Saturday, November 29, 2008

Transition Phase: Oahu Part 1

Landed at Honolulu Airport, drove to Friend 1's house in Nu'uanu.

View from Friend 1's back porch; looks out on Koolau mountains (which up the Pali Highway, forms the area where the Pali Lookout is.

The following are pictures from the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. Pali means "cliff"; the lookout is on a 985 foot cliff overlooking part of the island (Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman's Hat) and the Koolau Mountain range with it's steep cliffs and cutouts. The Pali Pass goes through the mountain and forms a wind tunnel. When you are at the lookout the winds rush to really high speeds, so much so that you typically have to secure your camera, bags, and sunglasses; clothes billow in the wind, and on certain days you can lean into the wind and be propped up without falling forward. (Note to the ladies: you'll put on a show if you wear a skirt, because you ain't going to be hiding any of the goods in that wind.) It's usually very hard to hear others talking up there (probably another reason I like it - no tourist chatter in the background) because you hear a ton of white noise as the wind swooshes past your ears.

History of the place: the story of the Pali involves a bloody battle fought in the struggle for control of the islands a long while back. As King Kamehameha I fought to unite the islands under his rule, during a bloody battle, he pushed the warriors defending Oahu up to the Nu'uanu Pali, where he drove the remaining ones over the edge of the cliff to fall 900+ feet to their deaths. After that, he was in position to take Oahu under his rule, making this one of the key battles in Hawaiian history. So neat to be in a place with such historic significance and such an all-senses experience.
The valley. Kaneohe Bay on left (not fully pictured).
Koolau Mountains; note bottom left, you can see one of the Pali tunnels. (Pali Highway connects Honolulu/Waikiki side of the island with the opposite; faster than driving the perimeter of the island.) The highway (before it was a highway) was first a foot trail walking around the steep clidffs, then horse trail (narrow); then a 1 lane dirt road, before it was finally paved into a 2 lane road (then again expanded to 2 lanes each side).
Chinaman's Hat rock formation.
Next: Phase II: Australia, October 22

Phase I: Maui

Arrived Kahului, Maui October 14, 2008

Sunset on first night!

Location I.A: Polo Beach Club, Wailea, Maui

View from inside condo. The line running down the middle of the picture is the window; this is actually a corner where 2 panes of glass meet, so you get the panoramic view. If you look past the lamp, the far island is Kahoolawe (uninhabited; used to be used for military training of munitions), the closer half-moon shaped one is Molokini (very small, big reef surrounding, lots of snorkeling).
Took a trip to Lanai on October 18. Took ferry boat from Lahaina Harbor, West Maui (Approx 45 minutes from Wailea), over to Lanai. Population of Lanai is approximately 3,000. There are 2 major resorts on Lanai, which is the only source of income for the island. Both resorts are Four Seasons properties, the Manele Bay resort (near harbor ~15 minute walk along a beach trail to get there) and Koele Lodge (other end of island - shuttle between the two). Beautiful little island, we found that surfers would take the ferry over to the island to ride the waves there if a swell was coming in. Not huge waves, but appeared to be a good spot that was less busy than the usual surf locations.

View from Manele Bay resort down to the Bay.
Took the Four Seasons shuttle over the mountain to the Koele Lodge - a beautiful property with fantastically manicured grounds. Quiet and serene location.
View from lobby to back grounds, behind the fountain is a lake. This is the entryway to the rest of the grounds.
View from lakeside to Lodge.
View across lake, authentic pagoda on the left.
Stream running through grounds, stand of bamboo on left where wild turkeys grazed.

