Friday Morning Open Thread: Let’s Just Do It, And Be Legends!


 
Were it not for the whole aspiring-agoraphobe thing, I would *totally* show up for this, and I don’t even drink. (But I do love quilt shows, although technically I don’t much quilt, either. ) The Washington Post reports:

Jay Milton, one of the organizers of the inaugural “Run for the Rest of Us race” in Boerne, Tex., wants to make sure of one thing: the air quotes.

Everything about this “race” screams air quotes, in the best ways possible. This event, an affectionate parody of road races everywhere, begins at 11 a.m. Central time Saturday in the town of about 10,000 outside San Antonio and is billed as a 0.5K. Like those air quotes, that decimal is awfully important. This an un-race, a nonevent, a thing for people who like to have a good time and don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a “race” that will cover 546 yards, running from brewpub to brewpub and, because it’s important to have a sustenance station, there will be a spot to grab coffee, eat a doughnut and maybe smoke a cigarette.

Did we mention free beer? Like, good craft beer and not swill?

The course begins with a free pint at the Dodging Duck Brewhaus at one end of a linear city park in Boerne (pronounced “Bernie”) and ends with another free pint at Cibolo Creek Brewery at the other end. There, organizers write on Facebook, participants can “relive the experience, brag to our friends, compare times, and take selfies to post on social media “I DID IT!!! I AM A FINISHER!!!”…

The idea took off like a bolt, probably unlike most of the participants in this “race,” and the 225 spots, available for a $25 entry fee, quickly were snapped up. Because the event has gotten a lot of national attention, Milton said they could have had at least 500 entrants “if not 1,000.” That would have stressed the brewpubs, though. Milton and his friends focused on finding a charity that worked locally and settled on Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that supplies weekend meals to children who might otherwise go hungry.

There will also be a VIP entry level. For an extra $25, folks can choose not to run, riding instead in one organizer’s restored 1963 VW bus. That organizer also happens to play the bagpipes and will help kick things off Saturday with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Another organizer, who is a keyboardist, will play the “Chariots of Fire” theme.

And of course there will be participation awards, medals — or “woods,” as Milton says — that are crafted by another organizer. “This is 2018,” Milton said. “Of course, everyone gets a participation trophy because what would their parents think?”…

Other goodies (we had you at free beer, we know) besides the “wood,” include a T-shirt and a deeply ironic 0.5K oval sticker to proudly affix to your vehicle. The race is being held on Cinco de Mayo, a date that was chosen “as an accident” because it was a good spot on the city’s busy calendar, and “you don’t want to have a race in Texas in the summer,” Milton said. That goes for a “race,” too. There also happens to be a quilting festival that day…

Upgrade for next year: Maybe if enough people pay for a special “eardrums” package, the bagpiper will not perform? At least not until after the beers have been consumed?



A New Year’s Tale (Open Thread)

NOTE: This is a re-run of an old post, but I figured some folks might not have seen it, and we could use a new open thread. Cheers!

This really happened. One year, right after Christmas, my mom decided to drive herself, my little sister and me up to North Carolina to see snow. As native Floridians, my sister and I had never seen snow before. We complained bitterly about this fact, especially during the holidays when all the TV specials featured snowmen, sleigh rides, etc.

This was a very long time ago, back when people drove ugly green station wagons with fake wood paneling. Anyhoo, we had a little dog—a poodle mix of some sort. He was a kind of goldish color, so we named him Butterscotch. But we all called him Scotch.

