Southern Man

Friday, November 30, 2012

Boot Camp Graduation Day 1

In which Southern Man and the family meet and greet Teen Daughter The Elder, who will graduate to become a Sailor in the US Navy.

We were up for breakfast at six and caught the shuttle bus to the base at seven, arriving a little before eight. We were early enough that the lines weren't yet too long and it only took about twenty minutes or so to get through security and work our way to the Parade Deck. And of the twelve hundred or so recruits graduating that day, guess which one was on duty at the front door?

That's right - the very first recruit we saw was SA (Seaman Apprentice) Teen Daughter the Elder, on duty to greet the guests and direct them to their seats. Photo by Southern Mother.

There was considerable pomp and circumstance.

Southern Parents and a fraction of the huge audience.

Let there be no doubt in your mind - Division 903 is the best of the best.

Liberty call, liberty call!

With her grandparents.

When Southern Man can get copies of the many photos shot by Soutern Sister (a talented photographer with a superior camera) they will go here as well.

We made our way back to the hotel where we met up with Southern Ex and (yeah!) Teen Daughter The Younger...

With her eighteen-month-old half-sister. That's adopted Youngest Nephew in the background.

...and grabbed a quick lunch and talked all afternoon and then went to Outback for dinner. Yes, Outback; the Southern Clan is depressingly unoriginal when it comes to family celebrations.

In a few hours - no longer Seaman Apprentice but Seaman (2nd Class)!

Then we spent another hour at the hotel and had to return SA TDE to base. She flies out to school and her first duty assignment at Fort Meade at midnight or so.

We were back by nine and Southern Man wasn't tired, so...

Of course there was geocaching. What did you expect?

Tomorrow begins the two-day road trip home. Now it's time to get off the hotel's business-center computer, hit the shower, and go to bed (without waking Southern Father). Good night!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Boot Camp Graduation Day 0

The beginning of a four-day adventure in which Southern Man teaches his afternoon class and then goes to the airport to fly to Chicago to meet up with Southern Parents and Southern Sister in Waukegan, near Great Lakes Naval Station where Teen Daughter The Elder will graduate Navy boot camp tomorrow morning.

And it all went about as expected as modern transportation technology whisked Southern Man halfway across the country in the space of an evening. A drive to the airport to the long-term parking lot ($16), a shuttle (free) to the terminal, a quick breeze through security and a few steps to the gate, an on-time fight ($111) to Midway Airport in Chicago (with a brief stop in St. Louis; Southern Man didn't even get off the plane), a light-rail train ride ($2.25) to The Loop, a four-block walk to Ogilvie Station (which was the most strenuous part of the entire trip) and a heavy-rail train to Waukegan ($6.25) where Southern Sister was waiting at the terminal to take him to the hotel where Southern Parents and Youngest Nephew were waiting. Even with the one-hour time change Southern Man was in bed by 11:30. Not bad, given that he left work mid-afternoon. And the whole thing, tips included, was only about $140. What an amazing world.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Recap

Random images and events from Thanksgiving Week 2012. With Teen Daughter camped out with Southern Parents there was a lot of commuting between The Land and the Ancestral Manor. Monday and Tuesday were work days so the "weekend" didn't really pick up until Wednesday and to further complicate matters Southern Man has been down with some kind of winter malady so Wednesday kicked off with a visit to his doctor, who prescribed about a hundred dollars worth of pills and liquids and inhalers. But that evening Southern Man and Teen Daughter ran around a bit and she saw a movie in which Southern Man had no interest so he hiked around and geocached instead. There are limits to what a father will do with his daughter and Breaking Dawn Part II exceeds them. And then we did a little pre-Black-Friday reconnoitering and had dinner and called it a night.

Thanksgiving Dinner was at the Ancestral Manor.

Teen Daughter and Southern Son.

Stella is a Good Dog!

A friendly game of "I Doubt It."

Now, given his druthers Southern Man would spend Black Friday as far away from town as possible, but he has a Teen Daughter who wanted to hit Kohls at midnight for some winter clothes she'd picked out earlier, so we did. The lines weren't too long, Teen Daughter got what she wanted, and Southern Man picked up a leather jacket he'd admired earlier but put back when he saw the $300 price tag. Black Friday price $80 and he got $30 in "Kohl's Cash" to spend after Christmas so he was a happy Black Friday shopper.

