Archive for December, 2007

Rollerblading in Indiana (State #21!!!)

Last week I got to rollerblade in the state Abraham Lincoln grew up in– Indiana.  Surprised by that tidbit?  I was!  I just assumed Lincoln was born and raised in Illinois, when in fact he did not move there until 1830 when he was about 21 years of age.  My rollerblading venture taught me that– I passed a sign.  I also got to read about Captain Mary Becker Greene, who got her Riverboat pilot’s license in 1896, making her the only licensed female steamboat captain on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  Who knew rollerblading could be so educational?

I have the Pigeon Creek Greenway Project to thank for the history lessons.  I skated between Sunset Park, along the banks of the Ohio River and a little pass the Casino Aztar.  Along the route, they had a lot of signs detailing Evansville history and explaining the sites along the way.  One of the signs at Sunset Park was particularly fitting:

Architect Bill Gaisser, in an interview, said that “after World War II, people had a change of attitude… They were less likely to stroll in the park.  We became a modern society with automobiles, suburbs and air-conditioned houses”

I saw a total of two individuals my whole time on the river front.  The weather was not optimal, but it was still pretty nice for December.  I was very surprised I did not encounter more people outside.


All alone at Sunset Park

That said, it was the isolation of the trail, that I think I appreciated the most.  I parked at the Evansville Convention and Visitors Center.  From there, I had to walk up a small grassy slope to get to the paved path.  When I got to the top of the slope, I was right upon Ohio River.  The sky was grey.  The river was grey.  To my right, the path was deserted.  To my left, the path was deserted.  And it was quiet.


Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage through the Downtown Riverfront area.

The silence I will remember– I had just finished up delivering three days of training with evenings focused on demos and conference calls.  That was three days straight of almost non-stop talking.  And suddenly, all was quiet.  Skating along the Ohio River, the only things I could hear were the whir of my wheels and the sounds of my own breath. 

It was a peace I didn’t expect.  It was a peace I needed.

The pavement was great.  The crisp air was invigorating and I got to see lots of items along the way.  They had a nice Korea War Memorial, they had a restored Riverboat, and finally, the Four Freedoms Monument gave me a chance to pay homage to my very favorite of all the U.S. states.


Korea War Memorial in Evansville, Indiana


A riverboat on the Ohio River


Rock on Virginia, I love you! 
P.S.  See the Virginia Creeper in the State Seal?

I had such a fulfilling journey.  Even though this time around, I reveled in the unexpected alone time, I do hope more people start to take advantage of that trail.

December 9, 2007 at 5:05 pm 5 comments

Beagles are Bad…

….and marketers know it!

Yesterday, Sean and I were perusing PetSmart and we went into the aisle that focused on housetraining, odor control and carpet cleanup.  It was hilarious how many of the products had a beagle pictured on the front.  It’s like… they knew beagles are stubborn and notoriously hard to house train.



Carpet Shampoo


Hardwood Floors Stain and Odor Remover


OVERSIZED Training Pads (That’s how bad beagles are!)


Diapers

Then we went into the behavioral problems aisle and lo and behold they had a bark collar with a beagle picture on the front.  It’s almost as if, they knew how loud beagles’ aroos can be.

Bark Control Collar!

And, possibly recognizing that beagles like to roll in stuff to cover up their scent (like dead turkey wings… or poo… or poo… or poo), the shampoo aisle sports beagles on bottles.


Shampoo

The beagle bashing did not end at PetSmart.  Last night I was sifting through a ThinkGeek catalog and I ran across this Humping USB Dog.  They have two types– a rottweiller… and a beagle.  It’s almost as if they knew Henry and how even though he is neutered, he still loves to hump:


A beagle humping?!?!?!

It definitely takes a special type of person to love a beagle, but there is one more aspect about the breed that perhaps the package designers recognize most of all:

Beagles can be so damn cute.


Henry as a puppy

December 9, 2007 at 3:43 pm 20 comments

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December 3, 2007 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Google Reader Knows Me Well

When we first got Tivo, we had Tivo’s recommendations turned on.  Between our roommate who liked to watch SpongeBob and Sean’s fancy for the Simpsons, Tivo decided our household would love programs targetted for toddlers.  Our receiver got so focused on recording the likes of Little Bear and Blue’s Clues, we finally disabled that feature.

