Thursday, May 29, 2008

new computer!

Hey, I almost forgot: I got a new computer at work. It's beautiful and I'm in love with it. One day before going to CALC was probably not the best time to have it installed, but I lived through not having a computer for most of a day, and I still got my notes together in time.

new mac
shiny new Mac

It's been a while since I had a Mac; I switched to Windows when I bought a laptop when I started library school back in 2002. The OS switch was motivated partially by the iSchool's recommended specs and mostly by sheer cheapness. The O.G. lime iMac I had then was seeming pretty slow by then, but I did write many papers on it, which are lovingly archived on the once-amazing technology called a zip disk. Then, all my jobs have had Windows machines and I just kind of stuck with it and now own three machines I wish I could trade in for one MacBook.

Anyway, I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to play with all the software, but I can report that I made a presentation this week and the screen shots and other fussy stuff came together much faster with Grab than Printkey. Sorry, end dorky software talk. But I did play around with Photobooth, which I love. Unfortunately for my flickr friends, this will enable my self-portrait fascination. Expect many photos like the one below.

Photo 6.jpg

Now, if I could only remote desktop, I'd be unstoppable.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So, it's been busy around these parts, even after the crazy tornadoes. We made it to Denver on Friday for CALC, and the panel and my presentation both went well. We got some good questions from the audience, which is always great. It was also fun just talking to people between sessions. For me, the day was kind of weird, because we missed the breakfast and opening keynote because we had to drive down that morning, then I was presenting in two of the three sessions. So I only got to attend the luncheon keynote and a program during the final session. It felt like I didn't get a lot out of the day, but I hope my stuff was useful to others. The session I did get to see was fun, though.

I thought I might have a pretty quiet Memorial Day weekend because everybody cleared out of town. But Peter got back from Rio on Saturday, and we drove out to Centennial for an early dinner at the Bear Tree, then drove into the mountains a little because the road was finally open. The snowdrifts are pretty huge. Then on Sunday, we drove to Ft. Collins for lunch and some shopping. I got my third new phone in a month, after the one I got the previous weekend malfunctioned and I couldn't dial a zero. I also got myself a pair of pants on sale.

Monday was pretty quiet, but after going to the grocery store, I ambushed Rick, who had just returned from Casper. Then Tawnya and Will called and suddenly, we had a little gathering for dinner, with Peter joining us in time to finish the game of Trivial Pursuit. That was nice, even though we were grilling on the porch while it rained.

I'm hoping for real summer weather this week and weekend, as I'm planning barbecue on Saturday, and I don't want to end up marooned inside. So I'm getting ready for that.

Loex of the West is next week, so I'm busily working on my program and trying to finish a paper to submit to the proceedings. I've never been to Las Vegas before, so I'm hoping to take lots of pictures and window shop at the fancy stores. Then I have a wedding in Seattle the following weekend, with the added bonus of the Old 97's show in Portland that Sunday. I expect to have my nose to the grindstone a little more than usual to keep up.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

weather weirdness

Confidential to my Laramie stalkers: you already know most of this story.

Okay, earthquakes are no fun, and I've only had to live through a couple of them, but at least you don't wait around for them. Living in Laramie continues to delight. Today, I walked out the front doors of the library on my way home for some late lunch. I stopped on the porch because it was pouring rain and the sky was dark and angry. Just as I was hesitating about walking the block and a half to my car (wearing flip-flops and a lightweight top), the tornado sirens began. As I headed back inside, everybody was being directed to the basement because of the tornado warning.

Crazy. I was luckier than most, because I had my office right there, but still unhappy because all I had on hand to eat was a granola bar and some candy. At least we never lost power. Rick's class was just about to start in the library classroom when the alarms went off, and he held class gathered around one of the study tables downstairs. Seems like most people down there were watching the weather cams and looking for updates. I tried to concentrate and get some work done, but it was hard. After a couple hours and some damage in town, the warning was lifted and the library closed. We took off downtown in search of food, but even the places with power were closed or closing. So Rick was nice and let me eat cold cereal at his house, which was out of power like most of town.

So, five of my colleagues and I were planning to leave for Denver this afternoon for CALC tomorrow. We tried to leave town at 6:oo, thinking the weather would be better, but me being late back to campus and a big hold-up at Burger King (one of the only places in town to get food) delayed us even more. I-80 was really slick with leftover hail, and filled with craziness. Then, near the summit, it was snowing and a thunder and lightning storm at the same time. So we turned back. I'm glad, because even before that, I was freaked. The power's still out at all my friends' places, but for once my inconvenient home in W. Laramie is a plus because I have power and, therefore, internet.