Friday afternoon Teen Daughter elected to try out a trampoline park in town, where she jumped for a couple of hours. And for some reason all of the pics we took were stored on the phone as tiny little thumbnails. Well, there is a reason. It's the reason I usually don't let Teen Daughter play with the phone. But it appears to be back to normal now.

Southern Man spent a little time on Saturday helping Southern Father work on the south end of his barn.

Southern Father and Southern Man went in 50/50 on that scaffolding about fifteen years ago. It's been back and forth many times now.

"Put that camera away and hand me the level!"

Back on the ground.

Gleaning in the pecan orchard behind the barn.

Southern Man's singles group had a Thanksgiving Dinner / football watch party that afternoon.

Paul and Yo pretend to carve the turkey.

And finally after church and lunch on Sunday Southern Man took Teen Daughter to the airport for the trip back to her mother's house.

At the airport.

And there's another Thanksgiving week. Southern Man has lots to be thankful for. Lord, you've blessed us beyond measure, and we are truly thankful. Amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day Of Rest

After another restful night in The Trailer Southern Man packed the gym bag and headed into town to work out and shower and shave and such, then went to Sunday School, where we had an especially good class. Then he picked up Teen Daughter from her church and met Southern Parents and Southern Son for lunch at a local BBQ place. Southern Man got a huge sampler with the intention of nibbling on the leftovers for the rest of the day.

Even though he's been back for two days Southern Man has hardly had any time at all at his place and Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and relaxation and reflection, so that's just what Southern Man did - after lunch he kissed his daughter and hugged his son and headed back out to The Land for an afternoon alone, which he spent in rest and relaxation and reflection. And perhaps video games and movies. There might have been popcorn and beer to go along with the leftover BBQ. Southern Man is a fairly reserved fellow and needs that alone time to recharge, and that's just what he got today. It was good. Tomorrow kicks off two days of work, and then Thanksgiving holiday!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teen Daughter Arrives

After a restful night in The Trailer (with no alarm!) Southern Man had a nice breakfast and puttered around a bit and then set off on what would prove to be a long but fun day.

After errands (both credit unions, the dry cleaner, the office) and geocaching (a quick three en route) Southern Man was once again at the airport to pick up Teen Daughter, who is spending the entire week. After many hugs and kisses we made our way to Chick-Fil-A for lunch (her favorite eatery) and then to Southern Parents, who will keep her for a few days as Southern Man must work some next week. They were, as one would expect, quite happy to see their youngest grandchild.

Southern Son is in the process of moving out of his own trailer so he and Southern Father and Southern Man went to his place to load up a couple of large pieces of furniture, which Southern Man and Southern Father took out to The Land for storage and to pick up some scaffolding and transport it to the Ancestral Manor. That consumed much of the afternoon. Then Southern Man left his daughter with her grandparents and headed south for a birthday party (the teacher of his Sunday School class), which was great fun.

Photo by unknown, stolen from a party-goer's Facebook page.

And then it was a long drive back home and another restful night in The Trailer. People think Southern Man is a little nuts for living out there but he loves it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

SC12 Day 6

While there are a few morning sessions at the conference Southern Man ignored them and spent the morning sight-seeing and geocaching around Temple Square.

The Temple.

The Assembly Hall.

Brigham Young's grave site.

The the nice people at The Plaza shuttled us back to the airport and we had an uneventful flight home. The only real excitement was that Southern Man sort of forgot where he'd left The Hyundai and it took him a few moments to find it. Then rather than driving the thirty miles to The Land Southern Man stayed on the south side of town and met up with friends for our monthly bowling fest, which was (as always) a lot of fun. Then a quick stop by the office to check snail mail and voice mail, the Wal-Mart for milk and juice, and he was home by ten or so. No complaints about The Plaza, but it is nice to sleep in one's own bed again. Good night!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SC12 Day 5

Today is the last full day of the conference, so things were a little wilder.

Southern Man went to a few more talks and spent a fair amount of time on the exhibition floor as they were eager to give away their remaining swag before three o'clock when they'd have to pack it up and take it home.

Charlie and a (cough) cluster of LittleFes.

He also slipped out for a little geocaching around Temple Square.

At the LDS Conference Center. Sadly, the famed rooftop gardens were closed to the public.

The big event of the day was the closing reception at The Depot.

We did not go hungry.

Among the entertainment was a fine classical/jazz pianist and comedian Ryan Hamilton, who was not quite sure what to do with a crowd of geeks like us.

