Monday, March 5, 2007

Backing Up

Well, it feels as though a month has gone by without much of my involvement on this little endeavor we like to call Spiffytown. Which, basically, is true. And I'm grateful. I know that when I'm hankering for some communication from friends in the 'unreal world' of the Interwebs, I'm grateful when I find new words to devour. I love love love reading stuff, especially from friends who have interesting and fun and thought-provoking things to say. Check my blogroll if you're short on interesting-fun-thoughtful stuff today. Regarding the title, I never have caught up to the things that happened early on in my travails and travels. The Alabama trip was wonderful all around, not least because of meeting a friend in person that I discovered online. Sarch is a newish blogger who has been haunting many of the same haunts I haunt. On my first day in a strange town (Birmingham - it's like home, only with more traffic and less snow (and a bit of an accent)), he suggested we meet at a local (Loco) watering hole. "It's a bar, but they have good food too," he said. Turns out my hotel was downright convenient to his place of work, and only a stone's throw from the restaurant. We met after he got off work, and for my part, I had an absolute blast. Some people think folks you meet online aren't real; in fact I've gotten to know many people online who I now count as genuine friends. Oh sure, most aren't close enough to go catch a movie or pull me out of a ditch if need be, but true friends nonetheless. Sarch is the real deal, full of easy friendly chatter on topics ranging from faith and family to work and motorcycles. We gossiped extensively about other bloggers, but none of you, my dear readers. I would never. We enjoyed Yeunglings and hotwings and burritos, and the time was up too soon (I pooped out early, as I am getting noticeably old). I would do that again in a second, and but for not wanting to pester the poor guy, would have enjoyed another get-together. There's always next time, right? My classes were both easy and challenging, fast paced and interminable. It's weird how things can be so paradoxical. I was enjoying the learning of new things, understanding a program that has certain idiosyncrasies; but the weather outside was generally nice, sunny, and warm. Which gave me a mild dose of the Cabin Fever. I was itching to be out in it, since the home weather was chock-full of ice, snow, and nosehair crystallizing cold (I call that the BFP, or Booger Freezing Point). The class consisted of me and one well-qualified instructor. There was another student enrolled, but he punked out at the last minute. My instructor and I went out to lunch each day, and I learned about his fascinating career path and history with this company, and the cruise he and his wife just took with some church friends. The entire time was worthwhile. After hours, I found myself with some time to kill, which I had expected to be filled with homework and catching up on office/ home stuff. The instructor had given me some suggestions, and each night I tried something new. One night I took a driving tour of the pretty parts of Birmingham. Would have been prettier, I'm sure, in the daylight and without a heavy rain. Another time I visited the McWane Center, a hands-on science museum with an IMAX theater. Still another time, I visited the McWane Center when it was open. That was infinitely more fun. What a cool place, especially for those of us (me) who have to touch everything. I flew an airplane (poorly), made a cartoon, watched tornadoes being formed, and blew smoke rings from a giant steam table. There was a bed of nails also, which was surprisingly comfy except for a few pointy bits in the shoulderbone region. They had video butterflies and stone waterfalls, a fascinating Rube Goldberg contraption that kept me mesmerized for about a half hour, and all manner of physics and art experiments. I highly recommend the place, but it's sure to be much more fun with a friend or a few youngsters. In all, it was a wonderful trip. I wouldn't change a thing.

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