Archive for January, 2006

Mon Pere

I got a lovely email from me daddy asking all sorts of questions. I suppose it is all good stuff for people to know, so I’ll just post it here since I’ve got lots of workin’ to do:


I certainly appreciate the interest, but have little to report as of yet. I’ll fill in the blanks I can…

Have you found housing accommodations?

I have a roof and a bed. I’m staying with a guy named Thomas for $300 a week. A little pricey, but he’s got a nice place and I felt like I was imposing on Cindy who has a beautiful, but cozy apartment. Thomas got the place with his partner, but they had a falling out apparently, leaving him with extra space.

Is your place of employment meeting your expectations?

The marijuana people work really hard. Honestly they work harder than the missile people. I’ve been going pretty much full speed both days I’ve been here. I want nothing more right now then to head home and curl up for a nap.

Do you have access to a means of verbal communication?

No, because until my credit card comes in from BB&T I have no way to buy a phone. It is $250 with a $150 rebate and I don’t want to put that on mom’s card. Hopefully that card will be in within a couple days.

Is the automobile proving to be satisfactory transportation?

Ninja Grandma is running fine. I’ve not been taking her out much since this city’s road system was designed by a deranged hamster on smack, but she’s running well.

Are you enjoying good health?

Still can’t walk, but that’s normal. I’m gonna go to the doctor about the tuberculosis thing relatively soon. Other than that and the eight pounds I’ve put on in the last week and a half, my pudgy widdwle cheeks are rosy and bright.

Are you eating properly?

I work above a subway. I’ve eaten five subs in six days. To the extent that is healthy, yes.

Are you still availing yourself upon the good will of your cousin from Louisville?

As I mentioned, no. She did take me out this Friday though and introduce me to some of her National Geographic friends and the DC nightlife. We went to a place called Wonderland which offered two specialty drinks: “the blue pill” promising to ease your cares and leave you waking up remembering nothing, and “the red pill” promising truth and the likely wish that you’d taken the blue pill. I myself had a red pill and either a cat took a poop in my mouth during the night or the drink delivered as promised.

It was a lot of fun though. I was seriously impressed at the abandon and vigor with which Cindy attacked the evening. We ended up back at her place with me passing out to the smell of frying bacon. Bacon that I found incinerated on the stove the next morning. Drunken bacon
cooking not working out so well apparently.

and finally, did Little Bo Peep ever find those sheep?

She did not though I hear tales that she has started a chinchilla ranch and is making more off of their highly valued little hides than
those irritating sheep ever provided.


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It is possible that a sufficiently determined individual equipped with the myriad of channels available on modern television can watch That 70’s Show all day long.

I need to get my computer fixed. That or one of those new-fangled outside hobbies I’ve been hearing about.

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You know the game where you spin around in circles while holding your head on a baseball bat? At one time there was a government program where they trained an orangutan to play that game. It was a highly secret program and there are few records of it, but one can see clear evidence of it in that only staggering simian could have laid out the infernal rats’ nest that is the road system in DC. That or they taped a pen to a hamster and shot it up with massive quantities of meth.

I made it up from Tennessee in about seven hours even with my stop for an oil change, but then spent an hour wandering in circles trying to find Haydee’s. Once Happy Hour was over I gave up on trying to find the place and decided just to head to Cat’s.

On the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide it says, “Don’t Panic.” Critical advice for any traveler. I managed to spend another hour and forty-five minutes wandering around trying to find Cat’s. After much beeping, many forced on ramps and the closest I’ve come to tears in quite a while; I managed to make it. Tomorrow I brave the city again. I’m considering just renting a hotel room out here so I don’t have to face that damned mess again.

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Steve came over tonight and we watched Lord of War. I liked the film though I was a little disturbed at my response to it: I didn’t care. I see people being chopped apart with machetes and though I do feel a sense of loss and pain it is dwarfed almost immediately. It is like the moment is frozen and things zoom out to the millions of lives that the planet is teeming with: happinesses, pains, loves and hatreds. Whatever the moment, it is being done a thousand times over. Whatever the suffering or pleasure it is nothing original; nothing unique. Beyond that the world freezes and the gulf of time swallows everything. It is the same sense of smallness, but orders of magnitude larger.

