Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Picture of the Day 01.01.2012

01/01/2012 Comments off


As part of one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided that it would be sort of therapeutic for me to use the camera on my cell phone (and a bit of my imagination and not-so-sharp-eyes) to capture a moment in time in my wanderings outside of the house (and more importantly getting out of the house as often as possible – even during the winter). These will be by no means professional (or quality) even in my most deluded imagination.

Hopefully though, they might in fact be insightful…

This is the other end of my street here in Providence, RI, USA as I decided to say, “to hell with it” about making my own coffee and instead hitting the local Dunkin Donuts to get an iced coffee instead. While the architecture of the area is extremely reminiscent of the turn of the 19th to 20th century, a lot of these houses are in serious disrepair and abandoned. It saddens me given the history (and past culture) of this area and of the city on the whole. Here’s to hoping this area will go through a revitalization as the Broadway area did during the mid 90s.


Entry 09/13/2009 10:28:35 PM – Mentat 529

09/16/2009 Comments off

     Heh, I made it to Beantown — although I have to say that being away from the town for more than 20 years, I still feel like I have no orientation as to the layout.  Sure, I was here a couple of years ago and at that time I had come up here to meet someone (whom I will leave unmentioned, but will say that I was disappointed with his duplicity), but he was in Roxbury Corners and that’s just a little bit more south and west of where I am now.

     So I get off at Back Bay, and end up trying to use the GPS in my phone to get a bearing as to which what I needed to go.  I hadn’t exactly been optimistic about it working properly, given that out of the 4 times that I had used it, it had only worked once.  Didn’t work the first time…  Or the three other times that I had tried when I had chosen a direction to walk. 

     Heh!  Didn’t walk in the right direction as none of the roads that I was looking for from the map that I saw at the T-station weren’t anywhere along the route.  And to make it funnier, the path I had chosen I had ended up crossing over Newbury St!  Queen might not be a trailblazer, but can find the grand, gay shopping experience quite by instinct!  <chuckling> I ended up calling my friend Tracy Naples, because she’s got a better handle of MapQuest and giving directions than calling my Aunt (which I would be spending time trying to explain to her how to use the MapQuest interface).  Turned out — yep!  As I suspected, the direction that I had chosen was completely the wrong one.  So with a lot of reassurance, and a little proper orientation, I was able to end up at the Bed & Breakfast I have reservations at (Chandler Inn). 

     I tried to get some sleep, and ended up getting about 5½ hours sleep before dragging my ass out of bed, getting showered, and trying to re-orient myself without too much assistance from the Naples GPS.  Turned out that it took me a little, and a whole lot of map checking, but I was finally able to figure out there three coffee shops are (and at least one Dunkin’), restaurants…  Newbury Street (while I know where it was from the B&B, I didn’t know what the orientation was.  Now I do <dance>), and at least three lines (T-stations) from here.

     Funny thing is that I called Tracy after I had "breakfast" and she had asked me what kind of phone I had and whether I had GPS. 

     "Samsung Blackjack, and yes it has GPS," I replied finishing up my Coke. 

     "Then why aren’t I using it?"  She was laughing.  "Here you are giving me a call for directions with GPS and you’re calling me for directions." 

     I prefer a reassuring voice and to make comment on some of the things that I’m seeing.  Well that and the GPS wasn’t exactly working correctly.  Especially given that I need to comment about some of the men, boys and between that I had seen during the walk in the wrong direction and through the evening when I had been wandering around in the night to get a feel of the lay of the land.  And believe me — there had been some handsome men along the way as well.   

     Heh, I didn’t realize that I had been so borderline Luddite.  Well, I would have used my laptop instead as I know the layout of it more than my Smartphone, but I didn’t want to stop at some WiFi hotspot to load up the laptop in order to get an idea of the lay out of the land through satellite/hybrid at Google Earth or MapQuest.


     I think that tomorrow early I’m going to head out from here to Faneuil Hall and get something a bit more substantial to eat as well as check out some of the shopping there.  Heh, it’s been forever since I’ve been to the Marketplace there, as the last time I was up here a couple of years ago, I turned back from it given it was hot, summer, and my walking companion was exhausted from the 5 mile walk from Newbury St to the Marketplace.  I might even take the chance to stop by the Aquarium or Science Museum tomorrow, given it’s in the general area of the Marketplace to spend a little time down there…  Not sure though as that’s some hours away. 


     Oh and if anyone’s asking (themselves) — no I haven’t converted back to Day Walker.  Even for two days, I know that this will completely screw me up for the two days after that while I’m home and I don’t think I have it within me to have to pill myself to sleep for the next couple of weeks to reorient my sleep patterns.

