Archive for May, 2010

24 May 1995

May 24, 2010

We met at Prairie Vista Elementary School. Mr. S____ gave photography tips followed by a video on photography. We did some photo practice then stampeded the refreshments. But not until Mr. H____ taught us a game played in Scotland that’s related to shot put.

Group photo of us in NYC waiting for our flight home:

Future Ryan says: I spent many evenings with my parents visiting nearly every camera retailer in a two county area looking for the perfect camera for the trip, and eventually settled on a Pentax. That Pentax served me well. I do not remember anything about the shot put game.



May 20, 2010

Earlier this month, I visited Montpelier, the estate of James Madison near Orange, Virginia.

When Dolley Madison sold the home in 1844, Montpelier spent the next 140 years in private hands, and only recently transferred into historic preservation status. Over ten years, the house was slowly restored to the condition the Madisons kept it in, reversing a century of interior and exterior modifications. Very little of the Madison decor or furnishings remains, but the site curators are tirelessly seeking original Madisoniana.

The estate is a nice place to visit, and it took us about six hours to see it all. Evelyn and I tried our hands at a two-man bucksaw, sharpened an axe on a grinding wheel, watched archaeologists at work in their lab, sampled period-cooked baking, and enjoyed the very nice walking trails through old-growth hickory woods. The gazebo above was decorative, but its foundation also conceals the Madison ice house. Wouldn’t this structure look nice on the dime, along with a portrait of Madison?

This is definitely one site to revisit in the future, since so much of the historical preservation is ongoing. I am eager to see what they’ll accomplish over the next ten years.

My house now has a handsome yellowwood tree in the front yard, replacing our former silver maple. The feral rabbits have reappeared in the neighborhood following their winter dormancy, and we spotted a red back salamander near our kitchen door.

After months of inaction, I finally gave in and bought a lawnmower. My inaction was economic, not ecological. Why buy a new mower when there must be plenty of older lawnmowers out there? But, as they say about used cards, buying a used machine means buying somebody else’s problems. Apprehensive about the uncertainty of used machine reliability, and with two gift cards for Lowes on hand, I decided to get a new one anyway. If there were a hardware store or machine shop selling reputable refurbished mowers, I would have bought a mower there without hesitation!

My game Wanderlust is getting some good exposure on BoardGameGeek. I have an official French version, and will soon have a Japanese versions available. Maybe Evelyn can help me with a Spanish version.

Also in gaming, I’ve been playing a lot of Dominion. If you’re a gamer and you haven’t played Dominion yet, you’re missing out.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: The Tempest Prognosticator

Movies I’ve Seen:

Star Wars Holiday Special (TV, 1978) ~ producers disowned for good reason

Hancock (2008) ~ blaxploitation Superman has a secret

What I’ve Been Reading:

"Timeline" by Michael Crichton

4 May 1995

May 4, 2010

A North Irish immigrant David Carville was present at this meeting. He told us some tips on Irish etiquette.

  • population 4 ½ million since 1942
  • 75°-80° in June
  • Not humid but damp
  • no rap music!
  • Dress shirt for church
  • Simple lifestyle
  • Like good manners
  • Buy stuff at duty-free shops
  • Like pop-tarts
  • Dark at 11:30pm, sun up at 3:00am

Travel tips were also given.

  • Mark used film canister
  • take powder detergent
  • carry money on person!

Group photo of us outside our hotel in Wales:

Future Ryan says: Past Me wrote down some weird things here. How can it be damp but not humid? I also never got an explanation about the Irish fixation on PopTarts, though I did take some for my Dublin homestay. The film canister tip was very useful but thankfully obsolete.