Monday, May 31, 2004

A Lovely Holiday Adventure

I'm there. Or perhaps I should say I'm here. Big storms earlier in the day had ATL completely fucked up, so it's a good thing I got to the Richmond airport early. The 10:24 flight I'd been booked on, had been cancelled, but they re-assigned me to a flight that was supposed to have left at 8:30, and at the time I checked in was scheduled for a 10:00 departure. They boarded us as if we were going to leave at 10, but air traffic control held us on the taxiway so we didn't leave until, oh about 10:24. ATC had us doing slow turns and might as well have had the pilot do some loops just to kill time, so we ended up landing at about 12:30, one half hour later than what was on my original itinerary.

Oh well, I could tell from the crowds in the concourse that things could have been a lot worse.

Finding a place to live
I had scheduled an appointment to look at a couple apartments in "Uptown" Columbus at 2:00. I was a little late, but I have a feeling that the person who assured me that the office would be open today completely forgot about the holiday. Oops.

I drove around a bit and found two of the other places that were on my short list of places to consider. I spoke, via intercom to one guy, and then our conversation got cut short, and he wasn't very encouraging anyway. At the other place, the office at least had a sign on the door clearly indicating that they'd be closed today.

Locating the office
I drove back to the Uptown area and easily found the building that I'd been told to report to tomorrow, as well as the parking garage that I'd been told to park in. After the apartment issues, I was happy to have that go right. And then, HEY, it turns out that the office is just around the corner from the first apartment place, where I still hope to live. That would be more pretty cool, considering the gas prices and all that. I guess it might even be time to consider selling the 240SX. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! OK, forget I said that. A guy can only handle so much change at one time.

Getting Online
I hated to do it, but I loaded up an AOL disc that I picked up at Target. It took almost 45 minutes to do whatever crap it was doing to my poor ancient notebook. And then it promptly blue-screened me when I tried to get local dial-up numbers. I miss my DSL already.

I ignored it for awhile, went out and drove around, got some chow and came back and pampered it through the phone number thing (only to find out that the hotel had "accidentally" blocked outgoing calls . . . ), but as you can guess, I got online. AOL will be banished as soon possible; I was planning on wiping and reloading the hard drive on this system anyway.

Administrative Note
I'm going to mask my email address again. I'm starting to get crap on my gmail account, and I've only ever gotten two blog-related emails there anyway. But please, feel free to write. You'll just have to decode a bit.

current music
Coldplay - Parachutes

All by bags are packed

I'm ready to go
Well . . . almost. A couple more things to toss into the dopp kit, gotta grab the laptop power supply. But here I go.

It's all so freakin' weird, being offered, and of course accepting, a job in another city without any face-to-face meetings or interviews. I'm going to miss a lot of people around this crazy city that I love to hate, but it's not that far away that I won't be able to visit fairly often. And this first week is more like a business trip than a move -- flying down, staying in a hotel, knowing I'll be "home" on Friday night.

Wish me luck. I'll try to keep this space updated more regularly, although I don't know what my net.access will be like.

current music
nothing, all the current favorite discs are already packed

Monday, May 24, 2004

Finishing Up

Tying Up Loose Ends
I've been working on saying goodbye to people and places around Richmond as I countdown to the end of the month. On Saturday, I reserved a motel room and drove up to Arlington, made plans with one of my online buddies for Sunday brunch, and then headed to Blowoff. I guess I had pictured a larger space, but it was a good time, except for being crushed up against a steel support beam when guys tried to move past the place I was standing --where I also got to feel the warm exhaust from the ice machine. And yeah, I finally took off my shirt too.

On Sunday morning, I drove back into the city for the aforementioned brunch at Hamburger Mary's. Funny to find myself in the Logan Circle area after reading the similarly named blog for several weeks now. Nick and I had some food, some drinks, and then I headed home.

Starting Fresh
Even though I didn't actually visit DC a lot in the nine years I've lived in Richmond, it was always my "big city in reserve." I had to see it again before leaving the area. Now I guess Atlanta will be my BCiR. Because it's nice to know there's a place close enough to get to, if necessary.

current music
ABC - How To Be A . . . Zillionaire!

