Isabel

Sep 17, 2003

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Is anyone else thinking about hurricane Isabel? It’s not like the local news would let us forget. Isabel isn’t the top story right now. It’s the only story. I find it pleasing to get a break from all the death the news at five normally fires at us but sheesh. There’s got to be something else to talk about. Let’s not forget that Jamal Lewis rushed for 295 yards this weekend. Now that’s news.

I’ve always been facinated by storms. Massive storms that look so pretty from space are no exception. Despite the fact that Isabel is weakening, she looks like a doozie. I look forward to pictures and video from the front lines. Run for cover people, unless you are a reporter. In that case, leave the camera on.

It’s still unclear how much the Baltimore area will be affected but, for the moment at least, I’m concerned about my future vacation spot. The wife and I have plans to visit Ocean City in a couple of weeks. I hope it is still there when we arrive.

For some odd reason, I find it comforting that this hurricane is named after my grandmother. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. Would she? Even if she does, I’ll have some stories to tell Cambell. There was this one time when your great-grandmother reshaped the East Coast. Tell your buddies to beat that.

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Dirty Deed

Sep 16, 2003
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This is what I saw when I arrived home yesterday from work. It resembled the former corner of my house but something wasn’t right. I didn’t remember doing any digging during the night. The cable box has tilted since a plow hit it during the winter months but I didn’t remember deciding to fix it myself. What the hell happened? You can tell I was unhappy; I took pictures.

This morning I got my answer. A Verizon truck was parked on this very corner. Aha, I thought. I have found the culprits of this dirty deed. I took a detour from my normally short jaunt to my car to express my unhappiness. I expected the damage to be fixed. I wanted grass again. Hey, what are those guys doing with the shovels?

I was assured that the mess would be cleaned up. They would level off the ground when they were done. New seed would be planted. The neighbors down the street had service problems and the wires underneath my lawn were the source of the evil. The crew knew they would be back today to finish the job. They didn’t bother to clean up because they were not done. I even got a business card to identify crew leader.

Explanation accepted.

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This is what I saw when I arrived home from work today. Look what they’ve done with the place. It’s not Art Deco but, then again, what is? The Empire State Building you say. We are getting off subject.

My yard has seen better days, even when I forget to mow. The sidewalk is busted up, something I didn’t realize until I saw pieces of it cradled in the grasp of the big yellow machine. A ditch several feet wide and several feet deep hides within my beautiful new red fencing. I saw two guys with shovels when I left. I didn’t expect a backhoe.

I actually found myself wondering if the beer bottles in the bottom of the ditch were dug up artifacts or new additions to my property. There’s something to be said for dedication to the job.

Even so, I hope they come back tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be nicer this time around.

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He said she said

Aug 25, 2003

Over at By the Way, John Scalzi’s new little blog adventure with AOL, he’s doling out advice to some first time bloggers out there. (That’s right; AOL is empowering a whole new group of people to muse endlessly on the internet. Watch out.)

Specifically, folks queried him about writing a blog about other people. What if they find out? Grandmom won’t be pleased that I don’t like her pie. Here’s the short version of his longer response:

Scalzi’s Law of Online Communication:

Anything bad you ever write about someone online will get back to them sooner or later.

My personal blog (found right here, amazingly enough) takes a much lighter and complimentary tone because of this very fact. Mom taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When it comes to personal acquaintances this is still a very good rule. Everyone else — political figures, actors, athletes, and even good old John himself — well, rail away.

What you may find interesting, though, is how folks you know may react to their names showing up on your blog at all, even when you post something nice about them. Some are delighted to see their name in lights (even if, generally, these lights are very, very dim). Mom might be happy that you love her. Others are more sensitive. Brother Bob might be upset to see his full name appears in so many google search results. Maybe you shouldn’t have posted his home phone number.

In some cases, you might need to be sensitive. This whole Internet thing is still rather new and scary to a lot of people. In other cases (e.g. other bloggers tend to be pretty open people), you might have a lot more rope to play with. I personally tend to let those close to me know when I write about them. It frees my conscience from the odd feeling of speaking behind one’s back and I get a, possibly faux and often silent, approval of my comments.

You’ll get a feel for this stuff as you go. Just be ready to be read, by anyone, especially the source of your material.

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No Juice

Aug 15, 2003

Of course, the biggest news story of the day and the week and, likely, the summer, is the lack of electricity flowing in much of the country right now. New York, Detroit, Cleveland, and some of our friends in Canada sat in the dark last night, feverishly lighting candles to stave off the black of night.

The initial reports have been interesting. They are more focused on what didn’t happen than what did. Yesterday, we were told that it wasn’t terrorism. Today, we learn that it’s not related to the internet worm that has been making its digital rounds. One of these days they will get a handle on what actually caused the problem.

My personal interest in the matter centers not on the chaos but on the smaller stories amid the mass exodus of Manhattan and the thirsty folks of Cleveland. The “human side” of the story, as the news likes to say, really makes the outage something to watch.

