« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

December 17, 2012

Wheelies in the Rain

Wheelies in the Rain

I'm sliding down the wet street on my ass at 25 mph in a light, but steady rain. It's times like this that you wish you had insurance. Or a license plate. Or something on my feet beside my leather work shoes. The street is grinding away at the steel on my bike as we slide along together, a pretzel of steel and flesh and I'm sliding down the street for so long that I begin to wonder if I'll ever come to a stop anyway, when the curb finds me and snaps be back to reality with a sudden burst of adrenaline and pain.

But I should back up a bit....

I spend my days at work in a crucible of pain.  A private hell I've carefully constructed over the years.  I bounce back and forth between SF, Denver, and Jackson, MS like a ping-pong ball in a dryer.  

But no matter where I go, my work finds me.  I creeps into my house in Colorado.  Finds me in my dreams.  Pulls me wide awake into a nightmarish panic from a safe nap in a different time zone.

This is my life.  My own private hell.  Last week, I was so covered up that I honestly didn't have 5 hours to fly to SF so I stayed home.  No one said anything.  No one cares.  Only the work has to be done.  That is the pain that pulls at me like I'm swinging by my hair over a dark abyss.

My father was here.  This is his mind prison also.  He is here with me, in spirit, if not in body.  He couldn't make the river rise and he tried and tried until he finally cracked like a hazlenut and we went to visit him infrequently and no one talked about him because that was the polite thing to do.

Now, I have to go into work and on a rainy day, you can walk or ride the bike and I don't have an umbrella but I can get there quicker on the bike.  We solved a math problem in college where we tried to figure out if it was smarter to go wide open or slow.  I can't remember the solution, but the bike is a release for me.  A way to funnel the adrenaline into something somewhat tangential to work.

At work, I type gently on a keyboard and get manicures on a fairly regular basis.

But the bike is an outlet of a different kind.  It speaks to something primal.  Something deep inside the brain that needs to get out finds a release in the bike.

The bike likes to ride on one wheel.  This has precious little to do with me. I am a victim as much as anything.  Strangers on the street know that the bike has so much power that it will rise up like a stallion on steroids.

They see me in the street and make hand signs - an imaginary set of handlebars rises up in their pantomime.  

It's merely common courtesy to ride a wheelie and, the more often you do it, the easier it gets.  The better you get, the more wreckless you drive.  This downward spiral is something that sucks in the amatures until they end up in a stephen hawking approved scooter operated by blowing in a tube.

No one that's ever ridden with me would say I was a good driver.  Crazy maybe.  Insane.  But not good.  The good bikers I run into on the open road are always castigating me for my reckless driving.

I've wrecked a lot of times.  This isn't my first time at the rodeo.  I've been dwon many times.  They say there's two kinds of motorcycle riders...those that have gone down and those that will go down.

I've wrecked plenty of times.  Enough times that, when I ride, I wear boots, a leather jacket, gloves, and a helmet.  It's not a lot, but it's better than plenty of people you see out there on the road.  You see those morons riding around in shorts and t-shirts wearing flipflops and riding without a helmet.  That's not me.

That's not how I roll.  When I get on the bike, I wear some riding gear.  Less than some, but more than others.  Somewhere in the middle.

They say the generals are always ready to fight the last war, and this isn't my first skirmish.  This isn't my first time at the rodeo.

Now, maybe when I'm riding a wheelie, I should keep my right foot on the rear brake.  The right handbrake on the front tire is as useless as tits on a bull when the front tire is five feet off the ground.

But the right foot brake will work, if you can get your foot on it.  But when you're riding the bike like a stallion, your foot isn't really over the rear brake lever any more, truth be known.  So, the best thing to do is not go over backwards.  As that would suck.

Now, I ride a wheelie every time I'm on my bike because that part of your brain that says "nah...better not do that" doesn't work on me.  It was disabled at birth.

And, when I am riding a wheelie, you do think about going down.  That would suck.  I mean, it's hard to think about.  And I know it's crazy to ride wheelies.  In the rain.  And I know it would suck to go down.  And I think about it...my cameras all crashing to the ground around me....10 grand worth of Canon gear crashing into the street and severing my spinal cord with a nylon Canon noose.

