Rinse And Repeat

Damn. My “bucket list” rugby trip is cancelled again.

I originally purchased this trip as a “big number” birthday gift for myself for April 2020. COVID had other plans so the tournament was pushed back to October 2020. Then the world burned and the remaining 2020 HSBC World Series was cancelled. I rebooked my trip for April 2021. April 2021 was about the worst of the pandemic (so far) so the tournament was pushed back to November 2021, and I admit I was beginning to get very excited about my trip as we’re now only four months out. With travel restrictions slowly lifting around the world I was waiting to see when HK would start allowing visitors again. Now the 2021 edition of the Hong Kong Sevens has also been cancelled and the 2022 tournament is scheduled for the normal April calendar slot.

I have to reschedule my flights with United for a third time and contact the travel agency to push my accommodation and event ticket funds forward anther year. Yes, these are first world problems, for sure, but still very disappointing to me. My “normal life goalposts” keep moving further away. I had already begun preliminary planning to go to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa in September 2022. Next year is either going to be a hell of a travel year or continued disappointment. I will continue to hope for the best outcome but plan for the worst.

Vaccinated!

I am vaccinated
I am vaccinated

I received my second Moderna vaccine today. I’m so excited that this may be the beginning of a return to “normal life,” whatever that means. At least I can feel good about traveling again.

Postponed again

I was really looking forward to attending the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament last April. It’s the premiere sevens event and definitely a “bucket list” type of trip. I had it all paid and was eagerly awaiting my trip… when COVID-19 reared it’s head globally. The 2020 tournament was postponed to October initially before the entire 2020 Sevens Series was ended abruptly in July. I adjusted my plans to attend the 2021 edition of the HK Sevens in April… which was just postponed again until November 2021.

Another postponement is disappointing for sure. I am still healthy and employed, so in the big picture I can endure an additional seven months wait to attend. It appears there will be widespread application of the COVID-19 vaccine by summer here in the United States which will help things slowly return to normal.

I feel guilty complaining about something as petty and privileged as having to wait another half year to take my trip, but I don’t have much left to anticipate these days. This Hong Kong trip was my lifeline to a happier future where I could watch rugby in person again and travel internationally. That’s been cruelly kicked down the street again.

The part of all this I dread most is getting United Airlines to reschedule my trip again without even more change fees. Wish me luck.

I’m Not Going to Hong Kong This Year, After All

As I relayed previously, I was planning to go to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament back in early April this year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organizers to postpone the tournament to mid-October. I will admit that I was managing my excitement for this rescheduled trip pretty well until the past two weeks when I started feeling wanderlust for traveling again. I’m sure that the stay-at-home orders and cabin fever played into that longing, but I am typically the type of person who loves to travel and cannot wait for my next trip, regardless of where it takes me.

So you can imagine the disappointment I felt when received an email from the Hong Kong Rugby Union announcing that World Rugby had abandoned the remainder of the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series, including the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

No rugby in 2020 for you!

Instead of attending the 2020 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, it appears I will be attending the 2021 edition next April… assuming that the world is not completely on fire by then (COVID-19, Chinese security laws and protests, etc.).

While Keith Prowse Travel has already emailed to let me know they’re communicating with all the involved vendors and will advise me when they know how the transition to the 2021 tournament will proceed, I was already able to change my flights on United to the new dates — online, without talking to a person in a call center, with no change fees.

It doesn’t look like I will be traveling anywhere internationally in the meantime. The U.S. is shunned worldwide for our lackluster control of the coronavirus outbreak and the E.U. has already banned Americans visiting this summer. I can’t even visit my family in Oklahoma for the foreseeable future as it’s one of the current hot spots in the South… plus, it’s Oklahoma. The dogs and I will have to stick to local trips in Colorado, which is fine. Unfortunately, Fabi can’t hike any longer so we’ll have to “car camp” or rent a cabin.

Won’t you be my neighbor

My elderly neighbor Betty does not drive. She depends on her family, church friends and taxis to get around town to do shopping, visit the doctor and run other errands. She called a cab this morning to take her to a medical appointment. I happened to be upstairs when the cab arrived, a mini-van taxi where the passenger enters the vehicle through the sliding door on the side.

My neighbor has mobility issues and is unable to step up very high. I happened to notice she was taking a long time to get into the vehicle while I was looking out the window, but I didn’t think anything of it. I headed back down stairs to my office to grab my water bottle for a refill. 

When I came back up, my neighbor was sitting on the ground next to curb. The cab driver was talking to her, then making calls on his mobile phone, getting back in the driver seat… all while looking annoyed with Betty. I watched for a bit, trying to determine what had happened. I assumed he had called 911 to get an ambulance. Nope. He apparently called another taxi with a lower entry threshold for her… and then left. WITH MY ELDERY NEIGHBOR SITTING IN THE GUTTER. 

