Virginia Tech

Amidst all the news being released today about the horrific events at VT yesterday, I found a transcript of an extended text/IM exchange between a student who was locked down in a classroom, and her brother and mother. The conversation paints a vivid picture of what it was like to be caught up in the middle of this tragedy. As a parent, this section stopped me cold:

MylittleMommy (12:24:09 PM): any idea when they’ll let you out?
blueiyed (12:26:06 PM): i think soion
MylittleMommy (12:24:42 PM): are you okay
MylittleMommy (12:24:50 PM): they’re saying they think it was 1 gunman
blueiyed (12:27:34 PM): yeh i’m just freaking out i want to come home i don’t want to be here
MylittleMommy (12:27:45 PM): well they have counselors lined up and church service planned for healing. If you want to come home, I’ll talk to Dad about a plane ticket.
MylittleMommy (12:27:57 PM): first let’s get you out of the building

Complete IM conversation here.

over booked

Please send some energy and positive thoughts in Gina’s direction — the next couple of weeks she is scheduled for back to back 15 hour days. In addition to her daily crew practice in the afternoons, this week she’ll be going directly to nightly chorus rehearsals or performances of Night on Broadway, which will run until 10:30p every evening. And then on Saturday she has crew regatta at 6am, followed by chorus performances at 2:30p and 7:30p.

NOB, 4/19-4/21/2007

Next week, she has daily afternoon chorus rehearsals for the Carnegie Hall field trip (completely different set of music, mostly classical), and Friday April 27 we depart for NYC. Also looming in here is preparation for her AP Geography exam. Not to mention standing academic obligations (homework!). And indications are strong that she may be asked to row at the Stotesbury Regatta (Philadelphia) in May.

Its a cliche of our times that our kids are over-scheduled in a way that we never were at that age.

Crew

WPHS Crew competed in the Sprints League Championship regatta this weekend. 10 high school teams from around the state (Miami to Tallahassee) met at Orlando’s Turkey Lake Park on saturday for a 3 round elimination tourney, where the final prevailing boat in each class takes home a t-shirt relinquished by each losing crew team. Winter Park nearly swept the event; Gina rowed stroke in the women’s 3rd eight boat of mostly freshmen, and brought home 5 t-shirts!

Turkey Lake has a nice viewing area at the finish line and I got some video of her final win. They were ‘bow and stern’ all the way, and it was an exciting come-from-behind finish. Gina’s “stroke” position is the first rower from the stern (back) of the boat. The youtube quality is pretty poor, but you can see her rowing pretty clearly after the finish when the rowers are returning past the dock to the launch spot. Be sure and turn your sound on:

I’m getting the hang of the Adobe Premiere editing software – stay tuned for my season ending highlight reel of WPHS crew action.

Follow below for a version on google video
Continue reading “Crew”

vacuum tubes are obsolete

But, you say: Bob, this is hardly news. Vacuum tubes were practically retired with the introduction of transistors way back in the middle of the last century!

Not so fast thermionic breath! Vacuum tubes are still a significant element of household technology, and only now are we seeing efficient replacements for these hugely energy inefficient devices. For one thing, I’m talking about the cathode ray tubes in our televisions and computer monitors. You may have already migrated to flat panel video displays, but I still own and use — every day — 3 large cathode ray tubes at home. I know my next TV set will be a flat panel.

But I’m also referring to incandescent light bulbs. These are simple vacuum tube devices that squander over 90% of their electrical consumption by means of heat emissions. New technologies of compact fluorescents and L.E.D. lamps are such impressive improvements that Canada, Australia and the U.K. are beginning to talk about officially banning the use of incandescent bulbs.

I’ve purchased a few L.E.D. flashlights and they’re great improvements over old-fashioned ones — smaller form factor, brighter light, longer lasting batteries, and the bulbs themselves will last a lifetime. And we are in the process of replacing all our standard light bulbs at home with the newer and cheaper compact fluorescent bulbs. We’re just swapping them out as our regular bulbs die. Go right now down to Walmart or home depot and pick up a dozen of the new CF bulbs. You can find them for less than $2 ea. There are dimmable versions, colored versions and more. There is no reason not to do so.

new wordpress implementation

I’ve been volunteer web manager for the Florida District of the Unitarian Universalist Association for several years. About a year ago, I started managing some of the content in blogger.com blogs that were ftp published onto our host server.

thumbnail of FDUU websiteFor the last month, I’ve been working on turning the entire site over to WordPress management, which involved importing 3 blogger.com blogs into a single database, building categories, and tweaking templates to present the information in a logical and accessible manner. I turned it on this morning with little fanfare. see at http://www.floridadistrict.org

Incidentally, that install is WordPress 2.1 which has a whole bunch of improved features. I’ll upgrade this blog — and hold my breath and hope it doesn’t break anything   I’ve upgraded and it seems ok.

Bike ride

We have had some unseasonably cold weather move in this weekend. Easter sunrise services around central florida are going to be chilly!

Linda and I braved the 52 degree early morning chill to head out on our neighborhood bike trail and cross the new multi-million dollar SR 436 overpass. We found a cuban cafe in a strip mall over in Seminole county which served a mean cafe leche. I took my camera along and got these clips: