Friday, June 09, 2023

Fabulous Friday: No Rubbish

One of our favorite bloggers always tags onto the description of a drink, no rubbish.  I have to agree, I am a whisky (whiskey) snob.  If I am going to drink it, it needs to be the good stuff.   I was living in Kentucky when the market for high quality single barrel bourbons started to develop.  A classmate in law school bought a distillery - one that had not made anything in a decade but still had all of the equipment and an active license.  He has made more money from that, than most of us have from practicing law. 

A good single malt, a single barrel bourbon, a well aged Canadian, things of beauty to be savored slowly in small quantities, without adulteration.  In other words don't water them down or mix them in a cocktail. 

A friend of mine asked if it was grounds for divorce when her husband used a bottle of Blanton's to make mint-juleps,  divorce - that might be a defense to homicide.  It is a good thing she loves him. I wish I had bought a boatload of Blanton's when it was available by the case, I haven't been able to get my hands on a bottle in five years (well - Justin's has them for $500.)  

I have a couple of special bottles in the back on the bottom shelf, things I will probably never see for sale again.  Someday, I promise I will open them. (Wathens single barrel barrel select - when the family still owned them, and Forged Oak orphan barrel 18-year.) Maybe someday we will get an in person blogger gathering, and I can share with the people who brighten my world with their writing, and photos, and art.   

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Thursday Ramble: Ten Things to Do - Pride Month

1: Wear your colors, I wore the rainbow Virginia is For Lovers t-shirt out to dinner last Friday evening.  

2: Correct the gender assumption about your spouse or significant other.  When someone says "what does your wife do" it is easier to just answer, "a retired college professor" than it is to say, "husband, and he is a retired college professor." Do the hard part - correct the gender assumption.

3: Use the correct pronoun.  When talking about yourself, your lover, or a friend, use the correct pronoun.  If it upsets someone, good for you, on alerting them to their shortcoming. 

4: Read an LGBTQ themed book, if you can buy one - support  LGBTQ+ authors. 

5: Speak out against hate.  Write a blog post, write a political letter, write an editorial, show up at the library book board. 

6: Be an ally - stand up for others - 

7: Speak out against "isms." Sexism, racism, hetrosexism, ableism.  If we stand together for one another we can change the world.  

8: Spend money with LGBTQ+ businesses.  Local or online, support those who support diversity.  Don't support businesses that don't. 

9: If there is a parade, party, or festival nearby - go - stand out- be seen.  

10:  Write a blog post supporting LGBTQ+ individuals.  

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

My World of Wonders - The Wednesday Ws

Where have I been?  The office, home, dinner at the condo grill, the Kennedy Center for the seasons closer for the National Symphony Orchestra. 

What have I been up to?  I made it to the gym 6 days in the past week for an hour on the treadmill watching YouTube videos on my Ipad.  Work has been presenting training, writing reports, and project proposals - three project proposals all at once.  If they are all funded, when I leave they will need to hire two people - and they will have the funding to do so. 

Who have I seen?  A couple of neighbors joined us for dinner Friday evening - that was fun. My team in the office. Dinner with a friend who is in town for a Supreme Court appearance.  

Where are we going?  We are planning a road trip to Cleveland to see J's brothers.  

What surprised me this week?  Someone said "the check is in the mail" and it was.  It was a small consulting job in the office, and in less than a week the paperwork was approved and payment received.   

What made me happy this week? Last Thursday's blog post was well received, I worried about that one.  

What made me laugh out loud? A YouTube short of Rodney Dangerfield telling politically incorrect jokes on the Johnny Carson show about 40 years ago - I was on the treadmill at the gym - the person next to me said she wanted to have the work out I was having when she heard me laugh.  

What have we been eating? Hmm, nothing special.  I made a nice pasta sauce the other night. 

What am I reading?  Life, Death and Whisky by Ralphy Mitchell, he has a YouTube channel.  He is a retired funeral director and whisky collector.  This is his third book.  A slightly fictionalized biography,  an interesting read. (Print on demand from Amazon - print only, one of his books was available as an e-book and was pirated.) 

Who needs a hug this week? School teachers, it is the end of the school year and they have made a difference, and survived.  

Who deserves a slap this week?  Anyone who worries more about drag queens than guns in our schools.  

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Travel Tuesday: One for the Books

I will return to photo dumps next week - probably.  It is no secret that I take a lot of photos and nearly every trip, is a photo opportunity.  I returned from Iceland with over 1,600 photos between two cameras and my phone.  

I started having photo books printed back in 2011, after a trip to Normandy.  I had three copies printed of that one, and gave two as gifts.  The rest of these are one-offs.  

What do I do with them?  People are forever saying, show me the photos from your trip. I could hand them my phone as everything is now in a couple of cloud servers. Face it, phones make a lousy photo viewing platform, one stray touch of the screen you you have gone from Normandy, to Ireland, to Iceland. A printed book is much easier, and allows the viewer to point at a photo and ask a questions, and not trigger a five minute search for the photo they were pointing to. I sometimes pull the books down to remind myself, that there is life outside these four walls.  

