Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poison Wood Itches Bad!

Ah! I came back to Grand Turk this week to check up on some things. When I woke up on Wednesday my arms were covered with a rash from the Poison Wood tree. This is a nasty tree here that is like Poison Ivy on steroids. It drops acid on you from its leaves. So much for archaeology being cool.

I itch so bad. I got through my meetings though. The air conditioning guys got hung up on their other job so they are not starting until Monday. The interpretive panels shipment got held up. Maybe next week. Today, the electricity went on and off four or five times. The last time only one leg of our power came back on in the museum.

Now we have to scramble up some kind of plan for our cruise ship tours tomorrow. Well, I guess Tiffany does because at 5:00 I was back on a plane to Provo where I missed the boat and have to hold up (or is that holed up?) until tomorrow morning.

But, I am hold up at the Seven Stars. So I should quit complaining.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ft.George Day Four

Today was the fourth day of the archaeological survey of Ft George Cay. It was 95 yesterday with 60% humidity. I blazed trails through the bush between the foundations that we have been finding. We need to cut straight lines through the trees and thickets so that we can measure and triangulate each identified site. The measurements are then verified against the GPS coordinates we have been taking. I am exhausted and have small cuts and abrasions all over my body.

Today we spent the day in the water. I snorkeled from 8:00 until 1:00 using an underwater metal detector to re-locate the five known cannons in the water, then we began to survey the area between the cannons and the beach to get an idea of the cultural material that is in the water. It is evident that much of the fort has eroded into the ocean. However, it is amazing how many artifacts are still laying around a few inches under the sand.

Lots of small cannon balls.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ohio Jones

Indiana Jones makes archaeology look really cool. I think that is because he just ran into a temple and stole stuff before he was killed by the poison arrows. How come he did not have to clear the site of all brush, draw the site, set up a grid, measure everything of a base line, draw the artifact in situ, give the artifact a number, and then carefully bag each artifact separately. Archaeology is not very much like Raiders of the Lost Ark, except maybe for Dr. Keith's hat, scarf, and quick dry Panama shirt.

I think archaeology is just really tired and hot. We have been working all day clearing brush off of one of the Ft. George sites. I completed quick measured drawings of the site in July. This turns out to have been very lucky, as the site sustained tremendous erosion during the September hurricanes.

Today we started to check the site against these drawings. There is still a lot of work to do. But today I dug up a 2 1/2 inch cannon ball, so that was pretty cool.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diggin It

Is it always exciting aroudn here? On Tuesday Jessica left, just in time for the air conditioning crew to show up and start work on the museum. Today, we start a two week archaeological project.

Dr. Keith, Dr. Carrell, and Dr. Davis all arrived to Providenciales last night. Getting into Provo is always a challenge, I think. Getting into Provo at night is worse. Dr. Carrell's bags did not arrive. We loaded several cases of equipment and took a night time boat ride to Pine Cay. When we arrived at the house where we are all staying, it was locked. We were able to get into the main living areas, but the bedrooms could not be accessed. Dr. Davis and myself crashed at the Krieble's residence.

This morning I am drinking coffee looking over at the beach on Ft George Cay. We are just a couple hours from starting the Archaeological Exploration of Ft. George and Grouper Cays. It is hot, rainy, and I have already been bitten by mosquitoes. Sounds like an archaeological exploration to me!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just because I like the picture

I will stick this post in just because I like the picture.

Martin and I had a very quick two days in Chicago visiting two architecture programs. They two schools were very different. The program at SAIC downtown on Michigan Avenue was very high end and fine arts oriented. The program at Judson was a little more traditional and Martin felt he could be successful there.

We did not have a lot time to do anything but visit the schools, but we did walk around the new Millennium Park which I have read about but had not seen.

I will tell you something. Chicago was cold! I am now very use to a warm climate and we are fairly isolated from bugs and viruses here. The minute I got off the cruise ship in Miami I started not to feel well and it lasted my entire trip.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Every time I fly back to the US there is some big mission attached, usually involving trying to get something back to Grand Turk that is impossible to get while on Grand Turk. The day before I left Grand Turk Allesio's Mackie SRM350 self powered speaker stopped working. Within thirty minutes we had called Dave Horn, ordered a warrantied replacement, removed the amp, and packed it in shipping material.

I have brought one of these back for repair before, more than a year ago, now. It is a large electronic part taken out of its case and looks very suspicious but after a thorough check it goes through security as your second carry on.

I brought it on board the Destiny and got it to Dave during the one day that I was in Columbus. Dave had ordered the replacement last Wednesday, but it was not shipped until this week. The plan was that it would arrive in Columbus on Thursday and Deneen would fly it down to me in Nashville on Friday. All a good plan, but the amp did not ship on time and was scheduled to come in on Friday at 11:30,an hour after Deneen's plane left. Several calls and emails ensued trying to work out what could be done. I was resigned that it wasn't going to work out.

Dave called a friend at UPS, on Friday morning he got up really early, went to UPS and pulled the package off the truck before it left. He then had to unpack it from its box and repack it in my carry on packaging. Deneen held off and left for her flight with less than an hour to make it.

