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Every day I die a little bit more inside. At least two of my coworkers answer the random emails/invites they get on myspace (they're guys, of course) because the messages come with pictures of cute girls. I weep for the future.
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It's just about 11:30pm here. I worked 8am to 8:30pm, then we went to the bar/restaurant across the street. It was pretty nice, though I spent way too much money (everything is more expensive here, except the alcohol). There was supposed to be a band, but they didn't go on until after 11pm, and I was too tired and tipsy by then to want to stay, especially since I have to be at work at 8am (which means getting up at 6:30am). Unfortunately, I have no way to get home until 12am, and there's no way I'm going to try and walk a couple of miles after drinking. I guess I could hitchhike, but that still seems a little too risky to me. So instead I'm back in my office, playing around online until I can catch the bus.
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I had to stay late running credit cards for the train sales. So it will be another 40 minutes until the bus comes to take me home. Alas. To make up for it, I'm "working" those extra minutes by updating my journal and checking my email. Luckily, the security on these PCs is crap. IE hits a proxy server that blocks most of the internet, but I was able to install Mozilla and it connects to everything without a hitch. I'm trying not to abuse it too much though, because I don't want to lose this wonderful benefit to working in this sweltering office.
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I am called "Debbie Downer" at work. I should be offended, but I take pride in my pessimism!
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How smart are you?

How much are you worth?

I also tried the Genius Test, but I could only get 28/40. Very frustrating. This is how far I got.
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We had fortune cookies for lunch today. My fortune is:

You will be transforming a situation in your life now with a positive attitude...in bed.
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Step 1: Leave work 30 minutes early
Step 2: Spend an hour on the phone helping people after you get home
Step 3: Profit

(yes, I do get to go back and adjust my time card for the hour I spent on the phone helping with the cash issues)
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Well, I'm still here. I ended up getting a nasty headcold, so I spent my first day off laying in bed (except for when I had to run to the 7-11 for more tissues and dayquil). The work isn't too bad, for the most part. I enjoy trying to figure out just what the fuck has gone wrong, but it's nice when it all works out in the end. When it doesn't work out I feel pretty shitty though. I actually have my own office here (with my own key!), but sadly I have to share it with the receptionist. On the one hand, it does mean I'm not interrupted constantly by people calling to book tours, but on the other hand I have to listen to her talking to her family (and sometimes booking tours) while I try to work. My office also lacks any kind of air conditioning or windows, so it gets pretty toasty in there.

I think the best part of my job is the freedom I have now. If I run down to the main lobby to check on something, and I get tied up for another 15 minutes, no one seems to notice or care. Not that I'm totally slacking off or anything, but it's nice to be able to take the long way and admire the mountains instead of running all the time (I still run though, particularly if I'm bringing something down to the desk for a customer).

The worst part of the job is that I have even less of a life than I did at Food Lion. My day is pretty much:

Get up at 6am.
Shower, shave, eat.
Get on the bus at 7:30am.
Start work at 7:50am.
If I'm lucky, catch the 6pm bus home.
If I'm unlucky, or I have to work late, I can only catch the bus once an hour.
Get home and (if it's before 8pm) get dinner.
Sit in the rec room from 8pm to 11pm so I can use the internet.
Go to bed.

On Mondays and Saturdays I work 10am to 8pm so I can run the train sales. The train is supposed to get in at 6pm, but has been late every day so far. That puts me getting home at 9pm or later.
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Today was my first day of real work. Well, not really. My computer isn't set up, and I didn't have anything to balance, but I did read through the manuals the last auditor left behind. I also introduced myself to the Cashier, the Head Accounting Clerk, and the Controller since I have to interact with them on a daily basis when I do my deposits. I spent the rest of my day helping Katie make welcome envelopes for the guests. That's no small chore, but we had plenty of help today since we weren't completely swamped with customers.

