Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Going Back... INSIDE!!!

After my last post, I remembered something... No, not that I had a day before the month started off, or that I got a day off during that first week back (considered doing another post entitled "Bookends")

No, I remembered that I had Jury duty that week!!! I had done the online registration, and had in my head that they're going to send me a notification... Nope. I was at work, and remembered they'd sent me the summons, I gotta check when that is... so I did when I got home... Aw crap!!! That was this week!!!

This was on Wednesday, and I supposed to be calling in all that week!!! Called in that night, and they tell me I'm up for the next day. Well, I'm always up for Jury duty!!! It was at my favorite court, so that's good. I had thought I'd done a post on the Disney Concert Hall before, but guess I'd never gotten past thinking of doing it. So finally here it is, only this time I was mostly getting pictures of the interior. See that first inside shot??? If you can't tell, it's at the end also, from another angle.

I always love the way it looks from the outside, but the inside is equally impressive, if not more so!!!

They follow the wild shapes from the outside, but with nice materials!!!

As far as jury duty went, it was a bust again, all day without even being put on a panel. Kind of good, I take Fridays as my swap day at work (because I've been on the weekend shift since the beginning of 2016) so if I'd gotten on a jury, I probably would have had to go to in on my day off. My luck, they would have had us in selection or pre-trial all day, then settled at the end or something. Seems like every year I get summoned, but a look through shows the last time I went was 2013, and that was at the wrong courthouse. Also another time I didn't get called up.

The jury pool room was better than the last times I've been there. They've got chargers built into the seats, and tables in the back and a lot of vending machines. I got a lot more pictures, I may do another post...

That first interior shot??? It's a reception desk, made out of sheets of cut glass!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Month of Not Working Very Much

Happy September!!! Thought I'd do a recap of my last month...

I had the first week of the month off... starting on the Monday on the end of July (actually the Sunday, but that's a normal day off for me anyway) through to the Saturday shift I normally work. That is the week that we had normally gone to family camp, but that has been in flux the last couple of years. Last year we'd ended up going to the San Diego area with the extended family, and this year, it was moved up a week earlier. The youngest got to go, but since I'd scheduled the wrong week at the beginning of the year, I didn't.

Anyway, since I had the time off, thought I'd get some stuff done around the house, as well as try and get some leisure stuff in. Something that's been a burr under my saddle since it was done was the half-assed tiling job that was done a few years back by the most incompetent and crooked contractors shysters I've ever done business with, YYB Construction.

As you can see, they'd done a lame transition from the original yellow tile on 45° angles to white 90°.

Not only that, but the switch for the overhead light on that end of the kitchen, they moved from by the door entering the room where God intended it to be, to over by the sink!!! I opened up the old junction box, and put it back where it belongs.

Next thing, clean up that door jamb and get some fresh paint on it...

Oh, and since I'd moved that light, I was able to put a super bright LED strip over the sink, where they'd taken out a light that used to be up there (and not even bothered to fix the hole it left!!!) I'm quite pleased with the results.

Prior to this week, my wife had been seeing a specialist about some pains she's been having, and he said he was going to do a disc replacement surgery on her. An outpatient deal, in by 10, out by 2, no muss, no fuss. I had a feeling they'd want someone to take her home and such, so I told her to see if she could get in the week I was off. Ended up being a couple of pre-op appointments on Wednesday and Thursday, with the procedure on Friday. Cool!!!

Show up on Friday, and the doctor says he's going to do a fusion between a few of the vertebrae on the inside to keep the discs from collapsing. Huh. OK. He also says, "Later on, we're going to do another surgery and add some reinforcement to the outside, too." Well, that sounds like more!!!

