Caffeine-addled ramblings, rants, and random thoughts about my life in pursuit of utter awesomeness and general kickassery.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Go Sooners? Part IV: How Am I Still Awake?

I get to the Company without incident and early enough where I can take a breath and have a cigarette. I called Lillith, and she said, "Look at it this way, unless you break out into Tourette's in the middle of the interview, you can't fuck this up."

Thanks Lil, now I have something else to worry about.

When the building opened up at 8 I put on my game face and tell the receptionist I'm there to see D.

It's worth pointing out that every chance I got I sent an email to M (my HR liaison) and D, just in case more drama occurred. After all, it seems the universe was trying everything to keep me from this interview. It should know better by now. I'm too stubborn to have my family's luck dissuade me.

He comes in and I can see he's laughing his ass off. Apparently he had just finished reading my periodic emails when the receptionist called him. He also said that M had left him a voicemail telling him to please reschedule the interview, since she was convinced I wasn't going to make it, at least on time.

I sat with him and chatted about the job. It wasn't really an interview per se, more along the lines of a "This is what you'll be doing." at 9 he introduced me to his director and left me there. That was more like an interview, with me telling him what my normal year is like, my workload, etc. Fifty minutes later D stole me away again and dropped me off at his VP's office for another hour. I'm glad I interview well since I was pretty much on autopilot. D also made sure to tell EVERYBODY about my ordeal. I know I got extra points for my determination, but I didn't want them to like me "considering," ya know?

After the two interviews D took me on a tour of the campus. I got the impression as far as he was concerned, I was there more for an orientation than an interview. He totally did the hard sell. I had already done my research on the company, campus, benefits, etc. Shortly after noon when he showed me the community garden and 72,000 ft gym I told him, "You don't have to sell me. I want to be here." He then told me about the further process, meaning the final approval of salary, benefits, relocation expenses. It'd take about a week, maybe two before I heard from him.

We then went back and the entire team went to lunch at one of the restaurants on campus. It was so refreshing that the team was all in the late 20s-early 30s. Most of my current colleagues range from 60-deceased. While I was eating I got a call from the airline saying my bag had arrived. After lunch we stopped by M's office so I could turn in my receipts for the rental car and say hi. My flight was leaving at 4, so I finally said my adieus and headed out around 2.

Dropped off the rental, picked up my bag and then immediately checked it in. Grabbed me an overpriced coffee and sat down, trying to convince my brain to stay awake for another three hours until I get back. Then pick up Murphy from Lil's, drive home and pass the fuck out.

Drama over.

For about 5 minutes.

At 3:30 the American rep gets on the PA. I stood up, ready to board.

"Attention: American Airlines Flight 66666 to DFW..."

I start walking towards the gate.

"Has developed mechanical problems and is delayed. They are currently working on it and the departure time is estimated to be 4:30. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Fuh. Real.

At 4:30 the time was moved to 5. My connecting flight in DFW was at 6. See a pattern? They tried to convince me the plane would wait for me, I told her that was a crock and to find me another way to Austin. Tonight.

I'll give her credit. I wasn't in the most pleasant mood by now and she did try to work out a way to get me home, calling multiple airlines, trying to connect me through Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, even via Memphis. But since this was a Friday afternoon all flights were booked solid.

I was on 3 different standbys, each passed by without your champion on board. Finally when the flight to Houston left without me, my brain sent me a text message. It told me it had enough and that in 60 minutes it would either shut down or go on a homicidal rampage.

I called Lil, apologized and asked if she could watch Murph one more day. She told me to shut up and get some sleep. (You're wonderful)

They put me on the 6am flight and got me a hotel room along with a meal voucher. I was indeed starving, but wouldn't you know it all the airport restaurants close at 7.


I finally get them to pull the bag off the plane and call the shuttle. When I get to the hotel, all I can think about is sleep. But for some reason (I guess I'm looking a little frayed around the edges by now) they ask and I end up telling my tale to the girls behind the counter. They tell me they'll buy me a drink at the bar. I told them maybe, but let me freshen up first. I made them set a wakeup call for 4. And 4:15. And 4:30 (I wasn't going to miss another flight dammit) and head upstairs to my room. I think I managed to stay awake for almost 15 seconds before passing out.

