A cousin's wife once remarked that if you have seen one water fall you have seen them all and she would sooner go shopping. She is now an ex wife. It is easy to say if you have seen one ocean you have seen them all. Then I saw the north Shore of Oahu. OMG
Friday, January 30, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
So the back cabin of the plane was virtually empty. So I asked and they moved me to an empty row. Along comes an Asian couple who somehow got assigned the two empty seats in my row. It took a couple of minutes to convince them to move to an empty row. When the flight attendant came by they profusely apologized and said I forced them to move. The flight attendant was very sweet, pick any empty row and make yourself comfortable.
I am trying to write something every day. It can be a challenge. I had a slow WiFi connection for a few hours on Wednesday. Surprising how fast we have become dependant on such services.
I am in Spo-ville for three hours. There is a golf tournament and a football game here this weekend. Makes for a fun flight. Two guys recognized one another, one asked the other if he was ready for the weekend and the reply was, I am but not so sure about my liver.
Word has it TSA is searching for deflated balls. Glad I cleared security easily.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Oh can that child make a noise. I am on a cross country flight, someplace over Over Land, you know the states between the east coast and west coast of the United States that are best seen from 35, 000 feet I grew bored with the book I was reading, exhausted by the article I am trying to craft and decided to nap. That is when she started to babble. I am not an expert on early childhood development, but she is early verbal. There are a few short simple words mixed in with the noise that only parents and grandparents can appreciate. She roused me from a fairly deep sleep. Deep enough that my listening had shut down. Of course I thought of ear plugs about 3 am when I rolled over and went back to sleep.
There was a time when I would have been rude to the parents. But that changed for me one day about 25 years ago. I had a young couple with a toddler in my office trying to get some business done. The child woke from a nap and went on for what seemed like an hour. After a couple of minutes the father said to me, " sorry we forget how disturbing that can be." He went on to explain that the child had been born profoundly ill. For months he had been to weak to cry and delayed in becoming verbal. To them it was the sound of a healthy person, the most glorious sound on earth. I will nap later.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
- Busy and productive week at the office. I have a short of list of must do items for Monday.
- Making progress on planning a trip for next summer, Air is booked, three nights hotel are booked, I have about 10 more nights hotels to figure out. The Euro is very low against the dollar. We were in Italy in February 2000, just 6 weeks after the roll out of the Euro and the Euro was about 98-cents. It is about $1.12 today, it was up around $1.50 the last time I traveled in the Euro zone.
- I have a business trip coming up. I have a meeting in Huntington Beach, California and then I am doing five days of training. The training agenda is challenging, we present from 9-4 on Monday, 9-noon on Tuesday and catch a 2:00 flight to the next venue, Wednesday we train from 8:00 am to 3:00 PM and catch a 5:00 flight to the next venue. The Thursday we train from 8:30 to 3:30 and catch a 6:00 PM flight to the next venue, that includes a change of planes, Friday we train from 9 - 4 and catch a 7PM flight, I spend the night and fly home on and overnight flight. Yea lots of work, a grueling schedule. That is the bad news, the good news is the first two days are in Honolulu, then Kauai, then Maui, then Hilo and fly home from Honolulu. I have three days in Hawaii between the meeting in California and the training in Hawaii.
- With the upcoming trip I will be down to two states I have not been to, Idaho and Wyoming.
- I saw some political action this week, there is an issue I have been following for six years, through a couple of Congresses, and we have a bill in the new Congress, that is a good bill.
- I am ready for spring. Enough winter.
- Edited at 4:54 to add:
- I am anxious about getting done what needs to be done in the office, so I drove into the office mid-day on Sunday to work for a couple of hours. I parked, got out of car, looked a the door and realized I had left my building access fob at home. I took this as a sign from the universe that I shouldn't work today, and headed home.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
It is my pleasure and duty to report on the state of the Blog. I am happy to report that the Blog is strong, growing and stable. The Blog gives me an outlet for my occasionally creative, often boring and sometimes fussy ramblings. On occasion I have something to say, sometimes I don't, but I can ramble on and post anytime I want. The Blog is my personal corner of cyberspace. The Blog reflects what I am thinking, well not entirely, I edit and there are things I just won't say - mom raised one nicely repressed kid, look up anal retentive on Wikipedia - and you may find my picture there.
