birra's Journal

birra's Journal


Honor: 13    [ Give / Take ]


7 entries this month

Speaking of long nights...

20:09 Jul 24 2008
Times Read: 908

Screwed by US Airways. This is nothing new – airlines think their passengers are there for them, not the other way around. It’s a completely backward business. Their “marketing” is a façade; with so few decent airlines to choose from and so many people using air travel these days their flights are full constantly and probably would be without the advertizing.

Hence one of the problems last night.

Flight from Louisville to Charlotte was delayed. Then we got to the airport and circled, and circled, and circled, and circled. We finally landed, too late for so many to make their flights.

Well, not really so many… just my tech and me. The late flight to Buffalo looked to be the ONLY one that actually left on time last night, where as most others saw a 20 to 60 minute delay due to the weather.

“Go to special services to rebook for tomorrow.” Was the gate agent’s scripted response to me saying, “What the fuck?”

But on nights like this night, the line of disgruntled passengers in line at special services is about 200 people long. I’m not standing in that. So I call my special “you’re on our planes often enough, we promise we won’t route your call to India” phone number. The representative I get of course is just as stressed out as I am given this is her 5,289th call of this type in the last three hours.

She searches through every flight between North Carolina and Beijing that might get me home to no avail. Everything is either late night the next day or completely booked.

So my tech and I rent a car from Charlotte and drive, all night, back to Buffalo. Made great time. Got started around midnight and got to the Buffalo airport to turn in the car at 9:45AM.

Fuck the airlines.

I need a nap.



20:13 Jul 24 2008

Oh God...I'm so sorry :(

20:26 Jul 24 2008

That SUCKS... Seriously... I don't know how you manage to not break down and cry.

16:02 Jul 25 2008

From the US Airways website

"US Airways is committed to the policy of nondiscrimination and to taking positive steps to help ensure that all of our passengers are able to enjoy the advantages and privileges of air travel regardless of race"

I guess when they manage to get any of their passengers enjoying the advantages and privileges of air travel, realise that it is 'Airway is' or 'Airways are' and learn to put a hyphen in non-discrimination, they'll be able to work on the race part.

01:54 Jul 27 2008

Screwed again by Useless Air.

Sorry Bro.

14:35 Jul 28 2008

It's funny and ironic that US Air does advertize to have the most on-time flights of any major domestic carrier...

I actually do believe it... and pity those who use other airlines if they're worse than this....


Long nights...

22:23 Jul 23 2008
Times Read: 916

Worked until 1:30AM last night. That was with an 8AM start.

The job isn’t going exactly as planned, mostly due to the vendor pulling a vital resource from us at the last minute. So instead of having six techs standing around doing nothing, we let some people cut out at a normal hour, and after dinner I returned with the project manager to hammer out more devices.

Yes, it was a long day, but… getting the job done is what I get paid to do. Even if they throw obstacles in my way, I still have to do the job. This is my work ethic. Get the job done. Do what is needed, and don’t quit until the job is complete.

Fortunately here I get to focus on the customer, the task, the job at hand. In my office, new stuff comes up every minute. I can rarely focus on just one task without being interrupted, or having something come up, or being asked to do something else. That is one of the benefits of being on the road… focus on the customer. That is all that is needed. And regardless of how many hours need to be put in, there are no complaints about billing and hours…

And the job is back on track.

It had to be done.




More FEH.

04:34 Jul 21 2008
Times Read: 936

Back to Louisville in the morning...

...someone please call me around 3:30AM Eastern... thanks.





19:36 Jul 19 2008
Times Read: 953

Missed my flight this morning... not the first time that has happened. In fact, it’s the second.

The flight was at 6AM, I woke up at 6:30. I guess that put me a little behind schedule.

So I’m dealing with having to fly on really small planes and connecting through Philadelphia now…

This isn’t a woe-is-me story… these things happen sometimes when you travel so much, and of course, it is completely my fault. I’ll get over it. So will the people I have to work with. If I wasn’t leaving the customer in capable hands I would worry, but we have a good team down there this week.

