Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody. Hope it's a safe, happy, healthy one for you all. Let's hope 2007 is blessed and way better than 2006.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Well Christmas is over. This was a good Christmas. This time last year seems so distant now. My mom had just had surgery earlier in the month and last Christmas was so subdued. There was no money for gifts and there was a small meal to prepare. Overall pretty dismal, though with a different focus than just "having".

This year everyone was able to afford gifts and put some thought into who was getting what. We had fun with our secrets, hiding things from each other, telling others what we got for the rest of the family. This year, the entire cost of the meal fell on me. I minded a little bit, but not much. I just wanted us to have a good time and I'd sort of figured it would be on me, so I was prepared.

This was a good ending to an OK year, for which I'm grateful. I wonder what the next year will bring? What will be different? What will be unexpected? What will be new? What will be the same?

Monday, November 27, 2006

What You Need To Know

So there’s a person I know…am getting to know better…something. OK we’ll go with “there’s a person I know” for simplicity’s sake. Anyway. They’ve become very important to me in a relatively short period of time. I’m not one to put any emphasis on time limits, “right time”, “wrong time”, etc. This is jus a point of reference. Where was I? Oh right. Important people.

So yeah, this person is so very important to me. Maybe more than they should be. Or maybe not. I make no apologies – it is what is. I don’t think they realize the importance they have in my life. Sure I’ve alluded to it, but they don’t really know. I don’t think they feel that they’re worthy of it. Or worth it. But they are. They really really are.
This person is going through a very difficult time right now and it will be an uphill battle for them for quite some time. Maybe forever. Uphill battles are always a series of never-ending hills. I guess God doesn’t want some of us to get bored.

I don’t think this person has encountered this level of difficulty before and they are having to let go of self –reliance and rely on others. It’s not coming easy. They are really beating themselves up over the situation. Oh they don’t say it in so many words, but, I can tell, I can feel it. It took them a while to tell me what was going on. And when they did finally tell me, they said they were ashamed to tell me. I tried to reassure them not to be ashamed to tell me. I would not judge them and I was there to support.

They accepted that outwardly, but I think inwardly it is a struggle. I wish there was some way to really reassure them. I hold no judgment against them. I can’t understand what they are going through, not having been through it myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I am offering then m the only thing I can give. Myself. I am offering my time, my listening ear, my companionship, my heart. All of these are immaterial things that are dearest to me. Things I do not give easily. Things I do not give to everyone. Only to those who are deserving. And this person’s most deserving by far. I only wish they could see that.

I only wish they could see in themselves what I see. I see a special person. Someone with a lot of love to give and the biggest heart of anyone I know. A lot of thoughts to speak. A lot of wisdom to share. I want them to see that no, they are not a failure. People hiccup through life. Some hiccups are bigger than others. They are our experiences and what makes up our lives. There are no failures.

Sometimes I can feel this person pushing me away. It hurts, it makes me angry and frustrated, but I know why they do this. The shame. Not wanting to hurt me by starting something they feel they are not in the position to start. On some level believing they are not worthy and I shouldn’t be bothered. Vulnerability and uncertainty in themselves, both of which are very new emotions for them. And general turmoil. I don’t say anything. I just take this person as they come. I relish their attention when they can give it and I enjoy memories of conversations, when they can’t. They have enough going on without me pushing them and pulling them.

But at the same time, I make myself known, I make my presence felt. And I hope that I am sending the message that though they may try to get rid of me, they can’t. I won’t go. They don’t seem tot understand that this is my choice. They are my choice. Free will. No one takes away my free will. This. Is. My. Choice. Period. I know what I can handle and can’t handle. I know what I‘ve handled in the past. I can and will stick with them through this and beyond. They hope that I can and will, but they are half-expecting me to do disappear. That’s not how I work. That’s not me. I am stronger than that and I am strong for the both of us. Don’t underestimate me.

I know they are used to being the alpha. I understand that. But sometimes, life throws you for a loop and you can’t always be the alpha. Uncomfortable, yes. But get used to it, get over it, move on. There is a time, place, and reason for everything.

Every day I pray for this person. I pray for their strength, their well-being, their success, and their coping. I pray that I can be what they need when they need it. I pray that I don’t say or do something wrong to make them feel worse about themselves during this time. And perhaps selfishly, I pray for us. NO there isn’t an us yet, but there should be. I’m not some crazy stalker, but we’ve had conversations. We know where this would be right now if things were different. We know where we want things to head. We know what it is. For whatever reason, it is this time and this place. And it is unlike anything either of us has ever experienced. It is the hardest thing, but the most right. It is scary. It is exhilarating. It is uncertainty at its best. And it is what is meant to be, what has been destined, what will succeed.

This person will most likely never read this (I don’t think they know about this blog), and perhaps they never should. Or maybe not right now. But I’m a strong believer in putting it out there. It is out there in the universe, speaking its volumes, speaking loudly and there for its truth. It is spoken into existence. And that is all that I can do. It is. I acknowledge. I accept.

Some way, some form; this will reach the ears, eyes and heart of someone who needs these words. Maybe it will be them; maybe it will be someone else, too. Words have power. People have power. Those two together are all the power one needs.