I wake up around 11. Incredible what those three hours did for my mood. Now for that drink.

Had a couple of scotches (no, I had to pay for both) and then took to the pool for a bit. That relaxed me enough to get back to sleep.

I did manage to get up at the 4:15 wakeup call, which was also when I set the alarm clock and the alarm on my phone.

The airport shuttle starts at 5. Kinda pushing it for a 6am flight, but I didn't have any other options. He drops me off at the arrivals at 5:15 (and let me have a smoke on the way. Thank you nice man). Lucky for me I was in first class, which put me in the line with only one person in front of me. If I was in coach there wasn't a chance in hell I would've made it.

The line through security is long but seems to be moving pretty quickly. For some reason I'm randomly selected to have the whole "swab your hands" thing done. I'm also on the phone with a friend, telling them to thank the deity of their choice that my ordeal is almost over.

I really need to stop saying shit like that.

When they put the swab through the machine, it lights up like a slot machine. Bells, whistles, sirens, flashing lights...

They pull me aside. "What'd I win?" I ask.

DHS doesn't have a sense of humor.

After going through everything in my bags, feeling me up, waving all sorts of things around me, and even asking if they needed to bring a dog in, they decide that the only thing that's a threat about me are the dirty clothes that had been marinating in my bag for the last 48 hours. They let me go.

At 5:55.

The security checkpoint opens out to Gate 22. My flight was at gate 6. You don't need a diagram for that one. And this time I was indeed wearing my flipflops.

They let me on; at least once I made them reconnect the jetway. They tried to balk, but I made it clear that I would be on that flight, even if it was clinging to the outside of the wing like a 6'3" baby-on-board sign.

Now they don't serve drinks on flights before 10am, even if you try to bribe them. Regardless, I kept my mouth shut until I finally landed in Austin at 10:04 Saturday morning. Got my bag without incident and paid the $40 for parking (forgot about the extra day). I picked up the pooch, thanked Lil, drove home and didn't leave the couch for 18h.

Around 6pm that night, I got a recorded message from the airline saying they were working diligently to locate my missing luggage.

Go Sooners? Part III: It gets worse

[Fade in on a car racing down a lonesome highway. Slight wisps of fog swirl behind as the car speeds towards the horizon]

When last we left our hero, he was in a desperate race against time to Oklahoma City to defuse a bomb set by Cobra Command and bring down the criminal organization known only as, "The Hive."

Or something.

Oh, that's right. I was headed to a job interview. THE job interview.

I finally drove out of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Septic Pumping at 12:15, struggling with the GPS (extra $12.95/day) to direct me towards the exit, and then onward to OKC. Instead, it tells me that I REALLY wanted to drive past departures a couple of times first. I was too tired to argue.

The GPS tells me that my estimated arrival time is 3:45am. Typically the estimated time is fairly accurate, as I drive like a grandpa, pretty much always at the speed limit, or if I'm in a hurry (like now) a few miles over.

I'm a rebel.

That would give me a chance to check in to the hotel, freshen up a little, and drive back to the airport to pick up my checked bag (which I want to remind you has apparently arrived into OKC at least an hour prior) when the baggage claim office opens at 5am. Then back to the hotel, take a shower, get my research together and head to the interview by 7:45.

The drive was long yet uneventful. But by this point I was indeed getting a little punchy. I crossed the state line and saw the first casinos and drove into road construction hell. It seemed that every five miles I was in a lane that was ending due to road work. Luckily for me it was in the wee hours of the morning and I was the only person on the road for a 80-mile radius. To break the boredom, I started timing between other cars I saw. The winner was 46 minutes.

I only stopped once for a snickers and Monster Java. It was one of those chain truck stops that sell anything provided it's deep fried, including the spare auto parts. SIDE THOUGHT: Why do all those stores carry kitschy glass/pewter/etc sculptures of dolphins, unicorns and such? Is there a big market among truckers for glass kitties? Next time you stop by one, check em out. It's the kind of knick-knacks you'd expect to find in a house owned by a chain-smoking lady with an oxygen tank and a more-than-reasonable number of cats.

