Southern Man

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fashion Show

Southern Man and Youngest Daughter (can't call her Twelve-Year-Old Daughter any more) did a little shopping and she insisted on modeling her purchases.

She's growing up fast but will always be my little girl.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Test Case Workshop Day 4

The trip back was as smooth as can be: caught the first subway out of the on-campus station, transferred to another line without breaking stride, and hopped on the airport bus, again without breaking stride. Things slowed down a bit at the airport - enough that Southern Man got a little nervous - but he cleared security and got to the gate just as they were just calling his flight. The only down side was that the return flight routed him through Houston, which made for a long morning.

The connection from Houston was a little commuter jet that we boarded from outside.

Once on the ground at Southern City it was rush, rush, rush - straight to work for a luncheon (Southern Man missed most of that), a meeting, his afternoon class, a retirement reception, and then the evening class at the community college. By the time Southern Man got home he was more than ready to eat a bite of dinner (playing it safe, he hit a grocery store on the way home) and collapse into bed. Which is just what he did!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Test Case Workshop Day 3

The traditional "last day" of these workshops is lecture and labs in the morning, recap and discussion in the afternoon. We did more Interesting Stuff. Then it was time for Southern Man to explore Boston and hit more geocaches. And pubs.

The Muddy River.

Sailboats on the Charles River, taken from the Harvard Bridge. The Smoot markings are still there.

Music in a local park. They were doing a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" when Southern Man walked by.

Southern Man found a fine pub (The Crossroads) and had a glass of Hampton IPA, which was very good. Their "Crossroads Sampler" was far too much food for one person but Southern Man gave it his best.

By the end of the evening Southern Man had run his Boston geocache count up to fifteen, with only one DNF - not a bad run at all. Tomorrow morning he must catch the very first subway at 5:00 AM to make his 7:02 flight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Test Case Workshop Day 2

The workshop instructor teaches students who come from a Lisp background so there was a lot of emphasis on list processing and functional programming. Southern Man found it interesting to see functional solutions (with lots of creation of new objects) to problems where he would have written imperitive solutions (with lots of mutation of existing objects).

Somehow or other Southern Man always ends up under a table at these things. Photo by Dr. L.

Dr. L is now connected!

The Tiahu Stone in front of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This was an "Earth Cache" that you log by visiting and answering a few questions.

A Thunder fan in Boston!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Test Case Workshop Day 1

The remaining Day Zero activities, in direct contrast to yesterday, went smoothly - free shuttle to O'Hare, breezed through security in ninety seconds flat, kept track of three gate changes (part of the problem yesterday), a smooth flight, and once at Logan in Boston a free shuttle ride and $2 light-rail pass got Southern Man to within a block of the conference venue at Northeastern University.

Southern Man was startled to find that this imposing tower was the "Department of Computer Science and Information Systems." Turned out that the tower is a dorm; the Department was housed in the four-story building at the base. Photo from Wikipedia.

"Test-first" is the notion that student design and then extensively test programming modules before putting them to work. It's not a new idea but their implementation is interesting. Given his late arrival Southern Man spent the afternoon catching up, and he'll hit the lab early tomorrow to finish up. Perversely enough, most of his effort was not expended on the actual material (which is not all that complicated) but on getting the IDE to cooperate and Southern Man was constantly reminded why he doesn't let the intro students anywhere near Eclipse. The heavily locked-down workstations wouldn't let him download and run some of his favorite utilities, either, and that was annoying.

After checking in (a spartan dorm room with little more than bed and desk, on the nineteenth floor!) the evening was spent exploring and geocaching in the many parks surrounding the campus. As is his custom Southern Man sought a pub to sample the local ales and drew the poorest bartender that's ever poured him a drink, in one of the skankiest pubs he's ever seen. But the ale (name forgotten) was excellent.

One cache was on Mission Hill near the lovely Mission Hill Church.

In other news, Dear Leader was just up the street at Symphony Hall for yet another fundraiser, so Southern Man's journey east was blocked by police barricades. Apparently Boston will get stuck with the tab for police and security for what was essentially part of a re-election campaign rather than an official visit.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Test Case Workshop Day 0

Day Zero on these workshop excursions is getting there, then sight-seeing and geocaching so the schedule was to leave Southern City in the very early AM, arrive in Boston a little after noon, get settled into the room, and have some fun before the conference kicks off Monday morning. Reality is spending the night at the lovely Chicago O'Hare Intercontinental, courtesy of United Airlines. They even threw in some food vouchers! And it wasn't even their fault. Not entirely, anyway. OK, hardly at all. So after picking up the virtual geocache in the airport Southern Man took the free shuttle to the hotel, rested a bit (all of that sitting around at airports is surprisingly tiring) and then picked up a couple of geocaches in the area and had dinner and drinks at the hotel bar (courtesy of those food coupons!) and was grateful that he wouldn't be spending the night in the airport Starbucks!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movie Review - Puss In Boots