So why did I write this? These are all things floating in my head. Things I’ve been mulling over or several weeks now. I’m not in a position to say them to the person I think needs to hear them or see them, but it’s out now. And in print. All I can do, right? I can care, I can feel, I can put that all out there. And I can love.

Monday, September 25, 2006

No I'm Not Jumping Off A Bridge - I'm Just Writing

Ah it’s Monday again.

This Monday is better than last Monday. I was barely holding it together then. I was seriously on the verge of losing it. I woke up and then the darkness set in. I don’t know if it was because it was Monday or because mornings stress me or what. But I almost stayed home.

I couldn’t face the thought of going outside in the dark. That whole masked gunman thing messes with my head all the time, and even more when it gets dark in the mornings. I hate that. But I gotta live with it. I’ve done it for two years now, so whatever. I did go outside and make it to work safely, but for the rest of the day I was super on edge. I

’m on edge a lot because of how I feel when I go outside. Then I’m on edge in my apartment because I’m always like who’s gonna break in (which hasn’t happened and it better not) or who’s gonna have a fire (which has happened). I spend much of my time being unsettled by something and it all adds up occasionally.

Anyway as I said, I was super on edge. Then I was just so sad that day and the rest of the week. Sad about what I don’t know. But I get like that sometimes.

When it’s all too much and the little stresses add up to big stresses and I wish things were different and recognize what I wish, it all just comes crashing down. Then I have to climb out of the pit and go back to holding things back until the next crash.

I’m mostly better today, as I always am. The darkness is still there lurking in the shadows as it does. But as long as I can keep it at bay, I’m good. This is why I like to take vacations twice a year and go to my happy place (Vegas, of course). Just for a little while I can forget.

That is one place I am truly happy, truly my (crazy) self, and truly light. I’m not held down by the job, my own wants, or any of the stuff that lives in the darkness. So for at least two weeks out of the year I am truly free.

It’s a good thing I write or I’d go truly crazy. My thoughts aren’t something I bring up in daily conversation ever. Imagine how that would go. That’s an amusing thought. People would think I needed to be committed. And I’m not sure I would disagree.

Which leads me to think about what people are really like on the inside. Speaking for myself, what people see on the outside is not who I am. It is either who (grammar check says “whom”, but that doesn’t sound right) I purposely portray by controlling what people see and/or it is what people prefer to see me as either through ignorance or blindness. Which it is or how much of both, I haven’t figured out yet.

In part, I control what I portray for some obvious and not so obvious reasons. For instance, at work I portray the quiet, conservative, well-mannered, submissive, seemingly hard-working me. In truth yes I’m quiet but not that quiet, I am conservative neither in dress nor views, well-mannered only when I need or want to be and in most cases I’m thinking something else, submissive not so much and hard-working hardly since I’m so not motivated and my work is not even an eighth as challenging as it should be.

Around most friends I flit in and out not really making an impression. That’s mostly because though I like my friends, I have very little in common with them outside of superficial things. I have very little in common with most people, to be honest. I find people to be alternately boring, curious, or stupid. I’ve never felt as though I’ve fit in among any particular group for various reasons. And since humans are a group, count that one, too.

But back to the topic – the various facets of who we are. I am, I think, more myself when I’m away than at other times. It is far easier to be me when I am around people who don’t know who I am. There are no expectations. They won’t know if something doesn’t fit with how I normally am or how they think I normally am. I wish there was some easy way to just switch to who I have become. But there’s not. So I just have to kind of work the new me in and slowly allow those that know me to see these new things. Otherwise known as “growth” or “maturity”. Or at least that’s what the textbooks call it.

There are several incarnations of me. The quiet introspective (not a surprise). The angry wannabe rebel. The thoughtful intellectual. The writer and music lover. Yep. All me. But who is more me? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. And how do I work all of that into the forefront? Or do I? I think that’s what life is really about. Forget finding yourself. It’s being yourself.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


It seems like I spend a great deal of my life being angry.

Looking at me, talking to me, knowing me, you wouldn't think I'm an angry person. I'm not in that sense of the word, I suppose. I'm not a punch the walls, kick an animal, alienate everyone I know type of angry person. Mine goes much deeper than that. And I can't say that I'm angry about anything specific. More like angry at circumstances. Angry at myself. Angry at the air I breathe. I have the type of anger that is indescribable. And it is for that reason that I cannot let it escape. I don't even think I know how to let it escape. I have no outlet. Though that's not for trying. It's just that it goes so deep, winds through every fiber of who I am, I think I would crumble into nothingness without it.

Honestly I don't think being this angry is all that bad. It's not all-consuming ruining my life. Not that I can see, anyway. Perhaps I'll look back twenty years from now and go "Wow, I really should've seen that coming." But for now I'm good. I think it's my driving force. Or would be my driving force if I got off my ass. But that's another blog.

So what am I angry about? What am I not angry about is more like it. Oh I have a lot of issues. I know this. It would make for interesting conversations if I had people to talk to myself about. People other than myself, I mean. At least I entertain myself with my tales.

I get angry about how I was treated in school. First grade through twelfth grade were not my best years. First through sixth grades were particularly hellacious. I'm angry at the people who couldn't accept me for who I was. I'm angry that I couldn't accept myself for who I was and therefore couldn't adequately defend myself to those people. I'm angry that all that still follows me to this day.