Tomorrow will be my first day of actual auditing (and training). I'm kind of looking forward to it, because I've already noticed a number of mistakes in the first batch of sales from today. There's nothing quite like fixing someone else's mistakes to make you feel good (until you've done it a few hundred times, and just curse the general stupidity of humanity)
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Let's see, where do I begin? Currently it is Monday, and my next day of work is Wednesday. It is also the first day that customers will be in the lodge, and everything will (finally) be open. I still have not been trained on how to do any auditing, in fact that auditor won't be in until Thursday to show me what to do. I guess I'm going to be setting up my office on Wednesday, and helping Katie make welcome packets for Thursday's guests.

I did get rid of my roomate problem, after a few missteps. The first time I got reassigned I was put into a room that was already full, but the second time I got a room to myself. I currently live in fear of coming home to find a roommate has moved in, but I'm crossing my fingers that the HR woman will remember that I had to ask her twice to move me, and will leave me in peace. Either way, it's nice to be back in a bed again, instead of sleeping in the laundry room.

I'm still trying to get a feel for my coworkers. Some of them are not going to make it, if I'm any judge. One in particular is only here to play around, and I'm honestly afraid he's going to get someone hurt (he wants to be the guy who directs the buses on where to park) due to his inattention. Luckily he's already screwed a few things up, so I'm hoping he'll be gone shortly.

Another guy has already told me he's going to quit, and to be honest I hope he does it soon. I get this really creepy vibe from him, and he's more than happy to tell you about how fucked up he is in his head. I'm torn between feeling bad for him, and fearing that he'll snap and kill us all in our sleep.

Last weekend we had to go on a mandatory orientation trip (the pictures from it are in my last update). We left from Healy on Friday at 7:00am, and then drove up to the McKinley lodge on the motorcoach (it's pretty much a tourbus). Then from McKinley we went to Anchorage and then on to Whittier, where all the Princess ships dock when they come to Alaska. After touring the port we got back on the coach and returned to McKinley around 8:30pm.

Saturday we left McKinley at 8:30am and proceeded up to the train depot, where we boarded the Denali Express train. We rode the train all the way down to Fairbanks, which took a good 8 hours or so (though I must say that the steak I got from the dining room was the best steak I've ever had). We finally got to the Fairbanks hotel around 8:30pm, making for another very long day.

Sunday we rode the coach back to Healy, which took us from 8:30am to 2pm. I didn't get alot of pictures on that ride, since I was so tired that I slept most of the way back.

Overall thinks are fairly decent. I usually manage to get at least one decent meal a day from the dining room, and I don't want to defenestrate MOST of my coworkers. The real test will be this week and next week, as we finally have to deal with the customers (and I have to deal with my coworkers mistakes).
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I'm tired, but I figured I'd go ahead and post the pictures and movies I've made so far.

Movies

Pictures
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The ride to Denali took damn near forever. It was about 7 hours stuck on a tourbus with a driver who would not shut the hell up. I was in the very back of the bus, next to a guy named Charles who happened to be one of the main cooks at the employee housing area. He's done 5 seasons here, so he had quite a few tips to share with me and the couple in front of us. By the end of the drive the four of us were known as the Peanut Gallery, as we were constantly mocking the lame "tour" our driver was giving, and picking on some of our coworkers (we currently have a bet to see which ones will get fired after the first pay period).

The lodge itself is beautiful, but the employee housing was not quite as advertised. Many of us were lead to believe that the rooms had attached bathrooms, when in reality most rooms did not. The communal shower for my hall (38 rooms, 1-2 people per room) only has 4 shower stalls, 4 sinks, and 2 toilets. The public restroom on my floor is Out of Order, with no ETA as to when it will be fixed. This is fairly bad, since all the guys have to have neatly groomed facial hair (unless they're in food service, where they have to be clean shaven). Also, the "wifi" appears to only work in the rec room, and not in the bedrooms. I heard a rumor that this was being worked on, but we'll see.

