Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Derecho" is the Name, Destruction is the Game

Surreal doesn't even come close to describing it.  Seems to have come out of nowhere because none of the weather outlets gave any warning of what was to come. At least not here on the Atlantic coast. 75 MPH winds whipped through here at about 12:30AM shaking everyone awake. Yes, that is hurricane force, but this was no hurricane. The winds blew straight out of the west from Indiana leaving a path of chaos and destruction in an 800 mile swath.
WASHINGTON — Millions across the mid-Atlantic region sweltered Saturday in the aftermath of violent storms that pummeled the eastern U.S. with high winds and downed trees, killing at least 13 people and leaving 3 million without power during a triple-digit heat wave.
Power officials said the outages wouldn't be repaired for several days to a week, likening the damage to a serious hurricane. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia, where Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state had its largest non-hurricane outage in history, as more storms threatened. "This is a very dangerous situation," the governor said.
In some Virginia suburbs of Washington, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Huge trees fell across streets in Washington, leaving cars crunched up next to them, and onto the fairway at the AT&T National golf tournament in Maryland. Cell phone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water until sewage plants returned to power.
snip.
The storm that whipped through the region Friday night was called a derecho (duh-RAY'-choh) , a straight line wind storm that sweeps over a large area at high speed. It can produce tornado-like damage. The storm, which can pack wind gusts of up to 90 mph, began in the Midwest, passed over the Appalachian Mountains and then drew new strength from a high pressure system as it hit the southeastern U.S., said Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
"It's one of those storms," Jackson said. "It just plows through."
The rest is HERE.There's video and a slide show, too.

We were fortunate not to lose power last night, though more strange weather (nothing like this, we hope) is due this evening and overnight.

And so it goes.
*

Caturday Prep for July 4th






Or else!

The Holiday Weekend begins...More later.

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Rehoboth Watering Hole: Big Sissies!

Although it's not necessarily for, or about, Sissies, it's a new place that recently opened just across the canal - across the bridge - from RB proper. Haven't been there myself.  Are you kidding, with my schedule I haven't time to go anywhere.

Word-of-mouth scuttlebutt has been mixed and all reviews have run something like this (non-review) from today's issue of our weekly paper:
Rehoboth BeachSay this much for new Rehoboth Beach restaurant Big Sissies Bar and Grill: with a name like that, you don’t forget it.
Big Sissies opened June 6, and despite the colorful name, it is a back-to-basics type of bar and grill.
Co-owner Joe Amato described Big Sissies as “good comfort food that doesn’t break your pocket.” Having previously worked at Partners and Double L, Amato was curious about opening his own place when Nourish moved out of the space at 37385 Rehoboth Ave.
“I thought, ‘This could work as a small, neighborhood bar and restaurant,’” he said.
Amato teamed up with friends Mickey McGraw, Jim Humes, Greg Grevera and Robert Hicken to open Big Sissies. The chef at Big Sissies is Russell Simonds, who previously worked at Saketumi and Deli 88.
Amato said the name was a happy accident.
“Well, none of us could decide what to call it. We were all out drinking one night. One person called the other one a big sissy and it just sort of went from there. It just sort of stuck. I think we’ll have a lot of fun with it,” he said.
The rest is HERE.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kindle Fire, Smart-phone - Dumb-user.

Guilty.  With these smart phones everything is slide, tap once, swype, tap twice, tap-hold-drag, (sounds like dance steps, don't it?) and always remember to use the menu which is different for every app or, whatever. And how does one know if a tap is necessary? Instinct? 

I. Don't. Think. So.

More trial and error, than anything else.  Then you're supposed to remember what actions you took to do what you wanted to do and get where you wanted to go.  Does this make any sense?

I am learning. My head hurts.  The phone rang for the first time today and I tapped the phone icon - nothing happened - tapped twice, and nothing. The caller finally hung-up. I learned later that to answer a call one must 'swype' the icon across the screen from left to the right.  Who knew?

Similar steps are true with the Kindle Fire.  With a few differences - swiping is done from right to left.  Why?  Dunno.  At least the manufacturers made an attempt to simplify and standardize as many procedures as possible  without infringing on whatever patents were involved.

