Jul 17

Hey buddy, can you spare a radial?

After work today I went home and wrote some things and goofed around with the impromptu studio I’m building in my home office.

After that I had to drive up to the airport to pick up The Yankee. Her flight was running late, of course, but that doesn’t mean the driver can be late.

Finally, her plane arrived. I picked her up. Bag in the backseat. Jet lagged passenger in the passenger seat. Violent flat tire before we left the airport.

I changed the tire on the side of the highway on-ramp. I put on a doughnut – an economically-driven decision that a driver never thinks about, which makes no sense when the driver actually needs to use it. And then I drove home. Slowly. Because doughnut tires.

I want a full-sized spare tire, is what I’m saying. And, also, better luck with tires.

So a late night, and it was a bit frustrating. And a little rock hurt my knee when I was jacking up the front end of my car. But, hey, my wife is back. And that’s great! Now, if my head would stop hurting, that would be even better!

See you Monday. Until then, follow along on Twitter and over on Instagram, too.

Jul 17

Visiting the middletown*

Wrapped up the week and then hopped in the car and turned north. And I drove through clouds and rain for about two hours.

Here’s my before view:

And after the rain, when I was off the highways and moving between now-flooded country roads, this is the after view:

I met up with The Yankee and her friend, Anne, at a pizza joint. And then we drove over to a hotel near Muncie. She’s doing the Ironman 70.3 tomorrow. I’ll be schlepping some of the gear and trying to stay in the shade. But the ladies will have a great race. Anne’s husband Bill and I will be grilling hamburgers. So it should be a nice Saturday all the way around.

*Middletown was the name given to Muncie in a series of 1920s sociological studies. The name was meant to disguise the city — the people there eventually figured it out — and to suggest a typical small town America, in a conceptual sense. And that is all the sociology you get from my seat in a Best Western. More here Monday. Perhaps check out Twitter or Instagram between now and then.

May 17

Walking in Torridon

It was a good day to take it easy. Our vacations are usually action packed in some way or another. Often there are three or four different ways the action is packed in. And this trip is no exception. That’s not a complaint: there is so much to see and marvel at here. Eventually, though, you think about slowing it down a little bit. And that’s exactly what my travel agent, trip pilot and all around best girl had planned for today.

We’re in some of the most picturesque rugged mountain country that Scotland has to offer, with some incredible walking trails. We tried a few of those today, and the views and the scenery and the surrounding was worth it. I could tell you, but here see for yourself. This is on the 54-acre Torridon estate:

Now, if you didn’t watch that video, here’s your chance to go back and press play. You’re missing views like this:

On a different walk today, we saw several red deer:

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a loch, or a lake, all to yourself, but you should try it sometime:

I want to try it sometime soon again, myself!

Walking, we didn’t see anyone for more than an hour, which was grand, on trails like this:

Here are a few more bits of video I shot today:

We had dinner at the Torridon Inn tonight. I’m eating a lot of meat pies. They are all a little different from one another, and they are all so tasty. And they look pretty inviting, too:

May 17

New phone, new video, new adventures

Got a new phone. This is the first video I shot from it, the “river” by our building flooded. We’re told the creek is incased by the local limestone, which does not allow for drainage. And, today, we got a deluge. They recorded 1.67 inches of rain in an hour. And this was the downstream result:

And this is the second video I shot from my phone, this evening, as I journeyed to Connecticut by way of New York:

Tomorrow, we’re off on another grand adventure!

May 17

I do not want to hear Tubthumping when I’m 85

Musical encoding is a powerful thing. Researchers are only just beginning to understand its importance, and I imagine it has a lot more value than even the hefty weight of reminiscence.

Now think of it, think of the music someone is going to play for us one day.

Which brings to mind two quick stories.

A colleague here is doing oral histories with alumni who are now in their 90s. She stopped by my office the other day and mentioned some interesting little tidbit in the ongoing process. Two students were in my office at the time and I looked at them and said something like “Just think, someone is going to approach you one day, in 2087 or so, and ask for your recollections about this place.”

And the student goes “2087. That’s not a real year.”

I hear ya, pal.

And, today, we learned that next week my colleague will do an oral history with a woman who is 102 years old. I wondered where that put that woman on the list of oldest living alumni. There’s a story in here somewhere, I figured.

So I called the alumni association and they did a bit of digging and we found out that, last September, the oldest surviving alumnus on record was a 111-year-old alumnus.

Think of it, 111. That’s a life born around 1905 who saw all but the very first planes, and then saw us go to the moon, and then perhaps has learned that we have people living in a tin can circling 250 miles above us. Those and all of the other things that they have seen. All the stories that person must know.