It's post number 600 today, blogged from the confines of 47 S Palm to the world in a tumultous week politically and a brief rest between trips socially. Last night I wrapped up my England trip with some ceremonial journalling, making note of the things done together "over there." With some luck I'll get around to editing some photos for posting tomorrow. I also watched some of the DNC Convention and would like to reiterate that Rev. Al Sharpton is the money-man in this campaign. His views and background make him, sadly, unelectable, but his opinions and voice make him the finest candidate going. He said last night that "the promise of America says we will guarantee quality education for all children and not spend more money on metal detectors than computers in our schools." Amen. His is a voice that needs to be heard more clearly, a voice that needs to be listened to more intently, and set of priorities that needs to be followed more directly.
posted at 12:44 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Home from London late last night, after a day that started in the UK with Jenelle and ended what seemed like a million miles away in Florida by myself. Today was a cruel return to the routine, even if only for a short week before heading out again, but really I wanted to be back in Russell Square bound for a museum or a park or a market or another train ride.
Message keeps getting clearer / radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place
I check my look in the mirror / I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain't getting nowhere / I'm just living in a dump like this
There's something happening somewhere / baby I just know that there is.
~from "Born in the USA," The Boss
London calling! About an hour before I take departures now, with weather looking good (touch wood) and flights operating on time. I find myself understanding now why people took Concorde and why the 777's faster cruise and longer range pay off; if I had the discretionary capitol I'd be travelling BA's direct TPA-LGW service, but instead it's north on Airbus to Detroit, then east aboard everyone's favorite three-headed monster, the DC-10. Bring on the silly center bogey with just two tires...I don't even care, because I am going flying.
posted at 1:24 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Headed for Scott Thomas Salon after work last night to get my last full haircut with Kim, and left feeling much cooler. Then home, where time slows to a crawl in the last few days before a major trip. But, I read some about the Constitution and Bill of Rights and watched some TV and before too terribly long it was bedtime and now there's just one night left before I go. traveling is great but I need to figure out some way to make the week leading up to traveling a tiny bit more normal and a whole lot less anticipatory.
posted at 12:48 PM - comments
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Now it's Tuesday and, just like in the movies, I can hear the tick-tock of the clock virtually every second. Last night, after talking with Jenelle, I busted out to Cold Stone for my "buy 9 get one free" creation: cake batter and sprinkles. I like frigid rock because you can simulate very non-ice creamy things with ice cream. Sweeeeeeetness. At home I made a CD and talked with mom a bit, then a disturbing call about telecommunications. It seems to me that this whole telecom industry needs to run itself through the wringer a few times and smooth out some of the wrinkles. For example, how can a person in the USA know that a landline telephone terminal in the UK will be billed as a mobile phone call due to "masking" by the provider over there? It's ludicrous. I'm incensed and outraged! I'm mortified and stupified!
posted at 12:33 PM - comments
Monday, July 19, 2004
Over the past week I've been full of "this time next week" moments, and the weekend was full of them. It was a continuation in the pattern of predictable weekends, but now the number of them that remains is really down to three. Three is kind of a low number, but I'm feeling much more excited about going than I am sad about staying. Talked to Jenelle on Saturday; she is having fun and having plenty of run-ins with celebrities...apparently there was a near-trampling of Julia Stiles. Fabby. A genius was in charge at skating last night, with half the evening spent skating in "the wrong direction" so that we could use both edges of both blades. It's funny how sore you can get just by spending 50 minutes skating counterclockwise if you are perpetually going clockwise for 120 minutes.