     Well, that’s about it for the time being.  I think it’s time for me to screw up my guts and have a beer or two.  Until the next time. 

Categories: Travel

Entry 03/23/2009 11:05:54 PM – Mentat 493

03/24/2009 Comments off
     Day One…
     Day one was certainly one of the more challenging of days for me.  First, by the time I got out of the Hotel and had breakfast at IHOP which was a block up the street, I had been running on something like 7 hours of sleep done as 2 hour naps from the time I had left Providence, to the time I had gotten into my room at the hotel in San Bruno.  Then after calling BART to get some directions on how to get into town, I didn’t pay much attention to the maps and where I wanted to go, thinking "it’s a city, it shouldn’t be too hard to pick a point on the transit system, get out and walk about town to get a feel of the lay of the land.  After all, I did the same thing when I was in Seattle, and getting off around Pioneer Square and heading up to the Space Needle, so it shouldn’t be too bad a walk. 
     Heh, little did I know, huh?  So, I got off at the first stop that felt like I was within the city — 24th and Mission — and decided to make the trek from there.  I should’ve gotten the hint when I was walking up Mission and counting the streets that it was going to be a trek — but little did I know how much of it.  About an hour later I finally got to Market Street after checking the maps in the Public Transit (Muni) stops along the way. 
     From there, it was a straight shot up Market to Embarcadero, checking out the financial district along with the commercial parts of the road where all the shopping was.  On the way up Market, I came across an unusual sight…  Seems that there were something like 20 – 30 police officers mulling about in front of the Bank of America Building.  Didn’t realize to look around until after I had passed by and saw it.  Apparently there was some sort of demonstration going on across the street.  Got a picture of it and continued on my way. 
     Getting to Embarcadero and seeing Port of San Francisco, I knew it wasn’t too far to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Heh…  About a half-hour later between the casual walk and having to dodge grazing tourists, locals jogging and biking, and the occasional teenager riding skateboards where they’re not supposed to, I finally got to Fisherman’s Wharf.
     Now mind you — I wasn’t really stopping to check things out.  As I had done on the first day in Seattle was get a quick lay of the land before I started doing touristy things.  Sure there were some things that I did pick up during the walk — but for the most part it’s more or less a forced march for planning the next day.  Like I picked up that Mission District was predominantly Hispanic and Latin American…  Like from Port of San Francisco to Fisherman’s Wharf is mainly business and not really a tourist attraction…  Like the fact that when I was walking up Mission Street after leaving the main strip of the Mission District, there was this smell like warm crayons in the air.  Like the fact that once I got to Port of San Francisco, the smell of the Bay while being present was by far not as strong as smelling the ocean on the East Coast…  And like the first smell that hit me when I was at Fisherman’s Wharf was the smell of boiled crabs and clam cakes. 
     I knew that I was going to make my way back to Fisherman’s Wharf if only to try out the seafood, as I wasn’t hungry from the large brunch that I had at IHOP.  So from there, after checking out a couple of the places, decided to make my way ‘cross the city and check out where Chinatown was.
     Ha! Fun times to be had there…  Like usual, I stumbled across a part of town I didn’t know existed:  the Titty Bars and Straight Adult bookstores.  Seems that Broadway, near to Columbus Ave at the end of Chinatown is where all the Titty Bars and Bookstores are. And of course, because it’s me and my luck, I happened to stumble across it quite by accident…  Like I did in Seattle last year…   Got a couple of pictures from that while wandering down Chinatown to the gate, and looking at the time, realized that it was 3:00’ish and I was getting seriously tired. 
     Little did I know that I had walked a little over 10 miles in 5 hours and still didn’t have a tenth of the city down because of it.  No wonder I was seriously tired.  What I thought I had taken a nap turned out to be about 5 hours sleep by the time I had woken up, and instead of being able to head down the street to the mall that I saw from the bus on my way to the BART station in South San Francisco and perhaps grabbing something quick at Chili’s that was nearby to the mall, ended with me actually going across the street to Wendy’s for a quicker bite to eat before I passed out again for another couple of hours.  In fact, I spent a couple of hours chatting with friends online, getting caught up with Wordscraper with Diane on Facebook, and generally checking through my mail before I took another couple of hour nap for….

