- Interesting essay from Tyler Cowan in which he claims that alcohol consumption “is at least as dangerous and undesirable” as gun ownership. Apparently I am an elite because I can handle both.. but then you would expect me to say that, wouldn’t you?
- R.I.P., Mr. Ebert. I thoroughly enjoyed your work lo these many years. You will be missed.
- These images make me really miss the old NASA. And this auction of space-related items makes me wish I had some completely disposable cash stuffed under my mattress.
- Want insomnia? Read this article on insider threats in pathogen research. You’re welcome.
- If you read the insider threats paper, you may need some help to restore your faith in humanity. Since you can’t relax with a beer or a glass of wine (that’s as bad as owning guns, y’know), check out this non-profit that uses Coca-Cola’s worldwide distribution network to deliver lifesaving medicine.
- Looks like Ray Lane is taking the first bullet for the Autonomy acquisition train wreck at H-P. I wonder who will be next?
- Stay classy, Mr. President.
Category Archives: Friends & Family
Edgar Anthony Babin, 76, a native of Terrebonne Parish and resident of Houma, died at 4:13 a.m. Thursday, March 28, 2013. Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Falgout Funeral Home and from 9 a.m. until funeral time Monday at St. Bernadette Catholic Church. A military service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the church. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the church, with burial to be held at a later date.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Norma Jean Marie Robichaux Babin; sons, Ricky and wife, Tonya, Carey and wife, Venetia, and Robert Babin and wife, Earline; brother, Sidney Babin Jr. and wife, Lindy; eight grandchildren, Shane and wife, Amy, Steven and wife, Tracey, Chris and fiancee, Taylor Hoob, Becky and Seth Babin, Christine and husband, Stuart Lewis, and Craig Denison and Nicole Crochet; four great-grandchildren, Rayler, Ryan and Johnny Babin, and Kaydyn Crochet; good friends, Keith and wife, Andrea Faul; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sidney Sr. and Vivian Cadiere Babin. Pallbearers are: Steven and Donald Babin, Douglas Chauvin Sr., Keith Faul, Mike Robichaux and Stuart Lewis.
He was a man dedicated to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s office for more than 46 years, a charter member of Bayou Cane Volunteer Fire Department, and a 1955 through 1957 U.S. Navy veteran who loved fishing, hunting and gardening. The family gives thanks and appreciation to Haydel Hospice, Terrebonne General Medical Center and all medical staff who gave Edgar their care and concern during his illness. Falgout Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
My Uncle Edgar was one of the hardest-working men I ever knew. (He was also the first person I ever knew who actually had a tattoo, courtesy of his time in the Navy.) He was perpetually busy with his job, with the Sheriff’s Department, or the volunteer fire department, and he was an avid sportsman in his free time. He raised a solid, loving family, and my cousins and I enjoyed many an hour fishing, trawling for shrimp, or talking about fishing with him growing up. It is remarkable to me that he and my Aunt Norma were married for 57 years. That is an enviable accomplishment that reflects a lifelong love and commitment that is too rarely seen today. I will miss him. R.I.P., podna.
|Tom is putting our Elvis ornament on the tree. Yes, that Elvis.||I’m flying back from a short but eventful weekend with the boys. During this whirlwind visit, we bought a small Christmas tree and decorated it with our favorite ornaments. These ornaments all have some kind of sentimental or event connection; for example, there’s a Rushmore ornament from our long road trip with my dad; there’s the Marine Corps logo ornament, and so on. We also sponsored two Salvation Army “angels”: a 12-year-old boy and a veteran living in a local nursing home. We had a terrific time picking out clothes, toys, and other items from their wish lists. This is something Arlene and I used to do before we even had kids; over the last couple of years it had fallen off my radar but I was really glad to renew the tradition with the boys. Plus: Oreos.
On this trip, I also got my first taste of wireless charging, courtesy of the “free” Nokia DT-900 charging plate that AT&T was giving away when I bought the 920. It’s magic: you put the phone on top of the little charging puck and it charges, as advertised. The rate of charge seems to be slower than a regular USB connection, but the convenience can’t be beat. Sadly Windows Phone doesn’t (yet?) support wireless sync, but the ability to plop the phone down to let it have a snack, then pick it up and go without fussing over cords is delightful.
