Monday, September 29, 2008

Outer Banks Photos Galore! 

I assembled all the pictures and videos from my camera phone, PowerShot, Rebel and The Girl's Digital Elph and placed them into sets by day of our trip. All the sets are in one collection. This way you can view them one chunk at a time and not be overwhelmed. Click on the hang glider to go to the main collection page. Each set has an overall description of the topics of that day. Have fun!

Still to come: pictures from the camera attached to the tandem glider. We have to get these developed (35mm).

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:51 PM
Friday, September 26, 2008

Ready to Glide 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
Here I am getting my last instructions before running off the dune and sailing off into the air. Click on the picture to see the whole set, plus two videos of The Girl's first two flights!

We'll get more photos and videos of tomorrow's tandem towed flights.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:44 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hang Gliding Complete! 

We each completed our five flights this afternoon, and had a blast!!!! We each landed flat only once, and the rest of the flights we landed on our feet. The Girl was quite nervous anticipating this activity, but she's ready to sign up for more. On our way home on Saturday, we're each going up for a tandem towed flight, where we'll each go up attached to an instructor's kite and be towed by a little plane or ultralight to 2000 feet, then cut loose for a glide down. Whee!

Oh, and pictures and video to follow today's events.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:41 PM


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Storm view

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:14 PM

Big Storm 

Well, many of our planned activities for today are out. The Girl was to golf around 10:00 and I was to get a hot shell massage at 11:00, then I was going to walk around at the Wright Bros. Memorial and hike in Jockey's Ridge State Park. It's pouring and very windy out, so no golf and no outdoor meandering and picture taking. I attempted to drive up Highway 12 (really it's just a two lane residential road, don't let "Highway" fool you) to Duck for my massage but I encountered road flooding and the "High Water" signs along the way. Fearing a repeat of last night's 6 hour imprisonment on Hatteras Island with nothing open, I called The Girl, had her cancel my appointment and headed back to the hotel.

When she called the spa, the woman on the phone responded that "no one else has had any problems..." Well, maybe all your morning clients are staying in the area around the spa, or perhaps they made it in fine but they won't be able to get back when the session is over. At any rate, I wouldn't have been able to relax while worrying about being trapped in Duck while The Girl was stuck in the hotel room (where we are having some leakage around the sliding door of our fourth floor waterfront room).

I came back and checked the forecast, since we still have our appointments for late afternoon hang gliding. The rain and wind are both supposed to let up, and the hang gliding school hasn't yet called to cancel, so we have hope. While at, I spotted the "coastal flooding" warning, and clicked over to it, to find this:


Yes - that's HIGHWAY 12!!! On the Norther Outer Banks! Where I was trying to drive this morning but wisely turned around.


Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:20 AM
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Safe in Kitty Hawk 

For anyone who has been following our travails this evening (with phoned-in posts via Jott), they finally opened route 12 back up and we made our way back to Kitty Hawk. It was quite a drive, though, with the wind (30-45 mph tonight, with gusts up to 50-60) blowing the sand across the road. This was especially fun going over the bridge across Oregon Inlet.

Time for bed. Tomorrow: golf for The Girl, hot shell massage followed by a second trip to the Wright Brothers Memorial and some hiking in Jockey's Ridge State Park, then hang gliding for both of us at 4:00! We were supposed to hang glide today, but with the 40 mph winds they postponed us.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:23 PM

10:25, our night in... 

10:25, our night in Rodanthe is over. We are on our way back to the hotel.
Yay! listen

Powered by Jott

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:25 PM

Night in Rodanthe. We're... 

Night in Rodanthe. We're still stuck on Hatteras Island. Maybe at 10 PM we'll get off. listen

Powered by Jott

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:04 PM

The girl and I went... 

The girl and I went out for a driving adventure to Hatteras Island and now we are trapped for a couple of hours because the water is over the road. listen

Powered by Jott

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:56 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Monday, September 22, 2008


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Dinner view

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:51 PM


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Morning walk

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:28 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2008



Saturday, September 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Solio sunroof

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:46 PM

And the girl has this... 

And the girl has this to add.
Yaay. listen

Powered by Jott

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:16 AM

We''re on our way, day... 

We''re on our way, day 2 of driving. We're in New Jersey heading through Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and on North Carolina. listen

Powered by Jott

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:16 AM
Friday, September 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Off we go!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:46 PM


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Road trip java

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:44 PM
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pre-Vacation Brain Dump 

We're off for our road trip to Kitty Hawk tomorrow - yay!! We have reservations for massages on Monday, and to go hang gliding off the dunes on Wednesday. I've stocked up on Star Trek paperbacks and e-books, and Rosetta Stone is coming along with me so I can continue the Italian lessons. The Girl is still laughing about that last bit.

