Don’t cause such a fuss, dear: I’ll have your Spam
After a fair amount of annoyance (and deliberation), we’ve decided to remove the registration link here at Olsson Family Homepage. WordPress offers two options for the administrator: “anyone can register” means exactly what it sounds like – anyone who finds this blog and clicks on “register” can create an account. The other option is simply, no public registration at all. The problem was: we had been getting a significant amount of “registration spam” – users who would register from similar email addresses under unlikely usernames. Hopefully, the WordPress code is written well enough that these spam “users” are little more than annoyances…but as anyone with any IT knowledge can tell you, if there are problems with your code, someone who already has valid credentials can potentially “escalate” their privileges, meaning they could go from subscriber to a much higher level of access, and potentially wreak havoc on the blog or perhaps even on our server itself. So it’s more than just an annoyance to have to check on and delete spam registrations, it’s a potential security hazard as well.
In the mass-purge of spam accounts, it is possible that we may have removed genuine accounts as well, though I hope not. If you can no longer log in using your old credentials, this may have happened to you. Don’t worry. We can still (re)create accounts for people manually, and we’d be happy to do that if we know you. Just send us a quick email requesting your login name (and password), and we’ll set it up and send you a reply when your account is created.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating yet one more account in this age of too many logins and passwords, no problem: you can still comment on posts if you like, but if you haven’t commented before (or in a long time), there may be a short delay while your comment is moderated and approved (that way, we don’t simply exchange the problem of registration-spam for comment-spam). Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
So today, we were cleaning out the basement. Some of that stuff has been down there for quite some time, given that it tends to be where we put the stuff we no longer use but can’t bring ourselves to throw away. In cleaning out the old desk and getting it ready to sell or give away (anyone want a desk?), I came across this old DVD labeled simply “iPhoto Digital Library, Feb. ’03 – Sept. ’04.”
Like An Angel…Kinda
In other words, this covers the period from about four months before we left California for Georgia up until about a year after we’d moved into our current house. Talk about a time of changes and upheaval! I don’t even remember archiving these photos onto disk, but I must have at some point. And man, what a long-forgotten trove of memories it was to dig down into some of these folders. Here’s Meredith, from mid-March of 2003, at Montclair park, the little park we used to take her (and, briefly, Jack) to when she was itty-bitty. Check ‘em out (and click to embiggen). Quite a beautiful little girl, wasn’t she (and yes, I’m biased)? So much water under the bridge, such a long time ago.
So, some of you may recall the fiasco that was Junior National Young Leaders Conference a couple of years ago (brief recap: Meredith was actually nominated by a teacher…who didn’t know what the deal really was. In the course of researching it, I was able to register our dog, Hammie, up to the point of sending payment. So much for elite, exclusive and “select”). After such a disappointment, Lars and I were a little (more than a little) skeptical about another academic nomination that Meredith brought home a few weeks ago. But this one has checked out! Her science teacher nominated Meredith for the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp.
This Camp provides an indoor and outdoor classroom for energetic, inquisitive students to learn about forestry, wildlife, ecology, tree identification, fire protection, forest products and the people who manage these resources in Georgia’s vast forests. It was founded in 1988 by Billy Lancaster and is sponsored by the Georgia Division of the Society of American Foresters.
Most public schools in Georgia nominate just one student to attend – and for Crabapple Middle School….it was our girl! And since we all know Meredith is really just a forest sprite disguised as a human child, she couldn’t be more excited about spending a few days in the woods. AND they have horse back riding and lake activities. Does it get any better than this?
You can read more about the program and the camp here. We are so proud of her!!
Ok, ok, reset your expectations….Meredith and I had a “girl’s week” while Lars and Jack were in Costa Rica. We had an amazing time just hanging out and doing stuff together, some of it unique and fun and some fairly mundane. Here’s a boat load of pictures to see what we got up to.
The stay overnight at the Grano De Oro was really very pleasant. Just what we needed after an international flight and a big dinner. I can’t say enough good things about the Grano De Oro, it truly was wonderful. The man who helped us arrange our trip, Eliot Greenspan, proprietor of Costa Rica Custom Trips and also the author of Frommer’s Guide to Costa Rica (excellent!), said it was one of his favorite hotels in the country — and TripAdvisor rates it as #1 in San José. In short: stay there, if you can. Here’s a bit more video I shot of the hotel – especially the gardens – from the inside.
