Thursday, May 27, 2010

Final 50 Wrap!

My big day ended in spectacular fashion. Marlene and the kids took me out to dinner, and we were joined by 5 of my closest friends. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We enjoyed a long, sumptuous dinner, cake and conversation. When we returned home, it was present time. I got a number of nice gadgets and things. The best was saved for last, though.

Shown here is my new Fender Vintage '60s Reissue Stratocaster, complete with tweed case and strap. WOW! I haven't had a chance to plug it in yet, but I just might. It's 1 AM but my amp is over in the office, above the garage and a separate building from the house. Hmmmmm. . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Birthday #50 Chronicles (Tales of an Aging Ponderer)

5/26/2010 09:26:15 AM •

My day started with a failed attempt at sleeping in. My phone kept beeping like a Star Trek communicator every time a friend posted a birthday wish on facebook. Not complaining. It is nice to have friends.

Dragged my butt upstairs and had a bowl of Luck Charms with "new swirly charms" or something like that, and skim milk. It was like eating a bowl of petrified pseudo-marshmallow with an occasional sweetened oat cereal.

Scheduled for ultrasounds and cystoscopy at 11:30 & 12:30 at the Adirondack Medical Center (hospital), I spent the remainder of my morning reading Terrence West's Fallen Angels on my iPod touch (book 1 of the Fallen Angels trilogy - something to do with Area 51) while trying NOT to dread the upcoming procedures or overthink pre-procedure preparation. But it is hard to read while you are trying to calculate the precise best time to shower so that you arrive fresh for invasive procedures without arriving damp! Things like this and a zillion other stupid and important things swirling around in my mind are the reason I don't sleep much.

I know: who schedules themselves for potentially unpleasant procedures on their birthday, right? I didn't have much choice. I had to fit it in when I could, not knowing when I might be called off to the Gulf to help with the spill ( And tomorrow I have to get up and leave at 6:30AM to make a follow-up with an entodontist so he can root around under a a new crown because his root canal didn't take. Hopefully third time is a charm!

I decided to shower at 10:30 so I can arrive at hospital* to check in 1/2 hour early. I've also decided to ride my motorcycle in. It is just four miles and I'm not donning all that gear and lugging it around all day. Just helmet and gloves. It'll be easier to find a spot to park, plus I can just lock the helmet to the bike. Brooom brrrooom!

(*I remember when I started hearing Americans begin to use "hospital" as do the Europeans instead of "the hospital." I can't say I like it. And I still can't say I'm going "on holiday." When I go on vacation I go on A holiday -- though apparently I am ok with going on vacation versus going on a vacation. Plain hospital and holiday sound so pretentious.)

My daughter, Emily, up from North Carolina for my birthday (and to see her friends), wished me a happy birthday this morning. A smile from her melts my heart and makes my day. Thank you for that, Em. Shortly after, she took off again - we don't see much of her when she is home anymore.

Rumor has it we are going out to dinner tonight. I had kind of hoped I could just go play guitar at the Community Supper and keep things low key. But, I think birthdays are really for the other people in your life and I will try not to ruin this for them by being my usual grumpy self. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

God, when did we all turn middle-aged?! I remember when the neighbor turned fifty. That seemed so significant. Now I am turning fifty and in some respects I am still that 17 year old boy skidding around in an old VW beetle. I've known for some time that we have some internal "age" that doesn't seem to change for us. But every time I reach an age milestone, I am amazed I don't feel different. Does this mean that 80 year old gentleman pillar of our community still feels 18 or 21 and just appears to us to be the wise, old man?

Maybe it isn't so much an internal age as it is an internal identifier or identity - our self-image formed at some point in our early life that doesn't change much as our bodies age around it. I'm not the first guy to turn 50, but does everybody ponder it as much as I?

"'Cause I'm the Ponderer. Yes I'm the Ponderer. I ponder, ponder, ponder, pondewr ..." - sung to the tune of "The Wanderer"
Hah! That right there just reminded me of the old Mad Magazines.

5/26/2010 10:20:41 AM •
»» Off to the showers - more later ««
Wish me luck (Not for the shower, dufus! The hospital visit!)


Back from my little expedition. Don't ask. Owooooooo-ooo-ooo-OUCH!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day's End

Sunlight gilds tree-filled banks
Across still blue water.

A horizon of water and clouds
Erupt in flames of orange and red
Set ablaze by the setting sun.

At last the sky goes pink to grey
And happy bats begin to flit about,
Far few to stem the insect tide.


"Loneliness is a fearsome enemy. Humans can stand any number of setbacks – poverty, starvation, the worst pain their bodies can inflict, homelessness, disaster, the moment before death, and the centuries upon centuries of life that remain once a loved one is gone forever. They can weather it and emerge from under the sledgehammer of it all as long they have one thing. Someone to go through it with them. Even if that person is not kind to them, they know at least that they are not alone."

