Archive for February 2013
Nice to have help making the bed.
This manhole cover was next to the sidewalk, on the side furthest from the street. What’s stranger is that I didn’t see a manhole nearby, covered or otherwise.
Savanna, the cheetah cub from the Cincinnati Zoo, made an appearance at a happy hour at my gym. I thought it was neat to see the planet’s fastest runner underneath the running track.
Phone’s digital zoom wasn’t the best for this shot.
Seen in the “for him” section of Valentine’s gifts.
We watched a show that included a segment on Fum, a black cat, and Gebra, his owl buddy. Luna was fascinated, mostly with Fum.
Canstruction in the Main Library
Yesterday’s XKCD comic alerted me to the fact that I’ve doing dates wrong:
Since 2000, I’ve used four-digit years, as I don’t want to relive that mess. My wife agrees: we’re teaching our daughter that. I wasn’t aware of the ISO 8601 standard for dates. However, it makes sense.
I’ve reset my blog to use that date format. The new challenge: can I get into that habit when I have to enter a date by hand? For that matter, will I remember when I write a date in a notebook?
While checking out the Goshawk at Lunken, I passed through the terminal, and noticed a sign on an office door.
I was familiar with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) from a couple episodes of “The X-Files”. I confess I assumed it to be fictional. However, it is real. Not only that, it’s presently headquartered in Cincinnati. Based on the organization’s history, it looks like the organization’s headquarters follows its director. The current director, David MacDonald, owns Flamingo Air, a local air charter company. They are best known for their “Mile High Romantic Flights”.
I’m always a fan of random things one stumbles across. It keeps life interesting.
One nice thing about living near Lunken Airport is the opportunity to see a variety of aircraft that use Lunken as a stop-over. This includes a variety of military craft that use it as a refueling point. Last weekend, a T-45 Goshawk, a Navy trainer was there.
I happened to have my Nikon with me, so I walked around and took a few pictures.
I watched some snow leopard videos last week, that left me jonsing for a trip to the zoo. I made it out that this last weekend. On the way to the Night Hunters, I saw an Andean condor.
Next door was a stellar sea eagle.
Once at night hunters, one of the Pallas cats was hanging out on a rock checking out everyone who came in. He seemed quite interested in me.
The clouded leopard was having a bath.
How many cat owners know what I mean when I describe something as the “chello” pose?
I got my best shot of the bobcat! Such a handsome cat.
The fishing cat is in the hardest spot to get a picture. There are computer screens immediately opposite her glass, giving everything a very blue light. Black and white, unfortunately, is the only way to go.
The sand cat, always a favorite, seemed quite pensive up against the glass.
Outside, the Siberian lynx was out–it was a cold enough morning for it. I hadn’t seen her in a while.
Tecumseh the cougar was sleeping in a ball.
His brother, Joseph, had to photobomb him!
The tiger area wasn’t too crowded, so I could spend some time looking at these amazing cats.
The Cincinnati Zoo has Malayan tigers, the second smallest tiger subspecies. They weigh in at just under two hundred pounds. In contrast, the Amur tiger, the largest cat, weighs nearly twice that. I’ve been reading a book about Amur tigers, titled Tiger: A true Story of Vengeance and Survival. I’ll probably post more about the book once I finish it, but the author cites a description of tigers having a “heavy grace.” I think it is quite apt.
Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a quiet Sunday morning, relaxing in the sun.
I have no idea what Renji saw.
Nubo wasn’t that interested.
It must have moved. She’s such a pretty cat!
Yes, Nubo, you’re cute, too.
The arctic fox was in his vantage way up high.
I walked up to the otter enclosure. One walked right up to me.
Could someone please clean this window?
Finally, the Mexican wolves were enjoying their morning.
When my daughter was very little, she was fascinated by a bean bag kiosk at the mall. Whenever we went, she’d have to stop, and lounge in one of their bean bags. At the time, her favorite color was pink, and, as luck would have it it, they had a pink one. Eventually, someone gave her one, embroidered with her name.
Over the last few months, this has become Eddy’s favorite hang-out later in the evening. It’s kept on the end of the couch when my daughter isn’t using it. Around the time the Daily Show comes on, he usually curls up there.
Sometimes he has a friend.
Though often they are off doing Important Cat Business, so he has it to himself.
Last week, my daughter had it out, and didn’t put it away. My wife and I hadn’t gotten around to putting it back ourselves. So, when we heard the voice of Jon Stewart, I looked over the end of the couch, and saw that Eddy had to improvise with a cushion-backed lap desk.
