Saturday, March 21, 2015

62.3114° N, 150.0869° W

These are the approximate coordinates which shall be my squirrelly home for the next several months.  Better known as Talkeetna, Alaska. I'll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

Yes, it's true.  Your favorite 60-pair-of-heels-owning, insect-phobic, manual-labor-averse, midnight-pizza-delivery-ordering, sofa-loving city kid is taking a summer job in Alaska. And by job I mean not a cubicle in sight.  My awesome amazing superfly (and not just because she's my soon-to-be-boss) friend Stephanie had the right opening, at the right time, in the right place (yes, I'm serious)...so off I go.

The sorta-specifics:

Who:  Me.  And my aforementioned superfly friend Steph, and her husband/my brothah-from-anothah-mothah Jack.  And their ultra-superfly kids, Brandon and Abi.  And their family and friends. And approximately 6,335,976 mountain climbers, cruise tourists, train tourists, tourist tourists, pilots, rafters, drunks, hikers and other curious denizens of planet earth.

What:  Bunkhouse Overlord and Customer Service Diety, with with a side of van shuttling, story telling, story listening, cat herding, smile spreading and general whatever-the-hell-needs-to-be-done. 

Where:  About 2 hours north of Anchorage, near the base of the highest mountain in North America. (Wikipedia, and then Google Image "Talkeetna").  I'll be working for an aviation company who specializes in flight-seeing tours/glacier landings and mountain climber base-camp drop-offs. 

When:  Late April (ish) to early Sept. (ish)

How:  Culling the clutter and putting the things I actually love and/or need into storage, along with my car.  Details not finalized yet, but probably at a friend's house,  Selling/donating the rest.  Getting on a plane with whatever fits in two suitcases.

Why:  Hell that's a whole blog of it's own.  Readers digest version - I need a break from the noise, both literally and figuratively.  I've been a city kid for most of my life; buses, sirens, garbage trucks, midnight construction, honking horns, drunken idiots, barking dogs, all just part of the landscape. For once in too long, I'd like to wake up to the sound of nothing.  Or at least a new and unfamiliar set of noises. I want to smell wildflowers and pine needles instead of exhaust fumes and urine.  I want to smile at strangers and not be eyed with suspicion. I want to spend my days doing what comes naturally to me - interacting with humans, travelling humans in particular. Hearing their stories, sharing their adventure (and in this case, getting paid to make that adventure amazing!), and more often than sometimes, making life-long friends. I want the option to walk/bike ride for an hour and not see another soul. I want for life to be a bit...a Costco-sized bit...less comfortable.  I need to lose a few conveniences to rediscover a few long-buried strengths.  Science says I still have, on average, 42.31% of life remaining, which means I better get going.  So many squirrels...so little time.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

I guess the time has come to say goodbye, old friend. 

Remember when we first met?  I was eight or nine years old when Mork and Mindy burst onto the scene, and your comic genius took the world by storm.  I never missed an episode.  I vowed one day to move to Boulder because you “lived” there, thus making it the coolest place on earth. 

 A couple of years later I discovered “Reality, What A Concept”.  Sleepovers at Dee’s house, stoned out of our leg warmers, listening to it on vinyl via an old school record player.  A lot of folks have probably forgotten, or weren’t aware of, how incredibly funny your stand-up routines were.  Your incisive wit, your endearing humanity, your all-too-clear understanding of the absurdity of it all; these spoke to me at a time when not much else could. 

 I’ll leave it to the critics to dissect your filmography.  Suffice it to say that I have never successfully made it through Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam, or Good Will Hunting without crying.  Not once.  I wanted to study under Mr. Keating and to befriend Parry. I wanted to kiss Adrian Cronauer. I wanted to be Sean Maguire.  I still do.

The airwaves are abuzz…speculation and innuendo…endless platitudes.  “If only he’d sought help” – as if during 63 years of battling the hydra, the thought never occurred to you.   Another pill, another doctor… session, drink, lover, diet, city, vice, accolade, shiny object ad infinitum.  Grasping for reasons until there aren't any left.  We’re all naked in the end.

Thank you.





 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Don't feed the trolls

As with most people, I like to believe that I'm a relatively efficient human.  I doubt many of us want "time waster" or "layabout" to be the first adjectives that come to one's mind at the sight of us.  Especially our own.  But on occassion, like a proper chaser of squirrels, I get washed away by a wave of a completely unnecessary and unproductive activity. 