My problem is I’m supposed to be the team leader. I’m supposed to set a better example.

I’m not supposed to be the one to screw up. I have no room for error. I cannot make these mistakes. I’m not allowed. That seems like a theme in my life. I have high expectations of myself; higher than what I feel most people expect of themselves. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but no one pressures me like I do.

Yet I know the expectations others have and I know I cannot fall short. It seems completely unforgiveable when I do.

But, this story is going no where. Nothing eventful happened this week other than my own failure to start this trip the right way. At least, not with travel.

I continue to examine my life and come to realizations that I apparently have been blind to before. This trip offered no exceptions there. Every experience, however inconsequential and honestly, just not entertaining enough to write about, opened my eyes to a different side of my life. Even as I write this, my return flight home descending to the ground thousands of feet below, I'm still realizing so many things.

I will land. I will walk through a familiar airport dragging the wares of my profession in a wheeled bag behind me and tucked neatly into a back-pack. I will find at the airport security exit no one I know.

Just like every trip before, there will be no one to greet me, excited about my return.

I will look for my checked bag which tonight I know will not be there.

I will walk quietly across the parking lot to my hobbling old truck. I’ll pay for my parking and drive home.

Next week, I’ll do this all over again.

Although the whole Louisville thing will be ending quickly. All of the future projects have been postponed; only a return trip in the middle of August to help with some final tasks is ahead of me. At least until fall.

I’m no longer going to be the road-warrior I once was. I look forward to a little more time in the office… yet, I know I will miss the hectic life of being on the road, working long days, drinking away long nights, seeing things I’ve never before seen, meeting new people… being the one everyone counts on and juggling a thousand tasks at once.

I enjoy being busy. The busier I am, the less time I have to think…

…and not thinking sometimes is… bliss.





14:42 Jul 07 2008
Times Read: 974

...today is one of those lay-low kind of days. So much work to do, I'm just going to focus on that. No travel until Thursday morning; another return drive to Cleveland.

But for the beginning of the week, I'll focus on the work.





21:49 Jul 03 2008
Times Read: 991

While I was in Cleveland this week I was tempted enough to go to the Case Western Reserve Historical Society for their display of “The Splendors of the Vatican.” Now, raised Roman Catholic I do have an appreciation for the age, history and legacy of the church. And I have to admit I do have a curiosity for the deep secrets of the Vatican…

Ok, I’ll throw out the sarcastic barb early and get it out of the way… the show was billed as “a limited time and only limited numbers of tickets available, so hurry and get yours!” But in typical Roman Catholic fashion, as long as you showed up and had the money they were asking for, the gates would open for you…

Although this limited time show promised “many items that have never before been on public view,” I wasn’t expecting this show to discuss the deep secrets of the Vatican and the church. No, the Roman Catholic Church has always kept those secrets tightly guarded. In all, the show was the expected; a whole bunch of jewel encrusted artifacts, some paintings, some busts, entire sections devoted to the works of Bernini and Michelangelo… stories and memories of the good Popes, while completely ignoring the actions of the not-so-good ones, or exonerating their misdeeds completely.

I guess the real fascination came from looking into history. Reading the stories of the people… yes, they were Popes, but not by the divine selection they would lead the masses to believe. Centuries ago it was as much a political seat as a position of leadership within the church, and I guess in many respects it still is today. When the dictation of the Pope can still sway and influence government legislation, I would have to say the political power is still present.

But to stand back and think… this person lived, many hundreds or even over a thousand years ago. This helmet of the Swiss Guard, was it worn in battle centuries ago? What stories could it tell? Here are these beautiful works of art… who got to see them while they were being created? What was the process? How tired did Michelangelo get climbing up and down scaffold and ladders for months while painting and plastering the Sistine Chapel?

What was it like to be these people?

And if the Pope’s throne sitting on display, what the hell does the current Pope get to sit on?

They didn’t allow any photography and demanded cell phones be turned off. Yet the people “guarding” the displays were all on their cell phones… which probably had cameras.

Another non-surprise.

