I'm not interested in going over the fine details, but it should suffice to say that I am unquestionably at fault. I've dropped off my car at Roe Body Shop, picked up a rental on my own dime, made several calls to various insurance and advice peddlers, and I'm now preparing to drink down a $1000 deductible, along with however much my insurance premiums will increase.
Such is life.
Graphics by Mark Crowe!
Once a janitor, always janitor.
More actual content later.
Anybody want a salaried full-time job as a Unix Administrator? After this weekend, we'll be two people short here at work, and my employer is pretty rotten about speedy hires. Referrals are pretty much required for anything to actually happen.
If you're interested, let me know.
I'm on call again. I had a bit of a night from hell last night, and so delayed my arrival into the office until about 11:30am today. After the slings and arrows of outrageous work, I ran home and fed Jeff's yowling cat before taking a three-hour nap. I woke up from that, and performed a big internet forum migration for no money. Once I'd confirmed that everything was working I hastened over to Harry's to meet Matt and some of his out-of-town visitors.
While there we agreed that women are several times more beautiful when wearing old maid, Tina Fey-style glasses, such as our waitress wore. We then walked over to Matt's place and finished off a cold, ridiculously delicious Tarantino's cheese pizza. After a relatively short time, I announced that I was going to head home and get some Texas Tom's. I listened to Muse's album Black Holes and Revelations in FLAC while I walked home in the rain. Honestly, it was really lovely. I don't get to walk in the rain very often, and I love doing it. Combine that with crystal-clear audio blaring in my ears while looking around at the streetlights alive with illuminated rain, buildings oranged with night, and the wet, reflective streets of downtown. You capture no small part of why I love living where I live.
I did not, it turns out, go to Texas Tom's. I will have a bowl of ice cream instead.
James took the pager last night because he was doing maintenance. That gave me, from 8pm to 4am, the freedom to run around and do what I want. The eye of the storm, once might say. But regardless of what may have been going on afterward or before, I was free for 8 hours. I met Brad at surprisingly quiet Harry's Country Club at about 8:30, and it actually only got quieter the longer we were there. Even when a party bus unloaded its douchie payload, the place was pretty dead, especially since they all had just one drink and immediately piled back in.
I had a mind to try to be close to the Sprint Center as Sir Elton John was breaking it in that night as its first performer upon its official opening. So, after a beer or two at Harry's, Brad and I said good-night to Gretchen and went to one of the least likely bars to visit in downtown Kansas City: the Zoo Bar on McGee. As you stand in front of the door, looking south down the street, the Sprint Center fills your entire view. The streets were lined with hundreds of concert-goers' cars.
We stepped inside and there was a small crowd of about five or six regulars bellied up to the bar. I asked Carol behind the bar if they were expecting it to get busy when the concert got out. She said they hoped so, but still weren't sure. We sat and talked with the people at downtown's friendliest bar about fluff that nobody remembers now. We were soon accepted as "all right," and some of the people there began to buy us drinks.
And so it was when the droves of people leaving the concert passed the unknown bar: We were merrily enjoying the evening as would old friends, in the best seats in the house. As if a flood was released, the Zoo Bar was inundated with patrons in minutes. According to the austere staff, no rush like that had ever been seen there, but it stands to reason that they can expect a crowd like that any time there is a major event at the Sprint Center.
It was wonderful. I have thought for years that there is more to do in downtown than any other individual part of the city, but I had never quite put my finger on the fact that whatever fun there is to be had is multiplied beyond reckoning by eager, enthusiastic crowds of merrymakers. We befriended the people around us, sang with them, drank with them, and talked excitedly about the future of downtown.
On October 13th, 2007, it was as if a curtain was drawn on downtown Kansas City, bringing it into the minds of the masses. Just as we were sitting in a mostly empty, intimate dive bar for hours before the rush, so it feels like I have done in living downtown for several years before the curtain was pulled aside. I think the next year is going to be one of the most eventful and prosperous years in many decades in Kansas City, and it honors me to be a part of it.
I have about an hour and a half more to be on call. We got word that yet again, someone's leaving our group today, this time going to another group in the building. And this time we get a trade employee. We'll see how it goes.
Even though I didn't work a maintenance window, this was the most difficult oncall I have worked yet. I never got much sleep, and people around me began to notice that I was a bit irritable and short. But I'm done now(until November anyway), and I plan on going to belt out some karaoke tonight, if anyone else shows up. But no matter! Even though it's a weeknight, I still feel like a kid on the last day of school before a break. All I have at work until November is business as usual, and that's just fine with me.
