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31 August 2007   ONE!!! almost (T-0)

Seems my countdown was to 1 September...but the above number means 0 days and some amount of minutes till 1 Sep. Close enough.

So I'm outprocessed as of yesterday morning and in one and a half hours my time, I will be officially separated from the US Air Force, after over 13 years of service in some shape or fashion (5 years AFROTC -don't tell me that doesn't count as I worked my ass off for UCLA AFROTC- and 8 years Active Duty). BOOYAH. I had a great going-away/separation party yesterday afternoon/evening at Jack Quinn's, as you'll see by the buttload of pictures below. Got a lot of great gifts and it was nice to see the people I'd been working with these past two years one more time. Obviously I'll be seeing my close friends again lots before I actually head out for NYC, but you know what I mean.

I've been steadily working on getting moved though - I really only have 3 weeks to get a LOT of shit done. I've booked my househunting flight for a few days next week to New Jersey/New York, and hopefully...okay, not hopefully....let's say that upon my return next week, I WILL have a place to call home on the East Coast. So that's that!

Okay, I just want to get the pictures up - I'm getting sleepy and I have to get up tres early tomorrow morning to take Susan and Jeff to the airport. As in, I'm getting up at 4am to pick them up at 4:30am. Ugh. And now, it's picture time!!!!!!

30 August 2007 - My AF Going-Away at Jack Quinn's

Uh Oh...car trouble for Jeff? Nope!
Jack Quinn - the scene of the party
Table Pic #1
Table Pic #2
Table Pic #3
Table Pic #4
Todd Wynn's very white arm
Becky Beckertons
Sue Kittel, former SCB superintendent
The beginning of the KD closeups: First, Todd Wynn
Me and Beer, in repose
I'm turning around for some unknown reason
Dale, John and Tom
Jeff, with attitude
Susan, with fork
Erin, with smile
Dave, no emotion, and Heather, confused
Dave, still no emotion
Heather, smiling
Micaela, big smile
Lt Col Bullock, confused smile..?
Table Pic #5
Ike, kicking it Exec-style
James, mouth full
Rich, all face
The Mowers
Sgt Mower
Cheese-covered potato skins
Shannon, laughing
Jeff Byrd, daring you
KD, chuckling
Al, not sure why KD is in his face
Dale, angelic
An Irish saying on the wall
Me, far too close to the camera
Me, drinking
Isaura, happy to be here
Me and KD, twins once again
Heather and me
Me and Isadora
James presenting me with the first of the presentations
And it was Roadhouse... of course
There it is...but wait for it...
...because this damn poster was right behind
Jeff and the beginning of his presentations
Notice Becky completely illuminated
Jeff and the recording device
Me and my microphone
Me and my blues-playing harmonica
An etch-a-sketch door sign, kinda like on Friends
Just got my 'NBC' business cards - they're freakin' sweet
Jeff takes aim - notice the photographer actually caught it in mid-flight
and the Hello Kitty bag appears
Me and my bag
Susan gives me the super gift from my friends - a ticket to Lion King on Broadway
And a gift certificate to Men's Wearhouse - these friends of mine rock
Lt Col Bullock presents the wall plaque I requested
I didn't want the Mountain Man figure normally given
I also received a 721 CS numbered coin
And I got my last AF decoration, presented to me as well. This may have been the first medal ceremony with everyone in civvies!
There it is, my AFCM
and my actual certificate
Tom and KD
Oh Lord, here I go talking.... please don't cry like a fool.... (this won't end well)
Dale and John
The SCX / QA table
Micaela can't pass up an opportunity to look into the camera!
Hugging my bag to make me stop crying.... someone slap me
Weirdly, I'm caught all of a sudden in a spotlight. Very odd.
Isaura and Mr Wynn
He gave me a rare CMAFS CE coin!
Decorations and beers go very well together
Jeff and Susan
Becky and Sue
Here's a look at my unofficial NBC business card. I think it's a keeper.
I just recovered from getting pelted in the eye by one of the Nerf darts - thanks Jeff and KD
Laughter and frivolity!!! Yay!
Me and KD looking oh-so-adorable, once again
Table of goodies
Tom Beers - gangsta
Sue and me, the former SCB leadership
Erin chills
KD keeps it real
Jeff and Susan downstairs after the party ended
KD and Tom in the booth too
There's Dave
And me getting felt up by KD
Me, KD & Tom
KD at my house, with her hand in a glass vase. Don't ask. We were all a little bit lit.
KD & Eric (who couldn't come to the afternoon party because of work)
Jeff, Susan and Dave
Dice serve as a great plate surface
All 6s
KD does her dance

That's enough pictures for one day. But I will leave you with this: what you probably thought or assumed about me, well, you were right.