My personal productivity kryptonite involves surfing the internet, usually starting innocuously enough with Google news...which I deem acceptable under the guise of staying infomed.  World news...check.  National news...check.  Survey finding that 1/3 of Americans believe in UFOs...check.  Generally bouncing off from there to whatever random headline happens to catch my easily-distracted eye, regardless of how little relevance it may have to my existence.  Google is not the only trigger; I am just as often carried away by some train wreck of a link one of my social networking peeps has subjected me to.  And so went a random evening last week.

I'm online attending to some business...actually being productive mind you...when I pop onto Facebook and see a link to an article about housing foreclosures; specifically, about people squatting in their homes having not paid their mortgage in several years.  I must digress for a minute and tell you that from childhood I have had an inexplicible fascination with certain information: political, economic, and/or business related. Gas rationing, middle-east peace talks, stagflation, ousted politicians, OPEC wars, finding the Falkland Islands on a map....I was glued to it all.  And still am.  Thanks Dad...I think.  Anyway, having veered off topic only to illustrate why the post sucked me in, I clicked the link and began reading.

I won't delve into my opinion as that would belong on a different blog, but I have fairly moderate and conflicted feelings on the matter. Evidently strong enough views, however, or sufficient enough boredom, to be inspired to enter my two (more like .22) cents.  Yes, I know better. The "comments" section is a place rife with socially inept, angry gnome-like sorts itching for a safely-behind-the-computer-screen-battle. Usually to be avoided at all costs via a hasty back-arrow retreat once an article has been read.  Sadly, none of this wisdom stopped the words from continuing across my screen, nor prevented the send button from being clicked.  And so it began.


Of course I expected opposing views, alternative facts, etc...that's the idea of a comments section after all.  What I didn't expect was the simian literacy rate and/or mind-numbing leaps of logic that ensued.  I could have had a more well-reasoned and productive debate with my toaster. Seriously it doesn't use txtspk msspel evory otther werd or forget the importance of punctuation when typing a series of words known as a sentence particularly a lengthy one or especially where the expressed statement changes I like soup.  It doesn't make random personal assumptions about my age ("stupid kid "), gender ("your wife and kids..."), sexual orientation ("fag"), or political views ("commie corpration lover")  Yes, I copied that last quote verbatim.

I have learned my lesson.  The comment has been deleted, and all associated responses have consequently been relegated back to the spelling/grammar/logic-impaired netherworld from which they sprung. I will write on the chalkboard 100 times: "I must avoid comments on internet articles. I must avoid comments on internet articles. I must avoid comments...".  In the meantime, I'm off to more productive pursuits.  The microwave is beeping.  And my toaster wants to chat.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A real pain in the...

So again it has been an age since I've posted.  This likely comes as no surprise if you've read my prior entries, but this time I have an excuse.  Really, I do...though full disclosure, it only applies to the last few days.  The remainder...well....squirrels.  Nonetheless, for those of you who have remained seated and glued to your PC for the last two weeks waiting for me to drop knowledge, I apologize.  And stop that.  Yes I'm flattered, but your family misses you. Your cat's litterbox needs cleaning.  And you need a shower.  Seriously.  I can smell you from here.

To help explain what happened I first need to share something about myself; I am a world class spaz. Toe stubbing, puddle stepping, involuntary head butting...you name it. Walking into poles, including ones with blinking neon signs atop them...child's play. My specialty, however, is tripping over nothing.  Not a sidewalk crack, an untied shoelace, or an oily spot. We're talking absolutely nothing.  And this is what occurred the other day, on a busy street corner inches from my home, to what I'm sure was the great amusement of the patrons of the restaurant whose front door I happened to be five feet in front of.  There was no alcohol or towering stilettos to blame (unbelievable, but true). I was completely sober and wearing flat, rubber soled "sensible" <gasp> shoes. 

So down I went, with the brunt of the damage going to my left knee, my right wrist, and the left side of my lip.  Don't ask.  Though I've never taken a formal physics class, I am fairly certain that this injury pattern defies all natural law.  Now after 41 years of master klutzmanship I have come to accept it, but still feel the same embarrassment that a person with normal motor function might after making a complete idiot out of themselves. Thus I abandoned my dinner plans, brushed myself off, and quickly scurried back into the safety of my home to assess the damage.  Where, before attending to my bleeding face, gimpy leg, and immobile possibly fractured wrist, I still had the wherewithal and presence of mind to order a pizza.  I won't even speculate on what that says about me.

