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Apr. 23rd, 2008

earth

First day

Today was the first day of the year that I left for work without a coat on. Usually it's still pretty cool in the morning when I leave the apartment (around 7:30). Cool enough so that even if it's going to warm up later in the day, it's good to have the coat in the morning.

But not today. No sir.

This morning, the radio announced that it was already in the fifties at that hour of the morning and I said a big FUCK YOU to my winter coat.

YAY!!

Mar. 22nd, 2008

earth

Pulled over by... a cab?

When you spend any amount of time in New York, you will see a lot of people pull over cabs. There are taxis everywhere, and since having/using/parking a car is so inconvenient and expensive, cabs can be a good alternative.

The other day I saw the exact opposite. I saw a cab pull someone else over. The taxi in question was driving down the street like any other, when it suddenly started to flash the red, blue and white strobe lights of a cop car and pulled over another car.

I had to look twice at this apparently normal taxi. It was painted the same typical yellow of a New York taxi. It had the same black paint markings and TAXI words as a normal cab. It had the same triangle shaped advertisements on the roof as a normal taxi. It had the same hidden strobe lights that an undercover police car has, but you wouldn't see those until they started flashing. In fact, the only thing that it did not have was the small plastic covered lights in front of the advertisements that say whether a cab is in service or occupied.

That's one thing I really like about this city. There's always something new to see.

Mar. 19th, 2008

earth

Postcard revenge

When I go out on vacation, I like to send my friends postcards. A pretty picture, a wish you were here, a phrase about something interesting I did or saw. It makes me feel like I'm mailing a little piece of the experience out to them.

This week, two friends got revenge!

I received postcards from Sir and Dante, with beautiful pictures and stories of what they had seen and done. It was very cool.

It turns out that I like getting postcards as much as I like sending them.

Mar. 17th, 2008

earth

Boys will be boys

I was out walking last Friday evening. I saw a batch of young people (some guys, some girls) all dressed up and heading out to party. Now, the girls in this group's idea of dressing up consisted of lots of makeup and a pair of four-inch heels with matching four-inch miniskirt. Well, most of them. I'm still not convinced that last one was wearing a skirt at all. At least they were not teenagers, so while they were old enough to be dressed that way, they should have also been old enough to know better.

Trailing about 10 or 15 feet behind them, watching their every move, was a small group of teenage boys, leaving behind a trail of drool. The only ones that didn't have idiotic grins plastered on their faces were the ones that still hadn't managed to pick their jaws up off the floor.

I couldn't help it. I cracked up.

I love walking down the street alone, laughing myself silly. People give you such funny looks.

Mar. 14th, 2008

earth

Wagging the dog

The big story in the media this week has been Eliot Spitzer. Big scandal - the governor of NY visited high-end prostitues, and was dumb enough to use personal bank accounts and phones, which ensured that he would get caught.

Before that story broke, there was more serious news afoot. The economy lost more jobs, the value of the dollar was falling to an all-time low, and the barrel of oil hit $110. There has been other news as well. The Israelis and Palestinians are going at it again, a new study found STDs on one of 4 teenage girls, and violence flaring up again in Iraq.

So what is everyone talking about? Hookers.

That's the BIG story, the one that is on all the front pages and worse, on everyone's mind. Even reasonably smart people are talking and making jokes about it all day long.

The country is facing serious problems, but someone waves a sex scandal on the side and everyone turns.

I have such an image of one of those child photographers waving a hand puppet to distract a kid long enough to take a picture. "Look over here, shiny, colorful!"

At least the VP didn't have to shoot another friend in the face this time.

Mar. 11th, 2008

earth

Contact

It's strange to watch people in the city. Lots of people, crammed into a relatively small space, carefully and studiously ignoring each other.

You can see it when you walk down the street, ride on a train, or stand in line. So many people walking, standing, or sitting right next to each other and all so busy minding their own business that they hardly even look at each other.

Every now and then you randomly run into someone you know. You think: Wow! What a coincidence running into you like this! Of all the people in the city, I randomly ran into someone I know!

But it's not really that big a surprise, is it? We walk by so many people each day while we're not really paying attention. On the walk to the train: 20, at the platform: 80, in the same car of the train: 120, through Penn Station: at least a few hundred. And that's just getting to work in the morning.

People and more people, everywhere. Each one in their own little world, thinking their own thoughts, hiding behind their sunglasses, listening to their own music, talking on their cellphones.

