On our way to Bar Harbor, Maine, we stopped in Rochester, New York, to visit my cousin Martin Lineham and his family.

Rochester is about 9 hours drive – 560 miles (900 km)-  from Grand Rapids when travelling via Cleveland, so we left a bit after 0830 and got to Rochester about 1730 (5:30 PM). We had a very enjoyable evening with Martin, his wife Nancy and their daughter Grace, and Nancy’s Mum Mary. Roger grilled chicken, hot dogs and shrimps, then we looked over a bunch of family photos, showed Grace some of her genealogy, and eventually to bed. Monday morning more of the same, then down to check out Martin and Nancy’s offices, then the drive to Hartford, Connecticut this (Memorial Day Monday) afternoon – 336 miles (540 km).

Sunday Dinner Appetisers

Out in the Cooper-Lineham back yard for pre-dinner appetisers while Roger cooked dinner on the Grill. Mary Cooper, Lisa Christensen, Nancy Cooper, Grace Lineham, Martin Lineham, Roger Moffat

More pictures below…

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Congratulations to Darrin Lythgoe.

TNG 8 – under development for about a year since the release of TNG 7 – was released today.

New & Improved in TNG 8:

  • Better Search: Hover over the results to see a dynamic summary of each person or family on the list.
  • Look and Feel: Most pages have been restyled for easier use and a nicer appearance.
  • Easier Installation: Do more right up front and hit the ground running.
  • Media: Enjoy a new image viewer, plus a more streamlined slide show.
  • User Roles: New labels make it simple to assign rights to members of your family or research team.
  • Relationship: Now locate multiple relationships between people in your file.
  • Search Engines: A few key changes should make your pages more visible.
  • People: Build your tree right from the pedigree page if you’d like.
  • Dates: New calendar page summarizes family events.
  • “Mod Manager”: Allows you to easily add or remove custom code changes.
  • Plus more than 100 other improvements! See a complete list of all changes here. Tested on all major browser platforms.

Information about the software can be found here on Darrin’s site.

I’ve been testing this for quite a few weeks now, helping iron out the kinks along with several other users and Darrin. There are some great new features and capabilities added.

I’ve got my TNG Testing site upgraded, and hope to have my main site done this evening yet.

Now we can wonder what Darrin will choose to include in TNG 9 🙂

 

How to remove the spark plug boots from a 2002 GM Chevrolet Camaro V6 engine without losing all your knuckle skin.

Our 2002 Camaro has now done 99,000 miles, so with a trip “out East” coming up I figured it was time to change the spark plugs since they’re supposed to be changed at 100,000 miles.

Of course nothing is as easy as it used to be, and the spark plugs are buried “way down there” on the sides of the V6 engine, half back under the windscreen on the car, with the spark plug boots sticking out through the exhaust manifold enough to see them, but barely enough to grip them. I did manage to pull one off “by hand” with the loss of only a small amount of skin, but couldn’t even move the other 5.

So off to AutoZone (I had to buy the new plugs anyhow) to ask if they had a tool to pull these things off with. The only tool they had would have require removing the engine to be able to use it, at which time it wouldn’t be needed anyhow.

So, with some Kiwi Ingenuity™ I devised the Kiwi Spark Plug Boot Puller, which worked amazingly well, and allowed me to pull the remaining 5 spark plug boots off in about 5 minutes.

Kiwi Spark Plug Boot Puller

A shoe lace wrapped around the metal shield that is over the rubber spark plug boot, ready to pull it off.

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Mid afternoon yesterday the distant sound of a diesel engine alerted me that someone had decided it was time to cultivate the large corn field behind our house. This field was last cultivated in almost the depths of Winter on 21 December 2009 – see this post for images of the 4″ thick ice that was being “cultivated” along with the dirt and mud.

Looking out I see the now familiar 480 horsepower Case IH coming, with a truly massive cultivator behind it.

The Case STX480 and Cultivator

The cultivator was at least 50 feet wide I think - 16 long paces across the swath of tilled land it left behind.

After it had made one pass I walked across the tilled ground – 16 good long paces, so at least 50 feet – 16 metres – probably!!!! I’m not sure of the exact size of the field – probably in the 50 acres region, and it was “done” in less than 3 hours – now that’s progress!!!!!

A photogallery is below.

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Our neighbour gave me a wren house for Christmas 2 years ago. I hung it in a cherry tree right by our garage last spring and a wren moved in and we got wren babies.

Last Christmas the neighbours gave me another wren house which I hung on the porch, and this spring there is at least 1 pair of wrens singing up a song around the garage again. These 2 pictures are of one in the house in the cherry tree.

Just Peeking Out

Taken through the foliage of a cherry tree right by our garage. A very songful wren is sitting in the wren house peeking out at me.

Still Peeking Out

From a slightly different angle. No blurry branch in the way, but a couple of blurry leaves right in foreground.

