civil war battlefields

Virginia was a pretty awful place during the American Civil War. In particular the area of Fredericksburg, which had four major battles happen in and around the city. We spent some time today wandering along some of these sites. Like this one:

position of cover on the Sunken Road in Fredericksburg

I took some more photos that you check see here.

On a side note, I’ve noticed that most of the buildings in this area have brick exteriors. Even the new construction that we’ve seen. Maybe helps explain the price of housing out here…

our nation’s capitol

I had the chance to go to Washington D.C. this week, on a work-related (cough!) trip with a couple of friends. Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of commitments through the week so we have had some chances to see the city.

The Tomb of the Unknowns

We saw the Tomb of the Unknowns and watched them change the guard.

The Vietnam Memorial panel 42E

We also stopped at the various memorials and I found my wife’s uncle’s name on the Vietnam Memorial. His name is Richard Borgman.

You can see a bunch more photos from the week so far at my flickr site.

Traveling around DC can be a challenge, as you can expect from a large metro area with a high number of tourists and all the security concerns surrounding everything. Couple of things we’ve found out so far:

1) The Metro train system is pretty good to get in and out of the city, and can even put you right at the door of what you want to see. Passes are pretty cheap for either a day or a week.
2) If you have three or more people together in a vehicle, you can use the HOV lanes in the center of I-95. This was a HUGE improvement over the regular traffic speed.
3) If you are planning on driving out here, be prepared for a lot of u-turns. Not by you, but by everyone else. It seems like every other intersection you go through, someone is making one. It’s probably on the driver’s test in Virginia.

the green machine

After a hiatus of several years, I’ve taken the Linux plunge again. I originally started messing around with it in 2000 after spending some quality time with my tv and a little show called The Screensavers. I put Red Hat on my Compaq notebook and Mandrake on my desktop. It was really fun for a few months, and then I decided I was definitely NOT the geek required to do a lot with it, and it withered away from my world.

I’m posting this from my little green box that I built on a whim a couple of years ago. It’s a used ammo box that used to have 12-guage shotgun rounds in it. Now it has a low-end VIA mini-itx board, a 20 gig hard drive and an LS-120 Superdisk drive (what the heck is that?). I used to run Win2k on it for the sole purpose of having another computer and justifying the purchase of a kvm switch. I originally built it as a proof of concept for work (I’ve been advocating that we get away from laptops for our vehicle-borne computers). Now it has a new life with Debian Sarge.

I was feeling adventurous, and ended up not only installing Debian on the green machine, but also decided to dual-boot my Dell Inspiron 8100. But which distro? I ended up trying Ubuntu. Holy hardware detection, Batman! I did absolutely no configuration by hand and it was up and running in Gnome within 40 minutes. It even found and properly configured my D-Link wi-fi card all by its lonesome.

Go Tux! More on the renewed Linux experience later.