Evil little brother

We have a new member of our computer family. Joe bought a mini laptop from, you guessed it, Dell. No, for realsies, a Dell. He did however tear out the evil insides, replaced them with the Mac operating system and stuck an Apple sticker over the Dell emblem. It works really well and now we can video chat from opposite ends of the couch.

big and little laptop openbig and little laptop closed

Goodbye 867MHz, Hello 2.4GHz

i now have a new computer at work - a new 24 inch iMac! It was a hand-me-down from someone who left but it was only 6 months old. It is so much prettier and faster than my previous G4 867MHz desktop. Have a look.


And here's my lunch.


And here I am chatting with Lynda. We are both wearing red scarves made and embellished with Latvian design needlepoint by our grandmother Omite.



Unboxing is a geek activity. It used to be only photos but these days it can involve video. I still prefer photos, mainly because the quality of most youtube videos sucks. Most unboxings I have seen involve Apple products but there is no limit to what can be unboxed. Case in point:


New Fall 2007 TV shows

Here's what I plan to check out:
Chuck - geeks and spies
Journeyman - time travel
Reaper - could be Buffy-like
Bionic Woman - a old idea but seem ass-kickin'
Dirty Sexy Money - Dynasty meets Wall Street,
Life - another police drama but seems a bit different
Big Shots - Good looking men with money, seems to be a theme this season.
Moonlight - another vampire detective. I am there!

Databases and bike rides

I am helping Dana set up a database for mailings and to track donations. I sat on my butt most of Saturday entering the data and designing reports. Most of my work for Dana is creative (web site, video work, etc) so this was more left brain (nerdy) work. It's good to keep both sides in good shape.

So I exercised my brain Saturday and the rest of me on Sunday. We took a 33 mile bike ride on the Four Mile Run and W&OD bike trails in Virginia. The weather was perfect . The prettiest part was actually near the water treatment plant where the late summer wild flowers are at their peak. The most unusual part was the guy riding a low-riding recumbent bike pimped out with an aerodynamic shield and red and black zebra print spandex. Joe has seen him an number of times over the last couple of years. It used to be Captain America-themed This was the sort of bike he was riding. Picture the black and white part as red and black zebra print spandex:


And as a reward for reading my blog here is an advance copy of the Christmas Contest announcement.

Triathalon, The Tour and YouTube

Today I did my first mini-triathalon of the summer - a 12 mile bike ride, a half mile swim and a 3 block walk to Schlotszky's for sandwiches. It was great.

The Tour de France has started and I am very interested to see what happens. There are a couple of good riders that I like left after 2 years of doping scandal to root for. Allez Tom Boonen! Allez Jens Voigt and the whole CSC Team! Allez George Hincapie!

Although i understand the appeal of youtube i always groan when I see a youtube link because i know that the quality of the video i want to see will be crap. Which is too bad because I have been thinking it would be nice for Dana to have some videos on youtube. Well after seeing that some youtube videos actually do look good I did some investigating and found a page that has suggestions for good quality video. youtube takes what you send it and re-encodes it to their format, size, etc so this if you can upload a video that is close to youtube's format you have a better chance of good quality.

So after about 15 minutes of playing around and 8 hours of rendering I uploaded my first youtube video. It seems to look better (less choppy) if you actually go to the site but here it is embedded:


My hard drive died last week and I was able to recover most of my data except my web site project file. So I am starting from scratch, again.
I will slowly fill in the gaps. Very sad.

Contest winner

One of our favorite museums is the National Building Museum (you may remember this little movie). Joe became a member and so he gets a magazine every couple of months. In the first issue he got there was a contest. Identify this picture:
Joe guessed it immediately and he was one of 4 readers to win. He correctly guessed it was the underside of arecibo radio telescope dish in Puerto Rico. There was no prize just a mention the next issue of the magazine.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
The Good Shephard is a movie about the beginnings of the CIA and one man's initiation into the world of espionage. It is a good story spanning World War II through the Bay of Pigs. It is a bit complicated but well laid out. Recommended.

Another Blog

Austin started a blog today. Of all my siblings he was the third least likely in my mind to have a blog. But I think it is pretty cool. I'll post the address once he gets it looking the way he wants (colors, fonts, a picture or two).

Also exciting today was getting the latest version of Final Cut (video editing software), which has all sorts of add-ons for special effects. The box was at least 15 lbs, mostly manuals. We're watching a documentary about the CSC cycling team getting ready for the Tour so I am getting inspired. All I need to do is find 40G of disk space to install it

This week I was all "international" attending events (Dana's dance concert Tuesday night, an old movie Wednesday night) at the Embassy of Austria and one at the Organization of the American States (OAS). The OAS event was a silent auction benefiting Peruvian orphans. I went with Austin and William, their Panamanian friend Ralph, their neighbors, Shelly and Matthew and Matthews's father and his girlfriend Mary. It turns out Mary's father is Latvian. Like my mother his first impression of the US was the deep south. He landed in Tennesee, my mother in Mississippi. The OAS building is one of the most beautiful in the city. Here are some dark and fuzzy pics from the OAS event:

Cutthroat Competition

Austin is off and running with his new blog auspics-whatsthebuzz.blogspot.com He's been very prolific - 11 posts in one week.

Lenore and Lynda are competing for the best scar from ovarian cancer surgery. Although Lenore's scar from her breast cancer surgery increases her total scarage, Lynda's stomach scar is longer and was cut into again for her second surgery. The prize is getting the most sympathy from the family. And you thought we only competed making puppets, writing sonnets and creating black velvet artwork. If you are squeamish, DO NOT GO HERE.

By the way, here is a list of our Christmas competitions:

  • 1990 Write a Story based on a Edward Gorey drawing
  • 1991 Make a 1992 Calendar
  • 1992 Make pages for a Alphabet Book for Graeme
  • 1993 Make a Mobile to hang in the Edisto house
  • 1994 Karaoke Gilbert and Sullivan
  • 1995 Puppets with a Purpose
  • 1996 Touchy Feely Book for Little T
  • 1997 Lawn Ornaments
  • 1998 Poetry: A Limerick and then one other poetry form
  • 1999 Mosaics
  • 2000 Photography (Photography By The Numbers)
  • 2001 Comic Strip
  • 2002 White Trash Cooking Show
  • 2003 Stuffed Toys
  • 2004 Dioramas
  • 2005 Black Velvet Art

Some more movie/DVD reviews

Kilnieks (Hostage) Lorella and I went to see this Latvian movie directed by Laila Pakalnina that was part of the European Union Film Festival. It is a story of a hijacker who forces a plane to land in Riga. He lets all the hostages go except an 8 year old boy who asked to stay on the plane. The story is about the hijacker and the boy's friendship as well as about a number of interconnected events that happen around the airport involving racing cyclists, farmers, detectives, biathletes, folk song choirs, bunnies, dogs, cats, cows, bees. The director manages to include many Latvian traditions and favorite foods in the stories. It was quite enjoyable although I am not really sure what happened at the end. Even though we see the hijacker and the boy sitting and talking in a tree it is not clear if they got away clean, died, or if they were just in the imagination of some children playing in the sand. The film was in English and Latvian. I recognized alot of words but unfortunately my grasp of the language has severely dwindled.