Summer Celebration

August 28, 2005 at 4:30 PM | Good Times, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

Yesterday, a big group of us went to the company sponsored event “Summer Celebration” held at the Kansas Speedway, where there was free food, cotton candy, snowcones, carnival-style games, live music, a badass fireworks show, and what appeared to be an unlimited amount of free Bud Light and Budweiser. It was fantastic.

I have never been to the Speedway before, because honestly, I don’t care much for the sport. The place seems like a pretty cool place to throw big company events just like this, though. But for whatever reason, they decided to have all the normal entrances into the complex blocked off, save for one in the very, very back, so you had to actually drive around the thing to get in. Twice. It was like a fucking labrynth n shit. And then, on top of this, I found the security to be extremely lax. I mean, sure there was security staff there, but anybody could’ve gotten in, had they known about the event.

After all was said and done, I’d drank myself a fair amount of beer and even won some beanbag-style stuffed animals and some useless carnival prizes.

Afterwards, we headed out to Westport and checked out this Irish bar “Blayney’s” which is located down a street in Westport that apparently none of us had ever gone down. And what a strange little area it was! There was a pizza place, a Japanese steakhouse, and even this place where groups of people were seated around and smoking multi-tube hookahs. I’d no idea what was going on at that place.

At Blayney’s, they had automatic paper towel dispensers in the restrooms. I’d never seen one of those before. And here I thought I had seen it all, too. I mean, I’ve seen automatic flushing, automatic sinks, automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand dryers… but never an automatic paper towel dispenser. I didn’t even need to use the restroom, but I went in there to try it out. I waved my hand in front of the unit and sure enough, a red LED came on and about a foot of paper towel came rolling out. Now I can rest easy knowing that pretty much every aspect of public restroom use has been automated. Except doors… I suppose they could automate the doors, too. But I don’t expect to see that for at least a couple more years.

Outside, Westport was happening block-party style just like every other weekend. It appeared there was some large group of girls out at Westport for a bachelorette party. Other than that, it was all pretty standard stuff. Well… I dunno, it also seemed to me like the DJ was playing an excessive amount of 80s music.

Missouri Never Disappoints

August 22, 2005 at 11:32 PM | KCMO, Random, Site/Personal, Work | 1 Comment

Something that I have noticed about Missouri highways since I moved up here (other than the piss-poor quality of their streets in general) is the fact that there are often times numerous cars left along the sides of their highways. I’m talking about the cars that are left unattended on highway shoulders and median that have the bright neon-orange, neon-yellow, or neon-green sticker on them. Now, I’ve never seen one of these neon whatever stickers up close before, but I’m not certain what they are. Is it a ticket? A warning of some kind? Is there a fine for abandoning your vehicle on the highway? I mean, what if your car breaks down and you have no choice but to leave it behind? Should you be punished for that? I have no idea. I’ve never had that kind of experience, so I couldn’t tell you.

So yeah, I think I must spot on average 2 or 3 of these abandoned vehicles every day on my way to work. So Sam and I decided to make a game out of it, since we were discussing both this and my thing on gambling with gas prices recently. I guess he doesn’t gamble with gas prices anymore; he just fills up when he’s low on gas. Sure, that sounds like a logical, reasonable thing to do. But don’t you want to beat the system?? While I am mentioning it, I’d like to report that I failed miserably in my prediction of gas prices when it was $2.45. I finally had to get gas on Sunday and it was like $2.50-something. I’m guessing that it’ll be about the same for a while so I just went ahead and filled up. Luckily, I’m not gambling with stocks or anything, cuz I’d be broke right now. Maybe worse, maybe I’d be standing on the ledge of a building.

Anyways, the game is a simple bet of how many cars we can spot on the side of the road. Final counts are declared before getting on the highway and anything en route to work is fair game. The first day we did it, we came all the way down 169 (otherwise known as “breakdown alley”) without seeing a single car! I was shocked. Had I been mistaken? Maybe there really aren’t that many of these cars on the side of the road. You know how it goes… it’s hard to quantify something until you really start looking at it closely and realize that some of your assumptions were skewed or slightly exaggerated.

But then we merged onto the next highway. That’s when we saw 2 cars down that last stretch of highway. Missouri did not disappoint after all! After work that day, we even saw a car pulling off into the median with hazard lights flashing n shit. Sam called it from a distance. He was like “oh shit, that cars gonna break down.” And he was right. If the guarantee that cars were broken down alongside a Missouri road were some kind of quantifiable unit of time, you could set your watch to that shit. I mean, cars be breaking down like it’s clockwork around here! Later, I was like “wouldn’t it be ironic if while we were laughing and playing this game, that this very vehicle broke down?” As soon as I finished voicing my thought aloud, I wished that I hadn’t said it. There was no wood to knock. But thank God we got all the way home without a problem.

