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May. 1st, 2008

Why not, indeed?

I started this up so I could read Carol's journal.  Sadly, I update this more than Carol does hers.  So what's the point of having this?  Not much, not when I don't update most of my other half-dozen blogs.

Well, this is a journal, not a blog.  Right?  So I should be writing about what's been going on in my life.  We just got back from Michigan on Monday - we went up for Lindsay's grandfather's memorial service and my doctoral advisor's retirement party.  And in between that we started the job of cleaning out her grandparent's home.  It's amazingly daunting to try to clean out a house where people lived for over fifty years.  They were well organised, which made the job a lot easier, but there was still the accumulation of decades of life.  And it was very hard for me to have to throw things away - things that they had valued as keepsakes.  It's a good thing it wasn't my decision what to keep or throw away. 

I spent a long time trying to piece together what little I could of my paternal great-grandparents.  While I got a lot of stories while my grandparents were still alive, I also didn't ask a lot of things, or lost notes.  More than that, memories aren't always accurate.  The time I spent poring through the Royal Gazette in the National Archives gave me insight that I had never had, not from any stories.  But that insight was so fragmentary.  What I would have given for a single scrap of their lives - a letter to or from them, some hint of who they were or what they were like.  Although I knew them quite well, this week I learned so much more about who Lindsay's grandparents were, as people.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  If we are fortunate enough to have children, they will never know Cliff and Margaret.  That's just life.  But it breaks my heart that we had to throw away so much of what could have given that sort of insight.  You can't save everything.  Sadly, you can't even save nearly enough.

Mar. 3rd, 2008


So...just in case anyone ends up here...

  1. Further Thoughts, my main blog on WordPress, where I blog about science, politics and religion.
  2. Tropical Ecology Notes, a column at ScientificBlogging.com; the name is pretty self-explanatory.
  3. Omphaloskepsis, which is a blog about (science) blogging.
  4. Plant News, a blog in which I try to keep up on the latest news in botany and plant biology.
  5. Fish Stories, my hobby blog (about fish keeping, not fishing).
  6. Tropical Dry Forest, an experimental blog related to dry forests ecology.
  7. My profile on HubPages, where I've contributed a few articles.

Sep. 7th, 2007


My WordPress blog was suspended for a ToS violation. Huh? I have no idea how I am supposed to have violated the ToS. I have no idea what I did wrong. And that has me incredibly bummed. Just when I was starting to get a little traffic to the site...it's gone. Together with four months of blog posts (apparently you can't get your content back when your account is suspended).

I have no idea what next. Is there an appeal process? Will I at least find out what I did wrong? It really feels like a part of myself was ripped out. I put a lot into those posts. Oh well...it's a free service. Sucks.

Update: It's back.  Yay.  Apparently it was deleted "by mistake".  I should be annoyed, but I'm too relieved. 

Aug. 19th, 2007


I was really happy when the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin arrived on Friday - the clouds broke the heat wave we've been having.  On Saturday night the rain made it here in earnest.  Usually these storms don't bring much more than rain, but southern and western Oklahoma saw a few tornadoes last night.

In the Oklahoma City area the storm brought extremely heavy rain - a month's rain in a few hours, was how I heard it described.  While Norman  proper isn't at risk from river and stream flooding, we are prone to street flooding.  Right now half the major streets seems to be closed right now.  And, of course, the roof is leaking.  Luckily, it's leaking only in the one spot.  Since it's predictable, it's not too disturbing.  Still, I have never seen anything like that much water come through the roof.

It's been much worse in parts of the City.  (In Oklahoma, the weather is the news - people are obsessed with weather; prime time TV is displaced for weather.)  The news is full of pictures of flooding - waist-deep water around stranded cars, people flooded out of their homes, firefighters rescuing people from stranded cars.

Jul. 27th, 2007

Anniversary of the Coup

On Friday July 27, 1990, the Jamaat al Muslimeen attempted to overthrow the government of Trinidad and Tobago. A six-day siege ensured, with the Jamaat leadership holed up in the Red House (where they held the Prime Minister and most of Parliament hostage) and in the headquarters of TTT (then the only television station in the country) and Radio Trinidad (one of two radio networks, located next to TTT).

This year the anniversary falls on a Friday. In the seventeen years that have passed, there has been no inquiry into the events. The guilty parties are free and have never been called upon to account for their actions. The two major political parties, the PNM and the UNC appear to wish that the events would just go away, but there are still open wounds in society. Carson Charles, leader of the NAR, which was the governing party during the coup attempt, has called for a probe into the events, but the government is uninterested.

