Friday, December 30, 2005
The doors and windows are open and warmness is flooding in. It's sunny and cloudless and very fine! Maybe Florida isn't all that bad (in the winter)! Right now I'm loving this weather!
Not that I don't want to be back in Chicago in the grey cloudy snowy coldness. Really. I miss it...
It's been a rough day this far. I woke up late (I went to bed late so that is ok) and had breakfast. Maybe now I'll take a nap. Another buddy is flying down here today so I assume tonight and the night after will be late nights so I need my rest.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Doesn't help to watch skiing videos on tv all the time
Why would they play them in FL, anyway?
Crap, I tell you
Yes, I am in warm climes now, not IL midwest nasty weather
Made it fine
Time to sleep now
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Happy new year to everyone! Have a fun and semi-safe time. To those whom I won't be seeing during the festivities this year (for the first time in what, half a decade?), have a great time and have a drink on me. I'll do the same for you.
Make some good resolutions. Challenge yourself and do something you never thought you would do, something you wouldn't normally do, or something just plain wacky. But for goodness sakes, keep it lawful enough so that if you do get caught, you won't get more than community service and/or a fine.
645am flight tomorrow. What the hell was I thinking?
I'll see ya on the flip side.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Yup, I'm going back out on the road. Thursday morning I am heading down to Florida to spend a couple days with a good buddy I haven't seen in a long while (and a night with another I haven't seen enough of). The new year will be rung in with some new faces, one recurring face; I have no doubt that my mug will be the oldest of the bunch.
Post new years I'll get in some camping. And then?
I'm leaving the country. Hold on, hold on! This jaunt is a (relatively) short one. I figure my international travel will be 4 weeks at most; more likely than not it'll only be a short 3 weeks.
Ya see, next month I embark upon a new decade in my life and I want to do something special to ring it in. I'm not feeling upset or worried or in any way aggrieved by this benchmark. Actually, I'm feeling rather amused by it. Something exciting and memorable is in order, however. Last year I was (more or less) in a Russian disco in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on(ish) my birthday. This year....it's a surprise. I'm still messing with plane tickets and visas and all the fun extras that come with the international scene and my final destination is not yet set in stone. Not until I get there. Suffice it to say, I'm hoping to come back with some good stories.
My return ticket from FL to IL is on Feb 1. Barring any unforseen (and expensive) scheduling conflicts and/or changes, I'll be back in time to run out to IN for a visit, get the Saturn road worthy, pack up and head out west.
Do I know where I'm headed?
As of 8 hours ago, a decision has been made. However, since it is subject to change I'll not blurt it out just yet. I'm a bit surprised by the decision, actually, as it's not the one I expected. But that's life, ya know? There's no predicting which way you're going to get tossed.
Sorry this blog has been so lame for months now, but when you have no activity (physical or brain) the creative juices don't really flow, nor do many thoughts. That will change. By the time I get back....watch out.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Since my little brother has abstained from showing up until 2pm or so today, the unwrapping is going to have to wait. Guess I didn't need to wake up yet
Have a wonderful day, everybody! Enjoy the family time!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Unfortunately for them, their actions don't always support this claim...
Good times had by all. Ended up at the Irish pub in town. Decent food, expensive beer, good (tho sometimes explosive) conversation
Tried to beg a job from the waiter/manager/ex-Coloradan (why would you go from Fort Collins to a small Chicago suburb? Silly bastard) but it didn't work
Ah well. It was worth a try
Tired today. Should I go to the coffee shop in town or lay on the couch and watch a movie and take a nap?
Ah! Mac n cheese is boiling over in the kitchen. I'd better attend to that
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, rejecting a must-pass defense spending bill where supporters positioned the quarter-century-old environmental issue to garner broader support.
Um, I know it's not cheating (a word that is not a part of a polotician's lexicon), but doesn't that seem shady? Tacking on a controversial bill to a bill that 'must' be passed? That makes it more entertaining (to me) that it didn't pass.
Stevens called the refuge’s oil vital to national security and bemoaned repeated attempts over the years by opponents using the filibuster to kill drilling proposals.
