Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Breakfast Club Comes to Mind...

I'm going on a little blogging break.  I'm in the hospital.  It's for my asthma and its many complications.  I don't know how long I'll be here, I don't know how much energy I'll have.

Some days I may post something, but instead of what used to be a M-W-F blog, then as you saw became a random blog, will now be an even more random blog.

I just don't know what's going to happen to me next.  I have to take it one day at a time. For Schedule Woman not be able to schedule? Torturous...

I, in my vanity and selfishness don't want to do this.  Stupid thoughts run through my head:

"You worked really hard to return almost all of the A-Z comments and got a lot of new readers and they're sticking around and you're going to lose them."

"If you're writing sporadically, only those who use feeders will know when you post."

Then reason and sanity sorta return and say to me, "It's a blog.  Or it's your health. Choose."  So at this time, I'm focusing on my health.

~Tina, who chose that opening song for obvious reasons...I'm a hopeless attention seeker and don't want you to go away...sigh.  

P.S Email returns will be hopelessly late...but that you've probably gotten used to already ;-)

Monday, July 7, 2014

College Life: Episode 8: My Days as a Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.

(So Mom and Dad, remember how I've referred to antics in college that started me down a path that perhaps wasn't so good for me? This is one of those stories.  So I'm thinking you might not want to read this one...just saying.  Your choice.)

I don't know if college students still observe this cultish ritual, but according to Wikipedia, the tradition is alive and doing well.  They just didn't mention what age group still goes to the movies at midnight, shouts at the screen, throws rice and toast and other things that I'm sure theater employees enjoy cleaning up.  I used to be one of those college students.

I don't really remember how it all started, but one Saturday night my physics study group (remember those great guys who tutored me? link below if you don't) invited me to some movie called the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I asked them what it was about.  

"Well it's like a horror musical, satire, comedy, farce, sci-fi but quite rated R sorta movie.  It's hysterical and the audience dresses up and participates.  There's nothing like it. You really have to see it to understand."  I went.  

Their's was a pretty good description.  At first I was appalled at some of what I was seeing, but I was also laughing, and the songs were absolutely hysterical, and the movie didn't even try to take itself seriously, and it was a mighty good time.  My stomach muscles were sore the next day from laughing.

We of course weren't REAL fans yet.  We didn't bring anything to throw.  We didn't dress up.  We did make it a regular Saturday night event, though.  It didn't take us long to catch on to what we needed.  I don't remember it all, but there's a wedding scene with a toast to the bride and groom where we all throw toast.  (Yes, you do get hit with the toast coming from behind you.  Most are kind enough not to butter it.)  You also throw rice at the departing couple.  

I remember rolls of toilet paper are tossed at some point - takes practice to make the roll un-roll as you throw it, but I knew how to do that from tp-ing people's trees (um, yeah, Mom and Dad, if you're reading, I did that too...but he deserved it).  You also throw hot dogs (my memory isn't good enough for where that one comes in) nor the squirt guns, but it does rain a lot, and there's an umbrella scene...

As we got better and better at this, we connected with the group of friends of one of the study buddies.  They were practically professionals.  One of them was one of the live actors who stood in front of the screen and acted out the movie along with the actors, at THE theater in downtown Denver.  

We started making pilgrimages.  We met some very interesting people and their interesting friends...and so on and so on.

Have you seen it?  Did you become a fan?  Have you thrown toast in a movie theater?  (See even that part would offend my poor mother, waste of food AND littering AND bad manners...AND not cleaning it up...she really did raise me right...doesn't mean I always obeyed...)

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: Movie Poster

Episode 5: A Physics Prank
Episode 6:  Marvelous Marble
Episode 7: I Don't Hate My Laptop Quite as Much

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

College Life: Episode 7: I Don't Hate My Laptop Quite As Much

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.

"The procrastinators' club has decided to meet another day".  That sign on the door of the meeting room is a classic joke.  When I was in college though, I was the anti-procrastinator.  If the assignment wasn't done at least a week ahead of time, I was in a panic.

There was a reason for this, though.  (I'm not completely crazy.)  I was taking a programming class (Pascal) and there was one computer lab our class was allowed to use, and it was ridiculously packed with desperate students the week before a program was due. That was SO not going to be me.

