Filed under:General — eric @ 2:48 am

Today’s my little sister’s birthday. She was ten or eleven when I left home (regular readers already know I actually have no idea how old my family members are, and it’s a minor miracle that I even remembered the correct date), but now she’s all grown up with a real job, a husband, and three young’uns. I guess that means I’m a little older, too.

She’s an English teacher, so it seems appropriate that I link to screenshots from an alledged bootleg DVD of The Two Towers that is making the rounds in Europe. Someone added subtitles that are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike English.

Happy Birthday, Lauryl!


Monkey Fight!

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:56 am

Monkey Fight!


Bubble Wrap Appreciation

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:16 am

Monday is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, and the folks that first made it are leading the celebrations by giving away free samples.


Filed under:General — eric @ 11:24 am

You’ve probably seen those photo mosaics where a large image is made up of many smaller images acting as pixels. Kelly Houle has taken the idea a mile further by creating a photo collage that is also anamorphic — a collage of illustrations and related material from Alice in Wonderland that, when a curved mirror is placed in the correct position, forms a portrait of Lewis Carroll. It’s absolutely amazing stuff. More of her fantastic anamorphic art can be found here, and she sells prints and wooden jigsaw puzzles at reasonable prices. Leonardo DaVinci will soon be on my wall. She’s only a couple years older than me, and studied physics, astronomy, and math at the University of Arizona in Tuscon. I wonder if she’s any relation to my New Mexico physics classmate Paul Houle. (Thanks for the link, Steve!)


Another week gone by

Filed under:General — eric @ 2:22 am

It’s funny how you can blink and then another week has gone by. At least this week was a productive one (even if I never got around to writing here).

Fridays seem to be “Frozen Pipe Day” around here. I spent a good chunk of last Saturday digging up a section of pipe between the well and the house that had burst. One I found it, it wasn’t that hard to repair, but still, there went most of the day. Last night, it froze but didn’t burst. Still took a few hours to thaw, but I didn’t have to splice pipe.

Got a nice touch of winter precipitation Thursday night. Enough ice to make things slippery and freeze the car doors shut (Note to self: don’t forget to replace broken car door handle), then not quite an inch of snow on top of that. There’s still some on the ground now — it’s been right cold here. The puppy finally decided she liked snow, and the chickens never did figure it out.

This year’s taxes were the first time they’ve been complicated. Between buying a house and operating a farm, there were all sorts of forms to fill out. Nineteen pages, by the time I got done. Thanks to TurboTax, it wasn’t at all hard, and we’ll manage to get back more than half of the taxes we’d already paid. By the books, the farm had a net loss of $7,499 — but I’m actually quite happy with that. A large percentage of that was start-up costs that won’t have to get repeated this year. Building barns and greenhouses gets a bit expensive, but done right they last a while. Anyway, with the magic of the internet, the taxes have already been filed and we may get our money back by the end of the month.

I’ve been a busy beaver on the Town & Gown website this week, too. Many of the ttols I’ve written are for theater management (and thus behind the scenes), but the public site has been getting a lot of attention, too.

And wonder of wonders, I’ve been productive at work, too, catching up on a huge backlog that had piled up behind a rather tricky installation of a new interface between our software and a new accounting vendor. But that’s working now, so I’m trying to tear through the backlog to keep the older customers from getting to upset at the wait.

In related news, my wife is leaving a job that’s placed a high demand on her time of late (she’s leaving for Chicago for ten days Monday morning). At the end of the month, she’ll take a position at my office. That ought to cut down on our incidental expenses quite a bit, not to mention increase the time we can actually see each other.

So… busy but productive.


Classic Scottish Poetry

Filed under:General — eric @ 8:34 am

I enjoy reading the classic Scottish poetry of Robert Burns as much as the next guy, but sometimes it just leaves me feeling dirty.


Street THeater & Mind Control

Filed under:General — eric @ 9:58 am

I’ve been thinking that downtown Athens would be a good place to perform Street Theater, but now I see I’d be playing right into the hands of those who practice psychotronic mind control.


