I am not a gadgets person.

I keep seeing these ads for Xbox Kinectx (?) and fitness games and dance games. I really like playing these games! At other people’s houses. I tried to become an electronics person. I did. Really. But it’s so confusing! So many choices and technical decisions. There’s always a newer version that’s just about to come out, with more features and stuff. And the newer stuff makes the older stuff that much cheaper, but the older stuff isn’t that much different from the newer version. I always get overwhelmed, and give up until I try again and this vicious cycle repeats itself.

With audio/video-related gadgets, I never know – do I have the right connecting cables? Where do I get the right cables? Will this work on my tv? I’ve learned from experience that the people who work in Best Buy are (in each and every experience I’ve had) — numnuts. Idiots. They wouldn’t know the right cable to connect their ass to their hole. And don’t get me started on buying a new phone. Or a new tv. This is why my place is full of old electronic stuff and relatively gadget-free. I just got an ipod last year, for workout music. Terrible. I think I can see tv shows on it, but…why would I watch tv on my ipod? I have a tv. Sheesh.

Clothes and shoes - yes. Gadgets and electronics - no.

Instead, I find that I’m a different type of consumer — a clothes & shoes consumer! It’s easy to spot a cute pair of peep toe wedge booties, sparkly tank top, or a cardigan with a nice swing to it. No user manual or technical expertise needed. I just need my mental Rolodex of what’s already in my closet and BAM! – I’m in business.  Oh – and a sense of personal style, which unfortunately, is as lacking in some people as the electronics savvy is lacking in me. And no “restocking fee” if I need to return something.

One day, I’ll see some new gadget or cool feature on someone else’s tv or something electronic that re-ignites my electronic curiosity. I’ll forget about the frustration I feel when I just go to the Best Buy website, let alone actually walking into that damn store. With that in mind, I’m posting the following vacancy announcement:

The House of Samee is in need of someone to sort this stuff out for me, make a recommendation – keeping my budget in mind, and then go with me to buy the stuff AND come back and help me install it correctly. Easy on the eyes, smart, funny, single, non-relatives are preferred but I am not above drafting one or more of my brothers or man-friends to assist me in this task.

Sincerely,

CEO/HNIC

House of  Samee

 

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Just do it!

Those words from Nike’s ad campaign are really great words to live by. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or to re-try something old (if you think it warrants a second shot).  Life is short, and life is loooong. Short if the various aspects of your life (personal, career, and spiritual to name a few) are fulfilling, and very long if they’re not. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, even if you’re at work. But if your life is spent around people who suck the joy of living right out of you (or doing things that suck the joy out of you), then the days/weeks/months can seem stagnant. Life is too short to remain stuck in that rut!

Make the most out of your days. Aim to be fulfilled. Take some time to figure out your likes and dislikes, things that interest you, and things that are important to you. Once you identify those things, it’s a lot easier to get – or stay – on that path toward being fulfilled in all aspects of your life. Even if it takes awhile to figure out those fulfilling things, or even if the path twists and winds and changes direction, there is something calming and satisfying about just being on the path.

So just do it. Take that time for yourself. Plan for it in your busy life, if you have to. Make it a priority, if you need and want to. Let me know if you need some encouraging words and I’ll help you out to the best of my abilities!

Ok, that’s it for the speechy-preachy part of this post.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I’m committing (again!) to writing more frequently and regularly. It’s part of my “practice” like practicing a musical instrument, dance moves, or going to rowing practice. Can’t slack off or I’ll get rusty. And who wants to be a rusty writer?

NOT ME.

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Chronicles of Cross Country Travel – THE END

I’m sorry for the absence. This post was delayed due to a lack of internet access, but here’s the happy ending to my C of CCT.

First of all, there is no volume 5 about the trip from ABQ to Phoenix. It was a pretty uneventful drive, and seemed to go on and on…and on…and then I saw the sign for Maricopa county, AZ. I think it’s the sheriff of Maricopa county who is all hell-bent on cracking down on illegal immigrants in the Phoenix area. Plus, I recognized it from the First 48. 🙂  I had a great time visiting excellent friends in PHX before putting the Sameehicle on the road one more time for the last leg of the journey.

Exterior temp in the Palm Desert, according to the Sameehicle. This was about the same time I saw a car pass with a bumper sticker that read: Jesus is coming! (Everybody look busy) -- hilarious.

