Yesterday the IT department here at the university finally delivered my new computer, a Macintosh G5. It was supposed to arrive this summer, but everything seems to run about three months late here. Nor is it what I requested. I asked for a dual 2.5GHz machine with a 250GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM and a 23″ monitor. What I got is a dual 1.8GHz machine with a 150GB drive and a 20″ monitor.

But at least I got my RAM.

I spent most of the day making the transition to the new machine. I’d braced myself for an ordeal, something akin to a brain transplant, but actually it was the smoothest upgrade I think I’ve ever done. The only real glitch was that my old G4 wouldn’t boot into target mode, which would have allowed me to attach its hard drive to the new system via FireWire and transfer data at superfast speed. This didn’t work because my old G4 was a custom build with a SCSI drive. (Apparently you need to have an ATA drive on bus 0.) So I booted the new machine into target mode and transferred some files that way, and then did the rest over the local network, and it was all pretty easy.

I wonder if these old Hitachi RasterOps Mc 8115 monitors are worth anything. They cost about $1000 each. I remember that I was so excited when I first got them five years ago. Two years later I was still beside myself. I really thought that the 3200 pixel wide display was something to rejoice in. But I’m tired of looking at those CRTs. Side by side with the new display, they just look old and blurry and dim. And they weigh a ton.


My new display may only be 1680 pixels wide, but it’s much easier on the eyes.

Mother of Thousands

XY and I have wondered for a while about these plants growing in our courtyard. A neighbor lady brought another one over in a small pot this weekend, and she said she’d heard it called the Mother of Thousands.

Yup. A quick Internet search reveals it’s also known as the Mexican Hat Plant, the Devil’s Backbone and Kalanchoe daigremontiana. Google indexes a bunch of pictures but I like the one I took back in March:

Blossoms, Some Withered

This show the fantastic blooms that this plant eventually produces, but you can’t see the Seussian body, which can become quite large, even grotesque. It dies after it blooms.

I think it’s called Mother of Thousands because it reproduces itself with great enthusiasm. In fact it is a bit of a pest. It might be poisonous.

Here’s some more pictures I just took:

Mother Above


Me, Me, Me

July 7th, 2000. That’s when I had my driver’s license photo taken. I weighed 200 pounds and I was letting my hair grow out. It wasn’t pretty.

2000 Drivers License

My license expired in January. I tried to renew it in April and failed. But I didn’t give up. I persevered. I had to lie and cheat. I had to risk life and limb. But at last, today I renewed my driver’s license.

2004 Drivers License

The sweat stains on my shirt are because of the fact that it was something like 107ยบ with the heat index today.

After my harrowing bicycle trip to the DMV, I stopped by the barbershop for a haircut. David, the sketch artist, drew my picture, using my new license as a model.

2004 Sketch

My barber and I have reached a new level of understanding. Today he didn’t ask me how I wanted my haircut, and I didn’t tell him. We exchanged not a single word about it, yet I got exactly the haircut I wanted.


I’m fascinated by cycles, including the cycle of seasons. Back when I lived in Bloomington, Indiana I watched each spring for the emergence of new leaves, yet I always seemed to miss it. I would notice the buds when they appeared on the bare branches, and I kept my eye on them, and then — suddenly — there would be full-blown leaves on all the trees, turning the city from gray to green overnight. Damn!

Now that I live in New Orleans, this transition isn’t nearly so dramatic. Many trees, such as live oaks, keep their leaves through the winter, a season which is so mild here that it hardly deserves the name. Indeed, the four seasons here seem to be: carnival season, festival season, hurricane season and Christmas. But I digress.

Last year we planted a sweetgum tree in front of our home. Sweetgums lose their leaves in the winter. Over the last week or two I’ve been watching the green buds emerge on the branches, swelling bigger and bigger. Today I think I can finally say that I have seen young new leaves emerging.

Sweetgum Buds

Caught in the act at last.

Xy & Rachel Give Thanx

Rachel & Xy

It’s Rachel taking a smoke break in front of her house in Baltimore. Xy is wearing a scarf Rachel knitted for her. But who took the picture? I don’t think Rachel’s arm can reach that far. Maybe it was Benn. Maybe it was me. I don’t remember.