Friday, March 30, 2012

Wild Times in South Florida

A long meeting in Orlando, followed by five days of a mini-vacation/wildlife photo shoot in south Florida. And I'm beat!

Few words, but maybe a couple of these photos will tell you all what a great time I had out in the open spaces doing what I enjoy.

So, enjoy!

An alligator munches on a fish he caught at the Venice Rookery.

A Great Blue Heron displays and shows off.

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! A Gray Pelican hits the water hard for his lunch.

Again, and again!

And another heron gets his catch of the day by spear fishing.

All in all, I'd say it was time well spent, even though my back went out and I still had to lug all my gear around to get the shots I wanted. Can't wait for more!

And a bonus if you've read this far. Added 3-31-2012. Big Bird.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good News, But I'll Keep It Brief

WARNING: Rare, genuinely heartfelt moment follows.

Since this isn't actually a "Daddy" blog, I'll keep this brief. But since I've teased you with recent posts about Wolfgang Amadeus Marshmallow and the impending college choices, I want to share the news.

We have now heard back from all the schools that Wolfgang is interested in attending and to which he has applied and auditioned. Briefly, U. of Maryland, Shenandoah U., and Ithaca College were the three front runners. All have offered scholarships now. Shenandoah wants Wolfgang so badly they practically left drool on his paperwork.

However, it looks like Ithaca is the final choice. It's a great school with an impressive history for music. They awarded Wolfgang their Presidential Scholar Award, which was way beyond our expectations (they accepted 190 applicants from a pool of some 2000, and just under 10% of those receive that scholarship). We're excited, proud, and happy (happy the long wait is over).

I can finally say without feeling boastful or hyperbolic that the kid is pretty damn good. I'm proud of him, because he took a legitimate gift, worked very hard, and turned into something that will touch other people in a wonderful way. All I ever wanted for myself and my children was to do something to make the world a better place. Music does that in profound, yet often unnoticed ways.

I wish him a life of fulfillment and joy. Thanks for letting me share this with you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Saturday Grab Bag

Just in time for the big "Wear a Certain Color And Pretend You're of an Ancestry That You're Really Not and Get Stinking Drunk" holiday, here is the Saturday Grab Bag!

Yes, my newly created blog post that may or may not occur on every, many, some, just this Saturday, according to my level of laziness and creative nadirs. It's almost like the old Random Tuesdays, Funky Fridays, Thought Thursdays, etc., but not really.

You can pick and choose what you feel like reading from the below list of unrelated topics. Read them all, or read this far only. It's up to you. Go!


So That's What Blogging Is!

For those who have read this blog before, and as a warning for those reading for the first time (Sarah Mae?), you'll see that I still haven't completely figured out what blogging really is. About a year into writing this blog I learned that blogs, in general, are supposed to have a certain theme, or fall into a category. Wine blogs, Mommy blogs, Daddy blogs, Science blogs, etc. This blog has been pretty well themeless all along. 

Fortunately, I now know that blogs should be themed, henceforth my blog will be very concretely and firmly, a blog about whatever I feel like at the moment I start typing. There. Rock-solid. I hope you enjoy this theme.


Proof of Loopiness

As if it were needed, I am providing links back to some previous posts which will demonstrate this blogs dedication to written wanderlust and ambiguity. Enjoy!

The Do-Over, a creative writing assignment
and lastly (thankfully) Baby It's Cold Outside

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just Discovered I'm A Snob.

I've always thought of myself as a very down-to-Earth guy. People who know me would say, "What you see is what you get." when describing me. Therefore, I never thought of myself as secretly harboring any bizarre feelings of "them" vs. "us" when looking at people.

But I had a very disconcerting experience of that today, at lunch. I learned that I don't like being called Dude, or Man, as in "Hey, man!". Well, at least in the context of my being a customer in a sandwich shop, ordering my food.

I tried a new place in Harrisburg, PA, today. Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. It looked really good. Great signage, and a decent amount of lunchtime activity. So in I went. At first it went well. Although the music that was playing loudly in the shop was off-putting to me, it wasn't exactly driving me out the door, so I walked up to the counter to examine the menu and order. I was greeted by a 20-something guy with a baseball cap on, who asked me if I'd ever been in before, to which I replied I hadn't. He cheerfully took me through how the process was going to go. Then the wheels fell off the wagon.

Another very young worker began to chime in with the first one, saying things like, "Dude, you're gunna love this stuff!", and "Yo man, we got lots of different bread for these."

I should have been happy. I mean, they were conversing with me in complete sentences, which is more than you get at a lot of places these days, especially during the lunch rush. But I was so put off by the immediate, ultra casual intimacy, that I just felt odd instead. Here I was, dressed in jacket and tie, clearly a middle-aged bore (although quite dashing, of course), and I was suddenly thrust into Seth Rogan Dudedom. I hated it! The conversation continued that way throughout the order process. By the time I was done I felt like Maynard G. Krebs.

Maybe it's my upbringing, but even a low key guy like me prefers to be called "Sir", or "Mr. Potato Head", over "Yo man", by the skateboarders-cum-baristas and the hip young dreadlock crowd. As I sat and ate my lunch I heard lots of other customers get the Dude treatment. I realized then that I must be a snob. I really wanted someone there to say, "Hello, sir! Would you like a refill of iced tea?". Just once. Make me feel my age. I'm not hip any more. Never was. Don't want to be. I just want young people to laugh at me behind my back and talk about the old fossil in the corner drinking his tea that they spit in. Is that too much?

Any other snobs out there that will back me up on this one?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Waiting Is The Worst Part

I don't like waiting. I may have mentioned this before. Despite not liking it, I've been forced to sit in limbo while I await word of Wolfgang Amadeus Marshmallow's final college acceptances and financial status offers.

There has been some news, but I am delaying posting it until I hear from all parties involved. The news so far has been very good. One particular university has been most generous in its praise of Wolfgang and in its subsequent offer. However, we can't make any decisions until hearing back from all the universities, and it is just flat out kicking my ass. I want to do something, but there is no rushing this process, so I wait.

Wolfgang and Mrs. Marshmallow are doing only slightly better than me with this. They have not yet required medication and bed restraints. But every day, we all race to the mailbox to see what might be inside, and every day we collectively sigh.

This is really all I want to write for now. I did it partly because of some irrational fear that somehow this page will dry up and crumble if I don't write in it. It needs fresh ink.

Stay tuned. I'll be back to my normal self soon.