Tuesday, May 30, 2006

20 hours in work boots

Not that I haven't done that before - it's just usually been all on one job.

My first commitment for the day was a job at 8am helping a dance company load into a theatre that specializes in that sort of thing. The theatre has house crew, so I wasn't actually hanging lights or building stuff. It was strange for me to watch other people work and not participate in most of it. Today I helped unload a truck, picked up 150' of light rope, sat, ate donuts, sat, ate lunch, sat, unloaded part of a trampoline from one truck and loaded seats into another, then finally unloaded the seats at a different location and put some other stuff into that truck. The main theme for the work day being sitting. I also figured out how to gain about an 18-point advantage in Mancala before allowing the opponent their first turn in one version of Mancala. There were also some tranny roommate jokes.

So after all that sitting and playing games on my cell phone, I was tired and hot. I was also in the neighborhood of my favorite bar. So I went there, calling my friend who lives nearby on the way. She was just getting done at work and agreed to meet me. So I got there and had a Corona with a lime and it was good. I was thirsty and dehydrated and drank it too fast, but we all have 20/20 hindsight. Anyway, I'm most of the way through my second one before I decide to call her and say that she needs to hurry it up or I'm walking. She says she's on her way, so I finish the beer and wait outside. I'm a lightweight and I don't want to start my third until she gets there. So she arrives, I have another beer, she has a Bud Light. I don't know why people choose to drink that stuff.

There's a place in the area where they sell pizza based on weight or length. The pies are eliptical. I had a pound of pepperoni and half a pound of vegetarian. Salad. My friend wants to see the Da Vinci Code and a rock band her friend loves. It's 8:15, and the next showing of the movie is already sold out. Also, the line's long. Among the things I don't believe in is waiting in a long line. So we go to Home Despot to replace a nail she's bent (!?) and a drill bit she's broken. Home Despot sells their drill bits on cards with plastic covers, and the little ones come in pairs. At least they know their customers. It's also easy to find drill bits that fit the non-adjustable chuck on the chick drills they try to foist on innocent, unsuspecting women. While I think there are sexier things than women with 18-V DeWalts, that's not because I have any objection to women having professional power tools. So we end up buying a set of screws and drywall anchors, a pair each of 1/16 and 3/32 bits, the cheap ones until she starts wearing them out before she breaks them, and a whole picture hanging set. I also bought myself a wire stripper to replace the one I'm still pissed off about losing the other day.

This brings us to 8:45. We were supposed to meet the friend at Arlene's Grocery at 8:30. For those of you who still think I'm smart, I discovered tonight that they have another room there where the musical performances are, and it's bigger than the area I thought was the whole bar. We got there around 9, in her car, which she's been driving around since she met me. I'd have parked it somewhere and walked for the rest of the afternoon, but then this story would have ended three hours before it does.

But before I get ahead of myself, the band was Lisa Jackson + Girl Friday. They rocked my socks off. Bear in mind that I'm wearing two pairs. I spent a while trying to figure out what Lisa Jackson's gender was (didn't know the name of the band until after) before deciding that ?e was some variety of transsexual, and if it was important to h? that I know, h? would tell me. Anyway, she cleared up the pronouns toward the end by introducing herself and mentioning she was a tranny, which was in connection to their genre being "queer rock." I'd already reached that conclusion independently - she presents as an 80's-retro rocker chick, not as a man dressed as an 80's-retro rocker chick, and the inconsistencies in her physical appearance said "transsexual." So it was nice to have that confirmed. Now all that being said, the combo rocks my socks off above and before any gender-politics issues need to enter the conversation. They have a sound that reminds me of Queen if Freddie Mercury, Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, Lars Ulrich, and my favorite bartender had a massive orgy.