     Day Two… 
     This time, I was determined to check out some of the tourist attractions I had tagged the day before, although I wasn’t entirely sure which ones that I wanted to do.  About the only one that I actually had on my mind was getting to Duck Tours (as I did see them drive by me while I was walking to Fisherman’s Wharf.  After that though, everything else was up in the air.  I also made the decision that I would try to grab something when I was in San Francisco rather than in San Bruno because I didn’t want to be weighted down by a heavy brunch and then miss out on some of the food while I was there.
     When I got back to the Wharf — I hit Pier 39 where they had the Bay Cruises.  In fact, I had just missed their first Bay Tour by about 15 minutes, grabbed a ticket for the next cruise, had about an hour or so to kill, and headed back to the place where I had smelled the clam cakes and boiled crab.  When I ended up getting back to the place where the seafood was, my stomach turned at the smell of it, and ended up heading over instead to In-N-Out Burger and having a quick bite from there.  Needless to say, great burgers and after having tons of onions on it; was breathing enough fire to know to stay away from folk or else I’d wilt them if I breathed on them.  And me without breath mints or my usually carrying a toothbrush and mouthwash either. 
     So I took the Bay Cruise around the bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge and got a hell of a lot closer to Alcatraz than I wanted to be.  Friends and family all asked why I didn’t take the Alcatraz Tour, and I consistently told everyone, "I’ve never been in the prison system before, I don’t see any need to want to go into it even if it’s for a tour."  Although I did take a picture of it with my cell phone and sent it over to a couple of folk at work with the message, "Look, it’s our new office…" 
     Then from there, I went over to Leavenworth St and booked a trip on Duck Tours of San Francisco, otherwise known as "Bay Quackers".  Fun time being in a bus (of sorts) and getting through some of the parts of San Fran I had already been through while at the same time checking out other parts that I hadn’t.  Also got a chance to check out the other part of the bay that I didn’t catch when I was on the Bay Cruise.  I was particularly enthralled with the Merchant Marine Roll-On and Roll-Off boats that were in dock there.  The pictures that I have of them are pretty deceptive of the size, but I was able to find some info on them here:  Still though, they were impressive for their size even sitting there quietly in dock. 
     By the time the two tours had been completed was about 4 PM and again, I was getting tired.  So, I decided on making my way back to the hotel, try to get a nap in again, and try again to head down someplace to sit down and eat instead of something fast food.  Heh…  I talked with Tracy a bit, and she had offered to give me a call in a couple of hours to wake me up after a power nap, which I had declined.  I am disciplined enough to wake myself up after a short time, but if I’m too tired…  Call or no, I’m going to simply roll over and fall back to sleep. 
     Which is precisely what I did.  8 o’clock I woke up, couldn’t see the time clearly enough, rolled right back over and fell asleep until 12:30 AM.  By that time, not even Wendy’s was open so I was pretty much SOL until the next day when I’d have to pick something up quickly for breakfast.  Further through the early to mid afternoon, I had been texting Keagan back and forth about meeting up which he had at first suggested heading down in his direction, but given how shaky I had felt about my knowledge of BART and public transit in the area, adding Caltrain or Amtrak would’ve been worse, particularly given how tired I had been for the last couple of days.  When he offered to come up with his boyfriend to San Francisco instead, I agreed, decided on taking a shower to relax and get as much sleep as possible. 
     Starting the shower, I turned quickly to take a look at myself in the mirror to see if I looked as tired as I felt and saw to my shock that I had gotten a little burned on my neck, face, nose and ears.  I got burned because of the time I had spent on the Bay Quackers Tour.  Seeing how red I was in the face, I knew that I would probably be peeling pretty quickly, and hoped that I wouldn’t look too much like a raccoon when I met up with Keagan and Paul. 
     So I showered, wrote a little, and put myself to bed, to get as much sleep as possible so I wouldn’t pass out at 5 again while Keagan and Paul were up toward San Fran for the day… 

