Saturday, May 04, 2002

Look up, you might see something.

I went outside just now to turn on the sprinklers, and I heard the thunder of afterburners.

Then I saw something Ive never seen before: A night acrobatic display, as a fighter accelerated, its afterburners lighting up the clear night sky, trailing a half-mile long tail of golden sparks.

It then effortlessly looped thousands of feet into the sky, came back down.. and started spewing exploding fireworks balls of all colors.

I grabbed the camera but gave up trying to capture it.. turned on the sprinklers and chilled on the PVC beach lounge chair behind the house.

Very cool.

Frankly, Ive been underwhelmed by Airshow displays the last coupla years. Same planes, same acrobatic displays...

But, tonight - they put on a show.

The fireworks-spewing, afterburner-flaming aerial display was only the start.

The mother of all fireworks displays then started up.

I sat back, and watched the mile-high cloud of colored fire spew for the next half hour, with the screaming, thundering fighters accelerating low over the houses and beaches then going straight up into the starlit sky - floating past the stars and the planets.

These guys obviously love what they do - and they REALLY put on a show.

Last year, I walked up to the middle of the Bayonne Bridge.. and saw the grandest sight I had seen in awhile.
In the clear summer haze, I could see for miles in all directions.. out into the Atlantic, up the Long Island sound, all the way up the Hudson Valley past the glistening jewel of New York, around the Delaware River estuary that is New Jersey, all the way into the Appalachians.

At that point, a prayer came from my lips.. to live long enough to see a few more cool sights like that.

Tonight qualified.

JPennant: Took a picture of the bug bath before I wash them off.
JPennant: the front of the car is completely plastered from driving down the peninsula :-D
yambiguity: ewwww

Actually it wouldve been dirtier, but on the Florida Turnpike, the rest stops have free, automated windshield washers as youre exiting the gas stations...

And the Love Bugs (.. bugs who 'fly united' .. BWAHAHAHAHAHA) havent really come out in force yet.

Sometimes it get so bad, that driving through one swarm will completely obliterate your vision. (Imagine hundreds of bugs exploding on your windshield in under a minute, and you get the idea..)

A trick? Put ONE (no more than that or you'll regret it) drop of Dawn in a bottle of windshield washer fluid.

Essential equipment driving around Florida.

Friday, May 03, 2002

Hmm. Which New York movie to go see?

Spiderman? (*Spiderman, Spiderman, your friendly neighborhood comes the Spidermaaaan*) or the first Woody Allen movie in years that actually seems to be worth the price of admission, Hollywood Ending?

JPennant: I was trying to decide which flick to see tonight.. Spiderman or Hollywood Ending
tammy: i think you basically have to buy spider-man tickets prior to going

Gah. She's right.

JPennant: Heehee. Innaresting how the West Coast papers are lukewarm over the Spidey flick
JPennant:: while the East Coast papers are falling all over themselves.
yamB: why dat?
JPennant:: I think its the 'Gotham City' syndrome
JPennant:: For many Californians, if they cant relate - it might as well not exist.
JPennant:: Even if they'd like to see it.
JPennant:: Thats my theory so far
JPennant:: The Post, Daily News and Times gave it a thumbs up
JPennant:: the SF & LA papers kinda went 'eh"
yamB: my theory is that it might be because we see so much "fantasy" all the time, that unless it's really "different", then it's time to hit the beaches :-)
JPennant:: LoL

Ok, ok - I wont front. It's gotta be Spidey. Crowded or no.

Maybe I'll try to catch a midweek matinee.

I hate da crowds at da theater.

Who else likes empty theaters?
Speaking of doing things this weekend.

Earlier today....

JPennant: A B-1 bomber just roared over the house LOWWWWW
McClint: cool!
McClint: you ran outside to see it?
JPennant: Nah.. it came over too quick

Also roaring over the house this afternoon..

Buncha A-10 Warthogs, a coupla Harrier jumpjets being flung all over the skies, F-18's, F-16 Falcons.

Yep. Its Fleet Week in Fort Lauderdale.

Did I mention I hate crowds?

