Friday, July 31, 2009

Polishing My Diploma

Ode To "Wing Zone" Girl

She's always friendly, our "Wing Zone" Girl. She always has a smile for us as we drive by. Oh, sure, we can't see her face in there, but everything about her says "Hello! Come and eat!" She must be smiling in that costume. You can tell. Her exuberance shines like a beacon at the end of a long day. "Buy our wings!" Her waves to her honking fans never seem to cease. Each of us in turn is a new friend.

I'm betting she has a degree in history from one of the local universities. She's probably working her way through a master's program. The time spent on the expansive median on Claiborne Avenue is more likely spent wondering how the hell she's going to explain to her study group that she couldn't finish her share of the project because her mascot costume left her smelling like an old sock worn by someone with a garlic fetish.

Sure, she's waving and bouncing, but inside there, where passers-by cannot hear her, she's screaming at the unfulfilled promises of life and the realization that she just may have peaked.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Out And About

If you're going to leave out letters on your personalized license plate, your intended message should still be apparent.

Case in point: "MY 3 SNS" is obviously someone who has three recalcitrant sins. Given the limitations of characters and spaces, they left out the vowel "I" without losing the sound itself. "SNS" is clearly prounounced "sins".

Given the car, I'd say the sins were "Pride", "Greed", and "Lust". I'm not sure why they felt the need to brag about it. Perhaps they're proud of them, want them all for themself, and it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling when they commit them.

I once made it my New Year's Resolution to commit each of the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Envy, Greed, Lust, Wrath, Sloth, and Gluttony. By January 3rd, I was done. It was easier than losing 15 pounds and quitting drinking. For the most part, it also made me easier to get along with than a dieting drunk on the wagon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wool Gathering On The Bayou

That Ain't No Bayou

Well, you caught me thinking about Tennessee. I want to be cruising through the mountains with the windows down and the cool air rushing in carrying the sounds of the rivers. Instead I cruising through Metairie on the Earhart Expressway with the A/C cranked up squeezing so much humidity from the air that my condensation lines are leaving a wake.

I need to find some landscapes to photograph. Metairie is suburbia at it's land-locked jam-packed goodness. It's no landscape, it's a place to hang your hat. It has no real cityscape, it has Veteran's Highway and billboards.

I guess I'm inured to the area I call home. I go to Tennessee and see beauty and mountains and my fingers can't keep clicking photographs. I go home and the camera goes back in the bag. What am I to photograph? The canals? The suburban traffic? Lakeside Mall? Yeah, I guess I should.

I need to open my eyes and get on my bicycle and ride this town. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll get up and go cruise around and see what's out there. I really should. I'm sure there's something out there that'll strike me as click-worthy.

I think that's what we all need to do. Count our blessings. See what's in our neighborhoods and find what's been hiding in plain sight. Quit wishing that you were back on vacation finding something new to see. Quit wondering why you're stuck in Nowhereville with nothing to see. Grab your cameras and be a tourist in your own town.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Things Are Tough All Over

Gotta Love A Monty Python Fan

I can't delve into the minds of other drivers. I'd like to and that's why I carry a cordless drill with a 1/2" carbide tip. However, given that at 45, I'm still too pretty for prison, I'll just have to hazard a guess.

It's a Lincoln. He's got some scratch and like to buy American. He's got just enough left over in this economy to buy a personalized plate.

Here's my guesses:
1) "He's screaming about not being able to make the monthly payments on the apartment he's keeping in town for his nooners with lucky members from the secretarial pool (er... "Administrative Staff")
2) Things are going so poorly that he's taken up a new vocation as "Highway Pirate."
3) Chronic hemorrhoids and laryngitis combined but he still wants you to know he's in pain.
4) He couldn't fit Joseph of Aramathea's final words (regarding the Holy Grail) so he opted for the last final word (final last word?). "He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Arrgghh.."

Friday, July 03, 2009

Gremlins Eat Only The Most Valuable Data

I Buried The Skeletons In My Closet

Here's the crime: Mayor C. Ray Nagin's (D., New Orleans) email was deleted by person(s) unknown. It's a crime because of public access laws which make it mandatory that the city of New Orleans keep records of all email transactions. It's about transparency.