There are several attributes that contribute to how well a pen writes. This includes the size and weight of the pen (the impact of this being a function of personal taste), the refill (in the case of a ball point), the feed system (in the case of fountain pens), and the smoothness of the nib (also for fountain pens). For me, I find that no brand seems to consistently get all these points right across their line is Lamy. Based in Heidelberg, Germany, the company was founded in 1930 by C. Josef Lamy, a former salesman for Parker Pen. The company has primarily stayed in the family, and has incorporated several contemporary schools of design. Indeed, the clean lines of their products call to mind other innovators of industrial design such as Braun or Apple.
The flagship Lamy 2000 exemplifies both Lamy’s commitment to understated design and an excellent writing experience. The Fountain Pen Geeks web page posted an articular titled “Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design”, a fascinating of the pen’s design and materials, and really is the definitive reference for this pen. The look of the Lamy 2000 is a nice balance between being a conservative pen, while bringing some modern styling. The designers of the 2000 took their cues from the Bauhaus school of design. The pen has a minimalist look with nice curves and a good feel. For all its modern appearance, it was originally introduced in 1966.
The pen is made from Makrolon, a fiberglass-reinforced resin, with a metal section. This makes for a light yet balanced pen. The fountain pen pen uses a bottle-only piston-fill mechanism to draw in ink. The ink level can be viewed through an small window just behind the section. The whole pen is one continuous line, with no break detectable.
Lamy makes some of the smoothest nibs in the business, from their entry level Safari line, and reaches its pinnacle with the 2000. I love writing with it. The nib is semi-hooded, meaning that only part of it is exposed. Several other pens use this, as an attempt to limit how much ink is exposed to air (causing it to evaporate). The feed provides consistent ink flow, and works with the nib to lay down an even line. I would easily say it is among the best writing pens in my collection–if forced to identify the top slot, this would likely be it.
The cap snaps firmly into place, which is also my one gripe. Two small taps stick out a bit, which hold the cap in place, but sometimes my fingers find them when holding the pen. This is easily solved by adjusting my grip. After nearly a decade of use, the cap ceased to stay on when posting the cap. An “ear” on the cap clutch ring had become bent. Lamy customer service was very easy to deal with, and repaired it for only the cost of postage. This is the second time I dealt with their customer service (the first being for a replacement nib on a vintage find), and they have been superb.
The 2000 also comes in a full selection of writing modes, including roller ball, ball point, and mechanical pencil. In addition to my fountain pen, I have the multipen version. One instrument holds four ballpoint refills. The color is selected by holding the pen with the proper “color” tag up. Unlike other multipens, the same button extends and retracts the refill. The action is OK, though sometimes I feel as though it feels rough. The pen has the same balance as the fountain pen, but, like most ball pens, the paper feel is dictated by the refill. It takes a D1 refill, so a variety of choices are available.
All in all, this is one of my favorite pens. It looks modern and understated, and writes exceptionally well. Author Niel Gaiman uses one to write his novels. Its ability to balance both a conservative and modern look means that it goes well with both a suit or more casual attire. It is also an example of a school of design which influenced one of the major companies of the twenty-first century, Apple.
Last night, Twitter enabled me to download an archive of all my tweets, dating back to January of 2007. This was about six months after Twitter become public. At that point, the “@” notation was not part of the system, but a convention the users themselves were using. As of right now, I have made 39,789 tweets, so there is a fair amount of data there.
My first tweet: “On the bus.”
Twitter for me didn’t really pick up until two things happened. First, dedicated twitter clients allowed it to move to something I felt I had to go out of my way to use, but was a little feed I could monitor out of the corner of my eye. This was particularly handy during major events. Like many, Twitter was how I learned about the Miracle on the Hudson as it happened.
Second, I started to get friends on twitter, both folks I already new joining, and making friends who I know primarily through twitter. This is turned twitter into my “virtual water cooler.” Whenever I needed a break, there were usually some folks chat for a few moments. It also proved to be fun during major national events, like the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, or the elections that occurred that year. At times, even just watching the same TV show with other users was fun.
I also discovered that twitter was a good way to document my life. I’ve been known to page through my twitter feed to figure out when I did something. The archive was interesting in that I could see my real-time thoughts to what was going on. It was really fun to go back and read the tweets from when we first brought home Beso and Luna, or some of the vacations we’ve had. The archive is proving to be an interesting diary to my life over the last five years.
I’ve really found Twitter to be a neat tool. I can gather a variety of information, and can share as much (or as little) as I like. For example, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid having my employer’s name directly mentioned. It has created a community that I’m happy to be part of.
If you don’t already follow me, here’s my twitter feed.
These will be mailed to family.
(At least some of it will.)
Some won’t make it much past the cooling rack!