Somehow Southern Man escaped Puss In Boots when it came out last year but since we saw it at the "dive-in movies" he'll review it now. It's surprisingly good, and not just because Antonio Banderas is hilarious as Puss (which he is) and Amy Sedaris is perfect as Kitty Softpaws (which she is); the plot is surprisingly complex and casts a lot of fairy-tale characters (Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty) in a rather different light. It's fun, exciting, subversively humorous in the way the better Shrek films were, and more than a little cute. You'll end up getting the DVD.

Movie Review - Brave

Southern Man isn't sure just what to think of Pixar's latest effort. Brave is kind of like your straight-A student bringing home a B; it's pretty good but just not up there with most of the others. On the other hand, Southern Man (and the rest of the audience) got quite a few laughs, more than in any other Pixar film. And of course it speaks to the Irish in him. You'll enjoy it and if you have daughters (even though King Fergus is awesome this is really a mother-daughter kind of film) you'll eventually get the DVD.

Weekend Update and Photo Dump

Both older children spent the week job-hunting.

Two awesome kids. Don't they look great? Photo by Southern Mother.

At work Dr. S and Southern Man spent some time working on the LittleFe supercomputer in preparation for a supercomputing conference coming up in August.

Dr. S thinking unixy thoughts.

Southern Man and Twelve-Year-Old Daughter are settling into the summer routine. She's content to stay at La Casa and watch her endless shows but by the time Thursday evening rolls around she's ready for some Dad time. Thursday night's Dad Time was shopping with both the girls, who'd managed to eat everything in the casa.

On Friday we just piddled around and then made a last minute decision to go to the water park for "dive-in movies."

The movie was Puss In Boots, which was pretty funny.

Saturday morning Southern Man met friend RCJ over at his mom's house to do a few manly chores.

RCJ and Tula.

Saturday was a daughter day; to celebrate her upcoming birthday we went to the movies (Brave, which was also pretty good) and ate at Red Lobster, one of her favorite restaurants. Her actual birthday is Monday but Southern Man will be out of town for the family celebration at Outback so we had our own. Then Southern Man delivered her to Southern Parents where ham radio operator Southern Father was in the front yard working a battery rig for Field Day.

Southern Father is on the air.

Then Southern Man went home to pack and then on the spur of the moment again took advantage of the season pass and went to a "free" concert at the amusement park.

Trains are cool.

The opening act was a local band called the Wise Guys who had a lot of fun playing a lot of covers and poked a lot of fun at them while doing so. They had a good time warming up the crowd. Southern Man will keep his eye out for them and try to see them again.

The only cure is more cowbell! Not in this pic, but they did several of the great cowbell songs and of course made a big production of it every time.

The headliner was the current lineup of the Little River Band, who last had a hit a decade before the Southern Children were born.

The Little River Band.

Southern Man appreciates it when a band works hard even in a little venue like the amusement park and LRB did not disappoint. They played most of the old hits, covering many in a pretty good medley, did a great job pretending that they really were the LRB (none of the original members remain) and we all had a good time.

And then it was home to pack for the upcoming conference in Boston! Next post will be from BeanTown...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Weekend

Ah, yes, another four-day work week and three-day weekend. Southern Man loves summer!

On Friday Southern Man took Twelve-Year-Old Daughter to the local amusement park to pick up our season passes and ride a few rides...

Twelve-Year-Old Daughter on the Mind Bender.

Southern Man does not do Upside Down anymore.

But he does do the roller coasters.

Saturday was devoted to swimming and geocaching and general lazing around.

Why, yes, there are some geocaches somewhere in this trackless swamp. Southern Man didn't find them.

We took the back way in to one near La Casa.

By the pool.

And on Father's Day Sunday was church and some special treats from Twelve-Year-Old Daughter and the usual Family Dinner at the Ancestral Manor.

Southern Man's adopted nephew excels at imaginative games.

Daughter and Southern Mother.

All three Southern Children and both Southern Siblings were present, making for a two-generation Father's Day at least for Southern Man. Sadly there are no pictures of this not-too-frequent conjunction due to circumstances beyond his control. Happy Father's Day to all!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day, when we celebrate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national banner. May it always stand for freedom!