The other part of the Historical Society was the Crawford Auto and Aviation History wing, which featured over 200 vintage automobiles. Everything from Pierce Arrows to Deloreans…

If you’re an auto enthusiast, I would definitely recommend that one.



22:38 Jul 03 2008

I was also raised Roman Catholic and have an affinity for all of the history of the church. I even think it is a faith that "smells" the way faith should smell with its beeswax and censors. The smells of a Roman Catholic church still can make me miss the traditions of my childhood with a pronounced ache in the chest. I'm glad the history still charms your imagination away from the every day. :)


Another day at a VA...

23:01 Jul 01 2008
Times Read: 1,011

Days like this frustrate me like no other. An early morning drive to get to a job site to sit around, solve simple issues and basically waste a whole lot of time.

A day of nothing.

It is simply intolerable to me. I feel sucked into this government work mentality… nothing to do? Why do anything? Might as well nap at the desk.

Screw that.

I have too much to do. Unfortunately most of it is at home, in my office. Not here. Not in Cleveland.

I hate clock watching. I hate feeling like I’m trapped and can’t make good use of my time. I hate sitting here thinking about everything that needs to be done, or how much smoother the day would go if only I were in my office helping out where actual work is being done.


No internet, because it’s a VA.

In the interior of the hospital so my cell reception is terrible.

Watching these government workers that OUR TAX DOLLARS are used to pay their salaries spend half of their day doing absolutely nothing and prefer it that way.


The only time I felt of any use today was helping an elderly man who fell out of his wheelchair while I was on the phone in the lobby…

I’m stationed in this cubicle just waiting for something to happen… anything. One nurse keeps coming in to ask me if starting a career in Healthcare Informatics would be a good idea…

“You have a degree in nursing?” I asked.


“Are you not enjoying nursing?”

“Oh, no! I love it. This is the first time in my life I have a job a really love!”

She seemed pretty positive about her job...

“Then why do you want to change to Healthcare Informatics?”

“Well… the money…”


I figured…

“Is Healthcare Informatics similar to what you do?” she asked.

“Not quite, but HCI could encompass a lot of things. Mostly though, it’s information management. A lot of database management, dealing with HIPPA compliancy issues, maybe even loading and setting up desktop PC’s around the hospital.”

“Ok, ok…”

“I’m not a career counselor, but I can say this; finding a job you really love these days is difficult. If you love your job, the enjoyment of doing something you love might be worth a lot more in the long run that making a few extra dollars…”

I dunno… would you rather take care of patients all day or stare at database queries and tables all day? To have a career that pays ok is one thing – to do something you love is something completely different. If you’re not loving nursing, then go for it! If you’re ok with nursing and you’re one of those people who swear at their computer every time a dialogue box pops up, you might want to stick with nursing.

Do you want to clean poop off of elderly people or get berated by people every time windows blue-screens like you did it to them as a personal vendetta?

One thing is for sure; if she thinks a career in IT means getting paid to sit in front of a computer all day chatting on IM’s and Facebook, she hasn’t looked into it very much. She’s never built a server rack, or worse, a battery back-up rack! She’s never had to squeeze into a crawl space to pull new network lines and get trapped with an active wasp nest. She’s never had to stand in the blast of a room-sized air-conditioning unit for hours while fixing a server in a network center. She’s never faced the horror of a failed back-up routine discovered only after a hard drive dies and takes all of its data with it. She’s never had to deal with the complaints of people who depend on “geeks” to keep their work systems functioning properly despite the ridiculous actions of software companies, constant security threats from the outside world and litany of bureaucratic nonsense IT departments have to deal with.

Sorry if I’m ranting, but the rant is keeping me awake for the moment….

It’s going on 3PM… there’s a show at the history museum down the street. I think I’m going to call it a day, grab my camera and go see it…



23:21 Jul 01 2008

That was a good rant...damn.

07:05 Jul 02 2008

She has never watched in pure amazement as someone tries to copy their C drive to their C drive while in the middle of a work presentation, and instead of, you know, clicking the little cancel button, immediately turns the laptop over and just rips the battery out!

12:52 Jul 02 2008

That's the face of pure panic dude...

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