Life Archives

The 10-20-30 Virus

Honestly, I have never been tagged with one of the blog memes before, so congratulations to Elementary HistoryTeacher over at (the newly redesigned) “Georgia On My Mind” blog. The tagging requires that I describe where I was in life 30, 20 and 10 years ago (and then tag 5 other people).

1977 – In November, I had just moved to Cleveland, Ohio and started 11th grade at Shaker Heights High School. While there, I got to playing with the one computer available to students, an old HP1000, complete with paper tape puncher for saving & restoring programs. I might still have some of those buried deep in our storage room at home. It was that experience that turned me into the geek I am today. (Or perhaps, as some might see it, I was already a geek just looking for an outlet to express it.) I would sometimes wonder what the year 2000 would be like, how old I would be (wow, that old!) and what my life would be like.

1987 – I was married with no kids and living in Atlanta, Georgia. We were living in an apartment at the time, either soon to move into our first house or a year away from it (I forget these things). I was working for a small company called Quality Consultants, Inc., where I had been employee #9 (if you count all 3 partners and the secretary, Candy (her real name)).

1997 – We had three kids by this time (one more coming 3 years hence), I was still with the same company, though by this time it had been merged with another company, It kept the name at this point, but would change a couple more time in the next 10 years. We were in our first house and making some good friends from church and the neighborhood that we’d have for years.

My problem with retrospectives like this is that, while I remember some events and milestones, I don’t really remember specifically what year they occurred.

In trying to decide who to tag after me, I realized how few fellow bloggers I actually correspond with. I would have like to pick a few that have linked to me often, but couldn’t find an e-mail address for them on their blog to let them know. (And who can blame them, with all the spam these days?)

But I now hereby tag the following lucky winners to spread this incidious meme: Chris from “A Dim Light in a Dark Place”, James at “The Other Athens”, Meryl from (an SNN colleague), and Marc from hubs and spokes.  Enjoy!

One Salvation Army officer (minister) was in their car just before getting on the Minneapolis bridge when it collapsed, while an IT employee was on the bridge when it happened. Both were able to help those who were stranded. You can go to the web site for The Salvation Army’s Minnesota and North Dakota Division to see more pictures and news, and contribute to the effort.

Washington, DC

Our Spring Break jaunt this year was to the nation’s capitol. I hadn’t toured there since I was around 10, so it was high time I went back, this time with my own kiddos. I’m not going to give a full travelogue here (that tome will go out to family), but here are some thoughts.

Point #1: Bring a bike. DC is rather bike-friendly, and the National Mall is a longer walk than it looks. There is a place right downtown to rent some, but bring what you can. You can cover a lot of ground that way.

The first thing we did was a bike tour (free, as are many things in DC) run by the National Parks Service. It hit many spots in DC but I had no idea how much into DC we’d be. I have pictures of us biking down the middle of Pennsylvania Ave. with the Rangers leading the way. Not down the sidewalk; down the center lane. That by itself was cool (though I kept a good eye on the kiddos with me). There were enough stops along the way to rest my 40-something legs, so it wasn’t a killer. They like to theme the tour with a “This Week in History” feel, and the week we went was the week World War 1 started, so at each stop there were talks about how this monument or that feature related back to the war, the run-up to it, the culture of the time and/or how events of the period affected the DC landscape. It went from the Jefferson Memorial, down and back up that peninsula, to the Capitol, to the Pershing Memorial (directly related to WW1 of course) and over to the White House, where we broke away from it to rejoin those of the family doing their own thing on foot. (With 6 in the family, you can only carry so many bikes.) A good learning experience and a good workout.

We hit all the usual spots during the week; the monuments along the Mall, the Smithsonian museums, Ford’s Theater, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery. The Cherry Blossom Festival had just started, and the trees bloomed on cue. Unfortunately, this brings crowds, and while the National Parks Service has a nice Tourmobile bus service for a reasonable price, our use of it was marred by long lines and slow traffic. Again, bikes are your friend.

