Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, February 8, 2010 10:00 PM

No Travel?

Tuesday is quite the frustrating day. Work is okay and I have a great workout with many sets and reps for the abdominals and lower back. The frustration starts a bit later when I want to send money to an international destination. I first ry the Western Union website and things are going along smoothly. But then, as a last step, they want to confirm my identity by asking questions like "You took out a mortgage in 1987, what were the monthly payments on that mortgage?" and "You took out an automobile loan in 2003, what were the monthly payments on that loan?" Who can remember the answers to these questions? So I take a guess on each one and the Western Union website denies my transfer of money because they cannot confirm my identity. So now I call Western Union to transfer over the phone. Things are proceeding well now and I've given them my credit card number over the phone and they only have to have a phone number to call me back. But it turns out that they will not accept an unlisted home or unlisted mobile phone number. What the f$&^? So I tell the telephone operator that she has been helpfull but I will enever ever ever go to the Western Union website or call them up or even think about using their money transfer service again. Never ever ever. The phone call ends with the operator saying, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" I just hang up - there is no point in reminding her that she has not helped me with anything yet. So now I surf the Internet and find that the pharmacy around the corner will accept a MoneyGram transfer. So I walk over to the drugstore, dial the direct line to MoneyGram, and things are proceeding well as I give the details of the transaction, the sender, and the receiver. The MoneyGram operator says, "All's you have to do is pay the drugstore and the money will be available at the destination in a few minutes." When I ask, "Just give the drugstore my credit card?" the MoneyGram operator says they only take cash. What the f$&^? There is silence on the phone as I don't know what to say. I just hang up and start walking home. But now, on the short walk home, I receive a phonecall from my credit card company saying there might be a fraudulent charge on my credit card from a few minutes ago. It's a WesternUnion charge! I explain to the credit card people what happened and they say they will keep an eye on it and it should remove itself in a day or so. I thank the bank for being diligent and tell them that I will keep an eye on it also.

On Wednesday I take a few minutes off work to get cash from the bank and go to a liquor store near work that is a MoneyGram outlet. Again there is a direct phone to MoneyGram and I start the process over. Except that the phone is horrible and I have to yell into the phone to allow the operator to hear. The clerk at the liquor store just keeps nodding and smiling at me since he knows the phone is crap and he's used to this sort of thing. But eventually the transaction is completed, I pay the liquor store clerk the moeny for transfer, get a receipt, and head back to work. On Wednesday night I just drill the muscles with a lengthy 60 minute workout and have a great pump for the rest of the evening.

On Thursday I give a presentation at work where I start it with, "The XYZ people are our friend!" (Replace the XYZ with the three letter government agency that we are working with.) I go on to explain that I worked with these people many years ago providing a flight epxeriment on their host satellite (a role reversal) and that we work together well. The presentation goes over very well! And I work off some stress on Thursday night after work with a very long brisk walk.

Friday is almost productive at work. When I get home I do errands around the house, have a heavy session with the weights, and head for clubs in West Hollywood. Person B_AIA and Person T_U join me and we hang out. Tonight the music is surprisingly good at the herd, clone club. After the club closes I hang out on the street with many other people until 2:20 am and then I head for home. The lights go off for sleep at 3:15 am.

On Saturday I wake up a bit after 7 am and do some web programming. When the morning has warmed up I get out for the aquarium ride and enjoy cranking along in the sunshine and cool weather. Afterwards I return a borrowed chainsaw, return borrowed books from the library, get the world rally car washed, and buy supplies for the weekend. In the evening I am going to make an appearance at the neighbor's party. Before I go I lie down on the couch to read. Before I know it I have dropped off to sleep and awoken to find it is near midnight. Since the party was supposed to end at 11:30, I guess that I have missed it. And I notice that I have a sore throat.

The sore throat is with me on Sunday morning when I wake up. On Sunday I wait for the morning to warm up by finishing a coat of wax on the world rally car. When the morning has warmed up I head north on the Los Angeles river and Rio Hondo trails. When I reach the crossover bridge I turn around and head for home. Since I'm feeling good I put in a few mile surge towards the end of the ride to get the blood pumping more and to open up the lungs more.

