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We’ve had quite an interesting time lately. The Wife had another kidney stone, requiring a trip to urgent care, then the emergency room, and finally short-stay surgery. That made for a long day. She ended up spending the night in the hospital for observation, leaving yours truly to be single parent for a day or two. I’m really not cut out for it.
Then, as my partner’s health improved, our cat Shadow started collapsing in mid-stride. He’s had hip problems for years, which the vet blamed on hip dysplasia, but it had gotten progressively worse. He was having more and more trouble getting up onto furniture, and often didn’t climb into a cat box before peeing. But, he was enjoying the new kittens. They would pile on top of him and engage in a three-way groomfest with purring so loud you could hear it in the next room.
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You almost have to admire their chutzpah.
GOOGLE 11th ANNIVERSARY AWARDS CENTRE,
# 216 PROPSHAFT ROAD SAMCOR PARK X1 PRETORIA GAUTENG SOUTH AFRICA
Dear Award winner
Award Reference code: GOOGLE568A2010
File number: G255
This is to inform you that you have won yourself an Award of One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds (£1,500,000 GBP) in the Google 11 years Anniversary Awards as organized by the Anniversary Centre of Google Inc., held in SOUTH AFRICA
The Anniversary Centre of Google Inc selected your email id as of one it is 20 chosen fortunate winner to receive this award.
The Anniversary Centre of Google Inc, as a part of their for-profit philanthropic wing (GOOGLE.ORG) promotion. Awards MUST be claimed by the email owner ONLY, not later than 30 days from the day of notification.
Award Reference code: GOOGLE568A2010
File number: G255
Send your complete personal information with your Award Ref. and File no. to us to enable us process your Prize;
1. Full name …………….
2. Country …………….
3. Contact Address …………….
4. Sex …………….
5. Age …………….
6. Occupation …………….
7. Nationality …………….
8. Telephone/Fax Numbers …………….
Director of Peoples Operations:
Name: Mr. Ian (redacted)
Please do not reply if you are NOT the owner of this email address
Congratulation!! Sincerely Yours,
After 11 years of establishment, Google Inc is worth over US$23 Billion with over
20,000 workers worldwide making it the best and most successful online search engine around the globe. Keep your Award information confidential.
I am appalled to note that it has been three weeks since I posted my inaugural audioblog. While I have had the very best of intentions, and have even gone so far as to OUTLINE the next episode, I haven’t been able to sit down and do the actual work of recording it. I can only plead for forgiveness, and wave the excuse that I have a full-time job and two kids between the ages of 10 and 15.
In the meantime, I have completely caught up on RadioLab podcasts, which makes me a very sad panda. Now when I sit outside and enjoy the fall sunshine while eating my lunch I have to actually listen to the conversations going on around me. These tend to fall into two main groups:
”We have to remarginalize the coefficient of consumer interest. Interpolation of existing numbers would seem to indicate a homogenization of recurring viewership tropes. Our recommendation is to mine the user info database for potential leads.”
”What does Legal say about this?”
”As long as we’re doing it for ‘research purposes,’ we’re golden.”
”So, like, my boyfriend is in a band?”
”Omigod! Like, MY boyfriend is in a band, too!?”
Just shoot me.
There have been lots of changes lately; at work, at home, and with the children. Almost too many to track, and far too many to readily accommodate. But we muddle on, for we have no other choice.
Today was the first day of school. The Girl is off to her first day of high school, and the Boy is off to his first day of middle school. They both have to get up an hour earlier than they did last year, so that was fun.
The Wife and I have been more or less obsessing about the Girl’s entry into high school. It’s such a huge transition that we worried that she would have a chance to find a rhythm before the reality ambushed her. Fortunately, she was in band camp for two grueling weeks last month, from 9 am to 8 pm five days a week. It took a grim toll on her physically (by the end she was wearing a knee brace, wrapping her ankle, and popping Advil to get through the day) but there was an unexpected benefit as well.
By the end of band camp, she knew the upperclassmen in band. She had spent two weeks on campus, and knew her way around, at least a bit. Most importantly, I think it just took the harsh edge of the unknown off the whole experience. The Wife and I were very happy it turned out the way it did, and we aren’t nearly as concerned for her now. She’s a band geek now, and she has her own support group, God bless ‘em.
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The first leg of my voyage to Australia was a simple one. Just a short hop from Portland (PDX) to Los Angeles (LAX) on Alaska Airlines. In theory, this was going to be a cakewalk; the travel equivalent of getting your feet wet in the shallow end of the pool. Unfortunately I could not have foreseen the presence of at least three different girls’ basketball teams on the flight, each returning to LA from the “End of the Trail” basketball tournament.
The noise was incredible, as friends yelled back and forth at each other, got up and changed seats, laughed, shrieked, etc. etc. It didn’t help that I was wedged into a center seat and had to sit with my shoulders rolled to keep from butting into my neighbors on either side.
The best part of the flight was watching all those teenage girls struggling with the instruction to turn off their cellphones for takeoff. You’d think they had been asked to disconnect their mother’s life support. Phones were held surreptitiously to one side as last-minute texts were sent, flight attendants gave warnings, then second warnings, and then finally the neutron bomb of warnings: “The plane will not take off until you turn off your phone.” Amazing. But I digress.
As the plane descended into an unusually gray and cool Los Angeles, I heard one of the girls say “I’d rather be in a cloudy LA than a sunny Portland!” What a coincidence! I would also rather you were in a cloudy LA than a sunny Portland.
Leaving the plane, I saw my faithful friend and now travelling companion S waiting for me. After a quick and greasy dinner, we checked in with V Australia, and boarded the massive 777-300ER. How big was it? This big. So big that first class didn’t just get drinks, they had a BAR they sat at to drink them. So big that it had a flight crew rest area over first class, and a cabin crew rest area over the passenger cabin. REALLY freakin’ big.
Positives first: The food was really very good, especially by airline standards. We even got a little glass ‘o wine with dinner. The entertainment system was pretty awesome. You had your own little display in the back of the seat in front of you, with a largish variety of music, television programs, and movies on demand. But all of that, as nice as it was, was not enough. Not nearly enough. Because you still had to endure The Flight That Would Not End.
On paper, the flight from LA to Sydney was supposed to last just under 13 hours. In reality, it took at least a week. It’s hard to tell with any accuracy, because it was dark throughout the entire flight. Yup, we took off in the last dim light of twilight, and landed just as the sky was lightening, almost 13 hours later.
It messes with your head.
We eventually landed, staggered off the plane, and headed off to customs where my passport got its first official stamp. Then we had to shuffle slowly through an incredible line and take a bus in order to get to our flight on Virgin Blue. The flight to Adelaide was uneventful, but we arrived having spent approximately 17 of the previous 21 hours on airplanes. And we felt like it, too.
Next time: Footy!
Sorry, sorry, sorry. I realize I got back last week. I realize that some of you…well a couple of you….OK one or two of you are waiting to hear about my adventures in the Antipodes. Unfortunately, there are certain realities that accompany taking a week and a half off, such as a bunch of work to do on a short deadline on my return. I’ve been busy. Like, working on the weekend busy, as difficult as that may be to imagine.
However I AM trying something exciting today. This is my first day on Ritalin. Yes, the hyperactive little monster is finally getting on Ritalin, and only 40 years too late. We’ll see if it makes a difference.
I’ve put the best pics from my trip up on flickr, so you can peruse them if you wish. In the meantime, I will leave you with this adorable koala.
PS: I mentioned how much I liked the magpies. This is a video of an Australian magpie song. THIS is the sound I woke up to while we were camping in the South Flinders. Wonderful.