Archives: June 2003
Mon Jun 30, 2003
Rachel is having college blues. Or maybe it's life in general blues.
Anyway, I have to agree with her on this:
You simply cannot learn everything you're supposed to learn if you have to work for a living while in college.
The college experience is not the same if you have to work to any great degree while attending. It also is not the same to commute and live at home rather than going away to college. For those two reasons, I didn't get nearly what I could have from the experience.
Luckily I went to an inexpensive state college and owed nothing when I was done. My father and stepmother gave me a place to live through most of it. I paid for school, with a tiny bit of help from my father and mother here and there.
I can't imagine being in debt from college, then finding I couldn't get work after I finished that was any better than what I'd been doing part time.
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Becoming a Vampire
Yesterday I was in the sun at my nephew's birthday party for perhaps two hours. I got a sunburn, which I didn't notice until later, after I'd gotten sleepy/sick and napped for a few hours. While I was at the party, I felt faint when I stood up and walked around a couple times. Later I got very sleepy, and felt like I would freeze in air-conditioned temperatures of about 74. After wrapping in a blanket and sleeping a few hours, I woke burning up and sweating, but feeling better, except my arms being red and sensitive.
It seemed strange. Despite my relatively fair skin, I am not that prone to burning.
This apparently means I'll have to take the precaution on the hydrochlorothiazide prescription seriously. "Avoid prolonged exposure to direct and/or artificial sunlight." Online resources have more to say, amounting to the same thing. That would explain the ease with which I burned. Obviously I'll have to be more careful. Sheesh.
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My Crazy Brother
My older brother is funny and frustrating.
In his world, we came here via the ancient astronauts theory. The races evolved elsewhere, since they couldn't have become that distinctive through natural evolution on Earth. In fact, they were from different planets, but compatible biologically.
This is more logical to him than any amount of science indicating that there's almost no genetic variance between races, and for that matter little between humans and chimps, and indicating that we all have common ancestry that spread out from a small area in Africa. We came from space, evolved earlier than anyone could imagine, and got stranded on this planet one way or another. Or returned to this planet, as the case may be. This is why we are less genetically diverse than most species? Sure thing.
Atlantis was very real, and of course it was right in the middle of the Atlantic, geology notwithstanding. There was some connection with space flight an ancient astronauts there, too. We are the progeny of a remnant of a remnant of survivors. Or something.
These discussions get very surreal. Trying to dissuade with scientific evidence is like trying to convince some people of Michael Moore's fictition.
Not that I believe we know and understand everything, or that we aren't in for some major surprises, but I don't get how he can more readily accept a convoluted, extreme explanation for things than a fairly simple, definitive scientific explanation.
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Sun Jun 29, 2003
I have known this forever:
By contrast, a drive on a quiet country road or a rural highway can be a problem because the driving task is not mentally engaging, leaving the driver’s mind to wander and lose focus. In that case, more external stimuli — talking to a passenger or listening to some music — might help to keep the driver’s brain engaged.
Still, it's interesting that they've done a study on it. I have always said that I had to have the radio in order to focus better on driving, and even that isn't always enough in light traffic. So I tend to increase the need for focus with an increase in speed, which may sound strange. Conversely, this is how slow drivers - slow for the driving environment at the time, that is - cause accidents. I know I get bored and lose my focus when forced to be unnaturally slow.
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Powerball and a Little Chinese
I see the Powerball jackpot is oversized. I know I could certainly use $94 million. 1/94 Of that would even help.
So not only does Chinese from Luke's Inn sound good in the next two days, but also I have to visit the Fall River client in the next two days, which puts me most of the way to Warren, RI without a special trip. If I win by buying a Powerball ticket while I'm there, bonus.
Actually, one of the first things I might do if I won is take a long vacation. At least one of my partners would be able to quit their day jobs and cover for me, and it's been five years since my last vacation. Heck, two of them will probably be laid off in the next several months, so it would be preemptive.
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It's Only Words
Apparently I missed this fun post on colloquialisms over at Kim Crawford's when he first posted it.
Growing up in Massachusetts, soda was tonic. When I was older, I started making myself say soda, in order to avoid confusion. I think it's utterly bizarre to refer to anything but Coke as "coke." I always found it strange when people called it pop.
When I was a kid, flip-flops were thongs, and as far as I know, the type of underwear didn't exist, so no confusion there. It's only been in the past, say, fifteen years that flip-flops came into vogue. I know kids now have no idea what you're talking about if you call them thongs.
I grew up with blinkers. I'll call them turn signals to be understood by anyone, but they are blinkers. Directionals? I'd understand what was meant if someone said that, but I'd find it weird.
Who in the world says anything but splinter or grocery shopping? That's just too weird.
I can't think of any others offhand besides the ones Kim presented...
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A Wiz Of A Blog, If Ever There Was
Wizbang has moved, switching to MT and a spiffy design in the process. I'd have announced this much sooner, but I was taking apart a desk and moving it for my traitorous friend who's fleeing to California, and then I went to a birthday party for one of my nephews.
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Walter Still in Denver, Not on BlogSpot
Walter in Denver has joined the BlogSplat exodus!
