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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Broadsheet's New Ride
There was no blogging yesterday because I was busy buying a new car and subsequently playing with the new car.

After a month of lurking the on-line car dealership sites, a car in the style and color I was looking for showed up. A grey/green BMW 325xi. It was being sold as a used car but it only had 5,200 miles on it, was less than a year old, and was packed with the features I wanted (and more). It turns out that it was a dealership car owned by BMW USA. As a company car - it is loaded with every concievable extra they have to offer. Sweet! And by buying a "used" car, I saved about $10,000.

I can attest to two things: (1) documenting poor customer service to the owner of a humongous luxury car dealership is good for a $1,000 "we're sorry" discount right off the bat, and (2)buying a car on the last day of the month, and threatening to "think about it" for a few days, is good for another $1,500.

So, at the end of the day, after all the papers had been signed, and my bank account was considerably lightened, I collected all the belongings out of the old Jetta, patted it goodbye and thanked it for being the really good little car that it was, and stepped into the new car and started to get acquainted.



It's like driving a hovercraft - it's that smoooooth.



One of the coolest features (among many) is that the transmission is bi-modal. It lets you drive with an automatic transmission, or lets you shift to a 5 speed manual mode which allows you to control the shifting - with no clutch to slip! It's a really nice feature for extra power when you want to merge into traffic or pass someone.

So, if you see a grey/green BMW with an insanely happy red head behind the wheel - chances are it's me.
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:29 PM   10 Editorial Opinions
Friday, July 29, 2005
Say goodnight Gracie
Friday cat blogging! This is my friend Diane's cat, Gracie, waiting to go for a ride.

posted by Broadsheet @ 4:37 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
This is how rumors get started....
In my email today:

In accordance with JCAHO recommendations, a mock infant abduction --a drill -- was conducted on our OB units the morning of 7/26/05. True to "urban legends," this generated a rumor that an infant was kidnapped here. If the rumor is repeated to you, please reassure the speaker that it absolutely is NOT true.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:26 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Google Maps Directory
I readily admit to being a Google Map fan geek. I think they are the coolest things ever. So....They've made a Directory!

So far, my favorite is Urinal.net, a directory of urinals nationwide. By clicking on the link to Linthicum, Maryland, you now have instant access to the men's room urinals at BWI Airport.

(Ok, Ok, I admit it. I'm procrastinating because tonight is "pay the bills and do laundry" night, and instead I'm surfing Google Maps for urinals. Gimme a break.)
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:29 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
No Surprises Here
The other shoe has officially dropped.

Bob Goodenow is stepping down as head of the NHL Players' Association, less than a week after the union and league approved a new labor deal to end a lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.

Goodenow had three years left on his contract. But many observers thought he was not thrilled by the labor pact, which included a salary cap.

"With the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the new agreement, the parties concur that this is an appropriate action for the future," Goodenow said in a statement Thursday.
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:54 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Fourth Amendment Articles
You can buy this to protest the search of your belongings by police and transit authorities while traveling on public transit systems,



Or, you can buy this to welcome random acts of "search and seizure"

posted by Broadsheet @ 4:57 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Arachnaphobia
One of the merits of posting a late review of the Blogger Happy hour is that
other people have already done it for you!

And yes, there really was a discussion about necrophelia, and the spiders, upon hearing the conversation, got excited and were every bit as large and aggressive and plentiful as reported.

I must say, that without the spiders and tropical heat, Nick's was a very nice locale indeed. Even though I cohosted with Zenchick, neither one of us had ever actually been there before and made a leap of faith in choosing the location. Great location, good food, nice menu, reasonable prices, and drinks were reasonable too.

So....Who's in charge of the August shindig??

Also, stay tuned for upcoming dates and details for a backyard bachanal at Casa de Broadsheet sometime in August (where exactly did the summer go? If you find it, let me know).
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:55 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
How NOT to sell a car....
Background: I would like to buy a new car. No hurry. No pressure. It's a good time for me, and I can still get a decent, book value private sale price on my car. It's in terrific shape, at a fair price, and I would have no qualms whatsoever selling it to a friend or family member.

I made the mistake of visiting a dealership prematurely a few weeks ago, and this past weekend I went online and asked for some quotes VIA EMAIL.

I found a car I liked on the website, but there was no price listed. The site said: "Please complete the form and we will email you with a quote*".

This is getting rather humorous, so I will post them in order:

Message #1:
Please send me a price quote via email for Stock #3060. Thank you, Broadsheet
Response #1:

This e-mail is an auto-response to your request from "Al's Car Dealership" for information on the 200X XXX. We'd like to thank you for your interest in Al's Car Dealership" and for the opportunity to take care of your automotive needs. Please take a moment to respond to this e-mail with the most convenient method of reaching you.*

Make an appointment to visit "Al's" and experience the excitement of the ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE!

Message #2
Al -

Thank you for your prompt response. Please respond to my initial request for a price quote via email for Stock #3060. Also, per my initial correspondence, I prefer email. Someone from your office called me on my cell phone this afternoon (which I did not provide in the information I submitted, but which is on my home voice mail in case of emergency only). As a result, I was interrupted at work at a very inopportune and inappropriate moment.

Ideally, I am interested in a 200X XXX series with XXX. I would very much prefer a manual transmission, but I realize they are not as common. I am particularly fond of the grey-green metallic shade of this model, but as long as it's not white, I'm open to the color of the car.

Other stock numbers you have that I would be interested in are 19662, and 2833.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Broadsheet
Response #2

Broadsheet,

I want to apologize for the inconvenient phone call that you received yesterday. On another note we have a great selection of vehicles that you are currently interested in. I would like to schedule a time that is convenient with you so that you can visit the dealership this weekend to test drive the cars that you are interested in. Please call me as soon as possible so that we can discuss this GREAT NEWS!!