     Next up — the totally fagalicious Day Three…  Until then.
Categories: Travel

Entry 03/20/2009 06:07:10 AM – Mentat 492

03/24/2009 Comments off
     Even though I haven’t been able to sleep right for the last couple of days, I have to admit that I’m having a really good time.  Although getting here has been the routine kookiness that I go through.  Unlike the time that I went through TSA this time was certainly pretty damn quick.  Certainly quicker than the trip I took last year when I went to Seattle.  I think I was in line before going through the security check-in process in about 10 minutes; as opposed almost 40 minutes last year.  Then it’s the routine feeling of hurry up and wait when I got to the terminal area; waiting for the plane to get in. 
     Of course, unlike most of the other trips that I’ve made in my life where I had either changed out my seats to a window seat (so that if there are any women in the row, I don’t have to worry about having to get up every 10 minutes when they have to run to the bathroom) or to First Class when I was traveling for business — I stuck to the seats that they had assigned me…  In this case the aisle seats someplace near to the window exits.  This of course also meant that based on zones, I would be one of the last zones to board the plane (to keep the chaos of seat figuring out down to a minimum).
     For the first part of the trip, let me just start by saying they were both women, and both clearly earned the nicknames of McCranky and McCrazy.  McCranky gave me the sneer like I was some sort of leper and important body parts were just falling of right there as I was standing in the aisle.  At first I thought that she was some man-hating feminist; because she was wearing those all-natural blended clothes and I think she was wearing various beads and baubles that looked like she had picked them up while walking some beach in the Caribbean.  Then I realized she was clearly a New Englander, and that scowl was just the routine look New Englanders make at each other to ensure one won’t be bothered. 
     McCrazy on the other hand looked somewhat normal, until I had sat down, and shortly after that the plane started moving.  In which case, she was acting as though she had a severe set of cramps going on, as she couldn’t sit still the entire time the plane was moving.  She frequently didn’t understand personal space, frequently invading mine by either stretching and bumping me, and then hunching over the tray table as though the plane were going to go down at any time. 
     I was certainly glad that when the electronics warning was turned off, I popped the earbuds in, listened to some soothing trance, and was able to catch a guarded hour’s sleep in spite of the fact that McCrazy would routinely bump me, without so much as an "excuse me" because she was as fidgety as a flea on a sunspot. 

     The wait at Charlotte was also interesting in that it reminded me all too well that I’m not as tall as I often felt I was living in the Biggest Little.  At home, 5’9" certainly feels tall when dealing with folk 5’4" – 5’8"…  but in the South, where the average height is in fact someplace in the vicinity of 6’2" — well… 5’9" is just a shade above average if that.  Then there was this man that was wandering the terminal area with this cell phone nearly permanently attached to his ear that stuck out like a sore thumb. 
     6’1" or so.  Black hair, cut short and something like a faux-hawk, he was wearing a pair of designers and wife-beater that shows off a tight body and a tattoo sleeve that looked more like something a gang-member would sport than someone just into tattoos.  The wife of a military man sitting about 6 or so seats away from where I was, had this scowl of a look that clearly looked like fear-fascination.  The way that she was talking to her husband was disapproving of this man, but every time I opened my eyes, she continued staring at him with that look. 
     Most of the older folk had the look like, "that generation…"  and clucked about his look. 
     The rest watched him with caution acting as though he would pull out some gun and pop a cap in their asses because he looked like a complete tough-guy. 
     And me?  I could hear some of his conversation on the phone, and while he had the typical attitude of someone from Los Angeles trying to hustle like he was someone really important, I smiled to myself because everyone wouldn’t or couldn’t realize that he’s all show and nothing more. 
     Oh, and I had the chance to get a lunch that I had sort of missed getting since living in the South…  I stopped over at the main concourse and picked up a grinder from Blimpies.  It’s a sort of Southern clone of "Subway" except that they don’t give onions or peppers with the sandwich.  They also know how to make a good sweet tea without it tasting like it was mixed from powder.  Pity they didn’t have Krystals or Zaxby’s…  I would’ve been there in a heartbeat. 

     The second leg of the trip, had a sort of run in with this older woman that had made the decision she wanted my seat because it was in the aisle and she wanted the free movement she was too used to.  I wanted positively no trouble because it was almost 6 in the evening and wanted to sit down and get comfortable to get a little bit more sleep to make up what I missed.  So I showed the steward in the aisle near to where I was sitting, nodded down to the woman and he deftly and with the right authority asked the woman to pull out her stub and check as she didn’t belong in the seat. 
     If she had asked, I probably would’ve swapped out the seat…  But she just automatically thought that the flight wasn’t filled, she could just choose what seat she wanted.  Not that it wasn’t hard to figure out the flight was pretty packed, the gate attendants said it four times, not to mention the lines to get onto the plane was proof.  Ultimately she ended up bartering with the man sitting in the empty row in front of her seat who she thought was going to get the aisle seat again — but he proved it was his as well, and she had the window and a buffer between him and the window to be happy with…  Oh, not that it mattered, she was up 6 times during the flight hitting me each time out of the seat because she was a graceful as a baboon with two clubbed feet. 
     This time my row companions were a newlywed couple that kept completely to themselves, whispering to each other whenever they talked, and stayed close to each other the majority of the trip.  From what I could see they had been to at least a couple of amusement parks during their trip — Busch Gardens, Six Flag; and I think they had a day pass to Disney World, based on the bracelet bangles they had on each wrist.  
     Of course, during this leg of the trip, the family with the two small children that had boarded the plane in Providence were two or so seats behind me, of which the 5 year old decided that to placate her boredom, she was going to sing…  loudly.  Non-stop. And in one note. 
     I remember hearing the mother making the excuses to the nearby passengers that she was like this when she was bored, of which quite a lot of them groaned in pain when the daughter broke into her own version of an elementary school song, I vaguely remember singing when I was her age (yes, I used to sing before my voice broke, and quite well to boot — even joined the chorus because of it). 
     And once again, when the no electronics sign went off — there I went to grab my iPod and listen to whatever I wanted to listen to at the time. 

