Thursday, November 26, 2009

#412 Mappy Thanksgiving!

Yours in mapping counties where turkey production is way, way above average,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#411 Pumpkin Pie

See how happy I am with a plate of pumpkin pie? Mary knows this, so she keeps me stocked in pumpkin goodness all through November and December.

I didn't write the hit song, "Next year, I’m not coming if you don’t have pumpkin pie", but I wish I had. That credit goes to The Tory Party. (Nod to Erika!)

Yours in the height of pumpkin pie season,

#410 Another GPS happy ending!

Our friend Sam tells a fine GPS story starting with this Tweet:
Phone rang while jogging and car key fell out of pocket when I answered. Luckily runkeeper iPhone app had marked the gps location. Key found!

And in case you need a little more info than a 140-char Tweet can provide...
The RunKeeper app has a feature where you can pause and resume your run. When you do that, you get a little gray pin that shows exactly where things were paused. Another one shows where they picked up again. Since the phone application has the ultimate priority on an iPhone, the app was automatically paused when the phone rang, pin-pointing my position. So, since I don't think the developers' intent was to keep track of exact positions of incoming phone calls, it was also an example of an unintended software feature.
Yours in enjoying all the GPS stories with happy endings,

Monday, November 23, 2009

#409 GPS Happy Ending

Sadly, Geography Awareness Week is over. But we all know geography matters all year round, so let's not wait until next year to enjoy this GPS story from Kathy.

View Larger Map
"Hey there! So, the other day, me, Mark, and Tiffany found ourselves looking for something to do on a Sunday in Norway. We decided to drive south from Oslo to Fredrikstad and check things out. On Sunday night we were driving back up to Kongsberg where we have been working. The "lady in the box" (GPS!) was bravely barking out directions as Tiffany drove us north toward Oslo, so we could then head west to Kongsberg after getting around the bay (Oslofjord). The GPS turned us off of the freeway, westward, which seemed a little confusing at the time, because we were well short of Oslo. As it became clear we were headed toward water, I figured we must be coming up on a bridge. We drove closer to the water, but couldn't see very well in the dark & the big line of cars waiting ahead of us. We passed through a toll booth & were surprised at how expensive it was. When we saw the cars stopped again, we then rationalized it was a toll bridge. Of course, in retrospect, that would have had to be the longest toll bridge ever. I don't know who spotted it first, but we (eventually!!) discovered that we were in a line for a ferry. We were completely boxed in with other cars waiting when we started wondering where the ferry was going. After a short wait, we drove on to the boat with everyone else. When we were en route, we got out & mingled around on the upper deck with everyone else. I found a map on the wall, stopped a woman walking by, and asked her if she could please show me where this ferry was going. If she was surprised, she didn't let on -- apparently, she gets stopped every day by random strangers on ferry in the middle of a bay wondering where the boat is taking them!!! I reported back to Mark & Tiffany, and we all agreed it was a beautiful night for a boat ride & that we completely lucked out on catching a ferry to a place we actually wanted to go. :>) Life is good."
Yours in loving a GPS story with a happy ending,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

#408 International GIS Day 2009

Happy GIS Day 2009! We celebrated GIS Day at the University of Virginia Scholars' Lab in the traditional way...with cake!

UVA alum and former rocket scientist Andrew Turner delivered the public keynote “Neogeography: from Tower to Town Hall” wrapping up the first Institute For Enabling Geospatial Scholarship.

Then we ate cake!

Yours in celebration,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#407 Kudos to Joel Silver

Not because he invented the game of Ultimate Frisbee. I've never played. And not because he produced the Die Hard movies or The Matrix movies. I've never seen them. But BIG kudos to movie producer Joel Silver for rescuing Auldbrass, an amazing southern plantation designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Silver bought a run-down Auldbrass in 1986 and has been investing millions ever since to restore it back to its original design.

And more kudos to Mr. Silver for allowing 600 paying guests to tour his home and farm buildings one weekend every other year. We entered the plantation last weekend - on what had to be the most beautiful South Carolina day ever - by walking up the Cherokee Red curbed driveway made of crushed brick.
Under the Live Oak trees, we came first to the farm buildings - the kennels to the right and the stables to the left.

We walked through the opening in the farm buildings and continued on to what we (and 598 of our new friends) wanted most to see, the main house.

Photos were allowed outside the house only and believe it or not, we took this photo of the living room from outside.

Yours in appreciating the designs of Mr Wright, the dedication of Mr. Silver, and the beauty of a South Carolina November day,

Monday, November 09, 2009

#406 Mappy Veterans Day 2009

In 1952, an Emporia, Kansas shoe repairman had an idea to expand Armistice Day to be a celebration of all veterans.

In 1954, President Eisenhower made it official and Veterans Day was born.

Yours in honoring all who served,

Sunday, November 01, 2009

#405 Joyce, Lynn, and Roller Derby

Joyce and Lynn flew in from Kansas City on Saturday morning and that's when the fun began! The Johnston Visitor Plan almost always includes some time on the back deck when the weather is good.

And a tour of the UVA grounds is a must. But in a surprise twist of the JVP, our weekend included a bout between the Charlottesville Derby Dames (in the blue uniforms) and the Northside Stranglers from Richmond.

Yes, that's right. Roller derby.

Yours in jamming with the Dames,