So I woke up with this bitch in my bed. No, wait, it’s not what you think!
While I’ve been house-guesting at my brother’s place, the resident dogs have taken a liking to me, especially Crystal, the aforementioned lady pictured below:
So I crashed last night and neglected to shut he bedroom door. Well, guess who climbed into bed with me in the middle of the night?
I just hope she lets me sleep in …
I have the company of two funny dogs during the day while staying at my brother’s house. Scooter is a slightly skittish little guy who occasionally shakes like a Chihuahua with DTs. Though outweighed by a good 40 pounds, he is the alpha — though he only exerts his authority once in a while. Crystal is a big Teddy Bear of a pit bull who likes attention. Lots of attention. She’s a bit on the thick side, or as they say on Craigslist, she’s a BBG.
This is me sitting in a recliner.
Crystal: Move over. I’m coming up.
Crystal: Move over.
Me: No, sit.
Crystal: (climbing up) Here I come.
Me: Down! (Apparently she flunked obedience class, because she continues her unrelenting climb, and she’s strong as heck)
Crystal: I told you … (she climbs on my lap — resistance is futile)
Me: Jeez, you weigh a ton
Crystal: More to love, baby
Me: (Sigh) Good thing I don’t have to be anywhere for a while.
PC users know that control + alt + delete is the universal command to restart your computer. And now my life needs a restart.
Time to reboot. Control + Alt + Delete.
This has been a long time coming. After years of struggling, we’ve come to the point that we have to start over. A series of setbacks, mistakes and a bit of bad luck have brought me to this point.
My house is a perfect metaphor for my life: It’s slowly falling apart and in a few months, the house will be gone. I don’t expect my life to be “gone,” but it will soon be radically altered. Goodbye house, goodbye marriage. Hello, bankruptcy.
This didn’t happen overnight, and rebuilding a life doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens nonetheless.
After a pretty good run as an editor for Knight Ridder newspapers, things went south. Newspaper circulation and ad revenues declined dramatically in the 2000s, and many media outlets (not just newspapers — TV and radio too) were forced to make radical staffing cuts. And guess who found himself on the chopping block? That happened after Knight Ridder ceased to exist, the result of combined revenue loss, competition from Internet sites, and unrealistic profit demands from institutional stock holders. Really, maintain a 20 percent profit margin in 2006? McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder, then sold off the less “desirable” papers in the chain. So in the course of a couple of months, the Akron Beacon Journal changed hands twice. Enter the new owner, who saw the books and realized he’d paid too much. And you know what that means: Chop, chop, chop.
And so I bounced from assignment to assignment, with some occasional gaps in between, picking up anything I could find in a mostly crappy economy. Our finances suffered, saving was wiped out, and the marriage suffered. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that, but my wife was accustomed to a certain level of comfort — not extravagant, but solidly middle-class — and that existence evaporated. Poof! Gone. She blamed me for that.
It finally reached the point that she said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Can’t argue much with that. Quite simply, we have grown apart over the last few years. We don’t have fun together; we don’t do much of anything together except squabble.
So, control + alt + delete.
Then a funny thing happened recently: Saw an opening for a copy editing job in Elyria, not too far up the road. Yesterday was my first day on the job (Talk about burying the lead!). And at one moment last night, I thought to myself, “I am among my people.”
The reboot is happening.
Instead of Hoppin’ John or pork and dumplings, I took advantage of a great deal on beef tenderloin and made a kick-a$$ stir-fry. Mmm, mmm.
Yes, that is steam rising off the ol’ iron skillet.
It was a lovely, low-key Christmas this year. Nothing big. Coupla gag gifts, much goofing around.
This is my favorite Christmas ornament/figurine. It’s a simple wood carving, hand-painted. I like his quirky expression. It takes me back in time.
And so it goes, another chapter in the ongoing saga of my plumbing, um, issues. This time it’s a trifecta. Tub drain slow (again). Toilet leaking (again). Toilet lever busted (again). I don’t even use that bathroom! What’s up with that? Well, just to prove that I am a fairly handy guy, here is photographic evidence of some of my handiwork, with a bonus “ick” factor.