I have used several services over the years.  Shutterfly, has artsy - scrapbook style templates. Shutterfly is easy to use, and relatively inexpensive.  You have to select and upload the images.  Shutterfly makes adding text easy.  A couple of these were printed by Zno, I have to admit their print quality is outstanding, they are also the most expensive.  If you find a deal on their "little black book" 20 professional style images for $20 or $30 that is a good buy.  Zno prints in China, so delivery can be slow. One was printed by Blurb, they offer lower cost, soft cover.  Like shutterfly with Zno and Blurb you have to upload the photo files.  Two of these were printed by Google.  If you are an Android user, or use Blogspot, you can click to have your photos backed up in Google Photo.  Go into Google photo, find the print store (shopping bag or purse icon) and the photo books are there.  If Google knows you have been traveling, it will often arrange your photos into a book for you.  You can edit that book taking out images you don't want, adding ones you do. It will warn you of duplicates (something the other platforms don't do.) You can add pages, you can change the photo from framed, to full bleed.  You can create composite pages.  There is a limited ability to add text. Google's books are printed in the same city in South Carolina as Shutterfly, maybe in the same print shop.  

The one from Iceland 2023, is 100 pages, 9-inch by 9-inch, hard cover, and is the most expensive I have done, it was $115 with shipping.  Ouch, but it is a nice book and it was dumb easy to do.  

Monday, June 05, 2023

Moody Monday: The Odd Things

I just walked past my chest of drawers, on the top along with 4 pairs of bifocals, is a train ticket from Pisa to Firenze from February 15, 2002.  Why have I kept it? It was probably used to mark my place in a book, and it has just stuck around as a reminder of my first trip to Italy - funny I thought we were there in 2001.  

My world is filled with oddities that remind of of places, people, events.  Most all have positive memories attached to them.  

In the bookcases with the glass doors in my bedroom, there are a few items from my parents, a couple of belt buckles that were my fathers,  small and inconspicuous with deep meaning for him, one is masonic, the other from Sue Bee, the last decade of his time as a beekeeper we produced for them.  He was not a flashy person, but was deeper than most people thought. There is a tiny photo, of the last airplane he owned, a print he carried in his wallet for 50 years, and I framed after he died.  His wallet is still in my safe, it has $60 in it, that he had in there when he died.  

On my bedroom door is a collection of "Do Not Disturb" signs, collected from hotels across the country and around the world.  Most are simple and utilitarian, some are works of art.  Most remind me of a particular adventure, and hotel that was special in some way.  On the back corner of my desk is a logbook of hotel stays I have kept since 2005, at last count over 650 hotel nights.  A few marked, "Stay Here Again", a few marked "Never Again." Most hotels are interchangeable, just a clean quiet place to sleep and shower.  

Frogs are odd animals in so many ways, but then who are we to talk?  

Sunday, June 04, 2023

The Sunday Five: Computers

1: What was your first computer? 

2: Today, Mac, Windows, or Chrome? 

3: Do you use a full size keyboard? 

4: How big is yours?(your display or monitor) 

5: How many computers do you use in a week? 

My answers: 

 1: What was your first computer? A Radio Shack Color Computer II, running Basic with 16 MB of memory. 

2: Today, Mac, Windows, or Chrome? Yes, all three. 

3: Do you use a full size keyboard? On everything except the Chromebook and Ipad 

4: How big is yours?(your display or monitor) 27 inch at home, 24 inch in the office, Chromebook is 11 inch

5: How many computers do you use in a week? 5 if I include the Ipad (the living room computer.) 2 desktops, 2 laptops, 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 03, 2023

The Saturday Morning Post: Flying Business Class

Back in January of 1991, the US bombed Baghdad on a Wednesday night, and I was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam on Friday night. Travel, especially for Americans, was turned upside down. Despite my father telling me I was CRAZY, I went anyway. KLM cancelled their flight from Orlando (where I was living) to Amsterdam and rebooked us on a flight to Atlanta, and a change to a KLM flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam.  While we were changing planes in Atlanta, Eastern Airlines went out of business.   

KLM upgraded everyone on the flight to Business Class, closed the back of the plane and turned off the lights.  There were about 20 passengers, and 20 flight crew on a 747 that night.  It was my first time in Business class.  The seats were more comfortable, and the food was better, because of the number of no-shows for the flight they had three times as much food as people on board, they offered dinner service twice that evening (and I was down to 170 pounds and afraid to eat anything.)  

After that it was a long time before I was upgraded again.  I checked in for a flight in Lexington one morning and the gate agent looked at me and said, I need to move someone to first class for weight and balance,  would you mind if I moved you?  Not at all, I just wish it was a longer flight.  

Between 2017 and 2019 I had a couple of really busy travel years.  20 work trips and a bunch of personal trips to see my parents, and I picked up "Gold Status" with American Airlines.  Status made me eligible for free or low cost upgrades from coach to business class. On any flight longer than a couple of hours, I always asked, sometimes I would get it, sometimes I would not.  A couple of times on shorter flights the counter or gate agent asked if I would mind changing seats and in the process I was moved to the front of the plane.  One night, on a rare late night flight, I was wedged into my coach seat, next to two people about the same size as me.  About 30 minutes into the flight the flight attendant tapped my on the shoulder and asked me to come with him. I was wondering what I had done when he said, "I can see you are miserable sitting there, and I have an empty seat here in business class, please move into it." I did. 

On the trip to Iceland I did something I have never done, I paid extra to book business class.  Initially I booked business class on the outbound flight, it was $250 a person extra, for more room and better food (without charge) on the overnight flight - I hate overnight flights.  A couple of days after we arrived in Iceland I received an email asking if I wanted to bid on upgrades to business class on the return flight.  I thought about it, thought about paying for food in coach, and business class having good food and drink included.  I bid $181 a seat for the upgrade, and we received an email the next day saying, congratulations, we just charged your credit card.  

I have to say it was worth it.  The seats are about three inches wider, and three extra inches in the right place can make all the difference in the world. The food was good.  Drinks were included (but I don't drink much.) The service and amenities were nice.  I would do that again, I will do that again for that price difference.