Tag Archives: kentucky

The lasting effect of a life, and death

Three years ago, my grandfather died. Some of you may remember that I wrote about this a short time ago.

Yesterday, there was a memorial service for Grandpere, and several other men and women who had participated in the University of Kentucky Body Bequeathal program. Students in the various UK medical programs use these bodies for their Anatomy classes, and for specific training in dental, surgical, and physical therapy techniques. In this way, even though our loved ones have passed away, they continue to do good. Through their final gift, they assist in the training of doctors who will heal the next generation. They are, as one of the speakers said, these doctors’ first patient.

The service was inter-faith, and was very well done. I was also very impressed with how many of the medical students were in attendance, and that they seemed to be genuinely listening, rather than giving the impression that they were there because it was a course requirement.

The class presidents of the various medical colleges read the litany of the names, and there were readings from the Psalms, from Jesus, and from The Buddha.

I’m sure that many of you have considered being an organ donor, and that’s a wonderful gift, in that it extends the life, of improves the quality of life, of someone still living. The gift of one’s entire body, upon death, is also a great gift, and has a life-long impact on a doctor who will extend many lives, and improve the quality of many lives.

It would have been more appropriate if the service had been today – All Saints’ Day – rather than yesterday. But it was very much like Grandpere that, even years after his passing, he would be helping someone out. And, as I said before, Grandpere, your memory is truly eternal, even more than I understood then.

Pumpkin Day

Another Pumpkin Day has come and gone, and it was a huge amount of fun, as usual. It was very well attended, and there seemed to be dozens and dozens of kids, all of whom were yelling at any given time. The photos are here. I think that this year I got photos of most of the pumpkins that got completed, but I’m not certain of that.

Full weekend

The last few days of last week, I toyed with the idea of going camping Friday night. When it rained all day Friday, I decided not to go. But, around 16:00, I decided, what the heck, I’ll go anyway. It’ll guarantee that I have the campsite to myself, right?

Cyklopz3 recommended Turkey Foot, and, armed with several maps and a GPS, I started out for Mckee, Kentucky. It was 6 by the time I pulled out, and nearly 7 when I got to Richmond, due to traffic, so it was getting somewhat dark. I went through such delightful places as Sand Gap, Clover Bottom, Waneta and other places along 421 that are rather too small to be on the map that I have. While I’m sure that there is a faster way to go, I’m not sure there could be a more interesting one.

I’m always fascinated by small towns, wondering what the people do in those towns to, as Dickens puts it, “keep soul and body together.” There don’t appear to be any businesses that employ anyone, but there are plenty of nice houses, and evidence that the people there do well for themselves.

I arrived in McKee when it was completely dark. One of the things that I enjoy about camping in the Daniel Boone is that it does indeed get dark. There are some places in this country that never get dark. When the power went out in New York City a few years back, some of those people saw darkness for the first time in their entire lives. Fascinating.

Anyways, I missed the turn for Turkey Foot, somehow, and arrived at the S-Tree campground, which seems to be nearby. I’m not entirely sure where I missed a turn, or if I didn’t go far enough, or what. But the S-Tree campground was totally full. Lots of 4-wheelers, who are, according to the signs there, the main denizens of the campground.

By that time it was maybe 8, and very very dark. I drove for a little bit further, and found an elderly picnic area that appears to have had campers there in the recent past.

Once I turned off the Jeep headlights, all I had for light was a little hiking/caving light that I wear on my head. This illuminates a very small area, and so I had to try to figure out in small pieces what sort of terrain I was dealing with. And, it had started raining lightly.

I picked a spot and got the tent up just as it started to rain a little harder. I put the tent under trees. I vaguely remember from Boy Scouts that you’re not supposed to do that. Something about falling branches. Well, there were falling nuts most of the night, but no falling branches.

It was very quiet – another fascinating thing about being far away from civilization. For a long time, I listened to the rain. I could hear it coming, in the leaves of the trees, getting nearer, and then it would start hitting the tent, then move on. The steady on-off rain continued througout the night, and occasionally it would “rain” under the trees by virtue of the wind picking up and shaking down the water from the leaves.

Having an evening away from electricity and internet is good for the soul. Really. I feel much more relaxed than I have been in a long time. And I have been extremely motivated today to get useful things done. I’ve replaced the spray hose thingy on the kitchen sink, installed some new light switches, done some laundry, and cut down nasty trees and bushes that are threatening to push down my back fence. Now, I’m off to cut the grass, and maybe I’ll actually get some of that laundry put away. Perhaps I’ll finally get my hair cut, too.

The week in review

It’s been a whirlwind of a week in the last 4 days. Two conferences and about 600 miles.

On Wednesday evening, we (Paul, Bert, Brett, Rick and me) drove up to Cincy for the Kentucky Higher Education Computing Conference. Good stuff there, as recorded on the KHECC blog.

On Friday afternoon, we drove back home. I got home, unpacked, packed, and left for Ohio LinuxFest. It’s the third year they’ve done it, and it was twice the size of last year. There were just over 700 people there, and some fantastic presentations. My talk on mod_rewrite was very well attended and well received. I was pleased with how it went, and now have yet more incentive to finally finish writing my book.

