Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dinner, and a show

I met Liz and the kids for dinner at Souplantation last night, and after we'd sat down at our table another young family sat down at the next table over. Their two kids were perhaps a year or so younger than ours, but they were also there with Nan and Pop. Dad set their littlest one up in a high chair and Pop took the seat next to her, and at one point I glanced over to see Pop give his baby granddaughter an affectionate pat.

This really got to me and I looked away but the damage was already done. In fact looking away made things worse because now I was looking at my own daughter whose Pop never got to see her or hold her before he died.

The tears welled up and I hung on to them as hard as I could but my son who was sitting next to me was quick to notice and he asked why I was crying. I told him I wasn't but he could see quite clearly that I was, or at least trying not to and failing miserably. He insisted that I was crying and when Liz told him to be quiet he got upset and turned away. So I grabbed him and pulled him close while he tried to pull away and I gave his hair a scruffing. When I stopped he asked me to do it again, so I did and it made us both feel better.

Then Liz asked me why I'd been crying and before I could attempt to explain the tears welled up again. "No, don't tell me now," she said.

Well dear, now you know why.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Now I remember

why I hate Norton and Symantec. On my old PC I'd been using a free version of AVG Antivirus, but my new PC came with a subscription to Norton Internet Security, so I've been using that instead and it's a real pain in the arse.

It has these Alerts that pop up to tell me "Hey, there's a problem. Do you want me to fix it?" So I click on Fix it.

A few second later an Alert pops up to tell me the problem is being fixed. I click on Close and the Alert disappears.

A few seconds later an Alert pops up to tell me the problem it told me about earlier is being fixed.

Ahh yeah, I know. I told you to fix it, and you've already alerted me that it's being fixed. Now, Close!

A few seconds later an Alert pops up. "Hey, you know that problem? We're fixing it."

Shut the fuck up!!! Just fix the damn problem and stop telling me you're fixing it!!!

A few seconds later an Alert pops up. "We fixed that problem we told you about."

Great. Now go away.

A few seconds later an Alert pops up. "Everything is working just fine now."


I don't care that I have a free 1-year susbcription to Norton which is worth (if you can believe Symantec) about $60, or that AVG is now a pay-service, much like Norton, and costs about the same for a 1-year subscription. AVG was never this fucking annoying. I'm just about ready to uninstall Norton and forgo the 1-year subscription.

Why don't I close the program? Because if I do that, an Alert pops up telling me there's a problem that needs fixing. If I click Fix it, Norton starts everything back up again.

Now excuse me, but Norton is telling me I need to restart my PC or the world will be destroyed.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another one of "those" Bus Drivers

I like to rant here because if I file an e-complaint with the MTA I don't get any response or feedback from them. It's like I wasted my time even filling out their e-form, and if I call I'll just be on hold for 20 minutes before hearing a message along the lines of "We're sorry, all operators are busy. Please call again later. Click." o_O seriously WTF?

This morning I got to the station a little later than usual, so the bus I caught was not being driven by a driver I know. As if it wasn't enough that I was already a few minutes late, then we have problems on the Freeway. An accident, whatever, I don't know. We sat there in traffic for a while, stop-go, stop-go, stop-go, you know the routine. I'm glad I had a good book with me. Then the other buses started passing us using the emergency lane. A fellow passenger called out "Follow those buses!" but out guy stayed in the express lane, stop-go, stop-go, stop-go. With the result that my 30 minute bus ride took over an hour this morning.

Finally we made it into downtown. At 11th St. a passenger got off and as soon as the bus pulled away from the curb I rang the bell for the next stop and stood up. I thought I heard the driver say "Next stop is Pico," which is after 12th St. So I walked to the front and told the driver I wanted 12th St., which is something I usually do anyway, even with my regular drivers.

Next stop is Pico, the driver repeated.

I told him the other bus drivers let me off there all the time.

He gestured at the construction that's going on, and which has been there for over 12 months now, as if that was the argument clincher. I said I usually get let off on the other side of the intersection, across from the construction.

Mr. Bus Driver, when almost every other driver I've ridden with has let me off at 12th St., construction or no construction, don't go thinking you're any different or that I'll back down. The only way I'm not getting off at 12th St. is if you refuse to stop there.

