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Aug. 6th, 2011 @ 10:59 pm The time had to go /somewhere/
fringehead bedhole
I worked pretty hard today, and I got a lot of things done. Practical things. Chores. And now I'm very tired, but in an accomplished sort of way, which is satisfying. What's strange, though, is that I didn't get anything done that I had planned to do today. Among the stuff I didn't get done that I had intended to was a blog post catching up on my life in recent weeks, etc. Like, you know, having moved and had a birthday and that kind of jazz. Perhaps tomorrow. But definitely not tonight.

Jul. 10th, 2011 @ 10:22 am It continues
Nothing quite bums me out like moving does. Soldiering on. I guess my progress is more or less where I wanted it to be for this weekend. Not everything is packed, but it's pretty darn close. I am not looking forward to the cleaning. Got to run a few errands today and then get back to it. I put my Netflix account on hold last week to remove temptation to goof off, so that appears to be working out. If all goes well, next weekend will see the actual transport. After that, who knows. Just gotta get through relocating base camp, and then everything else will fall where it may.

I do this an awful lot. You'd think I'd be used to it by now.
Jul. 4th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm The wheel comes around
Hey, everybody. I got kinda sidetracked before writing this post, so this will probably be brief. :) Also it is a lovely extra day off from work, and Star Trek: The Next Generation is now available on Netflix streaming, so you know I got shit to do today. ;)

At any rate, most of the heavy lifting is over and done with, so I guess it's time to break the story that roomie metalepticfit has moved out of the house we share in Philly. That was pretty much my last tie to this place, so I'm looking to get out of here, myself. This is pretty good news, actually, since, as we know, I'm working full-time in NYC, and that commute is a drag, everybody. Ideally, of course, I'd move back to New York, or at least somewhere a lot closer than I am now. ;)

But, naturally, since I don't seem to want to do things the easy way, there are complications. First and foremost, I'm broke as shit, so I will not actually be moving back to New York any time soon; I just flat out do not have the capital. Therefore, since it is available and makes sense, I think I'll be moving back to the place I was at before coming down to Philly, the house blogonymed Chateau Tallcake. As long-time readers may recall, this is a semi-abandoned house out in a sleepy podunk on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. It is...somewhat closer to New York than Philadelphia is. :) The bus trip is shorter, but catching the bus is a lot less convenient, so my commute time will probably actually not be greatly improved. What will be greatly improved, though, is the money I can save by living there, meaning I can build up some funds to make a better move somewhere down the line.

In any case, that's the vague plan for now. I'm bringing this up now because this has all happened fairly quickly, and between my unavailability during the work week and the moving-type activities I'm about to engage in for the rest of my upcoming time, I'm probably going to drop off the map for a while, maybe two or three weeks or so. My goal is to have things wrapped up by the end of the month, but who knows what could happen in that time. But...that's the state of things for the time being.

So, yeah...might not be showing my virtual face around on the 'Net much in the next few weeks. As always, though, if anything comes up, you know how to reach me. Peace out, and happy Independence Day, everybody!
Jun. 26th, 2011 @ 09:48 pm The big time
Not a whole lot to report from this week, everybody, except maybe the best moment in my Internet life to date! As you may or may not know by now, dear readers, I've been having a love affair with the Pretty Good Podcast for some months now. I've had some contact with the show here and there, but Friday took it to a new level. In a nutshell, I sent in some fan work and got some props and a few laughs, which is what it's all about, but they also put me up as the show pic for that day. Woo! Photo credit to metalepticfit. ;) If you start the show at like around the 10-minute mark, it's only a few minutes to pretty much get the whole story. Well, actually, at the risk of exposing an online persona of mine, you can actually get a pretty full history here. ;)

And, well...if you're like me and dig that conversational talk radio style, and you're looking for a new podcast, you know my recommendation. :)

Not much else going on of note. Was all excited to (finally!) be going for a bike ride yesterday, and I got about three blocks away from the house when I threw another flat. :( Plus, since I had been putting off getting a new tube and/or patch kit since my last adventure with a flat, now I'm without bicycle again. Serves me right for procrastinating on that front, but now as punishment I have to walk to the bike store to get my parts. :)

Anyhoo...yeah. I do so little any more to blog about. So it goes. Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later!
Jun. 18th, 2011 @ 08:11 pm Ha!
And you thought I was kidding about the eco-friendly wedding. :)
Jun. 18th, 2011 @ 06:52 pm What people get up to
fringehead bedhole
The weekend is here, everybody, so that means I actually have some time to sit a spell and relax. Actually, I spent the first half of the day doing chores and the time since then slogging through quite a lot of Internet backlog, but I thought it's time for a break and maybe I should get that update post cranked out.

Decided I should lj-cut this. But if you skip it, you"re going to miss the cute pet pic!Collapse )

So now...here I am again. Taking the weekend to catch up on my chores and my Internet and, mostly, my sleep, because damn, I got way not enough sleep in the last week. Oh, also...so I mentioned this slightly before about my bathroom being messed up. What happened was...apparently while I was away, the medicine cabinet in my bathroom fell off the wall. Yeah...I didn't know that kind of thing happened. But anyway, when I got back to Philly, it was to a nice little job cleaning up shards of mirror and, I dunno, spilled antacids or whatever, so that was a little stumbling block on my idyllic return home. Otherwise, though, things are as they are. Except I don't have a bathroom mirror any more, which is going to make shaving on Monday pretty adventurous. But that, friends, is something I don't have to worry about for another day or two. :)

And that, I believe, catches me up to the present. So I'm going to wrap this up, and go back to my Internet rounds. If all goes well, by the end of the night I will have cleared out the queue and be ready with a fresh, clean slate to start getting backlogged again. And, lo, life on the Internet goes on. :)

Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later!
Jun. 15th, 2011 @ 10:23 pm I heart Larry Miller
Larry Miller's Ten Minute Theory of Life

You're going to get over everything that annoys you in life. Any grudge, any anger, any disappointment, any slight, anything. You're going to get over it. The only question is when.

It'll take you ten minutes, or ten hours, or ten days, or ten weeks, or ten months. Or ten years.

I've done them all. I recommend ten minutes.
Jun. 13th, 2011 @ 10:53 pm Home again home again jiggity jig
I'm sitting here at my desk in my room for the first time in over two weeks. Feels like longer. Much has happened, pretty much all of it good, but as I've dropped right back into my hectic working life, I don't have time to get into it all at the moment. I just wanted to check back in, say hi, and let you all know that I've been more or less unplugged for the last couple weeks, so if anything spectacular went down, I probably missed it.

In my mind I owe one whopper of a post to catch up on everything, but the reality is much more straightforward, so...I'll just post an update, probably this weekend, and then we'll all move on. Suffice it to say...for the time being, I'm satisfied, if a bit travel-weary, and I feel pretty okay about things. So many lives around me are changing, and there are probably changes happening for me in the somewhat near future, too. Time and blog will tell. But for now, some sleep, and the remainder of the work week, awaits.

Oh, and while I was away, apparently my bathroom fell apart. But you can't have everything, now, can you.

Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later.
May. 27th, 2011 @ 07:07 am Bonus round
An NPR headline: "Blagojevich To Jurors: 'I'm Here Today To Tell You The Truth'"

What's funny is...I have a t-shirt bearing that exact quote...from Jesus.
May. 27th, 2011 @ 06:53 am Ha!
Yeah...that should work nicely.

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. [Wednesday] his Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start a their own companies.

This...this should also work nicely.

Dr. Jeffrey H. Toney writes that a team of biomedical engineers at the University of Pittsburgh led by Henry Zeringue have managed to grow an active brain in a dish... To produce the models, the Pitt team stamped adhesive proteins onto silicon discs. Once the proteins were cultured and dried, cultured hippocampus cells from embryonic rats were fused to the proteins and then given time to grow and connect to form a natural network.

Emphasis mine. It is a cuh-razy world out there, everybody.
May. 22nd, 2011 @ 08:39 pm Still here
So it appears that I've survived the Rapture or Judgment Day or whatever the hell (no pun intended). Although, in celebration of the putative end times, I did undergo a little personal Apocalypse of my own by once again quitting cold turkey on the damn cigs. Caved to the addiction when I started working again, so that probably means I've been off the wagon about two months or so now. No bueno. I've actually pulled this stunt before -- gone without on the weekend, I mean, only to jump right back in there come Monday. This time I'll see if I can stick it out, though. Again.

Related to that, I've basically been on a junk food bender. Nay, a frenzy. Couldn't even sleep last night for all the crap I ate. Think I gave myself acid reflux or something, too. And not even any biking to show for my time. In a nutshell, I treated my body like absolute garbage this weekend, but all in the name of the greater good of getting off the cigs again. Normally I don't try this kind of thing without having a solid week or so of free time to go with it. But...hell with it. If I'm going to get good at quitting, I might as well work on it in adverse conditions.

So. Long and short of it is that I'm in partial-to-total disconnect from my right mind, and from a brain chemistry point of view, I can't really take much pleasure or feel much joy, so unsurprisingly, not a lot of blog post tonight. Feel like I skipped last week, too, but for reasons that currently escapes me. I know I went biking in the rain, but I can't remember much else about it. On the topic of Internet presence, though, I actually sat down and took the time today to catch myself up with my infostream backlog. I did a fuckload of pruning and such, so...we'll see if I can get back into some kind of routine with that, though. I kinda miss the Internet. Then again...I really kinda don't. We'll see.

Oh, and speaking of biking...I saw this sign during my wanderings today. Kind of tells a whole sad story by itself, there, don't it?


Bummer there, man. Coincidentally, I wouldn't have even seen the sign had I not been out walking instead of biking today. So it goes.

Anyway, yeah...just checking in. Next few weeks are going to be a little unusual. Not so much this upcoming week, but the weeks following. My sister's getting married at the end of the month, meaning I'm breaking the wedding embargo, but just this once. Then I'm going to be holding down the fort at her place petsitting again while she off and honeymoons. Still working out the logistics of that, but a change of scenery is always nice. It'll be like a little mini-vacation.

So, yeah. Not much going on in these parts. Still haven't made it to the bike store to replace my patch kit and get a new tube, so I'm mildly afraid of going on any long trips, which is actually just as well because I haven't been doing that anyway, and I don't see me taking anything like that on in the next, oh, three weeks or so. Otherwise things are proceeding as usual. Carry on.
May. 8th, 2011 @ 09:52 pm Flats with no sharps
So I went out for a bike ride today, or tried to, anyway. This was to be a ride just for pleasure, as opposed to the normal running errands and stuff that I've been up to of late. I've gotten so used to Philly closing off a section of the roads next to the Schuylkill to cars that I was quite surprised to find today that that wasn't the case. Still not sure exactly what the story was; I mean, I think they change the schedule around for the summer or something, but I had thought prime weekend hours were still covered. Anyway, no biggie...there's still the Schuylkill Bike Trail, and that's fine by me! So I hooked around the Art Museum and headed off toward...I dunno, wherever that goes, Manayunk or whatever, and set about my ride.

It started off routinely enough: basically the part of the trail still within the city is a shared road between cyclists, joggers, bladers, and moseying pedestrians, so there's lots of speeding up, slowing down, weaving around, and general, overall cursing of the people who don't respect the "walk on the right" rule. During one particularly sharp weave, though, I detected a definite...shift...in the traction on my rear wheel.

That felt strange, I thought to myself. I had thought at the time that I had just slid or skidded slightly to the side during my turn, and I was counting myself lucky that I didn't wipe out. However, as time went on, things started to feel a lot more draggy, so then it dawned on me that I might have a problem with my tire. I glanced down and, sure enough, the rear tire was looking pretty low. I pulled over to see what was up.

Ordinarily when you squeeze a tire to check for pressure, you want to encounter a whole lot of resistance. Squeezing my tire on this occasion was like squeezing a marshmallow. Not just low...a full-on flat. Bummer! Thankfully, I had my patch kit and other dealing-with-flats-gear on me, since I make it a habit to pack all that stuff when I go out for extended ride. My sister had actually, a while back, given me a whole kit to address this very situation, so I was at least kind of excited to finally put it to use! I've done the repair job a few times before; all I needed to do was pop the tube out, do a quick patch job, reassemble, reinflate, and be one my way. In fact, I thought to myself as I rummaged through my bag, I think I actually have a spare inner tube on me, which would probably be a preferable option to doing a patch job right out there on the road, and I could patch later...

I stared at my bike. I kept staring. In my head, I started to curse.

I like preparedness. I like making preparedness a habit, in fact, in the hopes of minimizing the times I am unprepared. Once it becomes a habit, you know that just by following your habits you'll be prepared, and you don't really have to think about it any more. Of course, when you don't have to think about it any more, you don't really think about it any more.

As some of you may recall, my bike was stolen some months back. I got a replacement through kawaiiryuko a little while ago, and I've been putting a lot of work and such into it to get it back in working order. It serves its purpose well, and I've been happy with it, though there are some differences between this bike and my old one. Single-speed, for one, and some other little changes, but by and large I've gotten used to it all. I'm pretty used to thinking of this bike as "my bike." It turns out, though, that there's another major difference that had slipped my attention.

My old bike had what they call "quick-release" axles that held the wheels in place. Basically it just means tool-less; there's a kind of locking lever that you use to secure the wheel to the frame and take it off again; you don't need a wrench to undo the nuts or anything holding the wheels on. This new bike...doesn't do that. I knew that, of course; I've taken the wheels off and put them back on dozens of times now, but always either in the shop or in my house. My preparedness kit for being out on the road, the one driven by habit, sadly does not contain a wrench.

So...back to the scene. I'm sitting there staring at my bike, realizing that I have no way of getting the wheel off. Which, of course, is a necessary step in fixing the tire. I started pondering the engineering of it: theoretically, I guess would be possible to slide the tube out of the wheel while it was still attached, but I quickly realized that I still wouldn't be able to get it actually disentangled from the bike; there's no way to get it around the axle holding the wheel on. I could actually give up the tube for lost, since it's a ratty old thing anyway, and cut the tube to get it out, but even then there would be no way to get the new tube in there. I definitely needed to take that wheel off to fix this. Either that, or I could actually try to patch the old tube while it was still attached to the bike and try to work from there. The downside to this course of action was that, if anything were to go wrong, I wasn't going to be walking that bike back home; I was going to be carrying it home.

