Bring your own fork

January 30, 2004 - Friday

 Thank You, Chicago, And Good Night!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Elvis tattoo has left the building! You’re on your own, Chicago. Honey, I’m comin’ home!

And now, I’m off to brave the -15 wind chill factor…

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January 27, 2004 - Tuesday

 A Study in Contrasts

It’s snowing like crazy outside, the view hazy and choked with whirls of wind-whipped snowflakes. Inside, me and my co-workers are all lined up at the window, looking out and admiring and commenting on how beautiful it is, staring almost hypnotized by the view.

The locals, on the other hand, have their backs to the windows and are hard at work. They’ve seen it all before. Snow? They’re done with it.

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 I Need THAT Job

As I’m here in Chicago converting their radio stations to The Company’s software and being a good worker bee, many of my co-workers are in other cities doing the same thing — five stations in the New York, NY area are converting right now, as is Worcester, MA; as is Pueblo, CO; as is Des Moines, IA; as is Huntsville, AL. Ch-ch-changes!

Normally we go to each site with just our conversion team — the Traffic Conversion Specialist (me), the Data Conversion Coordinator (order entry person), and the Account Rep (Sales/Mgmt babysitter). This time around, though, my manager and the training team manager are “observing” the conversion process and are skipping from site to site to spend time at each of them. Ostensibly this is to better educate them on how we do the job we do, but I think it’s really just a big company-paid vacation/shopping expedition for them. I mean, I can understand my manager coming out; she can at least say she’s seeing how her staff works. But the training manager? What’s she observing? There ain’t no trainers here, they’re all back in Dallas at the training center.

But perhaps I’m just cynical. They’ve spent about an hour per day at each of the New York sites, their husbands flew out to join them over the weekend in Manhattan, they didn’t roll into the office here until 9:30 this morning after traveling Monday, one of them went to “lunch” 2 hours ago and hasn’t been seen since, and neither of them has done anything but check email and surf the web since they got here. I’m probably misinterpreting all this, I’m sure there’s damned hard work going on there … somewhere.

Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

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January 25, 2004 - Sunday

 Greetings From Chicago

Hi there and hello again. Yes, it’s me, back at the keyboard and also back on the road. I’m in Chicago this time around and lemme tell ya, it’s fuggin’ COLD here, kids. Also, it’s snowing! — which might not be a big deal for some of you readers, but gimme a break here, I’m from sunny Southern California — snow’s a big deal to those of us in the palm tree set. So: snow = “Cool!” To give you an idea just how much snow we’ve had, I’m including it in my regular crowd-pleasing feature “The View From Here.”

So, here’s the view from my hotel room window Saturday morning at about 9:00:

…and here’s the exact same view about 20 minutes later:

Now that’s something you don’t see every day in L.A. And that’s why I’m a big ol’ geek and took pictures of it.

This whole Chicago trip is working out pretty well. First of all, The Company put me up in a pretty swank hotel. I usually stay in a Hilton property, which usually means staying in Motel 6’s big brother, Hampton Inn. But this time they put me up in a lux Hilton property: The Drake. Sah-weet!!! Princess Di stayed here once, which I’m pretty sure the Fort Smith, AR Hampton Inn can’t say. And since I’ve reached the diamond level in Hilton’s frequent flier program, they upgraded me to an Executive Suite, which is, as you might have guessed, Executive Shweet!

So that was pretty cool, but even cooler than that: Beth flew out to spend the weekend with me! Shweet! (Also “shwing,” but we won’t go into that.) We had a great time together walking all over downtown and hanging out and enjoying the novelty of being two married adults doing adult things together without a small child insisting on doing small child things. (No worries, Zoe was safe — Beth left her locked in a closet back home with a damp washcloth.)

And because we’re California geeks, we took pictures of each other in the snow:

Beth on the Magnificent Mile:

Me in the same place:

We went into a store to get out of the cold and look for parkas but didn’t buy anything. Here’s the hat Beth tried to talk me into, promising that it looked great on me. Fortunately, the store had mirrors:

Back out into the cold, here’s me and Beth on the Chicago River:

And because, as I’ve already pointed out, I’m a big ol’ SoCal palm tree set geek, this is me making a snow angel on Lake Shore Drive:

Virgin, untouched snow:

Fat guy thrashing around in previously virgin, untouched snow:

Ooh, a snow angel!

