Thursday, July 29, 2004

My Images are Broken

And I don't know why. I'm hoping that they will miraculously fix themselves like they did last time.

In unrelated news, I still have no teaching job. But I did hear from my long lost, crazy English roommate Pamela. Hey Pamela! We lived together for 8 weeks when I first arrived at the Grand Canyon, and I must say that none of my 4 subsequent, wait there were 5... (Meriel, Rachel, Stephen, Regina, and Aaron) could hold a candle to her. How can you not adore someone who hangs South Park memorabilia on the wall and can imitate all the voices with eerie accuracy? Not to mention the fact that she drove in the mother of all storms to meet me in Oxford in October of 2000 during my last foray onto British soil. Got to love that girl. And now she's going to be a policeofficer... frightening thought that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A story about Karma

Karma will get you every time, and she's a bitch. Perhaps you think you're beyond her reach. But allow me to tell you a little story that might change your mind. Or, at the very least, make you smile at the cosmic justice of the situation.

First, I must say that while someone was very definitely harmed in the making of this story, no one has died, and I was in no way responsible for the incident of karmic kickback.

So, this "gentleman", and I use the term loosely, called the hotel last week and wanted to speak to our General Manager (GM). Our GM wouldn't take the call, because he didn't recognize the name. So the Guy leaves a voicemail message after asking me about our standard rates. GM calls me back a few hours later, tells me to give this guy 50% off on the suite he wants. Okay. Whatever. Guy calls back to confirm the reservation and give me his info. No worries. He calls back half an hour later to see about an early check in. I said I wasn't sure because the room was occupied the night before, but we would have it ready as soon as possible. Guy tells me to let the GM know to get the room cleaned early. Ha ha. Okay, I'll tell GM to be quick about it, strip that bed quick like a bunny, GM! Right.

Anyway, Guy checks in, I go home, don't hear anything more from him. However, the other staff were not so fortunate. He bullies GM into giving him two 2-4-1 vouchers so he can eat cheaper at our restaurant both nights. Now, the voucher also says that a 20% gratuity is added to original bill automatically. But fine print (it's not that fine, BTW) is for peons, right?

Guy is a pain in the ass, very demanding, but writes in a $14 tip. Now, if he thought the tip was not included, let me just say that $14 was a less than appropriate tip considering his bill. But anyway. He comes in the next night, evidently having read the fine print at last. Wait for it. He demands his money back. That's right. He tipped "by mistake" and wants his money back. The cheap ass tip that he left, he wants back. Hah!

I'd like to present the facts that he drives a high-end Mercedes and owns an expensive mountain bike. With me? Yes. He spends lots of money on toys, but on service and vacation? Cheap bastard.

Anyway, he was even more of a pain in the ass the second night, but I won't get into details, because they're too depressing. Oh heck, well, they involve him eating all his food and then claiming that he didn't like it so they better take that off the bill as well. (They didn't.)

So I go into work yesterday and learn of the divine intervention. It seems that our executive chef (EC) was driving up the steep hill on the way to work. Coming down the hill, he notices a biker coming down really fast. Too fast. The front of the bike is already shaky. But he might have made it okay... except for the big SUV also coming down the hill. EC doesn't know whether the rider freaked out or whether the wind pressure from the passing car did it, but the bike veered off the road into the gravel ditch. Bike and rider flew about ten feet in the air before landing, hard, and rolling another 30 yards or so. EC uses some creative language, pulls a Uey, and rushes over to the guy, already dialing 911 as he runs.

And, ohmigoodness, who could it be? Yep. Our favorite Guy. Broke his collar bone visibly in two places, compound fracture in his arm. We find out later that he broke his back in not one, but EIGHT places.

Want to know the best part? Guy argues with the EMT's, complaining about the expense of an ambulance. Tried to bargain them down to $500. When they refused, he tried to convince our EC to drive him in his car...

So, yes, I have met Scrooge, and he lives in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Oh, but she did... and she was

Alien Posing as Human: "Um, yes, I uh, well, you see, I'm looking at this... Here I see in the... You know what this is? In the paper. Your... for your restaurant. What does it mean?

Me: What does what mean, Ma'am?

APaH: The ad. The coupon. In the paper. The Tribune, I mean. What does it mean?

Me: I'm sorry, which advertisement are you looking at? We have several running right now.

APaH: The one for the restaurant. It says Two Dash Four Dash One. What is that supposed to mean?

Me: Oh, you must be looking at the early bird special. It's two for one entrees.

APsH But what does that mean?!?!

Me: Uh... it means that when you purchase one entree, you get one for free. In other words, you get two for the price of one...

APaH: Oh, well, that's very confusing the way it's written here.

Me: ....(I could come up with no appropriate response at the time.)

APaH: So we but dinner for one person, and you give us one dinner free?

Me: Well, not the whole dinner, just the entree.

APaH: What's an entree?