Oh yeah, and there was this other car that was pulled over to the side of the road, but there was someone sitting in the driver’s seat. For the sake of the bet, I needed that car to count as part of the total. But I guess the bet was not really on cars on the side of the road but rather abandoned cars. Because I suppose that guy could’ve been pulled over to the side for any number of reasons… he could’ve been looking at a map, or getting ready to get something from the trunk, talking on the cell phone… I dunno, there could’ve been a lot of reasons. Whatever.

OK, so then for a while, there really wasn’t any cars on the way to work anymore. But then, after making a drive down to Wal-Mart one day, I realized that the new popular spot for abandoning one’s vehicles is all along 152. In a short 5 minute’s worth of driving, I saw no less than three cars left along the side of the highway. I was like “aha” because for a second there, I was starting to think that Missouri had cleaned up its act. I should’ve known better.

The Life Aquatic

August 12, 2005 at 11:32 PM | Good Times, KCMO, Nostalgia, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

It’s almost as if there’s no limit to how many posts that I can write about skin peeling! Today’s theme: skin peeling from sunburns.

I went to a Royals/White Sox game a couple weeks ago with my new hire group. It was a pretty good time, we got there a little early to start up a grill, drink some beer, and have ourselves a little tailgating session going. It was all sunny n shit that day and the heat was out of control. I could already tell early on that it was going to be an effort to sit through this game. And what a game it was! The score was all tied up and tension was high in the atmosphere… until about the 12th inning, with the same ol’ fucking score. Half of our group left an inning or two before then, but us hardcore motherfuckers decided to sit and watch the game through, because we’ve already stayed this long, we might as well see what happens. Well, we didn’t make it to the end. We decided to leave at that point because who knows how long that thing could’ve lasted. We could’ve been sitting out there all afternoon! I mean, at that point, I really couldn’t care less who would win the game, I just wished somebody would just finish it up and call it good, so I could get the fuck on up out of there. I checked the game later on that day online and I guess the Royals won. Oh well, I’m pretty indifferent towards baseball.

I normally never sunburn. But this game was especially long. And we did stay out there for a good couple of hours. The only other time that I have ever burned in my life is one summer when my brother and I were taking sailing lessons out at some lake. Also did some kayaking, some canoeing… it was all good. That was a crazy summer, a long time ago. Yes, it’s a little known fact, but I used to be quite the sailor! I knew all about the different nautical terminology, all the cool sailing knots, etc.

I don’t remember shit about sailing. I couldn’t tell you which way was which and I can barely tie my own shoe now. I’d probably be the one to get scurvy out on the open sea if it really came to it. It’s sad, really.

Interestingly enough, I can remember all kinds of useless information from that summer. I remember the stench of the lake; I remember the vanilla/banana smelling sunscreen in the summer mornings. I remember that was the summer when Semisonic first came out with the song “Closing Time” because that song was all the rage, even before every bar across the US decided that it would be clever to play that song when they kick everybody out. Seven years later, they’re still doing it. I mean come on, that shit’s so old hat, it’s not even funny anymore. Oh, you’re so clever.

The reflection from the water and magnification of the sun through the water on my body really did a number on me. That summer, I got the most hardcore tanning/burning that I have ever experienced in my life, and hope to God to never experience again. One artifact of my exposure to the sun, was seen in my very distinct “sandal tan” that was like the difference between night and day. That thing lasted well into and even past the following winter. I mean, it was snowing n shit, 20 below, and there I was, with that blasted sandal tan underneath all of my winter gear. It was ridiculous.

I never knew the sun could be so cruel. Showers were especially painful. This was the sort of thing that’ll make you take an ice cold shower. And even then, you’re in one corner of the shower, clutching at your arms to dampen the impact of the water. This was the sort of thing that made it painful to put socks or shoes on. And the peeling! My god, the peeling! I don’t even want to get into it. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

But I was really surprised that I got burnt at that Royals game. Nowhere as bad as that summer, but burnt nonetheless. I spent a week in the Philippines. I’m talking about some motherfucking tropical islands! And all that got me was a lovely dark tan that got me mistaken for a local more times than I would care to recount. What happened? I spend an afternoon at a baseball game and suddenly I find myself wincing in pain two days later in the shower, skin starts to peel a few weeks later. At least I didn’t get the sandal tan this time around.

Chica

July 1, 2005 at 5:19 PM | Work | No Comments

I happened to start work during a week when the Pro Shop was having a big sale. I don’t remember how often someone said that they have these kinds of sales but I do remember that it seemed like there was quite a bit of time between sales. Something like 6 months or a year, something unbearably long. Unfortunately, I was in classes off campus all that first week so I would not be able to personally take advantage of this sale.

