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9:47 AM, Jun 1, 2010 toot this
Things Change
My job is 35 miles from my home. That's 70 miles on the road every day, and that's if I don't use my car for anything else. That works out to a fill-up about once a week, which at about $33 totals to about $1800 a year just for gasoline. That's not a comfortable number, but it's workable. Much more arresting however is the fact that I spend twelve full days a year just getting to and from the office. The bottom line is that there are better things to do with my time and dwindling money.

Enter the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. They offered me a job last week that I will be starting on the 14th. I'll be slinging GNU/Linux virtual machines for them, and dealing with countless customers all over the country in person to find out how they want their data to be collected and arranged in a massive nationwide migration. It's a huge opportunity, and I can hardly afford not to take it.

I tendered my resignation on Friday, and I talked with my boss today as to the why. I've been going through the paperwork that goes into an amicable graceful separation, and I must say, it's all very exciting. I've also been listening to You're The Voice pretty consistently all morning, so that may also serve to account for my cheeriness.

With the new position comes a much greater structure of responsibility, challenge, time commitment, and scale of pay. I have a lot to live up to, and the new job will take all the ability that I can muster, but I think I'll be very successful in it.

In other news, Jenny and I broke up. I wasn't wild about the idea, and it's been tough since then(about 2 weeks ago). Life goes on, I suppose.

But really, this is a very exhilarating time for me.

10:09 AM, Jun 28, 2010 toot this
Not Quite Iowa
I had a great weekend.

Nathan and I climbed in my car and we went to the Foundry, where we met up with Nick, Anna, Jim, Jean, Justin, Jonathan, Jayne, and Karen. We talked about effects of drag on mountain bikes and the state of the claymation industry until we decided the Foundry had run its course. We went over to Harry's Bar and Tables and sat outside around the metal tables while we sweated through our clothes sitting still. Justin and a friend took off for something or other. Nathan and Karen went off to get sushi at Matsu, but wound up just getting ice cream at Murray's instead. Those of us that wished to keep things moving did so by way of One80, across the street.

Brad and Jimmy joined us there, and Jim bought me a shot of cheap bourbon that had a rolled-up slice of pepperoni in it, through which I was to suck the bourbon in a slow dribbly fashion. I drank it for some reason, and immediately regretted it. I avoided my famous impression of a human fountain only though a series of deep breaths, to the intense delight of those around me, including the bar's staff. I don't do liquor. I think I need to have that on an insurance card or something.

By about 12:30am or so, the little voice in my head spoke, and I heeded it. It's never a bad idea to do so, I find. I told Nathan the boat was sailing, and he seemed relieved to end the night as well. We stopped at Burger To Go in KCK, and we exchanged curse-filled exclamations of praise for the quality of the food. I was in bed by 1am or so.

I got up the next morning around 9, and enjoyed some alone time in my room for a while before I decided I wanted to get a new debit card. I'd noticed for months that the magnetic strip on my debit card was absolutely demagnetized, so people always had to enter the number in manually. I called the bank to have a new one sent to me. Through the maze of menus all designed to keep callers from talking to a real person, I found that my bank account had substantially less money in it than I'd thought. While I was waiting to talk to someone, I punched up the account on the bank's website and found that Harry's had charged me $15 for my tab, but had entered another charge for over $2000. I was within a pinky's reach of overdrawing my account.

I found that Harry's doesn't open until 5pm on weekends, and that my bank's customer service people don't answer phones after that time, so I have to wait until this week to sort this out. I have a mortgage payment that will overdraw my account, and may even get kicked back, so I need to get this taken care of. The people at Harry's told me that this sort of thing happens from time to time, and made me think that maybe I don't want to go there anymore. I told Karen about all this, and she very quickly and very generously told me that she would cover me that day.

You see, we made plans that week, along with my roommate, Nathan, and our friend Chrissy, to go on a bit of a road trip. We met at noon at Happy Gillis and had some lunch. Amazingly, we got right in and found a table immediately. I was expecting a long wait. The BLT was delicious, and burped well for the next hour or so.

