Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy 2006

Well, I got to spend the changeover to the new year with family. . . and ponder the meaning of this odd old song.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mild day in December.

It was nice out today, comparatively. It was very mild for late December and the sun shone the whole day.  It is an odd December.  We had winter storms, up until Winter actually started.  Then the weather decided to be friendly.

I found a webcam that shows the downtown skyline as seen from my neighborhood. My house is a couple of blocks beyond those apartments and to the left of the image. That little strip mall with the green signs on the lower right, next to the interstate, contain my gym.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Night

What a lazy day! I slept in til noon, then went to my brother's house, where the niece and nephew showed me every thing they got from Santa. Mom cooked, dad grilled, and we had a great lunch. I finally saw the movie Madagascar. I played Nerf darts. I worked Sudoku puzzles. I think everyone really liked the gifts I bought. It turned out to be a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

KC Brigade

I've never been an arena football fan. I don't foresee becoming an arena football fan. But now that we have a team here in Kansas City, I want to check out a game. I think I'd like to see the KC Brigade versus the Austin Wranglers home opener on February 12, 2006. No punting? Passes that hit the net are live til they hit the playing surface? Gotta see how this works.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

56 Hope Road at Mike's

Tonight I saw The Duo Trio, my brother's band, at Mike's Tavern, followed by a fine band from Chicago called 56 Hope Road (pictured).  Their sound is difficult to classify, so they get lumped into the jam band genre.  The band they remind me of the most is Eels.  I had a good time.  I got hit on by the aunt of the Duo Trio guitarist.  She was fun to dance with at first.  Then she became stumbling drunk, which wasn't fun when she was waving her cigarette around.  I think she burned my hand just as she was reminding me that I was cute.  Hey, (no) thanks.

The rest of the day was pretty standard.  The snow looks less beautiful today.  Someone pulled Kortney's car out of the ditch before I got a picture of it.  There's another car which is stuck on 43rd with a telephone pole where the radiator should be.  I managed to avoid sliding off the road, but I did get stuck on one of those hills yesterday and had to put it in reverse.  I just went right back home, because it's just not worth the risk when the roads are that slick.

I found a cell phone in the snow in the Price Chopper parking lot.  So, I called 611 to report it lost.  It told me the phone was in a shared plan with 5100 rollover minutes.  Wow.  I navigated the IVR to a Cingular chica on the other end, who assumed I was trying to report another phone lost.  I explained that I had found this phone, so she asked for the zip code, and gave me the location of the nearest Cingular store where I could drop it off.  Whatever.  Then, I went into the stored numbers and found an entry called "me".  I called it and got the voice mail box which had no password.  The first message goes, "Hi, Matt!" and blah blah blah.  I found another entry called "mom" with a local number.  I called it and left a message that I had found Matt's phone and asked her to please call me so I can return it.  Later, Matt's mom called from Wal-Mart, where she was on break and said that I could drop it off with her in the garden department.  I was only 3 miles away eating dinner.  So, I did.  She called me a good Samaritan, thanked me, and checked me out.  I bought some thick winter socks and a couple of Christmas gifts.  She wanted to reward me somehow, but she didn't have anything.  If I had thought fast, I would have asked her to swipe her employee discount card.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005


The snow is beautiful, but it's a hassle when driving around. When I went to work today, there was a little powder on the roads and the side streets were a little slick. I stayed a few hours until the snow started falling harder still and surpassed the forecast of 3 inches. Now they've closed schools early and I made my way home. The streets were somewhat slicker and the interstates were all stop and go traffic. I stopped at Wendy's to pick up a burger and some chili on the way home. Now, judging from the traffic report on the radio, the driving conditions have gotten worse still, so I'm glad I left when I did. There's a car in the ditch at the end of my street. My car is at the end of the driveway. I won't be able to get it all the way up the hill unless I go out there and shovel some snow, though.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Grosser than gross

I just saw the most awful thing. I don't know whether to be angry or disgusted. Who would eat a fetus? I think these people took the term baby back ribs too literally.

How about them Chiefs?  I'm excited about the Chiefs versus Broncos game tomorrow.  Looks like it's going to be a cold one.  I may have to go get some kind of medium weight coat for tomorrow's game.  I lost mine.  The laundry lady told me I left it there one day, but when she went into the lost and found, which was just an out-of-order dryer full of stuff, it wasn't still there.

I was recruited by a curling team, so I'm curling tomorrow before the Chiefs game.  I'm excited about that, too. 

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Hockey fight

There's nothing like a classic hockey fight.

Chip guy

milwaukee (2:36:19 AM): actually two of the H.E. techs I was talking to the other day had a great idea
milwaukee (2:36:26 AM): being the potato chip delivery guy
milwaukee (2:36:31 AM): big boxes but all really light
milwaukee (2:36:49 AM): not too many people hassling you about some chips being late
rr C Hill (2:43:27 AM): if it pays the same, sign me up.
milwaukee (2:43:29 AM): hehe

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Me versus a retrovirus.

I did the Viva Las Vegas thing and the Happy Thanksgiving thing. Now I'm playing catch up. Every agenda item for the year which got procrastinated is on my todo list for the next few weeks.

I'm getting a lot of AIM spam today and making good use of the "warn" button. What will AOL do when every possible combination of letters and numbers is exhausted by these IM spambot scripts?

Tomorrow I start taking powerful and expensive antiviral drugs which may give me a rash and diarrhea. The HIV diagnosis itself never really stressed me until my most recent blood work came back showing that I had 419,000 copies of the virus per milliliter. The doc says that's a lot of strain on an immune system.  The goal is less than 50 copies per mL.  My CD4 cell count has increased from 235 to 264 per cubic millimeter over three months.  Then, in mid-November it went the wrong direction to 246.  The doc wants it above 300.  800 is the low end of normal.  If the virus kills off too many CD4 cells, a simple pneumonia could kill me.  When my number is up, so be it, but I'm not going to worry about something which I cannot control.  I'll simply remain determined to live well.  I'm going on the ART (antiretroviral treatment) meds, including Truvada and Viramune.  So far, without meds, the only symptoms I've seen are some skin blemishes which the dermatologist said was common staph and some redness which they decided was a reaction to an antibiotic they put me on.  I'm seeing the best available doctors.  I've been eating healthily and working out.  I'm getting stronger and keeping a positive attitude.  The less I dwell on it, the better I feel, and that's that.  I'll know if the ART meds are effective by mid-January.  Unless I have a bad reaction to the drugs and have to switch regimens, that'll be the next update on the topic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Viva Lost Wages

I'm back from Vegas and I've had a full night's rest. I had a great lunch with family at Charlie Hooper's in Brookside. Now, I'm going to Lawrence to see my brother's band perform. Then I'll pack for the journey to southeast Oklahoma for Thanksgiving with more family. We rented a GMC Envoy so we could all fit comfortably. I'm excited about eating some country cooking on Turkey Day.

In the meantime, I found an eclectic music site to keep me entertained.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Greetings from Las Vegas

Well, Vegas is mostly the same, but I'm here with my brother and sister-in-law and we're having a ton of fun.  The impetus behind the trip was to see UFC56, and it did not disappoint.  I saw some exciting fights replete with blood and some brutal knock outs.  Our seats were decent.  

Despite acres of slot machines, all I get out of playing them is slightly older and slightly less than break even.  It can be relaxing to zombie out in front of the slots, but I can't fathom why you would in a place like Las Vegas where there's more to do than you can accomplish.  My shift from playing blackjack, primarily, to playing poker has also been a positive thing.  Poker is more profitable and fun.  I've played at Bally's and at MGM Grand.  While MGM Grand's poker room is nicer, the play is tighter.  I enjoyed playing in the soft games at Bally's and taking money from the beginner players there in the low limit Texas Hold 'Em games. 

Our journey from our hotel took us to the Monte Carlo, where we simply got onto the train to Bellagio where we had pastries and crepes for breakfast.  The poker room there had higher limit games.  I was amazed to see players with triple my annual salary in chips in front of them.  Then we went to Bally's for poker (I won. . . a lot) and then lunch at Ortanique.  We walked around in the Paris casino and did not stay.  The poker area was the same as Bally's.  The next stop was the MGM Grand, where we played poker (I lost a few bucks) and watched the fights.  We took the monorail back to Harrah's and checked our comps.  Lisa had enough slot points to buy us all dinner.  We selected Bambaleo, a Mexican restaurant in the Rio.  We took the shuttle there and I had the best guacamole I've ever had.  It had bits of jalepeno in it.  Zing!  The poker room at the Rio looked entirely too serious.  We proceeded to the Palms and watched the hipsters standing in line for the clubs.  The people watching there on a Saturday night is phenomenal.  It's Sunday, and we slept in.  Time to start again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Curling. . er, rocks.

I curled Sunday.  I had forgotten how much fun that game is.  I'll surely be going more often now that the season is underway.  That session was completely full.  I hope they start having two sessions every Sunday.  The class to learn how is only $10.  Anyone can sign up at

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nephew's birthday.

