Sunday, October 29, 2006

Is Blogger Choking, Or What?

Damn, I was going to upload some of the pictures from today to my ole Blog here, and the damned thing is crawling. All blogs are crawling and timing out. Maybe it's the crummy wireless servicde here at the hotel. At any rate, I uploaded them to Flickr and you can check them out here.

I wandered around some today and really like this area near the hotel, and in particular the area surrounding Carkeek Park. Damned beautiful. I need to go back and take more/better pictures when time permits. This town has a deceided sense of style and I'm smitten.

"Shit" "What?" "Rollers" "No" "Yeah" "Shit..."

"I bet they've got S.C.M.O.D.S." Well, despite repeated warnings from nearly everyone, I got a speeding ticket. In Oregon. In a "construction zone". Fuck. 73 in a 55 they claim (the ole construction zone speed trap it was). The fine? Not more than $206. Huh? Yeah, they make you call in to haggle your actual fine. Weird. The speed limit is normally 65 in Oregon (and what is that about anyhow? Aren't all the other states like 75 now?). The cop tells me that at 73, he wouldn't have pulled me over and to keep to that or less. Interesting advice from law enforcement, no? End of the month, quotas unmet, he was sitting in a construction zone featuring no workers, machinery or signs of change- just orange barrels and apparently a Speed Limit sign that whizzed by when I was looking at my directions regarding the I-90 exchange. At any rate, I made good time overall- Parker Colorado to Seattle Washington in 15.75 hours (insert Doppler sound effect here).

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's 1367 Miles To Seattle, I've Got A Full Tank Of Gas, No Cigarettes, It's Not Dark, And I'm Wearing Sunglasses

I'm Hitting it. Updates as possible for the next little bit.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Updates And Prattling On...

Okay, here's where we stand on all the significant events these days. The house will be inspected on Thursday and with a little good fortune will not find any significant flaws. If that is true, then we will close on the place Nov. 22 and move outta dodge. We're talking with folks in Poulsbo about a home for rent that'll take the doggies too (although, these dogs are really well mannered and quiet, for couch-pissers). If that pans out, we'll be in Poulsbo for (or just after) Thanksgiving, and that will make it easy to give thanks. I'm officially free of the former employer and that's nice. I had to turn in my old phone and get a new setup for Seattle. If you want my new number, call Sarah. If you don't know her number, email me. I'm only trying to keep it out of the hands of my former employer. I KNOW they are going to be needing to call me, and since they are no longer paying me, I'm not inclined to answer. I'll be heading out Thursday or Friday for Washington, and staying in an extended stay type place (that'd better have broadband included). I need to collect up all the stuff I'm gonna need, and I don't know whether my insurance company has already paid for my CPAP machine, or if that'll have to go back and I'll need to talk to the new insurance outfit about a replacement. That ought to be a fully confusing conversation. So, doctors are informed and prepared, and I have no recommendations for the new place, so if you know a good cardiologist, pediatrician, endocrineologist, general practice doc, and/or dentist in Seattle- spill the beans please. What else? After 2.5 years the bulb in our Samsung DLP HD television went out. I'm not up in arms about the bulb going out, although I am cheesed off that when you spend so much on an idiot box, the local resellers don't have bulbs on hand. I had to go mail order and overnight a bulb just so I didn't miss a weeks worth of football. Priorities, you know?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Retelling Online By Request