Our first destination for the day was O'Malley's in Weston. It was promising to be a very hot day with unbroken sunshine beating 97-degree heat into our skulls, and because of our reliance on sweet, sweet air conditioning, we felt the heat immediately whenever we went outside. We opted to take the scenic route, and went through Parkville and Waldron to get up to Weston. Through verdant forests and fields we made our way north and west, following the flood-staged Missouri River as closely as we could. Every bridge we crossed looked like it might be carried away at any minute by the roiling brown waters only inches below. I'm told that fishing is at its finest when rivers are swelled like they were this weekend. If it hadn't been so unforgivably hot outside, I would have liked to try.

We passed the McCormick Distillery and rolled slowly into Weston, MO. We, or at least I hastened to the front door of the bar to escape the merciless sun. Stepping into the cave-like earthy depths of the bar did very little to combat the heat. It was still probably in the upper 70s inside. However, it was a lot better than the full heat, and we made ourselves comfortable. We watched the first 30 or 40 minutes of the USA-Ghana World Cup game, and had our first round of drinks. Nate had a bloody mary. The girls had a pair of Connaught Cokes, a mixture of Coca Cola and Bailey's that together formed an unappetizing concoction that Nate described as, "concrete and throw-up." I chanced a house-made hot pepper ale. It was not a good idea.

We wandered over to Pirtle Winery and drank their dry and extremely sweet wines. The port tasted like someone poured fun dip in my mouth. Someone was having lunch or dinner or something across the street, and had left a dog in their black car. It was now well over 95 degrees outside, and getting hotter. We remarked at the cruelty behind such an act, but thought little more of it until we went inside the winery and saw that the staff there were calling around to find the person who owned that car, to get them to kick them out of their business and desist in torturing the dog. We thanked them.

We drove over to Leavenworth. I had a wild hair to show the folks around Fort Leavenworth, so we got in line at the gatehouse. When our turn came, the guy told Karen that since her ID was expired, they'd have to run some kind of a search on her, and be douchebags if there was something on her record. So we opted not to visit the Fort, and instead headed downtown to High Noon Saloon to watch the end of the USA-Ghana game. In the end, I think Ghana just outplayed the USA team. They absolutely deserved the win, in my opinion.

We drove out of Leavenworth on US-73, and covered the 20 undulating miles to Atchison in record time. We decided we had to go to the Duck Inn, at 8th and Commercial, and we weren't sorry for it. There was no entry for the place on foursquare, so I added one. I asked the bartender what the number was, and he answered with only four digits. "Uh, what's the rest of it?" I asked. The people at the bar realized at this point that I wasn't an Atchisonian, and rattled off the area code and prefix that every business there apparently shares.

We went down to the riverfront, and stood in the muck while some guy took our picture. It was actually pretty great. From there we went to get dinner at the Riverhouse Restaurant, located right on the bank of the Missouri, overlooking the River itself and the bridges that span it. We sat outside for the view and talked about our next move. I saw signs that the others were beginning to flag, and I wasn't having it. So I just proceeded to St. Joseph in my conversation. They fell in line. We got some ice cream at a place called Snow Ball on our way out of town, and crossed back into Missouri for the 20 miles to St. Joe.

I love watching guardrails, telephone lines, highway stripes, and railroads from the back seat of a moving car. I love scanning forward and backward on them, as my vision takes on a movement of its own. In this was, the distance between Atchison and St. Joe was very short for me. St. Joe has about 70,000 residents, but I have no idea where any of them are. Downtown, while it's very interesting and architecturally intact, is a textbook ghost town. An abundance of bars occupy what look like derelict buildings, and surprise your ears with thumping music when you get close. We saw only a handful of other cars while we were there, and didn't need to look when we crossed streets.

We found a gaudy cajun place called Boudreaux's and had our last round of the day there. We sat quietly in Nate's car on the trip back home. We were tired, but we all agreed that it was an excellent day. I walked in the door of my place by about 11pm, and fell asleep almost immediately. I look forward to another trip like this.

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