Archive for November, 2005

Detour …

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

This will be a light posting day, since I did something I’ve been neglecting for some time now: Posting something to the 100 Bloggers blog project. I feel fortunate just to be a part of it, but I haven’t posted anything to it in a couple of months, so I repurposed the Secondary Office Geek post I did here a couple of days ago.

It was strange timing, too, because in the middle of writing it I got an email for the organizer saying that we sll needed to get on the stick (figure of speech, no actual stick is involved) in order to meet the goal of 100 posts in 100 days, since there were only 30 days left, and almost half of the 50 bloggers signed up haven’t yet posted.

I’ve posted two or three times, but I’ve felt that we all need to be posting things in order to keep the blog fresh, so I’ve been planning since Tuesday to do this post.

So anyway, I’m going to reply to Troy with the URL’s of a few other garrulous bloggers who might be interested in helping us meet the goal.

In the meantime, I’ve done my duty on two blogs today, so now I can sleep without guilt … blogwise, anyway …

The Road to Unwellville

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I was planning on doing a post on retro video games tonight, something I’ve been planning for a while, but I’m not feeling so hot all of a sudden — chills, aches, fatigue — so I’ll save that for another time, and for now I’ll just type til I drop:

It’s ironic that I’m just feeling sick now, because I was just at my doctor’s office a few hours ago; I was feeling perfectly fine then.

But then, he wouldn’t have done anything for me anyway: He’s one of those anti-antibiotic doctors, part of a growing school of thought that the over-prescription of antibiotics is breeding a race of giant super-resistant man-eating Mega Germs, and therefore he waits until you’re three-quarters dying.

They’ve probably got a good point, but when you’re only half dying, the vague prospect of the possible prevention of some distant, ambiguous menance is little consolation.

On the other hand, this policy of his has motivated me to not let myself get sick these past four years, mainlining Vitamin C and echinacea at the first sign of sinus infection.

But back to the story: I had my semi-annual checkup today — my doctor is a total prevention nut to begin with, and now that I’m fifty, he won’t write out my kind meds without seeing me every six months or so.

Forntunately, today he gave me a clean bill of health, as usual, and pronounced that there’s nothing (physically) wrong with me. That’s quite an accomplishment for someone with a lifetime record of chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Now if I could just figure out why I feel like total hammered crud tonight; at least if it’s the flu, it could mean a day or so catching up on my blogging.

And feeling like total hammered crud. But those are the breaks.

And here’s the part, as promised, where I drop.

Post-Holiday Miscellaneous Stuff

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Various junk for the start of the work week:

Check this out: Big Brother’s Julie Chen, in “But First!” (Once you get to the site, click on her picture to play the video.)

Somebody needs to set this to music, if they haven’t already …

Ohh, I need this: A coffee table with sliding top panels and built-in book hangers — kind of like shelves combined with a table.

Cooool …

I missed commenting all these cool news events last week when I was off the grid, like the end of Ted Koppel’s rein on Nightline, Jessica Simpson’s official breakup with ol’ whats-his-face, CNN’s Cheney-X scandal, and the release of the XBox 360.

And now Pat Morita has died.

I just can’t keep up …

I left the house without my cell phone this morning, which these days makes ya feel a bit naked. Of course, since I hadn’t been to work in 10 days, I’ve been so disoriented that it’s a miracle I actually had pants on, so being phoneless wasn’t so bad.

But then I got to work and Katie said that my receptionist called her to say that she left a message on my phone. “I didn’t bring my phone,” I replied, “What was the gist of the message?” “I don’t know, she didn’t say.”

I had my geek hat on almost all day today (figure of speech; no actual headwear was involved): I had to take the huge, high-quality color laser printer away from the receptionist and give it to New Boss in Training, then go to Staples and buy a new cheap printer for the receptionist.

