Archives: August 2003

Sun Aug 31, 2003

Gnat for President!

This is a fantastic post depicting a fictional future conversation about 9/11 between a grandfather who lived through it and a grandson of the future time. I love some of the touches, both technology and the Presidents.

I usually don't also post things Instapundit points out first, but this is too good to miss.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 8:43 pm | Profile

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Bored Now

Since I'm nored and have nothing to say, I should probably fix up my blogroll. I have a few accumulated folks to add to it, after all.

But first I'll probably eat and watch a movie - or TV if anything good is on. I just ordered at least 2 meals worth of food from Domino's, which should be here in about 20 minutes. Mmmm... Hawaiian pizza.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 8:26 pm | Profile

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And I Thought I'd Never Have Children...

I'm a blogfather! That's never happened before, at least that I know of...

I might never have known, but for this e-mail I received today, saying:

I've really enjoyed reading your blog over the last couple of months. You've inspired me to start one of my own. Please check it out when you get the chance and I welcome your comments and thoughts! Thanks!

Lawren Mills

Check Lawren out at Martinis, Persistence, and a Smile. The place is brand new, the paint is still drying, but it's looking good so far.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 6:13 pm | Profile

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Other Fish in the Software Sea

Mog pointed out this Living Without Microsoft site, which explores the various alternatives, free or not, Linux or not.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 5:10 pm | Profile

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Life Plus

Something I saw on The Practice earlier reminded me of one of those odd things I always ponder.

People sometimes get sentenced to seriously long times, in years, although this would also apply if it were expressed as a life sentence.

So what if someone sentenced to 150 years without parole lived long enough to be released? That would be such a freaky scenario.

Of course that leads to more questions: How would the person be alive that long? What if he was not only alive, but still seemingly young and spry? Would it be possible for such a person to get lost in the system or overlooked, so a fuss wouldn't be made? What if this were someone who'd been wrongly accused and convicted?

This is another one of those concepts I have had in mind as story fodder. The wrongly convicted guy is still healthy and alive at the end of a ridiculous sentence, having lived long for reason to be determined, perhaps partially motivated by the lack of guilt and need to resolve things. When he is released, he tries to figure out, hindered by the passage of time, who framed him and why, and who the real culprit was, gaining some kind of satisfaction or vindication. I don't have specifics in mind as much as with the other idea I described here a while back.

I think it would be intriguing, someone outliving a sentence intended to be effectively for life.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 3:26 am | Profile

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Die Hard

I love that movie! Just watched it tonight for the umpteenth time. It never gets old as an example of brilliant film making.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 2:20 am | Profile

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Technorati seems to have been down at least most of the past day. Anyone know what's up with that?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 31, 03 | 2:19 am | Profile

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Sat Aug 30, 2003


Ugh. I feel kind of crappy today.

I had crazy dreams, too. In one, I was driving multiple people I used to work with to Wyoming. At least, I think it was Wyoming, as I lost track during the dream. Except I wasn't going to be allowed to drive my van, because one of them insisted on doing the actual driving. My sister was with us too.

By the time we left my house, which was in a subdivision that has never existed in reality, which I have dreamed of before, it was 7:00 at night, which was a ridiculous time to leave. Then we stopped at a house at the corner of the main road and the entry to the subdivision, and I went in to borrow something - margarine, if I remember right. It turned out the people weren't total strangers and knew who I was. For some reason I visited with them and didn't go back out to the car. Eventually, the people with me came trooping in to see what was going on, and it turned out my sister had gone to school with one of the people living there. Then everyone hung out for a while. Finally the guy who was insisting on driving agitated to leave. At this point it was midnight, and we all wondered where the time went. People weren't too happy with me for it taking hours even to get out of the town we were leaving from.

In the meantime, I'd talked with one of the other people about what route we'd be taking. She was concerned that our driver was going to drive down through New York, well to the south, then loop back to the north and hook up with the appropriate highway. It would have made more sense to go a different way.

When I asked about it, he told me relax, it wouldn't take any extra time. It turned out he was paranoid about driving on interstates, and intended to make as much of the trip as possible on secondary highways.

In my mind, since I had to drive my car back after leaving them at their new home, I planned to go home by what I considered the correct, more direct route, proving it was faster.

Also in my mind I was picturing the place they were moving to, a similar subdivision of white houses. I was amazed that they were moving well across the country, yet somehow ended up picking a place only a couple houses from someone I knew who already lived there.

Here's where I get confused as to whether it's the same dream or separate. The people are still with me, but now it's during the day, perhaps late morning. We still are in the original town and I have them stop at a place where I can buy candy. It's in a non-business area, but on one of the main roads, exactly where the house of a late friend of my father's is, but totally different. I tell them I'm going in and getting some "peanut turtles." That generates yum enthusiasm.

I go in and am surprised the girls in the shop know me, and the owner is an old friend. I talk. I buy a box of chocolates and find that they also serve lunch food; sandwiches and stuff, and do a good business at it. I ponder getting lunch.

Somewhere along the line, I end up getting back to the car, where I start handing out the chocolates. As it turns out, most of what's in the box looks roughly like turtles, but made with white chocolate. Where I had said they would have peanuts, they had a variety of nuts, including especially almonds. They were to die for.

I think we drove at that point, but it's more of a "time passes, and..." memory. I knew a day had passed and it only took that long to get most of the way to the destination, to my total amazement.

That's where it gets fuzzy. Next thing I know, I am back at that store, but it's a little different. At least some of the same people were there. Someone had tinkered around and built a small atomic bomb, in the store, which some of us pushed out and were trying to figuring out how to, um, eliminate as a danger or something.

We were convinced it was set to blow soon, so we all hid, or at least shielded our eyes and got well away. The funny thing is, those closest would have been harmed if it exploded with any force more powerful than a stick of dynamite. The whole thing was absurd. Some of us crossed the street and flung ourselves over a hill* to be more shielded from it. That was when I became aware one of the people was my mother.

Ultimately the bomb, which by then someone had dragged well away from the store, off into the trees, was obviously a dud. We all came back, and were trying to figure out how to render it completely harmless.

* This reminds me another part of the series of dreams I had, in which my father and I were at the top of a sand hill that amounted to almost a vertical face. There was a stairway of sorts down it, which I was going to take. My father started to fall over the edge adjacent to the stairs, but I caught him and pulled him back. He insisted no, let him go, I'd see what he was trying to do. So I let him jump down the hill, where he hit partway down, then rolled on is side, the way we rolled down grass hills when we were kids, faster and faster, almost a blur. Then he stopped and jumped up most of the way to the bottom, where the slope angled out less steeply, and showed he was fine and wasn't that clever.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 30, 03 | 3:36 pm | Profile

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I watched Serendipity on video tonight. This was a second viewing, as I saw it in the theater too. Liked it then, despite it having gotten modest reviews. Liked it better this time around. Found Kate Beckinsale more appealing than I did previously, for some reason.

So what do you think of the idea of fate? Has it ever seemed to be a factor for you?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 30, 03 | 4:04 am | Profile

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Abode Musings

My older brother is currently staying at my grandmother's house, crashing on a cot in a corner of the attic. She hates having him there, but then she's suffering that aging symptom of hating everything these days. She also does nothing but gripe about my mother, who also lives there, and on whom my grandmother is increasingly dependent. She collects a significant amount of money from my mother, which is how she can afford to keep the house. When my grandmother is gone, everything will be sold and split, and my mother will be out on the street. But I digress. Same kind of thing is happening with my brother. She's collecting significant money from him and complaining to everyone how she's losing money by having him there. Patently absurd on the face of it.

So my brother needs to go somewhere else eventually, of course subject to what happens with his divorce and whether he gets his house back. He's been talking with my cousin, who - if I am remembering right - is getting an apartment because his house isn't done yet. They may share a place, then later my brother may be able to take a room in my cousin's house.

If not, he's approaching me about the idea of sharing a place when the time comes.

I have mixed feelings. He can be tempestuous, but mostly he was fine to live with when I rented a room from him for a couple years up through and just beyond the end of college. It was meeting the ill-fated wife he'll be divorcing that he became crazy, and she made a concerted effort to "encourage" me to want to leave. For a year or so, I really liked living there. Whatever happens, I'd rather he move into a place that is already mine, or we move into a place together, so there can't be any "this is my apartment" bullshit. Though that didn't start until he'd met her.

I try to avoid sharing an apartment with anyone. I'm the esaiest going person in the world, but I can't stand living with people who aren't that way, or take advantage of my good nature. On the other hand, I really can't afford to keep on paying rent on an entire apartment myself, not at this price. It's a tough call. It would help us both.

Anyway, because he is talking next spring at least, it's so far in the future as to be highly speculative. I'd like to have moved by then myself.

All of which affects the broadband I spoke of in the previous post. I can't commit to a year, knowing I expect and want to move. Then again, with my level of inertia, I could be here that much longer. Which is bad; I'll end up frantically trying to move when I get a notice that rent is going up. Amazed I haven't been hit with that yet.

Well, we'll see what happens. I've had slow connections this long.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 30, 03 | 3:35 am | Profile

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People Are Funny and I Want Broadband

Last year we created an Access Database "program" for a groundskeeping business to automate its billing somewhat. The idea was at the end of each day, time and materials for each job doen during the day would be entered, then at the end of the month a bill for each customer serviced would print out based on the entered data.

The guy who had us do this had us under the impression that he would be doing the data entry each day, then at the end of the month his wife could just print out the bills. His old system is green checklist-style sheets, one for each customer, on which he manually writes the hours and material at the time the work is done. At the end of the month everything is tallied, a copy is made for them to keep, and the original is mailed as the bill. He still does the sheet on the job, which was the plan anyway, as a source of raw data and paper backup.

As it turns out, his wife enters the data, and it's not done daily. She enters the total activity at the end of the month, prints the reports and sends them. The bad thing is it doesn't break things down by what was done when during the month as it was intended, but nobody has complained.

This year we had not heard from them at all; no problems. My partner, who did most of the work on it - it gave him something to do at the time, even though we charged them less than it was worth - in his usual gloomy way predicted they weren't even using it, since they couldn't possibly have had no trouble.

A few weeks ago the wife called me. It flaked out because she'd somehow managed to get null into a field that couldn't take a null. Easy, with a little debugging at their house, which is within 3 miles of the office. She confirmed that my partner was wrong, they'd used it all season and it was great.

Then she called not long after that with a more general computer problem, in which the machine wouldn't boot. I would have attempted to boot from the XP CD and, assuming it's that similar to Win2000, let it do an automatic recovery. If it couldn't do that, I'd try going to the recovery console, though the main point would be to see if I could access file on the drive and grab anything important and small enough for a floppy. Including the MDB file for their billing. Which I'd repeatedly advised them to backup, on the idea having the archival data in it is a Good Thing.

When she found out what we normally charge, she was shocked and decided to wait for their computer literate friend. It is because I get this reaction so often that on a whiteboard when you first walk into our office I have our rate compared to Geek Housecalls, which is the same, and CompUSA's services, which is a bit more.

So the other day I went over there to clean up after the computer literate friend, who lost their billing database but not all their other files, did what appears to be a rather strange reinstall of XP, mangled Norton Antivirus, and failed to install all of MS Office XP Pro. Hello? Why would they have bought Office PRO if all they wanted was Word installed? That meant not having Access to open the billing database. I was there less than an hour, and most of that was for making NAV work. The rest was looking things over and installing all of Office, then making sure the MDB opened and the forms came up to do the data entry. I'm her hero and the friend is in the doghouse.

People are funny.

Meanwhile, when I was there I brought up my blog as kind of a "how does it load and look" test on someone else's machine. I need broadband. They have cable. My blog, which has gotten somewhat slower to load recently, came up with no noticable passage of time, as opposed to taking many seconds. I think I've seen it take as long as half a minute, and it's still not as bad as a bunch of the ones I visit. Instant. I just about flipped.

Speaking of broadband, I've been holding off until I move. Speaking of moving, that's another topic...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 30, 03 | 2:58 am | Profile

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Childhood Fears

Ninjababe reveals her big childhood fear and poses the question to the readers. Go tell her what your childhood fear, "however ludicrous" was and is. If you go there, you'll see my answer.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 30, 03 | 2:08 am | Profile

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Fri Aug 29, 2003

Nanny State

You know, I'm still offended by the requirement that a social security number be obtained for each newborn ASAP, and that the hospitals become insistent about making it happen for you. I assume it's worse now, since my impression stem's from the birth of my friend's daughter 14 years ago. He told the hospital where they could stick their automatic application of a social security number.

This alone seems like a good reason not to want Howard Dean as President.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 6:09 pm | Profile

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Teaching With Blogs

While I think it likely that most of the people who read me also read Rachel Lucas (and if you aren't, then why not?), just in case, I'd like to point out how an English professor is using blogging as a wonderful teaching tool.

I've started making my way through the links to the student blogs listed there. Most have an intro post and a post on one of the three blogs, Rachel's included, that were assigned for analysis. Some still have only an intro post. Heh, procrastinators. I'm finding some of them interesting enough that I know I'll want to return and see how they, and the teaching, progress.

If you're in education, or home schooling, this project may be food for thought...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 3:42 pm | Profile

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Rotting CD-R Alert


This is really, really bad news that Tony points out.

They have discovered that CD-R media can't bve relied on to hold their data more than about two years.

My client scans certain documents to TIFF files, which then get burned periodically to CD for posterity. Anything so scanned and stored doesn't have to be stored on paper in boxes at a storage place, one of their largest expenses. Ditto for migrating Word documents from the file server three years after each case closes. They go on CD-R for any possible future reference.

The Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) considers believe six years to be appropriate for storing files for a case. Making a best effort electronically is all that's required.

However, knowing that media we expect to last many years (I assumed almost indefinitely) will likely be unusable well before the requisite time is up changes everything.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 3:39 am | Profile

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Red and Blues

This OpinionJournal piece on red versus blue states is interesting. I had never thought about it in these terms, though it makes sense.

Overall, people are fleeing blue states and moving into red states, voting with their feet. Taxes and living expenses are almost universally higher, sometimes insanely so, in blue states.

Reality has to seep into the equation sooner or later. Right?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 3:14 am | Profile

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The Island of China and Other Scary Things

[Warning: Boring relatives and soap opera alert, with a bit near the end about my nephew's geographical failings. This is as much to get things thought about and off my chest as to interest the poor, gentle readers.]

I went and delivered the computer as mentioned. My 13 year old niece, who started 7th grade this week, and my 11 year old nephew were the only ones home. I visited with them briefly, talked about school and stuff. Then my niece asked if her father had talked to me about his visitation. (Not to a great degree.) She told me that if he says their mother is keeping them from seeing him, that's not true. They "don't like to go with him because of his BS." The two of them were in agreement on that point.

I believe it, especially since the two of them talked to my father about the same problem a couple weeks ago. Then I discussed it with my father and he's tried to caution my brother how not to behave when he has the kids. Guess it's my turn, and maybe it'll stick, coming from me. I always end up being the family anchor, or sanity check. Executor on my sister and brother in law's wills? Me. Executor on my father and stepmothers wills? Me. My brother has me in mind for his too. I'm the one people think of for that sort of thing, as well as being the one who is at peace with everyone and can be an intermediary or voice of reason. As my brother said using more words, people know they can trust me implicitly.

Despite my brother being somewhat whacky and indiscrete, almost like a 14 year old in a 48 year old body in some ways, he to his wife is as Acidman is to his ex. Except even he had some clue they should never have married. She latched onto him on the rebound and started taking control within about a month of meeting him. Convinced him she was sterile. About the time she was pregnant with my now 15 year old niece, he'd have probably dumped her. That pregnancy led him to speeding up closure on the pending divorce with his first wife. He might have not had to pay her so much otherwise. The bank made him put his current wife, before they were married, on the mortgage and deed.

From almost as soon as they met, he knew her goal in life was to get herself a house. At the time, my father still owned the body shop next door and my brother still worked there. My father had given him the land so he'd be able to afford to get a house, but unfortunately no strings were attached. Even if a lien had been put on 4 years ago it would have helped, but now it'd be transparent. Obviously the idea was it was my brother's, for him to keep whatever happened. While the dynamic and circumstances differed the first time, in that case it was a given; it just cost him. To her, it appeared he had a house and would inherit or take over a business, making him very appealing.

She's highly manipulative, knowing just what buttons to push, knowing how to create an entirely different image and set of facts for different audiences. It's amazing. She's not 100% evil, and there are things she is right about that he doesn't understand, but ultimately we're talking a 90%/10% ratio here. The stories I could tell...

He has the famous family temper, but limited ability to control it, and more pressure to trigger it than I could even bear. She knows how to get him to blow up, making him look like an asshole and her look good, or threatened. He's gotten good; for a few years now he's kept a lid on it. My father mellowed tremendously with age in that regard, and had good control in the first place. I keep a lid on it well, but it's like a nuke going off when I blow. Arguably I keep a lid on myself too well. Thus things like the blood pressure.

As I said, my brother is indiscrete and talks too much and says the wrong things to the wrong people. He has trouble grasping that not everyone is his friend, and not everyone sympathizes. When he has the kids every other Sunday, the topic of their mother, the circumstances of the separation and probable divorce, money, ire about his house that she's now renovating without his consent or ability to control (all an effort to look good to the kids and the court, which at least with the kids is apparently working), and that sort of thing should never come up. He should stick to how the kids are doing, what they're interested in, how the movie was that they just watched, friendly banter, fun. Anything regarding there mother should be neutral in tone and strictly business. He's not in control of himself enough to do that, or is not even thinking or making the effort. If the kids really understood what he's thinking and feeling with respect to them, they'd be surprised.

I sent him to a really good lawyer. He has the police in town on his side, and they have provided a record of all the times he reported that she was goading or threatening him so he was leaving the house and sleeping in the car. There's a really good shot at things coming out significantly in his favor. This will all work better if he doesn't alienate the kids at the same time she is working on them from her end.


The amazing thing is the kids. The oldest of the three (there are two older kids from the first marriage, turning 30 and 29 this year) is 15 and is into teenage stuff, plus had the most negative influence from her mother. She is the least likely to go with him for visitation, or to not stay the whole time. For instance, the Sunday I joined them for breakfast, she was there for that, then my father dropped her home while the other two stayed with my brother. She has the intelligence genes from my side of the family, and works hard, so she gets virtually nothing but A grades and freaks if she doesn't. Smart, funny, cute, moody, but a straightforward person who isn't acting or manipulating you like her mother. She can almost just pick up any instrument and figure out how to play it.

My brother makes sure the kids own the instruments needed in reasonable quality at the best deals he can get. He hangs out at a couple of music stores and is friendly with the owners. His wife doesn't understand this and gets pissed when he pays $20 a week until he can bring home the sax or whatever the kids need, so they can stop borrowing one. He is into music, and she made him all but stop. Considers it completely unacceptable. Musicians cheat on their wives, after all. In an amazing show of discretion, for him, he never pushed the kids to be interested in music. They just were, by themselves. The two from the first marriage weren't, and I believe he pushed it in that case.

Anyway, the middle kid is amazing. She is nearly as bright as her sister, but more of a normal girl next door. Not moody. Pleasant, exactly what she appears to be, even more so than her sister. From this marriage with my whacko brother and his über whacko, alchoholic wife, springs one of the coolest, sweetest, confident kids ever. She's playing an instrument too, but I forget which. Her sister quickly learned it and taught her, then she had maybe a week to learn material for a small concert for the younger classes at the school. Nothing like pressure.

The youngest is becoming more interesting and pleasant. He's not academic like the others, and for instance ended up kind of behind in reading. He's always been more interested in things like construction. When he's with other kids, he can be a bully. If anyone bore the brunt of the negative energy there, it's him. At the moment his sister, the middle kid, is as much his "mother" as anyone. Still, he's young and he seems headed in the right direction.

I have to dote on the nieces and nephews and grandnieces, since I don't have my own. My younger brother's oldest turned 14 this year, so it'll be here turn to get a computer for Christmas from me. I hope I can afford it. Actually, she has a modest one already, but will need a better one for art school than what I'd give her, so this will probably be a collaboration between me and my brother. Next year it'll be my older brother's middle daughter's turn; the one I talked about above.

After visiting them, I picked up pizza and swung by my sister's, figuring I'd visit briefly and get my missing tent and cooler finally. When I arrived, it looked like they were off on vacation! I let myself in, didn't see the tent and cooler, but decided since they weren't there I'd sit in their kitchen and eat pizza, rather than driving it all the way home.

Just as I had locked up and was about to get in my car to leave, my sister and the two nephews pulled in. That was a "duh!" moment because even as I was thinking they'd gone up to Maine early or something, I was eating pizza and reading my nephew's permission/consent forms for school that were sitting on the table. They started school this week, so of course they were around.

That turned into an extended visit because my sister loves to talk. Mostly complain. They're renovating the house, finding all kinds of problems like rot and yellow jackets. Because of her MS, they're modifying things so she can ultimately be first floor only, not have to go up the stairs to the bedroom. She's on new MS medicine. Scary, because she has to mix stuff together and make the mixture herself, then inject it, instead of just injecting something pre-made. Complicated directions and you have to do it just so.

My uncle used to have a party each year on the Sunday of labor day weekend at the house in Maine, which now is the only house, since the ones in Florida and Massachusetts were sold. For a few years, for various reasons, they haven't had the big thing, but some of us could go up and visit if we wanted. I love going up there and spending a few hours in the lake.

I had forgotten this was Labor Day weekend coming up, until my brother reminded me. He's planning to drive up, crash for one night, then come back at the end of the next day. He hasn't been there in several years, and for the particular house, this is it. They've sold it. They put it on the market for a million and it seems it didn't stay on the market long. My sister thinks someone from Texas bought it. Meanwhile, they've bought 5 acres on a different lake, and will have a new house built there. It has to be a single floor for medical reasons, else I'm sure they'd never have sold.

My brother was asking if I wanted to ride with him up there. I wasn't sure. Both it being my brother offering to drive, and having not had time yet to contemplate. My sister and I rode in my brother's van up to Prince Edward Island one time. Periodically we'd all scream at him because the car in front was braking while he was staring off at the scenery. We thought we were going to die.

So there I am, at my sister's house, being asked if I would drive my nephews up to Maine if I am going. Heh. They're just dying to go up there. My sister isn't, and my mother and grandmother already left while the kids had to be in school. Maybe I will. [Pauses to e-mail the actual uncle being affected by this. What a concept!]

While I was at my sister's, I found out to my utter horror that my nephew, the one about to turn 15, could not locate China on a map and thought it was an island. His comment? "I told you they weren't teaching us anything!"

This is the kid who had homework in 7th and 8th grade that appeared to be stuff I did in high school, in college, or even not at all. From what see, I got seriously ripped off in the seventies, and the schools, including the ones I went to, are far more comprehensive and challenging than they were then.

But apparently they didn't do shit with geography, and he wasn't independently fascinated by the subject. Mapchic would be stricken! I know at his age I knew where China was. I don't recall if it was taught per se, but of course everyone knew where it was. I was aware of and interested in geopolitics already, so maybe that helped. But... but... In 4th grade we learned about different countries and each had a focus. Mine was Italy. I created a paper mache relief map thingy of Italy for that class. It was cool. So that may have nothing to do with China, but it has everything to do with evidence geography was taught.

In junior high, forget which year and it was the same awesome social studies teacher both years, we learned state capitols. That is what I still remember most of them from, especially Topeka, Kansas, which someone in the class jokingly called tapioca.

He has Western Civilization this year. "Honors" he says proudly. Perhaps that'll plant some knowledge and/or interest in his bright young mind.

Sheesh. Not knowing where China is. An island. Indeed!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 2:55 am | Profile

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Jeff just made me cry with his pet stories and thoughts.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 29, 03 | 12:01 am | Profile

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Thu Aug 28, 2003

The Good, The Bad and The Yummy

I just returned from fixing a customer problem I'll tell you about later. Got my prescriptions, and remembered to eat the Choco Taco I got yesterday with my Taco Bell food. Yum! I was so full, I forgot to go to the freezer and get that afterward.

Now I have to take a computer over to my sister in law. The trick of this is, she tossed my brother out two or three months ago, so I feel a little tense about it. However, it's always fun to see the kids.

My favorite pizza in the world comes from Halifax Pizza & Sub Shop in Halifax, Massachusetts. Since I'll be over that way, I do believe I'll stop and get pizza for supper. Double yum!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 6:26 pm | Profile

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Don't Blink

I am now a Playful Primate! (Not to be confused with the Simian One of course.)

Betcha that doesn't last.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 6:12 pm | Profile

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Building Windowless

I always find the possibility of going Microsoft-free intriguing. Rob Sama pointed out this article/interview regarding a company that did just that after an outrageous BSA bust.

I've used Red Hat 8. I've used Open Office. The Linux option is almost fully there as a viable replacement for anyone, and is there if you want to make an effort or don't use anything custom for Windows that can't readily be replaced. If you sat a novice user down at Gnome or KDE, with no preconceptions or conditioning to the way Windows works, it's really no less easy to figure out. I've dealt with people who were starting up new law firms with a person, two, five, from scratch, and the cost difference would be significant to them. However, I don't know of any case/document management software for Linux, making it a troublesome option for firms that rely on such a product. Ditto for CD-based research such as Westlaw's; you'd have to rely on online research.

Eventually I'd like to be able to offer new law firms the option of an essentially turnkey Linux-based solution, and established firms the option of switching without any loss of functionality.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 1:23 pm | Profile

[6] comments (1144 views) |  link


Can't sleep. Need sleep. Must sleep soon. Argh...

Perhaps it was not entirely kind of my brother to bring me coffee when he came by last night. Then again, I've been known to drink that and more and be unaffected. Every time I am close to dropping off, I itch, or sounds I shouldn't notice bother me.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 7:10 am | Profile

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Technically Walking

Technically Speaking, aka Tony Talks Tech, is just what you'd expect from a blog of that name. The latest post discusses and links to a motherboard review. The next post talks about AI, developing a cognitive machine. Imagine this is most computer systems in the next 10 years! Then there's a post written especially for Ith. A slightly older post briefly discusses, and links to an article about, building your own laptop.

That intrigues me. They are so expensive, and so... "factory complete" that it's hard to picture building one. I've built probably in excess of fifty desktop computers, but a laptop would be new to me. That said, the article pretty much declares it impossible. I can buy "desknote" computers that are extensively configurable (CPU, RAM, drive), and the respective parts, from my supplier. Otherwise they're still pretty proprietary.

Tony always has interesting stuff. Some might not grab you, but usually something there will. It's worth regular visits.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 4:29 am | Profile

[2] comments (1275 views) |  link

Blog Keeps On Slippin', Into The Future

FuturePundit tends to post extremely interesting science and technology stuff that you'll either love, or not find that interesting, depending on the topic. I find it like reading Science News. Some issues I read every word. Some issues I read a few articles and the rest don't grab me or aren't topics of interest. This site is a big favorite of mine to visit daily to see what's new there, even if some of it only gets a quick skim.

The latest post discusses whether we have the right to erase our memories. Think about the implications; the answer may not be knee-jerk simple. How about a mandatory, secure backup of the erased memories maintained for some duration? Who knows what kind of an issue this may become in time. Suppose we manage to garner a lifespan of 300 years for ourselves, but neural capacity becomes a weak link? Pruning of memories or enhancement of the natural wetware with artificial hardware may well be required to make it fly. This is a post, and a barrel full of SF ideas, all by itself.

Speaking of aging, an earlier post talks about youthful rejuvenation and lifespan extension. Quite true, many people now alive will see the year 2100, barring catastrophic failure of civilization.

Another post discusses an MRI study of satiation. Yep, we're like dogs, just with bigger brains and less fur. Heh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 2:58 am | Profile

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Improbably Walking the Blogroll

Chris Adams discusses whether government and the internet are incompatible. He is also unimpressed with Eudora, and questions the wisdom of trusting Diebold elections systems, given their insecurity.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 2:41 am | Profile

[1] comments (1062 views) |  link

Plummeting Through the Blogroll

Part of the reason I linked Chris Metcalf is I liked the blog name "My Life As A Nutshell." Not in a nutshell. As a nutshell. Much of the posting here is personal what he's up to or griping about, like the weather. Then he goes and confirms geekhood by talking of the rush of installing Debian Linux on a new box. He posts a lot of photos, of things like his skydiving trip. *Shudder*

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 2:23 am | Profile

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Programming Around the Blogroll

To be honest, I'm sometimes not sure why I linked the Programming blog by Scott Hanselman. It's there as much for other people who may be into what it covers as it is for me. He talks of things like SOAP. He teaches people C# and discusses that on the blog. There's a post in which he supplies a bunch of links to articles on exception management. Sometimes there are more general trials and tribulations, reports from conferences and so forth. This blog is really for a very specific audience, but for that audience it seems to be worthwhile.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 2:17 am | Profile

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Walking the Blogroll

The Technoptimist has been on rather light blogging, last posting about juries of your peers on the 21st. Before that it was the 8th, on a smartcard contract awarded by the TSA. He notes that in politically motivated cases where the defendants are cowed into pleading, the sometimes get worse sentences than had they gone to trial. Interesting point.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 2:09 am | Profile

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Real Geek, Real Camper

The Real Geek, now blogging as iBLOGthere4iM, using a blogging tool he wrote himself (how many people can say that?), points to a Bill Gates memo regarding trustworthy computing, has and links to neato Mars pics, and most importantly is hiring in Toronto (at least, I assume that's what the abbreviation means). As you might guess from the name and the location on my roll, he write a lot on programming and technical matters. The other large part of the blogging is reports, sometimes with pictures, on family camping in the new "I want one of those too!" RV.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 1:59 am | Profile

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Meaningless Elections

I found this analysis, if that's the correct word for it, over on Caerdroia, to be fascinating. Jeff finishes with a link to a previous post in which he has stated that there ought to be a constitutional convention. While you may not agree with that conclusion - I'm certainly not sure I do - the piece, while lengthy, is still an excellent and thought provoking read.