Waterfall on grounds

As I walked the grounds, this little guy was apparently in the bushes doing whatever the heck it is wild turkeys do when they are out and about. My footsteps across some downed bamboo spooked him, so he started running which in turn scared the crap out of me, sending me running...must have been quite a sight seeing a turkey sprint out of the woods, it breaks right and I break left as we exit, scared of each other. Idiot.
View of West Maui mountains on the boat trip back from Lanai.
Location I.B: Fairmont Kea Lani, Wailea, Maui
Moved over to this hotel for the last 2 days on the island. Stayed down the hall from my parents. Pretty sweet room; had a big lanai, sitting room, wet bar, separate bedroom, huge bathroom w/ jacuzzi tub - crazy stuff. View from porch of suite towards ocean. The building on the left side of the picture is the Polo Beach Club, where I stayed the first 4 days.
View towards mountains from the back door of the room (to hallway). Those funny white things, well, if you know me, you know what I immediately thought they looked like. Looked like it was a tad bit chilly at the hotel...yoink!
View of sunset from lanai. Traveled the 28 miles up to the Haleakala Crater at an elevation of 10,023 feet. Started the 2 mile hike down the Sliding Sands trail to view the crater and a few cinder cones from inside. An aweesome sight. It's so quiet - no people noise or airplane noise, and hardly any wind. You're walking on trails and sand-like substances that makes it feel like you are on Mars. Unlike any place I've been before, and if I had the time, I would have spent several more days there exploring. Awe-inspiring, and the pictures below don't do it one bit of justice, you have to be there to get the whole experience; the steepness of the slope, looking up to the moon that's still in the sky over the crater, the sound of quiet, and the burning of your lungs and calves at 10,023 feet trying to go down 2 miles (and 2,000 feet) when you aren't acclimatized, then back up in the blazing sun - awesome.
View of the crater from the top (visitor center area). Clouds rolling in.
Descending into the crater; trail can be seen cutting back & forth across at 9 o'clock in the picture. To get perspective on the size of the crater, and how far down, see the white dot at the top of that one hill? That's a person. No joke, I got to my pre-determined stopping area at a certain cinder cone (had something to do that afternoon, so had a schedule to keep on), and thought to myself "Where's the escalator...?" Big, big sigh (and a few swear words) when I knew I'd be heading up by me onesie. :-) However, very random thing happened when I got to my stopping point, I met a guy from the Netherlands, Wolte (Walt in English), who faced the dilemma of going on or heading back up. Now, dum-dum didn't bring ANY water = stupid stupid. So I gave him one of my bottles, and we decided to hike back up together, which was awesome. Good to get to know the guy (professional photographer), we pushed each other to get moving up the steep trail, and I think did better than if each of us were by our onesie. Unexpected event, but wonderful surprise. A rewarding accomplishment. The sights from inside the crater were amazing, but the sound of silence was completely caught me off guard (in a great way) and that still sticks out in my mind as an awe-inspiring high point of the trip.Hard to feel the steepness of this slope from the picture, but every time you turned a corner of a switchback, there was another dang steep slope to go up!

Back up at the summit, above the clouds at this elevation. The road back down goes directly through this cloud.

Driving through the cloud (it got much thicker than this, but I wasn't able to take a picture of it...that whole paying attention and focusing on the road while driving thing can really get hinder the picture-taking process :) A neat experience, but I could barely see the road when in the thick of the cloud so that was a bit nervewracking for a few miles. If you could follow the brake lights of the person in front of you, that made it easier because they had more of the hard part, but in some situations people would actually pull off because they were having such a hard time seeing, just for the purpose of having someone else lead and them follow their tracks. Definitely got stuck in pole position more than once.
After passing through the cloud, looking up at it. Note from these few pictures, how you go from super-bright sunny at the top, through the clouds, and then it looks really nasty cloudy/rainy. So interesting to experience.

Wind Surfers seen on the ocean/beach out front of Mama's Fish House in Paia (small little hippie-like town past the airport. (Had one of the best meals ever for lunch at Mama's!)

Phase I ends on October 21. Depart for transitional phase on Oahu (2 days) prior to departing for Australia. Stayed with a friend who is off the Pali Highway in Nu'uanu (Pali Lookout is one of my favorite places in Hawaii - only about 15-20 minutes from Honolulu & Waikiki. Pictures on that in upcoming entries.)


Take life by the balls tour 2008...

