This just makes me sad.
I had only one celebrity poster hanging on my bedroom wall when I graduated from high school and this was it.
May she rest in peace.
The problem with moving from one state to another is that the blog material comes in at a rate inversely proportional to the time you have to do any writing.
There should have been a post about the whole experience of finding a house in Richmond two weekends ago. It was good and bad. The bad was, if I'd had a dollar for every time someone with a property to rent said, "Well we still need to . . . we're planning to . . . we've been meaning to . . . etc," I think it would have paid for the trip. We saw some seven or eight houses, all but one needing major cleaning or work before we could move in, and we weren't slumming folks. There's simply a trend to post rentals on Craigslist before they're really ready for showing. Of course, of our top three, numbers two and three had rented already.
Lucky for us though, our number one choice, even before our arrival, was not rented, and it was very nearly pristine. In fact, all of the looking we did after seeing it was only so that we had a backup plan. But the best part of our first choice, soon to be the address we call home in Richmond, was the owners. We had time to look for a backup during the weekend because we weren't able to meet with them until Monday morning. They were coming from a wedding in New York. They were in the United States for the wedding, and to rent their former home in Richmond. They live in Greece. They are Greek. They are wonderful. We spent most of the morning with them a week ago, and by the time we parted after lunch, it was like parting from old friends, family even.
We are delighted to be moving into this home, and I believe they are relieved that we will be. I now own and rent two of my former residences. The first I ever owned I've kept as a rental for over twenty years. I have stories to tell. The home I lived in before moving to Charleston, I still own with my ex-wife. Last year was not the best time to sell a home, to leave the service, to change careers, etc. I know how comfortable I am that, that home is rented to someone whose own home in Ft Collins is also rented to someone whose own home in . . . you get the picture. When houses begin to sell again, there will be a cascading effect, but until then, many of us who've had to move for work are back in the renting market after owning homes for decades.
Finding a good renter for a beautiful home is not necessarily easy. Finding a rental home that feels like a home you would like to own is not necessarily easy. I feel very lucky on both counts. We'll care for our new home as if we owned it because one day we very well may. We would have cared for it that way anyway, but you understand what I mean.
Setting Up House
Having moved some thirteen or so times during my military career, I'm fairly adept at getting things up and running by the day we arrive. The move to Richmond has been no different, with one exception. I've got the TV, the internet, the electricity all set up to start the day before we arrive. The water . . . not so fast. It's on, and it should stay on, I think, but trying to have it put in our name with Richmond Public Utilities was the worst bureaucratic nightmare I've seen in a while.
The homeowners are wonderful, responsible people. The home is immaculate. But living in Greece, the forwarding of their mail stopped some time ago. As a result, I expect they've not received water bills. No one has lived in the home for some time. The bill can't be for much. But because there is a bill due, Richmond needs to verify my lease before they can set up service in my name. Mind you, they don't tell you, as the new customer, that there's a bill due, they simply ask for your lease and leave it at that.
Phone Tree Hell
RPU: We'll need your landlord's phone number so we can call them to verify your lease.
ME: They live in Greece. I don't have a phone number.
RPU: They live in Greece?
ME: That's correct. They live in Greece.
RPU: How do you contact them?
ME: E-mail. Would you like their address?
RPU: Then I'm going to need a copy of your lease.
ME: Can I e-mail you a pdf?
RPU: We don't have e-mail to the outside. Can you fax it?
I don't mention that it's a good deal of trouble. I scan it. It's on legal paper and my scanner is letter, so I overlap paragraphs for good measure. Then I send it through PamFax. Of course, I have to buy PamFax credits to do that. Eventually, it goes through. At least, PamFax says it did. When I call to confirm receipt, RPU claims not to have seen hide nor hair of it.
Mind you, even getting through to RPU is a two minute technological nightmare.
RPU automated phone system:
We saw this movie today. It's what anyone should do when the temperature outside is hot enough to shrivel the grass while you watch. I laughed. I was not insulted. It was not stupid. It was genuinely funny. It was funny and yet it was the antithesis of a Will Ferrell movie. Thank God. Nothing happened during the entire movie that completely blew your willing-suspension-of-disbelief circuit breakers. Well, okay, the taser scene may have stretched it a little, but not much. Funny. If you need a laugh, see it.
I mentioned once before, just in passing, John Eldredge's claim, in Wild at Heart, that every man is wounded somehow by his father. I implied in that earlier post that such wasn't the case with me. Today, Father's Day, I want to state it outright.
4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.TheyRodeOn will be Twittering from Iran for a while.
Over at Bearing False Witness, Joel Newmiller has some poignant thoughts about what it means to go through the days while a loved one is wrongly incarcerated. Joel's father, William, maintains the blog. Joel's brother, William's son, Todd, is in his third year of incarceration for a crime I don't think even the prosecutors believe he really committed.
The Freedom March taking place in a number of states on 27 June 2009 is intended to raise awareness of wrongful convictions in our justice system. You'll find more information at the web site for the march.
Hard to believe it's been more than 18 months since I first mentioned the Dream Team on this blog. They were getting cranked up then, and I had every confidence they would be a success. Now they've really hit the big time. This morning, long time friend, Conner Herman, and her partner, Kira Ryan, made an appearance on NBC's Today show. You have to love it when good things happen to good people.