What else?

I'm angry at the way I grew up. Not where I lived or my parents or anything (though some of that was weird - another blog, again). But I grew up shackled to religion. Not even religion, but a church. I don't even know where to begin with that. Again - another blog. That's a very large, tangled can of worms. That's all I'm gonna say about that. For now.

I'm angry that my life isn't what I thought it would be, what I want it to be, what it should be. And I'm angry that I have no earthly idea what any of that means or what I want it to mean. No, I'm not confused. limbo. Yeah that's a good word. Neither here nor there. And not sure where here or there actually are or what they mean.

As I said before, I try to have outlets. Writing - whether through poetry or through blogging or through good old fashioned pen and paper journaling. Music - I love any and all music. It depends on my mood what I listen to and the music either expresses my feelings or at least soothes them. Whatever they may be. Books - I have been in love with books and reading since I can remember. Words have power. They can transport you to other places and make you forget yourself just for that moment. Reading is my meditation. Vegas - I know, I know. How does that work? Vegas is the first place I have been where I was completely transformed into me. I didn't expect it. At all. I turned into the me I know myself to be and it was ok. I found out that I liked that me that no one else sees.

And that's where I am now. Slowly transforming into the real me. Screw what everyone else may think or expect me to be or do. I'm doing me. Which is why I'm not too concerned about the anger. Sometimes transformation is not particularly neat or comfortable. And with that comes anger as I discover things, think about things, dwell on things too long hidden. It's refreshing. It's exciting. It's angry. And it's wonderful.

Friday, April 28, 2006

My Birthday

Well, my birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 29. I don't know whether to be depressed or not. Birthdays always depress me, but this one is different. It's my last year in my 20's. The end of an era, so to speak. Definitely the end of a decade. Next year I'll be 30. It's a little sad. I'm a little sad. OK, a lot sad. But that can't be helped.

As I look back on my 20's I can't really say whether I've changed a lot as a person or not. It's hard to be objective when you're talking about yourself. Sure I'm grateful I'm alive. I could be dead. I have a roof over my head. I have an OK paying job. I have an education.

But I'll be the first one to admit my life is not what I want it to be. I'm not who I want to be. I'm not where I want to be. And I don't know how to get to who or where I want to be. Oh, I know some things I need to do to change what I want to change, but I have no clear goal in mind. I have no direct plan. I just know that I want or need to be different. Inside I am a very different person than who I portray on the outside. I just need to figure out how to bring the inner person out. I need to learn to say screw everything and everybody and just be me. I shouldn't have to be the one to be nice and be who I'm expected to be. It's everyone else's job to adjust to who I am. That sounds mean, I guess, but oh well. It is what it is.

As I look back over the past decade, good things have happened, bad things have happened, and I've started to sit back and look at myself and discover some things that I wasn't aware of. I think I like who I could be - enough to realize that who I could be is who I should be. I should be me. Me makes me happy. And the more I fight that the unhappier I will be.

Just ten years ago I was a second semester sophomore in college. I hadn't really come into myself yet. Or at least that version of myself. The me then was a student. Struggling through Honors Organic Chemistry and discovering, surprisingly, that I liked it and I could do it and I had been selling myself short because I'd always assumed I couldn't do chemistry. Lesson learned - you never know unless you try - and if you really try, you may do something unexpected. Later that year I met the man who would be my first "adult" boyfriend. That was the year of my very first date (I know - late bloomer...very).

The next year? More of the same. And I changed physically for the first time - actually doing something I wanted to do - cut my hair into an actual style and switched out my glasses for contacts. That was my so-called "sexy" year. What a laugh that was. The following year was just TIRING. My senior year. Lots of different experiences - I mostly remember that year with a fondness. But things happened so fast. The boyfriend left (he felt "crowded") unexpectedly and that threw me for a loop. Fortunatley, I had to concentrate on school. I turned 21. Three weeks after that, I graduated. Three weeks after that, I moved across the state and got my own apartment and started this job (where I'd been interning before).

And that's pretty much how it has been since then. I fell into the "adult" rut. Living, eating, working. Recovering from my break-up. And got into another relationship. This time I was the adult, the teacher. And then that ended. Man mistakes here and there, but nothing serious. The old boyfriend came back, but I keep him at arm's length. He's there, but only because I have nothing better to do. And work continues. I

had some scary moments in the last couple of years, my first mugging (joy) and my first experience with my apartment building catching on fire (note to self: renters insurance is your friend). I also survived a tornado.

Something great also happened in the last couple of years. Call it quarter-life crisis, if you must, but I finally started blossoming. I discovered that I like being single. I like being by myself. I'm not conservative. I'm not normal. I never have been. But I figured out that that's OK. And I figured out that I like that in myself. I think I'm interesting, even if no one else does. And that's OK too.

And I discovered a love for Vegas. So much so, that I know that's where I want to be. I've been other places before. And they were nice. But they were just that - nice places. This place is different. Something happened to me there and continues to happen. And it's started a ball rolling that I don't want to stop and that I have to do everything in my power to keep rolling. I'm stronger than I think and I'm as strong as I portray but I'm also weaker. Much, much weaker. But that makes And in the end, that's the only way I can be.