So, Im torn between wanting to catch the dashing young men and women in their flying machines by trekking down to the beach and suffocating with hundreds of thousands of folk (oh wait, theyre expecting millions) in the blazing sun with No Hope of Finding Parking or just lay out behind the house and watch the show from a mile away from the beach?

Im leaning toward staying put.

Oh yeah, the Blue Angels were flying over today.

Apparently they dont care about noise pollution. '-)

Random florida shots...

JT and I looked on in amazement as StonerKitty streaked up the stairs, doing his Cat Fleeing Strangers routine.

Damn. we didnt expect riotous hugs from the cat when I came by to visit, but damn. (Although, as Fred will tell you about BoyCats - It woulda been different if I had boobs..)

I wouldnt say my feelings were hurt, but...

Then as I stood, he came back, warily circled and then plopped down by feet to allow me to stroke his fur. He didnt flee. :-D

But what made my day was waking up to him licking my hand, then circling around, padding all over me and the couch to head back to JT's.

And then waking up to him sleeping right by my head.

Nah, he doesnt do that to everybody.

He's a good little furball.

Im a stick-shift snob from way back.

Its an intoxicating way to finely control a car, doing the intricate 3 pedal dance to control speed, attitude and acceleration.

Last night I realized that, unless I needed to come to a full stop - I was only dabbing on the brakes to adjust speed. Without even thinking about it.

Clutch take-ups and downshifts so smooth youd think youre driving in a slushbox. Brisk acceleration as the engine is kept in its sweetspot. Sweet sweet.

But. I think Im getting too old for it.

Cause I dont just have 'clutch leg' anymore.

'Clutch knee' is a bitch.

This is my body's way of telling me that soon, very soon - driving stick will be a hobby.


Thursday, May 02, 2002

Road trip

(Yesterday morning... )
m: You ready to go?
Me: Ready to go where?
m: Gonna come pick you up, so you can take a ride up to ******, set up (such and such), grab the car, go up to Orlando, get the rest of your stuff...
Me: Uhhh.. gimme an hour.

Hey, I go with the flow.

Hrmm. In my rush, I remembered the camera.. and forgot the film (ie - memory card for same camera).

Little did I know I would be gone all day and night. (I just got back.)

So, without a camera here are snippets to the best of my recollection...

- Florida barrier islands and the Intracoastal waterway.

Stunningly beautiful. Dunno if Id wanna be hanging about there when hurricanes come a-calling tho.
Living on the beach is over-rated in my opinion (and not just because I cant afford it.)
Oh yeah, and itsa trek and a half.

- Manatees up close.

Big. Gentle. Smelly. BIG. As in 10 feet and one-ton and more big. Will roll over on their back for you if you treat them right. I scratched one and got a fistfulla algae for my trouble. Horrible scars on these gentle giants from boat propellers.

How do you get them to come up close? Get a hose and spray fresh water. They will spend all day sucking fresh water. In fact, if you want to find manatees - look at any source of fresh water, including air-conditioning/heat exchanger output pipes that you'll find all over Florida.

JT told me after that they also go nuts if you throw lettuce into the water for 'em.

They were cute. :-)

In a big, lumbering, non-aggressive water-creature kinda way.

Even their farting under-water was cute..

In a big, lumbering, non-aggressive water-creature pull-my-finger kinda way.

- Orange groves

This was the first time I have really seen multi-acres Orange Groves in Florida. I was very very tempted to pull over and pick a few.
Make my own Florida Orange Juice.

That wouldve been bad. ;-)

- Bugs on the windshield.
Ahh yes.

The toll-booth collecter on the Florida turnpike looked at the front of the car...
"Everybody Ive seen coming out of Orlando today have all these BUGS all over their cars."
"Uh yeah.. there were just swarms of them. Exploding all over the windshield."

Id forgotten about that part of driving in warm weather. Ugh.

And its not even 'Love Bug' season yet. *shudder* (Southerners know what I mean).

Another reason not to ride around on motorcycles. Bugs in Teeth.

