Saturday, September 27, 2014

A tour of Richmond, with Jay in Virginia

Jay, of Jay in Virginia, met me at my hotel this morning and took me on a tour of his city, Richmond, Virginia.  We had a nice breakfast in Richmond's hipster town, that is not how they describe it, but it is certainly how I would describe it.  There are three thriving bike shops on one block - how much more hipster can you get.  We went in Monument row to downtown passing the museum campus along the way.  The Capital is downtown, past that under the expressways and around the train station is a wonderful warehouse district.  From there we went across the James river and slightly west to a park, with wonderful rocks and rapids.  My aging knees are bothering me, so we didn't make it out onto the rocks.  It is clear that Jay loves his city and it is obvious why.  The city appears prosperous, I was struck by the number of obviously local and successful business, shops, stores and restaurants. There are a couple of Universities that keep the city young, a mix of old and new money.  Fine older neighborhoods and modern condos downtown.  It looks like a fun and interesting place.  THANK YOU to Jay for showing me around.  If you want to see a city, have a local show you around.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dinner Conversation

I was in Richmond for a meeting today and met Jay Murphy for dinner.  Three hours of sharing our life stories over great local barbecue.  Much fun was had. Some bloggers are real people. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Working in Circles

Some days, I think I should have studied drafting so I would be better prepared for working in circles.  This morning I was waiting for someone to call me back, so I could complain about waiting.

I have been waiting since the first week in August for information on a proposed project, that the person I was waiting to have call me back, was getting from someone else who does not talk to me, despite the fact that we work for the same company.  When I finally talked to my guy, his answer, was that he had the information I have been waiting for since August, but it was wrong, so he hadn't told me he had it.  I explained that if had told me it had come in and it was messed up, I would be angry at the person who messed it up, instead of him for keeping me waiting.  I'd still be waiting, and frustrated, but I would be angry at someone else - the person who won't talk to me despite the fact that we work for the same company. They won't talk to me because we don't contract with them and they report to a different management line. But we do work for the same company.  Some days I think I work in the middle of a Monty Python skit.

Months ago I had a meeting with another person and detailed the timeline of when I needed various products for a major project I am working on.  She showed me her standard production timeline and I said no, this is a different audience and I need the products sooner to meet the needs of this group. I have gotten everything on her time line, about two months later then I needed it all along the project timeline.  She listened and nodded her head and then did it her way.  I told her boss this afternoon that I would not work with her again, he said I didn't have a choice, I pointed out that I do, I can contract with someone else to do that part of the project next year - someone who will listen to when I need things.  Did I break the circle there?  Time will tell.

I really just wish we could all listen and treat one another as we would wish to me treated. But then that is circular. I feel like a dog chasing it's tail - the dog is likely having more fun.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Better then the Raccoon

Nice weekend, I slept, did some grocery shopping, went to the farmers market, did laundry and a little housekeeping.  I didn't win the Power-ball lottery - no one did.  Weekends give me time to read more blogs.  I have my daily list of a dozen or so blogs that I read everyday or almost everyday.  Three or four get comments on a daily basis, others get occasional comments.  On weekends, I bring up the legacy web browser and read and expanded list of blogs including 4 or 5 more ex-pats living in Europe, a couple of food blogs and several gay bloggers.  I enjoy the expanded list, but time is limited on work days.  Sleep, eating well and getting a little exercise each day have to take priority.  Take care of yourself, or you won't be able to care for others.

The a colleague stopped by my office this morning to comment on a sticker taped to my office window "Work is the new retirement."  She is retired military, gone back to work.  We discussed how work is a central part of our identity.  Her husband is trying to adjust to life after 30+ years in the military. It is difficult not having the structure of work after a lifetime of doing so. I can't imagine not working. She also admired the two paintings in my office - she knows how to get on my good side.

Oh, the raccoon, he was decomposing in the middle of the road to the metro this morning, we are all probably having a better day then the raccoon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Random Ramblings

It has been a busy week.  I was out of town last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.  Monday I tried to catch up on the backlog from those three days, and needed to leave by 1:45 for the in-town conference.  Monday evening was Hillary Clinton, a very likely candidate for President in the next election and then Tuesday was conference all day long, including the lunch speech by the Vice President. I was pleased that I passed the secret service screening for the VP.  They were running around with pictures on I-Phones tapping people on the shoulder and asking them to leave.  There was an article in the Washington Post today about the number of places in DC where someone is eavesdropping on your cell phone activity - no big surprise. I was surprised that I was able to post to Facebook while the VP was in the room, they have the ability to block all the phones near the protected asset. Today I had a Conference planning call, a meet and greet for our fall semester interns and spent the rest of the day trying to cut an article from 2,800 words to 2,000 words.  I have it down to 2012 words, about as close as I am going to get.  They want exactly 2,000 words, not 1,999 and not 2001. These people are crazier then I am.

