Sunday, June 30, 2013

New York: Random Impressions and Thoughts

Dirty, noisy, gritty. Diverse to the max. ALIVE! Concrete jungle with a couple of trees. Expensive. Almost worth the price.

Standing in line at Starbucks I watched a scary looking man carrying a shopping bag walk through, then out another door, then back in. He looked around, specifically at the busy barista, then stuffed a stack of New York Times into the shopping bag and quickly left. Bet he was selling them on the street minutes later. Criminal or entrepreneur? You make the call.

Walk walk walk I walked everywhere. Three days here and I did not get into a vehicle. Walked fifteen blocks from Penn Station to my hotel, walked several blocks to Museum of Modern Art, walked to Central Park, walked to a neighborhood a few blocks outside of the tourist zone. Next day walked 10 blocks to the meetings I was here for, walked to the Empire State Building, walked back to my hotel, walked back to the previously-mentioned neighborhood for dinner again. Today walked to stalk the Today Show, walk walk walk.

Walk/don't walk lights are suggestions. Red lights suggest that taxis stop. Honk honk!

I was the only English language speaker on the Empire State Building elevator. Except the first voice on the speakers welcoming us.

Starbucks every other block.  Heaven.

Horn honking dumpster dumping, more horns. Tall tall buildings. Sun rises before 6 this week but streets are in shadow till much later because of tall tall buildings.
 
The neighborhood restaurant where I ate twice served Italian food and the whole staff spoke Italian as well as English. The row of restaurants surrounding this establishment included Mexican, French, Korean, Mediterranean and Irish restaurants. Asian market across the street. Sidewalk strollers included people with all of those ancestries and more. The United Nations building is just a few blocks away. Coincidence?

Song says if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. I believe it. Not sure if the three panhandlers I said no to this morning would agree.

Had a two-hour catch-up lunch with a co-worker from 25 years ago. Great to see her! Not just the chat and hearing about her incredible life but great to look at her. She looked good back in the day. She's twice as old now yet looks twice as good as then. More than twice. Jaw still dropping.

Got an insider's look from her at life in NY. Interesting perspective.

I used to say I love visiting New York but I couldn't live here. It has the few things I hate about my current city times ten (congestion, noise, rude people, blah blah blah).


But NYC is ALIVE!
The city is as much a living breathing entity as the people who live here! I think maybe I could live here. But I would have to make a lot of money. There is almost no chance I'll ever live here, no suitable opportunity is on the horizon. I have no plan to try and make anything happen here. But I can now picture a set of circumstances in which I would live here ... for a year or two anyway. Won't happen. Interesting thought though.  Very.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Failure Success

There is a persistent and largely accurate belief in life coach circles that says a person must fail to really learn. If that's true then I must be very smart. I've been fired from half the jobs I've had. I've made mistakes big and small. I've failed at many attempts professionally and personally.

The positive side is that I have recovered and learned from those failures. I also now know how to monitor myself in a way that warns me when I am in over my head. The warning sirens have sounded in my head several times this month. Ouch!

I have also learned what to do when I get close to my limit and I am at that point right now. I do not believe I am in any danger of blowing up or losing my job. I am not really in over my head either. But there are times when I am temporarily overwhelmed by the quantity of what is involved with my job.

One step toward turning the situation around is to step back for a minute, change thought patterns, take a walk, anything to shake things up a bit. So I am writing part of this post on my iPhone. Right after I finish this paragraph I will return to my desktop computer and move on to the next project.

Success driven by memories of past failures! I guess the life coaches are right.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

And You Wonder Why

Have you ever wondered why there is such passion and controversy about the English language in the U.S.?  When it comes to groups of languages, English is considered by some linguists as the second hardest language to learn, behind Asian languages.  In this contest, I lump English spoken in different countries together; American English, British English, Jamaican English, etc. are all sort of the same language but are as dissimilar as they are similar.  Spanish spoken in Spain and Spanish spoken in Mexico are sort of the same language but are also quite different.  Asian languages are not the same but to those of us who speak American English, the Asian languages are similar and all are more difficult than English … at least is seems that way.  My point is that we are a nation of immigrants and our most common language is very difficult to learn.