Friday, May 21, 2004

Always look on the bright side of life

(insert whistling sound here)
Eric Idle has a few choice words for the FCC, and the current administration as well. (NOT WORK SAFE, should that be a concern)

I don't suppose he ought to perform that in New Mexico.

current music
Eric Idle - The FCC Song

Expressing opinions deemed un-American in New Mexico

" ... the principal shouted: "Shut your faces."
A chill runs down my spin when I read this.

High schools have "military liaisons"?

In a way, stories like this almost give me hope, because I have to believe that widespread publication of such blatantly unconscionable acts will help create the backlash needed to get rid of the government which has fostered said acts. I guess that makes me un-American too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Moving Along

Just when I was enjoying this place
It's official, I guess. Pending the background checks and all that. I'll be relocating from the greater Richmond area to . . . Columbus.

No, not Ohio.


Hmmmmm. I tried to get a response from the folks in DC, because I'd rather have had that job and I'd been thinking about all the logistics of moving up there. But I got nothing after two full business days. And the offer in GA is for a hella nice chunk of change. Certainly one that will go further, considering the cost of living difference. I'll re-evaluate constantly. They want me there on June 1, which is going to be challenging, to say the least.

I just checked, and at least there's a Best Buy. The other day I tried to find out if there's a Starbucks, but the sbux website sucks bigtime, so I can't say for sure. (Dear Starbucks -- People use other browsers. Get used to it. No, you don't get a link. Bite me.)

So, yeah, no floppy hat/Dupont Circle thing. Not this year anyway. I think I might have to drive up this weekend for Blowoff, though, because it sounds like fun. I'm not sure about the whole removing my shirt thing though. I don't want to scare anybody.

current music
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry

Monday, May 17, 2004

Know Your Rights, Again

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Fairly straightforward, don't you think? And while this first amendment to the Constitution specifically address what Congress shall not do, it seems reasonable to extrapolate that if Congress should not abridge freedom of speech or the right to peacably assemble, then these things are allowed to all United States citizens.

And yet, police in Platteville, WI don't see it that way. They'd rather arrest first, ask questions later.

If you exercise freedom of speech and there's nobody there to hear it . . .
I guess the Secret Service didn't take the time to set up "free speech zones." in Platteville.

"[T]he Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who 'expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government.'"

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." - Thomas Jefferson

20 years later




current music
Various Artists - Soundtrack to Real Genius

Friday, May 14, 2004

This Just In

Supreme Court Won't Block Gay Marriages

Story here.

The Supreme Court refused Friday to block Massachusetts from allowing gay marriages beginning Monday, removing the last legal impediment to what will be the nation's first state-sanctioned same-sex weddings.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Dreamin' Is Free

If the greater Richmond area keeps this up, I don't know what I'm going to do.
Last night I finally got the chance to see Blondie in concert. I've loved them since I first heard "Heart of Glass" played on the radio back in, ummm '78? '79?

Deborah Harry looked good and sang even better. Not bad for a 58 year old. They opened with "Atomic" and followed with over ninety minutes more music, a great selection of the classic old stuff and some of the newer stuff. A kick-ass rendition of "Rapture" was definitely the highlight of my night.

It was the first time I'd been to an Innsbrook After Hours concert in at least five years. (And if you look at the rest of this summer's schedule, you can see why.) It was nice to see a few familiar faces as I wandered through the crowd. A couple guys up from Portsmouth, some old cow-orkers from Capital One, friends of friends.

I thought they weren't going to play "Heart of Glass" but then, BAM, second encore!

These dogs are barking!
Since the Innsbrook Pavilion is nearby and I didn't see the need to deal with traffic, I headed out on foot. OK, so walking three miles round-trip in Tevas? Not so smart. I'm sure it was good for me though, according to my handy new Stepometer, I logged 9,241 steps. That might include some dancing, since otherwise the math doesn't work.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Know Your Rights

And how they're being taken away
After somewhat facetiously using the term "h8er" today in two previous posts, I learned about Virginia Is For Haters, a site calling attention to the despicable law recently passed by the Virginia State Legislature.

