Sunday, July 8, 2012
View New England Trip, Summer 2012 in a larger map
A full photographic collection from this trip is on my flickr account. There are a few photos also posted on instagram.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Yesterday evening, I joined the folks from Delaware Paddlesports in a "social paddle" at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Prime Hook is on the Delaware Bay near Milton, Delaware, and includes a large range of marsh and open water. We saw Ospreys and Herons and Skimmers and many other birds. Very pleasant, a nice minor workout, and quite relaxing.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I had a tiny bachelor apartment on Second Street before Karen and I married. We had a small apartment on West 3rd Street when we first married. We rented a small duplex on Market Street briefly before buying our first house, a Cape Cod on East 3rd. Eighteen years ago, we moved into a suburban-style house on Inlet Place. And here we've stayed.
I've lived in Lewes for half of my life now. In fact, this is the place I've lived longest in all of my life.
I'm proud to be a part of this town; glad that our daughters have grown up here. It's been my honor to serve for several years now on the Lewes Planning Commission.
I wonder if I'll still be here in 25 more years?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The story, the history and the evocation of time and place are wonderful. But I was struck by this passage about playing the music. In this scene, a young, scrawny black German trumpeter first comes to play with an established group of musicians, who are skeptical that he can even hold his horn. The narrator is Sid, a bassist from Baltimore.
But when he lifted his horn, we gave him a respectful silence. His trumpet was a cheap-lookin thing, dented, like a foil-wrapped chocolate been in a pocket too long. He put his rabbity fingers on the pistons, cocked his head, his left eye shutting to a squint.
"Buttermouth Blues," Ernst called back to him.
The kid nodded. He begun to tease air through the brass. At first we all just stood there with our axes at the ready, staring at him. Nothing happened. I glanced at Chip, shook my head. But then I begun to hear, like a pinprick on the air -- it was that subtle -- the voice of a humming-bird singing at a pitch and speed almost beyond hearing. Wasn't like nothing I ever heard before. The kid come in at a strange angle, made the notes glitter like crystal. Pausing, he took a huge breath, started playing a ear-splitting scale that drawn out the invisible phrase he'd just played.
The rest of us come in behind him. And I tell you, it ain't took but a minute more for me to understand just what kind of player this kid was. He sounded broody, slow, holding the notes way longer than seemed sane. The music should have sounded something like a ship's horn sounding across water -- hard, bright, clear. The kid, hell, he made it muddy, passing his notes not only over the seas but through the solid too. Sounded rich, which might've been fine for a older gate, but felt fake from him. The slow dialogue between him and us had a sort of preacher-choir feel to it. But there wasn't no grace. His was the voice of a country preacher too green to convince the flock. He talked against us like he begging us to listen. He wailed. He moaned. He pleaded and seethed. He dragged every damn feeling out that trumpet but hate. A sort of naked, pathetic way of playing. Like he done flipped the whole thing inside out, its nerves flailing in the air. He bent the notes, slurred them in a way made us play harder against him. And the more we disagreed, the stronger he pleaded. But his pleading ain't never ask for nothing, just seemed to be there for its own damn sake. In a weird way, he sounded both old and like he touching the trumpet for the very first time.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
It got me thinking back to about this time of year in 1980. I was a senior in high school and had invited a young woman from New Zealand to be my prom date. Helen was an exchange student and part Maori. She had the coolest accent ever.
It's traditional, for Maori New Year, to look to the skies.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Here's a part of the speech I found very interesting. It comes at the end when he has already given advice about akin art and living as an artist.
We're in a transitional world right now, if you're in any kind of artistic field, because the nature of distribution is changing, the models by which creators got their work out into the world, and got to keep a roof over their heads and buy sandwiches while they did that, are all changing. I've talked to people at the top of the food chain in publishing, in bookselling, in all those areas, and nobody knows what the landscape will look like two years from now, let alone a decade away. The distribution channels that people had built over the last century or so are in flux for print, for visual artists, for musicians, for creative people of all kinds.