I cannot tell you how many times during childhood I committed far worse Acts of Clumsiness, falling out of trees I should never have climbed, launching myself from swings, unholy bicycle wrecks, etc..., usually walking away with nary a scratch.  It dumbfounds me that a fall of approximately 3-4 feet, at a breakneck speed of approximately 3 mph, could cause so much damage.  I can only assume old age is to blame...but that is a whole other rant.

The good news is that none of my injuries appear to be life threatening.  My wrist, though excrutiating, appears to be ever-so-slightly improving and able to move a bit, signaling a sprain rather than a fracture.  This upswing despite that fact that my treatment plan consists of frozen yakisoba noodles (aka ghetto ice pack) and an old stretchy scarf (aka ghetto wrist brace).  Hey, I'm uninsured, don't judge.  Despite it's uber-sexy appearance, my lip is also healing...and with any luck will not leave me scarred for life with a scarlet-letter-like badge of spaztastic shame.  And I can walk fine...heck...now I will have scars on my left knee that match the ones on the right, a result of my last walking-related mishap. In the immortal words of Monty Python..."always look on the bright side of life".



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ankle biting health fascists - Part 2

Now that we've covered the basics of how to, or more aptly how not to diet, let us turn our attention to fitness.  I'll begin by admitting that I am relatively new to this concept of purposefully moving the body about in an effort to stave off  back mammaries, buttock jelly, and/or that strange midlife phenomenon whereby one's lower midsection comes to resemble a pool flotation device.  I have barely finished typing this sentence, and already the voices of my fitness-forward friends are echoing in my head..."it isn't just about weight loss...it's about feeling great"..."exercise is fun"...blah blah blah.  I'll get back to you people later.

My point was, as a former young person I lived an on-the-go lifestyle. Granted, most of said "going" involved going to the bar, going shopping, going out to eat, going to the beach, going dancing until the wee hours, etc.  But those, combined with my naturally slimming traits of neuroses and ADD, did manage to keep the lard at bay, thus the idea of "working out" was a foreign concept. Much like the idea of dietary restrictions, involving strange and formerly irrelavent terms such as "cholesterol" and "sodium".  But I digress.  There were the likes of Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, and the odd Olivia Newton John video, mostly marketed toward neon-covered, leg warmer and spandex-clad moms and grandmoms, and mostly viewed as comedy of the "aww aren't old people cute" variety.  There were also gyms, generally inhabited by garden variety meatnecks... chest beating steroid monkeys in man-onesies grunting and flexing at one another.  Certainly not a place any civilized, properly shod, poofy-haired, skirt wearing girl would ever find herself.  People sweat there.  Eeew.

That was twenty years ago...times have changed.  And through the lens of maturity, or more truthfully gravity, I have come to know that I must change with them.  I can no longer count on ADD and genetic dumb luck to keep the old figure looking girlish, and hence have decided to jump on the exercise train.  The slow train. More of a bus really.  A short bus.  But move I shall, and as with diet, I am open to all reasonable suggestions of how to accomplish this with a minimum of unpleasantness.  Note the term "reasonable", as also with diet, there are no shortage of well-meaning folks with useless and occassionally ridiculous suggestions and/or motivators. The following of which will be filed under "this is not helpful".

1) Walking (daily).  Let me clarify this by saying that walking is unequivocally my preferred method of exercise, and one I engage in whenever possible.  You take in the sights, smell flowers, listen to music...all distracting from the fact that you're exercising...which works for me.  Ideally I would do this for an hour every day. Unfortunately I live in a city with crap weather. Sorry Seattlites, I know I have aroused the ire of your inner fleece wearing granola crunching hometown pride gremlin by even suggesting such a thing, but the weather here sucks.  It's cold.  It's grey.  It is always, I repeat always, raining.  And since I was born cursed with enough sense to come in out of the rain, I cannot count on walking alone to meet my cardio needs.