Some of you who AREN'T of the certain age I am might not know what I'm talking about, sitting there reading this on your laptop. We worked with a mainframe computer (not that we ever saw it).

at terminals

We had to enter our entire program, then print it out on a giant dot-matrix printer (which everyone in the room was using), go find our portion of the long, continuous feed and carefully tear it off, and THEN we could see if our program had worked, was nice and tidy and produced the required answer.  Or, as was the case in 9/10 of my tries, full of error messages.

That meant either stand in line for another chance at the terminal, or go stand in line for help from one of the teaching assistants.  Get help.  THEN go stand in line for a terminal and pray that you understood what Sheldon so condescendingly told you and could fix your work.  

Eventually I'd figure it out, get it done, and it waited in my binder be turned in.  Meanwhile, I got to listen to the horror stories from my classmates who'd been at the lab on the last night until 3am. Not me.  The only time I'd be up that late was for the Rocky Horror Picture Show...

I think back to that now, and how frustrating that was, (not Rocky, the programming, and of course I'm going to tell you about my Rocky adventures) and it makes me not quite as irritated with my W8.1 laptop.  After all, I don't have to share.  I can take it anywhere. My printer is only shared with three other people.  Also, I don't have to write computer programs anymore.  I'm grateful for that.

~Tina, who also had to take BASIC, Fortran, and TAUGHT two semesters of BASIC to 7th graders...that was almost as much fun as taking Pascal...

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: main frame
Photo credit: terminal

Episode 1: Rommmates
Episode 5: A Physics Pran
Episode 6:  Marvelous Marble

Monday, June 30, 2014

Doldrums HIt Your Blog? Ideas For You!

Today I'm at the A-Z Challenge Blog!  I'm sharing some ideas for what to do if your blog has hit a place with no wind in the sails...come on over!

~Tina, whom you might have noticed was rather absent last week.  No wind.  

P.S College Life will be here Wednesday. We'll be talking about the world before personal computers...which is almost as much fun as sharing clothes with your roommate.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hilary Melton-Butcher: Great Ocean Coast Road, south Australia …

I've got a treat for you today.  Today's guest hardly needs an introduction here, most of you know my fellow history buff from across the pond, Hilary. She's has agreed to not only guest here today, but is also guesting at the A-Z Challenge Blog. These topics are linked.  Don't miss the other one.  It's about dragons...

Great Ocean Coast Road, south Australia …

"Great Ocean Road carved from the bare rock" 

Art, Science, ‘Down Under’ and bloggers … Tina of Life is Good asked if I’d do a guest post for the A-Z blog and as a guest blogger on her blog … theoretically these might have been on Vikings (these will follow) – but as is the way with my eclectic brain I’ve settled on the Great Ocean Road, south Australia and the Weedy Seadragon.

I expect many of you will have seen or heard of the BBC tv programmes ‘Coast’, where Neil Oliver, archaeologist, historian, author and broadcaster, tells us about Britain and Europe …

he has now moved to Australia (well perhaps he’s travelled there for the programmes!) – this is where these two ideas stemmed from.

The Great Ocean Road ties in with the Great War: the First World War, which I will be writing about, but I have just posted an A-Z on the recent D-Day commemorative events for World War II.

"The Hitchcock Memorial at Defiance Point - in the 1920s"

One thinks about the armed forces and their lives after having spent four or more years at War, probably in another country fighting for our and their own freedom, seeing their comrades fall, be injured or as most would be desperate to be home with their loved ones.

400,000 Australians enlisted for World War I, with appallingly 60,000 paying the ultimate sacrifice … however the work to which some returned to simply cannot have been any better, and may have been worse … I don’t know – I don’t like to think about either much … hanging off a cliff, or fighting in the War …

less than 10 months after War finished, three thousand servicemen went to work on the construction of the new coast road … hewn from the cliff face using explosives, pick and shovel, wheel barrows and some small machinery.

Anecdotal evidence suggested that the workers would rest detonators on their knees during travel, as it was the softest ride?!

They were paid 10 shillings and sixpence for eight hours work a day, also working half-day on Saturday. They had tents for accommodation, a mess tent for meals with food costing ten shillings a week?!