And, considering the dress code policy, it thought it would be in my best interest to buy some clothes from the shop. So what I did was pretty genius. I went and looked up what items were on sale and wrote down what I wanted on a piece of paper, with colors, sizes, and maximum price that I would pay for each item. You see, there was a listing of the items on sale on the intranet page but no prices. I had to kind of guess at these prices and put down what I thought would be reasonable for a sale. I gave the paper to Sam and had him go scope it out and only buy the things that were at or under the prices that I listed.

Well, it turns out that I had guessed the prices exactly as I had listed. I ended up getting 3 polos. One of them was of a microstripe pattern. I looked over the labels to make sure I had gotten the correct sizes. I wear a Small when it comes to polos. I don’t know why that is, because I wear Medium t-shirts. It’s just the way it is, I guess. Anyways, when I went to look at the microstripe’s label, I saw the word “chica” written on it. My immediate response to seeing this was the translation to the word “girl” and I was like “huh?” because I would be quite upset if I had just bought a girl’s polo. I tried to gather more details from examining the shirt a little closer, but I could not get too much more information because the shirt was folded up and sealed in a plastic bag and opening the bag would only decrease my chances of returning it. There is so many things wrong with my having this girl’s polo, aside from the principal of the matter. Girl’s polos are shaped differently… they got those shorter sleeves and… yeah I was not about to put myself into a situation where I could have an encounter on campus involving running into a girl with the same polo on.

So I had Sam take it back the next day to see if there was any way he could get it returned or exchanged for an item of equal value. He comes back to the apartment after work that day and pulls the same blue microstripe shirt out of his bag and tosses it to me. I asked him what happened and he informs me that the people at the Pro Shop laughed when he told him about the “Chica” on the label. It turns out that “Chica” can also mean “Small.” Somehow, this little bit of Spanish had escaped me in the 2 years of high school Spanish and 2 semesters of college Spanish. Or maybe I knew it, but I had just forgetten. I don’t know. Either way, I felt like quite the fool.

ISnuckInTheClub

June 30, 2005 at 10:14 PM | Good Times, KCMO, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

Last Tuesday, a big group of kids from my Compass group met up at this bar in Westport called Harpo’s to hang out. They have a special on Tuesdays where you can get 25 cent draws… of Natty Light, quite possibly one of the most terrible beers of all time. On the cheap end of the beer spectrum, you’ve got beers like Keystone, Old Style, and of course Natty. Now, I won’t dog on Natty too much… me and Natty have a sort of a history, but I won’t get into that. The point is, they were selling cheap beer for a price so low that it was still a good deal. Good deals taken in mass quantity equals great times. That’s a little introduction to the discipline known as Beer Mathematics.

One of the most interesting points in the night was right when we arrived at the bar and of course, I routinely pulled out my driver’s license to show them that yes, I was indeed 21+ years old. Now, if you’ve ever seen my driver’s license, you will know that I really don’t look like I did back when the photo was taken. In that photo, I was wearing glasses and I had just shaved my head. And it was like 3 years ago. Just from past experience, I know that people will often feel the need to give me the “double take” where they look back and forth between my ID and me at least twice, and then hesitantly return it back to me, not really sure if I was who I claimed to be. It’s happened at bars with my license; it’s happened at airports with my passport (for which was I was coincidentally photographed for around the same time as my driver’s license). I don’t blame these people, I can see where they’re coming from…

But I had something happen to me that night that took the whole thing to the next level. I hand the guy at the door my license and he did not believe that was me in that picture. So he pulled me aside, and let everyone else that was with get their ID’s checked, cover paid, and wristband distributed. The guy hands my license to this big bald guy standing a couple feet back in the corner. He says something to the bald guy, who proceeds to analyze my license under some kind of magnifying glass/flashlight combination tool. The big bald guy didn’t think I was the guy in the picture either.

At this point, I was just afraid that they would confiscate my driver’s license or cut it up or whatever they do to the licenses of kids who try to sneak into bars under the guise of a friend or relative.

“No that’s me, I’ve got other forms of ID on me…”

“Doesn’t matter.”

He clamps my license on a clipboard and hands me a notepad and pen and instructs me to sign my name “exactly as it appears” on my driver’s license. The page that I was going to be signing on had two other signatures on it. It seemed like a pretty common procedure around Harpo’s. I was like “OK.” I was confident that I knew how to sign my own name, but I’ve noticed that signatures evolve over time. Mine has, anyways. I don’t know about yours.

So I signed it like I do and the bald guy compares it to the signature on my driver’s license using the forementioned magnifying glass and after giving my signature the double take, he finally says, “well, I guess it looks similar enough.”