Finally finally finally...back on the continent. I was fortunate enough to have been able to take a wonderful multi-week trip to various islands of Hawaii & Australia. Along the way some long time friends were able to join for a few days here and there which was fantastic and made it all that much more fun. It was one of the most amazing experiences I've had and it taught me quite a lot through the adventures along the way. Most of the time we didn't really go with a definite plan of what to see, where to stay, etc., which made it flexible to wing it. I bought the major airline tickets before leaving, but not all the inter-island ones, in case dates needed to flex or I felt like doing something different. In a few places, we went without knowing where we would stay, called or emailed folks for vacation rentals last minute the day before, then traveled to wherever that was the next day. Not typically how I travel, but it was really nice to not have everything planned out and to float wherever the wind takes you.

Anyway, there's 1200 photos, can't fit all that on one blog, so I've downselected quite a bit. As with any trip I've been on, there are always some good the interest of putting at least some information out there, I'll do pictures first, stories later.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Contact sports

I do love a good game of ice hockey every now and again, and recognize the risks that come with it...I've already lost a perfectly good ACL in my left knee, had a few concussions to boot, and yet keep coming back for more (maybe those hits in the head are why all good sense and reason have escaped me here). Alas, I have learned a few good lessons in the past 2 weeks or so. 1. Mouthguards are good. There is always the potential for some bizarre injury, such as someone coming up and blindsiding you, sending you flying and knocking your helmet's chin piece up so that it almost breaks your nose, and your jaw slams together with your tongue in the middle, like an oreo sandwich of sorts. Chomp Chomp. Luckily, I had a mouthguard on, or I would have lost the first third of my tongue that day (super-bummer). Looking in the mirror there was a nice clear line across the top which indicated where it would have been severed. And I talked with a sthmall listh for a few momentsths. Good times.

#2. Neckguards are good too (but no one wears them. Of course, I'm leaving for vacation on Tuesday, and have a game on Sunday, before which my mom reminded me: "Don't get hurt right before your vacation, or else!" As usual, I should always heed her warnings. This time was very interesting, as the goalie on the other team went for my head instead of the puck...she took a nice slice out of my neck, a few inches long with the blade end of her stick (I was actually quite lucky that it wasn't worse). Best part was that it wasn't just a smack to the neck; when pulling away, she runs it all the way across, gives a nice solid friction burn across the right side of my neck, and ripping my helmet off my head. (B*TCH!!) For the next 2 days, it felt kind of like someone putting out cigars on my neck, and was extremely pleasant to sit on the bench and at home to pick shards of fiberglass out of my neck. Yummy. Now, only thinking I got clipped a bit, when I finally got a good look at it, it was about 4 inches long from my throat back to my ear...oops. And wouldn't you know...I didn't seem to get all the fiberglass out of my neck, alas, when I get to my destination for vacation...infected gash, and a neck that doesn't turn quite right.

Spent the last few days figuring out how to get this monster to calm down, and people kind of looked at me funny as if I had just performed thyroid surgery on myself with a makeup mirror or gotten a ferocious hickey as part of a sick bet or something. So, next step, go to pilates with the trainer to see about getting my arse in gear. And what response do I get? "Wow - your neck is messed up! So are your shoulders too!" Thanks, genius, I had already noticed that. So, I get dragged over next door to the chiropractor to schedule an appointment to have an "adjustment" (translation = bones cracked in a painful manner via manual tourquing). Entering the office I noticed the calming color of blue on the walls, and a shoeless young man in dreadlocks comes out with a rastafarian accent saying "Ohhh - that'sa bad, ya. Dontcha worry, hun, we'll get you all fissed up nice today. Come back at 130." Me = "Uh, ok." I've never been a big fan of chiropractors, I worry that someone's going to pull my head off, or crack my back in such a way that I'll have a worse gait and posture than I already do now (though that might be hard to do...). But hey, I was smoking wacky tobacc-y or something and agreed to it based on the recommendations of many folks who had been to him, and apparently, my neck was going to fall off if i didn't go.

