Archive for the ‘Characters’ Category

Don’t piss me off today

I took the shuttle to work today. I was blissfully reading a book on my iPad. The part about Joan Baez. Then my world was interrupted by a bratty, 20-something, pimply-faced child who sat behind me at the next stop.

He was talking on his phone. He wasn’t trying to hide it. In my brain, Joan Baez was replaced by a one sided conversation about the game the other night. About how this snotty kid convinced his admin to buy him twenty-four gigs of ram. He decided that he might have only needed twelve gigs. He used to have four. Then he started talking about his bank account. And ATMs. And some game he is going to next week. By then I’d closed my iPad because I’d read the same paragraph five times.

When it was my stop, I stood up, turned around, looked him in the eyes and loudly said, “I don’t care about the game, I don’t care about your bank account, and I certainly don’t care how much memory you put in your computer. Thanks for making it impossible for me to read.”

As I was ranting, his hand with the phone in it slowly fell away from his ear. He looked dumbfounded. Almost as if he were surprised that anyone had been listening.


One Dragonberry Mojito too many…

…and I’m ready to talk.

You already know that I went to the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis this morning, but what about the rest of my time here in Cocoa Beach?

Well, it really started yesterday, when I could have had a free adult beverage on Virgin America if I’d been wielding a lollipop for National Lollipop Day. I eyed the candy store next to the gate, but didn’t venture in. I know you are disappointed in me, but I didn’t really want to start drinking before the driving part of my trains, planes, and automobiles adventure. Besides, as much as you all grant me a reputation I don’t really earn, I am not really big on drinking before noon. Actually, before 5pm on most days. Not really my thing. I know you are questioning that, as I do occasionally break it, but I’ve realized that doing so really ruins my productivity for the day so I’ve stopped. Sorry.

As I boarded the plane, I realized I should have asked for an upgrade if available. But, as luck would have it, the middle seat was empty! No upgrade was required, although it would have been a pleasant surprise. (Wink, wink, nod, nod, know what I mean, Virgin America.)

The take-off was another story. It felt to me as though we were about to take off, but then slammed on the brakes. Maybe I’m imagining things, but it felt like a false start. After stopping abruptly, I saw two planes land directly in front of us. Maybe my luck was continuing.

Arriving safely at MCO, I went to Thrifty to see what I had won in the Hotwire Car Special Lottery. I was told that I’d most likely find Grand Marquis in that section. The attendant was correct. Mostly big Grandpa-type cars. But I did find a little Nissan Altima from Louisiana. So I put on a fake Cajun accent and hopped in, leaving the Grand Marquis to the three families of five I’d seen at the counter.

Upon arrival at the Four Points Sheraton in Cocoa Beach, I checked out my room on the fourth floor overlooking the retail outlet and bar. It wasn’t really what I had expected, even though I’d seen photos. I was thinking more of the lovely Desmond in Albany, NY with a lush courtyard. My view is of people drinking and shopping. C’est la vie, all I’ll be doing in my room is sleeping.

I went back downstairs to the Shark Pit which I could see from my room. I sat at the bar and put the free beer tasting card on the table like it was a game of poker and I was showing my hand. Jacob gave me a pour of the local brew. It wasn’t my favorite, but I told Jacob it had grown on me, so he gave me a full pint.

I ordered a taco salad. A little while later, @jyarmis showed up with his son. As most of you know, I’m very protective of my real identity, as if I were some sort of internet superhero. Sadly, I’m not, but that would be wicked cool! NASA had asked that we all carpool to the site, so I sucked it up and introduced myself to these other internet personalities so we could share a ride and a meal. Yes, me, the same person who does evasive maneuvers on the way home after a date to make sure that no one is following me—I met up with complete strangers and rode in their car. Of course, I had given Meine Schwester all the information I’d Googled, and we all know that her wrath would be worse than what any mere mortal could inflict on me, so I knew that if I ended up in a swamp, my death would be severely avenged.

Lucky for @jyarmis, he and his son are, as a coworker says, “good people”. We had a pleasant dinner and conversation, and they still offered to give me a ride after meeting me. I was kind of worried about that.

The next part, as I’ve said, is already history, so let me continue with what happened after. I got back to the hotel five hours after I’d left. I tried to go to sleep, but realized that I should write the blog post before the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis became just another weird dream. I finally fell asleep for another four hours. It was much needed, as it is now as well, but I have so much more to say!

I woke up for the second time today and started my day over. As I suspected, my adventure in the morning seemed like one of my lucid dreams. Maybe I sleep walked through it all. I gathered myself together and meant to go to lunch, but ended up shopping in the store I can see from my room.

