Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monument circle tree lighting

On Friday, we went to the 'tree lighting' ceremony at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The monument is neither a tree nor a light. Discuss.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse

Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse offers a neat-o gift to consider for those hard-to-shop for folks this year. A veteran bookstore staffer will personally select a book based on the reader's profile, which you provide. The costs include the book and postage for delivery - that's it - with no charge for their service or the gift wrapping. Thanks Mia for the tip. Reading; share and enjoy!

And if you're more interested in odd gifts, try a squaremelon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The cheapest best bath remodeling item

My mom recommended this neat item as a way of adding about 3 inches in depth of water to my tub. Check it out for yourself: the Deep Water Bath accessory from costs less than $5 and turns a regular old bathtub into a soaking tub. Serenity now, here I come!

Seven on Sunday

I am having a rainy Sunday at home, enjoying the day with the family. So here's a new meme to consider: Sunday Seven - 7 things to do on a quiet Sunday.

  • Building a pagoda.

  • To Beowulf, or not to Beowulf: deciding whether to go see a movie next weekend.
  • Bidding on elliptical trainers

  • Listening to podcasts of Top Gear

  • Updgrading to Leopard

  • Reviewing charter school information

  • Playing Boggle (I won!)

  • Hung some photos up that have been asking to be hung for a while.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Travel diaries: vos es hic

Yesterday I attended a way-cool lecture at the Field Museum in Chicago which blended high-tech electronic visualization with one of my favorite subjects, Ancient Roman history. Forma Urbis: Mapping Ancient Rome concerned a collection of map fragments from the Capitolini Museum of Rome, which had been digitally scanned over a period of 25 labor intensive days - working around the clock - by some admirable Stanford uber-geeks.

For the uninitiated (and the project management oriented) the project charter was thus: put together an 1800 year old puzzle. The puzzle portrayed a ground plan of the central urban area of Rome as of about 203-211 A.D. and was inititally not a puzzle at all; it was 150 beautiful marble slabs affixed to a wall of the Templum Pacis of Ancient Rome. (Sadly, the fragment reading voc es hic - you are here - has not been found.) the ancient temple wall, serendipitously survived to modern times via its inclusion as a wall in the structure of the Church of Saints Cosma e Damian which was founded approximately 530 A.D. How did it turn from slabs into a puzzle? It fell off the wall, and shattered. Oh, and like many of my sons' puzzles, a few pieces are missing. Actually more than a few - only 15% of the pieces are collected which provides slightly over 1100 pieces with which to work. Some sketches of missing pieces exist, drawn by scholars and others who handled and preserved the piece over the years. For scholarship, the value of the map is immense - it provides archeologists and historians with detailed info about where certain structures existed , how big they were and what features they had.

The lectors included Dr. Laura Ferrea, Dr. Robert Meneghini and Dr. David Koller. Dr. Ferrea was an evocative speaker in detailing the context of the map and the museum's role in preservation; unfortunately, her translator did not seem to do her justice. For example, he rendered what I heard as "the equestrian statue of marcus Aurelius would have been encountered by visitors to the plaza as they ascended the staircase shown here," as "Here are some pictures of the plaza." I'm not sure why the translator worked in this manner. The next speaker, Dr. Meneghini, offered detailed descriptions of some of the buildings portrayed in the map. One very interesting detail he offered was graphic renderings of the view of the buildings and temples of Ancient Rome as they were used during medieval times, showing, for example, 2 room thatched homes made from marble harvested from the temples and ruins, pleasantly situated in the open spaces of the temples, allowing free roam for livestock through the colonnaded walkways of the ruins during the 10th century. aside from this presentation, I can't recall having seen any such renderings anywhere else.

My favorite part of the presentation was the last speaker's portion, who reviewed the project he had been part of to scan and digitally manipulate the images of the map fragments in an attempt to situate some of the pieces whose location within the overall map was unknown. The images of the pieces are hosted at Stanford's Digital Forma Urbis Project Site, available for users of any skill level to twiddle with the puzzle and try to identify new matches. Dr. Koller reviewed the techniques he and the team used to find matches, including 1) using the map design on the front of the pieces, 2) using the marble veining and coloration and 3) using the edge fracture patterns. Using these methods and statistical analysis of hand coded topographical features of the images, the team was able to match an additional 1% of the pieces which had for past centuries had their position in the overall puzzle unknown. Very impressive! Not so impressive - a lack of support by the image viewer for Mac users. Boo, hiss! I do wonder also if the Stanford team was able to confirm the placement of any of the previously assessed pieces, though he didn't cover that in the lecture.

I did identify one interesting book which I may add to my stack for later reading: Rome: Profile of a city by Richard Krautheimer.

(Photograph courtesy of Prof. Rodriguez-Almeida.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Facebook | Eva Lyford

Surprise! I have a Facebook page. I also took a personality quiz. This is the third time I've taken a Briggs-Meyer type evaluation and each time the results are different.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blogthings. Fun and useless.

Your Vocabulary Score: A+

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

You Are Pecan Pie Soda

Sweet, but totally nuts

Thanks to BookGal for letting me know Blogthings are out there... way out there!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Free Endangered Species Ringtones - Center for Biological Diversity

Free Endangered Species Ringtones from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Is that a frog in your pocket or is your phone ringing? I read about this in Newsweek and have so far been using the Gila Woodpecker calls for my ringtone. Share and enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Cool gadget recommendation for June gift giving

A new acquaintance Imet showed me a very cool gadget Thursday: Brookstone digital photo keychain Neat-o! I love gadgets. (oh, and to answer some questions I got: yes, Virginia, it does work with a Mac!)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

IndyPaws | Where Pets Connect

IndyPaws | Where Pets Connect. My dear Perlie made it to the big time - the newspaper. Both dogs were featured in a recent full-page ad promoting the IndyPaws site. Hoorah! Also look for her best pal and nemesis, Beauregard.

And, if you like dogs and are in the Indy Area, check out the Indy Humane Society's available dogs listing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Thanks pal Lili for a reference to a fun INTELLIGENCE TEST I got a 27, and am really stumped by 3 B M (S H T R) - post if you know the answer!

Friday, January 5, 2007

My favorite Christmas present for 2006

A roomba! It is just the best. My floors have never been so clean. And it definitely is entertaining; makes my living room feel like Mars, with a little robot zooming around exploring. Vacuuming is my most detested regular chore, especially as the noise drives me crazy and this roomba is not so noisy as a regular vacuum.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year, New start

I decided to draft some resolutions for 2007, mostly because I didn't in 2006 but this is an odd year. : )

1. Be fit: I hereby do solemnly pledge to get myself in gear and be fit, and I'm starting off by walking. I'll try this year to log 6,000 steps at least 5 days a week, and try to keep my daily average above 10,000 steps. I started tracking this during the holidays, so I feel like this is do-able, but I want to revise and revisit this at the end of the 1st quarter.
2. Information is meant to be free: I commit to keeping up with my page-a-day average on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreading project.
3. Read to me: The boys are finally moving out of the tedious cat-in-hat books into material that resembles literature; I want to spend more time reading with them in 2007.

I'm tempted to list all of the usual self-improvement stuff I hold myself accountable for, but am resisting the temptation. Sure, I want to read more - to be a better wife, friend, daughter and mother - but that's a given.

Wish me luck with my resolutions with a post here, and I'll return the favor.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Xmas 2006

In the words of Franz Liszt, "Merry Christmas, y'all." (Bet you didn't know he was from SOUTHERN Hungary, did you?)

It's been a busy year at Burton Manor, home of the Burton-Lyfords (or, if you prefer, Lyford-Burtons). The boys are both doing very well at Montessori School. E has started kindergarten at The Big School and is learning so much that in two years he'll be overqualified for management. O is now one of the older kids at The Little School and is starting to develop leadership skills. However, I don't know if I like his plan of annexing Ohio first. Kentucky seems a better target, but you have to let kids learn.

The boys have also started tae kwon do classes, to help with their coordination, concentration, discipline, and appreciation of old Bill Cosby bits. "Now he only picks on jello and whipped cream."

Richard has tried to give Eva and the boys distinctly Hoosier/Indianapolis experiences, like doughnuts from Long's, a dinner at Shapiro's, a trip to the museum at the Soldiers and Sailors monument, and so on. However, he has not stooped to a monster truck show yet.

Richard took Eva to her first Indy 500 this year. What a finish! What a first race! Not only was it one of the best finishes ever, it was great for her to see another Andretti loss in her first race. She wrote about the Indy 500 in her blog in June, so you know it's huge if it's been blogged. She may not be too interested in going again, especially on such on a hot day, but it is something everyone should try once.

We took two trips to Brown County State Park this summer. The first was a day-trip to go hiking, with a side stop at the Oliver Winery, which we've been asked if we own now that we wear the Oliver hats. While on the hike, O spotted a bullsnake that E had passed and wanted to step into poison ivy-laced undergrowth to check it out. From a distance, it looked like it might have been a rattlesnake, and that hiss sounded close enough to a rattle. Richard, fortunately, did not need his spare set of boxers, and the boys got a nice lesson: nature is not all Disney. We also saw some wild turkeys in the park, which nearly inspired the adults to crack open the wine on the way home after a day of kid-herding. The second trip was in late summer, right before the boys went back to school. We stayed at one of the Abe Martin Lodge cabins in the woods. It was neat for Eva and the boys, but Richard, having grown up listening to Waylon and Willie, didn't find it quite as fascinating. This didn't involve too much danger, except for short but steep climb at the end of one hike. There was also a huge scary-looking spider near the cabin that inspired all sorts of Tolkeinesque stories, some from the kids.

During the summer, Eva and Richard went to southern Ohio to visit his mother's relatives, the outdoor toilet side of the family. Oddly enough, Eva did not run screaming to the horizon, though that does make sense given the local snake population. That she didn't immediately file for a divorce/annulment is a good sign, though we shouldn't expect her to wear a Git'r'done belt buckle with Daisy Duke shorts any time soon.

One of Richard's highlights was taking the boys to their first Colts game, a pre-season affair with the Bengals. The Colts do know how to do pregame introductions, with both boys' eyes rivetted to the field. A big motorcycle on the field! Fireworks! Cheerbabes! Popcorn! It was the coolest thing in the world!

You may not have heard, but there has been an addition to our family. On that fateful day, Richard called his father to let him know that he was about to become a grandfather again ... of a bouncing baby beagle. As soon as she came into the play area at the Humane Society, we were all sold. Eva dubbed her Perl, after Richard's favorite programming language, and she has become the center of our family life. Eva and E took her to a few basic obedience training classes, and Richard took over when Eva got sick. (Too bad the place only works with dogs, not kids.) Perl is an absolute sweetie, though there are days when Eva is accurate in saying she is "slightly less trouble than she's worth." She still has a lot of puppy in her and has charmed everyone she's met. Our house and life is suddenly very dog-oriented. Seeing how Perl and the boys interact, Eva and Richard are now wondering why they didn't get a dog earlier.

Here's hoping for a better new year than the end of this year was. Eva has been sick for four straight weeks and counting, O and E have been sick off and on, and after holding it off for so long, Richard has finally succumbed to general annoyance with it all. Eva wants to call a "do over" on November, but Richard's knowledge of physics and time says that this is unlikely to happen. On the other hand, Richard is considering a correspondence course to be medicine man, starting with the "You Too Can Speak Sioux in Twenty Lessons or Less" cassette series.

Here's to a happier, healthier New Year for all.