Back at 130, Dr. Jason invites me in, and we talk for a bit He comments on how "that hockey a nasty sport, eh? You gotta be careful bout dem sticks comin up at yer head and neck, ya know? Don-a-you worry, I'll make it all betta for you." Oh what the heck, go ahead, just don't break me. The adjusting begins...he's a chatty fellow, and goes through with a bunch of "oh man, you gotta fix this, you see here da problem." Apparently one side of my rib cage decided to improperly attach itself to my spine recently, and it needed to be put back into place. So up and down my upper back he goes, giving a pretty strong heave downward into my ribs, kind of like an elephant tapdancing and pushing the air out of my lungs with each "pop". As we're trying to converse, he'd push down and of course expel all air in my lungs, causing a "HUH" to be placed intermittently among words. Me = "This is pretty inter-HUH-esting. I've -HUH- never -HUH- done an adjust-HUH-ment before. HEEE..." Each HUH was usually followed by a short whimper. So there's a few vertebrae and ribs that weren't quite so cooperative and wouldn't pop, so we moved onto the lower back and hip, where you're turned on your side, your leg is ripped off at the joint like a drumstick being pulled off a chicken, and pop pop pop goes your lower back (it actually felt pretty good). What doesn't feel so delightful is the whole drumstick thing; when it gets tugged on, he digs his hand down between my hip and top of leg (basically, your outer rear end) and does a deep tissue massage, and good heavens I thought I was on the rack being pulled and having my hip scraped with the pointy end of a hammer in the process. Me = OUCH. He = "oh dats ok hun, you getta feel much betta when i finished. Maybe not today, because itsa gonna burn a lot, but soon." Then onto the neck, where 1 side cooperates with a resounding pop, and the other direction not so much. After a few sharp twists with no positive result ("heave! ho! oops!), he decides "we save that one for next time, yah?" Instead, we do pressure point between shoulder blades, yah." For a moment I thought he rammed a railroad spike through that muscle back there, and it still kind of feels like that today... 45 minutes later, with ribs realigned and connected, railroad spike removed from shoulder, and leg reattached, I get picked up to go home and cry a bit in the corner...but my back actually feels a tad better. Next appointment = Monday. HUH!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Notes to self

Lessons learned in the past week:

1. Don't mishandle your water bottle in the airplane. I bought a bottle of water in the Minneapolis airport to bring onto the plane. It was one of those tad larger ones, with a twist top that opens the little spigot (i.e. don't have to pull off a cap, but also leaves the place where you drink from wide open to dirty airplane air). After boarding the plane, sitting in the aisle seat, I attempted to put the bottle in the seat back, but alas, it wouldn't fit. So, I had to turn it sideways, to where the tip was leaning out towards the aisle, by maybe 1 inch or so. Allergy or cold season was flaring up, who knows and who cares, all I know was that the plane was, as my co-worker so aptly described, a "cocoon of disease". Hacking and coughing, sneezing and nose blowing all around. So, brand new water bottle, only 1 sip taken, and wouldn't you know, the woman in front of me has a cold, and so she sneezes, not covering her mouth, and i kid you not, whips her head into the aisle and back, spraying her delightful aerosolized germs directly onto the tip of the water bottle. I saw spittle fly, no joke. She could not have made a more direct hit. I suppose she didn't want to spray on the person directly next to her, because of course, that would be terribly rude and disgusting. Clearly sneezing on all those behind her was a much better option. Not to mention, she sneezed without covering her mouth and probably sprayed her germs up into the ventilation system. Some days, I hate people. People who don't cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and people who don't wash their hands in the bathroom. Oh we've all seen those nasties.