And speaking of delightful: I mentioned a few posts ago that I would post an example of what the Lumia 920′s camera can do. Here’s one of my cousin Adam.
And, as a bonus, here’s one I took indoors, with no flash. The color reproduction and sharpness is excellent. I’m very well pleased with the 920 as a camera, as well as as a phone.
In other power-related news, I finally broke down and bought Apple’s airline power adapter. Many American Airlines planes (and some on Delta) still have 12V sockets at their seats, and after running out of battery on my last flight I thought I’d give it a try. The in-seat outlets can’t provide enough current to both charge a MacBook Pro and operate it; all they do is slow the rate of discharge. I got on the plane with 76% battery; after nearly two hours of moderate activity, plus having a phone plugged in, I’m down to 58% with the adapter in place. This is better than nothing, although inferior to the 115V outlets on newer 737-900s and other planes of similar vintage.
Finally, today at the Chinese buffet, here’s what my fortune said. I am choosing to take this as a good omen for my check ride next week!
The boys and I just wrapped up a visit for New Orleans for the Voodoo Music Experience 2012. What a fantastic time!
Friday morning I picked them up in Birmingham and we had a pleasant drive down to the city, stopping at Charlie’s Catfish House along the way. The boys were a bit nonplussed to be served whole catfish but that didn’t really slow them down. We got to the festival about 3:30pm and immediately started exploring. I was surprised that security didn’t turn me away because I was carrying a “professional camera” (you know, the kind with a detachable lens) but I wasn’t about to complain. After some wandering, David and Tom went to the EDM stage to see Nervo while Matt and I headed off to go see Thomas Dolby. We were no more than 10′ from the stage for the show, which was outstanding. I’ve been wanting to see Dolby in concert for 30 years and thoroughly enjoyed getting to do so at long last. Bonus: he has a new album and played a couple of cuts from it. Extra bonus: he was joined on stage by Michael Doucet, who plays a mean fiddle. (Set list: “Europa and the Pirate Twins”, “One of our Submarines”, “Airhead”, “Pulp Culture”, then “Spice Train”, “Evil Twin Brother”, and “The Toad Lickers” from his new album, then “I Love You Goodbye”, “Hyperactive”, and “She Blinded Me With Science.”)
TMDR gettin’ down
After the show, I got to see my pal and (fellow Exchange MVP) Jason Sherry at the Thomas Dolby show. This was his 16th Voodoo show– an enviable record. I think he should win a prize. Matt and I also checked out Christian Ristow’s Face Forward sculpture, a giant metal head with an articulated, remote-controlled face, plus a giant metal crawfish whose antennae emit fire after dark.
show me your war face
We wandered around a bit more until it was time for the next EDM acts: JFK of MSTRKRFT, followed by Kaskade. (Actually, Die Antwoord was on stage but no way was I going to let the boys go see them; they are incredibly NSFW.) JFK put on a pretty good set but was not very engaged with the crowd. Kaskade, on the other hand, killed: fantastic set, good crowd involvement, and a great vibe. He was actually pretty laid-back; not really what I was expecting for an EDM set. Matt was able to talk us into the VIP area on stage rights so we were pretty close to the action, which was fantastic. David and Tom got right up front, too, which was a treat for them.
Notice the cool hat he’s wearing
As you might be able to tell from the photos, my night photo technique needs some work. Most of the concert pics I shot were with my D5100 and Nikon’s 55-200 f/4. This is a great all-around lens but I need to remember to aim the focus points when I’m shooting from a distance. EDM stages are tricky, too, because there are often large backlit screens behind the performer. This wasn’t a huge problem when we were off to the side in the VIP area but it was a problem for Metallica, as you will soon see.