I went out to ask her what had happened and find out if she was injured. She said she had fallen after trying unsuccessfully to step up into the taxi. After a few minutes I asked her if she wanted some help up off the ground. She let me attempt to help her up but was unable to stand. Eventually she mentioned she had hit her head when she fell. I decided not to try to lift her up after she told me about the potential head injury.

Luckily, another neighbor came home and came over when I asked for his assistance. Although my elderly neighbor appeared lucid we were hesitant try to move her again. We discussed calling an ambulance for her when another neighbor walked by and asked what had happened. It turns out this neighbor was a nurse so she started asking questions to determine if Betty had a concussion or had broken a hip. The nurse was happy that it did not appear she was injured badly or concussed, so we decided to help her into my other neighbor’s car so he could take her to her medical appointment to let them assess her condition further, and probably get her an ambulance. She would never been able to get into the high front seat of my truck so I was happy the neighbor with a Subaru showed up when he did. I am also thankful that the young lady nurse was walking her dog on our block, too. It really does take a village.

What has me annoyed and angry is that the taxi driver decided it was acceptable to leave Betty sitting in the gutter to await another cab’s arrival. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Was he so self-centered and lacking in common sense that he thought this was okay? 

I don’t use taxis anymore in lieu of ride share services, but I want to put it out there that Denver Yellow Cab employs this despicable piece of filth. He left a potentially injured elderly woman sitting on the ground, alone. Betty is somebody’s mother and grandmother. She deserved to be treated better than garbage in the street.

Has it been thirty years already?

Po-Hi 30 Year Reunion

I traveled back to my home town this weekend for my thirty-year high school class reunion. It was great seeing old friends again even though I had not kept in touch with most of them.

We started with a welcome mixer at an outdoor local bar where even the locals were sweating through their shirts. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to live in the Denver, Colorado, area where it is rarely over 20% humidity and the temperatures rarely exceed 95 in the hottest part of the summer. I am also happy that we have outlawed smoking in most public places — I had to wash the clothing I was wearing twice when I made it back home to rid them of the nasty smoke odors.

88 cookies
88 cookies

On Saturday night we moved to an indoor venue, the local Country Club, for drinks, appetizers and an 80s tribute band, ostensively for dancing. Two of my favorite teachers from my high school years were also in attendance, and it was great to see them again!

80s Enuf
80s Enuf

I spent a few days with my father as well on this trip, which was wonderful. I am finding that spending time with family becomes more important as I get older.

Kudos!

New passport!
New passport!

I was attempting to purchase a good airfare deal to Vancouver for the Canada Sevens rugby tournament when I was reminded that my current passport expires next January… meaning I cannot book a trip in March without a valid passport at the time of the flights.

Considering how many sycophantic donors have been elevated to federal government positions I expected my passport renewal to take at least six weeks to complete if not double that. The State Department apparently has not succumb to this disorder yet, at least not the Passport Service. They were quoting routine renewal processing times of four to six weeks.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed my bank had cleared the check within three business days, then even more surprise when I received the new passport in the mail within two weeks including weekends. Wow!

Kudos to the State Department Bureau Of Consular Affairs!

Nerd alert!

Nerd alert!
Nerd alert!

Yes, I ordered the new Apple Watch with cellular capability. Discuss and feel free to nerd-shame me.

The Apple Watch is one of my favorite gadgets as it serves a required function (telling time) as well as bringing my my activity to the forefront of my attention. While my original Apple Watch has served me well it is showing its age in speed, battery capacity and scratches. It also moves notifications from audible (noisy!) to a subtle tap on my wrist. Perhaps you don’t receive a lot of alerts on your device… I do, however. Cutting down the noise pollution is the number one selling point for me.

Original Apple Watch
Original Apple Watch (work appointment details have been obscured)

Since I am old and enjoy sleeping I did not stay up until 1 AM local time to place my order. I was able to order from T-Mobile this morning with little stress, with the only downside being it appears my watch may not arrive until 10 October or so.

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower
The Dark Tower

 

I loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of novels when I was younger.  I was excited to see an attempt at adapting them to the big screen and hoped that big-name actors such as Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey would end up presenting a good, if not great, film.

Unfortunately the studio, director and writers decided to cram as much of several of the books into a single 98 minute film.  Time was spent on details that would only please the hardcore book nerds at the expense of the overall story.  For example, there is a reference to the Crimson King but nothing is made of it.

I think the biggest mistake was trying to make the film the story of Jake, probably for the YA audience demographic, instead of focusing on Roland.  Other characters were missing (Oy, the billy-bummer) yet still alluded to.

If you had not read any of the Dark Tower series the film is not bad in itself.  It’s just not the story I grew up reading and that’s a difficult thing to ignore.

I’ll get over it.