But you try to push those thoughts into the back of your mind, and go ahead an ride the wheelies anyway because, fuck? AmIrite?  We're all going to die one day.  You loafers on the couch.  Joggers. Smokers.  Vegans.  We all die. There's only one way out.

So, that's sort of the ultimate rationaliation.  And, as Brian told me, "You can rationalize anything."  That debilitation tidbit he dropped on me has had a more profound impact on my actions than any philosophy course or book I ever took or read.

But there it is.

It is out there.

We all must die.  Life is short.  Play hard.

Now, on my way into work, I don't play well with others.  I don't like the little people darting through the crosswalk against the light.  And they do.  Tapping their stupid little iPhones, they strut into the crosswalk like they own the fucking streets, and, when I'm walking, I do the same thing.  I'll walk in front of a bus or a screaming firetruck. It makes not difference to me. Fuck 'em all.

But, when I'm on the bike, by God you'd best not be in my crosswalk.  So, I stand the bike up and come roaring throug the crosswalk.  The pedestrians scatter before me like minnows parting before a barracuda.

I have the light, mind you.  Now, by the time I get there, it's turned red, but so be it.  At the next light, I ride up to the front of the queue and pull squarely in front of a taxi.  I learned this maneuver.  If you don't get in front of them, they'll try to run you off the line and knock you over int he process.  So, if you get squarely in front of them, they'll have to run slap over you, and most people don't have the balls to do that.  

So, I'm at the front of the queue in front of a taxi and the light turns green and I wind it up and ride a wheelie all the way through first gear.  Now, it's true that I don't ride a wheelie balanced properly.  I have to keep accelerating to keep the bike up....so when I wind out first gear, I just lift it up into second and never let off the gas.  I've done this many times before.  No clutch necessary.

But this time, it comes over on me and, in the blink of an eye, I'm sliding down the street at about 20-30 mph.

All my worst fears are realized as I tumble from the bike into the street and now, I'm sliding down the street on my ass thinking...wow..this is going to suck.

A few things go through my mind as I'm sliding down the wet asphalt street on my ass.  First, I hope I don't hit anyone else and I wish I had car insurnace.  That's the first thought.  Then, I think how fortunate I am that I don't have my cameras to smash into the street, strangle me, paralyze me, or worse.  Now, it occurs to me that I've been sliding for a long time and I wonder when I'll stop sliding.  And my  thoughts go back to the last time I was sliding down the street wondering when I would stop.

That time, I was in New Orleans and I was rolling down the street after I got knocked squarely off my bike and, about the time I was wondering when I'd stop rolling, I hit a telephone pole with my chest.

But this time, I slide into the curb and come to an abrupt halt.  People come rushing up to me, certain that I've met my maker.  I rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.  I wiggle my arms and legs and realize, incredulously, that I'm more or less OK.  My right hand hurts. And there's a lot of material missing from the right glove.  But mostly, I'm just embarrassed.  I try to stand up the bike, but fail.  Then, I take a second stab at it, getting more leverage this time.  The bike rises up.  The rear tail light is hanging down by the rear turn signals.  The bike starts in an instant.  I hop on it, and ride it, shell-shocked into work.

At work, I take stock of myself. I tore a hole in the back pocket of my bluejeans when I slid on my wallet. Right right glove is mangled. Miraculously, the hand is not. I have a slight blood blister on my right fourth finger. Probably it got pinched between the bike and the street when it came over. My shoes are scratched up. My backpack is slightly scratched up.

I walk into work, like a zombie. No way I'm telling these people what happened. I mean, how dumb can one person be?

JB takes one looke at me and, sensing something, say "How dangerous is it to ride that thing int he rain?"

"Ah...it's not that bad. You just have to be realllll careful."


Continue reading "Wheelies in the Rain"

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 15, 2012

Trufflehunter Studios Presents - Christmas 2012

Jennifer and I were reminiscing yesterday about all the silly little songs we used to sing to a couple of confused 14 year-old girls. Every year, I plan on recording some Christmas songs with Jennifer and releasing a CD. But CD's are obsolete now, IMHO. So I decided to post some of our recordings on my web page. I'm sort of digging through the archives, looking for old .aup files, and then exporting them as .mp3 files.

