Monday, May 30, 2005

Weekend in DC

Haven't been home long from a weekend up in DC to meet up with the old college roommate who's living up there now. It was a good weekend away and the change of scenery was most welcome. Saturday night was a blast. We started off with cocktails at my friend's place then went on into the Distict for dinner a this fabulous pan-Asian restaurant at DuPont Circle (Raku I think it was called). The place was mobbed and we had to wait for a table, but it was so worth it. The food was fantastic and as it was tappas style, we tried many different things, all of which were truly remarkable. And for the first time ever, I actually tried sushi (friends: **gasp**). I've long avoided raw fish primarily due to the "ewwww factor," but once I got past that...all was well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Wednesday PM

Yet another rainy and cool evening in Norfolk which feels more like March instead of the late May that it is. I'm currently doing a load of laundry which should be done shortly. And of course I have a steaming cup of coffee on my desk. The caffeine is most needed as I can barely keep open my eyes this evening. Between a late night last night followed by a busy day at work, I've just about run out of steam.

It was one of those frustrating days at work that almost makes me want to wash my hands of it all and rush out to join the Peace Corps. And it's not any one major thing; rather, it's an accumulation of many little administrative and personnel issues that constitute a significant headache when taken together. I suppose this sort of thing just comes with the territory when in management and keeping it all in perspective is critical. This always helps, but by this afternoon I had had my fill for one day and took off a few hours early (the upside of being a manager: the ability to come and go as one pleases) and saw Revenge of the Sith with one of my most capable employees who shares my passion for improving things around the office and my sheer contempt for those who derive comfort in the old way and stand as roadblocks to progress.

At the Movies

Summer 2005 Revenge of the Sith viewing count: 2.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

Being the geek that I am, I saw Revenge of the Sith on opening day, though not at the mightnight showing as I've done for the last two films. Overall I was very pleased with the movie and it's certainly better than the previous two attempts. Sure it had spots of questionable acting and cheesy dialogue, but that's a Star Wars movie for you. Even the originals had their share of such things. Of course the action in ROTS was great as were the visual effects, but moreso than these it had one key element that made it stand out juxtaposed to the previous two films: it had heart, a certain emotional intensity that put it on par with Episodes IV and V.

By far, the most outstanding performance was that of Ian McDiarmid. His portrayal of Palpatine/Sidious was absolutely wonderful in delivery and variability, ranging from the restrained, seductive Palpatine to the wide-open and positively evil Darth Sidious. Ewan McGregor's performance was equally as good. The performance of these two actors more than compensate for some of the film's more questionable acting.

Of course I'll have to see ROTS again, possibly at some point this weekend.

Summer 2005 Revenge of the Sith viewing count: 1.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Another warm spring evening in Norfolk. A lot of people are out and about tonight on Colley Avenue, hanging out on the patio of the coffeeshop and the numerous restaurants that line the street. This is what I've like most about living where I do: so much to do within a few minuties walk of the front door. I should post some pictures sometime of coming and goings of this wonderful little neighborhood called Ghent.

For whatever reaosn, I finally bought a webcam when I was off shopping during my lunch hour yesterday. I suppose the rationale for such a silly purchase is that I have a lot of international friends and since it's highly unlikely we'lll be able to meet face to face for coffee anytime soon, a cam allows for a greater level of social interaction than just emails, handwritten letters (yeah, I do this), and instant messages.

The cold is all but gone, save for a lingering cough and that's even going away. Looks like I'll be fully recovered for the opening of Revenge of the Sith on Thursday.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


The worst of the cold seems to be behind me now. I was a bit more energetic today and much less it seems I'll well on the road to recovery. Just in time to go back to work tomorow. Blech.

It's been warm and VERY humid today. Too humid actually, which triggered a spat of severe thunderstorms this evening with the passage of a cold front. One minute it was sunny and almost tropical with the occasional rumble of thunder off in the distance and the next it got dark and suddenly started pouring raining and hailing. I haven't seen hail like that in a long time. patches of ground were literally white when it was all over. Would have been a great photo op, but I left my digital camera at the office on Friday. Once everything died down I went out to check on my Jeep and it seemed to have fared ok. Was worried about the outcome of mixing a canvas top and dime sized hail. But at least it doesn't need washing as badly as it did. :-)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saturday Afternoon

Beautiful afternoon here in Norfolk with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. Perfect beach/outdoorsy weather, but alas I'im home nursing a cold. I was feeling a tired and generally icky on Wednesday and things deteriorated from there. Yesterday and this morning were miserable, so I'm hoping the worst is behind me now and that I'll feel able to do at least something outside tomorrow, even if it is just sitting on the patio over at Starbucks with coffee and a book.

What makes the cold so disagreeable is that this is my first completely free weekend in ages. Nothing to do for work (a rare thing) nor the thesis research which leaves ample time to make a road trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina or otherwise keep busy here in Norfolk doing things like washing my Jeep which is still mud covered from the fieldwork of last weekend. Ah well. Could be worse. The cold could have struck a few weeks ago when I was scrambling to wrap up the semester. There's always a silver lining to every cloud. Finding it is simply a matter of perspective.

I've given some more though as to what hobby I want to acquire this summer. A few new pursuits are needed for balancing out my life as so much of my time now are tied up with work and the masters degree. I've been getting more into photography again, for which I've long had a strong interest, and is something that's easily incorporated into ones daily routine. One new goal I'm seriously considering is acquiring my private pilot's license. My old college roommate got his license a few years ago and since then I've considered it from time to time. In fact, he was the first person to ever get me into a plane and since then I've been hooked on flying whether it be a commerical airliner or a small single engine Cessna. Of course this pursuit is expensive in terms of both money and time; money isn't really a concern, but having the available time...well....may be best to wait until I finish the masters degree next year.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Thought I'd post a couple of images from the fieldwork this morning. Thanks to all the recent rain, transversing the preserve was more of an adventure than usual.

Posted by Hello

Fieldwork Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I'm Back

A busy week comes to an end and for that I'm exceedingly glad. Final exams wrapped up Wednesday evening and before the sun rose Thursday morning I was off to Petersburg to teach a two-day course. The class went very well (depsite the field work in the driving rain yesterday morning) though as always they are a draining affair on both the physical and emotional levels. So after such a busy week, I prudently turned in early last night and as a result feel almost human again this morning. Of course my first cup of Starbucks coffee in three days is helping achieve that effect.

I'll be heading out to the Blackwater Ecological Preserve early this afternoon to do some thesis research, then will make a second trip out there tomorrow morning followed by a few hours of work back at the lab. And there's the ususal slate of chores on tap for the weekend: laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning the apartment.

Ugh. No rest for the wicked.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Dreary Sunday Morning

Depsite the temptation to go out with some friends last night, I prudently stayed home and went to bed at a reasonable hour. I went out last Saturday night and didn't get home until almost 3am Sunday and was this tired wreck the whole day. Can't afford that this weekend with final exams coming this week. There will be time enough for clubs and music once the semester is over. As most of my friends know, I've never been much of a club person, but with the newfound singleness it's nice to get out and socialize every now and again.

Yesterday's meeting with the Sri Lanka project team went well and it looks like we've finalized late August for the initial in-country field assessment. There is some debate among the team members as to just how all-encompassing the project should be. As I've done this sort of international work before and am more or less familiar with how these things work, I'm in favor of a smaller, better defined project that has a higher chance of getting funding and eventual success than a broad, multi-dimensional project. Thus the importance of the field assessment: identify specific problems, key stakeholders, and present a tightly-woven solution. Simple enough. Certainly we can start small and expand over time with each success.