Sunday, January 31, 2010
When you keep falling asleep with the television on, and feel like you're either watching the most confusing movie on the planet, or the most awesome?
That's today and yesterday for me. Still fighting off this cold, and since I feel so all-around craptastic, I've decided it just may be H1N1. Or not. But still: I feel like poo.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
My desktop has decided to peter out slooooowly, so no computer playing tonight (trying to use it as little as possible to extend it's life until I get an external drive tomorrow to back up all my pictures).
So I'm using my work laptop tonight, which has a very limited battery life, being four years old (wicked elderly in laptop liftime). Also, I'm on an unsecured wifi here, so that may be tons-o-fun on the long run.
So, I'm watching my Bones marathon ... three weeks worth of new episodes! WOO HOO!! I started watching it for David Boreanaz, who was robbed of a final season of Angel. Love this guy. Stuck around because it's a great show. Falls right into line with my love of ensemble casts who solve crimes. They all work together so well!
Sure, the crazy has come out and played ... often ... and never more so than when Eric Millegan's Zack fair dove into the deep end of the dark side ... but it's still a ton of fun to watch.
In any case, it's a Bones marathon for me tonight. Aaaand it's snowing again, going to get all the way up to 8 degrees tomorrow, so I'll have plenty opportunity to watch the 97 (what?!?) hours of recorded programs in my DVR (how did I miss the entire season of the Cleaner? I love Ben Bratt!).
And of course today is the day that cold I've been fighting off all week was able to take root: my nose has been running like a leaky faucet since about 3pm this afternoon, and the sneezes are a laugh riot (not ... they keep reminding me that I have to pee right now).
So I'll no doubt spend tomorrow in bed, gulping down the airborne and vegging out completely. Sounds good to me!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
My satellite package doesn’t include NatGeo, so I only ever actually get to watch the Dog Whisperer when I’m back home on vacation, although the week or so before I arrive Mom and Dad tend to tape extra episodes so I can get a mini-schooling under my belt for when I get back to misery and plan to get all whispery on the girls.
Yeah, likely story.
I’m loving Cesar Milan, period. That man is the shit when it comes to dogs. Me, on the other hand, am more like the twit when it comes to dogs.
My girls walk all over me. They have trained me well. Witness my current kitchen situation, wherein I have no oven mitts, although Boogie has three (three!) suspiciously oven-mitt shaped binkies.
But I did learn something this last time I was back home, and that is the principal of energy, in that I want my energy to be calm, and my girls to pick up on my calm energy and give it back to me. And I know there’s something to this, because Cesar can set up a whole relationship with a (seemingly) unruly canine individual within the first few minutes of meeting doggie.
So I’ve been trying to apply my learning; this way I can get a handle on really the only two issues I have with the lugnutz: 1) they don’t come when I want them to (unless they want to); and 2) Boogie continues to bark even after I tell her to “shut it”, which, apparently, she thinks means LOUDER!
Score to date: girls 68 / me 2. Hey, that’s two more than I usually get!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
From where do simplicity and ease
In the movement of heavenly bodies derive?
It is precision.
Sun is never late to rise upon the Earth
Moon is never late to cause the tides
Earth is never late to greet the Sun and the Moon
Thus accidents are not accidents
But precise arrivals at the wrong right time
Love is almost never simple
Too often, feelings arrive too soon
Waiting for thoughts that often come too late
I wanted too, to be simple and precise
Like the Sun
Like the Moon
Like the Earth
But the Earth was booked
Billions of years in advance.
Designed to meet all desires,
All arrivals, all sunrises, all sunsets
So I will have to be a little bit late.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I’m fighting off a cold, but it appears to be somewhat of a standoff so far. On my flight home I had selected seat 3B for both legs of the trip … for these planes that was the bulkhead row directly aft of 1st class, aisle seat. Plenty of leg room for RA-riddled me.
On the 1st flight the ticket agent (another Lisa) asked if I’d move back to 5B so a couple could sit together … I readily agreed. I recalled my very first flight, and how I wanted to sit next to Dad, but the 'kindly' soul who had the seat next to me refused (smidgen of sarcasm), so that sucked for me. But its okay, because I made sure the entire flight sucked for him as well. Me: woman. That sound? My rawr! Or, you know: revenge.
So anyway, I sat in 5B, and the poor guy next to me had left-of-death. Not just a cold. Nope: left-of-death. He was so sick, but so careful not to so much as breath in my direction. I felt horrible for him, and hope he’s doing better now, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up with lung rot (aka pee-new-moan-knee-uh).
I just knew I was going to catch it. I was way careful not to rub my face at all … and of course, as soon as he presented with disease my nose ran, my eyes itched, my ears clogged up. I must have washed my hands eleven times in various Dulles rest rooms during the layover. Gah!
So a little grumbling from me … if only I’d said no to Lisa, then I’d have been a 1st class asshat but would have been less exposed to the black plague, yada, yada, yada and so on and so forth.
