Saturday December 24, 2005

Treasures 2005_51

Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls, to keep our hearts warm when we are lonely.
-- Becky Aligada

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Dog is their copilot - a big white dog in the front passenger seat of a car in the shopping center lot

  • White lights and red balls - the Holiday decorations at Pasta Pomodoro

  • Urban art - trompe l'oeil palm trees, people, and clouds on the side of a multi-storey building in Mountain View

  • Squirrel by my side as I type. "It's snack time. I love you."

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_51"

Treasures 2005_51 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 24 Dec, 09:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday December 23, 2005

Language Lessons

I don't know how it is where you live, but a lot of the stores around here are fiercely bilingual, usually English/Spanish. I often wonder what the various Chinese / Japanese / Tagalog / Korean -speaking folks think of this, but that's the subject for another entry.

The result is that many products are labeled in at least two languages, (French being the common alternate choice). Rich and I enjoy learning words and phrases in other languages this way. ...
       Continue reading "Language Lessons"

Language Lessons ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 23 Dec, 16:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday December 22, 2005

Chickweed Lane

One of my favorite comic strips is 9 Chickweed Lane, by Brooke McEldowney. I enjoy the characters, especially Solange, a Siamese cat. Solage is featured in a continuing series of strips called "Hallmarks of Felinity" (book collection available).

I also love the way the artist plays with the borders of the comic strip format.

20040120Chickweedlane

If the strip isn't available in your local paper, you can subscribe to receive this (and other strips) by email.

Chickweed Lane ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 22 Dec, 10:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 21, 2005

Staples Charges for Virus Scanning

Posted today on boingboing, a former Staples customer (Mike Langlie) complained that he was asked to pay a fee for virus scanning.

Today I visited a local Staples to print some color files. As an employee wrote up my order, he mentioned there would be a $2.49 fee per file for virus scanning. Incredulously, I asked if I am really expected to pay for my files to be scanned for viruses, to which he replied yes. I canceled my order and left.
...
       Continue reading "Staples Charges for Virus Scanning"

Staples Charges for Virus Scanning ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 21 Dec, 13:57 Pacific | Comments (0)

Seasons' Greetings

Today marks the winter solstice — the longest night (and the shortest day) of the year. For thousands of years, humans have observed this season with festival, celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next. At the winter solstice, humans celebrate the return of the sun.

Read my commentary...

Seasons' Greetings ( in category commentary ) - posted at Wed, 21 Dec, 10:49 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday December 20, 2005

Discardia: Dec 21 - Dec 30, 2005

Penathi so mai *

Celebrate Discardia this week. Discardia is a floating holiday to celebrate letting go.

Unlike other holidays, Discardia, occurs more than once a year, as determined by the sun and the moon. Discardia takes place in the time between the Solstices & Equinoxes and their following new moons. So, the length varies as well as the dates; sometimes it's short and sometimes it's long.

Discardia is a celebration of... nothing. ...
       Continue reading "Discardia: Dec 21 - Dec 30, 2005"

Discardia: Dec 21 - Dec 30, 2005 ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 20 Dec, 00:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday December 19, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_50

Yeeps. 2005 is winding to a close.


The weather was highly variable this week. It started out overcast, turned sunny for three days in the middle, then started to drizzle on Saturday morning. It finished up with a solid day and a half of rain.


My cough seems to be pretty much gone. Finally!


With both of us unemployed, we've been trying to save money by staying home and (egad) cooking. So, lots of turkey sandwiches. Lots of soup. re we tired of soup. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_50"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_50 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 19 Dec, 00:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday December 18, 2005

Mom's Family Wall Calendar

Keep track of who goes where, when... if not why.

What could possibly be better than twelve months of Sandra Boynton? Our favorite wall calendar now features 16 months of "adorably goofy chickens and cows, hippos and pigs. Four more months of snuggable puppies and cute-as-a-button chicks. And four more important months to help keep the family organized. "

We keep ours in the kitchen (and have done so now for uncountable years!) It's nearly January... what are you waiting for?

Boynton Cal

Mom's Family Wall Calendar ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 18 Dec, 11:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday December 17, 2005

Treasures 2005_50

Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart's desire.
-- John Dewey

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Nifty "casual" fonts. I found a new one for my Journal.

  • Another great catnap: Raven on the left, Squirrel on the right, Mez by my leg, Bebop on my chest. Purrrrr.

  • Rain

  • A fat full moon, up during the part of the evening when I'm up

  • Turkey sandwiches on fresh sourdough bread

  • FINALLY getting over my cold and the follow-on cough!

  • A response to one of the job applications I sent in, asking about a possible interview on Monday...

Treasures 2005_50 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 17 Dec, 11:54 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday December 16, 2005

Waiter Rant

I found a fun new weblog to read. Apparently it's been around for a while — the archives go back to April 2004. Recently (November, 2005) moved from Blogspot to its very own domain.

It's called Waiter Rant (subtitle "Do you want pommes frites with that?" :-) The author is a real waiter, sharing anonymous (and often funny stories of life in the food service biz.

Start here ...

Waiter Rant ( in category WWW ) - posted at Fri, 16 Dec, 12:44 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday December 15, 2005

Keeping the Stories Straight

Has nobody ever told some authors about the Suspension of Disbelief? That is, the willingness of the reader to believe, for the duration of a novel or play, that the story and characters are real. It usually works, unless something goes wrong. For example, something as simple as a name. ...
       Continue reading "Keeping the Stories Straight"

Keeping the Stories Straight ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 15 Dec, 16:52 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday December 13, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_49

The weather was very pretty early in the week, overcast by the end. Autumn.


I had my interview call from the California EDD (unemployment services). So that's moving forward.

I applied for more jobs. I've had one phone interview. Nothing further.


We went for a nice 2 mile walk on the lower Sawyer camp trail. We saw deer by the road on the drive down and again on the way back. There were lots of scrub jays and little brown birds along the trail. Also three bunnies (two chasing each other) and a Steller's Jay. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_49"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_49 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 13 Dec, 00:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday December 12, 2005

I Don't Know Art...

I may not know much about "Art"... but I know what I like!

Trompe l'oeil by Eric Grohe

Working in cooperation with architects, designers, art commissions and community representatives, Eric Grohe creates mural art that transforms the environment and communities as well. He believes that his art should involve, challenge and inspire the viewer; not simply adorn, but integrate with its architectural surroundings.
Not only that, they look as if you should be able to walk right into them

Mural Mural2 . ...
       Continue reading "I Don't Know Art..."

I Don't Know Art... ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 12 Dec, 00:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday December 11, 2005

After Dark, After Glow

Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz (writing as Jayne Castle) has created a pair of delightful future-fantasy mystery romance novels: After Dark and its sequel, After Glow. Set on the far-away planet of Harmony, the books feature Lydia Smith, para-archaeologist, Emmet London (Lydia's first consulting client and a man of some mystery), and Fuzz, a dust-bunny (a small, intelligent, predatory animal, native to Harmony). ...
       Continue reading "After Dark, After Glow"

After Dark, After Glow ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 11 Dec, 12:15 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday December 10, 2005

Civility

By now you may have heard of the altercation that took place between Mena Trott (SixApart.com) and Ben Metcalfe (backstage.bbc.co.uk) at the recent Les Blogs conference in France. ...

Read my commentary ...

Civility ( in category WWW ) - posted at Sat, 10 Dec, 10:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday December 09, 2005

Treasures 2005_49

Beauty is not caused. It is.
-- Emily Dickinson

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A brilliantly clear, sparkling, rain-washed day

  • A short walk along the upper trail. Lots of little brown birds. Lots of ducks on the water. Evidence of a gopher - a wiggling plant stalk! And once again, someone has decorated one of the pine trees for Xmas.

  • A 2 mile walk on the lower trail. Deer spotted by the road on the drive down and again on the way back. Lots of scrub jays and little brown birds along the trail. Seagulls on the lake. Also three bunnies (two chasing each other) and a Steller's Jay!

  • Snuggling with my huggybear, Bebop, under the covers before getting up in the morning.

Treasures 2005_49 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 09 Dec, 22:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 07, 2005

Sunday in the Park...

I've always liked Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"

I first saw this, I think, when I was in College. Twice a year, there was an art print sale on campus. Students who volunteered to pass out flyers were paid in free prints. This is one of the prints I chose.

Jatte

So, I was surprised and tickled to see a parody advertised in the Wireless (friends of public radio) catalog.

With Homer

I rather like it :)

Sunday in the Park... ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 07 Dec, 11:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday December 05, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_48

We had two days of rain rain rain last week. The rest of the time it was perfect autumn weather — blue and crisp and clear.


Unfortunately, my cold was followed by a lingering cough. Blech!


Rich has been cooking. Hamburgers stuffed with ortega chilies and jack cheese; turkey thigh sandwiches, turkey cabbage soup.. .


We went for one walk but mostly I've been hanging around the house, reading, napping, resting (and coughing). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_48"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_48 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 05 Dec, 11:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday December 03, 2005

Treasures 2005_48

Success, happiness, peace of mind and fulfillment - the most priceless of human treasures - are available to all among us, without exception, who make things happen - who make "good" things happen - in the world around them.
-- Joe Klock

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A checker at the hardware store with hair reminiscent of macrame - many tiny little braids, every other strand bleached, so they were contrasting tan and dark brown. These were tight to her scalp until the back where all the tiny braids had been gathered into one large French braid. Most compelling.

  • Little brown birds in front of Starbucks, snacking on the crumbs from a muffin paper discarded on the sidewalk.

  • Lucid dreaming - great production values :-) Lots of scenery, big sets. Such fun to know I'm dreaming and just look around and appreciate the surroundings. All I really remember after waking is traveling (in some unknown conveyance) past a neighborhood of Victorian houses. One in particular was striking, painted a base color of eggplant purple so dark as to be almost black, with lavender trim.

  • Snuggling into bed with Bebop nestled on my arm - not a common occurrence. A warm soft teddycat is so nice to hug and hold.

  • HOO Hoo hoo - the owls are back in the park across the street

Treasures 2005_48 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 03 Dec, 10:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday December 01, 2005

Say, What?

We stopped into Starbucks last night. Rich had a coupon and we were in the shopping center already.

Rich: "I'll have a large mocha."

Counterguy: "Vente?"

Rich: "Large"

One of the other counterguys was laughing quietly. We got the mocha. We left.

On the way home, Rich said "I go into a place like that to buy a drink. I don't do it to learn a new language. Why should I have to jump through their hoops to use their made-up words?"

Beats me. At least they never ask if we want fries with that...

Say, What? ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 01 Dec, 10:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday November 30, 2005

A Giant Step

Surgeons in London plan to test a revolutionary stem cell technique using cells from .. the patient's nose! This will be the first trial of a simple technology that could one day allow the paralysed to walk again.
[An] all-important discovery made in 1985 showed that in one section of the nervous system, a part of the nasal cavity concerned with smell, nerve fibres are in constant growth - even in adulthood. Though people with a bad cold may lose their sense of smell, it does come back.

The nasal cells have the added advantage of belonging to the patient, so there is no risk of their being rejected.

[ The nose cells that may help the paralysed walk again, The Gaurdian Unlimited, 11/30/2005 ]

A Giant Step ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Wed, 30 Nov, 16:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday November 29, 2005

Don't Be SAD

With winter comes a period of more earlier and longer darkness and much less sun. Less sun leads to depression for many people; the syndrome is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

In some places, such as Finland, it simply gets dark everywhere for miles around. In other places, such as the Tyrol region of the Alps, the sun can be shining a mile or so away!

The sun has stopped shining in Rattenberg. But with the aid of a few mirrors, the winter darkness that grips this small town could soon be brightened up with pockets of sunshine.

Rattenberg was built between the hill [910m Rat Mountain] to the south and the Inn River to the north starting in the 1300s for protection against marauders. Back then, lack of sunshine was a small price to pay for relative security.

But as such dangers diminished, dozens more settlements sprang up. Some, like Kramsach, are just half a mile away and all enjoy a few hours of sun on a clear winter's day.

[Mirrors shed light as winter grips small town]

Now an Austrian company, Bartenbach Lichtlabor GmbH, plans to install 30 heliostats — "rotating mirrors, mounted on a hillside to grab sunshine off reflectors from the neighbouring village of Kramsach" — to bring spots of sunlight into Rattenberg.

It would be prohibitively expensive to bathe the entire town in sunlight. Instead, Lichtlabor plans to create about a dozen "hotspots" — "areas not much bigger than a front yard scattered through the town, where townspeople can gather and soak up rays."

In turn, the town hopes to save itself. The population of Rattenberg has been steadily declining in the past twenty years. Four years ago, half of those polled listed lack of winter sunlight as their biggest disadvantage.

I can understand how they feel. I wish them well in this experiment.

Don't Be SAD ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Tue, 29 Nov, 19:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday November 28, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_47

It's been a very quiet week. That comes from having a cold all week. My mind gets muffled in cotton. All I want to do is sleep.

I spent most of the week reading, eating (sharing turkey with Bebop), and napping. In other words, practicing being a cat. The cats approved.


We had rain this week, mostly at night. Winter is a-coomin in. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_47"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_47 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 28 Nov, 10:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday November 26, 2005

Treasures 2005_47

Memory is the library of the mind.
-- Francis Fauvel-Gourand

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Moonlight casting a path on the Bay

  • Rich, bringing me a glass of juice when I have a cold

  • My cat family, purring around me

  • A couple more naps with Raven

  • Watching a movie with Bebop

  • Mezzaluna curled on my chest, purring

  • Squirrel next to me on the back of the couch

  • Rain on the roof

  • A blackbird taking a bath in a puddle

Treasures 2005_47 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 26 Nov, 09:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday November 21, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_46

The weather was clear and warm last week. Quite "unseasonable" but delightful. We went for a walk along our favorite trail and saw a few deer.


On Tuesday, I had a call from a former co-worker (now an ex-former co-worker!). Apparently I was part of the shot across the bow. Thirty more people have been "let go" at The Company I Used to Work For amidst great speculation as to WHY. We now have a mailing list to discuss the topic. :/


I got caught by a cold this week. This was fairly mild as such things go but it made the latter part of the week pretty blurry. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_46"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_46 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 21 Nov, 11:22 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday November 19, 2005

Treasures 2005_46

Souvenirs are perishable; fortunately, memories are not.
-- Susan Spano

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Yes, the rest of the carton of eggs is all double-yolked too!

  • Our beef veggie soup recipe. Yummmm.

  • Relaxing on the couch, surrounded by cats.

  • People flying kites along the ocean beach

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_46"

Treasures 2005_46 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 19 Nov, 10:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday November 18, 2005

Colored Bubbles

C o l o r e d bubbles. Coooooool.
... it's not easy to improve the world's most popular toy. Yet the success of one inventor's quest to dye a simple soap bubble may change the way the world uses color

[ The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles, Popular Science, Dec. 2005 issue ]

Eleven years, half a million dollars, innumerable dye-stains, chemical burns, ruined clothes, and noxious fumes later... one of the toy industry's long-sought technical breakthroughs has become a reality — nonstaining colored bubble solution.

Colored soap bubbles! Of course! Everyone loves blowing bubbles. It seemed such a simple and perfect idea, the kind that would leave other inventors slapping their foreheads and saying Why didn't I think of that? [Tim] Kehoe says, "I remember walking down to the store thinking, ‘This is so easy. I'm going to be rich!' "
...
       Continue reading "Colored Bubbles"

Colored Bubbles ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 18 Nov, 13:29 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday November 17, 2005

How to Lose Friends and Influence People

I learned a few days ago that the Company That Formerly Employed Me has now laid off some 10 - 20% of its workforce. I guess I was the "canary in the mine". I still feel bad... but less paranoid.

Read my commentary...

How to Lose Friends and Influence People ( in category commentary ) - posted at Thu, 17 Nov, 15:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday November 16, 2005

Around Town

Scene at the shopping center

About a dozen police officers, from Daly City, Pacifica, San Bruno, and BART (possibly others as well) sharing a break at Starbucks.

But... Starbucks doesn't serve donuts! (Oh, well... this _is_ California after all... :-) ...
       Continue reading "Around Town"

Around Town ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 16 Nov, 15:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday November 15, 2005

Simpy

If you're interested in web-based bookmark management, take a look at Simpy. I already knew about del.iciou.us (love the name, even if I can never remember how to spell it), but I wanted something with "group" access.

Most of these web-based bookmark managers allow you to keep your bookmarks private or share them with the world. I want to share with a specific group of people. Simpy will let me do that.

Use Groups if you have friends or colleagues or family or classmates or ... and want to share links with them. You can share them via a Group, which can be handy for any type of collaboration that needs to bookmark and/or tag links. Once you create a group, you can invite others to join it. You can invite both people who are existing Simpy members (just use their Simpy usernames), as well as people who are not in Simpy yet (just use their email addresses).
Simpy ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Tue, 15 Nov, 10:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday November 14, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_45

We had rain last week. There was a good hard evening rain on Monday night — nice to listen to while reading. We also had a terrific thunderstorm a little later in the week! Rich and I are fond of thunderstorms.


I was having trouble focusing on my computer screens. I don't have trouble driving, reading, or doing anything else... and an eye exam plus new glasses would be very expensive. I've adjusted my desk, keyboard, and screens so I'm a bit further away. The physical change is good enough for now.


We took the Scion in for its third complimentary oil change. Its yellow "Maint Req." light had also come on (some 13,000 mile thing) and it needed the tires rotated. Such a good car. No problems. I just love it. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_45"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_45 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 14 Nov, 10:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday November 12, 2005

Treasures 2005_45

We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.
-- Kahlil Gibran

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A double yolk in my breakfast egg. Then - another double yolk in the second!

  • Two small groups of mule deer, seen on our drive down the Peninsula and into Stanford.

  • Lots of fat and happy ground squirrels on the Stanford campus.

  • Two more double-yolked eggs a few days later. (I wonder if this whole carton is double-yolked?)

  • Dark Chocolate

  • A thunderstorm, at least half an hour in duration, with plenty of lightning!

  • Sharing a dark-chocolate covered Cherry Garcia ice cream-on-a-stick with Rich

  • Cats sprawled around the living room. Furry tummies upwards.

  • Waking up to kitties. Falling asleep with kitties.

Treasures 2005_45 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 12 Nov, 14:03 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday November 11, 2005

A Very Special Nickel

Imagine if you had a nickel, a very special nickel. With it you could buy a dream — any dream, but only one dream.

What dream would you buy? Hmmm... or would you keep your nickel? ...
       Continue reading "A Very Special Nickel"

A Very Special Nickel ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 11 Nov, 12:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday November 10, 2005

Vienna

I am using a new RSS reader called Vienna.

Vienna is a freeware, open source RSS/Atom reader for the Mac OSX operating system. It provides features comparable to commercial newsreaders but it is both it and the source code are freely available for download.

I like Vienna. It's satisfactorily configurable, with a smooth Cocoa "look" and the feel of a simple email reader. It also has a few features I didn't expect but appreciate — tabbed viewing, flagged articles, smart folders, and a built-in browser. Nice. ...
       Continue reading "Vienna"

Vienna ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Thu, 10 Nov, 22:47 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday November 09, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_44

It was another Autumn week with foggy mornings and crisp, blue afternoons.


Rich and I turned off the porch light and closed the blinds on Halloween night. Living as we do in a hilly neighborhood, we rarely get any trickertreaters in any case. Plus, the cats don't like the doorbell ringing and we don't need leftover candy. So we just act as if we "aren't home" on Halloween night.


I reworked my web pages last week. They hadn't had a style change in a decade. Now everything uses CSS and PHP. The site looks better (or at least, I think so :-) and I learned some things.

Rich and I have been also reworking our "brochure". ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_44"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_44 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 09 Nov, 10:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday November 08, 2005

Didja Vote?

Bc20051108
[B.C. by Johnny Hart, Nov. 8, 2005]

Did you vote today? We did... (Does your area have anywhere near as many election seasons as ours does?We seem to have two a year).

It always seems weird to me that we just walk in, tell the people our names, sign the "book", and are given a ballot. No ID. No proof. I could pretend to be the woman across the street. Someone else could say she was me.

I'm still waiting (wishin' and a-hopin') for online voting. Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult to implement in a secure and trustworthy fashion. Voting needs to be both anonymous and controlled (no more than one vote per person but no way to match the person with the vote). Trustworthy isn't the same as secure, either. Something can be secure — difficult to break into — and still not trustworthy. Until then, I guess we have to put up with the annoyance of lines, dried-out markers, and "hanging chad".

Didja Vote? ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 08 Nov, 14:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday November 07, 2005

What Part of "I prefer..." Don't You Understand?

I am currently (not by preference :) looking for a new job. When I asked a friend to keep an eye out for anything that looked likely, he responded: "You do make it challenging as your skills and work preferences limit the options."

I found that odd.

Read my commentary...

What Part of "I prefer..." Don't You Understand? ( in category commentary ) - posted at Mon, 07 Nov, 13:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday November 06, 2005

The Tipping Point

What caused Hush Puppies shoes to go from all but dead (30,000 pairs sold per year by early 1994) to a "best seller" (over a million pairs in 1996)? What caused New York City's crime rate to drop by two-thirds in five years? What made Sesame Street such a success with teaching pre-schoolers? And why was Blue's Clues even more successful?

"The Tipping Point is the biography of an idea, and the idea os very simple. It is that the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or, for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do."

[from the Introduction to The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, 2002]

...
       Continue reading "The Tipping Point"

The Tipping Point ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 06 Nov, 12:23 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday November 05, 2005

DST: Looking forward to 2007

I have always thought that the decision to end Daylight Saving time on the last Sunday of October was misguided and ill-considered. That puts Halloween in the "standard time" (early dark nights) part of the year. With all of the kids out and about, crossing the streets, this seemed wrong to me.

Things will change, however, not next year but the year after that.

In most of the United States, DST presently begins on the first Sunday in April. It ends on the last Sunday in October, when clocks return to official standard time. That's about to change. In 2007, according to a law passed earlier this year, DST for most of the United States will begin 3 weeks earlier—on the second Sunday in March. And it will end 1 week later—on the first Sunday in November.

[A Change in Time, Science News for Kids, Oct. 26, 2005]

I wish they had chosen the 1st Sunday in March for consistency... but this is the government after all.

DST: Looking forward to 2007 ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 05 Nov, 09:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday November 04, 2005

Treasures 2005_44

A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.
-- Anonymous

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Frankenblimp. A very cute inflatable Frankenstein's monster at the door into the hardware store. He had little beady eyes (and very close together too). His bolts were at ear level instead of on his neck. He was holding a paper spider from each green hand.

  • All the children (and adults) in costume at the Berkely/Oakland Halloween day on College Ave

  • Chocolate. The Scharffen Berger factory, redolent of chocolate.

  • The hawk, again in the back 40 but closer this time. He's very handsome when he's not wet :) Bebop saw it. Ckckckckck!

  • Nuthatches at the feeder. So cute, especially when they go "upside down".

  • A fuzzy, frisky, 14-week old Pomeranian puppy, out for a Walk with his People!

Treasures 2005_44 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 04 Nov, 22:21 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday November 03, 2005

Rearranging the (Virtual) Furniture

I built my "home on the WWW" sometime in 1994. Except for adding new pages on occasion, things didn't change much after that. (Some years back a friend commented that I was still using the same photo. Well, I still look pretty much as I did then...).

Recently, however, I decided my webhome could use a makeover.

I simplified my template and started using CSS (something that wasn't available ten years ago). I'm also using PHP now. PHP handles "including" of content; it also provides support for a large range of possible future features.

The basic content hasn't changed, but the look is a little fresher. I invite you to visit.

Rearranging the (Virtual) Furniture ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 03 Nov, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday November 02, 2005

Missing Sync for Palm OS v5.0

I have had a Palm-based handheld for seven years now. About a year ago I upgraded to a Kyocera 7135 "smart phone". The only thing "wrong" with it was that it didn't talk to Palm's Hotsync program.

Enter "Missing Sync for Palm OS" from Mark/Space. Missing Sync allowed me to sync to my Mac — and also provided the memo pad application Apple didn't include with iCal and Address Book.

Now, Missing Sync 5.0 raises the bar:

With support for new Sync Services technology in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Address Book and iCal data synchronization is greatly improved. Now calendar categories, multiple addresses, Birthdays, IM addresses and other fields are synchronized. There's synchronization for iTunes playlists and iPhoto albums, and photos taken with camera-enabled devices can be sent right to iPhoto. Mac/Palm sync has never been this good.
The interface is jazzier too. :-)
Missing Sync for Palm OS v5.0 ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 02 Nov, 11:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday November 01, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_43

October can be pretty in the SF Bay Area — when it's not foggy and you can see the sky :-). Last week was fair when it wasn't foggy. We also had one day of steady rain (which stopped by 7pm).


Rich made pea soup for supper Monday. Rich makes good pea soup!


I had some nifty and colorful dreams. An especially fun one involved penguins flying in the air — they were harnessed to helium balloons. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_43"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_43 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 01 Nov, 19:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

B O O !

Berkeley and Oakland merchants were doing Halloween on College Ave. yesterday. There were a zillion kids and parents in costume - bears, dogs, dragons, frogs, witches and princesses of all descriptions, and quite a few pumpkins. ...
       Continue reading "Happy Halloween"

Happy Halloween ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 31 Oct, 09:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday October 30, 2005

Scharffen Berger

There were no Oompa Loompas, but...

Our friend Quinn decided that it would be fun to celebrate his birthday (today) by inviting a group of friends to join him for a tour of the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory in Berkeley. The "tour" is actually nearly an hour of talk (history of chocolate and history of Scharffen Berger), touching, smelling, and looking at cocoa beans in various states, and chocolate tasting. This is followed by a quick visit to the factory floor to see the machines.

The factory is house in a 27,000 sq. foot, not-quite-100-year-old brick building (retrofitted for earthquake safety) with arched ceilings and handsome architecture. The company moved to the present site in May, 2001. The entire building — gift shop, restrooms, tour presentation room — smells like chocolate. Wow. (I can still smell chocolate :-) ...
       Continue reading "Scharffen Berger"

Scharffen Berger ( in category Food & Drink , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 30 Oct, 19:41 Pacific | Comments (1)

Saturday October 29, 2005

A Correspondence in Correspondence

Both Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein relied on pen, paper, and the postal service to communicate with correspondents around the world. But researchers have now found the pattern of their replies is the same as that of computer users answering email today, with both following the same mathematical formula.

New Scientist magazine, 26 October 2005

This doesn't seem unusual to me. I tend to treat email as just another way to write a letter, a note, a memo.... The primary difference for me is that, when I was writing paper letters, I would write fewer of them, to a smaller set of people, and the letters themselves would be much longer. If I was going to sit down with pen and paper I might as well make the most of the time.

Using email, I write more often to more people, sending shorter messages at more frequent intervals. I keep up with my sister and with college friends - people I used to exchange letters with once or twice a year.

My mother, on the other hand, has moved from multi-page handwritten paper letters to multi-page typed and printed letters to multi-page (if I printed them) email letters. The biggest difference for her is that she now sends the same letter to both my sister and myself. I reply to both of them, including my Dad, keeping everyone "on the same page".

After all, what are letters (paper or electronic) but a way to communicate?

A Correspondence in Correspondence ( in category Random Thoughts , Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 29 Oct, 12:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday October 28, 2005

Treasures 2005_43

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
-- Alice Walker

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Two ravens (of the avian variety) sitting on the end of a high pine bough, GRONKing.

  • Several walks along our lovely local trails, under blue sky with puffy clouds.
...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_43"

Treasures 2005_43 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 28 Oct, 23:44 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday October 27, 2005

Nifty Kitchen Gadget

I want one of these :-)

A nifty kitchen gadget, and a cool kinetic sculpture. Pull the ring to set the time. The tape counts minutes, not inches, as it slowly retreats into the aluminum cube, sounding a bell when the time's up. Because it's vertical, you can see it from across the room and know about how much time is left. Created by industrial designer Jozeph Forakis, a native New Yorker based in Milan. 60 minutes. 4" cube.

Signals catalog, item HB1342

kitchen timer
Nifty Kitchen Gadget ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Thu, 27 Oct, 19:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday October 25, 2005

Dilbert Blogs

Scot Adams (creator of Dilbert, Dogbert, and friends) has started a weblog. Not only that, he's using TypePad. Woo Hoo.

The beauty of blogging, as compared to writing a book, is that no editor will be interfering with my random spelling and grammar, my complete disregard for the facts, and my wandering sentences that seem to go on and on and never end so that you feel like you need to take a breath and clear your head before you can even consider making it to the end of the sentence that probably didn't need to be written anyhoo.
Dilbert Blogs ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Tue, 25 Oct, 11:54 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday October 23, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_42

This was a difficult and confusing week. I managed to walk Through the Looking Glass at my job and into my own personal version of The Invasion of the Pod People. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_42"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_42 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 23 Oct, 23:30 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday October 22, 2005

Treasures 2005_42

Heaven does not leave a person without a path to their destination.
-- Chinese Proverb

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Proverb

That may be true, but the hallways in between can really get you down...
-- Anonymous

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A bright patch of California poppies

  • Cottony fog over the soccer field at the school nearby

  • My most supportive and wonderful sweetie Richard, backing me up, reviewing my memos, keeping my spirits alive, and simply Being There as my job unravels and blows away on an unforseen wind.

  • Supportive and positive feedback from my co-workers

  • Retaining my honor and my professional integrity as I unknowingly walk Though the Looking Glass

  • Knowing that I tried, I'm still trying, and whether I succeed or fail, in the end I can hold my head up.

  • Being able to take pride in a job well done

  • Positive thoughts: Look for the silver lining

Treasures 2005_42 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 22 Oct, 14:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday October 21, 2005

Passion For Work (redux)

Maybe I should try harder not to care. When I don't care, I'm quickly bored. But when I do care... I get into trouble.

In May 2004, I got a job. A first, the best thing about it was that I was employed again after two years out of work. However, it quickly became obvious that I liked this job. I liked the company. I liked my co-workers. I liked the exec staff. And I really liked my role in the company.

Read my commentary...

Passion For Work (redux) ( in category commentary ) - posted at Fri, 21 Oct, 21:02 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday October 19, 2005

So Good At What I Do

Many years ago, in my first "real" (i.e. fulltime, salaried) job, my then-manager said to me:

Vicki, you're so good at what you do. Why can't you be good at this?
Read my commentary...
So Good At What I Do ( in category commentary ) - posted at Wed, 19 Oct, 22:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday October 18, 2005

Fortune Cookies

The Universe is trying to tell me something. Being The Universe, of course, it's being cryptic.

I have been trying to make headway on "discussions" with The Company regarding the direction of my job. I have yet another meeting scheduled for today. Last night, the outcome of the meeting was unknown and unknowable.

Rich and I went out for Chinese dinner last night. These were the fortunes we got in our cookies:

You will be wise not to seek too much from others.

You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.

Fortune Cookies ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 18 Oct, 08:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday October 17, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_41

The weather has varied. It's autumn. On two mornings in a row, I woke up when the sun came in the window at 6:30 am (I wake best to light). On the third morning, the clouds rolled in and I woke to my alarm clock.


After much fuss and bother and stress and frustration we installed a new monitor arm on my desk. I was concerned about a major change to my office configuration and this was giving me stress. Rich had a sore neck and shoulder and didn't need my stress to add to his stress.

The end result works... although at first it was very odd to have the screen "floating" in the air. But I can fit the scanner under it (which was what I wanted in the first place).

(if you want one, shop around. paid roughly half SRP at Staples.) ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_41"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_41 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 17 Oct, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday October 15, 2005

Treasures 2005_41

Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has the least place within your heart.
-- Anonymous

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Hugs and snuggles from my four kitty friends.

  • My new monitor arm (which concerned me at first but, as I had hoped, once I got it installed aand got used to it, it's really quite grand).

  • My wonderful sweetie, Richard, giving me hugs and talking me through a serious upset at the Job.

  • Sawyer Camp Trail along Crystal Springs reservoir - a refreshing and soothing walk when I needed it most.

  • A gorgeous, sunny, near-perfect day. Just a little haze in the distance. A lovely day for a drive.

  • Dinner with friends.

  • Three raccoons on the sunroom roof, walking back and forth, nosing about. There was enough moonlight to see them very clearly from below.

Treasures 2005_41 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 15 Oct, 10:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday October 12, 2005

Embracing RSS

RSS (aka Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) is a family of XML file formats for web syndication used by (amongst other things) news websites and weblogs. I've been hearing about RSS for some time now. I'm finally using it myself.

I have turned on RSS syndication for this weblog. (all together now: oooooooh. aaaaaaaah.)

I have found an RSS client I like. ...
       Continue reading "Embracing RSS"

Embracing RSS ( in category Computerware , Special Interests ) - posted at Wed, 12 Oct, 19:20 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday October 10, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_40

The weather has been mostly nice: fair, clear, and neither too warm nor too cold.


Rich called an impromptu ad hoc pizza meeting of the Bay Area Ruby group ("if no one shows, at least we can eat pizza"). One person RSVP'd (not required); eight showed up. Not bad!


We eat at Red Lobster once or twice a year. This week we went with a friend on his birthday. I took advantage of the opportunity to order shrimp and eat garlic-cheese bisquits.


The Mall has re-opened. We drove by on Friday night after dinner - and kept right on driving - Wow. Lights! Cars! More cars! I think we'll wait a week or two.


I had a short-term urgent project for the Job that I found out about on Friday. I did most of the work on Saturday. It was a project to put up a web site, not a big deal to do. The client was very happy with the results. I like making the clients happy. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_40"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_40 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 10 Oct, 20:56 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday October 09, 2005

Color Copier

Our photocopier started getting over-sensitive a while back. First copies came out with a greyish tinge... then greyer... and greyer. Eventually they were becoming pretty much unreadable. As this was an "all-in-one" unit (copier, fax, etc) the faxes were having similar problems. We finally broke down and decided to buy a new copier. ...
       Continue reading "Color Copier"

Color Copier ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 09 Oct, 20:58 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday October 08, 2005

Re-opening Tanforan

Ba Tanforanls

Tanforan Park, our local shopping mall, closed for renovations in 2003, immediately following the 2002 holiday shopping season. (The original plan had apparently called for closing before Christmas; dumb!).

The mall was 30 years old and had slowly been declining. We liked it, but we could see that some of the stores had closed and not been replaced. It was bringing in less money... and, apparently, the new owners thought it looked like it was built in the early 70's (which, of course, it was.) ...
       Continue reading "Re-opening Tanforan"

Re-opening Tanforan ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 08 Oct, 11:38 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday October 07, 2005

Treasures 2005_40

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
-- Franz Kafka

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Birds chirping in the bushes, singing on the telephone wires. Pigeons walking on the sunroom roof, entertaining the cats

  • Crystalline days. Not too warm The setting sun glinting off of windows along the ridge in the East Bay. Mount Diablo arising above the early morning fog layer.

  • Family rituals. Crunchy mornings. Mezzaluna lying on my chest when I go to bed. Bebop "up close and personal" with Rich and me at meal time. Raven reminding me, as I put on my shoes to go out, that I'm supposed to stay at HOME. Squirrel patting my arm at 10pm - It's time to stop typing. It's snack time!

  • Fridays. Weekend rituals. Brunch at Joe's. Splitting an omelette.. Eggs Florentine. Napping with the cats.

Treasures 2005_40 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 07 Oct, 20:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday October 06, 2005

How Are You Feeling Today?

Mood Dude Happy Mood Dude Anxious

How Are You Feeling Today?

Are you Happy? Anxious? Sad? Disgusted? Overwhelmed? Confident? Hopeful?

How's your self-esteem today? How's your character?

Are you stressed? Depressed? Feeling angry? Feeling anxious? Feeling great?

Mood Dude Sad Mood Dude Bleah

For 15 years, Creative Therapy Associates has been producing materials that address the mental health and social issues of children and adults. Their products are useful and fun.

Take a look for yourself. Maybe order a t-shirt... Express your feelings in Latin perhaps. Or Esperanto? :-)

How Are You Feeling Today? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 06 Oct, 18:46 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday October 05, 2005

Tangelo

I just discovered a rather nice web log creation program that runs on your desktop computer. It's called Tangelo.

Tangelo, termed "web publishing with a twist," is a departure from most traditional weblog publishing tools. Instead of installing or using weblog software on an Internet web server, Tangelo is installed on the user's computer as a standalone application, providing much easier installation, greater weblog control, and ease of use.

The weblog, with all associated files, is created on your desktop machine. Everything can also be published via FTP to a server if desired (presuming you have a server account with FTP access. :-)

I've started to use Tangelo at The Job. There's a 'home directory server" but scripts aren't supported. So, no PHP, no weblog engines, no dynamic HTML. With Tangelo, I don't need IT to provide anything but a little bit of space (and they're doing that already).

Tangelo is available for both Mac OS X (10.2.8 and above) and Windows (2000 and above; where does XP fit on that scale?). The developer is responsive and helpful. The interface is colorful and easy to use. I like it.

Tangelo ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 05 Oct, 17:07 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday October 03, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_39

The weather was pretty nice all week. Even the one foggy day (Saturday) was warm.

When I went out to fill the bird feeder on Saturday, the garden was full of chirping (although I could only see two birds and one was a hummer). The bushes were making a lot of noise. Birds like the drippy mornings.


Somehow, there wasn't a lot of news last week... ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_39"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_39 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 03 Oct, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday October 01, 2005

Circus Ponies NoteBook

One of my favorite "must-have" applications for Mac OS X is Circus Ponies NoteBook. NoteBook is a data manager with the look and feel of a 23rd century notepad. It looks like paper but it's flexible, powerful, and highly reconfigurable. I'm someone who has often wished to rearrange paper notebooks, change the format, etc. – being able to actually do so with this one gives me a trippy feeling indeed!

I've been using NoteBook for nearly two and a half years now. It was initially recommended to me by a friend whose opinions I tend to trust implicitly in these matters (his ideas of what makes a great application are usually in sync with my own).

At this point I have a set of seven notebooks in regular use: two daily journals (one each for home and work, with different formats), a project log book for work, a general "notes" book for work, another notebook for records of all sorts, both technical and personal (from code snippets to recipes) and a notebook in which I store quotes, lyrics, essays, writing prompts, and the like. ...
       Continue reading "Circus Ponies NoteBook"

Circus Ponies NoteBook ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Sat, 01 Oct, 10:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 30, 2005

Treasures 2005_39

Expect the unexpected or you won't find it, because it doesn't leave a trail.
-- Heraclitus

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Squirrel waking me up in the morning, licking my fingers

  • A small woolly dog at the hardware store - his entire body was as woolly as Squirrel's rear end.

  • Officially sat on by a cat - Bebop gave the OK to our new photocopier

  • Rob & Barbara Dicely of Leopards, Etc,, along with Nakuru (serval), Ashakiran (snow leopard), Shoshone (young cougar), Oksana (Siberian lynx), and Kamau (cheetah). I wish we could bring Wild Cat Adventure to your area.

  • The "flying chili peppers" in the trompe l'oeil mural at Andale' Taqueria

  • The mesquite chicken salad (also at Andale')

  • Discovering new features I didn't know were available in one of my favorite (Mac) applications (Circus Ponies NoteBook).

  • A snuggly nap with Raven. These are getting to be a regular occurrence!

Treasures 2005_39 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 30 Sep, 21:44 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday September 29, 2005

Teaching Tomorrow's Employees Today

International Business Machines Corp. [IBM], worried the United States is losing its competitive edge, will financially back employees who want to leave the company to become math and science teachers. ... Up to 100 IBM employees will be eligible for the program in its trial phase. The goal is to help fill shortfalls in the nation's teaching ranks, a problem expected to grow with the retirement of today's educators. ...

IBM pushes math and science education, CNN Technology, Friday, September 16, 2005

Read my commentary...

Teaching Tomorrow's Employees Today ( in category Special Interests , commentary ) - posted at Thu, 29 Sep, 20:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday September 27, 2005

A Rose By Any Other Name

Have you noticed that most roses don't have much fragrance? They're huge and colorful with many bright blooms bigger than a baseball (actually a softball but the alliteration was irresistible). But they smell like... plants.

Scientists are now trying to put the fragrance back into the flowers. ...
       Continue reading "A Rose By Any Other Name"

A Rose By Any Other Name ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Tue, 27 Sep, 08:07 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday September 26, 2005

Tech Support Motivations

Rich and I frequently get into "discussions" with people who provide technical support for the various applications we run (this includes mailing lists, forums, and the "official" tech support addresses). The cause of the "discussions" is a fundamental difference in motivation.

Many people who provide technical support appear to be motivated to get the user back to work as quickly as possible.

Rich and I have another motivation. Ours appears related on the surface but is crucially different underneath - we want to solve the problem.

Read my `commentary' on this topic.

Tech Support Motivations ( in category commentary ) - posted at Mon, 26 Sep, 00:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday September 25, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_38

We've had patchy morning low clouds and fog in the early mornings, turning sunny and clear by noon most days. Unfortunately, I need light to wake up well. I wake up poorly (groggy and sleepy) when it's grey and dreary outside.

Tuesday was fun — we had the first rainstorm of the season, complete with thunder (and two short power outages). Squirrel was not at all happy about the loud growling outside. .


The power outages knocked out our network connection for the rest of the day. Rich ended up replacing a battery and a network card and got us back on the air around 10 pm. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_38"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_38 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 25 Sep, 23:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 23, 2005

Treasures 2005_38

It is therefore necessary that memorable things should be committed to writing, (the witness of times, the light and the life of truth,) and not wholly be taken [i.e., committed] to slippery memory which seldom yields a certain reckoning.
-- Edward Coke

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Waking to Bebop walking on my chest, then settling in for a good long cuddle

  • A giant blood-orange moon rising over the Bay.

  • More peaches, so juicy, so sweet

  • Carrot cake

  • Raven wrapping himself around my ankle as I was getting dressed

  • Raccoon footprints on the sunroom roof

  • Fresh cinnamon bread. Cinnamon toast. The company break room redolent with cinnamon.

  • The smell of fresh basil as I walked through the produce dept. in the grocery store.

  • Naked Lady lilies still blooming profusely in front of a house down the street

  • A long snugglenap with Raven

  • Crispy onion rings

Treasures 2005_38 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 23 Sep, 23:43 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday September 22, 2005

Once Upon A Time...

I had a dream in which I was somewhere where we were asked to tell stories... they were supposed to be about 3 minutes long. So I told one. In the dream, I was making it up as I went along. I didn't know how it would end until a good idea came to me as I was telling it.


...
       Continue reading "Once Upon A Time..."

Once Upon A Time... ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 22 Sep, 08:46 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday September 20, 2005

That was Easy

Calendarimage

Yesterday, our exec. assistants at The Company asked to meet with me this morning to discuss adding a "corporate events" calendar to our Intranet.

This morning, at 8 am, I googled for PHP Calendar programs (that did not require MySQL). I found two or three, tried them, and immediately narrowed the field to EasyPHPCalendar. ...
       Continue reading "That was Easy"

That was Easy ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Tue, 20 Sep, 22:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday September 19, 2005

Watching Elephants in Africa

I'm sitting at my desk watching elephants play and drink at Pete's Pond in Botswana, half a world away. Earlier there were a lot of fat birds and several deer of one sort or another.

I'm watching the National Geographic Wild Cam.

Rich read about this today in a piece by Jon Carroll, one of our local columnists (for the SF Chronicle).

Jon says

"I think we're experiencing wonder overload. There is so much that is marvelous that we hardly notice anymore. We expect the marvelous. We should be constantly filled with wonder, but we are hardly ever filled with wonder. When everything is wonderful, nothing is."

Elephants

...
       Continue reading "Watching Elephants in Africa"

Watching Elephants in Africa ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Mon, 19 Sep, 23:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday September 18, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_37

The weather was quite nice this past week, at least in the afternoons and evenings (if grey in the mornings).


We spent parts of Monday doing hardware swapping. We're going to send my old G3 to my parents. So we wiped the disk, re-installed Panther, swapped memory sticks and hard drives between this box and others, and generally made it ready to "move in.".


I played with PHP this week. I wanted to find a survey form that would let me ask questions, format the results, and mail those results to a specified address. I googled, investigated, and found a nice little program called Super Simple Survey. The, being me, I added some features that I wanted that were missing. I'm pretty happy with the results. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_37"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_37 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 18 Sep, 22:22 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 16, 2005

Treasures 2005_37

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.
-- C. S. Lewis

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Feeding ducks with the bread left from our dinner (one of the restaurants we like is on a canal).

  • An amusing newspaper article typo, discussing
    "... the feral government..."

  • Naked eucalyptus trees, so funny: pink and smooth.

  • A ten-foot tall hollyhock stalk rising over a neighbor's fence, 5 pink blossoms at the very top. Rich and I looked at it and decided it wanted Sun!

  • A perfect magenta bougainvillea blossom, found on the sidewalk.

  • Making PHP do what I want it to do.

  • A thundering herd of woodrat on the sunroom roof. That's singular, one woodrat; how can one little mousie make so much noise?

Treasures 2005_37 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 16 Sep, 23:29 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday September 15, 2005

Text Mate

Rich has discovered TextMate, a new code editor for Mac OS X.

Written in Cocoa, with built-in support for over 20 programming languages, TextMate has the features you expect — syntax coloring, clipboard history, and tabs — the features you want — code folding and macros — and some features you might not have thought about.

Outline

Both of us are particularly interested in the dynamic file outline view.

Before you can get any work done, you need to be on top of your artifacts, such as stylesheets, includes, libraries, and application code. By arranging your files in an outline that follows the existing directory structure, it's no longer necessary to switch back and forth between Finder and editor to locate the next thing you need to work on.

The file outline is automatically kept up to date with changes occurring on the file system, so if you have a build script or generator that sprinkles files across multiple directories, they're instantly available in the outline.

You can also move files from one directory to another in the outline and the change is reflected on the file system. Just as you can easily add new files to any directory you select and they'll be placed as you'd expect.

Cool!

TextMate is a recommended editor for use with Ruby on Rails, a powerful web application framework written in the Ruby programming language. Rich has started working with Rails and is very impressed. (I'm trying to get him to write up his experiences. :-)

Text Mate ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Thu, 15 Sep, 20:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday September 14, 2005

Note Studio

Note Studio is a note management application for Palm OS. Now with a desktop client and conduit for Mac OS X!. (There's a Windows desktop version too, if you're into that sort of thing :-)

I first discovered Note Studio at Palm Gear. It looked intriguing but... the desktop app was Windows-only at the time :-(

I've been keeping an eye on it, however and I have to commend the developers. Yes! Note Studio 3.0 now has a desktop app for Mac OS X (10.3)! With a Palm OS companion app and a conduit!

It's a nice little program on the Palm side. It's not bad on the Mac either. It's not _quite_ Maclike but it's a lot better than, say, X 11 or many Java apps.

Now I can stop using all the myriad little applications I've been keeping notes in on my Palm-based handheld and use just one - Note Studio. It even supports Font Bucket under Palm OS (I'm a font nut)

Try it. Don't let the word "wiki" in the description turn you off!!! (It just refers to the way they create new pages). Note Studio is powerful and easy and fun!

Note Studio ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 14 Sep, 08:03 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday September 12, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_36

Sunday was September 11. Take a moment to reflect. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_36"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_36 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 12 Sep, 21:44 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday September 10, 2005

We Are The Web

Ten years ago, Netscape went public, bringing the WWW to the attention of Wall Street and the masses. The masses took the Web as their own.

Kevin Kelly published an excellent article on the Web phenomenon of the decade in the August issue of Wired magazine. My own comments, on both the Wired article and my own experience, are posted in my "commentary" weblog.

Read my `commentary'.

We Are The Web ( in category WWW , commentary ) - posted at Sat, 10 Sep, 00:11 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 09, 2005

Treasures 2005_36

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.
-- George Washington Carver

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Woodrats scampering on the sunroom roof, running up and down the window screens. One woodrat in the screen again. He didn't mind the flashlight and he was oh so cute with big ears.

  • Roast pork sandwiches with tomato and red onion

  • Garlic

  • Another four-day work week.

  • Tree squirrels noshing at the feeder.

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_36"

Treasures 2005_36 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 09 Sep, 22:18 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday September 08, 2005

Two By Kasey Michaels

There are many books on the shelves. Many writers create plots and fictional characters to enact those plots.

There are fewer true Stories. In the hands of the best Authors, you have a sense of being in a another, very real, world. The characters come alive; you feel that you know them. The dialog sparkles. These events happened. You hate to see the end.

Kasey Michaels is such an author.

We have recently finished two of Kasey's latest Regency-period romances. If you enjoy historical fiction, romantic comedy, warm and wonderful characters, snappy dialog, and lots of laughter, try these. (Warning: Each book contains two or three pages of "obligatory soft-core" descriptive passages, not suitable for minors. Feel free to skip these if they're not your cup of tea.) ...
       Continue reading "Two By Kasey Michaels"

Two By Kasey Michaels ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 08 Sep, 22:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday September 07, 2005

Up and Running with Tiger

My new PowerMac G5 arrived yesterday afternoon. Hoorah! And yes, I managed to wait until I was done with my work day to start on the Grand Migration (although Rich opened the box and unpack the G5 onto a convenient table.)

First, I had to back up all of the files on my G3 for copying to the G5. The new hardware includes a different I/O interface; I can't just plug in the old disk drives. The good news is I get a nice new 400 GB drive. The bad news is that the backup and restore literally took hours.

Then Rich helped me swap hardware, putting the G5 on my desk (where it fits with a little room to spare and opens on the right side, thank goodness!). We dealt with cabling (power, displays, USB, Firewire, and network). We dealt with troubleshooting and ultimately replacing the one screen that didn't light up. Then I booted 'er up, started copying in all of my files, and headed off to bed. ...
       Continue reading "Up and Running with Tiger"

Up and Running with Tiger ( in category Random Thoughts , SciTech ) - posted at Wed, 07 Sep, 22:38 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday September 06, 2005

Airtight

We have become converts to the Power of Saran™ Wrap.

Back in January, we went to a talk by Harold McGee, entitled "Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen". McGee tests "well-known" kitchen lore, separating fact from wiverglava (old wives' tales). One of the myths he debunked was the one that states that putting the pit into the guacamole will keep it green. (It's true, actually, but only under the pit. The reason is that avocado turns brown on contact with oxygen in the air.)

McGee's tests not only showed the real reason that the pit keeps the avocado green (so did a light bulb. ;-) His experiments also showed that Saran™ Wrap has the lowest oxygen permeation of all the various plastic wraps.

We've been using Saran™ Wrap when we store cut fruit in the fridge. It really does work to keep the fruit from browning quickly. Be sure to stretch it tight and taut; Saran™ Wrap isn't very "sticky".

For ordinary wrapping and covering, however, we still use the giant economy sized box of generic Plastic Food Wrap from Smart & Final. 1000 feet of plastic wrap is at least a 5-year supply!

Airtight ( in category Food & Drink , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 06 Sep, 20:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday September 05, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_35

The weather was, for the most part, quite nice last week. It was even warm for one or two days.


I hadn't planned to go anywhere near the Company's new building until things calmed down a bit from the move but I had a meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon. Things were still crazy; no one knew where to find anything. Some of the walls had "wet paint" signs on them. Some of the conference room doorways hadn't been framed in yet. Things were improving by the end of the week. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_35"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_35 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 05 Sep, 08:25 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday September 04, 2005

Happy Birthday to my Sister

My sister is celebrating her 35th birthday today. That's not her age; it's a birthday she enjoys celebrating. Neither of us is quite certain how many 35th birthdays she's celebrated (although if we did the math we could come up with an answer :-)

Please join me in wishing my sister a Happy Day.

Happy Birthday to my Sister ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 04 Sep, 10:00 Pacific | Comments (1)

Saturday September 03, 2005

Treasures 2005_35

Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted -- a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.
-- Rabbi Harold Kushner

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Late afternoon sunlight illuminating buildings by the Bay as the fog comes in over the water.

  • A warm day with a stunning clear view over the Bay. I could actually make out some of the larger buildings on the Oakland side. It was simply a gorgeous, crystalline scene.

  • Appreciating my computer all the more, now that it's working reliably again!

  • Good authors and good books, Think what the world would have been like without the printing press, the increase in literacy, and more recently, the paperback book. Read a Book Today!

  • Sleeping kitties - upside down tummy up; swirled in kitty cups; sogged on the cabinet; curled on the bed...

  • Mezzaluna sleeping by my arm. As I type, I reach over and rub her head.

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_35"

Treasures 2005_35 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 03 Sep, 11:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 02, 2005

I Feel So Protected

My new G5 is in Limbo. :-(

I placed the order last Friday morning (August 26). Supposedly, "orders are processed within 2 to 4 business days". Okaaaay. Seems a little long. But.