Anyway, we went to bed exhausted but happy Friday, slept in a bit on Saturday, then skipped breakfast and went straight to Deanie’s Seafood. Of all the many restaurants in N’Awlins, this is one of the most resonant for me; it was one of my Aunt Betty’s very, very favorites and I have many happy memories of eating there with her when visiting the city. I wanted the boys to see it, and we had a delightful meal with bonus Aunt B storytelling thrown in. Then a quick drive back to City Park put us in position for another day of music. Saturday’s weather was quite a bit different– mid-50s with a steady chill wind and heavy overcast for almost the entire day. Luckily we found the one food stand that was selling hot chocolate, Quintin’s, and patronized it heavily.
Saturday’s lineup was pretty strong. We had planned to see DJ QBert and Metallica as our two main acts; Tom wanted to see AWOLNATION, and there were a few fill-ins that we’d decided to try (like Jim-E Stacks). We briefly stopped by for Carmine P. Filthy’s set (prominently featuring this guy, so Matt and I didn’t stay for long); it was pretty repetitive. I caught a few minutes of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, enough to decide that I’d give them a shot on Spotify. We connected with my cousin, world-famous sound guy and international man of mystery Chris Bloch. He got us into the mixing truck for Chicano Batman‘s set, where he spent a good chunk of time answering our stupid questions about audio production and mixing. As a bonus, I found that I quite liked the band’s mix of Afro-Brazilian-surf funk, so they’re now in my Spotify rotation. Another neat discovery: The Features put on quite a show near the hot chocolate place (though it took me a while to figure out they were singing “Golden Comb“, not “Golden Cone”).
Chris hard at work; yes, he really does know what all those knobs do.
Tom went to the AWOLNATION show and went crowd surfing, which excited him no end. The rest of us used the time to explore the food booths; I had a couple of really delicious crawfish pies, while David had shwarma and Matt a hot dog. We migrated over to the Metallica area about 30 minutes before their show and got decent seats in front of the sound tower (though the two older boys didn’t stay there; they ended up in the mosh pit.) As for the Metallica concert itself: it exceeded my expectations, especially given that they were replacing Green Day, a band I’ve never really liked. They deployed some awesome pyrotechnics for “One”, and gave us a nice mix of old and new(er) stuff, including “Master of Puppets,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “Enter Sandman,” and “Nothing Else Matters.” For their first encore they came out and started playing “American Idiot” by Green Day then stopped– James said, with mock sheepishness, “That’s all we had time to learn” before launching into some back-catalog stuff, closing with “Seek and Destroy.”
rock is serious business
Lars looks suspiciously like my friend Scott Mikesell
they were having almost as much fun as the crowd
After a solid two-hour performance, all of us were flat worn out. We went back to the hotel and got to bed about midnight, which was lucky given that we had made plans to meet Chris and Beth at Café du Monde the next morning at 7:30. The promise of beignets was enough to get the herd moving, and we enjoyed our bounty sitting on the levee steps overlooking the river and watching the sun right near Jackson Square.
After breakfast, we went back to the hotel to shower and pack; the stage acts weren’t scheduled to start until noon, so I figured we’d have time to go to Radosta’s for poboys. Nope– they’re closed on Sundays, so we drove back to the Quarter to go to Coop’s. Nope, they’re a 21-and-up place. We ended up eating more festival food, to which absolutely no one objected. We’d planned to see Dev, who never showed up– she couldn’t get out of NYC because of Hurricane Sandy. No one announced that to the crowd, unfortunately, so we waited around for a while and then eventually wandered off. (The excellent Voodoo mobile app did have a tiny scrolling ticker at the bottom of its main page that announced the news, but I’m not sure anyone actually saw it.)
We were soon back to the EDM stage for Modestep, self-described as a “live four-piece bass-heavy band from London.” They sure were! However, there was enough swearing that I made Matt leave about half an hour into the show, which was too bad– it was excellent otherwise. Plus they were playing in full sunlight, which was not only very pleasant but provided superb lighting for taking pictures.
this makes me think of John McEnroe saying “you cannot be serious”
someone’s having a good day at work
More festival dinner, then it was time to head over to Skrillex! The crowd for his show was huge– probably 2/3 as large as Metallica’s, but in a much smaller area. We all packed up towards the front, which was fantastic until the crowd started squeezing us. Even that was OK because we were all dancing more or less in unison. Even the crowd surfers were fun… until one of them got dropped more or less on Matt’s head. After that, he and I watched the rest of the show from a more open space towards the back of the crowd. I was far enough away that after it got dark none of my pictures were really spectacular; this is probably the best of the lot.