2) Running.  This is unacceptable for the same reason as #1, plus a few others.  The first set of barriers are called "joints"...aka knees, ankles, etc.  If you are under 35, you probably have no idea what one's knees and ankles have to do with an ability to run.  One day you will, Grasshoppa...trust me.  One very painful day, soon to turn into a week of ace-bandaged, ice-packed hobbling.  Another pesky roadblock is, well, breathing.  Runner types will tell you this improves with practice, the more you run, the easier it becomes.  This is a bald faced lie, told mostly by egotists for the sole purpose of pointing out their athletic superiority.  The last time I attempted a fitness routine, I spent nearly 6 months trying to run regularly for no less than 5 days a week.  I was never....EVER...able to make it more than 1/2 of a mile without launching into a fit of wheezing which required an inhaler...yes...the very athsmatic nerd inhaler you are now picturing...to restore oxygen.  I did master the art of "walk a block run a block", which was quite successful.  Until it started raining.

3) On demand fitness videos.  This should be a fabulous solution to working out on those rainy days.  It really should.  Hey, the tv is probably already on anyway, so you just press a few buttons, follow the guru's instructions for 20-odd minutes, and presto!...a supermodel's physique can be yours.  There are just a couple of minor problems with this, mostly centered around the "follow instructions" piece.  You see, if you have ever watched one of these videos, you know that no human could possibly follow along without the eventual need for a forklift, a hip replacement and/or the jaws of life.  No, I cannot hold my legs behind my neck.  Nor can I do a one-armed pushup.  You want me to what?...lunge with my left leg, whilst doing tricep curls with my right arm, keeping my torso straight and focusing on my breath count?  All at the speed of Metallica's Master of Puppets?   Listen here Malibu Skipper, I'm lucky I can walk and chew gum at the same time.  The only possible benefit I can see is this:  if the squeaky peroxide-soaked volleyball-short-clad former cheerleader of a trainer tells me "you can do it" one more time, I will likely huck my television...cable box and all...out the window.  That's gotta burn a few calories, right?

4) The Gym.  Disclaimer: this wouldn't be on the "not helpful" list if I were independently wealthy, and could retitle it "My Gym".  Unfortunately independent wealth has as yet eluded me, which means I have to share the gym with others, usually "gym people".  If you're one, you may not recognize yourself, but the rest of you know exactly what I'm talking about.  They wear designer workout clothes, the kind that aren't sold in "our size".  They never appear to be sweating.  Or grunting.  Their hair (and makeup if female) remains as coiffed and gelled as when they arrived.  They make it look effortless, the jerks. And you can be sure, at the sight of me flopping and flailing about in my oversized sweats, they are thinking the same thing I used to think back in the Richard Simmons days...."aww aren't old people cute?"...with a side of "eeew".   Don't believe me?  Watch this and you'll understand....






The last point I'll make isn't about method, but about motivation.  I recognize that some of you enjoy exercise.  You really do...you actually smile when you're covered in sweat.  Your voice lights up when you speak about "breaking through a plateau" or "feeling the burn".  You consider team sports a bonding experience.  You have actually used the term "runner's high"...and believed it.  You really want to enlighten my kind, to help us understand and share your joy over a "healthy lifestyle".  Let me save you some disappointment...it's never going to happen.  I will continue exercising, and eating healthy, but it won't be for all of the happy fluffy Kumbaya reasons you believe I should.  My inspiration, in fact my only motivation, is borne of pure vanity.  I don't want to be fat.  I don't want to look old.  I don't want to be the sad sack everybody secretly pities whilst telling me to "love myself just the way I am".   Positive reinforcement my ass. I am not motivated by other people's success stories, and have no interest in "creative visualization" of myself as a thin person.  If you want me to get on the treadmill...show me a picture of Rosie O'Donnell in a thong lying on a couch, hand in bucket, covered in KFC crumbs.  Forget hanging the size 4 bikini on my closet door as a reminder of my goals....instead put a size 26 daisy covered mumu up there.  A fridge full of fresh vegetables...nah...give me a fridge full of mayo instead, and watch the pounds melt away.

