Bring your own fork

April 29, 2004 - Thursday

 No Bono

If Bono ever leaves U2, I’m totally ready to take his place.

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April 27, 2004 - Tuesday

 Cruise Pix

Oh look, a few of the very few pictures I took while on our cruise!

This is the sunset on our first night out, I think. Yes, it’s out of focus (shut up, El Steve), but look at the pretty colors!

This is the sunset the night we left Urethra. (Check out that focus!)

Me and Beth atop the bridge as we left Montego Bay, Jamaica.

And last but not least, a camera phone shot of (l-r) Zoe and her best friends Sidney and Katie after they discovered the dessert section of the buffet.

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 Things to do in Missou(la)

Stuck in Missoula over the weekend with nothing to do, the Sales Manager and the Operations Director here at the station took me out for a ride on Saturday. The Sales Manager loaned me his Harley Softail and we rode up into Idaho to have lunch at the Lochsa Lodge.

Yep, I like it here in Missoula. Nice people, great riding, excellent bacon cheeseburgers. I could get used to this.

This is me with my borrowed steed up at the lodge.

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April 26, 2004 - Monday

 The View From Missou(la)

Greetings from Room 326 of the Doubletree Edgewater Hotel in beautiful downtown Missoula, MT. I’ve been here since last Tuesday but felt that I had to get that vacation entry up before I could start talking about even more travel.

So: Montana. Yeah. It’s nice here, pretty. I like. Check out the view from my balcony:


Nice, huh? I leave the window open at night so I can hear the river rushing while I sleep. Nice.

As Beth already said, I halfway kinda want to move here (and they halfway kinda want me to, because they have a few positions open here that I would fit into quite easily), so Beth is in a panic that I’m going to come home and announce that we’re selling the house and moving to Montana. She tried to scare me off with a dealbreaker of a “full length sheared beaver coat” (wtf is that, anyway?) and a Range Rover, and I think I terrified her by pointing out that both were quite doable with what we’d have left over after selling our house in LA and buying a mansion here.

To be honest, it’s tempting. Very tempting. But in the end it’s not a move that would make sense for us. And besides, when the General Manager asked me what kind of salary I had in mind, I gave him a number that probably equals what he pays all three of the people I’ve been working with here put together. He tried to hold a poker face but I could see that I’d rocked him back on his heels. Hey, I’m Big City, baby, I don’t come cheap. He can’t afford me.

But if he found a way to? Well, there could be some furs and cars being bought.


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 Vacation Wrap Up

I’m on the road again, again, but before I dive into the here and now I think I should address the there and then — namely, the vacation me, Beth, and Zoe just took. So:

Hey, I’m back from vacation! Miss me? I took my laptop with me so I could download all the pictures I took with my digital camera and use them to illustrate the day-to-day entries I wrote to describe every facet of our trip — but I was on vacation so I was lazy and didn’t do any of it. And I’m okay with that. What, I should work for you people while I’m on vacation? Please. Instead, I’m going to just give you an overview. And you’re going to be happy with it, dammit!

First: background. Where we went and why. Perhaps you’ll remember that Aaron Spelling classic from the 70’s, The Love Boat. And if you do, perhaps you’ll remember Captain Stubing’s daughter Vicki. Well, Vicki’s all growedsed up now (and kind of a hottie, too) and her son and Zoe were classmates up ‘til last year. In the course of being fellow parents and school activities and all that, she (we know her as Jill) and Beth became very good friends. (And Zoe had a little crush on her son, too, I think.)

But then Jill went and fell in love with a guy who lives in New Jersey, of all places, and she moved there to be with him. And he proposed and she accepted and so they were getting married — and somehow Princess Cruises caught wind of this. And since the Love Boat had been shot on Princess ships and Jill had been on Love Boat, they wanted in on the act and they offered to host the wedding on one of their new ships and have Jill christen the ship and have the wedding party and their friends and family go on its first Caribbean cruise at a huuuuuge discount.

Jill, no fool she, went for it and invited all her old pals from Zoe’s school, kids included. So that’s the background of it: we attended the wedding of Vicki from the Love Boat on board a brand new cruise ship, watched her christen it and joined in the party, then went on its inaugural 7-day inaugural Caribbean cruise with all our friends.

Just your normal, run of the mill vacation, in other words. And since I know I’ll never finish this if I try to write a detailed chronology of everything we did, instead I’ll just give you a bullet-point quick hit rundown and see if I can’t actually finish that.

