Website, Reboot

General ramblings about web coding, life and other stuff

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On Rain and Thunderstorms

I’ve always liked the rain. I’m not sure why.

Right now there’s quite the light and sound show going on as we get the first real downpour of the year. Except for some snow earlier this winter, we haven’t had a lot of weather come our way lately. Spring around here often brings more rain and more cloudy days, which is to be expected. “April showers bring May flowers,” as the saying goes. But this downpour feels like something wicked that comes in the burning dog days of summer when you know it’s going to cool things off only a bit and what’ll be left is the sticky, swampy humidity of Washington DC in summer.

I think I like rain because, at least in my mind, it would be the only thing that could give relief to my allergies (at least until the modern pharmaceutical industry came around) but I’m really not sure. It’s definitely fun to go play in the rain, but I certainly would do it around here, what with the giant high-voltage electrical tower (read: lightning rod) about 30 yards from my home. I seem to remember playing in the rain as a kid. At least I like to think I did. I remember many things from my childhood, but that’s not one of them.

I do recall one day, it must have been in the first grade, and it was time to go home and there was a big storm headed our way. It wasn’t a hurricane, that’s for sure, even though they were common in south Louisiana growing up. But it was not your run-of-the mill rain-shower, either. It must have been three in the afternoon, but the sky was dark like it is after sunset. And the rain was coming down hard. I remember the covered walkways we had between buildings. The water would pool up in certain places under those walkways, so it was either get your feet wet or get your head soaked. I must have run through that to get to the bus, but I don’t remember that. I have this image of the dark skies and the pouring rain and the puddle of water where the concrete was not quite level.

One of the things I miss most about rain is the lack of certain sounds when living in a condo. There are two stories above me and I no longer get to hear the rain on the roof, a calming, comforting sound if ever there was one. I have to content myself with the pluck-pluck-pluck of the water dripping on the downspout outside the window and the sound of the rain on gardens and sidewalk, cars and concrete.

Still, though, there’s nothing like a good thunderstorm. If this keeps up any longer, they’ll be calling for flood warnings down by the river tomorrow morning.

Another huge flash-boom. The storm sounds like it’s right on top of us, but there are still echos of thunder a ways off. I hope this lasts all night… I’ll sleep like a baby if it does.

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Cruise Craziness

About a year and a half ago, maybe more, my wife sends me an email with a link to a song. A funny song. It was titled Code Monkey and it was by some guy named Jonathan Coulton, or something. It was a funny song and right up my alley since it’s about a guy who writes websites for a living and generally hates his job because he’s got a jerk for a manager and he’s got a crush on the pretty girl at the front desk.

I saw that there were other songs on his site, but life being what it is, I didn’t pursue the rest of the music. I do remember looking a the site and seeing that there were a lot of other songs there. But I just didn’t or couldn’t take the time to look at it.

Fast forward to August of 2010 and she says that this guy, Jonathan what’s-his-face is having a cruise. Who is this guy again? Oh, right, the one who wrote that Code Monkey song. Could be fun. We’ve wanted to go on a cruise together, but never had a reason or a desire to since we weren’t that interested in the activities on the cruise or the places they would go to. Also, I’ve never been a fan of the idea of being one of the hordes of people who invade some small mediterranean city when a dozen cruise shops dock there for a half-dozen hours.

So we waffle back and forth and talk about money and decide that if there’s any reason to go on a cruise, this is one of them.

Best. Decision. EVER.

Ok, so I start listning to this guy’s music. Non-stop. And I freakin’ love it, it’s so good! For a solid two months that’s all I listen to, at work, on the subway, on the bus, walking to the bus, walking to the metro, at my desk, wherever I can. It’s that good. So there’s going to be good music on the cruise. Can’t complain about that.

JoCo Cruise Crazy LogoWe talk to a friend of mine in Florida, the one who was in our wedding back in the day and we make a joke: You should go, too! And she does. And that’s something else that will make the cruise fun, even if this Code Monkey guy is totally lame. But we have a feeling that it won’t be.

And then the cruise day arrives and we get there early, having arrived the day before and boarding is a breeze and our room is ready and our bags arrive soon after and all is well and we have a balcony and the ship is awesome. Did I mention the balcony? We have an EXTRA-LONG balcony due to the strategic choice of room that I made based on a blog post I read. Bonus!

I’ll save the details of the cruise for other blog posts. There was much fun-having and far too little sleeping.

Fast forward to the end of the cruise and I can honestly say I am sad that it’s ending. I had a fantastic time, the best time I’ve had on vacation in at least five years, and that’s saying a lot. I’d do this again in a heartbeat and it’ll be just as great then.

There’ll be more awesome fun and great concerts and amazing performers but the icing on the cake is all of the amazingly cool people that I met on the cruse, a number of whom I am friends with today through Facebook and Twitter and others that are local who turned into extra-cool people (you know who you are) and I can’t wait to see them again, either in town on or a board.

So was it worth it? Abso-frickin-lutely.

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Commuting Dreams

Like most people, I commute to work. Every day, one hour each way, door to door. It used to be that I drove, but now I take public transit. How awful, you say? It must be a nightmare! No, I disagree.

I used to drive to work, traffic, noise, pollution, stupid people doing stupid things in two tons of metal on wheels. Now, yes, I have to slog through the rain and snow and whatever to get to the bus stop, then ride that for 10 minutes (15 in traffic) and then take the subway for another 35, and THEN a 10 minute walk to my office.

What I have come to appreciate is a dedicated block of time, twice a day, to read, listen to music, enjoy a podcast, chat with people, look at the sunrise, hear to birds sing, watch as the trees and flowers bloom in the springtime. Yes, it’s bitter cold sometimes, or it’s so humid and warm that I’m sweating by the time I reach the office, but I’ve learned to deal with all of that. It’s minor and inconsequential to the fact that I am simply happier without the added stress of being on a road every day.

Sunrise from Metro

Sunrise taken from the subway.

How many times have you watched the sun rise this year? Once? Maybe, if you’re lucky. I’ve seen about fifty. And that’s since January. (No, I’m not really counting.) Every day either rising over the airport seen from the elevated track or over the Potomac River as we cross into the district. Heck, right after daylight savings time I could see it walking to the bus stop. And I do look, every day. I close my book and look around, if only for the 30-45 seconds that I can see the horizon, I take the time.

What astounds me is that nearly every other person on the train ignores it. They are so oblivious and so self-absorbed in their free newspaper, their music, their coffee or their napping that they miss out on something so glorious and brilliant that you are guaranteed to see every day. I don’t need any metaphors about renewal and every day is a new day or I can take on the world or anything like that. It’s just nice to see it. And all in all, that’s not a bad way to start off the day.

A lot of people like to complain about public transit. They don’t see what it really offers them. A relatively safe, convenient way to get to work that offers them fringe benefits that you can’t put a dollar sign on.

Me? I’ll keep taking public transit.