Democrats, conversely, accused Stevens of holding hostage a military spending bill that includes money to support troops in Iraq and $29 billion for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The House passed the $454 billion defense spending bill earlier this week, 308-106, with scores of lawmakers who previously opposed refuge drilling voting for the legislation.
The bill includes $29 billion for Katrina hurricane relief, $2 billion in emergency funding for low-income families pay high heating bills this winter as well as money for troops in Iraq. Stevens’ provision would funnel 80 percent of the proceeds from Arctic refuge oil lease sales to hurricane relief and 5 percent for the energy assistance program.
The legislation anticipates about $5 billion in federal revenue bonus bids from oil leases, the first of which must be issued within 22 months and the second package in 2010. Half of the lease proceeds and future royalties from oil production would go to Alaska.
If proceeds from the sales of the oil would go to hurricane relief and 5% to the energy assistance program, how will that help people devastated by Katrina or those needing monetary help this coming winter? Unless all the equipment is in place, how could profits be made quickly enough to be put the money to this proposed use? Am I missing something?
Politicians are silly.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
The really disappointing bit is that even with the 'safesearch' turned off, nothing more showed. Seems my name doesn't work well for porn stars. Bummer.
The lights are flickering and the hanging Santa decorations (he looks like an irish elf with a beard and blood red cheeks dancing a jig midair) are wandering around. My mom just lost her balance and fell over, and my sister was overcome by gravity and smarshed into her manfriend. I'm still sitting but the chair broke.
Earthquake? Could be.
They must not have read what I wrote. It's probably tacky to post a link to my own site, but what the hell was going on? I haven't gone back and re-read the stuff I was blurting out while in Hawaii, but maybe I should. This post was pretty entertaining, and I'm not just saying that! The source of my inspirational blogging has been missing lately. Seeing what I am capable of spewing out makes me really want to find it. Perhaps only I am amused by such things (while others are left seriously questioning my sanity), but that's enough for me.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Bush is all a-twitter that someone had the gall to leak his newest spy game.
President Bush on Monday said disclosure of his domestic eavesdropping program was a “shameful act” and said he will keep using it “for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens.”
Bush said he approved the action without such orders “because it enables us to move faster and quicker. We’ve got to be fast on our feet.
“It is legal to do so. I swore to uphold the laws. Legal authority is derived from the Constitution,” Bush added.
Has Bush ever been accused of competently thinking quickly? I think any of his unscripted question and answer sessions contradict this idea.
I know I feel safer because of this law.
Oh wait. Not really.
Guess I'd better stop calling abroad. Especially to countries with Muslims (or Communists) in them.
All I was asking was for some sort of (pretend) purpose to my life. I was supposed to head out on the road today and begin my very short-lived career as a professional driver. However, upon my calling this AM, I was informed that while I am ther premiere driver in the world, there are no cars available for transport. Call back this afternoon. Long story short, I'm plunged back into idle uselessness; to meandering in circles around the house; muttering to myself; brain inactivity, which is not useful when major life decisions are required.
I woke up feeling as though I'd be DOING something today. I tell ya what-vacations are great, traveling is awesome, but sitting around broke and pointless makes for suffering. This job seemed perfect because the company would lose no money training me, the amount I'd work is pretty flexible (or could be, if cars would arrive that need moving), and doing this short term is no problem for anyone. Where else could I get hired on for a couple/few weeks without lying to the employer? Blast!
Even though the temperature outside is something like -450 degrees F, maybe I'll reshingle the garage. Or clean out the gutters. Hell, maybe I'll try to pump air into my bicycle tires and go for a ride.
I've had either too much coffee today or my blood is finally moving again (only to be SHUNTED by the lack of work today!). The sweat is pouring off of me into a stinky pool in this chair. Outside is a frosty 1 degree or so. In a t-shirt, flannel pants and sandals I stood outside and didn't notice the cold (granted I was only out there for a couple minutes).
Well, my bucket's got a hole in it! My bucket's got a hole in it. My bucket's got a hole in it! I can't buy no beer!!
Splunge. Times 10
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Time has chosen their "Persons of 2005". Bono is no big surprise, but Bill and Melinda Gates? Nice, quiet, non-sensationalistic (for the most part) charity work. Good on them.