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Sat Jun 28, 2003
Last night we were talking about the diaspora of workers from tech to other things. Real tech workers, not people who just happened to work for dotcoms, got laid off, and were labeled tech workers by the media.
One of the guys is now a cook. He finally showed up about 11:30 last night, after being allowed to leave his shift a little early. He's an expert in Exchange and other things, and at one time trained many people who are now Exchange or network admins, or MIS directors, at large companies. After a year or so, he went back to cooking in order to have some kind of income that wouldn't be insulting for the type of work.
He was telling us about another guy who now sells cars. And is happier!
Another guy couldn't be there. He's now a baggage screener for the TSA, teaches driving school on the side, and does a little bit of tech work for a friend's business.
The friend moving to San Diego will go from unemployed for going on two years to doing temp work, things like customer service, while continuing to look for work.
Another friend has resorted to looking for straight customer service work, to give himself a better shot at getting something. And another has been doing customer service at the call center of an HMO for a couple years, hates it for all she excels at it, and wants to get back into tech.
Another one is so burned out from the programming jobs she had, she only barely looks, and mostly stays in and reads book after book. I don't know if she has a fallback plan, or will get over it, but it's been well over a year now.
It's all very scary and sad. Worse is seeing less qualified or talented people get the jobs, or keep the jobs.
Enough rambling. I have to go get that air conditioner.
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Today is my sister's birthday. She's mumble-six and feeling every minute of it.
Happy birthday Lynn! Not that she reads this. Guess that means I have to get a card or something...
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Get Out The Vote
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Hot Party, Hot Apartment
I got home an hour ago from the going away party for Nic. We closed the place, then the last of us stood outside, talking at length about old times in Microsoft support, in the now pleasant breeze. The whole thing was quite fun.
Unfortunately it was still 90 in my apartment, in not the hottest spot, when I arrived home. The fans are blasting away, rectifying that before I go to sleep. Since the temps have mellowed and it won't be 100 Saturday as it was Friday, and nearly was Thursday, that ought to be easier.
It wasn't actually the last time I'll see my friend before she leaves. Tomorrow I go get the air conditioner I'm buying from her, getting some other items, and helping move a TV to her car. Which makes temps of a mere 80 or so most welcome.
Time to go to bed now, before I sprain my jaw yawning...
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Manliness Is Next To Blogliness
Acidman thinks the blog looks too feminine. How about it; should the text background maybe be pink instead? Spice it up, make more mahnly?
Actually the color of the table borders is off. It's what I used on an original experiment, then changed, but somehow ended up with the first colors. Need to fix that.
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Fri Jun 27, 2003
An Imagination Of Flight
Seeing this MSNBC article, reporting that the shuttle invesigative panel is calling a plan for inspection and repair in orbit before any more launches happen, reminded me of some semi-lucid thoughts I had the other night.
Space flight needs to become routine. Modular. Dependable. Fixable when it fails, as much as possible. Think of cars. You get in and drive. They just work. They are relatively affordable. When they don't work, they can be fixed or refurbished. Standard parts are available or can be fabricated or patched.
Ah, but it can never be quite analogous with cars and driving. Too much added ambient risk involved. More dimensions, a slight lack of atmosphere - then on entry, too much of it; that kind of thing. Details are so pesky, aren't they?
That made me upgrade it to an airplane analogy. Not everyone can fly, but many people learn. It's just tougher than learning to drive a car. Not everyone can own a plane, but they are available for a price within reach of many people and companies. They're pretty standard; a known quantity for maintenance, certainly reliable.
We need space flight that can be like owning and operating a plane. A plane that won't leak. When they break down in orbit or beyond, there needs to be a way to cope as often as possible. Yet we need to accept that stuff happens, and people will die. That's especially true in the early days, before reliability is established. When there's any amount of traffic, there perhaps could be an orbital "Coast Guard" for emergency rescues. Emergency beacons. Escape pods. Suits and repair kits on board, naturally.
Perhaps we'll just have to wait for space elevators. Then that's the safe way up and down, with any personal flight not involving the atmosphere at all. The market will probably burst into bloom all at once, surprising most people with its speed and intensity.
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Maddy and Amanda Have Moved
The Twins Tell The Truth has moved off BlogSplat! Justene had been talking about doing this, but I thought she was holding off because for the kids BlogSplat was okay.
It's a cool blog to read for an intelligent 11 year old perspective. I go there once in a while and catch up on the posts.
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Once in a while, people mistake my business for another one, and I get e-mails at the sales address like today's "looking for a 1Gbit Module for the summit24 Switch 13011, RJ45" and wondering where to get one in Europe.
In this case I was able to use Google and point the person at both the correct web site, and a product information sheet at a UK domain.
Which left me thinking the sender could have used Google in the first place...
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Another Reason to Switch
The hosting for my business domain expires in a month. It's $29.95/mo for something slightly less good than the $11 plan from Hosting Matters, less a 20% discount for paying a year up front.
They now have the same plan at $24 for new customers.
What does the renewal notice to us say? $29.95 of course.
I was planning to switch anyway, but that is rather irksome.
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Humor Received in E-Mail
A cardiologist died and was given an elaborate funeral. A huge heart covered in flowers stood behind the casket during the service.
Following the eulogy, the heart opened, and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart forever.
