Saturday, May 03, 2003

Eleventy-One Things

People like to do "100 Things About Me" lists, which can be fun. Or tedious. I thought I'd be different and do eleventy-one things, which I will probably post in equal segments in ten regular posts, for convenience of commenting and making fun of me. Later I can create and link the whole thing as a permanent list in one place.

The more I think about it, the more confident I am of coming up with that many items. I find myself thinking of things all the time while away from my keyboard.

A Couple Is Two, Yes?

The Twins Tell the Truth asks if "a couple" means "two" or if it means "three." Strangely enough, there's a peeve related to this question, on which I'd meant to post weeks ago, which I more or less covered in their comments.

What do you think of the fuzzy number expressions? I say a couple is two, a few is three or four, but if you insist I'll buy it as five too. A handful is four to six; about five. Several is as few as five, and not more than nine or ten. Using modifiers of "about," "or so," or "give or take" will obviously affect what you're saying accordingly.

I think even in fuzzy expressions there can be an exactitude of usage. It drives me nuts when people use "several" and mean three or four. That's a few.

A Cool Quiz

Are you a Slutertarian? I am, and a good thing, too, since I'm in the administration. Go ahead, take the test...

You are a Slutertarian!
Congratulations! You're a Slutertarian. You believe
in Democracy, Sexy, and Whiskey. And you really
mean it!

Are You A Slutertarian?
brought to you by Quizilla

Holy Cow! Welcome, everyone

There are currently eight people looking at my site right now, besides me. Wow! It seems I am getting an IMAOlanche of visitors.

Welcome! Hope you enjoy; lots of good stuff in the archives (along with some lame stuff, but that happens to the best bloggers), and of course you should return regularly for more, not simply when Frank plants a hypnotic suggestion to do so.

As for the caption contest, I knew something was up when there were 14 comments when I returned from the movie, instead of 7. I just about lost continence laughing at some of the suggestions. Good work! Don't stop now. I'll probably let it go until Monday before picking winners at a whim.



What I kept thinking during this movie was it's exactly how you'd expect and hope a movie based on a comic to look. It "read" like a comic book. It felt like one. Only better, because it felt real. It was amazing. It was hands down better than the first.

I'm tempted to turn right around and go see it again.

My brother said X2 rocked; he was right. He said Night Crawler was particularly cool; he was right.

One thing though, at the climax, I assumed Bobby would use his freezing power, but they did something else instead. I was all ready to say that in that respect it had been obvious what was going to happen. Heh; they got me.

I still think Anna Paquin is adorable.

If you are on the fence about seeing this one, don't be. Go, enjoy.

On another note, there was no Hulk trailer dammit! What were they thinking?! Matrix Reloaded trailer blew me away, but I was expecting Hulk. Jeez.

Oh no!

I wondered last time I drove through the Notch when this would happen. Very sad.

SARS and Stuff

Little Tiny Lines writes about SARS, plagues, rationality, and who dies from what. Good take on diseases and related geopolitical and human issues.

Medpundit has health department antics, money, and SARS, as well as previous great posts on SARS interspersed with other worthy material. There's even a nice painting!

SARS is mutating into at least two forms, according to this article.

Mmmm... Carrots

I just had to stop myself from devouring an entire bag of baby carrots. They are like candy! On sale when I bought them, too. For some reason the organic baby carrots keep being on sale at Shaws for less than the "dipped in a chemical bath, smothered in pesticides, we're all gonna die, oh nooooo... Mr. Billllll" baby carrots. Organics are supposed to be priced for the rich people market, aren't they? What's the world coming to?

More on Comic Adaptations

James Joyner writes on the whole comics and movies thing too. I agree with much of what he says, though I'm not sure I like the TV Hulk as much. I have told people I'm looking forward to watching Bruce Banner morph from a man to Hulk, instead of from a man to a larger man painted green.

I didn't know there'd ever been a Punisher movie. Go figure. Must be as forgettable as the Swamp Thing movie is supposed to be. Never saw that one, but at least I knew it existed. What a shame they didn't wait until it could be done right.

I liked Lois and Clark. I love Smallville, even with its departures from the existing (but varied) canon base. In recent episodes they've been making the progression nicely to Lex being evil, Clark being Superman, tying it in with the future. At the end of the last episode there were people left alive who know he's "unbreakable," and they made it appear Chloe will at least be sorely tempted by the dark side. Mmmmm.... Chloe. But I digress.

James points us over to Heretical Ideas for more.

Comics and Movies

Jacob Levy writes at some length, in a couple posts, on X-Men, comics, and comic film adaptations over at The Volokh Conspiracy. Good stuff.

I was never an X-Men reader, though for some time I bought and loved the standalone Wolverine. My oldest nephew was. My friend Nicole is, so when X-Men came out she was in her glory, and we relied on her to explain some details to us. But one great thing about the film was not so much required explaining or external knowledge.

