position like two feet, and then he grabs his knee in pain. I thought it was a blind guy at first, but he was actually sighted, and I started to chuckle, but I quickly switched to an uber-fake cough. And he’s like, “You’re laughing at me, aren’t you?” And I’m like, “No, I’m not *giggle* I’m not laughing you *giggle*” And then I tried to pretend like I wasn’t laughing some more and finally I looked away and pretended to be laughing at something else, like the, uh, blind people over there… umm…. never mind.

18:30 — attempt to head down Ponce de Leon to a museum exhibit. Fail miserably and end up visiting some nice parks and bike paths and thinking to myself, “That would be a great place to stash a body.” Hitch a bus eastward to Avondale station (in/near Decatur, an eastern suburb) and ride the train westbound back into Atlanta proper.

21:00 — I am on a train and I see a clown. He is scary because he is only half of a clown really. He evokes the “uncanny valley” effect by being mostly human, but also being slightly “off.” (FYI for those who are not familiar: The uncanny valley is a theory that objects have certain thresholds for humanness in which they are more and less positively perceived. The chart shows neutral or even more positive reception when dealing with healthy humans and robots like R2-D2 that are obviously not human, but have positive human traits. Most negatively perceived are corpses and other things that are kind of human, but not quite. This “valley” of perception ratings is the “uncanny valley” if you draw it out as a line chart. Well sort of. You get the idea. Those faceless people in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and the zombies from “Silent Hill” video games come to mind…) So this clown has a greasy ponytail, smeared pink (grease?) makeup all over his face (it’s hard to take off such makeup without a concerted effort not to smear it into a mess, as I recall from my limited experience as a mime), white/red striped overalls and a plain T-shirt. He looks like a normal human dressed up in messed-up clown’s clothes. People were visibly creeped out on the train.

Sometime later in the evening: I’m on the train and a father is teasing his kids by making them guess what MARTA stands for. Winner gets a dollar. I want to yell out METROPOLITAN ATLANTA REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, but alas, he warns the kids not to ask me or they’ll be disqualified. I start to laugh mainly out of tension and frustration. The kids were really struggling. “Main area!” “Is this Spanish?” “Main Atlanta!” And so on, so forth. They’re going to be in the funny farm by the end of the weeklong trip. They’re too young to figure this out without asking someone. My guess is they’ll find a way to ask somebody. They were trying the newspaper, which is a good start, what with MARTA being in the news for accidentally marking July as having 30 days instead of 31 (for monthly passes) — of course, it should be noted that cards will work for the 31st day anyway. But the bottom line is, even I almost was going insane, and I knew the answer. Maybe it’s because I knew the answer. One of the kids was like, “I’m going to go nuts if I don’t get the answer!” And then, while he was walking out of the train, the dad whispered to me, “I think my dollar is safe!”





Fireworks fun

5 07 2007

Here’s the basic rundown. I leave work and decide to go to a display not far from where I’m staying, instead of going to the one right by work, just to make my life easier. Now, this morning I saw people from the Peachtree Road Race and my train smelled like a gym locker on the stretch between Arts Center and Five Points, and then again westbound to my station. And then at work, we witnessed the amazingly suspenseful hot dog eating contest, including footage of defending champion Takeru Kobayashi appearing to vomit on national television. Handicapped by his wisdom tooth and his bad jaw, he only managed to eat 63 hot dogs. He lost to Joey Chestnut. I thought that name sounded familiar, and then I realized that he was the guy that broke the old record for hot dog eating at Arizona Mills in Tempe a while ago, and I’m starting to think I remember seeing him in the competitive flesh when I was sent to write about that event in 2005, back in my Intern days. It’s a prized tradition for the Intern to write the competitive eating story. [EDIT: I found it!] A Las Vegas guy won, who then went on to get creamed by Kobayashi, I think. I think. So I always think it’s cool now to see the hot dog eating contestants in the news.

Then, this evening, I got stuck in the fireworks crowds. I waited for a while in the two-story Target. The one with the cart escalators. Oh yes. I do love that place. So I go up there and I buy an Icee thingy and I want a pretzel and the guy says I can’t have a pretzel because they’re closed. Fair enough, as they were closed, but I’m not sure why they sold me an Icee and not a pretzel. There may be a reason, I don’t know.

So I go outside and sit down for a while and we think we’re going to have a good view but then we booms and we bangs and I can’t see a thing. So I follow a group of people (going the wrong way as I later discovered) and we know the fireworks are nearby but we can’t see them. We can only see them reflecting in buildings nearby. So I’m watching the fireworks reflecting off of the shiny buildings in the area wondering if that’s all I’m going to see. Finally we find the fireworks (behind the Pier 1 Imports) and we watch them and they’re great. I got a couple good photos and some great video of the fireworks (I got really geekcited about it because I’ve not usually been able to engage in technological anything before, but now I can and I kind of know how). The only problem with the video is I shot it sideways and unfortunately without a professional video editor, I won’t be able to fix those frames. But, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just fireworks. My other camera has an orientation detector but this one that I was using tonight does not. Anyway the finale was heartpounding and ear-damaging and just wonderful.

And then I’m taking a picture afterward of one of my favorite buildings in the area and this handsome young fellow approaches me and says, “Hi, what’s up?” He seemed normal and pleasant enough. So I uttered a gruff “hello” and tried to size him up and see who he was, and before I could say any more, he started making these clawing gestures at me. Like clawing at me. And he kept doing it, and I was horrified and ran away. Guys, don’t do this. Please. I shall refer to this latest character in my Hall of Shame as “Dr. Claw.”

And then of course it was quite busy on the way back but I made it without incident. Once again, happy fourth of July. May you not be clawed at by random strangers.





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.