Thursday, July 20, 2017

Another Year

Today is my birthday.  Another year has passed.  What an odd year it has been.  It has been an ongoing, low level, funk filled year of loss and disappointment that culminated in my walking off the Appalachian Trail (AT) after only a week.  Since then I've been a little lost.

Since I left the AT I have been a sedentary pile of lumpitude.  I haven't hiked since I left Blue Mountain Shelter and the idea of walking is unappealing to me now.  I've spent a lot of the past three months trying to figure out what was stopping me.  I thought it was the general crappiness of the past year that was bringing me down but this didn't ring true.  Then I figured it out.

I have been walking in earnest for the past ten years.  I started hiking in 2007 with the goal of hitting the best trails in the Ventura county area (The link in the original post probably doesn't work ... the fluidity of the internet).  2007 also happens to be the year when I first heard about the Camino de Santiago.  Since then I have hiked towards goals of one fashion or other.

First I hiked to complete the list of Ventura county hikes.  Then I hiked to prepare for my first Camino.  This transitioned to training for my second Camino, completing RAGBRAI, and hiking Rocky Mountain National Park.  All of this hiking combined together to prepare me for the AT (prepare me physically but not mentally).  For ten years I'd been working towards distant goals and now, with me walking off the AT, all my goals were finished - not meeting my last goal ended it all with a sour note.  When I got home I no longer had any hiking goals and without goals the motivation to hike withered.

So it's time to set new goals.  The first will be a simple one.  Trek Up the Tower.  I've done it before and it will give me a reasoned to get off my butt.  After that ... who knows.  I have a couple ideas of long hikes that are easier than the AT and closer to home.

I have already started training for Trek Up the Tower.  I'm riding my trainer nearly everyday.  I will start walking again some day.  Unfortunately it's been just too hot and humid to walk lately.

I am now fifty-four years old.  Let's see if I can make this a new start.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Anniversary Dinner Theater

For our twentieth anniversary, the Wife and I went out to eat in an ... interesting ... restaurant.

Raccoon
A raccoon soaking its front paws in a cool wading pool.
The Alpine Inn is a bar with food located north of the Florence area of Omaha.  It sits along a road that climbs through the woods in the rather beautiful Ponca Hills.  The Alpine Inn's claim to fame is not it's food but rather its unusual entertainment.  The restaurant feeds its scraps to raccoons.  As you eat you can watch the raccoons lounge around and take dips in the wading pool right outside the dining area.

We were concerned that the high temperatures we've been experiencing (95℉ - 35℃) would keep the raccoons away like it did with the Carlsbad's bats but the pool was just an irresistible draw for them.

The ambiance of the restaurant is shabby dive bar which is perfectly fine for us.  It had a quirky, biker bar, run down, yet comfortable feel to it with a friendly staff.

The menu is limited but is predominantly fried chicken-centric.  The Wife and I had the chicken dinner which consisted in a more than generous portion of fried chicken and potato wedges.  No silverware was provided which fits the place perfectly.  If you can't eat with your hands then why are you here?

Overall it was an experience full of good food and good nature filled entertainment.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Twenty Years ... Like A Blink Of The Eye

2013-09-23_Camino_003Happy twentieth wedding anniversary to the Wife.  You filled the last twenty years with love, happiness, and laughter and it went by, like all good things, in a blink of the eye.


Who knows what the next twenty will bring but I know it will be full of joy, wonder, and sunshine.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Music: Queen And Adam Lambert

Over the next couple weeks we will be going to three concerts.  The first, which was on Saturday, was Queen and Adam Lambert.

2017-07-08_Queen & Adam Lambert_001-WM
The stage was shaped like a guitar.
I have always been a big Queen fan and it kind of bums me out that I never saw the band when Freddie Mercury was still alive.  We saw one of the potential childhood homes of Freddie when we were in Zanzibar.  Adam Lambert, of American Idol fame, tried to fill his shoes and, in most part, he was successful.  I also like the Lambert announced early on that he knew he was not Freddie and this humility was refreshing.

2017-07-08_Queen & Adam Lambert_010-WM
The robot is the same from the "News of the World" album
which turns forty this year.
The music set was a mix of songs I knew well and a few I'd never heard before.  I have to admit I preferred the songs I knew.  The music was accompanied with a spectacular laser light show.  Parts were sung, via recording, by Freddie - a nice tribute to the rock legend.  I enjoyed the concert a little bit more than the Wife and I left very satisfied.

2017-07-08_Queen & Adam Lambert_061-WM
An homage to Freddie Mercury ... By Freddie Mercury.

I discovered a small coincidence about Queen and my brother.  They said the last time they performed in Omaha was in 1978.  I think this was when my brother saw them.  Kind of a nice set of bookends there.

As you can see I remembered to bring my camera this time. Pictures can be found in my Queen & Adam Lambert 2017 Flickr album.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth Of July!!!

We spent the weekend with the Mother-in-Law and family at Lake Cornelia followed by a trip up to Minneapolis to visit the Wife's cousins.

I hope everyone has a great Independence Day with family and friends.

Lake Cornelia Fireworks Composite
A thirty second composite photograph of fireworks
launched from the shore of Lake Cornelia.

Happy 4th Everyone!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book: E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops"

While I waited for my next book to become available at my library I downloaded a novella (or is it novelette?) that I'd heard about.

E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" is a short (48 pages) but prescient work of fiction.  The book describes a world where everyone is isolated in their own room where the Machine provides them with all their needs.  People cannot go to the surface without respirators due to the poisonous air but why would they want to when their every need is provided by the Machine.  Travel between rooms is possible but is not desirable.  Why visit someone when you can instantly communication with them?

People spend their days communicating with other people via tablets, exchanging ideas and lectures. There is no work.  The only thing of value are ideas.

Over time the Machine is practically worshipped and the instruction manual ('the book') is treated like a holy text.  Everything is great until things start to break down.

What makes this short novella so interesting is how prescient Forster was.  This book was published in 1909.  I almost forgot this fact since most of the concepts on the story fit so well with our modern society.  The isolation created by our technology. People preferring texting over face to face talking.  The only thing that pulled me out of the story was the archaic language Forster uses at times.  Nothing surprising for something written over a hundred years ago.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads.  I actually downloaded it for free from goodreads.  It's a short read full of many thought provoking ideas.