Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the immortal words of James Todd Smith III

Going back to Cali, stylin, profilin
Growlin, and smilin, while in the sun
The top is down, on the black Corvette
And it's fly

I'll be back on July 6! Later y'all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome to North Cackalacky!

I came across this story today in the News and Observer, our local rag. It just makes me sad on so many levels.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The City. My The City.

Kiplinger just voted Raleigh Number Two out of the Ten Best Cities to Live, Work and Play. When one of my coworkers mentioned it in the office, nearly everyone replied, "have they been to Raleigh?" At least I can say we're better than Fayetteville, Arkansas and Boise, Idaho. Yay, City of Oaks!

Read about it here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

I left work a little late today so I got to ride with Sam. He was telling me that I-40 was shut down because Bush was in town and that if I took the 105, it would take forever and a day to get home. He was going over different routes with me and suggested I could take the 201 to North Raleigh then take City Kitty Number 1 home. For all of you playing along at home, the 201 is Bob's bus. Creepy Bob.I asked Sam if he would be on the bus. He confirmed that would not be. He then confirmed that he is also creeped out by Bob. We continued to talk about him. Sam told me he knows people who work for the EPA who ride the bus who have told him that Bob also works for the EPA. What does he do for the EPA, you ask? Let me tell you. He performs autopsies. On rats. *shudder* Sam even made the joke that Bob is probably carrying around dead rats in his tote bags. *double shudder* What terrifies me even more is that means he's actually educated. Well educated. Suddenly being a mad scientist doesn't seem so cool any more.

The president was in town today. He was helping Pat McCrory, our Republican gubernatorial candidate. The head line on was "McCrory campaign banking on unpopular president." I can guarantee that he is way more unpopular this evening after shutting down rush hour traffic in RTP today. I don't mean traffic was slow, detoured, etc. I mean, everyone had to stop. Period. On the way home, one intersection is under construction. It's the intersection of Davis and 54. It's one of the most important intersections in the park. It leads to IBM, Nortell, Fidelity, and the TTA Transfer Center, to name a few. Traffic was being directed by a guy who looked like Wilford Brimley and that on his best day couldn't earn a GED. We sat in that intersection for 10 minutes. We finally get going and I-40 is at a standstill. The westbound side was empty. About dozen cops on bikes went flying by and then came the presidential motorcade. Two limos with flags, two ambulances, and twenty state troopers. I knew I shouldn't have left my TEC-9 at home, yo. I can understand that bedlam would ensue if that self-serving, misogynistic, megalomaniacal bigot were tragically off-ed this afternoon, but does Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, Cary and Research Triangle Park need to stop what they are doing so he can come and go from the airport? I'd even be so bold as to suggest that a half a million people were standing around this evening so he could get to the airport. You know, I have to go to the airport on Wednesday around the same time. I wonder if I could get the same kind of love?

If you need me, I'll be in the woods typing my manifesto.

The sweet, young girl who works at the Armadillo complimented me on my new hairdo this evening. I want to keep it a surprise for my Cali homies, but I will say this...

Math is hard. Let's go shopping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where do I even begin?

The Red Headed Stranger has been going out of his way to say hello and goodbye to me recently. This afternoon, he got off the bus and turned around and waived at me through the window. Seriously he's totally cute. Even if he pulls his white crew socks all the way up. Sigh. That's right. White, ribbed crew socks. Pulled up as far as they go. But it's not in that ironic hipster sort of way. It's really sincere in that way that makes me think he still wears tighty-whiteys.