So that was fun. After tramping around in the snow and freezing our asses off, we scurried back to the room, wrapped up in the hotel’s complimentary bathrobes, and ordered room service like civilized people with per diem cash and a corporate AmEx card. Here’s Beth recovering from the cold, smoking a cigarette in my no-smoking room, and wondering just who she should call on the cell phone to gloat to next:

And finally, because no entry with pictures is complete without one of Zoe (and also because she wasn’t really locked in a closet), here’s one from a few weeks ago of my little peanut with her long-suffering cat Sparkle:

(No, she’s not strangling the cat, she’s “posing” it. There’s a subtle difference. Really.)

So there you have it, that’s my whirlwind weekend in the Windy City. This was the best travel weekend I’ve had since I started this too-much-traveling job. The weather, the wife and the … (damn, I can’t think of another “w” word) — it was all great.

And so in closing, because I know logging on and checking in here to see if there’s a new entry up is the first thing Beth will do on getting home tonight: Thanks for coming out, honey, I loved having you here with me. I love you.

All together now: “Aaaawwww…..”

But it’s true.

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January 19, 2004 - Monday

 The Name’s Lamp. Tiffany Lamp.

Seeing as how my job is being downsized in a few months and I’ll be invited to “seek other opportunities” elsewhere, perhaps a career change is in order:


Your Stripper Name is Tiffany!

You’re a wild stripper… in fact, too wild for most clubs.
When you’re not at the raunchiest strip club in town, you take your act to private parties.
You strip and do all sorts of crazy tricks at bachelor parties, driving the guys wild.
Games, lesbian shows, and even a little handjob action are all a part of your routine.
You just want to have fun – and get paid to do it.
Chances are you’ll outgrow this stripper thing eventually, or become a hardcore porn star!

What’s *Your* Stripper Name?

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January 10, 2004 - Saturday

 Christmas Wrap-up

In one of my last pre-Hitler entries, I asked a critical question and then left you hanging with the answer. Oopsie. Let’s resume, shall we?

Question: Will Santa bring me a Harley for Christmas?
Answer: Santa’s a funny little fucker.

Did I get a Harley? Yes I sure did, only Santa phoned it in — he brought a Harley telephone:

Vroom, vroom, call on line one

Isn’t it … um … great? It’s not quite what I had in mind, but… Well, it is a Harley. Sort of. I guess. It goes “Vroom!” and the headlight goes on when it rings, so I’ve got that going for me. But… Well… No. No, I’m not putting this thing on my desk. I’m not going to answer a Vrooming phone, I’m not going to talk into the seat, I’m not going to anything with this phone. I guess I should have been more specific on my Christmas wishlist. Santa clearly needs a clue or three. So, for next year:

“Yo, Santa, I want a 2002 Harley Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle, please. A real one. That I can ride. That doesn’t plug into the wall. The color should be “Vivid Black.” It should have a 1450 cc Twin Cam 88 engine. It should have electronic fuel injection. It should have a tooled leather seat and leather-wrapped hard saddlebags. It should have a detachable windshield. It should have wire-laced wheels. It should run on gas. It should not be a telephone or a ring or a belt buckle or a cue rack or a plush toy or an umbrella or a T-shirt or an ornament or a mug or a tie or a mirror or a clock or mudflaps or anything with the Harley-Davidson logo on it but a real-life actual in-the-flesh motherfucking Harley-Davidson motorcycle! Get it, you fat stupid elf? Motor. Cycle. Thank you.”


So, okay, I didn’t get the right Harley. I did get a whole passel of other stuff: two bathrobes, two pairs of flannel “lounging pants,” a shockingly large check from Beth’s dad, and an iPod. Ever since Christmas I’ve been lounging around the house in lounging pants and a bathrobe, dreaming of what to spend the Christmas money on and downloading songs into the iPod. It’s a 20 gig model and after ripping and downloading every CD in the house, even Beth’s stuff that I hate, it’s barely half full. Shweet. And then a few days after Christmas I went riding with El Steve, who gave me a beautiful pair of Harley-Davidson chaps, which look fabulous under the bathrobe.

So all things considered it was a pretty good Christmas for young Chuckie. Even the Harley phone wasn’t too bad — at least I got an entry out of it.

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January 4, 2004 - Sunday

 I’m WHO???

This can’t be good.

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About Me

Ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



January 2004
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