When it became obvious that he was going to stop at 12th I thanked him. I am not an inconsiderate rider. He's obviously an inconsiderate driver though. Next time it's Pico, he said, as he pulled up. I thanked him again and wished him a nice day as I left the bus. I may not be inconsiderate, but I can be condescending when I choose.

Then next time I'll get off at 11th, I said to myself as I walked away, especially if you're driving. It might be one block earlier than the stop I want, as opposed to one stop after my desired stop, but the difference is I'm getting off at the stop of my choice, not where you choose to let me off. I win. It's that simple.

In reality 12th St. is a scheduled stop, and a majority of the drivers will still stop there on the other side of the road, especially if you tell them in advance that you want the 12th St. stop. The only reason they won't stop at 12th St., especially after a rider asks them to stop there, is because they're a jerk. Unfortunately you meet jerks in all walks of life, whether you're walking or riding the bus.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Irrelevant, if you don't WoW

The male Dranei dance in WoW borrows heavily from Daler Mehndi & Co's "Tunak Tunak Tun" music video. Unless you WoW this post means nothing to you. If you do WoW and you've /danced on your male Dranei, watch the clip all the way through and you will recognize some of the moves, especially around the 1-minute mark of the clip.

And if you don't WoW, here's a Youtube of the male Dranei dance set to...why, goodness me, it's set to Daler Mehndi's Tunak Tunak Tun :D

My son...and my other son

Last night I took my son and his friend (as Tiger Cub Scouts) to a local Fire Station, where they saw lots of cool stuff, including a Thermal Imager which allows the Fire Fighters to find people inside smoke filled buildings. The Fire Fighters turned the TI on me and asked the two boys who they could see. JE's friend excitedly exclaimed, "my dad!"

This is actually not the first time he's referred to me as such, and given the situation he's living in it's not that surprising, either. JE's friend is Chinese. He lives with his mother and his older sister while his real father lives in China. This is not that uncommon for Chinese families to do. My wife used to work with another lady who lived here with her son while her husband lived and worked in China, and they'd see each other for a week or so every couple of months. JE's friend is also not the only one in their class in this situation. Now me, I can't imagine living away from my family and only seeing them for a week or two every couple of months, if that.

Being Chinese JE's friend's first language is, naturally enough, Chinese, which brings communication differences into the equation. I know that when translated literally some Chinese phrases can become quite humorous, although their intention can still be deciphered. I'm rather ticklish, and sometimes my wife likes to take advantage of that. She was tickling me at her parents' house one time (a particularly sensitive place to be tickled) when her mom asked if I was "scared of tickle". Which really does make sense but is still amusing to hear it said :)

The Chinese language also has different names for paternal and maternal grandparents. If you're the grandparents on the mother's side you'll always be called Abu and Goong-goong, although Liz's Dad actually gets Doong-doong because JE couldn't pronounce the initial G and the name just stuck. Even the FIL refers to himself as Doong-doong, which got him strange looks from the Chinese kids at JE's school because while Goong-goong is "Grandpa on mama's side", Doong-doong doesn't mean a thing.

The Chinese also have words/names for people not related to you, so rather than calling an elderly lady "Hey, you!" or "Old woman", you can actually call her something respectable. It's something akin to Grandmother although it's not the same name you'd use for either of your biological grandmothers. It still means Old Woman, it's just a polite way of saying it ;)

So, coming full circle, JE's friend saying I'm his Dad does not mean he thinks I'm his father (although he sees me more than he does his real father), but is nothing more than him translating a Chinese word for father-figure into its closest English expression. I'm sure it sounds strange to onlookers though, to see the distinctly Chinese boy calling this very white man "Dad". The first time it happened JE got a little upset that his friend appeared to be laying claim to me, but last night he either missed it or didn't care. I don't know what the three white Fire Fighters thought, especially as it had already been established that JE was my son.

My daughter is currently doing a very similar thing, not in calling us Mum and Dad, which we are, but in laying claim to us. When Liz's cousin & her family visited a few weeks ago their little boy (who is around our daughter's age) came up and gave me a hug. Our daughter saw this and ran up to me, screaming "Mine!" Funnily enough she doesn't just do this to strangers but does it to her own brother. If she's hugging or cuddling with us JE cannot come near, or she gets very possessive. Likewise if we're getting cuddles from JE, she will again do her "Mine!" routine. We explain that we're also JE's mummy and daddy, and she does use the Chinese word for "big brother" to describe JE (I'm not sure how to spell it, but it's pronounced by saying a hard G twice in quick succession) so she knows that JE is her big brother, but we're her mummy & daddy, and you better not forget it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

American Idol...NOT!!!