Some postings draw readers, other postings comments, many - draw yawns. I LOVE comments, good, bad or simply "Hi I Was Here" I delight in knowing that someone noticed that I had created and posted. The more creative the headline, the funnier and more sarcastic the text, the more popular the postings seem to be. I really need to learn to let down the defenses and be funny more often, for the world needs more laughter. Any day you can brighten the life of another with a smile, a complement or a sincere recognition, is a good day. We all need more good days.
The Blog is coming up on 10 years this summer, some have been good active years, some barely in existence, but this past year I have made a strong effort to write more, read more and comment more. The Blog meeting last spring was great fun, I met some wonderful Bloggers. From that I have met a couple of them outside of bloggerpaloza, Great fun, great people.
Despite challenges by Facebook and Twitter, we continue to Blog. With the Blog I can write more then 144 characters (what can you really say in 144 character?) With the Blog I can control what shows up - unlike FB where you have no idea who sees what.
The State of the Blog is good, I predict another good year of Blogging.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Last week I booked airline tickets, a free-be frequent flyer ticket going over and Iceland Air coming home.
This weekend I started working on hotels. I am flying into Frankfort on an overnight flight, and wanted a place to crash and sleep. I looked at options near the airport, and in the city. Google maps street view is wonderful, you can see what the neighborhood looks like before you book. I picked a comfy, American chain, 2-3 blocks from the train station in the city. It will be predictable and comfortable, what I need after an overnight flight, with lots of restaurants nearby and walk able. The next day I will take a train from Frankfort to Stuttgart, I will start looking at hotels in Stuttgart soon.
All Iceland Air flight to and from the US have a stop in Reykjavik, in my case a change of planes. They offer up to a seven day gap between one flight and the other. I opted for 25 hours. So this morning I went looking for hotels in Iceland. The Reykjavik airport is not in Reykjavik. Well there is an airport there, but the international airport is 20 miles west of Reykjavik. I looked out near the airport, at the airport, in the business district of Reykjavik, and in between. I seriously looked at a Viking Resort, kind of eclectic. We may have to try their restaurant, they have whale and foal on the menu. Be warned avoid the sheep head entree - I have seen the pictures - not for the faint of heart. I ended up booking a modern, business hotel in the outer burbs of Reykjavik and a rental car. The rental car was less then the two of us on the airport bus service. The hotel was about $100 less then the business district and about $75 less then the Viking Resort.
The Penguin likes to plan travel almost as much as he likes to travel. There will be updates on planning.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
If you met me in the last 10 years, you probably wouldn't know, that I was a dedicated gym bunny for 10 years, from the mid-80's through the mid 90's. I ran 750-1,000 miles a year, rode a bike 4-5,000 miles a year and swam 100+ miles a year - my knees remind me of this everyday. I was in the gym 5-6 mornings a week for 15 years. This was also the era of music based aerobic classes. My favorite aerobics instructor had wonderful taste in rhythmic music, he would go to New York a couple of times a year in search of hard to find disco mixes. This is one that stuck in my brain; it still makes me want to stand up and move.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Writing forces me to think outside the box. In daily conversation we use a fraction of our vocabulary, when I write it gives me a chance to use words that I know, but don't use on a daily basis. Coming up with ideas to write about, challenges me. Blogging encourages me to take pictures of life around me and find ways of incorporating the images into the monologue.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
So what would the You Tube video of my day look like? If it was in chronological order, it would start with me rolling out of bed about 6:00 AM, an inhumane hour. It takes me a couple of hours to get through my morning routine, including reading and commenting on a dozen blogs. I have gotten into a habit of getting up at that hour - bad habits are hard to break. Breakfast and a shower - no one would want to see the shower - unless they have a Pillsbury Dough Boy fetish.
