First day: so far so good (who told the German guy a 11PM-12AM meeting was a good idea?)

I had no big trouble (knock on wood) during my flight across the country. No body probes at checkin, no bumps off of flights, just little things. Like not being able to enter my Mileage Plus number into the e-ticket machine. Or being put in the very last row of the plane next to several (four or more) small children. Or being told that I’d have to pay for food on the flight and having them run out so I got NOTHING to eat. Small things.

The view out my hotel window isn’t as bad as the complaints on the web:

Omni Parker House View

I did get here only a little late and I couldn’t find the German guy I was supposed to meet with. So, instead, I went to Durgin Park

Durgin Park

and it’s changed in 20 years. No more sawdust on the floor. No more surly wait staff (I heard they all died since I’d last been there!) But the food was fantastic.

I bought this:

Surf and turf at Durgin Park

and I bet there’s no way I’m getting Megacorp to pay for it.

When I got back to my room at 10:30PM, the German guy had called. I had to call him on a Paris phone number and the cell phone network routed the call back to Boston. He still wanted to meet, so that was my 11PM-12AM meeting. Or maybe more. I seem to recall hearing a lot of geek information during that meeting. More than would fit in an hour.

Anyway, it’s 1:30AM here (10:30PM to those of us on the left coast) so I better try to get some sleep.

Oh, and I’m supposed to have a meeting with an Em Eye Tee professor on Friday! The guy who forgot to reply to my email! His FIFTH kid was just born last week so he’s been busy!

Off on my Grand Adventure.

I haven’t been on an airplane since before 9/11. In fact, I think the last commercial plane I was on was back in 1999 or whenever it was when I last worked for Megacorp. I’m off on a multi-day business trip in Boston, MA. I haven’t been back since 1986 when I shook the hand of Paul E. Gray, ’54 and had him hand me a diploma. I’m spending an extra day there and the thunderclouds will be there to greet me. I’ll be there in my best West Coast finery, a collared shirt and jeans, and looking the part of the tourist that I am. I only have a few things on my list besides work: flip off my alma mater and have someone take a picture of the event, eating at Legal Seafood or No Name or Durgin Park, possibly flipping off Harvard but that seems crass. And, of course, a walk down some semi-familiar streets.

In any case, I’m not the most organized business traveler. My worries usually fall away when the plane leaves the ground. After that I know it’s up to someone else until I arrive at my hotel, and everything I forgot has to depend on my credit card limit.

Wish me luck or something.

And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper.

Wood chippers are dangerous, and every time I’ve used one I’ve been a little tired. It’s usually on the end of a day of hacking away at my father’s prized trees and rhododendron when I’m in a rush to get rid of all the evidence. And today was Memorial Day, traditionally the first day I notice that the yard is overgrown from all the spring rains.

Anyway, I borrowed a wood chipper from my mom’s crazy mechanic friend and he said it was full of gas. It wasn’t, and of course it ran out while I was stuffing it full of branches. It got so jammed up that I had to take it apart so I could get it restarted. Later I was trying to unjam it again and the piece of wood I was using as a prod kicked back and smacked my right palm. Now my palm is swollen and I’m having a hard time gripping things.

That’s not as bad as yesterday, when I found grey hairs in places that I shouldn’t. Enough about that. At least I convinced my cell phone that it’s a Cingular phone so I can use some more of the Cingular features on it.

Big dessert.

Went out to dinner tonight with several of Carolyn’s relatives, but after dinner we went up to the Harris household where all three daughters and their families were in town. I guess I got Papa (Dr) Harris in trouble by writing about all the trips up and down the hill with the wood chipper, but it’s always fun seeing everyone again. Besides that, I have a picture of the rain but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Carolyn is in town.

Instead of taking a nap Friday afternoon, I had dinner with my parents, brother-in-law, sister, and Carolyn, and then four of us went to see The Da Vinci Code. It was kinda silly, but also pretty amusing. It was recommended by a Lutheran pastor, and I think I concur. I’m also not sure why some people are boycotting it when it’s so obviously a fictional story. Ah, well, it was fun.

So on the way to lunch we found that my friend’s pickup truck wouldn’t start. We took my car, but he spent the rest of the afternoon out in the Megacorp parking lot trying to fix it. Another guy from another company was there to help and couldn’t believe that NONE of the Megacorp people stopped to help. Now, however, he believes me when I call the employees of Megacorp faceless and unfriendly drones. Ah, well. I guess I’ll just have to try to be more friendly. Obviously women can’t remember me so I must be faceless.


After two years of going to the gym, I actually got the phone number of one of the women there. And it’s not because she wants to sell me Amway. I guess she was going out with this guy (who I called “the doughy guy”) and recently she got a call from the doughy guy’s wife! She thought he was single. The woman at work told me not to call the woman from the gym, because the woman from the gym probably just wants to talk about the doughy guy situation. Well, I sent the woman from the gym a text message and she replied, “Who are you? Are you the guy from Goose Hollow?”

