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Showing posts from May, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #123: Menacing Hippos

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What Is ItA stone lawn hippo in the grass.

Why It's Today's PickAnother interesting find on a morning run.  I had finished my run and was cooling down with a walk when I found the hippo.  I thought he was cute but then I wondered how he might look through the grass.  From this vantage point, I feel like it slightly recreated the tall grasses of the savanna, glimpsing a look at a hippo who just happened to notice me and is not happy about it.  The lack of any color beyond the gray stone makes this fellow look rather menacing like I just interrupted him.  Lawn ornaments are always curious things.  We acquire them and throw them on out lawns and in our yards but what do we suggest or imply by displaying them?  Does this person have an affinity for hippos?  Was it just something to store a plant in (it looks like it's more of a plant holder) that they decided was cute enough for the front yard?  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check ou…

Photo Reflection of the Day #122: #TurtlePower

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What Is ItA turtle I ran into on my run this morning. 


Why It's today's PickI could blame the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I think my obsession with turtles existed well before them.  Like frogs, I sought out turtles in the swamps at camp.  In fact, frogs were easy--turtles were precious and cool.  I brought home my fair share of turtles, much to my father's chagrin as he is left caring for the one for well over a quarter century now that I'm destined to inherit.  So when I was on my run this morning, I was utterly delighted to meet this fellow who seemed to be trying to get his (or her) morning fix of SoBe.  Given how far she was from water, I figured she was looking for a place to lay eggs, but got distracted by this colorful bottom (I removed it from her immediate area).  There's just something cool about turtles.  They carry their homes with them, they have strange but intriguing faces and swim in a way that be both graceful and bumbling--often how I feel …

Photo Reflection of the Day #121: Cloud Deep

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What Is ItThe sun hiding behind a cloud this morning.

Why It's Today's PickI had a couple good shots to share today so it was hard to just choose this one.  My run this morning apparently was picturesque, which I certainly won't complain about.  I snagged this shot while walking over the Salem-Beverly bridge.  Beyond capturing the sun behind the cloud in such a cool way, I liked the photo for other reasons.  The various levels of colors and clouds was diverse from the blue at the center to the grays and other colors in the bottom right corner.  I also liked that while the sun was hidden behind the cloud, you could see it reflecting in the water in the background.  Finally, the sun looks kind of like an eye to a strange cloud-create that is approaching a wall of clouds.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the 

Tales of Running: The Bull and the Cheetah

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I am, in no uncertain terms, a bull.  I am broad, have legs like tree-trunks--whether fit from running or not--and will never fit into anything less than large (and even that is stretching it--literally).  It is clear that my genetic predisposition set me up for brute--not skillful--labor.  I've come to utterly appreciate that about myself and my body.  Like I've said before, I'm more like a mule when it comes to physical prowess. 

But getting to this certainly wasn't easy.  Our society appreciates the cheetah more than the bull.  In part, this probably results from both our Puritanical need for being productive and our Industrial Revolution desire for mass (that is, fast) production.  Though some facets of sports focus on the bull (tackling, hitting or kicking the ball), many more rely on cheetah (out-maneuvering your opponent, running the bases, getting to the other side of the court or field first).  Lacking any real cheetah-like abilities and being a meatball as kid…

Photo Reflection of the Day #120: Ribbit!

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What Is ItA frog hanging out in a frog pond at Long Hill in Beverly, MA.

Why It's Today's PickMy wife and I went on a visit to Long Hill, a Trustees of the Reservation estate in Beverly, MA.  It's definitely a nice place to check out (but be sure to bring the bug spray!).  They have lots of beautiful gardens and spaces along with this little frog pond.  We only found one frog--this fellow.  I was known as the pre-eminent frog catcher at camp as a kid.  I spent way more hours than I care to remember and lost my fair share of clothing, shoes, etc into the swamp.  I'm not sure what my fascination with frogs were--besides the fact that they were in abundance at the came, they were small, and they were strange creatures.  I often heard them croaking but whenever I was near one, it never croaked.  It's hops were always amusing to watch and I think what I related mostly to the frog was the way that I swam.  I wasn't graceful freestyle swimmer but stuck with the breast …

Photo Reflection of the Day #159: I Think This Is a Caterpillar

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What Is ItA caterpillar-like insect hanging upside down on a branch.

