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    Friday, June 30, 2006

    Power ON

    Have keys STOP Power is on STOP Have garage opener STOP Have parking space STOP Moving is 3 flight walk-up STOP Next to trash shute STOP Finish moving tomorrow STOP

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006


    I've signed a lease STOP Devil owns my soul STOP More later STOP

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Oh! Los Angeles

    Oh, the return to LA. Could it have gone any smoother? The answer to that is of course, yes. I got up at 5:30 AM on Saturday morning in an effort to get one last location done before I flew back west. But on rising, I encountered the storm system they had predicted and while viewing the torrential down pour outside my hotel window I made the decision to return to bed. Woke a bit more refreshed at 7:00 Am and followed the normal morning routine of the two “Cs”. Took bout an hour to finish paperwork on the three sites I’d done the day before and secured them into the FedEx package. Shower/packing/policing of room and checked out fo the hotel at 10:00 AM. I then dropped of the FedEx package and headed to the Palisades Center Mall to kill the remaining hours before the flight. Of course I got bored quickly since there were no movies I wanted to see with times to match my schedule, so I eventually ended up in the Fox Sports Grill where I watched storm pixilated World Cup matches and had a couple of Bass and a sandwich, breaking my normal rule of not drinking until 5:00 PM. This helped the time pass and I left for the airport, with it still raining, at about 1:30 PM. Arriving at the airport, I checked in the car and was relieved to find that my first flight was on time for a 3:20 PM departure. That would be the last good news of the day.

    We arrived on time in Philadelphia and after a bus ride and a long walk, I made it to the terminal about 20 minutes before boarding. I was going to grab another drink so I’d sleep on the plane to Vegas, but the bar was packed and I’d just wait until I got to Vegas, I thought. Well, twenty minuets passed and we were informed that as soon as the cleaning crew was finished they’d start the boarding. Another 20 minutes passed and they kept looking down the gangway as though it was possible that the plane had in someway digested the cleaning staff and no one was really quite sure if they wanted to risk themselves checking on them. About ten more minutes passed, placing the time directly at scheduled departure, and I realized I should have just gone into the bar anyway. However, I simply waited, thinking they’d start boarding any minute. Thirty minutes later the flight disappeared from the board and the flight attendants who had boarded earlier, deplaned. We were informed that we were waiting on a pilot and that the flight was rescheduled to a 7:00 PM departure. I went to the counter and asked them if they thought I’d most likely miss my connection to LA in Vegas and the woman simply stared at me somewhat confused at why I wasn’t just staying in Vegas and why I’d want to go to LA from there. Eventually she tried to find out for me but couldn’t locate the flight from Vegas to LA in the computer. It seemed that since my boarding passes had been printed out in NY that the flight had changed numbers. So, without telling me I’d miss my flight in Vegas she handed me back my boarding passes and told me I could always catch the 11:59 flight, which was the last one out of Vegas to LA that night. I slumped a little at this news since that’d put me in LA around 1:10 AM. Thirty minuets later we began boarding the plane.

    Well, for some reason, ATC was in a bit of a tiff and wasn’t allowing anyone to take off for reasons they wouldn’t even tell the pilots, so 30 minutes later we lifted off into the sky. Arrived four and a half hours later in Vegas with me having gone through roughly four hours of that fitful sleep where you’re pretty sure you body is convulsing as it catches itself in what seems to you to be an infinite loop of sleeping/waking in rapid succession. Need less to say I arrived in Vegas punch drunk from the whole affair, and had only missed my connecting flight by 2 hours and 15 minutes. I went to the customer service desk and found that without informing me that she had done it, the woman in Philadelphia had actually already booked me onto the 11:59 flight to LA. So, I guess there was a bit of a silver lining on the black hole.

    Well, there was nothing to do but have a beer in yet another Fox Sports Grill, due to the lack of availability of anything else, so at 11:00 PM on Saturday night, a full 11 hours after leaving NY, I had a $ 8.00 Sam Adams in a plastic cup served by a deaf woman. I did however have a fun chat with a medical salesman on his way home to Sacramento, so while I had my one beer he drank three and a shot.

