Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Part IV, and the last of the trip out to Seattle. Enjoy!

I've officially been here two years today. Yikes, that doesn't seem possible.

Thanks again to Seth for writing this up and letting me reuse it.

SEPTEMBER 30 - rest stop, Idaho (mileage unknown)

I drove all morning, determined to make it all the way across the panhandle of Idaho before I turn the wheel over to Jon. But nature calls, and high in the mountains I pull over into a rest stop to make use of the facilities.

I say without reservation that western Montana and northern Idaho are some of the most beautiful territory it's ever been my privilege to pass through. But it's also completely isolated. Those snow gates that can be dropped across the interstate ("Road blocked ahead. Go back to Missoula.") are there for a reason, and you'd have to be pretty hardy to live out here. The price of beauty, I suppose. We'll see if I can't afford it.

Coming out of the bathroom I see that a man walking his dog is wearing a baseball cap with Bucky Badger embroidered on it. We talk for a minute and it turns out he's from Madison, out here visiting relatives. Strange to find a piece of home about as far away from it as you can get.

SEPTEMBER 30 -- Couer D'Lane, Idaho (1,705 miles)

A quick stop for lunch in the late afternoon. Jon's cel phone is finally back in range of the system, and he checks his messages while I try to call home and wish my mom a happy birthday on a nearby payphone. Couer D'Lane is the Wisconsin Dells of Idaho, with a population that seems fifty percent tourist and a waterslide on every block. It also increases the number of people we've seen in Idaho by about a bazillion percent, unless you count the other moving trucks. Maybe its just because we're traveling in a U-Haul, but everyone and their brother seems to be moving -- usually in the opposite direction, but that's probably because anyone behind us can't catch up to us and we can't catch anyone ahead. As the days have passed I've found a strange feeling of brotherhood with these other travelers; if our horn worked I would beep it when I saw them, but have to settle for a jaunty wave they probably never see. Oh well.

For all the 'friends', we've also found our nemesis. First spotted in South Dakota, a couple times each day we've been passed by what I've named the Luxury RV, a glossy black bus-like RV pulling a high-priced black SUV, like Puff Daddy going on walkabout. Ostentatious, faster than us -- the reasons to be annoyed go on and on. But though I've been watching, the LRV's shiny prow has yet to glide past our port windows. I decide to remain vigilant as Jon takes the wheel.

SEPTEMBER 30 - MOFN, Washington (1,786 miles)

I gave this town its name, as it is in the middle of nowhere and didn't even have the dignity to give itself a name for its highway exit. Though we didn't have time to stop in Spokane and see my grandparents (although we did see a giant inflatable gorilla, prompting Jon to properly bemoan the trip's lack of monkeys), we had to stop here for gas -- and that's nearly all this place has to offer. That, an RV park (despite the "Don't park RV signs here" signs that seem to be tacked to every post), a collection of construction equipment working and otherwise, and a concrete pipe capped with a metal plate jutting out of the ground. My theory is that it's the entrance to a secret underground government base, but that woman back in Montana probably didn't shoot anyone, either.

SEPTEMBER 30 - Roslyn, Washington (1,932 miles)

We're almost there, but fannish interest (you can take the geeks out of Wisconsin, but...you know the rest) made us get off the interstate and make our way up a county highway to Roslyn, where they filmed the exteriors for the TV series Northern Exposure. All the shops are closed this late on a Sunday evening, so no T-shirts for us. But the KBHR radio station is still there and we get to peek into the now-dusty interior. We also see Roslyn's Café, the building that was supposed to be Dr. Fleischman's office, and the Brick, where we stop to grab dinner.

While waiting for dinner, I wander back across the street and finally get ahold of my mom. While eating dinner, I watch a gorgeous nearby woman, who eventually notices me and subtly flashes her wedding ring. As of this writing, the jury is still out on whether I'm happy or sad to have been caught being potentially prurient.

Then it's back to the road, with only Snoqualimie Pass between us and Seattle.

