Saturday, June 24, 2006


Other than getting too much sun and being attacked by swarms of mosquitoes at various times during the day, the trip to the Outer Banks on Thursday went well. If nothing else, it was a nice simply being away from work for the day.

The first image below is of the Bodie Island lighthouse located near Oregon Inlet. At the Hatteras Light (much further down the Outer Banks) you can actually climb up to the top (for a ridiculous fee), but such is not the case with the Bodie Island light.

The following image is just a random beach shot from Hatteras Island. Though the beaches at Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, etc are much closer to home, I usually prefer to drive a little further to Hatteras due to the lack of tourists. This shot was taken about 1pm and only a handful of tourists were out and about.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day of Leisure

Decided to take a day off from work to drive down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There's nothing in particular I want to do down there, so I'm just going to leisurely drive around, relax, and probably come home with a tan. Or sunburn, to be more accurate. It's going to be very hot today, so I susect the top won't be down on the Jeep but for so long.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Backup Oven

It is miserably hot in the study this evening. I keep the door to this room closed due to my cats' love of chewing computer cords and since I have only one air conditioner in the apartment (a window unit back in the bedroom)...well, you get the idea. If my oven ever quits working I could quite possibly bake bread in here. I'm thinking of investing in one of those little portable air conditioning units that I can move around the apartment as needed. Must check into this over the coming weekend.

Speaking of apartments....I received my renewal notice a couple days ago and it's no great surprise that rent will be going up (another 55 dollars a month!) beginning on September 1, provided I decide to stay here. As tempting as it would be to live in a more modern building with central air and heat and washer and dryer in unit (and not to mention something other than side-street parking), I really don't want to move this summer. I'll probably be moving next summer (provided I've selected a PhD program by then), so moving this summer AND next summer would just be foolish. So I'm going to commit to one more year of bad parking, tempermental radiator heat, and the washer and dryer in the basement.

Anyway, off to get dinner going and then get some reading done.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Plans

It's going to be a long day. I'm meeting my advisor and a couple other graduate students at the ecological preserve around ten this morning and have no idea as to when I'll be finished up out there. Two different aspects to work on today, so my best guess is that I'll be home sometime late this afternoon. Much of the presreve should be flooded due to the five or so inches of rain we received on Wednesday, so that will make for an interesting setting. So once I finish my coffee I'll load up the backpack (gotta bring the camera today) and head on out of here.

No plans for this evening, so I suspect it will be a repeat of last night: reading and working on some of the background aspects of the forthcoming project in Guatemala. The trip is only three weeks off and there remains so much in terms of study and project design that needs to be done between now and then. Any way one looks at it, the two weeks down there will be very busy and I certainly won't be doing the tourist thing (bought the requisite travel book last weekend anyway) save for perhaps a day or two to visit some of the Maya ruins.

Anywhoo....I'm outta here for the day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Breaking the Habit

It seems that smoking will soon be a thing of the past. On Tuesday evening I began the patches and they seem to be working very well. Though perhaps not the most orthodox of quitting techniques, I've allowed myself one cigarette per day since, duing the late afternoon hours when I take off the old patch and before I put on the new one. An interesting (and encouraging) observation associated with this: Wednesday's cigarette was good. Thursday's was so-so, and today's was just terrible. I only got a few drags into it before putting it out and rushing off to the bathroom to brush my teeth and gargle with a gallon of mouthwash. Blech!

Cravings haven't been all that pronounced save for yesterday morning. This was an exceptionally rough time, but after a few hours of anxiety and fighting the urge to rush out to the closest convenience store to buy a pack, the urge passed and I haven't had the desire since. Even now, as I sit at the computer with a cup off coffee on the desk (two of the most powerful smoking triggers: computer time and coffee), the urge to light up is strangely absent. I haven't even put on the new patch yet, so one would assume there would be at least a minimal desire to smoke.Yet it's simply not there. Very curious. Having quit before (back in 2002) I know very well that powerful smoking urges can suddenly arise out of nowhere, so I'm proceeding with all due caution. The important thing to remember is that the urge will pass, ususally within ten minutes or so. Sure there's a long way to go to conquer the habit, but I'm well along on that road.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fifth Wheel

Having decided a last minute cancellation would be rude, I went though with the dinner plans last night. It was a mixed affair. The food was good, though the setting was awkward in the sense that it was a "couples night" sort of dinner. Well, two couples and me. I have no idea why I was invited and it was a rather uncomfortable thing being the fifth wheel. Most of the conversation revolved around two general topics: their work (they're all employed by same organization) and weddings (my sister's forthcoming wedding, the other couple's wedding, and various weddings recently attended), so my contribution to the conversation was more or less limited to such things as "oh really?" and "that's nice." But mostly I just sat there quietly, wishing I had pager duty (paging oneself is a great way to get out of bad situations. BEEP BEEP BEEP. "Oh my. Gotta go. BYE!")

Pager or not, I was able to escape about halfway thought the evening. After dinner, the group was going to walk down to the Bier Garden a block or so away to meet up with some more of their friends and have a few beers. I seized this opportunity to politely excuse myself and flee back to Norfolk. Perhaps had I been in a more gregarious mood, the evening may not have been so tedious and I wouldn't have minded spending the sixty dollars for dinner (per person, counting food, wine, appetizers, and tip). Ah well. Such is life.

As the weather has deteriorated (cloudy, cool, with rain on the way), I won't be making the trip to the Outer Banks today. This is unfortunate as it leaves a gaping hole in the plans for my only free weekend until late August. So I think my two chocies for today are 1) Go to the university library to research some topics of interest, and/or 2) Drop by the office to work on assorted tasks that are difficult to accomplish with the distractions of the workweek.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


1. Booked the flights to Guatemala early this past week. The trip will run from July 10 to the 23 and the flights themselves are very good save for an eight hour layover in Miami on the way back home. A rather disagreeable thing, but I can't complain as the booking process took place rather late in the game. Now I need to start working on organizing the flights to Scotland in September for my sister's "destination wedding."

2. This is my first free weekend in ages (no pager duty, no research), and about the only thing I've done is clean the apartment. At least started on it anyway. Also got around to reorganizing the kitchen. Ho-hum. Maybe I'll actually leave the apartment tomorrow. Had tentatively planned to make a trip down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina at some point this weekend.

3. I've slipped back into a hermit mood as of late. These are curious phases when I simply want to be left alone beyond the obligation of work. As a rule, I won't pick up the phone, I won't return voicemail, and knocks at my door go unanswered. I've politely declined several social engagements this weekend, but am still trying to worm my way out of having dinner with my sister, her fiance, and a bunch of their friends tonight. I wonder how rude it would be to simply not show up? There will be a large group of people there, so my absence won't have any impact either way. Would so rather just stay home and busy myself with reading, working on my Spanish vocabulary, finishing up the cleaning project, or simply just listening to music. Up to a certain point, these solitary periods are a welcome thing, though I'm sure it drives my friends crazy. Ah well, it's one of my greatest eccentricities. Take it or leave it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Clouds and Rain

Cloudy and cooler today in Norfolk with occasional rain showers. This is a nice break from the insufferable humidity of the last few days and will make today's research trip a little more adventurous between the muddy roads and slogging through swamps in ankle to knee deep water.

No real plans for today other than research. If that goes well, I should be back home by 4-5pm unless I do something silly like accidentally wedge the Jeep between two trees.

Me: "Hmmm. Guess this wasn't a road after all."