Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cape and Tiara

* Borrowed this from Bliss's blog.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Wal-Mart Story

Once upon a time in a Wal-Mart far, far away worked a young lady named Tevis. Tevis worked the late shift and checked people out. Tevis seemed friendly and nice. She smiled. One night, Tevis had a customer who bought a car radio, and Tevis turned that radio on every side to desensitize the alarm. The customer asked Tevis, “Is the alarm gonna go off?” and Tevis said with a smile, “I hope not.” Tevis was friendly. The next customer in line had stopped at the Wal-Mart on his long, long (not really so long) journey from Memphis. He wanted a Sprite and a few other things. He had picked up a watch that was in a slat that said “$7.97.” But when it rang up, it was closer to $11.97. This traveler said to Tevis, “It rang up a different price than I thought it was” and Tevis said, “I know where it came from” and she took the receipt and the watch away for a minute. When Tevis came back, she said, “It is $11.97 but if you don’t want it, you can go get a full refund right now.” She said it in a very friendly way. So she walked the traveler over the service desk.

The service desk was ruled by a wicked witch of Wal-Mart. Well, maybe not wicked. But rude. The Rude Witch of Wal-Mart. OK, Witch may be too harsh a word. How about just Rude Charlotte. Rude Charlotte was on what must have been a very important phone call, because she just looked at Tevis and nodded her head or something. But she never stopped her phone call. Rude Charlotte never put down the really important looking black Wal-Mart desk phone. Rude Charlotte for a brief moment covered her mouth and the phone handset, but then continued her conversation. Rude Charlotte took the receipt and the phone and clicked a few keys on the cash register, took out cash, and put it in the hands of the traveler. The whole time, Rude Charlotte never got off the phone, never looked at the traveler, and never spoke to the traveler. Not one word. Rude Charlotte did not even count the money out to the traveler, she just put the money in his hand. Of course, Rude Charlotte couldn’t really count money, because she was too busy talking on the telephone.

Rude Charlotte was telling someone on the phone something that sounded very very important. It was all about a $700 refund she is going to get from somebody that had something to do with her cell phone service. Rude Charlotte sounded very happy about her refund. It was the only thing happy about Rude Charlotte, because she certainly did not share any of her happiness with the traveler. The only thing she shared with the traveler was the money she put in his hand.

And that is a story about a Wal-Mart in Bolivar, Tennesssee, on Friday night, January 22nd, around 10p.m.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Once, we were the best of friends.

It seems like "a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away" but we were great pals and running buddies. They were a couple of years younger than me, and I hung around a year or two after high school attending the local community college. So our friendship continued for quite a while. The last time I saw either of them was 8 years ago when one got married. Somehow, after driving all the way to the wedding, we just all got tied up in our own lives after that and just sort of never talked. One is married and living in Dallas, the other just recently got his Ph.D. and went way out West for a job in academia.

The other night before my trip, I remembered the ones that lived in Texas and sent the wife a message through myspace. We hooked up for lunch the day I left, they picked me up and went to the Cheesecake Factory.* I regretted not taking a photo of us, but I didn't. They told me the other had asked about me just that week. All of us are doing good, living our lives and going on about it in . . . . I suppose something similar to the way we thought we would. Maybe.

Oh well. It was great to see them again. Since I didn't take a picture the other day, I dug out these old ones, in tribute.

* The Cheesecake Factory is misnamed, I think. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful.

In the photo of 3 of us posing, I'm the guy in the middle. In the other, I'm the one with the cheesy grin for the camera.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I always look for her in the airport.

Over 12 years ago, she and I worked together and were fast friends. She's a doll, and easy on the eyes. She's a flight attendant and she lives several hours away, but you never know where she might jump seat. So any time I'm in the airport, I look for her. So Thursday morning I'm texting her telling her I'm about to take a flight and she calls me, she's in the airport. She had to jumpseat over in order to start a 5 day trip. So I had to walk quite a ways to find her. She's as pretty today as the day I met her.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 14 through 16, 2008

A quick company trip took me to Grapevine, Tx, just outside of Dallas for a few days. I hardly left the hotel, but do you really have to when it's a Gaylord property? They build these huge multiplex venues that are just. . . too much, but in a fun way. The Gaylord Texan has a huge atrium area and probably half of the rooms look onto/into it. Inside the atrium is a sort of Texan world. The restaurant looks like a Mexican building, there's a miniature train set and village, a fake bull. It's all rather funny in a neat way. Well, neat for $200 a night. But it was definitely a more comfortable room and bed than last week's trip.