Then I get on flight number two, in seat 3B. Yeah … it’s a fixed-arm single: arm doesn’t go up, strictly 8 inches (or so it seemed) wide. I had to work to wedge my ass in there. If it had been a regular chair when I stood up it would have gone right up with me and remained stuck to my backside until some enterprising soul introduced a crowbar. Flight wasn’t crowded, so I was able to move to the row behind it, which I had all to myself.
But. If I’d have been a poop and not switched seats on the previous flight, which was full, I’d have been mighty uncomfortable for the entire flight. So trading seats was a good thing … even though I was exposed to H1N1.
ASIDE: keyboard has been going haywire; finally noticed Maddie isn’t sitting on the mouse pad next to the keyboard … nope, she’s sitting on the number pad. Der. Just finished erasing all the plus signs and assorted numbers she interspersed throughout this edition.
So now I’m fighting off this cold. If I can make it to Saturday without it going full-blown, I’ll be able to defeat it with sleep. I love defeating illness with sleep. I love sleep, period. Mmmm, pillow.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Yesterday I asked Dad something along the line of "Isn’t it funny how you know almost everything there is to know about where you live during your formative years, but not so much places you live after that? Case in point; I’ve been in misery almost a decade and still know next-to-nothing about it, except that its bordered by Nebraska to the North, Kansas to the West, and Oklahoma to the South."
Dad looked quizzical.
Yeah, turns out I was way confused, seeing as although both Nebraska and Oklahoma do border Missouri, I was mistaking Kansas for the bordered state. We pulled out the atlas, and it turns out misery is bordered by no less than eight (eight!) states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Sheesh!
These are all places I’d only ever heard of while growing up in RI; I may have met the occasional schoolmate from these areas, but only because one (or both) of his/her parents would have been in the Navy and they’d have been stationed at the Base.
Anyway, I’m back here in misery, feeling almost human again after a looooong day of travel (up at 5am for a 7am water taxi ride to the mainland for a 10am flight to DC and a 4 hour layover with my final flight getting into MCI at 5:15pm. Quick trip to Walmart for supplies, home to a loooong shower and football game (anyone else notice my superbowl prediction turned out to be a who-did-NOT-make-it-to-the-superbowl prediction?).
Now I’m off to bed, expecting a horrifically busy week at the plant, seeing as all kinds of work came in while I was out-of-pocket. But hey, that’s what makes the day fly by, which is a heck of a lot better than hanging around with nothing to do.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Tomorrow is an all day travel-fest back to the daily grind, where I slog through reality until a brief respite in June followed by my next ‘real’ vacation in July.
I just checked-in and printed out my boarding passes, and I’ll pack later tonight, get up early tomorrow for the trip to the airport (although nowhere near as early as the trip to the airport on my way here, seeing as that required a 3am wake-up), and fly down the East Coast, layover half the day, then fly across to the Midwest, to be home by this time tomorrow night. Doesn’t matter … I’m miserable.
Have I told you how much I really dislike flying? Because I do. Oh, I’m totally aware it’s the safest mode of transportation, bar walking (blah, blah, blah), but I just don’t like it. At all.
It’s not that I’m afraid, it’s that I’m not in control: someone else is driving, and I can’t see out the windshield. What form of torture is this?!?! Horrible!
And the smell! Gross! Why not just stick my nose in my row-mates lap, because chances are s/he’ll be farting up a storm the entire time (happens more often than not), or be wearing too much perfume, or too little deodorant. And forget about the special airplane lavoratory smell that permeates every inch of that aluminum tube. Blecht!
And the person in the row behind me? Invariably advises his/her seatmate, in his/her outdoor voice, of every boring-ass aspect of his/her life that lead to the decision to be on that plane at that time. Lovely.
I’ll no doubt be elbowed in the head repeatedly by some stiff getting into and out of the overhead compartment, and someone will fall in my lap while on the way to or from the lavoratory. Precious.
About the only passengers that don’t make me crazy are the babies, because at least it’s understandable when they behave badly … they’re little tyrants by nature, so what do you expect?
If it weren’t a two-day drip, I’d drive. Tru dat.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
First the banks are allowed to write a bunch of iffy mortgages (balloon and otherwise), then bundle and sell said mortgages (many overseas), and finally to insure said mortgages via derivatives – which were not, by the way, created for the purpose of covering bad mortgages.
Let’s say insuring a billion dollars in mortgages cost the banks 25 million dollars. Everyone’s happy: the insurance company just made an easy 25 million dollars, while both the bank and the insurance company are counting on all those thousands of homeowners being able to afford the mortgage payments (balloon and otherwise) until the mortgage is paid. Or, if the homeowners can’t afford to pay, the housing market will enable the banks to recoup their losses in the subsequent eviction, foreclosure, and resale.
Many of these homeowners bought “up”, meaning the plan was to be able to afford the home in their earning future … “I really can’t afford this home now, but I can swing it for the time being and in X number of years all will be well and I’ll be living within my means.”
