Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sober No More

Jesus Jumpin' Christ on a pogo stick! Can it really be more than a month since I lasted posted here? Wha' hoppen? Last thing I remember was sitting in an Internet cafe just off the Charles Bridge in Prague, trying to make sense of what turned out to be a particularly horrific day in the London transit system and thinking about how best to spend my last night in the Czech Republic. The next morning, Mrs. Generik and I stood outside in the rain waiting for an hour for the guy from the apartment rental company to come pick up the keys and take us to the train station. He never arrived, so we ended up desperately searching for (and finally finding) a cab to take us there -- with the keys in hand and minus the deposit we'd left for them. At 50 Euros, those two sets of keys turned out to be a rather expensive souvenir.

In any event, we made our train to Berlin, which turned out to be a fascinating city (I was especially moved by the hundreds -- or maybe thousands -- of WWII-era bullet holes still very visible in the Bundestag building) that we didn't get to spend enough time in. From there we journeyed on to Amsterdam, which we both loved immensely. It's probably a good thing that I never visited that city while I was in my 20s, as I most likely never would have left. Or maybe that's a bad thing, I don't know... Anyway, from Amsterdam, we went to Brussels and experienced the nicest hotel room of the trip, by far, and enjoyed mussels and good beer and Belgian chocolate and the convivial friendliness of the Belgian people, not to mention obsequious hotel employees. We took the Chunnel from Brussels back to London, and were there a mere twelve hours before we boarded a plane at Heathrow, hopped over to Dublin long enough to change planes, then winged our way back Stateside.

From then, the vacation continued until the end of July, and included a brief stay in San Francisco, but not in our own home. The remodeling work that had been scheduled in our absence was not nearly complete, so we were forced to stay in a hotel for the two nights we had in town. We looked at it as just one more quick stop on a long and arduous vacation, much like visiting Edinburgh or Venice or Amsterdam. Two nights, enough time to visit a museum or two (or, in the case of SF, a couple of baseball games), maybe take a city bus tour, have a few nice meals, and boom, head on to the next destination. That next destination turned out to be Paradise (directions: drive north to Chico and make a hard right once inside the city limits), where by buddy Jon was about to get married to the lovely Mary. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and as the best man, I gave him a roast toast that, as his new mother-in-law put it, he really "...took in the neck." Heh. What are friends for? Their honeymoon consisted of a week camping at our favorite spot in the eastern Sierra, Twin Lakes, and that's where our long vacation finally came to an end. Nine weeks away from work, two-thirds of it spent out of the country, and at long last we ended up just folding our tent and going home.

So here I am. I'm back. Back at home (though the apartment is still in a state of chaos and flux), back at work (where the workload seemed to increase exponentially while I was away) and back on the computer at last. I had to call tech service two or three times just to get my connection back to normal, and I'm still not one hundred percent sure I'm done, but so far it seems to be working. If you don't read this message because of technical errors (like my computer shut down and lost everything) you'll know I'm still having trouble. Or wait -- if you don't read this, you won't know anything at all... hmmm...

But enough about my technical troubles. It's time to get back to business, to start complaining about the treasonous Karl Rove and Traitor Bob Novak and Turncoat Joe Lieberman and Preznit Not On My Watch (whose popularity is apparently in free-fall of late); time to snicker about the avaricious Governor Arnold, who never saw a special-interest pocket he didn't want to dip his hand into; time to laud the courage of people like Cindy Sheehan; time to talk up my fellow BARBARians and their blogs; and of course, time to drink heavily.

Wait -- drink heavily? Was that out loud?

Seriously, though, at the urgings of many thousands hundreds dozens ones and twos of you, I'm officially back to the blog. It may not look like it just yet, but I promise that in the very near future this site will dispense with the faux-Rick Steves travelogue style (although I may post some pictures from the trip at irregular intervals once I get through editing them) and return to the hyperbole and bombast that you have all come to know and love expect from The Generik Brand. Just see if I don't.
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