Thursday, February 26, 2009


Since September of last year, I've spent 20 nights in hotel rooms, amassed 2400 frequent flier miles, 5000 Star Points, along with an assortment of other "club" points that I can't keep track of, and even -- much to my surprise -- had my jewelry returned to me after forgetting to pack it during one hotel stay.

It's good to be back home.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More road tripping

Instead of driving down memory lane, today is a travel day for real. Destination: Greensboro, NC - only about a 2-hour drive from the office. I'll be ensconced in the convention center there for a conference until Saturday. I am excited. But only because I get a room to myself this time!

Nevertheless, I usually don't sleep well when traveling, so readers may have some insomniac posts to look forward to.

As it so happens, I do have a "connection" with VW busses like the one pictured here. Among my dad's many trades, he was a musician as well, and needed a substantial vehicle to transport his instruments and equipment to gigs. After one late-night encounter with a utility pole, however, the VW bus was out of service and Dad, also being an engineer, managed to recruit much smaller vehicles - even my mom's VW beetle! - to carry his gear.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thematically consistent

...with the previous two posts, here is a picture my dad took of my mom when they were dating. The photo is stamped February '59, and if I drove around long enough in York County, Pennsylvania, I could probably figure out exactly where the shot was taken.

Jadedj will now be truly sorry he ever doubted the sexiness of Italian vs. British sports cars. (But no comments about my momma.)

This photograph, along with several dozen others, was recently sent over by my grandmother in Norway. Included are a number of old photos of my dad and his brothers when they were very, very young, taken in the mid- to late-1930s. My grandmother must have treasured those photos very much for them to have survived all the miles, all the years (grabbing hankie...*sniffle*).

I especially like the photos of my mom & dad together; there is one of them cutting their wedding cake, and another of the two of them talking at a party wherein Dad looks completely besotten. I am pretty sure he was the more romantic of the two.

Anyway, fast-forward to 1962 or thereabouts, and you can see me with my first set of wheels:

Monday, February 16, 2009

If it's racy pictures you want . . .

C'mon . . . aren't those some great curves? They sure don't make race cars -- or race car drivers -- like they used to. I'm feeling awfully old after looking at the top 5 drivers in yesterday's Daytona 500 and not recognizing a single name among them. Then again, I haven't watched much NASCAR since The King retired.

I have racing blood in my family. My grandfather drove a car similar to the one pictured; at one time his street car was a red Ferrari that I can just vaguely remember. I think I remember its roar more than how it looked.

When I was in 6th grade I toyed with the idea of pursuing a career in auto racing, myself. This was back even before Janet Guthrie became famous behind the wheel.

Ever the practical child, I came to realize that I probably would not be able to afford the necessary insurance if I chose a racing career. Nevertheless, I grew up around sports/sporty cars, and I'm pretty certain that if I were ever one of those people who has more money than they need, I would also be one of those people with more cars than they need.

In fact, there's a 280Z for sale down the street that I'm itching to look at . . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Every picture tells a story:

After our father's death, my sister and I faced the task of sorting through his belongings – as best we could. During his last few years, Daddy's packrat tendencies became a full-blown compulsion, and there was literally a single path coursing through knee-high (or higher) stacks of . . . stuff . . . in his house.

The kitchen countertop was piled about a foot high with years' worth of mail and other papers that you could tell were important to him, somehow. While sorting through this mess, I came across a black-and-white photo of an animal skeleton partially embedded in dirt. There was no writing on the back, but since the photo was in amongst some correspondence and cards from family in Norway, I guessed that perhaps some interesting paleontological find had been unearthed in the homeland, and sat the photo aside to ask my uncle about it.

I was quite off base with my guess. The true story was that one of my father's beloved cats had gone missing – for quite some time. Eventually the poor thing was discovered, in skeletal form, in the basement – and my dad took its picture, as a memento. Thus a hard-learned lesson about the dangers of romanticizing the unknown.

(In case you're wondering how a dead cat could go undetected for a lengthy period of time, my father's sense of smell was ruined during the course of too many youthful chemistry experiments.)

The picture below tells a different story. That's my father on the far right, with his 3 brothers and my grandmother. It was taken on the family farm in Trondheim, Norway, probably just before my father left for America, circa 1953.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I don't mind if it rains or freezes

I decided I'd better post something today, or else risk forgetting my blogger password. The week has been rather uneventful; nevertheless there was sufficient meterological excitement to make my day-to-day schedule a bit...unscheduled.

I took advantage of some down time to catch up on a few matters of personal import. I switched my auto insurance (back) to GEICO this week, after receiving my renewal notice from the insurer formerly known as AIG -- now they are calling themselves "21st Century Insurance."Apparently the bailout money AIG received is being directed at printing up stationery and signage with the new name, and not toward maintaining lower premiums for their customers. Their bad.

I am glad to be reunited with the little GEICO gecko. If my good driving record prevails, I'll be paying almost $400 less a year in premiums. This year, at least.

The intellihome also switched from cable TV to Dish, after yet another rate increase by Charter Communications. I need to figure out how these companies do it -- I'd like to be getting 30% more money than I was two years ago, too!

The past week also marked my practice of not watching the Super Bowl. I have a real problem with the bucketloads of money spent on these spectacles, and so I went instead to see the flick "Slumdog Millionaire." I have to agree with Jon Stewart's assessment - it was indeed "the most depressing feel-good movie" I've ever seen. No spoilers here -- but it's a worthwhile two hours of your time. Maybe it should be required viewing for anybody who's lost their job as a result of the economic downturn -- "You think you've got problems? Try being a chai walla in Mumbai for a day..."

So, yeah, I guess I do feel pretty lucky - I have a warm home to retreat to when the weather turns sucky, 250 channels of satellite entertainment to distract me, and an extra few dollars with which to purchase a dashboard Buddha, and try and keep on the sunny side of Karma.