fj: (Default)

Summer Night
"Summer Night", Nokia N73, London, 2008

The Weather

Aug. 2nd, 2008 09:57 pm
fj: (Default)

The Weather
"The Weather", Nokia N73, London, 2008

The Weather

Aug. 2nd, 2008 09:57 pm
fj: (Default)

The Weather
"The Weather", Nokia N73, London, 2008

fj: (UK)
Well, caught up on almost all paperwork. Unpacked.

Seems my furniture arrived in the UK while I was gone. Left a voice mail to follow-up, hope to get that delivered soon. Crack den no more! HSBC in the UK wants me to confirm I actually live where they have been sending me all my mail for months. WaMu in the US wants me to activate a new bank card from my home phone number. I don't see myself spoofing US Caller ID from the UK, so I guess I will have to call a human.

London was beautiful yesterday, little cloudy and humid today. Took a sleeping pill (Temazepam) at 2.30 AM to make sure I would get in the rhythm here, and boy do I feel like lead today. So hot last night I slept over the covers. They don't believe in ubiquitous AC for small rental units here. While I was on holiday I was considering moving somewhere cheaper, but now the effort involved tires me when even considering it. Or maybe that's the Temazepam.

I should get dressed, I am meeting with a company to talk about me taking a permanent job. Not sure I want one now. Mercenary life has its moments, like taking a whole month off like I just did, and I am being approached for new contracts.
fj: (travel)
Not content with merely being 10 to 20 minutes late in departing, as the BA0946 to Düsseldorf has been the last 7 weeks or so, for my last flight to Germany BA decided to cancel it outright. And 4 other flights to continental Europe with it. They blame weather which can't be called out of the ordinary for London at all. Of course, being on time to hold up my end of the deal, I had already gone through security, so I dutifully trudged to the service desk as the sign told me to do. Where first one guy checks us while in line and tells us to wait, and another guy 20 minutes later tells us all that we have to go "landside", which means going down to Arrivals, waiting in line for passport control, and go to the big bank of customer service desks in the Departures terminal. There is no doubt in my mind the desk we were already at could have easily rebooked us.

This is what I hate about airlines: there is 0 understanding for our mishaps on their side but we are supposed to deal with 100% of the shit they throw on us, on top of paying dear money for it. If your car breaks down and you are late at the airport, you will have to pay full price for the next flight. Meanwhile they can decide to take their birds out of service at any time, and they may, may, give you a refund, minus taxes, fees, and service charges after treating you with no real respect for your circumstances beyond, of course, confsing you, making you wait, trudge, wait, trudge, and then get into a line I estimated to be about an hour long when we did arrive to the central service desks, and giving us a bad photocopy of some perfunctory apologies signed by some guy named Dirk who of course was not in line with us and gets to go home at night where he wants to be while being paid for being at the airport while we just lose time. I have come to the point that sincere apologies from anyone with the word 'Customer' in their title only irritate me, as the apologies end up meaning nothing tangible in my life. Refunds, credits, trying to make things right, those do. A photocopied apology but then making me stand in line forever to receive the exact level of service on a product I would already get anyway only pisses me off more, even if the sheet did mention we could call the toll free number or go online to change the booking.

I called the number for BA as it was on the copy as I stood in line, and did get their phone ticketing desk. They, of course, couldn't tell me whether any other airline was leaving that night that I could get a seat on, only the people at the Heathrow desks could, but by the time I got to them all those seats would be gone anyway to the people in front of me, and besides, the customer rep figured not anyway, as the bad weather was not just at Heathrow but also in Germany. Ok, rebook me for tomorrow then. Can I get a transportation voucher then? Well, stay in that hour long line being slow with people being rebooked to get to a service desk for that simple credit, she could not do anything over the phone. When I got off the phone after being confirmed I left the rebooking line and tried one of the floor reps if he knew how to get me a transportation voucher -- I don't need rebooking, I don't need to hold the rebooking line up, I just need a signature on a simple print. Of course not, go stand in the line. I look over and see a shorter line, can I get in that. No, that bank of desks are doing something else. I then notice the signage above it and know what is going on, and look the rep point blank in the face and tell him that no, that bank of desks is doing exactly the same. Only then does he say admit those desks are servicing only the First and Business Class customers, which to my brain is doing exactly the same and his previous answer was just bullshit weaseling, and I turn and walk away while he is still talking to me. Fuck this.