Thank you again for your inquiry,

Al

Message #3

Dear Al,

Thank you once again for your prompt reply, but please respond to my initial quote request. I am evaluating a variety of other dealers, other models, and other cars. I would like to have all my research, specs, and pricing done prior to a test drive to streamline the decision making process. I am ready to purchase a car. This will be my third and last request. Customer responsiveness and the ability to listen to customer needs is a criteria in the decision making process. So far, "Al's Car Dealership" is 0 for 2.
Sincerely,
Broadsheet



Response #3 (after I copied the string of emails above to the owner of the dealership)
Dear Ms. Broadsheet, Thank you for your e-mail and apprising me of your experience at our dealership. I do extend my sincere apologies and appreciate your calling this matter to my attention. It is going to be the topic of our weekly meeting and hopefully there will not be a reoccurrance. We, at "Al's Cars", strive for professionalism and customer service. Results of those efforts have shown in surveys conducted by our parent dealership of North America that ranks our dealership #1 in customer satisfaction in the entire mid-Atlantic area. Every now and then someone slips and this, unfortunately was one of those times. Again, my apologies. We would like very much to sell you the car of your choice. I have shared your e-mail with my two managers and have asked them personally to get involved and see that, given the oppoptrunity, you are taken good care of. I am quite certain that your experience will be truly professional and in the manner we strive for. Sincerely, Al

Another email followed shortly with the price quote I've been asking for on line for a week now. I might actually take a test drive if they behave themselves.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:45 PM   5 Editorial Opinions
Separated at Birth?
Anna Wintour channels Willy Wonka

posted by Broadsheet @ 4:28 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Wining and dining best way to woo women
In today's D'Oh!! News Award: Research shows that Wining and dining are the best way to woo women.

I would love to see the research grant application for this study. Better yet, how do you sign up to be a research subject? Oh, wait, maybe I was a control subject for a dinner date at Denney's a ways back.

HT: Fark
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:34 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Final Reminder - Happy Hour Tonight for Balto Bloggers
If you're reading this and you're in the Baltimore area, please join us at Nick's Fishouse for Happy Hour this evening. It will be cool - even if it is 105 degrees outside....

Come have a tasty adult beverage, or some good old fashioned ice tea, to cool off and socialize with everyone's alter ego. Come on, you know you want to!

We'll be there beginning at about 5:30. Some of us may be late....That would be me. Driving hurriedly with all the windows down and sunroof open because I've left a 25 gallon Rubbermaid trash can in my car on the hottest day of the year....

The things we do for fellow bloggers! And don't worry Snay, your DVD is in my office - not the car.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:12 AM   6 Editorial Opinions
Van Gogh killer jailed for life
I was glad to see this in the morning news. Justice is served in this matter. It wasn't even the terrible, misplaced religious hatred that spawned this murder that was so offensive - it was the brutality and complete lack of disregard for human life - of any kind - which was so terrifying and stunning. I hope this brings some measure of peace to a normally peaceful country, with an even greater sense of acceptance of all people, that was shaken to its core by this senseless act of rage and brutality.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:47 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, July 25, 2005
The World's First Dildo
Paging ACW, paging ACW.

Scientists have discovered what they believe is one of the earliest representations of a phallus in a German cave.
The prehistoric "tool" was reassembled from 14 fragments of siltstone.

Its life size suggests it may well have been used as a sex aid by its Ice Age makers, scientists report.

.....The Hohle Fels phallus will go on show at Blaubeuren prehistoric museum in an exhibition called Ice Art - Clearly Male.
Honest. I'm not making this up. My question is, why did it take them so long to invent batteries?
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:22 PM   4 Editorial Opinions
Woman Bitten By Poisonous Snake Hiding In Toilet
This story is enough to make you nervous, but the photos that accompany it are absolutely hilarious.



"We're not looking to take it alive," said the victim's husband, Richard Bailey, as he held a shotgun. "I just want it out of here."
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:08 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Rock singer dead after stage dive - Darwin strikes again
I'm sure there were no drugs or alcohol involved in thisstunt. Another runner up in this year's Darwin Awards for sure.

I also wonder if he thought the mosh pit crowd would catch him when he enthusiastically jumped off the stage into the crowd, but instead they just parted like the Red Sea and watched him splatter? That's cold.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:04 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Artscape Images
These are quick and dirty. I wasn't going for artistic value here:



Festival Food - Maryland Style



Strolling through the crowds



Art Cars



Freak Show (the booth - NOT the people!!). I just thought they were interesting in a very cool way. Notice the little boy's mohawk. Dad's entire lip was one big set of piercing rings, as were his nose and ears.



Beers and a live boa. You never know what you're gonna see.



All American Window. This is my neighbor's house, just off the main festival street.

And Lastly,



We are not afraid. The summer of terror threats here and abroad. I loved the juxtaposition of the watermelon rind, which is truly the purest form of summer pleasure and innocence, with the ominous poster - especially with the "Job" flyer attached.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:07 PM   5 Editorial Opinions
Canada wins!!
OUCH

The Canadian government secured a surprise win Friday, beating out such luminaries as Iran, North Korea and the United States, for the dumbest government of the year at the World Stupidity Awards.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:21 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Artscape
So... I wandered down to the corner earlier today and examined my neighborhood with an extra 50,000 or so people thrown in. I had some Thai Chicken Sate (gotta love street / festival food!) and a frozen coffee for lunch (and made a mental note of food booths for lunch and dinner options for the remainder of the weekend), and then we went to hear my boys "Lawnchair" (and shared a giant mango frozen ice - yum!). Lots of great stuff in the Artists Market, but the people watching tops it all. I'm going back tomorrow with my camera - will post photos later. I love Artscape because it really brings out the best in Baltimore - everyone is happy and just there to enjoy themselves and have a nice day, and the diversity of people is mind blowing.

