Yay! Released from government quarantine!
I spent the past week teaching statisticians at the headquarters of a federal agency that specializes in catching bad guys in rural West Virginia. Before I went, they had to do a full background check in order to give me permission to even drive onto the quarantined compound. Evidently, international meat smuggling is not a sufficiently heinous offense to prevent access to the neural center of crime intelligence for the federal, state, and local governments.
Even after my high-security clearance, I had to have an escort to go *anywhere*. Even the restroom. Luckily, they let me close the stall door (smirk). I wasn't allowed to open most of the doors we went through. That was kind of wierd. But the people were super-super nice, and I felt quite welcome, in spite of the deadly serious secruity guards with guns all over the place. BTW, don't try to joke with those people. They have no more sense of humor than the ones at the airport.
I haven't updated the blog in awhile because I couldn't plug my laptop into anything except the Epson. My hotel came with free high speed internet access, but "yeah, we used to have a cable for every room and then people starting taking them so we don't have them anymore." Uhhhhh-huh. So I finally found a radio shack and bought my own ethernet cable, but by then there were several hundred emails to wander through...
Anyway, so that's where I've been.
The last 2 pieces of news: dog, and a triathlon. Well, both are no-go. I skipped the tri weekend before last because I realized that it starts at 7am, which means having to be at the race site *before* 6am to register and get marked. And it was a 3 1/2 hour drive from home, and SNG & I didn't feel up to the drive on Friday night. But we did get to the Tori Amos concert that night, which was AWESOME. SO good. I had 2 little complaints. There were 2 opening bands, and they started late. "Concert starts at 7, doors at 6" shouldn't mean "the first opening band will wander unceremoniously onto the stage around 8:00." Also, in true Cary, NC style.... no one was allowed to stand up during the music. Now this was bizarre. Suppose you're sitting there, and your favorite Tori song comes on. You might want to stand up and dance, right? I mean, that's one of the traditional concert activities, along with puking on the way to the bathroom, sneaking photographs and smoking where you aren't supposed to smoke. Um, no. In fact, none of these customs were tolerated at the concert. Anytime someone tried, they were promptly ejected from the show. But Tori was fabulous, as was one of the opening bands, a 3-girl band (yes, they were girls, I can't rightly call them women, sorry) called The Like. When their CD comes out I will buy it.
What was maybe most interesting was the Tori Amos' parents were sitting across the aisle from us (they live in this area). Her dad went around before the show shaking everyone's hands and thanking them for coming out to see his girl play. He said he doesn't always understand her music, but if it makes her happy... etc. So when she sang The Beekeeper, and was looking right at them, let's just say there wasn't a dry eye in our section. And my college voice coach was right-- she is a freaking musical genius.
And the dog... yeah.... Maybe eventually. But right now, Goofch seems to be used to his "only dog" status and I like that. It's also a lot less work having one elderly dog than it is having 2 dogs, especially if one is a young dog. Goofch requires essentially no special consideration unless we leave town. You can leave him just about anywhere and he'll just sleep until you come back.
This week I'm in town, and Saturday is the next triathlon. I have no reason to chicken out of this one, so wish me luck!