29 September 2008

Good Morning! It's Monday. Let's Do Links.

Here we are, bright, early, starting a new week. I've got papers to grade, and readings to read, but nevertheless I take time to share important news with you, oh my friends and relations.

First, courtesy of Thorn and Beth, we have Shay Black, singing that great Irish song about Barak O'Bama, the great Irishman. There are other versions of this song out there on the Net, but I'm partial to this; I used to live around the corner and down the street from the Starry Plough, where this version's been recorded, and I'm glad to see that a pub I loved so well is still strong. And that James Connolly can still be read on the wall. I see that it's now a full service restaurant, too. Hmm. It's gone upscale from the days I was hanging out there with Andrew Shulman's Deakin band. (So have I, now that I think of it. But I was young then.)

Second, the excellent Cake Wrecks is making fun of Dog Cakes. Rightly so. It's important to read Cake Wrecks everyday. Every. Day. Cause you never know what you might need to copy.

Third, I'm pleased to report that if you die in Denmark, you can get buried in a cemetery devoted to Odin and Thor. Inside the outline of a Viking ship! This cheers me no end.

Fourth, you've probably already seen this, but CollegeHumor has produced a parody Disney trailer of a Sarah Palin movie.

We now return to our regular Monday workday.

24 September 2008

In Which Rhys Gets Sent to Juvey (If You Live in Edgewood and You're Missing a Fluffy Bunny Slipper, Let Me Know)

Rhys, the Cardigan Corgi, is now in his Teen Dog Days. In Rhys's case, this means that he, besides writing poetry full of teenage angst (containing lines like "the light is a symbol of my darkness") spends a lot of his time NOT following any of the commands that he previously knew very well, such as "sit," "stay," "come," "down," and "quiet" -- especially "quiet"; he's just not down with "quiet" -- and making up other things to do entirely, such as figuring out how to get out of the backyard and run up and down the street and through the backyards of the neighbors. (Next stop, I gather, is the phase wherein he stays out all night smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. If he asks you to buy some for him, just say no.)

For an animal with such short legs, he's remarkably hard to catch.

Anyway, apparently somebody on the street likes to keep her fluffy bunny slippers in her backyard. I know this because when we finally caught him the other day, he had one. So if you're missing one, let me know. It's around here someplace.

In the meantime, you'll be happy to know that I've discovered the Doggy Juvenile Detention, which starts next week. Here's the description:

Teen Intervention – Has your puppy reached those teen months where they act like they've never heard the word "sit" or "down" or "come"? Or did you adopt a slightly older puppy in an effort to avoid the 'puppy stage' and been thrown for a loop by that 'teen' attitude? Have they gone from following your every movement, to just walking away or teaching you to chase them? This course is geared towards teaching and re-teaching young dogs. We start out teaching your dog to 'Heel" (walk beside you – and at your pace), Sit/Stays, Down/Stays, and good Recall (come when called). Each week we build on what we've learned and add something new.

Yes. I'd like to re-teach my dog, please. Not to mention me myself.

And can you do something about that gawdawful poetry, too?

16 September 2008

How to Research Your Old House, If It's the One Formerly Known as Nutwood

When we bought Nutwood, we were told that it was built in 1877; it had been moved to its current location from someplace else. That's it.

So I went first to the local library, to look at "the archives." The archives for Edgewood Borough turn out to be a manila folder full of some clippings, and some copies of "A History of Edgewood Borough," published in 1934. In all the file, there was no mention of the house at our address, or any mention of some house getting moved there. I did learn that the piece of street the house is on wasn't put in until about 1897, and before that it was a stream, making the story about the house getting moved here more plausible -- clearly, it was built before the street existed. I found some plat maps on line, and I was able to see that indeed there was no house here at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, though it shows up later.

I went down to the Allegheny County Courthouse to research the deeds. This got me back to 1911, when the plan for the land plots (of which this is #11) was filed by George Johnston (whose name shows up in early Edgewood history). It also gave me the names of the owners of the house for several decades -- back to 1911, though the deeds didn't go back further.

I went online to do genealogical research, and found, by looking at census forms and draft cards, that the house, which had been sold to Maud Bean in 1918, had been occupied by the Beans by at least 1917. But before that no-one shows up at this address. (The Beans would eventually lose the house, in foreclosure, in 1933.)

I also found, by googling the name of the owners from the 60's through the 70's, the man who had, in 1984, restored and flipped the house. Emailed him. He and his sister, who grew up here, are going to come by some weekend soon, to tell us about the house as they knew it. She told me that the old people who lived behind them told her that the house had been originally moved from the hill above -- so it would, originally, have been on the street behind us, before this street was moved in. He told me that a history of the house had been written, by one of the founders of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

I went by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks library to see what I could find. They do not have, in the founder's collected papers, the history of the house. Darn.

