Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

27 August 2005

Radioactive Eggs

Originally uploaded by Skanky Panky.

The first caption which came to mind was, "Eggs, they're not for breakfast anymore."

What kind of freak-show eggs are these? I did a google-search for "red eggs" and came up with some interesting articles:

26 August 2005

Inside 9/11

The documentary "Inside 9/11" by the National Geographic Society is intense. The show is divided into two parts: "War on America" and "Zero Hour." The first part, "War on America," takes you from the Soviet-Afghanistan war in the 1980s to the first attack on the World Trade Center through the planning and training for the attack. It is quite detailed in its reconstruction of events. As the show goes on you can feel the momentum building. It leaves off the day of the attacks, which is the point when "Zero Hour" picks up. There is nothing I can write about the second documentary except to say it was intense.

You can find information at the National Geographic web site: Inside 9/11.

Boston Sports Weekend 2005 - Part 2

When we last left our intrepid adventurers they were in Providence, RI at a local brewpub...

We had previously arranged to meet David, Zach's father-in-law, at the Ground Round in Pawtucket. He had selected an appropriate local establishment for our dinner and pre-game drinks. We followed him to a small Irish pub on Tower St. with a reasonable beer menu and decent grill food.

22 August 2005

Boston Sports Weekend 2005 - Part 1

It was some years ago that Tom, father-in-law-fly-fisherman-home-brewer, said he no longer wanted gifts which he had to store. From then only only either consumables or event tickets would do. Zach had already started buying him tickets to the Red Sox, he is the son after all so he ought to pick up on these things faster. Once we got word, we settled on Patriots tickets. Since the Patriots keep winning Super Bowls, their tickets are increasingly difficult to obtain. Since pre-season games take place while baseball season is still going, we try to attend a baseball game, or at least watch one on TV, during the same weekend. This year was no exception. Tandy and I were unable to obtain tickets from TicketMaster this year, so it was off to a broker. The rates were...outrageous, so we settled on tickets which seemed both reasonable and affordable...or so we thought.

Tom, Zach, David (Zach's father-in-law) and I arrived at Foxboro at about 5pm ready to tailgate. The steak tips and grilled veggies I had concocted were not so great, but we ate them nonetheless. Is it even necessary to say there was great beer? Zach had selected two excellent beers from Cooperstown Brewery, Nine Man Ale and Benchwarmer Porter, and two from Samuel Adams, Boston Lager and Summer Ale. [By the way, the Sam Adams web site sucks, with proof of how too much Flash can make a website stink.] Both Cooperstown products were great beers, though the Benchwarmer appeared to have been overprimed. David pitched in with a mixed six: Pilsner Urquell and ?. We all wanted to enjoy our beer before the game where Bud Light is $7.00 a bottle.

We headed up to the game about twenty minutes before start, which ought to have been plenty of time. It was not. Up we went from one level to the next searching for our seats, or at least the right level. The stadium is shaped like a giant "U" with the entry points at either side of the U. We had managed to walk in on the other side, so after climbing half the distance to the moon we then had to walk all the way around the stadium. Once we reached the far side of the upper deck we climbed to the last seats in our section (339). The worst seats in the house were the ten to our left! There are photos on flickr from our sorry location. From our vantage the ball was hard to track and some numbers were unreadable. You could see the game better on television. The entertainment highlight was a drunk guy who wandered around our section shouting, "They're all virgins!" Who the hell was he talking about? He then slid down the handrail, falling and jamming his nads on the second handrail. What an idiot.

At halftime, we four moved down to the next level and snuck into some seats in the 332 section. The game looked better and we were able to watch Doug Flutie working up close, but the magic was lost for Zach and I. We left Tom and David decrying our betrayal of the game (whatever!). We stumbled our way to the car and drank more beer while listening to the Red Sox get crushed by Los Angeles of Anaheim. The guy beside us was waiting for his friends to open the truck, they too were still in the game. He offered to trade us for a Budweiser when they returned, but we gave him a Pilsner Urquell gratis. He then became the entertainment of the evening with quotes like, "This is some hard sh*t!" and "I'm loaded and I only drank half so far." and "How can you guys drink this stuff?" He managed to put a bottle away, but he was done for at that point. After the game, we headed back to Medford.

In the morning, I made breakfast for the three of us and we devised an evil scheme. The baseball game was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island at 7:00pm. It was then 10:00am and we had nothing to do. We picked blueberries...not true. I stood there and ate berries and Tom and Zach picked two pints of berries. I know, I know, what the heck is wrong with those guys? Working on a sports weekend. We then piled in the car and made for their section of Providence: Atwell's Avenue. We ate lunch in an outdoor cafe with a view of the Italian Hills. The most remarkable part is that in a cafe filled with nattering women we three sat there nearly silent the entire time. Just people watching or sipping our iced tea or eating, talking being largely unnecessary except to decide whether we should walk or drive to Trinity Brewhouse in town. I did grab a photo of Tom and Zach below a street sign bearing their name.

