Tuesday April 19, 2016

Don't Call Us and We Won't Call You

I have been looking for work. Specifically, I have been applying for various technical writing or editing positions, primarily contract or long-term remote.

The process tends to go like this:

  1. I see a job posting that looks interesting (or, alternatively), I get email from a recruiter / sourcing agency.
  2. I respond with a cover letter and a resume.
  3. Repeat ad nauseum.
Occasionally, if I was initially contacted by a recruiter, I might get a call, or email, asking a few questions: "When can you start? What rate do you want? What is your birth month and the last three digits of your SSN?"

Sometimes, I'll even get a "thanks for your application" form letter.

More often than not, however, I get crickets. ...
       Continue reading "Don't Call Us and We Won't Call You"

Don't Call Us and We Won't Call You - posted at Tue, 19 Apr, 14:07 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday April 16, 2016

rm -rf *

Man accidentally 'deletes his entire company' with one line of bad code

article in The Independent, 15 April 2016, /via Gene Spafford in Twitter.

ScreenShot2016 04 16 13 56 10

"The problem command was "rm -rf": a basic piece of code that will delete everything it is told to."

I love this stuff. It proves we're human. (And also, EVERYTHING needs multiple off-site backups!)

I think this is almost a rite of passage for some of us. At least it tends to stop (or slow down) after it removes /bin/rm... and most of us only wipe out our own disk. (Extra credit if you ran it from a script and didn't test it sufficiently first with printf or echo.) ...
       Continue reading "rm -rf *"

rm -rf * - posted at Sat, 16 Apr, 14:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday April 15, 2016

Discounting Calories

I have decided that I no longer believe in calories. I believe in the definition, of course, thats indisputable. But what does it have to do with food?

A calorie, scientifically speaking, is a unit that is used to measure energy. One calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. The Calorie (capital C) used in talking about food is actually a kilocalorie, or 1,000 (little c) calories. A Calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius.

So, what does heating water have to do with eating, weight gain, weight loss, etc? And how do people determine the Calories on a nutritional label? ...
       Continue reading "Discounting Calories"

Discounting Calories - posted at Fri, 15 Apr, 20:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 14, 2016

Walking in Dreams

"Have you ever woken up from one of your dreams and thought “WTF was that?”

Well, yeah. Most mornings...

I read an article a couple of days ago: What You Should Know About Your Dreams. There were several points about it that I took issue with, starting with the first item: "You don’t walk in dreams."

ORLY? ...
       Continue reading "Walking in Dreams"

Walking in Dreams - posted at Thu, 14 Apr, 15:15 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday April 11, 2016

No, You've Already Got

"Ask", advises the wise old sage. "'No', you've already got!"

Unfortunately, the 'No' you've got is a softer, gentler 'no'. If you don't ask, there's still the possibility that perhaps, just maybe, a 'no' could become 'yes'. Once you've asked... once you've received a firm, real-world 'No', that avenue is closed.

"Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true."
~Patrick Swayze

To ask? Or not to ask? That is the question.

No, You've Already Got - posted at Mon, 11 Apr, 19:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 17, 2015

Tea on Ice

A story about cold tea, brought on by a memory triggered by my mug of tea going cool. ...
       Continue reading "Tea on Ice"

Tea on Ice - posted at Fri, 17 Jul, 16:14 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday June 13, 2015

OMG! Save Teh Waterz!

Yesterday via @ThinkProgress:
Skip Showers For Beef, a new grassroots project born of the California drought, acknowledges that giving up beef - a product that uses huge amounts of water - is hard. So the campaign's creators have come up with a creative way for Californians to keep eating meat while reducing their water use: Just stop showering.
Well, actually, no, as it turns out. While California beef production does use a lot of water compared to, say, one adult human taking a shower, it doesn't use much in comparison to a lot of other things. Most other things, if you think in terms of agriculture.

California certainly does have cows. California is #5 in US states for all cattle and calves (2015). However, while California leads the US in dairy production (about an $8 billion business annually), the state only raises two percent of the country's beef.


"We need to create more attention-grabbing campaigns like this to wake people the f*** up" -- MobyWho

Who, exactly, are we trying to "wake up"? And why do we need "attention-grabbing campaigns like this one" to do it? That "campaign" is silly... and it's dishonest. ...
       Continue reading "OMG! Save Teh Waterz!"

OMG! Save Teh Waterz! - posted at Sat, 13 Jun, 11:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday May 11, 2015

Whose Reputation Is Really At Stake?

When you work in Customer Service, your job is Customer Satisfaction. Whether you're in a call center, at the returns desk in a store, or working in a restaurant, your job is to keep the customer happy and wanting to come back again.

While you're on the clock, you represent the company. You should never be the person directly responsible for a bad review, the loss of a customer... or a blog post such as this one.

       Continue reading "Whose Reputation Is Really At Stake?"

Whose Reputation Is Really At Stake? - posted at Mon, 11 May, 10:24 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 8, 2015

People Leave Managers

Axiom: People join companies, but leave managers

We had dinner with a friend last night. She was feeling the relief that comes from having made, and accepted, a major decision. She's giving notice at her job on Monday. Her manager has been creating a hostile work environment.