Google Reader just recently started a recommendation feature.  Guess what Google Reader‘s top recommendation was for me!  My own blog!!!!  Those programmers at Google are amazing.  How did they know I would like to read about hiking and butt cookies?  😉 So I went ahead and subscribed.

I don’t expect any surprises to surface with the subscription to my own blog, but I think it is safe to say Google Reader is already more accurate than Tivo was.

December 3, 2007 at 10:31 am 1 comment

Favorite Love Songs

In 1996, NOFX released the album, Heavy Petting Zoo, and I came across a love song I fancied.  It was called “Whatever Didi Wants” and I was fond of it not only for its catchy harmonies but because it portrayed a realistic love.  The guy was promising to do almost everything for the girl… but not everything.  Some things are just ridiculous…. like contracting dysentery.

I wouldn’t walk 500 miles
When I could fly coach
But almost anything
I wouldn’t swim across the Nile
Cause I could get
An amoebic dysentery

I would do almost anything for you…

In 2006, a new song, also by NOFX, emerged and ousted “Whatever Didi Wants” as my favorite love song.  It’s 34 seconds long, very catchy and uses bodily functions and scenarios you might find in Zobmondo to portray a young lover’s longing.  It’s “Instant Crassic” from Wolves in Wolves Clothing:

I’m swimming in a sea of pee
I’m hiking up a big mountain of poo
I feel like rolling in glass when I’m without you

I’m diving in a pool of puke
I’m fly fishing a stream of puss
That’s how I feel when something separates us

Well now, it appears NOFX’s 11 year reign is in jeopardy.  I’ve become quite smitten with this Jon Lajoie song which was inspired by 2 Girls 1 Cup (don’t worry– the video below is safe to watch).  This song is hilarious and probably too catchy for its own good.  I’ve already found myself singing it around the house.  Is that a good thing when I’m going on-site next week?  Probably not!

December 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm 4 comments

Good Idea from the Bloomington Holiday Inn

In 2005, I was traveling in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania when eight inches of snow fell overnight.  I woke up the next morning with a funeral to attend.  I got dressed, packed up all my clothes and went outside to discover that rental cars do not have ice scrapers.  I had to improvise.  In a nice skirt and decorative shoes, I stood out in the cold and scraped snow of my car using a Dasani water bottle.

Flash forward to 2007.  When Katie and I were in Logan Lake, there was an ice storm one night.  We found ourselves in a similiar situation with our rental car.  Again, water bottles were the most convenient tool.  (The Canadians subsequently told us that credit cards double nicely as scrapers).


Vicky and Katie scrap off a rental car with water bottles

Apparently I had told ZJ my ice scraper stories.  As we were checking in to the Bloomington Holiday Inn near the Minneapolis Airport this past week, ZJ got my attention and proudly pointed to a sign at the front desk:


The hotel has ice scrapers available for guest use

Awesome idea!  Kudos to whoever came up with that thoughtful amenity.

December 2, 2007 at 1:10 am 6 comments

Outshined

Tonight, my former employer had their annual Christmas Party.  I still have a great number of friends at that company and in some Christmas Parties past there had been DANCING.  So I really, really wanted to go.  But alas, I’m not employed there… I needed some kind of plan.   Luckily, in the computer industry, there are a lot of single guys.  So I solicited a few of my former colleagues to see if they needed a date.  No one seemed to be particularly interested in my escort services until about 15 minutes before the festivities began!  

Kevin and Eric called me and asked if I wanted to tag along with them.  Booyah!  I shed my cameo pants and my Virginia Tech hoodie and then I put on some contacts, makeup and a blue dress.  Our timing was perfect– Kevin and Eric arrived just as I finished re-blowdrying my hair.

We made our way to the Inn at Virginia Tech and when we first entered the ballroom, the surprise was evident.  A number people gasped and someone uttered, “Oh… my… gawd!”

I expected people to be surprised, but I didn’t expect a reaction to that extent!  I immediately smiled and started waving to all my former co-workers.

It was when people rushed up and ran behind me that I realized….  No one was surprised by *ME*.  They were all surprised that Eric was there.  It turns out this was the first time he had been to a company Christmas Party in six years. 

Blast.

Well, I may not have surprised people, but I did have a good time.  I got to visit with a lot of people I haven’t seen much of this past year.  I found two people who want to sign up for Virginia AT License plates and I got to have a lengthy discussion about American Chestnuts with a man who hiked the whole Appalachian Trail in 1987.  I left the event quite pleased.

December 2, 2007 at 12:13 am 1 comment

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