Author Archives: Tony

It’s Been A Year

It’s Been A Year

Wow! I haven’t written all year. Can you believe it?

Fine. It’s a lame line. Put the tomato down.

It has been an unacceptably long time since I communicated with you all. I have no excuse, but I do offer the following explanation.

Every time I think to myself “ooh, that would be a great thing for the blog” and actually sit down to write the Procrastatron 5000XT kicks in and convinces me to not do it.

See, if you’ve never heard of it, the Procrastatron 5000XT is a vial little microchip who’s job it is to make me lazy and convince me that I don’t need to do a particular thing at a particular moment. I am convinced that during one of the 312 cornea transplants I had as a kid, a crazy mad scientist snuck into the OR and implanted the Procrastatron where my right eye should be. Procrastatron is a handy little thing to have on a rainy weekend when I should be cleaning the house, but would much rather be reading a book. Not so much in the eighth grade when you have a History packet due and you put it off for two weeks, until you’re waking up at 03:00 listening to I Love Lucy and Murphy Brown furiously scrambling to get the thing done. Thanks channel 6 for replacing Murphy Brown with the Bloomberg Financial Report sometime in March, that really helped me stay awake there. Mom, if you’re reading this, I made that last part up. Well, most of it. I have no idea what they replaced Murphy Brown with, I moved to Janesville in March. πŸ™‚ Um, Procrastatron doesn’t help when I’m trying to write a blog entry or do a podcast for that matter either.

Anyway, my conversations with this little robot in my head go something like this:

Me: Excellent. Time to blog.
Procrastatron: But your laptop is all the way over there and you’re really comfortable on the couch.
Me: Pfft, it’s 36 inches you lazy robot. I think I can get the computer and stay under this blanket.
Crasty: Don’t bother. Your two readers have already moved on.
Me: Quiet you. I have at least four, maybe six, readers and I must keep them entertained.
Jerk: [I can see I’ll just have to bring out the big guns] Here, have some Melatonin.
Me: You fight dirty. I’ll show you. I’m gonna… Gonna… [Snore]

Yeah. I’ll show him. One of these days I’ll reprogram him into Doitnowatron and be so productive… Why am I suddenly tired?

***

Enough of that for the day.

To catch you all up. It’s been a crazy couple of months. Work has kept Treva and I busy and we traveled quite a few times around the holidays.

By a few times, I mean I think I was on something like 12 different aircraft in 4 weeks.

It started at Thanksgiving when we flew to Wisconsin to spend time with my family. We got in on Wednesday and stayed until Sunday afternoon. It was a lot of fun. While we were there we attended our friend Sarah’s wedding. We spent time at the reception hanging out with our friend Rachael and her family. It was great to have a chance to reconnect with some people I hadn’t seen in several years.

What wasn’t so great was the trip back. It was kind of a stormy day, stupid winter, and the Atlanta airport, stupid Atlanta airport, was backed up like crazy. We got hit with a ground hold in Milwaukee and left two hours late. When we got into Atlanta we had to hang out for a while. We boarded the flight about the time we were originally supposed to leave (22:30 or so). However, for whatever reason, we did not get off the ground until close to midnight. To top it off, the complementary XM wasn’t working in my row.

We landed at BWI around 00:50 and headed to pick up our bags. Something you should understand about BWI, it can take anywhere from one to twenty years to get luggage off the plane there. Accordingly, it was 01:30 by the time we reclaimed our bags. No, actually our one bag. Standing at the baggage carousel, waiting on bag number two, I hear the following, “Mr. Olivrivero” (hehe, close enough buddy). He hands me a bag, covered in goo, and proceeds to explain that, “Something spilled.” Oh, good, cuz my first guess would have been that it went through the plane wash and the rinse cycle broke.

Turns out one of our shampoo bottles popped open and the cap slid off sideways, filling the bag with the entire contents. YUCK!! I found a bathroom and cleaned the thing off because Treva, most likely accurately, pointed out that no cabby would want that mess in his vehicle.

01:45. The cab dispatcher doesn’t seem to have clue one and we stand around until he pulls it together and realizes we in fact want a cab.

02:15. We make it home. I, not wanting to deal with the goopy mess in the morning clean the bag and toss a load of laundry in.

We make it to bed about 03:00 and fall into a deep sleep.

06:20. BEEEP! BEEP! BEEEP! BEEP!

No way. Already? This has to be a nightmare.

Actually, I’m sure my thoughts were no where near that coherent. They probably ended at “MARGG! DIE!”

Out of respect for anyone who would have to tollerate either of us, Treva and I took half the day off.

***

I flew to Bentonville, Arkansas in mid December to meet with a small company none of you have ever heard of. (It rhymes with Ham’s Flub). We had good, productive meetings and I flew home. To repack for the trip to Indiana the next day.

