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Chicago.

So this past weekend Earl and I saddled up Jamie and Scott and we headed to the Windy City for an extended weekend vacation. The occasion was a bear run called BearPride. The forecast for the event was that there would be big burly guys that like other big burly guys, and their admirers. The forecast was right. Lots of eye candy to behold.

Wednesday afternoon we headed west on Interstate 90. All was good and normal, including the mandatory construction in Erie, Pa. (why is Pennsylvania ALWAYS under construction?), until we got to Cleveland, Ohio. Where dark, ominous clouds littered the sky. The winds picked up, rotation in the clouds was evident and the skies let loose as the winds went crazy. As I was behind the wheel, we continued through the storm, watching many cars hydroplane and others try to drive through the flooded out roads, but we held our own and was only delayed a little bit.

 

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Interstate 90.

We ended up spending the night in beautiful Toledo, Ohio. We made the rest of the trek to Chicago on Thursday, where we arrived mid-afternoon. And it was cold. Very cold. Like 50Fs cold. But we didn’t let that dampen our spirits too much.

Thursday we socialized and ran into some old friends and made plenty of new ones.

Earl enjoyed carrying Jamie’s camera.

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Strangled in Print.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza which is right next to Interstate 90. A good hotel, for the most part and a place I would stay again. It is on the edge of Greektown, so we went to a couple of Greek restaurants, an Irish pub and an Italian place. It all makes sense when you think about it in a worldly way.

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Scott and Earl at the Irish Pub. We were deaf because two women saw each other for the first time since college (which appeared to be a few decades ago) and they screamed so loud they shattered every beer glass within a five block radius.

Our view was quite nice.

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Daytime.


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Nighttime.

On Friday we met up with our friends Jeff and Mark from North Carolina. They were not at the bear event, but rather at the leather event at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive. I am curious about this name Wacker Drive. It seems suggestive in some ways but it was an appropriate setting for the various goings on in the Windy City. Dinner was good. I think the place we went to was called McCormick and Schmicks. We are going to visit Jeff and Mark in North Carolina sometime this autumn. It’s been too long since I’ve seen them and now everyone else has met them and all is good.

Saturday night we went to the 80s dance party that didn’t have a lot of dance music but it did feature a lot of men dancing in boxer shorts. I opted to wear my Captain America boxer shorts with Captain America’s shield keeping me “well protected”.  Sorry, no photos were taken because I’m shy. We had a lot of fun though and it’s been a long time since Earl and I danced on a dance floor together.

On Sunday we went back to the IML (the leather event) to pass through the vendor mart and buy some things to spice up our life. It is there that I met up with a bundle of hot muscle, Brettcajun himself. I always like meeting other bloggers and Brett is just like he is in his blog. LOL.

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It continued to rain throughout the day on Sunday but at least it was warm enough to be able to get through the city streets without your beard frosting up.

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Rain.

All in all it was a very relaxing and fun weekend for us and we were very happy for the experience. When we left on Monday it was sunny and nearly 80F. Mother Nature can be that way.

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Relaxed bears.

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Flat.

We are just getting back from Chicago. The trip home took about 11 1/2 hours, with a total of 45 minutes of stopping time for rest stops and food. It’s so simple when you just get on Interstate 90 and drive. Traffic wasn’t bad.

I have much to write over the next couple of days once I catch my breath. 0530 comes early tomorrow, so I’ll keep this one short.

One quick thing to mention though; as we were driving between the Indiana state line and Toledo, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to the type of landscape and plot of land I would like for us to have a house on when it’s time to retire. I might be getting a little Green Acres in all of this, but the flat lands of the midwest and the houses with trees around them, surrounded by acres and acres of farmland, is the ideal setting for me.

I hope the husbear agrees.

Omm.

There are many things that I would like to write about, but it seems that I never find the time to sit down and do it. There’s always something to distract me; a YouTube video pops into my head, someone updates their Facebook account and a little notification pops up on the screen, I get in the mood for porn. In this hectic online experience that we all experience today, in a world where we truly want to be creative, we can’t be. At least I can’t be. I don’t know if it’s really, truly ADHD or if I’m just suffering from genuine technological stimulus overload, but when I want to be the most creative is when I’m distracted the most.

