work smart not hard w/automated home bus. babel


Friday I rode down to Portland with the office crew for the annual X-mas party (which I missed last year to see Return of the King with the gang). I didn’t think it would be TOO bad. I was just annoyed that I was going to get back to Seattle so late. See, everyone else decided to stay down in the PTLD for the weekend, so I booked a train to get back.
We got to the restaurant and I was IMMEDIATELY handed a glass of champagne so I thought things might be ok. We received our bonus checks (mine was a nice little chunk, but sadly, it’s already spent because the hotel in London charged my credit card IN ADVANCE for our stay. Stupid online budget hotel bookers!). We also each got these letterman’s jackets with our names and the company logo on them. They were obviously EXTREMELY expensive. However, I (nor anyone else in the office, I don’t think) would NEVER wear them. For one thing, the cut is just all wrong. They are also made of HEAVY wool and leather and mine is GIGANTIC on me. I was somewhat offended because the Lil D. (who is of small build) got an extra small jacket and I got a normal one (which was too big for me). Now, I know I don’t weigh 80 pounds like booty-less Lil D. But I am not the heffer that they apparently took me for. So even though I don’t intend on wearing the jacket, I was still offended.
Anywho, we got our lunches (which everyone around me agreed were pretty bland for an upscale establishment). The waitress was very nice, however, and made sure my champagne glass was full at all times.
We did our White Elephant exchange. It seems like these days, most offices try to make the gifts nice anyway. But not our office. Most of the gifts were pretty bad. (i.e. an empty Starbuck’s card, a HIDEOUS and somewhat disturbing Halloween ornament which involved a bare-bottomed witch, and the “Charles Schwab’s Guide to Getting out of Debt”). I picked the witch ornament first but them swapped for a ceramic elephant mug.
Around 3:00, people were pretty drunk and talking of hitting the strip club. I was taken to the train station to make my 4:00 departure. Upon arrival, I discovered that my train was hideously delayed. So much so that they recommended I be put on the 6:15 train, rather than wait for my train to arrive. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed. I was lugging around this stupid, heavy Letterman jacket, a ceramic elephant mug and a beer I stole from the party, all of which were quite heavy. I wandered a few blocks and found a coffee shop. I drank some caffeine and tried to sober up. While I waited, I read the Portland free weekly (who’s name escapes me) which is EERILY (and not unintentionally, I’m sure) similar to the layout of The Stranger. Turns out Stephen Humphrey, the I heart Television guy, is the editor their. They also feature movie reviews by Sean Nelson and Bradley Steinbacher. They have a “last days” type column and an I Anonymous, as well as Strange Love and…a recommendations page!! I wonder how much Portland likes being the smaller, less pretentious twin brother to Seattle.
Back at the train station, my train departed at 6:30. By this time, my drunkenness was gone and I was just tired and cranky. I was crankier still when I found out the movie on the train was The Princess Diaries 2. I watched it anyway, of course, and made faces or horror to no one as the dialog became more and more ridiculous. The things that John Rhyse Davies had to do and say were truly horrifying. But, like a gruesome train wreck, I could not tear my eyes away from the carnage. When it was over, there were still TWO HOURS left of my journey. I spent them listening to Patton Oswalt’s two hour, inebriated rant on CD, which only made me more irritable because, hilarious though he is, I was tired and vulnerable and therefore got swept up into his drunken rage. By the time my train arrived in Seattle, I was ready to fight anybody that looked at me crossways.
Now, I know that travel by train is romantic. This is true in Europe where the trains run on time (and frequently) and the scenery is lovely. But I now OFFICIALLY HATE Amtrack. As far as I’m concerned, trains are just another of countless things that the Americans stole from Europe and ruined.

Since my Friday rant is long and bitter, I will try and run though the rest of the weekend quickly. Saturday morning, we had a makeup meeting. I think it went well. Our guys seem to know what they’re doing and are as excited about decapitations as we are. Unfortunately, poor Faye, who is usually just as bloodthirsty as the best of them, was having trouble this day. She has been deathly ill and was still ailing pretty badly on Saturday. You know a girl is sick when she can’t even enjoy pictures of people with horrific face wounds!
Saturday night, Dom and I met Ryan at the Nite Lite. We rocked the juke box, ate disgustingly greasy food, and saturated our hair and clothing with cigarette smoke. It was a terrific time! The only downside was that Gene was meant to meet us and, by the cruelty of fate, it didn’t happen. You see, when you enter the Nite Lite, you can go right, into the frat boy and loud music den, or left into the quiet bar fly and pool table room. We choose to go left. Gene went right, didn’t see us, and then TRIED to go left. A very surly bouncer told him “There’s nothing over there” and Gene left. I don’t know what his problem was, but I hope the frat boys give that bouncer and EXTRA hard time next Saturday.

Yoga (last one till after surgery), housecleaning, and then off to the Smithinghams Holiday Party. There was food, drink and delightful company. We walked through the Griswaldian Spectacle that is Candy Cane Lane, pet a sleepy puppy, and tended to the wounds of a drunk girl who’s head met a tree it didn’t like. In short, a wild success!


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