To celebrate, here's The Duke and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Hat tip to Gay Patriot.

Monday, June 11, 2012


As is the case in most universities, "Campus Technology" is an empire, with the point of view that it's their network and the faculty and students are, grudgingly, permitted to make occasional use of it. Everything is locked down tight and even something as simple as installing a little freeware ap requires two techs and paperwork and log sheets and proof that it's legit and so on.

Fortunately, Southern Man is in the Department of Computer Science. The advantage isn't what you think - his knowledge of computer networking is no greater than yours - it's that many of his students are peons in Campus Tech so he has people on the inside. The benefits - admin rights to his own desktop, the ability to print on the color printer upstairs, unofficial knowledge of a few of the secret user accounts and passwords, and so on - makes life a little easier.

Now, last fall we (Dr. A, Dr. S, and Dr. Southern Man) built a LittleFe mini supercomputer for academic use. And ever since we got it home and set up in an office just a few feet from the computer lab it has been an endless struggle to get it to work. Every week last spring we'd be huddled over that thing, as often as not with one of the guys from Campus Technology, trying to diagnose communications problems. If the LittleFe boards could talk to each other, it couldn't reach the network. If the head board could talk to the network, it couldn't see the other boards. And these problems crop up in the lab as well. We often boot the lab PCs with BCCD, a piece of software that turns the computers into a Linux cluster, but one particular computer - the instructor station - could never join the network.

So we're fussing with this and getting nowhere when the little-seen Director of Networking wanders by and asks what we're doing. We and the techs explain our problems. He nods and says "The instructor station is on a different subnet than the rest of the lab."

What about the room where we have LittleFe?

"Yeah, different subnet from the labs."

Southern Man doesn't know what's worse - three network ports within twenty feet of each other that serve the same department all on different subnets or Campus Tech's inability to figure this out over a six-month period.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lasagna and Cobbler and Lemon Bars, Oh My!

Southern Man's daughters were slated to do much of the cooking for our usual Sunday Dinner at the Ancestral Manor. Teen Daughter made lemon bars and blackberry cobbler (with berries right from the blackberry patch out back) and twelve-year-old daughter made a couple of pans of lasagna from scratch, by herself.

Southern Father and twelve-year-old daughter help themselves to lasagna.

Southern Sister's SO, Teen Daughter, Southern Father, and Southern Mother with cobbler and lemon bars and ice cream.

As the pool is now open the young'uns were eager to get into the water while it was still light so there were no table games tonight.

A handsome merman to swim with his little mermaid. The water color is due to the high iron content of Southern Father's well water. Before we knew this (years ago) when we first set the pool up we over-shocked it and the water turned bright orange!

Twelve-Year-Old Daughter dutifully skims and vacuums.

That water cannon has a surprising range, as Southern Man discovered a few seconds later.

Twelve-Year-Old Daughter spends Sunday and Monday evenings with her grandparents so Southern Man came home alone to finish grading last Thursday's exams and contemplate another work week. But at the end of that work week comes another week end! Lord, thank you for giving me the opportunity to provide for me and my family in these uncertain times. Amen.

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Today's big event was the purchase of a new trampoline for Twelve-Year-Old Daughter's birthday (her previous birthday trampoline was pretty torn up and was abandoned in a move) so having shopped last weekend we piled into The Titan and headed to Academy - which was absolutely packed, with a huge crowd of people in the front of the store crowded around tables piled high with shirts and jerseys and caps celebrating the local team's recent victories - and finally got the trampoline purchased and loaded and then headed off to Home Depot to get some stakes with which to anchor it down only to be told that "we don't have those, but Academy does!" so back to Academy we went for the tie-down kit and then we headed to The Land to set it up.

We set it up behind The Trailer. That's The Workshop in the background on the left, and The Barn on the far right.

Twelve-Year-Old Daughter frolics on her new toy. This plus The Trailer (with kitchen, AC, and video player) ought to make trips to The Land a bit more bearable for her. But Southern Man has got to get a well down out there.

This was also Twelve-Year-Old Daughter's first visit to The Trailer so we brought food and had our lunch there as well. Alas we could not stay long as she had an afternoon swim date with her cousin later that afternoon so we headed back to La Casa for her swimwear and went to the Ancestral Manor, which gave Southern Man an evening to himself. But then Southern Son came by and we went to Wal-Mart and did a little shopping and talked for a while. He's going through a rough patch right now and needed support. Also, food. Happily enough the girls got home in time to see him and cheer him up a little as well. Lord, guide and direct my children in all that they do. Amen.


