This coupon redeemable for nothing at all.

Met Steph for mutual birthday coffee tonight at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood. It was a midway point geographically as well as chronologically, as the week started with her birthday and will end with mine. We considered detouring for birthday Cold Stone ice cream, but the packs of screaming children and the clapping, chanting, birthday-song-singing employees devalued their dessert selections beyond our loss tolerance.

The otherwise pleasant evening took a surprise turn for the worst when i reached my car at the waaaay back of the Macy’s parking lot, so far back that a minimum of 20 empty spaces surrounded my shiny red ride on all sides. Like a blemish in the mirror on prom day, that evil pink slip of paper flapped under the driver’s wiper blade. Firstly, lay off my wiper blades, meter maids. Those PIAA Silicones are 40 bucks a pop, thank you. Secondly… i’m at the MALL. In Lynnwood. I park downtown Seattle everyday, yet i’m confused by suburban parking policies? As if!

So, i should have taken a picture, but it was too dark. Apparently when one of your tires is three inches over the white line, you’re parking in two spaces. I was about to be furious until i read the whole ticket:

Notice anything? No fine. No remittance directions. Yeah… that’s cause they’ve got nothing! It’s a MALL. Relief. Laughter. Maybe it’s not necessary to march into the their office tomorrow in my best power tie and demand a written apology.

So, boycott of Alderwood Mall temporarily averted, due primarily to their lack of any real authority. Also, i’m too lazy to really organize that, or to drive any further away than Lynnwood to find an Express that has men’s stuff. But they’re on thin ice, i tell you. First the over-abundance of kiosks in the aisles, and the obnoxiously pushy fragrance salespeople, and now my vehicle’s description has been “permanently recorded”…

I’m guessing C. Webb (i’m imagining the C. stands for Chuckles) jotted down my flagrant treachery dutifully as “red 2-fast 2-furious car driven by what is obviously an overpriviledged suburban punk kid displaying total disregard for order and authority by drifting into multiple parking spaces and otherwise defacing mall property. Perpetrator description: unknown!” Nice detective work, Chuckles. Serpico would have stalked me until he produced some grainy, black and white telephoto shots of me leaving the mall and returning to the scene of the crime to build a case in my permanent record.

Gnomes on line 1.

warning labelI’m sure there are still some blue tongues at the office today – although i haven’t interrogated anyone about it to confirm – and i have already seen some of the pictures circulating of us all from saturday, dressed to the nines in black, red and gold, sipping martinis dyed to company-logo-blue and clanking our glasses together in merriment. One of the best company christmas parties i’ve been to, themed after Casino Royale, replete with tuxedo-clad dealers, high-stakes betting into the multi-million-monopoly-dollar range (with a percentage of winnings destined for the high-roller’s charity of choice) and a c-note’s worth of engineers, developers, and sales and support personalities nearly unrecognizable in their previously-unseen glamour and panache. The only let-down was being sent home so early, likely at the bequest of corporate attorneys with visions of liability lawsuits dancing in their heads. Today, back to the grind, the weekend’s festive binge has passed the torch to the weekdays’chemical crutch and the return to denim, repetitive stress syndrome and radiation-emitting portable electronics is energetically complete.

My garage door remains immobilized today, deprived of its one remaining tensioner spring on saturday morning so the garage door gnomes can use it as a paradigm from which to fashion two fresh ones. Those gnomes called me today, or rather dispatched their human female receptionist to do so, in order to request the weight of my garage door. The weight of my garage door. As though i had recently held it in one hand, and a 10-lb sack of flour in the other, and estimated that “this hand weighs about twice as much as that hand.” She helpfully suggested i place a bathroom scale on the garage floor and lower the door onto it, so i suppose i shall have to stop at target tonight and purchase a bathroom scale in order to weigh my garage door. I’m sure i’ll find thousands of amusing uses for a bathroom scale once i’m in possession of one, the least of which will involve finding a place to store it in my already-overcrowded 4-square-foot bathroom. I supposed it also wouldn’t hurt to weigh myself at least once, as the weight on my driver’s license probably hasn’t been updated since it was issued in 1994.

John was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon and is home on Vashon now, likely alternating between sleeping and driving his mother crazy with sarcastic answers to valid medical questions. I stopped at the hospital yesterday morning on my way to the gym but he was sleeping soundly so i read the two pages of comics from his sunday times and departed as stealthily as i had come. I did not, in fact, make it to the gym afterward as all the other cheap bastards visiting downtown on a sunday morning had scarfed up the entire allotment of free street parking and the municipal tower garage was either closed, non-functioning or woefully understaffed, with no amount of punishment levied at the “print ticket” button able to remedy the infuriating situation. After several dozen maddening circles in a steadily larger radius around the building, i had my fill of the whole ordeal and bitterly headed home, begrudging the gym, the muni tower garage and the “consul-only” parking spaces with their deceptive emptiness that resulted only in cruel, exclusionary condescension. Still annoyed (and possibly tired and lazy, as well) i didn’t go to the gym this morning either. That’ll show them.