So, this little nugget of absurdity goes back to when I first knew O (as in Pant's lesser half). At the time, say early to mid 90's, he had the bookstore on the same block where I had a new and used computer store. Given the nature of our businesses, neither of us could say "no soliciting" and the result was that all sorts of people would come in and offer to sell us all sorts of things. Sometimes they were worthwhile, but most of the time it was surreal or frivolous.
The computer joint was a long narrow hallway of a place with computers lining each side of the path from the front door to the counter in the back. From the door to the counter was probably 50 feet. Behind the counter I sat filling time. Then it happened: the door flew open with excessive force and the door jamb was filled with a strangely human shaped mass. With the first damp and gurgly sounding "step" the creature advanced into the fluorescent light and I began to feel the shock of confusion and fear. Advancing toward me was a six foot tall water buffalo of a woman whose gait was apparently well lubricated judging from the sounds emitted. In concert with this was a grunting kind of wheeze that was also rhythmically in lock step. She was doughy and big, with a lumpy quality that seemed to affect her face and fingers. One or two curlers remained in her violent hair and her expression was angry. With every weeble-wobbling step she splortched ever closer- the pattern of her house dress or mumu became more discernible with each wheezing grunt. Although time seemed to be slower than real time, she finally made it to the counter where I sat, frozen in awe. In her lumpy hand was a clipboard which she whacked down on the counter between us. On the clipboard was a form with pictures of candy bars- the kind that you find with schoolkids that are fundraising for their school/band camp/whatever. Then she spoke to me.


I couldn't help it. I said no while laughing. She turned on her heel (hoof?) and made for the door. Her stride was more rapid and louder, with the splortching sound higher in pitch. This time however, she was swearing like a sailor with Tourette's about me the whole way. You'll have to imagine something like this: "Fucking (spotch) *wheeze* Bastard (scunch) Son of a *wheeze* Filthy (splortch) Cocksuck *wheeze* (squich) Shitsack *gurgle* Douchebag *wheeze*" and then the door exploded the other way and she turned the corner and was gone.

All of this happened within about two minutes. It felt like an hour and shook my sense of reality. There was another fellow there in the computer store with me who witnessed this and was similarly speechless (assuming laughter isn't speech). For whatever reason, she never visited O's place. Lucky bastard. Thus, a new phrase in our neighborhood parlance and ineffective marketing method were swiftly invented.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Inspector Spector, What's Your Vector?

Well, I mean, it's not as cool as "Conjunction Junction, what's your function?", but bear with me. We are now officially under contract, and I know this is sort of a trivial update, but for Schmoopie this is a big deal since the showings should slow to a stop. Plus, the scheduled closing is slated for right before Thanksgiving, so we can use the holiday for moving if this timeframe holds. I dunno about Scmoopie, but I'm ready to self medicate in order to sleep.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Go Stucco! Is'sha Birthday! (Not Really)

As instructed by Scott from Oregon, "Woohoohoo!" We have an offer on da' homestead.

So I'm feeling a little "animated". It could still all go wrong with the inspection, you know if there are radioactive termites or something, but for now I'm maintaining positive thoughts. The tentative timeframe would be to close right before Thanksgiving, which means I'll probably miss all the good football games, but under these circumstances, I won't gripe.

I'm looking at todays radar, and it's rainy in Seattle. I can't wait to get there and start being a part of it. That, and I need to find someone there with a sailboat who needs an extra crew member from time to time. Mostly, I can't wait to get the family unit out there and show the kiddies what plant life looks like, and meander around the coast in our free time.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Talking Crap

I was just reading a damned funny story here at Hammer's (not Slaghammer's) Blog and it made me think of a similar story from my youth. (WARNING- this story is tasteless, gross, vile, and funny) I was working in a swanky restaurant in Denver as a waiter and bartender and this whopping great big fat guy came in one Sunday for the buffet. For those of you who never worked in food service, Sunday buffets are punishment for the staff. I was bartending, because I was the rookie on the bar staff, and realistically, who can screw up a Bloody Mary or Mimosa? So, much like "Mr. Creosote" in Monty Python's Life of Brian, this man eats an impressive amount of food and stops by the toilet (the hallway to which was near the end of the bar) and I forget all about him. This would have been in the early 90's and the New Orleans Saints started the season 8-0 and I was amazed. I must have been watching their game when he left. Before very long a patron came up to me and told me the men's room needed, uh, attention... Now, I know what unabashed pigs men can be and am steeled by the fact that my mother would talk about autopsies over dinner in my youth. I see myself as being mighty resistant to gross shit. None of this could have prepared me for what I was to behold- the shock and the majesty. In the handicapped stall (and who doesn't prefer the handicapped stall? All that space, and handles to grab a hold of in case of a struggle) there was the most amazingly disgusting dilemma. Mr. Creosote had shit a turd of a diameter similar to my ankle or calf. Here was a man clearly capable of effortless childbirth. The turd coiled like a soft serve ice cream and wound itself up above the waterline to a spire of such height that the top was shaped like a pagoda's roof from presumably pressing against his ass cheeks. The toilet paper used was scattered about the stall in a violent manner, and the turd was remarkably pristine. I stood, dumbstruck, imagining the sequence of events that must have been required to accomplish this spectacle, sometimes laughing and gagging. I then went to collect a crowd of spectators. I should have charged admission, but before long the restroom was standing room only. Male and female alike, testing their own limits and constitutions, forever scarring their view of humanity and not a one wanting to deal with any resolution short of closing the place down and opening up somewhere else. The manager on duty (doodie?) in the end decided to pay the dishwasher $50 to go in the stall and fillet the poogoda with a steak knife and fork, and carry each slab on a saucer to the other toilet and flush it incrementally. Such was the manner in which this accomplishment had been undone. I don't know if the knife, fork, and saucer were thrown out or washed, but I never ate there again. Also noteworthy is how far people will go to earn an extra $50 bucks.