It probably would not be considered "hostile" in the actionable sense. There's no discrimination of a protected class involved. In a cruel plot twist, an equal-opportunity Bad Boss is, in most cases, just a bad boss, at least in terms of possible repercussions. ...
       Continue reading "People Leave Managers"

People Leave Managers - posted at Sun, 08 Feb, 12:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday May 12, 2014

The Price of a Cup

-- Or A Tempest in a Coffee Cup

SBucks Love Your Beverage crop

There's a sign at Starbucks that says "Love your beverage or let us know. We'll always make it right." I think we can agree that arguing with a customer doesn't make things right; it makes things wrong (and annoying).

I like Coffee Frappuccinos. I like them a lot. I buy them often (gold card customer). I know, from watching these get made, that a large scoop of ice varies in the number of ice cubes and that there is often more "Venti Frappuccino" than fits in comfortably in a Venti cup.

It's one thing to order a latte and not get all of the foam. It's quite another to watch several ounces of Frappuccino go down the sink. I paid for that mixture. I want everything that's in the blender pitcher.

I also want a bit of space at the top of the drink, between the drink and the lid. I need to stir a Frappucino regularly and it's messy when the drink oozes through the straw hole. (I also like to add some extra concentrated cold-brew coffee when I get the drink home, or add a bit of my spouse's "Misto" if we're out. I need extra space to do that.)

So: Venti size recipe, everything from the blender pitcher, plus some space before the top. How to get that?

I used to ask for a dome lid without whipped cream. (Have you ever knocked one of those over? Don't.) Then, one day, the barista at our local Starbucks proposed a brilliant solution: ask for the next larger size cup. In my case, that would be the Trenta.

Now I ask for a Venti in a Trenta. Problem solved, right? All the drink; extra space; no mess! Simple... except on those occasions when the barista wants to argue. ...
       Continue reading "The Price of a Cup"

The Price of a Cup - posted at Mon, 12 May, 09:45 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday April 27, 2014


I had an interview two days ago... One of the questions stumped me.

The manager asked "Tell me about some challenges you've faced."

Now, I know from reading Ask A Manager (AAM) that the subtext is "work challenges that can be related to the position we're talking about." So, even if I broke my toe and yet needed to climb a mountain to rescue an old granny and her dog before they were evicted, that isn't what he's looking for...

Also from reading AAM, I know that I should not bring up any interpersonal or political issues, and most of my "challenges" over the years have been interpersonal (manager interaction).

And, finally, I'm a typical introvert; we need time to think. This wasn't a question I had prepared for because it wasn't a question I expected. Maybe that surprises you, but it wasn't a question I'd been asked before. ...
       Continue reading "Challenges"

Challenges - posted at Sun, 27 Apr, 11:20 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday March 28, 2014

Dreaming of Shoes

The weird "logic" of the dreaming mind...

First, let me say that I am not a person who goes barefoot. I occasionally walk around the house in socks. But I haven't gone barefoot (outside or indoors) since I was maybe 9 years old.

Nevertheless, one of the dreamplots on my regular playlist is "I have left my shoes behind and am now somewhere, outdoors, barefoot".

We are not here to debate the fundamental psychological aspects of this dreamplot, however, but to look at one particular instance: last night's version. ...
       Continue reading "Dreaming of Shoes"

Dreaming of Shoes - posted at Fri, 28 Mar, 11:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday August 9, 2013

Who Represents the Company?

Do you represent the company you work for? If you're the CEO, you probably agree that you do. What about a vice president? CTO? Customer support staff? Surely these roles do.

What about a first-line manager? An engineer? An accountant? A receptionist?

Precedent has shown that if you make it clear that you work for a company, you represent that company when you talk about it in public. Precedent has been, at times, frighteningly clear on the subject.

What it means to represent the company

What does it mean to represent the company? At minimum, I think, it means that you act professionally when you come in contact with customers (or potential customers). You don't publicly disrespect the company and you don't disrespect the customer. Whether or not you add a disclaimer, "I don't speak for my company", to your social media feed, there will be times when you are speaking as a company representative. ...
       Continue reading "Who Represents the Company?"

Who Represents the Company? - posted at Fri, 09 Aug, 11:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday March 22, 2013

No WYSIWYG, Please. I Prefer Markup

I recently applied for a writer/editor position with a company that looks like a good match for my interests. As part of their application process, they ask candidates to complete a few writing exercises. That seems like an excellent idea to me. There was just one small gotcha.

Although the company uses a wiki for all of the internal writing, the exercise was to be completed in Google Docs. When I asked why, I was told they assume most people don't start out with a lot of experience using wiki markup. They are "mostly interested in people's ability to express themselves well, and learning a markup-based editing system might be a distraction from that."

That makes sense... for most people. I, however, am unusual. I have 10 years of wiki markup experience, but never used Google Docs before yesterday. For me, Google Docs posed a distraction. It didn't help that I managed to trip a surprise UI issue that offset the insertion point a bit to the left (or was it to the right) of where the cursor appeared to be. Distraction compounded by frustration is a bad combination. ...
       Continue reading "No WYSIWYG, Please. I Prefer Markup"

No WYSIWYG, Please. I Prefer Markup - posted at Fri, 22 Mar, 10:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday June 2, 2012

Our Industrious Day

Our industrious day:
  1. breakfast at the diner

  2. fixing the garage door 1/2. The "spool" at one end had gone out of sync with its mate, causing the door to have a 1" or so gap at one end when it was "closed". Rich used vice grips with a chain jaw to twist the spool to get it back in sync.

  3. trip to Lowes for parts, new bird feeder, and 1 roll of turf grass

  4. setting up new bird feeder - fine wire mesh should hold small seed and discourage(?) woodrats from gnawing.

