Well – here I am at AAM in Philadelphia and am in the midst of a technology tutorial about Google mapping. I can see that this could be awfully darn cool for my historical visualization project and I’m just wondering if my volunteers would be interested in learning this?

View trail of the monitorkitty in a larger map


So I bought a cute little Linux netbook for my mom.

She now has my old Toshiba and I now have the cute little Linux netbook. Funny how things work that way. Anyway, I’m putting it through its paces in a Barnesy Noble coffeeshop.

I fully intended to be in a Borders coffeeshop, but the fates conspired to place a certain former archivist/convicted felon in the Borders coffeeshop – hence I am here, computing in the cloud.

We returned from Christmas in Tobacco Town last evening. It was a wonderful few days – actually starting in Williamsburg with the extended Holloway clan – then continuing onward to Winston and Greensboro for a few days. I think I shall write more about the weekend when I’m on a bigger keyboard – as this ickle thing makes my fingers appear giant. Forgive me for any typos!

Back to this little netbook – it’s an ASUS – and I think its a EeePC 900 – at least that’s what it says on the case, but it doesn’t have the webcam that the 900s come with – so I’m guessing that this is a special thing for Target. Like I said – it runs Linux – which has been an interesting new frontier for me – and it has no modem, which is why I now have it and my mother doesn’t (yes – there are people still on AOL and dial-up). But at just over 2 pounds – it does make for a perfect little travel companion and actually fits into the black hole (Jim’s term for it) of my purse.

So this is a test drive post – full of syntax and fury, signifying nothing. Enjoy.


Evening – and I’m sitting here tap-tap-tapping away on the new laptop.

That’s right – I said new laptop. Something keeps me from keeping one in working condition for more than 3 years. I often wonder if there’s some electrical charge associated with some part of me that accounts for this periodic self-destruction of portable computer equipment….

In any event – after the Sony ate part of a chapter I was writing yesterday morning (then had a nervous breakdown, rebooted itself several times, looked at me sadly and said ‘it’s not you, it’s me…’ and then displayed the Blue Screen of Death repeatedly from 3 p.m til 6 p.m….) I marched into the nearest den of computer geeks and asked for advice.

About 1/2 an hour later and minus several shekels, I walked out of the store with a MacBook Pro and into a brave new world of dashboards and docks, widgets and menulets (which sounds ever so like something I learned to dance in fourth grade…) – and hopefully – finally – some sort of binary stability.

That’s right, my friends….I drank the KoolAid.

Thankfully, I’ve worked with different operating systems in the past. Wildly different in some ways. My first computer was a Commodore 64 with a tape drive. From there I graduated to a Commodore 128 and ran a BBS from my bedroom. I wrote my first major paper on Lexy’s Mac back in the long-ago…in the before-time. Then I went kicking and screaming into the PC world for nearly 18 years. I did spend some interesting weekends pulling together the Monitor Center imagery out of our Photography Department’s Macs (after a crash-course from the wonderful Sydney who ran off to Indianapolis….)

So I’m not a complete foreigner on these shores.

These beautifully, luminescent, virus-free shores…


So I’ve been in Montreal for the past several days – at a conference for museum techno geeks – and I’m still not sure what to make of the city.

When one is at a conference – particularly a technology conference – it is always hard to get a sense of place, especially since this conference has its rooms and its sessions in the same hotel. The first one I went to, a few years ago, was so completely connected with that city’s underground that I’m not sure I ever saw daylight. Here one has to at least walk out blinking into the sun in order to get to the underground… The second one of these I went to was very different and I came back not only full of ideas for our website, but with newly acquired ink on my arm. This time I’m guessing there will be no new ink in the offing, but no matter – there will be time, there will be time….

Conferences are about the sessions, no doubt. But they are also about the in-between places – the lobby, the hallway, the elevator, the exhibit hall. This one has been wonderful in that I have attended with two of my colleagues who I am privileged to call friends.

The fact that we spent the last hour drinking frosty adult beverages and spelling fellow staff members names out with pretzels only makes it that much better….. 🙂


So my iPod cried last night.

I hooked it up to the computer to feed it yummy good new music and it cried.

Actually, it whimpered like a newborn. This sad little mewling sound that let me know that something was wrong.

Then the computer imploded momentarily and put an exclamation point on the iPod’s distress – like a mother looking after its young.

Seems it had to be restored.

Now – I had never realized that my iPod believed in reincarnation – but that was what it was craving – a new life.

We restored.

We fed it music anew.

And we fell asleep to its happy purring as it played the dBs.

Does it get any better than this?


The spaces between entries are getting too long to suit me….

But it’s once again been non-stop – which I guess I should be used to by now.

But a quick update – this past week I was sworn in as an advisory member of everybody’s favourite National Marine Sanctuary – which was really cool and a true honour. All of us newly sworn advisors got to celebrate with a cruise on a schooner on the Elizabeth River. Luckily – we came back to port just before the worst rain storm I’ve ever been in this side of a hurricane hit. But all was well.