We saw The Women over the weekend. I laughed a lot, but rolled my eyes a lot as well. Caution - spoilers ahead. You may know that there are no men in this movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers apparently just didn't know how to make a chick flick without having a bumbling man around to be inappropriate at charitable events, to show off supermodel girlfriends and to be overwhelmed and queezy in the delivery room. "I know!" they said. "We'll put a lesbian in there! That's the next best thing to a man, right?" Yes, sadly, Jada Pinkett Smith gets to be the surrogate man. Because that's what lesbians are, right? Her counterpart in the underdeveloped characters department is played by Debra Messing, who is the earth mom. She gets to say things like, "But you're my gay friend!" and has laugh shots where she obviously rolls her eyes when glancing at the art work at the lesbian restaurant. Because of course when it's the lesbian's turn to pick the restaurant, she picks the one that caters to upscale lesbians who enjoy groping each other during dinner. These two characters disappear when Meg Ryan and Annette Benning's characters go through their growth stage. Meg is the overextended fundraising housewife who gave up her career to keep house and raise the child while her husband did whatever, and Annette Benning is the publishing giant who sacrificed all other facets of her life to succeed. See the nice contrast? Yeah, not that hard. Anyway, it must have been too hard for them to have all the main characters develop, so Debra and Jada vanished during that segment, only to reappear for the delivery room finale. And stereotypical hijinx ensue. Also of note, in addition to only women being on screen, there were only women in the theater as well.

In tv-land, I'm a little irritated that Sarah Connor is obsessing over whether her 2007 possible radiation exposure is what caused her cancer in the previous timeline. Yes, the timeline in which she died in 2005. So how could she have died from cancer two years before the exposure? I don't know. A friend has posited that perhaps she is destined to go backwards again, and therefore she could still die in 2005. But wouldn't Cameron have already known that? She seems to feel that the jump to 2007 was a new twist. Who knows? I'll keep watching.

We're liking Fringe, although we haven't watched this week's episode yet. Yes, even The Girl watches this one! Loving Primeval and continue on the love train for Eureka, Bones and Stargate Atlantis. Can't wait for Torchwood to return. Looking forward to Sanctuary on October 3, but it's a little disconcerting to see someone else being the action chick while Amanda Tapping is the brunette, headquarters, possibly British-accented coordinator. I've heard True Blood is good, so Tivo is recording the first few episodes during vacation.

My favorite Bones moment from last season: when Bones and Cam are dressed up as Wonder Woman and Cat Woman respectively, and Bones is adamant about Wonder Woman being the superior character. When she asks Seely who's the better one and he says, "Wonder Woman," she nods vigorously and says, "I concur! Vehemently!" I'm cracking up just thinking about it.

Okay, it's just me I guess.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:08 PM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Are Those Pretty Lights In the Sky? 

Cosmic Variance writes on John McCain's remarks yesterday regarding congressional spending requests by Obama. Among those earmarks was funding for "planetariums and other foolishness."

What's next on the hit list? Science classes, NASA, and the use of scientific research when making decisions at other government agencies? Oh, wait - the present administration already covered that last one.

Let's take a look at the two campaign websites and what they have to say about the candidates' views on science:

McCain - Scrolling through his issues list, I see Technology. Hmm, looks like his technology stance is basically, "Let big business ring." He touts his work that put so many wi-fi hotspots in coffee shops across American. What? He's also worked hard to keep the internet free of regulation. Is he playing on the fear-mongering web scams about Congress supposedly taking every email you send?

Okay, one of McCain's other isues is Climate Change. Let's see... Yup, more focus on the markets to solve the problem. Oh, and this -

"He believes:

An Adaptation Plan Should Be Based Upon National And Regional Scientific Assessments Of The Impacts Of Climate Change.

An Adaptation Plan Should Focus On Implementation At The Local Level Which Is Where Impacts Will Manifest Themselves
So he'll rely on regional assessments. Those assessments would be by the people doing the regional polluting, right? And he'll focus on the local level where climate change effects are shown? I'm pretty sure that the whole focus of climate change is that it's global. Am I wrong here? That local problems lead to global isssues? Anyone?

Now let's look at the corresponding two issues on Obama's website.

