Nov 20

A marker, notes to myself, and a video

Do you know what this building is? It is quite important around here. And there might be just enough context clues to make a good guess. But do you know?

Integrating basketball

If you click on the image you will get your answer. It’s a part of our long-overdue and oft-forgotten historic marker section of the site. (Click here and you can see them all.) The goal was to ride my bicycle around to see all of the historic markers in the county where I live, take pictures of them and the locale or place being featured and share them on the site. Because the people demand weird combinations of what interest you! And, further, the people also insist you forget about the project for several years at a time, having assumed you’d just uploaded them all.

And, well, I did all of that. I rode my bike around, took the pictures, started uploading them, and then assumed I’d done it all and forget about the thing entirely. Two weeks ago I was deleting stuff off my phone — or as I like to think of it, a device that’s always telling me it’s memory is completely full — and I found some of those marker pictures. I cross referenced the site and felt immediately chagrined for the two or three people who have clicked through or stumbled in some how.

There were, I noted when I began my comparison, four historic markers and sites that had not included on the site. So I have a month of Thursday content! And in looking at all of this I was able to delete a few subdirectories of old marker photos from my laptop — or as I like to think of it, still another device that’s telling me it’s memory is full.

There is also at least one new marker. It is a replacement for one that wasn’t on display the last time I rode around looking for these. And there are, the state’s official list tells me, one other recent addition I need to cover and, hopefully, not forget entirely.

Anyway, that building above is the locale and structure featured in the second week of far-too-late updates. And, for the locals, it’s an important spot for a few other reasons, as well.

Two more markers are in the hopper and those other two new ones will wind up here eventually, as well.

After that I’ll have to start riding into neighboring counties or move entirely.

Let’s see, this county is surrounded, contiguously, by six other counties. And in those …

Brown County, three markers, 50 miles
Lawrence County, four markers, 55 miles
Greene County, two markers, 75 miles
Morgan County, five markers, 98 miles
Owen County, three markers, 100 miles
Jackson County, seven markers, 120 miles

These are doable, some of them easily so. Another thing added to the to do list.

And if you aren’t here for that, maybe you’re here for this. It’s the late night show the students produce. The monologue is about making the jump from the kiddie’s table at Thanksgiving.

Sebastian has a point.

I like to tell the students that a lot of these experiences they are building will one day become anecdotes in job interviews one day. Tell me about a time when something broke under deadline. What’s one example of how you handle conflict in a working group, and so on. No one thought “One year I had to write/deliver/shoot/direct monologues in a mask” was going to come up.

In the other studio the sports crew did two shows tonight. And tomorrow I’ll have an interview and then more TV studio time to round out the morning. Thursday nights mean a quick turnaround, so, we’ll see you for tomorrow’s after action report.

Oct 20

Here’s something I’d completely forgotten

I am judging high school and junior high news programs this week. There are some really talented young people out there. But we could always say that. Golly gee, kids these days!

Also, I have about 60 of these to work through, so I could say the same thing for the next few days.

Other kids these days:

After work I stopped in at the library to pick up a book I had on hold. It’s just two blocks from the office. I walked in, strolled through the alphabetized hold shelves until I found the S area, considering the sign that said “Respect other users privacy, no browsing” until I found my name. And, being careful to not notice anyone else’s titles, I picked up my hardcover book. Oh, the joys of reading fiction. I don’t a lot, but I will over the next few days. Well, once I’m satisfied there are no cooties on the dust jacket.

There’s a self checkout. You scan your library card and input your password on the touchscreen three times. Because the first time you mess it up so convincingly you wonder if your password is, in fact, something else. Once you get that right, you just hold the book under the scanner. There’s no barcode, it just knows what book you have based on some RFID tag or a near field communication trick.

