Monday, April 11, 2005

Special Day

Seventeen years ago today I became a father for the second time.

The most awsome responsibility and the greatest joy a man can have.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Happy Birthday Beans.

Why England is like ________________

This had actually occurred to me this week-end, but it was such a busy set of 'days off' that I had no chance to look up a fact or two and post this.

As I Googled (IBaNAaV) for the size of England, as opposed to the entire U.K. I ran across this site:

I think they have the right idea, but they picked the wrong state.
(Perhaps the easy the cross of St. Andrew/St. George thing blinded them to my obviously better comparison...)

I submit to you:

Both are approximately the same size: England 50,334 sq mi This state 51843 sq.mi

Both owe their weather patterns to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico.

Both are dominated, culturally, economically and socially by their largest city that is, basically, the entire SouthEastern portion of the country/state.

Said cities are river towns, founded as frontier trading posts of far-flung empires.

The populations of both ostensibly speak a single language, yet their are dialects so pronounced that two persons living a few miles apart may be functionally unable to communicate.

The only decent food is based on highly spiced cuisine brought in by outsiders.

Both the country and the state were profoundly influenced by invasions/immigrations of Franko-phones that affect the language and culture to this day.

I leave it to you to name the state.

The one person who I can count on to read this entry already knows, I am sure.

And, once I made this connection, unfathomable choices were made clearer to me.

The question is, was it a conscious choice?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Music of Hope, Music of Change, Today's Music

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains.

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.

I am strong, when I am on Your shoulders.

You raise me up to more than I can be.

Josh sings this, but this morning's arrangement was a'la Selah.

If things keep following the latest path, I figure by early September latest, we just start calling it the Celtic Service... ;-)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Saturday Night Offenses

I am only half watching Saturday Night Live as hosted by Ms. Cameron Diaz and surfing to find something else more worth my time..

Ms. Diaz made her choice clear during the last election cycle. Well, maybe not clear, but you got the idea.

During tonight's episode she recruited co-stars, co-starts of co-stars and lovers to Offend a wide range of targets. At least during the presidential debate skits they dug both ways. I am hardly un-biased, but the political targets seemed to be all the same general direction. (With the notable exception of the 'mono-logue' which never is one any-more. I hardly think homely people will be coming out of the wood-work to protest.)

Wow, funny stuff.

Muzik Redux

Spent the whole day today listening to old friends sung by the next generation.

Everything from the Baroque to the American Folk Tune. Chamber Music lively, pensive, sublime.

One by one, or in Threes and Fours and Sixes and Eights.

The choirs, having previously gathered, it was a much less hectic day.

All came out in good measure ;-) and I look forward to the return trip to the center of the state to hear the final polished versions of the most successful young artists.

There are worse days than this... ;-)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Surely You Jeste

Well, my oldest did.

The Wit and Wisdom of Master Bill, in the original form.

I'm sure Ben did an admirable job, but he could never best her singing.

It was a veritable Feste of the Thespian Arts.

She was Jest wonderful.

OK, I'm done now.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Houston Roundup

So to speak... Ba Dum BumP!

Sooo, some of the highlights of the trip to Houston, now that I am back home and the dust has settled.

The full-line Marriotts still charge for High-Speed 'Net connections, and having to revert to dial-up speeds is a real shock. Thus the lack of posts while on-site.

Here are the High-lights:

Epicurean delights:
Two types of Tex-Mex, both the traditional, which was excellent and chosen for it's free WiFi and the night before, Tex-Mex Seafood. My first experience with the Mexican take on the Frutti del Mare was in Boston almost 20 years ago. I also had a wonderful meal at a fish restaurant in Madrid back in my International travel days. It can hardly be a surprise that a country that basically IS a penensula should feature sea-food on it's tables. For some reason, it seems rare here with their descendants.

Also had a lovely Diner meatloaf plate special at the place across the street from the Half-Price books. (See below.) Started with tortilla soup and actually got to live (and relate to my server) the "waiter, taste my soup" joke...

The pilgrimages:
Years ago, when they had just begun, I was visiting my great-good college friend who was then studying/living in Silicon Valley. He introduced me to the wonder, the geek-fix, the EXPERIENCE that is Fry's.

Things have changed through the years, (remember when you actually went to a STORE to buy software?) but Fry's is still a wonderment to a propeller-head like me. (It may have been that first trip, I remember visiting their extensive magazine-rack with Perry and finding a magazine which mentioned his research. Now-a-days, the rack at the major chains have technolory rags galore.) The Houston location usually requires a long trip, as it is up in the Northern reaches and I usually fly into the older Hobby airport (features free WiFi according to one site i surfed) but not this time. Caveat: Texas highways, with their access-roads (don't get me started) being what they are makes this much farther than it might seem to anyone that has not experienced the Lone-Star road system - translation, in spite of this description, the store is actually a couple of miles from my hotel... ANYWAY, the Marriott was one exit away from the Hwy loop 8 (Sam Houston Parkway)/I-45 interchange. Head South to the first exit (West Rd.? St.?, whatever it's called West- thought it runs East-West as far as I could discern...) Drive half a mile down the outer road (see Caveat) and THERE U R!!!!

In Addition I managed to figure out that the new Webster store was also in the Houston area, al-be-it WAY down South by NASA. Over 30 miles, one-way, according to the mapping software. Unfortunately, this, unlike many Fry's locations in CA, is a newly constructed location. The mapping software was wrong. To the tune of 25min of extra trekking along various lovely Texas high-ways and side-roads. Lesson learned: Look at the addresses on the buildings, don't just trust that handy-dandy mapping site... Now, as far as the city engineer of Webster is concerned, dear sir/madame, please pay close attention: The EVEN addresses are on the WEST side of I-45!!!!

Finally arrived and set a new mile-stone. I have been to every Fry's location in California on various trips. I hope to complete the tour someday. I was actually at the Webster location the day BEFORE the Grand-Opening! If I can keep this up, I can reach this goal! (DANG! The check-out lady reminds me that the Sugar-Land location is also within 'Greater Houston'! Oh Well! Guess I have something to do on a return trip!)

An Finally:
On the way back up to my temporary home, up by the GHW Bush Inter-Continental Airport. (See last week's post.) Read: Half-way to Tex-Arkana. I made an extra, unnecessary but never-the-less vital stop: Half-Price books on Westheimer. I first encountered this wonderful chain in Texas (San Antonio) and have, on various trips, visited every location in San Antonio, Austin and Houston. I don't need any more books (I have more great reading queued-up than most Americans read in a decade. I should be good for 9months or so... ;->), and can now visit one of two locations near my home base. But if I didn't stop this would be the only trip I have ever made to Houston with a trip to Half-Price. (Yes, if the 60+ mile trip to an electronics emporium hadn't already convinced you, I admit it, I am a certifiable. I visited a Half-Price bookstore in Cincinnati once before it opened. Not before the grand opening, mind you, but while they were still having the employee orientation meeting and putting up shelves. I count that as all locations in Cinci, but really need to get back when they have stocked the place... '->) So I went and did find one tome and had a lovely supper (See above.) and headed North.

And I even got to go home early!