Sep 20

A collection and an assemblage of bits of things

Hey! Look! I’m on TV!

Nice selfie, huh? I went to the morning show’s shoot this morning, and then got called into a meeting right after taking this picture. By the time the meeting was over, the morning show taping had wrapped. These students are getting pretty proficient at all of this. Even the engineer, who works every day with professionals, complimented them about that. It’s a business that requires quality at speed, and they’re putting them together nicely.

I spent the afternoon in an audio booth, where I’m producing a tutorial. I did not demonstrate speed today, but I have some nice shots for the eventual package.

Got a nice shot of the Canada geese skipping town today, too.

Just go ahead and go. Quitters.

Sports! Here are some videos the sports gang produced last night. There’s footage of an intramural home run derby because, while we don’t yet have formal varsity sports, everyone is pulling together programs as best they can. It’s kind of charming in a way.

And here’s the talk show for the week, where you will get a history lesson, indeed:

Need some financial advice? Here’s a financial Quick Hit:

And that’s enough for today. To the weekend! Be safe, because you must. Be happy, because you can.

Oct 19

This week we show color

I looked outside Saturday and saw many colors. I like the many colors. We do not go into the wilderness and write essays about it. Not like before. Now, we put on our shoes and, this time of year, check the thermostat to see the external temperature so that we can dress accordingly and then grab our phone and go take photographs. So I did:

It wasn’t cold. But that’s coming, and that right quick. Right now, in fact, the color of the Midwest is upon us: grey. That’ll be the default and unassuming look until, oh, April if we’re lucky. Sure, there will be a few blue-sky days, but you can no longer take those for granted. Sunday was a beautiful goodbye. The season of drear, with a dash of Cimmerian, is upon us. But not yesterday. Egads, yesterday was beautiful.

Just look at that sky over the same tree:

We took a bike ride and wound our way down to the lake, to see about the leaves down there. We took a few pictures. And this is now the wallpaper on my phone, because we make photobomb wallpapers around here:

Even the ground had a moment yesterday. I just shot this as I walked by a tree. How many colors are in there?

On the way back to the house, I sought out a road I discovered because of some random overwriting I was doing here on the site last month. Geese were flying overhead and I looked at their basic route and found the nearest pond and saw this road on Google Maps and thought, I should ride that one day.

And maybe I picked the most perfect day of the season to make this come true, I don’t know. I rode down it, a mile of shade and leaves and alternating beams of light and twists and turns and fun. At the end, where pavement turned into what I presume is a long gravel driveway I turned around and thought, I should record this. So I rode back up it, one handed, up the hill, and had a great time. Just here, when the light changed and I happened to be watching the road through the screen, and it lit up in a golden hue while the phone’s sensors tried to catch up to the circumstance. That was the moment, and the ride was worth it and I knew in that explosive refrain that it was, in fact, the day for this road. That moment was this moment:

You can see the whole road, slightly accelerated, here:

And here’s our view of the lake from down by the water’s edge:

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Maybe you'd like a scenic view of the lake …

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So a nice weekend, then.

More on Twitter and check me out on Instagram as well.

Jul 19

Things which grow

Please enjoy photos of these lovely growing things on campus and around town. This first one is growing not too far from my office. It is called the Casa Blanca Lilium, an oriental hybrid lily. The texture on the petals is a beautiful thing. They’re pretty easy to grow and lovely to look at, aren’t they?

How do you feel about the Acer palmatum? Commonly called the Japanese maple or, as I just learned the red emperor maple, they can be shrubs or small trees. I suppose that has to do with its care, being pruned or out in habitat. This one is found in a well-manicured flower garden at a downtown church:

Cultivated for forever in Japan, Korea and China, they started spreading around the world in the 19th century. There are three subspecies and dozens of cultivars. Maples on the seas.

Here’s the Phlox maculata:

It’s a perennial, indigenous to the eastern United States and now also growing in Canada. Or maybe you’re more interested in the bee. That, of course, is your common bumblebee, one of the 250-plus members of the Bombus genus, about four dozen or so are in the U.S. Don’t ask me which one this one is from, we aren’t that close.

