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work and pleasure

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BTW, I got to go to the Kraemer Copyright Conference this year.  It is in Colorado Springs, just across the valley from the Garden of the Gods.  The campus has an awesome, if distant view that I got to peak at during the day while I planned my walking trip.

Ohioans vs Floridians: a travel memoir

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I went up to Ohio for a family reunion, and, though all my family komme aus Ohio for three or so generations now, I was surprised by differences in local customs I had never considered.

 Ohioans  Floridians
put french fries in their salads

have ice damaged roadways

have too many geese

have an ice cream shop on every corner

put fish on our salads

have road gators (e.g. truck tire tread)

have too many bugs

have a coffee shop on every corner

Outside of a conversation with a cousin on what road gators were, the things that vary the most about us seem to always be our eating habits.  I’ve never had french fries on my salad before, and I have no idea why the people of Ohio require so many ice cream shops in a cold climate.


previous travels:  Photomap of Dallas trip for ALA

What Jane Saw

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A historical art exhibit, rendered in colored drawing, capturing the perspective of a famous writer.  What more could you want?  Source: What Jane Saw

For the love of Florida

For the love of Florida published on 1 Comment on For the love of Florida

I saw on the DVR that the next recorded episode of Stephen Fry in America was going to include Florida and I thought, ‘heh, I wonder what awfulness he’s going to find there.’  Not long ago I was actively looking for opportunities outside of Florida, and I have never been a fan of the traditional Florida fare of sunshine, beaches, mice, and water sports (citrus, I like).  Maybe because I have since settled down in my birth state, or maybe because it is my birth state, I was a little disgruntled when Mr. Fry’s primary visit was Miami, and his primary reaction was understandably scathing.  How, you might ask, can I be disgruntled when I understand his reaction?  Well, he visited Miami.  Except for The Golden Girls, there is and has never been anything tied to Miami that could entice me to visit there.  It’s like having someone come visit your house and they only see the inside of your garage, dented, stained holiday decoration boxes and all.

–by the by, I am in entertainment consumer love with Stephen Fry; as in, I love to consume and am terribly entertained by all his writing, speaking and acting.

Image (15)
me at Cypress Gardens

So, partially as an exercise in state love, which I am still new to, I started wracking my brains for the bits of Florida that I’d rather have been seen by Stephen Fry.  What I realized, is that the bits of Florida that I think make it great are withering away.  Fewer and fewer of the quaint and wholesome tourist attractions of a hopeful postwar (WWII) U.S. can still be found in our tropical peninsula.  They are slowly making room for the attractions of today’s tourist.

Case in point:  Cypress Gardens.  I remember Cypress Gardens as a bright, hot, floral and fragrant fairy land of leisurely enjoyment.  As a typical American little girl, I was in awe of the pretty ladies who twirled their gigantic ball gowns into perfect circles of fabric as they perched on the green green lawns of the gardens.  At the time of my visit, Cypress Gardens was still doing well, but was most definitely the day trip that grandparents took their grandchildren on.  It was of their generation.   And, while they tried to pass it on to a new generation, most grandchildren, me included, didn’t spare it a second thought until it was too late.  Now that I’ve come around to my grandmother’s way of thinking, Cypress gardens has been swallowed up by LegoLand.Continue reading For the love of Florida

Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London

Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London published on No Comments on Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London

Mapping Emotions in Victorian London is a crowdsourcing project designed to expand possibilities for research in the humanities. The project has invited anonymous participants to annotate whether passages drawn from novels, published mainly in the Victorian era, represented London places in a fearful, happy, or unemotional manner.

Source: Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London

Amazing utensil inventions from Australia

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I have decided that Australia is the best place on the planet to find inventive utensils.  It all began with a Kick Starter campaign for the ButterUp.  For those of you who keep actual butter in their fridge and not spreadable margarine, you are familiar with the bread destroying inflexibility of the chilled substance.  Many of you may have moved on to French butter keepers.  If you are a Floridian, you may have tried French butter keepers and found our humid, fertile environment too mold rich for this method.  You face a dilemma.

The ButterUp is designed to make spreadable ribbons out of your chilled butter.  One side is cut into cheese grater like holes while the other side is gently serrated.  I have found it requires the right butter dish (like a traditional butter dish and not the pyrex bowl I put my sticks of butter in) to achieve the knife to butter angle that best produces ribbons. You can order these fabulous knives from Australia right now!

splaydAfter the ButterUp, what flatware collection is complete without a spork?  I tend to make a lot of chili and stew in Fall which are both too meaty and chunky for spoons and too liquidy for non spoons.  A spork seemed like the best solution, but my initial searching found only camping utensils and collapsible picnic ware.  I wanted a table top edition, something that could fit in with the rest of my flatware.  I found Splayd Utensils.

Some people say that the spork was invented by General MacArthur while he was in the pacific (“Spork’s Weird History” on Salon), others trace the roots of the spork to icecream forks and runcible spoons.  Whatever the true past of the spork, the splayd was invented in 1940 by Bill MacArthur (explanation for the General MacArthur myth?), who apparently wanted to save ladies and their tea dresses from balancing plates, forks, and knives at outdoor barbeques.  Splayd Utensils are a beautiful step in the evolution of the spork.  The straight edges aid in cutting without being sharp or dangerous when using the utensil like a spoon.  The bowl is a little shallow for good liquid retention, but it does the job.  I found a used set that, like the picture, has a very angular design.  New Splayd Utensils are a bit curvier and can be ordered from Australia.