    I got to LA at 1:10 AM, and had my luggage in hand by 1:25. Then it was only a short 45 minute wait for a cab, since they’d all decided to leave due to lack of patrons I later found out from my driver, and was back to my friend’s house by 2:20 AM. On entering I promptly woke the dog jack who began barking loudly. I calmed him as quickly as I could and went to bed. I woke promptly at 5:30 AM EST, and then went back to sleep.

    So, now I’m in the library hitting the refresh button on the apartment rental sites hoping new ones will pop-up. So far no luck, but then again I’ve only been at it for two days, and with what I can afford to pay, it’s slim pickin’s people.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Currently Reading

    Billy Wilder

    (June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002)

    Bow down and worship. Next to Preston Sturges, he was a living movie GOD.


    Admittedly, I'm not as big a fan of SOME LIKE IT HOT as most people, but give me DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE APARTMENT, STALOG 17, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS, and I'm in heaven. Who says all Germans are bad.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Hotel Cover-up

    They're trying to cover things up here at the hotel. I have three of these little "fixes" on the wall to the left of the bed. If I had more strength, I'd get to the bottom of all this. Alas, however, I do not. Two more days of surveys then my ass is going back to CA.

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Embryonic Mullet

    While in NY, an embryonic mullet has attached itself to my head. I will have to have it removed once I return to L.A..

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    87:00 PM

    I switched hotels last night for one night since the hotel I’d been staying in was too full, due to the U.S. Open, to accommodate me for Saturday. So, the hotel found by the company for me to daty in was the Hyatt Greenwich-Stanford. Now this was an upgrade from a 2 star hotel to a 4 star hotel. Truth be told, even though it was 30 miles away, I really couldn’t argue with it. Before I was able to go however, I had a few things to do.
    I made copies at Kinko’s, which now has a full self-service, which means you have to get your card to use the copiers by yourself, by inserting cash up front. The copies are now $.10 a piece regardless of size. I then went to Stapes and got some more 9 x 12 envelopes. After this, it was on to the Laundromat.

    I’d mapped three different Laundromats and the first two turned out to be dry-cleaners instead. The third, however, was just what it should have been. A large room full of washing machines and dryers right next to a “The Country Buffet” which for some odd reason had Chinese characters on each site of the channel letters spelling out its name. I guess it was a Chinese Country Buffet, so I opted out of that. Having never really used a Laundromat I was a bit out of my league. Sure, I’d used pay washers and dryers in my apartment building, and non pay units at home and at friend’s houses, but never in this setting. Of course the change machines were not working, I later found on in the back that worked, but by then I’d already gotten my change from the front desk. I needed detergent, so I purchased a small bag from behind the counter for $3.75, since the single use vending machine was conveniently out-of-order as well. The bag contained enough detergent for at least six loads of clothing. I only needed two. Reading instructions is always a good idea. I read the first four lines and should have read the rest. After inserting $4 in quarters into the machine, which I was doing to get them out of my hands to free them up to put the detergent and the clothes in, the machine took off and began washing its own insides. I wouldn’t make that mistake again. The second time I waited until I had the clothes in, the detergent in, and had closed the door. Having wasted $4 on an empty machine, I went ahead and washed everything in one machine. As the clothes washed I went outside and read a book in my car. The drying, folding, and repacking of clothes into my back pack was pretty uneventful. I just hope that whomever came behind me and used the first machine I’d cleaned was appreciative of the fact that it was probably the cleanest machine in the whole place.

    On the way to the hotel, seeing as how it wasn’t late enough to check-in, I stopped off at the Palisades Center Mall, which is supposedly the second largest mall in the US. One would assume, as I did, that it is second to The Mall of America. I don’t know if this is true, but seeing as it had an Imax theatre, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Circuit City, Macy’s, etc in it, it was most likely true. Did I mention the Ice skating rink? Anyway, while I was there, I did my normal looking about fro my friend Alan’s book SAMURAI SHORTSTOP in the B&N and as I wrote to him earlier in the evening:

