Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
Official Inventing Flight site Click for larger versionClick for larger version I walked over to Fifth Third Field this evening to watch the dress rehearsal of the Inventing Flight opening ceremonies, and it was really a rough rehearsal. I'd heard from a friend of a friend of the crew that the rehearsal would start at 8pm and would take an hour if there were no hitches. I got there around 8 (as did a lot of other people wanting a preview), and there was a lot of nothing going on, although there were some interesting costumes backstage, as you can see.

Click for larger versionClick for larger version Before I'd made it to the ballpark, I walked along the new section of the pedestrian canal, and a woman from Miami Jacobs College asked me to take her picture and e-mail it to her. She was going to complain to the city about the water coming down the lightpoles, which concerned her because the poles have electrical outlets at the bottom.

Click for larger versionClick for larger version After I got to the ballpark and saw that things weren't starting any time soon, I decided to walk over to the new pedestrian bridge across the Mad River from downtown to Deeds Point. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionHere's an interest part of Dayton history you probably won't hear elsewhere -- before all the downtown renovation, and especially before they decided to have Inventing Flight stuff on Deeds Points and nearby, the Levee there by the river was a major cruising ground for closeted gay men (particularly married ones) to pick each other up! While I was over there I noticed that a guard was posted by the fireworks. Guess he's got to spend the night there.

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When I made it back to the ballpark a second time, things began to start. A woman named Nancy was coordinating things over the loudspeakers, often yelling "Stop the music!" or "No, that's the wrong tape!" or "Could my balloon people get out here?" Things were not running smoothly, but it was entertaining nevertheless. I didn't stay for the whole thing, which I could see was going to take closer to three hours than one, but I did enjoy the flying dancers and the kids with balloons and the Pegasus. I don't regret not buying $150 official tickets though. This was good enough.
Friday, July 4th, 2003
Today, obviously, is the Fourth of July, and I celebrated it in a few ways. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionThe first was here in the Oregon District, participating in the annual neighborhood parade. It takes a while to get everyone ready. Normally the Dayton Fire Department sends a fire truck but they didn't show this year (a fire somewhere?) so we made do with a toy one.

Later in the day I went to Yellow Springs. I'm taking TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) classes this quarter at Wright State, and Click for larger versionClick for larger versionDr. MacDonald, one of the program's professors, invited us all out to her place for the Fourth. We have some grad students from South Korea in the program as well as a professor from Korea (Dr. Sung), and this was their chance to experience not only an American Independence Day but also life in the wild but wonderful village of Yellow Springs.
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There was good food, including apple pies made by Sharon and her boyfriend Doug. Peter brought his unicycles, showed off a little on them, and let others try to ride them. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionWe took some group pictures and then went for a group walk through the village, stopping at the playground and some stores and then heading to Glen Helen to see the spring from which the village takes its name. Some of us partook of the sulfurous water. Amazingly for a town known for letting people do what they want, there's a rule, as you can see on the sign in the photo, that groups of ten or more must apply for a permit to enjoy the Glen. We took another group picture to document our flagrant violation of this rule.
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Later it was back for more food and some musical entertainment before we played with some tame fireworks and then headed out to see the official ones, which got rained out. Although we got a little wet, we still had fun and got to see the kitchen belonging to the famous Carol of the old Carol's Kitchen restaurant. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger version
Saturday, July 12th, 2003
Okay, I know I'm probably breaking some rule of blogging because although the pictures in this entry really were taken on the 12th, I'm not posting this until the 24th. But I want to put these pictures up and I have other stuff to post for the 24th and it's my blog. And I'm not alone in being tardy with blog updates. So pretend I posted this on the 12th.

This morning I went to the Dayton Black Cultural Festival. One of the DDRR groups I facilitated decided they wanted to Click for larger versiongo as a group (they decided to go to Mountain Days too in August), and I wanted to go too. Even though not everyone in the group could come, those of us who did go had fun. We met inside the front gate of the Fairground and got to see the parade come in. The Tuskegee Airmen were in Dayton as part of Inventing Flight and were honored both as part of the parade (they got to ride in an RTA tram) and in a ceremony in the Coliseum. Jamila got her picture taken with two airmen, and Kathy got a lot of them to autograph a picture she bought. Kathy and I also met an astronaut, Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.