My reading has centered more around Batman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Spiderman, Hulk, Iron Man, Green Arrow, Punisher, Wolverine, Superman, and Fantastic Four, in various, more or less descending amounts. Oh, and I used to love Groo the Wanderer! Especially when Rufferto joined him. And Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are fun. Sometimes I have read, even followed, other stuff. A couple of the New Universe titles were good. I got every issue of Justice, as I recall, subscribed by mail, except the one the post office mangled by cutting it in half, then delivered in an envelope with an "oops, sorry." I loved the miniseries V for Vendetta. The Tick was fun too, and created by a local guy who grew up about 3 miles from me. When Preacher was released, the store I was buying from took the liberty of subscribing me, knowing it matched my taste. I enjoyed that series immensely, which could mean I'm a bit twisted. Sandman! I forgot Sandman, which I got starting with the first issue, read for a while, went away from for a while, then read again up until the end.

But I never read more than one issue of X-Men, ever, and knew of no special reason to do so. Of course, with limited resources, one can't read everything. At the height of my comic buying I spent $35-40 a month when that was outrageous for me to be doing, circa 1986-1988.

Currently the only one I get is Hellblazer, because they keep cancelling things on me. The comic, ball card and used book store I was buying from changed hands, then eventually the new people closed the storefront. Every so often they mail me a package of accumulated issues, and I mail them a check for the total, but it gives no opportunity for browsing, and I've been trying to save money anyway.

Anyway, go read Jacob Levy, and later I'll write what I think of X2. My brother saw it yesterday and said it "rocks."


My X2 and comics post didn't! Usually when w.bloggar errors as it did, it recovers and the thing posts after the next successful. Luckily, I saved it as text, which I am always amazed more people don't do, when I see gripes about lost writings. Anywho, in a moment the post should appear above this one...

Note to self...

Permalink Robin Goodfellow. I mean, wow.

Alarming Advice

John Dunshee of Just Some Poor Schmuck (JSPS) has excellent advice regarding the care, feeding, usage, and acquisition of alarm systems of various types. This includes a cautionary tale with luckily a not-unhappy outcome.

Instigating More Acronym Offerings

I am going to repeat up here what I just posted in the comments of this post for the IMAO acronym contest, to maximize its visibility:

Come on guys, be creative! For instance, "Indignant Monkey Art Offerings" or "Indifferent Monkeys and Anecdotal Orangutans." Perhaps "Insular Motion Among Indigents."

Imagination Must Allow Offerings! I know you guys can do it! I've had a gazillion visitors to this post, but only six commentors? And one of them the subject of this fun and thus unqualified to "speculate."

Friday, May 02, 2003

Remedial U.S. History Class Needed

For the guy mentioned in this article about making judges "accountable." Got a decision you didn't like, eh? That's why they aren't elected. Duh.

Jeff Soyer for Governor


This is one of the more evil things that government at any level can attempt to pull over on us. Wrong. Bad. Sick. Twisted. Do I hear unconstitutional? Unconscionable, anyway. Despicably Eeee-vill.

Fiance In Disguise

Oh my! Jen posted about this amusing item, which I had not seen or heard about earlier. I don't see Leno regularly.

The funny thing is, in the longer scheme of things, he made it more special. But talk about living dangerously!

Daniel Pearl

Moorish Girl posts intriguingly about Daniel Pearl.

Stud Talk

Ith has multiple studly President posts over at Gaggle, but this one in particular is a real eye-opener because it describes what a carrier landing is like. A small snippet:

It was one of the most frightening things I ever did. The pilot literally crashes the plane intentionally on the deck and at the point of impact jams the throttle to full power. A hook grabs a steel cable stretched across the deck and slams the plane down hard stopping it in about 60 feet from a speed of over 120mph. There is this tremendous impact and a huge metallic KA-BLAM!! as the plane comes down. At the same instant your spine is decompressing from hitting the deck the deceleration clobbers you too.

I am most impressed.

Acronym Contest

What does IMAO stand for? Best answers will get gratuitous links in a later post.

Reject! Reject! Reject!

Frank J. interviews Bill Whittle with predictable results.

Then Bill turns the tables.


Xrlq fisks the Bill of Rights, including the Ones that got away. You should check It out.

The Speech

The blog to read for a great description and reaction to it.

I've Been Nominated

To my complete amazement, I have been nominated by Kim Crawford for Secretary of Re-Education with the Slutertarian Party.

Kate has asked, and I have accepted the honor with no more than mild trepidation. It should be fun, and since there's no election involved, being a cabinet office, I can't be in a knock down drag out fight as I was last time I ran for president of something. It was like Bush vs Gore, the Prequel. I won by a single vote if only in-person ballots were counted, three votes if absentees were included too. My opponent was just a tad bitter. I often forget I can be so vehemently focused on winning.

But I digress.

I wonder if anyone uses that as a blog name already. "But I digress..." would be a good choice if I rename, or retitle, this unassuming literary venue.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Harlan Ellison!?

As I've mentioned, I've had the pseudonym "Jay Solo" for about 18 years. In thinking about book writing, I'd even considered whether to use a pen name, and if I so decided, that might have been it.

I just discovered, through the magic of Google and digging more closely into why so may hits come up for my nom de keyboard that are not me, and are not all spurious, that Harlan Ellison has been known to write as Jay Solo.

I feel so violated.

Speaking of Movies

I can't wait to see this one!

Recess Time

If you're interested in this sort of thing, Legal Theory Blog has a fascinating, if long, look at constitutionality issues of recess appointments to life tenure court posts. It's long and sometimes tough, but I found it fascinating.