Technology: *Pause for lengthy reading* Okay, I'm back now. First, let me say that I was able to breeze right through McCain's page. It was very high level and focused on scoring quick points. Obama's page is detailed and thorough. It provides insights with balancing considerations. For example, keeping the internet and other communications filled with open and diverse viewpoints and protecting First Amendment rights, while providing parents with tools to filter out messages of hate, graphic sex and predators from their children's viewing. He talks about having a Chief Technology Officer for the government to get the government a proper technological infrastructure, but making the government's work transparent and nonrestrictive on individual rights. He talks about getting that proper communications infrastructure out to the rest of the country, while protecting individual privacy. He talks about how technology can assist with issues in healthcare, the environment, education, jobs and public safety. And yes, he does talk about tech in the global marketplace.

Energy and Environment: He does include the cap-and-trade program that seems to be the lynchpin and major focus of the McCain page. But he has more. He does have plans for short term "relief at the pump," but also talks about alternative energy sources, nonpetroleum technology, and having the US be a leader in addressing climate change. Yes, a leader. McCain at least talks about rejoining the global effort, but Obama wants to put us out front. I should note that this issue page is not as extensive as his technology page. If you click on one of the "Learn More" links the page does expand to provide more detail, but still not as much. Even with this, it's still more rounded than McCain's page.

It's interesting just to look at the issues lists for the two. Obama has a Civil Rights page, which McCain does not. Of course, Obama's civil rights page doesn't address GLBT issues, other than through the Matthew Shepard hate crimes law, which he doesn't specify further.

On the other hand, Obama has no issue counterpart for McCain's Second Amendment page (that's the one about guns...). If you go to Obama's "Other Issues" page he does have a note regarding "Sportsmen." He does reach out to the conservation efforts led by hunters and anglers, so that's a nice thing.

So my final word, as it often is, is that you should get out there and research the candidates' positions. Then get out and vote.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:56 AM
Friday, September 12, 2008


Originally uploaded by RSLS
Stuck on a plane at the gate 2 hours

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:21 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bird on a Rail 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
I spent some time today at the airport in DC (DCA), with lovely views that included the runways, but also the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building and the National Cathedral. I was sitting at my gate, when a little sparrow landed across the aisle from me, and then it hopped up to join me in staring longingly out the window.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:31 PM

2008 Candidates Issues Quiz 

WBUR has their Vote by the Issues quiz up, where they present statements by each candidate on various issues (10), without identifying who said what. You click Agree or Disagree on each statement, and at the end they summarize how often you agreed, disagreed or chose not to choose on each person and on which issues. It's a simple way for folks who say they haven't made up their minds yet, or who say they haven't yet really done their research, to get started. If you're one of these people, please take the quiz and then do some more research. Elections are too important to take blithely.

To further your research, go to the issues pages on each candidate's website: Obama, McCain.

FYI - No surprise, I agreed with Obama on all 10 issues and disagreed with McCain on all 10 issues.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:55 AM
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm a Chemist? Who Knew? 

Today I received my invitation to apply for membership in the American Chemical Society! I can't tell you how thrilled I am, after all these years of hard work... No, wait. I haven't had anything to do with the chemical industry since my year of Chem 101 and 102 my first year at Bryn Mawr, in the fall of 1982 (and it was right after lunch, so we were all prone to post-prandial napping during the lecture. Then there was the time that Dr. Ernst Berliner was puzzled by my apparent glass sculpture making, when it was actually just my practicing tube-bending on the instructions of Dr. Frances Berliner after I screwed up my initial attempt). Why am I getting this mailing?

Wait - there's a little letter inside that opens with: "Dear colleague: Do you wonder why someone whom you've never met would nominate you for membership in the American Chemical Society?" Why yes... *looking at signature line* ...Denise, I am wondering that. Please tell me!

"I would, too. And that's why I asked Debbie Fillinich if I could enclose this brief note of explanation [thank you, Denise!].

The American Chemical Society Bylaws state that to become a member of ACS, you must be nominated by two current members.

Many chemical practitioners who wanted to join informed us that this was a real barrier. They had the credentials - the degree, academic training, and job title required [this is apparently the largest scientific society in the world, with over 160,000 members - if you're working in the industry, how can you not know a member]. But they didn't know any members or were uncomfortable asking a colleague to make the nomination [get over it - ask your colleague to recommend you, then take her out to lunch].

So Debbie's office came up with a novel idea. Each year they would compile a master list of likely candiates for ACS membership: chemists working in academia [nope], industry [nope], government [nope], and other venues [nope]. Then we would carefully review the list to ensure that the candidates merited nomination [apparently not that carefully]. If they did, we agreed to make the admission process easier by pre-nominating these screened [better check that screen for holes] candidates."

