Saturday, September 06, 2008

More on the Underground Railroad house

Just said this to Bill in the comments, but will go ahead and post it on the front page as well...

...the weird thing about the house is that I almost failed to find it. After unsuccessful attempts to find a hidden geocache, I decided to shift gears towards a more attainable goal. Houses aren't usually hidden. Mostly they have addresses right on them.

And this one did, nice and big. But out of order.

When I was looking for 2828 Sunbury, I came first to 2826. Right after that was 2832. Both houses looked decidedly modern, and there was no tiny house hiding between them that I could discern. I went back to my car, and did a search for the Margaret Agler House on my phone. Thought maybe the person who listed it on the Waymarking site could have gotten the address wrong. But every reference I saw had the same address.

Weird. So I got into my car and headed toward home. A couple houses later, and there it was--out of numerical sequence.

I quickly pulled over and took a couple pictures before heading home.

Just now, as I was downloading the pictures I took with the camera on my phone, I discovered for the first time that the current owner of the house was standing there in the doorway, watching me taking pictures. That startled me a bit when I first realized--but I imagine I'm not the first person to come by and take pictures of his historic house.

Here's something from an article I found about the Underground Railroad in Ohio...

Locations throughout Franklin County can boast of their participation within the Underground Railroad.

Several buildings standing today served as stations. These buildings include Second Baptist Church, the Kelton House Museum and Gardens, Margaret Agler House and Southwick-Good Funeral Chapel, located at 3100 N. High St.

“I think the operation of the Underground Railroad is a very important part of American History,” said William Good, owner of Southwick-Good Funeral Chapel. “We’re proud to be a part of it.”
A thought occurs to me. The people who made the Underground Railroad possible were probably not by and large government officials. I'm guessing they were more like, oh, just to take a stab in the organizers.


Open thread

I found the Waymarking site as a link from the Geocaching site

From the FAQ

Waymarking is a way to mark unique locations on the planet and give them a voice. While GPS technology allows us to pinpoint any location on the planet, mark the location, and share it with others, Waymarking is the toolset for categorizing and adding unique information for that location.
So, I searched for waymarks near my zip code, and found this:
Built in the 1840s, the house contains a cistern that still runs clear water through it and a secret room off an upstairs bathroom. It was known as the "white house on the bend of the creek."

Here's the picture I took


Friday, September 05, 2008

Still cache-less least at the moment. On Labor Day, though, I got close to a spot that was supposed to have a geocache.

In fact, when I was standing right here... little GPS readout thingy claimed that I was "0 feet" from the coordinates. Pretty sure that didn't mean "that which you seek is within you". But I couldn't find anything right away, and it was getting beastly hot out. So I just planned to come back at some point with Demetrius--and maybe the kids too if I can interest them.

And then this week we had some car issues, so I haven't made it back yet. Maybe this weekend I can finally find a tangible cache. I'm actually kind of jazzed just to have gotten the GPS stuff to work on my Blackberry.

But I didn't want to end the week without at least one success, so I turned to Waymarking. More on that in a bit...


...and the polar bears, and the ecosystems, and human sanity!
Need one more reason?  Have a look, aren't they beautiful?

Photos by listener's niece, Dianna, on her recent visit to Alaska.
Dianna is a marine biologist, a licensed sea captain, and founder of:


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Denver Democratic Experience part 4

The entire city was energized with anticipation of hearing Obama’s acceptance speech. The citizens of Denver should be because they were getting half of the 75,000 tickets. We stuck our hologram ticket in the clear sleeve of our lanyard. We were going to the big event.

We climbed on the shuttle bus that dropped us off over a mile away from the Invesco Center. We joined a line that snaked around the center. We talked with the people in front and behind us. They all had stories similar to ours. There were water bottles in tanks of ice water and porty potties every few block lengths. The volunteers were cheerful and encouraged us through the long slow moving progression. A large tent was set up for security which all of us understood and appreciated.

Once again we trekked up the long winding ramps to our 5th level seating. This time we ended up about 10 rows from the top. This was the real nose bleed section and Bobbie even proved it by getting her own real nose bleed!
The sun still had another several hours to sunset and the Colorado sun showed us how hot it could be. Someone had gotten into the bags of posters and handed out the “Change” posters that we used as sunshields. Each of the 80,000+ attendees was given an American flag to wave, it was a great cheering tool.