It analyzes how elections were once relatively unimportant, and therefore easier to bear losing and waiting until next time to try again for the party out of power. With the exception of 1860, it remained that way until the 1930's. Since then, elections and keep a party in power have become more important due to the constitutionally unforeseen and questionable concentration of power.

Here are two consecutive sample paragraphs from fairly near the end of the post:

By taking power away from the people, and away from the States, and concentrating it in the Federal government, the stakes have been raised too high to allow for a gentle loss and a peaceful handover of power, too high for there to ever be a time where the next election isn't being fought. But I think that all of this came about because of a lack of faith in the people. If we don't trust people to make their own fiscal and personal decisions wisely, or States to make regulatory decisions wisely, and instead insist on government control of every aspect of life, then we reasonbly conclude that power must be concentrated as much as possible. And this is the foundation of the policies of both major parties. The Democrats want to control our fiscal behavior, and the Republicans want to control our social behavior. With all of the power of unlimited government behind them, how could they pass up the opportunity to rule?

But that's the thing, really. We Americans shouldn't be electing rulers. We should be electing representatives and governors and presidents. And the very first and most important duty of those people should not be to accumulate control, but to shed it. The purpose of government is to protect the citizens so that they can create the economy and society they want, not to mandate the economy and society they must accept. To do otherwise is very, very un-American.

Go ahead. Grab some coffee, tea or whatever, relax, and read it all.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 1:34 am | Profile

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It's A Cool Design, To Be Frank

So where can we all order one of these cool rugs? I mean, doesn't it just screech out to be walked on?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 12:47 am | Profile

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And This a Surprise How?

No kidding, really? And call center or elementary tech support phone work was supposed to suddenly lose it's penchant for high turnover and low satisfaction when it moved to other countries?

Hello!? Yo, management! Yeah, you.

Call center work sucks. Most people hate it.

Tech support over the phone is one of the top handful of high stress jobs, a bit below things like emergency workers (police, fire, EMT).

Most call centers, especially if they either are call centers or are support centers that view themselves and treat the employees as if they are call centers, are essentially modern day sweatshops.

Turnover is always high unless it's a damn good place to work and a conscious effort is made to keep people there and reasonably happy.

Imagine and outsourced support provider doing support for a major OEM's desktop computers. A particularly lousy line of computers. The outsourced support center you work for traditionally has an attitude, or the people do, of wanting to help the customers. The OEM wants and average call time of two minutes to solve problems. The crew averages closer to nine minutes but has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any call center supporting that OEM. You're also supposed to get a credit card from the customer every single time before the call starts so they can be charged the $35 for the call no matter what. Sounds like revenue optimization to me, more than good customer service.

Periodically one of the OEM's quality monitors will burst into flames on a support person's desk while they are on with a customer. That is always amusing.

The phones don't ring. You have to wear a headset at all times. You hear a beep and suddenly a person is there.

The OEM ships defective units in time for Christmas. On Christmas and subsequently it takes something like two solid months before the call queue clears and there is no wait on the customer side when they call in.

You think the support employees like that kind of staffing, attitude, and quality problems. No. They may not be able to commiserate with you since they aren't prepared to be fired from their lowly job, but they probably do unless you're a real jerk coming in spewing attitude. Which support techs really love, since they are stuck between you and the management (or the company that makes the product) and can't do anything about the annoying waits, defective coding or manufacturing, etc. that have you launching yourself at them spewing curses.

Imagine you're supporting a spreadsheet program. You put your phone in the mode that indicates you're away from it so no calls will come in. After two minutes, you are automatically put in available mode. Your phone rings. You return from the bathroon to find yourself logged out because you didn't answer, and in trouble with the supervisor who is the managerial equivalent of a puffed up rent-a-cop security guard who fancies himself a real officer of da law.

You're supporting a spreadsheet program. The management has an application made that puts a toilet icon on your desktop. You click it to indicate when you are in fact on toilet break.

Worse, they make you wait because too many people are already on break.

You support a programming software package. For the early version of it new hires got eight days of training before you would go on the phone, but the hires came from inside the company, already with knowledge of other products and troubleshooting skills. The eight days was barely enough, but the product was not so complex that a few weeks on the phones didn't get you in the groove. A couple versions later, the training was two weeks, with far more to cover, and many people hired off the street. Then in a new low, one new hire class is given just a week of training and then put on the phones. Ultimately the vendor figures out this is a problem and the support company has seriously cut corners, and new hire training finally becomes the five week deal it should have been.

You have open support cases that couldn't be resolved on the initial call. Each day you have an hour to research them, which really should be two hours. It gets busy, because they're understaffed, because too many people laugh when they find out what the job pays. They take away the research time and make you take new incoming calls that hour. They do this day after day sometimes. After a while, management harasses you about the number of open cases that have had no activity on them because management has eliminated the time available for doing so. Customers aren't too happy with the delay either.

People call and get pompous and demanding because they "used to work there" or they know so and so the vice-president.

I could go on and on, but I lost my head of steam because right in the middle of three paragraphs ago, my brother arrived for me to help him with some financial forms and was here over three hours.

Call center work is a drag. You get irate people. You get ignorant people. You get clueless management. You get a certain amount of hopeless colleagues. You get a sweatshop atmosphere.

Phone-based tech support is a drag, but better than pure call center (customer service) work can be, depending on the degree of brain power required (or allowed!), variety involved, and training provided.

Both are usually monotonous, as the article says. Both usually lack challenge, at least after a while. Even what might seem to be God-like technical skill to you the cusomer on the one call you make can seem boring to the support tech who solves the same problem the same way daily.

They are high turnover jobs. Why should it be different in India? What, they're intelligent and talented enough to take on that type of work, but ought to be more stoic or grateful than North Americans and tolerate a lousy type of job in often deplorable conditions? I'd like to think we can give the furriners more credit than that.

Enough of the rant. I need to go home. I was supposed to do laundry and it will be almost 1:00 AM before I get home. Argh. One of these days I should just find a 24 hour laudromat, go in late at night with everything and get caught up at once.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 28, 03 | 12:12 am | Profile

[1] comments (1137 views) |  link

Wed Aug 27, 2003

I AM VOTING NOW - Care to Join Me?

Balloon Juice a while back asked for you to vote in the Blogger awards, but was not going to bother tallying the results if less than 50 entries were received. A bunch of us linked and promoted the idea, yet even most of us who linked it and thought it was a great idea got lazy and failed to submit votes. Go figure. The most recent deadline was the 18th, but there's been no post announcing the awards, and I am sure the count of votes is still well below the minimum.

Let's get this thing sone while it's still August folks! I am submitting my votes now, this evening, without further procrastination, a thing I do so well. Don't know who to vote in a category? Vote the ones in which you have an opinion! That's what I'm going to do. The rest I'll leave blank.

The details of the categories are below. Paste into an e-mail and send to jgriffincole [at] hotmail [dot] com (obviously modify to remove the spam harvest protection). Do it now. Go over to this post at Balloon Juice if you'd like to see the original, which does have some links I'm not bothering to repro here.

For what it's worth, the name of category 1 is what my blog is commonly called. That's kind of funny. I seem to recall Maripat proposing me for category 16, which also is fitting.

BLOG Categories

1.) Most Underrated Blog

2.) Snarkiest Blog

3.) Most Consistently Pessimistic Blog

4.) Most Consistently Optimistic Blog

5.) Best Original Source Blog (posts are predominantly his/her own material)

6.) Best Researching Blogger (posts are always thoroughly linked, explained, and well-reasoned)

7.) Best Essayist

8.) Angriest Blog (The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is not allowed as a choice. He has perfected the form. All other entries will be tallied)

9.) Most Creative Link Whore

10.) The Atrios Memorial Award for Left-Winger Who Thinks Raving Bush Hate Is Justified (Eschaton votes will not be tallied)

11.) The Damn the Clenis™ Award for Right-Winger Obsessed with Clinton

12.) Blogger You would most like to get Carpal Tunnel (Balloon Juice votes will not be tallied)

13.) Best Libertarian Blog

14.) Best Conservative Blog

15.) Best Liberal Blog

16.) Best blog with no real theme (Lileks is excluded)

Single Post Categories

17.) Blog Post That Made You Laugh So Hard You Shot A Beverage Out Your Nose Onto the Monitor

18.) Blog Post That Made You So Mad You Thought You Were Going to Have the Big One and Visit Elizabeth

19.) Most Factually Inaccurate Blog Post of the Year

20.) Blog Post That actually Changed Your Opinion about Someone, Something, or Some Issue

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 5:54 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1118 views) |  link

Software Patents

Over at the excellent site Unpersons, Stephen Hodgson has a new post on the proposed EU Software Patent Directive, which people are protesting today. This is a measure that effectively would allow the patenting of ideas. It would supplant the heretofore reasonably effective copyright protection of software with something that would stifle innovation. I had no idea that this sort of thing was in the works!

A snippet of the post:

The EU's proposed software patents legislation will make ideas patentable and it will have the immediate effect of harming innovation, damaging research and development projects, undermining e-commerce, jeopardising software development and publication and allowing firms with enough money and bargaining power to monopolise information and ideas. The current patents system has played a key role in helping inventors like James Dyson produce and protect his 'dual cyclone' vacuum cleaner technology and helped ensure Dyson received just reward for the work he did on developing his revolutionary technology - but extrapolating the implications of the EU's latest patent proposals, Dyson might never seen his design turned into a worldwide hit because a firm like Hoover may have been able to patent all 'means of using suction to remove dirt from a carpet'. This example is not as far-fetched as you might imagine when one considers that the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has already granted a patent to Amazon that covers all computerised methods of automatically delivering a gift to a third party and British Telecom last year claimed that it owned a patent on hyperlinks and sought compensation from American ISPs for unlicensed use of its technology.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 5:36 pm | Profile

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Rachel Lucas Needs Help

Rachel has an urgent technical question for any of you video geek types out there, and/or will need assistance, for instance duplication of DVD in large numbers if she can get initial copy(s) made.

Pop on over there and read what she's asking, and see if there's any advice or help you can e-mail her.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 3:23 pm | Profile

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Axis of Feeble and More

Just to clarify things, Frank J., simian leader of the Axis of Feeble, has a new nickname as voted over here. Thus don't be confused when you see him referred to as Ethel, though I am still as likely to use Simian One or Aquamonkey.

Jen also writes cool stuff about adult beverages (does white zin even qualify as one?) and Presidential history.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 3:04 pm | Profile

[13] comments (2023 views) |  link

Carnival Time

It is worth noting that Carnival of the Vanities is up at Creative Slips. Very nicely done theme.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 2:25 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1072 views) |  link


Just think, someday people are going to live here. That's the thought that gets me all excited. In the scheme of things, the next 20-100 years is soon, and that's when it's happening unless we really screw up worse than we already have.

I look at that beautiful picture and think "I wonder what it'll look like when it has a thicker atmosphere and people on it."

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 2:09 pm | Profile

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Simberg Gets It, But We Knew That Already

Rand Simberg has some excellent comments about the future and direction of the space program, inspired by his reading of the Columbia report and the sense that perhaps Admiral Gehman "gets it."

This is the passage that really grabbed me and reminded me of this Pluto post I made recently:

It's time to write your congressman and senators, and say, not I want to send astronauts to Mars, or I want to send astronauts to the Moon, but I want my children to be able to go into space, and I want to see a payoff from space, in new resources, and energy, and political freedom. And I want to go into space myself, and it's none of your damned business why I want to go, any more than one had to fill out a form in the seventeenth century to explain why one wanted to go to America from Europe. I want a debate on the purposes of why we're spending money on NASA, and I'm tired of the space program being used as an excuse for jobs in the right congressional districts, or foreign aid to countries that don't act like allies, with no attention being paid to any actual accomplishments in space.

Who knows, maybe something like this would work. Perhaps it's even more important than lobbying for the Pluto/Kuiper mission, though that's relatively inexpensive, time-sensitive science that could gain us knowledge that makes the rest easier in the next 120 years.

Since I am on the topic, then next day after posting about Pluto, I had a thought. If it goes unfunded (or underfunded), how hard would it be to take up a collection, start a private fund to finance it on time? I'm dead broke, but if it made a difference between the Pluto/Kuiper mission going or not, I'd find $100 to toss in a fund for it. It's that important to me.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 27, 03 | 12:29 am | Profile

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Tue Aug 26, 2003

Evil Store Cards Must Die

I have to agree with Buzz on the store card issue. I hate the whole concept. Just charge us what you're gonna charge us and let that be that. None of this collecting personal info and pretending it's worth our while for the savings we'll get. Save it for people who want to write you checks.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 11:58 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1753 views) |  link

Analysis of an Instalanche and Site Meter

Okay, time to analyze the Instalanche, at least for the sake of getting some amusing graph pictures posted while it's easy. Site Meter shows my visits for today as follows:

Total 22,699
Average Per Day 262
Average Visit Length 2:05
Last Hour 134
Today 5,085
This Week 1,832

There's a problem or two here, and now I begin to understand why some people claim Site Meter is unreliable. Here are yesterdays stats as e-mails to me, from a more normal day:

Total ....................... 19,173
Average per Day ................ 262
Average Visit Length .......... 2:05
This Week .................... 1,832

Note that the count was 19,173 overall. Add 5,085 to that and you get 24,258. Why does it say I am at 22,699? Its own numbers do not compute.

Why is the "this week" number unchanged? Does it not tick over until midnight?

I noticed this early on, after the deluge started. At one point the counter didn't move, but the current day hit count did.

For what it's worth, from the above figures for the 26th to midnight could see as many as 100 added to the hit count.

This is a graph of today. The first part of the day was pretty normal, but on this scale looks almost invisible.

This is for the week, similarly out of all proportion.

This is the month worth of data graphed, making the incredible days I had recently look tiny.

This is the year to date, in which August is in no danger of disappointing me at all. I got essentially a month worth of hits today.

Needless to say, I checked stats regularly, and I noticed immediately that Site Meter lagged. For instance, in a matter of minutes I went from 110 for the day to 377, but the entries in the referral list didn't change at all.

I haven't checked the stats provided by Hosting Matters at all yet.

Beyond stats, I noticed that almost none of the people who clicked to the entry Glenn linked came over to the main blog page to check it out further. My permalink page doesn't lend itself to encouraging that as much as perhaps it could. Probably time to think about tweaking some more. Not that it's that big a deal. I'm very curious to see if an Instalanche leads to any noticable uptick in traffic over the longer run.

It also seemed like few people left comments in proportion to the number visiting. Which still meant a lot of cool comments.

Interesting experience. Very exciting! I was mildly surprised that he selected that post, but then it's the kind of thing that would interest him, and I had drawn attention to a different post in an e-mail. Thus I knew a link was possible today, if not likely.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 11:40 pm | Profile

[10] comments (1800 views) |  link

My Answer Is Yes

Weekend Pundit has an excellent, tantalizing, everyone's gotta have thoughts on it kind of question, inspired by recent findings on aging, which he discusses too.

Would you want to live forever, or at least a very long time, like 200+ years, if not for thousands like Lazarus Long?

I am kicking myself for not thinking of asking this here myself, or already having it in mind for next weeks zany question of the week.

Go on over there. Answer! Discuss! I left my answer.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 10:47 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1043 views) |  link

Flood the Carnival

This is a really great idea! We should all send in entries about all the bad things about Frank J. for the next Carnival of the Vanities, the September 3rd edition here. I'll post the e-mail as soon as I know it, or go there and keep an eye out for it. We'll further enfeeble the Axis of Feeble. Heh heh heh...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 10:11 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1089 views) |  link


I'll do an anatomy of the Instalanche at some point, but currently it's still going on at a number of hits per hour greater than I would normally get in a day, and a number of hits so far today that would be reasonable for a whole month. The graphs are funny, and it's interesting to watch Site Meter not always keep up. Most of the day it would not give me "Who's On," claiming there were no visitors in the last 20 minutes. Which really meant "there are hundreds of people on and I'm confused." When that finally worked, there were 63. I believe the previous record is around 14 or 15.

For those of you residual visitors from Instapundit who actually come to the main page and see this, welcome! Glad you dropped by, and I hope you'll return. Sometimes the content here is goofy or inane, and other times it's not, but it averages out pretty good.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 8:31 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1138 views) |  link

Digging the Blogroll

Dan Bricklin has a cool post about a Big Dig tour he went on (no permalink), complete with some nice pictures, especially of the bridge. Interesting that the control room is using some DEC computers, because the project started so long ago.

As a bonus on the next posts down there are Oregon vacation pics and a piece on the tablet PC.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 5:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1247 views) |  link

The Big Time

I meant to point out yesterday that Scott Chaffin has gotten international press. Woohoo!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 3:44 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1708 views) |  link

Cheese, Glorious Cheese

Aha! Pathetic Earthlings points to a post on cheese being addictive. I am so not surprised. It would certainly explain my answering cheese to the question of "cheese or chocolate" on one of those 5 question thingies.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 3:37 pm | Profile

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Time for Another Goofy Quiz

We may be few, but Ith, from whom I got this particular quiz, was also one...


The ULTIMATE personality test
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 3:13 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1074 views) |  link

Me Too

I don't get it either. It's only been two years. Since that event. Hello media!

I taped several hours too, but didn''t think to do so until the afternoon, even though I saw the second plane live as it happened.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 2:56 pm | Profile

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Need to Add to Blogroll

Did you know that The Laughing Wolf is a grand place to go for NASA and space stuff? Yup, it is.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 2:45 pm | Profile

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Shiva Descending and Dated SF

I recently finished reading, for the second time, Shiva Descending by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler. Excellent, gripping book, but a little dated, just as Lucifer's Hammer is. Shiva Descending dates to 1980, where if I recall correctly Lucifer's Hammer dates to 1976. Lucifer's Hammer is one of my all time favorites, which I have read something like five times over the years.

When the couple of precautionary "oops, Earth is gonna get slammed" movies came out a few years ago, I naturally thought of Lucifer's Hammer. Some people on a mailing list I'm on were discussing Deep Impact's merits and problems. As one person said, "it's neither deep nor has impact." Ouch! And it was more technically accurate than Armageddon. Anyway, Benford, who is on the same list, posted that Shiva Descending was closer to Deep Impact, and a rough inspiration for the movie. Didn't sound too happy about it.

That's what led me to read Shiva the first time; sort of a direct recommendation from the author. Ironically, I already owned a used copy. I tended to buy bunches of books, used or otherwise, that when I looked at them is the store looked compelling enough, then I would put them on the shelf and get around to reading them someday. I'd kept looking at that one, considering it, but for some reason I hadn't dived in yet. Maybe I was reading and rereading the Wheel of Time series too much. Rereading while they were still compelling enough to be seductively rereadable, anyway. The most recent ones have been one shots.

Where Lucifer's Hammer is discovery of the comet and initial buildup and meeting the characters, then the greater and greater probability of a strike, then the strike and the aftermath, Shiva Descending is a very quick discovery and buildup, the reaction of the populace when the word is released and it comes closer, with no major effort at secrecy, the buildup of the mission to try to stop it, and the mission itself. In that regard, LH is like neither movie.

Sadly, the way people act in the book is way to much like they probably would if it were happening in reality.

LH was current day and made no predictions. The space part of it assumed existing or easy to throw together Apollo and Soyuz hardware. In a way it's less dated because it's not extrapolating a future to speak of. It's a period book for sure; a reality that didn't happen, but that was so pretty much immediately.

SD is set in the future from 1980, though I don't believe it ever said exactly when. That was before the first shuttle launch. In that world, there are multiple space stations, including one that grew up around an initial component formerly a fuel tank. An old, nearly obsolete station has a spinning wheel design! With two wheels! Ships dock there for refueling. Their are lunar stations and routine lunar runs. There are manned space telescopes. They've been to Mars.

What a hopeful future!

Yet they still relied on a computer center with sensitive, liquid helium cooled computers in which the chips can fry if the power is out very long. No cell phones. Who knew? Oh, but there are videophones everywhere.

Strange thing is, the models for the character would have been Mondale and earlier, but when they described (the general perception of) the Vice-President, I thought of Quayle.

Isn't it funny how wrong near future SF can get things?

Anyhow, if you have never read it, dated or not, Shiva Descending is a good read. As is Lucifer's Hammer, by Niven and Pournelle, if you're one of the three people who's never read that.


I see that there are still plenty of visitors coming over from Instapundit. Welcome!

Feel free to check out my main page and the archives, if you're new here. Some of it's goofy and inane, but I'm told plenty of it is worth reading. Fair warning, it gets all garbled up in Netscape, at least part of the time. I have no idea why, as there's nothing any browser shouldn't understand.

I appreciate all the interesting comments. I hope you enjoy your stay, and visit again.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 2:32 am | Profile

[24] comments (1964 views) |  link

Axis of Feeble Update

On another note, Jennifer has a new poll where you can vote for a new nickname for Frank J. I am somewhat disappointed not to see Simian One or Aquamonkey as options, but I guess Bonzo works too.

Pop on over and vote. The poll in on the left side on the main page. She also links to a fantastic new Instapundit mug in this post. I love it! But I wonder what Rachel would think?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 1:49 am | Profile

[1] comments (1054 views) |  link


In a post somewhat related to the music posts Acidman and I made, James at Parkway Rest Stop talks about groups that are superlative at harmony.

In answer to his question, since he lacks comments, yes, I remember "Mr. Sandman." Was it done by others besides the Chordettes? The one I am recalling is very old - heck, wasn't it in Back to the Future when he showed up in the town in 1955?

I have to agree on the choices here that I'm familiar with, but I can't picture more offhand. I was absolutely crazy about the Bee Gees before they ever went near disco-style music. When I started off the playlist I have on, I picked an Association song as the first one. Beach Boys are a no brainer.

Go have a look; interesting topic in my opinion.

Speaking of harmony, I always loved the song of that name by Elton John, but it's almost never played on the radio and I lack it otherwise.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 1:05 am | Profile

[4] comments (1139 views) |  link

Alliance of Feeble Blogs

I was just looking at The Alliance of Feeble Blogs site. Kind of a nice banner, even if they are misguided and suffering from excessively simian leadership.


For your benefit, so you needn't go visit the Alliance* of Feeble site, here is their logo, small size. Enjoy!


* I'd say this means they could also be called the Axis of Feeble, wouldn't you?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 26, 03 | 12:43 am | Profile

[2] comments (2739 views) |  link

Mon Aug 25, 2003


Looks like I only fell short of my goal for the end of the 25th by about 860 hits. Wow! That is so impressive, considering I'd have been several hundred behind that, at least, at my previous rate of traffic before people promoted this effort. I could be as little as a mere 4 days behind in getting there, which in the 6 month scheme of things is nothing.

I'm happy!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 11:56 pm | Profile

[0] comments (986 views) |  link

Dream a Whacky Dream of Me

That's quite enough blogroll walking for one day, thankyouverymuch. Believe it or not, there are only 101 more to go. Woohoo! The sad thing is, I feel like it's time to update and add some more. I see blogs I don't ordinarily read mentioned elsewhere, or in comments, and I think it's time to add some of them. Plus a few who link me who may not have been reciprocated yet.

I had the strangest dreams last night. Actually, it seemed to be one long dream that I woke up from periodically, remembering (temporarily anyway) the most recent parts. A big part of it involved a high class, old-fashioned downtown store that, in the dream, my grandparents had always shopped at. It looked like it was in Taunton, but with taller buildings and more bustle, as if it were more like downtown Boston, or had become that way. I think I was going to work there, or had a relative working there, and was at the store for that reason. I was amazed to see they had both a grocery section and a clothing section as I headed for the upstairs offices.

While I was in a lobby-like area upstairs, there were a lot of children around, mostly quite young. As I watched, before I could grab him, completely lost on the mother, a type probably about 2 took a dive from a spot overlooking a big foyer/lobby kind of area, with benches and a fountain and plants. I was horrified, but the kid landed on his back in what looked like shrubbery in a planter, and was mostly okay. The mother didn't catch on until I yelled out and brought it to everyone's attention and headed for the stairs, at which point she seemed to feel like her not watching the kid was somehow my fault.

Stuff happened that I didn't remember, then I was with some other guy, finding a way to sneak out of the building surreptitiously. I think I was about to do some kind of crime fighting or superhero thing at that point, but I can't remember that part dammit. Except I recall clearly I was becoming more capable than I'd been before.

There were some scenes of getting off a bus, walking around the city, trying to find things at one point. I daresay this had to have been inspired by my viewing of Unbreakable.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 11:48 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1051 views) |  link

Sassing Through the Blogroll

Spiced Sass seems to have a car picture thing going on. That is one funky prototype! There's a further clue as to brand in the next post up. Looking for a designer to do tweaking? Whatever for? It's quite the impressive looking site! It's true, Islam can be delusional, and the bit with female bombers and Taliban online is just something else.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 11:32 pm | Profile

[0] comments (962 views) |  link

Rowing Through the Blogroll

Trailer Park Girl reviews Whale Rider and discusses the concept of "gut math" and lack thereof. She has a couple of reports on how serving in a friend's new restaurant is going. Sounds like her nervousness was unwarranted.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 11:22 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1001 views) |  link

A Blogroll Walk With the Girls

Girls! Girls! Girls! is a purty site and lots of fun when the denizens remember to post. The latest stuff revolves around a variant of the 5 interview questions meme. Roth answers Nin. Roth answers Ith. Mickey answers Ith. Da Goddess answers Ith. Nin answers Ith and asks her own set. And so forth. They are looking for new female co-bloggers; the more the merrier!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 11:06 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1054 views) |  link

Spinning Dizzily Through the Blogroll

Dizzy Girl has some of the best masthead pictures ever, and rotates them regularly. I love the current one. But enough of my being male. She'd love The Two Towers. Won't somebody help her? Probably someone already has! She has plenty to say regarding the Alabama 10 Commandments issue.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:58 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1031 views) |  link

Buzzing Through the Blogroll

Dandelion Wine is fairly quiet these days, perhaps too engrossed in a game to post often or at length. Here's hoping she doesn't have West Nile or Malaria or something. Bloodthirsty critters!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:52 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1074 views) |  link

Harvesting the Blogroll

Julie Neidlinger posts at some length about her college, including the fact that Kevin Sorbo went there. This is a wonderful story of community spirit, shades of barn raising in the old days. Check it out! Lots of links photos too.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:36 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1021 views) |  link

Up The Blogroll

Dawn Olsen points out some fascinating omissions to the worst figures list. She also opines on the ever popular topic of bald muffs (it's only a matter of time before someone suggests a side by side taste test), as well as other random things.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:26 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1003 views) |  link

Blogroll Spotting

KateSpot has a sad medical update. I hope everything turns out well. I also agree about line drying.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:20 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1009 views) |  link


I know the blogroll walk isn't the greatest inspiration for comments, but I keep thinking my comments are broken or something, since the count hasn't moved in hours.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:15 pm | Profile

[1] comments (992 views) |  link

The Blogroll Speaks

Jen Speaks features a new design and trackback enabled. Fancy that, a senior discount for Annie. That's kind of cool. My stepsister gets her discount on the five dogs by working for the vet on Saturdays, at least when she's not being flown away somewhere for business. This is one of the most adorable pictures I have ever seen. Can you tell they're related or what?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:14 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1038 views) |  link

That Blogroll Walk

That Broken Girl has one of the most intense rants I think I have ever seen there, expressing annoyance at the state of women, the Californa governor's race and national laughingstock, Democrats, Republicans, the press, Afghanistan, and probably some I've missed. Somewhare in all that, she concludes she no longer has to feel bad about how she looks because all the perfect girls aren't real. Indeed, Sepi is a very attractive young woman of Persian descent. She says that cookie dough is satan, has a bad news good news post, having had to wipe the computer due to virus, but not having to get lump surgery until December.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 10:08 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1015 views) |  link

Reviewing the Blogroll

Mickey's Musings opines on both Harry Potter and Solaris, and found she was shocked to see the racial hatred that still existed in the fifties.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (972 views) |  link

Victorious Blogroll Walking

A Small Victory, now featuring Michele versus Indymedia! She rightly says to call a spade a spade, and of course there's the small matter of her birthday and anniversary too. Happy birthday!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:53 pm | Profile

[0] comments (961 views) |  link

Safe Blogroll Walking

LilacRose had far better success with the Gender Genie than I did. She also warns on the recent spate of viruses and opening unexpected attachments.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:06 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1026 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Beyond Binary is blue. She recently threw a wonderful party on a special occasion, and can be compulsive about finishing projects.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:06 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1045 views) |  link

Attacking the Blogroll

Little Miss Attila questions the veracity of the respective sides of the Jennifer and Frank saga. As a special bonus, there's doggie blogging, but alas no pictures.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:05 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1027 views) |  link

