Jeep Rides: 35°

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:54 am on Friday, November 30, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Random, Jeep

The  Jeep’s thermometer hit  35° on the way to work today. A new low. How fitting.


Posted by: elraymundo at 4:40 pm on Wednesday, November 14, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Euphoria, Jeep

It’s 72 degrees outside. On November 14th.

Blue skies and no wind.

Can’t ask for better Jeep-driving weather than this.

Virgil’s Note

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:24 am on Monday, November 12, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Friends, Nature, Self-Spotting, Ah, Memories

I got a check from Virgil the other day for the money I fronted him for his fantasy football team. There was a note in the envelope with the check that told me not to spend the money on fancy dancin’ girls. That won’t be a problem; the dancin’ girls I liked were never the fancy ones.

Virgil and I have been on three mountaineering trips together and he still kicks around in those sorts of remote places. His note got me to thinking: I think I need to get back on a mountain. It’s been seven years-plus since I was on Rainier and even longer since the two Katahdin trips. Maybe some snow and ice and clear, clean mountain air will get my mind right. And it doesn’t have to be the hardest route or anything super-challenging. No rappels off manky rope tied off on a stub of crumbly rock. No need to toe-point across a sheet of ice (although that was fun). I just want to get to the top, give a barbaric YAWP and then sit down and enjoy. Maybe eat a Cliff bar or something. Take some pictures. And breathe deeply.

Men In Blue

Posted by: elraymundo at 11:56 am on Thursday, November 8, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Random, Jeep

There must be a donut shop near the corner of Cedarhurst Drive and Algonkian Parkway that closes at 9:00. The last two mornings I’ve passed a police car sitting in the left turn lane at five minutes before nine, ready to turn onto Cedarhurst. I sure hope our taxes are feeding these guys enough. I’d hate to think that they would be having a low-energy day when they had to respond to a shooting, investigate a bank robbery or set up a speed trap on the Fairfax County Parkway overpass in Herndon.

Take these five dollars from me, policeman in cruiser 128-373L. Go on over to Dunkies and enjoy a French crueller and a bear claw. It’s on me.

***** ***** *****

According to the thermometer in the Jeep the temperature hit 37° (that’s 2.8° for you Euros) on the north end of Route 28 this morning. That’s a new low. Windows and top are still down and the heater is still off.

As has been the trend, I was far more comfortable driving to work in colder morning temperatures than I have been driving home at night when the temp is often ten degrees warmer.

I wonder if wind plays a factor? Morning tend to be more calm than evenings. Perhaps it’s windier on the drive home and that is making it feel so much colder. I’ll have to start paying attention to that.

I still have my money on the work-sucking-life-force explanation, though.

The Girls of ClipArt

Posted by: elraymundo at 11:24 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Girls of ClipArt

The temperature dropped to 40° during last night’s drive home with the top down. (That’s 4.4° for you Euros.)

I’ve still got the windows down and the heater off. I think another five degrees and I’ll have to go to gloves.

Curiously, driving to work in the morning when the temperature is 41° is a lot more comfortable than driving around at night when it’s 55° or 60°. I don’t know if it’s psychological (dark vs. sunlight) or if the workday just sucks the life force out of me and leaves me cold by the end of the day.

***** ***** *****

Believe it or not, there are some pretty good-looking women in the Microsoft Office ClipArt graphics. I told Jeff W. that Playboy ought to do a Girls of ClipArt issue. Here’s one I think they could start with:

ClipArt image of a waitress

Put her on a sandy beach in Mexico in five-inch heels and shiny lip gloss, drape a feather boa - or a boa constrictor - over her shoulders and toss a gold chain around her waist and she’s money. Oh, and maybe give her champagne in a martini glass to hold, too. You know, because nude, airbrushed women cavorting with snakes while drinking champagne from martini glasses is so Mexico.

This Ain’t Popeye’s Swee’Pea

Posted by: elraymundo at 3:36 pm on Tuesday, November 6, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Random, Lotus Blossom, Friends

La Raymunda sent a very innocuous email message to our friends, Lisa and Kim, thanking them for having us over for dinner the other night. She copied me on the email, which I opened in Gmail.

