Travelin’ Band

My work related travel took a big increase with my current posting and that is a good thing to get that kind of experience. It can a bit of stretch at times however, but you try to find some fun along with the myriad of long security lines and barely made connections.


You have to be amused a little at the human condition, but especially at the times of air travel. The announcement of boarding makes everybody mill about like we are Black Friday shoppers waiting for Walmart to open. I’ve noticed a big of a swagger among some travelers.

There is no greater locale for people watching as all sorts come through airports. My most recent travels took me from Buffalo to Boston to Philadelphia in what might have been the longest 30 hours in recent memory. It was a pretty convoluted itinerary, but it’s what you do when you are told on Monday that you have to be someplace on a Friday morning, and that someplace is across the next state.

And the next thing you know, you are watching four women in full berkas cueing up at Checkers for some quick take out (or one going up many times quickly).

But, it’s not without its moments where you can’t help by laugh a little, like the Boston security guard watching me make my late arriving connection from Philadelphia to the other end of the c terminal to get to the Buffalo bound plane on time. His cheer of “Go, OJ, go” was pretty funny. Their placement of gate c29 away from c21 was not, but lesson learned: 35 minutes between flights is shaving it pretty close.

And never count on the booking site to be accurate with telling you where you’ll actually stop



Office Spaced

Linked in is nagging me with the fact that I haven’t written in sometime. It’s not that there aren’t things going on, just a lot to digest. The main one for me is a transition. I’ve relocate professionally from a revered nonprofit and a great job to the great unknown. While there are enticing challenges that lie ahead, it’s a little bittersweet. The last time I joined a big corporation with serious buying power, the president was taken away in handcuffs fairly quickly thereafter. This, friends, was not a good omen. But on my second last day at the nonprofit, I got to pet a rhino. That sort of thing happens at the new gig, that might be an issue.

But I have reason for optimism. This is my first job change in sometime and certainly unusual in that I’m leaving one great experience and moving to another, with chances to incorporate and actually build on what I’ve developed over the past 7 years. While it’s a little weird for me to see my pending vacancy online while I’m still in the chair, I’m glad and proud at what I’ve been able to do. That’s said, it’s exciting to start thinking about what’s next, writing the “new book” as Jed Bartlett used to say on “the West Wing.”

I started this particular entry some time ago and it’s been sitting unfinished as I have jumped into my new job and settling into something of a routine. Your day starts a little earlier. Your commute takes longer than playing “Stairway to Heaven” on the car stereo. You’re getting the lay of the land at the new place both on the physical finding the coffee and the bathroom levels and on the are we cool with the group that runs the new shop. And just how glad are they to see you.

It’s funny the little things that change with a new work culture. For years, the bridges that linked Buffalo to Niagara Falls were a sore spot with me, hate em. The ongoing construction project nature made me really dislike going over them, but after hitting them twice a day for two weeks now, I’m taking them like a road warrior, changing lanes and doing what you got to do.

It’s the little things. With any kind of work, it takes time to find your voice and where you can chime in and I’ve always been a little bit impatient with that process, but writing it here is a good reminder to breath, and if the traffic gets like that scene in the opening credits of Office Space, where the guy with the walker is making better time, turn up the tunes and smile, smile, smile


Midweek Tidbits, Munchkins and Other Pastries

Got out on the bike tonight and it felt great and humbling at the same time. I do wonder what it does to the thought processes after awhile. Me on a bike through Gates Circle is a sight me in my car would have thought to be a true idiot. But I made the trek down to Delaware Park and did a lap of the famous ring road, periodically running along this teenage girl on an old school style banana seat style bike. I don’t think she lapped me, but she wasn’t working hard either.

I was working hard. It’s part of my process of learning to navigate city traffic. Buffalo drivers do sort of suck. The mentality seems to be “Go right-a-fucking head” upon viewing a yield sign. I would like to see our residents navigate something like New York’s Henry Hudson Parkway as part of renewing drivers licenses. That would separate the posers from the true motorists in a heartbeat. Felt good to get out and shake the cobwebs from the first part of the week. Did a slow roll back up Elmwood and it is always a neat way to see the world.

I think the Buffalo Kayak tour is calling for Sunday. I’ve been thinking and thinking and it is time just shut up and do it. You should come.

I read a revue of a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show from Europe that described the show as phenomenal and quite a victory lap. Victory lap? That is a cliche that smells like the end is near. It’s to be expected and if that is the case, it’s been a hell of a ride, but I’d like one more round. The current tour could add a Buffalo stop, after all we’ve mean to one another, c’mon Bruce, one more and I’ll quit making snide comments about “Queen of the Supermarket.” Ah, well, that alone might make a small road trip worth doing.

Dealing with a waffling sponsor prospect for my office which unnecessarily stressed me and ruined the afterglow of a good sponsor meeting to start the day yesterday. Got to love a meeting where they feed you. Bacon should always play a role in these proceedings. Good folks to work with and I hope we can come together.