I like writing. Over the past year or so I have gotten in the habit of writing in very short spurts of prose. 150 characters here, a few sentences there. I blame Twitter for this, it has put me in the habit of writing in as close to 140 characters per thought as I can. This is rather unfortunate. I sometimes wonder if this has contributed to my occasional challenge of articulating myself, whether I stammer or stutter my words or even forget my train of thought or random words of the English language from time to time. This occasionally happens. I find it embarrassing. I don’t have this issue when I sit down and write.

The reason I am writing a little more than usual today and actually the motivation for this line of thought is because I downloaded a minimalist word processing program on to my MacBook Pro. It is called Ommwriter Dana II. At $4.99, it seems like a good bargain. It gives me a stark, white screen with a few peaceful looking trees on it. As I’m typing, I wear my headphones and hear Eastern type music that is suppose to be motivating and inspiring for me. There are a lot of chimes and windy like sounds. The usual word processing features that one uses the most, font selection, margins, etc., is all here, I just don’t have any windows or icons or anything like that distracting me to look at the latest YouTube video that feeds the thought that is currently drifting in my head. With Ommwriter, I don’t feel like I need to take a break and look at a Wikipedia article on Sandy Duncan (I love her, by the way) or listen to the latest track by Kylie Minogue. I am concentrating on the words I am writing and hopefully, finding a better path to good articulation. When I am done writing this blog entry using Ommwriter, I can simply cut and paste it into my blogging software.

One of the things that we are missing in this multitasking, multi-windowed computing environment is focus. Well at least I am. Back in the days of the green cursor flashing next to the prompt on the black Unix screen or your favorite DOS prompt, we focused on one task at a time on the computer. And it was kind of cool. We focused on the task at hand. I think this lack of multitasking ability gave us the opportunity to carry this one-task focus into our everyday lives, like the “good ol’ days” used to be, when Beaver walked home from school with his friend Larry. They talked, examined a few things along the way, but they were there in the present and current location; they wouldn’t know what Wally was doing at college without a phone call, they didn’t get status updates on a smartphone.

My ability to focus has gone to crap and I will be the first to admit that. And I know that using Ommwriter is not going to change my life or change the world. But at least it gives me a tool to use technology for what I want to do, and that is focus on each moment, in each place for what it is.

We are having a wonderful weekend in Chicago and I will be writing about our experiences when the time is right. We are relaxing and enjoying each moment.

And it feels good.

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Trip.

The plan was to leave for Chicago Wednesday night at 6. We’d find a cheap hotel tomorrow night and finish the drive on Thursday. However, Earl started has tomorrow off from work and everyone is in vacation mode. So I stepped out of the box and requested half a day off tomorrow.

So we’ll be on the road between 1 and 2. Holy Toledo, I think we might make it to Toledo tomorrow night.

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More Rain.

When it’s raining outside, my lunchtime setup looks like this.

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In the past 30 minutes of sitting here for lunch it has rained twice and had three sunny spells. As long as the sunny spells outnumber the rain showers I guess I can’t complain. The weather looks nice for tomorrow, which is a good thing because we start vacation tomorrow night at 4:00 p.m. We’ll be heading towards Chicago tomorrow night. The forecast in that direction is already calling for severe weather tomorrow night, which should keep the drive lively. I hope the rest of the family doesn’t mind chasing a storm if one crops up nearby.

I’m looking forward to meeting a blogger or two this coming weekend while we are at the bear run in Chicago. It’s always good to meet others, that’s why we go to these things.

Fuzzy faces make my fuzzy face smile.

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Ride.

If you follow my Twitter or Facebook accounts, you may have seen my mention of my bike ride yesterday. I clocked in at just under 25 miles. On a map, it looks something like this:

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It was a very good ride. The weather was perfect with it being partly cloudy and at around 65F. I picked a route that I knew would have some hills in it to keep it interesting and to push myself a bit. I am getting more aggressive with my riding this year as I feel a need to find a physical limit and then see if I can move beyond it.

