Thursday, March 30, 2006

When Animals BREAK FREE(And Shred Paper-Towels)!

Jesus... I leave for one day and the folks in my life are bedeviled by their animal companions. To wit: My partner picked me up at the bus-station yesterday and was in a dour mood. It was like someone had died. Turns out Nourie the Cat had shredded MORE paper-towel for the third time in a row. The REAL problem was all of the bullshit going on at work...Nourie was only the final straw. So he makes all this noise about getting rid of the cat and I try to keep things in perspective for him without taking sides, so to speak. I think the cat might miss me. I'm over at Bill's place so often that Nourie probably thinks I'm one of his "parents". Anwyay, Bill was glad that I stayed with him. He was feeling down. Meanwhile, over at my house, Buddy the free-spirited Yellow Lab made a break for it when Ray was airing out the house. He brought Buddy in forgetting that the front door was open. So when he heads back IN, the front door is wide open and the dog is LONG GONE. He made it over to Goldenrods, the greasy-spoon take-out two miles down the road and then there was a sighting downtown, a couple miles in the other direction. Turns out the litte f__ker took a nibble out of the mother of two kids. I'm sure I'm going to get the details from Ray when he wakes up this morning. Our animal companions always seem to bring out the best and the worst in us, don't they? Tonight will be my third AMS trip in a series of three. Yesterday's flight back home was virtually seemless...Gracious people, polite, low-maintenance. I don't think the passenger call-lights rang once. Too bad that couldn't be a trend. Some days are just smoother than others... All for now...GaP

Monday, March 27, 2006

Adjusting To The Canine In My Life...

Just came back from my lastest AMS trip yesterday. I spent the night at my significant other's place. Of course, it was good to see the highly sublime and amusing feline Nourie. He almost feels like our child. Bill dropped me off at the house and my roommate's dog Buddy was all excited, happy to see me. I didn't feel like sleeping so I put the leash on him and took him for a walk. It didn't feel like a chore...for the first time in...EVER. It was a nice, early-morning stroll through the nearly empty streets. The sun was rising, it was early spring. It was an easygoing, reflective experience. Buddy and I enjoyed each other's company. Is this the bond between man and man's best friend? Now I understand the importance of animal companions in one's life despite the work that they can sometimes be...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Betting Against Myself...

Well, it looks like all of the goals I've set for myself during the week have been met. One would think that I'm actually showing some iniative, drive, and responsibility. I assisted my Attorney/Ambassador friend today in getting caught up on his side-work. He's an immigration lawyer, BIG-time Democrat, Diplomatic Activist and all-around eccentric character. He seems like a bow-tied, country-lawyer but don't be fooled. He has a brain like a steel trap and is MOST eccentric. Which is why I volunteer my time to him. That and it allows me a look into a world that I normally wouldn't be privy to. Political rally dinners, a press-conference for a former presidential candidate, being a part of some peace delegations he hosts from time to time. Plus, he's an employer who doesn't pay me whoAPPRECIATES my work versus an ACTUAL employer looking to cut my pay, benefits, and self-esteem with the message that I have to LIKE it. God Bless The Corporate States of America. Anwyay, I finished the painting job today. This means I can actually accomplish things with some motivation. I won the bet with myself... A very dear friend today showed me an episode of COLD CASE. I won't bore you with the plot details but it involved an innocent Pollyanna of a white girl being courted by a black/African American juke-joint juvenile deliquent girl. It took place in the era of Prohibition so the idea of a bi-racial, lesbian relationship would have spun some heads. But it was a beautiful, heartfelt, albeit tragic story. It had me misting up at the end...Carolyn came over to hug me. It was such a potent depiction of love and happiness, transcending race, sexuality, and even time. Beautiful. The world needs more love. And I mean REAL love. Not the placebo/snake-oil pap that Hollywood and mass-produced romance novels try to sell us... All for now...GaP

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Coasting Right Along...

Sitting here at the computer, I.M.-ing someone, writing this blog, and writing a letter because my dial-up is relatively slower. I managed to get another phase of the room-painting completed today. If I keep this up, I may actually become a de-facto handyman/homeowner type. Then we'll REALLY know that the world's about to end or something. Heard something today on the Diane Riehm(sp?) show on National Public Radio about the fading art of conversation. (I forget who the guest was but he'd written a book on it...) All of the usual subjects were discussed: The modern trend toward self-absorbed NON-listening and how the internet is helping or hindering our conversation skills. I wish I was more of the casual breeze-shooting, chat-warmly-with-a-stranger type...but I tend to withdraw. Maybe it's my customer-relation job or a cultivated sense of cynicism. But the odds of having a reasonably intelligent, stimulating, heartfelt, passionate conversation are relatively low. What was it that Ghandi said? "Be the change you want to see in the world". (?) All for now...GaP

