November 30, 2001



Is This Thing Still On?

  Greetings from 37,000 feet. I'm on American Airlines flight 89 from Chicago to Los Angeles continuing on from where I started in Syracuse, Tim Burton's "revisioning" of Planet of the Apes is the in-flight movie, I've already seen it and even if I hadn't I refuse on GP (General Principles) to pay AA's $5 headset "rental" fee (I've got my own anyway, but let's face it -- PotA sucked, so why bother?), I've got nearly four hours to kill before we hit LA (Attention Powers That Be: My use of the word "hit" is not to be taken literally), I finished Stephen King/Peter Straub's Black House in a 3 a.m. marathon motel room reading session Tuesday night in Syracuse so I'm out of decent reading material, I just read Chicago's Daily Herald ("Big Picture/Northwest Focus") (Page 3's Local Focus lead story: "Two students confess after locker room thefts" Gasp! The horror!) cover-to-cover (keep up with me, will ya? -- I'm relying heavily on parentheticals here and it won't work if you don't focus), and, last but not least but perhaps the best reason I'm typing these words at this particular boredom suffused moment, it's been forever and a day since I posted an entry. So I thought, hey, why not write a new 'stake? And so I am. Hi there. Miss me?

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since I last posted, too much to cover in any great detail. So ... let's just hit the bullet points, shall we?

  • I've been at the new job since March and by all accounts it's going pretty well -- they haven't fired me yet and the paychecks don't bounce. I'll mark that down as a Good Thing.

  • The office I work out of is in Aliso Viejo which, if you're not familiar with SoCal geography (and even if you are), is approximately 6.3 million miles away from my home in Sherman Oaks. It generally takes about 2 hours each way to commute in my truck -- that's on a good day; if it's Friday, add an hour to the return trip -- and burns in the neighborhood of $20 a day in gas doing ... so I now own a motorcycle, a Honda Shadow ACE 1100 I've named Yola. Yola gets me to and from the office in a hour and 20 minutes no matter what the traffic's like (because I can lane-split) and does it on $4 in gas. That's better, no? And fun, too.

  • Yola tried to kill me. Or, rather, I nearly killed myself on Yola -- it wasn't her fault at all. On the way home from work on June 13 -- Friday the 13th for you superstitionists out there -- I got a little careless as I was heading down an offramp from the freeway and kinda sorta forgot to watch where I was going as the road curved to the right. I leaned into the turn and started looking off to the right to see where the store I was heading to was located, and when I returned my attention to where it should have been (the road in front of me), well, golly, it was curving pretty hard to the right while I was going in a nearly straight line and was about 2 seconds from going off-roading at 50 mph. And that's exactly what happened. When I stopped tumbling and cartwheeling I had four broken ribs and a slightly bent bike. But all's well that ends well -- I'm fully healed, Yola's fully repaired, and we're both back out on the road again ... and trying harder to keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.

  • Zoe is in first grade. Those words, that simple sentence, boggles my mind when I consider it. Just yesterday she was my little peanut who nearly fit into the palm of my hand, and now she's a first grader who wears PowerPuff Girl t-shirts and goes on sleepovers and gets phone calls I have to take messages for. How did all this happen when all I did was blink?

  • Beth got her own office at work. Yay, Beth! Of course, that means I'm living with The Man now, but somehow she makes it work.

  • I've been a travellin' man since I started this new job. We produce software that radio stations use to schedule and invoice their commercials; what I do for them is train the radio station personnel how to use the software. Although they're based in Aliso Viejo, the training center where I do most of my work is in Dallas. Consequently, I'm usually in Dallas at least two weeks a month. I fly in on Monday and back home on Friday, which frankly beats the hell out of commuting (even via Yola) down to the office. Plus, I get daily per diem when I'm on the road and the hotel I stay at in Dallas is a 2 minute walk from the training center. I'd almost rather be in Dallas than be at home. Almost.

  • In addition to doing Dallas every few weeks, I've also been onsite at two radio stations to help convert them over to the software. I was in Utica, NY in October and I'm on my way home now from a week and a half in Syracuse. (Don't ask why they keep sending me to central NY -- I don't get it myself.) Being on-site at the stations does have its perks -- CDs, station T-shirts, etc. ("station crap," as they call it at one of the local stations). And Syracuse came through in a big way last Wednesday with free tickets to a Barenaked Ladies concert. Fun stuff.

  • The pet population here at Chez Atkins is exploding. When I last reported on the pet situation, we had two stupid dogs (Billy the Farting Annoyance and Suki the Chewing Pain In The Ass) and two not-quite-as-high-maintainence cats (Gable the Cool Dude Who Keeps Fighting With The Neighbor's Cat At 3 In The Morning and Natasha the Meowing Shitting Pissing Puking Septuagenarian Queen Of All She Surveys >From My Office Chair). Zoe was lobbying for a kitten, but that was it, pet-wise. Was. Now, I don't know if Beth's timing was intentional on this or not (Notice how politic I was there, knowing Beth will be reading it and not wanting to wreak the wrath of The Man? Yeah, I've got survival instincts.), but during one of my Dallas trips, when I wasn't there to defend the Status Quo, Beth told me that she wanted to get Zoe a kitten. A kitten. One. Well. The next night on the phone Beth spills that they got two kittens. Not one, two. Littermates, right? I can understand that. I can't support it, but I can at least understand it. Beth and Zoe, the big softies, didn't want to split up the family, right? Wrong. These two kittens weren't even littermates, they were just the only two kittens they had. If they'd had sixteen kittens, I have a feeling we'd now have sixteen kittens. And now there's talk of turtles. Two dogs, four cats, turtles pending... What's next? Call me Noah.
Okay, those are enough bullet points for now, I think. PotA is over and my laptop battery is running down, so I'm wrapping this up. Scenery update first, though: Just looked out the window and it's beautiful down there. There's a full moon tonight, no cloud cover below us, everything is blanketed with snow, and the lights of the towns look warm and inviting. Beautiful.

For those of you still on my notify list, thanks for hanging in there. You probably all thought I'd quit for good, and I'd sort of wondered that myself from time to time. I've started entries here and there, but they never seemed to gel and so I never saved and/or finished them. It's hard to get started again and it gets harder the longer you wait. Scanning over the paragraphs above, I think it looks like I ain't dead yet. Will there be more entries after this one? Hell, I don't know, but I will say that I think having written this one will make the next week easier. Hang in there on notify and lets see, shall we?