Plan in place

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In reading the “odd news” today, I inadvertently stumbled across my strategy for the first Tuesday in November.

Source.

NAPLES (Reuters) – Ballot stuffing took on a new meaning in Italy’s parliamentary election on Sunday when a man ate his ballot paper in protest at the country’s politicians.

Police in Naples said they had charged the 41-year-old businessman with destroying election materials. He said all Italian politicians and politics “are crap” and that he was protesting “against the system.”

Nom, nom.

Should I add rooster sauce or mayo? What condiment goes best with crappy politics, hmmmmm?

Notes from an Eastbound plane

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Flying makes me thoughtful. Herewith, my thoughts from some seven hours in the air in which I also lost three time zones.

Oddly, today, this is a New Mexico blog written by a Californian visiting Florida.

GeoGRAPHIC!

Thoughts from the skies:

1) Noise cancelling headphones. Da bomb. How did I ever live without them? Best Christmas gift evar!

2) Traveling to warm vacation spots while Spring Break is in swing means you will be required to endure obnoxious teenagers. A LOT of obnoxious teenagers.

3) Exit row window seat. Yes. Leg room. View. Ability to move. Middle seat empty…even better.

4) Southwest’s new boarding process? May as well go back to plastic numbers because that’s basically what it is again. 1-30, 31-60, 61-90, blah, blah, blah…been there, done that. Only this time with letters!

5) Breakfast at home…always a good idea. Even more so when flying for the WHOLE day. Even if it is just tomato soup, it’s a good idea.

6) Comfy pants = happy traveler. The ones that are like two sizes too big and I just don’t care.

7) Pocket full of tissues is a good thing. Especially in allergy season. Those little square napkins that come with your drink don’t cut it. It was a last minute thought but proved to be the best decision all day.

8) Who is Southwest kidding with these “100 calorie” snack packs. Give me eight! I don’t care, I’m HUNGRY! Turns out tomato soup wasn’t enough to last all day. It got me to…oh, San Antonio then I wanted some real eats.

9) Why don’t you get the whole can of soda on the plane anymore?

And finally…

10) Just so you know…Ethel Merman has been reincarnated as a toddler. Yes, a solid hour of singing with the pitch and tone of a three year old and the gusto of Ethel herself. At one point the child hit a “Laaaaaaaaaa” and held it there. Which brings us back to #1.

Noise cancelling headphones. *Highly* recommended.

Minutiae, day two

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Yeah, I’m really on this microscopic thang. Bear with me, it will pass.

Today’s subject of my intense scrutiny is the ticket validator machines for CalTrain.

Here’s the situation. To catch a commute on the train you gotta have a ticket to get ‘er done. Some people do single rides. You buy that day of from a machine at the station. Some people do a monthly pass. You get that in advance (or from the machines). You just flash that to the conductor and it keeps you on the train.

But for many of us, we buy a ten-ride ticket (more cost effective if you ride occasionally, not every day). So in order to get a ride, you have to punch your ticket. So to do that, you slip the ticket into the validator machine and it punches your ticket, stamps date and expiration time (four hours), and cuts off the ride number on the side.

Here, better to go visual on this. Please excuse the crappy iPhone photos.

Here’s what a ten-ride pass looks like:

Note the slots for the rides and you can see the numbers off to the side. You can see that this morning I punched off the number 5.

Here is the validator machine:

And obviously, here’s how it works:

So here’s my question. One of those “you’ve got way too much thinking time on your hands” type of deals.

What happens to all of those punched numbers? I mean, look at the machine, it’s not that big?

A LOT of people punch their tickets every day. And as evidenced by the fact that they are always out of ink, the CalTrain people don’t service the machines very often. So the punched numbers build up in there…I’m guessing.

Where do they go? I assume they stay up there in the red part, but that doesn’t seem like a lot of room.

And when they service the machine, what do they do with the little numbered punchouts? Like confetti in there?

I posed this last night to The Good Man and he patiently suggested that they save them up for the CalTrain New Year’s Eve parties.

But I really am curious. I mean, I suppose they just toss them out, but given that there are, like, 24 stations punching both northbound and southbound riders, that’s a LOT of little punched numbers. It seems like something useful could be done with all of those?

Or am I over thinking it? Don’t answer that…

Because mainly, all this ticket validator scrutiny was just me trying to distract my “no wanna go to work” mind. Succeeded, too, for a little while.

So while you too ponder little numbered confettis, here’s my “art shot”…a glance northbound up the tracks, to help get you in the pondering mood.

*coff coff*

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You know just the other day while riding the CalTrain, I saw a nice, handsome man giving me “the look”. You know the look. The “I’m checking you out” look. I sat up a little straighter. Blushed appreciatively. Until I realized he was checking out the twenty-something year old blond sitting next to me.

And I thought, “What’s she got that I ain’t got?” Well. Perkier boobs for one, because mine were already in high school before blondie was born.

Oy. And so I gave myself the usual litany of “you are only as old as you feel” and “youth is wasted on the young” and “age is a state of mind”.

It’s true, I don’t actually *feel* any older than the child with the supple, elastic skin seated next to me. In fact, at this age, I feel SO much better about myself. Stronger. More self-aware. About eight million times more confident.

So feeling better about myself I bounced from the train and into my day, deciding that pimply boy wasn’t all that interesting anyway. I’m young. I’m hip. I have an iPhone.

I just got my hair colored again, covering the grays and putting an even deeper tone of red in there. I have a job and an engagement ring. I’m happenin’, man.

Then I read the entertainment section of my local paper and stumbled across this article and felt all the gray hairs sproing up on my head.

Prince is having hip replacement surgery.

That little red Corvette will need to be an automatic cuz my boy can’t work the clutch anymore. Darling Nikki uses Oil of Olay. Purple rain the color of a Prilosec tab.

It happens to the best of us, I suppose.

This on the heels of hearing that the timeless and ageless Omar Vizquel needs knee surgery.

*wheeze*

Time, that unforgiving b*tch, marches on.

Yipes

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Been reading Dilbert for a lot of years in the paper and recently on the website. It’s an every morning “must hit”.

This week it’s been interesting because it looks like Wally is about to be fired.

I found that an odd story twist.

Then while browsing the headlines, I saw this story.

Yikers, fired for posting a Dilbert comic? Geez!

Well, to be fair, given that layoffs were imminent at the guy’s employer, people were probably extra *sensitive*.

But then in his dilbert.blog from back in December, Scott Adams says, “Over the years, a number of people have approached me in public, or e-mailed me, to say they also got fired for posting Dilbert comics on walls. I don’t know how many of those stories, if any, are true.”

Erm. Being a fan of Dilbert, I’ve been known to post a few.

This caused me to vault from my chair and look at my office window.

What’s that, bottom center? A Dilbert comic!

I didn’t even remember which one I posted, but I scanned it hurriedly to see if my understanding Boss Lady would be offended.

Which strip is it, you ask?

This one.

Phew. See? I’m not insulting my boss, I’m insulting my suppliers!

That kind of insulting might just get me promoted if I don’t watch out!!

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