There was nothing for it; I basically just had to start the long walk home. I wasn't far down the trail, so...I figured I couldn't be more than a couple hours away from home on foot. I got to thinking, though...I don't think I totally blew out the tire or anything; maybe it was just a slow leak. If that was the case, maybe I could just reinflate the tire enough to get me home. Here's where another quirk of my kit comes into play.

Jeff, for example, carries a tiny version of a bike pump around in his kit. This is an elegant solution, and one that I figured I'd one day start using, myself, but so far that day has not come. What I carry, instead, is a little pressurized CO2 cartridge. If you've ever played paintball (or are into whippets), you know the kind of thing I'm talking about. My kit has one of those and a neat little gasket/flange/spigot/whatever thingy to connect it to the tube (which, admittedly, I've always wanted to try). So basically I had one dose of reinflation on me.

I did a quick evaluation, and I figured it'd be worth a shot to try it out. If it didn't work, I wouldn't be any worse off than when I started. All I had to lose was a cartridge, basically, so that's fine. I had another one at home anyway, which would have to tide me over until I got myself a mini-pump. :) So I set to work figuring out the little spigot jobby, and I was pleased to find that I could open and close the cartridge once I attached it, so I was thinking maybe I could stretch this one cartridge out into a couple of doses.

I finally got everything set up, and gave reinflation a try. It was working! I had no way of gauging how much air was left in the canister or anything, but I basically just inflated the tire until I felt it had enough air in it for emergency riding, and then shut it off. I packed everything back up, including the partial canister with the spigot still attached, handling it gingerly and hoping that it wouldn't jostle and take off in my bag like some kind of tiny little rocket. I hopped back on and started to bike home, going as gingerly as I could and trying to put as much weight as I could on the front end of the bike. :)

It worked out fairly well; I made some pretty good distance before the thing was obviously too flat to continue. I hopped off again and repeated the reinflation process, finding that the first time around, I guess I had used a little more than half of the cartridge, since it ran out during my second session and the tire was still a little soft. Regardless, I jumped back on and made a pretty good second leg of the journey. So between those two stopgap inflations, I more or less made it back to the Art Museum, which is only like a half-hour's walk from home, so I hoofed it back from there, feeling pretty okay about how things transpired, all things considered.

Once home, I went through the usual flat tire routine. In fixing the tube, I realized that this was my last patch in my patch kit, so I need a new one of those, now, too. The first time I reinflated the tube after patching it, it was clear that the patch didn't take, so I had to do the damn thing over again. Second time around actually was only marginally more successful, but I figured it would hold good enough to get me to the bike store so I could pick up more supplies -- which would have to happen like next week, because there are apparently no bike stores in Philly that are open on a Sunday. I was compiling a shopping list in my head while I was reassembling and remounting my rear wheel and getting ready to reinflate again.

I had attached the pump and was getting it back up to riding pressure when the tube I was inflating (the one I had just patched) suddenly and violently exploded. I was completely unaware that my bike had any kind of capacity to make a noise that loud. I was actually deafened for a short period of time, and my ears continued ringing for quite a while afterward. It was totally unruly. And it's not like my head was even next to the tire or anything! I mean...it's a floor pump; I was standing and pumping, like driving an old handcart on the rails in the Old West, you know? I had to be like a foot or two away, as the hose length would allow. I could not believe the noise I had just heard. And then not heard.

Anyway. So once I regained my senses, I disassembled the wheel yet again, and this time mounted on the as-yet-unused inner tube I keep in my kit. I don't know if these things have a shelf life or what, but I inflated it to riding pressure and took it out for a few minutes just to test things out, and it seems fine so far, so...that's good. Hopefully it will be enough to get me back out to the store to restock. :) I decided not to push my luck by going out for another ride that day. ;)

So. In the final analysis, I'm going to call this one a wash. I'm thankful that the emergency reinflation out on the trail was enough to at least get me most of the way home, so that's a win. But in the end, I wound up blowing a cartridge and using up my patch kit on an inner tube that self-destructed rather than take advantage of the new life I had granted it, so there's that. Upon examination, the actual explosion site on the tube was right next to the valve, and was apparently unrelated to the leak that had developed, so I took a small measure of pride in that, by the tube exploding from inflation, apparently my patch job had held well enough. ;)

Anyway. So just yesterday I had finally gotten myself some lamps so I could ride at night, and I was feeling pretty good about that, since it's like a tangible reward for being back at work. Now, though, I won't feel good about going back out on any long trips unless I get at least a new patch kit and inner tube (and a wrench to carry around, too!). I guess for preference I'd like a mini-pump as well, but I can wait on that; I still have one CO2 cartridge left! :) Plus that gasket thing is mad fun to use. ;)

So that's the latest from Bicycle Land around here. I've started to hear strange noises coming from my front wheel; I think that the front wheel spokes may need a some adjustment, but that's definitely something I should do in the shop. My rear brake calipers are still giving me some concern, so that's something else that bears some examination -- and probably replacement. In any case, the list goes on for shit that needs work, but on the whole, I don't mind. I mean, in the scheme of things, the bike is still a luxury and all, so I won't die without it, and it's still cheaper than (and superior to) car ownership, so...at the end of the day, it's still all worth it.

Still, man. That shit was crazy loud.
May. 7th, 2011 @ 01:54 pm God bless West Philadelphia
Our corner somehow ends up being more or less the center of a continual, low-grade vortex which ends up depositing a lot of wayward street litter on our front steps. Every once in a while, when the mood strikes, I go out and pick up the trash on our street, because it makes me feel less like I'm living in despair. In addition to litter, though, it also gives me an opportunity to clean up a bit of the just...usual urban detritus that collects on the streets.

Here is what comprised a small pile I just cleaned out of the entrance to the alley next to our house: a condom wrapper, the accompanying condom, a disposable cellophane glove (yikes), and a maxipad.

Yeah. Spent a little time washing my hands after that one. Stay classy, Philly.
May. 2nd, 2011 @ 10:41 pm Good times
I should have done this blog entry yesterday when I had some semblance of time for it, but since I didn't, I figure I gotta get it done now, or it will never happen. So...this will be the abridged version, but I wanted to make sure I commemorated that I had a great weekend this weekend. The gist of it is that fr33m4n was coming to town, so we had a good ol'-fashioned Guys' Night Out, except it was for the weekend. At various points, including a good, solid block that included all of us, we had, besides myself and fr33m4n, kawaiiryuko, gmonger, and our host, jeded1ah. It was a gathering in the finest traditions of the Old School, by which I mean we basically didn't do much of anything but hang out, eat, and play video games. kawaiiryuko came in late due to work load at the office, and fr33m4n busted out a little early due to dying from pet allergies, but the time we got in was pretty well-spent. Or wasted, depending on your point of view, but you won't hear any complaints from me when you and a bunch or your goof-off buddies can get together for a weekend of flippancy and then somehow end up in an endless argument about math.

One of the featured events for this gathering, even though it wasn't planned that way initially, was the AMC Theater's special 25th anniversary screening of Top Gun. Yeah, you know you're jealous. That was every bit as awesome as you think it was. That was pretty much the only thing that got us out of the house, though, at least after I showed up. Otherwise it was a lot of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Smash Bros. Brawl, and some varied Internet videos and TV. For me, anyway, there's nothing like some console gaming on modern systems to really drive home how much technology has advanced since I stopped keeping up with the latest stuff.