29 August 2007   TWO... (T-2)

Just a final outprocessing with the Military Personnel Flight in the morning and I'm done.

Not much to say today, but had to update just to continue the countdown. Had my last 'duty' day at work today which amounted to me going around to the offices I wouldn't see again inside and out the mountain and visiting those folks there. So farewell Cheyenne Mountain. It's been a time. When I got home, I ended up playing more BioShock (aka computergame crack). And now I have my going-away at Jack Quinn's to look forward to. Hopefully I don't get too thrashed. Anyways, I should probably get to sleep now, although I am watching 'The Jerk' right now on Comedy Central and I had forgotten how funny that movie is. NO... must go to sleep!!!! Tomorrow is going to be a long day.


28 August 2007   Three... (T-3)

And so begins the final countdown to me being a civilian. Fuckin-A.

It's been over a week since my last update - bad on me. Don't have a very good excuse, to be honest. It's just that the last week or so has been kinda busy in the evening. Much of last week I was hanging out with people each night - a few nights I spent hanging out with Byron while he was out here (and I was continuing the addiction-to-Guitar-Hero program which went without a hitch), my old neighbor EB was in Denver for business so he came down here one night and we had dinner, and then I spent one afternoon at my Dad and Pat's to help them set up their new HP Vista PC (I'm almost inclined to go to Vista myself...but then I think of all the asspain and think again). And then one night I spent studying solely for my Security+ exam which I took on Thursday and which I rocked: Out of 900 points, I got 863 (to pass, you need 764). So yay for me. It's not as if I really need it anymore, but I'm glad to have it. I will NOT continue to prepare for the CISSP exam though, basically that's a huge pain that I don't need anymore (it was mostly resume fodder, to be honest), it's $500 I'd happily have back in my account, and the next test I could take is 30 Sep and in Denver....

....and I won't be anywhere near Denver on that day because I'll have been at work at NBC for just over a week by that time! Yep, the NBC offer is a done deal and as of today, my first day at the job has been established as Monday, 24 Sep. Yowza. That makes it much more real for me. I've got just over three whole weeks to househunt, pack up my shit, and drive out to NYC. Heart is definitely racing! But I've been looking at a few places and I'm very optimistic about them. I think out of all the ones I've been looking at, I should find a great place. Here's hoping.

Two duty days left in the military (and then 3 years as an Inactive Ready Reservist...which means that if the Air Force has to call up personnel for some ridiculous reason, I could theoretically find myself back in Active Duty, but I try not to think too much about that possibility). Frankly, it's hard to really fathom it. As you have probably seen on this site, since almost 365 days ago, I've been keeping a green count and at the time I started it, 365 days seemed like a long time. And to be honest, it was. The time did not exactly fly by, but that's not to say it's still not surprising that it's nearly September 2007. I have fairly un-mixed emotions about the whole thing. I'm ready to be done. Cheyenne Mountain has not left the best taste in my mouth, primarily for the Air Force but probably for the military overall. It's probably a situation of circumstance and location for me, as I know plenty of people who are still thrilled to be in the military, and good for them. But this past assignment has been quite enough for me to make up my mind that the military is not at all what I want to do anymore. Learned lots, but I'm definitely looking forward to being New York-Hobie for a few years!!!!! I figure I have two more updates to dwell on my military-related thoughts, and by that last one, perhaps I'll be completely honest about a few things.

So I've got a lot of work cut out for me in the next few weeks. My plan is to fly out to the NYC area (on NBC's dime, natch) to go visit the apartments I've seen and choose one while out there. That should hopefully be a very short trip. I'll then have an idea of what exactly I'll need to bring with me. Then I embark on selling nearly everything else I own. Yep, it's time to clean house of all my big furniture stuff. Here's a link to what I'm selling for those morbidly curious:

Hobie's Moving Sale - Almost Everything Must Go!!!!

Tell all your Colorado-based friends if they are in need of some furniture! Then I've got to hope that my house either sells or rents. I'm resigned to the fact that I'll probably have to rent it and probably at a loss on my part, but I'd rather pay a bit to 'subsidize' the rent then to have to pay an additional mortgage on top of my rent in NY/NJ. But that's a rant for another day. Keep fingers crossed.