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Click for larger version Click for larger versionClick for larger version Then in the afternoon I went to another TEFL party. This time Dr. Crusan and her husband Dr. Bank hosted. They live in a beautiful mission-style mansion in Springfield where Dr. Bank's practice, the Transformational Healing Center, is also based. The party was in honor of the Korean TEFL students from WooSong University as well as one of their professors, Dr. Sung, who came to teach in the TEFL program. Tim and Yuki played guitar again, with a little help from Eun-Young. Anthony wore his cool shoes.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2003
Click for larger versionClick for larger version I was out and about downtown this afternoon (had lunch at Quiznos and saw Sweet Sixteen at Neon Movies). While I was out I saw something you won't see much longer downtown, namely a mounted patrolman. Because of budget cuts, the city is getting rid of the horses and making their downtown police officers ride bikes. I guess all the reasons make sense (not having to pay a trained policeman to spend his time taking care of horses, police on bikes being better able to chase criminals, etc.), but it seems to me that with the push to make downtown tourist-friendly the horses were a nice touch.

Click for larger versionClick for larger version Then on my way home I saw something on my street you'll probably always be able to see downtown, a homeless person with his two grocery carts full of stuff.
Friday, July 25th, 2003
Last Saturday I swapped out my cable box for one of TimeWarner's DVR boxes, which are actually Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Servers made by They're the ones who really make the box in questionScientificAtlanta. It took two calls (short ones though) and a couple of reboots Saturday morning to get it working, but once it was working it was really fun. Perhaps not as good as a Tivo (certainly not if you believe everything on the web by Tivo owners) but integrated with digital cable and good enough, especially when you consider that Tivo costs $249 up front plus $12.95/month and TimeWarner's DVR costs $9.95/month (or $5.95/month if you have a premium channel). I recorded Bewitched and Match Game and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and movies and all sorts of stuff. More stuff than I could possibly watch if I weren't off school right now.

Your friendly conglomerate, ready to serve you I did have one complaint which was that the sound would sometimes go out for a few seconds, usually during bits with dialogue on top of music. Annoying but not unbearably so and certainly not to the point that I was motivated to wait on hold with customer service. I went into settings and reduced the sound level for recording, and that seemed to reduce, although not eliminate, the problem. I could live with it.

So tonight around 11 I get home, plop on the couch for a bit, press the "LIST" button, and I don't have any of the shows I'd told it to record this evening. Plus it's time for So Graham Norton and it's not recording that. I hit the "B" button to see scheduled recordings, and all the shows I told it to record, including So Graham Norton, are still there, even those whose times had passed. So I call Time Warner and wait on hold for 20 minutes, even though their Here's what an Explorer 8000 looks likerecording says that someone will be with me in just 1 minute, and the woman who answers, after hearing my problem, puts me on hold for another 5 minutes, perhaps while she reads up on DVR, comes back and asks if I'm sure I know how to record programs (well I'd been doing it for a week so I think I do), and tells me she'll have to send someone out, which she can't do until Thursday. Great. I'm paying for a DVR box I can't use. I ask her if she can reset the box remotely, she does, and I press the "LIST" button. The programs it missed are gone from the list, but Graham Norton, still in progress, is on the list showing that it's recording. So the symptom is fixed even if the cause is not.

I ask the woman if any other DVR customers have had this happen, and she says she's not aware of any and asks if I still want to schedule an appointment for a service person to come out. I tell her that I'll just call back if the problem happens again. And then I do a search on Google Groups and sure enough, this Time Warner customer service person may never have heard of this problem, but other Explorer 8000 users have had the problem and posted about it online, this one reporting that this recording problem happens after about 7-10 days. So either Time Warner's customer service people are ignorant or have been instructed to lie about the problem.

So we'll see what happens. While I have plenty of time to watch TV and to wait on hold with TimeWarner I'll probably keep the box. But when school starts again, my tolerance will decrease. I feel better having ranted though. I guess that's one reason to have a blog.

One more thing I found after posting this: there's a Yahoo! Group for the Explorer 8000. Lots of people have had various problems with the box. For now I'm going to take one tip I read there and reboot the box periodically. Luckily from another tip, I can reboot the box myself (on the front of the box press Volume + and Volume - and Info all at the same time) without having to wait on hold for customer service.
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