Anyway. Ordinarily I'd spend the time to try and chronicle the whole shebang, but I just don't have the resources, sadly. I got back home Sunday afternoon and spent much of the rest of the day scrambling to get my chores done for the week. That accomplished, I basically just pooped out and had to spend a little time decompressing on my own. Once that was done (if it ever was), it was basically bedtime, and then the work week starts, and then...well, then you get blog posts like this. :) In summary, though, it was Good Times. I haven't hung out with or even seen fr33m4n literally in like five or six years. This is a pretty far cry from back in the day, when we lived within a couple blocks of each other and hung out all the damn time. :) For all the differences that divided us, we've ended up living oddly similar lives, in some respects, anyway. I also think (again, in some respects) that we've ended up being oddly similar people, which I take as a good thing. In any case, reconnecting with him definitely gave me things to think about. Just like old times, I suppose. :)

Anyway. So that was that, and it was good. Life otherwise trundles onward, and I'm just kind of hanging on to the side at this point. I think things are going to be like this for a little while to come. There's not a whole lot of steering I can do at this point; I just have to hang in there and not get tossed off. The big project now is getting a handle on things, getting back on my feet, and trying to get a lot of loose ends under some kind of control. All projections indicate that this is going to take a while, so...I don't really know what happens in the meantime. Just...keep on swimming.

I'll check in with you hepcats another time, then. Take a little time in your day to fondly remember old friends. Hopefully it will put a smile on your face. Peace out, everybody!
Apr. 28th, 2011 @ 05:53 am Adventures at work
widowmaker boohoo
[The intern is discussing with a coworker how slow her computer is.]
Intern: I'm sure this was really great and cool in, like, 1999.
Me, over the cubicle wall: Hey, so was I, by the way.
Intern: Yeaaahh...I was a rockin', like, eight-year-old.
Me: *bursts into tears*
Apr. 24th, 2011 @ 06:01 pm They don't make it easy
So remember how happy and self-congratulatory I was about getting my online poker cashout through before the Feds cracked down? Well, it turns out I may have counted my chickens before they hatched. It wasn't even that, actually, since my bank had already credited my account with the money -- it's more like my chickens hatched and then somehow worked their way back into the eggs afterward. This is all by way of saying that my cashout check came back to me bounced yesterday, which was an unpleasant sensation, mostly because I had already used that money to pay some bills. :/

In any case, a quick chat with the bank and some conversation with the online site later, the good news is that I know the money is not lost; it's just stuck in limbo. Basically the same limbo that every other U.S. player's money is stuck in at this point. It's unclear whether or not this payment trouble was actually related to the recent issue with the Feds, but at this point the question is purely academic; I won't be getting my money out any faster than anybody else, despite having technically beat the rush. ;) No complaints, really, beyond the usual amount when dealing with any inconvenience handed down by the nanny state. I will say, too, that the online site in question has proven astoundingly responsive and helpful, especially considering the deluge of problems they are undoubtedly suffering right now. Not that it matters much at this point, I guess, but the way they've handled themselves through all this has certainly won me over. If I ever get the chance again, surely they'll get my business once more. I guess either when the government topples or when I leave the country.

Anyway. The bottom line for me at this point is that this was a blow, but not a bad one. I'll basically just be strapped for cash for the next maybe week or so, but then again, I suppose that's nothing new. Payday is at the end of the month, so after that, barring any more weird surprises, hopefully I can start working on something resembling an actual, regular budget. And I mean "regular" in the sense of "predictable," not in the sense of "how normal people operate." It's still going to take a little while before that happens.

Speaking of payday, though, we're trying a new thing at work where I work from home on Fridays. This past Friday was the first time we tried it out; I think it went pretty well, all things considered. I find I actually work less efficiently at home, not because of the environment, but because I'm limited by my hardware. Y'all know me; I'm happiest basically getting things done with a text editor and a command prompt. But corporate work is what it is, and my setup at home is, what, maybe seven or eight years old at this point? It buckles under the demands of today's modern computing environment. ;) That said, I can make up for inefficiencies with extra time, which I find I really don't mind spending when I don't have to commute. I mean, hell, I slept in for two extra hours and still got to work an hour early, ya know? ;) So, I dunno...I guess we'll see how it goes. I'm wary of any change that makes it harder for me to be a good worker, but working from home is kind of a big win for me, so...I guess we'll give it a little while and see how things go.

I think that's about it; not a stand-out week. The weather today was nuts; like full-on summer, almost, and this is after yesterday being all cold and stormy. Today I had to break out shorts. Shorts! So did a lot of other people, by the way, and it was pretty funny walking around and taking in all the pale, pale legs. ;) I did most of my chores yesterday (since that whole issue with the check had me dragging ass out to the bank anyway, I figured I might as well get some other stuff done, too), but today I still had laundry to address. I didn't even try riding my bike; I know I'd be sweating like a horse. That was all in the morning, though; the majority of my day has been spent cooking. Well, more accurately, letting things cook on their own while I watch DVDs. ;) That's another thing...I find myself wanting to spend less and less time on the Internet. I feel that's largely a symptom of spending so much of my life chained to a computer now, instead of just hanging out in front of one. I didn't expect that to make such a difference, but...well, there ya go. I don't miss Facebook or Twitter at all, but I'm pretty aware that I'm basically losing touch with everyone. Well, it is what it is; I fucking hate Facebook, and that basically makes me a pariah. I'll live. What I love is how people spend so much time and energy on Facebook bitching about Facebook. ;) But, whatever. The main point is that my 'Net exposure has dropped to incredibly low levels; I'm trying to keep up with even just a barebones version of my usual reading list, but I find my interest flagging all the time.

I don't mean you guys, of course. I'm talking about just stuff I think is interesting and try to keep up with. Or used to, anyway. Nowadays I feel like I just stare at my reader, sigh, lose all hope, and just skip it all in the hopes of making it up next time. But honestly, once the weekend hits, I just don't feel like jacking in any more. I wonder how long that'll last.

Peace out, everybody.
Apr. 17th, 2011 @ 10:12 pm Small victory, large defeats
I had this amazingly cool dream the night before last. Pity I can't remember it. This is all I know: I was living life as the star of an action-comedy flick. There was lots of jumping around and explosions and stuff. Good times. And it was definitely a movie; I know this because the dream ended with me, somehow, ending up watching the credits roll by on the screen. Like...my mind's eye zoomed out of the final scene, and there I was, watching said final scene, which I was just in, and the credits start going by. The action-comedy film aspect wasn't why the dream was cool, though. You know how you wake up from a dream and you feel like the story hasn't ended? Sometimes you just want to get back in there and finish the story? Well, this wasn't one of those dreams. The credits were rolling. Whatever awesome story I was just taking part in actually did reach is end, and I awoke warm and fuzzy in the knowledge that the thing had been taken to its completion. In fact, I was laying in bed and, at the time, I knew basically the whole story, or at least the highlights. I couldn't wait to go over it again. I'd never been so satisfied with a dream.