SEPTEMBER 30 - Bellevue, Washington (2,015 miles)

It's not Seattle, but it's close enough. We make our way through the dark streets and eventually find the house Jon will be staying at. We have some problems finding the key that supposed to be hidden outside, but luckily one of the other roomers is home-and turns out to also be a WizKids employee named Dave. Dave shows us Jon's (surprisingly tiny!) room, and we unload what we can from the truck. It's almost ten, and too late to find a storage space; Jon will have to do that tomorrow after I leave. Dave does help us move the U-Haul and trailer to the WizKids parking lot (including taking the wheel for the particularly tricky job of turning the truck around in the narrow parking lot), and takes us over to the nearby mall and an all-night grocery store so I can get some cash for the trip back.

Then bedtime and up in time to run to the airport in the morning.
There's the whole tale. I hope you've had as much fun reading it as Seth and I did driving it.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Part III, and day three of the move out to Seattle. I'll try to post part IV early on Tuesday.

SEPTEMBER 29 - Sundance, Wyoming (911 miles)

Another gas stop, this time in the town where the Sundance Kid got his name. A pretty small place, and my stay is marked mainly by the three guys in the gas station buying hunting licenses-and swearing that the rifle on the wall being raffled off is the same one that was there last year. They're putting together the pieces of the conspiracy as I wander back out to the truck.

SEPTEMBER 29 - Sheridan, Wyoming (1058 miles)

We've made it over the thousand-mile mark, so we celebrate by stopping for food and gas. Again. Jon also needs to pick up a new address book, so we make our way downtown and find a Wal-Mart Plus-a Wal-Mart with a grocery store. Jon quickly finds the address book and we make our way across the parking lot for a quick lunch at Taco Bell. (For those keeping score at home--number of days on the road: 3; stops at a Taco Bell: 3. Make your investments appropriately.)

Our quick lunch turns out to be anything but. It takes ten minutes to even order, and when we sit down to wait we realize that the dining room is full not of people eating but of people waiting. Oh yeah, and they're out of chicken. The situation is so absurd that Jon and I begin making fun of the restaurant and its employees -- apparently in an increasingly vocal manner, as Jon later reports that a cute girl ten feet away was laughing. (Sadly, she was probably of high-school age, so no missed opportunity there, faithful reader. But thank you for thinking of Jon and I.)

SEPTEMBER 29 - Big Timber, Montana (1,273 miles)

After a morning of climbing the foothills of the Rockies and blasting through Billings (a competitor with Toledo for Ugliest City in America), the Little U-Haul That Could has to pull off in western Montana for gas. As we come out from paying, there's a woman hanging around near the corner of the building smoking and leaving one hand suspiciously inside her purse. Our schedule demands that we get back on the road, but let's pretend that she was waiting to shoot someone, okay?

SEPTEMBER 29 - Missoula, Montana (1,541 miles)

Jon handles late night driving up into the mountains and across the Continental Divide, and around 11:30 we pull into Missoula. Less prepared than previous days, we haven't picked out a specific hotel from the AAA guidebook. But I see a billboard for one I remember. Unfortunately, I direct Jon off the highway an exit too early and we wander through town a bit before getting to the right area.

Of further surprise is that the hotel we stop at is full. Not just that, but so are the next two. Luckily, we find a Best Western with a room and crash. Our wake-up call comes right on time, and we make our way downstairs just in time to enjoy the continental breakfast -- which actually _is_ pretty continental, reminding me of the breakfast buffet at the hotel I stayed at in London (which itself is _not_ Continental, but you get my Ugly American point, right?)

Then it's time to gas up, and get back on the road.

Nothing else new to report. Now I'm off to dinner, the gym, and to do some proofing at home until I fall asleep.

Oh, here's where I had dinner last night. Good stuff.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Here's Part II of the cross-country trip from two years ago. Again, as you're reading, remember that this is written from Seth's perspective, not mine.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Blue Earth, Minnesota (333 miles)

I'd like to say that it was the fifty-foot tall statue of the Jolly Green Giant that made us get off the highway, but we just decided to stop for gas and snacks.

