Thoughts From the midwest #5 – summer, sun, and the Flirt FM alumni list

July 28th, 2003 | by aobaoill |

Greetings and Salutations,
I’m back in the US for about a month now, having enjoyed a relaxing, if all too short, break in Galway (apologies to all those I didn’t manage to meet during my visit). A compendium of short items this time:

One of the main events since my return was, of course, the Fourth of July weekend and I had the pleasure of spending it in Chicago, a far cry from the quiet backwater Urbana becomes in the summer. What struck me most forcefully was just how well the Americans do food festivals. The Taste of Chicago, with 100 different restaurants selling ‘taster’ portions of their dishes, Naperville’s RibFest, which is just what it sounds – 30 rib vendors setting up stalls in a field – and even local fairs with ‘rolled back’ prices for hot dogs, beer,and soda. Finger lickin’ good, as they say.
The other cultural event I’ve sampled is the county fair. Champaign county has one running all this week, with highlights such as a fun fair, the demolition derby and the Monster Truck rally; “Monster Trucks Raminator, Rammunition, War Wagon, Big Dawg, and Samson will make their Champaign-Urbana debut at the fairground’s Grandstand,” according to local events rag ‘The Buzz’. So much for quiet backwater, I suppose, though thus far I’ve only experienced the carnival rides – with ferris wheels and the like. Good fun, despite the sweltering heat.
Yeah – heat. It’s an unusual day where you don’t feel comfortable – or even warm – walking around in short and t-shirt in the middle of the night. With temperatures up to the mid 90s (35 celsius) on occasion it can be a bit uncomfortable, though I am getting a tan for the first time in many years. The only chance of relief from the heat comes from the frequent thunderstorms, with several inches of rain in a few short hours, though even then the pavements are dry shortly afterwards.
On a different note, I was struck recently by just what an impact the internet has on us when I was able to get ‘almost live’ results from my sister’s races in Lucerne [well done Heather!]. It may have been 4 in the morning, but I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the website to be updated. A far cry from waiting for a phone call, as I would have had to do only a few years ago. Not only that but I was able to send greetings using an internet-to-SMS bridge, and get video footage by email. Thanks to a good friend I now also have a copy of the photograph from the Irish Times (and what a photograph it was), so it’s almost as good as being there….
Finally, I am starting a Flirt FM alumni association. In the first instance this will involve a mailing list where former volunteers can keep in touch and hear Flirt FM related news. If you are a former volunteer and want to be added to the mailing list, please let me know. If you are in touch with others who might be interested, please let them know.
Until next time,

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