After work I went by Wal-Mart Supercenter to grab a gift for my nephew's ninth birthday and found myself in the electronics section playing Call of Duty 2 on X-Box 360 until I was nearly late for the birthday dinner.  I snagged a very cool General Grievous vehicle toy and action figure.  The birthday boy requested burgers, and they were delicious.  I can't recall ever grilling burgers during snowfall, but watching snow fall through the grill smoke is a strange sight.  He also requested chocolate cake.  Also delicious.

Last night, the nephew and I went skating at the Crown Center Ice Terrace and they had Christmas music blaring on the loudspeakers.  Mid-November is a bit early for Little Town of Bethlehem.  I had promised him hot chocolate, but we stayed until they closed.  So, we went to the 42nd Floor of the Hyatt to Skies, which is the rotating restaurant at the top.  The first time he stepped off the elevator and saw the big windows, his eyes bugged out and he gasped and froze.  I thought he was going to faint.  After the host showed us to the lounge area, he was fine.  We had hot chocolate, cheesecake brulee, and vanilla ice cream.  We stayed up there for an hour and the thing had rotated about 180 degrees til we were facing the downtown skyline, which looks great from up there.  Since the floor is the only part that moves, the art, the view of the city, and the lighting gradually, constantly changes.  After the sugar buzz started, we were goofing around and leaning against the glass, but since the floor is moving under you, your feet are going left as your forehead gets pulled to the right by the glass, which adds to the dizzying sensation of leaning against a window 500 feet above the downtown streets.  Good times.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Asbestos dust is delicious.

I ended up on some mailing list about natural cures and such.  I believe about one tenth of the stuff in these mailings.  The recurring theme is preventing the flu.  I've been to to read what all the hype is about.  There's a lot of avian influenza (bird flu) material there.  The main lesson I took from it all is don't kiss anyone who breathes dried chicken poop dust in Cambodia.  I think I'm safe for now.  It's like the pamphlet they give you when you buy and/or finance a house.  I have a stack of these blue booklets which warn about lead and asbestos.  If you have lead paint, don't eat it.  If you have to cut asbestos, don't suck the dust into your lungs.  My favorite part involves letting the water run for 30 seconds before filling your drinking glass, if you have lead water pipes.  During my recent bathroom remodel, the floor tile contractor dude found a layer of tile underneath two other layers of flooring material.  It's a gorgeous green color, but it's asbestos.  Lovely.  I suspect it's all over the house.  The advice is to be aware of it and leave it alone.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Folks, food, and fun.

Well, I had a good visit from my folks this weekend. We confirmed that they'll be watching the neice and nephew during Thanksgiving week, so I can abduct my brother and sister-in-law to Las Vegas to see UFC56. I'm really excited about the prospect of a Fall vacation to see some fights.

Saturday night's fun included a nice visit to Arthur Bryant's in the Ameristar. How can a barbecue place run out of brisket? The pork was good, but I really wanted beef. I played poker for a while and then went to Jason's house for the party and subsequent side trip to the clubs. I had Adam in tow, who was dressed up like Jethrine Bodine. If you didn't see
that episode, just imagine a tall beefy guy in a blonde wig dressed like Daisy Duke. Shocking.  Several club goers pulled out their cameras.  Personally, I wouldn't Nair my legs for a Halloween costume, but I'm still laughing about it now.

I rested and ate Chinese food on Sunday afternoon in front of the TV.  I drifted in and out of sleep during multiple NFL games.  Then, I packed up my gear and drove to OP to play hockey.  I scored two goals!  We beat them 6-4, and I scored the game winning 5th goal.  It was absolutely fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm planning a trip to Las Vegas to take my brother to see UFC56 on November 19. The trip hinges on whether his kids are going to see their grandparents that weekend. :-) I'm waiting before I book anything, but the plans are made and the days off are scheduled with the various employers. The problem is that's the weekend before Thanksgiving, which is blackout time for the airline deals. Southwest Airlines to the rescue with some reasonably priced direct flights. I can't wait.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Boring week. Good weekend.

The highlight of my week was a show on Tuesday night.  Honky is a pretty good band.

It was more or less a typical on-call week.  I did get some social time when the phone didn't ring, but I missed out on one costume party.  So, I don't have anything to report there.  I did get to attend Club Wars, which is a sort of local battle of the bands.  My brother's band came in third, because, well, they got beat by a solid band that sounded like Tool and has a fan following.  It was not surprising, since the competition is ballot based.

Since there was some kind of military exercise at the air force base, over half of the Bombers team couldn't make it to the game. . . so we forfeited.  I went to play some drop-in hockey at the AMF Ice Chateau.  There were only four guys there, so we played 2-on-2 half-rink where goals are scored by hitting the goal post.  I had fun, but 90 minutes of non-stop skating really sapped me.  I had a stitch in my side and my right lung was burning when we finally stopped.  I drank chocolate milk and ate German Chocolate Cake to replenish those glycogen stores.  The practice was very helpful.  I needed the puck time.  2-on-2 is a passing game where you pass to yourself off the boards or cross-ice a lot.  If you skate with the puck too much, you end up exhausted.  Nearly 2 hours of ice time for $10.  That's a bargain.  I'm surprised more people didn't show up, despite the World Series being on TV.

Asian Bird Fru?

Wilma and Alpha and a low in the Midwest may merge to form the perfect storm?

Monday, October 17, 2005


What a goofy Monday.  I put the trash out, and a pack of neighborhood dogs just loved it.  I had cleaned some items out of the fridge, and they chewed into the trash bags and found every tasty nibble.  Consequently, trash was strewn all over the driveway and a portion of the yard.  Other consequences include the trash men not picking up the stinky remnants or the torn bags and me spending time picking up stinky wet trash and bits of food wrappers which the animals had shredded.  Is it legal to poison stray dogs?  The thought crossed my mind.

I went to work, and the usual on-call dude was given another assignment, so I was asked to volunteer for on-call duty.  Sure!  No split shifts this week!  Aw yayuh!

Through some email box cleanup, I discovered that I had missed OZtoberFEST this past weekend.  I didn't know what it was, until I finally clicked the link.  At first, I thought it might be some sort of Ozzie Ozbourne palooza thingy.  No, it's a Wizard of Oz festival held in Wamego, KS.  That's between Kansas City and Salina, KS.  Judy Garland?  Ruby Slippers?  Live musical performance?  Midget actors?  I wonder if the attendees would have been any scarier than those at the Rennaisance Festival.  I imagine a mix of Judy Garland fans of all shapes and persuasions, their children, a theater going crowd, and some small town farm types looking for something to do.  The late L. Frank Baum is probably looking down in shame at the whole thing.  You doubt me?  Check this out:

"Wamego's main street will be closed during the festival. This several blocks-long venue will host numerous activities for OZtoberFest visitors. Such hilarious hijinks as OZ Jeopardy, Stuff a Scarecrow and Throw a Bucket of Water on the Witch will provide much fun for attendees."

I think I would only attend such a thing if it were free, I was in a group, and if it were close to home. . . or if a tornado carried me there and I could click my heels three times for an immediate escape.  Okay, I'd go if they had real winged monkeys.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Weekend recap.

I rested on Friday, because I really needed it after working so many split shifts this week. Saturday, I didn't wake up until late in the morning. I made good use of the day by going to the Rennaisance Festival. The freak density was near maximum. I was impressed by the magnitude of the thing. The music and drama was mediocre, but mildly entertaining. I think the jousting was fun to watch, and some of the handmade items for sale were pretty unique. I bought a mirror ball made with colored mirrors arranged in a mosaic pattern. I'll hang it on the back deck near the windows, so it can reflect the morning sun inside. Shiny! I also bought some belts in a "Læther Shoppe" which were hand made in front of me. Made to measure. Very nice.  A lot of the resident Rennaisance Festival participants wore authentic period garb and spoke in some sort of fake accent, which made me squint one eye.  It wasn't recognizable, just odd.  If you wear puffy sleeves, short pants, and rope sandals to Renn Fest, at least remove the bluetooth earbud.  Thanks to Adam (aka Hoss) for driving me out to Bonner Springs to witness the spectacle.

Later, I tagged along with Hoss to a Mr. Olympia watch party at his personal trainer's house.  I felt small in a room full of bodybuilders, but I made a lot of acquaintences, and I learned a lot about the sport by listening to their criticism of the competitors in the show.  Ronnie Coleman is simply a monstrosity.  He won again, but I couldn't tell a dimes worth of difference in the top five competitors.  They're all freaks by choice and I respect that.  I think that was the theme for the day.

After that, Hoss tagged along with me to the gathering.  So many crazy things happened, I wouldn't know where to begin.  The keg floated.  The jello shots were mostly consumed.  I enjoyed socializing on the balcony.  The weather was great.  Hoss took me back to my car, and I went back to the party.  We made a food run to Pancho's, and I had my second Carne Asada Burrito in two days.  Beef, pico, and guac.  Simple and good.  I had more fun than last year, somehow.  They're a fun bunch, though.

