Jul 22

Two points

I photo my thumb accidentally took while idly fiddling with my phone and watching the news and waiting for The Next Thing of the Day.

Two points if you can figure that out. I know what it is, but I’ll be impressed if anyone here can take two points off of my hands.

The Next Thing of the Day proved easy and uneventful. Started on time, ended on time, everything in the middle was assuredly a smash hit. A Tuesday to be remembered! If you could make the normal Tuesday stand out somehow or another.

Two points if you can figure that out, too.

In my idle chatter I mentioned I had a tube going on my bike. I took it off and found just the tiniest little hole seeping air. I was tempted to slap some super glue on it and experiment, but, in another sign of my own maturity and wisdom, decided this was not a profitable experiment.

You can wrap a tube in a dollar bill to finish a ride in a pinch. (Two points if you get it right on the first try!) But I was already at the house, and not in that pinch. If you’re lucky, though, the currency can hold up for weeks. I can also buy another inner tube and just be done with it. We have a small stack for just such an occasion. I went to the room where we keep stacks of things and found that we have one spare inner tube.

This does not a stack make.

Opened the little box, pulled out the tube, prepared it for installation and …

So I had to put my spare on my back wheel. The spare is the one you carry with you, not the one from the room where we keep stacks of things. That means I don’t have a spare to carry on the bike. So tomorrow’s ride will feature a new back tire, and one with a tiny pinhole on the wall. I should throw a dollar bill in there, too. Juuuust in case.

I always carry a few bucks on the bike. (Two points to me for being prepared.) You never know when a ride goes farther, or takes longer, and you want to stop at a store for water or extra fuel. And, also, for emergency tire patching.

One last point. They’re in the Alps in the Tour.

Click through that mini-thread and you get four little photos that the world feed used as cutaway shots.

The Alps get more intriguing all of the time.

Jul 22

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth. I hope you have big plans that involve a barbecue, but not chemical burns, being outdoors, but not sunburns, and good times, but not … too good a time?

The juxtaposition-for-dramatic-and-ironic-contrast device ran empty on me there, apologies.

Not much to our Fourth. The city didn’t host a fireworks show this year. Not sure why. It can’t be too pandemic related, though, since they returned to their parade tradition this morning. (Last year they had a reverse parade and people apparently drove their cars around parked floats. You do what you can.)

The next small town up the road is hosting fireworks, and there are a few large church displays. Someone at one of the lakes is doing fireworks. It’s out there if you want it, plus a parade. There’s also a neighborhood parade, and we rode our bikes through that route just after they concluded this morning. We rode very fast, but did not catch them. That would have been amusing.

Perhaps our neighbor, who has wowed us all with pyrotechnic displays that surely equal a mortgage payment the last two years, will hurl flaming sulfur and blackpowder into the sky this evening.

Let’s check in on the cats, who would be fine with fewer things exploding within earshot.

Phoebe was enjoying a late afternoon in the sun on the dining room table that she is not supposed to be on.

But she’s so cute, and she doesn’t care about your rules, so what are you going to do?

You get her back by putting a taco toy on her head. That’s what you do.

Poseidon was playing … under … the tunnel?

At least he wasn’t on something he’s not supposed to be on. For a change. (Alert the media!)

And alert them because he’s ready for his closeup.

I mentioned we saw a rock ‘n’ roll show on Friday night. I’m going to stretch this out all week, so settle in. Here are a few clips from Toad the Wet Sprocket.

“All I Want” is a song about the fleeting feeling of epiphany. It comes and it goes, but when it goes, it goes very quickly. Yes, it’s a nostalgia-adjacent song that’s sang nostalgically. Peak Gen X irony, I’ll grant you.

A few years later, this song was released. And, pretty quickly Toad the Wet Sprocket found themselves at that point where they say “This song is a hit! … but it’s just not as big as your last one.”

I wonder, if they had any sense they’d be doing this 30-plus years later, if they would have stayed away from the Monty Python reference.

Tomorrow, I’ll share a Gin Blossoms clip, because Friday night had a distinct mid-90s feel to it.

We were also in Nashville for part of the weekend. Our friends Sally Ann and Spencer finally held their wedding reception. (They did a private wedding during peak Covid and Saturday they finally brought all of their people together. They had a party worth waiting for. We all got dressed up and had a fine time. Because we were in Nashville, I had barbecue for lunch Saturday and Sunday. Because we were returning to Bloomington, we brought enough barbecue back for two dinners.