Last, but not least, and, I suppose, not really a utensil is the  Memobottle.  This is another Kick Starter that I found answered a very specific question:  how to properly organize a bag that carries your files, your laptop, paper, tablet, etc., things that are all flat and rectangular, with a water bottle as well?  The answer is to make the bottle flat and rectangular.  I know there are many of you who never encounter this problem, who do not attend academic conferences or corporate business retreats.  You may not need this, but everyone else, all you paper pushers, should seriously check it out when Memobottle is finally made available for purchase online.

a visit to Neptune

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So hey, I went once again to the International ILLiad Conference in Virginia Beach.  I think I have at least two pictures of the giant Neptune statue from every year that I’ve gone.  That equals a lot of pictures.  This is one of the best though.

Time Traveling

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I am getting into the frame to finally give my time travelers, Clement and Rosalie Skitt, their own comic.  And then I saw, in my RSS feed, a picture from the amazingly inventive and fantastic Miguel Marquez’s Outside.

Miguel Marquez

What could I do but scour the internet for more evidence of time traveling.  My first stop, was my favorite convenience store, the Echo Park Travel Mart.  After which I spent some time reading up on all the Evidence that Time Travel Is Happening All Around You (on i09). Which led me to The Mystery of John Titor-the realest time traveler the web has known yet.  Go and read, ’cause it’s fascinating!

What happened to that giant bunny?

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from the telegraph

Years ago I heard about and wrote a blurb for the old bean on A giant knitted rabbit in Italy [that] can be seen from space by visitors to Google Earth. – Telegraph.  Up until a 2011, it looks like, people were still talking about it on web boards and travel sites.  The giant bunny is on the Colletto Fava mountain in Italy, lying like a ginormous abandoned stuffed toy with its entrails spilling out onto the ground beside it.  It was originally erected by an art group called Gelatin on

September 18, 2005, at 11:30 am and is expected to last until 2025.

“We foresee that in twenty years the pink puppet (made of straw-stuffed fabric) will be swallowed by the weather, devoured by cattle, completely erased by the weather and nature” said Gelitin in an interview.

But what’s happened to it now?  I scoped out Google Earth just a couple weeks ago.  To me it looks like barren land, deprived of sun for a few years, is starting to come back to life within the shadow outline of the bunny that is no longer there.  I suppose it could be bleached and growing grass of it’s own, but I couldn’t find any news about it’s decay or removal.  It’s still a far cry from the estimated 2025.giantbunnydecay


Mapping History

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Mapping History.


edit:  What?!  I post nothing but a link?  This looks like spam.  This is totally not spam, though I have no idea what was going through my head, scheduling this when it wasn’t nearly done.  What is Mapping History, you might wonder.  It is a fabulous, educational, internetal device that shows the passing of history via maps.  I love maps, and I love history.  Did you know that I had planned my first ever book to be a discussion of the evolution of battle strategy?  No, I know you didn’t.  But it’s true.  Mapping History will give you hours and hours of diversion while also teaching you something.  I recommend it heartily.

BT Tower 360 Panorama of London

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Because if you haven’t been there, chances are you are a little curious and if you have been there, chances are you might want to reminisce.  A really really big panoramic, zoom-able, picture of London:  BT Tower 360 Panorama of London.

Airplane studies

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Do you ever find that when you are waiting for an airplane all you have to do with yourself is try desperately not to stare at other people.  Sometimes I fail, if only because sometimes people in airports are crazy interesting.

Airplane study

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The Sketchbook Project 2013

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The Sketchbook Project 2013 is the most fabulous thing I have read about all year, maybe longer.  A library in Brooklyn has a collection of artists sketchbooks.  You can buy one of their specially made sketchbooks, fill it up, and they will keep it and tend it in true library tradition.  It may even go on a gallery trip across the country.  I finally have a terrible and driving reason to go to New York.  I must see the sketchbooks.  An article in the New York Times talks a little more about it.

Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday

Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday published on 3 Comments on Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday

So, the Google banner tells me it’s Dickens’ birthday today.  Back in ’07 I was dreaming about visiting  Dickens World.  All my previous writing may be stripped from the web, but I still have copies of it.  Allow me to resurrect:

 “Maybe one of the most innovative ideas for a theme park is opening May 2007 just outside of London in Dicken’s childhood home of Chatham. Dickens World is based wholly on the stories and characters of Charles Dickens. Costumed characters will walk among the park goers to populate the fantasy city. Rides, themed restaurants, and cinemas will entertain during the day with a burlesque show at night offering naughtier entertainment.”

I have both been terribly bored and amused by Dickens; regardless of my literary experiences, a park built on classic literature is like a happy dream.

Hey! speaking of Dickens World there’s also Dickens World!  Wiley Blackwell publishers are putting on a free online conference March 7th and 8th to celebrate Dickens.  If Dickens scholarship is up your alley then go!  Go and enjoy!

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