Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Book Review - The Plot to Save Socrates

I recently finished reading The Plot to Save Socrates, which was a book I picked up at the library in the recently added section. I needed to find a book quick, and I saw Socrates and Time Travel in the blurb on the back cover, so I grabbed it and checked out.

I've been burned in the past by choosing books like this before, but I'm a sucker for Time Travel stories and this one didn't disappoint. It reads a little like The Davinci Code, being a page turner and keeping me up to 2am the first night I had it. However, it's not quite as skillfully written as the Davinci Code, and sometimes jumps the story along abruptly. In one section the characters set up a plan and said something to the effect that "they hoped it worked." Then the next sentence was "It did."

Still, examples like that are not common in the book, and it's a fun read. It introduced me to some historical figures like Alciabides that I knew little about, and prodded me to look up more about them, so any book of fiction that prompts further historical study can't be all bad. I'll give it a 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pokemon Wayward Cave

Wayward Cave is located at the very back of Route 206. The entire cave is
pitch black except for a small circle of light around you. It's recommended you
get the TM "Flash" before attempting this area, as it will make it much easier.
There are a few items in the cave, you can find the list below. At the
back of the cave you will find a trainer named Mira. She will ask you to
escort her to the entrance. You cannot use Dig or an Escape Rope to get there.
Once you get to the entrance she will thank you and leave. When you finish this quest and you visit the Battle Tower, Mira will then team up with you.

Rare Candy
Escape Rope
TM32 (Double Team)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Genealogy Frustration

The genealogy project I've been working on lately is to find as many of the descendants of my 2nd Great Grandfather Andrew Jackson Hatcher as possible. He had 11 kids with two women, so the number of individuals could get fairly high in the end. I've had pretty good luck finding descendants of his younger children, but I've hit complete dead ends so far trying to find anyone descended from Hester or Della Hatcher, who were the oldest children of his second wife, Sarah Ann. Hester married a man named Bayless Joshua Moses, and Della married James Thomas Jones.

My cousin Tommy Hatcher in Tuscaloosa gave me a clue about Della's youngest daughter, Mabel A. Jones. Tommy's father was her 1st cousin and he visited her in Mobile several times, but the last time was back in 1996 and she was in poor health at the time.

I did a search on the Social Security Death Index and found a Mabel Cochran that died in 2002 in Mobile. The birth date was in 1912, which matched up with what her date of birth was thought to approximate based on US Census records. I tried to find her obituary listing online, but apparently the Mobile Register has a gap in their obituary index around 2002.

Finally, I contacted the genealogy department of the Mobile Public Library, and a very kind lady there looked up the obituary and faxed me a copy. It listed all of Mabel Cochran's children, and I found one in the phone records for Florida. Her middle initial was even "A" for Anderson, so I was getting excited thinking I had finally found one of Della Hatcher's children.

I called the number tonight and spoke to a nice gentleman in the Florida panhandle, but it turns out this was not the right Mabel A. who was born in 1912. He had never heard of the Hatcher or Jones surname in his family history, and he had done some research himself recently. Argh!

I'm back to a complete dead end on the children of James Thomas Jones and Della Hatcher at this point, except for the one young son named Toney who is buried next to them in the Friendship Baptist Cemetery in Tuscaloosa County. My only other clue at this point is that Tommy's mother remembers them always pronouncing her name as "May-Bell", so I guess I'll have to search for alternate spellings.

Back from the Beach

My uncle Eugene and my aunt Naomi invited us to stay in a condo that they had rented for the week last week in Mexico Beach, Florida. This happened to coincide with the 4 extra vacation days that work gave out the week before, so we took them up on the offer and left Nashville on Tuesday afternoon.

We stopped in Columbiana for the night, then left the next morning for the beach. I thought it was going to take us about 5 hours to get there, but it ended up taking 7 with all the stops we had to make for Jack. He was good for about 2 hours, then he wanted out of that car seat for a while.

Last year when we went to the beach near Daytona, Jackson didn't care for the sand and the water too much. This year he loved it. My uncles had set up big tents down near the water, and he spent hours out there playing in the sand, or in the small inflatable pool that Marissa set up for him inside a smaller tent. We let him run around in the buff for a while, but his 10 year old cousins seemed to be scandalized by the wanton nudity. Maybe uncle Bull will send him a thong for next year.

Vacations are never long enough, and this one was no exception. We all cleared out of the condo by 9am on Saturday morning, then we took 9 hours to get back to Columbiana. We detoured through Ft. Walton to visit Beasley Park, where Marissa and I got married almost 5 years ago. I get frustrated driving on the coast, since it's soooooo slow and every little town has got a speed trap set up.

We eventually made it back to Nashville. We're going to plan on renting a smaller condo near their's next year and spending the whole week down there since I'll have more vacation time by then.

Check out the pictures on Jack's Blog.


Warning, don't click on this link if you don't want to lose time playing a simple little flash game. Desktop Tower Defense is one of the best little games I've played in a long while. I may even try to pick up some Flash skills myself and put together a TOL simulator.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Picture Update

After a hint from my aunt Naomi, we figured out that it's my aunt Barbara in the picture with my great grandfather. Based on her how small she is in the photo and her date of birth, I figure it was taken sometime around 1946.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Great Grandfather

My cousin Thomas Blackwell sent me this picture today. It's my Great-Grandfather Ausman C. Hatcher. I'm not sure who the girl with him is. I've never seen this picture before either and had no idea what "Poppa Hatcher" even looked like. He reminds me a lot of my grandfather Luther Hatcher. I'm also not sure when the picture was taken. I'll update when I find more.