 

PHX – LA(X):

Once I left the Phoenix metro area on “the 10” (because out west, the highways are called “the” and the number), I drove through miles and miles of nothing. I mean nothing. Booooring. And then I saw mountains. And valleys. And windmills! Lots of windmills covering the sides of the mountains and in the valleys. I crossed through the border checkpoint – wait. Let me go back to that. YES. There is a border checkpoint on I-10 traveling west from AZ into CA. I’m sure at one point it was to check for things like foreign agriculture, plants, or drugs, but now I’m convinced it’s to check your voter registration card and ideological tilt because as I mentioned above – the politics in AZ are sumpthin else.

Arizona - California border checkpoint

 

Anyway, I crossed into CA and saw mountains, valleys and windmills. Big white windmills dotted the scenery. And then the casinos in the Palm Desert. I didn’t know that date farming with date palm trees was an actual industry in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). Ya learn something new everyday. My phone slash GPS told me to get off of the 10 and take the 60, CA Route 60, towards Riverside. The “IE”. I wondered what that stood for (the Inland Empire) and where it was (as best I can tell the IE is anywhere that’s not the deserts, not LA, not the beaches, not the valley, and not  OC.)  I was rollin’ too. No traffic delays, just cruisin. It was great until I hit the 605 (terrible) and then the 110 (even worse), but I knew I was close to my destination because I saw signs for LAX.  A little more traffic and a few miles later, and there I was – my new California address!!

California windmills

 

I can’t believe I’m here. My friends here can’t believe I’m here. My friends in DC can’t believe I’m not there. Disbelief all around. But I’m here. Maybe it’ll become more “real” to me once I get stuck in traffic on my way to work, or when I just have to go to work. (Perish the thought!)  For now, I’ll just stay in la-la land for a little while longer.

 

* Oh yeah – it should’ve been real when I signed an earthquake addendum to my renters insurance! Because as the insurance agent told me: it’s been over 16 years since we had a quake, so it’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen – it’s when. Yikes!

 

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Chronicles of Cross Country Travel – Volumes 2, 3 and 4

Today I’m in Phoenix, AZ, my last stop before the final destination. Due to me forgetting to bring my laptop up to the hotel room with me in St. Louis, OKC and ABQ, I didn’t write in those cities. But here’s the catch up post.

 

leaving O-H, I O

 

Volume 2: Columbus, OH, to STL

A pleasant enough drive. Acres and acres of fields of what looked like corn and maybe wheat? Big blue sky. No dark clouds, no rain. I drove on Saturday afternoon which meant I had the “pleasure” of listening to college football on sports radio. Now you all know I looooove college football. BUT it was agony having to wait through hearing games with teams like Toledo and Bowling Green State, just so I could hear updates from the UA/SC game! (the results of which greatly pleased me!) I got to St. Louis in time to see the Auburn game, thank God.

I could only take so much of what was available to me on sports radio, so I did some FM dial surfing. I came across a station that was playing a song I really like by the Eagles, “Hotel California” (the not live version). So I kept it there. Then, they played “California Dreamin'”. And then they played a song that I don’t know the official name of but it goes like this: “ain’t nobody gonna break my stride, ain’t nobody gonna sloooow me down. oh no! i got ta keep on mooovin.” I felt like the radio was spurring me on to keep going, keep going!

St. Louis is a cool city, by the way. I don’t get out much in “middle America”, meaning anything outside of the coasts and outside of the South. But St. Louis looked like a real city. And the Arch is reaaaally amazing! It had real traffic too – even on a Saturday night. The locals seemed cool as well. STL gets a thumbs up from me.

Volume 3: STL to OKC

Another beautiful day. I am having the best weather so far! Hope that didn’t jinx it. :-/  This whole road trip is going faster than I could’ve ever imagined, but I’m enjoying every mile and minute of it. Missouri has weird road signs. Anyone from MO reading this post? If so, please tell me what “C” or “AH” or “JJ” mean on these road signs! Is that the road’s name? C Road? Weird weird weird.