In family news, my mom had eye surgery. The primary reason was to remove the cataracts that are developing in her eyes, which are hereditary I think and something I probably get to look forward to in a few years. They're working on her eyes one at a time, but a secondary reason and bonus for her is that they're going to fix her vision while they're operating. How sweet!! But it'll be weird for her, as she's had imperfect vision since she was 12 and glasses have been part of her face for so long now. I don't know how it'll be if she doesn't have them on! But the first surgery went fine today and then she goes back in approximately a month. Yay! Other family news: Dad and Pat are going to be departing the Springs after this Labor Day weekend for California. It's been great to have them around this summer, that's for sure. Hope they have fun at their next campground in El Centro!

Okay, almost done for today. A few last trivial things to write about. First, I am hopelessly addicted to the new video game, Bioshock. Unbelievably fun and involving and creepy and eerie first-person shooter/game set underwater in a Utopia experiment that went all wrong. And then I also finished reading the graphic novel/comic book Watchmen. Highly Recommended!!!!! Can't wait to see this movie...in 2009. Oy. Who KNOWS where I'll be living then?????? ;-)

Alright, enough from me today. I sent out a 'Farewell' email to most of all my past AF friends yesterday and heard back from quite a few of them today. I'll definitely miss that camaraderie, but it's easy enough to keep in touch with people nowadays, I have little excuse not to keep in touch with them. Seriously!


19 August 2007   So You Mighta Heard.. (T-12)

...that NBC is going to give me an offer to work out in NYC! Should actually have something in my hands Monday or Tuesday!

So yes, I finally found out this past Thursday that a job offer was headed my way from NBC! Originally I was supposed to hear from them at the beginning of the week, but apparently they had one more interview to tackle before they could make a decision. Now, I like to tell myself that I won out over other possible candidates, but it's entirely likely that maybe I'm choice #2 or #3 because maybe the others passed on the job. And who knows, maybe I will, because the one thing that is a possible deal-breaker for me will be if they don't offer a competitive and reasonable salary. I have heard nothing but how expensive it is to live out there, and from looking at craigslist and roommates.com, I can attest to that fact. And actually, I am pretty much resigning myself to having to get a roommate, and while I swore I'd never do that again, I think this will just be a necessity. But luckily, I've found some very promising places on roommates.com so far. They aren't in Manhattan, but actually in New Jersey, one in Hoboken and one in West New York. Both are really nice condominiums with a ton of great amenities, and I'd be able to actually bring my car and have it available, which is highly unlikely in Manhattan. And with the fact that I'd have to work probably in both Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey and at 30 Rock, I'm glad to potentially have the flexibility. So here's hoping that I get positive word back this week.

Basically, the job search and outprocessing has still dominated my life the past week. I found out how much I'll actually be getting from the Air Force when I separate with the VSP - taxes suck! So I ended up playing the Powerball to try to make that money back.... and well, that didn't work out either. But I knew that I'd rather win $245 million over $210 measly million. Seriously. But I've been really trying to get other jobs lined up, especially locally in either the Springs or in Denver, as if NBC falls through for some reason, I think I'd rather stay here and live in my house for a few years more and wait out the bad real estate market. And there's actually plenty of opportunities out there, so again, cross your fingers. I just can't believe I'm 12 days away from being as Jenny said, a fucking silly civilian!!!!!!

And oh yeah, Big Brother 8 is such a dramatic mess...and I can't stop watching. Actually, the ridiculous drama seems to have calmed down for the time being though. Have to wait and see if ED will flip out again soon. That's good stuff.

Here are some pictures that Erin took a few weeks back in July when we had a Group picnic at the Mountain Man Park at Cheyenne Mountain. Turned out pretty good! Thanks Erin!

6 July 2007 - Pics at CMAFS park

WetErin decided to hug me all soaked
Me and Erin (yes, I was the dumbass who forgot to bring civvies)
Jeff and Susan
Erin, Jeff, Me and Susan

I also will have some pics up, hopefully tomorrow, that I took from the past few days. Oh, if you haven't been going to the Shooting Gallery, please start. And also, I have been trying to get myself to write more DVD reviews, and my latest is up for V For Vendetta.

And how could I forget???? Byron, Connie and Aidan came out to the Springs for a few days! Byron will be out here all next week for an inspection he's doing, but the week before he brought the whole family out. It was great to see them, and they stayed over a few nights which was cool, but then they went camping here at Farish and then up at Estes Park. I should get to see Byron this week as well, so that will be fun. Alright, now it's late and I've got to go to sleep. I better not even look over at my game PC and double click on the Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword icon. I suck at the game but I can't stop playing it.


