Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oh. That dream

Yesterday started off with me locking my keys in the trunk. Put me 45 minutes behind schedule. Luckily, I usually run an hour or so ahead of schedule. That's the navy still in me. And the customer never even knew. They scheduled the class to start at 9 AM and I arrived at 9 AM. I just held my tongue.

I dreamed that I had walked from my neighborhood (a nebulous place that I can neither identify nor remember, although I sense it was hilly, like Pittsburgh or Baltimore) to another neighborhood. I'm not even sure exactly why I was going there. I don't think it even mattered, dreamwise, because it was one of those dreams where you boogie about for a quite a while before realizing that you're naked. It had completely slipped your mind to put some clothes on. I used to dream those dreams a lot where I had gone to school naked or without my pants. But I haven't had it in a long, long time.

They say it is your subconscious trying to tell you that you are unprepared, or afraid of being exposed as a fraud, or the one other thing that I can't remember. In school, those readings made sense since I was not particularly scholarly. Hell, I wasn't even particularly present most of the time, being prone to road trips during school hours. So for me now I guess it must be the third thing, since I am well prepared and 99.9% fraud free. Wish I knew what that third thing is, though.

There is the fourth, less advertised possibility, that my subconscious is telling me that I like the liberating feeling of strolling through immigrant neighborhoods just a'swinging in the breeze. Don't know. Never gave it that much thought before. And I'm hoping you don't give it much thought either. On that, I'm sure you feel the same.

I can't wait for it to be summer so that it will be warm everywhere they send me. Arizona has been a little weird. I can go out and sit by the pool and it is warm and relaxing and completely as it should be. If the sun moves, and it does tend to do that, and I find myself in the shade, it will actually become quite cool. Coming from the humid, sultry south, where if it's hot, it's hot everywhere and moving into the shade don't stop the sweating one bit, this is a strange phenomenom.

I got a brand new roller skate and you got that brand new key, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Alrighty then. Let's mix it up. And mind your trajectory.

Not counting more general terms like "Tri-County", "Twin cities", and "Four corners", I have lived in or visited some mashed together places. Ark-La-Tex, Texarkana, Ark-La-Miss, Floribama, Delmarva. They're cool sounding. They roll off your tongue. I was just in another one. It still sounds funny to me, but so did Ark-La-Miss for a long time, too. As I was headed out of Looeyville I saw reference to the area calling it Kentuckiana. Yep. Leave it to a local tire store chain to enlighten me like that.

I'm in Phoenix. What a brutal day that was getting here. But I'm here, it's reasonably warm, and I have the weekend off with my per diem intact. I think I'm going to locate a theater and catch up on some recent movies I've been wanting to see.

On the flight from Louisville to Chicago I heard a new one. The silly flight attendant, there was only one because it was a very, very small plane, included this into the speil that also seeks to explain the complex workings of a seat belt (place the this part into the that part...), "The window shades must remain up during our takeoff and landing." OK. Ummmm.... why, exactly is that, anyway? I know you put your seats in the full upright position so that in the event of a crash you will follow a carefully computed trajectory. That only stands to reason. But what possible difference could it make if the window shade was up or down? Yes, none. Thank you.

You know what's a pretty good feeling, in a pretty weird way? Being half way through arguing your point with a loved one, working hard to make them understand your reasoning, when ta-ding! a little bulb lights up and you see the logic in their point and the fallacy in yours. I'm not saying that realizing that you are wrong (or if not wrong, at least not as right as you had originally thought) or that "losing" is a good feeling. But, when the realization hits, and you are adult enough to stop mid-sentence and say, "You know what, I think you have a point. I see what you mean." To me, that is a good feeling. It makes the other person pause, then smile. It strengthens the bond. It doesn't happen all that often, either that I'm wrong or that I will admit to it. But sometimes it does. And sometimes, like the hardest working man in show business, James Brown, I feel good.

Not sure how I got all touch feely there. I'm sorry, sirs, it won't happen again!

I'll see you at the bottom, if there really is one. They always tell me when you hit it you'll know it, out
Ramblin' Ed

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If you support them, then SUPPORT them

Welcome to Kentucky. The weather is colder than wanted and warmer than I expected. The fog, well, it was just a surprise. But I love the rolling hills and the rock fences. I have a nice room with full cable and a little Honda Accord to drive. This is my new home. For today and tomorrow, anyway.

Even if you don't fly often, how can you not know liquids are banned from going onto the concourse? You don't watch the news? You don't read papers? C'mon. And another thing. When was the last time you got anywhere by arguing with a poorly paid, uniformed agent of the government about a point of rules? I'm guessing never.

