Thursday, March 29, 2007

New dog: Rambling Wreck

Heloooo. I am Rambling Wreck, known to my friends, which includes everyone I ever met, as Ramble. I have not completely proven it yet, but I believe I am the boss of everybody. And everything.
Hmmmm. Here's a leg... I have to convien..... (Whap!!) Whoa, dude-what was that for???? Are you out of your ever lovin' mind?
The washing machine is my throne, the laundry room, my kingdom.
I will have been home 3 weeks when I head down to Houston in April. 3 whole weeks. That's been nice.
I googled "Raconteurs Bang Bang" to find a video, which I found on youtube by the way, and one of the less useful entries that came up was a blog from Europe somewhere. It was devoted to music, but had this, which I found interesting in a point blank sort of way, on the sidebar:
Tax is stolen money -
und darum sind wir auch der Meinung,
daß sie grundsätzlich hinterzogen werden sollten!
Yeah, what he said.

Threads of thoughts:
Then, as I touched her hand, she smiled. And her smile spoke little more than, "I missed you." But her eyes reminded me, chided me, taunted me. Her eyes laughed. They danced. And most of all they whispered, "I know you're not quite sure what you don't want. And I know how to make you need it."
How to make me need it? She believes such nonsense? I am free thinking. I am freestanding. I am complete. Among the many, I am strong. Among the followers, Iam the light. "Woman", I thought, "You're here at my pleasure. You are here for my pleasure. You haven't the luxury of, nor the permission for, spinning tales that stretch such length." If only I were able to believe what I needed to believe.
Sure, I can lie. I lie to Anderson almost daily. I lie about my intents and I palm the coins of excess change. I wear misrepresentation like comfortable jeans. Deciept is only a problem for others. Yet... I can't lie to me. I know the truth. And dammit all to hell, apparently so does she. She thinks she can make me need what I assume I don't want? Impossible. Because, though kept in a tiny box in an out of the way, yet oft visited corner of my sullen, sulking heart, I know that not only do I want it. I crave it. Stupid woman. Stupid heart.
Sanjaya must die, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, March 23, 2007

One thing cool & two things unexpected

Thursday I was in a head shop. Hadn't been in one of them for 27 or 28 years. They have not really changed a lot, actually. It was a trip (no pun intended) in the way back machine to High School Ed. We had stopped at a Thai resturant I had wanted to try and it shared a building with the head shop. So, no longer being in the navy and subject to guilt by association, me and the wife wandered in.

Today was a pretty good day. It all started last night when we sat around outside with a few neighbors drinking and talking around the fire. It is just so comfortable.

Then I got up and watched all the basketball games I recorded while we were sitting around the fire. I was pretty happy with the result, so I recorded the games today to watch tomorrow morning.

Next I took the wife out to Pinellas Park (for all intents and purposes, think St. Petersburg) to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market. We had some tax return money in our pockets and it was a nice day, so we hopped in her little sports car, popped open the sun roof, and took the long route via Bayshore Blvd and the Gandy Bridge. After buying a couple of knock-off Louis Vitton & Chanel handbags my wife told me she no longer needed to go to New York with me if I went. I thought she wanted to see the lights, the bustle, the heartbeat of America's great city. Seems that's the only place she knew for sure had a Chinatown, and Chinatown is where she knew she could get good knockoff bags. But hell, since they've got 'em at a flea market next to a Florida swamp, who needs NY?

After the flea market, I went looking for someplace to eat. Turned out to be right next to the flea market. It was called The Cajun Cafe on the Bayou and it was awesome. Felt like I was back on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. I had jambaya and Noriko had boiled crawfish. We were stoked.

Yesterday we also went to the animal shelter and got us a new puppy, or as Noriko tells Bella dog, "We went to got you a baby brother." A sheperd mix. Cute as all get out. We will pick him up Tues or Wed, after the vet gets done "fixing" him. Pictures will, of course, follow.

Some recent photography (Better if you expand 'em, but go ahead and look at them how you want to):

Chicago, viewed from the 6th floor of the parking garage at Midway Airport. It was pretty cold with the wind blowing, but during the wind ebbs (my term) it was fairly pleasant.
Regular people like me NEVER, ever get the non-handicapped spot right next to the elevator in long term parking. I had to stop everything and dig out my camera. There had to be proof of the occurance. See, my Pontiac. My luggage. And what else? The elevator, that's what!