11 August 2007   Vegas Pics vs. 20 (T-20)

So you're getting my and Jeff's Vegas Pics plus my noticing that I only have TWENTY days left in the Air Force. Fucking-A!!!!

Alright, I promised you Vegas pics, so here they are. I also said there were no New York City pics, and on that pledge, I have kept firm. Still don't know anything further about that NBC job, but rest assured, one way or the other it'll be plastered all over this damn site, that's fer shur.

You know, I really am getting a bit psyched/nervous/excited/a-scared about this whole becoming a civilian thing. It's not just the job thing either. There's more I've got to talk about, but that's going to have to wait until September 1st. But still not having a definite job lined up yet is starting to make me a little antsy. And even though Lindsay Lohan is singing to me right now that I'm the 'Ultimate', I just won't feel that way until I get employed. Okay, enough of my neurosis for now. Let's bring on some Vegas pics!!!!!!!

SO! We didn't leave for Vegas until Friday afternoon, so as you'll see below, we didn't have much daylight to play with by the time we got there. Allegiant Air took us directly to Vegas from the Springs, which is awesome (direct flights rule). We easily made it to the Flamingo, we all were a little jazzed by the cool GO room I had booked (it is the cool renovated rooms that Flamingo has now - very swank, but not sure I HAVE to have it now when I have to pay for it; I'd rather get a regular room comped than pay, methinks, but it was worth it this time though) but we quickly realized we were pretty hungry. We first shot for Margaritaville, but apparently you need reservations as it was an hour and a half wait. Ouch. Briefly considered waiting, but hunger won out and we went to the Flamingo's Paradise Cafe instead, where we got seated immediately and I began playing Keno shortly afterwards while waiting for the food. After that, I changed to get ready for the Beatles LOVE show and then we three walked from the Flamingo up to the Mirage, where the plan was to watch the volcano and then I'd divert to the LOVE show and Jeff and Susan would continue walking. Well, didn't know that the Mirage's volcano only goes once an hour - so I missed that. Said goodbye to them, and headed into the LOVE theatre, which was quite a venue. I got first row seats, and it was well worth it. I will only provide clumsy words trying to describe the show, but it was spectacular. It was loud, it was hyper-visual, it was happy, it was sad, it was amazing. The music used was perfect, and I now have an even greater respect for the Beatles music. The soundtrack is breathtaking, and I am finally glad I got to actually 'see' it for myself after picking the soundtrack up last fall. Highly recommended! (I'd rank this higher than 'O', btw).

3 August 2007 - First day in Vegas

Susan and Jeff in the Las Vegas Airport tram to Joy
Should I play Craps or Blackjack first?
Pic 1 of Jeff at Margaritaville
Pic 2
and Pic 3
Looking up at the Flamingo at night with cool silhouetted palm trees in place
Jeff and Susan by a Flamingo waterfall
Awww, aren't they cute?
Walking past the Caesar's Palace Colosseum
And by a colorful fountain outside the Forum Shops
The Mirage
The sign for the Beatles LOVE show I went to
Looking south on the Strip from the Mirage
The Mirage's dormant volcano
A blurry shot on the strip
The psychedelic entryway to the Mirage's LOVE theater
The LOVE Theater from my first row seat
Looking a little left
The T.I. pirate ship
The view from Jeff and Susan's room

The next day, we woke up, got some breakfast buffet, and then Jeff and I headed to the free craps lessons (yes, I didn't need them, but it was still fun to see what the casino says about the game!) while Susan met up with her best friend and went to the fantastic Flamingo pool, along with Erin who joined up with us that day. After the lesson, Jeff and I played craps for a bit, then wandered over to O'Sheas casino for more gambling fun and of course, midget viewing. You see, at O'Sheas they have a 'leprechaun' who pours shots down patrons' mouths and blows a damned whistle while doing so. It's quite a sight, and I know for Jeff, it was glorious. We ended up playing craps some more after being unable to find a blackjack table to play at (I ended up not playing Blackjack at ALL this trip).

After a while it was time to head back to the hotel room and get ready for going out to the Hofbrauhaus! It has been since I actually left Vegas that I'd gone to my favorite beer hall, so I was definitely looking forward to going back. Even better, we were going to meet up with Loren and Amber while there. It was definitely a great time and the Hofbrauhaus definitely seems to have built up a crowdbase since I'd been there. I remember some Fridays and Saturdays we'd go and it really wasn't all that busy. Not so this time! It was great to see my pals again from Vegas though, and I realized I definitely have missed them. And it felt just like old times and like not much time had passed since we had hung out. Sweet.

