journal for 2004-01-21

back in my fatherland

Huh. How did I not make an entry since my triumphant return? Too weird.

On Friday, the 16th, I took the last train out of Cardiff central to London. It left Cardiff around 21:30 and arrived in London just about eleven thirty. I checked into my hotel, which was pretty crappy but tolerable, and decided to go get some dinner. That would be my first and only dinner in the UK on that trip. I walked around, following my instincts to Paddington. I found it just around the block, basically, which was good. That meant I could walk to the station in the morning. Garfunkel’s, the Perkins-esque restaurant where I’d wanted to get dinner, was closed. The only thing I saw open, in fact, was Burger King.

I got a bacon cheeseburger, and then realized that the seating area was closed, so I headed down the street to sit at a bus stop. There was a young woman with very dyed red hair, a short skirt, and vinyl boots next to me. I figured she was waiting for the bus, but pretty soon she wandered over to a passing car, talked to the driver through the passenger side window, and then got in. I decided the exciting thing to decide would be that she was a hooker, so I did.

I went back to the hotel and talked with Gloria for a little while, and then found that there was (lousy) pay wifi. I IRC’d a little, which only served to upset me when I asked what I thought was a very benign question about contracts. When I didn’t think I could stay awake any longer, I turned in. I drifted in and out of sleep, generally waking just long enough to think, “I can still sleep a bit longer.” My wake-up call, at six, was incredibly loud. I got up, got dressed, and walked over to Paddington. Getting to Heathrow and checked in was a breeze. It was dead (at least compared to the normal Heathrow crowds), and I waltzed through all the lines. Sure, I was detained for a long random search, but everyone was friendly, and pretty soon I was at my gate.

I got some fresh OJ while I waited to board. There was a little kiosk with a big machine that turned a stack of oranges into juice. The oranges were kind of scary and almost entirely green. I didn’t notice this until I’d ordered the juice. The juice turned out to be great, although warm. (I had declined ice, thinking that it would be chilled already.)

The flight was totally uninteresting. We arrived forty-five minutes early, although I suspect that was partially because they claimed it was an eight hour flight. The airplane wasn’t full, so nearly everyone, including me, had an empty seat beside him. It gave me just enough room to put my knees apart and lean my head to the side. I slept a lot, trying to get onto US time.

I arrived, got through customs slowly (because I admitted to having food), and got to the arrivals area. Gloria, who didn’t expect me yet, had just stepped out of the waiting area, so I called her and got to wave my hat wildly at her as she walked up to me with her cellphone. It was fun.

gloria’s birthday

Gloria made a muffaletta for her birthday dinner, and it was good. We also had some of the weird chips I brought back, which were so-so. I was excited to give her her first present, a new iBook. So far, I think she’s enjoying it.

I tried to stay awake until a reasonable hour, but I don’t think I even made it to nine. I felt bad, but I felt sleepier than bad, so sleep won.

mlk’s birthday

Is MLK Day his birthday or his date of death? Google tells me it’s his birthday, and that seems more logical.

Anyway, Gloria had the day off, since the stock market was closed, so I took the day off, too. My day began around 03:00, when the helpdesk system at work contacted me and told me that the on-call guy wasn’t answering and I needed to deal with something. This didn’t make for an auspicious beginning.

We got some tasty waffles, though, for breakfast. We had some tasty chicken at Chik-Fil-A. We also ran into my old friend Pez, at the mall. It was very unexpected, and I hardly recognized him. I told him to drop me a line, and dropped him one. I hope to hear back from him, but experience tells me that old friends are not good at being in touch, even when they move into the area.

I picked up a few games: Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Halo, and Beyond Good and Evil. The Clancy games are kind of slow and tedious, but I think I may grow to enjoy them. Halo is Halo, I just figured it was an essential, and it was finally cheap enough to buy. (Surely now it will become a Platinum Hit and drop to $20.) I’ve only played a little BGE, but so far it’s good. For twenty bucks new, it’d have to try hard to really annoy me.

While I’m thinking of Stuff, I should note that Gloria gave me some cool stuff, including more Simpsons, more MASH, and all the Dirty Harry movies. (Man! I really feel like I’ve written this before. Maybe I wrote an entry and lost it somewhere!) I also picked up Season 3 Part 1 of the Transformers. I am set with Transformers for many Saturday mornings to come.

work and coding

I should write about the situation at work and my personal projects’ stagnation and my depression about my habits. I’ll do that tomorrow. Now I’m going to bed.

Written on January 21, 2004