sylvar: (Me: Bemused)
Had a great time with everyone we visited. We're back in Atlanta.

Pandora, who used to be Jodi's cat and now lives with my dad, absented herself for several days while we were sleeping in my dad's house, so as a last resort he moved us to the house next door (also his). With a few ad-hoc improvements, it turned out to be pretty comfortable.

Our cash flow seems to have improved to the point that we'll be able to take Pied to the vet. I have some bills to take care of before I'm very confident of this, but it seems like a pretty sure thing.

We're going to spend the next few days cleaning the office and working, and then we'll relax on New Year's Eve (hopefully with [livejournal.com profile] zanna_voodoo and hubby) before returning to the previous schedule.

We spent the last four hours of the drive having a great talk about what we're hoping 2008 will bring. We're both interested in getting our bodies and accounts into shape and more deliberately dedicating time to reconnecting with each other, and we've already come up with several ways to do each of those things. So I'm finishing 2007 (barring a more detailed travelogue, which may eventually follow) with the wish that each of you gets as much out of 2008 as we're hoping to.
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
Last night, as I was finishing what I'd been writing about Penzey's, Bryan (the groom), Krista (the bride), and Brad (her brother) came by to invite us to join them at Dave and Buster's.  I like D&B a lot more than GameWorks, which is Tampa's lame excuse for a grownups' arcade.  I had mentioned going there while we were at Al's Pizza in Riverside, blocks away from the wedding site.

So Jodi and I drove -- it was about a quarter mile, but chilly with 20-30mph wind -- and we got there at the same time as the pedestrians.  Brad used to be a manager at this store, so he was greeted by the guys at the door, who let us in without a cover.  He even got Jodi a game card (and I bought one for myself).

They mostly played classic games; I played a trivia game that could have up to six players competing.  Alone, you can get about 20 prize tickets for the game.  With six players, the player with the most correct answers (and, as a tiebreaker, the least total time elapsed) can win up to 190 tickets. 

Even though Jodi and I took a break for a drink and a snack at the restaurant area, I still quickly and easily racked up enough tickets to win her a Care Bears plush.  Appropriately enough (it was after midnight), it was the beshamrocked Lucky Bear.  (Shut up, Firefox, I know beshamrocked isn't in your spelling dictionary.)  I've had no luck convincing this laptop to recognize the camera, so I might not be able to post photos for a few days.  But there's a cute photo of Jodi and her new stuffed animal, and you'll get to see it eventually.

This morning we gathered at the house my aunt Linda (mother of the bride) bought when it was a foreclosed-upon crack house and improved the hell out of.  We had brunch, featuring a chocolate fountain, champagne punch, homemade egg-a-mooby-biscuits, etc.  (Linda runs a cafe in Riverside and has also had a catering business--thus the chocolate fountain--so she was happy to be the brunch walla.)  They weren't asking for gifts, but they happily accepted a few.  They were excited about Penzey's and would have gone for themselves if they'd had time.  Oh, and by the way, since Linda's cafe is in another part of town, she's selling the house brunch was in.

This afternoon I fetched some lunch for Jodi from Dave and Buster's and walked over there with my aunt Susan.  I showed her a few of my favorites, and we shot up some aliens together while we waited for Jodi's food.  When Jodi called to see what was taking me so long, Susan answered my phone "Hello, Dave and Buster's", which got a laugh.  Jodi is now napping, and while I'd like to be out at D&B for the next half-hour or so, I accepted "how about you stay here and Internet for a while" as a compromise.  I'm sure I'll be back there tonight after the reception anyway.

I really wish the camera would connect to the laptop.  There are some wonderful shots in there.
sylvar: (Florida: America's Wang)
Yesterday the bed arrived and we managed to get almost everything done AND still leave town well-rested at a reasonable hour. 

I went to bed with an aching back (because it's hard work to take apart a queen bed and schlep it to the dumpster with the five-foot-high rim), and we had to shift around a bit to get comfortable, but part of that was that we were finally able to share a bed again after some time.  And we woke up feeling good -- my back didn't hurt at all, and neither did Jodi's.