I stayed with Skippy, which was in itself a great experience. His kids are delightful, his house charming, and his wife wonderful and hospitable. Thank you so much for opening your home to me. I especially enjoyed jumping on the trampoline with the girls, and Skippy has promised to post photos somewhere. 🙂

On Saturday morning, we loaded up some PCs and monitors, and took them to the conference facility. These were from FreeGeek Columbus, which recycles used PCs and other hardware.

Novell had a big presence, giving a significant number of the talks, and were also a major sponsor. Thanks, Novell.

At lunch, we went to Bucco di Beppo. I’ll post photos later today or tomorrow, once I get some other stuff dune. There were perhaps 16 people there, and it was a lot of fun, although not as rowdy as last year. We had the pope room, which is quite an experience.

I stayed another night at Skippy’s house and had breakfast with the family in the morning at a area restaurant, which was positively wonderful, although their pancakes were the size of garbage can lids, and I wasn’t able to finish the second one.

We just arrived back home a little while ago, and I haven’t yet unpacked. I have a lot of writing I need to catch up on, but I’d really much rather take a nap.


This week I’m at the Kentucky Higher Education Computing Conference.

For the most part, it’s been a good conference. It’s been a good team experience (5 of us from Asbury here) and there have been some good presentations.

I went to a really good presentation yesterday about using “social tools” on campus – in particular, in libraries. He talked about using IM and SMS for tech support. That was interesting. And using Wikis as a collaborative tool for team classwork. I liked that.

It was interesting that almost every technology that he mentioned, he’d ask the audience who was aware of, or using, those technologies. I raised my hand. There were a *few* exceptions, but not many.

One thing that he mentioned that’s worth remembering was Library Thing, which allows readers to categorize books, rather than librarians. I imagine this will make the librarians cringe, but it’s a fantastic idea. There was a thing on the NPR tech podcast a few weeks ago where they talked about tagging and folksonomies. The example that he gave was very useful, but I’ve forgotten what it was. But it went something like: “When you look at a website about seaweed, you think it’s about alternate food sources. I think it’s about sea life. My strange friend Bob thinks that it reminds him of a hat he saw, so he thinks it’s about funny hats.” By allowing the users to recategorize stuff, you increase the value of that resource to them. Maybe. Perhaps it remains to be seen.


Turns out that, as of roughly a month ago, there is in fact an Ethiopian restaurant in Lexington. It’s right at Euclid and Ashland, near Chevy Chase, just a few minutes from UK. They are only open for lunch on Sunday, so I’ll probably go there for dinner tomorrow.

By the way, just in case you are tempted, the “I thought they didn’t eat anything” jokes aren’t funny. Not only that, but they mark you out as being unaware of your world. That being said, I’m sure someone will make the joke anyway.

Bah. Rednecks.

You know, I consider myself to be very tolerant of people of other cultures. In fact, I suppose many people consider me to be one. But this weekend I experienced a number of rednecks who were decidedly unsavory, and I don’t know that I dealt with it very well.

The first one was last night. Sarah and I went to the putt-putt and go-cart place out at the Nicholasville bypass. There was a group there from a local church. There was another group who may or may not have been affiliated with the chuch group. I think they weren’t, but I’m not sure.

The young man in this latter group apparently had suppressed the swallowing instinct, and spat every two or three seconds. It was unbelievable. He spat constantly. On himself. On his girlfriend. On the ground. On his shoes.


Then, today at lunch …


This guy next to me at the counter at McDonalds had a pornographic tattoo on his leg. Large, in color, and very graphic. It featured a naked woman, spread-eagled, chained hand and foot to a wall.

Now, I suppose, if someone wants to draw things on themselves, that’s really none of my business. But when he’s displaying pornographic artwork in a public place where my 7-year-old daughter is exposed to it, I think it becomes my business. I really can’t imagine why someone would get that particular tattoo, or why they would display it so proudly in public, or why his wife would be happy to let him do so. Apparently folks have no shame.

cd ~rbowen

Most of you already know about this, but …

I just got done filling out my “intent to vacate” form. Finally. I’ll be moving to MY HOUSE some time during the 6th-8th of August. The timing of the actual vacancy date of MY HOUSE could hardly be worse. It will actually be vacant August 1st, which falls directly between coming back from ApacheCon and leaving for OSCon. But, I’m really glad that it’s finally happening. It seems that I’ve been waiting forever, and, I suppose I have, for carefully selected definitions of “forever.”

So, for the record, each and every one of you are invited to MY HOUSE on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of August, either to help with moving, or just to hang out and enjoy MY HOUSE. I actually get back from portland at about 10am on the 6th, and, although there might be a brief nap in there somewhere, I intend to start moving stuff almost immediately.

Anyone who wants to move stuff while I’m gone in Portland is welcome to a set of keys. 😀

I can’t move before leaving for OSCon, because my servers really need to stay up while I’m gone. No, not so you can read my blog. My mail server is here on my DSL line, and if it were to go down, I would not be able to get and/or send email while I was gone. I suppose I could do it via $employer, but all of my mailing list subscriptions would start bouncing, and that’s never any fun. So I sincerely hope that the DSL switchover goes more smoothly than it did when I moved to this apartment.