Am I just an elder sage trying to rationalize my own ignorance, or is there some merit to my explanation?  Dunno.  My head hurts.

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend on Planet WTF.

I think my last personal post was on Thursday,  before Hell let'er rip - by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea - on Friday.

Arrived early to work on Friday allowing access to refrigeration & plumbing technicians - a repeat of the previous day. But, earlier.

The humidity was oppressive, with the temps hovering around 102' F, a menacing dark sky offered a glimpse of what was to come.

Heat increased as the sky grew darker; people were urged to leave the beach, so huge parties began to descend upon us as giant thunderstorms rolled in; some accompanied by strong winds and hale. Then the power outages began around 1 pm;  first hit was Baltimore Avenue knocking out everything from the Atlantic Sands Hotel on the ocean, westward, which included all restaurants on that strip. RB is an old town and the grid was put together as the town grew, today looking like a patchwork quilt. 

Next hit was Wilmington Avenue on the south side of the avenue and all restaurants, shops, hotels, went dark - at around 4 pm.  Still, Dos Locos had power as I logged out and made my way home between storms, though the thunder rumbled around me.

That evening I lost power a few times momentarily, just long enough to set all clocks blinking.  I turned off all appliances and electronics and decided to deal with it in the morning.

Received a phone call at 7:30 pm that DL had lost power; and a warning for Saturday morning.  Maybe no 9 am brunch. Maybe a delayed opening.  I prepared for the worst.

Turns out diners already in place on Friday evening were eating their meals by flashlights and candles provided by servers and bussers. Even though it was hotter than Hell in the place (even with all doors open) everyone thought it was a romantic event, handled professionally by the staff; considered it one of those memories one passes on to the next generation.  Yes, that too.

Scheduled for early arrival on Saturday, I was charged with cleaning up the front of the house, while Nicole was to care for the kitchen.  But at first glance, most of the work centered on the kitchen.

The locosguys were already on site when I arrived and the rest of the crew trickled in within minutes.

The place was ready for diners at 10 am - only an hour later than the usual weekend opening time - and all was as if nothing happened 15 hours before.  Amazing.

Today went smoothly and I was grateful to be cut loose at the assigned time.

I am truly spent from the past four  8 or 9-hour days and looking forward to a shorter day tomorrow and the day off on Tuesday.

Ah, but here's a catch.  I have just been asked to be on site tomorrow at 8:30 am to receive a designer who is preparing a new hood design for the kitchen. Oh what the hell, it's still an hour later than the past 4 days.  I think I can cope with that.

The cell phone is being turned off - - - now.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fine Art Caturday

Now you know.

And don't ever forget it.

And so it goes.
*

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Heat, Cold Gazpacho, & the Art of Lying

Summer is here; arrived with a sucker-punch to the face.  How's that for a happy image?  It's true.

Walking to work there was not a wisp of breeze; there was a haze in the still air, and the temperature was already 78' F at 7:30 (I had to be at work early to allow plumbers and refrigeration technicians in to perform repairs), making it hard to breathe. I was pretty damp upon arrival. I thanked the universe that the AC had been left on overnight, albeit at a higher temperature than appreciated .  At least the air was a bit cool - and dry.  That was most important. Lowered the temperature, turned on the ceiling fans and the place cooled down quickly.

Sat at the bar reading Twain's "On the Decay of the Art of Lying"  on the Kindle while awaiting the arrival of the technicians. It's a funny, short essay that I hadn't read since college. Even more true, even funnier than I remember.  That's not necessarily a good thing, but true, none-the-less.

Once the techs arrived and began doing their thing, I got to my work, but since it was so early, I was finished with a half hour to spare before staff would arrive.  So, back to the Kindle.

Downloaded another 3 books on my list and set about reading "The Time Machine" by H. G. Wells...not read in 50 years!  Doesn't that sound strange?  Looks strange when I see it on screen.  Have I really be around this planet that long?  Whew!

By the time the restaurant opened at 11:30, it was already 92'F  and everyone had left the beach in search of a cool place to have a cold drink and a bit of lunch.  We were busy all day; serving over 100 diners from opening to 4 PM.