One problem is that those of us who speak and write only American English don’t even know how to do it correctly.  Look at this graphic.  Do you understand it?  Do you use the correct versions of each of these similar-sounding words when writing?

 


There are those who say English should be the official language in the United States of America.  I agree, sort of.  I think we need a common language to conduct business and law.  But I would not want the existence of an ‘official’ language to restrict people from speaking other languages. And I think it is ridiculous that most Americans only speak one language.  My understanding is that most Europeans speak two or more languages.  I wish I had understood that concept during those school years when I was ‘forced’ to study other languages, because I now wish I could speak one of them.  I studied French for a year as a child and Spanish in two years of high school and one year of college.  I barely got passing grades in either.  Spanish would be a very useful language to know now.
I did start taking Italian lessons a few years ago, partly to connect with my family heritage and partly because I want to visit Italy and have conversations with the locals.  My schedule got crazy and I did not complete the course.  I plan to start again this September and I looked up information on that organization’s web site just yesterday.

I believe that precision in language is important and that we should learn to correctly use vocabulary and grammar.  I admit that I do not always get it right, but I do almost always correctly use everything in the graphic above.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Full Moon, Super Moon and Lunatics

You know what PMS is, right?  I sometimes use a similar acronym … PFMS.  Pre Full Moon Syndrome.  The behaviors are related.
A full moon often brings out the worst in people and it seems like the bad behavior begins a couple of days before a full moon.  I expected the recent super moon to result in even more lunatic behavior (an aside: I love word derivations, such as lunatic, from luna, which is Latin for moon and refers to someone affected by phases of the moon).  The pre Super Moon should have even led to more craziness.  The irony for me is that today, several days after the full super moon, began and ended with widespread lunatic behavior.
I’ll skip most of the details.  Let me just say that drivers were crazy during my morning commute, combined with my uncanny ability to get behind the slowest vehicle on virtually every road I travelled on during my 22-minute ride to work, which today took 35 minutes. My first hour at work was equally nuts.  Things calmed down through most of the day, but it ended with more lunacy.
So now I am sitting on my patio, sipping some tasty zin, composing this post on my laptop computer.  I had planned to stop at the gym for a much-needed workout on the way home, but it was just too late.
I don’t really know if moon cycles affect human behavior, but my own observations lead me to believe there is at least a little correlation.  I regularly sense the impending full moon without checking any web sites for dates and times.  When things begin to get a little crazy, I often blame the full moon.  One part of me thinks it is crazy that the moon can cause anything but another part of me embraces astrology, so I guess I’m either indecisive or a lunatic.
I’m rambling now, so I think it’s time to post this and pour another glass of wine.  I’ll resist the urge to “moon” you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Random People-watching at the Neighborhood Tiki Bar

A diner in my new neighborhood has a tiki bar set up outside on Friday and Saturday evenings and a band plays on the plaza next to the bar.  It is a great gathering of the diverse array of residents.  Here are some random observations from last Saturday.

- The cover band must really love the Beatles because five of the eight songs I heard were Beatles songs.
- A man from Ghana played a percussion set of three songs during the band’s break.

- There were plenty of kids dancing around; most appeared to be between three and eight years old.  Some of their parents were dancing too.  Can you really dance to Beatles songs?
- There were several women who appeared to be in their 80s sitting on a bench nearby … except for the one who was dancing.  I bet she never heard those songs before but that didn’t stop her.  I also would bet these ladies all live in the senior apartments two block from this bar.

- I’ve said before that this is a multi-generational and multi-cultural neighborhood and there is plenty of evidence at the weekly tiki bar.  On this night … three Asian families, a young black man chatting up two young Asian women, a blond in daisy dukes shorts (I don’t think she’s really blond), a couple speaking Spanish, two white couples in my baby boomer age range.
- One of the bar tenders was trying to make small talk with the blond in the shorts.  He looks good and he knows it.  She didn’t care.  I almost laughed out loud when I saw her reaction to him.

