Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Heart the Ferry

This is why I love the ferry...

The other morning I woke up tired, feeling like I was fighting yet another office germ, so I wasn't out of bed until 7:30. That isn't too late, generally, but I *really* didn't want to take Bart. It's just so dreary compared to sailing across the bay on a gorgeous, Indian summer morning.

I decided to do what I could to get out of the house as quickly as possible in hopes of catching the last ferry to SF. The last ferry leaves at 8:30, sharp. It's about 15 minutes away, give or take a few depending on traffic.

A few times I thought there was no way I was going to make it and resigned myself to another boring train ride, but at 8:20, I grabbed my stuff along with my comb and ran out of the house with my wet hair flying behind me, deciding I'd try like hell to catch the boat.

My neighbor walked over just as I was backing out of the driveway, trying to ask me to babysit his dog sometime. I could only holler out the window that I was late and I'd have to talk to him later.

That cost me 15 seconds I didn't have. Can't you see my hair is wet, I look frantic, and I'm backing out of my driveway a lot faster than I usually do? Go polish your truck - I'm LATE!

Then there was all sorts of traffic on the way towards the dock - busy streets leading out to the main drag, then the main road was totally gridlocked.

It never used to be like this - suddenly we have traffic here. I kept watching the minutes tick down, realizing I'd likely get to the ferry right as it was leaving and would have to turn around and drive my ass to that skeevy bart station.

I kept on, barreling down the last street toward the parking lot. As I turned the corner, I saw that the boat was still there - it was 8:30 on the nose. I threw the car into the first spot I saw, grabbed my shit and took off running.

About halfway from my car to the dock, I saw the guy closing the gate - dammit, dammit, dammit! I kept running hoping he might see me in time - it was too far to yell. Damn traffic, damn neighbor, damn oversleeping!

At the curb by the gate, a maritime officer was sitting in his truck. As I ran toward the curb behind his truck, he started honking his horn. I was watching the gate, and once that car horn blew, the guy at the gate swung it back open!

I ran past the truck smiling and mouthed a very grateful "thank you" to the guy in the truck who smiled and waved. How friendly and civilized! I was still running at a full clip when I hit the gate and the guy at the gate said, "It's fine! no need to run - you made it!"

Once on the boat, I went to the upstairs deck where it seemed quieter, where I could chill out and enjoy my book. The lower deck is the social area, which is nice, but I thought I'd chill out on the upper deck.

I was settling into my seat when the first mate looked right at me through the window from the bridge, and while smiling, gave me a slight wag of the finger as he looked down at his watch and then back at me. I gave him the same smiling, silent "thank you" and he laughed.

Anyone who's ever taken Bart can tell you, there's no train "operator" on the planet who would hold the train a half second longer, even if they see you sprinting toward an open door. Sure, the train's gotta be on time, but seriously - a half second - that's all it would take - but they'll never, ever give it to you.

Thank you ferry!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Andy Summers!

Last Friday we had our very own celebrity encounter with Andy Summers from a nice little 80s band. He's really funny and seems like a nice guy. He was in town promoting his book, reading at the Books Inc. down the street.

Pretty cool to be able to walk down the street and listen to stories about jamming with Jimi Hendrix and experiencing San Francisco and the Fillmore while out of his mind on drugs.

We followed that with a tasty pizza a block away. Overall, a lovely Friday night.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mid-week Ramblings

old sign in downtown Oaktown

I just finished watching the rest of the SNL season premier and was not impressed. Not until the last sketch with Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph spoofing the new Geico campaign - Andy as a college student who recently crashed his SUV, and Maya as Whitney Houston helping to tell his story.

Andy talked about trying to make it to class in time for a midterm, then "Whitney" talked about freebasing cocaine off a waffle iron, but "mama don't do that no mo!" Andy continued, describing how he lost control of his SUV. "Whitney" chimed in about how she lost control of her bowels. And her life!

She went on to include that she'd recently seen Bobby Brown on the street and threw a bag of chicken mcnuggets at his head. It was the only funny skit in the whole show. Thank you Maya (and Andy).

She also had the best line in last week's monologue, poking fun at southern stereotypes, telling Jamie Pressley that she "don't know nuthin bout birthin no monologue."

Switching gears completely... A coworker sent me a link to a story on NYTimes Online yesterday about the destruction of elephant culture - how elephants are lashing out in violent attacks against humans, villages, and other animals, because their family and social structure is being destroyed. By humans.

But to close on a somewhat lighter note, because there's not a lot I can do about the human race destroying the world we live in... if you haven't already seen these, you must watch G4's new ads for Star Trek 2.0 - thanks go to Griffin for hipping me to these today. Charlie Murphy is the voice of Spock and he's wonderful. My favorie is ST 2.0 Cribs - The Director's Cut. Scottaaay!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tee Em Eye

thanks istockphoto!

This morning at work I happened to walk down the hallway that passes the door into the men's room, as I've done countless times because it's a main route back to my desk.

I had the misfortune today of arriving near the men's room door just as a coworker in another group was about to go in, carrying a section of newspaper in his hand. I may not have noticed what was in his hand if he hadn't stopped to say hello as I passed by.

Question: If you know you're on your way into the men's room to mail a package, so-to-speak, why would you stop and say hello to anyone? Wouldn't it seem more appropriate to avoid all eye contact and simply proceed into the post office and take care of your business without involving anyone else?

I'm at work to work - I don't want to know that Bob Smith is headed into the crapper with the Sports page to sit down for a while. If you have to take a section of the paper with you, it's clear you're intending to spend some time in there, and I'd rather not have this information anywhere in my brain.

Not that women are immune to this biological requirement, but I can say I've never, ever seen a woman head into the john with reading material. It seems we aren't as public about what we're intending to do in there.

But I can tell you, there have been some truly disturbing smells in the ladies' room that make me want to loudly ask the offender to please plan around that event so that can be left at home.

We need a new office space with a more thoughtful design around the inevitable need for elimination. I don't want to see people going in and out of the facilities. That should all be down a hallway somewhere else - not on the same aisle with desks where people sit all day.

But whatever - that was the least of my issues with today. Everything seemed fine this morning, then after lunch I came back to a blood-spattered workspace. Someone's head had come clean off her body, spun around several times, then totally exploded all over everything in our area.

There's ongoing trouble with people being absolutely incapable of writing clear requirements, and when it comes back to bite them in the ass that they didn't include critical information, their first response is to blame my group for not psychically sensing this information.

This was all made worse by the fact that the person who supplied the requirements knew full well what was needed and somehow thought we would interpret another requirement to mean this other material would also be produced. How, we've no idea, as we've not yet completed our Miss Cleo Graduate Program in Psychic Requirement Reading and Interpretation.

Then this person had the good sense to escalate this problem to her boss who then slammed our boss who had to come tell us how we were not playing nice with the other kids and we need to keep wiping the asses of other people who can't take responsibility for their projects.

It's amazing that so many people can work at a company and even after lengthy tenures are unable to learn the same things we've been able to learn in just over a year. In short, how to get things done, or how to move a project along through all its required gates. Believe me, it's easy. It's a cake walk if you pay attention to what's going on around you.

But not only that, if people could just learn how to clearly communicate, this debacle would have never happened today. Why is communication so incredibly difficult? Are there special classes you have to take that most people missed? Can they sign up for those classes now? If not, fuck, bust out the stun gun they use on cattle at the slaughterhouse. Let them all sit slumped and drooling on their couches at home and let the rest of us keep moving.