He played an absolutely killer set, including a remix of the theme from “The Fresh Prince” and a variety of his own songs. I was worn out from dancing by the end of the set, which is a sure measure of how good it was– it takes quite a performance to get me to shake my groove thang. (But don’t take my word for it; see this review.)
Immediately after the Skrillex set, we went back to the parking lot and drove straight through, arriving back in Huntsville about 2:45am. Matt and Tom slept pretty much the whole way; David lasted until about 12:45 and he zonked out too. Great time, and maybe we’ll do it again next year. The End.
- All that cotton you see when flying into the Huntsville airport? That’s money.
- MacObserver did a comparison test of battery life on various versions of OS X. They document what I’d noticed anecdotally: significantly lower battery life in 10.8.
- Great summary of a student pilot’s first solo… in Cyprus.. at age 69.
- Hmmm. iPhone 5, or Lumia 920? I am trying to decide simultaneously whether to upgrade and/or bite the bullet and move over to Verizon. I am unhappy with AT&T’s coverage both in the Bay Area and in Huntsville; I barely get signal in my house, which is no more than 2mi from an actual AT&T store. This decision is complicated by the fact that the boys’ phones are additional lines on my family plan, and they couldn’t use their existing phones if I move to VZW– plus I’d have to eat cancellation fees on some of the lines. Verizon’s shared data plan for 3 smartphones + 1 dumb phone is $240/month; compared to the $220 I pay now for the same 4 devices (5GB for me, 2GB for Tom, unlimited for David) this is not a compelling deal. StraightTalkis an option, except that they apparently cap data at 2GB/line/month. I might just move Dave and Tom to StraightTalk, then keep Matt’s feature phone and my existing AT&T line. Or not!
- Single guys, watch out: there are women out there who will pull off your prosthetic leg and then beat you with it.
- I mentioned in a meeting today that VMware’s new vSphere client is based on Flash. That mention was greeted with much incredulity, but it is, in fact, true.
- The other day I saw a tweet that put it very succinctly: if Obama wins the election it will be because of his campaign and in spite of the economy; if Romney wins, it will be in spite of his campaign and because of the economy.
This was my first weekend in Huntsville without the boys.
A quick review: my sons moved back to Alabama with their mother last summer. Since then, I have been commuting about every other weekend to see them. This has been an expensive hassle, but it’s been worth it to spend time with them. Recently I started investigating rental houses, on the theory that renting a house might be in the same cost ballpark as renting hotel rooms and buying restaurant food. After some digging, I found that Zillow has a fairly comprehensive set of tools for searching rental properties, and that led me to Trish Hagin, a REALTOR in Huntsville. (Side note: REALTOR is always supposed to be capitalized. I only know this since my grandfather was one, but that’s no reason not to inflict my trivia knowledge on you.) Trish and her husband Jeff were prompt, personable, and effective; they helped me find a great place in a fairly new development in Madison. It’s about a mile from Matt’s elementary school, and within easy distance of David and Tom’s respective high schools.
Last week, Tom helped me pack up two ABF ReloCubes. These are 6′ x 7′ x 8′ containers. ABF drops off the empties; you pack them with your stuff, then ABF comes to fetch them and deliver them where and when you tell them to. The first cube was around $2600; adding a second cube only added $900 or so. Compared to the cost of renting a truck, fueling it on a cross-country drive, paying for hotels, and taking time off work, the cubes were a much better deal, and ABF both picked up and delivered where and when they promised.