One by one my favorite politicians talked. They were all about ¼ inch high with their back to us but the large screens and good sound system made us feel right up front. The top tier gave us a good perspective of the historical impact of the event. Thousands and thousands of people cheering, waving flags, stomping feet and standing up with enthusiasm and hope for a renewed America. It was not just a rock concert. The stadium was filled with people from all across the country. We had all worked hard for change and a better America. We were people that were inspired by leaders who could guide us in the direction that America needed to go.

Howard Dean-who first told Democrats they needed to be Democrats, was followed by Bill Richardson-who understood early on that Obama was the one to lead us. Al Gore received a long standing ovation by appreciative Democrats. Dick Durbin proudly introduced IL’s Junior Senator.

After the sunset, Barack entered the stage with a long shadow behind him. He had words of toughness for McCain, detailed thoughts of his plan of action and closed with words of inspiration and hope. He once again exceeded our expectations. In closing, he was joined by his beautiful first family and then Biden and his family. They held hands and raised their arms up in appreciation for the audience’s strong support.

The convention closing has always looked like so much fun and I had a long time goal to be a participant. I was close this time but obviously balloons could not drop down in the middle of the stadium. I was way up at the top how could I possibly be a part of this? Obama wanted to include all the people not just a few select Democrats. So Obama chose a stadium to give his acceptance speech.

Out of nowhere, confetti started falling on the attendees on the floor level. I thought high nice. Then the confetti started rising higher and higher, making it up to top rows—white stars, and red and blue rectangles fell on our heads. WE WERE all a part of this monumental event, every one of us. Firework after firework shot above our heads expressing the way we felt inside. Obama wanted to thank and include the everyday people. He got it, it was not about him but about all of us.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Denver Experience part 3

The most pleasant surprise of the convention was that there are tons of things to do for non-delegate attendees. Caucuses were held at the convention center for each sub-group and anyone can attend these meeting for free. I fit into rural, senior, and women groups. Bobbie’s daughter, Suzie, slipped into the GLBT, Black and NY delegation meetings. Jessie Jackson, and Hillary stopped in these events and their talks were more spontaneous and relaxed than at the nighttime convention.

I am a MSNBC viewer so when we found the outdoor stage for that TV station we knew our favorite pundits had to be close. Late on Tuesday night Keith Olbermann came down to the bottom level to greet and talk to us fans. Getting a good picture was impossible but I did get a picture of his cool black limo driving away. My favorite female commentator Rachel Maddow, just had to be around somewhere but I didn’t recognized her at first. She casually left the stage with 2 staffers, walking through the remaining small crowd. Knowing Maddow’s eccentric personality I shouldn’t have been surprised to see here dressed in a green-stripped polo shirt, horned rimmed glasses and red tennis shoes. She answered questions and held a mini discussion about the convention.

We frequently ran into the same volunteers as we rode the bus to and from town. Every one of them was excited because they had snagged tickets for Obama’s Thursday night event- everyone, that is,except for the three of us. When we got off the bus a volunteer gave us a card with an updated schedule for tonight’s event- Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Al Gore, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama- all my favorite male politicians. This was starting to get painful. We tried not to let our mood sink but we were sooo close but no tickets. We checked our phones for messages, nothing.

We did have reservations for the IL Democratic Women’s luncheon that I knew would have both well-known female politicians and friends. Our bus never came, probably due to the reroute around the Invesco Center. But our angels sent a woman to us who had been driving VIPS in a black SUV. She shouted out the window asking if we needed a ride. She dropped us off directly outside the Marriot where our luncheon was held. Our good luck continues when we happened to walk directly by Durbin’s staffer sitting at a table with a stack of tickets. She casually asked if we still needed some for tonight’s event. We couldn’t believe that ----WE were going to Obama’s acceptance speech!

It was great to see friendly faces at the luncheon including several state politicians. We all knew that the event would have to be shortened so we could stand in line to get into the convention. The speakers abbreviated their talk until Lisa Madigan, IL’s attorney general, was at the podium. Several impatient attendees just got up and left but I did enjoy her long review about Obama’s great record in the IL Senate. At the end of her dragged out speech she brightened up as you looked at the back of the room and stated, “Now I know you will not be disappointed because I want to introduce OUR senator, Barack Obama”

In he walked with his big toothy grin, followed by 3 secret service guards. We learned later that this unscheduled stop, did not require heightened security. He stated, “I thought I would just stop by and practice my speech for tonight.” He thanked us for all the good work we, especially the women of IL, have done for the party and him. After his brief talk he took his time to shake hands and take pictures with him. Like a true groupie, I stood on top of a chair the whole time and just watched and listened. Suzie came back thrilled. She got a hug from Obama. If our experience would have ended here, we would have been satisfied.