I sure hope none of the actors in X-Men 2 are flagrant morons, because dammit I will be at the 4:00 PM showing at Randolph Showcase on Saturday, and that's that. As frequently happens for big new releases, a bunch of us are getting together to see it. Rustled up six cohorts for this one.

I'll post my thoughts on it afterward. I'm not a great reviewer of films, because I usually have no opinions on the fine points; just I loved it, liked it, it was cute, it was okay but wait for video, what were they thinking, save your money; that kind of summation.

Once in a while I do wax lyrical about specific performances or details, or which actress I lust after (mmmm... Miranda Otto...). Usually it's a short and sweet comment.

For instance, about Daredevil I told people it was good, worth seeing, and I'll buy the video, but it was no Spiderman or X-Men. I thought Jennifer Garner was hotter in the movie than in Alias. Well, I discussed some of the details with my brother, who had plenty to say, but mostly that was about it.

Stay tuned...

Accentuate the Acidman

Acidman has an open thread on accents. What's great? What's grating? Head on over and chime in!

Truck Shopping

Maybe I'm weird, but I enjoyed Joe's tale on Attaboy of his adventures shopping for a pickup truck, purchasing via eBay, and picking it up. He includes a nice summary of good advice for others who might be used car shopping, and particularly doing so via eBay.

Do Not Enter

In the men's room there's a sign on the mirror today that says "Do Not Enter." That gave me surreal thoughts of Alice and the Red Queen and falling behinder the faster I go.

Heh. Jay Solo's Adventures In Bloggerland And Through The Blogging Glass. Curiouser and curiouser.

Under Construction? I don't thinks so...

Okay, for the second time today my site is giving an "Under Construction" page instead:
Under Construction
The site you were trying to reach does not currently have a default page. It may be in the process of being upgraded.


Please try this site again later. If you still experience the problem, try contacting the Web site administrator.

How nice. What is up with that?

I Hate Burned Popcorn

Why are people so incompetent about microwave popcorn? You experiment, starting with times you're sure are lower than it needs, establish what the particular microwave needs for a bag (or a bag of a particular brand and size), and you follow that from then on. You don't seriously burn it the first times because you're being conservative. You don't burn it later because you know exactly the time to use for full poppage, but not charring and acrid, pervasive smoke.

For instance, for bags of Act II popcorn, the office microwave takes 3 minutes, 10 seconds. The home microwave takes 2 minutes, 10 seconds. It was not difficult to arrive at these reliable times.

Oh, you should never trust the popcorn button on a microwave that has one.

Ah well, I should go prop open the office door and let the smoke from the adjacent daycare (or maybe the break room) waft sloooowly out of the office.

Economics Is Local

Another way in which economics is always "local." If people in Massachusetts are inclined to think the economy is worse than it theoretically is, maybe there's some reason.

I guarantee you that living costs aren't dropping in concert with pay.

Boycott William Morris

This is so deeply, disturbingly wrong it's hard to grasp that it has happened in a rational world. Oh wait, who says it's rational?

The Boycott Hollywood will have to shut down due to legal pressure from The William Morris Agency on behalf of its clients. This is exactly the kind of thing some of these celebrities in their fevered imaginations might expect the administration to do to them.

I don't really care that deeply about boycotting these morons. (Otherwise how could I watch The West Wing?) However, we have the right to do so, to talk about doing so, and to talk about what morons they are, all we want. Period. They have the right to say whatever moronic things they want. Period. They do not have the right to say moronic things, offend their customers, and prevent their customers from in turn criticizing or reacting to what they have said. Duh.

I saw this at Outside the Beltway. I was actually going to e-mail Glenn to suggest he post about it, but I checked first and indeed he had. If these guys had left well enough alone, this whole thing would have faded away. Some folks would have been been unforgivingly upset forever, but that hasn't hurt Hanoi Jane so much, has it? Now there's a whole new round of publicity that's bad for the idiot celebs and William Morris, not for the people upset with them. Stupid stupid move.


I was having strange dreams this morning. One involved living and floating around in space. Another, or a continuation of the same, involved sitting down to start rewriting my friend's resume for her, without her knowing it, to try to get her more motivated and successful at finding work. Then I started debating to myself whether to write my own resume instead, and use that as a model.

I routinely help people with resues, though I seem to need to be in the right mood for it or I look at it and say "yup, it's a resume" instead of being able to pick it apart and reconstruct, or merely tweak, as needed. People write such fluffy things, to the point it's laughable sometimes.

Space dreams are nothing new for me. One time I had a dream in which I was taking an outbound "space elevator" and had stopped at a platform out by Jupiter. The "elevator" consisted of a light/particle beam stream through space steadily, between points such as the one I was at, but getting on and off at stops was identical to getting into and out of an elevator. The whole "beam of light" thing made me think of A Flock Of Seagulls.

So there I am, on thw waystation, when I meet an incoming family. They look completely human, but turns out they're aliens, on their way down to Earth to settle and mix in. I found myself surprised that they weren't human. Then they bid farewell, got in the elevator and streamed their way toward Earth while I prepared to go outbound.

Then there's the time I had the bad alien dream. I was delivering Boston Globes in the wee hours, which in fact I was doing at the time, in a suburban town. I pulled up to a paper tube on the left side of the road, with the driveway to the subscriber's house on the right opposite. Across the street from the driveway walks an alien, crossing in front of my car as it sits there. He was light purple, hairless, wearing a light tan jumpsuit, humanoid, with an elongated head.