Next, we drive back up to Union Square, park, and go to the movie. I thought it was ok. She thought it was amazing. When we left the theater, things went sideways. Her car is gone. Into thin air. No broken glass, just empty curb. No other cars there either. Lots of fire trucks though. It was a little surreal. She asked a firefighter in one of their SUVs if he had any idea what had happened. He seemed to think it had been towed. At that moment, a NYPD tow truck passed. She flagged it down and talked to the driver for a while. About fifteen feet away, a taxi is idling, waiting for her to get in. It emerges that her car has most likely been towed for a parking violation, and is at the police impound on 12th and 38th. We walk straight past the taxi, my friend announcing that he has some nerve assuming she's going to need him, and she won't get in his cab. Now we're heading west on 14th. I ask her if she's going to take the subway or cab it. She decides we will take a taxi, so we flag one down and go looking for the impound lot. Turns out that 38th ends at 11th, where it runs into the Javitts center. We drive south to 36th or so, turn right and hit the West Side Highway. We've been driving North for half a second or so when I spot the sign for the impound. We follow the sign, and pull into a long taxi ramp. Get out. Security guard points us back the way we came. Next gate. It's closed. The one after is open, so we head toward the line to pick up vehicles. I see that there's a sign laying out the things she'll need to get her car back - license, registration, proof of insurance, and, of course, money. I ask her if she has that. She says that of course she does, they're in the car, and hurries for the door. I decide that it's not going to do anything to try to slow her down and tell her she'll need a special pass to get to them.

The office for picking up towed vehicles is a nasty little room with truly heinous fluorescent fixtures and eight windows. One of the other people there comments that we must have gotten towed too. I say that no, we're here for the lights and decor. It emerges that everyone else there (six people, in two separate groups) was at the same showing of The Da Vinci Code that we were. The guy ahead of us gets his paperwork, so my friend starts in on hers.
It didn't take long before she started yelling at the woman behind the glass to try her ATM card again, and to wrap it in a plastic bag and try it, because that worked when she was a cashier. I'm thinking that we're probably going to get thrown out and I'll never see my speed wrench again. Finally we end up having to go to an ATM.

Remember, gentle reader, we're on the Hudson River at 38th. My friend walks a little way uptown, where we hear there's an ATM, then decides that it's 2am in the middle of nowhere and she needs a police escort. She asks the guys who were behind us and couldn't get their car because it's the guy's father's car if they want to take a walk. No dice. We head another couple feet uptown and a traffic enforcement car passes. We backtrack all the way to where the very first gate we never got through was and ask if the parking enforcement guy can come along with us - he doesn't need to let us in the car, he can just follow if he wants. No. Finally we just walk the three blocks (short ones) to the ATM and my friend gets money. We go back, and she gets the car. There's also a guest appearance by a disheveled woman with a sleeping bag tied to her waist.

There turns out to be a special spot at Pier 79 for people caught up in the anguish of drivers. I had to wait there while my friend got her car. Then I said that we were going to eat. She said she wouldn't eat because she wasn't hungry and had had a huge tub of diet Coke and didn't need more calories. I said I didn't care if she was hungry - it would make her feel better. She insisted she felt fine, just annoyed. In the Book of Andrew, annoyed is not fine. Anyway, we went to the West Way on 44th and I had pie. I had hoped that she'd order something when I did, but that didn't work. At least I got pie. Then she drove me home. My roommate's best friend is sleeping on the floor across the path I need to use to get to my bed and I almost tripped on him and/or trampled him coming in. Remember, I'd put on my steel-toes twenty hours previous, and hadn't had a chance to take them off.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Cowboys and sailors, oh my

A while back, I met Randy Jones, the original cowboy from the Village People. Events transpired, cocktails were bought, and names were added to mailing lists. I think that I posted the story on my MySpace blog.

On Tuesday, I found an e-mail from him in my hotmail. Just a mass e-mail, but it's still fun to be getting invites to things from pop icons. It was a benefit party for the Tourettes Syndrome Association. So I called the girl I was going to be going dancing with on Thursday and got her on board for this as well - I hate velvet ropes, unless I'm going to be on a list, and then I just have to go. My roommate, unfortunately, is out auditioning today, so he had to turn down clubbing last night.

