I managed to get hold of Katharine’s phone, but she lunged to retrieve it within a couple of seconds.
And then the camera went off:
This morning in the cafe I arrived at the cash register with my meal card to pay for breakfast. I’ve done this hundreds of times, it’s in no way remarkable.
Then my brain kicked in. Or maybe it tripped, or cramped.
The friendly cashier tallied up my purchases. “That will be seven dollars,” he said. It’s always seven dollars, the particular combination of items I’ve chosen over the last couple of weeks. We marveled, again, like we have for the last five or six visits, how isn’t it amazing that it always comes out to an even dollar amount?
So I swiped my meal card, knowing I probably didn’t have quite enough cash value to cover the purchase, and sure enough I was short. “You owe $3.73,” the cashier said.
That’s when the brain kick/trip/cramp started. I fished out my wallet, opened it, saw I had a single bill, and the first thought that flashed through my head was:
Oh shit, I only have a five.
Somehow I managed not to blurt this aloud. I think the part of my brain that was stumbling over the math was also being slapped by the other part of my brain that prevented my mouth from moving and made me just reach out, jerkily, to offer the bill to the cashier, who took it as if nothing was wrong.
If only he’d seen the briefly colossal battle inside my head.
In no particular order:
So, yeah. Pester me about it, would you?
Back to work today for the first time since November 23. Since that day I’ve spent 8 days in the Caribbean (ah, sun/sand/water....) and took a day off for my 40th birthday yesterday.
And now SLAM back to the regular routine. Amazing how quickly the old patterns return:
All this and it’s only 07:15. I’ll spend most of today and possibly part of tomorrow filtering through vast volumes of email and other messages and catching up on what happened while I was out.
On the plus side, I’ve a short work week. So the crazy can only last four days.
How’s your Tuesday?
Crazy bald kid didn’t know WTF he was talking about!
(Clearly I am rapturously attentive in this meeting)
An indicator of how this Monday will likely go:
I required five attempts to leave the house successfully. I believe this is a personal best.
First try: Realized I had forgotten my work badge (and, by extension, my transit card since they’re in the same badge holder).
Second try: Forgot Netflix DVDs for return mail.
Third try: Turned to lock door, determined this would be difficult since keys were still on the shelf inside my apartment.
Fourth try: Halfway down the stairs, remembered my wallet was still on my desk in the living room.
Fifth try: Half a block away, noticed my phone’s charge level was only 63%. Considered returning for the wall charger, remembered I have a USB charge cable on my desk at work.
So then. How’s your Monday?
I walked into my bedroom just now with the sole intent of taking my shoes off.
When I walked out of my bedroom, I had opened the blinds and bedroom window, and turned on a fan. I still had my shoes on, which did not register on me until I walked into the kitchen and did not feel Purina Cat Chow gouging my toes.
This little vignette rather well describes my day at work, wherein I accomplished nothing beyond rebuilding a single Dell XPS M1530 laptop four times despite its repeated need to shut down without warning, I believe due to overheating. I would just get to a point where I could do useful work BAM shutdown, leaving the OS installation in a state of chaos it charmingly deems “improper shutdown”—really this is their code phrase for “gaslight the hapless user by making him run the recovery and diagnostics tools repeatedly”—off I’d go again, restore point in place and just get things set up BAM shutdown.
Somewhere in the middle of all that I managed to contribute peripherally to a couple of problem solutions, entirely by overhearing the conversations in our group work area. Though one of those solutions was really just a few ideas toward a solution—no idea if that one panned out, I gave up and left at 14:45 because I needed to call Dell technical support and my cell-phone battery was nearly dead, its charger lying 7 miles away (as the crow flies) on my desk at home.
The actually helpful (!) Dell technical support representative, who gave her name as Rachel in an attempt to induce in me a belief that she was from the upper midwest (most likely somewhere near Indianapolis) despite her obviously exotic accent, took over control my laptop from God knows how many thousands of miles away and rapidly determined that the problem was an old BIOS, along with two general drivers. But then she noticed I was using Windows 7, and the machine I have is supported only for Windows Vista, because her scripts don’t cover Windows 7. She could offer me further fee-based support, she’d be most pleased to do so!, but I opted to end the call and muddle through various BIOS and driver updates myself.
So far it seems maybe it worked. Laptop has been running for three hours now without a single heat-related sudden shutdown. No sudden shutdowns at all, in fact, only the 12 separate restarts required to install all of the OS and driver updates I found. And they don’t count because the installers warned me about ’em each time.
