Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trip from Texas Day ?

I'm not sure if this is day one of the trip home or day eight overall. Either way it's been a good one. It was an immense pleasure to visit with Martha, Graham, Toby and Mom. We has a truly fantastic time. It is inspiring to hold Toby in my arms and also to see what a splendid job his parents are doing of nurturing the little guy! All the same, we are excited to be back on the road back to our home, our friends, family and especially our Boudin!
Talking of Boudin, we are in the land of Creole, Cajun and Bayous. We have decided that since we are in the general area, it is worth stopping in on the Big Easy. Totally worth it! We drove in via LA state route 1, which gave us a good feel for the coastal area, a mix of heavy industry and rural swamp land. Once we arrive in New Orleans, it was a whole new world. Following out GPS we suddenly found ourselves on a side street crowded with pedestrians and a brass band quartet. We would soon discover this was our first experience of Bourbon Street. All the hype you've ever heard about Bourbon St? It's true! In fact, the whole area is just awesome. A few block from party town and you are standing on the bank of the Mississippi River watching the fog roll into the city.
Crawfish cakes. Catfish Po'Boy. Jambalaya. Tres Bein.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

T3 D3

Tonight we enjoy the five star accommodations at Hotel White! Home cooked meals, entertainment provided by Toby Sebastian and a luxurious air mattress! We have finally arrived.
The into Hot Springs last night was a little scary along twisty, hilly roads through the forest in the rainy dark. Driving out this morning the same twisty, hilly roads were a pleasant change in scenery to the monotonous interstate. Soon we were back doing major damage on the few miles remaining between us and our destination.
We stopped for lunch at a Jack in the Box, chosen mostly by virtue of it being the only thing open on Christmas morning. I had a Sourdough Steak Melt that made me wish we had Jack back East. Shortly after lunch break we were into the Dallas area and the monotony of the last 1400 miles was soon forgotten as we navigated giant tangled spaghetti junctions with crazy drivers careening across six lane highways. The Magellan came into its own and we were glad to have an updated map in the memory to guide us through labyrinth. Once past Dallas, driving conditions dramatically improved and in no time we were pulling up outside a cute house and being warmly greeted by family.
Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

T3 Day 2

Today felt like more of a serious driving day as we set out to conquer Tennessee and make a big dent in Arkansas. We dropped out of the mountains and things got flatter as we headed into the Memphis area. We stopped in Music City with high hopes of doing some really sightseeing but the place was pretty much shut down. What did we expect on Christmas Eve? We had hoped to take in the great Mississippi by visiting Mud Island Park which includes a concrete relief of the whole river basin, but it was closed for the season. We rode on a street car along a back street of old industrial buildings some of which had been transformed into office space for software firms, others still lay in disrepair. Alighting in Beale Street, it was possible to imagine hoards of revelers staggering beer in hand down the road in the evening Memphis sun before enjoying some live blues. But the place was deserted, the blues bars closed. We headed round the corner to a Flying Saucer for a local brew from Ghost River. On the way out of town we stopped by Sun Studios but it wasn't much to look at.

After crossing the mighty Mississippi the drive got even flatter. We've made it to Hot Springs. There's not much between us and our destination except about 300 miles of tarmac, so we'll try to make short work of it in the morning. Signing off...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trip to Texas Day One

I hope you're all following along at home! Day One: Richmond, VA to Harriman, TN (just West of Knoxville) via Abingdon and Gatlinburg. We had a fun first day on the road. After a sad farewell to all the animals we got going. The first leg of the journey took us to the Valero on Semmes Ave for gas, coffee and donuts. Then we were on the highway and immediately stuck in traffic. It was starting to look like a long way to Texas! The delay was short and we were soon ticking away the miles. By the time we were done with the first Sedaris tale we almost at Roanoke and steaming our way out of Virginia. First though, a late lunch in Abingdon, a quaint railway town in the Southwest of our home state.