Anyway, the Tourettes party wasn't supposed to really start until midnight, so we added it on for after going dancing. I wore low-slung boot jeans, a polo my uncle got in the 80's, and the harness boots that are a partial replacement for my combats, which have a hole in them now, and threw a pair of jazz shoes in my pocket. One reason that I'm going to have to get something more similar to the combats is that this is the kind of evening where I'd usually just wear them the whole time, because I hate changing shoes when I go dancing. The girl in question wore a black dress and La Ducas at the first place, then a smaller black dress and a shoe that's not a couple hundred dollar investment designed for musical theatre dance for Quo, where the party was.

Quo has really cool lighting. Lots of LED fixtures fading through different colors lighting vertical columns full of water. Really expensive booze, but it is a night club. The volume was so high that I could hear the giant speakers struggling to produce it cleanly. Girl and I had a Glenlivet on the rocks, which I highly recommend - very mellow Scotch, which I won't do the disrespect of comparing to something else. She immediately took out some of the ice. I like people who truly enjoy what they drink. There were a number of sailors around, who I'll return to later.

The event was emcee'd by a model, don't remember who, who has Tourette's. Any Tourette's symptoms were not in evidence, but he was a strong argument for the idea that models shouldn't be allowed to speak - long, rambling comments that eventually meandered their way into introductions for the performers. The first one was an aging disco queen who had her track started twice. To her credit, someone used to performing with a live band is used to having a monitor mix designed to be useful, rather than the house mix which is not. But still. Following her, more remarks, then Randy Jones who looked relaxed and pleased to be there, but not too worried or overly excited. He came off as charming and very genuine, and got everyone in the club to engage in his performances - "I'm a believer" and "YMCA." He brought the sailors up on stage before YMCA, which should make it that much easier for them to get a little extra out of the evening, and someone shot a bunch of pictures afterwards. Should be an interesting thing to show their shipmates if they get copies.

Randy and his husband recognized me when I went to say "Hi," which is always fun. They invited me to drink with them, but I have to work today and my friend does too, so we left shortly after. But a fun evening, and she wants to go see a real ballet with me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ancient Foot-in-Ass Kung Fu Technique

So if anyone (Zach) is interested in how that software uninstall went, there were some definite repurcussions. Outlook started crashing when the client tried to send an e-mail. I'm not sure why this happened, but I ended up having to reinstall the entire Office suite to give the executable the resources it needs. That didn't repair the DLL issue, though - the registry was still telling it to expect to see the file. But I found out how to disable that from within the software, so everything works and starts clean.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Everyone's a little homophobic

I'm a little bit too.

There's some context as to why I was thinking about this today, but that's another story.

I have no desire to be homophobic, or racist, which I won't lie about either, but in my small way I am. The racism's another blog too, although until this afternoon I'd thought about racism and homophobia in the same way, and now I think they're separate, at least for me.

I've been to college, trained as a dancer, and work in theatre. So I have interacted and continue to interact with gay people pretty frequently. I've even had a couple of gay roommates. However, I'd say that the majority of people I've known were gay and interacted with were trying to pick me up. Maybe not trying very hard, but the degree really isn't important here - the suggestion was there. And it's not unlikely that it was my perception, and not reality, but we're talking about the contents of my head here, so that's not important either.

Some radical feminists say that all sex acts are acts of violence. I think that's going way too far. If a girl gives her informed consent and I have sex with her, that's not rape and it's not violence. And if I choose to let her tie me into some kind of bizarre suspension harness and do weird stuff to me that leaves bruises lasting days, it's still ok. The key being consent. However, if I were to walk up to a complete stranger and tell her I want to tie her down and flog her, she'd most likely be pretty freaked out, and she'd be right. It's no different if all I'm suggesting is some kind of mundane sex we all imagine our parents did once per child.

