I was wrong.

I took a picture of the prices at the San Diego zoo. I’m not sure why I thought it was over sixty dollars to get in, but it was pretty expensive. Anyway, I started wandering around the park and stumbled across a really nice arboretum. It included desert plants

Desert plants.

and a rose garden.

Rose garden.

I also have a picture of the hotel

San Diego Holiday Inn by the bay.

and the harbor across the road.

San Diego harbor.

The winds blew straight across the bay and onto the screen glass door of my room. I’m guessing San Diego doesn’t have this kind of weather usually because no one would want to stay in a room like that.

I added some pictures to this weeks postings, if you’re interested in seeing pictures of FOOD.

Made it back.

I’m back home, skipping the Microsoft block party where they’re renting a whole block of restaurants in downtown San Diego. I called today a travel day and got myself sunburned by walking from the zoo to the hotel and then making an excursion to In-N-Out burger. I didn’t notice that I was getting sunburned because I was SNOW BLIND. It’s too damn hot in San Diego (it was in the 60’s!) and it’s too damn bright.

The In-N-Out turned out to be next door to Gold’s Gym so I went in to take a look. They have SEVENTY FIVE cardio machines! Man, those Californians are nuts. Oh, and I had to walk across 12 lanes of traffic several times to get to In-N-Out. I think I’m the only person who makes more than minimum wage who was walking around down there. And the only thing downtown is courthouse after courthouse. It’s Crazy Town.

In case anyone wonders why I spend so much time at the gym and don’t seem to lose any weight, here’s a picture of my weakness, a double-double animal style with fries extra done.

In-N-Out burger.

I can’t take another day of that conference.

The conference was OK but there’s only so many three-hour lectures a guy can take. I don’t think the lectures were that long when I was in college. I’m going to take tomorrow to wander aimlessly through San Diego.

Thank goodness the lady next door stopped talking on her cell phone. I got back to my hotel around 6 and she was talking on her cell phone on the adjacent balcony. I went down to exercise in the hotel gym and when I got back she was still there talking. I went downstairs to eat dinner and when I got back she was still talking. That’s at least five hours worth.

I was going to go to Gold’s gym but I cheaped out and hit the hotel gym. Hotel gyms are kind of pathetic, but I figured it would have been at least $30 in cab fare and when I called they told me that they didn’t lend out locks like the Gold’s in Portland. I’d have to buy a $8 lock when I have a bunch at home already. Plus the towel charge. It all worked out because I was able to watch Bones while I was on the elliptical trainer.

Sounds like I’m going to miss a huge Microsoft party tomorrow, but I’d rather go home. I can hang out with geek any time (and I do.)

Triggering my self-destructive side.

After a night where the wind in San Diego was blowing so hard that the sliding glass door in my hotel room was howling, I made it to the Microsoft indoctrination conference where they were passing out extra-strength Kool-aid. I’m thinking of quitting my job and trying to get a job as an Apple genius (Apple retail, for those who don’t know.) Plus, every lecture there was a guy with an incredibly large melon on his shoulders sitting right in front of me and a couple of Euros behind me yapping throughout the presentation.

So, in the evening, I tried to eat myself to death. I went to Cafe Zucchero in San Diego’s Little Italy (a lot closer than the convention center) and had a veal shank that was saltier than I like with some wine that was more astringent than I like. Not perfect, but still delicious so I ate until I was unable to eat any more.

Veal shank.

The waiter tempted me with a dessert tray and I told him, “If you had a cannoli on there, even though you don’t, I’d have one.” He had cannolis, just not on the tray. I couldn’t sensibly eat another bite but I forced down a delicious cannoli (and some delicious decaf cappuccino.) That was the best part of the meal.

 Cannoli.

An odd thing I’ve noticed walking around San Diego is that there are older women here (which probably makes them my age) and very young women here (college students who look like high school students) but nothing in between. Odd.

Anyway, the best part of the conference was finding out that my ID badge had an RFID tag in it. I hunted down the guy from the company providing the tags and he told me that they’re excited at 13.6MHz and now I have something to experiment with when I get home.