     Six hours later, I landed in San Francisco; with about 3 hours of sleep and near to the entire trip calmed and meditated and more than a little bit drained.  Getting off the plane, I go fishing through the pockets of my jacket wanting to turn it on, take a picture of something that would prove that I was in San Fran and realized my phone was gone.  I checked the other pockets, found my keys, my wallet, but the pocket that had my phone was empty.  I thought about going back to the plane and check to see if anyone found it.  But then I remembered that when I lost my hat on the flight from Seattle, no one was able to find the thing. And the last time I had a phone stolen (when I was living in Atlanta), no one said that they were able to find it either — so I just decided that the instant I got into the hotel, I’d fire up Skype, call customer service and get the phone deactivated and a new phone acquired.  Then it turns out, I remember that I had taken it out of my pocket and put it in its holder in my bag.  Checking it, I found it there.  I smiled and shook it off because I knew that I was over-tired and getting senile because of it.
     Heading down to Baggage Claim, I grabbed my bags from the carousel thankful that my bags were up first, in spite of the fact that all of the women on the flight were hovering near to the carousel and blocking everyone; hoping their bags will show up and they can get out of there. 
     I grabbed a taxi outside, and a couple of miles from the airport, found that the Ramada that I was staying at was along a main road in San Bruno (El Camino Real), got into my room and tried to get a little sleep that I had missed during the trip.  At that point I realized I was completely out of it.  I couldn’t follow simple instructions, I couldn’t remember simple instructions (like getting to my room from the lobby), and couldn’t even figure out how to use the remote on the television.  I passed out in about 10 minutes from getting undressed and crawling into bed.

     Next entry, I’ll talk about day one here…  Until then.

Categories: Travel

Entry 03/17/2009 09:22:30 PM – Mentat 491

03/18/2009 Comments off
     T-plus 1 and counting on the vacation.
     T-minus 12 hours or so for the crazy I call TSA and airport security and boarding a plane for the left coast.

     All right, so I’m on vacation officially now as I’m sitting here with clothes washed and hung and folded, although I’ve yet to actually start packing my bags.  No real need to as I’m only going to vaguely need to pass an iron over some of it, not to mention that I’m only going for 5 days or so.  One of my friends doesn’t think that that’s long enough for a trip, but given that I tend to whirlwind through the tourist attractions, I think it more than enough time to get a sufficient taste of what I’m seeing and doing.  When I’m alone, I can catalog and gauge my reactions at the speed of my thoughts, without showing any of the world what I’m thinking or feeling…  Naturally faster. 
     Besides as I said, if I were actually traveling with someone else, I would most probably stay longer, if only because I tend to be a lot slower and more casual with company than I am when I’m alone.  Part of it has to do with the fact that I like seeing their reactions to things, as it my sharing my reactions to something.  Most of it has entirely to do with the company I’m with. 

     Another friend said to me wished me good voyage and to treat this trip as though I were a kid in a candy shop.  *smiling*  He also said something about treating this as an adventure.  He doesn’t quite understand my adventures are within my heart and mind and deal with the people that touch my life in ways that defy words.  When it comes to cities, landmarks, tourist attractions and history that has left its mark on the world…  I already know that I am merely a traveler through it.  I will have seen it, touched it, it has left a mark on me, and I will have been gone while it still stands there.  I might carry away from it pieces of history that I had learned, or a bauble that will remind me that I had been there, but it’s what I do with it when I share it with another human being means infinitely more to me than my personally been there to see it. 

     I admit that I’m feeling better about going on this trip now than I did at the end of the week last week.  I believe most of it has to do with the conversation I had this morning which sort of hashes for me a better understanding that I didn’t have before.  That and the fact that I didn’t realize that I had been going through a sort of pre-trip funk that sort of snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking.  Now that it’s only 12 hours away, I’m finding myself getting into the right frame of mind for a trip.  Good thing too because I didn’t want a repeat performance of the crap that I was feeling when I was getting ready for my trip to Seattle…  Right down to all the emotional baggage that I had going on because of Damion fleeing from the city to head his aunt’s a couple of hundred miles away. 