Which is, on the one hand, intimidating, and on the other, immensely liberating. The rules, the assumptions, the now-we're supposed to's of how you get your work seen, and what you do then, are breaking down. The gatekeepers are leaving their gates. You can be as creative as you need to be to get your work seen. YouTube and the web (and whatever comes after YouTube and the web) can give you more people watching than television ever did. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are.
So make up your own rules.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Blackbird Creek Canoe Trip, 5/17/12, a set on Flickr.
On Thursday, I took the morning off for a naturalist-guided canoe trip on Blackbird Creek, in New Castle County. It was a part of the outreach programming from the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, a part of DNREC. My boss took the morning and came along, as did several members of the staff of a company called Delaware Interactive, with whom we have been partnering on several eGovernment projects lately.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
We saw the key things we wanted to see and returned in the evening for a lovely meal at the Kings Arms Tavern, where nearly a quarter century ago (!) I proposed to The Lovely Karen.
Friday, April 13, 2012
William and Mary is a tough place to start, I expect. It's such a lovely campus and seems a desirable place to go to school. I worry it might spoil the game for the other schools.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Part 2: The Farrars of Meadow Road
My next search of the 1940 Census was in Greenwich, Connecticut, where my mother grew up in the neighborhood of Riverside. Her family lived on Meadow Road, at the apex of the triangle it forms with Tower Road. They were part of Enumeration District 1-62.
My mother, Judith Farrar, was nine on Census Day in 1940; she would turn ten later in the spring. She was the youngest of three children of John and Roberta Farrar. Her sister Joan was 14 and her oldest brother, Robert, was 16 that spring. Their parents were both 41 years old.
The household included a nurse, 48-year old Edna Bullock from Massachusetts. She was there for Joan, who was unwell. There was also a maid, Geneva Lumpkins (I think), a 20-year old from Alabama. My mother tells me that Geneva was not there much longer. As she put it, "The war changed a lot of things." Robert and their father would both enlist; Robert became a navigator on B-17 bombers out of England.
Before the war, though, my Grandfather was making films. The Census form lists his occupation as Movie Director. My brother John found a listing for his company, Mercury Pictures, in a 1948 edition of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He also owned a hardware store and wrote jazz music.
Among the other occupations listed in their neighborhood in 1940 was an interesting mix of the wealthy and people who work for them. There were lawyers, publishers, and bank vice presidents, as well as maids, cooks, housemen, and a butler. That neighborhood is still very high rent; last time we visited we had to get special permission to go through the gates.
In Part 1, we looked at my father's household.
Part 1: The Mahaffies of O Street
an enumeration sheet that included my grandparent's household.
My grandfather, Charles D. Mahaffie, Sr., was 55 years old on Census Day in 1940. He served as a Commissioner on the Interstate Commerce Commission. My grandmother, Isabel Mahaffie, was 47 and listed as a homemaker, though undoubtedly she continued to work, if not full time, as an artist. My father was about to turn nine years old and is listed as having completed three years of school.
I was interested also to learn about the people of the neighborhood. This is a partial picture, since the folks on the other side of O Street are in a different enumeration district, but a quick review of the people in the area suggests a fascinating mix.
There were a number of salespeople, a few people employed in the dairy business, a photographer, and the assistant chief of the Library of Congress (Maud Brady) who lived in the same house as a secretary at the Library (Cornelia Brady). I think they were Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law.
Up the street lived a young woman named Besley (first name illegible, at least so far) who was listed as a Secretary for the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Around the corner, on 30th Street, lived Paul L. Townsend, with his wife and kids. The census form notes that he was born in Delaware, and Townsend is a big name in Delaware; so I did a search. He turns out to have been the son of US Senator John G. Townsend, Jr., of Delaware.
I work across the street in Dover from a building named after the elder Townsend. Small world.
In Part 2, we visit the household of my Mother in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Shawnee Country Club dates back to the late fifties; the golf course is fully mature. The club, however, seems to have fallen on hard times and this year the golf course is under new management and is open to the public. That's us.
Course management has been taken over by the folks who run The Rookery, east of Milton. They're calling the "new" course "The Rookery North at Shawnee."
