Insomnia.

I haven’t been this outta whack in a while. I have a Dr. appointment in a few hours and I just can’t get to sleep. My mind is reeling.

It never fails that whenever I have to get up really early – I get anxious and stay up way too late. On top of it all, I feel a bit of the silver lining on life is a bit tarnished. I loathe these moods. I know I just need to find a good distraction, but I’m at wits end.

I’ve been in this pattern ever since returning home.

I get into this mode of operandi where I work, scrounge for food when I remember too, and do the chores that make clothes clean and the house presentable (not that i have company).

I get online then. A lot.

I’ll chat, read up on news, tend to sites and whatnot.

It’s a scattered routine.
Pretty dang uninteresting in the scheme of things.

I sat at the bar.

Not just for an evening, but for several. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights. I sat at the bar and talked with people. I walked up to strangers who looked like some friendliness would bring a grin to their face. I sat down and listened to stories and shared my own.

Seems like, when I traveled – folks were friendly to me, and I wondered, perhaps some of that friendliness could be more present in my hometown of Cincinnati.

Thing is, most folks talked about how unfriendly the city is. How they would like to move to some more exotic locale.

I suppose the best part of it all though, was bonding with the bartender.

I helped close the joint on Sunday night/Monday morning, as the snow started to fall once more. We talked about most anything you can think of… life, relationships, work, local clubs and ideals. It was nice.

I got on the road to find rushhour traffic battling some fiercely bad conditions. I figured, since McDonalds was serving breakfast, I should indulge in a baacon egg and cheese biscuit.

Tummy full, sleep came easy.

Efficiency

So I’m learning about making sites easier to build… with Server Side Includes. Such a simple concept, but what a difference it makes. We’ve built them a long time at the office, but I’ve never really sat down and tried to integrate them by myself.

It took a big site built in DreamWeaver to make me rethink my ways. Dreamweaver has this nifty “Library” feature, which, although neat at first, becomes an unwieldly, slow, simplified “Find and Replace,” and when you have a big site, making one little change to that Library Item updates every page… very slowly.

The upside: DreamWeaver recognizes “includes” and displays them in the visual editor, so you can still get a sense of the page.

Regardless, I’ve got it down pat. Maybe I’ll lose the frames on my personal site one o these days… hmmmm.

Chatty Cathy

Funny how communication has evolved over the years. From pen to telegraph to telephone to computers, another myriad of levels have been added with this latest technology.

We had email, and that was a way to get a message from point A to point B. Then of course, we have this whole Instant Messaging thing which can take many forms off offline and online communique. Add video chat, like ISPQ and ICUII to the mix, and there’s another variable to consider.

I will say this for instant messaging, dang, they need to get it together. I have my work colleagues (both inside and outside the company), and friends to manage. It can be rough, given the slew of privacy options and tools that are out there.

It’s funny, I adapt to all these chat apps, depending on many things. First, where are my friends, secondly, what is the client (at work) using… I make adjustments accodingly. I use em all, to varying degrees of success. Of course, some friends have screennames that by themselves, look questionable on any pal or buddy list.

I know I should have separate screennames, but I’m me. Sure I’ve grown tired of some handles and fiddled over time, but for the most part – I give out the same handle no matter what.

I just wish privacy preferences would be more adaptable. I hate to say it, but Microsoft Messenger comes the closest.

  • First, you have the ability to accept who can add you to their list. Seems like a reasonable request. I don’t want random “hellos” from folks I don’t know.
  • I can group folks into categories (which they all pretty much do now anyway.)
  • I can block individuals…. If only yahoo figured this out.
  • I can see in my privacy settings, who has added me to their list.

Of course, there’s still many things I wish Messenger did. Like group privacy. Say I wanted all my work cohorts to see if I was online, and block out my friends. That would be a handy feature with one click. The other is video conferencing with a mac. Yahoo has this down cross-platform, and for that, I am happy.

It’s not a perfect world, and software evolves. Now of course, I like the idea of them apps that combine all these into one program from the various services, but those are flaky. It’s a great concept though.