There was nothing really said, but in a flash I knew the ship was out behind the house, there were more of them, and their intentions were sinister. This one was actually trying to get me to exit the car and come with him. I was terrified. Before he could get to the open window of my car, I quickly sped off, taking a left onto the road immediately after that stop and driving away, at which point I woke up. 13 Years later, it remains vivid.

No Blood For Fungus

Today I must get to the med center and let them struggle to locate the vein and swipe some of my blood to be tested. I'd planned to stop the past two days and was sidetracked from it. After all, it's such a appealing task I just can't wait to have done.

Actually, it's not that bad, except they always have trouble. I never donate blood, even though no other obstacles apply, because they have such difficulty, sometimes hillariously so, difficulty with me. I'm taking Lamisil for toenail fungus. Apparently it's nasty stuff, so they have to check for liver damage during and at the end of the 84 days of pills. And for that, it's 70% effective. Sounds like they need a better treatment.

I Am Found Wanting

Dante's Inferno Test, via Da Goddess...

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Not Afraid To Say What Needs To Be Said

And say it well. Dean has more well reasoned, well rounded, well expressed thoughts about genocide.


Enterprise was interesting too. I cringed seeing what Trip was doing, even though I could completely understand the impulse. I thought the degree to which the captain reamed him and the ending were unusual. The learning curve was a bit much, but hey, it's Star Trek, so it's a fantasy universe.

Otherwise, during the episode I kept thinking of Sundiver by David Brin.

The Left Wing

Well, that was a superior episode of The West wing! I can't wait to see who becomes VP, and what the fallout is, but it looks like whatever comes of that, they'll segue right into a kidnapping of Zoe. At least, I interpret it to be Zoe; makes the most sense and is implied by the previews and her scene in last week's episode.

VP possibilities would be Leo, Sam, or some unknown. Or someone like Josh of course. Am I overlooking the obvious? Sam is farfetched but it'd be a neat trick for Sorkin to pull. I keep thinking Leo is most obvious, then Josh moves up, and Donna moves up, but would there be some hitch making Leo not want it, not be eligible, or figure he can't win or won't want to run on his own in 2 1/2 years?

Matthew Perry was not out of place in a more dramatic role. Good way to showcase him.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Fire Doctor, Buy Gun

Peppermint Patty has a great post of humor by e-mail.

Newbies Getting Hits

Lately Eugene Volokh, N.Z. Bear, and James Joyner have all chimed in on promoting your new blog, if indeed attention and readership are what you crave. Most of us do to a degree, even if we say we don't. I mean, why write in a public forum and not care if anyone ever reads it?

I've only ever e-mailed a big blogger once seeking a post link, and I violated the rules; giving the link and not the text, doing it out of the blue, etc. It also wasn't as cool a post as my initial puppy dog pride in it made me perceive it to be at first blush. Which means I would add that to the offered advice; not to actively seek attention for a post until you've had time to cool off and evaluate how others might actually like it.

Where do hits come from?

If you write a blog, you've probably been reading blogs too, and have some favorites, large or small. Link the ones you like. When you visit your blog favorites, do it via your own links, not from "favorites" in your web browser, or from links to the same ones on other sites. That creates a referrer log trail. This works poorly for very busy sites, but for others, you will find you get hits from fellow bloggers checking referral logs. Also, some blogs list referrer links on their sites; an automatic link back to you if you visit them regularly.

Since you read other blogs and presumably have some interest in and opinions on what they have to say, leave comments on the blogs that provide that feature. Make sure your blog's URL is entered in the commenter info, which will create a link the blogger and other readers of that blog can follow back to you.

Those things get you some preliminary exposure. If they like what they see, you might get a mention with a link, a permalink, or both. Then the process feeds on itself so long as you post things of interest. I was lucky a few weeks in when I wrote one autobiographical piece that related to Bush not being stupid as some people still seem to believe. The last paragraph was impressive, and got quoted whole on a fairly major site. Other people got so absorbed in the story about me, they forgot I was leading up to the point in the last paragraph. That played a big role in getting links and regular readers; something that won't happen if you write drivel, and never anything but drivel.

One thing I have done that might be unusual is to put a promo link to my blog in my e-mail sig. I leave it or delete it depending who is getting the e-mail, but it's one way to tell friends and others you deal with that the blog exists, and keep them reminded of it subsequently. That assumes you want people who know you to know about the blog. I have mixed feelings, and do not push people to check it out the way I did initially.

Formatting is important.

I quickly settled on what I believe is a readable layout and standard post structure. I always start with a title in bold tags. Then the body, except in rare cases when the title is the post, with a link and no need to credit anyone for the link. Then a line break tag so the signature of the post won't crowd the text. Space is good. Paragraphs are good. Reasonable sentences and grammar are good, but you can get away with some creativity or imperfection. I don't like all lower case, but will sometimes stick with it if that's the only fault.

What's really bad is poor color combinations, and fixed font sizes too small to be easily read. I hit a page like that, and even if I stay long enough to read any of it, I won't link it.