I get to do it all over aain tomorrow.
fj: (Default)

Yeah, Well, You Wanted To Move To London
"Yeah, Well, You Wanted To Move To London", Nokia N73, London, 2008

fj: (USA)
Sounds like my SF peeps are finding out what a Boston summer is like.

Yeah, those window AC units indeed work. It was pretty much the first purchase I made, even  before any furniture, when I moved into my first studio, in Boston, later named The Magazine Apartment. It was on Park Drive, like everybody's first studio in Boston is, and I was enthralled with the ancient elevator with its doors and the grate, and the long corridors and the hardwood floors and my view on an alley because it was all so American.

I bet Fred got me and the box home, and I remember [ profile] tfarrell and me just lying down on the floor after I first switched it on and going "Aaaaaaaah..." which means I must have gotten over my trepidation of just putting this huge heavy thing in the window and leaving it hanging there, held in place only by the wood of the sliding window, which had to be rotting, but hey, everyone else was doing it so I guess this is how you do it in the USA, and fuck it is hot in here. It also meant I had no furniture yet.

That AC died when [ profile] pinkfish and I moved -- well, I wasn't there for the actual move -- from the next apartment to the condo on The Fenway he had bought. It died in the exact way I feared I would make it die: when Dean tried to take it out the window, it fell out backwards three stories down. Oops. I was told it didn't even make much of a crunch, more of a thud. And although this was a front-facing apartment, it didn't fall on the sidealk where it could hurt anyone. I remember coming home from the family holiday that had made me miss the move, walking into the new condo and going "Oh you put the ACs there and there wait, that's not our AC." Then I got the story. Which ranks second on troublesome homecoming stories to the time a few months before that I had come back from whatever to have Gadi, our houseguest at the time, tell me a litany of one problem after another with paperwork and Dean's start-up and the this going wrong and the that being wrong, that ended with the sentence "Oh, and the dishwasher only burned for a little while." Compared to that thudding ACs were not that dramatic during a move.

So yes, you learn to keep the doors and windows closed in summer too, and that inside is nicer than outside which it should never be in summer but hey, it is, and how high to set it at night and by day and when you are at work, and that getting new ones actually is worthwhile because they get more efficient all the time, and quieter so you get to sleep. Then the energy bill comes in and you learn you really should be a little uncomfortable. Like in winter, when you put on a sweater instead of turning the heat up. Then I moved to Los Angeles where everyone has or should have central air, and I had Industrial Central Air in The Loft, complete with huge overhead ducts Oliver the cat liked to run on, and where energy was pretty much free compared to Boston. Still, after my first few months of turning it up at night becaise I like to sleep in a cool room snuggled under blankets, the bill came in and I decided I should cut that out. I moved to the desert, now feel it.

Oddly enough, even though there was a string of Summers That Killed Thousands here in the UK a year or two ago, there's not a big market for these in-window ACs here. I don't think many windows slide up anyway. On the East Coast you know summer's here when the students leave and the window ACs start appearing in stacks at the hardware store and the Best Buy, here you just open windows against each other and hope for a breeze. Not even much need for that this year: we've had two nice weekends, and the rest is gloom
fj: (Default)

I Just Walk Down The Road, And Then There's This Scene
"I Just Walk Down The Road, And Then There's This Scene", Nokia N73, Düsseldorf, 2008

fj: (Default)

Yup, Back In Europe
"Yup, Back In Europe", Nokia N73, Düsseldorf, 2008

fj: (Default)
Back in D-dorf. Holiday here, so eating out again. Weather so stunning the restaurants put tables on the sidewalks, V. European.

Posted with AutoPostBot
fj: (Default)

First Morning
"First Morning", Nokia N73, Düsseldorf, 2008

April 6th

Apr. 6th, 2008 06:16 pm
fj: (Default)

April 6th
"April 6th", Nokia N73, London, 2008

fj: (Default)
Just a little note to the annoyed about the snow Bostonians.

In what I think must have been 1997, I woke up April 1st and noticed the light coming into the bedroom was really special. I mentioned it to [ profile] pinkfish, who said it was because a foot of snow had fallen. I said very funny April fools, he said no joke look outside.

My feet sunk pretty darn deep as I walked in the middle of Queensberry street, still unploughed, to Children's Hospital for work. As always during heavy snow, the lobby and ED were pretty quiet, and I may have been the only one in the CHIP lab offices.

