Our library's Christmas party...

I just came back from our library’s annual Christmas party. Of course we do the Secret Santa thing.

Our staff always exchanges fun stuff because they’re all creative and many share handmade gifts. Actually, I was probably the worst gift giver of the bunch. I did my shopping two hours before the dinner (but hey, at least I did do my own shopping).

Either way when I opened my gift I laughed my head off. I told everyone what I received but no one got it. Of course they wouldn’t — it was the ultimate geek gift.

It was a geek gift because our network/hardware guru got my name. Andre’s great to work with because he knows everything I don’t so we usually manage some serious damage as a result. But he gets brownie points for thoughtfulness.

So what is this awesome geek gift — an original Bondi Blue 233ghz G3 Apple iMac. It’s a landmark computer that changed how computers were sold. From the moment Apple introduced the computer design mattered. Arguably, it’s the computer that saved Apple Inc.

But what had me laughing so hard? He had installed Debian Linux on the puppy!

Admittedly, that almost an inside joke. I’m doing a presentation on open source software in April and now I have my very own Linux box to play with. It’ll be a blast to see what I can manage to do with this old computer.

Posted in Life

Great vacation, photos coming...

Darlene and I just returned from a vacation in Buffalo, New York. We went to visit my mom, which would have been wonderful anywhere, but the three of us had a blast because Buffalo is such a great town.

The city has it’s problems — notably high taxes and deterioration in some parts of town due to de-population. Yet Buffalo is chock full of arts, culture, architecture and food!

Some examples…

  • Buffalo has more Frank Lloyd Wright than any city outside of Chicago.
  • Elmwood Village was named one of the 10 greatest neighborhoods in the country by the American Planning Association. It’s full of Victorian homes, great restaurants and cool indy stores and galleries (I found a cool hemp messenger bag here).
  • The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has probably the second best contemporary art collections in the county.
  • They have the best grocery stores in Buffalo— Wegmans, Dash’s and the Lexington Co-op Market.

That said, here are some photos I posted on Flickr.

Unfortunately, I quickly ran into their free account limits and don’t have $25 to go unlimited at this moment. So I’m slowly working on uploading larger galleries on my photos page. This will happen more quickly once I figure out my photo uploader.

Disclaimer: I grew up in Buffalo, but after all the “eeeww Buffalo” I’ve heard over the years, I am truly amazed at how fun it was to visit.

Finally… For those wondering where I disappear to for weeks on end, I’ve just been busy with life. We managed to get Darlene’s studio re-opened for the first time in two years and I’ve been moonlighting doing work for a web designer in town. When the day is done, I just haven’t been in the mood to blog. It’s kind of like exercise, when I get into a rhythm it happens. If I quit for a couple of days all hell breaks lose.

Posted in Life

I nearly had a bat to the head

I’m suddenly not as tired as I was 10 minutes ago.

I was just turning out the lights at my bedside when I heard a loud “thwak” and something shot past my face.

Stunned, I flipped on the lights and looked around trying to figure out what just happened. I finally looked down and on my bedside table was one dead bat with a deep mark across his head.

We’ve had bats swoop through from time to time (we have a conveniently porous 160+year-old building), but it never struck me that one would meet its end by flying into our ceiling fan. The speed at which the good-sized bat flew past me, death must have been instant.

What can I say, the fan is on high as the days are in the upper 90s. The fan is a Hunter, but I never thought of taking the brand-name seriously.

Posted in Life

I earned basketball "letters"

I was playing a game of pickup basketball with some kids and teens at the Y in Vevay the other night.

I’m pleased I can now survive an hour of playing basketball with no obvious side effects other than one nicely jammed ring finger.

Either way, one of the guys was wide open under the basket so he yelled “aye! aye! aye! aye! aye!” He received the attention he desired along with the ball and a basket.

After which I told him “You forgot A-E-O and U.”

Unfortunately, that was apparently the funniest thing he had heard because he cracked up and proceeded to yell “A-E-I-O-U” on the next several possessions to distract the ball handler.

One of the guys sent me a quick pass under the basket and I made one of my very few layups of the night.

“Good shot Vowels!” They thought that that too was funny and they proceeded to call me “Vowels” for the rest of the game.

Of course, I amplified their fun when I grudgingly said, “I guess that makes sense since I’m a librarian.”

After the game I went swimming with Darlene and forgot about it. Yet 40 minutes later I ran into them as they were walking out the door.

“Take it easy Vowels.”
“See ya Vowels.”

sigh I now know what Charlie Brown felt like when he went to camp with a paper sack over his head and being called “Mr. Sack” the entire time. Then again, it was the only time he was ever elected camp president. (It was a great series if you can find it).

hmmm…. “Vowels for president?”

Posted in Life

Yes, I'm still alive

I find it amazing that I have blogged only once all winter, but life is just busy.

Long story short is the last two months of 2006 were a whirlwind of finishing grad school and taking care of my dear Darlene who survived two back-to-back surgeries. (nothing serious, gall bladder, etc.). The first three months of 2007 have been an effort to pick up the pieces.

The analogy we’ve been using is that we rode out the storm and were so happy when it ended. Then we started looking around at all the damage that was done in the process. Boy what an absolute mess. I think the shock took a solid month to wear off.

Some of the clean up work has been on our c.1840 building. We spent an ungodly amount of time patching up the old plaster walls so we could paint our living room (it’s now a deep burnt orange). Cleaning and painting Darlene’s studio is next on the list so she can get back to making pots for the first time in nearly 16 months.

Sprinkle in a great visit from my mom, joining the YMCA so we can get back into some sort of shape, attending a national clay conference, figuring out taxes (tracking medical expenses is such a joy), doing some web work for a friend, trying to figure out how to get the pottery going again and we’ve just been busy.

We’re still trying to get things in order and figure out the “future” but it is good to have a life again. Nonetheless I’ll tell you one thing, they should give new graduates detox sessions. I’m just glad I didn’t have to find a job to boot.

Posted in Life

A peeved Frosty...

This idea struck me when we were trying to help our friends take Christmas photos of their kids. Click for larger image…

Posted in Life

90% of trees battered by Buffalo storm

All I can say is Ouch

A preliminary estimate has found that roughly 90 percent of the 5,700 trees in Delaware Park and its three nearby parkways were damaged.

Buffalo is a leafy city with huge Victorian neighborhoods and a beautiful parks system. They’re estimating the tree damage could take generations to repair. The good news is 85 to 90 percent of these trees are salvageable—just minus many branches.

Another Buffalo quote from the same article…

One Town of Tonawanda official said that except for the snow, the town would appear to have been hit by a hurricane. Holifield had a different take: “I’m a Midwestern guy. It looks like a tornado came through, not a snowstorm.”

Posted in Life

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