Monday, August 30, 2004
Your Hand in Mine
The weekend was jam-packed with activities, both of the fun and not-fun varieties. With Michelle’s parents out of town, we found ourselves cat-sitting . . . which quickly blossomed into full-on house-sitting. (The first night, given our schedule, made sense. But I suspect the second night just boiled down to, “Mmmm, king-size bed . . .”)*
Michelle mentioned watching a movie after Mia went to bed Friday night, and I’m usually quick to jump on that. I think we even had her parents’ copy of The Italian Job lined up (for the job) when I discovered that ESPN was showing back-to-back installments of the World Series of Poker. So, I settled into Texas Hold ‘Em-ification, and Michelle activated her father’s recliner and got caught up on her magazine-reading.
Saturday was another trip to see the Woodvillians. This time, I coaxed Michelle into going because: a) she hardly ever goes, and b) it was the weekend after Mia’s birthday, so I figured they were gonna do some celebratory thing. Which they did. It was actually a surprisingly nice trip, but that is probably partially because I played cribbage with dad rather than talking about things that may or may not matter. (I’ll just say, straight up, that no politics were discussed.) Dad’s wife’s nephew was in from San Antonio, so there was another distraction. And then bad karma was shifted in Michelle’s direction when she
Saturday night, I was invited to another poker outing. On the way over, I listened to Explosions in the Sky’s The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place to convince myself that my poker game wasn’t a cold, dead place, either. Luckily, I wasn’t there long enough to find out (i.e., I only lost $15, rather than the customary $20 or $30). The highlight of the night, though, was the last hand, which featured a flop of three aces; the fourth ace turned up in the dealer’s hand. (By contrast, two of my best hands were the first two I got . . . which I folded. Had I played my usual game and not been a throbbing vagina, I could have won my first three hands.)
Yesterday was “Try to Prove Yourself Handy” Day. I had quite a list of handy-esque things to accomplish. And being that I’m handy in the same way that George Bush is a capable president, I think I did okay. First, I successfully took apart the dryer and diagnosed the problem as a faulty element. Then I (mostly) put together our daughter’s new swing set. Until the thunder and lightning and subsequent rain started.
Finally, today, I’ve had two reality-challenging moments: 1) standing at the counter of the Sears parts department while two people were helping one customer and the phone right next to them on the counter was ringing constantly and very, very loudly (I can still hear it echoing in my mind), and 2) seeing a car with a special Georgia plate that read “Give Wildlife a Chance” (or something similar) . . . and the car also had a Bush/Cheney ’04 bumper sticker. Hey, guy, why don’t you just track down some “wildlife” and give it a good ol’ American ass-fuckin’, okay? Because I’m sure the “wildlife” will thank you.**
* Yes, the guest room has a king-size bed.
** especially if you give it the “reach-around” (What post wouldn’t be complete without a anal sex and/or Full Metal Jacket reference? Apparently many.)
Friday, August 27, 2004
It's the Free Beer That Keeps Me Here
I might not get hefty raises like some people, but I do get free alcohol. Sometimes.
When I interviewed for the job almost five years ago, the current VPs told me, "We work hard, but we play hard." Which was true at the outset. There were several "happy hours" on Fridays (where the company would pick up the tab), some of them where the conference room was transformed into a bar. (One of the principals would walk around the office at about 3 o'clock with a couple six packs, encouraging everyone to take a beer . . . to drink while we worked.) Of course, this doesn't happen
And sometimes when the editors or our CAD operator are given a lot of work to do for a project in a short amount of time ("Here's a 20-page report with multiple tables and figures . . . and it's due tomorrow."), we're often pacified with beer. Now, our CAD operator (a woman) is partial to the cheap stuff, so she often receives a 12-pack of Bud, or something similar. We get six packs of better stuff. I even scored Red Stripe one time.
Now the big editor-pacification is lunch out. For instance, I'd been working hard for a particular project manager for a couple weeks. He had his boss take us to lunch today.
It's nice that, sometimes, you're given a little extra for just doing your job. Even if it is with something that your body will pass in a couple hours.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
“Mia, How Old Are You? You’re Two . . . TWO.”
I couldn’t have done it better myself.
Happy birthday, baby.
On the way to work, I heard on the radio that Doak Campbell Stadium (where FSU plays) is going to be totally and completely smoke-free now. Not even gonna allow smoking at the gates or on the upper-deck breeze-way. Nothing. And the smokers are really mad. Like selling their skyboxes mad.
They had a caller who said it was bad enough that they made him stop smoking in restaurants (that one he understood), and then worse when he couldn’t smoke in the bar (actually, I don’t know what he was talking about there, because free-standing bars that don’t sell too much food are exempt from the smoking ban). But now he’s thinking of becoming a Gator fan. Or, worse, a fan of the Hurrigangsters. Because he can’t smoke in the goddamn stadium.