I know that O has a comparable story of horror and humor, and perhaps with a little prodding can be bothered to write about it on Pant's Blog sometime. Or, alternatively, we can let this side of my sense of humor alone, and move on to pastures new?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Whatta Hassle

Always the shown house, never the sold house. What a complete pain in the neck. We're having lots of showings which means that we have to get the dogs packed up (pun intended) in the truck and leave the house, most of the time without necessarily having a place to go. Once this week we went over to Pant's (Nancy Dancehall's) and as a result one of the dogs peed on the carpet and part of the couch. There's the kind of guest ou like to see, eh? Come on over and have your wild animals piss on our stuff. Great. Well, the good news is Pants is still on speaking terms with us and our hoodlum dogs.
It wouldn't suck so badly if we had any signs that anyone was considering our home, and feedback is scarce. It's just a preposterous drill at this stage- they call, Schmoopie goes all OCD on me and sterilizes everthing she can see, and then we run away for a while and sit on our hands. We can go to a dog friendly park or something, but it's starting to become a dull routine. Then we come home and MAYBE we see a business card from the realtor that came by and that's the end of it. Then another call and we start over. Lather, rinse, repeat. If we're particularly lucky, we get back-to-back showings, and don't have to go home and redo the drill, although that means that much more time away doing nothing, other than dealing with bored kids and frustrated dogs.
For those unfamiliar with the area, the Denver area housing market is the suckiest it's ever been- record numbers of homes on the market and a record number of foreclosures. This is the market we are trying to deal with. We've lowered the price of the house and we are now the lowest priced of the 14 homes of a similar size/type/model in our area. Maybe that'll make a difference. I'm no depressed, but I am weary of this fire drill of activity. Schmoopie may be near to official depression. None of us is looking forward to being apart for even a little while, but like Schmoop said this AM, it's not like I'll be in Iraq or some other miserable protracted thing. It's an unusual reality check for me to think about the military families in those terms- I mean I knew it would suck for them to have family overseas, but I guess it puts a more tangible or identifiable framework on the problem. I'm thinking I need to shut up. These are problems we've invited upon ourselves, and the outcomes will be quite pleasant. If only the military families had something to look forward to like this.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Dropping A Bomb

So I gave my two weeks notice at work Tuesday. Wow. Talk about "deer in the headlights" looks. Apparently my employer was thinking that this job hunt was going to last until sometime in 2007, and is not prepared. They already know who will be replacing me (the Jedi Apprentice), but it's not yet known who will replace him, so he's still doing his old role and the knowledge transfer has yet to start. I also put a bee in their bonnet about the wisdom of giving me a severance package, even though I am leaving on my timetable and terms. Even though, to casual observers it looks like I am the Alpha and Omega of this whole deal, the employer here has done a considerable amount of pushing to get me out the door. As it's consistent with my plans, I'm not worked up over it, but the conduct of my allegedly benevolent employer is shameful- to the extent that my boss (the source of this crappiness, I suspect) volunteered to me that she felt badly about how I'm being treated WHILE IT CONTINUES. Honest to God, this is the embodiment of "until morale improves, the beatings will continue".