“There must be some kind of investigation, some kind of impartial investigation and report of what took place. Something dispassionate, something removed from the politics with the emphasis on what lessons should be learned from what took place,” Charles said.

The government is uninterested in any inquiry into the events

Questioned yesterday on the matter, senior Cabinet member Energy Minister Dr Lenny Saith indicated there was no change to the Cabinet’s previous decision of holding no enquiry.

Some politicians though, agree that this is important

Congress of the People Chief Whip Ganga Singh, the existing Caroni East MP, who was not a member of Parliament in 1990 agreed with Charles.

Singh said that instead of a Commission of Enquiry, the country needs the local equivalent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the Government of South Africa.

“I think as a society, I think we should really confront this issue and not go into self denial as if it never really happened,” Singh said.

Seventeen years have passed, and nothing has been resolved. The memorial will be “low key” - neither the President nor the Prime Minister is attending. But these things don’t just “go away”. The memory of what happened is still burned into my memory.

At the very least the victims should be remembered.

From the Trinidad Guardian

* The 1990 Coup Attempt — Through the Eyes of a teen Born in the midst of chaos

From the Trinidad Express

* No work on July 27
* Low key ceremony at Red House today
* ‘Fireworks’ in Parliament
* Call for probe
* Death remains unsolved

From the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

* Why no coup inquiry?
* COP remembers 1990 Coup

Jul. 18th, 2007


My wordpress blog suddenly jumped to life this morning.  After getting 15-17 views in the last few days, and never having gotten more than 37, this morning I got 47 visits.  And I can't quite figure out where they are coming from.  Almost all the incoming traffic registered is coming from Yahoo logins, although several came from my original blog (although my sitemeter there records no traffic).  So did someone email links to my blog to people?  Quite mysterious.

Jun. 28th, 2007


I really love the weather we're having here - rain, rain and more rain.  I always feel a little disappointed when I see the pavement drying out.  It's been wonderful weather - rains a lot, humid, and warm, but not too hot.  It can be a little inconvenient at times (this morning I had to take the bus to work, I couldn't walk) but overall it's been lovely.

That said, the effects of the weather really suck.  There was major flooding in OKC two days ago.  Most of the state is under either a flash flood watch or a flash flood warning.  It's having a terrible impact on people because the ground is so saturated that it can't absorb even the lightest rain.  But that doesn't change the fact that I find the weather pleasant.

Jun. 27th, 2007


When I first signed up for a Facebook account I had no idea what to do with it.  On the course management system there is room for students to include profiles, but almost no one ever did.  The I saw one guy who said "That's what Facebook is for" on this profile.  So I got a Facebook account...and did nothing with it.

Then about a year ago I saw an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education where this guy was talking about using Facebook, as a faculty member.  I decided to give it another try...and I found almost no one I knew.  Sure, undergrads in my classes, but no one from further back.  That all started to change in the last few months.  First there were current Trini undergrads, or people in their 20s that I kinda knew.  Now the place is over-run with thirty-something Trinis.  Suddenly I can find people I knew from UWI - and people I had forgotten I knew from UWI or Naps.  Very cool, really.

It's strange to track down people you haven't seen in a decade or more.  It's also strange to exchange messages with them.  I remember people and incidents very well, but I don't hold onto personalities...until I get a message, and see in their written language reminders of their persona.  And it is extremely cool.  So now I am walking around with a head full of remembering.  Add that to the weather here (wettest weather in decades) and I am a little confused as to whether I am in Oklahoma in 2007 or in Trinidad in the late 80s/early 90s :)

Jun. 10th, 2007

And now...

I registered my blogs at Technorati, I signed my posts on ScienceBlogs with a link to my Wordpress blog, and I posted regularly.  And to my surprise, people started showing up.  Only two people have posted comments (interestingly enough, on my post about Technorati).  Both of them are people on whose blogs I have commented.

It's nice to know that someone is looking at what you have written.  But you really haven't had an impact until someone has linked to a post of yours.  Will it happen?  Maybe someday.

Amy's first week

After eight years at St. Stephen's, Dianne has been moved to a new church.  This is the first week for our new pastor, Amy.  It's also her first posting as senior pastor.  I think she's pretty happy with her posting to the liberal progressive church in Norman, Oklahoma

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