Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year over...

New Year's Eve: A time for those of us who aren't getting wasted to take stock of the year that has passed and contemplate new opportunities in the coming year... or something like that. I'm far too lazy to write anything profound tonight, so I'll settle for a photo-laden romp through the highlights of 2007:


I rang in the new year at a club in Santa Clara. Y & T was on the stage, Kristy and I were in the front row, and life was good (and loud!). At midnight a bunch of balloons came down, and the band launched into "Midnight in Tokyo". 2007 has potential, I thought.

A bit later in the month, I was off to Seattle for a business trip.
Space Needle greeting


Not much of interest happened in February, and that was just fine with me. I'm not a superstitious person, but February historically has been an unlucky month for me. This year, it was just another 28 days of winter.


I made up for a boring February in March, with a concert, my 40th birthday, and a trip to Disneyland.
Jars of Clay in Vancouver, WA:

40th birthday dinner cruise:

40th birthday party with co-workers:

Chillin' with Mickey in Disneyland:
It wouldn't be a trip to Disneyland without a pic with Mickey


The annual church plant sale! We raised over $1500 for preschool scholarships and had a great time selling plants.
Christ United Methodist Church plant sale 2007


Back to California for a business trip and some R&R, including a trip to Santa Cruz to ride the Giant Dipper:
Empty Dipper train... a rare sight


Summertime -- and the beginning of our summer travel season!
Camping at Wallowa Lake, OR:



Off to the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC:
US Supreme Court

And Jerry's 9th birthday party:
Tony and Jerry at Jerry's 9th b-day party


4th of July fireworks:
Let's play with fire!

Since Tony didn't have a very good 40th birthday in '06 (he was recovering from a knee injury), I decided to take him somewhere cool for his 41st -- Universal Studios!

Harry Potter is practically a member of our family, so the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a big deal at Camp Crum. Tony went to the midnight release party at our local Border's dressed as Lord Voldemort:
Lord Voldemort goes to the Harry Potter release party
I went to sleep early but spent the next day reading the entire book.


August began on a sad note, as we watched our dear feline friend Bubbles grow weaker and weaker. We said goodbye to her on Aug. 9th, and we still miss her.
Bubbles, 1988-August 9, 2007

The rest of the month passed quickly. First, a Night Ranger concert:

Next, a family reunion, where Jerry met a couple of his cousins for the first time:

And finally a weeklong adventure in Alaska:



September = Def Leppard month! Three concerts over about three weeks!
Def Leppard at White River Amphitheater, 9/26/07

Oh, yeah, and Tony and I celebrated our 16th anniversary with a trip to the Oregon Coast:


Like August, October began on a sad note, when one of Tony's high school friends died. We drove down to Eugene for the funeral, which turned into a mini-reunion of family and friends.

About a week later, we headed back to the coast for our annual church retreat at Camp Magruder.

Then of course there was Halloween.
Kristy, Matt, Tony, and me at John's party:

Trekking through the San Joaquin Delta the day after the party:

Goofing off at a pumpkin farm on Sauvie Island:

And Halloween night:


Finally an uneventful month.


Black 'N' Blue concert

A quiet Christmas, followed by a trip to Mt. Rainier to enjoy some snow:

And that's about it for 2007. It was a pretty good year, and it passed much too quickly. It doesn't seem possible that it's been a year since Y & T melted my eardrums on New Year's Eve. I hope 2008 goes a bit more slowly, but somehow I doubt it will.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A white Christmas in Portland!

What with holiday preparation, celebration, and recovery, I haven't managed to post much lately. Christmas was hectic but fun... and white (sort of). It snowed most of the day here in Portland, and a dusting of the white stuff stuck around for a few hours. Those of you from places that actually get real snow may laugh, but for us that counts as a white Christmas, the first one since 1990, I think. Here are a few pics:

Looking down from my back deck:

Front yard:

Snowy primroses:

My son managed to scrape together enough snow for a few good snowballs, so he was happy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Among the trite and true notions about human nature, none is more so than the fact that the majority of people care more for what they do not have than for what they do have. This legacy of our original parents is the foundation of progress. It supports all such improvements in living as the discovery of the spear, America, and the garbage compacter. It subsidizes credit cards and divorce lawyers."