The gas station used to have a Taco Bell Express, but it has gone out of business-recently, apparently. As I stand waiting to get into the restroom, two couples who are part of Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation enter. The woman in the lead walks up to the darkened corner and says, "What? No tacos?" For some reason it strikes me as odd; I guess I'm just accustomed to the preteens overrunning the Taco Bells in Madison.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Mitchell, South Dakota (521 miles)

Stopping for gas again, we also stop for lunch, grabbing sandwiches at Subway and then making our way through a maze of surface-street construction to the world famous Mitchell Corn Palace. The last time I was here was a quarter-century ago, and while the Palace is pretty neat, my picture-augmented memory held it up as much neater. I don't remember it being in the middle of downtown, for one thing; I guess I always thought it was a building out in the middle of the fields. And the colors are much more subdued-the pictures I've seen were taken in 1976, and I guess they fancied it up for the Bicentennial. This year's themes are pretty straight-forward nature themes done in straight-forward corn colors. Jon and I do find a display across the street showing how the decoration is done, and I do have to respect the process. It seems like an awful lot of work, beginning with laying out the design on the building and cutting a whole hell of a lot of corn cobs in half in preparation for mounting them.

Though downtown Mitchell seems to get a lot of its income from tourists, most of the other tourist shops are closed down for the season and there's not much else to see. So after a quick picture of Jon in front of the Corn Palace, and a seemingly interminable wait at a train crossing, we're back on I-90 and headed west.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Kadoka, South Dakota (705 miles)

Only two things are amusing about our stop in Kadoka. One: Jon makes a series of funny jokes about people who were too dumb to spell the name of their own state right, and end up naming their town Kadoka. Two: At the gas station, I wait in line to buy my Diet Coke behind a group of guys loudly planning that evening's visit to a strip club. I'm not quite certain they ever caught on that I was laughing at them and not with them. (Okay, now that time has passed, I'm not certain that either of those items are amusing in retrospect. But then, we were back on the road within fifteen minutes-it didn't leave much time to be amused, and I have to take my amusement where I can get it.)

SEPTEMBER 28 - Wall, South Dakota (758 miles)

Sadly, we arrive in Wall too late to partake of the joys of Wall Drug. But we settle for eating dinner across the street in the Cactus Café, the very restaurant where I had dinner with folks from work on the way back from E3 in May. If you had told me then that I would be eating in that restaurant again just four months later, I don't think I would have believed you. But there we are. The menu isn't quite as cosmopolitan as Burlington's famous White Fox Den, but it goes a little bit beyond bar food, so I enjoy a good French Dip sandwich and a bowl of clam chowder.

On the way out of town, we stop at a gas station-not for gas, but so that I can prove after much frustration at lunch that Sobe Wisdom is unavailable in the state of South Dakota. Like many things in life, I am quickly proven utterly incorrect and come out with a Sobe and a box of Whoppers. Jon is laughing when I come back and points out a truck-driving future redneck who has hung up his truck on the concrete and steel base of an enormous sign, hooking his bumper over the five-inch lug nuts that hold the whole thing upright. We're tempted to stay and watch, but we're behind schedule... so we press on.

SEPTEMBER 28 - Spearfish, South Dakota (856 miles)

With 700 miles under our belt for the day, we stop just short of the Wyoming border. Happily, the hotel we stay at has a pool, so while Jon deals with some unfinished paperwork I go for a swim and read in the hot tub for a while. I have some weird flashes back to a family trip 25 years ago (the same one that took me to Mitchell) and wonder if we stayed here.

Our 8:30 AM wakeup call never comes, and we wake up just past 9:00. Still, even with a trip to a nearby grocery store for water, fruit and road snacks we manage to get back on I-90 by ten, and I pop yet another CD into the Rio as we turn west.
End Part II.

I have a bit more to say about the past few days, but I'm going to make it short.

I skipped the gym to do some work on Wednesday, that wasn't good, because I only went for a short time on Friday, then went to see Bubba Ho-Tep -- this time all the way through -- with Shana and Brian. Saturday skipped the gym to go to Tacoma. Yes, twice in three weeks, I think I'm developing a masochistic streak. The city still stunk. Bad. A bunch of us went to check out an antique and vintage clothing show. No, I wasn't particuarly into it, but it wasn't work and it was a fun group of people. I found some cool, old comics, though, so it wasn't a total waste. When we returned around 7:30 I surfed for a while then went home to do laundry. Oh, I also picked up some magazines and spent time readin them.

Sunday I was up early to go to the gym. That was better than I thought. Based on some reading (remember those magazines I mentioned above?) I've decided to alter my workouts to concentrate more on cardio, so lots of bike and treadmill for me. I haven't been very good about actually rededicating to the gym, but I make steps every week. It's hard to get back into it when I'm not seeing results. Vicious circle anyone?