The sliding glass door is still howling from the wind and the front desk told me that every room has the same problem so I can’t switch to a quieter room. Good thing they provide ear plugs.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t screw around.

I made it to San Diego a little late and this was my first ride on Southwest Airlines. And what a ride. I was worried about the lack of assigned seating, but that was no big deal. Crowded flights are crowded flights. They passed out peanuts and drinks, which was nice. No audio programming, though, and I always liked plugging my headphones into SOMETHING so I could avoid listening to all the cabin noise (and by cabin noise I mean I always get seated next to the kids and you can imagine what that’s like.)

The biggest difference was that they flew the plane like a plane. Other airlines try to maximize comfort by doing things like yawing the plane instead of actually banking and turning. Or they fly AROUND rough patches instead of THROUGH them. We had a bit of a roller coaster on both legs of the flight, from Portland to Reno and from Reno to San Diego.

When I finally got here I had to wait 50 minutes for the hotel shuttle. That meant I was late to watch 24 and I had to get room service and my second hamburger of the day because it was too late to go out for dinner. Ah, well, the adventure continues.

Nappy time.

Yesterday I was out late because of a friend’s birthday party. Since I’m old a lot of people were calling it quits at 11PM, but somehow I got roped into a game of M.U.L.E. and I got home around 1AM. Oh, and the friend brews incredible beer so I had to have “some” and of course that means today is just nap day for me.

I did finally get over to fix a guy’s FAX line. A friend from the gym works at an apartment building that is for low-income seniors and one of her residents was having trouble with the FAX machine. He had his walls painted and somehow the phone line to his FAX machine no longer worked. I helped him get that back working (and I helped a guy replace a belt on a vacuum cleaner). So I guess I did SOMETHING today.

It’s not like I do all that much on a Sunday. My friends know this. Megan called and I took the abuse while she set up her new DSL and wireless at her apartment in San Francisco. You can probably guess this took most of an hour on the phone but the only thing I was going to do was take another nap. And I did that as well.

Goofy Asian dudes, unite!

Being a goofy Asian dude, I listen to goofy Asian music from time to time. I’ve been listening to a lot of Yellow Magic Orchestra lately. In fact, I got stuck on YouTube looking at YMO videos. Well, that was after searching for, “Bush Blair Gay Bar.” You’ll see what I mean if you look for that. The original music video by, “Electric Six,” is quite bizarre as well. You’ll see why we call each other, “Superstar,” at work.

I get to go to San Diego next week. I had a heck of a time finding flights and hotels and I really don’t want to go to a, “Microsoft Management Summit,” but it’s part of my job. They pay me and they get to tell me what to do. I don’t know about anyone else, but I hardly have any free time during my business trips. I even find it hard to eat with any regularity. Most conferences I go out to dinner with a group and I get limited time to sleep. Maybe this time I’ll get to hit the gym once or twice because I don’t know anyone who is going. We’ll see. My main goal is to do as much work-related stuff that I can but that’s my problem, isn’t it?

At least it’s not L.A.

The list of things that cheese me off is pretty long. One thing is working with Microsoft products. Unfortunately for me, Megacorp arbitrarily decided that my job was to work with Microsoft products. Not just the easy ones, but the the awful ones that need whole IT departments to keep them running. This afternoon some Megacorpers decided I needed to go to a Microsoft conference in San Diego next week. NEXT WEEK. Work conferences are supposed to be planned months in advance, not hours.

Another thing that cheeses me off is wasting my time. I was told that I would attend a, “document review meeting,” after filing a, “defect sheet.” Instead of just proofreading a document, I had to write down the line number and page number and describe the, “defect.” A run-on sentence with varying verb tenses, misspellings, and technical errors would require several defects to describe. Seeing as how the author received about half of the document from another company in outline form just after lunch and he sent it to me at 1:30PM, you can understand how rough of a draft it was. Oh, and I had meetings from 10-5 and I’m supposed to proofread this thing by 9:30 tomorrow morning when I’m double-booked in meetings again. It took me 2 hours (from 7:30PM to 9:30PM) to get through 37 out of 67 pages and I gave up. I told them that the document was not ready for review and that I would not be attending the review meeting. Can’t they give me a job I can do and time to do it?

