Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Musical Extravaganzas

Today's sunrise over Victorville

Back in Victorville, or should I say still in Victorville? Well, whatever, I’m here. The drive to and from takes from five and three quarter hours up to seven hours depending on how fast I drive, traffic, accidents, and route I take. No matter what, it is a hell of a drive... without cruise control and an auxiliary jack. I do have a radio tuner for the ole ipod, but constantly trying to find a station without too much static is annoying and quite frankly dangerous. Almost as bad as texting! So I have been plugging my ihome into my power converter which plugs into my 12 volt car thingy (used to be called a cigarette lighter, but cars don’t have those anymore). It works pretty good, unless the road is bumpy and the ipod goes flying off the port, and the sound would be better piped through the car speakers, but at least there isn’t static.

All that to say, I have been having musical extravaganzas on the way to and from Victorville. Well, except this last time. My ipod has been going wonky on me. It has decided to not play anything I have purchased from itunes for the last 6 months or so. Why? No idea! I’ve tried several things. I’ve reset, rebooted, restored, and so on, and restoring the ole ipod seems to work for awhile, and then it starts not playing songs again. I don’t get it. Frustrating, and I’ve looked on help comment boards and all that. So if this next round of reseting, rebooting, and restoring doesn’t work then I don’t know what to do.

Anyway, back to my musical extravaganzas. My first trip back home was the first and best of the experiences. (the ipod was working then) I had it play a few playlists I had and it played the new Linkin Park album probably 5 times, and then I switched it up to Natalie Merchant. It was great. I was singing and bopping along. All the while brainstorming an idea I have for part of the pitch to potential investors for the shop. I realized that by the time I was about 1.5 hours away from home, that the drive just flew by. It was great.

The next trip back down was pretty good too. Only the ipod was starting to act up and not play songs. I decided that the trip back home that I would just put it on shuffle. That’s always an adventure. Since my musical tastes are so varied, it can go from Chopin to Metallica to Jack Johnson to the soundtrack to Jurassic Park to a Shel Silverstein poem!

Which segues nicely to how much I love movie soundtracks. I have a ton of them. Majority of which are the orchestrations, not so much the pop culture soundtracks. Examples are: the already mentioned Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, Independence Day, Hook, Gladiator, Last of the Mohicans, Emma, Star Trek: First Contact, Schindler’s List, Dances with Wolves, I can go on... but I won’t. I have very few that are pop/bands like Forrest Gump, Mr. Holland’s Opus, 10 Things I Hate about You, etc.

Why movie soundtracks? I sort of equate them to modern symphonies. Nothing against composers of today. Movie soundtracks have to tell a story or “help” tell the story. So there are lots of rises and falls, and themes. Just like a Beethoven Symphony. I can listen to a good soundtrack and play the movie in my head, no need to actually watch it. Or play out my own life in movie form... in my head. (don’t worry, I’m not actually acting out my own life story in my room, that’s just creepy) I have soundtracks to movies I don’t even own on DVD. Shocking, I know. The good ones can evoke emotional and/or physical responses out of me. Some are motivational, others can help quiet the nervousness and anxiety. Others are good for just some quiet meditation time. I was going to say some are good to write blogs too, but I’m actually not listening to anything while I write about music. Interesting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

stinky yogurt

Another sunrise from Victorville. And as you can see a new design for the blog. What do you think? Now that I have the latest and greatest MacBook Pro (until it isn’t) I can now finally finish the remodel and upgrades to the blog. That’s right folks, the lonely traveler finally got herself a new laptop! I can’t stop smiling and petting it. It’s just so pretty, I can’t help it. That is one thing Apple is really really good at; making beautiful machines. I have no complaints. And so getting on with the first blog on the new machine... he needs a name. Hmm. Don’t know his personality yet, so the name may take awhile. Anyway, as I was saying:

So today while my co-worker was eating her yogurt for lunch in the work truck, I thought to myself, “why would I eat yogurt that smells like my armpit after a long days work outside?” And then I thought, “I should write that down, it’s kinda funny.” It must have been the heat talking, because it is nowhere near interesting or funny now. It’s true though, her yogurt really did smell like my armpit. Either I have really nice smelling sweaty armpits or that yogurt is kinda gross. I don’t mind my own smell most days but I’m going with her yogurt is gross this time. Back in Victorville in the summer heat wave. Only 104 today, and we had a thunderstorm roll in at 4pm... was gone and sunny again by 5pm.

It seems that several crew members bodies don’t handle the heat well. We survey early in the mornings before it gets into the mid 90’s, and later we record sites or do other paperwork to avoid overheating. I have not had any problems yet. And because we aren’t walking much anymore, I get pretty antsy once back at the hotel. If I was home or in a hotel that had a workout center, I’d run off my antsy-ness. But I can’t do that here. It is too hot to run outside, and this place is pretty sketchy, so I don’t want to run out here even if it was below 90 degrees. I can’t believe I’m saying this, I miss running. I ran every day over my last break. I had an evil side cramp but I didn’t care. I do a Pilates work-out from a DVD and work with my dumbbells here, but that doesn’t really do anything for my fidgety legs. I can’t wait to get home and run. I never thought that sentence would ever be written by me.

