29 April 2008

and the beat goes on

This week has been about the good news and the bad news for me. But so far, I think everything is going well and will work out. The short story is my truck is sick. But it's at the dealership holding it's warranty and standing strong.

And I switched tracks on the career front. This equates to me starting a new job on May12. Saving the environment.

Or something like that.

In other news, the temperatures are dipping down to lower 30's tonight. And back to the upper 70's by the afternoon. Has anyone ever heard of that being called a 'blackberry spring/winter' ?

22 April 2008

and, i'm back

Excursion #17 of 'my job doesn't start until _ days (which is still undetermined)': complete.

Hiking on the Appalachian Trail is just something to write home about.

Day 1 commenced a bit atypically. My buddy Carl and I set out from Amicalola Falls in northern Georgia on a nice spring morning. Mother Nature changed those plans. Here, the weather looks somewhat tolerable. Note the thicker jackets and lack of foliage though. The temperature was hovering around 40. 3 minutes onto the trail, it began to snow. And not the light, wispy snow either. Throw in some bone-chilling wind and hard sleet.

Not to be outdone, we arrive at our shelter about 7 miles later and realize the snow we'd been hiking in was not letting up anytime soon. But we did meet up with this other hiker, Cary, who had just started a few hours after us. And was headed to Maine. So we ended up hiking with him a good part of the week. Cool guy. Keep in mind that 2 days prior, the highs were definitely topping 80 degrees. Just a fluke of a cold winter blast. Blackberry winter? Is that what it's called?

I've never heard winds howl so hard in the night. I think I slept an hour total Monday night. And there was a light dusting on the ground when we awoke.

After Monday, the skies cleared and the sun began to warm everything. It warmed up so much that it was actually just plain hot. Funny how I complained because I was cold and then because I was hot. I like to whine.

Somewhere along the trail we hiked through some old growth pine forests that were just plain cool. And old. And huge. Note me for scale.

By the end of the week and 35+ miles later, we were done, exhausted, in pain, bloody, filthy, content, proud, and just hungry for a good meal. A meal that was found with a 20-minute drive to a Zaxby's. When I took this pic it was definitely in the mid-70's with a nice breeze. But we were so drained and dehydrated that we were so cold waiting on our pick-up. And leftover trail mix that had tasted so good hours before was not so appetizing for me anymore now that I knew a Zaxby's was only minutes away. Carl, on the other hand, thought otherwise.

13 April 2008

a footpath

I'm headed on the Appalachian Trail this week for five days of backpacking. Or as I like to call it.. a vacation from vacation.

It's been a while.

11 April 2008

an open letter to Ticketmaster

Dear Ticketmaster,

How are you doing? I hope you are doing fine. Hopefully if I speak in short sentences and with a 3rd grade syntax, you will understand me better.

Let's start with money first.

Wait, come back! Don't run away from me. You know what I'm talking about. You conveniently charge me with these absurd fees that 10 years ago when I first started using you, they were barely anything to write home about. And now look at me! A public outcry on my blog, for goodness sakes! For sake of arguing, I've copied the actual bill from a recent transaction below.

As you can plainly see, I purchased ONE ticket. To a Counting Crows show. 3 months in advance. And I barely have any money to begin with (but ok, that's not your problem). So, said ticket cost me $23.50. That is awesome!

And then it began. A list of charges followed.

Convenience charge.
Building facility charge.
Order processing charge.
Ticket charge.

Sure, maybe not all of those charges are your fault. Maybe the building charge has to be put there because of the venue. But whatever, it's on my bill and you're handling it and therefore I'm blaming you. I just don't get it. Even the $2.50 charge for you to EMAIL my tickets to me so I can print them myself, thus ELIMINATING costs for envelopes and stamps and printing on your side. I'm essentially helping YOU, Ticketmaster. And what do you do? You charge me for my generosity! How dare you? It's because of your monopoly on ticket outlets, isn't it? Do you walk up to scalpers at shows and charge them convenience fees for scalping tickets too?

Let's return, for a brief moment, back to the issue at hand. Fees. Recall that my original ticket cost me $23.50. It doesn't take a scientist to add up the fees and come to the conclusion that in the end, I'm being charged $21.20 in fees for a total of $44.70 with tax. I'm paying almost the ticket price just to YOU! And what are you going to do with it??

Hopefully you will use it to maintain and create more security features on your site. Why? Because I'm generous enough (but don't charge me $2.50 for this) to show you where you flaw once again. During the 10 minutes it takes to actually acquire this ticket, I am subjected to security features that prevent whoever from buying or spamming or whatever people do to websites. I'm fine with this. Usually it's a simple prompt to enter in a few letters. But not you Ticketmaster. Oh no. You take it to the next level.

With hieroglyphics! You'll have to forgive me for not having refreshed on my hieroglyphics in my spare time this week. And my hieroglyphic keyboard is currently at the Geek Squad repair shop. I nearly broke down and decided that Counting Crows were just not going to be on my summer concert tour this year because of my incompetence. But no, it was your incompetence. Forgive me..

But wait! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better. It did. After I hit submit to confirm my entire life savings to you, TM, I was rewarded with 2 emails! One being the confirmation of said life savings. And the second being a real reward. What's this? I was rewarded? You had the audacity to give me a free download of a song from itunes!

A value of..

99 cents.

That feels like a hug to me.

Appalled in Atlanta,

10 April 2008


Does it get much more lame than this?

This year...

and last year...

08 April 2008


Another 10k under the belt..

03 April 2008

it's that time of year again. bridge run time.

On Saturday, I'm on par to run my 4th consecutive Cooper Bridge Run 10k in Charleston. Previous installments to the blog concerning me running (ok, so mostly just proof pics) are below. Earlier I had convinced myself that this was my 5th year running it, but since I cannot find proof of that, I'll just concede that I'm wrong and it's only 4.


Last year was a 54:00+ time. This year, I want something 53:59 or below. We shall see.

I'm more shocked that I have this archive of blogs dating back to Oct2004. Sometimes it's hard to believe I've been writing that long.

play dead

Tonight at midnight, when I was driving up the cul-de-sac into the drive, there was a possum in the drive next door.

I stopped.

He stopped.

I eased forward and started my turn and descent down the drive, all the while staring at him.

He finally caved in after my blinding headlights subsided slightly and waddled off. I use waddle because he looked like an over-sized duck. Waddling. Off into the yard to inevitably find some scrap food that wasn't sealed in a trash can.

It always cracks me up when I see 'wildlife' in the 'city.' This, after growing up on the farm and it not being out of the ordinary to see said wildlife. But then again, I suppose I'm 'rural' nowadays since I'm outside the perimeter of the actual city of Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the pollen has stuck with an evil attack. Today was the first of many days when everything turns yellow. My red truck is no longer red. Even my computer desk has a faint yellow hue to it since I've left the window open.

Spring has arrived!