I didn't know what time it was when I woke up. I remember thinking at the time, after I'd gone over the plot in my mind, that the only thing that would make me feel happier was if it was actually the middle of the night when I woke up instead of early in the morning, because I was quite comfy and didn't want to get out of bed. Eventually I checked the clock, and it was around 4am. Sweet...plenty of time to roll over and get some more shuteye.

Of course...when I woke up for realz and started my day, I had forgotten the story. So sad. Ah, well...easy come, easy go. It's funny...the only thing I can really remember that was an aspect of that story was that somehow, somewhere, there was a smoke detector with a low battery involved. You know...that periodic chirping? Well this was likely because, as I found out when I got my day started, there actually was a dying smoke detector in the house. Guess I must have brought it back with me from Dreamland, eh? ;)

* * *

So. I'm not going to lie to you, Marge: I didn't even get my sorry ass around to blogging last weekend. I totally took the weekend off last week and just completely vegged out. I don't even think I got anything practical done, which is a dangerous thing with my new schedule, as testified to by the mountain of laundry I addressed this weekend. I did it early on Saturday, actually, because I thought I might be busy on Sunday (though that didn't turn out to be the case). I managed to get it all done and get back home just as the storm started. I hate getting caught in the rain with my laundry. It feels like a bunch of wasted effort. :) In any case, getting that done before the rains came felt like a victory, if only a small one as commemorated in my post title today. The defeats...well, they come later.

* * *

This is going to require some background, so get comfortable. Also, weirdly, the story extended itself beyond my original experiences, so...yeah, we'll just see where we go with this.

It all started late last week. I got a voicemail purportedly from DHL telling me that they were holding a package for me. They couldn't deliver to a P.O. Box, and they wanted a physical address. They left a tracking number and a phone number to call back. Now...I have received, on multiple occasions, scam e-mails basically outlining this exact situation in an attempt to phish my informations. So I was immediately suspicious of this message. Plus...I'm not expecting anything, and even if I was, who would ship anything to me via DHL?

That said, I'm not one to scoff at the possibility of mystery gifts, so I Googled the phone number, and it was, sure enough, a DHL number, so I gave them a call. Without volunteering any info from my end, I determined that it was indeed a legit call; they had my name and PO Box. I was also given some additional information about the delivery: it was (a) "documents" and (b) from Singapore. Singapore?! I don't know anyone in Singapore. Setting the weirdness of that aside for the time being, I had bigger fish to fry.

The problem was receiving the delivery. For starters, they couldn't give me a delivery window; only a day, and they don't roll on weekends. As we know, I don't have any usable time during the work week to be in Philly, and it's dicey as to whether (or when) the roomie will be around, so the alternative was basically coming in to pick it up from them at their delivery center. The major issue there, of course, was that the delivery center also didn't have any weekend hours, so I was going to have to take some time off work for this.

Luckily, my boss is as gracious as she is beautiful, and so getting the time off wasn't a big deal. My plan was to hit DHL in the morning, and then come in to New York for a half-day. It was suggested to me that it was dumb to spend more time commuting than working, so maybe I could work from home the rest of the day. Now...given my current situation, any chance to work at home is a giant win for me. However, being who I am, I'm living on like seven- or eight-year-old hardware, so I wasn't sure I could actually work from home. I said we'd see.

Thursday was to be the day. Part of the challenge of doing this, it turns out, was actually getting myself to the delivery center. It's kind of on the outskirts of town...effectively I have to go to the airport. And once you leave the core of Philly proper, the price of public transportation tends to get a little outlandish. So here were my choices: 45 minutes using a regional rail line that would cost me like ten bucks...or a half-hour bike ride. Saddle up!

It bears mentioning at this point that not only haven't I been bike riding much lately, but I haven't been doing much of anything physical lately. My daily routine of bus/work/sleep doesn't leave a lot of room for working up a sweat. That said, I have become quite fond, apparently, of taking on hardship to save a few bucks, so...biking it was. The ride out was actually not too bad, despite me going places I had never bicycled before. The one-way trip was like five, five-and-a-half miles...something in that neighborhood...and it all seemed to go pretty smoothly, especially considering this was more or less rush hour (since I wanted to hit the DHL center at opening time -- remember this was a work day for me). What was better, though, was that it felt great to be back on the bike and getting some distance under me. I felt energized and active; definitely something of a rarity these days. Anyway, I found the place, waited around a bit for someone to show up, got my envelope, and took off.

The ride out was like working up a nice, solid burn and just flying through the miles. The ride back was like pedaling through wet cement. I was pretty drained. I guess that break in the middle was no good; it was hard for me to get back in the swing of things for the second leg of the journey. In fact, there came a point, maybe about halfway home, where I had to actually get off the bike and walk it up a hill, owing to my still not completely being master of this whole single-speed world. ;) Anyway, that was a nice little second break, and when I crested the hill, I got back on the bike and took pushed one foot down on the crankshaft to get me started again.

That action caused me to experience a muscle cramp of such explosive intensity that I almost vomited. That is not an exaggeration; I coasted to a stop as best I could, tumbled off the street onto the sidewalk, dragged my bike after me, and then spent a few minutes on the ground on all fours, occasionally retching. Some time passed, the pain eased, my vision cleared, and I decided to just sit there for a little while and take a little breather. I sipped some water and massaged my calf a bit. I guess this is a problem area for me; I used to get this exact same cramp once in a while when I was running, though never this intense. Also that was back in the day; nowadays I have a pretty good stretching routine. And I did actually stretch before getting on my bike that morning, but I guess it wasn't enough. Lord, but it was not enough. :)

So anyway...that was large defeat number one. And I was walking with a limp for the rest of the day, let me tell you. :) So between that and my desire to try new things, especially if it means taking a break from the daily bus routines, I ended up working from home the rest of the day. It was pretty awesome for the most part, but my productivity was super crappy, basically for the expected reason that my computer was just churning dog slow under the weight of all that I was asking of it. So it goes.

So...the package. I can't remember if I mentioned it here (though I definitely said something about it in my poker blog), but when I started the full-on work experience, realizing that I was resetting things in my life and also not going to have a lot of free time, I decided to empty out my online poker monies and bring all those bad boys back to roost. I had them send me a check, and then I basically put it out of my mind because it was going to take weeks. So it turns out that they sent me the money through a payment processing center in Singapore, hence the unexpected delivery from there. So...mystery solved! I stopped by the bank the next morning on my way into work and deposited the check.

That was that, until this weekend when the story took a very strange turn. Before I move on to the next bit, let me just say that I am basically never ahead of the curve on anything. Despite all my involvement with technology over the years, I have generally been a pretty late adopter, and things have gotten notoriously worse in that department in my old age. I'm behind on every fad, late to every party. Metaphorically, anyway. So it was as much a surprise to me as anyone else that apparently my timing in emptying out my online poker account couldn't have been better.

