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Debt

Will it make me feel better to write about this? Most likely not. Uber is running my car down into a pit. The car which isn’t completely paid for at this point. And I’m taking an expensive family vacation in a few weeks, paying most of my part. My credit is great and I’m pretty much in the most debt I’ve ever been. Came back in March with a slight surplus and jumped right into the toxic red, white and blue pool. Not exactly the deep end, but well into the middle where the first ladder might be… Treading water. Shit

2016 Rio Summer Olympics

I enjoyed watching this year and was glad, despite all the gloom and doom talk before hand, there were no major glitches for hosts Brazil. I watched mostly volleyball and football (I often avoid the S word: there is football, the world sport, and then the theatrical, over-hyped war simulation called American football). Also nice to see Brazil saved face against Germany after their 2014 Wold Cup dismantling, though I missed that actual match.

So while things went reasonably well for troubled Brazil, some US athletes obviously have a lot to learn about sportsmanship and grace. I’m glad to see both Solo and Lochte “slapped” for their big headed nonsense.

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Hope, you lovely redneck, Sweden actually won before the shootout, there was a bad offside call. They proved their laid back style by winning their next round as well. Not “cowardly”, just own it.

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And Lochte, you hot mess, it’s called pre-planning. You couldn’t have pulled off a totally debaucherous private party in Brazil? Drop a little coin, a hotel room across town, hookers and blow, a false name… Even if it had gone wrong and ended in scandal it would have been a few levels above “common amateur fratboy”. Congrats on getting your mommy involved too.

Looking at the megastars, I’d give U Bolt more props than M Phelps. While Bolt does do his poses for the camera, there is something more playful about it, a sense of modesty and fun with the glory. A smile beats an “autistic death stare” every time…

Summer doldrums

I joined the union and have had one day of film work, doing craft service. I won’t say much there other than it was a long but well paid day. Looking forward to more. It’s frustrating to have a window out of my current routine but just not having more work really “come through”.

Meanwhile Uber driving continues it’s downward spiral: an over-saturated market meaning fewer good fares, continued AC problems which seem to confound my mechanic – who at least isn’t charging anymore with attempted fixes, which only seem to last a few weeks. And I still owe plenty on the car. I’ve got a feeling huge problems are going to arise before it’s even paid off. Saw several negative reviews I hadn’t looked at until now. These fucking people: getting a great deal on a ride, the company working me against my car to give the privilege and hey, you get to write an review too. So the car seats in the used car I have (for now) aren’t clean enough for you? Well thanks, your majesty for the $3.75 I most likely got for your piddly ride. Feel free to go fuck yourself and your comment.

But this “give your feedback” trend is biting plenty these days I’m sure. All power to fleeting consumer opinion. The more rides you give, the more likely you are to accrue negative feedback and more likely the car gets more run down. I do vacuum from time to time, but the floor mats go instantly back to their former state. The seats had stains when I got the thing, 3 months and 13,000 miles ago…

Uber Driving

I’m over 250 rides in and have been keeping brief audio journals to remind myself of certain days and passengers. Uber has been a nice landing from China, but I won’t do it too long. Weekly pay is nice, but you put plenty into the gas tank and repairs on the cars itself. I had some AC issues, which in GA heat and summer humidity will not do. It seems my first few weeks had some circumstances which have proven to be unusual now that I’ve gotten more into the routine – long rides etc. I only do around 20-25 hours a week and in the 3-8ish time slot. I borrowed a gopro camera I’ll use with night rides, but…I’m in no hurry to start dealing with drunks, or amateurish ones.

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Some things you wouldn’t expect: most everyone has a smartphone these days and I’ve dropped off in trailer parks and people living in hotels. It’s really annoying when people expect to make multiple stops for errands before their destination. And people will leave you waiting far too long when you are there ready to begin the ride, but I read in an article just now the company will start automatically charging after 2 minutes of your arrival. It seems the company is committed to tweaking things in the name of improvement. They send a bit too many texts and emails but overall it’s fine. Airport runs are where the real money is and I end up going several times a week. I’m also not as adamant about refusing tips as I was at first. The company also gives discounts on car maintenance, phone plans, and a gas credit card, which saves me a dime a gallon. Most riders are pretty cool and I’m learning new routes all over the city, which is nice as Atlanta is constantly reconstructing itself. I see more highway wrecks than I used to. That’s actually one thing I’ve had to readjust: being a native born Atlantan vs. Uber driver, when someone not in the know says “let’s get on the northeastern side of 285 at 4:45 on a Thursday”, but it’s not as bad when you are being paid to sit there in the mess.

Nav apps are another issue. I’m choosing Waze over googlemaps, but there are still times when a street shown as a cut through isn’t anymore, esp. in Buckhead, or it will recommend a route the passenger complains about. Some people seriously get off on backseat driving…”turn on your signal, now go here, now do this”, but they are out soon enough. And drivers get to rate the passengers too. I’ve actually gotten to use my pathetic Mandarin on 4 different occasions and generally like how international ATL has gotten.

