Friday, April 23, 2010

Bring Your Blog to Work Day

Recently, my student workers have been complaining that I give them boring work to do. Actually, they would never complain because they are really sweet, so I basically drug it out of them. Also, I must admit that running OCR and converting JPEGs to PDFs is probably not very thrilling. But as it turns out, we recently had a project that got us up out of our desk chairs.

We are photographing works from the UH Libraries Student Art Exhibit for a digital exhibit we are going to produce annually in the Digital Library. We usually scan historical documents and rare books, so working with original artwork was quite a treat (not that historical documents or rare books are SUCH a snore).

Some of these works were enormous, so we snuck out into the library early in the morning and hung them up to photograph them. This was a strictly fly by [early morning] operation that involved us traipsing around with an enormous camera tripod, shoddily nailing things to the wall and then holding them up to make sure they didn't come crashing down. Here's Yuli holding the edge of a painting:


My office has also been the site of some craziness as we digitized these works of art. You might remember my office--my nice, tidy office. Well, when we realized that our photo stand is not operational if you don't own a ladder and your photographer (me) is about 5' tall, we made a makeshift photo station on the floor.


This even involved me scaling office furniture to get high enough to get decent shots. Here I am standing on my desk.


At the end of the day, I doubt very many professional photographers attach their whibal cards to the wall using scotch tape. On the other hand, I am being paid for this, so doesn't that make me a professional photographer? I'll post a link to the exhibit when it goes up and you can be the judge of that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Real Texas

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Eddy and I recently traveled to San Antonio--the REAL Texas! We currently live in Houston--land of the strip malls--so we were delighted to hear people speak with a drawl, see loads of cowboy boots and pass trucks that look like they're actually used for hauling things.

We loved the river walk area for walking around. Here's an hilarious postcard of the river walk:

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Actually, the river is more filled with ducks and ducklings than cattle.

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We had a little trouble finding decent Mexican food (appalling!), so we gorged at Schilo's German Delicatessen

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and Green Vegetarian Cuisine.

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We of course remembered the Alamo:

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We also went to Fiesta. In Houston, "Fiesta" is Spanish for "grocery store." In San Antonio, Fiesta is a city-wide event with parades, pageants, competitions, live music and lots of drinking in the streets.

Here I am pretending to pose so that we could get a picture of this hilarious hat:

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and here's some Fiesta fare--fruit that they cover in cayenne pepper and salt before serving.

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Here's a link to the rest of our San Antonio pictures.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Scenic yet Strange Sights of Stockholm

So, in my third trip in a row across the Atlantic, I went to Stockholm, Sweden for the International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems. Guess what? Our paper was the very first talk in the very first meeting of ICCPS! But enough about that.

My first day, I got to do some sweet sightseeing. The city was really pretty, but there were definitely some strange things about to see. The downtown area is all on the water, with bridges connecting to the mainland:

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Apparently this guy really liked it too... Hope he doesn't get too cold with just that helmet on:

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There were some really nice little squares in Old Town; here is me trying to take an artsy photograph from a cafe where I had coffee:

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Also in old town: a whole shop full of trolls. They had a little guy out front as advertisement:

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I also found this very interestingly titled bar, and I couldn't resist taking a picture:

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After all that sightseeing on Monday, I had to get serious for two days and go to my conference. Wednesday night, the conference hosted a banquet, complete with speeches and opera singing! It was held in the fabulous City Hall, which apparently was built in the 1930s to hold the celebrations for the Nobel Prizes. Our banquet was in the "gold room" (appropriately named), which apparently is not where the Nobel banquet is normally held, but it is where they have the dancing afterwards. Here are some sweet pictures:

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The conference lasted through Thursday, but I had to leave early to catch up with Nicci in San Antonio (see our next post...). Thank goodness I did! I got out just before the Iceland volcano. In fact, I was probably the last flight to leave Stockholm Thursday morning before they closed the airport. Just about everyone else who went with me to the conference is still there, as of today, the following Wednesday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

In Which I Win Just by Being a Weirdo

You may not know this about me, but I am obsessed with Shower Art. I have a feed set up so that every time Rosalie lists something in her shop, it comes to my Google Reader. I follow her bARTer Sauce. I follow her facebook. Basically, I am a scary stalker.

But recently all of this restraining-order-worthy online behavior paid off. Rosalie offered a free Shower Art to whoever posted the weirdest thing to her fb wall. I'm weird. And I won!!

Here's our newest Shower Art:

Free Shower Art!

and here's our Shower Art Gallery:

Shower Art Gallery

Here's what you can buy me for Xmas if you love me (or just want to appease me with presents)

You can click on the images above to visit the listing. Thanks, Rosalie! You're the best!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

So, yesterday was Easter. Being the heathens that we are, we thought we would just ignore the resurrection of Our Lord.We tried; we spent the whole morning running errands. In the end, though, even we couldn't treat this day like a normal Sunday. So we did what you are supposed to do during Easter: we enjoyed ourselves!

First, we went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. The movie ended up being kind-of disappointing; Tim Burton, why have you become such a sell-out?!? It was fun, though, and see how cool we look with 3D glasses on:

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Then we went to Rudyard's, our favorite Houston bar, to sit outside and enjoy both the beautiful weather and each other's company (aww) over some beer and cheese-sticks. Look at us with our drinks (we had some super-sweet videos of us enjoying our beers, but Nicci deleted them... bad Nicci):

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Then, after dark, we went by our favorite fountain. It is pretty neat: it has 8 different water spouts, which synchronize in different patterns:

Look at it go!

It was, all in all, a super-good day. Just look at how happy I was at the end of it:

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

We Got Pastier

Every time we fly into IAH we end up going through customs with some flight from the Bahamas. We always joke that on our vacations, we actually get more pasty rather than more tan. So here's another of those trips.

Eddy attended a meeting in Oxford, so of course I had to join him. Oxford was beautiful--sunny, warm, quaint, gorgeous! I enjoyed the Bodleian and the Ashmolean on my own.

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Then we went to the botanical gardens. One of our favorite sites was J.R.R. Tolkein's favorite tree, topped only by the carnivorous plants room.

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We topped it off with one of the best meals we have ever had! We ate at Jaime's Italian--owned by Jaime Oliver.

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We started with the most delicious appetizer of freshly made buffalo mozzarella topped with a potent pesto. Then we each had a delectable pasta.

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We also stopped off at the Eagle and Child where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein used to meet with their Inklings group.

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Then we hopped a bus to London for a few days. After quaint, sunny Oxford, London was a bit of a rude awakening. The weather was chilly and damp and the crowds were a bit overwhelming. Still, we had a great time at the aquarium

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and the London Eye.

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We also managed to stumble onto a international chocolate festival. Can't go wrong there.

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We made it to Tate Modern and my beloved V&A.

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Finally, we celebrated our return to warm, sunny Texas with a trip to the pool where we attempted to get at least a little less pasty.

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