On Sunday, I watched TV, ate food, played ice hockey (we won!!), ate food, and watched TV.  Perfect!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Big ants eat spider larvae. I don't touch.

The ants are eating the spider eggs in the back of my mailbox. When I'm checking my mail, I'm not in the frame of mind to clean spider eggs out of the back of the mailbox, so I'm glad the ants are taking care of business. I just have to brush the ants off the envelopes and keep moving. Mailbox cleaning won't make the to-do list unless something takes up permanent residence there, like the wasps whose nest I pulled out of there last spring.

My invisible roommate paid his October rent, so I have to make it to the bank at some point soon.  I literally haven't seen him for two weeks.  I'll notice that his laundry basket will be moved, his lamp will be on or off, his computer mouse will be in a different position, but he's invisible!

I did night work last night for a few hours. I have night work tonight. And Thursday. And Friday. It's officially vampire week for me.  Not being home at night might be contributing to the fact that I never see my roommate.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

One win, two losses, a couple of bruises, and a driverless auto race.

I stopped a slap shot with the top of my left knee. I later took a flying fall and landed on my left hip. So, if you see me favoring my right leg a little, that's why. I also got speared in the right side. Hockey is a truly exhilerating game. I don't feel the pain til the adrenaline wears off. I played a heckuva game, as did my teammates, but we lost miserably. Go Bombers! It's going to be a good season, if we work on our passing. 

Formula One has a drivers' cup and a constructors' cup.  With the drivers' cup comes the glory.  With the constructors' cup comes the money.  I recorded the F1 race in Suzuka, Japan in hopes of watching it tonight.  How about a race with only machines and no drivers?  Today, I was following this driverless car race. It looked to me like the Humvee was going to win.  And it did. 

I have a lingering optimism after having an amazing night at the casino last night.  The NASCAR fans were in town and they were well represented at Harrah's.  When I finally was seated in the poker room at a low limit Texas Hold 'Em game, I found that most of the players at my table didn't know what they were doing.  It was like taking candy from babies.  I turned $100 into $440 in a matter of a few hours.  Rich said it was like the perfect storm.  I like to think that my skill had something to do with it. 

Friday, October 7, 2005

Sushi, hockey, and zen.

After a kind of blah day trying to catch up on sleep from the night maintenance work, I had a zen moment. I was on an endorphin high on the way home from the gym and I called an order in to the sushi place. As I arrived home with $27 worth of unagi, maguro, sake, miso soup and edamame, I sat down and turned on the cable box to find a hockey game in progress. I got that feeling that I am right where I'm supposed to be.

At the sushi place, I was greeted by the sushi man's wife, who has been in a tough battle with breast cancer. She smiled really big when she saw me. She was happy to report that she had hair again and that she was in remission. Happy day. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Drink a Katrina, it'll blow you away.

A few hours into my first trip to New Orleans included waking up on a stoop in the French Quarter near dawn a few days before Mardi Gras by a shop keeper cleaning up the red Hurricane vomit from the sidewalk. That was fair warning for me to avoid the red blend of juice, amaretto, grenadine, vodka, gin, and two kinds of rum. Years later, the term 'hurricane cleanup' just invokes a vision of pink chunks being hosed into the gutter. Now, someone smart has applied to trademark the word 'KATRINA' for use as the name of an alcholic beverage.
I'm guessing it's some sort of really mean Hurricane-like drink. I suppose, if it's successful, the shop keepers in the French Quarter will be cleaning up after many more Katrinas.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Called to work, missed a show, watched CSI.

The news is tedious, so I've been channel surfing. Whoever scheduled back-to-back CSI episodes every weeknight on SpikeTV has done a wonderful thing. If everything on the network channels is weak and boring, there's a backup. I was supposed to go to a concert tonight, but on-call prevailed and the phone proceeded to ring until I was worried if I was going to be able to eat something besides cereal or a sandwich. So far, I haven't decided which. The chicken & spinach salad I had at lunch has worn off.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


On the way home from the hockey game, I stopped at the McDonald's at I-70 & Prospect.  I knew better.  It is quite possibly the slowest drive-thru in this hemisphere.  They have a 24-hour drive-thru.  It takes about 24 hours to drive through it.  In the past, I have sat there for several minutes at the end of the line which only moves when someone in the line gets impatient and pulls away.  In roughly the amount of time it would have taken for me to drive to the Van Brunt McDonald's or all the way to the Raytown McDonald's on Highway 350, get my food, and drive home, I got my 5 piece chicken selects combo meal.  When I got home, it only had 4 pieces and it was cold.  They did, however, give me enough sweet & sour sauce to go into the business.  But, they've had two chances, really, and I'll be driving to the Raytown store or eating some other kind of late night drive-thru food in the future.

Crowds. Good when you choose them.

Home again. It feels good to be home. KC feels less crowded, despite the crowds I traversed at the 74th Annual Plaza Art Fair. 74th? That means they started the thing during the Great Depression. Out of dozens and dozens of art booths, I liked about 4 of them. I had to dodge the triple decker strollers and the folks who decided that a crowded art fair is the perfect place to walk their Great Pyrenees. The art I like is kitschy, quirky, and cool. Brian Cunningham's work is fun. His friend was in attendance in overalls. He's a big ol' friendly guy, manning the Chris Roberts-Antieau booth.  I loved it. She must really like to sew.  The pieces were large and very high quality.  I'm excited about going to the NHL exhibition game tonight.  Blues v. Preds?  Go Blues!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

View from the HOV lane.

I've seen a few hundred thousand cars, 5 lanes of solid brake lights, miles of stop and go traffic, and the view of all those poor commuters from the HOV lane, which was fine with me, because we saved an hour of bumper to bumper fun on the way to Shawn's friend's birthday party at a Mexican restaurant. If you want to motivate across the SF Bay Area near commute time, you need a purpose and a plan. I still have to wake up in a couple of hours to help with some network changes, so I'm going to leave it at that. Class tomorrow is about MPLS. It's a topic I'm interested in, so I'm actually excited. I hope I'm alert after working half the night away.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

We're not in Kansas any more.

Well, I'm in Silicon Valley, and I don't have anything positive or negative to say about it. It's more ethnically diverse than my 'hood. It has the many of the same chain restaurants and stores in and around the (strip) malls, but with palm trees in the fore and mountains behind. The pedestrians here are all jumpy, like getting run down in a parking lot is typical. Shiny office buildings dot the freeway access roads with blue chip internet stock names on them. So, that's different. . . from Kansas City. We went to Dave and Busters, for food and fun, but ended up eating some pretty decent food and watching the Chiefs versus Raiders game and listening to the Raiders fans in the bar area cheer (read: whine). Asian ladies driving SUVs aggressively at every turn. That doesn't even need to be a sentence. If you can picture it, it'll save me a thousand words.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Polka dotted me.

I worked all night last night and slept between phone calls today. I went to the doc in the afternoon and later I had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, during which red dots appeared all over my chest and belly and arms. If I hadn't felt a little itchy, I might never have pulled my shirt up to notice it. I called the doc, who said take Benadryl now and every 3 hours. Go to the ER if it gets worse, he said. It did gradually worsen until I got to Osco for Benadryl. The lady in front of me was buying a lifetime supply of pop and party favors and the checker was not going to win any scan and bag skills competition. The lady behind me saw my spots and told me to pop one of those Benadryl right there. So I opened a bottled water, took one of the pills out of the package, and swallowed it right there in line. 8 hours and 2 doses later, I still have the spots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Not necessarily a 10

I clicked on a headline under a Fashion heading that says "A 10 Is Not a 10 Is Not a 10" in hopes it would be about supermodels. Instead, it's about a marketing scheme to do with dress sizes. "American companies now start their sizing with zero and they're cutting far more generously, presumably so that the customer will think, "Oh my God, I'm an eight! I'm an eight!" and buy whatever she's trying on, even though she's the same old size she always was." This would never work on guys, because 34 inches is 34 inches and always will be. Besides, guys aren't going to get that excited if the 33 fits better than the 34.  Maybe a guy would be thrilled if the 36 fit better than the 44, but I think the gig would be up as soon as one unfurled a 36 with 8 extra inches of waistband.  A guy usually knows his approximate waist size.  If there's nothing cool filed under that size or maybe the size above/below it, he's not going to start shopping even smaller sizes.  Who invented a subjective sizing system for dresses?  Can't they just put the chest, torso, waist, and hip dimensions on the tag and save the ladies some time and disappointment?

Hockey on call

Well, I'm back in the game. I played hockey tonight and had a lot of fun. I needed the exercise. Playing hockey and being on call for work is interesting. I have to check my phone between shifts. I've played hockey with horse veterinarians and heart surgeons who were on call and at times I've seen them stop playing to take a call. I've heard of doctors leaving the game when the cell phone rings. I suppose I've been really lucky that I didn't have to run out to the car and hop on the laptop. The rink is only a few blocks from one of the network distrubution hubs, but, in the past, I have had good luck finding an open wireless AP or a nearby Kinko's, where they have free laptop connections.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

NOLA needs some voodoo now.