We made it through Waldo and Lawtey without being pulled over (I imagined that my 'imagine no GOP' license plate might have caused a radar gun to malfunction) and are now sitting around with Jodi's uncle Jimmy at Panera, having had a light lunch.  We'll probably meet my aunt Linda at Penzey's Spices to pick out a wedding gift for her daughter (and because I've been looking forward to going to a Penzey's store for a while now).

We'll be hanging out with family for most of the weekend, so my access to the Internet may be limited by etiquette.  (I say this less as an apology or a warning than as a gripe -- but when I'm with them I probably won't even want to be online.)  I'll post photos later, I'm sure.
sylvar: (Default)
Yes, that's right, I said Athens.  And I'm driving there for code4lib 2007.

Jodi's joining me for the trip, though she won't be registered for the conference.  Which is a shame, because I think she might dig Fun with ZeroConfMetaOpenSearch or Library Data APIs Abound!.

If any of my readers have hints about fabulous vegetarian food in Athens, Georgia, please speak up.  We'll have some sort of Internet access here (code4lib would brook no less).
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that I accomplished yesterday:
  • Alerted a friend that she was indeed invited to the party in Gainesville.
  • Met a lot of new people at the Tampa party.
  • Drove to Gainesville.
Three things that made me happy yesterday:
  • Seeing a lot of cool vagina merch on display at the Tampa party
  • Taking some fun photos at the Tampa party
  • Writing down a bunch of quotes at the Gainesville party
I apparently had a lot of fun in a friend's imagination yesterday too, but I'm not counting that because I didn't find out until today, and sadly it was merely imaginary (this time)...
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
Harry and the Potters

January 9, 2007 at Miami-Dade Public Library - California Club Branch
850 Ives Dairy Rd., Miami, Florida 33179
Cost: FREE!

Rock the Library!


Man, if this weren't on a Tuesday, I'd be sure I'd be there. Since it is a Tuesday, though, I'm not sure yet. I'll have to see if I can get down there somehow.
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
(crossposted from email)

Jodi's faculty mentor suggested some other schools for us to see, and by dumb luck, they all fit into the same time slot we'd already planned for.

We're going to be staying with friends and CouchSurfing hosts as often as possible. If you have any suggestions about people who could let us sleep in their spare room, living room, garage, or even driveway, PLEASE tell me (reply to this post; if you want to reach me by email, vaxer@hotmail.com is best, as I can see that account from my phone).

Our itinerary:

Sat Sep 23: Chattanooga TN (we have a place to stay)
Sun Sep 24: Aurora IL (we'd planned to arrive the following day and have asked if we can arrive a day early)
Mon Sep 25: Madison WI (we don't have a place to stay)
Tue Sep 26: Kalamazoo MI (we'd planned to arrive the following day and have asked if we can arrive a day early)
Wed Sep 27: Ann Arbor MI (LarryK, can we stay with you?)
Thu Sep 28: Columbus OH (we don't have a place to stay)
Fri Sep 29 through Sat Oct 7: Pittsburgh PA (we have a place to stay, and I'll be in Salt Lake City for part of that)
Sun Oct 8: College Park, MD (we don't have a place to stay)
Mon Oct 9 and Tue Oct 10: Raleigh-Durham, NC (Jeff and Jenn, can we stay with you?)
Wed Oct 11 and Thu Oct 12: Atlanta, GA (Atlanta vaxers, can any of you put us up for two nights?)
Fri Oct 13: we finally come home.

There's more detail involved; we will visit, but not sleep in, East Lansing (Michigan State University) and Bowling Green, Ohio (BGSU).

Let me hear from you all! Any suggestions are great. Restaurants, areas of town to see, places where we can safely sleep, anything we should know, just reply to this post.

