Tuesday, January 27, 2009


because my mom wanted some that i had, in fact, bought a chair...
granted, it's not much of a sitting chair, more of a curling up chair. those of you who visited my old knoxville apartment know i'm not much on conventional furniture--no chairs there, unless you counted the futon or the yoga ball. jesse has had a desk chair in the current apartment for a while, but this is the first chair i've owned in several years.

and this is approximately the least cluttered our living room has ever been. hurrah? (or maybe a sigh because neatness in my universe is directly related to unbusy time at home... and i obviously haven't been dancing or traveling or otherwise socializing enough lately. but at least i'd be a lot more comfortable having people over now...)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

new president

has anyone seen any good estimates on how many people watched yesterday's inauguration ceremony, either in person or via tv or internet? something more quantitative than "enough to break the internet"? (and yeah, i was on the cnn stream from work until it got too choppy near time for the ceremony... most of my floor gathered in the volunteer crisis line room to watch on the tv there.)

while yes, the speech was inspiring, and yes, it's a historical event no matter what happens from here out... the thing that got me most was the sheer number of people wanting to be there and wanting to believe that this guy can lead us to work together to make a better united states, a better world. if he can keep that goodwill and hope going even without a miracle cure for tough times, that's a mighty beast to leverage.

and i gotta give it to them -- starbucks chose an awesome moment to unleash their pledge 5 campaign, bribing folks with coffee for signing up for five hours of community service... hope it works.

hope it all works.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

half a year, illustrated

i'm uploading something like half a year's worth of photos today. not that i've had my camera out all that much. and it shows -- most of the ones i took toward the end of 2008 are extra-super-blurry. i still hate using my flash, but i've gotten worse at making things come out clear anyway. while i'm waiting on the rest to get to flickr, i'll post a few random shots...

in honor of the inauguration tomorrow, here's the photo i meant to post on election day, of people lined up outside the polling place in the rain:

the battleship across the street from my office:

at least the current apartment clutter is a little bit better than this, from when we'd moved in most things but unpacked almost nothing:

a heron in the park a few miles from here where i liked to go running back when it was warmer:

jaredan and davenne dancing in the park when michael q. and i took the crazy road trip down for chatta-atl-nash-knox-nooga-ville:

joanna, airborne during the charleston comp at lindy focus:

the roanoke star! (from the week i spent there training for my job in september):

husband and johnny in the interlude between nicci's wedding and the reception:

bush sr. speaking during the commissioning for the ship named after him:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

netflix instant play in ubuntu

(it's geeky. i warned you. but you can make fun of me for regularly destroying operating systems. and there's windows involved, but it's free for now...)

ok, so a while back, i installed ubuntu and realized AFTER damaging the windows partition that i didn't have my vista cd anymore.

honestly, i mostly don't really miss it. i've adjusted to amarok instead of itunes, star office instead of microsoft office... there's a free replacement program for almost everything. the one thing i hadn't gotten working, though, was netflix instant play movies. i missed it. i didn't miss it enough to justify the trouble it took to get it, but, er, once i get an idea in my head i can be a little stubborn.

when lifehacker came out with instructions for getting a windows 7 beta key, i went ahead and downloaded a copy.

then i installed virtualbox on ubuntu. and screwed up bigtime -- it needs your user account added to the group "virtualboxusers". instead of sudoing up and editing the /etc/group file directly, i tried to use a graphic group control tool. not sure what went wrong, but it cleared the /etc/group file of everything but the new group... resulting in a daemonic mess where most of the computer services didn't have access to necessary files and i didn't have access to admin powers and... well, let's just say it wasn't working so well. after a while booted into single-user mode with help from a fresh install's /etc/root file sneakernetted over from jesse's computer, i got back a lot of the basics... but couldn't get the networking to work. since the internet is my main source for all aid, i eventually got frustrated, backed everything up, and reinstalled ubuntu. total geek-fu failure, lesson learned, don't mess with that file unless you know what you're doing. but i have a nice, clean install now.

and set up virtual box again. and installed windows 7 on it. and it worked!

except the networking didn't. various blogs eventually pointed me to the fact that the virtualbox i'd gotten by apt-get install was not, in fact, the latest version. go to the webpage. install version 2.1.0. give windows the new, improved virtual network connection. and voila!

and... trying to run a netflix instant play movie in the windows media-based internet explorer player bluescreens my box. which is much less annoying than a traditional bluescreen, i have to admit -- unlike with a real laptop crash, i can go play/research on the internet while i wait for things to get back to normal. after tinkering and giving windows more hard drive space and more memory, i decide that the player's probably just not compatible with the beta internet explorer yet.

so i install firefox. and then netflix's silverlight player. and EVERYTHING WORKS! well, kinda herky-jerkily. but ramping the virtual box's base memory up to 1200 MB (which is more than virtualbox thought was a good idea given my modest laptop, but oh well) mostly fixes that... the audio gets smoother after a little tinkering with settings. it's good enough that i watched the first half hour or so of persepolis despite it being well past my bedtime by the time i got things working last night.

so, happy camper. i'll be happier if/when netflix gets things worked out with the DRM folks to support instant play for linux, but for now i have a ridiculous setup that more or less does the trick.

