Category: Living

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No Class, No Reunion

My 30-year high school reunion will take place this year—if it hasn’t already. But, sigh, I have no high school where to return. During my junior and senior years, my mom moved the family from the town where I grew up to Maine’s second-largest city in the south. While other kids wallowed in the memories, I walked the hallowed halls like an odd duck. I was a stranger among strangers. I left my memories and friends 300 miles away, in the town where I was born and there the school system that educated me. No memories. No prom. No graduation parties. No fun.

I regularly cut classes in the new school, which was quite unusual for me. I had bulked up on extra classes through junior year and was one-quarter credit shy of graduation going into my senior year. I only needed to sustain grades for college. 

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The Modern Woman is You

When I was younger, the first rule of gifting to women: Never buy anything with an electrical chord. Girlie gifts, like jewelry and such were OK, but you would never buy a woman a chain saw, drill, or electric mixer. The mixer is especially risky, because of kitchen equipment and loaded connotations about she doing work there and her outside job, too.

But times change, and so does gifting. My wife wants an edger—or trimmer. She has asked for over two years now. I’ve resisted, in part because I don’t see why we need to trim the lawn’s edges and also because the noise would scare away wildlife. She does the yard work, I’ll admit, and she’s good mowing back the grass or whacking weeds. 

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Skating with a Cold on Ice

My daughter skated her second competition today. What misery. She sped onto the ice with nasty cold and cough, which limited her performance. She placed third out of five skaters. My daughter started serious skating in September 2006 and has quickly advanced through the Ice Skating Institute levels. She skated today at Freestyle 4 against other 11-12 year-old girls. She soon will be testing for the United States Figure Skating Associaton, hoping to join the local club.

I took out, for the first time, our new Canon HV20 camcorder, the family’s first new model since the original Elura in 1999. 

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Hybrid Cars are a Bad Idea

I philosophically oppose the concept of hybrid cars. The hybrid is a feel-good response to concerns about the environment that doesn’t go near as far as needed. For other folks, hybrid auto is a no-conscience purchase; it’s about saving money on gasoline. Mother Nature deserves better than these gas guzzlers and air polluters.

How about those natural gas vehicles, like the Metro buses moving around Washington, or ethanol-powered alternatives? They’re no better choices than hybrids. All these vehicles are bad for the environment and in their wickedness preserve an oil-based infrastructure and economy that long ago surpassed any meaningful usefulness. 

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In the Waiting Line

Some things are just too weird for rational definition or explanation. Tonight, my daughter had the most unusual and upsetting experience while waiting in line at the local Old Navy.

We went to the store looking for blue jeans. My daughter, who is 12, said she needed a new pair. After trying on a few pairs, she picked out faded jeans. But tween angst led us out of the Old Navy to the Aeropstale, where she tried on a pair of size 00R. Size zero zero? They fit, but she decided on the Old Navy jeans. I gave her money to buy the pants, and we separated so that I could grab some cherry turnovers from the Arby’s. 

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Pump Up Your Common Sense

I really worry about some people, and that is sincerely meant.

This morning, over at the local gas station, the mechanics changed a headlight on our car. Say, how many mechanics does it take to change a lightbulb? Three took about 20 minutes figuring out how to get the old bulb out and the new one in.

While they struggled to see the light, a finely dressed woman drove a polished SUV into the station for fuel. Problem: The gas station had no gas. “Out of Order” signs covered every pump. Undaunted, this woman circled around, eyeing them, before parking before one. 

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What They Saw

Today, a couple released video footage they shot on September 11, 2001, “36 floors up and 500 yards from the North Tower” of the World Trade Center. The video, “September 11, 2001: What We Saw“.

The video is riveting, because of the raw emotion expressed by the observants’ disbelief and grief shared by so many of us that day—and because the viewer knows what is yet to occur: The second plane hitting the South Tower, the collapse of the South Tower, and the collapse of the North Tower. If there is a perspective of looking with hindsight, this video is it. 

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Labor Day Parade 2006

This morning, Kensington, Md., held its annual Labor Day parade, which was my first real-world test of the Nikon D200. I love the camera, but some kinks remain.

I snapped 380 pictures, on 4GB and 2GB memory cards. I chucked 110 pictures; many images were blurry. I’m finding that Program mode consistently favors ISO over shutter speed, even when set to Auto ISO. The best shots came later in the parade, when the sun shone and I switched to Shutter Priority at 1/500 sec. 

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The Corporation

End of last week, I watched a startling documentary, which resonated well with some suspicions I already had. Staunch capitalists probably wouldn’t be moved by “The Corporation“, although hard-core liberals or even communists might delight in the documentary.

My response is neither political nor economic, but rooted in my sense of right, which in part defines good as putting the wellbeing of others above oneself. People or organizations that prosper by harming others do wrong. Many societies recognize cannibalism as wrong, yet those same peoples often do not recognize as wrong another kind of cannibalism: The consumption (or sacrifice) of one person’s livelihood or well being to support another person, group or organization.