After the gym I went to Martin's and played History of the World, which is an excellent game that I recommend -- and that's saying something, because I'm not a big fan of board games.

Now I'm headed out for dinner with someone who's getting to be a good friend. I think we're going to check out a pizza place in Ballard. Later.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

I didn't get a chance to do any lead-up to this, but today (Saturday) is the two-year anniversary of when Seth and I hopped into a van to drive all...er, most of my things cross country. Here's the write up of the adventure that Seth wrote. I get pretty good mileage out of this thing, thanks, Seth. Oh, and everyone else, remember that this is written from Seth's perspective.

SEPTEMBER 27 - Madison, Wisconsin (0 miles)

We haven't left town yet, and we're already running late. It's nobody's fault, really: packing up the truck took a bit longer than planned, but we still could have made it out of town with time for plenty of progress...until it came time to go back to U-Haul to hook up a trailer for Jon's car.

"Looks kinda heavy," says the guy at the shop, and suggests we go across the street to the recycling center and use the truck scale. Driving the 17-foot truck directly across four busy lanes of traffic is a bit daunting, but I brave the task while Jon starts to deal with the trailer.

Pulling up onto the truck scale just as the recycling center just as they prepare to close the gates, I jump out and read the label on the side of truck: 'LIMIT 11,000 LBS. GROSS'. Then I look over at the digital readout on the side of the building: 14568.

I take the truck back across the street and deliver the bad news. The garage is closing, so there's no time to come back for the trailer. Instead we hook up the car and trailer, then return to Jon's house and spend a couple hours unloading two tons of books and comics that will have to go down to Jon's parents in Burlington for storage.

SEPTEMBER 27 - La Crosse, Wisconsin (161 miles)

We made a quick stop at a gas station and a Taco Bell in Tomah, but it's here that we decide to stop for the night. It's 11:30, and there's no point in burning ourselves out on the first leg of the trip. The AAA guidebook lists a Hampton Inn that offers a discount, so that's where we crash. Uh, sleep.

We're up by 8:30, pack up, partake of the free breakfast, stop by a nearby Woodman's grocery store so I can mail off a birthday card to my mom, and then we hit the road.

Seth, don't forget to send your mom a card again. Happy birthday to her!

More in the following days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Okay, time to do some updating.

I had a very busy weekend, so I'll type fast and hope you can keep up.

Friday I worked, went to the gym for a quick workout and then headed into Seattle's Wallingford district to meet up with Shana. I arrived just in time and we walked over to the Varsity Theatre and met up with a bunch of other people from work to see Bubba Ho-Tep. It was entertaining, but very slow. Unfortunately I didn't get to see that last 20 minutes because the fire alarm went off and everyone had to leave. The theatre handled it pretty well and handed out free tickets to everyone so we could come back to see a movie sometime for free. That pretty much ended the evening, so I went home and went to bed.

Saturday I was up early to pick up Dawn (another work person). We went down to Seattle Center to play in the Magic prerelease tournament for the newest set, Mirrodin. I'd been to one of these a few months ago with Matt, but Dawn had never been before. It was well run and fun. I go for a couple of reasons; to see and get the new cards so I can determine if I'll like the new set, to see how things are run, to see how many people show up, and finally, to see what I can learn from the whole event. Overall, I had a good time and I think Dawn did, too.

We wrapped up later than I thought, so I returned home just in time to change and head to southern Seattle to go to a two-years-late wedding reception for some people I know in the gaming industry. It was great to see people that I'm used to only talking to at conventions, plus I made some good industry contacts that I may be able to turn into a paid gig at some point down the line. The whole "reception" was set up to be a night of gaming, but the game I was really excited to play in ended up being cancelled. It was a Mutants & Masterminds game and I was bummed that it didn't happen because I've always run the game and never played. Things ended around ten o'clock, so I went home and watched more of the second season of Angel before going to bed.