Then you have the current “economic downturn” (e.g., recession … look it up, people!), which pretty much ensures quite a few of those homeowners can't afford their mortgage payments after all … and the banks can’t re-write the mortgages, because they don’t own them … because they bundled said mortgages and sold them away.
Now, remember way back when, during the Bush administration? When President Bush tried to transfer oversight of biggies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress and over to some other agency? Remember? And member of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank said, “These two entities – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
So perhaps when I am eighty,
I won’t care about my weight. E-
Ternal verities will occupy my mind.
Is truth beauty? Or vice versa?
Will my health plan reimburse? A-
Gendas broader than the breadth of my behind
Will replace concerns with calories.
Global warming, teachers’ salaries,
Kurds, and other urgent matters will prevent
Whining, wailing, and oi-veying
Over what, each day, I’m weighing.
Bodywise, I will be done with discontent.
In the meantime I feel pudgy
And the arrow will not budge, de-
Spite how lightly I try standing on my scale.
I had hoped to not begin this
Brand-new decade hooked on thinness
But it seems my weight obsession will prevail
‘Til I’ve finally banked my fires,
‘Til my vanity retires,
‘Til I’ve given up aspiring to size eight,
‘Til I scorn a foolproof diet.
Could I actually not try it?
Maybe ninety I won’t care about my weight.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
The plan was that Dad was ‘going off’ (e.g., leaving the island) this morning, and Mom and I would just hang out … Dad wouldn’t be able to return until the 3:30pm ferry, arriving home at 4pm.
Imagine my surprise when I heard him return around 8:30am ... because it’s too windy! Captain Shawn was afraid he’d lose a car overboard. Apparently the chop was so severe the waves were crashing over the bow of the ferry and reaching vehicles five rows back. FIVE! It’s not a very big ferry, you know.
The wind is honking, though, as you can see above. I tried to get a picture when the bell bouy was almost lying flat, but my timing was waaaay off.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Yeah … not too very bright of someone (still me … yeah, this affectation is wearing thin). Since I’m on vacation starting tomorrow (WOO to the HOO, people! To the HOO!), I have a shit-ton of work to get done at the plant, and have been working late into the day all week because (method to my madness) I want to get it all done so I can leave early tomorrow to finish up some last minute personal errands before my flight out at so-early-its-yesterday o’clock Saturday morning.
Anywho, I get home at oh-late-hundred and the girls greet me at the garage door. In their we-misbehaved-and-know-it-but-are-far-too-cute-for-you-to-care eveningwear (works eh-hev-vary time), leaping to be let out into the dog run from the downstairs door. So I let them out. Then walked upstairs.
Only to discover there was not a single room they hadn’t par-tayed in during the course of the day. My kitchen floor was strewn with dishes from the sink, as well as the (now) empty box of frosted shredded mini wheats … and both potholders that usually hang from the oven front (this because you may recall FroggyBop has disappeared and Boogie is still in the process of finding and breaking in a replacement binky).
My living room floor has all the mail – that was in the IN basket – all over the place, shredded (the girls may have had help from Briggs & Stratton on that one). Some of this confetti has made it down the hall to the bedrooms. Which have more of the same, as well as half a bottle of berry flavored Pepcid, and a bunch of pink stains on the rug from the Pepcids they ate and drooled all over the place.
The poor bathroom also didn't escape unscathed, seeing as the cabinet door was opened and the trash can was pulled out and emptied … all because those magnificent retriever schnozzes detected (what I thought was an) empty vanilla softlips lip balm … which is now in a million pieces on the floor.
I’m telling you, it’s the canine version of every teen movie ever made where the parents are away and the high schoolers trash the place while the grups’re gone … but apparently the girls haven’t seen the ending of any of those flicks because I sure as HECK know they trashed the place.
And since I know, they see no reason to lift a finger to clean up after themselves. So now, in addition to the errands I already planned for tomorrow, I have to drag a Hefty trash bag through the joint and use a push broom to clear the trash.
Those dogs are clearly lucky that I adore them, or I’d not take the fact that I rank #3 in authoritae in my own home sitting down. Where’s the dog whisperer, and does he make house calls?
Because clearly I need to be schooled.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
All This Disaster
It isn't hard to
this world seems to be
Terrible events here,
horrible events there,
humans getting plastered
Buried alive under cement,
natural disasters offer no relent.
Washed away by Katrina,
victims living in the arena.
Stupid terrorist out killing,
crooks on the street stealing.
I avoid the kill,
stay away from the steal.
Know that lifes unstable,
personally stay able.
Sit back and wait my turn,
live it up with concern,
knowing sooner of later
I might burn.
Can't live worrying about dying,
no use wiping tears and crying.
At times I cry,
there are many reasons why.
Many times I smile,
act like a playing child.
But don't get too wild.