There I bought a super cute dress and a new bathing suit. I stopped in my room and washed the bathing suit in the sink and left it to dry. I put on the dress, cleavage and all.

I went to the front desk to ask for a recommendation for lunch. The desk attendant was more than helpful. Really, truly helpful. I can’t imagine why. But he told me about The Village over in Cocoa. Since it was nearing two in the afternoon, I figured it was best to stay out of the sun, so I drove over there for a little more shopping.

My first stop was a cute little boutique, and bought another super cute dress. I think this one is a little less revealing, but I’ll have to try it on again in the morning to make sure. Meine Schwester has been wearing these super cute dresses and I feel kind of left out. Also, I’ve realized they make it really easy to get dressed in the morning, I look good in them, and if I get the right material then they don’t wrinkle and are great for throwing in a camera bag for a three-day vacation to Florida.

I asked the sales woman for a lunch recommendation. She suggested the same place as the hotel attendant. So off I went down the street to Ossorio. It was everything I’d been promised. I had a salad with strawberries and bacon. I think @lzucke02 said it best when she said, “Disgusted and slightly aroused all at once.”

Wandering around the shopping area, I realized that it is probably suited best for retirees hopping off the cruise ships. I wasn’t particularly interested in most of the stores, and it was really sad and lonely on a Thursday afternoon. I’m hoping that it is hopping on the weekends. It made me worried about what the local economy will do without the space shuttle launches. Hopefully it won’t affect them too much.

I stopped by the hotel and put on my clean, new bathing suit and headed to the hotel pool. I was disappointed to realize how small it was. The waterfall was a cute touch, but loud. I’d brought my book and if it had been a quiet place to read, then I would have stayed. Luckily, the ocean was less than a block away, so I ventured down there. Besides, it was after 5 pm, so I was safe from burning.

The ocean was so inviting, so I awkwardly placed my hotel key into the top of my swimsuit and ventured into the waves. I had this need to go back to my towel, as if there was something important I needed to do, but I successfully fought the urge and stayed in the warm ocean water. This is what everyone thinks of as beaches. Milky white sand that goes for miles in either direction. The soft silt slips between my toes as the undertow pulls gently while the waves crash in. Blue sky and blue water. Florida beaches really ruin it for all other locations with beaches.

Back on my towel, I napped for a few minutes and enjoyed the sun. My stomach started to rumble, so by 7 pm I came back to the hotel to change. I was out the door an hour later.

Using Yelp, I decided to go to The Fat Snook, but then I looked it up on the map and realized it wasn’t really walking distance. I should have gone anyways. I ended up going to the Sandbar Sports Grill. While it was not exactly the prime dining location, it was exactly what you would expect from a beach bar. Two bars, one inside and one serving the deck customers. The view is obstructed by the parking lot and some trees, but you can imagine it being on the beach. Tonight, I was graced with karaoke. Luckily, most of the people could actually sing, and I stayed off the stage.

There were two groups of cute guys, probably military. I couldn’t seem to get any of their attention, even with the new magic dress. There were no good opportunities to break into their conversation. And knowing I’m only here for one more night, it wasn’t really worth pressing the issue. The only guy who stopped by my table to talk was probably seventy. I fail miserably at this dating thing.

Since I was unsuccessful, I retreated back to the Shark Pit Bar & Grill. Jacob was working again tonight and remembered what I was drinking last night. He was in the middle of making a mojito, and since The Sandbar was out of mojitos tonight, I had Jacob make me a dragonberry mojito.

I then proceeded to fail at hitting on a cute Australian. He paid his bill and ran away before I could figure out what to say to him. Then two couples arrived. They were chatty and more than happy to involve me in their conversations. From Chicago, they were here for a wedding. When one couple left for a few moments, I asked if they were related and then heard the real story about how they aren’t and actually, they were kind of tired of them. Sadly, the other couple returned. And then the newlyweds arrived. Jacob remembered all of their drinks from the night before. And they all remembered me from the bar from the night before. Turns out, I’m the forgetful one.

They were all headed to The Sandbar since it is open until 2 am and our little hotel bar closes at 11 pm. I warned them about the karaoke and lack of mojitos. They left, trying one last time to get me to join them. I declined and Jacob made me one last mojito before I retired to my room. Alone.

Missed connections

We all went to the airport this morning not knowing if we were staying or leaving. NASA’s press conference was supposed to be at 1030, but Mountain Man and kids had a flight at 1000. Lucky for us, NASA leaks like a sieve, so the Twitterverse was aglow with rumors that the launch wouldn’t happen before the end of the week.