April 1st. Snow in MA ain't over till it is over.
fj: (Default)
Haven't heard the first of my given names in its English pronunciation so much since I left the U.S.-based school I attended Medellin, Colombia, halfway through fourth grade.

I am not cocktail-partying on it, though. I kind of still expect to.

My namesake seems to bring such destruction to Jamaica.

We left for the Netherlands, by the way, where I was put in fourth grade. If I recall correctly, since the school in Colombia programmed the school year along the calendar year, and the school in Wolfheze did it along the academic year, I must have spent something like fifteen months in fourth grade.
fj: (tech)
Due to the thunderstorms, we lost electircity in the Nokia building.

Backup is on for emergency lighting and the key-card doors, so everyone can get around. All unsaved work on desktop computers was lost mid-keystrokes. Everyone with a laptop (me) can still do local work.

Before the outtage, everyone was working silently, and the environment felt "quiet". Now that the air-conditioning and all the fluorescent lights and all desktop computers are out, the building is really quiet, even with people talking.

(I am posting this over my personal cellular/mobile wireless modem. I suspect network is out too.)
fj: (Default)
I basically ran the parade twice, handing out little leaflets to the people lined up watching, running between the bus with the soundsystem where we kept the leaflets and the onlookers on both sides of the street, working the crowd together with two other leaflet givers. People don't want leaflets. They want frisbees and keychains and beads, which they will rip off your chest if you are handing them out, like I used to for the helpline. Leaflets they refuse.

My stratgey was to shove it in the hands of anyone clapping or moving to the folk music coming from the van. Or just handing them. I was very aggressive, with a little schtick. But the parade went so fast it was hard to keep up, and I didn't get to canvas nearly enough some of the areas where the crowds were thicker. And for folkies you need to get the more reserved ones in the back.

I had water when we landed on the Common, [ profile] pinkfish and I hung out but none of our friends showed up at the spot we usually are. The we did what we alsways do, which is go lunch and have a nap. Went to Stephanies and I felt terribly underdressed in a tanktop with our hairy shoulders in between the nicely dressed Newbury crowd. Naptime after that, and I slept for hours. Which means I didn't do the blockparty and at this pace and pattern I never will.

Eventhough there was cloud cover the whole time, by the end of the parade it had turned from possible rain to just hazy and humid under a very thin layer of clouds. Consequently my shoulders today are red, except for where the tanktop-straps were.

I looked hot, though.
fj: (Default)
Boston Pride today. It is cold and dank and it will probably rain. That means no hours of doubt of what skimpy clothing to wear that makes me look good; my usual garb will have to do.

I have marched for years now, every time with the g/l/b/t/* helpline contingent I used to belong to. I was known for tirelessly working the crowd, handing otu trinkets and fridge magnets and such, and I felt both great because I had a definite role and was part of a group I felt good about, so I could get over being watched by everything and everyone.

I left that helpline. This year, I have been asked to hand out leaflets when I march for [ profile] pinkfish's float, the gender-role free contra-dancers. They will be actually dancing while they move, so I'd be useful since I don't dance. SOmehow I am irrationally nervous.

My first Pride I marched in here in Boston officially didn't happen. It was rained out and the organizers and the city cancelled it, as everyone was lined up, just before it was supposed to go. The Workers World United -- or whatever they are, that really endearing group of communists -- float, as always housed on a Big flatbed truck filled with idealistic looking college freshmen, decided they would not have some asshole BPD tell them what they could and could not do on a gay holiday, or stop them from celebrating pride, and just went. The floats didn't go anywhere, but all onlookers and people on foot just folowed. We all just marched, giggling, in the rain. Us too, eventhough we hadn't planned on marching with anyone at all. People would go to intersections and stop traffic to loud cheers of the rest of the us, and the spontaneous march of one truck and a throng of disorganized chanting happy people would move on. No commerce, no "Come get drunk here!" tacky bar-floats, no politicians working for our votes, no "Spend on me! Look, we even feature a muscled torso on our poster!".

We were walking next to a guy with a young homo alcoholics support group banner, I think some teacher from some high-school was next to us, behind us was a woman who was coming out that day as a lesbian after 40 years in the closet. Dino and I made a point out of telling that to everyone we met and implore them to go congratulate her. The people who congratulated her told others too. The woman had people coming up to her the whole march.