"Maze of Trees"
by Claudia O'Keefe

Reflections on the Dawn

Early morning, late May
Sunlight in pure yellow rays
Streaming over the mountain peaks
Streaking across an azure sky
Striking new leaves fresh with chlorophyll
Stirring robins to sing in the new day

Leaves, freshly unfurled,
bathed in photon streams that flow unfettered
by their passage through cool, unsoiled mountain air,
glow lemon-lime as if illuminated from within.

Those who sleep may be better rested than I
but miss a spectacle so free and invigorating
that I shall rise running rings around them
in spirit if not in deed.

I do see a nap in my future.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Online TV to Watch | Fascinating World of Animal Attraction and Sex in Sundance's Green Porno & Seduce Me

Sundance Channel Original Online Shows on Animal Attraction and Reproduction. Funny characters illustrate the strange and unique world of animal attraction and reproduction.


Isabella Rossellini's award-winning series of very short films about the reproductive habits of marine animals. GREEN PORNO is scientifically accurate yet extremely entertaining. Produced by Isabella Rossellini, Jody Shapiro and Rick Gilbert.
Three seasons of Green Porno include Squid, Shrimp, Anchovy, and more


Directed, written by and starring Isabella Rossellini, these five two-minute portraits explore the unconventional seduction rituals of creatures ranging from bugs to cuttlefish. SEDUCE ME offers an entertaining yet informative look into the bizarre seduction rituals that often precede the mating process
Season 1 of Seduce Me includes Bed Bugs, Snakes, Ducks and Cuttelfish

Submitted by Ollie Owlfly (my Green Porno name)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GEICO not so good to the OTHER Guys

And by other guys, I mean us. A Geico client rolled his car 40 feet down our yard and over our son's cherry '99 Saab, destroying it and four evergreen trees in the process. Our yard is strewn with glass and sharp body parts and pieces and we are down one vehicle, through NO FAULT of ours. Geico is refusing to provide a rental vehicle or clean up the yard until they can "get in touch with their client." Meanwhile, we have a safety hazard in our yard AND are stuck juggling vehicles.

So, here is what happens when an SUV does an endo over the backof a '99 Saab
At least they didn't find the body in the trunk. Oh! Bada-bing!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gulf Coast Post Now a Separate Blog

My Gulf Coast Post Blog is now up and running. Please check it out, and pass it along. In the days to come, it will have my first-hand accounts and on-scene photographs.

Gulf Coast Post: Set to Deploy

Well, as some of you know, I am still safely ensconced in my abode at Cedar Eden while oil continues to spew into the Gulf of  Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon site. All that is set to change very soon. While winds were out of the north, the oil slick remained off-shore and therefore my services were not needed. It is looking like the spill will make landfall in MS and AL sometime this week, at which time I will take off fast from here.

My gear is still packed. In fact, I have been living out of duffel bags for a week, waiting to deploy on a moments notice. I'll send a few quick posts as I travel and then expect frequent if not daily posts from the scene, with photos included.

Follow me on twitter as CedarEden as well as on this blog,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Green Morning Reminiscing

The sky behind Whiteface Mountain is tinged peachy by the impending sunrise. The sun's rays, reflected and diffuse, seem to move slowly through the damp air. All of the colors go odd. The whole scene begins to look as if it is submerged in a fish tank of algae water.

The lawn has greened up so quickly these last few days of warm and rain. Covered in dew, the sloping yard has the look of fine velvet. The chill air, the dampness, the birds singing; all of these things combine to send me back, almost as real & true as time travel, to happy, youthful mornings. I would run outside with the chirp of the morning's first bird. Listening to the growing chorus in light growing from gloom to glow, I sensed my whole life before me. I sensed that anything was possible. And I made the best of each moment that I had, alone or with friends, cycling through the ups and downs of teen angst and puberty.

It always strikes me as funny how certain brief, little moments in life stay with me with such clarity. Skidding around a mailbox post while driving my VW packed with screaming friends, who I suppose they thought they were going to die, not realizing I knew how to coax a power slide out of that measly little 42 horsepower engine. Their relief when we stopped our slide and I stopped the car, laughing to blow off the tension and nerves, clapping me on the back and hailing me "Mario," a reference to famed race car driver Mario Andretti and NOT the Nintendo game character who came along much later.

Sitting at the piano at Tori's house, just noodling around and making some made-up music. And I remember Tori said, with some sadness, how I could play the piano so well without any lessons and she had been taking them all her life. Well, number one, it didn't sound all that good; and number two, she drove a Porsche to school while I drove an old beetle.

