General Blog
New York - Day One - Hitting the City PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 December 2014 14:34

ur latest travels – my mom decided to sponsor the entire family for a trip to New York City, up to Christmas Eve. And that’s good – I haven’t been there since I was seven. And it would be a good test of JB’s resilience – given her injury and the complications that came from it.

Okay, so you gotta understand – this was one packed day. Up at 3am, on the road for the airport by 4am, in the air by 6am, and in New York shortly after 8am. Interesting to see this city (this ‘living reef’ as HG Wells called London) on the drive in. Traffic in the city was one step short from death-defying – glad me and Eleanor (my mini) weren’t out in these streets.

We started the day on a kinda confused note – the apartment we are renting didn’t come open until 3pm but we were in the city by 9am. Dropped our luggage at a luggage storage facility (there seems to be a thriving industry for this that I never expected). After that, we walked to Broadway.

Interesting place, this city. We walked around Times Square for a bit, then found a breakfast joint; tall ceilings, mirrored walls, vast windows, really nice. Had a good omelet. When we got out on the street, I realized that not pulling the scarf out of my luggage was a dumb mistake – it was cold and getting colder. Eventually JB and I stopped on a small outdoor market and bought some overpriced scarves – I don’t think we would have made it through the day without them.

Traipsed around Rockefeller Square, saw the tree and the ice skaters. The crowds. It was like Judgement Day on the streets, just pushing through the masses. But nobody was rude (not as I’d been led to believe) – everyone got around everyone else with a minimum of fuss. It was like watching one of those salmon farms with all the fish wiggling around each other. One or two people who bumped me apologized. And yes, I immediately felt for my wallet.

Eventually we got to see the Rockettes’ Christmas show. It wasn’t high on my list but after it started, I was nothing short of amazed. It was just brilliant all the way through. Massive Santa line dances. A train and a bus onstage. And a reenactment of the Nativity, including three camels and a half-dozen well-behaved sheep. They even had a bit where airship drones flew about. Just stunning. It was like Cirques Du Soliel on steroids.

Finally, when this was all over, we got to get into the rooms. Once that was done, a little down-time (very little) before hitting the streets again, this time with Mom, Pat, JB and I going to a play (“Constellations” – just opened). The walk over was brisk – Sunday night at 6:30pm and Orlando’s gone to sleep but the big apple keeps churning. Millions of taxies, bike delivery guys, and the occasional FUV (why would you drive one of them in this city?). Also saw a hint of snow in the air – been years since I’d seen that.

The play was great (with my nice slacks, while shirt and tie, I was overdressed – I live in the wrong era). On the way home, we stopped in a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint (still going strong with walk-in business at 9pm). Good food, then home to relax, to blog, to pull out a novel and take it easy.

What a city.

>>>NEXT DAY<<<

>>>AFTER MASON CAME TO ANCIENT TYRE, THAT CITY STARTED TO BECOME ITS OWN BIG APPLE. SEE WHAT I MEAN IN “EARLY RETYREMENT”, FOR SALE HERE!!!<<<

Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 09:03
 
Is this thing on? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 22:01

I don't remember when the last time I checked this was - my CONTACT ME option in the left menu column. And I don't know why I went and tried it now. But today, out of whimsy, I posted myself an email while at work, from my site.

It didn't work.

I clicked it a dozen times. Nothing. Oh, I'd get a form, all with who you were, a numeric anti-bot check, all that stuff. But no message went through.

Then I went online and looked up my version of Joomla and guess what - a lot of people were having this problem. I messed around with it for about an hour, kinda got it to work, but I wasn't happy with it. Also, that messy form of theirs was too busy. Finally I figured out how to turn the troublesome form off and just have a simple button that used the user's existing email box to post me. That's nice and simple and works like a charm.

Which makes me wonder - did any agents try to post me with interest on my available books and not get through? Ah, the things that keep a writer awake at night...

>>>I DON'T CARE IF YOU WRITE ME OR NOT, JUST BUY A BOOK, OKAY? THIS LINK WORKS!<<<

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 22:21
 
Special K PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 18 April 2014 07:30

It was my second 5k.

Haven’t mentioned it, but these things really get in the way of writing (and lunches, and comfort). We’ve been training at work (a couple of coworkers and myself) for weeks now, jogging pretty much ever lunch time, three miles through a tree-less neighborhood under a hot tropical sun (except for that time it poured on us). I got to the point where I wouldn’t stop, and could do three miles in something like 35 minutes. That’s about as good as it gets with this old body.

So we went over to Eola Park at 3pm or so, picking up the food on the way, the little setup crew. It was pretty windy and there was a little confusion of how we wanted to set up tables and banners and such, but eventually things got straightened out. While I was working, my brother Mike showed up and we chatted a bit. My wife JB was also there – she was going to do the walk, so good for her – she’s very intune to the benefits of walking and tries to do it as much as possible. Me, I’m very intuned to the agonies of running, but I was dumb enough to do it anyway.

Two optimistic guys - selfie credit: Mike RaymondSo before race time, we drifted over to the start with about 18,000 people, a small collective. I was the last to leave the tent and so I ended up pretty much by myself in the milling pack, until I bumped into a coworker and then, surprise, my brother! Out of this multitude and there he is. I knew he’d leave me once things got going, no surprise. We crossed the start line at 14:00 (think about that, it took us fourteen minutes just to get to the start line, the crowd was so big and slow).

There was the usual bunch of misrepresentations/over-estimations/lying on expected times for registrants – Mike and I were weaving through people who were walking before the first 300 yards had passed beneath our sneakers. Just people trudging along, having said they could do it in under twenty-four minutes because they had in college fifteen years ago. And if you are pushing a stroller, I don’t think you are going to do it in under twenty-four minutes (being able to do it in your odyssey doesn’t count).  But then again, there was a one-legged man humping along in front of me that was making good time. I don’t know if I ever passed him. So many people. So much to see.

Anyway, I cleared the finish line 34:10 after my start, so that’s decent. I’d have liked to have beaten my jogging nemesis Manjula but that wasn’t happening – she’s been training and is in better shape than I was. But it was fun, the breakdown of the tent went quick (and we had lots of help), and we were home by 10pm.

I think even JB will come again next year.

>>>IF ONLY PHEIDIPPIDES HAD TAKEN HIS TIME AFTER THE BATTLE OF MARATHON, WE’D HAVE BEEN SPARED ALL THIS. THAT’S HISTORY FOR YOU. READ SOME OF MY HISTORICAL BOOKS HERE!<<<

Crosing the line: photo credit Mike Raymond

Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 07:47
 
Bikes are now a private thing... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 19:10

It's not that I'm not riding the bike to work. I'm still keeping to my three times a week, showing the world (and America, specifically) that bikes are authentic and practical transportation.

It's just that I haven't written about them for a while and the site is now focused on writing, book reviews and model train events (one of my other passions). To clear things up, I've dropped the bike blog. I'll still mention interesting and death-defying events while riding, but it will be on my general blog.

Been thinking about this for a while - I'm just so busy with everything else, it seems silly to keep the site so "busy" with side issues.

For those who ride, keep riding. I will. And I'll also keep writing.

>>>BOOKS HERE. YOU KNOW THE DRILL<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 March 2014 19:17
 
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