I was like “OK, thanks… I guess,” all sarcastic as I return my license to my wallet. They were treating me as if they had just let some 18 year old slip through the cracks of their security, trying to get by with a borrowed/stolen ID. I rolled my eye and got my wristband, a little irked that I had to jump through all these obstacles to drink some Natty, when I never once had to prove myself at bars, never once had to prove myself to the people working at various airports in numerous countries. Just who the fuck do these people at Harpo’s think they are?

So anyways, there were a bunch of us out back, occupying like 3 tables pushed together. It wasn’t just my Compass group there obviously because Sam and Chris also came. Micheala brought her friend from that other night. Amanda’s friend Natalie showed up at some point. Summer brought some of her friends and I am pretty sure there were people there that night that I didn’t even get a chance to meet. Great times.

That was the same night that Sam and I ran into Jenny back at the apartment and the L Word was dropped. But that’s another story.

Ping Pong

June 26, 2005 at 9:14 PM | Work | No Comments

Ping pong is work’s best kept secret! Well… not so much of a secret anymore. Everyday after lunch, I like to go over to the Associate Center to play ping pong, sort of like recess time. I’ll bolt my food if I have to–just to get a little more play time. You see, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen the ping pong crowd blow up to the point where three tables sometimes isn’t enough to let everybody play a match before having to go back to work. Of course, all last week I was in classes so we got to take hour and a half lunches, sometimes longer. It was so much fun!

I think the last time I played ping pong was back in high school when Eric and I would go down to the building where he had Bible study. We used to play almost everyday because we were both on just about the same level and I considered him a worthy opponent. Picking it back up after so long, I could tell that I was rusty but I think I’m getting the hang of it again. Now I’ve just got to improve my skills so I don’t fall behind.

The Drink

June 17, 2005 at 7:04 AM | Good Times, Movies, Site/Personal, Work | 1 Comment

Hey hey what’s going on. Today, I’ve got this crazy meeting spanning over all possible lunch hours, from like 11 to 2… it’s gonna suck. But in other news, my cousin and his friend(s) are coming up to KC and we’re gonna check out that Batman Begins. Last night, I heard that some critic was giving that movie shit, saying it was so bad that if they’d started off the Batman movie franchise with Batman Begins, they probably would’ve stopped right there. That’s pretty cold. But I guess we’ll see huh. I’m curious to see what they got going on in this one.

Oh yeah… one more thing. Last night Rob, Sam, Micheala, her friend Vanessa, and I went out to this bar in the Plaza known as “The Drink.” It was all high-class, VIP shit and all and we rolled up in there and there was this guy at the front, he was like “hey, no hats in the club” to Sam, who was wearing his K-State baseball cap. So we were like OK and went inside this door that was labeled “VIP entrance” and I was thinking to myself “huh, are we VIP?” I’ve never been VIP anywhere for anything. But nobody stopped us so I guess we must’ve been VIP. But by that same token, if I’m VIP, then they’ll just let anybody who rolls by be VIP. That shit ain’t cool. And these people inside were all decked out in business attire and we were like man, fuck this place. None of us were dressed the part. So when Micheala showed up, we went over to Harpo’s in Westport where I guess they were having a special on margaritas. So I ordered one of those and essentially what I got was a virgin margarita… the drink didn’t taste like it had any alcohol in it! So we were like wtf and ordered some beer because they can’t possibly fuck that up.

New Job

June 14, 2005 at 11:27 PM | Food, KCMO, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

"New Job" by Sam Brown (explodingdog.com)
I haven’t decided exactly how I am going to do this yet… I mean blogging about work, the future of this site, etc. I am thinking about making some pretty radical changes to the website, but I assure you it’s all for the better. I’m sure a lot of you are wondering how I am doing in Kansas City and what I think about my new job and all that good stuff, so here goes:

Waking up for my first day was surprisingly easy. As you may recall, I did not get back to KC until about 8:45PM on Sunday. My flights back were both extremely (and unnecessarily) nerve-racking. On the flight from Fairbanks to Minneapolis, I was seated behind 2 of the loudest, most energetic little brats. Yelling, screaming, crying, dropping shit everywhere, constantly asking stupid questions of an apathetic father… these boys fucking covered that shit over, countless times. My God… by about the fifth hour, I wanted to strangle the little shits so bad, just reach right over the seat, fucking smash those little heads together, then pick one of them up by the neck and….. but I kept my cool. “Patience,” I told myself. And it was about this time that I realized that they’d dropped some kind of gum or taffy-like substance onto the area where I had been resting my feet. It was a bright blue color, had an artificial fruit flavor’s scent, and it was sticky as all hell. It had tracked onto my shoes, got all up on my shoelaces. Some of it even got on my backpack. The seat belt sign was on when I made this discovery so I could not go get myself cleaned up or anything and I would have to wait until I got off the plane. And if that wasn’t the end of it, I guess there was some storm in the Twin Cities area that kept us from landing on time, bringing me extremely close to the time of my connecting flight. I was just thinking to myself, “Yeah, hopefully I get a chance to stop in a restroom and clean this gunk off my shoe…” I made the flights OK, so I guess that was cool. I even stopped in a restroom, cleaned everything up. Sam picked me up at the KC airport (held up a sign with my name on it, said “Welcome to The KC.”) and it was about 9 when we got home. It looked like it had rained a lot while I was gone.