I headed out a few minutes early today, Metro was reporting being Fubar, as it has been since the deadly smoke but no fire incident on Monday evening. I squeezed onto a train, getting a feel for what sardines feel like. A funny things happen on overcrowded standing room only trains, people pass out. Some of them are people who are unable to stand for 30 minutes, others, and actually the more common, are people who are claustrophobic and panic and pass out in the crowd. I have watched them drop a couple of times over the year. Any suggestions on how to calm them so they don't drop. It takes half an hour to scrape them off the floor, meaning that everyone has to get off the train. This morning at National Airport, where it was colder then frozen parts of a witch's anatomy. 10 minutes later I was able to wedge my ample behind onto another train, for the long way around to the office. Well close, I ended up three blocks from the office, but at least I was still breathing.
I was at the desk about three minutes, when my student announced that she couldn't get onto the network. She is bright, very bright, but capitalizes on acting like a ditz. It took a while, but they finally sent over the cute new IT assistant to help her. If she weren't engaged, I would expect her to have computer trouble every week - when he bent over you could hear the oh-mys! I had two conference calls back to back, someone kept adding people to the agenda for the first one, dear Fred got squeezed to five minutes for his quarterly update. That was followed by a call to argue about funding four proposals, and something strange happened, we all agreed that one of the proposals was great, two of them stunk, and one of them was good. We all agreed on all of them. That 90 minute call was done in 20 minutes, it helps when we all get along. Something strange on one of the grant proposals, it was not bad until they got to the project leadership - there was none - they wanted to add this full time job to the work plan of someone who already works 60 hours a week, and the budget made no sense, they didn't explain what they were doing with 84.5% of the budget - they said who they were going to give it to - but not what they were going to do. Moral of the story - the budget does matter. I participated in a marketing webinar = played solitaire on my phone while the speakers droned on about nothing I didn't already know. I wedged myself onto another over crowded train and came home. Definitely a boring You Tube Video.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Facebook was a bearer of sad news today, the mother of one of my high school classmates died and my favorite high school teacher died. Dave Snoffer taught for about 10 years. He arrived in a small farm town in the thumb area of Michigan from Toledo, full of enthusiasm and ideas. He was remarkably human, not afraid to be direct, not afraid to show emotion. I was one of his TAs my senior year in High School. He touched my life and the lives of thousands of others. Also was news that a high school classmate has been in intensive care in California for two weeks. He had lung cancer a few years ago, lost a long, the cancer is back and has metastasized into his spine. He has lost movement in his hand and legs. Not good.
J returned to Lexington today to teach for the spring semester.
The sun will come up tomorrow.
Friday, January 09, 2015
Thursday, January 08, 2015
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Monday, January 05, 2015
Metro can be frustrating. When I came home on Wednesday, the balance on my Metro card was a lot of money, $504 to be exact. When I tapped my card to enter the system this morning it said I had 70-cents. WTF? I went over to the vending machine to double check, and sure enough, 70-cents. I added $20 and went to the office and calmly called Metro customer service. Only 20 minutes on hold and I was telling someone my dead grandfather's name so he could look up my balance history. Sure enough, Wednesday I had $504, when I tapped in this morning, it removed the balance to reload the updated balance and the computer burped and didn't reload the balance. He assured me that the money was there, just not on my card. He assured me that four to five hours the system would update, and the next time I tap into the system, my balance would be restored to my card. He said this has happened the past couple of months. They don't have a fix for it. I mentioned that this could make getting to work on the first of the month a challenge, he agreed. He was right the money was back on the card this afternoon.
Then there was the change of trains at Gallery Place this morning. Someone had sneezed someplace along the line and they were recovering from the delays. It took four trains for me to squeeze through the doors and onto a train.
Where would we be without Metro.
Sunday, January 04, 2015
We needed to get out of the house for a couple of hours, we drove out to Mr. Washington's estate, and back up the Parkway to watch the planes taking off and landing at National Airport. Technically it is Reagan National Airport. I found it strange when I moved here to find an airport named after the guy who fired the air traffic controllers. National airport is in a unique location, 1/2 mile from the Pentagon and a minute away from the Capital for planes taking off and landing. For decades there was an argument about keeping it open, likely still is. A lot of Congress people like having an airport a ten minute drive (without traffic) from their offices. Several times Congress tried to pass laws saying the airport could not be closed without an act of Congress, and Presidents either threatened to veto the bill, or actually vetoed it. Reagan signed it into law, that is why the airport is named after him. It is an amazingly convenient location. I pass through the subway station at the airport everyday as part of my daily commute. I love airports. My father was a pilot, I grew up around airplanes and in and out of small airports. He had a commercial pilots license, and never flew for money. It was a hobby. He would fly people as a favor, but not for money. If you paid the cost of the airplane, we would fly you to the moon, but didn't want to be paid for his time. Every man needs a hobby.
