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29 January 2008   I'm a Perfect Match for Myself

At least according to Yahoo Personals, which says that I am a total match....to me. <sigh> Is this what it's come down to???? Just kidding - but I keep chuckling every time I see that when on there.

Hey, guess what? I went back to Colorado Springs and it was awesome. I flew out on Thursday and got in there around 6:30 or so at the airport, and while walking through towards the front of the airport and expecting to see my friends...I saw no one! A little annoyed - to be honest - I look a little bit more around the area out in the lobby area and all of a sudden this crazy woman is running at me from behind a pillar! She's shrieking in some Xena-Warrior-Princess language when suddenly I realize it's KD! She attacks/hugs me and then I see Jeff and Susan also emerge, and they reveal that they had decided to hide in the airport lounge and surprise me. I'm sure there were a few nervous airport security personnel, but who cares, it was awesome to get that kind of welcome! And so began a very fun, albeit passing-quickly weekend of fun spent with my best friends in Colorado Springs. That first night back (with Melissa, Eric, and Heather also coming over after we got to Susan's house) we hung out at Susan's just hanging out, eating and drinking, while laughing and catching up and telling stories. The next morning on Friday is when we proceeded up to Keystone and the two-point-five hour drive there, which went by easily as Friday isn't a very busy day on the highways to there especially in the late morning. That first day was great as we ended up skiing at the very end of the daylight part of the ski-day and then we night-ski'd, which is always a blast. Keystone definitely is a lot of fun to ski at because it has ridiculously long runs that you can really get into and not feel like you're already at the bottom again waiting in line to get back on the lift. That night I passed out pretty early due to a combination of messed-up body clock, altitude adjustment, and just being tired from skiing. The next day, breakfast was consumed and then we were all back out there on the slopes, getting over to the backside of the mountain and eventually chilling at the bottom of Mozart as we tend to do. It's just a nice place to relax and enjoy the day and watch a lot of crazy skiers. We sort of ended the day early and then headed back to the lodge to chill, which is a definite nice thing to do after a day's worth of skiing. I ended up wiping out twice (the only time I did wipe out this vacation) one time right after the other at the very end of that day because I was just tired as hell. First fell backwards and slid down the slope....got up, skied about twenty feet, then fell forwards and slid down a bit more, filling up my jacket with a nice layer of snow to keep me frozen...

Even though it was fun to ski, the main attraction for me of this trip was just getting to spend time with my friends. It made me realize how much I've missed being around them, that's for sure. As more time goes by I know it'll be harder and harder to recapture that energy we all had when we were all there, but for now it's wonderful to be able to still all get along like we do.

On the last day, I rode with Melissa and Susan back to CS in Melissa's BMW (nice!) and then after a lunch at Noodles (God I miss that place - of all cities in the world not to have this particular chain of restaurants, why does NYC NOT have these????) they dropped me off right at the airport for my flight to Dallas....which unfortunately I found out got delayed 2.5 hours! I already had a huge layover in Dallas but that layover was actually only 2.5 hours too, so basically I began to realize that my slim chance of making my flight was very very slim indeed. While waiting for my flight to go to Dallas, I kept checking on my iPhone (thank you, iPhone web browser!) the flight status, willing it to show me that the flight in Dallas to Newark would also get delayed - as all I needed was like 20-30 minutes of delay to ensure I had time to get off the plane and run to whatever gate I had to go to for my flight....and about 30 minutes before we left CS, the Delay I hoped for showed up! So I had hope of not spending the night in Dallas...and sho'nuff, when I got to Dallas, I made my flight to Newark....but of course I didn't get home until about 2:30 in the morning on Monday, and I was going to work that day... and I couldn't sleep yet, so when I finally passed out at 3:45 I got to wake up about 2.5 hours later to get up for work. Ugh. Monday was a long day.

And so here I am now. I have a slew of pics to put up from work and from my trip back to Colorado Springs, so click away and enjoy!

23 Jan 08 - Officemate Evonne's last day in our office

Evonne at her desk, working hard
Or hardly working...
I sure will miss her though!! She was a blast to have around to talk to.
Joe and Dan were there for the cupcakes
Because Evonne is awesome and brings treats to her own 'farewell'
Gotta take pics of the festivities, right?
There's Arielle - she is not going to miss the cupcakes either!
Evonne hard at work
Or perhaps just confused?
Evonne and Arielle
Me, Evonne, and our poster
Evonne and Jason
Evonne, Me (in need of a haircut to clean up that mess), and Arielle
Action shot of Evonne


24-27 Jan 08 - Back in Colorado for SnoFest 2008!