All of our recordings were done in Audacity, a recording application which is free and simple to use.

I added Yahoo Media Player to this page.

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 15, 2012 at 4:01 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 13, 2012

Free software you should install on your Windows PC


Posted by Rob Kiser on December 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

December 5, 2012

A slow descent into hell

In the morning, I ride my bike into work in the rain and park in the alley when that pale worm threatened I should never park again.

At work, coffee flows like a river from machines imported from Italy, into a coffee cup the size of a small battleship. They gave me this Golden Gate National Park mug when I got here. "Here. You'll need this." I should have seen this coming. I should have run the other way. Too late now.

I wonder if this is how my father felt as he began his slow descent into hell, hoping the river would rise, praying for rain. But when it didn't come, finally crumbling under the stress, tumbling forward into a downward spiral. Collapsing into something less that a person fit to be walking around unsupervised.

Everything goes onto the desk. Wallet. Keys. iPhone.

There is a deadline. This has to work by Friday. It's not possible, of course. But the longest journey begins with a single step. Break the problem down into a series of smaller problems.

The trick here is not to panic. Not to break and run. You've got to face this nightmare.

Everything ever learned now is brought to bear. Code the way you've always coded. Don't go into a full-scale panic. But don't waste any time either. This is the balancing act. This is the tight-wire we're on. Go too fast, and you'll make a mistake. Accidentally delete the program, or lose days worth of work. Go too slow, and you won't make the deadline.

You want to write a program that's efficient, but well documented, and easy to debug and maintain. So that when the next guy down the road is looking at it, he won't be scratching his head trying to figure out what you're doing every step of the way.

You want to write a program that people will weep when they see it and say "OMG this is the best programmer ever." Not something that they'll curse over beers alone at night and send emails to the fingerhunters who hunt down bad programmers and remove their index fingers as a warning to all future employers - "This person has no business behind a keyboard." So they'll have to go to every interview wearing gloves, but the managers will catch on. Instead of asking for references, they'll just ask the candidate to kindly remove their gloves.

Oh. And I've got out-of-town-visitors in town tonight.

But last night, as I lay in bed, spinning this nightmare in my head like cotton-candy inside a machine, I had a vision. If I can get the 20,30, and 40 records working today for all employees (those that have elected coverage and those that have termed coverage), then that gives me tomorrow to do the dependents.

So that's my dream for today. 20,30,40 for both Elected and Termed benefits. Pray. Just pray.

By 12:30, I have the '20' Records working and am starting on the '30' Records. A message pops up on my monitor. "It's feeding time. 11C. Wear shoes."

Like having some sandwiches rolled in on a cart and some cans of Diet Coke is so special I'd rush breathlessly into a room full of shiny thin people wearing suits. I'd rather peel my skin off with a paring knife and roll in a wading pull full of turpentine.

Now, you pull out all of the tricks you've learned over the years. You learn not to type things. Cut and paste. Not only is it easier, but it prevents typos. This is huge when you're in a time crunch.

Code. Test. Debug. Code. Test. Debug.

Everything is backed up. This is something you learn along the way. Copies of copies of copies. Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Have a plan in case the backup plan fails.

All of the code has to line up. It has to look pretty. It must be tabbed and spaced methodically. Technically, it will work now matter how haphazardly you slap it in there, but if you're organized and methodical, you'll make less mistakes, and the mistakes you do make will be easier to spot.

The key to staying sane is to being with the underlying belief that the problem you're facing is solvable. There is a solution. The task at hand can be accomplished. Any time spent complaining about the tools or the requirements is all just wasted effort. You have to create your own reality. Have to believe that the problem can solved.

Once you believe the goal is attainable, you start by breaking the problem down into smaller and smaller pieces until you get something that you can do. A program that you can sit down, execute, test, and review the results. Then, from this, you build. Keep adding complexity until the program accomplishes everything it's supposed to do.

But you have to believe it can be done before you start, or there's no point in starting.

And the odd thing is that, it doesn't matter what you believe. If you believe you can do it, then you're right. And if you believe you can't do it, then you're right also. And we carry this brush around with us and create our own reality as we go. We paint the world as we see it. We create our own reality and carry it around with us like luggage.