Yay, gym time.

I spent a lot of time flapping my gums at the gym since I haven’t been there in a couple of weeks. I got all sorts of abuse from the staff and one of the women there who looked at my shirt and said, “Superstar?! You’re kind of a freakshow, aren’t you?”

Me, freakshow.

We also had a little Asian gangster thing going. One of the trainers at the gym who I think is Vietnamese had some highlights put in his hair. His client, a Chinese woman, came in and said, “I didn’t know you were Korean.” My comment was, “Hey, did you get a Honda with ground effects and the big R sticker to make it go faster?”

I suppose the best part for me was that the unhappy girl was there. I hadn’t seen her for quite some time. I chatted with her about her odd hours at work. Funny, I think the first thing I ever said to her was, “MARS FACE! MARS FACE!” (I got all excited because the Mars Face was on TV while we were on the elliptical trainers. You can look up Mars Face on Wikipedia if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

P.S. “Sister Christian” is a song by Night Ranger, a San Francisco 80’s metal band.

CHEST X-RAY!!!!!

For those of you who thought I should see the doctor, I saw the doctor. I rationalized it this way: I wanted to see if my chest was clear, but since I never got into medical school I really had no reason to buy that nice Littman Master Cardiology stethoscope and so I couldn’t listen to my lungs myself, and in any case nobody was going to listen to my batty self-diagnosis with any sense of belief. So I had to have Mr. Dr. Physician do it for me, and while he was at it I was going to have him prescribe me some hay fever medication as well.

My nerdy doctor (one of my peeps) said the cold going around this year seems to present the way I had it: starts with head congestion, ends up in the chest. He thought he heard diminished breath sounds on the right side, so he took an X-ray, which was clear. I came back to the office after my x-ray and had to sit in the room with the sigmoidoscope (THE THING THEY USE TO LOOK UP YOUR POOPER) and I really didn’t want to touch anything in there, not even the chair. He gave me a clean-ish bill of health and gave me some ‘scrips for Flonase and Allegra (hay fever meds) and sent me on my way.

The best part is that I saw the woman I used to have a crush on when I first started at the gym. The one with the big nose. She was walking around the park. Wait, I think that was yesterday, since today it was miserable and wet and nobody was walking around the park. OK, the best part is that the doctor’s Medical Assistant was kind of flirty. That always makes doctor visits more fun.

Just in case you didn’t get your fill of VH-1 (whatever happened to pop-up video?), yesterday I saw that the woman who “Sister Christian” was written about is an office manager in Portland! I might actually KNOW her! A possible brush with fame! I’d rather meet Steve Perry, or John Oates, but you takes what you gets.

What the hell.

I don’t remember what I did today. All I can think about writing about is complaining about work. I think I’ll go to sleep instead.

My increased level of cursing.

I started working at Megacorp and I quit swearing so much. I don’t know why, but I just did. But oddly enough, when they changed my job to do something very similar to Windows system administration (though it is only installation and setup) I went back to my system administrator vocabulary. I keep saying, “I need to watch myself,” and “I should calm down,” etc, but this is one of those situations where I’m already sensitized to the inherent climate and any little thing can set me off. It’s like allergies. There’s no way to make myself calm down because the other people are setting me off and I can’t change myself. Maybe I could get hypnotherapy, but I’d rather not.

So I thought I was getting better, but I think my allergies are triggering my coughing fits. It’s an “unproductive cough” meaning nothing is being coughed up as far as I can tell, but it’s also unproductive because I’m unable to do anything while I’m continually coughing. If this doesn’t go away, it really is doctor time. I need to see him about allergy medications anyway. It’s too nice out and I’m sure it’s getting to be time for the stupid plants to start having plant sex.