site


18
Jul 17

This is about speed, and also the lack of that

Who is this man, and why does he look carefully calibrated to be satisfied, but not so much that you’d think him smug?

The answer will be found in a 75 year old book. And also in the book section of the site, where we formally meet the man, the myth, the legend. You can see more of that particular book here. Then, please do look at some of the other books I’ve highlighted.

Speed typing champion. Who knew there was such a thing? He’s doing that on a manual typewriter, of course, and that’s very fast. On my computer, just now, I took a typing test and hit 96 words per minute. That’s faster than the average typist, the site assured me, but still rather pedestrian compared to Mr. Hossfield. And I imagine any given modern computer can have its keyboard operated faster than a classic typewriter.

Sometimes his name is spelled Hossfeld. Whichever way he spelled his family name, I like to think the typo really annoyed him.

This evening I hung a shelf. This involved a hammer, a few nails and a few more holes. Also, there was one exasperated sigh. But I put a shelf up. Now, this part isn’t the amazing part. I am no expert, but I can claim a fair mastery of the common hammer and both of its two main uses. What’s most interesting about this is that I just eyeballed it. There are empty walls and stacks of things to hang because this is a process that takes time.

Too much time, truth be told. There must be ideas, considered, forgotten, reapplied and philosophized about. Sometimes, if the first 14 stages of the process are successful, the frame sits at the base of the wall for a time, for further in-depth consideration.

Then, and only then, if you find the right item for the right patch of wall, you have to measure everything. There’s the distance from the left corner — this one most come first for some reason I don’t understand — and then from the right side. Equidistance must be preserved, or if further displays are warranted, steps must be taken to allow for an appropriate spatial relationship of multiple framed works. Then you have to figure out the height. Of course we’re not going to solve the timeless dilemma of what is truly eye level, but that’s running through your mind when you hang things. Also, does this thing need to be mounted in a stud? And is this nail the right weight?

Hanging thigs is a process, is what I’m saying.

Tonight, I just said Looks about right, and started driving nails. It was a powerful and carefree feeling. Not so much a smugness, but a satisfaction.

And then I looked beyond the window, to the other side of the room. The same wall. The asymmetrical, blank wall.

This is going to take a while.


12
Jul 17

Today we went global

I sat in a chair for about an hour and moved three faders up and down at the appropriate time and listened to three ladies talk about their time in town, in the state, in the country. It was a multinational show, you see. The ladies are from Zimbabwe, Mali and Mozambique. They are here, 25 in all, from 20 African nations, young leaders in a six-week academic and leadership institute called the Mandela Washington Fellowship. It is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative.

They did two shows today and we recorded one last week. They are really passionate, thoughtful people. I’m just moving faders and listening closely. They have a lot to say. I have a lot to learn.

Here they are now, in the production booth:

The composition was a deliberate choice. I didn’t say anything, it seemed right.

I think we’re in week three of their visit. I hope I get to see them a few more times while they are in town.

Meanwhile, on the site we are returning to a dormant section of the site. We’re back to checking out historical markers. I haven’t uploaded anything there in a little over year. The original premise of that subsection of the site was, and remains, that I would ride my bike to all of the historical markers in the county. Now, of course, I have an entire new county to explore. So here we are. You can find out all about why this building is important right here:

To see the complete list, go here. There will be more as the weeks progressed. Watch, as they say, this space.

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


11
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.


5
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.


5
Jun 17

Back in the U.S.A.

We arrived safely and on time and only inconvenienced by the inconveniences of the modern convenience of air travel.

Which is, at times, inconvenient.

But we were well-fed. Customs was a chore, even in the fast lines. And, like all things in New York, the moment you stepped onto the curb you knew exactly where you were and why you didn’t want to be there.

We made it back to the in-laws to find that Allie hadn’t missed us at all:

That was Friday. I flew back yesterday. The Yankee dropped me off at the curb:

I made a video of the flight:

And, now I am back in town, back at the office, back to the regular routine, now with jet lag! If history is any guide, I still have another two days until I can walk that off.

The above video makes the 31st video I’ve produced in the last two weeks. Add to that 103 photos that have also been uploaded to the site. And that’s just what I’ve shared here. So, with the trip well-documented, it seems a good time to take a little break on the blog. There’s an anniversary post coming up, of course. And if anything interesting happens in the next few weeks I’ll throw it here as well. But, otherwise, let’s say hiatus until July. In the meantime, follow along on Twitter and Instagram. They never seem to stop.