Look, I don’t hate smokers, but I do hate smoking*. The laws are only gonna get tougher. I feel a little bad because when my smoking friends get upset about Florida’s War on Smokers, I just have to shrug my shoulders. I voted (enthusiastically) for the smoking ban. And I think it’s tough enough. But telling people they can’t smoke in an open-air stadium . . . especially at the walkway above all the seats? Or underneath the stadium, near the gates? That might be taking it too far.
Why have a ‘blog if all you’re gonna do is rip off other ‘bloggers? Seriously, I know some talented ‘bloggers are getting book deals, but geez. Nobody likes a plagiarist. No, not even your mother.
* Please don’t flame me in the comments, my emphysema-inclined readers. Or do.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
It’s a Dream Journey (Without Journey)
I haven’t been too in sync with my dreams lately. Although I wouldn’t really know because I can’t fuckin’ remember them. Except for the one from last night, wherein the Lunchbreak Clan traveled to Washington D.C. Now, I’ve never been to D.C. in the real world (or, in the Real World . . . how did they avoid filming there?), so being there subconsciously was pretty strange. Probably a lot like the real D.C.
Before we left, we were interviewed and asked what we most wanted to see. I responded, “The Mall.” Erm, okay . . .
Anyway, this got me thinking about what national treasures I’d need to see before I got bored and decided to move on to another country. I’ve seen almost every corner of Florida (with the notable exception of the Everglades and Key West). I’ve seen the glory and splendor of Atlanta more times than I can remember. I’ve seen the piss-and-vomit-covered sidewalks of New Orleans. I’ve seen the White Mountains (from the top of Mt. Washington), the Adirondacks, New York City, Lake Tahoe, etc. My list of must-see places / things is really pretty limited at this point. Here’s what I can think of off the top of my head:
2. The Grand Canyon (I guess)
3. Las Vegas / Los Angeles (in one two-day trip, I figure)
4. Seattle (I was thinking, “No, Mrs. Dayment, we’re not having the ‘blogger meetup in Vegas!" which led me to her current home, which I’ve never even been close to)
5. San Francisco
6. The Great Plains during tornado season (Oooo, storm chasing!)
What else do I / we need to see? Your answers could be part of a family vacation some day. So lay off the balls of twine and truck stops with great glory holes.
Friday, August 20, 2004
People . . . People Meeting People
I know many of you have been spending an inordinate amount of time watching the Olympics. Me? Well, we’ve been watching a little in the evenings, but it’s all old news by the time NBC gets around to showing anything. However, I did plan ahead and I went home for a long lunch today to catch some U.S. women’s soccer action. I turned it on just in time to see Kristine Lilly score near the end of the first half.
But that’s not what this is about. There’s some breaking news, which was first mentioned here, but details are emerging over at Snowy’s place. Apparently, there is a ‘blogger meetup happening. So, now you get a post-within-a-post:
Okay, here’s the deal. A few of us have come up with the idea of having a regional ‘blogger meetup. In Atlanta. On a (long?) weekend. To gauge interest and plan on a date that works for
1. How long would you need to plan to be in Atlanta for a weekend?
2. Which weekends in the next six months don’t work for you?
3. Are there any weekends that look particularly attractive for some reason? (If so, which ones?)
4. Are there any suggested activities that should be included in potential plans?
Leave your answers in the comments, or send them to my e-mail.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
We Are Too Nice
I may seem pretty politically motivated to you people of The Internet, but I’m not. Okay, maybe I am, but not as much as Mr. ADD. My best friend, who is somewhat less liberal than I, doesn’t have a subscription to Newsweek, but he does have access to you, The Internet. Which is how he keeps finding all these interesting links that he’s been compulsively sending to me. And Michelle. And Michelle’s right-leaning mother. He’s never cared about politics before this election, which is just another indication of how polarized this country has gotten.
I bring up Mr. ADD because he made a very good point, which made me come to a realization (see the title of this post).
Y’see, he forwarded me this link. For those of you feeling not-so-click-y, I’ll summarize: Basically, Laura Bush killed someone when she was 17 (so, technically, she wasn’t a “Bush” at the time). It may not have been murder, but the whole thing is a little suspicious.
Now, I’ve been living in a world where Laura Bush is a nice, wholesome libarian, and only people like Ted Kennedy kill people. But Mr. ADD’s point was this: What if Hillary had killed someone when she was 17, even accidentally? Can you see Rush Limbaugh frothing at the mouth over that proposition? Fox News would probably introduce her (each and every time) as “Senator, and Murderer, Hillary Rodham Clinton.” Right-wing commentators and conservative talk-show guests (like Cal Thomas) would push it and push it until the mainstream media picked it up.