What always baffles me is how 8 million people can be so close and yet so far away at the same time.

Feb. 27th, 2008

earth

One of those weeks

I would say that it's getting to be one of those weeks. One of those weeks where I seem to spend more time in at work or going to/from work than I spend in my own apartment, even if you count the time I spend sleeping.

Unfortunately, that's a pretty regular week for me these days. I've been looking over my timesheets for the past month, and since Chris had his accident, I've been averaging 10 to 12 hours a day at work. Fortunately, I'm not really expected to work weekends.

There are lots of reasons. The obvious one is that there's a lot of work to do. But the reason that there's a lot of work to do is more complicated.
On the one hand, we're down one person. When Chris left, the team lost an admin as I took his place, but my place was taken by a new boss. One who has a technical background, but (as you can imagine) isn't going to do a lick of the group's work like a real admin would.
But now we're down another admin. A week and a half ago, our most senior guy took off for his brother's wedding. In India. He'll be gone for another week and a half.
And the entire environment is a mess. It's so badly disorganized and short on resources that we're wasting hours on end, just shuffling things around so that work can get done. The resources that are missing aren't worth a fraction of the work, time, and brainpower that's being used to resolve them. Blasted political issues.

But there's an upside. I can see the things that cause us to waste more time than we should. I can see how things should be arranged in order for this time-wasting to be reduced and then go away. I am working towards that lofty goal, and I at least have support from the new boss.

I could spend forever putting out fires and never get around to fixing the relatively small things that will save big time and trouble in the future. I could tell myself that I will get around to it when I'm not so busy. But I don't intend to. I want to think that some of the work I am doing now will make my life easier in the long term.

Perhaps I'm fooling myself. Maybe I only think I'm getting ahead of the ball, only to find that I'm really still reacting to problems instead of solving them before they happen in the first place. But we will see.

I don't plan on making this a regular work schedule.

Feb. 21st, 2008

earth

The time it takes

I went out to dinner last night after work with some coworkers. A group of 5 people, we went to the Russian Vodka Room, which has some ridiculously good fruit infused vodkas, as well as lots of good Russian food. Lots of good food and good conversation were had, as well as a couple of good drinks.

With all the yapping, those dinners always take a while, and we wrapped it up around nine and paid the bill. We actually walked away from the restaurant around 10 after nine, and walked down to Penn Station, which takes about 20 minutes. The next train going my way was at 9:49, so I had about a 20 minute wait. The train ride itself takes almost 40 minutes more. Given the hour and the temperature, I took a cab (less than 10 minutes, counting the wait) rather than walk home (20 minutes). I got a nice glimpse of the lunar eclipse at that hour, and got home around 10:40. If I had walked, it would have been about 10 to 11.

So all told, more than one and a half hours to get home. Walking would have made it closer to 2 hours.

What a waste of time.

Feb. 12th, 2008

earth

The little things

Life occasionally contains great things. Things like vacations, holidays with family, or random weekends with good friends.

But these things don't happen very often, so it falls on us to remember to appreciate the little things when those great things are scarce.

Tonight I am highly appreciative of a hot cup of beef stew from the Smoothie King.

Yes, believe it or not, there is a Smoothie King in Penn Station, and while they make very good smoothies, they also make a truly amazing beef stew.

And on a night where there is icy cold slush on the ground, a bitterly cold wind in the air, and a mix of ice and snow landing on my head, a hot cup of delicious stew just makes you smile and say "Ahhh..."

Feb. 11th, 2008

earth

What goes around

The guy who sits next to me was sick last week.

I don't mean that he had the sniffles, or a little cold. I mean that he spent the entire week looking like death warmed over, violently hacking and coughing like his lungs were trying to escape his body. We could hear him loud and clear from the conference room halfway down the hall. I think they might have also heard him on the next couple of floors.

I suggested that he stay home until he felt better. I tried to point out that he should get some rest. Explained how he would get better faster if he gave his body a chance to recover. Really, I just didn't want to risk getting whatever he had. Fool didn't want to skip more than one day of work because he's a contractor.

As a result, he was still coughing today, a week later.

And so was I.

I would really like nothing better than to clobber him with something right now.

But how does someone my size get away with beating up a 6'3 Russian, who is over 300lbs and spent 3 years in the Israeli army??

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