Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Devastating news on the tube

Well, this post isn't going to be tongue-in-cheek or an attempt to engage you for our September get-together.

I've been surfing the net and so struck by Katrina's wrath. My thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates in the Eighth, particular our colleagues Scott and Joy. I'm guessing that Scott's condo is under water; while I never had a chance to see the inside, from the outside, it looked like quite a place. In the warehouse district. First floor. And likely under water now.

I pray for our friends and their families.


Monday, August 29, 2005

My one real worry

Katrina in Fort Lauderdale
Originally uploaded by bfraz.
It seems -- and I am not certain the evidence actually supports this -- that the week we hold our conference is always a hurricane week. Perhaps pushing back a week will make this not so in 2005.

Anyway, my one real worry is that we get pounded by a hurricane and have to bug out. Perhaps our alternate site could be Sewanee, Tennessee?

Check out this list of storms to hit the Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Portsmouth area.

Friday, August 26, 2005

What we're missing

Here's one we're not going to be able to do... MLCLANT is hosting Chief Red Hawk on the 21st of September. He will be conducting a 90-minute session to kick off the MLC staff's leadership development program.

Red Hawk is a professional consultant and keynote speaker with 18 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He has lectured to government officials on diversity, leadership, and team building. He has written and developed motivational group programs, and facilitated organizational problem solving sessions. He has also contributed to developing training videos and training materials.

Red Hawk has extensive experience in the areas of managing diversity and cultural understanding. He has assisted in the design and implementation of system-wide programs in each of these areas. Hawk is a nationally known motivational keynote speaker on the topics of cultural diversity, issues of social change, and structural inequality. He has experience conducting complex workplace investigations, organizational problem solving, mediating employment disputes, and designing and presenting labor and employee relations training for managers and supervisors.
So, if you want to fly in a couple days early, I can get you a seat at his presentation (0900 on 21 September at the Marriott in downtown Norfolk)... and perhaps we can arrange something special, too.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Keep the sharks in the tank, please

Originally uploaded by Elfinmoon.
About three miles south of our hotel is one of the nation's finest aquarium's, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. The name recently changed (from the Virginia Marine Science Museum) indicating its continued emphasis on the aquarium aspects of the facility. This is no hands off, staid, look-at-stuffed-and-dead-things museum.

One of the top ten most visited aquariums in the nation, the mission of the Aquarium is "To increase the public's knowledge and appreciation of Virginia's marine environment and inspire commitment to preserve its existence." How do they do it? They have:
  • 800,000 gallons of aquariums

  • Live animal habitats

  • More than 300 hands-on exhibits

  • 1/3-mile nature trail

  • ½-acre aviary

  • "Larger that life" movies on an IMAX movie screen

The Aquarium is open 0900 to 1900 daily; the cost to enter is $12 or $17 for the aquarium and the IMAX theatre.

As long as the sharks stay in the tank... perhaps we'd like to visit?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I live in the matrix

Originally uploaded by matthewvelie.
Yes, I continue to post here rather than using CG Central...

If CG Central were accessible from the internet (outside the firewall)... and if it were user friendly in it's ability to post pictures and links within a text using images already on the internet... and if it didn't take so damn long to load... and if it were easy to navigate... If it was as simple to use as Yahoo or Google (which, by-the-by, it was originally billed as)... Then I'd be the first person to advocate it's use...

In the mean time... ;-)

Bring your metal detector

Originally uploaded by Emiko Hime.
Still wondering what you can do in our off-hours? Here's a great activity: we'll search for treasure along the beach.

Anyone have a metal detector they can bring?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Home to enlightenment

Wondering what you might be able to do in your off-time (that is, assuming that Chris and Danny let us have any down time at all)?

Did you know that Virginia Beach is home to the Association for Research and Enlightenment, the non-profit center dedicated to the life and work of Edgar Cayce, one of the most documented psychics of all time, a renowned mystic, and the "father of holistic medicine."

For forty-three years of his adult life, Edgar Cayce demonstrated the uncanny ability to put himself into some kind of self-induced sleep state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. This state of relaxation and meditation enabled him to place his mind in contact with all time and space. From this state he could respond to questions as diverse as, "What are the secrets of the universe?" to "How can I remove a wart?" His responses to these questions came to be called "readings" and contain insights so valuable that even to this day individuals have found practical help for everything from maintaining a well-balanced diet and improving human relationships to overcoming life-threatening illnesses and experiencing a closer walk with God.
What's this have to do with Virginia Beach? Virginia Beach held special relevance to Edgar Cayce; his visions showed Virginia Beach would survive a cataclysmic event, and the city is now the home to the Association for Research and Enlightenment.
The Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc. (A.R.E.), is the international headquarters for the work of Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), who is considered the best documented psychic of the twentieth century. Founded in 1931, the A.R.E. consists of a community of people from all walks of life and spiritual traditions who have found meaningful and life-transformative insights from the readings of Edgar Cayce. The mission of A.R.E. is to help individuals change their lives for the better by exploring concepts and ideas found in the Cayce work.
The international headquarters of A.R.E. is in Virginia Beach, just a few (okay, about 30) blocks north of our hotel. The visitors' center hosts daily free lectures and activities. They also have a meditation garden which is open to the public.