The course is not in great shape, but it's not too bad. The fairways are mostly dead grass; they appear to be resetting things. The tee boxes and greens are fine, though, and the rough, out of bounds areas, and on-course plantings are all quite nice.
I'd play there again.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Kingston-Upon-Hull is a a decaying 17th-century building that has been a farmhouse, a tavern, a store, and a brothel. It marks the location of some of the earliest settlement in central Delaware and reminds us that waterways, in this case the St. Jones River, were once our highways.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
The video is part of an effort to get the people of the county talking about the future of the county. It started back in 2008 with a web site dedicated to collecting words and images about the county from people who live here. I created a flickr group to help collect still photos; it looks like it helped.
Friday, March 2, 2012
I took time off yesterday morning for a hike at the Blackbird Creek portion of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR). The hike was led by a pair of coastal programs staffers from DNREC who shared the history of the site, information about the flora and fauna, and restoration plans. The day started out quite damp and foggy. But by the time we finished our walk, the sun was out and it was a very nice day.
Monday, February 27, 2012
I took this photo from the top of the coastal defense tower at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park. On a clear day, you can often see New Jersey from Cape Henlopen; and the view is always clearest from on high.
But I think the presence of this ship somehow pulls the Jersey shore closer and all of the sudden the Delaware Bay seems smaller - no less grand, but more understandable.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The song itself was simple, when you’re writing a song you keep it simple of course. It wasn’t like a Christian song of praise it was just a simple song. I had to use Christianity because I had to use something. But more important it wasn’t the Jesus part, it was the spirit in the sky.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I've worked with Barbara on a variety of issues over the years. She's lately been the ex-officio member of the Lewes Planning Commission for the Council, providing us with regular updates and the council's perspective on issues that we discuss.
Barbara Vaughn is a very bright, kind, and dedicated woman. I've always been impressed by her willingness to give her time and energy to my City. This woman is in her 80s, and still going strong.
I will also note that Barbara Vaughn bears an uncanny resemblance to my Mom, Judy Mahaffie, another strong, kind, dedicated and bright 80-something. So working with Barbara has always felt somewhat... home-y.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Today? It was sunny and 60-some degrees. Trees are starting to bud. Daffodils are starting to push up through the non-frosty ground.
It ain't right, I tell ya.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Lori and Kirk are the heart of a trivia team called "Who the H**** is Molly Hatchet." The membership varies, but we've enjoyed being a part of the team for a few weeks now. Last night, the team also included Lori's sister, Linda Lane, her husband Tom, their daughters Katelyn and Stephanie, and Kathleen's young man, Jordan Blankenship.
We edged out the nice couple at the next table last night to win on a tie-break question: "How many pounds of potatoes does it take to make a bottle of vodka?"
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I knew Jack Markell very slightly already. He'd spoken, as State Treasurer, at a conference I organized years ago. I like the guy, and I think he's done a good job so far.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I took a look at Zwaanendael Museum.
And I looked around 1812 Park.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Tina Fey worked her way into television through Chicago's Second City improvisation theater and in her book she offers a set of Rules of Improvisation that she says can be applied to everyday life. I've extracted the main heads here; the full thing is well worth reading as is the whole book itself.
- The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES.
- In real life, you aren't always going to agree, but this rule reminds us to try to keep an open mind.
- The second rule is to not only say yes, but to say YES, AND...
- Don't be afraid to contribute. Make sure you are adding something to the discussion.
- The third rule is to MAKE STATEMENTS.
- Whatever the problem, don't just ask questions and point out the difficulties; suggest solutions.
- Finally, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.
- Many of the world's greatest discoveries have been made by accident.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
This gorgeous double-sided plate features the work of the artist Isabel Cooper from specimens at the American Museum of Natural History. One side features seashells from tropical waters and the other American specimens.Isabel Cooper was an artist and illustrator who provided paintings for a variety of publications, created murals for public buildings, and traveled to remote outposts with scientists where she fulfilled the role later filled by color photography.
As near as I can tell, these are plates cut from a book my grandmother did illustrations for in the years before her marriage to Charles Mahaffie.