2. Noise canceling headphones don't cancel everything. Same plane ride as above. The noise canceling headphones have done me well over the past year or so, really helping out on the planes, and allowing me to sleep and block out annoying people's voices. Not so much on this joyous ride, friends. Five or 6 rows behind, a set of 4 year old twins (little girls) came on board with their mother. Oh yes, you are starting to form an image in your mind already...I can tell. They proceeded to talk through the entire flight. With outdoor voices. Piercing outdoor voices. I couldn't turn the music up loud enough, I couldn't tie the blanket around my head and earphones tight enough to block them out. They hit the one frequency that the earphones cannot filter out. It made my eyeballs want to pop out of my head and poke out my eardrums with Q-tips (stop that, brain, or I'll stab you with a q-tip!). And most infuriating, of course, is that the mother didn't do a dang thing to get them to tone it down. The entire rear of the plane starts to develop tiny twitches of annoyance, and begin to whimper and rock back and forth like that girl in the corner in that movie "The Crying Game". The entire way on the descent and final approach, there was a color commentary on what was being seen out the window. And whatever one said, the other had to repeat, at least twice. "Mommy I see a cloud. Mommy I see the sky. Mommy I see the ground. Mommy I see cars. Mommy I see lights. Mommy I see planes" (that's when I was about to stand up and call them out on "bullsh*t - you can't see any planes, if you can see them, you're too close to them". Alas, I kept myself in check. So multiply that conversation by 4, and you'll start to get the picture of how many times they said each thing they saw. But it was a solid 25 minutes of this nonstop diarrhea of the mouth. Instead, I turned to the guy sitting next to me, rolled my eyes and did the whole gun-in-your-mouth-blow-your-brains-out hand gesture to show how pleased I was with the whole situation after a full day of travel. Anyway, plane lands, I get off and quickly get up the jet way, only to trip in my flip flops on the gap between it and the terminal, and doing a graceful perfect 10 landing on the other foot - it was awesome - I soared through the air as the gate agent laughed. I made sure to tell her to watch out for that bump - it jumps up and get you. Seriously - it does. They should put up a sign or something: "watch for foot-grabbing walkway". Someone might not be so graceful as I.

3. Eating Mexican before getting on a plane for 3 hours is not a great idea, no matter how hungry you are. Nothing bad happened after, though after I ate the pink chicken inside my tacos (yes, I bit into it and it wasn't cooked), I sure thought I was in deep trouble. No one wants to have liquid butt on the plane all the way home. Never, ever again will I risk that. Though I suppose gas ass would have been ok; after all, everyone toots on airplanes. It's a free-for-all. No one can tell because you can't hear the sound due to engine noise, and it could have been anyone among the 100 people on the plane who sent that air biscuit into the ventilation system. Packed like sardines, it could be anyone. Except you can feel the vibrations in the seat if it was the person next to you who ripped it - and that's just downright nasty. I'd rather it be anonymous than me feel the vibrations of that cheek-rippling blast of air. Feel free to glare at them should this situation occur.

4. If you've batted your water cup on your desk and spilled it all over, don't put it back in the same spot and do it again. I sit in an L-shaped desk; computer sits at the intersection of the "L", one side of the "L" is against the wall, the other opens into the room. I usually store my coffee and water on the right side of me, within reaching distance, and papers are typically spread out in piles all over the desk (looks a bit jumbled). I like post-its, I need to write a lot down, so at any given time there are approximately 10-15 post-its on my desk. For example, today I just counted - 15 plus a note pad list. Post-its to the left of me, post-its to the right of me... Anyway cut to yesterday - the coffee must not have fully kicked in yet, and I turned a bit quickly to my right to get a document, and I knocked a home run out of the park when I nailed that water cup. It flew up and into the wall, spraying water everywhere, and down in between the desk and the wall...where, plug strip resides... "Expletive expletive expletive" screams I, and then "expletive expletive expletive" again, when my floor lamp and desk lamp both short out. One the bulb pops because of the surge, the other just got a little too wet when the surge protector was rained upon by a liter of water, and decided to take a rest. Water, flowing all over and pooling on my desk, washing away my post-its, my mouse ran for the hills as the pad it plays on was dunked. In the half-dark, quickly I dive under my desk and shut off the surge protector and yank all the plugs out (maybe not the smartest idea? Who knows.) Mind you, I'm also covered in water myself from the tsunami of filtered water. Running to the kitchen I grab a roll of paper towels and run back, trying to dry the spill, i started throwing papers on the ground to air them out so now the floor of my office looked like a hopscotch court. I'm under the desk, still muttering expletives, and drying off electrical plugs and wall sockets. I sheepishly ran over to IT to get another power cord, and predictably they laughed at my stupidity. What a glory story for a Monday.

