The trouble with normal.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Hi, we’re back home after a long weekend trip to Ohio and Michigan, an exercise in quality time with my father and Sammy’s parents. Once again, I’ve checked the archives, and my post about our trip this time last year used the same wording: quality time.

This either means my life is becoming way more cyclical and predictable, or that I need to get out and romp in the garden of fresh nouns and adjectives for a while.

I drove up with my father. We took the back way, through Asheville, NC and up U.S. 23 through coal country to Ashland, KY, and then along the Ohio River through Huntington up to Ravenswood, WV (where the Ohio University Post was printed many years ago) and then north up I-77 to old twisty 2-lane U.S. 22, which we followed northeast back to the Ohio River, up by Steubenville and East Liverpool Ohio. From there, we rolled north to Youngstown to spend the evening. The next morning, we did my father’s traditional visit to the town he grew up in, which involves visiting the cemeteries where his parents and grandparents are buried, and playing 9 holes of golf between rainshowers with his childhood friend.

If I have time I’m going to go back through those last sentences and remove half of the ‘up’s. It was a northern trek, though, and although the elevation rises and falls several times during our travels, it feels like an ascent to those states that sit atop the Mason-Dixon line.

Meanwhile, Sammy headed directly north to her parents’ place in central-ish Michigan, and the plan was for Dad and me to head west across Lake Erie to Toledo and then Detroit and then Windsor, Ontario for an hour (where he can get exactly the imported gin he likes). Finally, he was to bring me to Sammy’s family’s place to drop me off and see the Smiths.

I’m pleased to report that complex plan went quite according to plan, and we had a good time with everyone en route, from Dad’s friends (all over 80 years old) to Nancy and Alan (looking good, sprightly, youthful) who we dropped in on before crossing the international border, to Sammy’s mom and dad, who had such a tough end of the year, health-wise at 2006’s close.

Shot some great pictures, celebrated Nick and Manette’s birthday, and then rolled down, down, down I-75, stopping to enjoy the company of Maureen and Billy and young daughter Gillian in Lexington–again, great food and conviviality.

I would, in fact, be even more upbeat relating all of this if I didn’t have to pass on the news (I received this morning) that my very dear and longtime friend Kevyn Burger has taken up blogging theraputically—she’s been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma—yes, that’s breast cancer. I suspect she may have some important things to say about the battle she faces in the days ahead.

So she’s way in my thoughts as we rolled back down home quite safely in our little rental car.

Rental car? Oh, yeah. The day before our trip north even began, our 1996 Honda Civic was stolen out of our driveway. Seems kinda insignificant in the greater context of life here, now.

An inconvenient clutter.

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

photo by Steve Pyke for Time Magazine

I was vacuuming my office this afternoon and looking around in dispair at the piles of undone stuff and accumulated ideas and general mess and thought no one, no one could have a more cluttered, Mac- and video-filled workspace.

I bow to you, Al Gore.

Be sure to click through to the fine Time photo gallery to see the entire expanse of clutter, huge Mac displays, and high def screenage. Yegads!

Me, I have two modest 17 inch nonmatching LCD displays, and I’ve been told it looks like the bridge of the Enterprise in here. Hmm…just imagine….three fine gigantic displays! Hmm…

Hed to come, 2007.

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

I wrote an entry with ‘Hed to come’ a year ago, much to my surprise. Today, we cover totally different territory, but quite chuckle-worthy, whether you’ve written headlines for a living or not:

Skywalkers in Korea cross Han solo

By BO-MI LIM, Associated Press Writer
Thu May 3, 3:34 PM ET

SEOUL, South Korea – They came from all over the world, poles in hand, and feet ready to inch more than half a mile across a high wire strung over the Han River in a spine-tingling battle of balance, speed and high anxiety.
As part of its annual city festival, the South Korean capital staged Thursday what was billed as the world’s first high-wire championship, drawing 18 contestants from nine countries for three days of supreme feats of concentration.

And the Asian theme summons from my dusty mental archives this great Ohio University Post headline, circa the Vietnam War:

Cambodians move arms

Two chuckles for the price of one!

Hoboes and butter Jesuses.

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

There are days I’m glad I didn’t waste a lot of time at some fancy college (forget that, it’s too much to read) that an audio book of complete world knowledge is all I will ever need. Problem is, it’s a risk listening to comprehensive collected compendia of hobo names delivered in a near-monotone while one is driving by an enormous drowning Jesus on I-75.

I nearly fell asleep at the wheel. Funny, soporific comedy, I was soaking in it, much as the enormous Jesus is soaking in…well, in midwinter, he looks very very cold.

Can you tell my brain is kinda only half-connected this afternoon? I thought so. Code monkey must go get some coffee, or Tab, but please, no Mountain Dew.

Howard -> John.

Friday, May 4th, 2007

I swear, I grabbed these two images more or less at random, and I was stunned how well they fit together.

There’s a website, Deaniacs for Edwards, that asserts that Edwards is the guy “who seems to best capture the spirit and values that activated so many ordinary Americans four years ago to support Howard Dean.” I’m not sure about that, but I do like Edwards a lot—he seems to be smart on the issues that matter to me, and me, I like smart.

It really was that simple so many years ago when I first saw George W. Bush…ten seconds of watching him on camera and I came away with: “dumb guy.” Amazing how a judgement like that gets processed by some part of your brain that one may not even have direct control over. The thing for me is I have big trouble visualizing the opposite…I can’t put myself, and I’ve tried, into the mindset of seeing Bush for the first time and thinking “lead me, oh great one.” Nope, can’t do it. My own limitation.

When logos collide.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Okay, one of these is an airline and one of these is a plumbing supply company. Do their logos give you an overwhelming sense of either flying or, uh, drinking?

And if Delta Air Lines’ new logo is pictured upright here, why is it falling over on the tail of their new planes? Actually, they do have a logical reason for going to this design from the (I thought attractive) flowing flaglike colors on their previous livery:

The previous “flowing fabric” design introduced in 2000 required eight different colors when applied to aircraft – four shades of blue, two shades of red, one white and a clear coat – while the new livery requires only four. There is less paint layering on the new livery, which will help Delta trim paint cost costs, reduce aircraft weight and subsequently achieve additional fuel savings. The new livery also will save Delta approximately one day in each paint cycle and reduce by 20 percent the number of man-hours and out-of-service time needed to paint a Delta aircraft.

And, of course, whenever there’s a change, management people love to jettison the logo. Elsewhere in town, huge cranes are removing the circular bell logo and BellSouth type from skyscrapers in Midtown and Buckhead. And the perky Cingular guy is on life-support. I have no answers this late in the evening, I just wanted to stick these two logos together and make a low hmmmming sound.