1. Marcia and I are back from our second exploratory trip to Des Moines. We definitely know which neighborhood we want to claim as our home out there, and we have two fantastic houses that we’re pondering making offers on, pending a review of the comps. We had several exceptional meals in Des Moines, found an awesome wine bar, walked for miles and miles on the City’s excellent pedestrian-cycling trail system, golfed the incredibly hilly Waveland Golf Course (no kidding, it had more ups and downs than some mountain courses we’ve played) and generally felt better and better about our decision to head to Iowa. The first night we were there, we stayed out in a northern suburb of Des Moines called Ankeny, since most of the downtown hotels were sold out due to the annual Hy-Vee Triathlon being in town for the Labor Day Weekend. While we were out that way, I figured I ought to grab the camera and do a little Hidden in Suburbia (Iowa Style). Toto, I don’t think we’re in Latham anymore . . .
2. I’m in my final year as Class President and Reunion Coordinator for the Naval Academy’s Class of 1986. Our 25th Reunion is in October, and this is the third major reunion (15th, 20th, 25th) in which I’ve had a significant planning or management role. Our class, and other anniversary classes, are seeing reduced registrations this year compared to prior major reunions, which most folks are attributing to the tough economy. That may be the case, but since most of my classmates at Navy are pretty economically comfortable, I think there’s another reason for the reduction in attendance at real flesh-and-blood reunions: online social networking. It seems to me that as more and more folks my age connect via Facebook and other social media outlets, we’ve created a world where there’s no mystery anymore about what we’re going to encounter when we go to our reunions. When we can bathe in the minutia of our friends’ lives in garish detail each and every day from the cheap comfort of our own homes, why does it make sense to buy an expensive plane ticket and book an expensive hotel room to visit with those same friends for a couple of hours in the flesh? While Facebook and LinkedIn help organize reunions, I’m not sure that they actually support participation. I’m curious if anybody else who reads this has had similar experiences, or whether this theory resonates with you or not.
3. And speaking of real-world versus online-world, I’ll be hanging out in Latham for about five weeks after Marcia heads west, and one of my goals for that time is to do as much real-world socializing with folks hereabouts as I am able to, especially with some of the folks who I primarily know only through electronic formats. So keep your eyes and ears open, as I will be working to fill a dance card, and I might need you on it . . .