At that point, one of the mourners burst into laughter. When all eyes stared at him, he said, "I'm sorry, I was just thinking of my own funeral...I'm a gynecologist."
And at that point, the proctologist fainted.
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A Colorful Arrangement
Stephen Green has the post to end all posts on eliminating racism. Definitely a must read!
In the next post down, he's asking other Colorado bloggers to drop a hello in the comments, so get on over if that applies to you.
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Attention Instapundit Readers!
While Glenn Reynolds is on vacation, sipping iced puppy & rum drinks at the beach, I invite you to include me in your blog reading rounds to help make up, in some modest way, for the void his leisure leaves in your lives.
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Let's Get Sticky
Silflay Hraka has an intriguing analysis of a new way to measure blog popularity. It looks like I have some work to do, but then my traffic has also been down, except for the massive spike associated with my move, for a couple weeks.
The sticky stat is favorable toward those who have built a big following and write long posts people are willing to take the time to read.
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Thu Jun 26, 2003
We're Not In Pangaea Anymore
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Blogs Around, Over, Under, Up and Down
Just a reminder about Oscar Jr's new Blogs Around the U.S.A. project. This is a compendium of links to blogs from every state and territory that include, to any degree, bloggage on more local matters. I believe Julie belongs on there for North Dakota, if I remember her location right.
There are a bunch of states not yet covered. Go check it out and refer any likely blogs you know.
And lest we forget, the above is a companion to the older Blogs Around the World project, which also has room for more.
I need to remember to add permalinks to both of these.
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My Libertarian Life: Strict Liability Thwarted
As I have mentioned before, for a few years in the eighties I was a card carrying member of the Massachusetts and National Libertarian parties. As such, I attended the state convention a couple times.
That was a bit strange, because my shyness doesn't exactly make me the best schmoozing conversationalist when thrown into a new situation, where there are lots of people I have never met.
While I could say more about the whole experience and related matters, I mean for this to be a short post about a specific incident.
There was a bookseller from Connecticut who came to the convention and setup tables of interesting books for sale to attendees. To me that was a big highlight, though I did have to limit myself, being a poor starving college student.
Whether I hit it off with the party clique, I had done a tremendous amount of thinking and theorizing of my own accord. I had formulated a notion of what could be called strict liability, in thinking about what a more purely libertarian legal system might look like.
I was all excited when I saw on the seller's table a book with a title something like "A Theory of Strict Liability." I wanted to buy it. It was probably this book that I was looking at.
The guy selling the books really, really did not want me to buy it. All but forced me away from it and steered me toward newbie books; things like Robert Ringer and, as I recall, Murray Rothbard. It seemed for all the world that he assumed I wasn't too bright and couldn't choose for myself what to read, or couldn't handle something so weighty.
The incident left me mystified, and contributed to my jaded outlook on organized Libertarians in my neck of the woods.
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Perhaps the most significant reason to expect only a measured, plodding recovery is the changed attitudes of, and new pressures on, the corporate buyers of information technology — computer hardware, software and services — whose purchasing habits largely control the industry's fate.
Long gone is the irrational optimism of the 90's and the notion that technology alone can transform a business. Today, corporate executives regard technology as simply a tool — though a crucial one, if used wisely. But it is also a costly tool: Information technology accounts for nearly 60 percent of all business equipment investment. So there is plenty of incentive to restrain spending.
There's a lot of truth to this article. Too much previous spending was overblon, overhyped, in response to a coolness factor, or a quest for productivity wish fulfillment. Now we're in what may be an overreaction phase the other way.
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Linux Loses This One
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Sir Denis Thatcher
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Velocidude is concerned that I left off his endorsement when I moved to the new digs. I guess it doubled his traffic or something, having that prominent link. Of course, you should visit him sometimes anyway, testimonial or not.
What do you think? Shall I bring back the testimonials? Maybe put them over to the right, near the top? Express your opinion in the comments! I will go with whatever the majority opines during the next 48 hours.
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There Oughtta Be A Law... NOT!
I am not surprised by this article about the lack of impact of a cell phone ban.
I've talked while driving, and found it's not worse than eating or playing with the radio. It's a matter of being sensible. I almost never make a call from a moving car, but it's easy to answer the phone and talk, unless traffic is too intense, in which case the phone can wait, or I tell them to hold on and put it down.
What I don't understand is people who talk the whole trip away. For instance, using the phone in the car to catch up on social chatting during the commute. Then again, people like that tend to have an earpiece. I do, but because the phone is for emergencies, I don't leave it in, and it's more distracting to use it on the fly than just to hold the phone to my ear. Usually when I use the phone, I'm parked.
Even so, I'd be just as irked by a ban as I am by drivers who are obviously paying more attention to a conversation than the road, or who are driving slowly down the left lane while gabbing away.
Not that I use my phone much. I have a Verizon FreeUp prepaid phone. Every two months, before the time expires, I add $30 to it. Currently there is $89 worth of accumulated time. This is why I tell people like my father not to worry about calling me on it.
Anyway, phones causing accidents have far more to do with the individual than the phone. Those with no sense or poor driving ability will find some way to get in trouble.