To be fair, she was glad to be rid of the color laser, because of the bureaucratic firestorm that erupted every time an ink cartridge had to be ordered at $80 a pop (and print cylinders at $200 each).

Now that headache is no longer hers.

Anyway, most of the rest of the day was spent setting up a couple of new computers for our people — and when I say new, I mean used castoff crumbs from our High Holy Corporate Office that were too shabby to continue to disgrace their environs, but which are still better than what our people were using (one of the computers being replaced still had an ISA slot!) and we should be grateful to have them, and our jobs too.

Seriously, though: I took the liberty of opening up one of the units, and it was actually pretty cool: It was an IBM, and about the same size, shape and weight of the IBM PS2 that I bought in 1992. But unlike my 92 model, which I couldn’t get into even after taking out all the screws and snipping off three metal tabs, this newer model popped right open, with a hinged cover raising up from the back, and the front panel, with all its drive carriages tilted up as well for easy maintenance. The unit was still awfully small, meaning it could only hold one disc drive and one hard drive, the hard drive is SATA (meaning the cable is smaller than the standard ribbon cable) and the floppy ribbon cable is paper-thin.

Everything was so tiny (at least compared to my 27″ Antec case, which gives me plenty of room to move around), it was downright cute, just like a kitten.

Tomorrow I’ll try to take a picture of the inner workings so you can share my geek joy …

Ready … Set … Goat!

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Check it out: I’ve uploaded photos of Girly Girl the Goat, as promised.

As I mentioned earlier, Girly Girl was a nice surprise I had while visiting my cousins on the day before Thanksgiving.

As for my Thanksgiving dinner pictures, those can be found here.

Emotional Baggage

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

One of The Wife’s customers pointed out an article in today’s Dallas Morning News: “Police find tough suitcase to crack.”

The reason she pointed it out is that there’s a connection to my old hometown.

A suitcase was found in Oak Cliff, in the southern part of Greater Dallas, behind a gas station, and a police seargent named Judy Katz has taken an interest in finding the owner, or at least the family of the owner, of some of the mementos inside.

Among the contents are several old photos, a century-old marriage certificate and a 1937 high school diploma, the latter in the name of Otis Hair.

The name sounded familiar to me (and it was the same high school that my parents and I graduated from, and the same year as my uncle graduated), so I called my mom tonight and asked her about him, and read the article to her.

The article said that the marriage license was for Joe C. Fox and Alice Pulliam, and that Otis had later married Pearl Pulliam, “who Sgt. Katz believes was either the sister or daughter of Alice Pulliam.”

My mom disagrees. She doesn’t remember the name Pulliam, but says that Otis never married, and that Pearl was his mother’s name. She also said that the last she heard, Otis was still alive and living in Dallas with his cousin.

Aha — so now I know more about this than the newspaper!

My mom also gave me the phone number of the man who bought Otis’ land, who happens to be the son-in-law of somebody in my graduating class.

How’s that for coincidence?

So I called the number that the newspaper left for Sgt. Katz and left a message on her answering machine. It’s possible that she had gotten several calls before mine, but hopefully I was able to shed some light on the subject.

Postscript: I also warned The Wife that I might be getting a call from a cop sometime soon, and that she shouldn’t worry …

She said she was glad I gave her the heads-up, otherwise she’d be like, Oh, great, what has he done?

I digress …

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Priddy! In posting some of my trip pictures (more on that later), I came across this cool light show: Check out this slideshow on Flickr, and be sure to set the speed to 1 second.

These pictures are created by a new creative method called Camera Tossing, a technique which even has it’s own blog, so check it out to see more pictures like in the slideshow, and to learn how to get in on the act.

Home Again!

Friday, November 25th, 2005

I do hope you’ve been checking the other blog, because I was able to post there twice while in Lubbock …

More later, including pictures and the usual observations …

Can’t blog — packing …

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

But the good news is that the motel I’ll be staying at has broadband access! It’s not wireless, it’s in the lounge, you have to bring your own computer, and there’s no guarantee I can get my old laptop configured.