I might not always like where I am, who I am, what I am - but it's all leading somewhere. It's all helping me grow. And it's all helping me learn. All I can do is hang on and go along for the ride. And I plan to do so. Screaming and laughing and fighting the whole way.

And so I've decided - Happy 29th Birthday to me - 2006 is going to be my year. It has to be - it has no choice - this is my life, and it's up to me to welcome it and make it what it is.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Vegas TR!

MGM Feb 15-20, 2006

Pre-trip Feb 14
I suppose I should’ve known actually getting to and from Vegas would be an issue judging by how things started on February 14. Maybe it was a full moon or my chakras weren’t aligned or something. My plan was to leave on Amtrak from DC area to Philly after work on the 14th, as my sisters live in Philly and I always just meet up with them there and we fly out the next day.

I called a cab from my apartment at 5:45 PM. My train was to leave at 7:21 and the station is only 15 minutes away. By 6:10, no one had shown up.

I called again – “OK we’ll send someone.” “Uh…no you were supposed to send someone BEFORE.” “Oh, right, yeah they’re on their way…10 or 15 minutes.” Uh huh. Right.

Since I’m a nice person, I waited until 6:30 to call them back. “Yeah hi remember me? Person with suitcase? Needing a cab?” “Your cab came already – there was no one there.” “Pardon me if I’m wrong, but isn’t your company policy to CALL when the cab arrives?” “Yes – it says here that’s what the policy is.” “Right, so, why didn’t I get a call?” “Well, it says here the driver should have called.” “Yes he should have. So why didn’t he?” “Do you want another cab?” “Well I’m still here, aren’t I? What do you think? And could ya hurry it? You people are making me late.”

So this time I go outside. In the cold. In the dark. With a big azz suitcase. Wishing they would drive by me so I can have a choice conversation with them. 6:50. No cab. “Yeah. Hi. Cab?” “Oh.” “Oh? Where’s my cab?” “Well it says here they made a drop off at 6:43 and left at 6:46. Someone must have taken your cab.” “AUGHHHHH!” “We’ll send out another cab.” “Really. I’ll believe that when I see it.”

Apparently the fourth time’s the charm as this cab actually showed up. And that’s all it did. I understand this is 2006 and women are empowered and all, but would it KILL the driver to get out and HELP me with my suitcase? All he did was pop the trunk and grunt and point.

At any rate, I finally got to the train station where I had to wait for an hour and a half for the next (and final) train to Philly. Seeing as though I’d missed the 7:21 by 10 minutes. I love the cabs here – they’re all independently owned by people who make you wonder if they have a valid license (my guess is “NO”).

Feb 15
We have a fourth person going with us this trip. A Vegas virgin. Which amuses us immensely as we like to corru…ah…teach new people. Being smart, we’d arranged an airport shuttle to take us to the airport. We were due out at 7:45 AM on a US Air flight, so of course the man called at 3:00 to say he’d be there in a few. Uh no you won’t. Especially since you’re not due here until 5:15. Just thought you’d like to know. He apparently reads his instructions – ah yes yes 5:15. Uh huh right thanks. I guess being a driver for a shuttle does not entail actually needing to know how to get around the city. Since he called my sister and she was on the phone with him for 20 minutes directing him to their apartment. He finally got there more or less on time. We make the fun trek with two bags a piece down the stairs (3rd floor walkup) to the front (two sets of stairs). Keep in mind; this part of the East Coast had just had a foot of snow, which makes for great fun at 5 in the morning in the dark. After my sister fell on a solid sheet of black ice, got stared at by the man who eventually decided to help her, we were on our merry way…. after telling him how to get to the next pick up spot. We made a special note to not ever use that transport service again.

We finally got to the airport, did curbside check-in, made it through security in 15 minutes or so, got to the gate, didn’t have to wait long, and we were on our way. I mean, until we apparently got stuck behind a Southwest plane and had to decrease our speed. So said the pilot. I don’t think he was too fond of Southwest. Anyway we finally get to Vegas. Late. Around 10:55 Pacific Time. But only a half an hour, which is better than the hour last trip. Two of us go to check in at the MGM airport desk and the other two go to find the baggage and the limo driver (whoo-hoo Presidential!). We got checked in (rooms not ready, though), met up with everyone else, and we were on our merry way to MGM in the limo w/the Vegas virgin in tow. I was just happy to be back in my happy place again. Sure it had only been 5 months, but dammit those 5 months were LONG.

Since we had eleventy-seven (heavy) bags and a now useless collection of winter coats, we let the bellhop take our stuff and store it for us, got our claim ticket (oh so that’s how that works), and went off to Rainforest Café to eat. We must eat there once a trip (no I don’t know why – we just do). The line took forever to get through, we were ready to gnaw an arm off (no time to eat before the flight, and I made a mistake of buying food from the plane a few trips ago – mmmm foil flavored biscuit), but bacon cheeseburgers make all right in the world. Or bacon cheeseburgers in Vegas, at least.

The rest of the day consisted of going to the castle to pick up Thunder From Down Under tickets (yes I mention them in every TR and yes we go multiple times every trip – sue me) and signing our Vegas virgin friend up for the MGM and The One Club players club cards. If I remember correctly, we may have paid Luxor and Mandalay a visit that day, too. Since we were already over there. And we were in VEGAS baby! Whoo! We finally got to our rooms, had our bags delivered, and then were dead to the world until 7 or so. Naps – the East Coaster’s secret weapon. Heh.

