2007 March #2

At the Embarcadero BART station they have this little area that's past where the train stops with chairs for the workers to take a break at. You'd think they'd have magazines like People, but I saw The Economist sitting on one of the chairs.

Getting ready for St. Patrick's Day with bags and bags of ice.

I hate when people park 10-15 feet away from the curb behind them. Now only two cars can fit in that section rather than three.

This guy came into the Goodwill and wanted to pick up a table he had reserved something like 3 months before. To his surprise, they had sold it a while ago.

At the Goodwill. Who would ever sell this, and, even more importantly, who would ever buy it?

The USPS is making some of the drop boxes look like R2-D2.

I needed some little carry-on bag for my trip to Houston, so I ran to Target. This one said Eddie Bauer on it and was $140; the one I bought cost $10. Mine probably wasn't quite as well-made, but I don't think it was a $130 difference.

I took the Explorer in for a general check and to get the front tire checked out because it had a very slow leak. When I got it back I checked the tire pressures. All were around 30-35 PSI, which is what they're supposed to be, except for the rear-right one, which for some crazy reason was near 50 PSI. I had to sit there for over 20 seconds letting air out.

The wonderful people in front of me bought two items, argued for 5 minutes about price on the coupon vs what they were paying, and then paid with a $100 bill for their under-$5 purchase.

This poor kid got stuck holding a spot in line while his mother ran off looking for more stuff. She barely made it back in time, and he was getting pretty worried. I was kinda hoping she wouldn't make it just to see what he would do; would he let the guy behind him go or would he just stand there?

Some anti-war demonstration. Because, you know, 10 people lying on the street is really going to make a difference. Don't actually go through the effort of getting millions of people together, which might actually be effective; it's much better to feel like you're doing something without any real work.

What a wonderful license plate.

You ever step back and realize just how nutty you really are about some things? My sweaters and t-shirts are on black hangers, my dress shirts on white, and my dress pants on blue. And if I accidentally put an item on the wrong color of hanger, I'll go through the trouble of switching it around.

Just about forgot these for the plane trip. Terrorists are horrible, but I actually hate the idiots who make rules that don't stop them but waste millions of hours of people's time even more. At least the terrorists believe in what they are doing; the lawmakers are just trying to appear to be doing something to help when they're actually just pissing everybody off.

I'm not sure why you'd want to hide on a BART train, but this person seemed to be doing it pretty well.

This woman was late and had missed her plane. The agent said she could catch another plane, but it was leaving in 10 minutes, so she would have to sprint there. Plus, she would have to check her bag on another plane because there wasn't time to get it on the next one. The woman kept arguing about how that didn't make sense, it wasn't fair, etc, and I'm sitting there thinking, "OK, now you have 9 minutes to make the plane. Now 8 minutes. Forget the luggage! Go!"

I like to sit near the counter while waiting for the plane. That way I can listen in to anything they say and get the latest updates. I thought we were safe because the only stop was Phoenix, and there aren't any blizzards or hurricanes or earthquakes or anything to delay flights. Oh, except for the giant thunderstorm that delayed our flight.

And it's especially good to listen when pilots chat with each other.

This guy was fairly drunk and kept wandering around, pulling his luggage behind him, and tipping over a lot. Both the luggage and the man.

This man was in my seat, but since it was an isle seat and he and his wife were settled, I was more than happy to take his window seat. Even better, nobody sat in the seat next to me.

I took a cab to the motel because I didn't feel like trying to drive through Houston at 4am with an interview at 9am. I told the cab driver where I was going, and he mentioned it was in the ghetto. I didn't care; I've stayed in ghetto areas in plenty of cities, and as long as you're not an idiot, it's fairly safe. He said there were drug dealers and prostitutes right around the motel. I didn't really believe him, but then when I was signing in, I noticed it said no visitors after 10pm, so maybe he was telling the truth.

Oh, and that late at night they locked everything up and you had to deal with them through the little hole in the window.

The TV had a station which showed the security cameras of the motel.

Any fast food restaurant with a bouncy thing outside is a good fast food restaurant.

OK, I can see typing the note incorrectly, and maybe even putting it up without noticing it's wrong, but this was there the whole time I was there.

There was a 24-hour taco truck in the front of the motel parking lot. 24 hours? Why? Even if people get up really early and go to work, you can't possibly get enough customers at 2am to justify being open then.

The "Walk / Don't Walk" signs in Houston really annoyed me. The walk signs were dirty-white; the don't walk signs were dirty-yellow/orange. Any other city they're bright white and bright red. And since I never actually look at the picture when I cross a street, only the color, I actually walked into traffic a few times. This looks much more white than red to me.

A three-child stroller? That must be fun to move around.