So now I’m done. Two minutes, maybe three. I did nod to someone, but didn’t have to speak to a soul. I left via the nearest door. I was on a different floor from the one where I entered. I knew that, because there was a stairwell at the beginning of this adventure. I exited on a different side of the building than where I entered. Spatially, I was aware that I would be facing a different direction from where I went in, because I’d traversed most of the place and turned left to leave. So walked around the building was no surprise, but I was, of course, still on the ground, even after that long staircase when I entered. That amused me.

Architects must delight in confusing people who aren’t paying perfect attention.

Got home, cleaned off the day, and had a nice long chat with my mom. She’s fine. Everyone’s fine. (If the extended family would take this more seriously, that would be better, but I can’t convince people of the obvious.)

We’re talking about how we can do Christmas, because Thanksgiving is basically off. Maybe we’ll Zoom over turkey leftovers. We’re going to concentrate on the small joys. Visiting is a gift, and everyone is fine and healthy.

So much Covid data to report on our campus. The weekly numbers came out today, and they ticked up ever so slightly, but they remain impressively low, especially considering the county, and particularly in comparison to the state, which is surging ahead with no headlights, brakes or seatbelts.

Also, you’ll learn in the A-block there about how IU’s testing labs are now open. They’re going to be doing something like 8,500 tests a week here now. It’s an extensive, impressive undertaking. The university has really pulled out all of the stops to look after its campus communities and help the cities they all live in. Remember, this is 100,000 students in nine campuses across the state. And while, ultimately, this is not the fall or spring semester any student — or anyone else wanted — the lengths the university is going to during a pandemic are commendable.

They did a costume feature on the pop culture show and I can’t get over how awesome minimalist M&Ms are.

If you didn’t watch that, you should. They did blindfolds and had to guess what their reporters were dressed up as. So now you’ve got gloved, masked, blindfolded hosts. It was pretty silly.

Do you ever do that thing where you start a project on your website and work on it for a while and collect all the parts the project will need and continue to work on it and then think you’re finished with it? And then come back three years later and realize you weren’t finished?

Oh, that’s just me, huh?

Well OK, then.

Guess why this building is important:

It is important because it means we must return to the historic markers section of the site. This is where I where my bicycle all over the county to find the historic signs and take pictures of them, and the place they’re highlighting. I did this one years ago, but realized only this evening, while I was cleaning some old photos from my phone, that I’d never published them.

So go check out The Gables, which is a building that now holds a restaurant, and has some important local history in it. Also, the guy that owns it is a joy, and his food is pretty good, too. It’s just up the street from my office.

Hoagy Carmichael, who is the focus of this particular historic marker, has a statue on campus, and if I had a statue project on the site it would be one of the feature attractions, because it’s an amazing statue.

And the really good news is that we can get four or five more days worth of content out of old pictures and places I’d already thought I’d addressed! So look for another historic marker update next week.

More tomorrow. Until then, did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? Phoebe and Poe have an Instagram account. And don’t forget my Instagram. Also, keep up with me on Twitter.

Aug 17

Hurry up, cookie

With this evening’s dinner came this good news:


The obvious reply is … Well?

And the obvious retort is “You got lucky numbers on the next line, pal. This is an American thing, not some ancient mystic wisdom. This is from a factory in Manitowoc, Wisconsin or some place and not from a specifically catered-to-you diving insight. We use a javascript the boss’s nephew wrote to randomize these notes, after all.”

Which is funny in its own way. The last time we ordered Chinese we got four cookies. Two cookies each! My fortunes were identical. So someone in Manitowoc needs to step it up.

In our undying effort to set the record straight, Wikipedia will now tell us where fortune cookies are made:

The largest manufacturer of the cookies is Wonton Food Inc., headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. They make over 4.5 million fortune cookies per day. Another large manufacturer are Baily International in the Midwest and Peking Noodle in the Los Angeles area. There are other smaller, local manufacturers including Tsue Chong Co. in Seattle, Keefer Court Food in Minneapolis and Sunrise Fortune Cookie in Philadelphia. Many smaller companies will also sell custom fortunes.