Liz watched the auditions for American Idol last night. In case you missed it, it wasn't just auditions, there were also interviews with the candidates prior to their audition. Man, I hope most of the interviews were rehearsed, or the candidates were actually paid actors or something, because most of them were terrible and had absolutely no business trying out for Idol.

I can carry a tune, and I have a good singing voice, but I would not try out for American Idol because I'm too old for starters, and I'm also not good looking enough. That doesn't mean an American Idol has to be young and gorgeous, but they at least have to be easy on the eyes. And let's face it, if you think of "American Idols" the names that probably come to mind are Justin, Britney, Christina, etc. The most popular main-stream artists of today are almost all good looking (to some degree). Unattractive people who cannot carry a tune and do not have good singing voices should not be trying out for American Idol.

One guy tried to sing Unchained Melody. I can't even sing Unchained Melody. You've got wicked high notes in there, but in his pre-audition interview this guy bragged about being able to hit the high notes that nobody else could. First of all he started off high, and the song only gets higher as it goes on, but this guy didn't get any higher he just got more painful to listen to.

Another guy was actually able to carry a tune and he hit almost all the right notes (I forget what song he sang), but he had a terrible voice. He was still easier to listen to than Mr. Unchained Melody because at least he could sing.

But don't these people have friends. Why didn't someone tell them "American Idol? Dude! Don't do it!"

Something else I hope was staged (edited in ipso facto) were the reactions of Simon, Paula and Randy during these awful auditions. Smirking, giggling, laughing. Very unprofessional. But then if the Simon just stopped the audition and said, "Thanks, but no thanks" that wouldn't make for good TV, would it. Far better is to show someone simply butchering a song then show the panel covering their mouths with their hands as they try not to crack up at how dreadful the person is.

I think I just empathize with the applicants too much, even as I suffer from their horrible singing. Nobody deserves to be made fun of...except for Mr. Unchained Melody, who not only seemed to think he had what it takes to be the next American Idol but was extremely arrogant about it. Dude, you can't sing. Next!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mogs, this one's for you

Why does One plus One equal Two? The answer is not because it does, but because we're told it does.

One is merely the name we've assigned to a single unit, and two is the name we've given to a single unit and another single unit. It could have just as easily been the other way around, like so:
O is two
O O is one
O + O = O O
=> two + two = one

And it would be correct because that's the way it is. One and Two could have been assigned the other way around. One only means one because that's what we're told it means. I bet you had a hard time looking at and reading that example. I know I did, because it flies in the face of everything we believe to be true, but the only reason we believe it to be true is because we've been told, almost since birth, that it is true.

Centuries ago people believed the earth was flat. It was an indisputable fact. The earth is flat. Everyone believed it was so because everyone else said it was, so it must be true...and then it wasn't.

The sky is not blue. The sky is the color that we have been told since birth is blue. I'm guilty of this myself. My daughter holds up a blue spoon. If she says it's blue, I say yes, good job. If she says it's another color, I correct her, but all I'm doing is reinforcing what I was taught when I was younger, and what I now believe to be true.

What if apples were blue? I don't mean blue like the sky, I mean what if the name for the color of an apple was blue. And the name for the color of the sky was red. Not just when the sun is setting, but imagine looking at the sky and saying, the sky is such a beautiful shade of red today.

Somewhere along the way someone decided that the word to describe the color of an apple would be red, and the word to describe the color of the sky would be blue. That's not the names of the colors, those are just the names "someone" chose to give them and everyone else just followed along, like sheep, which are only white because that's the name we've assigned to that particular shade ;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A problem? Moi?

Hee hee ;)

If you think I've got a problem that I felt compelled to install WoW on my son's PC (I didn't kick him off, he was at the grandparents' house all weekend) because my PC wouldn't work, then I wonder how you feel when I say it's currently 12:20am and I just got back from Gamestop where I picked up the WoW Expansion Pack. Yes, at midnight I joined approx. 30 other people at my local computer games store, in the freezing cold (and temperatures have indeed been below freezing here at night), just to get an expansion pack for my favorite game :D

And yes, I'm installing said expansion pack as I write this :D

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wow! (pun intended, read on ;)

For the second time in two days I find myself installing the World of Warcraft from scratch, including the downloading of several patches, some of which are close to 500Mb in size.

