Thursday, August 28, 2008

When blueberry jam is outlawed, only outlaws will eat blueberry jam!

This vacation was one of my best ever.  I'd say it was the best, but it's hard to top a honeymoon in Disney World.  The timing may not have been the best (who vacations while living in their parent's/inlaw's basement?), but it was good to see some of MJ's friends out there before they moved.  It seems that the four people she talks about most from Maine are moving. 
The problem with any vacation anymore, is that it's bookended by a couple of visits from the clowns at TSA.  Now, I'm not denying that there's a need for security, but these guys are not it.  I've mentioned accidentally getting a knife, or a stash of firecrackers (the fun waterproof ones) and bottle rockets on board, but don't try to take a bottle of blueberry jam on board.  Melissa thought it was considered a solid, so wouldn't be subject to the 3 oz. rule, or we would have rolled it up in one of the sleeping bags that we checked.  Turns out it's not.  I know that the power-starved jackasses who man the security stations aren't the one's who make the policies. They're just doing their jobs, and enjoying it a bit too much, but who decided that the most likely way for a terrorist to sneak weapons and explosives on board was in jars of jam and bottles of shampoo which pass through an x-ray?  Furthermore, who decided that terrorists could probably only put them in bottles larger than three oz?  If all the explosive blueberry flavor in this jam was split in two smaller jars it would have been safe to handle, and would have passed with no problem.  Well, $20 and one more checked bag later everything was okay again.  The nation is safe for another day, and I have my delicious treat. 
Anyway, the trip.  The first couple of days we met up with a few friends in Bar Harbor, and a few more at church the next day.  It was fun meeting up with them, but I suspect it was more fun for MJ.  I liked the time we spent just hanging out, and seeing her favorite things out there.  Like she said, I swam in the ocean for about an hour.  It was cold when I first got in, cold enough that it forced me to breathe shallow, but once I was in for a few minutes it was a hoot.  This beach had some pretty good waves which really drag you around.  It's crazy seeing (and in places really smelling) the difference between high and low tide.  In some areas it's pretty drastic, while in others there's not much of a difference.  Also, I now have a favorite restaurant in Maine.  It's only open seasonally, but Jordan Pond House has got what may be the best food anywhere. 
The next couple of days we spent with a couple of friends of hers who live on an island a little farther out than the one Bar Harbor is on.  They picked us up on their boat, since they were on mainland anyway, fed us while we were there, gave us a spot to pitch our tent (they would have had us in the house, but they had no furniture as they were about to move), and paid for a trip on the ferry to get back.  In return, I helped out for a day on the boat catching lobsters, and we helped them pack up some stuff onto their truck to take back to mainland (On their island, mainland just means the closer island which is connected to the real mainland by a bridge). 
I can now claim with reason that I don't like barnacles, and use pirate phrases referencing the dislike of barnacles.  I have a few scratches on my forearm from the barnacle buildup on the lobster traps.  I have seen things in the ocean that I didn't know about, or had heard of, but not really gotten.  Sea cucumbers, for example, are a lot squishier than I thought, and when you squeeze them, water shoots out.  We also caught a bunch of crabs which we just threw back, some sand dollars, several hermit crabs (some pretty stinkin' big), starfish, and regular fish.  Depending on what kind of fish we caught we either threw them back, or kept them (dead).  The ones we kept had some sort of gasses in them, so they swell up after they die.  We took the boat around to where there were a few bald eagles to feed them the fish, and watch them swoop, but they weren't too hungry.  Seems there was a dead whale on the east beach which had been feeding them for a while. 
 So, we got back to mainland this morning.  At this point I still had eaten no lobster, which we remedied.  The only lobster I had ever had was some frozen tails at grandma's house a couple years ago for the fourth of July.  Those were bad.  This was good.  MJ showed me how to break open all the good parts to get the meat out (including the legs), and which parts she doesn't like to eat (the green nasty crap from the main body, and the poo vein running down the tail).  Then we drove to Boston to head home.  All in all, a very good trip. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Second Week

It's interesting being back in school, and back downtown again.  I have to admit, physics and chemistry are close to kicking my butt, but I think if I buckle down and get a good routine down for studying, then everything will go smoothly.  The nice thing about the science classes is that they make all my other classes look like cake by comparison.  Nutrition and philosophy may make claims to be real sciences, but they've got nothing on the harder ones. 
I'm at the computer lab in the school library right now, and there's a girl a few computers down wearing headphones and singing along to the music on her computer.  I don't think she realizes it, but her headphones don't seem to be plugged in all the way, because the sound is definitely coming from the computer speakers.  At least it gives her singing some background.  Speaking of singing, there's a short, stout guy with a funny haircut who I frequently see singing by the square outside of the library.  I think he has some kind of retardation, and he signs while he sings.  I wouldn't mind knowing what's going through his head.  We do have better music as well.  There's been a DJ outside of the student union playing some pretty cool music.  I got a CD from him, and it looks like it's got some good mixes on it.  I'll have to check it out when I get home. 
Also, I think I saw the silver man.  He wasn't all silver this time.  I tried to get a picture, but it came out all blurry.  It's like getting a picture of sasquatch or something.  I think he's got some kind of once a week class outside of my Thursday physics lecture.  This would also explain why I've seen him poking around my physics room (it's the same room it was last year).  Of course, the theory that he's stalking me may still hold.  If I see him tomorrow I may have to see if it's really him.  But, how does one approach a total stranger and ask if he ever paints his head white, dresses in neck to ankle and wrist silver, puts on his big walk-around-like-a-freak boots, and walks around downtown, like a freak.  I mean, if it is him it would be nice to know why, and I'll update you, but if it's not, it may not suffice to just tell him that he looks like someone who does.  Although, I guess I don't really need to give him any explanation.  It's not like I know him. 
Someone just came by and plugged in the girl's headphones the rest of the way.  She said thank you, perhaps a bit louder than she meant.  I'm going to miss that inspirational gospel crap.  Maybe she'll sing along anyway. 
In other news, I'll be heading out of town with my wife and son next week.  We're taking advantage of the fact that school and half the roads downtown are going to be closing for the big hoopla.  We're going to Maine.  She knows a few people there so we're camping on someone's property for a while.  I'm going lobstering, and eating a lobster.  And, we're going to visit a lot of people I don't know while MJ shows me how great a place Maine is to live.  I'm looking forward to it. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

School's in

School's starting again this Monday. Due to the DNC we've got two weeks on before fall break. Everything's shutting down for a week, and then we're back. Politics. That aside, I'm looking forward to a few things. I'm in Physics and Chemistry again, but in this chem class we have a lab. A four hour lab. I hope I get to use fire.

There are a couple of things I'm not looking forward to though. Before much longer I won't be having all this time to spend with my son. It's been good staying home with him over the summer, especially since he's so little. Next summer we'll probably be sending him off with his grandma while I work, so the next few days is the last I'll have of this. Less importantly, I won't have the time to get so much done as far as cleaning up this mess and packing things away goes. I've got almost all of that done by now, but things are going to be busier.

I may have a bit more to write about too. Nothing like getting out and seeing all the silver men and everything. We'll see if I can do better than once a month again.