Saturday, April 23, 2011

sand and sun

I just got back yesterday (Fri, Apr 22) from the Alabama Library Association conference in Orange Beach. I know, I’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! The weather was perfect but I was in conference meetings each day from 8:30-5 so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to goof off. I and my coworkers did spend each evening out by the pool drinking bushwackers. I had never heard of such a thing before but now, sitting here in my quiet house, I’d nearly kill for one. Basically, it was a 151 chocolate milkshake with a little extra floater of 151 on top. Yes, it is VERY special and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The “mix and mingle” kickoff party Tuesday evening was alright but there was not enough seating and the music was too loud. I’ve no idea why every conference seems to think we must be entertained instead of actually letting us network, but oh well.

My coworker Nancy and I, in attempt to be fashionably late, instead missed out on most of the free margaritas. I only had time for one before they shut it down. It was supposed to be 5-7pm but by 6:15, there were no more free ‘ritas...maybe they didn’t anticipate a high demand from a bunch of librarians. If so, boy were they surprised! They did have a raw oyster bar so I got back at them that way. They tasted great but there were some weird spots on the insides of the shells but I was neither sick nor dead the next day so they must have been alright. I had some each evening and continued on not sick or dead so yay Orange Beach!

Yesterday, I decided to check out early, head down to the public beach and play a little before heading home and then Nancy pointed out that the hotel had a pool, bathroom, and bar and no one but the computer system knew I’d checked out. I packed my stuff, loaded the car, then snuck a hotel towel and a bushwacker down to the beach for some quality time with the ocean and my book. A great quote from Danish author Isak Denisen (wrote Out of Africa): “The cure for anything is saltwater...sweat, tears, or the sea.” So true, so true. The red flags were out and the surf was aggressive but I eventually waded out and had my ass handed to me. I finally, after much struggling and cursing on my part, made it out to a relatively calm section and floated facing the horizon. I huge wave came curling in and I ducked under to let it roll over me and discovered how close I was to shore when it ground me down to the sand and proceeded to REALLY exfoliate my back and fill my swimsuit with eighteen million pounds of sand.

I decided that was enough frolicking for me and headed back to my beach chair. I discovered, on my way home, that the little adventure had also stripped all the sunscreen off from the nape of my neck to the soles of my feet. I am a crispy critter from the back. It’s quite painful and I don’t think I’ll be allowing that to happen again any time soon. I packed up for good and snuck out of the hotel around 4 and got home around 9pm last night. I was exhausted but I’m really glad I stayed to play. If I’d had a brain in my head, I would have swapped weekends with someone and taken a few extra days vacation but I didn’t think of that so off to work I went this morning, grumpy as hell.

The water was clear and beautiful (and a little chilly, but refreshing!) and I saw no evidence of the yucky oil spill that had decimated the region exactly one year before. There are still a lot of places for sale but everything looked full and more cars were streaming in as I was leaving so I really hope the Gulf Coast makes a full recovery this year! It’s beautiful, the seafood is terrific, and the natives are glad to see you!

The original trip down was very nice too, though I forgot to pack my other audiobook and the one I’d been listening to ended entirely too quickly. I hate the radio and there wasn’t enough 3 or 4G coverage for Pandora to work very well. I should have just stopped at a Cracker Barrell and rented one of their audiobooks, but by the time I’d really gotten miserable I didn’t see one single CB before I got to my destination. I really and truly think some sort of worm hole must have opened up because how often can you say you can’t find a Cracker Barrell?! My GPS took me this crazy ass way through Florida and I should have bought a lottery ticket on my way (56 million) but I didn’t...stupid of me. I did notice that most of the Florida public works workers I saw on the roadside were smoking huge, ginormous cigars clamped in the corners of their mouths. That’s just not something I see here in fair AL, but it was amusing. All I could think was that maybe some interesting Cuban black market trading was going on. Also, I saw my first, real-life, Google Maps Street View car. I was driving along and at an intersection about ½ mile ahead I saw this white car with florescent green markings that had a big pole coming up off the roof about 6 to 8 feet with a big red ball on top. As I got closer, it sort of looked like a camera but I still couldn’t tell until I got close enough to read the logo and there it was, Google Maps! I’ve seen images of the cars online but never come across them in person. It was interesting to think my little grimy white Accent might end up on someone’s street view.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Winter is coming...

Allow me to introduce the most exciting thing to happen on HBO in recent memory...

KT and I and our circle of fellow ASOIAF fans are very nearly going out of our minds with anticipation. If you've not yet read this series and you don't mind a little blood, guts, and underhanded glory, definitely read these books by George R.R. Martin!

A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons (forthcoming)

Friday, April 1, 2011

humble and apologetic


Yep, I admit it! I have fallen down on the blogging job and I'm ashamed. We'll see how far that blogging shame will carry me.

On an anecdotal note, I experienced my very first Walmart entrapment last week. I was meeting a friend to see a movie, got to the theater area early, and decided I had just enough time to pop in Wally World to both alleviate the discomfort of an hour car ride on 32 oz of water AND pick up a few badly needed household items. One problem solved, I started in on the other. I was *almost* through with my shopping when the tornado sirens went off. Not long after that, an overhead announcement informed us that the police had advised WM to begin the "code black weather emergency procedures" and all WM associates and customers were to proceed to the middle of the store and wait for further instructions.

I continued to shop, because obviously they are not *serious* about everyone in the store having to hole up together by the fitting rooms. Um, yeah. They are completely serious. While my movie watching companion was out in the free world, completely allowed to go where ever they desired (and texting me of this information), I was trapped in WM. For 20 minutes. With nothing to do...except Words with Friends. Needless to say, except for some mild I'm-going-to-be-late-for-the-movie anxiety, I was content.

Am I becoming assimilated? Can I experience any lag time without whipping out the spiffy new smartphone I purchased for my own birthday? Only time will tell and I'm fairly certain it will be telling a story I'm not entirely comfortable hearing.

On the same note, I just finished listening to Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and am currently all fired up with some urges for change in my own food buying habits. We'll also have to see how that goes. Some of the things I would love to be able to change are pretty hard to do in my area. There is a local produce market near the library, but they are more boutique-y and I can only afford to shop there once every month or so. He was also very affective in making Whole Paycheck seem not so good a choice as well, for reasons other than the whole paycheck part.

All that to say, I will be investigating some avenues for purchasing local produce regularly and, hopefully, meat for my quarterly cookathon. The road to hell and all that....

Peace out