I've always imagined an incredibly upscale restaurant where the hostess greets you with "How many are in your party". They bring you a plate of warm olives with the pits still in them and you eat on shiny plates. And you drink expensive wine from all over the world and every time you order a new bottle, they bring out a new set of wine glasses because those last wine glasses just wouldn't possibly do for this type of wine, silly.

In any event, one wall of this restaurant is an enormous glass wall about 11 inches thick and, on the other side of this glass, all sorts of mayhem is unfolding. Horribly deformed creatures beg for scraps of food on all fours, fight and squabble amongst themselves.

The idea is a complete collision of cultures. The seediest area of town meets the nicest area of town. I've never really know how to structure this properly though. I thought about building this place on the Berlin Wall, or along the DMZ on the border of Best Korea.

But Delfina is about as close to this nightmarish vision as I've ever seen in real life. Basically, out in the street, people are staggering through the night, homeless, deformed, and crippled.

And we're stepping out of the restaurant saying, "man those olives were out of this world"

The Enemy At the Gate

The enemy's at the gate and you fall back. This is when you pull out your most trusted weapons. Nothing left to chance here. Now, everything counts from here on out. There can be no missteps. Now, it's going to be a tooth-and-knuckle fight.

Everything counts now. Nothing else matters. This is very real suddenly. Every trick you've ever learned comes to bear. You don't have to explain it to anyone. Most people would never understand the argument. Or wouldn't agree with your conclusions even if they understand the argument. But that doesn't matter. You don't have to convince anyone else. You don't have to explain it. There's no justification. The proof is in the pudding. You have to make this thing work. By tomorrow. We don't care how you get it done. Just get it done.

My back is against the wall.

I pull it all down into SQL and do my development there. If you're writing SQL, you put it into the SQL editor and code it there. Only once it works do you try to move it into an SQR or an App Engine. All of these little lessons learned over the years matter now. This is this.

And now, a small earthquake at 11:45 a.m. Very small. But my monitor rocking slightly. And another one a few minutes later. This is all. Just a small earthquake. No reason to stop coding. Keep coding.

These tables don't feel as familiar to me as they ought to. Sort of the same way I get that nagging feeling when I drive to the airport every week, but always get confused about where the airport exit is. I shouldn't have any confusion about this. I take the same route every week for the last 2 years. But somehow, what should be very familiar seems somewhat foreign, and this concerns me of course. There is that.

I look at these tables and I tell myself, "well, I haven't worked with these tables in a while, so that's why I don't remember them as well as I might". And it's true, there are thousands upon thousands of tables. This is true. But I don't like the feeling of sitting here and playing with my little friends...these tables...but not knowing their names or what's in them really. It's frustrating. Confusing. But, it is what it is. And I've got a deadline. So this all gets pushed away into the dusty corners of the mind. Focus on the task at hand. Break the problem down into smaller and smaller segments until it is solvable. Code. Test. Debug. Code. Test. Debug.

The Mayor of San Francisco

I should mention, for a moment, my friend Rico. Rico is a friend of mine that lives in North Beach. He's the guy that, when I'm out riding wheelies drunk in the rain, calls out "HEYYYY!!!!!!" as I ride by. So that I circle back to see what's going on. And when I ride by again, he yells out again "HEY!!!".

So that you have to stop and have a drink with him. Now, everywhere we go, Rico is ALWAYS greeting people he knows. I used to call him the Mayor of North Beach, because he knows everyone in North Beach. But then, I run into him in other neighbors of the city, and the story is always the same. He's always surrounded by friends, high-fiving people, fist-bumping friends. He appears to live without a care in the world, and have no discernible enemies. Which is unusual, in my experience.

Now, it's true that Rico has lived here his whole life. That's part of it. But it's only a small piece of the puzzle that is Rico. Plenty of people have lived here for that same amount of time and don't know their next-door neighbors.

Now, another part of it is that, wherever he goes, he's actively looking for people that he knows. I've seen him do this. We were down on Van Ness and Sutter the other night and walking through this mob of people and he'd shout out at people as they passed and they'd see him, stop, and turn around and come back and greet him like a long, lost family member. Like the prodigal son.

But there is more to it also still. More than the fact that he's lived here his whole life, and that he's constantly actively scanning the crowds for the faces of people that he knows. More than these two pieces. These are two pieces of the puzzle that is Rico.