If you want to check out us women going crazy when Obama showed up at our luncheon go to minute 2 of this video

Fun things to do in Denver
1. Sit in the middle of the 16th Street mall and eat vendor ice cream
2. Visit the Tattered Book Store at the north end of 16th Street
3. Take a ride on the light rails, it is a fast smooth ride
4. Ride the buses and enjoy the friendliness of the locals


Monday, September 01, 2008

Denver Experience Part 2

Volunteering has always been the way for “regular” democrats to be included in important events. So last winter Bobbie and I signed up to volunteer at the convention. When they emailed us back and told us we could help direct traffic, I could just picture us wearing neon vests and waving flashlights. We decided to fore go this and use our traditional method of helping with our local state party, and Monday’s volunteering did not go unappreciated by Sarah, Durbin’s right hand woman. Tuesday she called to say she had 3 hard sought after tickets for the convention that night.

You have to understand the “credentialing” thing. If you are a delegate, high elected official or otherwise big wig you get this lanyard with a plastic sleeve that holds all your tickets allowing you to attend various events. The more important you are the more tickets you get. You wear this thing hanging around you neck so everyone knows you have multiple invitations. All we were wearing were Obama pins. The locals on the bus from the Motel 6 didn’t really care. All they wanted to do was argue about the merits or deficits of our candidate. The later in the night the more boisterous their opinions and if you know where most Motel 6’s are located, it will give you a better idea of the variety of riders we had on our buses.

We stopped at the front desk at the Marriott Hotel where the IL delegation was staying. Unlike our motel in the far reaches of Denver it was located centrally off of the downtown 16th district mall. The electricity could be felt in the air and it was a wonderful place for watching IL politicians in action. Jessie Jackson walked through with his entourage and Durbin’s staffers were divvying out tickets to the delegates friends and families. With no lanyard, we tightly held our 3x5 inch tickets.

Denver has a model transportation system including free shuttles down the mall, buses that stop at every corner and fast rails linking the nearby suburbs. Each mode carried distinct riders but during the main convention events it seemed that all transportation led to the Pepsi Center. Security started as you loaded the convention shuttle bus including emptying water bottles and opening purses. The people mover system efficiently streamed us though the parking lot into the center where we walked though metal detectors.

The hallways of the ringed center were lined with reporters interviewing political celebrities such as Dennis Kucinich and Rod Blogevich The higher up the center we walked the more the attendees looked like real people. Dress changed from suits and black dresses to button covered t-shirts. We climbed up and up to our seats, ending up third row from the top. The blue glow from the stage was the prime source of light and the voice of the politicians could be heard echoing around the auditorium. I wasn’t sure if I was light headed from the lack of oxygen or overwhelmed by actually standing there in person at the Democratic convention.

The big screens around the center allowed you to see the speakers but the energy of several thousand enthusiastic Democrats was a major distraction. Many were calling their friends on the cell phone so they could listen in. I was impressed by the many groups and cultures represented. I know it was Dean’s and Obama’s desire to have the convention be representative of the true America and it was.

There were several speakers but the people in the cheap seats were noisy. Those viewing it on TV at home had a better view. Several speakers were scheduled but since we got our tickets late we missed many of them. I was most pleasantly surprise by the last speaker before Hillary. I had never heard of the Governor of Montana. But the schedulers understand that he would know how to warm up the crowd before Hillary. He was humorous, spontaneous and appropriate with his support of both Hillary and Obama.

Tuesday night of the convention was really “Hillary’s Night”. I have been an avid Obama supporter since the beginning of his senate race but I recognize Hillary as a real class act. This speech was dubbed as one of the most important of her political career. Dressed in her beautiful suit she put her full support behind Obama. She didn’t disappoint any of the attendees, Hillary or Obama fans.

The streams of people exited down the circular ramps to the hundreds of waiting buses carrying their signs of “Unity” and “Reclaim the Promise”. I had my doubts that the planners of the convention could bring us to this point but Democrats certainly were.