What's also really bad is pages that load slowly. You may be on broadband, but an awful lot of your potential audience is not. A simple, readable design, without so much graphical or other stuff going on it loads at a crawl; that's nice.

Other than these additional thoughts, I didn't see anything I disagreed with from those other guys. I see advice there I could potentially use myself. More thoughts later if I find I've left anything out.

Archive Blues

I see someone else posted about the Blogger archive fix I described a few days back, but put an actual link to the KB item on it. Why didn't I think of that?

It's important to remember that the archives don't stay fixed. That is, newer posts will tend to be messed up, so you have to do it again periodically as I, for instance, did after the college post yesterday. It's quick and easy enough though, in my experience. It just shouldn't be necessary as a matter of course.

Flap Happy

I have moved up to Flappy Bird on the Ecosystem, moving from 32 to 33 to 32 to 37 links in the course of a few days. I am no longer a slithering reptile.

New Record and Lesson Learned

Yesterday was a new record; 93 hits in one day. Woohoo!

The lesson? Rewrite the lyrics to a song in a funny way, at the expense of a popular blogger, provoking a link. As a bonus, others might link to it as well.

On a more serious note, sometime I'll post some of my observations about getting noticed when your blog is brand new, to supplement the recent posts on the topic by Volokh and the Bear (sounds like a movie title).

Axis Shift

And I don't mean weasels. If you already saw this via Glenn, pass it by, but I am linking this post because I so agree with the evaluation. It's an exciting time; how often does this happen?

Archive Links

Note that links to posts older than this one should work correctly right now. I just reindexed and tested it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

College Graduation Blues

Theresa at Dandelion Wine reflects on her past 4 years of school, which feel wasted and less than beneficial. She's so mad when she thinks about it, she's cleaning in frustration.

What I have found is it hardly matters what you went to college for, in most cases; it's the price of admission to many jobs generally, the modern high school diploma. It presumably means you can commit and follow through on something, and that you're capable of learning things.

Nobody really gets a pass on learning new things these days. Your education may be informal, but it never ends unless you go out of your way to stifle it, which also means stifling your mind and your working life. When I did tech screening interviews, the people I'd recommend for hire to the management struck me as teachable, enthusiastic, curious... besides having a generically appropriate background. In that place, as likely in many others, we didn't get or necessarily seek those with the ideal knowledge already. That could be taught, to the right people.

Sometimes places do look for a specific degree, and would rather hire a green computer science graduate than a history graduate with experience to code circles around the newbie. That's where that specific degree comes in handy, even if in first light of post-college, in a lousy tech job market, it may seem wasted.

My doctor asked me how I learned what I do. Basically by doing it. By picking things up from other smart people. By being curious. By trying things. Sometimes with me it's almost intuitive, which is an advantage, but sometimes it's baffling and infuriating. As anyone who's ever done tech support ought to be able to tell you, it can be not about knowing, but about being able to find out. College can help prepare you to be one of those who may not know, but can readily find out how or what to do when faced with the unfamiliar.

I didn't simply spring forth able to do everything I can do with computers, networks and software, armed with my accounting degree, a couple programming classes and a love of gadgetry. It doesn't work that way. But it'll also never happen if mental barriers are placed in the way; I only know web development, woe is me; I am a VB programmer and won't learn anything else, hey why can't I get a job; why should I learn the computerized frame system, I hate computers and can straighten cars the old way just fine; hey, why does the CNC operator make so much more than me... learning doesn't stop with schooling, whatever level you complete, and schooling doesn't solve all problems and open all doors by itself.

Most of us don't end up in anything like the career we might have expected our degree to invoke, if not in the short run, then in the longer run. School is the launchpad. The destinations are limitless. That's worth excitement, not regret!

News: Water Is Wet

Imagine this!


Go read Dean's amazing coverage of the topic, see if you're not moved.

Thought Experiment

Meant to mention this right after I discovered it. Now that others have pointed to it, I may as well finally do so as well. It's an interesting beliefs discussion.

Personality Disorder Test

Via Irish Girl.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with the results, but it was interesting nonetheless...


-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --


On the face of it, the Gaggle post is about puppy and hobo horrors, but in reality it's a fun comment discussion about music. Never mind where you stand on bedroom privacy, following the 2nd amendment, and outspoken celebrities; what about ABBA, Air Supply, Culture Club and Wham!?

Mrs. du Toit

I am not quite sure what to say about this post besides go read it. I lack a comparable background, but have seen enough to relate.

Done With Jim? Need More?

Voice From the Commonwealth is another hefty, quality read today.

Done Here, Need More?

Go visit Jim, he's written up a storm this morning; Patriot Act, Syria, Iraq...


Just hit 2000 on the meter. Woohoo!

Number 2000 was a referral from Geographica, using AOL, IE 5.5, and Windows 2000.

I know, it's the little things...

She sounded old enough officer...

Earlier this evening my friend Renee had me call a place she helps out sometimes with computer issues, as they had something going on over her head, and she was trying to pack for vacation. She'd told them they'd have to pay me.

I got the receptionist, Stephanie, on the phone. She sounded very nice. We actually started troubleshooting the problem, which if I could have helped with in no more than half an hour, would have been a "don't worry about it, you're a friend of Renee's" freebie.