Monday, January 12, 2009

save the glen echo dance ranger

most of the lindy hoppers who've traveled to washington, d.c., for a dance event in the last several years have danced in the glen echo park, either in its spanish ballroom or its bumper car pavilion. it's really an incredible venue -- the ballroom is restored to its 1930s-era luster and comfortably holds something like 600 dancers. it's usually one of the main venues for DCLX, and we sweated our way to near-total dehydration there during a mid-june heatwave for jam cellar's big big event this year. if you add in regular saturday night dances with live music, it's really a big part of what's probably the largest swing dance community east of the mississippi.

recently, there's been a flurry of e-mails and a facebook group, all upset because park ranger stan fowler's been reassigned after 30+ years of service in glen echo. mr. fowler, it turns out, has been a driving force behind a lot of the restoration work there, and he's been instrumental in bringing the dance communities out to it. the washington post just put out an article that makes it pretty clear how much we owe stan... and clarifies that he still had things he wanted to do there in the few years he has left 'til retirement and didn't want the transfer (i'd wondered!).

so here's hoping! if you're interested in working with the d.c. dancers who're trying to get the decision reversed, look for the facebook group "Saving Glen Echo Dance Ranger" or join the yahoo group DanceRanger.


something somewhere between a cold and the flu had me for most of the last week. i've been referring to it the lindy focus plague based on the number of "i'm sick!" facebook statuses among fellow attendees -- seems i'm not the only one who had a really awesome time then got home and collapsed.

last monday, i was coughing my way along, still healthy enough to take unfamiliar buses to the norfolk airport after work to greet jesse on his return from california (i can't really claim i "picked him up" since he was the one with transportation) and pick up my bag, which had continued on its merry way there instead of switching to the later newport news flight with me. i have the sort of boyfriend who, even when he's been traveling all day, makes quite an excellent chicken soup and doesn't complain too much over being exposed to germs from a dance event he didn't go to.

despite the soup, i utterly failed at getting out of bed on tuesday. all limbs were suddenly convinced that gravitational acceleration had multiplied itself by ten over night. i think i tried to call in to work, but they finally called me -- i'd fallen back asleep before getting the phone dialed. i slept probably 20 of 24 hours that day.

wednesday was a bit better, but i was still dizzy and tired enough to stay home. thursday, i had already scheduled a routine doctor's checkup (yay health insurance kicking in!)... the hospital is a mile and a half away. a mile and a half isn't much of a walk under normal circumstances. it knocked me over. by the time i got to norfolk around noon, my floor full of moms/co-workers took a look at me and started yelling that i shouldn't be there. i did stay, and worked friday too, and i thought i was doing alright.

but comparatively... even with hours and hours outside in the cold on saturday for jesse's ship's commissioning (i want to write about that too!), the weekend made so much difference. this morning, i made it to the bus stop on time with ease. i didn't hit snooze five times despite having gone to bed later than i did any day last week. i wasn't dragging my feet by the time i got from one end of plume street to the other. it's the silver lining on these kinds of viruses... just when you start to think that life really is THAT hard, just when you get used to working around all the snivels and fatigue, lung capacity starts kicking back in. and all of a sudden, having what's normally "normal" energy is really, really fun.

the gym's still going to be hell. at least i have a slightly better excuse than the simple "failed to work out for three weeks."

and now jesse has the plague. i owe him some chicken soup.

Monday, January 5, 2009

it gets better...

after it became apparent that standbys for the 2 p.m. flight to newport news weren't getting called, i wandered back into the main hub of the airport. jesse's advice of trying to sneak into the USO (because apparently charlotte's airport USO is the best he's seen) wasn't looking so practical, so i got some frozen yogurt.

just about then, my old college pal wayne walks through.

the randomness really astounds me. i mean, i figure that my friends are probably somewhat more likely to be on the road than the general population (they tend to be an adventurous, shifty bunch), and a bit more likely to be going up and down the east coast than a random selection of americans, but the odds of being in the same part of the airport at the same time still can't be very big.

wayne was on the way back to new haven from huntsville. he had an hour layover time, so he too got frozen yogurt and hung out. time was very pleasantly killed.

airports are fun. (here's hoping my 6:00 flight goes out, though. even airports are better in moderation...)

Sunday, January 4, 2009


i hope i don't jinx myself by saying so, but i have a long history of pretty good luck with airplane travel. usually, my flights are on time if not a teensy bit early. i've only lost luggage once, and that was going to my parents' house on the way back from a year as an exchange student (back in the days when i had plenty of spare clothes there). In fact, that time, temporarily losing the luggage mostly just saved me the trouble of dragging my two huge bags around the airport to get through customs.

today's going pretty well that way. i'm on my way back from a pretty excellent christmas-new year's holiday (more on that later, perhaps?)... my first flight this morning, i got a whole row of seats to myself and slept soundly from nashville to charlotte. now, they've announced that they need passengers willing to fly into newport news instead of norfolk. free round-trip ticket up for grabs! newport news is actually closer to home than norfolk is... and buses run later from there.

so now i'm either flying in 30 minutes or 4.5 hours... no real hurry to get home. life's good, and i'm likely going to be taking at least one more plane trip in 2009.