I’m in a book

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:51 pm

Readers of Recipes from America’s Small Farms: Fresh Ideas for the Season’s Bounty, to be published in June from Random House, will learn a little about our farm and our chickens, and will get a copy of my “Eggs in a Tomato Nest” recipe.

Are corporations people?

Filed under:General — eric @ 2:16 am

Justices true to the Constitution and the Founders’ intent may wake up to the havoc wrought on the American political landscape by the Bellotti case and its reliance on the flawed Santa Clara headnote. If the Court chooses in the next few weeks to hear the Kasky v. Nike case, it will open an opportunity for them to rule that corporations don’t have the free speech right to knowingly deceive the public. It’s even possible that this case could cause the Court to revisit the error of Davis’s 1886 headnote, and begin the process of dismantling the flawed and unconstitutional doctrine of corporate personhood.

Thom Hartmann, at CommonDreams.org


Local Harvest

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:49 am


Eleventy one

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:21 am

Today, JRR Tolkien would have turned Eleventy One. For the Tolkien Society, today is a long awaited party. It is the society’s tradition to toast Tolkien on this day every year, at 9pm, by raising a glass and saying “The professor.”

I’ll make sure I have a full glass handy when 9pm rolls around.

UPDATE: Looking back at an entry from a year ago today, it looks like someone forgot to remind me to have a blow-out party at my place today. Too bad, really, because I could use a good party.


New Year, new goals

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:24 am

I’ve had a terrible track record over the last month writing here, I’ve noticed. The last month has been busy and stressful, and yet pleasant and productive. Still, not a month I’d like to repeat any time soon. I did manage to have wonderful visits with family both old and new, nearly finished building the two greenhouses, and fenced in a portion of the back yard for the puppy. Seed catalogs have arrived, so I’m now deciding what to grow this year, and that gives me a lot to look forward to.

As you may well know, this year saw me (us, really, but it’s so much easier to write on my page in the first person) make the jump from having a large personal garden to a small market garden. I’ve got this goal of having the farm completely pay for itself, including mortgage and everything, within five years. Well, four now. And the first year was a good healthy start toward that. There were a number of things that could have been done better, so that gives me goals to work on this year.

One of my biggest disappointments this year was not being able to document the creation of the farm with pictures. I suppose I could have broken down and snapped lots of 35mm shots, but the time and expense involved wasn’t worth it. I’m expecting some extra income in five weeks, and I’ll do my best to apply some of that toward a decent digital camera so I can document this year’s efforts. It’s been a joy (and an incredible amount of sheer physical labor) to hack out a nurturing environment out of land that have been neglected and in some parts abused over the last umpteen years. I’d love to be able to show it off through pictures, in some part to brag, and in another part to inspire others to do the same.

Speaking of the farm, I’ve made a number of changes to the website over the last month, including converting all the newsletters to PDF, adding an easy to search table of them all, and updating details of how folks can buy into our “Meal Plan”.

I’ve been doing lots of fun behind-the-scenes web work lately. As of yesterday, I am president of the Town and Gown Players, the Athens-based community theater work I’ve been involved with over the last five years. The year coming up will mark our 50th season, and there are a lot of plans in the works to commemorate the occasion. One of my goals as president will be to change the group of people in charge of the organization, the Board of Directors, from a group focused on the operation of the theater into a group focus on governing the theater. It’s a hard idea to succinctly write about here, but in effect the board has in the past been so wrapped up in getting everything done that is needed to put up twelve different plays a year that it hasn’t had any time to address the continued sustainability of the players. The very real possibility exists that increased competition and expenses could drive us right out of business. One problem that has been pointed out be several advisors we’ve had in during the last few years is the rapid turnover of board members — we have yearly elections and the board effectively cycles every 12 months. This means that a lot of time gets spent just getting up to speed on the tasks at hand and institutional memory becomes almost impossible to maintain. So, I’ve been working on a suite of web-based tools that may make that part of the job less painful. It includes job how-tos for the benefit of new members, calendars showing when things need to get done, easy to update information about upcoming shows and events, and so forth. Just having everything in one place, accessible on demand, will make a huge difference. And the time saved can be put to better use. Soon, I’ll include the public pages in this system.

I’d like to change things around on this page, too, but I don’t yet know what exactly. I’ll just keep thinking about it.