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May Your Self Be Merry, Not Bright, And May All Your Heartedness Stay Light
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When You're Hot You're Hot
Why am I up and back online at this hour?
Well, at 2:30 PM near work it was a lovely 98, which is too warm though I hate to complain after what we've been through. I decided to hang out at the office, in AC comfort, until very late. Thus the big push to complete the neglected eleventy-one.
I finally did come home, and outside it was great; just warm enough to fly up the highway with the window open. In my living room it was 88. Around the corner, in the bedroom, it was noticably hotter.
I turned on all the fans full blast and in a while when the bedroom has cooled enough, I will sleep. If it doesn't cool enough, I can go fall asleep on the couch.
And yes, I'd rather have this any day than chronic gloomy, chilly rain and drizzle. Ick.
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It looks like Greenspan has tossed away the pruning sheers and hauled out the stump chipper...
I'm not sure what to think of yet another cut by the Fed. My gut tells me it shouldn't be needed and won't help enough to make a serious difference. If we're recovering, we'll recover despite that quarter point. There's only so much control they can exert if people feel negative about the economy, or if there are drags or dislocations not affected directly by the rate change.
Heck, for the same reason, a tax cut won't automatically help, even though it probably matters more now than the Fed. What we really need is some Reaganesque cheerleading to help us feel positive, tax and depreciation changes, and more trimming of regulations, or at least some business incentives.
Or maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about, and the economy will bloom tomorrow, tech jobs will exist again, and everyone will be happy.
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I have compiled together the entire 111 things about me on its own page here.
Feel free to use this post for any comments you may have. If you read the rest and just want to see the tail end, you can go to the post just prior to this one.
I think the list would be somewhat different, were I just starting it now, but part of the fun is that it's something of a time capsule.
Indeed, I just remembered that I'd planned for item 111 to be about how cool I think the number 11 and its longer variants like 111 are, because of the patterns they make when you toss other numbers at them. Like 11/9=1.2222222..., 111/9=12.333333..., 111/99=1.121212..., and so forth. I know, I'm strange.
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Wed Jun 25, 2003
Eleventy-One Things, Part Ten
Yes, finally finishing this project! This post will stay in this spot, the other pieces will migrate to the dates when they were originally posted, and I will combine the entire thing into one perma-page after this is done.
I am a perfectionist. Lest you think this sounds like a good thing, it's not. I will completely avoid doing what I lack the time, ability or interest to do just so.
Related to the above, I am superlative at planning and organizing things, but not at the drudge or repetition of keeping things organized and maintained in a particular state.
I am a terrible procrastinator. This is bad, even though I always wrote my best papers at the last minute, and thrive in a pressure situation, which procrastination artificially induces.
I have always been shy, but when you get past the shyness and I am comfortable, I'll talk your ear off. The shyness is worst with girls I am attracted to, which makes it vital for anyone reciprocally interested to club me explicitly with unambiguous evidence of the fact.
Sometimes in mid-sentence I will completely forget what I was saying and the entire train of thought that went along with it. I find this most disturbing. When I was talking with my doctor at the last appointment, he got to witness it. I'm not sure what he made of it.
I have always had an excellent memory, which can be used to make people think I'm more intelligent than I am. This makes the above incidents all the more disturbing.
I am terrible at remembering names. Once I remember you at all though, I will remember surprising details about you that most people wouldn't in such a casual way. It amazes people that I can do things like remember fifty different passwords.
I enjoy cooking, but am lazy about bothering with it most of the time. At one time I was known for the cookies I'd bring to work.
Some people consider me a "movie buff," but I am rather uncultured as far as older movies, and haven't been seeing near as many as I did in the late nineties.
I love words, linguistics and writing; the flow, feel and subtle nuances of words strung together to convey ideas, feelings and descriptions. Writing is construction with building blocks of the mind.
I am not as good about keeping in touch with people as I once was, and if you're not online, it's truly grim.
I think I should have stuck with 100 things, but hey, everyone does that, and hobbits are cool.
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Before Blue Eyes
I have light-sensitive blue eyes.
People drive me crazy when they see me reading in fairly dim light and decide to "help" by turning on a bright light in my face "so I can see better," thereby blinding me. This is apparently not uncommon, as I have heard other people complain of the same antics.
Well, every summer, without fail (and sometimes when there's snow on the ground and sun in winter), I say to myself "you should get sunglasses." I have never bought sunglasses in my life.
As soon as I get past the initial shock of the bright outdoors, I forget about the whole idea of sunglasses until next time it really hits me. Very strange. I should get some; keep them in the car. Save my poor, abused eyes.
Which means I'll probably go look at them sometime soon, since I remembered enough to blog it, but then I'll be horrified by the prices. Heh.
On a related note, at 2:30 PM on the thermometer near work it was 98° F. Woohoo! Summer! Almost too much so, but at this point I'll take it.
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Glenn Reynolds talks about the foreign outsourcing of technical jobs in his TCS column. I was amused by the point about it being a strange issue for liberals.
This is something I've mentioned here before, without having a solution for it besides time and adaptation. People hate change. It's uncomfortable. Yet we are best off in the United States if we can embrace and flow with change, and stay on the innovative edge. The last big thing moves to low cost production? Bring on the next big thing! And ditch any government barriers that slow that process down.