After a good time at the HBHaus, we said goodbye to Loren and Amber and headed over to see some sights that Susan and Jeff hadn't seen. First was the Hard Rock Hotel as it's right next door to the HBHaus. That place never fails to impress me, especially considering how small the casino floor really is. It's just one big circular room with a sweet bar in the centerpoint. We were there a little early for it to be super hopping, but it was still easy to imagine it packed. Better yet, we beat the super long taxi wait and jumped in a cab to see the Fremont Street experience. Again, this wasn't for me, but it's definitely something to see at least once. I just like the Strip a lot better than the vibe from Downtown Vegas. That's just me though. Anyways, by the time we finished exploring up there, I was definitely exhausted, and it seemed everybody else was tired too. The plan had been to go out to a club afterwards, but all this drinking and journeying had tired me out for sure. Maybe next time!

4 August 2007 - Gambling and Hofbrauhaus! (Day 2 in Vegas)

View from MY room
At O'Sheas - the midget of drinking goodness
This guy is out of control
Just blow a whistle while reading my site and you'll have the whole experience
One more for good measure
Me passing out a bit to get some rest - totally not drunk at all....
Erin, on the other hand, has tons of energy
She's hiding now
Time to activate self-picture-taking Hobie
Awww, you wouldn't kick this out of your bed, would you???
Pic of the flatpanel TV in the main room (another TV was IN the bathroom mirror)
My feet and shoes. This is very artistic.
I crack myself up, obviously
Erin getting ready in the bathroom. Yes, the room is pink and lit by green and pink lights
Another self-shot
Ah, the Hofbrauhaus
Busty girls
Copping a feel
The main drinking hall!
Me and Jeff and two huge beers
Now that's head
It's blurry because we're totally swinging back and forth
Still swaying
Me and Erin sway too
It's Amber, Loren and me!
Jeff and Susan
The three of us
Standing and waving and drinking - not a good combo
Erin with her 'mini' beer
Totally surprising decent shot of my bad side
Who's lookin' at ya?
Jeff and Susan
The Ricola horn is out
Jeff at Binion's Downtown by the Poker Hall of Fame wall

The next day, Sunday, was a nice day to catch up on some rest and catch some rays at the fantastic Flamingo pool. We ate an 'early' breakfast buffet again (it is totally in your best interest to get to the buffet line by 9 am or else you'll be waiting lots longer) and then while Erin, Susan and I went to the pool, Jeff went over to the Imperial Palace to check out the Classic Car collection (he took lots of pictures of those, but you'll have to go to his website to see all those) and then play some poker at the Flamingo poker room. Anyways, back at the pool, amazingly we found 3 pool chairs together, but it certainly wasn't an easy task, as past a certain time, that place gets packed. It was nice to just chill though and listen to some great 80s tunes over the pool's speaker system. A few hours later, we finally decided to get up, shower, and then head over to Caesar's and the Forum Shops, mainly to people watch and browse the many awesome stores there. We managed to kill quite a bit of time there and then headed back to meet up with Jeff for dinner plans. The idea was to go to Benihana's at the Las Vegas Hilton, so we took the monorail over there and found out that you definitely need to have reservations! So we ended up going somewhere I'd always walked by but never actually went to: The Star Trek Experience. Yep, we went there for dinner. While the dinner was very disappointing, in terms of food and service, it was still quite an interesting place to be. They really spared no expense creating the outer space atmosphere, even with people decked out in Vulcan or Klingon makeup and clothing. Erin had to leave at the end of dinner to go to the Airport, but before the three of us left, Jeff and I decided to take part in the official Star Trek Experience.

We bought out military-discounted tickets (so expensive, still!) for the two 'experiences' that await you: The Borg in 4-D and the Klingon Invasion Experience. We went on the Borg one first, and it was certainly interesting. It's a little (okay, a lot) hokey, but hey, it was somewhat interesting, as you're 'running' through hallways to escape the Borg and finally go into a 3-D theater room that has a little bit more of a kick than you're expecting, as the seats have 'pokers' that jab you when the Borg probes attach onto you. It's pretty trippy the first time. Anyways, that was fun, but if the Klingon experience was going to be on the same level as that one, man, they definitely sucker you with that price. But fortunately, the Klingon one was a lot more fun, at least in my opinion. First, you go into this square waiting room as you're about to board a shuttle, but then it goes pitch black, and once the lights are back on, the room has changed into a large circular chamber and you realize you're in a Beaming room. You don't hear a thing when it changes like that, but that was pretty awesome. Then you do some more running around hallways, first going on the bridge of the Enterprise, then eventually to the escape shuttle. This shuttle is just like those hydraulic ones from the Star Tours at Disneyland. Anyways, it was quite a wild ride in that thing, and honestly, I'm glad I hadn't drank for a bit, as I was definitely starting to get motion sickness.

