A pair of small birds have established a nest in my parking garage.
See the little hole in the concrete beam... the red arrow is pointing at it... right there... that's their nest.
Here's a blurry closeup:
It's a great place for a nest... if you are a bird. Protected from the elements, away from predators... maybe the air quality in a parking deck isn't the greatest, but overall a high/dry/safe spot to hatch some eggs, or just chill.
NOT such a great place if your parking space is located directly beneath the nest. Like this:
My neighbor has the misfortune of having to share her parking space with the birds.
The thing I think is cool is that instead of calling building maintenance and having the nest removed my neighbors have simply taken to leaving a shopping bag on the back of their expensive SUV. Now when my neighbor's avian parking space mates have to relieve themselves (rather selfishly I might add) their droppings are caught by the bag, rather than the Lexus:
Isn't that sweet? I mean all it would take is a stepladder and a broom handle to evict these birdy squatters, but my neighbors are being all "live and let live" about the whole thing. If it were my car being constantly crapped on I can't say for sure I would be so empathetic. I think it takes a really special driver to be so proactive about the environment that we all share with local wildlife...
I've been drinking Diet Pepsi lately. Specifically bottles of Diet Pepsi that have yellow caps with codes that allow me to enter sweepstakes at TransformYourSummer.com. That's Pepsi's cross promotional Transformers: The Movie website. LOTS of prizes there... kind of an interesting way of entering too. Each code equals one "point" you can use to enter one of several different sweepstakes. Some of the sweeps have small prizes but LOTS of winners (800 Winners a day will win Yahoo! music downloads). Others offer fewer chances to win, but much larger prizes (1 Winner a day will win the Ultimate Gaming Package or a trip). My entry plan was to enter the bulk of my "points" into a midrange prize, and occasionally spend a point or two on the big prizes. A couple days ago this arrived via UPS: Pretty cool no? They give away 20 of these every day... which seems like a lot, but when you consider that today at 4pm eastern time 10368 points had already been spent by other people in order to try and win this prize, I feel pretty lucky.
I considered holding on to it because it can be used as a webcam, but ultimately it's not something I need. I certainly don't need a $250 webcam. So it's up for auction. Good win. I'd hit a bit of a dry spell so it was nice to get some positive reinforcement to keep at it.
P.S. I haven't given up on Coke. In fact I'm up to 4484 points at My Coke Rewards.
Last month's 12 of 12 was kind of a "leaving for work" montage. So this month I just continued the journey and took pics of what it looks like between home and "the office."
I would much rather my commute take place on mass transit. One of the reasons I BOUGHT this new condo was due to it's proximity to a MARTA station, but my hours (even my new hours) are not conducive to taking the train... I think though that in a couple weeks I'll be able to start getting to and from work without my vehicle. In the meantime though... join me won't you for my commute:
Hanging from my rearview is a souvenir from my first professional broadcasting job. I keep it to remind me how far I have come. It's a short black wire with an alligator clip at one end which is "biting" the male component of some obsolete kind of connector. That short bit of wire at one point was once used to solve a long forgotten problem at my first "real" job. It was at a TINY Top 40 radio station literally run by the proverbial Mom and Pop. Built and held together with duct tape and wishes. I'm not sure when I picked it up, but it's been with me for my whole career... 4 radio stations, 2 TV stations, one national cable network and 3 cars.
On the Radio I'm usually listening to 680 The Fan. Not what you expected. I know, right. Sportstalk? I like talk radio, but I'm sick of political talk and if I want All Things Considered I'll just download that and listen on my iPod. So even though I usually have no idea what they are talking about, I enjoy the banter of the guys on in the afternoon AND should someone at work start talking sports with me, I can usually just regurgitate something I heard on my drive in and sound like I have a clue.
I've mentioned that I'm a slob, so you shouldn't be surprised at what the floor on my passenger side looks like.
Above us is an elevated portion of the tracks the MARTA train I would LIKE to be taking to work rides on.
About halfway there now, going through an area that is PRIMED for a big resurgence... a very large public housing project has been torn down and is about to be developed into a mixed use area that will have AMAZING views of downtown. This shot is through my driver's side window of a building right across the street from that area.
