Friday, July 08, 2005

The Fat Man Walking

Steve Vaught, The Fat Man Walking I am in awe of this guy. The Washington Post ran a story today about Steve Vaught, a 400-lb man who simply got up one morning and decided he was going to walk across the country. He started near his home in San Diego about 13 weeks ago, and is currently crossing through the Arizona desert, roughly following the old Route 66. His original plan would have put him in Missouri by now, but he continues to make good progress and has already dropped 50 pounds.

Steve and his wife April are chronicling his journey on a website,

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Originally uploaded by D-.
Awoke to find a smashed window on my truck. Turns out the same person apparently hit 9 other cars in the neighborhood early this morning. In my case, as near as I can tell the only thing missing is change from the ashtray. What a pain.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Life before google...

...must have been unbearable, because if you got home and found one of these
house centipede

sitting on your dining room wall, you might have no way to find out that it is a House Centipede (known aliases Scutigerida Scutigeridiae and "big scary bug with lots of legs) and furthermore that said bugs are supposedly beneficial because they eat other less agreeable bugs like spiders, termites, cockroaches and silverfish. Which is not to say I'm happy to see such a creature on my wall. But thanks to modern technology I at least know what this two-inch bundle of legs and feelers is actually up to.

(Note that I snagged the above photo from the Wikipedia article. I tried to take my own, but while I was focusing the resident feline batted the bug off the wall and proceeded to chase it around the kitchen. It was last seen heading for sanctuary under the stove.)

Another sign from the gods?

My sleep cycle is all out of whack right now, and I stayed up late working on some stuff for work. I then went to bed to try to get in four hours of sleep before my 8:30 conference call. Unfortunately, though, I had trouble getting to sleep. After tossing and turning for about an hour, I glanced out the window and realized that the sun was coming up. Since I wasn't getting anywhere on the sleeping thing, I decided to go for a walk. I pulled ou sweats, grabbed the iPod, and headed up the street in the general direction of Lockeland Springs. I'd gone about a mile when, all of a sudden, the heavens opened and it began pouring rain. I turned around and started heading back, but by the time I got to the house I was sporting the drowned rat look. (On the bright side, I got to see the sun coming up, which isn't something I do on my normal schedule.) Now I'm trying to decide if I should go back to sleep for a while or just power through the day and go to bed early tonight. Hmm.

Independence Day. Whee.

Nashville Fireworks 2005Usually I take the opportunity to escape Nashville for Independence Day. For the last three years (2004, 2003, and 2002) I've headed home to DC, which of course is a good place to be for patriotic-type activities. The year before that my two brothers came to Nashville for the 4th, and the year before that I went to Boston. In fact, except for when my brothers came, I've only stayed in Nashville for the 4th one time since I got here -- and that was the month after I arrived when I was sleeping on a mattress in an empty apartment due to extreme poverty.

Last week a bunch of my friends decided to meet up in Boston again this year, and I was really hoping to find a cheap flight and make it up there. But the good flights were booked solid, and I would have ended up spending over $500, which seemed silly since I'll be moving there full time in six months. I then considered going to DC again, but even those flights were approaching $300. Plus I was just there a month or so ago and my Mom's coming down here in a week. So given that I'm supposed to be saving for my future life as a starving student, it didn't seem like a good use of funds.

Nashville Fireworks 2005As a result of all this, I was in a pretty "bah humbug" mood about the whole holiday, and spend most of today knocking around the house and telecommuting to get some stuff done for work. Around 9:00, after watching a bit of the riverfront festivities TV, I finally got into the spirit of things. So I grabbed my camera (and new wide-angle lens) and walked down to the river for the fireworks. My original master plan had been to climb up on one of the bridges to watch the show, but the cops had closed them down for the duration. (They had two mounties guarding the entrance to the pedestrian bridge, and based on the accumulation of, er, horse leavings, I'd say they'd had it closed for a while.)

So instead I scrambled around trying to find a place in the coliseum parking lot that still had a photogenic view. But pretty much everywhere I could find was obstructed by a tree or light post. Furthermore, I was too lazy to lug my tripod with me, which I've decided is really a required item for shooting fireworks. So most of the photos were so-so, but the show was still pretty good.

Walked back to the house, dodging homebrew firework displays all the way. Fireworks are supposedly illegal in the city, but you couldn't go 10 feet without a few going off. Growing up in Takoma Park, the cops pretty much had a zero-tolerance policy for fireworks, but I guess the big city police in Nashville have better things to do with their time. While I'm sure people are probably putting their eyes out right and left, it's still pretty fun to walk around amidst the constant noise and sparkle of firecrackers and sparklers.

When I got back home I grabbed a pile of bills and set to work paying them, at which point I discovered the insurance mess described below. So that pretty much got me back to my original state of bah-humbugginess.

In other news this weekend, I went to a wierd Argentine movie by myself on Saturday. (I'm still not really able to keep up when they speak, but at least I recognize a lot of words as they go by.) Then I grabbed groceries at the nice but overpriced Harris Teeter in Hillsboro Village, and ran to the gym for a quick workout.

On Sunday did some stuff for work, and then went out to dinner at Basante's with a friend. After dinner we headed over to the electric whorehouse and saw War of the Worlds. Measured against your typical summer action/sci-fi blockbuster flick, it was pretty good. (Although I hate the idea that I'm helping Tom Cruise maintain the standard of loopiness to which he has become accustomed.)

Tomorrow I have my customary 8:30 AM Tuesday conference call, followed by a day of mindnumbing tedium. Yum.

Fast times

It was bound to happen, I guess. The insurance company apparently noticed the whopper of a speeding ticket I got last summer in Oregon, and my insurance premiums are going up by about $216/year. I'm sure they have facts and figures to back up their assertion that people caught speeding are inherently unsafe. But since I've never had an automobile accident in my life it's still a bit frustrating. The only insurance claim I've ever made came from someone trying to break into the car while it was parked on the street.

I'm wondering if this is like the points on my license, where my rates will go down again after I go without a ticket for a certain period of time.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Showing my age

I'm still not entirely comfortable in a world where everyone has caller ID. From preschool onward, I was taught that one begins a phone call by saying something like "Hi. Is this Jane? Hi, Jane, this is John."

So whenever someone picks up the phone and says, right off the bat, "Hi, John," I have a wierd moment of cognitive dissonance. My brain just can't grok that I should begin the phone conversation without identifying myself. So about half the time I end up identifying myself anyway, which sounds kind of silly, and the other half of the time there's an awkward pause while I mentally regroup. I imagine that kids growing up today will think nothing of being identified solely by caller ID. Personally, though, I long for a simpler time when phone calls still had an aura of mystery about them.

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