Of course, Laura Bush doesn’t hold public office. But neither did Hillary when she supposedly arranged to have Vince Foster knocked off.
The Republican smear machine knows no limits. It’s never a two-way street with those guys. It’s win at all costs, and winners take all. It’s say one thing and do another. Take no prisoners. It’s do as I say, not as I do. It’s I can say whatever the Christ I want, and if you say the same about me, you’re taking the “low road.”
Can “We” win without being like them? Can we compete? Because I feel like anything less than spinning the dial to “full-blast” is just baring our necks.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
How I am a
I’ve always had a strange relationship with New York City. Kind-of like a guy might have with an intelligent supermodel. Y’know, first he might not be very aware of what to expect exactly . . . not really consciously aware of her at all. And then he meets her and is very overwhelmed. All interaction from that point forward makes the guy feel very inadequate and confused. That’s me in New York.
My first visit to the Big City was when I was 15. I was visiting my grandparents in Norwalk, CT (where I was born). I didn’t have this enormous desire to go to the City, but I think my grandparents were trying to come up with something to entertain their apathetic grandson. So, we caught the commuter train into Grand Central. I still have the map where my grandmother marked our journey. Mostly, we walked around midtown near Grand Central and took a bus to the Intrepid and back to midtown. I spent a great deal of time looking up. And noting all of the anonymous camera stores (seemingly on every corner). For several months after my visit, I wanted to move to the City and become a bicycle courier. (I hadn’t even seen Quicksilver.)
After Michelle and I moved to Albany in early 1997, we kept talking about a trip down to the City, but it didn’t happen until her parents came to visit the next year. There was no real planning, outside of booking a hotel room in the Upper East Side for the night. We caught the train in Poughkeepsie and then a taxi from the station to the hotel. From that point on, we walked almost everywhere (after an aborted foray into the subway). At one point, we walked from the Met all the way midtown (to eat) and then caught a taxi back to the hotel. We did eat at a nice Moroccan restaurant for dinner. The next day, I don’t think we got anything productive done and ended up leaving on an early train.
It was around this time that I came to the realization that perhaps New York City was too big for me.
Later that same year (the weekend before Christmas, actually), we commissioned our more-seasoned friend J/G (who, coincidentally, we stayed with on our just-completed trip) to show us the Big City ropes. So, the three of us took a daytrip, first driving to Seacaucus and then catching a bus into the City. We walked some, rode the subway some, went to the Village, ate a couple decent meals, went to the top of the Empire State Building, checked out Rockefeller Center. We squeezed much more into seven or eight hours than we would’ve done left to our own devices.
Infused with our newfound City knowledge, we planned for Michelle’s parent’s next visit, which was a year later. I put together an ambitious three-day itinerary, including round-trip train rides from Albany. I reserved rooms at the Marriot Marquis. I made reservations at Tavern on the Green (lunch) and The View (dinner). I booked the four of us on a two-day (plus a night) bus tour. I planned out several other places to go, things to do. Everything was going along swimmingly until we began our bus tour on the first day. And it started raining. The rain continued for much of our trip. We kept our reservations and replaced a lot of the sightseeing with shopping. We got to see the World Trade Center almost exactly two years before it was destroyed. We even managed to ride the subway without getting lost (or mugged). All in all it was a good trip.
I know in my heart of hearts that I couldn’t ever live in New York City. Especially not with a child to worry about. You wanna know what a big ol’ pussy I am? As soon as we parked our car this weekend and started walking towards Broadway / The Village, I started worrying about Mia. (What if we lose her? What if someone tries to take her? What if we let her out of the stroller and she gets away from us and runs out into traffic?) I had this sense of impending doom as I was pushing her down the sidewalk, across each street and avenue. J/G had to make me feel more comfortable when we left Mia with Michelle and J/G’s girlfriend while they shopped and we wandered (aimlessly, it would seem) through Lower Manhattan. We were supposed to meet them at the lower end of Central Park, and they were an hour late. Lemme tell you how big a hug I gave our Mia when I saw her again.
Deep down, I know that New York City is just like any other city . . . except a lot bigger. Look, I’m not a small-town guy, but I guess I’m not that metropolitan, either. Maybe I’m a mid-sized-city guy. If we could get some culture in this Dead City, and definitely something approaching a change of seasons, maybe this would be big enough for me.
And that’s just sad.
Monday, August 16, 2004
(Heavily Footnoted) Stats That Shape a Family Vacation (It’s Great to be Back! Okay, Not Really.)