Saturday, January 03, 2015
Jay in VA, was Jay in DC for a weekend. Easily enough, staying in a hotel near my office. It is always fun to connect with friends, increasingly our friends are virtual, existing online only, kind of like the imaginary friends some-people had when they were children (and hopefully quit happening as adults.) I love that I have met so many wonderful people online - people I never would have gotten to know in person. But it is even better to put real people with the virtual existence. If you are in DC, let me know and I will try to say Hi! If I am in your town, I will try to let you know I am nearby.
We had breakfast at a very nice hotel in DC. The food was good, the company better. Interesting how friends and food go together.
Friday, January 02, 2015
As I occasionally write, idiots rile me up. I just responded to a stupid political posting on Facebook.
It amazes me how few people understand politics, even a lot of politicians seem to lack a basic understanding of what government does and why it is important to the functioning of a civil society. I generally stay away from politics on the blog and on Facebook. It is so easy to piss people off, but the lack of basic understanding of how and why government is essential to having a civil society is hard to ignore.
I can understand if someone dislikes the policies and practices of a President. I have not always agreed with the person in office, but I have always tried to be respectful in disagreeing with their policies, and not insulting to the person. In my opinion, we have elected a demented old man and an idiot in the decades that I have been voting (and I voted for one of the two,) What I see lacking in the discourse, is the ability to dislike the actions or lack of actions of the President, instead of being disrespectful of the person. Let me offer an example, I thought W was an idiot, but what I objected to was his waging war, skirting around the Constitution and approving the violation of basic human rights while waging war. Holding prisoners for decades without charge, or opportunity to be heard, while creating the fiction that they are not prisoners of war subject to the Geneva Convention - violates the core values of a civilized society. It is polite for me to say that, impolite for me to say that only a moron would allow such a policy to be implemented. It has taken a decade to figure out how to undue, what was done under W, and we are releasing people into the world, who are going to go home and tell the world, how terribly they were treated by the USA. Our government has committed war crimes. Karma!
When people live together, they tacitly agree to be nice to one another. We don't steal, because if we do we are implying that it is okay for other's to steal from us. We consent, that when someone breaks this basic tenant of a civilized society they will be punished. That is really the core of criminal law, and centuries of experience has shown that the fairest way of enforcing this is for government to do so (there is a lot of history to learn from on this.) There are things that we can do better collectively as a governmental function then we can alone. If we each had to build our own roads, few of us would ever leave home, let alone travel around the world. A society functions better when it does not have people dying on the streets, the most efficient way of assuring that this does not happen is for government to provide a safety net of basic services and supports. A lot of basic research, to improve the future of all of us, is hard to fund on a one-on-one basis. Few people can provide $300,000.000 for cancer research next year, but most people can provide their $1 - to collectively fund this essential research (assuming that fighting cancer is a worthy cause - I am not entirely convinced that prolonging lives is in the long term best interest of the global picture.) Apply that to hunger, housing, education - the model works.
I see so many people objecting to this basic model of a civilized society. The history that shaped our government was based on trying to improve on systems, that failed. If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
Maybe I should rant about politics and government more.
Thursday, January 01, 2015
Every morning, when the run rises, I remind myself that I have a chance today to do it right. My days are frequently populated with things that carry over from yesterday, but yesterday is history. I can't go back and change what I did yesterday, I can only live today. If I spend the day, trying to re-live yesterday, it will interfere with today. Each day I need to move life and projects down the road as far as I can, and try to set the stage for tomorrow. I can plan for tomorrow, I am a big planner, especially when it comes to things like travel, but I can't live tomorrow, until tomorrow. If I spend today trying to live tomorrow, I don't have time to live today.
The best made plans, sometimes go astray and bad things happen in life. But each morning, I can try to do my best to live well today.
2014 was a good year, it is history, onto live in 2015.