Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Things Straight Guys Do...

Today's my second to last day in Kelowna, and to celebrate, myself and a few other people went to a strip club.

Yes, you read that right, a strip club. A straight strip club, at that. I have no idea how I got talked into it (the 4 Tom Collins probably had a hand), but anyway, along we went to "Willows". In Virginia there're all sorts of regulations about nudity, covering, touching, etc. Here in Canada, not so much. The girls lose all of their clothes, save a pair of pointy high-heeled shoes, and they do all sorts of things if you tip them.

So the first girl comes out, and for $5 each she spanks one person, puts another's face in her breasts, and sticks another guy's head in her legs. When the second girl comes out, my compatriots keep jabbing me and telling me to put out $5, so I think 'what the hell', and put it out. The girl waits until she's completely done, then wraps herself up in a blanket and takes my $5, and that's that. Rather disappointed, I start to leave, but they convince me to try again, and so the final girl comes out. She dances for 18 minutes, waits until the end of her song, and then I get a grand view of her shoulder as she takes my $5. So for $10, I got less than the other guys got for $5.

*sigh...if I were straight, I'd be rather depressed right now :P

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Moxization!

Event II has pretty much run its course, and the new system is largely working. This means that we only need to spend a few hours a day at the site, and have the rest of the time free to do whatever we want around Kelowna. (shh.. don't tell anyone!)

Last night we had dinner at a steakhouse called Moxie's. Apparently Saturday is their "Moxicize Day"; any drink you get can be doubled for just $1 more. I got a Tom Collins, while Kim and Jason got rum and coke. The coke, however, was flat, which prompted Kim to inform the waitress, in delightful southern twang no less, that she needed to "moxicize this drink right on back where it came from." We finally stopped laughing a few minutes later, and got around to ordering. And then I ate the best steak of my entire life.

One of Moxie's signature dishes is a NY Strip steak, marinated in honey garlic. It was tender, it was tasteful, it was sweet, and it was GOOD. Jason, who's 30 and considers himself something of steak expert, was awestruck. I mean, we are not talking just good. We are talking this-is-what-I'd-have-for-my-last-meal good. We're planning to go back.

This afternoon had lunch at a nice little restaurant called The Yellow House. Had mimosa and a shrimp, spinach and goat-cheese omelette. Wasn't sure if the flavors would work together, but they did. Took a 4 mile walk across the bridge over the lake and back, then took a nap, then had dinner at Mama Rosa's, a great little traditional Italian place that has great atmosphere. Had fettucine with a spicy tomato sauce and hot sausage - mmmmm. Decided to take some back with me to the hotel, and then discovered that I had no silverware. Oops.

Right now, just sitting back and relaxing, sipping the chardonnay that I got over the weekend and listening to the rain. Can't ask for more than that.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Random Complaint #1

Why is it that shrimp are always served with the tails still on them? As the restaurants get more and more expensive, fewer and fewer things arrive with shells or bones in them, but for some reason, it's considered classy to have these pink exoskeltons on the back of shellfish, which means you need to make a fool and mess of yourself pulling the tail off of the shrimp and finding somewhere to put it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fun with Planes and People

For some reason, I only seem to be posting when I'm traveling and bored. Oh well, better late than never.

So, I am currently in Kelowna, British Columbia at one of Capital One's call centers to be a lead floor walker for our Helix Event 2 conversion. Basically we're upgrading our entire database system, including the phone service applications, so I'm going to be on-site to help out with any problems.

The flight from Richmond to Chicago was uneventful. The flight from Chicago to Seattle (3:45 long...ugh) was eventful. When I boarded, I found a jacket on the floor at my seat. I picked it up, asked if it belonged to anyone, and when no one answered, I took it to an attendant. A few minutes later, a man and his wife board the plane, and sit in the row behind me, which already had a bunch of their stuff in it. He pokes me in the back, and asks if I've seen his leather jacket. I tell him that it was on my seat, and because no one'd claimed it, I'd given it to the attendant. Well, he explains that it was his jacket, and that I should keep my hands off other people's things. I wanted to explain that he should not put his things in multiple rows and then leave the plane, but discretion is the better part of valor. So, this guy waits 20 minutes until after we've closed the door and started to taxi, and THEN decides to ask one of the attendants where his jacket is. She kindly informs him that because no one on the plane claimed it, it had been left at the airport. Ooooooooooh boy. He starts yelling, swearing, pounding his fists, etc. Another attendant came to try to calm him down, and offers various solutions. They offered to call the airport and have his jacket picked up, but no, he knows it's gone for good. They could ship it to his home, but no, he's not about to give them his home address. They could put it on another flight to his final destination, but no, he never checks luggage because he knows the airlines will lose it. It got so bad that one attendant (we're now up to three) quietly started asking me if I would feel safer in another seat. During this entire tantrum, the guy sitting in the seat next to me is very visibly rolling his eyes and chuckling, which I was hoping to death Mr. Coronary behind me couldn't see or hear. Eventually they got him calmed down, and the flight was successful (although it seemed to take a lot longer). The guy sitting next to me leaned over at one point, and told me that he was sure we could take him, and he'd help me "punch him down a notch or two" if I wanted. I smiled.