The GPS was right. I pulled into the hotel parking lot at 3:42. Not really the parking lot. Because of the damage to the hotel caused by the recent hailstorms, one of the two parking lots was closed, the overflow cars parked along the street for a block. I lucked out and found a spot in the back, grabbed by bags and walked all the way around the building to check in (the back door was key-access only).

I checked in, used the facilities, splashed water on my face, and sat on the bed to catch up with my thoughts. Those bastards at the company put me in a suite with a pillowtop king, complete with down comforter and feather pillows.

And I don't have time to take a nap.

I almost cried.

Before I started bawling I changed clothes (which I've been wearing for almost 24h. Those of you that know me are aware that I'm kinda twitching about this by now) and headed out to Will Rogers "That's the best we could come up with" International Airport. I was there at the baggage claim office at 4:55. At 5:10 I finally noticed the sign that says "If you need assistance before 11am, please go to the ticket counter." Screw the line waiting for tickets, I went through the Preferred Access/First Class/Heads of State line, and made the first agent leave his post to open the claim office.

It's redundant, but I want to quote from Part 2:
"B: "Wait. Where's my checked bag?"
S: (taptaptapPOUND) "In Oklahoma City. NEXT!"
B: "Back up there cowboy. Say wha?"
S: (taptapPOUNDtapPOUND) "I show your bag arrived in OKC at 9:23. NEXT!""

Walking into the Isle of Misfit Bags, I noticed a decidingly absence of anything closely resembling my hanging bag among the motley pile of discarded luggage.

Mr. Luggage: (Filling out some form in triplicate) "How many bags do you have here?"
Tenacious B: "Ummm... zero"
L: "Did you count them?"
B: "Twice. Look, it's been a long night, so I'll try to stay calm for the moment. Where. Is. My. Bag?" I said through clenched teeth (Try it. It's harder than it seems). "Well..." I gave him the short version of the incident, plus the conversation with Mr. Surly.
L: "It's not the first time they've lied. But I can tell you for certain that the only time your bag was scanned in was when you checked it in Austin at 3:30pm yesterday afternoon. So as far as I know it's still in Austin."

I was really trying to keep it together. In other words, if it wasn't for the fact that I had an interview in two hours, there would've been an incident involving Tenacious B, several DHS officers, a tazer and more than likely felony assault charges.

But I had to solve another issue. I was wearing jeans and my "I appreciate the muppets on a much deeper level than you" t-shirt. Not exactly interview material. At least I was wearing my good DocMartens. Normally when I fly I wear flipflops to get through security faster.

I searched on my phone to locate any store that might be open that would carry clothes, and yet be open before 7am. I found a 24h Super Wal-mart near the hotel and picked out a pair of slacks and shirt that seemed relatively presentable.

After I shower, I realize the awesome quality of the recently purchased $40 outfit. The slacks fit ok, but the material was thin. As in I'm glad I had drawers in my carryon. The shirt on the other hand fit rather nicely... for a T-rex. I'm not certain what the target demographic for shirts are in Vietnam (where the shirt was made), but the shirt fit me perfectly except the sleeves barely passed my elbows. Oh well, too late to go back. Rolling up the sleeves is my only option to not look Neanderthal-ish.

7:15. Headed to the interview.

Let's recap. I was in various airports for 9 hours to travel 200 miles, then had to drive an additional 200 miles to OKC, upon finding that instead of going to the most important interview of my life in my $500 Kenneth Cole suit, I'm going in a $40 poorly fitting outfit from Wally World. With no sleep.

Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Panic

Happy Towel Day!

Douglas Adams

He's a frood who really knew where his towel was.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Go Sooners? Part II: The Drama Strikes Back

I may have mentioned it before, but my family has weird luck. It's hereditary.

It's neither a blessing or a curse. In fact, it ensures that the universe is centered, the floor is level. It makes sure that the sky stays blue, ducks quack, and armpit stains will never come out. It just means that things happen exactly the way things were supposed to happen, neither too good or too bad.