Knowing comes naturally, passively, like breathing out. It's resisting knowing, denial, that requires effort. And it's believing that requires the greatest paradoxical effort of all, because it requires conscious, rather than passive, relaxation. Believing is a cessation of denial. Believing is fully accepting what we've already known all along.--cdc, 10/30/2007
I'll be on the road this weekend, in Richmond, Virginia, looking for a new place to live, beginning another new adventure. Blogging will likely be light as I explore firsthand, yet again, the old saying that, "North Carolina is a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit."
Still in Transition
Replacing a Palm with a BlackBerry has at least two distinct aspects--that of abandoning Palm and that of making the jump to BlackBerry.
The first is often motivated by a feeling that Palm abandoned us first. Over the last few years they've done little to suggest anyone was even awake at the company other than introduce a new desktop with fewer features than previous versions and then call it an "upgrade." Admittedly, the launch of the new Pre is getting as much press as each of Britney's releases from rehab, but for many of us, it's just too late.
On the other side of the coin, is the jump to BlackBerry. Hands-down a better communication device than the Palm, it is not, however, a better PDA. Thus, those of us who've made the jump have done so partly based on the faith that the longer BlackBerry outsells Palm, the faster developers will close the application gap to make the BlackBerry what the Palm might have been if they hadn't holed up in Howard Hughes penthouse to live on nothing but ganga weed for the last few years.
Audible for BlackBerry
One of the first shortcomings I noticed in the application department was the BlackBerry application from Audible.com. I prefer to burn my books to CD and use the player in my vehicle to listen, but lately, I've had more trips than time to burn CDs, so I'd taken to using the Palm or BlackBerry player and piping it through the vehicle stereo. That had the added advantage of allowing me to listen on long walks with the dog without having to find my place in two different media. The problem was that the BlackBerry Audible application had more quirks than Carter had pills. So after a couple months of getting by, I decided surely there had been enough complaint and demand for Audible to come up with something better.
They had. Checking for updates, I found version 1.3 for BlackBerry. It's still not perfect, but it seems to be an improvement over version 1.0.whatever-it-was. Unfortunately though, someone appears to have taken a cue from Palm and the newer version is missing a feature I did occasionally use on the old: bookmarks. Still, overall it seems to be a step in the right direction.
One of my best friends in Colorado is a former USAF Thunderbird, Thunderbird-7 to be precise (you'll hear his voice here, as the airborne safety, saying "Knock it off! Thunderbirds knock it off!" and ending the demonstration following the crash of one of our birds at Mt Home a few years back), and fellow skydiver, so I have nothing but the utmost respect for any of the men who maneuver this much metal at this much speed within this sort of proximity. The challenge of working all those vectors in three dimensions is one of the things I like about Canopy Relative Work, but my hobby is far more forgiving.
The video below was sent me by another friend though, and it's not the Thunderbirds, but the Blue Angels, and the footage is not from the ground, but from the cockpit. It's a long video, but once you start watching it, it's rather hard to stop. Good luck.
Are you racked with guilt over your carbon footprint on mother Earth? Well, for tree-huggers and recovering Catholics (for whom guilt never fully recedes), United Airlines (whom I used for at least half of my recent trip west) has set up an online confessional of sorts. You can visit their Carbon Offset Program, and there you'll find a convenient Carbon Offset Calculator to quantify just how much guilt is appropriate. You can then decide whether bearing it is something you can live with, or you can select from a variety of available indulgences, allowing you to travel guilt-free, or at least as nearly so as possible.
For my recent roundtrip from ATL to COS, for instance, the suggested donation to International Reforestation to offset 0.4927 metric tons was $5.91. Instead, I rented a Prius and drove nearly 300 miles on less than five gallons of gas. I found the overall effect of the Prius rental to be so environmentally sound that I felt compelled to offset my carbon offset by spending the $5.91 on a Venti Iced Mocha Latte at Starbucks just to take the self-congratulatory edge off. Thing is though, the buzz from coffee grown using environmentally sound methods is only serving to make me even more smug. I may just have to go out and crush a dandelion before anyone can stand to be around me. I can barely even stand myself.
Think of it this way: wine critics shouldn’t review corn dogs.There are not enough hours left in my life for me to waste another minute in a Will Ferrell film, so don't expect any reviews of Land of the Lost from me, but I loved this line from critic Joey Alfino, who did a fairly good job of reviewing the new film . . . on a corn dog scale.
This really should have been posted yesterday, but I was on the road from Colorado back to Georgia.
I believe these people who talk about peace academically but who never had to dive in a ditch when a Messerschmitt 109 came over, they really don't know what it is.For a longer article on Eisenhower's legacy, click here.
If you get a text message (as I did today) reading:
Free VZW msg. UR on track 2 incur overage charges for Minute, Data, or Message usage. Call 888-453-1922 NOW for more info or Dial #MIN & #DATA to check usage.Or if you get a call from some automated system along the same lines, DO NOT CALL. This is not Verizon. You'll find trails on this scam going back well over a year, here and here.
On a day when I was explaining to someone how I have no TV service nor newspaper anymore, and get my news almost entirely online, I find this article in a USA Today I picked up at lunch, and I wonder what else I may be missing. My favorite line: "I think it's kind of like Starbucks meets Hooters."