When they drain the NOLA bowl, I'm curious about what we'll see. Dead fish? Dead bodies? When I went to NOLA last year, I remember seeing miles of crypts and creeps. I wonder how those things hold up to being under water? If any of the stones came loose, would those pancaked bodies in there come floating out? I noticed that the French Quarter is mostly dry, by comparison, except for a corner near downtown. It's been there 400 years. I wonder if it has survived similar storms and floods before? These before and after clickable satellite maps are interesting.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Life, Liberty, and a Car

This Katrina depress-a-thon is driving me crazy. Anyone with means and ability left New Orleans. The ones who didn't obey the evacuation order for whatever reason are entitled to some sort of help, but it's really apparent the state of Louisiana doesn't think they are entitled to help. If they didn't get shipped to another state, there they sit. I kinda wonder how long I could stand to live in a shelter if my home and office were destroyed and I had nowhere else to go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You're hardcore!

Well, the shin pain has improved a lot.  Tylenol helps.  Against doctors orders, against my better judgement, and with a lot of tape (and the help of a sports medicine web site with detailed taping instructions), I played half a game of hockey tonight at about half intensity.  When I mentioned the possibility at the office, I was told, "you're hardcore."  I got a slow warm-up and I was a stride behind the play most of the time, and I missed some passes that should have been easy.  The team needed the relief, though.  I just trailed the offensive play, screened the D, screened the goalie, and on the defensive end I just checked their left D.  There was a short bench.  Believe it or not, whatever was tight in my shins and ankles loosened up.  Warming up those muscles and stretching them out has done wonders.  I also discovered the source of the shin stress.  My shin pads have a seam in the middle of the shin.  The padding on either side of it is compressed and broken down.  Falling on my knees is like falling on a small stick across the shins.  It's time for new shin pads.  I have ice on my shins now, and I'm relieved to be assured that the pain isn't some neurological disorder, gout, or something terminal.  The doctor was right, but it's clear that I'm not playing hockey tomorrow or next week.  I want this to heal for good.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

It's better than I had previously thought.

I merged onto I-435 northbound at Eastwood and was behind a black hearse with a flag-draped casket inside. That changed my day. My problems seem pretty small.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Happy Birthday

I'm 35. I could wax philosophical, but it really feels just like 34, and 33 before that. I'm another year wiser. Rich and Lisa (and kids) took me to dinner at Carmen's. They seated us upstairs, and the power went out up there, which means the music was off and the table was lit by the candle only. By the time we finished our salads, they had the lights and Sinatra back on. The folks at the table next to us were under the emergency light and it shone directly onto one guy who used his napkin to shield his eyes for the duration. At another table they couldn't get their check, because the computer was off, and the printer, thusly. I had beef tenderloin rigatoni, which they call Rigatoni ala Carmen. It was good, but not as good as the Chicken Spedini, which I usually get. I'm just burned out on chicken at the moment. The storms rolled in as we left and the weather felt good until the rain started coming down.  Another noisy little squall just woke me up, so. . .

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back in motion.

I went to the office today, then I went to the gym for the first time since last Friday, when my shins began feeling like fire. I think Oxaprozin, an Ace wrap, and two Extra Strength Tylenol got me through it. I also think there may be consequences later. It's chest and biceps day, though. It's nothing shin related, except a little warm-up on the treadmill. Getting the blood flowing felt good. Now, all at once, it's time to eat, time to ice my shins, and time to go pick up some keys which Lisa borrowed. I'll probably take my ice bag with me and go see if Lisa cooked extra. Otherwise, I'll end up in a "drive thru" somewhere.

On the work front, there's some sort of management shuffle going on to consolidate things and improve services. It sounds like they're forming a committee to evaluate headcount and such. Maybe we'll get some more people.  Maybe we'll get pink slips.  <shrug>

Hungry when I wrote this.

I haven't really had to leave the house for the past few days, aside from a Monday night snack at Fox & Hound with Alexis, a new found friend.  I've been "working from home" during the day.  I was prone on the couch with a heating pad on my leg and staring dizzily at my laptop screen and chilling out on antiinflammatory meds yesterday.  Lisa was sweet to bring me some needed grocery items, which amounts to milk and yogurt. Mom knows to bring some quality Ideal brand bread from down south, and she left some here after their visit this past weekend. I grew up on that stuff, and still love it. I used it to make sandwiches with some Arthur Bryant's brisket which was left over from their visit.  Dad agrees, Arthur Bryant's is good, but it's not as good as LC's.  Tonight, big gay Adam drove me over to Salvatore's for a real meal..  The Tilapia Alla Fresca there is pretty amazing.  White wine reduction and oranges?  Yes!  They tend to give you a huge side of pasta with the non-pasta dishes.  If I were 100 pounds larger, I might try it.  The to-go box is wrapped in Saran and calling my name from the fridge right now.  I worked a midnight maintenance window, and now I'm kinda wired.  Maybe some food will help.  The fact that this post is all about food, really, is a good clue.  Chow time.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ow, my shin

Well, the shin pain turned out to be a stress fracture. I have been aggravating the shin splints inadvertently just by walking around a lot, not to mention playing ice hockey and doing hack squats. So, it was swelling up yesterday and the doctor said to take it easy.  Now I'm on an anti-inflamatory prescription, which makes me a little dizzy and Tylenol Extra Strength. I'm supposed to take it easy on the legs until the pain stops. No hockey this week.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pain management

That slap shot to the left ankle didn't leave a very deep bruise, but I can feel it if I step or flex my ankle just right. Ibuprofin is my friend. My body also relocates constant pain. If I have a muscle with a knot in it, my wrist or knee might hurt until I work out the source of the sympathetic pain. Today, the sympathetic pain was in my right shin. I massaged the left ankle to work out any tightness, the shin pain stopped. I just hope I never get a sympathetic pain situation where I can't find the source or the source is somewhere I can't massage. . . or I can't find a friend to massage it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Rewinding today

When tonight's work is done, I will be ready to sleep soundly in my own bed.  I'm up late babysitting some network gear during some changes to a distribution hub network in Kansas City, Kansas.  Before that I played hockey badly in the 30 and Over League.  My legs were sitff and sore.  At one point early in the first period I stopped a slap shot with my left ankle.  When the shock and numbness stopped, the pain set in.  Before the game I had some very heavy and rich food at my brother's birthday dinner.  Before that I rolled into town from Minneapolis.  It's just over 400 miles of some of the more boring stretches of I-35 that I've ever seen.  That's saying a lot!  I hate the stretch between Norman and Ardmore in Oklahoma almost as badly as Ponca City to Guthrie.  The wasteland between Kansas City and Wichita is the least exciting space one could ever view.  Well, there's a stretch of fruited plain between Des Moines and Albert Lea, which is positively mind numbing.  Do you like corn?  It's not as bad as taking I-70 across Kansas, but it's close.  Before the long ride, I was pestered by work-related phone calls from about 8:45am til I finally told them I had to stop, check out of the hotel before noon, and roll to KC.  Prior to that, we had done the second night of equipment moves from the old Minneapolis space to the new one between 12am to 4am.  I might have gotten four hours of sleep.  I don't think so.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Nutrition content over taste? A new philosophy.

I have a trainer at the gym telling me what to eat these days.  It is a far departure from eating whatever I crave and whatever tastes good and whatever is cheap and convenient and whatever my favorite restaurants are serving.  I might actually burn out on chicken breasts at this pace.  If I consistently chose those over beef, turkey, or white fish, that would mean eating 24 ounces of chicken breast meat a day. If protien powder didn't come in a variety of flavors, I might burn out on that, too.  A huge change in my lifestyle includes keeping fruits, greens, and yogurt around now.  I eat bananas for breakfast anyway, but never in the quantity which I'm eating now.  I'm cooking and washing dishes a lot more.  I can't say that I'm saving any money, though.  This is six meals a day!  My metabolism is already in overdrive.  I can't say that I feel better, because I'm always stuffed.  And sticking to the diet is moderately challenging when traveling.  Luckily, the Hilton I'm in now has a good room service menu.  If Hilton did the cooking all the time, I could totally envision making this diet a lifestyle.  Just leave the tray in the hallway?  Okay!

I'm in Minneapolis and we're getting ready to move a big chunk of internet gear from one room to another.  It's just a few OC192s.  Some servers.  Some switches.  Some routers.  Eh, we're ready.  Internet access on cable modems in Minneapolis might be a little, uh, intermittent for a short time tonight.  I tried to rest this evening, but ended up in the hot tub.  Then, I watched some trash on TV.  Anacondas is a terrible movie, but I couldn't stop staring.  Hotel cable doesn't leave many choices.  I could have watched a guy bread fish with crushed fried pork skins (chiccarones) to reduce carbs.  Anacondas was less frightening. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Comments? Gasp!

The most unique thing about today is that someone other than me or a family member actually posted comments here.  Woot woot! 