- The cool crisp sunset air mixed with the smell of draft beer and the fragrance of the Five Guys Burgers place across the plaza.
This would have been a great opportunity to start up a conversation with some of the people at or near the bar but that night I had more fun just watching.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Patterns and Rituals

We all have our patterns and rituals, things we do on a regular basis, personal schedules we keep.  I spent so many years living in the shadow of someone else’s patterns that I lost many of mine or simply gave up having my own.  Never again.  I can flex and compromise but I also will do what I want to do.

Do you have patterns and rituals in your life?  Saturday laundry?  Sunday brunch?  Hit the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays?  Laundry on Wednesday evenings?  Wine with dinner?  Church on Sunday?
I don’t know if three Saturdays in a row leads to a ritual, but today (a Saturday) I realized I’ve repeated some things on the past three Saturday mornings.  Shower and yogurt to start, walked to Starbucks for coffee, the neighborhood farmer’s market for produce, a local wine store for two bottles of red and creative routing to minimize the number of alleged crosswalks in which I dodged vehicles whose drivers barely realize that stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks is the law here.  I like this pattern, except for the crosswalk part, but I also realize that the weather won’t be this good every Saturday.

Some of my patterns from a past life include coffee and the newspaper on Sunday mornings, laundry and house-cleaning on Thursday nights, videos on Saturday nights if I didn’t have other plans, mowing the lawn on Saturday mornings during the years I owned homes.  Patterns and rituals give us a measure of control and predictability in our often unpredictable lives; they serve as stable anchors during unstable times.
Do you have a morning ritual?  Mine is shower, shave, get partially dressed, breakfast, finish dressing, make lunch, leave for work.  Coffee fits in either with breakfast or the drive to work.  My morning coffee is a non-negotiable, mandatory ritual. 

Three meals a day is a pattern for me, as is checking email and catching up on news and weather either online or on TV (or both) several times a day.  I rarely go a whole day without texting two of my best friends and pictures of food or wine is involved in many of those texts.  Hey, you have your rituals, I have mine.  Insert smiley face here (another ritual).  Writing something for this blog every few days is a ritual.
Anyway, that’s all for this post.  Time to put clothes into the dryer.  Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Twist on Country

Music genres sometimes blend together and blending is a trend at the younger end of the demographic spectrum these days.  People have their favorites but they listen to a lot of different sounds.  Mid boomers might remember that trend from the late 60s and early 70s.  Some will reject the current version, however.

But I don't.  I like all kinds of music and I love to see combinations of influences play out.  Several current country music hit songs by very popular artists have a pop-rap undercurrent.  This is one.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shut Me Up, Comfort Zones and other stuff

Shut me up.  Just shut me up.  I kind of like that I am a story-teller but sometimes I just keep going and going and going … the energizer bunny of story-tellers.  I went into a friend/co-worker’s office space late this afternoon to tell him one thing, a thing that should have taken five minutes.  We talked for an hour.  This happens to me two or three times a week at work.  Actually, I should say I cause this that often.  I just can’t stop sometimes.  Just shut me up.

The main star of the TV series “The Sopranos” died today.  After seeing dozens of Facebook posts about that I have concluded that I am the only American who has never seen an entire episode of that show.
The relatively new top boss in the local division of my company could be a motivational speaker if he chose to.  He has a weekly meeting involving half the staff during which he actually does motivational speaking targeted to our work situation.  One of the many points he regularly makes is ‘get out of your comfort zone’.  I am a proponent of that philosophy but also a reluctant practitioner.  In both my professional life and my personal life I have focused on challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone.  The results are almost always positive.  But I am still hesitant.  One benefit of aging, however, is that I care less about what people think of me than I used to and so the self-consciousness I sometimes have about escaping the comfort zone grows smaller by the week.