I was hoping it would be sunnier

I drove my car to work today, mostly because i’m headed to bellevue after work to meet up with Eric and we always seem to do things that make me wish i’d driven my car. Like the time we went to Park Place Auto to look at luxury exotics and i had to park my Pathfinder around the corner at the deli so they wouldn’t think i’m some punk kid coming to gawk at their cars (which is entirely true, but still).

There’s no way i’d park it in my usual spot, at the gravel lot 5 blocks from the office. Even if the cops do frequently park their cruisers, donuts and starbucks cups in hand, at the end of that street for “reconnaissance”, i still wouldn’t feel safe parking there. I wouldn’t be able to sit still worrying about stray rocks, sloppy parkers, and the full bladders of drunken vagrants. So i spent the $10 (eek) to park for a day at the lot outside my window, so i can watch my car directly from my desk – the first real perk of this new chair, unless you count being able to gaze longingly at the nice part of downtown and wish that i worked up there somewhere, away from the panhandling and parking lot urination of the ID. I was hoping it would be sunnier today, so’s i might enjoy some topless driving (the car being the topless one, not me, you pervs) and further enhance the contrast between my increasingly tan forearms and the pale white rest of me. But alas, it is the sort of dreary day that marks spring in Seattle, even though it is supposed to be (officially, even) summer by now.

So i’m sticking close to my desk today, keeping a close eye on the window and eyeing my office area for instruments with bludgeoning potential should i need to run downstairs and enforce the no-touching rule. Maybe i should have taken that job with the publishing company in Bothell; except the baristas are so much cuter down here.

Can we just agree that we are all tired of the bus?

Watching this week’s StrongBad Email with Ian, while he expresses his frustration with his home computer – he’s trying to log into it from work, but he broke it over the weekend and now it just constantly reboots, leaving it (obviously) inaccessible. My Powerbook never does that. 😉

This is my seventh day of work in a row – i’m very much looking forward to having tomorrow off, mostly cause i have a lot of stuff to get done! And also cause i’d like to sleep in past 5am (at least just a little!). I found a steal of a deal on a parking lot just 3 blocks from work that’ll only cost me $25 a month (the company pays the rest) and is available 24/7 to accomodate my non-traditional shift hours, even during baseball games and stuff. Very good deal. Not that i hate riding the bus… okay, that’s not entirely true. Some days i really hate it. 😉 In the mornings on weekdays i don’t really mind it, although as there’s only a few routes to this part of the city i have to catch the one-and-only bus that will get me to work on time, as the next one will put me here like half an hour late. Driving is much more forgiving in that regard. But the real pain is in the evenings, as i’m headed home after the regular commuting hours, and on weekends, when the routes are limited and i find myself chasing buses all over downtown. What could be a 10 minute drive turns into more than an hour of walking, waiting and riding when all i really wanna do is just get home. With such long days and short evenings, that really makes a dent in my free time. So for $25 a month plus a little gas in the truck, why wouldn’t i drive? See how easily i justify that? 😉 And let’s not even get into the environmental impact of driving my SUV into downtown every day instead of taking the bus… they’re going to name a hole in the ozone after me.

It’s not my fault that this city’s public transit is lackluster. It’s great for some people, if you work 8-5 in downtown and live in one of the city’s boroughs. But the problem with Metro’s bus system is that it basically goes to 50% operation at 6pm, and down to 25% at 10pm. And forget the weekends. So you can’t count on it to get you home if you, say, work a little late, or meet friends for dinner after work, or need to run an evening errand, or – like me – work hours other than 9-5. And this city wonders why we have a traffic problem… cause there really aren’t alternatives for most people! And then we all finally agree on a monorail plan (which would run all nite, btw, on the same predictable route 7 days a week) and these losers want to recall the monorail plan because the route changed by a couple of blocks from the proposal to the building plan! Morons. Firstly, big deal. As long as it’s still going thru all the same neighborhoods. Secondly, a proposal is not set in stone – that’s what proposal means! When landowners won’t sell, or construction costs change, or whatever, you have to be ready to adapt your plans, which is exactly what happens hundreds of times during a 10+ year project. Thirdly, although they try to pass off this recall thing as a “grassroots” movement (the website is even tacky and low budget to aid in the ruse) everyone with more than split pea soup sloshing between their ears knows that the recall movement is being primarily funded by a group of wealthy property owners along the proposed route who either 1) wanted it to stop on their dirt and it’s not, 2) wanted it to stay away and their dirt’s on the route, or 3) have a vested interest in other transportation methods or overpriced parking lots. So basically, a bunch of special interests with much less than the city’s general good in mind. I’ll refer them to John Stuart Mill’s apportionment of the relative needs of the many vs. the needs of the few. And i’ll be sure and spit my gum out the window of the monorail right as i go by their buildings…