Friday, August 21, 2009

I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out

This is what a typical maintenance class of mine looks like. That is my machine, and these guys will work in airports maintaing them. That is the training area of our factory.

Every time I called the Turks into the lab, I would stick my head in the door and shout, "Team Istanbul, you're up." I also gave the middle Murat his nickname, Murat the Elder.

Interesting sign. It was in Covington, KY in a trendy little area right along the river. You were sitting in quaint old pubs, in quaint old buildings looking across the river at the giant, shiny buildings of Cincinnati.

Am I the only one who immediately thinks "gates of hell" when they see this? Satan will see you now, please remove your shoes and and empty your pockets.

I absolutely LOVED the town's water tower. I mean seriously, how can you not?

I just can't help but think that the Commonwealth's officials did not think it through when naming this state park. State park in 20 miles, snickering for a good 12 of them.
Been in Northern Kentucky all week and have thoroughly enjoyed it. First of all, it takes about 2 1/2 minutes to get on some of the prettiest backroads I have cruised in a long time. I hopped on US 127 South here in Florence Y'all and just meandered along, seeing where it might take me. Well, it didn't take me through many towns, but with the windows down and the roads free of traffic, I somehow found myself in Frankfort.
In Frankfort, I discovered I was on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I assume it meanders along through several different cities, as I know the distilleries are in numerous different KY towns.But in the 2 or 3 mile stretch I was on, I was able to see the Buffalo Trace Distillery and Four Roses Distillery. Buffalo Trace was a beautiful old building right on the river.
Everybody here has been ready to shoot the breeze and I have had some great, lazy afternoon conversations. Sure keeps life interesting. I was in a place yesterday, and when I walked in, everybody was glued to the large plate glass window, staring out at the road I had just turned in from. A chicken had crossed the road. Then hung out at the bus stop. And was now in a bank parking lot with a man trying to catch it. He finally gave up, sat and watched over the chicken until reinforcements arrived. First a man showed up in a Cadillac, got out, and guarded the chicken from the other side of the parking lot. Then a lady drove up in another expensive car, got out, stomped over to said semi-free range chicken and just snatched it up. She got back in her car with it and drove off.
The boys in the joint sat and talked about the chicken and it's adventure for the rest of the 45 minutes or so that I was there.
I have enjoyed some of my favorite foods. That I had forgotten were some of my favorite foods. I have had fried bologna with applesauce on it and I have had fresh blackberries. Mom used to make me fried bologna when I was a kid. I always liked how it turned into a little meat cup when fried. Then I would fill that cup with applesauce. Mmmmm. Good stuff.
Went to a place called Skyline Chili because it was one of those local flavor things, and if you travel, you should always try as many of the local things as you happen to run across. I had a coney in a steamed bun, covered in chili and piled high (I mean REALLY high) with grated cheese. I had spaghetti, covered in chili and piled high (I mean REALLY high) with grated cheese. I had fries, covered in chili and piled high (I mean REALLY high) with grated cheese. As a firm believer that anything is made better by the addition of cheese, I found myself in the unfamiliar position of actually removing some from my meal. There was that much. I will probably be stopped up for a week, but when I finally do go again, I half expect it to come out covered in chili and piled high (I mean REALLY high) with grated cheese.
Got my suitcase packed. Am headed home directly from class and it is time to go down for breakfast, turn in the rental car, and think about heading in to work.
Remember, an opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. Out.
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds

Happy Birthday, Woodstock. Yay, whirled peas.