Here's the cover-up: 22-gigabytes disappeared from the servers on the day the information technology experts began their investigation. GIGABYTES. DAY THEY STARTED.

Does this pass the smell test? Does a fresh dog turd pass the smell test? Yeah, it's like that.

The email account was only one of 59 accounts which was deleted from the servers and the backup servers. It's so blatant that any idiot could see it. Luckily, experts were hired. They said that the only ones who had access to do such a thing had to be high level employees.

Now from the peanut gallery...

Nagin blames "some phantom employee." Nagin says it's not for the tech experts to lay blame. He fears that the people involved in the blaming may have found themselves in over their heads; that they're seeking some sort of fame.

Huh? It's PRECISELY the tech experts you want to ask!!! It's precisely YOU, Mr. Mayor, who should SHUT THE HELL UP when it comes to YOUR missing email. Your email is the only account that disappears and YOU are the person who stands to gain by that lack of transparency. You need to just shut up and stop attacking the investigators. You already looked guilty of this crime. Trying to obfuscate the investigation only makes you look more guilty, Mr. Phantom.

Story HERE.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

How To Make Friends In Traffic: #24 - Dented Vehicles

$350 To Knock Out That Dent

One of my favorite pastimes is off-road driving. Grated, I don't own any off-road vehicles. I never have. However, how else can I explain my long list of off-road activities?

It all began when I got my first car. Winter in New Orleans is never cold. We'll get 3 nights per year when it dips below the freezing point. Sometimes there's ice involved! I made it around the corner on a wide turn and went off onto the shoulder. I was late for work, but when I hit that patch of frozen puddle and spun out onto the grass and dirt, well, I just had to go back and do it again.

I've had several girlfriends back then who'd be willing to put out if I found the right parking place. Usually that involved secluded areas. Off-road. Airport security ran me off of one location. The Levee Police ran me off of another. The California Highway Patrol was called out on a suspicious car parked near the KDES transmitters. Once, I spent more than an hour in 40-degree weather digging out my car which had bottomed out, off-road, somewhere after midnight. I couldn't ask my date to help me dig, now could I?

But every now and again, I do something which bashes up one part of my vehicles or another when I should have just stayed on the road. Lucky for me, my insurance company paid for the damage I did when I didn't see the ditch cutting across the field I was traversing. Another field really wasn't my fault, after all, my Lowrance iHunt GPS said there was a road there and who was I to argue with a hand-held piece of technology. They lock you up in the nut-hatch if you argue with hand-held pieces of technology. Well, they would if you insisted the tech started the fight.

Some years ago I tried backing up the shoulder of a highway on-ramp. There was a traffic jam that promised to eat my spare time if I didn't. Again, another ditch and I wound up with diagonal gouge marks and a dent on my rear panel.

It's amazing how many people you meet in traffic with a dented panel. "Hey!" they call out to me at stop lights. "I can knock that out for you real cheap!" They're so excited to see me driving around with my wallet hanging out the window. Not that my wallet is anywhere but under my left cheek, but I'm sure that's how they see me. The latest guy wants to meet me in my driveway and he'll do the job for $350. He gives me his phone number. It's a cell phone with a Seattle area code. Ever smell pork after it's been in a wet sock in the sun for a week? Yeah, this one stinks like that.

I really need to get that dent to a body shop before someone holds me up at gunpoint while their buddy knocks out the dent and spray paints it on the side of some dark deserted highway. "I swear, Officer. It was a drive-by dent-pulling. They took me for all I had!"

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It May As Well Be Night and Storming

Stuck In The Muck

Is there any more damning phrase for absentmindedness than "No CF card"?

Where I work, parking can be a challenge. However, I don't condone parking next to fire hydrants just because you're late. Periodically, someone will park in front of the hydrant next to my building. I take this as a personal slight. If this building were to catch fire, I don't want firefighters to have to waste a single second trying to hook up to the hydrant.

There I was this morning walking up to the building, camera strapped to my back, and a blue truck is blocking the hydrant. Hey! A photo for the blog! I pull up the camera. Flick it on and "No CF card" appears. Expletives follow.

As this happens several times a month (if not per day), I'll be sure to post more as I see them.