But through looking at the plat maps, and working with the Edgewood histories, and doing genealogical research, I believe -- so far -- that the house was built in 1876, by Alexander Cadman -- it was next door to his dad's house (that'd be Sampson Cadman, immigrant from England), and you can see on the plat maps that at the time this house was built, Alexander owned this property, as part of the property that's now behind it. If you're following this.

Anyway. Alexander, who along with his dad was one of the founders of Edgewood, built it, when he married his first wife. She died, and he remarried, and this house got moved here. From the time it was here, it's been at least two apartments, sometimes three.

And now it's one house again.

I've got three more places I can look; Edgewood was part of Wilkinsburg when the house was built, so I'm going over to the Wilkinsburg library to look at THEIR archives -- maybe I'll have more luck. And the main Carnegie library has a Pittsburgh history collection which also I need to look at.

If all that fails, I might contact the owner of the house for whom the history was written. (Or not; he might not be into hearing from total strangers who bought a house he once owned.)

Someday, perhaps, I'll be able to prove who the builder was, and then the house can be "The Alexander Cadman House," or whatever. Till then, I now think of it as "The House Formerly Known as Nutwood."

15 September 2008

Oh, Naughty Site Meter. Naughty, Indeed.

So all of you using Site Meter know this, but for the rest of you:

Site Meter, which for many years has provided many of us with a service allowing us to see how many hits our website has, from whence they come, and which of our links are clicked on, had a Cunning Plan to update itself, and make its services Even Better.

So this involved Site Meter being down over the weekend, which it mostly was, after which we would all be allowed to move on over to the new platform.

Which some of us did.

And then it turned out the new service sucked, AND that our old statistics -- which they had PROMISED would be moved on over with us -- didn't show up. Or, at least, for me they didn't show up.

So they took the new platform on down and said sorry:

Dear Valued SiteMeter Customers,

As you’re no doubt aware by now, we’ve chosen to roll back our website to the previous “classic” version.

Based on some performance issues we were experiencing along with feedback from the community it appears we have pushed our new site live prematurely.

Our intention is and has always been to offer you, our customer’s better tools and more accurate data. Obviously we fell short of this. The first thing we need to do, moving forward, is to roll out new product releases in parallel to our current platform. This will give everyone a chance to try out, evaluate, and comment on our new concepts.

Last night I could get on to the old site, with my old statistics. So that was fine.

This morning, not only can I not get to my old statistics, I can't even get to the blog, except by switching browsers, cause Site Meter has disappeared from my other browser, taking its version of the blog with it.

So now I wait, whilst the technogeeks slug it out.

Site Meter asked us if we wanted to be part of the Beta testing, now that things didn't work.

Right. Bite me.

What I want to know is, am I still paying for the new service? Or even the old?

12 September 2008

By the Way: Tidings of Past Events

The Geoffrey Chaucer blog is not dead, though Jeff doesn't post anymore much, on account of it got taken over by Thomas Favent (who was blogging about going to "Blazinge Fellow" recently).

Today, though, Henry "S-Chain" Bolingbroke has written the blog -- he's that guy who isn't king, and couldn't be, could he, cause it would be treason for him to think about usurping power.....

Though of course, if he won, eventually, after several tries, then he would be Henry IV, wouldn't he? And that would make everything ok.

11 September 2008

Dealing with Mice, According to Brannens

I've got all this stuff I need to blog about The House Formerly Known as Nutwood, which I now refer to as The Alexander W. Cadman House -- and will keep that up unless I get more history out of the library and become conviced he didn't build it* BUT

Carl Brannen, over at Mass, has just posted about his problems with mice, over at his ethanol plant, and how he deals with them. And I don't think you should miss "Quantum Field Mouse Cube Theory."**

*One of the posts coming soon will be ALL about "Researching Your Old House, If It's The One Formerly Known as Nutwood."

**I have to admit that I don't always read Carl's posts, even though I love him very much and like to hear what he has to say, because mostly the posts are written in a language I do not understand, which looks like this:

"Let A_k be a complete set of N annihilating primitive idempotents. That is, \Sigma_k A_k = 1 , and A_jA_k = 0 when j is not k, and A_k A_k = A_k for all k. Also suppose that each A_k is Hermitian.

Let \alpha_k be a set of N real numbers. Then:

\Sigma_k e^{i\alpha_k}A_k is unitary.

I’m guessing that the reader will find the proof immediately. If not, ask in the comments and I’ll give the short proof."

And I do not know what in the hell that means.

I do understand the mice, however.