Sep 272010

ArtPrize hit Grand Rapids last year (2009) as a new idea from Rick Devos. Artists were invited to display their artwork at various venues in downtown Grand Rapids. Some were indoors, hosted in various businesses and others were outdoors. It was a huge success, although Lisa and I didn’t quite realise what it was about until it was over and the winner had taken away their $250,000 prize, AND sold the winning piece to the Devos family.

This year we vowed to be more active and so we spent Saturday afternoon wandering around downtown Grand Rapids with thousands of other people taking in some of the exhibits.

A few of my favourite works are here, and then a more complete photo gallery is below.

Simply Salvage by Brent Ahmicasaube in collaboration with Tad Caswell

Simply Salvage by Brent Ahmicasaube in collaboration with Tad Caswell

Interactive Barcode Portraits by Scott Blake

Interactive Barcode Portraits by Scott Blake

Play Me I'm Yours - Street Pianos by Luke Jerram

Play Me I’m Yours – Street Pianos by Luke Jerram

Paper Migration by Richard Shipps

Paper Migration by Richard Shipps

Svelata Admirers

Svelata Admirers

Continue reading »

Sep 242010

A very intense storm went through West Michigan on Tuesday evening just after 9 PM, and knocked out power to tens of thousands of households across Michigan – 27,000 of them in Kent County alone, and about 140,000 across all of Michigan.

Thankfully we have a generator, so our power was back on in less than 30 minutes.

Generator in the Barn

The Generator sitting in the barn, plugged into a 50 AMP outlet to feed power back to the house

Power to our area was restored about 8 hours later, but for our neighbour he wasn’t so lucky. Half of a massive Willow tree in his yard broke, and landed on the power line to his house, breaking the wire, AND breaking the power pole that held the wire up.

Crews were on the job right away – by 0700 the next morning all of the underground cables along the road in front of our properties had been marked so that Consumers Energy could safely drill a hole for a new pole, but it took until late Thursday afternoon for “1 pole for 1 house” made it to the top of the priority list, and a crew arrived with a new pole and put it up and reconnected the wires, so the neighbour could stop using my generator and get back “on the grid”.

Below are a few photos taken on my “new” cell phone – a Nokia 2720 with a “whopping” 1.3 MP camera in it.

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Sep 162010

There’s been some movement towards getting the Michigan State Budget sorted out – it must be completed by 1 October 2010 for the upcoming Fiscal Year.

Tuesday saw some “action” on reconciling differences between the Governor, the House and the Senate versions of the Department of Education budget, and it “seems” like there is agreement finally:

From the First Conference Report on Senate Bill 1154 (2010) the relevant sections are:

Sec. 801. In addition to the funds appropriated in part 1, the funds collected by the department for document reproduction and services; conferences, workshops, and training classes; and the use of specialized equipment, facilities, and software are appropriated for all expenses necessary to provide the required services. These funds are available for expenditure when they are received and may be carried forward into the next succeeding fiscal year.
Sec. 803. It is the intent of the legislature that the library of Michigan and the component programs currently within the library of Michigan shall be kept together in a state department.
Sec. 804. From the funds appropriated in part 1 and other funding available, the department and library of Michigan shall maintain custody of the non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan specific collections. These collections shall continue to be made available to the public.

and from the Senate Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis of Senate Bill 1154 (Conference Report 1):

7. Library of Michigan. Conference agreed with the Revised Governor’s Recommendation which reduced GF funding by $1.1 million and eliminated the Federal Documents Collection, Regional Federal Depository program, interlibrary loan, and the Library’s participation in MelCat. Conference agreed to restore from the original cuts 2.0 FTEs and $165,200, and added another 1.0 FTE and $100,000 to maintain the non-Michigan genealogy collection and Michigan-specific collections.

and from the House Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis:

Sec. 803. Keep Library Functions Together – RETAINED
Provides intent that the Library of Michigan and its related programs be kept together in a state department.
Executive deletes. Senate and House maintain current law. Conference concurs with Senate and House.
Sec. 804. Keep Library Functions Together – NEW
Senate adds language that requires the department and Library of Michigan to maintain custody of all collections maintained, housed, owned, or otherwise kept by the Library in FY 2009-10 and prohibits the sale, lease or other disposal of those collections. Provides that the Library need not make the non-Michigan genealogy or federal documents collections available to the public.
House concurs with Senate. Conference modifies language stating the Library of Michigan shall maintain custody of non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan-specific collections and they shall continue to make available to public.

So it seems like the House and Senate agree that:

  1. All of the genealogy – Michigan AND non-Michigan is to remain in the Library of Michigan – that means an end to the idea of moving some of it across to the other side of the White Pine to the Archives, where space would need to have been constructed to hold it.
  2. That it all continue to be made available to the public
  3. There is a small restoration of funding – ie the cuts aren’t quite as severe as initially thought so that the Library of Michigan will have 34 “Full Time Equated” staff

Now all we have to do is hope that Governor Granholm – who got us all into this mess by eliminating the Department of History Arts and Library to save a measly $2,000,000 – will sign what the lawmakers have finally all agreed on and not mess with it any more. Sadly, since some of the cuts were hers in the first place (identified above by Executive) she might still yet choose to keep these cuts and not follow the recommendations of the Conference reports.

And note that all of the above is about next year – 1 Oct 2010 to 30 Sep 2011. It says NOTHING about the year after that, which is expected to have another round of cuts, at least as severe as what we’ve seen so far!!

 Posted by at 9:03 am
Sep 142010

I read an article today “Monotype Imaging regears for a Web-font future” about the release of most of the Monotype Font Library for use on the Web.

Currently it’s free to sites with less than 25,000 hits per month, so I figured I’d “have a lash at it”. The result of changing just the h1 and h2 styles on this site to use Web Fonts can be seen above, and in the comparison image below here.

Web Fonts shown on left, original "boring" Neue Helvetica on right.

Web Fonts shown on left, original "boring" Neue Helvetica on right.

On the left the Web Fonts are in use. The h1 header at the top Roger’s Ramblings is Lisbon™ Bold Italic-W01.

The h2 header post title Water Garden in August is American Uncial™ Regular-W01

To get started, go to


Sep 092010

Below are a few images of the water gardens as they were on 10 August – Lilies in full bloom- too bad they’re all yellow.

Tucked in away amongst the lilies I found this little scene.

Grandma - What Big Eyes You Have

Frogs in the Water Garden

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 Posted by at 10:48 pm

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