These two, in and of themselves, are merely artifacts that can be easily discounted and/or dismissed, and rightfully so. We'll put these fragments aside for now. We'll put them in this little depression glass blue jar here on the coffee table.

The thing that's interesting about Rico is that he's always super glad to see you and never gets depressed and he's genuinely interested in and excited by everyone that he talks to. He creates this reality and carries it with him like a wave. And his excitement is contagious. I'm always glad to see him because he's glad to see me, and so it goes.

I mean, I meet people when I go out. He introduces me to people. But I think "Fuck them. Who are they? I don't know and I don't care." But not Rico. He sees deeper in the stone than I can chisel. And he brings out something in each person so that, whenever they see him, they're glad as hell to see him. But when they see me, they don't get excited obviously. And I watch Rico and I study him like a social experiment. It really makes me see that we really do create our own little reality and carry it around with us. All the world's indeed a stage.

The Spider's Web

Writing a program is sort of like a spider weaving it's web. If you watched the spider starting out, you'd have no idea what it was doing, initially. If you'd never seen a web before, then you'd probably wonder what it was doing for some time. Then, once it became apparent what his plan was, you'd sit back and start second guessing how long it would take. Once he finished, you'd wonder aloud whether any bugs ever come this ways anyhow. Finally, once a bug stumbled into the web, you'd complain that he'd break out at any minute. But then, once the spider was satiated, you'd sit back and think about it.

How does a spider know how to make a web? How can something the size of a penny have a brain that allows him to build a web out of thin air, trap an insect, and eat it? How does he know to build a web?

And this is sort of where I am. Connecting the little dots along the web. Solving one problem at a time. I may or may not make my deadline. But I'm trying as hard as I can. Solving one little problem at a time, and moving forward. I'm building my web.

At 2:00 a.m.

At 2:00 a.m., after you've been coding all day, you can convince yourself of anything. Programming is pure logic. If this, then that. It follows. It's all there is. But if you make an incorrect assumption, then your logic can lead you down a blind hole. You can go spiraling off into a galaxy of confusion in a hurry.

Nothing makes sense at 2:00 a.m. Nothing works. You couldn't get a pencil to work after you've been coding for 12 hours straight. Gravity ceases to function. Time slows to a crawl and you're just sitting there, zombie like, behind the monitor. If you were driving a car, you'd crash right about now.


I hear the garbage truck outside. My garage is full of garbage. Not because the garbage trucks don't play that little musical tune that they play when they drive through the streets of Cuzco. But because I'm never here when the garbage man cometh.

Every bug report starts with a full-scale panic. An adrenaline surge. A wave of fear comes over me. I'm not smart enough to figure this out. I'm too old. Too absent-minded. Too something...to figure it out.

I imagine myself wander around on Market Street, begging for change near the BART entrances with a kitten or a dog in a sweater. I'll make one of those "Human Kindness Testing in Progress" and read Tolstoy by the subway entrance.

But then, inevitably, I put displays into the program and eventually hunt down the root cause of the problem, albeit slowly. And then, when at last I do fine the root cause of the problem, a new wave of emotion sweeps over me. Joy. Elation. I'm smart enough to get through another day. And I wonder if I wouldn't rather be reading Tolstoy with a baby kitten in SF anyway.

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

December 3, 2012

Remembering The Future

We're really under the gun these days. Whatever passed before as life is now compressed down into a black hole where time cannot escape. We're deep into it now. When I pull back from the monitor I have a hard time focusing. My eyes can't adjust to the real world any more and every time I pull back from the PC I feel like a free-diver coming to the surface gasping for air.

No time to eat. The vending trucks pull up outside and jockey for position along Sansome Street, but I have no time for them. I find a half a stale cinnamon roll in the break room and that will pass for lunch today.

Now nothing but the crush of impossible deadlines and coding. Always coding and moving data between environments and no time for sleep. Sleep is a dream.

And then, at something crazy like 7:30 at night, the big bosses come around and I'm sitting here just swinging for the fences. Migrating projects between environments, building records...just typing furiously...trying to get this thing nailed down...and they here me over here typing away and they stop by to see what's going on and I'm not surfing facebook or anything....I'm just hell-bent-for-leather and they see that. They can see that. And it's such a good feeling, to get caught working like a rented mule when they sneak up on you. Such a crazy good feeling.