With the Burning Crusades expansion coming out tomorrow night (technically Tuesday morning at 1 minute past midnight ;) I was seriously attempting to upgrade my computer. At the very least I needed substantially more hard drive space as the 7Gig free on my 40Gig hard drive just wasn't going to cut it.

Remember a few months back when I tried to dual drive my system and it refused to boot back up for me until I'd left it alone to sulk? Well, neither I nor it learned our lessons. I decided to go the route of an external hard drive, like those cute little flash drives you can buy, but this external hard drive is a little bigger. About the size of two 1"-thick sandwiches laid side-by-side. But when I got the external hard drive home I discovered I'd bought a Firewire only version, and my PC does not have any Firewire sockets, so I ordered a PCI-Firewire card from which arrived Friday night.

Saturday morning I got up, cracked open my PC and installed the PCI-Firewire card, then booted back up. The lights came on, drives whirred, keyboard lights came on, but on my 19" LCD screen there was nothing. I turned it on and off and the LCD said "I got nothin'!" actually it said "No Signal" but that's essentially the same thing.

Several times I tried rebooting, both with and without the Firewire card, all to no avail. Then I decided to try my old ATI Radeon 9600XT video card, on the off chance it was my new NVidia 6200, and my system booted up. Of course it did so after I'd removed the Firewire card. So I powered down, reinstalled the Firewire card, booted back up and...nothing. What the F**K?!?! Seriously. What the F**K?!?!

I reinstalled my old video card, and still had nothing.

I pretty much spent all day (except for a few errands Liz and I ran) trying to get my computer working (again) with a larger hard drive, and now I not only didn't have a larger hard drive, I didn't even have a computer, period.

I finally gave up and played a bit of Super Mario on JE's DS and decided to unlock World 7 for him, which involved going into World 4, which is when I discovered he'd bypassed World 4 and gone straight from World 3 to 5, so I had to do several levels of World 4 and in fact ended up completing it, World 4, that is; I'm up to the final castle (I think) in World 8, but haven't been able to get passed Bowser to drop him into the fiery pits of hell and save Princess Peach (hey, Peachy-baby? Heard of women's lib? Heard of equal rights? Heard of empowerment? Do you like being a permanent victim? Geez, woman. How about next time Bowser (or Baby Bowser) comes to kidnap you, you punch him in the nose like we've seen you do in Super Smash Bros. Melee! Er...sorry, got carried away there).

Then I decided that seeing as my old ATI video card was working, and JE's PC had an AGP slot, I'd give JE a new video card, which I did, and his computer booted up just fine & dandy. (Why his, Lord? Why not mine?). Then I figured that seeing as his computer now had a turbo-charged video card in it, I might as well install World of Warcraft, which I did. Then I had to download the patches. Five of them, I think. Totalling close to 2Gig in size by the time they'd all downloaded, with installations taking 10 minutes (or longer) between each download. From the time I inserted the first disk to the time I was finally able to log into WoW and not need to download a new patch I think it was 3 hours, maybe even 4.

I was able to play WoW on JE's PC, but it was nothing like WoW on mine. I still ended up PvPing in the Battlegrounds and earned 2/3 of the Honor Marks I need for my Tiger Mount. I play a Dwarven Hunter in WoW but I love Tigers. Unfortunately it's the lanky, pansy Night Elves who get to ride Tigers; Dwarves have Battle Rams for their Racial Mount. I have a Battle Ram, and I like him, but anyone who knows me knows I love Tigers, so I simply must have a Tiger mount for my Dwarf as well. PvP was interesting, to say the least. While JE's PC will run WoW, it's not an optimal machine for such an activity. Several times I logged into the Warsong Gulch battleground, and before my own character had loaded and I could see what was going on, I was dead. Other times I'd get in just fine, and then I'd mooch around on the roof of the Alliance Base. I pretended I was on defense, and I sort of was, but I wasn't being very good at it. I still managed to take out a few of the Horde players, earning my Dwarf a few Honorable Kills (for shooting someone in the back from a ledge high up above them where they couldn't see me unless they were looking up there ;)