We eventually got ourselves together and got back to the Castle in time for the 10:30 Thunder show (which I’ll skip details of for the sake of the men on the board – see, aren’t I sweet?). But I will mention that my sister Ms. Butterfingers did manage to fling her strawberry daiquiri on the Vegas virgin’s white shirt at the show. This was only to be the first of three drink mishaps. I’m not sitting near her anymore. By the time the show ended at midnight, we’d been up pretty much 24 hours. But we weren’t tired and we were determined not to go to bed like a bunch of old women. Like the last three trips. * hangs head in shame *

In the last three trips, we’d never been off Strip. So we decided to pay a visit to Palms. It was rather…dead, actually. I suppose that was due to the fact it was the middle of the week in winter. Eh oh well. Least we could say we’d been there. We played a little, lost a little, got the Vegas virgin hooked on WOF, remembered we hadn’t eaten since 11-ish and went to eat at 24/7. Or whatever that was. Something. As you’ll see in the pictures I’ll be posting (after my sister finishes the uploads), sometimes fish and chips can be…obscene.

Feb 16-20
Because things get hazy and run together, I’ll just lump everything else together here. The next day I was awake by 6 freakin’ 45. No I don’t know why. My sister and I amused ourselves by texting back and forth between our rooms. The Vegas virgin was also awake reading “Angels and Demons” (apt, no?). My other sister was…asleep. Or would have been if I didn’t keep whispering annoying things to her. Heh. I think that was the day we decided on going off-Strip again – this time to Rio for lunch (by the time we finally got going). 11 stations are perfect for greedy people like me. Of course I saved most of my room for dessert. Sugar is heaven. And heaven is Vegas. So does that mean sugar is Vegas? Hmm.

Anyway, we cabbed over to TI from Rio and went to the Tix4Tonight booth at Fashion Show Mall to get tickets for the Star Trek Experience. Yes we’re all big nerds. But the Vegas virgin hadn’t been yet, so who were we to say no? While we were at that end of the Strip, we decided to cross over to Wynn, since we’d somehow not made it there on the previous trip. Well I do see what all the excitement’s about. Gorgeous place. Didn’t go in any of the stores, as none of us can afford to buy the clothes we’d need just to go in. Somehow four black chicks in sneakers and jeans, no matter how nice, just didn’t feel right. Oooh Manolo! But moving on, yes a beautiful place and somewhere I’d stay just once (of course I said “just once” about Vegas, too, so….). We signed up for the Red Card, and yes they’re still running the 50 points for a buffet deal. Which we didn’t take advantage of because we only played a little bit that day (not sure how I feel about the casino, yet).

After gawking at Wynn, we cabbed over to the LV Hilton to do the Star Trek Experience. On the way, we signed up for the Resorts card (Why not? Didn’t have that one yet, either.). We did the Borg whatsit first followed by the Klingon Encounter (gotta love the half price ticket – it gets you admission to both). Afterwards, we headed over to Quark’s for the express purpose of getting the Warpcore Breach again. The waiter told us there was also a new one out, the Borg Sphere. Which comes in a fishbowl as well, but is a noxious green. You’ll see from the pictures – when I post them. He somehow talked us into getting two – one for each pair of people. Why we listened to him, I’ll never know. Let’s just say that by the end of that experience, we’d been picked on by a Klingon, discovered that there was apparently more alcohol in that drink than one would think, and been convinced to take our ice cream toppings back with us to our rooms (hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time). We took Monorail back (Vegas virgin needed to experience these things, we felt) to MGM, stumbled back to the 15th floor and took the ever-present nap.

That night we headed to Riviera to go to the American Storm show and meet up w/some people we know who live in Vegas. That’s also where my sister knocked over her second drink of the trip. This time she flung a Jack and Coke that, thankfully ended up on no one. Unfortunately the showroom Storm performs in turns into Syn City after the show. Oh. My. GOD. I’ll never get that hour and a half of my life after the show back. We were so depressed after seeing that
* ahem * club we just headed back to MGM, past Tabu (oh look there are all the people), and went to bed.

The following day we contemplated Aladdin or Paris for breakfast but laziness availed and we went to House of Blues, instead. I finally got to try stuffed French toast. My stomach is STILL happy. That might actually inspire me to actually make breakfast once in a while. The waitress gave us some tickets to something they have on Friday nights. We didn’t make it there, but free is free. I believe we spent time in Luxor and Mandalay Place people watching. And still didn’t make it to damn Burger Bar. Oh well. There’s always next time.

That night was again a Thunder night (yes again – told you, multiple times). Then we decided to try out Peppermill (yes, I know, FINALLY). That décor would be tacky anywhere else, but I loved the atmosphere and the food.

From there we went over to Riviera to get a cab. Which drove past us and picked up some other people. Bastards. So we went through Riviera, which for some reason, was filled with some of the creepiest losers I’ve ever come across. We got out of there quickly and decided that was perhaps not the place to be at that time of night. Still no cab, so we went over to Stardust. Which we’d meant to check out, anyway, before it’s gone. That was pretty full, it took a year to find the front, and we got out there in time to get the one lone cab sitting there. Which we hailed over ourselves since there was no door person.