  5. fixing the garage door, 2/2. While working on the first part, we realized that the weather stripping was old and tearing. New weather stripping installed. arms hurt.

  6. installing a new lawn for the cats
    • buy turf
    • remove old, dead grass
    • break up dirt
    • wet down, mix, create mud!
    • place new turf
    • cover
    The kitties will not be happy to be unable to sit in their lawn for a few days.

  7. Time for a nap!

Our Industrious Day - posted at Sat, 02 Jun, 20:24 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday August 21, 2011

My Name is Me

(Posted under the category, Supporters at My Name is Me. The site supports your freedom to choose the name you use on social networks and other online services.

My name is Vicki. That's not the name on my birth certificate or how the IRS knows me. It _is_ the name my mother gave me.

My mother didn't give her daughters a name and then call us by a shortened version. She gave us each a name as well as a longer "formal" name to use for things like banks and taxes.

Which is my "real name"? For me, it's not the one on my driver's license. ...
       Continue reading "My Name is Me"

My Name is Me - posted at Sun, 21 Aug, 18:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday August 10, 2011

"I don't want Borders to go."

This evening as they were driving along, the child suddenly looked very happy. She shouted and laughed, "Lets go to Borders Book Store."

Grandpa explained they couldn't because Borders were out of business. A while later he looked in the mirror.

She was sitting very quietly. Her face was all scrunged up. The tears where slowly flowing.

"Are you crying"? he asked. She slowly, silently nodded. "Why?", he asked.

A little four-year-old forlorn voice answered, "Borders is gone. I don't want Borders to go."

"I don't want Borders to go." - posted at Wed, 10 Aug, 21:21 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday December 25, 2009

The Reason for the Season

   Fah who for-aze!
   Dah who dor-aze!
   Welcome Christmas,
   Come this way!
   Fah who for-aze!
   Dah who dor-aze!
   Welcome Christmas,
   Christmas Day.

I always feel sorry at this time of year for the people who insist that they don't celebrate Christmas because they aren't Christian. I feel sorry for them because they believe that Christmas is a Christian religious holiday. It's not. ...
       Continue reading "The Reason for the Season"

The Reason for the Season - posted at Fri, 25 Dec, 13:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday October 24, 2009

Ignored By a Cat

You're nobody until you've been ignored by a cat.

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about getting up. The cat, who had been loving on me for the past half hour, was now curled next to me, performing his morning ablutions. I was relegated to the role of cat furniture. I was being ignored by the cat.

But was I? ...
       Continue reading "Ignored By a Cat"

Ignored By a Cat - posted at Sat, 24 Oct, 12:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 4, 2009

Never Assume...

(Unfortunately, if you spend your life second guessing whether you're making assumptions, you may never get anything else done.)

I commute to The Job via train. I use WageWorks to buy my tickets. I save two ways: pre-tax dollars plus a 25% employer subsidy.

I've been using this system for close to three years now. The WageWorks card feels like a credit card; I just stick it in the ticket vending machine once a month. Easy and neat. There's just one small problem which I learned about today. ...
       Continue reading "Never Assume..."

Never Assume... - posted at Fri, 04 Sep, 20:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 15, 2009

Blustery Day

Rain! Rainrainrainrain. Much rain today.

Rain through the night. Raining when I woke up at 7. I went back to sleep and it was raining in my dream! I woke up again at 8 to pouring rain. I figured I'd just get up at that point. ...
       Continue reading "Blustery Day"

Blustery Day - posted at Sun, 15 Feb, 17:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 30, 2009

Wasting Time in Twitter?

On Jan 8, in TwiTip, Darren Rouse posted an article entitled "How to Stop Twitter Becoming a Waste of Time".
“Twitter is a Waste of Time” - it is a criticism that has been leveled at Twitter many times over and while I’m one of Twitters biggest fans I’m also in agreement that Twitter can be a compete waste of time. I’ve wasted time on Twitter and I’ve seen many others do it. In fact recently when I asked my followers about the topic I found that most people could relate to the idea of wasting time on Twitter.

So how do you stop yourself from letting Twitter become a waste of time?

The article is a good one and most of the comments are reasonable. I recommend reading it. Here's my comment, for the record: ...
       Continue reading "Wasting Time in Twitter?"

Wasting Time in Twitter? - posted at Fri, 30 Jan, 18:17 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday October 31, 2008

Barnes and Noble Customer Disservice

I am very unhappy with Barnes and Noble bookstores today. I wrote them a letter of complaint.

I spend a lot (probably too much!) annually on books, predominately at Barnes & Noble. They're convenient and I have a membership, so I get discounts. I currently have $200 in B&N gift certificates on my desk. I used credit card Rewards points to get them, choosing B&N over many alternatives.

But today, I was so unhappy that I am considering switching my book buying to Borders or Amazon.

I have always had excellent customer service at B&N. It has been obvious that customer satisfaction was important to B&N. If I was unhappy with a purchase, I returned it in salable, unread condition. I have always been satisfied with store credit.

Then I would take my store credit into the store and not only find a book I liked to replace the one I was returning, I would usually buy $20 or $40 or $60 in additional books. Every time I walked in with a book to return, I would walk out with new books purchased today. I'm the kind of customer you almost want to have return a book because it brings me into the store!

Today, however, that didn't happen. Instead, I walked out carrying only the book I had hoped to return and vowing to write this letter.