 

weird Missouri sign

 

This leg of the trip was done on a Sunday afternoon, so I had the “pleasure” of listening to Loser Bowl 2010 (Rams/Lions), then the Chiefs game (can’t even remember who they played), and then the Cowbums as I got into Oklahoma. I don’t know what I did to the sports radio gods to deserve only being able to pick up such craptastic games on the radio, but I offer my sincere repentance for my offending behavior! [Why didn’t I turn away, you ask? I had to listen to the games to get to the game breaks with scores from the Saints (sad face) and Redskins games.] I got into OKC in time to see the Sunday night game, and promptly fell asleep on that.

OKC was a nice small city. Nothing to report about OKC.

Volume 4: OKC – ABQ

More beautiful weather the entire way. I’ve never been to Montana, but Oklahoma is definitely also big sky country. If Missouri had the weirdest street names, Oklahoma had the weirdest roadway signage. Two that stick out in my memory…

Do not drive into the smoke.

Hitchhikers may be escaped inmates.

What smoke? There was no smoke while I was driving. There was no brush or trees around to catch fire. But I won’t drive into the smoke. No matter where I am. Ever.

That other sign had me laughing and crying, because there were a LOT of hitchhikers in OK and Texas! And they all looked like escaped inmates (some like they escaped decades ago!) It was just like “Thelma and Louise” except that Louise was Bootsy and the roadside men looked nothing at all like Brad Pitt (even at his scruffiest).

 

OK windmills

 

My trip to ABQ was on Monday, Columbus Day. No traffic. That 174 miles across the top of Texas was super boring and smells horrendous. Worse than New Jersey and Philly by the refineries! It was terrible. (And I like Philadelphia!) Another mega minus about upper Texas? Nothing on the radio except Sean Hannity and religious radio. I went FM surfing again and found a nice “New Mexico music” station. Did you know NM had its own music genre? I did not, but I discovered that I like NM music and left it there.

Crossed into New Mexico and it was like entering another universe. The scenery went from flat, sparse and boring to bright pinks, reds, oranges and dark browns and greens with mountains and canyons. New Mexico is sooo beautiful! It’s really amazing. At least the part that I saw was. I didn’t even notice that the scan function on the radio had found it’s way back to Sean Hannity; I was completely distracted by the picturesque landscape that surrounded me in NM. Highly recommended. In my distracted state, I’m sorry to report that I took no pics of NM. My apologies.

I stayed overnight in “uptown” ABQ. Where’s the like button for that place? It was awesome! Kinda new and trendy but not annoyingly so. It reminded me of Old Town Scottsdale, AZ, in how it looked but there was a different, more relaxed vibe.

Once I left ABQ on Tuesday, the views in New Mexico remained the best of the trip so far.

Tomorrow, PHX to LA baby!

Here are some more random pics.

 

Biggest cross I've ever seen. This was in Missouri or Oklahoma.

 

 

This is where Homer J. Simpson works.

 

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Chronicles of Cross Country Travel – Volume 1

Ok, so it’s been awhile since I posted. But now that I’m on leave until 2011 (YAY!!!), I’ll have more time to keep you all up to speed on my latest moving adventure. By now, I think the word’s pretty much out that I’m relocating from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, CA. When am I relocating? NOW. Like today. And yesterday. My journey was supposed to start Thursday but was delayed due to the Case of the Blacked Out Tail Lights. (The case has been resolved.) Shout outs to the McKangs for noticing the Sameehicle on the Beltway, even in its darkened state.

The C of CCT started yesterday, a day late. I hit ridiculous traffic on I-70. It was terrible. At least the weather was great. Fast forward to the end of Volume 1: I’m on I-270 in the Columbus, OH, metro area headed toward Easton Mall. It was about 11:00pm. I saw 3 school buses, and I thought, “Why are there school buses out so late at night?” A few seconds later I saw 4 or 5 school buses. I peeked into the windows and it all came back to me. High school football players and…wait for it…

The marching band!

I used to be on those buses. When I was in band in high school, our football team was quite awful. For the most part we had to create a fun environment on the bus (ours was called the Soul Train!), because the wins to celebrate were few and far between. (I realize that “create a fun environment” is open to vast interpretation, but don’t go there. It wasn’t like that, well, at least not for me and the people sitting in my immediate vicinity.) We didn’t have many wins to celebrate because (as I like to say) my high school was focused on academics, not athletics. Drop out and college attendance rates notwithstanding, I stand by my assertion!