The following day, the Vegas virgin was tired and wanted to stay in. We all slept in and then my sisters and myself decided to cab over to Bellagio to look at the Conservatory. Yes we missed the Conservatory the other trips, too. And what? I have to say, that was really quite beautiful to see. It was decorated for the Chinese New Year with the Year of the Dog. Although I wasn’t too keen on the animatronic dog – too much like that creepy Teddy Ruxpin thing – only GIANT. As you’ll see in the pictures (eventually) we liked it very much and got pictures from all angles. After B, we paid a visit to Bally’s since one sister had never been there (this was her second trip). We played a little there then made the mistake of eating at the café there. Won’t be doing that again. The food was passable, but really not worth the time of stopping. From there we headed straight through to Paris and wandered around a bit. We always like looking at the lobby of Paris (yes we notice odd things). After that, we headed back to MGM to get ready for (you guessed it) another Thunder show. After that, there was something we’ll just leave alone and refer to as “The Chase”. Then we headed over to NYNY for the sole purpose that we’d ignored it our last two trips. We ended up at Studio Café at MGM for our usual 1 or 2 AM “dinner”. I swear we saw Marc Sommers from Food Network’s “Unwrapped” (or Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare” for those who grew up when I did). We enjoyed our meal there while studiously avoiding the stares of the creepy man to our right and the very cute but naughty man in front of us whose girlfriend had gone to the bathroom.

Our last full day, the depression set in, since we would be going home tomorrow. We spent most of the day hanging around MGM. Then we went to The Venetian. The Vegas virgin has a thing for Grand Luxe café, since she’d been to one of the few around the country. We took some pictures in the hotel, played a little, and headed to Grand Luxe. I was rather impressed. It’s on par, I’d say with The Cheesecake Factory (same company) or maybe half a step up. Some folks probably wouldn’t like it, but it’s not bad for just wanting to get something to eat. The portions were huge, though. That night was, of course, another, and our last, Thunder show. And this is where my sister got me good with the third flung drink of the trip. A nice 151 and Coke dead in my lap. I did learn that it is possible to run from the Castle to MGM in 4” heels without killing yourself or anyone else. Even though I did miss the first 15 minutes of the show. We went to bed shortly after the show since we knew we had to drag ourselves reluctantly out of the hotel to catch our flight for 12:30 the next day.

The next day arrives. Everyone is WAY down. And we’re already plotting for our next trip (July 15-21 tentatively lol). We get the bell desk to get our luggage, bypass the cab line, and get to the airport in a reasonable amount of time. Now if you’ll think back to the beginning of this admittedly long azz TR, you’ll remember my comments about getting there and back. Here we go.

We go to do curbside check-in with US Air. We’re asked where we’re going – Philly w/a connecting in Pittsburgh. Silence. Then – I heard that flight’s delayed – you need to go inside to the desk. Um. OK. Sure. As we stand in line, we start to look around. There’s an inordinate amount of distinctly unhappy people. Interesting. Being nosy, I start looking at the self-check-in kiosks beside us. Oh look – hers says “Your flight has been cancelled. There are no more flights today.” She looks thrilled. And theirs says “Your flight has been delayed. This will cause you to miss your connecting flight.” Lovely. Look over to the left – there’s someone who can’t seem to get to New York – we’re sorry sir, there’s nothing we can do right now. Uh-oh. It seems that anything coming to or from the East Coast is either delayed or not coming at all. We all call various East Coasters to see what the hell is going on. Nothing that they know of. O….kay. We watch as people continue to try to check in at the kiosks, only to be turned away. We gather that flight status is still being listed as on time and you don’t find out that it’s not on time until you actually get to the airport. That’s a great way to operate and keep your customers happy, dontcha think? I’m sure you’ve noticed that we made a lot of observations. That’s because we hadn’t moved in that line for a good half hour. Ah finally our tu…OH HELL NO. One of those little green vested men just cut in front of us with not a word or glance our way so that two people with him could go first. THEY WEREN’T EVEN IN THE LINE. He refuses to look at us, so we go up to him and have a nice conversation with him. He mutters something and turns his back. Oh I see how it’s going to be. 20 minutes LATER the line cutters are finished and they get multiple pairs of evil eyes at their backs since they cut off everyone else, too. We make sure to mention to the ticket agent that we’re not particularly appreciative at the moment. So can we get moving and just get us our new ticket or whatever. So he looks. And looks. Clears his throat. Looks some more. Um. Well THAT’S not good. After searching US Air, America West (apparently they’re not fully merged as of yet), and all the other airlines, the best he can get us is a 10:59 PM flight on America West. Arriving in Philly at 6 AM. We just look at him. Surely you jest. There’s nothing? No Southwest? No Delta? Ya can’t fly us to LAX and out of there? Nothing connecting in Phoenix? Salt Lake City? Cincinnati? Hm – apparently not. So yes…it is 11 AM….we won’t be leaving for another 12 hours.

