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There are always clues

Both going to work and, usually, heading back to the house from work, I go through the NE 82nd Ave. MAX station. In the morning, I do this well before sunrise. Yesterday, I went back through after sunset. I made sure to look up at the partial moon and remind myself See the moon? The way it seems to face east and is lit up that much? I wouldn't be seeing it if it were morning.

In other words, I reminded myself that even with my long work day Sunday, I hadn't somehow been working so long that it was morning again.

Hello, I must be going...

...to bed. I'm going to bed.

I started work at my regular time, then early afternoon our team learned that two of the people who do the same job for swing shift had called in sick, so I agreed to stay until about 8:00 to help move cars. Overtime, yo. And, luckily, I got off work and just made the next MAX train away from the airport, so I didn't have to wait too long to get home.

Winding down now, because I need sleep and to be ready for tomorrow's shift...


Friday, Dec. 14, 2018

Things done today:

Confirming I'd gotten my first paycheck for this job.

Figuring out at least part of the process of using said pay (one and maybe two of my paychecks will go onto a debit card, and I plan to transfer all of that to my usual checking account)*.

Visiting a coffee shop I haven't been to in weeks to be a patron, say hi, and let the owner know I've been working but can come in Fridays and Saturdays (the place closes before I get back from work, and it opens after I start my shift in the morning. "I'm almost too early for me to get Dutch Brothers," I told the owner).

Washed sheets and other laundry.

Walked a bit, though nowhere near as much as I do on the job, but walking is good, and the more you do, the better.

Read more from the 1980 Robert Ludlum novel The Bourne Identity, which I'd borrowed a while ago from Dad and have slowly been working through. Confirmed: I will do my best NEVER to be the target of an assassin.

Got inside before a decently strong wind storm hit Portland, hoping power doesn't go out. Also, I said "trees, be stronger than this wind..."

* I don't know if I've set up a transfer or just set up the process of how I will do the transfer. There. I can be a little clearer.

A rare 4:39 a.m. post...

...yes, I'm awake deliberately this early. Need to be for my work schedule. Hi, I'll post more later; mainly I was surprised that I'd go be a few days without.

Still alive, in other words.

We'll sing for you, Timbers.

Last night's dream may have been an anxiety dream.

I needed to Get Somewhere, on a route I'm used to, and I was worried about doing that trip. In my dream, I had a chance to drink, and turned it down — I know even in dreams not to drink and drive — and, ultimately, I went the way I needed to go by having someone carry me. That someone, whomever she was, could fly. Flying was exhilarating, but also scary, as she literally was just carrying me hundreds of feet above Hwy. 99W approximately around Parrett Mountain, between Sherwood and Newberg. (I said I was used to the route. I've been riding through it since the Seventies and driving through it since the Nineties.)

During the dream, I was checking in on an MLS soccer game, a big game the Portland Timbers were playing. And the radio updates I was hearing in my dream let me know that the Timbers were completely shitting the bed.

The Portland Timbers just lost a heartbreaker in the MLS Championship against Atlanta United FC, 2-0, the first goal scored in the first half and the next goal in the second. The game was tough, and the Timbers couldn't come back from that 2-score deficit; this was never going to be a game decided by penalty kicks. But it wasn't the shit-the-bed performance I'd imagined last night. And that the Timbers made it to the league's version of the Super Bowl, and doing so in one of the normally-cursed even-numbered years (seriously, the team has seemed especially inconsistent and maddeningly bad-to-mediocre in 2012, 2014, and 2016, while generally playing far better in the odd-numbered years, yes it's a sports superstition but it had been remarkably consistent), is still amazing.

I don't have the brain power tonight to analyze this game, let alone the season and playoffs leading to it. Instead I mainly wanted to acknowledge that, tonight, I felt sports pain, but I'm still proud of the Timbers and what they can do.


