Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo thought he’d take a break from gratuitous college freshman posting (the Gel has got the home-sickness, so it would be tedious anyway) to vent about something else:

One of the small consolations of commuting to and from the Imperial City is the fact that the place usually turns into a ghost town in the dead of August. Ordinarily, what is normally an hour-plus trip each way for me is cut in half during the Dog Days.

Not so much this year.

Yes, traffic is down summat, but nowhere near as much as usual. And that’s pretty hard cheese on a fellah who has no A/C in his car.

I assume it’s all due to the massive disruptions in Your Nation’s Capital’s metro system service necessitated by the fact that said system has been allowed to go completely to hell and the new administrators realized they had no choice but an emergency series of closures and reduced schedules.


The good news is that Ol’ Robbo FINALLY gets his twice-work-related-delayed summah hols next week.

The bad news is that the logjam is going to get a lot worse when all the drones are back in town after Labor Day.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Talked to the Eldest Gel this evening for the first time since we left her at college Friday.

All is well, except she was griping about some intervention/indoctrination film the class was made to watch. It seemed to have had something to do with keeping an eye out for other wymens at frat parties, in order to protect them from marauding sexual predators.

From what she told me, her post-film conversation with her advisor went something like this:

Gel: “So the point of this film was that if you see your drunk classmate getting dragged away by some frat boy so he can ravage her, here are the steps to take to break it all up?”

Advisor: “Well, yes, that’s right.”

Gel: “Fair enough. So where is the film telling us girls not to be idiots and get drunk at frat parties in the first place?”

Advisor: “Well, um, that’s not part of this training…..”

Gel: “Well, why not? Shouldn’t that be the starting point?”

Advisor: “You’re pretty independent-minded, aren’t you?”

As Admiral Greer said to Ryan in “The Hunt For Red October” , “I said to speak your mind, Jack, but Jesus!”

We shall see what happens.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, Ol’ Robbo is officially a college dad now after a dropping off of the Eldest Gel that went far, far less stormily than I had feared might be the case. Certainly there were some tears and flares of temper, but once the Gel got over her initial jitters, she grew quite happy. And when it was time for Mrs. Robbo and Self to leave, she didn’t exactly shoo us away, but she trooped off with her roommate to an assembly rather quickly. My last sight of her was when she turned, smiled, and waved before disappearing around a corner. (That one’s going straight into my file of special memories.)

I admit to feeling a knot in my throat a few times over the weekend, but the truth of the matter is that I’m so excited for the gel that I find it very difficult to feel any more than a passing sadness at her leaving us. I know Mrs. Robbo is taking it harder. Whether this is a typical father/mother split reaction or whether I’m just a cold, heartless bastard, I leave to your considered judgment.

Anyway, touching wood and all, but I’ve a hunch that the Gel is going to blossom wonderfully in her new environment.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers.

Whelp, it’s the Eldest’s last day at home (we hope!) so I ducked work and took her out to lunch, just the two of us.

After lunch, we started loading up the cars. You’d think we were invading Normandy. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, or because the kids weren’t so indulged back then, or because I was flying from Texas to Connecticut, but I remember making due with a foot locker (which we shipped and which I still use to store Christmas tree decorations) and a couple duffle bags. (And yes, you can get off my lawn) I certainly didn’t transfer my whole room, which is what we seem to be doing now.

At least I was able to put the kibosh on the giant beanbag chair, since it wouldn’t fit in the car anyway.

Be interesting to see how much stuff we wind up bringing back for lack of space.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, Mrs. Robbo picked out the new tile for my basement man cave this morning, so hopefully I’ll finally be back to regular keyboarding by Sunday evening.

What NOVA Curmudgeon said about Mrs. R’s state over the looming departure of the Eldest in the post below sort of came home to me last evening when we got into a debate about whether to change the dog’s diet. (Mrs. R is forever tinkering because she doesn’t think the dog eats enough. My philosophy is to pick one brand and stick with it. When the dog gets hungry enough, she’ll eat.)

Anyhoo, because we’ve had this discussion about eleventy-billion times already, I said, “Look, will you please stop fussing about the dog?”

She replied, “Well, if I don’t fuss about the dog, then I’m going to start fussing about the Gel, and I just don’t want to go there right now.”

Being the sympathetic and understanding fellah that I am, I knew this was my cue. So I took her in my arms, looked deeply into her eyes, and said, “Well, if you’re going to fuss, can you at least do it quietly so I don’t have to listen to it?”

I reckon the bruise on my shin will heal up fine in a few days.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is thumb-posting from the back porch of Port Swiller Manor this evening, the better to enjoy the lovely thunderstorm that just rolled through (well, is still rolling, in fact), after several infuriating days of near misses. It’s about damn time we got even a spot of temporary relief from the wretched Dog Days pattern we’ve been in over the past couple weeks. The only thing that keeps Ol’ Robbo going at this time of year is the knowledge that we can expect the first legitimate pre-fall cool front some time in the first or second week of September. Otherwise, I’d have no real choice but to grab a machete and run amok.