As my shift ended I was asked to be available at 8 AM tomorrow, because the techs would be back with the parts to repair whatever was wrong.  I affirmed that I would be there, logged out, and headed for home. It was 97'F at that time.

Peeled out of the damp work drag, made a large pitcher of Gazpacho,  (using ingredients purchased at the Farmers Market)  put together a huge cucumber salad with vidalia onions and dill - cucumbers were 4 for $1.00 so how could I lose - and will enjoy both with a few leftover beef back ribs for supper.

After my two olives and some music, supper will be followed by a warm shower and an early bed-time. Only a minor change in the forecast for tomorrow, thunderstorms in addition to a high of 92'F.  In short, not much relief, but I do enjoy walking in a downpour even if I am in work drag. After all, "Singin' in the Rain" is my fave musical of all time.

Olives await. 

And so it goes.
*

Let's Dirty Our Diets

No, not dirty dancing, though that's not a bad thing, in and of itself. I've thought about this for years, remembering that, as a child, I didn't know anyone with food allergies, or even diabetes, for that matter. We bought vegetables from a farmer's truck when he came round once weekly.  Our milk was Pasteurized, not Homogenized, and what little we grew ourselves - like pole beans - we sometimes ate raw without scrubbing under running water beforehand. This may account for part of the problem. Too clean, over processed, and far from the natural world. From today's NYT:
OVER 7,000 strong and growing, community farmers’ markets are being heralded as a panacea for what ails our sick nation. The smell of fresh, earthy goodness is the reason environmentalists approve of them, locavores can’t live without them, and the first lady has hitched her vegetable cart crusade to them. As health-giving as those bundles of mouthwatering leafy greens and crates of plump tomatoes are, the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some “old friends.”

Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us. As nature’s blanket, the potentially pathogenic and benign microorganisms associated with the dirt that once covered every aspect of our preindustrial day guaranteed a time-honored co-evolutionary process that established “normal” background levels and kept our bodies from overreacting to foreign bodies. This research suggests that reintroducing some of the organisms from the mud and water of our natural world would help avoid an overreaction of an otherwise healthy immune response that results in such chronic diseases as Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and a host of allergic disorders.

In a world of hand sanitizer and wet wipes (not to mention double tall skinny soy vanilla lattes), we can scarcely imagine the preindustrial lifestyle that resulted in the daily intake of trillions of helpful organisms. For nearly all of human history, this began with maternal transmission of beneficial microbes during passage through the birth canal — mother to child. However, the alarming increase in the rate of Caesarean section births means a potential loss of microbiota from one generation to the next. And for most of us in the industrialized world, the microbial cleansing continues throughout life. Nature’s dirt floor has been replaced by tile; our once soiled and sooted bodies and clothes are cleaned almost daily; our muddy water is filtered and treated; our rotting and fermenting food has been chilled; and the cowshed has been neatly tucked out of sight. While these improvements in hygiene and sanitation deserve applause, they have inadvertently given rise to a set of truly human-made diseases.
The rest is HERE.

There were no fast-food joints when I was a kid, especially not in New Orleans where good food doesn't happen fast, anyway. In my early NY years, there were only Nathan's Hotdogs and the rare Gyro stand if you wanted to grab something on the go. Even street vendors were scarce back then, except at Christmas time the carts offering fresh roasted chestnuts and giant pretzels (often burnt) were all over 5th Avenue near Rockefeller Center, the skating rink, and Central Park South near the Plaza. Part of the smells of the season.

At the restaurant today, I see many people (child and adult) with peculiar allergies; many I had never heard of before. Ever hear of anyone allergic to Dill?  Ginger?  Olive oil? Me neither. And the rise in Gluten Free diners is, at least to me, disturbing.  I cannot imagine life without huge chunks of delicious, fresh-baked bread.  The real deal, not that marshmallow, over-processed fluff labeled as bread.

I love the Farmers Market because I can see the dirt clinging to the veggies and even the strawberries; everything is firm, fresh and has its original aroma. That is worth the extra pennies I pay.

