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    Wednesday
    Feb132008

    A Journey of a Thousand Miles...

    snow%20shovel.jpgI stayed home from work today. Here in Connecticut, we're getting dumped on with snow and ice from a major storm that would've probablyamounted to two feet of snow if it had been a little colder outside. Instead, it's a mixed bag of precipitation. So this morning I was out in the driveway chipping up the ice and slush with a shovel because the snow blower probably wasn't going to work. I'm standing in the cold heavy rain breaking my back to shovel the plowed slush from the end of my driveway, when a landscaping company pulls up to the house next door in a nice, shiny red plow truck and proceeds to clear my next-door neighbor's driveway out for her. Now I don't mind that the Joneses can afford something I can't, except in this instance, because my next door neighbor is dead. She's been dead since 2006, and no one lives in her house. I don't know why. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against dead people. And while I can live with the fact that her lawn still looks far better than mine in the summertime in spite of her being dead, it's a little harder to take when I'm up to my ankles in snow and slush and soaked to the bone from the icy rain. Screw it, I'm not going to work today.

    Where's%20George%20Vegas.jpgSo I drove the wife to work into Hartford, went out for breakfast, came home and took a nap. It's been a long day already.  I got up and proceeded to finalize my hotel reservations for Las Vegas in two weeks, and then checked my email. One of my emails was from Where's George? , a currency-tracking website, telling me one of "my" dollar bills received a "hit". I logged on to the website and found out that the bill was from the "Balloon Experiment". Back in 2006, we had a party for something or other that featured helium balloons blown up by a helium tank we rented. After the party there was a considerable amount of helium left in the tank and a considerable amount of unused balloons, so naturally I filled all of the balloons I could with the remaining helium. I've heard stories about people who send out balloon messages that are ultimately found by wooden-shoes kids in Amsterdam (OK, I'm exaggerating) so I wanted to see how far my balloons would travel. I figured no one would probably care enough to write me back if they found my balloon message, but if they received a dollar in the process maybe it would entice them to play along. So I wrote www.wheresgeorge.com on four $1 bills and logged their serial numbers into my account before sending them airborne.

    It's amazing how many balloons it takes to lift a dollar bill off the ground. At first I tried to put the bills in envelopes, but the envelope was tree.jpgtoo heavy to get off the ground. Eventually I placed the bills into baggies along with brief instructions, taped up the baggies to keep the contents dry, and set them off from my back porch. The first launch didn't have enough balloons, so it barely cleared the telephone wires and a neighbor's roof before crashing into a tall tree in their back yard at least 50 feet off the ground. The ensuing launches went in the same direction but cleared the tree and flew out into the open sky. I haven't heard from any of those bills until today, when somebody(probably my neighbor) logged in the serial number of the bill that crashed into the tree, and said the bill was on it's way to Pittsburgh, PA, carried by a truck driver (I think it's his dad). I thought that bill would be stuck in that tree for the next 50 years, but it's on its way back to circulation again!

    I think I'll go play my old Nena records now...      Red%20Balloon.jpg

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