Gotta tweak the exposure. May have to actually open the owner’s manual.
It must be December. The first chili of the season, featuring chorizo, ground pork, ground beef and the usual suspects. Yeah, this photo isn’t the most flattering. We’ll have updates on how it turns out. I’m thinking the chorizo is gonna make this rock.
Also known as Thanksgiving leftovers. Why God gave us extra turkey and pumpkin pie.
The gang is (almost) all here.
Three generations. Yeehaw!
Gotta do something about the flash shadows. Perhaps bounce the flash? But that would require effort. And geometry.
Yes, the Snowpocalypse is upon us. Looks like about a millimeter of accumulation.
That’s all I’ve got to say about that
I’ve had a lot of fun jesting about the ebola virus mass hysteria ever since somebody came down with the frightening disease in the United States. I joked that I got ebola from pumpkin spice latte, and probably a half-dozen other suspicious parties. Until today. Suddenly the contagious disease has a local connection or two. And people are frightened.
So a healthcare worker who had contact with the ebola patient who died in Dallas visited family this week in Tallmadge, Ohio (an Akron ‘burb), including some who work at Kent State University. She was diagnosed with ebola after she returned to Dallas via a plane that flew out of Cleveland. The CDC says she had no symptoms while on that flight or while visiting in NE Ohio. BUT, given the CDC’s recent performance in dealing with the ebola scare, it has a bit of a credibility problem. Was she really asymptomatic, does ebola really only transmit via bodily fluids, is it only contagious after symptoms begin to show?
Suddenly folks in Akron and Tallmadge and Kent State and anyone at Cleveland Hopkins Airport are worried about being exposed to this super-scary virus.
OK, to sum up:
One person has died from ebola in the United States. Thousands have reportedly died in continental Africa during the recent outbreak and it is not showing signs of slowing down. The CDC says the virus is only contagious via direct exposure to bodily fluids of an infected patient and that the U.S. healthcare system is vastly better prepared to contain any outbreak than the Third World is.
BUT (You saw this coming, right?):
What if the ebola virus mutates? What if we don’t really know all there is to know about this bug? I mean, ebola is a relatively new phenomenon, unlike smallpox or chickenpox or measles or the flu or the common cold. Or even AIDS. Many of these viruses can be transmitted through the air or surface contact. And many of these can be transmitted before any symptoms begin to show.
This is direct from the CDC website:
“A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs.”
So what happens if ebola mutates to the point that it is transmissible 1 to 2 days before symptoms begin to show? What if it can be transmitted via a sneeze or a doorknob?
Well, then we might have cause for mass hysteria.
Those of us around in the mid-1980s and early ’90s remember the AIDS scare. At that time getting HIV/AIDS was a guaranteed death sentence. People feared it was transmissible through mosquito bites (it’s not) or kissing or simply shaking hands (not and not). Medical research improved after a few years, drugs to combat the virus became more effective and prevention of the spread of the disease got better. But in the meantime, a lot of people died. I lost several friends.
It’s still pretty early in this saga to suggest this is the next bubonic plague or one of the flu epidemics that killed millions of people in past outbreaks.
And as many pundits have correctly pointed out, thousands of people die each year from the flu and car accidents, cancer, heart disease and so forth. Yet these deadly afflictions don’t trigger mass panic.
A year from now, this could turn out to be meh, whatever.
Oh, and I just learned I got ebola from a squirrel in my yard. Little bastard!
Today’s colors weren’t quite the grandiose colors I’d hoped for, but you could find colors in the smaller picture. Behold:
I know, October is an odd time to stage the year’s maiden voyage on the bike, but circumstances (and laziness) kept me off the trail this spring and summer. This trip revealed just how out of shape I am. No surprise here. But I survived, got some pix via the Droid mini (as usual, regret not lugging the DSLR along), and got home without having a heart attack. Took a shortcut through Silver Lake to the Bike and Hike Trail along the Mighty Cuyahoga River, took a swing through Water Works Park and huffed my way home. Here is the evidence:
It had been so long since I’d been on the ol’ two-wheeler that its tires were completely flat. Not just a little low on air. Flat. But after applying some air and lubricant, both bike and rider were able to shake off the rust. It wasn’t pretty, though. According to Google Maps, it’s roughly a 5-mile round trip. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but hey! It’s a start.
