Saturday night at 8:15 Kristen and I were just finishing dinner, preparing to boil water to fill the bathtub, when the lights came on. We both gaped at each other for a moment or two. We didn’t expect to get power back that soon. Then, forty-five minutes later it went out again. Talk about a downer! Fortunately it came back an hour later, and we’ve had power since 10pm on Saturday night.
Yesterday Kristen cleaned out our bathroom supplies for extra soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and anything else we could donate to the temporary shelters in town. I cleaned out the storage unit Continue Reading »
People have been incredibly nice and social since the power went out on Monday night. No crime that we’ve heard of here in Hoboken, but our day has taken on some aspects of a post-apocalyptic society (minus the zombies). We get up every morning and make coffee in the drip Mr. Coffee (heat water in pan, pour it slowly into the filter/coffee chamber, let it drain), cook whatever we need to for breakfast (finished the last of the eggs and bacon yesterday, just as the fridge finally gave up and stopped keeping things cold; we’re on steel cut oats from here on out), clean up a little, and then head out.
When we go out first thing our focus is what most others is: where is there still power, Continue Reading »
I wouldn’t say being in Hawaii particularly reminded me of my Navy days, but there were triggers, prompts to my memory of how, once upon a time, I sailed in large gray aluminum and steel warships, not unlike those that were stationed nearby at Pearl Harbor. But it wasn’t the proximity of those warships that brought back my Navy days. It was the Fruit Loops.
I hadn’t had them in years, but at the breakfast buffet our first morning in Waikiki, there they were. In one of those tall clear glass cylinders that look like a gumball machine. You turn a knob and out comes the sweet, crispy goodness inside.
As I munched on my cereal and my wife gave me the “really, you’re eating that?” look, I was reminded Continue Reading »
When one first gets to Hawaii, you automatically ask “Where are the good beaches?” You are told two things: First, they all are good. Second, they all are open to everyone. There’s no such thing as a private beach in Hawaii (those socialists!)
I believe, though, that I have found the local’s secret for keeping the good beaches to themselves: keep them nearly impossible to get to. Sure, anyone can go to a resort and park in a parking lot and walk forty feet or so to crowded white seaside lots. But the true beaches, the ones that locals love and covet, are harder to come by. If you ask about a specific location and the response is that it’s a “little difficult” to get to, then that’s where you want to go.
Last Friday we went to Makalawana beach Continue Reading »
I’d never really thought about wedding rings much before. But, after getting engaged, it dawned on me that I might need one. Tradition and all that. I’ve had friends that had custom made items that look like the One Ring from “The Lord of the Rings” books, friends who wear family heirlooms, and others who have bought antique jewelry to suit their purposes. I came to realize fairly quickly that I wanted something historical to wear, something with some time behind it. I’ve always been interested in what once-was, and at the time of my shopping for a ring, I was well into my research period for a Civil War novel. I’d been spending a lot of time in Gettysburg.
148 years ago this past Saturday, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address to officially dedicate the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA, four months after the famous battle of 1863. The speech is noteworthy both for its historical significance, as well as its literary importance; very rarely have so few words said so much.
Edward Everett was the first to speak at the dedication and spoke for nearly two hours, and so, when Lincoln then stood to deliver his address, the photographers were prepared for another long presentation. They were caught off guard when Lincoln delivered his under-three hundred work piece in mere minutes. As such, there is only one known photo of Lincoln during the ceremony, shown below. Lincoln is highlighted in the very center, just sitting down after speaking.
My interest in the photo and the speech, for this post, though, is not on Lincoln. See the small tree in the background of the photo? That tree still stands in the cemetery in Gettysburg. In 2008 a storm brought down a large portion of it (it still survives, though, and is even showing new growth), and I was able to acquire part of it (Thanks, Bill!). Through a friend’s recommendation, I found Minter & Richter Designs on Etsy. A few emails were exchanged, I sent them the wood sample, and after various discussions and a few weeks time, they delivered my bronze-sheathed ring, with an inlay of wood from that tree that watched Lincoln speak 148 years.
