Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida Weekend IV

Cochina stone near Matanzas inlet.

Gaillardia growing in the dunes.

I really like the skylights at the Orlando Airport. They do a nice job of bringing the Florida sunshine in to a climate controlled space.

I took this 4-part weekend series with Christine's Olympus 790 point and shoot camera. It is tiny and takes pretty impressive pictures.
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Ode to the walker
by Christine O'Brien

When I first saw you I didn’t know what to do, you were so shiny and new

At first I just chewed the toys and didn’t make much noise.

But all of that came to an end when I found my speed and sped from end to end.

Nothing could stop me as I sped through the house with a smile on my face, not even when the wheels became frozen in place.

As I zoomed across the floors I noticed mommy tied on a swiffer to help with the chores.

One day while speeding past tables and chairs I found myself at the top of the stairs.

Down down down I went, please remind me to never repeat this descent.

Everything was all right, but I gave daddy and mommy a big fright.

Now I look at you all tattered and torn, thank goodness I was first born.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grammy and Grandpa wish Seamus a Happy Birthday

Grammy and Grandpa O'Brien will be traveling to Nepal soon and so won't be at Seamus' birthday. They wanted to send him a Happy Birthday from the beach and tell him they will be in the neighborhood for the month of April.

Florida Weekend III

Turtle and bark from a live oak tree at Washington Oaks Garden south of Matanzas Inlet.
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Florida Weekend II

Much of the ocean front residential road washed out near Marineland, Fl. Leaving some interesting relics.

Some of the largest live oaks in Northeast Florida are at Washinton Oaks Garden. Their long horizontal branching habitat makes for incredible epiphyte habitat.

What would a trip to Florida be without a gratuitous banana flower picture?

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Florida Weekend I

Even if you are 'local traffic' the traveling is very sketchy after the recent few years of hurricanes.

Interesting architectural style. This home was abandoned, no longer has road access, but someone has strategically placed a sofa to enjoy the ocean front view.

Some shots from the beaches around Matanzas Inlet and Marineland, FL.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In a dark room with Jeff Corwin...

Jeff Corwin was the Keynote speaker at the Educational Technology conference I am attending. I must admit, that even without animals, he was an intriguing speaker. The guy really has an interesting job. I was most impressed with his ability to intelligently discuss conservation issues in a manner that indicated how critical the situation is without sounding radical or alarmist. I left feeling I should try to do a little more in this arena.

Another thing I have learned over and over is that there are many teachers that love teaching to the point that they have alternate careers to finance their teaching dreams. I met an English teacher in the public school system from LA who writes scene transitions for the theater, movies, etc. He is currently getting lots of work since has been non union for a few years. I didn't even realize there was writing work that was that specific.

I met another lady who teaches elementary school, but develops learning software on the side. We should give talented men and women like these raises so they can focus on education full time. We would all be better off.

The only negative so far is the the number of exhibitors that are exclusively demonstrating software products that help kids meet expectations on standardized tests. Most of you with kids know this, but the testing has gotten out of control. In my humble opinion schools with low test scores need management intervention that involves a bigger budget not a smaller one.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Efficiency at the expense of customization...

I take maybe 3 or 4 substantial trips a year. For me, substantial means 3-4 days away from home involving flights and/or rental cars. Since I am an educator, we usually wind up making our own arrangements.

I made my usual reservations this time which included reserving seats. I got an e-mail a few days ago that my flights had changed. No biggie, it only translated into leaving about 10 minutes earlier.

Both flights were completely full, which means they probably consolidated. I actually applaud this effort and think it makes good business sense. However, in the process I was told they were unable to honor my seat reservations. On my second flight I was relegated to seat 49C even though I purchased this particular flight over 3 months ago. My question is...what is the process for deciding who gets what seats. We were talking a giant flight here with tons of seats...why did I wind up in the absolute last row in the center aisle? Random draw, punishment for flying coach, flying alone... hmmmmmm

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Useful information...

I tend to Lollygag around the Internet, but I am always impressed and amazed at the useful information out there. I am traveling to Orlando to a conference. I wanted to edit some videos of a pine nursery that we are using for course development. Those of you who work with video know that these aren't small.

I have a little USB external hard drive (40 GB) that is useful for moving files between my desktop and laptop. However, I never tried moving video files. I attempt to move a 4.7 GB 24 minute video clip over and I get a message box "File too large for destination folder system." I do a little search on the internet and several folks recommend typing (drive letter): /fs:ntfs /nosecurity in a command prompt for a painless quick fix.

I type in the magic string and it works. The file limit of 4GB on the FAT32 drive is no longer an issue on my newly reformatted NTFS drive. Even a Horticulture dude can solve problems with the help of the great number of helpful IT bloggers out there.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Botany...

Another snow day here today. So I pulled some misc. pictures from the camera to remind me of sunnier days. This orchid is called 'Howard's Dream'.

I did a video shoot at a NC Forest Service Nursery in Linville. We were in a little valley. Every inch of the pines were covered with lichen.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I couldn't help myself....

A Chicken, Goat, and Two Birthday Parties

Seamus had a big day today. He first attended his first Birthday Party. His friend Clifton turned one. He wasn't a huge fan of the hat, but he tolerated it long enough for the Happy Birthday Song.

His next birthday party was his friend John-Mark who turned 30 today. John and his wife have miniature goats, chickens, sheep, peacocks, rabbits etc. Basically heaven for little kids.

Of course even with all these animals his absolute favorite was their new puppy. The boy loves dogs. He also got to see fireworks and a huge bonfire. Needless to say... going to sleep tonight was no problem.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm a lucky guy...

Now I am not the seasoned road warrior that Bullbunky is, but I have to travel for work occasionally. Today, when I checked into the Hampton Inn in Wilkesboro, NC I was informed I was the Guest of the Day.

This included a Reese's cup, a labeled parking spot by the front door, and a 10% coupon to a local restaurant. Now the parking spot was something...too bad someone parked their big SUV in it. It was pouring rain. Well, peanut butter and chocolate is always a good combination.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Reflections on 2007

Milestones for Seamus in 2007:
  1. Born
  2. Began sleeping through the night at 2-months (yahoo !!)
  3. Discovered own hair
  4. Ate solid food
  5. Understands red, blue, yellow and possibly orange
  6. Knows dogs and differentiates between Tucker and Bear
  7. Learned how to properly pet dogs
  8. Can locate pictures of a caterpillar or an owl
  9. Developed an affinity for animal puppets
  10. Can say 'mamma', 'da da', and 'nanna'
  11. Discovered love for cantaloupe
  12. Got first tooth, now has seven teeth
  13. Eats almost anything (Note: different textures must be kept separate :-)
  14. Learned to crawl
  15. Took first steps
Most of this is pretty standard stuff for an 11-month-old, but the achievement I am most proud of is that a couple of months ago he learned to pee on command.