Before we got far, the owner got on the phone and asked how much I charge. Then she "had to go" as she was with a customer, and would call me back. On the idea she might actually mean it, I stayed in earshot of the phone for the next 2 1/2 hours. Then I e-mailed Renee a rant about people not wanting to pay anything, thinking she'd not even see it until she was back from Florida.

Renee called, mortified, and apologized. Obviously the urgent problem became less urgent as soon as there might be real money involved. The irony is that before I got to a length of time for which I'd have bothered to bill, I'd have either solved it or found out I couldn't because it was apparent hardware failure. Thus the woman, Sue, deprived herself. But this is not what the post is about, except peripherally.

When I talked with Renee later, I asked her if Stephanie was as cute as she sounded. "She's in high school," came the firmly amused reply.

*Snort* "That figures!"

So for what it's worth, she is as cute as she sounds, plus mature looking and sounding for her age, and "shapely." She also thought I sounded nice and was pleasant to talk to. Which was especially useful when I did phone support for a living, even if I was phone phobic, but that's another story.

Oh well, too bad about that pesky age thing.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Letter to Chirac

Via Jen. I agree with her; read it now. Scoot. Pretend it's a Bill Whittle essay, only shorter, and hurry there now.

Mr. Gut Rumbles

Apologies to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, inspired by this post, for your lyrical pleasure, to the tune of "Mr. Bojangles":

I knew a blogger Gut Rumbles
And he'd post for you
The ex-wife blues

With silver hair without a shirt
Posting his rants
Acidman's cracker news

He would sound so sly
Sound so sly
When he'd lewdly expound

He told us of the time he played in
Dives while travelling
Throughout the south

He spoke with tears of fifteen years
How his dog and he
They would travel about.

But his dog up and died
He up and died
And after twenty years he still dreams

He said "I blog now
At every chance and like to post
Using Movable Type

But most the time I spend
Farting dust down at the plant
Keeping slackers in line

Then he took time off
Oh lord when he took time off
I could swear I heard someone say please

Mister Gut Rumbles
Call him Mister Gut Rumbles
Mister Gut Rumbles come back and blog please


Built a new computer for the office several weeks ago, but barely used it. Now that taxes are done, I wanted to switch to that as my primary computer so I can wipe and reinstall this one. Now it won't boot; registry corruption apparently. Sheesh. How does the registry corrupt while it's sitting there turned off? Anyway, time to see if a simple recovery will work...

John Doe

Anyone else watch this? I watched the tape of Friday's season finale last night. For some reason, right at the beginning of the episode, I realized someone was not as he seemed, so the ending was in that respect what I expected.

I haven't watched religiously, but I've seen perhaps as many as half the episodes. Good show. It still reminds me of Pretender, another good show with almost messianic overtones about the main character. To really follow in its footsteps, John Doe will need a cliffhanger final episode, after which it's abruptly canceled. Hey, it could happen! I'm convinced that becoming a TV executive requires first being a brain donor.

Tough Love

This is an interesting article on how dating has changed for the younger set.

And yet, it doesn't sound that much different from when I was young. I always perceived that girls were the ones in control, and that there were no clear rules, and so forth. I think we were in a transition stage to the way it is now, even that long ago.


Mrs. du Toit makes a good point about the economy.

My take on it is, first, that it's a matter of attitude. We don't see an in your face boom, so we tend to say "well, this sucks." Second, a lot of us are geeks, and that's where there's disproportionate unemployment, reduction in pay, and dislocation in skills people have versus what's sought. It's also a prime area of globalization now, making it the steel mills of the early eighties.

If you are unemployed, or a disproportionate number of your friends are unemployed, you're going to perceive the economy as lousy. If the type of work you do is going overseas and you may never be able to work again without changing fields, you're going to perceive the economy as lousy, especially if you are loathe to try or learn something new. If the type of work you do can be had for $25-30k a year when you might have readily been able to make $60k a year not so long ago, you're going to perceive the economy as lousy.

Finally, if you're a tech worker, you're disproportionately likely to be online, and to express a negative opinion of the economy there. I suppose you could say all economics is local. Such perceptions are, anyway.

I Don't Know Which I Like Better...

Scott Ott is on a roll today! I don't know which article to recommend more, so just go read them all.

Blog Tour, Fourth Leg

Or, a blog by any other name would- well, anyway...

Freedom Lives is a blog you can visit for the wonderful gratuitous rose pictures, and stay for the odds and ends of other cool posts that slip in between. Perhaps Starhawk saw that bunnies were already taken and decided it could work for roses too, I dunno. I do know it's cooly refreshing to visit, like a virtual garden stroll, if not as impressive as Longwood Gardens* (where I spent a weekend once in the dorms they have for interns, of which a friend was one, so I got a unique, thorough perspective - and saw the July 4th fireworks/fountains/music synchronized extravaganza, but I digress).

This is also the blog where I found the "Which firearm are you?" quiz link, though by the time I took it I had forgotten who to credit. There are also non-rose pictures of things like jasmine. The jasmine picture, currently at the top, reminded me of the yard where I grew up, and of my grandmother's yard. That's what made me spontaneously select the site for the latest blog tour post.

* Allegedly there is a but it errors.

Victory Is Here!