Top Science Stories of 2005. It's been an intereting year, and this gives a brief snapshot of what's gone on the past year.
Acting irresponsibly for oil. It's not about who you think.
Further proof that people need to lighten up.
And now? Puppies...
Out in to infinity, the plateua rambles on;
The peaks and valleys recede into
Plod follows plod across the desolate plain;
Muscles atrophy from disuse, the brain
Off in the distance, sky-rending peaks loom;
Salvations lays therein, unless they
Plunk down, my good friend. Rest back on
your laurels, close your eyes for a
Friday, December 16, 2005
Monday will be my first day, my first assignment, my first go around as a PD. No idea where I'll be sent off to, but I am sure it will be mega-important.
You want to know what exactly this job entails? Well, um, basically I am a valet with a cool name. And the cars will get valeted anywhere in the US or possibly Canada. Pretty contrary to what I've spouted about wanting to settle in somewhere, eh? Yeah, I know. My stomach clenched up as I was signing the papers. It'll only be for a couple/few weeks so hopefully I'll make some cash and then crash somewhere. That's my plan anyway.
While I was signing papers, my new boss asked me if I have friends and/or family anywhere else in the US. I replied in the pository and she made a large note of the states where I know people. Which means y'all need to watch out because I may come rumbling thru and say howdy!
Or I'll get tired of this work in a week and be done with it by Christmas. You never can tell! It's not designed as a career job, and turnover appears to be relatively high for my position. Perfect, as that is what I need.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Congrats, dude! Rumor has it she said yes!
As they say, another one bites the dust...
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Well, one resourceful guy has discovered how to actualize a man's dream of having his own boobs, without any cutting/slicing/inserting of silicone sacs.
This is hysterical, but don't check it out if you are offended by naked man torso or manipulation of man-breast.
Really, it's awesome
One bit that shocked me in this article is that minimum wage has not increased since 1997! That seems like quite a long time. I would have thought that this wage would be adjusted (at a shorter interval than 8 years) to reflect increased costs of living and all that.
By no means am I a financial expert, so I'll rely mainly on quotes from the article:
Nowhere in the country can a minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said in a report released Tuesday.
“The disparity between what people earn and what even modest rental housing costs grows larger each year,” said Sheila Crowley, coalition president. “This is the housing market in which millions of low-wage workers and elderly or disabled people must try to find safe and decent homes.”
Rising fuel and utility costs add to the problem of a dwindling supply of affordable housing. And nationally, the problem has been exacerbated by the displacement of so many low-income families after Hurricane Katrina.
“Minimum-wage earners are truly on the verge of homelessness,” said Helen Bryant, a Kansas City real estate agent who works with other agents to help nonprofit agencies market low-income housing.
The federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour and has been since 1997. Families nationally would have to earn three times that amount — $15.78 per hour — to afford a two-bedroom apartment, the report said, up from $15.37 last year.
That's a bit depressing to me. Unfortunately, the article doesn't give any numbers illustrating the proportion of our country rely on low-income jobs to support themselves, or how those numbers have changed over the years (increased, decreased or remained relatively stable). That would be helpful. Not that the broadening of this gap is a positive thing, but if the number of people being affected by this is decreasing (for some reason I am doubtful that this is the case, based on no solid facts) then it could be worse.
The “Out of Reach” report was the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual survey of rents in every city, county and state, using federal housing, labor and census data.
The nonprofit organization has been prominent in the call for affordable housing since 1974.
It found that rents were the most expensive in Hawaii and the least expensive in West Virginia. San Francisco led the list of most expensive cities.
I wonder how many people worry about this sort of scenario? With so much emphasis placed on making money at all costs and focusing on self-promotion to the detriment of others (an accepted practice, it seems)(a mind-set I find much easier to take from a person worried about having a safe place in which to live and enough food to eat than from a person in a very comfortable economic position.), how many people not in this situation would lose sleep over the issue? Especially if they've never known, closely, someone in this situation?
