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08/21/06 11:54 - 63ºF - ID#22017

roller derby names

I'm messing around trying to upload a new usersound, so we'll see how that goes. It is meant to be Operation Ivy's "Knowledge". My baby sister got the Operation Ivy cd when she was, like, ten, and listened to it every morning when she got out of bed for at least a year, so I always think of her when I listen to it. They played it at roller derby and I was so excited.

update: Nope, apparently I imported that CD as .m4a, so no Op Ivy for you! I'll think of something else by the end of this post.

We had our first closed practice of the Queen City Rollergirls yesterday morning, and I got the pads I had ordered the previous week. Up to now I've just been showing up at the open skate nights and staggering around the rink, but yesterday I put the rental skates on and suddenly I knew how to rollerskate. So I guess I'm good now. I also know how to stop, how to fall, and how to turn, which is all new learning for me. The concept of falling and not hurting myself is a new one, which I rather enjoy.

I am trying to think of a good Derby name. I guess you have to pick a nom de guerre to skate under, kind of like a pro wrestler. The US Rollergirls' Association has a drastically incomplete list of the registered derby names here:

I have to come up with one ASAP because we've decided instead of filling out nametags every practice, we should just take a white t-shirt and write our name on it in Sharpie. Sure! But I need a name first. I bought some cheap mens' undershirts to decorate, but I don't know what to write on them.

I've been posting about it in my livejournal but results have been inconclusive.

There's my full list of possibles at the moment. What do you all think? You can leave comments there without getting a livejournal. I'd love some feedback.
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Permalink: roller_derby_names.html
Words: 355
Location: Buffalo, NY

08/18/06 09:34 - 70ºF - ID#22016

conveyances; class warfare

So I just bought rollerskates on the Intarwebs last night.
I will let you all know how that goes. (e:zobar) got a pair too.

I got a popup message from (e:leetee) and don't know how to reply to it, so I'm just going to reply here.
She was curious as to why it was that I take the bus to work and spend so much time sitting around waiting for my shift to start.
(e:zobar) and I have two vehicles, but the second one is his scooter. So it breaks down a lot (most recently, the carburetor) and can't go out in the rain or the cold or the high wind or whatever. Now, I have not mastered the art of riding this thing, so only he can use it at present.
Our other vehicle is a shiny 2003 Toyota Prius which I suppose isn't new anymore. Z bought it for way too much money when he was an overpaid Jerseyite, and then became broke. At this point I've paid for about half of it. So I can drive it when I want, let's just say.

We live right near two major bus lines (the 30 and the 11). The 30 has a stop about 40 feet from our house. This bus goes to University Station and thence out to the airport via ECC and an industrial park. It drops you off right at the airport's lower level. is the map,
(pdf) is the schedule.
If you don't want to deal with airport parking, and can handle your luggage yourself, it's a good solution-- it's just that only the C goes to the airport, and so it only runs every couple of hours. It's $1.50 on boarding and another $0.25 to get off, which always amuses me (they charge you to get off!! So what if you never get off?)

Given that I start work at 2 most days, and am not allowed to be more than one (1) minute late, the 2:06 C doesn't work, so I have to take the 11:54. When I have a working laptop, it's a kind of a treat: I can go and sit with no distractions and just work on the latest bit of the novel.
But of late, I have a choice of two laptops. One's monitor doesn't work. The other's battery doesn't work. So I can either type and not see what I'm doing, or I can be tethered to the wall socket and unable to work at all on the bus. Which means lots of frustration.

Z has the option of taking the 11 to work. It leaves 20 minutes earlier than he'd like, and he has to walk two blocks to get there, but it drops him off about a block from work and picks him up again-- he has to wait 20 minutes for it, but it's usually fairly on-time. So, to get to work by his expected start time of 9:30 he has to leave the house at 8:40, and to get home after his expected end time of 5 he has to wait and usually gets home well after six.
But for me, to start at 2, I have to leave the house by 11:10, and if I miss the 8:28 home, which is a close shave, I have to wait for the 10:10 which gets me home about 11:15.