For example, it caused the sheer providence that made D call me the day I got the snarky email from my new boss, and I started looking for a new job. That's the divine side of the family luck.

And at times, it goes to the dark side.

So I'm sitting in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport & Tire Center, waiting for the flight to take me to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport & Hair Care en route to Oklahoma City. For the interview of my life the next morning at 8am. And the flight's delayed. At least it gave me an opportunity to finish up my research for the interview.

We finally board and taxi to the runway at 9:55pm. Doing a quick back-of-the-barfbag-calculation that should put us at DFW at 11ish, and my connecting flight leaves at 11:19. Landing after midnight, it'll be too late to pick up the rental but I could catch the shuttle to the hotel, catch a few ZZZ's and I'll figure out in the morning how to get to the interview.

The plane pulled up to the gate in DFW at 11:04. While Captains Bo & Luke were bouncing the plane down the runway trying to make up time, Rosemary the flight attendant gave out the connecting gate assignments.

Rosemary:"Flight 666 to OKC will be at gate D20"
Tenacious B:"Whoa, wait. What concourse are we landing at?" (So what if I ended a sentence with a preposition, I was tired.)
R:"Our gate is at C15"

It was 11:04. I had until 11:19 to get to my next flight, which involved me taking the skylink, an elevated tram that takes the scenic route around the airport, sometimes through a different time zone.
See the yellow line? Now trace between terminals C & D. Not a gay man's chance at a Sean Hannity taping will we make it.

B: "Uh, Rosemary, we won't make it."
R: "They know you're coming."
B: "Even if we put rockets on the tram and make the operator do a line of coke, we won't."
R: "Trust me. There are four of you connecting and they know we're landing now."
B: "Are they going to teleport our bags? And if so, can they teleport me as well?"
R: "Your bags actually have a better chance than you do."
B: "Rose, you're not exactly giving me a lot of confidence here."
R: "Can I please finish my connections list?"

I decided to put my faith in her words. I should've known better.

This was a sight. Tenacious B, two Bobby Hill types and a guy that looks like a retired alcoholic cockfighting referee running out of the tram towards the gate.

We arrived at Gate D20 at 11:24, face to face with a guy that was probably fired from the DMV for being too surly.

I hand my ticket to the guy, he slowly punched a few keys on the keyboard and hands me a ticket.

Mr. Surly: (taptaptap) "Here's your ticket for 9am tomorrow. We can't give you any hotel vouchers."
B: "Nope, that won't work. I have an interview at 8."
S: "There are no other flights tonight. NEXT!"
B: "Wait. Where's my checked bag?"
S: (taptaptapPOUND) "In Oklahoma City. NEXT!"
B: "Back up there cowboy. Say wha?"
S: (taptapPOUNDtapPOUND) "I show your bag arrived in OKC at 9:23. NEXT!"
B: "Chill with the next, chief. Take a Xanax. How did my bags get there before I even took off?"
S: He looks at me like I just told him I gave herpes to his daughter. "The bags on delayed flights sometimes go out on an earlier flight. NEXT!"
B: "So there were flights going out earlier? Why didn't... No. Never mind. It doesn't matter."
S: "Sir, if you don't mind stepping to the side. NE.."
B: "If you say 'next' again I will tell your boss you offered to pay me to dress up like a schoolgirl and poop on your head. Now... Listen carefully. Where. Is. My. Bag?"
S: Sighs. (tapPOUNDtaptapPOUNDPOUNDtapPOUND) "It's in the American Airlines Baggage claim office in OKC. It'll open at 5am."
B: "Thank you. Which way to the rental counter?"

He points me to where the shuttle picks up. Bobby Hill2 and Bourbon McCockfight follow in tow.

On the shuttle ride, I briefly mention why I'm headed north and B.McC comes up with a great idea. He suggests that we split the cost on a rental and drive together. Much as it would give me a chance to nap a little on the way, having a rental under my name smell like stale cigarettes and Pabst Blue Ribbon wasn't on my itinerary. Lucky for me the Alpha Bobby notices the look on my face and says that it wouldn't be a good idea since I'm on such a tight schedule. Bobby, if you ever read this, I owe you a drink.