Michael Malone in Dingley Falls

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions

Ah, hindsight... Listuniverse's Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions are quite funny now, but many of them were made by the leading men of the day. It just goes to show that predicting the future is more difficult than we might think. When I was a kid, we heard predictions about flying cars and space stations on Mars, but I don't think anyone ever imagined a worldwide network of computers that would bring people together, help old friends reconnect, and enable an average person like me to post her words for the world to see. I still want my flying car, but I'm pretty impressed with the miracles that have taken place in the last 30 years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Black 'N' Blue reunion show

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Instead of staying home twiddling my thumbs, I actually went out Saturday night. My friend Amy came up from Springfield, and she, Tony and I went to see Black 'N' Blue with Karen and her friend. They played at a club downtown off Burnside, which turned out to be a pretty decent venue. When we got there, people were busy milling around and drinking, so we were able to stroll right up to the front, where we settled in for the night.

Sugarcookie was up first. They're a local band that plays mostly classic rock covers--Billy Idol, U2, and quite a few others I don't remember. They sounded good, and Amy found the guitarist especially entertaining.

Then it was time for the main event--Black 'N' Blue! All the original members were there, and you'd never guess they hadn't played onstage together in four years. Their set included the usual favorites--Hold On To 18, Miss Mystery, Nasty Nasty, Wicked Bitch, I Am The King, Rockin' On Heaven's Door, etc., plus Violent Boy and a cover of the Sweet classic, Action. The sound wasn't mixed well, but they sounded great anyway. And since we were in the very front, we got to experience rock 'n' roll the way it was meant to be--loud, raucous, and even sweaty (thanks, Jamie, for sweating on us and even accidentally spitting on us once). There were a few other benefits too, like shaking hands with various band members, watching Tommy Thayer play solos about six inches from my face, and having Jamie St. James knock on my head during "Rockin' On Heaven's Door" "School of Hard Knocks." Have I mentioned that I love front row?

For those of you not lucky enough to be there, here are a few souvenirs from the evening:

Video I shot of "Action":


Amy helps out with the fundraising raffle:
Amy struts her stuff

Jamie St. James, who now sings with Warrant:

Tommy Thayer, who's now with Kiss:

Patrick Young and Jeff "Woop" Warner:

Pete Holmes:

After Black 'N' Blue's set, various band members jammed with some of their special guests.

Mark Ferrari of Keel:
Mark Ferrari of Keel

John Thayer (Tommy's brother):
John Thayer

I posted a bunch more pictures in my Flickr account.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Online Class: Social Bookmarking Resources

I don't usually blog about work stuff, but I'm going to make an exception. Some colleagues and I are teaching an online class for library staff on Web 2.0 tools and resources. The content is divided into modules, each one lasting a week. I've been teaching for the last couple of weeks, and I have a couple more weeks to go. Because of the online format, I've created quite a bit of written documentation for the students, stuff I would normally cover with face-to-face instruction. I'm going to share some of that material here on my blog, in case someone might find it useful.

My first module dealt with social bookmarking services:, Furl, and StumbleUpon, as well as the social news sites Digg and Reddit. For that module, I created the following materials:


  1. Goals and Schedule:
  2. Introduction to Social Bookmarking:
  3. Social Bookmarking Exercises:

Presentations and Other Materials

If you're a librarian or trainer and want to use these materials in your own instruction, you're welcome to do so. Just please give me credit and link back to the original documents.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pretty flowers to brighten the long nights

This time of year, when the days are short, dreary, and wet, I look for color wherever I can find it. Luckily I don't have to go far, since the orchids in my kitchen are blooming. I wrote a complete blog post about orchids in my garden blog, Rainy Day Gardening, but I'm posting a few pictures here too, because they're so cheery and colorful. And after the storm this weekend, I appreciate cheery and colorful more than usual.

I don't know what species this one is. I got it on sale after it had finished blooming, and the tag was missing.

Oncidium Mtssa Royal Robe 'Jerry's Pick'

Cymbidium, variety unknown. I forgot to bring it in from the unheated greenhouse before the cold weather started, so it developed some brown spots on the blooms. Normally it's pure yellow.
Yellow cymbidium with some ugly brown spots

I hope y'all are warm and dry, wherever you are.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The case of the missing Firefox extensions

I'm something of a Firefox evangelist, quick to exhort any Internet Explorer users to accept Firefox as their browser of choice. Today, however, I encountered my first-ever serious problem with Firefox. I feel betrayed. Firefox, how could you? After all I've done for you, all the IE-using heathens I've converted, and this is how you repay me?