So unless you've already been there, done that, eject yourself on over to read Bill Whittle's latest magnificance, Victory. Tissues on hand recommended.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Belay That

This is an actual exchange of e-mails between me and a law firm secretary we'll call Moneypenny just for giggles. It relates to my dismay about places failing to incorporate their e-mail addresses and web sites into their marketing.

If you need business cards and haven't already done so, would you please let me know by Friday (1/24) noon. I will try to place the order in the afternoon.

Thanks. Moneypenny


And make sure nobody gets their e-mail address or the [Firm] web address printed on them! That would be like... um... modern marketing or something. We can't have that. ;>

Thanks for letting me know about the e-mail address. I was not aware of that and some people had asked for it to be put on their cards. I will let them know that it is not allowed. (You're sure about this?)

Moneypenny, again:
Are you "pulling my leg" about the e-mail address on the business cards? The attorneys really want it on there.


I'm joking!!!

People's cards that are new since long after we had e-mail and www.[firmdomain].com are lacking that stuff, when all should have had it on the first reprints, or if people were new here. Bentpenny had a list of everyone's e-mail addresses for that purpose, but when she left it went by the wayside.

thanks, sorry I didn't catch the joke.

I revisited this e-mail thread the other day and thought it was most amusing.


Anyone remember the song Timothy? I just heard it on the radio, which is a rare thing. I can still remember when I first realized what it was about, when it wasn't a lost oldie yet. It's such a catchy tune, but cannibalism... what a topic for a song!

Barry Scott was just saying that some say Timothy was an animal, but there's too much implication to the contrary. In a mine? Selling your soul for food? Denial and selective memory loss? Naw, Timothy was not an animal.


As I mentioned in passing, the topic of polygamy made me think of my great grandfather; my maternal grandmother's father, whose name was Ed.

Ed was an electrician, when that was a hot new thing to be. He wired many of the local houses when they were retrofitted with electricity, which was a perfect opportunity for him to be the proverbial milkman. When my great aunt was in high school, a guy she was interested in and vice-versa had to tell her "I'd love to date you Shirl, but mom says I'm Ed's." Apparently there was a lot of that going around, and we are related to more people in the area than we'll ever know.

So one day my great grandfather hopped the train out behind the house, leaving my very pregnant great grandmother and a bunch of kids behind for good. He then married someone in Connecticut and had a family there. We've actually had contact with them. He did the same to them, and had at least one other family. As I recall, the next one was somewhere like Arizona or New Mexico; southwest.

Apparently he was quite talented. He worked at Cape Canaveral in some capacity along the line. He worked at the Pentagon, apparently involved in early computerization efforts. Whatever it was he did, when the family made inquiries years later, the government was secretive about his whereabouts. We weren't able to learn until the past several years that he had died in 1975 in Connecticut. He seems like quite a character, but definitely a rogue. Bigamy and polygamy are close enough that seeing polygamy mentioned all over the place lately made me think of him.

My great grandmother died either in 1970 or 1972; I am spacing on which offhand. She was cool. In pictures of her when she was younger, you can really see the Wampanoag blood from her grandmother. I'm told it wasn't a good idea to cross her, but I remember her as the cool gram who always had candy for us when we went there. She had it amazingly tough after he left, that's for sure.

Good Thoughts

Speaking of The Man Who Sold The Moon, here are some worthy quotes borrowed from this site:

"George, there is nothing so permanent in this world as a temporary emergency."
--Delos (DD) Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon
(reprinted in the anthology The Man Who Sold The Moon, pg 76)

"In fact, the real engineering problems of space travel have been solved since World [War] II. Conquering space has long been a matter of money and politics."
--Delos (DD) Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon
(reprinted in the anthology The Man Who Sold The Moon, pg 84)

"Our race is about to burst forth to the planets; if we've got the initiative God promised an oyster we will help it along!"
--Delos (DD) Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon
(reprinted in the anthology The Man Who Sold The Moon, pg 85)

"Chance of a lifetime, nuts! This is the greatest chance in all history. It's raining soup; grab yourself a bucket."
--Delos (DD) Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon
(reprinted in the anthology The Man Who Sold The Moon, pg 87)

If Columbus had waited for decent ships we'd all still be in Europe. A man has to take some chances or he never got anywhere.
--Delos (DD) Harriman, The Man Who Sold The Moon
(reprinted in the anthology The Man Who Sold The Moon, pg 140)

Which Firearm Am I?

Which Firearm are you?
brought to you byStan Ryker

This doesn't mean much to me, as I am am the most rabid 2nd amendment supporter I know, yet have never owned and almost never fired any guns. Unless you count BB guns when I was a kid. Or slingshots. Arrows? No? Okay, so I'm lame, but some of you gun people might enjoy seeing my "which firearm" result even if I have no clue.

Space Momentum

I'm going to be bad and regurgitate a lengthy comment I posted over at Rand Simberg's Transterrestrial Musings, in his post about the Bezos space article on MSNBC. Why write from scratch when I'd want to say basically the same thing anyway? Here it is...

I'm so excited! This is how I envisioned things happening, long ago. When I was in my late teens I wanted nothing more than to get into the private space industry, creating a launch company or joining one. I had notions of how to raise money, etc. and was highly amused when I read Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold The Moon" and saw some of it there (though mainly the tone and avidness I had then), as imagined decades before. My phase of wanting to be in the business so bad I could taste it was circa 1977-1979.