The very day that I was putting that check in the bank, our very own Federal Government threw down indictments on the leaders of the online poker industry, basically collapsing the online poker world for U.S. players. What's especially poignant about the timing of all this is that, due to my new no-time-online schedule, I had recently unplugged from, among other things, my whole poker-related infostream, most notably the BARGE list, so I'm sure I'm missing out on a rip-roaring discussion at this very moment. Suffice it to say, this is a gigantic (dick) move on the part of the U.S. government, which apparently has nothing better to do. Where we get the nerve, I still don't even know, but why the hell not. We rain war, death, and destruction anywhere on the globe at our whim; we might as well send lawyers, too. Aaaaanyway. For someone who basically never even knows what time it is, my announcement a couple weeks back that I was leaving online poker for the brick-and-mortar world now seems positively prescient. All accidental, of course. Still sucks. :)

* * *

I kept pretty busy this weekend, all things considered. Basically I'm trying to do now is make it a weekly habit to: do laundry, buy groceries, prepare my food for the week, buy my bus tickets for the week, and hit the post office and do any other miscellaneous shopping that I need to do. Like I mentioned earlier, I did most of everything on Saturday until I found out that I was free on Sunday, too. Today I ran more errands, but I also spent some time making adjustments to my bike, which I found...uh...needed adjusting. Also I did a lot more bike-riding today, mostly because (a) it's basically my only chance to, and (b) it wasn't pouring down rain like it was yesterday. I feel good...like I exerted a lot, which I really needed. Sadly, though, I also think I fucked up my back. :/ Definitely not as severe as my last back episode, but still -- walking kind of funny now. Or funnier.

I was kinda hoping to pick up some lamps today, which I still need, but I made the unfortunate discovery that all the bike shops around here are apparently closed on Sundays. Boo! Something for next week, then. The list of shit I should get for the bike seems to never quite be empty, but lamps are definitely way near the top, since I need them for night use, which I'll definitely need if I end up biking to the bus station instead of taking the train. Again...way to save a few bucks. ;) I spent a lot of time today fighting with my brakes. I think the front is okay now after some adjustment, but I think my rear calipers are showing signs of...fatigue? Perhaps? Whatever the case, my rear brakes aren't really up to snuff, though it's a problem I can work around by...well...not going too fast. :/ I think my front wheel is getting dangerously close to out of true, which is not that surprising, because it was a cheap, used joint, and also I am a big, heavy dude, so that could bear some investigation.

Also, the ever-present desire for bigger pedals still lurks. I had an interesting situation crop up today when I lost my footing going through an intersection. Both feet went flying into space, my body slid forward almost off the saddle and, no lie, I was only able to continue moving due apparently to the strength of my (suddenly very panicked) rectum. I must have looked like an imbecile, coasting across the street with my legs flailing wildly seeking their homes on the pedals while barely hanging on to the front tip of my saddle between tightly clenched cheeks. But, hey, I'll take flailing feet over a wipeout on the asphalt every time, friends. :)

* * *

I thought I'd leave you all with this video. It is the trailer for a porn version of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is, amazingly enough, completely not dirty. The trailer, I mean. I assume the movie itself involves filth of some kind. But the movie seems to feature some way above-average production value, and also an actual Star Trek-like story, which makes me think of this (fondly, even) as the movie version of erotic fanfic. Plus, I have to say...I have to give them an A for casting with that Picard! Good stuff! I don't have that much time for web surfing any more, ya know? So...I gotta make these moments count. ;)

* * *

I think that's it for now, everybody. Oh...I guess it bears mentioning here that I've more or less abandoned Facebook and Twitter, at least for a while. I'm ostensibly down to blogging here once a week, too, though we'll see how that goes; looks like it's way too easy to miss a week.

At any rate...miss you guys, but it's all for the greater good. The greater good, in this case, meaning me not starving. But I'll catch y'all as time permits; keep fighting the good fight! Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later.
Apr. 2nd, 2011 @ 07:16 pm Routine achieved
fringehead bedhole
Well, here we are, having completed Week One at the new job. Thankfully I don't appear to have broken any more computers or cameras or elevators or anything in several days, so things are looking pretty good for the future, I must say. All the same, I'll probably be avoiding the fax machine as much as I can. Not that I need an incentive, but... Anyway.

So, yeah...things are going. The job is everything I expected and hoped: a casual environment among good people, and well within my capabilities, which was an important consideration, frankly, because basically I'm not really qualified to do anything any more. Which came as a bit of a shock, let me tell you, when I really began to face up to that facet of my lack of employability. In any case, though, this is definitely shaping up to be something it looks like I can handle.

As for the job itself, I tell people I'm just doing office work. If pressed, I'd probably mention computers. The phrase "data processing" comes to mind, though I'm not entirely sure I ever really knew what that meant. One funny aspect is that it looks like a big part of my new gig will be working with a certain software product that was basically our biggest competitor from back in my dotcom days. This is purely an observation; I don't hold any particular party-line rancor for the product -- aside from the disdain I hold for basically all software products -- and in fact my experience in developing similar systems means that I'm taking to working in this environment like...like a fish taking to something that isn't water but that is close enough to still swim around and live in.

Yeah. Kinda short on brain power there. ;)

Which brings me to my next point. The job itself is fine, and it looks like I can handle it, which is definitely good news. The bad news is...the commute. I am in no way exaggerating when I say that every minute of my working week is accounted for. The daily commute from Philly to New York means that, as long as I want to get a decent amount of sleep at night, I am either in bed, at work, or commuting. And since getting a decent amount of sleep is important to me, the above is exactly what my life is like now.

The biggest adjustment has been not having an Internet presence to speak of. I have, in my history, found it very hard to stop paying attention to something once I've started. This is why I basically try to avoid exposing myself to anything new. Ever. Because I tend not to throw stuff away. Well...it has become time to learn. Months ago, when I found myself with literally no demands on my time, my infostream basically grew to fill more or less the entirety of my waking hours. That is...I had enough stuff coming in at me to keep me occupied reading things on the Internet...well, pretty much all the time. Now...I have no time. This past week has been a short, sharp shock in me leaving stuff unread. I have to say...it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. So at least there's that. :)

Anyway. So I did the "All Internet" thing, and now I've done the "No Internet" thing. Now I've got to strike out into that always-incredibly-hated-by-me grey area, and try to find how much 'Net time I can reasonably get in during a work day, and just see what I can do with that. There's a lot I don't mind losing from my infostream, and in fact I've already jettisoned a lot of junk. I also find I don't mind leaving the comics for weekend review. There are a couple blogs I miss reading, mostly from authors; I'll have to see if I can keep those going. Honestly the biggest hole in my life has been my peoples. I've done no chatting, no Facebook, no nothing...for a whole week! I'm sure most of the people I know have basically forgotten about me by now. ;) That's what life is like now...people are constantly bombarded with a ridiculous cacophony of professional, amateur, and social attentionphiles. I'm just one lackadaisical loner, doomed to be run over on the Information Superhighway. It's a little tough sometimes, when you think about people a lot and you know they're not thinking of you. But that's life in the big time, yeah? This'll all get better someday.

So, yes...that leads right in to the next point -- what's the plan? Well, to be right up front with y'all, there's no plan for the time being. The point I'm at right now...well, is basically this: I'm completely tapped out on savings, am carrying an enormous amount of debt, and though I'll have more information on this once I actually get a few paychecks under my belt, I suspect that I'm basically taking in just enough income to cover expenses and no more. Now, fortunately, "expenses" in this case also means addressing the debt, which means that eventually, things will start turning around. But for now, I am super broke and look to stay that way for a while. Maybe someday, down the road, I'll start looking at coming back to the City and all that. But now is really not the time, guys.