Regular readers know that Southern Man is a bit of a geocaching enthusiast, and this morning was a geo-coffee-talk at a nearby Starbucks so Southern Man had the opportunity to meet some of the local cachers in person for the first time. Why, yes, it does count as a find, thus keeping the current streak alive.

Geocachers all have nicknames. Here are members of Team Gilo and the Gators (both couples are well known in the local caching community, having placed hundreds and found thousands of caches), RubiconLaw, Team Tende, and Maxwell Q.

The BungleBees, Ace722, and Great Goodies.

Cache Raiders, half of Team Gilo, and Kande.

Southern Man had a great time putting faces with the names that he's so often seen in cache logs and (occasionally) in emails. He even got a hint on one he couldn't find a few weeks ago, so he can nab that one next time he's in that part of Southern City.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Summer Weekend One

That's one week down in the summer session, seven to go (and one hardly counts as Southern Man will spend much of it in Boston). Twelve-year-old daughter has been champing at the bit to get my attention so today we will pretty much just play. She just served breakfast! Later we will go to a movie and geocache, and sometime this weekend we hope to buy a trampoline for The Land (her birthday gift) and pick up our water-park season passes. Sunday is the usual family dinner. And then we start it all over again on Monday. 

In other news, Ace of Spaces has called for a National Day of Blogger Silence. There's background on this at The Other McCain. Go to the link and read why. It will make your blood boil. A lot of bloggers are putting up just one post today (to announce and give information on the NDoBS (gotta love that acronym)) so Southern Man will join them; any pics from activities today will go up tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Summer School

Today Southern Man kicks off classes both at his home base and at the local community college where he occasionally moonlights. Much to his delight it looks like the home-base class, which has only a few students, will still be taught and that means a handsome addition to the summer paycheck. Both classes are subjects Southern Man really enjoys teaching and they ought to be a lot of fun, considering it's actually his job. It's a four-day workweek that starts at noon-ish and ends at eight; not too bad.

Southern Man also got approval for travel money to go to a conference in Boston later this month. Not only will he learn cool new stuff - he'll also be able to add another state to his geocaching list. One of the great perks of university teaching is travel (and therefore geocache) on other people's dime; Southern Man rarely turns down an opportunity to do so. In this case he's even staying over the last night and flying back early the next morning, just for a little more sight-seeing time.

Twelve-year-old daughter has also settled into a summer routine - a few days at Southern Parents, the rest at La Casa. She's eager to get out to The Land and see the trailer, a trip Southern Man delayed until he could get out there and scrub it down a bit (which was accomplished a few evenings ago). Both older children are starting new jobs. Teen Daughter is openly wondering what she'll be doing (and where she'll be living) come fall. With all three kids around it ought to be an interesting and fun summer.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Today we celebrate multiple birthdays, young and old.

First up was young Second Cousin's party at a local gymnastics center.

The birthday girl with her father. He's another reason to celebrate, having beat the odds on a most dangerous medical condition.

Family was gathered from far and wide for this and a later celebration.

Two special people: Southern Man's grand-uncle and grand-aunt.

After the fun and games here we re-gathered at Second Cousin's home for a birthday celebration of another sort - the 80th (or thereabouts) for many relatives and friends. It would be quite a houseful, including several who drove in from out of state.

The Three Wise Men. Old Men. Whatever. That's Southern Father in the middle.

When eighty years old you are, look as good you will not, eh?

Teen Daughter and a couple of Southern Nephews. That blonde hair is still a shock.

Young 'uns at play. Why, yes, it was all about me this weekend. Why do you ask?

To avoid cardiac arrest or a visit from the fire department, we limited the candles to one per cake.

Southern Sister's SO (in the blue) leads us in a rousing game of "Trivia Through The Decades." That's Southern Sister on the right.

Thank you, Lord, for family. Amen.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Receptions and Recitals

Southern Man left twelve-year-old daughter with her grandmother yesterday as he had a rather busy day today, starting with a few hours at the office to prep for the kickoff of the summer semester on Monday.

Then it was off to RCJ's wedding reception, about forty minutes south of Southern City.

A festive gathering.

The Cutting of the Cake. As you can see they spent the week in Branson.

Then the clan gathered in the Ancestral Hometown (twenty minutes west) for four-year-old Second Cousin's dance recital. It was like an avalanche of Cute, accompanied by a playlist that could have come straight off of Teen Daughters iPod.

Isn't she precious?

Ever wonder why girls become Entitled Princesses? It begins here.

We found a playground on the way home. Why, yes, there was a geocache there. Why do you ask?

And finally we are home. Tomorrow is another busy day!