Jeff, Susan and KD after their Airport Ambush
Me and Heather at Susan's that first night
KD and Eric
Susan! She redid her living room - it looks fantastic
Melissa aka Missy
I think KD is about to backhand me
There's nothing like huddling around the laptop!
Jeff again!
Laura as we got to the condo at Keystone - yay snow!
Jeff and Laura
Me and Susan after skiing
Smiley Susan and hardcore me
Hardcore Susan and Smiley Me
Don't know what...
KD and Melissa (peeking in the background)
The ever-popular self-shot, this time by Melissa
Eric and KD at the Beach area at the bottom of the Keystone back
Me, Jeff and Melissa
Hells yeah, bitches
Jeff too - you can see me in his glasses if you look closely!
Me at the top of River Run
Again - no flash
And here's where Eric decided to just keep taking pics without telling me or KD
You'll see KD has great trouble with her goggles
Ah, finally we're aware our pic is being taken
Melissa and a ghostly Crepeau
After a long day of skiing, sometimes vegging is what the doctor ordered
Jeff and me during our ridiculously long dinner adventure

And that's pretty much it for the latest. Been back at work and while for some reason I was hesitant to go back, that was needless stress, as it's great to be back and now I'm on to some new projects! I get to work on translating some aspects of our current 30 Rock automation system (the system that is responsible for making sure that the national shows and commercials make it to the world) from its current SD (standard def) incarnation to the HD1 (high def) one. It will actually be pretty cool and I'll be learning even more once again!

And oh yeah, if anyone has some other pics from SnoFest this past weekend and of certain other folks (you know who I'm talking about), I would definitely appreciate a copy! :-)


22 January 2008   I'm Searching for a River...

My dear friend VerNonica Dorothy Penny Andersen would instantly know what I'm talking about. But having seen the name I just typed for her, she would also instantly dropkick me to the ground too.

So yes, the "I'm Searching for a River" story. It's an oldie from my high school days. Back in those golden days of yore, Roni and I would hang out quite a bit, especially with her family, who were just very cool people that exposed me to a lot of interesting Southern California stuff, mainly the awesomeness of the Sunset Strip, Hollywood, UCLA (I can't deny that Roni's mom's absolute love of UCLA was a huge factor in my desire to go there), Malibu, Palm Springs, Tower Records, seeing movies properly, LaserDiscs (and ultimately to DVD)... it was a great time to be alive. That sounds silly, I know, but my last two years of high school were a LOT of fun. Anyways, that was just setup to this story - one day we were driving around when this groovy song came on over the radio, with a really nice beat and this great female voice singing about true love, and she kept singing that "Rivvveehhhh, I'm searchin' for a Rivvvvehhhh, someone to set my heart free.....Riveh! IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII am searchin' for a Rivvehhhhhh....." Yes, I was totally in tune with this great R&B-flavored song and totally understood the metaphor of looking for a river and how that could be interpreted as love..... and Yes, I was a total retard who apparently needed to get his hearing checked! Because of course I'm referring to the song called "Real Love" by Mary J. Blige. And the song suddenly made so much more sense when Roni explained what the actual lyrics were...of course after she finally stopped laughing at me.

Why am I telling you this? Because the last few weeks have made me realize that I am certainly looking for more than just flings and such. If you can't deal with these things, then feel free to go to the next paragraph. I'm obviously not going to get into graphic detail here, but I've just realized that I really do want to be in a relationship. Dating gets old and I really don't think I have the patience to keep going on first dates. There have been a few things that have happened in the past month that have made me really think about who I am and what I am looking for and what I am expecting from others. There's one guy who doesn't have the time of day for me and is pretty much way more horrible than I am at communicating yet for some stupid reason I can't get over him. Then there's another who is just a great guy but I really just want to have him as a good friend as I really need those as well as a relationship, and frankly, having good friends is almost more important to me than the other stuff. I don't know, just writing this still makes me realize how confused in the head I am about things. I'm worse than a girl I think. I think I know what I want but let's be honest, I think I'm also quite clueless still when it comes to this stuff. I've obviously omitted a lot of the details here, especially with regards to the guy who is worse at communicating than I am. That whole experience has left me seriously messed in the head as I have no idea what is going on with him. Okay, I'm rambling. But this has been some of the stuff that has taken up quite a bit of my free time (the little I have) and has left me feeling kinda apathetic about the whole dating thing.