I played hockey to the hilt last night and really, really hurt when I went to bed.  It was beyond the normal soreness, which I can work out by stretching and drinking a lot of water.  I had a powerfully bad headache when I woke up.  And again when I woke up with chills and sweats.  Flu? And again when I woke up and called in sick.  Then, the telemarketers who never call me decided today was a good day.  And the random work contacts called.  And the boss called.  It's amazing how plugged into work I am on a sick day.  After that, the ibuprofin started working.  I tried to get at least a couple of consecutive hours of sleep and went downtown for some Coconut Curried Chicken & Shrimp on Egg Noodles.  That's comfort food for me.  I finally felt better, but not in time to make it to the rink for the Wednesday night 30 and Over League game.  I think I would have passed out anyway.  The mode for tonight is relaxation. . . and to work this midnight maintenance window.  I will go to the gym tomorrow, even if I have to go to the hospital after that.  :-)

Monday, August 1, 2005

Nebraska versus Oklahoma

Road trips to Lincoln, NE to conduct job interviews are atypical for me.  In fact, it's a first.  But I (not so) secretly hope the guy from Oklahoma gets the offer.  Not that I'm biased, but he came across as a really great guy with most of the right credentials and experience, which is more than I had hoped for after reading all the candidate resumes.  I'm sorta jealous of the position he may get, because it's a sweet spot.  The Nebraska network has a few challenges, but it's far simpler than Kansas and Missouri.  I knew the interview was over when he was asked if he likes corn.  I knew he was a shoe-in for the spot when he grinned and gave an answer that was almost as funny as the question.

Speaking of road trips, the trip to Tahlequah to float down the Illinois River was big fun.  Drunk and fun Jason spent more time out of the boat than in it.  There was an impedence mismatch, because I was 100% sober for that portion of the adventure.  JL jumped in the water to relieve herself, but couldn't make it go. . . for about a quarter mile.  I'm still chuckling.  The impedence mismatch continued later for another reason as I tried to derail/heckle some kind of WTMI girl talk conversation as I held the flashlight for them on the way to/from the campground restrooms. I'm still shuddering.  Sorry girls.  The camping portion was fun, but less eventful.  We had beverages and made s'mores, after we found some wood that wasn't too green to burn.  Unlike all previous camping trips to this point in my life where eggs and bacon were fried on a griddle in the morning, someone went into town for some Braum's breakfast.  I think I liked that better.  Proper!  </hammer>  It's only better because there's not a Braum's within 90 miles of KC.  When I lived in Oklahoma, I'd drive past 3 or 4 of them a day.  I miss Braum's.  Not enough to move away from KC.  By the way, my Chiefs tickets are in hand!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bad breakfast music flashbacks

In Liberty, where I was working Monday morning, the Perkin's Family Restaurant at Highways 152 and 291 doesn't open til 5:30 am.  But the Awful House on 152 is open 24 hours.  This fact became dreadfully clear at 5am after the cable technicians and I were finished working and very hungry and standing disappointed in the Perkin's parking lot.  What about Bob Evans?  They don't open til SEVEN!  There is actually a song on the Awful House jukebox called "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk".  Listen here, if you dare defile your mind (You can't unhear it!):   I'm reeling two days later over the fact that Honky Tonk rhymes with Badonkadonk.  The "she's got it going on like Donkey Kong" lyric is so white.  If the song had the word "bling" or "crunk" in it, I would have to crown it as the supreme poserism.  He could have coined his own term for a big ol' butt instead of recycling some tired old street slang.  Honky Tonk Badonkadonk could be Tex-ass, or Kans-ass, for that matter.  I've seen some of each.  Which do you think is bigger?  On average?

I played hockey tonight and had a blast.  I scored and was complimented on how my skills are improving by, quite possibly, the best player who was there tonight.  I had tacos at Maloney's again.  Ric, his son, his son's girlfriend, a defenseman named Jason, and a man whom everyone just calls Dog Balls were also there.  I would say I had a good time until a couple of picture phones came out and it degenerated into a slide show.  My attention turned to the Royals game at that point.  Plastic basket of tacos and a water = $2.74.  I love that place. 

I called mom after that and she said the surgery went well.  She got to go home the same afternoon.  She has four incisions and she's sore, of course.  She had just taken a pain killer, so that was a short conversation, but I got the gist.

Tune in. Turn on. Zone out.

I slept all morning and had a busy afternoon of work.  After dinner and Six Feet Under and a movie at my brother's house, I came home and played video games.  I love MAME.  I could  only manage 114000 on Robotron 2084 using a Nyko controller with two thumbsticks.  That game requires a great degree of speed and cognizance, but no real mental acuity.  It's all dodge and fire and grab the targets.  I can just zone out on that one.  Now, I'm vainly trying to sleep.  My mom has gall bladder surgery early in the morning.  I hope all goes well there.  I have training at work.  I hope it's not boring.  And lastly, I hope the shuttle launch goes off without a hitch and with three or four working fuel guages.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Surprise visit.

 My buddy from Edmond, OK called out of the blue at 4:30 or so on Friday saying that he and his wife were coming to Kansas City to trade camera lenses with some fella who lives near the Plaza and that we should go out.  They got in late Friday night and checked into a hotel on the Plaza and called me Saturday morning asking where they should go for breakfast.  First Watch on Westport Road was a hit.  I had already killed about half a box of Raisin Bran before they called, so I didn't join them.  But I did meet them after their high dollar camera lens exchange for lunch at Eden Alley.  That was also a hit.  We shopped and we toured the Liberty Memorial Museums, gawked at the newly opened and mostly empty downstairs museum space, and we went up in the tower for photos.  The elevator dude in the tower ensured that my friend's backpack was not a parachute.  The Liberty Memorial tower is only 217 feet tall, about 80 feet shy of the shortest base jump possibilities.  So, that caught us all off guard.  We snacked on ice cream at the paleteria, Tropicana, on Southwest Boulevard.  The mango ice cream with salt and chili powder was a hit, too.  We went to Eddie Bauer where I bought swim trunks, then we went to the most disappointing of hotel pools at the Marriott on Main.  It's green and murky and it overlooks a beautiful, sparkling, blue pool at the Holiday Inn next door, just to make one not want to stay at that Marriott ever again.  We got dinner reservations at La Bodega and partook of the Sangria Blanco and some great tapas.  The Datiles con Jamon y Chorizo are still rich and amazing.  The visitors were worn out by 11-ish, so I went home and read a book and washed clothes.  I rejoined them for Sunday brunch at Figlio, which is pretty standard, and because I couldn't think of a better brunch.  It was fabulous, as usual.  I only wish my appetite would have allowed me to just pig out.  We shopped in OP before they left town.  I went home and napped and now I'm doing the all-nighter which I had postponed Thursday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It's alive.

My roommate who has been incommunicado for the past nine days finally called, then returned home.  He was apologetic, but I was just glad to know he wasn't in a hospital or jail somewhere.

I mentioned that I was from Idabel, OK in an entry here and now I get random IM messages from people who grew up in the area.  That's cool, because there are usually 3 or fewer degrees of separation. Like, "My aunt graduated with your uncle," or "We grew up right around the corner from each other! Did you know so-and-so?" or "We used your dad's pharmacy."

I was lazy today.  I worked maybe two hours.  It's boom or bust.  I also postponed tonight's all-nighter until Sunday night.  I just don't think I could get everything done with the resources I have.  Not all the checklist items were completed by my coworkers, so it was a no-go, anyway.  I somehow don't feel motivated to track them down and ask them to do their jobs.  The deployment dates in the checklist aren't jokes.  They're real.  Until my hand is forced.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Actual rest?

I got the shaggy hair cut off. My head feels better (read: cooler). At least the sweat tends to evaporate before drenching my hair and running down my face. Who ordered a 105 heat index?

The Minneapolis guy was kind enough to take my on-call for the evening, despite the fact that he had surgery this morning. He owed me one for filling in for him on 4th of July weekend while he was in Hawaii looking for a place to move. I needed the relief.  I was literally nodding off every time I got still. I've been going too hard during the past couple of days. Two all-nighters in a row at work! I needed some time to unwind. So, I rested. I played hockey. I had tacos at Maloney's again. I'm putting the phone on "High+Vibrate" and entering a coma as I type this.

My sleep has been abbreviated and regularly interrupted.  Consequently, I've had some really crazy lucid dreams.  In one, I was pulled onto a stage at a rock show and entered into some kind of contrived contest where the contestants wear costumes with animatronic masks that speak for them.  Nightmarish, but somehow funny, too.  And I could fly.  <shrug>

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Passing on the right. . . Missouri style!

On my way downtown to get a greasy burger I was traversing da 'hood on I-70. At the Jackson curve some guy was drifting into my lane, so I slowed down.  He hung in there until the freeway curved left. He was crossing the solid yellow line, so I put the brakes on. A car was passing us on the right just as he kissed the left rail and hurtled across all three lanes. She hit the brakes just in time. I rolled my window down and she did too. She just said, "Holy fuckin' shit!" So, I pulled up beside the guy who hit the rail, who was now driving very slowly in the far right lane, and I honked, pointed at him, and made an OK sign. He nodded and waved me on. I don't know what drugs he was on, but he didn't need to be driving.