There were a few flakes of snow in the air as we stepped out of the car and ran into the Ellis Soda Shoppe for a bite to eat. We walked a few blocks down the high street after lunch but it was bitterly cold so we got back in the car and soon crossed in to Tennessee. Although we had been driving through the mountains, you don't really get to see them from the Interstate, so I had been wanting to take a detour to make sure that we experienced the Smokies. Gatlinburg is not far off our route and sits on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains Park. It has this awesome space needle that I was dying to visit. As we drove in from the highway we got a great view of snowcapped mountains. You could clearly see the snowline, where the steep slopes fade from white to dark. Little did we know that would be the best thing about our detour!

Gatlinburg was described by my travelling companion as 'Virginia Beach in the Mountains'. In other words, it is a resort town full of hotels, and places for the people who stay in the hotels to eat and spend money on inane amusements, such as the space needle, a dilapidated structure that barely scrapes the low clouds (let alone space) and is accessed by a lift who's doors only close if the occupants stand in the right place (backs pressed against the wall). The only other thing we found to do in town was take a free taste of Moonshine, although I could have had the same experience for almost the same price by taking a sip of antifreeze. We exited Gatlinburg by a different route and passed through the town of Pigeon Forge, which was like Myrtle Beach in the mountains. The Christmas lights were insane. In the median of the main drag they had erected the twelve days of Christmas. Every few blocks there was another group from the song. From the direction we were coming from we started at 12 and counted down. The creators had done a good job representing each verse, although four (traditionally Colly Birds) had been difficult so they went with the variant 'calling birds' and presented us with four parrots sitting atop telephones. Needless to say we were on the edge of our carseats as we approach the imfamous partridge, only to find the smallest, least ambitious light-structure in history! Oh well.

To round off the day we had Mexican for dinner and found a Crayola in our salsa. Seriously...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sean Castleberry @ Marty's Grill

Quick blog shout out to Sean Castleberry, who entertained us at Marty's grill on Saturday night. We dig your groove. Gonjoe, loved the poetry and harp. Thaks guys.

Suntrust Richmond Marathon

The Richmond Marathon course takes the runners past the end of our road. They have covered approximately 14.5 miles as they cross 28th Street. We are encircled by the course making it hard to drive anywhere without having one's route blocked by a stream of athletes! I knew of a couple of people who were taking part, so I decided to go out to watch the runners cruise by. When I got to the course, a few pros were coming through shepherded by police motorcycle escorts. The flow of bodies gradually thickened, although by this point in the race the field was already stretched out. I spent about two hours walking between mile markers 14 and 15, stopping to take a few photos and offer encouragement, with pounding feet relentlessly jogging past me. At first it was inspiring to see so many people of different sizes and ages running together. At the tail end of the field it was a little depressing to see people struggling having only just reached the halfway point. However, by the time I turned for home the trickle had all but stopped completely and ahead of schedule for the cutoff time, so all the runners I saw were still in contention for a finisher's medal.
Having competed in a 10K run, where the entire route is lined with spectators, it was interesting to see the marathon pass through a residential neighborhood and still see long stretches without any supporters. It is surprising how encouraging it can be to have a complete stranger cheer you on! I spent a good amount of time on the hill up to the Lee Bridge offering my support to tired legs as they slogged up the grade. Hopefully it did some good.
As for the photos, I was hoping to get a shot somewhere that would capture the sheer volume of people, but nothing quite came out the way I had envisioned. I stood on a trashcan to try and get some altitude! By the time I walked up the the bridge the main field had already crossed, otherwise I would've climb up on a handily place police car to capture the scene... The fall colors helped give the pictures a little more interest. I never did see anyone I recognized!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wine tours

Sometimes it pains me to blog about the fun things I do. After finding a hidden gem, it seems a shame to tell everybody. I comfort myself in knowing that the readership of this blog is very small!

