Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Face Modelling

The face modelling thing was disappointing. They took a bunch of digital pictures. They took impression molds of my mouth again, deciding to let the first-year resident due them. It took them six times to get them right, even though my ortho took perfectly fine molds for the surgeon last week. They took three X-Rays, even though the surgeon took some last week. And they did some measurements. And this took them 2.5 hours to do, causing me to miss my dentist cleaning appointment. Of course 6:00pm appointments are hard to get at the dentist's, so now I have to wait until the end of September to get that done. I told them several times when I walked into the clinic that I had a 6:00pm dentist appointment and they assured me that we'd be done in time. Nice people, but I was basically livid when I walked out of there.

J. Riley, the things we do to be able to eat a sandwich

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Day-to-Day Doldrums

You know how it is - you wake up to the same music (unless you have a Mac with PowerController Alarm Clock which allows you to play random songs from iTunes) every morning at the same time, you read the latest Liverpool news from three different sources, you read all the soccer trade rumors, you read the latest Oakland A's news from three different sources, you leave for the subway at exactly 8:00am, you get to work at 8:30am, yada yada yada, then you get home at 6:00 or 6:15pm and proceed to waste the entire evening doing whatever it is that takes 4 hours for me to do at night (I honestly have no idea what it is I do for four hours every night). Maybe it's just me, but doing this routine five days a week, week after week, you start to think about your life and where you want to be a year from now (or, in my case, next calendar year). Am I successful? Am I happy with my job? You know, the kind of questions you can spend four hours a night dwelling on when you live alone.

Yea, I am relatively pleased with my job and despite the incessant social pressure to get promoted and climb the corporate ladder, I am satisfied enough with where I am not to worry about that. The point is, you start to feel like a normal person with a normal job (even though I am not really sure how to define "normal" still) and you associate with other office goons like yourself that, while they don't do what you do, are proficient at their jobs and are "normal".

That is, until you spend two days of new-hire training with 19 year olds who recently graduated from high school who are taking the step to become bank tellers. You sit in class and listen to their questions and then think to yourself, "Wow, I actually know a lot business/job-wise compared to these other 'normal' people". Just when I was thinking that I was just a standard office worker, I could see that the knowledge and experience I have gained over the past five years working is actually valuable and not just anything that anyone knows. It feels pretty good walking out of training shortly after the instructors ask me if I have anything to add about Information Security for the class and knowing that if it wasn't for my ability to press the up, down, and "Enter" buttons on the DVD remote control, the whole class would have to miss a cheesy video about money laundring (sp.) or sexual harassment ;o)

Anyway, this weekend I am off to the West Coast for Vince's wedding in LA. I am also scheduled to make an appearance at a yet-to-be-determined salsa club shortly after my long-ass six hour flight to shake that ass for all the Latina ladies in the house. Hess is also having a small get-together for his birthday on Saturday and I have "TBD" on the schedule for Saturday night, Sunday morning/afternoon prior to the wedding, and all day Monday before my red-eye flight back Monday night. I look forward to wearing my new pair of super-tight , super-discounted Luckybrand Dungaree jeans or my new $20 shorts at some point.

If I cannot wear them next weekend, I may well wear them to see Spamalot on my hot date with Melissa.

J. Riley, just kidding, it's not a date. She's way out of my league, even though I bet she couldn't tell me about phishing attacks or how viruses work ;o)

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Taste of the World Cup

Without much going on this weekend, I decided to join Sean on Friday night for a little East-Village style independant film called "LOL", which is a semi-documentary story about how much technology is getting involved in our social and dating lives. It was actually quite entertaining and the great thing about these movies is that usually the directors/writers are there for you to answer questions from the hipster crowd. I realize now that the people that go to these events are not cubicle stiffs like me and Sean, they are on a completely different level. For example, the angry, butch lesbians sitting next to me (who, judging by their aroma, apparently think that wearing deodorant is something that is forced on woman by opressive MEN) took a quote from the movie and twisted it into a comment about how the movie didn't represent art, was clearly intended to showcase sexism and asked whether, and how, the director could be proud of making a movie like this, not to mention asking if the reason the movie was low-budget was because nobody wanted to invest in such a terrible, prejudice movie. Woh, easy there! I have no idea how she pulled that rabbit out of the hat, but it was fun to see the director hit right back in artistic terms without losing his cool. The questions I was thinking of were more like "uhhh, was this like a fictional or non-fictional story?". I kept my hand down during the Q&A.

When I got home, I got an email from Martina from Germany (our lovely Frankfurt tour guide) who said that she was put on a flight to Newark at the last minute (she's a token hot stewardess) and would be coming to town - well, Jersey - on Saturday afternoon. She's coming in September on a Wednesday night as well, but I wanted to show her the NYC nightlife weekend style, so I was pretty stoked she was gonna arrive when I had nothing going on. Like most girls, she's a big Sex and the City fan, so I booked a reservation for Duvet in anticipation of her arrival while Paul and I played tour guides for some friend or a friend's parents who were in town from England by taking them to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

When Martina finally sent me a $0.25 text message (damn the international fees) saying she was shopping at a Jersey mall at about 7:30, I realized that we probably weren't going to make the reservation so I dropped that idea and headed downtown to meet her and her friends at the bus station fresh from Jersey. Apparently she's as clueless about buses as me, so I ended having to find a way across the river to meet up with her and her friends. In Jersey. Not exactly where I wanted to be on a Saturday night :-/ . In any case, I met up with her and convinved her that, despite being on her feet for eight hours serving bickering customers on a flying metal tube, she really had enough energy to get the hell out of Jersey and head to the city for some chilling, even if the rest of the flight crew was having a great time at the Applebee's bar or wherever they were. Oh, the things I do to return a favor!