Some people failed to be unique in their troubles. They were trapped in one of the thousands of elevators in New York. They were stuck on the subway, deep underground. Many found that Manhattan isn’t the easiest place to escape.

Others were more creative. Some folks looking for a little fun were caught on amusement park rides. When exactly will this coaster start to go down? A lady on the news proclaimed she was in the dentist chair when the lights went out. Sorry, I think we’re done drilling now. The radio this morning metioned that vehicles in Detroit were stuck in the car wash.

I’ve even heard rumors that this whole power outage has made accessing the internet a challenge for much of the Northeast. It seems that this whole “electricity” thing does something to make to make computer screens light up around the world. Now that sounds like a travesty.

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95

Aug 12, 2003

I had a busy weekend. I spent some time with both the youngest and oldest of the Wootton brood. I added a new toy to my chest and I had one of those days where everything does not work out quite the way you planned it.

On Friday, the wife ran off with a friend to play the slots. That left me alone with my son, something that, surprisingly, doesn’t happen very often. We had the whole night to ourselves. It barely counts that he hit the sack right after eating dinner and taking a bath. I let him play in his bath a bit. His splashing knocked every toy out of the tub. The effort later knocked him out cold.

Speaking of Friday, earlier in the day I added a brand new toy to my entertainment center. I purchased a TIVO. I’m still a little lukewarm about the service contract you have to purchase. Still, every TIVO owner I’ve spoken with swear its worth it. I’ll see. My initial impressions are very, very good. I’m going to wait a week and let it sink in. Expect a full report on it very soon.

On Saturday, the plans that the wife and I set up went astray. We expected to go to the movies. We expected to finally see Finding Nemo, a movie I’ve been desperate to see for months. We had the babysitter. We had the will. The world just didn’t cooperate.

The first bad sign was the weather. It was rainy. The clouds were grey overhead. The mall was packed; the parking lot full. The bright signs that announce the movie listings at the theater were on the fritz, forcing us to wait in line for 15 minutes to find out the movie was sold out. Sold out? The movie was released months ago. How can it be sold out? I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that it was the only movie shown between the hours 4 and 6:30 pm, a fact that left us with few choices. We couldn’t ask our sitter to stay that long and my Baltimore Ravens were playing at 8. We left the theater looking for alternative activities.

Our first choice was a nice, sit-down dinner. You know, the kind without a little baby to worry about. Some crabs would taste nice. So would a beer. The first restaurant we hit had an hour wait. There were some very sweaty looking customers waiting outside for their name to be called. The second restaurant we approached were out of crabs. I’m sorry but you should be forced to remove the seafood moniker from the sign outside when you run out of crabs in Maryland. At the very least, you should be forced to qualify it a bit. “Seafood, but…” would be a good start.

At this point, my morale had begun to fade. We hit up our favorite crab place in town, Always Best, and headed home. We’d get our crab dinner. I’d get my beer. We’d just let our gracious babysitter keep the little tike occupied for a while. We washed the whole thing down with some preseason football. It wasn’t a bad day at all.

On Sunday, it was off to Westminster to celebrate my Grandmother’s birthday. She’s now had 95 birthdays in a row. She can walk, she can talk, and she can hear. She can still drive my dad up a wall. Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be but, at 95, can you really complain? When queried about her chances for 100, she seemed nonplused. “It isn’t worth it,” she replied. I love the old lady. If God wants her around in another five years, I’m sure she’ll fight the good fight. If not, I bet she goes with just a hint of a smile on her face.

So that was my weekend. I better get used to it. The wife has a whole bunch of them scheduled for the fall.

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Growing Old Together

Dec 29, 2002

I want to wish my wife a very happy birthday on this 29th day of December.
Today, the year flap on the old electric clock flips forward just a bit.

I’ve been accused of being too sappy in my blog — too mushy. I have to say
that I’m guilty as charged (my
Hallmark application is in the mail).
This year I’ve had a lot of happy things to
talk about and a lot of happy things to say. In life, and in marriage,
you have your ups and downs. This year definitely fits in the former
column. A lot of it revolves around the fact that there’s a baby
on the way. My life, and that of my wife’s, is rapidly changing.
It’s an exciting time. But it’s also more than that. Things have just
been, well, good.

My wife isn’t just a small part of the equation. I’m so lucky to
have someone who understands, loves, and can refrain from maiming me on
a daily basis. Sometimes two people just click and there’s no argument,
no doubt that they should be together. “50/50″, the preacher said.
Somehow I still got the better end of the deal.

The wife and I have been through a lot. The hot chick who sat next
to me in a high school class now sits in my living room. We’ve seen
a lot of firsts: jobs, a house, furniture, cars. We’ve grown up together.
We once passed notes in Human Dynamics class. We now prepare to enter parenthood and I’ve never been
more confident of our relationship. To say I’ll a truly lucky guy
just doesn’t say it all.

Jenn, you are my best friend, my lover, and, soon, the mother of my children.
I love you. Have a very happy birthday.

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