On my last day at work, the database crashed ("Hmm, never seen anything like that before," said our database support guy), and then it started to snow.
Rah for winter.
On my last day at work, the database crashed ("Hmm, never seen anything like that before," said our database support guy), and then it started to snow.
Rah for winter.
The first day and a half of my visit was wasted in the awful town of Tracy. We did manage to drive out to the middle of nowhere -- which, surprisingly, didn't take long -- hop a fence and photograph some Real Californian Rust™.
Just before making it to San Francisco proper, Damon gave me a nasty head cold and then we got lost in an IKEA. In that order. The cold helped keep me away from all of the fun city night life, as well as helped me empty two entire boxes of Tim's kleenex.
Sorry about that, Tim.
I know that there are women and straight men in San Francisco somewhere. I just didn't meet any of them.
We spent a lot of time in the Castro area, where one is hard pressed (pun!) to see a woman. Or a man without his tongue down another man's throat.
But! There are truffles! Which makes it all okay.
We spent time in the Museum of Modern Art and I had a guard emphatically shake his head at me while I was photographing a picture of some dust. No cameras, apparently. Not like that stopped me. We also wandered through some art galleries near Ghirardelli Square and saw some original Dr. Seuss art.
We walked the Golden Gate Bridge one very sunny and clear and non-windy afternoon. It was fun but not, like, WOW. Plus there was a definite lack of rust. Sorry, San Francisco, it's gonna take more to impress me.
The Folsom Street Fair was so much fun. Damon and I wandered around with thousands of almost- and completely- and oh-god-you-should-never-be-naked men, plus some good old-fashioned What The Hell? fetishists.
Like the Crisco Pig.
Seriously. What the hell?
I got all tarted up for the event, but not like a fruit tart because fruit tarts are sweet.
My new boots were fantastic up until about hour 4, at which point they shot daggers into my feet repeatedly. The rest of my Folsom photos are up on Flickr, but be forewarned: it's probably NSFWOH (Not Safe For Work Or Heterosexuals).
(or: Catching A Horrendous Head Cold)
Jeff: If ten precent of America is gay, shouldn't ten percent of Great America also be gay? Where are the gay rides?
Valette: You're thinking of the Top Gun ride.
Damon: What about karaoke?
RJ: For the lesbians.
It surely mustn't be the case that September is the worst month for heartache, but this September is another data point for the heartache theory.
I've been told that I ought not grieve for the whole world, but I still find that hard. Especially this September.
My heart breaks for my friends experiencing pain and loss; I can imagine what it is like to lose someone I love, because I have, and so I want to hold my friends and tell them they are loved. Their loss has brought back fresh tears and recovered wounds not fully healed.
I am still able to, at any time or place, relive the exact moment I found out my little sister had been killed. It causes that same ache it caused four years ago. The only difference between now and then is that I no longer carry that ache with me wherever I go.
I miss my sister dearly, but four years ago I would have yelled at anyone who tried to suggest that the ache would leave me for as long as it does.
I've also stopped sharing every story about her that pops into my head, and there are thousands of such stories to fit each situation.
The stories still occur to me and I still want to share Melissa with someone, but people have tired of my sisterly stories. My "reminds me of one time Melissa and I..." stories.
People don't like to be reminded that death is more than Hollywood fiction, that it can really happen to someone so young and full of life, to someone we know and love.
I've stopped sharing her, and so have become surrounded by those who never knew her and likely never will.
Which breaks my heart all over again.
My first day in California was pretty uneventful: I slept most of the day, talked loudly about inappropriate things with my brother in a very public place, and had my first experience with a Target store.
Today was much nicer because I wasn't sleep deprived for any of it. It involved taking Damon's car (by myself) to the mall only to end up surrounded by hay fields. Which are, surprisingly, nothing like a mall.
Once I found the actual mall, there was some actual shopping and actual spending of the money I can't really justify spending. Then Damon informed me of these wonderful inventions called Outlet Stores and there went some more money from my bank account.
We will be heading into San Francisco proper tomorrow evening where we will stay with some of his friends for the rest of my visit.
Plans include the MoMA perhaps on Friday, the Great America them park (roller coasters! whee!) on Saturday, and the grandaddy of all leather events: the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday where I may or may not be wearing a leather vest with leather boots and fishnet stockings. (Think I could convince JIM to get all dolled up and
make out with meet me at Folsom? Maybe get a few numbers for him while there?)
But I guarantee there will be pictures.
Okay, NOW I am in California.
The flight was terribly cramped, so full of people. But the lights of San Francisco were so beautiful just before we landed, everything looked amoeba-like under the thin blanket of fog.
Also I have had almost no sleep. An issue I plan on rectifying as soon as Damon goes to work.
There was a little... miscommunication, shall we say? regarding the dates of my upcoming travel. Thankfully it was resolved before my brother went to the airport at 5 this morning to pick me up from a flight I was not on.
Contrary to popular belief, I am not currently in California.
