The Roads are mine…

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I have to admit that I do like getting to work at O’dark thirty.

I wake up and it’s dark, I lay here listening to the quiet, (Which in a city is actually just a quieter drone of activity. You don’t realize how much noise there really is unless you’ve lived someplace that is absolutely silent at night.)

I’ll stretch and count my bones then finally the desire for coffee will drag my old carcass out of bed.

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While standing in front of the gurgling, sighing coffee pot, I’ll finish waking up.

The cool of the early morning on my skin and cold floor beneath my feet steels me against the day.

I’ll have my first cup of coffee in front of the computer scanning the exploits of various people from the world news.

(Wow, there is a lot of weird stuff going on in the world and I’m grateful that my awareness of it is limited.

About the time I confirm not much has changed and the world is a totally crazy place, I shower, shave and get dressed then I’m out the door.

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Then I have one more really nice thing to deal with. 

The roads are pretty much mine. 

Most mornings I catch green lights all the way to the freeway, and then I’m cruising at 80 on an empty road to work. 4AM seems to be the only time anymore that the freeways live up to their name. 

I make it to work, after catching green lights all the way from the freeway exit. 

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Most mornings when I get to work, I’ll park next to a large open field and usually there is enough time to kill the engine of the car and just sit, listening to the rustling of various creatures ending their nocturnal foraging. I’ll catch sight of some of the denizens of the night  and for a little while be reconnected to the “real” world, the world of life and simple needs.

Then it’s time to return to the world of man. The complexities, artificially generated problems, and anxieties that come with civilization.

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I’ve come to realize that I look forward to my morning solitude. I like not dealing with throngs of people. My morning “quiet” helps me get through my workday. When I leave in the afternoon, I’m often stuck in traffic but even that traffic is nothing like the insanity of the 5 o’clock rush hour.

The term “Rush hour” itself has little meaning. I think it should be called parking hours. In the “O’Dark” hours it takes me 20 minutes to get to work. In the afternoon, it often takes me over an hour to cover the same distance.

By the time I get home, I’m not terribly interested in doing much of anything. I’m tired and drug out from talking to anxious people all day long, topped off by avoiding the inattentive clueless people who are supposed to be paying attention while they’re driving.

I’ll try to recapture the silence and solitude of the morning.

Crossroads

I’m in transition here. It’s generally healthy and I think I’m laying the foundation to be able to decide what I really want and what I don’t.

I’m calling it progress.

Take some time to smell the roses, look up from your toils and ask yourself; “What am I doing? Is this what I really want, and if not, what can I do to change it?”

You might be surprised at the answer.

 

Starbucks Encounters

Starbucks Logo

Starbucks is an interesting place to observe people.

I’m sitting at a small table, waiting for the traffic to die down. I’m blogging, which is also kinda normal for me. But as I was blogging, I thought to myself there are all kinds of stories here. 

There are the usual students, and hipsters. The hipster kid in the beanie on his Macbook FaceTiming on the free WiFi, heedless of the impact he’s having on all the other patrons in the place. 

The disgruntled looks from the other students trying to do research who now have throughput that’s slower than 300 Baud ever was. (You whippersnappers, look it up.)

The annoyed patrons around the kid, as they’re being forcibly included in the kids’ conversation. 

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I’m immune to the throughput issues, because I’m using the hotspot on my phone. I’m at a small table with only one chair in a far corner of the room. The Kid notices me looking at him as he fairly shouts into his headset “I like having you play with my asshole!” 

Ahem, he forgot that the muffling effect of his earbuds meant he couldn’t hear himself and when you can’t hear yourself speak, you tend to yell.

There’s no embarrassment for his part, he’s looking at me with doe eyed innocence, either not realizing that the entire place now knows he likes having his ass played with or simply not caring.

WOW! 


Standing in line

Two people ahead of me. 

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First person has gotten to the counter but has still not decided what they want. Suddenly everything is in slow motion. I’m questioning if I actually need coffee. 

The person finally figures out what they want, and pay for their order.

The next person steps to the counter, “I don’t know what I want…” TIME STOPS! After slow tedious questions and descriptions by the counter person a beverage decision is made.

Only NOW does the lady start digging in her purse for her wallet and a method of payment.

While the lady in front is learning about the merits and growing conditions of Columbian coffee beans, (Which by the way she didn’t buy) Another lady is behind me.

And she’s stepping into my personal space, on my left, then on my right, then on my left, then on my right and she’s bumping me in the process.  All this un-necessary motion in close proximity activates my security instincts.