     I’m not going to say much in this entry, other than to say that after this, I’m off for the next 5. Should be back to normal (I hope) Monday night when I get home. Then it’s the chaos of post-trip uploading and so on.  E-mail to write as well…  So…  Until then…
Categories: Travel

Entry 01/18/2009 06:05:14 AM – Mentat 475

01/18/2009 Comments off
     I never realized getting a date could be so damned difficult. 
     It seemed so easy when I was younger, but now?  God, I think I could get a home loan with a 300 beacon faster than easier than getting a date with a man anywhere within a stone’s throw of my home.  Saw someone that I’ve seen in chat on create/update a profile on guys4men that said he had a quirky sense of humor which I had asked him about.  Chances are he’s not quirky in the least — probably has a sense of humor that people here in Rhode Island and Mass wouldn’t know how to read or appreciate — that if he talked with other folk in the world, would probably not only get him but think it hysterical (like mine does frequently with British and Australians); left open the chance to writing him — and can’t find a way in the world to open up any further dialog with him. 
     Chatted with someone else from Jamaica Plain that’s probably taking the weekend off of which is in his court what I wrote him.  Good chance though it’s going to die there with the ball in his court. 
     Chatted with another from Boston that I’d like to get to know more of, but get the impression that in my simply being friendly he’s going to see it as either stalker-like, spastic or simply creepy given the place that he’s coming from and is going to run to the hills. 
     Was hit on by someone else in Mass that seems to want to find hairy guys to be oral with, and when I pointed out about my profile and him not reading it said that he saw nothing about whether I wanted oral or not.  Heh, hello?  The concept of romance is completely dead with some folk or what?  It’s all about sex, and if it’s missing then it must be something to be questioned for and hoped upon? 
     Chatted with another that I kept seeing his name (and profile) floating to the top of my "who’s viewed me" list on that left me scratching my head why he kept looking without saying anything to me about it; and while I thought that the chat went well, ended up in silence and I can only imagine that he was either busy with someone else, or more typically was because it was 3 in the AM with him on the West Coast and he was falling asleep in spite of the fact that the grungy hotel with kids partying wasn’t keeping him up anymore. 

     What makes it worse is that it felt so much easier when Damion and I had met.  Looking back, I realize that it really wasn’t, given that there were a couple of times when he had attempted to break it off because he felt the pull towards his ex more than he did me.  *sighs*  I guess this is just one of those times where I’m remembering things through the filter of hindsight it always 20/20. 

     So it’s Sunday morning, and it’s snowing.  I can see it out there in the darkness swirling against the streetlamps lighting the parking lot.  It’s still pretty cold out there and I’m getting the blahs from it.  No seriously — it’s past the holidays, it’s cold, it’s winter, and while the snow falling is pristine and white, underneath it is the past snows of the season, dirty, black and salted from trying to clean it and the ice that’s formed off the roads. 
     I got my vacation time approved, and have positively no idea where I want to go.  I definitely want to go someplace more temperate than here.  San Francisco’s on the list and getting there for 4 days is pretty nice.  ~$500 including hotel.  Naples (FL) might be on the list, given it’s significantly warmer there than here.  Although I’m not too sure.  Even thought of a quick trip back to Atlanta if only to see how much of it’s changed and to see Atlanta for the leisure that I so rarely got the chance to enjoy and appreciate. 
     On the flip side, I’ve thought about putting New York City on the list, given I would like to re-acquaint myself with the Big Apple for a bit and perhaps terrorize Rob for a day.  I’ve even thought about a Boston trip; if only to save on the trip money, along with taking advantage of checking out the area once again on my own and without going through the thigh deep bullshit that I went through the last time I was in Boston in 2007.
     I’m still going to be Nightbreed given that it’s going to be hell to swap out from nights for three days, days for four and then back to nights for three.  Believe me, I’ve done that before and it sucks, and going someplace that has a 24/7 life is definitely something I need to keep in mind for this trip. 
     No, Las Vegas is not on the list.  I don’t gamble, and I’m not about to pick up that habit either.  I’ve got the Briere luck after all, and the last thing I need to be doing is gambling the money away only to win what?  $20 when I spent $200?  Thanks no.  Neither is Los Angeles on the list.  The last thing I want to do is risk my luck and run into my brother — even if he’s supposed to still be here in Rhode Island doing whatever work he’s passing off as doing here in the state.  It’s going to be a confrontation and I’m in no mood for a confrontation with the likes of him.  That shit’s over and so is my involvement with mother and father.  No need to be dredging up the past with that. 
     It’s definitely too early for the Cape — March is still too cold for that sort of thing.  The rest of New England’s also too cold — even if it does warm up around the first of spring (which is when I have this vacation time). 
     Other than that, I just don’t know.   I’ll think a little about it in the week to come.  We’ll see what I can come up with. 