I rent a car with GPS (tapping out my bank account due to the stupid deposit) and head north.

I'm a pioneer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Go Sooners? Part I: A New Hope

Sitting in the Austin-Bergstrom airport at the mo.

So I might as well admit it to the world: I'm heading to a job interview.

You heard me correctly. I'm trying to get a job out of state. Not that I want to leave Texas. For Jeebus' sake, I was raised in a briar patch. And I always vowed that if I were to ever leave Austin it would only be to move overseas.

So I lied. Sue me.

I won't get into the many reasons why I want to leave my current employer, but for many reasons I'm D.U.N. with them. The reason I ended up here all started back in January, and I was (to put it bluntly) pissed off. I mean slamming doors, opening up a text document for the sole purpose of seeing how many different curse words I can type in, going outside to chain smoke kind of pissed. So mad that I called D. D (I'll come up with a pseudonym later) was a guy I had worked with for years. Different company, but a lot of communication. We've worked really well together and last year he even tried to recruit me. I said no at the time since I had just gotten a recent promotion and I didn't feel like leaving Austin, much less Texas. We talked for a while, and that's when I discovered that my company has a less-than-stellar reputation in the industry. I asked him if the offer was still open. Unfortunately there wasn't a spot open, but he know a place (another company I work with rather often), and it was still in Texas. So in Feb I went up and interviewed. That's a story for another time.

Fast forward to a month ago.

The Drama Llama in my office had just just given birth to a whole litter of little dramas. And they were breeding. Fast.

I think they were part tribble.

I got a call from D out of the blue. He wanted to know if I was still interested.

I tried everything in my power to not scream out, "FUCK YES! Can I start tomorrow?"

Now don't misunderstand me. This wasn't just an opportunity to get out of my Reality show current job. I really respect D and the company is in the Forbes 100 best companies to work for third year running. Plus opportunity for growth, they'll pay for me to go back to school, stock grants, bonuses, awesome benefits, etc etc. Plus D would be my boss, and he's so kickass I'm surprised the company doesn't freeze solid from his awesomeness on a daily basis.

In all fairness, my current company has a potluck in the conference room at Christmas.

Hard choice, I know.

Anyway, he told me that he was making a presentation to his Sr Veep to get a position created on his team, and he wanted my resume and salary requirements. Read that again. He was soliciting me for a job that hasn't even been created yet.

After the presentation, the position was approved and we worked out a date for me to come up for an interview, complete with flight/hotel/rental car/gold-plated bacon...

I know, it was very wow.

I took a half-day today and all day tomorrow for the interview (8am tomorrow). Of course as I was leaving, I was handed a metric assload of work that needed to be done before I left. Of course like any respectable, hard-working individual such as myself, I promptly set the pile on my desk for Monday and left.

I left skid marks.

The ride to the airport was uneventful. I managed to drop Murphy off this time and get checked in. The DHS screeners weren't even douches this time.

Fast forward to now. The flight was scheduled for 4:10, and it's currently 5:40. That's right, all the biblical storms that had been razing Oklahoma City had now moved to D/FW, where my connecting flight was. Current update: flight is now delayed to 6:20.

Did I not mention it? The job is in Oklahoma City. Theeeeeeeeeeeere's the only real issue. The perfect place for a tree-hugging, agnostic bleeding heart liberal democrat such as myself. But if this job is as great as I imagine then I can deal. I lived in Denver for Jeebus' sake.

New update: It's now 6:45 and the flight time has been pushed to 7:40.
New new update: 7:55, flight time is moved to 9:05

I figure I'll get in about 12:30 now, which will give me a chance to get about 5ish hours sleep. Plenty of time for an insomniac such as myself.

New new new update: 9:35, and we're finally boarding.

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Here There Be Pirates

Tons of stuff going on here, huge changes, life reboot. Plus I'm getting a little tired of hearing "So, when you gonna start blogging again?"

So I'll start today with a quick post.

The Pirate Bay recently got a new host after being booted from their old one, in the form of The Pirate Party. I browsed over and saw this:

I lul'd.