Now, a moderately intelligent person might think that on the following day, you might not put the water in the same spot, or at least be more careful when turning around, right? Wrong. I clearly do not fall into even the moderately smart category...because I proceeded to put it in the exact same spot. (Yesterday was a fluke, I told myself. Dumbass.) With all my recently dried papers and post-its back in place, I decided a repeat performance was in order, so this time, I did the chain reaction, the accidentally-hit-it-with-your-coffee-cup move, which tumbled the cup (completely full, mind you) directly over into the same spot (only a little more headed towards the computer, not the wall). Well the one thing I did learn was to not let the water go over the edge of the desk and onto the plug strip, so in diving to block the flow over the side with my hands, of course I knocked the coffee cup over too. My precious Post-its? Even more soaked than yesterday - the ink started to rub off, and they got all fragile so I couldn't move them without tearing them (I cried a bit). Hope I didn't break my mouse, because it had to swim for dear life today. It was actually even worse than yesterday because most all the water ended up on the desk & papers - notebooks were soaked, as well as the same pads of paper as yesterday. But, wouldn't you know, I kept the paper towel roll in my office just for this very reason (I had a feeling yesterday that I might need it again...), so at least I could mop it up with crappy paper towels. Where's Bounty when you need it? Cheap-ass office kitchen supplies. It took about 45 paper towels to dry everything up. I would have done better (and faster) with a straw. Now everything has that wrinkly spilled water on paper but now it's kind of dry look to it. Worst of all, my actual square pad of post-its was soaked and all the edges are sticking together, so I feel lost and incomplete, and can't figure out what I'm supposed to do the rest of the day because my stuff is all ruined. No more "notes to self" today.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Little bunny

Isn't she cute?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Energy efficiency at its best

Our company has put a big focus on conserving energy for the good of the environment (read: saving cash to add to the bottom line). So they installed light sensors that keep the lights on only when a person is in the room. Thus, when you get into work and go in your office, the light snaps on as you pass the motion sensor. If you've been out of your office (or there's no movement) for 20 minutes, the lights turn off. There's a guy in the office whose light is either broken, or apparently doesn't move much during the day, so his light turns off on him all the time. He sits there in the dark working in front of the glow of his computer screen. Creepy. So if the lights go off on you, you move your hand or something and the lights go back on. So every once in awhile you'll walk past this guy's office & he's flailing like a madman in the dark trying to get the lights to go back on. Either that or it's a good cover for Tourette's syndrome. Maybe that's why he's always screaming profanities...

Being used to this at the office all day, apparently I've thought it carried over to home. So I walk in the door at night, and the light is off, and i actually stand there for a minute wondering why the light hasn't turned on. Then I flail my arms a bit, and finally realize "Oh right - I don't have motion-triggered lights at home." Oops. So I feel like an idiot for a moment, then i walk into the next room, somehow stupidly expecting the lights to turn on in that room. And this is a process that occurs almost nightly now. However, if you think about it, I'm actually saving energy for those few seconds that I actually stand there in the dark and think the lights will come on. A penny here & a penny there, and maybe I'll be able to buy a stamp in about a year...

Rounding the bend

We drive on the right side of the road, go up the right escalator, can make right turns on red with bi-directional traffic, and yield for lefts. Wouldn't you think this would carry forth into our walking habits? Strangely A few examples to follow.

On a busy street - people pass on all sides (but many walkers are really quite good at sticking to the right side of whatever direction they are going). Those in a hurry or when the sidewalk is a bit congested may even try to to a head or shoulder pump to fake you out before accelerating around you. And if you are walking down the center of the sidewalk like a slug, you deserve to get shoved into a crosswalk when the red hand is up. For the most part, unless you are a complete ass, people pass with limited angst, if any at all.