     I’ve decided that it’s time to be taking a break from Apo and Fractal creations.  I created quite a lot for the months of November and December, and while I’m finally getting the hang of 2.08 3D Hack, at the same time, I need to work on other things instead.  Perhaps like Warlock or Symbiosis.  That is, of course if I can stop being hyped up and spastic while at work after coffee, and the routine sugar intake that I have in order to get up to the necessary speed for multitasking for work.  It doesn’t help matters given that come Sunday when I get the energy and the gumption to want to sit down and write, I’m too excited that it’s my Friday and can barely focus on even work. 
     Yet, hope springs eternal and perhaps I’ll be able to buckle down enough to read, write, edit and get at least one of them finished. 

     Well, it’s come to the end of my duty shift, and I’ve gotten all that I wanted to say out for the time being.  I might think a little bit more about what I began with, and vacation and go from there.  Until the next time.

Categories: Travel

Entry 10/20/2008 11:10:08 PM – Mentat 444

10/21/2008 Comments off
     There are just some traits from people that just piss one the hell off right from the moment they open their mouths and start spouting words from it.  It could be the tone of their voice, the sneer that they demonstrate when they’re trying to be something more than they’re not, or quite simply the choice of words.  With me, it’s most assuredly the arrogance that’s used to cover their ignorance.  Take for example one of the calls that I took at the beginning of my "Friday" at work.  While I’m not much of an OS elitist, as I’ve always tried to be a proponent of all forms of operating systems, I do draw a line when it comes to what I call the zealots of any one operating system.  Speaking personally, the two worst types of Zealots that I deal with are the Mac-o-philes, and the sheep of Linux.  Last night, my night started with a Mac user. 
     First off, he was an acolyte…  Sometime with just enough experience to get through the most common operations, without understanding the intermediate stuff necessary for troubleshooting.  Next, he carried the arrogance that tried to convey that he was an expert with things, but really was just being plain ignorant.  Finally through the entire conversation he kept saying the word "Mac" like it was a salve for whatever problems he was experiencing and that the problem clearly had to be with the service that he was getting. 
     Boy did he set me off.  First, he starts off saying that he hosts his own site and his own e-mail, but three minutes into the call he admits that he has something like "28" different sites and that they’re with everyone else.  In fact, his e-mail’s also being hosted by at least two different sites.  His problem was that instead of calling his POP/e-mail providers and finding out what the problem is with sending mail with them, he wanted to use the SMTP services on the residential side of the accounts. 
     About fifteen minutes into the call, and him adamant that "…we’re blocking his e-mail ports…  that’s why he wasn’t able to send mail…"
     I was able to get one of the two e-mail provider addresses and not only successfully connected to the necessary port for that provider’s SMTP server, but so did he.  And unlike the Windows telnet prompt which just gives one a blinking cursor, in Mac it said quite clearly in the window "Successfully connected to…" 
     At that point, I told him that he needed to call that provider and have them check his settings, which he got annoyed with me and hung up. 
     It took me almost three hours to calm down from the anger I was feeling for this man’s arrogance and his complete ignorance that the problem is not really with the computer or the OS that he was using but the most important piece of equipment: the one that’s between the seat and the keyboard. 
     Subsequently, he called back and got one of the other technicians working last night, and basically got what he wanted.  Which only set me to smoldering all that much longer, considering the technician didn’t read the notes on the account or the previous ticket.  *sighs* 

     So here it’s my Saturday, and I’m completely slouching.  Got up late for me (9 PM) mainly because I had to stay up later into the afternoon to check on the status of my order (I’ll get to it in a minute).  Didn’t even make any coffee this morning because, frankly I’m not in the mood for any.  Eh, I’ll make some in the afternoon if only to enjoy the heat and the taste.  Right now though as it’s close to lunch, I don’t want to mess up the buzz of the taste of coffee with what I’ve decided on having for lunch — Chinese from the other day.  Didn’t get the chance to eat my dinner because by the time I had gotten up and gotten ready for work, it was delivered too late, and I didn’t have any plastic available to put it into.  So it was the mad dash to the bus stop and picking something meager up for lunch from Stop & Shop at the mall.
     My aunt, bless her heart, asks me tonight as I was waking up whether I’ll be doing laundry tomorrow, mainly because she has her own to do.  Smiling at her I tell her, "of course not.  And besides if I was, you’d be long since done with your own."  Heh, I usually do of my own well after 1 in the morning and finishing up well before she wakes up in the morning. 

     All right, I’ll come back to this in a couple.  I think I’m going to watch Thunderbird 6 and enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes from not having a caffeine high at the beginning of my day.  Be back shortly. 

