Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday drive (again)

In early, really nice drive in today. Wind was blowing, says it's 76f, feels like 76f, humidity 26%. Only scheduled for 97f today. Hazy because of the wind kicking up dust, but felt really nice. With the window down and the wind periodically gusting in, making my hair fly. Sun was moving up – it was around 6am (no night shift for me Anna). I really like it here – I talked about Las Vegas before. The ride is nice – about three miles driving east on Twain, the sun straight ahead. Trees all along, houses at first then switching to apartments closer to the Strip. Then past the back of the Rio – if the light is red I can watch the big advertising TV showing the people in the shows dancing, the cooks in the buffet piling on the shrimp, people in the Ultra Lounge dancing and enjoying their drinks. No sound, it’s a cheaper marquee so the videos are kind of jerky and grainy. But Ok to watch. Then under the train tracks, sometimes several big engines parked overhead. And stopping at the light (always red) and then under the freeway in that little tunnel type underpass. Turn right onto Frank Sinatra Drive, back behind all the strip hotels and parking garages. They are starting to prep for construction of a new resort thingy just south of the Bellagio – taking an employee parking lot and vacant lot to put in another billion dollar high rise hotel casino something. Small articles in the paper, but no drawings or pictures of the new place yet. About three miles driving south on Sinatra, sun to my left, flashing on my face from between the towers. Warm sun, nice with the breeze. Sorry, I’m at work and don’t have Photoshop and can’t post pictures from here. Too many posts with words only, need to fix that. Maybe tonight. Then the road drops from 35 down to 20 and turns all around – at night Sinatra is not used much, so it’s used for drag racing (still called that?) But down at the south end it goes underneath Russel Road, then makes a U turn to come back to a light at Russel. The turn is tight, why the speed limit is 20. but people racing obviously don’t remember it. There are always skid marks, black stripes on the curb, and frequently a car with the front wheels bent in over on the rocks where they didn’t make the curve and hit the curb and bent the wheels and slid across the rocks, and now the car doesn’t drive and the rocks are too rocky to drive on anyway. I guess the tow trucks come in the daytime and pull them out, haul them away, off to get fixed. A short right turn onto Russel, sun in the face again, and then a quick right onto the south end of the Strip (Las Vegas boulevard). About two miles there – speed limit is 45 which means everyone is driving 60. Past the old hotels (most gone now to empty lots, just a few signs overhead) past the famous ‘welcome to Las Vegas sign – well, the back of the sign that says ‘come back soon’. Past the end of the airport, off to my left. Here is the Executive Terminal, and all the small jets, and the fancy private jets, and the charters – not too many today, lots last week. Then the tour helicopters that take people to the Grand Canyon, about a dozen in gray and maroon. Then the end of the runway, taking off overhead today. Turn left onto Sunset, sun in the eyes again, a mile down along the runway watching planes come and go, and a right and quick into the parking lot, and here I am.

No new work orders, but today looks like meeting day. 5 meetings scheduled on my calendar. No, I don't schedule them, other people include me. I've got to do some research for a few of them, some are for me to learn what I've got to do for projects. I work at a bank now – fixing problems with computer programs. More formal than most places I worked at, I fix things based on customer complaints, they fill out work orders (WO) requesting fixes and changes, and a business analyst figures out what they really want not what they are asking for, then I figure out how to do it. If something is too complex, or a request for something new, then the users have to fill out a Business Request (BR). These are for longer things, and go through committees, and other departments have to allocate money to the technical group for the requests, while work orders are to fix things, so they are on our budget. I’m required to close a work order within 30 days, some are done as soon as they show up, some take longer because of complexity, user fuzziness, testing, etc. Business Requests usually take a lot longer to do, and usually sit for a year or so before we get to them. But this is a nice place to work, so even after a year the original requester is still working here, and still interested in the stuff getting done. I try to help, and tell them how to fill out a work order and then slide in things they want as part of it (don’t tell my boss or business analyst). Finally hired another FoxPro programmer a few weeks ago, I was swamped and now John is taking half the stuff. He’s doing the collections programs. I talked him into coming from my last place of employment (let’s not go into that one again)

I left home early to stop for bagels – Denise (one of the analysts) usually gets them on payday Fridays, but she had to come in early because of riding with somebody else, so I offered to stop. I hit the Einstein's down Rainbow at Flamingo. Been a while since I bought bagels - they have a new slicer (well, new to me) that angles down into a bin built into the countertop. The guy just slides a bagel in and it flies down - reminds me of those things that throw the clay targets used by trap shooters on TV – slide them in, the bagels just hit the blades and give a nice cutting sound, then are flung down into the bin - so hard some bounce out. I can see somebody asking for a sliced bagel, the counter guy says 'go long' - then points the slicer across the room, slides in a bagel, and it goes screech – then flying overhead. Too bad it doesn't spread the cream cheese at the same time. I also hit the Starbuck’s next to the Einstein’s. My old fav Mocha Valencia, but with all the fancy drinks a counter guy said nobody asks for a MV anymore, just the old customers. They don’t even stock the crunchy orange sprinkles any more, which gave you something to do, prying them out of your teeth with your tongue and biting on the little tart chunks. Denise wanted a big Chai tea. Come on, Starbucks is coffee. No, not coffee, fancy four dollar ‘half caf lo fat triple shot no foam’ flavored thingys.

Somehow I’ve gotten into using the word ‘thingys’ – thanks to Ana at Red Boat (no, you have to click on the link on the right, not putting it here again). Oh, Word says it should be ‘thingies’. I don’t know, which looks better, with a Y or an IE. Both are nice. Maybe the IE – thingies, thingies – yes, looks good.

I added some more links on the right – people I try to hit. Somehow I’m not doing it at home. Maybe once a week I take some time between WOs to bounce around the world. Looks like I’ve got some kid type listings – Tess and Lisbon Ana both are concentrating on children. Tess makes Hong Kong sound interesting. And I want to visit Portugal now, and Israel (even though I’m not sure about all the guns and rockets and bombs there).

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