Friday, November 24, 2006

Late (and Getting Later)

Weekend Assignment #140: Ever been really late to something really important? Share your adventures in tardiness! Yes, if you've ever slept through a flight, or forgotten a date, or neglected to get something out of the oven in time -- with hilarious results or otherwise -- we want to know.

Extra Credit: Do you wear a watch?

I'm tired. Can I do this later? Seriously. I got up this morning for church, I've been busy all day and all night, and in the last 20 minutes my brain and body have told me in no uncertain terms that they decline to function adequately until I after get some major sleep. Tune in Friday afternoon, though. I'll update this entry to include:

1. The All County Choir Story
2. The Sliding Office Hours Explanation
3. The Universal Parking Garage Story

Maybe once I've slept I'll be able to remember that third one better.

Meanwhile, the extra credit: no, I can't wear a watch. It irritates my wrist. I check the time on my Sprint phone instead - far more often than I actually make calls with it.


Well, I'm late in updating this. Does that count? I meant to do it as soon as I got up this afternoon, but John had on some featurettes and commentaries from a Looney Tunes Golden Collection and I could not walk away. Yes, I know Scalzi specifies being late for something "important," but these things are important to me.

Okay. Let's tackle what I promised last night:

1. The All County Choir Story

When I was in high school, I had a moderately good voice - not professional quality, not anything special, but what I mean is I could carry a tune in a bucket. I tried out for all the select choirs and singing groups at school, including the OK Chorale and Swing Sixteen. I was successful in getting into the least selective of them - yes to OK Chorale, no to Swing Sixteen, yes to the Choraliers, no to something else whose name I've forgotten.

The logical extension of all this was to audition, as had my brother Steve before me, for the All Country and Area All State. I think Steve actually made it to All State, but Area All State was as far as I got. There's a story connected with my one Area All-State performance, but I've told that story at least once. (I've spent the last hour looking for it via Google, but it's hiding from me. Found some other interesting stuff, th0ugh! **Another hour goes by.** Aha! Here it is.)

But this is meant to be the All-County story, not the Area All-State one. Don't worry; it's short, if I ever get to it. One year when I made All-County...wait a sec. I've told this before, too, on my LiveJournal. Copy and Paste (with a quick revision) coming right up.

Somehow I had double-scheduled myself that Saturday. In one part of my brain, I was going to some neighboring municipality for the mandatory All-County rehearsal, without which one isn't allowed to be in the concert itself a week or two later. In another part of my brain, I knew I was supposed to babysit the kids next door. It was early that afternoon before I suddenly realized this was the day of the rehearsal. I felt awful. I called. It was too late to go. No All County for me that year. It wasn't just the disappointment of not getting to be in the concert. It was the fact that I'd messed up, badly.

But I did something similar a year or so later (she said, introducing another anecdote). Gene Roddenberry was coming to Syracuse, and he was going to hold a press conference in which he was going to talk about a new Star Trek series. (This was about 1975. The new series with the old cast didn't happen. The movies happened instead, a few years later.) My mom made arrangements with someone at Syracuse University (where the speaking engagement was to be that night) to get me into the press conference. I got out of school to do it, taped it and I think asked two questions.

Problem was, I had a job at Friendly Ice Cream in Fayetteville, and I'd forgotten to ask for the Thursday night off when Roddenberry would be speaking. I checked the schedule, and sure enough, I was supposed to work that night. Or so I thought. When I showed up for work on Thursday at 6 PM (or 5 PM, whenever it was), I was fired - for failing to show up for work on Wednesday night! Id been so hung up worrying about missing Roddenberry that I'd misread the schedule! So: happy ending. I got to see Roddenberry's appearance that night after all. And I got rid of a job I was really starting to dislike anyway.

There are circumstances in which it's not so bad to be out of sync with time.


2. The Sliding Office Hours Explanation

Generally speaking, few elements of any job are considered more important than the basic requirement of showing up for work. Someone in my company's HR department told me recently that she once was "written up" by a former employer for being five minutes late, due to a phone call about the fact that her father was dying.

I'm glad to say that m department at Unnamed Largish Company is not like that. Even the electronic time sheets we have now are to be rounded to the nearest hour. Yes, we need to work forty hours a week (at least), but nobody seems to care much exactly when those hours are, as long as the bulk of them are during the day on weekdays.

When I got the job in May of 2005, I was a little distressed to hear my hours were to be 8 AM to 5 PM. I was used to a 9 AM to 6 PM schedule at Worldwide Travel, which I had gradually let slide to 9:30 to 6:30 before Mal told me to cut it out. But over the last year and a half, I've done the same thing at ULC. I started coming in later and leaving later, so that now my "normal" schedule is 9 to 6. Everyone knows about it and nobody seems to mind, but I think I've taken it as far as I can reasonably go. Besides, by 9:01 AM the main parking lot is usually full, and I have to park "beyond the berm" (as I call it) in the long row behind the main lot.

3. The Universal Parking Garage Story

I've have trouble sorting out the chronology of this one in my brain, and it's likely that I'm conflating a couple different incidents. But I think this is more or less right:

I made a number of trips to Universal Studios Hollywood between 1990 and 1993 in connection with Quantum Leap, which was in production there at the time. In one of those trips, I drove or lew to L.A. and crashed with my childhood friend Joel, who was kind enough to take me in and hang out with me for a day or two. I was to meet with another fan named Carol, possibly visit the set of Tequila and Bonetti, and go to U.C.L.A. that evening for a Q&A session with Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Donald P. Bellisario, Deborah Pratt and Michael Zinberg. (For those of your who may not know, they were the stars and some of the producers of Quantum Leap, and Zinberg had just directed a key episode.)

Well, I managed to get a ticket for the UCLA thing, and had a fine time on the soundstage where T&B was being shot. I got to see Charles Rocket do the same line of dialogue half a dozen ways in rapid succession, met former wrestler Terry Funk (no relation), and chatted with actor W.K. Stratton and stunt coordinator Diamond Farnsworth. But it was hard to drag myself away, and it was 5 PM or later before we managed to walk out of the building. Then we had to sign out of the lot and find the right parking garage - there were several.

Now here's where the memory gets fuzzy. I don't remember whether John was picking us up at Universal at 5 PM, or whether we were supposed to drive and meet him somewhere. All I know is that we were about 40 minutes late, and John was frantic. By the time we got to UCLA, we'd missed nearly half of the screening of "The Leap Home," Parts One and Two run together. I don't really regret that,only the worry I gaveJohn. He no longer remembers the incident (I just asked), so I guess I can take that of my mental list of past misdeeds to feel guilty about.


Thanksgiving went fine. Here are a few pictures to tide us all over:

The spread

Hereby hangs a tale. Sort of.

More when I'm conscious again.


*****Later Again*****

The significance of that last shot is that each of those bowls contained something that was just for me. The sausage and bread stuffing has a handful or so of trail mix in one area, which was as close as I could get to my Mom's sausage and raisin stuffing of yesteryear without ruining it for John. The yellow stuff is rutabagas, which were always a part of Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid. Here's how they look raw:

I'm glad to say that my Dad also ate rutabagas yesterday. John doesn't like them, though. One of the things the Funk family of Manlius NY liked to do was mix them with the leftover mashed potatoes on Friday night. I can still do that tonight, if John hasn't finished the potatoes. But we're almost out of turkey and cranberry sauce and completely out of stuffing - with and without the trail mix. Drat!

And now I'd better consult with John about dinner. See you later tonight with my Friday night entry.


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