Part of the reason why waking up for work on Monday was so easy was because it was light outside when I woke up. It was about 7:45, a lot later than I am used to when waking up for work purposes.

So for the week, a group of about 40 or so of us new hires went through orientation classes. Classes are classes but it was a good time because there were a lot of cool cats in that class and we got free lunch everyday. I’m talking like fajita bar, sirloin steak, grilled chicken… it was pretty sweet. Oh yeah, and all the beverages that we could handle. Towards the beginning of the week, I probably had more coke/root beer/mountain dew than I’ve ever had in my life in such a concentrated amount of time. So come Thursday and Friday, all I was drinking was hot tea for detox. Nothing quite like a hot cup of tea on a warm summer’s day.

There’s this girl in my orientation group, Summer, who I guess sings for a band. I went and checked out their music and just as she had warned, it was very Tool-esque. I bring this all up because I guess they are looking for a drummer. I haven’t played the drums in any sort of serious manner for a long time, but I think it’d be interesting to get involved with a band again. Gotta do something to keep it real, right?

On Wednesday, we got our laptops (they call them “devices”) so that was pretty bad ass. There were 3 kinds of devices: Toshiba tablet PCs, Dell D600′s, and Dell M60′s. Most software engineers got the 600′s and I believe most non-engineer types got the tablet PCs. I was fortunate enough to end up on a team whose manager insisted on getting us the M60′s, with the pimp ass widescreens and bigger hard drives. There were only 3 of us in the class who got the M60′s and all of us are currently in the same group. Holla.

The stuff that I am going to be working on is bleeding edge for the company’s newest products, so I’m very excited about all that… but… alas, I’ve still got a ton of training left to do. I met my team on Monday and it seems like a smart bunch of people.

And I’m enjoying myself a lot working here… we’ve got this bad ass cafe where a lot of people go to eat (has a lot of different kinds of food available, which is important in my book), can sit outside next to the fountains n shit. I haven’t eaten outside yet but it looks pretty relaxing. Eating inside is already a treat. Annnd! The demographic of the company is very young and luckily we’re not all software people (thank God for finance, HR, sales, etc.) because there are swarms of fine ladies everywhere on campus (we’ve got about 9 buildings, I believe…), just like I ain’t never left college n shit only minus trashy looking kids, everybody’s dressed professional n shit round herre; I’m lovin it.

Oh yeah. And today, some of the guys on my group (who are fortunate enough to be able to park on campus) took me and two other new people out to a little restaurant south of the river known only as “Vietnam Cafe.” You knew it was going to happen sooner or later! Someone breathed the word “Vietnam” in the room and I jumped up, shut my laptop, turned around and was like “alright, I’m therrrre!!” You know I love the pho. I had been meaning to find a good Vietnamese joint in KC and opportunity came a knockin’. So we rolled down there, ate some pho, had some cafe sua da, and it was good. Apparently, KC has a fairly large Vietnamese community. It’s sort of mixed in with an Italian community, forming one amazingly delicious little district just for my enjoyment. Life is wonderful at the moment.

The Interview

April 22, 2005 at 7:00 PM | Food, Music, Random, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

It’s funny, so many things that you would normally recognize become unfamiliar chunks of land, split up into geometric shapes not too much longer after a plane’s initial ascent towards the sky after roaring down the runway…

I had a pretty intense mid-week experience that left me completely exhausted by the end of it all. I knew in advance that such a venture would be taxing, but in an attempt to take care of some key decisions in my life that desperately needed resolution, I decided that it had to be done, even if at the cost of my health. So Tuesday, I drove down to Wichita so that I could fly down to Texas for an interview. The interview was scheduled for 7:45AM Wednesday.

After coming home from class, I packed up the necessities into my dufflebag, hurriedly took an online quiz, and started driving. I had the option to either fly out of KC or Wichita, but since the drive is about the same, I decided to go down to Wichita, where I could be dropped off at the airport by family, and also bum some meals.

Flying has become so boring to me, it’s not even funny. I’ve slept through takeoffs and landings, arguably the “best” part of the flight, simply because it’s not the same ‘ol sea of clouds. Despite this fact, I chose a window seat on both flights. I had my suit with me, hanging in one of the plane’s coatrack compartments up towards the front, in between miscellaneous crew uniforms and empty hangers. I had my dufflebag in the overhead compartment… it was a little over half full… you really don’t need to have that much stuff on you when you are only gone for the day. I listened to my iPod the entire time, from the departure gate in Wichita to the Avis counter at DFW’s consolidated car rental center. Occasionally, I would glance out the window and through the clouds, I could make out the red land, red streams of Oklahoma. “What a boring state to drive through,” I thought. “Thank god I’m not driving.” I remembered the 4 other times that I passed through Oklahoma, either going to or coming from Texas.