You know, when I got an email today about a job opportunity in Columbus, GA, I was thinking that maybe that wouldn't be the most tolerant place to live. But you know, they haven't actually legislated their intolerance yet.

current music
Chaz Jankel - Number One

Richmond, Virginia

I have generally not been the biggest booster of the Richmond metropolitan area. I have lived here for nine years now, and it still doesn't feel like home. However, after Saturday, I'm willing to, well, not be a h8er.

It all started on Friday, when a guy from ECPI came into the office where I am technically not employed, but was there anyway, offering up two VIP passes to the CapTech Classic, a bicycle race event to be held in downtown Richmond Saturday. Since I had no other plans, and my brother's avid bicycle enthusiasm has rubbed off on me a bit, I accepted the passes. I also figured it would be a great place to practice some photography.

It turned out to be a wonderful day weatherwise. Friday night I had gone to Friday Cheers to see Camper Van Beethoven, and it was miserably hot and humid. Later on, however, a storm front moved through just north of us, bringing neither hail nor thunder, but fabulously low humidity and moderate temperatures.

I arrive downtown just around noon. There was FREE parking. The event itself was free. The course selected for the race, although only 2km, was a terrific selection of hills and curves. Unfortunately, the attendance was sparse. That made it easy to move around, but such a great event should have gotten a much better turnout.

On one of the downtown plazas, there were several booths set up by various sponsors of the race. One of them was giving out free bike helmets; I thought it was only for kids, but it turned out to be for everybody, so I got one. I also managed to do some serious job search networking at a couple of the corporate booths. My pass entitled me to enter the VIP area, with food catered by The Bull & Bear Club, featuring crab cakes, hummus, fresh mozzarella in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and basil, and other delectable treats. Oh, and Michelob.

I shot six or seven rolls of film, all around the race course which I walked in reverse two times. No, I wasn't walking backwards, I just was going in the opposite direction that the racers were. It's easier to get shots of them coming toward you that way. A roll or two of that was taken at 8th and Franklin, where I ended up talking to a friendly police officer. He was mostly on "blocking the street" duty, but had time to speak to a wandering amateur photographer in between stopping some of the less intelligent people from walking in front of forty bicyclists coming downhill at forty miles per hour.

I've posted up a selection of the photos at my site. (Note to self: learn how to use the "Create Web Gallery" function in Photoshop Elements a LOT more effectively, mmmKay?)

And yet . . .
It's still a stupid slogan/logo.

current music
Gary Jules - Mad World

Nice mouth

I almost succumbed to responding to somebody who left a rude comment. But I'll take my own advice and ignore the things I can't change. I can't change that person's opinion of me. He is apparently making assumptions about who or what was being posted about, and responding to something he's been told. I can make assumptions as well. In fact, Sitemeter lets me make some pretty educated guesses about who's been reading, and when.

But rather than draw this out, I just went ahead and deleted the offending comments.

People ought not to be h8ers.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I Wish I Was A Writer

who sees what is yet unseen
I took these pictures with my new cellphone. I feel like they should be illustrations for a short story that I don't have the talent to write.

Maybe something with a Bukowski-esque feeling. Or something noir.

I get that feeling a lot - that I have stories to tell, but I don't know how to do it. I'll see a line written by somebody online somewhere and think "that would be an excellent first line [or last line] for a story." And I even have a couple of those lines stashed away in a file on my peecee. But I never do anything with them. I can barely imagine learning how to be a journalist. (Although I've been mistaken for one, by a group of real journalists, something about my "seedy disreputable air." Thanks, Will.) Fiction seems way beyond me.

I wish I was a writer
who sees what is yet unseen
I wish I was a prayer
expressing what I mean
I wish I was a forest
of trees that do not hide
I wish I was a clearing
No secrets left inside

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


The buck stops where?
Even though he (allegedly) avoided his responsibilities in the National Guard, George W. Bush is supposed to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military. Why then, is he not taking responsibility for the atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib prison? Didn't we invade Iraq to put a stop to the horrible things that were being done in these same prisons in Saddam Hussein's name? Why then is it different for Bush? Sure, I read that he has told Donald Rumsfeld to take strong actions, but that is not sufficient. He needs to stop flipping pancakes, although I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

In the meantime, Rumsfeld is quoted as saying "These things are complicated, they take some time."