Friday, July 15, 2005

MCI to DAL flight illegal?

Okay, so I'm goofing around with airline reservations on my lunch break and I notice that you can't book a flight from MCI to DAL on without stopping somewhere. When you select MCI, DAL disappears off the destination list.  I called to ask why. There is apparently a stupid law that lists only a few states which are allowed to originate flights into Dallas' Love Field. That's why all the Southwest flights stop in Tulsa or Oklahoma City or Austin or Houston on the way to Dallas. So, because our airport is in Missouri and not Kansas, no direct flights to Love. Unbelievable. There's an activist website to repeal the law. No wonder Southwest can turn planes around so fast at the gate. This stupid law has made them get really good at it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Did you belch?

After hockey last night, we had 75 cent tacos at Maloney's in downtown OP. It's at approximately 79th & Floyd. My problem is that you have to drive past Casa Paloma to get there. Four Tuesday tacos and a Coke, $3.66. The price is right.

There was a routing problem last night, and they made me wait up til midnight to fix it. I had to bump up on caffiene, then I couldn't sleep. I was miserable today until I got a nap in. Then I ate some barbecue for dinner. I should have just eaten oatmeal. Q sauce belches are powerfully bad.

The 30 and Over hockey league game tonight was actually a close one. We were down by one point and pulled the goalie at the end.  Then there was a bad pass and they got an empty net goal.  Oh well.  We're getting better, but 0-3 is the record, now. We've played every other team. We're the easy team, as I feared. This game was more fun than the previous two.  We communicated and passed better.  It wasn't as frustrating.  Very fun, in fact.

My new tenant moved in hastily. I have deposit and rent checks in hand. It is a good day.  I had to apologize to her mom when I showed up tonight to get my stuff out of the garage.  There was no car and no lights, but I knocked and announced myself.  She looked scared half to death until I introduced myself. 

Sunday, July 10, 2005

No vacancy.

Mission accomplished! No vacancy. If I can verify her employment and her application is truthful, I have a new tenant moving in on Wednesday. She saw the house and loved it. The painting we did made the place look great. We didn't repaint the living room, which is actually orange with green accents. I had difficulty imagining how to decorate an orange room. I was going to show it a few more times and break down and paint that room, too. Leave it to a latino lady to absolutely love it the way it is. I hope she goes fiesta all the way in there. Plus, she has a green thumb. I was >< that close to just mowing the herb/wildflower garden.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Hot outside. Hotter inside.

Just as I was settling in last night after having been to the gym and painted at a rent house, my phone bleebleeped. I immediately changed clothes and joined the crew at The Phoenix. Seven of us socialized at the tables set up out on the sidewalk. They weren't piping the music outside, so we went in where it was too hot and too loud, but just as fun. Then I showed them how to find the Shady Lady Lounge. I met a girl who works there who is from Clarksville, Texas. I told her I grew up in Southeast Oklahoma. She said they roller skated in Idabel. I asked, "At the Rocket Roller Rink?" She just about freaked out. The lounge closed and we talked for a long time afterwards. She's traveled to a lot of the same places I have and our tastes are very similar. She's coupled, but she has my number. She's going to introduce me to her sister.

Friday, July 8, 2005

mom (2:24:52 PM): The good news is, I found 5 ones and a five in the washer and dryer today......the bad news is, only my clothes in that load had pockets!

Thursday, July 7, 2005


My lower lip is recovering nicely from the attack of a distracted hygeinist. If you see Sherry at Complete Care Dental Group on 63rd, give her a hard time for me. Right after she said, "Keep your eyes closed; this stuff splatters," an assistant leaned in and asked her where a particular patient was. Just as she said, "Room one," she got into my lip with the polisher. I cringed and hung in there. She saw blood coming out of my lip and apologized to the point of annoyance. I didn't know it was bleeding. All I could taste was Gritty Grape(TM).  I've had orthodontia.  I know real pain, and that weren't nuthin'.  We laughed about it afterward.  I've been reminded by the occasional straw or pop can that the injury is there.

I thought of an old coworker from the ISP I worked for in 1995.  I left a voice mail for him this afternoon.  He called me back after work and we exchanged anecdotes and laughed like the first time we met. I'm going to have to drive down there and spend some time. He has a tarball of old emails. I'm sure we could peruse those and narrowly avoid dying of laughter. The quirky (to put it politely) characters we worked with were beyond archetype.

I bought a slab of ribs from LC's and a pint of the baked beans which contain more meat than beans.  I sat down with a roll of paper towels, watched music videos on yahoo, and turned the short end into a tall pile of bones.  The long end is in the fridge to be devoured this weekend.  The ribs were not as tender as usual, but the flavor was better than previous.  I took a nap after that.  I feel rejuvenated.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Sandwiches good. Roaches bad.

Cashew butter and strawberry preserves on stone ground wheat. Some things make life so sweet. I'm awash with irrational happiness. It's probably the sugar rush, or there's an inbound meteor with my name on it.

Today I worked in the OP lab to setup an IP phone network on a bench to test the cable modems with voice ports to troubleshoot the bad ones which are returned. I chatted intermittently with the people who clean the cable boxes and cable modems. The guy in the workstation next to me had some serious cleaning chemicals for the more difficult ones, but there was also a can of industrial strength bug spray. So, I asked the obvious question. Yes, cockroaches like to crawl into warm cable boxes, apparently. In some cities, they have a box outside the warehouse where they fumigate the units before bringing them inside. So, I asked another question. Yes, it is possible to bring a cable box home which is full of roach eggs and thereby infest your home. <shudder>

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

I have had a various kind of day.  I took out the trash and called in sick.  I tied up loose ends at work and took it easy most of the morning.  I napped.  I ate.  I felt better.  I still had a fever.  My phone rang like crazy.  I bought some chicken for dinner and ate one piece.  When my appetite returns, I'll eat all of it, I'm sure.  I ran errands to two rent houses.  I collected rent, but when I got to the bank I found that she had included a note and post-dated the check.  Um, that'll cost someone a late fee, then.  I took a drive to get some fresh air and ended up at the ice rink playing 3-on-3 hockey for an hour.  It is difficult to play 3-on-3 at half intensity, but I think I pulled it off without skating like an old man.  I got a few breakaways and played some great defense.  Fun times.  The exercise helped my appetite.  Mmm.  Chicken tastes better cold. . . if you're hungry enough to eat it cold.

I was in a happy mood, until I saw this ad.  It cycled a few times before the image sank in.

My 4th.

I slept in until almost noon, despite only being at the cocktail party at Scott's apartment building until 1am.  So, I had time after lunch to cut the grass, but not undertake the painting project.  I cut the grass using a lower than usual setting, because it's July.  I want to stunt its growth.  I'm not going to water it, and it's just going to turn brown for the next two months, anyway.  Along the back edge of the lawn, the mower stalled, so I disengaged the blades, started it again, engaged the blades, and it stalled again.  So, I rode it down to the carport and raised the deck to see why the blades were in a bind.  I found that I picked up some rusty barbed wire in the blades that must be about 100 years old.  I spun the blades backwards by hand to loosen it, and used wire cutters to remove it all.  There was about 6 feet of the stuff wrapped around both blades.  There are a few nicks in the blades, so I'll need to grind them again.  The mower ran fine subsequently, and the lawn once again looks like civilized people live here.  Not the best mow, because I got too close to a rose bush and my left leg looks like a cat mauled it.  I cursed and bled.  Oh, and there's a nice dirt line along near the back fence where my poor mower unearthed the barbed wire, but only the dog goes back there.  And the mower.  Now I understand the recent flat tire. I've been rolling on a bit of protruding barbed wire.

In a coffee table book called Kansas City, Then and Now, I saw an aerial photo of my neighborhood from 2000 next to an aerial photo of it in 1962.  Yup, my house was here in '62, but without the carport, back porch, deck, or barn.  The most striking difference was the lack of stadiums at the end of 43rd.  That was a field.  Blue Ridge Mall was there, however.  It had cars in the parking lot in '62.  Not in 2000.  The Jones Store sign was the same in 1962 as it was in 2000.  There were no trees in my yard in the '62 photo.  In the 2000 photo you can't even see the house for the trees.  What a difference 40 years makes. 

I went to my brother's house to celebrate the 4th with food and fireworks.  They bought some fun fireworks.  Their neighbors had a nice party going, replete with funk music and lots of fireworks.  Overkill, really.  It was literally a blast.  There was a grand finale, where almost everyone went out into the street and lit the fuse on some obnoxious whistling, popping, and sparking thing at the same time.  When the whistling and popping stopped, there was cheering, then the push brooms and garbage bags came out.  Aside from a few scorch marks on the pavement, it was surgically cleaned.  I stayed and watched a movie.  Now, I'm ready to crash.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

A billion kerthumps to ya!