It's tough. To me, this goes back to something I tend to harp on: the preoccupation of thinking as an individual (the individual being you, your spouse and immediate family) instead of as a community. Not that the former is bad. I just feel that it is short-sighted.
Does he have a gentle touch, a light grip? Or would the entire trip up the side of the Empire State Bldg be a study in crushed ribs and very shallow breaths?
What about the wedgie factor? Would his hairy grip make for an oversized wedgie?
Would the view be worth the smell factor? I've been past the monkey sections at zoos, as well as having been attacked by several dozen of the bastards in Thailand, and never have I found the funny little guys to not stink. A primate the size of the aforementioned giant must put out an odor strong enough to literally knock you out. Why has that aspect never been played up in the movies? Flawed they are!!
I wonder what the marmots are doing these days? I'd say I miss them, but I don't.
Or do I?
What was the article entitled?
Brazil City Proposes Ban on Death
Monday, December 12, 2005
What have I been doing? Not much. My awake hours have shifted to my norm when I am back here: 4-5am until 9-11am is when I close my eyes and pretend to lose consciousness. It's cool. The late night is so quiet, and I get to avoid the early morning (the worst time of day). Which is nice
It boils down to me not have done much since I got here. Some job searching, went into the city (Chicago) and tried my darndest to get into trouble with my brother and a buddy of mine (didn't work. Or did it??).
Seems I may be doing some work at the end of this week, the day after going to sign some papers for another job that I will hopefully start next week. Could be gravy
I walked around a bit too. It's cold here in the Chicago area in December. In case you were wondering.
Promises come bursting out of my mouth in regards to the future posts I will put on here. Hopefully
Don't hold your breath....yet...
Friday, December 09, 2005
A Professional Driver. That could be my title as of the middle of next week. I'm going in for a sort of interview and to sign papers.
No, this does not involve me cleaning up and prancing around in a monkey suit, shuttling around the elite to their fancy balls and galas. No limos, taxis or services of that sort (I don't think).
Basically, it's a glorified valet. Only the cars go from perhaps one state to another. A nation-wide service. Don't worry, it sounds as though the potential to earn cash is there. All it will take on my part is dedication and hard work (i.e.-tons of driving).
Yes, this completely flies in the face of what I've been spouting off about wanting, stability and a home base and all that. But it's temporary. A month or more, no more than two. Partly, the length of my employment there will depend on how long it takes me to burn myself out. If I drive all day everyday for a couple/few weeks, that oughta do it. Then I can work on getting stable. Right now there are still too many undecideds to make that settling step.
Since I'll be in the car all the time, I should get some language tapes and get fluent-like in something. Maybe I'll download hours and hours of spanish instruction onto my ipod (you never know if cars will have anything, much less a tape deck and/or cd player) and come out of this smarter and slightly less impoverished.
Bring it on. I'm ready. No more prancing around doing nothing and getting no where (like the last month or so).
Let's do this
Best newspaper. Ever
Thursday, December 08, 2005
For a brief second I consider finding an easier way; a less clogged path down to wider less bone-threating pastures.
Instead, I listen to the adreneline and suck it up. And jump off, leaping my way down thru the chute, feeding off the increasing rush of energy that comes from the rushing wind and the thrill of conquest.
Every border I crossed, every plane, bus, car, bicycle, scooter and boat I used to traverse various countries evoked a similar feeling. Adreneline; brief bouts of self-doubt; taking the 'scariest' way, if only to prove it possible.
Now it begins once more; should I have this cup of coffee and read or watch a movie, or wander around the neighborhood in the chill night air, thru the fresh 6 inches of snow on the ground? I think my chosen path is known....or is it?
What once seemed suffering in vain
Has taken on a new light, and new life
The stagnation of months past
Is being stripped away and replaced
with zeal and purpose
Ideas are taking more definite shape
Plans are starting to congeal
To gain form and take deeper root
The sun's shining a little brighter
The clouds seem less grey
And the cold less biting
A new day is dawning
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Turns out I won something; I won a contest I entered on a flight with Thai Airlines.
What'd I win? A free flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok. And a ton of coupons for food, hotels, random things.