My James Bond tally

First James Bond theme song I probably heard: "Nobody Does It Better" sung by Carly Simon

First James Bond theme song I heard that I knew was a James Bond theme song: "For Your Eyes Only" sung by Sheena Easton

First Bond film I saw: 1983's Octopussy, in 1984 on cable at a friend's house in Virginia Beach. I think that's where I also saw Roger Moore in Curse of the Pink Panther.

Bond actor I've seen the least, per percentage of films he did: Roger Moore. So far I've seen Octopussy and, at a revival screening in honor of Moore after his death, For Your Eyes Only. So I've seen 28.5% of his output as Bond.

Percentage of Sean Connery's Bond films I've seen: I've seen four, and haven't seen Thunderball or Diamonds are Forever, so 4 out of 6 is 67%. If you count Never Say Never Again, that falls to 57%. Math can be exact.

I've seen 100% of the output of every other actor who's (officially, for Eon Productions and the Broccolis) played Bond. In the late Nineties I saw George Lazenby's On Her Majesty's Secret Service on VHS with my parents. Mom upon seeing Diana Rigg said "She's just a baby!" "So were we in ’68," Dad said with a grin.

Percentage of Bond films I've seen in theaters: I never saw any of them theatrically until 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, but have seen every Bond film since then in theaters, plus revival screenings of You Only Live Twice and FYEO. Not counting Never Say Never Again or the 1967 Casino Royale, that's 18 out of 25, or 72%. Counting them, that's 67%.

How many Bond novels?: Five so far. In 1997 when I was dating a woman who was a Bond fan, and a "the Connery films or the novels or GTFO" kind of fan (seriously, that she has said Daniel Craig is "okay" is high praise from her), I borrowed the first novel Casino Royale and a three-book compendium of From Russia With Love, Dr. No, and Goldfinger from the library. I read them, and didn't get as much entertainment out of them as I'd hoped so I put Bond books aside for then. For nearly 30 years, in fact, because I didn't try again until fall 2016 when I borrowed and really liked the novel Moonraker. (A reminder in case you forgot that the film of the same title HAS ALMOST NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BOOK except, of course, for the title.) Out of 14 books by Ian Fleming, that makes it 35.7%.

Bond books by other writers I've read: None. (And I've never read any of Fleming's short stories.)

So, like with so many pop-culture things, I could Catch Up with lots of James Bond. I will, by the way. Since Live and Let Die is the earliest Bond novel I haven't read, I'll likely read that first, maybe after seeing the film of the same title.

A period of adjustment

Many years ago, maybe a decade ago by now, I cracked that my blog "is the interesting kind of boring!"

That's in fact not a bad goal. I like that, and am amused by that.

As I settle into this new job, I think my blog entries will be more bite-sized for a bit. That includes not talking about specifics of the job. For instance, I'm literally not allowed to post "OMG guys, [person whose name you'd know] came through today!" posts. I certainly couldn't post pictures of me with the people whose names you'd know. There's a needed presumption of privacy; people don't give up their privacy when they trust valets with their vehicles. Trust is the thing, and the company I'm working for is very careful about that. (And also about making sure we don't use phones while driving. That whole "illegal in Oregon to do so" thing. Safety, plus maybe your phone would trigger the vehicle's media players and the client's car suddenly starts playing your music, which I guess could happen...)

So, no very specific work-related posts, while I do this work. And these past couple of weeks, the partial one last week when I trained and this first full week I'm doing right now, have left my body and brain adjusting to the new types of effort I'm making. I'm pretty tired at the end of each day so far. This should be less of an issue as I get experience and knowledge to help me do this better, and I have more mind power to levitate cars with my brain be creative and blogging.

So, meanwhile, anyway, I'm still here.


I'm helping.

I'm being productive in the new job (halfway through my first full week).

I also was helpful in another, non-work way recently: I'd noticed an odd thing happening to a podcast I listen to, and I emailed the people who do the podcast to say "hey, notice [this]?" One of the hosts got back in touch to say "hey, [this] happened because of a mistake that we can correct now. Thanks for letting us know!"