I’ve noticed some pretty spectacular photos of fall colors popping up on the Intertubes lately, so I thought I’d see what there is to see locally. Stopped at a nearby spot, the High Glens Bridge over the mighty Cuyahoga River, which usually doesn’t disappoint. Well, today was a bit different. There were some bright colors to be found, but clearly we’re a week or so away from peak falls colors here. Maybe if I stray a little further from home I’ll find some better stuff. Meanwhile, some of today’s highlights with minimal editing, mostly for exposure or color correction:
So I had the eggs and the food coloring. But the ham was not to be found in the pantry or the fridge. So we’ll make do with taters. Which, it turns out, do just fine, thankyouverymuch. With all due apologies to Dr. Seuss …
Meanwhile, an eaves-dropping (literally, it dropped from the eaves) spider spied on my culinary misadventures …
One of the more famous lines from Braveheart comes when the nefarious King Edward the Longshanks quips, “The trouble with Scotland is it’s full of Scots.”
Which could explain why after 300 years of a United Kingdom, Scotland’s voters stand on the brink of voting to leave the union. I make no claim to being an expert on what goes on in the UK, but the desire among Scots to stand on their own has waxed and waned over the centuries and in recent years reached a bit of a fever pitch. Call it the Braveheart Syndrome. Of course, the movie embellishes just a bit on what actually happened, but the events depicted in the movie are “based on a true story.”
I have a bit of Scottish lineage, although I can’t say that tomorrow’s vote is likely to have a profound effect on my life. It could change things dramatically across the pond. Check out the NYT Q&A.
That image to the left is supposedly of the McAdams clan tartan. Apparently most clans have more than one tartan, each serving various purposes. I’ve never seen an actual family heirloom, which probably no longer exists, at least not one from my ancestors. And, truthfully, I’m about as Scottish as Montgomery Scott. Beam me up!
Still, it’s interesting to wonder if I were a lad from Glasgow or Edinburgh, what would I think of all this? Would I be all puffed up with nationalist pride, or would I be more worried about being isolated from the larger UK and the potential economic perils? What if Scotland is forced to stop using the Pound as its official currency?
Going off on a side note, I still get a chuckle thinking about Mike Myers’ SNL skits set in a shop of All Things Scottish. “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!” And perhaps my favorite is when he gets irate at a tourist’s ignorance, confusing Scotland and Ireland. “There’s Ireland, there’s Scotland, there’s the bloody sea. They’re bloody different!”
“Now get out!”
So what’s my point here? Eh, maybe I don’t have one.
Didn’t feel like firing up the grill, so I took the lazy man’s way out and fired up the oven. Cruised the WebOMatic and found a pretty decent recipe … here . I stayed pretty true to the dry rub recipe, but lacking a barbecue sauce, I subbed teriyaki to throw in a little Asian flavor. Not too shabby! Not sure how well it would go over in Kansas City or anywhere in the Carolinas, but a nice wrinkle on your basic ribs with a dry rub and a few generous coatings of sauce.
That is all. Next time I’ll throw in some mac and cheese and collard greens. Or the Korean equivalent.
Had a few minutes before the company party I catered Saturday to take some pix at the Akron Zoo. Alas, I didn’t have time to see the tigers or snow leopards or other exotic wild(caged)life. Maybe I’ll get another chance.
Apparently Rockin’ on the River will not return to the Falls amphitheater next year. New mayor, new regime, new directions. Last night’s show leaves only two Rockin’ on the River events to go this year. Behold some of the sights from Friday night:
And to drag out that tired cliche, a good time was had by all.