As promised, no more talk about my personal life. How about some pictures from my iPhone?

Jan 08 - Random Pics from my iPhone in January

A pic of an NYC sunrise while riding the ferry to work
No more Rockefeller Tree! That puppy is LUMBER now. Couldn't believe this was gone overnight!
Closeup of what used to be a majestic tree in the middle of NYC
My feet while waiting for the ferry to take me home.
Here's a pic from Port Imperial.
My keyboard at work. I told you these were random pics, right?
While waiting for a bus on 34th St, here's the coolly lit Empire State Building
And me!

Random thoughts on other things that have been going on in the past two weeks:

- I saw Cloverfield this past weekend with Greg. AWESOME. I definitely enjoyed it more knowing where all that stuff actually was and having been to most of those places myself. Great disaster/monster movie that ended just as it should have. Lily Lives!

- I also got drunk this past weekend after Cloverfield and after getting home. Ugh. Not a good idea to start with Beer and completely ignore the sage advice: "Liquor before Beer never Fear; Beer Before Liquor Never Sicker" I tend to get goofy, horny, and stupid all rolled up in one obnoxious package and I say and do things I really have no business doing. It's certainly fun to be drunk but not fun to pay the price the next morning. Luckily no puking, just discomfort and realization.

- Watched the movie 'Once' on DVD. Great boy-meets-girl-he-can't-have-but-they-have-an-incredible-connection movie with amazing songs sung by the two main characters. It's termed a musical but it's definitely a different take on a musical. The songs (not 'musical'-y, very much a folk/rock feel to them) are so beautiful and the final scene of the movie brings tears to your eyes due to a combination of the song that is playing (Falling Slowly, a genius song I must say) and the last lingering gaze we have of one of the stars. Go rent it.

- Also saw 'Million Dollar Baby' a few weeks back and man that was depressing.

- Work has been cool. I'm definitely doing pretty well there and am known as the King of Reports. Well, maybe not, but that's the title I've given myself so I'm cool with it.

- Shelly has returned and it's so nice to have her back. Just having someone to talk to at the end of the day is such a nice thing. Especially after the month before with having no one to talk to!

- I went to Mohegan Sun this past weekend because I could no longer keep away from the tables. It's an amazingly huge casino and while I of course didn't win money at craps, I was glad to have at least gotten to play. Next time though I need to spend the night as going up and back in the same day is 5 hours of driving and I was frickin' exhausted by the time I got back.

Other than that, just a lot of me me me in terms of what's been occupying my time. Hope you're all doing well and I will probably not be updating till I get back from COLORADO!!!!!! Yay - I'm going back to go to SnoFest and to see all my wonderful friends!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!


6 January 2008   Empire State Building, y'all

I've resumed my exploration of NYC again, now that the hordes of rampaging tourists have gone back to their barbarian settlements. ;-)

Not a moment too soon, I tell you. It was close there. Like I mentioned in my last post, the throngs of people there on that Friday before New Years was ridiculous. Re-DONK-ulous, if you will. Now where was I with respect to everything? Well, New Years was a lonely affair but not totally depressing because I did ring in the New Year with my CS friends via the phone at least, both on my New Years and during theirs. That was actually a lot of fun. Next New Years will be different, I tell you. You heard it here first - and you can quote me on that.

Those 4 days off (again) were pretty chill though, but it was still nonetheless difficult to muster up the motivation to go back to work, even if I do love my job! I was a little tentative about returning because one of my tasks in the weeks leading up to New Years had been to get an Oracle Report developed that would satisfy the all-powerful Affiliate Relations department head. So task #1 was to learn Oracle Reports.... I spent the last 2 weeks up to New Years getting that taken care of. Task #2 was actually developing the report, which I fortunately did in those last 2 days I was at work before the New Years break. I was actually quite relentless in getting a working one done with a SQL query (heh heh, I wrote query) that actually returned desired results. Then I brought my laptop home to work on it further during these 4 days off....and yeah, that totally didn't happen. So on the Wednesday after New Years, the first thing in my Inbox (heh heh, I said Inbox) was an email from my boss which was actually a forward from the Affiliate Relations head saying, "WHERE'S MY REPORT????!!! (fire and brimstone voice there)" I showed my boss what I had and he said, 'Great, good luck when you show it to them!' ....uh, what? That's when I realized I was on my own for this one, and that lonely ride to the 46th floor was all mine. So my happy ass went up to hostile territory (as basically they hate us....long story short) to take my punishment. But an hour and a half later, I left them all with a smile. HELLS YEAH, bitches. The AR head actually smiled (which is unheard of) and she emailed my boss saying the report was great and thank you...which is also unheard of. Talk about a great way to start off 2008!