posted at 1:16 PM - comments
Friday, July 16, 2004
Friday. Blogger has updated their text-entry interface, which is cool but also makes me realize the relative simplicity of my site: no cascading style sheets or automatic site feeds or XML or anything, so changing text color seems cool. At work there's drawing revisions to wrap up and lunch from First Watch to digest (this from the "Too Much Information" desk) before heading home to a weekend that I hope flies by. Actually, David Bowie wrote a song about the 16th of July: it's a nice day to do white laundry. posted at 1:06 PM - comments
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Two posts in one day. Why? Random acts of kindness, that's why. I was checking CNN for the latest rundown on things that run down, and caught this story about first-class flyers giving up their front-of-the-plane wide leather 'First Class' seats to soldiers returning from Iraq. You know, we need more of this stuff. I don't fly first class or business class or even preferred coach class, but if I did or had much pull with people who did, this would be my campaign: let's fill the front of our airplanes with soldiers. Everybody wins, yes? First, these men and women deserve it after spending month upon month pulling sand out of God-knows-where, and second, in these post 9/11 times who is better to fill the 4 rows closest to the cockpit than trained, professional soldiers? Someday soon I hope to see giveasoldieryourseat.com, but in the meantime this is a fine grassroots cause.
posted at 3:47 PM - comments
My need for a vacation is growing, it's directly related to the heat index in Sarasota and inversely proportional to the work getting done at MPYD. At least at home things are looking good, as time ticks by and the status quo is maintained. I tried in vain to read more Dave Barry but instead spent a loooong time on the phone talking with Jenelle and then the folks at home, all of whom made me jealous with their tales of balmy weather and fun activities. People accuse me of not getting into the Sarasota scene, and perhaps they are right, but I just fail to see the attraction in many of the attractions here. Where's the college campus, the sports team, the accessible culture? Not here, that's for sure, and even if it were it'd be too darn warm to go and visit anyway.
posted at 12:48 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Far away to the north, under the miles upon miles of Douglas fir planking that hold up the world's largest wooden dome in Marquette, GWB was out on the campaign trail. As much as I've maligned him here, I do have to praise any major figure who can recognize the significance of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Gore was there in '94, I think, to stump for himself and president-to-be Clinton, and boy do I ever wish that he'd become the first sitting President since W.H. Taft to visit. But that's a story for another time.
Another bizarro-ride last night, with a crazy pace going north that all but fell apart on the return trip, leaving 23.51 at the Charthouse. I fail to see the training benefits of riding 10 miles at 26 and change, then stopping for a few minutes, then coasting home at just over 21 - but that view left me more or less stranded by myself for much of the return journey, fighting a cross wind and sweat in the eyes.
The start of another week, with grocery shopping and a call overseas and reading the new Dave Barry book that I picked up at Selby Public over the weekend. Not a whole lot else going on - I've remarked to a couple of folks that it feels like the calm before the storm.
posted at 12:47 PM - comments
Monday, July 12, 2004
Another weekend down, as I'm seeing them now. Took care of minor details in and around the apartment over the weekend, including the submission of my very formal-sounding "Notice of Intention to Vacate" which means that now I'm going for sure. Saturday was Habitat-time; four walls, four hours, four billion degrees outside. Then in the afternoon I talked at some length with Jenelle, who saw the queen and seems have really enjoyed (and made the most of) her first week in the UK. Sunday was much the same as other Sundays, except that I caught up with the most recently married friend on my speed dial, who sounded good and seems to be enjoying the lifestyle shift very much. In the evening it was off to the Igloo for a very crowded, very youngster-oriented public skating session attended by the Facheris clan and several members of the Island Veterinary soccer team that I helped coach so many months ago.
posted at 1:21 PM - comments
Friday, July 09, 2004
This week, although only 80% of normal length, seemed to drag on for 125% of normal. An encore trip to Hob Nob for lunch today, a pretty quick ride last night (24.69), and now it's the weekend. FOX had some good stuff on, though: "Method & Red" is serious funny. Somehow the idea of a pair of gangsta rappers in a swanky white development just feeds off the stereotypes of the situation, but FOX does a good job of stating what I imagine would really be the case; the white people are the ones who can't get over their preconceived notions. Plus, did I mention it's funny?
posted at 1:38 PM - comments
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Picked up a few minutes of campaign hooplah from St. Petersburg, FL, on the local news last night. Kerry and Edwards were here stumping, and it was my first real reaction to Mr. Edwards. My take: he seems like a bit too much of a gung-ho! politician for me. He stands to gain too much from this, whereas if Kerry wins or loses his quality of life is pretty secure. Even though it is starting to be considered an antiquated ideal, I'm totally happy with a philosopher king. If success breeds success, then yes let's have some upper class people. Plus, it isn't like a millionaire is so unusual; it was reported a few weeks ago that there are over a million millionaires in the US, so I don't find it that outrageous that a politically successful, middle-aged white man who may be elected to a top position in our government is a 'have' as opposed to a 'have not.' Hmmm politics - better than laundry every time, better than roast beef not-so-much.