Also contrary to popular belief, I am more nervous about this trip than I really ought to be.
I've not travelled much on an airplane. Road trips? I know and love, even despite getting sucked into the Cantwell Vortex. I hardly blink an eye at a last-minute, six-hour road trip.
But all of my airplane trips -- save one from Fairbanks to Anchorage -- have been with other people, usually chaperone-type people.
I am often reminded of my country-bumpkin upbringing: a teeny hick town in Alaska as far as one can get away from civilization while still being connected to a road system.
Public transportation confuses me, and I just recently learned that highways Outside have a rhyme and a reason to they way they are numbered. In Alaska, we have a different reason for numbering our highways: the first highway is number 1, the second highway is number 2.
I worry about gettling lost in large cities. Perhaps sillier, I worry about getting lost in airports.
Intellectually I know that there are plenty of signs and the best way to find my way out of the airport is to Follow The Crowd, but there are tons of people in airports. Perhaps more than the number of people in my hometown.
What if the Crowd doesn't head toward the security point for me to get Out? What if I follow the wrong Crowd? What if I don't see Damon and end up crying in front of a million strangers? What if I miss the one sign I need to read because of being so overwhelmed by all of the other signs I don't need to read?
I get visual overload in WalMart, people. WalMart overwhelms me.
This is the point where my mother would say, "I never would have tought you would be so funny like this. You were always so confident! Then you got to college, and... what happened?"
Thankfully, Damon will be at the airport (and he had better be there, dammit, because there is NO WAY IN HELL I will let him live it down if he makes me find my own way from the Airport to his apartment) (hint: pain, man, lots of pain) (also, I don't even know where he lives. Me to cab driver: "Um, could you take me to my brother's little apartment in Tracy? It's right downtown, five minutes from the Thai restaurant and a block from the dry bean festival. He'll totally pay the fare.") to meet me at the sercurity checkpoint and walk me to baggage claim while holding my hand.
And carrying my luggage. Because, dude. Don't be an ass.
I don't know much Linux command line stuff. I rather suck at it, actually, and I'll be the first to admit it.
But I am great with the internets, and the internet knows everything. And if the internet knows when I am going to ovulate, it surely knows a thing or two about the command line. Which is great for me, since I know almost nothing about it.
However, I seem to have come to a communications problem between me and the internets. Apparently if I don't know what language to use when I ask my internet a question, all I get are blank stares and some porn.
As if boobies would distract anyone from learning.
So I have a conundrum that I have no idea how to solve, and no idea how to phrase it for the internet to solve for me. I know a few of you who read this know Linux intimately like a lover, but since none of you are on IM, here is my plea for help.
I have a Linux box on my network that I connect to throuh SSH. Sure, I can brave the creepy crawly things in the basement and use the terminal directly, but I like the toys at my desk.
There is a file on this Linux computer that I need to transfer to the computer in my office. And the Linux computer doesn't have a floppy drive (I just checked, though expected little because computers always have floppy drives until you need one).
And I apparently cannot phrase a google search properly to have the internet tell me which command(s) I need to use. It keeps suggesting wget to download a file from the internet to my Linux computer, even though I keep yelling that is not what I want to do, Google.
And I feel so silly about the whole thing, because really.
I just need to transfer a file.
One wee (yet very very very important) file.
How hard can that be?
Creating the file had to be done after hours once the rest of the staff had left, which means I am doing overtime in a stuffy, empty office on a Friday night.
A Friday night before I leave for vacation.
Anyone want to help a poor Linux-challenged lady out?
Hey, um, I know this is kinda weird, right?
But does anyone (meaning anyone in the Fairbanks area) (and I know there are, like, three of you who read this) mayhaps want a 20 gallon fish tank with all of the accessories?
Everything you need to start your own fish tank.
Except the fish.
And, you know, the water.
Leave a comment or email me.
Friendly Neighborhood Gynecologist (whom everyone should hug because of the wonderfulness she embodies): How's the blog?*
Valette: Haha, I can't believe you always remember that. It's doing just fine.
FNG: And everything else? How's work?
Valette: Actually, I just quit! I gave my month's notice at the beginning of September and just, and I mean just twenty minutes ago, told the rest of the staff!
FNG: Wow. And you look so... happy.
I may look happy, but inside I am crying great big huge alligator tears. OF JOY. Because, did you read that? Let me just repeat it for your (by which I mean my) benefit:
I. Have. Resigned. From. My. Job.
It's just so fun to say.
But let's step back from all of the squealing and clapping of the hands to do a bit of arithmetic, shall we?
Valette's last day in the office: 29 September
minus Valette's planned and pre-approved vacation: 18--26 September
equals Valette's remaining days in the office: 6
Six days, people.
Which is exciting in the I'm-almost-out-of-here-for-reals-hooray kind of way, but also scary in the crap-there-is-a-ton-of-stuff-needing-to-be-done kind of way.
