Indiana, Indiana

   

I hadn’t been to Indianapolis in more than eleven years, and hadn’t spent any appreciable time there in almost twenty, though I had recently updated its profile on that other site. This was a work trip, though, and I saw more of the hotel and the meeting room I was in than anything else, particularly since I had no car.

That said, I did manage to:

Sadly, I did not manage to:

  • See my friend Bob, on whom I still blame the wonder that was the 1997 Planet SOMA U.S. Tour.
  • Indulge in anything of a pork tenderloin nature.
  • Do any actual research.

An extra bonus was the fact that I was able to avoid snow and ice in the South by travelling to the Midwest. Irony is fun. Maybe the biggest thing, though, was the end of the series of overnight delays that has plagued every single work trip I’ve taken by plane in the past four years. The only glitches were the two-hour delay waiting for a replacement plane in Charlotte and my first encounter with the notorious Gate 35X at DCA.

Off to Durham for another work trip tomorrow. I may not leave the house this weekend.

I’m going to Nova Scotia…

…and you probably aren’t.

I never thought my work would take me to Canada’s ocean playground. Surprises are nice. I’ve already envisioned a scenario where Chris Murphy from Sloan is home in Halifax visiting family, we meet downtown, he decides he likes boys, we fall in love, and I get another chance to immigrate to Canada and go on tour as a band wife.

Since that probably won’t really happen, I’m just going to be excited about hitting three new provinces in a part of Canada I might not otherwise have visited.

New year, new databases

I’ve spent New Year’s Day migrating about 50,000 images into Adobe Lightroom CC, after many years of using an assortment of Apple’s photo management tools. I’d hit the point where I realized I would soon have to give up iPhoto, and had in fact already migrated several sets into Photos.

But I really fucking hate Photos. While it’s great for the average user who just wants to look at pictures from his phone, it has several glaring weaknesses for anyone who applies any serious degree of metadata to, say, a research photo collection. Its file system is an inscrutable train wreck. It does not actually write certain of its metadata into the image files. The goddamn face recognition that you can’t turn off drives me to distraction. Then, when I realized today what a hassle it would be simply to download a video from my phone with the file format and creation date intact, it was the last straw for Photos.

Add to all this the fact that it’s actually easier to migrate an iPhoto library than a Photos library into Lightroom (and the fact that I have free access to the whole Creative Cloud platform through work) and you arrive next to me on the couch as I was having my Spam, rice, and eggs this morning. That was when I decided that today was the day to make the jump (though I’d test-migrated one library several weeks ago). The old iMac has been plugging away for almost five hours now and I’m at 47%.

I’m doing all this, of course, so I can be involved in a major migration of digital content both at home and at work. As of last month, I chaired a committee that recommended moving from CONTENTdm, the incredibly expensive digital asset management my digital collections unit currently uses, to Islandora, an open-source platform. This migration (which will involve about 750,000 items) will pretty much define my next year at work. We’re one of the bigger installations to make this move. It should be fun.

I guess I didn’t want to be bored at home at the end of the day…

Shoulda made that left turn (no, really)…

It was actually a lot of fun revisiting Albuquerque after almost twenty years. This is a city that appreciates its roadside heritage and recognizes it both as a part of American history and a tourism opportunity, and I was happy to see that a lot of the built environment–though not all of it–had survived since my last visit, and that a beautification and transit project was happening over the full length of Route 66/Central Avenue. This was a work trip so I didn’t get to do as much exploration as I might have liked, but I did also get some Groceteria research done.

And then came the trip home, which allowed me to experience a major U.S. air travel meltdown firsthand. Here is a timeline of my 36-hour trip home:

Wednesday:

8:00 AM MDT: Get an alert that my 1:15 flight to Atlanta has been delayed by two hours, which will cause me to miss my connection. I easily rebook the final leg and am happy that I get a few extra hours o explore.

2:00 PM MDT: Possible additional delays, but my coworker and I arrive at the airport since the rental car is due. We don’t realize at this time that there is a major weather issue in Atlanta that is about to cripple air travel nationwide.

4:00 PM MDT: It begins to look like our flight may be cancelled. The very helpful and friendly gate staff offer to put us up for the night at an airport hotel, which is not the usual M.O. for weather-related delays. We take them up on the offer and rebook for Thursday. I get booked on a very indirect route via Salt Lake City, but I score first class. This pleases me.

7:00 PM MDT: We have dinner in the hotel restaurant, where it takes two hours to be served a cub sandwich and a beer.

 

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Thursday:

4:00 AM MDT: I wake up and head to the airport for my first class fight to Atlanta via Salt Lake City. Alas, it is not to be.