What are we (have been) doing to our foods?  It's a good question.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, June 18, 2012

Debut of the Dazzling Butterfly Shirt


The day was perfect. The time was right. I was committed, excited, psyched, and ready.  My amazingly beautiful Butterfly shirt designed and created for me by Dr. Spo (the dear) made its debut yesterday in Rehoboth Beach & Dos Locos by 9 AM. (click images to embiggen. The photo-bomb centered, establishes Erick as silly-ass of the day.)

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Local merchants, staff, cops ("damn! I should have you with me on a foggy night." Yes, he was talking about the shirt, dammit!) people on the street, customers; were all amazed by the shirt's beauty.  As I walked to work, someone in a passing car called out,  "Wow! How much does it cost to recharge that thing?" Then gave a thumbs-up and said, "Lookin' Good!"

It was probably the most photographed image in all of Rehoboth Beach yesterday.  God only knows how many are now on Facebook. Lots of customers wanted their picture taken with me and the shirt. Well, mostly the shirt.

Sunday being yet again a long 9-hour day - with Brunch at 9 AM, followed by Lunch, and Fathers Day specials - I made it through with energy to spare, thanks to the recognition and reception the shirt received.

While examining the shirt someone said it was made with pride, thoughtfulness, care and love.  I believe it is so. That is how I imagine the good doctor.

I may have chosen the fabric, but Dr. Spo made the magic happen and created for people he may never know personally, (including me) a brighter, happier world.

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sci-Fi Imagined Technology Now in a Single Pocket

Amazing.  There are more of these, first imagined by science fiction writers, but many were designed for medical, scientific, and military uses. (Ever hear of 'Waldos'?)  Just look at this!!!


And think about it.  Boggles the mind, it does. He says. as he continues to learn about his Kindle Fire, and his new "Android smartphone".  (Ahem!)

And so it goes.
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today I Was Told That:

...When I wear this silk shirt, I look like a Central American banana plantation owner. I love this shirt.  It's cool and comfortable and I don't get to wear it often.  Very cheeky comment, indeed.

Note: That's my Mexican buddy.  A server with a great sense of humor and honor. His nickname is "Piolin" which means "Tweety Bird" in Spanish, so I am told. Tweety is his favourite cartoon character, so what's not to love? (Click to embiggen.)

...I remind someone of the son they gave up for adoption 30 years ago, and they showed no remorse.  I wonder how old that son might have been and why he was given up.  Maybe it's better not to.  That guy is better off with his adoptive family, trust me.

...I "sucked" because I wouldn't give more than 4 quarters to a douche-nozzle walking in off the street, too stoopid to bring her own loose change to a town known for metered parking, and too lazy to walk a half block to the machines that would give her as many quarters as she wanted.

And so it goes.
*

Richard Leakey: Evolution Debate Soon Will Be History

Ah, I can almost hear the heads of Creationists, Dominionists, and Christianists exploding at this news. So, please excuse the mess:
NEW YORK -- Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.
Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.
Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the skeptics can accept it."
"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive," Leakey says, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."
Leakey, a professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island, recently spent several weeks in New York promoting the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. The institute, where Leakey spends most of his time, welcomes researchers and scientists from around the world dedicated to unearthing the origins of mankind in an area rich with fossils.
His friend, Paul Simon, performed at a May 2 fundraiser for the institute in Manhattan that collected more than $2 million. A National Geographic documentary on his work at Turkana aired this month on public television.
Now 67, Leakey is the son of the late Louis and Mary Leakey and conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise. The family claims to have unearthed "much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution."
On the eve of his return to Africa earlier this week, Leakey spoke to The Associated Press in New York City about the past and the future.
"If you look back, the thing that strikes you, if you've got any sensitivity, is that extinction is the most common phenomena," Leakey says. "Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change. Man accelerated, if not created, planet change phenomena; I think we have to recognize that the future is by no means a very rosy one."Any hope for mankind's future, he insists, rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.
"If we're spreading out across the world from centers like Europe and America that evolution is nonsense and science is nonsense, how do you combat new pathogens, how do you combat new strains of disease that are evolving in the environment?" he asked.
"If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God."
Leakey insists he has no animosity toward religion.
"If you tell me, well, people really need a faith ... I understand that," he said.
Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s. His team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as "Turkana Boy," the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature.
In the late 1980s, Leakey began a career in government service in Kenya, heading the Kenya Wildlife Service. He led the quest to protect elephants from poachers who were killing the animals at an alarming rate in order to harvest their valuable ivory tusks. He gathered 12 tons of confiscated ivory in Nairobi National Park and set it afire in a 1989 demonstration that attracted worldwide headlines.
In 1993, Leakey crashed a small propeller-driven plane; his lower legs were later amputated and he now gets around on artificial limbs. There were suspicions the plane had been sabotaged by his political enemies, but it was never proven.
The rest of this fascinating story is HERE.