This kind of questioning continued for another five minutes. They made reservations for dinner tonight.... I warned the restaurant on my way out this afternoon. Oy. Can't wait to hear about them tomorrow.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

At least be consistent, people

Okay, after reading about and listening to various morons politicians and asshat fools other conservative Americans declare that really, it's because marriage is a "sacred union" that homosexual marriage should be declared constitutionally illegal. And not because they're narrow-minded bigots...oh nooooo, how could you possibly say such a thing.

Now, excuse me, but. Since when has marriage been this sacred union? Oh, but traditionally, it has been, they assert. On what planet, I must ask. Traditionally marriage has been more about politics and economics than any sacred bond. So what makes that any more sacred than a business merger? You're not trying to outlaw marriages of convenience, why worry about same-sex marriages?

Second. What about atheists and others who don't buy into the whole God thing? Should they not be allowed to marry because their union would not be "sacred"? Because it would not be guided by the loving hand of god? What the @*&! ever! And I can hear the rebuttal already (because I talk to crazy religious people all the time and actually enjoy it...see previous posts.) Maybe those people are afraid to let god into their lives, but that doesn't mean that he isn't keeping watch over them. Again I say, as my brother used to so eloquently say to our mother, put down the pipe. Step away from the baggy and put down the pipe. Now.

I'm not saying that these people can't hold on to their ignorant little opinions. They can believe whatever they like in the privacy of their own shrines to prejudice and intolerance. But when they take an issue to the national level and try to amend the mother@&*!ing United States Constitution, they better come up with a better reason than the whole "sacred union" protection whine. If they ain't trying to ban atheists and gold diggers from getting married, then there's no call to discriminate against the homosexuals.

And don't get me started on Utah politics. Gah.
Still Waiting

I still haven't heard anything back from the private school interview. They said they'd be in contact "soon", but that's a rather subjective term. My instincts tell me that I didn't get the position, and I have to admit that I'm not really surprised. Or all that disappointed. It would have been a good experience, but a frustrating one in the end, I think.

Of course, maybe they loved me and are just trying to think of the proper way to say that.... Right.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Roach update

By the way... Jay's taken a few more blasts at the little buggers. We did stop to purchase one of those long-handled lighter thingies though, so no more worry about blisters. Plus, Jay's hand doesn't need to be as close to the actual flame.

Their numbers seem to be way down. Haven't seen anymore around our front door at night, and haven't seen any inside for three or four days.

I'm just going to enjoy the reprieve and not question the reasons or duration.
Fingers Crossed

I just had a job interview today for a teaching position with a brand new private school. I think it went well, but it's so hard to know. I have to believe that if they don't offer me the job, that it was just not meant to be.

I don't even know how I feel about teaching at this school... Not that I'll turn down the opportunity to teach if they want me. Ack. I hate the post-interview wait.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The showdown

So, as I mentioned, Jay won big against the cockroach invaders last night. A few weeks ago, he surveyed the swarming masses circling our humble abode and remarked to me, "I wish I had a blow torch." I considered this comment for a few moments before replying. "Hmmm. How about hairspray and a lighter?"

Well, last night, Jay decided to act on this brilliant suggestion. The carnage was impressive. With young'ns being 1 point each, adults being 5, and breeding females being 20 points, Jay calculates a score of 1020 for the evening. He may have to rest tonight, because he gave himself enormous blisters by striking the safety lighter over and over again.

Watch out little roachies... your days are numbered.
Jay 20, Cockroaches 3

Details in the morning...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Like Sunscreen

That's pretty much what my iced tea tasted like. Whenever I do my laundry, I always go into the little trendy restaurant that's attached to the laundromat. I don't actually eat lunch there, because I couldn't afford it even if I wanted what they were offering. I usually get lemonade or coffee and sometimes a scone or lemonbar.

Today I wanted some caffiene because this blasted heat is giving me migraines and a good dose of caffiene is generally the quickest way to head one off. Well, I decided at the last minute that it was too hot for coffee, and as the girl was about to pour into my mug, I asked if I could switch that order to iced tea instead. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask what KIND of iced tea they were serving. Turns out it was peach. Peach-flavored tea tastes just like sunscreen. I think it has to do with the way it smells.

I drank it all, of course. Because it was hot. Because I needed the caffiene, as mentioned. And because I invested $1.50 in the damn thing, and I don't have money to throw around right now. Anyway, sunscreeny-tasting or not, it did get rid of the headache. So I guess I should complain. But I will anyway.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Ch-ch-check it out!

New Photo Album link
Note to self:

When arriving at the trailhead of the really steep trail, and realizing that you have left your hiking poles behind, the appropriate reaction is to find a less-steep trail, not to think, "Enh, I bet I can do it without the poles."

Let's just say I only fell three times on the way down, and that was something of a miracle.

Also... roadtrip pictures coming soon!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Details III

What, even my vacation summaries are turning into trilogies!?!?