For another wedding.

A brief aside. The majority of our trips for the period beginning Thanksgiving and ending in August are centered around someone’s wedding. There’s R and K’s in April and my Sister’s in August left to go.

This weekend was also Christmas with Treva’s family since we were in the area.

We had to alter our travel plans between Greenwood and Goshen slightly when Cape Air decided they would stop flying any of their Indiana commuter operations cancelling our Indianapolis to South Bend flight. Thanks guys. Though I think we had more fun our wway.

Treva’s brothers drove down and gave us a ride. This was probably the most amusing car trip I have ever taken next to the time I was driving around with Rachael and Sarah, playing my horn out the window and waving an orange safety flag. We hooked up with them in the parking lot of a Wal Mart and then decided to hit BW3s for dinner. After which, we were laughing so hard at something that we missed the turn onto I69 and had to take the long way. Which apparently didn’t bother Chris too much since he got to stop and wake up a cousin at 02:00 to ask for Pepsi, which the guy didn’t have anyway. We finally made it back to Goshen about 03:00 and went to sleep. We spent Sunday and Monday with Treva’s family and friends and headed back Monday evening.

We were back in Wisconsin for Christmas and hung with my family again. Good times!

This past week we had friends from Texas and Nebraska visiting. We had a big party at Ronza’s on New Year’s Eve and just hung out the rest of the time.

Okay. I’m wrapping this up. I need to write more often so I can be more detailed. I’m not writing a novel here.

Thanks for reading. Stop back soon. Procrastatron and I are going to take a nap.

2008 Baltimore Marathon

2008 Baltimore Marathon

I participated in the Baltimore Marathon today. It was not, thankfully, in the run 26miles or die trying kind of participating though.

The Marathon organizers use amateur radio operators to help coordinate what is happening; track racers, pass information to the finish lines from different water stops, and handle other logistics related efforts. I was assigned to a combined water stop and first aid tent. We were at the half-way point in the course.

I got there about 7:15 this morning and checked in with the water stop captain and medical team leader. Our medical team leader, it turns out, took a nasty fall off a loading dock while gathering supplies for the race and had, what we are pretty sure was, a broken wrist. Since she was the only one with a medical license assigned to the team she had one of the med students splint it and she dealt with it until the location was secured.

The med tent was set up a slight distance from the water stop. Since the water stop was staffed by a club I had never heard of and the Med tent was being handled by a bunch of med students and a couple staff from Hopkins, and we happened to have a crew from Lifestar and their shiny, flashy unit there, I set myself up with the people who’s stories I figured would be more interesting. :-).

Sheesh. I sound like some sort of EMS groupie.

After he informed us that the Gateraid had been mixed in a trash can (which spawned a discussion of trash can punch and a mutual agreement to avoid the Gateraid) I had a good chat with a Baltimore police officer before the race. He asked about Amateur Radio, being under the impression that I was going to be doing some sort of broadcasting. I told him about our role in public service events and what we would be providing for the race. I was actually surprised that more people knew what Amateur Radio was and how active we were in disasters. A couple of the medics answered questions from the other medical providers before I could.

We stood around for a while and chatted until the runners came through. Not a whole lot happened, aside from me passing a request for toilet paper for the porta-potties. A request that could not be filled. Eww. πŸ™‚

We secured a little before 12:00 and I started walking up to catch the Light Rail. I had kept the radio on and heard one of the hams at the stadium (where the start/finish, primary medical, and everything else was located) trying to helpanother ham get over there to fill a vacant position. He eventually decided he couldn’t get through due to traffic. I offered to head up there, figuring I would be more mobile on foot. It took about 25 minutes to walk down there and another 20 to get through the enormous crowd gathered to watch the finish line. I eventually made it through, met up with our coordinator, and staffed the Information Tent (with PD/FD/Public Works, and race coordinators) for the duration.

It was a good day. Communications went relatively smoothly, I finally got back into doing public service events, met some cool people, and even managed to dispell a few misconceptions about Amateur Radio, and blindness along the way.

Blindness (the Film)

Blindness (the Film)

On Friday the film Blindness will be released to general audiences. This film, which is an adaptation of the 1995 Jose Saramago novel of the same name. This film portrays a society afflicted by a sudden onset of blindness that instantly turns the residence into helpless animals. The National Federation of the Blind has released the following information in an attempt to clarify the alarming misconceptions this film may ingender in viewers. Please take a moment to read and consider this information before watching this… thing.