My roomate is a gentleman by the name of Howard. He appears to be in his late 40s/early 50s, and he is morbidly obese (he's easily 350 lbs). My current priority is to get him moved to another room. He drank a fifth of gin from 9pm to 11pm, then promptly passed out on his bed and began snoring. I could deal with normal snoring, but his snores were extremely loud and obnoxious, not to mention the groaning, wheezing, and grunting. The only time he stopped snoring was when he stopped breathing altogether, and at times I wondered if he had finally choked to death in his sleep.

Needless to say, I only managed about an hour's worth of rest (I wouldn't call it sleep), and at 4am I said fuck it and got ready for work. From 4-5 I hung out in the rec room, using their computers to check up on a few things to kill time. At 5am I ran into another insomniac, and we hung out until we left for work at 7:30am.

Work itself was pretty boring. We started with the usual "go in a circle and say something about yourself" BS, then moved on to a half-assed customer service video in a building with no fucking heat. After that we had some generic hot pockets and soup for lunch, and then we had some job-specific training (except for me).

Here's the deal. I'm not an auditor in the transportation department, as I originally thought. Rather, I am THE auditor for the transportation department. I unlike the other Outfitters, I have my own office in a completely seperate building from the Front Desk. So before I get my specific training, I have to run through a lot of the general Outfitter training so that I can figure out how they've screwed up the books.

This reminds me very much of my last job, in fact. I'm not one of the supervisors, but I'm not one of the peons either. I'm pretty glad to not be in charge of anyone's work but my own, though I do have one supervisor across the hall from me who said I could help her with her work if I had spare time. I probably will, since 1)Princess seems to have no problems paying lots of overtime and 2)It makes it look better if I decide to come back next year. Plus I receive bonus pay (something like .30-.50/hr) at the end of the season, assuming I do a good job.

Despite the fact that I'm not working with the rest of the Outfitters, I still get all the benefits of being one. As a first year outfitter I have priority for any tours offered to the employees. Theoretically this is so that the outfitters, who are responsible for booking the various tours that go out from the lodge, will be knowledable and willing/able to push these (often pricey) trips on people. I've signed up for the first trip they've offered, which goes out tomorrow. I'm tired, and I really don't want to go, but I want to look like I'm a team player. One guy did refuse to go on this "strongly encouraged" outing, and I suspect that he's not going to make it through his contract.

Right now I'm exhausted, and starving. The line for dinner was humongous, so I'm sitting in the rec room on my laptop, catching up on my emails. Normally it wouldn't be this bad, since everyone wouldn't be in the homestead at the same time (the lodge has to be staffed in various ways 24/7), but right now we're all here since there's little point in staffing an empty hotel (except for the select few people who are there getting it ready for opening next week).
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I originally wrote this in an email to my mother on 5-5 while I was waiting for the bus to Denali from the airport:

Computer: There were problems with the old harddrive from my old PC, and because I relied on Nate to get it working it wasn't ready to go with me, and there wasn't time to buy a new one. So almost all of my computer stuff (music, games, etc) are sitting at home with Nate. Theoretically he will get it fixed/replaced and send it with his Dad, who comes up next week. At this point I'm not holding my breath.

Packing: There was just no way to fit everything into one suitcase and a carryon, so I had to bring another duffel bag with me. I still didn't manage to bring everything with me (I know I forgot my bathrobe) though. Also, the restrictions on liquid items meant that I had to leave my bodywash behind, since I neglected to buy a smaller bottle (I already had 2 at home), so I'll need to pick that up when we stop at the store.

Airport (RDU): Laurel dropped me off, and one of the nice airline ladies pointed me to the right machine to check in with. The ticket lady actually recognized me, as she used to be a regular shopper at Food Lion. She was able to switch my seat on the second flight to a window seat, which was nice. I didn't have any problems going through security, and they didn't even check some of the things Laurel told me they would (I didn't have to turn my laptop on, for instance). I didn't spend a lot of time here, since we boarded the plane around 1:20pm or so.