That gives me a 12-hour day to work a six-hour shift. It's kind of a bummer. If I miss the 8:28 Z usually comes to get me, because for a long time there was no 10:10.

So taking the bus sucks.
But driving sucks too. Employees used to have a designated section of the Long Term (A) Lot, from which it was possible to walk to the terminal if you were not overly burdened with luggage.
They decided in April that they could make more money selling those parking spots to passengers than employees (employees pay $20 a month to park [and my company pays mine], while customers pay more like $20/week), and so they moved us to Lot B, over on Holtz Road, which is a brisk fifteen-minute walk in good weather conditions. So now we have to take a shuttle bus. To save gas, they made the shuttles no longer run continuously. Now they only leave every 15 minutes, only they always leave 2 or 3 minutes early. I can leave my house half an hour early and still wind up five minutes late anyway. I've sprinted for that fucking shuttle and still had it pull out and leave me in the dust more times than I can count.

So driving sucks.

Also there is a lot of class resentment at work. The bartenders, and there are about 20 of us, are all, without an exception of any kind, white. We are all white. There aren't even any hispanic bartenders. No variation whatsoever. A number of us are college kids, with all that entails. And the cash office personnell, who collect our deposits and read our printouts every night, know how much money we make: our credit card tip totals are listed on the printout. Bartenders on the whole, in general, across society, are a little secretive about how much money they make. It's just crass to discuss it, and also, as we've all learned, people can get oddly resentful when they realize that the dollar here and the twenty there really can add up.
The cash office personnell are making about $8 an hour. One day I got a $70 tip on a $60 tab. (I told the story on my secret other other blog here: ) "Seventy dollars is more than I am going to make this entire shift," the cash office girl said, looking sad and tired.
"You get to wear real people clothes," I offered helpfully, mopping my brow with the dirty sleeve of my monkey suit.

So there's only a slight shroud of mystery surrounding the bartenders' income. Little mystery, much resentment.

About 70% of the cashiers and maintenance people and cooks are black, and a growing number of the rest are Puerto Rican. Buffalo is a very segregated city, and the division of jobs is likewise segregated at our company, which continually baffles me. (You don't need a degree to be a bartender, or any particular qualifications. Several cashiers have been promoted to bartenders, including one who starts next week who is herself Polish but has a Hispanic daughter. But nobody black or Hispanic has even applied, to my knowledge.) I know for a fact that the cashiers make $8-ish an hour, and the cooks don't make much more than that. The porters, who empty the garbage and do the hard dirty work, make maybe $9, but I doubt it.
There is a perception, which an HR person with poor people skills made much worse, that the bartenders are zillionaires, and think they own the world. Some of us are, indeed, very arrogant. And yes, I averaged $30/hr yesterday. [I ran my ass off, but still.]

The fact that I am running for that thirty bus, and most of the cashiers know that I have to run for that thirty bus, makes me seem like less of an arrogant bitch. They sometimes let me cut them in line to make my deposit at the end of the night, because they know if they had a bus to catch I'd let them cut me. I know about taking the bus. I am just a person. And I don't think I'm better because I make more money.

I could afford my own car. I actually have, at this moment, $5000 set aside to buy myself a car. It is just sitting there in my checking account ready for me to buy a car. But I sort of ... don't want one.
I want something with a stick shift and some cargo space, but I don't want a huge truck. And it'd be a hassle to park it at home and at work, and insurance is a hassle, and gas is expensive.

And the times when I wish we had a second car are never when I have the time to go buy one.

I wish Z would let me take the car a little more often (and this week I'm taking it every day because I'm working a different schedule), but not quite, not quite enough for me to dive into car-searching.
Actually if I had a laptop that worked my desire for a car would probably vanish entirely.