The ring has developed a nice patina since the above photo was taken, and the bronze blends very well with the wood inlay. I’ve since moved on to other projects and and haven’t had the time to visit Gettysburg for the past two years, but it is nice to carry with me a piece of such a momentous historical event. Oh, and it’s nice to be married, too.
Today I was able to upload the revised versions of my Blog and the main website. Everything’s pretty much done, but I will continue to tweak things over the coming weeks. So far so good…
I was once told that everyone should make a New Year’s Resolution, as it is the one time in life that you can tell an outright lie to yourself and everyone around you and no one will think anything of it. I tend to do them every year and one of them always has to do with writing.
I didn’t need further proof that this is common – go to a New Years party with a bunch of writers and you’ll see just how common it is – so when fellow Altered Fluidian Eugene Myers sent around this “The Washington Post” article last month by Ann Patchett, and her realizations of how making yourself write every day actually resulted in writing every day and having higher output, it wasn’t a new concept for me. (I have to admit, though, that the first time I read the article, all I could think was “wow, this woman knows Edgar Meyer!)
In the article a yogi is credited with saying that if one picks a task and does it with consistency for the first 32 days of the year, then that sets the tone for the year. I agree with that, but I don’t think you have to limit it to the first 32 days of the year. Doing something every day is simple programming of the human body and mind. You can teach yourself to write every day by simply sitting down and writing every day. You can teach yourself a musical instrument by practicing every day. Professional football, basketball and other sports players practice every day. And even if you’re not that good at first, and maybe you don’t care for the task, you can still program yourself to do it. For proof of the latter, read about Andre Agassi and how his father decided Andre would be the best tennis player in the world and it became so. Also look at how many people, if they really thought about it, would admit to despising their 9-5 job, but they’ve programmed themselves to do it through repetition of the task and the telling themselves it has to be.
So, while I don’t think New Year’s Resolutions are incantations that guarantee success or failure, I’ll still make a few:
1. I will have Indian food at least twice a month. This one is easy!
2. Writing. I’ll write every day. Within reason. Some days I can’t write, due to travel, being sick, long days at work. But on the days that I can write I will. I’ve done it before, no sense not to keep it going.
3. Skydiving. Who wants to jump out of a plane with me? Kristen’s said many times that she won’t.
4. Exercise. I got into a good routine with running and Gyrotonic sessions last summer and fall, but work and the weather have dropped that to zero. No time like the present to pick it up again.
So. There. Promises I make to myself that may or may not turn out to be lies for the New Year. But, no worries. If they don’t take hold on January 1st, then I can start again on February 1st, or March 7th, or “The Ides of March”, or whenever.
Have a great Twenty-Ten!
As I’ve always said, if I’m not participating in online blogs, Facebook, emails, and anything else yet invented or yet to be, it generally means I’ve been busy with other things. A summer full of travel, a novel completed (a rough first draft, that is) and a lot of consulting work have kept me away from posting here. To get the ball rolling again, a photo of the loading *cranes in Alameda at sunset, looking north west towards the hills of San Francisco.
*the rumor is that cranes such as this in Alameda and Oakland are what inspired George Lucas to create the AT-AT snow walkers in the movie “The Empire Strikes Back”.
We had excellent conditions for the show this year; after rain on the two previous years that was a welcome change. Also, instead of having to strain our eyes across Manhattan, this year the fireworks barges were stationed in the Hudson, to mark the 400th anniversary of the discovery of said river. A great show overall.
One of my biggest pet peeves is the misuse and swapping about of the words “than” and “then”. Drives me absolutely nuts. So much so that at my old desktop support position I continually corrected the call tracking tickets of others and let them know of their mistake whenever they’d use one in the place of the other. Flash-forward two years, I’m back at the law firm as a consultant for a Blackberry rollout project, and I see the reminder in the photo attached to a co-worker’s monitor.
Makes me smile.