I went to the mall and found a store called Steve & Barry's. Everything is $8.98. Everything. Shoes, jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts, adults, children, etc. So yes, I overdid shopping and had to stuff my small suitcase to come home. You know I fall for a gimmick every time, and I know I do. I know it even when it is happening! Oh well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Good Omens

I was in the airport on Friday getting ready to come back, and had to buy a travel book. You know, some light bit of fluff to help me wile away the time. I had not had the self discipline to stop reading my travel book once I got to Virginia, so it was just dead weight that I left behind in the hotel. I picked up just one book in Hudson's before picking up and settling on "Good Omens." The description sounded light and funny, and probably a bit of a play on preconceived notions.

I liked that about the movie "Dogma." The way it took the religious concept of the angels and muses and what-not and sort of addressed them, not disrespectfully, but rather with a humorous twist. Sort of like when you're taught in grade school about "personification." Just gave them all a personality you could understand.

I liked that about "Wicked" - the way it took the idea you had about everything that happened and turned it around from a different point of view.

So I bought the paperback and settled down for a read. And aside from those minor disturbances over the whole issue of psychic Northwest attendants rebooking my flights and sending me on miniature dates with John the TSA agent, I read it pretty much non-stop. Well, except for blowing my nose and coughing. I digress.

It's a delightful book. The Amazon description and the Wikipedia description are both pretty accurate, though neither showed the book cover I have. The two main characters are a good angel and a bad angel (he didn't so much as fall, as saunter in a downward direction) and the book is really a bit more about personal concepts of good and evil. I thought it really funny how they sort of . . . . let your mind wander to the old movies with Damien and the U.S. diplomat. . . but completely spun it to have the devil-child raised by a perfectly normal British couple. Why? Because the Satanic nurse in the hospital screwed up and switched him at birth. No one realized it for 11 years. Not the bad angel, not the good angel, not the satanic nurse, not the perfectly normal British parents, nobody.

It was all just rather fun to me. If you need light fluff that has a slightly different spin on an old story, pick it up.

Early Check-In

I just got the email from Northwest with the links to do an early check-in. Something like "up to 24 hours in advance." Here's what I dont' get about that: WHY? See, when I was in Virginia last week, I decided to try it for my trip home. I had one piece of luggage, and since you can't print out those sticky things at home, the website said I could just print one when I got to the airport or that some airports offer curbside baggage check for people already checked in.

Here's the deal ~ I got to the airport and had to stand in THE EXACT SAME LINE as people who had not checked in yet to use THE EXACT SAME COMPUTER TERMINAL as people who had not checked in yet to print the luggage tags!

So how much time did I save? NONE.

I noticed some airlines had signs at curbside, but no staff, saying you could check the baggage curbside FOR A $2 FEE, NOT INCLUDING GRATUITY.

OK, so if I understand this right: You pretty much check yourself in these days. Those people behind the counter just wrap the sticky thing around your luggage. They don't help you, don't get your tickets or anything, they just wrap the sticky thing around your luggage then tell you to haul it over to TSA for screening.

So you either check yourself in on the computer AND THEN HAVE TO STAND IN LINE ANYWAY TO CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE or you just stand in line at the airport. Or you can take them up on their nice offer of charging TWO BUCKS per piece to check your luggage outside, if they happen to have any employees out there doing it.

And really, for all the good that checking in advance offers. . . I mean, are there really that many people traveling the world who get all their needs down to a carry on bag and 3 ounces of liquid in a ziploc bag? I'm telling you two things: No. They're the ones and crowd you in the airplane, shoving all their stuff all on top of yours in their desire to just walk off the plane. I hate them with all their shoving and pulling. The second thing? No. I don't want to be sitting close to anybody ~ on a plane, in a meeting, in a restaurant ~ who was able to reduce his toiletry needs down to 3 fluid ounces. But that's just me.