I snapped this because most of us believed this to be a myth and did not believe it existed. Ponder it a while. You'll find the reason, if you have not already snapped it off, below. (I can be seen in the chrome if you expand it out.)
Not much going on. Bunch of curtian hanging, floor cleaning, and yard work going on. Yep, yawn city.
Anyway, further explaination on the last photograph. Sarasota is just south of here, so it's in Florida. That's an Illinois plate on that car. Folks around here would not believe some wild and implausable story about a Yankee moving back home without some kind of proof. So it is proof that I provide.
Coexist y'all, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spider Cafe / Santa Ana, CA

These are pictures from my last trip. Light reading. Mediocre photography. It's not so much living vicariousy through me as it is, well, indulging me. So... indulge me.

Am headed to Chicago this afternoon. Weather and time permitting, I will try to get some photos there too. Now that I realized the new computer has a slot for the memory card out of the camera, I don't even need to tote a cable anymore. As my old favorite (and still my mental image of the perfect Marine) would say, "Shaaa-zaaaaam! How cool is that, SGT Carter?"

We called this the Spider Cafe. It was really called Cappicino's or something equally uninspired. I thought this was pretty unique.
A typical training session. I was there to observe and learn from Christine there so I could start picking up some of the load for teaching this particular configuration.
We were training in this building on the 18th (top) floor. It was a pretty nice building, but being California, there was f course some serious silliness as you will see in the next photo.
Yep. Our pretty, pretty building came with its very own warning label. Me? Ain't skeered!
Karma lives in Malibu. But Karma's office is here.
Sorry. I was a sucker for the palm trees.
I thought gas was pretty expensive. But everything is relative. Check out what Mr. Conrad Hilton things a 20 oz Coke is worth.
What can I say. Expense account or not, I wasn't paying this.
No urbane comment available.
This was a small patch of dirt. About the size of one good building. I got a kick out of the seperate gates below.
All the leaves are gone..., out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Your images are being uploaded to Blogger

Well, this was about as far as I explored in N.H. Like says their motto, "LIVE, FREEZE AND DIE". This was taken from the hotel window with the outside securely on the outside and me bumping the thermo into the numbers beginning with 80. Pretty friendly peeps and I really do understand the large number of men in beards.
Never got the pic of this I wanted. Pepe was all stretched out, legs splayed, and at some points, the front legs sticking straight up like Superman (Maxmanus Kentus) taking off in flight. Funniest darn thing. This is still cute.
From the 3 March issue of The Economist come the following excerpts from a special report on the American South. Remember, they're British:
Those who wince at Southern piety can always move north. Peter Applebome quotes a liberal Yankee in Georiga:" It seems crazy listening to myself say this, but sometimes I think that a lot of the characteristics that come from some of this fundamentalist religious stuff that I hate also cause it to be so pleasant here."
In any case, with American politics so evenly divided, fears of the "Dixification of America"- that southerners will impose their God-fearing, low tax ways on everyone else- are overblown. And the new Republican South will never be as politically monolithic as as the old Democratic South, says Mr. Black, because the Republicans let their opponents vote.
On the other hand, what other region with such a turbulent history is now so pleasant to live in? The most convincing retort to Dixie's critics is also America's. Just as those who doubt the vitality of the American Dream need only look at the queues for green cards, so those who scoff at Dixie should watch America's internal migration. In 2004-2005 some 1.3m people moved to the South from other parts of America. Many more trekked up, uncounted, from Mexico. And all those who come, come voluntarily.
As it was once kinda sung, kinda spoken, that's the duality of the Southern Thang. -- R'Ed
Tid Bits:
"This is a place where people come, and they're either running away from something or running after something. It's not where a stable honest person comes." [Yeehaw, and I LIVE here! - Ramblin' Ed]
-- Carl Hiaasen, Florida author, addressing the recent spate of bizarre stories from the Sunshine State, including a Tampa principal accused of buying cocaine in his office.