Speaking of beetles, what fun in the empty school parking lot, playing President's Secret Service Detail. I'd get the bug rolling in first gear and we'd all stand on the running boards outside of the car as it putted along. I think once I managed to kick it into second before climbing out and the thing nearly got away from us as it gathered speed.

I could go on. Through all the years of my life, for the most part, there are these little nuggets of sharp detail that sit around in the dark until some random thing in the here and now causes me to swing a flashlight across their forms. And the details come right back, brightly reflecting the light of my attention.

So bizarre.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gulf Coast Post: Prepping for Trip, Testing Mobile Blog Posting

In preparation for my first 3 week trip to the Gulf Coast to help oversee cleanup, I am testing direct posting to my blog from my Blackberry to see how it handles pics & such. I may make some posts from the field but likely do my Hi-Res digital photo processing & posting in the evenings.

I've got a full day ahead of me: filling prescriptions, dentist & doctor appointments, rescheduling things, finding rental car close to Gulf coast & booking a flight there, backing up work data on laptop, packing all my gadgets & gear, packing clothes & personal items, and finally, hopefully, getting a little sleep before I catch the 6AM Cape Air out of the Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK), 4 miles from my home. And hoping that my new, untested TSA-Homeland Security Redress Number will speed my check-ins - seems my name is common enough that I've been on the No-Fly list for years, requiring a call to FBI every time I check in at a terminal.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Adirondack Spring Ride - April 07, 2010

I love the Adirondacks this time of year, kind of a pre-Spring this far north and at these elevations. Lately, we've had early ice-out on the lakes and snow-gone in the woods. Sure, it is kind of brown and grey, but with the leaves off the trees you can see the lay of the land, at least where it isn't blocked by stands of spruce and cedar.
Tupper Lake
First stop was Tupper Lake for wings at Guido's Pizzeria, locally owned for decades and home of the best, all-homemade Italian fast food: pizzas, wings, subs, etc. Heading out of town, I cross the Tupper Lake causeway and stop to admire the wind-swept water and pre-emergent wetland.

Hamlet of Long Lake
Stopped for gas at Kickerville Station, just outside the hamlet of Long Lake. In Long Lake, I stopped to take a picture of the little float plane Flying Service office and the one lone float plane on the lake. It was brown, perfect for the color scheme of this season. Come summer, there are three or four float planes.

Rain - Hamlet of Indian Lake
Turning towards Indian Lake, I pass the divide between the St. Lawrence River & Hudson River watersheds. Along the way, I see this cool jeep parked at a trailhead. About the time  I reach Indian Lake, it begins to rain. I don't mind the rain, riding through the central Adirondacks on my motorcycle. I'm mostly waterproof. All the colors change when wet. The brown ground shows a bit of green, the yellow dead grass and grey bare trees become brighter, almost shiny. It also causes interesting low-level clouds along the hills and small peaks.

And it reminds me of growing up in Gilmanton, NH. The spring rains always brought out the little red salamanders. They'd be all over the yard and woods, and we would hike around and collect them in buckets and coffee cans. We'd always let them go again, but it was fun to hold them in your hand - their little feet tickled a bit as they walked around.
So it rained in the hamlet of Indian Lake. I stopped at a Stewart's and had a coffee & banana split. A warning came through on my Blackberry for thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds in southern Adirondacks moving north. Here in the store it seems like everybody knows everybody else, and many of them are related. There is a steady stream of customers, male and female, stocking up on beer for this rainy afternoon. The favorite choice seems to be light beer in a 12 pack. Glad I'm not stuck in that kind of life.
I decided to head home when I was finished.
Hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake
On my way home, I have to drive into the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake. Years ago, I did a lot of work on this lake, including detailed watershed & water quality modeling to predict the effect of increased development within the watershed on lake water quality.
There isn't much here. At the intersection of Route 30 & Route 28, there are a few buildings and shops. It is here where you have to decide whether to continue on straight and eventually hit Old Forge or take a left and go through the hamlets of Indian Lake, Town of Minerva, and a few other small settlements. If you continue on straight, you hit the center of the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake, as defined by the highest concentration of buildings on both sides of the lake and on the lake shore. You have a fire station, a performing arts center, and a handful of water/recreation-related stores and a collection of houses perched right over the water.
Saranac Lake
Near the end of my journey, I stopped at the Saranac Lake United Methodist Church. They were cleaning up from their weekly Community Supper, a free meal for anyone who wants it. They get from 50 - 70 people. It is a chance to not worry about making supper, reduce the food bill, save a few bucks. Also a chance to be part of a community for a night. A lot of nights I show up & play music, giving it a coffee house feel. They really like Johnny Cash.