Oh yeah, one last note – iChat on the mac wins for most tasteful integration into the operating system, and most unobtrusive sound effects.

Another dream

So heck knows I don’t want this to be a dream analysis tool, but it’s handy like that.

I’m at some toy store and they have the new GameBoy, ahead of schedule. This isn’t an ordinary GameBoy, the screen is backlit, so its easy to see. I try to call my credit card company, but I’m gettin the run around. How much do I have available, I ask.

How much do you think you have available is the reply.

Then I wake up.

I am not a morning person

Putting on the same clothes I wore to the rodeo and bar, I woke with alarms and phones ringing in every direction at 5 am.

Scott was already up in the other room, getting his suitcase in order and we silently prepped ourselves for our diverging travel paths back to the Queen city. He had a layover in Chicago and would have to drive back from Indianapolis to get home. I was lucky, I s’pose.

After guessing my way to the airport, and lucky enough to be right, I dropped him off at his departure area and got lost trying to get the rental car back to Hertz. (Really poor signage)

I still like Phoenix though, and I’m anxious to return.

The plane ride was horribly packed, and I caught myself making these mouth gasp snore noises and jerking up in a fright.

Finally home, the snow was mostly gone and the chill was an impressive contrast to the mild sun of Arizona in January. I need to go back there in July and remind myself why I love the seasons.

Rodeo, Day Two

Breakfast was a faceless joint, but tolerable with a breakfast bar. I chatted with a friend who got me to thinking about how rough it is to lose someone in a relationship. Not by death mind you, but by the circumstance of two folks wrestling with trying to figure out if somethings going to work.

I always feel a little resigned and emotionless, never finding the right soothing words to say in these instances, but pain is a tough thing to overlook.

I get into phases of complete optimism though, and this was no different. Somewhere inside of me, I figure, when it happens, it just will. And sure there will be a giant leap of faith where we begin to invest in a relationship, but it’s a leap that has to go hand in hand. I write this and reflect, knowing I’ve never really taken the plunge, but I feel good that I’ve made some strides, albeit misguided and aloof.

Napkins wipe away tears though, and another sun filled day outside at the rodeo was upon us.

The second day of the rodeo has a sharp curve in attendance, as folks recover from the night before and shuffle in squinting well after noon. Seldom reaching the numbers of the previous day, I found I prefered the quieter vibe.

Getting the blues from thinking about my afternoon flight, a call to Delta remedied the situation and I was happy to be leaving the following morning instead. I spent the afternoon meeting friends of Chuck and watchin the rodeo from down near the fence where the view was better.

A beer bust at a local watering hole gave me an opportunity to drive over with Dino and chit chat. Packed as the other bar, I had a few drinks before heading out to meet up with Chuck at his house.

Got lost a few times (my glasses were all dusty, I couldn’t read the unfamiliar signs too well) and I made it to his place.

Looking through pictures and talking about cars until way past our bedtime, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out nonetheless. Sadly, that 8 am flight would come too soon, and I knew I had to get Scott to the airport even earlier than myself.

A late night drive thru taqueria made my stomach happy, and I got back to the hotel in time to catch up with Scott and hear about his wonderful evening.

Sleep came easy as I grinned, glad that my friend was able to break away from the gray doldrums of Cincinnati, even if it was just for a brief weekend. Hopefully, it would prove to be a kick in the seat of his pants to realize there’s a big, neat, world out there – and there wasn’t anything standing in between him and it. He was welcome.

Road Runner Regional Rodeo

Unlike other rodeo’s I’ve been to (a staggering total of three) – the Road Runner Regional is now hosted at an ol’ western tourist trap on the north side of the city in Scottsdale.

After a greasy breakfast at Denny’s, I got there with Scott in time for the opening ceremony. Wandering through the vendor area briefly, we caught wind of some local fellas and a group from online and proceeded to the stands.

It was kinda hard to see what was going on, as the arena was very large. The sun was hittin at such an angle that the chutes were obsurred by clouds a bit, but it managed to entertain nonetheless.

After some dilly-dallying and frequent trips for refreshments, the day flew by.

