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monitorkitty – Page 2 – shoving wet cats into inappropriate places since 1862

….And it’s still snowing….


Actually – I am homeward bound at the moment – somewhere just south of Alexandria on the last stretch through to Richmond. Train this time – and really, my preferred way to travel. There’s something relaxing about rail travel (though not so relaxing in the rail stations – but no matter, they are only in-between places – a means to an end). We’ve had several lovely days in New York – days that seemed to stretch well past the five we had allotted into a timelessness that is the hallmark of any really good escape.

We have begun making New York City in January something of a tradition now – in the past 3 years. It began by happenstance, in the final frantic days of the Monitor Center preparations with some filming at Martha Stewart’s studio of all places – as well as a transcendent show at the Bowery Ballroom with friends new and old. By the time we found ourselves here again the second year – it really had become a tradition, I suppose.

And so we continue it.

Many people do not understand our kind of vacation with its aimless, organic pace. We try not to travel with much of an agenda – no more than one or two set goals, and even then they are almost always malleable. We do not go with the express notion of checking off one more tourist destination or event off on our to-do list, though there are times when we accidentally log one or two. (Case in point – cold rainy day translated to random warm theatre and a lovely surprise afternoon with Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly that we never would have actually planned to do.)

We go to escape, whether it is into the warmth of a well-loved place or into the static electricity of the always awake. We go to wander through streets both familiar and unfamiliar, with the freedom to stop anywhere – for any length of time, and for any reason. To watch the people and the skies and to hear the sounds both lyrical and cacophonic. To drink in the surroundings and talk or not talk for as long as we want to.

We just go.


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.


It seems as though I barely have time to think anymore – and just when I think things are slowing down they speed up exponentially.

I did bring some of it on myself – and willingly so. How could I not go to England, Scotland? While my credit card temporarily creaks under its new load of charges I will long be able to recall the experience of visiting the collections storage areas of the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Glasgow School of Art, and the Chesterfield Museum…does it sound trite to say that those experiences were priceless? To walk the streets of Norwich with the man who has revitalized them, and to be ravished by the sounds of evensong in the cathedral on a perfectly crystalline night…to stay on a farm on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate…can one really quantify that in dollars and pence?

To see old friends in a foreign land – to be savaged by the gales on the Royal Mile and slip so easily back into the Babbity Bowster in Glasgow…to gaze at the North Sea, shed a tear in the village of Eyam, and be received by the Lord Mayor of Chesterfield…how could I not?

So I have been silent for a time…but with good reason.

21. October 2008 · Write a comment · Categories: museums · Tags: ,

this pretty much says it all...

this pretty much says it all...

And so the adventure began.

Actually – it began on Friday evening with a relaxing train ride, a less than relaxing Metro experience, a bit of a walk and an elegant hotel. There was food – the finest grilled calamari I’d ever had – and wonderful company – nurses traveling to South Africa, a Psychologist/Jazz drummer and my old friend Stella.
And that was before the plane ride!
Met up with Margo, Debra, Audrey and Tracy at Reagan and flew to Toronto where we were able to relax a bit before the great Transatlantic trek. I was happy to be in YYZ – and must admit the Rush tune kept intruding upon my psyche for the duration of the time there – but soon we were off across the briny deep and landed at Heathrow, tired and full of giggles whilst we rode the Underground.

Ah well – must sign off for now – the London adventure continues shortly!


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…


From the William & Mary Quarterly, July, 1915, Volume 24, Issue 1 – so writes Robert L. Preston on page 66:

As fifty years have passed since that eventful combat, let us relegate to the rubbish heap all such tales as that the Monitor drove the Merrimac back to Norfolk, never to come out again. Burn up the histories, if they are incorrect, and re-write them. The hot blood of patriotism is excellent in time of war, but in peace by all means let us have the cold facts of history.

If fairy tales are necessary, serve them up to the little tin soldiers and the chocolate-cream generals, who have feasted on them so long. The real soldiers have no taste for them, and the children of the country need plain and simple food.

Now I’m hungry…..

21. July 2008 · Write a comment · Categories: maritime · Tags:

From Monday’s a bitch

1. Have you ever been on a cruise?
Yes – several. But none of them are typical, and only one was on an actual cruise ship – and it had neither pool, nor floor show, nor shuffleboard. The rest involved square riggers and the leeward rail….

2. Do you own a gravy boat?
Sadly, no.

3. You’ve become the proud owner of a brand new boat.What do you name your vessel?
The HMS Burford, of course….

4. What is your favourite movie about boats?
Well – that would have to be ‘Jaws’ – since they need a bigger one….

5. Do you get sea sick easily?
65-foot square rigger, The Perfect Storm, galley duty…..you do the math.


…that i hate things that sting? without provocation?