I began making some calls to contacts and spreading the word that I'm leaving town and will be back in touch with new contact information once it's all sorted out, and damn if I didn't get an earful about my soon to be former employer, and how widely despised we are. I'm not naming names, but we are a non-profit that gives away money. How on earth we screw that up to the extent that people are pissed off at us is astonishing.

I'm supposed to be doing a knowledge transfer for my replacement in the meantime, but he's not here, so I'm just hanging loose reading blogs and looking at rental properties in Seattle. Good work I guess. I've worked places where, once you turn in your notice, they escort you out and pay the two weeks off, but no such luck here. In fact, I expect that they are going to need an awful lot of direction and help from me going forward, and unless they come up with a respectable amount of cash, I'll be inconveniently unavailable. It's been suggested to me that they are considering an arrangement wherein they would pay me my previous consulting rate to answer help calls, and that's too bad because I never said I was interested in or amenable to that model. Plus, to make matters more significant, the Jedi Apprentice is leaving on vacation in November to Europe for 10 days or such. Whoops. I guess that means contractors. Oh, but wait a moment- there are offbeat proprietary systems here that no consultant would find familiar or understandable. This shows every potential to become "interesting" (in the sense of the Chinese curse- "may you live in interesting times").

That's all secondary though, and I sit here I'm not worrying about the current employer, or even the new employer so much (I think the new gig is a good fit, and the folks all seem sharp). I'm preoccupied with the sale of the house and how and where I'm going to stay in Seattle while the house in Colorado still needs the mortgage paid. Eventually , my 401K cash out will come through and I'll be financially able to support two rent/mortgage payments (even though I hate the idea), but until then things are very tight. I can just feel the ulcer brewing...

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Sooo, What's It Gonna Take To Get You Into This House Today?"

I'm ready willing and able to become a full on pimp for the ole' homestead. Having come to terms with an employer in Seattle, I'm now desperate to sell this mamma jamma. I'm also desperate for an English word that sounds like "mobuto", but first things first. Faced with the prospect of spending any kind of protracted time away from my family unit, I'm developing an ulcer. I suppose many men are not so ridiculously attached to thier families and do this sort of thing all the time, but I'm feeling as though falling to pieces is a realistic option. I read Slaghammer's post over at Alchemy Anyone which included a Portland relocation and the poignant narrative about missing and being missed by family (and some crazy "pigs gone wild" sexual assault on a minor) and I'm all the worse off as a result.

"They took away my precious..."

So, normally I'd take my mind off of this with really twisted and alarming porn, but I'm at work (although what- they'd fire me? Heh), so I'm left to stew. I've been looking for places to stay (short term for me) and I'm also thinking that this transisiton will be costly (no- not regretting anything, it'll be worth it). Plus, once we're settled, I can begin the full court press to get some Colorado friends to move. I figure Pants and O will be suitable "marks", particularly considering the number of online and real-world friends Pants already has in the NW. Colorado people rarely move though, and I don't know why. They seem to all consider the world to be a smaller and less variable place than it really is. I'm not knocking the quality of life in Colorado per se, but if you don't ski (and I don't- the last time I summited a 14'er, I got blind spots), it's mostly hot dry and brown or cold and white. Plus, the people are provincial and more conservative than I can identify with- remember that this is the state featuring one senator who thinks Mexican aliens are destroying the country and the other who thinks it's the idea of gay marriage that'll be our national undoing. Meanwhile, there's this war-like deal happening... People dying... You may have heard of it.

So emotionally I'm a train wreck right now, and I don't have my filthy degenrate comfort mechanisms in which I'd take comfort. And I think I'm too old to stay in a youth hostel and to young (and not Christian) to stay in a YMCA. Maybe there is a nice bus teminal near my new employer. With broadband Internet :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Woo Hoo (Hoo*)!