As evening approached, the decision was made to pose for a group shot in one o them there fancy old-fashioned dress ’em up studios located in the adjoining western tourist trap. Dividing the fellas up into groups of ten, we found the process to be a little more time intensive than imagined. By the time the third group was to get in front of the lens, we were down to three.

Someone had to be different, and with just the less-than-handful of us, we took what turned out to be a perplexing and fun shot.

I drove from there in the twilight to a fella’s house for a cookout, and was happy to meet some new friendly faces.

Afterwards, I went back to the hotel and got my face washed to go out.

The bar was even more packed that evening, but we found ourselves doing much of the same as the previous night. I caught up with Chuck eariler and got to continue our conversations and observations and last call came quickly again.

Tuckered, I went back to the hotel and checked email and downloaded some pictures from the day.

Yeehaw.

One big city that seems to be planned proper

Phoenix is a great town for bein’ so large.

As the United States’ sixth-largest city with a population of nearly 1.3 million, I found it easy to navigate without the aid of a compass in the car. I drove from my friends house straight to the airport around noon and made it to the passenger pick-up area with nary a wrong turn.

Scott rolled off the plane with a big ol’ grin, realizing that the weather here was quite a change from the snow dump in Cincinnati.

We picked up his bags and headed to the hotel to check in and get some vittles. We found an Old Spaghetti Factory, and although we have the chain in Cincinnati, we knew it would be good cheap eats.

Satisfied with our meal, we headed back to the hotel and I took a wee nap before hittin the watering hole for some country dancin (him, not me of course – i have two left feet). I met up with a group of folks from online in the back part of the bar and was happy to meet some locals through the evening.

“Nice beard” I heard from the side, and immediately struck up a conversation with a fella named Chuck. Doin’ an earnest awwww shucks dirt kickin, we started talking about this and that, having a grand ol’ time. Eventually I had to rejoin the group and meet some guys from all over the place that came to Phoenix for the rodeo, like myself.

A jovial mood overall, I would wander to the front from time to time to check on Scott and the dance floor, bumping (literally – it was packed) into familiar faces along the way.

As last call came about, it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up for the big day to follow.

The parking lot Cincinnati calls Interstate 71

So I somehow managed to get up and pack in time to get to the airport (or so I thought)… when, last minute, I couldn’t find my specs. Heck knows I can function without my glasses, but I do enjoy being able to see, clearly.

I rushed around the house looking high and low in the usual suspect locations, when I decided to give ol’ Delta a call and see if I could manage a later flight. 12:30 was booked they said and to get on the 4:30 flight would cost an arm and a leg (and a used car)… So i gulped, went for one last go ’round and found the dang things.

It was snowing outside. Me, being the space-case that I am, didn’t think to check the weather and see what the forecast held. The on-ramp to the highway was slow. Folks were going at a snail’s pace and I started to get real flustered.

Upon entering the highway, it came to a stand still, with bursts of 5 MPH movement.

In my haste, I decided to breathe, stop looking at the clock, and just roll with it, knowing it was beyond my control. I kept callin the airline on my mobile phone hoping to catch wind of a delay.

No such luck.

I finally got to the airport, only to find my flight would leave in 10 minutes, on schedule, with no way for me to get to the gate and past security in time. Luckily, the feller behind the counter said that I’d very likely get on the 12:30 flight on standby without charge.

Deciding to grab a horrible breakfast from McDonalds (why? I ask myself, do i even attempt to eat that shit) I sat down and prepared for the 4 hour wait. Luckily there was an overpriced ‘net connection, so I got some work done and emails written after I took a quick snapshot of the planes collecting purdy snowflakes.

Fast forward a bit and I’d landed in Phoenix, slightly roughed from the lack of sleep and extremely different weather. A sunny 75 degrees and a swell blue sky greeted me as I rolled my suitcase out to the shuttle.

Dinner with an old friend and a visit with his family filled out the rest of the night, where we tried to catch up on two years of not being in touch save for the holidays. I went to bed on an inflatable matress at 2am, realizing that I’d been up almost 24 hours. Yikes.