I live in the second,
might survive another,
-G. E. Morrison
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
- I had coffee, thinking it was caffeine withdrawal ... nope.
- I drank copious amounts of water, thinking I was dehydrated ... no change.
- I took Advil, thinking that would have to help ... it hasn't.
- I ate a banana, thinking my potassium was low ... now walking sends jarring pain through my skull.
- I've pulled out the ice pack ... it's helping a little.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have to admit that when it first came out I had some laugh-out-loud moments perusing People of WalMart. But now? Now I just find it mean-spirited and sad, and have removed it from my Favorites.
I just can’t enjoy something that makes me cringe more often than it makes me laugh … and I know I’m part of the double standard just by making that statement, because there is a demographic (or two) covered on the website that does make me laugh ... because while it may have originally intended to be humorous, the days of lighthearted giggles on my part are long gone.
Picking on the elderly, destitute, homeless, the obviously impaired, or those who are just plain different and proudly flying that freak flag simply doesn’t cut it for me. More than anything else I am ashamed.
My thinking on it is that we’re all riding out a very long, rough, and frightening economic storm … and those of us furthest from the lifeboats should be sticking together.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
While I get the hypocracy of my love for snow coupled with my extreme distate for cold feet, I'm really wishing is wasn't quite so cold right now ... but it does make me laugh at those who insist this very cold (so far) Winter is solid proof global warming is yet another scam the ubiquitous "they" are trying to perpetrate against "us". So here's me, sharing thoughts on the impacts of global warming and suggestions as to how to contain further ecological damage due to said global warming.
The greenhouse effect encompasses those atmospheric occurrences that allow the Earth to maintain an average temperature to sustain life. In a nutshell, the Earth’s atmosphere deflects approximately 30% of the incoming solar radiation back out to space, while absorbing the rest. Some of what gets through is stored short-term, while the rest is generally put to use as energy of one kind or another (i.e., heat, photosynthesis). Much of the work converting solar radiation to Earth-friendly energy is done by, or with the help of, the element of carbon.
Carbon is the main element that contributes to life on Earth. It is found in everything from plant and animal life to fossil fuels; which makes sense, since fossil fuels themselves originated as both plant and animal life forms. Prior to the advent of human technologies, there was a natural balance between the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide, and the amount in life forms on the planet’s surface. That balance contributed to the Earth’s ability to maintain life-sustaining temperatures.
The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is one of the gases that are able to temporarily store the converted solar radiation as heat. While the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is on par with that on the surface, there is a balanced energy exchange. For instance, photosynthesis allows plant life on the surface to absorb the carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. Surrounding wild life absorbs the oxygen and expels carbon dioxide, while also consuming the plant life. This cycle utilizes the stores of energy in the atmospheric carbon dioxide, making room for the atmospheric absorption of additional solar radiation to perpetuate the cycle.
With technological advances that have allowed mankind to figure out how to obtain fossil fuels and burn them for energy, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere than is natural or healthy to maintain a “normal” average temperature of approximately 57 degrees Fahrenheit. These higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in turn hold more heat energy, contributing to rising temperatures world wide.
Some examples that Nature has noticed the change: 1) in 2002 an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Rhode Island took a mere 35 days to brake off and disintegrate – something that would normally take years; 2) home ranges of various wild life are shifting toward the poles at a steady rate; 3) springtime wild life rituals such as mating and migrating are beginning earlier in the season; 4) the 10 hottest years recorded have been since 1990; 5) more people are dying of heat-related causes yearly; 6) species populations are declining and/or falling victim to increased birth abnormalities; and 7) disease vectors are changing.
Anticipated effects of unchecked global warming include melting glaciers, rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, eroding coastlines, disappearing islands, and changing weather patterns (i.e., drought, storms) that could significantly impact all life on Earth, be it plant, animal, or disease. Although those glaciers that are in the seas would not contribute to rising ocean levels, those on land would. All glacier melt will impact land and ocean temperatures, specifically because the sun’s rays would then be absorbed, as opposed to reflected.
Rising sea levels will significantly impact the geographical outlines of the continents, while seriously endangering those islands that are too small to spare much coastline, or are currently near sea level as it is. Changing weather patterns do not apply only to where and when storms or droughts may take place, but also to the strength involved. Heavy rainfall can erode the top layer of soil, so necessary to plant growth. Heavy drought can ruin growing seasons for many years while the land recovers.
Much of the early research into global warming due to the greenhouse effect predicted larger impacts than have currently been seen. One hypothesis was that the changes due to warming were having an effect on the Earth’s oceans, but these changes, if any, have been difficult to measure until recently. Results of years long studies have confirmed the oceans are warming noticeably, so now the concern is when said warming will spread to the land masses, and at what speed? Currently the Earth’s plant life and oceans have been able to absorb the increased carbon dioxide levels, but for how long?