The 105 is still packed. Yesterday, I had to share a seat with this woman who also rides the bus everyday. She's older, super curly grey hair and extremely long legs. She's really nice and lives a few blocks down from my old apartment. We would see each other on the bus all the time, but never really spoke. She and I talked the whole way home yesterday. She's really nice and it seems like we have some things in common. We were sharing stories about weird stuff on the bus. She told me about this time that the regular riders of the 105 threw a baby shower on the bus for another regular rider. They had balloons, presents, the whole magilla. We also talked about crazies on the bus. I started to tell her about this guy who rides the 201. Before I could go any further, she said she knew who I was talking about. And she did. Turns out Bob is universally creepy. On a recent 100 degree Sunday when the bus wasn't running, I made the decision to suck it up and get one of those wire carts that old ladies use to schlep groceries. I was carrying two bags that were heavy enough to bruise my shoulders a little. (Okay, I bruise like a peach, but still they were damn heavy.) I hadn't gotten around to getting one and now I'm glad I didn't. Bob was at the Transfer Center in his full insane glory with a red wire cart full of overstuffed tote bags. I think this is proof that he can read my mind. Excuse me, I have to go make a tin foil hat.

I had to sit in the sideways seats this afternoon. I set my bag on the seat to do something and stood up all the way and whacked my head on the luggage rack. Now, those of you who know me in real life know I'm not tall enough to hit my head on anything!

The 105 was good blogariffic fun today. It started with Funquita not being able to close the backdoor near NC State. Instead of getting up and fixing it herself, she asks Cross Eyed Mary to do it. (Last week when the bus broke down by the "Veterns School" she handed the reflective orange triangles to passengers to have them put them out on the road. She's classy like that.) Mary couldn't work the door, as to be expected since she is not a licensed transit operator but rather a pee handler at LabCorp. Funquita finally gets up and fiddles with the door. This takes about five minutes. She then gets on the loud speaker and tells everyone to use the front door. At the next stop, on the other side of the university library, a woman screams in the back of the bus. Funquita turns around to see what's up. The woman says the guy with her just hit her. Funquita tells her that's not funny, she should be screaming while she driving, etc, etc, and so on. Suddenly this escalates into an episode of Jerry Springer. The girl in the back of the bus starts screaming at the top of her lungs. Seriously, it was frightening. She startes yelling about how she "got bit." (Someone in the back of the bus bit her?) Suddenly she's bit her lip because Funquita allegedly slammed on the brakes. Nope. She didn't. I am in no way her cheerleader, but Funky handled her business, albeit in a slightly ghetto way. This girl starts screaming that she's trying to get paid and that she got hurt because of a bus accident. Funky asks everyone in front if they heard this girl say she's trying to get paid. We all said yes. Funquita asked her like 15 times if she needed medical attention. Finally she said not right now. These two were going at it like one was messin' with the other's man. She offer to show her the bleeding lip. Funquita declined. Funky then got on the bus radio and said she'd call the dispatcher on a land line. She asked the passengers if they had a cell phone she could use. One of the passengers up front told her she was driving just fine and gave her their phone. She stepped out to call the dispatcher at the same time I decided I'd had enough. We were only six blocks from my apartment and one block from the Indian restaurant inside the Fast Fare. I got off the bus, picked up the veggie thaali platter and caught the next bus home. The Indian food was good by the way. The older lady cooking threw in an extra portion for me. It was awesome, something spicy with a ton of veggies.

There's a new guy at the Chargrill bus stop in the mornings. I call him Dr. Wow. He's an older, completely nondescript white guy. He's always wearing a polo shirt and khaki pants in monochromatic colors a few shades off of oatmeal. He has an NCSU id card and heads over near the forestry stuff on Blue Ridge. At least I think it's a forestry thing there. There is nothing remarkable about him except that he's had a World of Warcraft book every morning. He's been studying it like he's got a final exam coming up. Two days ago he was reading it upside down. Now, I'm not a WOW geek, but it seems unlikely that you'd read it upside down. He also stands in the line of sight of the approaching bus, which annoys me.

I was also ambushed by The Other Amy this morning. I was sitting in the back, knitting and she took the seat in front of me. She commented that my baby blanket was coming along or something like that. We ended up talking for a bit. She's not crafty. That's okay. She's still nice girl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wait for it. Wait for it.

And go.

I finally posted some of my 632 pictures from my Vermont trip. Click here to see them. If you have a free six hours to kill. I'd recommend you look at the collections. Hopefully I'll finish posting pictures in the next couple days.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey, baby, we've all been there.