It is a stunningly beautiful weekend here! All the humidity from last week has vanished, and the temps are warm, but not unbearable, and this evening, it's about 80.

In addition to "Lawnchair", we saw our city's mayor give his farewell performance for "O'Malley's March". Needless to say, it was packed - SRO.

I've come home for a few hours to get some things done around the house and cool off a bit, but now am headed back out the door with my own lawnchair and some wine, to catch the 8:00 concert of the Drive By Truckers and some more people watching.

Did I mention how much I love living here? Right in my own backyard - literally!! Two weekends in a row, where Baltimore is just the best place on earth.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:26 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Friday, July 22, 2005
Lawnchair
A shout out to my buddies at Lawnchair!! Adam, Matt and the boys will be taking the stage at Artscape at 1:30 PM on Saturday. Stop by, give a listen and dance a little - you won't regret it!!
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:42 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
It Ain't Just Paint -
Best mug shot EVER. Huffing gold spray paint isn't exactly the most subtle way to get high.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:05 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
US Takes Over Ireland
Geez who knew that Ireland was such a hotbed of intelligience activity related to US Homeland Security threats? WTF?
Under 'instruments of agreement' signed last week by Justice Minister Michael McDowell, Ireland and the US pledged mutual co-operation in the investigation of criminal activity. It is primarily designed to assist America's so-called 'war on terror' in the wake of the September 11 atrocities.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:03 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Start Spreading the News.....Blogtimore, Hon
Yeah, yeah, yeah it's a recycled post.

But don't forget about Tuesday's, 7/26 Blogger extravaganza at Nick's Fish House.

Please do post a comment here and let Zenchick or I know you're coming so that we can warn Nick's of the number of marauding geeks ahead of time.

I can't get there till 6:30 or so do to work commitments, but when I do, I promise to return this to him, and bestow this to the guy with the kitten fetish.

Oh, and now that we have the new and improved Blogtimore at our service - perhaps we'll see lots of new faces??? Come one, come all!!!

(Oh, and if you're worried about missing us - cough, cough, - MIKE - send me your cell phone via my Gmail address)
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:05 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
La Lucha Libre!
I give you the Flying Cholitas: Female Bolivian Wrestling. Who knew?



"The cradle of freestyle wrestling is Mexico because that's where the best fighters were - Hurricane Ramírez, the Jalisco Lightning, the Blue Demon," explained Juan Carlos Chávez, promoter of the Titans.

But now, he says proudly, Bolivia has its own stable of wrestlers who tussle in choreographed matches. And Bolivian organizers have introduced the innovation of fighting Cholitas, the indigenous women who wear bowler hats and multilayered skirts.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:55 AM   2 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Star Trek's Scotty dies aged 85
The dilithium crystals have finally gone out. RIP Scotty
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:41 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
When a Dog Day Afternoon Starts Before Dawn
Welcome to the "Grumpy Factor". We've been feeling it for over a week here on the east coast of the US, and in Baltimore in particular:
A common theory holds that hot weather is more tolerable than cold. This fails to account for something meteorologists never refer to.

Call it the Grumpy Factor, a phenomenon tied to humidity. In a nursery-rhyme-science sort of a way, the Grumpy Factor explains how unpleasantness can shuffle across the city, lighting tempers and darkening moods.


The heat index has been at 100+ for the last 6 days, and instead of having a bad hair day, I'm having a bad hair month.

posted by Broadsheet @ 11:55 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Tattooed Fruit Is on Way
It's little things like Tattooed Fruit that make my day. I hate the damn little fruit and veggie stickers. I end up easting them half the time, and the other half, they get stuck in a little pile on the corner of my sink. Yeah tattooed fruit!
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:50 AM   3 Editorial Opinions
Monday, July 18, 2005
Tourista
My brother and my nieces (ages 10 and 11) were here this weekend (YAY!!!). Anytime family or friends visit, it's a chance to play tourist in my own town, but this weekend, I have to say, we did a classic tour, and Baltimore effin ROCKS.

On Friday night, I exposed the girls to their first crab feast. Now, I have to say, these kids have been known to be picky eaters, but God bless them - they jumped right in and tore those suckers apart like a pro. Trying to be authentic, we headed to Captain James' Landing in Canton. This is a hole of a restaurant that normally, I would never frequent, but they opened a crab shack across the street from the main restaurant, on the water. It only serves steamed crabs, corn, beer and karioke at picnic tables on the waterfront. It just doesn't get any better that that. The crabs were good and the karioke was actually decent with two major exceptions.

On Saturday, the girls had their hearts set on the National Aquarium, and it's a good thing they did since it proceeded to be miserably hot, thunder and rain all day. After a great trip through the Aquarium, we catered to my brother's need for a Tour de France update fix at the ESPN Sports Zone, and then next door to Barnes and Noble for some Harry Potter mania.

From all this, we headed back to my house and over to The Charles Theater to catch the matinee showing of March of the Penguins. See it. Now.

Not much you can do to top something that amazing, so we retired to my house for pizza and a bad Pay for View Movie.

Sunday: Another oppressive day. Off to the USS Constellation. Truly a remarkable experience. The most common sentiment was that we are very grateful to be living in this day and age.

More heat and humidity....Off to the Maryland Science Center. Way too much great stuff to see in an hour or two!!!

We left there and headed to the myriad of restaurants in the Inner Harbor complex and decided on M&S Grill, primarily because they didn't have a 45-60 minute wait at 1:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon. Turned out to be terrific!

That was it. From there, it was back to my place and a chance to pack, load the car up again and drive home. Way too little time...I miss them already.