In other news, I'm working on a replacement for the tired old look of bahua dot com. Included in the plans are a new look, along with a lot of new functionality and simplification. It's allowed me to try out some new things, and rewrite the backend of the site quite a bit. I still haven't opted for a database or a pre-rolled content management system yet, since I wouldn't learn anything, or as much, with that. Since the update I'm making will be something that users will actually notice, it'll be a long time in development.
It'll take a long time to write it all, as I'm basically rewriting the entire website, but it's all extremely exciting to me. Any time that I'm not oncall will be devoted to the rewrite. Well, that and video games. And beer. And going out. And so on.
I met some friends out last night and had a splendid time. While there, I was invited to go out to Nebraska Furniture Mart near the racetrack in KCK, where auditions were being held for contestants on Wheel of Fortune.
Liana picked me up before going to Becky's place to pick her up, and we arrived by about 11am. The hopped-up host demanded enthusiasm from the crowd, and he certainly got it. Some local news personalities were on hand to draw the first couple of names for contestants, out of the three hundred or so people that turned out.
NBC weatherman Gary Lezak called my name. Liana and Becky both screamed as if he had called their names, and I went and talked to the triage producer.
It was brilliant. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I ruled. Maybe in a couple of months you'll see me asking Pat Sajak for a vowel as I unabashedly goggle the age-proof Vanna White.
I had a great weekend. It was of the sort that you can never really plan, that you never expect, but nonetheless comes, and it enjoyed as well as almost anything can be.
It began when I handed off the oncall pager on Thursday, and proceeded into a minor evening. Cole answered the open summons I announced about free beer. We talked for a while and rounded off the beer drinking with some competitive Wii. Then Brad picked us up and we met up with Wayne, Amber, Richard, and Holly out at the Red Balloon for some karaoke. While it was fun to be out with such an unlikely group, the karaoke itself was actually pretty lame. A group of selfish people sent an advance party to stake out table space for more than a third of the bar's seating capacity, and severely reprimanded anyone that had arrived on time, so they thought, for a seat, that attempted to take a load off in their sacred area. We let it roll off and enjoyed the High Life and our eventual turns on the stage.
I helped myself to a personal day on Friday, as the October sun was shining, and because my workweek up until that point had been a little slice of hell. After a relaxing morning and early afternoon, I showered up and met Jeff at the Power Plant Brewery in Parkville. I arrived first, so I busied myself with a plate of bangers and mash, and a coal car sundae. Jeff arrived, and we both derived a lot of glee from the outstanding Pumpkin Ale they had on tap. Jeff's friend Jeff joined us after a measure, and agreed with our assessment on the Pumpkin Ale. We adjourned to meet Damon at Paci's in North Kansas City, where I decided to leave my car and catch a ride back home with Jeff(I'll leave it to you to guess which one.)
Paci's was warming up for an early Halloween party, and before we left it was inundated with costumed partygoers and various merrymakers. When it started to get crowded, the four of us made a beeline for Grinders, where I hadn't been in ages. They turned out of have a Pumpkin Ale on tap as well, that was almost as good as the ones we had at the Power Plant. Damon bid us good-night from there, and we made the quick trip over to the Loca venue, where a combination art show, gallery opening, organic produce sale, and record-spinning spectacle was taking place, courtesy our friends Anna, Nick, Josh, and Chris. We helped ourselves to some cheap beer and shook our bodies on the makeshift dance floor.
It's a great space, and an even better idea. I really hope it works out for them, because its success would be a tremendous boost to the creative minds that have made Kansas City a nice place to live, and would propel it into something that nobody can quite imagine yet. Jeff the other left after we'd been there for a short while, and Jeff and I went home by about 1am or so.
On Saturday I caught up on How I Met Your Mother and The Office and discovered, one year late, the outstanding show, Heroes. I spent a lot of time in my underpants in front of the computer. At about 10pm, Becky picked me up for the evening out, which involved some 80s music being expertly(and sometimes not so expertly) spun at Jilly's. There she and Liana and I played some Silver Strike, and awaited the arrival of Craig, Amber, Terra, and Heather. While we were there Liana invited me to come to Village West with them the next day to audition for Wheel of Fortune, and I invited them to see The Darjeeling Limited later that day.