Limping the Blogroll

Illinigirl is having icky car and calf problems. She also notes the likely impact of a massive minimum wage increase in Illinois.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 9:02 pm | Profile

[0] comments (978 views) |  link

Musing the Blogroll

The Dragon's Muse doesn't get much posting or, presumably, traffic, since Ith mainly posts here and here. Two of her three most recent posts point to one of the other sites; for the five questions game and looking for more female co-bloggers for the Girls, Girls, Girls blog. She also mentions the first season of Forever Knight being available now for preorder. That's cool.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:56 pm | Profile

[0] comments (976 views) |  link

Rambling Through the Blogroll

Ninjababe's Ramble discusses how immune Nin and Ith are to long driving distances. She also shows what my site sometimes looks like with Netscape. Don't miss the cleavage cam.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:52 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1061 views) |  link

Flirting With the Blogroll

Annika ran out of postage over the weekend, and went to a party wanting to pick up guys, but was upstaged. Remember, there's nothing wrong with Frank. Just think of those simian genes as strengthening the gene pool, rather than a bad thing, and you'll get past any second thoughts. She also reports what an Instalanche is like from the perspective of a lone German sentry on D-Day, and finds the phone company doesn't want her money that badly.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:49 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1003 views) |  link

Growling at the Blogroll

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is a site I don't read all the time any more, because the raving, frothingly irate schtick and emperor theme got old and went over the top enough to affect readability. Which is not to say some don't ejoy it and there isn't some fine coverage there, just saying. There's coverage of the latest IDF activity and related pizza. There's an item on the Patriot Act and potential for abuse. Finally, NASA as we know it does have to go now.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:20 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1003 views) |  link

Reading Between the Blogroll

Between the Coasts feels that he lands on the Federalist side of the Justice Moore issue. I can see the point, but I remain moderately uncomfortable with the idea of the monument in question. This is definitely a good interpretation of the enemy.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:20 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1008 views) |  link

Slacking Off on the Blogroll

Andrew Sullivan is on vacation, despite all the money people gave him to blog for them, and he's excited about Arnold.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:19 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1027 views) |  link

Flying Through the Blogroll

Rivitman, which I tend to think of as the "Boeing is Evil Blog," recommends some reads that take you back to when aerospace in the U.S. was great and failure was not an option. He also likes Rummy, but believes we are too low in force strength.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 8:18 pm | Profile

[0] comments (995 views) |  link

Unwalking the Blogroll

Unpersons begs to differ with those who conclude the outage and related issues are due to deregulation or the provision of electricity as a non-government function. There's also the question of whether employer demand for graduates so equipped has led to the creation of a college course on how to be gay.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:42 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1045 views) |  link

Vacationing from the Blogroll

Baltic Blog is on a long summer hiatus but promises to be back.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:41 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1172 views) |  link

All About the Blogroll

All About Latvia reports a hoax bomb threat at the office of Latvia's president today. Latvia's prime minister is in Estonia, urging them to vote yes to EU membership.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:41 pm | Profile

[0] comments (989 views) |  link

The Blarney Blogroll

Fenian Ramblings has not posted since the 8th, at which time it was a major bit on gay marriage.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:40 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1024 views) |  link

Caminando el Blogroll

Iberian Notes writes about Basque country, which for us in the U.S. is sometimes easy to forget about as a big issue. The head of the foreign languages department at my high school was Basque, and because her name was so difficult, Basque was the surname she used.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:39 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1082 views) |  link

Peeking at the Blogroll

Peaktalk discusses Bush, Iraq, and the role of blog comments. I must say, Erich Honecker cam to mind when I was doing my list, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the man's name. Sad, eh?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:38 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1027 views) |  link

Marchant le Blogroll

Merde in France lists a mess of French language libertarian blogs and sites, which doesn't help me much, but no doubt is useful to some. Also the French can't take the heat and many other fine posts like this one that you should expose yourself to.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:38 pm | Profile

[0] comments (938 views) |  link

Lost Blogroll of Atlantis

Sofia Sideshow pines for Atleantean slave girls and provides us with another nice set of film production pics.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:37 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1036 views) |  link

Gobbling Up the Blogroll

Sasha & Andrew's Roundtable, which seems to be going by these days, discusses the culinary triumph from down under known as Vegemite.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:36 pm | Profile

[0] comments (994 views) |  link

Rolling the Blogs

Unigolyn is getting tired of painting the new apartment. I can relate to that feeling.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:30 pm | Profile

[0] comments (972 views) |  link

Slashing Through the Blogroll

The Edge of England's Sword find Iain reporting on the attempted greening of the EU constitution, and Kris discussing the American space program and asking what you think NASA's role ought to be. I have to agree with her about the tissues.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:25 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1059 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Watcher of Weasels reviews a different sort of Bilbo Baggins film, which sounds pretty entertaining.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:22 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1035 views) |  link

Marchant le Blogroll

The Dissident Frogman tells the sad tale of Uncle Fungus, the heatwave, and fine French system of healthcare. It's quite a read!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 7:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1025 views) |  link

Gender Genie

Three out of four piece of text I pasted from my blog into this Gender Genie pegged me as female. That's not very good accuracy.

No wonder I'm an honorary girl.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 6:18 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1726 views) |  link

Guess the Beer

I think this is hysterical.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 4:45 pm | Profile

[0] comments (991 views) |  link


It was right around this time of day six months ago that I made my first post over at the old BlogSplat site. I had no idea how it would go, or if I'd keep it up or what.

As it turns out, I loved it. To my surprise, people seemed to actually want to come read me, so it wasn't just for my own benefit. Go figure. Here I am at 18,946 hits. I can guarantee I'll go over 19,000 today, even though I won't quite make 20k. I've had 594 comments just since moving to my own domain. I have no idea how many posts I've made. The counter says 525, 526 after this one, but I only moved a small portion of the posts over from the old site.

I've somehow managed to land at 112th on the Ecosystem, out of thousands. Wow! And not doing badly on the hit rankings either. Who knew!

I've met some of the coolest people in the world through the blog, which is probably the best part. I've also learned plenty, and gotten insights into people and events that I would otherwise have missed if I weren't blogging and reading blogs.

Here's looking forward to another great six months, and years more after that.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 2:04 am | Profile

[4] comments (1241 views) |  link

Notes of Blogroll Walk

Note of an Iranian Girl is widely known as one of THE places to go for firsthand reportage from Iran. Sometimes there are significant breaks for computer issues or when things get hairy, but she always seems to return. She points to el Supremo Religious Dictator declaring that Iran will never give up nuclear technology in the most recent post. Which seems like a logical followup to Iran contracting for a 2nd reactor. And lest we forget just what we're dealing with here, imagine Iran rejecting women's rights? Who could anticipate that! Lots of other posts too. I take a look periodically and see what she's been posting.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 1:37 am | Profile

[0] comments (1014 views) |  link

Nibbling Through the Blogroll

A Taste of Africa, which also has a nice masthead graphic, is the firsthand account of someone helping out in Somaliland, a sometime region of Somalia. Sometimes she points to articles elsewhere, as in this post pointing to a Business Day article on federalism in Africa. A very good piece on some of the issues, with a heavy focus on Somaliland. She also posts lots of excellent pictures of her travels in Somaliland, such as in this other recent post in which they encounter a swollen river making the road temporarily impassible on the way from Hargeisa to Borama. Really great stuff. Lots more in the archives.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 1:22 am | Profile

[0] comments (1019 views) |  link

Invasion of the Blogroll Walkers

MoorishGirl thinks the Franken ruling seems balanced and fair, points out the new dictionary words, and doesn't like waht she sees happening with emission regulations.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 1:10 am | Profile

[0] comments (1001 views) |  link

20 Worst of 20th Century

Right Wing News has published a blogger selected list of the 20 worst figures of the 20th century. Looks like most of the list I slapped together made at least honorable mention. It surprises and even disappoints me that the Clintons or Nixon are on the honorables, and somewhat less so that LBJ is there. I went for pretty much dictatorial or holocaust level evil, or influence leading to same. Unfortunately, I forgot about Castro, who came in 10th, and I had room for one or two more. I voted for all of the top 9. and 3 of the others in the top 20. I voted for 3 of the honorable mentions.

Anywho, interesting list. Go take a look.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 12:53 am | Profile

[0] comments (1159 views) |  link

Blogroll Safari

AfricaPundit is similar in function to AfricaBlog, only older and not a group effort. Lots of post links to relevant articles and other blogs. The most recent post is an excellent commentary on the handling of Liberia. I though Gaddafi was being less of a problem these days? Sounds otherwise, at least on the regional arena. Lots more good stuff if you want to keep an eye on things going on with Africa.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 12:42 am | Profile

[0] comments (980 views) |  link

Stalking the Wild Blogroll

AfricaBlog is a cool group effort to blog about Africa and associated issues, featuring some names you probably know. They have a nice masthead graphic and clean design. For some reason nobody has posted since the 18th. That was on Idi Amin's death. Before that, it's new hope not in a faraway galaxy, but in Liberia.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 12:35 am | Profile

[0] comments (1198 views) |  link


I just watched the video of Unbreakable, which I missed when it was in the theaters. I had already guessed what Elijah's (Samuel L. Jackson) ultimate role was going to be when the movie first came out, just knowing the overall premise and reading the reviews.

It's not a movie to rave about, but it was good. A little slow in places, which I took as an effort to evoke the desired mood, but never enough to be really bothersome. I think I had imagined the movie consisting of more scenes like the one where David (Bruce Willis) "found himself" and achieved happiness toward the end. That's how I feel sometimes; like I'm not doing what I'm meant to be doing.

I think the kid at times tried to emulate whassname the kid in Sixth Sense too much. Not sure if that was acting or direction, but the same stare and expressions were there.

I saw The Sixth Sense twice in the theater. It was that good, and I felt like I needed to see it again and see all the clues that weren't obvious on a first viewing. After the two times, I no longer find it compelling, seeing it on video. Conversely, I saw Signs once in the theater. That was absolutely enough. Once for Unbreakable is all I feel compelled to see it. Neither were close to the same league. Good, maybe unexpected, out of the ordinary, interesting ideas, just not so brilliant. Signs I think disappointed people because it was a movie about faith, not an SF movie in the usual sense, and because of all the holes you could drive a truck through. I mean, water? "I'm melting, melting, aaaahhhh!"

The video has three deleted scenes, which are cool to see, but you can see exactly why they were cut.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 25, 03 | 12:07 am | Profile

[1] comments (1092 views) |  link

Sun Aug 24, 2003

Cyber Ecology

There's a new blog some of you may find interesting. It's called Cyber Ecology, and is oriented heavily to technical issues, RIAA and file sharing, plus a little vegetarianism and other stuff.

Not sure if the permalink works, since it's BlogSpot, but there's an August 15th post that makes a point I don't believe I've seen mentioned before: A great deal of emergency preparedness that was undertaken when Y2K loomed went into action during the blackout.

Check it out!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 11:50 pm | Profile

[0] comments (973 views) |  link


I noticed The Lopsided Poopdeck in my Technorati listing while I was working on the last post. My first reaction was concern that someone was reproducing my site verbatim, as that's how it appears. As it turns out, the methodology over their is to repro verbatim either all or large portions of posts from other blogs, not just mine, and then comment about most, but not all, of them. It's a somewhat different way of doing things, but I love the name and it seems pretty decent. Anything copied is obviously credited. More links for me!

Speaking of which, the Ecosystem is working again, and I am 112th, just shy of Playful Primate, but still a Large Mammal. Right We Are has made it, at number 100 just squeaking over to Primate. Woohoo!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 8:57 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1243 views) |  link

Blogroll Walkabout

Okay, time for the Aussie brigade. First we have G'Day Mate, formerly Bored on the Bus, whose most recent post was the aforementioned goofy quiz. In a more serious recent post, we find him telling Kofi Annan to put a sock in it.

Catallaxy Files is more news oriented, with a strong emphasis on Australian matters. Most recently there's a post critical of The Age for bothering to report on Malcolm Fraser, and of the Melbourne Writers' Festival, which is sponsored by The Age. Not that they are immune from the lure of goofy quizzes too. Finally, It seems many folks down there aren't entirely happy with the courts right now.

Whacking Day can be fun. I certainly agree with them about this title declaration, even if the picture has it all wrong. I can't imagine anyone pining for Clinton. Lots of cool, quickie link posts, like this one pointing to this site, which reminds me of a book I have named Lost Beauties of the English Language. Finally, this depiction of the "cycle of violence" sounds completely accurate to me.

Tim Blair discusses totally bizarre, esoteric economic discoveries in his latest post. From there we move on to Cybil Shepherd's horror at the recall election, and other news coverage.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 8:47 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1048 views) |  link

Another Goofy Quiz, Just What You Always Wanted

Blue Eyes

What Color Eyes Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via G'Day Mate

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 8:12 pm | Profile

[0] comments (957 views) |  link

Random Ramblings

I watched Notting Hill last night. I know, Julia turned out to be a whacko Bush hater, but I love the movie. It's so funny! Spike reminds me way too much of my older brother. How sad is that? I actually saw this movie as a sneak peak a couple weeks before it was released, then liked it so much I saw it again. Then I got the video when it was out.

I've enjoyed a lot of her movies of this type, but Julia has never had any special appeal for me. It's like seeing a sister or a buddy next door in a female lead role. Meg Ryan is a different story. Even Sandra Bullock has more appeal to me personally than Julia, though she similarly makes me think of family or "just some girl I know." Sandra resembles my late cousin Wendy, and especially reminded me of her in Forces of Nature.

In honor of having re-lost some weight unexpectedly, I splurged on Chinese delivery last night. Expensive, but it feeds me three meals so it levels out a bit. Pork fried rice, General Gao's chicken, and a pu pu platter for two. Yum! I had peaked at losing a total of 28 lbs, then went back and stabilized at a net of about 20. Last I checked I'd gained a few more. Ugh. Yesterday I finally checked again and found I was down 25, almost as far as I'd dropped before. Woohoo!

It's cold today! What's up with that? Not that I want it to be 90 in the apartment as it had been, but it's weird to have to use a blanket, and find myself shivering.

My toe, which some people don't think I should mention, continues to ache and be swollen, but not as badly. When it really flared up, I was so nauseated by the pain that I almost didn't care to eat anything. It seems to like cool temperatures better, so maybe just as well it's chilly. I just hope we're not going to have an abbrieviated summer at the fall end of things as we did at the spring end.

I've been checking out the space music by these guys, though checking out the MP3 samples is tedious via dialup. Not bad at all. I saw them mentioned in a Dale Amon post on Samizdata.

I'll probably try to resume the blogroll walk tonight. Next up are the Aussie blogs.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 7:05 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1036 views) |  link

Zany Question of the Week

If you were President and could guarantee accomplishing one reasonably realistic thing while in office - alien space bats mind control congress and anyone else who could get in the way for you on this one thing - what would you want that to be?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 6:34 pm | Profile

[6] comments (1441 views) |  link

Sendmail Culpable?

Kevin has a great discussion, with some spirited comments, regarding the role of Sendmail on Unix in propogation of SoBig and other e-mail borne viruses.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 5:54 pm | Profile

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To Dream The Impossible Dream

As I write this, I'm at 18,785 with less than 36 hours to go in the race to 20,000. Think I'll make it? Me neither! Not unless the right guy notices and links something I wrote in time.

Still, I didn't expect to be this close! It's been a great past few days or so, as you can see by this chart of 30 days of traffic:


Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 3:40 pm | Profile

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There is quite an intense, detailed Washington Post article on exactly what happened with Columbia, anticipating the pending release of the official report. I just read it and found it gripping, in a sad and pathetic sort of way.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 3:35 pm | Profile

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Musical Mellowness

Well, Acidman enjoyed my post in which I nervously revealed the contents of the "mushy" playlist I happened to be listening to at the time, and has produced a post on old songs you like and never hear anymore.

I decided I'd see if there were some other moldy, perhaps obscenely mellow songs on my "all" playlist that I could add to the fray. Some of them were influences from my mother when I was a child. These days the parents like post-1963 rock, sometimes some of the newest stuff too, and naturally the kids grew up on that. My mother was the old generation musically. My father was never into much musically, but more or less the same thing applies, except he adores Irish music, and Noel Henry in particular. My stepmother is 9 years younger than my father, and straddles the generations. She has some original Elvis 45's, but didn't get much past that. She enjoys the oldies stations, as do I. My father can bear those, but would tend more toward country.

To some degree I had grandparental influence too. I spend a lot of time at my grandparent's house, and they watched Lawrence Welk religiously. I watched it with them and generally enjoyed it. My granfather played harmonica and organ, and would sing sometimes. He used to sing Daisy A Day, but I never heard the whole thing. Then I bought an LP anthology that had the song on it! I forget the artist. Judd Strunk or something maybe? It was good. It always reminded me of my grandparents and made me get blurry eyed, because ultimately it's a sad song about an old man whose love of his life wife died, and he continues to bring a daisy a day to her grave. Used to go to concerts on the common in East Bridgewater, too. There was a local country artist my grandfather had taught to play the harmonica. He played there a lot, and one time noticed my grandfather in the audience and dedicated a song to him. That was cool.

It was funny. I was up in Vermont one time, when the Beatles Anthology special was on. Somehow I'd been in the living room by myself and had control of the remote, so I was watching for as long as I could get away with it. My father came in and sat watching for a while. He observed bemusedly that he thought it was noise when they first came on the scene, but the Beatles sound pretty good to him now. Kind of funny. I actually liked really mellow and old music when I was younger, and got to like harder, louder rock when I was older.

How about:
Return to Pooh Corner, Kenny Logins - that's mellow!

The Impossible Dream and Moon River, Andy Williams

Keeper of the Castle, Four Tops - definitely period music.

Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield - my mother liked this, and it's a pretty sultry song for its time.

My Cup Runneth Over, Ed Ames - my mother loved his stuff.

Mr. Blue and Come Softly to Me, The Fleetwoods

Something Stupid, Frank & Nancy Sinatra - my mother liked this one.

My way and Strangers in the Night, Sinatra

Day by Day, Stephen Schwartz - I am not religious, but I love this catchy song.

Bad Time, Grand Funk Railroad - only a modest hit for them, but I related to it and it takes me back to high school every time I hear it.

What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong - never heard of this one until Family Matters used it; great song!

Gonna Stay With You A While, I have no clue who the artist is! Anyone know?

Never Been to Spain, Three Dog Night

Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel - one of my all time favorite songs to sing along with, believe it or not. Can't do it if my throat is raw though.

I've Got to Be Me and The Candy Man, Sammy Davis Jr. - Who doesn't like Candy Man?! And the other one is an anthem to live by much like My Way is.

Macarthur Park, Richard Harris - An all time favorite, no matter how many people hate it.

A Sign of the Times and I Know a Place, Petula Clark - I love Pet Clark! I should have more of the songs as MP3, put I do have the greatest hits CD when I want it.

Puff The Magic Dragon, Blowin' In the Wind and If I Had a Hammer, all by Peter, Paul & Mary

I Think I Love You, Partridge Family - hey, I grew up on this stuff; loved it when I was in 5th grade and haven't disavowed it yet.

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing and Georgy Girl, New Seekers

Shilo and Holly Holy, Neil Diamond - I never had an imaginary friend, but I used to dream of a girl I didn't know, who was a friend, when I was a kid. Shilo makes me think of that. Once in a while these I dream of someone I am seeing or married to in the dream, but don't know in real life. Very strange, and not that different looking than the one I dreamed as a kid. Lighter hair and that's about it. For instance, in one dream I was meeting her in a train station. My older brother had a crush at 13 on a girl named Holly, which he has never gotten over obsessing about even 35 years later, so he gets excited about Holly Holy, which he related to her at the time. I thought I was obsessive.

That's most of the mellow stuff that didn't also appear on the other list. There's 101 total on the playlist, with one or two accidental repeats, so really 99 or 100. I didn't include not so mellow stuff, like Obsession, by Animotion, which is playing as I type. I have quite disparate tastes.

This gives Acidman more food for discussion. The rest of you too!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 2:27 am | Profile

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Flyby Knight

Over at Absinthe & Cookies Ith posted about the Pluto - Kuiper Belt mission, inspired by and linking to this post by e-Claire.

I had thought this mission, at one point dead, had been funded and was a done deal. I consider it imperative. Not imperative in an "it'll directly help people here on Earth" sort of way. Imperative in a "we are explorers" way, and a "we catalogued the rest up close, one to go" way, and a "learn vast knowledge" way, and a "Pluto is close and we can't get a good look at it with a non-frozen atmosphere in over one-hundred years if we don't go now" way, and a "stuff that can pop out of place and hit Earth is, among other places, out beyond Pluto so let's learn about it" way, and a "the primordial material of the solar system can tell us plenty" way. It is a major duh! decision. It's not even that frickin expensive! It's more so than some, but it's going all the way to Pluto and has to be solid and will have to be monitored longer and so forth.

Apparently the politicians screwed us over again.

And you know, if you read me regularly, you know I want private spaceflight and NASA pretty much out of the launch business. However, this is the kind of thing that, if we're going to have a NASA, if the government is going to encourage science and broadening our boundaries, this is the kind of thing they should be doing. Someday stuff like this will be easier. Private foundations and businesses or consortiums will do some pure exploration and science, building off of the space infrastructure that will then exist and make something like a Pluto study easier and less costly. For now we work with what we have, while also working toward a more private future.

In Ith's comments there is one that offers a "what happened and what to do about it" major piece of info, with repro encouraged. So I am doing that here for any who might be interested. Obviously you will want to replace the addressee with your own jurisdictions moron politician. (Correction: It looks like there is a reason for it to go where he indicates; a committee thing. Not that emphasizing this to other critters could hurt.) I am pasting the whole thing and changing nothing except if I see any obvious typo, and to make the e-mail address harder for the spammers to harvest. With no further ado, here is Tim Kyger:

The House passed an appropriations bill that effectively kills NASA's Pluto flyby mission. That's what Claire was talking about.

Here's what you can do about it.

*You* need to fax or write two specific Senators to keep the bucks for New Horizons in *their* appropriations bill.

Notice I'm not asking you to call these Senators, or to email them. That doesn't have as much political impact as a letter or a faxed letter does. Why? Trust me. I worked in Congress for eight years, and as a lobbyist for the last six. It just does.

Below is a copy of the letter I sent. Copy it, or change it any way you want. You'll find the names, addresses, and fax numbers of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO). Senator Bond is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies; NASA is an independent agency. Senator Mikulksi is the "Ranking Member" on the Subcommittee - the senior Democrat. She's past Chair of the Subcommittee and, more important, the New Horizons spacecraft is being built in her state.

FYI -- The New Horizons mission is the first mission of NASA's New Frontiers progam. Confusion reigns…

Senator Barbara Mikulski
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Room SH-709
Hart Senate Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510
FAX NUMBER: 202/224-8858

Senator Christopher Bond
Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Room SR-274
Russell Senate Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510
FAX NUMBER: 202/224-8149


Tim Kyger
4513 Peacock
Alexandria VA 22304
timbkyger [at] aol [dot] com

Senator Barbara Mikulski
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Room SH-709
Hart Senate Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510

8 August 2003

Dear Senator Mikulski:

I am writing today to express my great concern over a funding shortfall in H.R. 2861, the House's FY '04 VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. H.R. 2861, passed by the House 25 July, cuts NASA's New Frontiers program by $55 million. If this cut is sustained in the Senate's appropriations bill, or in the House/Senate conference on their two appropriations bills, it will mean the end of a planned flyby mission to Pluto. If the Pluto/Kuiper Belt misson named "New Horizons" cannot be launched in 2006, as currently planned, then it will not be able to use a Jupiter swingby to shorten its travel time to Pluto. Instead of a flightime to Pluto of about 8 years, it will instead take 16 or more years to arrive. The position of Jupiter in its orbit to be able to provide a gravity assist to the New Horizons spacecraft will end shortly after the early part of 2006. As a result, if New Horizons cannot be launched in early 2006, then it cannot realistically reach Pluto in any reasonable time.

Simply put, unless the New Horizons spacecraft (funded under the New Frontiers program) is fully funded in this year's budget, then a Pluto flyby mission cannot be done before Pluto's atmosphere freezes out as Pluto in its orbit receeds further from the Sun.

The New Horizons mission is a number one priority of the National Research Council's Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey Report, which represents a consensus of the entire United States planetary exploration community. It was fully funded (thanks to your help!) in the FY '03 appropriation, and the President proposed fully funding it in his FY '04 budget submission. The FY '04 monies for New Horizons are the "hump" funding for this program; the required FY '05 and FY '06 amounts are progammed to be far, far less than the $55 million requested for FY '04. Furthermore, this program is a texbook example of a successful NASA "faster, better, cheaper" program; its total cost (including more than a decade of mission operations and the cost of launch) is fully half that of what NASA had originally in the early '90s thought a Pluto flyby would cost.

The United States has been the world leader in space exploration. In my lifetime, we have looked for the very first time at every other major body in the Solar System --- except for Pluto. And each and every time, we have been incredibly surprised. There are, of course, many legitimate scientific reasons for a reconnissance of Pluto. But frankly, I would simply like to see what it looks like before I die.

Once again, I wish to strongly urge you (and your colleagues) to fully fund the President's budget request for NASA's New Frontiers program line, and to hold to this position in conference with the House.


Tim Kyger

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 1:09 am | Profile

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Jobs, Demographics, and Our Future

We all talk about how the job market, at least for tech, sucks right now. We expect all the jobs to go away to India and China, making it worse. I have to agree in large part with the excellent cover article of the latest issue of Business 2.0, that demographics tends to be forgotten and will make a massive difference coming up. And gee, shall we blame or credit the President in office at the time? After all, they have everything to do with demographic waves rolling through the generations and affecting the economy and more.

A job boom is coming, says the article. Could it be so?

The deal is that the baby boomers will start retiring in a couple years. Available labor will shrink; we all know that from the concerns about how it will affect social security. Ponzi would be worried too. Therefore, the basic theory makes sense.

They cover the objections pretty well too. People retiring later? My theory is this will happen more than they think, if only because they will be enticed by offers to stay or return, or because it will be needful for solvency of social security to make people wait. That combined with perhaps this generation being more easily bored with leaving work, and the relative health compared to earlier generations. Nevertheless, the article reports that early retirement is a long term trend that has not let up no matter what the economic conditions, and it's not expected to change.

Work going overseas? The tech sector in the U.S. makes the Indian and Chinese versions look insectoid by comparison, and there is not enough skilled labor to change that. The biggest portion of what goes over there will continue to be call center work. I am not completely sure I buy this, but perhaps outsourcing will be less of a factor than we expect, in the somewhat longer run. Obviously in a down job market where many people would be happy to have those call center or elementary tech support jobs here because they can't get better work, it feels severe.

Can't trust predictions? Nope, this is not one of those crazy economic predictions that are usually way off. Demographics are noted for accuracy, and that is what this derives from. There are few prime job force people coming along, and it is worst for the technical jobs, and management jobs that tend to be held by somewhat older employees. College graduates as a percentage of the workforce are leveling off and not expected to rise again, and there's somewhat less interest in more technical fields of study.

Job growth isn't there, so demographics won't matter? Apparently this is not so. The BLS numbers used have traditionally been estimated too low, when they've been off at all, and can be reasonably relied upon as a starting point.

Automation will reduce labor demand? Traditionally not so, and they cite examples such as Intel. What happens is as much or more labor is needed, but more skill is required.

The article describes the labor shortage as making what we saw in the nineties pale by comparison, and points out in one of the sidebars that to go back and find a labor/demographic shift on the scale that is coming up you have to go back to 1349, which ultimately resulted in the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, all on account of the population reduction caused by the plague. That's pretty impressive, and I wonder if it'll be gradual enough not to be as bad as it sounds. I mean, society and business will adapt. Actually, that's kind of what they say. The millions of jobs needed will be filled somehow; offering incentive enough to get people to take them, accepting lower skilled people for some of the jobs and making do or training them, persuading people to delay or return from retirement and using things like part and flextime as needed to make it so. If there are some things that can't be covered, those projects or needs will go away as uneconomic and it'll balance out.

Frankly, older people rock as employees. They are so responsible and dependable, as well as having a longer lifetime worth of skill development behind them. I never understood whatever thinking went into age discrimination, which is very real, if less likely these days.

This is all great news for my friends who've been unemployed, or have been underemployed just to get something. Good news for Nicole, too. We were correct in reminding her before and after she moved to San Diego that California has a worse economy than Massachusetts right now. However, San Diego is one of the top twenty cities for future tech job demand. Far and away the top one is Las Vegas, and five of the twenty are in Florida.

They give examples of a couple of companies that are already planning for this. Instead of filling jobs at 15% less money, as they could, they pay the same and have the same perks and social atmosphere as before. They want to instill loyalty now, which as I have discussed with friends many times, the companies that are being cheap now are not doing. That's a bad thing even without such a dire seller's market expected starting in the next two years.

Looking at the article, I see the skilled worker gap will start to appear in 2005, and will be 5.3 million workers by 2010, 14 million in 2020. Add unskilled and it's 7 and 21 million respectively. Ouch. They're talking not being able to fill entire production shifts.