Sunday I had a brunch date for a friend (those of you on Friendster can check out Angel as one of my friends) whose birthday was a while ago, but she wasn't able to do anything then, so this was the make-up get-together. Brunch was very good and the place we ate was exactly the type of place that makes me want to move into Seattle-proper. It's in the University area and is called the Portage Bay Cafe. As a point of reference, it has sort of a Bluephies feel to me -- that's a restaurant Madison folks will know.

Oh, I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I'm getting the bug to move into Seattle, which is why I mentioned it above. Who knows if or when it will happen, but the idea is there and it doesn't seem to be going away. I may have to check the paper sometime soon for apartments.

After brunch, Brian (another friend from work whom I'd given a ride) and I went to Comics Dungeon for a quick comic run.

Sunday afternoon I was going to go to the gym, but I didn't really have time after the long brunch and comic shopping, so instead I cleaned and vacuumed the homestead. It needed it. At four o'clock Shana, Jen, Shand, and Cathy (again, from work) knocked on the door and we hopped in my car to head down to the beautiful Boeing parking lot where the travelling Cirque du Soleil show Alegria, had set up a huge, HUGE tent in which to perform their few-week run of shows that was wrapping up at our show. The show was interesting, I didn't really appreciate it on a showmanship level, but rather as a showcase of what it's possible for someone to do with their body. There were acrobats, trapeze artists, a strongman, contortionists, gymnasts and more. It really made me want to get in shape even more. It would be amazing to push yourself to be able to do one-tenth of what they were capable of.

When the show ended we stopped for dinner, then the evening was over. We had a great time and I really like the people I went with; intelligent, witty, and just plain fun.

This week has, so far, been filled with work, the gym, work, and now I'm going to get some food and try to see Bubba Ho-Tep with my free ticket. Have a good night.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

I've been very good the last couple of days about going to the gym and watching what I'm eating. I realized the other night that I really haven't been serious about the gym all summer. Sure, I've been travelling a lot, but even so, I've been slacking. No more of that. I'm being good and not skipping out on the going to the gym anymore.

Tonight I skipped out of work a little after five and went down to Broadway to the Garage to go bowling and have some dinner. It was a lot of fun. There were ten of us, we practiced, had some drinks and bowled two games. My scores were nothing exciting, but I did get four or five strikes, so that was cool.

I have very little else to say, so I think I'm going to go watch more of the second season of Angel.

Oh, note to Donna: Update your damn blog a little more often! Slacker!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The mother of one of the guys I work with died yesterday. She'd apparently been denying she was ill for quite some time and when it finally became so bad that she went to the doctor they said she probably only had a couple of days. They were right. Yes, that's bad, but the real bummer is that this guy's grandmother just died a few weeks ago and they expect his step-father to go soon, too.

Anyway, that all prompts me to say: Love ya, Mom. Take care of yourself.

Switching gears: I got a call from the folks publishing my magazine and they're no longer going to be able to do that. Kind of a bummer -- and I don't really know what else to say. Before they announce anything they want to know if I have any ideas of what I might do with it. I have none, but maybe that's all right.

Oh, tomorrow night I'm going bowling with friends from work, and then Sunday I'm going to see Allegria; that's the cirque de soleil that's in town. I've never seen a show like that and I'm willing to be convinced, but I really don't see what the big deal is. I'll fill you in after I see it.

I have to run out and buy some new blue jeans, then go to the gym.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I've done this twice now. I've started laundry early in the day, then forgotten to run home to change it over, so when I get home at night I still have wet clothes that need drying. I don't want to leave them overnight, so I throw them in the dryer and go to bed. Normally this might result in some really wrinkled clothing, but happily I have a dryer that automatically tumbles the clothing every few minutes if I don't come and get them out. Of course every time the machine runs through these minute-long cycles it beeps when it finishes. So, this morning at about 5:30 I slowly became aware of the sound of "beep beep beep" coming from the dryer every few minutes. If, by the way, you think an alarm clock is annoying, you should try the incessant sound of my dryer. Anyway, I eventually was awake enough that I had to get up and take the laundry out, fold it and then go back to bed for a couple of hours.

Like I said, I've done this a couple of times now and it's such a weird interruption to my normal schedule that I thought it bared mentioning.