I can't go within 50 miles of Charlottesville without doing a winetasting at one of the many Virginian wineries in the area. Luckily, a live 60 miles away, so I'm not there every day! The tours are so cheap, usually $5 to taste the vineyard's line of current varieties. This time I went by my usual method: used Google maps to find the winery closest to our primary destination and take our chances. This time, Chance was on our side and we ended up at the Winery open by Dave Mathews in 2000. The barn which houses the tasting room is spectacular. There was nothing I didn't love about the structure, but my favorite detail was that the floors were made with oak that used to be huge cider tanks at the Bulmer's brewery.

We didn't find any spectacular wines, but we had a lot of fun.


I'm sure there's not a single angle of Monticello that hasn't been photographed, so here's my picture-postcard view that I could've probably found in 0.47 seconds on Google. Apparently no-one can remember if I'd been to Thomas Jefferson's hilltop home before, but I can safely say that if I had visited, I was too young at the time to recall many details.

The thing about an iconic location such as Monticello is that you think you already know all. The columns, the contraptions, the collections; the self-taught scientist, architect and politician. All true, but none a reason not to set foot on the property in person and discover the history for oneself.

On the day we visited some of the house normally on the tour was closed for restoration, so we got half price tickets. I'm not much for guided tours so this suited me fine. We had about an hour before our scheduled tour time to wander the grounds. Most surprising was the variety of produce still being grown in the vegetable garden at this time of year. The garden in set on a 100 yard long terrace on the South hillside, with panoramic views of the plain below.

We also took the opportunity to explore the 'Dependancies', the sunken wings off of the main house which housed some of the industries on which the house and estate depended. I envy the beer cellar!

The house tour itself was brief but ultimately exceeded expectations. We had a Middle-Eastern party with our tour group and one a few members spoke good enough English to murmur translations to their compatriots. I found the process almost as interesting as the tour itself. The guide spoke in elevated prose mired with the witticisms one would expect of a Jefferson devotee, so one can only imagine the messages received after translation! We learned from the tour that Jefferson worked ridiculously hard in all aspects of life, and so perhaps deserves the status a American demi-god, especially as he worked the hardest on discerning the properties of his nascent nation, both in investigating the natural world that existed there and inventing the social world that came to exist.

As usual, a fuller pictorial account is available on my Flickr page. Enjoy

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

This Saturday I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, an event hosted by Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The two organizers are hosts of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (pronounced with silent 'T's ie. "the Colbear Repour"), two satirical current events programs on the Comedy Central cable network. I have always been interested to attend a political rally, and since I don't have particularly strong beliefs then this seemed like an appropriate event for my first rally.
Being comedians, Jon and Steven (who regularly lampoon politicians, journalists and pundits for just about any opinion the espouse) were wary to attach any political message to the rally. Every news outlet made some attempt to explain what the rally was about. Many concluded that participants felt that politics had deteriorated into too much rhetoric and hyperbole, and that a return to sane discourse is required for the country to progress.
To me, all attempts to explain the rally are doomed to fail. Since nobody knew in advance what the primary message was, it attracted anybody who felt a resonance with the characters of Stewart and Colbert, which is to say all those who don't take things too seriously. It was something of an anti-rally, and perhaps the real message to take home is: rallies are pretty pointless. It's clearly not difficult to persuade thousands of people to show up in a central location for a few hours on a sunny October Saturday afternoon. You don't need to have a strong or coherent message. Holding a rally doesn't achieve anything, but that doesn't mean you should do it!
I personally enjoyed the experience. I think the demographic was of people who are not rich or poor. They are educated, but they don't claim to know it all. They are reasonable people who are not easily offended or angered. It was fun to meet a few such people, and therapeutic for us all to have our own rally. Do I think even the slightest tremor will be felt in the political landscape? No, not really. But in an age of extremism, it is comforting to know that were are at least a few thousand other sane people out there.
See it on my Flickr

Boudin's first Camping Trip.

