October 27, 2004

"In New Hampshire we shoot first then ask questions later"

Last Sunday, I went with my son for a trip up north (I came to visit MA that weekend). We managed to find our way out of Cambridge onto highway 93 north toward New Hampshire. Our plan was to go for an excursion around the Lake Winnipesaukee.

The colors during our trip north were beautiful. Just about 20-30 miles north of Boston you could notice the change of colors. You could see the warm palette of yellows, oranges, reds and brow reds all around with a few breaks of dark green evergreens. Nice colors. It was also noticeable that the further north we went, the more dead, dry brown colors with more naked trees you could see like a premonition of winter.

We started to drive around the lake. At first we went through interesting downtown of Laconia where the stores are all closed (sounds like a text from that famous Led Zeppelin song), then we noticed a street that was next to the lake. I wanted to stop by and take pictures.

There were signs “No trespassing” so we parked on the street and made sure that we stayed on the public land. I took some pictures of the bank across the lake, nice hills with colors, church steeple, some houses, etc. Then I noticed behind me a huge lawn blanketed by yellow leaves. We took a picture of these leaves. Almost immediately an angry man came out of the house to the right shouting, “whom do you work for?” I was puzzled; I don’t remember what I said at first. However I explained to him that I just wanted to take a picture of the leaves on the lawn. It turned out that he didn’t want anybody to take a picture of his property. I realized that he thought that I worked for one of the tax assessors. It was obvious that he didn’t want his property tax raised. He turned out to be talkative. He explained to us that his neighbor’s house is worth only 80 thousand but sold for more than 200K. He also told us that damming the river created the lake. That the lake level is low this time of the year and many other local facts.

When we were departing he said, “you were lucky, in New Hampshire we shoot first then ask questions later.”

On the way back, in and around Laconia, I noticed many election signs supporting Bush and none for Kerry. Any correlation between Bush and "we shoot first then ask questions later?" :-)

The trip back to Cambridge was much less eventful than this stopover.

Posted by marek at 12:21 AM

October 17, 2004

Late entries and reflections

There was a meeting with M. Gorbachev on Friday that I attended. At this point, he is the president of an international charity based in Switzerland, Green Cross. It was interesting to see him. He aged since the time he was much more visible, but he appeared still to be sharp and witty. I felt sad for him. His place in the history will be always controversial – he helped to bring freedoms of the Eastern European countries and to many Soviet Union member states. At the same time, he is the person that helped to dismantle empire – history is not kind to people that lose empires. There was a significant entourage with him, at least one bodyguard, translator, wife, daughter and couple of other people. However, there was only one person he introduced publicly – it was his daughter. Looks to me that he wants to promote her publicly for some reason.

I use my old and somewhat erratically working bicycle to commute to and from my work. I do it to make sure that my body, and especially my heart, gets a reasonable workout. It was the same on Friday. I got there OK, but on the way back, in the middle of the intersection (when I had only momentum related to pushing myself off the ground) the gears gave up on me. No matter how hard I pedaled, the rear wheel wouldn’t move. I fell down (problems with timely removal of the cleats). It was sort of scary – lying down attached to bike with cleats with traffic going in one direction, but expecting a change in the lights. While I was struggling on the ground, a SUV (Jeep?) stopped concerned. They asked me if I was OK. I somehow managed to free myself from the pedals and was certain I can get up, despite 25+ pound backpack on my shoulders. I answered I’d be OK. It was nice of them to do it. Thank you strangers!! An interesting aspect of human behavior: when I was on the ground and Jeep stopped to help me, soon thereafter a car behind them started to honk as if its driver was saying “Don’t stop for this loser. I’m in rush to have some beers. Let him be driven over. I don’t care!”

I stayed away from creating an entry in this blog that my mother passed away over a month ago. I may have done it because I don’t want to give up unreasonable hope that when I call the usual phone number (she lived about 6,600 miles away from me, so phone was the most frequent and easiest way to “visit” her) she answers the phone. I know this expectation is unreasonable and 100% guaranteed not to happen, but nevertheless such is human, or at least my, nature that clings onto, no matter how improbable, event and doesn’t want to let go of it.

Prediction: I will have to go to Poland for my brother’s wedding within next 6-8 months (actually no later than Easter 2005).

Posted by marek at 11:40 AM

October 11, 2004

Today was my first day of employment at G. It felt really good despite being anti-climactic - I had a contract there since 15/Dec/2003. While I'm not working for DH any longer, I really appreciate her help at G (and giving me an opportunity to have contract at G about 10 months ago).

Posted by marek at 11:03 PM