Jul 21

Highlighting research

We haven’t done this in a while. Let’s look at some of the things I’ve posted on the ICR Twitter account. The point here is to highlight some of the really cool research coming out of The Media School and, specifically, the Institute for Communication Research.

These studies are all published or appearing at conferences and so on. All of the work is quite brilliant and there’s a little something here for everyone. But check all of these out.

If you play them simultaneously you’ll get an incredible symphony. Give that a try, too.

Jul 21

More phone photos to round out the week

A few raindrops on a maple leaf. I always joke — it’s more of a complaint than anything, you’ll see — that maples are nature’s first quitters. But the end of June is pushing it, even for leaves that just can’t go on anymore.

Probably it was the wind or the cicadas, which are all but gone now, but even still, that’s a disheartening sight to see before the neighborhood kids have narrowly avoided explosive amputation of their fingers on the Fourth.

I went for a run this evening and it was bad. Just my foot, calves, back And shoulder troubled me over two-and-a-half miles. Why do you ask?

When my back tightened up I decided to just lay down in the grass for a minute. It was a good idea, and it helped! The only problem was, where I was, in an empty little lot across from a park, there was no reason for passing motorists to see a guy laying in the grass.

So when a car came by I stuck my phone up in the air and took pictures. A signal, everything is fine and this is only slightly weird.

I had to take more than one picture like that before I could my back to cooperate, is my point. But, hey, that happens. The next outing will be better, because that happens too!

Just you wait and see.

Jun 21

Catching up, last Monday

Just like the last few days, I’m writing this in arrears. We ratcheted down our screen time over the weekend and the first part of the week while taking a brief trip. We saw a lot of lovely things and I wanted to share them here. So we’re catching up. So, yes, this is published for Friday, June 25, the day we returned. But this particular post covers Monday, June 21th.

Do you remember where you were on Monday? I do. Here’s (a lot of) visual proof.

This is Bell’s Overlook in Cape Disappointment State Park. Not so much a trail as a short walk that features the flora of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, a bit of local coastal history and these terrific views.

This is in a different part of the same park. We’re near the place where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean meet. In fact, you can almost just make out the river in the background in the first shot.

The confluence of the river and ocean make the waters here quite dangerous. So, though it looks calm here, no swimming, if you please. (Also, the water is quite cold.)

You’ll also see the North Head Lighthouse, which began operations in May of 1898. There’s another lighthouse nearby, which we couldn’t get to it, unfortunately. They are apparently the closest two light houses on the Pacific Coast, but even still the waters was nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Pacific.”

There was a print in the place where we stayed that marked the high profile shipwrecks. At least it wasn’t cheerful.

The North Head Lighthouse still works as an automated beacon. If you could go in the place — it’s a small, simply place, but closed to tours because of Covid — you could enjoy commanding views of the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach Peninsula, Columbia River Bar, and the northern Oregon Coast.

We went down to the beach.

And then retired to our own beach (doesn’t that sound awesome?) to watch the sunset.

When you watch the sun slip beneath the Pacific Ocean on the day before you have to return to … wherever you came from … you find yourself ready to stay right there, or go somewhere else.

Sadly we didn’t go to another getaway place after this one. We did enjoy another day in Long Beach, Washington, and I can milk a few days worth of posts out of those photographs, I’m sure. So we have that to look forward to next week!

Jun 21

Travel day

Saw the first headline about the upcoming fireworks shortage. (We’ve got two weeks to set off a series of stories and scavenger hunts.) But if you can’t find some, come on over. Most assuredly our neighbor bought them all.

We sat in the backyard last year and watched, which was much better than having to find the perfect spot and a parking spot, besides.

He had four false finales last year.

(Update: A week later, at the grocery store, I noted they’re selling sparklers on the end caps nearest cashiers. I think we’ll be fine.)

Anyway, we’re on the road. The Yankee has booked us a trip to I-know-not-where. It’s a long weekend, anniversary getaway. She booked it and said something about it being a surprise and we decided to play that out, just to see how it went. She told me what days to take off from work, what to pack and all of that.

I knew we were going to the airport, and the weather, milder than we’ve been experiencing, was the only clue I had. So I figured Pacific Northwest or Maine.

Turns out that Maine was a possibility, but we went another direction. We made it to the pay-to-park lot, to the airport, through security and down to the terminal and I still knew nothing. Out of habit I looked up at the sign at the gate and saw our connection was in Detroit.

I know it’s not Canada, because she didn’t tell me to get my passport. She could have just grabbed my passport. But also, there are still those border-crossing issues related to the coronavirus.

This is, by the way, our first flight since who knows when. Masks are still required in airports and airplanes, but don’t count the number of noses you see, it’s demoralizing. We were doing an over/under and realized, within 10 minutes or so, that we set the number far, far, faaaaar too low. At one point in Detroit I started wondering aloud, for the benefit of the ill-fitting mask wearers around me, how it was that people managed to put their pants on.

It’s really not that much different, I said, a bit of fabric worn over parts of the body that society has deemed, ya know, necessary.

No one answered me. No one ever answers those.

Aside from a few car-borne family visits this is also one of the very first times we’ve been anywhere that wasn’t at least somewhat necessary. And we have lived and worked in something of a bubble. Be it by institutional mandate or county orders or people’s concern, people we’ve encountered have generally taken great care to take great care. Today’s trips through the airports, then, have been an eye-opening “how the other half live” experience.

Anyway, in Detroit I carefully avoided the sign at the gate. No idea where we were headed next. We got on the plane and the flight attendant did the old welcome aboard speech — still the same spiel, even after that long layoff — and before my lovely bride could distract me (She went with a very loud “SHHHSHHHSHHSHHH!!!!”) I heard the guy say we were heading to Seattle.

Which, really, at some point you have to find out. And while I didn’t want to set my expectations for one place or another, the heat index in Indiana was 105 degrees today. We’ve gone the right direction, is what I’m saying.

Even still, that’s not the actual destination. We were to take a shuttle to an airport hotel tonight. It never showed up, so we hailed an Uber. Tomorrow we’ll rent a car and drive a few hours away. The mystery persists.

Jun 21

Highlighting Friday things

There is a new look to the front of this website. The photo below will give you a clue. And if you click that image, you can go the front page and see the new art for yourself.

Speaking of the site, I tallied the stats earlier this week and noted that kennysmith dot org recently surpassed four million views. I’d like to thank you for your continued support. And the bots for continually crawling the site. They count, too.

It’s Friday, let’s show off some other people. This is some of the work stuff that I did this week. Enjoy.

And since we’re promoting things around here …

So go visit them. And be sure to come back on Monday. We’ll have updates on the weekend, and the cats!