This article is well done, and excellent food for thought. Lots of good sidebars. For instance, what the grow rates are in different fields. A bonus piece at the end covers the crazy situation with the young generation in Japan, and their similar demographic challenges. I would imagine in a month or less it will be online at the Business 2.0 web site so everyone can read it without obtaining a paper copy. I do highly recommend the magazine, as I believe I have mentioned before.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 24, 03 | 12:40 am | Profile

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Sat Aug 23, 2003

We Shall Blog On The Beaches... We Shall Never Surrender

Monkey Boy says that Jennifer has agreed to stop calling him Monkey Boy. Perhaps she can use an alternative, like the Simian One or Aquamonkey.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 9:56 pm | Profile

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Alternative Universe

I love this! You must go have a look now.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 9:49 pm | Profile

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Keep Those Links Blogrolling

In The Pipeline grew out of Derek Lowe's original blog, Lagniappe, when he joined Corante. That was one of the relatively early blogs I read, probably from seeing Virginia link him. This is the place for drug industry news and commentary, but can be dry or difficult reading simply sue to the nature of the subject at times. Increasingly this means nanotech as a topic too. Then there's the fun stuff, like a drug that in some people causes orgasms when they yawn. Usually it's the other way around; impotence, lack of interest, or delayed orgasm. At least the last one isn't always a bad thing.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 6:24 pm | Profile

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

I tend to like Medpundit even better than Medrants, but what in the world is it still doing on BlogSplat? As sometimes happens, the most recent Medpundit post covers that same Canadian healthcare comparison. Earlier posts include one on the recent good news about smallpox vaccinations (I suspected this was the case, and already felt safer having been vaccinated as a kid), and this one about doctor slang that made me laugh heartily.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 6:14 pm | Profile

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Bleeding Through the Blogroll

DB's Medical Rants is a great medical blog, in which the most recent post critiques a comparison of the Canadian and U.S. healthcare systems. I could do without the habit of highlighting in yellow for emphasis though. It's so much harder to read, I often don't read the very parts being emphasized!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 6:07 pm | Profile

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Walking the Blogroll

The Gweilo Diaries is the place to go for reporting and commentary on the Far East, as well as periodic pics of minimally clad, attractive Asian women. He points out Beijing's amusing attempts to control thought and action in Hong Kong with respect to Taiwan.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 6:00 pm | Profile

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Ith pointed out that Jimmie J.J. Walker has a blog. Great reading! The man has a lot of sense and writes pretty well. No post permalinks, but hey. Worth checking out.

He says exactly what I would say about slavery reparations were I to write on the topic.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 5:34 pm | Profile

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I'm Still Alive

After a bunch of sleep, plus the ice on it last night, my toe feels much better. It merely hurts a little periodically and looks mildly swollen.

I just spent a bunch of time looking for pictures to send Maripat for the next caption contest. Sent her some I took, plus a couple from a helpful contributor. I think there are some good choices, and she gets to make the tough decision which to use.

Guess maybe I'll continue the blogroll walk, so my three Saturday readers will have something to play with.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 5:05 pm | Profile

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Woohoo! Go Me

Amazing! I won another caption contest; the one I mentioned needing votes.

The only trouble is, now I have to come up with a picture for next week. I am thinking maybe one with people I used to work with in it. We sometimes looked goofy or diabolical enough for captioning. We'll see what I find.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 2:30 am | Profile

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There is a great article in the latest issue of Business 2.0, which I want to talk about when I have actually finished reading it. It makes sense, and one of the examples they cite struck one of my nerves.

I figure with Rob the Business Pundit away in Philly, I'll be covering his ground a little. Stay tuned...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 2:19 am | Profile

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Today gas went from $1.57 to $1.73. Just today. A few days after it went from $1.47 to $1.57. If I had stopped for gas at noon, it would have been $1.57, but late at night it had gone up to where $20 was not enough for a fill, though surprisingly close. Must have gotten good mileage on the tank. Ugh. I definitely have to unmothball the Sentra now.

The competing station went up to $1.75. They are always within 3¢ of each other, and normally the prices fluctuate when they each get their deliveries. Usually there's a 1-2 day span when one is more than the other, then they match.

It occurs to me this is almost as high as gas has ever been around here, and these are the cheap stations. That's their niche, and they compete, so I seldom see gas much lower, and certainly not as convenient.

Of course, I'm the one who, when gas was high before, pointed out to people that it was still relatively cheap in the long term scheme of things. I wasn't as broke then.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 2:16 am | Profile

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I raved about how great Earthlink dialup was, in my experience, to someone today. Naturally when I got home I couldn't connect. I suspect maybe they were having widespread issues, either due to the thunderstorms we'd had or whatever.

So I sat and played Mahjongg for a while, listening to music, with ice sitting on my foot. I really think I'm going to have to make an emergency visit to the doctor at the beginning of the week, but we'll see.

I always see people listing what they are listening to currently. At the risk of looking silly, I guess I'll do the same, since the playlist isn't that long. I have one named "all" that pretty much goes several hours (at least 5) without repeating, and because I didn't bother to remove them, includes a couple Christmas songs. However, this playlist is called "mushy" and is loaded with mellow, romatic stuff:

Chances Are, Johnny Mathis
Superstar, Carpenters
I Won't Last A Day Without You, Carpenters
Love Story, Andy Williams
Everything That Touches You, The Association
Words, Bee Gees
Elusive Butterfly of Love, Bob Lind
Precious and Few, Climax
It's Only Make Believe, Conway Twitty
Longer, Dan Fogelberg (whom I almost got to meet once)
Everybody Loves Somebody, Dean Martin
Cruising Together, Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis
This Guy's In Love With You, Herb Alpert
The Air that I Breathe, The Hollies
The Way You Look Tonight, The Lettermen
Theme From A Summer Place, The Lettermen
Let's Get It On, Marvin Gaye
Can't Find The Time To Tell You, Orpheus
I'll Never Find Another You, The Seekers
Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
Let Your Love Flow, The Bellamy Brothers
We've Only Just Begun, The Carpenters
Breathless, The Corrs
Dreams, The Cranberries
Turn Around Look At Me, The Vogues

I seem to recall I tossed this together quick and could have inlcuded some additional ones, but this was good enough for when I'm in the late night, going to sleep soon, mellow mood.

The bad thing is this is disproportionately things I automatically want to sing along with, which is bad at 2 AM. I had to really make myself stop when It's Only Make Believe was playing. Not that the people downstairs worry whether they're disturbing me, but hey.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 23, 03 | 2:05 am | Profile

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Fri Aug 22, 2003

Brazilian Space Setback

I find this to be terribly sad. Obviously this follows my happy mention of Brazil's space program previously. And the rocket you can replace, the launch tower and so forth can be fixed or replaced, but 21 people...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 10:31 pm | Profile

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Simian Aquaman (Aquamonkey?)

Well, my lovely lyrics so far failed to generate an Instalanche, despite having been e-mailed to Da Man when I posted them, with a URL. Made it nice and easy to link. All he had to do was type "Heh" and map it to the URL. How easy is that?

I have been advised to issue a Fatwa against the Simian One in order to be Instalinked successfully. That would solve the problem of needing to get 1500 hits in 3 days to reach my goal. Acidlanches can be mighty impressive, and Snotlanches have more oomph than I might expect. They still don't quite get me there.

So how does one issue a Fatwa against a Simian Aquaman Wannabee anyway? Can monkeys even swim? How would he get his powers; a sting from a genetically engineered, escaped Man of War? Go swimming during a red tide that, due to a secret radiation spill covered up by the vast right wing conspiracy, is dangerously mutated?

Jeez, sounds like a question for the blog reading audience! How should Frank J. obtain his aquatic simian superpowers in order to become a world blog-saving hero?

And how does one declare a Fatwa anyway? Or did I just do that...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 10:06 pm | Profile

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Bowling for Bullshit

Rachel has posted her review and dissection of the lying nutpig's fiction film, and the verdict is somewhat different from what I might have expected. Well worth a read.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 9:38 pm | Profile

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Humming Through the Blogroll

Banana Oil! has rather interesting commentary and firsthand coverage of the power outage experience, and has a rather neat concert review, in which the primary artist discussed did a song apparently inspired by The Fountainhead.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 9:21 pm | Profile

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Strolling the Blogroll

Arguing with signposts doesn't discuss membership in Hair Club for Men. Nor does he endorse illegal file downloading from the West Bank.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 9:12 pm | Profile

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Mozart for Morons

Reflections in d minor does not approve of the whole Mozart for the Mind thing that's been going on, nor for other studies and conclusions of the same variety that cheapen appreciation of classical music.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 8:48 pm | Profile

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Better Than Reality Television

Farkleberries gives us fire watching as a spectator event.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 8:43 pm | Profile

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Tiptoe Through the Blogroll

Roscoe Ellis is most amused by Microsoft in effect using Linux to protect itself from denial of service attacks this week. Heh. It also turns out that he shares server space with Wil Wheaton and is affected when Wil has mega traffic.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 8:39 pm | Profile

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A Good Report Card

Homeschool & Other Education Stuff is another blog with, obviously, and education focus. I've always liked the idea of home schooling, and was glad to see it grow from almost nothing to such a widespread practice, despite the foot dragging of the education industry. Imagine moving your kid from a private school to public, and having no choice but to enroll in the worst available school for the first year before gaining choice. Other good comments and links there, if education or home schooling interest you at all.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 8:27 pm | Profile

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Chalking Through the Blogroll

Joanne Jacobs was one of the first blogs I ever read, and I already knew her name from elsewhere. She's a great one for talking about ridiculous school policies. I would agree that social studies is at least as important as ever, although in my experience it could be a pulpit for instilling the teacher's socialist leanings into the students. And yes, of course PowerPoint is evil. Doesn't everyone know that?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 8:10 pm | Profile

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Kicking Through the Blogroll

Frankly, I don't read Little Green Footballs much, despite having the link to it and it being one of the biggest name sites out there. Part of it may be going there and finding it hard to read from a contrast and text size perspective. Part of it may be I sometimes start to read and am not captured by the text enough for my eyes to do anything but quickly bounce to the next item. Or maybe I just forget, by the time I do my regular reads. Your mileage surely will vary, and I do sometimes find good stuff there.

Today LGF points out that the Guardian says everything is Israel's fault. Yeah, right, but there's a lot of that going around, including my Jewish friend Sherri insisting a few weeks ago that The U.S. and Israel are both big bad bullies that cause most of the problems we see. Lots of other stuff there today on terrorism and Hamas. If LGF has a focus, these topics seem to be it, and it's a good place for such coverage.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 7:52 pm | Profile

[0] comments (944 views) |  link

No Animals Harmed in Walking Through This Blogroll

Dustbury, which incidentally has a nice clean design and colors (I like the bird), is talking about PETA and citing some movement in the right direction in Germany. Other good stuff can be found there regularly as well.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 7:40 pm | Profile

[0] comments (946 views) |  link

Cannot Find Server

Fire Ant Gazette seems to be down right now, but it's worth a periodic look when it's working.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 7:33 pm | Profile

[0] comments (991 views) |  link

Using the Force on the Blogroll

Ghost of a Flea has the latest Darth Vader news.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 7:30 pm | Profile

[0] comments (988 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Media Review has some interesting stuff, with a focus exactly as you'd expect from the name. The most recent post ponders whether moblogging will indeed be the next big thing.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (974 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Betsy's Page is hard to link to for specific posts, because her posts tend to be snippets and links. Early in my blogging, I briefly did a blog spotlight and she was one of the ones I highlighted. Always worth checking out as a jumping off point to an array of articles and posts all over the web. At the moment she has a piece on the outrageous French heat situation. However, just go there regularly and see what gems you find.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:53 pm | Profile

[1] comments (984 views) |  link


I was going to limit my blogging even this evening, to do other things, but since I can barely walk, it seems to be the thing to do. Gets me through the blogroll walk faster.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:46 pm | Profile

[0] comments (890 views) |  link

Limping the Blogroll

Matt Welch is seriously bumming about virus e-mails arriving in force, but of course that's going around these days. He also finds the L.A. Times op/ed response on the recall to be more than a little lame, and seeks Prague travel tips.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:44 pm | Profile

[0] comments (936 views) |  link

Second Rule of Election Club, You DO NOT Talk About Election Club

Justene, subbing for Good Dean, made a post about Bad Dean with a title that made my think of Fight Club. Tyler Durden Howard Dean had a plan...

First rule of Election Club... You do not talk about Election Club.

Silly, I know.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:40 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1013 views) |  link

This Needs More Votes

I haven't voted in this yet, but you should go there and vote. It's a great picture and classic entries. I am debating, as I like A and G best, torn between them, and I hate to vote for myself. It seems somehow wrong. Have to decide which to pick or whether to abstain.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:27 pm | Profile

[0] comments (965 views) |  link

Propaganda or Perversion? (Or is it Memorex?)

Ith reveals a sorry truth about White Glenn and his perversion that's enough to make any blue-blooded Brit shudder with horror.

It's almost too terrible to be true, so one suspects it could be propaganda planted by the Simian Overlord. Only time will tell.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:24 pm | Profile

[1] comments (994 views) |  link

Blasting Off the Blogroll

Ken Layne is a man after my own heart with this post. As he says:

Pisses me off that I'm not in some magical rocket right now. When I was in diapers, we were going to the moon. We should've been on Mars 20 years ago. Instead ... ah, you know what we've got instead.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:11 pm | Profile

[1] comments (958 views) |  link

A New Read

This site needs to go on my blogroll! Found it via my lifeguard. This post alone, which promises to be continued, is more than the price of blogroll admission. Worth going over and reading.

Reminds me a little bit of my old friend Adria. He mother is of African descent, and her father is Navajo. (Is it Navajo or Navaho?) They are somewhat more than straight middle class. Her father runs or owns a construction company, if I recall correctly, out in LA. Her mother, who from what I understand just does charity work, lives in Brooklyn, in a house that is half owned by Adria, who is now married and living elsewhere. Anyway, several years ago, I remember my friend Tom, who went to college with Adria and is how I met her, telling me how concerned Adria was about the "degentrification" of the neighborhood when she moved back there.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 6:05 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1029 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

South Knox Bubba has much to say about air pollution in the Knoxville region, which is, amazingly, seventh worst in the nation. He also notes that some feds had ringside seats, watching as the grid crashed last week.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 5:42 pm | Profile

[0] comments (920 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Phillip Coons, aka Delusional Duck, with a cute duck logo, points to a precautionary tale of lottery winning idiocy. Lots of other snippets and links too; always worth a visit!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 5:36 pm | Profile

[0] comments (973 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Tacitus notes the one month anniversary of the demise of the Hussein brothers, and has issues with Bustamante.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 5:32 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1064 views) |  link

Walking theBlogroll

Kieran Healy has a thought provoking post on the theological repercussions of discovering extraterrestrial life, and in particular discovering that life arises easily by default, and has similar niches and shapes filled on each world where the environment allows. Always an intriguing topic.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 4:25 pm | Profile

[0] comments (987 views) |  link

If I Were Glenn Reynolds

With apologies to Bobby Darin...

If I were Glenn Reynolds
And you were Frank J.
Would you harry me every day
Would you whine like a baby

If a blogger were my trade
Would you still find me
Reading the posts I made
Making fun behind me

Read my blog through lonliness
read my blog through sorrow
I've given you assorted links
May be no more tomorrow

If I typed my hands to bits
Would you still read me
Answer me Frank, pick no nits
Your blog's way above me

If I were a writer
Posts and columns grinding
Would you make me link your blog
So humorously blinding

If I were Glenn Reynolds
And you were Frank J.
Would you harry me every day
Would you whine like a baby
Would you harry me every day
Would you whine like a baby

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 3:37 pm | Profile

[8] comments (1646 views) |  link

Not Tonight, I Have a Toe Ache

I thought I had enough to worry about, but apparently not. Last night my right big toe swelled up like a balloon, to the point where it was significantly larger than the left. The top was red, going up unto the top of my foot a little bit. For that matter, the entire foot looked like it might be slightly swollen, but sometimes it's hard to tell because my right, the one that was clubbed when I was born, is so much bigger than the left to begin with.

It hurts like hell and I can barely walk. Joy.

The story of the toe is that a few years back I started to get an ingrown toenail, which I had never had before. I thought it was cool that my resolution I invented for it was the same as I read in a home medical book later. Still, the nail misshaped itself and has never been the same. Then it got a fungus for a few years, which made matters worse. The fungus is more or less gone, and you can see what's growing out new is clean and white.

For some time, the toe has been sensitive, especially on the top, above the nail, in the area from which new nail grows. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, never unbearable or that worrisome.

This is like a sudden escalation, which has me limping around. Late last night I put some ice in Ziplocs and left it on the toe while I sat and read. That made the swelling go down significantly and made it feel slightly better.

At this point I figure if it's still bad Monday, I'll try to have it looked at. It almost strikes me that the entire disgusing remnant of nail needs to be pulled off of there and allowed to grow from scratch. At one point it turned black and did that on its own, before I got rid of the fungus. I'm not sure that would do anything for the nexus of pain up under the skin though.

Why so sudden? Why out of the blue? If it's an infection, maybe that's why I've felt like I had a mild something not exactly a cold bringing me down.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 3:07 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1243 views) |  link

SoBig, SoBad, SoUgly

Well isn't this interesting. Breaking news says that anyone infected with the SoBig.F virus could have their computer start to attempt to download programs today starting any minute now, and Sunday.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 2:52 pm | Profile

[0] comments (964 views) |  link

Good Night, I Think

Okay, that's it for the blog walking for now. I have completed all the asteroids and just have to start on the other categories now. That means I'm at least halfway done, I think. So perhaps Friday I'll cover some, or Friday night. I expect to have a busy day, so I you may all have to settle for catching up on what I've posted today, checking out all the great links.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 12:36 am | Profile

[0] comments (966 views) |  link

Happy Blogiversary!

Aaron's Rantblog just turned a year old! He's now looking for help transitioning to Movable Type. Anyone? He also speaks fondly of the Right We Are! gals.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 12:33 am | Profile

[0] comments (950 views) |  link

Naked Vulvas Can Be Fun

Across the Atlantic features some much needed corrections of terminology, something that also bothered me when I saw the "shaven vagina" post mentioned elsewhere. Trouble is, I have been seeing and hearing everyone lately refer to female privates collectively as a vagina. I think we're in the midst of a definitional shift in the language, as sometimes happens. If you're confused, read the post for correct terms. Definitional shifts shouldn't happen as a simple matter of lack of knowledge.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 12:16 am | Profile

[0] comments (967 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

The American Mind brings us local news in which a lawn mower is defined as a "motor vehicle" and crossing the street on one after drinking can get you busted for drunk driving. Goofy stuff.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 12:09 am | Profile

[0] comments (1213 views) |  link

Just Go Here Daily

American Realpolitik is something you just gotta go visit for the whole experience. I'm not going to link to daily cartoons, which is a major feature there. If you go there for the cartoons, you'll also see France classed as a third world country, deregulation as a mirage, bias mongers, and more.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 22, 03 | 12:00 am | Profile

[0] comments (949 views) |  link

Thu Aug 21, 2003


Amish Tech Support has suffered a pepper theft! I always hated when people walked into my grandfather's garden, where I sometimes grew things too, and walked off with stuff. Mostly I grew strawberries, and those weren't near enough the street or convenient enough to be prone to theft. More importantly, he's reporting that MSN Messenger users are being forced to upgrade to a new version that does not allow Trillian to be used. I have never used Trillian, but I have heard it raved about. And this is not the first time MSN Messenger has changed abruptly. My friend Nicole wrote a VB app that used the MSN object model to automate switching of logins, making it convenient for her roommate to share. Then they upgraded and completely changed the object model, in itself something you should think twice about doing if you expose a COM interface that people can interact with programatically. Sheesh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:43 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1192 views) |  link

Major Progress

Well, with a half hour to go today, I have a new record of 418 and counting. Excellent! I appreciate all the help in trying to make 20k. The stats right now look like this:

Total 18,269
Average Per Day 198
Average Visit Length 1:46
Last Hour 12
Today 418
This Week 1,383

That means four days and a bit over 1700 hits to go. I don't think I'll get four more days in a row like this one, but I'm going to be waaaay closer than I ever expected, thanks to all of my visitors and promoters.

I just hope I'm not boring anyone with the blog walk. I'm finding it interesting, because a lot of times I bring up a bunch of my links, take a cursory look, then close them. I'm looking closer and longer, seeing things, and quality, I might have missed in my usual quick run through. I forgot I had really good reason to link to these folks.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:27 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1597 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Attaboy takes on the notion that Mel Gibson's film is anti-semitic. He also takes on Microsoft and its patching.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:17 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1031 views) |  link

Avast! It's the 21st Century, Blokes

Aubrey Turner is wise to the nonsensical thrashings of the MPAA.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:11 pm | Profile

[0] comments (924 views) |  link

Still Walking the Blogroll

AtlanticBlog writes of double standards applied to wrongdoings or tragedies involving politicians of the left versus the right. As a bonus, down with fun, go repression!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:06 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1179 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Anomaly last posted on the 15th, asking where were you when the power went out, and describing her fairly lucky experiences.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:01 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1472 views) |  link

Blog Awards Need Votes People

Balloon Juice is still looking for Blog Award Nominees. I must admit that I am one of the evil bloggers who linked the awards announcement, then never voted. I meant to! Prehaps I shall before the 25th. Check it out and get off your voting butts. But wait! There's also the question of why illegal immigrants are so coddled by the law. Other good stuff too; worth visiting.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:45 pm | Profile

[0] comments (982 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Big Red Giant, perhaps named in anticipation of our sun's far distant future, has encountered the fun of being there in a time range for an installer who never even shows on that day, and looks into the WTC site designs.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:40 pm | Profile

[0] comments (968 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Biscuits and Gravy has a useful list of things for young folks to remember, still worthy even though it's been around for a while. As a bonus, the latest California poll!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:35 pm | Profile

[0] comments (917 views) |  link

That You'll Come Back To Me

Blog O'DOB seems to be in a quick snippet mood lately, including multiple urgings for us to go read Responsibility and sympathy for Rachel's self-imposed nutpig exposure. In lengthier news there's a great capture that missed being on the front pages due to the blackout, on which he comments along with memories of September 11.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:28 pm | Profile

[0] comments (932 views) |  link

I'm Hoping

Bloviating Inanities has great fun with the Jerry Springer show and its sponsors, with a bonus whine about the sexiest blogger thing. Hit jealousy, you know.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:19 pm | Profile

[0] comments (997 views) |  link

Bout You And Me

Brain Squeezings is on hiatus, with some agonizing over the need to write and what to write, and an invitation for people to keep in touch via e-mail.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (898 views) |  link

I'm Talkin'

Buzzstuff ponders whether we will still be blogging when we're old and decrepit. This made me start thinking in song "where will my blog be, will you still read me, when I'm sixty-four." Heh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:11 pm | Profile

[1] comments (955 views) |  link

Yes Indeed

Barrel of Fish finds John Lemon powerflushing and has some issues with Calpundit.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:07 pm | Profile

[0] comments (908 views) |  link

I'm Walkin'

Beth Mauldin tells us about the funny concept of Nerdistan, laughs some more later, and warns of the danger of caffiene at night while emulating 80 year old lesbian phone sex.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 10:01 pm | Profile

[0] comments (908 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll

Blaster's Blog does the obligatory reporting on Patrick Ruffini's resurfacing, and discusses power outage politics.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 9:55 pm | Profile

[0] comments (949 views) |  link

Many Worlds

This is an interesting commentary on the possibility of multiple universes. I didn't realize there was that much disagreement on the topic, but I hadn't looked. I know the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory is popular and makes sense. It also explains certain inexplicable things through the concept of quantum leakage.

Found this via Poliblog.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 9:45 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1004 views) |  link

Brazilians in Space*

I had no idea that Brazil was working on their own space launch program. I knew they were part of the ISS of course. I don't recall which item, if there was a specific piece, they were providing, but they're officially one of the countries involved.

* Well, their hardware anyway, soon.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 6:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (945 views) |  link

Changing Pace Maybe

I am sorely tempted to do the blogroll walk in single post increments. That will keep me constantly pinging and at the top of the recently updated list, which then tends to draw hits from itself. That can be sustantial. Plus I wouldn't feel like I had to sit at length and go through a certain amount of them to build a post. If I wanted to stop after a couple, I could.

Normally I just got through the entire blogroll once in a while, in a concerted effort to hit them all. If I see anything that really grabs me, I'll post about it. Even that takes serious time. Still, perhaps I'm introducing people to blogs they might not have clicked over on the right, but will if they see it sounding intriguing in a post.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 6:25 pm | Profile

[2] comments (976 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 7

Glenn Frazier hasn't posted since the 14th, but that was a pretty good first hand on the outage.

Freedom Lives is now at and I somehow managed to miss updating that link. There you can find such disparate things as a WTC rebuild update and McDonald's encouraging excess Big Mac consumption.

Dodgeblogium imagines the dangers of nudity in Maine. I always hated horseflies, which if you go up to northern Vermont people will vehemently correct you into calling deerflies.

The Dreamlands, no fan of Israel, says enough is enough.

Diablogger has one of the coolest designs I've seen. If you watch while it loads, the lefty face blabs nonsense at the righty face, leaving the righty face looking disgusted. Heh. Apart from that, this puppy seems to be on hiatus, with a most recent post of July 24th.

Dr. Weevil is another blog that last posted on the 14th, with both news of the blackout and of finding a job.

Dogs Don't Purr has had family tribulations and a clean bill of health on her knee. Errr... no links for posts, apparently.

Descent Into Madness is on leave until September.

Damn The Man, who has an almost scary iconic picture with every post, last posted a discussion of the blackout, on the 15th. But before that there's the fun man/woman shopping for frames at Wal-Mart scenario. Heh.

The Dax Files reacts to Acidman's bald vagina post, experiences a blog hacking, and subsequently busts the culprit. Incarceration at Guantanamo. News at eleven.

Critical Mass has a guest poster, with a four part, stunning post about his persecution by Brooklyn College, which wants their student's money but doesn't want to challenge them with a quality education. This is part 4, which links to the other parts, or simply go to the main page and look for the Frederick Lang posts. As of now they are current, and the only ones on the main page.

Cut On The Bias talks about changing the role of Saudi women, reasons to dislike her, and a superlative, thoughtful post on palestinians and the latest attack.

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical is always fun. This made me laugh hard. This is a good piece on euro-envy, not so funny.

Cam Edwards reminds me that I was once crazy about Khrystyne Haje, with this post about an unfortunate celebrity zipper incident. Ouch. Oh, and did you have any clue that viruses could be terrorism? That's just shocking.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 6:19 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1218 views) |  link

Sybari Antigen is My Friend

Reading this article I am thinking I can't recommend Sybari Antigen e-mail gateway scanning software enough for companies of any size that use Exchange or Domino. I am not sure if it also works for other products.

It's priced depending on the number of mailboxes, and they will negotiate if you're hesitant about the price. They sell it in a two year license, with a default configuration of receiving virus definitions automatically from two vendors of your choice out of four. Typically people select one European vendor and one American vendor to optimize coverage. That is, if one doesn't get it, the other will. For a fairly modest additional amount you can get virus definitions from all the available vendors Antigen uses.

More important than the virus protection is the software allows you to block attachments by extension. You can eliminate .pif, .scr, .exe, .com and .bat out of hand, virus or not. It sometimes causes havoc because people actually send legitimate files of these types sometimes. The solution is to rename the extension, send it, and the person receiving it renames it back. I have run into this with a particular finance company sending real estate closing packages with, of all things, a .com extension. Everyone gets in a tizzy whenever that happens, and apparently the people at the other end are either completely automated and can't rename the file, or refuse to change the way they do things. In this day and age, you have to be willing to deal with blockage of executable files. Anyway, exceptions can't be set, but the quarantined file can be released manually so the recipient gets it. It also scans within zips, so a zipped executable gets nailed too.

It's one of the simplest to use software packages I have ever encountered, and it just works. My client's large clients, or large companies where employee's spouses work, will have to shut off their internet connections and spend hours or a day or two cleaning up, and they'll be shocked that my client isn't having the same problems. It's going on two years since the week we put in 90 hours cleaning up an infection. That's enough to pay for 60 user Antigen a few times over.

It also doesn't hurt that I got everyone well trained to be paranoid about strange e-mails and attachments. I got pretty grumpy when I had to do massive cleanups, and that left an impression.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 4:46 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1020 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 6

Irreverent Probity says wrong in Iraq is wrong in Israel, and then reminds us again.

Insolvent Republic of Blogistan keeps us posted on Strippergate.

Indigo Insights cites some really good stuff from new blog The Mulatto Advocate.

Inoperable Terran has a new masthead that reminds me of the time my late cousin had a cockatiel. I pointed out that I thought she'd prefer a cockortwo. This is a blog where it's hard to pick a post or two to note and link to, because they are brief blurbs that mostly point you to other good stuff. It's always worth checking out the whole thing.

Heinleinblog doesn't get updated frequently, as is to be expected. Most recently was some Heinlein Society news and opinion. Also noted this month were items on Mars being close and private spaceflight making progress.

Hell In A Handbasket reviews a gun designed for camping.

The Hillbilly Sophisticate has ongoing coverage of the sniper incidents, including the latest news that the targets might not be so random.

Hootinan discusses the political rather than religious nature of the Muslim head covering for women. Other good Middle East coverage here too.

