I'm sitting on the front porch writing this on my Laptop which, despite its name, is sitting on my legs rather than on my lap)... The sky is almost totally blue with just a faint trace of whispy white clouds at the horizon. I chose the background color -- 0066FF azure-azure-blue -- because it seemed to match the blue of the sky. (But it matches better in a small sample than on the full screen, it's a bit overwhelming full screen.)
Sometimes technology is so cool... Twenty years ago I saw an advertising poster (from one of the early personal computer companies) that showed a guy sitting on the front porch of what appeared to be a big old Victorian era home, faithful dog lying near its master, and there is a computer monitor on a table next to the Adirondack style chair this guy is sitting in... and he's got a keyboard in his lap. I thought that was great, just imagine being able to work like that... and now I actually can, except that my laptop is faster, has many times more memory and far more disk storage than the mainframe computer system I was working on in those days.
It's near four in the afternoon, the sun is behind the house, the shadow of the house projected out, covering the the closest third of the front lawn, the houses and trees across the street in full sunlight. Sounds drift through the warm air, a lawnmower down the street to my right, children laughing, an occasional sound of hammering from the almost completed new house that has been put up next to the two year old house almost directly across the street from me. A light breeze intermitantly ruffles the leaves of the trees, first in my yard, then the trees in the front yards across the street, then the trees behind those houses.
The shadows are getting longer as the afternoon moves on, the shadows of my trees now reach across the street and almost half of my front lawn is shaded by my house. Obviously I'm doing more than just sitting here typing this entry: I've got a FreeLance graphics file open in screenshow mode, graphics that are projected as part of that WebSphere course I've slowly been ramping up to teach; I've also got a Lotus WordPro file open where I've been building a table listing the lecture topics for the second half of this course matched up with the names of the twenty or so FreeLance files that illustrate those topics.
But Jim, you say, this a lovely Saturday afternoon... why are you working? Well, actually, I do often work on my own time (hey, it's only fair, after all, I do sometimes look at journals or check email from my office). It's not just a job; it's something that I enjoy. I've spent about an hour or so today reading parts of a a book about EJB's (Enterprise JavaBeans Development Using VisualAge for Java) Well, it's not just that I am interested in this stuff, but also on Tuesday I'm going to be meeting with the instructor who is my mentor for this course to go over some of these lectures so I want to have a good handle on the material, etc. It's not yet certain, but there's a good chance that he and I will be teaching this course in Norway at the end of September. (And I have lots of other stuff to do in the meanwhile, including teaching some completely different material here in Rhode Island before then.)
This has been a very pleasant day... Nancy and I got up a little before seven, nice to sleep in a bit. After working through the morning paper with breakfast I switched to my EJB book for a while. Then, a little past nine, we put on an exercise video (The Firm - Volume One). I'm not a fan of most exercise videos, too much choreography involved, if I want to learn to dance I'll go and enroll in a dance class. This one has a minimum of that kind of nonsense... it's a full hour of aerobic workout that makes extensive use of handweights. It is a really good total workout. When we finished that I did a few more ab crunches and bicep curls, etc. and some stretching and then I went out for a run. I had meant to do about three and a half miles but I got lost in thought and ran past my intended turn-around point so I ended up running a little over four and a half miles.
Nancy and I had to run a few errands this afternoon, do a little light shopping and also stop at our bank. We had set Sean up with a debit card against his savings account so he could use ATM machines to get money in Sydney. He had money with him plus some in his account but we figured he that his account would need a dollar transfusion at some point so after he got there and confirmed that he could access his account I moved two hundred into his account. Today's mail brought a notice from the bank that he had overdrawn his account (for which they were charging a $20 fee)... so we double-checked the status of his account and then moved some more money into it. I think we have to phone that boy tonight and see what he's doing with his money.
Big bumblebee buzzing around next to me, visiting the flowers Nancy has here on the porch. (Bumblebees don't bother me any; I think they are interesting -- and useful --creatures.) Nancy has planted lots of flowers in the backyard that attract butterflies and hummingbirds (and bumblebees like them too)... and she has a good-sized plant with dark red flowers in a hanging basket on the porch here (I'm not quite sure what it is, a "dollar plant"?) On Thursday I was sitting here reading, vaguely aware of the buzzing sound of bumblebees when suddenly I heard a much deeper sound and looked up to see a hummingbird hoovering less than two feet in front of me. Beautiful.
Rabbit Update -- while I'm mumbling nature type stuff -- We have a compost bin in our backyard. Nancy tossed some carrots on the ground next to the bin rather than into it because she thought maybe the rabbits might eat them. I don't know if they have or not, but yesterday I was taking some scraps out to be composted and a rabbit hopped away from the bin as I approached. Earlier this afternoon as I was sitting here on the porch I looked up just in time to see a rabbit making a high speed dash from the woods behind the houses opposite us, through their yards, across the street and up into our yard and around the side of our house.
Well, it's now nearly five-thirty, the whole front yard is now in shade, and mosquitoes have begun to seek me out for dinner. I'm not really exactly worried about them, although the concerns about Easter Equine Encephalitis that were raised a few years ago here have not gone away and the West Nile Virus that had New York City worried recently has now been detected in Rhode Island... but I've just killed three hungry mosquitoes while typing these two paragraphs (and missed another)... so I think I'm going to go inside and start to think about fixing dinner. Yes, it is a bit early for us, but we've got a video to watch -- Man in the Moon -- and I'd like to be able to do some non-technical reading afterwards (having just begun a Steven King novel last night) and given the workout I got this morning, I don't think I will be awake past midnight.
Phoned Sean around 7:30 pm here, which means it was 9:30 Sunday morning in Sydney but no answer, out for breakfast, so left a voice message. He called back an hour later... the money problem was what I had thought, mental math glitch converting back and forth between U.S. and Australian money... told him we'd added more money to his account in case he needed it. He's been having a great time... took a 4-wheel-drive tour of the Outback... today (i.e., Sunday in Australia) they are going to the Olympic stadium to see some major rugby match. (It is so quiet around here with him away.) Hmmm, just noticed on the weather stickers (left sidebar), right now as I type this Sydney is only four degrees (F) cooler than Rhode Island, except it's noon time on a late winter day there and nine p.m. on a late summer evening here.