He points us to a direction to turn in our itinerary vouchers. Did you know you can’t check in your luggage until 4 hours before the flight? I didn’t. I do now. The lady is like hm…you can’t even go through security. Oh and you have bags. Wow, that’s too bad. Ooh YA THINK?! We contemplate going back into town, but we’re also hoping that mayyyyyybe something else will come up. Which of course it doesn’t, but fools can always hope. I’m now keeping a running tally of things to put in my letter to US Air.

Did you know that there’s not ONE restaurant before security? So we enjoyed a meal of gummy worms, oriental mix and water in between sleeping, reading, moving to warmer chairs, sleeping, buying a new book because I finished the one I had, sleeping, and growing increasingly exponentially disgruntled. I also make a mental note to watch that movie “Terminal”.

At 6:59 PM on the dot, we make our way to the desk we’d been pointed to. Only to be told that was the wrong desk and we needed to get in line at the America West counter. Thanks US Air. So we get in line. They ask us where the rest of the papers are. Blank stares and WTF are you talking about? Apparently the US Air agent failed to give us…something (good customer service, maybe?). They talk to us slowly like we’re the idiots. We talk to them slowly back. No. We. Did. Not.Get. Anyyyyything. Else. This. Is. What. We. Got. After that exchange they head over to the US Air counter to get some paperwork that they weren’t provided with. They give us their phony Chiclet smiles and say oh well we’re not fully merged and thanks for your patience, to which the Vegas virgin replies, “Don’t thank us ‘til we’re done with you.” Eventually they get whatever it was they needed and give us our tickets. For all middle seats (oh joy, but at least we got a flight out). They all had “Lane 9” written on them in red Sharpie. I also failed to notice the letters “SSSS” printed on the ticket.

For those of you uninformed, let me tell you about Lane 9. It’s…interesting. I must thank TSA and America West for giving me yet another brand new experience. Lane 9 is one of those special security lanes. The kind where they let one person through a little waist high gate at a time. However, you don’t have to remove your shoes. OK. I go through the gate (after walking down a glass-walled “lane”), they snatch my ID, boarding pass and bags before giving me the staredown and point me to this…thing. It sounds like an MRI machine, looks like a transporter from Star Trek, and blows puffs of air at you. I felt violated and wondered who was looking at my goodies. From there you’re directed to a standard metal detector. OK fine moving on. You’re then barked at to sit down right there. Where a nice gloved TSA agent proceeds to look at your ticket an ID they’ve snatched, give you the once over and then opens all your carry on stuff in front of you and paws through it. At which point I got the giggles. I couldn’t help it - as I wondered what could possibly be in my ceramic curling iron or my makeup case and I was quite thankful I hadn’t put any dirty underwear in there or something. I almost completely lost it when they swabbed my cell phone (at least he put it back where he found it), struggled to look through my purse (what? I’m female. Serves you right, nosy.), and finally sent all of us on our way (yes, all 4 of us got Lane 9 status). At this point I was of the mind of what else could go wrong, this is unbelievable, this is going in my TR.

We eventually get on the (overbooked) flight. I get in my seat. That’s a middle seat. In the very back row. Across from the bathroom. All I have to say about this flight is that apparently middle of the night flights in a cramped back row in a middle seat give me claustrophobia I never knew I had. Oh and the lady on my left had a farting problem (until she finally decided to go to the bathroom) and the man on my left was doing something with his hand in his lap and making occasional “Ohhhugghhhh!” sounds. Philly NEVER looked so good. And we got in on time. Unfortunately, the lovely transport service did not and they sent us the same map-challenged man who arrived an hour late at 7 AM.

Things I’ve learned on this trip? I hate USAir and America West. With a passion. Use a different transport service. Call the cab an hour ahead. Staying up late is GREAT! And I must thank everyone for the suggestions of visiting Peppermill, using Earplanes (LIFESAVERS!), and using Airborne (whether psychosomatic or not, I didn’t get sick this time).

What's Your Funky Inner Hair Color?

Your Hair Should Be Blue
Wild, brilliant, and out of control.You're a risk taker with an eye to the future.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mr. Telephone Man

I hate Verizon. More than I hate Comcast and the IRS. But I'm not talking about them today. I can only deal with one headache causing annoyance at a time, people. Anywhoodie...

Verizon sucks ASS! I have them for my telephone service - for several reasons 1) I'd get Vonage, but the whole "we don't have 911 service" thing bothers me 2) Worldcom went bye-bye and 3) when you set up your local service and Verizon gives you a choice, the list is like 40 names long, none of which I'd actually heard of, so instead of dealing with Leroy's Long Distance and Rib Shack, I choose to deal with...Verizon.

The other day I was at home. It was my day off. I was in a good mood. On the phone with my sister. On my computer surfing around. In my room watching TV. Then an expected fax didn't come through. Many times. My roommate called my phone to see if it worked - it went straight to voicemail. I picked up my phone - dead air, static, faint voices, and a faint "we're sorry, please hang up and place your call again". So after checking to make sure I'd actually paid my phone bill (you know it's embarrassing when you call up a company all indignant only to find out it's your fault because you're three months behind and forgot), I put in an online request for service. It said I could get an appointment for the next day. Ooh yay, unexpected but cool.