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Party Is Such Sweet Sorrow
As I have mentioned, one of my closest friends is moving to San Diego in July. This winter and spring were too much for her, and it can't be any harder to find work there. (Anyone hiring? VB programming, QA, a little Perl, Support...)
I, being the leaderly, leaderish, leaderlike type that I am when I am not copping out, not to mention being more attached to my friend than I'd have thought, am in charge of arranging the going away party thingie. Or two.
First I asked where she would prefer it. The favorite Chinese place, and since they close at 10:00 on weekend nights, people can go to Applebee's next door if they want to stay later and drink more. So I figure as it gets close, I'll check in with the place and make sure they know a group of perhaps 15 will be showing up.
Then she asks if the Chinese place has reopened. "They're still closed? I thought the renovations were done!"
Today I finally checked. Phone number not in service. Place obviously still under renovation. I would say that the building changed hands and the restaurant closed, fairly unceremoniously.
So now it's Applebee's Friday, for the whole thing, which is probably for the best anyway. Plus it brings back memories of when we used to close the place with gatherings of 10-20 people after work. We became quite friendly with the bartender, who introduced us to a Midori-based drink called a Mongolian Mother F*cker that only she knew how to make. We always called the drink an MMF to be short and euphemistic, but sometimes I would order an MMF and the waitress would make me say the full name. Then there were the times we'd order them from new waitresses and they'd be baffled. "Ask Joette, she knows what it is." Followed by amusement over at the bar.
Those were potent! Yummy too.
So out goes yet another e-mail, change of venue, and a more definitive time. And oh by the way, one of the gang has assigned me to invite you all, and possibly more people besides, to a cookout at her place. This grew from trying to figure out a way for a few people who can't attend Friday to get together and see Nic one last time. Saturday the 12th. Of course, I think by now we can safely extrapolate a forecast of rain for that day. Yep, it's a Saturday! It's the weather pattern from hell. Rain it is. I know it's over two weeks away! I stand by my forecast. It's at least as good as a meteorologist's or a tea leave prognosticator's. Heh.
I'm very sad she's going, and happy for her at the same time. One good thing, there's booty involved, if not the kind I would prefer. I'm getting some small items of furniture and stuff passed along to me, as well as buying the air conditioner cheap for my grandmother. I'm "storing" her spiffy computer desk in the office, though I think I should actually buy it and bring it home instead. I've had mine since 1986. It's seen better days and computers more suited to it.
Oh well. I don't worry too much about these party things. Some people will show, some won't. It always works out okay.
Did you know it's tough to write a post and chat on AIM at the same time? Trust me, it is. Must remember not to leave it running when I write a serious post...
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Tue Jun 24, 2003
Doctors Can Be Fun
So, I had my blood pressure checkup today. Emily got a reading of about 124/98, then after I chilled a while (literally, the AC was cold), the doctor got a reading of 124/84 and was very pleased.
Then I brought up a matter I should have broached with one doctor or another years ago, which has lately gotten completely out of hand enough to overcome my reticence. I walked out with 8 weeks worth of Lexapro samples and an appointment to return in 6 weeks. The stuff takes 3-6 weeks to kick in. I certainly hope it helps!
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Just for the Record Again
Blood pressure readings just now, morning of checkup:
Left: 101/54 or 97/66, whichever is more believable (discarded a reading that was way out of line)
Within two hours we'll see what it is with the "white coat" effect. Of course, the doctor would jokingly point out that he's not wearing a white coat. Generally the home device is within 10 points, side by side, with the reading taken by the doctor. I've actually tested it at the doctor's office a couple times to check its accuracy.
The sad thing is I usually rush to get out the door and to my appointments, running into the worst traffic and getting frantic on the way. Then I arrive and walk up two flights, since for that an elevator is silly... and slow. No wonder it's higher when I'm there.
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I made a major list of corrections and updates to my links over on the right, and I am going to review the categories and ask for feedback.
If you see an error or unupdated change in the link to you, or if you think you ought to be there and aren't, or if you have a suggestion for category where you belong, please let me know in comments or at jaysolo [at] elhide [dot] com or mindspring [dot] com.
Note that these are all based on planets and, primarily, moons of the solar system, however obscure. I am open to suggestions for new categories using ones I haven't yet used.
Everything else you see is not yet classified. Much of it is likely to go into generic groups unless on a read or two of the main page I can discern a likely category without much digging. I know some of you will think it's obvious where you belong, but with so many links, I don't always read you regularly, or when I am there I skim more quickly than I should.
What I like to do is have everything broken into groups small enough for me to click click click and open every page in the group, then read and close them all, then either resum normal life, or repeat with another selected group. In that regard, the alphabetical listing I have now isn't so bad. It just feels like a copout.
So suggest away! There are more moons. If you like one and would otherwise stay generic, suggest I add the group and put you in it. Even suggest who belongs there with you. Really, I'm easy. I might say no, but not if it's reasonable.
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Mon Jun 23, 2003
I played with a cheap webcam earlier and thought I'd share the slightly adulterated results... More...
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Since I used to be involved fairly heavily with the Arisia SF convention, I'm on the mailing list for it. A request just went out for new panel ideas.
