We went to Philladelphia this weekend. It wasn’t our official vacation, which will be to Seattle starting next Wednesday, but we wanted to go down and see a friend before he moves back to Nashville. (We wanted to see his wife, too, but she was away. ) Becky’s brother also goes to school in Philly, so it was nice to see him, too. Anyway, we had a great time. We didn’t really “do” many of the traditional tourist things in that we didn’t go through Independence Hall or anything, but we took a very complete (and tiring) walking tour of downtown and got a good feel for the city. It’s a nice place; it felt very homey (moreso than Ithaca, actually).
On both my Knoxville and Philladelphia trips I took quite a number of pictures. Almost enough to create something of a travelog, I think. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get around to putting everything together for these two trips, but it was good practice for Seattle. I am hoping to document that trip fairly completely in words and pictures; we’ll see how it turns out. Putting a mess of pictures on a website is easy. Telling a good story and making it all look pleasing on a webpage is more difficult. I’ve only seen a couple of instances on the web that I thought were really well done. I’m planning to give it a shot, though.
I have been working all week to finish a paper before we go on vacation to Seattle next week. I was trying to get to school early, so I was disappointed when I missed the bus. The walk up the gorge was worth getting to school 30 minutes later, though. First of all, it had rained pretty hard the evening before, and Cascadilla Creek was running as high and fast as I’ve ever seen it. Also entertaining, though, were these little rock structures that someone had built in the creek. There were about 4 or 5 of them in all (that I saw), but I liked this picture best because of the contrast of the serene rock sculpture in the midst of the pounding falls…
As part of my visit to Knoxville, we went to the Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg today. I really enjoy aquariums, and this one just opened up a year or two ago, so I was excited about seeing it. On the whole, it’s a nice aquarium. Not as nice as the National Aquarium in Baltimore, but better than some of the smaller aquariums around. It was quite educational, but all of the interactive exhibits were clustered together, and I thought they were kindof weak. I was most surprised by the fact that the aquarium is privately owned and operated by Ripley’s (of Believe It or Not Fame); given that the aquarium’s primary purpose is commercial, the educational content was excellent.
Anyway, this is a lookdown fish which is in a cyllindrical tank just inside the entrance to the aquarium. (That’s why you can see all of those people on the other side.) It was one of the first shots I took all day and probably the best. Aquarium fish are tricky to photograph. You don’t want to use a flash because it bounces off the glass, but the fish are usually moving so quickly that capturing them without a flash is tricky. As always a tripod would have been helpful. I saw one that folds up really small at the Cornell Store the other day; unfortunately, it didn’t have a price tag.
I’m off to Knoxville today for a long weekend. I snapped this on the airplane somewhere between Pittsburg and Knoxville. For a self portrait, I thought it came out pretty well. I want an image to put on this page semi-permanently, though, so I may give it a few more tries.
The most significant change in my appearance is the addition of my glasses, which I got yesterday. I’ve never needed corrective lenses before, but I actually rather like them. Despite the fact that the opthamologist said that my vision was still really good, the glasses improve my ability to see far detail by a lot. Plus, by this time next year I’m hoping to have a job as a junior faculty member; I think the glasses add to my image as an academic.
Big changes are in store for my website, although an exact date of completion is uncertain. For several months now I’ve been pondering the idea of creating a weblog. I am often finding interesting (to me, anyway) tidbits on the web, and I’d like to share them with the world. In addition, I recently set out to make my pages compliant with standard HTML; specifically, I want it to validate with XHTML 1.0 transitional. Doing that with CityDesk would be a lot of work. Finally, at the moment posting to this site is a lot of work; I think if I can reduce the number of steps in the process that I will increase the frequency of my posts. This is especially important for creating a weblog; if I can’t post a short item to my weblog in 2 minutes, then I won’t do it. The crux of all of this is that I’m going to be redesigning the site and moving it to Moveable Type. All the cool kids are using it. (Well, some of them, anyway.)
I think that this bicycle has seen better days. I’m not sure who hung it up like this, but I found it amusing. Perhaps the missing front tire is the one I photographed in the gorge back in December!
We experienced a massive server meltdown this weekend. Jason was planning to move the server, and when it reached its new home it wouldn’t boot. After diagnosing a fairly serious hard drive problem, we decided we’d better put in a new drive. Somehow, we managed to restore the system within a couple of days without bouncing any mail or losing any data. (We had setup a backup mail server before the move.) More details at reusch.net.