At 1:00 a.m., you don't have any thoughts any more. You just sit at the keyboard and type. The brain just sits and stares at the monitor and waits for a spark to fire and move something forward. I look at the screen, lost in my own confusion.

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 3, 2012 at 6:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

December 1, 2012

A Big-Ass Mimosa

A Big Ass Mimosa

"I'd like a Hankar Belgian Waffle and a Big Ass Mimosa," I stated to the man behind the counter. Dark skinned. Probably European.  

"How long y'all have been here?" I asked.

"Hmmm...we've been here 13 years now."

"I wasn't expecting to find a Belgian restaurant in the Mission," I explained.

He thought about this for a minuted. Gnawed on it with his brain.  Rubbed it against his world.  What he knew to be true.  The way things are.  The way that he wanted things to be.

"Not too many..." he laughed eventually.

A Hanka Belgian Waffle has Carmelized pears, nutella, whipped cream, and almonds.

The menu does truly list a "Big-ass" (16 oz) mimosa.  I wasn't making that up.

I drove by this place looking for a spot to eat.  It's 12:30 in the afternoon, but I just rolled out of bed and I'm feeling like breakfast.

The problem with being on a bike is that you can't really get an intimate view the places you're blowing past.  It's hard to find a small local restaurant if you're revving the throttle at every red light and riding wheelies between the lights.

So I'm driving down Valencia, looking for a new place to eat.  I don't want to go to another neighborhood.  I want to eat in this neighborhood, in a place I've never been before.

I'm deliberately trying to break out of a rut and find some new places.  So I roll past this place and it says out front in big letters "FRJTZ  Now open for brunh daily 8:30 AM. Poached eggs, waffles, scrambles, French toast, omelets, crepes, pancakes YUM!"

So I turn in. I figure any place that doesn't bother to put vowels in their name must be a cool place.

But I came here not just to eat, but to write also.  About what happened to me this week.

Saturday, two weeks ago, I was still at work at 2:00 a.m.  Trying to get the demons out of a program I couldn't understand.  Couldn't follow. Couldn't get me arms around.  I finally got it working around 2 in the morning.  With a 6 am flight, I knew I wasn't going to get a lot of sleep.  My bike was in the shop, so I walked home, laid my head down on the pillow at 3:00 a.m.  At 4:00 a.m. my ringing phone wakes me up.  The cab is in the alley waiting to take me to the airport.

Throw some things in a bag, hop in the cab.  Ride to the airport.  I'm not flying Southwest this time, for whatever reason.  I'm flying USAir, so I have no status with them and they give me a bad seat. On a four hour flight to Houston.  And I feel like I could die. Barely alive.

Somehow, USAir is organized enough that the open seats are displayed one a screen behind the gate agent.  I see a better seat...a window seat that reclines.

Can you put me in 14F?

We'd have to charge you for that.

How much?



And she prints me a new boarding pass for 14F, but doesn't bother to charge me anything, as she'd have to sign into a different system for that and she can't be bothered, apparently.

I fall asleep when we're taking off and wake up when we're landing in Houston. 

I'm flying home for Thanksgiving.  So is Jennifer.  We're both flying through Houston.  I'm flying from SFO - Houston - JAN. She's flying from DEN - Houston - JAN.  So, briefly it occurs to me that I might see her in the airport.

Then, I realize that she's on Southwest, so she'll probably be in Hobby and I'm in Intercontinental.  So, our paths won't cross.  This is an odd life that we live, I think.

So, we end up spending Thanksgiving in Mississippi.  She's mostly in Madison.  I'm mostly in Monticello.  But we do see each other occasionally.

I fly back into SF. Get in late Monday night.  My bike is in the shop, so I catch the BART into the city.  Walk back to North Beach.  Go out for beer and a a philly cheesesteak and at 2:00 a.m., I realize that I don't have my keys.  This means I can't drive my bike.  Can't get into my flat.  I'm screwed.  Royally.  Try to get into the flat, but no one will answer.  It's cold outside.  I decide to walk into work and see if my keys are there.