After such an exhausting tourist weekend, as soon as they left @ 4:00, I was asleep on the couch till 6:00.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:30 PM   11 Editorial Opinions
March of the Penguins
Go see March of the Penguins!! You won't regret it. A terrific, terrific film. I took my 10 and 11 year old nieces to see it over the weekend, and I'm not sure who enjoyed it more - them or me! We couldn't stop talking about it. The cinematography is absolutely amazing and the story of these amazing birds' survival is truly unbelievable.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:18 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Just a few more....
From Tangier Island....

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Perhaps my favorite photo: "Help Yourself" Says a lot and implies even more.....

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The oddest thing was the number of graves. Perhaps not the number so much as the seemingly ubiquitous locations. Behind, between,or just in spots in the yard....gravesites are everywhere on Tangier.

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These are just some of the crab shack / processing stations around the island. Each waterman / family have their own.

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This "airport" reminded me of the one I flew out of from "Blackall" Australia in the Queensland Outback. One airstrip, and the "airport director" also owned the local feed store. He shut the feed store down early one day a week when the planes came in. I was an honored guest.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:47 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Friday, July 15, 2005
A Few More Tangier Island Photos
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The Beach: The beach was very pretty and was a nice walk in the evening at sunset.

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Entrepreneurs: These two little girls (ages 8 and 9) were selling candles in front of the little Post Office. They poured colored wax into empty clamshells from the beach, and hand lettered "With Love from Tangier Island" on them. They were $2 apiece. I gave them $10 for 4 and they let me take their picture.

DSCF0057
Sunset from the porch on my cottage. I looked out over a marsh that was just filled with all kinds of herons, egrets, ducks and other seabirds. There was a wooden walkway to the beach. This was sunset Wednesday night when I arrived. When Tropical Storm Cindy hit on Thursday night, the water had flooded the marsh and was right up to the foot of my cottage.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:44 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Tangier Island
With the excitement and chaos that has been this week, I neglected to document my trip to Tangier Island. I'm glad I went. Really. It was relaxing (some parts of it anyway), and it was truly remote. Defintely NOT a vacation destination per se, but an interesting window into the culture of a dissapearing way of life. A rich lifestyle that is uniquely American. I would describe the atmosphere as a cross between Nantucket and chabby chic.

Some of the facts:

1. There are 3 Bed and Breakfast places, which house a total of about 50 people combined - maybe less. These seem to be used as overflow housing for relatives and friends - not tourists. I stayed at the most "luxurious" one. It had TV. No phones, no cable, no pay per view. But the farmhouse breakfasts were amazing. My cottage, including breakfast, was $100 / night.
2. There are no banks, and not a single ATM on the island. The B&B's, and one of the 5 gift shops will accept a credit card. Other than that - it's a cash only culture. I asked one of the local waitress girls how they managed without a bank or ATM. Her reply? "You don't miss what you ain't never had".
3. No commercial anything. No chains. No signs. No Starbucks, Subway, MacDonald's, etc... Even the ice cream at the little ice cream parlor was home made. No Ben and Jerry's.
4. There are 3 restaurants which are strictly vinyl tablecloth or picnic table affairs with lots of local seafood (fried or broiled), and an amazing assortment of local homemade desserts. I made friends with the owner of one of the restaurants while I was there (Carole) and she took me on her skiff to a local uninhabitated island called "Porto Isabelle" to pick wild blackberries to make pies for her restaurant. I had a blast.
5. The lifestyle is completely centered around the Bay and what little tourism they get from the ferry every day in the summer. The watermen are on their skipjacks by 4:00 AM, crab / fish till about noon, and then come back to drop off their catch in the tanks for peelers, and pack bushel baskets of crabs to send to the mainland for processing. This one little island of less than 700 people is responsible for most of the soft (Blue) shell crabs in the world. $25 a dozen on the island. They sell for $4.50 apiece on the mainland. Anyway, the waterman's day is over by 2:00 or so, but that's still a very hard 10 hour day.
6. There is one ferry / mail boat a day to and from the mainland. It arrives around 2:00 and leaves the island around 4:00. The restaurants close at 5:00. There are two sandwich shops which are open in the summer till 10:00 PM, and serve pizza and subs.
7. It's a dry island. No booze is available for sale or consumption in the restaurants or stores. "You don't miss what you ain't never had." BYOB if you go.
8. It costs $4 to bring your bike with you on the ferry. It costs $2/day to rent one. Fenders, big tube tires, wide seat, wicker basket, the works. My 20 speed mountain bike would not have garnered me favors, let alone let me blend in. When I rented my bike at the dock, the woman told me to "go around back and just pick one out."
Me: "Don't you need my name or driver's license or deposit?"
Her: (Looking at me like a mentally disable person)said patronizingly: "It's a small island - we don't ever lose them".
9. The language. This little trip was worth it just to hear these people talk. They have turned the vowel into an art form. I don't believe they use hard consonants at all. Due to their 200 years of relative isolation and inbreeding, they have an accent that is VERY southern (all drawl), but with an odd Scotch/Irish "upspeak" at the end of their phrases, and an even odder Elizabethan phrasing. Instead of saying: "It's almost time", you might hear: "The Taaahhhm is ahhtt hahheend". It was VERY hard to understand them - especially when they were speaking just to each other.

So... here are some photos:

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My Cottage

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Discarded Boat

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Patriotic Clamshells

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Cut off from town. Tropical Storm Cindy

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Flowhdud, agin.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:05 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Irony
In my mailbox at home last night? An awards catalogue with lots of lovely watches, clocks, luggage, jewelry, etc. to choose from...... And a letter from the President of my previous job congratulating me on my 10 year anniversary.

Heh.