This building adjacent to the aforementioned former public housing area. Just across the tracks. It's being torn down. I think it's so interesting that they left the old water tank up there while knocking out the bricks below... why not take the water tank down FIRST and THEN knock the rest of the building down?
Having crossed over the I75/I85 connector that runs through downtown we are now passing the Georgia State Capitol building. The golden shine of the dome is due to the fact that it is in fact gilded with real gold. On top is a statue called Miss Liberty. Only in the south would a statue on top of the Capitol building sound like a beauty pageant contestant.
UNDERGROUND Atlanta is a shopping mall in downtown... UNDER downtown is really more like it. We'll talk more about Atlanta's elevated nature in a minute. Underground SHOULD be a really cool thing, but as long as I have been here it's been kind of a second or third tier destination. It has a large food court which I'm sure does a great business with all the downtown workers at lunch, but for shopping or as a destination of any sort, it's sorely lacking. Some shootings years ago kind of took the shine off UNDERGROUND and it has struggled ever since. The city actually runs and owns the property and they kind of pissed people off a little when they exempted the bars in Underground Atlanta from the same laws that have forced some of their competitors to close earlier or not open at all on some days.
Atlanta is known (and sometimes made fun of) for the number of streets named "Peachtree" that run through it. This particular Peachtree Street is the mother of them all. It runs through downtown all the way up to the northern most edge of the city limits. At this point here though a HUGE construction project is underway that has caused this historic street to be closed for months and months. Atlanta is built about 3 stories above ground level in most places. So most of the "street level" streets downtown are really bridges that just run between the buildings. This particular stretch of the bridge that is Peachtree Street right in the HEART of downtown had to be completely torn out and replaced, and it's taking FOREVER!
That there is the Georgia Dome, the largest cable-supported domed stadium in the world. Home to the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise, host to Super Bowl XXVII and XXXIV and host of the gymnastics and basketball events for the 1996 Olympic Games. On the right side of the pic you can also see part of the facade for Philips Arena. You can take tours of the Dome on days when it's not in use... I highly recommend the tour. It's cool. You even get to go into the locker rooms and onto the field.
This pic LOOKS like a picture of that big rectangular building with the inverted triangle on top (Centennial Tower), but it's REALLY a picture of the circular building behind it and to the right. That's the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel and at one time, it was the tallest hotel in the world! This perspective kind of throws that perception off but at 73 stories it is now merely the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere... but that's still nothing to sneeze at! You may also remember it from the movie Sharky's Machine in which some say Burt Reynolds did his finest work.
The final part of my commute is on foot under this blue canopy that leads to my office.
Jason posted this on his blog and it looked like fun. I've seen this or variations of it on a few blogs and today I had just enough free time in my schedule to do it. It's weirdly accurate, but I think that may be the "horoscope" paradigm at work. Every horoscope says something about all of us so no matter which one you read it works for you. I think you can interpret just about any song to fit your emotional state. It's a fun exercise never the less, even if some over analytical party pooper tries to ruin it.
If your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?
Here’s how it works: 1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod) 2. put it on shuffle 3. press play 4. for every question, type the song that’s playing 5. new question– press the next button 6. don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool
So here is one possible soundtrack for CONDOBLOGGER - The Movie:
Opening Credits: CHiPs Theme: John Parker LOL... I totally forgot I had this in my playlist! Remember Ponch and Jon TV's California Highway Patrolmen? I wanted to make it into a ringtone for a buddy who is a Washington State Patrolman. It has nothing to do with my life, but it DOES make for a good base over which to lay an opening montage featuring freeze frames of all the people who will appear in my movie.
Waking Up: This Side: Nickle Creek Sample Lyric - "Climb up the slide and then you slide down the stairs"
First Day At School: What You Know: T.I. I'm not certain how this made it into my library... gangsta rap isn't really my style but the title does kind of fit.
Falling in Love: Any Moment/Moments in the Woods: Into the Woods, Musical Cast Recording I bought this album after hearing some guys talk about it in a podcast... never listened to it all the way through, but this song is a pretty good falling in love song.
