Excursion 58 (Cloudy with a Chance of Memory)

When I was a child, in the 1970s, Charlie the Tuna was ubiquitous on television. Charlie was the cartoon tuna who helped sell Star-Kist Tuna (with the tag line “Star-Kist doesn’t want tunas with good taste. They want tunas that taste good.”). The commercials always featured Charlie trying but failing to be caught by Star-Kist, apparently because he wasn’t high enough quality. As a kid, I found the commercials a bit confusing, as the difference between “good taste” and “taste good” was lost on me.

But there was something even more confusing.

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Excursion 54, Part 1 (The Minibus of Memories)

Sometimes the passage of time becomes abrupt, almost jarring.  For example, almost overnight, it seems, people stopped referring to taxis and began referring to Uber.  “When did Uber become a thing?” I couldn’t help but wonder. Sometimes it is far less apparent—just as you may not notice that someone you are constantly with has aged.  One personal example of this involves the Volkswagen Beetle.  Like many families of an earlier age, my family used to play “lovebug,” where occupants of a car would compete to count Volkswagen beetles, the first person seeing one shouting “lovebug!” to claim their prize (there is a less genteel version of it called “slugbug,” the parameters of which are presumably clear to the reader, but we did not stoop to that).  Once upon a time, the Volkswagen Beetle—the original Volkswagen Beetle—was everywhere.  Then, gradually, it was not everywhere.  Eventually, it was hardly somewhere.  And that’s when you notice time has passed.

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Excursion 53, Part 1 (Septic Thanks)

We don’t always take the time to appreciate the little things in life.  For example, at the moment of this writing, I have a gnat/fruit fly infestation in my house. I don’t know where the little buggers are reproducing yet and I am probably going to have to tear my house upside down.  I normally don’t take the time to appreciate a gnat-free house.   I do appreciate the relaxation of going on my little excursions across Ohio, but often not until I am actually on the road.  What I dread, to be honest, is having to wake up so early. I am such a night person, that getting up early enough to catch even the trailing rays of the morning’s “golden hour” is certainly a chore. One saving grace of excursions in the winter is that the sun, at least, rises a bit later.  I need those minutes.

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Excursion 49, Part Two (They Came from the Sky)

I saw a UFO once.  I mean that literally, as in an “unidentified flying object.”  It was back when I was a kid and my family was getting up very early in the morning to go on some long trip.  I went outside, to put something in the car or get something from my father’s truck, and somehow I noticed something extremely tiny and odd up in the sky—it is rather amazing I noticed it at all, so small and far away it was.  It looked like the tiniest of circles hovering in the stratosphere.  I went and got my dad, who came out and looked at it, and then went back inside and got his spotting scope—the closest thing we had to a telescope.   Even through the spotting scope, we could make out very little, just a few appurtenances or gewgaws coming out of the thing.  Eventually we decided that it had to be some sort of weather balloon, high up in the atmosphere.  Sorry if you were expecting tentacles.

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Excursion 41, Part 2 (The Cashier)

Even when I was a child, I always wanted to “go down in history” in some fashion—hoping that some part of me would live on, even if only as part of people’s memories.  Today, many years later and pretty much in the throes of a mid-life crisis of sorts, it seems obvious to me that my chances of being remembered will be slim.   But it is interesting how people are memorialized and how they are chosen to be remembered.  We’ll see an example of what I mean, bye and bye.  The photos here are from the second half of an excursion that my friend Tsuki and I took on a bleak day in late November 2014. Continue reading

Excursion 41, Part 1 (More Merry Mannequins)

One of the cleverest things I have ever seen in a movie was how the movie The Wizard of Oz handled going from Kansas to the fantasy land of Oz.  The movie began as a black and white movie, but when Dorothy’ lands in Oz and looks out of the house, the world is in color.  Such a simple trick and yet so effective.  So I think I will steal that trick.

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Excursion 24, Part 2 (The Merry Mannequins of Cambridge)

In which our intrepid hero gets in touch with his inner Victorian…

For many people, the Christmas season is rather depressing, but I must confess that I typically am filled with good cheer during that time of year, even though I am not Christian.  There is just something to the Christmas season for me, a period in which—in theory, at least—there really is “good will towards man” and with the gift-giving, people often do make an attempt to be thoughtful to others.  As a result, I am very pro-Christmas, even if from a secular viewpoint.  On this Christmas day, I found several examples of this seasonal “good will” that made me think the world wasn’t really all bad.

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