I voted this morning. The line was about the same length as other years, but took probably 4 times as long. The voting machines were *significantly* harder to use than those we’ve had in previous years. Still fairly easy for folks used to computer UI widgets, but a lot harder than pressing squares on a ballot. And, what with the longer ballot, and the folks not deciding how they were going to vote until sat down in front of the ballot, it took folks FOREVER to get through voting.
The “new” voting machines had an RS232 port on the back labeled “Modem”. This doesn’t bode well.
Today I went to the Henry Clay house with 40+ 3rd graders. It was quite interesting. I learned a lot about Henry Clay that I didn’t previously know. He was “The Great Orator”, and frequently spoke to Congress on many topics. He was “The Great Compromiser” and tried to bring unity between the North and the South. And he ran for president three times.
One great part of his house was the library, in which there was a wonderful collection of books. Among other things, there was what appeared to be a complete 1886 Globe Edition of Dickens. This wasn’t something that the tour guide pointed out, but I noticed it while wandering around the library and office.
Unfortunately, the tour of the HC house took a lot longer than I expected, so I didn’t get to stay around for the Mary Todd Lincoln tour. Sarah was quite disappointed at this.
Homer Combs was a good and kind man, who cared deeply about his family, and those of his employees. He always asked me how my little girl was doing, and often reminded me that she was far more important than any work deadlines. He’d get a little glint in his eyes when I skipped out a little early to go pick her up, and say “going to see your girl?” Homer was one of the truly bright spots of working at that job.
Homer and his wife Diane were on that plane that went down on Sunday. They had lived full lives, and were on the way to celebrate their 31st anniversary. But it’s always too soon, isn’t it?
For the last 4 or 5 months, every Tuesday night I go to a locally owned restaurant/pub/grill, within walking distance of home. They know what I want, and bring it to me without my having to order. They know I need a table near a power outlet, so that I can plug in my laptop, and keep one open for me. They know I like to work undisturbed, and they leave me to work, come over to chat for a few minutes while I’m eating, and bring me the bill when I’m ready to go. They don’t try to upsell, supersize, or tell me about the special of the day. They remember that I like cheese fries, and that I like a lemon in my coke.
So what’s the point of all of this? Well, it’s just this. Find your local establishment, where people actually care about good service, and about their customers, and go there regularly. Support locally-owned, locally-operated stores, restaurants, and service businesses. They are a dying breed, and they are the only thing that makes your local neighborhood any different from a million other neighborhoods in the country. Sure, it might cost a little bit more, but you’re supporting your neighbor, rather than someone that lives in Washington or New York.
And, of course, the food is better, the atmosphere is better, and folks remember that you like the garden salad rather than the greek salad. And they say “How was your camping trip? We missed you last week.” when you arrive and “See you next Tuesday!” when you leave.
Last sunday, I went on one of my favorite hikes, down a lovely stream that empties into the Kentucky. I had done this same hike about a month earlier, and discovered that the last 50 yards of the stream were completely blocked with mud. This time, with the recent rains, the stream had cut a canyon down the middle of the mud, and was flowing steadily into the River. I kinda wish I had my camera with me – it was a very cool effect.
As I walked back up to the Jeep, I heard a police siren, and as I emerged from the bushes, there was a policeman checking out the Jeep. He seemed very interested in where I had been hiking, and wanted directions for getting there. I asked if I wasn’t supposed to be parking there, and he said that it was ok, but that he was checking to see if the vehicle was abandoned. Perhaps I need to find a better place to park next time, and perhaps bike from there.
I’m getting frequent power outages – at least once a day. I just had another one about 5 minutes ago. This has been going on for about a month now. They last just a few seconds, which is enough to make my clocks blink and my servers angry. I’ve now got everything on UPS (the servers, that is) so they didn’t go out this time.
Of course, my sister gets several hours of electricity on a good day, so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining.
WUnderground has added a iCalendar link, so now I have the daily forecast on my laptop and on my Palm. Very cool.
Today is the first day of Spring. (Ignore what the calendar might have told you. You know how calendars are – deceitful, wicked things.) I know this by the unmistakable signs. Namely, that yesterday on the way home from work, I had the top down, and, more importantly, that this morning I am having my coffee out on the deck. Yes, it’s still a teensy bit nippy, but Winter’s hold has been broken, and warm days are coming. 🙂
The weather guys predicted 4-10 inches of snow, so it was quite a surprise to wake up this morning to discover that it had, in fact, snowed. I guess they’re bound to get it right by accident once or twice a year.
In the last couple weeks, two new traffic lights have gone up along my route to work. The first went up at the intersection of 169 and 68. It used to be, in the morning, traffic from 169 coming to 68 was backed up 10 or 12 cars when I would go past there in the morning. Now it’s backed up 20 or 30 cars in all three directions in the morning, and backed up at least a half mile southbound after work.
The second light is at where Grassy Creek crosses Man O’ War. Up until now, it would take perhaps as much as 2 or 3 minutes to get across Man O’ War in the morning, and there would occasionally be 2 or 3 cars waiting. Now, with the new light, it takes about 10 minutes to get across Man O’ War, and there were 7 cars backed up waiting for the light to change this morning.
How is this progress?
Apparently the traffic engineers around here never studied queueing theory.