Read the NFB’s FAQ About the Movie

Finish This Song

Finish This Song

I’m laying in bed and have the following stuck in my head. Rather than look it up I’m asking if anyone else remembers this gem.
Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts Mutilated monkey meat French fried parakeet
That’s pretty much all I’ve got. Now that it’s stuck in your head and on the way out of mine I’m going to sleep.

iTunes Accessibility and Other Updates

iTunes Accessibility and Other Updates

On Friday I went to Watertown, MA to participate in an exciting press conference announcing an agreement between Apple Inc., The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the National Federation of the Blind to make the iTunes software, store, and iTunes U accessible to blind people. It was the first time that I’ve participated in a press conference and I think it went pretty well. You can read the AP story announcing the agreement.

I did learn something from this flight. I should never try changing flights to get back early. I was originally scheduled for an 18:30 flight coming back to Baltimore. My colleague was on a 17:30 flight and I asked f I could change to get back a little faster. There was an open seat and I got on the flight. While we were going through security his wife called and said the 17:30 had been pushed to 19:00. Groan. Sure enough, the flight didn’t get off until 19:45. We ended up having to go through security twice too owing to the fact that the section of the airport we were in had almost no options for food.

Also, a quick update. I finally got the blogroll caught up with reality. Hopefully I haven’t missed anyone.

In other news. We endedup at the Cheesecake Factory Tuesday night since ESPN Zone was closed for a private event. I still need to get my skiball and airhockey game on. πŸ™‚

Blogabirthaversary Day

Blogabirthaversary Day

So not only is today my 26th birthday it is also the sixth anniversary of blogging. Stop looking at the archives, you won’t find where I’ve squirreled those first posts away. (There on another site and someday I might migrate them over, but they’re from a time in my life where things were just… um… Nuts? Yeah, that describes it).

Anyway, my blogaversary aside. I got some pretty cool stuff for my Birthday. Treva bought me a Charging Station from Think Geek that i have on the headboard. I’m no longer sleeping in a sea of cords. πŸ™‚ She also got me a multi-colored LED light buld that sadly needs replacing and the complete box set of the Gilmore Girls. Excellent stuff!

Tonight we’re just relaxing. Mondays are officiall the suck and no one should ever do anything on them. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow we’re heading to ESPN Zone. I have an unexplainable desire to play some air hockey and Skiball but decided Chuck-E-Cheese wasn’t “adult” enough. For some reasons people keep telling me they don’t understand why I think I’m too mature. Brats. All of you! πŸ™‚

Hopefully we’ll have some good pics to post.

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes electronic and otherwise. Ya’ll rock!

Seven Years

Seven Years

Every once in a while an event happens and it has enough of an impact that people ask “where were you when…” I doubt any of us alive on September 11th, 2001 will forget where we were when we heard that our country had been viciously attacked.

It was my Freshman year of college. My roommate and I had left the television on overnight. When I woke up, I heard a news report that sounded incredibly confused and disjointed. I fell back asleep for about a half an hour, thinking that I was having a strange dream. When I finally woke and realized what was happening I couldnt believe it was real.

I actually went to my class and most of us were sitting around talking about what happened. Everyone was in shock. When the professor came in and started class as if nothing happened people asked him what he was thinking. His response, “If we stop moving on they win.” Most of us were pretty bugged by that.

Too many lives were lost that day in acts of senseless terrorism. Too many lives changed forever. Never forget what happened.

Epi linked to a post from Lucy which tells a moving story of how a group of eighth graders learned that Freedom Isn’t Free.

Ask A Stupid Question

Ask A Stupid Question

Or

Cash Makes me Cringe

Or

When The Debit Card Machine Breaks

Thank you everyone for playing along with “I verbed a noun because random phrase.” Your answers made me smile.

Today several colleagues, Treva, and I took advantage of McDonald’s free Southwestern Style chicken sandwich deal for lunch. The McDonalds near work is not well known for swift execution of the “fast” part of fast food, but as Momtobe accurately pointed out, “they are always polite.”

As we were walking over Momtobe, leaving the restaurant and heading toward the bank, stopped us and asked if we had cash since the debit card machines weren’t working. After assuring her we were covered and a moment of me trying to figure out why they let it go three days without fixing it (I don’t really eat there all the time) we headed in.

After placing our orders for the McChikFilet I had what might be described as a “Here’s Your Sign” moment, but I still don’t know which one of us gets the sign. The clerk handed me a stack of bills and we had the following conversation:

Me: Thanks. What are you handing me?
Clerk: Your change Sir.
Me (kind of stunned): What specific denominations of bills are you handing me?
Clerk: Uh, oh, they’re all ones.
Me: Eleven dollars in ones?
Clerk: Yes, Sir.
Me: Excellent! more offerings to keep the nap preventing machine of cafeen dispensing goodness happy.

Honestly now. I realize that my question was slightly vague, but it has never, until this point, failed to elicit the answer I was looking for. I guess I now know to be more specific.

Funny times.