Today, B&N lost a sale. Today B&N made a customer deeply UNsatisfied. ...
       Continue reading "Barnes and Noble Customer Disservice"

Barnes and Noble Customer Disservice - posted at Fri, 31 Oct, 17:21 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday July 25, 2008

Cosmic Laughtrack Meets Twitter

The Universe has recently been having a great joke at the expense of Twitter.

On Monday, the folks at Twitter implemented a new "antispam policy" that addresses "aggressive following". In theory, this is supposed to affect "Twitter spammers", people who follow thousands in the hopes of getting some to follow back so they can then send messages. In practice, it affects real people, some of the more vocal and positive users of Twitter — the people Twitter should be not be upsetting!

Commercial accounts (e.g. JetBlue) have had to drop customers in order to add customers. High-profile Twitter users who evangelize Twitter to their clients and at conferences cannot add new follower/following relationships.

This is an incredibly stupid limitation that hurts real people more than "spammers". After all, potential spammers don't care if they have to drop 100 to add 100. The ones they drop weren't "buying" their services anyway. There's no "relationship" being lost.

So, where does the Cosmic Laughtrack come in? ...
       Continue reading "Cosmic Laughtrack Meets Twitter"

Cosmic Laughtrack Meets Twitter - posted at Fri, 25 Jul, 21:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 10, 2008

Great Food, Alternate Dimension

I had a wonderful dream last night! I was in a multi-story Asian restaurant where some sort of party or reception was going on. There were many buffet tables with all sorts of interesting foods - things that all made sense as "Japanese" or "Chinese" (but not in our dimension). I was trying things. They were delicious! And smelled great. ...
       Continue reading "Great Food, Alternate Dimension"

Great Food, Alternate Dimension - posted at Thu, 10 Apr, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 24, 2008

How Do You Decorate Your Cubicle?

There are times when I am so happy I work in Tech...

To see if people's professional image is affected by what's displayed in their offices, and how recruiters view job candidates who mention personal topics, researchers conducted two separate studies with corporate managers and recruiters.

The verdict? "Family photos, kids' artwork, and favorite knickknacks help personalize an office work space, but too many personal touches reflect poorly on an employee's professional image," says Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, who teaches management at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business (www.bus.umich.edu), and conducted the studies with two colleagues. Too much is about 22%: If more than one in five objects in your cubicle are non-work-related, others may regard you as less than serious about your job.

Ask Annie by Annie Fisher, Fortune senior writer; February 22 2008

Not from where I sit... ...
       Continue reading "How Do You Decorate Your Cubicle?"

How Do You Decorate Your Cubicle? - posted at Sun, 24 Feb, 12:16 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 20, 2008

I'm a Twitter Twit

Paul Downey writes:

Ruminating on Twitter constraints, I see two kinds of Twitterers emerging: Twits and Twerps.

A Twit sees Twitter as a presence service. Twits love the ambient intimacy twitter affords with their friends, and tweet to build a meaningful permanent record. They strive to entertain, to be profound. ... A twit uses an @reply primarily to reference a user for the benefit of their other followers, and use a direct message to communicate with someone where their followers are unlikely to be interested in the conversation. ... Twits always think about the question “What are you doing?”. A good twit will make you laugh, make you cry but above all feel connected.

       Continue reading "I'm a Twitter Twit"

I'm a Twitter Twit - posted at Sun, 20 Jan, 08:44 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 18, 2008

Macbook Air

This week, Apple introduced the Macbook Air. I've been reading some of the articles, as well as the whining comments. ...
       Continue reading "Macbook Air"

Macbook Air - posted at Fri, 18 Jan, 21:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday December 22, 2007

Flowers and... Coffee?

The local Florist now advertises Coffee. It's Your Friendly Neighborhood Florist and Cafe. I'm trying to imagine what this would be like. The imagination boggles.

I love the smell of a flower shop. I've been known to walk into a flower shop just to stand and take deep breaths. Mmmmmmmmmm.

I like the smell of a coffee shop too. Coffee. Cinnamon buns. That sort of thing.

I'm not convinced these wildly different aromas belong in the same place. I think they would compete. I think they would clash.

I don't know what the result might be.. but my nose doesn't want to know.

Flowers and... Coffee? - posted at Sat, 22 Dec, 15:39 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday November 19, 2007

Slippery When Wet

I've been taking CalTrain from the Millbrae "Intermodal" station since June 2006.

When I first started using the station, I noticed the large (approx 20 ft diameter) decorative tile circle in the center of the station. The tile is glazed and very smooth. If you're walking quickly across it, it's slippery on a dry day. It's very slippery when wet. ...
       Continue reading "Slippery When Wet"

Slippery When Wet - posted at Mon, 19 Nov, 19:14 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday October 14, 2007

Saying Thank You

Many years ago, I decided that if I wanted the right to complain when I received unacceptable service, I should also be sure to say "Thank You" whenever I received exceptional service. After all, most people only meet expectations. When someone exceeds expectations to a large degree, shouldn't you say something about it? ...
       Continue reading "Saying Thank You"

Saying Thank You - posted at Sun, 14 Oct, 17:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday September 2, 2007

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

We keep a tube of triple antibiotic ointment on hand for minor cuts and scratches. I find it works very well. We usually use Longs Drugs' house-brand Triple Antibiotic Ointment.

One day, when we were out of ointment, I was in another store. I bought a tube of Neosporin. As it happened, I had a sore spot in my nose at the time. I applied the Neosporin and ... ICK (nose to throat to tongue to blech!.) What's in this stuff?