The Metro - a beast in its own right, heaven forgive you if you stand on the left (damn tourists) of the escalator when people are in a hurry to get up it, to go find the person picking them up (so they can sit in traffic on the way home), or to the bus stop where they will sit and wait for it to arrive. Sometimes standing on the right doesn't even work. It's like the Kentucky Derby; when those doors open, it's a free-for-all, if you don't have a stride of 6 feet or more, you'd best be moving aside, even if you are running. That 6'5" guy doesn't wait for the slow folks in front, he'll hip check you right onto the tracks - tuck and roll, grandma! There's always the scared turtle approach that I sometimes opt for, just for giggles. When I don't feel like running with the crowd, dodging and weaving and dropping 'bows, I stand completely still in one place and have everyone run around you. You get a few bumps and bruises, but it's like a waterfall of people rushing past you. It can be quite an experience. Drives folks crazy, too.

Office behavior is also a less well-known area where problems arise. Most people are ok with keeping to their correct right side, with the exception of people reading while walking - they are out of control - I saw someone walk face first into a wall - I almost peed my pants laughing (had to close the door to my office...especially since I didn't warn the guy - oops!). But especially when turning corners. Now, if you're moving down the right side of the hallway, then turning right, you are closest to the corner and can cut it as sharply as you want. However, if you are going to turn left at a corner, it is a major no-no to cut that short...people, you have to see yourselves as 18-wheelers: you make WIDE left turns - take that into account when you are dragging that caboose of yours around! I have almost given myself concussions and nasty spills running into people who cut their corner short, essentially crossing the double yellow line (I've cut it short too...). I think fisheye mirrors are needed. And reminders to walk defensively. This is serious stuff - what if I'm carrying a cup of hot coffee with a white sweater on? Kaboom! And I'm not happy being scorched in my jumbleys & down my midsection.

In an airport - there are no laws, you can feel free to pass at twice what a normal, reasonably safe (although subjectively determined) speed would be, on the left, right, or completely over someone (dragging your bag too), and be entirely justified in doing so. After all, it's an airport. We have to hurry up and get to the gate in order to wait in line until the plane boards. Bump people out of line in security to save the 30 seconds they would have consumed by untying their shoelaces or pulling their laptop out (though if people are not efficient in getting their stuff moving at the security line, you can feel free to take them out at the knees with your rolley bag and move in front of them. There is a zero tolerance policy for idiot travelers who don't know how to be efficient or prepared to load up when you receive the pretty gray bins. Move it or lose it, tootsie!) Anyway, truly the only folks who have a warrant to run down the hall like a blind bat out of hell are the ones whose names are being called over the intercom as a last boarding call. (I've been in this position more than once, and it sucks.) But if you've got 35 minutes to boarding time, and you are giving the hip check and loud sighs of frustration while heading down the myriad of gates, take it down a notch and pull the bunch out of those panties. Which brings me to the next point about there really a need to hover and clog up the boarding area when they haven't even begun to call the zones? I think not. And then, if you're in group 5, sit your asses down or move aside so the first 4 can go. Nothing ticks me off more than a person standing in there, waiting for their group to be called (usually one of the last) so they can, what's that? Oh right, wait in line. Believe me, sunshine, you will be getting on that plane. After all, they aren't going to say "Group 4 may board, except for John Smith, who will have to wait until the door closes, because we didn't want him to make this flight anyway." If you're at the gate and have a ticket, I don't think they'll be leaving without you. And while we're here, let's discuss overhead space. If your case is the size of a polar bear, chances are you won't be able to shove that thing up there no matter how you turn it. And why is it always the 5'2" woman who has a seat in Row 8 that has to attempt a Houdini act where the bag magically shrinks, she grows 8 inches, and can angle it in there. Stops the whole boarding process. The frustrated sighs begin. The "what the hell is the problem" murmurs begin from those who haven't yet entered the plane to see the nightmarish scene. One time I actually called out (this person was about 4 rows in front of me) and said can someone help her with her f-ing bag? (It was a moment of weakness...hadn't slept in awhile. Usually I don't drop the f-bomb in a tin can full of people I have to sit next to for 4 hours, but it was getting ridiculous.) So you have those people who fill the bins up with their entire closet, and then you have people like me, who only put a laptop bag up top, purse below, taking up probably 1 half to one third of the space of a 22-inch rollerboard. After all, I like to leave a bit of room in case I have to shove a noisy or annoying kid up there for the sake of the sanity of the rest of the plane. I'm a giver, what can I say.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Droppin 'bows on the elevators