So be on the lookout the next time you get a fortune cookie. Then maybe you start a spreadsheet and see whose cookies have the highest rate of prophetic accuracy.

Here’s a fine looking building:

Monroe County Courthouse

Find out more about it on the historic markers site. There are more interesting and important local places you can see right here.

And I think you should read this on Twitter:

It’s nice to see the public-facing Bill Murray have such a nice year. Seems the least the universe can do.

I hope he didn’t steal my luck, though. The fortune cookie came to me, after all.

Aug 17

There’s a lot of odd stuff in this post, so, the usual

Do you know the significance of this building? It has some important history.

You’ll learn about this building on the most recent addition to the historic markers site. If you just can’t get enough of the historical markers you can see them all right here.

Today I helped put stickers on cameras for a few minutes. All of that Sunday school training paid off. Except for on the few stickers that were a millimeter or two off-center here or there. (But don’t tell.) Four stickers per camera. One on the body, one on the lens, another on the power adaptor — it does a slow focus pull in video mode — and another on the external microphone.

This is the funniest cruel thing — is it the funniest, cruel thing or the cruelest, funny thing? — that I’ll watch. The premise is the expert explains the topic over hot peppers. Some people get through it just fine, this lady tells an interesting story and she’s really hurting. And I’m sympathetic to her plight. But I learned some neat things:

We watched this last night. Just an incredible hour of television, which took place in 2005 and I just discovered. It is amazing, in a way, that this made it to network television. And it was the fourth highest rated episode of the last season of West Wing. And of course, this would never happen in real life, ever. But it is a fun watch:

The West Wing S 7 Ep 07 – The Debate

Or maybe you just have to be a certain kind of viewer to appreciate that. But I enjoyed that, didn’t want it to end. I dreaded it ending, and how often do you say that about a single episode of television? I realized why Alan Alda is there and put away, for an hour, my Unifying Theory of Alda, because this was more important, than that. Which is saying something for a fictitious debate in a non-existent presidential campaign in a world that we don’t live in — with issues similar to ours.

But, then, I spent a lot of my master’s degree working on debates and writing and researching campaign material, so maybe you have to be an especially specific kind of viewer. I’m going to have to stop it during the opening credits right now, or I’ll end up watching the thing again …

Jul 17

I’ll soon tackle the office closet, requiring signal flares

I installed two more shelves on an office wall today. If you enjoyed yesterday’s explanation of the process you can just imagine this twice this evening. Though, this time there were four nails and only four nail holes. Also, I developed something better than the traditional tape system to mark my spots. Then I did math four times, measured twice and drove a nail.

But the first nail is never the problem, is it? When you’re hanging something that has more than one holder it is always the math related to that second nail which is a bit more tricky. The first nail will live wherever you put it and, at worst, you just have a quirky sense of style. That second one though bears a direct relationship to the first. And at that point all of your hardware better come from Mars. Or Venus. Either one, so long as they are from the same one.

The nails have to be relative, is what I’m saying. Maybe they have to be related. No, that’d be weird. Why would the second nail stick around for that? Morbid curiosity? “What just happened to my brother? Oh well, I guess I’ll just sit around and seeeeeee — ” and then suddenly that nail is driven into the wall, too.

At any rate, a slow rate really, my home office is coming along. There are only two walls that aren’t spoken for. One is dominated by a rather large bookshelf. The other features a closet door and some curiously placed electrical plate covers. It is a small room, but it has two cable outlets, and they are about four feet apart and that is in vertical distance. This was done, I can only assume, at the beginning of the wall-mounted television craze. My solution has been to cover this space with wall art.

Now, would you like to hear about the procedure I used to chop vegetables for dinner tonight?

Back to the historical markers. We just returned to this section of the site last week and I’m now showing off some of the historic sites in this new county. The original premise is still the rule. I’m riding my bike to all of the historical markers in the county. To find out all about this building right here:

You can see the complete list, here. There will be more as the weeks progressed.

Elsewhere, check me out on Twitter and over on Instagram, too.