I turn to carefully look this woman over. I mean carefully, with intensity and precision. 

“What are you a perv,” she asks annoyed at the attention.

“No, I’m just making sure you don’t have a bomb vest on, since you’re obviously agitated, in a rush, and had NO PROBLEM trying to bum rush me out of your way. DO YOU WANT TO GO AHEAD OF ME?” I replied firmly.

Now “crazy lady” is looking at me like I’ve got two heads.  Hey, as far as I’m concerned her opening line about my being a perv was intended to be shocking. So I replied in kind and I think I trumped her

The lady at the counter is still getting her education about coffee beans. 

Crazy Starbucks Lady.

“I’m an American!”

“As am I, ma’m, however apparently I’ve got much better manners and understanding of “waiting in line” social etiquette, than you do.”

“I repeat, do you want to go ahead of me? Honestly, your invasion of my personal space and obvious impatience is putting me very much on edge.”

She blinked like I’d slapped her.

“Uh no.”

“As you wish.”

I turned back to the counter. The lady ahead of us having now completed her coffee bean education, digs into her purse for her wallet… Sigh.


Placing orders.

your order please

My turn: “Cafe Mocha, no whip.” I flash my Starbucks App barcode at the scanner and I’m on my way to the pickup station. Before I get to the pickup station, my phone vibrates telling me that the purchase receipt has arrived.

“Crazy Lady” is asking questions about the coffee drinks… Four minutes later, Cafe Mocha in hand, I’m heading out the door. The line too is out the door, “Crazy Lady” is only now digging in her purse for her wallet…  

There oughta be two lines. One for those of us who know what the hell we want, and another for those who don’t know what they want, and aren’t organized enough to have their method of payment ready.

I know you can place your order on-line, I’m just enough of a luddite I still like having the interaction. 

I’d like the lines…

If you get in the “I know what I want line,” and don’t have your order and payment ready, you get asked to step to the other line.

10 Seconds! That’s all you get, If you don’t have your cash out, or payment thing ready, your order is canceled and you’re asked to step to the back of the other line. 

Fitting punishment, I’d say.


Sitting at a table

Starbucks Table

When I sit at a Starbucks table, I like to hang out, out of the main flow of people.

I’m often working on a book or a blog, or coding something on a website. Generally, I can shut out the hustle and bustle around me as white noise and be in my own little world.

Sometimes though, my attention is drawn to the mini-dramas playing out in the rest of the place.

The crying child. The angry person on their phone. The older person having their first experience with Starbucks. The students, and hipsters grooving to their own beats. The gaudy dude in the tasteless suit wearing fake diamonds bigger than the Hope diamond in his ears, and the cheap flashy Rolex knock-off. (Dude, here’s a hint, we know it’s all fake because of your shoes and the POS beater car we saw you get out of.) The homeless guy outside on the patio trying to stay out of the wind and find a little shade drinking the left-overs, and getting a little charity from the occasional good soul.

Starbucks Crowd

It’s a cross section of humanity, and very often an interesting mélange of people. There’s a texture to the people at Starbucks, with some variations dependent on region, all Starbucks are the same.

The mélange of people is essentially the same, and when you’ve been in enough Starbucks you start to think you’re seeing even the same individuals in every store.

So much for originality or uniqueness! 


Relaxation

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Sitting there doing my thing and tuning in and out of the mini dramas is strangely relaxing for me.

I’ve never run into anyone I actually knew at a Starbucks. Everyone in the place are strangers. I get to engage in judgement without guilt.

Starbucks mini dramas provide material for my writing. I think I’m relieved that I don’t actually have to live all of the drama to get a feel for what it’s about.

I think I’m relaxed because I’m reminded that my problems aren’t unique, and my focus is expanded beyond my immediate crisis. 

What’s that old saying?

Misery loves company…

Ok I’m a total geek

When it rains on a Sunday, most people watch a game, or a movie, or lounge in bed with their loved one reading the paper or loving their loved one.

When I was very young, I remember piling into my parents bed on rainy Sundays. Dad & I would fight over the funnies, Mom would make us calm down while she finished the Home and Garden section of the paper.

Eventually, there would be pancakes, followed by more tickling and “fighting” over sections of the Sunday paper. Since all this was in the deep south, by noon or one ‘o’clock the sun would be poking through the clouds and we’d go find something to do outside.