As I look out the window I notice it has stopped raining for a nanosecond.  Enough ranting for today...time to get the sweats on and go for a walk.  Wish me luck...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ankle biting health fascists - Part 1

Another hurdle in the continuing saga of vacation preparedness is an endeavor to lose weight.  The original plan being to drop 20 pounds in the course of 14 weeks...quite a reasonable goal I thought.  One which was still reasonable at 12 weeks, slightly less so at 10, and now, at 8, is bordering on comical. Fortunately I am not cursed with an abundance of ambition, thus it was easy, whilst pondering the situation over a slab of Havarti and some rosemary crackers, to whittle that goal down to 10 pounds.  Once again reasonable, but sure to require a combination of deprivation and physical torture to achieve.

I can smell some of you thinking now..."oh no Lisa, you don't need deprivation and physical torture...just a healthy diet and regular moderate exercise".  Semantics people...you say portion control, I say starvation. You say moderate exercise, I say Abu Ghraib.  Ok, I admit to a small amount of facetiousness regarding portion control, as I don't generally consume food in slab, vat, or trough form.  Except for cheese.  Don't judge. 

The above noted, evidently the problem is not so much in the amount I eat, but what it is comprised of.  Now I'm sure that my health-conscious friends, family, and former colleagues, and as well as the various nutrition experts and medical gurus out there in cyberspace, are genuinely trying to be helpful with their suggestions.  And many of those I have taken to heart, for example, bacon is now a garnish instead of a main.  Ditto chocolate. Wine is served in a glass now, instead of swigging it straight from the bottle. That last one was a joke.  Mostly.  But as with all advice one must consider what is practical, possible and/or downright absurd.  So in that vein, I must unapologetically reject the following:

1)  No "white" carbs.  I understand the need for moderation, blood sugar levels, etc., duly noted, and I will make an honest effort to be more conscious.  Hey, I actually prefer whole grain breads.  That said, I am second-generation Italian, from NJ, so there is zero chance I will live in a world without pasta. Refrain from even thinking the words "whole wheat pasta" in my direction. Seriously. Don't make me call The Don.

2) No "red" meat.  Yes, I know that fish and chicken are infinitely healthier, and yes, I enjoy both of those items regularly.  Mostly because of their health benefits, but moreso because they're Meat.  Yes, I capitalized Meat intentionally.  I have that much love and admiration for it.  For those who have never experienced the unbridled joy of a properly seasoned lamb chop, a stack of prosciutto shavings, or a perfectly seared rare filet mignon, there are no suitable words to explain. For those who have and still manage to banish them, I say: 1) kudos for your iron resolve 2) you're insane, and 3) can I have yours?

3) No "any" meat (aka vegetarianism).  The idea of hahaha....sorry, what I meant to say was hahahahaha.  No really, the point is hahahahahaha protein is a very important component in a ppppppffffftttt hahaha <snort> well rounded diet, and besides, meat has hahahahaareyoufuckingkiddingme?!  

4) No anything that  is derived from a meat related source (aka veganism).  This doesn't even deserve it's own number.  I'm taking my 4) back.

4) No sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Too much sugar is indeed bad for you.  Artificial sweeteners are, for the most part, made of the same substances as the plastic wrapped around the box they come in. Probably not a good thing.  And while I can think of few things worse than consuming plastic and/or rotting one's teeth, one notable horror does come to mind. Living out the rest of my days in a dessert-less existence.

5) 1,000 calorie a day diet.  I would gnaw my own arm off.  Then I would gnaw yours off.  Any questions?


I think the key to proper diet, as with everything else in this wacky life of ours, is moderation.  Balance.  Harmony.  Cheese...blessed blessed cheese.  Sorry...squirrel.  Anyway, it's time for dinner, so I'll step off my soapbox for today.  Part II of this segment to follow soon, where we analyze exercise...the bad, the ugly, and the really ugly.  Until then...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diligence...

As I may have alluded to on my first and only post, diligence is not my strong suit.  This might explain why you haven't heard from me in nearly two weeks.  It isn't the only explanation, however, as amazingly I do have a few other pursuits on the fire to keep my unemployed mind from complete idleness.  One of these pursuits is a valiant attempt to learn French. 

