Happiness is…

Making me happy this week:

  • St. Elsewhere reruns on Hulu.
  • OpenRefine and Oxygen.
  • This article that references some weirdo who’s obsessed with supermarket history.
  • Apple fritters from Aldi.
  • The potential for three consecutive days of sleep (or at least a reasonable proportion of those three days).
  • Cleveland and Detroit in April, with maybe a side detour through Southern Ontario.

And you?

What’s up doc?

Strange work dream:

Mel Blanc was mad at us because we wouldn’t include something he donated in a digital collection. I observed that I was pretty sure it had to be Mel Blanc‘s son who made the complaint, because Mel Blanc himself was dead.

Just as I was about to look it up and see when he died, I woke up. Of course, I immediately went for my phone and looked it up anyway.

Mel Blanc died in 1989.

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)…

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157682304943426″]

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