The descent was interesting because I noticed something that I never would have suspected if I had driven. Texas, sure it was cut up into geometric shapes, probably just like 99% of the land in the US, but amongst the shapes were dozens of striped patterns that I could easily and unmistakably recognize. Orange and white stripes. They were everywhere. These were the roofs of Whataburgers. “Wow,” I breathed on the tiny window.

I got off the plane and headed towards the shuttle buses that takes people to the car rental center. The only other time that I’ve ever personally rented a car was when my car was in the shop being worked on after Sam backed up into me. It happened to be at the Manhattan airport, so I just assumed that all airports had their car rental services right there inside of the airport. I should have known better, I guess… the Manhattan airport is somewhat of an anomaly. But I don’t really want to get into that right now. So here was the situation: the consolidated rental center was about a 15 minute drive south of the gates, still within DFW. I went to go pick up my car from Avis. The lady that I spoke with gave me all these helpful directions (albeit confusing) directions on how to get out of the airport. I took my paperwork and went out to the garage and found the gray car parked in stall F17. I’m not really sure what kind of car it was. From the markings on the car, I could deduce that it was a Chevy “Classic.” Is that right? I’m pretty sure that I’ve never heard of the “Classic” before. Immediately, I thought to myself, “well, I’d better google this when I get home.” But then it occured to me that if I searched for “chevrolet classic,” I would get all these sites on classic Chevys. Oh well. I got in, started it up and saw that the car only had about 7000 miles on it. I popped in Starflyer 59‘s Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice CD (that I had just gotten the day before) and headed out. I had anticipated that I would be driving a car with a non-MP3 capable CD player, and had planned accordingly.

The streets outside of the car rental place were the primary source of confusion… they had these weird street names like Passport, Rental Car Drive, Service Road, Garage… and suddenly the directions out of the place made more sense.

I’m not sure where the time went, but by the time I finished checking into the hotel, it was almost 9:30. The airport, being between (and slightly north of) Dallas and Fort Worth, was far, but not that far. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to have time to find a place to eat so I just hit up this Applebee’s that was next door. Not only were they still open, they had 1/2 price appetizers after 9 and $1 drafts. So I have myself a grand ol time. Well… as grand a time as one can have eating and drinking alone, that is.

Anyways, there was this table of 4 seated behind me with its occupants from the UK. I wasn’t purposely eavesdropping or anything, but when you’re dining by yourself, there isn’t a whole lot else to do. Their conversation kept me entertained. They were talking about how American football seemed like such a silly sport that required little strategy and skill, as compared with rugby. They had quite an extensive conversation about baby back ribs: “What is it? Ribs from the back of a baby? You’re sick!” Then they were talking about how they use the term “entr饦quot; to refer to what we call appetizers and when asked what they call their entr饳, one of them replied “mains.” You learn something new everyday. One of them ordered a steak less cooked than rare.

I don’t know why I drove really. The place was literally next door. There was a one way street out front so getting back actually required me to go around. I know I could have gotten back faster walking. I dunno, driving seemed like a good idea at the time.

Back at the hotel, as I got in the elevator, a black guy stepped in and was going to the same floor as I was. He had two small bowls with him. One of them was full of mayonnaise. I couldn’t tell what was in the other bowl. He was with room service. We started talking and I mentioned something about the interview that I had the next morning.

“Well that’s a good thing, right?”

“Fo sho,” I replied. I bit my tongue the second these words came out of my mouth. I say this all the time, but just what would this guy think? I kind of waited to see what he would do.

Fo sho…” he echoed, staring at the door. The elevator stopped on the 4th floor, he went to the left, I went to the right.

“Well, I’ll see ya around.”

“See ya.”

I unpacked my stuff all across the room, took a shower, and went to bed. It was already a lot later than I had planned. The room was alright. It was one of those rooms with a king size bed and a couch. I never know what to do with a king size bed… I would have to go out of my way to use up so much space. And there were 3 pillows on this thing. So I found a way to somehow lie across two of them and hold onto the third one like a large, faceless stuffed animal. And all the while lying every which way.

I had set the room temperature to 60 degrees. It wouldn’t let me go any lower. I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like in the daytime, but I was deathly afraid that it would resemble the scorching heat that I remember experiencing last summer. I believe people get accustomed to an area’s range of temperatures, to some degree… but having been away for so long, the heat would surely kill, I just know it.