I'm not sure how I feel about this sort of thing appearing for sale. My grandmother was paid for her work back in the 1920s, so that's not an issue. But I hate to think of great old books being cut apart and mined like this. Also, I always thought of Etsy as a site for artists and artisans to sell things they created themselves.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
This nifty old photo, from the National Library of Ireland, brought me back to wanting to head out and play again, even though this weekend is too cold and windy.
This is from flickr's "The Commons" project, by way, which is worth any amount of time you can spend wandering through the national memories of any of several countries.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
In this passage, ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin is describing life aboard the Surprise, captained by his "particular friend" Jack Aubrey, in a letter to his intended:
I wish I could convey the delight of a well-found, well-handled man-of-war, sailing with all reasonable sail abroad, a steady, urgent wind coming in over her larboard quarter, her prow (or I think I should say cut-water) throwing a fine sheet of spray to leeward with each even, measured pitch: there is a generally-diffused happiness aboard; and since this is a make-and-mend day, the front part of the vessel is littered with hands busy, some with shears, many more with needles, cutting out their length of duck and sewing the pieces together, making their hot-weather clothes with wonderful dexterity. And each time the log is heaved they pause, ears cocked for the midshipman's report to the officer of the watch. "Nine knots and two fathoms, sir, if you please," croaks little Mr. Wells, whose voice is breaking at last; and a discrete wave of mirth and satisfaction ripples over the forecastle, while ten knots is greeted with such thumping on the deck, such enthusiasm, that the officer of the watch desires the mate of the watch to attend to "that God-damned bellowing and trampling, like a herd of drunken heifers mad for the bull."Interestingly, I was just looking back at a post from October of 2006, when I last finished reading the series straight through. Here's what I wrote then:
In the end, it took almost exactly 5 months to read all 20 novels. It was great fun. In another 5 years or so, I think I'll do it again.I started this trip through the series in late August of 2011, almost exactly five years later. And I swear I did not realize it until just now.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
I was there for a planning meeting for the 2006 Delaware GIS Conference. It was my first visit to the museum. In later years, we started having GIS Day events there and I got to spend more time photographing the museum and all the airplanes.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
She visited my various on-line sites and mined photos and logos to create this cool clock. She used my old tag line -- Remarkably self-absorbed. Since 1962. -- as a central theme. Ironically, I had recently accepted Google's suggestion that I link my G+ and Blogger accounts, which required using my G+ profile which has no tag line, for both. But I added it back to the blog as a description in the header.
So all is well.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
This is the Juneve, a wooden boat built in 1949 in Scotland. She fished the North Sea and eventually was converted to a yacht. The present owners came to Lewes by accident, after a breakdown, and according to a story in this Tuesday's Cape Gazette, they like the city.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I also dove back into the 20 novels of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series this year. I started at the end of August with Master and Commander. As we start 2012, I am about to finish The Hundred Days, the 19th in the series. I am reading this series straight through, without leaving O'Brian's 19th-Century. I've done this before and have read some of these novels three or four times. I still thoroughly enjoy them.
Of the rest of the books I read this year, only one was non-fiction - Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars.
though I am happy to say I own the entire Aubrey/Maturin series, most of the rest of what I read this past year were from the Lewes Public Library. I remain a strong supporter of my library.
I also read two books by relatives in 2011. My nephew, whose nom de plume/guerre is Magpie Killjoy, wrote an interactive novel called What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower.
Descend into the depths of the undercity and embroil yourself in the political struggles of colonialist gnomes and indigenous goblins. Fly in air balloons, drink mysterious and pleasant cocktails, smoke opium with the dregs of gnomish society. Or dream and speak of liberation for all the races. Fall in love and abscond into the caverns. It's up to you, because this is an adventure of your own choosing.And my fifth cousin's wife, Donna Gruber Adair, wrote a slightly fictionalized account of the westward movement of Benjamin Adair, my paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother's brother. The book, An American Odyssey, includes my great-great-grandfather JB Mahaffie, a founding settler, with the Adairs, of Olathe, Kansas.
As you can see, I enjoy reading. I am a fan of fiction and treasure the fact that I can entire other worlds and different times through the pages of a novel.