I gave up one of the items on my impossibly long list of duties on my job description this week.  It was an unofficial leadership role that I took on years ago but was increasingly getting in the way of my ability to do the rest of my job at the level at which I am expected to perform.  The decision was mine, my boss reluctantly backed me up,  laughed at me when I changed my mind twice during the past two months and backed me up again when I finally implemented my decision.  On one hand I am relieved, on the other I am second-guessing myself.  In some ways this particular role positioned me as a big-picture visionary in the eyes of management; I saw a trend coming within my company and jumped on it.  In fact, I have seen the future many times during the past few years and am confident in my new found ability to see what is coming and act on it.  That serves me well until I take on so many things that I can’t do any one of them thoroughly.  So I prioritized, acted on a decision and stepped out of my comfort zone.  Time will tell if I did the right thing.
Wow, that last paragraph was pretty damn ambiguous, wasn’t it?

This week I also gave up a position on a local board of directors that I’ve served on for four years.  Prioritizing again.  That was also a difficult choice but I had to do it.  Sorry, another ambiguous paragraph, I know.  Moving on …
I have a New York City weekend coming up soon and this time I am determined to add some tourist time to the work-related nature of the trip.  I plan to visit a museum, see Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building and have drinks with a former co-worker who I haven’t seen in twenty-five years.  More details coming in another blog post.

OK, time to shut up.  I talk talk talk even in this blog, don’t I?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chic Magnets and Other Things

My friend Lisa and her boyfriend live in my neighborhood.  Their enthusiasm for this area is part of why I moved here.  And Lisa, being the friend she is, is curious and helpful with my transition back to being single.  I am done with my initial obsession with trying to ‘date’ again.  Of course I am still interested in meeting women but I don’t care about the dating part; I’m more interested in sharing a drink at a sidewalk bar or sharing a concert.  And Lisa wants to help.

She suggested I get a dog.  She says dogs are chic magnets and meanwhile she said I can borrow her dog any time.  As she was telling me this at the neighborhood farmer’s market Saturday, I recalled that she brought Daisy with her when we met for drinks at an outdoor wine bar a couple of times last summer.  There were several good looking young women there on one of those days.  Lisa went inside to use the restroom at one point and asked me to watch Daisy.  Four different women started conversations with me during that few minutes and each chat began with reference to Daisy.  Hmmm.  Maybe Lisa is right and maybe I should borrow Daisy some time.  Just sayin’.  I’m not an ugly man but I don’t ‘turn heads’ either.  And Daisy likes me; actually Daisy likes everybody.  I bet she would be a great conversation starter.
Weather has been especially good here the past couple of weekends and I have taken advantage of that fact to explore my neighborhood more.  I am slowly becoming a regular at the wine bar I mentioned and I’ve sampled the fare at several other restaurants.  Sitting outside is a great way to soak in the surroundings and do some people watching.  I started my day yesterday with a walk to Starbucks.  Their outdoor seating was crowded but there are benches all over the neighborhood so I sat on one at the edge of one of the numerous plaza and observed the late Sunday morning vibe.

A few things I saw:
- This is a very multi-cultural and multi-generational area.  I saw several families with babies, twenty-something parents and fifty-something grandparents, all hanging out in the plaza.  Two women of Indian descent sat on a bench across from me discussing Home Depot while waiting for two other neighbor families to join them for brunch; the other families included the stereotypical blond, Docker’s dressed Gen-Xers with kids.  Everyone greeted each other like family.  There is nothing unusual about this now, but mid-boomers like me can remember a point in our lives when this scene would have been odd or even frowned upon. I am happy those days are in the past.

- I think this neighborhood could be described as being on the upscale side of middle class, so I laughed when I saw a Rolls Royce drive by.  At the other extreme, last night I saw (and heard) a 1970s-era Trans Am with racing headers sticking out of the hood.  The typical neighborhood vehicles are Hondas and Toyotas, especially compact SUVs and mini-vans.  This morning I also saw many bicycles (I should be riding mine but I haven’t yet) as well as a few skate boards.  Saturday night I saw (and heard) two Harleys.
- The typical weekend attire here seems to be khakis and polo shirts.  Wait, I think I just described what I was wearing.  I also saw Middle Eastern-influenced clothing and at least two couples in suits.  Typical footwear … flip flops (except for the couples in suits).

