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Fri, 10 Mar 2006

Letter to President Bush
This letter came courtesy of MeFi. It puts into words feelings I've had for several years now.

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned
officer and helicopter pilot in the U. S. Navy. Before me in WWII, my
father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard
the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn to protect and
defend. Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the
Constitution and principles of our oath. My dad was buried with full
military honors so I cannot act for him. But for myself, I return
enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my
rank and my Naval Aviators wings.

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the
United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war
against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your
administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take
hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind,
and to disappear them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and
Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could
not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a
President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and
then adding a signing statement that he intends to ignore such law as
he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

As a citizen, a patriot, a parent and grandparent, a lawyer and law
teacher I am left with such a feeling of loss and helplessness. I
think of myself as a good American and I ask myself what can I do when
I see the face of evil? Illegal and immoral war, torture and
confinement for life without trial have never been part of our
Constitutional tradition. But my vote has become meaningless because I
live in a safe district drawn by your political party. My congressman
is unresponsive to my concerns because his time is filled with
lobbyists largess. Protests are limited to your free speech zones, out
of sight of the parade. Even speaking openly is to risk being labeled
un-American, pro-terrorist or anti-troops. And I am a disciplined
pacifist, so any violent act is out of the question.

Nevertheless, to remain silent is to let you think I approve or
support your actions. I do not. So, I am saddened to give up my wings
and bars. They were hard won and my parents and wife were as proud as
I was when I earned them over forty years ago. But I hate the torture
and death you have caused more than I value their symbolism. Giving
them up makes me cry for my beloved country.

Joseph W. DuRocher

Posted at: 18:43 on 10/03/2006   [ /diary ] #

Fri, 07 Oct 2005

Shutting off the tube
Yesterday I read a
speech given by Al Gore about the declining intellectualism in America, Television, and the media. The speech struck a chord with me because, as anyone who has read through this blog probably sees, for awhile I have felt that mass media in this country is dishing up garbage while leaving the recipients intellectually bankrupt.

Case in point, some of the "big stories" of the past week included:

Each of these stories was featured prominantly at the top of CNN's web-site on different days during the week. Meanwhile, not seen on CNN's top-stories section, but available elsewhere, Scientists believe they have a clue as to why the arctic ice cap is melting, The US Military appears to be involved in another pattern of abuse in Iraq, The Bush Whitehouse is blocking a $9 billion health care package for evacuees of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and a guy from Gainesville was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

If I were to pull up the stories on the broadcast news over the past week, especially the evening news on ABC, CBS, or NBC, I'd probably have an equally meaningless set of stories.

Gores' thesis is that as television popularity has soared, because the cost of entry as a media publisher (read: putting on your own television program) is so much higher than the cost of traditional methods of information dissemination (press), only the wealthy can afford to get their message out. Because information and ideas are now being presented in a uni-directional stream, they have reached the lowest common denominator.

If one were to take his thesis and expand upon it, there is no free exchange of thought in the new conglomerate controlled mass media. As we have become a less literate society, our ability to critically look at the world around us has waned.

Is Gore correct?

A person would be hard pressed to argue against his thesis.

Instead of being concerned with stamping out poverty, or illiteracy, or any of the other social ills in the world, we have become a society focused on acquiring new ipods, or the next sale at the Super Walmart.

Instead of being a literate society, we have become a dumb society. In spite of scientifically sound research that establishes the plausibility of theories like "evolution" or "erosional geology" we are teaching the next generation that we exist because of "intelligent design" and that the Grand Canyon was created during the biblical flood.

Instead of respecting an individuals right, and some would argue duty, to question authority, we are told "why do you hate America so?" and are expected to keep the status quo.

Instead of rallying to support our troops by bringing them home safe and sound, we are told that failure to unconditionally support the "War in Iraq" will erode our troops morale and jeopardize their safety.

And people buy this shit up.

Back to Gore

Gore continues by stating that one of the reasons why this is happening is the amount of time Americans spend in front of the idiot box. According to Gore, Americans spend nearly five hours a day in front of the tube. While shocking, it's certainly not surprising because for years several other studies have said the same thing.

What I find scary is that this is the AVERAGE amount of time Americans spend watching the Tellie.

