Wednesday, December 31

Trying to move on

It's been 2 weeks since our darling cat Isobelle was put to sleep. A short illness, she hardly suffered, but I feel robbed that she was only 9 years old.

Such a kind hearted cat, and ultimately weak hearted too.

After midnight, when we left the Angell Hospital we couldn't face going home to an empty house. So we walked up and down Commonwealth Ave in Boston in the freezing cold, reminiscing about her; laughing but mostly crying into the early hours of the morning.

Every object in the house has an emotional attachment to her, and now there's just space where she used to be.

And I miss her each day. I often look up expecting her to walk into the room or jump on the bed. Each noise the house makes reminds me of her. She was always near.

Not sure if we'll ever have another cat, couldn't go through the upset of losing another one.

To everyone who said how sorry they were. Thank you.

In Anne's words

Sunday, December 14

204 Days

The number of days I have spent outside the US since I moved here in 2000. And despite my previous vaguely Anti-U.S. post, I finally got round to filling in my Citizenship forms today.

I figure after 8 and a half years it's time to consider pledging allegiance.

On the form I had to state how long I had spent outside the country since I became a Permanent Resident. A problem for some perhaps, but I keep a database of all my travel, and finally it became useful!
What disappoints is that I have spent those 204 days in only 8 other countries.

Saturday, December 13


Went to see Milk starring Sean Penn today. Good movie about a great man.

30 years on and the issue changed from Prop 6 to Prop 8, only this time California let themselves down.

Obama's the new President but let's not get carried away. This country still has a long way to go before it can call itself progressive in its thinking.

Tuesday, December 9

A chance to mingle with the managers!

Came back to the hotel on Tuesday night to find this under my room door.

Car Musings

I rented a car yesterday ... and I may have gone off on this one before ... but I rented from Alamo.

Those bastards screwed me over in 1992 and I still haven't forgiven them. Sam Gessesse, LAX office; douchebag.

Anyhow, it's a Ford Focus, and the only noteworthy attribute I experienced yesterday was that it goes bing a lot. Key in, trunk open, seatbelt off, lights on. Bing, bing, bing and bing.

It snowed overnight. Shouldn't Syracuse car rental places put a snow scraper/brush in the car? Alamo didn't. Christ it snows for more than 300 days a year here (this is a fact I just made up).

Plugged in the SatNav. Because I don't read maps anymore. And set off for Fulton, NY.

Once I got on the highway I took another look at the dash, and noticed this car has satellite radio. I think I need to get this.

Because the service is national, they have separate channels for weather and traffic in major urban areas.

This morning I listened to the DC weather and the LA traffic.

Then I listened to the Elvis Channel, and a UK radio station, and a French Canadian pop music channel, and a Korean News Channel.

To be honest I was kind of sad to get to my final destination.

Monday, December 8


So to beat the loneliness and boredom of an evening in the Syracuse area, I walked to the lobby to get a cup of coffee.

I took my book and started reading.

Soon after, a tenacious young black woman said to me, "How's the Book?". OK, not quite, "Why are you Reading?", but I still laughed and answered her.

Anyone who knows me understands I hate making small talk with strangers, but Jennifer won me over.

Turns out she is about to travel to England to study, and she harbors hopes of becoming a lawyer for the UN. She asked me the cool spots in London. I said Hoxton?!?

She also offered to get her Garmin out to show me how long of a drive I had tomorrow. I politely declined and went back to my chain hotel coffee and paperback book.

Holy F

Hopped in my car this morning, wrapped up in scarf, hat and gloves. The dashboard said 16°F. Holy shit I thought. That's cold.

And then I flew to Syracuse this afternoon. And after a stomach churning dinner at Fresno's - The Southwest Grille and Bar by the airport I noticed the temp was a big fat zero.

Zero °F. Not Zero °C. F. Effing F.

Ice and snow everywhere, and it's blowing a gale outside. I'm holed up in the Holiday Inn with the heat turned up to 75.

Saturday, December 6

Complaint Update

So a while ago I made a complaint.

And today I received a reply. I particularly like the part where he writes 'we assumed readers would understand'. I didn't. Guess that makes me too dumb to read Budget Travel.

Dear Mr. T ... I'm sorry to hear that the True Story about Casablanca we published in the November 2008 issue of Budget Travel disappointed you. I want to assure you that in publishing the story, we assumed readers would understand that the woman's preconceptions were not an accurate understanding of Morocco. And we believe the writer and his wife realized the same thing during the episode.

Sorry about the delayed response. I hope that you'll continue to let us know about your thoughts about Budget Travel and True Stories. We greatly appreciate your feedback.

Best wishes,
Thomas Berger; Copy Chief
Budget Travel

Thursday, December 4

Doctor Doctor

"The nurse is ready to see you now."

After a few vitals and a bunch of questions.
"Would you mind if the Doctor is accompanied by a Med Student?"

20 minutes later a knock on the door.
"Hi, I'm a Med Student, mind if I ask you a few questions?"

20 questions later.
"OK I'll go meet with the Doc and we'll be back."

20 minutes later. The Doctor arrives, "How you doing Richard?"

20 questions later, he forgets to renew my prescription, and I have to ask the Med Student to chase after the Doctor.

And that's how my request for a repeat prescription took 100 minutes out of my day.