Gmail is a free webmail service which pays its way in the world by offering targeted advertisements on the web page. Whatever gnomes and widgets work behind the scenes at Gmail do their best to present ads to the reader that, in some way, align with the content of the message being read. You know, something relevant; something that will draw your interest.

Well, I got an interesting ad at the top of my Inbox when I read Debra’s note and I’m not sure what exactly Debra typed that would make Gmail think that this ad was appropriate to the content of her message, but here it is:

My SweetPee - - A sanitary alternative for women. Relieve yourself while standing!

GQ Don’t Skate!

Posted by: elraymundo at 3:34 pm on Monday, November 5, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: NFL, Friends, Sports

Last night I went to John’s to watch the Colts-Pats game. Because both teams were undefeated and, by a large margin, the best teams in either conference, it was billed as the Match of the Century, a Clash of the Titans, a Spectacle the Likes of Which We’ve Never Seen. (Well, not since red robot took out blue robot with one punch to the jaw in a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots World Title bout in my backyard in 1972, anyway).

Five of us watched the game together. John and his wife Elisa, Nick and his wife Laura, and me. Two white couples and a white guy.

Sometime during the game there was a commercial for an SUV. The family in the commercial was black. Two adults (heterosexual, of course), two boys and two girls, as I recall. They all piled into the SUV for a drive and the camera angle changed to a shot from the back of the SUV - ostensibly to show this happy family of six in their roomy SUV and how the SUV promoted togetherness and happiness, family bonding and joy.

The SUV sported two flip-down TVs - one each for the front and rear benches. The two younger kids sat on the front bench watching a cartoon. The older kids sat in the rear watching hockey.

At this point Nick said, “Black people. Watching hockey.”

“I say it’s not happening,” I said. Nick nodded his head. John did too.

“You need to check with Bernard on this, Michael,” said John. “Get a ruling.”

I called Bernard this morning and told him about the commercial. He laughed.

“Hockey?” he said. “Hockey? Nooooooooo…”

“That’s what we thought, too, Bernard.”

“Well, we have had a couple, you know,” he added.

“Grant Fuhr, yes, but that’s it that I know of.”

“I tried ice skating once,” said Bernard after a pause. “It didn’t go well. My body went one way, my glasses another…” and while he’s speaking I’m picturing Bernard, a very sharp GQ-style dresser, doing the splits in fine twill pants, his arms waving wildly from inside his cashmere black turtleneck, with brightly polished skates covered in snow, bending his ankles at impossible angles while his rakishly-angled driving cap sails across the ice like so many octopi at a Red Wings game.

I’m reminded of a slow Saturday back when I was in college. It was my first year at UC Davis and I was at a friend’s house killing the day in front of the tube. A commercial came on showing a bunch of redneck white guys jammed into midget go-karts, steering wheels up between their knees, racing around a bumpy dirt track. Margo, a black woman, looked at me and then back at the TV, her face expressing utter incomprehension.

“I just don’t get you folks,” she said as she watched the ridiculous-looking midget go-karts zoom around the track. “White people will race anything.”

The Doc

Posted by: elraymundo at 7:13 am on Friday, November 2, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Guitar, Ah, Memories

Last week I saw my doctor about the fainting episode on the plane.

“It looks like a vasovagal episode,” she said. “Nothing to worry about.”

“But,” said Debra with reasonable concern, “what do I do next time it happens?”

“Make sure he doesn’t bump his head,” said the doc. Then she looked at me. “When was your last physical?”

“May 2006.”

“You need to come in soon. Over 40?”

“Yes.” Following the advice of my over-40 guy friends, I looked at the doctor’s fingers. They were slender and well-manicured.

***** ***** *****

I was listening to Brown Sugar on the way to work this morning and laughed at a funny memory that came back to me.

Back a hundred years ago when I was young, I took guitar lessons. My teacher, John Morris, played in a cover band doing what was then called rock n roll and is now called classic rock. He told me about one night when they were playing Brown Sugar and, “when we got to the part at the end where they go I say yeah, yeah, yeah WOO! there was this girl in front who would lift her skirt up and scream WOO! with us. I think we played that part over and over for fifteen minutes.”

Anyway, not much of substance but a funny memory.