Except. Except that apparently they don't put the credit card through until they've "processed" the order. And when they did that, a flag went up at The Bank. This is a "large" purchase. It must be verified! Okaaaay. It's not unusual for our buying habits but,,,

Except. Except that when they feel the need to verify they don't hold a transaction, they cancel it. So The Bank got in touch with us, we got in touch with the Bank, we verified and authorized the purchase. Now we get to call Apple.

So, we called Apple. Entered the order number on the phone (oops, that timed out). Spoke to a customer service rep. Gave that person the order number. Got transferred. Gave that person the order number. Got transferred. Entered the order number on the phone (oops, that timed out). Spoke to another customer service rep. Told that person we were really tired of being transferred (and gave her the order number).

The machine is somewhere in California, "in process". It will now ship out sometime between today and next Tuesday. We hope. The good news is that Apple has offered to expedite shipping. The bad news is that "expedited shipping" could still, possibly, not get here until a week from today.

As Rich says, "Aren't you glad you reverted?"

I Feel So Protected ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 02 Sep, 09:20 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday August 31, 2005

Tiger Yes, G3 No

I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) last week. That was the easy part. Then the problems started.

My cursor was freezing several times a day. Unplugging and replugging the USB cable would get it moving again but... that's just not right. Once, my keyboard stopped sending signals (although the mouse was working that time).

Then there were the crashes. Oy!

I think the crashes may have been brought on by the too-frequent resetting of the USB and mouse but... at least twice a day, sometimes three or four times, always at the worst possible time. Crash. (Actually, Mac OS X is usually very polite. "We're sorry. You need to restart your computer.")

System 6 wasn't this bad. Even Windows isn't this bad!

What could have gone wrong? ...
       Continue reading "Tiger Yes, G3 No"

Tiger Yes, G3 No ( in category SciTech , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 31 Aug, 20:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday August 30, 2005

More "Back to School" Thoughts

I watched a boy walking to school today. He was pulling what I swear was a wheeled suitcase. Another boy trudged along the sidewalk wearing a backpack one third his own size. Neither child is unusual.

When I was in school we had desks. We had lockers. Did you?

Last fall I volunteered for Junior Achievement in a local 2nd grade classroom. The kids had tables and coat pegs. They may have had a little cupboard. I guess they carry all of their books and supplies back and forth every day.

I've read that people are developing back problems at a younger age. Watching the boy with the backpack, I don't doubt it. The wheeled suitcase seems bizarre but at least that boy wasn't carrying everything on his back. Still, I have to wonder... what's in that backpack?

Myself, I'm happy to have had a locker and a desk I could put books into at the end of the school day.

More "Back to School" Thoughts ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 30 Aug, 22:04 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday August 29, 2005

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school in our local school district. From now through May, children will walk past our house on their way to school in the mornings. There will be more traffic in the mornings and afternoons near the schools. Kids will be out at recess. "Caution - Children Present" signs will flash.

Where I grew up, school always started on the Tuesday after Labor Day. This was of particular interest to my sister, whose birthday is early in September. Sometimes her birthday would fall during the end of summer vacation. Sometimes it would fall during the school year. And occasionally (blech!) it would fall on the first day of school.

We grew up in central PA where there is a real autumn. September can be very pretty there. We generally walked to school (during the elementary years) as well as home from (all the way through high school) until mid-winter weather made that difficult.

I remember new school books and fresh notebooks. I recall the fat, blunt, number 1 pencils of 1st through 3rd grade (and the cheap rag paper tablets that went with them). I recall how happy I was when I reached a grade where I could have "real" (i.e. sharp) yellow #2 pencils and white paper to write on!

In junior high and high school, we made book covers out of brown grocery bag paper and my Dad decorated them with images appropriate to the book inside. One science book cover especially sticks in my memory, decorated with flasks, retorts, bunsen burners, and colorful liquids.

Has school started yet where you live? What memories does it bring back for you?

First Day of School ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 29 Aug, 08:07 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday August 28, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_34

The weather was fair. Sunny even! Gosh.


We had good net connectivity all day Monday and all week. Yes!

I got a huge email letter from my Mom. I guess because she was too busy to write all summer she had a lot to say!


We had dinner at our favorite pizzeria on Tuesday. The kitchen goofed and put mushrooms on the entire pizza (we ask for mushroom free on one half) so the waiter had them make another small pizza without mushrooms. We had a Lot of pizza! We gave a third of the leftovers to a friend of ours. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_34"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_34 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 28 Aug, 22:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday August 27, 2005

Scientific American Mind

We have begun a subscription to a new quarterly magazine, Scientific American Mind. The first issue arrived last week and I read it cover to cover. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in how the mind works.

Some of the feature articles in the first issue include:

  • Natural-Born Liars — Why do we lie, and why are we so good at it? Because it works

  • Sweet Dreams Are Made of This — What are dreams? Why do we have them? The answers are as intriguing as dreams themselves

  • True Crimes, False Confessions — How innocent people end up confessing to crimes they did not commit

  • The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis — Though often denigrated as fakery, hypnosis is a real phenomenon with therapeutic uses

  • Signing Gets a Scientific Voice — Sign language is as rich and complex as spoken communication, probably because the brain creates and deciphers it in the same way

  • Buy This — Companies spend billions on marketing campaigns, but neuroscientists could someday determine which ads best capture consumers' attention

Interesting reading.

Scientific American Mind ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 27 Aug, 18:54 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday August 26, 2005

Treasures 2005_34

The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.
-- Johannes Kepler

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Having the network back after a weekend of problems!

  • Snuggling in for a nap with Raven, rubbing his tummy...

  • Fog drifting over the Bay

  • A big yellow moon, slightly lopsided

  • New quotes for my collection

  • Scottish accents :-)

  • Peaches, at the peak of perfection!

  • A pigeon and a grey squirrel at the feeder - pigeon outside the barrier, flapping; squirrel inside the barrier, munching. "Nyah nyah!"

  • Learning cool new tricks with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Treasures 2005_34 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 26 Aug, 23:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday August 22, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005__33

The weather was foggy a lot. Weird summer we're having.


On Monday, there was an adorable toddler puppy in the bank when I went in to make some deposits. His human had brought him in - too young to stay out front! I think this puppy might grow up to be a Golden retriever but right now he's just a puppy.


Another bank (from which I have a line of credit) has changed their statement system. To make it work better for them (emphasis on "them") they added 6 digits to the front of my account number. It now looks like a credit card number.

Unfortunately, it looks so much like a MasterCard number that their statement calculating program treated it like a MasterCard - including different rates for purchases vs cash advances and higher rates over all. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005__33"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005__33 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 22 Aug, 08:14 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday August 19, 2005

Treasures 2005_33

The weather has varied from fog to clear and back but never too hot. August is very pleasant here.


We got the newest Jasper Fforde book (The Big Over Easy) this week. Unfortunately, the book was incomplete. A signature is missing; it goes from p. 52 to p. 83. Oh dear. I contacted the store. and they'll send another. Meanwhile, we can't read it.


I think I've finally convinced Rich to try Circus Ponies NoteBook, one of my "must have" applications. If you use Mac OS X and you haven't tried NoteBook... what are you waiting for? ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_32"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_32 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 15 Aug, 17:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday August 13, 2005

Treasures 2005_32

Eek! It's August.

The weather has been nice during the afternoon, but very foggy in the mornings and evenings. Oh well, at least it's not hot. (I grew up in central PA where August was hot and muggy).


We had a small medical emergency this week. I was out for a meeting on Wednesday and, when I got home at lunch, Rich was on the phone with his brother-in-law Bill, an RN. Rich had gouged his finger on a piece of yard equipment working in the Back 40 and was wondering if maybe it should be looked at. Bill said that wouldn't be a bad idea, so... ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_31"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_31 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 08 Aug, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday August 05, 2005

Treasures 2005_31

The weather was quite nice for most of the week


Well, July is over and thus summer is more than half over. Drat. Well, we still have August and part of September.


We've had our Scion xB for a full year now (and I still think it's a great car!). Have you test-driven one yet? Try it. You might like it as much as we did. :-)


A friend of ours was (temporarily) storing his (large, decrepit, 40-some-year-old) Dodge wagon in our driveway. He finally came and drove it away; it was here for just under 3 weeks. :-(

Yes! We have our driveway back! ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_30"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_30 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 01 Aug, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 29, 2005

Treasures 2005_30

The weather has been quite warm this past week, even to say Hot on Saturday!. Ugh. I had to open lots of windows and turn on all of the fans.


We ordered a solar-powered (water recycling) birdbath. The good news is that we can put it anywhere in the yard with no cords or cables to worry about. The bad news is it's kind of flimsy. Sigh. At least it wasn't particularly expensive.


Do you have a cell phone? (Doesn't everybody?). Do you have your name and land-line phone number on that cell phone? If not, stop reading and go make a label to attach to your phone! While you're at it, make labels for your handheld computer, your laptop, and any other gadget you might possibly lose and want to get back!

On Tuesday night, on our way to diner, Rich found a cell phone in the parking lot. Uh oh. The phone wasn't locked so I used it to call 611 and report it lost (and found). I gave Cingular my cell phone number and we went on to the restaurant. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_29"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_29 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 24 Jul, 23:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 22, 2005

Treasures 2005_29

The weather has been quite nice, with some fog in the evenings. On Saturday, for our day trip up to the North Bay, it was delightfully sunny and quite warm at our destination!


We ordered our Scion xB one year ago Monday. I don't think I've had a moment's regret in all that time (even when we were shouting at the people at the dealership :-)

I like this blurb from the Scion web site:

Let's be real - you're either an xB person, or you're not. There's nothing else quite like it on the road and we take pride in knowing that. ... If it's a spacious drive you seek, then all you have to do is step inside. The xB has got enough room for you to empty all your thoughts into it on that long drive home.
I'm an xB person.


I've been wanting for ages to order a t-shirt with a theobromine molecule on it. Theobromine is the active ingredient in chocolate. It's very similar to caffeine. Theobromine is both a mild stimulant and an anti-depressant.

On Tuesday, one of my co-workers was wearing a caffeine molecule shirt, which reminded me again. This time, however, I did a web search when I got home and found a site with all sorts of "addictive" choices in "molecule wear". ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_28"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_28 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 18 Jul, 08:30 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday July 17, 2005

Actually, the Leopards were hiding...

Yesterday was the day of the Leopards Etc. Open House. The Open House is a fund-raising event where a small number (in this case, 64 max.) of guests pay to visit the Leopards Etc compound, eat lunch, and see the cats in their home environment. It's tax dedutable, for a very worth cause, and a wonderful way to spend a day! (Write-ups of Leopards Etc. educational programs we've attended: here, here, and here.)

The minivan drove us up into the hills to the compound. It's a pretty drive. We arrived, got our name tags (great idea) and some water, used the restroom, and then wandered off to look at the cats.

This was an adult-only event and, while there were volunteers watching carefully and available for questions, there was no "guided tour". We just walked around and admired the Big Kitties. (And, being kitties, they appreciated being admired.)

Most of them the cats out, although we were told that the clouded leopard was in her crate in the garage (she doesn't like strangers) and the other leopards were hiding in their boxes in their enclosures.

Purrrr, Hath!, Grwwwwwwwwwll, rubrubrub

I saw Kamau, the male cheetah, under the tree in the "cheetah play yard" and walked down to say hello (quietly). He stalked me a bit. I heard Barbara up at the nametag table say "Oh, someone must be down on the road. Kamau is stalking".

We reached an agreement. He lay down in the shade again, flopped on his side and purred madly while he kept an eye on me and I talked very softly.

After a bit I went to see other cats. Many of them were awake but hot. Kgosi, the king cheetah, was lying in his enclosure, also purring and looking fairly calm. Apparently cheetahs like to show their tummies and have people admire them.

I walked over where the Caracal, Mara, was. She was in her box, but came out. She likes to talk (hath). She's lovely. Such ears!

The ocelot is next door to the Caracal and was trotting back and forth growling at everyone. Such a BIG growl for such a little cat. Such lovely fur. Such ripples. Wow!

The serval has a wading pool in his enclosure. The volunteers were tossing bits of meat into the pool and the serval traps them under water and kills" them. Apparently sometimes he gets real "feeder fish".

I walked down to meet the lynxes. Another guest was sitting on the gravel by Oksana's cage (a female Siberian lynx) and Oksana had taken a real liking to her. The woman was talking softly and moving her head in a rubbing motion. Oksana was rubbing her head on the wire of the enclosure. Then she lay down and stuck her huge paws out through the gap under the lower board. Such biiiig paws. We knew we couldn't touch but ooooh how tempting. One of Oksana's toes is the size of Squirrels entire paw (and Squirrel has big paws). ...
       Continue reading "Actually, the Leopards were hiding..."

Actually, the Leopards were hiding... - posted at Sun, 17 Jul, 09:07 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday July 16, 2005

Day Trippin'

We took a long day trip today (nearly 11 hours all told) to drive up to the North Bay for the Leopards, Etc fund-raiser and Open House.

We were up by 8 and left the house a bit before 9. We headed up 19th Ave and bought toasted bagels with cream cheese & lox (and tomatoes and onions at House of Bagels on Geary. Then we drove up to Fort Point and ate at the view area. No view (too much fog). Tasty though (even though I forgot to bring either paper towels or water!).

Then over the bridge in the fog and through the tunnel. Sausalito was clear (I think Marin County has demons up on the mountain with fans and brooms keeping the fog out! It's amazing to go through the tunnel from socked in grey cotton to blue sky and sun.

We drove up to Petaluma and stopped at Orchard Supply Hardware briefly, then turned on 166, then onto Stony Point Rd. and headed up to Occidental. I drove us up to Petaluma; Rich drove from Petaluma into into Occidental (and I looked at the countryside).

It was a lovely day for a car trip trip. We saw lots of cows in assorted colors, vultures, and rolling hills (golden in July). We past some horses in a pasture and there was quite a little colt with his mama. We also passed one field of cos where there was a baby calf lying in the shade near the fence with his mama (I wanted to go back and pet ;-)

We got to Occidental by 11:30. (We'd been told shuttles would arrive to pick us up starting at 11:50). In the meantime, we walked around a bit and went into a store where I bought some cute Gund stuffies. Then we wandered over to the Union Motel (closed) where we were supposed to congregate.

We congregated. We talked. We found a spot with some wind (it was a very warm day). We found some shade. The shuttles were late. Eventually an SUV appeared along with a woman to "check us in". The SUV took three people up to the compound. A mini van came, then a second. People went. We weren't fast enough.

Rich and I went and sat in the shade again. Eventually a minivan came back and we piled in and it drove up into the hills to the compound.

[... to Be Continued ...]

Day Trippin' ( in category Nature/Cats , Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 16 Jul, 22:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday July 15, 2005

Treasures 2005_28

This week started off with a bang (several bangs in fact). We get a lot of neighborhood fireworks on the 4th and we can see them very well from our living room windows. I don't know how many were the most expensive "Safe and Sane" variety and how many came up from Mexico, Guatemala, or the Philippines, but it was a good show. There were lots of colored sparkles in the air as well as lots of booms and ratatattats.

The kitties were not happy. Bebop hunkered down in the guest room. Everyone tried to pretend to be blase'.

I read until 11. The fireworks must have gone on until after midnight; I could hear them long after I turned out the lights. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_27"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_27 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 11 Jul, 20:39 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 08, 2005

Treasures 2005_27

The weather started out grey and foggy early in the week but it's been pretty and blue for the past few days.


Rich was out of town last weekend. The cats and I snuggled and I read.


I decided to install Visio (under Virtual PC) for The Job. Unfortunately, I don't run Windows much or often (I think it's been two years) and hadn't updated in a long time. Visio insisted it needed the latest Service Pack before I could install. So... It took most of the weekend to get to where I could install Visio. Somewhere in the midst of the updating of Windows, Service Packs, and security patches, something went wrong and it wouldn't boot. I had to start over from scratch. Yuck! The second time I made a lot of intermediate backups just in case (the second time was successful).

I think there were some 70 service packs and security patches in all. Ugh!


Rich bought me a t-shrt at the Apple store. The front says, in small letters:

Air. Water. UNIX.
...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_26"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_26 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 03 Jul, 23:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 01, 2005

Treasures 2005_26

The weather has varied from blue to grey and back again, but no rain this week.


Did you see the gorgeous full moon on the 21st? That was also the summer solstice. We had some fog that night but the moon kept peeking through.

NASA posted an article on the "summer moon illusion". That's when the rising moon looks like an enormous sugar cookie. They say "this week's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any full moon since June 1987, so the Moon Illusion is going to be extra strong.". Unfortunately, we missed seeing the moon rise this week, but we do see it often. I love the huge moon effect.

Apparently, there are many possible explanations for why the moon looks so big, but as they say at NASA, it really doesn't matter which explanation is correct. The rising moon can be huge and beautiful. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_25"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_25 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 25 Jun, 13:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday June 24, 2005

Uphill or Down?

According to a study done by the Vorarlberg Institute for Vascular Investigation and Treatment (Austria), there's a difference in the effect of uphill vs downhill exercise.

Hiking on a mountainside gives the heart a health-promoting challenge, but the nature of the benefit depends on whether one is climbing or descending. A study conducted on an Alpine mountainside suggests that going up improves the body's processing certain fats, while going down enhances metabolism of a key sugar.
...
Both up and down hiking softened the spike of blood cholesterol that typically follows fat consumption, the team found. But only uphill exercise improved metabolism of fats called triglycerides, and only downhill exercise significantly increased glucose processing, Drexel says.

[ Up and down make different workouts", Science News (Week of Dec. 11, 2004; Vol. 166, No. 24) ]

Interesting...

Uphill or Down? ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 24 Jun, 17:31 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday June 20, 2005

Treasures 2005_24

Every scene, even the commonest, is wonderful, if only one can detach oneself, casting off all memory of use and custom and behold it, as it were, for the first time.
-- Arnold Bennett

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Upside down kitties near me as I work. Everything is better when I have kitties nearby.

  • Sharing a dark-chocolate-dipped macaroon with Rich

  • Another post-season rainy day. Taking a nap after work. Lying in bed, rubbing Mezzaluna's ears, and listening to the rain on the screen porch roof.

  • Listening to a hooty owl somewhere outside as I lay in bed one night.

  • Squirrel commandeering my pillow at nap time (and looking most pleased with himself)

  • Playing the "monster in the cave" game with Raven (ohboyohboyohboyohboy)

  • Bright orange wildflowers in a vacant lot a few blocks from our house

  • My new cursor set.

  • The new "South Beach" chocolate flavor cereal bars (yummm)

  • A relaxing weekend

  • Good books to read.

  • Sitting with Rich in the living room in the evening, each of us with a book, surrounded by blobs of sleeping fur.

Treasures 2005_24 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 20 Jun, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday June 19, 2005

Sugar Shock

Soft drinks have overtaken white bread as the main source of calories in the U.S. diet...

[Soft Drinks as Top Calorie Culprit, ScienceNews Week of June 18, 2005; Vol. 167, No. 25

Ugh.

Odilia Bermudez, from Tufts University, studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2000, for nearly 1000 adults. She discovered that two-thirds of the people in the survey drink more than twenty ounces of sweetened beverages (sodas and fruit drinks containing less than 10 percent fruit juice) a day, on average. That's a lot of liquid sugar. ...
       Continue reading "Sugar Shock"

Sugar Shock ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sun, 19 Jun, 08:37 Pacific | Comments (3)

Saturday June 18, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_24

The weather has been variable this week, from blue and pretty early in the week to another late-season rain storm on Thursday.


I've started using Mighty Mouse, a cursor customization program from Unsanity software. I like my new cursors.

Cursorset

I am using a combination of cursors from three sets:

  • most of a set called "large arrow" (except that I'm not using the large arrow :-)
  • a blue "wait" cursor that came with the app, in the sample cursors folder
  • a "dragon" pointer from the Skreibe Two set (I really like this one)
What do you think? ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_24"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_24 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 18 Jun, 07:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday June 17, 2005

Blogger Meet-up (and I missed it!)

Is the "traditional media" doing anything like this where you are?

The personal media revolution came to the KRON 4 studios Saturday [June 11] when more than 100 members of the Bay Area blogger community accepted [an] invitation for a meet-up.

[ Bay Area Blogger Meet-up ]

KRON 4 ("The Bay Area's News Station") is one of our local television stations and a big player in the "traditional" media channels. I find it intriguing that a television station is interested in connecting with weblogging; I would have expected a newspaper to do something like this.

KRON 4 recognizes the importance of the blogosphere in connecting with our local communities. If you don't have a web log or "blog" yourself, chances are one of your friends or neighbors does. Bloggers take the time to post their thoughts on virtually any subject imaginable. Their efforts are already changing the media landscape.
...
In the coming days and weeks, KRON4.com will be launching two major new initiatives designed to support the Bay Area Blogosphere. We will be posting and maintaining a comprehensive list of Bay Area blogs. Also we will be launching a new aggregator that will allow you to come to one place to see the latests posts from local bloggers.

Kinda cool...

I missed the meet-up (I vaguely recall seeing and discarding the evite) but I got the second notice, sent both as email and posted on the KRON-4 website. (Hmmm. They found my weblog :-)

They're asking for feedback. I'll have to think about what I want to say.

Blogger Meet-up (and I missed it!) ( in category News & Information , WWW ) - posted at Fri, 17 Jun, 08:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday June 16, 2005

Yellow Arrow - More Urban High Tech / Low Tech

Yellow Arrow calls itself "the global public art project of local experiences", its purpose being "to leave and discover messages pointing out what counts." In simple terms, Yellow Arrow encourages people to attach (with proper permission) yellow, arrow-shaped stickies to physical places - walls, buildings, park benches... even people (there are "yellow arrow t-shirts"). Each arrow has a unique code number.

Participants place arrows to draw attention to different locations and objects - a favorite view of the city, an odd fire hydrant, the local bar. By sending a text-message (SMS) from a mobile phone to the Yellow Arrow number beginning with the arrow's unique code, Yellow Arrow authors essentially save a thought on the spot where they place their sticker. Messages range from short poetic fragments to personal stories to game-like prompts to action. When another person encounters the Yellow Arrow, he or she sends its code to the Yellow Arrow number and immediately receives the message of that arrow on their mobile phone. The website YellowArrow.net extends this location-based exchange, by allowing participants to annotate their arrows with photos and maps in the online gallery of Yellow Arrows placed throughout the world. For specific instructions click here.

[yellowarrow.net/about.php]

You may see yellow arrows popping up soon in your area. Over 15,000 arrows are currently in circulation — in almost every US state, most Western European countries, and cities large and small around the globe. 300,000 sticky arrows are being bound into copies of a Lonely Planet guide, called "Experimental Travel."

If you want to play, uniquely coded Yellow Arrow™ stickers can be ordered online, at $.50/sticker plus shipping, handling, and NY sales tax if applicable. You can even buy a personalized Yellow Arrow tshirt.

The code is the brand. You own the message. Update it every day you wear it. Yellow Arrow is not just places, it's people.

It's weird. I like it.

Yellow Arrow - More Urban High Tech / Low Tech - posted at Thu, 16 Jun, 07:42 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday June 15, 2005

Grafedia - Grafitti meets the WWW

It's certainly nothing I would have thought of. Words written in blue, underlined, painted on a wall. Use your cell phone or computer to send email or a text message to that blue word "@grafedia.net" and get back an image or sound file by return mail.

It's hyperlinking in the physical world. It's weird. It's strange. It's also a really cool concept.

Grafedia is hyperlinked text, written by hand onto physical surfaces and linking to rich media content - images, video, sound files, and so forth. It can be written anywhere - on walls, in the streets, or on sidewalks. Grafedia can also be written in letters or postcards, on the body as tattoos, or anywhere you feel like putting it. Viewers "click" on these grafedia hyperlinks with their cell phones by sending a message addressed to the word + "@grafedia.net" to get the content behind the link.

Grafedia was created by John Geraci at the Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU. It was recently written up by CNN. I wonder if there's any in San Francisco yet...

Grafedia - Grafitti meets the WWW ( in category News & Information , WWW ) - posted at Wed, 15 Jun, 16:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday June 13, 2005

Treasures 2005_23

Stop and listen to the heart, the wind outside, to one another, to the changing patterns of this mysterious life. It comes moment after moment, out of nothing, and disappears into nothing. Live with less grasping and more appreciation and caring.
-- Jack Kornfield

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Rain. Actually a very nice day (other than that I had to work and couldn't lay around with the cats :-)

  • Wrestling with Raven; Snuggling with Squirrel; "Messing with" Mezzaluna; Being with Bebop.

  • Our newly illuminated staircase and alcove (rope light)

  • A gold PT Cruiser. Wow!

  • The woman and boy behind us in line at Pet Club were buying a small shark for their 100 gallon aquarium. The shark had whiskers and huge eyes and was about 10 inches long.

  • A candyapple green jaguar. Nice paint job.

  • A lovely old car from the 20's (?). It's such fun to see the well-cared for older cars on the road.

  • Rich and I both thinking of the same place for dinner (that solves that problem :)

  • My Kyocera 7135 Palm OS-based handheld which I am using more and really like!

  • Making Raven into the bed; watching Mezzaluna pounce the "lump", then stare at it.

Treasures 2005_23 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 13 Jun, 17:03 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday June 11, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_23

It was an interesting week, weather-wise. There were several nice, almost warm days, followed by one full day of unexpected rain, then two days of thick fog.


On Sunday night, we drove into the City and had dinner with Rich's co-author on a Mac OS X book (still in progress). Said co-author was in town for Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC).

After dinner we wandered over to Moscone West and Rich registered for the conference.


Rich spent the week attending WWDC. He got back after 9 each night, so I was on my own for dinner. Then he'd tell me what sessions he attended, what he heard and what was interesting.


I worked. Things were pretty much as usual up until Friday morning when we had a meeting to learn about the new organizational structure in Engineering. So I have a new reporting manager now. I don't expect that to greatly affect anything I do.


This week I read Forgotten Truth, by Dawn Cook (if you enjoy Fantasy and time travel, this one is a delight). I also read Shop Till You Drop, by Elaine Viets. This was an entertaining murder mystery, well written. (I recommend it.)

In between and around the rest, I've had almost enough naps and plenty of snuggles with the cats. There have been good meals and interesting conversations with Spouse and friends. I've had a few chats with my Dad and exchanged email with my Mom.

Onward and Upward.

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_23 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 11 Jun, 09:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday June 09, 2005

Getting Things Done

I've been recommending Getting Things Done—The Art of Stress-Free Productivity to friends, co-workers, and techie mailing lists [see my review].


June 16, 2005

Q & A

I also posted a followup discussion with are some of the conversations my recommendation engendered.
Getting Things Done ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 09 Jun, 18:51 Pacific

Wednesday June 08, 2005

NASA Naps

NASA is studying one of my favorite activities ;-)

Although many astronauts report feeling fully rested after only six hours of sleep, the fact is, sleeplessness can cause irritability, forgetfulness and fatigue--none of which astronauts need to deal with while piloting complicated 'ships that hurtle through space at tens of thousands of miles per hour.

The solution seems simple: Take a nap.

[Science at Nasa, June 3, 2005]

Ah. My favorite solution to many problems :-) ...
       Continue reading "NASA Naps"

NASA Naps - posted at Wed, 08 Jun, 21:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday June 06, 2005

Treasures 2005_22

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.
-- G. K Chesterton

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A three-day Holiday weekend (no work on Monday).

  • Four cats raptly watching a sparrow through the glass roof of our sunroom (the sparrow was on the roof, pecking for fallen seed).

  • A hummingbird hovering over the parking lot when I drove to the Job.

  • A pretty orange and black butterfly. The underside was mostly grey-brown with two "eyespots" and a pinkish orange splotch. I think it was a Painted Lady.

  • Grey squirrels at the feeder; a grey squirrel crossing the "tightrope" (the phone line) over the back yard. I'm still so thrilled we finally have squirrels! in our yard. (Why don't some people want squirrels at the feeder? I love having squirrels at the feeder - and the birds don't seem to mind.)

  • A nifty graduation balloon seen in a local store - it's the head of a bear with a grad. cap. The "eyes" on the balloon are transparent and the "real" eyes are on paper disks that hang inside and spin on threads. You can look at it from either side. Most neat.

  • Blackbirds sitting on the top of a hedge as if it were nothing more than a green carpet.

Treasures 2005_22 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 06 Jun, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday June 04, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_22

The weather has been particularly nice this week - warmish and sunny during the day, not too hot, some wind at night.


Rich has been working on a software project; he's gotten it to the stage where he can ask other people to try it and give him feedback.


The fluorescent lamp we had lighting the base of the stairwell conked out, so we decided to replace it with rope light. We'll also replace the lamp we had illuminating the upper flight (that quit several months back). The good news is that we had one 12-foot stretch of rope light already. The bad news is that we need two — and the buyers for the hardware stores have gotten the idea into their narrow little minds that rope light is a "seasonal" (i.e. Christmas) item. (I was so pleased when people started using it for more things, such as Christmas lighting. Little did I suspect the flaw in that usage pattern.)

Anyhoo, we finally found an 18-foot "outdoor patio lighting" strand tonight. It's too long (but it wasn't expensive). It's also not quite what we had in mind (it's exterior duty cord; Rich wanted zip cord) but he can make do.


Otherwise, this has been a quiet week. Work, dinner, naps... repeat the next day. The Monday holiday was wonderfully relaxing. Somehow, 3-day weekends are so much more relaxing than normal weekends.


This week I finished Mad Maudlin, by Rosemary Edghill (with Mercedes Lackey), the latest in the"Bedlam's Bard" series. I've also been playing with Palm software.

In between and around the rest, I've had almost enough naps and plenty of snuggles with the cats. There have been good meals and interesting conversations with Spouse and friends. I've had a few chats with my Dad and my friend Bari and exchanged email with my Mom. My sister is on vacation in Hawaii this week.

Onward and Upward.

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_22 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 04 Jun, 09:14 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday June 03, 2005

Riding in the Back of the Bus

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, "drove six [school] buses of various ages on a total of 16 runs along actual routes in and around Los Angeles. On about half the runs, the bus windows were open." During the runs, scientists used a nonreactive tracer gas, fed through the exhaust systems, to measure the amount of exhaust particles that would reach passengers and be inhaled.

On average, they learned that the rear of each bus' interior is one-third more polluted than the front. Older buses and buses driven with the windows closed showed more onboard air pollution than other buses.

For example, with the windows open, a 30-year-old bus in the study generated twice as much onboard pollution as a 10-year-old bus did. Closing the windows slightly increased passengers' pollution exposure on a 3-year-old bus but tripled it on the 30-year-old one.

[Science News, May 21, 2005, vol 167, no. 21]

Ugh. (And recall the study was done in LA, where opening the windows is not necessarily a wise thing to do!

Riding in the Back of the Bus ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Fri, 03 Jun, 07:37 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday June 02, 2005

Anti-ghrelin?

A few months ago I read an article about three obese sisters who had gastric bypass surgery (March 2005, Prevention magazine). One of the interesting points of the article was that people who have this surgery aren't ravenously hungry, even though they are physically able to eat very little.

The reason is due to a hormone called ghrelin, produced by the cells lining the stomach. Ghrelin (named from a Hindu word for "growth") triggers feelings of hunger. When the useable part of the stomach is reduced by gastric bypass surgery, less ghrelin is produced.

I thought - could this be a non-surgical way to counter obesity? Could we find a way to reduce the production of ghrelin? ...
       Continue reading "Anti-ghrelin?"

Anti-ghrelin? ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Thu, 02 Jun, 22:31 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday June 01, 2005

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - Not!

Ever since I was ten or eleven years old, I've suffered mouth ulcers, aka canker sores. I've seen these referred to as "pesky" sores — obviously that description was written by someone who never had one. They aren't pesky. They are acutely, aspirin-swallowing, can't-eat, multi-day painful.

I don't get them so much any more.

in 1997, I discovered Biotène Dry Mouth toothpaste. Not only is it mild (not overly pepperminty), but it does a good job at preventing morning "sweat sock mouth". The best thing, though, is that switching toothpastes has greatly reduced the incidence of mouth ulcers for me.

The reason? Biotène does not contain Sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) has been linked to canker sore outbreaks. Remove the SLS and canker sore recurrence goes way down.

There are now several toothpastes on the market that don't contain SLS. (If you like the really minty ones, try Rembrandt ;-)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - Not! ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 01 Jun, 20:54 Pacific | Comments (1)

Monday May 30, 2005

Treasures 2005_21

Perception … is a constant communion between ourselves and the living world that encompasses us.
-- David Abram

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Purple bougainvillea, red bougainvillea, roses, impatiens, wild flowers by the freeway...

  • A fairly relaxed work week, all things considered

  • Two delightfully weird, highly creative, web movies, sent my way; I love the Net.
    • StoreWars: in which a small band of organic vegetables — Cuke Skywalker, Ham Solo, Chewbroccoli and wise old Obi Wan Cannoli — battle against Darth Tater, evil lord of the Dark Side of The Farm.
    • Icon Story: what do PCs do when you're not watching?

  • Falling asleep with kitties.

  • Waking up with kitties.

  • Watching kitties washing :)

  • Meeting a small boy coming out of the drugstore with his Grandmother. He looked at me and said "Oh! She's wearing a Grinch shirt!". I turned around and said "Yes" and he took a deep breath and said "My daddy has a Grinch shirt. It's pajamas."

  • Another Solar Yellow Scion XB, this one in the hardware store parking lot bearing a San Francisco Dealer tag (so we're guessing someone bought this one!)

  • Dinner with long-time friends (former co-workers) I don't see often. One is back in the Bay Area after 6 years in New Mexico.

Treasures 2005_21 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 30 May, 13:24 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday May 28, 2005

Palm Wireless Keyboard

I bought one of the very first StowAway keyboards (for my Handspring Visor) back in 2000. It was a way-cool idea — a "full-size" keyboard that folded into a compact little package.
Stowaway2 Stowaway1

Stowaway3 Stowaway4

Unfortunately, I never liked the way I had to work to "dock" the Visor and I really never used the keyboard :-(

Two days ago I discovered that the technology has advanced. The StowAway is now IR-enabled. Yeay! No more "docking" difficulties.

There are two models to choose from.

...
       Continue reading "Palm Wireless Keyboard"

Palm Wireless Keyboard - posted at Sat, 28 May, 19:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday May 27, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_21

The weather has been quite lovely this week.


After dinner on Saturday, we investigated the newly reopened parking area at the western edge of Daly City. It's called Thornton Beach Vista; apparently the original road went down to the beach and was undermined in a bad storm in 1982. Thornton Beach itself is a state park. It's been closed off ever since we've lived here.

We knew they had been working on it over the past few months and now it's open with a parking area, solar-powered sidewalk lamps, benches, trash cans, and informational signage. Very nice. Also, the moon was close to full so it made the breakers light up nicely down below.

When we got home, I wrote a nice note to the Daly City Parks Dept., commending them on their nice work, and another to the State Parks people asking them to update the web page for Thornton Beach to mention the vista point. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_21"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_21 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 27 May, 22:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday May 23, 2005

Treasures 2005_20

It's your life that you are living. Don't pick and choose when you'll be there. All of it is yours. No one else suffers more if you waste it than you. Be patient with yourself and make every effort to be fully attentive so that you don't waste any of it.
-- Angel Kyodo Williams

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_20"

Treasures 2005_20 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 23 May, 18:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday May 21, 2005

Freecycle

What do you have sitting on a shelf, under the stairs, or gathering dust in a closet?
What do you have that you never use but that's too good to throw out?
What do you wish you could just give away to someone who wants it?

How do you find the person who wants it?

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is run by a local volunteer moderator (them's good people). Membership is free.
...
The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items. One person's trash can truly be another's treasure!

Rich found a home for an old radio that he picked up a while back, thinking he would refurbish (and never got around to doing much with). Our sunroom is less clutterd and someone has a project to play with. ...
       Continue reading "Freecycle"

Freecycle - posted at Sat, 21 May, 20:43 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday May 20, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_20

The weather was grey and drippy early in the week but finished up clear and warm. Quite nice actually.


We did Dim Sum on Sunday. We had 7 people. I had asked for a table for 6 (there were 5 when we arrived; two showed up later) so we could squeeze 7. A good time was had by all. Dim Sum is good; Dim Sum shared is better.

Dim Sum followed by a nice nap with pussycats is best :-)


The meat department of our favorite grocery store has a daily selection of "ready to cook" choices. We've finally gotten around to trying these and have done so twice so far. Rich bought a rolled pork thing stuffed with sausage (last week) and I picked up a wild-rice-stuffed chicken breast roll this week. They're quite good. Just paint with olive oil or pesto or garlic and pop in the oven. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_20"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_20 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 20 May, 23:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday May 17, 2005

Toyota Announces Plans for Hybrid Camry

It looks like Rich and I will get our wishes granted for a hybrid Camry, although we'll have to hold out for a couple of years.

Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday announced plans to begin producing a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its popular Camry model in late 2006 at its largest North American plant in Georgetown, Ky.

The Japanese automaker said it will have capacity to build about 48,000 of the environmentally friendly vehicles each year. It represents Toyota's first hybrid auto production in North America.
...
Toyota said specific details about the Camry hybrid will be released later...

Toyota will build hybrid Camry in Kentucky, BusinessWeek online, May 17, 2005

Toyota Announces Plans for Hybrid Camry - posted at Tue, 17 May, 18:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday May 16, 2005

Treasures 2005_19ii

Forbetter20050515

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Here are "the rest" of my Treasures for the past week. (I'm changing to a Monday-Sunday collection interval.)

  • An apt and timely comic from Lynn Johnston's "For Better or For Worse" for Sunday May 15; we have followed and enjoyed the lives of the Patterson family for many years. [Click the strip above to see a larger version.]

  • A full day working from my home office!

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_19ii"

Treasures 2005_19ii ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 16 May, 00:02 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday May 14, 2005

Words words words

 
Rhaptopetalaceae     alegar  
  abaft     dikaryon
undersaturation   cunctipotent    
unavouched   foistiness   engulf  
  nipperkin   skuddick    
befumble   clockmutch   earwort
 

I found a new screensaver (for Mac OS X). It shows random words, lines, or paragraphs from text files. By default, it pulls words from /usr/share/dict/web2. They're great words.

The distribution also comes with a few files you might enjoy, including an (editable) set of quotes. Configuration options include the ability to choose random colors and fonts.

Cool!

Words words words - posted at Sat, 14 May, 00:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday May 13, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_19

Still rainy on Monday but clear for the rest of the week. This was good because some people down the street decided to have their roof replaced (old roof removed Tuesday, plywood applied Wednesday, new shingles installed Thursday).


I had my performance review at the Job on Wednesday. It was... quite good actually. I got several 4's (exceeds expectations) and an overall 94%. (Hey! I got an 'A'). I guess they like me. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_19"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_19 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 13 May, 22:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday May 12, 2005

Treasures 2005_19

Gratitude is an act of awareness.
Without awareness, there is no recognition of anything and, therefore, no love of anything.

-- Tae Yun Kim

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Cinnamon bread (yummmmmmm)

  • Lox and bagels with cream cheese, fresh tomatoes, and red onion. It's not low carb but sometimes I can indulge in a treat.

  • Finding ourselves at a traffic light next to another "Black Cherry" (maroon :-) Scion XB.

  • A house with front walk flanked by stunning rosebushes, 6" blooms, in many colors.

  • Some people coming from the "Party Store" with a huge bunch of helium balloons - pink, white, and light blue- then sticking them (balloons outside, strings inside) through the rear window of their pickup truck and driving slowly off, balloons bobbling in the wind.

  • A crescent "Cheshire cat smile" of a moon

  • A beautiful big iris in front of a house down the hill

  • A man walking his two Yorkies (Yorkies are cute)

  • A good Performance Review at The Job!

  • Enough memorable moments with the cats to give them their own Treasures list this week!

  • Raven's Coming Out Day (assigned as his official celebrated birthday)

  • Rich found his wallet! (lost for 24 unhappy hours). It was in the house in a weird place.

  • A nice chat with a woman met at our favorite diner, begun by complimenting her on the handsome Samoyed waiting for her and her family in their car.
Treasures 2005_19 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 12 May, 23:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday May 08, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_18

This has been a wet week. Lots of drizzly days and even some windy lashing rain from the south! We're having a wet spring.


Rich picked up a couple of copies of the Mac OS X 10.3.4 (Tiger) family pack. We've been upgrading machines around the house.

There are some interesting things in Tiger. Spotlight looks cool. Rich has been co-authoring a small developer-oriented e-book on Spotlight. I like the "launch it again" button that appears if an app "unexpectedly quits" and the "More Info..." button in Finder previews.

In doing the upgrades, we were surprised to discover that two of our G3s id not in fact contain DVD drives - one of the perils of buying used equipment. So, after some discussion, Rich went down to CompUSA where he found a dual-layer DVD-Writer for $109 (before a $20 rebate) and a DVD-R (CDRW) for $50. The latter will go into the machine he used for his last contract (and plans to use for the next contract if they ever get the paperwork finished).

Unfortunately, I can't upgrade my desktop system yet because I use that to connect to the Company Intranet from home and Cisco's VPN client is not yet compatible with Tiger. Sigh. One or two of my other must-have apps aren't Tiger compatible yet either. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_18"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_18 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 08 May, 22:16 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday May 05, 2005

Treasures 2005_18

God created memory so that we might have roses in December.
-- Italo Svevo

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A naptime snuggle with Raven (I'll lie on your arm while you rub my tummy)

  • A silver Scion XB, license plate BENTO BX

  • My dear Bebop who hates having to take a pill twice a day for two weeks - but he let's me give them to him anyway because he's a sweet boy.

  • A little Honda hatchback in front of me at a traffic light - the entire back filled with white orchids in pots. There must have been two dozen of them!

  • A couple of late afternoon naps with Squirrel (who said he'd rather have dinner now but all right, I'll snuggle... snooze)

  • Raven says "MingYow"

Treasures 2005_18 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 05 May, 21:30 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday May 01, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_17

It's been a quiet week. The weather was largely clear, even warm for a couple of days. Except, that is, for Thursday when it poured rain from midnight till about 10 am, then drizzled for much of the remainder of the day.


We took a run up to PetClub (for cat litter) on Thursday afternoon. I actually saw some juvenile pigeons in pigeon nests up under the eves. So, the anecdotal evidence that there is no such thing as a young pigeon is overrated. They cheep too :)


Bebop had his followup vetdoctor appointment on Friday - vaccinations and a check on his lip. His lip looks great. We still have a few antibiotic pills to get through. Bebop is being a good sport.


Rich drove down to Southern California for the weekend to visit his Dad and see a StoryTelling festival.

The cats and I had a nice quiet weekend. Lots of reading and long naps.


This week I watched A Series of Unfortunate Events, on DVD. Very true to the books. An excellent movie and Jim Carrey is perfect. Rent it. Read it.

In between and around the rest, I've had lots of naps and plenty of snuggles with the cats. There have been good meals and interesting conversations with Spouse and friends. I've had a few chats with my Dad and exchanged email with my Mom.

Onward and Upward.

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_17 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 01 May, 23:20 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 28, 2005

Nuisance Suit

Good Grief! Has it come to this.

Apple Computer has been slapped with a lawsuit by Tiger Direct Inc. for allegedly infringing its trademark with the new Mac OS X "Tiger'' operating system scheduled for release on Friday.

  -- Apple sued over "Tiger," injunction sought, Thursday, April 28, AppleInsider

Give us a break here, people. Where, pray tell, was Tiger Direct a year ago when Apple first started talking about Mac OS X 10.3.4 (aka "Tiger")?

I truly doubt that Apple's use of the name "Tiger" is "causing confusion, mistake and deception among the general purchasing public." Might this just be a bid for notoriety?

At the root of the issue appears to internet search results. Tiger Direct contends that Apple's use of the name has adversely affected its ranking amongst the Internet's largest search engines, Google and Yahoo, bumping the company from its usual spot in the first three results.

Booooo! Hiss!

I hope the judge slaps Tiger Direct... upside the corporate noggin. This sort of juvenile game playing is embarrassing to observe.

Nuisance Suit ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 28 Apr, 16:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday April 27, 2005

Treasures 2005_17

The moment one give close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself
-- Henry Miller

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Raven! We first met "online", then in purrson two years ago this week when Raven flewhalf way across the country to live with us.

  • "Nice car" from a mailman driving past as I was getting into the Scion :-)

  • My sweet Bebop who loves me and has forgiven me for taking him to the dreadful vetdoctor.

  • Deep fried paper-thin crispy onions

  • The old faucet removed, the new one installed, nothing broken, nobody hurt.

  • Bebop's sore lip healing quickly after receiving medical attention. (Poor Bebop. I do love you!)

  • Two handsome orange-breasted black headed birds with white spots at the feeder. They appear to be Black-headed Grosbeaks. Squirrel was excited.

  • A second Black-headed Grosbeak appearance.

  • Then there were three - Scion XBs in the parking lot where I work. A new silver one showed up today to join my maroon one and the blue one owned by a woman in the company on the third floor.

  • Squirrel's snurring - a very cute combination of purring and snoring.

  • Squirrel's "full body" kneading technique. He really gets into it - hips, shoulders, and all four paws.

Treasures 2005_17 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 27 Apr, 23:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday April 25, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_16

The weather was fairly stable this week :-)


Rich has been doing a bunch of weed whacking and general outdoor hacking and hewing. He trimmed the escalonia hedge between our house and the next door neighbor. Then he took out a lot of Scotch Broom and removed a bunch of dead branches from the piney woods in the back 40. We've filled the "green" trash bin twice now.


I ordered a set of Oneida Barcelona pattern soup spoons from a restaurant supply place. We used these at a favorite restaurant recently (they've gotten all new flatware) and I really liked them. Unfortunately, what arrived wasn't what I expected. I called customer service for a return and they suggested that perhaps I wanted the "boullion spoon" so I agreed and they sent me those.

The "boullion spoons" arrived later in the week and are pretty much what I had in mind. So now I have 2 dozen nice round soup spoons.


Rich tried some cookery experiments this week. First he tried a yam, chicken leg, and peach "casserole". That one needs some work. Then he tried a chili (I've been joking for years that we never have chili and aren't men supposed to be genetically programmed to be able to cook chili?). The chili turned out pretty good so we wrote the recipe into our "recipes that work" cookbook. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_16"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_16 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 25 Apr, 22:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday April 22, 2005

Drip drip drip

The kitchen sink has been dripping for ages and Rich finally got tired of it. That and he discovered that the deep basin we'd put under the sink to catch any leaks had about 2 gallons of water in it. Not good at all. So he took the sink apart, thinking he would need to replace at least a washer or two.

Oops. "Apart" is the operative word. The bolts that held the faucet assembly to the sink had become a pile of rusty crumbs. So. New faucets. Erm. Well, at least we didn't also need a new sink. ...
       Continue reading "Drip drip drip"

Drip drip drip ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 22 Apr, 22:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 21, 2005

Treasures 2005_16

I suspect that we are all recipients of cosmic love notes. Messages, omens, voices, cries, revelations, and appeals are homogenized into each day's events. If only we knew how to listen, to read the signs.
-- Sam Keen

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A burnt orange Scion XB. I pulled up next to it, rolled down the window and said "Pretty color". The drive said "They only made 2100 of this color".

  • Getting Rich's taxes mailed!

  • Squirrel sitting next to me as I type, patting me on the arm at midnight. "Mama? It's time to stop that. Pet me and then come upstairs."

  • A baby red maple tree, in the back of a pickup truck, on it's way to be planted.

  • A cute wooly doggy, on his human's lap, head out the car window, enjoying the ride.

  • A "happy face" license plate frame (on a car in front of us at the Post Office).

  • The ability to work at home in the afternoons. When the mornings are noisy and distracting, the afternoons bring relief.

  • Mezzaluna trilling on my chest. Raven asking for a snuggle and a belly rub. Squirrel pummeling the blanket on the couch next to me. Bebop head-bumping me as I type.

  • Fresh fruit. Wonderful strawberries. Comice pears.

Treasures 2005_16 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 21 Apr, 20:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday April 18, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_15

The weather has been generally nice, if windy. :-) There was one very foggy day but the wind blew that all away.


Ricch made a batch of turkey cabbage soup on Tuesday and we've been working through that, often with a salad.


Rich had his annual physical this week. Triglycerides are continuing on a positive downward slope (is that an oxymoron? Anyway, this is good and the doctor is pleased). His blood pressure was also good this time (Rich tends toward "Office high b.p. - high at the Dr's office, normal at home).

We also finished Rich's taxes (and sent the IRS a check), something almost guaranteed to raise anyone's blood pressure!


I took the Scion in for its second complimentary SLOF (Scion Lube Oil and Filter). We got three with purchase. It has 8000 miles now and I still love it. It's absolutely the most comfortable car I've ever driven. The Camry feels claustrophobic by comparison. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_15"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_15 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 18 Apr, 22:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday April 15, 2005

Tax Time

"The only two certainties in life are death and taxes"
Mark Twain or Benjamin Disraeli

"The Trick is to stop thinking of it as YOUR money"
attributed to an IRS auditor (Readers Digest, April 2005)

Did you do your taxes? Did you file an extension?

I try to get mine done on or around March 15. That gives me an entire month to suggest, nudge, connive, cajole, inveigle, finagle, persuade, wheedle, plead, and bludgeon Rich into doing his. We got Rich's taxes done and the appropriate paperwork filed by 10:00 pm Thursday, a whole day early this year. Wow.

We use Turbo Tax, a most excellent program from Intuit. Before Turbo Tax (and its predecessor, MacinTax) I'd be a queeping ball of raw nerves around April 15. Now, it's one of those things I'd rather not do, but it's not the high-stress endeavor it once was.

Ft050413

Tax Time - posted at Fri, 15 Apr, 23:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 14, 2005

Ori-garment

We have learned to fold t-shirts.

Last summer, we found this wonderful short movie depicting the not-so-ancient Japanese (?) technique of t-shirt-foldong. Wow.

We were, to say the least, impressed. Also mind-boggled. How did she do that?

Well, today, Rich stepped through the "miracle" part (ain't QuickTime wunnerful?) and when I got home he gave me a demonstration. Of course, now that we understand, all is obvious in the movie clip.

If you want to learn to fold a t-shirt (and don't understand the voice-over and captions in the movie clip), try my instruction set with pictures copied from the movie.

Miracle
Ori-garment ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 14 Apr, 18:43 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday April 13, 2005

Treasures 2005_15

When we talk about mindfulness, we are describing conscious living and alert presence of mind. Mindfulness helps us bring our innate awareness into sharper focus; it helps us pay attention to what we are doing as we are doing it. Paying attention helps us live in, and appreciate, the present moment in all its richness and depth. It helps us to see – truly see – what is actually going on. Simply put, attention pays off.
-- Surya Das

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A tiny girl with blonde ringlets, wearing a poofy-skirted purple Princess dress, at Fresh Choice restaurant on Thursday night. When I told her I liked her dress she smiled, ducked her head and patted her curls.

  • Watching Squirrel tracking a bug, then standing up on his back feet to catch it between his furry paws.

  • A tree with large pink poofy blossoms in front of the building where I work. Other trees like it dotting the neighborhood.

  • A couple of late-afternoon naps with the kitties, Squirrel snuggled into my arm.

  • Falling asleep at night with Squirrel on my right arm, Bebop at my left shoulder, cheek pillowed against mine, Mezzaluna on my chest, and Raven somewhere nearby.

  • Getting Rich's taxes done!

Treasures 2005_15 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 13 Apr, 21:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday April 10, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_14

The weather has mostly been lovely - cool and clear - with, of course, some rain on occasion. It rained overnight on Wednesday but Thursday was mostly clear. Friday was pretty wet on and off. The weekend was quite nice.


I had to go back to the Job Site on Monday because I forgot something. However, this turned out to have a good side because, as I was opening the car, I heard a funny noise. A crunching sort of noise... Some little underground varmint was eating a stalk of one of the palm-like bushes next to the driveway. Munch crunch, then the stalk would be pulled into the hole a bit more, then crunch munch, pull... I called Rich to come watch but by then I guess the critter had eaten as much stalk as there was and didn't want to eat leaves.

The Painted Lady butterflies are migrating north from Mexico to Oregon and Washington We're on the flight path. Lots of orange butterflies going past. Rich pointed them out to me as we watched the bush.

...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_14"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_14 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 10 Apr, 23:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 07, 2005

Treasures 2005_14

We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.
-- Georges Duhamel

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • "Sushi" USB storage devices (I am not making this up :)

  • Creative, silly, elaborate, and exceedingly inventive April fools jokes :-)

  • nuzzling my kitties (not to mention the word "nuzzle" itself)

  • It looks like Rich will have (at least a short-term) contract starting r.s.n.

  • More tulips, pink and white, around a restaurant we like

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_14"

Treasures 2005_14 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 07 Apr, 22:11 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday April 04, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_13

The weather has been lovely and warm... except for the days when it's been pouring rain. Obviously it's still spring. We even had a thunderstorm on Sunday night!


