Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us.
How to view the web page: If you're on a cell phone, just turn your phone sideways and go for it. It should work for you because the simple technology I use here is often handled well by the mobile browsers. If you have a large desktop monitor, I recommend that you use Firefox or Chrome. Shrink your browser down to about half the screen width. Click on one of the pictures, and that will probably create a new tab in your browser. If it does, drag that tab out to your desktop and you will have a window next to the main window that will show the bigger versions of the pictures. Anytime you want to see a bigger version of the pictures (or sometimes a whole different picture!), just click on them.
We did a little traveling this past year. Logan Airport introduced a new nonstop flight to Panama City so we decided to try it out and visited Panama in March. We did a partial transit of the Panama Canal, visited the Embera indigenous group, and did some touring around Panama City. Since it's 2014 (and almost 2015) everyone wants to see videos, preferably as short and action-packed as possible. So we've made a 64 second video out of a half-day Canal trip. Click on that and you can see us pick up our canal pilot, pass by a bunch of container cranes, a brief panorama of the boat, the locomotives keeping boats centered in the locks, and finally the Miraflores locks closing. If you look closely you'll see that this was the 100th anniversary of the Canal. (Later in the summer we crossed the Cape Cod Canal on its centennial, believe it or not!) The initial 5 seconds is a map; if you're on a high-resolution display and you pause the map you can see some yellow dots which are locations at which we took pictures while in the canal (and also on land).
Our visit to the Embera was another half-day event, but this one required a 100 second video. Click on that and you can see us start down the river, get pushed through some low water due to the dry season, pick up speed in some deeper water, take a hike to the waterfall, and finally arrive at the village for music, food, and dancing. Our guide Melvin does some English translation for us, and we encounter some major floating plants on the way back. If you're under 30 these breakneck videos are probably perfect for you, but if you're older or particularly interested in Panama or our trip let us know and we'll show you the longer versions, including one of Panama City itself. They're not on youtube.
We went to the Cape as usual in July with the family, and celebrated my Dad's 90th birthday with the group shown at left. It's a big time family tradition; I've been doing it (with just a few years off) for over 40 years. We saw a few unusual creatures such as the squid on the beach at right, but it's a good time to relax and catch up on our reading. Oh, and if you want a few laughs, check out the video at left of me launching the canoe into a few waves in the bay. I tried putting a few subtitles on the video, but found that they distracted from the pictures so I tried narrating it. My video editing is a work in progress, but if you turn up the volume you should be able to hear it. This one's over two minutes, so maybe too long for the young to sit through!
Right after the Cape we drove to the ASA annual meeting at McMaster University in Ontario. It's always a great time, and food for thought on the many connections between science and Christianity. I got my three minutes of fame as I addressed the business meeting on the topic of what the ASA means to me. Photographically I don't have too many awesome pictures of Hamilton, although a Canadian Football League game occurred within viewing distance of our building! We actually watched a little bit of it through the window with a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and discussed football. The players did seem a little smaller and slower than the Patriots. We headed over to Toronto for a day after the conference, a city that I had never visited. The pictures above are a couple of random ones from that trip.
When I married Laura she had a habit of making these batiks, an art form with which I was unfamiliar. Well, she's continued to do them on and off, and was asked to give a demo at the Grace Chapel Art Gallery Reception in September (see picture). Because it's a multi-step and multi-hour process, she actually made a number of (nearly) identical batiks in various stages so she could show the various steps. It was a lot of work, and she faced an audience of around 50 with a camera showing her work on the big screen in real time. It was a big success; we only got as far as a Thai restaurant in Lexington before someone told her how much they enjoyed the demo. One woman dragged her husband to the demo with a promise to sit in the back and leave early. Not only did he not leave early, he proposed making a batik himself! There's still a chance to see it repeated in Bedford later in 2015 at the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society.
As far as my other activities go, I spent a fair bit of time attending the Cambridge Roundtable on Science and Religion, and writing up my experiences for the web site; I mentioned this last year in the Christmas web page. (Go to the "Readings & Recordings" tab on the site to see recent writeups I did for Dave Thom, head of the Roundtable.) I took a year off from log splitting last year on the grounds that I had too many logs to store. Well, we got a terrifically cold winter during which we burned through a lot of my stuff. I was happy to see the 3-cord pile of logs appear in my yard this year so I can do some more splitting and re-stock!
Have a great New Year!
Tim (and for Laura)