OK, I should have posted about this along time ago, but never got around to it. We had an additional participant in our annual trip to the OBX this year. Having never previously travelled further than a few blocks in the car, we subjected the poor pooch to a four hour car journey down to the beach. On the whole he did very well, although he spent most of the time sitting on the back seat with his head cowed looking a little queasy. He very much enjoyed the traditional lunch rest stop at Sonic, where he made a few friends. For the most part the drive was relievingly uneventful.

Boudin is a natural beach doggy. Once we taught him not to drink the salt water, he had a grand old time. He likes the same things we like. Hanging out enjoying the view, watching the pelicans cruise past, taking the occasional paddle, walking down the beach picking up interesting shells (or in his case Mermaid's purses). He helped us dig a fire pit and stayed up late just talking, star-gazing and listening to the waves.

Boudin is also a good camper. OK, he farts in the tent a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of sleep he let us get. At the campsite he was happy to be on the long chain we got him. Being away from home didn't seem to bother him at all.

Having a dog can be scary, but it's so rewarding to do new things with them. I was worried that he would freak out. I was worried that we would feel too tied down with a dog, not being able to go to restaurants for example. In the end it worked out well. We got a great take out lunch from Austin's Fish Market.

Monday, August 02, 2010


It's official (having been unofficial since July 3rd). We paid the lady, got the papers, need to take care of a few bits of paperwork with the city and the microchip people, but to all intents and purposes we are the legal owners of a (mostly) Dachshund, goes by the name of Boudin. A note on the name: he was apparently named after a brand of French sausage, being one of a litter of sausage dogs, but we knew nothing of his pedigree or of French cuisine when we first stumbled across his profile on petfinder. So from the start we pronounced it 'BOW-din', and, well, as a bona fide American these days I see it as a right, if not a duty to mispronounce words of foreign origin.
Having a dog is awesome. I took a lot of convincing to take the plunge, but when we met Boudin for the first time it was clear he was a smart guy who would fit in well in our household of genius animals. For me one of the best things is being on an upwards learning curve. Sure, he's chewed a few things but nothing we will miss terribly. Haven't felt this fit in a year or two. Early to bed, earlier to rise! Hell, I'm even drinking Michelob Ultra these days!

Crab Pickin'!

Hard to find a better way to dispel the Monday blues that pickin' some crabs for dinner. We tried the seafood joint in the Kroger parking lot in Carytown, but they were sold out. So we risked this slightly dodgy looking place on Broad across from the DMV. Coincidentally it's very close to my old digs on Monument and Strawberry. Used to be an ice-cream parlor, and is now a seafood shack called Cameron's. You gotta check this place out. Nothing fancy, but great prices, and they steamed their crabs just right (according to my resident expert!). It's only my second or third time tearing apart crustaceans. I'm just about over the slight sadness I feel in destroying with my bare hands a creature so cleverly designed. But hey, the poor bastard has already been steamed, so I can't feel too bad about making the best of the situation. De-licious.

Back behind bars

The whole point of moving house was, in my opinion, to be closer to the James River Park System and it's variety of trails. Something about getting in the truck and driving to a trailhead never sat quite right with me. I once tried to ride the northbank trail starting from our Westend rental, but the last two miles home were absolute agony. I was chugging Gatorade and Redbull and the only thing stopping me from passing out was the pain in my legs. That was fun and all, but I much prefer being on dirt about five minutes after shutting the garden gate.
It's taken me a little while to really take full advantage of my new location. On Saturday the dog (more on which later) woke me up at about 6.30am. After wearing him out with a game of catch, it suddenly occurred to me that it was 70F and I had the whole morning to do whatever I wanted. The day before I had walked Boudin along some new trails in Forest Hill Park and wanted to try them out on two wheels. In the end the route was Buttermilk from 22nd street lot to Reedy Creek. The gravel road from Reedy Creek to Boulevard. Forest Hill Ave via the Suntrust ATM (hey, I can still run errands!) to Forest Hill Park. Rode most of the trails I know of in the park, then back along the gravel road from Reedy Creek to Belle Isle, off the back of Brown's Island to the pipeline (note: the railed section is not wide enough to ride - the un-railed section is just flippin' scary!), over Mayo's Bridge to the East section of the floodwall walk, checked out the Manchester Slave Trail (a bit depressing, but I was rather impressed that the information board alluded to the protection Sickle Cell anemia affords against Malaria), hung out at Ancarrow's landing (never been down here before, just wanted to see what the sitch was -- watched a couple guys launch a boat out the bed of a pickup!), took the other half of the floodwall walk back behind the Suntrust buildings and back along Riverside to the Homestead! Phew! Loved every second of it.