Naturally I thought of blogging as a panel idea generally. At least at Arisia, I am pretty certain is hasn't been done before.
What do you think? Particularly any of you who do conventions, or who are local and interested enough potentially to attend Arisia. Is there a particular angle you would put on it? Variants that you'd suggest for multiple panels?
If blogging-related panels are proposed, they will no doubt be looking for relevant people to be on them. I am almost interested enough not to let my terror of being in front of a room full of people stop me from volunteering, but we'll see.
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I meant to mention that I am still poor. I checked the winning Mega Millions number and it wasn't mine. Not even a little. What's up with that?
Yes, I know the odds, but I still sometimes buy a ticket when the prizes bloat to especially dreamworthy pinnacles. If it's Powerball, I drive down to a little store in Warren, RI and use it as an excuse to go to Luke's Inn for their amazing house wings and other, mostly superior, Chinese food.
What would I do with $180 million? Less taxes. Less the amount you don't get by taking a lump rather than their annuity plan. That would be so fun!
I'd put a lump of money into the business, which is precariously cash starved at the best of times, to prime things. Then we could employ some of my extremely talented former colleagues who are suffering repression at the hands of the current economy, making the money I know could be made from their skills and creative energy, while improving their lot.
I'd get myself out of the apartment and into a modest house locally. More importantly, I'd get my brother's ex and kids into a house I'd buy for the purpose, and out of a three bedroom apartment for six people. I'd consider buying my grandmother's property so that part of my childhood could stay undeveloped and she could live out her life there more easily. That last one is a significant topic in its own right.
I'd create a trust fund of some sort to ensure my nieces and nephews can all go to college wherever they want. The two who will go first shouldn't have any problem getting in. The other day my sister got the report card and was jokingly chastising my nephew about only getting an A- in a couple classes. My niece thinks she an utter failure if she gets a B. It's almost scary, and the teachers actually make them work, unlike when I was their age. Back then it was more like the teachers pretending to teach and the students pretending to learn, while, at least in my case, being hopelessly bored.
I'd probably buy some property in rural area(s) where the prices are still reasonable and large tracts are available, as an eventuality. Other than that, I'd make some other investments to diversify beyond real estate and speculating on my own business.
To me the purpose of having all that money would be to make more, or at least keep the net value from diminishing beyond some modest catch up spending. Most people get in trouble, having all that money. People scam or take advantage of them, or they blow it foolishly without considering that, large as it is, it's finite. If you're frivolous enough, if you're too generous, it will be gone before you know it.
What would you do if you won one of the huge jackpots?
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Classic Reading (Or, Working Links Are Cool)
I've been porting over some old posts since moving, which of course are now off the main page. In fact, things will go off the main page more quickly than they once did, even with it set to display 20 posts per page. If you're a new visitor, it may well be work hitting "next" when you get to the bottom.
Anyway, figured I'd do some linkage to posts of possible interest here. There are some relating to tech support, management of and hiring for tech support, and management in general:
Tech Support Madness links to a post by Dean about tech support, which means really you may as well click to Dean's post
I followed that up with Management Madness, regarding how management can improve tech support for employees and customers.
Then I did another Tech Support Madness post in which I linked to a rant by SK Bubba.
Tech Support Management Stuff Again continues and expands my previous post about tech management into the area of outsourcing, and foreign outsourcing.
Then there are the posts that tell you something about me, even if they have misleading names and additional points to them.
The post that got me a burst of attention when I was new on the scene was titled Why I Know Bush is not Stupid, but was mostly autobiographical.
In another post, Timeline, I touch on genealogy and wax wistful about being a probably dead-ender. In the process I list some notable relations.
I took the test to see who I should like for President, and to whose philosophies I most relate. I also note that I am an INTP.
Apparently I intended to post all about myself, as I labeled this part 1, writing of myself and my family.
There are also some posts relating to economics in there among the rest, but I need to go now. Enjoy! And maybe there will be a new, original post before the day is out. Oooh.
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Just for the Record
Blood pressure readings the day before my checkup are:
Not bad. Typically the few times I've checked since 3 months ago it's been in the vicinity of 90-something over about 60-ish.
When I'm actually at the doctor's office, it is inexplicably likely to be more like 120-something over 90-something. Other than that anomoly, the hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril and atenolol seem to be doing their job.
Yup, I'm a chemistry experiment.
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Sun Jun 22, 2003
I Am So Bad
Okay, so I have been moving over old posts, which will eventually make the archives here read like a "greatest hits" of my original archives. However, I have a couple of times posted a few entries such that they appeared here as new posts, then gone back and changed the date/time stamps.
Figured maybe more people would get to see them that way, but it's also confusing. So be sure to check the archives here for "new" stuff if you haven't been reading from the beginning, and don't be alarmed if you see posts appear and disappear from the main page. That's just me sowing chaos.
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Odds and Ends... Ho Hum
I just got to do a little mental exercise, planning out part of the program my partner is working on, involving law firm contacts and conflict of interest checking. I mainly came to the office because I was out and about anyway.