Anyway, seeing those buses reminded me of a really fun time in my life. There have been other great times, many of them, but high school has a special place in my heart and my memories. 

Bootsy on her backseat pallet, trying to avoid the sun

That’s all folks! I just have the 2 phone pics because I couldn’t find my camera. I’ve now located it and the batteries and will get on top of the photo-taking!

Today’s leg of the journey takes me from Columbus to St. Louis, Missouri. The Arch!

Gateway to the West.

I’m game.

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Have a nice trip – Part Deux

That’s right – part deux! Shout out to #4 in Montreal! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

This might be the end of “school trip” tourist season in DC, but it’s the start of foreigners, convention-goers and family vacation tourist season in the Nation’s capital. Grrreeeaaat… I know tourism really helps the local economy but to the visitors, try to be considerate to those of us who live and work here (or wherever you are visiting.) As a courtesy, I’ve reposted the “Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall” post but with some added tips.

**
If you or someone you know is a non-city dweller that is going to visit a city anytime soon, please take a look at the following transportation-related complaints and try not to be that visitor, ok?

These offenses are equally egregious; they’re not in any order.

1) Can I park here?
After I’ve seen them reading the signage and the meter (which don’t always say the same things), I’ve had visitors ask me (walking down the street after work with my work bag) — can I park here? I always respond the same way — “I don’t know; what’d the sign say?” then I keep it movin’.

If you can’t figure out whether you can park somewhere or not, then I can’t break stride and explain what “no parking/loading zone/7:30am – 6:30pm weekdays” means. I know – the signage may be confusing because it is unfamiliar to you.  But, if you’re not sure if parking is allowed and don’t want to be ticketed or towed, then take the Metro or park in a garage or deck. Or try again and hope to get someone who is willing to entertain your question.

2) Stand to the right; walk to the left.
I thought this was common knowledge but apparently it is not. Just like on the freeway, “slower traffic, keep right.” Same thing for escalators or moving walkways. Stand to the right. Yes – YOU. You and your kids. And your bags. All of y’all – get over to the right and don’t make me nudge you with my umbrella. I use it unabashedly, like a cattle prod.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of standing to the left during rush hour on the Metro in Washington, DC, you will definitely get pushed, may get your feelings hurt and will probably think that District residents are the rudest people on Earth. Not even. We’ve just got somewhere to be, some train connection to make, some meeting to attend –  and we want you (with nowhere to be, because you’re on holiday) to stand over there, to the right. Stanks.

3) Stand clear of the closing doors.
This is a tricky saying. I know, it sounds like you should back away from the closing doors and wait for the next train. On the contrary, to the experienced Metro rider “stand clear of the closing doors” is akin to seeing a yellow traffic light and no red light camera — BOOK IT! Jam yourself into the train and push the people who are standing by the doors when there’s ample room in the middle of the car. They’re asking for it by standing in the doorway.

But please – this is only for the professional rider who can safely judge when it is ok to book it/jam in and not for those who get their body parts, clothing or accessories stuck in the doors and make the train go out of service and causing delays during rush hour. In other words, visitors and suburban novices, please stand clear of the closing doors so that we can rush past you and make our train. Again, we kindly ‘preciate it.

4) Get off the escalator and keep it movin’.
Once more, I thought this was not only common knowledge but a little physics too. Unless the escalator breaks down immediately after you exit it, there will be other people getting off right behind you. You cannot, therefore, stand in front of the escalator ending and not get mowed down. It’s physically impossible. To avoid injury, please keep moving and step out of the way of others before congregating to decide upon the next historic site you’ll visit.  Much appreciated.

5) Walking, walking, walking, STOP.
Don’t do this. Just don’t. If you are walking and there are people around you that are also walking and you must stop, then move to the side and stop. If you are adults and are joined by hand-holding or the like, please be aware of others trying to pass you as you stroll leisurely through the city. DC’s downtown sidewalks are pretty wide, but if you get 5 or 6 tourists joined up like those cutout paper-people it’s hard to get by without a curt “excuse me” and a chopping motion to break through you.

Consider this a short guide as to acceptable (and unacceptable) transportation-related behavior in the DC area, although the same rules would likely apply to any major metro with a transit system.  Travel safely!