I don’t want to spend too much time on the details of the Grano De Oro, since we’re here only one night and I neglected to take any pictures of our actual room (other than the number ’25′ on the door outside in the video above). But I’ve already described the wonderful dinner we had in the restaurant at Grano De Oro last night, and if you clicked on the photo album in that previous post, then you’ll have already gotten a preview of breakfast this morning. It was less fancy than dinner, but what breakfast isn’t? And it was just as delicious. My first taste of Gallo Pinto, the famous Costa Rican staple of rice and beans, cooked together. Rice and beans together provides a pretty complete meal, so it’s no surprise that this dish is what many Costa Ricans will eat exclusively for breakfast and sometimes lunch, too. I can see why – though it’s as humble as it sounds, it’s very tasty and filling. Just the thing to start off our first full day in Costa Rica!
After landing and getting to the Hotel Grano De Oro in San Jose, we went out to see what we could see. The answer, unfortunately, was “not much,” because it was Easter Sunday, and many of the businesses are closed for the last part of Holy Week. We knew this would happen; it was a function of the timing of our flight and of Jack’s spring break. But it really is amazing how a Catholic country will roll up the sidewalks on an Easter Sunday.
Our first monkey-sighting in Costa Rica
So Jack and I went to La Sabana Park here in San Jose, just blocks from the hotel. It’s a huge public park, with a track (for people, not dogs or horses), pickup soccer (er, I mean “futbol”) games, and a bunch of other stuff. On the way, although we hadn’t seen any monkeys quite yet, we came across this, and my very own monkey-boy had to…well ===>
Then we continued along to the heart of the park. People were walking around the racing track (made for humans, not dogs or horses). Others were playing pickup games of soccer. Street vendors were selling little things (including a chocolate bar that Jack bought along the way), and the locals were just generally enjoying their Easter Sunday off in the nice – and already fairly warm – San Jose afternoon weather. So…in the midst of that, what do you expect Jack would seek out? If you know Jack, you’ve already figured it out! Follow me after the jump to see if you were right:
Jack with our seat-mate, Frankie, on the flight to Costa Rica
I assume we’re somewhere over the Caribbean right now, winging towards San Jose. It’s been pretty uneventful so far…which is fortunate, since about the only thing I can think of that would make a plane flight – even an international one – “eventful” would be a hijacking or engine failure. I don’t think I want that kind of eventful. I suppose Jack and I could’ve been seated next to a celebrity or something, but those folks would probably be up in first class, not back here in steerage with the rest of us air-cows. In fact, the person we did get seated next to was a student from the United States named Frankie. He was going to college in Costa Rica, and had been flying home visiting his family.
Every year, the city of Roswell has an annual Youth Day Parade in the fall. There’s floats from various civic and community groups (schools, organizations, etc.) which wind down about a mile-long stretch of old Canton Street. As they pass, it’s a tradition for many – even most – of the parade-floats/marchers to toss candy to the people watching on either side of the street. I assume this is because October is also the month wherein another major candy-acquisition holiday also occurs, so the city father decided, in their wisdom, to see how many diabetic comas they could cause in one month.
But whatever the reason, it’s something my kids look forward to every year. This year was no different…at first. As we were gathering up our stainless mugs of coffee and folding chairs (for us old folks), Jack suddenly dashed off and got a thick piece of styrofoam that had been part of the packaging of some large thing we’d had shipped to us a while back, grabbed a Sharpie and wrote “Insert candy here” on it, with an arrow pointing down. Then, he got a leftover cardboard box, and, well, you can see the results (click for larger image).
The kids always clean up in the candy department on Youth Day Parade day…but this time, all the people passing by were laughing and taking pictures of Jack…and throwing absolute gobs of candy. That box – which must have been nine or ten inches square – was probably at least half full. You couldn’t have carried it by its flaps, or it would have ripped. We’re going to have candy until 2020!!