A lot to catch up on

Where we're going we don't need roads...

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Now that we have moved a whole swathe of dinner options are now more available to us. The mortgage of course means we are being more careful about how often we eat out, and having a more spacious kitchen and dining area makes dining at home more of a pleasure. Our dishwasher, however, is 'a piece', as the expression goes, so going out is often justified by a fatigue of doing the dishes. The roundabout destination of this sunday afternoon ramble is to make the point that we have visited a number of extremely fine establishments recently, which I may blog about in series, beginning today with Saturday evenings choice; Lulu's.

We'd had been to Lulu's once before to see our favorite Richmond Blue's duo do their thing. I think it was a Sunday night or something, because the food was serve yourself buffet style straight from the kitchen. It was, um, dodgy. Perhaps the management has changed since then (I know they are now owned by the same people that run Millie's, a popular brunch spot). had a positive review of the place and suggested that the prices were reasonable, so we decided to give it another try.

When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the place, which had definitely smartened up since out last visit. The menu was a printed on a single side of paper, and given the class of the place the prices were relatively reasonable. OK, I thought the prices were steep, but I'm a cheapskate. At least to portions turned out to be generous. We got a table near the kitchen, which is still very open plan with respect to the dining area; a couple of metal shelving units separated me from the head chef. To one who enjoys such shows as Top Chef and Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares it was fun to be able to see the kitchen in action.

The food was good. I won't bore you with a long description of what we ate. We ordered seafood, of course, and some red meat. From our selections I think it would be fair to say that the menu is original, without pushing most diner's comfort zone. Everything was well cooked. Service was prompt and personable. Will I go back? Possibly not, but that's just because there's so many other places to try!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The kittens

Yes, our other big news is that we have kittens. Just two this time! We'll try to update with photos as they grow. CLICK HERE!

May-1: Flickr set has been updated with a portrait of each kitten at about three-and-a-half week old.

May-4: The kittens get their legs! Last night in the wee hours I heard a lot of mewing, murmuring and purring. I wouldn't exactly call it a commotion but as I drifted in and out of a peaceful sleep I got the impression that something was happening. Apparently Juno had decided that it was time to move the kittens from their shelf in the sewing room and decided that under the bed would be an OK spot for their new home. I'm not sure if it was because it was too hot in the previous location (we had the fan going in the bedroom) or if the move was prompted by the mess the kittens were making on the shelf (kibble everywhere). Nevertheless, the little balls of fluff now have a bit more independence to go exploring at will. When I got home from work today they were ready to pose for a few shots as they strutted their stuff. Enjoy!

Our House

For all the people who have heard we bought a house and want to see pictures, here they are.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's still OK to have fun.

Alright, so I didn't manage to post for the whole month of March, but we have been a little busy with the process of buying our first home. Overall it went very well until the last week which was messier than we'd hoped but the end result was satisfactory. Since getting hold of the keys we have been putting in long hours to get ready for the move-in this weekend. Exhaustion was starting to set in, so when the opportunity presented itself to relax for an evening there was really no argument.