So I started thinking about it, and analyzing how much time I spend watching the box... And then I became concerned.

I've always loved television. As a child, constantly on the move, Television became my best friend. A different city each year meant the embarrasment of trying to make new friends, which for a slightly shy and introverted child who felt starved for affection from his parents, was difficult at best.

But ooh Television was always my friend. Although the channels may have differed from one location to the next, the shows were the same. And how those shows comforted me.

My friends included Mork and Spock, both Aliens from another world but as different from each other as night and day. My friends included Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. My friends included Superman, the 1950s version in the original black and white, and Batman, the 1960s version "now in technicolor!" On Saturdays I would go with Admiral Nelson on a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, or take a ride with Michael Knight and KIT.

As a child, the only time that TeeVee was not a part of my life was that solitary period of time when we lived in Grand Cayman while I was in the fifth grade. Lacking a Television station on the island, there was no need to have a TV.

During this period I came out of my shell and made lots of friends. I swam and played every day. I read lots of books, probably forty or fifty during the six month period I lived on the island, maybe more; I knew the Georgetown Librarian on a first name basis. I read Stevenson, Carrol, Dahl, and Dixon. My thirsty mind was insatiable, and I did my best to quench the thirst.

And then we moved back to the states, and I renewed my relationship with the Television. Although I continued to read, the frequency was diminished; while I read 1984 and Brave New World without any prodding from my eighth grade english teacher (Hi Mrs. Porter), I still read less and watched more Tellie.

Sure, there were the occasional trips to Xanth with Piers Anthony, or the ride in Christine with Stephen King, but I still watched more Toob than I read.

As an adult, Television has been a constant companion. Although I engage in external activities, we still watch a fair amount of TV at night.

It's simple - press a button and it's on.

There's no wasted thought to determine what I'm going to watch.

With sixty channels to choose from, there's bound to be something to anesthetize the mind.

And that's the key -- television anethestizes us.

If you don't like what is on channel A, turn to channel B.

B sucks? Go to C.

Why you don't even have to expend an ounce of energy, just press the little button on the remote with your thumb.

And just what is the stuff we're watching? Inside Edition? Entertainment Tonight? Survivor?

One of the most talked about shows among my peers has been "My Name's Earl" about a redneck who discovers "Karma" by watching Carson Daily.

What the hell have we become??? How shallow and vapid are we really??

Television has become such an ingrained part of our culture that catch phrases from TV shows, and even commercials, become a part of our working vocabulary.

"You're fired!"

"That's my final answer."


If something as trite as a commercial for a cheap American beer can create new phrases in our lexicon, we, as a society, have a problem. Maybe even a mental problem.

Although I still watch a fair chunk of the tube, I've been trying my best to read more and watch less. The web helps because it increases my access to printed media -- as a news junkie I find myself constantly scanning mainstream newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, our local fish wrapper, as well as other media sources including mefi, K5, /., and wired.

I'm also trying to read more books, mostly literature, science, philosophy, dimestore fiction, and history. Maybe a little bit of political commentary and travelogues as well.

I've set a personal goal of one book a week -- last year I managed to read fifty books, ranging from ideology (Guevera) to dimestore fiction (Dan Brown, oh wait, The Davinci Code is really history, right) to philosophy (Kuhn) and even a travelogue or two (Blue Highways). Although I did that while working full time and taking classes, compared to some of my friends, I am just an amateur.

This year hasn't been so good, when I kicked my scholastic endeavors into high gear I sort of burned myself out. Although I read close to thirty books by July 1, most of them were for school and by the time I graduated I felt brain dead. During the summer, and my last two semesters, I only managed to read four books (a historiograph on the Korean War, a book on the overthrow of the Prime Minister of Iran by Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA in the 1950s, a biography of Jimmy Carter, and a travelogue about riding a motorcycle around South America and being captured by the EZLN).

Usually the first few weeks of the fall semester are a real bear, and I worked a number of twelve hour days, which meant that by the time I got home, I just wanted to crawl into bed and watch the idiot box.