And so it goes.
*

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Discount Cell Phone Plans that Aren't

While researching a new cell phone, plans, and options for us older folk, I learned another ugly truth. It would appear that the major cell carriers are delusional regarding the desires of the 65+ demographic.  Either that, or they think this demographic is senile and very, very stoopid.

AT&T and Verizon insult older folks with pseudo-discount "come-on" plans. Very sneaky, beware of the dreaded *asterisks* as you read the tantalizing bits of technology thrown at you in the sales pitch.

Wait, Wait!!! These plans (*actually 2-year contracts) cost only $29.99 per month, so what's not to like, right?, compared with the plans the kids have costing $60 - $80.+ monthly? Watch out for the asterisk.

1. The major carriers seem to believe that anyone over 65 is in need of a Life-Alert connection (I've fallen and I can't get up!), can't type or spell; so offer basic senior plans of 200 anytime airtime minutes and 500 night/weekend airtime minutes per month. Sounds good at first. It's not that easy. And, don't forget the asterisk.

2. There's an 'activation fee' - a one-time charge of $36.00 ($35. for Verizon) and remember that asterisk...

3. Many of the phones listed as free or at low lost in the "discount deals" are embarrassing; including some that would rival a land line desktop phone of 20 years ago in size, boasting large numbers and letters and distinct chirps or beeps for the vision or hearing impaired. Not exactly fitting easily into that pocket or purse, if you get my drift.

Now to that asterisk.  The Contract: Yes, a binding contract = you are bound, the carrier is not.
This 2-year plan/contract MUST (no if, and, or but) include the following:
Minimum of 300 Mb Data. - $20.  monthly
Unlimited Messaging. - $20.  monthly.


Now, suddenly that $29.99 deal turns into a $70. contract after the initial cash layout of $106. with phone activation.  Some deal, huh?

I am going with Virgin Mobile's basic plan of $35. monthly which includes 300 airtime minutes, unlimited text and data - and NO contract. Seldom receive voice calls, but use lots of time messaging for work, and having the added advantage of unlimited access to the web, I think this is a step up from my current pre-paid service, Tracfone. While Tracfone has suited my needs over the last 8 years, it is time to go.

(The image above - click image to embiggen - is that of my new smartphone/android, the LG Optimus Elite that was delivered to the restaurant this afternoon - my day off.)

There are many ways we seniors pay more for less and this is a glaring example. Don't get me started on some of my other consumer pet peeves, 'cause we'd be here for a while.

Note:  I wanted to go with Credo because of their activism regarding the planet, equal rights, and support of the progressive agenda, but they don't even attempt to offer a plan for seniors. I am going with Virgin Mobile because of Sir Richard Branson's video PSA supporting marriage equality, as well as the signal strength of the 3G network here at the shore.

I hope to activate the new phone after work tomorrow evening and since it's a droid (smartphone) the learning curve may be a long, deep one. But I don't care. I am a captive audience and ready to learn.

OMG! A Kindle Fire and now, an Android!

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Hour at the Biergarten - Om-Pah-Pah!

It's been almost a week since this second Happy Hour with co-workers occurred, however busy-ness at work has kept me from putting down my thoughts of the event.  Yes, there are a few things to note:

1.  I knew little of the drama played out daily in the restaurant kitchen. Think "Faust" squared.  Learned more than I ever wanted (or needed) to know.  Sad.