It all started when I tried to save a bookmark to my account. My extension was gone. Huh? I looked at my add-ons and saw it listed, but when I tried to edit the options for it, Firefox froze. Not good. Then I noticed Zotero was gone. Zotero, home of my burgeoning online library of gardening articles... gone. Uh, oh...

After snooping around on the web for a bit, I learned that a recent Firefox update, to ver., caused some users to lose their extensions. The next upgrade, to, doesn't fix the problem. I tried several suggestions found on various message boards, but nothing worked until I took drastic action. So, fellow Firefox users, if you encounter this problem, get yourself some junk food for sustenance and try this:

  • If you have any data in Firefox that you want to save, back up your current Firefox settings. To do that, copy the folder containing your Firefox data someplace safe, like a USB drive or CD. On my Windows XP box, my Firefox application data can be found at C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Mozilla.
  • Uninstall Firefox (use Control Panel -> Add and Remove Programs). Delete the Firefox folder from step 1 (not your backup copy, just the one on your computer).
  • Restart your computer and [gag... sputter] launch Internet Explorer.
  • Download a fresh copy of Firefox and install it. Install your favorite extensions and verify that they work. Close Firefox.
  • Copy over the data from your backed-up Firefox folder. Do NOT copy everything! You may overwrite your new extension info and possibly restore corrupt data, leaving you right back at step one. Instead, look through the folder and copy over only what you need, e.g. your bookmarks or data associated with important extensions.
  • Launch Firefox and verify that everything still works, and your data is there.

I still think Firefox rocks compared to IE, but this incident is a good reminder that even we Firefox users need to back up our data.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A random visit to my iTunes library

I've been really busy at work this week, so I haven't had much time to think up stuff to write. So I'm borrowing a meme I found on one of my favorite blogs, Tales from the Liberry: Put your music player on shuffle and discuss the first 10 songs that come up. I won't tag anyone, but if you feel moved to give this a try, go for it. It's always fun to see what people have in their music libraries.

1. "Goodbye" -- Night Ranger (from their greatest hits)
Night Ranger were one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager (the other being Def Leppard, of course). While I'm not usually a ballad person, I really like this song, probably because I can relate to the lyrics. It's about memories, saying goodbye, and moving on, leaving the past behind. I've always found that very difficult, or as the chorus goes, "I was never much good at goodbye."

2. "Come Monday" -- Jimmy Buffet (from Songs You Know By Heart)
It's hard for me to write about this song, because I'm singing along while I'm listening to it. I love Jimmy Buffet, and this is one of my favorites of his. I think of it as grown-up romance--not sappy, not cliched, not excessively dramatic ("I'll die if I can't have you right.this.second" Blech.) Instead, he gives words to the longing you feel when you're separated from someone you've loved a long time, someone who is practically a part of you.

3. "The Air that I Breathe" -- The Hollies
OK, what is it with the ballads? Most of my library consists of crunchy guitars, but the sweet love songs are coming up for some reason. I'm not entirely sure why I like this song, but I've liked it since I was kid. Go figure.

4. "Just Got Lucky" -- Dokken (from The Very Best of)
Whew! Now I have my crunchy guitars! I was getting worried there for a minute. I'm not a huge Dokken fan, but I like this one--it's catchy, and it reminds me of the glorious hair metal 80s.

5. "Karma Chameleon" -- Culture Club (from Like, Omigod! The 80s Pop Culture Box)
OK, you rockers quit your laughing! Boy George may be a mess, but he's a talented mess, with a smooth, silky, satiny voice. This one isn't my favorite Culture Club song (that's probably "Victims"), but it's fun.

6. "Little Bit of Love" -- Def Leppard (from Yeah!)
If you stopped listening to Def Leppard after Hysteria, you're missing out! On Yeah!, they cover some of their favorite 70s glam rock tracks, and the result is wonderful. I'm embarrassed to admit I don't remember who did this song originally, but I really like Leppard's version. Melody, big hooks, and those layered harmonies... crank it up!

7. "Nothing is Real" -- Ricky Warwick (from Tattoos and Alibis)
I first heard Ricky Warwick (formerly of the Almighty and now with Circus Diablo) when he opened for Def Leppard in 2002, and I was hooked immediately. It was just him and his guitar up there, but his voice and his lyrics really impressed me. Tattoos and Alibis was his first solo CD, and most of it is excellent. Give him a listen--you won't be sorry.