Two weeks ago it finally eased up, and I have been able to resume my reading. I've finished a book by Nelson DeMille (Word of Honor), a collection of oral histories with interviews of journalists and newspaper publishers throughout Florida (Orange Journalism), Enola Gay, The Cuba Diaries, a book by Dean Koontz, and I'm currently re-reading A Farewell to Arms (I'll probably finish it today). I'm currently debating about shutting off the cable, which would save us about $600 a year, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to cut the cord all of the way, yet.

Maybe more Americans will eventually wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that the Tube is not really our friend, but probably our biggest adversary.

Hopefully the intellegentsia proletariat can be inspired and will awake from their forty year slumber.

Posted at: 14:55 on 07/10/2005   [ /diary ] #

Tue, 04 Oct 2005

A night on the town
Jazz music played in the back ground. Although the band is swedish, the music is still unmistakably jazz; all of the beats and passion that Count Bassey could have dreamed of making were produced by Koop.

I took a sip of the drink. Ice cold, the martini warmed my insides. Skyy and Rossi went down in a delictable bit.

I flipped the pages of the book. 70 pages over the past hour, I'll be done by midnight.

Posted at: 01:23 on 04/10/2005   [ /diary ] #

Wed, 21 Sep 2005

Do it for the boobies!
If you're still on the fence about helping with Katrina relief, think about
doing it for the boobies.

Posted at: 22:38 on 21/09/2005   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 18 Sep 2005

4:42 and UT is driving
There's 4 minutes and 42 seconds to go, and Tennessee is driving for a score.

For fifty-five minutes the two teams have battled on the gridiron. Sports writers had said it would be an offensive battle, but those sports writers were wrong.

Tonights battle has been a defensive battle. A gladiatorial contest between two teams that are among the best in the nation. Neither team giving the other much quarter.

There have been casualties along the way.

5 seconds into the start of the second half, Bubba Caldwell was carried off on a stretcher, his leg broken.

His season is over, but the Gators season is just beginning.

The Gators are in the lead, 16 to 7, but they've been down this path before. In 1994 they saw a 28 point lead evaporate and had to settle for a tie against their most hated in state rivals. The "Choke in Doak" is still considered by many fans one of the worst moments in Florida football.

Tennessee has also been in this situation before. Last year, in a contest against this same Florida team, they were behind in the fourth quarter. But that Tennessee team was able achieve victory as the Gator defense collapsed.

Tennessee had won the previous three encounters, and twice they were behind in the fourth quarter but still managed to emerge victorious.

Would tonight be a repeat? Would this Gator Defense crumble and fold in the final few moments of the game like Gator Defenses of years past?

This drive could make all of the difference between redemption for the gators, or salvation for the volunteers.

But something is different.

A long forgotten scent is in the air wafting through the stands.

It is a scent that tickles a part of the reptilian brain.

The Gator Nation stirs with recognition of the scent.

It is the smell of blood. Tennessee blood.

90,716 fans smell it, and it drives them into a frenzy.

Exhausted fans drenched in the sweat from a hot and humid evening are driven into an orgiastic moving mass of bodies; the stadium erupts as the fans unite as one.

The Gators Growl.

The Tennessee quarterback can't communicate with his players. He can't gather his concentration. He can't even hear himself think.

The noise is unbearable.

My ears feel as if they are about to burst from the sound, yet caught up in the frenetic energy around me, I ignore the pain and shout with all of my might until my voice is hoarse. Fans are stomping up and down on the bleachers, shouting, screaming, singing, and crying with joy.

The stadium is transformed into an ancient colliseum with the fans shouting for their triumphant Cesar.

Feeding on the raw energy from the stands, the Gator Defense holds on, stops the drive, and hands the ball back to the offense.

Five minutes later the entire city erupts as the streak is broken.

The Swamp is reborn. Only the Gators Get Out Alive.

As I walk back to my bike to head home, I get caught up in the moment and shout with my fellow fans "It's Great to be a Florida Gator!"

Posted at: 19:33 on 18/09/2005   [ /diary ] #

Sat, 17 Sep 2005

The Circus
Your humble reporter arrived on campus around 9am to begin participating in the celebration that is the annual battle of the grid-iron between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators. Already, the smell of BBQ permeated the air as grills were lit, drinks were mixed, and the party was beginning to ramp up. The fans have been tailgating in full force. This humble reporter had to do his best and consume beer as quickly as it was offered to him by fellow thankful fans.