(* Name the singer. This should be a gimme.)

Anyhoo, as regular friends of the decanter know, this weekend is the big college drop off for the Eldest Gel, an event I am finding myself approaching with an admixture of relief, apprehension, disbelief, and denial.

Part of the disbelief is over the speed with which her high school years seem to have flown by after what was an agonizingly long younger period. How does one account for that? It can’t just be the kid’s personality or one ‘s relationship with them, since I’m getting the same feeling with the Middle Gel, who will be a HS junior, as well as the Youngest, who will be a freshman, and they are all wildly different from each other. The phenomenon is much more tectonic than that.

Perhaps I’m just really finally beginning to feel my own advancing age.

Whatever. Fortunately (or not), we seem to have got caught up in the last-second “What do I pack and what have we forgotten and What the Hell is going on?” Boogaloo for me to spend TOO much time over early middle aged navel-gazing. Next few days should prove veeeery interesting! More as events unfold.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter seem to enjoy my occasional posts about odd dreams, I believe? Well, Ol’ Robbo’s got a humdinger for you this time.

I had to fly out to the Mountain West overnight this week on biznay (thus ruining a pre-planned week at Smith Mountain Lake, but never mind).

As I’ve mentioned before, I never sleep well in a hotel, usually drifting between a light doze and wide-awakeness. It was the same this time, with Self becoming fully conscious about every two hours or so.

I had to be up particularly early for my appointment yesterday, so when I found myself awake around 4:30 ack emma, I simply muttered, “Oh, ALL right!” And rolled out of my bunk.

But as I started getting ready, a thought popped into my tiny little mind: “Hold on a tick,” I said to myself, “this is MY bathroom! What on earth am I doing HERE? I know I flew out yesterday, so what’s going on?”

After thinking on it for a moment, I said, “Oh! this must be a dream!”

And then, as they say, I woke up.

I found I was back in my hotel bed. But after breathing a sigh if relief, I suddenly became aware of subtle movement off in the corner shadows. And just as I jumped up and shouted “Burglar!”, some great brute came leaping in to throttle me.

And then, as they say (perhaps rather less often), I woke up again.

I’ve had these dreams within dreams now and again before. They never cease to discombobulate.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol ‘Robbo was trying just now to thumb-blog a new post on his I-thingy about the pathos which is modern Olympic tee-vee coverage and which I refuse to watch, when said I- thingy ate my effort.  Grrrr……

I was doing so while half- watching “The Matrix” on BBC America for no especially good reason.  When I looked up from my failed post, I suddenly realized I was looking at a commercial for a new Beeb series, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”.

No, no, no, no, and bloody damn-all, no!

Douglas Adams’ novel of the same name is, IMHO, probably his best work, but it was almost entirely a one-off thing.  ( The sequel, “The Long, Dark, Tea-Time Of The Soul”, was a distinct let-down.  This is characteristic of Adams, who had a genius for innovation, but less talent for follow-up.). How anyone thinks they can carry on the spirit and vivacity of the source where even Adams himself couldn’t is beyond me.

(Besides, the fellah playing Gently is all wrong- not nearly slovenly enough.)

i suppose this is just one thing more I will not watch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’Robbo spent the bulk of today traveling to and from the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania, there retrieving the Middle Gel from camp. (She and the Youngest did their usual term earlier in the summah, but she had gone back for a second term to work on the kitchen crew.)

As I tooled along I-70, something occurred to me: Back in the day, the standard was “slower traffic keep right” and the general rule was “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way”. Oh, sure, there were those who ignored this, but at least it was the expectation.

Not so much, anymore. People seem to float all over the lot, driving at any damned speed and oblivious of all around them.

What happened? Were these old-fashioned, common sense measures suddenly deemed “speedist”? The outworn privilege of an acceleration-centric patriarchy? Is it now a thought crime not to respect whatever speed the other driver now identifies with? Am I just a hater?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is appalled at the length of his extended absence from his bloggy round table.  My apologies to those two or three to whom this lowly blog makes any difference.  Where the hell has the summah gone?

The Port-swiller home computer still is not back on line and I am sending in this entry via my iThingy, which is a real pain, so I’ll keep this brief:

The good news is that Ol’ Robbo’s man cave should finally be put back together in the next couple weeks, with full communications restored.  The bad news is that I will have much to say on the milestone of the Eldest Gel going off to college, which I’m sure will bore most of you to death.  (Well,thT’s what the decanter is for.). So have another glass, keep faith, and stand by. Read the rest of this entry »

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