So yeah. Here’s hoping the remainder of the week is a bit more productive and a bit less technical-support-requiring.
Also I plan to wear no shoes.
Fired up the laptop to configure it for my own use. It went immediately into Startup Repair mode, which included warning me about the battery health and prompting me to initiate a system restore.
Now it’s in the 6th minute of Windows 7’s Startup Repair impersonation of a Cylon:
* Where by “new” I mean “refurbished hand-me-down” (but I’m not bitter ;-)
I was struck by the inanity of my reactions to a few things as I started the workday.
First, the bit of SQUEE when my badge worked to let me into the building, and then into my secured workspace. No reason it shouldn’t have worked, but it’s always nice when you return from an absence and you can still get into the office.
Second, someone stole my chair. I’m using a different chair that isn’t quite right, does not have the adjustments just the way I was accustomed before I left.
Next, my monitors are at the wrong height, and I can’t seem to get them where I want them to be despite wrestling with the adjustment arm half a dozen times in the hour I’ve been here so far.
My work email had 7,000 unread items in it, and Outlook is still yakking with the Exchange server to synchronize and index everything. So I can’t search or sort mail effectively yet.
And now I’m delayed in my work by an network credential that expired and I have updated, but has not propagated fully through my primary domain. I can’t connect to any network resources right now.
All of which seems absurdly important on the one hand—how am I supposed to get anything done if my primary communication methods aren’t working the way I need?—and laughably stupid on the other, because I just spent 11 days helping to build a house for a family who had been waiting more than 20 years for permission to build on their own land because a government bureaucracy kept dragging its feet and piling delays at every turn.
A few hours’ wait for my email to sync and index and my network login upate to propagate?
Totally okay with it now.
Matt: youve been working a hell of a lot lately
Don: Yuh.. I don’t have a carpool anymore, so it’s an easy way to avoid traffic, and I also want to bank up hours so I can travel a lot over the next few months w/o using my paid time
Matt: ohhh ok
Matt: where you going?
Don: San Diego in April, Salt Lake in May, Molokai in July, road trip in August/September
Don: Possibly India in there somewhere too
Don: Though the India thing would be for work, so no time off required for it.
Matt: holy crappers
Don: All but the India trip are definite
Don: If the India travel plans had worked out as originally hoped, I’d be there now in fact
Don: Would’ve left on/about the 6th of this month
Matt: wow, why Salt Lake?
Don: See friends who still live there, and participate in a charity golf tournament
Don: Which by itself is amusing because I play golf like drunk people fuck
Don: Hell of a thing, my golf game. I have a strong drive, I can get 150-200 yards sometimes, but I can’t aim to save my life.
Don: It’s worth your scalp to be within 20 feet of me when I swing off the tee ;x
Matt: lol I’ll keep that in mind
Last week was good! Fairly normal work week, random signs of injury I can’t recall, absolutely smashing good weekend!
I think it must have been... Tuesday? Wednesday, actually, now that I think about it. Anyway, when I noticed on my right forearm a large(ish) bruised area, maybe two inches wide. Hurt a bit when I pressed on it, that first day, but the second day nothing but discoloration.
This is one of those bruises I cannot for the life of me figure out how I got. I don’t recall slamming my arm into furniture or bouncing hard off any walls. Nothing fell on me or hit me within the last 10 days, and I haven’t been in a physical fight in well over a year. The bruise’s shape gives no clue to its origin—there are no faint outlines of baseball stitching or backward sports-equipment logo typography embedded in my arm.
But the highlight of the week was a weekend jaunt to San Francisco with Katharine and Julie Anne to attend a live-album recording show by my favorite singer/songwriter, Vienna Teng, and her frequent collaborator (and producer of her last album, Inland Territory), Alex Wong.
Fantastic time. We had VIP tickets for the Sunday evening early show at The Independent, got us some face time with the musicians while they were doing their sound checks. Also I’ve a newly signed poster I need to get framed at some point. It was a fascinating crowd, too, all ages (21+ only) and just about every type of person you could imagine, all clearly fans of the music and really into the show.
No idea when the album comes out, but I’m hoping to hear my voice among the whoops and hollers from the crowd. Maybe it’ll list where each track was recorded as well so I won’t be one of those fools who says, “That’s me clapping first,” only to be told that song was taken from a recording made in New York, where I’ve never been.