In the Seattle airport, we (myself and Jason, another traveling CapitalOne person who was also going to Kelowna) met intriguing character number two. A young woman in her early twenties, who I'm convinced was born a clueless blonde, but then dyed her hair black and went goth. She had multiple piercings through her cheek, and the most hideous fish nets that I've ever seen. Some people can pull that off quite well, this girl, not so much. Then she started asking us questions about customs, which was when the clueless part of her personality showed itself. What if she wasn't bringing a pet, should she put her info instead where it asks for pets? What if she was on probation, should she tell her case worker that she's about to leave the country? What if she wanted to bring two cases of cigarettes with her when only one was allowed, should she lie on the customs sheet? (At that point, an American customs agent started looking very hard at us.)

Eventually got to Kelowna and the hotel, which is very nice. The hotel is right on the lakefront, and off to the side is Lakefront Park which is a series of man-made streams and ponds that feed from the lake, with islands and gardens and bridges. I haven't explored too much yet, since I've only been here a day and am working besides. Although I did find a coffee shop called The Bean Machine that looks promising. The entire group went out for dinner last night, had some really good seafood. Yum!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Texas

Well, I'm back in Richmond after recruitment testing at Texas A&M. A few observances:

1) Dallas is an incredibly nice and modern airport - with the exceptions of un-free wifi and lack of power outlets. Seriously, there were a grand total of ZERO public-access power outlets. I searched 8 gates and couldn't find a single one. Which was why my battery died.

2) What's with all the crickets in Texas? I walk out onto the parking lot and had to plow my way through a bunch of hopping things.

3) Texans are not good at giving directions.

4) Texas A&M is huge, with more land than it knows what to do with.

5) "WHEE!! Isn't this fun? It's just like a roller coaster!" is not something you like to hear from the lady sitting next to you when you're traveling at 15,000 feet.

Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful trip. We tested 150 applicants, which is pretty good for that school. Although 150 tested applicants means 150 tests, plus all of the ones we didn't use. Which means a very heavy suitcase . . . so heavy in fact, that the stewardess actually ordered me to stow it under the plane.

Work today was also fairly uneventful, I just kept taking the CBT floorwalker classes. Even though the trip isn't until early/mid October, they say the training needs to be done by the 26th, which, when you consider that I just spent three days out of the office, is a fairly big crunch.

Had steak tonight for dinner. Yum.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

American Air

Wow, my very first blog post ever. Someday, I'll look back at this post and think sentimental thoughts.

Right now I'm in Dallas, paying for wifi that was free in Richmond. Stupid Texas. In an hour and a half I'll be on my way to Texas A&M at College Station to do recruitment testing for Capital One. How, you ask, did someone who graduated from New York's Cornell University get involved with TAMU recruiting? Well, it turns out that there's no one from TAMU is actually qualified to give the test, and the same recruiter who's in charge of CU is also in charge of TAMU, so I got pulled in. It'll be a fun few days, hopefully.

Anyway, as I was checking in at Richmond, the automated computer terminal asked me if I wanted to upgrade to first class for $35. So I decided sure, what the heck, I'll pay for that. Except the computer said there was an error, and told me to go to the ticketing agent. So I went to the agent, who informed me that I can't just upgrade, I need to have an "upgrade account" with AA. I began asking how one gets an upgrade account, and he just handed me my boarding pass, turned around and walked away. So that wasn't cool. I took my boarding pass and walked to the terminal, where I waited for the flight. Then we began boarding, and as they scanned my boarding pass it came up as "INVALID". The boarding agent told me that it was probably because my boarding pass was too old, and they'd switched planes. I informed him that I checked in less than an hour ago. He said ".....oh". Then he gave me a new ticket, which turned out to be first class. GRAH. Never flying AA again.

Now I'm in Dallas, waiting for the flight to College Station. I had dinner at a Chilis restaurant at the airport. The waiter was really cute, and I'll never see him again, so I wrote "HOT STUFF" on the receipt and gave him a 50% tip. Which CapitalOne will pay for. I know, I'm a dork.

Anyway, battery is running low, so that's it for now.