Here I sit, and none too happy about it by the way, in Charlotte's Douglas International Airport. Which I remember from a long time ago when it was Douglas Regional Airport. I am waiting for a 9:25 PM flight to Dayton, Ohio, which is actually 75 miles from Cincinnati, where I am really going... and should have arrived at already. Weather...always weather! I am going to be one tired puppy when I get to work tomorrow. A tired puppy who is possibly still wearing his travelling clothes. Arrrgh!
Anyway, I have been busting butt trying to get some training written for a custom install in Taiwan. In fact, I was messing with it in the Tampa Airport for almost 2 hours. I assume it is for Taipei, but that's mostly because I don't know of any other cities there. I could possibly end up in the sticks somewhere, and all the money I have been squirreling away for a hot time in the big city may actually end up no place more special than a noodle shop. We'll see. Anyway, I think around about the 2nd week in September I well be headed over there for 2 weeks. Yee-Haw...back in Asia for a while.

I have been drinking tea today, for some unexplainable reason. Hot tea, no less. Something called Rasberry Spark, which tastes like hot Kool-Ade. It is all full of ginko bilboa and ginsing. Not sure what that means, whether it is supposed to make me healthy or horny. Either, I suppose, would be an improvement on the day. Ginko bilboa baggins.

Watched Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino last night. Awesome flick. He makes a good grumpy dude, anyway. Plus he had him a bit of a violent streak. Win-Win.

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

All of my life I have used lawnmowers. If you live, or have ever lived, in the south you know, this is a true statement. You have a lot of chances to use them. No, we ain't got some wimpy 2-4 month lawn growing season. Ours goes 8 or 9 months easy, and if you skip a week you need a machete to beat the jungle back enough to get your mower in. So my question is this. WHAT'S HAPPENING? I cannot keep either of my mowers going.
I am useless with small engines. Or actually, I am just pretty useless with my hands in general. I joke that my toolbox contains a yellow pages and a mastercard. But still, all of my life I have kept a mower gassed up and full of oil. And it has always paid me back by cranking when I yanked the starter cord. A beautiful, healthy, totally symbiotic relationship. But here lately, every other, or every third mowing takes place after I take it across the street for small engine maintenance. Seriously, it spends almost as much time stripped down and soaking in carberateur cleaner (yes, I know, but I couldn't figure out how to spell carberateur) as it does actually mowing. So, it's not that I am suddenly taking less care of them. In fact, it is not possible for me to take less care of them.

All I can figure is it is one of two things, or possibly a combo of both. It is either that mower engines are now manufactured with exceedingly cheap ass components nowadays, or the ethenol in the gas is playing hell with the gas getting function. Yep.
Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

You must not think me necessarily foolish because I am facetious, nor will I consider you necessarily wise because you are grave

Got a chance to get out of Houston City Limits and on out a ways into east Texas. I lived in the Shreveport area for a while, in an area known as the Ark-La-Tex. You can figure that out. Anyway, I know you have heard of Texarkana, so there you go.

Driving out through east Texas reminded me so much of Louisiana. It was baking hot and dripping humidity. And you could just feel the character of the place. The poverty, the surliness, the wary eyed look that would eventually break into genuine hospitality. If you turn out to be "all right". I could feel it. And it felt right again.

What does one listen to as a soundtrack for a hot, languid road trip through their not quite forgotten past? I started out with Potato Hole (Yep, I bought it), but it was more upbeat and funky than the drive required. Since I only have 2 CDs with me, I chose the other one. The git down, dirty, gritty....Drive By Truckers. Live from Austin City Limits CD. 3 Dimes Down. Zip City. Puttin' People on the Moon. The hope & despair of The Living Bubba. Yeah, there's the groove.
I could live in Texas.
Anybody that finds this picture beautiful, is a kindred spirit of mine. I love the past. I cherish it. Many times before I have voiced that sentiment. I am a Southerner through and through. I believe that our culture has brought us up to be that way. Not to live in the past, though many of my brothers and sisters seem to have understood it that way, but to make where we have been an intergral part of where we are going. You don't have to abandon your past to greet your future.

Work has been crazy dysfunctional at the airport, but having every third day off has made for some pleasant afternoons. Today is another of them.