Anyway, we finally caught an expensive ($30) taxi for the five minute ride across the Hudson river back into my friendly turf. We headed to the Coffee Shop lounge, which is really chill and tends to heat up late at night and is actually quite fun. Sean and his brother met up with us a while later before she crashed and burned, her eyes turning red with drowsiness after a single cerveza. She did have a point for going home, considering she had to work in the business class lounge on the eight hour flight home the next afternoon, so I relented and took her back to Jersey.

Sunday, Paul and Cathy rented a car and were going to take a road-trip up to Woodbury Commons for the annual steep-discount shopping trip. I took Martina and her other stewardess friend to breakfast in Hells Kitchen before dropping them off at Abercrombie for some pre-flight shopping and then high-tailed it up to catch up with Paul and Cathy before they left.

And I bought stuff. Lot's of stuff. Lot's of stuff that I didn't need. Jeans, tie, three work shirts, two work pants, cheap shorts, etc. etc. But, considering the prices, I couldn't afford not to buy it.

J. Riley, I bought peanut butter and jelly, I'll be eating that until the end of the year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time Out

OK, this is getting entirely ridiculous. It's been almost two months and I still don't have the day of the Final entirely written. And, during this time, things have been amazing. So, I will keep that post on hold for now and write to it when I feel like it, so keep your eyes open for it if you actually read my vacation blogs, which most people probably don't.

Anyway, so what's up with me? The last two months have been great:

1.) Paul and Cathy are back now, so the resumption of consumption is now in full order. Mostly expensive-ish dinners (not really, just normal dinners that I haven't had in a while) that we are enjoying while Paul is here, since he's going back to Cal Poly in a few weeks. It's great to have them around again.

2.) I spent one WONDERFUL WONDERFUL week in Mammouth Mountain, California with my family. For me, there are two distinctly different kinds of vacations. There are the kind where you kind of rush around and have an agenda to accomplish, after which you return home needing a vacation. Although I didn't feel like we were rushing it too much at all in Deutschland, the reality is that we drove a LOT and travelled a LOT. So much that I was pretty exhausted by the end of the week (hence the fact that someone else drove to Munich and Berlin). I came home from that trip with the most wonderful experience, but somewhat depressed (seriously) because the World Cup was over and the experience was THAT special. The first few days, I really didn't know what the purpose of life was without the World Cup. Sad, really.

Fast-forward four weeks to California. This is the second kind of vacation. Though I had to fly seven hours (through Dallas, ugghhh) to get there, and then drive the whole next day to get to Mammouth (and then the reverse a week later), this was a VACATION. The kind that is relaxing, becoming one with nature, spending time with my baby niece, hiking, fishing, swimming in snow-melt lakes, mountain biking with my brother at 11,000 feet and getting exhausted, mountain biking down a ski mountain, going on long walks with my family all day to see some geological formations, spending evenings watching TV with everyone and then going to the hot tub to soothe the aching muscles, and tearing up my knee on pumice gravel after bailing on my mountainbike. Well, forget that last one. But the rest was legit and sober (except for Brie ;o). This is the kind of vacation that you need once a year (at LEAST) because you come home really refreshed and reinvigorated working for the man. It was a very special trip for me and I miss being in California again :o(
3.) The volunteer team that I lead is a mess, two months of problems with our "client". But I'll survive and we'll deal with them.

4.) My MOUTH! My teeth are straight and everything is lined up - for mega-surgery. I talked to the surgeon yesterday and of course since I just switched jobs last week from a company that is in chaos (I can't even find an HR person to resign to!) to a monolithic dinosaur of a company that took six months to hire me and will take a further three weeks just for me to get the benefit information. Hello? I have surgery to schedule, damn it. The surgeon is planning on a double-jaw snap: moving my top jaw back and my bottom jaw forward, moving my chin up ("Make it look like this", holding up a picture of David Beckham) so that I can close my lips naturally, and twisting my upper or lower jaw slightly so that my teeth "mid-line" lines up. Sounds like fun, right??? One week off of work and then rubber bands for about six weeks to keep my jaws from moving much while I recover. Sounds a lot better than three days in the hospital and a wired jaw, don't you think Sam ;o) ??

5.) Dating, while there is usually not much written about it (for a good reason!), is on hold indefinitely. I'm just tired of it. I hate dating, pretty much. Sorry ladies, I will not give you my number at this time.

6.) Since I'm on a bit of a health kick after Cali, I've been walking home from work lately a few times per week (it's about an hour's walk) and even ran home once. On Monday I walked home because I hurt my knee mountain biking and can't do low lunges in yoga class. It was casual, but I ended up getting on a bus because my feet were starting to get blisters from my work shoes. An hour later, I arrive home and, standing in front of my front door, I suddenly realized that I had left my keys at work. Let me tell you - there is nothing worse (well, except maybe two yogurts less than $.03 apart in price) than having to restart your long-ass commute that you dread every morning to work at 6:30 at night. Not a happy camper. Les Miserables.

7.) The English Premier League has started up again, so I can once again devote my social life to Liverpool!

J. Riley, I'm back in the saddle again.