Monday, December 29, 2008
We looked at some other vehicles that were tempting, a 1991 Ford Probe and a 1988 Honda Civic (a real beater). There were others on the list, including a 1991 VW Golf GT that slipped out of our grasp, sold on our way there. But those will be forgotten as Son2 eases into ownership of the little Corolla and plots to find something down the road to better suit his style.
Friday, December 26, 2008
The wife and I were driving out to her folks' place yesterday for lunch and some celebration of Christmas, listening to holiday songs on the radio, when someone came on with a story about how the true gifts are the ones you give, not the ones you get. Sappy and sentimental, "The Widow Jensen and the Rifle" told about Matt and how his wish for a rifle at Christmas was crushed by his parent's poverty, only to realize they HAD saved enough for it, until his father had seen poor little Jakey Jensen out hunting for scraps of wood to burn, his feet wrapped in burlap. Pa took the rifle money and spent it on the Jensen's, and he and son Matt hauled their gifts (food, shoes, and a pile of wood that Matt had split) over to their cold house to find them wrapped in blankets. Leaving them happy and well-fed, Matt realized that Pa had helped him give the best gift of all.
Now that's a story about giving. Another one is the dandy gift pictured, a shadow box to hold my Twin Cities Marathon medals, done by the wife's younger sister and her husband. It's one gift among many from people, books and clothes and a new wireless mouse. Best, as always, is the time together sharing and playing and enjoying the company of others. Another great gift is the one from my mom, who donated a gift on my behalf through Heifer International.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Some people just like to make a splash; they wear glittery clothes, flashing shoes, spiky hair, tattoos, neon ties. Some do it by talking too loud, going too far, slapping too hard on the back. Some do it by making the grand gesture. Others are a little more tricky. They do it by arriving at a dinner with a home-made concoction that stands (snowy) head and shoulders above all the other condiments. Here's to those splashers!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Google's putting its clout to work in providing more cool photos for folks to look at, cataloging all the photos from Life magazine from the 1860's to the 1970's. They're available for personal, non-commercial use, like this Roger and Me reference. Check it out here. You can search for images directly by using the terms "source:life" as part of the search term.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Big brother Joe, now Joe Kady to distinguish him from others in the Screen Actors Guild, sends notice that he's in a San Francisco play titled "Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party." Oh my. Reviews are in the San Francisco Chronicle and the SF Examiner. It's showing at the SF Playhouse from Dec. 13 to Jan. 17. If you're in town, check it out. It sounds like a wild event!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I have a friend who doubts some of my statements (she might doubt the part of this one that reads "I have a friend," but, just for the sake of argument, let's let that pass). When she indicated that she had not received a recent email from God, I wondered what the problem might be, since I did get that one. She doubts me, but since I can't show her the actual email (reading His emails are a little like seeing Him Face to Face), I just mentioned I keep those emails in my e-tabernacle. Naturally, she doubted the existence of that, too. But that I can show you here. I hate to have to confess that there are unread messages there. If He'd just stop forwarding those Ole and Lena jokes!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
DSU's intrepid librarians led us on a virtual tour of a virtual world today, exploring together in Second Life, the online "world" that offers a number of possibilities for educators looking to link with students who can't all physically be together. It was interesting and informative. Here I am watching a slide show as some virtual females show us some presentation tools. I'm the guy with my Second Life-issued black clothing. I might have to buy hair. Then again, it might be a way to get used to having none. Some were able to use audio chat, but I had trouble with the basics, like sitting down. I was better at flying.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.
Using techniques from the field of computer vision, Photosynth examines images for similarities to each other and uses that information to estimate the shape of the subject and the vantage point each photo was taken from. With this information, we recreate the space and use it as a canvas to display and navigate through the photos. Photosynth was inspired by the breakthrough research on Photo Tourism from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research. This work pioneered the use of photogrammetry to power a cinematic and immersive experience
Providing that experience requires viewing a LOT of data though—much more than you generally get at any one time by surfing someone’s photo album on the web. That’s where our Seadragon™ technology comes in: delivering just the pixels you need, exactly when you need them. It allows you to browse through dozens of 5, 10, or 100(!) megapixel photos effortlessly, without fiddling with a bunch of thumbnails and waiting around for everything to load.
Check it out. I enjoyed trying to make a little vision of our entry way, piled with books so we could paint shelves and the living room. Cool!
I took these photos the day after the election. On the one hand, the skimpy leaf fall of the tree to the right in our yard, gray and pale, and to the left, the luxury of abundance, still with the vibrant pigments of fall, blanket the ground with the surety of their success.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Animals with brains of a squirrel can be pretty darned tricky. I brought out the bird feeder to lure the pretty birds to our east window, and it worked until the squirrels discovered the tasty seeds, which they could enjoy by leaping onto the bracket, then hanging upside down with their faces in the bird food. I began by banging the window to scare them away, but that only worked briefly. Those sunflower seeds were just too tasty. So I got out the shepherd's hook and hung the bird feeder on it, but it was still too close and the squirrels could leap from the bracket to the feeder. I took the bracket down and moved the hook yet further away, and that's where things stand. It should be higher.