Thanks for the watch.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:22 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Energized
Can I just say how amazing it is to really, truly love your job and realize you've probably just made one of the best decisions in your life?

I feel like I've awakened from a coma. Truly. The difference is that stark. It's not that I was miserable in the old job - really - I wasn't. It was just that after 10 years, it was status quo; dead end; I wasn't learning from it anymore, and I was phoning it in every day. I needed to grow.

I felt like an unwatered plant that had outgrown its flowerpot.

I fully realize that I am in that very dangerous period of a relationship when it is all excitement, tingling, can't-wait-to-see-hear-talk-to them again. You know what I'm talking about : the truly stupid, crazy-in-love-passionate part of any blossoming relationship. You love everything they say or do. Everything they like, you suddenly have an obsession with. It's hard to avoid PDAs. Yeah - it's like that.

The good and bad of this is that:

(1) This feeling will end. Like passion, it cannot sustain itself indefinitely and the "bloom will fade".
(2) Enjoy it while it lasts. It is one of life's true gifts, and something that most of us spend a lifetime trying to find.
(3) Once the rose fades, the best that can happen is that you are left with the warm, loving, comfortable intimacy of friendship and companionship, and a shared sense of goals and values in life. You are also left with the memory of the passion, which makes intimacy more immediate.
(4) There will be hard, horrible, ugly, tearful fights, jealousies and indiscretion. There will be many sleepless nights and angry, but controlled, conversations.
(5) There will be compromise.
(6) There will be reconciliation.

These rules don't just apply to love. These rules applies to any relationship we are passionate about, and something that I spend 50+ hours a week doing, damn well better be enjoyable and rewarding in the long run.
I think people sometimes pity me because I don't have a partner (at the moment). What they fail to realize is, I have a completely functional family that most people can't even conceive of having for support and closeness. I also have a wealth of friends and neighbors that I would not trade for the world.

For. The. World.

I have a career that I'm passionate about, and now, after a difficult patch of 3 years, I have a job that I'm passionate about again.

I am rich beyond measure.

Oh, and did I mention happy??
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:26 PM   6 Editorial Opinions
Still here
Hey internet - I'm still here. I'm just a wee bit busy with the first week of the new job and all. Promise to give you all an update this evening.

In other news, my brother and my nieces are coming to visit this weekend! Yay!

Oh wait - that means cleaning the house and buying actual kid friendly groceries. Yikes. Postings will be brief after all!
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:04 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, July 11, 2005
Let the Games Begin
First day on the job. Arrived at 7:30 AM. My first faculty meeting just ended - 8:45 PM.

Oh yeah, this is gonna be fun!

I think I'll come back tomorrow.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:45 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Spooky
OK, this is weird. I had the same phone number at my last job for the entire 10 years I was there. My office moved at least 5 times over the years, but my extension was always the same: xxx-5897.

My new extension? xxx-9578.

Yeah, creepy.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:31 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The Art of the Nap
I rediscovered one of life's simpler pleasures this week while I was off awaiting the start of the new job. That would be the fine, and in my case, lost, art of napping. It started innocently enough. Last Sunday, after the horrors of the Toronto day trip, I suddenly felt enormously fatigued in the afternoon and decided to lay down on the couch - and woke TWO hours later. I felt like Rip Van Winkle, but it felt GOOD.

It happened again, without warning this time, on Monday while I was reading. It could have been all the exertion of going to the matinee that afternoon with Snay to see "War of the Worlds", but I think it was more a realization that I COULD take an actual nap if I wanted to. Wow - now there's a revelation.

By the time I got to Tangier on Wednesday (after dozing off on the upper deck of the ferry in the breezy sunshine with hum of the motor to hypnotize me), I had incorporated not only a nap into the daily schedule, but also the very odd habit of sleeping until 7:30 in the morning! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a notoriously early riser (thanks Mom). Getting a good night's sleep, let alone sleeping in till hours after sunrise is completely decadent to me.

I have discovered that I like the luxury of falling asleep on the beach in the late afternoon sunshine, or under the umbrella in a chair reading a book out on the pier, or even the most guilty pleasure of all - actually laying down on the bed in the middle of the day with the intention of napping. Perhaps I'm actually relaxing this week after all...

Therefore, in honor of this last true day of vacation, I leave you to enjoy a final mid afternoon nap. I shall miss them dearly.
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:01 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in!
So... I get home tonight after the "relaxing" 4 day getaway. Relaxing, except for the fact that I have loved ones in London and my cell phone was only able to receive text messaging on the island. And even that, only on the edge of the pier off my cottage. Conversations were static to non-existent, so typing with my thumbs took up much of Thursday while I made sure everyone was present and accounted for.

Oh, and then there was that Cindy thing on Thursday night, which, in addition to scaring the crap out of me (worst lightening storm ever), and shutting off power for about 6 hours, totally flooded the island (seeing as it is only 4 feet above sea level, that's not hard to do). Will post pics later. We were cut off from the "town" until almost 4 in the afternoon. The shops (6) and restaurants (3) close by 5 or 6 anyway, and on this day never opened in most cases due to power issues.

After a really beautiful (but HOT!!) day today, I left the island on the 4:00 ferry and took the scenic route home this evening, stopping at the Choptank River for dinner at the Suicide Bridge Restaurant (seemed fitting - given my week), and got home around 10:00 PM.

I promised myself I would check phone messages and glance through the post mail, and that I would check e-mail but NOT blogs....

Well...You know how that went.

I had about a dozen new comments posted, so I had to go look at those, and then read the corresponding blogs. With all the pithy commentary on the London bombings, local goings on, people's interesting vacation posts, and just some seriously good writing out there that makes me want to crawl under a rock and never post again, etc.... I have posts and comments clogging my brain, but they will have to wait.