The day sucks so much that I'd never have left the house if not for dinner at Hilltop Steakhouse in Braintree for my grandmother's birthday. She'll be 87 on Tuesday. The food was good, and my sister brought a cake she made, which felt a little odd to me, but the restaurant didn't mind. It also gave me a chance to ask my grandmother if she could use an air conditioner, as I have the opportunity to buy a good used one cheap from my friend who's moving to San Diego. That got an enthusiastic yes.
Anyway, it's been pouring much of the day, and traffic is dreadful. I even ran into some fairly serious flooding, made worse by the person tailgating me even though I was already going more than fast enough. I figured if I came to the office I might do something useful, and even if not, it beat sitting around the apartment. I think I'm going to try getting my fried computer running. Got replacement memory but hadn't tossed it in and tried it yet.
I have a checkup on Tuesday morning. My blood pressure is always higher when I am at the doctor's office, and in keeping with that, I can already feel myself tensing up in nervous anticipation. Silly me.
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10,000 - Woohoo!
Time: 6:15:29 PM, in Eastern time zone
OS: Windows 98
Sound familiar anyone?
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Harry Potter Review
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Before anyone else asks, yes, I signed up for the Ecosystem with the new digs. I did so within 24 hours of making the switch, which means a couple days ago at this point.
The entry claimed to be successful. I put a base host of "elhide.com" with no embellishment. So I watched for it to appear, first at the bottom as a new, linkless entry, then higher up, after there'd been time for it to scan for links. No dice; it didn't appear.
Okay, so I figured something's going on and I need to give it a couple days. Thus the delay. Obviously if it doesn't show up soon, I will need to contact NZ Bear or try entering it again. In the meantime, no, you won't see me listed and, yes, it's not because I forgot.
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I've been walking through my links for much of the day, tracking down ones that relocated that I hadn't yet changed, and looking for anything else I ought to know before updating things. I have a text file containing 21 items to take care of, which may not happen until tomorrow. There are still links I haven't checked, but not many.
Please be patient. If you notice I have a link to you that points to an old URL, I probably know about it and will fix it very soon.
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Sat Jun 21, 2003
If This Keeps Up, It'll Stop Being Taboo
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Ith reports that the skiffy channel is making a 6 hour miniseries of Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars. Woohoo! Maybe by the time it comes out I will have gotten cable. Otherwise I will have to see if I can get someone to tape it.
As a bonus feature, Ith has picture of her cats for Acidman's viewing pleasure. This one appears to be a demonic attack-cat, no matter what Ith says to the contrary.
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Those of you who read me regularly may recall I have been concerned about the real estate bubble and when - not if - it will burst. We can only hope it will not be bad, or will be more of a massive slowdown than tumbling off an economic precipice.
In light of my concerns, this MSNBC article is most interesting. Home foreclosures are at a record high. Not a good sign.
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Hulk Smash? Maybe, Maybe Not...
I said I would write about Hulk. I enjoyed it, but I can see why some people won't. As a sometime reader of the comic, I thought it flowed much like the comic, and not merely because of the funky scene transitions and multi-windowed views of what was happening at times (I am concerned how the inset windows will translate to video and small screens). It had a look and feel that captured what I remember of the comics, and if the film wasn't as believable as a real scenario as Spidey, Batman or even Superman, it looked like a good representation of a comic come to the big screen. Where it's hokey, that's expected.
There is a huge amount of backstory and character/angst development. Yeah, it's not as fun as non-stop, mindless action. There was a heavy youth component to the audience, and they were clearly a little bored during the early part of the movie. If there is a Hulk 2, which I hope there will be, it should be a little less ponderous in its need to introduce the people and the basis for how things came to be. Steve Rhodes said there was a 90 minute action movie trying to get out, but I am not sure how it could have been shortened that much without completely rewriting the script, both changing what happens and assuming the audience will come in knowing or assuming certain details. It's a mind picture; dealing with the psychology of Bruce Banner/Hulk and the other people. Showing that well cost time and reduced the percentage devoted to mindless - or not so mindless - action.
The variant of the Hulk origin used in the movie makes more sense to me than the original one. No, they didn't completely change the origin, merely enhanced it to make what gamma radiation did seem more appropriate.
Jennifer Connelly is amazing. I think I'm in love. It's not only that she is Beauty, in what ultimately is a kind of Beauty and the Beast story. She is Betty Ross. She acts the role as if she's going for an Oscar. It is worth seeing Hulk for her alone.
The film picks on the military-industrial complex, but then that always seemed to be a factor in Hulk. A company called Atheon? Subtle.
The big guy was cool, and worth the wait. I sometimes watched the TV series, but it always bugged me that instead of a man transforming into Hulk, it depicted a man transforming into a bigger man painted green. The film representation is Hulk. A monster, if not a heartless one. Not simply a big, strong man.
I hope there will be a Hulk 2. If there is, it may be closer to what people expected of Hulk 1. I have compared it to the first versus second Star Trek films. We all flocked to the first Star Trek, only to find it too ponderously drawn out - without good reason, unlike Hulk. But we did flock to it, because - ooooh - they made a Star Trek movie! It may not be the best comparison, but I would expect more action and less buildup in a second Hulk. That's good. Yet I am not saying the buildup was misplaced in the first one. Does that make sense?