I see Nicholas Cage’s brother sacrifice his life to try and save a random village, and I respect his sacrifice. I see Nicholas Cage turn around and finish his deal. My response to both is the same: it just doesn’t matter. If the Earth is snuffed out tomorrow, it won’t make so much as a footnote in the history of the universe.

The film actually touches on the whole finding purpose and meaning in the face of meaninglessness idea. I’ve read Camus and Frankl and I understand the issue philosophically. That, of course, means relatively little so far as the heart is concerned.

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I’ve been having a hell of a time finding a place to live in DC. I’ve been on craigslist just about every day, to little avail. I’ve been sending out messages, but getting few responses and it is kinda freaking me out. I don’t want to walk into work next Monday and not be able to really focus on it because I am still worrying about finding a house. At the same time this is a decision that is likely going to affect me for the next year at least, so I’d like to not make it hastily.

I had a really good lead from Wakana. She was telling me about places and sounded interested until she asked where I was going to be working. After I told her the MPP, communications stopped. Last night I sent her another message reiterating my interest and expressing concern that the nature of my employ was giving her cause for reservation. I tried to assure her and sent her links to my resume and DOS since how exactly does one prove they’re not a miscreant?

Today I got a reply. Two lines:

Thank you for your interest in our house.
As of now the housing offer is withdrawn.


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book meme

  1. Grab the nearest book
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions
  5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you

Contacts: Langue et culture françaises by Jean-Paul Valette and Rebecca M. Valette

Je vais aller au cinéma.

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PayPal really does suck. When I got ready to head to Africa, I closed my bank account. While I was there PayPal implemented an extra security measure to where I had to enter the whole number of my bank account in order to access my account. Not having brought any documentation from my now closed account to Africa with me, I was shit out of luck. I sent them some emails asking what could be done to resolve the problem, but they always asked me to call them despite my explanation that it would cost me a weeks salary to do so.

So, I left it. Yesterday I called them and explained the situation. Their response? “Oh, that is unfortunate; sorry.” There is nothing they will do. I asked them if they could just delete that bank account from my account so that if I was a criminal that I couldn’t steal anything and they refused. They said that if I can’t find a copy of that number somewhere I’m just locked out.

It is a pain not only because I would like to use PayPal, but also because I think I had some money in the account. Money which I guess belongs to PayPal now since I can’t get to it.

I was bitching to Brett about it and he said that Jen was having different issues. She opened an account with her school email address and school phone number and now doesn’t have access to either. When she wanted to just open a new account, she can’t because a bank account can only be used with one system and hers is locked into the account she can’t access.


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Well, making some progress on the money front. Just accepted the MPP web administrator position. The money isn’t great (40k which is less than half of what says it ought to be for the web design / programming / server administration I’ll be doing), but it’s enough to get me to move to DC and hang out for a bit. I really liked the folks there and it sounds like it will be interesting work.

It also sounds like it is probably going to kick my ass for a couple months as they are way behind on a major migration to a new provider. I figure I’ll give myself over to it, get it going well and things ought to die down.

I figure if nothing else, I’ll use this to move and get a feel for the city. I’ll work them through the redesign and hosting transition which is the hard part, and I’ll reevaluate how things stand. I’d just have been sitting on my ass in any case, so I figure no great loss.

This is exciting. I’m starting the 23rd however, so that gives me two weeks to build a life. My to-do list:

  • driver’s license
  • ✓ car ($700 • ’98 Chrysler Concorde)
  • car insurance
  • open bank account
  • ✓ Christmas at Grandma’s
  • ✓ computer ($1100 • Sempron 2800+ / 1gb / 450gb RAID 0+1)
  • wardrobe
  • apartment

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Damnation. I am burning through money. I just got through putting together my new computer…

When you finish Peace Corps there are two main places you get cash. One is your readjustment allowance which you accrued at a rate of $220 a month during your service. I’ve only gotten the third of it that you get in country at COS and that was $1800. The check was cut in expectation of my COS in September, so my two thirds ought to be a little more than $3600, maybe $4200 or so. The other money is you can get a check in lieu of the money they would have spent to fly you home. For me that was right at $2000.