Should have just gone to bed in the first place. Out.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:04 AM   4 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Poor Writing Costs Taxpayers Millions
This article really struck home with me. As a manager, I can't tell you how dumbfounded I am with the lack of writing skills in people 30 and younger (bloggers are an exception, or you wouldn't be blogging). Seriously, what are they teaching in schools nowadays??

And the worst of it is in Email. Email is a wonderful, efficient, tool to communicate in the workplace without having to spend time and money on memos, copies and distribution lists. It's immediate, it's able to be tracked through discussion threads, topics, etc.... But my Lord, some of the grammar and typos are simply unacceptable. Do you have any idea how many times I have to read a sentence with the word "irregardless" in it??? It's not a word!! It doesn't exist! And that's a very mild example. Another gripe is people who use text message shorthand in Email. "R U avlbl @ 1 4 a mtg?" is acceptable in a text message (barely), but in Email?? Speak English please.

I'm so struck by the letters and diaries written back as early as the 1930's and even more so, in the late 19th century. I have a book of letters written by Groucho Marx. He was an amazingly brilliant man - and so good with words! Likewise the letters of soldiers and their families during the Civil War. What became of that eloquence, that politeness, that ability to speak clearly in writing and convey thoughts and feelings with grace, good humor and wit? The HBO series "Deadwood" certainly has a lot of foul language in it, but it also contains some of the most wonderfully crafted dialogue of any show on TV. It's very true to 1850's culture.

...The commission, established by the College Board, drew attention with its first report in 2003. That outlined problems with how writing is taught in American schools and proposed remedies. The group's second report, last year, tried to drum up support for writing education by highlighting the value that business and industry leaders place on writing skills.

This year, the commission surveyed human resource directors who oversee nearly 2.7 million state government employees, and found writing skills even more important than in the private sector.

While two-thirds of companies surveyed in the 2004 report said writing was an important responsibility for workers, 100 percent of the 49 states responding to the anonymous survey said it was. More than 75 percent said they take writing skills into account when hiring.

But while 70 percent of state managers said large majorities of their professional employees had adequate skills, just one-third said clerical and support staff did. The report estimates the states spend $221 million annually on remedial writing training, sometimes sending workers to $400-per-employee classes.
The most disheartening mistakes I see usually begin on a person's resume. I can tell you in no uncertain terms, that if your resume has misspellings, bad sentence structure, poor choice of words, etc. It will most definitely end up in my circular file. I always ask for a writing sample from our clerical and support staff applicants nowadays, and many times, people seem surprised to be asked for one.

Given the importance of Email in basic, day to day communication in the corporate office environment, if you can't write well, your career will be severely limited.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:13 PM   10 Editorial Opinions
Sudan agrees Darfur peace outline
"Formidable challenges remain"?? You think?? I'm very encouraged by this - but it is but one very tiny step towards anything resembling peace in that area, and let's not forget the staggering poverty, AIDS, and cultural barriers to long term peace.

And even more sadly, because the United Nations report stopped short of saying the authorities and their militia allies carried out a genocide in Darfur, it is unlikely that anyone will ever be held accountable for the deaths of nearly 200,00 people and the starvation of millions more as they fled from the death squads.

I will be happy when I take off this bracelet I wear in support of ending this genocide.
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:13 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
PBS Previews | Guns, Germs & Steel
Please, please, please, try and catch this 3 part series on PBS by National Geographic. This was one of the most interesting books I've ever read, and I'm sure the series will be equally intriguing. If you haven't read the Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name - go get it. It's a treat to read.

Jared Diamond's revolutionary theories about the course of human civilization come to the screen in GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL: A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PRESENTATION, a new three-part television series produced exclusively for PBS. Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning work offers a revealing look at the rise and fall of societies through the lens of geography, technology, biology and economics - forces symbolized by the power of guns, germs and steel. The series airs on PBS Mondays, July 11-25, 2005.

The special airs at 10:00 PM on 3 consecutive Monday nights beginning July 11 on MPT. Set your Tivo. Diamond's central theory is that geography is destiny. In other words: "location, location, location" has been the key to man's success throughout history.

posted by Broadsheet @ 6:09 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Lemonade

Well, as I said below, I intend to make lemonade out of the travel lemon I got handed on Saturday. Figuratively, I can do that with the trip to Tangier Island.

Literally, I've been doing it with this recipe. Try this - it's not quite as sweet as a Mojito and soooo refreshing!

1. Fill a tall glass with crushed ice. (go for it ACW!!)

2. Pour in a generous shot of Citron Vodka, and a shot of Limoncello. (readily available everywhere)

3. Fill the glass with club soda and garnish with a sprig of crushed mint.

It's a good thing people. Seriously. Go. Do this now. I'll wait.

posted by Broadsheet @ 5:29 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Monday, July 04, 2005
Vacation alternative
Well, I've been trying to come up with an alternative to the aborted vacation debacle to Canada, and I think I've found it. On Wednesday, I'm taking my bike and heading to Tangier Island, a 3.5 by 1.5 mile dot in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. No cars on the island, but I'll have my bike.

I've rented a cottage for three nights and can do some kayaking, fishing, biking and generally hang out and do much of nothing. Click on the slide show and look around.

Tomorrow, I am having a spa day: massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, and then off to Tangier Island go relax in my own backyard - so to speak.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:35 PM   7 Editorial Opinions
Mom's favorite drink

An e-mail from Mom: Dad and I relaxed by the pool yesterday, and made a couple of mojitos (our new favorite summer drink). I'll forward the recipe. It has lime and fresh mint.

