on the Orient Express

I’m watching a Masterpiece Theater special: “David Suchet on the Orient Express”. David Suchet plays Agatha Christie’s famous character Poirot. He followed the famous trip as inspiration for playing that character.

It’s actually really interesting to see how popular the train and trip still is. The elegance following in the footsteps of the 1930s. The dressing for sumptuous dinners and the Grand Tour style destinations of Paris, Venice, Munich, Budapest, Istanbul… there are a few different lines to choose from.

There are many stories to go with the many different cars that have graced the name Orient Express. Some of the cars were in use when Agatha Christie traveled. The snowed in train car that inspired Christie’s novel. The train was bombed in the Great War. Hitler had a brothel car on it, for his officers (“a shame” as Suchet said).

The crew and manager all look like they work very hard to act up to the standards of dignified gracefulness that embodies what travel was (and apparently is) on the famous sleeper train.

I can only imagine how spectacular such a trip would be – it seemed like it was a popular honeymoon and anniversary trip – which is to be expected as it is a very romantic setting –  as well as one for the “refined” adventurist.

And although I am most assuredly not someone who enjoys the dressing-up scene (give me sweats any day!), I can think of only a few, clearly-defined trips that I would like to take more than this one.

The mystery Murder on the Orient Express plays on Sunday. And I’ve been wanting to see it.  Can’t wait!


The funniest thing happened in the park this morning.

As you may or may not know, it is sopping wet in the midwest. My park is a mudhole.

So this morning, to avoid some of the extreme mud puddles, I had to stay centrally located on the main avenue (that’s the main grassy path that runs right up the middle of the park), instead of taking any of the fun side trails.

Aggie, of course, roamed much further and wetter. She was at the far end of the avenue when I heard a deer coughing and it jumped one way and then another to run from her. She didn’t chase it far; deer are fun, but they are too big to do anything with.

So Aggie came back and was making her way slowly towards me via the tall-grass field on the right – just her tail showing and wagging.

That’s when I saw the deer come out of the trees on the left and stand in the avenue, watching Aggie. Every few moments he (and I don’t know if it was male or not – no antlers right now) would step closer, following her. She made her way across the avenue to the left where a larger opened, grassy field, still sniffing in circles. The deer circled around behind some trees and followed her into the field, slowly moving closer, watching her every move.

Finally, when the deer was about 15 feet from Aggie (about 25 feet from me), she noticed the deer. They both paused, then ran at each other, circling like a bull and matador, before the deer coughed and leaped into the woods.

Aggie didn’t chase long, but backtracked, sniffing in the other direction. And about 5 minutes later the deer was poking his head through the trees again, but didn’t engage Aggie again – just watched.

This absolutely happened, and I wish that I’d had a recorder to prove it – it was hilarious! I have no idea what the deer was thinking.

Would you like tea with your sugar?

I found a leftover gift card for McDonald’s this past weekend, so of course I had to run out and use it.It’s been so long since I’ve been to MickyD’s and fries sounded good.

Now, if you know me, you probably know that I don’t like anything in my tea: no lemon, no sugar, no sugar-substitute.

I was asked to pull forward through the drive thru, because something-or-other wasn’t ready, but they gave me my tea.

One sip, and I nearly spit it out the window. It was soooo sweet, I couldn’t taste anything!!

How do people drink that stuff! There was nothing refreshing, or anything redeeming about it!

It’s awful!

Good thing I hadn’t driven off – I had time for a quick replacement!


I’d forgotten that I don’t really enjoy commercial flying – but it has been since ’97 that I flew… so I guess I’m excused.

But flying is the way to go to visit family in California from the Midwest. They pack you on like cattle (Southwest), but your luggage gets to go with you!

And on the connecting flight to Midway, Chicago – which is already a really short skip – I met a nice older guy, who bought cocktails for me and the woman between us; I was at the window.

Thanks David and Tanya, for making that one easy! We had a nice chat.

I was thinking, looking out the window, when we took off how amazing it is that man’s come so far with flight and all that “wow” jazz. Then, as we landed, all I could think about was how broad and terrible man’s mark was on the earth. That was a little depressing.

It didn’t help that we sat on the connecting flight for about 1.5 hours before take off, with the pilot lying to us at first, saying we would be landing early. He finally told us we would be late when we took off…blah!

The people were nice on the Frisco flight too, (a woman from Philly near the window, and a 12 year old girl doing her homework in the middle), it was just long and my stomach was complaining that it really didn’t like the atmosphere and the pressure and the sudden jerking.

I much prefer the small planes that only seat a few, but I don’t think I can afford one of those…

But I got here and Andrew was waiting with Lou to pick me up. Kudos to him for being there so late, when he had work in the morning. That was awesome.

And poor Risa is pregnant and hanging in there like a trooper. No matter what anyone says growing a baby (and worse growing two!) is some of the hardest work there is. They should make a show to stress it – kind of like “The Dirtiest Job” or some such reality show…

new best buy commercial

… with the singing employees, singing a awful version of “Jingle Bells” puts new speed to my “muting” abilities.

It’s not possible to listen to that more than 2 seconds.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

… I’m listening to their self-titled album right now and waiting for their newest album 11:11, which I requested the library to purchase. I hope they do because I totally love this music.

I wish I could play the guitar.


Problems with flys?

Forget your everyday flyswatters! What you need is a flycatcher!

She doesn’t just kill those pesky flies, she hunts them down! Snatches them from the air! And eats them.

All flies will fear her name!

… Aggie has become quite the fly hunter. It’s hilarious to watch her chase them down so eagerly. Sometimes she misjudges, and hits the wall with her nose. Yet she’s often successful. It’s pretty cool!


There is nothing like moving to help you want to thin out all the crap that you’ve accumulated over the years. Maybe that’s why I seem to do it every few years…

People that know me pretty well, would be amazed at how ruthless I’ve been in chucking through my book collection. I’ve been selling on ebay, amazon and abebooks like crazy.

I’ve sold smaller items I don’t need on ebay, like extra dishes and games I never play. And bigger things on craigslist like a breadmaker and hiking boots that didn’t work out for me. I’ve even got a bean bag on there right now, waiting for the right person.

I love getting rid of all this junk!

And as they say, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!”


There was a great program today on “To the Best of our Knowledge”, a radio program I like to listen to on NPR. “Nerds are an easy target for humor in movies and on TV… with their thick black glasses, hopelessly out-of-fashion clothes, and over-enunciated diction. But there’s a dark side to nerds. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll find out how the nerd stereotype is harming our children. Also, we’ll explore a new kind of music called nerdcore hip hop, alias geeksta rap.”

  I really like the section on author Holly Black and the nerdcore music. Though the last section about the  self-professed “War Nerd” I didn’t like. Basically I thought that most of what he said was a waste of time.

Still Holly Black more than made up for it. And I hope that Andrew heard the geeksta rap about Warcraft! That was pretty funny!

Anyone can hear this program on their website  under “Revenge of the Nerds”, which is the program title.www.wpr.org/BOOK

advancing techonology

… well, for me anyway.

I’ve finally got Internet access at my home. I think this is the first time in like, 7 years or so. I can’t really remember.

I hope that this will help me get my stuff together for grad school and enable me to take some classes from home, so that it won’t interfere with work.

It’s time for a change!