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7:05 a.m. - 2002-01-30

A WHIRLWIND OF EXCITEMENT FROM EUGENE, OREGON

Sorry for not "officially" updating yesterday. I DID update, but at one point while writing, I foolishly decided to close some of the windows that were up on my computer. And this laptop is so sensitive that while closing the windows, I accidently closed the one I was working on, losing everything.

At first I cried.

And cried.

And cried.

Then I realized "How stupid is this? I'm a grown man, crying because I accidently shut my diary down."

So I stopped crying.

Then I got angry with myself.

So I slapped myself around a while.

Beat myself up pretty bad.

Got a pretty good shiner out of the deal.

That's hard to explain to people when you interview them...how you got a black eye. When you say "I was punching myself silly" they tend to look at you funny.

Anyway...


The last two days have actually been good days. I've over my whole "homesick" feeling and have gotten into the joy that is Eugene, Oregon.

I've done six interviews, the most interesting being at that winery I told you guys about.

I did NOT take advantage of their guest house while there. It looked pretty nice and from what the guy told me, their chefs prepare a nice meal (usually salmon, which I've never eaten), but they don't cook it. And the guesthouse has a fully equipped kitchen, so you're supposed to cook it yourself. Since I've never cooked or eaten salmon in my life, it's probably good I didn't stay there. I'm guessing raw salmon can make a guy pretty sick.

But it was a beautiful place.

Don't believe me?

Here's some pics then...

This is the actual winery. It's a multi-million dollar castle and every penny put into it is evident.

This is where the "reserved" wine is stored in special wooden barrels imported from France to give the wine a woodsy taste to it. I tried some of this stuff. It was pretty (hiccup) good.

If you look out the front doors of the place, this is what you'd see. Mountains, mountains, everywhere. Mountains of sticky pubic hair. Sorry...conjured up a little ribald poetry for ya.

So by the time we got to the tasting room, I was ready for some of this wine that the director of marketing kept babbling about.

So we had a glass.

Then another.

Then...oh what the hell...let's try some of the reserve stuff.

You want another glass of the reserve stuff? Hey, dude, if you're pouring, I'm drinking.

Five glasses of wine later, and I'll admit, I was a bit lightheaded. The sad part is, these people drink wine all day there. It's like how us normal people have water on their desks, sipping all day.

And I haven't drank in two years, except for the beer I had at the Charlotte airport this past Saturday.

So yeah...hello Dr. Giddiness. I'm here for my appointment.

We finished drinking and he asked if I wanted any souvenirs to take back with me.

Well, duh.

I pointed out various things I wanted and he loaded me up.

I'd go into detail on what I got, but the majority of it is going to a certain evil boss I have back home that reads this stuff and I don't wanna spoil the surprise. Which isn't really a surprise because she was all like "GET ME A BOTTLE OF WINE!!!" and I was all like "I'LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO!!!"

Anyway, that was my winery experience in a nutshell.


Other interviews I had were kinda on the boring side. I went to the company that invented grocery store scanners. Those little things that read the bar codes on all your groceries? They invented those. It's a pretty sad company when people are all jazzed about grocery store scanners. I tried to get just as pumped up as they were about them, but it was a hopeless cause. It was obvious that I was only there for an interview, not to get all willy nilly about scanners. I feel like I let these nerds down.

I interviewed a plumbing company. That was as exciting as you'd think it woulda been.

I went to this janitorial (excuse me...custodial) place, thinking this was going to be one bad interview. Instead, the owners of the place were former motivational speakers. I have to say, I kinda got into their whole spiel. I asked one question and I swear to God, they talked for 45 minutes. Finally, there was a brief lull in their speech (catching their breath, I think) and I said "Okay...second question" really sarcastically, and I think they got the point that when I said I wanted them to speak "in depth" I didn't mean "Now...bore the shit out of me with your old school ways of dealing with people".

Still, it was kinda enlightening. While listening to them, I invented a drinking game in my head. Every time one of them used the word "paradigm", I would drink. Every time the other mentioned that he went to school in Japan, I chugged. Every time either of them said they were the best custodial service in the area, I would do a shooter.

I was mentally wasted when I left there.

I also went to the company that invented some machine that cuts wood precisely. It was kinda like the scanner place...it revolutionized the industry, but I just couldn't get as hyped up about the product as they were.

At one point, I think I gave them a fake "Wow!" just to keep them happy.


Eating?

Let's see...I went to this Red Robin place that serves burgers and stuff. Apparently it's a chain out west.

They have a burger that they put a fried egg on.

I thought I was going to puke. They may as well have a shit burger, where they bring the burger to your table, the waiter hops up on your table, yanks his pants down and craps a good one on your burger.

Who the hell puts eggs on burgers?

Red Robin, dude.

Also tried Track Time Pizza which is a Eugene tradition or something.

My God...that thing filled me up big time. I was so full, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch yesterday.

Went to River Ranch steakhouse last night. Very nice place, damned near romantic with soft candlelight illuminating each table.

And me, sitting by myself while other couples cooed and cuddled.

I almost felt compelled to yank it right there, to get in the whole romantic spirit. I didn't. But man...I almost did.

Okay...not really.

I've been mall walking both days in two different malls. Apparently mall walking is a sport here for the old folks. They mean serious business when they're walking and will trample your slow ass if you get in their elderly way.

I learned this the hard way as a grandmother sped past me on my stroll Monday saying "ExCUSE me!" really snottily. Like I was taking up the entire sidewalk.

I tried to keep up with her, but I was eating her mall dust the whole way. Plus, I think she thought I was trying to kill her by staying on her heels the whole way.

I bought Andrew a little CD last night that has songs with the name "Andrew" in them. Like "Andrew At The Zoo" and "Andrew Is The Best" and "Pass The Bong Andrew, It's Time To Get Stoned" and "Andrew, It's The IRS And They Sound Pissed". Songs like that.

They had a Target in the mall here. That was strange. Susie loves Target and I wanted to call her and say "You'll never guess where I'm at". But then it would only take about two guesses for her to say "A Target inside a mall?" and I'd have to hang up all flustered.

Went and saw "The Mothman Prophecies" last night. It was genuinely creepy. I was pretty tired watching it and would have rather been sleeping at certain points, but it was worth $4.50 and I give it two thumbs up.

And for those of you who are getting a bit upset that my updates aren't occurring at the normal times (7:30 a.m. EST), keep in mind that I'm two hours behind now. It's 5:45 here and I'm wrapping this baby up. I'm not setting the alarm clock for 4 a.m. to keep you kids happy. I'm an old man and I need my beauty sleep.

Plus...there's really not much here to read anyway, if you wanna call a spade a spade.

Wow...I just realized that 48 hours from now, I'll be heading to the airport for my trip home.

It's flown by here.

Time, that is. Time has flown by.

There's still some things I wanna see and do while I'm here, so I guess I need to do those today.

I have a four hour period between interviews today. So I'm going to the Fifth Street Market or whatever it's called here. There's a big neon 5 over the parking lot. It could be the portal to hell for all I know. So I'm going there.

I've got to find a souvenir for the Mrs. I think I'm just going to get Andy a few books, since he doesn't have a clue where I'm at. Susie said he's taking it well and every now and then kinda looks around for me, but isn't crying for me. Which is good. I don't know if I could have heard that he was crying and saying "Dada". That woulda broken my heart.

Anyway, I'm thinking about getting Suze a box of chocolates made in Oregon. She's not really into collecting anything and I don't have much room to take a lamp back or anything big. So it's looking more and more like a chocolate gift for the lady.

She'll be happy with just my presence.

I hope anyway.

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