Friday, August 29, 2008

Graph Jam: Vic's Visit

My pal Vic visited from PEI last weekend. Ostensibly, it was to see Bruce Springsteen (V is a huge fan) but we realized it is almost 20 years since we first met. (Yikes!) So the trip became a celebration of that as well, not to mention a detailed existential exploration of where we are, and how far we have come.

We were blessed with fantastic weather and an outstanding concert. We jammed a ton of stuff into 48 hours and yet it didn't seem rushed. It's hard to put it all into words so here is a graph.

Click on the graph for a larger view.

ps. Vic slept through 2 evenings of Pitbull Perturbation. This may affirm that I am crazy but (a) on one night, V had been up 24+ hours and (b) Vic sleeps like he was hit with a tranquilizer dart intended for a bear.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ode to Weekend

2 islanders
floating pirates
on a quiet sea: mark, twain.

forest park, world's fair, The Boss
and 2 Huck Finns wondering how far
they have come, and how far is yet to go.

20 years ago we dragged our muddy waters,
but now, we simply float onward,
as the wise turtles look on.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I generally hate trendy social networking sites but I was asked to join Facebook for work reasons.

I'm hooked. I'm looking up all kinds of people from all over. Man, it's weird. I mean, we have all Googled people but Facebook has teasingly small pictures for people not "in your network". You can almost make them out but not quite. But cybersleuths know that people expose their friend-list which implicitly provides information about them.

Long-time readers know that I was in a very close-knit class at elementary school. Essentially a core of 20 (?) kids went through 6 years together, learning French. I split off from the group and am now searching for some of them years later.

It is the weirdest feeling. I found some of them and recognize them immediately, despite not having seen them since we were 10 years old. One woman is posed in a rather prissy, arms-crossed stance that is precisely the way she used to pout as a child. So many weird areas of my brain are firing that I feel like I'm coming back from a stroke.

I've also come to realize, in a profound way, that these people had lives after we separated. They went on to have their own adolescence; their own triumphs and tragedies; and now their own careers and children. This all seems obvious but for some reason it has really hit me with respect to their own high school years.

Would they remember me? I wonder. I haven't had the guts to request "a friend" from that era yet, but maybe soon. I suppose if I remember them, they no doubt recall me.

*sigh* This is precisely the hook of Facebook. The irresistable draw of finding out about the characters from the momentous chapters of our lives.


ps. Make no mistake: one visits the past but one does not overstay. The St Louis years are a huge chapter with vibrant, wonderful characters. If you are on said wretched site, look me up. (And a hearty hello to all my friends.)

pps. As always, I cannot resist pointing out that my cousin, and Binky's wife, now teaches at my alma mater. Though charming, it ties the strange loop on a 4-dimensional knot.

Question for St Louis

hey folks,

I'm looking for a shop for herbal nutrition and/or alternative medicine. Not the big chains with vitamins but something more off the mainstream.

Any ideas?

I vaguely remember one on Big Bend in Webster Groves but I have no idea if it is still open.


ps. In a related update, my buddy Vic will soon be visiting from PEI ! Should be a great weekend...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Man on Wire

Forget the Batman movie... Go see Man on Wire.

It is a documentary on the true story of a French wirewalker who, in the mid 1970s, conspired with friends to rig a wire across the World Trade Center towers (the method used is very Batman-esque). Philippe Petit then walked across the wire, over a 1/4 mile up.

The film is a spellbinding thriller. We know how it turns out and yet one fears for this strange pixie. Just look at the photo on the website above. Mon dieu!

It can also be viewed as a tribute to the WTC: it does not mention the fate of the towers, and yet of course the 800 lb gorilla is sitting next to you the entire time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

RIP, Professor Ledwell

For most of us here
being islanders is a terminal condition.
But those who go away aren't cured.
They simply die of the same ailment on alien soil.

Frank Ledwell, 1930 - 2008

Professor Ledwell from UPEI has passed away (obit here).

He was a warm, kind-hearted man, a gifted writer, and one hell of an Islander. There are precious few who have carried the torch so high, so eloquently, from the old generations into the present day.

Heaven help us now.


ps. I first read the above poem in 1990. It haunted me when I left the Island for grad school. Leaving was not easy. I haven't looked at the book in years, and yet I found it and the poem in 5 minutes. It haunts me still.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From Google With Love

In this post, our man in the field muses on the narcissistic voyeurism of tracking blog hits, expanding on one especially quirky visit.

Many readers here are also bloggers, so I'm sure they will relate! I check mine often (more for the tech blog). One of the weirdest was a Google search for "Captain Canuck death" where CC was actually my real name. Yow. This blog has received a strong measure of hits for a photo of a Honda Civic that I nicked from the web.


ps. Many readers should probably avoid the PBS post on the restaurant. (It is mentioned in passing.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Graph Jam Redux

I submitted an idea to Graph Jam on a lark, and it was submitted! Click here for details.

The basic idea was to play off of different kinds of jam.


ps. Turning to sports, I'm going to not-so-lovely Wood River IL tomorrow. A very short triathlon and possibly the most family friendly (aside from waking at 5 am). My time in 2006 was 1 h 20 min. We'll see how it goes; I was more fit back then. No Jim G.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hot Enough For Ya?

As I walked out of the gym, the heat was like a wall. It is brutal.

On the ride home, a bank sign flashed 89 F (or 31 C).

Warm indeed, but one might argue (a) those signs aren't accurate and (b) it was probably directly in the sun.

I don't know about (a) but (b) is a non-starter: it was 9:30 pm.

Yikes. That's crazy. I have been here a long time but have never come to grips that July and August have oppressive heat where no one really wants to be outside. May and September rule down here, with occasional gorgeous days throughout the spring and autumn.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hug a Spaniard Today

I don't know what it is like in Spain, but my guess is that national pride is riding pretty high these days.

  • Spain won the prestigious Euro 08 soccer match. Some of my French colleagues feel this is even larger than the World Cup, because the standard is very high across the board.

  • Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the French Open, as expected, but then played an all-time classic at Wimbledon, serving notice to the world that he is ready to be #1. This may well happen at the US Open.

  • Fellow countryman Carlos Sastre won the definitive Tour de France bicycle race. No word yet if he will enter next year's Tour de Donut.
Quite a year! Enhorabuena!

A New Foreign Correspondent

The handy right margin now features a new blogger! Our anonymous man in the field is a legal eagle who has transferred from Chicago to Paris for a stint.

As shown by the iconic North of Nain, the idea of "life in a foreign land" makes for great blog fodder (blodder?), esp. with the writing chops of this chap (who also invented helium during a vacation in Las Vegas, as I recall).

Join me in looking forward to dispatches from Paris!