2. I am more respected by the servers than I ever imagined. Some of the night crew are happy when they are scheduled to work a double shift and I am managing the front of the house for lunch that day.  They would never say anything for fear of being bumped from the schedule in the future.  No, I don't get it, either, but...I am Happy, indeed.

3. The appetizers here a the beirgarten are half the menu price for HH so we indulged in baked brie with currents and diced melon, fresh broccoli crowns dipped in melted jack cheese & garlic, and giant battered onion rings in a cool cream sauce that blew me away. Well, you know, Cajuns and onions, and all that!  It's true.

It was a good time and interesting for me as I get to know more about the people I work with and learn of their gifts and talents shared with us all. 

It was a cool, breezy evening and sitting outdoors was refreshing. We had 2 cocktails each and I was the odd man (?) out; only allowed to pay for the  appetizers...Next time, next time!

And so it goes...
*

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Mr. Chronicles Man!  And one of my fave Sci-Fi writers, though he really wasn't.  Remember Fahrenheit 451?  The Martian Chronicles was an early favourite, and the TV mini-series wasn't disappointing.  It also had a great cast.

From NPR - with links to audio interviews and more:
Ray Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, died Tuesday. He was 91. Bradbury was known for his futuristic tales — but he never used a computer, or even drove a car.
Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Ill., in 1920 and grew up during the Great Depression. He said it was a time when people couldn't imagine the future, and his active imagination made him stand out. He once told Fresh Air's Terry Gross about exaggerating basic childhood fears, like monsters at the top of the stairs.
"As soon as I looked up, there it was, and it was horrible," Bradbury remembers. "And I would scream and fall back down the stairs, and my mother and father would get up and sigh and say, 'Oh, my gosh, here we go again.' "
Bradbury dove into books as a child. Wild tales from authors Jules Verne and H.G. Wells captivated Bradbury — and made him dream of becoming a great author. So he started writing, churning out a short story every week during his teens. After his family moved to Southern California, he would escape to the basement of the UCLA library. There, he'd focus on his craft.
"For 10 cents a half-hour you could rent a typewriter," Bradbury recalled. "And I thought, my gosh, this is terrific! I can be here for a couple hours a day. It'll cost me 30, 40 cents, and I can get my work done."
Bradbury made his mark in the literary world with The Martian Chronicles, a collection of short stories released in 1950. During the height of the Red Scare, he set off a warning flare about censorship with his signature work, Fahrenheit 451 — and he did so in a controversial new magazine: Playboy. The story was later printed as a novel, and in 1966 director Francois Truffaut introduced movie audiences to this bizarre society Bradbury created: one in which firemen burned books to keep the masses completely ignorant but couldn't extinguish their curiosity.
"Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and starts to burn," explains firefighter Guy Montag.
Oscar-nominated director Frank Darabont wants to bring a new version of Fahrenheit 451 to the big screen. He was inspired by the outlaws in the book — the people who worked desperately to preserve literature and pass wisdom along to future generations. Darabont wants to do just that — deliver this author's lessons to today's youth.
"Bradbury takes us into a journey to the core of the human heart and glories in the potential of humankind," Darabont says. "That's a great message to get at a time in your life when you're looking around and seeing that the world kind of sucks."
The rest is HERE. Enjoy.

A little sadder tonight by his passing, but knowing that I can read his works again on my Kindle.

And so it goes.
*

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Twas Only a Matter of Time...

...before news of my Happy Hour adventure got around town. Well, as I've said many times over the years, this IS a small town. News (read that gossip) travels faster than the common cold!

Though this was to have been my day off, I was pressed into service, if only to open the door for employees and get the cash registers and computers ready for opening.  Linda, the GM had an important errand to run and couldn't be in 2 places at once.  Though I am sure I've seen her perform that trick at some point in the past.

As staff arrived, they confronted me with the "rumor" of last Friday's rendezvous and asked if it was true. Most know that I have been frugal over these past 4 years as I dug out of heavy debt, but had no idea that I now had a bit of cash in my pocket.  It was a very new thing to them.  They've never known me that way and I dare say, they probably had a difficult time visualizing me in such a situation.  (Sad that, isn't it?)