I woke up early the next morning and started off with shower #2. I got dressed and packed up all of my scattered belongings. I’m always surprised to see people up so early in the morning. Like, when I stepped out of the room, I saw two other people coming out of their respective rooms, looking like they were heading to work or somewhere important. I was like holy shit, I’m not the only one up at this hour. Yes, we were all checking out well before the hotel’s checkout time (usually 11) because there was some place that we needed to be. It’s fucking amazing how early the world gets started. If I had it my way, I think we would shift everything forward about 2, maybe 3 hours. I think it’d seem more natural… you know, start things up when the sun is all the way out… none of that getting up before sunrise is done shit.

I decided to check out of the hotel because I really didn’t know how long this thing would take. Originally, I had this plan where I would come back to the hotel to change out of my interview clothes. But you know, what if it went past 10 or 11? No, I had to change my plan. Maybe I can duck into a fast food joint somewhere and change out in the restroom… oh man it’s gonna suck. But it can’t suck any worse than having to be dressed up all day. I’ll deal with it.

The weather was awesome too. It was kind of a grey and cloudy day, which I thought was just perfect.

So I go to my interview, do a kick ass job, and am out of there at right around 11. I called up Lindsay to meet her for lunch, as was the plan. I drove out to the building where I interned at and parked in the same lot that I did last summer, being careful not to park in the almost sacred numbered spots. Everything was pretty much the way it was when I left. I mean, the whole town was, but coming back to these familiar places gave me a funny nostalgic feeling.

I knew that I wasn’t going to get past security so I met her there in the parking lot. We went back to her apartment and I had the luxury of changing at her place, as opposed to some dirty public restroom, thank God. The plan was to head out to the Clay Pit, this nice Indian restaurant that we’d eaten at sometime last year. This restaurant is way the fuck out in north Dallas, but what can you do.

So we ate and walked around at a Fry’s for a bit. It was close enough to the airport and it was getting close to my flight time so I just head on over there. The airport has a bizarre little traffic system, complete with different colored signs, and a toll road system of some kind. So I drive down this airport toll road, which was the quickest way to get down to the rental center and all the peculiarly named roads around it.

Now, the tricky thing about the car rental situation was this: the only real obligation here was that I needed to return the car with a full tank of gas. That and I guess don’t wreck it. But yeah, I was pretty impressed with the gas prices that I saw all across town… like $2.09 to $2.11. That’s like a good 10 cents or so less than what I was just seeing in Kansas. The Avis lady had informed me that there was a Shell right near the rental center that was strategically placed for the purpose of refueling rental cars. And so I pull into this Shell… $2.36 was the price on the lowest octane gas. But just thinking about having to go through the toll road again and finding another place… I was so tired… I just decided to take one for the team and get gas there anyways. Besides, I had used just about a quarter tank.

I rode the shuttle back to the airport.

When passing security, I set off the metal detector alarm. I mean, my shoes and both pieces of my carry-on luggage were already going through the x-ray machines. Apparently my belt was the cause. I thought that this was noteworthy because I must’ve gone through a dozen of these metal detector machines over winter break, wearing this very belt, and not once did it ever set one of them off. This metal detector must be extra sensitive. Or maybe all the other metal detectors weren’t sensitive enough, I dunno.

I stopped into a magazine shop and picked up a Mounds bar to snack on. The thing was 96 cents plus tax. Which came out to be $1.01. I pulled out a 1 dollar bill and I was like “uh… yeah, one cent huh, okay…” and checked for a penny in the pockets of my jeans, but with no such luck. I mean, I could have busted out another bill on it, but I really didn’t want 99 cents of change. And I don’t think anybody would want to count that out either. The lady working the register was just like “hey don’t worry about it.” I bet they see that a lot. That’s why they should make that shit 95 cents and save everyone the trouble. But hey who am I to say how they should run their business?

So I sat down at my gate and waited. I pulled out a bottle of water, my Mounds bar, and my iPod and got myself ready for an intense session of people watching to pass the time. I unwrapped the Mounds bar and was shocked to see that it wasn’t one large bar as I had just assumed that it would be, but instead found two fun sized bars inside. I think I should have known… I think I’ve seen this before a long, long time ago. But it’d been so long since I busted open a non-fun size Mounds bar package that I guess I’d forgotten. So there I was, just sitting there, eating my candy, drinking my bottled water, listening to music, watching people go by.

I was bored out of my mind.

I fell asleep on several occasions and several times I got up to walk around. I passed by that same magazine shop a couple of times, looked around but didn’t see any magazines that caught my interest that Sam didn’t already have a subscription to. And they didn’t have the UK editions of any magazines. What was up with that? Those are the best ones. I felt like I owed the place a penny if I were to buy something else there, too, so I decided that even if I were to buy a magazine, I’d buy it elsewhere.