Here's some trivia. I'm 1.1 billion seconds old. If my average heart rate was close to 60 beats per minute, that's over a billion kerthumps. That's probably pretty close, too, because my resting heart rate these days is about 58. Glasses up for my ticker and the next billion plus kerthumps!

Baby lions, anyone?

Check out the baby lions at the zoo.  KMBC has a cam set up, but I'd like to see them in person to get a sense of scale.
I'm considering going out there to see them sometime this week.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Nothin' but the rent.

Last night was First Friday, but I skipped the art galleries. I worked out at the gym instead. I needed it.  I met some new people and some old friends at Harry's Country Club, then we went to the Brick.  The Smiths and The Cure cover/tribute bands last night were somewhat good. Some social time to break up the on-call weekend was also good. The attempts at entertainment which followed were a good sign to call it a night.  Temptations is not worth the cover charge.  Some fast food and a get-together at Scott's new apartment was a good way to end it.  It was dawn when I arrived home.

Today, I recovered from being out so late by sleeping a lot, washing laundry, watching TV, and answering my phone repeatedly. Aside from times at other people's houses, I really haven't watched TV for a couple of weeks. I have enough shows recorded on the DVR to waste the entire remainder of the holiday weekend, if I so choose. Meanwhile, I set up new accounting software for my increasingly more complicated property management ventures. I have a move-out and a move-in this weekend.  Over the next few days I have to videotape the condition of the move-out and write a damage invoice, do some painting and mowing on a vacant one, plus some rent collection. The first was yesterday, ya'll. My bank account does this really scary first of the month rents-in, mortgages-out rollercoaster depending what posts first and if all the tenants paid.  My tenants pay, but they tend to pay on their schedule.  I have some cushion, but I rely on these freaks to be as honest with me as I am flexible with them. 
"So, you paid your warrants instead of your rent and you want to pay on the 17th?  Well, you being in jail is no good for either of us, so that'll be okay if you can pay a quarter of the rent now and the late fee with the rest of it."  This software should give me a handle on these situations when they compound and track the tax deductions.  I need 'em.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rain, rain, go away.

So, my boss thinks he's funny.  His email begins:

This week’s Key Performance Indicator report follows:

   1. I’d like to indicate that my key has been working fine all week.
   2. . . .

While the rain has cooled things off nicely, I'm ready for it to stop.  The dampness is a boon for the fire department on the 4th of July weekend, but it just means I'll be cutting a lot of grass.  In my neighborhood, the fireworks are indistinguishable from gunfire or the sound of a car crash.  I need the neighbors to set off one more M80 to really get my adrenaline going.

Speaking of adrenaline.  This article really fired me up.  40 percent of the U.S. population are outside of the federal income tax system.  Of those who file tax returns, a third pay no income tax, and some of them get a refund above what they actually paid in just for having lots of babies.  I know the guy who cuts my hair files no return.  I know some other cash economy types who don't either.  That makes those tax numbers on my pay stub cut just a little harder.  I'm all for repealing the income tax, which is totally unfair, and having a national sales tax now.  I was previously casually for it, but it's time for the illegals and dealers and hos and hairdressers to help out.  You buy bling, you pay tax.  The legit folks are getting shafted. I'm a single, white guy with no kids. I pay more in taxes than most people make period. . . and I vote!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

No gelatin, just fun.

Well, our team lost badly tonight. There was frustration on the bench, in the locker room, and most evidently on the ice. I recognized my mistakes as I made them, but they were mostly a result of a lack of communication with the defensemen, or just being a little out of position at times. I wasn't the only one missing passes. A comment was made afterwards that we have the talent, but we have just not gelled yet.  The fact is, the other team played great defense and their goalie was on fire.  I would like to thank the friends I invited for not showing up, because it was not pretty.  Since the teams were redrafted, we haven't played an easy team yet.  I'm beginning to think we are it.

On the real!  This 5 minute video portrays almost exactly what it's like.

Victor Wooten simply jams.

After a crazy morning working an outage in Kansas which turned out to be a wiring issue, then setting up a test network in a lab in OP, followed by a truck taking out two poles which held fiber and power for a section of KCK, then a very brief lunch, followed by the writing of make-work procedure documents, I got an unexpected Tuesday afternoon call asking me to play hockey at the last minute. It was unexpected because I had not emailed Ric to volunteer, because I had concert tickets. Oh, well. I would rather have not known about the ice time opportunity. I chose correctly.  We ate at Mad Greek, which is my favorite Lawrence restaurant. Plus, Victor Wooten is still probably the best electric bass player alive, if not the fastest. Tonight, I was trying to imagine seeing Victor Wooten play with Dick Dale, since I've now seen them both recently and they both play very fast. I got a late start on my midnight maintenance due to the Soul Circus show ending at midnight and the drive time back from Lawrence. Milwaukee Mike stayed up after his network maintenance to verify my work. I'm finally crashing. I hope the phone doesn't ring too early. The siding dudes are supposed to begin work on one of my houses in the morning. I suspect I'll get 3 hours of sleep before they start calling. The benefit this week is that I'm on-call Thursday and Friday, so no office hours. I can nap during the day, theoretically.  I hope the holiday weekend is quiet on the work front.  It's possible, but the odds are slim.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Yup. The Thai Place in Westport is good. Nuff said.

Road trip wrap-up

After a long drive Friday night, and a good night's sleep, for once, Saturday I went with my folks to a dirt track in Nashville, AR and watched the stock car races. We brought dad's car and unloaded it, but while they were packing the track, he noticed an engine problem, so we didn't get to see him race. I was happy to just watch, though. I have fun whenever I go to Lakeside Speedway in KCK. The Nashville track is similar, smaller, and just a little more redneck. I'll add pics when I copy them off of the camera. Today is a return to normalcy, whatever that is. I'm planning to work out, unpack, and relax.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The last push before the weekend!

After a semi-busy day of meeting siding contractors and actually working my day job, Ric called me at 4:44 about playing hockey at 7.  He had someone cancel at the last minute.  I reluctantly agreed, as my gear is still wet from having played the previous two nights. I went home after another hour of work and aired it out under a fan on the back porch as much as possible.  I washed and dried the necessary sundries. I made it to the rink at about 6:50. I had no tape. My garter was missing a clip. I borrowed a plastic clip and a bit of tape and made it onto the ice in time for a brief warm-up skate. I made a lot of new friends in a short time. They had bratwursts and bleu cheese burgers on the grill outside afterwards. And beer. It was tasty. I had never had Koop's "Arizona Heat" mustard.  Great stuff.  On my second bratwurst, the guys tried to pass Sriracha sauce off as ketchup.  I saw the rooster on the bottle and was not fooled.  But I played along with the supposed joke and loaded up my bratwurst bun with it.  "That's gonna burn your keester tomorrow."  I did not flinch.  I did not shed a tear.  I am acclimatized.  That's the "good ketchup."  We go through quarts of that in the break room at the office.  Besides, I've been eating Vietnamese food on a regular basis since college.  Some measure of respect was earned by the quantity of sriracha on my bratwurst.  I have to say, it's a good combination.  Then I stopped over to pick up a lost/found remote for my car at my brother's place, then I went to work at 11:30pm for more midnight maintenance, which I just finished. Now, I get to go home and do the pre-housekeeper housekeeping. She doesn't do dishes and laundry, so I have to get that stuff out of her way.  I'm taking a weekend road trip to see my folks tomorrow afternoon, so I'll be packing for that, as well.  I might get to bed by 4am.  Then I have a 10am meeting in Overland Park.  Five hours of sleep will have to be sufficient.  My body will hate me tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Work, play, and one fine dinner.

It's officially summer and the teams in the 30 and Over hockey league at Pepsi Ice Midwest have been redrafted. My team has never played together and it showed. We lost 2-4. I think Bob and Curt, defensemen, and Sam, a forward, are the only ones I've skated with before.  I was still learning forwards' names in the 3rd period.  I hope we pull together some sort of synergy soon.

I worked in OP today, so I was able to try the touted Tiesta Casa Paloma (81st & Metcalf). You pay Taco Bell prices for great food.  And the salsa bar is so advanced of the Hot, Mild, or Fire fare, I'm hooked.  That place is a gem.  I'm going for the Tres Leche Cake next time.  This time I was overstuffed from the Carne Asada Tortas.  I'm still a Pancho's fan, for many of the same reasons plus the 24-hour drive-thru, but if I find myself in the vicinity, Casa Paloma has my business.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Good night, er, morning.