Later I decided that'd never happen, but I could write, incorporating the ideas. I imagined an entrepreneur who was in various businesses, some of which might be proving grounds for technologies needed for space flight, duration flight, and terraforming. He then reaches a point where the money and credibility exists, and undertakes the new venture. I'd pictured having to fly out of another country due to excessive red tape in the U.S., and part of the process being to help some small country set itself up as a free market beacon of hope and space launch central. This was in the late eighties.

More recently, I have been expecting someone would come out of the woodwork, perhaps a dotcom fortunate or software magnate, to back or embark on a space business. After all, I figured, someone out there with money had to be interested. Looks like it's actually heading that way. Woohoo!

Hoax Fisking

Someone at a client forwarded a virus hoax e-mail to everyone there. I deconstructed it in a fisky manner in yet another effort to teach people how to recognize what's likely to be a hoax, in addition to reminding them they can look these things up before passing them on. I thought it might make good blog fodder. Here it is:

Let me do a step by step analysis of why this is a hoax on the face of it, without even having to lookup online whether it is one. Sort of a fisking, if you will, for those familiar with the term. It will help you to know what to look for in the future when evaluating such e-mails, which virtually always are hoaxes.

New killer computer virus

The subject isn't as formal as it would probably be for a real virus alert, and oh no, it's "killer." Now there's a nice, weighted word intended to scare people. Note that in many hoaxes, searching for the subject and the word hoax online will find out whether it is one promptly.

> > READ ASAP!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Means hoax. Period. A real virus alert would be matter of fact rather than a frantic attention getter.

> > > Please be extremely careful, especially if using Internet mail such
> > > as Yahoo, Hot mail, and so on.

Okay... "Internet mail"? They must mean "web-based mail," since all e-mail could be called internet mail, yet they are referring to web-based mail services. Oh, and it's "Hotmail," not "Hot mail." There is absolutely nothing described in here that would affect web-based e-mail more than other e-mail.

> > > as Yahoo, Hot mail, and so on. This information arrived this morning
> > > from Microsoft and Norton.

Microsoft is not in the habit of sending virus warnings such as this. It's likely that if the makers of Norton products sent such a thing, it would be attributed to the company, Symantec, whose web site is a fine place to check whether e-mails such as this are hoaxes.

> > > from Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who
> > > accesses the Internet.

Aha! Send it to everyone. That is how hoaxes are spread, since they do not have the power to get far without cooperation of the recipients. A plea to send it to everyone is a glaring red flag, even if you're from France and would prefer a white flag. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) This one sentence is probably enough all by itself to make you say "ah, a hoax."

> > > You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail
> > > with a Power Point presentation "Life is beautiful.pps" If you
> > > receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, and delete it
> > > immediately. If you open this file, a message will appear on your
> > > screen saying "It is too late now, you life is no longer beautiful,"
> > > subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who
> > > sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and passwords.

PowerPoint? A .pps file as a virus-laden object? Whoa!

AND HERE COMES THE ALL CAPS APPEALS TO YOU, which are almost single-handedly a certain indicator of a hoax.

What a powerful slide show it is, doing these massive, unlikely things. Impressive. How is it going to get your passwords? By residing as spyware and seeing what you type? After first deleting everything so you can't use your computer?

Note that the name of the file it mentions, "life is beautiful" and the word "hoax" will probably be the ideal things to search for when trying to determine if it's a hoax.

> > > This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon.

Which Saturday? Yesterday? A year ago? Impressive feat, identifying the exact day and part of the day on which the virus was released into the wild, so why not be more exact with the calendar date for us?

> > > confirmed the severity and the anti virus software are not capable of
> > > destroying it. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls
> > > himself "life owner"

MORE CAPS! This is so urrrrrrgent!

An appeal to authority again, this time AOL, that well known source of virus information. Why leave it for the antivirus software vendors and labs to come out with warnings, when we have AOL to guide us. It's their specialty, after all. Great sentence structure here, too. English as a second language perhaps? Or a less than perfectly literate kid?

Oooh, a hacker was involved, and we've all learned hackers are eeeevil, so when an average person gets this, it's kind of a loaded word. Good one, hoax writer dude.


ANOTHER WELL-WRITTEN SENTENCE. And those darn CAPS again, must be serious if it's uppercase. Look, send it to your friends, pass it around, propogate it, otherwise it will die on the vine. The second send to everyone plea, in case the first wasn't convincing enough. Send it to everyone is to a hoax virus e-mail what "buy now!" is to a sales pitch, which makes it an appropriate closing.

That's it. You can say with virtual certainty, just by what it says and how it says it, that this is a hoax virus warning. You don't even have to know anything technical if you keep in mind the caps, send to everyone pleas, the exclamations gone rampant, and the cites of unexpected authorities for virus warnings, such as AOL, Microsoft, and IBM.

Finally, if there were any doubt or you didn't want to trust the method of telling a hoax by how it reads (or if it doesn't really read like a hoax, which could happen), there's Google. I went to and I typed:

"life is beautiful" hoax

That got several hundred hits, with all of the ones on the first page being links to hoax pages at antivirus vendors and The first one in the list was:

There you have it.

I'm told by the guy who sent it that he in fact modified the subject, so the original was completely different in that respect. Oops.