Anyway. After we left Annie's house, we drove south to San Francisco. Oakland, actually. We stayed with one of Jay's meteorology contacts at his fabulous house (complete with a deck view of the downtown SF and the Bay). Thanks, John!

The first day in town, we just drove across the Bay Bridge and walked around Union Square and China Town, enjoying the sunshine and people-watching. Jay made stir-fry and we washed it down with one of John's numerous bottles of wine. (John does weather forecast consulting for several wineries, and receives multiple cases of wine each season.) After that, we headed into the neighborhood's "main street" to walk around, grab coffee (for me) and fruit smoothie (for Jay), and see the movie Super Size Me. Gah. Grossness. Granted, the movie is definitely biased and with only one person doing the experiment, it's impossible to call it scientific. Nonetheless, I don't think I could ever set foot in a McDonald's or any other fast food chain after seeing the film.

Day two in the Bay Area, we drove back into town to go to the Exploratorium. That's one of the most jam-packed science centers I have been to, and I've been to my fair share. They actually make exhibits in-house to be sent to other science centers, so some of the things looked familiar. After watching the movie, I noticed how many people were choosing the less-healthy options at the snack bar. (Jay and I packed our own lunches.) After 4 hours, even we were burnt out on the place, and we headed out to be touristy and get pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Drove not-so-aimlessly until we finally stumbled upon Baker Beach. Definitely could tell we were in San Francisco... Upon walking down to the beach we saw kids, tourists, a few surfers/swimmers. A little further on we ran into a trio of fishermen casting into the surf. Continuing down to the far end where the big rocks close to the Bridge were, where we wanted to take pictures, we ran into the nudist section. There must have been about a dozen naked people sunbathing, most of them men, several of them quite large. And for all you pervs, I mean that they were overweight. I tried not to notice the rest. Now nudity is all well and good, but it's just startling to glace over and see, as Jay so eloquently puts it, a "sac shot". Pink and shiny. Definitely the salon-going type, because it was waxed cleaner than... nevermind. This is going straight to the gutter. (Where my mind usually resides, of course.)

John treated the two of us to dinner at à côte, a trendy little Pyrenees tapas-style restaurant. Great food, dim-lighting. Would have almost felt guilty about letting him pay, except the next morning he had a 3 hour consulting session with some lawyers, and he makes $275/hour doing that stuff, so...

Next day we went back across the Bridge while John was fleecing the lawyers and walked from the Ferry Building down to Fisherman's Wharf. I happen to think Fisherman's wharf is entertaining, just for the people-watching possibilities, if not for the kitsch-value. Jay, evidently, didn't feel the same and was bitchy about the whole enterprise. And frankly, the boy has major sulking talents. He's lucky I didn't feed him to the sea lions. We also slipped into the Ferry Building and bought some more fresh fruit at the Organic Farmer's Market. I miss California produce already. Sigh.

We left the Bay Area that afternoon and drove up to Tahoe in horrendous stop-and-go traffic that didn't let up until we were on rte 50. I-80 sucks until you get east of Salt Lake City. I've always suspected it, and now I know for sure. I've driven most of it, so I feel like I can say that with authority. We did manage to find a nice campsite, at the Fallen Leaf Campground near Emerald Bay, despite getting in about 2 hours later than we expected.

Had a nice, lazy morning. Well, I did. Jay got up early and went for a 5 mile run by the Fallen Leaf lake. But he is clearly a masochist, so what can I say? Together we went for a much nicer, more civilized hike up to Eagle Lake. Tahoe's a beautiful area, but there are so many freaking PEOPLE there, I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed a longer stay.

But then again, anything would have been better than the miserable drive across Nevada. I-80 sucks. Wait, I said that already. But it's true. I-80 really really really sucks. It was hot and windy and my allergies were kaing my eyes tear up constantly. We were shooting for the Roby Mountains, but decided around Winnemucca that we would get in too late to set up camp and that my allergies weren't going to allow it to be a happy experience for me.

So we found a nice little motel in Elko, Nevada and crashed for the night. We enjoyed the novelty of cable TV and I enjoyed the respite granted by air-conditioning. Jay tracked down real* beer and some Benedryl, and I think we were a lot happier than we would have been if we'd pushed the camping issue.

*real beer, as in, not the 3.2% stuff we can get here in Utah.

Morning is a bit of a blur, but it involved bad hotel coffee, several bananas, and the first half of Sleepless in Seattle, before we packed everything up and drove off into the sunrise. Jay let me sleep through most of the drive. (So, okay, he's good for something besides sulking.) I didn't wake up until the stench of the Great Salt Lake hit my nostrils.

And that brings us back up to date, I think.

It was a wonderful trip, and if I had the chance to do it all again, I'd jump on it. Honestly, probably the best vacation either of us has had in a long time, and except for gas prices, was undoubtedly one of the cheapest.

One other positive result: I see gas for $1.95/gal here and I go "Sweet, under $2!" instead of "ohmigawd, what happened to $1.59/gal? Sigh."