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+ 39 - 43 | § True.

The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
  - Nicholas Butler

+ 34 - 48 | § Another morning

This morning, out in front of the building.  Streaks of sunlight, but in general, dark and wet, with promises of a storm on the way.  The guy who calls me "Taliban", he pulled up, opened the door, put one foot out, paused.  I waved.  He looked at me and chuckled.

"Don't know if I want to do it." he grinned.

Yeah.  Know the feeling.
-Alex

+ 50 - 41 | § Bizarre old people

A little while ago, at a bus stop, I sat next to this old guy.  Casual conversation revealed that he'd just gotten back from surgery, having a cancerous wad the size of a golfball removed from his throat.  Had to lean over and spit out blood every 30 seconds or so.  At a loss for what to say, I went with something standard.
"Dude... that sucks."
"No, she sucks and I enjoy it."  His reply was lightning fast.  What a cool dirty old man.

About 5 minutes later, he's telling me to watch the news on the Christian Network, because it's the only reliable news source anymore.

Slightly confusing personality.

Earlier today, outside of the building I work, I smoked a cigarette with another old guy before heading in to begin the day, and watched the sun climb up over the buildings.  During this period, he confided in me his secret theory regarding the meaning of life.

"Life's like one'a'them shit beetles, you see?  You get this big ball of shit, and you huff and puff to roll it uphill.  And just when you think you're at the top, yaknow, and you're looking over the ball at the next part that's all downhill... Ya trip, the ball'a shit rolls over ya and back down, yasee?  To where you started.  And you gotta do it all over again.  That's life."

Yesterday, this same individual peered at me wearily and mused that I looked "Taliban."

Working for the military is an odd, odd experience.
-Alex

+ 48 - 48 | § Travel Ho!

By some staggering fluke of Saint Christopher (Patron saint of travellers, no longer recognized by the Catholic Church, ironically affirming his position) I'm travelling to Pittsburgh the weekend before "Saskatchawan".  Family Reunion.  I have that Friday off anyway, family's spotting for the trip.  Mom emailed me a list of people who'd be showing up, in case I'd be interested.  Perusing it, a smile crept across my mouth.  Madness.  My father's entire side of the family is somewhere between "Seinfeld" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."  Half of them have Jersey accents, one of them yells "Dahling!" whenever she sees me.  My Uncle, a renowned bearer of wisdom and madness.  As in, the guy who taught me how to get out of potentially embarrassing situations by claiming to have wet myself, and made sense.

Family.

I dig it.  The trips are only a week a part, I wish they'd been stretched a little further so the monotony of the summer wouldn't have been quite so bad.  But they make sense together, in a way.  Family by blood, then family by choice.  Parents and cousins and aunts and uncles, and a week later, Zeke and Fork and Oz and that random chick I never slept with.  Back to back, like kung fu heroes or TV marathons.  But cooler.

I'm also going to see if I have time to sneak over to Philly for a cheesesteak, thus adding another item to my collection of foods I've eaten "There."

-Alex

PS - WTF... Pittsburgh?

+ 44 - 43 | § The brink of pretension.

Fork, through blogging majesty of her own, helped me realize that I've been wasting an awful lot of shorter entries on livejournal, simply because my high expectations for what this journal should be sort of preclude me from the more "...I had a hot dog" entries which I feel I must put somewhere.

That's crap.  None of you expect me to be deep most of the time, or hell, even half the time.  And it's not a waste.  This is where they should all be.  Don't know what the hell I was thinking.  So here we go.

I drove a stick Friday.  Lesson 1, learning to drive.  Actually, lesson 2 if you count Billy's corsica.  Which I don't.  We'll just call it a mulligan, since I made the girl in the back cry that one time.

Anyway, still alive.

Also, I've drawn an asci fist on my whiteboard so I have something to pound every now and then, when I feel like I deserve (or need) one.  Kinda lonely in the office.
-Alex

+ 44 - 54 | § The fury

I'd been with Sprint for 3 years.  They did what I wanted, they made me happy.  Yesterday, the they turned from a benevolant ruler to worthless, whiny little bitches.
Granted, the story starts with me stepping on my phone.

Okay.  2 days ago, after a vigerous morning workout (har har) I was stumbling around the room, and stepped on my pants.  By a staggering coincidence, I stepped on the pocket containing my uber-cool cellphone.  The cameraphone, videophone, SMS-messeging (actually unique for sprint phones), sleek little blue clamshell of schwerve.  Opened it up, cracked display.  Normally, this is where one calls the company to ask if there are rebates available to customers who have been using their service for the past 3 years.

Short answer:  No.

Long Answer:  There are rebates available if I"ve been using the same phone for at least a year, but this one was a $300 phone I'd bought second-hand from some guy in a Networking class for 70 bucks.  So, no.