So I'm back safely, and none too molested by the airport Nazi's. I'm told to expect an offer letter in the next week! Many thanks to all who have sent positive thoughts and support. Seattle was beautiful and it felt great to be there. The downtown area is really pretty and it rained on me a little as I walked around this morning investigating the area near the business. Turns out, it's maybe 5 blicks from the public market sign that seems to be one of the landmarks.

As far as the job goes, it will require that I build up my skill set more and will present a serious challenge- both of which are positive and welcome developments. One of the things that I'm seeing overall is the level of ability and discipline within the IT arena being noticeably more advanced there. That is to say that the baseline for IT skills is higher and the aptitute and drive of the people I'm meeting there puts Denver folks to shame. The people and experiences here in Colorado seem all the more half-assed to me now, and I'm looking forward to this change more than ever. I think my buddy Timmy was trying to explain this to me previously, but for whatever reason wasn't getting the idea across to me.

So at any rate, it sort of figures that on the plane ride back I get another request for an interview, and (I'm ashamed to admit this) I can't remember which of the maybe 10 other jobs for which I've applied in recent weeks, this is regarding. It's like when you run into someone and can't recall thier name (and should), so you hem and haw until you can sort it out (if you ever can). Yikes.

So, would I be exploiting your collective good graces if I now asked for positive thoughts in selling the house :)

* Additional "Hoo" is provided by special arrangement with and grateful guidance from Scott from Oregon

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wish Me Luck (Please)

Tomorrow I'm off to Seattle to talk to some folks about a job. That'll happen on Friday, so if you have any spare karma that you can send my way, please don't hesitate. I'll be home Friday night and blog if there is anything to report.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What Does A Punk-Ass Bitch Look Like?

Identifying a Punk-Ass Bitch in the wild: Look for unsportsmanlike conduct, followed by self-righteous indignation and rage. Punk-Ass Bitches commonly have an incredibly spoiled and self-centered world view, wherein they are somehow able to construe themselves as victims in what is best defined as their own personal mythology.

Those of you that know me, know that I live and breathe football (not just Packer football, although the Pack looms large in my legend) and seeing this absolute bastard of a man-child kick a defenseless and helmetless player while he was on the ground (causing gashes on either side of his eye) is nauseating. This savage and brain damaged behemoth then put the "baby poo icing" on the "cake of fucksurdity" by slamming his own helmet down on the field afterwards, so his team could move back ANOTHER 15 yards. His name is Albert "The Steaming Shit-Sack" Haynesworth, and he belongs in prison.

I know that in the days of Dick Butkis and Deacon Jones, this sort of thing happened- albeit more discreetly. Butkis was known/rumored to break fingers at the bottom of a dogpile, and others would bite. The NFL has made serious efforts to remove this element from the sport, and wants this to be a family sport (don't get me started on Janet Jackson's nipple- I actually LIKE looking at naked females). If that is still their intention, they need to take a page from the NHL, which is also interested in cleaning the sport up to make it more marketable, and have this 300lb. leaking anus of a man arrested and barred from playing the sport again in this league.

And don't "misunderestimate" me here- I like the hard hits, and I'm willing to let the "boys be boys" on the field, and I can even tolerate the occasional personal foul (hey- face masks can happen- it's not yoga). I hate like hell to see anyone leave the field on a cart or stretcher, and even if their team sucks ass, I root for the injured on the comeback trail the loudest (Teddy Bruschi, anyone?), but this is WAY beyond anything defensible for my beloved football.

One other aspect of this that isn't sitting well with me is that the team would/will be able to replace Albert "the Polyp Ream" Haynesworth on their roster with another player while he's under suspension. This is not consistent with a "team" sport. In REAL teams, if one guy screws up, all suffer, and in this scenario, the team only suffered on one drive. I submit that if a team member is suspended for a game or a season, the franchise must operate less one player. I don't include injuries in this view, as they are not causing harm to the sport or the league. Penalties should hurt. They are going to fine this walking afterbirth what- $50,000? He's on a 9.6 MILLION dollar contract? Chump change! Hit him for $1 Million and give it to the United Way so we can be spared at least some of their incessant commercials. Bah!