Wednesday was the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh

Google celebrated. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_13"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_13 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 04 Apr, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday April 03, 2005

Spring Ahead!

Clock2   I think today is my favorite day of the year. Daylight Saving Time begins today!

Did you remember to set your clocks ahead?

Spring Ahead! ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sun, 03 Apr, 14:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday April 01, 2005

April Fool

When I was growing up, I was usually happier when April 1 did not fall on a school day. Most people, especially children, are lacking in a sense of elegance and finesse. Thety equate "practical jokes" with whoopee cushions and dribble glasses, where success is measured on a scale from embarrassment to petty cruelty.

In past years, however, I have developed quite an appreciation for the elegance of high tech April Fools Day specials, such as Google's MentalPlex™ ("Search smarter and faster" - 2000) or their most excellent "patented PigeonRank™ system" (2002).

Commentator, from Cenqua, is almost believable.

The Commentator uses revolutionary real-time language processing to actually grok your code and add the necessary comments on the fly. No more doco to slow you down. Just install The Commentator and watch as your coding elegance is eloquently decorated with insightful, nuanced commentary ...as you type.

Consider how much imagination, thought, and sheer effort, goes into the more elaborate April 1 inventions (confections?), such as this technical tutorial (with code) for optimizing the idle loop in Apple's Darwin OS.

Just think, if we could harness some of that creative energy for something else we'd... wait. We can and do, during the other 364 days of the year.

April Fool ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 01 Apr, 21:43 Pacific | Comments (0)

Carpe diem

Today only...

ThinkGeek offers

Fundue

Fundue™ - USB Desktop Fondue Set

Here at the ThinkGeek offices we are surrounded by those traditional suburbia food traps. The typical crappy deli and the occasional edible pizza. So, we decided we would take desktop food culture into our own hands and created the Fundue™, a USB powered desktop culinary experience that will transform your lunches to a new realm. Get instantly sophisticated now!

SkyTag™ - Green Laser Aircraft Tracker

We've always been enamored of the green laser pointer here at ThinkGeek. The way it looks, the way it points, that mesmerizing green beam it projects. But we became tired of pointing such an advanced piece of physics on the white board, or using it to mess with cats and dogs. That's why we created SkyTag™, the world's first GPS green laser pointer mounted in a motorized base that allows you to track and tag aircraft at your own convenience!
Skytag-1

while Google recommends you Quench your Thirst for Knowledge with GoogleGulp (Beta). ...
       Continue reading "Carpe diem"

Carpe diem ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 01 Apr, 01:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 31, 2005

Treasures 2005_13

Be alert for any sign of beauty or grace, offer up every joy, be awake at all moments.
-- Sogyal Rinpoche

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • The full moon above the hot tub

  • The landscapers at the company I work, spreading soil and raking around the plants; it smells like spring.

  • Daffodils and tulips in the stores

  • A riot of tulipsred, white, and yellowin front of a house we drive past on our way home from downtown.

  • Waking to Bebop kneading my neck, then snuggling into my shoulder.

  • Playing footsie with Raven in bed (my feet protected by the comforter and sheet!)

  • Googlogos

Treasures 2005_13 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 31 Mar, 23:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday March 28, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_12

The weather was certainly interesting this week! It started raining in the latter part of Monday afternoon, rained all day Tuesday then cleared up until Sunday evening. Sunday night it POURED. The kitties were not happy about that. Much sound of rushing water on rooftops (especially the Lexan screenporch roof). Big kitty eyes. Both Bebop and Raven attempted (unsuccessfully) to look nonchalant.


CircusPonies released NoteBook 2.0 (version 2 of an application I like very much indeed). The look is slightly different. They added several things I've asked for.


I've been discovering the joys of shared iCalendars. I now have three - US holidays, Sabbats & Moon phases, and "fortune cookies" (refresh daily). Unfortunately, DayChaser (a calendar app I like better than Apple's iCal) doesn't handle the iCalendar standard yet, but I'm told it will in release 2.0. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_12"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_12 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 28 Mar, 21:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 24, 2005

Treasures 2005_12

How many common things are trodden underfoot which, if examined carefully, awaken our astonishment.
-- Augustine of Hippo

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • a short break in the rain (I went for a brief walk)

  • birdsong

  • Playing "bear cub in the hollow tree" with Raven

  • Umbrellas sprouting like colored toadstools

  • Lamb chops and onion rings (shared with Bebop)

  • A new release of one of my favorite "must-have" Mac OS X apps, Circus Ponies NoteBook

Treasures 2005_12 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 24 Mar, 17:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 22, 2005

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You!

Coming! This Fall!

Wallace & Gromit Bigger than Life!

The cheese-loving Wallace and his ever faithful dog Gromit star in an all new comedy adventure, marking their first full-length feature film.
2005Wallacegromit
Go to the brand new Wallace & Gromit site for pictures and a video look behind the scenes.
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You! ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Tue, 22 Mar, 22:03 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday March 20, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_11

The weather has again been variable, sunny in the early part of the week followed by rain on Friday and the weekend.


Rich was out of town for most of this week, getting home Saturday night. He attended the o'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference in San Diego. I've been to that one when it was held in San Jose. Had it not been so far away, I would have loved to have gone this time! This is a fantastic conference with many wonderful talks.

Rich had his PowerBook with him and this is a very connected conference. It was fun to communicate over iChat during the week as he kept me up to date on things he was learning about!

In the meantime, the cats and I had a good week. I did a lot of reading in bed before dropping off to sleep, surrounding by mounds of softly snoozing fur. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_11"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_11 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 20 Mar, 23:24 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday March 18, 2005

Methinks They've Been Sampling the Wares

Part 3 in our "Fun With Spam" series (If you can't beat 'em, laugh at 'em).

Today we present a delightful bit of nonsense that might put Alice in Wonderland to shame!

The 84-chute-old berry was chao in a phonon anheuser after nascent gibbous a buteo whir to scoff the collie wonder chore.

"The lesson is allegoric after whitehorse," someday spokesman peru dahlia-tally usaf washbasin. "He's tangerine on his beige and weird conditions nanometer good."

earl news circuitous had crab that pullover Paul bocklogged emissivity on a bluebook after the baseball, but burnish-trestle said the spoken "had no dollop of pique intuition."

"astute means complimentary, which wasn't autocracy harrison, nor quagmire eros, nor vendetta compactify. skylark was no goldwater," he bronx.

Skylark was no goldwater and weird conditions nanometer good.

Just keep that in mind.


Fun With Spam
More Fun With Spam

Methinks They've Been Sampling the Wares ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 18 Mar, 18:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 17, 2005

The Time is now... 1111111111

Fun for technoids ** ;-)

1111111111 translates to Thursday, March 17th 2005, 17:58:31 (GMT -8)

Online Tools: Unix Timestamp Convertor


** The Unix date/time is stored inside the computer as the number of seconds since Jan. 1, 1970.

The Time is now... 1111111111 ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 17 Mar, 17:58 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday March 16, 2005

Treasures 2005_11

Do not trust your memory; it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.
-- Georges Duhamel

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • An exuberant crop of toadstools after the last rain

  • A splendiferous day! Warm, sunny, a touch of light breeze. It's much too pretty to be a Friday and I have to work!

  • A new quote collection site!

  • A woman with a bubble wand making huge soap bubbles in the park with her kids

  • A man driving past with his dog as his copilot

  • Our ornamental plum tree, about which I was greatly concerned, is leafing out! It was coated in lichens and something like spanish moss and I had feared for its survival but it did not succumb. (I've been removing as much of the lichen and moss as I can to help it out).

  • The first lilacs of the season. Mmmmmmmm.

  • One of my better dreams (the kind with a plot).

  • Spring perfume (something is in bloom!)

  • "Chatting" with Rich while he's at a conference. We've never done that before; it's fun to keep in touch and he can tell me about the talks.
Treasures 2005_11 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 16 Mar, 23:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday March 13, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_10

The weather has been mostly luscious this week. Warm. Sunny. Simply gorgeous. Friday in particular was much too nice to be indoors. The weekend sparkled. And we have two white lilac blooms in the back yard (yummmm). I love Spring.


During the Autumn and Wet seasons, the ornamental plum tree in the back yard became infected with lichen and what looks like spanish moss. I was quite worried for its survival. However, it's fighting back and it's putting out leaves (although there were no blossoms this spring). on Monday morning (before Work) and several afternoons this week, I went out and stripped a bunch of grey-green stuff off the branches. I figure a little bit here, a little bit there, and maybe it will help.


Monday night we drove into the City to a Chinese restaurant we like. We sat next to the fish tank so I could watch the fish. There was a bulgy-eyed black koi and a white one with colors who was picking up gravel in his mouth (eating things off of it?). I especially enjoyed watching the "vacuum cleaner fish" (Bristlenose catfish) who spent most of the meal sleeping but then woke up and roved around the tank, nibbling algae off of everything The most fun was when he was cleaning the tubes for the filter. His little whiskers stuck out on both sides of the tube. But then, it was also fun to watch him go up and down the glass (slurp slurp). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_10"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_10 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 13 Mar, 23:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 10, 2005

Treasures 2005_10

Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization. Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won't see. ... It's all a matter of keeping my eyes open.
-- Annie Dillard

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • a soft white teddy bear in a furry green "frog costume" complete with hood with bulgy frog eyes on the top.

  • Catching live coverage of the cranes going under the Bay bridge

  • The soft sounds of four cats munching supper; Bebop's collar tag dings against the glass bowl.

  • Email from my Mom; iChats with my Dad

  • A "belated" birthday gift for me and an early one for Rich, from my folks

  • A nice soak in the hot tub with Rich

  • Raven patapatting my ankle as I walk by

  • Sourdough toast with peanut butter

  • Bebop snugged against my head as we drift off to sleep

Treasures 2005_10 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 10 Mar, 23:11 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 08, 2005

This is Fashion?

There's something about the world of "high fashion" that I just don't understand. This woman appears to be dressed, as near as I can determine, in a comforter with pillow. She's dressed as a walking bed?! This is not a Halloween costume.

Still, as Rich points out, this could be convenient if, erm, you wanted to take a nap on the bus? Or waiting in line at the bank?

Web.0303Fash2

This is Fashion? ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 08 Mar, 22:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday March 06, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_09

The weather, once again, has been variable, but mostly clear. The weekend was lovely and blue.


We (finally) went for a walk along the new section of trail nearest our development. We've been for walks but simply hadn't tried out the new section before this.

It was a nice walk and we saw a mule deer in the grass and a pocket gopher zipping across the trail.


Rich has been working on the outline and slides for a talk he's giving on the afternoon of the 10th. He's coined a new word: "editerate".


It's Girl Scout Cookie Time. Support Girl Scouting; buy cookies.


This was a Cinnamon Bread week at the Job. A co-worker lives near a bakery in San Jose that makes the world's most wonderful swirly cinnamon bread. He's started taking orders every now and then. I always buy a loaf when he does this, then eat 1/3 or 1/2 over a few days and freeze the rest to get out a little at a time until the next time. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_09"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_09 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 06 Mar, 23:50 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday March 05, 2005

Giant Cranes Clear Bridge

At 12:50 this morning

With only five feet to spare, two mammoth cranes weighing 1,500 tons squeezed their way under the Bay Bridge (above) on Saturday. Traffic to the span was completely halted.

Huge cranes clear Bay Bridge by 5 feet on trip to Oakland, SF Charonicle, Saturday, March 5

Rich and I had our usual breakfast at Joe's this morning; we went down about noon. As is customary, Rich picked up a paper. We read that a delivery of giant loading cranes was coming to the Port of Oakland today. The Port of Oakland had a previous delivery in 2000.

The cranes come from China. When they arrive, they must first go under the Golden Gate Bridge, then into the bay and under the Bay Bridge. This can be, shall we say, potentially problematic. The cranes are tall. The water could raise or lower. ...
       Continue reading "Giant Cranes Clear Bridge"

Giant Cranes Clear Bridge ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 05 Mar, 20:28 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday March 04, 2005

Treasures 2005_09

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A new heater element for the hot tub and we could soak, finally! after a week-long downtime.

  • reading with cats to the sound of rain (a recurring theme)

  • fuzzy, verdant moss - on the ground, a tree trunk, a rock

  • pumpkin spice cake donuts - still (occasionally) available

  • a pretty mule deer stepping gracefully through the grass alongside the trail (on our walk today)

  • a pocket gopher (looking sort of like a furry fat sausage), ZIPping across the trail ahead of us, then scuttling through the grass.

  • catching an episode of Frank and Buster, the Koala Brothers (insufferably cute :)

Treasures 2005_09 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 04 Mar, 23:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 03, 2005

Balmy Toads

Some software developers use combinations of dictionary words as registration codes. I have a lot of software from one such developer.

I recently registered a new application with them. I think this code is the best yet:

balmy toads

It's simply delightful!

I can add that to my set; I also have:

dangerous room (beware!)
jumping dolphins (duh)
secret bicycle (for riding to secret rendezvous!)
silver parrots (a pretty image)
funky monster  (always)
unknown rhinos  (in cognito?)
heavy duck (ouch!)
smooth candle (often)
lively day (occasionally)
Balmy Toads ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 03 Mar, 18:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday March 02, 2005

The Value of Keeping Records

Some number of years ago, Rich went to a talk. He remembers the subject; it impressed him. I remember him coming home and telling me all about the talk.. He doesn't, unfortunately, recall the name of the speaker, the date, the title of the talk, or the location. Also unfortunately, the topic doesn't Google well.**

Rich says:

A while back, I attended a talk which (IIRC) described genes, neurons, tools, books, and programs as forms of memory. The speaker noted that tools store information in a useful but not accessible form and that books do the converse. Programs (ideally :-) do both.

I haven't been successful in finding this in Google; might any of you be familiar with the source of this notion?

...
       Continue reading "The Value of Keeping Records"

The Value of Keeping Records ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 02 Mar, 22:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 28, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_08

The weather was variable. There were some sunny days, intermixed with a lot of rain! That's Spring in the Bay Area.


Monday was a Bank Holiday (as they say everywhere in the World but here). Hoorah! A three-day weekend followed by a four-day week. We went out to brunch; I took a nap. It rained (a nice background for a nap). We even had a little bit of thunder. What a lovely way to spend a Monday.


Tuesday was sunny and warm (as I said, that's Spring). In the late afternoon we drove down to the South bay for dinner with friends.

I installed a new launcher for my Kyocera (PalmOS-based PDA phone). It's called Silver Screen and it's very snazzy. It's even better with the "OS X Mania" theme :-) ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_08"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_08 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 28 Feb, 21:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 27, 2005

Treasures 2005_08

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Reading in bed, surrounded by sleepy blobs of kitty fur, all purring softly. Listening to the rain outside and feeling warm and snugly and content.

  • Basil seed drink. Really :)

  • A Bank Holiday (a three-day weekend and a day off from work)

  • Playing with the cats - first a catnip party and then a new featherbird!

  • Flower Power - a fake-flower-encrusted small sedan - flat foam "daisies" on the sides and trunk, a "garden" of artificial flowers on the top. Different.

  • Cheetah photos (link sent by a friend). Awwww. Aren't the babies fuzzy?!
Treasures 2005_08 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 27 Feb, 10:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 26, 2005

More Fun With Spam

From a real spam I got today. I could probably enter it in some free verse contest...

Toward, self his help tell. White run king natural. Ride, such still help. Written paper, clock. These family, quick. True before, melody industry bat cost. Million up paint picture laugh appear. Century he tone call star. Though so this, him. Root came first cause bird even.
Wow, Man. That's deep. :-)


Fun With Spam ...
       Continue reading "More Fun With Spam"

More Fun With Spam ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 26 Feb, 19:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 21, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up

The weather has been largely wet all week, mostly at night. There was even a thunderstorm alert for SFO although nothing we could see or hear.


For Valentine's Day, I bought Rich and myself a box of Joseph Schmidt truffles (don't eat them all at once :).


Mezzaluna had her annual vetdoctor appointment this week. That was amusing, as often. (I was amused; the vet was amused; I don't think Mez was amused.)


Long day at the Job on Wednesday. I had a "seminar" that went until 1:30, then I was waiting for an engineer to get free to talk to me. I never did have lunch. It turned out when I got home that Rich hadn't had lunch either so we headed into The City to a favorite place that fills up quickly.

We had a moment of financial embarrassment after dinner. Rich reached for his wallet and it wasn't there. The bill was $42 (there were three of us) but I had only $37 and our friend had no cash. Oops. Rich remembered pulling his wallet out of his pocket earlier in the day when he had to pay for parking and sticking it beside the seat. Unfortunately, that was in the other car. Then I recalled that there should be an emergency twenty in the car we'd driven. So Rich went back for the car and what-ho, we were saved.

Better yet, when we got home, Rich found his wallet safe and sound on the seat of the other car. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up"

Weekly Wrap-up ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 21 Feb, 09:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 19, 2005

Treasures 2005_07

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A lovely lane of pink plum blossoms - driving past the trees planted in the median of the office park where I work.

  • Two puppies I met to pet. I met two different puppies with two different people outside of the grocery store today. One was quite bouncy (on leash) with lovely floppity ears. The other was being carried.

  • Our vet placing Mezzaluna over his head like a furry hood.

  • A pickup truck with a truly snazzy iridescent paint job - redorangecopperbronzebrassgold shading into green highlights. Wow!

  • Such delightfully adorable furry step-in slippers in a store in San Francisco. They looked like frogs (I think they were frogs ;-). They were very soft furry bright green with pink felt tongues and buggy pompom eyes. So very cute and so very fuzzy.
Treasures 2005_07 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 19 Feb, 09:31 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 18, 2005

SnapNDrag

I have started using a new screenshot utility called SnapNDrag, from Yellow Mug Software. It has a couple of features I really like.

  • It lets me name my files! (No more `Picture 1.pdf').
  • It lets me choose my default filetype! I can use JPEG from the getgo instead of converting the file after the shot.
  • It provides drag and drop ease for storing the resulting file. No more "everything is on the Desktop until you move it").

SnapNDrag includes the (expected) screen, selection, and timed shots (with selectable countdown) as well as shots of a selected window. The app interfaces with two additional products from Yellow Mug, allowing cropping (with EasyCrop) and framing (with EasyFrame). The developers, so far, have been responsive. The apps and the web site are colorful, clean, and well designed.

SnapNDrag is fully-functional freeware. EasyCrop and EasyFrame are shareware ($12 and $15 respectively). ...
       Continue reading "SnapNDrag"

SnapNDrag ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Fri, 18 Feb, 23:16 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 13, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_06

The weather has been fairly warm all week (to the extent that long-sleeved shirts were no appropriate for the Job. We had some drizzle starting Friday but nothing I'd call "rain".


I got the last of our Majordomo mailing lists moved over to GoogleGroups (beta). No more Majordomo used here.


Rich has installed a copy of FreeBSD 5.3 on a newly upgraded motherboard, etc. As is often the case with such projects, it took longer than expected and caused no small amount of frustration. I helped in some small fashion by coming along on the (last) trip to CompUSA, assisting with some cabling, and (most of all) donating my birthday present power supply to the cause!

The project took up a large part of a day; now comes the part where Rich and/or I start copying files and setting up the software side. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_06"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_06 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 13 Feb, 22:03 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 12, 2005

My Birthday Present

Proving that I am indeed a techie... and that our definition of "normal"... differs... from that of other people.

Rich and I were at Fry's about a week before my birthday. Fry's is a SF Bay Area institution, a techie hardware store. They sell computers, televisions, hard disks, DVDs, MP3 players, game players, memory chips, potato chips, and a whole lot more,

While Rich was buying RAM, I was looking at the DVDs. Then I came to find Rich and passed something wonderful in a nearby aisle. I found Rich and took him back to look at the Wonderful Thing. ...
       Continue reading "My Birthday Present"

My Birthday Present ( in category Computerware , Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 12 Feb, 12:06 Pacific

Friday February 11, 2005

Treasures 2005_06

These are my Treasures for the past week.
  • Sleeping in on a Saturday. Waking up surrounded by all four kitties - Bebop by my head, Squirrel at my feet, Mezzaluna playing "furry muffler" (tummy up), Raven in the cat tree penthouse (only his eyes visible).

  • A wonderful catnap. Raven joined me and stayed, curling up in the crook of my arm. He did that a lot before I got the Job but hasn't much since; he comes and snuggles but then he often leaves and goes to sleep in the cat tree. Today he stayed and we slept.

  • Watching Rich petting Raven who consented to stay on his lap for a while.

  • Kitties in the laundry basket.
...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_06"

Treasures 2005_06 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 11 Feb, 23:37 Pacific

Monday February 07, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_05

The weather has been mostly clear. It was a quiet week.


My cousin is a week younger than I am, so I always know to buy him a birthday card when my birthday rolls around (it's difficult to forget :-) This year I found a good one. On the front it says:

This card contains all of the winning lottery numbers for the rest of your life.
On the inside there's a grid of numbers above which it says
Some assembly required.
Coincidentally and serendipitously, the grid contains the numbers from 1 to 45. How convenient.

I wrote in the card: "Keri tells me she's decided to just keep celebrating her 38th birthday. If that doesn't suit (and you don't want to play the lottery), use this card to pick an age to be on any given day." ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_05"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_05 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 07 Feb, 22:30 Pacific

Saturday February 05, 2005

Treasures 2005_05

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • My Birthday

  • "What did you do for your birthday?"
    "I did a load of laundry and made the bed!"
    "Is that special?"
    "Bebop and Raven helped ;-)"

  • Time spent with Rich and the kitties

  • My friend Ginny's new baby son, a much wanted, hoped for and waited for (if impatiently :-) child. Less than 4 pounds at birth, he immediately took to the idea of food (his kitty brothers will be so proud of him) and went home a week later. Gaining weight, eating like a piglet (Ginny's words) and obviously well-tended by friends and family. Our online group is having a good time viewing pictures. Welcome to the world, Nathan!

  • Two great new feline photography books, one with quotes and one with original poetry. Where Cats Meditate, edited by David Baird, and I am the cat, don't forget that, photos by Valerie Shaff, words by Roy Blount Jr.
Treasures 2005_05 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 05 Feb, 12:48 Pacific

Thursday February 03, 2005

Listen to This

Did you ever stick a data disc into the computer and try to play it through the speakers as audio? Some friends and co-workers and I did this 15 years ago with the first CD installer of A/UX (Apple's first shipping *nix product ;-) I recall the kernel was most interesting.

Spouse says:

I enjoyed listening to a "shell sort" on the console speaker of a CDC 3800 (back in 1980 or so).

vuooooooooooooooop.    vuoooooop.    vuooop.    vuop.   ...

Well, technology progresses and this sort of thing is no longer just fun and games. A friend recently sent us URLs to two unique (yet oddly similar) products. ...
       Continue reading "Listen to This"

Listen to This - posted at Thu, 03 Feb, 16:50 Pacific

Wednesday February 02, 2005

Groundhog Day

Kitncarlyle20050202 Happy Groundhog Day! Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter (at least in western PA).

If you're where it's cold and snowy, stay inside and watch a movie. If you haven't seen Groundhog Day (starring Bill Murray) I recommend it. It's one of my favorites and quite fun. It's set in Punxsutawney; they even show good old Phil the Groundhog himself.

I grew up in Pennsylvania. I've been to Punxsutawney. (Yes, that's the name of the town :-) Now I live in California. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, spring begins in February. There's pine pollen on the car in the mornings.

Whether it's spring where you are or you're buried under the snow, I think Carlyle the Kitten has the right idea. Naps!

Groundhog Day ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 02 Feb, 20:20 Pacific

Monday January 31, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_04

The weather was been nice last week although there's been a storm in the Pacific - I kept getting Coastal Flood Watch and High Tide warnings from the weather service.


We did a Perl & Egg Rolls SIG meeting (Perl programmers meet for Chinese dinner) in The City. Good food; nine people. We adjourned for ice cream afterwards (my fortune had said that "joy and contentment lay around the corner" :-) Rich and I split an "apple pie sundae" - apple pie fillng/topping (heated), pieces of "crust" (like shortbread, two scoops of ice cream. yummm. We could make that at home some time!


I had another dental appointment, this time to get the cavity filled ;-( I do that under nitrous. With the noise-canceling headphones and the iPod tuned to my favorite Air Pudding, it wasn't tooo bad. It was kind of funny though; this was the first time I'd used the iPod this way and I wasn't sure of the controls. Always before I've used it via iTunes through the desktop interface! ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_04"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_04 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 31 Jan, 21:48 Pacific

Saturday January 29, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

Older than yesterday, younger than tomorrow.

Dear Vicki

The weather is much different today than it was on the day you were born. Then we were having a January thaw and since there was some snow on the ground and the air that came in was very warm it was very foggy. The road out at the Y at the mall was a little different and Dad was trying to find his way to Bellefonte at 2ish in the morning and at the Y we both, literally, had our heads out of the window trying to see the road. But we made it to Bellefonte Hospital on Willowbank Street where you were born about 1:30 in the afternoon.

Hope you will be celebrating in style. Dinner out at a favorite restaurant, maybe.

Happy, happy birthday, we love you so, ---Mom

Happy Birthday to Me! ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 29 Jan, 11:56 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday January 28, 2005

Treasures 2005_04

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

  • A stretch "Hummer", license HUMMROS
  • Full moon nights in our "moon room"
  • "frozen-peas" hail bouncing off the roof next door. We have funny storms here.
  • Raven stretching up to wrap his paws around and hug my knee. Mwrp?
  • A handsome little falcon(?) with a rusty breast and black and grey feathers, sitting in the top of a pine tree in our "back 40" watching something near the ground _very_ intently. Then he stooped and all the little brown birds at the feeder - 40 feet away - exploded into the bushes for a few minutes to hide.
  • Bebop stretching up up up to get to my shoulder. "Pick me up! Hug me!"
  • Rain diamonds - we have chains running from the gutters at the front of the house to the ground. Sometimes just after the rain stops there's just enough water coming down the chain that each link fills with water; then the sun sparkles through like jewels.
  • Coming in from the hot tub to sit in our moon room and cool down. Mezzaluna on Rich's feet; Bebop curled in the crook of my arm.
Treasures 2005_04 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 28 Jan, 23:58 Pacific

Wednesday January 26, 2005

Just Say N2O

My dental hygienist found a cavity at my recent cleaning :-( I had it filled today.

I do not "do" novacaine. I do not like to be stuck with a red-hot railroad spike, then have my lip be numb for the next four hours. I take nitrous.

Nitrous oxide is a very safe and popular agent still utilized by dentists today. It is much less toxic than alternatives, such as chloroform, with far less risk of explosion than ether. The main use for N2O is usually as a mild sedative and analgesic. It helps to allay anxiety that many patients may have toward dental treatment, and it offers some degree of painkilling ability.

School of Chemistry, University of Bristol Molecule of the Month

I find the painkilling ability to be quite sufficient. It's interesting how nitrous works. It doesn't shut off the sensation (but then, neither does novacaine). What nitrous does is flick a switch in my brain just before things reach the point of "too much". It's always something like "Oh, my, this could be... not that bad. Ohh my... this could really be... not that bad either."

This is not to say that I like to get my teeth filled. I am not a masochist. It's still unpleasant. It's just not... painful. But it's better than the alternative. And with headphones and soft music, the time pases.

(My Dad does it without nitrous or novacaine. Whooooweeee!)

Just Say N2O ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 26 Jan, 18:26 Pacific

Tuesday January 25, 2005

Fun With Spam

Spam is a plague, a disaster, a dreadful ramification of the Information Age, a torrential onslaught on the email inboxes of all right-thinking and innocent people. It can also, on occasion, be fun. Sometimes we have to take our amusement where we find it.

One of my "favorite" recent spam techniques is the effort to which some spammers go to prevent spam catching software from (correctly!) identifying their misbegotten drivel as, well... spam. They obfuscate the subject; the obfuscate the body. Sometimes they go to such extremes of obfuscation that one wonders what they had in mind originally!

For example, I recently received this in my Inbox:

    Subject: of oysters in huge

There's something both oddly surreal and compelling about it. I feel I should sit and meditate on the hidden meanings. Or something.

The body was considerably less interesting, a typical m o rrtgage [sic] "offer". They should have stopped while they were ahead. ...
       Continue reading "Fun With Spam"

Fun With Spam ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 25 Jan, 22:43 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday January 23, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_03

Monday was a holiday so this was a short week. I like those ;-)


I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday. uh oh. I have a little cavity; they're gonna drill it & fill it next week :-( It's very small but they said it's better to fix now than wait & watch. Sigh.

We had dinner Tuesday night at Pasta Pomodoro; they were donating 10% of all sales on Tuesday to the Tsunami relief fund.


The traffic light at the corner was blinking red when I drove in to the Job on Wednesday. This usually indicates a power outage and it did this time. I went back home where there was light and power for the computer. I couldn't get into the company intranet till 3:00 pm (no VPN access) but I could work; I had downloaded the documents I needed the day before. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_03"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_03 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 23 Jan, 21:12 Pacific

Saturday January 22, 2005

Treasures 2005_03

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_03"

Treasures 2005_03 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 22 Jan, 10:35 Pacific

Friday January 21, 2005

Men, Women, and Web Services

You've probably heard the statement that when it comes to communication, men are from Mars, while women are from Venus? A concept straight from the title of a book by John Gray, this highlights an idea made popular by Deborah Tannen (You Just Don't Understand) in 1990. When men and women try to communicate, they often seem to be from different planets.

On the other hand, I bet this is the first time you've heard of the idea that men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and web services are from Betelgeuse. :-) That's the title of a paper (in PDF format) that I found while surfing around on the web. The authors extend the theme to the problems of communicating between legacy applications and new Web applications. ...
       Continue reading "Men, Women, and Web Services"

Men, Women, and Web Services ( in category Random Thoughts , WWW ) - posted at Fri, 21 Jan, 21:26 Pacific

Thursday January 20, 2005

Skin Printer

Scientists at Manchester University's School of Materials (in the UK) have developed a printerthat prints... skin!

Using the same principle as an ink-jet printer, experts are able to take skin cells from a patient's body, multiply them, then print out a tailor-made strip of skin, ready to sew on to the body. The wound's dimensions are entered into the printer to ensure a perfect fit.
...
"It's not like printing a sheet of paper. We can print a few millimetres in depth and build it up layer-upon-layer until, in principle, we could produce bone fragments the size of a golf ball.

"It is difficult for a surgeon to reconstruct any complex disfiguring of the face using CT scans, but with this technology we are able to build a fragment which will fit exactly. We can place cells in any designed position to grow tissue or bone."

[ ref: Manchester News Online, article, Wednesday, 19th January 2005 ]

Wow. What will they think of next.
Skin Printer ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 20 Jan, 17:42 Pacific

Wednesday January 19, 2005

Comment but nofollow

First it was graffiti on walls. Then it was junk mail,. In the "information age" it's junk faxes and an increasing torrent of undesirable offers in our emailboxes. In the past year, there's been a major increase in the volume of a new kind of graffiti junk spam — weblog comment spam (ich).

Comment spam has lately become more than a minor annoyance for the site owner. But, with the help of other members of the weblogging community, we've been fighting back.

One tool, available for those who use Movable Type, is MT-Blacklist, a plugin that lets you easily manage and delete comment spam. I've been using the Blacklist plugin for about a year now; it prevented the need for me to turn off comments entirely. Even better, as of MT 3.*, comments can now be moderated as well. Between MT-Blacklist and moderating, a lot of my troubles have vanished. ...
       Continue reading "Comment but nofollow"

Comment but nofollow ( in category WWW ) - posted at Wed, 19 Jan, 18:33 Pacific

Monday January 17, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_02

It rained heavily early in the week, then settled for being mostly grey, except for Wednesday which was gorgeous. There was frost on the rooftops on Wednesday and blue in the afternoon. On Thursday morning we had heavy fog. Friday and Saturday were just grey.


We went to a talk at SLAC on Monday, then to dinner in Palo Alto. By the time we left dinner (about 7pm) there was less traffic (good) but a lot more rain (nasty). It was a bad drive home made worse because we were in separate cars. I was pretty shaky when I got home. I took a hot neck-sock and went to bed for an hour. Then got up and sat in the hot tub, then went back to bed for the night. I'm glad I don't have a regular commute like that anymore.


Tuesday I stopped off at Sears to return a pair of Lands End Marinac boots (these are great boots but I had ordered the wrong size ;-( I was able to get the right size there at Sears. Hoorah. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_02"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_02 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 17 Jan, 12:30 Pacific

Saturday January 15, 2005

Treasures 2005_02

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the second week of 2005. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2005_02"

Treasures 2005_02 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 15 Jan, 11:30 Pacific

Thursday January 13, 2005

IT & Tea - Weblogging Presentation

I attended a presentation on weblogging today. Rich suggested I attend as he couldn't promise a properly complete recap :-)
Speaker: Terry Huwe - Director of Library and Information Resources- UC Berkeley

It seems everywhere you look these days, people are talking and thinking about Blogging. But just how relevant is Blogging? Is it just another "transitional" technology, or is it here to stay? Terry Huwe will explore these questions, covering what Blogs are, how they work, and what their value points are. This talk will explore both the "big picture"--how Blogs fit into the "information ecologies" of today's organizations--as well as the basic technical skills you need to get started. Attendees will learn what the top Blogging products are and how to find out more about them, what's new and emerging in the Blogosphere, and how to make strategic, informed decisions for evaluating Blogging as an information management tool.

The presentation focused on the potential that weblogging has for organizations, such as research organizations, libraries, institutions and corporations, more than individuals. Apparently weblogging has been the hot topic at the last two "Internet Librarian" conferences and the most recent "Computers in Libraries" conference. As Mr Huwe said, weblogs provide fast movement of content to the web without touching a server. "What's not to like?" ...
       Continue reading "IT & Tea - Weblogging Presentation"

IT & Tea - Weblogging Presentation ( in category WWW ) - posted at Thu, 13 Jan, 21:00 Pacific

Tuesday January 11, 2005

Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen

We went to a talk yesterday by Harold McGee, Author of The Curious Cook and the recently revised and updated, On Food and Cooking

The kitchen is a laboratory of applied science. Food preparation has played a role in the development of science, and scientists have influenced everyday cooking for better and for worse, from the invention of the pressure cooker to modern-day "molecular gastronomy." Harold McGee will recount some of this little-known history, and report on his own research into such questions as: Why do French cooks insist on whipping egg whites in copper bowls? How many liters of mayonnaise can you make with one egg yolk? Can thermocouples and computers help you cook a better hamburger? And why does the spatter from a frying pan end up on the inside of a cook's eyeglasses?
...
       Continue reading "Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen"
Three Centuries of Science in the Kitchen ( in category Food & Drink ) - posted at Tue, 11 Jan, 18:25 Pacific

Monday January 10, 2005

Fixed-width fonts

I love fonts. I collect fonts. I especially love "handwritten" fonts.

As a programmer, however, and constant email user, I need to use fixed-width fonts, preferably with easily distinguished characters. So how do I mix and match my love for handwritten fonts with fixed-width programmer's fonts? Take a look at some of the cool fixed-width fonts I've found!

Fixed-width fonts ( in category SciTech , Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 10 Jan, 00:05 Pacific

Sunday January 09, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_01

The first full week of 2005 has been off and on rainy and clear (somewhat more rainy than clear).

Proverbcat B Proverbcat F My new calendars arrived (I was a little late ordering a few of them). My office calendar this year is the Proverbial Cats wall calendar.

We've got a World Wildlife Fund songbirds calendar in the bathroom (pretty) and various other calendars around the house. The kitchen calendar, for the 5th or 6th year running, is Sandra Boynton's infamous Mom's Family Calendar (Who goes Where and When but not Why).


I renewed my drivers' license this week (it expires the end of this month). Because I have renewed twice previously by mail, this time I had to come in for a new picture and thumbprint. I gave myself plenty of time to get there and stand in the check-in. In fact, had so much time that I stopped off at Krispy Kreme (across the street) and bought a dozen pumpkin spice cake donuts (I froze 10 of them when I got home). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2005_01"

Weekly Wrap-up 2005_01 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 09 Jan, 23:10 Pacific

Saturday January 08, 2005

Treasures 2005_01

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the first week of 2005.

  • A new year
  • New calendars!
  • Krispy Kreme pumpkin spice cake donuts (the only KK donut I like). Available October - January only. I bought a dozen and froze them!
  • A snoozey snuggle with the kitties on a rainy day.
  • A big yellow tree fungus on a tree I passed on my drive home from the Job.
  • A cute little white doggy in a car at the grocery store; a cute little white & black doggy on a walk with his human near a different store
  • Upside down kitties scattered around my office
  • Exploding ice cubes! (I make a cup of hot tea in the mornings and put in one ice cube to bring it down to a more drinkable temperature. This morning the ice cube exploded!)
  • iced coffee (my afternoon beverage)
  • kitty chitters (that cute krkrkkrkkrkk sound)
  • A nifty technological gadget at the eye doctors (weblog fodder!)
  • Sandra Boynton and chocolate (and one of my new calendars)

    Chocolatecalendar

    Treasures 2005_01 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 08 Jan, 00:12 Pacific

Friday January 07, 2005

Optomap

Optomap I had an eye appointment today. They have a "new" gadget called Optomap (they've had it for about a year now). The patient looks into a 4" diameter hole in the front of a big white box (face turned sideways, nose smooshed into place). A green light flashes and the machine takes a picture of the back of the eye. Repeat for the other eye and then, back to the exam room to look at the pictures. The images are then stored in the computer as a permanent record of the condition of the patient's retina at that exam.

Conventional Retinal Imaging Technology only captures a small area of the retina [about 30 degrees] at one time. ... In contrast to the simple illuminating effects of whitelight in a conventional examination, the Optimap allows review of a 200 degree internal scan which is viewed in separate wavelengths of light."
Not only that, but there's no need for eye drops, fuzzy vision for the next hour, or those funny plastic sunglasses.

My optometrist pointed out the optic nerve, which shows as a bright yellow spot in the center of the frame, and the macula, a dark smudge. I could see a bunch of veins running to the optic nerve. I asked if the image showed that I was nearsighted and he said yes. Apparently nearsighted people have some "fraying" around the edge of the optic nerve (although I don't have much of that). ...
       Continue reading "Optomap"

Optomap ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 07 Jan, 23:58 Pacific

Monday January 03, 2005

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec. 27 - Sun Jan 2)

Zodiac Onblack

Happy 2005

It's been a wet week. Lots of storms passing through. We've had rain followed by sun and blue sky, followed by more rain. The snow level has gotten down to 300 feet according to the weather reports, which means that if we could see Mt. Diablo (barring the fog) we'd see snow on the peak.

Last week's computer gremlins returned to nibble at us all when our friends tried to upgrade the OS and the system crashed. So friend Bruce drove the computer back down to us on Tuesday. We reinstalled it (and reinstalled it). We tried to upgrade it. Finally we ended up simply replacing it entirely. Rich found a 450 MHz blue & white G3 on craigslist.org for a good price. We swapped that for one of our machines (our 300 MHz media-server), then gave the hardware for the media server to the friends and are giving the "intermittently unstable" box to yet another friend whose son wants to try Mac OS X. That friend loves to tinker with hardware so this should be a good deal all around. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec. 27 - Sun Jan 2)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec. 27 - Sun Jan 2) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 03 Jan, 07:53 Pacific

Saturday January 01, 2005

On Intelligence

Are you interested in how the mind works? So is Jeff Hawkins (of Palm OS fame) and he's written a very interesting book about it. Read my review and followup essay.

On Intelligence ( in category Books, Movies, Music , SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 01 Jan, 19:47 Pacific | Comments (0)

Treasures 2004_52

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Receiving as a gift something I really wanted but no one knew! How wonderful.
  • A nice dip in the hot tub on a glowing moonlit night.
  • The sound of rain on the sunroom (rainroom!) roof.
  • My kitties nearby for a three-day weekend.
  • Watching the kitties happily playing with new Christmas cattoys.
  • Two Friday holidays in a row (so two four day weeks in a row!)
  • New Years Eve Midnight fireworks
Treasures 2004_52 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 01 Jan, 00:40 Pacific

Sunday December 26, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 20 - Sun Dec 26)

Happy Merry Ho Ho Ho

The Lab where Rich has been working is closed for the last two weeks of the year so Rich is home and we can have lunch together. Monday he went down to the chiropractor, then called me and we had lunch at our favorite diner. We haven't been able to do that very often for over a year.

We went into the City for dinner Monday night to a "21st Century Cafeteria" called Plutos. Yummmmmm. It was quite good (and now we know where to go to get real turkey. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 20 - Sun Dec 26)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 20 - Sun Dec 26) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 26 Dec, 21:51 Pacific

Saturday December 25, 2004

Welcome Christmas

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...
...

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!
...

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"


...
       Continue reading "Welcome Christmas"

Welcome Christmas ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 25 Dec, 08:30 Pacific

Friday December 24, 2004

Treasures 2004_51

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_51"

Treasures 2004_51 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 24 Dec, 22:19 Pacific

Tuesday December 21, 2004

Winter Solstice

Today is the day of the winter solstice, the time of year when the sun stands still. The winter solstice, which occurs on either December 21 or 22, marks the shortest period of daylight — and the longest night — of the year. ...
       Continue reading "Winter Solstice"

Winter Solstice ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 21 Dec, 07:21 Pacific

Monday December 20, 2004

Thoughts for the Season

A thought-provoking sentiment for the year-end season, whatever your religious beliefs.

(Original author unknown)


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata,
but do not remember the people around me,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;
But giving the gift of love will endure.


Wishing you a joyous & meaningful Holiday Season!

Happy Solstice, Yule, Saturnalia, Christmas, Chanukah, Mid-Winter...

Thoughts for the Season ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Mon, 20 Dec, 20:04 Pacific

Sunday December 19, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 13 - Sun Dec 19)

It's been a pretty week overall, in the high 60s mostly.

On Monday I went to the PO to mail some packages. There was an envelope from the second grade class I volunteered with, containing notes from the kids. Awww.


I used up the leftover cranberry sauce from our turkey dinners by making my favorite cranberry jello fruit salad. I gave a quarter of it to a friend of ours who had commented how tasty it is.


The Company held a "white elephant gift exchange". They did it as one of those where you can choose to keep what you picked or trade with someone else. (Hint: Don't get attached to anything). I got stuck with a box of incense sticks. I was mentioning it to everyone I saw afterwards ("do you know anyone who burns incense?"). I found someone who did and I now have a very happy co-worker. I'm happy too.

Actually, I got what I wanted, which was the gift bag for another gift. The person who grabbed that one didn't want the bag so I snagged it. It's got a cute snowman on it.

The woman who ended up with the gift I brought is very happy with it (she traded the gift she "won" for "mine"). It's a small "aquarium" with two plastic fish that swim around and look quite real. She said she wishes she could have real fsh in her cube but is afraid they'd die. So she has fish and we're both happy. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 13 - Sun Dec 19)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Dec 13 - Sun Dec 19) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 19 Dec, 11:26 Pacific

Saturday December 18, 2004

Treasures 2004_50

These are my treasures for the past week.

  • Honk! Honk! Honk! - A flock of Canadian geese flew over the house as I was filling the bird feeder.
  • A clear start-studded night sky.
  • Orion - my favorite constellation!
  • The woman who got the gift I donated to the Company White Elephant Exchange really likes it. (She traded for it.)
  • A HumVee-style pickup truck?!
  • The weather has been lovely.
Treasures 2004_50 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 18 Dec, 14:00 Pacific

Friday December 17, 2004

Consider it a Challenge

I just read an article entitled "How to Work with an Engineer". Rule #2 says " Engineers are natural-born problem-solvers." It's true. Give an engineer a problem (a challenge) and he'll find a way to solve it.

You may consider this the Engineer's corollary to the age-old wisdom, "Be Careful What You Wish For". As an example, never tell your engineering team that industry studies predict that they should be finding a certain number of bugs per thousand lines of code. If you do, tomorrow you will discover that the engineering staff has obliged!

Another case in point — up until the end of October, the Company I work for was providing 10 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts every Wednesday morning as an employee perk. At the same time, the finance team was thinking of ways to save money; the Company would like to reduce spending by $100K this coming year.

There was an employee survey; a lot of people said they don't need the donuts. The donuts cost a few thousand dollars annually. The donut purchase was cut.

The donut lovers were not happy. They did not revolt, however. They're engineers. They came up with a solution to the problem. ...
       Continue reading "Consider it a Challenge"

Consider it a Challenge ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 17 Dec, 18:56 Pacific

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Awww Inspiring

When I finished my five weeks of Junior Achievement volunteering, I sent the class a thank you letter, telling them I had enjoyed working with them and thanking them for giving me the opportunity to come to their class.

Yesterday in the mail I received a response — 20 handwritten Thank You For Coming letters from the students. That was a nice surprise. I really appreciated it.

I may not have been enthralled by the program but I did enjoy working with the kids. It's nice to know they enjoyed it too.

Awww Inspiring ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 14 Dec, 17:37 Pacific

Monday December 13, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12)

This week was much warmer and wetter. It started to rain about 5pm on Monday and rained on and off for the next few days. Thursday and Friday we had heavy fog. Saturday and Sunday were mostly grey but neither rain nor fog.

The parking lot behind the Company was a real mess on Tuesday morning after the rain. The parking lot is surrounded with eucalyptus trees and the storm brought down leaves, pods, and long strips of bark.


Rich brought home half a turkey from his visit to Forestville so on Tuesday night we had turkey dinner. I made cauliflower w/ cheese sauce, baked sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes (in case our friend Gene came for dinner; he didn't; he didn't feel well, so we took a plate over to him afterwards). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Dec. 6 - 12) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 13 Dec, 00:10 Pacific

Sunday December 12, 2004

Technology Moves Forward at the Grocery Store

Thirty years and more ago, your local grocery store used cash registers. Prices were marked on all items; the checker punched that price into the cash register and the total was calculated much like a desktop calculator with a paper tape.

Although the first patent for a bar code type product was issued in October, 1952, and the first bar code used commercially in 1966, it wasn't until 1970 that an industry standard was set. By 1970, the Universal Grocery Products Identification Code (UGPIC) was written; this evolved into the Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1973. In June of 1974, the first U.P.C. scanner was installed at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. [ref: The History of Bar Code] ...
       Continue reading "Technology Moves Forward at the Grocery Store"

Technology Moves Forward at the Grocery Store ( in category Random Thoughts , SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 12 Dec, 18:26 Pacific

Saturday December 11, 2004

Treasures 2004_49

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_49"

Treasures 2004_49 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 11 Dec, 11:33 Pacific

Sunday December 05, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 29 - Dec 5)

We had a cold spell this week. We even had frost two mornings in a row! Rich was worried about the jade plants and I agreed. We covered the outdor plants with sheets or plastic for overnight.

Wednesday was my last day of Junior Achievement. I wrote up the whole experience in my other weblog, commentary. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 29 - Dec 5)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 29 - Dec 5) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 05 Dec, 23:06 Pacific

Saturday December 04, 2004

Treasures 2004_48

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_48"

Treasures 2004_48 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 04 Dec, 10:00 Pacific

Thursday December 02, 2004

Junior Achievement (pt. 2)

Two weeks after signing up for the Junior Achievement program, all Company volunteers trooped over to the "sponsored school" one afternoon to meet the teachers whose classes we'd be working with. I had a few new feelings of trepidation, not being quite sure if the teacher was really happy with this program (or confident in me). After all, she asked if I had ever done anything like this before and I said "no."

Nevertheless, we exchanged names and contact information. I gave the teacher one copy of the activity guide and we decided when I would come (Tuesdays at 11am, starting the following week). Then that meeting was over and I went back to work. ...
       Continue reading "Junior Achievement (pt. 2)"

Junior Achievement (pt. 2) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 02 Dec, 21:00 Pacific

Wednesday December 01, 2004

Junior Achievement (pt. 1)

As I have mentioned in my Weekly Wrap-ups, I have been volunteering for Junior Achievement in November. Junior Achievement is a not-for-profit organization, the purpose of which is to "educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives."

The Elementary School Program is for students in grades K - 6. ...
       Continue reading "Junior Achievement (pt. 1)"

Junior Achievement (pt. 1) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 01 Dec, 22:55 Pacific

Tuesday November 30, 2004

Surprisingly Tasty

They're frozen meals without the usual portion of starch — no potato, pasta, or rice. They're also surprisingly tasty and filling.

I recently discovered Life Choice Frozen Meals, a relatively new line from ConAgra Foods, one of North America's largest packaged food companies. ConAgra brands include Armour, Banquet, Brown 'N Serve, Butterball, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Libby's, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Swiss Miss, Wesson, and a whole lot more. They're obviously not new to the food business.

"Based on consumer needs, we've created a distinctive brand -- not merely an extension of an existing brand with some ingredient changes or reduced portion sizes -- to bring consumers the food they love to eat. The new Life Choice meals are devoted to meeting the needs of the carb-conscious consumer, without any compromises." (Robert Hopton, VP of marketing, ConAgra Foods Frozen Foods Group)
...
       Continue reading "Surprisingly Tasty"

Surprisingly Tasty ( in category Food & Drink ) - posted at Tue, 30 Nov, 18:23 Pacific

Monday November 29, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 22 - 28)

This was a short week with a long weekend. That's the best kind!


I put my Job home directory into my iPod so I can carry it between the Job and home without having to carry the laptop. I plug the iPod in at the Company, work, then log out, unmount and eject the iPod, bring it home, plug it into my personal laptop at home, log in, and continue to work.


Dumbo mis-set the microwave on Tuesday and converted her lunch into charcoal briquets (i.e. I ran the convection microwave for 20 minutes on High instead of low-mix bake and turned two ham & cheese croissant into char and tar). I also filled the living room and kitchen area with smoke down to about 18" off the floor. Luckily, only one cat was in that part of the house and he was below the smoke; I wasn't. I coughed, I hacked. I took Bebop downstairs, then opened all the windows, turned on the ceiling fans and the porch fan, opened the front door, got two more portable fans, coughed, wheezed, closed off the bedroom wing, took Squirrel and Raven downstairs, coughed, apologized to Bebop who gave me a look. I could still taste smoke for the rest of the day. I left the fans running till Rich got home. The house smelled bad for the rest of the week. :-( ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 22 - 28)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 22 - 28) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 29 Nov, 20:48 Pacific

Friday November 26, 2004

Treasures 2004_47

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the past week:

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_47"

Treasures 2004_47 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 26 Nov, 17:56 Pacific

Thursday November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving

On this overcast but pleasant November day, I'm thankful for
  • Richard — my best human friend now for over 21 years. He makes me laugh.
  • Bebop — majordomo and cat-in-charge, from his pink nose to his white tail tip held high
  • Squirrel — my marshmallow fluffy and snuggle buddy
  • Mezzaluna — her royal blueness, princess and loony coony wrapped in fluff
  • Raven — the little black floppycat with thumbs who flew from Houston to San Francisco just to live with us

  • Touchstones
    • Home
    • Family
    • Health
    • Freedom
    • Nourishment
    • Friends
...
       Continue reading "Thanksgiving"

Thanksgiving ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 25 Nov, 13:28 Pacific

Monday November 22, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 15 - 22)

It was foggy for much of this week, starting very foggy in the mornings but clearing by noonish.


Tuesday marked week 3 of Junior Achievement. This activity went much better than last week's.

We had a raccoon visitation on Tuesday night. That was a lot of fun (as usual). I worked onsite all day Wednesday. I had two meetings in the afternoon with only an hour between them, so I decided not to go home and come back. Then I stayed till 4:30 and when I went home, I went Home.


On Thursday, we learned that the new iPod Photos were in the Apple store. Woo Hoo! Rich drove down and picked one up and had a mocha with a friend who works at Apple. I waited till the weekend to unpack it, however.

Thursday night the Company held a pre-Thanksgiving potluck to which spouses and families were invited. The turkey was delicious as were the turtle bars and pumpkin cookies. I was able to introduce Rich to some of my co-workers and I think he enjoyed himself. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 15 - 22)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 15 - 22) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 22 Nov, 17:57 Pacific

Sunday November 21, 2004

SubEthaEdit

Do you ever find yourself trading a document back and forth with someone else? Rich and I do this a lot. One of us writes, then emails to the other who edits and emails back. It works but it's tedious.

Today I discovered SubEthaEdit. (Although the editor has been around since Spring, 2003, I never got the tuits to try it until now).

SubEthaEdit is a collaborative text editor - it works via Rendezvous and over the Internet (haven't tried that part yet). Syntax coloring, regex search and replace, spell checking, FTP support, lots of preferences, and other cool features are included. The most useful, of course, is the live collaboration. Rich and I worked up a weblog entry together this evening. I got it started, then he worked on that.

SubEthaEdit won an O'Reilly Mac OS X Innovator's Contest award as well as an Apple design award in for Best Mac OS X Student Project, both in 2003. I'd say the awards were well-deserved. This one goes on my "must-have" apps list.

