Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mother Returns Home, Gets Blatzed

My how things have changed. SIL sends this image that suggests how beneficial the calming, soothing, appetizing, stimulating, and intoxicating a few swigs of Blatz Beer could be for a new mother. Who looks happier, baby or mama? Good for mama to keep a little Blatz on tap for that nursing infant.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sisters Grace and Anna

Welcome New-B!

The J and C B family grew by 33% yesterday with the arrival of Grace Elizabeth, birthday November 24 from now on, same birthday as Zachary Taylor (12th president), the NRA, William F. Buckley, Jr., "Guys and Dolls," Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Scott Joplin.  
She's in good hands.  Congratulations!  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Louis CK on Conan O'Brien

I don't know if I'd ever seen grumpy Mr. Louis CK, but TQ sends me a link to his appearance on Conan and he's upset about how "everything's amazing, but nobody's happy," especially as it concerns technology. He's interested in seeing mules with pans banging on their sides as a guy comes around to pound the dents out of your pots and buy your rags. Things might be better. It's funny; check it out. I hope the technology works (unlike the Synthy thing--did it play for you?).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Victorian House Entry--The Synthy Version

Microsoft is always coming up with something. Sometimes it's good. This latest project of theirs to get my attention reminded me of Mr. Picasso, with the layered fragments of images from different combining to give a vision of a whole. Think Cubism! It's Photosynth, described on the website as follows:

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!

Let the Leaves, and the Votes, Lie Where They May

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.

Here Comes "Star Trek" The Prequel

The New York Times reports that J.J. Abrams is revealing a little information about the new Star Trek movie coming out next spring. We'll get to see young Kirk, young Spock, young Scotty and Uhura. See the cool trailer here. Isn't that what we bloggers do, help build the buzz?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hats Off to White Rock

Some folks go for the long run, but some are just downright speed demons!  Those kids at White Rock Coffee must enjoy the caffeinated beverages they sell, because they don't mess around when they get an order.  Monday I clicked for coffee, and Wednesday there was a box from them rubber-banded to my mailbox.  

Inside, two good pound coffee bags and a hand-written note from a real person.  It all makes me want to indulge the notion that all down the line, folks are thinking of me and my yearning for an excellent cuppa joe, the folks at WRC quick-like roasting me some beans, bagging them up, hustling it to the postman, urging him on.  The postman sees my name on the box and realizes my need as well, hustles down the highway hoping nothing--not snow or ice or dint of freezing rain--delays him from bringing my beans, finally arriving at my street where he realizes the box won't fit in the mail box, and, on the verge of panic, he finds a rubber band on the floor of his rig and sighs in relief as he binds the coffee to the front of my box, face out, imagining my joy and relief as I come home after a long day and discover how well everyone's been looking out for me and my need for good coffee.  Thanks, guys!  It was a good pot this morning!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thwarting the Ignorant Beasts

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

Ready to Serve

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.

Chocolate Rewards

The wife spent a chunk yesterday babysitting and got the boxed reward you see here, in addition to the pleasure of a young person's company.  Inside are a pair of double chocolate cookies (untouched as of this writing) and some homemade marshmallows, something I've never tasted.  The young person's parents stopped at the Queen City Bakery in Sioux Falls and brought us what we expect to be quite a delight.  

While she was doing that, I was at DSU all day learning how to be a better grantwriter.  It was a good workshop, conducted by Lynn Miner of Miner and Associates.  I suspect the cookies there were NOT as good as you get at Queen City Bakery.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Legend Since Sometime this Morning

Okay, so the latest news is that an order from White Rock Coffee in St. Paul is on its way here, free shipping from the roaster to the drinker, at least in SD.  WRC comes on the recommendation of Dr. D, coffee sipper and enjoyer deluxe.  

It's at least a small celebration of the election, a little something to help yours truly through the first bite of winter, and an appeasement of the taste buds (I hope) after a super fine cup of coffee down in Ames, Iowa, at the Stomping Grounds near the university.  The trip was fine, though rain marred the drive down, cold marred the time there, and slippery spots marred the drive back.  So what made up for it all?  A good conference, good dining (and coffee!), and excellent company.  

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Little Red in the Spotlight

We had a visitor last night seeking some filling for that plastic pumpkin.  She's looking good in her costume, but probably not yet ready for wolves.  No matter.  She's got good folks looking out for her.