And that is the end of SC12. Tomorrow we fly home!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SC12 Day 4

Southern Man will not bore you with SC12 conference details today, as it was mostly more of the same. Instead he will (first) take you on a journey into the geeky past.

Southern Lad discovered Star Trek in Jr. High School, when the series was first in reruns. He'd actually seen one episode in first run - This Side Of Paradise - a few years earlier.!

And he was completely taken by this marvelous and imaginitive show. To the point that he would set up his cassette-tape recorder and audio-tape the episodes (the long-suffering Southern Mother would start the tape for him, as the school bus didn't get him home quite in time) and then transcribe the episodes in fear that this wonderful show would vanish into the mists of time and he'd be the only one to remember it. Yes, Southern Lad really did think that way. And he still has those old notebooks of hand-written Trek scripts.

Of course, he now has those episodes on DVD and will probably have them on Blu-ray some day. But the point is, Southern Man has been a Trekker for a long, long time.

And on the SC12 show floor Intel (as you may have noticed in a previous photo) has the original bridge set. And if you jump through enough hoops they let you visit it. So Southern Man jumped through said hoops and paid a visit to the bridge of the original USS Enterprise.

That's right. Southern Man was on the bridge. The actual real live genuine bridge. Of the USS Enterprise.

At the Science Station.

Mr. Spock.

Well, it was apparent that it wasn't the real bridge. Southern Man did a bit of research and knows that the real bridge was lost long ago. But just let him pretend, OK? Also, Southern Man has got to get a real camera. Or a new phone with a better camera. Or something.

In the meantime, Southern Man had noted that there were a few other SC12 geocachers so he sent out a few emails to arrange an informal SC12 Cachers Pub Meet and so we did.

Four geocachers.

A couple of the guys brought "travel bugs" to trade.

Oh, yes, and Southern Man got his phone back this morning. All is well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SC12 Day 3

Yesterday was long and tiring but Southern Man got up with the alarm and had breakfast with his colleagues and made haste over to the Salt Palace for the keynote address by Dr. Micheo Kaku.

Dr. Kaku and a few book titles. Southern Man was kicking himself for forgetting to bring his copy of Parallel Worlds but (as it turned out) wouldn't have been able to get close enough for an autograph anyway. Photo stolen from Teh Interwebs.

He gave a very exciting and upbeat talk about both the past and the future. His thesis is that (a) science and technology create wealth and (b) that wealth migrates into a bubble and bursts every eighty years. He used as examples the Great Bust of 1850 (when wealth created by the steam engine moved into railroad stocks, creating an unsustainable speculative bubble), the Great Depression (in which wealth created by the automobile and other technological advances created yet another unsustainable bubble), and the financial crisis of 2008 (in which wealth created by high technology moved into real estate, creating a bubble which later burst). Dr. Kaku predicts that advances in supercomputers will fuel increases in wealth over the next eighty years, and talked in detail on how inexpensive, pervasive computing will change our lives in almost every way. He also said quite a bit about the evolution of "perfect" capitalism and the importance of both education and "intellectual" capital (as opposed to commodity capital) which made Southern Man (a STEM educator with intellectual capital ready for sale) very happy. Dr. Kaku is a very engaging speaker and it was a fascinating talk.

The afternoon was spent somewhat in frustration, in talks encouraging us educators to do things that are frankly impossible. Southern Man is willing - nay, eager - to introduce parallel computing as early in the curriculum as possible, but it ain't gonna happen in the tenth week of CS1 when he's still trying to get the students to think in terms of loops and branches. CS2, yes. And he's also frustrated at all the papers that have the undergrads working in parallel-friendly languages like C and Python while Southern Man must (for many good reasons) work with Java in the CS1/CS2/CS3 sequence. He's already formulating ideas for a paper about how one can get these ideas across in Java for SC13 next year.

The afternoon was also frustrating because Southern Man lost his phone and he spent a fair amount of time trudging between various security offices and lost-and-founds hoping it had been turned in. And after several attempts to call it someone answered and it turned out to be a hotel employee who'd picked it up where Southern Man had left it but (inexplicably) had not turned it in. Well, at least he finally knew who had it and had a good chance of getting it back but in the confusion neglected to attend some evening receptions and therefore missed out on free food. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

SC12 Day 2

The problem with a big conference like SC12 is that there are too many interesting sessions at the same time. Southern Man spent his morning learning about advanced MPI (in spite of the fact that Southern Man is still something of an MPI novice) and how to use Python to teach parallel computing in introductory-level courses. The Python people were excited about bringing in multicore concepts in Programming I; Southern Man struggles to get his students to understand loops and brances at that stage.