Ottoball was my boss for a while in Yokosuka. Then he became my friend. Now we're family. Anyway, he had to take off on the wife and kids again to play in the sandbox that is the middle east. He writes sometimes but I gather that for the most part being at a joint command in a tactical communications kind of role keeps him rather busy. I thought I'd give him a shout out via picture. He writes: ok brother, will write more later. here is a picture of me in AL FAW palace. sadaams old haunt in bahgdad. pretty cool. ottoball

A soldier recently said, "America is not at war. America is at the mall. The Army and Marine Corps are at war." I think that is fair enough. And when they do get all shot up, they come home to get patched up. So I may be way off the mark here, but I wonder if we couldn't all take the money we spent buying those stupid, stupid "I Support The Troops" stickers for our cars and send it off to Walter Reed Army Hospital? You know, to support their rehabilitation and all. The barracks there are, from what I can gather, falling down. Billions and billions spent, and.... Anyway, I don't give much charity, the creditors have seen to that, but I do still give my small contribution to the Navy Relief Society. I also give stuff to the Sisters of Mercy, although I'm not sure exactly what they do. But I think whatever it is, it's merciful.

Tomorrow night I fly to Phoenix where I will have all weekend off to cruise the country clubs and public golf courses in my attempt to meet Alice Cooper. You know, "She asked me why the singer's name was Alice. I said, listen Babe, you really wouldn't understand."

I get to go back up to New England on the 5th of March. An hour outside of Boston in Manchester, NH. Manchester, from what I have seen of it, promises to be a pretty quiet place. I'd say that I'll drive down to Boston to party a little, but I won't. I seldom travel far anymore.

Well, to the mall, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, February 17, 2007

If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

Part of the deal when you are on up there in the frequent flyer club ranks is the understanding that by this point it is all about YOU. Shoot, I'm as big a fan of me as the next guy. My favorite part of the opera, besides when the curtian falls, is the part where they sing me, me, me, me... which I of course hear as you, you, you, you, which is to say that you saying you is going to be me to me. If you follow.

So, anyhow, since the miles have now posted on my most recent business jihad, I suppose this is safe to recount. I think that once they have posted, no matter how heinous my random act of kindness, they cannot be revoked. I may be wrong, but it is my belief. Like crunchy peanut butter. Or more precicely, my belief that crunchy peanut butter is the one true peanut butter and the creamy kind is just a pretender. I do, however, digress.

To get to Boston I went Tampa to Pittsburgh on a small jet and Pittsburgh to Boston on an even smaller jet. Wisconsin Air, so you know it was tiny. Anyway, I had a nice exit row window seat flying into Pittsburgh. No seat in front of me, so there was legroom forever. I was rather stoked. Towards the end of boarding, and this is most true, the Pitt women's basketball team boarded. They had been in Tampa whooping up on the USF gals.

One nice tall specimen of athletic femaledom, ebony of hue, sat down in our row's aisle seat. It was pretty amazing to watch, and even though I could have spoken up sooner and saved her the trouble, I was curious to see the actual event. The "event" being how she was gonna pretzel herself up enough to get into her seat. Knees touching nose, the whole schmiel. You'll be pleased to know that, limber as she was, she made it with minimal difficulty although she could not have been comfortable. I woulda thought that a major money making university, a Big East university at that, would spring for a little better transport for it's teams. Bet they do for the men's team.

Once she had settled in and whipped out some feminine drivel gossip and/or fashion magazine I asked her as sweetly as I could if she would like to trade seats. She took one look at the leg room, drooled, and whispered back a hearty "you betcha". Yep, Ramblin' Ed has a heart as soft as his head.
On the second flight, the one on the mighty Wisconsin Air miniature plane, I also swapped seats with a row mate. He was also feminine, though I do not believe female. He wanted to read and his overhead light did not work. Since there was either window or aisle, no middle seat, I saw no harm in hooking him up. He was grateful enough to read quietly and let me sleep.

So you can see my perdiciment. I try to be a decent guy, but I don't want to lose the miles. After all, I have endured the severest of numb butt to build up the status. That's my story for today. It woulda been longer but my typing (ie, typo-ing) stamina is not that of when I was young. Plus it's Saturday. Cartoons are still on!

You take my hand and I'll take your hand
together, we may get away, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Here, sir, is your sign...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is there another word for synonym?