The Volunteers are in town, the eyes of these poor folk reflecting the dim glow that reflects their intellect. Sadness is also reflected in their demeaner; they know that with Ron Zooks departure, their hope of owning the swamp one last time is probably gone. Dreams of lost glory, when Peyton Manning held the mantle as the top player of the "orange crush" fill the air; in their hearts they know their biggest fear is about to be realized.

They fear that Rocky Top will not be played by the UT band this evening, but rather by the Gator Band, mocking their loss.

Your humble reporter stopped and sat next to a nice elderly couple with UT shirts on. Although they have been married for forty years, they have been brother and sister for fifty-five. The reporter made sure to ask if they were enjoying their stay in Gainesville, and wished them the best of luck. Knowing it would be in poor taste to wish the humiliation of their football team on national television, the reporter lied to them and said he hoped it'd be a close game for their sake, but not too close. They confirmed the suspicion of your reporter, that most of the volunteer faithful believe tonights crusade is a lost cause before it has even begun. They informed your reporter that they believe the recent change in coaching staff at the University of Florida will make a huge impact on the outcome of tonights battle.

Gator fans on the other hand have been jubilant. They know that URBAN MAYER is the real deal. This new era is filled with promise from a talented coaching staff and an incredibly talented roster which is about to meet their biggest challenge of the year. There is no question: Tonight will set the stage for the young team for the rest of the year. Will this be the team that finally answers the call of "Wait until next year?" The conventional wisdom around Gainesville says it is.

As your reporter wandered among the crowd, a band played at a charity benefit for hurricane relief right across the street from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The lead singer declared that tonight the Volunteers would have their two front teeth kicked in, but your reporter felt that was a little harsh.

Maybe just one tooth and a noogie.

Besides being one of the greatest battles on the gridiron, tonight will also set a milestone in Florida history. For tonight, a state record for the most people to ever attend a sporting event will be set. One of the Universities Finest mentioned to your humble reporter that the campus police department were expecting approximately 92,000 screaming fans to take to the stadium right before the 8PM kick-off. Ken

Posted at: 21:15 on 17/09/2005   [ /essays ] #

Sun, 04 Sep 2005

Aaron Broussard
Because the Aaron Broussard video is extremely powerful and I think everyone should watch it, I've mirrored it
at this location.

Posted at: 21:08 on 04/09/2005   [ /diary ] #

I can't believe this is America.
I didn't mention this when I updated my blog last week, mostly because it's been fairly painful to accept and everything that has happened since then has been utterly surreal.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past week, the city of New Orleans has been all but destroyed due to a failed levee system which was damaged by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina hit Florida a few days before, pounding the shit out of Miami, before bouncing into the gulf and picking up steam. It then made a bee-line for New Orleans, but veered due east at the last minute, destroying Gulf Port Mississippi.

The destruction of New Orleans happened the next morning, when the levees which protected the city from the waters of Lake Ponchetrain, failed and the city flooded. Since then there has been incomprehensible chaos and utter failure in our governments ability to respond to this incident.

The death toll is well into the thousands. Reporters from CNN, FOX, and other news organizations who have covered war zones in Africa and Latin America are stunned by what they are seeing first hand. They are comparing the situation in NOLA with that of Somalia or Sierra Leone.

New Orleans Louisiana has become a war zone.

Armed thugs have looted stores and rioted in the streets.

Police officers have been shot & killed by these thugs.

Order has failed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our lovely commander in chief decided this tragedy warrented cutting his five week vacation short by one day.

That's really thoughtful of him, but, he's been slow on getting FEMA to move in with emergency relief and aid.

People are DYING because they have not received any food or water.

I can't help but think that if this had happened in the Hamptons the response would have been quick and strong.

But letting a city full of darkies die, well that's no big deal because they probably wouldn't have voted for you anyway.

I can't believe this is America.

It took them six days to evacuate the last of the refugees that sought shelter in the superdome. A girl showed a reporter where the people were pissing all over the astroturf in the dome because the plumbing had failed. A guy showed another reporter where they were stacking up the bodies on the second level of the superdome as people dropped dead.

I can't believe this is America.