A friend reminds me that SubEthaEdit was originally named "Hydra"; the name was changed due to a trademark dispute. (sigh).

SubEthaEdit ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Sun, 21 Nov, 22:48 Pacific

Saturday November 20, 2004

311 Citizen Services

New York City has a relatively new Citizen Services telephone number, 311, started by NYC Mayor MIchael Bloomberg. I think it should go nation-wide.

311 proved itself in a vital way for thousands of NYC residents during the east coast blackout of 2003.

The moment the lights flickered off to begin the great blackout of 2003, New York City's emergency management teams put elegant procedures into action, anticipating New Yorkers' needs in a city suddenly denied power. They prevented looting, located stuck elevators, and prepared to treat victims of heat exhaustion. But for thousands of people that long night, the most pressing concern was something that hadn't occurred to the government: blood sugar levels.

As the blackout stretched from afternoon into early evening, many diabetics grew increasingly apprehensive about the shelf life of their refrigerated insulin. Emergency planners may not have foreseen those worries, but within a matter of hours, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was addressing the vital but arguably obscure topic in one of that night's many press conferences. The insulin issue had trickled up the command chain thanks to a service Bloomberg started: the 311 line.

311 ... may well be the most radical enhancement of urban information management since the invention of the census, and it promises to make urban centers into more livable spaces.

[ Operators are Standing By, Wired Magazine, November 2004 ]

...
       Continue reading "311 Citizen Services"

311 Citizen Services ( in category News & Information , SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 20 Nov, 12:07 Pacific

Friday November 19, 2004

Treasures 2004_46

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_46"

Treasures 2004_46 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 19 Nov, 22:30 Pacific

Thursday November 18, 2004

Company Potluck

The Company hosted a pre-Thanksgiving potluck tonight after work from 5 to 7 pm,. Families were invited. Several people brought their kids. There were candles on each table, floating in bowls of water. There was a lot of food. The company supplied two (whole) turkeys, two hams, beverages and paper products. People brought sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, appetizers, and a whole bunch of yummy deserts.

I introduced Rich to a bunch of people I work with. He had a nice chat with one of my co-workers about X Windows and Linux ;-) I'm very pleased that the company decided to do such a nice little informal party and that they invited families.

Company Potluck ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 18 Nov, 21:27 Pacific

Tuesday November 16, 2004

Marshmallows???

After we got in from the hot tub tonight, and were sitting cooling down in the sunroom, I heard noises. A raccoon was out on the deck patting at the sunroom door!

I went over and knelt down on the floor and looked out at him. He thought that was fun. Then I saw a second one coming down the fence (by the gate) as if down a ladder. Unfortunately, his feet had slipped off the last "rung" and he was hanging there, about 8" from the deck, not quite sure how far down it was! After a bit he managed to get a footing and came down. Then he came over and looked in the window at me!

Bebop came over and looked at the raccoons too. Ooh. What are those?

Rich said they must be saying "marshmallows?", so I went up and got some marshmallows, peanuts, and dog biscuits and went out on the upper back porch. ...
       Continue reading "Marshmallows???"

Marshmallows??? ( in category Nature/Cats , Treasures ) - posted at Tue, 16 Nov, 23:45 Pacific

Monday November 15, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 8 - Nov 14)

We are still enjoying our new rugs ;-)


It was a slow week...

Nothing of record really happened between Monday and Friday. Mostly, I worked. I came home. I read. I went to bed.


Tuesday was my second week for Junior Achievement. This activity was... not well designed. I plan to start reworking the activities from now on.


We had a Benefits presentation at The Company on Monday. I thought it could have been better organized. All of the most important information (e.g. how to enroll, what is the deadline for enrollment) was at the very end.


Rich's brother and his family were in the North Bay for a brief visit so Rich drove up to Forestville on Friday to see his friends who live there and to meet his brother for the day.


I spent much of Saturday trying to debug SpamAssassin (the anti-spam email filter we use).

I also put together a weblog for a friend of ours.


Sunday was spent reading or napping, both activities in the presence of feline balls of fur. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 8 - Nov 14)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Nov 8 - Nov 14) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 15 Nov, 00:02 Pacific

Saturday November 13, 2004

Treasures 2004_45

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_45"

Treasures 2004_45 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 13 Nov, 09:44 Pacific

Thursday November 11, 2004

Why not use spoons?

There's an anecdote from The Depression era...

A man is walking past a construction site where dozens of men are digging with shovels. He asks the foreman "Why don't you use a backhoe for this? It would take less time and cost less money."

The foreman shakes his head. "That may be true, but it would put all of these men out of work."

"Ah", says the other man, "If you just want to give them work, why not have them use spoons?"

The same story, with slight variations, is told of other times and places. I found one that placed it in China.

I thought of this today at the Job. As I came across the parking lot, a man was out with the leaf blower. He's there most mornings at about the same time. ...
       Continue reading "Why not use spoons?"

Why not use spoons? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 11 Nov, 18:45 Pacific

Monday November 08, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Nov 1 - Sun Nov 7)

Autumn is more than half over. It's November already. Thanksgiving is the end of this month. Yikes.


There's been more light when I wake up. That's the only positive thing about Daylight Spending Time.


I wandered down to Target at lunchtime on the 1st. They didn't have any of the furry Elmo costumes I saw last week and didn't buy but they did have a Sully costume (no face) — a big fuzzy blue and purple thing. I plan to sew the gloves onto the wrists, close the face and bottom of the feet, give him eyes and a nose and stuff him. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Nov 1 - Sun Nov 7)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Nov 1 - Sun Nov 7) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 08 Nov, 23:09 Pacific

Sunday November 07, 2004

It also Makes Toast

As we were walking through Bed, Bath, and Beyond the other day, I happened upon a nice little appliance. It's a combination microwave toaster oven. Neat!

A Google search indicates that Samsung introduced the first of these combo units in May of 2002. Now Rival and Sharp both have them; I like the look of the Sharp, as well as the name &#151 Warm & Toasty. Besides, we've been very pleased with our Sharp convection microwave. We hardly use the regular oven at all any more. ...
       Continue reading "It also Makes Toast"

It also Makes Toast ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 07 Nov, 20:27 Pacific

Saturday November 06, 2004

Treasures 2004_44

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_44"

Treasures 2004_44 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 06 Nov, 13:41 Pacific

Wednesday November 03, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 25 - Sun Oct 31)

It was a pretty week.


I managed to break Movable Type (my weblog engine) late last week, so I upgraded to the new release. That started me down a path of snafus and frustration. The good news — the new release comes with tech support! I've been taking advantage of that Tech Support!

I started with server errors and difficulty logging in. Then, when I finally got those fixed, it turned out the upgrade script had not, in fact, upgraded some of my data files. :-( It took till Tuesday of this week to get everything back into working order (and a few things are still FUBAR. :(

At least I can post; that's a good thing! I've been posting some back-dated entries that had to wait during the "down" period. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 25 - Sun Oct 31)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 25 - Sun Oct 31) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 03 Nov, 00:05 Pacific

Tuesday November 02, 2004

Did you vote?

There are just over 5 hours left to vote in California. If the polls everywhere are open till 8, they close on the east coast in 2 hours.

Roseisrose20041102

Our polling place is (now) at the school across the street. I walked over at 7:15 this morning, then went to the Job.

Did you vote? ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Tue, 02 Nov, 14:58 Pacific

Monday November 01, 2004

50 thousand words in only 30 days?

Did you ever think you wanted to write a novel? Has it always sounded like something that would take too much time? How about 175 pages in one month?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
...
       Continue reading "50 thousand words in only 30 days?"

50 thousand words in only 30 days? ( in category Books, Movies, Music , News & Information ) - posted at Mon, 01 Nov, 21:48 Pacific

Sunday October 31, 2004

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Happy Halloween

Heart's Gladness is... Halloween Memories

Anibat1-5 My sister and I never wore "store-bought" costumes for Halloween (those stiff nylon things with plastic masks). Our mother was a consummate seamstress and a very creative person (she's still creative although I don't think she sews much anymore). Our costumes were always home-made and definitely creative.

One year I was an... I'm not sure what she was exactly... but I was a little round lady in a red and white polka dotted dress, with a mob cap and a frilly parasol. Whatever she was, I loved her dearly and played dressup in the costume for years after.

Frank1-6 One year I was Frankenstein's monster; the monster was about 7 feet tall. His monster's head was made from a KFC bucket, covered in white paper and colored green, with eyes and hair made from construction paper (and ears that stuck out!). I held a crosspiece of 2x2 wood which wore the monster's shirt (a stuffed sweatshirt of my Dad's, with stuffed arms). I also wore a pair of my Dad's pants (belted just under my arms) and pair of his shoes. The trick-or-treat bag was attached to the monster's hands (in stuffed gloves). I could barely see, looking down at my feet beyond the hem of the shirt and my sister, dressed as Igor, guided me around. It was a great costume. ...
       Continue reading "Ghosts of Halloweens Past"

Ghosts of Halloweens Past ( in category Retrospectoscope , Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 31 Oct, 21:36 Pacific

Friday October 29, 2004

Treasures 2004_43

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_43"

Treasures 2004_43 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 29 Oct, 12:37 Pacific

Tuesday October 26, 2004

Around the Bay Area in 90 days

We've had our Scion XB for 90 days and just over 3000 miles now and I still love it! It's a cute little car and soooo comfortable.

It's averaging about 27 mpg - not quite the advertised 32, but not too shabby. It's fun to drive and easy to park. The other night we drove it into the City and parked in a space between two driveways. We weren't sure we would fit but we did (with 6 inches to spare)!

I've had a few more people ask about it. I tell them to try one. Sit in it. Take a test drive. You may be convinced the same way we were.

Around the Bay Area in 90 days ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 26 Oct, 20:42 Pacific

Monday October 25, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 18 - Sun Oct 24)

The early part of the week was still rainy. I think we may have gotten safely out of fire season for this year.


This was my first week to work at home in the afternoons. My HR representative came through and approval was granted. I can work at home every afternoon. Yeay!


Tuesday we had a Junior Achievement presentation at noon. I've decided to play. I'll do 2nd grade.

Dinner at an Italian restaurant we discovered in the City a few months back. We shared two delightful salads (I learned that I like figs!) and a wonderful veal chop. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 18 - Sun Oct 24)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 18 - Sun Oct 24) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 25 Oct, 01:35 Pacific

Saturday October 23, 2004

Treasures 2004_40

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_40"

Treasures 2004_40 - posted at Sat, 23 Oct, 00:05 Pacific

Wednesday October 20, 2004

TV-B-Gone

Several of the restaurants we patronize regularly have televisions going - our favorite diner, the burrito place, one of the Chinese places, the Japanese restaurant (that one's at the far end of the sushi bar and more difficult to see). I often find myself watching (especially the one at the diner). I don't want to... not really. But I get sucked in by the colors and motion.

You're staring at a piece of furniture!

People on TV are not your friends. They're not in the room with you. You are alone in the dark, staring at a plastic box. Think about it. This is like a science fiction horror story; but it's really happening. People have stopped living as humans and connected themselves to machines instead.

Does this happen to you? Do you wish you could just turn it off?

Now you can :-) ...
       Continue reading "TV-B-Gone"

TV-B-Gone ( in category News & Information , SciTech ) - posted at Wed, 20 Oct, 17:44 Pacific

Monday October 18, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 11 - Sun Oct 17)

It was a warm week. Warm is nice but occasionally the weather bordered on hot, with ind, and I don't like that, especially in October. October is fire month in California.


On Monday, Rich joined me for lunch. We had a picnic in the little park about a block from the Job. Rich brought a sub sandwich and a couple of thermoses of cream of celery soup. It was a nice picnic (however, I had to beg some paper towels from a couple of mothers who were far better prepared for their picnic than I was for ours!).

Monday night, after dinner, we stopped by Baskin Robbins. Ooooooo. They had pumpkin pie ice cream! I bought a quart to take home. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 11 - Sun Oct 17)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon. Oct 11 - Sun Oct 17) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 18 Oct, 13:02 Pacific

Saturday October 16, 2004

Treasures 2004_42

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_42"

Treasures 2004_42 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 16 Oct, 09:16 Pacific

Thursday October 14, 2004

Konfabulous

I have discovered a delightful new desktop toy for my Mac. It's called Konfabulator. Konfabulator is "whatever you want it to be".

Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine for Mac OS X that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to. Widgets can be alarm clocks, calculators, can tell you your AirPort signal strength, will fetch the latest stock quotes for your preferred symbols, and even give your current local weather.
...
       Continue reading "Konfabulous"

Konfabulous ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 14 Oct, 22:01 Pacific

Tuesday October 12, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 4 - Sun Oct 10)

After a lot of effort (and completely replacing Palm Desktop with Apple's iSync and The Missing Sync (Mark/Space), I finally got my new Kyocera handheld to sync! The "missing" piece appears to have been that I needed a newer and better USB hub.


We had a fire drill at The Company on Tuesday. That horn is brutal! It's also 3 feet (horizontally) and 3 ft (vertically) from my head. Ouch!

In other Job-related news, I met with our HR manager. She's confident that she can resolve my telecommuting difficulties. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 4 - Sun Oct 10)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Oct 4 - Sun Oct 10) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 12 Oct, 01:18 Pacific

Sunday October 10, 2004

It's Art! Who cares if it's misspelled?

Well, some of us do...

Misspelled1

A colorful mosaic gracing the entrance of Livermore's new library is of a genre known as naïve art because of its whimsical design and childlike nature.

Maybe that explains why 11 of the 175 names and words on the piece are misspelled -- from "Eistein" and "Shakespere" to "Van Gough" and "Michaelangelo.
[ San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, October 8, 2004 ]

Ouch. ...
       Continue reading "It's Art! Who cares if it's misspelled?"

It's Art! Who cares if it's misspelled? ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 10 Oct, 14:57 Pacific

Saturday October 09, 2004

Treasures 2004_41

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_41"

Treasures 2004_41 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 09 Oct, 15:44 Pacific

Tuesday October 05, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 27 - Sun Oct 3)

Autumn days. Autumn nights. Fog on the car windows in the mornings. Blue skies in the afternoons.


Another quiet week. Not much going on. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 27 - Sun Oct 3)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 27 - Sun Oct 3) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 05 Oct, 23:49 Pacific

Saturday October 02, 2004

Treasures 2004_40

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_40"

Treasures 2004_40 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 02 Oct, 12:57 Pacific

Tuesday September 28, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 20 - Sun Sept 26)

The mornings are darker. The days are shorter. The prettiest time of day is 3 in the afternoon. I often go for a short walk at that time, just to get out of the building and out in the air.


It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone... ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 20 - Sun Sept 26)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Mon Sept 20 - Sun Sept 26) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 28 Sep, 20:47 Pacific

Sunday September 26, 2004

New Cell phones

My very first cell phone was an early Motorola, purchased in 1993. It had an LED display, if I recall correctly. For the day, it was one of the smallest available. I replaced that a few years later with a (smaller) Ericson phone with LCD display. Then a few years after that, a Motorola StarTac, purchased shortly after the StarTac was released. I loved the little form factor and the great dial-from-memory interface.

It didn't take long to convince Spouse to get a StarTac too. This was the first phone he was willing to consider carrying on occasion. So, for quite a few years, we've had a pair of StarTacs. We've seen all the snazzy new phones, but the StarTacs still worked and they were small. Why upgrade again?

Recently, however, one of the StarTacs stopped working reliably out of town. I thought perhaps it was having difficulty reaching an Analog cell. Actually, that seems to be a good guess. It's an Analog only phone (not a dual mode) and apparently the Cellular providers are madly replacing the Analog cells with Digital. Time to upgrade.

So, today we went down to the Verizon store to see about replacing the phone. While we were there, we asked what it would cost to replace the other StarTac at the same time. ...
       Continue reading "New Cell phones"

New Cell phones ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 26 Sep, 22:01 Pacific

Friday September 24, 2004

Treasures 2004_39

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_39"

Treasures 2004_39 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 24 Sep, 12:14 Pacific

Tuesday September 21, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Sept 13 - Sunday Sept 19)

It's been distinctly autumnal. it's a bit cool in the mornings but what I notice most is the angle of the light. It just feels... like... fall. Not my favorite season, fall. It leads into winter which is my decidedly least favorite season. Ugh.


I worked from home on Tuesday. I had approval from my senior director (the person I report to) for me to start working from home two days a week. It was wonderful. It took a little while to get everything connected but then I did nine and a half hours without once feeling like I had to "get away". I planned to work at home again on Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, I made a seriously stupidly naive mistake and notified the company of my new schedule so that people could find me if they needed to. It never occurred to me to keep things secret. I don't much care for secrets anyway.

Dumb. Dumb. DUMB.

At 4:35 on Wednesday afternoon (5 minutes after I should have left for home but hadn't done so yet) my same senior director came in and informed me that my work at home plan was summarily cancelled. I was fubar'd.

So, Thursday I did not work at home. Thursday I worked with gritted teeth. Thursday passed very slowly.

Friday a co-worker commented that he'd like to telecommute. I told him my story. He expressed shock, disbelief and sympathy and suggested I not give up on the idea. I'm not giving up. I can't give up.

Friday I left work an hour early to visit the chiropractor. Stress knots up my neck something awful. If anything interesting happened on either Thursday or Friday I missed it... :-( ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Sept 13 - Sunday Sept 19)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Sept 13 - Sunday Sept 19) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 21 Sep, 18:57 Pacific

Saturday September 18, 2004

Treasures 2004_38

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_38"

Treasures 2004_38 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 18 Sep, 11:38 Pacific

Thursday September 16, 2004

Working Here, Working There

I worked from home on Tuesday. I got a lot done. I put in nine and a half hours without noticing. I didn't feel the need to "get up, get out, and get away". It was quiet. There were no distractions.

I got work done. I was productive. I felt relaxed. It was wonderful.

I had planned to work from home again today. I had hoped to make working from home a regular part of my schedule.

Unfortunately, there was a sinkhole in my road to productive off site work and I walked right into it. I made a fatal political error. I announced my intentions.

Bad move. ...
       Continue reading "Working Here, Working There"

Working Here, Working There ( in category Random Thoughts , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 16 Sep, 18:01 Pacific

Wednesday September 15, 2004

We Didn't Buy It For Its Looks

scionred Although, to be honest, it draws the eye. :-)

Yesterday as I walked out of the grocery store to my car, I was behind another shopper. As he passed behind our Scion XB (about 10 feet in front of me) he turned slightly, looked at it, and pronounced "That sure is an ugly car".

I exclaimed "No it's not! It's cute!". He had the grace to look embarrassed and say "I didn't realize it was yours and you were right behind me."

But he stopped and I said "Seriously, it has a lot going for it. It has about 4 inches more head room than most cars and visibility to spare. And it's got a lot of legroom for the rear passengers. It's nice to drive too."

He agreed on the headroom (he said he bumps his head in his car). He also agreed that visibility is a good thing; he said he'd tried a Dodge Magnum and it was extremely comfortable but had essentially no visibility.

I agreed that the Scion is funny looking, mentioning that Rich has said that if we were buying a car for its looks we wouldn't have bought this one. I also mentioned that Rich says the Scion looks like "the box the car came in".

I guess I did a good sales job because the last thing the man said as we parted was "I'll have to get my wife down to try one out..."

We Didn't Buy It For Its Looks ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 15 Sep, 07:14 Pacific

Tuesday September 14, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sept 6 - Sept 12)

Monday was Labor Day. To celebrate Labor, we don't work :-) I discovered (from reading "For Better or For Worse", one of my favorite comic strips) that it was also Labor Day in Canada.

Earlier in the day, my Mom had suggested that we drive north to Petaluma to a barbeque restaurant we all like, but that seemed like a lot of driving and potential traffic (and besides, I was sleepy). So I took a nap. When I woke up again at 3:30 , driving north for barbeque sounded a lot better so we did that. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sept 6 - Sept 12)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sept 6 - Sept 12) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 14 Sep, 00:10 Pacific

Monday September 13, 2004

(Inter)national Chocolate Day

September 13 is International Chocolate Day. September 18th is National Chocolate Day. Celebrate with the chocolate of your choice... I prefer a nice smooth semi-sweet.

If you like a hint of coffee with your chocolate, try a bit of a Seattle Chocolates Pike Place Espresso Truffle bar - yummmmmmmmmmm.

(Inter)national Chocolate Day ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 13 Sep, 21:46 Pacific

Sunday September 12, 2004

Cooking for Engineers

I recently discovered a new site (thanks to slashdot, via Rich) called Cooking for Engineers. The site owner, Michael Chu, describes the site thusly:

The recipes that are listed as "Recipe File" are the recipes that I use when I want to make a particular dish. "Recipe Test" are recipes that have been recommended to me or I have come across that I test and don't necessary stand behind. Some of the "Recipe File" recipes are my own recipes or have been passed down to me and "perfected". Others are not, but the source is credited (see Basic Pancakes or Lemon Bars for some examples).

This website was started because I needed a repository for cooking info that I wanted to refer to as well as some of my favorite recipes. I used to keep all this information on my Palm through the Memo Pad application. Unfortunately, I was synchronizing Memo Pad with my laptop (on Outlook) and discovered that after three months our Exchange server deletes old Outlook Notes. So, exactly three months after synchronizing all my recipes, they all got deleted and on the next synch, were consequently removed from my Palm. I've been reinventing some recipes and looking of other since and decided to put them online.

The recipe Rich pointed me to is one for tiramisu. Tiramisu has been called the "Barry Manilow of deserts" but it's one of my favorites. It's a bit different in every incarnation and at every restaurant where I've eaten it, but it's almost always delicious no matter how it's prepared. If you also love tiramisu, be sure to read all of the comments on the recipe posting. ...
       Continue reading "Cooking for Engineers"

Cooking for Engineers ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 12 Sep, 14:12 Pacific

Saturday September 11, 2004

The Return of Stuart Katt!

I'm a big fan of Stuart Katt, stuartkattshirt a large, stripey, lino-block art feline I discovered many years ago. I have several t-shirts, a tote bag, and a set of greeting cards featuring the irrepressible and irresistible tabby. Some of my favorites in the series are "Cat Wants In / Cat Wants Out" (a double-print t-shirt), "Cat and Friends on Stairs" (the "friends" being cat toys) and "Cat Wants People Food" (in this case, that would be the roasted turkey).

Periodically, I'd do a web search, looking for signs of Stuart... Until recently, there was nothing to find. In fact, judging from the comments posted to one of my previous weblog entries which mentioned one of my t-shirts (right), I've been generating the most hits. The comments also show that and Stuart is well-loved and sought-after by his loyal fans.

Well, guess who did a web search and found me?! A couple of days ago, I received an unexpected note from Stuart's artist, Philip Dingman. (Isn't the Web a wonderful place!).

I have excellent news for all Stuart Katt fans — Mr. Dingman will be letting the Katt out of the bag once again! He even promises.. books! Oooooooooh.

I hope you'll join the Stuart "fan club" when the Katt comes back. Keep watch at www.philipdingman.com/stuartkatt.htm. I can hardly wait.

>^..^<

katt small

The Return of Stuart Katt! ( in category News & Information , Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 11 Sep, 11:27 Pacific

Friday September 10, 2004

Treasures 2004_37

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_37"

Treasures 2004_37 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 10 Sep, 22:18 Pacific

Wednesday September 08, 2004

f u cn rd ths

International Literacy Day, observed September 8 and at events throughout the week, focuses attention on worldwide literacy issues and needs. It is estimated that 860 million of the world’s adults do not know how to read or write (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) and that more than 100 million children lack access to education.

To find out more about International Literacy Day, see the pages at reading.org or un.org.

Celebrate International Literacy Day. Read a book today... and every day!

f u cn rd ths ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Wed, 08 Sep, 17:00 Pacific

Monday September 06, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept 5 )


The week started out cool but heated up again by Friday. Saturday was a real scorcher.


Mom & Dad spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Arizona and Nevada, returning to San Bruno on Tueday evening. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept 5 )"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept 5 ) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 06 Sep, 22:50 Pacific

Sunday September 05, 2004

Bet Me

Jennifer Crusie has done it again. Bet Me is as fun to read as Faking It (although I think I'm slightly more fond of Davey Dempsey). Once again, the dialogue sparkles, the descriptions are snappy and well-put, and the people are real. You'd recognize everyone if you met them.

Minerva Dobbs (her mother wanted a goddess) is an actuary. She knows all the odds. Calvin Morrissey also knows the odds. He's a betting man but not a gambler (gamblers loses 50% of the time). Cal never loses a bet.

When Min's ex-boyfriend bets Cal he can't "get her out of that gray checked suit in a month" and Min overhears just enough to be dangerous (but not quite enough to know the full story), the plot gets rolling. Over the ensuing weeks, we meet Cal's 8-year old nephew, Harrison (Harry), Min's soon-to-be-married sister Diana, Min's and Cal's scheming exes, and an assortment of family and friends on both sides. On the way to the happy ending, Fate takes a hand, tossing in a stray cat, Krispy Kreme donuts, kid's baseball, Chicken Marsala, and lot of carbs.

This was a book I hated to see end. Spouse and self both enjoyed it immensely. If you like snappy writing, great characters, and a fun plot in the setting of a contemporary "romantic comedy" — read this book.

Bet Me ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 05 Sep, 23:50 Pacific

Saturday September 04, 2004

Pramoxine

Today I came up with a theory that fit the facts, then looked up some references that supported the theory. Cool!

At dinner today I noticed a red area on my arm around a small scratch I got a couple of nights ago. Neither the red area nor the scratch hurt particularly. It's not infected. It looked almost like a bit of light sunburn.

We were out in the sun today for about an hour and the red patch was... hmmm, about the size, shape, and diameter from the scratch of the or=inrmtnet I had applied that morning. I wondered...

So I did a web search for the antibiotic ointment - Neosporin, containing neomycin, bacitracin, and polymixin. I found a useful page that told me there were "no problems expected" from sun exposure. Hmmm. ...
       Continue reading "Pramoxine"

Pramoxine ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry , SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 04 Sep, 22:30 Pacific

Friday September 03, 2004

Treasures 2004_36

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_36"

Treasures 2004_36 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 03 Sep, 23:35 Pacific

Tuesday August 31, 2004

Back to School

The school across the street started the 2004/5 school year today. Some schools in the state started a week or more ago. This seems very early to me; when I was a kid, we didn't start till after Labor Day. In fact, the school system I went through (in State College, PA) still starts the day after Labor Day.

Several people were talking about this at the Company Where I Work today. We all remembered starting later when we were kids.

In honor of the occasion (across the street if not in Central Pennsylvania) I thought today would be appropriate to respond to a web meme from a few months ago. This was posted in the Saturday Slant on May 1, 2004:

You’ve been offered a full college/university grant, all expenses paid, for the school and study program of your choice. You can go to any school, anywhere, and study anything you want, without a single cent out of pocket for education, materials, or cost of living. Would you take the offer? Where would you go? What would you learn? Would you pursue a course of study related to your current occupation, or would you explore something all together new? Get your pencils and notebooks, let’s go back to school.
...
       Continue reading "Back to School"

Back to School ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry , Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 31 Aug, 16:42 Pacific

Monday August 30, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29)

As I type this, two soft balls of fluff relax nearby... the 40-pound marshmallow (aka the 20-pound pink Maine Coon) is sprawled tummy up on my desk. The Big Red Cat is by my elbow in "his place".

The weather has been interesting this week. It was cool and foggy until Thursday. Thursday through Saturday it was hot; it was 85 F in the kitchen (and 101 on the screenporch (with the windows open)) on Friday! The cats avoided the screenporch and hunted cooler climes... Sunday, it started to cool down again; we saw wisps of fog to the northwest in the afternoon. At least our heatwaves rarely last more than a few days.


I've been getting in to The Job by 7:30 am. I can do it and it gives me a good hour and a half before anyone else shows up; it also gives me the opportunity to head out earlier or run an errand and not feel like I've shortchanged the project.


We had dinner at one of our local Mexican restaurants on Monday night. They have great chile verde. Unfortunately, they also have a waitress with an attitude. On any given night, her English is proportional to her mood. She must have been in a pretty sour mood on Monday night. :-(

I ordered my usual dinner — a chile verde super burrito, wet, and a side of chile verde, ala carte, no rice, no beans. I got a chile verde super burrito, wet, no rice, no beans. It was good but strange... kinda ... narrow. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 23 - Sunday Aug 29) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 30 Aug, 22:02 Pacific

Saturday August 28, 2004

Not So Friendly Skies

I don't fly much anymore (hey; I don't travel if I can help it). But I used to fly at least twice a year — to conferences, mostly, and sometimes to visit relatives. I can remember at least half a dozen times that we called the airline the day before we were supposed to fly home and changed our flight (usually to fly home earlier). The only hassle was making the phone call and sitting on "hold for a few minutes.

Those days seem to be gone, at least if you fly USAir.

My parents flew into San Francisco on Thursday night. The plan was that they'd fly back out (to Las Vegas) on Saturday, to visit my mother's sister for a few days, then return to SFO and stay with us for a week. So far so good and they did fly to Las Vegas on Saturday. But there was a glitch in the plans. ...
       Continue reading "Not So Friendly Skies"

Not So Friendly Skies ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 28 Aug, 22:57 Pacific

Friday August 27, 2004

Treasures 2004_35

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_35"

Treasures 2004_35 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Fri, 27 Aug, 21:58 Pacific

Wednesday August 25, 2004

Envying Snow White

Do you recall the scene in Snow White where she's singing and the bird comes and sits on her hand and they do a duet?

We have a bird feeder in our back yard. I filled it this evening and the birds were delighted. Sparrows, finches, a happy chickadee (who landed at the feeder and chirped at me just after I filled it) and even two nuthatches. They all visited again and again while I watched, after I came inside. Nuthatches are adorable; they hang head down from the wire around the feeder.

Behind the building where I work, there are little Oregon juncoes. I see them every day, flitting about. They're very cute with their little black hoods and russet vests.

When I was younger, we knew some people who had tamed the chickadees aorund their property. They could call them and feed them out of hand. Even I could feed chickadees that way when I was with them. Wow.

I want to be like Snow White. I want the little brown birds to come and sit on my fingers. That would be such fun!

Envying Snow White ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 25 Aug, 17:47 Pacific

Monday August 23, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22)

The weather has been mostly warm this week. It even got hot in the car one day! I moved the car to a shadier part of the parking lot.


Rich was out of town last Thursday - the weekend but he got home in time for supper Monday night. Our favorite diner had Mahi Mahi (the one fish I'll eat an entire plate of). Poor Rich had managed to crack his knee on a rock on Saturday; it took him longer to get home because he kept stopping to walk around and loosen his sore knee. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 16 - Sunday Aug 22) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 23 Aug, 18:11 Pacific

Sunday August 22, 2004

Treasures 2004_34

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_34"

Treasures 2004_34 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 22 Aug, 12:08 Pacific

Saturday August 21, 2004

Sing a Song for Kitty

It didn't seem like such a weird question, especially considering that I was asking people at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, a center of pet obsession. At Point Isabel, 21 acres of off- leash dog park, the value of pet accessories exceeds the gross national product of Lithuania, and half the cars in the parking lot sport "Dog Is My Co-Pilot" bumper stickers. So I was a little surprised when people nervously edged away from me, as if I were asking about a perversion.

But, honestly, what is so very weird about singing to your pet? I will fess up first. I happen to sing a new and improved version of "Que Sera Sera" to the dog. I know it's fantastic because everyone who hears it cringes in paroxysms of jealous agony. Surely, others as musically gifted as I provide amusement to friends and family by serenading their pets.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association's Ninth Annual Pet Owner Survey, about 65 percent of pet owners sing and/or dance before their pets, but park patrons were declaring that oh, no, they would never act so weird! Sorry, but when you refer to yourself as "Fifi's mommy" or "Madison's daddy," I'll bet real money that you're doing the macarena in the kitchen for your multilegged companion.

[ excerpt from Dog Ditties , the lead article for the Home & Garden section in the Saturday, August 21 SF Chronicle.]

...
       Continue reading "Sing a Song for Kitty"

Sing a Song for Kitty ( in category News & Information , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 21 Aug, 21:29 Pacific

Friday August 20, 2004

TGIF 2

The problem with a Full Time Job (especially one outside the house) is that there's so little time left over for Real Life. Sigh.

I make myself little notes throughout the day of things I want to remember to do that evening (or some evening) or the coming weekend. Then, when I get home, none of those things seem very important or urgent anymore. My primary interests when I get home are cats, nap, book... maybe I'll check my email. Sometimes I have an iChat with my Dad. I try to get in at least a half mile on the treadmill. I do laundry some afternoons... And of course, then Rich comes home and we figure out what to do about dinner.

My favorite evening activity is sitting on our La-Z-Boy couch in the living room with Rich on the matching La-Z-Boy chair across the room. We each have our feet up; we each have a book to read.

If we're lucky, we each have a cat. If we're really lucky, one of us will get two cats!

Although Mezzaluna does tend to disturb the reading (that book is in my way. Pet me; I'm here!), still, I look forward to her gracing me with her fluffy presence. I get a little less reading done but I feel better for it.

Tonight all six of us were in the living room. Rich and I were reading. Bebop was melted into the opposite corner of the couch. Raven was on the table by the window (just past my elbow). Mezzaluna was upside down on her favorite end table. Squirrel was sogged into the remaining armchair. Now That's what I call a Good Night at Home with Family.

TGIF 2 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 20 Aug, 23:55 Pacific

Thursday August 19, 2004

How Many Carbs in Baklava?

The Company I work for does a lunch meeting three Thursdays a month. They bring in "takeout" food for 100 people. The quality... varies ;-) and it's usually all tepid, but I have found that I can usually find some combination of things to eat. There's almost always more than enough food, so the leftovers are brought back up to the break room where people continue to pass through and help themselves throughout the afternoon.

Today's lunch was from a Mediterranean place called Ali Baba that's fairly popular among my co-workers. Not only does The Company get the Thursday lunch from here about once every 6 weeks but there have been several smaller lunch meetings that have had food from Ali Baba. I agree that this is one of the better choices. The restaurant produces a pretty good hummous, decent tabouleh, passable chunks of lamb and chicken., some unidentifiable things that other people seem to like.. and Truly Wonderful Baklava (your choice: walnut or pistachio). There is always plenty of food and there is always Baklava left over.

My cubicle is in a smaller room just off the break room. I have to pass through the break room to get anywhere else in the building.

It's a good thing that The Company doesn't get lunch from Ali Baba's more often. I have a particular fondness for good Baklava.

How Many Carbs in Baklava? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 19 Aug, 23:38 Pacific

Monday August 16, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15)

Rich has been out of town for much of this week, first visiting friends and then visiting his Dad. So the cats and I have been on our own. Much reading has been done along with much napping and cat snuggling.


The weather has been sunny and warm in the middle of the day, bracketed by fog in the early morning and late evening. That's summer in Beautiful Bay Area California. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday Aug 9 - Sunday Aug 15) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 16 Aug, 20:49 Pacific

Sunday August 15, 2004

The Official Sandra Boynton Website

I just love the drawings of Sandra Boynton; I've loved her since 1975! I never throw away any calendars or greeting cards she's designed (and I buy Boynton greeting cards just for me, to keep!).

AUT_2083We have two Boynton stuffytoy hippies, George and Martha, on the headboard of our bed. (George and Martha are named after the titular characters in a children's book by another author/illustrator, James Marshall).

I am therefore especially pleased to discover as well as to announce that there is an Official Sandra Boynton Web Site. Books and plushies are available for your own family to adopt! (Decisions, decisions :-)

Be sure to visit the No-Mind Entertainment page which offers "two portals into hitherto unexplored territory. Behind these doors there are for you unfathomable experiences — although, we regret to say, you will find no ladies, tigers, or major appliances."

sandraboyntonlink
The Official Sandra Boynton Website ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 15 Aug, 11:06 Pacific

Saturday August 14, 2004

Treasures 2004_33

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_33"

Treasures 2004_33 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 14 Aug, 13:22 Pacific

Friday August 13, 2004

TGIF

I like the Job. If I must work outside the house, this is a good job to have. Still, I'm happy to see Friday afternoon roll around! Time for myself is very important to my sanity and stability. ...
       Continue reading "TGIF"

TGIF ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 13 Aug, 17:54 Pacific

Wednesday August 11, 2004

Squishy Squashy Squooshy

pillows Have you tried a huggable therapy pillow yet? They're meant to be hugged... and hugging them feels good!

Pillows come in different sizes, from small to large. They're made by several different companies. All have have brightly colored, satiny, spandex covers. They're filled with microbeads and they are sooooo huggable.

The Sharper Image carries a brand called HugOO; there's also a sleep mask in the same material.

I bought a primary red, tubular Homedics Squish, the other night at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It was in a bin with a bunch of "square" , mpillows of the same fabric and feel.

I liked the tubular one best. So did the cashier; I almost couldn't get it back from her! She kept hugging it. :-)

Squishy Squashy Squooshy ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 11 Aug, 22:26 Pacific

Tuesday August 10, 2004

A Taste of Summer

August is peach season, the time when peaches are at their peak of perfection. Our local grocery store gets incredible "local" peaches every August - huge, sweet, juicy and delicious. We buy these as often as we can until the season ends.

August is also a popular vacation month. When I was growing up, my family took our vacation during the last two weeks of August. From the year I was five, for thirteen years, we spent that time at a friend's cabin in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York. We swam, we hunted toadyfrogs in the back yard, we watched stars... and we ate fresh, ripe tomatoes and corn on the cob and peaches.

Last night I had a perfect peach (with just a small dollop of vanilla ice cream). In that first bite, I found myself transported suddenly across space and time, to another bowl of peaches with a dollop of vanilla ice cream... at a friend's cabin in the Adirondacks, in upstate New York.

A Taste of Summer ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 10 Aug, 20:00 Pacific

Monday August 09, 2004

Well Oriented

I am now, officially, a well oriented regular FTE. Today I attended 6 hours of orientation. Parts of the day were interesting; I learned a few things about the Company that I didn't yet know. We were given several small presentations.

The Company likes to put everyone through orientation (even people who've been onsite as contractors for 3 months :-) simply because they figure there may be one or two things someone has missed by coming in "diagonalwise". It's not such a bad idea. Now I'm "up to speed" and also ahead a bit.

Well Oriented ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 09 Aug, 22:25 Pacific

Sunday August 08, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 )

The weather has been pretty nice during the days this week; there's been fog in the evenings. We drove up to Joe's of Westlake in Colma one night and got to use the foglights on the Scion. That stretch of freeway can be nasty in the fog., foglights or no foglights.


I "solved" a problem I've been having with the Safari web browser; I couldn't select from certain form menus. I still don't know what was causing the problem but I made it go away. I pulled out my Library folder and put things back a few at a time. When I was done the problem was gone and there were a "invisible" dot files (including the .DS_Store file) left. I'm pretending they aren't there. At this point I don't care what caused the problem so much as the fact that it's gone. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 )"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday Aug 2 - Sunday Aug 8 ) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 08 Aug, 22:02 Pacific

Saturday August 07, 2004

Treasures 2004_32

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_32"

Treasures 2004_32 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 07 Aug, 11:16 Pacific

Thursday August 05, 2004

Maybe if I Just Ate Half...

I walked by Carl's Jr. yesterday and saw their poster advertising the "Low-Carb breakfast bowl". It appears to be a sausage patty, folded egg, cheese and ... bacon? ... in a bowl. No potatoes, no bun. It looked pretty good.

Last night I looked it up on the web, if for no other reason than to see if that really was a sausage patty or a hamburger patty. I'm glad I looked! I don't expect to be trying one anytime soon. Not unless I can split it with one or two people. ...
       Continue reading "Maybe if I Just Ate Half..."

Maybe if I Just Ate Half... ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 05 Aug, 18:22 Pacific

Wednesday August 04, 2004

Honda Element

If the Scion XB is the offspring of a mini van and a sedan, the Honda Element is the child of an SUV and a small truck. Until this evening, I wasn't very impressed. I don't much like the styling on the Element and I think our Scion has more window. But, if you're the right kind of person, the Element has some very enticing features!

The one we saw this evening was parked in the handicapped access spot outside the restaurant where we had dinner. Rich wandered over to look at it. Our friend Gene and I followed. While we were making comparisons, the owner came out so we asked him how he likes it. He loves it. ...
       Continue reading "Honda Element"

Honda Element ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 04 Aug, 20:59 Pacific

Monday August 02, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2)

We got up Monday morning and went down to Joes for breakfast, then to CitiBank (where I waited in line for 15 minutes and then took another 15 getting a bank check). Then over to Melody Toyota where Alex the salesman had put a big bow on our new car (awww) and a sales manager was there to shake our hands, shepherd us through (the last of the) paperwork, and repeat over and over how terribly sorry he was that things went awry the day before. (We were supposed to pick up the car on Sunday but things got snafued). Miss Manners would have been very proud. I drove away in our new Scion XB a little before 10. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 26 - Sunday Aug 2) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 02 Aug, 09:56 Pacific

Saturday July 31, 2004

Treasures 2004_31

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_31"

Treasures 2004_31 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 31 Jul, 10:05 Pacific

Friday July 30, 2004

Last Day of Contract

Today was the last day of my second six-week contract at The Job. We won't be renewing again because on Monday I will become a salaried "permanent" FTE (Full Time Employee). Woo hoo.

I like the company, the people, and the Job (and if I have to drive to a Job, the commute could hardly be much better) so I asked for this. It took 6 weeks to accomplish everything necessary for the conversion but we got there.

Looking back through various entries, I don't seem to have ever really specified what kind of work I'm doing! This is an Internal Documentation position; I am the "Internal Technical Writer". That means that I have been writing, reviewing, and editing engineering design specs, intranet web pages, how-tos, and architecture overviews. I've also been on call to the "external" Tech Writer (the technical publications department) for help with writing, reviewing, proofreading, etc for the product user guide and release notes. Not much will change about the parameters of the Job, but I will be able to take on more speculative and long-term projects now. ...
       Continue reading "Last Day of Contract"

Last Day of Contract ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 30 Jul, 20:27 Pacific

Thursday July 29, 2004

Tasks

We've invested in a new piece of software. This is a web-based hierarchical to-do list manager called Tasks. I was especially pleased to see Tasks 2.0 mentioned on versiontracker (in the Mac OS X section) where it has received very good reviews.

Tasks is quite nice; you can try the demo. There's also a 30-day trial version you can load with actual data; if you buy the product ($29.95) you'll get your trial data to load in. The standard version is a one-user version; it you need multiple-user and group task support, there's a "Pro" version ($125).

The documentation is easy to follow, the author is responsive, and there's a support forum for users. The interface is pleasant to look at, clean, and easy to use. The author makes ample use of "tool tips" (little explanatory text block that appear when you hold the mouse over things). There's an included calendar and support for notes. All in all it's well thought out and well put together.

Tasks ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Thu, 29 Jul, 23:32 Pacific

Wednesday July 28, 2004

A Toy Car for Adults

Q. What do you get when you cross a sedan with a minivan?
A. A Scion XB

...
       Continue reading "A Toy Car for Adults"

A Toy Car for Adults ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 28 Jul, 23:00 Pacific

Monday July 26, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 19 - Saturday July 24 )

The weather has been alternatingly damp, grey, drizzly, clear, cool, and slightly humid. That's summer in San Bruno.


A "Sunny Express" Delivery truck was behind the Company earlier in the week (on one of the foggy days). As I walked by, I said to the driver "So, where's the Sun you're delivering?" He laughed. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 19 - Saturday July 24 )"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 19 - Saturday July 24 ) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 26 Jul, 22:47 Pacific

Sunday July 25, 2004

Inverse Femtobarns

Rich and I have learned a new unit of measurement - the inverse femtobarn.

What on earth is a "femtobarn," and what does it have to do with the amount of data an accelerator produces?

Rich picked up a copy of the Stanford Report, a daily Stanford newspaper. In the paper was an article entitled Understanding luminosity through 'barn', a unit that helps physicists count particle events.

A barn is the unit used by nuclear physicist for the size of an atomic nucleus of uranium.

The cross-sectional area of a uranium nucleus is about 10 -24 square centimeters, small on the human scale, but large compared with other atomic nuclei. "Femto" means a factor of 10-15: a thousandth of a millionth of a millionth. A femtobarn, then, is 10-39 square centimeters ­ an incomprehensibly small unit of area.

The term "barn" was coined by two physicists, M. G. Holloway and C. P. Parker, at Purdue University in December, 1942. ...
       Continue reading "Inverse Femtobarns"

Inverse Femtobarns ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 25 Jul, 20:58 Pacific

Saturday July 24, 2004

Treasures 2004-30

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004-30"

Treasures 2004-30 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 24 Jul, 10:27 Pacific

Friday July 23, 2004

Clothing Oragami

The friend who sent me the pointer to this little gem used the phrase "It is a big world...." ...
       Continue reading "Clothing Oragami"

Clothing Oragami ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 23 Jul, 17:17 Pacific

Thursday July 22, 2004

Spy vs. Spy 3D

MTDewSpy

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
-- Franklin P. Adams

I've always found new words this way, browsing the dictionary, looking up something else. Now, with the WWW I find all sorts of wonderful gems on the way to looking up something else.

Recently, while searching for ways to syntax-color code and turn it into web pages, I found a link to Ned Batchelder's blog and there, I also found this:

I saw a new TV commercial for Mountain Dew a few weeks ago, and was flabbergasted: it was the old Mad magazine "Spy vs. Spy" cartoon, translated into 3D. Bob Congdon found online copies of the ads. I think they've done a stellar job of capturing the feel of the cartoon, both in terms of the elemental plotting and violence, and the stripped-down black and white look of the strip. One of the ads ends "to be continued". I hope there will be more...
Thanks, Ned! ...
       Continue reading "Spy vs. Spy 3D"

Spy vs. Spy 3D ( in category News & Information , Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 22 Jul, 20:18 Pacific

Wednesday July 21, 2004

bloviate

A new word... and a marvelous quote.

bloviate (BLOH-vee-ayt) v. intr. Slang

Bloviate is from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.

Trivia: Bloviate is most closely associated with U.S. President Warren G. Harding, who used it frequently and who was known for long, windy speeches. H.L. Mencken said of him, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."

[ bloviate was Word of the Day on June 22, 2001 ] ...
       Continue reading "bloviate"

bloviate ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Wed, 21 Jul, 18:52 Pacific

Tuesday July 20, 2004

It's Physics

There's a joke about Science:
If it wiggles, it's Biology.
If it stinks, it's Chemistry.
If it doesn't work, it's Physics.
Perhaps to this we could add:
If you don't understand it, it's Quantum Physics.
...
       Continue reading "It's Physics"

It's Physics ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 20 Jul, 07:32 Pacific

Monday July 19, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 12 - Sunday July 18)

It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone...

The weather has been mostly pleasant with the occasional morning or evening fog. There have been a couple of truly spectacular sunsets as well this week.


We've placed an order for a Black Cherry Scion XB:-) We ordered the fog lights and the cargo cover but no other add-ons. We're not sure when the car will be delivered to San Brino. On Monday it was still on a ship in the Pacific, bound from Japan to Long Beach, CA. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 12 - Sunday July 18)"

Weekly Wrap-up ( Monday July 12 - Sunday July 18) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 19 Jul, 19:04 Pacific

Sunday July 18, 2004

Treasures 2004_29

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_29"

Treasures 2004_29 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 18 Jul, 16:11 Pacific

Saturday July 17, 2004

A Strange Dream

I had a strange dream two nights ago. That's hardly unusual. Many of my dreams are strange; they are nearly all very busy and very colorful, with high production values.

A friend and former co-worker was in this one, along with lots of other people. Although part of it was at a conference or trade show I can't recall if I knew any of the other people (on the waking side). This is also not unusual; my dreams have very full casts as well as fancy sets. I often wake from dreams thinking, "Who WERE all those people?!"

During at least part of this dream, I was aware that I was dreaming. Again, this is not unusual; in fact, lately this has been a fairly common occurrence for my. I generally cannot affect my dreams (I occasionally have tried) but I often know they are dreams. The result is rather akin to watching a movie. I know I'm watching (in this case, participating or playing a part). I can't change anything about it but the knowing alters the experience a bit.

The reason I mention all this is as background to the telling of one small piece (one scene if you will) during this particular night's dream. We were walking along and I turned to my friend and said "This is certainly a strange dream".

It made perfect sense at the time.

I sent my friend a note to tell him; I thought he would appreciate the logic :-)

A Strange Dream ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 17 Jul, 14:54 Pacific

Friday July 16, 2004

Are Mac Users Smarter?

Well, yeah...Isn't it obvious? I mean, we use Macs!

Duh!

Paul Murphy decided to do a little "scientific research" into the subject for his recent article in MacNewsWorld.

I doubt it's possible to get a definitive answer, but as long as you don't take any of it too seriously you can have a lot of fun playing with proxies such as the average user's ability to read and write his or her native language. This isn't necessarily a reasonable measure of intelligence (mainly because intelligence has yet to be defined) but almost everyone agrees that a native English speaker's ability to write correct English correlates closely with that person's ability to think clearly.

In other words, if we knew that Mac users, as a group, were significantly better users of written English than PC users, then we'd have a presumptive basis for ranking the probable "smartness" of two people about whom we only know that one uses a Mac and the other a PC.

...
       Continue reading "Are Mac Users Smarter?"

Are Mac Users Smarter? ( in category Random Thoughts , SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 16 Jul, 23:49 Pacific

Thursday July 15, 2004

Murder Off Mike

Murder Off Mike is a first novel by Joyce Krieg. I hope it will be only the first in a long series.

The mystery, set in Sacramento, CA, introduces Shauna J. Bogart, the on-air pseudonym of Sacramento Talk Radio's first full-time female talk-show host. Shauna loves her job, adores her boss, and enjoys her co-workers at the station, including "Dr. Hipster", her mentor and long-time friend. When Dr. Hipster is killed, she's naturally upset. The police say suicide but one of Shauna J's callers says it was murder and he was an eyewitness. Now it's up to Shauna J. to uncover the truth.

Murder Off Mike won the 2002 St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic contest for Best First Traditional Mystery. The characters are well drawn; the plot line held my interest.

I was especially pleased that Shauna J. was, if anything, a little over-cautious. Unlike so many murder mystery heroines, she doesn't trust anyone easily once she realizes something fishy is going on. Her suspicions include her co-workers, the boss's son, the candidates for governor, her apartment complex's security guards and even the local police department (Sac Pee Dee). In a murder mystery, that sort of caution can save your life.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Slip Cue, coming "soon" from St. Martin's Press.

Murder Off Mike ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 15 Jul, 18:29 Pacific

Wednesday July 14, 2004

It's a Wrap

Or, in this case, it's a pressure-point reliever.

We've been using bubblewrap in the bottom of our fruitbowl. We have a large, shallow, wooden bowl we use for holding fruit — apples, bananas, pears, occasionally peaches. We were tired of the fruit getting bruised on the bottom.

Then Rich considered putting a layer or two of bubblewrap in the bottom of the bowl. Now the fruit rests on air.

"But!", you say. "I like to pop the bubbles! We never have any bubblewrap left to use for fruit." Well, if you like to pop bubblewrap, try virtual bubblewrap. You can pop forever and still put a sheet or two of the real stuff in your fruitbowl.

It's a Wrap ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 14 Jul, 21:30 Pacific

Tuesday July 13, 2004

Eat Cake

Ruth Hopson is the star and first-person narrator of Eat Cake, a novel by Jeanne Ray. Ever since she was five years old, Ruth has had a special relationship with cake. At this point in her life, with husband, teenage daughter, and mother all living in the house (her 20-year-old son is off at college), Ruth bakes a cake whenever the stresses of life begin to get to her. When life gets difficult, Ruth loses herself in cake. ...
       Continue reading "Eat Cake"

Eat Cake ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 13 Jul, 00:10 Pacific

Monday July 12, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday July 5 - Sunday July 11)

The weather has been mostly sunny and warm with some fog in the evenings. It's a perfect July, so far. Monday was a holiday which made this a most excellent week.


After 6 months of hemming and hawing, starting and stopping, and occasional "rousing discussions" Rich and I finally took our PowerBook 2400 apart for the third time. We went down into it on Monday swapped back the original hard drive. This time I "drove", taking out (and putting back) all of the screws and such. It wasn't really a big deal. It wasn't trivial but it wasn't that bad and when I was done, it Booted! Yes! Third time's the charm. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Monday July 5 - Sunday July 11)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Monday July 5 - Sunday July 11) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 12 Jul, 22:43 Pacific

Sunday July 11, 2004

Treasures 2004_28

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_28"

Treasures 2004_28 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 11 Jul, 09:56 Pacific

Saturday July 10, 2004

I Want a Flintmobile!