I've been making contact with 2nd and 3rd cousins like crazy the last few weeks. I'm not sure how many descendants Andrew Jackson Hatcher has yet, but it's up to several hundred at least by now. The man had 11 children with two wives, so it will likely be up in the thousands if I manage to find them all.

Ausman C. Hatcher and Barbara Hatcher circa 1946

Monday, June 04, 2007

Awful Saturday, Great Sunday

So I'd known about SERA being this past weekend for about a year, but once again I failed to properly prepare for it. I left the house later than I wanted to Friday night, and didn't get on the road headed towards Cookeville until about 9:45. I still figured I'd make it there by 11:30 or so, since it was only about 90 miles away from my house.

I got about 30 miles away from the house and realized that I had packed everything I'd need for a weekend of caving except for something to sleep on. I only had a sheet that I had shoved into the bottom of my basket of clothes. I had planned to bring my tent, blow up mattress, sleeping bag, pillows, and a comforter just in case the cabin that the Grotto had acquired turned out to be a bad place to sleep, which I had suspicions it might be.

I almost turned around at that point, and I wish I had, because the misery began shortly thereafter. About 15 miles past Lebanon I started going through a pretty heavy thunderstorm, with spectacular lighting strikes to go along with it. A few minutes later, traffic ground down to a crawl, and several emergency vehicles made their way past us on the shoulder. Shortly after that the traffic came to a complete stop. I soon turned off the motor and sat there for a bit, hoping it would start moving along soon.

After twenty minutes of sitting there, I called Marissa and told her about it. After 45 minutes, I got out to see what I could see ahead, and could see some flashing lights. The guy in the car next to me had called 911 and they told him someone had died in the accident ahead, so it was probably going to be a while. Marissa called back and had checked the TDOT site and they were saying it should be cleared up by 6am! Ugh. I found out later that it involved a motorcyclist who had been hit from behind, then thrown into the left lane where he was run over by an 18 wheeler.

I sat there for another 45 minutes, then I got my flashlight out and started scouting the median to see if it was possible to get across. There was no culvert or major ditch, so it seemed like it was possible. I talked a guy in an SUV into going across first, and that cleared a way for me to get over to the shoulder. I gunned the Civic and made it across with a few fishtails, but I was back on the road.

Once again, I was faced with a decision on whether to go back home or push on to SERA. I decided to head towards SERA since I was almost half-way there and I had pre-paid for it. I got on a back road and followed a bunch of 18 wheelers at 20 mph for about 10 miles until I made it back onto the Interstate past the wreck.

I pulled up at the registration tent about 1:20 am. There was only one person on duty, but I was the only one checking in, so it shouldn't have taken long since I pre-registered. I'm thinking they picked who had to work this shift by how much beer consumed earlier in the evening. It took 10 minutes for me to pick up a packet, sign a sheet of paper, and head into the camp.

I parked somewhere near cabin 8, got out, and wandered around a bit. A band was playing by the lake and they had about 5 drunks swaying in front of them. I headed down towards the vendor area and found Don from the grotto. He showed me where most of the grotto had pitched their tents and I found Joey's truck where he and Aimee were already asleep. I hassled them for a bit, but they refused to wake up, so then Don and I walked over to another camping area where some people from the Birmingham Grotto were hanging out.

About this point, my stomach started feeling a little queasy. Nothing too bad, but I definitely felt nauseous. I said goodnight to Don and headed back towards the cabin after grabbing some stuff from my car.

The cabin was not all that great. I only saw it in near total darkness, but it was just a square room with 10 bunk beds in it. There wasn't even a real door, just a screen door and there were lots of large screened windows that allowed all of the music from the crappy band that decided to play until 3:15 am come in loud and clear. I found my bunk and laid down with a towel for my pillow and my sheet wrapped around me. A frog was right outside the window as well, so I knew that getting any sleep was likely not going to happen.

After the band finally gave it up or passed out, the snoring began. Now I snore myself, so I can't blame anyone else for it, but when two people started snoring in stereo I sat up, grabbed all my stuff, and walked back to my car. I stood there at the car for a bit then decided that it was all just too much and that I wanted to go home. So after being at SERA for a grand total of 2 hours, 27 minutes, I drove back to Hermitage.

On the way 90 minute trip back, my stomach really started hurting, and a lot of heart burn set in as well. I probably should have made myself throw up at that point, but that's something that I really, really hate doing so I toughed it out. I called Marissa just before I got home so I wouldn't scare her coming in, and she told me she was having a lot of stomach problems as well, so it was likely some kind of bug.

Not long after I got home, the problems moved on down lower in the old GI tract, so I spent most of Saturday running back and forth between the bedroom and the bathroom or trying to sleep. It was pretty miserable. I probably should have told someone that I was leaving SERA, since Joey left about 6 messages on my phone that day. Apparently no-one was completely sure that they had seen me there that night, due to lack of sleep and alcohol, so they were developing theories that I had projected my image there to confuse everyone.

I woke up for a little while Saturday afternoon, but went to sleep about 9pm that night and slept for a long, long time. That morning I woke up and was lazy on the couch until Marissa and Jack got back from church, but that afternoon we went swimming and we had a great time. Jack loves the water and he and I spent about half and hour floating around in the pool at the Y. The rest of the time he just likes to walk around and around the pool, checking everything out. After that we went back to the house and played until he went to sleep. It was a great end to what could have been an awful weekend.