Hi, I'm Black! points out the lesson that some have apparently missed, that he is now to be called "Glenn" when referred to on other blogs, and the Puppy Blender it to be referred to as 'White Glenn." He also asks the same thing I did in someone's comments at the news of Chemical Ali's capture: Wasn't he already killed?

Heretical Ideas has the same sensible reaction I did about a possible Wonka remake.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 4:04 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1087 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 5

The Light of Reason has been suffering serious worm problems, and I don't mean inability to find bait for fishing, but is recovered enough now to take back over from his fine guest bloggers.

Loyal Citizen Victor has not been loyally blogging, having been last heard from on July 28th. At that time he was seeking new quarters and unhappy with Maryland.

Libertyblog questions why the French are allegedly dropping like flies from the smell heat over there.

Leaning to the right has one of the best blog proprieter pictures I have ever seen. Why wasn't Athena nominated for sexiest female blogger? No offense to her husband, but going there to admire the picture is a big part of the draw. After all, she hasn't posted since the 7th, and before that July 22nd. She can't believe anyone would think that the California recall process is too easy. Yeah, really.

Last Man Dancing seems to be down.

Liquid Courage most recently posted, as I believe I mentioned previously, a poll on sexiest male cartoon characters. Racer X currently leads.

Lead and Gold, whose blog name always reminds me of the White Mountains trilogy, does a corrective comparison of Clinton and FDR, setting Sidney Blumenthal straight.

Jessica's Well comments on the flypaper theory, plus there's all the usual interesting stuff.

Just Some Poor Schmuck comments on the goofy Bush recall effort and education in the far east.

Jay Reding weighs in on the ongoing discussion of foreign outsourcing of jobs.

JawsBlog may be limited in blogging for a while. On heading back to Brandeis for senior year, his computer was damaged in transit.

Jaboobie reports that Captain Morgan has a new competitor. No taste test yet? What's up with that!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 3:01 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1067 views) |  link


I grew up eating lots of vegetables. My family grew a variety of them. I like most everything, and am particularly fond of some things that are widely disparaged. I'm way too fond of meat and carbs, and left to my own devices I don't always eat the amount of veggies I should (as I suspect is true of most people), but I like them when I have them.

What really strikes me funny is running into people who will only eat corn, or carrots, or peas. Nothing else. Weird. Then again, I also think it's somewhat weird to be a vegetarian, and weirdest of all to be a vegetarian who dislikes a wide range of vegetables. How can that be healthy?

Do you have a big favorite that many people don't like or would never try?

I love spinach, brocolli, beet greens, parsnips, summer squash, lima beans. Oddly enough, I never liked swiss chard much, despite the similar things I like. My grandfather grew a lot of that and loved it. My father loves brussel sprouts. I can't stand them, or the smell of them cooking. He thinks that's odd, since I like cabbage. I like, but don't love, cauliflower, which when I was young I wouldn't eat if I could avoid it. Ditto for turnip, and really it still has to be the sweet P.E.I. turnip for me to really dig in.

My father always loved shell beans; the ones that grow on a pole. I'll eat them, but they still aren't my favorite thing.

Eggplant is great fried or in eggplant parmesan. Fried zucchini is great too, though in general it's bland and needs to be in something else, like a tomato an zucchini dish, to be truly tasty.

I don't go out of my way to eat mushrooms generally, but I like them. Sauteed mushrooms. Stuffed mushrooms. Victoria Station makes fantastic, if expensive, crab stuffed mushrooms. I have never had portabella, but I've been told a grilled portabella sandwich can be delicious.

I'll eat bell peppers in salad, but the best thing to do is make stuffed peppers with them. My grandmother makes the best ones ever. She always used hamburger to stuff them. I never heard of using rice stuffing until I was almost 30.

Feel free to share here. What do you like or hate in the veggie realm? What are the recipes that you go crazy for?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 2:06 pm | Profile

[7] comments (1101 views) |  link


So last night I'm sitting at the computer, blogging and stuff, and I start noticing "squeeeeak, squeak" low and seemingly in the distance. I try to ignore it, wondering what it could be. It's not the periodic dove cry noises the refrigerator makes; not loud and grating enough. Maybe it's one of the fans, starting to die...

Then after a few minutes I realized it was happening when I moved the mouse. The mouse was squeaking! Not every time or direction, but frequently. How weird!

I haven't checked it out yet, but I think it's the four plastic feet rubbing on the wooden desktop. I chucked the old Prozac mousepad a couple months ago because it was so old and ratty the mouse wan't working right on it, and it encouraged the ball to get dirty faster. It worked better right on the desk.

I suspect this is a result. I'll bring home one of the liberty mousepads from work and see what happens. The whole thing is just too funny though.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 11:04 am | Profile

[1] comments (1023 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 4

Oscar Jr., aka Instapuppy at times, worships at the altar of Frank, lauding his humor and, rightly so, wishing he gets well soon. On another note, it is always worth remembering Oscar Jr.'s Blogs Around the World and Blogs Around the U.S.A. projects. Cool stuff, and potential sources of new blog discovery.

One Hand Clapping analyzes the concept of "special interests" held up against the context of Arnold's speech and California's circumstances.

One Fine Jay, who is going to be doing a computer reinstall like everyone should do periodically to de-crud things, talks about stealth food ingredients, and the fact that it's surreptitious can be worse than the unexpected food itself. Fair warning, the post might induce a shudder or two, though the recipe he starts out picking on doesn't sound that bad. The liver strikes me as worse than the blood.

At Notorious B.L.O.G. there is more fun at the expense of Fox, and a serious warning about electric fences.

Nikita Demosthenes has a report on the very real problems that lurk in rushing to electronic voting.

North Georgia Dogma does a side by side comparison of Clinton and Davis speeches.

News 101 seems to be THE place to go for ongoing coverage of the surface to air missile sting, as well as other topics of current interest.

Mike Campbell's blog, which almost always generates an error page on the first try, fires away liberally (heh) at Janeane Garofalo.

The Mudville Gazette is all fired up, and rightly so, at the problem encountered by Operation Air Conditioner.

At, they know what to do with human scum.

Mind of Mog expresses concern about the eye of Mog. Let's hope it's nothing expensive or serious!

Mind of Man is now named Insults Unpunished, with a new Jefferson quote at top to go along with the name. A particularly interesting recent post there discusses a transaction tax as replacement for the income tax maze we have now.

Midwest Pundits wonders about the rule of law in Florida, and also wrote of cars he's owned, asking for your stories too. I think I talked about my cars once, but I can't remember for sure.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 21, 03 | 12:19 am | Profile

[3] comments (1168 views) |  link

Wed Aug 20, 2003


I am having a seriously record day! With a half hour to go I am at 368, almost 100 over the record if I recall correctly. Now if I can do this every day for the next 5 days, I'll almost make the 20k sprint at my 6 month mark. Heh.

To give an idea how it compares, this is the month through today:


Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 11:19 pm | Profile

[5] comments (1730 views) |  link

Vive la Resistance?

So it would seem that the key to being mentioned by White Glenn the Puppyholic and getting pummeled with hits, which in the next 5 days would be a Good Thing, is to say rude things about MonkeyBoy.


Frank permalinks me. Glenn doesn't yet. I'd rather not pick on Simian Frank, even though I prefer to read the Blender Master.

What a revoltin dilemma! What would the Swiss do? Heck, what would Brian Boitano do?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 11:11 pm | Profile

[2] comments (988 views) |  link

But Enough of That...

I'm not sure I'll continue any more of the blogroll walk posts tonight, and if I do may not be more than one or two. I should note that they were inspired by Drumwaster and Paul.

I was afraid I would run into ones I could find nothing of interest to mention on, but the closest I came was finding ones on hiatus, and that in itself is something to point out about them.

Looks like people are doing a great job helping me get extra hits! It probably won't be enough, but at least it might be close. In fact, I'll leave you with a picture below of what an AcidLanche looks like. In short, it looks like Roscoe being primed for action.


Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 7:07 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1559 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 3

The Rattler is on a few days break to prep for law school, but now before noting the fact that the absence of Patrick Ruffini has now been explained by his webmastery of the Bush/Cheney '04 site. He also talks about the blackout.

Repatriate has developed the impression that the palestinians don't want peace. I can't imagine how anyone could think such a thing!

Rambling Rhodes on the obviousness of teens with cash being a drug risk, and the bombing in Iraqin one post, and on the latest worm, not realizing that bounced e-mails that appear to have been "from" him are spoofed and really cam from an infected person who had his address on their system.

Rob Bernard has been doing lots of very brief, hit and run blurbs and links with fairly extendaed breaks in between.

Rick's Miscellany has a bunch of interesting stuff, not most of which is the most recent post on a singing frog. He also recommends the site Speckled Paint, points out how to make homemade versions of some brand items, and points out old face cream that used to contain actual radium.

A Reasonable Man reviews and recommends the film Open Range, with a nod to geopolitics in there too.

The Ranting Rationalist hasn't posted anything since the 1st. What's up with that? The last thing was on copyright law and downloaders.

RantDude's Ravings hasn't been updated since the 8th, but lots of goodies through then. The last item was on his mother's failure to use and appreciate microwaves, which led me to comment about my grandmother taking time even to get used to having the one we bought her about 15 years ago. She adapted pretty readily though.

Random Jottings quotes Martha Washington and takes a good look at the accidental cameraman killing.

Quit That! describes at some length a somewhat... exciting... horse and mule riding outing that left me laughing.

The Parson's Pantry has, among other things, a nifty heart picture to go along with Paul's post from the hospital where he was to get an angiogram. Looks like he came through it well, which is great news.

Publicola points out a major injustice in Chicago. Stuff like this pisses me off.

Peoria Pundit is into skin today.

Philosophical Blitzkrieg writes of wanting to make amends for past cruelty. I can relate to never letting go or forgiving yourself.

Pseudorandom Thoughts has a superlative essay on fear, failure, foreign policy, and, just maybe, hope. I should be pointing this one out in its own post, not a blogroll walk!

Plum Crazy expresses strong opinions about politicians and the power outage.

Petrified Truth remembers the heroic Jannie Brandes-Brilleslijper, who died Friday.

Peppermint Patty seems to be on hiatus, with a complete lack of any recent posts.

Pejmanesque points to and recommends some blogging federalists.

Parkway Rest Stop recently reported on the fee invoking or raising tactics states have been using to increase revenue but not taxes. He also has a great interest in buried planes.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 6:58 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1322 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 2

Totalitarianism Today, which appears not to have post links available, discusses the problematic "big government conservatism" and shows a wonderful "Faux News Network" T-shirt with links to the vendor who sells them and others.

The Hard Press seems to have been dead since the 7th, and the last few posts were by the Mrs., who had decided she needed to be a co-blogger when she finally made it to the U.S. Most recently we learned that Sarah hates mice, even cute baby mice, and they were about to celebrate their 5th anniversary.

Turkey Blog is linking and talking about the bombings in the most recent posts here, here, here, here, and especially here.

Tobacco Road Fogey, where'd you go? No new posts since July 22nd!

Tiger enlightens us on why Texas has its own power grid.

Thinklings has the customary religious topics, stuff like making thology relevant. But then there is also an item on what Jared thought of the new S.W.A.T movies, and what he ranks as his top five action flicks. I must say, I watch Die Hard every year, and can understand why film schools use it as an example of excellence.

The Twins Tell the Truth, at least allegedly. Maddy tried out for soccer and is on a team. She also disavows her endorsement of Arnold, if an endorsement is what the gushing was. She recently had a fun vaction in Alaska and then posted a day by day account on her return.

Sharp Knife would prefer the media to use accurate language.

Shark Blog compares Gray Davis and Hugo Chavez, finding the difference is not striking.

Somewhere on A1A points out that the palestinian terrorists are terrorists and need to be handled as such, including their sham leadership.

Silflay Hraka wonders why people never learn, and speculates about people opening virus attachments intentionally to get a break while tech cleans up. I used to supervise a guy who would intentionally sabotage his phone and computer, then say "can't take call, dead in the water." We natually referred to him as "dead in the water" or DITW (pronounced Dit-Dubya) after the first couple times.

Sanity's Edge has a report on being a junk food junkie.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 5:43 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1204 views) |  link

Walking the Blogroll, Part 1

And, taking it from the bottom, here goes...

Zogby Blog updates us on the Tony Martin case, in which the criminal who ruined Martin's life has been seen not to be suffering injuries in "need" of compensation after all. Great development!

You Big Mouth, You! is making sure we don't forget the perversity that was Rachel Corrie.

Yet Another Weird SF Fan most recent was looking for radioactive spiders rather than mere wasps, and discussing the blackout.

The Warren has something on the bombing and blame game, and many other items by various authors.

WylieBlog has some great jokes.

The Wise Man Says there is a very nearly self-fisking editorial, something about America having turned Iraq into a terrorist threat when it wasn't one before, which he is promising to fisk later.

Will Wilkinson hasn't posted since the 11th, and that was regardining an interesting dinner with Khomeini's grandson.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Deskmerk knows! He actually managed to have blood pressure higher than mine was when I started bringing it down, but his came down more quickly and easily.

The Weigh In has nothing to say, and proceeds to say it about things like the bombings and the palestinians.

The View From the Back Window of My Pickup Truck must be rather foggy, as there is nothing new since the 11th, and that's a quiz. Most recent real post, July 30, had to do with the "no Catholics need apply" litmus test for judicial appointments.

Val e-diction writes about the Articles of Confederation vs. the Constitution, libertarian vs. conservative, and much on the toic of Microsoft forcing updates in the future.

VRWC wonders if the French have seized control of the UN.

Under a Blackened Sky has an excellent discussion and crticism for Microsoft, inspired by the SoBig worm that is rampant today.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 4:55 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1056 views) |  link


Once again, Bill Whittle has a superlative essay, this time on responsibility. As I always say, it's not freedom, it's freedom and responsibility.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 3:54 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1073 views) |  link

That Does Not Compute

You have to love tech support. This is such a prime example of what happens. The senior secretary at the client in Fall River e-mails me from her computer and reports the following symptoms:

We are having the same problem we had last week. We are not able to turn on the computers. I have shut down twice and unplugged the hubs and still they are not working.

If they can't "turn on the computers" then how is she e-mailing me from her computer? Obviously the description, clearly vague in the first place, says pretty much nothing remotely accurate about what is happening. Especially since at no time have they ever had a problem that could be in any way described as "not able to turn on the computers."

The trick is, at least one of the hubs barfs. When it does, the hub has to be rebooted and the computers do too. This sounds like they didn't do everything required to fix it, or else the bad hub has finally given up entirely. Since I know them, I can interpret the above problem as "the new secretary's computer won't connect to the others or the internet again."

People, some advice. If you use tech support, they can't help you as easily as they could if you are hopelessly incomplete or inaccurate in telling them what has happened. Words and phrasings have specific meaning. "The computers" in this case, for instance, means "all the computers in the office," but in fact that is not what is happening, so why use those words? Why not say "Alice's computer"? And the computer is not unable to be turned on. It can't see the other computers or the internet. So that is what I should be told.

If you get an error that says an illegal operation has occurred, why say "my computer crashed!" Your computer didn't crash. You got an error. So you say you got an illegal operation error, and in the details it said acmewidgets.exe caused an invalid page fault in module unkown. It's not hard to pay attention and note the actual error and circumstances. You don't have to be a geek. You don't have to be "technical." Would you tell your mechanic "a light went on on my dash." No. You would say that the alternator light or the oil light went on. Duh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 20, 03 | 1:24 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1054 views) |  link

Tue Aug 19, 2003


You got to see my friends Bob and Sherri a few days ago. Since Renee sent me this pretty good picture, taken by someone playing with their new digital camera while Renee was looking at e-mail from me on her phone, I figured I'd size it down and post it.


I don't know as she ever sees the blog, so chances are I will live through this. It could be worse. I could point out that she's eligibly single and give a rundown. Heh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 11:55 pm | Profile

[0] comments (940 views) |  link

Nuke Mars or Bust

This is really cool! But aren't they having enough trouble paying the cost to participate in the White Eleph- er, International Space Station? Someone at least has vision and sense to grasp the way things could be done if you're serious. No messing around; a power plant, all the needs for a while to get things seriously rolling on Mars.

Never mind this crap of landing a few people for a matter of days and hauling them home and maybe never going back. That's ridiculous.

Just think. When we show up, the Russians will be all set to sell us electricity. By having a power plant, they will have already increased the value of the local real estate to others.

You don't just send a piddly ship there on a God knows when another will be sent basis. You do like in Red Mars and you kick craploads of stuff in big dumb boosters by remote control to anywhere in the general area where people will be landing. You send multiples of everything. You send robotic stuff that can take some of the human labor out of the heavy work of building and processing. You send a whole bunch of people and you keep sending them and you don't even necessarily plan to bring them back, or you make that a matter of those who want to hitching a ride on one of the many "buses" back and forth, or on the permanent - the name is escaping me at the moment dammit - module that perpetually orbits Earth to Mars and back and forth.

As for the article, I saw the link somewhere and then I closed that window, let's see.... yup, had it. And a link to an article about the Chinese going to the moon, but that one wouldn't open, and I already had seen stuff about that off and on in the past year anyhow.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 11:26 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1022 views) |  link

The Carnival Bowl

Carnival of the Vanities is up over at the ever favorite Outside The Beltway. I actually remembered to enter this time! It has a really cool football theme, and I say that as someone who doesn't do football.

Go on over and check it, and the CotV entries, out for this week.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 11:10 pm | Profile

[0] comments (956 views) |  link

Driving Miss Welsh Witch

Spiced Sass has a cool story about what it's like to drive a limo for a major celebrity arriving in town for a concert. Pretty interesting perspective that few people ever have.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 9:57 pm | Profile

[1] comments (953 views) |  link

Give Me Money Traffic. No Traffic, No Hits, No Goal.

Come on guys, send me some traffic!

Any special requests? What shall I write to get everyone (or the big one) to link to me? I'm open to suggestions.

I have a little over 2500 hits to make 20,000 by the 6 month mark, which is on the 25th, which means five more days. Eep! That's 500 hits a day.

Shoot. I'll never do it without Glenn. When I got Glenn to link Rob Sama - on a Sunday no less - it meant something like 12,000 hits in a day. That would be far more than I need. But that can't be counted on, so it's up to all of you.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 9:32 pm | Profile

[7] comments (1644 views) |  link

Hardware! (And I don't mean "Roscoe")

I decided to skip groceries until tomorrow and get Taco Bell for supper. Mmm... Taco Bell. Now I think of Rachel Lucas every time I go to Taco Bell.

She's made some fun posts lately. I thought her description of Lowe's, which also could apply to Home Depot or Rona (in Canada; I've shopped at the one in Sherbrooke, Quebec) was hysterically funny and true.

Of course, it's a guy thing to love those places. I'm not hopeless at household handyman stuff, but I'm not fantastic either. I was not really any good at all when I was a kid, but for as long as I can remember, I loved hardware stores. When I was young we had Hanson Hardware, in South Hanson, MA on the main drag, in an old wooden building. It was never the same when it moved to a spacious building up the street by what used to be Brine's Ice Cream. We also had Fairbanks and Ed's hardware stores almost side by side overlooking the common in Bridgewater, MA. I bought my snowblower at Fairbanks when I did the snow removal business, poorly timed for the winter of '78. Oops.

To me Home Depot, though I still miss the crowded old hardware stores, is like a giant toy store full of all the coolest stuff. Not needing to go there is something I miss about not having a house. When I played house with my stepsister and did the fixing and yard work, I used to be at Home Depot all the time. Then when I moved, and had to paint the apartment and had pretty free reign because my uncle owned the building and my low rent was because I'd be painting myself and generally low maintenance for them, I had a last blast there.

I sometimes thought it would be cool to work in a hardware store when I was younger. Now there's something I missed. Though I came close. I worked at a place that sold home renovation hardware and specialty stuff, Victorian and so forth, through mail order. That was cool. I was fascinated with mail order. I was fascinated with hardware. I was fascinated with manufacturing and metal fab, of which they did some of their own. The place even published a magazine (and their catalogs) and I got to see some of what that was like.

What do you think; primarily a guy thing to like hardware stores even if you're clueless about using the stuff you can buy there?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 9:25 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1126 views) |  link


Oops! Hey Maripat, you're getting too popular....

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

Apache/1.3.27 Server at Port 80

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 8:42 pm | Profile

[0] comments (975 views) |  link

So how is your day?

Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been doing some work that precluded it. I'll probably post in between loads of laundry tonight.

We've been working on a program for law firms for a while, with that primarily being done on the side by two of my partners who have day jobs. Since the lower paid of the two of them makes more than twice what I do holding down the fort here, and I have gone through every bit of my savings keeping myself going, I naturally am getting antsy for something to be ready so I can go to town on marketing and distribution and support. That's why I am here, as much as being a geek.

The one who is the lead and the vision behind the software, but doesn't have the business or marketing background even that I do, is in turn getting antsy to leave his job and join me in the office. He diverted his attention away from the not-complete software that everything hinges on. Again. Instead he spent a lot of time creating a "game plan" for how to procede with both marketing the product, and offering various services. In other words, being me, in a sense, instead of being him.

He's been waiting eagerly for my feedback on it, so I finally sat and annotated the document at length and sent it to him and the other guys.

The way things are, without a product to release, I could as easily just be my own consulting company. I've taken 99% of the risk. I've eaten virtually all of the opportunity cost. I kept us in business and kept the major client that provides most of our revenue and would have hired me as an employee instead had I wanted.

All I ask is that the people writing the software and not having to worry much about anything else actually keep writing the software and fricking finish it. Sheesh.

Which is not to say there weren't any good ideas and plans in my partner's document. It's just basically nothing that I hadn't already thought about or planned to implement when the time is right.

Anyway, gotta do a few more things and then get out of here. Groceries, home, then laundry and more blogging.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 6:29 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1039 views) |  link

Desktop Faxing

My client is interested in desktop faxing. I know them enough to know the preference will be for it to be as inexpensive as possible.

Does anyone have recommendations or pointers on the topic?


Let me clarify this. By the term "desktop faxing" I do not mean something like what software to use to fax via a fax/modem in the individual computer, through a dedicated phone line plugged into that computer.

I mean we have a network of 50-odd people and would like to be able to have them all fax either via an internet service accessible through the network, or through a fax server on the network, or through some other means I don't know about.

Thus the question can be construed as more like "do you know anything about fax servers and related software, and what are the alternatives?"

(The above, both parts, are verbatim what I sent to a couple mailing lists too, but figured I'd cover all my possible sources. Obviously I can Google and otherwise research the topic, just figured I'd see if people have recommendations based on personal experience.)

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 19, 03 | 11:25 am | Profile

[5] comments (1202 views) |  link

Mon Aug 18, 2003

Another Day, Another Quiz

Will Turner
Will Turner

Pirates of the Caribbean - Which character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Ith at Girls, Girls, Girls

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 11:35 pm | Profile

[0] comments (933 views) |  link

Why Do We Never Get An Answer...

Over at Girls, Girls, Girls they are doing that goofy 5 interview questions thing in a group sort of way. It's not the way it's supposed to work, but I just answered two sets of them in comments there. They do have both some intriguing and some very difficult questions to answer.

In theory I am now supposed to post questions of my own, but I'm lucky if people even answer my single questions I post to provoke comments.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 10:51 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1006 views) |  link

Selective Reality - What Would You Choose?

This is not a top x poll-like question. This is a think about it and comment what and why kind of question, sharing with the readers. Or write it up on your blog and comment here that you've done so, then we can go read your thoughts.

IF you could live in any fictional reality as depicted in a movie, which one would you choose, and if you'd care to elaborate, why?


Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 10:02 pm | Profile

[7] comments (1003 views) |  link

Actors You Would Like To See As Governor - The Results

Here are the results of the top actors you would like to see as governor. The votes were so scarce that I can't give you a top 10 as it was supposed to be. There are a top five, four of whom are tied. There's a number one, a clear winner. Then there is everyone else, tied at one vote each.

The winner, with four votes:
Bruce Willis

Second place, tied with two votes each:
Clint Eastwood
Mel Gibson
Morgan Freeman
Owen Wilson

The rest, one vote each:
Bo Derrick
Charles Bronson
Charlton Heston
Christopher Walken
Colin Firth
Dennis Miller
Gary Oldman
Humphrey Bogart
James Earl Jones
John Cleese
John Cusack
John Malkovich
Larry Miller
Luke Wilson
Mark Harmon
Mike Myers
Patricia Heaton
Tom Berenger
Tom Selleck

Comments? Discussion? Regrets that you didn't vote and make the outcome more to your liking? That's what the comments are for, go to it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 9:53 pm | Profile

[3] comments (970 views) |  link

Blogging in Secret

Jen is asking the always interesting question and, perhaps, dilemma, of how secret is your blog.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 9:37 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1010 views) |  link

Buried in Journalistic Output

I get too many magazines. There's never time to read them all, and the light being out over the stalls makes it worse. In addition to things like CRN, Information Week, Technology Review, Wired, and Business 2.0, I am given cast off legal magazines like For The Defense, which they don't really read and don't want to put out in the waiting room upstairs. For there it's stricly stuff like Time.

I'm glancing over at Visual Studio Magazine, with "Last Issue Renew Today!" on the outer cover. Apparently I neglected to renew it on any of the renewal notices they start sending three months into the prescription year. But I am here thinking "why? When do I get around to reading it?" Ditto for the latest Information Week, which is a freebie you pay for with demographics so they can use it to sell ads and to pummel you with offers from those to whom they sell the data. Again, why? It's not even that good. Which makes it easy to "read," since I can page through most issues without seeing anything that catches my attention enough to read it, or that's readable enough to keep reading after the first paragraph.

CRN is spotty. I don't read most of it, and sometimes entire issues don't get cracked open. Sometimes there's good stuff, and if I read it at all, I always read the Shadow RAM industry rumor and dirt section, and see if any of the commentary pieces are of interest.

I love Wired, MIT Technology Review, and Business 2.0, which is an excellent business magazine. If those were all I got, I'd be happy.

Of course, that's at the office. The only thing I get at home is Science News, which I read (the articles that interest me) promptly and religiously.

This was prompted by my going through mail, which included lots of magazines and catalogs. Best thing I got was a flyer for Market Basket, where there are some great sales. I need to go grocery shopping anyway, so it's perfect.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 9:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1067 views) |  link


I shouldn't be getting fewer hits on a Monday than over the weekend, despite making only five posts (prior to this one).

I just remembered this is the day I was going to publish the results of the poll, that went over with a thud, on what actors people would most like to see become governor. I should probably have e-mailed it to more people. I will post that in a little while.

Actually, it almost always surprises me how few comments get left in response to direct, open questions like the one of space and SF themed songs. Even as I was doing the actor/governor poll, I knew my followup to it would be just such a thing. Probably nobody will respond. Oh well.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 7:34 pm | Profile

[0] comments (894 views) |  link

This Is Not Your Father's Geopolitical Reality

Jeff at Caerdroia has an analysis of the current aftermath of the Cold War, and where global security should go from here.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 7:02 pm | Profile

[0] comments (933 views) |  link

Sexiest Cartoons

Vicky, one of the foxes in the sexiest female bloggers contest, has a vote of her own going on. That's right! You can go over there and vote on sexiest male cartoon character. I won't even suggest that you vote for PePe LePeu so he can go ahead of the leaders and win.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 5:47 pm | Profile

[1] comments (935 views) |  link

Replacement Value

Replace it already.

Lead and do it right, or get out of the way. Probably better if they get out of the way and get the government out of the launch business. That will be most successful if active measures are taken to encourage speedy development of a private launch industry; the opposite of what seems to be the case now.

Thanks to Rand Simberg for pointing out the article linked above.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 12:07 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1000 views) |  link

Marriage Strike

Dean points to this Wendy McElroy ifeminists editorial, which in turn cites this article, among other things, regarding the "marriage strike" by men.

I certainly can't say this surprises me, even though in my case it hasn't consciously affected my desire to get married or not. Not that any opportunities have availed themselves, but I'd want to be as certain as Dean says he was. From what I have seen, it's so easy for your judgment to be clouded from the initial glow, and to not realize the person you're marrying isn't who you thought she was.

I think I was so strongly affected by the divorce of my own parents that it colors things for me. Then I see what's been done to my brothers, one of whom had not a perfect marriage, but one I assumed was solid enough to last. Didn't realize it was far worse than was outwardly apparent. Ironically, my youngest brother has a marriage some people think will be a disaster, but to me it appears they have a better relationship and potential than most people I've see get married. I recently watched one friend marry someone who appears to be completely inappropriate for him, just because of a combined lack of confidence and a mental roadmap of when in life things like marriage ought to happen. You know, dating her now, this is when people should marry, so I will marry the one onhand now. At least, that's my impression.

Anyway, interesting stuff.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 11:11 am | Profile

[0] comments (1081 views) |  link

So Help Me Blog

New military enlistment oaths to keep up with the times or something.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 18, 03 | 9:52 am | Profile

[0] comments (948 views) |  link

Sun Aug 17, 2003

Dangerous Amusements

Phillip Coons points out this article about a roller coaster operator who was killed in kind of a freak accident.

This brings back not so fond memories from one year at the Eastern States Exposition.

The roller coaster cars were ready and waiting. My younger brother and I hopped into the front car. A few other people saw us and got on board too, then the operator started it up. Mind you, this isn't one of those monster coasters, either the old fashioned wooden ones terrifying in their rickety feel, or the massive metal monsters, terrifying in their size and, these days, their upside-down loops. This is one of those ones portable enough to go from fair to fair, but still about as large as those got. My size.