We ended at the commons.

A few weeks later, when the 'official' re-scheduled parade took place, [ profile] pinkfish and I were on the sidelines in out home-made T-shirts. We had just gotten our inkjet printer, so we were all into trying the T-shirt transfer decals. Mine said something like "I already marched, YOU WUZZES!" and Dino's was something more cheerful and less accusatory about having marched in the rain. We had people coming up to us, from the march, asking where they could buy those, and others going "Yeah man! I marched in the rain too! It was awesome!"

It was.

Jour Du Moi

Jun. 8th, 2003 09:57 pm
fj: (Default)
Well, so I didn't travel to Ohio. Instead I spent four days having meat loaf and spinach for dinner, which had been lovingly prepared for me, and on Friday I met the [ profile] slinkr and [ profile] danger_chick and partners for dessert at Harvard Square. I missed their shoe-shopping because of the slow line 1 bus. Damn. I should have car-jacked something, the judge would have understood.

Finale is overrated, and I should never have dessert there again. Period. Ended up at [ profile] slinkr's giving home decorating advice. I should quit software.

I didn't take Friday of for myself as [ profile] pinkfish implored me to do, but did have Saturday as a Me day. Did nothing. Played DDR for 90 minutes, left me sweaty. Hung on the couch. Chatted on-line. Had more meat loaf. Etc. Lather, rinse, repeat. Much better than that fest in Ohio that [ profile] pinkfish no says would not have been my scene. All was joyous. Then I decided to go to the Ramrod, late at night, to maybe dance downstairs at Machine.

Of course, de Wet van Behoud van Ellende as my discrete-math professor used to call it (the Law of Conservation of Misery) kicked in -- just because I avoided the uncomfortable not-me Ohio trip doesn't mean everything should go well. Oh, going out was ok, it was fine. I hung around, it was kind of ok, didn't know anyone, talked to the barman and a regular patron downstairs at the pool-tables (proving to myself I am not a hermit), waiting for Machine's floor to fill up. Never did. Go-go boys dancing alone. Too sad for words. And that at 12:30 AM on a Saturday night / Sunday morning. Hung out upstair in the leather / shirtless area. Got some appreciative looks, so I seem to be doing ok. Went downstairs to Machine again, still empty. Decided to screw this, and took, an uh, walk, in the park, to, uh, make me sleepy.

And it must be there where the misery got conserved. Can't find my wallet today. Pulled on my pants at 4 PM to go out to get lunch -- breakfast finished off the last food -- and my wallet wasn't there. Tore the house apart. So I cancelled the credit cards, went to the webpage to get a replacement driver's license issued to me (yup, the MA RMV allows you to do that over the web) and have a whole host of medical, dental, AAA, whatever cards to get back.

En ik ben dus ook verdomme mijn reunistenkaart van de SSRA kwijt. Hoewel die nogal vervallen was, in de afgelopen negen jaar.

Lost 40 bucks, not much. I hope whomever 'found' it, if humans were involved in any part of the chain of this wallet becoming unfindable, had good use of it. The damn thing coukd have just slipped out of my pocket when I put it back after giving my wardrobe ticket. Gawd. I can't believe it isn't in the appartment here, I mean, I would have noticed if I had come in without it, right?

Spent half a day dealing with this. Many a flashback to pissed off family members when I was a young child always losing stuff, chiding of how I should be more responsible, blah blah blah. I am an adult now, and I lost a wallet. I'll deal, ok?

In fact, I didn't let it stop me from acomplishing something I wanted to do: I went through my closet and threw out everything I hadn't worn in a year and will obviously not wear in the future. Like all the pants I 'might' fit into again next year. Nuh-uh. Kept the museum pieces, but all the joke T-shirts and flimsy stuff that makes me look bad went out. Somewhere a person browing a Goodwill store soon will chance upon Prada pants and DKNY shirts. And I will be happier for the closet space.
fj: (Default)
I am pretty much the only person on my floor. I could crank up the Internet radio real loud if only our global sysadms had not blocked the relevant ports. Burlington has declared a snow emergency, but all the roads are open. I drove from Boston just fine.

The fact that I park in a garage came in handy, cuz all other people in Boston were looking at the mounds of snow on the street wondering which one contained their car.
fj: (Default)
See, the advantage of working late is that I get to drive home now that the snow has stopped and the streets have been cleared and the people with the most panic are safely home.

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