And the rest of the staff has been inundating me with OMGOMGOMGZ, like the close call today that the Russians! They have hacked into our server! What are we going to dooooooOOO????
How about freak out quietly in a corner before I slap you and then make sure the file was saved correctly because OH HO what is this? it wasn't.
Network saved once again from evil Russian hackers. Whew, close one.
But back to important things, like my vacation!
This ain't no usual vacation that involves holding my breath driving through Cantwell so the mutants who live there won't detect the warm body temperature of my living body, ripe and perfect for devouring.
And while it does involve visiting family, there will only be the one family member and myself. And! Double plus good! We will be in San Francisco and not Homer!
The last time I was out of the great state of Alaska was almost six years ago. About Damn Time, I say.
There will be amusement parks and leather-clad gay men and giggling like school girls into the early morning and pictures of Californian rust. I am sure Californian rust is MUCH more sophisticated than Alaskan rust.
There will also be a plethora of internet tubes; I hear the bay area is One Giganitmous Internet Tube, so I should be able to make regular bloggity updates from Damon's wee apartment.
But since "regular" in Valette-world means "once weekly or so", with the emphasis on the "or so", your guess is really as good as mine.
I am looking forward to the time away (meaning both the vacation and the never-working-there-again) because, as of late, work has become one horrible TBN soap opera. And while soap operas are great to make fun of, they are no fun to live out.
Who's back stabbing whom? What will happen when Karen is caught stealing volunteers' lunches from the refrigerator? Is Rachael really carrying Grant's love child? Did Valette really die in the tragic herb garden fire? Will the love of The Lord Our Savior Jesus Christ Amen overcome all??
Re-reading this, it is more than quite apparent I have had three 20oz sodas today. Oh man, I'm sorry for ALL THE CAPS and the exclamation marks!!!!!1! Wonder if I'll even be able to sleep tonight.
It is extremely sad to know that you look damn fine, and the only person in the office you can count on to not only notice but give the appropriate amount of compliments, as of last week, no longer works at the organization.
Were I rich and living in San Francisco making a salary with all of those lovely zeros that apparently get thrown around the Bay area like it's air (salary zeros don't grow on trees in Alaska, you see), I would get myself a gay personal assistant to throw compliments at me.
"SO ENVIOUS of your hair!"
"Are those pants new!?"
"Luuuurve your your nail polish; can I borrow it?"
Then we'd go get smoothies, pedicures, and gossip about pseudo-celebrities and indie bands.
I just want someone to tell me I look cute.
Is that too much to ask?
For some reason or another, I often find myself wanting a list of songs with days of the week in their titles.
So I turn to my favorite Wikipedia and am always surprised by the utter lack of such a list. They have lists of songs with nonsense titles, songs with geographical locations, and songs with phone numbers, but no days of the week.
So I created one:
List of songs whose title includes days of the week.
A list of songs!
My first complete article!
Everyone go beef it up and make it better!
(Or post any additions here and I'll add it to the article if you don't know how/want to.)
When I was in Homer two weeks ago for my father's 60th birthday, plans were made for a trip to the state fair in Palmer on Labor Day weekend.
I waffled quite a bit about the trip -- it's a long drive, one I had just made two weeks previous and one I would make two weeks after Labor Day -- but when my brake light came on in my car and my friendly mechanic told me it would be $700 to replace the ABS controller, I firmly decided that The ABS Can Wait For The Fixing, and also, There Is No Way I Am Driving Six Hours With Faulty ABS That Will Likely Be Blown From My Car With A Sawed-Off Shotgun By Inbred Mutants In Cantwell.
I called everyone and told them that the car gods hate me, boo-hoo, can't make it.
And then? Very last minute? The warning lights binged off. Just went away and stopped bothering me. So what did I do? I jumped on the road as fast as I could pack.
Of course, once I got to Anchorage I found that my oldest brother was headed back out on the boat for one more round of commercial fishing before the season is over, his wife wouldn't make it, and then John and Heidi decided they were too cool (read: broke) for the fair.
But I drove all that way to go to the fair, dammit, and that was what I was going to do.
I hooked up with The Man Formerly Known As The Internet False Prophet Of Choice (TMFKATFPOC), who really has nothing to do now that he's shunned the entire internet, and had myself a great time without any of my family.
The day proved to be exceptionally sunny. We made fun of just about everybody and their terrible choice of clothing,
and we watched a Dog and Pony show that was lacking any sort of pony whatsoever. They didn't even have a dog dressed like a pony. Which would have been awesome.
But there were basketball playing dogs and dogs climbing on people and dogs jumping high into the air and dogs so full of the adrenaline of performing that they refused to do tricks properly.
I dragged Steve through the photography exhibit, got a sunburn, ate approximately zero things one can buy on a stick, made him stop every two seconds so I could take a picture of some rust, and bored him to death with millions of one-time-when-my-youth-group-came-to-the-fair stories.
The weekend was a smashing success.