Honestly, you’d think I was invisible or something.

I did see the woman from the gym, at the gym, today and she said she wanted to talk but had plans and kept talking as she walked away. In fact, one of the guys I know even remarked as she walked out of the door, “Is she still talking?”

Ditching the ham radio meetings.

I’m still the treasurer of the club, but I can’t drag myself to the meetings any more. I’ve even been slightly crankier at work. Take, for example, my trip to the bathroom where one guy tried to knock me over with the door, another guy tried to knock me over while accidentally taking a laptop instead of his lunch from the counter, and the guy who actually owned the laptop shook his wet hands at me. I wanted to hurt each of those three people. I also don’t like people who don’t stop at the stop line on the way out of the parking lot. They pull way forward, blocking my view of oncoming traffic. In any case, I’m glad to be out of that place. The last thing I need is any silly drama at the radio club meeting from the couple of cranky SOBs who are there. Most of the guys are fine, but there are a couple I don’t mind not seeing very often.



I was testing my sister’s gallery software (which is broken, by the way) and I had to find a proper picture to use to test uploads. Fortunately, my new Mac has a camera built into it.
I think I’m going to use this picture on

Test head!

24 is finally over.

I mean, the show gets my heart rate up and I have trouble getting to sleep afterwards, so I’m glad there’s only 24 episodes in a season. Problem is, there has to be a cliff-hanger until next January. Good thing I have “Rescue Me” and maybe “The Closer” and possibly “Monk” this summer. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Starved” better be coming back, too.

For those of you who look at my sister’s galleries, I am sorry they are broken at the moment. She can’t post any more entries. I’m not sure what’s wrong, and it may take me a bit to fix it. Let me say, on the record, that I really dislike PHP. It may be time for me to learn Ruby or something.

The boring life and times.

Not only did I not get up early today, but I also took a nap. I finally got around to mowing the lawn, but it got dark and the sky looked, well, ominous. Thunderstorms were forecast, so I figured I’d better just get the mowing done and then hide out. After some short period of hiding out, the sun came out, but it was all just a ruse. After about an hour of good weather, all hell broke loose and I even heard there were some flooded streets. There are random severe weather warnings, and coin-sized hail.

My sister brought over some stale pastries today, which beats the hell out of no pastries, but calling them “stale” means I get to eat them at a rapid rate with no feelings of guilt. Not that I tend to feel guilty about eating pastries. I feel guilty about just about anything else, but not pastry eating. Especially not stale mini-pastries.

Oh, an internet buddy from Baltimore sent me a copy of the article I was in about people who didn’t get into their college of choice. I was featured, you remember, because I got into NO medical schools, not just my medical school of choice. The funniest thing was that my picture is right next to STEVEN SPIELBERG’S! I’m sure that’s the only time that’s will happen.

Hey, it was supposed to rain today.

Instead of enjoying the surprisingly nice weather, I took a nap and then worked on my sister’s database. I know I didn’t need to figure out all the weird things, but it also gave me practice with SQL. I’ve forgotten a lot in the past year. I was so tired today, I could have gone to sleep at 7PM. But, as it usually goes, I got a second wind and while I should be asleep now, I was re-watching the last shows of “That 70’s Show” and “Will & Grace.” Yeesh.

So, I think the cooling tower for the Trojan nuclear power plant will have to implode on its own. I’m going to sleep right through it. There were all-night parties and also camp outs planned, but unless I’m doing the blowing up or standing very closeby, I’m not going to bother with the loss of sleep and the horrendous traffic. That just sounds too much like going to work.

Livin’ It Up (Friday Night).

Jessica at the gym’s front desk (or Mrs. Y, as I like to call her) found a new DMX radio station at the gym. I think Ben, also at the front desk, said it was called “70’s Party Music.” It’s not just the 70’s. I remember hearing “Buffalo Stance” by Neneh Cherry, The Dazz Band, some Parliament, “Shine a Little Love” by ELO, etc. Some of it is 70’s but a lot is 80’s. All very silly, just the way I like it.

Anyway, here it is, Friday night again and I’m too tired to do anything besides hitting the hay after watching some TV. I’m just so exciting. Even my fantasies about the women at the gym are more like my thinking, “Eh, I’m way too boring for her.”

One problem I’ve had is lack of TV-turning-off willpower. “The Unit” showed two episodes until 11PM, “Without a Trace” started with a big shootout in FBI headquarters, and then I had recordings of the last episodes of “Scrubs,” “Will & Grace,” “That 70’s Show,” and a DVD of “Rex the Runt,” episodes. I need to catch up on my sleep.

Oh, and the song I had to have this week after hearing it at the gym: “Livin’ It Up (Friday Night)” by Bell & James which is NOT on iTunes.