Our company traditionally allows two hour early departure on days before a holiday such as today, and some friends of ours had suggested that we use the time to travel out to the Charlottesville area for some recreational activities. The first activity was to visit a vineyard (of which there are many in the area) where for a small fee you can sample the various varieties and vintages currently on sale. After indulging in the full selection, and taking a short stroll around the ruins of the old estate we went down into Charlottesville itself for some dinner. Having a little time before the eating hour we elected to enjoy the gorgeously warm evening to meander through the downtown mall area to work up our appetite. Then it was on the the Wild Wing Cafe for copious quantities of wings.

There is a chain of bars called Buffalo Wild Wings. The Wild Wings Cafe has nothing in common with that chain. The wings are in a completely different strata in terms of quality and flavor, without even mentioning the beer selection. We ordered a platter of fifty wings, ten of each of five flavors. I won't lie, I went to town on those delicious chicken morsels and have no regrets in my actions.

Right now I am about to drift into a pleasurable chicken coma, so I will sign off with the promise of lots of post about our new residence. Chicken..., chicken..., chicken..., chi.....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Ode to my Landlords (and Ladies)

We have recently taken some big steps on the way to owning a home. After a few months of looking, my brain has not yet registered the fact that the looking is over. I expect it won't truly sink in until some time after signing that big cheque on closing day. Part of the mental transition occurred today, as I thought back on all the landlords I have had the pleasure of doing business with, in light of the fact that I may never have to answer to a landlord again!

For the most part they have been a reasonable lot. One can't expect a great deal of trust to be bestowed upon oneself as a student, or the only slightly more respectable single, male, 'young professional'. But as long as they get the rent on-time every month then, most will be cordial and might even negotiate leaving dates or return some of the security deposit.

Who knows, maybe one day I'll be a landlord myself...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cardinal reports most snow since records began

You may have noticed the dearth of posts here, the reason for which being that I have been trying at all costs to avoid an article regarding the snowfall. The circumstances conspire to lead me to this point of defeat on the subject, the chief conspirator being that we are stuck in the house for the third weekend this winter, and the second consecutive Saturday on which the weather restricts our freedom of movement. Also inspiring me to finally break my silence on the frozen precipitation is the report for the news channels that we are now approaching record breaking levels of accumulation (although this largely applies to areas north and west of Richmond). As a still relatively recent arrival on these shores, I would really have no idea what a severe winter storm feels like. Midwesterner's no doubt remain mildly amused at the east coast's incapability to adapt to what they expect to be an annual event. Still, a State must organize their infrastructure with respect to the expected, thus Virginia finds itself in the position of having spent 94% of it's snow removal budget in December, only to awake under an additional foot-deep covering.

We should have expected this, of course. A poll in England, where residents are also experiencing unusual amounts of snow, found that there has been an unprecedented increase in public skepticism of anthropogenic global warming. Yes, there was Climategate, and yes, it is snowing a lot, but humanity's ability to ignore personally inconvenient signs of impending danger to the collective still astounds me. To paraphrase the logic; this extreme weather is proof that we can't possibly be experiencing climate change?

Ask yourself this: does it have to be colder than usual to cause more snow. The answer is of course no. Temperatures in Virginia this winter no colder than usual. The difference is that it is wetter (that is, we are experiencing more precipitation). As I say, we should have expected this based on one fact (the wettest November on record), and one prediction (that climate change may result in increased precipitation).

Oh well

Sunday, January 10, 2010

iMac part deux

Oh, you guys actually wanted to hear about my experience with the new iMac as a computer, not just as an expensive item in a nondescript brown cardboard box?

I must caveat this post by explaining that my office is by far the coldest room in the house (which is itself a rather drafty residence in the winter months), so I have not spent the time with my new toy as I might have if I could situate it in warmer climes. All the same, I am very excited to teach myself the ways of the Mac, so I'm putting on a brave face despite my chilly toes.