San Francisco was lovely otherwise. We flew in Saturday morning, took BART from SFO to Powell Street Station, checked into our hotel with no fuss (our rooms were available even though check-in time was still 4+ hours away), and were out wandering the city a little after 10:30. Spent the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, marveling at the planetarium show and chuckling at the penguins’ antics and bemused by the free-flying butterflies in the rainforest globe. Beautiful building, they pack a lot into a relatively small space, but it isn’t at all claustrophobic—the exhibit spaces are thoughtfully laid out with plenty of room for people to move around, and the exhibits themselves are an engaging mix of old (dioramas, animal enclosures, blocks of descriptive text on wall signs) and new (Surface-style computer-driven information about the California coast and such, an all-digital planetarium with a 75-foot projection dome, a state-of-the-art living roof, the works).
We flew home this morning, allowed an hour for bag check and security screening and barely made it onto the plane for the 09:20 departure—and, as it turned out, only because the TSA agents handling the lengthy security lines were canvassing the crowds for departure times 40 or so minutes away at any given time. The bag-check agent had claimed a 45– to 60-minute wait in security; if we hadn’t jumped the line at the TSA agent’s behest, we would have missed our flight, and we had a bit over 60 minutes from bag-check finish to our entry into the security line.
The flight back to Seattle was packed tight. The Alaska Airlines check-in kiosk had even asked us if we would be willing to accept booking on a later flight (with a travel voucher to be used in the future) because our flight was overbooked, and the crowding aboard clearly indicated it would be a busy travel day all around. I think we ended up among the last half-dozen or so passengers to board, which meant that my laptop bag flew home overhead row 18 while our seats were in rows 23 and 24 (in a 27-row 737-400, oh joy).
We did get to enjoy the log-sawing stylings of the Western Conference Champion snorer. This guy could go pro, probably get taken high in the second or late in the first round. He had snorted himself awake five times before the plane was even off the runway at SFO, and several times during the flight—each time, his rowmates would all flinch with the surprise of it.
Sometime during this flight I also noticed the couple of bruises on my right upper arm, a couple of little quarter-inch dark spots on my biceps.
Seems parts of me were beaten senseless over the last several days and I’ve no memory of it.
Anywho. Back home now, all is good and I have a two-day work week because of the Christmas holiday—we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, for some reason I absolutely am not questioning aloud but still wonder about frequently. Bag is unpacked, cats won’t leave me alone, the wind is rattling my balcony door, and the weather forecast calls for rain and chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.
Just as things should be for December in Seattle. :-)
So how was your week?
Technorati Tags: airport security, Alaska Airlines, Alex Wong, BART, bruises, California Academy of Sciences, Christmas, Golden Gate Park, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Inland Territory, San Francisco, San Francisco International Airport, SEA, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, SFO, snoring, sound check, The Independent, Transportation Security Administration, TSA, Vienna Teng
It’s not cold in this room. I know this for two reasons.
First, I have photographic proof:
But my hands do not know this.
My hands! They feel frozen and have for most of the day, dammit!
So, having achieved fluid equilibrium a few hours ago, that state where I must expel fluids at roughly the same rate I am consuming them, I went down the hallway a bit ago for a refresh of my beverage. And I thought:
Ah ha! Hot chocolate!
Which I am now not drinking but am hugging closely to my person, in an attempt (so far vain, because I have taken my hands off the warm cup so I can type this post) to warm my poor frozen hands.
Also, earlier (and unrelated), I sneezed five times in a row. Best sneezes EVER.
So how’s your Friday?
Walked into the restroom just now.
Greeted by loud metal-on-metal crashing sounds from one of the stalls. Sound stopped, I think when the person realized there was someone else in the restroom, then resumed a few seconds later, accompanied by grunts.
“Are... you all right in there?” I asked.
Crashing stopped. “Yeah,” he answered. “I’m having trouble with my belt.” And the crashing resumed, continued until I left the restroom a couple minutes later.
Hell of a belt, I guess.
I saw a brief reference to the 1987 stock-market crash online, so I looked up the Wikipedia article to refresh my memory about the event and BAM off I went into wikiwandering.
After the jump, in the order I clicked the links, and with each article’s first full paragraph (minus links within it) included for context:
Today was even more Monday than most of the Mondays I’ve experienced. In no particular order:
I thought of more items when I was riding home in the carpool, but of course now I can’t remember them. I need a notebook or something, but I can’t read my own handwriting, so that probably wouldn’t help me much.