After Jilly's, Craig and Amber and I went to the Quaff for a couple more pitchers and some hostile "family" bouncers. We ran into Tony there, as he played Silver Strike with a friend. Punctuated by amplified shouts of "DRINK 'EM UP!" we talked about the future of Kansas City, and how each of us thought it might come to be. We left and said good-night, and I slept happily until my unsilenced phone started blowing up with text messages at about 9:30am. Liana picked me up at about 10:30am, awesomely handed me some buttered cinnamon-raisin toast, and spirited us up to near 152 and North Oak to pick up Becky. After a quick stop for some coffee we made the long, long trip out to Village West, on the edge of the universe in KCK.
The Wheel of Fortune stuff has already been noted here, so I won't go anymore into that, except to say that we had a great time. Liana kept saying, "I can't believe I didn't get picked," as we drove off. After dropping off Becky we headed to North Kansas City so I could get my car. To my dismay I had left it unlocked all weekend. From there I went to Nick and Anna's place to watch the Chiefs game. After a short time I was falling asleep where I sat, so I begged Nick's pardon and took my leave. I went home and took an hour's nap before getting up to pick up Becky and Liana for the Darjeeling Limited.
If you have a free evening any time soon, go and see this movie. I was assaulted by a broad range of emotions throughout the film, as is the style with Wes Anderson movies. And though neither of the women had heard anything about it, they both reported they loved it too.
And so now, my long eventful weekend has drawn to a close, and I am ready to get a good nine hours of sleep before I go back to work tomorrow.
It's been kind of a slow week at work, and a relatively active week at home. Most of our team is in training, and so are effectively gone. That leaves only a few of us to work tickets and calls. But whatever. Work hasn't really been on my mind lately. I've really been thinking about the looming weekend, and all the things I still need to do. We're throwing our Halloween party tomorrow, and I've still not completed my costume. I got the most important piece, but still, that piece doesn't make it.
I have a gigantic pile of laundry to wash, and another pile to fold.
I feel like I'm getting jerked around by the autobody shop as they keep delaying me. Every delay costs me more in car rental fees.
I still have to pick up the next keg, but we still haven't emptied the current one. Therefore, I have to drink down an additional keg deposit. Also, I have to pick the keg up in my absolute piece of crap rental car.
I still need to get the CO2 cannister refilled, or there will be no beer tomorrow.
I still need to buy a ladder so people can use the windows to enter and exit the apartment at the party.
We also need to clean the lines in the kegerator.
We also need to clean the apartment.
But with these responsibilities and impending potential disasters are not what's on my mind. Perhaps I'll be comfortable enough with you to be able to just tell you, but for now, suffice it to say that what I'm thinking about is much more pleasant than the prospect of deadlines, work, and cleaning. So, despite reason, I'm in a good mood. It's a restless uncomfortable good mood when the seconds take minutes to pass and I try to think of things to do, and nothing I come up with hold my attention any longer or more completely than restlessly dwelling on this thought.
Anyway, I went to the Downtown Neighborhood Association general meeting last night, and got elected to the board as the Website and Communications chair for 2008. Such people as wished for it went to Dos Hombres for a beverage and a bite after the meeting. After sitting around having a nice conversation about public policy and inter-neighborhood cooperation, everyone went their separate ways. I received a text from Geoff earlier to meet him at Willie's, where he was having a drink with some friends.
I walked across downtown on Walnut, and felt the first wisps of cold air of the year, and relished the hard bite of it. It reminded me of walking around downtown Kansas City on nights when snow is falling. It reminded me of how much I really love the still solitary silence of falling snow and calm winds. It made me impatient for when the flakes actually do start falling in KC. With the long-awaited turning of the leaves, my favorite time of the year is coming to an end within the next few weeks, and giving way to my second favorite of Kansas City's seasons: winter.
To my surprise, Erp and Amber were at the table with Geoff when I walked in. We spent what was left of the evening reminiscing about what a bad influence Geoff is.
The party was held on Friday, and it was the pinnacle in planning and execution. Unfortunately, with 29 attendees(that I recall), it was the most lightly attended party we've ever thrown. But such as it was, it was excellent. Jeff and I picked up a keg of O'Fallon 5-Day IPA to swap in when the Pale Ale was spent. However, the Pale Ale seemed to have no intention of going anywhere. It poured better than anything we've ever had on tap, but try as we might, it just seemed to be unassailable. We began to get alarmed, as the O'Fallon keg was sitting on ice, and could not remain so forever. We had been counting on the Pale Ale blowing that night. Finally, as the party drew to its conclusion at about 2am, the Pale Ale finally blew, halfway through a glass I was filling for myself.
We attached the new keg and resigned ourselves to playing youtube videos on the wii until everybody left.
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