Yeah, I'm thinking that someone list company screwed up their requests for American Constitution Society and the American Chemistry Society, and now law students, attorneys and other constitutionally-minded progressives around the company are being encouraged to apply for the resume-enhancing credentials that come with membership in the American Chemistry Society.

Now it's time to pack for my trip to Dallas tomorrow. Clearly I hate packing and will latch onto any distraction to postpone the inevitable.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:01 PM

Bobblehead for the Pod 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
I came into work today to find on my desk a gift bag. Inside the gift bag (which was from my pod neighbor) was a Barack Obama bobble head doll! Yay! I opened the package and released him from his cage, then pulled the plastic tab that prevents the battery from connecting. As soon as his head started bobbling, he begin shouting, "Yes we can!"

He shouted this over and over. Even when I put him on the desk, he kept shouting. The desks aren't exactly fine furnishings, and they vibrate if someone sneezes twenty feet away. I became concerned, and looked for the off switch. Nope - I would have to reinsert the plastic or remove the battery.

The battery cover is held in place with a tiny, well-secured phillips head screw. I took my tiny Leatherman utility tool out of my bag for last week's flight. The plastic tab was impossible to reinsert. I received a phone call and had to pass him off to the gift-giving neighbor, who all but smothered the poor little bobble head to keep him quiet.

After the call, I decided I would return him to his plastic full body brace and display him on my desk while still in the box. Now he still randomly begins encouraging me (and responds well when I tap the box), but his enthusiastic voice is politely muffled by the plastic and cardboard.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:51 AM

Rachel Maddow Show 

Who out there caught the first episode of Rachel Maddow's new MSNBC show last night at 9 pm eastern? If you're not raising your hand, be sure to make up for it and watch - it's on five nights each and every week. She's intelligent, snarky, bold and goes head to head with her "fake uncle, Pat Buchanan" with a smile on her face. My favorite line, although there were many contenders, came after her discussion of how she would like to ask Sarah Palin about her views on the separation of church and state - "Because church and state, unlike chocolate and peanut butter, are two great things that really don't go together."

A close runner up, in reference to the McCain campaign's statement that Palin won't do interviews until and unless the media shows her proper respect and deference: "To my mind, deference has about as much place in journalism as vertigo has in trapeze."

If you're wondering "Who's Rachel Maddow?" here's her official MSNBC bio. For the less polished view, here's an interview with Curve magazine.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:42 AM
Saturday, September 06, 2008

Local Market Zoo 

Since today's gardening activities are over (see previous post), and The Girl (after coming in from the nearby golf course, rather soaked) has headed into work to put in some make up hours, I decided a latte was in order. The Starbucks nearby is next to Panzano, an Italian market that features many locally produced/grown items, so I figured I'd pop in and get some fresh mozzarella. They have a woman in Somerville who makes it for them. On our simultaneous way out of the garage, The Girl asked if I could also pick up some milk while I'm out.

First, this reminded me that this morning she informed me that the milk was bad, so she couldn't have cereal. Later in the day I opened the fridge only to find that she had pulled out the milk, opened it, smelled it, judged it to be bad, and put it back in the fridge.

Second, there are no regular grocery stores near where I was heading. They are in the opposite direction.

But off I went. Whoops! I forgot that Panzano was having its "Tastes of New England - A Local Food Artisans Market at Panzano" event this afternoon from 4 to 7. And I arrived around 5:30, right at peak action time. So I had to politely scoot my way around all the folks merrily engaging the local vendors. Normally I would say this was a good thing, but the problem is that the store has VERY TINY aisles. On a normal day an aisle becomes crowded when you and another person are on it going in opposite directions. Now it was even worse due to the vendor tables crammed in as well. But it's a good thing, and we should all support our local producers and the retailers who support them. But I hate crowds!

The good news was that I discovered that Panzano also carries milk from a Massachusetts dairy (in Lee), so I fulfilled my half-heartedly made semi-promise that I would pick up milk. Actually, I really did want milk so I could make crepes sometime this weekend, but I wasn't happy about having to go to multiple stores. Anyway, then I made my way around to the deli case, where they keep the mozzarella balls. There were two women fully engaging the deli clerk with their tasting of every item available in the deli and chatting about whether the chick pea salad tastes like fried rice (I didn't even ask how they could have come to that conclusion) and other culinary commentary. Meanwhile, I had to stand next to them, watching over the case on the off chance that another employee might wander by to help someone actually interested in making a purchase, and periodically squeezing in close to the case to let another shopper go by. It was really fun when one of the employees decided it was the perfect time to maneuver up the aisle with a handtruck loaded with four cases of wine. Good times.

