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The Preemptive Thursday Grab Bag




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Originally uploaded by sogrady

Having spent the bulk of the evening either driving aimlessly around Western Connecticut in my rented Subaru Outback (thanks so much, Google Maps) or preparing for tomorrow’s consult, I haven’t managed to complete either my Red Hat Q&A (sorry, mjw) or my IBM Analyst Conference wrapup (as a hint it looks beyond software). Apologies and so on. But in the meantime, a couple of items I’ve been meaning to get to.

Baseball and Me

To the surprise of virtually no one, I’ve been getting some mild to moderate grumbling about the spike in baseball related commentary leading up to and following the World Series (my favorite was “i thought you were becoming a sports commentator” ;). Quite understandable, since I’ve recently become aware there is a contingent that is as yet unindoctrinated with the Gospel of Fenway. For those folks, I’ve got both good news and bad news. Being a bad news first kind of guy, I’ll give you that up front: baseball will continue to be a regular topic around here. Love it or hate it, it’s a big part of who I am, and there’s only so much filtering I’m willing to do as there are some fellow fans in the audience.

If the relative surplus of baseball related commentary compels you to unsubscribe as it has for at least one individual already, I both understand and support your decision. With no hard feelings. All the more so since I’m unlikely to be aware of it on an invidual basis.

The good news, however, is that some of the subject matter will be shifting over to a new property I plan on launching sometime in January (i.e. the next time I’ll be at home for a long enough stretch). It’s time that my love of Sox found its own home, and I think I know how I want to do it. Even got the domain name I wanted.

Cartoons & History

When JetBlue red eyes are a regular mode of transport, as they are for me, you’re bound to end up watching some strange things on their DirecTV service. In recent weeks, I’ve been indulging my nostalgic side, watching positively ancient cartoons on Boomerang, a sister channel of the Cartoon Network. From the amusingly simplistic Hanna Barbera series’ to the still holding up well Looney Tunes, the cartoons are of surprising historic value from a cultural perspective, all these years later. Racism, sexism, nationalism, gender issues, they’re all there. Along with a healthy slice of Americana and some good old fashioned sight gags. If you haven’t seen any in a while, indulge your inner child and/or historian with a stroll through YouTube (my Favorites might give you an idea of what’s out there). My debt to Ryan for pointing out the existence of these is borderline incalculable.

St Croix

As expected, the island of St Croix was lovely. Also as expected, my free time on the island was severely curtailed by my own fatigue and wedding responsibilities. That said, some thoughts on travel to the island for those – like Senor Curry – who have the good fortune to be visiting:

  • General:
    Relative to the other US Virgin Islands, St Croix is apparently the least built up. It’s 84 square miles in size, with a population of around 60,000. As the least built up, St Croix is also the poorest of the chain, and its medical facilities are reportedly abysmal.
  • Cabs:
    I was only in a few, and had no problems, but beware of taking them if you’re out late. My cousin-in-law caught one home from the casino after the rehearsal dinner with three others, and the driver attempted to extract $200 from them for a 20 minute ride.
  • Cell Coverage:
    AT&T had 4 or 5 bars most of the time. I’d keep the calls to a minimum, because you’re likely to get stung on international roaming, but it’s there if you need it.

  • Crime:
    As is the case on many of the Caribbean islands, crime is something of a problem on the 84 square mile island from what we were told. Given that the trip from the airport proceeds through some fairly run down areas, this is plausible. Visitors are told to be careful at night, and stick to taxis wherever possible.

  • Currency:
    All dollars. It being a US Territory, and all.
  • Driving:
    Only a few people rented cars, but one important note if you try it: they drive on the opposite side of the road. This would perhaps be more obvious if the cars reflected this, but instead of the British-style right seat driver vehicles that characterize most countries that drive on the left, all of their cars are of the American style. So the driver is on the left, and you’re in the left lane. Apparently this is due to federal highway monies or some such nonsense.
  • Eating:
    Highly recommend Duggan’s Reef, about a 20 minute drive from the Buccaneer. First, they have Red Stripe. Second, the vegetarian pasta I had was actually quite good. But most importantly, it’s run by a big time Sox fan – just check it out.

  • Lodging:
    The wedding was at the Buccaneer, and while the hub of the resort was under serious construction, the rooms and facilities were very nice, and the staff was pleasant. The ocean room I had was outstanding, with the water right off my porch. It’s got golf and tennis onsite, if those are your thing, along with a 2 mile fitness trail that features some very quaint calisthenic devices.
  • Passports:
    You don’t need them. While it’s odd to arrive at a tropical location and walk directly to a taxi, St Croix’s status as US Territory makes arrival and departure relatively simple affairs. On the way out, you have to clear customs and the form does request a passport number, but according to the agent a driver’s license would suffice.

Williams Football

A small horde of folks need to be thanked for alerting me to this, but ESPN’s College Gameday is broadcasting this weekend live from my alma mater, Williams College. The occasion is our annual homecoming game – which I made an appearance in, once upon a time – against the Amherst Lord Jeffs. I’d be lying if I told you that the quality of play is anything like you see most Saturdays with the big boys of DI football, but they don’t call it the biggest little game in America for nothing.

Kudos to the ESPN crew for making the trek, and Go Ephs!

Categories: Personal, Travel.