Why It's Today's PickYet again, I was on my way back from my run in the early morning and caught this guy out of the corner of my eye.  I'd never seen anything like it--up close and personal.  It was a strange fellow and of course, brought to mind a dozen science-fiction narratives about bug invaders.  This fellow was about as long as my thumb and half as thick.  It sat there like this, ignoring me as I played paparazzi to try to achieve the best picture possible.  I recommend clicking through to the Flickr photo as you can see the rich (and funky) detail of its skin.  Anyone know what kind of insect this is?  I think I'll name him Frank.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton

Photo Reflection of the Day #119: The Bookshelf of Despair

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What Is ItA bookshelf of free books that the library has cycled out of its collection.

Why It's Today's PickI pass by this bookcase regularly.  Sometimes, there are a lot of books, sometimes there are few.  The librarians are regularly taking books out of circulation that haven't been used in quite a long.  Looking at the shelf in some ways reminds me of why I blog.  Some people think blogging is a bit ephemeral and useless.  You write a lot of posts that are "published" that go into the ether and you rarely know if anyone has ever read or been moved by what you wrote (they occasionally comment, but much more often, you see your stastics and wonders what it means).  Yet, I still enjoy it and find meaning in it.  I think the thing is that people are sometimes asking about blogging contains a bit of a comparison to supposedly more legitimate forms of writing like books.  But this bookshelf reminds me that even those books may exist on shelves for years with no one t…

Photo Reflection of the Day #118: From One House to the Next

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What Is ItA house with it's back half made of brick and it's front half made of wood.


Why It's Today's PickI pass this house regularly when out for a run.  It's a strange house wherein it seems to have two distinct parts that by my guess would be made at different times.  There is the brick half and the wooden half.  To look at it from afar, it seems almost as if the wooden part has been partially birthed from the brick and is either trying to break free or possibly will give birth to it's own new domicile protruding from it's front.  It's a strange thought for sure, but there seems no other way of reconciling the two buildings.  I also wonder about how the inside is structure as I see near the top of the building there is an air conditioner that's embedded in the wall, but if you look closely enough, there is also an AC in the window less than four feet away.  Are these separate rooms or does the one in the wall no longer work and it was easier to r…

Photo Reflection of the Day #117: Water

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What Is ItA quote on a window in a building at North Shore Community College.



Why It's Today's PickI was in this building today--I'm not in it too often and I saw this quote on the window.  I have no clue if it has been there since the building's inception (several years back now) or whether it is relatively new.  But I liked it and found it rather appropriate for the gray and rainy day that we are having.  The quote is "Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium.  There is no life without water." and is from Nobel Prize Winner (in Physiology), Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.  I think we sometimes forget how essential water is because it is so disposable in a modern society and we forget how much effort it takes to keep our life-source clean and useful.  It is a luxury still not accessible to many in the world.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which …

Photo Reflection of the Day #116: #SelfieSunday #20

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What Is ItSelfie #20.


Why It's Today's PickWow--#20--only 32 more to go, right?  I went with a straight on shot and skipped the running pic for the day.  I maybe should have cropped this photo a bit more.  I appear off-center.  I probably should have accounted for shadow more.  Oh well.  My left-eye (right eye to the viewer) is definitely more haggard than my right.  I blame this on allergies and the fact that they give my left eye more irritation than my right, but I'm clueless as to why.  I'm also noticing that I'm having trouble reconciling my face since it lacks (much) facial hair and I've been pretty scruffy for a few months now.  The things you notice (or don't) when trying to look yourself in the face, right?

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd…

Photo Reflection of the Day #115: Let Sleeping Kitties Lie

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What Is ItMy car, Bear, taking a nap in her bed next to me.

Why It's Today's PickI've included Pumpkin in several of my pics this year, but have not given Bear her own photo ops.  Today, while pondering what to take a photo of, I looked next to me and there was Bear, napping peacefully.  I knew I had my photo of the day.  She generally likes to nap where her humans are.  If we're not around, she will opt for different places--a bed, the window, and elsewhere.  But if we're here, she's near us.  At some point soon, she'll awake and do her stretching and then come over and give me a headbut.  She's definitely the more alpha cat, but that doesn't stop her from wanting regular affection and staying near her humans.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other…

Photo Reflection of the Day #114: Say Hello to My Lil Friend...

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What Is ItA spider walking along the floor at the college.

Why It's Today's PickI found this little fellow on the flow when I was walking up the stairs at work.  I like the picture more for the aesthetics.  The flash gave it a grayer look than it might have had otherwise.  Also, you can't actually tell whether it is a floor or the wall  The spider's presence of course changes how we look at the wall.  No longer just a surface but a surface with something potentially sinister.  I was glad that all the legs were visible and the spider itself came in so clearly.  All in all, I like how this one turned out--especially because the 8 others that I took were all blurry!


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribut…

Interview With Josh Kornbluth

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So after recently listening to Ben Franklin...Unplugged by Josh Kornbluth, I decided I would try to hunt him down through Twitter and interview him for Abbreviated Audio.  I've been a huge fan of Kornbluth since I watched Haiku Tunnel (a film that made it into my top films of all time list).  He has a self-depricating humor that he is able to use to spin out some many great tales and observations about how we (or rather he) does things.  The film and the audiobook are both worth checking out when you have the chance.  

The interview was a lot of fun and can be found here at Abbreviated Audio.  What was so great about Kornbluth is that he came across as the same man one sees in the film and on the audiobooks.  I'm sure there is some filter, but he was both genuine and funny, which made me totally geek out about the interview.  Definitely check it out if you have the chance!



By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unpor…

Photo Reflection of the Day #113: Here Comes The Sun

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What Is ItThe sun peeking through some clouds in the early morning.  

Why It's Today's PickWhile taking my morning run, I snapped this photo when coming over the bridge.  There were several versions of it depending on which angle or how much sky and water I had in the photo.  However, I went with thsi because the sun's rays eminating from behind the cloud were most visible while you can also see the mixtures of reds and oranges in the smaller gap in the cloud. 

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

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The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is seeking papers on popular and American culture, broadly construed, for its annual fall conference to be held on Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015, on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.  NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment.  We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.  NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.


In particular, I am the chair of the Teaching and Popular Culture area and I'm really interested in hearing about and seeing the different ways instructors use popular culture in their courses--be it their core curriculum or even courses on popular culture.  If you have some ideas about a panel as a whole or individual papers that you would like to present on regarding this…

Photo Reflection of the Day #112: #SelfieSunday #19; Or Here's the Face of an Idiot!

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What Is ItPost race selfie.



Why It's Today's PickSo I got up at the crack of dawn (4:30am) to get ready and drive 1.5 hours to run a half-marathon in Maine.  Unfortunately, that half-marathon was yesterday.  Now, there is some explanation for my idiocy--I didn't just do this of no accord, but much of the problem came from not paying attention to details.  I had originally signed up for a marathon for today back in March.  I realized I wouldn't be ready for a marathon today and switched to the half-marathon they were offering a few weeks back.  They said I was good to go and I never remembered to double-check the dates because the half-marathon was to be run on Saturday.  I can only imagine what the folks at registration were thinking.  I got back in my car, posted about it on Facebook--my idiocy--because I'm forever amused about such mistakes in my life.  On the way home, I found out that a friend of mine was running a race near where I live that was just 3-mile loo…

Photo Reflection of the Day #111: Armed on the Beach

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What Is ItA crab arm on the beach.  

Why It's Today's PickI was wandering on the beach this morning and stumbled upon this crab arm.  It sat there lifeless and has probably been there for a while.  In its curved state, I can still picture some crab attached to it, holding up its claw as it if was posing for a picture and flexing its biceps.  I also found the range of color in in the arm impressive.  I played with crabs as a kid but never really looked closely at one.  The rich color of reds and beiges make it perfect for camouflage in the sandy environment in which it lives.  But unfortunately, the owner of this arm is not likely among the living any more.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike …

Photo Reflection of the Day #110: And Then You Go Big

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What Is ItA screenshot of my final score on a recent marathon-length run on the game 2048.

Why It's Today's PickI get interested in different games.  Earlier this year, I got into Tiny Towers.  I have an on and off affair wtih 2048.  The goal of the game is to keep doubling your score through combining 2's and 4's so that you keep adding up until you read 2048 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048).  It's a fun but idle game you can play.  For all of last year, I could get up to about 4096 but usually not much farther--I think once I got up to 8192.  However, recently a former student and friend of mine shared his latest high score on Facebook and it was higher than I thought possible.  So I returned to the game after a long break from it and started playing again.  I soon found that I made it to his score and with this game surpassed it.  I was amazed by it--not that I beat it but that by the fact that I knew it was possible motivated me to go back and at…

Photo Reflection of the Day #109: Saying No

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What Is ItA cupcake offered to me by a coworker.  


Why It's Today's PickSo today's pic comes to us from the realm of food porn...ok, not really--but it's a catchy line, right?  This cupcake was kindly offered to me by a coworker who upon not being able to eat it because of dietary issues, gave it to me.  I accepted it and let it sit there for a while before deciding what to do.  About two weeks back, I had decided that give up traditional desserts and replace it with fruit.  Every time I have had a crazing for the last few weeks for something sweet, I reached for fruit.  Also, I largely removed fruit from my general diet and focused on it as a treat.  Instead of having 4-6 clementines (or 2 oranges), a few apples, and berries throughout the day, I worked on making fruit a reward.  I realized that when my body craves sugar, I can respond to it with the right kind of sugar.  I've made the transition quite well and am making sure that I regularly treat myself daily wit…

Photo Reflection of the Day #108: The Side That Cannot Be Walked

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What Is ItA giant tree growing up next to the sidewalk.