So they wheel her off to surgery, wait over here, we'll call and let you know what's what... hours go by, well past the out by 2 I was told. Finally, they give me the room they're going to bring her to post-op, and I head up there. She arrives a bit later, and after a while it becomes apparent she's not going home that day. That day... which was the last day of my vacation, and I'm supposed to be back at work on Saturday early on. It's a bit late to call in, so I clear with the crew at the hospital that she can be there until I'm off, and I head there straight after. I don't know what they gave her for pain medicine, but it tweaked her melon!!! She had it in her head that they had moved her somewhere else, and she didn't have any of her clothes or effects there. I'd left her phone with her, and she'd sent a few not very coherent texts, and she called my parents and told them of the move, and the mean nurse at night. After getting up early that morning (barely on time to make it with no shave or shower) and working all day, I was burnt. I went straight to the hospital until late and then headed home that night again, as they weren't letting her go home just yet. When I get there the next day, she told me how the mean nurse had come back again, and wanted to put her hand in some fluid or something, then cut it into a shape... They had a sitter with her from that point on. The doctor came and saw her, and asked why she was still there!!! I told him I think she's still quite out of it, and he tells them nothing but Tylenol. BUT!!! They'd just given her something, and she ended up sleeping several hours more, until late that afternoon

So far, we're up to almost the first week in August!!! The doctor wanted to see her on Monday for a follow up appointment, see how she's doing. First thing on Monday, I call into work and tell them I'm going to need to drive her to an appointment, and help her with food and cleaning and getting around for a few days, probably. No problem, they say, keep us posted. We go to the follow up, and everything is good, and hey, you know that other procedure for the outside??? We're doing that on Wednesday!!! Outpatient surgery, in by 10, out by 2. Cool. Plays out just about like the last time they said that!!! I don't believe that doctor when he says that kinda thing anymore!!! She was in the hospital until Saturday morning. At least I was prepared this time. They had the pain medication dialed in a lot better, and must have gotten Nurse Ratchet back down to the Psych ward. This time, I'm able to call out before my Saturday shift.

One day they had a therapy dog come make a visit. He was so chill!!!

All the rest of the weekend I kept asking her how she was doing, are you going to be OK if I go back to work on Monday??? Yea, I'll be OK. That, and the younger is still out of school, so he can help out. Before I go in, I let her know if she needs me there, just call in and I'll be there. At work they tell me pretty much the same thing, just let us know if you need to go home. They're good about that kind of thing.

So, I go in that week, but this is my Birthday week. Another of the vacation days I'd signed up for was my Birthday, so there's a day off in the midst of that week.

I had heard about on the Woody Show Jack in the Box has some new items, the Munchie Mash Ups, hash browns with white cheese sauce... Jack'd Jalapeno Hash with jalapenos and bacon, Wakey Bakey Hash with fried egg and bacon, or my favorite Hangry Hash with chicken nuggets and buffalo sauce. That was breakfast for my birthday, and then we went to see The Dark Tower movie. Remember how that first week I'd wanted to do some sort of leisure activity??? Mostly the only thing in that vein I got some in of was breaking out the last book of the Dark Tower series and starting in on it again. The last 3 (and book 4.5, if you will) I've only read through once, and for a while I've been meaning to hit 'em again, but when I attempted to do so, I could only find book 7. I'm most of the way through, and have located the other three. ANyway, the movie was pretty good, but when they say "Based on the book series", I think they should have been required to make it "Based LOOSELY on the book series". The younger was going into it completely cold, and my wife apparently hadn't retained much of it, and they both enjoyed it quite a bit. I went in expecting as much, and kind of went in with the mindset that it was on another, heretofore unvisited, level of the Tower, so to speak.

The week after that, my wife had another follow up appointment, so I took the day off to take her to that, too. So, if you're counting, that's one day of the first couple of weeks I worked, and 4 of 5 for the next couple.

I picked up a couple of phone holders for the cars that came up on one of the merchants that E-mails me daily. It looked like they would be able to mount in the blank area of the dash above the vents to the right of the instrument cluster. There was almost no explanation on the site, and it turns out it was supposed to be a vent-mount unit. I find those, and the CD slot mount phone holders to be about the stupidest things!!! I really don't want to sacrifice the functionality of either of those for a phone holder, or pretty much anything else!!!

With only a little modification, however, I was able to modify them to mount right in the area I was thinking of!!! Ran a couple of 6-32 screws through the legs, with rubber bumpers on the ends, and hooked the vent clip on the top of the dash plastic just under the dash cap!!! I'm pleased with how they came out.