    “After searching far and wide, and I do mean far and wide, I finally found a location with your book. Having had no success in CA, I came to upstate NY on work and after not finding your book at either the B&N nor the Waldenbooks in Nanuet, NY, I finally succeeded. While switching hotels for the night, I stopped by the B&N in the Palisades Center mall on Saturday afternoon. There I found 4 copies of SS. I faced two copies and accidentally made room on the "Summer Reading" table in the children's section for the remaining two copies. Then, this afternoon while switching hotels back, I stopped in to keep cool, it's 95 degrees here today, and found that the two copies I'd left on the summer reading table were gone; I feel that because there were only two copies left next to a stack of five "Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2)", that it seemed more "limited". I then moved the two remaining faced copies to an accidental hole than appeared rather suddenly, and in alphabetical order I might add, on the "Recent Teen Releases" shelves. Hopefully they will move as quickly as the other two and give the poor book buyer something to ponder. Sorry there aren't any photos, you'll just have to take my prideful word for it.”

    That alone made the mall trip worthwhile. After that it was onto the Hyatt Greenwich Stanford. As with most hotels of this level, I felt inadequate from the moment I tried to figure out where to park. After enquiring from one of the porters I went around back to the pay lot and “self” parked. Inside I registered and got my room and moved my stuff in. The room looked like this:

    The swag I took looked like this:

    The movies that were available, the ones still in theaters, were between $10.00 and $12.99. I of course watched none of them and wasn’t even aware that this was an available service in high end hotels. I guess cinefiles on the go, unable of making it to theaters, like to pay more than they normally would for a pan and scan version of the latest releases.

    Oh, and there was a reception at 87:00 PM last night. I missed it of course seeing as it was on another plane of reality in the Regency Ballroom.

    And finally, this is what an $11.00 club sandwich looks like after a 21% serice charge, a 6% state tax charge, and a $2.50 delivery fee are added before it makes it to your room, which makes it really a $16.50 club sandwich.

    I’m now back at the Days Inn in Nanuet and have very little to show for it. I had to open my window and place my laptop on the ledge to get a strong enough signal to post this.

    p.s. I broke Connecticut State Law by using my ice bucket in the following way:

    The state law denies you the right to bring your own alcohol into the hotel unless you pay an outrageous corkage fee. Ooops!

    I won't even mention the $5 liter bottles of Auquafina in the room. You drink-it-you-buy-it.

    [EDITOR: All instances of "cloths" have been corrected to "clothes". Sorry for the mix-up. I have dyslexia and am tired. FCUK OFF!]

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Still here for now

    Well, I’m still here. I’m not going back to LA tomorrow as planned. I’ve signed on to one more week. This will give me a needed boost in cash so that I have a little something once I get an apartment. I’ll be temporarily moving hotels tomorrow to the much nicer Hyatt Regency Greenwich-Stamford. It’s a four star against the current two star I’ve been in. Alas however, it for only one night. They couldn’t keep me here without moving me. I’ll be back in room 219 here on Sunday night though. Ahead of me is laundry, mapping my CT sites and making some more copies of the forms. It’s a bit odd, but I’ve sort of found myself getting into zone on these things. As long as I just complete two a day, I can keep the hours to about 14 from when I wake to when I finish paperwork. I think some of the other FSRs are making the mistake of running too hard each day. Then again, their expenses are different than mine. Once I get back to LA I’ll have a week to find an apartment. Luckily I’ve communicated with my hosts and discovered that the June 1st date was more of a timeline than a deadline. They’ll be going to Northern California for a few days over the fourth holiday, so if I don’t find a place they’ve reassured me they won’t kick me out.

    As far as restaurants go around here in Nanuet, the mainstay has been Chilis, mostly for knowledge of their menu and the fact there is a bar I can sit at to have a beer in public before I take my food back to the room. However, the Bhuna lamb at the Indian restaurant in the parking lot of the hotel turned out to be quite good. I also found an excellent Chinese take-out place that passed the “orange chicken” test. The test involves me ordering Orange Chicken the first time I get take-out from a new Chinese place. It is a test I developed in NY and it has served me well. Basically Orange chicken should be crispy fried chicken pieces that are glazed in an orange and pepper sauce and plated on fresh al dente broccoli. It occasionally happens that the place is so bad that the chicken is just cubed pieces with no batter and the broccoli is so over cooked it might as well have come from a can. The true and final test is that when it travels, either by delivery or pick-up to your house, or where you’re sleeping, it arrives and is still crispy. The place I found passed with flying colors. The only down side to them is that they don’t make their own noodles for soup, theirs come in a bag like chips, and that their dumpling sauce was not sweet enough. I like a ginger soy dipping sauce for dumplings. Oh well, I ramble on about take-out. Maybe the Hyatt Regency Greenwich-Stamford will have a nice place to eat on site.

