Jack Neely of NCSU OIT group has put on a Free and Open Source Software fair each year for the past four years. This year I was fortunate enough to join them. It was a fun day and I was happy to meet other folks interested in Linux and such things, while catching up with some old TriLUG’gers that I don’t get to see very often. They even let me give a talk! 🙂
Pretty much as soon as I made that last post about the winter snow, the rain came to wash it all away (to prove me wrong, I presume). Since then we have seen many signals of Spring, including sunshine, plant growth and people wearing t-shirts in 40 degree weather. It is almost like Miami around here!
There have been four or five other snowfalls, but they were so light that they only hang around for a day or so. It does make for some extra muddy dog walks, but I guess this is how this area gets its moisture for the season. During the rest of the year this is supposed to be one of the driest regions in the USA. Oh well, “Summer will be beautiful!”
Work has been keeping me busy and I’ve since launched a large-scale scanning project at home to digitally archive all my important memories from the past twenty years or so. My camera was away for repair for almost two months and I think that is the longest stretch I’ve lived without a camera for my entire life. It was rough to miss out on capturing some neat sights. As the days grow longer and warmer, I hope to get out to explore and photograph some of the beautiful places around Moscow.
Apparently, the UNC Tarheels are doing really well in some basketball tourney that is going on. I don’t even know what a tourney is, but since everyone knows I’m from North Carolina I can’t walk fifty feet without someone mentioning it to me. I’m always like “Oh yeah! Awesome! Tarheels ROCK!!” and this seems to be a satisfactory answer. On the flip side, this is way better than everyone talking to me about tobacco farming.
Why am I posting pictures of frightening looking turds on my weblog? Ha-HA! I am not!! That, my friends, is the world’s greatest culinary creation — the Chocolate Cherry Bagel !!!
In Moscow, we have this truly fantastic bread and pastry shop which goes by the moniker of Wheatberries Bake Shop. You will find me in this place at least five days a week. I would be there seven days a week, but they choose to make me suffer by being closed on Sunday and Monday. This means I usually have to stock up on Friday and Saturday.
One day around the holiday season, I see this funky, turdy looking thing in the back of their display case and I had to inquire. Once they told me it had both chocolate AND cherry in it, I was sold. I purchased the little turd and brought it to my office. Little did I know that this bagel would change my life.
The story goes that for the holidays they make chocolate cherry bread and there happened to be some batter left so the owner thought “What the hay?” and made some bagels. The chocolate cherry bread is only supposed to be a once-a-year thing anyway. Yet I have caused such a stir in their tiny little shop that they had no choice other than appeasing the “big crazy white man” and deciding to offer this manna from heaven at quasi-random intervals. This means that on the days I see them in the case, I have to buy all of them immediately to keep anyone else’s greedy hands off them. Mmmmmmmm….. Mine all mine, Choco Cherry Bagel. Arrggglllll….
I feel sorry for you if you can’t have a choco cherry bagel at least twice a week. I mean, what are you living for?
So one of the coolest things (at least to me) about North Idaho is that in a matter of minutes an enormous snow storm can whip up out of nowhere — even at times when no snow is predicted. This happened two weeks ago when I went into Wal*Mart and there was no snow, nor signs of snow. When I came out from shopping 25 minutes later, it looked like I fell off Santa’s sled somewhere over Antarctica. Just blizzardy-ass snow from out of nowhere.
This evening, I was too lazy to make dinner so I decided to drive across town to Winger’s. You guessed it. Winger’s is a hair band themed restaurant where they only serve blazing hot chicken wings and blare Winger out of their 40,000 watt stereo system. Totally chic and romantic, if you are in that sorta mood. Anyway, I was only in there for about 40 minutes, but when I tried to leave it was difficult to see my vehicle across the parking lot because this Class 17 snow tsunami had sprung out of the blue.
It was great. I got to race home in the sideways driving wet snow, sliding around corners and honking at all the slow moving locals. I have no idea why everyone slows down when a tiny little blizzard hits. I mean, they are supposed to be used to this, right? Well, I consider a good snow storm to be a stealth mechanism for my car so all bets are off and all rules of the road are suspended. When it snows, it is time to put on your game face. And nobody better be in my way. I just wish I had a camera good enough to share it with you.
All the power just went out while I was posting this. Thank goodness for uninterruptible power supplies. Someone must have bowed out of the Snow Dog 500 and into a telephone pole. Ooops. Time to go reset all the other clocks in the house…
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there in Internet-land! I’m feeling a bit like Lewis and Clark having traveled 3000 miles from home and settling down for a long, cold winter with unfamiliar locals. Well, my plight isn’t quite so intimidating and my voyage was nowhere near as dramatic — but you get the point. Anyway, I’ve been in my new town for two-and-a-half weeks and every single day I’ve had dozens of moments which have reminded me to be happy and thankful. The folks I’ve met here in Moscow are amazingly sweet and not in that syrupy, insincere way. Just down home folks who seem to share an innate belief that we are all valuable as human beings. It is nice, I’ll tell ya.