So who is most impacted by global warming? All life on Earth, but speaking from a strictly human perspective – everyone. Regardless of which nations have contributed the most, all will feel the impact of unchecked global warming. There are three major stumbling blocks to a global solution: money, education, and indolence. There are multiple suggestions to curtail global warming on personal, national, and international levels. From the international perspective, the creation of a world wide quota system for allowable carbon dioxide emission levels, allowing inclusive nations to trade quotas, provides a maximum limit to world wide emission levels, and the nations involved benefit from an additional trade option. A second international suggestion would be to have wealthier nations subsidize less wealthy nations that are damaging the ecology in the name of progress (i.e., the U.S. pays Bolivia to spare a potion of the Rain Forest, in effect leasing it). Two examples of international efforts are the Montreal Protocol of 1989 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer successfully sought to progressively limit the manufacture and sale of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It was successful in part because the final decision was not left to the “common man”, but rather the corporations that signed on.
The Kyoto Protocol sought to decrease greenhouse gas emission levels of the developed nations back to those of the early 1990’s, while allowing less developed nations to maintain higher levels while ramping up their industries. It failed spectacularly. Adhering to the Kyoto Protocol would mean the U.S. would have to cut automobile emissions by 20%, decrease diesel consumption (whereby crippling the construction and shipping industries), and update emissions controls/technology for all coal burning plants nationwide. It would have major impacts at every economic level.
It would be extremely difficult to get multiple nations to buy into world wide restrictions while there remains an aggregate of lifestyles anyway. For any nation that is perceived to have everything to suggest another nation of lesser means should take heed to environmental impacts is naïve at best. Advising others to “do as I say, not as I’ve done” rarely works on any level, and attempting to force compliance opens whole new avenues of discord (e.g., U.S. embargo of Cuba).
On a national level, taxing emissions has been suggested, as well as subsidizing eco-friendly activities. This would give businesses and individuals added incentive to keep ecology in mind. The huge stumbling block, at least in the United States, would be the perceived assault on people’s rights. We are a nation of people who want the government to stay out of our business, but who wonder where the government is when times are rough. We are a nation of contradictions.
Is it constitutional for the government to dictate the size house one buys, or the vehicle one drives, or the supplies one uses? Can the government force one to opt for less than one desires, simply because one can no longer afford it? Will the government “grandfather” those who cannot afford to make the changes that would lower their taxes, but also cannot afford the new taxation? Although an intriguing alternative, if it were not closely monitored and regulated, the opportunity for fraud on many levels is astonishing.
The obvious conclusion is that something has to be done about global warming. The suggestion that “all greenhouse gas-emitting operations be closed down immediately and not be permitted to start up again until they could prove that no substance for which they could be held responsible would damage public health or the environment, now or in the future” is painfully naïve. This is a situation requiring immediate action, but action that starts at Step 1, not action that wishes to begin with Step 17.
The various stakeholders in the issue are sizeable: there are the individual people, the small businesses, the large businesses, the global conglomerates, the nations, and the politicians to take into account. Perhaps the first move on a global playing field should be for the “haves” to help the “have nots” realize economic independence by subsidizing eco-friendly activities. Maybe the U.S. could start by leasing the Rain Forest after all. Since we have to start somewhere, and it is up to those who can to do, it stands to reason that the U.S. could take a leadership role to guide without force.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I grew up on an island in Rhode Island; specifically Aquidneck Island, which heralds three towns: Portsmouth, Newport, and Middletown (my home town). Aquidneck Island is well-known for many things, such as the Naval War College, the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC … now the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, or NUWC), the Newport Mansions, Touro Synagogue (one of the oldest in the nation), St. Mary’s Church (where John and Jacqueline Kennedy got married), Hammersmith Farm (where Kennedy “summered” while in office), the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Cliff Walk, Ocean Drive, the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, Salve Regina, Cardine’s Field (one of the oldest baseball fields in the country), Fort Adams, and some of the most exciting America’s Cup Races ever held.
The Newport Naval Base is also on the island, and used to base the Atlantic Fleet’s cruisers and destroyers, but when I was a child the fleet pulled out, devastating much of the island’s economy. Then came the Bicentennial and the Tall Ships. I was only 11 at the time, and really didn’t know much about either, but they had to be good, because the adults were pretty excited.
What was the big event? In 1976, to join the United States in celebrating our Bicentennial, most of the remaining Tall Ships in the free world stopped over in Newport on their way to New York City for the “big” Bicentennial Celebration (e.g., the Parade of Ships). Tall Ships in general are not a specific class but rather just large, usually wooden, rigged sailboats (e.g., schooners, brigs, brigantines, barques, barquentines, cutters, ketches, square-riggers, yawls, etc.) that are typically used as training vessels these days. They were in Newport Harbor, anchored around the Newport Bridge and Fort Adams, at the Newport Naval Base and Bend Boat basin … all over Narragansett Bay. Oh, and did I mention QE II was also on hand? Yikes.