Positive reinforcement! Yay, I'm doing positive things that are leading to positive reinforcement!

What You Do, Me Edition

My new job is as a valet at Portland International Airport. I move cars. More specifically, I check people in when they arrive to fly, check their vehicles for any obvious nicks, debts or other damage, park them in either the main garage or certain parking lots, and pick up other vehicles for people who are about to return to PDX.

It's a job with a lot of movement. I don't have to come running to customers like I were working at Les Schwab Tire Centers, but I'm walking a lot, because airports are big places.

I trained for three days in the middle of last week; today was my first full day, and it's a full-time job. My first union job, too. I wear a uniform: shirt, vest, a cool gold tie that has a zipping mechanism so you don't have to tie it but it's not a clip-on either. I also have a company-issued coat, which is good since it's getting colder at the moment.

I'm learning: expanding on my driving skills (though my being able to proficiently drive stick was a plus in my getting hired), learning the job's nuances, and learning how to engage with customers.

This is daunting, but I feel good about the work I did today. I'm being helpful and getting paid for it.


What are my choices for bread?

For reasons, today I got thinking about bread, and I remembered and wanted to share this moment. It was a 2008 moment. Rick Emerson, then a Portland radio broadcaster (now an out-of-broadcasting broadcaster, who's doing something with his time but keeps what he's doing very close to the vest), told about being at Portland International Airport, eating in the Gustav's pub that used to be in the terminal. He said he asked the waitress a question. She answered it. A fan of Rick's radio show turned it into a dance tune. Really.

There. NOW it's out of my head.

The famous death metal band formally announced their retirement on December 25th. The ad where they did that said "Happy Christmas (GWAR is over)."

Before that, they'd polled their fans about what they wanted the band's fate to be. The ad for that said "GWAR is over (if you want it)."

(Hey, maybe all the band members were really into Lennon, I dunno.)

Gettin' more ready

Today is my Saturday. Um, most of my jobs have had Monday-Friday work schedules — exceptions were the Fred Meyer-Kroger call center work, when my days off were in the middle of the week, my last two years at the Vesta call center when I had (I think) Sundays and Mondays off, and my first year at Vesta when my days off were Tuesdays, most (but not all) of Wednesdays*, and Thursdays — my new job's schedule has me off Fridays and Saturdays. As with all schedules, except one with Too Much Going On, I'll adapt to this schedule, but it still feels a little weird, here at the start.

My errands today: going to the Holgate library where I have my holds delivered so I could pick up a DVD I want to watch (the Clive Barker film Hellbound: Hellraiser II) and return the Richard Matheson story collection I'd just finished, then to Southeast Barber Company to get a needed haircut — I last got a trim in early September — then then out in the rain (which was heavy at times this afternoon) and over to the nearby Woodstock library. I went online there for a bit, plus found another DVD I saw and was curious about (the thriller Cellular) and borrowed that, too. Then I treated myself to dinner at Dick's Primal Burger, a medium-rare patty on a bed of kale.

More errands tomorrow. Like the haircut errand, these errands will be work-related. (The haircut is work-related because a) GOOD IDEA TO LOOK PROFESSIONAL, and b) since I'll wake up for work early, I like being able to leave for work without washing my hair every morning.)

* I worked for three hours Wednesday mornings, 6:30 to 9:30. The call center sometimes scheduled people so specifically that, very occasionally, some of us worked for a one-hour shift. Luckily that was, I think, rare; and I never did that.

Your moment of Gahan, I mean Zen

I amused myself.

Maybe I now will amuse you.

I made a mini-comic two summers ago and decided to make this video of it. I'm saving it here so I can delete it from my tablet. You're welcome?

At least I knew "seriously"

While at the parents' place on Thanksgiving, I sorted stuff. Got rid of some stuff. Decided to keep some stuff. Decided to look again at some stuff. I, as do many of us, have a lot of stuff, and whittling away at said stuff is a slow but needed process.

