Fly away home

So, I got a frantic IM from the roomie today:

i need to talk to for 10 mins on the phone..I need a favor, like now

(I'm underground, so my cell doesn't work here)

So, I called him up. He's going off at angles, but I finally manage to get out of him:

1) Someone looked him up through an FBI database
2) His dad did "something stupid".
3) He has to get to Ohio, immediately.

This is from someone who, to my knowledge, hasn't spoken to anyone on that side of his family in maybe 20-30 years.

He was being obviously evasive, so I didn't push. He's been out of work for a while, though, and needs my financial help getting there. So now, he's got a one-way ticket to Ohio (he can't tell me, yet, when he'll be ready to come back), and tonight I'm going to give him some pocket money and help him through packing (he hasn't been on a plane in probably 10 years).

Of course I'm curious as to what's got him so frantic, but he'll tell me if/when he's ready. My job right now is to play the "good friend" and help make sure he doesn't fly off (literally) without something critical.

It does mean I'll have the apartment to myself for a few days, though.

Hey, did you know you can fly from LAX to Ohio for less than $400 at the last minute?

Speaking the language

So, here's something random:

Yesterday, in an elevator at the office, a colleage asked me, "So, where in London are you from?"

I stared at him blankly for a moment. "London?"

"Yes," he replied, "isn't your accent from London?"

"Uhm, I was born in West Covina. I've lived in L.A. County all my life..."

- Perhaps, here I should interject.

Most parts of the US have distinctive accents: it's pretty easy to tell a southern drawl from the long vowels of Boston, across to Chicago's harshness, past Minnesota (like most things) and it's American/Canadian blend, over to Seattle's lazy blur, and the odd intonations of Southern California.

I have none of those. Apparently, from what I've been told by a few English instructors, I speak with a distinctive mid-Atlantic accent - which is an artificial blend of British English and New England English, and doesn't come from anywhere, but which I probably picked up watching old movies and news broadcasts as a kid. I also speak very quickly, which is something no one else in my family does.

It leads to a lot of confusion. Most people outside of NYC assume I'm from NYC, simply because of the speed. NYCers always think I'm from - well, somewhere else; they never seem to be able to agree (I've actually been asked to slow down by people from NYC - a fact of which I'm oddly proud).

This is the first time I've been accused of being from London, however. To be fair, the person asking is from an Asian country. And, again, the mid-Atlantic accent is a deliberate blend of Britich and American accents. I've just never had anyone make the British connection to it.

I bet my friends from London would be amused.

The cheatsheet

Mentioning Harry Potter as the only book you read: 2 stars
Mentioning Atlas Shrugged or Ayn Rand as a favorite book/author: one star
Mentioning The Fountainhead as a favorite book: we'll see what else you write, but automatically costing you 1 star. At least it's a better story.
Posting up numerous pictures that aren't rotated correctly: Lose 1 star
Posting up numerous pictures where you aren't smiling, or where you're (non-ironically) flashing gang signs: 2 stars
Posting up only one picture, and that picture:
- Contains multiple people with no indication of who you are
- is sideways, and not artistically
- is of you in your underwear
- doesn't show your face
... 2 stars
Putting your astrological sign in any essay box without making a joke of it: 2 stars
Indicating serious religious or "spiritual" inclination: 1 star
Only posting a picture, with no or very little text: 3 stars (which is my version of "we'll check back later")

Okay, yes, I'm probably a dick.

Anyway, things are going pretty well. I just paid 11k in taxes (yay consulting!) for the quarter, some of which was "catching up" since my job got extended. Seriously, I'm so done with this mentally. They keep coming up with problems under the "you need to fix this" banner, 90% of which end up being "I can't fix this; you need to tell your users not to be idiots" situations. I'm all for making things as idiot proof as possible, but when you ask for extensibility and control, you automatically lose some lock-down capability.

Real work is still good. Some potentially interesting things that are slowly moving up to "very interesting" and may be approaching "totally cool" by the end of the year. Of course, part of the potential results is that I may be designing myself out of a job, but if that's what happens, so be it. Damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead.

Social life - as the above perhaps indicates, it's been interesting. I've gotten a few hits, no actual meet-ups yet but I think at least one may be leading up to that. But, I'm picky and not really in a rush, so that's perfectly reasonable. I'm not stressing about dating - it's just not that important.

I'm also getting ready to plan my NYE trip. To where, I have yet to decide. That's part of the fun.

Fitness: I'm down to 163, and I'm definitely showing tone. Hit a plateau for a week or two, but it's dropping again now. I finally talked the roomie into coming down to the gym with me; he didn't do much but talk, but at least I got him into it. Next is to get him to start working out.

That's it for now. I really need to post more than once every 4 weeks.

... Oh, one last thing. DADT ended today, and guys are already coming out. Fucking awesome. This guy recorded coming out to his dad over the phone. As a friend of mine put it:

At 3m25s, he asks his dad if he still loves him. I can hope for a world one day where no child will ever doubt the answer to that question because of their sexual orientation.

I can't help but think of this line from the Ode:
... For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry—
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.