Charleston was great fun.  The hotel was plush and comfy.  We took a horse drawn carriage tour with a very entertaining local guide.  Charleston has become very up-scale over the last 30 years.  The guide said, houses from this point to the bay start at one-million-dollars and go up.  Someone asked where the money comes from and he drolly responded, we just assume that all Yankees are millionaires. Gucci and Louis Vuitton both had stores on the block the hotel was on.  A nice place to visit, but I couldn't afford to spend a lot of time there.  Boeing has an assembly plant at the airport in Charleston, I got to watch one of the Boeing super 747 freighters take off.  I like big planes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Okay,  I knew Hillary was invited when I agreed to attend this conference,  but I didn't know that Joe Biden was the lunch speaker until I checked in yesterday.  I cleared security, my picture didn't show up on the get this person out of the room list.  Security was tight.  He spoke for almost half an hour,  ignoring the teleprompter,  and consulting his notes only at the end.  How fun. I have met Jill Biden a couple of years ago at a Veterans program in Delaware that my office had funded in part. Neat real people. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


The special speaker this evening was Hillary Clinton.  She was founder of a legal aid program early in her Arkansas days. Security was tight, I had to stand for over an hour and it was worth it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Space on planes

So there have been several fights over knee room or seat recline on airliners recently.  The manufacturers can build bigger planes, but they cost more to operate and the airlines don't fly them. Great example here ready to take off. Wonderful piece of engineering,  either that or everyone on board passed gas at once.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


There are exceptions to my love of airports and flying, like this morning when the plane broke. 
We were delayed for a mechanical, then they put us on a bus to go to the plane, then they took us off the bus, then they they put us back on the bus, we got to the plane and waited for the repair man to leave, we boarded, waited for the repair man to come back, the first officer got off and talked with him, the repair guy left, we waited another 20 minutes and we started to move.  We used 90% of the main runway to get airborne and climbed very-very slowly, I saw the Pentagon at an angle seldom seen except by birds and generals (generals get to helicopter in and out sometimes.) It took a long time to get to Charleston.  As we were getting off they were announcing that the outgoing flight was canceled and the plane was flying out on it's remaining engine for major repairs (so that explains the problem.) 

The plane in the picture, they are putting tape over the leading edge of the peeling paint on the tail.  Duck-tape will solve anything but a wonky engine. 

I am in Charleston SC for a meeting.  

A few of my favorite things

I like airports.  they are the best for people watching,  people coming and going to points across the globe. 

Air travel is still magic.  I can flap my arms all I want and I can't fly without a plane.  There is the majesty of the machine and the quickness.  Journeys that took my grandmother a week 100 years ago. I can do today in 6 hours. 

I can't believe how cheap air travel is. I can't put gas in my car for what this trip cost by air. Yes airfare has gone up and it is harder to find a bargain,  but there are bargains to be had if you plan ahead. 

I like traveling.  I wouldn't do it every day.  Interesting hypothetical question. If air travel was free,  how much more would you really travel? 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Random Rant

On the subway coming home, the women sitting behind me dialed up the voice mail on her cell phone and left her phone on speaker so all within 2-3 rows could hear.  When the second message started, I commented "clueless" and the guy sitting next to me turned around and handed her a headset saying "use these before you reveal anymore national security secrets to the entire train car."  Were we out of line?  Should we have said anything?

My X posted on Facebook about waking up Sunday morning with a roach in her ear (yes, I was married to a women once, it didn't work for either of us.)  I resisted the urge to post a comment about her housekeeping having not improved.  I was being especially good.

Several posts in a row without pictures, I know, I know, I need to take pictures with my Cell to post easily to blogger and I just haven't been doing so.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


A couple of cyber friends keep back-yard chickens.  They seem to enjoy the birds, and enjoy the fresh eggs.  But they don’t seem interested in moving from “farm to fork” with the chickens.  There is a farm near here that teaches a Saturday course in poultry processing, I think it starts something like take one chicken, remove head, set aside head.  I know my grandmothers knew how to kill and clean chickens, but modernity had settled in by the time I came along and they no longer processed their own.  I am not sure I ever saw my mother start with a whole chicken.  I can only remember her buying them cut up and them mostly just parts.  Parts is parts.  My grandmother, taught me to cut up a whole chicken.  Fewer and fewer people seem to know what to do with a whole chicken. It really is basics of good cooking and good value. When cutting up chickens, among other things you rapidly realize that a chicken does not have nuggets, nuggets don’t correspond to any part of the anatomy of that bird. I don’t think you should be able to graduate from high school without knowing how to cut up a chicken.  

Friday, September 05, 2014

Check another one off the bucket list

The President has been in Wales for a few days, no doubt checking in with John and the dogs.  On the way out of the country, he stopped by Stonehenge and remarked that this checked another one of the bucket list. It was on my list. It is a neat place!  We stopped on the way to Swansea.  If you are hoping to push on the rocks and prove that they are real, it is not the right place to visit. A few years ago I was driving between the Grand Canyon and Phoenix and pulled off to see native American cliff dwellings.  Really neat.  A few weeks later I was having dinner with a friend of ours who is a history professor, and she asked how much of the cliff dwellings you are able to climb around. The answer is none, they are very fragile, if the hordes marched through centuries of preservation would crumble in a few years. She said she wouldn't be bothered visiting it would be like Stonehenge where they won't let you touch anything. A historian with no sense of historic preservation, check another one off the bucket list.  

Monday, September 01, 2014

Weekend Report

I have been quiet this weekend.  Some weird bug. I came home early on Friday and have slept and slept and not eaten much.  Interesting digestive adventures that I won't go into.  I am back eating a little and I think I will survive. 

Good week at the office.  I found a student intern.  I had lost her. I had interviewed her in March,  by video from home on a snow day and agreed she would spend the fall semester with us.  When I got back to the office I lost her resume.  In May when I tried to confirmed fall interns I couldn't find her.  And her classmate backed out.  She emailed me,  so I guess she found me. We pushed the paperwork through.  She starts Tuesday. 

I am making progress on planning a teaching trip to Hawaii next winter.  Two tickets to paradise and someone is going to pay me to do this.  And it is work I love doing.

The little conference I have been working on for the past few months,  SOLD OUT the venue on Friday,  six weeks before the program date.  I was worried that we would not sell enough seats to break even - blew that out of the water.