That was followed by our annual curatorial competition on Friday night – which Lester and I won without resorting to curatorial guerilla tactics (usually stickers saying ‘de-accession me’ strategically stuck to one’s back or bum when one isn’t looking). We presented a group of letters from a Monitor crewman – which the museum now owns – yay!

Saturday I drove to see Dublingirl and family for Miss Clare’s first communion! She was an absolute beauty in her white gown and veil. We went back to the house for a big barbecue party and then hung out with friends until it was late. Clare and I had a slumber party in the living room and then Officer Harmon woke us up with the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted! Drove back in time for mother’s day in Williamsburg and a few hours sleep before the big Board of Trustees retreat. Whew!

In the midst of it all I discovered SecondLife, though I must admit I’ve spent most of my time running away from men in skimpy underwear and sitting by myself in cathedrals full of little wooden boxes.


My my my – but it’s been a hectic month, fraught with all manner of electronic madness…..

My internet connection crashed.

My computer crashed. Many times, and none of them pretty. Then it started randomly turning on and off.

My email addresses – all of them – stopped working.

My PDA wigged out.

I didn’t even turn my laptop on for fear that it would go silent again.

Perhaps the ghost that haunts this house is just having some fun with us. But really I think it’s just all of my electronic equipment reacting to my stress levels, which have been elevated lately – not unlike Homeland Security when small planes wander aimlessly over DC.

Hopefully, though – that is a thing of the past, as we have finished fixing, cleaning and otherwise removing all traces of ourselves from the old house – which will belong to someone else at precisely 4:45 pm tomorrow.

Strange thought, that.

Anyway – that’s the reason for the radio silence on my end. Hopefully it will end now.

I spent three days preparing the house for inspection. I purchased a small steam cleaner thingy that quite honestly has changed my life. I’m not sure how I – or even how humanity in general – has existed thus far without this marvel. Get thee to a Target, go and purchase either a Shark steamer or a Scunci steamer. You will never look at your baseboards the same way again.

Oh –

If by chance I don’t *get* a chance to post tomorrow (and since I didn’t get a chance to post much at all this June….and the fact that I have to work until 10 tomorrow night whilst wearing an 1890s bathing suit and no I’m not kidding…)

Happy belated birthdays go out to Addie and Dublingirl on June 4 and June 23 respectively, and a most happy birthday tomorrow goes out to Miss Clare – who is most wondrous!!!

Must go unpack a box now. Really, any box will do. There are so many…..



The difference in the sounds was apparent at once. No contented chatter, no tiny little sounds that made it seem like information was being licked and savored, caressed and then neatly tucked away….

These new sounds were somehow different, somehow confused.

Oh – there was tenacity, I’ll give you that. There was the thought that perhaps *this* time, things would be different – that the confusion would resolve itself into new understanding.

Who knows what precipitated the disaster? Had I not given all I could give in care? Did I not lavish praise and attention?

Perhaps it was just time.

So now I sit and wait for the prognosis – will there be anything to save? Will anything ever be the same again?

Man, I miss my laptop…


Not sure what it means – but I have been hit by various search engines on the following terms today –

Beaujoulais nouveau
80 feet of the water line
morning star, oh cheering sight
bad food for animals
southern living pumpkin bread
moravian lovefeast song morning star
goober peas song

must’ve been a slow news day, that’s all I can say……


So I’m at this conference about Museums and the Web and my inner geek – long dormant, just came out this week. I’m one of the furtive little scurrying things that you see in the shadows of conferences, permanently attached to a wireless laptop looking for the best hot spot so I can log all the important sites that I’m hearing about in the sessions. You see it everywhere here – I swear to you I just saw two guys carrying on a conversation between two PDAs.

OK – so I’m not that bad…

It’s really kind of funny that I didn’t go into computers ages ago. I mean, I ran a BBS on my Commodore 64, for goodness sakes! I remember you had to shout through the modem if you were actually calling me on the telephone, as I only had one line…

But, I didn’t go that way – and I guess I’m happy about that. In terms of technology I think I make a better end user than a programmer.

But you know, conferences can sometimes be good things in that they remind you what it is you love about your job and confront you with all the possibilities inherent in that job. Some of the things I’ve seen here border on the magical and theoretically I should be able to accomplish most of these things over time.

Kinda frightening, but kinda exhilirating too at the same time.

Well – things are winding to a close today at the geekfest and I’ll be heading to Richmond to see the Hackensaw Boys yet again. I’m not sure I’d ever tire of seeing them – they’re one of the most exciting bands I’ve seen in a long time (and I think I’ve said that here before). It will be a nice end to a long, intense week – or perhaps a nice beginning to an equally long week.

It’s times like these that I must thrive on. I’m not sure I’d know any other way.