The island was full of sailors and tourists from all over the world. My friends and I played a game to try to figure out how many different languages we heard while walking around downtown … in retrospect a silly idea, as we had no idea how to differentiate most of them from one another anyway, but fun nonetheless. There were swarms of happy, tired, jubilant, loud, friendly, sun-burned people of every color everywhere.
The Tall Ships began arriving a few days before the big event. About 16 motored in from a Bermuda-to-Newport race that had no official ranking because they all decided to use their engines to make it to Newport in time (they had experienced wind problems in that there was none for the last leg of the race, so they all forfeited together). There were civilian tours of the ships, and the sailors went ashore in groups. When sailors from different ships met up, it was like old home week. They hugged and laughed and dragged each other all over town to make sure everyone got the most out of their shore leave, even though they rarely spoke the same language.
Then, on July 1st, they all paraded through Narragansett Bay. There were literally hundreds of pleasure yachts all over the bay (e.g., sailboats, powerboats, and row boats of every size and description) full to the brim with screaming, cheering, horn-blowing (oh! the horns!), bell-ringing, noise-making, happy, sun-and wind-burned spectators. It was an absolute zoo. There was such a crush of pleasure boats around some of the Tall Ships that spectators literally hopped from one to another.
I don’t remember exactly how many Tall Ships there were, or how many tourists, but I do remember Lower Thames Street was cordoned off for foot traffic only. Aside from the noise and the crush, on land and water, I remember specifics about some of the Tall Ships in particular, such as when the Sagres, from Portugal, which held a special place in many hearts, serenaded us with their National Anthem, and most of the pleasure boats around sang it right along with them (there is a large contingent of Portuguese in Rhode Island and Massachusetts). Or when the Simon Bolivar came up the bay with her sails furled and sailors clinging to her rigging and lined on deck, saluting everyone, and everyone saluted and cheered right back. Or the native pride when the U.S. Coast Guard training vessel Eagle proudly displayed our boys to all. The noise on the bay was deafening, and the seemingly island-wide party lasted well into the night.
Then, very early the next morning, before the dawn fog had completely burned off, most of the Tall Ships left for the final leg of their trip down to New York. It was almost like the whole thing had been just a dream, but it was the most fun I had ever had in my young life, and still holds a very dear place in my heart.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Since Christmas Eve we've had a foot of snow, and it's freaking awesome! This? This is snow! Not that sleet/ice crud we usually get here.
This is like snow from back home; I'm loving it. With the winds (very windy!) the front yard is almost bare, but the back yard has three feet of snow in places. If it was inside the dog run the girls could just walk over the fence! The deck has snow up to the bottom of the chairs. The girls have to go in and out through the basement because I don't want them to plow the deck snow into the kitchen when they dive around in it.
Yes, my dogs are Labrador Snow Dolphins, thankyouverymuch ... didn't you know?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.
Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:
Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now
Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come
Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Coming about its own business
Till, with sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
We’re supposed to get another 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow!! Weatherfolk say 100% chance. That’s got to mean something, right? I love the snow we’ve been getting these past couple weeks … it’s like New England snow! Fluffy and powdery and still white more than a week later.
So much better than the snow we usually get out here, which isn’t really even snow …. it’s actually wind-driven sleet and ice that sheaths everything in two inches of frozen armor that’s almost impossible to remove without a flamethrower.
The only problem is that this area isn’t very prepared for street cleanup. I do believe I’m spoiled, seeing as I’m used to the enormous spreader/plow combos that tackle just about every type of snow Mother Nature cares to visit upon her peeps, running throughout the storm as well as after, because if there’s one thing New England weather has taught New Englanders, it’s to stay ahead of the weather.
I remember listening to the big plows blast by, all through the night, lit up like the brightest Summer day, whilst ‘sleeping’ in my toasty warm bed, hoping for a school closing the next morning. No such luck. Eight inches of newly fallen powder overnight? No worries! Roads are clear. Get up and get a move on kiddies!
And all those stories Uncle Paul would tell, about how he’d been plowing 18 straight hours, preceded by 4 hours of spreading, preceded by 5 hours of sleep, preceded by 12 hours of plowing, etc. He loved blizzards! He knew exactly how many hours of spreading and plowing he needed in order to make enough to cover the expenses running his leviathans for the year, and at which point he’d start to turn a profit. And we had some exceedingly snowy Winters back home.
Maybe it’s because New England big bad weather systems are hurricanes, and Midwest big bag weather systems are tornadoes … perhaps its that lack of prep time that has shaped the weather-minds of people out here into the, “Oh, well … if its going to happen, we’ll just have to hope to survive it.”
Really? Really. C’mon, people! Send someone to New England, or Colorado, or Minnesota … somewhere they know how to deal with
But, on the plus side? They shut everything down here, so at least I don’t have to worry about some idiot who can’t drive. Take last night: everyone was back to work after the holiday, and apparently they all stayed late to catch up on work, because when I was on my way home at 6pm, the roads were a gridlock. Took close to two hours to get home.