All in all, that was a fun diversion. Not worth the price you pay, but that's like almost everything in Vegas now! We then took the monorail back to the Flamingo, where we said goodnight to each other and I went to play craps for what turned out to be about 5 hours or so (till 3 in the morning). I did really well but didn't leave when I should have, so I ended up walking away even. That's pretty damn good for me!

5 August 2007 - Day 3 in Vegas

Erin studying Particle Physics, I'm sure
Our view of the Flamingo Pool area
More pool view


On the last day, we woke up, got some breakfast, and then checked out and headed to the Airport to come home. It was just the right amount of time to spend there and I needed to get home because there was plenty of stuff to do in order to get ready for my New York trip the following day. And you all know how that turned out.


10 August 2007   The Onion (T-21)

is making me laugh the hell out loud.

The headline that is truly making me cry just by the headline alone though:
Butterfly Fuck-Swing Filled With Junk Mail

And there's more, especially the video segments, which are so damn funny and so damn true to how news programs present the news. Some of the recent videos include a Congresswoman proposing a bill for a Ladies Night at the new DC country bar and a story on the crash of the Internet. Awesome. Go explore the Onion's website and laugh like hell.



9 August 2007   I Heart New York... (T-22)

...but definitely could have done without the completely ridiculous adventures I had getting there and coming back home.

So first, we all had a great time in Las Vegas! I didn't lose all my money, ONLY half, which for me is a mighty accomplishment. It is actually due to me not playing craps the way I was supposed to be, and I lost my money accordingly. But the last night I was there, I played for 5 hours doing the things I was supposed to and outlasted tons of people at my table. It was sweet. But of course there was a lot of stuff that went on, but I'd rather wait till I put together all my pics and then do a proper Las Vegas update. So hold your horses on that, wouldya?

As for the debacle that is also known as my New York City interview trip... Well, let's just say that if I don't get a job offer, the signs were definitely there to back that decision up. So I was set to leave on the 7th of August, a Tuesday, from Colorado Springs, flying to Denver first, and then taking a direct flight from Denver to LaGuardia airport in New York, arriving around 6:30 in the evening. I was planning to check in to my hotel out near the airport and then take the train in to make sure I knew how long it would take to walk from the subway to 30 Rock, and also just to get a chance to be a tourist again in NYC and take some pictures (please note, I have NO pictures from NYC, so you now have an idea of how things went in the future...). I get to the check-in counter at Colorado Springs and the counter agent makes a face and goes, "Oh, that's not good...". Wonderful. I was beginning to think of my Puerto Rico travel nightmare, which up until these past two days was one of, if not THE worst, travel experience ever.

So why wasn't that good? Because it turned out United (who I pledge to never fly again on if I can help it) had cancelled my flight from Denver to LaGuardia. No reason given, just cancelled. And the gate agent could not find any other flights to get me to NYC that day. She would get real real close to finding something, then nope, not available. We even tried going West first, going to LAX then maybe flying direct to NYC that way. Not happening. Finally, 30 minutes later, she found a way: Take my original flight from CS to Denver, then fly from Denver to Dulles Intl in DC, then Dulles to LaGuardia. But of course that many flights means I get there later - and yes, amazingly, all those flights actually flew as expected and I got to town around 11:45 pm. So sightseeing and studying my notes and reviewing stuff for the interview...didn't happen. Then I thought I'd take the hotel courtesy shuttle from LaGuardia to the Holiday Inn Hotel I was staying at in Queens (btw, I was totally in Ugly Betty's neighborhood). About 35 minutes later, the shuttle finally comes after I had called in a request to get picked up. So now I finally get to the hotel around 12:30 or so and then end up having to pay for the hotel room myself because the hotel needs to see the physical card that it was booked on, but of course I didn't book it with a card of my own, GE Travel did. Whatever, I am hoping to get reimbursed for that. The cool part of the day was getting travel advice from the very New Yawker hotel guy Mike at the front counter, so I felt confident in getting into the city the next day and having plenty of time for an on-time arrival. So I get my clothes ready for the interview, and promptly pass out in my bed (which was in a suite, sweet!)...