We stuffed the cubes full of all the stuff that had been in my mini-storage unit, and ABF had the cubes spotted in my driveway about 10:15 Friday morning. I’d arrived on the redeye about 30 minutes before that, met the leasing agent to get the keys, and welcomed a 3-man crew from the Huntsville “Two Men and a Truck” franchise. The movers did a superb job; I’ll be calling them back next time I need to move in metro Huntsville. Anyway, within a couple of hours, everything was out of the pods and in the house. I spent the entire rest of the weekend unpacking boxes, assembling furniture, buying supplies (you know, important stuff like diet Coke, peaches, and an HDMI cable). By the time I left, both bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room were all functional, and I’d slept in my own bed (with clean sheets), watched some Olympics on the wall-mount TV that came with the house, and fired Comcast as a potential ISP because they took my installation order without bothering to tell me that they don’t serve my neighborhood. Speaking of neighborhood: my house is the one with the red rectangle. From my back porch, I can see a huge yard/pasture that has a couple of resident horses, a nice-looking pond, and a semi-rustic green sheet-metal barn. The street name has a large number of anagrams, but the best one is “Madcap Male Rest”, an eponym so good that I’m thinking of having a sign made.
Anyway, the house is just about ready for the boys; I need beds for Dave and Tom, and we need a sofa of some kind, plus a vacuum cleaner. The boys will be coming out for a visit in a week or two, and we’ll go back a couple of days early to get the rest squared away. I should note that at present I’ll be commuting to the house to stay with the boys; I am not, at present, moving permanently to Huntsville, although I’ve made no secret to my boss of the fact that my goal is to do exactly that.
It was very odd to be driving around Huntsville and Madison without the boys; I’ve gotten more used to being without them in California. Luckily I’ll be seeing them soon.
A few bonus observations:
- The Huntsville Times Sunday sports section had no mention of the Olympics. And they wonder why people don’t read the printed paper.
- We had a great thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, with huge raindrops and plenty of dazzle and boom. I miss storms like that. With the front and back storm doors open, I got a nice breeze through the house, too.
- AT&T’s cell service in my neighborhood ranges from “not great” to “no service.” This is not encouraging.
- Everywhere I went– Costco, Best Buy, restaurants, grocery stores, the U-Haul place, the airport– I was reminded how friendly and open the majority of folks in Huntsville are. Not just the staff, either; the customers as well. This is a lovely contrast to some other places I’ve lived.
- Fish tacos? Nope. Not a Huntsville thing.
- If you’re at all interested in computer forensics (and, really, who isn’t?), this piece from the Boston Phoenix makes for great reading; it describes how cops found the “Craigslist Killer.”
- Microsoft is changing their professional certifications again, reintroducing the MCSE (this time branded as “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert.”) It’s not completely clear to me what this means for people who hold the MCITP certification; there will be an upgrade path of some kind from Microsoft Certified Master to the new MCSM credential. I’ll write more about this when I understand it better.
- “Deaths from traffic accidents around April 15, traditionally the last day to file individual income taxes in the U.S., rose 6 percent on average on each of the last 30 years of tax filing days compared with a day during the week prior and a week later.” Think about that for a second. (Note to self: file electronically and then stay home on April 17th.)
- It’s nice to see this well-known principle getting better coverage: people make poor monitors for computers. Humans stink at repetitive monitoring of things that rarely change.
- Turns out that Australia has a simple process for getting a “certificate of validation,” which allows you to fly about the country with a US pilot’s license. Hmmmm…
- The Marines have landed in Darwin, Australia, and the situation is well in hand. I had an interesting discussion with a coworker about whether this was a provocation of the Chinese or a necessary move to register our continued interest in the Pacific Rim. I lean towards the latter, but not everyone agrees.
- I’ve finally started watching Game of Thrones after having read all of the books. So far I’m delighted, in particular by the characterizations. Barristan Selmy, Syrio Forel, and a host of other characters are very much as I imagined them, and the set design is superb. (However, I did wonder why all the characters have British accents. The BBC has one possible answer.)
- Why’d I take the plunge? U-Verse had a promotion: 3 months of free HBO. I signed up and immediately fired up the HBO Go app on my Xbox. It works superbly, including Kinect integration for voice control. The HBO Go app also works well on my Mac, so I connected it to the hotel-room TV here in San Diego and watched Game of Thrones on it too. WELCOME TO THE FUTURE.