One of the biggest reasons that I enjoy riding so much is because it gives me the opportunity to let my mind wander and to get into my own version of a meditative state. Once I establish my rhythm for the ride (usually 20 or so minutes into a trip), my mind starts to explore and ponder things. I’m still very much aware of everything going on around me; I know there’s cars on the road behind me and I’m conscious of where my bike is at any given moment, but I’m also very conscious of my breathing and I think that’s what gets me into that zen mode that I enjoy when I’m riding.

I have a couple of goals for rides this summer, including a couple of one day trips somewhere. I’d like to do a two day trip, which would involve me hauling my camping gear on the trailer I have for the bike. I tried a two day trip quite a few years ago, but the timing was off and I found myself in a cold rain, freezing in a tent. That trip ended in a phone call to Earl asking him to come pick me up. I wasn’t well prepared for that ride, but I think I could manage it better this time.

I’d also like to ride in Virginia again. I rode with our friend Thom a couple of years ago and it was quite nice. I would certainly enjoy another ride with him.

The weather has not been very cooperative this season. I think if I’m going to continue to want to ride in these parts, I’m going to have to invest in some rain gear.

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Spiffed.

I decided to install a new theme for the blog to spruce things up a bit. Perhaps the starkness of the original theme was just a little too stark.

I would love to hear your comments on the new digs.

Crazy.

Five years later, I still enjoy this video and song very much.

Here’s Brian Kent, with “I’m Not Crazy”. I thought it might be a good theme song for the day.

It might make some people blush.

Conversation.

Today marked the beginning of something exciting, for today began Amish Pie Season! That’s right, the little Amish baked goods stand, only open on Fridays, opened up for the first time this year. I was able to stop after work and picked up two pies. This weekend we are enjoying an Apple and Blueberry pie.

The big milestone of this celebration is that I actually had a conversation with the young lady that works the pie stand. Last year I mentioned that she wasn’t one that engaged in conversation. While we didn’t really discuss the world political scene, we did engage in something more than a “yes” and a “thank you”; she even wished me a good evening.

There was a larger selection of pies this year and on my way to work I noticed that the stand is now open in the morning; last year it didn’t open until later in the day. Among the selection of baked goods were homemade donuts and a strawberry cream pie.

So many possibilities.

We are just back from supper tonight. I believe we’ll have to have a little pie before bed tonight, what with the slight hysteria about the end of the world and all that tomorrow, because as Erma Bombeck reminded us in one of her books, “Remember the women on the Titanic that skipped the dessert the night the ship sank.” Erma would remember this as she ate a Twinkie.

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Thursday.

I keep thinking today is Friday. It can’t be Friday because I didn’t wear jeans, though I can wear jeans any darn day that I want to, I just happened to not wear jeans today. I would definitely be wearing jeans if it was Friday because I feel most comfortable in jeans, but today is Thursday. I want to be wearing shorts. Honestly, I’m happy I remembered pants.

Since I’m not wearing jeans, why do I think today is Friday? Is someone messing with the calendar? Has something in the atmospheric continuum gone askew? Now one would think that previous sentence would be referencing some show like Star Trek or Dr. Who, but it is not, it is referencing something else. A television show that should maintain the dignity of never being rebooted for television. If you’re going to mess with the classics, add to them, don’t reimagine them.

Speaking of reimagining, I’m thinking that the folks clamoring for the obviously hideous “Wonder Woman” reboot pilot should concentrate on more important things such as getting their hands on the ElectraWoman and DynaGirl rebooted pilot that had Markie Post in the lead role. Now that was a reboot I could wrap my head around.

Since it’s not Friday but my body thinks it is, I’m wondering if this is a sign from the universe that I should take a vacation day tomorrow. I probably shouldn’t since I’m off 2 1/8 days next week so we can go to Chicago to run with the bears. Plus, I’m saving up vacation time for the Big Trip in July. The one that starts on a Friday instead of a Saturday.

Perhaps that’s why I’m confused.

Aren’t you happy that I carry a keyboard in the car for lunchtime blogging on the iPad so I can type more nonsense more often?