My work day was pretty normal, but this evening Chris called and asked if I was interested in going to Fisherman's Terminal for dinner. He'd mentioned it a few days earlier and since I'd never even heard of it before. (Yes, I know, I've been here almost two years and this is a local landmark and I've never seen it. I'm a horrible person.) Anyway, I was interested in checking it out so we hopped in his car and headed out. We stopped at a shoe store so I could buy some new shoes first, but then we headed into Seattle and over to the terminal. It was full of fishing boats docked at piers that were open to the public, so we walked down one to check it out. Very cool. We went to a restaurant right off the pier that has some of the freshest seafood around (big surprise, eh?) and enjoyed a very good meal of shrimp, fish, and crab.

Sure, sure, you're saying, "But Jon, weren't you supposed to go to the gym? It's Monday," and the answer is yes, I was, but I figured since this was Chris' last night in town I wanted to see him off and spend some more time with him. Besides, the game I had planned for tomorrow isn't going to happen, so I'll go to the gym then.

Now I'm going to bed.

I forgot to mention that last Saturday I went to a housewarming/birthday party at the house of some friends. It was a lot of fun and I was able to be social with some people from work as well as lots of people unknown to me. It was a particularly good time because some of the people there are a lot of fun and getting to be actual friends. Right now they're sort of at the half-way point of close acquaintances and sort-of-friends.

Oddly enough, this Saturday I had another birthday party to go to. I wasn't in a super-partying mood so I was pretty subdued. The party was for Elizabeth, who starts working here again tomorrow morning. She left here just over a year ago and has decided to come back. I think she'll do fine, but she may have some...challenges to face with some of her co-workers. I won't go into it here, partially because I don't think it will be bad, but mostly because it will take to damn long to write.

Aside from Step Into Liquid, which I mentioned in my last post, I also saw American Splendor last week, and Matchstick Men tonight. I enjoyed them, but for very different reasons. American Splendor was a strange mix of drama and documentary, but it was very cool and different -- plus it's a comic movie, so I have to like it. (Okay, I don't have to like it, but I did.) Matchstick Men was good, but I saw the twist coming early and that made me lose some interest. I really like Nicholas Cage, though. He gave a very good performance.

Here's the deal; I'm having a heck of a time getting to the gym and being motivated to both work out and eat well. I don't know if I've hit the wall on this whole thing or if I'm just fed up with seeing negative results or if I've just been away for so long that going to the gym is no longer part of my routine. Regardless, I have to figure something out. I'm not giving up on getting into shape, but I'm really floundering. Maybe this is one of those times that I just have to keep going until I get "it" back.

Hmm, I wonder what it's like to actually be really healthy? To not be overweight at all. To be able to look at a mountain and decide to climb it and not have any doubt about your ability to do it. Not that I want to climb a mountain, but to be interested in doing something physically demanding and just be able to go do it. I'd like to know what that's like.

It looks like Chris will be leaving tomorrow or Tuesday to head back to Madison. Oh, and big surprise tonight; he went out earlier tonight and bought a new digital camera, then when he showed up here to go to the movie, he gave me his old digital camera! How cool is that? So now I have this thing and I can start taking some pictures. Cool, I've been wanting a camera for a while now.

Yesterday, I and some friends went down to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. Um, I don't tend to swear much here, but Tacoma, well, it smells like @ss. Dear lord what a horrible smelling place. It really does smell like a rotting carcass -- of a really smelly thing. I can't imagine having to live with that all the time. Anyway, the museum was interesting. Right now they're showing statues, paintings and other object d'art inspired by anime (Japanese animation -- and, yes, I remember when it was called Japanimation). We didn't have a long time to check the place out because they were closing early for a fundraiser, but it was still a good trip.

Okay, now it's time to go. I have to do some grocery shopping and then get to bed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Okay, quick post because I have to meet some people for dinner. One of them is celebrating her first anniversary of her move out here. It should be fun.

There's been a lot going on lately, so I don't really know where to start. I'll probably post more later to flesh things out that I feel need it.

Highlights of the last week or so:

I finished my big deadline (but now I may have to dive back into it a bit and make some changes that need making).

I managed to take all weekend off, only stopping by work to meet up with people and pay some bills.

I went out Sunday night with a former co-worker who's going through a divorce and trying to regain some semblance of a social life. She'll also be starting to work with me again and she wanted to know what was up at work.