I may have mentioned that I am going to Europe again at the end of June. A good portion of the trip will be spent coasting about the Sud du France (translation: south of France) with a funny, handsome, charming 20-something, English-speaking Frenchman.  Sexy right?  Alas, as is par for the course in my non-existent love life, he is blissfully gay.  Ah well, it will be a blast nonetheless...but I digress...today's monologue is about learning, or shall I say attempting to learn, la langue Francaise.
I have been to France before, travelling alone as I often do. And indeed it was fabulous, but aside from reading the menu (I speak food in most languages), and the ever popular "merde", I regretted not speaking more than 10 words of the language. "Bon Jour/Soir", "Ou est le toilette?" and "Merci Madame / Monsieur" can only get a person so far.  Specifically, to the bathroom.  Which, while helpful, is not the makings for robust Anglo-Franco communications.  So I thought I would make an effort this time to be capable of forming at least a rudimentary sentence or three, and to this end, am completing the first three levels of Rosetta Stone. 

It is a good program, designed to help even the most addled of brains such as mine grasp the basics of a new language.  Unfortunately there is nothing "basic" about French.  Yes, some of the words are similar to English, and vocabulary in the sense of individual word memorization isn't terribly difficult.  That is where the "not terribly difficult" part ends.  The first hurdle is pronounciation, which if you have ever heard anyone speak French needs no further explanation.  There are words I truly cannot say correctly, as my lips, cheeks and tongue are incapable of contorting that way.  I'm sure it's because I wear braces...it must be...right?  Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  It also happens that many of the words I'm learning, even the ones I can successfully utter, have little to no bearing on what I will actually need to say when I'm there.  It is quite unlikely I will encounter a horse in need of a ladder on my travels along the Riviera.

The next challenge is grammar.  Matters of singular and plural are hard enough, de..du...des...les...le...ack!  But there is a concept that exists in French (as well as Italian and Spanish) that is unfamiliar to us native English speakers...the concept of things being masculine vs. feminine.  We're not talking about obvious things such as people or animals, where one can simply turn them upside down and...voila...it's a boy!  No my friends, we're talking about inanimate objects.  For example, a table is a girl (la table) but a bike is a boy (le velo), a car is a girl, a bag is a boy.  I'm sure there is some rhyme or reason.  No, that's a lie. I'm quite convinced there is no rhyme or reason at all to what makes an object masculine or feminine, other than the whims of a roomful of Bordeaux-pickled, cheese-filled, evil mustache-twirling Frenchies who invented the language ages ago.  Since I can see no rule to follow, it must simply be a matter of memorizing what item is which gender.  And to a 41 year old brain which did most of it's developing in the 70s and 80s, raw memorization can be something of an...ahem...challenge.

I have 8 weeks left to complete two of the three levels I endeavored to finish before take-off.  I'm sure there will be more of a story to tell before I'm through.  In the meatime, along these lines, I leave you with a video from comic genius Eddie Izzard.

A bientot...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tap tap...is this thing on?

Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere. I've often toyed with the idea of starting one of these.  Being the avid web-surfer, blog reader, and commentary queen that I am, even having a few pieces  published in a former life, it should have been a no-brainer.  Especially given the amount of free time my current status of unemployed loafer affords me.  But, having read the title, you know that nothing requiring a modicum of sustained effort is a no brainer for those of my ilk. 

It's not that we're lazy, inept, or unwilling to go the distance.  At least not most of the time.  Honest.  We're just...well...easily distracted.  Distracted enough to admit without shame that, in the time it took me to write this introductory blurb, I've already been interrupted with several texts, a cup of tea, and diverted to both Google and Facebook in search of...I already forgot.  I like to equate it to baseball.  There are starters, relief pitchers, and closers.  Think of me as your starter, blazing through the initial innings with a wicked 100MPH fastball.  Good stuff, but I would strongly suggest that the coach have a replacement lined up by the top of the 4th, or commence with a rain dance, if he has any intentions of winning the game.  Because by the top of the 5th, I will be showered, changed and en route to the nearest pub. 

Believe it or not, having the attention span of a crack addicted fruit fly isn't a great recipe for success. So in the interest of self-improvement, and with the inspiration of a not-so-easily-distracted friend, Chasing Squirrels is now born.  I'm not quite sure what to expect yet as that would require thinking beyond the next five minutes.  I'm sure of this much...it will be part travel blog.  I am a frequent solo traveller, with another European festivus coming up in June, the preparation for and execution of which should create more than enough material to fill a page or three in self-effacing mockery alone.  Other than that, job-search...romance...general musings on life...or more succinctly, in the great Seinfeldian tradition, a blog about nothing.  Stay tuned...