I am not an old man. I still consider myself a young man. I don't feel young in my bones, in the mornings, when I wake up and creak out of bed. But I feel young in the mind. In the spirit. I do young things. And I grant there might be some merit to the argument that cause becomes effect. Maybe doing young things makes one feel young. Maybe it's the other way around. All I know is that I didn't take the adult pill when I was twenty-three, driving off the Air Force Base with all my personal belongings stuffed in the trunk and backseat of my Cavalier. I grew up, sure. And now I had a job as a Software Engineer at a corporate web-hosting company. That's not a child's job. And I didn't make a child's wage. But in my head, I just chose to take…
Dear Adobe – and mainly you, Acrobat Reader. Listen here, bub. Your delusions of grandeur have escalated to a whole new level. Well, I guess they did a long time ago. They’ve been at this level for quite some time. But it’s not funny anymore. It used to be kind of cute how you’d show up at the party with the bigger boys acting like you’re one of them. Like you’re the really cool cop who brought the donuts to the Saturday Morning Citation Plus Club meeting. We all used to kind of watch you as you entered and we’d smile and say, “Isn’t that cute?” and “Yeah. Thinks he’s a big boy.”
You are like the high school kid who shows up to a frat party with your older sister and tries to hang with the college kids. The kid who must be reminded that he’s still just a high-schooler, and he shouldn’t try to act so cool while he’s at the party. You can’t drink as much as the big kids, you don’t know the secret handshake, and – no matter what you say – no. You have not been laid near as much as the college kids.
My red-haired wife and our friends and do a lot of sitting on the driveway. Just about every night, and certainly every weekend. We sit out there drinking Cold Ones and starting at the lake, telling stories, playing guitars, Danae and I singing together, smoking cigars, skinning catfish – whatever. The point being we’re always out there, and the easiest way to accommodate all this madness is fold-up chairs. These things are pretty comfortable, and they’re great for space-saving when you’re done with them. They fold up and stand in the corner of the garage. The problem is, they don’t last very long.
Well, this black chair has one more problem in particular. It’s the top-dollar version of the chair. It used to have a footrest and all that, which is another bad design in and of itself. But today we’re going to talk about the cupholder. Have a looksee.
I’ve been thinking a lot about tree houses lately. I’m not sure why this is. But Stavi and I have been sitting out on the driveway drinking beer and looking up at my massive trees in my front yard, and it has come to our attention that those are some damn fine tree house trees. I’ve been thinking, therefore, that maybe we should construct a tree house up in one of them there trees.
I’ve long been obsessed with awesome tree houses, and used to try to build them all the time when I was a kid. I was also always jealous of those friends of mine who had really nice ones. My Pop built me a helluvatuff fort when I was a kid. My sister and I had our own two-storey house in the backyard. But it wasn’t a tree house. There’s just a difference. Maybe a tree house can be hidden in the trees. Heck, I even wrote a poem about a tree house when I was younger. Don’t hate.
Well, we made it back. Sigh. I have to take a few deep breaths. Seriously. A week on the beach is hard work. Another deep breath. I’m going to convince you that it’s hard work, and then you’ll see why I’m taking so many deep breaths. Breathe. And then maybe you’ll also see why I am so happy to be home, while at the same time looking forward to going again next year. Deep breath. It’s very hard work. And I didn’t even take my laptop this year!
Historically, I have traveled with only the bare necessities when it comes to technology and electronics. For instance, my laptop backpack would have in it only the things I needed for the week: computer, netbook, tablet, SD card case with several spare SD cards, an SD card reader (or two), two of every kind of cable I might possibly need, spare styli, a couple of blank CDs, a USB light, screen wipes, my 3G hotspot and every possible dongle, cable and connection I might ever need or want to plug into my computer while I’m there. Seriously, what happens if I take a bunch of pictures on my D-SLR and didn’t bring a card reader to transfer them to the computer, and I lose the camera? Well, simply put, I lose the pictures.
We got up at 3:45 yesterday morning. That’s not the impressive part though. We had gone to bed at close to midnight the night before, and then lay mostly awake through those very few hours trying to sleep through the sound of the dog clock in the neighbor’s yard. This dog literally barked once per second for over an hour. A true canus tempus. I wanted to kill him in the face. But we were energized by vacationalistic excitement, and thus were able to get up with no problems. Then I set about to making Bloody Marys for all of the day’s travelers. Well, except for the kids, of course. Duh. They drink whiskey sours.