The wedding:

It was nice, especially their vows. I even got a little misty at Michael’s vows, but that was probably just the sea air and the salt getting in my eyes. There was a live webcast of the ceremony that was apparently very popular. Here’s a link to it, if you’d like to watch and pretend that you, too, were there. At one point the camera pans over to focus on three little girls sitting on a railing — the one on the left is Zoe.

Cruises in general:

Neither Beth nor I had ever been on a cruise so this was the perfect opportunity to find out if we’re “cruise people.” We’re not. Our first day on the ship was great, because it was empty. Out of a possible 3,500 passengers the ship can carry, there were maybe 500 of us that first day. Very nice, very quiet, very uncrowded. This group went on the inaugural sailing of the ship, a little overnight jaunt 90 miles out and back.

The next day is when the rest of the passengers boarded, and “very quiet, very uncrowded” became a fond memory. After braving the buffet line for breakfast the first day, I dubbed the experience Disneyland At Sea and swore off cruises forever. Things got better as the week went on (and I learned to Just Say No to the buffet), so I’m not quite as adamant as I was then. With distance comes calm, if not clarity.

(Two days later) Okay — This is taking me for-freakin’-ever to write this. I’m going to really bulletpoint it now so I can get this done and posted.

Stops on the cruise:

  • Princess Cays “ Princess’ “private island” (all the cruise lines have one, apparently), which is really the tip of Eleuthera (“Urethra,” I called it). Snorkel Boy made his debut.
  • Montego Bay: Beth, Zoe and Zoe’s friend Katie went horseback riding. I went into town to check out the shopping, wandered out of the tourist area just far enough to figure that it was getting too seedy even for me, and spent the rest of the day tanning on the blissfully empty ship.
  • Grand Cayman: We went snorkeling at Stingray City. Zoe was majorly freaked out by the stingrays and wouldn’t go near them. We snorkeled two other nearby sites where Zoe got into the snorkeling and we had a lot of fun. It was great, just like diving in our fishtank (back when it was clean).
  • Cozumel: We swam with the dolphins. That was pretty cool, and also pretty expensive. Snorkel Boy had his swan song, getting in some last minute underwater time after the dolphins before we went back to the ship. Coz was also slightly expensive, as I made the mistake of spotting a Diamonds International store and joking to Beth “Hey, don’t you want to go look at diamonds?” Well of course she did, so we did, and we are now the poorer owners of a new diamond for Beth’s engagement ring. I also bought a silver bracelet for myself and did a great job of grinding the price down — and then accidentally gave them $10 too much when I paid. Duh.

And then the cruise was over and we had to return to our normal lives. The one nice thing about taking two weeks off like that and having so much fun in such a great setting is that it really helps give you clarity about Life In General. This clarity has made me realize that work sucks and I must find a way to be on vacation all the time.

I’m working on it.


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April 13, 2004 - Tuesday

 Three Kings

Warning: Poker content (and dense poker jargon).

I stopped at the Commerce on the way home last night and sat down to a few hands of 4/8 hold-em. End result: +$200. Shweet. Pardon me while I toot my own horn:

Best hand of the session came about 20 minutes in when I was on the button and was dealt pocket Kings. Everyone limped ahead of me, I made it $8 to go, the Big Blind made it $12 to go and everyone called, so I went ahead and capped it at $16 — and everyone called! Yikes. I put the BB on Ace-something — maybe AA, maybe not. Everyone else I just put on stupid and pretty much ignored. I knew the BB was my competition in this hand and hoped for a King on the flop.

Flop came K36. Suh-WEET! Trip Kings for me, looking good! But two diamonds made me nervous. Big Blind checks, so I think he probably doesn’t have AA – unless he’s going to check-raise me. I put him on a suited Ace and hope it’s not a diamond. Everyone checks to me, I bet out $4, everyone calls — including the BB. Now I know he doesn’t have AA. Definitely a suited Ace.

Dealer puts up the turn. A diamond. Shit. Big Blind bets out $8 and I know he’s hit his flush. Everyone folds to me and now I’m beat but I’ve committed so much to the pot that I have to call and hope the board pairs to give me a full house. I call.

Dealer puts up the river. Another three! Suh-WEET!!!! I have a full house, the only hand that beats me is 3333, and I know the Big Blind only has a flush. He checks to me, I bet $8, he has to call just to make sure I’m not stealing. I turn up my full house, he turns up his flush, I drag the $100+ pot.

Oh, that was a great hand.


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April 12, 2004 - Monday

 News Flash: Work sucks!

Groan. I’m back in the office after two weeks on vacation. I’m sorry, but between this and the Caribbean, there’s just no comparison. Sigh…


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