*UPDATED*

6) To all my tour bus operators…
I’m not sure where you’re visiting from, but wherever it is, I’m sure there are crosswalks there. Here, people are on foot and have to cross the street using the crosswalks. For that reason, please do not park your ginormous tour busses back-to-back through the crosswalks. Where are we to cross the street? It’s bad enough that from the sidewalk, as I wait for the light to change, I have to smell your bus idling in a “NO IDLING – TURN OFF ENGINES” zone because you’re illiterate or inconsiderate (or both.) So knock it off. Turn off your engine and don’t park in the crosswalks.

7) Segs in the City
I don’t know if segways follow the bike/car rules or the pedestrian rules. And I don’t know if they know either, because those segway riders are all over the place with their little helmets on, loyally following their tour leader in a line, looking like detached sections of a caterpillar. Stop clustering up at the corners. Why not remain in your caterpillar line? Instead, you form a blob of bobbleheads on wheels and make it difficult for people on foot to cross the street. I know this is mean. I know it is, but…I am waiting with eyes wide open to see someone fall off one of those things! I saw a tubby oldish guy playing around, going back and forth on one and I was just wishing he’d tip over, but he didn’t. But somebody will. I just hope I’m there to see it.

8) The indecisive Starbucks drink orderers.
I know – there are unlimited options. So many choices! So many beverages! Well guess what? They’re the same ones at your local Starbucks, only they’re here in DC so make it quick or get out of line. I’m probably running late for work actually and having you in front of me discussing all of the drink options with the others in your party is making me later. I propose that all Starbucks that have a lot of non-repeat clientele (even if seasonal) have an express line for experienced orderers, like myself. All of the Sbux newbies or those who aren’t in a hurry can use the other line.

Ok. Now I’m really done. I think that covers just about all of the “beef” I have with tourists. But if I think of anything else, there’ll be a Part 3/Remix!

Content and ideas copyright Samee on Everything (2010).

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And liberty and amnesty for all

Who hasn’t broken the law? Who doesn’t have unpaid parking/red light camera/speed camera tickets? Hasn’t filed taxes (federal, state, local) in awhile, or just late filing this year? Own a business that owes some kind of tax or fee? Has a dormant collections account? Delinquent on student loans? Late on your rent or mortgage? I know very few people, if any, who aren’t late or somehow negligent about paying something. Now maybe that speaks volumes about the crew I roll with but whatever. I owe on some tickets and am late with my vehicle emissions inspection and registration. And I consider myself “on top of things”!

Fight the power? This is scary. Photo courtesy of Willie Stark - ONE/MILLION, flickr.com

So we all have heard about this bill in Arizona and the great immigration debate. What to do about the hundreds of thousands of people who have not only entered the USA illegally but who have also made lives here, married here, and have children here who are US citizens? Many years ago, in immigration law class, the mere mention of amnesty made me angry and disgusted. How dare these people come into the country illegally and then wait it out and try to get right at a later date? I now understand that the issue is still there, but it’s a bit more complex than I thought at first. Today, though, I came up with this: amnesty for everybody. Don’t worry big business; under my idea, corporations can get in on this too.

Here’s my idea: undocumented immigrants can apply for amnesty to cure their illegal status, and any other lawful US citizen or US corporation can partake of some amnesty of their own choosing. For me, I’d like to pay my parking tickets at the rate before they doubled for nonpayment, so that my car isn’t at risk of being booted anytime I leave the house. (I like livin’ on the edge.) Some others – individuals and businesses – might choose to pay their backtaxes without interest and penalties. Maybe the choices would be limited to tickets and taxes, or maybe the choices for amnesty would extend to collections agencies, finance companies, banks – anywhere that people owe money and are late with the payments. In this economy, those people and places shouldn’t be hard to find. Everybody gets right. Plus – this has got to be a revenue raiser for struggling states and localities, and for the federal government.

I don't know if Jesus knew about vetoing, but I think he would encourage forgiveness. Photo courtesy of Willie Stark - ONE/MILLION, flickr.com

Sure, there will be some people out there who are current on everything, don’t have any parking (or other) tickets, and don’t owe taxes. Well good. Kudos to those people. May you live long and prosper. But if there’s some talk of amnesty being provided, then for the rest of us (no numbers to back it up, but I gotta think we’re in the majority here) – let there be liberty and amnesty for all!

Content and ideas copyright Samee on Everything (2010).

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