Monday, May 19, 2003 5:42 PM
part 7

I'm in a borrowed office, working on a borrowed computer. Next week, I'll be in a different borrowed office working on a different borrowed computer.

I went to the Santa Monica pier to see if the gold man was there. He wasn't, but the silver man was there, doing his thing, which wasn't very much because no-one was paying. Some time later, a silver man ran past me, but he was probably an imposter, or perhaps someone paid him a lot of money.

There's a piece for classical guitar called "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" (Memories of Alhambra). It is also known as an "exercise" in tremolo, however if the composer considered that to be a mere exercise, then the full production must be frightening. The exercise is an extremely difficult piece to play, and people who know it will often form a crowd around people who can play it well. Unfortunately, the person at the pier did not play it well, and no crowd formed. It wasn't bad, but he certainly isn't John Williams.

Eventually, the bank card arrived at the bank and I collected it. The consultant told me that I have to "activate" the card before I can use it. During what was probably the one and only time that I've ever read the instructions before attempting something, I found that the bank charges a fee for the activation procedure and deducts it from the account. That meant that if I had activated the account at that time, then the bank might have closed the account because the amount would fall below the minimum balance. sigh.

The parking area next to the beach is very popular. It is common for the "parking lot full" sign to be displayed at the gate, but since drivers don't read, they also don't stop. The constant stream of cars going out were simply the constant stream of cars that had gone in only moments before, but the cars going out encourages more cars to go in, because obviously lots of people are leaving.

Some days later, the Social Security Number arrived at the office and when I gave the number to the Human Resources person, she said that had to print out a form, sign it, then fax it to someone else. This was a duplicate of a form that I had signed before I left Australia, and left with the Human Resources person in Australia, so I don't know why they couldn't use the original. More of life's little challenges. Since I don't have network access yet, I can't print anything anyway, and even if I could print the form, what's the fax number? "I don't know" was the answer. Well, it seems that ignoring some problems really does make them go away - no-one has asked me for the form since then.

After 4 weeks, I was added to the payroll and received a pay cheque. After so much time, I have come to the conclusion that all work and no pay makes Jack a gull boy.

The score for this round is another perfect 10... without the 1.

Sighted in a supermarket: a single box of breakfast cereal, containing none of chocolate/frosting/honey/cinnamon/marshmallows.

Another visit to JP's house began with a tour - he has finished (for now, anyway) renovating. House version 1.0, it was a pre-release last time. :-) The house has more bathrooms than bedrooms. It even has a steam room, because one never knows when one will need some steam.

JP is the ping-pong champion. Considering that the 'P' really does stand for "Ping", so one might say that he was born to it. We played a few games, all of which I lost, but JP is such a good sportsman that he offers encouragement during the games. I should say "encouragement", because phrases such as "you're almost winning" aren't exactly what I want to hear.

I found that playing ping-pong again after 15 years is just like riding a bicycle... even though there aren't any wheels or a frame, but there are paddles and a little ball... and there's a table involved, and you don't have to worry about cars (except when the ball rolls under one)... and you don't have to wear a helmet (though one could do so, of course, to increase the similarity). Yes, apart from those minor differences, it's just like riding a bicycle.

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