I should've known better. This isn't my first time dealing with Verizon. So the next day is Saturday. I've been given an "appointment" time between 8 AM and 6 PM. Great. That's only 10 hours to sit around and do nothing. I check the status of my order online. Still says 6 PM. OK. Let's just say I wasted a day. And at the end of that day I was still in tin can and string mode. I sent in a letter of complaint for the no-show lazy ass unqualified telephone repair technician. Sunday I checked my order status - according to them, there had been an outage in the area, my number was one of those affected, and the problem was due to be fixed by 9 PM....the PREVIOUS day. That was some serious bull since I'm pretty sure my roommate's phone would have been affected. I looked at my order status - oh look they couldn't "find" the information. So I put in another order - and got an appointment for TUESday between 8 AM and 8 PM. Did I mention I hate Verizon?

I got my phone service back for a hot second that day. And then it broke again. So on Monday when I got to work, I called Verizon. When the illiterate-sounding person answered the phone (after 5 rings, no less) they said that I'd put in an order for Tuesday. Ooh ya THINK?! I responded with I'd actually put in an order for Saturday, but since no one could see fit to actually show up and do their job, I'd had to place another order. And I was calling to talk to an actual person to see if someone might take it upon themselves to actually show up on Tuesday. After a silence Mr. Hooked on Phonics informed me someone would definitely come out on Tuesday. Mm-hm really. So could he at least tell me what the problem was? Well he could test my line. Um yeah duh hop to it. HE tells me there's a short in my line. Whatever that means. And whatever you half-breed idiot. Just send somebody to fix my damn phone line.

Tuesday I'm up and waiting. Not expecting much because, after all, this IS Verizon. So I sit. I eat. I watch TV. I clean out some more papers and stuff for the upcoming move. I play on the computer (on a sidenote thank the Lord I have cable modem - had I gone with Verizon DSL I would doubly be shit out of luck). So it's 9. It's 10. It's 11. Then I notice my message light is flashing. Which it wasn't before. I pick up the phone. Oh look they fixed it AND DIDN'T EVEN TELL ME. And the message? From the day before. When Verizon called and left a message asking if my line was working and if it wasn't could I give them a call back. There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I don't even know where to start. OK you know my line's not working. But you call me. Since my line isn't working, I don't know when I have a message without waiting until I go to work and calling my voicemail. But yet you leave me a message. Then you tell me to call you. With WHAT?! Hold on, let me go get my Batman light and I'll send you a signal.

Verizon shall be receiving a nicely worded letter from me this week. I hate buying stamps, but they suck monkey nuts, and it's worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Now I Know Why People Go "Postal"

And ya'll better be glad I don't work for the post office. At work I was working on something that I was TOLD was due January 16. I come back from Christmas break and it's "Oh - it's actually January 3." OK, fine, I'll deal. Since I work for the government, everything is an ordeal. My project was a 300 word abstract. Simple right? Just remember - government, people.

To get to these "simple" 300 words, I was forced to 1) look at some data - THAT I DON'T HAVE BECAUSE I NEVER WORKED ON IT, 2) interpret said data - EASIER SAID THAN DONE BECAUSE I NEVER WORKED ON IT, 3) run some statistics on this data, which is all fine and good, except - I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO WHAT YOU ASKED, and then 4) write these "simple" 300 words and submit to my boss for review (which means it will be ripped to shreds, left with 3 original words of my own, and rewritten by my boss for what SHE wants to say...about MY abstract).

Anyway.... I go to my boss to ask for the imaginary data and she acts surprised that I don't have it (NOT MY PROJECT PEOPLE) and then gives me a thick sheaf of Access printouts which I must now decode - which of course is after she told me the data is in our system - which it isn't. To decode this data, I now have to retype it in Excel and add some formulas so I can get one number instead of 800. Then I have to run statistics. Which I know how to do a certain type but I understood not one word that came out of her mouth on that subject - turns out SHE had a statistician write up a formula. Uh-huh. So I go to a colleague who has said formula. Now since I'm apparently an unschooled idiot with an IQ of 2, instead of just telling me what the formula is, I get a damn spreadsheet that she did for her data and an hour long "tutorial" - much of which is spent with her asking me if I knew how to use Excel. After managing not to bash her in the head with her own stapler, I take the data and the statistics and get to writing. Futile exercise, I know, but we must please the lions to keep from being eaten, no?

So I do all that crap and give it to my boss. Who promptly goes on vacation. But she finds time to e-mail and call. In short, in the whole week, I spoke to her more times than if she had actually been present. I get my revisions back from her. Now if I tell somebody I'm going to do something then I'M GOING TO DO IT. Do NOT keep calling to check on me. Do NOT send a colleague to ask condescending things about how I'm doing, where am I, or DO I NEED ANY HELP. NO!!!!!!! People I am NOT an idiot. I went to school. I did quite well. I even know how to write. Imagine THAT. *puts down knives*

So - because my boss decides I'm apparently too dim to understand anything she might tell me, she decides to come in on Friday. My early day. The day before a holiday weekend. A day in which, because she was nitpicking over ONE sentence, didn't end until an hour and a half AFTER I was supposed to leave. I was so ready to strangle her with my shoelace. So I managed to get the abstract done, in SPITE of these idiots and submit "my" words on time. Oh wow - lookit that. I'm capable! Who woulda thunk it? All I'm saying is if anyone even LOOKS at me sideways today we will have it out.