posted at 1:43 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
They say that athletics are 90% mental and 10% physical, and I proved the heck out of that last night. After not paying attention and missing the proper group, I attacked (twice) trying to make up lost ground and both times came up short, leaving me a nice solo trip back down the island towards a Charthouse-stoplight average of 22.26. I've ridden almost that fast solo over the whole island. Blast. Back at home, after no small amount of waiting, which is hard to do after a 35-mile bike ride, I dug into a fantastic roast that I'd inadvertently let marinate for about 3 days. Now, cooked nicely, it is so tender and juicy and delicious that I'll never be able to go back to the splash-and-go basting that I've used before. Such is the nature of progress, I guess.
posted at 1:17 PM - comments
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Independence Day weekend! Three days off packed with patriotic reverence and philosophical discussions on the state of our union. Well, except for the last two. Friday night was significant in that it was a farewell to Jenelle, who departed Saturday for the far side of the ocean. Even though we're still a phone call apart, somehow the distance seems much more palpable. Perhaps it's the time difference between GMT and EST, I don't know. Sunday I had A/V duties, and in the afternoon (after London calling) went out on Aquarius with Chris and Nancy. We headed out to the gulf and bobbed around for several hours before returning in time for a blazin' fireworks display. Monday was more time on the boat, as they invited me to join them on a delivery trip from Sarasota to Ruskin, where the boat will be hauled and painted. So, I spent most of the day under the sunshade on the foredeck as we chugged northward, past LBK and Anna Maria, turned east into Tampa Bay, sailed under Sunshine Skyway, and into Ruskin. Along the way I saw a sea turtle, a dozen or so dolphins, and even a small shark. Then back to Sarasota by pre-dropped car, with a stop at Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner. All in all, a nice way to spend the holiday.
posted at 12:30 PM - comments
Friday, July 02, 2004
Hmmm pickles. I like pickles. The kind of pickles I like start life as cucumbers and then get soaked in vinegar and spices. There's another kind of pickle, though, that starts life as a little foreign policy booboo and then is soaked in something stronger than vinegar. Everybody was laughing at Saddam Hussein yesterday for calling his arraignment "a theater" put on by GWB and the US government. At the risk of sounding un-American, I really tend to agree with the overthrown dictator on this one. To be honest, over the past 12 months Mr. Hussein has lied, falsified, and mis-represented a lot less material than some other world leaders I can think of, so when he says something it would be hypocritical for me not to consider it. Personally, I think we're in a real jamb here: he says 'the invasion wasn't legit because it was conducted under false pretenses' and, as such, he shouldn't be considered deposed. Well darn it I think he has a point...before the war he said 'hey don't invade because we got nothing you are looking for' and that turned out to be true, so in some ways this whole process is a sham now, which is too bad because we could have waited a bit and proceeded differently and gotten different results.
Twenty-three-point-six-two last night put a bit of a smile on my face. It was another well-paced small-pack trip, which are becoming my very favorite. Now a long weekend at long last and boats in Sarasota at every turn. Hob Nob for lunch with the junior members of the office, and boy does it feel like the Fourth of July.
Funny thing about the weather in Sarasota - it has started to rain every stinking day for hours on end in the afternoon. Except for last night. So tonight, when ride time rolls around, I'm going to really be hoping for good karma and good weather, because not being on the bike for 10 days in a row is bad enough. In other news, there were fire alarms like crazy last night at 413, which does make for an interesting scene...all the tenants out in the parking lot (mostly smoking) and waiting for the fire trucks to arrive. Fire is not something I'm an expert on, but if it were a real fire, most of my belongings would have been a pretty messy charcoal blob by the time SFD made it to the scene I'm sorry to report. So here's hoping that's a road I don't have to go down.
posted at 12:54 PM - comments