So we're moving along and there's a guy, the partner in crime running the ride, up in the structure fiddling with things.

We come whizzing down a hill near the end, and he's leaning over the tracks. He notices, kind of looks up and starts to move.


The front of the car, my car, slammed into the side of his head at whatever full tilt speed we were going down the hill. He fell in slow motion the 10-15 feet to the ground and didn't move.

The operator sped us to the end, stopped the ride and we were hustled away, horrified. A while later we saw the ambulance coming in through the crowds.

This was long enough ago that anything like that you never heard about. And I never did. It is entirely possible that the guy died. It's possible he was critically injured, brain damaged or something. I have no idea. They did the "nothing happening here, move along" routine and there was never anything in the news about it.

This is one of those things I don't actively remember unless something sparks it. When I do remember, I feel awful about, even kind of guilty, all over again. At the same time I feel bad, I think "stupid, stupid, stupid! What the hell was anyone doing up in the rigging or on the tracks while the ride was active?!"

Same thing with this guy we're actually hearing about. Why was he there? I feel bad, naturally, if not the way I did having been on the ride, in the car that hit him, and the person that provoked the operator to run the ride at that time. But I wonder what they could have been thinking, having him there then. Or having been where his hair was anywhere in danger.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 10:13 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1195 views) |  link

Victorian Model

This post has some of the best comments I have ever left anywhere. Not sure if they will be persuasive, but I tried.

Help Paul out! Go over there and apply some additional persuasion.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 6:29 pm | Profile

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Pickled Tink

This is such a cool review of my blog! The concluding sentence is: "Stop by and sit a spell for what might be one of the most underrated blogs on the net as described."

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 5:37 pm | Profile

[2] comments (963 views) |  link

No Wait... This Is Even Goofier

You are a Playboy. You perv.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Also via G'Day Mate

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 5:19 pm | Profile

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An Especially Goofy Quiz

parents sex

what's YOUR deepest secret?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via G'Day Mate

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 5:12 pm | Profile

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Minor Changes

If you look over at the upper right, you'll see I have made some changes. Nothing huge. I finally implemented the short about me page I'd talked about a while back. For people who want a pseudorandom collection of more lengthy and sometimes frivolous stuff, there's still the eleventy-one things about me page. I also added an e-mail link and an AIM link.

I haven't changed anything about the "separate blogroll page" yet. I use that sometimes to see who that's listed under Blogrolling has updated recently, but it's way out of date and sync with the links on the main page. I may de-link that and make it entirely private, or I may revamp it and leave it where it is.

I also updated the link to Tiger.

Argh! I just noticed that on my link/comment pages there is no link back to the main page if you were sent there directly. I am getting a large number of referrals directly to posts, and the idea is for them then to click to the main blog and look around. Obviously people can figure out to change the address in the address bar, but they shouldn't have to. Ugh! Must. Fix. Now.



Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 4:06 pm | Profile

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Hey Mother Earth Won't You Bring Me Back Down...

Speaking of space and science fiction songs, what are your favorite ones of that subgenre (if you can call it that)?

I added the SF part because I thought of ELO's "Time" album. It was on that tour I saw them in concert; the first one where I saw people use wireless microphones and instrument pickups. I absolutely adore that entire album, with its theme of time travel and the future.

Another album with some songs like that is by the Buggles, also a favorite. I am so used to albums with one or two songs I like, ones like these where I enjoy the whole thing are precious. But I digress.

Any favorite, or notable, songs or albums of space, SF or the future that you'd care to share with the class?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 11:06 am | Profile

[3] comments (1503 views) |  link

I Wanted to Be a Space Man, That's What I Wanted to Be...

Acidman spaces out, and he's absolutely correct to do so.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 11:04 am | Profile

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Sama Power

Rob Sama has a fantastic discussion of the power industry, and how things need to change. Long, but well worth reading.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 11:02 am | Profile

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This is a most amusing new site: InstaPuppy. Definitely worth a look!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 8:32 am | Profile

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Maternal Memory

My mother's memory is sometimes so bad, and increasingly so, that we worry about alzheimer's. Rather than forgetting things completely, the thing I find frustrating is when she remembers things differently than how they happened. I suppose it fits with her penchant for gossip in which she's famous for relating or repeating things inaccurately, sometimes hillariously so.

I know mustard doesn't have to be refrigerated, but when I was a kid, we always did. I still do. When I was in my teens, one day I couldn't find the mustard. My mother pointed out that it was in the cabinet. I wondered what the hell it was doing there and not in the fridge. She thought I was nuts, told me it didn't need refrigeration, and insisted that we had always stored the mustard in the cabinet, never in the refrigerator. I thought she had completely lost it.

When I was about five, I put my left hand through the glass of the storm door and had to be rushed to the hospital for twelve stitches. I have a big scar on my wrist. My cousins were visiting and everyone was outside. I stood facing away from the door. My mother kneeled, zipped my jacket, and I turned and ran for the door, perhaps six or eight feet away. The inside door was open. The storm door had one of those standard L shaped lever latch handle thingies on the inside that you press to unlatch and push the door open. I put out my hand so the heel of the hand would hit the handle and push it as I ran at the door. I missed.

That's vivid, like it just happened. After that I remember a snippet of riding on my mother's lap while my father raced to the hospital. She had dish towels to staunch the flow, and I was soaking them with blood. Then I remember being in the room where I got sewn up, and I remember getting a lolipop afterward. I remember my cousins being gone when we got home. I remember however many days later going to my own doctor in Middleboro, the same one who effectively saved my life when I was a baby, to get the stitches out.

My mother remembers this as I was running up the steps to come into the house. She insists! That is how she remembers it. It was this that made me take anything she relates from memory with a grain of salt. I know some of the time she is accurate, but I know how completely wrong she can be. It's scary.

It's patently absurd to think I was coming in. Why would I slam into the door when I'd have had to stop to pull it open? I was expecting to push; that's how it happened. That and the location of the latch handle are why it's my left.

My memory is generally as good as my mother's is bad. It scares the crap out of me when I have short term memory loss, or worse, forget what I am saying in mid-sentence. Two visits ago I did that to the doctor. Had an especially severe bout of the brain just switching off and having no idea what I had been saying. Ugh.

For what it's worth, my father, who is 70, has an excellent memory. Anomalies aside, I hope I take more after him in that regard, in the long run.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 8:26 am | Profile

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Musical Power Outage

Reading one of the online articles about the power outage reminded me of something I'd not thought of in some time.

One of the fondest memories of my childhood was the time when the power went out for an extended time, and we all sat around the living room listening to my paternal grandfather's 78 RPM records on his wind up record player. I'm not sure if it's a Victrola or what, but I always thought it was the coolest thing. It's in a classy wooden box and looks very old.

My mother had been storing it in our part of the house and was fond of it, so my grandfather left it and all the records to her. She in turn has promised it to me. Actually, what she said was as soon as I had a place of my own (rather than sharing the house with my stepsister and her dogs) where I'd have room to keep it (as I do now, and she doesn't), I could have it.

Last time I mentioned this she had absolutely no clue what I was talking about, but that's my mother for you. She's the proverbial "forget her head if is wasn't attached" type.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 17, 03 | 7:53 am | Profile

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Sat Aug 16, 2003

War Poll

Oscar Jr. features a fascinating poll on the Blog War between Instapundit and the Axis of IMAO. Take the poll! See the results!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 9:32 pm | Profile

[2] comments (944 views) |  link

Useful Things

Five years ago I wanted to combine going to the family reunion in P.E.I. with taking a major vacation and roaming around Nova Scotia, with a possible jaunt to Newfoundland too. A guy where I worked was a Newfie and gave me tips. Unfortunately, I realized there wasn't time to take the ferry over there and have a meaningful visit that would include driving all the way north to Lanse aux Meadows and camping at Gros Morne, so I had to pass. My late uncle, who hitched a ride to P.E.I. with me when I went for the reunion ten years ago, wanted to drive up along Hudson Bay, then over to Labrador and Newfoundland that way. I suspect the ferry is easier.

Anyway, I knew I couldn't really afford to stay in motels for a long trip. Plus for the family reunion part of it I wanted to stay at the campground at Green Park, where the reunion would take place. Convenient. Not counting side things, like a pot luck supper at the community center in Northam, which used to be the one room school my father's cousins attended, and the dance in Tyne Valley in a warehouse at my second cousin's produce company. They also have a family golf tournament, but I have never played golf. Our common ancestor sailed over from Biddeford, England, landed at what would become Beddeford, P.E.I., and setup shop building ships across the river from what is now Green Park and the shipbuilding museum.

So I decided I would primarily camp. This meant buying gear. The idea was I could use it again and again, making up for the initial cost. I hadn't gone camping since I was a teenager, really, and some of that was under the stars locally, with little more than a sleeping bag needed.

I gave Wal-Mart lots of money on a couple of forays there. Wal-Mart gave me a bunch of camping stuff. Great prices. When I was a kid, tents were expensive, canvas, and leaked miserably. Camp stoves were chancy about working for you as advertised.

Having not done camping, I of course didn't really know what would be more or less useful. I got a tent for 4, which is just the right size for one person, maybe two. It's such a breeze to put up and it stores down to nothing, it's amazing. I got a sleeping bag. That was very nearly pointless, except as a heavy blanket, or emergency backup if not using the air mattress. Yep, got a full size air mattress and a hand pump. The hand pump is approximately the same size as the packed tent. It's great exercise, surprisingly efficient, and means not relying on electricity. I already had a cooler, but I bought a large water jug, 5 gallons I believe. That was useful, but can't be trusted in the trunk with water in it. Ugh.

I got a camp stove that takes propane, and a propane lantern. Of course I got far more propane than I needed. I ended up borrowing a portable gas grill too. As it turned out, I went out for food or ate cold stuff so much, I hardly used the stove or grill. I used a rechargable electric lamp more than I did the propane one, but both were worth having.

What else... I got a couple metal plates with specked blue enamel coating. Cheapo things at Wal-Mart in the camping section, then a few years later I see them in an upscale home goods store as the latest fashionable thing. I got a couple bowls and mugs to match, a pan or two, and a coffee maker. The stupidest thing I got was a folding camp table. It wouldn't fit in my car and didn't go with me, nor would it have needed to, since camping spots usually have picnic tables, and if not it's easy to deal. Well, that's now my kitchen table in the apartment. High class furniture. I got a folding stool, wood and canvas, which ended up being kind of a table inside the tent. Got silverware, cleaning stuff, paper plates, yada yada...

The most useful thing I bought? (Which is the point of this interminable post.) A cheap jackknife. It's a Wal-Mart special. One blade, scaler or whatever it's supposed to be, bottle opener/screwdriver, and can opener. As it turned out, I'd forgotten to get or bring a can opener. I had some real coffee to use with the coffee pot, and had to use the can opener on the knife. I constantly needed to cut things. I put up a clothesline, but had no clothespins and it was windy. I turned some pieces of kindling into makeshift clothespins with the knife. I still carry it in my briefcase and use it regularly. The latest thing it's good for is cutting pills in half, since my doctor told me to start cutting two of my blood pressure meds in half.

My grandfather always carried a jackknife on him, generally one of the slim, simple ones with a single blade and nothing else. It would come out constantly for use in the garden and the yard. I got at least one from him when I was a kid, and at one point I had a couple of the fancy every possible gadget Swiss-style ones, but I went many years not having one. What was I thinking?

I really should go camping again soon. No computers for at least a weekend. Even if it's right here in Massachusetts.

If I were going again, even on the extended trip, I'd reduce what I took with me to a degree. I'd also make more food and get takeout less.

And the knife wouldn't leave my side.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 8:34 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1188 views) |  link

Profiles in Opportunism

Xrlq the unpronounceable* is having fun profiling various of the California candidates for governor.

* Isn't it something like "mix pickle less"? Oh wait...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 4:25 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1000 views) |  link

Or Two...

You come from the Future. Your soul came from a
different time, far in the future. You're just
a little bit a head of everyone else and you're
constantly wondering what lies ahead.

Where Did Your Soul Originate?
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Via Drumwaster

Interestingly, taking my alternate answers got me:
"You come from Heaven. You're the purest of pure, a saint. You're probably an angel sent directly from Heaven."

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 3:41 pm | Profile

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When in doubt, post a quiz

Commander Adama

What classic sitcom character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

But... but... Battlestar Galactica wasn't a sitcom. Was it?

For what it's worth, taking my second choice on the last question gave me Jack Tripper: "Although charming, you are somewhat clumsy and prone to lying." That didn't sound right.

Via that other Kate.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 3:30 pm | Profile

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Balance? Fairness?

I have noticed lately lots of blogs have some play or another on "fair and balanced" and "we report, you decide."

I've decided mine should be something like "Fairly Decisively Unbalanced."

Whaddaya think?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 2:45 pm | Profile

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This is a great picture of Bob and Sherri on New Year's eve. I am also in it, with a strange not-quite-smirk expression that Nicole says is because of the amusing movie I always have going in my head.


Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 2:35 pm | Profile

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What to say?

I feel like I ought to make some posts today to keep my momentum going, even though weekends are generally lower in traffic anyway. Might as well maximize it to come as close as possible to 20k by the 25th.

I am at a complete loss! I just can't think of anything interesting to write. Feel completely uninspired. Very sad.

My American Literature professor used to write short stories, largely SF, for assorted zines. I think the trick is to use something similar to the trick he told me for coming up with a story. The example he used was take an object, in this case a paper clip, and incorporate it into a story involving it. For instance, the paper clip as a murder weapon.

In my case it would mean reading my old posts or other people's posts and making myself write something inspired by them. Or reading some of the magazines I have piled up here, and expound on things I see there. In my experience, once I force myself to get rolling, the anti-writing mood can go away by itself.

Well, we shall see. If there's a lack of content today, you'll know why.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 2:22 pm | Profile

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How am I supposed to get another 3000 or so hits in the next 9 days if Sitemeter goes down completely and stops counting for almost two hours out of the blue? How rude.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 16, 03 | 12:09 pm | Profile

[1] comments (960 views) |  link

Fri Aug 15, 2003

Queen Maripat of Naboo

Maripat finally caved in! She has posted an actual picture of herself, however dated. In it I think she looks like a short haired Natalie Portman, which is definitely praise.

Lori is still holding out.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 8:46 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1036 views) |  link

Sexy? Not Me...

It seems that now nominations are being taken for sexiest male blogger. Trouble is, the rules include the requirement that a picture be available.

Kate helpfully suggested several nominees, in case you need inspiration.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 8:12 pm | Profile

[5] comments (1788 views) |  link

Maybe Next Year...

Lori is confused about the lack of nomination for her and Maripat for sexiest female blogger.

I just kind of thought some other male bloggers might nominate them, so I concentrated on complementary risky behavior with Ith and left Maripat, Lori, Nin, Courtney, Annika, Gennie, Julie, Jen, Sepi, and all the rest to the mercy of others.

I still say it's easier to nominate someone who has dared display a photo to the world, or at least to her close cohorts in blogdom.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 5:47 pm | Profile

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Magical Fibers

Want to learn about fiber optic technology from an expert? Look no further.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 4:43 pm | Profile

[3] comments (995 views) |  link

The One Roll

Blogroll the journalists, if they don't lie
Blogroll Rocky Top Brigade, locally grown
Blogroll pure bloggers, others deny
Rolled by the dark lord on his dark blog
One roll to rule them all
One roll to find them
One roll to ping them all and in the blogsphere bind them
In the land of Blogdom journalists decry

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 2:29 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1004 views) |  link


I rather like this week's RWA caption contest. Lots of good entries so far. Perhaps you could add some more?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 1:59 pm | Profile

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Scary Comparison

Courtney has given John Edwards her Democratic primary endorsement on account of his hair, even if he only uses it to cover a certain emptyness inside.

What's scary is I noticed today my hair currently looks very similar to that displayed in the picture of Edwards in her sidebar. Lighter in color and a wee bit shorter, but otherwise very similar. It's at that partway between cuts stage where it's almost perfect, just starting to get a little longer than I'd prefer it, but not long enough to be out of hand yet. Time for a haircut in the next couple weeks. Perhaps I should try to get a picture now.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 11:54 am | Profile

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Girls Wanted!

And I don't mean (just) for me.

This strikes me as a great opportunity for any of you blog surfing gals who don't want your own to worry about, but sometimes might like to rant or coo about something in good company. Why not sign up? Shake things up. Live a little!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 11:43 am | Profile

[4] comments (1699 views) |  link

Acting Governors

Don't forget! Submit your choices for actors you would like to see as governor, whether you think they'd be good, amusing, or can picture them in character doing the job. It says to e-mail me, but I will also compile in any that are left in the comments.

To reiterate what I said in this post:

Had enough voted lists? I hope not, because now it's my turn!

I am looking for:
Top 10 Actors You Would Like To See Be Governor

That's governor of your state or any state, residency not being an issue.

Send me between one and ten choices. I am going to use the RWN standard, in which number of mentions determines order of the results.

Feel free to give reasons, comments, or hypothetical platforms, and I might publish the most entertaining ones.

Send to jaysolo [at] elhide [dot] com through Sunday, August 17. I'll publish the results on Monday or Tuesday.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 10:38 am | Profile

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3300 To Go

Well guys, I have 10 days to my 6 month blogiversary, and 3300 hits to go to reach the big 20,000 mark. Whaddaya think? Can we get me an average of 330 hits a day for 10 days, when a single day of 330 would be a new record for me?

I guess I'll need lots of 'lanches, and posts that inspire same. Like the current Venomlanche, which is most impressive. It's at least as fruitful as any of my Acidlanches or Franklanches. Of course, a good Instalanche could bring me most of the way in one swell foop.

The countdown begins! Talk about navel gazing...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 10:24 am | Profile

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Feeling Dreamy

For some reason I got a big four hours of sleep and then woke up hyper this morning, full of an unusual level of energy and enthusiasm. Pigging out last night resulted in my losing a couple of pounds; go figure.

I had the strangest dream just before I woke. I was riding on a bus, in a city, with a rude, capricious driver. First he stopped the bus and made one guy get off in the middle of nowhere for making a "constructive criticism." Then he challenged the entire bus full of people, daring anyone else to try to be "helpful."

I said something like "wow!" in amazement at the audacity of the driver. He then insisted on absolute silence, no talking from anyone.

After that, I kept muttering and making noises. Even when he shouldn't have heard, or shouldn't have found the source obvious, he knew exactly where it was coming from and got all pissed off. Nobody else on the bus budged or made a sound. They may as well have been manequins.

He finally stopped the bus and came way back to my seat, which was about three from the back, on the left side of the bus. He stood in the aisle facing into my seat, threatening to beat me up. The dream me was thinking this was a bad idea on his part, because I'd kick his ass to a degree he couldn't possibly imagine. At that point I woke up, confident of the outcome.

Despite only sleeping four hours, I woke repeatedly. I believe earlier I was having space dreams, but I don't remember them. Too bad. Those are always fun.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 8:52 am | Profile

[1] comments (1040 views) |  link

That's Just Super

Aubrey asks the burning, age old, yet still intriguing, question:

What super power would you want, if you could pick one?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 15, 03 | 12:20 am | Profile

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Thu Aug 14, 2003

Evening Ramble

After getting 12 hours of sleep last night, I was almost sleepwalking when I went to the cookout. By the time it was over, I felt better and was more wakeful. Strangely enough, I think the Smirnoff Ice Raspberry perked me up more than any amount of caffeine had done.

It was sooooo good. I ate about two days worth of food. Two burgers with lettuce and tomato, a chicken breast, a hot dog, two helpings of possibly the best potato salad I've ever had, an ear of corn, and a dinner roll with butter. I'm stuffed. At least I was good earlier in the day. When I was in Fall River, someone brought in cookies for the lawyers there. I had one, then declined more. Go me.

I got to admire everyone's cute kids while generally being just as glad I don't have any myself. Watching the kids is a fun part of the general entertainment of people watching.

The owner told me he's decided they have to have a better web site. I basically just said "yep!" That has been my opinion all along. Later I asked if he had any ideas what he wanted. He doesn't. So I'll present some options and ideas. Again. Maybe even try to promote the idea of blogging, or a blog-like way of posting things that anyone there can do anyway. The specialize in defense work on behalf of insurers, with some plaintiff work, a new but significant real estate department, and apparently a fair amount of legal malpractice defense. It's ironic that a firm primarily oriented toward defense work set a medical malpractice award record in a plaintiff case.

Afterward I spent too much money at Wal-Mart, almost all necessary. The frivolity was a couple of $5 videos. The rest was toiletries, drugs and food. Razor blades are too damn expensive. I need to go an spend at least as much again on groceries in the next couple or three days. Ugh.

I was planning to come home and do laundry, but I decided I was too tired and was going to be asleep by now.

Speaking of laundry, it's pissing me off that my black T-shirts come out of the washer with splotches of white on them. The one I was going to wear today was unwearable. And in the past it has seemed to be a white powder residue, but one that won't brush off readily. This time it appears to be large swaths of color bleaching out completely. This started when the newest tenant moved in. There's no sign of residue or anything in the washer, yet this keeps happening. Rather than being one of the 2-4 year old black shirts, this is a new one, bought in January, looking almost like it's never been worn. Until now.

Today that got so irked it made me think I ought to speed up my inclination to move.

For what it's worth, I'd like to find an apartment in Easton, Stoughton, Brockton, West Bridgewater, Norton, Raynham, Mansfield, Taunton, or possibly one of the other towns in that vicinity that's a close commute to the vicinity of the route 123 exit of route 24 in Brockton. (This is Massachusetts, if you're new here.)

I'd prefer 4 rooms or more if it's cheap, but 3 will do, especially if it's extra cheap. Usually the extra room is for the computer and related stuff, and maybe overflow books and storage, depending. These days I'd rather save money than have the extra room, if it's meaningful. I'll go out of my way to avoid having roommates, regardless of savings. Next time I share a place, I want to be serious about her and not need two bedrooms.

Currently I pay $900, including heat and hot water, for 4 rooms totaling about 700 sq ft, plus a good sized porch, plus a storage area about 6x8' in the cellar. For Quincy this is cheap, so I am waiting for the other shoe to drop and for it to be jacked up to like $1100. It's been two years, after all. Before my uncle sold the place, I was paying $575, which is absurdly low, but was the highest rent I had ever paid in my life. I've established that I can afford $900. It's just not pretty. Living comfortably and building the business on a shoestring was heavily predicated on my previous low rent. Unfortunately, $900 for the area I mentioned is pretty normal, especially with heat included. $800 is still not out of the question. In really lucky cases, there are bargains below that. Especially for three rooms instead of four. It's easy to think $900 is too high when it's more per square foot than my office space, which includes electricity too.

I've been reticent about moving because it's such a pain. Inertia and all that. I'd save on car costs, but that's not a huge incentive without also saving on rent. An absolute guarantee of no smoke getting in my apartment ever is worth extra to me. A washer in the apartment is worth extra. No washer even in the building is a demerit. Being the only apartment in an owner occupied place is a plus, as long as they aren't insane. I'd expect a major discount for taking a 3rd floor apartment.

My big thing with an apartment is parking. I want an off street parking spot that is mine. Period. And never goes away or moves whimsically. If possible, two spots, since I have two cars and would like not to have to leave one of them at the office.

I pretty much want to be left alone. I ignore other tenants, come and go when I want, am quiet and considerate, and expect nothing more than that from other tenants and owners.

I guess I ought to start looking. I really feel like getting out of this place. Plus I'd be closer to Donut Girl. And to my friends. And relatives, but they're not important.

Of course, as soon as I move, we'll close down the business, I'll get a job in Boston, and I'll miss being a 5 minute walk from the T. That's the kind of thing that would happen to me.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 11:51 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1653 views) |  link

No Lights, No Web Surfing, No TV... What to Do!?

Heh. Time for a baby boomlet in nine months in selected cities.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 5:02 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1416 views) |  link

Role Reversal

I was again reading the comments on Dean's "what men like about women" question and remembered something my father used to observe with great amusement.

He owned a body shop, which he sold more than ten years ago. This might be less applicable for younger, more modern couples.

When a young couple would come in, the husband would take the lead, do most of the talking and so forth, and the wife would stay quiet and take the role of the meek one, following behind.

In old couples this reversed completely. The wife would be completely in charge, do the talking, make the decisions, and the husband would follow meekly behind and keep quiet.

He always got a kick out of the complete role reversal with age.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 4:32 pm | Profile

[0] comments (985 views) |  link

Adventures in Computing

That was a fun diversion.

Mainly one computer had freaked out; couldn't see or be seen on the network, or access the internet.

What had happened is they had a 16 port Linksys hub, which after repeated networking nonsense I decided had to be replaced because it was whacked. I bought them a generic one, but meanwhile my partner also got one, and while I was knocked on my butt with drug side effects, he swapped the good 24 port hub in. He also set them up with a broadband router, rather than the DSL being shared on an old Windows 98 machine through internet connection sharing (ICS).

Trouble was, he wound up short by one network jack. He used the suspect Linksys hub to make up for that. The one computer that was flaking is plugged in through that.

I had no idea of this. Now I know we need to get them a 5 port hub that will not be the whacko Linksys.

In fairness, Linksys is quite reputable. I became less trusting of them when their stuff started looking and feeling like toys. That reticence was confirmed with the hub in question. However, at the office we got an SMC Barricade broadband router, one people rave about. That was never right, and after a few months died horribly. I had been blaming the ISP for the constant brief drops that were in fact the SMC's fault. I replaced it with a Linksys broadband router. That has worked flawlessly and I am thrilled with it. I liked the SMC better because it had built in "print server" functionality, which never gave the slightest trouble. When I replaced it, I moved a server near the printer, which I finally settled in a perfect spot, so the printer could stay put. Features don't matter much if the thing is crap.

Anyhow, the Linksys hub flaked out again and that was the main problem.

There was also an issue of a drive letter for shared documents on one machine was pointing the wrong place. Oops. And two machines weren't mapped at all, even though at least one used to be.

Besides getting a mini-hub, I have two nagging issues. A couple of people there like to use AOL webmail from work. Logging onto it results in an error page now. My theory is it uses a port that is blocked by the broadband router. My partner, who is in Virginia this week, has the login info for the router and it wasn't urgent enough to bother him for it. Plus it's only a theory, and I'm not sure what to unblock. Google didn't help me as much as I expected during a brief foray.

I had the same issue at my major client. If I recall correctly, it was either a port blocked through proxy server, or I had to install proxy client in order for it to work. Why does AOL always have to be a problem?

The other issue is on the older Windows 98 machine I cannot do scandisk or defrag. It gives an out of memory error. The KB article I found on this says it's caused by system policies, but that appears not to be the case. I decided to research it more and take care of it when I go back. I had disabled absolutely everything from running at startup and checked virtual memory settings. It had been manually set to 256 MB, which should be fine, but I changed it back to letting Windows manage it automatically.

Oh well. We'll figure it out.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 4:03 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1030 views) |  link

Survey Sez...

I just got to fill out my first ever US Postal Service Customer Satisfaction Survey that they've sent to area businesses. As it happens, our local service is superlative. I sometimes get other people's mail, and the young punk who delivers to our building isn't the friendliest sort, but I don't see much of him. The people at the post office are awesome.

My mother used to deliver mail. Year after year, the 023 region would win the award for best mail service in the country, and she'd get an annual bonus as a result.

And we're having a client emergency, so I am off to Fall River to fix things!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 10:38 am | Profile

[0] comments (961 views) |  link

Morning Ramble

Ick. I feel like I'm getting a cold or something. Stuffy sinuses. Watery eyes. Chills. Unhappy throat. How rude. I also just slept almost 12 hours, from 6 PM to almost 6 AM. Woke up dreaming about donut girl. So much for any standoffish objectivity there.

I managed to get 276 hits yesterday! Despite going to bed so early and not continuing to prime things with posts during evening prime time. Because people look for updates, frequently updating generates traffic. As does getting links from the right people. The other trick is to visit every blog on the roll, show up in their referrals, and get reciprical visits.

Anyway, that's my second or maybe third best day ever, just like that. I've been getting pathetic days of under 100 hits, even when I've posted reasonably, so this is cool.

Tonight I have to try to be social, having woken up in a not social mood. My big client has a "summer outing" I go to. Usually it's at Port Independence Yacht Club, where the owner is a member, with choice of lobster, steak, chicken, or hamburgers & hot dogs, amazingly great appetizers, and an open bar. Last year they didn't have it at all, as a matter of cost saving. This year it's a catered cookout at the owner's house instead, tonight, with hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken. I won't miss driving all the way to Onset for it, but PIYC was nice. Driving home from Easton to Quincy will be less than half the distance.

Guess that's enough rambling.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 14, 03 | 7:12 am | Profile

[2] comments (1010 views) |  link

Wed Aug 13, 2003

A Special Kind of Redesign

Misty has been busy redesigning. I think it looks great! Go on over and have a look.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 5:52 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1011 views) |  link

A Tasty Quiz

Oh my.

This is a... unique quiz. What kind of a judge of programming talent are you?

I got 9 out of 10, so my "liver is safe."

Via Susanna

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 4:59 pm | Profile

[0] comments (996 views) |  link

Who Is Sexy

In another effort to counteract the dog days of summer, there are nominations being taken for the sexiest female blogger, the second annual such award.