After affirming the obvious, there were those expressing interest in getting together for something similar in the near future.  I was a bit shaken at first.  I mean, I am old enough to be the father (or grandfather!) of these delightfully gentle people. I am not quite sure what it is that draws them to want to socialize with this venerable codger...but they do, for some reason.

I like these people, though I've had no social experience with them other than our annual Holiday Party.  So there's that.

Oddly enough, I have never connected with groups of gay men my age, and for whatever reasons, have not been able to adjust to their way of thinking.  Most of them are from an era (yes mine, too, but I was an activist while many of them were in hetero marriages) with a very different way of viewing life and how being openly gay terrified them at the time.  I have no such baggage and little patience for those who continue to carry the past around with them. They view me as an odd-ball, a curiosity, or threat, if they view me at all.

Anyway, tomorrow after my shift,  a server and a chef will take me in tow for high times at Happy Hour somewhere, though the venue has yet to be established by the chef.  It was all her idea; I'm going along for the ride.  It should be fun - and I am ready for some fun.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jubilee Queen: No Change for Ordinary Folks; Not Likely, Either.

This is anger-inducing because most of these "unpaid Stewards" were very likely to be huge supporters of the Royal Family, which makes this an even more heinous crime, at least to me. From the Guardian:
 Unemployed bussed in to river pageant coachloads of jobless people brought in to work unpaid on river pageant as part of Work Programme.

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.
Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government's Work Programme.
Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.
One young worker said she was on duty between London Bridge and Tower Bridge during the £12m river spectacle of a 1,000-boat flotilla and members of the Royal family sail by . She said that the security firm Close Protection UK, which won a stewarding contract for the jubilee events, gave her a plastic see-through poncho and a high-visibility jacket for protection against the rain.
Close Protection UK confirmed that it was using up to 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices, who were paid £2.80 an hour, for the three-day event in London. A spokesman said the unpaid work was a trial for paid roles at the Olympics, which it had also won a contract to staff. Unpaid staff were expected to work two days out of the three-day holiday.
The firm said it had spent considerable resources on training and equipment that stewards could keep and that the experience was voluntary and did not affect jobseekers keeping their benefits.
The woman said that people were picked up at Bristol at 11pm on Saturday and arrived in London at 3am on Sunday. "We all got off the coach and we were stranded on the side of the road for 20 minutes until they came back and told us all to follow them," she said. "We followed them under London Bridge and that's where they told us to camp out for the night … It was raining and freezing."
A 30-year-old steward told the Guardian that the conditions under the bridge were "cold and wet and we were told to get our head down [to sleep]". He said that it was impossible to pitch a tent because of the concrete floor.
The woman said they were woken at 5.30am and supplied with boots, combat trousers and polo shirts. She said: "They had told the ladies we were getting ready in a minibus around the corner and I went to the minibus and they had failed to open it so it was locked. I waited around to find someone to unlock it, and all of the other girls were coming down trying to get ready and no one was bothering to come down to unlock [it], so some of us, including me, were getting undressed in public in the freezing cold and rain." The men are understood to have changed under the bridge.
 The rest is here

It seems one loses dignity and is considered less than human, when unemployed, although the label given to these stewards in the story is not that of deadbeat, or smelly hippie, but "unemployed jobseekers"  and there is a big difference.  These people want to be productive members of their society, yet they are treated in this disrespectful manner.  Royalty however, could not be less interested, as usual.

And so it goes.
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Annual 5K, Breakfast, and so on...

Due to the euphoria-induced post regarding the "Happy Hour" experience, I neglected to mention that today was the 2nd. annual 5K Run sponsored by the restaurant. It's all for charity.

The Run steps off at 7:30am and is usually over within 45 minutes. I call it a quickie in rubbers, but what do I know. OK, that's the scenario and here's the dish.

In order to serve a post-event breakfast to 200+ maniacal running freaks, I had to be at the restaurant at 6:15 this morning. Turned on everything, made coffee for the kitchen staff who began arriving at 6:30. There were scrambled eggs, home fries, bagels, butter, cream cheese, hotdogs & buns to be prepared - two crates of bananas, and oranges to arrange for presentation, as well.