6:00 AM MDT: My flight to Salt Lake City is cancelled. Fortunately, I manage to get on a direct flight that leaves about the same time, actually putting me In Atlanta earlier than the other route would have. Unfortunately, I’m in middle seat in coach rather than first class, and there’s a very annoying manspreader next to me, who will feel me knee very often over the next few hours. I am cranky, after all, from only having had a Kit Kat for breakfast.

11:00 AM EDT: I arrive in Atlanta. I finally eat. I find my gate and prepare for a four-hour wait for my connecting flight. The airport is a nightmare, with hours-long lines at every service desk. I feel pretty confident, though.

3:00 PM EDT: Just before we are to board, my flight is delayed for an hour. There is apparently no flight crew, though the plane itself is at the gate.

4:00 PM EDT: More delays. I’m getting apprehensive, but they’re still staging passengers so I don’t worry too much. Updates from the gate crew, however, are alarmingly infrequent.

5:00 PM EDT: My flight is cancelled. After pondering for about five minutes what I would need to do to get booked on another flight (one that would probably also get cancelled), I say “the hell with it” and reserve a rental car. I take the airport train to pick it up and find myself in line with a family who are about to rent a car to drive to Detroit for the same reason. There are a lot of people renting cars; I’m amazed I got one so cheaply and easily.

Friday:

1:00 AM EDT: Having driven over 300 miles from Atlanta, I finally get home. Just for fun, i check on the later flights I could have booked. All were cancelled. At least I made the right call for once.

Sunday update:

Delta meltdown: Delays drag into Sunday, improvement is slow

Five things about Albuquerque

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In no particular order:

  1. It was the subject of a song my dad used to sing to me as a joke when I was little. I have never been able to identify the actual song. I imagine it was from a TV show sketch or something.
  2. It’s the place where Bugs Bunny should’ve made that left turn.
  3. It is the home town of Ethel Mertz (a/k/a “Ethel Mae Potter. We never forgot her.”)
  4. It’s the only place I’ve ever been pulled over by a police officer who subsequently apologized to me for doing so.
  5. I have to go there the first week in April for a conference. For the record, I will not be taking the itinerary below.

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June. Soon.

I’m not sure exactly what to do with myself starting in June.

For context, it’s been a a really hectic year. I hoped to take it a little easy once the tenure stuff was done, but I ended up doing an extra consulting gig and taking on an entire semester-long class I hadn’t planned to teach. In the midst of all that, my mom fell and broke her neck (which was not quite as serious as it sounds) and had to move to a new facility for the second time in a year. I’m also chairing a  search committee, I have a grant application in play, and I’ve published three articles this year. And then there’s that whole “selling my house, dealing with the $22,000 oil tank, and moving” thing.

But somehow, all the major stuff seems to be ending pretty much simultaneously over the next few weeks. I’m not quite sure how to react.

Vacation will be a good start. I haven’t decided on the ultimate destination. I thought about going back to Pittsburgh because I enjoyed being there so much last weekend for my conference presentation. I’ve also considered Toronto and/or Montréal, because I probably won’t be headed that way this fall like I usually do. I may go somewhere I’ve never been. Or I may just sit on my ass watching “Cagney and Lacey” reruns and Criterion films on Hulu.

But it should be lovely…

On the road (foreshadowing)

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So I’ve kind of started pondering a pretty monumental road trip for this fall, the like of which I haven’t attempted in many years. No real details yet, but most of my ideas center around Winnipeg, and one of my drafts got me as far west as Alberta.

I know I have some readers in the prarie provinces, so if any of you want to remind me how boring I will probably find some of the vast spaces between all these cities (seeing as how I don’t much care for nature and the great outdoors) now would be a good time to rein me in a bit.

An alternate agenda would replace the western provinces with time in the US Midwest–specifically my first trip to Minneapolis in almost two decades. But I’ll probably still go to Winnipeg either way. It fascinates me. And after this year–what with the tenure process, all the teaching, and all the consulting work on the side–I deserve a big trip.

Inspiration includes this, which led to much geekerage and to this.

Otherstream at 20: 2013

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Despite an incredibly depressing start, 2013 turned out to be a really good year for me. I relocated to the house where I grew up, traveled a lot, and started having the slightest hint a social life again (which is about all I’ve ever really been able to stand anyway). And then there were the antidepressants–both the pills (which helped a LOT) and the cat with whom I had a brief relationship (which helped more than I might have thought as well). Music was a big help too.

The web stuff was maybe not some of my best ever, but that’s OK. Feeling like a human being again was nice.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December