Advice for novice conventioneers
1. Be flexible, just hang out, find out where your state delegation is staying
2. You don’t need a lot of money, it is all on the DNC and sponsors
3. Go to caucuses, that is where the highest level politicians go to thank their supporters
4. Bring both fancy and casual cloths; you may never know what event you can get into.

Denver Democratic Experience-part 1

I am not a Democratic delegate but I act like one. So when my friend just missed representing IL, we decided to head down to the Denver Democratic National Convention this week and see what events we could sneak or beg our way in to.

You would think we would have been discouraged because the hotel rooms were all booked, the airlines shut down the week before our trip and I had just started a new job.—nope we weren’t

So this past Monday at 3:30 AM my local Democratic mentor, Bobbie and I headed to Denver. We decided we would rely on public transportation and the friendliness of the locals to find our way around city that I had previously driven around to get to the ski hills of Colorado.

On the bus platform at the airport we talked to an Ohio Obama volunteer who told us about openings at a Motel 6, so Bobbie, her daughter and I followed him like baby ducklings across town pulling our suitcases. As we booked our room, the manager told us we were lucky because rooms just opened up after scalpers had been caught selling them for 3 times the value on Craig’s list.

We had tickets two scheduled events, a party hosted by Sen. Durbin and a luncheon for the IL Democratic Women’s organization. So our challenge was to weasel our way into some of the big events. We were short one ticket for Bobbie’s daughter for the Durbin event but were told we could get her in if we volunteered at Durbin’s “Chicago in Denver Party.”

Never having been to a convention before I had no idea what I needed to pack in my carry-on. I have seen numerous conventions on TV so assumed I knew everything about convention dress. Surely my “Friends don’t let Friends vote Republican” T-shirt would be acceptable especially compared to the grey haired women dressed head to toe in American flag patterns and the tall skinny guy in an Uncle Sam stove-pipe hat.

So when I arrived at Durbin’s “Chicago in Denver” in my Obama/Durbin t-shirt with a blue tinsel feather boa I was sure to fit in. Durbin’s staffer smiled politely as the 3 of us arrived in our Democratic gear. Young volunteers arrived one by one each woman wearing a little black dress and each man in a suit and tie. I could see she had volunteers coming out of her ears and needed to quickly find a job for the three flashy boaed beauties. She created a job on the spot—she decided to have us be entrance greeters, or bouncers if necessary.

Actually this job turned out to be a blast. We held back the crowd until the official starting time, shooed away three skate boarders and told people they had to use the bathroom next door. I was really enjoying my power when a dark-suited gentleman arrived and insisted on getting through the gait to talk to Audrey. He left after I refused his request only to return five minutes later. He pulled me to the side and softly asked me what my named. “I need to talk with you Holly” while flashing his secret service badge. My knees went weak seeing myself locked up for some unknown deed. He said, “You must let me in so I can scout out the premises including entrances.”

So the tall erect man trailed the blue tinsel boa bouncer through the bar, kitchen and hallways. After clearing the site I asked if he could tell me why this was necessary. “All I can say is that someone very important from Chicago is coming.” As soon as he left I couldn’t wait to tell my co-bouncers and friends that Michelle Obama was coming.

The initial trickle of people turned into a large crowd totaling to over 2500 Democrats including over 16 Senators, dozens of US Reps and various other party big wigs. None of them could get passed the three of us without a friendly “Welcome to Chicago in Denver”-we were not unlike the Wal-Mart greeters.

Bobbie’s highlight was taking a pause from our duties to get a picture with Al Franken. I enjoyed guessing the names of the grey-haired senators I knew from C-Span. Durbin’s staffer spared us the embarrassment of not recognizing them by warmly greeting each elected official by name and leading them through the VIP entrance.

We were relieved of our duties after an hour to hang up our boas and enjoy the Chicago pizza, mini hotdogs and sliders. As usual it was a treat to see Sen. Durbin speak and I have to admit getting pleaser watching the 2nd City troop roast Rahm Emmanuel. Michelle Obama WAS the surprise visitor hot off her speech at the convention. She graciously took the time to warmly thank her fellow Illinoisan Democrats that have been supporters for such a long time. .

Watch for these scary encounters in Denver
1. fast low-water usage flush toilets
2. dry skin, chapped lips
3. chest pains from lack of oxygen
4. light rail trains crossing sidewalks

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Got cache?

Not yet, but I'm getting ready to look for some. According to Google Earth and, there's plenty of it to be found in central Ohio.