Via Ith, whom I pleased by nominating. What she doesn't know is that now, to be competetive, she must produce sexy pictures for us to see that she is truly deserving of our votes. Right Paul? You'll tell her that, I'm sure.


Here's some!

Enhancing the beauty of nature
In repose
Just before a good throttling
Cleavage - oh wait, wrong gal!
Va va voom!
Caught napping again
More full frontal
No red toenails here!
Enjoying animal cruelty

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 3:31 pm | Profile

[14] comments (1809 views) |  link

That Cursed Cursive

Ryan Rhodes writes types in gleeful anticipation of the demise of cursive writing.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 3:25 pm | Profile

[0] comments (950 views) |  link


I had been reading the book Mars, by Ben Bova, before I got the 3rd through 6th installments of the previously mentioned Peter Hamilton books. Once I finished those, I continued the Bova book, which was also quite gripping. I recommend it.

Mars and the idea of exploring and colonizing it have always fascinated me, which perhaps makes me a sucker for the trip to Mars/colonizing Mars SF subgenre. This is the second I've read this year, the other having been Voyage. A more tedious read is the Red, Green and Blue Mars triogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. I enjoyed those, with their realism and their take on some of the politics involved, and their look back at Earth's circumstances under the catastrophic collapse of the West Antarctic ice shelf.

My own vague scheme for such a book (circa 1988) centered around a relatively young, single billionaire whose obsession with colonizing and terraforming Mars had taken a back seat to developing his finances and credibility to where he could finally make it possible. Some of his business interests were intentionally in areas applicable to the future Mars interest, such as environmental control and recycling technologies.

To make matters easier, he involves himself in breaking away a small South American country as a more or less libertarian, free market, limited regulation, fast high tech growth nation that will be the spaceport leader of the world. Adventures ensue in the process.

In the meantime, there's an anti-technology movement growing, being pushed along by a pseudo-theocratic, almost messianically charismatic leader based in the Middle East or Persia region. This pushes inexorably against the concept of space travel, Mars colonization, terraforming, and that sort of thing. So all through the first book, this is a moderate factor, which grows later.

As I recall, the entire first volume was to concern itself with preliminary getting ready for a Mars trip even to be possible, with a subplot of the central character meeting the woman of his dreams of course. The next volume would involve actually going there and starting to colonize. The third volume would involve a threat from Earth and this charismatic anti-technology movement, resulting in a mad dash to elsewhere. Somwhere along the line in the second or third books there would be difficulties internally with how the settlement was governed. A fourth book would involve winding up an unexpected elsewhere, settling there instead, correcting the deficiencies in the charter of the colony for those who had chosen or managed to flee. And so forth. The parts I most fully imagined are a part of me, as if I had read and absorbed them from a completed work. Mostly it was just rough ideas, and so long before the present, no doubt much would change. I got a little carried away, imagining a minimum of four books in the series.

Anyway, the Ben Bova book is good. It's easy to relate to the main POV character and the human interaction.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 3:22 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1116 views) |  link

That Special Getaway

I hear it's a very relaxing vacation spot.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 2:18 pm | Profile

[0] comments (982 views) |  link

Yes, Indian

It always irked me the way Sambo's came under fire for having a racially insensitive name. Didn't everyone read the story when they were little? A tiger. An Indian boy. Pancakes. Sheesh!

When I was in my late teens to early twenties, I loved going to eat there in the wee hours. It was about the only all night place around at the time. At one point my ex sister in law worked there for a few days, then quit or didn't make the cut or something. They never paid her, so my friends and I were going to go there and raise a fuss about it, but she insisted we not do so. Which made me wonder if she had deserved not to be paid, somehow.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 2:16 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1009 views) |  link

What Guys Like

Now it's the men's turn. In case you had missed it, Dean is now asking what men like about women. It has evoked many interesting comments in response, which put it into words far better than I think I could. It seems to center a lot on shape, smell, feel, alternate outlook, tolerance or more for us, style, energy and organization, a complementary kind of strength we can rely on while they rely on our strengths, feelings and expression of same, and that kind of stuff.

I have some rather strange history with and feelings toward the opposite sex, which gives me a sometimes jaded, skittish outlook as much as a "women are nifty" outlook. All my life I have related to and become friends with girls more readily than guys, but overall the few guy friends tend to become closer and more permanent. In elementary school, my best friend was a girl named Tara.

Anyway, male readers may want to go add your input. Female readers may want to go see what the guys are saying.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 11:37 am | Profile

[0] comments (1028 views) |  link

Captain Glenn Rojohn, RIP

I meant to point out yesterday that this is a truly impressive story of a midair collision and topnotch flying in World War 2.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 9:31 am | Profile

[1] comments (1000 views) |  link

A Different Sort of Quiz

How hostile are you?

My results were:

Cynicism Score: 2
• If your score is 0 to 3, your Cynicism level is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Cynicism level is probably high enough to be of some concern.
• If your score is 7 or more, your Cynicism level is very high.

Anger Score: 5
• If your score is 0 to 3, your Anger level is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Anger level is probably high enough to deserve your attention.
• If your score is 7 or higher, your Anger level is very high.

Aggression Score: 7
• f your score is 0 to 3, your Aggression level is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Aggression level is borderline, and you may want to consider ways to reduce it.
• If your score is 7 or more, you probably need to take serious steps to reduce your Aggression level.

Total Hostility Score: 14
If your Total Hostility score is 10 or less, some research suggests that your hostility level is below the range where it is likely to place you at risk of developing health problems. Any score higher than 10 may place you in the group whose hostility level is high enough to increase your risk of health problems.

Via Dustbury

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 9:20 am | Profile

[5] comments (1600 views) |  link

Can you say "verbosity"? Sure you can!

I meant to write about the weekend, when I was a pig compared to my eating habits of late, and managed not to gain anything despite that. Since I woke up insanely early, this gives me something to do.

Saturday night I went to the 99 Restaurant around the corner from the office, where I met Renee. She had gone to New Hampshire for the day to meet "internet guy" in person for the first time. She was in her car on the way home when I messaged her about movies on Sunday.

I'm impressed. I almost side-swiped a truck just picking up my phone to read an incoming, two word message a couple months ago. Granted, I was in heavy traffic, in the left lane of 128, going about 75. She not only read, but wrote messages while driving. Scary. I park if I want to e-mail someone from the phone, and I am amazingly good at handling driving distractions. Which reminds me of the time I was driving to work with a colleague in my car. We were on route 24 north, just after the route 104 Bridgewater exit, when a tractor trailer had a blowout over in the right lane. It sounded like a gunshot. I didn't even flinch, just calmly determined what had happened.

Anyway, she hadn't eaten and felt like going out, so I met her and we talked about the guy she'd gone to meet. They went to see Terminator 3, which is a little strange since she - gasp! - had never seen the first two. I'm going to loan them and rectify that. He grew up as an army brat, which may have something to do with it, and is one of those people you just can't read at all. She was freaking because she had no clue what he thought of her or anything. The most positive indication she had was he told her let him know what she thought of T1 and T2 when she saw them.

I am not always the best at reading people, but I know it's especially frustrating dealing with stoic types who are the human equivalent of smooth, blank, doorless, windowless, featureless walls. They make me nervous. The only thing worse is someone who inexplicably oozes negative vibes almost at all times, in a way that feels like disapproval of anything you do, no matter what. I worked with someone who did that and it just about drove me crazy. The person in question is terribly moody, tries to be stoic, but leaks, and the leaking moods come out as that one uniform negative, whatever the real mood might be underneath.

We talked about other things too, and I had the barbecue chicken. That was good, but a bit too mustard based for me. That wasn't so bad, being the only meal of the day, and a reasonable amount.

First thing Sunday morning I was scheduled to meet my father, brother and his kids for breakfast at Good Days in West Bridgewater. Despite waking at 8:45 and it taking 24 minutes to drive from Quincy (the locals will read this and wonder if I ever touched the ground), I was only about 10 minutes late for meeting at 9:30. And they had just been seated. As it turned out, a cousin and his son showed when I did and we moved to a table for 8 as soon as I sat down.

Good Days is highly recommended! They have baked pancakes, which reminded me of Finnish pancakes without the custardy part. They have banana bread fr*nch toast (3 pieces, served with 2 eggs and 2 bacon or sausage, for around 5 bucks). I sampled my brother's and found it had the consistency of a very thick Grapenut pudding and was excellent. My standard is whether a breakfast place makes a good ham & cheese omlette, so that's almost always what I get the first time. They passed easily. They have quite possibly the best coffee I have ever had in a restaurant. Most restaurant coffee sucks, even at breakfast places. The cream was fresh and plentiful. The service was good. I am planning to drag my friends there. That's Good Days, on route 28 in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, on the right just off West Bridgewater center as you head toward Bridgewater. I am not sure how late they are open, but they at least serve lunch as well as breakfast, and they have takeout windows on the front where they serve ice cream. Mmmm... ice cream. I was so tempted to follow breakfast with that.

It was cool seeing my cousin. The last time I saw him was ten years ago in July, at Green Park in Prince Edward Island. His son was 2 then. Also cool seeing my brother's kids, who are great despite the influence of their parents, especially their mother, who makes Acidman's BC look like a wonderful woman. Then again, so does my cousin's ex. The trouble is, the kids don't see that. They see my brother being perpetually angry, but don't see their mother, master of manipulation - and he's so easy to manipulate , pulling the strings. I lived with my brother after he'd split with his first wife. He was very emotional about it, but once he got past that, he was mellow and cool to live with. Then he met this one.

The breakfast would have been my food for the day normally. Afterward I hung out at the office, where my father came to visit with me while I killed time before the movie.

After Freaky Friday, we went to Outback. This confirmed that the trick for getting in there without a long wait is to go to a movie that gets out before 5:00. There we split cheese fries, then I had the ribs. Yum! Rather than more fries, I got a sweet potato with the meal. Awesome! I knew I wouldn't eat it all, and according to plan I took half the ribs home, along with a piece of steak Sherri had leftover.

Surprisingly, Sherri didn't pummel us with leftish talk of politics this week. We talked about the movie, as usual, and then about random stuff, but primarily about my business. In fact, there was more talk of politics with Renee, who describes herself as extremely left on some things and extremely right on others. The latter has a lot to do with being born again Catholic, and the former has a lot to do with animal empathy.

I thought I would burst after the unusual amount of food, so what did I do? I woke up in the middle of the night and polished off the ribs and steak that were supposed to be what I ate Monday. And I don't mean at 3 AM on Monday. Net result? No change in my weight. I couldn't believe it! The metabolism change must not be my imagination.

I'm getting antsy about losing more. I've stabilized and not gone up, all well and good, but I'd like to ditch another 20 pounds anyway. Thus it's time to exercise more seriously. Whether I pop out of the apartment and walk down to the beach, or walk from the office to Dunkin Donuts regularly, or what, I should start on that.

That's enough verbosity for now. I set out to kill a little "I got up waaaay too early" time, but it's high time I got out the door.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 13, 03 | 8:54 am | Profile

[0] comments (1209 views) |  link

Tue Aug 12, 2003

Coming Attractions

Well, only 12 days until my 6 month blogiversary. Time flies!

There was a time when I'd have expected to be at 20,000 by that point, but I hardly expect I'll get some 3800 hits in 12 days. Of course, there was a time I'd have been surprised to think I'd have 5000 hits at that point. I may have plummeted from my peak, but I still done good.


This is a look at how my hit growth went, showing the massive June peak, then the dropoff:

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 11:29 pm | Profile

[5] comments (1070 views) |  link

Blaster and More... Much More

Yesterday on my home computer, which is Windows 2000, I started getting "memory cannot be read" errors in svchost.exe, whole strings of them in a row at different addresses.

Then I found that web links wouldn't open in new windows. Copy and paste wouldn't work. The dialup connection wouldn't disconnect without rebooting. Norton Antivirus wouldn't work; couldn't even read its own status for each item on the main screen. Windows search wouldn't run.

Before things went to far, I downloaded Ad Aware, updated its definitions, and ran it in case I'd gotten something along the lines of spyware/ad software. It found the usual few registry entries and a ton of tracking cookies, and removed those, but nothing actively running, such as Gator.

I looked for things that were running automatically that shouldn't be, and to rule out any of that stuff, checked and renamed any of the run keys in the registry that contained any entries.

The problem persisted. Go online, bring up Outlook Express, get the svchost error. Go online and have nothing running, and watch there be a periodic pulse of traffic from... something. Go into task manager and see the CPU usage pulse up as high as 20% and then back down almost to zero, with nothing but task manager running.

No strange user accounts or admins had been created; good.

Then I get e-mail from my brother saying my father was infected and needed help, with a URL from Symantec. Aha!

Norton will run if the machine was just booted and svchost hadn't blown yet. It had updated itself recently, so I left it scanning. Which took most of the night going through over 500,000 files on the machine. It found the infected msblast and quarantined that.

Talked to my father, who was having the same symptoms. My brother had actually cleaned him up, and when he ran NAV with updated definitions, it had found nothing. I went through and made sure the registry stuff was out of the way, then had him make sure Norton updated and a full scan ran. Interestingly, we both use Earthlink dialup accounts.

That doesn't resolve the svchost problem. It still errors and causes things to stop working right.

I downloaded and ran Norton's Blaster removal utility. That found I was not infected, confirming my success in removing it. At the end it offered to take me to the MS03-026 patch page. I went there, then was unable to open the Windows 2000 page because, I assume, the whole world was trying to do the same thing and it was too busy.

Luckily no infections at work, but that damn svchost issue is going to drive me nuts. I've been watching the posts on the NTBugTraq list and another list, but seen nothing about the rogue svchost problem. I posted about it on one of the lists, but nobody has responded with any insight.

I'm thinking it may be a matter of getting a known good copy of svchost.exe, booting from CD to recovery console, and manually replacing the file if it's not in use under those conditions, as I assume it wouldn't be. Either that or this may be resolved by applying the patch when it's available.


I spent some more time on the phone with my father. He is not and was never infected with Blaster, but he still has the svchost problem. The funny thing that happened is he transposed, so he had told my brother it was scvhost. That led my brother to find this trojan horse, which I didn't notice at first wasn't applicable.

We applied the MS03-026 patch to my father's machine just now, as well as one in my office that hadn't been affected. I'll install it at home later. I just don't know yet if it will make the svchost errors and problems go away.



I found reference online to the svchost.exe error and resultant symptoms being resolved by the same critical update that protects from Blaster. I will update this again if I find it does not in fact work that way for me.

Update 11:39 PM Eastern:

I installed the patch mentioned above. No more problems. Woohoo! Same thing for my father.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 6:48 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1093 views) |  link

Vote Now

Had enough voted lists? I hope not, because now it's my turn!

I am looking for:
Top 10 Actors You Would Like To See Be Governor

That's governor of your state or any state, residency not being an issue.

Send me between one and ten choices. I am going to use the RWN standard, in which number of mentions determines order of the results.

Feel free to give reasons, comments, or hypothetical platforms, and I might publish the most entertaining ones.

Send to jaysolo [at] elhide [dot] com through Sunday, August 17. I'll publish the results on Monday or Tuesday.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 5:42 pm | Profile

[6] comments (2273 views) |  link


Hooray for Rachel!

She's done with college, all moved, partially unpacked, and surrounded by ecstatic doggies. All I can say is... congratulations!!!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 3:24 pm | Profile

[0] comments (950 views) |  link

Not Your Ordinary Roscoe

Before they perfected Acidman's bionics, a great deal of experimentation was required. Some of the early models went sorely awry.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 3:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (951 views) |  link

Santa Clara Attorney?

This is going to sound strange, perhaps, but figured I'd post it in case I don't hear back from the person I e-mailed.

I'm looking for an attorney in the area of Santa Clara County, CA who may be willing to file and serve deposition subpoenas in that state. Feel free to e-mail me contact info at jaysolo [at] elhide [dot] com and I will pass the info along to my law firm client that has this need.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 2:51 pm | Profile

[0] comments (954 views) |  link

Donut Girl Revisited

I went into Dunkin Donuts again today. Donut Girl wasn't behind the counter to wait on me and see me order a muffin instead of donuts. However, I felt like people were looking at me funny, or knowingly. But that may simply have been because I was wearing my phoenix shirt.

She was, however, running around doing other things, like stocking the napkin/straw/sugar kiosks near the door. So as I headed for the door, she was out on the floor. I said hi with a grin. She said "butternut coconut" and grinned back. I laughed and said "nope." She laughed and said "just kidding."

I thought that was an interesting followup.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 12, 03 | 2:34 pm | Profile

[9] comments (1731 views) |  link

Mon Aug 11, 2003

Parts is Parts

Kim Crawford is doing an unusual nostalgia thing, collecting your childhood names for your private parts.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 11, 03 | 11:45 am | Profile

[0] comments (1054 views) |  link

Biocosmic SF

I wonder if this guy, with his fascinating theory about the universe, has read Peter Hamilton?

Ultimately this is a theme covered in The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemest, and The Naked God, which I finished last week and can't recommend highly enough. It's some of the best SF reading I have ever encountered, covering some of the most intriguing concepts possible with amazing completeness and realism.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 11, 03 | 11:14 am | Profile

[2] comments (1001 views) |  link

Are You a Good Spam, or a Bad Spam?

Jeff is a spammer. He's confessed!

But wait! What he describes is not what I call spam, aka unsolicited commercial e-mail. Nor does it have the evil properties of spam.

What he describes is how I would use customer e-mail addresses were I collecting them in a similar manner. This is why we must be careful with our definitions and laws. This is the kind of damage evil spammers cause that goes beyond mere waste of people's time and bandwidth; making legitimate commercial mailings feel somehow wrong.

This is why the most evil spam of all is spam that comes in claiming you signed up when you did not, trying to give itself CYA legitimacy.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 11, 03 | 10:18 am | Profile

[0] comments (1096 views) |  link

Call Off the Dogs!

Mapchic is alive! She describes her reason for being away, which is a good and generous one, and how the bad news of not getting the dream job had a silver lining. (Bad permalink, but it's the August 10 post titled "Talk about a guilt trip.")

It reminded me of what happened with my uncle, who was out of work and took care of his partner's father. Silly to write it twice, so the following is from a comment I left at Geographica about it:

My uncle ended up in a similar bad news good situation. He got canned from his long time, high paying job as VP in charge of store construction for a major retailer, in favor of a younger guy. They paid him like a year of severance and he agreed not to sue them for age discrimination, which it was. He also had 6 months of office space and I think a whole year of placement assistance. They let him keep using the office longer.

Anyhow, right when he was out of work and completely unable to get anything new for even half the pay, his partner's elderly father went downhill in a major way and needed constant nursing and supervision. My uncle provided most of that care. Periodically they'd get away for a few days and either my mother took over, or they paid a nursing service for 24 hour coverage. That costs a fortune!

They probably saved in nursing costs a significant fraction of what my uncle would have earned in that time had he been employed.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 11, 03 | 3:17 am | Profile

[0] comments (1022 views) |  link


It's rather pointless to get the sleep schedule adjusted back to something rational, go to bed at 9:30 with sleep following quickly, then wake up at 12:30 thinking you've slept most of the night already and being unable to fall asleep again. Argh!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 11, 03 | 3:09 am | Profile

[0] comments (1003 views) |  link

Sun Aug 10, 2003

Freaky Friday

Go see Freaky Friday. It's a superbly funny movie. Lindsay Lohan is great! She sings well too. We actually stayed and watched the song credits to see if it was really her. I never saw the original, so I can't compare them, but if The Parent Trap didn't assure Lindsay's career, this certainly does.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 10, 03 | 6:50 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1010 views) |  link

Spammers and Klez*

After four days I had almost 350 spams and bounce messages from whoever it is out there who has a blog or reads blogs and is infected with Klez. Still, or again. It stops for intervals and then starts up again, but it always includes addresses that would have appeared in comments on a blog, or would belong to a blogger.

Come on people, check yourselves for Klez. Get rid of it. And don't open unknown, unexpected attachments. Get antivirus software. Get and run the free Klez fix utility.

Still, most of it was spam. There's actually been an uptick. See, when you get an account with Hosting Matters, the default e-mail account gets anything @ that domain that is not otherwise allocated to an address you have created. XO wasn't like that. I am getting drowned in spam addressed to a former partner. She hasn't been a partner for four years. The e-mail address hasn't been valid for two years. The address was never used very much in the first place. But it is subject to multiple spams per day.

If the frickin spammers used valid addresses and could process bounces and remove them, this kind of crap wouldn't happen. But since they are mostly disreputable, shady scum who claim to be doing nothing wrong but act like they are, and since some of the spammers make money selling addresses to others who would spam, and since the marginal cost of sending each additional e-mail is almost free, cleaning up the lists is not something that there's any incentive to do.

* I find myself thinking "spammers and klez, spammers and klez..." to the tune of Silver and Gold from Rudolph. Sad.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 10, 03 | 12:40 am | Profile

[0] comments (1308 views) |  link

Calling Out the Search Party

Mapchic writes superb posts I love to read. Kind of like Bill Whittle but with brevity and less intense philosophical scope.

But darn, she takes waaaaaaaaay too much time off between posts, leaving her loyal fans (or fan, anyway), suffering severe withdrawal pangs.

I hope she has a good excuse for it being almost a whole week this time. Like maybe she landed that job? Or eloped? Or went on an exotic vacation to a memorable location such as Effingham County, Monterey, or even Montreal for some yummy smoked meat sandwiches.

Mapchic, oh Mapchic... please don't leave us.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 10, 03 | 12:05 am | Profile

[1] comments (983 views) |  link

Sat Aug 09, 2003

The Cat People

This is a funny post that might amuse Acidman given his feelings about cats. If you don't catch it because the direct link to the post at "My House. My Rules. breaks, just look for the August 1 entry titled the same as this post.

This is another blog I meant to permalink.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 11:36 pm | Profile

[0] comments (962 views) |  link

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Well, that was painless!

I tossed in the new modem, didn't even remove the old one. Fired it up, put in the CD so it'd find the drivers there, let it detect, checked that diagnostics were okay, switched the dialup networking connections to use the new modem, and away I went.

Instead of connecting at the normal max of 46.6, which I get about 50% of the time, and the rest of the time ranges anywhere down to 42, it connected at 48. Woohoo!

It's a little odd because I like hearing my modems, and this one is silent. There's a volume control in the properties, turned up all the way. Some people freak if they can hear the modem, especially if it's remotely loud and can't be turned down.

So I'm back online at home. Yay!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 11:21 pm | Profile

[0] comments (951 views) |  link

Hungry? You Will Be!

There is a great discussion of southern food going on over at Acidman's today. And not the intestinal crap he talked about earlier, but good stuff, much of which I've never eaten but sure would.

We're all waiting for him to post some recipes.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 7:24 pm | Profile

[0] comments (991 views) |  link

Relishing Cranberries

For some reason I have the song Dreams (is that what it's called?) by The Cranberries stuck in my head. As a result, I am wishing I had the MP3 of it. I'm trying to avoid buying any music CDs as a matter of informal boycott, not that I buy many anyway, and it's way too much to pay for one song.

It's probably stuck in my head because I was thinking about You've Got Mail. I was thinking of that because of the assorted posts about good women being scarce, what women like about men, and having general unrealistic goofball hopeless romantic mind wanderings.

It beats having the credits theme from She Spies in my head over and over, as has been happening off and on for the past day or two. Isn't that a silly show? It doesn't take itself seriously, at least. There are three good reasons to watch it, of course. Especially the short-haired blonde reason who reminds me of Allison Mack. Mmmmm... Chloe.

The thing I dislike about that Cranberries song is the way it ends, with the discordant yodel noises that are, well, noise. Make me want to cover my ears. Sounds like they're sort of howling at the moon. Trying to scare the local dogs. In serious pain. Something like that.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 2:23 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1007 views) |  link

Yep! Another Day, Another Goofy Quiz

You are The Cap'n!

Some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any man that stands between them and the mantle of power. You never met a man you couldn't eviscerate. Not that mindless violence is the only avenue open to you - but why take an avenue when you have complete freeway access? You are the definitive Man of Action. You are James Bond in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. Your swash was buckled long ago and you have never been so sure of anything in your life as in your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off their head if they show any sign of taking you on or backing down. You cannot be saddled with tedious underlings, but if one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

Via Mickey's Musings

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 1:49 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1231 views) |  link

Red Liquid Vegetables in Foil

What is it with fast food restaurants being stingy with ketchup?

Last night I went to Wendy's for the first time in a couple months. I asked the nice lady at the drivethrough for "some ketchup please." I got back to the office, where I am out of ketchup, which is why I asked for some.

I nearly flipped when there were two packets. Two.

Fries need as many as three, if I use it on them.

Supplementing the fact that they use inadequate ketchup on the burger, a double, requires two packets.

I know, the franchisee, or the manager whose performance is being evaluated based on money saved, often will order the employees to be stingy in exactly that manner. Such a piddly thing though, and I remember it. The local Burger King reliably tosses a whole handful of ketchup packets in the bag if I ask for it; five or more. I remember that too.

I made do, because the fries were good, and salted just right so they didn't need ketchup. It still ticks me off though. Cheap cheap cheap.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 1:08 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1305 views) |  link

Women... Who Needs 'Em

On the topic of women, and men, there was a recent post on Right We Are! regarding whether there are any decent women left out there. This morphed into a discussion of bars, dating services, and meeting people through blogs who are nice, non-threatening, and interesting. Question is whether this is the nature of the medium or what. It generated lots of interesting comments, so you should read it if you haven't.

The RWA post was inspired by this post by Dave.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 12:02 pm | Profile

[0] comments (984 views) |  link

Linkses Again

I'm going through archives to find people I mentioned I should link to and didn't yet. I see I need to finish blog design. The archive page for a month retains the membership bar that's default on pMachine blogs, and the link back to myself points to, which is wrong. I made it index.php so that would bring up the main page without specifying a name. Short and simple.

Anyway, I'll list here the ones I'm adding:

All About Latvia*
The Warren
The Dreamlands**
The Twins Tell The Truth
Heinlein Blog

* I had this one before, but the link went dead and I finally removed it. Then no sooner did I remove that than they showed up in my referrer log at the new location I'd been unaware of. Heh.

** Not the easiest on the eyes; poor colors and small font, but really good stuff so I went for it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 10:46 am | Profile

[2] comments (1073 views) |  link

What Women Like

For the few of you who might not have seen it yet, Dean has a question for women, which has generated 32 comments so far. Dean asks: "What do you like about men?" Simple, eh? Or not.

Then there's a followup post, consisting primarily of a conversation between Dean and Kate. Fascinating stuff.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 9:21 am | Profile

[0] comments (1035 views) |  link

You Want Icky?

No Ith, that's not truly icky.

This is icky. And I don't mean the rinds. The nickel a pound and cleaning part is quite shudder-inducing.

Trust Acidman to do "icky" better than most.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 9:01 am | Profile

[1] comments (971 views) |  link

Dream A Little Dream Or Three

I have the strangest dreams.

The latest one was about registering by mail for the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), via a handout picked up at the Eastern States Exposition (aka Big E, which we always referred to as the Springfield Fair). Turned out the address I sent the registration to, located in West Bridgewater near my cousin's house, was just an agent acting on behalf of the Worldcon committee. I found he was selling the information to spammers, as well as turning the registration info over to the relevant people. I thought it was the organizers doing it, and when I brought it up, that's how I learned of the strange arrangement. Their agent agreed to stop selling the info.

Then in the dream I was thinking I would have to blog about the incident, and about having finally registered for the Worldcon! That's the first time I remember having dreamed about blogging.

I woke right after that thought, enough to realize I was dreaming and remember it, but it had seemed so real. The crazy thing is, I already am registered for Noreascon 4, the Worldcon next year in Boston, and have already talked to some fellow bloggers about some of us meeting up there.

Like Arisia, I'll probably make it my policy not to actively volunteer for anything major anymore, but chances are I'll be itinerant help for something or another. Heck, I mentioned a while back the idea of a panel, or panels, on blogging (was looking for suggestions of angles to approach it from) at Arisia. The Worldcon would be a great place for that topic.

Anyway, a few nights ago I had another strange, SF-related dream that I never did mention here. Was thinking I'd post it on rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan where I sometimes lurk. I dreamed that the next book in The Wheel of Time series had come out. I had it, and had just read it. I and everyone else was completely stunned because it was packed with action, well written, moved the story forward tremendously, the best of the series since The Shadow Rising, if not the best of the entire thing. A complete switch from Crossroads of Twilight, fulfilling and some the only possible apology for that book; that it had to be that way to set up the storylines for big things to happen.

Sadly, I don't recall anything I "read" in the next, unfinished book, so I can't make any predictions and claim mystic powers.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 09, 03 | 8:24 am | Profile

[1] comments (1015 views) |  link

Fri Aug 08, 2003


I've finally updated my links over to the right, doing some pruning and moving, and visiting every site to see where they all stood. There were several address changes I'd not taken care of that should now be all set.

Feel free to let me know if you notice anything wrong over there.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 10:25 am | Profile

[4] comments (1224 views) |  link

Tale of a Fateful Race

Plum Crazy waxes lyrical about the California recall race. A taste:

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale.
The tale of a fateful race.
Which started in this tropic state.
Couldn’t happen any other place.