Liz laughed that I wasn't able to take an evening off from playing WoW, but of course she was there on her PC playing her Age of Empires III ;) To me WoW is not just a game; like most MMORPGs it's a social experience. I've made a lot of online friends playing WoW so often I log in not just to play the game, but to chat with people. One of my oldest friends in WoW got his account hacked several months ago and lost a lot of the items he'd acquired over the last year or so. He pretty much quit playing while Blizzard looked into replacing his items, but his case was not successful, and he's only logged in once or twice in the last 5 to 6 months. I was amazed at how much I missed him, especially when he logged in last week and I was able to chat briefly with him. He logged out shortly afterwards though. Having his items sold (stolen & the gold sent to the thieves account) but never restored has greatly reduced his enjoyment of the game, and he couldn't stand to be logged on, staring at his naked character. I can't really blame him. I know of a few people that this has happened to, and the word they've used to describe logging in and finding their characters naked and their items sold is Violated. As ridiculous as that might sound, you invest a lot of time in your online character, so it really would be greatly disturbing to log in one day and find that someone else has been on your character, sold all of the gear that you've spent months, if not years acquiring, then sent themselves the gold they got from selling your gear (which would actually go to a temporary account before being sent on to a real account with the temp account then being deleted, yes, virtual money laundering).

So, all of that, to say that this morning Liz and I went to Fry's to check out new computers for me. The computer we were interested in was not available, we were there barely 30 mins after the store opened and they claimed to have sold out of that particular model. I think it was a classic (illegal) bait & switch, but as the PC I ended up getting was considerably better than the PC I was interested in, I'm not unhappy that I couldn't buy my initial choice.

I decided not to install my old hard drive in the new PC, not even to make it a dual drive, which means I pretty much have nothing on this computer. I had to download Firefox and reinstall WoW, again, as I said, for the second time in two days. This time I went to a third party site where the patches downloaded considerably faster, so I've now installed and full updated WoW in approx. 2 hours.

After visiting Fry's we went on to Burlington Coat Factory where Liz was shopping for my mum. Actually she was shopping for the flower girls for my mum's wedding later this year. We ended up tootling around most of the day, visited a second Burlington's :P then on to Marshall's, which is next door to Trader Joe's which is where I get my Weetabix breakfast cereal. We even stopped at Daphne's, which makes pretty good Greek fast food that is almost as good as what you'd get in a real Greek restaurant.

Today has been a funny day. It started out bloody cold. When I logged in to Liz's PC around 8:30am it was a few degrees above freezing. The day ended up getting so warm that we discarded the coats and sweaters we'd needed when we set out on our travels, but now, at 7:20pm, it's once again a few degrees above freezing. My new PC is no help. The old PC used to be a toasty, warm little box and despite being on the northern side of our house our Family Room was still often one of the warmest, but now it's bloody COLD!

Liz just had the awesome idea of sending out for spicy Malaysian food. Unfortunately that means she's sending me out, into the cold, to get the food. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Public Service Announcement

This is my cousin, Toni. Other than her father (my dad's youngest brother) she is my only blood relative here in the States.

On Saturday March 17th, 2007 (St. Patrick's Day) Toni will be getting her head shaved in an effort to raise money for St. Baldrick's, which helps kids with cancer. I don't know if she's going to go the full Sinead O'Connor or just the Natalie Portman buzz-cut look. I know I have a lot of readers out there that just read my blog but never (or rarely) leave comments, so I figure this will reach a good number of people. Maybe some of you will go to Toni's page and donate some money...maybe if you live in the Cleveland, OH area it might even inspire you to do the same as Toni ;)

I'm impressed that my little cousin is willing to do this, but then she's a Pattison and we (foolishly) never back down from a challenge, so I'm sure it took nothing more than someone telling her she wouldn't dare get her head shaved, not even for charity ;)

It was unprofessional

but understandable, and totally appreciated.

There were about 6 of us waiting in line for the bus at the Bus Station this morning. Also waiting for the bus, but thankfully not in line, was the odiferous Mr. Flip-Flops. Have I mentioned him before? He's what drove me from my usual seat, 2nd on the right, to a little further down the back of the bus, by the mere act of taking the seat (both of them) immediately in front of me.

I've named him Mr. Flip-Flops because I don't want to be as offensive as he is because he always wears Flip Flops (or thongs, as Aussies call them). Although white, Mr. Flip-Flops feet are almost black. We can see this because, as I said, he always wears Flip Flops. Every day. Without fail. Thankfully Mr. Flip-Flops always sits on a bench a short way from the line waiting for the bus, because in case I didn't mention it, to put it bluntly, Mr. Flip-Flops stinks. He stinks like someone who hasn't had a bath or shower this century, but I've seen people in downtown Los Angles who clearly haven't had baths this century, and Mr. Flip-Flops doesn't look like them. His feet do, but he doesn't, so perhaps he has a "condition" that makes him smell that bad.