I actually started to do my new job this week. It worked out nicely that my boss was gone this week and I'd finished my deadline, so I was able to start doing this week what I wanted to start last week. Things have gone all right so far, but there have been a couple of difficult situations.

I went with Dr. Chris to dinner in Kirkland last night (Thai food still not spicy enough) and then went to see
Step Into Liquid. It's an excellent "documentary" that absolutely must be seen on a big screen if you can manage it.

Okay, now I have to go.

More later and I'm sorry for the long delay between posts. Nothing interesting happened during my deadline anyway.

Monday, September 01, 2003

As stated in my last entry, I had breakfast with three lovely young woman on Sunday morning -- and, yes, it was a nice way to start the day. We ate in the Capital Hill neighborhood and then ran a couple of errands. Then, I went to work, lucky me.

I spent all Sunday at work and pretty much finished everything that I was working on, but while working with one of the other guys I learned that the stuff I had saved to work on with him would probably take a day on its own. Wheee! So, I did what I could Sunday and resigned myself to working on Monday (Labor Day), too. So, I've been here pretty much all day Monday, except for a quick dinner with Chris -- whom I haven't seen for a week. I'm bummed I haven't been able to spend more time with him while he's been here, but this deadline really has been a nuisance. Soon I will be able to have fun again. I swear.

Every morning I do my routine, part of which is pulling back the shower curtain to see if there are any insects in the tub before I take my glasses off and jump in (see, I'm blind without my glasses, so it doesn't do much good to check the tub once I'm in because I don't wear my glasses while I shower). I don't know if checking for bugs is unusual, but I've noticed that there are a lot of crawling critters in the area (including my apartment) and I have little interest in sharing my shower with them. Anyway, this morning I pulled back the curtain and saw a scurrying spider that had a body that was easily one-half and inch long and one-quarter an inch wide with legs that extended out about an inch in every direction.

You, like me, probably aren't the biggest fan of spiders in your house. Sure, they prey on insects and they do good things and yadda, yadda, yadda, but y'know what? Don't do it in my living space! Evolve a brain and figure out that you should stay out of my space! You give me the creeps and I'll crush you. Unfortunately, this spider was right at the small end of what qualifies, in my mind, as a living thing. If it were slightly smaller I'd have had no difficulty grabbing my shampoo bottle and crushing it with no remorse whatsoever -- but this stupid spider was large enough that if I'd done that I would have felt bad because it met my size requirements for being a living thing that mattered. I don't know if anyone else has this "you must be at least this large to be considered a living thing" rule, but I'm pretty sure it's common.

Actually, this last week I've been perfecting my fruit-fly-killing skills because, after months and months of throwing my banana peels in my garbage (which I empty regularly) I noticed that I had an infestation of fruit flies.

They do not meet my size requirements to be considered living things.

Swat. Swat. Swat. But, I have to say, those little suckers are quick. I get up in the morning, or come home at night, walk into the kitchen and disturb their little universe so they take to the air. I have to wonder what my neighbors must think as I clap at the flies and I smack the walls and ceiling as they move around the room. It must sound like a heck of a fight. It's a wonder I haven't had a domestic disturbance call made on me. Maybe if I screamed at the flies while I slapped them around?

Tomorrow starts my first day as the Director of Game Design. I hope it goes well. I'll certainly ease into things, but I know that I'll run things differently than Jim. I mean, obviously, I'm a different person than he is, so there will be those differences, but I think he's been so busy with so much for so long, that there are things that have gone undone or been ignored that really need addressing. And there's lots more that we can be contributing. I dunno, it'll be interesting to see how I handle this and how everyone else handles it. I don't plan on ruling with an iron glove, but nor do I plan on not saying things that need to be said. I'll just be constructive about it. I don't see the point of being a jerk.

Next subject: I finished watching Gattaca last night. I'd forgotten a lot about that movie, but I really like it. I'd completely forgotten Tony Shalhoub's part.

Okay, I'm done. I really need a day off. I think the only time I've had off since I returned from vacation was last Sunday when I went to the company picnic. I'm looking forward to the party the women from Sunday's breakfast are having this weekend. Really looking forward to it.

Oh, I forgot to mention; I scooped the spider up in some Tupperware and released him in the bushes on the other side of my apartment complex. He didn't even say thank you. Bastard.