Sigh. I remember my first airline trip. Roughly ten years ago. It was so much more fun than it is today. Today it's just a big ol' hassle.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Back home

I am so glad to be home.

A big thank you for Noodle, Spy & Sass for picking me up at the airport last night!
A big thank you to Lori for picking the flights for me and getting me all booked.
A big thank you to J&Bubbles for letting me stay the night Sunday night and taking me to the airport Monday.
A big thank you to G for getting the mail out of my box.

Yesterday was a bit eventful. After arriving at the airport and checking in without any problems, with plenty of time to spare, I was paged back to the ticket counter. It's not really a long way there in Norfolk (which they pronounced Nor-fick) and the guy at the Northwest counter was a psychic.

"You're going to miss your connector."
I thought, "Well, I've run before, but never been told in advance I'll miss it." Pretty cool, he's psychic.

"So I've rebooked you. You'll leave at 2:30 (instead of 12:30) You'll take some different flights and get home about 5:50p.m." I said, "Lucky for me, I just bought a book."

So he got my luggage back, gave me ten bucks in lunch money, sent me round to U.S. Airways and I waited for two hours additional. Lucky I had just bought a book in the airport because the one travel book I took I had already read. So I used my lunch money at the A&W All American Food place (because I am an American!) and then at the ice cream place (because I'm just not fat enough) and read my book until I boarded the flight.

I had to go back through security and this time I beeped twice. With my head so full and stuffy, I forgot about the foil pack of Dayquil's I hd bought at the Hudson's, so I got a mini-date with a TSA guard named John. The lady who said, "You've been chosen for an additional search" smiled when I said, "Oooh and he's handsome too!" Do not doubt for a minute that I flirted with him every second of the search. I figured I might as well have fun. John was about my age, I think, probably a wee bit more chubby than me, and he looked to be of Latin descent with this shock of unruly black hair. He really wasn't attractive at all, he wasn't unattractive either, just sort of an average guy, but he seemed quite fun and took it in stride when I grinned and said "My front or back first?" When he said, "It was the foil pack that got you" I grinned and said, "At least I got this time with you."

Had a one hour layover in Charlotte which was just barely enough time to cover the distance from the U.S. Airways terminal to the Northwest terminal to catch my flight. Maybe more than barely, I wasn't rushed and didn't miss it. But it was a fair distance. Got to Memphis and lost myself for a few minutes in the wrong luggage area. . . went to the right luggage area and somehow had missed my luggage. After an hour, it was determined that it was probably with U.S. Air, so I went up there and the girl said to me "Aren't you supposed to be with Northwest?" I wasn't sure how the question was relevant since I was pointing right at my luggage with the red cord on the handle and the tag with my name on it. I replied, only mildly ugly, "I've been downstairs an hour looking for it!"

After a quick stop at the grocery to secure milk and orange juice, I went straight to Molly's. It was crowded up in there! So I landed a seat with my (steps to Kevin Bacon here: one of my best friend's best friends) Mark and his friend who I've seen a dozen times but never can remember his name but with whom I had the most enjoyable visit. After ordering the steak fajita nachos with white cheese dip and receiving the chicken fajita nachos with yellow cheese dip, Mark's friend suggested that the kitchen "knows you better than you know yourself." I agreed, and we decided that probably Kelly had walked by, seen my ticket and said "Hellno! Don't give him steak with white, fix him chicken with yellow!" Mark's friend made fun of the way I said "yellow" as "yella."

Then we discussed my sister in law because she wants something done with her hair and I told Mark that I had to refer this to someone more faggoty than me, and Mark's friend agreed that Mark fit the bill. So Mark is up to the challenge.

I walked home and popped about 3 Nyquil pills and slept mostly through the night, am awake now with a stuffy nose, but I've got 3 Dayquil's in me now to try and counter act this feeling of dark-plague-of head-congestion. Plus the remainder of the Diet Coke that Noodle brought me at the airport. (Thanks!)