The last weekday of the month that I would have worked, I checked the available days, and was able to take it. Took the boy down to Go-Cart World for good times!!! It was the least crowded I've ever seen there, we mostly had the place to ourselves!!!

23 days is how many I would have worked if I had not taken any time. 12 is what I ended up doing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

4th of July Hijinks I

Back all the way on 4th of July this year, we did as we often do for that particular holiday (one of our favorites, Summertime, outdoor dining, swimming, and fireworks!!!) and went to my parents' house. We partook in three of the four above listed activities, and then my parents took my sister and my nephew to a local fireworks show. He'd never been, and word is that he enjoyed it. On our way, we stopped by a local fireworks stand and picked up $40 worth of the so-called safe and sane fireworks, so because of that, and the fact that I was working overtime the next day, we stayed there until a little after dark. Just before they headed out, my younger and I helped my dad out by re-hanging one of the side shed doors, which required the use of his ladder. After they left... the mischief ensued!!! The boy and I climbed up, and I jumped off a couple times, and after getting his nerve up, the boy tried a couple times. Yeah, I know, parent of the year!!!

I know at least my mom would have been troubled by this, so hopefully she doesn't come across this!!!

Don't think I've made mention here, but one of my recent pleasures has been morning radio with The Woody Show on Alt 98.7.

One of the segments they do daily is Redneck News, which the boy enjoys the intro for, and does the "Whooo Hooo!!!" along with. Well, for the roof jumping once he got going, he wanted me to come up with intros for, and he'd do the "Whooo Hooo!!!" on the way down. If memory serves, he was wanting me to do 'em earlier in the day as he was jumping from the diving board. Oh yeah, when we were on vacation, at our last hotel in Galveston, he learned to do a flip into the pool, so that's cool and a really useful life skill to have!!!

Of course, later on that evening we lit off the fireworks, and I've got video of the stupidity that ensued on that also, so if I ever get that posted, you'll have part II!!!

And, as always, we drove home through the badlands of the 710 freeway, which is always like driving through a tunnel of fireworks on the 4th of July!!!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Texas Flood

I could do a post about the torrential downpours we experienced....

While that may happen in the future, instead I'm doing the overflow of the top pictures I took!!! First up is another good shot of Coral the tiger, getting excited to see the keeper coming up to corridor.

The next three are from the hotel we stayed at in Austin, the Hyatt Regency.

I think it had the least floor space of the three places we stayed, as it had two actual beds and the other two places had pull out sofas, but it was far and away the nicest!!! Got some good pictures inside the room.

The next three shots are from the place we had in Galveston, overlooking the beach. Probably the best view we had of the three.

Sunsets of the gulf come out even better in pictures than in real life!!!

Second to last was the gray morning from inside our room, looking out. That one, and the last from the original 13 Shots post, plus one more, will likely be converted to black and white, and printed out to mount on the bathroom wall!!!

And the final shot, a selfie in the sphere atop the luggage cart on the last day!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

American Slang - Fixed it for You!!!

One of my current favorite bands is The Gaslight Anthem. One of the many tracks that I like is the acoustic version of American Slang.

HOWEVER!!! One of the lines always seems like it should go just a bit different is in the chorus:

And they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive

I got your name tattooed inside of my arm

See, I always feel like it should be something besides ending with "arm". In the song I could almost hear it going "heart" there. Uncontent to let it go, one afternoon at work I handwrote the lyric out with that part left blank, and circulated it among some of my co-workers to garner a consensus.

The picture I took came out a bit blurry, but I think you get the idea. I put for choices what I thought should go there, the actual lyric, or "other - put what you think goes better".

As you can see, my lyric beat out the actual lyric 2:1. The fill ins were pretty good, too. One of the first few I gave it to came up with putting the word "Thigh" in there, and from a rhyming standpoint, I think it works even better!!! Don't know if people were influenced by actually seeing that, or came up with it on their own, but it also came away with around a 2:1 vote tally. Also two for "Mind" one for "Hide" and one undecided. One that I added in was voiced but not written (I suspect because it was at the very end of the day) was the total edit of "I've got a barcode tattooed inside of my arm".

All in all, an enjoyable little diversion for myself and all involved, I like to think. A couple people asked me some days later how it came out.

