Sunday, November 20, 2011

Plone Conference 2011

Karl and Schlepp made it to the World Plone Conference this year, the first time in 3 years.  It was being held in San Francisco, across the Bay from Berkeley and south of Sonoma where we were 2 years ago.  On Saturday night, there was a party at a place called Treasure Island where Schlepp met all kinds of nice people. 

In the pictures below the lucky bear is seen at the conference party with (top to bottom, left to right) Debbie, Chrissie Wainwright, Elizabeth Leddy, Alexander Limi, and Matt Hamilton.Chrissie was Debbie's instructor, Liz was a key conference organizer, Alex founded Plone, and Matt is the Plone Foundation President this year.

They had loud music, battling robots, and this huge pink flamingo.  Not your typical bear habitat. 

Don't know where next year's conference will be, but Schlepp is already planning on attending.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travel Schlepp "does" Aix-en-Provence

Well, it's been a busy, busy month -- first Buenos Aires, then Karl's dad, and then France.  The conference was in Aix-en-Provence, so getting there was a little longer than usual.  First there was the little hop over to Houston; then the looong flight to Paris.  Once we cleared customs, we worked our way from Terminal 1 to the railroad station in the middle of Terminal 2.  After a wait, we caught a comfortable TGV (high speed) train to the south.

The next day we set out to explore and came across a lovely outside cafe.  Here I finish off a bowl of penne with pesto.  (It also had sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and prosciutto, but I finished that stuff off straight away before Karl could photograph it.)

A while later we stopped by the carrousel on the other side of the central traffic rotory by La Fontaine de la Rotonde. As almost always is the case, the horses were quite friendly. 

On Monday evening after a full day at the conference, we went out with Karl's colleague, George Baldwin, and had a nice meal, again outside.  The weather was a little cool after dark, but that doesn't bother us bears.  After dinner I had a cup of the famous French coffee, which I must admit is very good. 

On the way home we passed by several fountains for which Aix-en-Provence is famous.  I think this is Fontaine d'Eau Chaude, a thermal fountain whose warm waters nourish a healthy ecosystem of moss and ferns.

Along the way back to the hotel on Tuesday evening, we met this French bear.  Very friendly, of course.

Later on we came across the Fontaine du Roi René.  Of course, down at bear height you can't see Good King René standing on the pedestal at the center of the fountain. 

With the conference over by noon Thursday, we took a stroll to the north side of town and another nice restaurant.  As with almost all our meals in Provence, we had the local rosé, always excellent.   

Later on as we roamed farther north, we came across an unusual stuffed critter--a lama, I believe, but possibly an alpaca.  Either way, it gave me a lift on the way to the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, an amazing church. 

Here's an interior photograph looking up into the marvelous cupola of the cathedral.  The rest of it was a magnificent mixture of ancient and medieval.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll upload some photos to Picasa.

Next stop, Paris....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Came Ye o'er frae France?

Just back from Buenos Aires in time for a rough week with Dad passing on. Karl's brother Paul was here to help out and he's staying on in Albuquerque to take care of Mom.

That means Caro, Karl, and a certain teddy bear can go to the ESARDA-INMM meetings in France. The trip was planned months ago, but with Henry's health so fragile, we weren't sure who if anyone would be able to go.

So tomorrow bright and early, it's off to Houston for a connection to the trans-Atlantic flight. Once at CDG Saturday morning, we'll catch the bullet train from the airport to Aix-en-Provence. Once there we'll settle in at the Hotel Roi René and enjoy the French cuisine and fine wines.

Expect updates in the week ahead.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Southern Cross

I'm writing this from the Southern Hemisphere. In fact it 's the first time Karl and I have been below the equator. We're in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Karl is presenting at The Materials Research Society symposium on The Scientific Basis for Radiological Waste Management.

That was finished late this afternoon and tomorrow we fly home. It's been a long trip for such a short presentation. Right now we've finished off all the e-mails and the last of Karl's single malt Scotch.

"Now fill to me the posting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nine Eleven 10 Years Later

Ten years ago Karl was in Bonn, Germany with his friend Debbie and colleague David Betsill.  David was part of a GIS workshop while Debbie and Karl were presenting a knowledge management workshop.  The participants were all from the Middle East and were taking part of Sandia's regional engagement program.  

I remember distinctly that late in the day one of the German hosts opened the door and announced that an airplane had struck the World Trade Center in New York.  I thought some idiot in a Cessna had messed up.  But some time later, she returned and said a second plane had struck the second tower.  Now we were truly puzzled. 