Southerners have a tacit agreement with God. Most Sundays it rains only while we’re in church and stops about the time the minister is wrapping up. Every once in a while though God gives us a break, (probably from an especially boring sermon) by making it rain all morning. If it’s raining when we’re supposed to be getting ready for church we don’t go. After all, the rain messes up mom’s hat and our sunday go to meeting clothes would be damp and musty all through church.

It’s all very civilized and Southerners understand that God has to deep soak the plants sometimes. God doesn’t seem to mind us staying inside and reading the paper either.

Now days, on a rainy Sunday, it’s me sitting up in bed listening to the rain on the roof, with coffee and a computer. These are the days I upgrade software.

Not nearly as much fun as other pursuits but necessary. Or as in this case optional but ultimately useful.

I’m upgrading my Windows 7 workhorse to Windows 10. I love VMWare for it’s ability to copy containers that contain opertating systems and all the files in that OS.

If this upgrade goes off the rails, all I have to do is trash this container and copy a backup to my system and everything is reset. It makes me a lot more comfortable experimenting like this.

I’m getting the impression that I’m going to be watching a lot more rain than learning Windows 10 today. Wow this process is crawling along.

Ah well, the sound of rain on the roof is a welcome change.

Have a good Sunday however you’re spending yours.

The annual shopping trip…

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For many years now, a very good friend and I have been having an annual Christmas expedition.  This year getting away from the house was a welcome and much needed relief.

Somehow our once a year trip always goes off without a hitch.  This year no exception. As in the past several expeditions, all our shopping is accomplished in a single day. The tradition is to fortify ourselves with a little alcohol, a good lunch then shop. Then snacks, then more shopping then yet more shopping and the whole time we’re laughing and enjoying our time together.

This year my friend went above and beyond the call of duty and were it not for his expert driving I would probably have given up and gone home.  There were way too many cars, way too much busyness, and too dang few parking spots.

I don’t know if my friend knows how much I appreciate his efforts yesterday, but he and his other half deserve a round of applause and my profound and deep thanks for helping to make a wonderful Christmas for me.

Driving home I had a smile on my face that couldn’t be jackhammered off my face. I’m still smiling and it’s not from Alcohol It’s from joy.  I had such a good time this year that I’m looking forward to next year. My friend probably cringed at that, because it means putting up the Christmas tree. (But you do such a beautiful tree, and I’ve got a couple of laser pointers that might help!)

I can tell you, absolutely nothing beats love, kindness, and having truly outstanding friends. Except perhaps spending a day laughing your ass off with them.

I hope each of you has equally awesome people in your lives.

Happy Halloween!

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As is my habit, today and tonight will be all about SciFi and Fantasy.

I’m planning on beginning the night with Prometheus and then maybe something else from the Aliens collection. Then I’ll probably switch to Hocus Pocus or Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Maybe I’ll switch back to Avatar or one of the Clash of the Titans movies.

I was thinking about a Harry Potter marathon but that seemed a little too predictable. Although the last Harry Potter films would qualify as spooky and definitely worthy of All Hallows Eve.

Sadly, all my very best classic SciFi was lost a few years back and I haven’t replaced it. I do have Earth vs The Flying Saucers but I used to start Halloween with War of the Worlds and would always work in This Island Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Forbidden Planet.

I do have a remastered copy of The Day the Earth Stood Still in all it’s Black and white glory. So that will no doubt be in the DVD at some point today.

I hope that you have as much fun as I’m planning on having and please remember to be safe.

Of course all of this will change if I hear of an interesting Halloween gathering happening somewhere.

I could really go for something that would make Caligula blush… But that’s another story entirely.

Happy Halloween to all and to all a very haunted night.

The blog post about the negative impacts of virginity has been preempted by rain.

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Originally, I was going to post about the strangeness of deranged criminals using their virginity as an excuse to commit mass murder.

Then I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof.

Ahhhh…

I still think it’s weird that the Santa Barbara, and Oregon murderers made their virginity part of their excuse for murder. Being a virgin isn’t a reason to kill a bunch of random people.

I ask, what kind of screwed up philosophies were these guys operating under? What prevented them from having that first embarrassing, bumbling naked romp with some girl that thought they were cute? What prevented them from finding a sex worker to guide them through their first experience?

Las Vegas is easy to get to, and prostitution is legal. I’d bet a full service weekend in Las Vegas is a damn sight cheaper than the cost of an arsenal.

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Rain…

Waves of rain wetting the ground but not so heavy that it’s running off into the wash. The dogs and I are here in the living room with nothing powered up except the computer just listening to the rain on the roof.

At some point I will need to get chores started, laundry for example, but for the moment I’m content to sit here with my cup of coffee and the rain.