One of the things I found was a slim volume of a short story collection issued by The Great Books Foundation, an educational group that works on helping students get better at discussing and interpreting stories. I suddenly remembered that back in fifth grade at Louise Archer Elementary in Vienna Va, I'd read several of these: other collections included Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt," which made an eye-widening impression on me. The particular volume I found, that I somehow still had decades after reading it, was one with Shirley Jackson's story "Charles" and Langston Hughes's "Thank You, M'am." I don't think I read every story back then (though I just read the entire, again slim, volume, because I might as well before throwing it out), but I know for sure I read those two stories because I took notes.

Including of which words Fifth-Grade Me didn't know.

Which were:

addressing (as in "paying attention to")
"See here, young man"
rubbers (as in boots)
half-nelson (I rarely got into scrapes as a kid, I didn't know wrestling holds.)
daybed (These two show: I hadn't lived in apartments!)

...I had a lot to learn.

I have a lot to learn, thirty-plus years later.
Day 2 of training.

First day in the job's uniform.

First day doing some of the duties of the job, while also observing more of the duties of the job.

Time to figure out new skills.

Back to training tomorrow. And to getting more used to How Noisy It Is When National Guard Planes Launch Less Than Half A Mile From Where I'm Standing.


Good News

I've been hired.

This afternoon I begin orientation for a new, full-time job up at Portland International Airport.

I've been working to get this job this entire month: the company called me about my application on Nov. 1st, I interviewed on Nov. 6th, and since then I've waited for other people's behind-the-scenes work to get done. That got done yesterday.

I'm nervous, and hopeful. I've said little about what the job because I've felt somehow that saying too much about it would be bad luck; and even now, it doesn't quite feel real.

But I celebrated last night, in a low-key way: I had dinner and a cider at Bar Carlo, then walked back home warm and slightly buzzed. That was the first drink I've bought in a couple of years, and my first drink at all since July 2017 when I had wine that one of my uncles had made abs had brought to a family get-together. (Before that, I'd last drank in May 2016, with the staff of Big-Ass Sandwiches on the last day the restaurant was open.) I'd told myself not to have a drink again until I'd gotten full-time work. I'd earned that.

Soon I'll be, I hope, useful and helpful in a way that gets me paid.


Out-Of-Context Theater.

"A mind has a mind of its own."

(...was I just profound?)
I'm home now. On Thursday morning I drove to Dundee to visit my parents, then the three of us drove to Dayton for Thanksgiving with more of our family. Then Friday was, for me, a road trip: down Hwy. 18 (including the new Dundee Bypass, after I'd backtracked to the Newberg Freddy's to get gas) to Otis Café*, Lincoln City, (for my first time) Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda, then Tillamook for the recently-remodeled Cheese Factory visitor's center.

Why not a couple of videos from the road?

* I hadn't been to the restaurant since 2007. I didn't eat there yesterday because I didn't have the appetite, but I wanted to get a new souvenir from the place since the Otis Café mug I used to have got broken. Instead of a new mug, I got a tote bag, a loaf of the restaurant's sourdough wheat bread, and a brownie.

I don't, in fact, want to know.

Last night's dream was quietly dramatic. It hinted, just vaguely hinted, at real-life drama involving people I know. The thing is, in both reality and in the dream, I do not know what the drama was or is. The simplest way to sum it up is, Group Of People A used to work with and get along with Group of People B, and now both groups of people...don't.

I've known about this in the vaguest way for a while. I decided that whatever happened, I don't need to know and, perhaps more importantly, I don't want to know. I like Group Of People A and Group Of People B; I run into the people from both groups; this seems like their issue, not mine, in other words not something where I'd be called upon to choose sides.

To add some context, I'm not completely sure I'd get a full, straight story about What Happened from either side of this conflict, either.

But still, I think about it, which led to my dream-self thinking about it.