After lunch with the rest of the Three Amigos Southern Man slipped out to do a little shopping and geocaching.

You see the most interesting things while prowling around a city...

The amazing Harmon's grocery store a few blocks from the Salt Palace.

After lunch was a series of HP Educators talks, all of which were interesting. And then we had a break at dinnertime to rest up for the opening gala. So at seven o'clock sharp the doors were opened and umpteen thousand swag-hungry attendees flooded inside to fill their bags with t-shirts and USB drives and see the sites and eat dinner and cash in their two drink tickets.

Intel's Star Trek stage was easlily the most photographed exhibit of the evening.

Another popular booth is SCinet, the huge network constructed for SC every year. They call it the most powerful and advanced network in the world, which means that when combined with umpteen-thousand techno-geeks that internet access is slow rather than nonexistent.

It takes a year to design and a month to construct, then they deploy it for a week and tear it down in a day. Also, Southern Man promises to get a real camera as soon as possible.

"Unable To Join Network SC12" was the all-too-frequent reality.

And after the opening gala is the best party at SC12:

Held in the very cool Clark Planetarium just a few blocks from the Salt Palace, the Beowulf Bash is where all the cool people go to clown around and drink more free drinks and see (and be seen with) the top people in the HPC industry.

We did not go hungry.

The house band pumped out covers (Southern Man made a fool of himself dancing with a couple of girls to Love Shack), the planetarium folks put on a couple of excellent laser-light shows in the dome, and a great time was had by all.

More pictures, later.

Southern Man made it home at about 1:00 AM, tired and happy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

SC12 Day 1

The first full day of SC12 was a busy one. A short walk from the hotel brought us to the Salt Palace, which is pretty much completely occupied by SC12.

The Salt Palace. Photo by Google Images.

First came the opening session, and then the usual excellent "Supercomputing In Plain English" talk by Henry.

Henry entertains his adoring followers.

After lunch (and the first two geocaching finds in Utah) was a session on introducing parallel concepts in the introductory programming classes and another on visualization of data (and by that Southern Man means visual representations of petabytes of data). And after that was an orientation session (we were already fairly oriented) and the evening reception and poster session.

We did not go hungry.

The best part about these receptions is that attendees are issued a couple of drink tickets so Southern Man again sampled the local ales: a Squatters full suspension pale ale and a bottle of Wyld extra pale ale. Both were excellent. And so after a fine dinner and viewing the posters and chatting with many friends (old and new) Southern Man tottered back to the hotel to download photos and update the blog and tuck in for a good night's sleep, as tomorrow will be a very long (and very fun) day. Good night!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SC12 Day 0

Day 0 is the travel day, so Southern Man packed his bags and ran his errands and made his way to the airport where he breezed through security and waited for Dr. S and Dr. A. And much to his delight two colleagues from a nearby university were also at the gate.

Dr. L and Dr. J at the airport.

Tres amigos. Photo by Dr. J.

We had a direct flight to Salt Lake City, which was just a couple of hours, and arrived to - snow! After a shuttle ride to the hotel the five of us got registered for SC12 and checked in to The Plaza and then headed to Squatters for dinner.

A toast to SC12! Photo by our server.

As is his custom, Southern Man sampled a local brew. He thought he was asking for a Belgian-style pale ale but ended up with Wasatch Winterfest Seasonal Ale, which turned out to be the darkest beer at the table. It was good, though.

Tomorrow will kick off five-and-a-half days of lectures and tutorials and workshops on high-performance and parallel computing, wheedling swag from the numerous vendors, receptions and parties - and of course plenty of geocaching. It will be a fun week. Southern Man gives thanks to the HPC Educators grant that's paying for it all!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Movie Review - Skyfall

Why, yes, that is an Aston-Martin DB5. Surprise!

