Archive for July, 2011

Chicago Chicanery

July 31, 2011

okay, so ‘chicanery’ is not really the right word, but i like the alliteration.

had an adventure this past week that will stay in the ‘happy memory banks’ for quite awhile.  took a trip to Chicago to play the country boy in the big city, staring up at the tall buildings, saying ‘Golly!’, with my wallet hanging out of my back pocket for the city folk to pick (they didn’t…it was a very civilized and great place with lots of cool people).

almost there and excitement rising

the purpose was to have a holiday, but a side reason was to meet up with blog folk.  i’ve done so before in Ohio, but this is the first i’ve gone off to meet new folks.  with a friend, Recreational Blasphemy (doesn’t blog, but does comment) as my travel buddy, we wended our way to the Windy City to meet the others.  there?  while i already know the scrumptious Daisyfae, i also met–in person!!–the delectably delightful Nursemyra and the divine Rassles.  i look forward to getting together again, if possible.  but, even if not, it was a true pleasure to get together and get to know each other, wander the city, and just enjoy a holiday.

of course, we sampled the local eateries.  in addition, we hit a street fair in Wicker Park and a free concert in Millenium Park.  and, yes, we did do the other touristy kind of stuff as well. The Fields Museum (dinosaurs and mummies), the Shedd Aquarium (with a really cool jellyfish exhibit), and the Museum of Science and Industry (a real, honest-to-goodness WW II German U-boat!!!!) were great fun.

Recreational Blasphemy and I also tried to recreate, a bit, the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” tour.  some things were not possible.  for example, there was no parade that week with someone singing Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen”.  nor were the Cubbies in town.  and there is no “Chez Quis” restaurant where we could pretend to be “Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago”.  But we did get up in the Sears Tower – –

damn that's a long way down!

and wandered the Art Institute.

RB recreates Cameron falling into the pixels

much more, but still in the after glow of a great holiday.  great times.  wonderful adventures.  grand companions.

i am definitely going to go back.


Head Scratcher #284

July 20, 2011

okay, so at work we have these opportunities for professional development with classes given periodically, often at lunch.

i got this e-mail – –


Professional Development Series Power Lunch

July 30, 11:00am-1:00pm

Room 132

(Sorry Food/Drinks are not permitted in this room)


ummm… maybe the topic of the presentation is “Oxymorons in the Workplace”?

makes just as much sense as a no-food power lunch

The Price of Memories

July 14, 2011

i’ve mentioned i’m a pack rat. and, despite high hopes at the time i moved in, i haven’t made a dramatic dent in the amount of crap important and valuable life memories i have.

but i still try.

sitting in the garage, for example, are some six boxes of old vinyl records…the LPs.  do i own a turntable?  nope.  when i did, pre-divorce, did i listen to these records over and over?  rarely.

yet, still, i cling to them.

but, finally, i decided to dip my toes in the world of purging.  having passed, for the umpteenth time, a record store in our town’s hippie district that boldy announced – –

“We Buy Records”

…i finally decided to let go.

i picked out the closest box.  i went through the albums.  yes, some were not in the best of shape, but there were many there.  i had high hopes of

(a)  getting some whisky money out of them

(b) clearing out space in my garage so i can better organize what i do use

(c) there is no (c), and

(d) perhaps feel good about the likelihood that my old records will make someone else very happy

hiking up my big boy pants, i strode into the store with the box and the clerk began to look through the 50-some records in there.

and he kept looking without stopping… okay, now he stopped at that one…and that one…and…that’s it?

five.  he pulled out five of the fifty.

i’m not a good haggler, but still felt i was getting what i was going to get out of him when we agreed on $10…$8 for the five albums he wanted, plus a ‘gift’ of $2 for him to take the remainder off of my hands.

I was crestfallen.  $10.  that’s it.

now, these are not irreplaceable albums.  i can get them on CD.  or even iTunes, for most of them.  but the fact that they were a part of me growing up.  listening to some at a very young age because that’s what mom and dad played on the stereo.  listening to others of my choice as i grew up and was capable of buying my own records.

none of them were playing when i lost my cherry and got laid the first time.*  none of them were playing when i first heard the news about JFK.**

but they were part of who i am.  some of my humor was based in those records.  i learned to sing with some of those records.

and for all of that…the memories, the lessons, the learning…gone.

