Sunshine State of Mind

Little change of scenery, eh?
Little change of scenery, eh?

There’s nothing like a little bit of writer’s block to make you take in your surroundings for inspiration.

For context, I’m sitting at a bar at Palm Beach International Airport – one only marginally bigger than the one in Portland, Maine – waiting to return to Vacationland for a long weekend.

Not knowing the best way to kick this piece of all-the-more-infrequent bloggin’ off, I consulted everyone’s trusty sidekick Google for a snappy quote that adequately summed up Florida.

Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite search engine came up short, and I was left looking around in something resembling desperation for a jump-off point. And then it hit me. 

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America: Please Be Better

I know this is uncharacteristic of me (being in any way political, or controversial), but I decided I wanted to say something about yesterday’s senseless murders in California.

When tragic incidents of mass gun violence occur in the U.S., I frequently come across a level of smugness on social media from Australians – some I know, others I don’t – who seem to enjoy pulling the moral superiority card when it comes to gun control.

This country has its flaws, but so does Australia, and England, and every other nation in the world. If there was one that was flawless, we’d all be refugees lining up for entry.

I know that this country has a long and complicated history of firearm ownership. Even though I don’t profess to understand the nuances of it the Constitutional amendments and policy-making, what I do know is pretty clear.

I love the United States. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have spent weeks upon weeks, and countless dollars, traveling throughout the U.S. over six years, or actively sought to migrate here and start a new chapter of my life.

That’s what it comes down to for me. I love this country, and I want it to be better. As far as I can tell, so does everyone on either side of the gun control and immigration battles. So if stemming the flow of senseless killing every year makes the U.S. a better place, why the hell not take some sort of action? Maybe Australia’s version of gun control isn’t the perfect answer here, but something has to be done.

I love you, America, and a lot of other folks do. We need you to be better.

The Top Ten Things I Love About Maine

There sure is. TOo much to list, try as you may.
There sure is. Too much to list, try as you may.

So, this is it. The very last Maine Walkabout.

I haven’t done the numbers, but at two columns a month (and three per month twice, I think), that’s a nice round 46 pieces.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Despite the odd gripe or Thursday-night panic about what the hell I’m going to write about for that weekend, I’ve always felt humbled that a real live newspaper would give me the inches to wax lyrical about things I see and places I go. I’m proud of this here body of work.

Most of the archives can be found here, too.

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Column ideas that never made it

Still can't believe this ended up being an actual thing.
Still can’t believe this ended up being an actual thing.

When the powers that be first offered me a chance to write a newspaper column, I was thrilled. My primary concern, though, was that I’d run out of material and be stuck without anything to say.

So to alleviate this worry, I initially agreed to write Walkabout on a monthly basis. That seemed pretty achievable to me.

That lasted until the very first one came out, back in January 2013. As soon as I saw my name on the page, I had a rush of inspiration and realized that I’d have plenty of stories with which to bore central Maine readers back to bed on a Sunday morning.

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Returning to the Sunshine State. Kinda.

On the road again.
On the road again.

One Friday night, not long after I arrived in central Maine, my dad sent me a text containing a photo of the first page of a book he was reading.

The line he was pointing out, and I’m paraphrasing here, read: “Traveling north on I-95, somewhere between Augusta and Bangor …”. He was thrilled to now know roughly where both of those cities were, not to mention someone who’d been to them. Continue reading

Looking around at familiar unfamiliar territory

That's what I mean about distinctive architecture.
That’s what I mean about distinctive architecture.

Oh man, I just discovered a THIRD column I forgot to post. I told you I’d been writing!

This one is one that had been boiling around in my brain for awhile. I even did a spot of original reporting and conducted an interview for it (albeit via email and the night before deadline.)

Readers curious about something as simple as “does America look the same as Australia?” may get a kick out of it.

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A morning stroll through a creepy hole



Here’s the second of my aforementioned backlog of columns from Mum’s visit.

To make it up to all three of my faithful readers, I solemnly swear to publish this coming Sunday’s column on Friday, two whole days early! The newspapers might not be happy about a broken embargo, but we’ll see.

Anyway, the following story paints a picture of a very old, kinda spooky antique store in central Maine. It was a fun place to explore.

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Fall storms making a meal of dinner

This photo makes no sense without the context of the column. Youll just have to read on!
This photo makes no sense without the context of the column. Youll just have to read on!

Greetings, long-suffering readers! Man, it’s been a while since I published anything here.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been writing in the interim – oh no! – but I’ve had a mad couple of months, what with my Mum’s visit and another piece of news that will be revealed later this week, all things going to plan.

Anyway, I’m a couple of columns behind, both of which are from Mum’s visit to Maine. Read on for the first one…

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Adrian’s “Who-Gives-A-**** Tour of Central Maine”

My first digs. Now with added boat!

A couple of months ago, as summer came into full bloom, I was invited to play in a charity golf tournament one Tuesday which culminated in a party at the organizing family’s camp on Cobbossee Lake.

Jumping at the opportunity to go “upta camp,” if not the act of putting my mediocre golfing abilities on display at 9:00 a.m. on a weekday morning, I signed up. The golf went about as well as I had anticipated.

Afterwards, at the post-game gathering, I found myself unexpectedly attending a celebration of life for someone I’d never met. The recently departed man’s husband – who was from away – told of the couple’s early interactions, and in particular his first visit to this state, including what they described in a tongue-in-cheek manner as the “who-gives-a-[…] tour of Maine,” where he was shown around all the significant places of the deceased’s daily life here.

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