Okie-dokie. Two times. That's how many times I have ventured out in Boston. The first time I had to because I had to drive from Hertz to my hotel. Then I realize I can see the Hertz lot from here. So maybe I coulda took a taxi. Anyway, I was white knuckled after the first, and only, mile. Yesterday I had to drive to the home office in Woburn. Maybe 11 or 13 miles. I made it to the first stoplight before panic set in and I turned around. I had the hotel front desk reassure me that even though the traffic was fast and the roads totally, and I do mean totally confusing, if I kept to the right on 1A south I would indeed come to a $3 tunnel and would find I-93 just beyond. OK... they were right. I passed a bus with an ad for a local TV station. It said "More Drama Than Driving In Boston". Amen, brother bus.

I cme back and parked. To heck with the driving around here. Had the hotel shuttle take me to the top of the hill, an area called Orient Heights, where I went into a cigar store, purchased a nice Macanudo, and sat down with a cold beer. The area was originally an Italian neighborhood, and it still is heavily Italian, but the Colombians and Chinese are creeping in. Still, sitting there smoking with a table full of boisterous and profane Italians, smoking cigars, playing Keno, and "Ahhh Tony.... Ah'm jus bustin' yer balls a little" was fun. I felt like I was on the set of The Sopranos, in the Bada Bing's back room. Left there, ate some Chinese food, and hit a pub while I waited for the shuttle I had summoned back.

While there I learned that tonight and tomorrow we are expecting what will be my first ever nor'easter. Apparently I am in for wind (it's already ungodly cold without the added windchill, thank you very much), 3-6" of snow, followed by a delightful mix of sleet and/or rain. I already told the boss and the nice TSA man, if you want me, send a driver. I AIN'T DRIVING IN THAT SHIT!!

I had a TSA guy drive me back from where I am teaching in Chelsea (I have since learned that the a is silent and they find no amusement in mispronounciation) to the hotel in East Boston. I will have one evening this week socializing with my boss so I had the driver make a stop so I could pick up a fifth of Sailor Jerry's Rum. It is way good stuff, and we have navy ties. I am, of course, retired and his brother is a Rear Admiral at Submarine Group Pacific. So I went in, found it, purchased it and was done in less than 3 minutes. Recalling the bone chilling temperature I endured going in, and taking into account that my driver was just stopped in the street rather than being in an actual parking spot, I sprinted back to the car where my return was greeted with, "Jee-zuz Ed! Yah don't come runnin' outta a lickah stah in Boston!" My bad and point taken.

This Madonna statue (shrine?) is at the top of Orient Heights. Seems this will be the most enjoyable trip to date.I'll try to keep you posted.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done?

The first time I heard a vegetarian refer to themselves as a vegan I got a little confused, transposing the term in my brain with the word wiccan and thinking, "Wow. That's hot. She's like a a witch or something." Turns out I was just one letter off, but that's another story.

Don't clouds seem to be moving awfully fast sometimes? Often times I look up and they seem to be really hauling ass. I mean, you don't really expect water vapor to be all that speedy, right? Not that you're expecting it to be sloth-like. I never meant to infer that. But if you do wanna see sloth-like, and many folks do, check out dew. It don't do nothing but lay there waiting to evaoprate.

I was invited to a "Lunch & Learn" where they provided pizza and a presentation about one of our newer products. That was a great idea. But for a better picture of what transpired for me, try replacing the verb "learn" with more appropriate verb "snooze".

I use what I assume is actually either a china hutch or curio cabinet as my dresser. I know and I offer no excuses. No valid ones anyway. But the interesting thing, and at first blush it may seem anything but interesting, is that I have, for the first time in my life, a sizable collection of brown socks and four pairs of socks with blue in them. My black socks needs have diminished after leaving the navy where, in my opinion it all went to hell when we started turning a blind eye to the kids wearing white socks with their boondockers. The little punks. My white sock needs have also diminished, but only because when you are active duty on a navy base you are not allowed to wear flip-flops so I wore tennis shoes a lot. Now, most of the time I am home I am in flip-flops or bare feet, hence I don't need a lot of white socks. Just for when I wear my western boots. Anyway, the reason I brought up my dresser being a china cabinet or whatever was because I keep my socks on the top shelf. I'm organized that way. Brown socks to the left. Black socks to the right. Colorful socks in the middle. Simple, like the boogaloo.

I do like that I can see what clothes are available without having to open the drawers to look. The whole front is glass.

Well, I am going to hang out at home tomorrow and Saturday, except for the time I get to spend at the coin laundry washing bed spreads in the giant $3.25 washer, puttering around in the yard and hanging out with the wife and pets. Pack on Saturday night and fly up to Boston on Sunday around lunchtime.

Thanks for stopping by. Both of you. I leave you with a verse from a Shooter Jennings song:

It's a long long road of livin
I wouldn't wanna be sendin
The wrong idea that I'm gettin soft.
I just keep on gettin lost
I dont care too much
If I ever find my way back home.
The railways are too rusty
The roads are just too dusty
I sit and watch the day die all alone.
It's just me and the sun
But pretty soon he's gone
When he goes away, I'll go get stoned.