So if a man tries to pick me up, or a hypothetical me that's a woman, if I don't want to have sex with him, he's threatening violence. If most of the gay men I've interacted with have flirted with me, that means that in a very small way, most of the gay men I've interacted with have threatened violence. Of course, this doesn't only apply to gay men - it's anyone who indicates to me that they want to have sex with me when I don't want to have sex with them.

Of course, I've been on the other side of that interaction, and I know that that's not at all what they meant. But the persistent ones who don't back down always have more emotional weight. And I know in my head that that's not what they meant either, because there are a lot of people, both genders, running around who get off on making people work for that phone number. But homophobia's not an intelligent thing. At least now I can claim that my homophobia is pretty much the same deal as the general distrust a lot of women feel toward men as a group.

I guess this is reason number 54 that I have a hard time chasing girls - seeing my advance as a threat of violence. Yay.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Kung Fu is the best.

Today was a long day in general, but I ended by hacking a client's computer to remove a corporate edition version of Symantec Antivirus. This version requires an administrative password to remove. He didn't have it.

Since I couldn't just uninstall the program, I tried to delete the directories through Windows Explorer. I couldn't - the files were protected. Since the account I was using was already an administrator account, I didn't think there'd be a point to trying to do it from a different one.

Next, I rebooted the computer into safe mode with command prompt. Since safe mode only loads the core of the operating system, I figured I'd be able to delete the program's main directories, then reboot in a normal configuration and complete the uninstall with the Add/Remove Programs dialog. This has worked for me in the past- Windows is frequently able to clean up after a messy uninstall.

In this case, no dice. I decided to go ahead and install the anti-virus software I had just downloaded, which was why I was trying to get rid of the old one in the first place. Didn't work - it saw the previous software and refused to install.

I knew that I needed to mess around in the registry, but I thought I'd see if maybe Symantec made a utility for tidying up a messy install program. It's possible. Maybe. Turns out they have an article in their knowledge base on doing a manual uninstall of the program. Most of it is hacking the registry. Followed the steps in the article, re-started, and finally I could run the install program for the new software.

I rock. I will not be defeated by a mere password requirement. At least, if I have physical access to the machine. Work tomorrow in slightly less than eight hours.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Serial 2

Manhattan and the others waited in the silence for what seemed like an eternity. After what she knew to be only an hour and a half, the automatons started to appear. When the first one winked into existance, Manhattan and her comrades attacked simultaneously, and it was gone almost as fast as it had appeared. They all vented some heat and then held it in again, and didn't even allow themselves a comment.

Three more automatons trickled in, and the six destroyed them as easily as the first. Next, about twenty arrived in quick succession. Newark really had bitten off more than he could chew. Since the automatons could see her attack anyway, Manhattan stopped trying to hold her heat, and none of the others did either. The area became a hell of ordnance and stray energy. While before, Manhattan had looked and listened so intently it almost hurt, now the glare made it difficult to distinguish friend from foe. Manhattan was attacking as fast as she could vent heat from her weapons and the humans she travelled with could supply her guided and inertial launchers.

Then, as quickly as things got loud, the remaining automatons fled. Manhattan counted six heat signatures as they turned tail and ran, and another three floated in the darkness, heat and energy pouring out of their battered bodies.

Riding high on the excitement of the fight, Manhattan pushed in the direction the automatons had gone. Bronx and Queens followed, while Newark, Nassau, and Brooklyn stayed behind with damage of their own to worry about.

Serial 1 (repost)

Manhattan drifted silently through the dark. She'd always thought the name was a little unfortunate, but nobody asked her. People asked her a lot of things, but not about her feelings. She supposed she felt some affection for all the humans who travelled with her anyway. They had small, fragile lives and they trusted her. They had a sense of being part of something larger than themselves. Manhattan listened to the darkness. A little static. The steady pulse of an unbalanced star spinning somewhere in the distance. Nothing else. She looked through her many eyes throughout the ship. The humans knew they were there, but it never occurred to them that she watched.