This beat impaired old duffer is headed down to see George Clinton tomorrow night. For free? hell yeah, Uncle Jam wants you. Good tunes and beer, these are a few of my favorite things.

Got a bonus night with my loyal traveling companion last night, the resulting Family Guy marathon, videogaming and munching of Mr. Pizza’s finest did us both a world of good.

Wednesday was better for it.

That was the week that was…

It’s been some surreal days….

My office was the driving force behind a black-tie fundraiser last friday. I think it may have cured me from any public speaking fears ever, as I modeled both a rug and a canoe for a crowd of 500 people. Most of them were rather disinterested and more concerned with their wine glass content but even still. The things you take for the team. I did my best “Vanna White” with both objects within the context of a live auction. That unnatural picture set the tone for an odd week to be sure.

We do an “Earth Day” promotion every year around this time to avoid the unpredictable April weather in Western New York. The reward for such precaution to see an example of all kinds of earth weather, currently raining as I write this. The time honored equation of thinning hair and fat rain drops is its own waterboarding. I confess, already.

Great confluence of events at work has skewed my playtime. I’m ready to return to my regularly scheduled stuff and go on the sunday morning kayak tour, but circumstances conspire to keep me landlocked. Next week, a sea lion birthday party. The price of showbiz!

Did I mention the new digs? Events again conspired but at least in a good way, as I got out of the closet that I was in and into a space that has windows, a whole wall in fact. I can stop staring into space and start staring into Delaware Park. Never has a mac guy been so glad for windows.

It’s the little things that keep you going sometimes.

Doughnuts and Beer

You know it’s an ominimous start. My employer is partially a union shop. Given the unionized population dwarfs the nonunion, what they say goes for everybody.  Something about that doesn’t seem right. My current health care provider is dropping said employer because of lack of volume.  Employer responded by finding a decent solution and pitched it on Monday to the masses. Those types of presentations aren’t exciting, but it did the job. The union workers just voted and just picked something else, for no foreseeable reason. So, I lost healthcare for the second time this week and have to scramble yet again, this time without the virtue of any materials or prep or any foresight. That’s great. Please note the dripping sarcasm from that last sentence.

Knew the day was going to be an odd one. Had to run a meeting of volunteers who are so apathetic, they barely represent at the meeting, hence the donuts of the title.

We’re having an opening tonight, so we get the treat of staying at work another three hours. This is usually a grim prospect, but it was made a little better hearing my boss order extra beer.

I have a good boss.

Chelsea sublet available

The caller-id on tv from Time Warner can be a mixed blessing. I do most of my calling with my cell phone, but when the TW phone rang and displayed my older sister’s number on Tuesday night, I couldn’t help but cringe. Love her dearly, but she makes me nuts. It’s a call I knew I had to deal with but I wasn’t looking forward to it.

She is in epic streak of bad luck. She is in the graphic arts/printing industry in Manhattan. Her firm got sold and the new owners started running the business into the ground by bouncing her in late 07. The industry is both changing and rapidly deserting NYC. She hooked on with another firm for a while and booted around this time last year. Since she is by herself, that wasn’t an immediate source of panic. This was before the economy took its current swan dive.

Unemployment and 401K draws later, so drastic steps have to be taken. She was busy holding out for the miracle offer and associating way too much with coming back to our parents house. It’s for a few months and a chance to attack the job problem from another angle and a little more support, not to mention some relief from the pressure of looking for work around NYC while living in New York.

She had herself wrapped up that coming home meant the end, that she envisioned returning to Buffalo to take care of an ailing parent (which we don’t have) or our disabled brother. He has a job and his own place. Somebody had to be an asshole and tell her to prioritize, that those past couple of sentences don’t exist as issues, that our younger sister lives in Harlem and has all kinds of experiences in subletting, so she keeps the place, she had their place to stay for interviews as the economy improves and yields more chances. She just needs to accept the offers.

So, a little respect as I took one for the team. She got rolling today and enable my dad and younger sis to get the ball rolling with local storage of her stuff in NYC, getting going with a sublet, prioritizing what to bring to Buffalo for the summer, and more.

I’m still tired from the one man intervention, but if you need a short term sublet — I know a 2 bed room in Chelsea that could be had for the summer for a comparitive steal.

Sometimes it pays to be the jerk.

Bad Day at the Office


Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to radio station 103.2 FM in Ft. Wayne , Indiana , who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest. Needless to say, she won.

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you’ve been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it’s not so bad after all.

 Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It’s a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature.. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I’ve used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water.. It’s like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch.

 So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. With in a few seconds my butt started to burn. Â I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don’t have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn’t stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt.

I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically.

 Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn’t poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut.

So, next time you’re having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt.

Now repeat to yourself, ‘I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.’ Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day?