So apparently this guy really wanted to get to his office today. Maybe it was the sitting behind school buses all morning on the drive in, maybe he just really likes elevators, or he missed work terribly for 3 long days. Whatever it was, he was pushing into the elevator, badge in hand, ready to click his button and chop off the arm of any straggler who came in slowly or tried to hold the door for a colleague. Typically, men in the elevator lobby show us that chivalry is not dead and hold the door open and allow the women to enter. Not this tub-o...he dropped some 'bows and a hip check and edged us out of the doorway in an effort to get in first (and he was no small man) - then had the audacity to whisper sheepishly "sorry" with his head down as he's pressing the buttons furiously. And I'm elbow height, so I'm ducking and weaving to try and not get hit as he's swinging about. Dude, we're not going to a Bon Jovi concert trying to get into the pit for front row seats, we're trying to go to work - what's the hurry? It's not as if we want to be here and are excited to beat you on the elevator to get to our desks first, so let's not box out - there's no need. So I did what most do when they are angry at a person in an elevator - I glared meanly at the back of his head, sending bad voodoo vibes his way.

Anyway, he never got this lesson - it doesn't matter how fast or how many times you hit the button for your floor, the doors ain't closing any faster because you think you have fooled it into thinking 100 important people for the 2nd floor are on the elevator, so it better hustle up. The only button that is a bummer in our elevators is the close door button - that one responds rather well to repeated punching. Hence, the man who bumped us starts pushing that button furiously when he hears another person enter the elevator lobby, and the door slams shut as we see the person's head pop into view. Because after all, those 10 extra seconds allowing them to get in severely disrupts his timetable. It was silently gratifying for all of us when the elevator stopped at every single floor before reaching his...sucker. That was a delay I was willing to endure...

Get thee back to school day - it's time to party!

Yes, the first day of school, one realizes exactly how nice it was to not have school buses and parents on the road all summer long. Having taken these things for granted...I wanted to smack myself for taking the way to work where there approximately 38 schools and about 150 school buses. A ride that is normally 25 minutes blossomed into double that time - good way to start the day, especially after having labored on labor day the day before. Anyway, school buses stop approximately every 30 feet, and so as you can imagine there was a lot of stop-and-go, but also numnuts who blocked the lanes while trying to drop their kids off at school and not knowing where to go.

But I did see the most fascinating thing on the way in, which humorously made it worthwhile (not really, but at least it made me laugh). I was watching (at all 200 stops) the parents sending their kids off to the first day of school - waving and blowing kisses and saying "good luck" or "have fun" or "I'll see you this afternoon". Why they say "have fun" I have no idea -the first day of school is where kids realize there is no fun to be had for the next 9 months. Anyway - so the bus starts to pull away, and I swear at this one stop the parents started partying. Throwing confetti, dancing around, blowing noisemakers - it was flipping HYSTERICAL! They they all rounded up in a group and it looked like they were going either going to play ring around the rosey or put on a cheerleading performance..."ok guys, hands in! the kids are gone and we are free go out and have some fun...ready team...break!" Classic. I was thinking this would be a bittersweet day for parents sending their kids off - sad for the loss of summer and missing the little maggots already, but how wrong I was! I watched at each bus stop and it seemed like the same liberating feeling was present (though not to the ridiculous degree of that 1 stop) - ding dong the kids are gone, the kids are gone, the kids are gone...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

+3 weeks

Big girl - already 10 lbs!