OK, it looks like something Fred Flintstone would drive. But it has visibility. It has headroom. It has legroom!. It's an amazing car. Have you tried sitting in one? Have you tried driving one?

I have.

I want a new car!

Specifically, I want a Scion XB. ...
       Continue reading "I Want a Flintmobile!"

I Want a Flintmobile! ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sat, 10 Jul, 21:38 Pacific

Friday July 09, 2004

Almost 10 weeks

Monday (technically) will mark the end of my 10th week at The Job; I started on Tuesday, May 4. ...
       Continue reading "Almost 10 weeks"

Almost 10 weeks ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 09 Jul, 19:13 Pacific

Thursday July 08, 2004

Hardware Hackery

Rich has a T-shirt that says

I Am a Professional.
Do Not Try This at Home.

Perhaps I should have worn that shirt this past Monday. :-)

We have a Powerbook 2400. The 2400 is a fairly old Mac laptop. It's a PowerMac but it can't run Mac OS X. It will be stuck on Mac OS 9 forever. Nevertheless, back in November of last year, we decided to upgrade it to a larger hard disk (it came with a 1.3 GB drive). We had recently upgraded the drives in our G3 Powerbooks so we had a pair of 12 GB hard drives just lying around. Why not swap one into the PB 2400?

Well, one reason "why not?" is that it's difficult to do. It turns out that the PB 2400 really has "no user-serviceable parts inside". Just getting inside is tricky. We finally found instructions on the web. The instructions were not encouraging.

The 2400 is indeed very scary on the inside. This procedure is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, even though its got a lot of screws, it doesn't require any forcing and bending of plastic or ribbon cables, which is more than I can say for some other PowerBooks, and everything just kind of comes in and out comfortably. If you've had experience taking moderately complex things apart before, this shouldn't be too bad.
OK, it shouldn't be too bad. How bad could it be? ...
       Continue reading "Hardware Hackery"

Hardware Hackery ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Thu, 08 Jul, 19:37 Pacific

Wednesday July 07, 2004

Sit on a Ball

I have an "interesting" and unusual chair that I use at The Job. It's a 65 cm diameter, puncture-resistant, inflatable exercise ball! It makes a great conversation piece and it helps my back. ...
       Continue reading "Sit on a Ball"

Sit on a Ball ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 07 Jul, 19:28 Pacific

Tuesday July 06, 2004

Treasures 2004_27

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_27"

Treasures 2004_27 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Tue, 06 Jul, 18:08 Pacific

Monday July 05, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 27 - Sunday July 4)

The weather has been mostly fair, though we get a little fog in the evenings, but not heavy.


I was asked to "look into" documenting the system process manager at The Job, as a sort of "pre-employment" test. It's a different sort of documenting project than I've done so far. OK, that should be fun. It took two days. Now I'm in limbo again...


You know you're working in a startup when they tell everyone who wants to know how to disable/enable the alarm system... ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 27 - Sunday July 4)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 27 - Sunday July 4) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 05 Jul, 00:17 Pacific

Sunday July 04, 2004

Happy Fourth!

NYCfireworks

Click the image above to go to an animated fireworks display.

Happy Fourth! ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 04 Jul, 12:30 Pacific

Friday July 02, 2004

Red White and Boom

Rich suggested I meet him in Palo Alto and we could have dinner and then go over to see the fireworks at Stanford. I thought that sounded like a good idea.

At 6pm I drove to Millbrae and took what CalTrain calls the "baby bullet train". It only stops at SF, Millbrae, Hillsdale, Palo Alto, and San Jose. Saves 15 minutes off the regular "Express". ...
       Continue reading "Red White and Boom"

Red White and Boom ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 02 Jul, 23:20 Pacific

Thursday July 01, 2004

Dump and Run

I grew up in a College town. My Dad taught at the university. Our house was next door to a small apartment building. We found the most amazing castoffs over the years, including a blender, a typewriter, a perfectly functional desk, table lamps... and more. One of the saddest finds was an entire set of stoneware (dinner plates, desert plates, etc) that were discarded the day after trash day. None of the pieces survived being tossed into an otherwise empty dumpster.

According to the June, 2004 Readers Digest, the average College student throws out 640 pounds of stuff each year with 30% of that amount coming in the month before graduation. The castoffs include everything from unused notebooks and working pens to half-full bottles of laundry detergent to working stereos.

Lisa Heller, a Syracuse University grad student, decided to do something about the problem.

"Students were so busy with finals and job interviews they didn't have time to drop off stuff at a Salvation Army". ... So... in 2000, [Heller] founded Dump & Run (dumpandrun.org), now a national nonprofit that gathers pre-grad unwanted from university bins and drop-off boxes and sells it at events in campus gyms and parking lots.

Last year, participants at 20 universities raised over $100,000 for charities.

Dump and Run ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Thu, 01 Jul, 21:24 Pacific

Wednesday June 30, 2004

What's in a Name?

When my sister and I were growing up, we didn't meet many other Keri's or Vicki's (not even many Kerry's or Vicky's). I don't think this was so much intentional on the part of our parents as was the fact that our mother simply liked the names Vicki and Keri.

The June 2004 Readers Digest contains a short "filler" piece on popular baby names. Apparently, some people really want their children to stand out from the crowd. The scary thing is, their choices still aren't unique.

In the year 2000, the most popular names were Jacob (really?!) and Emily. But some babies were named more... commercially:

BoysGirls
Armani (273)Lexus (353)
Stetson (103)Camry (56)
Evian 10)Ikea (5)
Dannon (7)Disney (5)

I can hear the voices from the future third-grade playgrounds...

Hey Lexus! Where's your license plates?
What's in a Name? ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 30 Jun, 22:17 Pacific

Monday June 28, 2004

Treasures 2004_26

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words, These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_26"

Treasures 2004_26 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 28 Jun, 21:48 Pacific

Sunday June 27, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 20 - Saturday June 26)

Fathers Day has come and gone. We went down to our favorite diner for lunch (having totally forgotten it was a Hallmark Holiday). It was _very full_. We got a table (eventually) and had breakfast. Later we found out it was the best (sales) day they've had this year!


The weather has been windy but mostly pretty (although the week started out grey). That's pretty much par for June. We understand it's been hot (90's) up in Forestville (North Bay; where some friends live) the last few days, but it's been in the 70's here with a breeze. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 20 - Saturday June 26)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 20 - Saturday June 26) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 27 Jun, 21:39 Pacific

Saturday June 26, 2004

Animusic

dvd-icon

Animusic is for anyone who appreciates rich, beautifully rendered, 3-D computer graphics.

Animusic is for anyone who has ever played in a band or orchestra.

Animusic is for anyone who appreciates music and who enjoys watching music being played.

If you generally listen to music with your eyes closed, open them for Animusic or you'll miss most of what makes this album special. ...
       Continue reading "Animusic"

Animusic ( in category Books, Movies, Music , Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jun, 19:13 Pacific

Friday June 25, 2004

Well, Hello There!

While we were in the tub last night (around 9:30 pm), Rich suddenly said "Well! Hello there!". I turned and he had had his hand draped across the top of the tub with his fingers over the edge and one of the raccoons and come over and stood up and patted his fingers. Oh my.

No marshmallows last night; the raccoon wandered off after meeting Rich. I guess touching the hooman was enough for that evening's entertainment.

Well, Hello There! ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Fri, 25 Jun, 18:09 Pacific

Thursday June 24, 2004

Threesome By Three

[ Today's meme covers three sets of questions from Thursday Threesome ]
June 17, 2004
::Things that go bump in the night::

Onesome: Things that go-
What's the strangest contraption you've ever had to use to get from point A to point B?

Twosome: Bump-
Have you ever hurt yourself doing something you weren't supposed to be doing?

Threesome: In the night-
Do you believe in things that go bump in the night or anything supernatural?


June 10, 2004
"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do." -- Walt Disney

Onesome: When you're curious-
Is there a specific subject you're especially curious about? A person? A region of the world? An animal? A field of study?

Twosome: you find lots of interesting-
What do you consider your most interesting trait/ feature?

Threesome: things to do-
What's on your list of things to do everyday, whether you want to or not? Filing, phone calls, homework, chasing around after kiddos, cooking, cleaning, etc.


...
       Continue reading "Threesome By Three"

Threesome By Three ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 24 Jun, 18:14 Pacific

Wednesday June 23, 2004

Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind

The raccoons came back last night. I knew they were around when we went out to the tub — first because Squirrel was pasted to the window watching something in the yard and then because I saw a raccoon on the fence while we were in the tub.

Two of them walked back and forth across the sunroom roof a lot after we went back inside. Raccoons are a lot like cats in that they walk along and then just... sit down. Then they start grooming. These kept getting up and walking a bit, then flopping down again and grooming something else. I shone a flashlight up through the glass to see them better. ...
       Continue reading "Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind"

Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind ( in category Nature/Cats , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 23 Jun, 22:39 Pacific

Tuesday June 22, 2004

The Neverending Saga

You may recall that back in May we were having a strange and frustrating experience trying to return a broken and unwanted shredder and get a refund. Apparently the experience isn't quite over yet. Some things just keep coming back to haunt you...

I returned home today after work to discover Yet Another brand-new Royal shredder had been delivered to our front porch.

What are these people Thinking?! Will they ever get a clue? Do they even know what clues are? Is there a charitable organization that will donate clues to the clueless?

I called UPS and refused the package; the UPS driver will come tomorrow to remove the latest shredder incarnation.

I keep wondering if it's the same shredder that was (mis)delivered in May... I'm not sure if I would really want to know.

The Neverending Saga ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 22 Jun, 21:57 Pacific

Monday June 21, 2004

Treasures 2004_25

"Life ... is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?"
-- Margot Fonteyn

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_25"

Treasures 2004_25 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 21 Jun, 21:17 Pacific

Sunday June 20, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 13 - Saturday June 19)

The weather has been variable all week: foggy, blue, drizzly, warm, cool, windy, still.


Rich was out of town last weekend, as was our friend Gene. So I went to Fresh Choice for dinner Sunday (as I try to do whenever Rich is out of town) but sadly, had no one to go with. So I sat and people-watched and ate tapioca pudding.


There was a major Oops over the weekend at The Company; a water leak from the second floor resulted in the presence of large industrial dehumidifiers in my corner of the building all last week.


Rich got home Monday night. We spent about an hour unpacking the new insulating lid for the hot tub, tearing up the old one, cleaning the tub, putting the new lid in place and re-filling the tub. Unfortunately, as we did all of this after 7pm, the tub was not hot enough to use that night. Sigh. It was delightful the next night and, for a while, we've got 4by4's on the lid to hold it down — a brandnew hot-tub lid doesn't weigh much and May and June are the windy months in San Bruno. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 13 - Saturday June 19)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 13 - Saturday June 19) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 20 Jun, 11:26 Pacific

Saturday June 19, 2004

The Skit

This is the sequel I wrote for my "Cheerleader" essay for Daily Writing Practice


Mac OS System 7 added a new feature call "Balloon Help". When it was turned on, anything the mouse hovered over caused the Mac to put a little "balloon" on the screen with helpful information about whatever the mouse was on. This included all of the standard windows and buttons, so a normal session using the computer generated a LOT of balloons very quickly. Most of us got tired of Balloon Help within a very short time and turned it off, relishing the virtual "silence" that followed.

Our skit was about Balloon Help :-) ...
       Continue reading "The Skit"

The Skit ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 19 Jun, 22:34 Pacific

Friday June 18, 2004

The Cheerleader

The following was my response to a writing prompt from Daily Writing Practice.

The Cheerleader

I have discovered, at many companies where I have worked in the past, that the marketing and human resources people (in league with receptionists, department admins, and some project managers), take on the role of company cheerleader, setting up "games", "activities", and "Fun! events" for the employees. Unfortunately, I'm a software engineer; we don't tend to appreciate this sort of games. We tend to get twitchy whenever someone says the fateful words "Come on! Let's Play! It will be Fun!".

No, it won't. Can't I just go back to work now? I have this project I'm... Sigh. ...
       Continue reading "The Cheerleader"

The Cheerleader ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 18 Jun, 23:37 Pacific

Thursday June 17, 2004

Who's That Walking up There?

We had three raccoons on the sunroom roof last night after we came in from the hottub. They were sooo cute! Woolly and furry. BIG feet. Bushy tails. All about the size of Squirrel. Walking about. Sitting on the glass. Scratching. Licking their paws. Licking each other.

I shone a flashlight up. Oh look! Raccoon bottoms!

Raven was funny. Raven hathed at the raccoons through the glass. ...
       Continue reading "Who's That Walking up There?"

Who's That Walking up There? ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Thu, 17 Jun, 19:01 Pacific

Wednesday June 16, 2004

DrizAir

The Company for which I am working suffered a minor calamity on Sunday. Apparently something on the second floor sprung a leak, or a pipe burst, or some such. On the first floor (where we aare), one cubicle was drenched, many ceiling tiles were damaged, and a large section of carpet was soaked. Several very large industrial grade dehumidifiers were in action when I arrived on Monday morning (and are still in place). ...
       Continue reading "DrizAir"

DrizAir ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 16 Jun, 18:24 Pacific

Tuesday June 15, 2004

Change

The following was my totally off the wall response to a writing prompt from Daily Writing Practice

Write about change

Things were all so different before everything changed. ...
       Continue reading "Change"

Change ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 15 Jun, 23:50 Pacific

Monday June 14, 2004

Treasures 2004_24

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring.

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_24"

Treasures 2004_24 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 14 Jun, 22:52 Pacific

Sunday June 13, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 6 - Saturday June 12)

The weather has been quite variable; some days warm and sunny, other days foggy. It's been very windy at night. One day at The Job I felt chilled (my thermometer clock says 74F but I'm under a vent) so I went out to the car to get a shirt. I sat on the car for a bit. The car was nice and toasted. Sunload is amazing; the outside air was quite cool.


I trimmed the roses in the back yard (rescuing the lilac which was being throttled). That gave me an armload of pink to put in a vase (after I shook loose 4 earwigs, a ladybug, 2 small spotted beetles and a teensy weensy red spider. I kept the vase in the screen porch till Monday and then took it in to The Job where it lasted for two more days. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 6 - Saturday June 12)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday June 6 - Saturday June 12) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 13 Jun, 19:31 Pacific

Saturday June 12, 2004

Here's to "Down with Love"

Are you a fan of Rock Hudson & Doris Day? Do you miss the romantic comedies from the sixties? The ones with Tony Randall as the "best friend"? Do you think "They just don't make movies like that anymore"?

Well, they made one. ...
       Continue reading "Here's to "Down with Love""

Here's to "Down with Love" ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sat, 12 Jun, 22:16 Pacific

Friday June 11, 2004

Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion

I watched "The Haunted Mansion" tonight. As a friend of ours might say, it's charming. The plot is a little thin but the movie makes up for that in set, costumes, effects, and set.

The movie is based (very loosely) on the Haunted Mansion, one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. It contains many of the elements from the ride - the hitchhiking ghosts are there as is the masked ball, the singing statuary, pictures that move, long dark hallways, a medium inside a glowing crystal ball...

Eddie Murphy stars, but it's really a team effort. The two children have major parts and were likeable. Wallace Shawn (Vizzini in The Princess Bride) has a small part that's perfect for him.

Did I mention the set? The set is gorgeous. The special effects are mild compared to a lot of recent movies, but quite good, especially the disappearing/reappearing ghost effects.

It's worth the rental fee.

Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 11 Jun, 23:24 Pacific

Thursday June 10, 2004

Small Regrets

This was a recent prompt on one of my online writing groups (I forget which and I lost the original). The prompt was

Talk About Small Regrets

Initially, I agreed with one list member who said "All regrets are large regrets". However, recently, I've found cause to have second thoughts.

Small regrets are regrets that don't last very long and don't really matter in the long run. Tonight, for example, I regret choosing the "Chocolate Seduction" instead of the Apple Crisp for desert. The Chocolate was good... but not wonderful. The Apple Crisp is always wonderful. In a few days, it will all be forgotten. That's a small regret. ...
       Continue reading "Small Regrets"

Small Regrets ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 10 Jun, 22:20 Pacific

Wednesday June 09, 2004

Bulletproof Monk

If you like fast-paced action movies, especially if you like fast-paced martial arts action movies where Good triumphs over Evil, you should like Bulletproof Monk. The movies stars Yun-Fat Chow (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as the likeable "Monk without a name" (and this time the hero survives the movie!). ...
       Continue reading "Bulletproof Monk"

Bulletproof Monk ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Wed, 09 Jun, 21:48 Pacific

Monday June 07, 2004

Treasures 2004_23

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_23"

Treasures 2004_23 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 07 Jun, 22:15 Pacific

Sunday June 06, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 30 - Saturday June 5)

This week contained a Monday Holiday, so I had both a long weekend and a short work week. Wheeee.

The weather has been variable. A few nice days, followed by several days of heavy fog and low clouds. On Friday I could see bits of blue between the clouds from The Jobsite. It finally cleared up at the house by late afternoon. There's been lots of wind in the evenings as well. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 30 - Saturday June 5)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 30 - Saturday June 5) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 06 Jun, 13:28 Pacific

Saturday June 05, 2004

When I grow up...

When I was nine years old I wanted to grow up to be...

What? A doctor? An artist? An astronaut? In honor of my step-daughter's ninth birthday today, tell your readers and fellow Slanters what you wanted to grow up to be when you were nine. Tell us how that differs from what you did grow up to be, and why the difference.

[ Today's question is from Saturday Slant ]

...
       Continue reading "When I grow up..."

When I grow up... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 05 Jun, 14:00 Pacific

Friday June 04, 2004

Week 5 on The Job

Today marked the end of my 5th week on The Job (depending how one counts; I started on a Tuesday and there has been one holiday). The Job was originally spec'd as a 6-week temporary contract. Now the question is — will they keep me on?

This particular contract is short-term, but if you are enthusiastic, do good work, and we like you, there might be more work in the future.

I've tried to be enthusiastic (hmmm... I've actually left a few meetings wondering if I've been perhaps too enthusiastic...). I believe I've done good work. I surely hope they like me; I've received complimentary feedback from several co-workers.

I'd like to stay on. ...
       Continue reading "Week 5 on The Job"

Week 5 on The Job ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 04 Jun, 22:34 Pacific

Wednesday June 02, 2004

Shaolin Soccer

Having purchased the DVD a couple of months ago, we finally watched Shaolin Soccer last night. It was a good night for mindless entertainment.

This is one of those fun, must-see, good bad movies. It's silly, it's inane, it's very funny. The subtitling is pretty bad (which adds to the fun). ...
       Continue reading "Shaolin Soccer"

Shaolin Soccer ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Wed, 02 Jun, 20:54 Pacific

Tuesday June 01, 2004

Into My Garden

[ This was a writing prompt from Daily Writing Practice ]

Who stepped into my garden?

We live on the edge of a ridge, a string of lakes, a watershed, and a wildlife preserve. In the daytime, visitors to our garden include various sorts of birds and (after 15 years!) grey squirrels. In the summer, we often get quail (they are so cute).

At night we get raccoons, occasional skunks, and (much more rarely) an opossum. ...
       Continue reading "Into My Garden"

Into My Garden ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 01 Jun, 23:40 Pacific

Monday May 31, 2004

Treasures 2004_22

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_22"

Treasures 2004_22 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 31 May, 19:56 Pacific

Sunday May 30, 2004

Fun With Meccano

When I was a kid, I wanted an Erector set very much. I think I must have asked for one for ChristmasOrMyBirthday several years in a row before I finally got one! But nothing I might ever have made from my Erector set could come close to the cool stuff that Tim Robinson has done with Mecanno.

Robinson says he's always been fascinated wwith Meccano, "almost exclusively with mechanism and models that 'do something real'." He recalls building "astronomical clocks, orreries, looms and other textile machinery, a gear cutting machine (which cut usable gears in brass), and perhaps most enduring, the differential analyzer (an analog computer)."

Wow. ...
       Continue reading "Fun With Meccano"

Fun With Meccano ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 30 May, 00:25 Pacific

Saturday May 29, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 23 - Saturday May 29)

The weather was warm early in the week (my car actually was too hot when I got into it in the afternoons). Then it was foggy for two days. The weather has been pretty nice since Friday.


This week marked my 4th week on The Job. The Job is a 6-week contract; I hope I get extended or converted or whatever... I rather like the place. I've had plenty of work to do lately. I've been revising 3 engineerig specs and a couple of how-tos. I've been to several meetings. I've made some suggestions that people liked. I think I'm doing good work. I know they could use my skills. I hope they think so too. And hey! I got my first pay check! I haven't had one of those since last November!


It's kinda worrisome that, as I look back over this past week, I don't see much worth talking about. I get up, feed the cats, eat breakfast, then get in the car and drive down to The Job where I work for 8 and a half hours and then drive home. At home I either take a nap, read, or check email (if I'm feeling up to it). Rich gets home between 7 and 8, we decide what to have for diner, go do that, come home and crash. Maybe I read before bed; maybe we sit in the tub. The next day we do it all again. Monday through Friday tends to be very much the same; only the meals have been changed to provide some differentiation between the days. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 23 - Saturday May 29)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 23 - Saturday May 29) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 29 May, 23:50 Pacific

Wednesday May 26, 2004

Sugar Free Sensation

Hershey's has announced (and begun distributing) Sugar Free York Peppermint Patties. They're not calorie free, of course, but the sugar has been replaced with maltitol and lactitol, two polyols or "sugar alcohols". Sugar alcohols have a minimal effect on blood sugar. People watching their carbohydrate intake can subtract the effects of fiber or sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate numbers in the nutritional information on the package. ...
       Continue reading "Sugar Free Sensation"

Sugar Free Sensation ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 26 May, 18:20 Pacific

Tuesday May 25, 2004

Saga of the Shredder

Rich and I have had a crosscut shredder for many years. We'd been using a Royal CX7000, a $99 model that worked well but was noisy and had some trouble with more than 3 to 5 sheets of paper (although it laid claim to 7). We tend to want to shred a few more sheets at a time, possibly without unfolding them. For example, my credit card company keeps insisting on tempting me with cash-advance checks. These are not something I will use and not something I can simply toss into the recycling bin.

So back in January of this year, we decided to look for a model that could do more, maybe even one with a hopper to hold a lot of paper. Our web search turned up a terrific unit that would do everything we wanted it to do, with a hopper and everything! However, for $8000, we thought perhaps we should keep looking ;-) ...
       Continue reading "Saga of the Shredder"

Saga of the Shredder ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 25 May, 23:32 Pacific

Monday May 24, 2004

Treasures 2004_21

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring.

These are my Treasures for the past week. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_21"

Treasures 2004_21 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 24 May, 00:30 Pacific

Sunday May 23, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 16 - Saturday May 22)

The weather has been partly cloudy to completely cloudy most of the week; there was also a little drizzle on Friday. It was never really bad though,


This was my third week at The Job. I filled in my first time sheet and turned that in, so I'll get paid. I had a fair amount of wwork to do this week — I reworked some tutorial web pages, worked on one engineering spec and started another, attended a couple of meetings, reviewed the User Guide and wrote 4 release notes. It doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to keep the mind alive. And, for the second week in a row, I resisted Friday's Temptation of the Bagels. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 16 - Saturday May 22)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Sunday May 16 - Saturday May 22) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 23 May, 23:18 Pacific

Saturday May 22, 2004

Some of My Favorite things

There are lots of weblog memes (shared prompts and ideas) and email questionaires that ask "What's your favorite food? Your favorite color? Your favorite ice cream?..."

One of my online writing groups (Personal Writing) does a single weekly topic — the topic for last week was "Your Favorite Things". The prompt was to choose one or more than one. Write about why the things you chose are favorites. What do they mean to you?

This isn't just a list of one element favorites in a set of pre-chosen categories. There's no reason why someone can't have multiple favorite things in a given "category" or why the categories themsselvs must be "logical" or narrow. In fact, I believe that most people don't have one single always favorite whatever-it-is (food, ice cream, piece of music). I certainly don't.

In my writing group, one man wrote about many of his favorite books, with a paragraph for each describing what made that book special. One woman mentioned her favorite color (green) and then went on to write about her other favorite colors, eventually concluding that she likes every color (at different times) except yellow aand purple. Another woman mused on chocolate until I could almost taste it and described things that help to define the shades of blue to which she is most partial — a lake, the sky at twilight, or a piece of turquoise.

Our favorites may shift with our moods. Some nights you may just want to sit quietly and read; other times you may want to be sociable. You may consider both of these to be favorite pasttimes. I love to sit and read, or play with the computer, or go out to dinner, but parties, clubbing, or after-work drinks will never make my top 10 list!

The categories you choose, and the favorites you pick for those categories, define who you are, as does the way you choose to talk about your favorites.

What are some of your "favorite things"?


...
       Continue reading "Some of My Favorite things"

Some of My Favorite things ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 22 May, 11:00 Pacific

Friday May 21, 2004

First Time Sheet

I turned in my first time sheet yesterday; it covers three weeks. The company I am working at is a bit unusual; they pay once a month. Most companies I have worked for in the past have paid twice a month or, in one or two cases, every week.

I had actually been under the impression that California Labor Laws required at least 2 pay periods per month (at least, that's what Apple told its employees many years ago when they changed from weekly to biweekly pay periods). Apparently, however, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) comes into the picture under certain circumstances which allow pay periods of once a month provided specific conditions are met.

All wages, ... earned by any person in any employment are due and payable twice during each calendar month, on days designated in advance by the employer as the regular paydays. Labor performed between the 1st and 15th days, inclusive, of any calendar month shall be paid for between the 16th and the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed, and labor performed between the 16th and the last day, inclusive, of any calendar month, shall be paid for between the 1st and 10th day of the following month. However, salaries of executive, administrative, and professional employees of employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, ... may be paid once a month on or before the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed if the entire month's salaries, including the unearned portion between the date of payment and the last day of the month, are paid at that time.

[ cf. State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement publication The Laws Relating to the Time, Manner, and Payment of Wages ]

I'm always interested in this sort of stuff. ...
       Continue reading "First Time Sheet"

First Time Sheet ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 21 May, 22:17 Pacific

Wednesday May 19, 2004

My Morning Start

I have been enjoying Atkins Morning Start breakfast cereal, specifically the Almond Crunch and the Banana Nut Harvest. (The Blueberry was too blueberryey for me and too sweet). The cereal is nice and crunchy and tasty. I like flake cereal.

I've been eating 2/3 cup every morning with a banana sliced in. (Don't tell me bananas have carbs. I eat fruit; live with it.) I also mix in a cup of Brown Cow Farms yogurt. I remove the cream layer from the whole milk version. (And yes, I know that Atkins doesn't "allow" yogurt, but South Beach does, so there).

It's a nice filling breakfast and I find that I can withstand the temptations of the donuts, crullers, crumbcakes, bagels, and assorted naughty free food at The Job if I've had breakfast before I go in.

My Morning Start ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 19 May, 19:23 Pacific

Tuesday May 18, 2004

Writing Groups

I have often mentioned that one of my entries in this space is in response to a writing prompt from one group or another. I currently subscribe to 8 such online writing groups! If you like to write (especially if you keep a journal — online or off), you may be interested in joining a writing group. There are many such (also both online and off ;-). These are the ones I like. ...
       Continue reading "Writing Groups"

Writing Groups ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 18 May, 21:23 Pacific

Monday May 17, 2004

Treasures 2004_20

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_20"

Treasures 2004_20 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 17 May, 21:52 Pacific

Sunday May 16, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (May 9 - May 15)

The weather has been mostly cool, with fog in the mornings changing to sunny and blue in the afternoon. The wind has been pretty strong for much of the days as well. Today it was really windy!


We tried to go out to breakfast last Sunday, but it being Mothers Day, most places had lines. Worse than that, the first place we tried had raised their prices by $10 for the occasion ("weekend night price all day") and I was offended.

We ended up going home, where I put together Eggs American Cafe. The dish is a favorite of Rich's and mine from the American Cafe, a restaurant in Washington DC. We couldn't bring the restaurant with us when we moved but we could bring the recipe. We don't make it often, as it's very rich (and a bit of work to do) but oh my is it yummy! I make a really good Hollandaise sauce, too, if I do say so myself.


This week, at least, I had a few tasks to perform at The Job. A Job is more interesting when there's work to do. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (May 9 - May 15)"

Weekly Wrap-up (May 9 - May 15) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 16 May, 12:18 Pacific

Saturday May 15, 2004

New Job, Second Week

Hey! I had work to do this week! Not a huge amount, but enough to keep the mind alive.

I reviewed a chapter of the User Guide. The Tech Pubs writer thinks he'll have more for me to do this coming week. I went over my review of a design spec with one of the engineers, and I should have "ownership" of that document next week, to tweak, twiddle, and frob it to my heart's content :-)

Friday, I worked on updating a couple of web-based tutorials. As I will need to know the stuff they explain, I'm in a perfect position to work on these as I try them out.

New Job, Second Week ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sat, 15 May, 14:28 Pacific

Friday May 14, 2004

Discovering Loreena McKennitt

I have been listening to mostlyclassical.com during the day. They play a lot of orchestral pieces, occasional opera bits (Der Felgenfische :-( and, with some regularity, Loreena McKennitt.

The first time I heard one, I thought the piece was lovely. I checked the artist and title and made a note. The second time, I did the same thing and discovered that, again, it was Loreena McKennitt. I've begun to recognize her voice and style in the first few bars. It's Celtic Rennaissance. Her website calls it celtic ecletic. Whatever you call it, I think it's lovely.

Ms McKennitt has her own record label, Quinlan Road, and her music is available for purchase through the website (as well as through other shopping venues). I've ordered most of her CDs. :-)

Try some!

Discovering Loreena McKennitt ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 14 May, 23:15 Pacific

Thursday May 13, 2004

Tiny Feet and Giant Steps

In the news...

Our cats are great spider spotters. We'll walk into a room and notice a cat, staring intently at the ceiling. We look up... and there's a spider, in the middle of the ceiling, equidistant from the four walls. How did he get up there? How does he stay up there?

For the first time, scientists have measured exactly how that spider sticks to the ceiling and also how strong the adhesion force is.

A team from Germany and Switzerland have made the first detailed examinations of a jumping spider's 'foot' and have discovered that a molecular force sticks the spider to almost anything. The force is so strong that these spiders could carry over 170 times their own body weight while standing on the ceiling.

[cf. Institute of Physics press release PR29(04). ]

The paper, Getting a grip on spider attachment: an AFM approach to microstructure adhesion in arthropods, by Antonia Kesel, Andrew Martin and Tobias Seidl, was published on 19 April 2004, in the Institute of Physics journal Smart Materials and Structures. I like the title :-)

If you think the itsy bitsy spider has itsy bitsy feet, think again. Scientists have created a "microscopic walking robot", just 10 nanometers long and made out of DNA.

A New York University team created the robot using DNA legs that move along a footpath, which is also based on DNA.

The legs move by detaching themselves from the footpath, moving along it and then reattaching themselves, New Scientist reports.

DNA is an ideal material to build the robot from, because DNA chains easily pair up.

By re-ordering the sequence of base pairs that make up the DNA strand, the scientists were able to control where each strand attached.

"What we've done is to build a sidewalk to accommodate one step and we've demonstrated quantitatively that [the robot] can take a second step," Professor Nadrian Seeman, of New York University, told BBC News Online.

[ cf BBC News Online ]

Could a spiderbot made of DNA walk on the ceiling?

Tiny Feet and Giant Steps ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Thu, 13 May, 19:38 Pacific

Wednesday May 12, 2004

Homecoming

The best thing about this new job is that it's only 2 miles (and less than 10 minutes) from home. They have "core hours" at this place; everyone is expected to be around and accessible between 10 am and 4:30 pm. So I get in by 8 am and I can head out at 4:30.

I'm home by 4:45! It's wonderful!

I have never worked so close to home before (well, I've worked from home which is better of course, but...). I've always worked about 40 minutes away. I'd get to work by 9 and leave at 5:30. I'd get home about 6:15.

I can't say getting up at 6:45 is delightful but getting home before 5 is definitely worth it. And, in the summer, I'm likely to wake up sometime between 6 and 6:30 on my own.

Homecoming ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 12 May, 18:37 Pacific

Tuesday May 11, 2004

"Goodie Two Shoes"

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

Onesome: Goodie--
What is your your favorite "goodie" you treat yourself to when you've finished a project or maybe even just survived a long day? Ice cream? ...a long bath? ...a good book?

Twosome: Two--
Two things that make you smile! No thinking, just write!

Threesome: Shoes--
...and how about your favorite pair of shoes? You know, the ones you look for an occasion to wear! (Yes, guys that ratty pair of tennis shoes does count...)

...
       Continue reading ""Goodie Two Shoes""

"Goodie Two Shoes" ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 11 May, 17:29 Pacific

Monday May 10, 2004

Treasures 2004_19

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_19"

Treasures 2004_19 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 10 May, 00:01 Pacific

Sunday May 09, 2004

Whew! It's Windy!

We were out in the hot tub, making like hippos with only our eyes, ears and noses above water, watching the trees in the Back 40 swaying. We've got a local weather advisory for the airport (SFO; 5 mi south-west of our house as the seagull flies) — west winds 25 to 35 kt with occasional gusts near 40 kt. Unfortunately, our anemometer is busted and currently reads 0 all the time, so I don't know exactly how windy it is at our house, but it's windy.

Whew! It's Windy! ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 09 May, 23:28 Pacific

Weekly Wrap-up (May 2 - May 8)

The past week was very busy (if not very interesting) because I started a new job on Tuesday. So, 9 hours a day (except 8 on Tuesday) was spent in a small, dark, cubicle exploring the new job. I have a computer; I have a keyboard. trackball, and small whiteboard (brought from home). I have a ball to sit on. I have wrist rests; I have the keyboard holder arranged to my liking. What I don't have, yet, is much work to do. Wish me luck that will change soon.


The Camry spouted a small radiator leak on Thursday night as Rich was driving home, so we got up at 6:30 Friday morning and went down to the Auto Repair shop at 7 to drop off the car. Then we dropped me off at my job at 7:25 and Rich took the Corolla down to his job. So I managed to get in 9 and a quarter hours. I could have taken the bus home in the afternoon; as it turns out; the bus runs every half hour and stops about a block from where I work. T the other end, it stops just over the hill from our house. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (May 2 - May 8)"

Weekly Wrap-up (May 2 - May 8) ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 09 May, 20:57 Pacific

Saturday May 08, 2004

Looking for Memes?

Bad news in the Blogosphere this week. The Friday Five has closed its doors after a two and a half year run. I have the archives from before I started playing, so you may see some "vintage" Friday Fives in this space in the future. Or not.

Also, if you're looking for this week's Saturday Slant, you'll find my response on my other weblog, commentary. It seemed to fit better over there.

Looking for Memes? ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 08 May, 23:06 Pacific

Friday May 07, 2004

New Job, First Week

I survived my first week (four days, 34.5 hours) at the new job. I hate the first week of a new job. There's often nothing, really, to do. Exploring and familiarizing only takes so long and gets old rather quickly. ...
       Continue reading "New Job, First Week"

New Job, First Week ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 07 May, 22:02 Pacific

Thursday May 06, 2004

The Family Techie

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome. The original title for the meme is "::A geek in the family::" (blech)]

I should point out that I really despise the word geek, a word originally coined to describe carnival sideshow performers who did unspeakable things to chickens. Even though the word has come into more common parlance as describing someone who is "accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits" it bears a strong connotation of social ineptitude. The word nerd provides only a slight improvement, the minor difference owing to the (minor) fact that "nerd" doesn't share the sideshow history!

I prefer "techie". I will accept "hacker" as well. (Note that "hacker" does not mean what the media keeps using it to portray; get a clue, guys).

Now that we've clarified our vocabulary, on to the questions.

Onesome: --A geek
Hey, who handles tech support at your place? You? ...the six year old? ...or someone from outside? ...and how about in your web space? No, we're not looking for techs; we're just curious .

Twosome: --in the
computer? Just a curiosity for the designer types: what Operating System are you running? ...and which browser? Since sites can show up differently in different browsers it's more than a casual question.

Threesome: --Family
Do any family members read your place? Do they care? Do they have a clue? ...and how about your 'off line' friends? ...or do you supply a little bit of separation there?

...
       Continue reading "The Family Techie"

The Family Techie ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 06 May, 23:02 Pacific

Tuesday May 04, 2004

New Job - First Day

I hate first days. I'm not crazy about first weeks.

I started my new job today with a short IT orientation at 9:00. Actually, the orientation didn't start till almost 9:30 because I was the only one there. Then the second person showed up about 10 minutes into the short presentation (which the IT guy restarted) and the third person showed up a little after that. By then, I could probably have given the short IT presentation. The other two people were coming from what I would consider an uncomfortable distance away. One came from Walnut Creek. (When we first got to the Bay Area, we lived in Walnut Creek for 3 months and I commuted to South San Francisco. It was torturous!) The other person came up from Los Gatos. Gah! That's further south than Campbell (where I worked last Fall) and in the major commute direction. Ugh!

I got a computer by noon. The good news is that it's a Powermac G4 running Mac OS X. The bad news is that it's a 15" laptop. Sigh. I brought in my trackball today and I borrowed a USB keyboard for most of the day; being a Windoze keyboard, the command and option (Windowze and Alt) keys were in the "wrong" order, so I'll bring in a Mac keyboard tomorrow.

With assistance from Facilities (called for this reason) we found the switch to turn on the overhead fluorescents. This is another Clan of the Cave People — most of the engineers like to work in the dark with just the light from their screens and maybe a desk lamp. Blech!. I truly do not understand these people who want to sit in the dark; even before I realized how affected I was by the ambient light, I never turned everything off! I remember turning off one or two bulbs to reduce glare, or running incandescent lamps reflecting off the ceiling but I never sat in the dark with just the light from my screen!

There's a window on the other side of the cubicle partition (beyond the corridor). If I look in just the right direction I can see a little piece of it.

Sigh. It's a 6-week contract; I will survive. If it looks like the job can be extended for longer, I'll try to negotiate for at least half time off site. At the job site I have a 6x6 cubicle, a laptop with one 15", a truly uncomfortable chair (which I plan to rectify tomorrow), abysmally poor lighting, too much noise, and multiple distractions, including people walking by all day, cel phones ringing, voices heard down the hall... At home I have a 12' by 15' office, 4 cats, 3 17" screens, plenty of light, very little noise, and essentially no distractions. And I'm only 10 minutes away by car. But in return for all of the inconveniences and productivity reducers, they will pay me. Yech! Ptooie!.

Tomorrow is another day. Onward and upward.

New Job - First Day ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 04 May, 22:19 Pacific

Monday May 03, 2004

Treasures 2004_18

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words,

I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_18"

Treasures 2004_18 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 03 May, 11:38 Pacific

Sunday May 02, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 25 - May 01)

April marked Rich's and my 21st anniversary, Squirrel's 4th anniversary with us and Raven's 1st anniversary! Happy, happy, everybody!

The weather for the first half of last week was HOT — record high temperatures caused by a strong high pressure ridge. Yuck. We opened windows, turned on fans, and wore shorts. The weather finally broke on Thursday and the rest of the week was lovely, sunny, clear, and warm but not too hot.


Raven and Bebop had their annual health checkups on Monday morning. Neither of them enjoyed it much. I was treated to kitty stereo on the drive to and from the vet. AwroOOOOO. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 25 - May 01)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 25 - May 01) ( in category Retrospectoscope ) - posted at Sun, 02 May, 12:40 Pacific

Saturday May 01, 2004

Career Epiphany

e·piph·a·ny (n)
  1. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
  2. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.
lightbulb

Before you can do any thinking "outside the box" you need to realize that there is a box and that you've placed yourself within in. For the past two decades, I have been almost constantly rethinking my career path — the kind of work I like to do, the types of jobs I like (and don't like). Periodically, I'll have small insights when I learn something about myself.

At least ten years ago, I made a set of Pro and Con lists, variously entitlted, Programmer, System Administrator, Tech Support, Quality Lead. In the years that followed, I added Technical Writer and Webmaster to the lists. I added a list of generic Preferences and another for Interest Areas. But I was still thinking inside my box.

Last week, I had a job interview. One of the interviewers looked at my resume and commented that I have done many different things and held many positions — programmer, tech writer, quality lead, web weaver. Then he asked a thought-provoking question:

"What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you really love to do?"
...
       Continue reading "Career Epiphany"

Career Epiphany ( in category Retrospectoscope ) - posted at Sat, 01 May, 21:50 Pacific

Can't Sleep?

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

From the Late Night Edition of the Back Porch
::Insomnia, the Cure for Sleep::

Onesome: Insomnia--
Ever have it? Some do and some don't, but have you ever been hounded awake for that endless hour after hour with no hope of sleep? ...or does the very act of touching head to pillow put you out for the count?

Twosome: the cure--
Hey, if you do have the occasional bout or chronic insomnia, what do you do about it? Work? Read? Try cures? Hmmm... Did you ever find one that worked?

Threesome: for sleep--
Female/male, young/not so young, we all need varying amounts of sleep. What's your personal sleep cycle? Five hours? Ten hours? ...and if you had a choice, what would be your personal sleep cycle? ...and yes, "All day long" is a valid answer

...
       Continue reading "Can't Sleep?"

Can't Sleep? ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 01 May, 13:27 Pacific

Friday April 30, 2004

Little Duck with Big Feet

DaisyQuack_75 I've fallen in love with Daisy, the Little Duck with Big Feet, and her little brother, Pip. Daisy, Pip, and their friends and relatives appear in a series of books for younger children and adults with a love of whimsy and delicious illustration.

Every page of Daisy's adventures is richly painted. I feel like I should be able to reach into the book and smooth Daisy's feathers or skritch Pip on his small feathered head. "Coo!" says Daisy.

Look for Daisy's books in the children's section of a bookstore near you! My favorites: Come Along, Daisy; Daisy and the Egg; Quack, Daisy, Quack; Daisy and the Beastie.

Little Duck with Big Feet ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 30 Apr, 17:11 Pacific

Thursday April 29, 2004

Going to the Cats

I was wondering what the latest census numbers were for cats & dogs in the US, so I looked it up. The latest study shows that over half of US homes have at least one cat or dog.

population_chart

February 13, 2002 -- The 20th Anniversary Pet Food Institute Pet Incidence Trend Report finds that in 2001 a majority, 55 percent, of all American households was home to at least one pet dog or cat. Last year, the study found there were over 75 million pet cats and over 60 million pet dogs in the United States. On average, each cat owning household is home to two cats, while dog owners usually have one canine companion. Developed on behalf of the Pet Food Institute by Ipsos-NPD in Chicago, the Pet Incidence Trend Report stands as the "census" of pet dog and cat populations in the US.

[ cf Pet Food Institute press release ]

Dog-only households still "beat" cat-only households in 2002 but by a narrow margin. Total cat-owned households rose 1.3% between 2001 and 2002; total dog owning households only rose by 0.3% in that time.

In total numbers, there have been more cats than dogs in pet-owned homes ever since 1981; a lot of people have more than one cat in their family.

I feel so sorry for the other 45% of the hooman households, though. I wonder what the 2003 numbers will be.

Going to the Cats ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Thu, 29 Apr, 12:27 Pacific

Wednesday April 28, 2004

Job Interview

I had a job interview today. I thought it went well. I certainly hope the people on the other side of the table thought so too. I'd like to get this one; I think it could be fun. It actually sounds like a great match for my skills and interests. ...
       Continue reading "Job Interview"

Job Interview ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 28 Apr, 23:46 Pacific

Tuesday April 27, 2004

Home Improvement Shows

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

Home Improvement Shows:

Onesome: --Home
What's the one thing your dream home must have?

Twosome: --Improvement
What's the one thing you would change about your current home? New bed, couch? New carpet or wallpaper? Or something major like an addition?

Threesome: --Shows
Do you ever watch home improvement shows?

...
       Continue reading "Home Improvement Shows"

Home Improvement Shows ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 27 Apr, 11:34 Pacific

Monday April 26, 2004

Treasures 2004_17

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my Treasures throughout the week. What are some of your Treasures for last week? I hope you'll consider sharing your own list of Treasures here, or starting a list in your personal weblog or journal. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_17"

Treasures 2004_17 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 26 Apr, 15:51 Pacific

Sunday April 25, 2004

Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 12 - Apr 24)

One of my online writing groups, Journal Writing, posts several regular summarizing prompts, including
"Wednesday's mid-week reflection"
Take some time to write in your journal. What's happened so far this week?
"Summary Saturday"
What's the most important thing that's happened this week?
and a bi-weekly prompt called "Check In".
The list is like journaling. Sometimes life takes over and we don't have time to write like we'd like to, thus the check in.

All members please take a minute to respond to this email. Let us know how you are doing, what's going on with you. How is your writing? How many pages have you completed in your journal since we last had roll call? Read any books you could recommend. Tried any new writing methods?

A summarizing entry seems like a good idea. This is my summary of the past two weeks. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 12 - Apr 24)"

Weekly Wrap-up (Apr 12 - Apr 24) ( in category Retrospectoscope ) - posted at Sun, 25 Apr, 11:20 Pacific

Saturday April 24, 2004

Roadside oddities

For many years, I have noted the not infrequent presence of shoes along the roadside (more frequently, in one of the lanes, on the road itself). It's usually a single shoe. I've even read short articles and news paper columnists commenting on the single-shoe-on-the-road phenomenon.

Spouse has recently brought another such roadside oddity to my attention — the orphan traffic cone. There it sits, blaze orange and forlorn, bereft of its companions, alone by the roadside. Why is it there? What brought it to this location? Why was it left?

How could anyone possibly abandon a blaze orange 24"-high rubber traffic cone by accident?

There's generally no sign of present or even former construction. Only the lone cone.

Today I had a thought. Perhaps the cones have not been abandoned after all. Perhaps they have migrated to their current location, having been brought there without their consent. I recalled an incident from years ago in Anaheim, California. As I waited to cross the major boulevard that passes in front of the Disneyland main gate, a van came down the street. Trapped under the front bumper of the van, being pushed along the road, was an orange traffic cone, carried who knows how far from its former location.

Perhaps, like spiders, ladybugs, and the occasional errant snail (all of which have, at one time or another, hitched a ride on my car), traffic cones are not to much left as brought to their lonely place by the side of the road, there to stand, guarding nothing in blaze orange vigilance until a passing CalTrans crew eventually happens by, takes notice, and takes them home.

Roadside oddities ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sat, 24 Apr, 23:45 Pacific

Friday April 23, 2004

Cool Comic for Word (and Quote) Addicts

Do you love words? New words, Olde wordes, long words, esoteric words, foreign words?

Do you love to read (and collect) quotes?

Do you love to play with language?

Shoecabbage is a syndicated comic panel by Teresa Dowlatshahi and David Stanford. It's all about language and languages (especially lesser-known and endangered languages). I just discovered it recently and I'm hooked.

I've added Shoecabbage to my ucomics.com membership (comics by email). Check it out for yourself.

shcab040331
Cool Comic for Word (and Quote) Addicts ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Fri, 23 Apr, 14:44 Pacific

Thursday April 22, 2004

Job Audition

I spent much of the past week auditioning for a programming job. Yes, I said auditioning.

It all started last Wednesday morning when I saw a possible job listed on Dice (an online job site). The job requirements specified Perl, JavaScript, DOM, and VoiceXML experience in a Unix environment. I'd never used VoiceXML specifically but I've used XML. I looked up the VoiceXML spec... that didn't look too hard. So I sent off an enquiry with my resume.

I got a call from the agency within 30 minutes. We talked. There was a pre-interview qualifying "test" associated with the position. That was intriguing. The quoted rate, not posted on Dice, was low (right at my (grudging) bottom limit) but I figured I'd take a look at the test before making any further decisions. ...
       Continue reading "Job Audition"

Job Audition ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 22 Apr, 13:23 Pacific

Wednesday April 21, 2004

Drizzly Day

Today is another drizzly day. It's been mostly grey and cloudy with on and off drizzle since Saturday afternoon. I can't really complain, though. One netfriend near Buffalo, NY, had snow on Sunday April 4; another (who lives an hour or two from Buffalo) got a few inches on the 14th. A third woman, in Alberta Canada, still has 5 inches in her backyard. Then there are the two woman on yet another list who had tornado warnings last night. I think I'll stick with drizzle. ...
       Continue reading "Drizzly Day"

Drizzly Day ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Wed, 21 Apr, 09:56 Pacific

Barkeater Lake

Barkeater Lake is a new strip by Corey Pandolph, featured on comics.com.

Barkeater Lake follows the exploits of Delores Tanzini, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who decides to give up her crazy hectic life in the city for a quieter, saner existence. When she moves to a small town in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, she slowly realizes she's stumbled into an entirely different brand of crazy.

[ cf About... ]

barkeaterlake20040224 ...
       Continue reading "Barkeater Lake"

Barkeater Lake ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 21 Apr, 08:44 Pacific

Tuesday April 20, 2004

Daffodils

[ A writing prompt from Daily Writing Practice ]

Daffodils in the garden...

I love daffodils; they are my favorite flower. I love to bury my nose inside the blossoms and inhale their scent, faint but perceptible and oh so delicious.

I have planted daffodils; sometimes they come back up, sometimes not. Each year I consider planting more. Often I buy a pot of flowers to set on my porch in the spring. ...
       Continue reading "Daffodils"

Daffodils ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 20 Apr, 00:10 Pacific

Monday April 19, 2004

Treasures 2004_16

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures -- here, or in your personal weblog or journal. If you enjoy this sort of thing, take a look at the participation positives web ring.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_16"

Treasures 2004_16 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 19 Apr, 10:17 Pacific

Sunday April 18, 2004

Home Improvement Shows

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

Home Improvement Shows:

Onesome: --Home
What's the one thing your dream home must have?

Twosome: --Improvement
What's the one thing you would change about your current home? New bed, couch? New carpet or wallpaper? Or something major like an addition?

Threesome: --Shows
Do you ever watch home improvement shows?

...
       Continue reading "Home Improvement Shows"

Home Improvement Shows ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 18 Apr, 23:43 Pacific

Saturday April 17, 2004

Summoned to Appear (part 4 of 4)

I was Summoned to Appear for Jury Duty this past Monday, April 12. The story begins here, continuing with part 2 and part 3. The fourth and final installment is below. ]

I headed out of the elevator, checked a sign board that said 8D was at the far end, and headed down to the courtroom. I arrived as the bailiff was saying "This doesn't look like 30 people". I said "It isn't; they're behind me; the elevators were really slow." The bailiff (a woman with long crinkly blonde hair and a Sheriff's office insignia) agreed that slow elevators were normal.

Then everyone else came in and took a seat and the courtroom clerk took roll. One woman was missing. So, the courtroom clerk called downstairs to the Jury Assembly room clerk who called over the PA system and...

Meanwhile, I sat waiting, looking around the courtroom. It was a nicely appointed courtroom with lots of wood paneling. The jury seats were grey swivel chairs, apparently well padded. The "audience/observation" area had flip-up seats like a lecture hall. It was a large room but only 3 rows of observation seats so everyone would be near any action.

The defendant(?) sat at a table with, presumably, counsel for the defense, occasionally talking in undertones. The other lawyer, a woman, sat at the other end of a long table. Both lawyers wore blue suits. The defendant wore a long-sleeved, buttoned white shirt, no tie, something unidentifiable in his shirt pocket, and a mohawk haircut. ...
       Continue reading "Summoned to Appear (part 4 of 4)"

Summoned to Appear (part 4 of 4) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sat, 17 Apr, 20:51 Pacific

Friday April 16, 2004

Summoned to Appear (part 3 of 4)

[ I was Summoned to Appear for Jury Duty this past Monday, April 12. The story begins here, and continues with part 2. The third installment is below. ]

After the video, we were released to walk around until we might be called back. Our clerk pointed out that we should stay on the lower level. "I have a PA system. It's only on this floor. It's in the cafeteria and the bathrooms. If you leave this floor, I can't call you back. If you don't come back, it's me who's gonna get it. I mean, you too, but they'll yell at me first."

I wasn't convinced that this was an appropriate group to play on their better sense of nobility. I rather thought she'd keep people around better if she said "They will go after you and you will be fined". I mean, so some mythical person yells at the clerk? Why should a prospective juror care, especially if that gives him or her a head start? I suppose I'm getting cynical. ...
       Continue reading "Summoned to Appear (part 3 of 4)"

Summoned to Appear (part 3 of 4) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 16 Apr, 08:50 Pacific

Thursday April 15, 2004

Happy Tax Day

offthemark20040415

Are you done?

Have you started? :-)

I'm wondering if the reason that my email lists have been sooo quiet today is because
many people are off somewhere glaring at IRS forms
..

ft040414

Happy Tax Day ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Thu, 15 Apr, 11:24 Pacific

Wednesday April 14, 2004

Summoned to Appear (part 2 of 4)

[ I was Summoned to Appear for Jury Duty this past Monday, April 12. The story begins here and continues below. ]

I headed down the stairs and down the hall to the Jury Assembly room, joining the line of prospective jurors filling out the "Juror Affidavit" form.

