Areas of Unrest
3 September 2000 - The Mr. Goodwrench of Armaggedon
QOTD: "The good people sleep much better at night than the bad people. Of course, the bad people enjoy the waking hours much more." - Woody Allen (thanks to John's friend, Maggi)
Reading: the Sunday L.A. Times, but J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will be right after that
Listening to: Ahava Raba, Kete Kuf
The entry title is apropos of nothing, but was the description of the head of the ICBM maintenance facility at Hill Air Force Base in an article that Mary Joan saw in a Montana newspaper in July and showed us. It qualifies as a phrase I wish I'd written. The most amusing part is that we actually know the person the article was about - a colonel whose previous position was heading our program.
On a more relevant subject, my vacation travelogue is finally up. Feedback so far included a generally positive note from Jeff and a gratuitous camel joke from Leonard. Jeff did complain that I didn't bother to mention the horribleness that is Khan Brau. A surprising number of Mongolians have studied in the Czech Republic and one of them allegedly studied brewing. He returned to Ulan Baatar and, with a German partner, opened a microbrewery. Our only guess is that he didn't do very well in his studies, because Khan Brau Black is unimpressive - thin-textured and overly sweet. Jeff tried the lighter (in color) version and was likewise disappointed. You can easily buy Pilsener Urquell in Mongolia, however, so need not suffer.
Anyway, returning to work meant plunging into preparations for the next design review and I spent three tedious days reviewing documents. At least they did bolt my bookcase to the wall while I was gone, so I can occupy my breaks with unpacking. At my current rate of progress, my office will be fully functional sometime around when I retire.
Outside of work, I've been slogging through the usual post-vacation errand running. I faxed a dispute form to Bank of America regarding a charge on my June statement that I hadn't made. Interestingly, their info showed it wasn't even the right card expiration date on the charge, but apparently nobody ever looks at that information even though they always ask it when you order by phone. (The woman at Customer Service told me it was a keypad entry, so probably a simple typo and nothing malicious.) I paid my electric bill. I bought a new wallet, which would have been far simpler had I remembered that Eagle Creek made exactly what I wanted and not gone searching through six stores before hitting the travel gear place. I discovered that Arrowhead Sparkling Mineral Water with Mandarin Orange Essence has vanished from West Los Angeles. The stores claim that it is temporarily out of stock - but they once said the same about Schweppes Bitter Lemon. The lemon flavored water is just not as good. I picked up my photos but haven't faced organizing them yet. I did verify that our group photo at the Center of Asia monument came out good, as did the one of the van hopelessly mired on the road to Erzhey. I had a mental lapse and went into Staples to buy bubble wrap, having forgotten that it would be packed with back-to-school shoppers.
Which wasn't as bad as my mental lapse at work Wednesday morning, when it took me half an hour to remember my password for our computer network. I stared at the screen, totally blank. While I did eventually remember, that blank feeling is what finally persuaded me that I had, indeed, had a great trip.
Copyright 2000 Miriam H. Nadel
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