By 5:15 we were on the shuttle (all seven of us) heading for the airport. At the end of the three-hour flight, the stewardess announced congratulations for Bret and Danae who are getting married on the beach. I know. Copycats, right? They’re even getting married on the same slice of beach as we did nearly four years ago. Major rolleyes. But then the flight attendant had us do the wave. Very nice.
My red-haired wife and I spent the last weekend in San Antonio (or as my daughter says, “Sanny Tonio”) at the ISTE conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a conference for the International Society for Technology in Education. And as you all know, my red-haired wife and I both work for an EdTech company. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know what the ISTE was. Neither did I, until I found myself working it.
Since I started working in Design, I’ve found myself in a lot of situations like this. Travel situations, that is. Design has already sent me to New York and Minnesota. And there’s a lot more to come. My boss and I were running the Lounge section of our booth, where we were demoing our new dashboard we’ve been designing. There were several other sections of our booth where other products were being shown, and my red-haired wife was working the welcome desk, as seen in the picture below. So let me tell you about this conference center.
Beer of the what? Seriously? Beer of the Month Club? How have I not heard of this before now? Actually maybe I had but I didn’t know what it meant. Or maybe I thought you had to go to a bar to get them. Either way, what I do know is that my ridiculously awesome and hot red-haired wife joined the Beer of the Month Club in my name for Father’s Day. Now there’s a wife who cares!
The idea of this is extremely attractive to me. So if you haven’t heard of it, you get your red-haired wife to join you up, and she can pick monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly delivery. It’s pretty expensive. If you sign up for monthly for a year, it’s upwards of $450 bucks. It ain’t cheap. But you can find coupons and save yourself a little cash on shipping and whatnot. So then they just pick two microbreweries per month and send you two varieties (three bottles) from each, for a total of four unique beers that you have probably never heard of. What’s not to love?
What I didn’t consider when I wrote volume two was that it was Memorial Day. I mean, of course I knew it was Memorial Day. But I hadn’t considered that the breweries would be closed. So in short, what this meant was that we could take our time getting to Portland. There was no need to rush to make sure we had plenty of daylight left to hit as many brewhouses as we could. And you know, that worked out after all, because we were able to have a nice leisurely drive back. What should have taken three hours took almost six. And it was completely cool.
Cadillac Mountain was very nice. Gorgeous views. It was a little cold up there, but we had a great experience. Then we sat at Jordan Pond and had a brunch of popovers and lobster rolls with coffee. One of the most excellent brunch experiences of my life, right there. Completely worth the drive, friends. The wind was cool and fresh off the lake, as we sat outside at a picnic table staring out over the water while we ate. So beautiful.
These popovers are apparently the latest craze up there. The bake a muffin until it gets huge and just sort of explodes. So it’s a gigantic muffin that’s hollow on the inside. You put butter and jam on it, and – well, let me back up. You know those spherical scoops of butter they give you in breakfast diners? Yeah, I took that whole thing, sliced a hole in the pop and stuffed the entire butter sphere in it. Then poured the entire cup of jam inside, and sort of mashed it all around. Dear sweet WOW.
We ran into a couple of hikers the other night, and hung out at the Dog & Pony with them, then ended the night at Leary’s Landing (the Irish Pub) listening to a guy play the guitar and sing songs we all know. Well, we helped him out a little bit. And being at the table closest to him, I asked him if he knew certain artists occasionally. “Do you know any Bette Midler?” I would say, for instance. Or, “Hey, can you play any Barry Manilow? Air Supply?” Unfortunately, he was more of a modern rock guy. It was fun.
The church we attended Sunday morning was very old-fashioned. It reminds me of my childhood. The same tired old songs from the hymnals, the same tired old sermons repeated every Sunday from the same tired old preacher. He was actually reading his notes the entire time. Not very dramatic. He’s no Chris Seidman, I said. But it was good. It was nice to stop down and be reminded of why we’re here in the first place. Spending a little time in worship was pleasant before we hit the streets and bars again. Which we did in short order. The Seaside Grill serves an awful Bloody Mary, by the way (though their haddock popkin is pretty remarkable).