It's so hard to communicate with insects. Or in this case, I guess, arachnids. Although, I go back to the original, because it really is hard to communicate with either. I was brushing my teeth a second ago (yes, I have come back to edit this) and there was a tiny spider on my shoulder. Tiny, but a spider nonetheless, so I didn't really want him there for long. Or at all.

I went to flick him away, but he moved...again and again. I was speakling all calm and soothing like about how we both win if he moves along. I would be spiderless and he would be unsquished. So yeah, I thought that was mighty sporting of me. But he kept bugging out. ( Heh heh heh....bugging out. Get it? ) Eventually, cooler heads prevailed, mine, and he got his butt in gear. Literally. He did that thing that spiders do where they lay out this escape thread out of their rear end and kinda parachute down and to safety. Good enough. Like I said, I was going for the win-win scenario anyway.

I am headed to Cincinnatti week after next. At least that is what the airport is called. My itinerary shows both the Airport Hilton (3 mi. from airport) and Hertz as having Kentucky addresses. My wife sometimes worries that I have a girlfriend on the road. As if! There's not really a female fan base for fat, sarcastic, middle aged guys. That I have found, anyway. Besides, she really need not worry about me fooling around in an area that saw fit to elect Jerry Springer mayor. It's like I told her, how could I fool around ?... I don't have a cousin up there. Pa dump dump!

There are 2 other things I keep meaning to tell you. When I am out and about I remember, when I sit down here I forget. It is pissing me off.

One thing was was about how there was a fender bender on FM 1960. 2 cars, nothing spectacular. What threw me for a loop was that lined up behind each wrecked car (so facing both inbound and outbound from my perspective driving up) was a line of about 8-10 wreckers...behind each vehicle.... waiting patiently for the constable to finish. I am driving along and I see 16 or 20 wreckers and am expecting to see a masacree. A veritible bloodbath. Instead, I get a Nissan and a Malibu with dented fenders.

Still can't remember the other thing. But I am shutting down the computer and heading out now, so it should come back to me soon. Dang CRS!!!

My problem pretty much lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income, out
Ramblin' Ed


Boy, I sure screwed the meter up on this one. Apologies for that. But I like the story. And besides, nothing says you can't just skip it. That's why I put 'em at the bottom now, for your ease of skippage.

You Know Me, And You Know I (Just Ain't That Likely To)

I've been thinking 'bout you
and all those things that were left unsaid
when we said too much

There were a lot of things
that were in the way,
but I guess one wasn't trust

You were thinking I was something
you believed to be
was something more exciting than it was

You were thinking I had something
gonna set you free
Though I guess a guy like me, he never does

I was a man of many tales,
I was a man of many journeys
I was a man who lived in versions of the truth

I put those colors in my stories
'cause it seemed when they were painted
they always meant a whole lot more to you

That's the kind of thing I do

I'd like to say I'm sorry
when it comes to what we've done
To maybe hear your side of things
if you think there might be one

They always say to walk a mile
in someone else's shoes
But you know me, and you know I
just ain't that likely to

All the drinking I've done in your memory
is all the drinking I've done
it ain't made us seem no clearer
it ain't tied off what's undone

It ain't made me understand a thing
there's so much I don't know
like why you let me stay so long
like why you let me go

I'd like to say I'm sorry
when it comes to what we've done
To maybe hear your point of view
if you feel like having one

They say you ought to walk a mile
in someone else's shoes
But you know me, and you know I
ain't really likely to

Sometimes I think you know just why
sometimes I can't sit still
But you don't give me nothing
And I know you never will

Been thinking I should find somewhere
to stay and settle down
to try ignoring all the voices
telling me to blow this town

Hey, I've been thinking 'bout you
and all those things that were left unsaid
when we said too much

there were so many things
that we got all wrong
we got so in out of love

And I'd like to say I'm sorry
when it comes to what we've done
To maybe hear your side of things
if you think there might be one

They always say to walk a mile
in someone else's shoes
But you know me, and you know I
just ain't that likely to

Houston, TX
2 Aug 2009