I hate these magazines. Every month they have the exact same articles: 10 techniques to flatten your stomach, 10 techniques to drive your lover wild in bed, 10 techniques to a great butt, etc. They should put out one issue only and be done with it. Do they make up new things every time or do they keep writing the same thing over and over? How many ways can you possibly do a crunch?

Life lesson #1 learned in Houston: renting a car is almost always cheaper than cabs. After the first $60 cab ride to the motel (which was somewhat justified, since it was so late/early), I decided to rent a car. So I reserved one online from a fairly nearby Thrifty which would be ready to pick up at noon; I could then drop it off at the airport Thrifty. So I took a cab to near that area (Rice University, museums, parks), wandered around a bit, and then went to Thifty around 12:30pm. The woman said no cars were back. So life lesson #2 learned in Houston: the internet is crap for reservations; get a phone number and actually call the place.

Actually, this was the second time I learned this from this trip, since I had reserved my motel room online, only to call a few days before leaving and finding out it had never been reserved. Oh, and the nearby Enterprise or whatever car rental place had around 15 cars in their lot, but they closed at noon. Ha ha. I ended up walking from Thrifty back to my motel, which was about a 3 hour walk, because I was pissed about paying for cabs. It was a fairly nice day, though, with occasional sprinkles, so it wasn't a bad way to spend 3 hours. In total, I spent $60 + $10 + $10 + $20 + $60 in cab rides vs a car rental at around $30 per day.

Bubble tape that you can write messages on one letter at a time. Kinda neat.

Downtown Houston from a distance.

This window-washing woman was staked out at a red light near my motel. She'd wash the windowshield of every car that stopped, and probably about half of them gave her money for it. Let's see, ~ $1 per paying car, ~ 2 paying cars per red light, ~ 1 red light every few minutes, no income taxes...

How in the world does "auto" mean "alarm" on every alarm clock?

The bottom support on my bag broke off at some point, so I had to lean it against something or it would fall over. Even so, I think it was still a better value than the Eddie Bauer bag at $1000 or whatever it was.

Look, nobody is in line at the self-check-in machines. Hmm, it says "see agent" after I type in my confirmation number. No agents near the self-check-in machines. The only agents are at the baggage check area. Oh, look, that line that actually goes outside the building because they can't fit everybody inside even after making it snake all over the place. Sigh.

At least they had lots of extra Ziplocks in case anybody forgot.

I've recently come to the conclusion that military service should be required of everyone in the US, male and female. Maybe start at some National-Guard-type training near the end of high school (1 weekend a month), then a couple of years of hard training right afterwards, and then occasional training throughout the rest of your life. Not so much for the patriotism, but more because you can't be horrendously overweight in the military (and if you are, they should make you keep running until you're not), and therefore you're not going to take up all of your seat plus half of mine on the plane.

Well, this was a horrible design. The light switch is stuck in a corner, so I can't turn it off with the plate. And I can't turn it off with the hand holding my drink because the glass is too full and would spill. Which means I have to go through the effort of putting down my drink or my plate to turn off the light. Don't architects think of these things?

I needed my suit dry cleaned. I looked up "dry cleaning" online and this place was nearby. I went there. Notice the neon sign proclaiming dry cleaning. I went inside and asked if they could dry clean my suit. They said they don't do dry cleaning. I just kind of stood there in shock for a few seconds.

The McDonald's right around the corner from where I work. Lunchtime is utter chaos. There are usually around four lines open at a time, although that can vary by plus or minus 2, and after people order they have no idea where to stand, so you have to constantly ask people if they're in line or not.

I understand that sadism is gaining pleasure from inflicting pain on others and masochism is gaining pleasure from having pain inflicted on yourself, but I still don't understand this sign at all. How does eating a chocolate mint hurt you? My brain grinds to a halt every time I see this sign.

I usually take the Fremont BART train from where I live and then transfer here at MacArthur to a San Francisco train. It always reminds me of Matrix Revolutions when they break through the clouds and glimpse sunlight for a few fleeting seconds, only to be plunged back into darkness.

In the far left lane and going 0 mph.

I drove to Wal-Mart to find a decent bag for my suit. Of course they were out. Then the next day I was in the Walgreens near work and I saw this one. Two hours driving to, walking around, and driving back from Wal-Mart wasted for nothing.

The one thing I really hate about ties is that you can't wash them at all; you can't even dry clean them. So if you stain one, it's simply trash. And I really liked this one.

On the walk home from work I saw these car keys lying in the grass. There were no VW cars around, so I asked the lady at the nearest house if they were hers. She said no, so I really didn't know what to do with them except put them back near where I found them.

If you're going to move office furniture around all day, you might as well use it every once in a while.