General Blog

General Blog

April 19, 2011

Italy – Day Four – Boots and Puss

A cool overcast Sunday morning finds us off Flaminio metro in a decaying factory yard – broken concrete and rusted tin roofs – the sort of place you might kick a suitcase full of money to some threatening goon and growl, “Count it if you like, but it’s all there!” It’s all there, all right – it’s a weekly swap meet and this industrial courtyard is fulla bargains: boots and coats, clothing and toys, all sorts of treasures and trash. My wife and sister vanish into it like the final scene of “Free Willy”. Splash. I wander for a while, […]
April 19, 2011

Italy – Day Three – Ostia

Did you ever find something you didn’t know you were missing? Like a dollar bill? That spare key to the boat house? Or your old copy of Fire and Bronze? Well, that’s Ostia. This was one of Rome’s primary ports along the mouth of the Tiber, a sizable city that was doing just great until 500AD or so, when the river suddenly moved away. Commerce dried up, everyone moved on, dirt blew up around that walls and the city was largely forgotten. Now recent excavations of unearthed an entire Roman city, its bath, amphitheater, its market, its apartments and shops. […]
April 18, 2011

Italy – Day Two – Ruins

I’m halfway to the sun, high in the seating of the massive Coliseum, watching as a line of armored militia lock shields against four times their number of long-haired, screaming enemies of the empire. Did I mention I’m facing outwards? And that I’m watching a students and riot police play hot-potato with a tear gas canister on the street below? Such is Rome. Still, on our first full day in country, we headed out early for the ruins. My sister was clever enough to suggest the Roma Pass, which grands free transport all over the city and two free entries […]
April 17, 2011

Italy – Day One – Arrival

From the Piazza de Popalo, you can see down five streets. If there was a sixth street, a Val del Past, I might have been able to see the day before. I’d see us at the airport with plenty of time, relaxed, through security and detached from all the hassles of preparation. A slow lunch at a nice airport restaurant. I’d see the flight to Phily, where I sat next to an avid reader and chatted about books and life. Even at Philly, where Air Force One’s passage snarled traffic and kept our Rome flight on the ground for 90 […]
April 16, 2011

Italy – Day Zero – Reservations

In the old days (before the internet, when everyone wore funny old clothing and photos were in black and white), people would have gushed about their pending trip abroad, bubbling to friends and family of their destination, itinerary, their hopes and dreams. Of course, now we worry that our wider broadcasts (via facebook and blogs) will result in our doors being pried open and our houses ransacked. So yes, I’ve been quiet online about this. But anyway, about nine months back, my wife and I had been talking to my sister about traveling abroad. First the idea was Morocco but […]
April 1, 2011

April Viral

If there is a day for religious observance for me, it’s this one – April the First. It’s a chance to shake people awake, to pull them from their monotonous lives, to puzzle and puzzle them until their puzzlers are sore. Every year, I try to come up with something fun. This time, I concocted an email posted to all the process leads (those who monitor process at our corporation, rather like the political officer on a Russian submarine (and about as liked, I suppose)) and to my team. I related in the most officious terms possible concerning a new […]
March 30, 2011

Bad work day?

It could have gone better. The day was bad enough. A two-hour corporate Nuremburg Rally with pre-positioned questions and carefully worded answers. Clap clap clap. I have a bunch of things I need to do yet I’m sliding backwards as interruptions hit me like bugs across a windshield. At 2pm, I decided I couldn’t attend the train club – I’d have to work. Then, at 4:30 all hell broke loose. First it was the gust off a squall line that actually shook the building – not something good to experience on the 14th floor. Looked out the window to see […]
March 22, 2011


Last night I read for a bit (The Egyptologist – review coming soon) and went to bed. Nothing special. But suddenly, doing! My mind was spinning. I didn’t even get the benefit of some sort of creative thought process, that guilty pleasure of laying in bed, knowing I’m burning my candle but marveling at the story, the game idea, the train deal, whatever, that’s got my brain afire. Not this time – I was just hypersensitive – I’d hear a motorcycle go past, then a plane, then a train. And owl started to hoot. The wife began to snore. By […]
March 18, 2011

The Game of Life

I’ve worked for corporations for years, as evident from the high-water mark of shit just under my chin. Corporate life can tarnish one’s values and blacken one’s soul. I just try to keep my head down and keep plowing forward in the face of over-regulation, bureaucracy, off-shored stupidity and pervasive executive greed. But still. I can’t go into what set me off this time; regardless of the saying that ‘the mountains are high and the emperor is far away’, his spies are everywhere. A blog with my name is a blog with my name, right? So no details. But as […]
March 12, 2011

Zoom boot!

After a long day, once I’m home, its easy to feel impatient when firing up the computer for fun with games or the net. But my computer’s boot felt sooooo slooooow. Even at the train club, I’d boot up my computer so someone else could use it to dispatch and they’d comment, “It’s taking forever”. And these are old guys; they know what forever means. Funny thing, but I was listening to “AOL Anime” on and the had a tech blurb about Soluto, a freebeeware that allows you to look at what’s booting up with your computer, the ramifications […]