And FEMA was nowhere to be found. The head of FEMA told everyone he only heard about the people stuck in the NOLA convention center by watching the news.

I can't believe this is America.

Talking heads are trying to put the blame for the disaster on the local and state government, rather than trying to RESPOND TO THE DISASTER. They are engaged in CYA big time.

I can't believe this is America (well, politicians only thinking about their next election, maybe).

The Red Cross isn't even allowed to get into New Orleans to aid the victims!

I can't believe this is America.

This link is extremely distressing because it clearly shows that FEMA went out of their way to disrupt communications. A sherrif in Jefferson Parish had to reconnect the lines of communication and guard them from FEMA.

I can't believe this is America.

But that's not the worst of it. It clearly shows how the federal gov't has failed it's citizenry and let people die.

If the role of a government is not to provide law & order, structure, and aid to its people, then what is the role of a government?

Outraged in Florida.

ps - If you can, please donate blood and cash. Blood can be donated at most local blood banks, and you can donate cash to the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669). Sandy and I have agreed that we'll be making $200 cash donations from each paycheck over the next few months.

Posted at: 20:56 on 04/09/2005   [ /diary ] #

Thu, 01 Sep 2005

Oh my lord, what have I done??
The past week and a half I have jumped head first into some serious new stuff at work. I've been writing perl since 1998, and wrote my first cgi back in 1994 (it was in pascal, on a windows 3.1 box running a version of the cern httpd that was ported to windows), but I've never done anything with SQL (any of them), and I haven't played much with interactive cgi's.

Until I returned from vacation..

Step 1: Learn SQL. Because we have some major projects that need to be finished that will require, or at least will benefit, from rdbms interaction, and the flamingos group has all of their work stored in a database and I'm supposed to be the dba (their guy moved back to England in 2003 and I've been puttering along maintaining it since), I figured it'd be a good time to learn SQL. I won't claim to be a whiz, but my years of database programming while at JenMar (and BBS programming) got me way past the basic concepts (data normalization, why foreign keys are good, and the like) and I have been able to ramp up very quickly. SQL syntax is very simple and straightforward, and working with multiple tables is so intuitive that I'm surprised people command high dollars for the work.

Last week I could barely accomplish a "select * from blah" statement. This week I've developed a print auditing system which parses my printer logs and dumps them into MySQL. With a simple perl script I can produce a few decent reports based on the data, including how much each user is spending and how much each printer is costing.

My users will be so happy.

Step 2: Extend my CGI programming abilities. AJAX and DHTML are the future, and they must be embraced for web-applications to be successful. One of the problems though is I'm a perl muench, and am not a big fan of the many insecurity holes frequently found in PHP. So, I need to start developing a framework where AJAX applications can be rapidly prototyped and developed in a perl environment.

I looked at WDDX, but it seemed a bit buggy. However, after plugging away I was able to come up with some simple code to do a few basic operations. The code should be able to be generalized enough that in the future I can make a library out of it..

Oh yeah, I need to sleep sometime now too.

Posted at: 22:49 on 01/09/2005   [ /diary ] #

Sun, 21 Aug 2005

Road Trip to Maine, part 3

Friday, August 12, 2005

I woke up around 7AM and had the bike loaded and packed within an hour. After checking out of the hotel, I went and grabbed a quick breakfast and then proceeded to Street Cycles in Falmouth.

The service manager, Katie, and the parts guy, Ian, took really good care of me and had me in and out within in an hour. On top of being efficient and quick, their price for the new front tire and labor to swap cylinders on the saddle bags was a bargain; new tire, mounting, and labor for the cylinders was only $167! If you're near Portland Maine, and need work done on a BMW, Triumph, or Suzuki, you should stop by Street Cycles.

When I left Street Cycles my plan was to head into New Hampshire, grab an R, and possibly meet up with a friend of mine from Gainesville who was supposed to be camping in the area. I took US-1 north into Yarmuth for some gas, then 115 into Gray. From there I popped over to US-202 to North Windham, and then picked up US-302 which I took into New Hampshire.

Just outside of Conway I jumped onto 113/16 south bound, and stopped for lunch at a little pub called "Almost There" for a blue cheeseburger. The weekender traffic was backed up heading into Conway, but I was heading out, hopefully away from it all.