I carefully read the label. Then I drove to Longs and bought a tube of Triple Antibiotic Ointment. ...
       Continue reading "Triple Antibiotic Ointment"

Triple Antibiotic Ointment - posted at Sun, 02 Sep, 22:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday July 28, 2007

Scion xB: What Were They Thinking?!

We love our Scion xB. From the moment I sat in it, I was hooked. I had to have this car.

It handles beautifully. It has Head Room. It has more cargo space than one might imagine. And windows - does it have windows. No visibility problems in this car!

I'm so happy we bought one when we did. I also hope our 2005 model lasts a long time because after 2007 Toyota stopped making them. Oh, they still make something called a "Scion xB" but... what were the (re)designers thinking?!

It's... puffy. It looks like it's suffering a severe allergic reaction to something. The current colors are pretty but What's With The Smaller Windows?! Are they mad?

Toyota took the perfect car and "improved" it. And we all know what "New and Improved" means. With chocolate bars or dish soaps or cat food it means Run Out Quick and hit all the stores, stocking up on the "old" stuff before it's all gone. With cars it means be happy you got in when you did.

Better isn't always Better. But Better is always Different.

Scion xB: What Were They Thinking?! - posted at Sat, 28 Jul, 11:25 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday July 26, 2007

Two Bean Chili

Rich bought a can of chili the other day. The label read "Two-Bean, Beef, and Tomato Chili. I said "I can see kidney beans; what's the other kind?"

Rich fished something out of the pot. Looks like a bean... I wonder what kind. So, I read the label. And there in the ingredients, I found it. ...
       Continue reading "Two Bean Chili"

Two Bean Chili - posted at Thu, 26 Jul, 20:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday March 16, 2007

Managing by "Piles"

Most Time Management books argue against managing paper by "piles". They advocate making decisions as soon as the paper appears - respond, hand it off to someone else, file it appropriately, or throw it away.

Personally, I find a fifth category to work well. That category is managed as a pile (a stack, a box, a tray...). ...
       Continue reading "Managing by "Piles""

Managing by "Piles" - posted at Fri, 16 Mar, 17:04 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday March 3, 2007

The World-Changing Web

I'm wearing one of my favorite t-shirts today. I bought it from the Rome Floyd County Human Society . I've never been to Rome, Georgia; I found the site (and the shirt) on the web.

Some time back, someone I was talking to was saying how we should all support our communities by buying locally. I said I do support my community — my community is the Internet.

Pet Care
The World-Changing Web - posted at Sat, 03 Mar, 13:23 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 25, 2007

It Pays to Read the Label

We stopped into Walgreens for Chlorpheniramine Maleate, an antihistamine. Walgreens stocks their own house-brand (Wal-Finate) as well as the Brand Name Version, Chlor-Trimeton. The latter is available in blister packs; the 24-pill box costs $6.99.

In contrast, a 50-pill bottle of Wal-Finate costs $4.99. That was a pretty good reason to buy the house brand, but there were other considerations. I like to compare the ingredients as well. In this case, the medication is for a kitty. I pay even more attention to what I give the kitties than for myself. ...
       Continue reading "It Pays to Read the Label"

It Pays to Read the Label - posted at Thu, 25 Jan, 20:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday January 13, 2007

The Company That Employs Me

When I first started writing this weblog, I set myself a few guidelines: I don't discuss Politics, Religion, or Sex. I rarely mention people by name. I talk about work, but I don't identify my company. ...
       Continue reading "The Company That Employs Me"

The Company That Employs Me - posted at Sat, 13 Jan, 10:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 11, 2007

Code of Conduct

The Company that Employs Me has requested that all employees work through an online business ethics course called "Code of Conduct". No biggie there; it wasn't difficult.

However, I found myself greatly bemused by one section. Obviously, the authors of the course and I read different books... ...
       Continue reading "Code of Conduct"

Code of Conduct - posted at Thu, 11 Jan, 23:23 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 3, 2007

I Want a Bluetooth Headset

I don't actually have any Bluetooth-enabled devices. But I still find myself wanting a Bluetooth headset... with a glowing blue light.

I'll never look like Seven of Nine, but I still want the glowing blue light perched over my ear.

I Want a Bluetooth Headset - posted at Wed, 03 Jan, 20:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween


Black Cat wallpaper by teddybearcholla
available from the Wallpapers section of wincustomize.com
"The finest collection of Wallpapers on the Internet!"

Happy Halloween - posted at Tue, 31 Oct, 17:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

At lunch, our waitress mentioned that today was Friday the 13th. She said a black cat ran across her path this morning.

I said that a black cat crosses my path most every morning (and evening, and often in the afternoons as well). We agreed that when he's your cat, that makes it good luck.


Friday the 13th - posted at Fri, 13 Oct, 17:23 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday September 16, 2006

Fear of Spinach

I had my favorite breakfast this morning - Eggs Florentine. The waitress said, "You don't want spinach". I asked why not. She told me there'd been a recall. I said "I think cooked is OK."

I went home and looked up the recall on Google. Approximately 100 people across the country (32 in Wisconsin) have been diagnosed with E-coli food poisoning. It may be linked to bagged spinach. ...
       Continue reading "Fear of Spinach"

Fear of Spinach - posted at Sat, 16 Sep, 14:36 Pacific | Comments (4)

Monday September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago today...