At some point, they changed the gate for my flight and so I gathered my stuff up and watched people 4 gates over. New location, new people.

Still bored out of my mind.

At last, it was time to board the plane. I was seated behind this family with one of those annoying little kids that don’t know how to behave on a plane, all yelling and standing up n shit. I fucking hate kids.

Anyways, my dad picks me up at the airport and we had time to eat dinner and then I had to leave because it was getting late and I had class at 9:30 the next day. The drive left me quite irritable and I almost died like 5 times coming up. The last couple of days had been pretty much non-stop and I was tired as fuck. And all I could think about was that god damned pizza box out on the front porch. I was like “I swear to god if that fucking pizza box is still there…” Strangely enough, it was gone.

Fucking Snow

February 8, 2005 at 5:02 PM | KSU, Random, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

When I got up this morning, the first thing that I saw as I reached over and put on my glasses was the snow coming down on top of the already snow-piled roof of my neighbor’s house. I was like “shit…” because I knew it. I already knew that it was going to fuck up my whole day. The Engineering Career Fair was today and I was just imagining all the difficulties of walking around on campus in the snow in a suit… the cold, the wetness, the absurdity of it all.

But when it came down to time for me to decide what to do, I finally decided to dress up and take one for the team. The last thing that I tend to put on when getting dressed is my shoes. And for the life of me, I could not find my black shoes. And then it occured to me… I had left them at home in Wichita. So I had to completely change up what I was wearing and head out. I couldn’t even dress up if I wanted to. And not that I really wanted to, but it just irks me that after so much debate, it turns out I didn’t even have a choice.

So I was like “man what am I gonna do?” because I have to give a presentation at 1PM and then walk home through the snow, clear the snow off my car, drive to the mall, pick me up some shoes, go home, change, drive back to school, and then find a parking spot… all to talk to the one or two employers interested in hiring CS students. This whole ordeal, although at the core is really my fault because I forgot my shoes, would have been 1/4 as bad if only it wasn’t snowing. That’s why I’m going to go ahead and blame the shittiness of my day entirely on the snow.

Still bitter with the weather situation, I head out for class and as predicted, it’s cold as fuck outside, all snowing n shit. I muttered to myself, “Good thing I didn’t dress up… fucking snow always coming round, fucking my shit up, damn it.”

So 1PM came around. Just the thought of starting the forementioned sequence of events made me weary. It turns out the professor whom I was supposed to give a presentation to was a no-show, and at that point I think I just decided to not give a fuck about dressing up and going to the Career Fair as is. I mean, I already have a job waiting for me when I graduate… so what does it really matter? This is not to say that I wouldn’t try my best to be super stealth and avoid my employer’s booth at the fair (I’m guessing it probably doesn’t look too good for me to be going around, talking to other companies right in front of them).

Luckily, it turns out they were packing up when I got there so I could wander freely. I was thinking that there might have been others in my situation, due to the snow, but nah… all these engineers there were all dressed up n shit. I have no idea how so many people pulled it off. Well, I humor myself and think that I could have pulled it off too, if not for the shoe situation.

So I did my thing, talked to who I needed to, and pretty much just spent the rest of the time grabbing up free shit from all the booths. I guess foam promotional objects are the craze this time, so lots of booths had these out. Ah man you should have seen it, they had foam cheese wedges, foam stop lights, foam shopping carts, etc. My motto for the day was “If it’s foam… it’s coming home.”

Now I have a backpack full of useless foam promotional toys, a water bottle, some pens, and several t-shirts. I suppose that makes it all worth it.

And so I come home, all relieved n shit that I wasn’t going to live out that nightmare that I had originally planned. But then I hear this chirping right? It turns out that there is a bird chilling in the housing around the dirty window on the ceiling near the stairs. At first I’m thinking “oh it’s only in there because it’s snowing outside… s’cold as fuck outside.” But then as the chirping continued, I started to wonder if maybe it was stuck in there… it was bouncing around in there, flapping its wings like it was trying to fly somewhere but couldn’t.

I couldn’t take the flapping and chirping anymore so I decided to do something. Besides, the thought of the bird in there all night scared me. Not because I wouldn’t be able to sleep, but the bird might die and smell up the joint and I would have to pull some dead bird out of there… Yeah anyways, the window in question can be accessed in two ways… you can open the window from the inside or you can crawl up onto the roof from the deck. Because the prospect of a bird getting loose inside and flying around in my house did not thrill me, I decided to try to free it from the outside. I would much rather go the dead bird route before I let some wild bird fly around in my house. Unfortunately, there was all this snow all up on the roof, so I couldn’t climb it because it was so slippery. But I tried. And failed. Well… I guess we’re going with the dead bird plan after all.

Fucking snow, always coming round, fucking my shit up…


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