    Monday, June 12, 2006


    I'm tired. Up at 5:30 AM. Home by 5:30 PM. Paperwork until about 6:30. Relax. In bed by 10:00 PM. Repeat. Only four an a half days of it left, then back to L.A. where I start my search for an apartment. I need to be out of my friend's house by July 1st. Then it's start the next job, putting decals on ATMs. I hate driving, and I hate towns without clearly marked roads. Upstate NY is for the initiated only. I long for a gridded city, oddly enough, L.A. is gridded.

    Spent an hour on the Tappan Zee bridge coming back to the hotel the other day. There was a wreck. I can't imagine why they allow bridges to be built without a canter emergency lane for ambulances/police cars. The ambulance came from behind me and took almost 20 min trying to go the 1/2 mile to the crash site. The poor driver kept using the bullhorn to yell at people to move to the right. It's hard to get three lanes of bridge traffic to move far enough to the right for an ambulance to get by.

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Disney Dog Food

    I don't mean to be pedantic, but doesn't Disney remember how this movie ended? Apparently not. It's selling well since 2005 in Kroger stores.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't a bear make Old Yeller a bit "Chunky" near the end of the film?

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Union Jacks

    Someone send me photos of the new Union Jacks. I heard of it tonight and can't wait to weep at its foolishness.

    Devil's in the details

    6.6.06 - Well today went off without a hitch. I woke at 5:30 and downed a cup of decaffeinated coffee. I’d been working in the room yesterday and so it didn’t get cleaned and I didn’t get a new filter bag of regular. I took a shower and dressed and made my way to the front office at 6:00 AM where I retrieved two Styrofoam cups, with tops, of some shit like “Sanka” from the thermal dispensers. Back in my room I checked the traffic on the Trappan Zee bridge via the web cams and realized that I probably didn’t have to leave as soon as I thought I had to make it to White Plains. I needed to be there by 8:30, and finally came to grips with the fact that I didn’t need to leave until 7:30. On the road at 7:45, I got a call that the person I was supposed to meet to train was four hours away. His car had broken down the night before and instead of calling and rescheduling the appointment, which would have allowed me to do some of my sites, he simply went and go his car fixed and called the next day. Beside the fact that’s it’s illegal to drive while talking on the phone in NY, unless you’re hands free, I was only 10 minutes from the location. Luckily there was still another person coming for training, so it wasn’t all lost. Of course he wasn’t going to be doing this job, but a less intensive one later.

    After driving all over BF, NY looking for the site, I finally found it as I viewed something that looked like the bank name in my rear view window. Luckily I found a place to turn around four miles later. Sitting and waiting in the parking lot, I called the office to get some answers. Everyone must have been in the smoking pit.

    In the end, I did the survey while the other person walked behind me emulating what I was doing. I wasn’t going to lose a day or a site for the sake of someone I hadn’t met. The guy, who had showed up, hopefully gained something from the lesson, because he made nothing and spent 5 hours with me while I accomplished a site 3 hours more intensive than what he was going to be doing in the coming weeks.

    It all worked out though, thanks to the fact that I made most of the calls and worked it all out. I’m now going to wake-up tomorrow at 5:30 AM and hope this time the trainee is there at the site at 7:30. I should really find a new vocation. This one is annoying.