My mistakes give me my reputation
and them old sad songs were my education, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, February 05, 2007

You, Sir, are no Nostril Damn Us

My predictions in a recent "I believe " post:

I believe that the New Orleans Saints are for real. NOPE!!

I believe that Indianapolis is overhyped this year. NOPE!!

I fear that the Steelers are in a poor position to repeat. YEP!

I also believe that the Florida Gators could be NCAA national champions and that they probably won't. NOPE!!

I believe that I will watch "Armed and Famous" at least once. YEP! (Exactly once)

I woke up to a nightmare. Not from a nightmare, mind you, to a nightmare. Seems that in the course of the evening the dog had burrowed underneath the covers. She went in head first. That in itself struck me as strange since that, in my experience anyway, is more of a cat manuver. But,of course, she did not go completely down. Nope. She had managed to come to rest with her butt resting right square on the adjacent pillow. So, you say, that's unpleasant, but hardly a nightmare. Well then, buckwheat, stop interrupting and let me finish. She had come to rest facing me, and was sleeping with her legs slpayed open. Completely akimbo, if you will. I awaken and open my eyes to find myself face to, um, parts with my dog. And yes, as a matter of fact I am scarred from the experience, thank you.

I have the most complicated taxes I've ever had this year. Between us we've had 5 jobs, 2 mortgages, a money market, a 401k, stocks, 2 student loans and bunches of job or school related expenses. The thought of it all makes my head swim. But rather than put a pair of speedos on my head (it's swimming, get it?) I'll probably hire a tax man to help me. Most of my life I have just filed the EZ. I made this... I paid this... Gimme back that.

I must say, I enjoy having a corporate travel office. I just call up American Express and begin ruminating, "Well, I want a room near the airport, but not in it. A smoking room, for the daily cigar. I like places with the word "suites" in the name, but prefer one with wireless internet and a shuttle to the airport. But I still want a car. Intermediate size is fine, but not a Ford. Specify not a Ford. Or Hyundai. I don't like Hyundais either." I feel like a rock star ordering up a bowl of M&Ms for the dressing room with all of the brown ones removed.

I know I'm an airhead, but Idol is on, ACC conference play is in full swing, LOST starts back tonight, Survivor starts back tomorrow night, and The Amazing Race starts back in a week or so and Rob & Amber are running in it again. So, whether you agree about my airheadom or not, it is certianly a great time to be alive.

In a big country, dreams come alive, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A series of ironies from Eastern Hillsborough County

This is a description of someone I had occasion to spend the day with. It is quite short and is written in prose, but it is no less real and no less accurate for it. I tried to be polite and understanding, but he was old (older than my illustration), overbearing, and cantankerous. Or maybe not cantankerous. Maybe just contrary. I'll admit to being a little hazy on the exact difference between the two. Still, he managed to steer us from one place to another where he could sit and chain smoke while monopolizing each conversation, even as he repeated himself frequently. I titled it :

He Smelled of Bad Habits
I found what I was not seeking. An old man who stood there reeking of hard, bad habits and stories that were too often told.

I've seen four of these now. They're called "The Hidden Hitch". Sure, they look spiffy and very convienent. But I can see 'em, so how are they hidden?

The vast expanse was a pretty, white sugar sand and a path off of and onto what used to be an out of the way county road between small farm communities. The orange trees were all pushed over, stacked on one end, and set afire leaving just the aforementioned sandy patch. The name of this new subdivision? "The Preserves".

Schedule for Feburary, in order: Boston, Louisville, Phoenix. At least there is a logical progression westward. I checked with Gunner and he is not close enough to Louisville to sneak in a visit. It's just as well. I am much more entertaining from afar anyway.

Now, as if the hurricanes and devastating tornados were not enough to make you think twice about making a life for yourself in Florida, we got this. See, I was off near Turkey Creek, FL scouting out a bunch of old phosphate pits (mines) that had been reclaimed, filled with water, and turned into a right nice sportsmans playground and bass fishery, when I spotted the sign. I had neither my camera nor my camera phone with me, so we will just have to trust my accuracy in describing it to you. It was all official, with a red band across the top proclaiming "WARNING" all serious, like one of them DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE placards. However, this was not for dangerous voltage. Nope, nothing in Florida is ever that easy.... or that normal. This sign proclaimed, all officially like I done told you, that "WARNING! THE BUZZARDS WILL DAMAGE YOUR CAR" Seriously. I even read it twice to be sure. Welcome to southwest Florida.

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, out
Ramblin' Ed