Oh, but it gets better. As I approached my house, I called a colleague who had gone down to Denver earlier. She said the skies there were grey, but the weather was okay. She had to drive through a mess to get there, though. I was still talking to her as I stepped out of my garage onto the walkway. Yeah, in flip-flops onto wet snow. I fell ass-over-tea-kettle and dislocated my shoulder. Because I'm a genius who talks on the phone while carrying a suitcase and looking for my keys. I was able to rotate my arm back into the socket, and it's just sore now. I'm still really cold from laying in a snow/rain puddle while I fixed my arm. Obviously, I can type, so I'll live.

We're planning to leave early tomorrow to get to CALC in time for my first presentation. Yeah, I have two. One of my two co-presenters for the morning panel is ill, so I really don't want to leave the other in a lurch if I can't make it. The afternoon panel is the six of us from my department, so if we can't make it, there will just be one fewer choice that hour. I hope it doesn't come to that, though.

Cass just called and reported that another tornado hit Cheyenne, so it's good we didn't drive right into that cf. As we were turning back to town, I called Rick on his way to Casper to see how he was doing. He said it was just raining, then he lost reception. I think he'll be fine, but it's still scary to have somebody out there on the road tonight. I know my parents (mostly Mom) were freaked out about me all day. It's hard for them to be so far away and watch the news without thinking the worst will happen. Mom thinks I'm going to get stranded and die out on some abandoned highway every time I travel. Or else I'll be eaten by a wild animal, die of hypothermia in the snow, or get nabbed by a random psycho killer-rapist. Now we can add getting sucked away by a tornado to the list of things likely to kill me in Wyoming. Sigh.

Where's my spring, dammit?

Monday, May 19, 2008

home again

Vacation on the coast was wonderful. We haven't taken a family vacation for a few years, so it was our first with my nephew. It was also the first trip in a long time where I felt truly relaxed. It was fun seeing West and how he's grown and changed since Christmas. At 15 months, he now walks and talks a little. My dad is his favorite person, and it's cool to see my dad in that role. His dad, my grandpa was my best friend when I was little, too.

checking out a hermit crab
Contemplating touching a hermit crab

Spending time on the water was exactly what I've been needing. One night we had a beach fire, and the mist from the ocean spray made my hair get even curlier. I forgot how huge my hair used to be when I lived in the humidity. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and tried to keep the sand out of our food.

may 014
Enjoying first s'more at the beach

The sunsets were lovely, and one evening we sat on the promenade and watched. I took too many photos, but it was cool.

sunset at Seaside
Beautiful sky

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

rollin' along

Some of us went roller skating again last night. I think I've found my skating partners for the summer and beyond, which is pretty awesome. While I'm definitely rusty, I'm really having fun at the rink and am improving every time I go. Last night, I made my first attempt at skating backward, which I never even used to do as a kid. My crossover turns are still pretty awkward, partly because of the terrible floor condition and having to dodge children who aren't watching where they're going, but mostly because I just need more practice.

I'm considering using some of the stimulus package to buy a pair of skates. It would be nice to have some that really fit, and I wouldn't have to pay the extra couple of bucks to rent each time. But last night my rental skates were a little cooler than usual. Check out the Pac-man laces!

pacman skate laces

What I really should have been doing last night is finishing laundry and packing for vacation and/or working on my results and discussion sections of my paper. I'm flying back to the PNW for a vacation on the Oregon coast! Things I'm looking forward to: family, being at sea level, eating lots of seafood, walking on the beach, humidity, and not worrying about work (much) for a while week!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Tonight after class, Rick and I tried unsuccessfully to get some people together for drinks. Instead, the two of us had some dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. Cinco de Mayo is a weird holiday. Seems like most Americans think of it either as Mexican Independence (it's not) or an excuse to drink lots of cerveza and/or tequila (I guess it is). Today, all I could tell Rick is that I knew it was the anniversary of Mexico defeating the French in a battle sometime in the 17th century. So much for my education in world history, right?

I ate too much food and drank half a margarita. So, the evening was kind of tame, but okay. It was pretty nice to be home early, especially after a jam-packed weekend of shopping, barbequing, roller derby, too much driving, homework, and the Sunday evening movie (Persepolis). All of it was fun/good, but I'm tired.

Friday, May 02, 2008

stormy night

I just got home, after staying out way too late for a school night. I'm tired, but it's so windy that my whole house is shaking and the wind is whistling and rumbling so loudly I wonder if I'll be able to sleep. Garbage cans are banging around and something big just flew down the street. Storms are cool, but this one is kind of scary.