- I really like the new Trending app for iOS. It combines stock data with news about the companies in your portfolio. Since it’s free, go get it.
- Fascinating story on ferries in Alaska. There’s more to it than you might have suspected.
- Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation: fun, quick read. Recommended.
- Today’s fun cloud computing game: anyone can play.
- Tuesday and Wednesday I went running at Shoreline Park in San Diego. It was beautiful: sunshine, sailboats, a few SH-60s. Here’s a panorama I took with Photosynth:
- I note with sadness the passing of CAPT Carroll LeFon, USN (ret). He was a fighter pilot until the end, a stalwart patriot, and a great American, and I say this with no trace whatsoever of irony.
- Fascinating BBC article on recycling of medical implants: hips, knees, etc. get turned into turbine blades and other artifacts.
- Since I’ve been in Pensacola, I’ve gotten to rent a number of different vehicles. So far, the Chrysler 300 I’m currently driving is my favorite. Comfortable, powerful, quiet, and stylish. The interior is well-assembled, and the avionics (or whatever you call them in cars) work very well, with none of the Bluetooth bugs I’ve gotten accustomed to working around in other vehicles. Plus, as Tom says, Eminem drives one, so what’s not to like?
- Brilliant news: LodgeNet (you know, the hotel-TV folks) have produced an app that turns your device into a TV remote for your hotel TV. I love this because, quite frankly, those remotes are swimming in germs.
- I’ve long been a nuclear-weapons nerd, so Restricted Data is like catnip.
- Speaking of which: Perimeter.
- I’m taking my FAA written exam this week. So far I’ve accumulated about 70 hours of flight time, and I only need a few more specific things before i can take my check ride. However, the weather here in Pensacola is worsening, so I doubt I’ll be able to finish up before I leave.
- This collection of LEGO science models gives me a strong urge to break out the LEGOs. Like I needed a reason…
The boys and I are just back from a wonderful trip to South Louisiana for a mini-family reunion. Missie started the ball rolling a few months ago, so I made precautionary hotel reservations just in case. Things worked out beautifully– the boys had Friday and Monday off, so I picked them up in Montgomery Thursday night, and we stayed overnight in Mobile. Friday morning, we got up and drove to Houma; along the way we stopped at the National World War II Museum. I’d been there before, but the boys hadn’t, and they were pretty much wide-eyed throughout the entire tour. A stop in Luling for a shrimp poboy, and poof! we were in Houma.
That night we went to the Krewe of Aphrodite parade. In case you hadn’t guessed, this krewe’s court is all-female, and all the floats were crewed by women. I’m not sure if that was a factor in the boys’ massive haul of beads, but it could have been. We all had a grand time; we then joined Doug, Shawn, Missie, Jody, and the girls for Mexican.
the boys ended up heavily laden with beads, plus all sorts of other random paraphernalia.
sadly, Piranha Rentals doesn’t actually rent piranhas.
not actual size
Saturday drove around to check out Houma, which has grown quite a bit since my last visit– to say nothing of how much it’s grown since I lived there. Terrebonne Parish as a whole had about 94,000 people in 1980, shortly before I moved away. The 2010 census says it now has around 112,000 people, but that seems low based on the size and bustle of what used to be a fairly quiet small town. We were supposed to marshal at Mr. Poboy (which I highly recommend), but we had some time to kill. I decided to drive out towards the airport, and what a good decision that turned out to be!
As we were driving, I saw what looked like a DC-3… then another one… then some other large propellor transport, all parked behind a hangar labeled “AIRBORNE SUPPORT.” We drove over to their hangar, and after a little poking around a gentleman (whose name, sadly, I didn’t write down) came out and offered us a tour of their operations. At first, he asked if we were with the media; I later learned that various media organizations were using shotgun mikes, pole-mounted cameras, and other surveillance devices to eavesdrop on their operations during cleanup of the BP Macondo oil spill. Once he was satisfied that we weren’t part of any sinister plots, he could not have been more helpful and friendly. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Airborne Support is a contractor that provides aerial spraying services to Clean Gulf Associates, an oil-industry-funded non-profit that maintains emergency response equipment and staff for spill cleanup. I’ll have to read up more on both of them when I have time.
