Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:00 PM

End of Year


On Wednesday I go to work for a while and then head for the airport. I catch a flight to Washington, DC and then get lost going to the hotel - going north on the beltway instead of south. I eventually go around the entire beltway until I find my exit and get to the hotel. When I get into my room I unpack and pay everything out for the next night, set the alarm clock, and get a wakeup call. When I go to bruch my teeth I find that my room has no water - no water in either sink faucet and no water in the shower. I call the front desk and they promptly agree to switch my rooms and they will send somebody up to help me move. After 15 minutes nobody shows up so I pack everything up, go down to the front desk, and get the key to the new room myself. And re-lay everything out for the next morning.

On Thursday we have a productive day and then have dinner at a pub. I order a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. When we go to settle up the bill, my co-workers give me a hard time because the bill lists my dinner as "KIDS MEAL: GRILLED CHEESE".

On Friday I make a very very good presentation and make every point stridently and professionally. I even head off a number of questions by pointing out features of our models and simulations. The meeting is a rousing success!

After the meeting we rush to the airport and try to get earlier flights. Today is a mess because every flight is booked solid and there is a 6-12 inch snow storm coming in tonight that everyone wants to beat. I eventually make it onto an earlier flight by going standby and having a co-worker give up his standby seat (since he is one place ahead of me on the standby list) because it would be a middle seat. I take the seat and the flight is again delayed because, as the pilot annoucnes, "You may have noticed that nobody loaded the luggage on to the plane". After that it is a smooth flight. It turns out this flight, that I went standby on, was delayed by 5 hours and United passes out coupons to redeem for many frequent flier miles (becasue everyone was delayed so much). Except that I wasn't delayed! But I take my miles and move on.

When I get home on Friday night, after being awake since 4 am, there is nothing to do but go party! I get to one club before 11 pm and hang out for a while and then meet Person T_U at the herd/clone club. I run into a number of acquaintances and have a fun night out. I manage to decline any offers that come my way. I've rushed on home and it is 3 am. I get out the phone card and try to call my friend Tree in Thailand. But his phone is shut off (it would be 6 pm his time) and so I go to sleep. Just after 4 am I wake up and try and get hold of Mr Tree. We have a nice conversation and near 5 am I am heading back for sleep. Except that the phone starts ringing with text messages from Person M_FL who wants to come over and hang out before his work shift. So he comes over and we hang out for an hour or so.

There is no use trying for sleep, sO I wait until the day has warmed up and get out for the extended aquarium bicycle ride. I feel strong today and enjoy the ride - realizing that if I had not found a flight out of Washington, DC I would have been stuck in a foot of snow right now. After the ride I cut the backyward really short and clean up the roses a bit. A shower cleanses me from the Saturday errands and I relax the rest of the day - with no nap thrown in.

On Sunday I wait for the morning to warm up before heading out for the extended aquarium bicycle ride. Another good ride provides me with ammunition for thanks that I was able to leave Washington, DC before the 12 inches of snow hit. Near mid-day I run some errands that include buying and planting some impatiens and some holiday shopping (where I strike up a bicycle-related conversation with a young gentleman at Trader Joe's). During the afternoon I watch football and do some web programming before getting in a great, heavy session with the weights. THis is the heaviest that I've lifted since before the long vacation though it's a bit away from "heaviest ever". I think I'll stay near this weight for a while and not risk injury with heavier weights. I expect to sleep well after this workout - and I do. For a few hours. But then I ake up and cannotf all back asleep so I get up and do some more web programming before heading back for sleep at 3:30 am on Monday morning.

Monday is a slow day at work since many people have already left for holiday vacation. After work I drop the World Rally Car off for a major (and expensive) tune-up and then I skate on home (with a stop in at Subway with my skates on to pick up dinner). But before dinner I get in a good workout for the abdominals and lower back.

On Tuesday I leave work a bit early (it's a relaxed week) and I work a bit in the yard before turning to a serious workout. I've added more sets and it takes an hour to get through the very heavy workout. But it feels good. Unfortunately I note that for the third night in a row I wake up between 2 and 3 am and have a bit of trouble falling back asleep. There are things on my mind that disturb me.

On Wednesday I'm at work walking between buildings when a co-worker stops me in a parking lot and says to her company-issued BlackBerry, "Here's Ray Manning now. Let me put him on the phone." So she pushes the speakerphone button and we proceed to have a teleconference in the parking lot for the next 40 minutes. I note to her, whenw e are done, that I'm going to hide between cars and scamper in sleuth mode the next time I'm wandering across campus. On the way home I stop in CambodiaTown and buy another calling card (asking for and describing the calling card in Thai). And then I do some more yardwork when I get home.

On Thursday, Christmas eve, I skate over to the automobile dealer and pick up the World Rally Car after its tuneup. When the morning has warmed up I get out for the extended aquarium bicycle ride. There are not a lot of cyclists out this morning. After a few errands I sit back and watch takes place in Prague (for 5 minutes) and then bangkok for the remainder. I try to see how places I can pick out of the movie that I have been to. Coincidentally I receive an email from my friend, Jam, from Bangkok. He is in London now, but I haven't heard from him in 18 months. He served as my friend and tour guide the first time I went to Thailand. Late in the afternoon I get in a slightly heavier again session with the weights. And now I realize I shouldn't go past this level for a while because it's a blastin' workout but hard on the joints and shoulders also. When I recover I make "Christmas Day" calls to Cambodia and China (where it is actually Christmas day). I speak with Tra and Yuan and miss Rady and Ah Jing. (I'll try the latter two again later.)