The wife is keeping score. So far I think it's squirrels--1, human being--1. Birds are paying attention, enough so that after two days the feeder needs replenishing. Whew!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I've made a lot of jokes about being in the Armed Services when I was a young man, but I joined ready to serve my country however the Army saw fit. I took the oath on October 19, 1974, when I was still a senior in high school, then graduated and went active duty on July 2, 1975, which made me just outside the Vietnam Veterans era. They sent me to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for basic training, then to Fort Knox, Kentucky, for advanced individual training (AIT) in track vehicle mechanics. Then I found myself in Friedberg, (West) Germany, where I went to work for the 122 Maintenance Battalion of the 3rd Armored Division. There I stayed until July 1, 1977, when I walked off the base in Friedberg and went on with the next part of my life.
The service was good to me, though. I wouldn't be where I am without the GI Bill that helped put me through much of my schooling.
Thanks to those who serve or served, no matter how bad they looked in their military issue.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Virginia Woolf wrote some of the most beautiful, poetic prose in the English language. Think of the opening of her novel Mrs. Dalloway:
What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen; looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off them and the rooks rising, falling; standing and looking until Peter Walsh said, “Musing among the vegetables?”—was that it?—“I prefer men to cauliflowers”—was that it?It's probably just as well that we didn't have to listen to her read it aloud in the stuffy, stilted voice revealed in the story, "Recordings Capture Writer's Voices Off the Page," but check out Vladimir Nabokov and the others. You can hear her and other authors reading their material aloud or just extemporising in some rare audio recordings just released by the BBC. From NPR, on All Things Considered, October 23.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The wife sends this link to a graphic that gives a comic look at what a Palin presidency might look like: http://www.palinaspresident.us/. Explore the site with your mouse, and return daily to see what new items have been added. No closet for the new wardrobe yet.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
TQ sends word of a new browser on the market. His take: "Visual!" "Intuitive!"
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Walter might seem sweet, gentle, and attentive, ready to snuggle or lie in the sun, but as this photo reveals, he's got an evil shadow, a stone-hearted double that looks over his shoulder, offering, I suspect, some evil coaching: "Jump on the couch! Go ahead! Who will know? And if they do, who cares?"
With the blustery weather coming on, snow in the forecast, wind and rain bouncing the apples in their trees, I figured it was time to call it good for the season and pull the apples down, done or not. So now there's a bag of green apples in my basement, apples that are fresh and nearly ripe, as ripe as they're going to be. Now there's nothing left in the trees but a few leaves. What will become of these green beauties? Suggestions? Recipes?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I was just reading a piece that followed up on all the "Joe the Plumber" refrences at the debate last night, an article that appears here on the NY Times. He's feeling like Britney Spears, he says, "having a headache." People all over take opportunities of being in the spotlight and seek to make money selling shirts or whatever they can do with some brief notoriety (think of Sarah Silverman and her Great Schlep video and website), so I wondered if Joe was doing so. Who's got joetheplumber.com? It's not Mr. Wurzelbacher, but an outfit down in San Antonio. You'll have to find the “Vote Joe the Plumber ’08" T-shirts someplace else.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Yesterday I stepped up once again at the Twin Cities Marathon and completed the 26.2 mile course for the 14th time, finishing with only 1702 people ahead of me. Before you scoff, note that they counted 7966 finishers. So there. The race was a far cry from last year's hot and humid meltdown, when people wilted halfway into the race and stumbled to the finish. This year the story was rain and breeze, which I've decided I'll take over the heat and humidity any day. A person can get only so wet, and skin's waterproof, right? So we splashed through puddles until about three hours in, when it started to clear a little. Finish time: 3:46:14. Chip time: 3:43:40. My last 10K wasn't what I wanted (a little over an hour), but my legs were burning by then and it just wasn't happening. At least I managed to steer clear of the pumpkin lady that plagued me last year, hogging up all the cheers and leaving little for the rest of us in her vicinity.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Brother Joe lives in Hayward, CA, on the east of San Francisco Bay, an urban area that harbors some very un-urban activities, like this flock of turkeys that appeared in his back yard and tried out the deck. He sent the pictures maybe to show that wildlife still seeks him out. Don't they look comfy?
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sue Larsen in town has sent me a pair of photos of our house. Judging from the size of the trees and other details, I'm guessing they are from the 70's. The big bush on the corner of the porch is gone, and the tree at the end of the sidewalk is much larger, but the back porch appears to already have been built. Cool! Thanks, Sue.