Sparkles and I hung outside the ticket counters until there was some official word that the delay was for real. Then we went to get our boarding passes. Only problem was that I walked right by the Virgin ticket counters because no one was there. When I circled back around, the TSA agent who had smiled at me as I passed the first time took a chance the second time and asked if I needed help. I said that I was looking for the Virgin ticket counter. He told me I have a beautiful smile. I thanked him and he explained that the agents wouldn’t be there until at least noon. My flight wasn’t until 1640, so they weren’t expecting me or the Spanish Inquisition. He the told me the secret: if I knocked on the side door someone might open it and help me. I said I’d try my luck at the Jet Blue counter. Maybe they’d give me a pass to “help” my brother on the plane. And then made a crack about my brother’s mental capacity behind his back.

While waiting for Sparkles to use the ticket machine, I spied a non-branded machine around the corner. To my amazement, it was willing to dispense tickets from any number of airlines. It meant I couldn’t check my bag though. Oh well.

Sparkles and I went to the security check. When the TSA agent looked at my ticket, she hesitated. I explained that I knew I was going the wrong way, but that my flight wasn’t until much later and I wanted to hang out with my brother until his flight. That seemed like a good explanation, so she let me through with a smile and said, “Now don’t you forget to come back now, ya hear?” Yes Ma’am.

We waited for Sparkles’ flight, then I went off to my Terminal on the complete opposite side of the airport. I wandered around looking for a place to call home. My little wing of the airport was completely empty except for one little bar with no patrons.

I asked the bartender if there was a place with a plug. Sure enough, on the far side. So I sat down and we introduced ourselves as I explained that I’d be there for quite a while.

Bartender told me the wing had mostly been AirTran that had just been bought out by Southwest. So for another month or so it would be empty except for the occasional Virgin America flight. I decided that was fine because I had the whole place to myself.

Bartender and I chatted for quite a while. He told me all the perks of being in his business. His girlfriend works for an airline, so they jet around on random weekends. It made me think I need to date a pilot.

Occasionally, Southwest passengers from one of the other wings would show up and exclaim at the oasis of quiet they had just happened upon. I helped a couple, both hairdressers, decide on an iPad or a MacBook Air.

I talked with a woman who is a beer/liquor distributor for the group that supplies the bar I was at. From her and the bartender I learned that different kinds of bands at concert venues attract different types of drinkers. We discussed the merits of the fill-from-the-bottom cups and how they give perfect head every time. And that you can adjust the depth of the head by pressing the right buttons. And she told me her company gave her the choice of Blackberries or iPhones, so she switched immediately. Then she wanted to know why they hadn’t just replaced all the pcs with macs as well.

I talked with an older gentleman who works on the programming on NASA tv and is going to be laid off soon after the shuttles stop launching. He confirmed all the information I’d been reading about the shuttle delay.

And in that time, I also managed to finish up some other stuff I’d been working on, although I don’t think my email sent, so I’ll have to do that when I get home.

When the tweets came in to remind me to leave the bar, I paid my check and thanked the bartender for letting me stay for a couple hours. He at least feigned that he would miss me.

On the plane, Tom Scavo stopped me to say hello. I wanted to talk to him more, but I wasn’t sitting next to him this time. I should have made a point to go talk to him during the flight. He is talk and good looking.

I’d managed to change my middle seat to a window seat when I checked in. Lucky for me and The Aisle, no one sat in the middle. the Aisle and I chatted for probably and hour and a half or so. He’s a physEd teacher and was in Orlando for a conference. We chatted about all kind of things, one of which was that he decide I was so headstrong that I must be difficult to date. You can imagine all the good stories of flat tires and missed opportunities that I regaled him with. I expect that anyone I date must be able to do more to my car than I can.

Eventually, I read a junk-food thriller. When we landed, I tried to catch Scavo’s eye, but I couldn’t. I had a plan to stop by baggage claim and say good night on my way to the AirBart, but it turns out that baggage claim was downstairs and AirBart was upstairs.

The AirBart was quick. I didn’t wait long for BART, and I only had to wait fifteen minutes for Caltrain. Now, on my ride home, I’m wondering how things would have been different if I had missed the train because I’d gone to baggage claim to ask Scavo if he’d had a chance to play golf while he was in Orlando.

Guess we will never know.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fuckin’ Hipster

Looking too cool for school in his homemade spectacles created from camera lens polarizing filters.

Why business ethics courses are necessary

Germany is considering a law that would prohibit employers from reading and using Facebook profiles during interviews. While I do believe that employers shouldn’t discriminate based on what they find on the web, I don’t think that future employees should be lured into believing that what they post in a public forum will not be used against them. What I don’t know is whether the German government is just restricting Facebook or if tweets and blogs are included. Why stop at the Internet. Why not prohibit asking about anything you’ve done publicly? I don’t think the Internet should be treated as a safe haven of places to say stupid things.