Pondering on this for a while, I realized my best plan might be to call, tell them it's cheaper for me to get a new phone by switching services and getting in on a "new customer" deal then to actually get one with the service I've been using for 3 GODDAMN years, and have them "convince" me to stay by sending a replacement phone for some reduced price.  Say, something I could afford a new phone for.

So I called, and explained my situation to them.  They pulled up my account, and said "Okay, I'll go ahead and reset the account for you!"

50 bucks a month, and it comes down to "don't let the door bump your ass on the way out."

I'm not bitter.

So I'm a verizon user now.  For about 100 bucks (post rebates) I got a brand spankin' new phone, and a plan that does more and costs less.  Also, I got insurance for the phone.  Learning from mistakes, you know.

Tech junk about the phone (Billy, feel free to skip.)
LG VX 8100
32 MB internal memory
SD card expandable
Bluetooth enabled
USB Data Cable connectable
built-in mp3 player
1.3 megapixel camera
Video Camera
Speakerphone
Voice memo
1337ness.

It's the hots.  God, I love new toys.

Also - Bought new tickets for upcoming vacation.  W00t.
I love me some vacation.
-Alex

+ 41 - 47 | § Another one rides the bus...

Another bus story. Because they amuse me, and the days are such that I really have nothing else to tell.

As soon as I sat down on the bus that day, there was something wrong. Not evil wrong, not creepy wrong, just that sort of surgery channel wrong, where you know something's going to happen, and it's going to make you want to wince and go "Did that HAVE to happen in front of me?"

In the corners of my vision, there was this woman. Large, red-faced. Beady-eyed and grinning. A mean woman in a good mood. You can tell sometimes. Closer peripheral inspection indicated 3 things.
1) She was slow.
2) She was possibly drunk.
3) She was waiting for me to make eye contact so she could start a conversation.

#3 was a doozy, it was in direct violation of 3 particular aspects of my state of mind at the time.
1) I was tired.
2) She put off that wincing vibe I described previously
3) I really just didn't feel like talking to anybody anyway.

So I pulled passive-aggressive-evasive maneuvers, which is to say, I stared vacantly out the window and hoped fervantly she would direct her attentions elsewhere.

"Tom Jones is playing at the Casino tonight." Curses. Her voice wasn't quite female sounding, it was more like the guy who's voice is so high you laugh at him for sounding female. Just a touch of shrill. Far too loud. I masked a grimace and fell back upon backup maneuvers. Monosyllabic conversation.

"Yeah?"

"Yup. Only tonight, too. He's 65, you know," a slow smile crept across massive lips of a sunbleached, squinty face. "And he's still the sexiest male performer of all time."
I winced inwardly, as a question buzzed around in the air. I tried to swat it away, but it kept coming back. Finally, I gave in.

"You going?" As she grinned and began to lean forward, my heart sunk. 3 syllables, I realized. I was having a conversation. I was in it for the long haul.

"No, I haveta go to some office meeting they can't have without me." Oh god, are total strangers allowed to be this self-important? Alas, she continued.
"Oh well... I have all his records at home. Every single one of his songs, and a huge surround system." Somewhere off in the distance, I smell danger. I don't know where this is going, but it's somewhere bad, and I don't like it.
"So since I can't see him," Oh god, it's coming, "Tonight I'm going to go home and put his CD's in my six CD changer, light some candles..." At this point I was screaming. Not out loud, mind you, but in my head. For the love of all that has never broken me inside, don't say what you're about to say. She leaned forward conspiratorially and said loudly enough for the whole goddamn bus to hear, "... and let my imagination do the work!" SHE SAID IT, OH GOD WHY DID SHE SAY IT. She was grinning from ear to ear with this smug, satisfying grin as though she'd said something incredibly sexy, and I was supposed to raise my eyebrow and give a nod to her and her liberated sexual practices. However, the urge not to volmit all over the seat was overpowering. My stop came, I launched myself forward off the bus.

Today, a much better vibe. This guy was waiting for me at the bus stop, with flames tattooed across his cheeks and a goatee that went down to his chest. Shades to hide his eyes. Rings on almost all his fingers, more tattoos across his wrists. On one wrist, a metal band with a lightening bolt carved out. There he stood in the Desert heat, black T-shirt, jeans, cowboy boots. An aged rocker, within ten feet of him you could smell the coke he'd snorted off the tits of groupies of bands he hung out with, the wicked hangovers, the days on the road. The rock, the pain, the groove, I mean, you could look at the guy and just know that he wasn't a poser, he didn't once glance in my direction to see if I was watching him. He didn't care. He was drugged out, religiously hardcore classic Rock from the days when that meant something, when artists were tortured souls and not just pretty boys with trendy drug habits. I tried to take a picture, but my cellphone battery was dead. Curse the day. Second time I've seen him, though. Maybe I'll find the guy later, offer him a smoke and hear him say a word, see if it's low and scratched by years of hard booze and terrifying drugs. I idolize this crazy fucker who wears black in the desert in July, and for the life of me I can't give you an honest reason why, except that I know in my heart, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he's real. -Alex