The woman running the Jury Assembly orientation soon began to sound like a robot. She kept repeating over and over "Please have a seat. I need your paperwork. Please include your name, address, home telephone and work number. Please sign and date the back. Please have a seat. I need you to sign and date this. I need your paperwork or they don't know you're here. Please have a seat. Are you all parked in Jury parking? Did you put your parking pass on the dashboard of your car? I need your paperwork. Please..." Hers must be one of the most boring jobs in the world.

Every now and then something different would happen. "Sir, you forgot to sign the back". Ma'am, I need your telephone number." "Sir, you did not need to come in. Your juror number starts with a 1. Only jurors with numbers starting with 0 need to come in today. You may leave".

At 8:30, the scheduled start time, people were still dribbling in. "Please have a seat. I will start orientation in 7 minutes. I need your paperwork." ...
       Continue reading "Summoned to Appear (part 2 of 4)"

Summoned to Appear (part 2 of 4) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 14 Apr, 22:30 Pacific

Tuesday April 13, 2004

Computer Meme

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

Computer Anti-Virus Software:

Onesome: --Computer
What was/is your first computer? A clunky old Commodore or something a touch more modern?

Twosome: --Anti-Virus
Have you ever had a computer virus? How bad was it? Or are you one of the lucky ones who have managed to avoid them?

Threesome: --Software
What piece of software really made you more productive on your computer?

...
       Continue reading "Computer Meme"

Computer Meme ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 13 Apr, 23:37 Pacific

Monday April 12, 2004

Summoned to Appear (part 1 of 4)

I was summoned for Jury Duty back in November of 2003. At the time, I received the summons, I had a contract, so I asked for an extension until April 2004 (the court allows people to ask for an extension of up to 6 months).

By the time the original date came around, my contract had ended, unexpectedly. But hey, I had the extension filed. So I just put the new date on my calendar and went on with my life. I could have moved the date up, but it isn't as if I actually want to serve on a jury.

The new date was today, April 12. I had hoped there wouldn't be many cases on Easter Monday but no such luck. When I called last night, I was told that my presence would be required. (Some prospective jurors were told their presence would not be required; I was not so lucky). ...
       Continue reading "Summoned to Appear (part 1 of 4)"

Summoned to Appear (part 1 of 4) ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 12 Apr, 21:58 Pacific

Sunday April 11, 2004

Treasures 2004_15

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures -- here, or in your personal weblog or journal.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_15"

Treasures 2004_15 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 11 Apr, 22:17 Pacific

Saturday April 10, 2004

Summer Fun Toy

This week's Saturday Slant
Summer’s coming. If you had to pick just one summer fun toy, what would it be? Would you cruise around the South West in an RV? Does the convenient refreshment of a backyard pool entice you? Looking to steam up the summer nights in your very own hot tub? Up for wave-skimming excitement with a jet ski? Or are you more of a home-body, opting for an ice-cold air conditioner to keep movie nights comfortable? What is your summer fun activity toy?
...
       Continue reading "Summer Fun Toy"

Summer Fun Toy ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 10 Apr, 10:19 Pacific

Friday April 09, 2004

Fast Women

Fast Women is another "must read" book by contemporary romance author Jennifer Crusie. You'll feel that the characters are people you know well; you won't like all of them, but then, that's to be expected. The dialog is brisk and fun to read. Riley McKenna, in particular, exhibits a dry sense of humor I really liked. I like Riley a lot. I also like his cousin Gabe and the sisters-in-law: Nell, Suze, and Margie. I don't much like the women's (ex)husbands, but then, I'm not really supposed to. As cads, however, they are expertly well-drawn.

Fast Women is about relationships, embezzlement, dog-napping, adultery, blackmail, "finding" yourself, starting over, ugly business cards, a 20-year-old suicide, 63-year-old office furniture, murder, and sex. Try it. I really liked it. ...
       Continue reading "Fast Women"

Fast Women ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 09 Apr, 14:31 Pacific

Thursday April 08, 2004

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

A writing prompt from Journal Inspirations

What do you like to grow? Do you have a green or a brown thumb?

I have a brown thumb. I guess it came with my name :-)

In any event, most houseplants do not survive our tender care. Besides that, we have housecats and cats and plants often do not mix (or when they do, it is to the continued detriment of the plants). So, all plants have been banished outdoors, where they mostly fend for themselves. ...
       Continue reading "With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells"

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 08 Apr, 13:05 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday April 07, 2004

Re-fi

We finished a home mortgage re-finance this evening... finally. This has taken an amazingly long time, considering that we re-financed with the same lender and we were only doing this to reduce our rate, not to take out any more money! In fact, we're gong to pay two days of "lock extension" fees because the rate lock holds for 2 months and we didn't get to closing within that period! We started the process on February 4. Sheesh.

The good news is that I asked the right questions regarding the lock extension. My first question was "How much per day?" ($20). OK, that's not so bad. Then I said, half jokingly, "Of course, if the rate has gone down in the meantime, maybe we don't want to extend the lock." After the loan officer laughed I said "Do you know? What is the current rate?" She said she didn't know; the bank keeps that information confidential and only the loan sales folks know but she suggested I ask our sales rep because if the rate had dropped, I could take advantage of their "one-time rate negotiation plan". ...
       Continue reading "Re-fi"

Re-fi ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 07 Apr, 22:33 Pacific

Tuesday April 06, 2004

Totem Animals

A writing group I belong to recently discussed Spirit Guides and Totem Animals.
An Animal Totem is an important symbolic object used by a person to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward.

You can have several animal guides through out your life. Sometimes an animal guide will come into your life for a short period of time, and then be replaced by another depending on the journey or direction you are headed toward. Your guide will instruct and protect you as you learn how to navigate through your spiritual and physical life. When you find an animal that speaks strongly to you or feel you must draw more deeply into your life, you might fill your environment with images of the animal to let the animal know it's welcome in your space. Animal guides can help you get back to your Earthly roots, and reconnect with nature by reminding you that we are all interconnected.

[ cf. How To Find Your Animal Totem ]

...
       Continue reading "Totem Animals"

Totem Animals ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Tue, 06 Apr, 17:10 Pacific

Monday April 05, 2004

Treasures 2004_14

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures -- here, or in your personal weblog or journal.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_14"

Treasures 2004_14 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 05 Apr, 23:12 Pacific

Sunday April 04, 2004

Daylight Shifting Time

Today is the first Sunday in April, the official "Spring Ahead" day. It's also one of my very most favorite days of the year. We lost an hour today — not really lost so much as put in the bank. We earn a lot of interest on that hour; that one hour from an April Sunday pays for a later sunset and a longer-seeming day until the last Sunday in October, and then we get it back. Personally, I'd be happy to lose the hour entirely if we could stay on Daylight "Shifting" Time year-round. Winter is when we need daylight most!

But, given that I have little influence over the Powers That Be (much less, the government), I'll have to make the best of what I've got. I have seven months before "They" start turning the lights off much too early for my taste.

Daylight Shifting Time ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 04 Apr, 19:34 Pacific

Saturday April 03, 2004

In My Room

Inspired by a writing prompt from Journal Inspirations (this entry was written on March 25, 2004).

Describe the room you are in right now. How does this room make you feel?

I am sitting in my favorite room of our house, my office. My office is approximately 10x14 feet in dimension and I share it with no one but the cats. My workstation is a Power Macintosh G3 (with three 1280x1024 resolution monitors), running Mac OS X. Above each monitor is a "bucket" from Office Depot, with a faux "sheepskin" liner in the bottom.; The cats love to sleep above my monitors (and I love to look up and see them). The liner (the sort of thing you buy at the petstore) is comfy for the kitties and has the added benefit of preventing cat hair from sifting into my monitors. ...
       Continue reading "In My Room"

In My Room ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 03 Apr, 13:08 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday April 02, 2004

Faking It

Faking It, by Jennifer Crusie, combines elements of art forgery, burglary, con artistry, and contemporary romance in a very enjoyable plot. The story line is interesting, the dialog is brisk and funny, and the characters are delightfully loony.

These are the sort of people I like best to meet in books; they're people that I feel like I've gotten to know! When the book ends, I miss them.

The only downside to the book is that it isn't entirely suitable for minors or those with "delicate sensibilites". It does include a small number of sex scenes. If you don't like that sort of thing, you can skip over them; however, I advise you not to. They aren't that explicit (this is not erotica) and they actually do seem to add a bit to the plot (including a few bits of dialog that might not be readily understood if you skip the previous scenes).

Aside from that one, possible, flaw, I loved this book. I was sorry to see it end. If you like smart, interesting, slightly warped characters and fresh, snappy dialog, pick up a copy of Faking It the next time you're in a bookstore. I'm going to pick up a few more of Jennifer Crusie's books. I hope they'll be as much fun to read.

Faking It ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 02 Apr, 11:36 Pacific

Thursday April 01, 2004

Garbage Project

A writing prompt from Journal Writing, an egroup for journaling.

What would people find in your garbage bin?

Eyew, ick! :-)

Another member wrote:
If someone were gross enough to snoop through my garbage...
Truly! But, what the hey... here goes! ...
       Continue reading "Garbage Project"

Garbage Project ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 01 Apr, 12:54 Pacific

Wednesday March 31, 2004

Wild Cat Adventure III

caracal_sm
Wild Cat Adventure is an educational outreach program covering the San Francisco Bay Area. The program is run by Rob and Barbara Dicely of Leopards, Etc..

The Diceleys are concerned about the fate of the animals on this planet. They believe in preventing extinction through education. Believing it's more difficult for most people to care for something they have never seen, Rob and Barbara bring their "ambassador cats" to approximately 150 invited programs a year, mostly at schools.

Several years ago, they expanded their work to include additional public outreach programs geared to families. They present four of these programs in the Spring and four more in the Fall.

Rich and I attended our third Wild Cat Adventure program on Sunday, March 28. (see WCA I and WCA II for details of past programs). This time, we arrived early enough for front row seats! (Actually, second row seats; the front row is blocked off to prevent anyone from getting too close and startling the cats). ...
       Continue reading "Wild Cat Adventure III"

Wild Cat Adventure III ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Wed, 31 Mar, 12:16 Pacific

Tuesday March 30, 2004

I had an interview!

I had a job interview today for a position as a Strategic Online Writer/Content Manager. The position sounded very interesting... but not ideal. Not right for me, at least not as a full time employee.

The company is looking for someone to manage all of their online content, newsletters, web page wording, advertising banners, etc. That person would own the content, look it all over, get a feel for what works and what doesn't, test everything, come up with new ideas, and figure out how to generate more "qualified leads". There are a number of problems that need to be solved, and I'm good at solving problems. However, I found myself thinking of ways to write a program to do analysis of the data. That's not what they are looking for; not yet, anyway.

Also, the position is in the Internet Marketing team. I really am of a much more technical bent. I think I'd go mad trying to generate "marketing" content full-time.

Still, they have a lot of problems they need to solve and there are things I could do for them. The company is interesting and doing good for the community. If I could work part-time, in a freelance (contract) capacity, I'd say "yes" in a heartbeat. So, I'm drafting a letter to the hiring manager to thank her for meeting with me and to suggest some ways I could help out without coming on board as a full-time employee. We'll see if anything comes of that.

I had an interview! ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 30 Mar, 22:32 Pacific | Comments (1)

Monday March 29, 2004

Our new vacuum cleaner really sucks!

(This is, of course, a Very Good Thing in a vacuum cleaner :-)

When I met my spouse, Rich, he had an Oreck vacuum; we kept it going for years. Finally, I decided it was well past its prime. Without really thinking, I went out and bought a new Oreck (XL) to replace it. (I had a job at the time).

Orecks are expensive. The XL cost (cough, wheeze) $370. (Well, what did I know? OK, I should have shopped around. But I was replacing an Oreck, ok?) ...
       Continue reading "Our new vacuum cleaner really sucks!"

Our new vacuum cleaner really sucks! ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 29 Mar, 18:06 Pacific | Comments (1)

Our new shredder really bites

(This is, of course, a desirable trait in a shredder.)

It also chews, chomps, engulfs and devours, and all with far less noise (at a much lower pitch) than we expected. ...
       Continue reading " Our new shredder really bites"

Our new shredder really bites ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 29 Mar, 18:03 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday March 28, 2004

Treasures 2004_13

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. I hope you'll consider starting your own list of Treasures -- here, or in your personal weblog or journal. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_13"

Treasures 2004_13 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 28 Mar, 23:41 Pacific

The Attic of My Mind

This prompt came from Journal Inspirations, an elist for journaling.

What does your "dream" attic look like?

My dream attic is dry and not too hot, with a board floor and the smell of wood, not unlike my grandmother's attic. Like her attic, it has treasures waiting to be discovered (unlike her attic, it has many more treasures). It is an attic made up of all the attics in all the children's books I have ever read and loved.

There's an old sewing machine in one corner, and a rocking horse. Of course there's a dressmaker's dummy and trunks full of old clothes. There are scrapbooks of photographs dating back to the turn of the century, and a pile of newspapers dating back to before the Civil War. There is a box full of letters, tied with ribbon. There are boxes of board games and old card games, games that were popular long ago. There's a Victrola and a box of wax cylinder recordings.

There's a window in the gable at each end with the sun beaming through on a sunny afternoon (a little light even on a rainy day) and a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. There are mysterious boxes and half-recognized items tucked under the eves. I could spend hours up here, exploring.

The Attic of My Mind ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 28 Mar, 23:30 Pacific

Saturday March 27, 2004

A Lilac Flower By Any Color

AUT_2416a

Our white lilac has a funny history. I think maybe it blooms so exuberantly each year because it's laughing at me :-)

You see.... it was supposed to be purple.

When I first went to the nursery, I wanted a purple lilac. The house I grew up in had both purple and white - a huge purple lilac tree that was as tall as the roof (and was just outside my bedroom window) and a smaller, white, lilac bush at the opposite corner of the yard. Every year both would bloom; oh how I loved them. My mother would cut armloads of lilac and put them in a big vase. I like the white (and frankly, with eyes closed, a lilac by any color smells as sweet). But somehow, I wanted my lilac to be, well... lilac. ...
       Continue reading "A Lilac Flower By Any Color"

A Lilac Flower By Any Color ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 27 Mar, 00:30 Pacific

Friday March 26, 2004

Quartet for a Friday morning

I've started playing with poetry again. One of my journaling list groups publishes prompt words every week or two. There's always a "poem" word. Three of the past poem words have been: Blanket, Sleeping, Clean.

For the first two pieces, I played with senryu (senryu has the same structure as haiku but doesn't require a seasonal reference). The fourth entry recasts one of the previous words (Sleeping) as a different part of speech (Sleep). (To be honest, I composed this one because I misremembered the third posted word; inspiration comes in odd forms :-) ...
       Continue reading "Quartet for a Friday morning"

Quartet for a Friday morning ( in category Memes & Prompts , Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 26 Mar, 10:41 Pacific

Thursday March 25, 2004

Blossoming Spring

  AUT_2409 Spring is sprung
With blossoms bright
Tulips pink
And Lilacs white
AUT_2416
AUT_2403 Perfume sweet
Upon the breeze
Green and leafy
Grow the trees
AUT_2412
AUT_2417 Spring is sprung
The days grow long
Birds rejoice
In trills of song
AUT_2419
AUT_2420 Seasons come
And seasons go
Autumn's frost
And Winter's snow
AUT_2422
AUT_2415 Spring's my favorite
Time of year
I'm delighted
That it's here
AUT_2408
Blossoming Spring ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Thu, 25 Mar, 00:13 Pacific

Spring is Here

This is Wednesday's prompt from Purple Ink. This was a perfect prompt, coming at a perfect time. I had been out yesterday morning, and when I came home, my African daisies were all open in the front yard, faces to the sun. I just had to take some photos! Then I decided to take the camera out to the back garden and take more photos. The tulips are up, the white lilac is absolutely covered in blossoms (and I can never resist burying my face in them). So I took a bunch of pictures and then I wrote a poem and worked on the page for that, getting it all set up.

And THEN I did this prompt. So everything fits together. Life is but a giant Jigsaw puzzle.

How does Spring make you feel?

Spring is longer days. Spring is warmer weather, no need for a jacket.

Spring is a fervent Goodbye and Good Riddance to Winter, to Winter's short days, long nights, too much dark and not enough light. Spring is enough rain that things are still green for another month or two before they start to become brown and dry in the summer.

Spring starts here on February 1 when the first ornamental plum trees burst into flower. It ends sometime in June when we have the last of the rainfall until Autumn.

Spring is flowers everywhere, in my garden, along the roads, in people's yards. Spring is a profusion of blossoms. Spring is tulips, pink, red, and yellow. Spring is Magnolia and Plum trees blooming. Spring is the white lilac in my yard, exuberant with flowers. Spring is happy plants, waking after hibernation, reaching for the sun.

Spring is all the senses relishing the season. Spring is sights and tastes and sounds and smells. Spring is the feel of the sun on my face.

Spring is a constant, light, almost-evasive perfume on the breeze. Spring is opening the windows for the cats and letting that breeze flow into the house and sweep out the corners.

Spring is light. Spring is color. Spring is poetry. Spring is song.

Spring is new life. Spring is a new year. Spring makes me feel alive and well and happy.

Spring is Here ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 25 Mar, 00:02 Pacific

Wednesday March 24, 2004

Signs That You Are A Crazy Cat Lady

Your colleagues no longer ask how your weekend was. Instead they ask how your cats are doing.

People at work have stopped offering you their lint brushes. They realize it's hopeless anyway.

When you get your latest roll of film developed, there's not a single human being in the pictures.

You have more cats than the local pet store and there are several kitty litter boxes in every room of your apartment.

Your personal motto is: "You can never have enough cats."

You buy more than 60 pounds of cat litter a month.

You'd rather watch hours of boring infomercials than disturb the cat sleeping on the remote.

You choose your friends based on how well your cats like them.

The only time you leave your apartment is to feed the stray cats in the neighborhood.

You introduce your cats by name to the pizza delivery guy. ...
       Continue reading "Signs That You Are A Crazy Cat Lady"

Signs That You Are A Crazy Cat Lady ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 24 Mar, 09:51 Pacific

Tuesday March 23, 2004

Random Purple Questions

[ These came from Purple Ink this past week. ]

One of the members wrote:
Okay, I really need to find a new job. I'm bored again so here are some more questions:

I'm not bored, but I sympathize. I also enjoy this sort of thing, so here we go.

  • How old are you? (okay, if you don't want to be specific how about a decade)
  • Where do you live? Country? Type of home?
  • What do you do for a living? Or what did you do?
  • What type of education do you have?
  • Who is in your family?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What do you look like?
  • What languages do you speak?
  • What languages would you like to speak?
  • Who are your favorite actors?
  • Who are your favorite actresses?
  • What do you like to watch on tv?
  • Favorite colors?
  • Favorite films?
  • Favorite play?
  • Favorite magazines?
  • Favorite type of cheese?
  • Favorite drink?
  • What was/is your favourite book (or other type of) store? Why? Is it still there?
...
       Continue reading "Random Purple Questions"

Random Purple Questions ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 23 Mar, 16:17 Pacific

Monday March 22, 2004

Treasures 2004_12

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_12"

Treasures 2004_12 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 22 Mar, 09:00 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday March 21, 2004

Tax Time

It's that time of year. The days are getting longer and warmer (although some localities still have snow on the ground!) Still, in many places, the trees are budding, the grass is greening, the birds are singing. All across America, papers are being collected, pencils are being sharpened, and from many homes you hear the weeping, wailing and, most of all, groans... it's Tax Time.

i'm doing my taxes this weekend. could it be possible to say that that's what inspired me for this week's wL? haha, but it has.

  • yay or nay for math?

  • who gets your taxes done?

  • have you ever *gasp* cheated?

  • do you usually make plans for your refund or do you save it?
[ questions courtesy of the weeklyLeak ]
...
       Continue reading "Tax Time"

Tax Time ( in category Memes & Prompts , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sun, 21 Mar, 11:45 Pacific

Saturday March 20, 2004

If I Ran a School

[ This is the last of five questions from this week's Friday 5 ]

If I Ran a School

I don't have much good to say about the way the typical K-12 educational system is run. My spouse is of a similar opinion. We'd both do a lot of things very differently if we were in charge. ...
       Continue reading "If I Ran a School"

If I Ran a School ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 20 Mar, 00:21 Pacific

If I Ran a Restaurant

[ This is the fourth of five questions from this week's Friday 5 ]

If I Ran a Restaurant

I probably wouldn't ever actually start a restaurant; it's a lot of work. It's also fun to dream about. Maybe, if I hired the chef and staff and everything...

Anyway, if I owned a restaurant, it would be a Pennsylvania Dutch Family Style restaurant in Northern (i.e. Central Coastal) Bay Area California. You find quite a few restaurants like this in south-eastern Pennsylvania, especially in Lancaster County. I really miss the opportunity to get this sort of food. ...
       Continue reading "If I Ran a Restaurant"

If I Ran a Restaurant ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 20 Mar, 00:21 Pacific

Friday March 19, 2004

If 'twere up to me...

The Friday 5 for this week asks five apparently unrelated questions. There is one thread that connects each question, however; each asks the respondent what s/he would do in a specific, imaginary, situation. The five questions each ask "If you did something like this, what would you do that made your version special?".

The five questions are:

  1. If you owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
  2. If you wrote a book, what genre would it be?
  3. If you recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
  4. If you owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
  5. If you ran a school, what would you teach?
If you go to the Friday 5 page, you'll note that I have re-ordered the questions above, to make them easier to group together. I've answered the first three below. My responses to the other two questions are long enough to warrant their own entries. ...
       Continue reading "If 'twere up to me..."

If 'twere up to me... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 19 Mar, 14:47 Pacific

Poetry on Paper

May I recommend today's weblog essay by Danny Gregory, Everyday Matters.

Poetry on Paper ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 19 Mar, 09:42 Pacific

Thursday March 18, 2004

Thursday Threesome - Blog Design Exchange

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

::Blog Design Exchange::

Onesome: Blog-- How long have you been a member of the blogosphere? ...and from a different angle: how long have you been on the Net?

Twosome: Design-- Do you do your own design work for your site? ...and if not, where are you finding templates you like?

Threesome: Exchange-- ...and while we're on the Net, have you ever participated in any of the Net "exchanges" such as recipes, Christmas ornaments, site exchanges, guest blogging or related things?

...
       Continue reading "Thursday Threesome - Blog Design Exchange"

Thursday Threesome - Blog Design Exchange ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 18 Mar, 12:31 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday March 17, 2004

Spam in my mailbox?

Spam in my mailbox? I cannot utter enough expletives to describe the depth of my revulsion for spam. Spam on my blog? Sailors, cover your ears.

[ cf. Fighting Blog Spam, March 8, 2004 ]

If I never again see an "enlargement comment" I will be a very happy camper. I am so sick and tired of deleting this garbage/slime/crap/encroaching nastiness that has been infiltrating my otherwise happy little backwater weblog.

And now, thanks to Pariah (for showing me the light), and to Jay Allen for sparking the light, the lamp, the torch in the darkness (i.e. MT-Blacklist) my weblog is gonna be MINE all Mine once again.

Pariah - You have my everlasting and fervent thanks!

Jay - Ditto; ( amazing page :-)

Spammers - see a later [sic] ... or never

Spam in my mailbox? ( in category News & Information , Special Interests ) - posted at Wed, 17 Mar, 21:41 Pacific | Comments (1)

Channeling Harry Homeowner - Table for Six

Our dining table is revamped and can seat six comfortably; 8 or 10 if they're really god friends :-).

After we finished our kitchen / dining room re-flooring project, we decided to replace our previous dining table. The new "table" is actually composed of two, 2.5' x 4', blond wood tables. Rich had to slice a bit off the legs of one to make them the same height (in theory, they were purchased as "identical" tables, but theory and practice differ more in practice than in theory).

Because we had actually two tables and wanted them to appear to be one table, I went out and bought a vinyl tablecloth at Target. The tablecloth was meant to cover a 4 x 6 table; ours was 4 x 5. We had space... So we got to talking, and thinking... and designing.

table_1
...
       Continue reading "Channeling Harry Homeowner - Table for Six"

Channeling Harry Homeowner - Table for Six ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 17 Mar, 12:52 Pacific

Tuesday March 16, 2004

Last of the Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)

What is your favorite season? Why?

My favorite season is Spring! Spring! Spring!

The days get LONGER again (the sun won't set today until 6:15 today, with twilight for another half hour after that! . The air is cool to warm, but rarely hot or cold. I can open the windows again for the kitties to smell the air and listen to the sounds outside. The hills are still green from winter (winter is our rainy season here), not yet brown (summer). Ornamental flowering trees are bursting with buds and color. There are some incredible puffy yellow things and the plums are frothy pink. There are daffodils and Cala lilies and even tulips. Years ago, someone planted patches of daffodils along the highway south of here, in an area that's mostly cow pasture; this is a great time to drive through there!.

What is your favorite type of day weather wise? Why?

We've been having it all week - blue sky, "room temperature" warm weather, a few clouds, clear to the horizon. No rain, not too hot, a light breeze. I can walk out of the house without a jacket or sweater. A sparkly, crystalline day! ...
       Continue reading "Last of the Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)"

Last of the Purple Prompts (week of 3/7) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 16 Mar, 00:50 Pacific

Monday March 15, 2004

Treasures 2004_11

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures throughout the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_11"

Treasures 2004_11 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 15 Mar, 12:29 Pacific

LitraCon

What will they think of next?

(Well, actually, I'm still waiting for transparent aluminum, ala Star Trek. Still... this is pretty cool stuff!)

litraconThe days of dull, grey concrete could be about to end. A Hungarian architect has combined the world’s most popular building material with optical fiber from Schott to create a new type of concrete that transmits light.

A wall made of “LitraCon” allegedly has the strength of traditional concrete but thanks to an embedded array of glass fibers can display a view of the outside world, such as the silhouette of a tree, for example.

“Thousands of optical glass fibers form a matrix and run parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of every block,” explained its inventor Áron Losonczi. “Shadows on the lighter side will appear with sharp outlines on the darker one. Even the colours remain the same. This special effect creates the general impression that the thickness and weight of a concrete wall will disappear.”

The hope is that the new material will transform the interior appearance of concrete buildings by making them feel light and airy rather than dark and heavy.

[cf. Concrete casts new light in dull rooms, March 11, 2004, optics.org. ]

I've worked in some of those concrete buildings (without many windows). I'm looking forward to the changes this product will make in public buildings and workplaces!

The first mass produced LiTraCon© products are expected to come on the market at the end of this year (2004).

LitraCon ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Mon, 15 Mar, 10:35 Pacific

Sunday March 14, 2004

Catching A Leprechaun

This week's Saturday Slant

Legend has it if you catch a leprechaun he is honor bound to grant you a single wish, even as far as to give up his pot of gold. A single wish. The Jin of Aladdin’s tales grant three—room enough to correct mistakes. With a single wish, however, there is no going back. You hold in your grip a spry little man with beard and curls of amber. Annoyed at being caught he glares up at you demanding: “Aye. What shall ye be wishing then, hey?” A single wish. Think carefully before you answer.
...
       Continue reading "Catching A Leprechaun"

Catching A Leprechaun ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 14 Mar, 10:11 Pacific

Saturday March 13, 2004

More Purple prompts (week of 3/7)

What are you currently reading?

The next to last in Barbara D'Amato's Cat Marsala mystery series. Great books,these. Interesting plots, good characterization and excellent writing.

Which room of your house is the messiest and why?

The garage; because it's where everything goes that doesn't have a home anywhere else. We cleared out the storage locker and everything came home to the garage. Hubby keeps working on trying to organize the garage; it's his space.

My office is second but I'm trying really hard to keep it relatively neat. ...
       Continue reading "More Purple prompts (week of 3/7)"

More Purple prompts (week of 3/7) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 13 Mar, 22:37 Pacific

Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)

Sunday

If you could live in any other time period, which would you choose? Why?

If I could live in any other time period, I would you choose the future, sometime after interstellar travel (warp/hyper drive, FTL drive, subspace drive; whatever you want to call it) has been discovered and in use for a while and we're colonizing other planets and visiting distant stars.

Many past times in history are of interest to me but as a myopic woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, good roads, germ theory and the associated advances in medicine, and also loves technology and science, I wouldn't fit in back then.

Monday

What is your earliest memory, and why does it stand out in your mind? ...
       Continue reading "Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)"

Purple Prompts (week of 3/7) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 13 Mar, 22:32 Pacific

Friday March 12, 2004

Dinner and a Movie

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

"A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it."
~ Alfred Hitchcock

Onesome: -- The dinner: What's your favourite meal? Is it something you get out or can you get it at home?

Twosome: -- the theatre Admission: What's your favourite movie and/or play and why?

Threesome: -- and the babysitter: We've all been left with a babysitter at one point or another. Did you have a favourite childhood babysitter? What made that person special?

...
       Continue reading "Dinner and a Movie"

Dinner and a Movie ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 12 Mar, 19:00 Pacific

Strikingly Unusual

A recent prompt from the Journal-Inspirations list group:

Write about the most unusual person you met today.

I am infrequently in a position to meet people (aside from the other meaning, as in "I met my friend for lunch"). In fact, given that I have been largely unemployed for 3/4 of the past two years (and worked from home for the year before that), I'm trying to recall the last time I "met" anyone new (other than just seeing someone in a store or interacting with a sales clerk or the Postman... Even when I was working outside the house, I rarely had an opportunity to meet new people; the kind of jobs I do aren't rife with new people to meet on a frequent basis.

However, if we stretch the meaning of "meet" to include "saw and spoke to", I met an unusual person last night. I made it a point to approach her and compliment her on her attire. She's certainly worth describing! ...
       Continue reading "Strikingly Unusual"

Strikingly Unusual ( in category Memes & Prompts , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 12 Mar, 09:51 Pacific

Thursday March 11, 2004

You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania

My sister sent me this quiz;

You Know You're From (or In) Pennsylvania If:

  • You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but "Philly." And New Jersey has always been "Jersey."
  • You refer to Pennsylvania as "PA" (pronounced Peeay). How many other states do that?
  • You know what "Punxsutawney Phil" is, and what it means if he sees his shadow.
  • The first day of buck and the first day of doe season are school holidays.
  • You can use the phrase "fire hall wedding reception" and not even bat an eye.
  • You can't go to a wedding without hearing the "Chicken Dance," at least 1 Polka and either an Italian song (sung in Italian,) or "Hava Nagila."
  • At least 5 people on your block have electric "candles" in all or most of their windows all year long.
  • You know what a "Hex sign" is.
...
       Continue reading "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania"

You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 11 Mar, 10:03 Pacific | Comments (3)

Wednesday March 10, 2004

My Muse

Monday's prompt in Journal Inspirations:

Muse: a source of inspiration; especially : a guiding genius

What would you consider to be your muse? Why?

...
       Continue reading "My Muse"

My Muse ( in category Memes & Prompts , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 10 Mar, 13:19 Pacific

Tuesday March 09, 2004

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice

I found this interesting tidbit in the February Readers Digest:
...Scientists at Cornell University and Seoul National University examined the cancer-fighting antioxidant content of hot cocoa, red wine, and tea, and found that cocoa had nearly double the antioxidants of red wine and four to five times more than tea. Instant cocoa would likely give you similar benefits, say the researchers. (Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants too, but it also has unhealthy fats)....
I beg to differ with that last part; my understanding is that cocoa butter is not an unhealthy fat.
One of the main ingredients of chocolate is cocoa butter, which is made up of beneficial fatty acids like stearic, oleic and palmitic....

Chocolate contains mostly stearic acids, which have a neutral effect on cholesterol in comparison with other saturated fats.

[cf. The Chocoholic's Choice, May 2003, San Francisco Chronicle.

Somehow I never published a report on the Chronicle article excerpted above when it originally came out! What was I thinking?! ...
       Continue reading "Chocolate Lovers Rejoice"

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 09 Mar, 11:18 Pacific

Monday March 08, 2004

Treasures 2004_10

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures through out the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_10"

Treasures 2004_10 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 08 Mar, 07:47 Pacific

Sunday March 07, 2004

Classical Guitar

Spouse and self enjoy classical guitar music (that means music where the guitar plays the melody, not just a few chords). Some favorite artists include Leona Boyd, Sharon Isbin, Chritopher Parkening, Celadonio Romero, Andrés Segovia, and John Williams. They play Bach, Beethovan, Mozart, and much more, with and without orchestral accompaniment.

For more novel interpretations, there are others to choose from. For example, Gary Van Duser has a splendid recording of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" on his album, "American Finger-Style Guitar". The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet plays J. S. Bach and other Baroque masters on their disc, "For Thy Pleasure". I think this is the first recording of Pachelbel's Canon I have heard for guitar (in this case, the interpretation gets a little "out there" and is entitled "Pachelbel's (Loose) Canon".

The California Guitar Trio plays a wonderful rendition of "Apache", as well as a surprising interpretation of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, on their disc, "invitation". Remember the introductory piece from Fantasia? The one with the orchestra and the colors? That's the Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Speaking of Fantasia (my all-time favorite movie :-), find yourself a copy of Stevan Pasero's Nutcracker Suite for Guitar. It's surprisingly different and great fun.

Classical Guitar ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 07 Mar, 00:26 Pacific

Saturday March 06, 2004

Purple Prompts for this week

[ This week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. ]

Sunday

Keep a record of what money you spend this week.

Mostly I spend money on books and groceries and meals. We eat a lot of meals out (although tonight we will be eating at home). I track our expenses because Hubby and I share the financial responsibility but I pay for almost everything up front.

But I'm not going to tell anyone how much that is :-)

Monday

What is the ideal peaceful place for you? ...
       Continue reading "Purple Prompts for this week"

Purple Prompts for this week ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 06 Mar, 12:00 Pacific

Friday March 05, 2004

A Night on the Town

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]
Onesome: Night: -- Nights can be difficult if you need something from somewhere: what time do the stores shut down where you are? I mean, if you needed something more than a loaf of bread, is there any hope late at night?

Twosome: on the: -- River? Hey, are there any rivers near you? ...or are you located out in the wilderness somewhere?

Threesome: Town! -- If you could have any "Night on the Town" you wanted, what would you like to do? ...and would you like some company or would you go it alone?

...
       Continue reading "A Night on the Town"

A Night on the Town ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 05 Mar, 00:21 Pacific

Thursday March 04, 2004

Victorian House Coffee

Speaking of Victorian House Coffee, I've been enjoying this product for a while now. I had tried VH before, but didn't really start drinking it regularly until last fall. ...
       Continue reading "Victorian House Coffee"

Victorian House Coffee ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Thu, 04 Mar, 12:05 Pacific | Comments (1)

Packaging Solutions

In wandering the web today looking for something else, I came across the rather interesting page from Berlin Packaging. Berlin Packaging is "the nation's premier supplier of rigid packaging - including glass, metal, and plastic containers, and closures". The page I discovered is their packaging solutions page, on which they give several examples, with full text description as well as "Before" and "After pictures, of bottles they have redesigned (and why).

For example, the way I found this site was by doing a search for the home page of a product I like, Victorian House Coffee. It turns out that Berlin Packaging redesigned the Victorian House Coffee bottle: ...
       Continue reading "Packaging Solutions"

Packaging Solutions ( in category Random Thoughts , Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 04 Mar, 11:47 Pacific

Wednesday March 03, 2004

Constraints

Have you ever noticed how so many decisions and problem solutions are based on certain constraints... and yet, after you've made the decision, you often discover that some of what you thought were constraints on the problem weren't real? ...
       Continue reading "Constraints"

Constraints ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 03 Mar, 18:41 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday March 02, 2004

Commemorative Dr. Seuss US Stamp

04_seuss37_d The US Post Office has released a commemorative 0.37 cent stamp in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Stamps are available for purchase at your local Snail Mail outlet or online (I personally love buying stamps by mail. It's so... logical. Recursive, as it were ;-)
Commemorative Dr. Seuss US Stamp ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Tue, 02 Mar, 22:05 Pacific

Dr. Seuss on NPR

National Public Radio's Morning Edition presented A 100th Birthday Card to Dr. Seuss this morning, featuring a verse written by Hart Seely, a reporter with the Syracuse Post-Standard. ...
       Continue reading "Dr. Seuss on NPR"

Dr. Seuss on NPR ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Tue, 02 Mar, 21:56 Pacific

Monday March 01, 2004

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

cathat onefish greeneggs
From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things
are everywhere.

March 2 is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to millions of children as Dr. Seuss. Theodor Geisel died in 1991. This March 2, 2004 (tomorrow) would have been his 100th birthday. ...
       Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!"

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! ( in category News & Information , Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 01 Mar, 14:35 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday February 29, 2004

Treasures 2004_09

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures through out the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_09"

Treasures 2004_09 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 29 Feb, 23:17 Pacific

Word Beads on Sentence Strings

When I was in Junior High, or thereabouts, a wonderful store opened downtown. It was called The Knothole and it sold jewelry findings - clasps, links, chains, pinbacks, ... and beads, hundreds of choices of beads. There were large beads, tiny beads, and every size in between. There were beads made of metal, glass, wood, plastic, and ceramic. There were plain beads and colored beads on every shade and hue: painted, glazed, or dyed. My sister and spent a lot of time there, choosing beads. We bought a lot of beads and strung them into necklaces for ourselves, our friends, and our family. It's a good memory.

Words in a sentence are like beads on a string. You can choose large ones, tiny ones, and any size in between. As with beads, you have a choice of many types, in this case nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and more. Your words can be plain or colorful.

Recently I ran across a journalling prompt idea in a writing list group I've joined. I thought it would make a good recurring weblog meme which I've called Word Beads on Sentence Strings. The idea is simple: ...
       Continue reading "Word Beads on Sentence Strings"

Word Beads on Sentence Strings ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 29 Feb, 09:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Saturday February 28, 2004

Right Brain Left Brain

[ The following is only a summary of the complete essay. I couldn't quite decide where to post this entry, so I posted a summary here, with the full piece on my other weblog, commentary. ]

"This theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different "modes" of thinking. It also suggests that each of us prefers one mode over the other."

  • Are you an artist?

  • Are you artistic, creative, right-brained?

  • Are you left- or right-handed?
A fellow listgroup member recently started a discussion on Left- and Right- Handedness. Being an analytical sort of person, I did some research; the results weren't precisely what I expected...

Right Brain Left Brain ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 28 Feb, 16:39 Pacific

Friday February 27, 2004

House Ordinary

Housework has never been my strong suit. I grew up in a family of packrats; my parents believed in taking a laissez faire approach to housework. The dining room table tended to accumulate mail, craft projects, and general piles of whatever; it was cleared on occasions when we had two or more guests for dinner (otherwise, the family ate in the kitchen). We'd vacuum when company was coming or whenever the rug seemed to need it.

As a child, I was never required to clean my room. My room varied between an average, fairly disorganized, child's room and the result of one of my periodic spontaneous outbursts of organization. (To my credit, those cleaning bursts never uncovered a half sandwich or anything of that nature!)

My first (and last) College room mate (actually grad school) was, to my mind, a neat freak. In a flat rented by 3 adult women who were usually in class or in the lab and thus rarely home, she decided that the flat needed to be vacuumed every Saturday morning. Once a week I would be awakened by the vrooooom of the vacuum outside my door, well before 10 am. When she suggested I take a turn some week, I reminded her that I owned the vacuum cleaner and closed the door again. After that experience, I rented one-bedroom apartments until I met my Spouse.

I'm no Martha Stewart and Spouse isn't Mr. Clean. While our house isn't exactly ... messy... you wouldn't want to eat off the floor. We try to straighten up the public areas, but if you can't deal with cat hair, I wouldn't advise you to visit. ...
       Continue reading "House Ordinary"

House Ordinary ( in category Memes & Prompts , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 27 Feb, 14:35 Pacific

Thursday February 26, 2004

Choreography

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ] :Choreography: The art of symbolically representing dancing::
Onesome: -- Choreography: What do you choreograph in your life? Your morning routine? The dinner ritual? How you study?

Twosome: -- The art of symbolically: Art? Hmmmm... Sure, what do you like to have? ...or do you? ...but how about that little symbol you keep on your desk or headboard? The one you keep because??? I mean, if you can share that...

Threesome: -- representing dancing: No, not 'do you dance?' (although that's fine too!); rather, which type(s) of dancing will you stop and watch for a moment? Ballroom? Swing? Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey?

...
       Continue reading "Choreography"

Choreography ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 26 Feb, 15:18 Pacific | Comments (2)

Wednesday February 25, 2004

Dreaming

The inspiration for this essay came from a comment on the Purple Ink list group, to wit:

I dream in colour when it suits me.
To which I responded, "Does this mean you also dream in black and white when it suits?"

And then I was inspired to write this: ...
       Continue reading "Dreaming"

Dreaming ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Wed, 25 Feb, 12:26 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday February 24, 2004

Linoleum, Carpet, Wood, or Tile?

What kind of flooring do you prefer?

I grew up in a house that had linoleum floors upstairs and in the kitchen. It had wall-to-wall carpet in the living at dining rooms (at least from the time I was nine years old and those rooms were remodeled).

I don't quite know where I got my preference for wood, but I prefer wood floors with occasional throw rugs. Linoleum seems cold and... utilitarian. Wall to wall carpet is warm under my feet but it's boring and harder to clean and keep clean.

Tile can be pretty and it's water-resistant; we tiled our sunroom. Depending on the tile, it can be warmer than linoleum, although it's likely cooler than carpet. But then, tile can be sunwarmed...

Still, there is just something special about wood. I love wood — wood floors; wood furniture; unpainted, unvarnished, lightly treated (oiled) wood; even things that have the appearance of wood (though I draw the line at most wood-grain wall paneling products :) ...
       Continue reading "Linoleum, Carpet, Wood, or Tile?"

Linoleum, Carpet, Wood, or Tile? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 24 Feb, 09:55 Pacific

Monday February 23, 2004

Treasures 2004_08

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures through out the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments.

My treasures for the past week include

  • Our new kitchen/dining room flooring, which we have installed ourselves. It's so pretty; I almost hate to walk on it!

  • Getting through the worst of our flooring project without breaking anything, getting hurt, or making any really egregious mistakes that needed to be unmade.

  • How glad I am that the storm (and the 4-hour power failure) was on Tuesday, a day after we spent the holiday weekend working on the new floor (with power tools!) for 9 hours each day!

  • Rich commented that I walked up to the 4th floor of a parking garage "just like that". The stair-stepper must be doing its job!

  • Raven skittering on the new floor as he tries to get going into a run. He's having a blast.

  • The molding strips, which look great; the new rugs; the new location for the water bottle dispenser; the whole re-do in general. It all looks so NICE.
Treasures 2004_08 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 23 Feb, 22:33 Pacific

Art Journals

7windy

If you're interested in journals, especially in art journals, I've found some great sites to recommend.

I recently discovered Karen Winter's illustrated online journal, "Random Acts of Inkness - art journaling, writing, and other nonsense". Unlike many online journals, Karen's site features scans of her paper journal in which she draws as well as writes. The page shown here is one I especially enjoyed! Karen also posts to a "regular" weblog called "The Creative Journey" (with pointers and links to the illustrated version) .

Another illustrated journal is Keri Smith's "Wish Jar Journal". This one is full of fun text and interesting little stories, richly illustrated by colorful sketches. Where many people would include photographs, Keri includes sketches. Be sure to read the text too!

For something slightly different, try "Trumpetvine", a site "dedicated to the study, appreciation, and promotion of personal sketching to enhance our travel logs, illustrated journals, nature diaries, art projects and more". Or surf over to "Bea's Diary", a pictorial journal done in a whimsical, cartoon style.

Last, but not least, I must recommend Danny Gregory's "Everyday Matters". I found the aforementioned sites, as well as several others, via Danny's blogroll,. Danny is a fellow member of the Purple Ink journalling mailing list. He's recently started his own list group called everydaymatters, an "ongoing discussion about creativity, drawing, journal making and seeing more clearly". The group has acquired 301 members since its inception on Feb; 17 (only 5 days ago!)

Art Journals ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 23 Feb, 00:36 Pacific

Sunday February 22, 2004

A Little Bit Crazy

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy.
    -- Janet Long

List the ways you are just a little bit crazy.

...
       Continue reading "A Little Bit Crazy"

A Little Bit Crazy ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 22 Feb, 18:32 Pacific

Saturday February 21, 2004

Harry and Harriet do Baseboard Molding

Harry did most of the work this time.

We've almost got the kitchen and dining room project finished. There's one strip of molding under the sink (toe space) and the part behind the fridge to do yet. Actually, the part behind the fridge was done first, but we decided to change the style of molding (and go with a style that is 3/16 thicker) so "we" (i.e. Rich, channeling Harry Homeowner :-) will pull the fridge forward and replace the three strips behind it... sometime... r.s.n.... possibly tomorrow but no promises. ...
       Continue reading "Harry and Harriet do Baseboard Molding"

Harry and Harriet do Baseboard Molding ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sat, 21 Feb, 23:59 Pacific

Breaking the Rules

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

List 20 rules you've broken.

...
       Continue reading "Breaking the Rules"

Breaking the Rules ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 21 Feb, 15:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday February 20, 2004

The Magnificent Truth

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Every night at bedtime, say this prayer:
God, help me accept the truth about myself, no matter how magnificent it is.
    — Rhonda Hull, Ph.D.

What is the magnificent truth about yourself?

...
       Continue reading "The Magnificent Truth"

The Magnificent Truth ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 20 Feb, 11:40 Pacific

On a Perfect Day...

[ Yesterday's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

How would your day go if it went perfectly?

...
       Continue reading "On a Perfect Day..."

On a Perfect Day... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 20 Feb, 11:35 Pacific

Thursday February 19, 2004

Three More Questions

[ My responses to the other half of last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Cartoon Characters
List your favorite cartoon characters.

Personality Trait
Name the personality trait you have tried hardest to change in yourself.

Childhood Books
Name your favorite book from childhood. ...
       Continue reading "Three More Questions"

Three More Questions ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 19 Feb, 10:33 Pacific

Thursday Threesome: Serendipity

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]
::Serendipity: Making fortunate discoveries by accident::

Onesome: Serendipity:-- Do you believe in destiny?

Twosome: Making fortunate discoveries-- What is your greatest "find"? Is it an antique you discovered tucked away at a garage sale? Or maybe something as simple as the great sale on khakis or lawn mowers at your favorite store?

Threesome: by accident-- Have you ever discovered a place entirely by accident and it's become a favourite place to go now? A hidden grove in the city park, a wonderful little coffee shop or restaurant, a treasure trove of a shop?

...
       Continue reading "Thursday Threesome: Serendipity"

Thursday Threesome: Serendipity ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 19 Feb, 10:29 Pacific

Wednesday February 18, 2004

Three Questions

[ My responses to three writing prompts from this week on Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Name Five Things...
Name five things in your refrigerator/freezer.
Name five things in your pantry.
Name five things under your kitchen sink.
Name five things around your computer.
Name five things in your medicine cabinet.

Handling Change
Sometimes we spend a lot of time and energy resisting change in our lives. Many of us don't like change...we prefer to keep things comfortable. But change is necessary for personal growth. How well do you deal with change? Do you try to keep things simple and routine in your life or do you love the challenge of new things?

Bad Ideas
What are three things you wish were never invented? ...
       Continue reading "Three Questions"

Three Questions ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 18 Feb, 21:19 Pacific

My Two Cents

Do you have opinions on today's issues? Do you write Letters to the Editor? Do you wish there were easier ways of making your voice heard? Do you wish someone would ask for your thoughts and comments on local or political issues?

Spouse and self may soon have a chance to do just that, through a program at the San Francisco Chronicle called "Two Cents".

We got involved this way... ...
       Continue reading "My Two Cents"

My Two Cents ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 18 Feb, 14:03 Pacific

Tuesday February 17, 2004

Harry and Harriet Homeowner Do Laminate Flooring!

When we bought our house, it was not a fixer-upper. There were only a few things about it we wanted to change right at the beginning (such as the one wall of really ugly wall paper in the living room that came done the very next weekend). We've made some improvements over the years, but nothing major was required at the outset. AUT_2363

However, when we moved in, the kitchen and dining area were covered with cheap (thin, fuzzy, foam-backed, no pile) industrial carpeting. Now, carpet in a kitchen isn't a very good idea. First we had one major spill - chicken broth :-( - and then we discovered that the ice maker in the fridge was leaking. So up came the carpet in that area and down went "temporary" vinyl tile squares.

Over more time, the carpet and its foam backing material parted company, so the carpet in the dining area kept suffering "slippage". Chair legs would push it and tear a hole. Eventually, about 4 years ago, we tore out most of the carpet (except for under one or two heavy pieces of furniture) and scraped up the foam backing which was stuck to the linoleum flooring underneath. It was a nasty job but eventually accomplished. Then we lived with an ugly but very serviceable linoleum floor (ugly because it was still coated with a very thin layer of glue and grey foam dust).

Finally, this year, Rich has a good contract and we decided to re-floor the kitchen and dining room area. We chose Armstrong wood look laminate, in snap-lock boards.

This being a three-day weekend (what with President's Day on Monday) we decided to embark upon the kitchen/dining room reflooring project Saturday through Monday. ...
       Continue reading "Harry and Harriet Homeowner Do Laminate Flooring!"

Harry and Harriet Homeowner Do Laminate Flooring! ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 17 Feb, 23:22 Pacific | Comments (2)

Monday February 16, 2004

Four Questions

[ My responses to four writing prompts from last week on Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Unrequited
If you could have returned the love of someone you rejected in the past, who would it be?

Cityscape
If you were to pick a city which best represents your personality, which would you choose?

Hobbies
List your hobbies.

Word Use
If you could prevent someone you know from overusing one word, what would the word be? ...
       Continue reading "Four Questions"

Four Questions ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 16 Feb, 20:58 Pacific

Treasures 2004_07

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures through out the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_07"

Treasures 2004_07 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 16 Feb, 09:32 Pacific

Sunday February 15, 2004

I've Been to Georgia and California...

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 52. This is the last round for this meme; however, as I didn't start until round 41 or 42, I'll probably go back and pick up some that I missed. ]
PAST: Where have you been?

PRESENT: Where are you now?

FUTURE: Where are you going?

...
       Continue reading "I've Been to Georgia and California..."

I've Been to Georgia and California... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 15 Feb, 12:36 Pacific

Saturday February 14, 2004

Candy Box Memories

Hearts Gladness is... thinking back to special times and fondly remembered moments.

When I was growing up, Valentines Day was a special day in our family. My Dad would stop by the candy shop (I can still remember the smell of that candy shop!) and buy an assortment of candies - burnt peanuts, Jordan almonds, non parels, cinnamon hearts, chocolate-covered peanuts, toffee squares. mints, M&Ms, all sorts of things, most of them small (the diameter of a quarter or less). The store packaged these in little white paper bags.

Then Dad brought the candy home and parceled it out into three small heart-shaped cardboard boxes, saved from year to year - one for my Mom, one for my sister, and one for me. After dinner on Valentines Day, we'd be presented with the boxes. Oh, how I loved that little box of candy treats, always the same yet always a bit different from year to year. I'd savor each little piece (I was the kid whose Halloween candy lasted to Christmas, Christmas candy to Valentines Day...)

Another family tradition was the Valentine's Day cards. There would usually be one or two new cards but the best cards were saved from year to year and brought out again for the occasion. It was always great fun to see the cards again. We did the same trick with Father's Day and Mother's Day cards, as well as some birthday cards. A good card should be saved and appreciated!

This year my sweetie and I are low-carbing and weight-reducing and that means no candy. So Rich presented me with a "virtual" box of candy. As it was entirely imaginary, I got to imagine what was inside it. I just know it held burnt peanuts, Jordan almonds, non parels, cinnamon hearts, chocolate-covered peanuts, toffee squares. mints, M&Ms... Ummmmmmm.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Candy Box Memories ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 14 Feb, 11:00 Pacific

Friday February 13, 2004

Friday The 13th

...Friday the 13th, black cats, broken mirrors, spilled salt,
wishing wells, shooting stars, horseshoes, four-leaf clovers,
a rabbit's foot, 7 years of luck (good or bad)...

The Friday 5 for this week discusses... (Doo DOO Doo doooo) superstitions!

  1. Are you superstitious?
  2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
  3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
  4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
  5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
...
       Continue reading "Friday The 13th"

Friday The 13th ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 13 Feb, 13:23 Pacific

Thursday February 12, 2004

Sweet Happy Life

[ The fourth and last of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Sweet Happy Life

Sort of a continuation of yesterday's prompt:
There is a lot of drudgery, tediousness, and repetition in daily life. There are plenty of things that all of us have to do in the course of a day or week that are absolutely no fun at all. Life shouldn‚t necessarily be one big barrel of laughs, but at the same time, it‚s important that we not get weighed down by the endlessness of it all.