As for the rest of life...well, what can I say? There hasn't been that much. :) I'm going to try to take some extra care with regard to health these days. Remember that five days a week, I am accounted for 24 hours a day, and most of that requires me to be...well, sitting. Either at my desk or on a bus. Forget cooking, I'm lucky I even have time to eat. Basically I spend the week living on sandwiches, which are cheap, portable, and are easily eaten on a bus. Exercise is pretty much right out; basically I try to build it into my commute by making the hour's walk home from the bus station. This is my first weekend, so I'm still trying to get a routine going, but it looks like I'll have a good chunk of weekly chores to address. I was actually kind of surprised how much I had to do today; it's weird what piles up when you don't do anything during the week. It's actually a very weird mindset to get used to; I had to turn down some after-work socializing, because I realized that it wasn't really a matter of just shifting schedules around or anything...basically time I spend that's outside my regular workday routine gets automatically deducted directly from my sleep that night. So, yeah, I don't guess I see myself getting out much during the week. ;)

Aside from the free time issue, though, things generally seem stable and sustainable, which frankly was the most important thing I was looking for. It's going to be a little tough at first, I think, but like I said before: the time has come to do necessary things. So...onward, yeah, everybody? Gotta fight the good fight for a while.

Man...I think I'm coming down with something. Isn't that dumb? Getting sick right when starting a job. That's what I get for leaving the house. ;)

Anyway, I'll seeya around, everybody. Or not. ;) Peace!

Edit: P.S. Catching up with a whole week of Internet becomes exponentially more bizarre when that week contained April 1st. At least two or three times during this process, I've gone, "Wait, WHA- Ohhhhhhhhh..."
Mar. 28th, 2011 @ 10:31 pm First day of school
widowmaker happy
Hey, kids, I'm back home after my first day at the office. First impressions are overall good, though that comes as no surprise, as I had much foreknowledge of the great boss, and a small amount of foreknowledge of the great team. I can only hope the impressions were good in the other direction, too, considering I basically broke every piece of electronics I came in contact with. :) My computer went Blue Screen Of Death twice in rapid succession quite early in the day, so between that and my network account not being activated yet made me quite popular with IT in like the first two hours of my day. ;) In addition, I somehow projected some kind of scrambling field when they were taking my picture for my ID badge. And even after the second try when the picture came out, it ended up...well, let's say a little dark. Lastly, myself and two other hapless bystanders got momentarily stranded in an immobile elevator. FSM only know what happened there, but I can only assume I was responsible for that, too. So, yeah, a slight bit more excitement than even the usual first day adjustments. ;) But otherwise things went well; the commute was actually pretty smooth (if freakin' long!), and I absorbed a lot of training and new info and stuff, so I'd say on balance things are looking pretty good. As long as I can somehow find a way to become compatible with modern electronics again.

In the idealize schedule I had worked out in my mind, I should be in bed already, but I've just got a few more things to take care of, and then I'll hit the sack. Just didn't want to let the first day go by without noting it here. I had meant to blog about the weekend, and in fact I guess I had composed the post, but only in my mind. I had network problems when I went to actually write it up, and then I forgot to get back to it later. So it goes. Basically the weekend was me jettisoning socializing in order to prep for my new life. Successfully, I believe, too, so I don't think the time was wasted.

In any case...there is much sleep to be had and much early rising to be done. Without a dramatic paradigm shift in the next few days, I think I probably won't be doing much catching up until the weekend. Stay hoopy, froods; I'll be back around this way soon enough. Peace!
Mar. 25th, 2011 @ 01:47 pm On the road...again. Electric Boogaloo.
widowmaker happy
Once again, I was offline all day yesterday for Phase Two of the mission begun on Tuesday. Phase Two required an earlier start time in New York as well as a much greater necessity of my timeliness, so I decided the night before not to fuck around, and that I was going to get up super early to make sure everything went smoothly. I had a bus to catch at 7, so figuring an hour to take a stroll down to the bus station and get there no later than 6:45, I set an alarm for 5 in the morning, figuring that was plenty of time for showers and breakfasts and all that stuff. All set.

5 o' clock in the morning rolled around, and my alarm went off dutifully. I lay in bed an extra five or ten minutes coming to consciousness and preparing my day in my head. Eventually I got up and hit the shower. While taking care of the showering-and-shaving portion of my day, I was planning out the rest of my morning in my head: make breakfast, make sure I was prepared for my day's outing, wondering whether or not I had the time or need to get online before heading out. I know from experience the shave-and-shower routine takes about a half hour, so I figured it was about quarter-to-six, figuring that the time gave me the option of choosing either breakfast or a walk to the bus station instead of a train. I chose breakfast, and headed down to the kitchen. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the glow of the clock on the stove. 6:45. Wait, what? No...that's supposed to be 5:45. I looked again. 6:45. Microwave...6:45. I'm...I'm supposed to be at the bus station.

I stood there for a moment, frozen into panicked denial. Surely this couldn't be real. Surely...somehow all the clocks in the kitchen were wrong. I raced back to my bedroom and ripped my cell phone from its charger. My phone would set things straight...the correct time beamed to the palm of my hand from the depths of space, surely it would give me back my missing hour. 6:45. Noooooooo!

In a display of quantum energy shift that would put the most energized electron to shame, I transitioned instantaneously from leisurely lounger in a bathrobe into multi-limbed man of action. My robe was still holding its shape without a body in it and had yet to fall to the floor before I was failing around at my desk, one pant leg on, whipping a necktie around in my left hand, right hand tapping away the computer keyboard looking for another bus to take me to New York.

Here was the thing. Since I'd already used up my physics-defying move that day, there was no way I was going to make the bus at 7. I mean...I could have given it a shot, but failure was not only likely, but would have also meant a virtual guarantee of lateness. Whereas booking another trip on another bus line was a much more reasonable approach. My original reservation was with Greyhound, but I knew the next thing scheduled would not have gotten me to the City on time. So that left the alternate lines, either something in the Bolt or Megabus category, or something out of Chinatown. Chinatown is even further from my house than Greyhound, but the other discount lines were closer, so that seemed good. The hope was that I could find something leaving early enough so that I still stood a chance of getting to New York on time, but late enough that I also stood a chance of making it to the departure. Pulling my socks on with my teeth, I finally settled on a 7:30 Megabus, due in New York at 9:30. In rush hour. For a meeting at 10. Well...a man has to hope. I bought a ticket.

So I'm racing down the street, front door slamming shut behind me as I hop onto the curb, pulling my other shoe on and hoping like hell I was going to make this bus departure. I'm literally half a block down the street, pausing for a moment in my mental checklisting to make sure I wasn't leaving anything behind when I notice...it's fucking snowing!. Screaming defiantly, I shake my fist at the sky while disappearing into the Philadelphia winter. Don't fuck my commute, I beseech the weather gods, not today!

Thankfully I made the bus. In my mind, I leapt onto it and grabbed the bumper with my T-1000-style crowbar-hand as it was pulling away, but in reality I just got on board. I wasn't even the last guy on, so that's nice. The thing about just making a bus in the nick of time, though, is that there's not really any payoff there. Like...you've just gone through this weird adrenaline thing to get something done you needed to get done. Then, having succeeded, you get that accomplishment high...flushed with victory you win the chance to...well...sit there for a long time. It's somehow anticlimactic.

