Yesterday Mandy and Ryan stopped in on their transcontinental2 bike tour (out and back from San Francisco!) Check out their work they’ve been doing exploring and connecting different sustainable efforts across the country.
-Sitting in airports using free wifi. Thank you jetBlue. You’ve made this blog post possible. Perfect?
Travel over a year back in time on this blog and you’ll meet a friend of mine. Matt and I both lived and volunteered at the Fauzi Azar Inn which is nestled in the old city district of Nazareth, Israel. Anyhow, he hails from Orlando and I thought it was high time for a visit. I left the early-fall weather of upstate New York for the weekend and landed in the hot humidity of central Florida.
Years back, Matt’s dad left the city life and relocated to a houseboat (imagine an RV on the water) on the Saint John swamp/river. We first drove to the middle of nowhere, but before a swamp bridge we found a restaurant-bar at a landing where “shoes and teeth were optional.” The gator tasted like any meat would when fried up with bread and oil — not much different than a chicken nugget.
After our gator diner, Rich took us out on his small 8′x10′ pontoon boat (imagine a wooden deck with plastic chairs and an outboard motor on the back) that he keeps parked next to the houseboat. It was quite dark (note the picture above) but we had a spotlight to catch the red reflections off the gator’s eyes. The water and marsh was flatter than the plains, with heat-lightning visible miles off in the distance. You could see the stars reflecting off of the surface of the water, a new sight. As we headed back, we spooked a blue heron from the marsh. The warm evening air on that boat was the best study break I’ve had to date.
Addendum: this trip was made possible in-part by jetBlue. Towards the end of the summer, I heard of jetBlue’s all-you-can-fly pass and just had to partake. It was a matter of principle, really. Apparently, many others across the country thought the same and jetBlue soon had to pull their offer from the table after selling it only for a couple of weeks. Two guys also cashed in on the pass and embarked on spending at least 12 hours in all of the cities that jetBlue flies to. I checked out their blog today, twelvehoursinacity.com, to see that they had also recently been to central Florida.
I remember my dad telling me that music is all about the story of our human experience. We were making another drive to Pennsylvania and tuned into the WSCP while passing by Syracuse, a classic country station that’s since gone off the air. Sure, it’s a simple statement but I like to let it sink in a little.
For me, it’s been about learning the ear and pitches of 4-part harmony hymns at church, the oldies radio shows on Friday nights while doing chores in the barn. Goodness, the radio was always on in the barn. Old and nearly broken amplifiers and tuners from the house would always live out their last days delivering us and the cows the six small town radio stations, two of them country music.
I also worked to keep music operational in our field tractors. It was a great luxury for the endless hours each summer harvesting the hay. One had only an FM radio, another an old eight-track player, while only the John Deere had a CD player that I installed — it skipped alot.
My access to the music industry went digital when I left the farm. For the past five years I’ve worked through many software editions of iTunes, shared music via BitTorrent, and gravitated to the novelty of Pandora internet radio. Everything and anything is available these days and in the constant chase and appreciation of something new I forgot and abandoned the old standby of radio. I haven’t owned one in years [until last night].
It was late evening as I was walking Chaco and found a pile of discarded goods by the road for the morning trash pick-up. Delighted, one of the finds was an old record player that has a radio and small amp built in.
The reception and sound is excellent. Sure, there’s no touch screen and it’s not nearly as portable as the iPod that sits next to it, but is equally adored with the metal knobs that don’t turn smoothly from years of dust and rust building up inside.
It’s been bringing in weekend edition on NPR all morning.
Up next is browsing at the flea market for old LPs.
A buddy of mine [and fellow dude-bomber] finished up his RN nursing degree, passed his NCLEX, and took off to work for several months on the south pole as a janitor at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
Jon’s video blog updates are quite exciting to watch. Honestly, It’s hard to imagine -40 degree weather without seeing it — and I still can’t quite fathom appreciating it first-hand. Until then I’ll enjoy watching with the buffer of 10,000 miles and 100 degrees and I hope you do too.