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Nanuet, NY

    Ah, scenic Nanuet, NY, home of the U-turn and the strip mall. Speaking of strip malls, there’s a “Playa’s Club” across the street from the hotel. Don’t know, and don’t plan to find out, if there’s any stripping in there, but there seems to be here in the hotel after hours. I should of known from the guy’s reaction, from behind the counter, when he saw I had reserved a room for 13 days that this wasn’t your ordinary Days Inn. I’d waited behind two young “Gangsta’s” as they’d tried to use the phone to make sure whom ever was staying in the room they had rented had gotten safely back to Albany. It could have been a family reunion, but one of the gentlemen asked me something about what was in my hand, I couldn’t immediately translate his particular NY dialect, so I simply said it was my itinerary. He then replied with, “There was a fire?” I countered with “A fire?…No, my itinerary.” To which he then asked what the word meant and I explained it to him. I must of seemed intimidated explaining this to him so he shook my hand to let me know all was good and her had no intention of killing me over new vocabulary words. They then left and I checked in. The man behind the counter not only looked surprised at my decision to stay as long as I was, but seemed possibly happy to have people staying all night. Like the old proverb says, “You get what you pay for.” Since I didn’t pay for the room, it would seem that it applies doubly for me.

    The flight from L.A. wasn’t too bad. Murphy, one of the aforementioned Irish gentlemen I’ve met at the pub offered to give me a lift. All seemed to go smoothly until he dropped me off. He asked me if I had everything and I replied yes. He took off and moments later I noticed I’d forgotten my glasses case in his car. If I’d had my regular glasses on at the time I would have simply called him and had him hold onto it until I returned, but instead I was wearing my sunglasses and my regular ones were in the case. After a brief call on the cell, Murphy said he swing back around. Unfortunately it was difficult to do so on the upper level so I clambered down an out-of-order escalator and stood waiting on the lower level for Murphy’s return while I sweated profusely and wondered if this was an Omen for how the trip would be.

    Eventually Murphy made his way around and pulled over for me to retrieve my glasses. However, before I could, a motor cycle cop pulled up and said, “If you get in that car I will give you a ticket.” I looked at the cop and then back at Murphy, noticing that Murphy had pulled into a red lane. Looking back at the cop I said, “Can I just open the door to get my glasses which I left in the car? I need them before I board the plane.” The Cop looked at me as though I was speaking Greek. He was a large fellow who obviously enjoyed lifting the weights. I turned back to Murphy, caught between him and the Cop. Murphy had found my glasses and was taunting me with the case through the window. I turned back to the cop and said, “Can I just get them handed to me through the window?” There was a long enough pause for me to feel three beads of sweat roll down the back of my neck. Finally the Cop said, “I guess so.” Relieved I went to the window and got them from Murphy. I thanked Murphy who rightfully sped off and I then thanked the Cop who grunted and then rode off on his bike.

    The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful.

    I could tell you about Kinko’s and Staples this morning or of my trip to Home Depot and Target as well, but it tires me know to think of them. Start work tomorrow training some people on these overly complicated surveys that for some awkward reason have to be performed on 11x17 paper, which was most likely drummed up by someone who isn’t in the field doing them.

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    White Plains, NY

    Well, I’m off to White Plains, NY on Sunday to do some surveys and teach some new people the ropes. I have no desire to do it, but I’m down to my last farthing and money is money. I’ll have access, but don’t know how much posting I’ll be doing. You never know though. Nothing like flying across the continent. Of course I’d prefer it if it was to have meetings in NY with important people, but I guess that’ll have to wait. I’ll be there for about two weeks then come back to LA to do the job here. This is what I get for contemplating work. But, on the up side, it’s tourist season on the NY/CT coast. Just when it was getting nice and overcast here with cold breezes off the ocean. They call it the “June Gloom” here, but I call it better that direct sunlight.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    CA ZEN Squirrel

    Contemplating Work

    Spending most of the day contemplating a job in the White Plains, NY area. Unfortunately at the moment, the math isn't working out in my favor. It was a possibility to fill the gap before the start of the other job, but now looks like it would simply be a long arduous two weeks for the equivalent of office temp pay. Which of course leads me back to trying to figure out why exactly I didn't just get a temp job as soon as I got here. I must be more lazy than I thought. If I had gotten a temp job the week I got here, I would most likely have made around $5700.00 by the end of this week. This of course makes me look like a bit of an idiot, which is how I'm starting to feel more and more each day. I could have then gotten an apartment, using the money saved and be on my own now. One of these days I'll try and learn to listen to myself less, and listen to the voice of my father in my head more.