Thursday, November 30, 2006


Jones Soda will switch to pure cane sugar: hurrah! Are you listening, Coca-Cola? The man says, "'It's better for you, it's better tasting. . . .'" Give us Coke that tastes right, you dorks!

The Jones Soda folks know their product is a treat and want to make the best treat they can. The Halloween-flavored treats we bought two Octobers ago had some loser flavors (Candy Corn), but this year's Gruesome Grape was a perfectly nice grape soda, and I also had some cranberry-something that was quite tasty. I used to drink their Pink and Cream Soda pretty often, but Jones got harder to find in Capital City.

Capital City weather: 60 degrees at 8:00 a.m. on November 30.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Phiance has been busy doing music for Lee Harris's annual Xmas CD extrvaganza. Here's hoping these make the cut: The Mall and Lump of Coal.

Monday, November 27, 2006


When I saw the BakersEdge pan on notmartha, it was not immediately clear to me what it does.
A Day Off

On my day off, I went to the library. Well, I just popped into my local branch of Capital City Library, and was very glad that they still had the book I put on hold, way back last Monday. I forgot how busy -- and how small -- RPL's first branch is. At midday, it felt packed with computer users, someone at the jigsaw puzzle, a magazine reader (the white-haired man with a mild mental illness (?) who one often sees roaming the city in a jacket with a crest), and a few book browsers. I chatted for a moment with the staff, then hit the road with my next bookclub book (Freakonomics).

As I ran around town, one thing I noted is that VCU's newest building, across Belvidere from the ugly, ugly engineering building, appears to be Richardsonian Romanesque revival. Promising.

A few other errands later, and I was back at the Mixmaster, ready to start the second batch of cookies for the day. That's right, despite another 70 degree day, it is time to bake Christmas cookies. I'm on spritz, right now; the chocolate shortbread have cooled.

Also, I raked up one bag of leaves from the backyard, fixed the fence and gate, and put new sheets on the bed.

Some day of rest? Well, yesterday was more a day of rest, with a great birding hike on the lagoon side of the Dutch Gap Conservation Area, a visit with FW and GA, and the decorating of the aluminum tree.

And now, just for Spunky Primate, here's our bird list:
double-crested cormorant
canada goose
american black duck
american wigeon
wood duck
american coot
great blue heron
great egret
belted kingfisher
pileated woodpecker (4 individuals!)
common flicker
red-bellied woodpecker
yellow-bellied sapsucker
downy woodpecker
hairy woodpecker
eastern phoebe
carolina chickadee
tufted titmouse
brown creeper
carolina wren
ruby-crowned kinglet
brown thrasher
eastern bluebird
american robin
yellow-rumped warbler
red-winged blackbird
northern cardinal
white-throated sparrow
song sparrow

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly: a new dorm by '08, and President Creighton's tenth year.
To See Every Bird on Earth... by Dan Koeppel: it's sad that his dad didn't buy his wife binoculars, that she couldn't go birding with him.
Discussing at book group tomorrow: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

Beaujolais nouveau

On VCUkrop's Muzak
"Who's Zoomin Who"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Aw, come on Style: Richmond is a city that loves parking lots! It's a great tribute.
It's official! The Queen is coming to Virginia next year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hey, Me Too!

Even from the tiny thumbnail on boingboing, I could tell I had the same flower sheet as this crafter used to make a sssssnake! Heck, "had"? It may be upstairs, still. I used it at camp when I last lived out there.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Librarians tend to lean left. An item in American Libraries this month draws our attention to right-leaning and sharply critical (or satirical of) of ALA librarian bloggers. These bloggers links lists point to others, but also to . . . neutral? non polemical? . . . blogs I like, such as Vampire Librarian, Happyville Librarian (I'd lost the URL), and Libetiquitte. Worth checking on: Annoyed Librarian, Shush.

(P.S. I just spell-checked because a word I easily typo is "librarian," used several times above. Why the heck doesn't Blogger's spellcheck know the word "bloggers" and "blogs"??)

Monday, November 13, 2006


I guess V's Capital City Desk name is now "Spunky Primate"! Check out her cool merch, a sideline to her web design business.

We found congee in Richmond, at Full Kee: great comfort food at the end of a Sunday that was rainy, cold, and windy.

Phiance does the 6-8 a.m. shift at WRIR tomorrow, not Friday, this week.

I met the new president of UR once or twice back in the late 1980s, when I worked at the Valentine. We had these awesome seminars for the curatorial staff, to keep us up on history. I seem to remember him being a guest, then, or perhaps a consultant on major exhibitions. I remember him as jovial -- not a quality that leaps to mind for university administrators.

Chop Suey Tuey is what they're calling their second location, in Carytown. Hallelujah, people! A hipster independent bookstore is just the thing we need to break up the relentless over gentrification of Carytown.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Library Stuff

Cool search engine (link from a cool coworker) named Ms. Dewey. I did a few searches to compare it to Google, and it seems comparable, ignoring the fact that the her cool interface takes a minute to load. (Though I do wish I could do all that silly stuff while standing at the ref desk: sharpen a giant knife, pretend to talk to high-ranking government officials.) The quality of returns seems high; in fact, it seems that paid placements do not appear. Try searching for goods (I did "Honda Civic"): on Google, the first will be in a box marked "sponsored links" and those same won't appear on Ms. Dewey.

