Our New Truck

In my life I have loved one vehicle I owned, a 1986 Isuzu Trooper that I bought used in 1992, with a lot of help from my mother. Since 1999, I have driven a 1997 Isuzu Hombre pickup truck that we bought used after living in Lafayette for a few months and trying to make do with one car. I had planned on driving that truck until at least half of the boat book was done, but it seems to have had a different idea about its life course and gave up its second clutch. With the cost of repairing it estimated at $850 on a truck whose total value was only about $1600, I got our mechanic to agree to buy it for the difference and we headed out as a family to buy me/husband/daddy a new truck. I have always wanted a Toyota Tacoma, and I was pretty content with the extended cab model with the inline 4 cylinder engine. Yung took one look at the cab and decided it was too small for our growing girl and voted for the double cab.

I think I now have the second vehicle in my life that I will love:


For record, here are the cars I have owned/driven:

* 1973 Ford Gran Torino (hand-me-down — thanks mom and dad!)
* 1982 Toyota Tercel SR5 (bought new and sold to a French exchange student in 1992 for $500)
* 1986 Isuzu Trooper (bought used, sold to some high school kid who promptly tore the bumper off)
* 1996 Volkswagen Golf (given to Yung)
* 1997 Isuzu Hombre XS

And now this truck.

Tweet Your Power Usage

[Adafruit Industries](http://adafruit.com), the folks who also brought you the DIY **TV-B-Gone** remote control to turn off the televisions in public spaces that sometimes are just too much have come up with another DIY kit: a monitor that sends usage statistics to your [Twitter](http://twitter.com/) account. [Check it out](http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=32). (It’s a terrible URL, btw. Come on, Adafruit. Join this millenium.)

Smart and Smarter

This afternoon on the way back from school, I told Lily that Yung had made an appointment to get Lily’s hair cut by one of her favorite former teachers who is just about done with her training at the Aveda Institute here in Lafayette.

“I know,” Lily said.

“How do you know, honey? Mommy just made the appointment this afternoon.”

“I know.”

“But she just made it.”

“She told me.”

With that, I understood that Yung had told her that she was going to call and make the appointment. We went on to talk about something else, and she said “I know.”

“How do you know so much?” I asked.

“Because I’m smart.”

“Well, you know,” I said thinking I would take advantage of this moment to make a lovely point about life. “You know, Lily, some of the smartest people I know are the ones who know what they don’t know.” Top that, I thought smugly to myself.

“Well, daddy, what if you know what you know?”


Adding the XHTML Closing Slash Automatically in Textmate

This is just one of those tips that is so amazing that I have to note it down. As many readers know, one of the rules that XML has that is not part of HTML is that all tags must be closed. Thus, the IMG and BR tags in HTML are something of a problem for the child of the marriage of XML and HTML: XHTML. The solution was to add a self-closing slash just before the closing angle bracket. For example: `
`. It turns out that my text editor of choice, [Textmate](http://macromates.com/), has the ability to do this for you:

> In TM’s Advanced preferences, in the Shell Variables segment, add a new variable named TM_XHTML with the value of / (single slash) and you will get this trailing slash everywhere you use a singleton tag, without editing any of the snippets.

Rain of Terror

They are simple little things:


On their own, oak tassels are quite lovely. But what you can’t see here is how they fall and fall and fall, like Satan’s version of snow, snow that covers everything and makes you sneeze. (I manage to capture some of the tassels falling in the lower right-corner of the image.)


Until they cover everything:


And that doesn’t even begin to capture the green pollen dust which changes the color of cars and driveways.

Research into Writing

As the research for the boat book began to pile up — goodness, especially the things in the “need to read” queue — and I felt the urge, or need, to begin writing, I felt I needed to revisit my “workflow”, workflow here being “how I do what I do.” One of the conclusions I came to, comparing how I did things ten or fifteen years ago with how I am doing them now was that I got a lot accomplished using paper. Perhaps more than I am getting accomplished digitally, which makes no sense because digital notes are a lot more searchable. What’s the problem? I wondered. I think it all comes down to interface. I really like working with paper. I like pens, pencils, and paper. I like working on my Mac, but I haven’t found the interface that works the way I do.