Heading out of HK

So I’m at the airport early as they have air con and free wifi. What to post before heading back behind the Great Firewall. I guess some talk about HK…

view from 21st fest Western

I need to come back here with more time, money and better acclimation to the insane humidity. Got my Z visa, which was bit more than my agent said, but it’s all good. A flickr contact gave me some info on the Red Light scene in HK which he often shoots. I did go down and check it out, but didn’t spend much, wasn’t buying beer for the Filipinas who chatted me up and they were talking much after that. No some portraits. One aged Thai chatted me up on my walk home, and I was able to amuse her with some Thai phrases, but as I wasn’t spending, she was all “I change now, Da Ling” as they do. I got a laugh out of her though with my parting “good luck to you” spoken as they all do.

Dragon Club

I’m so spoiled on the mainland…HK seems expensive. There are some extra taxes and such and if you’re earning here I’m sure it isn’t bad. Oh, and a bit of bad luck: a Gary Baseman show opens tomorrow… It was set up, and I would have bought some merch, but couldn’t get in! So only pics of inflatable Toby outside.

Uuugh, Gary Baseman Hong Kong show starts two days after I leave...

Hong Kong, we shall meet again. Skipping the hotel room for the all nighter at the airport and visa office stress, plus %6000 humidity, threw me off my game. Live and learn. Got another free VPN, but we’ll see if it works…

Tweeting now

@chillymelon. But I quit following Mia Khalifa…too much sports Shit…

update

My general plan is to return to Indonesia. The paperwork for the visa is in, but I heard a few days ago from my employer their govt. is slowing down processing and it might be as many as four more months. UGGH! Meanwhile I did some more flower delivery for Mother’s Day, and while there were additional kooky mis-adventures, I don’t even feel like telling the tale. Also been doing more art instillation, house-sitting, ebaying, and plenty of watching my young nieces.

So it seems like by the time I get back to my next teaching job a year will have elapsed, definitely longer than I planned. These returns to the States have their own momentum. One was 4 months, another only one, which was too brief. But a year will be too long. Usually there has been some traveling in the region where I’ve been, which is perfect. But I’m talking about the clock that starts once I hit US soil.

As far as the time that’s elapsed since returning this time, it hasn’t been all bad. There was a rekindled relationship that was really good for a while. And trips to Maine, NYC, Knoxville. Catching up with the ATL peeps as well as friends I haven’t seen in 5 years or more. But somewhere in the early part of this year I missed a window and my momentum is off. I just have to remember it could be worse. Much worse.

Dexter R.I.P.

I recently caught up on the last two season of Dexter, behind the curve, and have a few musings about the 8 seasons overall.

They were losing me near the end of S6, with Deb’s revelations about her feelings for her brother, the show seeming too much to want to imitate real life. But thankfully they didn’t really “go there”. The Hannah story was the focus and she ended being one of my favorite love interests, though as one who prefers brunets to blondes, I’ll always have a soft spot for kookie-ass Lila. It’s something I have to laugh at myself about: the show was such a blatant soap opera, with everyone’s various crushes and relationships just as prominent as the would be “dark” stuff.

It was an unforgettable shocker when Rita died at the end of S3 (4 was it? whenever). And I almost felt guilty for having grown to hate her by that point. She perfectly captured the “strings attached” FL blonde hottie who would be my personal nightmare. But I felt it when she was murdered, which is what you want from a show.

Deb worked, but it would be hilarious to see a strung together sequence of her most absurd overacted freakout moments. Another for colorful curses.

I like overall how the show used seasonal guest stars: Lithgow, Smits, Stiles, Weller, Mos Def etc. Masuka will ever remain one of my favorite minor characters…not sure why they brought in the unknown daughter character in S8 but OK, another excuse for perky boobs won’t draw complaint from me. And on that note, despite some of her steamy scenes with Quinn, I wouldn’t have minded seeing “more” of Jaime (Aimee Garcia), but OK, she’s “not that type of actress”. And I guess even the character using a body double might have distracted. But let’s face it, a lot of that character was benevolent eye candy.

What else? Michael C. Hall overall definitely worked, but I think the writing and voice over narration worked in his favor. I wasn’t a Six Feet Under fan, but I’d like to see him in other stuff, as it seems health wise he’s doing well and will be around a while. I suppose Ghost Harry got a bit tedious, but I’ve liked James Remar since Drugstore Cowboy.
I was a bit jarring to be thrust into Deb’s druggie undercover life in the beginning of S8, but it all came around, and let’s face it, that poor girl was usually a hot mess, why not see her go on “out there”. “Fucking, mother-fuck, it.” Her mercy killing was a bit of a head scratcher, as was the ending overall, but not exactly “wrong” or disappointing. It seems they kept options sort of open until near the end, then had to do some logic script patchwork. Yeah, it’s sort of sloppy, and I see why they’d want to leave options of returning to it all open.

Anyway, I’m glad I went back for the final two seasons. I’ll be curious to see how re-watchable it all is for me later. And I have to give the show credit overall for hooking me, despite all the times I thought to myself “am I actually invested in this silliness going on with these pretty people?”. They managed the balance.

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