He was a pretty fair model, though.

Those aren’t bad, I’d say, for cell phone photos.

May 17

New phone, new video, new adventures

Got a new phone. This is the first video I shot from it, the “river” by our building flooded. We’re told the creek is incased by the local limestone, which does not allow for drainage. And, today, we got a deluge. They recorded 1.67 inches of rain in an hour. And this was the downstream result:

And this is the second video I shot from my phone, this evening, as I journeyed to Connecticut by way of New York:

Tomorrow, we’re off on another grand adventure!

Aug 15

And then you really wonder

Department witticisms:

You wonder if you’re making a difference, and then you see things like that.

Then and now … Aerial images show the slow return of the Lower Ninth Ward:

The following images show the evolution of one block in the Lower Ninth Ward that was situated directly in front of a levee that breached along the Industrial Canal ten years ago.

A decade into the Katrina diaspora:

Some stayed to rebuild their lives. Others chose to move on. Some had to let loved ones go, while others are no longer here themselves. Along the Gulf Coast, the hurricane’s punishing winds pushed people in directions they never imagined. Here is where some of those people stood in the early months after the disaster, and where they stand now.

Clearly it was the fault of the president’s weather machine. Stop Blaming Me for Hurricane Katrina:

I’m often asked, as the person who was running FEMA when Hurricane Katrina hit, why I didn’t evacuate New Orleans. My response is simple—FEMA had no authority to do that under the Constitution, which clearly establishes a system of federalism in which state and local governments are autonomous governmental entities. We call first responders “first” for a reason. When you dial 9-1-1 your call isn’t answered by an operator at 500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C., 20472. Your call is answered by a local government entity that has first and primary responsibility for a disaster.

Could FEMA have ordered the evacuation of New Orleans? Yes, had it waived posse comitatus and invoked the Insurrection Act, which Congress ultimately amended in 2006 to permit deployment of troops in response to natural disasters. That unprecedented action was actually contemplated days after landfall aboard Air Force One—and I advocated for it. After I advised the president to federalize the response, he sat with Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Air Force One and outlined his plan. We immediately started drafting the federalization documents for the president’s signature, but Governor Blanco requested time to think it over and the president acquiesced. While the governor considered her options, the city became more and more dysfunctional. Blanco ultimately rejected the president’s plan, and political considerations eventually pushed the idea aside.

By the time federalization was seriously considered, the biggest mistake had already been made: evacuation began too late. And even if FEMA had been given the power to order citizens out of New Orleans days earlier, it didn’t own the helicopters, military transport planes and amphibious armored personnel carriers necessary to carry out the evacuation of a major American city.

As the storm neared New Orleans, all I could do—and did do even before the federalization debate got underway—was go on television, radio and any media outlet my press team could find—and encourage people to “literally get your butts out of New Orleans before the storm hits.”

Can’t wait for the rebuttal to Michael Brown’s essay.

Got weekend plans? You are not late:

In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014. People in the future will look at their holodecks, and wearable virtual reality contact lenses, and downloadable avatars, and AI interfaces, and say, oh, you didn’t really have the internet (or whatever they’ll call it) back then.

And they’d be right. Because from our perspective now, the greatest online things of the first half of this century are all before us. All these miraculous inventions are waiting for that crazy, no-one-told-me-it-was-impossible visionary to start grabbing the low-hanging fruit — the equivalent of the dot com names of 1984.

Because here is the other thing the greybeards in 2044 will tell you: Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to be an entrepreneur in 2014? It was a wide-open frontier! You could pick almost any category X and add some AI to it, put it on the cloud. Few devices had more than one or two sensors in them, unlike the hundreds now. Expectations and barriers were low. It was easy to be the first. And then they would sigh, “Oh, if only we realized how possible everything was back then!”

So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet.

I got home and plopped down and didn’t want to move. I wanted a nap, but forced myself outside.

This was the better choice.

It was just a 15 mile ride, but it was better than a nap.