Thursday, December 15, 2011

Redskins Game, Occupy Baltimore and Skiing all in 8 days

From Miami I headed to Washington D.C. "The Rock" had been in Washington on business. Something to do with downing of the CIA drone over Iran.

While in D.C. The Rock got some god awful Redskins Tickets, sure they were on the 50 yard line, but the workout climbing all the steps to get to our seats was one of my harder workouts. The Redskins were playing the New York / New Jersey Jets, the game was a blow out the Jets crushing the Redskins.

Next on my agenda was heading out to Colorado for some skiing. The Rock had arranged a flight on one of "The Company" jets. The flight took off from a nondescript airfield just outside Baltimore. I had been curios about this Occupy Movement in the United States. I decided to take a few minutes and visit Occupy Baltimore.

What a wacky experience. There is a little public park in the corner of the Baltimore Inner Harbor, instead of a beautiful fountain and decorative features, the park was filed with name brand camping tents, organized like a little encampment. There was a larger tent, the food tent. While there I watch the goup serve dinner. I would say about 80% of the occupers were homeless or wanted to appear to look homeless. The other 20% were 20 something's that I doubt ever suffered a day in their lives. Most had smart phones, iPads, and one even had a TV / xBox set up, being powered by a gas generator and a satelite Internet connection. I wish these folks could spend a day in my village in Botswana and see how good they have it.

My prediction: Who ever is behind this protest will at some point realize they picked the wrong people to be the face of the protest. Every time I visit the United States it is clear why there are problems, no one wants to make sacrifices to fix them. Much like what I saw in Greece last September. In the next 20 to 40 years the United States will be in a very similar situation as Europe, except the only country that will be able to bail the United States out will be China. Unfortunately the United States citizens will not agree to the sacrifices China will require the United States to make in order to get the finical bailout and World War III will break out. I hope I do not live to see this happen.

Enough about politics, on to skiing in Colorado. It has been 6 months since I had been skiing, the plan three days of skiing, two at Winter Park and one at Copper Mountain. As usually I was staying at my brothers. One disappointment, no real snow, yes there was man made snow, but that is not the same. One nice thing is my niece Lauren was also visiting along with her friend MAD. Lauren had skied with me a few years back and had improved greatly over the last two years. MAD a beginner skier showed great improvement over the three days of skiing even with the poor snow conditions. I would rate the quality of skiing: 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Though disappointing it was ok since it was my first skiing of the season, it gave me a nice chance to get my ski legs back.

I got to spend some nice quality time with my brothers family in Evergreen, Colorado. I am happy to say "A" who now goes by Scrappy is still dating Rita.

One interesting thing I discovered on the trip is a person can live on junk food alone. MAD only ate homemade donuts fried in lard, and software serve ice cream, from the Dairy King in Elmer, Colorado. For 4 days, that is all she ate, except at one point she did have a home made chocolate truffle that Sue made.

After 3 days of just ok skiing I schedule another trip back in a few weeks, I hope the snow is a little better. Off to find a location to play some poker and refill my bank account.





Monday, December 5, 2011

South Beach November 2011

Here I am again sitting out at the Pool of the Sagamore Hotel in South Beach, Florida. I think this might be my tenth year. Same hotel, same room, doing the same thing. Rest and relaxation by the pool. Rather then repeat myself feel free to see pictures and highlights from past trips to South Beach.

South Beach 2008 visit to the Everglades

South Beach 2009 Big Bill Ludwick's daughter Alli joins us

South Beach 2010 nothing exciting except dinner with Alli Ludwick

One thing different this year is I better be doing a little more running and a little less eating and drinking. I have a race in February that takes place in St Johns U.S.V.I. It is called The 8 Tuff Miles, 8 miles of the steepest hills you have ever seen, we will be racing from one end of the island to the other going right over the top. After my performance in the Philly Half Marathon or should I say lack of performance I better step up the training and slow down the eating.

I did a quick 4 mile run before dinner just as a start. We had a lite dinner at a nice Italian Restaurant we like on Lincoln Avenue.

In the morning, continuing with my training I did 10 miles in an hour an twenty six minutes, not bad for a fat, old guy. The rest of the day I spent laying at the pool reading Steve Job's biography. Well, worth the read, it will give you a keen insight as to why Apple products do what you expect. Dinner was at a great Topas Restaurant on Espanola Way.

Another run, 6 miles, that is 20 miles in 3 days, back to the pool and more reading. What a tough life this is. Maragrite does not like the sun while I worship it. The Sagamore is somewhat up scale and have folks ready to handle any need you might have. How can two people lay out by the pool when one loves the sun and the other rather be in the shade. That is simple, the cabana boy sets up an umbrella that shields Margarite from the sun while I fry from the sun. Every 15 to 20 minutes the cabana boy adjusts the umbrella to insure Margarite is shaded and I am burning.

This went on from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm with just a short break for lunch next door at the Ritz Carlton. We like the Ritz for lunch as it has a great view of the beach for some awesome people watching.

The Ritz is just south of the Sagamore, for dinner we went north to the Restaurant in the National Hotel, we had a great view of the pool and were the only dinner guest, what a lovely night.

Today is the big day we get to see the only daughter of Big Bill Ludwick, Alli Ludwick. I am not sure if I mentioned this before, but Alli is planning to go to the London Summer Olympics in 2013, knowing this, motivated me to run 10 miles in just over 1 hour and 28 minutes, not quite Olympic potential like Alli, but not bad for an old man.

Back to the pool, Alli showed up around 3:30 we hung out at the pool and t caught up on Big Bill Ludwick, it appears BIg Bill is as much a stress monster as he has ever been. We had dinner reservations at 7:00. We were trying a new Restaurant in the Mondrian Hotel called Asia De Cuba The hotel was situated on the bay side of Miami Beach with great views of the Miami sky line. Dinner was great the Sagamore consereiger who had made our reservation had ordered us some complimentary tangerine tequila shots, which Alli and Margarite quickly shot, "Down the Hatch". Clearly, Alli was learning something in college.

It was a lovely night so we walked the mile and a half back to the hotel.

Today is our last full day in south beach, we had a big errand to run, a few weeks back I did an adventure race. This race required that I carry a small hunting knife. I had forgotten this knife was still in my day pack. I have always had great respect for the TSA, they have a thankless job. When I arrived in Miami I was looking through my day pack for my sunglasses and what did I find, my hunting knife, not something I would want an evil doer carrying on a plane, like I did.

This now created a problem I was heading up to D.C. to go to a Redskins Jets game with The Rock. I did not want to check my bag or risk TSA finding my knife and keeping it.

We woke up, did a fast 6 mile run with the last 2 miles at 7:19 and 7:12 respectively. Then it was off to the post office to mail the knife back to Botswana, I hope it makes it.

Back to the pool I should be finishing up Steve Jobs biography today, what a tyrant, but he pushed people to do things they did not think they could do.

Big news tonight, we met NOBODY. It was very funny Margarite, not very culturally experienced had never met a street artist. I introduced her to NOBODY and she must of asked 3 times, "What is your name?" and the response she got over and over again was "NOBODY".

Today is our last day in South Beach, I did a 4 mile run to give me a total of 40 miles during the last 6 days, not bad for an old guy. Heading up to D.C. to meet The Rock for a Redskins Jets Game.