A buddy of mine and his dad were doing a weird two-stage trip while I was on the road. The first part had them in Nova Scotia, hiking and camping for a week, and then they flew back home to Gainesville. After spending 24 hours at home, they were going to fly back into New Hampshire and camp in the white mountains.

Allen and I played phone tag for much of the week while I was on Mt. Desert and he was in Nova Scotia, but while I was at lunch I finally tracked him down. It turned out that he was in Gainesville, getting ready to fly to New Hampshire; with the weekend crowd coming in, I decided not to spend an extra day just to have a beer with a guy I see almost every day at work anyway, so I proceeded to make my way out of Dodge.

From the Almost There, I took 113 south to 25. I followed 25 through a number of small towns until I made it to Rumney, NH, and picked up an R. 25 is a decent road, which is well paved in some sections, and cuts through some gorgeous scenary while making its way across New Hampshire, including a few covered bridges.

Eventually I picked up Route 25A, the Governor Meldrim Thomson Scenic Highway, which is a very fun road that runs past campgrounds with names like Lollipippicnic, which is Algonquin for "Silly White Man try to pick good Indian name for camp," on it's way to I-91 in Vermont.

Once pickup up I-91, I made my way south to Massachusetts route 116, which leads into Amherst, and hopefully the final letter of my quest. I stopped for gas and when I pulled into the pump it was $2.75 per gallon, but by the time I left, the price had gone up to $2.84.

I made my way through the town, past the University of Massachusetts campus, until I finally found the post office. Unfortunately, the post office in Amherst, at 141 N. Pleasant Street, lists neither the city or state on the exterio of the building. Not sure if a "University of Massachussets, Amherst" sign would work or not, I decided I would need to find another "A" on the way home, with the worst case scenario being a visit to "Anderson, South Carolina".

Leaving Amherst, I took 116 through the Holyoke state park. The road was a little curvy, but there was a lot of traffic with people heading back to school. Eventually I picked US-202 back up and followed that back to I-91.

I continued on 91 south to I-95 in Connecticut. The night sky started to fill with lightning the closer I got to New York. Deciding that stopping might be the better part of valor, I found a Doubletree in Darien, where for $99 I was treated to royal hospitality.

While I was unloading the bike, Noah's flood erupted around me. Stopping was the wise choice.

Mileage: 415/3284.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Before going to bed the night before, I pulled out my atlas and started scanning for A's up and down the eastern seaboard. When I got near Atlantic City, I picked a town that looked big enough to have a post office, but small enough that it should be easy to find; Absecon, New Jersey.

I checked out of the hotel and was on the road by 7AM. My planned route followed I-95 to the Garden State Parkway, following that all the way down to the Cape May ferry. When I got to the first toll booth on the GSP, I asked the toll maid how far I was from Atlantic City.

"Oh, it's about 75 minutes from here, but being on a bike, you should be there within 30 minutes."

I guess she thought I must look like Nicky Hayden, or something.

While making my way south on the GSP, I noticed two things: 1. The heat was already in the upper 90s, 2. for no apparent reason traffic would come to a dead stop and I lost quite a bit of time.

Eventually, about two hours after hitting that first toll, I made it to exit 40 in Absecon. I stopped into a gas station and asked to borrow the phone book. Sure enough, I was able to find "US Postal Service" under U in the white pages, and I was headed off for my final A.

Once again discovering that left turns are verboten in New Jersey, I struggled to make my way back onto the Garden State Parkway heading southbound towards the fery.

I eventually managed to pull it off, and promptly queued up for a spot on the boat.

What is it with that state and left turns anyway??

After paying my $22, I was told that because I didn't have a reservation, I wouldn't be able to leave until the 2:30 crossing. However, when it came time to board the 1:45 ferry, they managed to find enough room to squeeze me and my little bike on board.

The ferry ride was mostly a non-event, for the most part I stayed next to my bike, working on my tan, finishing up Two Wheels Through Terror, and talking with one or two other people also headed to Delaware.

One of the people I chatted with mentioned that it was supposedly 101F in Atlantic City, egads when would this heat wave break?

After landing, I had one last mission to accomplish. And that was a visit to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehobeth Beach.