This Epicurious.com recipe:
MOJITO -
has been sent to you from Mom

Mom wants you to know: check this on epicurious.com for more versions

You can view the complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/201191

MOJITO
3 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
9 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups light rum
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

6 cups club soda
6 cups crushed ice
6 lime wedges

Reserve 6 mint leaves for garnish. Place remaining mint leaves in medium bowl. Add sugar. Mash with wooden spoon until mint is aromatic and oils are released. Add rum and lime juice and stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture into pitcher. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead; refrigerate.)

Add club soda to pitcher; gently stir. Fill each of 6 glasses with 1 cup crushed ice. Pour mojito over and garnish each glass with 1 mint leaf and 1 lime wedge.

Mom's so cute. I do believe my sister recommended this as a remedy to missing out on my vacation just yesterday. May have to take their advice, no? Happy Fourth of July everyone!

posted by Broadsheet @ 8:47 AM   4 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Prodigal Bag Returns!!
Lost: 1:00 AM, 7/03/05. Returned: 10:45 PM, 7/03/05.

My entire summer wardrobe - intact. (Yeah, it was better off lost in the wilds of Canada - eh?)


That's Peanut standing guard.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:03 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Message in a Bottle
So dear friends and gentle readers,

I spent the better part of the day tracking my luggage down and listening to 45 minutes of Pachelbel's Canon while I was on hold with the ticket agent for Expedia.com trying to confirm a refund on my air travel from yesterday's debacle.

Using Air Canada's on-line luggage tracking website, I was able to determine that my luggage is at least on its way to being delivered. However, the luggage finder logo on the website is this:

Let me ask you. Does this engender any confidence that your luggage will ever appear again? "Yeah - let's just toss a random message in a bottle into the ocean. I'm sure we'll be rescued in no time at all." I mean, WTF?

All griping aside, I did want to note something positive from this whole, awful experience. To a person, every ticket agent, reservation specialist, baggage handler, or customer service rep I dealt with both yesterday and today, were nothing but kind, considerate, courteous and genuinely sympathetic to a situation that was beyond all control. Of course, a tired, stressed out, middle aged woman with tears streaming down her cheeks probably engendered some pity, but I was very embarrassed by the asshats who took their frustrations out on these people who were simply trying to do their job under very stressful circumstances, and who were at no fault in any of this. Remember folks - don't kill the messenger.

Common courtesy and cooperation get you a lot farther in these situations than trying to throw your weight and attitude around. You get what you give.

I'm just sayin.

Despite this mess (and an unfortunate luggage tracking logo), I would fly Air Canada again simply because their customer service was above all helpful, but also kind, courteous and professional. That's more than I can say for their clientele.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:12 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
The Terminal
Are you familiar with last year's rather mediocre movie, "The Terminal", starring Tom Hanks as a traveler trapped at JFK airport? Not allowed to enter the US, but not able to return to his own country, he takes up residence at the airport. I think I need to rent that movie tonight. Perhaps it will make me feel better about the last 24 hours.

Until yesterday, this was hands down the worst travel experience of my life, and I was glad to have it over and done with, since there was no where to go from that experience but up. That was, until yesterday. Yesterday, I took a day trip to Toronto. Yep - over 1,100 miles roundtrip just for the day. In fact, I took a day trip to the Toronto International Airport just to look around, cry in frustration at not being able to get out of the airport, and finally came home at 2:00 AM this morning.

But I digress. As those handful of dozen readers out there know, I had planned a nice 6 day getaway vacation in between jobs to relax, regroup and recharge before starting my new job on the 11th. I had a terrific intinerary all planned out to a place I have always wanted to visit, and instead of whining to the internet, I was supposed to be riding the tidal bores on the Bay of Fundy as I write this post. It was not to be.....

I had a terrific time yesterday morning, blasting music, packing and picking out CDs and books to take with me on the trip. The house was reasonably clean, the cat monsters were being looked after by the neighbors, and I was really excited about my little 6 day adventure.

My neighbor gave me a lift to the airport, and at 2:30, the flight to Toronto went off without a hitch. I must say I was surprised at the size of the plane. A 24 seat propeller driven commuter plane for an international flight? Oh well, whatever gets me there.

Arrived in Toronto about 4:30, went through customs, collected my bag and got on the commuter bus from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal for the flight to Halifax, NS. Upon arrival at the terminal, I check the departure monitor and my heart immediately sinks. All flights to Halifax have been cancelled. WTF?? I make my way to the nearest Air Canada gate, and still calm (this won't last long), ask what's going on? "Oh, they cancelled them about 1/2 hour ago due to fog. We've had this problem for the last 48 hours. It's all backed up. You better check at the ticket counter to see what they can do. It may be tomorrow before you can get out."

OK, the panic begins. This is NOT happening I tell myself. When I called ahead this morning, all the flights were on time and there were no problems. Of course, I get to the ticket counter and there is one poor man there and a line of frustrated travelers about 10 people deep. After about 15 minutes or so, I finally get to the counter, and as soon as I say "Halifax", he shakes his head and hands me a slip of paper with an 1-800 number on it and tells me to call the number to see what they can do. He can't help me. And he looks at me in that doomed-prisoner-about-to-get-a-last-meal kind of way. It wasn't comforting.

Now I'm beginning to panic a little. I call the number and after being on hold for what seems like forever, I get "Peter" on the line. Peter turned out to be a Godsend, but even he couldn't fix what was about to happen.

Peter: "The earliest I can get you to Halifax is Monday night or Tuesday morning. I'm sorry".
Me: "Ummm - this is my entire vacation. I'm scheduled to come home Thursday night! Aren't there any connecting flights or other destinations nearby?"
Peter: "Let me look around".

So, I patiently waited with my heart in my throat while Peter - being genuinely helpful - spent the next 45 minutes looking at connections to places like Monkton (with a 3 hour bus ride), New Brunswick (sold out till Monday, and I'd still have to take a 2 hour ferry and drive another 2 hours, Prince Edward Island (sold out till Tuesday). The long and short of it was that I simply couldn't get there from here. Spending 3 of my six day vacation just trying to get it started struck me as not too relaxing.