By the way, the toll-booth folk wear hawaiian .. ok.. florida shirts.

No, really.

I wish I had pictures.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Up in New York, the weather is still on the chilly side. I would still be wearing a jacket.

Here, there is record heat, with weather so muggy that its actually good for you to take a deep breath to rehydrate...

With temps in the 90's, you hardly see anyone puttering around during the daytime - except for the beach and tan hungries.

In Florida, natives pride themselves on being able to set their watches on the 4:30pm thunderstorms.

However, since Ive been around - Ive seen one or two rain storms.. and they were a passing soaking lasting only a coupla minutes.

Been so hot, I am learning the intricacies of sprinklers as it wakes me up at 4am, and so dry that to keep the lawn from drying out - I had to switch the sprinklers on and give the lawn a good soaking.

Not a good thing when you start seeing brown spots.

One of the things Im actually looking forward to in San Fran is the rain.

I know, it is an odd thing to want - but growing up thats what I thought San Fran was. a rain fest.

Thats probably why I was so prejudiced against the place, as I thought it was a wet, foggy version London town.

Turns out, that Ive grown to like foggy and wet weather.

Turns out, San Fran isnt always like that. :-) (Biggest shock about california? The hills are brown!!!)

With the current dryness here, Im missing daylong patters of rain.

I like rainy days.

So much so - I would love to see a few of the 4:30 thunderstorms roll through.

Even a secret wish for a hurricane to pass by before I go....
Simple pleasures

Sitting by the window.. a cardinal flies by.

Weird. Ive never seen a cardinal in any other state but Florida.

Along with the ever ubiquitous wild doves, there are blue jays and blackbirds.

The parrots fly over every so often. I dont see them hangin out.

And I just saw, what I think is, a yellow finch.

Bright sunflower yellow, with black wings.


On the scale of earth shakin events, this wont rank with anyone.

But me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Clint alerted me that the power had gone out in most of Jacksonville last night.. a pretty big deal for a city that large.

McClint: electricity was out until after midnite
JPennant: man. I heard about it on the news
JPennant: was it like a war zone driving home?
McClint: by the time i got into jax, most of rush hour had passed but it was still kinda weird
McClint: you heard about the blackout on the news?
JPennant: Yeah, 70 percent of a large city like Jax out of power? Its news
pretty well sums up how people handled it yesterday
JPennant: Heh. No riots :-)
McClint: hahaah we got no reason to riot. turn the heat up another 10° and it might be a different story

Yeah, I read that article, about the power being out in the laid back , artsy area I used to live in called San Marco.

Brought back memories..... Seeing flicks at the San Marco theatre, heheh and no power like the other starving artist students that that tend to live in the area. ;-)
In San Marco, I ran into a trio of young people, who had left their apartment when the lights went down. They were relieved to find the lights off everywhere. As one of them, who identified himself as Lyle, explained, "We thought it was because we didn't pay our electric bill."

Heehee. That woulda been my first thought back then. ;-)

Monday, April 29, 2002

Yep. Black folk can and do get sunburned if out in the sun too long.

Doing things like catching a concert by Mitch Ryder and whats left of Grand Funk Railroad...

My hosts. Very nice folk from Atlanta. :-)

And people got into the old men blasting Old School Blues Rock

Errrr.. very into it.

And some pople just took it all in stride..

Shit. Thats what the beach is fer...
This frivolity happened at the Seafood Festival.

I wasnt gonna go, but I was invited by these nice folk.. so I jumped into the ScoobyMobile and checked it out.

I had Gator.

Gator on a stick, in fact.

Biker chick caught me trying it for posterity.

Eh. It tasted like chicken. Very chewy chicken.

Contrary to my anti-social rep, Im actually pretty friendly out in crowds..

The guy who sold me Gator on a stick, fish fritters and conch with jambalaya. I liked his shirt.

Some Broward County Sherrif deputies.

Oooh. Gun and shorts. Cant beat it. ;-)

Biker chica again.

Awful nice folk Ive been encountering.....

So yah, thats why Im a bit sunburnt and still recovering from being out in the sun.