Life moves rather slowly here and progress is measured and deliberate. The original Pita Pit location burned down months ago and they have been building out its new location for most of that time. The University of Idaho campus is a peaceful study in non-construction. It is awfully nice to not have to compete with back-end loaders and dump trucks and jackhammers just to get to your workplace. And there is a distinct lack of that jaded cynicism which builds as you realize that your employer would rather spend $500 million on building renovations instead of providing you with a reasonable 6% cost-of-living adjustment.
2007 was an extremely stressful and difficult year for me. I blindly walked into a home renovation that blew up in my face and took away every dime I ever had. I endured caustic battles with my family members over the project management of said home renovation. I watched in fear as my available pool of close friends shrunk, most succumbing to pressures of marriage, family or career. And I suffered great bouts of self-doubt and depression as I was turned down by one good company after the other. I’m sure other stuff happened as well, but it was peanuts compared to that listed above.
Yet despite all the trouble and worry, I am thankful. For the record, I am extremely happy and thankful. While I still have lingering headaches back in North Carolina (house to sell, lawsuit to settle, etc), I am finally on a path that I can respect and appreciate. And I have not felt so free since I first went off to college. Besides having to please my new employer and making sure that my dog is fit and healthy, I have no responsibilities. This thought is always at the forefront of my mind and I am constantly seeking to further simplify my life. It has been a hard fought battle, but I’m finally starting to feel as if I am winning.
So, I am thankful for my awesome new job and the opportunity it provided me to enhance my career. I am extremely thankful that I actually get to do work which I find interesting and challenging. I am extremely thankful that on my busy days at work I can return home feeling like I learned something valuable. I am extremely thankful that I found a nice, small community to settle into which seems to acknowledge and appreciate my presence. I am extremely thankful to be in good health and that my loved ones are also doing well. I am extremely thankful that I am here — here on Earth — alive, employed, loved, missed, and still able to tie my own shoelaces.
For all those whom have helped me and supported me over the years – Thank you. I am extremely thankful for your assistance and patience. Along with my parents, I owe all of my success to you and it will not be forgotten. I am always happy to lay eyes upon old friends. Of which, several are already making plans to come visit me in Idaho. This is turning out to be a very good move for me. And I am thankful every day.
I didn’t mean to be so grouchy in my previous post, but that is how I was feeling at the time. The Summer-Long Kitchen Project has really been frustrating, especially considering that I’ve been in renovation mode for almost ten months now. Hopefully the time of living with no kitchen is coming to an end (soon) and I can be done with home projects for a while.
August in North Carolina was hot. We had successive days of triple-digit temperatures and have been suffering a drought for quite a while. During the extreme heat, I noticed that the gas mileage on my Honda Element dipped to an all-time low of 16.7 MPG. Usually the vehicle gets between 22 and 24 MPG. I knew that a vehicle would get worse gas mileage under extreme conditions, but it was my eloquent engineer friend Nathan who said “hotter air is less dense by a linear factor, so you use higher throttle settings for the same output you’d have needed four months ago, but the stoichiometric ratio doesn’t change.” This combined with constant use of air conditioning would help drag us down to the sub-20 MPG club.
Also, the drought has been causing animals of all kinds to seek out other sources of food and water as their environs run dry. I have seen lots of deer on my property (usually, but not exclusively, at night) and found the dried skin shed by some snakes. Overall, I’d say that the brutal summer heat has been tough for everyone. Now into September, we are just starting to see relief. Ooohh, the mountains sound good right now! Time to plan a trip to Asheville. (Amy, I’m crashing on your couch! FYI.)
Until then, please join me in praying for rain!
Maybe I should stop taking pictures in Carrboro parking lots, but the availability of strange sights just increases each day.
I have no explanation for this because there are no HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes in our area. Maybe the driver just likes the company?
I love how everyone in “Crunchy Carrboro” either drives an AWD Subaru (25 MPG) or a Honda Element (23 MPG). Way to care about the environment, man! Why don’t you just drive a Hummer or a Mack truck while you’re at it??
I spotted the Element Trifecta in the Panzanella parking lot near Weaver Street.
God Bless America! And pass that barrel of oil!
This morning on my rainy drive to work I noticed a white Volvo station wagon with a pink “Breast Cancer Awareness” ribbon on the back. This is not an unusual sight — especially in these parts — but what struck me as peculiar is that the driver’s window was cracked so that the smoke from their cigarette could waft out into the rain. The irony of this person’s actions contrasted with their efforts to raise cancer awareness had me marveling long into the early afternoon.
Please help fight cancer. Please stop smoking!
PS – Happy Valentine’s Day!
Monday will be just another normal school day for Chapel Hill Schools. We have been experiencing some inclement winter weather recently and I guess they also had some sort of “Teacher Worday” planned. Fear not, little childrens of Chapel Hill, because school will be in session on Monday and them teachers plan on teachin’ you real good.