My post-reentrance travels have already burned through $600 and I gave my dad $700 for his car tonight. I just about matched that with the $1100 I just spent on my new computer. It isn’t even all that fancy:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Wandering Home

I only got back to Tennessee Saturday morning. Before that my schedule went something like this:

Date Trip Period Summary
2005/12/26 Nouakchott – Casablanca 3:00 I went to the Christmas party at Obie’s, enjoyed a fabulous meal, passed on a copious porn collection and bid farewell to Mauritania at 3am.
2005/12/26 Casablanca – New York 8:00 After doing a little shopping with Cailin during my layover I headed back Stateside.
2005/12/26 New York – Cleveland 1:45 I ran harried through customs in an attempt to compensate for my flight being two hours late and made in through in about 30 minutes only to find my next flight delayed for an hour.
2005/12/26 Cleveland – Dayton :30 Not understanding that a single flight could involve changing planes (and thus not expecting the stop in Cleveland), I had told my family to come late making for a bit of a wait when I arrived in Dayton on time. I had missed Christmas, but I got to do show and tell before everyone headed out the next morning.
2005/12/30 Dayton – Cleveland :30 Having spent an entertaining three days hanging out with Uncle Ted and Mema, I headed out.
2005/12/30 Cleveland – Boston :45 Sat in yet another airport playing with the phone my mom lent me.
2005/12/30 Boston – New York 1:00 I pulled into New York having neither a place to stay nor the slightest clue as to where anything was. I rode around on the train for a bit and finally found Valentin in Chinatown. We had some Chinese food and went to a pool hall to await the evening when Nick and Beth came in from DC and we all met up with Carl, Adrian, Caroline and Maggie. Maggie was awesome and put Marc and I up for the night after the lot of us drank a good 20 gallons of beer in a half dozen different bars.
2005/12/31 New York – Montpelier 5:30 Maggie being both brave and amazing lent Marc and I her car and we headed up to Ben’s house in Vermont. The other folks we’d been with had already rented a car and headed up on their own. Once there we met up with Nate, Racey, Dan, Geri, Bouli, Bintu, Danny and Megan. Kegstands and shots of Black at 5pm bode for an interesting evening. My brother Matt came out and did surprisingly well with this group of miscreants before heading back home for another party.
2006/01/01 Montpelier – Stowe :30 Matt came back down and picked me up and I went to visit chez lui. He lives in a really cool old barn. We got some chicken and ice cream and just hung out for the evening. (The sun goes down at 4:30 in Vermont.)
2006/01/02 Stowe – Montpelier :30 Matt took me around the mountain and I turned in a job application at the mountain since I really liked the place. Then we went out to this huge frozen waterfall before heading back to Ben’s.
2006/01/02 Montpelier – New York 5:30 Having said goodbye to Matt; Marc, Nate and I headed back to the Big Apple. Maggie was cool as always and put us up for the evening after we’d all gone out for burritos.
2006/01/03 New York – Arlington 4:30 Marc and I took the Chinatown bus that goes between the Chinatowns in New York and DC. The bus left at 1:30 which in Chinese means “whenever its full” as it was gone when we got there at 1:10. No problem though, the next bus was to arrive at 2:00 which is Chinese for 4:30. After paying as much for the cab ride to Marc’s brother’s house as to get to DC ($20), I crashed out in the basement.
2006/01/05 Arlington – Alexandria :30 I interviewed with the MPP people on the 4th and they asked me to come by and interview the next day. Marc though was worried about trouble in the homestead, so I called up Cat and she agreed to put me up for a night.
2006/01/07 DC – Wythville 7:00 My extended stay with Cat and Lesley was productive: I made my interview wearing a tie I’d bought 20 minutes before in Union Station on the condition that the guy behind the counter tie it for me. I went out to sushi with my cousin Cindy. I mocked Lesley when USC got whooped. I was chastised by Audrey for being a poor communicator. I watched Wedding Crashers and gifted people with cookies. But it had to come to an end, so I headed to catch the 10am bus which I missed by 15 minutes, so I spent my 10 hour wait wandering the streets. Eventually I ended up in the Wythville bus station at 3am listening to people tell stories of having their children taken from them, doing coke and getting shot.
2006/01/08 Wythville – Bristol 2:00 Bright and early I finally made it home and mommy, daddy and myself all headed to Shoney’s for a welcome breakfast buffet.

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