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? ;)
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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.
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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. :)
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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. :)
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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. ;)
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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.