Point #2: Staying in a hotel close to DC can be worth the money. I was looking at some hotel web sites for places under $100, but everything was way outside the beltway. The Metro Rail is nice, but we’d have had to drive to the farthest out station first, taking lots of time out of our day. saved the day, and I’ve become a big fan. For the same price as the Super 8, we stayed near the Reagan National Airport for a couple of days, and then splurged to stay downtown for a couple more. (Nice to just walk 4 block to the Mall.) Now, I said it can be worth the money because there are some things you’d probably get at the Super 8 for free that you either can’t get or cost extra at the nicer hotels. Like Internet access ($10 per day), free simple breakfast, microwave ($25), fridge ($25), coffee maker in the room (1 of our hotels didn’t have that) and even park (around $25 per day). Now, this may not been news to those who’ve stayed at these spots before, but this was my first real experience with it, so it was news to me. Fortunately, we brought a cooler with lots of food, and Pizza Hut delivers to the lobby. (Where else in DC can you feed 6 for $20?) A pool the size of my office cubicle was OK…once enough people left to allow us to go in. I understand that we’re probably not the target market, but they could do just a bit more to fill those empty rooms and do just a little more to make it family friendly. So yes, it can be worth the money for the location, if you understand the amenity situation.

Point #3: Spend the time. There were a number of things we’d hoped to do but just didn’t have time to do after doing the things we did do. DC is big in the two senses that there’s so much to do, and that everything is so…big. The monuments are, of course, generally done on a grand scale, but when you go to the Smithsonian museums, there’s so much in there. We spend Sunday afternoon through Wednesday, and really just hit the highlights. Maybe this point is better expressed “Spend the time well”. Don’t try to do a little bit of everything; do some things well and leave the rest for perhaps another visit.

We had a great time. Learned some history, some science, and got to see those things you see only on TV or the back of your money. I highly recommend a visit there some day if you’ve never gone.

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Wanna Be a Radio Star?

While the contest is on, I’ve added a graphic on the side that links to the Public Radio Talent Quest. The contest doesn’t start until April 16th, but I just found out about it from Podcasting News and I think I’m going to give it a shot. So might as well help promote it.

It’s open to anyone, so there’s nothing special about me. I have done some radio, back in college, and I’ve always enjoyed the radio entertainer. Not just the DJ who give you title and artist during the song’s intro, but someone who can really entertain you. I’ve always enjoyed Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” feature, and growing up, when we’d be taking long trips in the car, we’d listen to the (last shot) revival of old time radio programs, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E. G. Marshall. I imagine I come by it naturally. My dad, before becoming a minister in The Salvation Army, was a radio DJ in New Jersey during the 40s and has quite the announcer’s voice. I’ve been told over the years that I, too, have a voice for radio. Well, if I do, it’s partly due to the luck of the gene pool, and partly from listening to some of the best. (Thank you, Jack Bogut, for the couple years I spent in Pittsburgh listening to you on KDKA.)

Anyway, if anything comes of my entry, I’ll mention it here. (Which means this may be my only post on the subject. >grin<)

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Regular readers will have noticed that my contributions to this blog have been slight in the past few months, though they are on the rise. The reason for this is that a disease I hadn’t thought much about in the past 10 years decided to make another appearance and made typing a chore. My Multiple Sclerosis was back. But while there is bad news involved, there is certainly a lot of good news and praise to God involved

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Light Blogging

It’s going to be a little quiet on the blog for a few days or weeks. I’m contending with a recurrence of Multiple Sclerosis that has, among other things, hit my right arm and hand. With the reduced motor control, typing has become a bit slower and more deliberate (no more touch-typing with that hand). Thus I won’t be doing much here until more sensation is back in the hand, or if I get really good with the free trial version of a voice recognition package I downloaded. I started steroid treatment today, so the goal is to be able to touch-type before the 30-day trial is up.

So this it just a note to say that the blog hasn’t died; it’s just resting a bit. >grin<

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Only 68 Days Until Christmas!

I was in J C Penny this evening, and while browsing around I noticed that the background music sounded familiar. For a minute I thought that it was some song that had a melodic phrase similar to a very popular piece of music; just an interesting coincidence. But as I listened to see if the melody changed, I realized that what I was listening to was the more popular tune.

“Angels We Have Heard On High”.

I said to the guy at the register, “Christmas music? Already?” He gave a light-hearted roll of the eyes and said, “Tell me about it.” I love Christmas music, don’t get me wrong (my father is a non-repentant Christmas-aholic), but this does seem a little early.

So you know what that means, right? When you start hearing Christmas carols played in the stores, it’s almost…

Right. Halloween.

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