Flight 1: The flight to Dallas was pretty uneventful. It took about 2.5 hours. It was pretty freaky looking out and seeing the ground from that high up. It was also pretty amazing that in an hour we had made a trip (to Memphis, TN) that I had only made before in 13 hours (on the greyhound). I have found that I am very sensitive to the movements of the plane. I couldn't tell if it was bothering anyone else, but I could definitely feel it every time he tipped the wings, or went higher/lower. It kind of gave me that light headed feeling I get whenever I go on one of the rides at the fair. There wasn't a whole lot to see on the way there, unless you like looking at clouds.

Airport (Dallas): This airport is freaking huge. I heard it was bigger than Manhattan. I had quite a trek from the arrival terminal to the departure terminal, though at least my gate was in walking distance (some of the other gates were only accessible by skyway, which would have been neat to ride). I spent a little over an hour here, waiting for the next flight. Which was fine, since it gave me time to eat and use the restroom (if you think the airport prices are inflated, you should see what they charge on the flight itself. $3 for a $1.19 thing of chips, yikes).

Flight 2: This was a looooong flight, almost 7 hours in fact. It actually had in-flight movies, but my headphones were in my checked luggage and I wasn't going to pay for their crappy headphones (they were the cheap earbuds you get free with any headphone/cd player you purchase these days). I did my best to sleep on both flights, but it was hard to get comfortable and the best I could manage was to doze. I generally alternated between reading and dozing, though I did look out the window from time to time. The best part (view-wise) was wen we crossed over Canada into Alaska. Some of the mountains were beautiful, with the way the sun was shining off the snow covered peaks. The really stunning ones were the ones we passed in Alaska itself, as we were descending at that point and you could see how huge they were.

Airport (Anchorage): I didn't see much of this airport, since I was in a hurry to go and get my baggage. Everything showed up fine, except for my duffel bag. The shoulder strap was apparently lost during transit, so I've had to improvise with my carrying (I've strapped the large bag to the carryon, and am wheeling both of them around together at least until that strap gives).

Hotel: You get what you pay for, and this hotel wasn't anything special. The room had an odd smell, and there was no way to turn on the a/c that I could find. Still, it had a bed, a shower, and free internet (I wish it had had breakfast), so it sufficed.

Oversights: Food. I really messed up on this one. I ate before I left, and I had a light meal at Dallas, but I wasn't able to get anything in Anchorage, and once you get to baggage claim there's no way to go back to the restaurants. I would have eaten more in Dallas, but I didn't want to fly on a full stomach in case I got any queasier. The best I could manage was some junk food from the hotel vending machine. I think we'll stop for a snack on the 6 hour ride to Denali, but other than that I'll be using breath strips to keep the edge off (I find that for a while after eating one I lose the desire to go and eat anything). I didn't bring any food with me, because I didn't realize I would be getting here too late to eat. (I did eventually find a coffee shop that had some bagels, so I didn't starve)
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The people in the room next to me are having some very boisterous intercourse right now. I'd tell them to go get a room, but since I'm staying in a hotel...
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Well, I'm in Anchorage now. Tomorrow I go back to the airport for the 6 hour drive to Denali. The flight was ok, though I seemed to be overly sensitive to the way the plane moved. I swear, every time he rolled it I got a little dizzy. The scenery on the way to my stopover in Dallas wasn't very exciting, but the mountains on the way in to Alaska were gorgeous. I wish I could have gotten some pictures.

On a slightly weird note, the lady at the ticket counter recognized me from when I worked at Food Lion. It's a small world, all right. Tomorrow I'll get to see just how many of the kids on my flight are also here to work (I overheard a number of them talking about it).

Also, it's very strange to see 2:30am on my laptop's clock, while the room clock says 10:30pm.
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I'm leaving for the airport in the next 30 minutes or so. Cross your fingers that the wings don't fall off.
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I (finally) got a job, working for Princess Cruiselines. I'll be doing auditing for their transportation department in Denali, Alaska from May 6th until September 18th. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited, but I'm really not. There is too much stuff for me to be nervous about for me to really get excited about anything.

Love Me Hate Me
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Are my memories real? Or are they just inventions, fragments of dreams that survived into the waking world? How much of what I 'remember' actually happened? How can I even tell the difference?
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