First of all, maximum points are awarded for out-of-the-box simplicity. Since the mouse and keyboard are wireless, and the monitor and machinery come in one sexy package there is but one lead to connect, namely the power cord. Admitted I tore my office apart slightly so I could have an initial hardwire connection to my router, but was quickly able to restore order as setting up a wireless connection was merely a matter of remembering where I kept my WEP key (hot tip: it's printed on the side of the router!!)

Apple products, of course, also score highly on attractiveness, and the new iMac is not exception, not only in terms of the shiningly white hardware but also the fancy graphics they bombard you with when you start up for the first time. If the set up process was blisteringly fast, I confess progress has been much slower after an initial burst of success. I am a lost soul at sea, forever trying to right-click a mouse with only one button (not even one, really, more like half, but oh! what a magic button...). Needless to say this has nothing to do with the limitations of MacOS, so much as my shameful servitude to Microsoft for so many years.

Thankfully, almost every application comes with a tutorial. A video tutorial, no less. The iPhoto tutorial just about blew me away with the potential of the software to bring a little most organization and professionalism to my photography. But before I can even hope to realize that potential, I will have to reconfigure the mental picture I have of how an operating system is built. For example, I was easily able to import a picture from my digital camera's SD card to iPhoto, and then from iPhoto I effortlessly uploaded the picture to Flickr. But when I want to include it in a blog post, I prefer to upload by using the blogger photo tool to browse my hard drive and select the picture. Could I find where the picture had been saved? Of course not! In the end I was lucky enough to find a 'recently imported' folder.

So, there is a lot to learn about how the pieces fit together, but it is making me feel young again to engage my cognitive gears at get to grips with a new technology. but if anyone wants to tell me where the photos do go, or why when I downloaded Skype it exists as a 'disk image' rather than an application, or whether there is a key that does what the 'delete' key on a PC does, or....

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I have been meaning to commence my blogging for Twenty-ten, but there has been one particular event I have been waiting for, namely the delivery of our new iMac. Thanks to the generosity of many friends and family at Christmas we were able to assemble the necessary funds for just the most basic, entry level iMac, which is still one serious piece of kit. However, getting the equipment from Apple HQ in California to Evens HQ turned out to be quite an ordeal.

Clearly such a valuable package required a signature on delivery, but since FedEx drivers like to do there work the same hours as everyone else, there was no chance of us crossing paths. I didn't like the idea of my brand new high-dollar computer being left on the doorstep on the freezing cold, either. So the final option was to go to the FedEx depot and pick up the package in person. I had done this once before for an even more valuable purchase (Kristal's engagement ring) so I set out this morning to run this simple errand.

On arriving at the FedEx office I was told I was in the wrong location.
"I'm in the wrong place?" I asked. Sure enough, I was soon in possession of verbal direction to another FedEx location a few miles yonder. As I recall, the final instruction was 'the FedEx office is right in the back', which the first indication that I would probably never find the place. I arrived in the general vicinity, a large business park near the Hanover municipal airport, and hunted through the heavy equipment dealers and hardware outlets for a FedEx building. I searched in a two mile radius from the last reliable landmark (a Sheetz gas station) but to no avail. I called home for some remote internet guidance but even Google maps couldn't find this mythical location.

Then all of a sudden, a sign. Literally, a small sign by the side of the road with the unmistakable green and purple livery of FedEx ground. For a brief moment I let myself believe my fortunes might be changing, but as I approached it was apparent that this wasn't the type of warehouse that customers pick up their packages from. Although I was told the office was closed today, the gentleman at the desk kindly buzzed me in. He took the door tag, told me to take a seat and stalked off to a back room to find, I hoped, my precious iMac.

Time passed, but eventually the man returned with a map directing me to yet another location where he assured my my parcel would be waiting. This was beginning to feel like some kind of scavenger hunt, each clue leading me tantalizingly closer to my goal, but yet I could never quite reach the end. The third location was only slightly more promising than the last, but lo and behold after presenting my door tag the nice lady dutifully produced my just reward!

And boy was it worth it.