On Friday, I went, reluctantly, to the Virginia Library Association's conference, and as often happens when one goes unwillingly, I had a great time. I attended two very good readers' advisory workshops, and really enjoyed lunch speaker Candice Fleming. She's a history geek with a great sense of humor, which energies she turns to writing for young people. She's a cheerful Sarah Vowell. I also cheered on my colleagues in their presentation which urged us to use National Library Week as a chance to break out the glitter and have fun in the library. (I hope they know I was cheering them on, not heckling.)

The area library staff are right, of course: there's not enough glitter. There's an outside possibility that I enjoyed myself because I felt like the youngest, slimmest, most hip-dressed person at the conference (until I walked into the room with the area lib team). And I was wearing pants that are, like 3 years old!
Urban Hiking

We got up this morning with the Floodwall Walk as our goal. The forecast was for 80 degrees: how could we not get out?

We parked by the Suntrust complex and spent the first 45 minutes at the overlook on top of a trestle that rockclimbers scale, buzzed by zillions of songbirds. We identified: kinglet, chickadee, towhee, white-throated sparrow yellow-rumped warbler, cardinal, red-winged blackbirds and many others, but many went unidentified. I tried to invent an ovenbird on a fallen log far below. . . but I didn't write it on the official list for the day. On the river were double-crested cormorants, geese, a kingfisher, and gulls. We had with us one of the informative pamphlets that the park system prints: urban and industrial history -- plus some nature! Awesome. We considered old railroads, floodwall mechanics, and learned that the Mayo Bridge was completed in 1913 (!!!).

Once we crossed under the bridge, the floodwall loomed up 30 feet and the industrial noise that had followed us for some time was suddenly gone. Small factories proclaiming paper and paint as their business both had Saturday shifts. From that low, shaded walk, we came up those 30 feet into the sunshine and walked towards the end of the trail, at I-95. On the backswing, we sat on a bench looking up at the Southern States building and munching apples, to the annoyance of a woodchuck, who must have wanted to eat its second breakfast in that warm spot.

A little more than three hours later (it was only 3.5 miles, but we were birdwatching!), we were in the car, and Phiance had some notion about a park on the southside of Rockett's Landing. And sure enough, once we skirted the city's water treatment facility, there were signs for a boat landing and the slave trail (skim down at that link). The sign at the beginning of the trail tells of the massiveness of slave trade, of nighttime walks to the market on the other side of the river, and of the profit whites made selling people downriver to the sugar cane plantations of the deep south. Mind-numbing.

From the southside of the James, we could see the Schooner Virginia, our other destination. We got in the car and crossed the Mayo Bridge and a few minutes later were onboard. It's maintained, it seems, as an educational vessel and occasional movie set. One of the sailors said, Yes, they were at the Bay Bridge-Tunnel just before the Fourth of July with another schooner, getting ready for a race. Ha! That's who we saw on our way to Kiptopeke in late June. Richmond is such a small town.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Around Town

Mankin, a showplace built by a brickmaker during Virginia's colonial revival hey-day, is now available for weddings. Philance took me by it on a tour of East Henrico on one of our first outings together. Alas, according to the T-D, it's rather out of our price range, as it is designed for destination weddings.

I keep meaning to mention how nice it is that someone converted the small hotel on Franklin just east of Belvidere into apartments. When I come home from the Y, it's nice to see lights on in that building.

At the Byrd: installation of a new sound system.

Bumperstickers noted on Cary Street this morning: "We Homeschool / Because Home is Cool" with "Public School? / Aren't You Worried About Socialization?" on a minivan and "Clinton Ruined a Dress / Bush Ruined a NATION" on an SUV.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


As has been predicted for the last 20 years, but has been only truly likely the last five, the Girl Scout Commonwealth Council decided to sell Camp Kittamaqund. One sign was that the Council has not put adequate money into maintenance for the last several years, and in the last 20 did not undertake the scale of construction that would have made the exquisite property appealing to not only modern girls, but also to their over-protective parents who cannot be bothered to drive more than 30 minutes for mere crafts and sailing. No money was put into the property because no money was available. Members, families, alumnae, and corporations failed to give the money it takes to sustain nearly 400 acres. The other sign of impending sale was the coming of gourmet food markets and public radio to the Northern Neck: rich Baby Boomers are flocking -- the time is right to sell.

Most readers will not be surprised that there is no timely posting of a press release on the PR page of the website nor on the homepage. The local council (31 counties and 6 cities in central Virginia, repsonisable to a national organization, as well as local membership) has a number of strengths: timeliness and use of technology are not among them.

I also don't see a posting for the meetings that were held this week at which Council President Tina Dickerson made the announcement. I heard about it only through the courtesy of my former co-workers, NOT as a lifetime member of the Council or trainer. When I heard was clear what it would be about, and, frankly, I didn't have the stomach to go. I made all the difference I could at CK from 1982 - 2002. Now, I choose to make a difference in the world in other ways.

Some links
Something I wrote on Kittamaqund history; I will try to do more
Draco's page, which allows current and recent CKers to keep up
Northern Neck tourism site (Use your favorite search engine to look for "Northern Neck VA" and notice the paid and unpaid hit are mostly "real estate")

****NEW**** PoeAnna's protest page; join in