Friday, July 29, 2005

When email first appeared, I thought it was a good thing. After all, here was a good way to keep in touch with others -- it was like being able to write notes, include pictures, etc., all in one pass. AND it was fun. But lately, it appears to me that perhaps we are all (and I include myself in this) getting lazy with the whole email thing.

I typically have over 100 unread messages in my Outlook Express Inbox, and generally over 300 (!) in my Yahoo Inbox, and that's not counting the "Bulk" folder. Of course, many of the Yahoo messages involve requests to purchase one or another of various medications which will enhance my overall health or other things, some of which apply to the wrong gender. Not to mention endless emails from places like Crate & Barrel telling me about the very latest look in ottomans. Then there are the "if you don't respond within seven days, we're going to shut this thing down and you'll NEVER again have the opportunity...for kidding...we really mean it this time" kind of messages.

Buried in this morass are messages from real people that I appreciate hearing from and try to stay in touch with. If you're one of those people, and if I haven't responded, please forgive me. Cleaning up email and getting to the important stuff is kind of like cleaning out your garage; you're in there every day, you see the problem, and you can at least get to your car, but it would be a whole lot nicer if you didn't have to turn sideways when you try to get into the driver's seat. A well-ordered email environment is like a garage where everything is put into those storage boxes along the sides of the walls. They sell those things at Home Depot and Lowe's, but I'll bet that if we were to check their email Inboxes, we'd find them messed up, too. It's an international curse.

And so, I bid adieu and a fine weekend to you all. Now let me go check my email. =:o

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Great Dust Cloud has made its way to Atlanta. This morning, as I drove Hannah to an orthodontist appointment, we saw the sun behind a haze that looked like those pictures you see of mornings in Cairo, a golden light bathing all those familiar buildings and transforming them in the process. The cloud apparently blew from the Sahara across the Atlantic, first making its U.S. landfall in Miami yesterday morning. I guess what we have here is only the residual cloud, but it is striking.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Podcasting...what fun this is! For those of you who haven't yet heard of it, podcasting is a new technology wherein people produce their own "radio shows" and make them available for others to download and listen to at a later time. It has become something of a phenomenon, to the extent that Apple's iTunes software now includes the ability to locate, subscribe to and update podcasts automatically.

Anyway, one of the most entertaining and well-produced shows out there is a program called Coverville, by one Brian Ibbott from Arvada, Colorado. This show features various covers of songs familiar to most of us, but recorded by artists who, in some cases, you would never expect to hear out of their respective elements. In one recent podcast, Brian found a Swedish Elvis imitator performing a hilariously bad rendition of "In the Ghetto". I laughed out loud at my desk at work when I heard this thing. In another show, one of the members of Marilyn Manson escaped and recorded a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused".

If you want to check out Brian's podcast, go to, where you can download (in MP3 format) and listen to Brian's shows on your computer or portable music player. For a list of tons of other podcasts, check out

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Today should be interesting, since every major expressway in and out of Atlanta is under construction. Georgia governor Sonny Perdue's Fast Forward construction program, coupled with tons of recent rainfall, have resulted in a situation where all major road work has landed on one weekend. We are being advised to take alternate routes and back roads "in general". To get a better idea of exactly how much construction is underway, click here for a saved link to the Georgia Navigator website diagram for today. Each little orange cone represents a construction project in progress.

If you have never been to Atlanta, this might be hard to visualize, but imagine over four million people lost all at the same time, at least half of them on cell phones, many new to the United States, and you'll get the idea. Driving in Atlanta is nothing like driving in a small Southern town -- quite the opposite, in fact. Recently, when I was in Memphis, a large city unto itself, I kept waiting for the traffic to get bad (in Atlanta terms) and for the drivers to become impatient (again, in Atlanta terms). It never happened, at least not while I was there. Now, Birmingham -- that might be another matter -- it looked confusing to me with no traffic, so I can only imagine.

Oh, well...the results should be worth it, as long as they don't mess up the interchange of GA 400 southbound onto I-85 -- that's my lifeline into the city. And look at it this way: if we ever have to chaffeur people around Tijuana, we'll be prepared!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Do we live in the tropics? Two nights ago, I was out on my deck letting the dogs out for one last pee-pass, when it struck me that this place no longer looked, smelled, or felt like Atlanta. A stiff, incredibly humid breeze was blowing, and the deck was littered with pine needles, leaves, water bugs, and other delights. Frogs croaked down in the yard, crickets and cicadas called from high in the trees, and the place was just generally a mess. Just a month or so ago, we were smelling jasmine and magnolia. How long can this weather weirdness last? =:)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Another hot, muggy day in Atlanta. It's been raining for weeks now with the aftermath from the tropical storms which have been battering the Gulf. The back yard looks like a jungle, and the bugs are out en masse. And here I sit at another car wash with free web access (Avril this time) -- it's inside, it's cool -- hey, that's enough for me.

I've just finished a great little book: "Chasing Cezanne" by Peter Mayle, the author of "A Year in Provence". This book is a work of fiction, but it made for great leisure reading when I was at Myrtle Beach last weekend. As always, Mayle paints a picture of France which makes you want to board the very next jet to Paris. In this particular tale, the variety of locales (Paris, London, New York, and the Bahamas) amount to a cheap virtual vacation, while at the same time the story is populated by a colorful, somewhat racy cast of characters. I loved the book. My friend Tanya has loaned me Mayle's "Hotel Pastis", and it's next on my list as soon as I finish Lee May's "My Father's Garden". Guess I should set up camp at Barnes & Noble or something.

But I must now watch the SUV as it has its wheels polished. Stay cool, friends. =:)