Evidently she looks scarier than me. When she got to security they made her take the amplifier out of its package and swabbed both the electronic components and her for residual chemicals used to make things you don't mention at the airport. When I just came through security in Nashville they did not even stop me.

But with an imposingly huge Herculean effort on Dave's part, here I sit at Allessio's with his new amp. In a minute it will be hooked up and blasting new music from some Cuban percussionists he has just acquired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Historic Preservation Conference, Nashville

I am at the National Historic Preservation Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

I have missed a couple blogs from our trip to Chicago. Maybe I will get to them next week. Maybe not.

The conference in Nashville has been very cool. Though the conference is about preservation issues, the organizing committee has organized bands at every turn. Last night Dave Berg played before the keynote address at the Ryman theater, the original home of the Grand Old Oprey. He is a songwriter who wrote, among other things, "These Are My People" and "I've Had My Moments," both number one hits. Then late last night, I went to the "world famous" club called Tootsies and listened to bands until way too early this morning. Not really my gig, but Deneen would have loved it. Today at lunch a band called Rollo Greb played in the lobby. These guys are two brothers one who is finishing a Ph.D. at Middle State University.

They were great. please check them out.

Anyway, much like the last conference I attended in Austin, Nashville has turned out to be pretty cool for the music.

But...I am a little put off. I know I have been out of the country for two years and I know I have not published anything dealing with historic preservation in two years, but I have not run into a single person who knows who I am. That is so depressing I can not even begin to tell you how depressing it is.

That at least was until today. And although it was only one person. I will take it. Tonight I attended the Candlelight Home Tour. This was fantastic. We toured ten homes in the Edgefield neighborhood. I can't believe how much art cool people have in their houses. But that's another story.

Finally at 122 South 12th Street, "The Ambrose House," Jeff, the homeowner, read my name tag and said, "I hear their is a thriving preservation community in Columbus."

"I don't know, my experience is that if you really believe that preservation is important they drive you out of town," said I.

That started a lengthy conversation, but at the end Jeff said, "I have read your work on urbanism and preservation."

"Really?" I said, "Because if that's true I am going to blog about it."

Hurray...I can feel good about myself again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Carnival Destiny Times Three

This week Mom and I left Grand Turk on the Carnival Destiny. This is my thrid trip on the Destiny. I feel more like crew than visitor. It was very hot this week as well. On the day we left we had two tours and many people in to visit the museum. One young couple seemed interested enough to ask some question concerning hurricanes. That always gets my attention and I was happy to give them more information than they wanted, even an article I found later looking for something else. We saw them again, Zed and Elissa, up on deck as the ship sailed away.

On the last two cruises on the Destiny we have had our own table at dinner. On this Carnival ship the dining room is large, with small tables and a mix of two, four, and six person seating arrangements.

I hate small talk. And I hate small talk with strangers even more. Not that I cant do it. I am in fact very good at it. I just hate it.

Standing outside the dining room waiting for the doors to open I pointed out that Zed and Elissa were in our dining room. “Wouldn't it be great if they were at our table,” I told Mom.

You see this story unfolding, right? With just the right amount of foreshadowing.

We looked all over for our table. I even had to stop and ask one of the waiters. All the way to the back and around the corner; number 587, a small intimate four person booth with two people already seated, Zed and Elissa.

They were married on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky. This is their honeymoon. Zed comes from a family of Independent Baptists, one of his brothers is a pastor and another is a youth minister. He attended a bible college in preparation for going into the ministry, but met a young lady working at Chick-fil-A and had a change of plans. As Elissa explained it, she wears pants. If you know anything about Independent Baptists, her comment said everything.

You have no idea how great dinners are. Me with a platform to spread my altruistic wisdom of marriage and family relationships. There is no small talk I can assure you.

Last night our dinner conversation focused on not taking your wife for granted. I have lots of experience in this. What I have realized in the last several months is that I really like my wife. She is actually my best friend. And when she is not around my life is not as much fun. I don't tell her this enough. And I don't treat like this enough. But that is because I take her for granted.

In the last couple of years I think my children probably think that all we do is argue. It is a shame that they don't ever get to see your relationship when you are young and first dating. Or during your first week of marriage. Or on your first cruise together. When everything is exciting and new, and you feel like you have your whole world in front of you.

What they don't see is that history; that part of your past that is only shared by you. Your children don't see you as a young couple falling in love. They only see you as the old people who appear to never get along. They don't understand that even if that were true, it is far better than not being together.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Kill a Sunday

Just a quick note. Today is Sunday. I took Mom, Jessica, and Tiffany out on the Grand Turk Divers dive boat to snorkel on the wall. We were on board with Joanne, not that that matters, but she did say there are online promos of the television morning show which which filmed Lucas, Martin, and I diving in August. There will also be footage of my tour of the historic houses along Duke Street in Grand Turk.

Mom did not get in to snorkel. She said she was happy to swim closer to shore where she could see land and touch the bottom.

After diving we had lunch at the SandBar, one of the greatest beach bars of all time. Seems like an easy day. We are all exhausted from our boat trip. After lunch we came home a napped watching football. OK, thats about it. 5 1/2 hours of the day shot.

It has been very hot here this month. This week it reached 102 degrees. Today was no exception. The sun has just gone down. It is evening. I am still sweating.