Luckily the power of the 12x zoom on my Canon PowerShot S2 IS lets me get these photos from some distance away. They are the full frame of the image.

 

I spotted these two growths of a fungus on a couple of dead trees in our yard.

The first image below is 1 of 4 fungi that were growing around the base of this dead box elder tree.

Shelf Fungus

Just above ground level on the dead and slowly rotting remains of a multiple stemmed box elder tree that I cut down a few years ago.

These next 2 shots are the same growth on a different tree.

Double Decker

This double layered fungus is on the trunk of another dead tree in the hedgerow on the west side of our property.

Double Decker Again

Another view - see that the bottom one has caught and is holding water from a recent rain.

 

Today – 19 May 2010 – was the 5th public meeting of the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board, and the 4th one that I’ve attended. I had expected that this would be the last meeting before the Governor’s deadline of 1 June, but apparently that deadline has been pushed back a bit. There will be 1 more meeting on 25 June 2010 12 – 2 PM so the Board members can review their report which should be written by then, and then it will be submitted to Governor Granholm after that.

Today I signed up to speak in the Public Comment part of the meeting, after listening to the Board members in their deliberations, which today largely focussed on what the contents of the report are likely to be. I had a prepared statement copied which was distributed to the Board members as I started speaking – good thing too, since as unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I managed to miss a couple of the points I wanted to make, so hopefully they read them. Below is the text:

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When: Wednesday evening, 12 May 2010.
Where: Archives side of the Michigan Library and Historical Center, Lansing, Michigan
What: To Celebrate the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship Winner
Who: Randy Riley is the winner of the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The Michigan Genealogical Council, in conjunction with the Michigan State Archives and Museum put on a gathering to celebrate Randy Riley’s award of the 2010 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. The venue was on the 2nd floor of the Michigan Historical Center, almost in amongst the exhibits.

The Backdrop

Looking over a table at the amazing backdrop for the evening - most of that is painted on the walls and ceiling.

A number of people with connections to genealogy in Michigan, and/or the Library of Michigan spoke glowingly of Randy’s contributions since joining the Library of Michigan.

Kim Harrison

Kim is a past president of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and currently works for Ancestry.com. On the left Randy is with Jan Alpert, President of the National Genealogical Society having just received the 2010 Filby Award.

The last speaker was the Man of Honour – Sir Randy of Filby (see below in photo gallery).

Randy's Speech

Randy was the last speaker. He spoke of the honour, and of how it is about the Collection and the Staff, not just about him.

A photo gallery of the evening follows… Continue reading »

 

May 7-8 2010 was the Byron Center 24 Hour Relay for Life. It was also the weekend for Roger and Lisa to host Dinner Club. So we decided to combine the 2 events and have Dinner Club at the Relay for Life – a great plan, except of course one can’t control the weather 🙁

The Forecast

The Forecast

So we held what was probably one of the wettest, coldest Dinner Clubs held.

The Serving

The Serving - Main Course - Lamburgers

The Relay for Life also wasn’t so pleasant..

Survivor's Parade - it's raining...

Survivor's Parade - it's raining...

A photo gallery with a few more photos follows…

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Randy Riley receives 2010 Filby Award

Randy Riley receives 2010 Filby Award. Photo by Tom Koselka.

Congratulations to Randy Riley, Special Collections Manager at the Library of Michigan on his receiving the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City last Friday.

Here is the list of previous winners of the Filby Award:

  • 2009: No nominees met the qualifications for the Filby Award in 2009.
  • 2008: David Dearborn of New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 2007: Curt Bryan Witcher of Allen County Library, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  • 2006: Eric Grundset of DAR Library, Washington DC
  • 2005: Ron D. Bryant of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky State Parks Department
  • 2004: James Jeffrey of the Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado
  • 2003: Carole C. Callard (1941–2005) of the Library of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan
  • 2002: Jim Hansen of the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2001: Martha Henderson of the Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Missouri
  • 2000: Pamela Hall Cooper of Indian River County Public Library, Vero Beach, Florida
  • 1999: Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck of the Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas

So a quick look at that list quickly reveals that the Library of Michigan is the ONLY facility to have won the award twice – 2003 awarded to Carole Callard and 2010 awarded to Randy Riley. That speaks VOLUMES to the prestige with which the Library of Michigan’s Genealogical collection is held in the genealogy community.

This is the very same Library of Michigan that Governor Granholm is trying very hard to eviscerate by starving it of funding, and placing it in the Department of Education – a department already seriously short of the funding needed to fulfil its primary purpose – Education – where it is now hit even harder by funding difficulties.

Instead this facility should be maintained as the treasure that it is for the treasure that it holds. Let’s hope that

  • the Michigan Center for Innovation and Reinvention Board realises this and makes the appropriate recommendations to Governor Granholm in their report;
  • Governor Granholm recognises the value of the report and the process that led to it and acts accordingly.

1 June, when the report is due, isn’t so far away.

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