Tearfully, I came to the conclusion to cut my losses, save myself more than $1,200, turnaround and go home. It was now 6:00 PM, about the time my flight to Halifax would have landed, and where I had plans to have a nice dinner on the waterfront by 7:30 or so.

Peter was able to book me on the 8:40 PM flight back to BWI. I thought that would leave me time to get something to eat, collect myself from the little meltdown of disappointment I had over all my plans getting flushed down the travel toilet, and get the flight just fine. Wrong again.

I had to retrieve my bag from the cancelled flight - I won't even begin to relay the frustration this caused - but it was after 7:00 before I was able to lay my hands on it. Now I had to take the shuttle bus BACK to the International Terminal, go through customs AGAIN, and get to my gate.

By this time, it's 7:30, and I find out that my gate is at a "satellite terminal" that requires yet ANOTHER bus ride.

Fast forward - 8:15 PM. No food, totally sad and frustrated, consigned to my fate. My cell phone was nearly dead from calling and canceling car rentals, reservations for tours and trips, and canceling the Bread (I mean BED) and Breakfast reservations.

We board at 8:45 and sit on the plane until 9:15. Again, it's a small commuter plane and is filled with cruiesgoers returning from an Alaskan cruise. No explanation is given for the delay. None. When asked point blank, the attendant mumbled something about "waiting for confirmation". One couple looks like a pair of zombies from the latest George Romero flick. That was my first clue that my nightmare was nowhere near complete.

An immigration and customs official boards the plane, speaks quietly to the zombie couple and escorts them off. (???) About 10 minutes later, the attendant informs us that due to an outbreak of Norwalk Virus on the aforementioned cruise ship, our plane was being detained and would not be allowed to land in the US. WE WERE BEING QUARANTINED!!!

This is not happening, This is not happening, This is not happening, This is not happening, This is not happening, This is not happening.......Bad dream. Wake up!! I kept telling myself.

Nope - we deplaned, and took yet another bus back to Customs, where health officials met us to debrief us. During this debriefing, they were looking at the passenger manifest and asked myself and 4 others to come forward. (This is just getting worse, and worse, and worse, I said).

"You folks weren't on the "Royal Caribbean's Cruise of Misery", were you?" They asked.

"No sir, not me" - I'd been through misery, but not of the cruising variety.

"You folks are released. They're bringing another plane and we'll have you out of here by 11:00 PM."

Joy!

Of course, you all know the ending to this saga. I return to the same exact gate I left from a mere 12 hours ago (seemed like a lifetime), and went to baggage claim, only to watch the luggage carousel turn slowly for 1/2 hour with no signs of my luggage. Yep - lost in Toronto somewhere. Perhaps quarantined with the zombie luggage. They told me not to even call and inquire about it until later this afternoon.

I will make lemonade out of this lemon, but I need a day to regroup, get my luggage back, and figure out how to relax for the 8 days of vacation I have left to me.

Any ideas???

UPDATE: This would have been helpful to know.....apparently, even the threat of fog shuts them down under these circumstances:

Expect delays at Halifax International
By TOM PETERS / Business Reporter A critical stage in runway upgrading at the Halifax International Airport may cause some delays or flight diversions for at least another three weeks, an airport spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Halifax International Airport Authority has reached a significant point in its runway maintenance program. As a result, the shorter of its two runways has been closed and runway instrument landing systems, which aid aircraft during times of low visibility, have been taken out of service during this period.
Travel Advisory for Flights to/from Halifax

July 1, 2005 - Runway reconstruction at Halifax International Airport may cause delays and cancellations to flights to and from Halifax, particularly during inclement weather. For further details, please see the Halifax International Airport Authority's information link:

Halifax Airport Authority

Customers with flights to and from Halifax are advised to check on the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport by consulting the aircanada.com or calling 1-888-422-7533, or by using a web-enhanced cell phone.

For July 1st and 2nd, due to the runway reconstruction and inclement weather with visibility below limits, Air Canada advises that flights to and from Halifax will be impacted for the rest of the day.

Customers with flights affected by the weather and wishing to make alternative travel arrangements can do so without penalty, space permitting, through Air Canada Reservations at 1-888-247-2262; TTY: 1-800-361-8071


posted by Broadsheet @ 12:10 PM   10 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Cooper Documents Reveal Karl Rove as Source in Plame Case
If this article is true, then between this, and the O'Connor retirement, it's going to be a real interesting weekend on the Sunday morning talking heads tour....

Sorry I'll miss it. I'm off to the recently scandal ridden neighbor to our North for some fresh air, fresh seafood, and long walks on the beach.

See 'yall Friday with hopefully some nice pics.....out.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:06 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Friday, July 01, 2005
New Orleans Can Be Tough on Dieters
Yeah, well THAT'S a news flash!! Talk about stating the obvious!. I'm still recovering from Jazzfest in April.

This week should be better diet wise. In addition to more hiking and biking, my buddy Calvin is hooking me up with all the fresh Malpeque oysters, mussels and lobsters I can handle.

Yeah - life's rough just about now.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:47 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
End of an Era
Stick a fork in it - I'm done.....

I've handed in my badge, my keys, and my pager. This office is clean and BARE, and for the first time in over ten years, I am technically unemployed for the next 10 days!!!

Wooo hooo!

I'm off to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island - so the blog will be quiet for a few days.

Right now, I am being told that there is a party getting ready to start here, and that my presence is required. So, if you're in the Baltimore area and need to kick off a holiday weekend - come on down! I'm sure we'll be there a while.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:49 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
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