Perhaps this warrants a field trip; we can spend time in garden, getting in touch with our inner selves.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Our conference provides a time for reflection

finding her shadow
Originally uploaded by -Angela.
Like this 18-month old examining the beach, our conference is an opportunity for us to examine our work, our relationships, our future. I'm so looking forward to it.

Of note, I'm also looking forward to spending some time with Elliot (who'll be 18-monts old also) on the beach so he can find his shadow.

The days are counting down. Please make your hotel reservations this week, if you haven't already made them.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The fallback pool if the outside one is closed

The indoor pool
Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse.
To those that might be worried: what if it happens to be chilly in late September or the beautiful outdoor pool is closed. Never fear. There's an indoor pool overlooking the beach. You'll have plenty of opportunity to get wet.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

No guarantees about the weather

The outdoor pool
Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse.
Okay, I can't guarantee anything about the weather for our conference. Perhaps it will be warm and the outdoor pool will still be open. Perhaps summer will linger here in Hampton Roads, and it'll be glorious, hanging out at the pool under the palm trees.

Of course, we could always get a hurricane that week, but I'll keep my negative comments to myself.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Don't stare out the windows!

Our meeting room
Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse.
This is our meeting room. Imagine we are gathered around the table. Imagine Danny is talking, "Blah, blah, blah, blah." Imagine the view out the window. Imagine how you're seeing Danny's mouth move, but the words aren't registering. Imagine ducking out the door on the break. Imagine dashing across the boardwalk & racing through the sand to the water.

Ah, I can hardly wait.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

From this past weekend's NY Times

And you thought we're just heading to po-dunk USA? Well, this past Sunday's New York Times' travel section had a write-up on good eats in Virginia Beach! Wrote Mimi Sheraton,

Beautiful eating, however, is the lure for me whenever I am beside the Chesapeake shores, in my experience the source of the world 's pearliest and most toothsome crab meat. That, after having sampled such highly touted specimens as Maine's peekytoe, the West Coast's Dungeness, Alaska's kings and snows, Florida's stone crabs (which I knew as Morro crabs in pre-Castro Cuba) and the crustacean delights of Venice, Louisiana, Kamchatka and Shanghai. As with lobsters when I am in Maine and oysters in Brittany, it was crabs that I built my daily meals on a recent five-day quest in Virginia Beach.

Crustaceans aside, this entertaining seaside city is a repository of some of our country's earliest history as well as a relaxed beach-and-boardwalk resort, stylistically and economically hospitable to families. My goal, however, was to have as much of that silky, sweetly briny meat as possible, in the simplest and most classic preparations - steamed whole and spicy or mounded into puffy, meaty crab cakes, or as the tiny, supple soft-shells, preferably sautéed or lightly fried. The only noncrab tradition that fits such feasting is Hatteras clam chowder, the clear, clam-broth-based soup of the Outer Banks, modified neither with milk nor tomato and laden with clams, celery, onion and, usually, carrots, all cut in varying sizes from the chunkiest to the finely minced.
We'll have to see what we can do.

I'd been thinking maybe Captain George's, a seafood buffet place. Less expensive, perhaps, than Mimi's tastes. Here's what the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau has to say about George:
Only one place has truly captured the essence of the oceans. Captain George’s legendary buffet has been heralded up and down the East Coast as one of the best collections of fresh seafood and regional cuisine available. With over 70 items, fresh seafood cooked every way imaginable, traditional Greek dishes and desserts, beef and pasta dishes, and fresh vegetables are just a walk past the array of incredible buffet items will ensure a return visit.

Located in rural Pungo, south of the resort area, Captain George’s has long been a place to bring friends all of your friends and kick back in a casually elegant dining room. You can enjoy the fare from the buffet, order smooth and icy fruit beverages from the bar, or select a vintage from our extensive wine list.
Get ready to eat, eh?

Check this hotel out, folks

Here's our home for the last week of September!

Please make certain you make your reservations at the correct Marriott Courtyard (there are two in Virginia Beach). We're at Courtyard Virginia Beach Oceanfront/North 37th Street. The address is 3737 Atlantic Ave, right on the Oceanfront. Make your reservations by calling 757-437-0098, and be certain to tell them you're with the Coast Guard Performance Excellence Conference.

Get psyched; we're going to have an excellent conference.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Our annual conference is less than two months away!

Originally uploaded by CokeintheCan.
And even in late September, the water will be warm enough to swim. Ought to be beautiful; and the surf will be right out the door of the conference room!