Why? Because people forgot how to drive after dark on frozen roads. Apparently, since it wasn't actively snowing, they decided it was okay to drive like it was a sunny Spring morning. First, I couldn’t merge onto 70 because it was a parking lot, so I exited onto 35, which became a parking lot at the top of the entrance ramp. Sigh. So I got off on 31st (surface street) which wasn’t even plowed! Days after the last snowfall!
So I dropped onto 71, which was clear, but busy, then exited onto 63rd … also barely plowed … and finally onto 150. Screech! Major something up ahead, with Police, Fire, the whole shebang.
So, this snow we’re expecting tomorrow? Yeah, supposed to be followed up by -35 degree wind chill Friday. That’s ‘negative thirty five degrees’. Isn’t that, like, frostbitten-nose-walking-out-to-the-mailbox weather?
Monday, January 4, 2010
I just did the math and discovered that I read 47 new (to me) books in 2009. That’s a little bit less than one a week. I also re-read quite a few of not only those 47, but others in my fairly extensive library. I like to read. If I’m not sleeping, working, or watching the boob tube, then I’m reading.
Sometimes I read and watch television at the same time … since this invariably leads to my having to rewind the DVR to see what I've missed, I’m fairly comfortable in my assessment that I like reading just a wee bit more than television.
I’ve gotten into this whole new genre (for me) this year, which is the urban fantasy … you know, with vampires and werewolves and mages and whatnot. It’s all because of Jim Butcher and that fantastic Harry Dresden. I fricken love Dresden.
And I never knew the books even existed until I watched the Dresden Files on Sci-Fi … I think it was Sci-Fi … doesn’t matter, they cancelled it almost immediately. But not before I learned the series was based on books. Books, people! Books!!! I love books!
So I picked up the first one. And devoured it. And haven’t looked back since. And of course, how much in geek nirvana was I to learn that Butcher is a local? He lives not two towns over in Independence. BOO YAH! There’s a chance, albeit it teensy-tiny, that I’ve been in his general vicinity!
So anyway, while waiting for Butcher’s next installment, I picked up similar books from other ‘urban’ series and now I have a whole slew of new favorite series authors to add to my ‘old’ list of favorite series authors. So, here are my revised series author recommendations to you, the avid reader … in no particular order:
- John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport ‘Prey’ series and the ‘Kidd & LuEllen’ novels.
- James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series.
- Brian Haig’s Sean Drummond novels.
- Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series.
- Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee novels.
- Mike McGarrity’s Kevin Kearney series.
- Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.
- Rick Riordan’s Tres Navarre novels.
- Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.
- Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro series.
- C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series.
- Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels
- Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
- David Drakes’ Crown of the Isles series.
- Greg Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak novels.
- Dan Simmons’ Joe Kurtz and the Hyperion novels.
- John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy series.
- Michael Koryta’s Lincoln Perry series.
- Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight series.
- Rachel Caine’s Cassiel books.
- Rob Thurman’s Cal & Niko Leandros novels.
- Mark Del Franco’s Connor Grey series.
- John Levitt’s Mason & Lou series.
- Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International (MHI) series.
- Jeri Smith-Ready’s Ciara Griffin series.
- Kat Richardson’s Harper Blaine series.
- Jennifer Rardin’s Jaz Parks series.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
So I couldn’t think of a single thing to post today, and was going to ‘treat’ you to my fall-back, but (luckily for you) that will have to wait for another day, as, whilst reading through my ‘regular’ bloggers Beej over at a Life of Adventure reminded me just how freaking cool these guys are, so I thought I’d share with you. Via a bunch of links.
I love, love, love a capella. Totally. It’s part of the whole I-wish-I-could-carry-a-tune-in-a-bucket thing I’ve had going on forever.
To the point where I am *nerd alert!* just a tiny bit conversant in the ICCA scene (that being the “International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella” one). Two past favorites being the 2003 UC Men’s Octet and the 2008 SoCal VoCals … aaaaand I also kind of heart the MO State Beartones, but prolly ‘cuz they’re kind of local, and former soloist Morgan Mallory is phenomenal.