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Customer Service Illness

I want to send Doctor Zapf some flowers...Read on_____________________________ Being friendly to customers makes you ill: study 16 March 2006 FRANKFURT - People who have to smile all the time in their jobs are more likely to fall ill than others, according to a study. Most at risk are flight attendants, sales personnel and call centre operators who are forced to pretend to be friendly to customers, psychologists at Frankfurt University said. People in these jobs are more likely to suffer from depression, according to the study released Thursday in advance of publication in the consumer magazine Good Advice. "Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health," said Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher into human emotions. The study tested students working in an imaginary call centre who were subject to abuse from clients. Some of the participants were allowed to answer back, while others had to be polite and friendly all the time. Those who stood up to clients had a rapid heartbeat for a brief period, but for those who had to remain friendly their heart was still racing long after the client had hung up. The conclusion reached by the psychologists was that being friendly against one's will causes nothing but stress. Flight attendants, shop assistants and caregivers also took part in the study of emotional behavior, which involved 4,000 people, according to Zapf. "We are all able to reign in our emotions," Zapf said. "It becomes difficult when you have to do this over a protracted period as cabin attendants are forced to on long-haul flights. "These people need space away from the passengers where they can be on their own and let their feelings run free. "We have to get away from the 'customer is king' attitude and show more respect to those working in the service industries," Zapf said. DPA

Today Is The First Day Of...

Okay. Here we go. Going to try and keep a commitment to blogging on a regular basis here. I've kept the timetable I've set for myself this week. I've done my taxes when I said I would, I worked on painting the study as I planned for myself. So now I'll keep the momentum going. One of the bloggers whom I admire said he'd be updating his recommended blogs links, eliminating those who don't regularly update...and I don't want to be one of them. (The Frumpy Professor...the learned gent who inspired me to blog in the first place...) SO...I had myself a lesson in customer-relations today. I went into a hotel gift-shop to buy a couple of birthday cards...(Amazingly, they have a decent selection of locally-crafted cards) I only had a twenty-dollar bill. So the clerk-lady politely harrumphs that she's been hit with twenties all morning so she'll have to close the shop to get some change. I politely apologized twice and said that we all had to to what we all had to do...I tried to have some empathy as well as getting the basic service that was supposed to be on offer. Because God knows, in my job as a flight-attendant, I've been host to some unreasonable requests and conditions that went WELL beyond my job-description. She was basically polite as she said good-bye. She just wanted to vent her frustration a bit. When your employer doesn't give you the tools, it CAN be frustrating... Last week, on the heels of an AMSTERDAM trip(for my airline,) I rented a car from the airport and pointed the car northward to Marston, Quebec to visit my dad. Part of the reason why I went there was to see my Uncle's sugar-shack but the weather wasn't going to cooperate. Mild, intermittent snow-squalls with low temperatures. God, The Universe, or Whatever provides BALANCE. I learned that my dad had been blessed with a new television channel: LONE STAR. All Westerns, ALL of the time. Back when I lived my dad fifteen years ago, watching them on a Saturday afternoon with him became a habit and I learned to appreciate the genre. ESPECIALLY after seeing the original LONESOME DOVE television series with him. So we hunkered down, cracked open some beers and soaked up some RAWHIDE, BONANZA, GUNSMOKE, HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL; BORDERTOWN, LONESOME DOVE:THE OUTLAW YEARS,(loosely based on the Larry McMurtry canon.)and even THE LONE RANGER. I relearned that there some damned fine storytelling going on set on those dusty, muddy streets of the American frontier, the classic struggles of humanity were being played out behind those swinging saloon doors. Plus they were so MYTHIC, reflecting a seemingly simpler time DURING a time when America felt good about it's own identity, morality, and strength. Good guys wore white, bad guys wore black...A morality play set out on the prairie. These days the same tableaux of human drama are played out in law-firms and courtrooms. Great stuff, really. And to think, there was a time when I was only into science-fiction, super-hero stuff. I've added some more lowbrow culture to my palette. Anyway, it was good to see my dad again. AND his two dogs. I returned home and was held up at the US Border for 45 minutes...(Something to do with the Rhode Island license plates?) As I went down 3 South eventually morphing into 93 South, I listened to PETE SEEGER'S LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL 1963 and RYAN ADAMS "COLD ROSES". Perfect on-the-road music. But still, I hate the whole prospect of travel. And in my sixteenth year in the travel biz, I'd rather just stay at home and watch DVD's of whatever or listen to music. All for now...GaP

Monday, March 20, 2006

Getting Back On Track

Time to resume blogging. In my own voice and with greater regularity. I would like to know how to get more readership. Once I get started on anything, I'm okay. But getting started has always been the problem with me. So tomorrow, I will begin with a recap/update of recent memorable events...and go from there...GaP