The aircraft shown above is one of the DC-3s we saw (its web page is here.). More properly, it’s actually a C-47A, the military variant of the DC-3. This one was built in 1944 and is still flying! That’s not uncommon, as aircraft have a much longer life than most people realize. It’s fitted with a large tank that holds chemical dispersant; the spray plane flies at low altitude (30-50 feet above the water) and sprays in a pattern determined by a spotter plane flying at a higher altitude. The interior is bare-bones: there’s a big tank for the dispersant and that’s it. The cockpit below is mostly original, too, with the addition of a Garmin 530, some 1970s-vintage radios, and an overhead-mounted agricultural specialty GPS. The seats, yokes, and so on are all original, though.
my sons have the rare distinction of having been both in the cockpit of an operational DC-3 and the captain’s chair of a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier
After the tour, we joined the family at Mr. Poboy for an excellent meal. I had the fried shrimp poboy, which was served with excellent soft French bread. The shrimp were apparently fried in Zatarain’s, which is my go-to seasoning, and were plentiful and of good texture. (I wasn’t sold on the fries, though; our Luling gas station fries were better). Then we went over to Ricky’s house, where Ricky and Carey cooked up two huge pots of food: seafood gumbo and pastalaya respectively. Both were superb, as was the lemon icebox pie that someone made (I’m not sure who, but it was certainly good).
Carey’s pastalaya pot is almost, but not quite, big enough to cook a small child in. Sadly you can’t see Ricky’s epic two-burner cooking stand but it was busy too.
One of the things I love about visiting my family is that it’s a given that all the men can cook well. I am by far the worst male cook in my family, but I’m working on it!
We stayed at Ricky’s until well after dark; the steady, heavy rain didn’t dampen our spirits, although it did force cancellation of the scheduled parades. We were too full to care, however. Sunday morning we had breakfast en masse at Waffle House, conveniently located next to our hotel, then went in search of another parade– this one the Krewe of Terraneans. We stayed for the first four or five floats, then headed west for A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tour, run by Black Guidry. I’d taken the boys on it before several years ago, and I don’t think Black’s jokes have changed much since then, but we got some great looks at wildlife, including turtles, young alligators, and nutria. The weather had cleared by the time we left the dock and it was clear, sunny, and very pleasant out on the water.
Capt. Guidry playing his Cajun accordion
A third turtle decamped the log just as I was pressing the shutter button.
He looks pretty comfortable, doesn’t he?
Sunday night we had dinner at Boudreau & Thibodeaux’s in Houma. The food was excellent, and the wait staff did their best to feed all 30 of us in a reasonable amount of time. I had some delicious grilled catfish and a small number of Tom’s two pounds of crawfish. He certainly did them justice, as you can see in the before-and-after pictures below.
Monday all we did was drive back: Houma to Montgomery for me to drop the boys off, then back to Pensacola: just under 500 statute miles all told. Great trip, and we’re all looking forward to doing it again next year!
- Remarkably enough, there are people who don’t know about Atomic Fireballs. Herewith some educational materials in case you are one such.
- Apple released a beta of the new Mac OS Messages app, which is supposed to let you exchange iMessages with iOS users. So far it doesn’t seem to work consistently; I have messages on my phone that didn’t show up on the computer and vice versa. It’s a neat idea, though, so I’m looking forward to them getting all the bugs out.
- The BBC reboot of Sherlock Holmes (cleverly titled Sherlock) is fantastic. I recommend it highly. It’s on Netflix.
- Ever heard of the Heavy Press Program? No? Then read this article and marvel at the wonders of American industry. Seriously.