[Last Edited: 10/21/2008 07:32:50 AM]

     Heh, more than just shortly later.  I’ve watched Thunderbird 6 and for the life of me remember it being packaged as an episode during the 70s or early 80s when it returned for syndication, I played Final Fantasy VII up to the final disc, took a nap for about an hour and a half and having a dream that was like my family does Everybody Loves Raymond, and now I’ve got Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider, in the player while finishing up the rest of this entry…  Well before my cat really begins to annoy me for her morning meal anyway. 
     Oh and somewhere in the middle of it all, I was able to bounce over to Kubuntu and check to see whether there were any updates for the OS; although for the life of me, I don’t think it actually checks quite the same way as Ubuntu does.  Then again it might be possible that it’s not as unstable or in need of patching as Gnome/Ubuntu is.  I’m not entirely sure one way or another, given that when I run an update manually — the only thing that gets updated are the Medibuntu directories.  Eh, go figure.  Still been pondering whether I should attempt an upgrade to KDE 4.x, but still haven’t found any shining reviews of it other than from the usual zealots that I loathe dealing with at work.  I’ll think about it for another week or so… 

     So the news that I had hinted at, at the beginning of the entry has to do with a little investment that I had decided on spending on.  As I had said in the previous journal entry, I had been considering the purchase of a low to mid-end laptop for travel and what have you.  The MSI Wind.  Well, I decided on purchasing it, and with the mail-in rebate of $50, I’ve decided to take the plunge.  Of course, that didn’t go without a couple of obstacles.  First off, I find out what the daily limit was, and with the purchase and the year’s extended warranty, would you believe that I went over that daily limit by $5.00!
     That morning, I called the bank and inquired to see whether I could temporary increase the daily limit on the debit/credit card and they had permanently increased it instead.  Nice.  Had to wait until Monday to check in with New Egg (that’s who I’m going through to buy it) to check to see whether they would re-charge my card and ensure that it would go through and when I checked in with them, they said that it processed automatically and that it’s good to go.  So either by Friday or Monday I should have the new toy in my possession. 
     Consequently, checking out the front page of New Egg, I saw a handy-dandy 8.1 megapixel camera for less than $100 that might be a good upgrade for the one that I’m currently using — considering that the latch on the battery door has finally broken off and needs to be held in place with scotch tape when the batteries are in.  I might also have to look into a sub-router here; Wi-Fi or something along the lines, so that I can wander about the house with it instead of having to lock it into a wire to do everything I’m going to need to do. 
     I know…  I know…  I’ve been pretty adamant about putting any of my equipment on a Wi-Fi router, given that I’m going to have to look into WPA or something better protected than the two Wi-Fi routers that are with the neighbors here; but at the same time, given that the Notebook doesn’t come with a CD drive (it’s smaller and lighter than the usual laptop) I’m going to need something to transfer the necessary files to it. 
     Eh, and I just thought of it, I’m going to need to look into some sort of AV protection for it as well.  Looks as though I might have to buy another license from ESET for the laptop.  Considering that I’m not going to be using AVG on it, given the way that it’s deleted files from my system in the past.  Oh!  You know what, I might have an alternative…  Clam (which I have installed on the Linux/Unix side).  I’ll check it out when the notebook comes in. 

     With all this in mind, by the end of the year, I’m going to be looking at an extra week’s paycheck thanks largely to the PTO time that I’ve accrued since I started the job, and the odds for me to actually use it are next to nil this year.  Which means that I’m going to have enough money to consider making a trip someplace.  And I’m wondering where should I go for a few days holiday.  Seattle’s still on the table, in spite of the things going on with D. I mean I really liked doing the whole touristy thing when I was there back in May, however with a second trip, I should definitely consider a little less of the touristy and a little more of what the locals do to enjoy themselves.  Of course, the obstacle to this has to be the fact that I’m now fully night-breed so getting to day walker hours and back is going to definitely pose a problem. 
     The second and third choices are San Francisco and New York City — although I know for a fact that going to either of those places is definitely going to cost.  Chicago would be a nice trip, but definitely not the sort of thing that I would want to do for the winter.  Especially considering that Chicago most assuredly earned it’s nickname as the "Windy City" during the dead of winter. 
      I could also do the New England vacation thing and head south instead; like Orlando or Miami or someplace along that line, given that it’ll definitely be warm for the winter months (although most of the southerners there will think it pretty cold.  Heh!).   We’ll see…   More on that as I think about it. 

     That’s about it for the time being.  Off to change into comfy clothes and get ready for bed shortly.  Until the next time…

Categories: Travel