The people I was with liked Hulk as well. One of them hands-down loved it, even though she declared it less believable than Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men, and didn't necessarily like the origin story. There were people walking out of the theater complaining how much they hated it. Mileage will vary widely on this one.
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Harry Potter Madness
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How Very Small The World Can Be
About a month or so after I started blogging, I discovered someone of my slight acquaintance, who has in common a former employer with me, also had a blog. He wasn't updating much and didn't actually tell me the URL.
So tonight I discovered his site via a link from Sofia Sideshow, of all things. I might not have clicked it had I not recognized the name.
I just think that's so funny, finding out where his blog is from someone in Europe.
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Fri Jun 20, 2003
Commentary on Hulk will be forthcoming as soon as I can focus on writing it without also chatting in AIM.
Short version: It's good, but not everyone will like it. In fact, many people won't. I predict Hulk 1 will be to Hulk films, if they do more, what Star Trek the Motion Picture is to Wrath of Khan. Meaning they really should make another even if this one barely breaks even.
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I think what I am going to do is manually bring over selected posts from the BlogSplat blog, as opposed to bringing over every last one. Apparently there is no way to import automatically. So if you see some ancient posts below these first few, that's why.
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A Moving Experience
Well, here goes. I am officially opening for business here, despite the long list of tweaks still needed. I don't even have my links here yet.
Amusingly, the last post to Blogger, the one in which I directed people here, didn't post properly. Then when it did, comments were down. What a sendoff!
I noticed on one computer at the office the blog was out of whack, with the right table down below the main table. I'll try to prevent that, but I'm also curious if other people notice that kind of thing... especially once I think I have it fixed.
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Thu Jun 19, 2003
A Long Expected Interview
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Well, my 1/3 Blogiversary is the 25th, 6 days from now. I'm approaching 10,000 on the meter, so I should hit 10,000 by or right at the 4 month mark. That's pretty cool. My only concern with possibly falling short is traffic has plunged this week; almost to half its previous levels. On the other hand, moving out to add a boost. If I can get the new site to load reliably.
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Fri Jun 13, 2003
Do you find, as I do, that you associate specific memories or people with specific songs?
I can't hear McArthur Park without remembering my 9th grade crush. I liked the song anyway, from the first time I heard it when I was younger, but she was in the color guard of a drum & bugle corps, and that was their theme song.
Or perhaps it's just a memory of the first time you heard the song. I associate the previously mentioned Radar Love with my brother and cousin, who were listening to it at my uncle's house the first time I heard it. I still vividly remember the first time I heard (or noticed) Won't Get Fooled Again. Of all places, it was at my grandmother's house, playing on a radio on the desk in the dining room. My brother was listening to the radio. I heard the words and my young imagination envisioned a rebel army marching by on my grandmother's street. More than imagined; it was like having a dream.
For me music has a profound mental effect. I am far more focused and productive if music is playing, as long is it's music I can at least stand enough not to be distracted rather than focused by it. It must do something to the brain in that regard, at least for some of us, which is probably related to the memory associations in its nature.
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Thu Jun 12, 2003
I Have Strange Dreams
Out of the blue I was buying, or perhaps inheriting, a big, run down old house in a rural area. The area imaged looked like a combination of Plympton, MA and Holland, VT. The occupant had been one old woman. There were at least 11 rooms, but I knew the place was only about half usable, because it was filled with accumulated old stuff. How I was getting it was unclear, but it was both completely unexpected and welcome.
The house itself is a recurring one I have dreams about, seemingly an archetype based on various places I have seen. For instance, I once had a dream about the same house, different location, being on fire, but burning so slowly nobody was in much hurry to get out of it. I've also dreamed about moving onto a section of the second floor of the same house, and discovering unexpected rooms.
Anyway, I was rather preoccupied with mailing people my new address, especially a selected few people I was apparently irritated with. For some reason, I was going to mail each person a single old glove. I stood next to a stretch of road that had no houses on it, looking at the gloves I had collected to send. They were all my size, but some of them were so worn they had big holes in the palm. Then for some reason I realized I should limit the number of people I notified right away.
During part of this, I was actually talking with someone unidentified who was standing there, telling them about the house. I pictured some other, small, blocky house I lived in, and how much I wanted to move. I commented that it would take me all summer, maybe the whole rest of the year, to go through all the stuff in the house to identify what was good and dispose of what wasn't, then fix the place up. I thought it would make me too busy to blog, then realized I could still do some blogging, telling people about the cool things I found in the house.
We talked about the fact it was so huge, and what I might be able to do with it, like running a business out of the house. The last thing suggested before I woke up was a candy business.
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Wed Jun 11, 2003
Some songs were just made for driving. They can make you lose yourself in the sensation of flying along the highway. They can produce a gravitational anomoly in the vicinity of your right foot; "sorry officer, but that song came on the radio and I couldn't help it."
Of course I speak of Radar Love, by Golden Earing, the inspiration for this post, as the classic one. Any others that do the same thing to you?
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Tue Jun 03, 2003
He's Got... Bloginality
Dean had a post about this, which is a super simplified variant of the Myers-Briggs personality test. Amazingly, I got the same on this as I got the last time I took the online "real" version. Dean got the same on this one as I did.
My Bloginality is INTP!!!
INTP did seem to fit me well, as I recall.
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