Days Spent “on Vacation”: 9
Number of Stops: 3
Hours Between Home and First Stop (Rural NH): about 8*
Hours Between the Last Stop (Albany, NY) and Home: about 4.5**
Number of Times Mia Napped: 0
Number of Times Mia Threw Up: 1***
Number of Times Mia Fell Down Some Stairs: 1
Number of Times Mia (and, by Extension, Her Parents) Watched a Baby Einstein Video: 20
Cups of Juice for Mia: 22
Alcoholic Drinks for Scott: 18.5
Alcoholic Drinks for Michelle: 13.5
Number of Photos Taken: 1
Number of Political Debates with Conservative Family Member(s): 1#
Percentage of Words that Came Out of Mia’s Mouth that Were Either “No!” or “I Wungo” (I Want to Go): I’d say about 52.3%
Cribbage Games## Won: 2
Cribbage Games Lost: 2
Number of Hours Spent on the Road (Round Trip) to New York City: about 5.5
Number of Hours Spent in New York City: about 6
Number of ‘Bloggers I Thought We Might Spontaneously Run Into While in New York City: 3###
Number of Items Purchased During New York City Shopping Adventure: 1 (a belt for Michelle)
Total Number of Subway/Bus Rides Purchased (Four People; at $2 Each): 8, I think
Number of Tropical Disturbances that Passed Within 200 Miles of Our House and We Weren’t Even Here to See Them: 2*#
* connecting flight south of here (to go north), followed by a “limo” ride from Logan airport to someplace you’ve never been
** due to a more-direct flight plan and the shortest layover I can recall in Atlanta (luckily we were only going from Gate B-5 to Gate B-13 . . . we lucked out on that one)
*** quite likely this was related to car-sickness, with my aunt driving erratically over the winding roads of rural New Hampshire/Vermont
# My grandmother was trying to keep my grandfather from getting too excited, but she finally dropped this bomb: “When Clinton was president, and he did all of those things . . . I have never been more ashamed to be an American.”
## against my grandparents who play at least one game a day (as they have for decades), and who taught me the game
### didn’t see any Asian female attorney-joggers, although we could’ve seen lots of spectacularly racked Oklahoma transplants hiding flasks under their skirts or drunken, foul-mouthed, toilet-centric British woman . . . maybe we just didn’t recognize them
*# Thanks for the concern, Styro.
Friday, August 06, 2004
On the Threshold
. . . of a great journey.
I'm typing this in my underwear. After four (or so) drinks. We had a "farewell" dinner with our friends at a hideous fern bar, followed by a much-too-quick stop at the trendy watering hole (hey, kind-of like this!).
So, we're putting the final touches on our packing, and getting ready for bed. Sorry to leave you so . . . well, never mind. I haven't been giving it the ol' college try lately, have I? As it was, I was wrapping up some things at work so I didn't have to totally sell out my boss like so many crack whores in the editing profession. Between tying up loose ends and making arrangements to change our plans somewhat (due to the death of my aunt's mother), I didn't have a lot of time to stop by here.
And I totally sold-out on my meetup-planning co-conspirators: these girls. Keep an eye on them, because they could totally bust out a meetup-related poll. Seriously, if you were gonna have the opportunity to meet several of your 'bloggy friends in Atlanta on a weekend, wouldn't that be totally worth it?
I'll try and stop in over the next nine days, whenever I have (reliable) access to the Intarweb.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Taxing my Patience
I’m pretty left-leaning politically, but I like it when I see T.V. spots from Republican candidates. They’re usually men, very strong-looking, reassuring us that they’re gonna make us safer. Confident. They’re gonna be responsible. They’re gonna make the tough choices, the decisions that seemingly can’t be made unless you elect them. With all the terrorism and crime and rampant abortions and gay marriages and unchecked illegal immigration . . . well, I’m just glad I have a solid option when I go into that voting booth.
Especially when I’m voting for my county tax collector.
Republican candidates for every elected office in this country must have the same playbook. Which is funny and sad, all at the same time.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Back to Life, Back to “Reality”
My at-work computer has literally been resurrected, and I have little work to do, so I really don’t have any excuse to not be posting volumes of drivel. I have caught up with a lot of my ‘blog-reading (punctuated by frenzied visits to Yahoo! for my game-playing needs).
I guess I would’ve written more (and sooner) had my week been very eventful. I don’t think watching Robert Smith make a five-minute appearance on CNN Headline News qualifies as newsworthy, or packing a large Samsonite suitcase that I’ll be sharing with our daughter, or the Scott vs. roach encounter (Part XVII) last night wherein I sprayed the roach with deadly toxins and then smashed him with one of Michelle’s copies of Allure, or how I had my first kamikaze in months the other night when I came home from the studio and it tasted like the perfect blend of love and pain.
But, hey, here’s something worth ‘blogging! “You made me . . . promises, promises . . .”
Oh, if hungover women from Richmond are to be believed and/or trusted, and conspiring with them is in any way advisable, then perhaps we have planted the seed for a ‘blogger meetup in Atlanta. There is nothing even approaching “firm” or “specific.” I mean, hell, I could be making this shit up.