But, the Barefoot Contessa Wannabe's finally meandered on (without buying anything, of course), and I procured the last two mozzarella balls floating in the little cheese tank. When I finally made my way to the cashier, there was no line at all. Hey people! It's really nice that you attend these support your local food artisans event, but it really would be better if you actually Supported Your Local Food Artisans!!!!!

Anyway, after that I went next door to support one of my local retail establishments of my favorite corporate giant and went home. Speaking of which - Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back. Just be careful sipping them around your computer.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:20 PM

No More Yard Work Today 

Tropical Storm Hannah is making her move on our area, and the pouring rain has begun. Earlier today I got our new compost bin started, loosened up more of the packed dirt above the retaining wall and brought down some mulch-like material from further back, which I'm hoping will hold on to some of the moisture and help loosen up that soil. The goal is that next summer we'll have built up the dirt level and will be able to plant phlox along the wall so it will grow over.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:48 PM
Wednesday, September 03, 2008


A series of events has led to my finally updating my blogrolls (on the right side of the page). Gone are the formerly entertaining law school blogs which haven't had posts in the years since the blogger graduated, the blogs which have been taken down completely, and the ones that just don't interest me anymore. Hopefully with the numbers being less overwhelming (and the links actually active), they'll be easier to keep up with.

If you're a blogger whose work no longer appears but you think I should reconsider, leave a comment and I'll think about it. If you're a dear friend who has promised to resume blogging, get it in gear! And yes, NAF, I'm talking to you.

I've also removed the random samplings from My Library, as I just didn't get very far with cataloging all the shelves, and I was getting tired of seeing the same dozen or so covers. The Countdown is also updated - it had been stuck in the countdown to this year's Oscar Party, which was months ago. Now it's counting down to our Kitty Hawk vacation. If you feel anything else needs revamping, leave a comment and I'll think about it.

Speaking of comments, I found this great post on TalkLeft, on problematic commenting. Consider their policy to be my policy. I add to their policy that unsolicited and irrelevant phishing for visits to completely uninteresting sites are also subject to deletion. Or at least snarky commentary and cautions to readers. These are usually along the lines of, "Hey, I love your blog. I think you'd really find mine [link to some blog either of no interest, completely offensive to me, or one that was badly translated from another language to the point that it's nearly incomprehensible] interesting.

So what brought me to take this long overdue clean up action? Well, it goes like this:

I have a very cool Solio solar powered charger. It works great for charging the iPods and the Tom Tom, but not so hot on the cell phone and Palm. The phone I'll blame on the phone. It does charge, but only for short durations. It's not like the iPod, which I plug into the Solio for a few hours and it's totally rejuiced. But my phone has many, many shortcomings, so I'll leave that. As for the Palm, I've also been having problems with the syncing - using the same cable I've been trying to charge it with. It's finicky or slow, etc. I think a couple of years of heavy use and travel have taken their toll. So I ordered, and today received, a new syncing cable and a USB charging cable. The Solio now juices the Palm no problem. Of course then I had to test out the syncing cable - works like a charm! Syncs on the first try and it speeds right along.

Since the Palm was all synced up, I decided to check on my Avantgo settings, since I really hadn't been using it much for the last, oh, year or so. I checked all my subscriptions, deleted the ones I don't need anymore, updated the links for sites that had moved, and added some new ones. This of course included lots of back and forth and tweaking to get each one just right.

Then, since I was on a roll with testing links, I surfed over to Blogrolling to clean up that outdated mess. I ended up removing so many listings that some of my categories were no longer needed, so then I redid all the categories. A new category is for blogs related to Wills and Estates, even if only in part or peripherally. Because nothing will get me motivated in my new endeavors than a chance to have a geeky tie-in with it.

While I was checking how the blogrolls looked, I kept getting irritated at all the aforementioned book covers. Gone. And that the Countdown was a countdown to absolutely nothing. Fixed. Jott Status - no longer functional. Deleted. Netflix info - nonfunctional. Replaced with links to feeds.

Maybe someday I'll even update the FAQ. Most of the shows I list as favorites have been off the air for years. But that's for another night.

So, I hope you enjoy the fruits of my five hour distraction. Just like old times.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:16 PM