Why It's Today's PickAfter finishing my evening run, I was walking the neighborhood when I stumbled upon this fine fellow.  This tree seems so wide that I doubted me and another person could wrap our hands around it.  So beastly was it that the sidewalk curved around it, realizing it was a fight it could not win.  It was curious to see the molds on the tree as I assume this is where branches had been removed, but the several strong arms of the tree were still impressive.  I imagined that if I grew up in this neighborhood, I would definitely make climbing this tree a habit.  Were I not tired from the run, I might have been tempted.   We had a similar enormous tree on our street growing up but the shortest limbs were some twenty feet up.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons Lic…

My Most Recent Reads - April, 2015

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Reading went pretty strong this month with about seventeen books completed.  Not many of them were great, but definitely a few left me with great things to consider.  So here are the highlights:

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker I heard much about Pinker's book when it came out last year and put it on my To-Read list.  I've been a big fan of Pinker in general and his book, The Better Nature of Our Angels is still one of my all-time favorite books.  I rather enjoyed this book too, in part, because Pinker is eloquent and clear.  This style guide is something I'm likely to purchase and revisit as it really does layout some fundamental guidelines while simplifying writing and not being preachy.  It's a must for anyone who wants to find better ways to improve his or her writing.



In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed ZakariaAs the debate continues in our culture about what a college education means, Zakar…

Photo Reflection of the Day #107: Defiance

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What Is ItA blue flower growing on a stone pathway.

Why It's Today's PickI've watched this fella in the entrance to the house for the last few days--surprised that no one has stepped up it.  Like other flowers, one day it wasn't there and then one day it was.  I have to wonder if there is purposeful caution by those who have came onto the porch and left to avoid the flower as it sits alone--far from the others of its kind that are within a quartered off area.  That this flower has broken free and stands tall among in a flattened area that encourages foot traffic is a curious event.  Yet, it still stands after days, waiting to bloom or to be crushed.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike…

Photo Reflection of the Day #106: #SelfieSunday #18

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What Is ItA selfie from me from the Beverly-Salem Bridge after finishing a 15 mile run.

Why It's Today's PickSo today's selfie.  It's curious in that while contemplating what selfie I was going to snap today that I happen to be listening to Steven Johnson's How We Got To Now.  It's an intriguing book that explores how several hummingbird effect inventions changed and influenced much in history.  I'm a big fan of Johnson's work and find he often has ways to get us to think differently about the world around.  In this case, he was discussing the impact of glass and that includes the impact of mirrors.  He notes that there were virtually no self-portraits in existence before the Renaissance--the same time around which we see the emergence of the mirror and people actually capable of looking themselves in the face.  He explores how the exploration of one's self is a reflective process that gave rise to the cultural acceptance of the individual (and the i…

Photo Reflection of the Day #105: Man vs. Nature

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What Is ItA shopping cart in an inlet in Beverly.  

Why It's Today's PickToday's photo was a fascinating one for me to look at and observe.  First off, it is so vivid with its greens that I found that to be intriguing in itself.  The second is that the lighting of the day afforded me great visibility with the water.  Finally, there's the content of the image which came rather timely.  This week, I was finishing up reading, The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell.  The book is a fascinating exploration of all the big and small things one would need to know if society collapsed.  It could be considered a survivalist book, but really, it provides a fascinating look at how our day-to-day lives are impacted by so many different branches of science.  Anyway, part of the book discusses the rate of decay of humankind's impact on the environment and I think this image speaks volumes about that.  This human-made cart is slowly being consumed by the natural world just like everything …

Photo Reflection of the Day #104: Falling Over With Spring

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What Is ItA small tree that is starting to bloom with flowers.

Why It's Today's PickI pass this tree almost every day going into work.  It's small--maybe 5 feet tall with hunched over branches that reach out toward the ground instead of the sky.  It reminds me in part of a willow tree but also as someone who walks about with slumped shoulders as if gravity had a stronger effect on them than everyone else--a friend of mine says that's what depression can often feel like.  I've watched the tree slowly accumulate green the last few days but was amazed by the abundance of flowers blooming and visible pedals when I walked by it today.  With those slowly opening, the tree now looks like a waterfall of flowers, rather than a sad slumping tree.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


By A…