Another thing I have noticed, and I touched on it in the last entry, is my overall health. Or more to the point, the health of my lungs since I started this odyssey of running. One day I will write about my valley fever fungus. For the first time in a long time... probably since my high school athletic days, my lungs are strong and healthy. Healthier than my pre-valley fever days. That’s saying something. I can breathe very well at high elevations. I used to have trouble with that. But while in Cheyenne Wyoming which is at 6000 feet, I ran 5 days, and had no trouble breathing. No burning, coughing, or wheezing. I was actually quite shocked. Out here in the desert heat, surveying, I am doing just great. Not getting tired, or winded. I can trudge up slopes and not have to stop to catch my breath. Unlike last year, where I was practically panting and crawling up hills. If I had known how beneficial this running thing is back then, I would have forced myself to start it a lot sooner. However, hindsight and all that, and the fact that I wasn’t ready for that challenge then. I would have failed. The fact that I have kept it up, and am now enjoying it is proof that the time I started was the right time. It was the right moment, the right state of mind, and the fact that my desire and drive for change was at it’s strongest. There were lots of bad days, and there will be more bad days, but my motivations then worked to get me through them. And I hope that my new motivations (some are the same) will pull me through the bad days ahead.

I’ve been kind of down this week, and forcing myself to do the Pilates workouts and work on the projections for the shop. I’ve compensated by eating an entire package of double stuffed oreos. I finished them off today. They were delicious. I know why I’m down. The blah-ness of Victorville doesn’t help. So I keep my head up, keep looking forward, and keep working on achieving the goals I’ve set for myself. The sooner I bend and flex through that annoying DVD and plug away at numbers I don’t understand, the closer I get.

In other news: Our house has termites again, luckily we are still under warranty. Makes me wonder though how good of a job these people did in the first place. A cousin is getting married next weekend in Lake Tahoe, should be fun, and I don’t have to wear a dress!! And what else... I think that is it for now. Tomorrow is hump day, for me anyway. Day 5 in our 10-day work cycle. Woo hoo. Also means it is new pants day! Awesome! That fact that I am excited about new pants day is just sad.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Impressive but not impressed

Hello from Victorville. For those of you who don’t know where that is, let me enlighten you. I am in the Mojave Desert about an hour southeast of Lancaster and Palmdale and north of San Bernadino by about the same on Interstate 15. The cool thing about Victorville is... wait, it will come to me... hold on... I’ll think of something... It’s on the Historic Route 66. And that’s about it. Granted I haven’t really explored the place beyond Food 4 Less, the slightly skeezy hotel, and Starbucks. I just don’t understand the draw. Why does this place exist? No one can figure out why people live here. I think this was a stage stop back in the old days, then Route 66, and people just decided to stay? I wonder how many of them commute into the Inland Empire, LA, or other places. But then there are a lot of Desert Rats here. If you haven’t seen or met one yet, just wait... or come here. They are... interesting people, and that’s all I will say on that.

So why the hell am I here? Work! I’m playing archaeologist for perhaps the last time doing survey work. Yes, surveying in a desert in the summer. Yeah, real smart timing. So to avoid the heat (sort of) our day starts at 5am. The only good thing about that is that we are done by 1:30. However, I have a hard time eating lunch at 10:30 am when I’m still used to not eating breakfast till 11 am. We do get to watch the sunrise, which can be pretty spectacular.

But then it’s over and the sun comes out and it gets hot and we start to sweat and stink. And then the flies get really happy and the crew starts to get a little loopy. I must say though that we have been pretty lucky this rotation. We get out and back to our hotel rooms before the temperature reaches 100 degrees. The crew keep commenting how nice it has been. This is rotation 3 for them, only 1 for me. It’s 25 days vs. 5. My perspective of pretty sunrises and “I don’t mind the heat” attitude will most likely change by the time this project is finished... which could be a very long time off. Not sure I will last that long. The good thing about being able to choose for whom and for how long I work means I can say, “I’m out of here” and go home. But, I may try to ride this out for as long as possible so that I can get some money in the bank. I’m a bit poor. No surprise there, but it got scary there for a bit. Let’s just say I won’t see any of this first paycheck or probably the one after that. So mom’s crown molding project will have to wait a bit. Sorry mom.

My thoughts after being here 5 days and 6 nights? The crew I’m with is pretty cool. Just the usual whack jobs and social outcasts. The desert is the desert. Everything pokes you in the ass, the ants are vicious vicious evil creatures. People still think the desert is the largest trash can in the world. And I can finally keep up with Ms. Long legs speedy gonzales. Either she is getting older and finally slowing down or I really am in decent shape. Oh, and the hotel internet sucks balls, hence me spending my after work hours here in Starbucks. I have 5 blisters, one for each day I've been here so far. And down a pair of boots. I had to cut the inside lining to get the huge ball of soil out. And they were the good pair, hence the now 5 blisters. But they are small little things. No bleeding pustules or anything like that... yet.
How many surveyors can you spot?

Today was our first day of surveying all day. We had been surveying in the mornings and recording sites later in the day, and by that I mean between 11 and 1:30. But now we were told to just survey. So today we were walking in the right-of-way of transmission lines behind people’s backyards. Which means, treasure abounds. Ms. Long legs speedy gonzales found a Mini Mouse figurine. Humboldt cowboy and the Colorado kid came away with some glass for flint knapping, and I found a headless Burger King kids meal toy and these stylish glasses.

Don’t you think they make me look smarter? Really?

Ah shucks, thanks.