- Dogs, dogs, dogs.  Labs, Westies, Goldens, poodles, a greyhound and a poofy little Bichon Frise.  Daisy is a Sheltie. 
- Music, music, music.  Friday night I saw an acoustic duo at one wine place and a classic rock band at a tiki bar.  Saturday I saw a duo at the farmer’s market, playing on a small stage in front of a neighborhood ‘music academy’ … I think they were students.  And the tiki bar had a band on Saturday night too.

- As cool as this neighborhood is, many residents are also self-important yuppies in a big hurry.  Sometimes those huge ‘pedestrian crossing’ signs mean nothing and I do not trust for even a second any car on any street around here.  But that won’t stop me from walking nearly everywhere.  A car seems pointless unless I have stuff to carry or unless the weather is bad.  I bought fresh-picked broccoli, strawberry jelly (“made yesterday”) and two cupcakes at the farmer’s market and crossed the street to my favorite wine store where I purchased two bottles, and walked home with that stuff.  Didn’t need the car.
OK, that’s probably enough for this post.  Thanks for visiting. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Benny

Sometimes it is hard to believe my Dad died almost twelve years ago.  Why?  Because I see him every day in my mirror.  I hear his voice when I get pissed off in traffic.  I sense his logic when I try to solve a problem.

I remember the arguments we had over everything from politics to race to morality to religion to music.  I remember him patiently teaching me how to use tools to build something or fix something.  I remember how he would sit quietly in a room full of people, at a family holiday gathering for example, and he would mostly observe, then say just one thing that might be the most significant one thing in the conversation.
I learned stubbornness and determination from him.  I learned tolerance and acceptance by doing the opposite of what he did.  Dad taught me how to find balance between conformity and ‘charting your own path’.  I doubt he knew he was teaching that.  He spent plenty of time analyzing ‘things’ but not much time studying ‘feelings’.  If he ever cried, I didn’t see it.

Dad was the classic protector and provider, as a husband and a father.  He made so many sacrifices in the name of planning for the future that he seemed to forget to live in the present.  He paid dearly for that when Parkinson’s Disease robbed him of a retirement he dreamed of and planned for decades.  His situation shapes my ongoing search for my own balance between the future and the now.
He told stories about his youth but I don’t know if he ever dated.  One family story is that he always had lots of girlfriends in school but nothing in those stories points to any one girl.  I’d be shocked if I ever learned he had sex with any woman in his whole life other than mother; not disappointed, just shocked.  I’m sure he would have been shocked if he knew any of those details about my life.

I never knew my Dad to be afraid of anything until his last few years.  At that point I believe his fear was that he couldn’t control things.  He had the Parkinson’s shaking pretty bad at times, eventually had bouts of dementia and probably depression.  He had to depend on people, something he hated.  Part of me is glad I lived far away and didn’t have to see him going through that on a daily basis and part of me wished I had spent more time with him. 
Anyway, Happy Father’s Day.  If your Dad is alive, call him, text him, email him, even better … visit him.  Spend time with him in person.  You will get at least as much out of that as he will.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another "Typical" Day

There is almost nothing ordinary about this week in Bernieville.  Here are a three examples

Yesterday Jennifer Lopez walked past my desk at work.  Yes THAT Jennifer Lopez.  She was visiting one of my radio stations and their studios are fifty feet from my desk.  She is hotter and taller than I thought.

During the first of two waves of storms that rolled through my world today, lightning struck a generator next to a restaurant just a few blocks south of my office building.  A co-worker actually got a picture of it.  A few minutes later the building power went off for a couple of minutes, although the generators kicked in almost immediately.  Creepy.