Five Years Ago today... - posted at Mon, 11 Sep, 12:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday September 1, 2006

I Say it's Still a Planet

I've been watching the nomenclature wars for years. First protozoans were renamed protista (did anyone ask their opinion?). Then centrifugal force was refuted and the force that makes an (ahem) centrifuge operate is now called centripetal (never mind that the result is exactly the same).

And now, where there were nine, there are eight. ...
       Continue reading "I Say it's Still a Planet"

I Say it's Still a Planet - posted at Fri, 01 Sep, 19:28 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday August 31, 2006

Carnivore Palace Restaurant

My Work Group had lunch at a local restaurant as a sendoff for a team member who is moving to another group within the Company. We ate at a Korean BBQ buffet where you cook at your table.

Left to my own devices, I probably would have just eaten food from the buffet. I don't really "get" the idea of going out to eat and cooking - I go out so I don't have to cook. ...
       Continue reading "Carnivore Palace Restaurant"

Carnivore Palace Restaurant - posted at Thu, 31 Aug, 19:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday July 4, 2006

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July, Independence Day, 230th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I have always admired Tom, Ben, John, and the rest.

Rich and I drove down to Stanford last night to watch the fireworks display. I expect there to be a smaller display in our neighborhood tonight after the sun sets.

We put out our flag. It has the standard field of stars but rainbow stripes, representing the Diversity of the USA.

Happy Fourth of July. Cherish your Freedoms. Protect the Constitution. Remember what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Happy Fourth! - posted at Tue, 04 Jul, 20:13 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday June 17, 2006

Hit The Ball, Drag Fred

There's a joke that Rich and I like. A man is telling his friend about a recent golf game.

Man: I was playing a round of golf on Saturday with Fred. Fred keeled over on the 13th hole!

Friend: That's terrible! What happened?

Man: Well, I still shot two under par. But it was awful. For the next five holes, it was "Hit the ball, drag Fred."

I started a new contract on Monday. ...
       Continue reading "Hit The Ball, Drag Fred"

Hit The Ball, Drag Fred - posted at Sat, 17 Jun, 23:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday June 7, 2006

Inconvenience Store

Your Government at Work

I don't usually write about anything politically motivated, but there is a limit to my tolerance.

Spouse has a cold. He has a cough and a stuffed-up nose. Today, I drove to the nearest drugstore (10 minutes by car) to buy him some cough & cold remedy. ...
       Continue reading "Inconvenience Store"

Inconvenience Store - posted at Wed, 07 Jun, 11:42 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday May 28, 2006

A is For...

WordPlay: The Personal Dictionary Meme

(See the game description for further details.)

A is For...

  • Aardvark - You can't have an alphabet without an Aardvark!

  • Alert - one of my favorite punny jokes: Be alert. California needs more lerts. We're short of loofs too. How about fluents? (Two fs, dummy!)

  • Alliteration - In writing, I work in ways to weave my words (alliteratively).

  • Alphabet - Playing the game.

       Continue reading "A is For..."

A is For... - posted at Sun, 28 May, 13:14 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday May 25, 2006

Would You Want to Work Here?

I am looking for new employment. Consequently, I find myself viewing many many job descriptions and company descriptions. Some turn me off very quickly. ...
       Continue reading "Would You Want to Work Here?"

Would You Want to Work Here? - posted at Thu, 25 May, 00:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday May 19, 2006

E is for Easy

When I was in Grad school, way back before I had email, I used to write letters to family and friends. Once a month or so, I'd pull out stationery and a pen and write a 5-page letter to my folks. I'd stick the letter in an envelope, apply a stamp, and take it to the corner mailbox.

Some years later, when I had email access but "most people" didn't, I'd type my letter on the computer, print it, stick it in an envelope, etc. Not much had changed (but at least my hand didn't cramp). ...
       Continue reading "E is for Easy"

E is for Easy - posted at Fri, 19 May, 11:53 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday May 17, 2006

So... What Do You Do?

In Monday's FC Now, Heath Row writes:

Friday's New York Times article about the coffee graders who work for the New York Board of Trade ... made me think about cool jobs in general.

What do you think are the most fascinating and interesting jobs?

       Continue reading "So... What Do You Do?"

So... What Do You Do? - posted at Wed, 17 May, 10:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday May 10, 2006

Edgy New Podcast

Does the word "edgy" make you edgy?

O'Reilly Media sent out a press release today:

Downloads Soar for Edgy New Podcast
"DekePod" Entertains & Amazes--It's Your Money, Scan It!

Sebastopol, CA--Digital imaging guru Deke McClelland's new video podcast, "dekePod: The Pilot Edition," pulled in record downloads within a week's time...

       Continue reading "Edgy New Podcast"

Edgy New Podcast - posted at Wed, 10 May, 13:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday May 4, 2006

Need To Know

The following Question and Answer arrived in yesterday's Fair Measures newsletter.

What do you think? What would you do if you were the person asking the question? the therapist? another employee? ...
       Continue reading "Need To Know"

Need To Know - posted at Thu, 04 May, 10:36 Pacific | Comments (1)

Numerology part 2

At 03:02:01 am on Thursday, May 4, 2006, the date and time will be

06-05-04 03:02:01
Numerology part 2 - posted at Thu, 04 May, 03:02 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday May 2, 2006

Happy Meals By Gender?

In a discussion mailing list I belong to, a recent conversation involves the April "Happy Meal" toys at McDonalds. You can read the initial posting on the web, complete with photos. ...
       Continue reading "Happy Meals By Gender?"