Hmmm, like being certain that there are weapons of mass destruction before launching an invasion?

In the meantime, a few soldiers get reprimands. What is this, Major League Baseball? Why not courts martial, dishonorable discharges, and some time in prison on the other side of the bars? And why do I keep hearing stories about how these sorry excuses for human beings might have taken direction from contractors. Contractors who somehow are not subject to military law, nor to Iraqi law.

I have never been so ashamed.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Getting Healthy

Health, physical
I guess today is the proverbial first day of the rest of my life. Back to the gym. I was doing so well before - and even during - my vacation, then I turned into a total slacker for a month. The strep throat excuse ran out a long time ago. So I hit the cardio stuff hard this afternoon and will go back for some lifting in the morning. Trying to eat better too, without going all Atkins/South Beach.

Health, fiscal
I'm also hard at work on the job search. Which should be easy, right? After all, the economy is doing well, yacht sales are up. (NPR Audio Link). What a relief that must be to people who are struggling to feed their families.

Health, mental
I supposed I could let myself be stressed out by a lot of things. The employment situation. Stories on the news about Jacko's Calvins. Stupid emails from the ex. The funny noise my car makes when I turn the steering wheel. But you know what? I can't control everything. And at the risk of sounding like a twelve step mantra, I can work on changing the things I can control, and ignoring the ones I can't.

I have good friends and a cat who seems to like me.

current music
808 State - Outpost Transmission

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Superstitions and Traditions

First of the Month
Rabbit Rabbit.

Make A List
Music I played while driving to my interview yesterday:

  • PF Project - Choose Life There are seven mixes on the disc I have, I stopped after four.
  • Sugar - Beaster More below.
  • Frou Frou - Details I can't stand Imogen Heap's solo stuff, but I like this.

Eclecticism, thy name is Larry Mac.

Tell Me About A Time When . . .
I hate job interviews. And I really hate the kinds of questions that seem to have a hidden agenda. Nonetheless, I spent a fair amount of my drive from Richmond VA to Springfield VA yesterday running through those kind of things in my head, so I could be ready for anything. Of course, I was mostly doing this while listening to Beaster.

So yeah, there I am, looking all sharp in my crisp white shirt, spiffy art deco tie, JC Auto blasting from the speakers ("I'm your Jesus Christ, I know, I know") and in my head there's a dialog going on ("What is one of your weaknesses?" "Well, I'm not up to speed on Win2K like I used to be on OS/2, but I know that there are a lot more resources available now to . . . blah blah fishcakes.")

Anyway, I highly recommend listening to Beaster if you have to get ready for an interview. Maybe not the lyrics so much, but the music got me going. Thanks, Bob!

Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you thru
Somewhere north of Woodbridge, I saw a truck carrying a load of hay. When I was a kid, we were always told to make a wish when you see one of those. Since I'm still a kid at heart, I made a wish. No, I can't tell you what it was, I want it to come true. (Aside: I really hate it when people ask "what did you wish for?" DON'T THEY KNOW THE RULES?!) Then I saw another hay truck. So I wished again. Then a third! I covered a lot of bases in the course of five miles in the vicinity of Woodbridge.

You're gonna make it after all
Anyway, I felt really good about the interview. Despite my Sugar-fueled preparation, I didn't have to deal with any of those "standard" questions. We talked about the installed system, my background using the software, nice hard technical stuff. I could kick ass at this place.

Which means, if they agree, that I'll probably be moving to NoVA or DC. I'm sure the sticker shock of that will hit me soon, but the idea really appeals to me. I've been a suburban boy for almost all my life. I want to experience the big city. I want to stop driving everywhere and take The Metro. I want to have too many choices for things to do on any given evening.

I want to walk into the center of Dupont Circle and throw my floppy hat up into the air.

current music
Various Artists - A Means To An End - The Music Of Joy Division