This afternoon we all got tornado warnings for the county where my office is.  Our town was directly in the projected path of a sighted tornado.  AND it actually passed within a mile or two of the building.  This picture is looking north from the 6th floor.  That thing in the middle IS a tornado; not a very well-defined one, but it is one and we could see the rotation.  I have always wanted to see one, from a distance.

So, how was your week?

Any time I complain about my life being boring, remind me of this week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Day in the Life

OK, here are a bunch of quick random things in my world from the past couple of days.

I had my 3 month follow up eye doc appointment today.  Still 20/20 in both eyes, from a distance of about three feet out.  No need for fancy glasses any more.  Just drug store readers; I already have 3 or 4 pairs of those.
Also went to the dentist this morning.  Teeth are fine, thank you.  And now they are white again, until a few more days of my daily coffee habit and nightly red wine habit.

A very cool friend of mine is visiting soon.  Can’t wait to play tour guide again.
Another very cool friend of mine is posting way too much BS on her Facebook, especially considering how smart and thoughtful she usually is.  Just sayin’.  Wouldn’t it be more effective to back off the unsubstantiated commentary and spend that time campaigning to elect new people in Congress?

This month is the one year anniversary of my last car payment.  Feels good but my car now has 146,000 miles on it and I’m itching for something newer.  Damn dependable car! Hahaha
I should have gone to the gym tonight.

There are a couple of interesting music performances coming up in my area in the next few weeks.  I really want to see these two bands but the venues are not all that convenient and both are general admission stand up all night places.  Still thinking about it.
OK, phone is charged.  Time for bed.  Thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Frustrating

Opinions are like buttholes … everybody has one.  So here is mine.

We the People are at a point in our nation’s history where we are coasting down the other side of the mountain of greatness we built.  While we sit around spewing partisan bullshit about gun rights and debating whether or not a man can love a man and a woman love a woman, the rest of the world is leaving us in the dust in the very thing we more or less invented: technology.
Innovation in the United States led to most of the technology we take for granted.  We invented it, gave it away free, stopped reinventing it, let the rest of the world get ahead of us with it and are now frantically paying to buy it back.  We were the leaders, the power center of the planet, then we got lazy, complacent, greedy, indifferent.  Countries we like to ridicule, like China, quietly and steadily passed us by.

Every great empire eventually falls but I never thought I’d see the day when our great nation would be less than Number One.  Sorry about the negatives … problem is that I speak the truth.  It’s not if, it’s when.  I hope we can change it.  I hope our decline slows down, maybe even turns around in my life time.  Current evidence says it won’t, especially in the area of science and technology.
The man from India who drives a taxi or runs a convenience store, the man who is often the punch line of a joke, has a son or daughter who will cure cancer and sell us the cure at the price of their choosing  It’s the American way, isn’t it?  The Chinese man who runs the neighborhood laundry or take-out restaurant, also the brunt of jokes, has a relative who will produce what boomers used to call the Dick Tracy watch … a two-way telecommunication device worn on the wrist, only this one will have ten times the computing power of a the latest iPhone and the small print on the back will say Made In China.

Again, I’m sorry for the negatives but we are watching it happen and are doing nothing about it.  And I don’t mean enacting ‘America first’ laws; that misses the point.  I mean we’re not encouraging science studies, for example.  We’re too busy whining about Republicans and Democrats.
I hate to end on this sour note, but it is what it is.  It is frustrating.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Action Packed Week

This morning I was just thinking about the ‘tourist attractions’ I visited or slowly walked by during my week-long tour guide adventure.  Let’s see if I can list them all.

DC – went in: Capitol Building, Union Station, Botanic Garden, Smithsonian Natural History Museum (dinosaurs, Hope Diamond), Smithsonian American History Museum (the actual flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner), Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial, Viet Nam Memorial, MLK Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Thomas Jefferson Memorial,
DC – walked by: White House, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving (where they print paper money), Washington Monument, numerous famous government buildings (IRS, DOJ, EPA, USDA, etc.)

