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.