We couldn’t take Scotch with us since we were staying with dog-phobic relatives in North Carolina. So my mom asked her younger sister to housesit and watch after Scotch. Auntie agreed to do this for us and promised to take good care of our beloved pet:

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Poor Auntie had to spend New Year’s Eve all by herself. However, my mom had generously given Auntie permission to raid the liquor cabinet. She polished off a few cocktails and then rang in the New Year watching Dick Clark on TV as she lounged in our recliner and finished an entire bottle of champagne:

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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “A Field Farmed Only By Drones”

A little something for both the gardening and the geeking commentariat. Now, if only they can program the drones to do the weeding… Nicola Twilley, in the New Yorker:

Across the United Kingdom, the last of the spring barley has been brought in from the fields, the culmination of an agricultural calendar whose rhythm has remained unchanged for millennia. But when the nineteenth-century poet John Clare wrote, in his month-by-month description of the rural year, that in September “harvest’s busy hum declines,” it seems unlikely that he was imagining the particular buzz—akin to an amplified mosquito—of a drone.

“The drone barley snatch was actually the thing that made it for me,” Jonathan Gill, a robotics engineer at Harper Adams University, told me recently. Gill is one of three self-described “lads” behind a small, underfunded initiative called Hands Free Hectare. Earlier this month, he and his associates became the first people in the world to grow, tend, and harvest a crop without direct human intervention. The “snatch” occurred on a blustery Tuesday, when Gill piloted his heavy-duty octocopter out over the middle of a field, and, as the barley whipped from side to side in the propellers’ downdraft, used a clamshell dangling from the drone to take a grain sample, which would determine whether the crop was ready for harvesting. (It was.) “Essentially, it’s the grab-the-teddy-with-the-claw game on steroids,” Gill’s colleague, the agricultural engineer Kit Franklin, said. “But it had never been done before. And we did it.”

The idea for the project came about over a glass of barley’s best self: beer. Gill and Franklin were down the pub, lamenting the fact that, although big equipment manufacturers such as John Deere likely have all the technology they need to farm completely autonomously, none of them seem to actually be doing it. Gill knew that drones could be programmed, using open-source code, to move over a field on autopilot, changing altitude as needed. What if you could take the same software, he and Franklin wondered, and make it control off-the-shelf agricultural machinery? Together Gill, Franklin, and Martin Abell, a recent Harper Adams graduate, rustled up just over a quarter million dollars in grant money. Then they got hold of some basic equipment—a small Japanese tractor designed for use in rice paddies, a similarly undersized twenty-five-year-old combine harvester, a sprayer boom, and a seed drill—and connected the drone software to a series of motors, which, with a little tinkering, made it capable of turning the tractor’s steering wheel, switching the spray nozzles on and off, raising and lowering the drill, and choreographing the complex mechanized ballet of the combine…
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Triangle Meet-up tonight

We’re are still on tonight at Ponysaurus in Durham starting at 5:30. I will have green balloons on my chair.

Regarding dogs, this is the message that I got back:

“We are very dog friendly, however, due to state laws, cannot allow pets inside the taproom. They are welcome on our patio and in our beer garden!”

See you tonight!



A proud parenting moment

My little girl is getting bigger every day.

I just needed to share one of my prouder parenting moments as a momentary break from current event craziness:

Baby’s first keg stand from oh so long ago.

Open thread








“Come live with me and be my love”

Blue jays have been swooping and screeching and carrying on in my side yard all day. Here’s a pair perched in the banana tree:

They have a nasty reputation, blue jays, but they’re lovely birds.

So glad today is Friday. This week has felt eternal. Got any big plans for the weekend?

I was thinking of joining the protests in Orlando outside Der Gropenfürher’s not-at-all-weirdly-fascist “rally” on Saturday. But some folks who don’t seem overly alarmist or kooky are warning that it might very well be a trap, that Trumpian goons might try to cause trouble to put the resistance in a bad light.

Honestly, I have no idea if that’s true or not. But it’s a good excuse to skip a dreadful trip on I-4 to Orlando and instead fulfill a long-standing ambition to ride the Beer Bus Brewery Tour all over Tampa with my sister.

Open thread!



July 3rd Capitol Hill meet-up

For a variety of reasons, I am in Washington, DC at the start of next week.

Would anyone want to go grab a beer or two around Capitol Hill on Sunday, July 3rd in the late evening.  I’ll supply the green balloons if you can recommend a good place to meet at 8:30.