Fire Ants Are The Masters Of All Karma:
There is a big problem plauging the monks of Hong Hock See temple in northern Malaysia. A big problem. Seems it is infested with fire ants.But as a bunch of Buddhist monks, they can't just go to Home Depot and get something to spray all over them. No, there is to be no killing.They tried to use a vacuum cleaner to suck them up and release them in the forest. If you have an ant problem, don't bother with the vacuum idea. And it's not like you can reason with fire ants.
Yeah, I know. This was like one of them crappy forwarded e-mails with an animated teddy bear giving you hugs and imploring you to forward him on to 10 of your friends who could use the lift today. Well... my friends don't need lifts, they ARE lifts. Um, shoot. That makes no sense. Oh... they RIDE lifts. Yeah, that's the ticket.
No! YOU'RE revoked!, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Always check. Before speaking, I mean

Gunner turned me on to a firewall I'd never even heard of, Jetico. It meets my main criteria of being compatible with Windows Vista. If the amount of dialog boxes I am having to click through in the course of every session are any indication, once it gets out of "learn mode" it will be quite protective. However, since I have serviced 17 dialog boxes just since I started this, I am not sure how long I will be able to put up with its learning curve. We'll see.

On Boston Legal, Denny Crane announces, "It's a rule I have. I always check for midgets before speaking." Of course, Denny Crane needs to. She's stealthy.

OK, podnah, I'm a headed out to John Wayne Airport which is in, interestingly enough, Santa Ana, CA. The OC. Orange County. About as un-cowboy an area as you'll find. I know. I lived just down the road in Long Beach. Looks like I'll be there again this Thursdsay and Friday.

Then Monday-Wednesday I shall be back in the windy city. On Southwest Airlines. Dinggg! I am now free to move about the country. I was talking to a lady in D.C. who enlightened me as to their policy of no assigned seating. That sounds bad for me. Basically, if you don't understand the rules, and in this case I do not, then the rules shall screw you. No, seriously. That's just Life 101. I stand by for my screwing. I suppose I will be in middle seat hell. Getting aboard late enough to miss out on overhead bin space.

In NH I was driving everyday by a machine that looked like a large, horizontally oriented, wood chipper. It was sitting on a flat spot on the side of a hill, with the hillside displaying bare rock sides. It was surrounded by large boulders and trucks that looked to haul things away. My summation was that they were digging the boulders up (or cutting them off, I am unclear) and feeding them in to the machine. Turning big rocks into little rocks that are bound, again by my summation, for driveways and flower gardens all across this great and varied nation. If you are like me, you had never really asked yourself, "Where do little rocks come from?" (Well, Rocky, when a daddy stone really loves a mama pebble...)

I also crossed the Merrimack River repeatedly. It was beautiful. And my view was inclusive of an old wrought iron bridge, a tree lined bank, and water splashing up and around stones in it's path, which forms a little whitewater thingy. It was gorgeous. However, my view came from a highway bridge with little in the way of a breakdown lane. And, as you may recall from last post, it was -20 degrees and windy. Not ideal for exploring if you're a Florida boy. So the picture I had really wanted to get will have to wait until next time.
I dropped almost $250 on dinner and drinks for my boss and 2 co-workers down in MA (I never thought I'd be somewhere where I headed south to get to MA). I found that to be awfully expensive. Looking at my bill, I had paid $9.50 for a shot of Knob Creek bourbon. It's good bourbon, but still. Anyway, I was complaining about the cost and contemplating a future where it was not expensed due to the rather sizable bar bill. Companies seem a bit persnickety about paying for your booze I have learned.

During my musing/complaint/tirade one of the local boys said to me, "That was expensive. Wheah did yah go to eat?" "I don't know. Somewhere in North Andover." "Nahth Ahndover? Hell, that's the expehnsive paht of town!" Well... how was I to know? It was a dark road into the woods from I-93 N. Do I look local??

Dulles is a French word meaning "certian delay". I had always had the worst luck at O'Hare, but Washington-Dulles is giving it a run for its money. Flying up my flight was cancelled. It was too windy to fly. Or land. Or something. So, rather than delay my flight, or move me to another flight, they cancelled it altogether, explaining it with a curt "Sorry, maybe you should look for a hotel" and moved on to the next customer. I was able to get a flight into Boston by assuming, correctly, that they'd be flying bigger planes into Logan. But by changing flights I also assumed, again correctly, that my bag would be lost. I had to teach the first day in my traveling clothes. Luckily I dress well, so there were no frayed jeans or inappropriate t-shirts involved.

Coming back, I got to Dulles, looked at the gate assignments and saw right off the bat that my flight was already delayed. Had a plane. Had passengers. The weather in both starting point and destination was good. The problem? The pilots and crew had not arrived yet from... wait for it... Boston. Maybe its not Dulles. The Boston area seems to be central in all of my travel woes. Which brings me to my final point...

