Aug 17

What do you think he’s thinking?

Saw this guy on the way back from lunch today. It was cloudy when we set out, started raining before we got back inside and then waited it out before going back to the office. So the timing was just right and the preying mantis was probably wondering where all that water came from and why it suddenly stopped when we happened by.

Preying Mantis

And what’s the story with these creatures holding these rectangular things so close to my face? Don’t they know I could eat them?

Isn’t it interesting, that when you anthropomorphize a creature you give it some rational thought processes, create the cute barrier between them and us by a valley of not understanding some aspect of our lives like cameras, but then give them the power of understanding human constructs, like shapes?

It’s like a two block walk back to our building. I have time to think a few things through, is what I’m saying.

Hey, here’s a book, let’s look in it!

Reader's Digest

I have a stack of my grandfather’s books. Text books, technical manuals, encyclopedias and old magazines. A little at a time I am adding some of the cooler things to the site. You can see the first few things I found in this 1960 Reader’s Digest here. You can see the entire collection right here.

Jul 17

Look at all of this stuff that’s about to happen

Why is this car in a snow globe? What does this have to do with education? And why are those almost-stick figures to the right so interested in it?

You’d think that if you were going to examine the oddity of a car trapped in a glass globe you would do so from a position not within its potential path of travel. Just in case the car slips its parking gear or otherwise becomes sentient and carries a grudge.

But they weren’t thinking about things like that in the 1940s. (Honestly, that there’s a rug beneath it all seems the most unsettling to me. Why a rug? I mean, aside from the artist’s need to establish dimensions here, why does this encased car need a rug? Creepy.) Anyway, the answer to some of those questions are important, no matter the decade. You can find the answers, and a few more textbook photos to glance at here. If this looks new to you, check out all of the best art from this book right here. This, of course, is part of my collection of my grandfather’s books. You can see them all as they go online right here. And I think, now with that book completed I’ll have to change gears. After the texts already assembled on the site we’ll get into serious reads on algebra and biology. And I would worry that I’m just not talented or clever enough to make fun of formulas and geometric shapes and insect macros.

But! I also have a large stack of my grandfather’s old science magazines. We’ll start diving into those next week.

I’ve been dealing with a throat thing. It’s getting better, thanks. Something irritated it on Saturday morning and now it only hurts some of the time. I expect I’ll be healed just in time for something else to happen. Just like this. I’d been fighting some sort of sinus or respiratory thing for about two weeks– probably from the accumulated dust of these books, which I’m going to deal with this weekend, I think — and that finally cleared up in time for this throat issue.

It’ll take more than that to keep a chipper person with plans down, and so here we are. There are lots of things underway. I’m working on a new mobile version of my site. I have the book section going on Tuesdays. Markers on Wenesdays. I have some cool new videos to shoot, beginning next week I hope. I’m thinking about re-working a part of my office soon, too. And I have to start riding my bike more and running again. See? So many things to do … just as soon as I can swallow without wincing.

And now back to making a delicious spaghetti dinner.

You can see more on Twitter and Instagram too.

Jul 17

This is going to seem sarcastic, but it isn’t

The Tour de France is on. I have turned on an inordinate amount of lights in the house. Chicken parm for dinner. I spent the evening sitting in my office recliner. Time of my life.

In my recliner, I was typing on a section of the site. Actually, I was thumbing through old books. And digging through a storage space for other books. I have a lot of books. These are my grandfather’s books. I’ve been flipping through them and reading them and enjoying the photographs and sharing them on the site. I have a big shelf of dusty old textbooks and agricultural reference books. I have a huge stack of magazines, and those will get included before too long. But, first, there’s the 1943 edition of Occupational Guidance:

There are seven more pictures just like that if you click the link above. (I’ll add a few more next week.) You can also see the growing collection here.

I also did some back end work on the site, but you aren’t interested in that and it is mostly just fun for me anyway. Also, much like people hold dear the goal of Inbox Zero, I have a similar goal for browser tabs. I’ve lately found it challenging to reach the goal numbers. (The goals are: four tabs on my computer, two tabs on my iPad and two tabs on my phone.) What, you don’t have goals like this?

The phone has reached two tabs. I’m down to just five tabs on my iPad. I was able to wipe a few off my computer, but there are still 10 open tabs to deal with. But I’m making progress. Time of my life.

Jul 17

She is the original multitasker

What does this image have to do with anything? I’m so glad you asked, because there is an answer and you will find that answer, and be intrigued by the premise behind it, just below this now ancient comic strip cell:

I’m returning to the dabbles of a long-ignored section of the site, Aubra’s Books. It started with a Bible, and then five other books. And now I have all of my grandfather’s textbooks and magazines and things. So I have a few boxes of great mid-20th century illustrations and advertisements to check out. Some of them I’ll scan and upload, of course. Today I’m sharing a few pages out of a couple of notebooks. And you can find them, including that comic, here. I also have a few images from an old English and science text here.

I haven’t touched this section of the site in years, so now I’m wondering if I should redesign the site. I had to re-work a few things tonight, so I hope not. But, style being such as it is …

To distract us from that, there’s this. On campus right now there is a group called the Mandela Fellows. They are 25 of Africa’s young leaders from about 20 countries, taking on a six-week academic and leadership program. I’d met a few of them last week.

Today, however, I had the chance to sit down with four ladies who are taking part in the fellowship. They are recording a few podcast-ish shows about their experiences and today I did a little board op work for them.

It’s an easy thing, it involves two buttons and a few mixers on a board. You could do it blindfolded, and they made it easy. But the ease of it let me hear some of their stories, and listen to them talk about their work back home, which they are all very passionate about. There’s a dean and a journalist and some activists that you might say are similar to our social workers.

To hear them talk about their work, and what they see here, and what they want for their communities, is moving. I hope they’ll show me where they post the conversation, so I can share it with you here.

Tonight, dinner with an old friend from out of town. He has some family here and he makes a visit every summer and his aunt and uncle are nice enough to share him with us for a few hours. It wasn’t nearly enough time to catch up completely, but plenty of time to consider our next two or three meetings.

Between one of those, and a bicycling trip we recently dreamed up, our next two vacations may be spoken for.

Feb 17

I’m editing, this will be brief

I started a new memoir today. It isn’t really a memoir, or an autobiography. The blurbs may be right, it is a first-person account. But pretty quickly, this one suggested it would stand apart:

That’s Robert Leckie in his first book, Helmet For My Pillow. I generally find memoirs interesting, though often the writing isn’t of a high quality. Leckie is writing about his time in the Pacific in World War II — so far he’s just made it out of boot camp — but he’s not just a Marine, he started out as a sports writer and became a reporter, a family man and the author of more than 20 books. The guy has chops.

Makes me wonder why I waited this long to read it. As a Marine of the First Division he fought in two of the bloodiest island campaigns of the war, and he kept those stories alive here. This book, his first, was published in 1957 and again in 2010. If you remember the HBO miniseries, The Pacific, you met Leckie. This was one of the pieces of source material for the production. Leckie died in 2001.

Here’s the news show the students shot last night:

And here’s the entertainment show, where you can learn all about what to wear in this season’s fashions and various other goings on:

I liked the sunglasses myself.

A talk show tonight, and then a late night dinner and early to rise to do it all again tomorrow!