…for $10.

[deep sigh]

yeah, bill, me too


*i honestly couldn’t tell you what was playing then.  i do vaguely recall the radio playing.  but my focus seemed to be elsewhere.  go figure.

**and i don’t remember what i was doing at all when the news of JFK broke.  all i do remember from then was being very pissed that they interrupted my saturday morning cartoons so they could televise the funeral.


July 7, 2011

no, not the guy at the swimming pool.

i fly Angel Flights.  helping people get to medical appointments by volunteering my plane, gas, and time to get them there.  i have also been volunteering for a special subset of Angel Flight missions for years now- – LIFEGUARD flights.  LIFEGUARD flights are time critical missions.  these are for the transplant patients.  an organ becomes available and they have a limited time window — usually 4 to 6 hours — to get from where they live to the hospital with the organ.

Angel Flight

Last night was my very first LIFEGUARD flight.

i got the call around 5pm.  Just home from work, i had changed into my bike clothes and was trying to convince myself that it really wasn’t that hot and i should get my sorry butt out on the bike trail.  Charlie (female type) at Angel Flight mission control asked if i was available to take a LIFEGUARD, from a nearby airport to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

i’d preplanned my LIFEGUARD missions just in case.  That way, i’d know the length of the flight and whether i could make it in time.


i left my flight bag, with the preplanned flights, in the plane.

A quick mental (yeah, “wild ass guess”) calculation of the trip time and a quicker look at the weather map to make sure there were no tsunamis or typhoons or the like and i said, “Sure, i’ll take it.”

The clock is ticking.  I have until 9:30pm to get the patient to Pittsburgh.  A guess of a 2 hour flight, plus 30 minutes to get to the nearby airport, plus 15 minutes to get to my airport, plus 15 minutes to get the plane pre-flight checked and up in the air.  i should be able to get there an hour plus before the deadline.

Despite having an hour to spare, i’m already nervous about the time.  i bash around the house, quickly changing out of bike clothes, and out the door.

Zooming off to the airport, i take the road i usually do…and run into a traffic backup.  A farm tractor, leisurely putting along, is at the head of the line.  “Breathe, GnuKid, breathe.”  Thankfully he turns off.  i scurry to the airport (tapping my toes impatiently at the one red light) and start checking the plane over.


Low on gas.  I’d been on a long pleasure flight the weekend before and the gas pumps were blocked by other airplanes when i got back.

To the pumps, fuel up, and into the air, to the other airport, and there they are, waiting on me.  Quick goodbyes to those staying behind, and the patient and his mom board the (stinkin’ hot just sitting in the sun) airplane.  Up and away and heading eastbound to Pittsburgh.

The guy fell asleep and i talked with the mom.  Come to find out the guy was mugged sophomore year of college and shot with an AK-47.  Blasted his insides.  Pancreas, liver, small intestines were all messed up.  Amazingly, the liver and pancreas made a remarkable turnaround, so he just needed a small intestines (i didn’t even know you could transplant those).

that's me on the left...not

He’s been on the transplant list for two years and finally got the call…just as they walked in the door from great-grandma’s funeral.

Landed right around 8pm (how’s THAT for a wild ass guess?).

On the way in to the terminal building, the mom said, “Yes, great grandma was called to Jesus…and when she got there, she asked Jesus for a small intestine for my boy…”.  And then, i guess, Jesus went out and killed someone so he could have that small intestine <ducks from impending lightning bolt>.

Saw them to the cab and off to the hospital, then turned around and went right back, landing at home base at 10:30pm.

i know i did a good thing.  But, strangely?  i wasn’t as jazzed as i thought i’d be doing a mission like this.  And I found myself thinking, it’s *just* a small intestine.  It’s not like it was a heart or lungs or some other awesome organ.  Oh well.

Waiting to hear (which i never may, such is the life of a volunteer Angel Flight pilot) on how the operation went.

But it was a good thing.  I helped.

And ready for the next one…crap…left my flight bag in the airplane.