Thanks!
Ben
sylvar: (Default)
Jodi's flight to CVG is in the air. Her flight to State College seems to be running on time.

I got about four hours of sleep (she got none). We got to the airport, checked her large heavy bag, and got to the security gate. This is where she and I parted ways last time, but last time we'd asked for assistance. This time I had to run (well, jog) across the airport, down the escalator, back across the airport, explain (gasp) the situation (pant), get a gate pass, jog back, explain it to Jodi and Amanda (who had to wait at the security checkpoint for me), and both of us proceeded through the security line.

I'm stunned I didn't get a full strip search because I was sweating like crazy and probably acting a bit odd due to stress and exhaustion. But we got through quickly and I saw her onto the plane before dashing back to get Amanda. We drove home, I had a shower, got dressed, left a note for the repair technician, and headed into the office. I've got at least two dozen cans of diet cola, so I think I'll survive the day.

Once I get Amanda to work, though, I may just go to sleep for the night. We'll see.
sylvar: (Default)

Image005.jpg



Seriously -- there's a lot more where that came from.

Mysterxious

Jul. 8th, 2006 05:35 pm
sylvar: (Buffyverse: Giles: Hmmm.)
I couldn't refill my prescription using the automated system because it was "too early" to do so. Since I have a 5-day supply left, I called the pharmacy to check what was going on.

"Oh yeah," the guy said, "that's because it's already been refilled. Come by anytime and pick it up."

The woman at the drive-through, who wore a beautiful Creamsicle-plaid headscarf, said the refill was requested July 2nd. That was the day we were coming back from Sylacauga, and I don't remember calling it in. It's just a mystery...
sylvar: (Default)
We had a nice (though long) drive up through Alabama, have been spending every waking moment hanging out with friends, and will be leaving early tomorrow morning to come home. More details later, of course.
sylvar: (He Is Risen (Pillsbury Doughboy))
If you want to get in on the Farecast beta, let me know. I've got 25 invites. Right now you can only shop for tickets from Boston and Seattle, but they're working on it. Tampa is already on their drop-down list, it's just not active yet...
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
The apartment has been officially safe to occupy for the past 23 hours, but I only just got home. There's probably still a bit of chloropicrin in the air, since my eyes are watering ever so slightly. I'm going to open up some windows before I go to get the cats.

Driving at 55mph isn't as annoying as I thought it would be. I might even try that on my morning commute (but I'll have to be leaving around the same time I'm usually getting into the shower). However, the extra drive time has brought my iPod down to almost empty, so I'll have to make do with local radio for a few hours. Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?
sylvar: (Amadeus: Bad Housekeeper)
I'm so glad I left early to get to the meeting this morning. I had time to get the oil changed, and I got a raincheck for a car wash. After the meeting I returned for the car wash, paid for an upgrade, and drove to the office in a nice clean car.

I stopped at Syms to get some new pants and a black leather belt for church, since I don't think I have very much in the way of churchy clothing in my current size. And since they had an assortment of CoolMax athletic socks for $3/pair, I grabbed a stack of them. There's nothing like good socks to make exercise more enjoyable, except perhaps watching other people at the gym bouncing and sweating.

There's still one load of laundry to do (and it will have to be carefully chosen from a pile of laundry that is at least four feet high), so that we can look and smell our best this weekend. But I'm really looking forward to the party, no matter how little time we actually get to spend there. And I'm also looking forward to seeing Dad and giving him a slightly early birthday present.

And of course I'll enjoy seeing Jodi's side of the family and being on my best behavior. (We have a carefully rehearsed list of things that I am not allowed to bring up in conversation. For example, the bishop will be in attendance at Devin's confirmation, and I am not allowed to ask him how many hours a day he spends handling his bishopric.)

Well, okay, so I won't enjoy being on my best behavior. But I'll do it anyway. :)
sylvar: (Default)
Woo-hoo! We finally get a chance to use the free SpringHill Suites by Marriott stay this weekend!

BzzAgent sent me a slipper a while ago, offering me a free night's stay. Since I want to have a nice long leisurely weekend with Jodi, I also paid for a second night (and got the same discount you can, 25% off at that link). We'll be going to EPCOT and possibly other parks, depending on whether we decide to get seasonal passes or just the one day, one park. As I said to [livejournal.com profile] tally_cat, free fresh hot waffles in the morning, free shuttle to the parks, and a nice hotel suite. And since it's a suite, there are two queen beds -- so we can save one for sleeping afterward. ;)

Yes, there will certainly be photos. No, they will not be the photos you really want to see. Not unless someone volunteers to be the photographer*. Sorry.

Oh, and I'll get the other slipper, finally.

*and Jodi agrees. Which is rather unlikely.
sylvar: (Default)
Mardi Frog 2006 photos are now available. Enjoy!
sylvar: (What Would Alton Do?)
The city of Fairhope seems to have lost their bid to keep Wal*Mart out. However, there was already a Wal*Mart a few miles up the road in Daphne, and the nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, and assorted servants of this rich community have to buy clothing somewhere. Perhaps the good citizens of Fairhope will simply boycott the store they claim to hate.

We arrived here last night, later than we expected, because I overslept (woke up at 2am, turned off the alarm, went back and changed the alarm to 3am by common consent, and then failed to turn the alarm back on). We had a fairly uneventful trip with about 15 minutes of traffic at the end due to construction workers taking up the cones that had been blocking the right lane.

Without air conditioning, however, it was uncomfortable at best. I drank much more water than usual because my legs kept sweating, despite my light cotton mid-thigh shorts, and so I had to stop more often than usual, much to Jodi's disapproval. On the way back, I will be more in the shade on the north side of the car, and Jodi will be more in the sun. But since a cold front has swept in, I fear she will find this quite pleasant.

Today has been a foodie's paradise.

This morning we went to Pensacola to pick up [livejournal.com profile] kittykatkatja, who told us that we ought to try McGuire's Irish Pub (my photo here). I had the plate of steamed vegetables, plus cheddar; the thing was huge. Even if I hadn't had some of the boxty (scoops of mashed potatoes rolled rather un-Irishly but deliciously in panko, then fried), I doubt I'd have been able to eat even half of it. And it was good-quality stuff. I even ate an 18¢ bowl of Senate bean soup, despite the "bruschetta" the waiter said it contained (he meant prosciutto but said bruh-SHET-uh).

Once we arrived back in Fairhope (and I finished mixing the dough for pain m├ęteil), I also trekked out to Point Clear on a pilgrimage to Punta Clara Kitchen, a large Victorian home which is now part museum and part confectionery paradise. I tasted garlic jelly and various nut treats; Jodi tried watermelon jelly and margarita jelly. We also got a few candies to take back with us, some of which have even stayed uneaten lo these several hours later. The cutest treat was a fortune cookie decorated to look like a cat, and in Mardi Gras colors no less.

While everyone else was taking a nap, I put the maslin dough onto pieces of parchment paper and let them rise on a sheet pan in the audio cabinet above the amplifier and tape deck. Those things tend to warm things up a little bit, especially when the cabinet is closed, which is (with patience) all that's needed to get these things ready to be flour-stenciled with a froggy design. I also read an interesting blog entry on moral expertise and the extent to which expert judgements from moral philosophers can be depended upon. The whole Left2Right blog is pretty interesting, actually. I'll have to add it to my list of blogs to read...
sylvar: (Default)
Written yesterday, posted today:

I woke up at 4am to boot up my brain before shutting down the servers back at the office some 1300 miles away. With a minor exception (the newest servers without VNC on them yet), it went smoothly.

A heat wave would raise the temperature to almost 60 before a tailgating cold front brings snow in a few days, but I walked six blocks to the train in 40-degree weather. I'm sure I looked like a wimp in my tan trenchcoat, but I wanted to stay warm if I could.