It appears that the Bond producers have pulled a fast one on us. Casino Royal was not, in fact, the "reboot" of the Bond series; it merely set us up for Skyfall, which is more a low-level reformat than a reboot and probably a happy consequence of the failure of the not-very-good Quantum Of Solace, for which there was no excuse but now we can call it "middle of the trilogy" and ignore the awful plot and excessive flash-cutting. Casino Royale broke him in and then broke his heart; Skyfall tears him apart and rebuilds him. The result is a 21st-century Bond, relevant to the brave new world of global finance and cyberterrorism and corruption in high places and the utter inability of the few remaining honest members of the political class to deal with them. And a new - stop reading right now if you don't want to know - a new M, and a new Q, and even a new secretary named Moneypenny. The film is not without its faults (chief among them is the usual Hollywood notion that computers are magic) and so takes second place to Casino Royale, but not by much. The ending makes Southern Man downright hungry for the next one. After fifty years, James Bond is new again, and Skyfall is one more reason to break down and buy a big-screen television and a Blu-ray player.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

We Are Now A Center-Left Country

Many conservatives have held that we are, deep down where it counts, a center-right country. Others argue that we drifted left of center as long ago as FDR. The election this week settled the issue: the country - very narrowly - voted for more government, more regulation, more war on drugs, and national health care. In other words, we took one step further towards becoming Europe, even as Europe struggles to shed the costly burden of socialism and become more like the USA of old.

The lasting damage will be twofold: First, ObamaCare will be so firmly entrenched that it'll be impossible to repeal, which will reduce both the quality and availability of health care and make us a poorer nation in the process. Second, Dear Leader and the Democrat-dominated Congress will in all likelihood appoint one or more justices to the Supreme Court, thus tilting that body back to the left for the foreseeable future.

Well, the news isn't all bad. Conservatives made gains in both the House and in state governorships. The youth vote tended to be more to the right, which bodes well for the future. A couple of states legalized (at least to some extent) marijuana use, which is a step in the direction of personal liberty. Those are signs that we might well hang on for some time. But the moochers now out-number (or at least out-vote) the producers, so decline and fall is now inevitable. A Romney/Ryan victory would have delayed that decline; Obama's victory will accelerate it. Southern Man was hoping for a four or even eight-year reprieve (yes, he was dreaming of Paul Ryan for president in 2016) and additional time to prepare; he's not going to get it. The markets woke up, saw their shadow, and decided to go to sleep; they've have already fallen enough to wipe out all the gains his retirement account had accumulated over the year. And it's not going to get better.

In a way it's almost good; at least Dear Leader won't be able to blame the "last four years" on his troubles, which will be considerable. It will be a lot of fun to watch. As one of my fellow bloggers often says, empires in decline generate a lot of excessive and even lavish behavior (you can bet that the inauguration will be a billion-dollar love fest), so join 'em if you can (Southern Man is even now preparing for his next career as a government bureaucrat), and enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

Southern Man's new voting venue is the high school cafeterea in the little town north of The Land so this morning he grabbed his crib sheets on judges and state questions and his new voter ID card and arrived at about 6:45 AM to find himself second in line. By 7:00 there were about forty folks behind him. Everyone (including the poll workers) knew each other but did everything by the book; they opened right on time, required proper ID, and Southern Man signed in and filled out his ballot (we mark them with a big black felt-tip pen; no hanging chads in Southern State!) and fed it to the machine (there's no handing of ballots to the election workers, either) and verified that it was accepted and was out the door in just a few minutes with the obligatory "I Voted Today" sticker on his jacket.

And now the waiting begins. Southern Man has a long and busy work day today (including his evening class) but he will probably drop by a bar-and-grill on the way home this evening for a light dinner and a drink and to see what the early projections look like. And then he will go home and relax and watch a movie or play video games or whatever and probably not know much of anything about the outcome until tomorrow. If we know anything then!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Star Wars

By now everyone knows that Disney has purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas for some insanely huge amount of money. And it was only a matter of time before the crazy Taiwanese animators put in their two cents:

Take heart, Disney won't mess up Star Wars any more than George did.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Everything's Up To Date In Southern City...

...where they've got a new skyscraper that's fifty stories high...

...and that's about as high as a building ought to go! Photo: Google Images.

And that fiftieth story is dedicated to entertainment. This evening was an event for alumni of Southern Man's workplace: $50 per person for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Expensive, but Southern Man had been itching to tour the new building for a while now and the event was a lot of fun. He even got to pick up a couple of downtown geocaches.

Southern Man and the wife of one of his graduate students...

...and with another professor and a couple of alums.

Both photos by Maranda, who took dozens but claim these are the only two to "come out right." Thanks!