So I was looking forward to the day when Expendables 2 hit Netflix streaming. I was disappointed. It lacked all of the fun of the first one. I think the 2 in the title is less because it's a sequel and more because there are only 2 scenes in the entire movie worth watching, both of which involve cameo performances rather than anything related to the plot.
If they make another sequel, I hope they reduce the cast to just Jason Statham and Jet Li. At least then the fight scenes will be worth watching.
My youngest daughter has been in Nepal for two weeks. The only communication we've had with her in that time has been a brief voice mail that she left when she arrived in Kathmandu and the two short posts she left on the message board of the project she's with. The first of these show some penetrating insight that is unusual for a sixteen year old.
If someone had asked me last night what my first impression of Nepal was, I would have no doubt replied that it was the colors. The constant lush green, the rainbow of clothing, and the boldly painted buildings create a brilliant backdrop to the colorful culture of Nepal.
Now however, it would take me longer to reply. The vibrancy of the color in Nepal was definitely my first impression in a strictly visual sense. But because in the past day and a half I have been introduced to so many intricacies of the culture here, it is hard to even decide when I can properly have an accurate impression, let alone express it.
The second has a humorous bit about her host family's reaction to me.
Some of the highlights include when I got to show my baa a photo of my dad, who he now strongly believes is a true gentleman (from only seeing the picture), all of the times I had to coax one of my new goat friends off of the stairs going up to my room, which was conveniently located above my family’s water buffalo, and conquering my fear of leeches.
She has another two weeks to go. I'm suspecting that she'll have a strong case of culture shock when she gets back home. Last summer she spent half the time on a Blackfoot reservation in Montana to help build a stage for their Sun Dance festival. When I picked her up at the airport at 4am, the hustle and bustle of the sleeping city was spooking her after being acclimated to the silence of the night in the backcountry. It took her a while to readjust. I'm thinking that this readjustment is going to be harder.
Speaking of readjustments, my eldest daughter is back home for the summer between her sophomore and junior years at college. It's hard for both of us to get used to living with the other. As an RA this past year, she's had quite a bit of responsibility, and a single unit to herself. Now she has to share the apartment with her family and her room with her sister. There's a whole different dynamic at play being part of a group of folks sharing space over being alone.
She found a summer job more quickly than I had anticipated. She interviewed at a Italian restaurant located in the same complex as our apartment building. She went in for an interview and they told her that they don't hire summer workers. She came home kind of bummed out. The next day they called back saying that they had fired someone for being drunk on the job and could she please start right away.
Sometimes, it's all about the timing.
For the past month I've been riding my new (to me) bike to work everyday. It's good fun riding a vintage single speed through the city and down the bike path wearing a shirt and tie with a bowler atop my head with my attache strapped to the back rack. The first time most people see me, they can't help but smile. Sometimes I get comments. At a stoplight yesterday, a middle aged man walking with a young woman turned to her and said, `Oh, look, here is the most stylingest man in Bethesda.' But more often, it's just a smile or a chuckle.
The surprising thing to me is that when on the bike trail, sometimes I overtake other cyclists. It's not because I'm especially fast. It's probably because I'm just riding to get home and pedaling non-stop. That, and when the grade is downhill, the weight of the bike combined with my 205 pounds, gives me an edge at the speed thing compared to someone riding something half the weight of mine.
I have had to do some minor work on it. Aside from installing a rack, the chain broke one morning. Fortunately, I was less than a mile away from the friendly neighborhood bike shop where they put on a new chain for me in less than ten minutes. Then there was also the way the handlebars kept drifting.
That situation took longer to fix than I had hoped. After twisting the handlebars back into position, I tightened the bolt on the stem as tightly as I could. After a couple of days, they started to drift again. So I straightened them out and tightened the bolt again. They drifted again. Repeat and et cetera. So finally I just started keeping a 1/2" wrench in my pocket and every morning, I'd tighten the bolt. After about a week of this, it seemed like the bolt finally decided to stick tight.
Now that I've been riding for about a month, I think it's time for a couple of upgrades. It definitely needs a tuneup. I need to get a spoke wrench because most of the spokes are loose. I also need new tires. I think the current ones are the original that came with the bike. The tread is quite smooth and I slip around quite a bit when it rains and parts of the bike path to work turn to mud. The existing tires are also pretty fat. I'm thinking thinner ones might be an improvement. I also need to get the crankset broken down and rebuilt. There is enough play in it, that I think some of the bearings are shot. I'm hoping that I can get longer crank arms to replace the existing ones. Aside from giving me a bit more power, the ones I have feel a bit small. As a teenager, I had a cheapo Huffy road bike with 27" wheels at a time when everyone I knew was riding bikes with 26" wheels. For whatever reason, the crank arms on that Huffy were longer than any other bike I've ridden and now I always feel like I'm riding a toy when I ride other bikes.
The best part about the experience is that I get to work far more relaxed than when taking the bus. Despite missing the half hour nap that my morning commute usually consists of, I feel less tired during the workday and I'm in far better spirits. That additional energy only lasts so long, though. By the end of the day, I'm falling asleep a couple of hours earlier.
Work's been interesting. Between pushing some of my responsibilities off onto other people and some other people pushing their responsibilities off onto other people more technically proficient so that I no longer have to make myself available to assist, I've had more time to pursue some of the long term projects that I've been wanting to do for some time. So for the past couple of weeks, I've taught myself a good deal about Microsoft's Powershell.
I have to say. I'm pretty impressed. Microsoft finally did something very, very right. It's really a shame that they didn't ship something like this with DOS/Windows from the get-go. They may have killed Unix off long before Linux got around to committing that dirty deed. Aside from finally bringing a first class scripting language to Windows, Powershell gives full access to the Dot Net runtime so scripts can call anything from System.Windows.Forms and System.Windows.Data. It's pretty slick.
On the other hand, a client of ours acquired a couple of new servers running Windows Server 2012 so I've gotten my first taste of the Windows 8 interface. Seriously? Microsoft? Seriously?
For the second half of the nineties, I was in a black hole culture wise. I started that section of my life working fifty hour weeks, working my associate's degree part time, and commuting an hour to work each way. I then graduated to working graveyard shift and commuting an hour in the other direction before ending the 90s by driving even further for my first 8-5 job in years. It was a happy day when we moved to be close to my work and once again, I had enough time to get more than four or five hours of sleep a night.
One of the cultural sensations that I completely missed out on was the Xena, Warrior Princess. Up until this past week, I've never seen an episode. I figured that I owed it to posterity to at least watch the first season.
Thus far, it reminds me of Star Trek more than anything else, with bits of Wild Wild West thrown in. The pseudo-historical milieu that the series takes place in is not unlike the pseudo-futuristic milieu home to Kirk and Spock and company. And, much like Star Trek, most of the episodes are morality plays of one sort or the other. The action sequences, however, are much closer in style to Wild Wild West. The choreography in Xena's fight scenes makes the fakey fight scenes in Star Trek look positively realistic.
|< Wolf Mother | A poll >|