Breaking Up: Give a Little Bit: Goo Goo Dolls Cover of the Supertramp song... Guess it works... maybe it was a good breakup, "Give a little bit of your love to me, Give a little bit of my life for you... So send a smile we're on our way back home"
Prom: London Bridge: Fergie I actually had two proms and they both were awkward and bad... my London, London bridge did not go down...
Life’s Okay: Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk: Rufus Wainwright I love this song... and I guess it works for Life's OK. Everythings just "a little bit..."
Mental Breakdown: Accident Waiting to Happen: The Drowsy Chaperone (Original Broadway Cast Recording) A lighthearted breakdown perhaps... The title is ominous though when associated with this category.
After The Rain: Loose Yourself: Eminem The intro has a slightly rainy day melancholy... but consider that taken less literally "after the rain" could be a metaphor for after some adversity, and clearly this song IS about second/last chances... "you better loose yourself in the music, the moment, you better never let it go, you only get one shot to not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime"
Driving: Don't Dream It's Over: Crowded House Sunday drive kind of song... I know all the words to this one and I like to sing in the car.
Flashback: Unbelievable: EMF Does kind of take me back... college parties.
Getting Back Together: (I cheated on this one... iTunes originally gave me Cinderella at the Grave from the Into the Woods soundtrack again... I skipped to the next song and got something much more apropos) Patience: Dreamgirls (Music from the Original Motion Picture) It's really about civil rights, but getting back together can take patience too!
Wedding: Little Blue Man: Betty Johnson This is in my library because my father used to make cassette tapes for me and my brother to listen to while we took roadtrips (back before every minivan had a fold up videoscreen). All kinds of kid friendly stuff. This was a novelty song from the late 50's I think... you might remember the refrain "I wuv you, I wuv you, Said the little blue man, I wuv you, I wuv you to bits, I wuv you, He LOVED me said the little blue man and scared me right out of my wits." Technically nothing to do about getting married, but he does say, "I LOVE (wuv) YOU" a whole bunch which is kind of nuptually.
Birth of a Child: A Thousand Miles: Vanessa Carlton First of all let me justify why Vanessa Carlton is in my library. She loves Billy Joel and so do I. So I HAD to support her single hit career! Now then... this is fitting because a thousand miles is about as close to having a child as I will ever be.
Final Battle: I Go to Extremes: Billy Joel Speak of the Devil! If it was my final battle I would go to extremes to win I guess.
Death Scene: Kiss from a Rose: Seal I never really thought about it, but it does have kind of lonely sway to it. Maybe I die alone, thinking about my one favorite kiss... like a kiss from a rose. Holy Crap that was cheesy.
Funeral Song: Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy): Big and Rich Probably not what my mom would want played at my funeral, but I think it's pretty cool! I'd want my funeral to be kind of an uplifting event. No... on second thought, iTunes got this completely wrong.
End Credits: Better Class of Losers: Randy Travis Why my last two choices come from the country and western world I don't know... but I can kind of hear this as the credits roll over a very long shot of me walking down a lonely highway into the sunset.
Saw Ratatouille over the weekend. (thanks to Kevin for the reminder... and the poster pic) The CG is incredible. I remember when "Toy Story" was a MARVEL because of how "real" everything looked even though it was all animated. Ratatouille blows that out of the water. It's a great story too. I'll admit to even getting a little choked up at one point... for those of you who have seen the film, it's the part during which the film's namesake is consumed. I don't think that's giving too much away.
I also got my first "reward" worth mentioning from one of my Movie Rewards programs. AMC and Regal Cinemas (plus probably every other theater chain in the world) have these cards that you present when you buy your tickets for a film. Each purchase helps you acquire points and as those points build up you can use them to get discounts on concessions and stuff like that. Up until now I've only been the recipient of things like "fifty cents off a #2 combo." Well, I finally built up enough points to get a free ticket! Of course in typical fashion it's pretty severely restricted... no starred attractions, etc. Better than a sharp stick in the eye though.