So, yeah...then I sat there a long time.

We were slightly delayed in coming out of Philly proper due to some police commotion on the onramp to the highway. This in itself is not super-notable, but what was notable this time around was...well, two-fold. For one, the cops appeared to have pulled over a Greyhound bus. For two, what I saw in front of that scene was another cop car in front of the bus, with the cop standing outside and talking to a scraggly-bearded, scraggily-longhaired man...with no shirt on. Remember that it's snowing at this point. And then the scene was out of sight. So...I have absolutely no idea what was going on there, but in the movie version of my life that plays in my mind, that was the Greyhound bus that I ended up missing, meaning that it all worked out for the best anyway. :) And thankfully the weather eased up as I left Pennsylvania, so the weather gods had answered my desperate plea from earlier.

So. After some expected, but still torturous, traffic delays while approaching the Lincoln Tunnel, the bus eventually makes it to Manhattan. Greyhound goes to the Port Authority terminal, which is a stone's throw from the location I had to be at in Times Square. Megabus, though, while conveniently departing closer to my house, unfortunately arrives in New York further away from my destination. So my feet hit the curb at 9:49, and I'm maybe ten streets and an avenue from where I need to be. I can totally do this! I make my way to the correct longitude, and then...shame be damned...I start jogging my fat ass up Seventh Avenue.

I lose myself in the rhythmic, panting footfalls and try to plan out my approach in my head. Let's see...assume the standard one-street-per-minute NYC walking rule. I start compiling equations in my head...balancing against how bad I need to be on time, I need to know how much time can I make up with running versus how much time will I need to slow down at the end so I can cool off and not burst through the office doors looking like I'm being chased down by a Pamplona streetful of bulls.

The equations aren't looking good. I'm deciding I'd rather show up sweaty than show up late, so I'm trying to power through the end of the run. I pull out my phone to check the time. 9:57, three minutes left. Coincidentally, I get a text message from the person I'm supposed to be meeting. "Almost here?" Shit! I phone back, now completely losing all hope of not looking like a complete jerk as I tear-ass through the streets of Manhattan while talking on my cellphone. I feel like just for the look of it, I should be shouting something like, "THEY'RE ALMOST ON ME! GET THOSE COPIES OF THE DATA TO INTERPOL!" What I'm actually doing is saying, "I'm two blocks away...*huff huff*...be there soon...*huff huff*...do you have...*huff huff*...defibrilator..."

Anyway. So I made the office. That's about where the action movie portion of this tale ends. The person I had an appointment with was finishing up a meeting, so luckily I had a chance to cool down and mop up a little before being introduced. I think, all things considered, it probably wasn't apparent what a mad rush had happened prior to me showing up to that meeting. Well...not apparent until now, I mean. :)

* * *

Before I move on to the actual news I wanted to share, I just want to recap how the rest of that day went. After Phase Two was taken care of, I decided that, once again, since I was out and about, I might as well make a day of it. And again, as is my habit, I went to see a movie again, this time taking in Paul. It's about what you'd expect; if you're at all interested in it on face value, I think you will not be disappointed. There are also many (many, especially toward the end) references to a lot of sci-fi movie classics, so that's a good time. But, yeah...honestly there's not a lot I can tell you about the flick that, for good or ill, you wouldn't already expect. So I'm not going to change anyone's mind about that. :)

After the movie, I got a chance to do some catching up with Janie (aplacental) after she got off work, so that was pretty long overdue. It was a nice time: a lot of chatting, and a little sushi, which is something I sorely miss, not really doing much partaking in Philly. What I took away most from that gettogether is that...I realized that pretty much all my friends nowadays are my high school friends, excepting the people I've stayed in touch with from my days out in Cali. Because of that...I have this weird habit of thinking of people (and myself, really) as, well...kids. :) Granted, this may not actually be off the mark, but I automatically just put myself and my peer group in the headspace of, like, twenty-year-olds. Again, this is not an unfounded perspective, especially in my own case, as we are not, as a whole, the most mature bunch of people. But getting together with Janie showed me that, yeah, with a little effort, I can try and see past that weird filter and take in just how some people have grown up into some pretty outstanding adults. It's...well, somewhat jarring, to be honest. :) But gaining a new perspective on things should never be lamented, I think, and being reminded that you are friends with some pretty awesome people is always a win, so...yeah. Good times. :)

Anyway. After we parted ways, I took the opportunity to stroll around Manhattan for a while. A lot of that time, actually, was also taken up with me spreading around a bit of good news I had received, which I will detail below. As you will see, it turned out to be a pretty good day. But the fun wasn't over yet! :)

Later that evening, I got to meet up with Paulina (drdelirium) on her way out of work so we could grab a quick beer and chat a bit. It was totally an impromptu meetup, but it was completely excellent. Just a spell of after-work unwinding over a pint in a noisy watering hole. I mean...it was just so...normal. It was like...what people do. :) I feel like I spend so much time out in Bizarro World that I forget the simple pleasures that can arise from real human contact. :) I mean it sure doesn't hurt that we're so sympatico. But I've been telling myself lately that I should work a little bit to overcome the loner impulse that generally figures so largely in my making plans with people. And I did that, consciously, this time around, and it was great. So, yeah...also good times. :)

Anyway...enough. You came here for the news yeah?

* * *

As a few of you know, and some of you have guessed, and many of you have probably now surmised, my recent missions to New York have involved the job hunt. I've kept the details of this out of the public eye, just because it seems like a good idea to do so, but honestly I've been really hoping for this to come through. It's been cooking for some time now, but only in the last week has the shit started to become real. And, well...even moreso now.

I'm happy to report that as of yesterday afternoon, I have been offered the job! I'm starting next week as part of a crackerjack office team headed up by none other than our own jammie718. This is a big deal for me...a big opportunity and a big step, and I'm happy to be able to take it. For those keeping score...that means that, yes, I'm going to be spending my working days in New York City. I also intend to keep commuting from Philly, so that means that basically the entirety of my time during the work week is going to be spoken for. I anticipate a significant reduction in my participation in the Internet. ;) I'm sure the details of that will be worked out once I get acclimated to the job and the routine, but obviously at the beginning I'm looking at focusing on getting to work and not so much with keeping tabs on the ol' infostream. In fact...I am seriously considering a conscientious hiatus from the 'Net for like a week or so, but...I'm still working out whether that would actually be good or bad for me. :)

In any case...big changes are afoot. I've got this weekend to prepare, and then starting next week, well...everything is going to change. I'm going to do my best to keep people up to date and everything, but I told myself that if taking advantage of a chance to get a little back on track with life means giving up my time on the 'Net, then...well...the choice is clear. Also things may not change all that drastically, either, or they may, but then they may get normalized again as I get used to the new situation. As with everything, we'll just have to see how things shake out.

On balance, though, this is a big deal, and a pretty happy one, at that. That's enough for now; I hope to come back later with thoughts on the new job and work in general and all that good stuff, but for now...light at the end of the tunnel, man. It's a much bigger deal that I gave it credit for. Onward!