....and wake up to the sound of torrential rain on my window around 6 in the morning. I think, "Oh great" but realize, okay, fine, I'll take a cab instead like the NBC people had suggested. But I turn on the local morning news and find out that the rain had been part of a torrential storm that NYC hadn't seen the like of in forever. Trains were stalled in floodwaters, tunnels were closed - the city's transportation infrastructure was basically down to a standstill. Ohhh.....kay..... So I eat some breakfast (a bowl of cereal cause I was a bit nervous about the whole interview) and then get the front desk to call me a cab around 7:45 am to ensure I'd be down to 30 Rock by 10. I rush up to my room, change into my suit, pack everything fast, check out of my room, and realize I've just "hurried up and waited". Because my cab didn't show up till about 9:15am, because basically everyone in New York was cabbing it in to the city and there were no spare cabs around. So by this point, I figured there was no way in hell I was going to be on time, so I repeatedly called the POC who I was supposed to call in case of problems, and no answer any of the times. So I'm thinking I'm screwed. But I get in my cab, which turned out to be a towncar (leather seats, nice!!! - what a way to go to the city for an interview in a nice suit - I'm totally ready for NYC), and my crafty driver drove us through the back streets of Queens (to avoid the completely stalled Grand Central Parkway) and over one of the bridges into Manhattan and onto one of the highways at the perimeter of the island. Manhattan is huge. Anyways, after all that great speed and progress, the slowest part of the drive in ended up being while driving on 49th St from the shore towards 30 Rock, which is between 5th and 6th Avenues. By a miracle of God, I ended up at 30 Rock's plaza at 10:05, which for all intents and purposes was on time. I walked briskly by all the hordes of tourists who wanted to go take the NBC tour and look at the Today Show's windows and made it into the inner sanctum of the NBC elevators - and the interview began! But not before I realized I had no idea how to operate NY elevators - I got in one that was open and discovered there were no buttons inside to press. So I exited and figured it must be a private elevator or something. Then I see a guy get in another elevator and jump in with him. I was to go to the 2nd floor - we went to the 7th. There again were no buttons to press inside the elevator. I really began to think I was not nearly as sophisticated as I thought I was, and in fact quite a retard. Then it dawned on me - there was a bank of buttons off to the side of the many elevators that had numbers on them - and you press the number of the floor you want to get on there and then a little display tells you which elevator to wait in front of that will take you there. Definitely not what I was used to!

The guys who interviewed were totally cool about the small delay I had and didn't seem to hold it against me. I ended up getting interviewed by 5 different people throughout the morning and afternoon (each on their own - it wasn't a panel interview) and throughout the interview we would walk around to the main guts of the NBC broadcasting facility, which was amazing. The NORAD command center has nothing on this place, seriously. I saw where they put together and distribute all the feeds for each of the different time zones, as well as the 'Live' control booths where people monitor and edit the Today Show, NBC News live broadcasts, and Live Sports events. It was pretty cool. Anyways, I think the interviews ended up well (my recruiter called me this afternoon and said that he received positive feedback from the NBC folks today and that they liked me a lot....we'll just see if that equates into a job offer). Around 2 though, I left from the 2nd building I had to go to (the last person was in a building on Madison Avenue, so I hoofed it over there looking like any other number of NY business folk) and decided against a cab this time as I still wanted to go on a subway. So I walked down Madison Avenue towards Grand Central Station - which was incredible. I was literally in one of the world's most recognizable transportation centers, and it didn't disappoint. So that was about the extent of my sightseeing - NBC and Grand Central Station - yes, that's not a lot but that's all the time I had. I did find the subway station I needed to go to and got on a train easy enough to take me right back to the Queens area near my hotel. Of course, the weather was ridiculously muggy now that it had rained all morning, so my suit was not exactly keeping me cool. But I got back to the 111th St & Roosevelt Ave station for Subway #7 and walked my way through definitely the most hispanic part of Queens I could have found, me, the white boy in a suit, strutting my way as if I had no care in the world. And honestly, there was nothing to care about at that point, as my interview was done and now I got to go home.....