They did have access to a piano, gramophone and records presumably, games, newspapers and magazines … and when in 1924 the steamboat, Casino, was forced to jettison 500 barrels of beer and 120 cases of spirits – there was an unscheduled two-week long drinking break!

Howard Hitchcock, mayor of Geelong, wanted to create the road as a Memorial to the Servicemen killed during World War 1 … the road is the world’s largest war memorial … and in building it – it would open up a fairly inaccessible part of south-eastern Australia.

The route winds 243 kilometres (151 miles) wending its way through varying terrain, incredible scenery and past several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations … the road is now an important tourist attraction.

 "The limestone stacks, known as The Twelve Apostles"

Also seeing this part of the programme reminded me about my recent Aspects of the British Coast, that I wrote about in this year’s A-Z Challenge … where sea stacks were meant to be mentioned in greater detail – but ended up with a brief mention under my W post – the wind erodes … these Australian stacks put my ‘weedy’ post into perspective!

The Australian coast looks just beautiful and that road trip, carved out of raw cliffs nearly 100 years ago, is a sight to behold – and one that is definitely on my bucket list.

It is full of sea stacks that are constantly being worn away, or being created … some wonderful and amazing geographical features … it must be just dazzling, raw and stunning …

So the Weedy Seadragon in my other post at the A-Z Blog ties in to some degree with this post, as do other posts I have written recently or in the A-Z Challenge in April …

Here the art is photographic images of magnificent natural scenery, the science that of geology, we are posting on blogs about that place that is down under

Hilary Melton-Butcher

©2014 All Rights Reserved


Don't forget about the dragons over at the A-Z Challenge Blog. These topics are linked.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

College Life: Episode 6: Marvelous Marble

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.

Despite all the joking, pranks, and my lack of ability in physics, I was a really good student in my other classes.  I was also majoring in English along with the math.  Since I was studying two subjects which don't usually go together (that whole right brain/left brain thing) my classes were ALL over campus.  

I received the privilege of inhabiting buildings old and new, large and small.  I had the chance to attend classes in buildings over 100 years old.  Those were the ones that held my attention and fed the history buff in me.  Today we're going on a bit of an exploration to one of them.

The moment I opened the door to what was now the statistics building, I could scent the history of all those years in a way that touched me.  Not musty - but old paper, old machines still in use, it was the sum of thousands up thousands of people going up and down those amazing stairs, caressing that wooden rail with the brass fixtures, which now is narrower and has a patina.

The inlaid marble stairs were indented.  The impact of all those feet had worn deep marks into the design.  In places the big diamond outlining the pattern was just gone, little by little, until only a slight side or small corner remained.  No longer bright and shiny, the stairs were to most people just the stairs.  

"There's no elevator to the third floor?  Isn't that illegal?"

Hurrying by, on their rushed way, they miss it.  I just stopped and watched.  I super-imposed a scene - men dressed in suits and with hats, ladies in dresses and heels and the stockings with the seam in back. (The building had once been utilized in a public, commercial way, and I'd seen pictures in the library archives, though that's a different story, and I will tell it.)  It had been converted from offices to classrooms for our use.

I know I'm weird - math, words, history - but I love it all. Climbing those stairs to the top floor, I thought about someone coming in another time, and seeing the imprint even further into those stairs, only my feet helped make that impact.  One step at a time, we add our bit to the history, whether we appreciate it or not.


What "gets" you?  Are you into history?  Does a brand new building make you want to check out whatever the latest and greatest is in design?  Do you see if they're using "green" building products?


P.S Some of you saw two posts Friday.  I had written a totally whiny post about my health again, but had decided against it and to focus on my anniversary.  I forgot to delete the old one.  Sorry about that.  Operator error.  Unstable blogger ;-)

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Episode 1: Rommmates

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Anniversary, to My Engineer!

Happy Anniversary, to my wonderful Engineer. Thanks for 22 years of patience, love, smiles, special times, camping, hiking, parenting, fighting, making up, adventures, picnics, and time together just being.

Thanks for your tireless work to improve our family. Thanks for bringing home the bacon and a lot of the time being the one to fry it up in the pan.  Thanks for taking care of me in sickness and in (not so much lately) health, and for never giving up on me.

I love you so much.

~Tina, who'd marry you all over again

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit Emmerich Photography