I want to lead off this edition by giving mad props to my friend and coworker Brian Hill, who’s just chronicled the results of a two-year program to improve his health. tl;dr: vastly improved his health, lost 80 lbs, and has turned into a muscle beast. Check it out. I wonder if I can afford him as a personal trainer?
In other news:
- So Newt says we’ll have a moon base by the end of his second term? Doesn’t matter; I still wouldn’t vote for him.
- Happy Australia Day!
- The Chinese have an aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy now has a nuclear attack submarine (plus another home-built one coming next year). Good thing we have a robust Navy.. at least for now.
- Engineering is hard. So is missile defense.
- Microsoft’s released nine new chunks of content describing programming interfaces for Exchange Server. Happy reading.
- Apropos of the cost of Macs vs PCs, the brilliant Horace Dediu has a really interesting analysis of Apple’s ASP (average selling prices) for various devices. Money quote: “The evidence I see is that Apple does not change pricing but rather stakes out a specific price point as resonating with consumers given their positioning. They then doggedly stick to it.”
- Let’s see whether Apple’s former retail genius, Ron Johnson, can bring the rain at JC Penney. I’m rooting for him.
[ putting this in the "FAIL" category since it's no longer Thursday, but better late than never…]
To begin with, my hearty congratulations to Tony Redmond on receiving a “Distinguished” award from the Society for Technical Communications (STC) for Exchange 2010 Inside Out. This is quite an honor, but a well-deserved one. I read and edit a great deal of material focused on Exchange, and Tony’s book is the best I’ve encountered. Well done.
- And speaking of books: I have the galleys for Bruce Schneier’s latest book, Liars and Outliers. It’s been an interesting read so far, although much of what he has to say about the nature of trust and how trust granting works seems intuitively obvious.
- Looks like I’ll be speaking at TEC 2012 in San Diego. That should be fun; I thoroughly enjoyed speaking at TEC 2010 in Vegas.
- I think it’s telling that if you search for “Exchange Connections 2012″ you get this page, which doesn’t actually mention Exchange Connections– you have to scroll the list of icons over to the right to see it at all, and the textual conference descriptions don’t mention it. That’s rather sad. The page that is ostensibly about Exchange Connections is even worse.
- After next week my teaching schedule will lighten up a bit, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be spending a lot more time flying.
- Some people tend to think that their negative statements and claims won’t get back to their intended target. Wrong-o.
All sorts of stuff to trivialize this week!
- This very cool story of the man whose life inspired the character of Omar Little on The Wire shows that there is redemption available, and that there can be a second– or even a third– act in our lives if we want it and will work towards it.
- The Nokia Lumia 800 is really, really tempting me.
- Risk identification and mitigation is really important in aviation. That was the first thing I thought of when I read this blog post at AVWeb. Personally, I wouldn’t have attempted that flight in those conditions.
- I just grabbed an app that purports to take you from your couch to being ready to run a 10K race in 14 weeks. The app maker says I can just jump in at the 5K stage and be good to go. We’ll see.
- Walking one mile drunk turns out to be 8x more dangerous than driving one mile drunk. Given the number of people I see making poorly-thought-out street crossings in Pensacola, I can certainly believe it.
- This clip of local news bloopers from 2011 isn’t safe for work, but it sure is funny.
- I just signed up to take my Florida CCW class, which will result in me getting a Florida non-resident CCW permit. Good times!
Last year I decided to do a year-end retrospective. It was short and to the point. I still like the idea of summarizing the year, and I still like the idea of doing so concisely, so here’s what I want to say about 2011: it was better than some years and worse than others.
I accomplished some of the personal and professional goals I’d set for myself, but there are some others that are yet incomplete, so I have some things to strive towards in the coming year. I made progress on some fronts and had setbacks– some self-inflicted, some not– in others.
I have a lot to work on in the coming year.
America’s 1st Sergeant sums it up nicely with this post on the concept of initium. I have a number of personal, professional, and life initiatives underway that I hope will bear fruit in 2012. If they don’t, it won’t be due to lack of initiative or effort on my part.
Thanks to all my family and friends for their support and help during the past year, and here’s wishing all who read this a prosperous, safe, and happy 2012!