Get into work, but my keys aren't there either.  At least I'm out of the elements though.  Like, I'm glad that I'm not sleeping on the sidewalk with the homeless.

I think for a long time about where my keys must be.  It's hard to know really.  They're either here, or they're not here.  And if they're not here, then I dunno where I left them.  Maybe in a TSA bin when they were molesting me in the airports?  Maybe in a cab?  Who knows?

By now, it's like 3:00 a.m.  I have to be at work in a few hours anyway, so I decide that I'll just crash underneath my desk.  I pile a bunch of cardboard underneath my desk to serve as padding, throw some of my clothes down there as well, and after a little tossing and turning, fall fast asleep.

I awake when I hear people moving around the office.  It's 7:30 a.m.  I'm like "Christ...don't you people ever sleep?"

But I bounce up, get into the bathroom, comb my hair, and pretend like I didn't just spend the night underneath my desk.

But pretty soon, word reaches me that I was found asleep underneath my desk.  I scared some woman.  She found me sleeping under the desk and thought I was homeless.  It went up the chain of command.

Now, I don't know what they'll do to me over this.  In Stockton, I was sumarrily dismissed for answering a phone that wasn't mine.  I can only imagine what will happen from this.

I talk to a few people about it.  They tell me it's not that big of a deal, but it's hard to know if it's really a big deal or not.  I dunno.

But I decide to take the opportunity that I'm working for free, in any event.

"Look...y'all owe me 90 thousand dollars...is there any chance I'll ever get paid. Because, regardless of what you've heard, commuting to SF is expensive."

They promise that they'll pay me eventually, and I go back to my desk.

I don't have my keys, and that's the only key I have to the motorcycle.  Honda has already made it perfectly clear to me that they can't make a key for my bike without a key to copy.  Like, you can't call them up and say the VIN number on the bike is 99xXrAD and then have them mail you a key.  It doesn't work like that. They're not that organized.  If you don't have a key to copy, you're out of luck.

And I've lost my motorcycle key before.  So, I promised last time this happened I'd get another key made. But I never did.  Great.

As it get close to the end of the day, I call my slumlord.

"Look...I can't find my keys.  And when I leave work today, I'm going to need someone to let me into the flat.

"OK. No problem.  I'll let you in.  I'll call you when I get there."

Next phone call I get is my slumlord calling me.

"Guess what? I have your keys.  They were on the floor in your room. You must have left them."

I'm so happy.  That's what happened to them. I must have left them there when I was rushing out at 4:00 a.m. to catch the taxi.

The next day, I hop on BART and walk five blocks to pick up my bike at Mission Motorcycles.  

"Your bike is leaking oil, has a broken right mirror, and a broken front hand-brake.  We replaced the spark plug and the CDI box.  Couldn't test drive it cuz we didn't have a key."

It's $300 to replace the spark plug and the CDI box.  I don't care about the other stuff.  Not right now anyway.

I'm just glad to have wheels again.  Drive it back and park it in the alley behind work where I've already had one guy chase me down and tell me that I couldn't park it there anymore.

For some reason, I like living dangerously, it seems.

I go into work yesterday, and I lay it out for them.  I've got to get paid.  I don't know what's going on.  Boss calls AP and they swear up and down that the invoices have been paid.  My bank doesn't show any deposits, but I'm not sure what to do at this point.

The guy that's paying my invoices has left the country and won't be back for 3 weeks.

I drive down to the airport on my bike after work on Friday, but my flights delayed due to weather (rain), so I'll only make it to San Diego tonight, and then have to spend the night in San Diego when I miss my connection.  So she puts me on the 6:00 a.m. flight Saturday morning, but this is going to be a short weekend in Colorado.  It means I fly out Saturday and back Sunday and that sucks. I'm so tired I could die.

Jennifer texts me and says she's going to be busy all weekend and tells me I can come to Denver or not, it's up to me, but she'll be busy all weekend.  

I leap at the chance to relax in SF for the weekend.  To have a weekend without an airport seems like a dream.

So, what?  I found my keys, got my bike back in running condition, didn't get fired for sleeping at work, I've been paid (according to them), and now I have the whole weekend to relax.  Things are looking up. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on December 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink