I’m renewing my commitment to reading the Lowcountry Blogs feed this year. It’s fascinating to see who in the area, after nearly five years, are still full-tilt blogging, how the blogs have evolved, who have gone silent and who have taken entirely to Twitter in lieu of blogging.
Exam season is once again upon us. I’m fortunate that my exam schedule this time around isn’t too bad, aside from having all my exams at 8am. I have exams Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then my summer begins in earnest. Fun times. I’m not sure what summer’s going to bring. It’s a certainty that I’ll be working a whole heckuva lot, but that’s to be expected. I’m hoping to actually read some more. I’m just excited that my first year back, a resounding success, is just about over. Three more semesters to go…
Gary Cherone is back with his new band hurtsmile. Gary, brother Markus, Joe Pessia, and Dana Spellman have collaborated on a few tracks and released them for free in high-quality MP3 format. The songs are great straight-ahead rock — my favorite is “Just War Theory.” In other music news, I see Travis Meeks is bringing Days of the New to Hilton Head on the 2nd. That’s a tempting show. He’s had some issues in the past, and it’s nice to see him overcoming them and getting back out there. Rumor has it there’s going to be a Days of the New “Purple” album in a year or two, really depending on when DOTN is signed to a label again. Let’s hope that’s sooner rather than later, because Meeks really is a musical genius.
I went to Relay for Life in Summerville on Friday night into Saturday morning. It’s a 12-hour relay designed to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It was a lot of fun, though I found one of the Proud Sponsors incredibly amusing:
You just can’t make some of this stuff up. Interestingly enough, a few laps later when I decided I needed a better picture of the sign, it had been taken down. I’m not sure who nabbed it or what, but it was gone. Too hilarious.
Saturday brought an immense recovery period (I didn’t get home until about 7:30, and I slept until 3:30 PM) and then some Guitar Hero and ribs at Ale’s. Predictably, I was destroyed at Guitar Hero (no time to play games in the last, oh, six months) despite my best efforts to focus and not get too crazy with the music. I do think there is something different in the Xbox 360 version’s gameplay…I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps I’m reaching for excuses for my latest round of GH suckitude. Oh well.
Sunday was the blogger meetup — we had a lot of new faces this time, including Patrick, Kit, and Kevin, to name a few. It was a great time. I didn’t realize 10-17 — located in The Quadrangle in West Ashley where Piggly Wiggly and CiCis is, within a few hundred feet of the 526 on-ramp — was even there. It’s a neat venue, though, and the owner was gracious enough to come in and introduce himself (and even cook for us!). They’ll be seeing more of me, I think. I ended the evening with a pretty hilarious sendoff for Tim, CofC’s uber-server genius, who is probably still on a plane headed for Scotland as I write this. Good, good times.
Anyone want to see Barack Obama this week? He’ll be holding a town hall forum at Burke High School at 2:30 on Friday. I’ll be there. Click here to reserve your spot — it’s free and open to the public, but a ticket is required. This should be quite, quite interesting.
Off to bed now…I’m still messed up from the Relay a few days ago. This does not bode well for my 8am exams. Haha.
Perhaps the only thing that could have pulled me away from my sweet-as-all-hell personal street level Doppler radar setup (more gushing on this in a second) would have been a Lowcountry Blogs meetup. It was great to meet up with everyone again — within walking distance, to boot. It was my first time ever going to Little Thai Too on King Street and the food was excellent. Great, great choice. :) It was, as always, a great time (this time devoid of a heartbreaking Charger playoff loss). As usual, our resident award-winning photo blogger Joan is first with photos. (I took the second picture on that page, by the way — and Joan has the most hardcore camera I think I’ve ever tried. I struggled to find the shutter button amongst the lot of ’em! :))
This was a good weekend, overall:
Friday was absolutely nutty with rescuing a web server and other things, so I felt as if the time was right to brush back up with some Linux server administration. To this end, I brought the rack-mount machine formerly known as briscoe (now known as sassything — don’t ask) back online (over a few glasses of Yellow Tail chardonnay). It’s only visible behind my firewall, though, and really, really needs to be hardened up a bit, if only for my own sanity.
Saturday began with ambitions of getting some school work done ahead of time. That didn’t work out too well. I did run up to my parents’ and took care of a few loose ends with my taxes, though. Then, I went to my co-worker buddy Greg’s house for his birthday (which was today). I had some badass ribs up there. Good times.
Today started in the afternoon with a text message about the threat of severe weather for today. I then proceeded to trick out my copy of GRLevel3 with all sorts of sweet stuff and basically watched thunderstorms roll through until the meetup. GRLevel3 is effing awesome. It takes Level III NEXRAD data from the National Weather Service and overlays it over a basemap, does animations, all sorts of stuff. The best part of this program is that one can take pretty much any GIS data you want and import it into the program. I was able to download a GIS shape file with roads in various counties in South Carolina, import those roads…and bam! Instant street-level Doppler, just like that. It’s freaking awesome. It costs $80 (I’m running the trial right now) and considering its power, it seems to be well worth the money. It does a great job monitoring warnings, shows a graphical view of warned areas (and whittles them away as the NWS issues warning updates), points out hail-producing and rotating thunderstorms, and gives you a bajillion different NEXRAD products for analysis. For a weather nerd like myself, this is pretty close to heaven on earth.
Mother Nature obviously wanted to make sure I got a thorough evaluation of the product today, as those storms that marched through were no slouches (though we only got a couple claps of thunder downtown). There were some tornado warnings earlier in the southern tip of SC (Jasper County, etc.), and I was able to pick up where the rotation was occurring on the radar. I highly recommend this for those with an interest in storm tracking (a lot of chasers like this software), because the ability to import GIS data makes this tool about as flexible as an Olympic gymnast.
And so Monday begins…one more wild and crazy week before Spring Break. I’ll make it.
Tonight was Lowcountry Blogs’ Blog Party No. 2. It was a great, great time. Jason and I got to meet some outstanding folks with a very diverse array of talents, interests, and opinions. The organizer, Joan, already has posted pictures of the event. Yes, I’m the giant dork holding the camera phone in the midst of professional-level photography equipment. LOL. :)
Two observations from this event:
- Out of the thirteen who were present, two of us were San Diego natives (me, April) and one had lived there for a significant period of time (Chuck). How about that? It’s so refreshing to hear someone say “It’s not Qualcomm Stadium — it’s JACK MURPHY STADIUM!” Hear, hear!
- Charleston seems to spawn a deep interest in photography in many people. Both Jasons, Joan, April, and Chuck in particular were discussing gear and even showing off a little photographic gadgetry tonight.
The final count of people was as follows:
- Jason (SC Photogs)
- Jason (Cavaliers and Roundheads)
- Joan (a fantastic lady who worked hard to get it together!)
- Vera (a knitting machine — four needles at once!!)
- “Notoriously Nice” Mike (and yes, the nickname fits!)
- Chuck (lived in San Diego, ex-Marine, really great guy)
- Heather (has a genuine passion for blogging and gets lots of her friends involved)
- Lisa (She shared my pain in trying to decide what to name her blog)
- Mary (Lisa’s daughter — a real hoot, and a Stephen Colbert fan to boot! Word!)
- April (San Diego native, Web developer, came to Charleston for the same reason my parents did)
- JanetLee (Recently featured on CBS)
- Windviel (his traveling Mustang blog is a fantastic read!!)
I must also give many thanks to our server tonight, Jeannie — she was absolutely fantastic and totally cool with our group. She took great care of us and didn’t seem to get the slightest bit flustered at the thought of having more than four people at a table, which seems to be a rare quality these days. Many props to her and Sunfire.
It was a fantastic evening, and I cannot wait for No. 3!
So I must live under a rock, or at least am totally disconnected with my own city. LOL. I had an incoming link come from Lowcountry Blogs, which is pretty cool because I see blogs from people I know around here. That’s pretty cool. I’ll be checking in often.