And then to make things even better, after Wednesday, the barbarian hordes dispersed! Yes, I could actually leave 30 Rock and walk out on the plaza where the tree still is and there weren't bajillions of people all jostling to take pictures of the effing tree and me having to try not to walk through the shot and eventually not caring if I did. I'm sure there's someone in North Dakota who has pics of my scowling face and Rockefeller tree. Noticing this drawdown of people re-sparked my desire to see the city again on my own time, so I decided it was time to go check out the Empire State Building again. Again because I had been up it before....when I was 12 with my Dad.

So on Saturday, which was quite a lazy day, I made all the plans and also did some research and purchase of templates for a major overhaul to the illustrious hobiebarnes.com (stay tuned for that! it's going to take me a bit of work to get this one going but it should be cool if I can actually get it done). Then this morning, I got up relatively early for a Sunday (8am!), got a Starbucks jolt, ferry'd over to Midtown, stopped by 30 Rock to do about a half-hour's worth of work for those above-mentioned Reports, then walked down 5th to the Empire State Building (picking up some new shades at Fossil as I desparately needed some black aviator style glasses, let me tell you). Mom and Harv said they want to see this when they come out this spring so I figured this was a great way to scout out the area too. I was prepared for ridiculous lines as that's what all the guidebooks say, but with the weather being a bit dreary and it being a Sunday morning, there were basically no lines. It was awesome. I went to both the 86th floor Observatory (the main one everyone goes to) and the 102nd floor Observatory (which is up in the very top of the spire right before the actual broadcast antenna begins - it's a teeny tiny chamber up there) - man, what a view! I do have to concede that the Top of the Rock Observatory on 30 Rock has the better view though. You can see the ESB from that as well as a much better view of the Central Park area. So if you're in town and you only have time for one of the two MegaViews, I heartily recommend the Top of the Rock! Then you can also see where I work! After the awesomeness of the ESB, I then walked seemingly all over Midtown, heading back up 6th Ave to 49th, stopping at GAP for some clothes and then bypassing the ferry bus back to the terminal because the weather and peopletraffic was actually quite nice. Plus I had been a lazy ass the day before so I figured I'd get some low-impact aerobic exercise in. Boy did I. When I finally got home, I promptly passed out for a much-needed nap. And that brings you to now!

6 Jan 08 - Empire State Building day

This was my first bird-friend of the day. Here I was waiting at Port Imperial.
The view me and my birdfriend shared of NYC while waiting for the ferry
The Chrysler Building as I walked down 5th
Walking down 5th towards the entrance to the Empire State Building
Ah, there it is. You'd miss it if you weren't looking....
The view south from the 86th floor
No WTC - still crazy to think about
Looking a bit southeast now to include the Met Life building
A pic of the 86th floor level - then I noticed this guy has hair of different colors for each side of his brain.
My 2nd birdfriend of the day. How the hell did this guy get up here??? (and yes, I know he flew, dumbasses)
Still looking south. That's the Flatiron building in the center
Due southeast
Straight up shot of the spire
That, my friends, is looking towards my apartment. (look just to the left of the top of the building on the right)
Looking west and you can also see Macy's
One of those 'please don't let me drop my camera by accident' shots
A better view of the spire. The 102nd floor is that small circular level before the antenna.
Looking south towards Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
And now North, and looking to Midtown
I love Midtown
That's 5th Avenue as it heads North
A view Northeast to see the Met Life, Citigroup, and Chrysler buildings
So not ready for this closeup
Times Square is in the chaos down there.
Trying to capture the Eastern bridges but the visibility really wasn't that great
Chrysler building, Trump Tower, and the UN are in this shot
Here we are up at the 102nd floor Observatory! This room literally has a 25 foot diameter I am guessing
Times Square again, from 102 floors up
Just to prove it
I don't know if these jutting things are scenic or to attract lightning. If the latter, peace out in a thunderstorm.
One more southern shot before I headed back down
This is the lobby you see upon first entering and exiting the ESB
Had to get at least one pic of me not held by me
Bryant Park
And a view of the ESB from Bryant Park