Here’s how I understand my process:

  • Inputs are all the materials that I collect: books, articles, tear sheets, field notes. These are raw.
  • Intermediate forms are summaries, quotations, and responses to topics and arguments found in the texts above.
  • Output takes the form of chapters in a book (in the current moment.)

As the materials travel through their transformation from raw, unprocessed texts into useful summaries or quotations, they need to have, at the very least, be tagged with citation information. Other tags — by topic, area, etc. — would be useful, too.

A number of folks I know are very fond of DevonThink, and DT2 promises to have tags, which might make it useful for me. I can almost see the interface and the data structure that would work for me, but I do not have the time, at the moment, to hammer it out. (I would need not only the time to code such a thing but to learn how to code.)

Files on Augustin (HD)

	/112CANON_1			1271 - 1300
	/113CANON_1			1301 - 1332
	/113CANON			1333 - 1400
	/114CANON			1400 - 1432
	/114CANON_1			1433 - 1500
	/115CANON_1			1501 - 1561
	/115CANON			1561 - 1600
	/116CANON			1601 - 1700
/Guirard Photos

	/Download Backups
		/2007-05-18		1786 - 1822

		/2007			1271 - 1332
						1433 - 1822
			/-06-28		1874 - 1906
			/-07-18		1965 - 1989

Laudun Name


1 Celtic place name “fort of Lugus”

This is the basis of the present-day place names in Continental Europe, via the Latin form Lugudunum / Lugdunum:

(1) Lyons (south-eastern France)
(2) Laon
(3) Loudon
(4) Laudun
(5) Montlezun
(6) Montlauzun
(7) Leiden

In Wales there is an example with the elements reversed – Dinas Dinlleu ‘hillfort of Dinlleu’ (locally pronounced Dinas Dinlla).

Dinlleu = Celtic dun- (= fort) + Lug- (= Lugus, name of a God)

The Silver Standard

It was good to get back into the field today, after having been crippled (almost quite literally) by the lack of a vehicle for over two weeks.

For those who haven’t heard, my old black truck chewed through its second clutch — I actually had the first inkling when returning from Rayne one day, but the old truck did us the favor of dying in the driveway. Our mechanic towed it to his shop and a few days later we learned it was going to cost roughly half what the truck was worth to repair it. ($850 for those who have to know.)

For a while now, Yung has not been happy with the reliability of the truck when I took it out for fieldwork. I thought nothing of it, but she has some sixth sense about certain things (and people) that has for a time now made her unhappy about the truck’s advanced years. It was eleven years old last year, and we’ve owned it for nine. It was a good truck, though I was never crazy about it and it never had enough room in its cab. (I tried a truck box for a while, but I foolishly bought a plastic one which never sealed tight against the rain, and in Louisiana that pretty much makes any kind of box next to useless.)

So, we decided it was time to get a new truck. I briefly thought about trading down to a car, but Yung wanted to keep a truck in the family because we do haul things on a regular basis. And I realized that the kinds of roads I drive on would simply tear the bottom out of most cars, especially the small ones I was looking at.

I had long had my eye on Toyota’s Tacoma line of trucks — and had long wished that that was what we had bought instead of the Isuzu-made-in-Chevy-plant Hombre. So on the freakishly cold weekend after the Isuzu had died, we found ourselves in the Lafayette Toyota dealer’s lot, looking at new Tacomas. (I had spent some time pricing used Tacomas and had discovered that they weren’t any cheaper and sometimes they were more expensive than new — trust me, this didn’t make any sense to me either.) I had imagined that our willingness to spend money would stop at an extended cab version. Yung took one look at how little room there was back there for Lily and said, “Forget it. Let’s just get the double cab.”

And that’s what we did — though I should note that we did not buy from the Lafayette dealer but from [Courvelle Toyota](http://courvelletoyota.com/) up in Opelousas and we could not be happier with how we were treated.

The result is the first vehicle since my 1986 Isuzu Trooper that I think I really love:


“Sweet Silver”

More Bwob (a Lily language)

So everyone remembers [*mickelebah*](http://johnlaudun.org/20080329-a-new-language/)? What about *derflar* and its plural form, *derflarmo*? (The latter gave Lily’s made-up language an official designation: *bwob*.) It turns out that there is more to say in bwob: *lelah asoz* means “I want to pick some flowers.” *Asoz* actually means anything that is pickable: so flowers as well as wheat and rice are all technically asoz.