Manhattan let her mind wander for a while. Some far reaches of her brain calculated distances to the stars and relationships among them. Another part disassembled messages from the humans and put them back together. To her, they seemed like jigsaw puzzles with obvious patterns to reunite them. She wondered why she did this. She'd noticed one of the humans who travelled with her liked to turn his light switch three times when he entered the cabin, and his bathroom kit was always arranged just so. She supposed he felt the same way about this as she did about so many of the things she did. She knew she should tell the human everyone was afraid of, but she didn't have the heart. Humans had so many secrets from each other that they cared so much about.

Manhattan suddenly felt a compulsion to go somewhere else. From time to time, a human might enter a destination on one of her terminals and it would seem like the most important thing in her existence to go there. Sometimes others like her would be on the other side. Frequently they hurt her. She'd tried to talk to them, but they seemed to be deaf. The necessity of travel tugged at her mind, so Manhattan put aside her musings and looked around. Still nothing. She pushed, and found herself closer. She looked around again, pushed again, and travelled further. Finally she reached her destination. She saw nothing.

Then, out of the darkness, she heard a whisper. Bronx. He sounded happy to see her. Bronx was always happy to see her. Most of them got along. There weren't very many of them, and so many who looked like them turned out to be automatons that it made more sense to be friends. Bronx said that they were being quiet. There might be enemies around, and they were hiding for a while.

Manhattan relaxed throughout her body. She wanted to release the heat she'd generated coming here, but she held it in. It was a little uncomfortable, but she could handle much more if she had to. She and Bronx conversed in whispers. He and Newark had been hunting. They had made many kills, and some of the humans who went along with them had been very happy. A few had even praised them.

Manhattan often wondered why so few humans ever spoke to her. Some that did said that the others couldn't know that she was different from the automatons. The engineers all spoke to her even though they weren't supposed to know. Sometimes they even poured out some of their drinks when they celebrated. Manhattan knew they were trying to share with her, even though all it meant was that she was a little dirtier. She supposed the appreciated the gesture.

Manhattan always paid attention to her surroundings. Large and small flares and waves of heat reflected off of the bodies of Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau as they arrived in the area before hiding as well. Finally, a much brighter flash heralded Newark's arrival. Newark whispered to all of them that he'd found many automatons in a certain area, too many for him to destroy on his own, and that soon they'd chase him here. He wanted them to stay quiet and wait in the dark for their arrival, and then they would destroy all of them.

Manhattan enjoyed the excitement of days like the one that was coming, but she always felt nauseous and sore afterwards. The humans that travelled with her felt the same, from what she saw on the many eyes she turned inward.

Monday, May 08, 2006

More functional computing sucks.

Some kind of little bee crawled up my tuchus yesterday and made me make my morning computer ritual more efficient. Instead of opening my gmail, Hotmail and MySpace accounts and the National Weather Service in separate tabs in my Firefox, I set up a Google homepage with feeds from a couple of blogs I follow, (non-MySpace) gmail and a weather report. I'd gotten so used to click-Ctrl-T-click-Ctrl-T etc., and then working through the links and logging in, then working through and closing them. It's somehow much less satisfying.

I think this afternoon's efficient computing task, if I'm not too fried from work, is going to be adding a hit counter to this page. 'cuz yeah, I have to admit I want to know.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Welcome

Many of my friends are too paranoid and/or cool to do MySpace. While I can identify with the first condition, I think the second one's a little silly. So I'm going to comfort myself with the fact that everyone's on MySpace, so obviously if I commute to somewhere else I'm less cool than I was when I had a blog there.

Why reflections? It's a pun. On reflecting, as in thinking, and as in a mirror. Because I'm a theatre person and theatre is supposed to hold a Magic Mirror to society. Magic mirrors are also supposed to be able to show otherwise invisible things, like the random contents of my head for anyone who's masochistic enough to care about that kind of thing. Which should tip you off that I'm not working on a theme or trying to reach any standards of quality. I'll save that for work.