The workshop adjourned around 4:30 (remember, Germany was 6 timezones ahead of New York).  By then all the televisions in the conference facility were showing the awful events.  Karl and I ate dinner alone in a daze--Debbie and David understandably didn't feel like eating.  

We spent the rest of the evening in front of the TV in Debbie's room.  Fortunately, the vending machines on our floor had wine and beer.  By late that evening we had emptied them.  

Karl and I returned to our room and, of course, couldn't sleep.  At some point Karl thought to document what was obviously a world-changing event.  The photo above shows me glued to the TV as the terrible tragedy was replayed over and over again.  With all the airlines to the U.S. shut down, we had no idea how or when we'd get home.

E-mail messages instructed us to call Sandia's emergency operations center and our managers at their homes, since the Labs were closed.  You don't want to know what the phone bill was by the time it was all over. 

Debbie and David would finally be able to fly home several days later -- that was it's own kind of adventure.  Karl and I were eventually authorized to continue on to Vienna for another two weeks of work with the Action Team.  The world would never be the same again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Just got back from Hungary where Karl was presenting at a conference.  As always, a furry bear makes friends fast.  Below Karl's co-worker, Mike, shares a local Dreher beer with me.  Dinner was a tasty catfish paprika with cream cheese-dill spatzl.

It's been 10 years since Debbie and I visited Budapest on a cold and cloudy weekend in December.  Now I got a chance to go back to Buda Hill and view the city on a warm, sunny day.  Below I look out from the parapets of Buda Castle down to the Danube River and the Hungarian Parliment Building on the far side (right). 

 While up on Buda Hill, Karl photographed me with some ancient statues.  I'll have to do some research to find out who they were, but they were life-sized with great mustaches.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Schlepp Takes the Rail Runner to Santa Fe

On Friday Schlepp along with Karl, Caro, PC and Barb took the Rail Runner up to Santa Fe for lunch and some touristy shopping.  The trip up on the 9:30 train was happily noisy with a group of very animated passengers just behind us.  The train was nearly full, which is good to see.

Despite a forecast of high winds, Santa Fe was calm with blue skies.  A van ride to the plaza and short walk brought us to Osteria D'Assisi for lunch and some very tasty Italian food. Here's a picture of yours truly on a sculpture near the Palace of the Governors Museum. 

After some strolling around, checking out the jewelry under the portal on the plaza, PC and I headed back to the RR station and the 4:10 train back to Albuquerque.  Here's a picture of PC in the car we had all to ourselves.

It wasn't long before it filled up with regular Friday afternoon commuters and we were homeward bound.  Caro and Barb stayed on for more shopping and caught the 6:28 train down.


As an aside, this item about a bear and crochet vandals made the news this week.  Kind of reminds me of Wee Willie's sweater.

Crochet On A Bear Statue from Jennifer Sharpe on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Trinity Site

Today was one of two days each year that the military opens up Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was exploded.  Ric, Kent, and Karl were going down, so of course, I went along. 

It was a crisp spring morning that led to a warm day, so typical of NM this time of year.  The drive down went quickly and soon we were heading east of Socorro out into the Jornada del Muerto.  Here I am on the dashboard as we turn and head south of the Stallion Range Center on White Sands Missile Range.
There was quite a crowd at the site with hundreds of cars in the parking lot.  It had a kind of Balloon Fiesta feeling about it all.  After a walk of perhaps 1/4 mile, we came to Ground Zero.  Here I am at the marker while a curious onlooker looks on.  Hasn't he ever seen a teddy bear?
As we walked around the grounds, one can still see bits of trinitite, the glassy mineral created by the heat of the blast.  It's not really visually exciting, so I circled it in this picture. 
On the way home, we came across a large fire in the bosque near Bernardo.  As we watched, it grew quite large with the winds pushing it up the river.  Karl has blogged about it elsewhere, but here I am watching it.

Well, we're safely home now.  Time for a nap. 

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Seattle Christmas

It's been awhile since the furry one has taken a trip--that was last August's jaunt to Taipei.  But this holiday season found him in Seattle, visiting PC and Goen.

Of course, any visit to Seattle would be incomplete without a trip to the Pike Street Market.  Here's TS checking out dinner, a pile of iced down Dungeness crab. 

Later as we headed back to the car in the rain, we ducked into Kell's Irish Pub for lunch.  That, of course, meant only one thing to the well-seasoned traveler:  Guinness!

And to top things off, Santa was there...

And he did deliver...

As you can see, the crabs did make a lovely dinner.

The next day we worked off a few calories with a brisk walk around Phinney Ridge.  Here Schlepp horses around on one of the many large yard decorations.

Happy New Year, everyone -- arctophiles and all!