Got to see a couple trailers for movies I think I'd like to check out too. Did you know they are making a live action "Underdog" movie? Totally for the kids, but how can you not want to see it!? "There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!" I want the movie poster so bad...
"One Nation Under Dog." How cool is that? I need to get the poster before some religious right nutcase starts complaining and forces the producers to change it to: "Underdog: Jesus is Lord."
Went with friends to see a (very community theater) production of Greater Tuna last night. It's a fun show 'bout a little town called Tuna in Texas. Just two actors play all the parts. Renowned Atlanta Drag performer Bubba D. Licious is one of those actors in this production. It was cute. I was MOST impressed by the theater and it's staff. SO COURTEOUS! Smiling, happy, funny, polite. Really cool to be treated so nicely by everyone there.
Afterwards my friends and I took a tour of This New Condo, including the "Lido Deck" where we found many of my drunk neighbors blatantly flaunting the rules by being in the pool and playing music (classic rock) late at night. My work schedule doesn't allow me to socialize with my neighbors very much, so it was cool to hang out with them. They all met "P" and my friends. One very drunk neighbor with a self diagnosed "knack" for figuring out people's astrological signs guessed immediately that "P" is a Gemini and then spent the better part of the rest of the evening going through ALL of the zodiac till she hit mine. Either she got lucky with "P" or I'm really difficult to read (Aries by the way). Eventually, she literally fell over and her husband took her home. I ended up talking to my fellow condo residents about how much we dislike our building manager and which units are for sale and how much they are going for. For the most part it really is a good group of people who live here.
Today I'm putting in some OT at work and then I get to spend an hour with a different kind of neighbors. Tonight is the first nomination show on BIG BROTHER!!! Yes, I admit to all of you, with only the slightest bit of shame, that I LIKE BIG BROTHER.
Only one episode has aired and I already hate someone!
For the first time in 8 years with this employer (over 9 years doing this kind of work) I am doing something different. New department, new title (still no office), new hours, new responsibilities. I was very good at what I did before and I know I'll be good at this job too.
As for what I'm doing exactly... it's a little hard to explain (isn't everyone's job nowadays?). My title is Associate Producer. Basically, I am responsible for the replays of two TV shows. After they air "live" I come up with a way to restructure them to replay later in the day, or in one case the next day. Taking out teases or tosses that don't work, adding in "holes" for breaks, making time for segments that didn't originally air but need to be included for the replays. It's a big video puzzle and I get to figure out how to make it all fit.
Today I have the second day jitters. Yesterday I was pretty cool because the first day of a new gig is pretty tame usually, right? Just fill out the paperwork, get introduced around, take a quick tour, watch someone else do the job. Get trained. Today I think I'm going to be much more involved in the actual process. The handholding ends on Friday so I want to be up to speed FAST. From training others I have learned that the fastest way to get people trained is to get them involved and using the equipment and processes they will be working with as quickly as possible. Less watching, more action right away. So I'm going to jump in as much as I can tonight. I did a little jumping in yesterday, but I need to step it up to a whole 'nutha level tonight.
I want to do something as a result of seeing that movie yesterday. I want to DO SOMETHING... and that's a good thing.
A great quote from the film comes from a guy I THINK was a former British government type dude. He says (and I am paraphrasing) that the reason England has universal (free) health care for all it's citizens is because after WWII someone decided that if they could justify spending all that money on KILLING people during the war, then certainly they could spend just as much CURING people... and so their universal health care system was conceived and implemented. People in the theater actually applauded.
Anyway, the state of affairs in the US health care system as outlined by Moore in SICKO seems unmanageable now. It's too far gone. I feel completely helpless to do anything about it. I'm glad I saw the movie, but now I'm angry and frustrated.
Even more interesting to me was an insight into debt or the FEAR of debt and how debt makes us in a way, beholden to our employers. It made me realize that even the BEST employers use health care to keep us "in line."
I've made a pledge to myself to make some physical and financial changes in my personal life. That won't solve our health care dilemma but if I am successful I will be in a better position to deal with that adversity should I ever find myself without coverage and in need. I'm going to keep track of my progress or lack thereof in a new blog. Someday I may even make it public.