BUT, it has to be used between March and July 2005. Oops. I wish I'da seen that months ago. Ah well. At least I won?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Pretty wild. It's strange to be back
Thus starts a new phase of my life. Again.
Tomorrow I call a woman about a job.
Maybe later tonight I'll start going thru the boxes I've sent home over the last year, and see what I have.
If nothing else, tomorrow I can wear something different!! A new pair of underwear, jeans, t-shirt...and a coat!
By the way-it's cold as balls here. 10 degrees or some garbage like that. GLobal warming my ass! Hehe
Monday, December 05, 2005
Wait. Not yet
Back in Seattle is where I am. Arrived this afternoon after a few days in Vancouver. Some highlights of my time in the Great White North:
My hostel the first night was quite quite sketchy. Well, not the hostel itself but the area around and for certain the cracked-out looking crazy yellin' folks. A bit extreme. I asked the hostel owner where I could park-he pointed out an hourly surface lot and said parking on the street was free from 8pm to 9am; just take my stuff out of the back seat and I should be fine. "Sounds perfect to me!" Perfectness ended when I went out to feed the meter (so that I could have a leisurely breakfast and coffee) and found one of the back windows busted out. Great. The ONE time I rent a car and don't get insurance! They're going to send me a bill. The general consensus among the hostel owners as well as other random Canadians I met over the weekend, is that it was most likely due to the US license plates (a very inexpensive little car with nothing in it); anti-US sentiment. Nice. Although, perhaps someone was wanting to check out the trunk or sit in out of the cold for a bit. Who knows. All I know, is that's an expenditure I didn't need. So it goes
Vancouver is a very large place
It was cold and alternatively rainy and snowy.
I can drive in traffic again.
Um, there is a beautiful looking mountain range on the north side of the river. However, it was mostly covered with snow or fog the entire time I was there, so I didn't get much of a look at it
$0.99 (CAN) slices of pizza are awesome!
The exchange rate from US to CAN is not so awesome (1:1.1)
No polar bear or igloo sightings. I looked
Friday, December 02, 2005
But for the damn airlines to charge so much more just for changing the departure date? What the hell? Don't they overbook every flight anyway? Do they really lose any money by me flying on a different day? They still get the fee difference, they still get my business, it's like an extra, "Ha, ha! You have to pay this fee to fly otherwise you wold have to drive or take a wagon train and that is long and torturous!"
As many of you know, I changed many of my flights in the last 15 months. And ya know what? None of those foreign airlines charged a damn dime for a date or time change. A departure city change, yeah, but never a time change.
So again I ask, in this country with all the competition (which supposedly is for the benefit of the consumer) and all its money, how come the airlines are so inferior to all the foreign airlines I've used who have less competition? On occasion people have tried to explain it to me, but it makes no sense.
Should I even mention the other perks I've gotten on other airlines such as multiple meals (that did NOT cost extra), movies, free earphones, full cans of soda or juice, friendly staff, etc etc.
Yes, I am generalizing. But again I say, my experience flying Uzbekistan Airlines, an airline with virtually no competition (any?), was a much better experience than I've had on a domestic flight in a very long time.
Please, someone explain this to me!
Yes, once more plane tickets and plans are being changed. My plan to stay here until the 19th has been nixed due to the sudden inavailability of a cheap place to stay and a shortage of that green crap that's SO important.
What this means though, is that for once my approach to plan changes has changed. Instead of extending my leave, I'm reducing it! Yup, I'll be back in the Chi-town area almost a full 2-weeks earlier than planned!
Hm. Hopefully this translates into an extra week or 2 of making money. A novel concept.
Once my ticket change is confirmed, I have a potential employer to call back. No, sorry, I won't divulge the details of this possible employment just yet. Suffice it to say, it could be quite fun for me! And hopefully they pay decent. I don't know yet.
Nothing else exciting to say. My brain has been in suspended animation mode due to slothicity and coffee induced stupors.
Time to go to Canada!
Ya hey der, eh!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Maybe I'll build a snowman? Of course I'll have to catch the flakes as they fall since no stickage is allowed.
Hm. Housing issues just became a front-running issue out here. I'd better get on that