P.S. Apparently 3 Dayquil pills changes the mix from "non-drowsy" to "decidedly drowsy." That nap came on me and quick, and deep, and lasted a couple of hours. My head wasn't stuffy though, so it was a comfortable nap! But that's something to remember. Best not to operate heavy machinery! The weirdest thing was I sort of/almost woke up a full half hour before I was able to pull myself up. I could open my eyes enough to see the clock and realized I had been napping, but I couldn' wake up enough to get up. Super groggy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Today is my big day of business at the conference, and I've caught myself a case of allergies/sinuses/black plague of snotty-nosed and chills. Ugh. All last night, I woke up about every 2 hours and either was chilled and pulled up a blanket or was hot and turned on the air. Ugh.

I get home tomorrow and will be glad to do so.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I'm hoping for a better night two. I had a very good dinner at a local seafood place called Rockefella's. I took a short walk on the beach barefoot and let the cold water wash over my feet. And I'll probably finish my fluff book tonight before I go to bed. Oh my, wait, I just missed American Idol. Dang. Dang. Dang. Well, maybe Boston Legal won't be a repeat.

A night to remember

that's my favorite song by Joe Diffie. . . . I got drunk to that one before. Not that I remember who it was, but it seemed right to get drunk and have that song on "repeat" for a while. Anyway, he was just standing there taking autographs and stuff. So I got a photo of me and him.

Oh, and the comedian? Yeah, he cracked some jokes about Arkansas. I nudged my girlfriend and said, "Them ain't funny, mainly because they real." Yeah, grew up in Arkansas I did.


I'm going to have to be careful how much bad karma I put out there about the hotel. I am part of a large convention and just don't want too much ugliness out there. However, the beds are bad. Lumpy. Lumpy, lumpy, lumpy. You know how if you go to the beach and rent one of those little condos or one of the little motels on the beach, how the mattresses barely pass as squares with sheets on them. Yeah, I was delighted to learn that's what they have here.

Why oh why didn't I check into a name brand hotel? But with the convention, it's all full up. Oh well. Sigh.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The internet is misleading

When I get back, I'm going to post a pic of what the internet promises, and what they deliver. Yea. . . . it's a little bit misleading. Otherwise known as, this hotel is a dump.


P.S. I'm coming back to this post to add a P.S. The staff here were probably the friendliest of anywhere I have ever been. They were genuinely friendly almost to the point of me giggling about it. They were almost all young, like you would think they were all on summer jobs except it was February, and just rediculously nice. Late Wednesday night, I realized I had rather messed up something with my presentation materials, so I trotted down to the front desk and a young lady said I couldn't take the office supplies (hole puncher) but she would fix them for me. The bartender, when I asked for orange juice for my cold, told me that cranberry & o.j. was a better mix for a cold and insisted on changing my drink, the restaurant staff were refilling my morning drinks even though I chose the buffet and a seat close to it. It was unreal how friendly they were, without exception, and seemed so very sincere.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lexmark X3350

That was my Christmas present from MyFella. This week he set it up for me. Not that I think it would be hard, but I tend to be either lazy or inspired when he is here. He's a do-it-right-now kind of person. I'm a let-it-wait kind of person. If I leave laundry laying around, he'll put it up. Makes the bed. Washes dishes. . . . . takes a new printer/scanner out and sets it up with my laptop. So i've been scanning photo's from old albums.

I haven't yet gotten to the photo's I really want, only because I was scanning some for some friends first. But I have an album with photo's from my childhood. Not just youth, mind you, but childhood. Babies first and all that. So I'll get to those soon.

We had a nice weekend but our plans to "take it on the cheap" were short lived with three meals out. So silly of both of us. We picked relatively inexpensive restaurants, but this morning we still accumulated a $30 ticket for the 3 of us to eat breakfast. Now that's just plain silly. $30 can buy a lot of groceries.

Oh well - I've got things to do. I'm trying not to blog for just the sake of blogging. I'm trying to blog if there's something to say. I'm not sure what today's blog falls under.