Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, September 13, 2004 8:58 PM

Silly September

Wednesday is a frustrating day at work of meetings, no technical progress, and the word that I have to attend an all day meeting in Arcadia on Thursday. I get home and have a good session with the weights, but this isn't enough to relieve the stress that I've had today. So I pull out an ax and a shovel and start digging through hard dirt in order to build drainage around the roses. By the time that I have finsihed I'm sweating profusely and completely covered in mud and dirt. This feels good! Except for my lower back hurting a bit.

After a shower I drive over to Vons to buy chocolate chip cookies and energy drinks. Lately I've been buying the "elements" brand of energy drink as opposed to Red Bull or others. As I'm walking to the checkout stand I see the cutest ChiChi and I almost faint. As she passes I smile and notice that she is wearing a shirt with the number 1 on it. And I say to myself, aloud, "Yes, she certainly has a claim to number one". As I walk past her and beyond I turn back and she's turning back also and looking at me. I can see the streaks in her hair and now I want her! But I continue to the checkout stand and wait in line. Before I know it the ChiChi is standing behind me with a generic brand of energy drink. So I take the initiative and say, "This elements brand is really good."

The ChiChi gives a big smile and says, "Does it give you energy and keep you awake? I have an exam tomorrow."

And before I can finish with "Yes, it gives you a pretty good kick", the ChiChi has turned to go pick up some elements energy drink. It takes her a while to get the drink, but as I'm leaving I turn to her and wish her good luck on her exam. And she gives the biggest smile imaginable.

On Thursday I'm up at 5 am to get in a run before heading up to Arcadia for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) orals. Because I am a contributor and not a higher level lead, I sit in a back room and listen to the direction of questioning, but do not get a chance to contribute. At all. THe entire day. Instead I've written code on my laptop and tried to pay attention. I'm frustrated.

I drive home and wash the car (because an atypical summer monsoon has dropped dirty water on the car) and then I go dig and play in the dirt and mud around the roses. I'm again dirty and muddy when finished, but I've relieved some stress. After a shower and a quick trip to the grocery store, I relax at home with the football game playing in the background. A conversation with Person C_T confirms the confusion over Thursday's dinner plans and now we aim for Friday.

I get to work near 6 am on Friday morning to get a head start on the day. Here's another frustrating day at Northrop Grumman. I leave early and lift weights, mow and trim the lawn, take a quick shower, and do the laundry. A phone call with Person C_T sets dinner for 7:30 pm or so, so I get out to buy flowers (for our two month anniversary), buy woodchips and food for the roses, and food for Person C_T and me. We watch a movie ("Chump Chnage") and laugh a bit at it and then we watch "Muriels' Wedding". Later, after other activities, we're drifting off to sleep near 2:30 am.

I'm up late on Saturday but I get out for a good 5 mile run in the heat and watch qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. When Person C_T wakes up we have pizza for breakfast, trim the roses, and look at websites. Near 2:30 pm I am headed out the door for Northrop Grumman and Person C_T is headed out the door for the garment district in downtown Los Angeles. Over the last 16 hours my mobile phone has been ringing continuously but I have been ignoring it. When I check my voice mail messages I see that certain people have left enough messages to completely fill up my voice mail box. Hmmmm.

I pick up Person J_VKPi and we head for a club in West Hollywood. Person J_VKPI is telling me how he thinks there are ghosts or spirits that live in his new apartment because he can feel their presence at certain times. I suggest that Person J_VKPI "talk" with the ghost or spirit the next time he feels it with, "Hello, I'm Person J_VKPI and I'm a friendly guy. But I'm scared when you're around. Can you stop scaring me?" Person J_VKPI doesn't quite want to pursue this until I tell him about Nopester. When Nopester was alive I used to hear sounds that I thought were Nopester moving around or trying to get out the door or laying down. Well, Nopester has been gone for 7 months and I still hear those sounds late at night. So I tell Person J_VKPI that either the house is making noises or Nopester's spirit is still in the house (because it was the only palce that he veer lived). Person J_VKPI will consider whether to speak with the ghost/spirit.

At the club tonight are Person Y_J (who I give encouraging words to), Person P_P (who we talk about work and perfume), Person Ray, a few other acquaintances, and Person N_V (who I talk to about his stolen car, it's recovery, and the damage). There is no emotion at all from seeing or talking with Person N_V. During the evening some guy come sup to me and asks, "You're Ray, right?" And after confirming that I am, he starts talking to me and I don't know who he is. I ask, twice, what his name is, but he doesn't answer (maybe he didn't hear) and he finally makes two bold statements: "You are more handsome in person than in our pictures, Ray" and "You don't remember me". O well, I can't remember everyone that I meet.

After 2am on Sunday morning Person J_VKPI and I decide to leave. After dropping Person J_VKPI of at his (haunted) apartment, I head for home and make it back at 3:25 am. There's no point in going to sleep now.

At 3:35 am I go out for a run. Actually it's a 4 minute 30 second run followed by a 30 second walk and repeated 12 times to get an hour of exercise. I grab a quick shower and watch the Italian Grand Prix that starts at 5am. After the race I jump on the bicycle for the aquarium ride and to purchase the newspaper at the end of the ride. But before reading the newspaper I feed the roses and add wood chips to the base of each rose. But this isn't enough, so I start trimming a tree and cleaning up underbrush in the backyard. Now I'm getting a bit tired so I go in, take another shower, read the newspaper, watch part of a football game and part of another race, and then try to pack the last of Person N_V's things (that he wants to pick up on September 30th for his move to San Diego).

Near 2pm on Sunday I get down for a short nap. It turns into a longer nap than I wanted, but I wake up feeling refreshed. The remainder of the day is spent with football on the television in the background, some work on websites, and a nice conversation with Person C_T. It turns out that the person who filled up my voice mail box with voice messages has apparently given up and not tried to call again. I get down for coma-like sleep near 10 pm.