Blog .:. February 2009 9 Entries

For the love of gadgets. Or a gadget, anyway.

28 February 2009 Comments

Kindle! Here!

Unfortunately, I’m busy, busy, busy with work this weekend and even shiny new toys can’t take priority. So I thought I’d drop in a line here and share the waiting pain—the box is on the table. I snuck a quick look. It’s shiny. It’s pretty. It’s charging. We’re all going to have to find out more later.

I should have something substantial for you on Monday.

Tagged: Books & Reading, Computers & Gadgets


27 February 2009 Comments

Some of you will know I had been trying for a long time to remember a particular story I read as a child, convinced it was about a mare named Farfalla who participated in a brutal race in Italy.

Only recently I figured out the book was Gaudenzia by Marguerite Henry. I was, I admit, a little disappointed in myself. I had been so absolutely convinced all these years that the mare’s name was Farfalla, and it turned out her name was Gaudenzia.

Now I’m vindicated! The mare was named Farfalla, but the name was changed to Gaudenzia as it was deemed more auspicious a name for a race horse than “butterfly.”

I don’t know; I prefer Farfalla. Evidently, since that’s the name I remembered all these years.

As with all of Henry’s books, I don’t know how much is fact and how much fiction to make a readable, book-length story. But Gaudenzia and her jockey did race, in the 1950s. There I was wrong: I was remembering a medieval race, but that I can excuse because the Palio seems to be a medieval recreation anyway.

Good book. Somewhat darker and more brutal than her other books, which may be why it’s not so popular.

And, for all that I prefer the name Farfalla, the book makes a great case for changing a horse’s name being lucky, not bad luck.

Tagged: Books & Reading, Gaudenzia Pride of the Palio by Henry, Horses, Marguerite Henry

Karma and its sense of humor

26 February 2009 Comments

I have this habit of derailing trains unintentionally. I did this to the head of my graduate department once, when he was lecturing us on a topic he was going to present at some conference. I don’t remember all the details, but there was a text and a painting and he was arguing that the structure of the text mimicked some painting technique. I listened to his explication, a little unsure because it seemed much simpler than that to me. And because I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut, when he was done, I asked if the author of the text hadn’t known Latin. My professor allowed that he had. I pointed out that the passage in question, that he had spent so much time explicating, mimicked Latin grammatical structures. I think I explained why. It didn’t take very long.

There was a long, long silence, some more discussion, and eventually the compromise that both interpretations could be true. Afterward, a friend or two smacked me upside the head and pointed out I probably shouldn’t derail our department head’s papers. I swear that was never my intention; the grammatical structure was just so obviously Latin. I wanted to know how that fit into the painting theory, that’s all.

I later heard I’d been footnoted in his conference paper. My claim to fame, I suppose.

These days, I just derail the developers by calling them over ten minutes before they are supposed to go home and saying “Watch what happens when…”

Tact. Some people have it, and the rest of us are three year old children who like to push buttons and want to know why, why, why.

So it’s inevitable, I suppose, that someone should do the same thing to me, and at 4:30 last Friday they did. Which is why, this last week of my lease, I am not riding at all and am, instead, working furiously.

Such is life.

By the end of next week, things should have calmed down to their normal level of chaos and my train should be back on track. Or as on track as it ever is.

Tagged: Learning Education & Research

Gray areas

19 February 2009 Comments

“Unique gray pinto filly! Get noticed in the show ring!”

Uh… not really. If your yearling filly is already roaning out in the non-white parts of her pinto coloring, by the time she enters the show ring, she’s going to be just another gray.

Not one person is going to go “Look at that gray pinto go! I need to get me one of them!” They may say “Look at that gray mare! I need to get me one of them!”, but a gray pinto is a gray Appaloosa is a gray chestnut is a gray bay is a gray black. They’re all gray, eventually. And then they all turn into green and white or yellow and white pintos, but that’s not really something to flaunt in the show ring.

Likewise people who market their steel gray and dappled gray horses, like the color is going to stay for the rest of the horse’s life. Do they know know that the horse is going to be all gray eventually? Or do they hope the buyer won’t know? Are there really buyers out there who buy a dappled gray horse just because it’s dappled gray, and think they have something better than all those “plain” grays out there?

Can I be a fly on the wall of their barn in a few years when all they have is a plain gray?

Tagged: Horse Sale Ads, Horses

Minor accomplishments and random thoughts

16 February 2009 Comments

Today’s lesson achievement: I kept my weight to the inside when trotting to the right. As the right is the bad side for both the horse and I, this is more of an accomplishment than you might think. I am very pleased.

There is hope in the canter, too; I still feel like it is a disaster, but we had some transitions up today that gave me hope. We would be better if I could ride more often. Unfortunately, the lease ends in two weeks, but we’ll see how far we can get in that time. I will still be riding after the lease ends, just not the lease horse.

In other random news, I saw a comment somewhere that there is new force plate technology: you have the horse walk on these special plates, and it shows if they weight each hoof evenly. Apparently, people think this will be the next big pre-purchase exam thing. I could scream, I really could. I’m all for a pre-purchase exam, but it’s like all common sense has gone out the window. I’ll demand a horse that walks evenly on this force plate stuff when I can. Which will be… never.

Tagged: Horses, Riding - Lessons

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