On Friday morning at 4:15 am I wake up and try to call Tree and wish him a Merry Christmas. Instead, because Tree is working, I speak with his brother and try to have a message relayed. When the morning has warmed up I get out for a 40 mile road bike ride. I was unmotivated to start and kept assuming that I would quit near 30 mils, but I get more motivated as I go and finish the 40 miles. After some recovery I have my spaghetti with red wine sauce and then watch the football game (and work on some other little things). I continue to make and receive Christmas phone calls with T_U, C_T, Ruby, Mom and Dad, and M_Fl.

On Saturday I get out for an early morning bicycle ride. It is very cold today and it takes almost all the way down to the aquarium to get warmed up (and to get the legs moving after yesterday's long ride). I end up doing the extended aquarium ride and that is enough for today. Late in the afternoon I get in a great workout with the weights and relax some more. Until Person T_U calls later and we're headed (separately) for clubs in West Hollywood.

I can't even get into the first club when I'm noticed by Person D_B. I'm invited to sit with him and his friends and, wouldn't you know it, one of his friends who joins us in somebody that I've wanted to meet. The conversation doesn't go according to plan, but one of Person D_B's friends is Nicaraguan so he and I have an interesting discussion about his country (and some of the involvement I had in the mid to late 1980s). Person T_U shows up and we hang out for a while before changing our plans and heading for the pop club. We are not there for 30 minutes and we decide to go back to the original club because we don't like the attitude and atmosphere at the pop club. Eventualyl closing time comes and I hang out for a while before heading for home and turning the lights out for sleep at 3:30 am on Sunday.

SUnday is a blah day. When the morning has warmed up I do get out for a bicycle ride up the Los Angeles river. After the ride I'm running errands and I finally see a lot of little kids on their Christmas present bicycles. Why did I not see them during the last few days? I do some yardwork and other thigns around the house and call it an early night.

On Monday morning I go out walking before the day's activities start. Before mid morning I'm standing outside in the backyard and I see movement near the carnations. At first I think its a baby rat, but on closer examination I discover the cutest little baby possum roaming around. This possum is so small it could easily fit in the palm of one's hand - even smaller than the possum that I had to chase out of the house one night. At first I try to scare the possum away from the house with sound, but he/she doesn't take the hint. So I go get a shovel and lightly pound the ground near the possum to encourage it to leave my yard - which it does. Ruby comes over to visit and talk business late in the morning. When we are finishing up I see the baby possum in the neighbor's front yard. Ruby goes over to watch it and decides that it is a small field mouse. Well, possum or field mouse, it is very cute. But I still don't want it inside or udner my house. After doing some web programming I get in a killer workout with the weights.

After the heavy workout with the weights I would expect to sleep well. And I do for a few hours but then wake up at 3:30am and cannot fall asleep. Near 4:15am I get up and surf the Internet for a while (and have a conversation with one of my friends in Cambodia since it is approaching 8 pm over there). Near 5:30am I get out for a 49 minute run in the brand new running shoes. It feels good to get started again. On Tuesday I do a few more errands and little activities around the house including picking up a couple of books from the library the mountain bicycle and head down for the extended aquarium ride. Except that there are all sorts of bleachers and stands put up for a new year's eve party, so it turns out to be just a semi-extended aquarium ride. Afterwards I do some reading and stay up later than expected (considering I've been awake since 3:30am).

The sleep on Tuesday night is very heavy at times (though I again woke up near 2:30 and wondered if I would fall asleep again). When I wake up I slowly get moving (due to running soreness) and finally get a coat of wax on the Yamaha YZF-R1. Though today is going to be cloudy and dreary, I let the morning warm up a bit and then get ready to ride the bicycle. Except that when I step out the door it is raining. I wait for it to pass, but it doesn't look like its going to. So I wait a bit and then decide to lift weights (with the hope of drying weather and a bicycle ride later). Its another heavy session with the weights and it feels great.

Thursday starts with a run early in the morning. After more errands and some reading I get out for the aquarium bicycle ride and note that there are already people with lawn chairs and stuff getting ready for the Travis Pastran jump as well as the new years eve's parties. I relax for a while until it is time to pick up Person B_AIA at the green line train station near Los Angeles International airport. We drive to a blue line metro station and head to Pine Avenue to emet up with Person T_U and check out the new year's eve parties. It turns out the parties are not very good at all and we hang out for a while until B_AIA gets cold. Then we head for home. On the train ride back towards home there are some party people (obviously drunk) and one girl throws up as we are headed home. Just after we step off the train and get to the car the year rolls over to 2010.

On Friday, new years day, Person B_AIA and I hang out for a while until I drop him off at the green line station where I orignally picked him up. And now he's prepared to ride the rails and catch up with me on Saturday as we plan to ride the train to downtown Los Angeles and wander around. When I return home I get in a heavy workout with the weights though its a bit of a struggle because of the lack of sleep. For the remainder of new year's day I relax and read and watch some (boring) college football.