Yep, go read the rest!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 9:59 am | Profile

[0] comments (1012 views) |  link

Public Service Announcement

This particular e-mail that has been floating around lately is an urban legend:

Below is a Safety Alert from the Shell Oil Company that I received and have taken it upon myself to forward.


The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations.

In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car.

And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.

You should know that:

Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes

Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.

Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat! , Etc.

Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, i.e. solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc.

To sum it up, here are the: Four Rules of Safe Refueling
1) Turn off engine
2) Don't smoke
3) Don 't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off
4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling

Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of "static electricity" at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires.

His results were very surprising:

1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.

2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these! types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was reentered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires that occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas.

If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while! the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

As I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger.
You can find out more information by going to Once here, click in the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static.”

I ask you to please send this information to ALL your family and friends, especially those who have kids in the car with them while pumping gas. If this were to happen to them, they may not be able to get the children out in time.
Thanks for passing this along.

Pat Cabiling-Chevron Texaco USA RFMS Richmond California Refinery! Phone:
(510) 242-1454 Email:

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 9:22 am | Profile

[0] comments (1062 views) |  link

Cunning Celtic Linguist

Unigolyn has a nicely informative lesson regarding the history and state of the six Celtic languages, and their two distinct branches.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 8:39 am | Profile

[0] comments (985 views) |  link


The first campaign poster! Courtesty of Chris Muir, as seen here at Alphecca.

Elect the Great in 2008

Very nice!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 7:46 am | Profile

[0] comments (932 views) |  link

Blogger Awards!

Blogger awards are up for voting at Balloon Juice, with a deadline of Monday, August 11. Looks like I'd qualify for category 16, if anything. Seems like an awful short deadline, considering the categories were announced on the 7th.

I just saw this over at Wizbang. Glad I did.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 7:24 am | Profile

[0] comments (958 views) |  link

Wildlife Rescue

I've always thought salamanders were cute! They're cool little critters. We used to delight in catching them when I was a kid.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 5:37 am | Profile

[3] comments (1500 views) |  link

Old Days

RantDude discusses his mother's apparent phobia about using a microwave to heat food.

I haven't encountered that sort of behavior before. When we gave my grandmother a microwave, she didn't use it at first because she tended to forget it was an option. She'd heated leftovers the old way so long, it was automatic. I'd go there and say "you can just stick that in the microwave!" "Oh yeah," she'd say. Plus there was the uncertainty of how long, and so forth.

She got quite used to it after a while. Not even a long while, considering her age. Not so surprising. Ask her about the "good old days." She'll tell you no thanks, modern conveniences are a wonderful thing. She was born in 1916. Her mother's house still had the old wood/coal stove in the kitchen when I was a kid. But then, the house we lived in when I was born, until we moved two years later, had an outhouse. My father's body shop had an outhouse until I was several years old. It's easy to forget how recent things like that were. I remember when it was a big (and expensive) deal to own a microwave. Heh, one of the most astonishing things ever when I was a kid was talking to my mother from a car phone, in the sixties. A car my father fixed had one of the old kind.

All you have to do to know you wouldn't miss the old days is watch an episode or two of 1900 House on PBS.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 5:24 am | Profile

[1] comments (1042 views) |  link

I Hate Junk Faxes...

But this is nuts. Under the radar indeed!

I do kind of like the idea of the Congressional Responsibility Act. That'd serious shake things up, and rightly so. Probably what's really needed is a compromise between that and unbridled issuance of regulations by unelected agencies.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 4:53 am | Profile

[0] comments (998 views) |  link

And Another

A little surprised at this result...

Fight Club!

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Drumwaster

In case you have as much trouble reading the text on the graphic as I do, here, as best I can tell, is what it says:

Rules? What are those? You create your own rules. You are good at influencing people who are just as broken as you are. You hide your insecurities with mean words and toughness. There will be others like you out there. It's a world where everyone hates each other.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 08, 03 | 3:45 am | Profile

[0] comments (940 views) |  link

Thu Aug 07, 2003

Yet Another Goofy Quiz

A reasonable result for me...

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
You belong in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. You
value freedom above all else. You would fight
and die for your family and your home.

Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Peoria Pundit

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 7:13 pm | Profile

[0] comments (954 views) |  link

Loaning and Moaning

A few weeks ago I was bull when I found I didn't have my cooler when I needed it. Again. I had loaned it way back, and it had made the rounds to someone else and not been with the loanee last I checked. I'd since forgotten it wasn't on my porch where it lives when it's not wandering.

I also looked to see if my tent was there. Nope, didn't get that back yet either.

I just found out both items are supposedly at my sister's, along with a sleeping bag my brother thinks is mine, but that my battery powered lantern is in my brother's cellar. I didn't remember having loaned that until he mentioned it, and he's not who I loaned it to. Now it's inaccessible to him, because the evil soon to be ex wife has a ridiculous restraining order barring him from going there. Sadly, he'll get the house back and she'll get tossed out when they actually get divorced, but in the meantime it's rough.

I wonder if I loaned my propane lantern too... Guess I'll have to check. I actually used the electric slightly more last time I camped. That was for in the tent, and enough to read by for hours if desired. When I drove around, it recharged in the car.

Not like I use the stuff much, but it's disconcerting to realize it's gone 2-3 years after having loaned it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 5:58 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1003 views) |  link

More Fun With Hardware

Someone had given me a hard drive from a dead machine to see if anything could be retrieved from it. I tried it on the newer machine and initially, to all appearances, the act of having the drive plugged in killed the machine. Wouldn't even turn on. Subsequently I continued to have trouble, as I've mentioned, and I didn't believe the drive being tested could cause that.

So I plugged it into the machine I use daily, the one I am at right now.

Then the machine wouldn't turn on.

Without the drive it would.

With the drive plugged only into power, it wouldn't. Wow! That's some kind of fried.

Then it wouldn't turn on after the dead drive was disconnected. I took it upstairs and handed it back with a negative result. It's dead and it killed the two computers I tested it on. Maybe shorted something.

Came back, fiddled with wires, hoped vehemently, and turned the computer on successfully. At that point it reported that the CPU speed in the CMOS had reset itself to the wrong setting, it would restore defaults, press F1 to continue. Impressive! That dead drive was truly toast, and contagious. Luckily I'm back with no further fuss. Just have to get the other one working.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 5:02 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1000 views) |  link

Bleah Indeed

Poor Denise is really sick in a nagging, day after day sort of way to which I can totally relate. I gave her some totally unqualified medical advice. Hey, if the cure doesn't work, it can at least be fun.

Perhaps all she needs is lots of visitors and fun comments to make her feel better. Go to it...


I just used "totally" twice in rapid succession above without noticing before the deed was done. Does that mean I now have to move to California?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 3:00 pm | Profile

[1] comments (971 views) |  link


I just went to the bank and post office, then swung by Dunkin Donuts on my way back to the office. I haven't been there in probably two months.

When I go, I usually walk inside so I can see what they have for donuts, and I get an iced coffee and two donuts. Like I really need them. If I'm just getting a coffee or iced, I'll go to the drive through. At the best of times, I might average once a week.

Thus I was astounded when the cute girl behind the counter who wasn't the person taking my order named my two donut selections in unison with me!

She's right; I almost always order the medium iced coffee, regular, then when they come back with it and ask is there anything else, I say "two donuts, a butternut and a coconut." As I was telling her, I do sometimes order one or both different; bavarian cream, apple, jelly, Boston cream, or whatever. She'd just never heard me order anything else.

It's amazing to be remembered like that. By a cute girl, too.

Then again, I used to do the same thing to customers when I worked for Christy's. Not sure if I remembered people who were that non-regular for that length of time. I might have if it was someone really distinctive, or attractive to me. I used to remember the brands of cigarettes the regulars got, and be reaching for them before they got to the counter. The guys with the most deeply craggy faces and raspy voices were always Pall Mall, Lucky Strike, or Camel. They could be walking into the store, first time you'd ever seen them, and you knew it was going to be one of those brands.

Anyway, work to do! Someone can't add any more notes for a case. I think they overflowed the size limit of the field. Might be time to throw all the older notes into a document and start fresh with the more recent ones. And I have to go see if what ails my newer computer is the power supply. Silly computer.


Silly computer!

I unplugged the existing power supply from the motherboard only, and plugged in the new one, perched temporarily on the bottom of the case. After all, that's all it took to test the switch. Viola, it worked! So off it goes, and just as a sanity check I reverted to the "bad" power supply. It also worked!

What gives?!

All I can figure is maybe the power cable into the motherboard was a little loose. Or there's no rational explanation, which is always possible; computer dementia or something.

Update 2:


Now the computer is doing more or less the same thing for which I replaced the RAM. Boot. Oops, can't read the registry and stuff, rebooting now. Rinse and repeat. Grrr!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 1:44 pm | Profile

[4] comments (1026 views) |  link

Telecom Deaths

It's not a good month for telecom equipment at my place. On top of the phone apparently dying, now my modem has died.

It gives every indication of working fine, but when it comes time to complete the handshake and be connected, it gets confused and says there's no answer. It's not just Earthlink. I tried multiple numbers there, plus faxing to work. I can't complain too much, after all the faithful service I've gotten out of it.

Luckily when I replaced Nic's modem, I bought two, in case one was DOA. So I have the unused, brand new modem in inventory from a few weeks ago.

This has everything to do with why I posted nothing yesterday. I expect in the next day or two it will be fixed.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 11:36 am | Profile

[0] comments (960 views) |  link

Blackberry Blues

I'm fighting to get a "new" Blackberry to work for one of the attorneys; the only one who uses one. Everyone else who has a handheld has a Handspring or Palm without wireless of any kind. Most of them just get those installed and working themselves.

Anyway, she had one, bought used, and the battery started discharging almost instantly. She was given a replacement that was just kicking around at her husband's office. Called and got her mail changed to the new serial number and all, but I am suspicious, because when you turn that feature on, it tries to run for a few seconds, then shuts itself off.

The big this was when she synchronized it, the old owner's data remained. In the case of e-mail, we manually deleted it and got it to stay deleted, but none of her inbox will synchronize over. It's not even one of the options, which makes me suspicious about whether there's an issue with Blackberry's wireless system having not recognized it, and it having e-mail synch disabled as a result. Either that or none of the e-mails in the inbox comply with the forwarding rules, so they won't even synchronize through the cable, but I am sure that's not how it works. I am pretty sure when you synchronize, everything goes from the inbox to the handheld, allowing you to read and reply remotely.

She ended up with their contacts in her Outlook. Oops. And a couple recurring appointments ended up there too. The device was stuck on those and wouldn't clear them from the screen. I deleted "all instances" from Outlook and on synchronizing and confirming, that was at least all set.

Ironically, my partner this morning sent me a link to an article about the elimination of sales of some Blackberrys due to a lawsuit. Yikes!

Double the irony, since RIM, maker of Blackberry, was itself so patent lawsuit crazy that it earned the nickname of LIM; Lawsuits In Motion.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 11:07 am | Profile

[0] comments (936 views) |  link

One of My Many Past Lives

You were Confucius!

Your life began in 551 B.C. in the
Chinese village of Zou. You worked as a
teacher until age 35, when you became advisor
to the exiled Duke Zhou for a time. Later you
became a magistrate and even the Grand Minister
of Justice of Lu Province for a time. After a
while, you took to wandering with your handful
of disciples and unfortunately found that high-
ranking nobles in many courts were plotting to
have you killed. You continued, however, to
speak on morality and honesty until you finally
retired and spent your remaining days writing.
You died at the age of 72.

Which Leader Were You in a Past Life?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Drumwaster

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 07, 03 | 10:53 am | Profile

[0] comments (860 views) |  link

Tue Aug 05, 2003

Until Next Time...

I had my appointment with the doctor. Completely shocked them with my 20 pound weight loss in six weeks. I'm used to myself enough that to me it's not obvious just by looking at me, but to everyone else it is. The doctor was downright worried about it.

They got the lowest blood pressure readings they've ever gotten from me; like 110/84. The 84 is still higher than I'd get at home. That seems to go up when I am there, no matter what. When I first went to this doctor last year, I was at 220-something over 140 or so.

Anyhow, I'm staying on Lexapro for another six weeks to see how it works out, before deciding either to stay with it or try something else. He seemed a little suspicious of whether it was really doing the job, or at least whether I was taking full advantage of it. (Which I kind of haven't been, my bad.)

I'm also cutting two of the blood pressure meds in half to avoid excessively low blood pressure problems. Heh.


I also meant to mention something else. Why are doctor's offices always so damn cold? More specifically, the exam rooms. I thought I would freeze today! That seems to be the case every time. I'm glad there was no undressing involved, to make it worse.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 3:53 pm | Profile

[2] comments (947 views) |  link

Vote Early and Once

It's time to vote on the latest Right We Are! caption contest, which is a doozy, and a very tough choice between excellent submissions. Do we bash Moore? Bash Clinton? Go for the lowbrow pun? Reward creativity that really rices to the occasion? Go see what you think.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 3:49 pm | Profile

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Important Reminder

I believe I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating at times like this when the natives are screechingly restless.

If you can possibly avoid it, don't rent office space adjacent to a daycare center. At least, not when you have thin, non-soundproofed walls and shared airspace above the ceiling tiles.

I think the little monster who inspired this post is going to grow up to be something truly evil, or was being extensively tortured at length. Ugh.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 10:06 am | Profile

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Amusing Chain Letter E-Mail

Very true

Did you know that you can tell from the skin whether a person is
sexually active or not?

1. Sex is a beauty treatment. Scientific tests find that when women make love they produce amounts of the hormone estrogen, which makes hair shine and skin smooth.

2. Gentle, relaxed lovemaking reduces your chances of suffering dermatitis, skin rashes and blemishes. The sweat produced cleanses the pores and makes your skin glow.

3. Lovemaking can burn up those calories you piled on during that romantic dinner.

4. Sex is one of the safest sports you can take up. It stretches and tones up just about every muscle in the body. It's more enjoyable than swimming 20 laps, and you don't need special sneakers!

5. Sex is an instant cure for mild depression. It releases endorphins into the bloodstream, producing a sense of euphoria and leaving you with a feeling of well-being.

6. The more sex you have, the more you will be offered. The sexually active body gives off greater quantities of chemicals called pheromones. These subtle sex perfumes drive the opposite sex crazy!

7. Sex is the safest tranquilizer in the world. IT IS 10 TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE THAN VALIUM.

8. Kissing each day will keep the dentist away. Kissing encourages saliva to wash food from the teeth and lowers the level of the acid that causes decay, preventing plaque build-up.

9. Sex actually relieves headaches. A lovemaking session can release the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.

10. A lot of lovemaking can unblock a stuffy nose. Sex is a natural antihistamine. It can help combat asthma and hay fever.

This message has been sent to you for good luck in sex.
The original is in a room in Palaiseau.
It has been sent around the world nine times.
Now sex has been sent to you.
The "Hot Sex Fairy" will visit you within four days of receiving this message, provided you, in turn, send it on.
If you don't, then you will never receive good sex again for the rest of your life.
You will eventually become celibate, and your genitals will rot and fall off.
This is no joke!
Send copies to people you think need sex (who doesn't?).
Don't send money, as the fate of your genitals has no price.
Do not keep this message.
This message must leave your e-mail in 96 hours.
Please send ten copies and see what happens in four days.
Since the copy must tour the world, you must send it.
This is true, even if you are not superstitious.
GOOD SEX, but please remember:

10 copies of this message must leave your e-mail in 96 hours or you will not have good sex again for the rest of your life!!!!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 8:58 am | Profile

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I'm waiting for a disk check to run on a troubled Win2k box right now, which will be followed by waiting for a full virus scan, then a rebuild of the outlook.ost file in case that being corrupted is the source of trouble. (Not unusual in my experience.) So I figured I would comment idly while waiting for things to happen.

When I moved to my apartment in the fall of 1999, I bought a nifty Microsoft branded phone, with Microsoft voicemail software, rather than getting a standard answering machine.

I can't recommend it enough, except Microsoft decided to get out of that particular business. Such a recommendation is now moot.

Sadly, I think it's dead. I have to do some troubleshooting, but either the handset died and will no longer synchronize and communicate with the base, or the base is dead, which comes to the same thing. There's a slight chance something simple is wrong. I don't think there's a problem at the computer or in the software. I shut the computer down when I found the phone wouldn't work, so to test I'll have to fire it back up.

It may have gotten a jolt through the phone line. That doesn't go through a surge protector.

If it's dead, I'd love to get a replacement that's similar, but I doubt I can afford it right now. I'll have to plug in a plain old phone I have around. I never talk on the apartment line anyway; just dial with the modem. I talk on the cell for the most part.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 6:53 am | Profile

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My columns are unbalanced again. The massive day of posting I did last time I noticed this has scrolled into the archives. Sheesh, time flies. Guess I'll have to think of something to say, but not all in one day this time.

On another note, I go back to the doctor today, having tried Lexapro for six weeks. It's been interesting. The side effects were amazing, as you know if you've been reading. Sensitivity to heat. Reduced appetite. Reduced thirst. Increased sweating. Increased and erratically timed sleep, especially when heat is a factor. Massively increased lightheadness when standing abruptly. Bowel anomolies.

The stuff worked, affecting my mood noticably after two weeks or so, but that was somewhat obscured by the side effects. In the last week or two the side effects have lessened, but at the same time the benefits have too. Then again, maybe it wasn't supposed to make me feel euphoric, just normal.

So we'll see if I remain on it, or try something else, or try a different dose, or change my blood pressure meds if interaction or needing them less are part of the side effect problem (that's my theory with the lightheadedness on standing up).

The side effect I miss is the appetite suppression. I have to keep control more on my own now. My low weight was a drop of 28 lbs. Right now I've settled at about 23 lbs down, so 5 to go just to get back where I was before making further progress.

For some reason I still keep craving eggs. I hardly ever eat eggs. What's up with that? Not that I don't enjoy them, but it seems like a strange craving. And oddly consistent.

Going to work early, since I have some stuff that needs to be done while people aren't around, and I'm awake anyway. I have a computer to look at, which was acting up, but when I look I'll be saying "seems fine to me" as usual. I joke with people about their computers working right when I lay my hands on them, which is pretty much what happens half the time. I swear the computers catch vibes from you and react accordingly.

Back later, maybe.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 05, 03 | 4:48 am | Profile

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Mon Aug 04, 2003

Mahwidge is what bwings us togethah today

Paul weighs in on the whole gay marriage issue after much thought, and says pretty much what I would have said had I weighed in on it myself, as I have been pondering doing. I would have added some musings about the whole concept of marriage more generally, and some of the things I've always found odd or funny, but in sum and most detail it is the same.

Perhaps I'll poke fun and musing at marriage some time in its own right, without covering the gay marriage part, since Paul took care of that for me.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 04, 03 | 3:08 am | Profile

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America's Worst Figures

No, this is not about fashion or makeovers. John Hawkins has a list up from a blogger poll on the worst figures in American history. I was invited, but did not narrow down my list and get it sent in before the deadline. I was having trouble coming up with a list I thought was truly appropriate.

Here were my canidates I had thought of so far, which I still needed to review and narrow down to no more than twenty. This is my raw idea list before any afterthoughts, final decisions, or later additions. I was also trying to remember names of assassins to consider adding them:

Clintons (both Bill and Hillary)
Benedict Arnold
Ted Kennedy
Jesse Jackson
Al Sharpton
Warren Harding
Jimmy Carter
Janet Reno
Ralph Nader
Rachel Carsen (sp?)
Jack Valente
Jane Fonda
Michael Moore
Woodrow Wilson
Alexander Hamilton?
Charles Manson
David Boies
Andrew Johnson
Warren Christopher

Looks like I ended overlapping a great deal with the compiled list and honorable mentions. I must have been on the right track.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 04, 03 | 2:57 am | Profile

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Sun Aug 03, 2003

I Have Strange Dreams

I had one of the craziest dreams ever today. It felt so completely real it was uncanny.

I was walking down a hospital corridor toward the doors to the outside. Then I realize I coud feel something latched onto my right ankle, dragging along the floor, making it hard to move my foot.

I looked down, and there was an apparently newborn baby desperately hanging onto my ankle, arms clasped around it, being dragged along, insisting on going with me. People back at a reception area behind another set of doors were watching as all this happened. Not acting, just watching.

I lifted my leg to slide out of the grip, which caused the baby to roll over and hit its head on the floor, which hurt. I then picked the baby up and started to carry it with me.

When I got to the doors, I started thinking how ridiculous it was to take the baby outside naked, and thought maybe I should turn around and go get something so he'd be warm. Then I realized we were both naked. This struck me as strange, but I stopped to think maybe if the ambient temperature was okay for me to be naked, the baby was okay too.

At that point I woke up, wondering what the hell it meant. Biological clock kind of thing?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 03, 03 | 7:59 pm | Profile

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Glenn calls this Dilbert the last word on outsourcing. It's quite amusing!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 03, 03 | 7:40 pm | Profile

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Incense and Peppermints, the Flavor of Rhyme

The previous post made me start looking closely at Incense and Peppermints. I have the song, but I wanted to be sure of the lyrics. I Googled and the lyrics from the first place looked and were blatently wrong. I got a couple corrections from the Misheard Lyrics site, which helped.

Then I went to a different location for the lyrics, and some of that's closer to what I thought, in a spot where I still sense a disturbance in the lyric force. There is one location still where what I hear is not what's shown. I will compare. My version or a consistent version is in my normal font. Other colors are the variants.

Good sense, innocence, crypt for mankind
Good sense, innocence, cripplin' and kind
Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind

Dead kings, many things I can't define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin' to lose

Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around

Look at yourself, look at yourself, young girl
Look at yourself, look at yourself, young girl, yeah!
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Look at yourself, look at yourself, Yeah, yeah.
Look at yourself, look at yourself, Yeah, yeah, Yeah, yeah.

To divide this cockeyed world in two
Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do
Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin' to lose

The rest is repetition. I just gave it another listen. They are definitely saying:

Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah girl
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah girl, yeah!

Which is almost what I thought. Unless I am hallucinating. I have listened to that part three times carefully now.

Instead of this cockeyed world they're singing the cockeyed world, but that's minor.

Anyone catch any discrepencies here?

Not sure I feel like trying to put forth a take on what it all means. It's a protest song, to a mild degree. It's strikes me as being about looking at yourself and the times in the long range scheme of the universe. Besides that it's just rhyming, flavorfully evocative lyrics (to snappy music) to package the meaning.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 03, 03 | 4:47 am | Profile

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Hey Sgt. Stryker Man

Stryker gets insomnia and turns Green Tamborine the song into something that sounds like it could be an episode of The Outer Limits. Lots of fun comments too!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 03, 03 | 4:10 am | Profile

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The Blogless Among Us

I've decided my leftish friend Sherri needs a blog of her own. This could be challenging, since she has no computer. Okay, she does, but it has remained "unpacked" since she moved into her apartment something in the realm of six years ago. Yeah. Probably not more than a P200. Unfortunately, I could give her a computer, but all I can spare are things no better than that. She's paranoid about being sucked into the internet and never leaving the house. She doesn't get cable for the same reason.

She writes well. She's unemployed. Having a blog can in theory help toward the employment situation, depending. Plus it would get her online and keeping more current, so Bob and I don't have to correct her as much when she spouts what you can get from broadcast news, the newspaper, and creatures like Bill Moyers on PBS.

Sometimes she takes more extreme positions than she actually believes, just to get Bob riled up. I'm never sure if she's gone into devil's advocate mode or if she believes what she's saying.

The whole "no internet" thing has to go. She either has to get a job and have a modicum of access that way, or has to get it at home. If nothing else, a computer at home helps keep up skills and keeps you from looking like a poser when applying for geekly employment.

As you might guess, three of us went to eat (IHOP for a change) after the movie. The talk turned unabashedly to political topics, once we'd heaped all the praise and made all the observations we could offhand on Seabiscuit. This drives me nuts, because about 70% of it is disagreeable to me. Mostly Bob counters Sherri, and I interject periodically. Bob thought I came up with some real zingers, but I don't know about that.

I did do my share of emphatic overstatement when I vehement and in a "this is a fact, not to be challenged" tone declared Carter to be Worst. President. Ever. Hands down end of story. Heh. One counter for that was Begin, Sadat and peace. I asked how many billions per year we were paying each of them to bribe them to stay at peace. Another counter was Reagan having Iran-Contra, and Harding also being bad. Alrighty then. And the counter to Bob's observation about Carter being a wuss about Iran was that we are evil and as soon as Iran chose to become a democracy in 1953, we staged a coup, the first of many takeovers of that sort. To which I was like "the first?!" I was thinking things like carving Panama into a separate country so we'd be able to build the canal compliantly.

All of which led to missile defense and nukes. "No third world country has the ability to build missiles that can reach us." Neither of them had heard the report of part of a North Korean missile landing in Alaska a couple months back. Or maybe this started earlier. All I can say is... argh.

Sherri needs a blog. I thought of that a while later and e-mailed Bob. Guess we'll have to see if we can wear down her resistance.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 03, 03 | 3:46 am | Profile

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Sat Aug 02, 2003

"When Asshats Attack"

Go see Ith's proud creative offspring, When Asshats Attack. It's a hoot!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 02, 03 | 10:24 pm | Profile

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Those Goofy Quizzes

Not sure how I managed this result...

You represent... naivete.
You represent... naivete.
So innocent and trusting... you can be very shy at
times, but it's only because you're not sure
how to act. You give off that "I need to
be protected vibe." Remember that not all
people are good. Being too trusting will get
you easily hurt.

What feeling do you represent?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 02, 03 | 9:43 pm | Profile

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Academy Award Winning Seabiscuit

I saw Seabiscuit today as planned. It was fantastic. I'd say even most people who don't expect to care about seeing it will be glad they did. One of my friends who went with us fit that description, and even I was so-so about it. The movie got one of the biggest rounds of applause at the end of any I have ever been to. I find applause at a movie to be an odd thing, since nobody involved in the making of it is there to absorb or appreciate that form of feedback. It seems to be becoming more common. Regardless, spontaneous applause is a great indicator of audience reaction.

The horses and scenery are beautiful. The riding and races are thunderously thrilling. The content is touching. The actors are skillful and disappear into their roles.

You may be surprised at how much humor there is, and how many times you'll laugh. The Stanley Steamer. The goat. William H. Macy as the radio announcer with all his props (excellent job in the role). It all weaves in nicely. I managed to stay dry-eyed, which for me is surprising. At least two of my three friends did not. I guess maybe I was expecting the sad parts.

There will be Oscars associated with this film unless something drastic happens during the rest of the year. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 02, 03 | 7:03 pm | Profile

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To Dream, Perchance To Sleep

I got in bed early. I was only able to read a couple pages of my book before I was drifting off to sleep, already starting to dream. I do that. I'll still be trying to read, but I stop really seeing what's in front of me and go into a dream state before my eyes even close. It's surreal.

No sooner did I put down the book and turn off the light than I was awake again. Argh! That iks me far more than honestly not being sleepy or not being able to fall asleep whatsoever.

Time to go try again...

Unless I can't sleep and come back here, chances are my next post will be sometime Saturday afternoon or evening, opining on Seabiscuit.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 02, 03 | 1:37 am | Profile

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Fri Aug 01, 2003

Debugging Oddity

This has happened to me other times as well.

Last year we created a billing database in Access for a grounds maintenance company. For the first time this year, today I got a call because it was blowing up with error 3265, item not found in this collection. This followed having goofed and blanked out a dollar amount on an entry for a customer and generating what may have been a different error. Subsequently, when selecting a customer on the main form and trying to open the form for that customer, the aforementioned error happened, and the form came up with no customer info, showing the bill data from the last customer processed. Didn't matter which customer you actually selected.

They're just a couple miles away, so I ran right over. Tables looked fine except a couple blank numbers that would normally default to zero. Tweaked that a little. No dice. Played around a lot, trying to break and step through code with F8. No dice. Finally added a breakpoint in the event where the error was generated, at the beginning of an IF statement processing whether the customer was a fixed or hourly charge. Ran to the break. Stepped through. Golden. Ran again and didn't step. No problem. Removed the breakpoint. Still no problem.

How in the world does running through once with a breakpoint "fix" something like this?

Yet when I was in VB support, many calls were resolved by having the developers add loops of DoEvents to build in tiny speedbumps. There was a cool call once where a guy's program never launched and became visible on a new processor (Pentium 2 I believe it was), yet worked fine on an old one (Pentium, I believe it was). It tripped up on the speed or speculative execution or something. DoEvents loop took care of it as I recall.

But that's a different situation. I still say this scenario is weird.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 01, 03 | 4:06 pm | Profile

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Stuff and Nonsense

Today should be interesting, since I got tons of sleep yesterday, but haven't been to sleep yet since. Perhaps tonight I can get on track. Since I'm going to the 11:20 AM Seabiscuit showing tomorrow, I certainly can't sleep insanely late.

As of weighing myself before I at last night, I was down 28 pounds. 25 More and I'll be happy. 45 More and I'll be where I was before I started doing computer work, and an excellent weight for my height, age and build.

The bad thing is I weigh myself too often. I get to see too many fluctuations that way, so this morning I know I ticked back up 4 lbs. Again. Tonight that'll be gone again, probably, but it risks distress to see it.

Oh well. Sat to do this while drinking tea. The tea is gone, so off I go...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Aug 01, 03 | 9:59 am | Profile

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