I followed 1 to 1A, into Rehobeth. Even without a GPS, or decent map, I managed to find the Dogfish Head Brewery without too much of a problem.

I stopped in for lunch, a MahiMahi Ceasar Salad, with a pint of the 60 Minute IPA, followed by three or four pints of ice water with lemon. I also picked up some momentos (hat, t-shirt), and then continued on my way south.

I followed 1, and the traffic, south into Bethany, and took 362 to 54. 54 was a nice little road that took me through rural farmland as it worked towards US-113. On US-113 I continued south towards the Pocomokos, where it merges with US-13.

I followed US-13 south into Maryland and Virginia, trying to make it to the Chesapeake Bridge and Tunnel before the sun set. Because the sun was starting to set, I knew it was going to be close.

Opening the throttle up, I managed to make it to the bridge just before the sun set. I paid my $12 toll and proceeded to follow the bridge.

The Chesapeake Bridge and Tunnel spans 21 miles across the mouth where the Atlantic meets the Chesapeake Bay. It provides a direct link to Virginia Beach and the Delmarva Peninsula, and opened for operation 41 years ago in 1964. It is truly a wonder of engineering, taking the traveler both over the bay and under it.

The sun setting on the Chesapeake Bay was a gorgeous site to witness, but because there was no place to pull over, I didn't get a picture.

When I arrived in Virginia Beach, I found a room at the only hotel available, a Motel 6. It cost me as much as the Doubletree had the night before, but was nowhere near as nice.

Mileage: 385/3669

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Here I am, standing in the shower covered head to toe with lather, when the stupid fire alarm starts going off.


How would MacGyver handle this? He'd probably come up with some idea of using the lather as a fire retardant material, and storm the gates with his swiss army knife in hand.

Of course, I'm not MacGyver. Instead, I opt to rinse off real quick and run to the window to see what my neighbors were doing.

Seeing no one in the hallway, I decide to call the front desk and ask if there is a fire. The clerk, being as helpful as you can possibly hope for, told me there was no fire and that they had been having problems with the fire alarms because they hadn't been changing the batteries.

Say what?? I'm not entirely sure how I feel about staying in a hotel that doesn't properly maintain their fire alarms..

Deciding that there was nothing to worry about, I ignore the bleeting of the alarm and finish my shower.

With the excitement out of the way, I dried off, got dressed, and loaded up the bike before stopping for a nutritious meal at the local Awful House. I had a healthy meal of a pecan waffle and two eggs over medium. The wife and doctor would kill me if they knew how shot my diet had been over the past 10 days.

When I was ready to roll, I hopeed on US-13 south to US-58. While working my way around the Virginia Beach area I was surprised by how big the military and shipping complex was.

When I picked up 58, I followed it west. The section of US-58, west of Suffolk, has been the beneficiary of upgrades made to many of the older US highways over the past five years. As a result, it's a modern four lane road with smooth asphalt, bypassing most towns, with 65mph speed limits.

Having very little traffic, I made pretty good time heading towards Emporia on US-58, and proceeded on I-95 south towards Florida.

Although it warmed up as the day wore on, it never quite got as hot as yesterday in New Jersey had been, and the further south I travelled, the cooler it got. What's up with that?

With the temperatures cooling down, I was able to ride for two hours at a clip without having to stop and soak my shirt in water. This worked out to a gas stop every 150 miles, and I made pretty good time, arriving home 11 hours after I left that morning without any major incidents.

Mileage: 686/4355

Monday, August 15, 2005

Although I was home from my trip, I had one final task. That was to crawl out of bed, and grab a Highway 21 sign.

Florida Highway 21 runs through the bursting metropolis of Melrose, Florida, about 15 miles from my house. I had previously asked the TeamStrange folks if I could just ride my bicycle, but they insisted I ride a motorcycle.

Around 9:30 I left the house, rode to Melrose, and took the final photos for my Grand Tour.

My trip was done.

Posted at: 18:04 on 21/08/2005   [ /travel ] #

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My photo album
My resume

Presentations and Papers

SAP Filtering 1998
Border Manager 1999
Astronomy Status 2002
Astronomy Update 2003
Linux on a CTX FC2A300
Honeynet Challenge entry