In any case, if you don't already own something by Straight No Chaser, then get something ... I recommend 'Christmas Cheers'. So what if it's a little late in the season? Nobody ever said there's no room to prep for next season!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation. (October 27, 1964)
Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, "What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power." But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector. (October 27, 1964)
No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. (January 20, 1981)
Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development. (September 29, 1981)
The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern. (October 5, 1981)
We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much. (March 28, 1982)
History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap. (January 16, 1984)
We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free. (June 6, 1984)
There is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. (June 6, 1984)
Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom. What brought America back? The American people brought us back -- with quiet courage and common sense; with undying faith that in this nation under God the future will be ours, for the future belongs to the free. (February 4, 1986)
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. (August 15, 1986)
Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere." (September 15, 1986)
Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions. (May 31, 1988)
We've done our part … My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all. (January 20th, 1989)
Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag. (February 3, 1994)
What I take from the past is inspiration for the future, and what we accomplished during our years at the White House must never be lost amid the rhetoric of political revisionists. (February 3, 1994)
I have witnessed five major wars in my lifetime, and I know how swiftly storm clouds can gather on a peaceful horizon. The next time a Saddam Hussein takes over Kuwait, or North Korea brandishes a nuclear weapon, will we be ready to respond? In the end, it all comes down to leadership, and that is what this country is looking for now. (February 3, 1994)
I have serious issues with trying terrorists on American soil within the U.S. Judicial System. They aren't deserving of it, and furthermore, we have no business providing them a soapbox. They should be lined up and executed. Period. Especially would-be suicide bombers. They want to die? Fine. More than willing to oblige ... just not willing to let them take anyone else with them.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Argh … it has begun: day 1 of
The 2010 Diet.
The Diet to End All Diets.
I got things started with a Storck’s Riesen chocolate breakfast and a nacho Doritos with Dr. Pepper lunch. Hey, if you’re going to win, win big.
I mean, seriously … why not just build dieting up right at the start as something so utterly important and vital to my survival that I can’t possibly hope to get it right? How lame. And yet, that’s pretty much how I’ve started every diet I’ve ever been on, period.
But then again, can I really claim to have been ‘on’ all that many diets when I tend to quit the very first day? My Diet Failure Plan of Action is irrefutable and has yet to be bested: 1) diets must begin on a Monday; 2) diets must reset upon any deviation; 3) deviate! deviate! deviate!; 4) lose faith in diet; and 5) completely lose interest in diet altogether.
Unofficial … well, actually official, seeing as it always occurs … step 6) HOT FUDGE SUNDAE!!!!
So I can honestly say mine is not a case of diets not working for me, seeing as I’ve only once actually stuck to one … and that one did work for me. It was just too strict and I completely lost interest in it when I overdosed on !!!SUGAR!!! one weekend and never looked back. Sugar, people!
I had written down everything I ate, and only allowed myself a banana / blueberry / yogurt /orange juice fruit smoothie breakfast, an EAS AdvantEdge carb control nutrition bar lunch, an apple snack, and a sandwich supper … for weeks, people, WEEKS!!! Oh, yeah … it worked, but it’s no wonder I fell off that diet wagon with my very first visit to the Outback Steakhouse: mmm … Blomin’ Onion appetizer followed by a bacon cheeseburger with garlic mashed potatoes and a Chocolate Thunder from Down Under dessert. I can still feel my taste buds screaming, and they weren't screaming in agony, people, oh no! They were screaming with glee.
But seriously - it’s time to do something. I’m getting older, and my seemingly foolproof plan to eat my way through the Earth’s crust to its chewy roman nougat center seems to have backfired badly. On my ass, hips, stomach, and thighs. I do believe I may even be forming cankles.
And it’s not as if this isn’t a terrific time to get into shape: there’s the Biggest Loser, with it’s ridiculous world-wide-web support system; the intense public/national focus on the overweightedness of Americans (apparently we’re fatter than everyone else on Earth … so naner, naner, naner, joke’s on you starving masses of humanity); countless weight loss and fitness websites; dozens of weight loss frozen foods for ease-of-preparation and consumption; full disclosure of ingredients on junk foods; and just plain common sense.
Plus, let’s be real, there’s the way we fat are viewed by you not-fat. You complete asshats who think you’re better than we are because you look better. Oh, you … you piss me off, you do. You really, really do. Because I let you get to me!
I’d like to slap 50 lbs of unattractive self-consciousness on your shoulders and set you lose in the workplace of today, where the speedy turnover of management simply means we the overweight have to repeatedly prove our worth and effectiveness to a whole new slew of got-my-career-in-his/her-completely-prejudiced-hands people.
Sound bitter? Well, it should. Because I am. It’s been a very rude awakening, realizing the world isn’t fair, and it’s taken me a very long time to come to accept that truth. You’d think I’d have become immune to it, but no. Instead I’ve just let it get to me, and drowned my sorrows, fears, loneliness, and inhibitions in food and drink.
But it’s 2010, and I’m an adult, damnit … so when an old high schoolmate started a diet group on facebook, I watched from the outside, to see if anyone would be interested. And people I never expected signed up. People I thought, was convinced, have had the world by the tail since we were kids. Apparently not; apparently quite a few of us have feelings of self-doubt on occasion. So I squinched my eyes shut tight and jumped into the deep end. This time I’m going on a diet, and I’m not going to quit the first time I screw up (holla!), because I’m not looking at it ‘that’ way.
I’m doing this for me, because I’ve never really tried before … and guess what? When I do try? Well, I tend to get results.
So wish me luck, you just may need it once I’m fit enough to kick some ass.
Oh, and since a Goal is a Good Thing, my goal is 50. I will keep you posted as to my successes.