Hey, it’s better than nothing, and that’s what I was counting on.

Anyway, I’m off.

PS: Had to take Molly to the vet this morning, for a scratch on her cornea, and that’s why I’m running so late.

See ya when I’m there, maybe …

Fly the friendly skies — NOT.

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Preparations continue for my trip to Lubbock; I’m driving this time, instead of flying.

This is partly because I can take more stuff with me — we all gotta have our stuff — like my laptop, camcorder, books, cold-weather clothes, CD collections, and the like. Since, like last time, I’ll be staying at a motel instead of at my mom’s house, having more than one suitcase to live out of will make life much easier.

It’s also partly because I hate flying.

Not the actual being in the air part of flying; that part is actually pretty cool. What I hate is the airport part, and the cramped Southwest Airlines seating arrangements part, and, lately, the Homeland Security treating-everybody-like-criminals part.

Even though the drive is just over six hours, the actual difference in time is minimal: Flying requires driving almost an hour in Dallas traffic, dragging luggage for a quarter mile in the parking lot and another quarter mile in the terminal, waiting in line to be dehumanized by the TSA, waiting in more lines, then even more waiting, for an hour or more.

Then comes the hour of actual flying, the only real progress of the whole ordeal, then there’s more waiting, walking, waiting, dragging, waiting, and driving, for an hour or sometimes two.

Driving, on the other hand, requires … driving. Minimal lugging, no waiting, just pure unadulterated progress toward a destination. I don’t have to eat airport Big Macs, I never have to turn off my music because of an irrational fear that my music player will interfere with the plane’s navigation systems, and I don’t have to wade through a sea of knees to get to the bathroom.

There’s just lots of time to relax, and think, and enjoy the scenery.

And I can take all the pictures I want without some government goons suspecting me of casing the place.

Anyway, the hardest part about this trip will be the fact that I’m having to take a different route this time, since I’ll be going directly to Lubbock instead of to my mom’s house. That will mean travelling some roads I haven’t been on in a while, and not having a fix on where the best stop-off places are.

That makes a difference in planning.

Oh well, maybe I can make up for the lack of convenience by finding new things to take pictures of, since the last time I went through some of those towns was long before I had a digital camera.

Maybe a slight change of scenery will do me good …

Musical Interlude …

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Trip preparation continues, so here are six quick music links:

I don’t think this is serious, but I can’t be sure: Hurra Torpedo. It’s like Spinal Tap meets Andy Kaufman — with major appliances.

This is some serious Norwegian bizarreness.

I’ve been listening to this band since I read a blurb about them in the last Wired magazine: The Fiery Furnaces. It’s a brother-and-sister team that, on their latest album Rehearsing My Choir, take recordings of their grandmother’s telling of her life history and mix it with music to achieve something that’s both quirky and haunting. This is definitely a band to watch.

Last week’s Entertainment Weekly had a stiff cardboard insert that said in giant letters, “THE GO-GO’S”.

Got my attention.

The URL on the page said www., I went to see what was up. It turned out to be a remix of that group’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”, with remixed audio (i.e., the original vocals stipped of all accompaniment, overlaid on hip hop rhythms) by Fatboy Slim.

The remix of the video basic consisted of inserting video of five present-day women (at first I thought it was the group members, but now I’m not so sure) in the background of their original 1981 MTV entry.

It doesn’t sound like much, but for a full-blown Go-Go’s freak like myself, it was mandatory.

I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody though, because watching the video requires downloading and installing special program, then sitting through Nordstrom ads, and for just one video, since it’s the only one Nordstrom offers so far. Definitely not worth it if you’re not a devotee of the 80s girl group.

But I am, so it was.

And finally, three things from last week’s Look at This: One for me — Early English Musick and two for Todn8rMegadeth on Duck Dodgers and Ten Stratocaster Guitars To Die For.