Ubuntu 9.10 – Best Yet!

January 4, 2010

I treated myself to a new laptop computer for Christmas (I also got socks and a nice chamois shirt from the family), a Dell Inspiron 15 chosen in part because Dell offers some of their products with the Ubuntu version of Linux preinstalled as the operating system. This particular model came with Windows 7 instead, but I was confident I could save it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ubuntu 8.10 – Linux is Ready for Prime Time

January 11, 2009

In browsing the NY Times sidebars, though, I found this article about Ubuntu and the company behind it, Canonical, that I thought was interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/business/11ubuntu.html?em.

I tried Ubuntu Linux a few years ago and was intrigued but thought it was still to difficult for the average user. A few months ago it occurred to me that they’ve probably upgraded since then, so I upgraded to the latest release and what a difference! Ubuntu 8.10 is slick, loads fast, makes installation of applications very simple, and just generally looks like something I can live with as my primary operating system. Read the rest of this entry »

Tai Chi in Midland

January 1, 2009

I’ve been taking Tai Chi lessons since 2005 at Chung’s School here in town. Sifu Henry Chung is a master of Praying Mantis style Kung Fu and also teaches Wu style Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a soft martial art, with emphasis on using the attacker’s energy against him. Because it is low impact and promotes strength and flexibility it is often recommended as therapy for arthritis – you’ve seen it depicted (badly) on TV commercials for arthitis medications.

In addition to the fitness, strength and coordination aspects of the discipline, Sifu Chung teaches the “application” (fighting technique) where a lot of teachers try to make it into a groovy, New Age dance routine. Our class generally consists of 30 minutes of warmup exercises, 30 minutes of practicing the “form” (a series of set moves done in slow motion) and 30 minutes of “push hands” – working with another person to get the feel of how the moves are used in fighting, also done in slow motion. I’ve gotten more strength and balance as a result of the classes but I’ve got to admit I’m pretty slow at catching on to the more subtle aspects of the technique. Fortunately, Sifu Chung is a very patient teacher.

Migrations and Ruminations on a Gloomy Fall Day

November 19, 2007

From my third floor office I look eastward across flat, brown fields to a horizon of trees, broken by a few distant houses. It’s late afternoon and as the overcast sky slowly fades, hundreds of Canada geese fly past my window, some in large flocks, some in smaller groups of six or eight and a few solo. They stop off briefly in the now barren fields or on the pond next door, then rise again, wheeling as the flock coalesces and heads off to wherever it is they go. Read the rest of this entry »

Methodist Eggrolls

November 16, 2007

What is it about Methodists that seems to compel them to make eggrolls? Picture several dozen retired church members, some wearing bucket hats with the stitched slogan “Holy Roller”, intently chopping veggies and pork, rolling the mixed ingredients into delicate wrappers and deep frying it all in the church kitchen. Read the rest of this entry »

Bear hit by car in Midland County

July 24, 2007

Yesterday’s edition of the Midland Daily Fishwrapper had this headline: “Bear Hit by Car in Midland County” – it was just a teenage bear and no one seems to be thinking of the poor bear. Although there are rural areas in the county, we don’t tend to think of it as “wild” or the sort of place inhabited by such beasts.

New web site for East Coast Paddlers

July 23, 2007

I’ve just finished putting up the new site (http://eastcoastpaddlers.com) for the East Coast Paddlers, a group of kayakers in the Saginaw-Midland-Bay City area of mid-Michigan. Not so much a club as a loose association of similarly-minded individuals who like to kayak. We are quite active and open to new members. Read the rest of this entry »


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