During the middle of the afternoon I strap on the inline skates to go skate over to Subway to bring dinner home. On the way a very old cyclist stops me and asks me where a shoe repair shop is. I think about it and point to where I am headed. He follows on his bicycle and notes that he is 83 years old and still riding (slowly). We find the shoe repair shop but it is closed today. I ask him where he is from and he says Cambodia. So we have a long discussion where he grew up, why he left, and why he hasn't returned. As I'm skating ahead of him towards Subway (and he's headed home) I hit one of the rubber mats at intersections and end up on the ground. But I have potective padding on and nothing seems to be broken. I skate into the Subway store and strike up a brief skating conversation with a new worker before my order gets taken and filled. I note that all of the employees and customers notice that I am on skates and they are probably wondering if there is a rule "no skaters allowed inside the store". But I ignore the rule (if it exists) and then skate on home. (I've skated into this Subway before and never beent old not to.)

On Monday I still have the sore throat. But I try to be productive until the emergency all-hands meeting at 3 pm. It's a meeting where we are not learning anything and I nod off for a little nap. After work I get in a good workout for the abdominals and lower back and then go walking for about an hour.

Throughout the week I struggle with a sore throat and the sniffles. Despite the mild cold I get in a great, heavy workout with the weights on Tuesday, a long walk on Wednesday, and another heavy workout with the weights on Thursday. The Thursday workout goes much better than it should seeing that I'm fighting off a cold and the sniffles. So I am thankfull to get through the workout and enjoy it. During noon on Tuesday I go for a fresh air break at work and run into a former ice hockey teammate. We talk about the new league re-organization and he tells me, "I'll tell the captain that you're interested for the start of the next season". I nod my head. I am seriously thinking about it.

Many people at work are talking about the emergency meeting and the contract termination scenario that everyone thinsk will come. I just put my head down and work hard because we've got a contract to execute to and there's no use speculating regarding the outcome.

Friday is a weird day. It rains all day - from 8 am until bedtime. I get out for a morning walk and a trip to the grocery store before the serious rain starts. Late in the morning, despite rain, I put on a jacket, grab the umbrella and backpack, and walk 2 miles to the library to return a book and get two more, and then walk the two miles home - stopping at the video store to grab "Iron Man". When I stop at the video store the owener, who recognizes me, says something about me walking in the rain. And he fully understands and starts laughing when I say, "Oh I just washed and waxed the car last weekend and don't want to get it wet". During the wet walk I get stopped by one of those "barkers" who carry the big signs begging you to use their income tax preparation service. It turns out ehg uy has finished hair cutting school and is trying to earn enough money to take his state certification license exam. A nice kid, I hope he gets there. During the afternoon I do some reading, take an hour nap on the couch, and watch "Iron Man". Its still raining so I do little things around the house. The sniffles and sore throat are almost gone and today's slow day has been good for me.

Saturday starts with another morning walk. The day does not look like its going to clear, so near noon I get in a heavy session with the weights. Though the head cold, sniffles, and sore throat are almost gone, I feel strong and not weakened at all by the illness. Since there will be no bicycle ride today due to the rain, I pull the road bicycle out and give it a good cleaning - polishing up the components. I satnd back and say aloud "You look just like the day I brought you home more than 24 years ago". It's almost true. The rest of the day is spent relaxing and reading.

Sunday dawns clear. I get out walking in the morning and then have a storming bicycle ride down to the aquarium and beyond. Nothing feels as good as being on the bicycle in the sunshine after being rained out for the last two days. Late on Sunday I get a text message from Joe indicating that our mutual friend, Brandon, has been missing in action. His mobile phone is turned off and his parents have filed a missing persons report. Brandom had been under pressure studying for his state pharmacy license examination recently, but...

The final tally for the three day (wet) weekend is 0 miles on the car, 8 miles on the motorbike, 20 miles on the bicycle, and 10 miles on foot.