Wednesday, February 27, 2008

and other mind-numbing activities

I hate car shopping.
I hate insurance shopping.
I hate tag pricing.
I hate mechanic's bills.
I hate bank loans.
I hate credit scores.
I hate committing to a monthly payment that isn't rent.

In other words, my life is about to get much more complicated and I don't like it. Not that I'm dragging my feet.

photo by Christian Abraham

Monday, February 18, 2008

another story

Another of Dad's stories. Tonight, about an elephant.


Once upon a time there was an elephant. This elephant was very patriotic - he was very American. One day, some very bad men invaded his country.

--Invaded America?
--No, a different country.
--I thought you said he was American.
--Well, he liked America a lot. He was an American elephant. But this was a different country.

So, this elephant and all his friends set about trying to defend their homes. Fortunately, some soldiers came to help them out soon. The soldiers came up in submarines and surfaced to help the elephants get rid of the bad guys. Unfortunately, the bad guys had some airplanes that saw the submarines surface, and they were going to shoot at them.

The elephants got thinking and they realized that the submarines were gray, and that they (the elephants) were also gray. Not only could they help shield the good guys - they could also act as camouflage! So they all lined up on the beaches, and those planes just looked and looked and said, "My, my - it's so cloudy down there, we can't see a thing." So they left, and the good guys were saved!

And then the elephants just went back over the hills and trampled all the rest of the invaders.

And that's the end for tonight.

--Isn't it funny how you can tell Dad's just as surprised by the ending as we are, when he gets to it, because he starts laughing too...

long-ago post I never published

Three character sketches: people I met on a temp assignment last year.

Stan grew up in this city. When he was a kid, he made friends with a homeless woman who lived near his house, and when it got cold around the holiday months, his family made up a bed for her in their garage, showed her how to get in and told her to come anytime. She never did. Stan had some solid opinions, his goal was to make $100/mo., and we had fun chatting about the different concerts he's been to downtown.

A few years ago, Steve got out of prison for nonviolent felony. Somehow or another, he ended up helping take care of a very sweet and slightly off homeless woman named Starla, after her friends took advantage of her and cheated her out of a bunch of money (in their words). Then, he married Starla. They're sort of an odd couple, but they fit each other well and care fiercely for each other.

I met John when he helped me lay carpet one day. He used to be a carny and told me all about what it was like traveling around with the different fairs and running the rides. I think he usually worked the booths where you pay for five tries to hit a thing and win a stuffed animal, or something. He said it was hard for a lot of people to do well at that job because they would try to talk the men out of playing the game and essentially gambling all their money away, because sometimes they could tell the men were playing over and over and spending what they should have been using to feed their kids. Their consciences would pick at them until a few weeks later they'd quit.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

100th post and list of firsts

Though I didn't plan it this way, it seems fitting that my 100th post should be about a bunch of firsts I had this week.

Starting small, this week I listened to Snow Patrol for more than five minutes before giving up and moving on. I actually liked them this time.

Dusk in my city is rather pretty, and while the sparks flying from the light post (feeding the fire at the foot of it) added a nice touch to the overall scene, I didn't figure it was supposed to be happening. Hence my first 911 call.

This week's weather: Weekend=snow; Monday=78-degree high; Tuesday=snow. I begged a few friends to come outside and play with me on Monday night. I thought we might buy a kite. Instead, we went off-roading (and almost got stuck) in a gorgeous truck so we could get out to an isolated place, where I shot my first semi-automatic handgun. My aim was so precise that I took out several specks of dirt in one shot, nearly every time.

As a burgeoning saleswoman, I usually take my boss along with me on sales calls right now, given my track record of one (1) month's experience selling. This week, with her help, I made my first sale! It was a good one, and even though it was actually a sale I knew we'd make going into it (not only is the buyer currently featured on the cover of our magazine and has advertised with us in the past, but she's been friends with my publisher for quite awhile), it still means money in the bank to me.

The surprise, though, came only two business days later, when I went to a friendly "getting-to-know-you" meeting with a super nice woman I met in my networking group. She ended up buying advertising as well - constituting my first sale by myself! (I texted my boss to let her know and she was surprised and excited -- this sale, while admittedly much smaller, excited me billions more than the first one, given I did it without her help.)

I went out with a kid from the ward this week. We drove in his little loud-engined red sports car to a pool hall and shot a couple games (not a first, though I guess the date was a first with him). The pool hall happened to be located on our city's main "drag" (I feel so late-nineties using that term), and he told me he doesn't race because he's such a target in that car and everyone always wants to race him. However .... we happened to sit at a stoplight next to a friend of his, chatted a minute, and when the light turned green - you guessed it. My first drag race. I laughed like a kid on the Test Track ride at Disneyworld.