I had a surprise visit from my brother yesterday. It was a great way to end a craptacular week. We had dinner at Zely and Ritz. They are a local restaurant that partners with Coon Rock Farms in Hillsborough. It was great. We sat at the bar and talked to the staff. We had a ton of food and a couple good cocktails. The service was great. I'm going to have to go back very soon. We stopped by three other places before heading home by rickshaw. I'll leave out the part about dropping my hotdog mustard side down on my arm and skirt on the ride home.

I did my good deed for the night. I had to use the loo as soon as we got into the Times bar. In the stall next to me was a girl, on the floor, crossed legs, facing the wrong way, if you know what I mean. I knocked on the door and asked her if she was okay. She could barely answer yes. I asked her if she wanted me to get anyone for her. She said no. Seriously, where are her friends in a time like this? I left the bathroom and the waitress was talking to my brother. I asked her for a bitters and soda. She started to ask my brother what he wanted and I said we'd order in a minute and can I just get that now. Both of them were looking at me like I lost my mind. She walked away and I told my brother about the puking girl. When she came back with the drink, the girl was coming out of the bathroom. I gave it to her, told her what it was and that it would make her feel better. She started to drink it and stumbled off. Later the waitress asked me if I got it for someone else. When I said I did, she told me the girl drank it all and that she did feel better. I do have to say, if you have to be sick in a bar, make it the Times. Their bathrooms are freakishly clean for a place so packed.

He left this morning to head to California. He's on his was to Chicago right now, via Memphis, I think. He's taking the scenic way across the country. It also helps that he's got places to stay in Chicago and Jackson Hole, too. If you see him on the road, be sure to say hi!

The crepe myrtles around the church are beginning to bloom. What flowers there are at the moment may not last the thunderstorm that just rolled in.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Brokedown Bus

The 105 broke down in front of the Vet School. Approximately four minutes after the NCSU Wolfline that goes by went out of service right at the same spot. Luckily another 105 came by about 10 minutes later and picked us up. It was standing room only to downtown until we hit the library at NCSU. That is where the Indian co-op kids get off the bus. All eighteen of them. I've never seen that bus so packed. I guess this means gas is still $4 a gallon. Also on the happy news front, it was only 91 degrees after work today so sitting on a dead bus wasn't that unbearable. It always amazes me how fast the TTA can recover from something like that. It has almost no impact on the passengers.

The Other Amy was sitting across the aisle from me. She is reading Lonesome Dove. Her taste in books is a bit odd, if I do say so myself.

I think I forgot to mention the Asian lady at the Park and Ride in the mornings. Every morning, like clockwork, for the past few weeks, she asks the driver where he's going. The bus either says "105 RTP Slater Road" or "105 Raleigh Moore Square" on the rolling marquis. Mine says RTP. Every morning she asks the driver if he's going downtown. Of course, he says no. And she gets this really confused look on her face. It's funny. And it's been going on since before I went to Vermont.

She's like Christmas.

I've become friendly with a woman who rides the 105 in the morning. Her name is Pat. She works for the cable company. Turns out she's not pure evil, which I always assumed was a prerequisite for working for Time Warner. She's nice enough that when she told me where she worked, I had to apologize to her just in case I ever yelled at her. We got on the subject recently of working for utility companies. For the record, I did my time. It was miserable for too many reasons to recount at the moment. Pat mentioned she wasn't real thrilled with her job/boss/etc. Being the consummate HR lady, I started talking about my company. (I'm beginning to think I need to be a recruiter, I want everyone to love their job!) She's great to talk to, smart, funny. She's older than me, but not quite as old as my parents. She and I lament about the woman who used to drive. She was always late and always asking Pat for directions. That woman has been replaced. Pat wasn't on the bus last week. I saw her this morning and told her she can ride the bus again, we have a new driver, etc. Pat was in the first seat, Amy Number One was behind her, and I was in the second seat on the other side. In the middle of our conversation, Amy chimes in. She says to Pat, "hey, what's your name?" Like most people, Pat looks nervous and answers her. Amy then says, "What's your last name?" Pat answers her again. Amy then says, "So you were sick Monday?" "Yes, and last week," says Pat. Later I was drinking from my new water bottle that has blue skull and crossbones all over it and she wanted to know what I was drinking. I'll have you know I resisted the temptation to reply, "hooch." Too many questions.