I reached the airport over three hours early, got oriented, and decided to get a bit of exercise. I walked to the farthest gate on Concourse A, then back across the central mall, and down to the farthest gate on Concourse G.

By the time I finished, I was quite ready to stow my heavy backpack in the lockers. $2/hr is worth it, and seeing my thumbprint displayed on the screen was kind of neat. That thumb, plus a six-character code on the receipt, will let me retrieve my bag.

Thus unencumbered, I repeated my little jaunt -- a mere mile and a half each time, the information desk told me -- and had the pleasure of helping a tourist be in the picture with his family. I also got to sample Leiniekugel's Red, a lager with an interestingly sharp clear taste and banana esters. I could be wrong about the esters, though, since I did eat an actual banana between walks.

While I waited and wandered, I got a call from the office saying that the air conditioner upgrade had gone well and quickly, the servers were all running again, and the server room was now a proper 69 degrees. If we can cough up $20-30k for a proper centralized backup, it'll finally be up to snuff. And if not, I guess I can hack together an AMANDA network.

I stopped halfway back to Concourse A for a pint of Leiniekugel's Honey Weiss (filtered, sadly) with lemon at TGI Friday's. Since it's about the only restaurant in the airport not owned by the same company as all the rest, a pint of decent brew is under $5. That wouldn't buy a Bud anywhere else in MSP.

Since the flight home was 48% full, I traded my exit-row seat for one of the many empty rows in the back. Flying is even more fun with satellite radio (although it's clearly prerecorded and synced on the ground like other in-flight audio). We took off as I was listening to "Wonkavator / End Titles" from _Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory_, soaring into "a world of pure imagination". (Yes, the end title is instrumental, but it quotes richly from "Pure Imagination".)

Later in the flight, I switched from the Cinemagic movie soundtracks channel to Bluegrass Junction. Bill Monroe played or would have recognized almost all of it, but Hayseed Dixie's cover of "Feel Like Makin' Love", mixed in with the more traditional tunes, delighted me.

During most of the flight, I reviewed and made thorough notes on the study guide from yesterday's class. HIP 4.x's architecture of abstractions is really a lot more useful than HIP 3.x's. I have a sinking feeling that there are global settings that should have been delegated to a smaller scope -- what if only some of our libraries want to allow borrowers to get e-mail when the library gets new items on a particular subject, by a favorite author, etc? -- but generally it seems useful.

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sylvar: (Default)
The pharmacist said that I probably don't have anything that would care about antibiotics, so I've got some DayQuil and NyQuil, and I'm going to make sure I fall asleep right after dinner. WIth any luck I'll get enough rest to feel better before I have to go get my congested ears blown out on a plane.

Fortunately, I've only missed today's first session. It was one I really wanted to go to, though. I'll have to see if it's being repeated later.
sylvar: (Did you hear? (Utena))
I arrived slightly late to the general session this morning, but found a seat and listened to the presentation. It all sounded good, but the real applause came when we saw a live demo of the serials prediction calendar -- an actual one-year calendar that showed you exactly when each issue was expected. Judging by the applause, I'd guess that this feature has been needed for a while.

My presentation went well, I think. At one point I tried to think of a segue and finally just said "Okay, I don't have a smooth segue, so I'll just admit it. Next, I'd like to talk about law enforcement..." I got lots of questions and suggestions, but my favorite was from an Albertan librarian who said "We don't actually have the Patriot Act where I'm from, but let me ask you this: Are you trying to get around the Patriot Act by offering anonymous library cards?" I repeated the question on-mic and answered: "Yes, sir, we are." Brought down the house. I think I got more applause on that answer than on my presentation!

After lunch at the cool kids' table, I attended bits of two other presentations before realizing that they weren't actually boring, it was just that I was coughing too much (and my knee was hurting too much) to pay attention. So I'm back at the hotel, a block or two away, and I'll try to rest up so that I can go back for the last set of sessions -- or at the worst, make sure I'm in shape for tomorrow.

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