Look what you started,

I seem to be coming out of my skin

Look what you've forgotten here

The bandages just don't keep me in

And when it was over, I woke up alone

And they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive

I got your name tattooed inside of my arm

I called for my father but my father had died

While you told me fortunes, in American Slang

Look at the damage,

The fortunes came for the richer men.

While we're left with gallows,

Waiting for us liars to come down and hang.

And when it was over, I woke up alone

And they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive

I got your name tattooed inside of my arm

I called for my father but my father had died

While you told me fortunes, in American Slang

And here's where we died that time last year,

And here's where the angels and devils meet.

And you can dance with the queen if you need,

And she will always keep your cards

Close to her heart ooh

So close to her heart before they tear you apart

When they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive

I got your name tattooed inside of my arm

And I called for my father but my father had died

I called for my father but my father had died

While you told me fortunes, in American Slang

You told me fortunes, in American Slang

I read after I'd done the survey that Brian Fallon has a caricature of Joe Strummer of the Clash on the inside of his arm. In that context, the line makes a lot more sense!!!

If I get another tattoo, now I've got a location to get it, and it's not inside of my arm!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another Cat Post

Started off today trying to get this shot of a cool looking back cat. He was perfectly framed in the gable of the roof, pointed the right way and everything. Practically posing!!! Of course, by the time I got my camera at the ready, he was showing me nothing but cat butt.

So, while I'm on the subject of cats, here's a shot I got of the grandkittens' tail I took a few weeks back. He has the curliest tail!!! Too bad the floor was a mess when I took the picture. Ha, well.

Got home this afternoon, and what do you know, "Oh, we found this little cat, he's SOOOO CUTE!!!" Huh. Thought I'd specifically said, "No more pets, one is enough!!!"

He's still a teenager. Super chill and super people cat already. He came with the bell collar, so obviously he's someone's pet. Gave him a neck-check to see if it felt like he was chipped, and I wasn't feeling it.

The boy calls him Khoshekh, the name of the cat from Welcome to Night Vale, even though he seems to not float in the air at all. Others call him Shamu or Fred. The grandkitten and I both call him Interloper.

So I tried to get a few good shots of him anyway, before we take him back to the area from whence he came. I guess it was a little dim, as none of the shots came out real clear. I turn on my comp to make this post, and what is one of the first banner ads that comes up??? Big brother is watching...

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Thirteen Shots from Texas

OK, here they are, a few more shots from this year's vacation trip.

I selected 20 of the best, and pared it down to 13. We flew into Houston. Our first day, we visited the aquarium. They have four white tigers there, seemed like an odd place to have tigers.

The second day we went to the Kemah Boardwalk. It was fun, but the roller coaster was shut down. Looking through the selected 20 I realized not one from there made the cut!!!

Day three we visited the Johnson space center. I have more shots from there, but only one made it here, the shot of some various mission logos.

Day four we drove over to Austin. Austin was far more photogenic than the places we were in Houston!!!

Unbeknownst to me, the lodging I'd selected in Austin were right next to a bridge that is home to the largest urban bat population in North America!!! Unfortunately, the first night we were out scouring the area for Texas Barbecue at dusk, and the next it was driving rain... and we were driving!!!

Part of the reason we'd headed to Austin was it's a lot closer from there to San Antonio, to visit the Alamo!!! Spoiler alert, there IS a basement in the Alamo!!!

The next day, the boy and I went stand up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, then we were on our way again.

We also, as previously mentioned, we visited the Texas capitol building.

Another travel day, off to our final lodging for this vacation, Galveston on the Gulf Coast!!!

Doesn't seem like we actually DID much in Galveston, but we did finally get to go in the pool of one of the places we stayed.

The boy learned to do a full flip into the water there, more amazing because the water only hit 5 feet deep!!!

The water off the coast was incredibly choppy, due to a tropical storm that had blown through the week before. Also made for on and off rain and humidity the whole time we were there. When we were checking out, the rain was driving down hard again!!!

We hit another Texas Barbecue spot on the way out, and finally made it to the beach!!! Got my right foot soaked by the Gulf of Mexico!!!