While I’m mentioning interviews, a friend of mine had an interesting one lately. She went in to talk to the owner of a small business about a job. Everything seemed normal. They made small talk and then chatted about the position. He could only afford to hire her half time. He knew that wouldn’t be enough. So to sweeten the deal, he mentioned that he has a three bedroom condo. That he lives in. But he has extra space. And maybe if things worked out, they could get married.

Yes, he said that.

This guy is probably 30 years older than my friend. Knowing that, he explained he has no problem getting it up.

Yes, he went there.

Then he explained that he had to buy his ex wife and teenage son a condo in the same building so he could spend time with his kid. He likes kids. He wouldn’t mind having more. He even has some frozen sperm just in case.

Yes, frozen sperm.

By this point, my friend was sitting in the interview looking like a deer in headlights. Stunned. What do you say to moving in, getting married, sex with an old guy and having his frozen sperm children.

She got up to leave. On the way out, he gave her a once over and said, “You could stand to lose a few pounds.”


I’m still flabbergasted. I am hardly ever at a loss for words, but I have no idea how I would have handled this situation.

What would you do?

Sunnyvale Art and Wine Festival

It is a warm and sunny day here in Sunnyvale, California. The construction on Murphy Street is now complete and the roads are filled with people and vendors with colorful umbrellas and arts and crafts for sale. If you are looking for something to do today or tomorrow, come on down! It is right next to the train station for your convenience.

Happy Birthday, @bbum!

Here are a few sample photos. The rest, you can find in My Gallery

Birthday cake

The crew

The Amazing Eddie!

An old college friend who happens to be in town. I promised that if he ever has a better sushi dinner, I will pay him back.

Sake bomb…

…gone horribly wrong. Has to be a good party when there is broken glass on the floor!


I almost biked over Jesus today.

I was biking to work. It is Bike To Work Day, but I’m also in the middle of a Bike To Work Month Challenge. Our company has now pulled into the lead, but it is going to be a pretty close race. Not so bad for a bunch of slackers.

I was riding along my normal route when I was passed. This happens occasionally, since my take on biking is slow and steady finishes the race. I was pedaling at a nice constant pace, giving me a good aerobic workout, but not trying to win, since the only thing I win is getting to work. Besides, I’m riding a mountain bike with hybrid tires. I’m not going to beat out someone on a road bike.

Jesus—who isn’t Mexican, but I like to say it with a spanish accent—sped by me, pedaling hard on his lighter framed bike with thinner tires. He was a couple yards ahead of me when he bit asphalt. A car slammed on its brakes. Jesus got up out of the road slowly. I tossed my bike on the side walk, and pulled his bike and hat out of the road.

At closer look, Jesus looked almost homeless. His bike was old and well worn, but not well loved. The chain had come off the gears. He himself was bearded, and although he looked clean enough, his clothes were spotted with paint and dirt, and I didn’t think all of it was from the road, but maybe it was. He had a pretty good chunk of skin taken out of his knee and elbow. And another good chunk taken out of his pride.

I stayed while he worked the kinks out, and let him use my phone to call someone. Through it all, I was extremely suspicious. I have a wild imagination. I thought maybe he had ditched on purpose to get me off my bike so that someone would jump out of the car that stopped and kidnap me. I was suspicious that he didn’t have a cell phone when I offered him mine. I dialed it myself and handed it to him when it started ringing, all the while, I held onto his bike. It made me feel better that he wasn’t sitting on his bike and I could definitely outrun him with his injuries. But maybe while chasing him, that would give the imaginary guy hiding in the bushes a chance to steal my bike. I tried not to let on that I thought the whole thing was a conspiracy.

He was grateful as we both continued on our ways to work.

Rolling Stones

Old woman with a walker. Husband walking behind carrying a hanging plant and a bag of vegetables. He stops and says to me, "What is it the Rolling Stones say? I won't be your beast of burden." I laugh and he continues to walk on.

Interesting characters

Seen after last night’s concert: Bright yellow bike. $2000. Bright yellow windbreaker. $50. Asian guy wearing a tuxedo with his violin in his backpack getting ready to bike home after his recital. Priceless.

Seen on my run this morning: I was coming upon a person in a grey skirt, black jacket, stockings, plain black flat shoes, a brown purse and a pink umbrella. Short and stout, the only question I had when I approached was, “Is it a man or a woman.”

Made me wonder what kind of a place that I live in that I wondered that at all.

I tried not too look back and stare. Older woman with thick eyebrows, looking like she might have been taking the path on her way back from church. Using the pink umbrella to shade herself from the sun. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt while she was fully covered. Must have been hot.

I do think she needs a black purse if she is going to wear black and grey though. Or maybe a bright pink handbag to match the umbrella.