Baltimore – Ft McHenry (where the Star Spangled Banner flew), the Inner Harbor (downtown historic and touristy location).  Drove past the stadiums where the Orioles and the Ravens play.  Skipped the Poe grave because we were advised it is not a safe neighborhood.
Considered but didn’t do this time - Pentagon, Gettysburg, Masonic Temple (from Dan Brown’s ‘Lost Symbols’), Smithsonian art museums, Annapolis, renting paddle boats in Tidal Basin or Inner Harbor.

There is sooooo much to do here.  The above listings are merely the attractions with historic or cultural significance.  We also sampled restaurants and bars with outdoor seating in my neighborhood because the weather was so good.  There are similar establishments in DC and surrounding suburbs.  We did have an outdoor meal at the Inner Harbor.  And we saw a Tim McGraw concert at an outdoor venue.
My next touring adventure comes in July.  The itinerary may include some of the same places but that visit is shorter.  A Dave Mathews concert is at the heart of that one.  Zip lining and a segue tour are also possibilities, but I suspect they may be traded for outdoor eating and drinking.  I know my visitors well.

As I said in previous posts, I love showing people around the Nation’s Capitol.  I have worked in entertainment media most of my life, but my original career plan (and backup career) was hospitality and tourism.  Growing up in New Orleans provided great exposure to that line of work.  I did take a year-long detour from my media career a long time ago and spent part of that year as marketing director and band booker for a hotel and its bar.  Maybe when I retire in twenty years I’ll be a tour guide or docent.  Meanwhile I’ll show friends around.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Staycation Randomnation

So my staycation is almost over.  On one hand it felt like a real vacation, even though I didn’t leave town, because I spent most of a week playing tour guide to an old friend.  On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like a real vacation because part of my local ‘tour’ involved working for an hour last Saturday on the way to a concert and I spent another hour today doing work.  Completely disconnecting from a 24/7 business is quite the challenge.

A few random notes about this week:
- Every time I show someone around the Washington DC area I appreciate even more the awesomeness (is that a word?) of this place, from the whole notion that this is the capitol of the free world to the majesty of the seats of power to the grand scale of monuments to people and events that shape our nation.

- Whenever I think I know a lot about this area I realize I am still learning.
- I have lived here more than 25 years yet there are some attractions I haven’t visited till now, like Arlington National Cemetery.  Actually, I did see it on a family trip here when I was a kid, but this week was the first time I’ve seen it since then.  What an incredible, haunting, sacred place!

- I saw two somewhat recent monuments for the first time … the Franklin Delano Roosevelt monument and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument.  They are near each other and along a beautiful waterfront walk between the World War II monument and the Thomas Jefferson Monument.  Also saw the Lincoln Memorial and the Viet Nam Memorial on that same afternoon.
- Spending time with an old friend from half a lifetime ago is an ‘interesting’ experience.  Can’t say much else about that, other than it’s mostly a good thing.

- I usually try to take photographs with my ‘real’ camera when I go into downtown DC.  During my three adventures down there in the past week I only took my iPhone.  I’m kind of surprised by how good most of the pictures came out.  I still prefer my Nikon though.  Maybe next time.
- I also spent more time in my own wonderful new neighborhood during my staycation.  I went to my two favorite restaurant/bar establishments twice each and tried two others for the first time.  Summer is awesome here.

- Another tour guide adventure is coming next month.
OK, that’s all for now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Random Update

Kind of busy this week but thought I'd check in.  Showing a friend around the DC area, which I love to do.  Get to do it for two friends this summer.  So far we had a tour of the Capital building, dropped in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, tried to visit Natural History (the one with the dinosaurs) but it was crazy crowded so we'll try again in a day or two, went to a Tim McGraw concert, checked out two cool restaurants in my neighborhood, drank some wine (of course).  I got back from that concert more than an hour ago and still can't get to sleep so I'm writing this.  I should try sleep again.  More museums to visit plus Arlington Cemetery and maybe a trip to Gettysburg battlefield, which isn't that far.