That was long. But there was a lot I was thinking of, in there.
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Permalink: conveyances_class_warfare.html
Words: 1430
Location: Buffalo, NY

08/11/06 11:21 - 62ºF - ID#22015

responding to comments, other

Responding to comments from my previous entry, plus various observations.

First, responses:
mrmike: Oh, my dad at 61 still occasionally jokes about what he's going to do when he grows up. I am well aware that people of all ages think, "I am so much older than I thought I was going to be when I Figured It All Out."
Hell, I was going to be a published novelist before twenty. (We see how well that's worked for certain Harvard freshmen. *cough*)

(e:terry): last month I ID'd a kid who was born precisely on my birthday-- month, date, year. It was freaky. I didn't really know what to say. He was kind of a tool though.
My cousin is precisely a week older than me and that's just amusing. Shit, I should send him a card.

(e:jason): I don't know how I'm going to reinstall the software when I can't even get it to start up. It does the apple face and my computer never notices it's there, so I don't know how to get anything onto (or off of) it.

(e:jenks): I am ashamed that my consumerism is that transparent, but I'd so totally love to have an excuse to get shiny new everything and not have to make do with my old shabby not-quite-working gadgets anymore.
I have plenty of money [at the moment], but I still have this ingrained thrifty habit that won't let me throw shit away unless I'm sure it's entirely worthless. Which is why I now own... three printers that don't print... among other things.

metalpeter: Yes. Everyone feels that way sometimes and you know, I'm doing a lot better with my life than a lot of people I know. At least my meaningless pay the bills job is less mentally taxing and more lucrative than a lot of people's. And I do think I'm not wasting time. But everything's just going so much more slowly than I had sort of figured on it going, and I feel like I'm missing out on some... something.

A recent observation that amused people on Livejournal was when I said that terrorists are rude and their mothers should have taught them better manners because it's just rude to try to kill people. I thought that was funny.

If anyone is traveling soon, i'd like to talk a moment about the new security restrictions.
The first thing: Everyone is coming like three hours early because they think it'll take forever to get through security because the tv keeps talking about it.
It's taking maybe ten extra minutes. So if you're three or four hours early, please don't come into the bar, order a soda, and nurse it for those three hours. Please. Even if you tip me a whole dollar on your soda, the seat you're occupying could've earned me like $20 if someone actually buying things sat there, so DON'T.
Also the fact that the place is JAM-PACKED might come into play there.

So don't bring anything really big and liquid. Chapstick seems to be getting through fine.
Another hint, which if TSA decides means I'm a terrorist you didn't hear from me: If you have something very small and liquid that you can't live without... keep it in your pocket when you go through the metal detector. They'll see it in the X-ray of your bags, but... seriously. Mascara, lip gloss, contact rewetting drops: not metal. Will not ring when you come through the detector. Will not be spotted by TSA.

If a terrorist had liquid explosives and wanted to blow up a plane, all he would have to do is put them in something that could be concealed entirely under his clothes. The new security measures Are Not Doing Jack Shit to actually prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, none of the security measures are.

Just thought I'd rain on the parade for a second. But really. The current scare's attacks were foiled by old-fashioned police work, NOT airport screening. The current screening is dumb. I should not have to work in a bar without lotion.

They make you toss your water bottles, but you can get new ones once you're across security. I know, I sell them. Can you bring those on the plane? They might ask you not to, but they can't make you not. If you put it in your bag, they won't know you have it. And even if you're holding it in your hand, they might think, well, you got it at the bar right there, there's no harm you can do.

So if you're a terrorist, you figure out what brand of water they sell in the airport. Lots easier to camoflage your shit.

