September 30, 2011

Coming into JFK, dodging cloud bumps

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Long lines, tight security at Syracuse airport

SYRACUSE, New York, USA - The security lines were long - and the machines tweaked really tight - at the airport here today.

But sitting at the gate, I just learned that this same flight was canceled yesterday...

Here's a shot of the security line taken with the iPad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Now that the photo function works, it's back to work

SYRACUSE, New York, USA - It only took a half hour or so to get the photo system sort of working, but now we'll see how much horsepower this little app I downloaded has.

In the last entry, I posted a pix of granddaughter Kami from late August.

The next hurdle is to be able to grab a photo from Flickr, where I store most of my important shots.

Hmm... this is going to take a lot more investigation. In the meantime, here is granddaughter Sami at bat last weekend.

Test of new photo software

I discovered a new (to me) app that should make it possible to post blogs and photos easily...


We'll see.

Wow there she is... Fabulous!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

September 27, 2011

Test of the iPad to do some blogging

SACRAMENTO AIRPORT, Sacramento, Calif., USA - Sitting in the Sacramento Airport, I'm giving the IPad its first real test of mobile blogging. Actually, it is just the first test of blogging, period. So, I might as well throw in a photo of my granddaughter Kami... Ok, the system is pretty balky... Let's see if the text goes up...

September 24, 2011

Sometimes just a simple sign can say it all

SACRAMENTO, California, USA - This sign popped up on Facebook today and I thought it was worth passing along.

Kind of says it all, si?

September 20, 2011

A scary moment - university retirement almost delayed for a year

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - For a moment Monday, it appeared the Admiral and I were on a collision course with yet another fall semester of teaching - but next year.

The University published a list of retirees and people like us who were done with their five years of the faculty early retirement program (aka FERP). But our names were not on this list.

Jaysus... that mean we could teach another semester?
Had my math failed us?

Given my history with math in years past, it was possible, so I contacted the appropriate authorities on campus who assured me in the strongest terms that our teaching is over this December. Over, finished, done, terminated, nevermore quoth the vice president in charge of such things.

Though another semester of cashing full salary paychecks would have been nice, Adm. Fox and I both have way too many other things going on to take four months next year to thump on undergraduate heads.

And, our knuckles are too sore after 25+ years of teaching.

I suppose instead of writing this, I should be grading the student work on my desk which in only four weeks has grown from a stack to a hillock to a hill to a mountain to a fire hazard.

Naw, I'm retiring.

September 16, 2011

Semester's end is in sight, and so is New York and Mexico

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Three weeks into the semester the end is already in sight in early December. About 100 students in my four classes are already counting the days until I stop thumping on their undergraduate heads.

So am I.

In the midst of all this, I have continued to pump out my weekly column for the Finger Lakes Times, the high point of my week, really. My column-writing students - whether they appreciate it or not - have been helping me brainstorm with column ideas. They have their own colums to write, so it only seems fair to have them help me, too.

In about a week, I will wing my way via Jet Blue to New York to attend a public hearing on a proposal to build a propane storage facility on the shores of Seneca Lake three miles from my new house in Watkins Glen. The idea is about as bright as the notion of building nuclear power plants on the shore of Japan. (Whoops! They did that, didn't they.)

I will be going as a journalist/observer but perhaps as a participant. This project is so dangerous, so out of whack with sanity with what Seneca Lake has become as a tourist destination, I might have to come out from behind my journalist's shield to speak against it. Greedy idiots don't care what damage it does, as long as their corporation makes profits for its shareholders and the officers of the corporation get their multi-million dollar bonus checks each year.

Brine pond
In addition to storing millions of gallons of propane in salt caverns (risky business at best, industry experts say) the Kansas City, Missouri company wants to build a 91-million gallon uncovered salt brine pond as part of the entire industrial project on the side of a hill, perched over the lake. Jaysus! If that salt water gets loose and lands in the lake, Watkins Glen can kiss its water supply goodbye for months - maybe more... And will it get loose? Well, in the last few weeks the area has had an earthquake and then brushed by a hurricane.

Need I say more?

After NY, it's back to the classroom until Adm. Fox and I got to Mexico for a short hiatus. She and a Seneca Lake amiga Barb Cook will be going down to help with a spay and neuter clinic. Barb and Sylvia will be doing the medical work, my job is to shoot film for a video about the experience with the working title: Salty Dogs in Mexico.

Or maybe we can just call it Woofing Below the Border.

September 8, 2011

Floods in New York, damn hot in Sacramento, cool in classrooms

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - In Sacramento, except for the damnably hot afternoons, the weather is barely a factor in life.

Quite a change from New York. There, you could walk outside in bright sunshine and get splattered with rain before you got your car door open. It happens.

Schenectady is under water
And right now, upstate New York is experiencing wild flooding, apparently from the tail end of yet another hurricane passing by.

Two hurricanes in, oh, a couple of weeks? And others forming out in the Atlantic. No climate change going on at all. Zip.

In the meantime, Adm. Fox and I plug along at our classes with one hand, the other working on getting staged to pull out of California (as legal residents) in December. It's weird making all these arrangements to change health care around, move cars, pack up offices we've had for 20+ years. Weird doesn't really cover it though, I think.

My students are getting an interesting ride this fall, as my patience is, well, maybe a little thinner than normal when it comes to putting up with the B.S. One student skipped the first night session of magazine writing and had the gall yesterday to be upset that I dropped him from the course. There were four people waiting for his seat that first night.

Ironically, I added all four  of those students and said, "What the hell, it's my last semester. Hang on tight, amigos."

Tonight it's off to Elk Grove for dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Chief Engineer Scott Noble and Counselor Jen Noble - part of a program to get in culinary shape for our return to Arroyo Seco.

Training can be soooooo hard.

Restaurant Las Brisas in Arroyo Seco

September 4, 2011

7 a.m. writing deadlines are for people who are awake at 7 a.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Adm. Fox and I rolled in about midnight last night after three hours of a Taylor Swift concert-extravaganza at Power Balance Pavilion, just north of our temporary digs with amigos Pam and Steve near CSU, Sacramento.

Our earplugs served us well - not because the music was too loud, but because the screaming of the teenage girls, their moms, and more than a scattering of younger sisters was constant and way above OSHA-approved levels for potential ear damage.

Taylor Swift
(You're thinking, what an old fart! Guilty as charged.)

We were on assignment for The Sacramento Bee newspaper to do a review of Swift's 'Speak Now Tour 2011'. But the kicker for this was that the editor needed it turned around and back to her by 7 a.m. (As I write this, it is 6:50 and Adm. Fox is taking her sharp-edged editing hula hoe to my draft before I send it in to the editor who will do likewise.)

The show was more Broadway production than concert, with dancing, acrobatics, Taylor Swift popping up from under the stage and booming fireworks that caught me by surprise twice. The first time the sparks coming down from the rafters and up from the stage, had me searching for the nearest exit instead of focusing on the almost-too-beautiful Taylor.

No, she is too beautiful.

Our seats were great - always a nice spiff when you are a member of the press - but we were also close to the two Jumbotron screens which showed her in excruciatingly close detail through the whole show.

Prior to the concert, I researched this young sensation, whose music hasn't resonated much with me (not surprising there), but I hadn't realized how quickly she had risen and how high. I have to keep up better with pop culture.

Oops, Adm. Fox has returned my review and it's time (past time actually) to dispatch it to the editor.

And another cup of double-strength Earl Grey tea is in order asap, too.

And here is a link to the review in The Bee: Taylor Swift on stage
Taylor Swift floats over the audience in her finale 'Love Song' (foto by Adm. Fox)