More Bob this morning. Staring at me. Shudder.

The Cherry Cough Syrup Lady sat down directly behind me this morning. Within minutes I could feel my neck and shoulder tense up. Any thoughts on how to tell a total stranger their funky-ass cheap perfume is a wee overpowering?

Two more weeks until the latest installment of Meg On A Plane. I am off to California soon. I can't wait. And with any luck, that hottie pilot that flew me to Burlington will be along for the ride.

Bigtime, I'm on my way on making it.

I just found out I have my very first bloglines subscriber. I have no idea what that means exactly, but I'll take it.

Hi Rae!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot enough to fry an egg, hot enough to...

Today should be the last hundred degree day for the next week or so. Thankfully. There was a guy walking down Hillsborough Street near Locopops with a pink wash cloth on his head. He was this big, tough looking dude. And it was a little, pink wash cloth.

MSG was back this afternoon. Did I mention he cut his hair? No more bowl cut. Today in the polo shirt and khakis, he just looked vanilla. It made me sad. I hate to say it, but I liked the bowl cut better.

Bob waived at me this morning while I was walking to my bus. He was wearing sunglasses over his glasses this morning. The usual three overstuffed tote bags, headphones AND ear plugs. Seriously, if I ever turn up missing, it was him. I'm tellin' ya. Bob did it. At the bus stop. With the tote bag. Call the po po.

There was just an ad on tv for a State Farm agent named Chuck Tickle. That's awesome.

Amy Number One had a major case of the sniffles this morning. Last week, I was sitting behind her. Her butt must have been itchy, because she scratched it. I'm talking a full on, hand down the back of her pants, in her big pink grannie panties kind of scratch. I was both amused and grossed out at the same time.

I got my camera cable today in the mail. (Thanks, ma!) Pictures coming soon!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy weekend!

1. This morning I saw a guy at the Transfer Center that looked like the actor who played Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life. (I was going to add a link to IMDb, but my ISP is telling me they can't find the website! The world's gone mad!)

2. I don't understand why relationships have to be so complicated. This weekend should be...weird to say the least.

3. It was only 97 degrees out today. It was so hot it hurt.

4. Today was Tamale Friday at work. Our cleaning lady, N, is from Mexico. She and her sister make tamales on Friday morning and sell them in the office for $1 a piece. They make the traditional red and green chicken tamales, which are good. Last time they had refried bean tamales, which were sublime. Today they made me special black bean tamales. Oh my oh my, were they good. She didn't mention to me that there were big pieces of jalapenos in them. The first one didn't have a jalapeno in it, and it was yummy. The second one had a half of a jalapeno in it. Now, I like spicy food, so I'm okay with this. I just like to be warned before I eat spicy food. They were still really good. Later N told me the ones with the jalapenos were meant for the Indian girl in payroll who puts jalapenos on all of her food. N also surprised me with a cheese tamale, free of charge. It ws good but the bean ones were better.

5. Amy Number One got her hair did. She has quite a bit of grey. I'd guess she's in her early 40s. She gets it colored dark, black maybe and cut into a short bob. It's really cute, actually. And strangely enough, the same cut I'm going for with my hair.

6. Cast Away is on TNT right now. I love that movie. I love Tom Hanks.

7. I want to learn Russian so I can read Dostoyevsky in his native language.

8. Funquita, my afternoon 105 driver, was painting her nails while she was driving earlier this week. I let her supervisor know. She let me know by almost driving off without me yesterday. I was next to the bus, by the doors, and she drove off. Then she drove past my stop when we got to Raleigh. Nice, huh? She defines ghetto.

