Sunday, October 23, 2005

Extreme Camping/Extreme Cooking

Whew, what a weekend. I went to the Pomperaug District Camporee which was held at Camp Strang in Goshen CT. The weather was not ideal. Friday was fine, but during the night, it started to rain. It was one of those situations ripe for hypothermia. High temperature was about 50. It was cold, it was damp.

One of my jobs in Boy Scouts, is as District Commissioner. As the afternoon began, we got worried about the weather. Forecasts were for about 12 hours of steady, drenching rain beginning late afternoon. There were about 250 people there, but some were not ready for the weather. There were boys without rain gear, never mind gloves! The program ended early, and troops were encouraged to go home early.

I was set to join them, when the Scoutmaster asked me if I were staying. Two of the boys, who were well prepared, wanted to stay. So ... even though I had most of my gear in the car, I agreed to stay as the second adult. That also gave me the role of "cook."

It was the most challenging cooking experience I have ever had. First of all, as the day ended, it got cooler. At the same time, there was a steady 20 mile/hour wind, with frequent gusts up to 40! There was a fly over the cooking area (for most of the "event," but it was blown over about 1/2 way through the cooking.

The original menu was for baked, stuffed, bacon-wrapped pork chops accompanied by several vegetables and applesauce with a cobbler/dump cake for dessert. In the wind, and given that this was dinner for 4, we did not use the original plan. I kept minimal gear, and food. I had the 2 burner propane stove, the griddle, a pot, and the Scoutmater's utensil set.

I started the stove. Actually that took a bit in the wind. We had positioned the cooking area so that the lid of the stove was too the windward, but that was not enough shelter to get a flame, and improvised a larger windscreen which required at least two of the other three folks to hold down our contraption.

So, I started cooking. 4 fat chops on the grill. It was going slowly, until someone suggested that since they were already slit for stuffing, to just split them. Well, first they had to come off the bones, but that is what I did. It helped incredibly. When the chops were done, I took them off and put them in the lid/fry pan while heating up the vegetable. Voila, dinner. The applesauce (home-made) was served cold.

We ate quickly, and then put everything in the cars except our tents. Both the Scoutmaster and I moved our cars to the windward to act as a windbreak (of sorts).

We had identical tents. We both have the Mountain Pass XT (no longer available, looks like it was replaced by the Apex, although it is available from Campmor). Last March when we went to New Jersey I had purchased new stakes MSR "Ground Hog" stakes at Campmor . They worked great. Although it was interesting to hear the "sucking sound" that they made when I pulled them up the next morning.

Throughout the night the wind continued, and there were occasional showers. I was in my sleeping bag (having changed clothing) at 7:30 pm! The only problem with that was the necessary trip at about 3:30 am!

The wind shifted during the night, but all was well. I'll say the field was muddy in spots, because a week later, my car is still covered.

It was an adventure.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Orleans here we come!

The ALA web site should have the announcement that the ALA Annual Conference will be held in New Orleans. [Of course Midwinter is still in San Antonio.]

This was not an easy decision. However, the economic impact of an ALA Conference is incredible. The Association itself spends a couple million dollars. The economic impact can be 25 times that. For last year in Chicago, I heard that the impact was about $50 million. We saw that also with the Toronto conference. ALA was the first major conference after the SARS scare. I know that the City was incredibly grateful to see librarians arrive! I expect that New Orleans will be the same.

ALA staff have made several trips to the City. The level of monitoring for mold is incredible. It is probably safer to breathe the air there than it is here, especially after the rain!

I am looking forward to going back to New Orleans. I hope that the charm is still there. Hearing that the Cafe du Monde had re-opened reminded me of how much I yearn for a cafe au lait and beignets.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

From Karma to Car go

Well the crash of the laptop was not as bad as expected. It was a hardware problem not a software problem, and all data has been retrieved. Now they just have to install the new hard drive, and some software and return it. I may even weed my files!

On another note, Blogger is acting funny, and only lets me type in the "Edit HTML" window and not in the "Compose" window, although the preview looks just fine. We'll see. My HTML editing is very rusty and rudimentary.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bad Karma

Bad karma......Over the weekend I was at Scout Camp. It was the second weekend of NE-II-143, the Wood Badge for the 21st Century course. My job was that of Scribe (Paper), and I was responsible for the handouts, and the daily newsletter, plus taking photos.

We got to Saturday lunch time, and all had gone very well. We had talked about how well it was going. Never do that!!

Part of the concluding presentation is a Power Point slide show with photos. It is timed to work with a sound track, and runs 8 minutes. It is about 230 slides, and runs for 8 minutes. I had put in about 180 or 190 slides (saving periodically) when I got the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH.

Ever get that? It is bad. Very Bad.

Two of the other folks on staff are very talented technicians (and work on PCs for a living). They went to work for about an hour, and then the bad news. It lost its boot sector. It would not start even with an XP boot disk. Pain.

Well there was an extra laptop, and I created Sunday's daily newsletter. I did not get much sleep on Saturday night because I was re-creating the slide show. (Most of the photos were on a mini-CD or two, and the rest were in electronic form on another machine.)

The course ended well.

Today, my laptop went to the Library's tech vendor. We'll see what happens next.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Countries I have visited

Well, this is much less impressive:

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

And it is quite misleading. For where I have been in the US, see the prior entry in this blog. I have only been to border towns in Mexico, and only a few places in Canada (Toronto, for ALA; driving across Ontario from Niagara Falls to avoid Detroit). My trip to Argentina was courtesy of Rotary, and I visited only Buenos Aires (but it was a GREAT trip). My European travels were 35 years ago, when there still was a Berlin Wall, and concern about Russians. I guess I need to broaden my horizons...literally!

States I have visited

Let me see if I can post this, which idea I got from Walt Crawford.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

There is certainly a pattern, and someday, I need to do the Northwestern part of the country. I'd also like to visit Michigan's U.P. (which is colored in because of my many visits to the "hand" of Michigan). I'll even claim extensive travel in the six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. I've also seen a great deal of Illinois, Iowa, Arizona, and New Mexico. Many of the other have been either plane hops in and out (Louisiana) or "drive throughs" on the Interstate.

Hmmm. No I'll have to do the world map.

Profile of "the" judge

Janet C. Hall ruled in September in the case of ACLU vs. Gonzales. Yesterday's (10/1/2005) Connecticut Post had a great front page story about her. Read quickly, I don't know how long it is free! If you have to go to the hard copy/microfilm, it starts on page 1, at the bottom.