We had one of those dinners tonight.

Most importantly, our friends had a lovely time, and they deserved it. It was nice to be a small part of their festivities. They hired a photographer for the evening, and I didn’t even pull my phone out of my pocket for any pictures. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.

We looked very sophisticated.

Our neighbor did not set off fireworks. It was a quiet Fourth, and that’s just fine, too.

Jun 22

Looking forward to a regular thing

Friday night we’re going to a rock ‘n’ roll show, a good ol’ fashioned concert. Lights. Music. Happy people. Crowds.

(I can still count on one hand the number of frivolous things we’ve done around people since March of 2020. This weekend will involve numbers four and five. Maybe this sort of thing will soon stop feeling novel. Maybe it won’t feel like I’m breaking curfew.)

This will be our first concert since Covid came along. This is a show we should have seen in July of 2020. We bought these tickets in 2019. So, in two more days, we will see the Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Barenaked Ladies. I haven’t seen the Gin Blossoms since 1996. I’ve, sadly, never seen Toad the Wet Sprocket. We saw Barenaked Ladies in 2018. It was my third or fourth time I’d caught their act, but my lovely bride had never seen them. They were celebrating 30 years then, had just been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. They put on a great show.

Anyway, we’ll have pretty nice seats for a great show and we’ll wear masks and, I’m sure, have a great time.

So to get ready, here are a few BNL clips from the show we saw in 2018.

May 22

Riding into the weekend

Finally, we were able to get in another bike ride this week. The two extra days off did my legs no favors. But someone didn’t seem phased. I was playing catch up for 90 minutes.

At the very end of the ride I caught her.

Or, seen another way …

Even then, it took a well-timed break — near our pre-selected turnaround point is the home of a few friends who were out in their yard so we stopped for a chat — and a desperate chase just to stay in sight.

She’ll get faster before I do, probably, which is the real concern.

Did you know I am still putting dive videos on social media? I am still putting dive videos on social media. Here’s today’s dose. I’ve got about five more weeks worth of clips, I’m sure.

That’s it for now. See you Monday. Until then, check out my Instagram. And did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? Also, be sure to keep up with me on Twitter as well.

May 22

Let’s go back in time

Ten years ago I took this photograph, and published it on my Tumblr site. (Remember those?) This is the agapanthus, the African lily. From the Greek agape (love) + anthos (flower).

The plant is believed to have a hemolytic poison and can cause ulceration of the mouth. It does have other medicinal properties, however. There are about 10 species in the genus.

(Haven’t put anything on that Tumblr since November 2014. I wonder why? Probably just rightly remembered I should put everything here.)

Nine years ago I was at a baseball game, and the good guys won. We found our friend watching from a nearby parking deck.

(Happy times!)

Eight years ago we ran a triathlon in the morning, and watched a baseball game in the afternoon. (Good guys lost.) And I got Aubie to take a selfie on my camera.

(Happy times!)

Seven years ago we ran a 10K. I did it in brand new shoes.

This was a fundraiser in London, and on part of the route we ran around Wembley Stadium. The guy that won the race was an Egyptian Olympian. He lapped us. It was amazing to watch him run. He could not stick around to get his medal, they said, because he ran off to run another race. Long distance runners, man.

But look at this awesome bling!

(The next day we were in Paris. It was a whirlwind.)

Six years ago, plus one day …

I’ve never been able to eat watermelon without thinking about that. And I can’t eat watermelon without being a bit sad. Had some this morning, in fact.

Five years ago, boy, I was right about this one.

Four years ago, we were in Tuscany, specifically, Siena, and just one of the beautiful things we visited that day was the Duomo di Siena. In the 12th century the earliest version of this building starting hosting services, but there’d been a church on this spot for centuries by then. The oldest bell in the church was cast in 1149! These beautiful facades started appearing in the 1200s.

That was a grand trip. We’d do that one again, I’m sure.

Three years ago, the 17th was a Saturday, and we went on an easy bike ride.

Two years ago I apparently sat around and thought of little more than Covid. Remember the pandemic?

And last year at this time I was recovering from my first long drive in a year. We’d just come back from visiting my vaccinated family members. It had been my first drive out of the county in more than a year. It took a day or two to recover.

I did have a reason to re-use this gif, however.

The guy on the left is a sports director at a television station in Illinois now. The guy on the right is a 2L at a Washington D.C. law school. (We’re all going to work for one of them one day, I’m sure.)

So a bit of everything on this day in the last decade.