8. "Cruisin'" -- Smokey Robinson (from My World: The Definitive Collection)
My rocker cred is taking a beating tonight, but I'll never apologize for having Smokey Robinson in my collection. Smooth, romantic, sexy... great mood music if you can ignore my off-key singalong.

9. "Poison Ivy" -- Faster Pussycat (from Greatest Hits)
From Smokey to Faster Pussycat... yep, must be my music. "Poison Ivy" is the only Faster Pussycat song I really like, probably because it's totally catchy. Warning: If you crank it up in the car on the way to work, you can expect to have it stuck in your head all day. Just try not to start singing during that big meeting with your boss.

10. "Lipstick and Leather" -- Y & T (from In Rock We Trust)
Ah, memories... It was 1984. I drove around all summer in my 1975 Ford Maverick (stop laughing!) with this song blasting out the speakers. I got to see Y & T live for the first time that year too. They played with Twisted Sister and Lita Ford at Oakwood Lake in Manteca, CA (I said, Stop laughing!) that fall, and I must've seen about 10 people there from my high school. Those were the days...

Well, there ya go -- a small cross-section of my iTunes library. It even turned out to be a somewhat representative sample.

Monday, November 26, 2007

RIP: Kevin DuBrow (1955-2007)

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer of Quiet Riot, was found dead yesterday. He was 52. No word yet on cause of death.

I'm usually surprised when rockers from my generation die prematurely. Yeah, I know, the rock and roll lifestyle and all that. But as a member of the first MTV generation, I think of these guys the way they looked back in the 80's, young and full of life. And so many of the 80s rockers survived their party years, if not unscathed, at least alive and mostly functional. It's hard, then, for me to think of the guy with the goofy yellow and black striped pants singing Cum on Feel the Noize... as dead. Of course, it's hard for me to think of him over the age of 30, because I'm stuck in a nostalgia-saturated time warp where most music from that era is concerned. I graduated from high school in 1984, and Cum on Feel the Noize was a staple at pretty much every dance my entire senior year. Despite my self-appointed status as a Diehard Rocker(tm), I was sick to death of the song and did my best to tune it out after awhile (though of course it was better than sappy junk like "True" by Spandau Ballet, which also infested every dance of my entire senior year. But I digress...). Now, though, hearing it brings back a flood of memories, taking my middle-aged brain back to a time when spending 45 minutes curling my hair seemed a perfectly logical thing to do, when 501s and a concert shirt made up about 80% of my wardrobe, and when nothing (NOTHING!) was more important than .

Now covering grey is more important than using a curling iron, most of my clothes are business casual, I've been married for 16 years, and if I tried to bang my head, I'd need to head straight for the chiropractor. And a man who sung one of the great rock anthems of the early 80s is dead.

So crank up some Quiet Riot and raise your glasses in memory of Kevin DuBrow. He may be gone from this earth, but he lives on in the hearts, minds, and iTunes libraries of 80's children like me.

Cum on Feel the Noize:

Metal Health (official video -- not great quality):

Metal Health from the US Festival, 1983:

Friday, November 23, 2007

A retail-free Black Friday

While other moms were duking it out over the latest PlaystationXBoxWIIGadgetoftheYear, I avoided anything resembling a retail establishment, since I'm really bad at hand-to-hand combat. Instead, I donated platelets at the Red Cross this morning, then took the family to a couple county parks in Washington for the afternoon. It was f-f-f-freezing (literally--there was frost on the ground and ice in the puddles). But it was still nice to climb around outside after spending all day yesterday in the kitchen.

Besides clambering around on rocks, I used the time to experiment with taking long-exposure pictures of flowing water. I wanted to try out the great instructions I found on Flickr. The lighting really wasn't right, my camera doesn't have quite the right settings, and I don't have a tripod, so my results were less than perfect. But it was fun to mess around, and some of the pictures turned out OK. These were all taken at Moulton Falls County Park just outside Yacolt, WA.






And one of the boys:

While on the subject of Black Friday, I've been thinking I'd like to start a new tradition. We're supposed to spend Thanksgiving thinking about everything we have to be thankful for. So, instead of full-contact shopping on Friday, how about dedicating that day to giving something back? The natural response to gratitude should be generosity, right? Wouldn't it be great if, instead of news stories about fistfights and tramplings at the local Wal-Mart, we had stories about people helping their neighbors, making a meal for a sick friend, or donating time to a worthy cause? Yeah, I know--dream on. But if you think it's a good idea, let me know. Maybe we can think up some great stuff to do on Black Friday 2008.