A week or two ago Mr. Flip-Flops boarded our bus and sat down in what had become his usual seat, but by now I'd claimed a new, usual seat so I didn't care, until the bus driver started calling out, and gesturing back towards us. Then I realized she was gesturing at me. Me? I showed you my bus pass. It's good. I know it is because I just bought it a few days ago.

I went up to see what she wanted. She wanted me to open the window immediately behind her. The window between her and Mr. Flip-Flops. I understood immediately. Did I post about this already? I seem to remember writing this before. Maybe I just told my coworkers or Liz about it.

So today the bus pulled up and the same lady was driving, and the six of us in line boarded the bus. Quite quickly, I might add. I love commuters who, like me, buy a monthly Bus Pass. It makes boarding the bus so much faster. If you're a regular commuter it just doesn't make sense not to buy a pass. I understand that it's expensive, I pay $82 for my Pass, but I ride the bus every day. If you ride the same bus as me every day your trip will cost you either $3 each way, or $5 (return trip) if you buy a Day Pass. I don't even get why people don't buy a Day Pass. It's $3 to ride the bus one day. It's $3 for a Day Pass but you have to pay another $1 because my bus is an Express and takes the Freeway. At the end of the day you board the bus, show the driver your Day Pass and give him another dollar. You just saved $1. Do that over the month with an average of 22 working days and you save yourself $22 (huh. 22 x $1 = $22. Go figure ;) But, 22 x $5 is $110. How much did I say my Monthly Pass was? That's right. $82. That's another $30 saving, or $50 saving compared to paying your fare each way, every day. Over the course of one year that's $600. How would you like to receive $600 every year? That'd be great, wouldn't it, and yet people still pay the regular fare each way, every day, because they can't afford to spend $82 on a Monthly Pass. Of course they can't afford an $82 pass; they have absolutely no grasp of economics. It just boggles my mind that these people (not wanting to stereotype, but they appear to be lower class, minimum wage earners) throw away $600 every year when they could probably really use that money.

So everyone this morning had Bus Passes which meant we all just showed our Pass to the driver and we were on the Bus, and before I'd taken a couple of steps the driver had the door closed and was pulling away from the Station, rather quickly I might add.

The reason for our hasty departure was obvious. The driver did not want Mr. Flip-Flops riding her bus. And we could hardly blame her. The reason she was able to get away without Mr. Flip-Flops is that instead of waiting in line for the bus with the rest of the passengers (and thank God he doesn't...although he might start to, now. Crud!), Mr. Flip-Flops sits down and does a crossword or some other puzzle. So when the bus pulled up this morning he had to put away his puzzle book and gather his belongings (which this morning included a bag of white plastic shopping bags. He had a plastic shopping bag stuffed full to overflowing with plastic shopping bags), and before he could do this, all 6 of us who were waiting in line had boarded and the driver wasted no time in getting the hell out of Dodge. I think she did this yesterday, too. I didn't see Mr. Flip-Flops but she was certainly quick to pull away from the Station as if he was coming.

Very unprofessional, to leave a passenger at the Station when you have nowhere near a full bus, but given the odor of the passenger left behind it was a perfectly understandable action, and very much appreciated by the rest of the passengers.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Every now and then as I come into work, I look at the city skyline and I think to my self "What am I doing here?"

I'm not really questioning whether or not I should be where I am in my life, it's more that reality is intruding for a minute (hate it when that happens) forcing me to reflect on where I've come from and where I am now.

I come from a place 37 years ago and 10,000 miles away (although I really only came here to the U.S. in 97-98). It was a small country town in rural Victoria, Australia, with a population of 15,000 people, where everyone may not know your name but they know who your parents or grandparents are, and a lot of people know a lot of other people's business, which is just the way it is with small(ish) country towns. I used to live in a country with a population of approx. 20,000,000 people, and now I live in a megatropolis with a population the same as my home country.

So every now and then I actually notice the towering buildings surrounding me, and I stop for a second as my mind catches up on the past 37 years and contemplates the journey I took from there to here.