The experience at Trinity Brewhouse was variable at best. The barman must be making his income from investments in the stock market, because it cannot be on tips. He never managed to do more than smirk and give us the minimal number of words to answer any question. Then Trinity itself was having problems with its beer. They had "Mild" as their special beer, but were never able to actually provide it because of a carbonation problem. Yet, they left the special sign hanging over the bar refusing at least three other people who requested the beer. Tom and I tried their Russian Imperial Stout, which was excellent, Zach and I had the Belgian White Ale, Tom also tried Point Break Pale Ale and Zach also tried the Rhode Island IPA. The two pale ales were very similar in flavor and style, with a little more intensity in the IPA. The Pilsner was both skunked and flat, which is how I wound up with a white ale. All in all, I would probably try it again, but I am not impressed.

Part 2 Continues with the Pawtucket Red Sox and our Medford to Cambridge pub crawl...

15 August 2005

PDC2005 Schedule

After skipping the previous PDC, I have decided to attend once more. The first draft schedule I have come up with is an interesting mix, but it does not have as much VSTS as I had hoped for:

My Schedule

Schedule for Christian Ratliff

Tuesday, September 13
11:45 AM - 12:30 PM

TLNL01 Tips & Tricks: Extending MSBuild with Tasks, Loggers, and Targets 408 AB

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

TLN301 VSTS: Behind the Scenes of Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server 502 AB

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

DAT202 Windows Server “Longhorn”: What's New for Developers Halls C & D (Petree Hall)

4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

PRS305 Windows Presentation Foundation ("Avalon"): A Lap around the Windows Presentation Foundation Hall EF

9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
10:00 PM - 11:00 PM
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Wednesday, September 14
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

COM406 IIS 7 Extensibility (Part 1): Building New Core Server Modules 406 AB

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

TLNL04 Tips & Tricks: C++ Optimization Best Practices 515 AB

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

DAT209 "WinFS" Future Directions: An Overview 515 AB

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

TLN307 C#: Future Directions in Language Innovation from Anders Hejlsberg Halls C & D (Petree Hall)

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

PRS313 Windows Presentation Foundation ("Avalon"): Integrating with Your Win32/MFC Application 409 AB

Thursday, September 15
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

FUN412 Five Things Every Win32 Developer Should Know 150/151 (Hall E)

11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

FUNL05 Tips & Tricks: Common Memory Management Pitfalls and Profiling for Managed Applications 150/151 (Hall E)

2:15 PM - 3:30 PM

DAT418 SQL Server 2005 CLR: Under the Hood on How We Host the CLR 150/151 (Hall E)

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM

FUN417 Windows Vista & "Longhorn" Server: Under the Hood of the Operating System—System Internals and Your Application Halls C & D (Petree Hall)

5:15 PM - 6:30 PM

FUN318 Windows Vista ("Longhorn"): Using Win32/WinFX Integration to Light-Up on Windows Vista: A Case Study Halls C & D (Petree Hall)

9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
10:00 PM - 11:00 PM
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Friday, September 16
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

DAT323 Using the .NET Language Integrated Query Framework with Relational Data 408 AB

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

TLN309 C++: Future Directions in Language Innovation 403 AB

11 August 2005

Covering the Bases

We all piled in the car after work today and made for Hadlock Field home of the Portland Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs are a AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo was in town for a free concert in Monument Square followed by signing CDs at the field. He also threw in the first pitch. For Tandy and me this was a big deal since we are both fans of Bronson Arroyo. Tandy and the girls went to the mid-day concert where my youngest danced up a storm and the older glowered. His new CD, "Covering the Bases," is really not half bad.

As we sat at the field waiting for the game to start and announcement rang out, "Members of the Frozen Ropes Kids Club report to the field for kickball." The different mascots and characters played kickball while seventy-five kids handled the infield. It was a hilarious madhouse of energy on the field. Afterward, we had ballfield dinner and watched about two innings. The girls had enough and we made for home.

05 August 2005

Lamb: stomach, kindney, testicle, heat meat

All of the pictures in this flickr user's photostream are...well, crazy. This particular photo merits a closer look, so be sure to read the notes! Of course, if you are eating at least put down the utensil first.

Not as perfect at the Noah "need $s" photo, but it is pretty darn funny.

03 August 2005

Tandy's First Triathlon

Tandy & Sally Edwards
Originally uploaded by cratliff.

Since so many friends and family were interested in the photos from the just past Webster Lake triathlon, I took the time to upload the previous pictures. This photo set is all of the pictures I have from the Danskin triathlon at Walt Disney World in May of 2005. She did a great job with the race, a super-sprint, with a time of "1:26:07". The vacation to WDW was fun, but not the same as with the girls.

The photo to the left is of Tandy and the famous triathlete Sally Edwards. Tandy has read a number of her books and really enjoyed the talk Sally gave.

(Props again to Noah and Brook, flickr rocks!)

01 August 2005

Tandy runs the Danskin triathlon at Webster Lake

The Look of Glory
Originally uploaded by

She made great time with 2:03:26, well ahead of her hoped -for two hours and thirty minutes. A real accomplishment when you consider she hardly slept the night before and was revising her time to 2:45 before she left. Amazing job, amazing woman!

We went down to Auburn on Friday morning and we four spent the day at Old Sturbridge Village. Tandy spent Saturday working at a booth at the triathlon showcase. The girls and I went off to Old Sturbridge Village again for a second day of fun including seeing a real wedding happen at the museum's main meeting house. We met Tandy, her friends and some WW tri-virgins for dinner.

Most of the photographs are available at flickr.