alexpgp: (MCC)
Things have been accumulating in storage for a while, with a large bump in volume as a result of selling the Pearland house. Galina and I decided to bite the bullet and rent a truck to haul it all to Pagosa, especially as how the truck is going to cost about the same as about 6-8 months of storage space rental. (Of course, one could argue that we could just as easily chuck all the stuff that's in storage, since we haven't used it in a while, and the truth would probably lie somewhere between the two positions.) I do plan to chuck a lot of stuff before it even gets on the truck, but there are some items (e.g., aluminum ladder) that have been missed in Pagosa.

At any rate, the whole process of finding and reserving a truck was done over the Internet, and included a fairly significant discount ($70) on the rental due to the fact that I used Google to find the Budget truck rental site. I'll be picking up the truck after my last shift and packing it that day, and planning to leave for Colorado the next morning.

* * *
Larry King is apparently doing a series of shows featuring evangelists. The other night, I noticed a very old, yet curiously vital Billy Graham on the King show; tonight, King interviewed Joel Osteen, whose Lakewood church recently bought the former basketball arena here in Houston.

My opinion of Osteen was reinforced by tonight's segment, and underscored my observation that here is a preacher who doesn't have all the answers and frankly admits as much. Furthermore, along the same lines - and this is one of the things that holds my attention when he speaks - Osteen refreshingly avoids trying to tell me what God is thinking when he preaches and is most uncharacteristically free of that judgmental streak so common to the profession.

* * *
I've never been a big fan of Circuit City, per se, but something they did today changed that. I stopped by quickly to check out a pair of in-ear ear buds (because while the Bose earphones do a bang-up job of noise cancellation, they are generally too bulky to wear on a day-to-day basis).

I'd heard that some such high-end buds run over $100, with other prices hovering in the $40-$60 area, and frankly, I was on a window-shopping trip. I was surprised to see a pair of Sony MDR-EX71SL ear buds on sale for under $16, and since the price was right, grabbed a pair and headed for the checkout.

When the cashier told me my total was $50 and change, I flinched and mentioned that the tag on the wall indicated a price of less than $20. After a few minutes spent going back to where the earphones were displayed, we established that the price on the wall was wrong, but to the store's credit, they offered to sell me the merchandise at the price I saw. I think that's pretty classy, and it certainly changed my opinion of the chain. (FWIW, buy.com will sell you these buds for $30.99, while amazon.com offers them for $31.29.)

* * *
Lunch today was at the Vietnamese noodle place around the corner from the Tokyo Bowl. I had my usual small bowl of rice noodles with some thinly sliced sirloin and tripe in a bouillon, while Galina had grilled pork over rice noodles. Afterward, I stopped at the tea shop next door for what is definitely the worst tapioca tea I've ever had.

* * *
Sleep came with difficulty, especially with the phone going off several times. Once it was the folks from Ireland, offering more rush work which I might have accepted if it hadn't had such a short deadline (4 hours) and I wasn't so weird about wanting to get some sleep before the start of my shift. Another call was an assignment due Friday, which I did accept. Eventually, I did manage a couple of hours of shuteye before getting up to get ready for tonight's shift.

And here I am, standing by.

Cheers...
alexpgp: (St Jerome a)
Feht called yesterday in the mid-afternoon, wanting to know if it was okay for him to convey my coordinates to a client of his in desperate need of a sizeable Russian to English translation on a rush basis. I said yes, put down the phone and ran down to the car to get something. By the time I'd gotten back, I'd missed the call from the client.

Since the client is offshore and I wanted to avoid using the cell to phone overseas, I fired up the VAIO in an attempt to get online and use Skype, which I had earlier used successfully to call my sister-in-law in Moscow and to speak with an old colleague from Borland who now works with the MySQL organization and happens to be in Sweden right now. For whatever reason, I could not get my machine to connect to the hotel's network, and lost valuable time trying to solve the problem.

Eventually, I lit on the idea of using my AT&T calling card to make the call, but by the time this occurred to me, the office at the other end of the line was empty.

Early this morning, I get a call from the same client, wanting to know if I could take 7,000 words ASAP. I responded with a flinch, and we eventually settled on my doing about half the job, which worked out to just over 4,000 target words, to be done within 8 hours. The rate we agreed to made up for having to work on Father's Day.

I finished the job with about 90 minutes to spare, and received a message in response that combined the ideas of "thanks for the quick turnaround" and "can you take more work for 7 am GMT tomorrow?" I respectfully declined.

Father's Day dinner was at Natalie's place, where she prepared a nice leg of lamb with rice, with fried portobello mushrooms and fried sprigs of rosemary (which I'd never had before and were surprisingly good). The meal made me drowsy, and I slept for a couple of hours afterward, while Galina helped Natalie arrange her stuff in the apartment.

If I am to have any hope of making it through tonight without going mano a mano with the Sandman, I believe it will be thanks to those two hours of shuteye.

Since there was nobody here through the early morning hours "last night," it turns out "yesterday's" report - the one for the 19th - on the status of the Russian Segment never got translated (that being one of my duties in the MSR). I'm assuming this means I should translate both the report that's expected within the hour as well as the one that arrived last night.

So, I should probably "turn to" on that.

Cheers...
alexpgp: (MCC)
(Don't you just hate it when the 'Update Journal' feature eats your entry? It just happened to me when I clicked on the question mark next to the 'Tags' field.)

In short, I felt significantly better when I laid the last of the BTJ (Big Translation Job™) down on phosphor earlier today. I even didn't mind the interrupted sleep period due to what seems to be an instinctive desire on the part of hotel housekeeping staff to clean rooms regardless of the wishes of their occupants.

This first became apparent to me back when I was a young control systems engineer working on a municipal garbage incinerator project startup back in the day. Being the junior guy, I drew the night shift, which obviously meant I had to get my shuteye during the day. But in order to sleep, I needed no interruptions.

This meant no phone calls. And no housekeeping.

Simple? Guess again.

The phone issue eventually went away - temporarily - when I made it clear to all who called me that I was trying to sleep, for crying out loud, and not because the hotel operator cooperatively agreed to not put through calls to my room for any reason short of fire, riot, or insurrection. In retrospect, I half-suspect the hotel operator might have been fishing for a little extra something on the side to keep my phone from jingling, I don't know. The housekeeping issue, on the other hand, never went away.

It didn't matter what I did, nothing would keep the housekeeping staff from trying to clean my room. Signs on the door were ignored. Requests not to knock on the door were ignored. When it became clear that I was not to be interrupted by knocks on the door, the phone problem resurfaced as housekeepers called several times a day to ask if now would be a good time to come in and clean up.

Ye gods, I get a headache just recalling that episode, as well as my management's lukewarm response to my request to change hotels. We were, after all, on a budget and my boss (the other half of the startup team) didn't like not being able to collar me any time he felt like it (though in truth, he rarely exercised that ability).

Basically the same scenario of daytime interruption (knocking, followed by a couple of phone calls) played out at the Marriott today, with the happy difference being that the Marriott only provides housekeeping twice a week (oh, happy day!) unless requested more frequently (certainly not by me!).

In the end, I ended up with a little over 6 hours of uneasy sleep, which will have to do. In anticipation of having to check about 25,000 words for submittal later today, I arrived at work a couple of hours early, only to find that almost everyone else was here as well, following the launch of the latest Progress cargo vehicle (filled with all sorts of goodies, including that all-time favorite of Earthlings everywhere: oxygen!). Everything seems to be going well, though the U.S. side - as usual - is greedy for data on how things are going. It would appear that so far, alles ist in ordnung.

Cheers...

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