Happy Meals By Gender? - posted at Tue, 02 May, 11:24 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday April 25, 2006

He Who Steals My Trash...

Our local municipality has a regulation:
Unauthorized collection of recyclable materials is a violation of the Municipal Code. Anyone caught unlawfully removing these materials from a recycling bin may be prosecuted and is subject to a fine. To report a theft in progress, call 911 or the local police business line...

Run that by again? ...
       Continue reading "He Who Steals My Trash..."

He Who Steals My Trash... - posted at Tue, 25 Apr, 13:15 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday April 13, 2006

It Only Makes Him Wonder?

Quoted today in "Good Morning Silicon Valley"
"It makes you wonder if this is right lifestyle."

-- Cisco engineer Dave Givens experiences a moment of clarity after receiving the "America's Longest Commute" award for his seven-hour round trip (372 miles) from Mariposa, near Yosemite, to Cisco's San Jose headquarters.

Egad. These days, I think 45 minutes each way is too much.

It Only Makes Him Wonder? - posted at Thu, 13 Apr, 12:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday April 12, 2006

But Why is it Green?

We buy 1% milk in plastic half-gallon (pottle :-) jugs. When we finish one, we rinse it and put the jug out with the recyclables. Occasionally there is a time lag between the rinsing and the recycling.

When that occurs, I turn the jug over to drain out any residual rinse water. For reasons I don't quite understand, this water is invariably yellow-green. Sometimes very green. It's difficult to believe that algae is growing in this few drops of water but... why is it green?

But Why is it Green? - posted at Wed, 12 Apr, 17:50 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday April 5, 2006

For The Numerologically inclined

At the tone, the time will be:

01:02:03 04/05/06

For The Numerologically inclined - posted at Wed, 05 Apr, 01:02 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 30, 2006

Shorten My Sig - Not

I received an unusual email request today from SFFN.

SFFN is the San Francisco Freecycle Network. In case you're still unfamiliar with Freecycle, it's a "grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns." Membership is also free. If you have some item you don't want but would rather not throw it away, don't want the hassle of selling on Ebay, and just want to re-home, you can offer it on your local Freecycle list.

Let me repeat the important part of that.

You are offering to give something away that you no longer need or want that someone else does want. All it costs is a miniscule amount of time and effort. The entire transaction is FREE ...
       Continue reading "Shorten My Sig - Not"

Shorten My Sig - Not - posted at Thu, 30 Mar, 08:57 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday March 22, 2006

Patently Ridiculous

Those of us who work in the technology industries know that the US Patent and Trademark Office has been in trouble for years. The PTO seems willing to grant just about every patent application they receive — for algorithms, genetic sequences, and ideas, as well as "real" inventions. ...
       Continue reading "Patently Ridiculous"

Patently Ridiculous - posted at Wed, 22 Mar, 12:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday March 8, 2006

Egad! It's Tax Time.

Here we go again. Time for my yearly plug. :-)

I loathe tax time. I bear a deep and abiding dislike for the proportional tax system and I don't trust the IRS.

I also don't enjoy paperwork (although I'm far less allergic to it than Rich). If I had a choice, I would much rather not handle my own tax preparation. Unfortunately, we had a Very Bad Experience about twenty years ago; we're averse to trusting a third party to handle such an important financial process for us.

So, every year at about this time, I drag out this year's folder, stomp on my natural procrastination tendencies, and start typing numbers into little boxes. ugh. The good news — I type those numbers and the computer does the math. I do my taxes using Turbo Tax. The program handles the painful parts so I don't have to. ...
       Continue reading "Egad! It's Tax Time."

Egad! It's Tax Time. - posted at Wed, 08 Mar, 00:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 24, 2006

Tools for Harry Homeowner

Have you ever stopped to consider the wonderful additions we have been able to add to our household toolboxes? ...
       Continue reading "Tools for Harry Homeowner"

Tools for Harry Homeowner - posted at Fri, 24 Feb, 01:02 Pacific

Wednesday February 22, 2006

The Death of Handwriting?

Has this happened to you?

We spend our working days tapping into computers. We communicate with each other via email rather than letter. ...
       Continue reading "The Death of Handwriting?"

The Death of Handwriting? - posted at Wed, 22 Feb, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 17, 2006


What do you call that fizzy drink? Is it "Pop"? Or "Soda"? Or do you say "I'll have a Coke" even when the beverage in question is colorless?

Did you know that there are distinct geographical differences in how people refer to carbonated soft drinks? ...
       Continue reading "Sodapop"

Sodapop - posted at Fri, 17 Feb, 01:05 Pacific | Comments (2)

Friday February 10, 2006


There are books in the checkout line at the drugstore. There are ads on the web. It's popular. It's Sudoku.

Maybe it's me... I have always preferred word games. But I just don't "get"Sudoku. I mean, what is up with this?

At least the numbers aren't required to be added together to create some specified result. I originally thought that they were and I was really surprised that a math game would be so popular.

Still, I'm puzzled (pun intended). I guess it's just one of those things... Let's just hope it doesn't start to show up as part of a job interview.

Sudoku - posted at Fri, 10 Feb, 09:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday.

Happy Birthday to me. :-)


Happy Birthday to Me - posted at Sun, 29 Jan, 00:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 11, 2006

AP Education

I took several AP (Advanced Placement) classes in High School — Chemistry, Biology, and English. I didn't take AP Math (Calculus) because I was a year behind my peers in math, having taken "Math II" when they took Algebra I; I needed that extra year before I "got" math. I didn't take AP History either (although all of my friends did). I never cared for History and had no plans to take any history courses in College. I never regretted that decision, especially when the AP History class always had a test on the faculty in-service afternoons (when the rest of the school was dismissed early).