How do you rise above the dailiness? What techniques do you use to help yourself face down that hypothetical tower of dirty dishes? How do you diffuse the unpleasantness of certain things that you have to deal with in your life? Share some of the things that you do to make daily life a little sweeter.

...
       Continue reading "Sweet Happy Life"

Sweet Happy Life ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 12 Feb, 13:22 Pacific

Ignorance is Bliss

[ The third of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Ignorance is Bliss

...if a woman was to see all the dishes that she had to wash before she died, piled up before her in one pile, she'd lie down and die right then and there.
- Aunt Jane of Kentucky, "Anonymous Was a Woman"

What knowledge are you glad you didn't have at the time?
What part of your future are you thankful that you couldn't envision as a child?
What aspects of daily life would have made you "lie down and die right then and there" had you but known?

...
       Continue reading "Ignorance is Bliss"

Ignorance is Bliss ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 12 Feb, 13:21 Pacific

Wednesday February 11, 2004

Spring has Sprung

It's SPRING in Central Coastal (aka SF Bay Area) California!

Spring Spring, beautiful Spring! I love Springtime!

The ornamental plums are starting to pop out in PINK blossoms.
Last weekend I actually saw a small patch of daffodils.
And there was pine pollen all over the car this morning.

The weather forecasts calls for highs in the 60's.
Yes indeedydoo it's SPRING.

Finally :-)

AUT_1775
Spring has Sprung ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 11 Feb, 12:25 Pacific

Tuesday February 10, 2004

Finding Your Own Style

[ The second of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Finding Your Own Style

I received the latest issue of WireWoman's "Lurpl" zine this weekend. Plenty of great ideas in there, as usual, but there was one thing in particular that I‚ve been thinking about since I read it. With any kind of creative venture, most of us have a tendency to seek out every book, website, magazine, and other resource we can find on the subject. We like examples and full color photographs. We try some or all of the techniques we come across. The problem is (at least, for me), that it becomes very easy to get wrapped up in these other people's styles.

How do you keep the scale tipped on the side of Inspiration instead of Imitation? What is your take on what WW calls "Buying The Book"? Whether you keep "art journals" or regular journals, do you like to read up on the subject or do you prefer to keep outside influence to a minimum? If the former, how do you stretch beyond the how-to books and come up with something that is truly yours (describe or show us some examples if you can)? If the latter, why?

Does anyone else suffer from inspiration overload? When it comes to diaries and journals of any kind, I tend to keep the how-to books to a minimum and avoid the magazines altogether. I just can't take it. My brain completely absorbs the stuff from the "experts"and the "real" artists, and I end up in one or both of the above two situations.

...
       Continue reading "Finding Your Own Style"

Finding Your Own Style ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 10 Feb, 20:37 Pacific

Desire

[ The first of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Desire

Even though the holidays are over, what's on your wish list? What material things are you drooling over right now? Why?

Speaking of material things, what is your gratification policy? Do you try to get what you want as soon as possible or do you prefer to take your time before acquiring new things? Why? What cultural, environmental, spiritual, and/or familial elements shape your policy?

...
       Continue reading "Desire"

Desire ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 10 Feb, 20:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Monday February 09, 2004

Circle of Words - #6

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Rendezvous with the Authentic Archaeologist

We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides
The spirit bloweth and is still
In mystery our soul abides.

-Matthew Arnold

Pretend you are an archaeologist and you are going back examining your own life. How many layers would there be? Meaning how many different people would you say you were... sure all of us were once a baby..then toddler...and so on...but at what point can you remember being a certain "someone" and than someday that certain "someone" evolved into another "someone". Different stages in our lives directly cause us to develop into a certain person that may not have been the same as the one before? How many layers do you have...and describe them the best you can. ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #6"

Circle of Words - #6 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 09 Feb, 11:34 Pacific

Sense of Self

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Saturday Senses ]

This week, I would like to make you all think about specific abilities we have through our senses, that we usually take for granted. The reason I want to do this is because since I started this meme, I had in mind that not everyone in the world can see and hear, etc, so I thought I´d call your attention to the subtleties that our senses allow us to perceive in our everyday life that we wouldn´t be able to perceive if part of our senses (or one sense completelly) was taken away from us. I hope you enjoy thinking about this.
...
       Continue reading "Sense of Self"

Sense of Self ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 09 Feb, 10:38 Pacific

Sunday February 08, 2004

Cat Naps with Nap Cats

Hearts Gladness is... napping with cats

Cats are highly skilled professional nappers, expert in their field. Even infant kittens are highly skilled at napping. If we could all but take lessons from cats, how much more relaxed we would be.

I am but a promising (though sincere) student, eager to learn from my oh so skilled feline sensei. I study at their fluffy feet...

Continue reading "Cat Naps with Nap Cats"

Cat Naps with Nap Cats ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 08 Feb, 22:45 Pacific

Treasures 2004_06

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

I gather my treasures through out the week. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_06"

Treasures 2004_06 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 08 Feb, 22:24 Pacific

Saturday February 07, 2004

Catch a Phrase

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 51 ]
PAST: Pick a memorable catchprase or classic utterance from your youth. And, of course, share it with the class.

PRESENT: What's a catchphrase that you probably use just a bit too often nowadays?

FUTURE: Give us a bit of something for the ages. Give us a saying, catchphrase or silly bit of verbage that you'd love to see enter the cultural lexicon.

...
       Continue reading "Catch a Phrase"

Catch a Phrase ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 07 Feb, 22:47 Pacific

Make Your Motor Cortex Dance

"Brain areas that are used to perform an action are also needed to comprehend words related to that action," ... "Remarkably, just the reading of feet-related action words such as dance makes [the motor cortex] move its 'feet.'"

[cf "The Brain's Word Act: Reading verbs revs up motor cortex areas", by Bruce Bower, in Science News, week of Feb 7, 2004

...
       Continue reading "Make Your Motor Cortex Dance"

Make Your Motor Cortex Dance ( in category SciTech , Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 07 Feb, 11:05 Pacific

Friday February 06, 2004

Risky Business

The Friday 5 for this week is all about risk. It's another set I initially considered not doing; then I figured I would answer.. but in my own inimitable fashion :-)

  1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
  2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)
  4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?
  5. ... and what's the worst?
...
       Continue reading "Risky Business"

Risky Business ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 06 Feb, 14:54 Pacific

Anyone Can Miss a Day

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]
::Anyone can miss a Day:: (from a comment from one of dan's readers)

Onesome: Anyone-- Has anyone made an impression on you lately? No, not on the national level, but at work or school or just 'around'. ...or even here on the web?

Twosome: can Miss-- Speaking of webbish things (and of course we are !), what types of things do you take a miss on at your place and chose not to post about? Just curious...

Threesome: -- On a similar note: do you post every day? ...or just whenever? ...or is every session at the computer a spur to work up a little something?

...
       Continue reading "Anyone Can Miss a Day"

Anyone Can Miss a Day ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 06 Feb, 00:05 Pacific

Thursday February 05, 2004

One Reason I Live in Central Coastal California

WinterTimeRoad

A friend sent this photo, taken in the Oswego area (near Syracuse, NY).

They call the San Francisco Bay Area, "Northern" California. It's not really northern California. It snows in northern California — it snows up around Tahoe and north into the Sierras. It snows a lot up there; they build ski resorts to showcase the snow. However, we choose not to drive up there in the winter (come to think of it, we don't go up there in the summer either, but I digress). We've decided we don't "do" chains :-)

Here in beautiful Bay Area California, however, the closest we get to snow is that sometimes we can see a little on Mount Diablo ( due east across the Bay out our kitchen windows). The summit on Mt. Diablo is 3,849 feet; a few days ago the snow level was down to 3000 feet. But our house is only a few hundred feet above sea level and we don't see much snow around here. Certainly not like the snow in the photo.

Nevertheless, this photo invokes a feeling of Deja Vu for me. ...
       Continue reading "One Reason I Live in Central Coastal California"

One Reason I Live in Central Coastal California ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 05 Feb, 12:22 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday February 04, 2004

Circle of Words - #5

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Creating an Authentic Lifestyle for Yourself and Those You Love

It's a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
-Somerset Maugham

1. Most people can learn to live without certain things in life. Patience allows you to wait gracefully and gratefully for the best to arrive and you know it will. Can you think back to any moment in your life where you thought something in particular would never come...and finally it did? If you think about it, whatever that thing was that finally did happen (or you did receive) was all because of choices that you made. What if you would have made a different choice than what you did...where do you think you would be today? ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #5"

Circle of Words - #5 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 04 Feb, 15:27 Pacific

Yogurt Making 101

girmiyoI bought a yogurt maker the other day. It looks easy enough to use. The maker comes with 7 too-cute little pear-shaped glass jars with plastic lids for storing in the fridge.

The instructions couldn't be much simpler. Start with 5 TBsp of natural unflavored yogurt (I bought Brown Cow whole-milk yogurt, not bad for plain yogurt) and 1 qt. of milk. Mix together, beat out the lumps, divide among the jars, set them in the machine, cover and plug it in. Come back in 6 to 10 hours. Then unplug, cover the jars and refrigerate for at last an hour.

I started the batch at 8:30 this morning so..... about 6:30 tonight we'll see what's what. ...
       Continue reading "Yogurt Making 101"

Yogurt Making 101 ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 04 Feb, 09:16 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday February 03, 2004

Catch and Release - for Books

The goal of BookCrossing.com is to "make the whole world a library", says founder Ron Hornbaker (a partner in Humankind Systems, a software and internet development company). "When people read something they like, their first impulse is to share it".

Sharing books (anonymously and freely) is the whole point of BookCrossing.

What is BookCrossing, you ask? It's a global book club that crosses time and space. It's a reading group that knows no geographical boundaries. Do you like free books? How about free book clubs?. Well, the books our members leave in the wild are free ... but it's the act of freeing books that points to the heart of BookCrossing.

But BookCrossing isn't just about leaving a book on a park bench for someone else to pick up and read (although it is about that, too!). At BookCrossing.com you'll also find book reviews, recommendations, and reader ratings. Each time a book changes hands, BookCrossing members can leave journal entries telling the world of their experiences.

BookCrossing.com gives you "a simple way to share books with the world, and follow their paths forevermore!" ...
       Continue reading "Catch and Release - for Books"

Catch and Release - for Books ( in category Books, Movies, Music , News & Information ) - posted at Tue, 03 Feb, 23:30 Pacific

Monday February 02, 2004

180 Degrees of Separation

There's an interesting meme making the rounds. It (usually) has 100 questions (although I found a spur with 50). It starts with a list of statements about the person whose blog it's on. The rules are:
  1. Copy the whole list into your journal/diary/blog.
  2. Bold only the things that you have in common with the original poster.
  3. Whatever you didn't bold, replace with things about you.
It's an interesting meme in that it can morph at an incredibly rapid rate. I tried to track it to its source; it was easier to find the source of the Nile! I think the meme must have started spontaneously from a few people who created "100 Things About me" lists... and other people used those as starter sets, creating a meme. ...
       Continue reading "180 Degrees of Separation"

180 Degrees of Separation ( in category Memes & Prompts , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 02 Feb, 17:03 Pacific

Treasures 2004_05

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested, things that are worth remembering. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments.

My treasures for the past week include ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_05"

Treasures 2004_05 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 02 Feb, 00:14 Pacific

Sunday February 01, 2004

Share Where - World66

World66 calls itself "the largest open content travel guide on the internet" where "Open Content means that YOU can also contribute contents, writing articles or drawing maps!" ...
       Continue reading "Share Where - World66"

Share Where - World66 ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sun, 01 Feb, 15:21 Pacific

Birthday Memories

[ I was the Writing Prompter for this week on Purple Ink. Here are the last two prompts for this week. ]

Saturday: It's your day to celebrate
When you were growing up, were birthdays treated specially? What made them special?

Sunday: I remember one year...
Do any of your birthdays stand out in your mind as being particularly memorable? What made them memorable? ...
       Continue reading "Birthday Memories"

Birthday Memories ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 01 Feb, 08:59 Pacific

"Roll 'em" gets a new meaning!

The future of e-paper and rollable displays gets closer.

In a major step toward electronic paper that works like a computer monitor yet feels and behaves like a page of a book, researchers in the Netherlands have made electronic-ink displays on flexible plastic sheets.
...
       Continue reading ""Roll 'em" gets a new meaning!"

"Roll 'em" gets a new meaning! ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 01 Feb, 07:35 Pacific

Saturday January 31, 2004

Interview NewSenses

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Saturday Senses ]

Nightmare.

You go to a job interview and they have you seated in a waiting room for over an hour. In this room there's a water cooler, a coffee machine, some magazines, candies, crackers, 5 other candidates and the receptionist. It's the end of the day, you're tired, really hungry and you have a headache.
...
       Continue reading "Interview NewSenses"

Interview NewSenses ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 31 Jan, 14:55 Pacific

Money Makes the World Go 'Round

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 50 ]
"Fifty," I thought to myself. "Fifty what? Fifty-cent piece? Hmm... money!"

PAST: I remember those pre-teen days when having a pocketful of change gave me a sense of financial independence. What did you first do for money?

PRESENT: Understanding the current (lousy) state of the economy, I won't assume you're employed right now. So. What did you last do for money?

FUTURE: If you suddenly came into a situation where you didn't need the income, would you still work some sort of job?

Another week older, another week richer in wisdom. Or some-such.

...
       Continue reading "Money Makes the World Go 'Round"

Money Makes the World Go 'Round ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 31 Jan, 01:04 Pacific

Friday January 30, 2004

Happy Anniversary, Macintosh!

[ Lest anyone consider this entry to be belated, please consider that some people (such as myself :-) prefer to mark anniversaries by their proximity to other events. Apple aired the "1984" Macintosh introduction ad during halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984. This year, Super Bowl Sunday is later, on Feb. 1. ]

At halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984, Apple Computer aired one of the greatest commercials in the 37-year history of the Super Bowl. The ad is among the ten finalists for CBS.com's Super Bowl Greatest Commercials, which airs on Saturday, January 31st, 2004 at 9 pm.

Since 1967, there have been 37 Super Bowls, containing approximately 60 commercials in each, which works out to more than 2,200 Super Bowl commercials in all! We've narrowed the field down to ten.
...
       Continue reading "Happy Anniversary, Macintosh!"

Happy Anniversary, Macintosh! ( in category Computerware , Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 30 Jan, 19:41 Pacific

You May Already Have Won...

The Friday Five The Friday 5 for this week...

You have just won one million dollars:

  1. Who do you call first?
  2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?
  3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?
  4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom?
  5. Do you invest any? If so, how?
...
       Continue reading "You May Already Have Won..."

You May Already Have Won... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 30 Jan, 11:47 Pacific

Purple Birthday Prompt (2004.01.26/F)

[ I'm the Writing Prompter this week on Purple Ink. Here is today's prompt. ]

Friday: Another place and time...
If you could choose to have been born at another place or time in history, would you? Where or when would you choose? ...
       Continue reading "Purple Birthday Prompt (2004.01.26/F)"

Purple Birthday Prompt (2004.01.26/F) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 30 Jan, 11:01 Pacific

Thursday January 29, 2004

The happiest mine eyes shall see

[ Today's meme is courtesy of this week's Thursday Threesome at The Back Porch. Quote is by Edgar Allan Poe, The Happiest Day ]

Onesome- The happiest day: Tell us about the happiest day of your life.

Twosome- The happiest hour: What’s your favourite time of the day, and why?

Threesome- Mine eyes shall see: What’s the one thing/place you would really like to see in your life?

...
       Continue reading "The happiest mine eyes shall see"

The happiest mine eyes shall see ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 29 Jan, 21:00 Pacific

Happy Birthday!

[ I'm the Writing Prompter this week on Purple Ink. Here is today's prompt. ]

Thursday: Happy Birthday!
What does your birthday mean to you?
How do you celebrate your birthday? Quietly alone? With a friend or two? With a big party? ...
       Continue reading "Happy Birthday!"

Happy Birthday! ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 29 Jan, 07:29 Pacific

Wednesday January 28, 2004

Purple Birthday Prompts

[ Three of this week's writing prompts, suggested by me, from Purple Ink. If you like journal writing, join Purple Ink! ]

This week has a theme.

Monday: Seasons
What time of year is your birthday?
If you could have chosen to be born at any time of year, what would you choose and why?

Tuesday: Surprise! Make a wish!
How do you feel about your cultures' celebration of birthdays?
Should a birthday be treated specially? Like a holiday? Do people spend too much energy on on birthdays?

Wednesday: You don't look a day over...
How do you feel about getting older?
Have your feelings changed over time? ...
       Continue reading "Purple Birthday Prompts"

Purple Birthday Prompts ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 28 Jan, 16:00 Pacific

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Circle of Words - #4

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

An Artist Is Someone Who Creates

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how...The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
-Agnes De Mille
...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #4"

Circle of Words - #4 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 27 Jan, 09:12 Pacific

Monday January 26, 2004

Words, Words, Words

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 49 ]
PAST: The quality of our thoughts can only be as good as the quality of our language, for words are the very core of thought. How diligent were you at building your vocabulary, when you were a youngster?

PRESENT:What's the most recent addition to your vocabulary?

FUTURE:What word would you like to see added to the general lexicon... and what word would you like to see removed?

...
       Continue reading "Words, Words, Words"

Words, Words, Words ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 26 Jan, 16:21 Pacific | Comments (2)

Wild Cat Adventure II

Yesterday (Sunday) we attended our second "Wild Cat Adventure"; we attended for the first time on April 13, 2003.

kamau_sm

Wild Cat Adventure is a public outreach program in the San Francisco Bay area, covering Sacramento to San Jose. The program run by Leopards, Etc. which is wholly owned and operated by Rob and Barbara Dicely, former school teachers.

Leopards, Etc. is licensed by the State of California, the US Dept. of the Interior, and various other governmental organizations to keep, train, and show wild cats. They do 150 programs a year, mostly at school assemblies. Several years ago, at the urging of parents and teachers, they expanded their programs to include several public outreach programs in the North and South, two programs in each location, both Spring and Fall. ...
       Continue reading "Wild Cat Adventure II"

Wild Cat Adventure II ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Mon, 26 Jan, 12:10 Pacific

Sunday January 25, 2004

Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You

Hearts Gladness is...

Snuggling with the kitties on a rainy day. A warm purring pussycat nestled in my arm at nap time. Another kitty nestled against my neck and shoulder. Bracketed by soft fur; lulled to sleep by purrs.

Hearts Gladness is...

Bebop greets me as I wake from my nap, purring loudly (vroom vroom vroom). He's most agreeable to a snuggle. Rub the belly. Rub the head. Then he starts to slurp my ears, First the right, then the left. He presses a soft paw against my cheek to turn my face, the better to gain access to the opposite ear.

Then he walks around onto the pillow. I turn my head away and snuggle down into the pillow for a little while longer. Bebop continues to purr, rhythmically kneading my hair into the pillow, kneading the back of my neck.

Vroom vroom vroom

Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 25 Jan, 22:10 Pacific

Treasures 2004_04

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested; things that are worth remembering; memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments.

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_04"

Treasures 2004_04 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 25 Jan, 22:06 Pacific

Purple Prompts #8-#10

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I've been posting a few at a time over more than one day. I posted three on Wednesday, four on .Friday and the rest are here.
Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

    8. List the dishes your mother or grandmother made that you would love to have the recipe for
    9. Name all of the books you have in your possession that you've never read.
    10. What is your most prized possession?
...
       Continue reading "Purple Prompts #8-#10"

Purple Prompts #8-#10 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 25 Jan, 19:29 Pacific | Comments (1)

South Beach Updates "Foods to Enjoy"

Spouse and self began our reduced-carbohydrate lifestyle adventure on Sept 1, 2004. As advocates of the South Beach plan, we had nonetheless been wondering about the restrictions it placed on certain foods. For example, all dairy products were considered "Avoid" foods in Phase 1, despite research that shows the value of milk and yogurt in weight-loss plans. Similarly, I had been wondering about the limits placed on tomatoes (1 whole or 10 cherry tomatoes per meal); tomatoes contain lycopene and have a nearly unmeasurable glycemic index. Spouse considers carrots to be "good food"; although the fiber content and vitamins would seem to support his theory, the South Beach Diet did not.

So I was delighted to discover recently that some changes have been made; our beliefs have been given official support. The South Beach Diet has been updated to take advantage of these nutritional studies and information. Updates have been made to the Phase 1 "Foods to Enjoy" and "Foods to Avoid" lists as well as to the Phase 2 "Foods You Can Reintroduce" and "Foods To Avoid Or Eat Rarely" lists. ...
       Continue reading "South Beach Updates "Foods to Enjoy""

South Beach Updates "Foods to Enjoy" ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 25 Jan, 13:09 Pacific

Saturday January 24, 2004

Naughty Little Impulse

[ The following question comes courtesy of Saturday Slant ]
What is your naughty little impulse never acted upon? Ever wanted to kiss your boss? Do you often feel like telling your mother-in-law that she’s a self-centered, controlling witch—over Thanksgiving Dinner? Do you sometimes feel the compulsion to pick up your man’s dirty socks, which are constantly strewn about the floor irresponsibly, and ball it into his sleeping, snore-opened mouth? Ever wanted to steal something just for the thrill of it? Or is your impulse more along the lines of seducing that hunk from the mail room? Tell us about some naughty impulse you’ve had—or have frequently—and the circumstances surrounding it.
...
       Continue reading "Naughty Little Impulse"

Naughty Little Impulse ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 24 Jan, 16:41 Pacific | Comments (1)

Out of the Loop

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]
Onesome: Out-- Are you getting out and about lately? ...or is school/the weather/work/illness keeping you cooped up inside?

Twosome: of the-- Blue? Does the Winter season 'get to you'? ...or do you handle it as well as you do Summer?

Threesome: Loop-- Hey, Spring is coming (and Winter is still here for some); do you have a loop you drive or walk to check out the scenery? What do you see when you're out and about?

...
       Continue reading "Out of the Loop"

Out of the Loop ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 24 Jan, 16:26 Pacific

Surf Sense

[ Today's meme is coutresy of Saturday Senses ]
[sight]:: What is the most visually stunning website you know?

[taste]:: Can you order any kind of food through the web from where you live? Have you ever ordered?

[smell]:: With the digital scent technology developing, what would you like to smell over the internet and how do you think this will affect how we interact with the web?

[touch]:: How fast do you type and what kind of mouse do you use?

[hearing]:: Have you ever paid for downloading music from the internet? Do you usually hear music while you surf the net? What kind? Streaming or local?

...
       Continue reading "Surf Sense"

Surf Sense ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 24 Jan, 00:15 Pacific

Friday January 23, 2004

Purple Prompts #4-#7

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I'm posting a few at a time over more than one day. I posted #1, #2, #3 on Wednesday.
Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

    4. If you won a million dollars, what would you do?
    5. List your favorite subjects or topics. (The ones you're always reading about)
    6. List all of the ways you've simplified or streamlined your life.
    7. List all of the things you wanted to be "when you grew up".
...
       Continue reading "Purple Prompts #4-#7"

Purple Prompts #4-#7 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 23 Jan, 16:27 Pacific

BBC Horizons: The Atkins Diet

Primetime BBC Television's Horizon ran a programme on The Atkins Diet last night with the tag line: "Horizon reveals the truth about the world's most controversial diet."

(When discussing the BBC, I figure I should spell like the BBC :-) ...
       Continue reading "BBC Horizons: The Atkins Diet"

BBC Horizons: The Atkins Diet ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 23 Jan, 08:17 Pacific

Five Favorites for Friday

This week's Friday 5 is about "current favorites". It doesn't do much for me, but I'll take a stab at it by answering in my own perverse fashion.
At this moment, what is your favorite...
  1. ...song?
  2. ...food?
  3. ...tv show?
  4. ...scent?
  5. ...quote?
...
       Continue reading "Five Favorites for Friday"

Five Favorites for Friday ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 23 Jan, 00:34 Pacific

Thursday January 22, 2004

Low Carb Granola

I love Granola. Unfortunately, we're presently on a long-term reduced carbohydrate adventure so most granolas are out for the time being. However, one of the women on the low-carb mailing list I'm on recently recommended a low-carb granola called "FlaxOMeal Granola" (Low-Carb Success brand). Several other women chimed in to agree that they think it's quite tasty.

I found some today while shopping at one of our local grocery stores (a small local chain called Mollie Stones, a bit upscale from Safeway :-) Mollie Stones has joined the Low-carb revolution, having recently installed a large endcap display at the front of the store, containing all sorts of varied low-carb products and "We Have Low-Carb" on a big sign. Cool. ...
       Continue reading "Low Carb Granola"

Low Carb Granola ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 22 Jan, 15:49 Pacific

Cats and Mice

stuartkattshirt Cats and mice go together. That's what gives rise to all of the Cat and Mouse jokes for computer users. In my case, I don't use a typical mouse; I use a Kensington "Turbomouse" (i.e. a trackball). Nevertheless, the Universe has ensured that there's still a relationship. It's a hairy relationship.

Today I had to take my trackball apart and clean out the accumulated cat hair. With four cats, there's cat hair in the air. Plus, Bebop occasionally sits on the trackball. And, of course, cat hair just... is. It wraps around the little wheels inside the trackball housing. I know I need to clean out the fluff when the ball spins and the cursor doesn't move in one dimension. Then out comes the micro screwdriver and I open the trackball housing. ...
       Continue reading "Cats and Mice"

Cats and Mice ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 22 Jan, 11:05 Pacific | Comments (3)

Wednesday January 21, 2004

Childhood Memories, Childhood Books

A friend of mine wrote to me
... Clare Turlay Newberry - one of my all time favorite authors of children's books/illustrator of cats. She wrote and illustrated Pandora, the book from my childhood. ... I finally, after many years, have purchased Pandora and am looking forward to receiving the book. As a child, I wanted Pandora as my cat so much.

From my friend's glowing description, I hunted up a copy of Pandora for myself and am now also a fan of the drawings of Clare Turlay Newberry. Her cats are so real; how could I resist them?

A few days later my friend wrote

[My copy of Pandora] arrived today too. I almost cried when I opened it - like seeing an old friend. I don't remember there being color on the cover! Does yours have the paper cover? This one does. It shows its age - geez almost as old as I am (I was two when it was published)! Let's just say it shows much less wear than I do...

But as I reread Pandora's story...well, you know. Finally getting this book is a small treasure to the little girl that lies within...yes, still there even after 60 years...isn't that amazing?

...
       Continue reading "Childhood Memories, Childhood Books"

Childhood Memories, Childhood Books ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Wed, 21 Jan, 17:50 Pacific

Purple Prompts #1-#3

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I'll be posting a few at a time over more than one day. Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

  1. List the contents of your purse or carryall.
  2. List all the jobs you've ever had.
  3. List everything you have accomplished today, no matter how small.
...
       Continue reading "Purple Prompts #1-#3"

Purple Prompts #1-#3 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 21 Jan, 13:27 Pacific

Tuesday January 20, 2004

...in other words.... We Have a Player!

As I mentioned back on January 6, I decided to start my own meme about quotes, called ...in other words.... It's been added to the Memes List and today I have my first (official) player (she signed the guest book and left her link with a nicely phrased, well thought-out discussion of the quote:
There are two types of people--those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'

-- Frederick L Collins

(I was woefully late posting today's quote; with yesterday a holiday, it slipped my mind that today was Tuesday!)

...in other words.... We Have a Player! ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 20 Jan, 17:13 Pacific

Circle of Words - #3

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Each question will first start off with a quote from someone famous, or not so famous, which relates to the topic of the question. There may be one or several questions afterwards.

[ I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. The year is now over...no new questions will be posted. I am continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in 2004. ]


Your Personal Treasure Map

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
-Matthew 6:21

1. What if someone told you that all you needed to do to make your dreams come true is to create a personal treasure map. In this map would be all of the things you want in your life. These things can be people, things, a certain job, a location...etc. Well I can't tell you that the things on your map will come true, but I can tell you that everything in your outer world is created in your mind first. With that said...what would be on your personal treasure map for say...10 years from now? ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #3"

Circle of Words - #3 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 20 Jan, 11:17 Pacific

Monday January 19, 2004

Imagine-a-sense

[ Today's questions are courtesy of Saturday Senses ]

(N.B. In the paragraph below, "I" is the founder of Saturday Senses.)

I had a hard time coming up with questions this week. Then I remembered those psychological tests where you're prompted to imagine a scene and your answers say a lot about what's in your subconscious. So, although I cannot analyze the results ;-) I thought it would be fun to see what's deep inside your minds, or at least, how creative you can get using your senses. I opened an exception to make things more interesting, so instead of having one question to each of the five senses, I added questions as they were needed, and I also added the 6th sense :-). As a rule, go with the first thing you think of. Remember, this is not to test your fiction writing abilities, but to symbolically reveal your deepest feelings. Have fun!!!
...
       Continue reading "Imagine-a-sense"

Imagine-a-sense ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 19 Jan, 11:46 Pacific

1 Terabyte. Really

In a bit of understatement, storage enclosure manufacturer LaCie announced the "Bigger Disk" this week, a device that houses a full terabyte of storage.

c.f. extremetech.com, "LaCie Boosts PC External Storage To 1 Terabyte", Jan 16, 2004


The LaCie Bigger Disk, with the largest hard drive capacity available, is a unique innovation that packs an amazing 1 terabyte of storage space in a manageable 5.25" form factor. With this unsurpassed storage capacity, the LaCie Bigger Disk allows users to store nearly two years of continuous music and up to one month of non-stop MPEG-2 video1. Truly plug and play, this device requires no driver or software installation for Windows XP and Mac OS X users.

c.f. LaCie.com

US$1200

Gosh. I can remember when the 20 MB hard disk from Apple was a "big thing". I can remember when prices dropped to a dollar a Megabyte. I can remember when we were impressed by the advent of the 1 GB disks.

References (from FOLDOC, the Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing.)

byte = 1 (standard) unit of storage. One byte typically holds one character.
kilobyte (KB; kilo = "thousand) = 2^10 or 1024 bytes
megabyte (MB; mega = "million") = 2^ 20 or 1,048,576 bytes = 1024 kilobytes. The text of a six hundred page paperback book would require about a megabyte of storage.
gigabyte (GB) = 1024 megabytes. Roughly the amount of data required to encode a human gene sequence (including all the redundant codons).
terabyte = 1024 gigabytes

1 Terabyte. Really ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Mon, 19 Jan, 10:30 Pacific

Sunday January 18, 2004

Treasures 2004_03

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested; things that are worth remembering; memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_03"

Treasures 2004_03 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 18 Jan, 20:26 Pacific

Purple Miscellany

[ This (past) week's writing prompts from Purple Ink , If you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!]

Monday : Pick your favorite color and write about it: why you like it, how it makes you feel, what 'pictures' come to mind when you think of that color.

Tuesday : Spray your favorite air freshner then write what you think about.

Wednesday : Look at yourself in the mirror for a few minutes. Describe the you that you see physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Thursday : Describe what it is like when you wake up in the morning.

Friday : What is your favorite time of day? Describe it.

Saturday : Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a walk around your neighborhood. Imagine all the things you see, hear, and smell. Describe your walk.

Sunday : Decide what is your favorite word. Think about it for a while and write why you like that particular word. ...
       Continue reading "Purple Miscellany"

Purple Miscellany ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 18 Jan, 13:40 Pacific

I want to be a kitty

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Saturday Slant, week 42 ]

Reincarnation has brought you back as a family's pet.
Given a choice, what common pet animal would you be? Would you prefer to be an indoor pet, an outdoor pet, or one who splits her time? What kind of owner(s) would you prefer? Write your Saturday Slant blog entry as if you were the animal, a family pet with a blog written for other family pets. Document a day in the life of you, family pet. ...
       Continue reading "I want to be a kitty"

I want to be a kitty ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 18 Jan, 12:31 Pacific | Comments (1)

Saturday January 17, 2004

Gone Crazy. Back Soon!

[ this question courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 48 ]
PAST: Been crazy once?

PRESENT: What drives you absolutely crazy?

FUTURE: Figure you'll go crazy someday?

...
       Continue reading "Gone Crazy. Back Soon!"

Gone Crazy. Back Soon! ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 17 Jan, 21:25 Pacific

Opossums - Up Close and Personal

Brenda Ice, a friend of a friend has been doing possum rehab! What a neat idea.

BrendaPossbabe5 Take a look at some of the photos of the baby possums (scroll down when you get to the photo page, but slowly; enjoy the photos of the cats and the deer on your way to the possums :-).

My friend sent out email announcing that she had posted several of Brenda's photos and her possum story to (my friend's) web site. My immediate response was

Ohmygooodness. What an utterly darling baby!
...
       Continue reading "Opossums - Up Close and Personal"

Opossums - Up Close and Personal ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sat, 17 Jan, 14:17 Pacific

Friday January 16, 2004

Personalized

The Friday Five The Friday 5 for this week is about personalization.

  1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?
  2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?
  3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?
  4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
  5. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
...
       Continue reading "Personalized"

Personalized ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 16 Jan, 10:04 Pacific

Backyard Birds

I've started mixing a cup of "wild bird seed" (it's largely millet with some other seeds) into my sunflower seed. Our feeder holds about a quart of mixed seed. Because we also feed grey squirrels, I also mix in a cup of "hamster and rodent food" (contains beans, peas, bits of freezedried carrot, peanuts, banana chips, pumpkin seeds...) As I mix, I pull out the peanuts and banana chips to put in a different feeder because they won't go "through" the bird feeder; I add more nuts and some puppy dog biscuits to that mix, for the squirrels, jays, and raccoons ( I saw a jay fly off with a dog biscuit the other day :-) ...
       Continue reading "Backyard Birds"

Backyard Birds ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Fri, 16 Jan, 09:17 Pacific | Comments (1)

Thursday January 15, 2004

I do ... and I understand

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Thursday Threesome ]

::Confucius say::

Onesome- I hear and I forget. What’s the one thing you’ve had explained to you over and over, but it still goes in one ear and out the other?

Twosome- I see and I remember. Is there anything you’ve learned how to do just by watching someone else do it first?

Threesome- I do and I understand. Is there anything you excel at that you taught yourself to do? ...
       Continue reading "I do ... and I understand"

I do ... and I understand ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 15 Jan, 14:14 Pacific

In My Room

Think about all the rooms in all the houses you have lived in. Describe them in your journal and reflect upon whether where you have lived may have affected how you felt at different times in your life.

From Writer's Digest via Diarist.net Spark (11 January 2004)

...
       Continue reading "In My Room"

In My Room ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 15 Jan, 09:00 Pacific

Wednesday January 14, 2004

Living a Faery Tale Life

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Saturday Slant, week 41 ]
If you were banished from reality into a faery tale of your choice, which would it be, which character would you choose to become, and why? This is a classic Saturday Slant revisited. Would you be Snow White, destined to be rescued by, and live happily ever after with, Prince Charming? Or would you choose someone who’s entire fate is not yet written, one of the Seven Dwarves, for example, so that you might reap the benefits of choosing your own path? There are easy, glib answers; and then there are deeper, more meaningful answers waiting within your heart and mind. Which will you choose?

I rather like one woman's response to this question. She said she would choose the role of Princess Fiona in Shrek. I liked her reasoning. But that's her story, not mine. ...
       Continue reading "Living a Faery Tale Life"

Living a Faery Tale Life ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 14 Jan, 11:41 Pacific

Tuesday January 13, 2004

Second Empire Garage Sale Modern

[ These questions are courtesy of the Saturday 8 for Saturday, Jan 10, 2004 ]
  1. When was the last time you purchased a piece of furniture for your home/apartment/room?
  2. What was it?
  3. In the past 8 years, i've not had to buy any furniture myself ... relatives have died or moved and i've acquired pieces for birthdays. do you have a lot of 'other people's furniture' at your place?
  4. When looking at furniture, do you go for the look, or for the deal?
  5. do you have a bad furniture shopping experience to relate? if not, do you have a good one?
  6. If money was no object, what decorating style would you put up?
  7. Are you naturally a decorator, or would you rather pay someone to come in and decide everything for you (given you have the cash on hand to hire them)?
  8. Do you watch any redecorating shows ... surprise by design, trading spaces/family, changing rooms, while you were out, clean sweep? why or why not?
...
       Continue reading "Second Empire Garage Sale Modern"

Second Empire Garage Sale Modern ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 13 Jan, 15:32 Pacific

Color me Maroon

[ Today's question comes courtesy of Purple Ink ]

Pick your favorite color and write about it:
why you like it, how it makes you feel, what 'pictures' come to mind when you think of that color... ...
       Continue reading "Color me Maroon"

Color me Maroon ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 13 Jan, 10:11 Pacific

Monday January 12, 2004

Circle of Words - #2

I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy.
- Louise Bogan

1.   Do you ever sit back and just smell the flowers? Do you ever lay in the sun and appreciate just life in general? Do you look at the good in things...or are you always searching for the bad? Do you spend minutes and hours worrying what might happen, instead of realizing you control your own destiny...you can make it happen....or not? ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #2"

Circle of Words - #2 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 12 Jan, 18:59 Pacific

Breaking Down Boxes

Several years ago, our local trash company started to allow just about every type of curbside recycling, including glass, plastic, metal and all kinds of paper - white, colored, junkmail, cardboard. About the only thing they won't take are waxed-paper cereal box inserts, pizza boxes, and milk cartons. I've gotten into the habit of breaking down the light cardboard boxes that used to hold cereal, plastic trash bag boxes, tissues, etc.

Most of these boxes are made from a simple two-dimensional pattern. But some, like the "Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bag" box I broke down this morning, are different. The two-dimensional shape is fairly complex and interesting. It makes me wonder why it was designed that way. ...
       Continue reading "Breaking Down Boxes"

Breaking Down Boxes ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Mon, 12 Jan, 10:50 Pacific

Sunday January 11, 2004

Keeping Company

Hearts Gladness is...

Bedtime. Lying in bed with my soft Butterscotch boy (Bebop) snuggled into my neck (and partly on my head). I got a foot cramp, finally couldn't stand it, had to get up and walk around. Unable to go back to sleep; out to the living room to read. Bebop followed along, snugged into the couch, keeping me company while the effects of the cramp wore off, till I felt sleepy again. Bebop melting lower and lower into the couch as time passed...

My sweet buddy.

Keeping Company ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 11 Jan, 20:35 Pacific

Treasures 2004_02

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested; things that are worth remembering; memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_02"

Treasures 2004_02 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 11 Jan, 20:31 Pacific

Saturday January 10, 2004

Annoyansenses

[ Today's meme is courtesy of Saturday Senses, week 20 ]
How about some whining and complaining this week?

[sight]:: Name 2 things that annoy you on/about television.

[taste]:: Name 2 of the worst tasting foods or drinks you ever had.

[smell]:: Name 2 smells that you can´t stand and why:

[touch]:: Name 2 things (objects, body parts, etc...) that you don´t like other people to touch and why.

[hearing]:: What are the 2 sounds/noises that most irritate you and why?

...
       Continue reading "Annoyansenses"

Annoyansenses ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 10 Jan, 09:02 Pacific

2003 Year End Survey

[ There is no Friday 5 for this week. So we bring you a Year-End Survey,. Better a week late than not at all ]

I found this survey on the web and modified it slightly. If you like, copy the questions and answer them in your own weblog, journal, email, or here in the comments. There are 42 questions. ...
       Continue reading "2003 Year End Survey"

2003 Year End Survey ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 10 Jan, 07:11 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday January 09, 2004

Eat your veggies

[ this question courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 47 ]
PAST: Did you, or did you not, eat your vegetables as a youngster?

PRESENT: What sorts of veggies will and won't you eat nowadays?

FUTURE: Which would you rather end up: Vegetable or mineral? (We're assuming you're currently an animal, here. If otherwise, you should really let us know.)

A bit silly, yes, but at least it's not directly topical for a change!

[Hey, every question can't be deep and insightful!] ...
       Continue reading "Eat your veggies"

Eat your veggies ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 09 Jan, 15:49 Pacific

Imagery

It was September and the colors along the curve of Lake Michigan were ripening. Autumn is metallic here, chrome yellows on the locust trees, planted along the Outer Drive because they can stand the automobile-scented air, bronze oaks on the campus lawns, and brassy yellow maples near the administration buildings. The few trees that stayed green until the leaves fall take on the verdigris color of aged copper. I sometimes think even the concrete paths change color in the fall. They lose the sandy summer look of warmth and become a chilly brushed platinum, sueded but cold.
Can you see it?

I enjoy Mystery and Fantasy short-fiction collections and I've become a fan of Barbara D'Amato through these. I finally decided to try her novels and visited quite a few used bookstores (all on the web), to build a complete collection of the Cat Marsala mysteries. The paragraph above is the first paragraph from Hardball (1991).

Wow. That woman can write.

Imagery ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 09 Jan, 12:16 Pacific

Thursday January 08, 2004

Top Dead Center

[ Today's meme courtesy of The Thursday Threesome at The Back Porch ]

Whew! Are you done with the holiday thing yet? Let's start things off for the new year in the proper position...

Onesome: Top-- Now that things have calmed down, what's at the top of your list to take care of? School? The garden? Shoveling the snow?

Twosome: Dead-- ...and then again, what got so dead and buried in the holiday fluff that you may not be able to get get it restarted? That weight loss thing? Reading? Relaxing???

Threesome: Center-- Yeah, relaxing! What are you doing to try to keep yourself centered this year? Some serious down time? Yoga? Long walks in the country?

...
       Continue reading "Top Dead Center"

Top Dead Center ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 08 Jan, 10:26 Pacific

A Passion for Paper

I considered titling this "Paper Fetish"

fetish n. 2. An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence
but I decided that the other definitions for fetish were just too far out for me. I'd hate for anyone to jump to the wrong conclusions... some people will find the right conclusions to be just a little strange as it is. :-)

Do other people who like to write (whether you keep a regular journal or not, paper version or online) share a similar passion for paper as mine? I can't remember a time when I didn't care about using just the right sort of notebook, just the right type of tablet, for a project or a class. ...
       Continue reading "A Passion for Paper"

A Passion for Paper ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 08 Jan, 09:20 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday January 07, 2004

I Scream for Ice Cream

[Today's question is courtesy of purple ink ]
"I doubt the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream".
-- Heywood Broun

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Hard or Soft-Serve? What type of sundae do you usually order? ...
       Continue reading "I Scream for Ice Cream"

I Scream for Ice Cream ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 07 Jan, 11:46 Pacific

Furry purry lick lick

Hearts Gladness is...

Waking at dawn. My sweet Squirrel cat grooming the hair on my forehead. OK, maybe this means I need to wash my hair, but nonetheless, it's very sweet :-) When my kitty treats me like another kitty, I feel loved and special.

Then Bebop, settled behind my head, working the back of my neck and my hair on the pillow. Knead, knead,. Feline shiatsu.

Furry purry lick lick ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 07 Jan, 10:17 Pacific

Pears

Hearts Gladness is...

Plump pears at the peak of perfection - juicy, sweet, not a hint of a blemish. Can anything really be this good? Shared with friends. Delightful.

Pears ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 07 Jan, 00:42 Pacific

Tuesday January 06, 2004

New Year, New Meme (...in other words...)

Not only do I enjoy collecting quotes, but I am also a great fan of weblog memes and writing prompts (in case you hadn't noticed ;-) I've decided to put my interest in collecting quotes together with my interest in writing prompts and memes and have started my own meme which I call ...in other words... ...
       Continue reading "New Year, New Meme (...in other words...)"

New Year, New Meme (...in other words...) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 06 Jan, 09:23 Pacific

Quote Collecting

I'm a great fan (and collector) of quotations. I have more than half a dozen books of quotations on my shelves. ...
       Continue reading "Quote Collecting"

Quote Collecting ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Tue, 06 Jan, 07:22 Pacific

Monday January 05, 2004

Circle of Words - #1

[I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. I am continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in 2004.]

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
-Zora Neale Hurston

The New Year brings upon us many resolutions that will go unmet. Instead of a resolution...how about an aspiration. What are your hopes for this new year?


We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides
The spirit bloweth and is still
In mystery our soul abides.
...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #1"

Circle of Words - #1 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 05 Jan, 00:39 Pacific

Sunday January 04, 2004

The Party's Over

[Today's questions come courtesy of Sunday Brunch for January 4, 2004 ]

Now that the holidays are over... it's time to reflect...

  1. Which part of the holiday season are you most happy to see over?

  2. What is the biggest/best present or surprise you received during the holidays?

  3. How did you ring in the New Year?

  4. New Year's resolutions... do you make & break them, make them & stick to your guns or don't even bother?

  5. Has life returned to normal now that the holidays are over?
...
       Continue reading "The Party's Over"

The Party's Over ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 04 Jan, 15:02 Pacific

Treasures 2004_01

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested; things that are worth remembering; memories encapsulated in just a few words. Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2004_01"

Treasures 2004_01 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 04 Jan, 12:08 Pacific

Saturday January 03, 2004

My motto, 'tis of thee...

[ Today's question comes from ThreeWay Action.com by way of Diarist.net Spark (10 December 2003) ]

What would your motto would be for the place you're at in your life right now? Is it different than it would have been five years ago? 10? 20? ...
       Continue reading "My motto, 'tis of thee..."

My motto, 'tis of thee... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 03 Jan, 17:53 Pacific

Friday January 02, 2004

Two Steps Forward, One Look Back

[ this question courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 46 ]

PAST: Share with us one good and one bad thing about this past year.

PRESENT: Which direction are you headed as the new year begins?

FUTURE: What will you have accomplished by this time next year?

[You'll notice I didn't ask for a list of resolutions. That would be hypocritical... I haven't made resolutions in years.]

...
       Continue reading "Two Steps Forward, One Look Back"

Two Steps Forward, One Look Back ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 02 Jan, 10:40 Pacific

Looking Forward (not just Ahead)

The Friday 5 for this week poses some interesting questions. The real question is, do I have any interesting answers?

What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .

  1. ...today?
  2. ...over the next week?
  3. ...this year?
  4. ...over the next five years?
  5. ...for the rest of your life?
...
       Continue reading "Looking Forward (not just Ahead)"

Looking Forward (not just Ahead) ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 02 Jan, 10:24 Pacific

Thursday January 01, 2004

2 Teach is 2 Touch Lives 4 Ever

[ Today's question comes from Diarist.Net Spark (30 December 2003) ]

Who has been your most influential teacher? What did he, she, or even it, help you learn?

Consider different answers to this question. Certainly you have school teachers, professors, community leaders... But where else have some of the most important lessons you've learned come from? A friend? An ex? A stranger, or celebrity? Could it be loss, or time, or failure?

If you could speak to this teacher right now, what would you say? ...
       Continue reading "2 Teach is 2 Touch Lives 4 Ever"

2 Teach is 2 Touch Lives 4 Ever ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 01 Jan, 11:40 Pacific

Wednesday December 31, 2003

Horizons

Life is a journey through time. We travel backward through memories and forward through plans and dreams. The past is on the horizon behind us; the future is on the horizon before us.

What memories of 2003 are most clear in your mind? Which do you want most to pack to take with you on your journey into the future? If you could have a yearbook made for 2003, what would you put in it?

What are your plans and dreams for 2004? What do you see on the forward horizon? Trips? Family visits? A move, a new addition to the family, a job change? What's coming? What do you hope will form the memories you'll save next year? ...
       Continue reading "Horizons"

Horizons ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Wed, 31 Dec, 12:44 Pacific

Tuesday December 30, 2003

One Shared Thought

[ Today's question comes from Diarist.Net Spark (26 December 2003) ]
Imagine that you had the power to imprint in the minds of every child born today one phrase, one piece of permanent wisdom. What would you tell them?

A personal motto? A snippet of philosophy? A message of hope? A lesson you had to learn the hard way? Would it be a rule or a suggestion? A statement or a question? If you could only have your words surface on each birthday, would they be different? What would you say?

Expand on your message. Where did it come from? Why is it so important that the next generation should hear it?

...
       Continue reading "One Shared Thought"

One Shared Thought ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 30 Dec, 14:25 Pacific

Monday December 29, 2003

Reincarnation?

[This question comes courtesy of "Past, Present, Future" for Friday Dec. 19. I'm out of sync]
PAST: Who, or what, were you in your past life?

PRESENT: What are you in this life, really?

FUTURE: What would you like to come back as, next time around?

...
       Continue reading "Reincarnation?"

Reincarnation? ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 29 Dec, 20:04 Pacific

So Many Books, So Little Time

I probably wouldn't like all of the books that author Sara Nelson likes to read; we appear to have very different tastes. But that doesn't stop me from agreeing with, understanding, and liking much of what she has to say in So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading. I was especially tickled to see one chapter address the dreaded dilemma of not finishing a book, and that the last chapter discussed "skipping around", something many readers do (but few admit to). ...
       Continue reading "So Many Books, So Little Time"

So Many Books, So Little Time ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Mon, 29 Dec, 11:30 Pacific

Sunday December 28, 2003

Watching the Squirrels

Hearts Gladness is...

After nearly 15 years in this house, finally, grey squirrels in our backyard. Now, grey squirrels every day at the feeder, sometimes two at a time, choosing nuts, eating sunflower seed. Watching the squirrels eat. Watching the cats watch the squirrels.

Watching the Squirrels ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 28 Dec, 12:01 Pacific

Treasures III

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested; things that are worth remembering; memories encapsulated in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures, on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures III"

Treasures III ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 28 Dec, 11:49 Pacific

Saturday December 27, 2003

Circle of Words - #50

Circle of Words was inspired by Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The book is in journal format; the book (and the original meme) end with this set of questions. From the meme's founder:
This is the last week of the Circle of Words questions. I will leave them available so you may start back at the beginning if you joined later in the year. Or you may purchase the book (check info at the COW webpage) and begin your own journal entries/questions.

I had much fun writing the questions and hope you have enjoyed them.
- Candi, Circle of Words

I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. I will be continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in the new year. ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #50"

Circle of Words - #50 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 27 Dec, 12:06 Pacific

Friday December 26, 2003

Old Year, New Year

The ultimate Friday 5 for 2003, as may be expected, addresses the end of one year and the beginning of another.

  1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
  2. What was your biggest disappointment?
  3. What do you hope the new year brings?
  4. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions? If yes, what will they be?
  5. What are your plans for New Year's Eve?
...
       Continue reading "Old Year, New Year"

Old Year, New Year ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 26 Dec, 13:16 Pacific

Christmas: Past, Present, Future

[ this question courtesy of Past, Present, Future Round 45 ]

PAST: Best. Christmas. Ever.

PRESENT: How'd you spend the day, yesterday?

FUTURE: What do you really want to find under your tree next year? ...
       Continue reading "Christmas: Past, Present, Future"

Christmas: Past, Present, Future ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 26 Dec, 10:05 Pacific

Thursday December 25, 2003

Christmas Memories, Christmas Traditions

“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”

“Long Past?” inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.

“No. Your past.”

Hearts Gladness is...

Good memories

My memories of Christmases past are good. Lights sparkling on the tree, sometimes (although not often) snow. Unlike our cousins, who usually spent Christmas at the home of our shared grandmother, my family spent Christmas together at home, often joined by our other grandmother.

...
       Continue reading "Christmas Memories, Christmas Traditions"

Christmas Memories, Christmas Traditions ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Thu, 25 Dec, 11:25 Pacific

Wednesday December 24, 2003

Today I am an Adult

[ Found yesterday at Spark ]

When was your childhood over? Do you agree with the concept of adolescence, or did you go from being a child to being an adult?

Excuse me... did you say "over"?

What are childhood and adulthood? Are they determined by a simple range of ages? Does "childhood" end at 13 (as some cultures determine?). Does it end at puberty? Is there a conscious boundary? A societal line? ...
       Continue reading "Today I am an Adult"

Today I am an Adult ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 24 Dec, 13:31 Pacific

Tuesday December 23, 2003

Amber

Hearts Gladness is...

My wonderful Richard offered to buy me an amber pendant for Christmas; they were each sooo gorgeous. I never knew about green amber! I thought about it and thought about it and finally said no... They were all stunning but...I never wear pendants or any other kind of necklace. Still, the offer was as nice (even nicer) a gift than the amber.

Amber ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 23 Dec, 16:35 Pacific

Friendships

[ This question is courtesy of Out There! Collaborations (December 2000) by way of diarist.net/spark/ ]
What kind of people do you surround yourself with as your friends?
Do you find yourself more comfortable with people your own age, or does that matter?
Do you like to surround yourself with lots of people, or do you like to have a smaller, more tight-knit group around?

How easy or difficult is it for you to meet new people and make new friends?
Is it easier or harder to make friends using the Internet, and what kind of positive effect has meeting friends online had on your life?
What are the greatest kindnesses a friend has shown to you?