Actually, if you're a terrorist, you get a job at the airport. Ain't one damn thing they can do. You need a clean ten year fingerprint record and to sit through a class to get your security badge, and once you have it you still have to go through security every time you go outside and come back in, but there are several "bypass" hallways where you can get between the, say, baggage claim area or the freight elevators, and the terminal past security, without being screened. We are watched closely enough that we can't just show up for work and then just go through those hallways (ostensibly), and they keep a record of who goes through those hallways, but if I, say, show up, put something in my locker, go through security, and then later come back via that hallway and retrieve the something from my locker... there's no possible way that TSA could screen me. There just isn't. There has to be a way to deliver, like, four hundred cases of Coke; and that way is also going to be the way to deliver, say, six handguns, or something.
The only way to stop that kind of plot is through POLICE WORK, noticing me buying the six handguns and six one-way tickets, for example.
All the screening in the world can't stop a really good plot by professional terrorists.
Only an alert police force can.

And TSA cut funding to a program to develop a good liquid-explosive sensor, because it needed money to pay the people who stand there and use the metal detector wand on two-year-olds.

I have no attention span so I cannot remember what else I was going to blog.
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Permalink: responding_to_comments_other.html
Words: 1072
Location: Buffalo, NY

08/11/06 10:39 - 60ºF - ID#22014

sad sad ipod in security theatre

My ipod is dead. Was listening to it yesterday on the bus when it died-- low battery. Unsurprising, as it hadn't gotten a full charge.
Got to work. I have a 2 hour wait from the time the bus gets me there until work starts. So I bring my gadgets and sit by an outlet and all is well. Right?
Plug the iPod in.
It does the black apple in the middle of the screen that it always does as it starts up.
I plug in the shitty laptop (it's Z's old one and has a half hour battery life-- if that) and start it up. Open up documents, start working. (Am very nearly finished with novel. V. exciting. Only it sucks. V. disappointing.)

Meanwhile Channel 7 is about four feet away, using the next outlet to set up their camera. Well-groomed girl in nice shirt with microphone (and jeans) is mugging for the camera while the guy adjusts things. She watches him, poses, lets him meter the light or whatever.

My iPod is still on the black apple startup screen. WTF? I force-restart it with the pause and menu buttons, and it starts again.

The woman abruptly begins speaking: something about the new TSA scare tactics I mean rules. (WIKIPEDIA - speaks briefly about what a hassle it is. Then stops. Comes over, picks up an empty coffee cup, walks over to garbage can, speaks again, throws away coffee cup.
"Did we get it?"
Cameraman looks. She comes over. They ponder a moment. Then they exchange high-fives, and they take down the camera and equipment. I wonder briefly where they parked. I had noticed another channel set up right near the escalators, with their onscreen person standing next to the sign that said NO LIQUIDS OR GELS. Where did THEY park? Are they in short-term? Tell me they didn't just stick the news van in the NO PARKING LOADING ONLY lane. I'll kill 'em myself. Pisses me off.

Channel 7 leaves. Less than 30 seconds of material, they got, in the half-hour they were there. Cutting-edge journalism. Great stuff.

My iPod is still on the black apple startup screen.
I unplug it and stick it in my bag.
When I arrive home I plug it nto my computer. Same deal for over an hour. I guess it's dead.
It is a relic from the days when Z and I were overpaid Westchesterites.

My birthday's in two weeks. Maybe I should ask him for a new one? But maybe not. Maybe I'll get a new laptop or something else instead. Both of our iPods are on their last legs. My hard drive is almost full, and both laptops that have been left to me are so busted as to be either useless or nearly so.

So it's a dilemma.
Should I get a new laptop (and maybe a deal on a new iPod at the same time), or should I get a car? I only really 'need' the laptop during my three-hour commute when I take the bus to work. I'd sort of hoped to reward myself for finishing the novel, but without a laptop, I can't make any more progress on the novel.


I'll be 27 on the 26th, by the way. Should I have a party? Should I just collapse in sorrow at the fact that I Still Haven't Done Anything With My Life?
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Permalink: sad_sad_ipod_in_security_theatre.html
Words: 568
Location: Buffalo, NY



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