Getting off at 8pm, then grabbing a meal and a making a few calls, then going back to work at 11:30pm just to get off again at 3:30am? Brutal! I should be on an Uberman sleep schedule. Actually? I feel like I am. I'll surely get some strange lucid dreams or a surreal sleep deprivation high out of the deal. I've done this crazy work schedule repeatedly before, and I did become delusional. Is there a word for being delusional, then realizing it? Aware, maybe? Well, I feel very aware that I am very sleepy. Good night, er, morning, er, it's not officially morning until 4am when McDonald's starts serving breakfast.  How's that for a delusion!?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mr. Happy Crack

I saw this ad on the back of a local bus.  So, I went to the URL. . .  The merchandise is hilarious. The onesies made me chuckle.  The slogan is so true for a baby. Foundation repair was never so funny.  Lovin' the thong!  A dry crack is a happy crack, indeed.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Saturday Manifesto

Saturday was quite a ride. The lawn tractor had a flat when I tried to mow, so I hobbled it down to the carport and plugged in the air compressor. I couldn't find the tire chuck, so I searched everywhere it might be and a few places where it should never end up. I called to borrow one from my bro, but I found myself at Sutherland's where I just purchased a new one. By the time the mower had four full tires, it was 80+ degrees. I sweated a gallon, but the yard looks good. I got rehydrated and tried to get dinner reservations at Pot Pie. Ha ha ha no. That place is booked solid on weekends. So, I picked up Adam and we ate at Cupini's. There's a new one at 12th & Walnut. Then to the Grand Emporium for the Meat Beat Manifesto show. As for electronic music shows, if Orbital is a 9, MBM is purdy near a 10. Technical genius.  Live instruments and video mixing, included. Adam's classical ears couldn't handle the whole show, but Tricia had joined us, so she and I danced til the end. During the drive to the afterparty, Tricia remembered she had left a tab open, so we went back and I got a CD, a sticker, and a t-shirt.  Subsequently, we ended up at Tootsie's instead of Balanca's where we danced our badonks off.  The freakshow was on the dancefloor. . . and in the bathrooms, and the sidewalk, and the back seat of my car bumming a ride back to Westport.  Once everyone was dropped off and we were near Tricia's car, she remembered. . . her. . . tab.  Back to Tootsie's at 3:30am.  It's locked.  Luckily, the security dude in the parking lot across the street saw our dilemma and got someone's attention inside.  Hunger struck and we grabbed breakfast at Town Topic.  There were some big call-in orders and it was SRO.  Every inch of the grill was in use and there was a 45 minute wait, during which we sang into knife and fork microphones whatever was playing on the jukebox.  At one point the whole place was singing along, until the cook got surly.  I traded food notes with a very savvy Italian fellow between Sinatra numbers.  Is the Chicken Samantha really better at Carmen's than Salvatore's?  No way. 

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Put some greenery on that scenery.

My day went like this: cell phone, car, office, work, car, Kinko's, Olive Garden, Chicken Scampi, car, office, work, car, home, cell phone, shower, car, Kortney's (the sitter), Rich & Lisa's, car, Kauffman Stadium, polish sausage dog, chicken finger basket, 7-0 loss, car, Knuckleheads, car, 18th & Vine, car, Grinders, beer, pizza, car, Shady Lady Lounge, beer, boobies, car, home. The unique part? In about the 6th inning of Astros v. Royals, Kortney called Rich & Lisa to say that she is stuck in their bathroom and the doorknob is broken. They left the game and rescued her while I watched the hopes of a Royals rally diminish completely as the end of the 9th approached. I was picked up along Blue Ridge Cut-Off after the game and we went out to decompress further. I mean, a baseball game is usually enough, but they like to take full advantage of having a sitter. I insisted on avoiding the casino, so I tried to take them to a blues show at Knuckleheads. They weren't down with the high cover or the crowd size, so we motivated southerly toward 18th & Vine.  There was traffic and tight parking because of the Rhythm & Ribs festival, which had quite obviously migrated into the local bars.  We rolled a little further down 18th to Grinders, which is very laid back and rarely crowded and fit the bill. It's great for beer, pizza and sandwiches.  Now, Rich & Lisa have a strange tendency to end up at strip clubs together, if not the casinos.  So, I suggested the Shady Lady.  It is what it is.  Its grittiness, slutty charm, reasonable prices, very relaxed atmosphere, good music, and attentive barmaids make it better than most.  It certainly provides the most holla for the dolla.  They liked it. <shrug>  I just know that I always have.  It's a best-kept secret in KC, because it's best kept a secret.  No cover on weeknights.  In other words, free boobies.  It costs $5 on Friday night, though.  Okay, so here's the secret.  Exit I-70 at Prospect and swerve north and east to 12th & Chestnut.  Find the blue neon. It's open til 3am every night.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Work day. Sleep day.

Yesterday was just non-stop.  I had a morning meeting with the cable division guys.  The management in our office emerged from behind closed doors and they canned someone, so we spent most of the day either planning to change passwords, or actually changing passwords, on top of the usual work.  And it was already going to be a busy day because of network upgrades in Lees Summit.  After leaving work late, I went home for a quick meal of leftover salmon teriyaki which had to be eaten because I just don't do fish that's been in the fridge past 24 hours.  Then I napped briefly and played hockey until 11.  I scored a goal and had some great chances, otherwise.  Such an exhilerating sport.  I worked all night, too.  So, today I had another surreal graveyard shift kinda day. I actually got off work at 8am. Instead of going home, I went to Wal-Mart. They have 256MB USB flash disk keychains for $15 on clearance. I bought three. One for a friend and two for me. They're already full of music. It's a nice way to transport MP3s for those of us who haven't hopped onto the iPod bandwagon. I'll just stick to MP3 players which take USB flash disks for now. One for the car and one for the gym bag. I enjoyed the 70 degree weather this morning while it lasted and then got some sleep. I woke up very hungry and gorged myself at Foo Kee, my favorite Chinese buffet. I was among friends, so we sat and sipped coffee and jasmine tea until they started locking the doors. Then I went to my brother's house to check in on the family. They're planning to install a new A/C, which I get to fund, since I actually am their landlord.  I can already feel myself sinking into debt this summer.  I need some additional cashflow.  Maybe I'll win the Powerball drawing.  I'd be thrilled with the $100k second prize, even.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mid-June weekend wrap-up

In all, it was a great weekend. I was almost witness to a friend hydroplaning his new sportscar into a curb, but that technically happened on Monday. Between seeing the Mark May Band, the Heartland Men's Chorus, and Dick Dale, I got my fill of great music. I think I had either barbecue or Mexican for every meal. I also got plenty of rest. Yup. It was a good one in a gritty, Epicurean way.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

BBQ and Blues and new friends.

If I got nothing done yesterday, I did enjoy some great food and music. Barbecue and blues, more specifically. BB's Lawnside BBQ never disappoints. The Mark May Band from Houston played some blues that I could actually tolerate for two whole sets. In fact, the guitar work was excellent. Mark, Ryan, Erin, Micheal, Chris and myself made up quite a party. Mark, who is Michael and Chris' brother, was the life of the party, but his long jokes with lame punch lines made me wonder if the liquor wasn't talking. . . from beyond the years of self-abuse. I was waterlogged on free tea refills and the Smoked Meat Platter was more than I could handle. Delicious.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A Friday afternoon at 18th & Paseo

I went to the museums at 18th & Vine following a lunch at the Peach Tree Restaurant. I was impressed by the jazz listening library at the American Jazz Museum, which made me wish I had an entire day instead of one afternoon. Ella's bejeweled hornrims made me smile.  I stood there for several outstanding song selections bobbing those headphones and staring at the Picasso drawing of her.  The interactive touchscreens at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are chock full of great film clips and a wealth of old pictures.  The Indianapolis Clowns were way funnier than the Harlem Globetrotters could ever be.  It's a shame that more footage doesn't exist.  What's there is absolutely priceless.  They were all stars, indeed.  $8 to see both.  I recommend.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Hockey gloves are gross

Well, I did the site survey in OP and bought hockey gloves on the way home. That's a thing I had been putting off since December. I was even given some money at Christmas to buy new ones. I broke down and went shopping because the gloves I have been wearing for the past six years have reached critical grossness. It has been so humid lately that they never got dry since I played a week ago. I can't wash my hands enough after I take them off. Just to see what's growing in there, I submerged one in some warm water and squeezed it a few times. The water turned a very dark greenish brown color. Yeah. Yuck. They need to be burned.  I'm totally happy with the new ones I chose.  I can't wait til they're broken in.  Maybe I can find a way to keep them from developing their own ecosystem without damaging the leather.

I'm busy, as usual.

The unique thing about today. . . is that I worked half the night and slept half the day.  Okay, that's not very unique, but the power was off all night following a downburst which happened while I was away playing ice hockey.  I suffered my on-call shift at the office, since internet by candlelight is just not a thing.  I had network maintenance at 4am, followed by a nap under my desk, where I keep a comforter for just such occasions.  I got outta there when my coworkers started showing up at around 7.  I had a #8 breakfast from McDonald's on the way home this morning and slept on the couch for a while.  The house got kinda hot and I called the power company and heard a recording which said they were aware of the outage and were working to fix it.  I just sweated and tossed and turned until the juice came back on at around noon-twenty.  All those clocks flashing 12:00 are only off by 20 minutes.  Good enough.  Now that I'm fully awake and fed and the house is a tolerable temperature, I have to change into something professional and run to an appointment in Kansas to do a site survey for some new equipment which is being installed.  I also have to generate some reports for a coworker in Milwaukee later.  Yes, it's a unique day. . . scarcely.