...
       Continue reading "Friendships"

Friendships ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 23 Dec, 15:36 Pacific

Monday December 22, 2003

Three Shopping Days till...

[Today's meme questions courtesy of Sunday Brunch]

It's Almost Christmas

  1. Is your Christmas shopping complete? If no, how much is left to do?
  2. If someone not on your Christmas shopping list buys you a present, do you feel like you have to buy one for them?
  3. What is your favorite Christmas special or holiday movie?
  4. Tell us about one of your favorite Christmas memories.
  5. Tell us about a holiday mishap. (i.e.: tree falling over, dog eating presents, etc.)
...
       Continue reading "Three Shopping Days till..."

Three Shopping Days till... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Mon, 22 Dec, 14:15 Pacific

Sunday December 21, 2003

Why I Write

I've always liked to write; when I was much younger, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories. For several years in Junior High and High School I did a periodic "newspaper" for my family.

I don't recall keeping any sort of diary or journal during elementary school or High School. I did keep a regular journal through all four years of College. I can't remember what triggered that, but I wrote in it most every day. I still have the first volume of that journal (discovered recently in a box with my HS yearbooks and a couple of photo scrapbooks). If I still have the remaining volumes, they are stored in a place so safe even I don't know where it is. To be honest, I'm not sure I would want to read those journals if I could find them again. Perhaps they're better off in that "safe place".

Continue reading "Why I Write" in my "other" weblog, commentary...
Why I Write ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 21 Dec, 14:13 Pacific

Treasures II

My second week of Treasures — positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested — things that are worth remembering, even in just a few words.

Please feel free to start your own lists of Treasures, on your own weblog or here in the comments. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures II"

Treasures II ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sun, 21 Dec, 13:00 Pacific

Saturday December 20, 2003

Verse Meter Analyzer

In The Eyre Affair (a Thursday Next novel), author Jasper Fforde describes Thursday's introduction to the Verse Meter Analyzer: ...
       Continue reading "Verse Meter Analyzer"

Verse Meter Analyzer ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 20 Dec, 13:56 Pacific

Friday December 19, 2003

Accomplishments, Past, Present & Future

[This question comes courtesy of "Past, Present, Future", a blog meme on the web at greyduck.net. Sadly, I only recently discovered PPF; it's already in its 42nd week and the founder plans to stop after one year. Sigh; well, that's what archives are for.]

I posted this question to my new Yahoo group, InsPURRation.

PAST: What would you consider your first real accomplishment in life? We're talking about something you put real, conscious effort into, here.

PRESENT: What are you working on now that you're hoping to have accomplished soon?

FUTURE: What accomplishment would you like to be remembered for? (Hint: This is where you could get away with making up something delightfully improbable.)

...
       Continue reading "Accomplishments, Past, Present & Future"

Accomplishments, Past, Present & Future ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 19 Dec, 11:31 Pacific

100 Years of Technology

[This question comes courtesy of The Listening Post, a blog meme inspired by scifi & fantasy.]

This week's question was inspired by something many of us dread — a fatal hard disk crash and the loss of most of the data thereon. Ouch!

How dependent are you on technology? If all of the technology invented in the past 100 years disappeared tomorrow, how would you react? What do you think your life would be like without technology?
...
       Continue reading "100 Years of Technology"

100 Years of Technology ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 19 Dec, 10:40 Pacific

Thursday December 18, 2003

Playing Favorites

The Friday 5 for this week addresses some favorite things...

  1. List your five favorite beverages.
  2. List your five favorite websites.
  3. List your five favorite snack foods.
  4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
  5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
...
       Continue reading "Playing Favorites"

Playing Favorites ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 18 Dec, 22:49 Pacific

What Are You Reading?

I just finished the fourth book in S. J. Rozan's Bill Smith and Lydia Chin series. The stories are told in the first person with the perspective alternating from Lydia to Bill and back from book to book. Book #4 (No Colder Place) is written from Bill's perspective and I'm happy to say I liked it much more than the second book (Concourse). This is good, as I find myself liking Bill when Lydia talks about him in "her" books. I guess my problem with Concourse was the setting and the story then, not with Bill's cases in general. Wheew! ...
       Continue reading "What Are You Reading?"

What Are You Reading? ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 18 Dec, 11:04 Pacific

Wednesday December 17, 2003

Circle of Words - #49

Circle of Words was inspired by Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy currently on the "Bargain Books" list at Barnes&Noble.com (hardcover for only $4.98 while supplies last). Here are this week's entries. ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #49"

Circle of Words - #49 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 17 Dec, 00:50 Pacific

Tuesday December 16, 2003

Caroling, caroling

[One more meme, this time from Sunday Brunch]
It's either the most loved or most loathed ritual of the Christmas season: the Christmas carol. (Inspired by Bonnie having "ding dinga ding, ding dinga ding, ding dinga ding" or also known as "Carol of the Bells" stuck in her head.)
(And now, so do I. Gee, thanks Bonnie! :-)
  1. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
  2. What is the one Christmas carol you absolutely can't stand to hear?
  3. Have you ever gone out caroling?
  4. If you had to pick a character from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", which character would you be?
  5. How many Christmas recordings do you own?
...
       Continue reading "Caroling, caroling"

Caroling, caroling ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 16 Dec, 00:05 Pacific

Monday December 15, 2003

Hearts Gladness

Yet another meme :-)

I've decided to try to play along with the idea of Heart's Gladness, although I'll post mine here, and I may do it weekly or whenever I think of something. Heart's Gladness is described by its creators as "a series of our reflections on the aspects of our lives which make us happy, bring us hope and bring us joy." I see the difference between this and Treasures as one of quantity rather than quality. Treasures are many small positive snippets as found during my week. Heart's Gladness is one or two reflections-at-large, described in more words. ...
       Continue reading "Hearts Gladness"

Hearts Gladness ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Mon, 15 Dec, 18:24 Pacific

Sunday December 14, 2003

Where is home?

(Yet another meme, this one from the Saturday Slant.)
They say home is where the heart is. So where is your heart? Are you lucky enough to be living in the place that you've also wanted to, or is your heart beckoned to somewhere else? Perhaps your soulmate lives elsewhere, and home is with him or her. Maybe the mysteries of Shri Lanka or the romance of Tuscany hold for you the promise of home. Where is your home? Why is it home? How did you get there, or how do you intend to get there? Where will you hang that "Home Sweet Home" plaque, and why that place?
...
       Continue reading "Where is home?"

Where is home? ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 14 Dec, 12:51 Pacific

Animal Senses

Yes, it's another meme! :-) Ever since I found the Memes List I've been exploring. This one is from Saturday Senses, a weekly meme that posts triggers to each of the five senses to bring up your memories. This week's subject is pets / animals.
[sight]:: Which was the most amazing animal you have ever seen live? Describe the experience.
[taste]:: If you eat meat, do you ever think about the animal you are eating?
[smell]:: Does it bother you or have you ever refrained from getting a pet because of smell (its own or its 'subproducts')?
[touch]:: Which animal did you most enjoy peting, holding or touching for whatever reason?
[hearing]:: If you have pets do they make any sounds? Does it bother you?
...
       Continue reading "Animal Senses"

Animal Senses ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 14 Dec, 10:40 Pacific

Saturday December 13, 2003

Treasures

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you.

(Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle)

In the spirit of Participation Positives, I am starting my own "meme", which I'm calling Treasures. Throughout the week, I will try to make note of little treasures in my life — positive things that strike my fancy, things that make me feel happy or thankful or interested — things that are worth remembering, even in just a few words. Then at the end of the week, I'll post my list. Feel free to do likewise. ...
       Continue reading "Treasures"

Treasures ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 13 Dec, 22:42 Pacific

Fat-free (or Carb-free) Still Isn't "Free"

I recall an article I read a few years ago. The author recounted his discovery of some non-fat cookies at the local "Quik Stop Gas & Shop" when he stopped in for a fill-up on his way home from work. The cookies were delicious (and fat-free!) so he began to make a habit of stopping to buy a bag of cookies on his way home every day. It was only after he gained 5-10 ponds that he read the label. While the cookies were fat free they weren't sugar free (and they certainly weren't calorie free!).

I've personally seen "fat free" brownies with a half-inch of chocolate fudge icing slathered on top! They had more icing than the "regular" (with fat) version! They're certainly yummy but they are not a "low calorie food".

Despite some recent surprising study results, a calorie still counts for something. Replacing fat with sugar (or carbohydrates with fats and proteins) may not produce the weight-loss results you're hoping for. ...
       Continue reading "Fat-free (or Carb-free) Still Isn't "Free""

Fat-free (or Carb-free) Still Isn't "Free" ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 13 Dec, 13:03 Pacific

Friday December 12, 2003

Third Week of December

As I expected, the Friday 5 for this week concerns the holiday season currently upon us. None of the questions intersect with mine from last week, however. Add your own comments here or at the Friday 5 site.

  1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?
  2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?
  3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?
  4. Do you do anything to help the needy?
  5. What one gift would you like for yourself?
...
       Continue reading "Third Week of December"

Third Week of December ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 12 Dec, 15:17 Pacific

Thursday December 11, 2003

To read... or not to read?

Do you feel funny if you start a book but don't finish it? If you don't want to finish it? If you don't like it? How about if the book is by an author you usually enjoy reading? ...
       Continue reading "To read... or not to read?"

To read... or not to read? ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Thu, 11 Dec, 23:54 Pacific

Wednesday December 10, 2003

Ode to the Chiropractor

It's no secret. I see a chiropractor every 4 to 6 weeks for a maintenance adjustment (aka "tuneup"). I don't know what I'd do without that visit. (Actually, I do know. I'd be in pain, or at least decidedly uncomfortable. That's the whole point.) ...
       Continue reading "Ode to the Chiropractor"

Ode to the Chiropractor ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 10 Dec, 13:29 Pacific

Tuesday December 09, 2003

Circle of Words - #48

I'm trying something new. Circle of Words is one of several "memes" on the web right now. It's been ongoing for almost a year now; this is week 48 and I've only just found it!

Circle of Words is

...a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Each question will first start off with a quote from someone famous, or not so famous, which relates to the topic of the question. There may be one or several questions afterwards.

This week's questions are (surprise :-) about Christmas. ...
       Continue reading "Circle of Words - #48"

Circle of Words - #48 ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 09 Dec, 15:38 Pacific

Monday December 08, 2003

Low-carb pizza?!

Rich and I have a favorite Pizzeria (Pasquale's in San Francisco). We've tried many other pizza places; this one (in our opinion) is by far the best. But... how to fit pizza into a diet in which you are trying to substantially reduce your carbohydrate intake?

Answer: Toppings!

In pizza, we both like the sauce best (more sauce!), followed by the cheese and the toppings (sausage and pepperoni, mushrooms (for Rich's side only), occasionally basil/pesto). We're not big crust fans. The crust is there to keep the sauce from sticking and burning in the oven. :-)

We tried this idea back in October and repeated it last night. I think it's a "keeper".

We each had three slices of pizza. We both ate cheese, sausage, pepperoni and (in Rich's case) mushrooms. We didn't eat the crust. We did remember (this time) to order a side of ravioli sauce (next to the best pizza, Pasquale's makes the best meat sauce we've ever tasted anywhere). So, we could add even more sauce to our crustless low-carb pizza!

We were full and happy (not stuffed) and we had what we went for.

Low-carb pizza?! ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 08 Dec, 15:02 Pacific

Memes

Blog Ideas. Circle of Words. Spark. Weigh-in Wednesday. The Friday 5. Saturday Slant. Participation Positives.

Have you ever wondered where people get ideas for what to write about? Have you noticed how some people's weblogs (including mine) reference a set of periodic questions and then answer them? One answer is "memes". ...
       Continue reading "Memes"

Memes ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Mon, 08 Dec, 13:52 Pacific

Sunday December 07, 2003

Easy Bake Science

When I was a little girl, I wanted an Easy-Bake Oven. (My Mom's response was that if I wanted to bake a cake I should just ask and we would bake a real cake in the real oven.)

If I were a little girl today, I might ask for the Discovery DNA Explorer Kit.

...With this deluxe, first-of-its-kind kit, you can extract, view and map real DNA yourself. Ideal for budding forensic-scientists or secret agents, the working lab and tools are just like the real thing. Plus, you'll have all the supplies needed for six fascinating DNA experiments. Extract DNA from vegetables, find out what actually makes ink colors and even grow crystal stalagmites!...

Includes:

  • Centrifuge
  • Magnetic mixer
  • Electrophoresis chamber
  • Test vials
  • And lots more
Requires six D and three 9V batteries (not included). SRP $79.95. ...
       Continue reading "Easy Bake Science"

Easy Bake Science ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sun, 07 Dec, 11:16 Pacific

Saturday December 06, 2003

InsPURRation

I've started a new Yahoo group / mailing list called InsPURRation: CatPURRSons Life Support. The rationale is simple.
We are the ones who have high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart attacks, not cats. -- Roger Caras

We all have bad days. The car won't start, your son has a fender-bender, the water pipes break, work gave you a migraine, you sprain your ankle, lose your checkbook, argue with your spouse.

Some days are much worse. You suffer a fire; a parent has Alzheimers; a good friend dies; the car is totaled; the medical diagnosis is bad.

Yet, sometimes there are rainbows on the darkest day. A friend calls; a loved one sends you flowers; you read an uplifting poem; you try a soothing new tea or find a piece of inspirational music. A rift is healed; the diagnosis is benign; an argument is settled. Pandora's box also held hope.

...
       Continue reading "InsPURRation"

InsPURRation ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 06 Dec, 10:20 Pacific

Friday December 05, 2003

December

The Friday Five is off this week. Thus, I have created my own set of questions.

It's December 5. Yesterday, the checker in the grocery store said "20 more shopping Days till Christmas". Today there are 26 days till the end of 2003.

  1. When you hear "20 more Shopping Days till Christmas" — How does that make you feel?
  2. When you hear "26 days till the end of 2003" — How does that make you feel?
  3. Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, do you celebrate another holiday at year end? (e.g. Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice...)
  4. How do you celebrate? Big or small? Friends and family? Lots of parties?
  5. Do you make resolutions for the New Year?
...
       Continue reading "December"

December ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 05 Dec, 15:41 Pacific

Monday December 01, 2003

Are you qualified to be a "professional"?

Now, perhaps these would make good interview questions ;-)

The following short quiz will tell you whether you are qualified to be a "professional."

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.

...
       Continue reading "Are you qualified to be a "professional"?"

Are you qualified to be a "professional"? ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Mon, 01 Dec, 11:28 Pacific

Sunday November 30, 2003

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors

The terra-cotta warriors buried near the tomb of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, present a fierce challenge—to modern-day chemists. Since the site's discovery near Xi'an, China, in 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,500 of the life-size figures. But once the warriors see the light of day after more than 2,200 years of burial, their paint disappears, sometimes within minutes of exposure.

With an estimated 8,000 more figures still buried, scientists have been looking for ways to lock the paint in place. Now, a group of chemists in Germany has a technique that just might work.

Although the terra-cotta warriors excavated so far have lost their original color coats, a novel restoration technique could preserve the paint layer on the thousands of warriors that remain in the ground.

[c.f. The March of History: Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors, Alexandra Goho, Science News Online, Week of Nov. 29, 2003

Cool!

What's even more interesting (to me :-) is that this article's abstract arrived in my mailbox yesterday, the day after we watched the latest Lara Croft movie Tomb Raider II: The Cradle of Life. (Yes, I enjoyed the movie very much). The terra-cotta warriors are featured in a "bit part" in the movie. Synchronicity strikes again.

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 30 Nov, 13:08 Pacific

Saturday November 29, 2003

Cat Show

We went to a TICA Show (Fog City Cat Club) in Pleasanton CA today. There must have been three aisles of Bengals! Lots of Bengal kittens too!

There were some splendid Maine Coon representatives including a cousin of Squirrel's (Holdermaine's Prowler) who is a Very Handsome boycat! He's a red-shaded silver (w/o white) so looks much the same as Squirrel except he has apricot tabby-marked feet)-- at 18 months he's a BIG boy with enormous feet. He will be extraordinary when he's full grown; he looks like he will have an awesome ruff. He's being shown as an alter. We've met his mama and she's a stunner so we can see where he gets his looks! ...
       Continue reading "Cat Show"

Cat Show ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sat, 29 Nov, 22:58 Pacific

Friday November 28, 2003

Shop till you drop

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Or, so goes the quote. The Day After Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

The Friday 5 for this week focuses on shopping.

  1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
  2. What was the last thing you purchased?
  3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
  4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
  5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
...
       Continue reading "Shop till you drop"

Shop till you drop ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 28 Nov, 14:24 Pacific

Thursday November 27, 2003

Turkey Day reprise

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the words of Arlo Guthrie, we "had another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat". We had 6 people again, this time two different friends (brothers that Rich has known since he was about 8 years old). We had run out of dark meat, so we cooked 3 new turkey thighs; we still had some turkey breast, however. We cooked new squash and cauliflower, made another cranberry fruit salad, brought out the leftover corn and sauerkraut, and added a spinach salad. This time the pie was apple (one crust, no sugar added) and as I had always guessed, Fuji apples do make a splendid apple pie!

A Good Time was had by all. We hope your Thanksgiving dinner was as good.

Turkey Day reprise ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 27 Nov, 22:00 Pacific

Wednesday November 26, 2003

List Five Things...

The Friday 5 for the week of Nov. 21 was tough. It took me a long time to think of answers, and once again, I considered not doing it, but decided to post anyway. These are an excellent thought excercise.

  1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
  2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
  3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
  4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
  5. List five things you do that help you relax.
...
       Continue reading "List Five Things..."

List Five Things... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 26 Nov, 12:38 Pacific

Saturday November 22, 2003

Turkey Day

We celebrated Thanksgiving a week early. My sister came to visit from Dallas, TX, for the weekend. My parents are also visiting for a week and a half (they'll be here next Thursday when we will have Turkey Day reprise).

We invited a friend to join us for dinner, so we had 6 people. We had turkey of course (1 breast and 4 thighs; wings don't have enough meat and legs never did anything for me) - we had just about enough dark meat (even a little left over)! We had Pennsylvania Dutch dried corn., baked acorn squash, baked yams, a little bit of bread stuffing, broccoli, pork & sauerkraut, and cauliflower with cheese sauce. We had a cranberry fruit salad (much like my favorite Jello salad but leave out the gelatin and put in applesauce and boy is it yummy). We ended with two kinds of sugar-free crustless pumpkin pie and whipped cream for any who wanted it.

The turkey wasn't stuffed but we were!

Turkey Day ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 22 Nov, 10:54 Pacific

Saturday November 15, 2003

Adjectively speaking

adjective n. Abbr. a. or adj.
The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.

The Friday 5 for this week asks for 5 descriptions, using only adjectives. Kinda fun, this one.

  1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.
  2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.
  3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.
  4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.
  5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.

...
       Continue reading "Adjectively speaking"

Adjectively speaking ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 15 Nov, 15:14 Pacific

Sunday November 09, 2003

Love it or hate it

The Friday 5 for this week addresses various likes and dislikes.

  1. What food do you like that most people hate?
  2. What food do you hate that most people love?
  3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
  4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find attractive?
  5. What popular trend baffles you?
...
       Continue reading "Love it or hate it"

Love it or hate it ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 09 Nov, 14:12 Pacific

Saturday November 08, 2003

Powers of Ten

One of the coolest coffee table books of all time is Powers of Ten.
Back in 1968, designers Charles and Ray Eames made a 10-minute documentary film, titled Powers of Ten , showing what the universe looks like at different scales. Philip and Phylis Morrison were scientific advisors on the movie, which Philip narrated, and it was chosen in 1998 for preservation in the National Film Registry, which selects "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant motion pictures" for preservation. The Morrisons' book translates the film onto paper.

Starting with a view of a billion light-years, the book (like the film) moves inward, with each page being at one-tenth the scale of the previous one. In 25 steps, you're looking at a picnic by the shores of Lake Michigan, then plunging into a human hand, down through the cells inside it, the DNA inside the cells, the atoms inside the DNA, and the subatomic particles inside the atom. By the time you've gone a total of 40 steps, you're in a world of quantum uncertainty.

There is no better guide to the relative sizes of things in the universe, and no better teacher about what exponential, scientific notation really means. --Mary Ellen Curtin

[c.f. Amazon.com editorial review for the book version of Powers of Ten by Philip Morrison, Phylis Morrison, Office of Charles & Ray Eames ]. Also available on DVD.

Now, the Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida has recapitulated Powers of Ten as a Java applet (also available as a Windows screen saver).

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
Cool!

Java works so nicely on Mac OS X :-)

Powers of Ten ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 08 Nov, 18:46 Pacific

Tuesday November 04, 2003

Open Sesame!

Do you have trouble opening vacuum-sealed jar lids? (If not, you're probably one of the lucky few!). We just discovered there's a trick to it (if you don't need to re-use the lids) and we're happy to share! ...
       Continue reading "Open Sesame!"

Open Sesame! ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 04 Nov, 23:54 Pacific

Saturday November 01, 2003

November is for Nuts

November isn't just for turkeys anymore.

November has been designated Georgia Pecan month. Is pecan pie a traditional part of your Thanksgiving feast? Add pecans to your stuffing this year! (I've always added almonds and hazelnuts; pecans would be tasty too). Or... try my family's recipe for cranberry gelatin salad, a tasty and light side dish to complement your Turkey Day dinner.

November is also Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Yummmm. (National Peanut Month is in March). I'm not sure how to add peanut butter to Thanksgiving... maybe some peanut butter cookies? Or peanut butter-stuffed celery as an appetizer! If you live near a Safeway store, try their house brand "100% natural peanut butter". It's our favorite.

Have a nutty month.

November is for Nuts ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 01 Nov, 12:32 Pacific

Friday October 31, 2003

Boo!

The Friday 5 for this week concerns Halloween

  1. What was your first Halloween costume?
  2. What was your best costume and why?
  3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?
  4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)
  5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!
...
       Continue reading "Boo!"

Boo! ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 31 Oct, 12:42 Pacific

Sunday October 26, 2003

Fall Back Day

Daylight Spending Time?

As of 02:00 (am) Sunday, Oct. 27 (less than 2 hours away as I write this), the U.S. is officially back on "normal;" time. Except for Hawaii, parts of Indiana, and most of Arizona, we all "sprung forward" on the first Sunday of April. As opposed to that Sunday, this is one of my least favorite days of the year Sigh.

Summer is officially over. Winter is coming. Autumn is here. The days were already short (too short!). Now the sun will set before I leave work in the evenings. It will be dark as I drive home. The only mitigating factor is that it will (for a while at least) be lighter in the morning when I wake up. (I thought it was bad enough that I was getting up at 6:45 am! Our niece, Rachel, gets up at 5:15. By 6:40 she's on the school bus... That's dreadful!)

I have never understood why, if DST saves energy, the government doesn't just decide to go on DST year-round, as they did during WWI, WWII and the "energy crisis" during the mid-1970s. At the very least, why don't they wait to "fall back" until the first Sunday of November, so as to prevent Halloween from happening "later" in the evening (think of all those trick-or-treaters walking around in the dark after dinner, an additional "hour" after sunset).

Sigh. I'd love to hibernate till February like the groundhog. I'll be looking forward to Spring for the next three months... wake me when it gets here.

Fall Back Day ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sun, 26 Oct, 00:16 Pacific

Saturday October 25, 2003

Cone of Silence

Do you work in "Cubeland"? Do your neighbors use the speaker phone, crack their gum, have meetings in their cubicles, talk loudly when on the phone, talk to themselves while working, "visit" with each other during the day? Are you bothered by the sounds of the nearby printers, ringing phones, coffee machines, air conditioning?

Consider investing in a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones.

Put them on. Notice the difference.

Now, turn them on. Notice the silence.

Connect the input jack to a music source (I prefer an iPod :-). Listen.

Wow.

Look for a Bose store near you and try a pair in their showroom; I think you'll agree. Sure, they're expensive ($299). But they are worth every penny.

Cone of Silence ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 25 Oct, 22:22 Pacific

Friday October 24, 2003

Sunrise, Sunset

I have a temporary contract job in the South Bay — an hour's drive from my house. In order to put in a full day (and I'm putting in 9 hours each day so that I have a small "time bank" to handle possible contingencies), I leave the house at 7:30. I get up between 6:15 and 6:45 (the alarm is set for 6:45).

As I have never been a "morning person", this is...shall we say... not really desirable. But I do get one benefit.

Sunrise

Our kitchen windows face the bay, looking due east. Oh my goodness do we get some impressive sunrises. Yesterday there was a cloud settled onto the bay (clear at our house, clear in the Oakland hills, the entire bay obscured) with a stunning neon pink band over the cloud to the southeast.

We get some delightful sunsets too; I saw one on the drive home last night. Cotton candy and peppermint striped swirls of pink and orange clouds against infinite shades of purple, blue, and green. Fantastic.

At least when I have to be I'm up at this hour, Mother Nature puts on a good show!

Sunrise, Sunset ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Fri, 24 Oct, 07:32 Pacific

Sunday October 19, 2003

Name 5 things

I recall a George Carlin routine from many years ago:
Honey? What's this?
I don't know... what does it look like?
Um... could be meat... could be cake... Looks like meatcake?!
Put it back. Someone might want it!

The Friday 5 for this week is like that ;-)

  1. Name five things in your refrigerator.
  2. Name five things in your freezer.
  3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.
  4. Name five things around your computer.
  5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.
...
       Continue reading "Name 5 things"

Name 5 things ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 19 Oct, 15:10 Pacific

Saturday October 18, 2003

Sweet Tooth

I couldn't quite decide if this was commentary or not, so I posted the same article to both of my weblogs; only the teaser paragraph is here; you can read the rest at vlb.typepad.com/commentary.

Saccharin. Cyclamate. Aspartame. Sucralose. Tagatose. Alitame.
Xylitol. Maltitol. Lactitol. Isomalt. Erythritol. Mannitol. Sorbitol.

If it tastes like sugar, but it's not...

People like sugar; people like sweet foods. Unfortunately, sucrose ("table sugar") is, well, fattening. It also promotes tooth decay, increases your blood glucose levels, and triggers the insulin reaction. For decades, dieters, diabetics, and people concerned about their teeth have sought an alternative to sucrose. Although the perfect solution has not yet been discovered, we do have many choices.

Continue reading "Sweet Tooth"

Sweet Tooth ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 18 Oct, 22:40 Pacific

Friday October 17, 2003

A Calorie is a Calorie... or is it?

The dietary establishment has long argued it's impossible, but a new study offers intriguing evidence for the idea that people on low-carbohydrate diets can actually eat more than folks on standard lowfat plans and still lose weight.
...
[This] strikes at one of the most revered beliefs in nutrition: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. It does not matter whether they come from bacon or mashed potatoes; they all go on the waistline in just the same way ...

[c.f. Study surprise: Low-carb dieters eat more, lose weight, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP), Oct 4, 2003]

...
       Continue reading "A Calorie is a Calorie... or is it?"

A Calorie is a Calorie... or is it? ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 17 Oct, 23:23 Pacific

Tuesday October 14, 2003

24-hour clocks

I prefer digital clocks that show the time in 24 (unique) hourly numbers, from 00:59 - 23:59. Unfortunately, many alarm clocks in the U.S. don't do this. Has it ever occurred to you, however, that all digital clocks are "24 hour clocks"?

An analog clock (you remember, the old-fashioned circular faces with the hands? :-) is really a 12-hour clock. The hands go from 12:00 to 11:59 and then they do it again. If you set the clock for 3:15, doesn't matter "which" 3:15 it is, the clock will work. The alarm will work. The only drawback is you can't set an alarm more than 12 hours in advance.

A digital clock, however, fools you. The numbers go from 12:00 to 11:59 and repeat, but in the second pass there's usually some sort of teensy tinsy symbol to indicate that it's now pm (or perhaps am).

Our alarm clock didn't go off this morning. It was set for 8:30, to give Rich plenty of time to get up and be at his new contract by 10:00. Unfortunately, although the alarm was correctly set for 8:30 am, the clock itself had gotten misadjusted after a temporary power failure and was now off by 12 hours. So, at half past eight this morning the clock thought it was 8:30 pm. We woke up an hour later. Rich wasn't very late leaving the house, but neither did he have much time to get ready.

The next alarm clock I get is going to be a real 24-hour clock that uses 24 numbers for the hours, not some itty bitty red dot :-(

24-hour clocks ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 14 Oct, 15:26 Pacific

Sunday October 12, 2003

Does Winter make you SAD?

It's the middle of October. The middle of Autumn. The next three and a half months are my least favorite time of the year. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, 37.8° North latitude (about even with Richmond, VA to the east); if we lived much further north, I probably wouldn't like February either.

Winter is too dark. The days are too short. It's bad enough right now, but on Sunday Oct. 26, we'll turn the clocks back. Then it will get darker even faster in the evening. Full dark by 5:30 pm. Yuch. ...
       Continue reading "Does Winter make you SAD?"

Does Winter make you SAD? ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 12 Oct, 00:04 Pacific

Saturday October 11, 2003

The South Beach Diet

I have been reading "The South Beach Diet" by Dr. Arthur Agatston. (The hardcover book is currently on sale for softcover prices ($15) at both amazon.com and Barnes & Noble; there are used copies available as well through amazon.com starting at $11.75.

Dr. Agatston is a cardiologist who started investigating diet as a way to help his overweight patients lower their weight, cholesterol, and triglycerides and reduce adult diabetes and pre-diabetes symptoms. The patients shared the diet success with friends and family and it's become very popular.

Rich and I have been looking through various "diet" schemes, reading the books, comparing what they say to what we believe makes sense. So far, The South Beach Diet is the closest to what I think makes the most sense. It's low-carb but not no-carb. It's not "high fat" nor is it "low fat". It's not "all protein" and it's certainly not a starvation diet. It draws a distinction between "good" and "bad" carbs (and between "good" and" bad" fats) . It's not so much a "diet" as a lifestyle change. ...
       Continue reading "The South Beach Diet"

The South Beach Diet ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 11 Oct, 14:38 Pacific

Friday October 10, 2003

iChat, iSight, iSign

For Melvin Patterson, who has been completely deaf since he was a toddler, communication is a visual experience.

In the past, conducting a conversation using traditional nonvisual telecommunications tools like telephones and pagers was frustrating. Text messages or sign language conversations on jittery Web video screens were a pale substitute for a face-to-face exchange.

But that changed dramatically when Patterson tried iChat AV, new videoconferencing software, and iSight, a new Web camera, which Apple Computer Inc. introduced during the summer.

Read the rest of the article from Monday's (Oct. 6, 2003) San Francisco Chronicle.

iChat, iSight, iSign ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Fri, 10 Oct, 23:53 Pacific

Not even the Splendid Bowl

The Friday 5 for this week asks about sports...

  1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?
  2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?
  3. Are there any sports you hate?
  4. Have you ever been to a sports event?
  5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?
...
       Continue reading "Not even the Splendid Bowl"

Not even the Splendid Bowl ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 10 Oct, 16:04 Pacific

Tuesday October 07, 2003

Under the Tuscan Sun

Rich and I recently finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It's quite a good read if you enjoy this sort of book; you'll find it shelved under travel memoirs.

We're both fans of Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence) and similar sorts of books. This is very much in the same vein. I could almost feel the sunshine and taste the food. I was quite happy, however, to be reading about all the heavy work, rather than helping to haul stones! ...
       Continue reading "Under the Tuscan Sun"

Under the Tuscan Sun ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 07 Oct, 11:07 Pacific

Friday October 03, 2003

Drivin' in my car

The Friday 5 for this week concerns cars... That's cool. I like cars.

  1. What vehicle do you drive?
  2. How long have you had it?
  3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle?
  4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle?
  5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now?
...
       Continue reading "Drivin' in my car"

Drivin' in my car ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 03 Oct, 16:00 Pacific

Thursday October 02, 2003

Low carb need not equal faux food

From the San Francisco Chronicle ( Food in the News, www.sfgate.com, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003)

Low-carb craze grabs consumers
Onslaught of new products tempts dieters

You'd never buy most of them for their taste -- even some people who sell them admit that. They're generally not low in calories. Nutritionists raise their eyebrows at all the protein and processing they pack. And they're expensive, easily two to four times the cost of their full-carb counterparts.

But, inspired by the Atkins/South Beach/Sugar Busters low-carb weight- loss plans, people are scarfing them down, acting like sea otters at an oyster bar.

Low-carb food specialty stores are proliferating, catering to demands for the likes of cinnamon-fried pork rinds. Trend-savvy Trader Joe's is about to unveil a new Joe's Lows label for its growing low-carb line. Low-carb tortillas, chips and beer are multiplying in markets like Whole Foods, Andronico's and Walgreens.

The fear-of-fat days are officially over. Now, it's all about fear of carbs. Even french fry sales are feeling the pain.

...
       Continue reading "Low carb need not equal faux food"

Low carb need not equal faux food ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 02 Oct, 11:24 Pacific

Wednesday October 01, 2003

Everything I know about UI design

Found on slashdot (this explains a few things about some of the programs I've used, especially on Windoze... - V.)
Everything I know about UI design, I learned from Games
...
       Continue reading "Everything I know about UI design"

Everything I know about UI design ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 01 Oct, 12:39 Pacific

Monday September 29, 2003

Conspiracy Theory

Coming home from dinner this evening, we drove past a shopping center near our home. As is often the case, several of the storefronts had lights out in their outdoor signs. We see this phenomenon in many shopping centers. There was a Radio store (aka Radio Shack) and the Vietnam Villa e (there is no w; it's actually Vietnam Village). Last night, in a different shopping center, we saw the O D Navy store (Old Navy, not a bunch of overdosed sailors).

We commented, as we often do, how is it that the signs can be partially out for so many stores so often; then Rich suggested... perhaps it's done by intent?!?

If the signs were always complete, passersby would get used to them. But leave out a few letters and, voila, the passersby will have their eyes drawn to the sign (and to the new pronunciation) and their brains will register the presence of the store more clearly. Did I even know there was an Old Navy store in that other shopping center before?

Conspiracy? Fact or fallacy?
8-)

Conspiracy Theory ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Mon, 29 Sep, 21:46 Pacific

Sunday September 28, 2003

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Welcome to Sherwood!

One of my favorite movies, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland), is now available on DVD.

The Adventures of Robin Hood ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 28 Sep, 18:22 Pacific

Saturday September 27, 2003

Inside skinny on office fat

There was an article in today's SF Chronicle about how the workplace contributes to the obesity problem. Here's an excerpt:
The workplace study, a random sampling of 611 working adults from around the country, found that although 32 percent of workers usually skip breakfast and/or lunch, they aren't exactly doing a Gandhi impression. Eighty-nine percent admit to snacking during the workday, with more than half embracing fat and sugar's greatest hits: chips, candy and doughnuts.

Hunger and the need for energy are the main explanations they give, according to the study, sponsored by the American Association of Working People, the Institute for Health and Productivity Management and the makers of the Ensure nutritional drink. An additional 23 percent of workers blame stress.

And here's my favorite: 27 percent snack because they're bored. Workers under 25 were twice as likely as their older colleagues to use that as their explanation.

[by Dave Murphy, SF Chronicle; read the rest of the original article on the web at sfgate.com.]

I sent a note to the writer with some additional comments. ...
       Continue reading "Inside skinny on office fat"

Inside skinny on office fat ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sat, 27 Sep, 22:51 Pacific

Friday September 26, 2003

Friday but no Five

The Friday Five is taking this week off, so in its place we bring you.,.. a book report.

If you like the sorts of questions the Friday Five provides, look for these books: The Little Book of Stupid Questions (David Borenicht; publ. Barnes & Noble Books; 1999) and The Big Book of If... (Questions for the Game of Life and Love) (Evelyn McFarlane & James Saywell; publ. Villard; 1995-1997). The latter is a combo volume comprised of three previous books, If, If2, and If3. ...
       Continue reading "Friday but no Five"

Friday but no Five ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 26 Sep, 22:20 Pacific

Sunday September 21, 2003

Storytelling Festival

We drove up to Trinidad California (in Humboldt County, about 25 mi. north of Eureka, on the California North Coast) for a Storytelling festival this weekend. We headed up on Friday and drove back Saturday afternoon.

In between, we heard from half a dozen storytellers, stories ranging from Japanese fables to the life story of Lou Gehrig. Storytelling festivals can be a "mixed bag". You'll love some, you'll like some, some will leave you cold.

We went to this festival specifically because Willy Claflin would be there! Rich was lucky enough to see Willy Claflin perform at a storytelling festival in Sant Ynez about 6 months ago. He then purchased all available CD recordings (:-), brought them home and I became a fan of Willy Claflin. Willy's best friend and co-teller is Maynard Moose who tells "Traditional Moose Tales". On this trip, I got to see Maynard perform in person (and a lively and animated moose he is, too, cheerful and happy with his work :-)

We had a pleasant time, a long drive (over 300 miles each way), lovely scenery, a pretty piney woods (the festival event was in Patrick's Point State Park) and a cute little cabin over night. I'm happy we went; nevertheless, it's always good to get home.

Storytelling Festival ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Sun, 21 Sep, 10:33 Pacific

Friday September 19, 2003

Five questions about Music

The Friday 5 is 2 years old this week. This week the questions re about music.

  1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?
  2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?
  3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?
  4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?
  5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?
...
       Continue reading "Five questions about Music"

Five questions about Music ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 19 Sep, 09:35 Pacific

Wednesday September 17, 2003

What's Up? - Mac OS X Bits & Pieces

It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone... not much to report. Some minor technical successes... (but would I really want to consider doing tech support for a living?) ...
       Continue reading "What's Up? - Mac OS X Bits & Pieces"

What's Up? - Mac OS X Bits & Pieces ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Wed, 17 Sep, 21:48 Pacific

Saturday September 13, 2003

Raed Tihs

Instructions

Just read the sentence straight through without really thinking about it.

...
       Continue reading "Raed Tihs"

Raed Tihs ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 13 Sep, 20:51 Pacific

One Very Big "Oops"

Ooooouch.

As the NOAA-N Prime spacecraft was being repositioned from vertical to horizontal on the "turn over cart" at approximately 7:15 PDT today, it slipped off the fixture, causing severe damage. (See attached photo). The 18' long spacecraft was about 3' off the ground when it fell.

c.f. spaceref.com - Sept. 09, 2003

One Very Big "Oops" ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 13 Sep, 10:45 Pacific

Friday September 12, 2003

By Any Other Name

The Friday 5 for this week... Names

  1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed?
  2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be?
  3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?)
  4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why?
  5. Is the analysis of your name at kabalarians.com /triggur.org /astroexpert accurate? How is or how isn't it?
...
       Continue reading "By Any Other Name"

By Any Other Name ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 12 Sep, 11:41 Pacific

Friday September 05, 2003

Maggie Needs an Alibi

Do you like mystery fiction? Try this one: Maggie Needs an Alibi by Kasey Michaels.

Maggie Kelly is a writer. Six years ago she wrote Historical Romances (with 15 books to date); then her publisher hired a new accountant who fired most of the "mid-list" authors (including Maggie).

Unable to afford a long vacation, Maggie reinvented herself as a Historical Murder Mystery writer and slipped a new pen name past the accountant (with her editor's assistance). She created a dashing series hero, Alexandre Blake, the Viscount Saint Just, along with his stalwart friend and sometime partner, Sterling Balder. Her new books soon hit the New York Times bestseller list and everyone was (reasonably) happy... until several weeks ago. ...
       Continue reading "Maggie Needs an Alibi"

Maggie Needs an Alibi ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Fri, 05 Sep, 11:01 Pacific

Thursday September 04, 2003

Good Housekeeping

The Friday 5 for this week...

  1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most?
  2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing?
  3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed?
  4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules?
  5. What was the last thing you cleaned?
...
       Continue reading "Good Housekeeping"

Good Housekeeping ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Thu, 04 Sep, 21:55 Pacific

Tuesday September 02, 2003

Hooray for Peanut Butter

I've always liked peanut butter; lately I've discovered it's actually good for me (Unfortunately, I don't think Reeses cups count :-)
Eating low glycemic index foods such as peanut butter, yogurt, beans and broccoli along with a diet high in cereal fiber can significantly reduce the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes in women, according to a new Harvard School of Public Health study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

c.f. Peanut Butter Lovers.com

Rich and I have been discussing reducing carbohydrates in our diet... cutting down on the "High Glycemic Index" foods. So now, instead of peanut butter toast, I'm going to be eating my peanut butter on celery. Gee, peanut butter and more fiber too. ...
       Continue reading "Hooray for Peanut Butter"

Hooray for Peanut Butter ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 02 Sep, 23:48 Pacific

Sunday August 31, 2003

Rabbits? or Powder Puffs?

A friend sent me a link to Betty Chu's English Angora Rabbits pages, specifically the 2003 All Breed Best In Show & Reserve In Show winners. They are adorable... but are they rabbits? Or giant powder puffs? Or something else again? (stuffy toys? slippers? footstools??)

I sent the link to several friends. Here's one reply:

I regret to inform you that neither of your possible answers were correct. The creatures that are shown in the pictures are the mature form of the common household dust bunnies. Normally they are very quiet and quite harmless unless you are allergic to them.

These however are breeding adults. They are capable of producing thousands of offspring (just pick one up while wearing a dark sweater).

They reproduce 2 ways. Asexually by budding described above and sexually producing 2-8 offspring at a time. Best advice is to avoid them completely and prevent the adult form by frequently cleaning problem areas.

Rabbits? or Powder Puffs? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sun, 31 Aug, 22:33 Pacific

Friday August 29, 2003

School Daze

The Friday 5 for this week concerns... school.

Given that Tuesday will be the First Day of School for many kids across the country; this seems like an appropriate topic.

  1. Are you going to school this year?
  2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
  3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
  4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
  5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
...
       Continue reading "School Daze"

School Daze ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 29 Aug, 22:14 Pacific

Saturday August 23, 2003

The last time you...

The Friday 5 for this week is really lame. I haven't decided yet if I'll bother to answer. Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments.

  1. When was the last time you laughed?
  2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?
  3. Who was the last person you emailed?
  4. When was the last time you bathed?
  5. What was the last thing you ate?
The last time you... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 23 Aug, 12:11 Pacific

Friday August 22, 2003

Last week's blackout

[The satellite photo I posted earlier was a hoax :( Sigh. These are real]
Left is approx. 20 hours before the blackout; right is approx 7 hours into the blackout. Click images to enlarge.

I know a couple of people who were within the black-out zone. ...
       Continue reading "Last week's blackout"

Last week's blackout ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 22 Aug, 20:46 Pacific

Monday August 18, 2003

The Ambient Orb

Oooooh. I want a new toy!
The Ambient Orb is a device that slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or friend is on instant messenger. It is a simple wireless object that unobtrusively presents information. ...

The Orb arrives set to indicate the Dow - glowing more green to indicate market movement up and red to indicate movement down... It can be customized to a set of free channels, such as market indices...or weather in select cities. Optionally, you can upgrade to access more premium channels, such as your customized portfolio, local weather, pollen count, or IM buddy watch. There's also a developer interface where any semi-savvy web programmer can control the color of their Orb with a simple http "get" call. Track how full your hard drive is, traffic on your website, Slashdot posts, or your credit-card debt.

I want one of these!

See more at Think Geek

The Ambient Orb ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Mon, 18 Aug, 21:39 Pacific

Saturday August 16, 2003

Close Encounters

Look for it in the night sky - an increasingly brighter, reddish "star" near the moon. That's not a star; it's the planet Mars.

Earth and Mars are rapidly converging. On August 27, 2003--the date of closest approach--the two worlds will be 56 million km apart. That's a long way by Earth standards, but only a short distance on the scale of the solar system.

Between now and August, Mars will brighten until it "blazes forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself." Astronomer Percival Lowell, who famously mapped the canals of Mars, wrote those words to describe the planet during a similar close encounter in the 19th century.

[c.f. Approaching Mars, Science@NASA]

...
       Continue reading "Close Encounters"

Close Encounters ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 16 Aug, 12:10 Pacific

Friday August 15, 2003

Home Sweet Home Page

The Friday 5 for this week is about the Internet

  1. How much time do you spend online each day?
  2. What is your browser homepage set to?
  3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)?
  4. Where was your first webpage located?
  5. How long have you had your current website?
...
       Continue reading "Home Sweet Home Page"

Home Sweet Home Page ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 15 Aug, 16:31 Pacific

Thursday August 14, 2003

Gadgets and Gizmos

I've discovered two new gadget sites recently.

The first, Gizmodo ("The Gadgets Weblog") is for techie toys: PDAs, cellphones, cameras, etc. Take a look at the article about the iBOT 3000, a wheelchair that climbs stairs!

The other site is a bit more prosaic. If you're not into computer tech, you may prefer The Gadget Source, ("The Authority for Kitchen Gadgets"). They even have a Kitchen Gadget of the Month Club. Oooohhhh... And me without a steady income :-( ... I found this site while looking for a source for a metal sink strainer I bought a few years ago at a (long-forgotten) store. (The strainer is a most excellent sink accessory. I recommend it highly).

Gadgets and Gizmos ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 14 Aug, 11:22 Pacific

Tuesday August 12, 2003

Weblogging - The Next Generation

I have begun a weblogging experiment.

I created a private weblog for my family, a kind of Family Bulletin Board. Then I invited 10 family members to join as Guest Authors. So far, 5 of the 10 have accepted the invitation and one is considering the idea. All of the guest authors have posted at least once and several have also added comments.

In addition, my sister has been sufficiently interested to ask me to help her set up her own, personal, weblog. Now that's a success story.

Weblogging - The Next Generation ( in category WWW ) - posted at Tue, 12 Aug, 22:34 Pacific

Sunday August 10, 2003

Hearing New Voices

One of the best things about the WWW is how much interesting information is available - how many new things you can learn if you keep your eyes open. Weblogs make even more information available, as people share links, news, and personal stories. The WWW is both a community and a community-enhancing tool.
Though there's a lot of talk about newspapers and politicians and celebrities having weblogs, we are continually reminded that the most amazing thing about weblogs is how they let average people share their unique perspectives on life.
...
       Continue reading "Hearing New Voices"

Hearing New Voices ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 10 Aug, 13:20 Pacific

Saturday August 09, 2003

Classic Cars

I've always loved "Classic Cars" - cars from the 40's, the 30's... Model A, Model T. One of the nice things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that the generally pleasant weather allows Classic Car owners to drive their cars year round - sometimes as their regular transportation. ...
       Continue reading "Classic Cars"

Classic Cars ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 09 Aug, 18:35 Pacific

Where did you go? Out.

What did you do? Nothing.

The Friday 5 for this week concerns travel:

  1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
  2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
  3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
  4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
  5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
...
       Continue reading "Where did you go? Out."

Where did you go? Out. ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 09 Aug, 11:24 Pacific

Friday August 08, 2003

The Forrester Electronic Toy Show

We went to a presentation yesterday at PARC (The Palo Alto Research Center). Daniel Rasmus and Rob Enderle, both industry analysts, provided an amusing presentation of "business and consumer gadgets and toys", from notebook computers, to handhelds, to cases, cameras, power supplies, and things we wouldn't have guessed existed. How about a gadget vest with many many pockets, ala Dilbert? For cooler weather, it has zip-in sleeves. Or, how about a laptop backpack that looks more like a baby carrier; it's so unusual that Mr. Enderle says he's stopped in security check points simply to explain what it is.

Some things were neat, many were... strange. Several gadgets caused us look at each other, raise our eyebrows, and mouth "Why would anyone...?". The one thing I came away lusting after was the Veo Network Camera. Nevertheless, it was a fun presentation, all in all.

The Forrester Electronic Toy Show ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 08 Aug, 15:04 Pacific

Wednesday August 06, 2003

Bird Brain

We have been putting out sunflower seed for the birds and squirrels, as well as corn and peanuts for the squirrels. Occasionally I put out a walnut or two. Generally I crack the walnuts first. Today I didn't bother.

Our backyard fauna also includes Scrub Jays, a rather intelligent sort of bird, as birds go. Until today, it never occurred to me that Jays might like walnuts. ...
       Continue reading "Bird Brain"

Bird Brain ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Wed, 06 Aug, 14:25 Pacific

Monday August 04, 2003

TypePad registration opens RSN

TypePad registration will open on Monday, August 4 at 11:59 pm (PDT) as a Preview Release. That's less than 2 hours away as I write this... Features will continue to be added and the system will still be considered to be under development, but the service will be open for any user to sign up. Pricing and features at typepad.com home page.

Get it while it's hot! It's not free... but it's very nice and the support is excellent.!

TypePad registration opens RSN ( in category WWW ) - posted at Mon, 04 Aug, 22:29 Pacific

Saturday August 02, 2003

Is that fruit ripe?

A friend sent me this, from an article called "Ripe Now," by Jeffrey Steingarten (reprinted in "Cookwise," by Shirley Corriher).

  • Fruits that NEVER ripen after they are picked: soft berries, cacao, cherries, grapes, citrus fruits, lychees, olives, pineapples, and watermelons.

  • Fruits that ripen ONLY after picking: avocados.

  • Fruits that ripen in color, texture, and juiciness but NOT in flavor or sweetness after picking: apricots, blueberries, figs, melons (except watermelons), passionfruit, peaches, and persimmons.

  • Fruits that get sweeter after they are picked: apples, cherimoyas, kiwi, mangoes, papayas, pears, sapotes, and soursops.

  • Fruits that ripen in EVERY way after picking: bananas.

So those incredible baseball-sized peaches we get at our local grocery this time of year, that go from hard to juicy in 3 days, were that sweet and nice to begin with?! Interesting.

I wonder if plums and nectarines fit in with peaches... ...
       Continue reading "Is that fruit ripe?"

Is that fruit ripe? ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 02 Aug, 08:07 Pacific

Friday August 01, 2003

Time to Get Up

This week's Friday Five; pretty much a no-brainer this week. :-)

  1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?
  2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?
  3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?
  4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?
  5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?
...
       Continue reading "Time to Get Up"

Time to Get Up ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 01 Aug, 10:08 Pacific

Monday July 28, 2003

TypePad is in sight

When I first started playing with weblogs, I used Greymatter. I didn't do much with it, and things just sort of lay fallow for about a year. Then I heard about Moveable Type at the O'Reilly Mac OS X conference and (eventually) got around to installing Moveable Type in February, 2003. I really like MT and I've been steadily adding to my journal ever since.

Fortunately (for me) but unfortunately (for many potential users) MT provides a wealth of options for configuration, most of which require a knowledge of HTML coding to use! To address this "problem", the developers of MT have announced (and will soon be releasing) releasing TypePad. ...
       Continue reading "TypePad is in sight"

TypePad is in sight ( in category WWW ) - posted at Mon, 28 Jul, 22:42 Pacific

Sunday July 27, 2003

Adopt a tortoise

A short piece in the August 2003 issue of Sunset magazine suggests an interesting and "different" choice of pet. Although it is illegal to take a desert tortoise from the wild, tortoises in captivity often need new homes.

...
       Continue reading "Adopt a tortoise"

Adopt a tortoise ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sun, 27 Jul, 16:02 Pacific

Saturday July 26, 2003

Re-defining the commuter car

(not to mention the concept of "back-seat driver")

The Tango, the first vehicle produced by Commuter Cars, is a glimpse into the future of commuting where we hope wasted time, energy, and freeway real estate due to traffic jams will be things of the past. The safety, size, and efficiency features of the Tango will be found in every vehicle we ever produce.
It's electric. It's tiny. It's cute. It looks like it's been squished between two big rigs :-)
At 39 inches wide and 8 feet 5 inches long, it's skinnier than some motorcycles and shorter than many a living-room couch. It runs on batteries, not gas. ...zero to 60 in less than 4 seconds ... 80 miles per charge; three hours to recharge in a dryer socket.
Demo models are currently zipping around Spokane, Seattle, and Montréal ... maybe we'll see them on the streets someday.

Re-defining the commuter car ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jul, 10:02 Pacific

Primate Programmers?

As legend has it, in 1860 (or thereabouts) Thomas Huxley, pro-evolutionist, argued that "given an infinite amount of time" (and enough paper and typewriters), six of monkeys would eventually recreate the works of Shakespeare. The Parable of the Monkeys has been reconsidered many times since then, as evidenced by these collected quotes.

The kicker is the "infinite amount of time" of course. Recent experimentation using smaller amounts of time have been less than impressive. ...
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Primate Programmers? ( in category News & Information ) - posted at Sat, 26 Jul, 00:42 Pacific

My Life, The Movie

The Friday 5 for this week is weird. Once again, I wasn't sure I'd even bother, but I guess it's an exercise in creativity. A lot of the other folks who do this regularly seemed to find this to be a fun one; it takes all kinds to make a world, I guess. YMMV.

  1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?
  2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?
  3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?
  4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?
  5. Describe the movie preview/trailer.
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