....or did I? Basically, I got to LaGuardia and immediately saw that my departing flight from LaGuardia to O'Hare (another airport I will do my damndest to avoid if at all possible - that is the worst airport ever for delays, EVEN over Atlanta) had been delayed about a half hour. Okay, I should still have time to make my connecting flight from O'Hare to CS. So I check in, get through security, and find that LaGuardia is the worst airport ever for in-terminal food. Seriously. They had nothing, so I decided to go to Auntie Em's pretzel place and the service people tell me that not only do they not have any food for another 10-15 minutes, the sodas from the fountain are almost hot. What....the.....FUCK???? So I tell them to go fuck themselves like a true New Yorker (okay, I didn't do that, but in my head I did) and find a bakery-ish place and get a croissant and once again, a god-damn WARM bottled soda. But fine, I was thirsty, and wanted the soda. Anyways, I then discover that LaGuardia is the world's worst airport for seats in the terminal. This place was a madhouse and apparently all the flights out had been delayed. Joyous. I do find a seat and soon realize that I'm sitting across from the Food guy from the Queer Eye guys. That was possibly the only highlight to the trip home. Because I soon realize that my flight has been delayed for not just a half hour, but a full hour and 15 minutes. That's a potential problem. But I'll play it by ear. So eventually we board the plane and as the plane taxis out, I nod off...only to wake up and realize we're still not flying. At all. Then I hear the captain say that basically the ground traffic controller had directed us to one runway only to not let us take off and direct us to another! WTF? We finally get in the air around 7pm, a full 2 hours after I was originally supposed to leave, and unfortunately I had about 50 minutes for a layover in Chicago. So naturally when I get to Chicago I see I've not only missed my flight to CS, but there are no more for the rest of the evening, as by now it was around 9pm. I then go wait in the ridiculously long and slow customer service line to find out my options to get home. I see there's still a Denver flight that leaves Chicago around 10:25pm....I may have a chance to get home on that, as I'd just ask a friend to come pick me up. So I slowly make my way through the line till it's about 9:40pm - and the lady tells me that there's no confirmed seats on that flight but did I want to know what I was rebooked on? I say, sure, thinking that if I can't get on standby for tonight's flight I'm surely going to get home the next morning. Well, she kind of chuckles in a way that means it's about to preface bad news, and it was: not only was I not rebooked on any flights the next day (Thursday), I wasn't going to be confirmed on any flights even on Friday (whether it be to Colorado Springs OR Denver)! Basically I couldn't get a seat for sure until about Saturday. And because it was a weather delay from LaGuardia, United was not going to pay for a hotel. I think she realized how fucked this was so she signed me up for a United Mileage program which she told me entitled me to a higher position on the standby list (WHO KNEW?! So a lesson to all you out there, like me, who find that you fly standby a LOT more than you ever expected to, especially this summer! Sign up for those damn membership mileage programs, it's in your best interest). So I walked over to the gate, praying to all the gods I could think of, to just get me home tonight. I did NOT want to spend the night at the airport. And amazingly, I ended up getting a seat and got to fly to Denver, where thankfully Jeff was willing to pick me up.

So seriously, the interview turned out to be the easiest part of my trip. And that doesn't make much sense to me. But apparently I'll hear back, yay or nay, by early next week if NBC is interested in making an offer. Cross your fingers.


1 August 2007   Vegas, then New York City! (T-30)

I'm off to Vegas for a few days of fun and debauchery - then I'm off to NYC for my 2nd Interview with NBC!

I've been writing about my career search in the Shooting Gallery and will keep it up to date as things go down. NYC will definitely be an awesome opportunity, but if I can't sell my house...it will be much easier honestly to stay here in Colorado, perhaps. Now that I'm exactly 30 days away from being out, well, it's a lot more of a reality that I have to find a job!!!! Anyways, here's the link again if you're interested:
Shooting Gallery Thread on my Career Search

Besides working on finding a career, there hasn't been much going on, to be honest. Especially since I was all Mr. Joe Travellots when I went to Chicago and San Diego. But this upcoming week will be interesting, for sure. And then it's time to say ByeBye to Air Force. Crazy! In the meantime, I seriously can't wait to go to Vegas - in store for that vacation: gambling, drinking, Hofbrauhaus, pool-lounging, dancing, etc. It's gonna be awesome.

Anyways, just wanted to check in and let you know what I'm up to. I've been watching Big Brother 8 like a fiend as well and commenting on it in the Shooting Gallery here:
Shooting Gallery Thread on Big Brother 8

Also, I finally started posting on DVD Talk's forums, specifically on Big Brother 8. I've been reading that site since 2000, and hadn't posted until now - it's a fun audience to discuss the show with, that's for sure. Especially since no one here in my little crowd is willing to admit they watch the show!!!! Here's the DVD Talk Big Brother 8 forum thread if you're interested. They're already up to 700 posts!!!