9. Save a couple quick errands tomorrow, I doubt I will be leaving the house all weekend. Except for a cook out on Sunday night. Otherwise, I'll be hanging out in the refrigerator all weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We be jammin'.

Oh, I almost forgot...

I bought blueberries and peaches from the Farmer's Market. I ended up buying enough to make just a batch of blueberry jam. I ran out of jars to make another batch of jam. I am turning the peaches and a couple apricots into sorbet. I added honey, a little corn syrup and sugar to the cut up fruit, cooked it, and whizzed it up with the stick blender. It's cooling in the fridge and will be frozen tonight. The fruit wasn't very sweet, so I added some honey for flavor and sugar to sweeten it. I like to add corn syrup to sorbets to keep them a bit soft. I find they freeze solid otherwise because of all of the water. I didn't add too much of any of the sweeteners, so it's still not super sweet. The honey was a good idea. This weekend I will go back for more peaches and blueberries for jam.

I think I was a lizard in my last life.

Three words I never want to hear again. Record. High. Heat. I just can't function in this weather. I get home from work and I just fall asleep. On the bright side, in all of this heat and humidity, my new apartment is nice and cool. I get direct sunlight in my living room so it gets a little warmer, but not much. My bedroom is still really confortable. I may not have to buy that second air conditioner after all.

Yesterday on the way home, there were so many Indian co-op kids that the only language that could be heard was Hindi. It was pretty cool. It made me feel like I was some place significantly more exciting than Raleigh.

My morning have been free of Special Ed, which makes me eternally happy. The afternoons, however, not so much. A few weeks ago, he was reading a book to learn Spanish. Two days ago, he got on the bus carrying a copy of La Conexion and a copy of Que Pasa?. Apparently he's a quick study.

There's an Asian woman on the 105 in the afternoons. From her name tag, I learned that her name is Ma, she is from Burma (Myanmar) and she works at the Radisson. I see her most days, but recently she has gotten very excited and animated when she sees me. I don't think she speaks much, if any, English, but she's super friendly. She gets this big smile and waves when she sees me. Tuesday on the way home, we were passed on I-40 by two 18 wheelers carrying squashed cars. She was fascinated by that. It was kind of funny. I want to learn how to say "hello" in Burmese so I can properly greet her.

Over the past three mornings, Babushko has confirmed that I am indeed the nicest lady of them all. (As if there was any doubt!) Unfortunately, that's still the most he's ever said to me.

On Tuesdays, there's a yoga class I like at the Y. I made a deal with my bosses that I get to leave 15 minutes early on Tuesdays so I can catch this class, which is at 6:15. If you aren't there before 6:15, the instructor won't let you in. I have never been able to make it to that class. Tuesdays conspire against me. This past Tuesday, my first bus was late, which made me miss the second bus I need. I want to go to this yoga class because I'm a little stressed out, right? What's more stressful than constantly missing the damn class? Grrrrr. Clearly I need this class.

I still have no way to post pictures as my brother still has my camera cable. (ahem.) As soon as I get it, I'll post on Flickr at least most of the 632 pictures I took in Vermont. I leave for California in 20 days. I can't wait. Twelve days of doing nothing but bumming around Mountain View, Haight-Ashbury, and playing Wii.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Today's Forecast: Hot with a 90% chance of sweaty.

Sad to say, Summer has arrived in NC. It's going to be around 90 this weekend, humid, and generally unpleasant. Later this week, it's going to be around 95. I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday. I bought blueberries and peaches from this really cool kid. What can I say...he drove a hard bargain. I'm making peach and blueberry jam today. Should be tasty. I love smoothies with peaches and blueberries together, so it should work together as a jam. The strawberries were very tasty, but I still have 11,000 jars of strawberry jam left over from last summer.

I took the bus to the Farmer's Market yesterday. It was a major pain in the ass. I need to figure out how to get there on my bike. My only concern is that there are a lot of big hills between me and the Farmer's Market.