New home page

The blog page is now separate from the home page, something I’ve been meaning to try for a while. It helps when I generate lists of pages. A selection of recent posts are excerpted on the home page. It took a fair amount of research and trial and error on my part to make these changes but it looks like nothing, right?

I’ve also been messing around with sidebar widgets, a WordPress automation feature for the menu. Everything I have over there now is customized. The widgets are not so easily customizable, so I’m not quite ready for them, but they’ll come in handy later.

Christmas in Colorado

My two year old nephew looks under the Christmas tree for his presents.
My two year old nephew looks under the Christmas tree for his presents.

United Airlines has a bad habit of not posting their delays until the last minute. In our case, they posted a two-hour delay ten minutes after the flight should have boarded. But we eventually escaped from icy Iowa to icy Colorado.

St. Nicholas visited my nephew Christmas morning in the form of his Uncle Mike in Santa drag. I’m not sure he understood it all, but he likes unwrapping gifts.

Looking back on it, we packed a lot of activity and inactivity into five days.

Santaland Diaries

The weather here stinks but we were itching to get out of the apartment for a while tonight. We decided on a stage adaptation of David Sedaris’ Christmas essay, “Santaland Diaries” (as heard on NPR), presented by the City Circle at the Englert. It’s a one-man, one-act job, with a couple of extras who double as stagehands, rearranging an unattractive set that looked like Superman’s Arctic ice palace.

The play of course is very funny–David Sedaris funny. As usual for Sedaris, the narration dwells on the less attractive aspects of human behavior, but sneaks in some Christmas redemption. Sedaris’ droll, lisping delivery is almost inimitable, but actor Tim Budd does an outstanding job of it.

Redbelt

I’ve seen a bunch of David Mamet’s movies, though I can’t remember which ones they are. Movie critics always talk about his snappy dialogue so I tried to pay more attention to it in “Redbelt”. The snappy dialogue is a little annoying.

“I saw a movie.”

“What do you mean, you saw a movie?”

“I mean I saw a movie. ‘Redbelt’.”

“What?”

“‘Redbelt’.”

Sort of like that. I suppose it’s an attempt at making the dialogue sound realistic, because the people David Mamet hangs out with probably don’t give him their full attention. Anyway, it’s not that bad and the movie is good. For an example of a film where this type of writing falls down completely, see “The Interview”, written and directed by Steve Buscemi.

It’s supposed to be about honor (the characters throw that word around a lot) but it’s more like ethics they are talking about.

Not that I am equipped to explain the difference, but I’ll try. I’d say honor involves a mutual respect among people in well-defined relationships while ethics are more internal and personal beliefs that inform decision-making, and do not require the approval of others.

Braveheart

I’ve heard “You’ve never seen ‘Braveheart?'” enough so I finally rented it. What was the big deal again? It’s three hours of Hollywood film cliches.

Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, a 14th century Scot with perfectly-styled hair extensions– Scotland in those days was apparently inhabited by Cro-Magnons in stick huts– who leaves home as a child to learn French and how to become a ninja. You can hardly believe him when he says he just want to raise crops and live peacefully, because within three days of returning home from French ninja school he’s declared war on England to avenge his wife’s death.

I have less respect now for the Academy Awards than I ever did.

Tis the sleazin

With the World Wide Web, there may be nothing truly original left. “Tis the sleazin”, a phrase I’m fond of saying this time of year, and which I also thought I coined, turns up a few times in a Google search.

Last week America immediately kicked off the Holiday Sleazin’ this year with an outrageous trampling of a WalMart employee on Black Friday. Maybe we can make a new tradition out of it.

The Rangeress

My former colleague writes an on-line opinion blog for the Des Moines Register. She wrote a recent post relating the park ranger uniform to an encounter with some foreign visitors. We (she and her co-workers) discussed this during the summer and it’s fun to see it on-line.

When I linked the text I noticed that the Des Moines Register has some long URI strings. Man alive.

Brainstorming for titles

I’m trying to come up with a better name for the Virtual Adam category of this blog. The name made a little more sense in the pre-blogging days of Adam’s artificial habitat, but now isn’t everything here virtual Adam?

I’m toying around with variations of my new favorite vocabulary word “quotidian” (it means “everyday” or “ordinary”). I like this derivation: Quotidiana. It is already in use as a title by a couple of websites, though. I also stumbled upon the term glossa ordinaria, which refers to a medieval commentary on academic lectures. I like the way it sounds but in literal terms wouldn’t that be more appropriate for the Adam Says category (another one I’d like to re-name)?

I thought the titles for the sections of my original site were pretty clever, like Right Brain and Virtual Adam, but they don’t fit the blog format. For that matter, bloggers are favoring the more informal tags, which function more like keywords, over formal blog categories. I’ve already converted my subcategories to tags, and kept only the broadest categories.

Using Latin feels a little pretentious, especially since I don’t speak it. I could play off my glaciological domain name and name the categories things like esker, drumlin, and roche moutonnĂ©e, but that’s getting way too esoteric.

Thanksgiving in Colorado

Lore and I went to Colorado for Thanksgiving with my family. My nephew is almost two and now speaks in more or less complete sentences. He’s also prone to occasional bouts of the terribles: “Mine!”

A toddler descends snow-covered steps in his blue snowsuit.
A toddler descends snow-covered steps in his blue snowsuit.

The Front Range may be known for its great weather but it snows just about every time I go there for the holidays. Lore experienced snow on the ground for the first time. She said she thought it would be more like shaving cream. It was more like a wet snow good only for making hard, welt-raising snowballs.

A woman's black-gloved hands hold a small white snowball.
A woman's black-gloved hands hold a small white snowball.

We also went up to Boulder to see how the other half lives. One shop sold hand-made Peruvian knit caps for about $56. Lore can get them in Argentina for five pesos (Ar$5,00).

An Art Deco stone courthouse lit with green and red holiday lights.
An Art Deco stone courthouse lit with green and red holiday lights.