Everything was set up as a buffet. Three servers were on hand to serve coffee, juices, and soda, as well as perform cleanup. Free draft beer was available to adult runners after 9am. (State Law.)

Chaos was minimal, and as the runners departed full and loaded, (or fully loaded) we were able to open the front doors for fresh air.  I mean, have you ever been in an enclosed space with 200 sweaty runners before?  Uh huh, yes, think about it. Whew!

The kitchen retooled as the dining room morphed to it's usual layout so we could open to the public at 11am.  Everyone was tired, as if we had already worked a full shift, but there were 6 more hours to go for us lucky ones; 10 for those working a double shift.  Bless them!

I made it to 5:15pm, when my relief arrived and the dining room was beginning to fill with folks just coming off the beach. I wanted to head for home, but a few regular customers (the dears) snagged me, demanded that I have a cocktail and sit with them, so I did.  I must admit that I was anxious at first, but as we talked, and I sipped, the shoulders and neck relaxed and I enjoyed our time together.

Home now with a chicken breast broiling, green beans roasting, and about to pour a glass of wine to enjoy with supper.

Exhausted doesn't cover it, but since I don't have the energy to search for a better word, will have to do.

And so it goes.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bath-time Caturday

Wouldn't this be nice?

Brunch with rain in the forecast.  Ingredients for a potentially busy morning.

More later.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Hour: The 1st...

...Of many, I hope.

I suppose it's appropriate that I attended my first Happy Hour in 4+ years on the First of June.

On a whim I asked our Gen. Mgr (the wee Irish lass) if she would accompany an elder sage to the venue of her choice for his first experience with a bit of cash in the pocket. To my surprise, she said she'd be delighted to, and "when do we leave"?  My kind of gal, that.

She suggested a restaurant less than a block away, called The Pig & Fish**, which just so happens to be the place where an old friend recently became the Gen. Mgr. as well.  I asked if she knew him (he had been bar mgr. at the Purple Parrot for a decade) and a barman before that.  She didn't. I was thrilled she chose the place.

We didn't tell anyone what we were up to, which was the right thing to do. Her shift was over before mine, so she bolted out the door as if the place was on fire. Finished my own shift, passed along the reservation info for the evening to Sasha, thanked my day staff, and headed out the door.  No shift drink, I was heading to a new experience; meeting new people and old neighbors, too.

Linda was already at the bar when I arrived, and friend Will, came to the door to welcome me with a hug. We had only seen one another as he passed Dos Locos on his way to the Parrot, barely having time to chat, so this was a real joy.  He was beaming with pride, his staff seemed to love him as much as his customers and myself. I then introduced Will to Linda and they talked shop briefly before I broke it up. I am sure there will be many opportunities to chat about work, but AFTER the season, please!

It's Friday, a week after Memorial Day and the bar was fairly empty, but for a few faces recognized from around town. Parking myself next to Linda at the bar, I ordered a rum & coke while perusing the Happy Hour food menu. Great munchies to choose from: steamed mussels in a Tuscan sauce with prosciutto and dried tomatoes, fried green tomatoes topped with blue crab and a romoulade, bruschetta with lump crab, red onions, and mozzarella, to name a few.  We shared these three.  No need for supper tonight.

One of the bartenders is a classic film geek and a joy to talk with, Linda & I chatted about the Titanic museum in her hometown of Belfast (she plans to visit on her trip home this Fall), another guy at the bar and I shared our excitement with the Kindle and the conversations eventually went out in all directions from there.  It was delightful.  Everyone having a good time, enjoying good food & drink.

Both Linda and I have early work schedules tomorrow, so we tried to be good;  had only 2 drinks - and all that food - and promised to do this again sometime in the not-too-distant-future.  Like after that last payment to the Dentist in June. Wait! OMG, that's this month!  It's here! Final payment is due on June 8, 2012.

As the song goes, "it's not where you start, but where you finish!"

And so it goes.
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**Their logo: Eat Like a Pig & Drink Like a Fish.
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