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!):  http://music.walmart.com/m/007/24/38/64/51/22/0072438645122.01.01.011.mp3   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 southwest.com 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. http://www.setlovefree.com 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. http://www.thekansascitychannel.com/wxcam/1541284/detail.html
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.