Oct 10

Just pictures today

I worked. I read papers for an upcoming conference. I visited the grocery store. I did laundry. I did work. And none of those things seem especially interesting — I discovered a new flavor of Triscuit! None of those things seem especially worth sharing — I found a typo in an abstract! Everything else seems even more prosaic than usual — the weather has turned mild!

Instead of all that, how about some birds?

That isn’t a Yellowlegs, they aren’t purely white as far as I know, but I don’t know what you call this guy. Let’s say he’s a shore bird, for that’s where I found him: sitting on big rocks, a bit upset that I disturbed him.

Behold the mighty pelican.

And, now, the mighty pelican gets dinner:

Even the history segment is brief today. You know the 1939 World’s Fair section will return tomorrow, but did you know I know someone that attended? Henry did. When I picked up that fair guide in Georgia this summer I thought of him.

I gave that book to him this weekend.

You can hear his reaction on the front page of the fair section, too. Also updated links elsewhere on the site. I’ll spare you the 600 word treatise on that particular chore, too.

You’re welcome.

Tomorrow: class, the paper, the World’s Fair and a bunch more.

Aug 10


We're feeding everybody

The squirrels found our food. This bothers most people, but I like squirrels. How could you resist a face like this?

Who me?

The car got it’s mechanical attention today. Added two new tires — for a total of six! — and then the tire guy suggested that this configuration wasn’t in keeping with state highway policies.

Otherwise the day was a traffic mess. The less remembered the better.

We managed to pick up a new grill, though. We’d considered the basic model, but I found one that was a griller and smoker for only a few bucks more. So we went across town, in the day of frustrating traffic, picked up the grill and a new cover. Brought it home, wiped it down, fired it up and made delicious steaks.

The Yankee made okra. And, in her first time out, did a great job with it. I’ll have leftovers for tomorrow.

Aug 10

Part of a day in pictures

Pretty bird

The cardinals in our neighborhood are very shy. I’ve been patiently chasing them, and finally got a picture or two of the male. We played this circling, chase game around the trees in the backyard. After a bit I changed the rules and went under the tree. He didn’t expect that.

Pretty bird

Tried to get some work done on the car today, but the shop I visited had a slight problem with a key machine this morning. The guy said the repair man was coming at noon. I left my number and asked him to call me when the machine was fixed so that he may hoist my car onto it.

Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from amusement parks and forgotten to extrapolate to the rest of our lives, you’d rather not be the first person up on the freshly repaired equipment.

So I went to a giant antique store. I’m saving that story for the weekend. I walked the whole place, no phone call. After an amount of time that is surely beyond what it should take to fix one machine, the mechanics of which I know nothing about, I returned to the shop. The repair guy hadn’t yet showed up. So I called it an afternoon.

Time and temp

That was the temperature when we went out for dinner. In other news, this is August, but still. We had dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger, which is a place that The Yankee and I have never enjoyed together. There were two in Birmingham, for a time, but we have no memory of a mutual visit. So this is a new experience. This is also new:


Cheeburger has always displayed the Polaroids of the hungry people who’ve eaten their one-pound burger (I’ve never tried). Previously the pictures covered the walls like a wallpaper, which was an interesting expression of growth, much like a celluloid bacteria. Haven’t visited in a while? Oh the pictures have expanded around the corner and down the baseboard. That sort of thing.

The last time I was here they were moving up to the ceiling. The surrounded-by-people-promoting-their-new-metabolic-problem atmosphere was a terrific exhibition. You couldn’t help but staring at the faces and the little notes people left behind. I understand why they went to the stacks, for space concerns, but this new display method ruins the point. You don’t want to look through pictures in stacks like that. It would feel like too much work, or feel too intrusive. So you just see the stacks on the wall and go about your meal.

I wonder when they finally make the decision to throw away some of the old pictures. Maybe they have a little ceremony.

We drove around until we found a field on a quiet country road where we could see the night’s festivities. I always oversell the Perseids in my mind. One of the astronomers on the Samford faculty sent us a note where he mentioned that some experts were expecting up to 100 visible meteorites per hour if you got in a good spot. I’ve learned to temper my expectations — I want 100 a minute, like some sort of movie theater intro film — but still haven’t learned to forget taking pictures of the event. This is the one I got.


The background are actually stars I shot tonight. I caught no Perseid meteorites on my camera (The Yankee got TWO!) but we saw several and had a great time, sitting in the dark and quiet and heat of the evening. My best picture of the night:

A plane

The plane! The plane!@

Aug 10

Dead, live and published

Spent the late part of last night and several hours of the early morning sorting through the detritus of 15 years of bank statements and bills. I started this project before the move and left myself one giant box to work through. It took about four hours, just opening envelopes and sorting the material inside. I shredded it this afternoon.

And then, after about two hours of shredding, the machine just died in protest.

Not that I blame it. I question the timing — blowing up as the project rounded third base — but I understand.

The cardinal is around a lot, but shy.

I'm hiding

Not that I blame him. He’s being hunted. Allie is strictly an indoor animal, and the hunting instinct has been ground absolutely out of her. She loves to watch the birds and squirrels play. She makes this adorable little “meep” sound, but we’ve read that this is actually a sign of frustration. Not that any of this matters. She’d have no idea what to do with a bird or a squirrel if she caught it.

I'm seeking

One day a blue jay will come along and harass Allie at her window. I can’t wait.

The Yankee passed along the good news that a book chapter we wrote a while back has been published. We’re in Handbook of Research on Digital Media and Advertising: User Generated Content Consumption. The last time I read the chapter I was pleased. There are one or two small things that I could see improving considering the intended audience, but on balance I read the thing thinking We wrote this?

So, if you need a nifty academic tome and want to drop $265 on it or, incredibly, a full 33 percent more for the E-book. (I don’t set the prices or get a cut of the profit; I am just thrilled to write when asked.)

Aug 10

Meet the new neighbors

We’re beginning to have regular visitors at the bird feeders. Here are two of them:

Pretty bird

Pretty bird

It’s hardly nature photography — sitting in the shade on my porch, trying to be very still, waiting for the birds — but I figure if we’re going to ask the birds to come visit the least they can do is pose for a picture.

We’ll soon be doing this to our human friends, as well. Just be prepared.

For a quality reference on the local birds, including pictures, maps, descriptions and CD calls, check out the Birds of Alabama Field Guide. As soon as I buy mine I’ll know what I’m looking at. Until then, I’m woefully deficient in bird identification.