My home office is in Woburn, MA. I have since found out it is pronounced Woo-ben. But I thought otherwise when I was asked what I was doing one night. "Taking my boss and co-workers out to dinner," I said. "They're up here?" "No, down in Woburn. But I'm just a little concerned." "Why?" "Well think about it. Woe means sadness and despair and burn is something else you don't really want." "Ha ha. I see what you mean."

Saga Man, out

Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 04, 2007

With a few friends and a can of mace

The gate area of Las Vegas as I was transferring from Phoenix back to Tampa.
My feets in The Valley of the Sun. Well, in a room in a hotel in the Valley of the Sun.

My car on the outskirts of town. Viva la unlimited miles.

Headed out of Scottsdale.

I bought a new Toshiba laptop (number 6) on Friday. It's a Satellite U205-S5057, which I only add because I know Gunner will take the time to look it up. Anyway, I have spent the last two days pulling crap off (McAffee,Microsoft Works,etc.) and putting stuff like RoboForm, Zone Alarm, AVG, WinPatrol, and Opera on.

I was ready to upgrade to a dual processor for starters. I was ambivilent about Vista. But mostly, with all of this domestic travel and its attendant security checkpoints, I wanted a new Toshiba because of these two features: 1) Small and lightweight, and this one is both. And 2) Hardware and software hard drive protection. Seriously, a laptop really gets banged about on the road. So anyway, I got it. I customized it. And now I am blogging on it.

I am off to New Hampshire tomorrow. I hope to see the boss for dinner in Boston one night, see the movie Pan's Labyrinth on another, and see the movie Black Snake Moan on another. Yes siree Bob, I am one hell raising dude in my old age, huh?
Day 2: Electric kool-aid, hell. THIS was a bad trip! It started out easily enough. It was a leisurely putt down to Tampa International. Flight went well. Arrived Washington-Dulles in a little over two hours. Realized I had a 4 hour layover so I did what any good squid would do and went to sleep. Woke up 45 min before the flight, noticed that the kiosk was not manned so I checked the board for a gate change. Eeeeek! The flight was cancelled. As I turned, I noticed the line backed up and out of Customer Service Center. Grab cell and call Corporate Travel. Bingo, I can fly to Boston, grab a car and drive up to Manchester. Good enough. Dang, flight does not leave for an additional 5 hours. Re-get re-comfortable. Wait. Wait. Doze. Wait.
Board flight. Bored flight. Arrive Boston. Very cold. Start driving. On highway and realize that headlights do not illuminate road. Serious bummer. Check engine light comes on in a deserted stretch. Mentioned that it was cold yet? It was. Very.
Can't see the road. Worried about the engine. But only 30 miles to go. Must push on. Worst is behind me, right? Right!? Where the hell did all this snow come from. Aw Jeez!! The headlights sure illuminate that well enough. Cold, tired, already only driving 45 mph and now this... the flurries are making me dizzy. Hmmm... this somewhat sucks. Good a time as any to mention the fact that they lost my bag. Gotta work tomorrow and I am in jeans. And unshaven. And covered, apparently, in cat fur. The fur is a longish story. So trust me.
The story goes on. Doesn't get much better. I survived. Made me stronger. Blah, blah, blah.
I have never been this cold, by the way. I guess the temp is in the single digits with gusty wind making it feel like 20 or 30 below. Anything below 30 is just too freaking cold. I don't bother with enumeration after that. Just shiver and cuss. A lot. Static electricity zapped me everytime I touched the computer in class today, which was over 180 times as I had to manually advance the slides. about 30 of thos 180+ finger zapping slides did not cause me to curse audibly. The rest did.
Had to gas the rental so I could exchange it for one with less action in the SERVICE ENGINE warning light department. Gave me a Ford Escape. Dang, I don't care much for SUV type cars. But whatever. Pumping gas, my hands felt frostbitten before I got the AmEx swiped good. Brrrr! and, just for good measure, sumbitch! Choose payment method. OK, credit. Do I want a car wash? What? No! Do I want a reciept? Yes!! But what I want more is for you to ask less freaking questions, spit out some doggone gas, and leave me alone to put my poor ol' hands back in my coat pockets. Why am I being interrogated by a gas pump, anyway?
This story too goes on and on. I survived. Got a dose of character. Blah, blah, yada, blah.
Tired of typing, even though they aren't real sentences. They're more semi-entences. Yeah, buddy. Leave you with a quote from that punkabilly himself, Hank Williams III:
If the shoe fits wear it
If the truth hurts, bear it
That's the kind of life I'm living, and I plan on living long... OUT,
Ramblin' Ed