I was not aware, however, that an increasing number of US states have been mandating universal availability of Advanced Placement courses in an effort to make college education accessible to a broader population of students. ...
       Continue reading "AP Education"

AP Education - posted at Wed, 11 Jan, 00:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 6, 2006

So Much to Do...

So Much to Do and So Many Other Things to Distract Me.

I ordered this t-shirt for myself. I thought it would be appropriate. :-) It goes well with the following essay (found in many places on the net; author unknown)

Do You Have Days Like This?

I decide to take the car to the gas station, fill the tank and run it through the car wash.

As I start toward the garage, I notice the mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I take the car.

       Continue reading "So Much to Do..."

So Much to Do... - posted at Fri, 06 Jan, 08:41 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 4, 2006

Thoughts While Falling Asleep

So Little Moose, her brain go like that all night long...

Rich said "I wonder why it is... When I go to bed, I start thinking about things I need to do. And sometimes I'll stop thinking and fall asleep. And sometimes I'll get up and go make notes. But why do I think of all these things as I'm drifting off to sleep? And why do I not think as clearly when I am lying down? Is it possibly something biological, like the horizontal orientation of the brain or the systems trying to shut down?" ...
       Continue reading "Thoughts While Falling Asleep"

Thoughts While Falling Asleep - posted at Wed, 04 Jan, 07:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 2, 2006

Of Resolutions and Priorities



  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
  2. A resolving to do something.
  3. A course of action determined or decided on.

For many people, it's a common practice at the beginning of a new year to compose "resolutions". The thought seems to be that each "new" year represents a blank slate and now is a good time to change yourself. Personally, I think one's birthday makes a better marker for change, but... New Years' Resolutions are the popular thing.

I've never done resolutions. If I want to resolve to change something, I'll do it when I think of it. (I buy presents when I think of them too, and send them throughout the year; I don't wait for Christmas or birthdays. But I digress.).

That said, I saw a suggestion two years ago that I thought had some merit and was better than making resolutions. You can make your list at any time during the year, revisit it again and again, and compare lists from year to year.

Instead of writing out your New Year's resolutions, take some time to sit down and reconsider your Priorities. ...
       Continue reading "Of Resolutions and Priorities"

Of Resolutions and Priorities - posted at Mon, 02 Jan, 07:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 28, 2005

Donut Papers

Have you ever noticed...

When I buy donuts, the counterperson picks up each donut using a 6x6 inch square of fresh tissue paper. Presumably, this is to keep from touching the donut.

Then he (or she) places the donut into a bag, or box, along with the square of tissue. Repeat for each donut.

So... if the reason for the tissue is to keep the counterperson's fingers off my donuts, why are the fingerprinted tissue squares placed in the bag? Am I missing something here?

Donut Papers - posted at Wed, 28 Dec, 00:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Black Icing

I was walking up the cake mix and sugar aisle in the grocery store today (looking for Splenda Brown; not yet on the shelves) and my eye fell on the ready-to-use icing tubes for cake decorations.

Said icings now come in black (as well as the classic colors such as red, green, and yellow). Weird. I remember when brown was new...

(If you want to get really fancy, Wilton (the cake decorating people!) carries even more colors than you may be able to find on your grocers shelf.)

Black Icing - posted at Tue, 27 Dec, 06:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday December 25, 2005

Happy Merry Ho Ho Ho


And to all, a Good Night

Happy Merry Ho Ho Ho - posted at Sun, 25 Dec, 00:01 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 - posted at Wed, 21 Dec, 13:57 Pacific | Comments (3)

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 - posted at Wed, 16 Nov, 15:59 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 - posted at Fri, 11 Nov, 12:26 Pacific | Comments (0)

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 - posted at Sat, 29 Oct, 12:32 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 - posted at Tue, 18 Oct, 08:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday October 6, 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? - posted at Thu, 06 Oct, 18:46 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... - posted at Thu, 22 Sep, 08:46 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday September 7, 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 - posted at Wed, 07 Sep, 22:38 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 - posted at Tue, 30 Aug, 22:04 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday April 3, 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! - posted at Sun, 03 Apr, 14:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday April 1, 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 - posted at Fri, 01 Apr, 21:43 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 - posted at Fri, 18 Mar, 18:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 3, 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 - posted at Thu, 03 Mar, 18:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday March 2, 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 - posted at Wed, 02 Mar, 22:19 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 - posted at Sat, 26 Feb, 19:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 17, 2005

The Cosmic Laugh Track

"May your life amuse the gods, Captain," I said cheerfully.
He raised one bushy black eyebrow. "That is not a greeting I have encountered before."
I pointed out that it was a worthy one and asked if he would prefer the hazards of boring them.
"Indeed, when you express the matter like that, then I see the wisdom in it."

      — Dave Duncan in "The Reaver Road"

The gods too are fond of a joke.

      — Aristotle

Rich and I believe in what we call The Cosmic Laugh Track. Some people talk about Murphy's Laws but The Cosmic Laugh Track is much more. ...
       Continue reading "The Cosmic Laugh Track"

The Cosmic Laugh Track - posted at Thu, 17 Feb, 16:30 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 2, 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 - posted at Wed, 02 Feb, 20:20 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 - posted at Fri, 21 Jan, 21:26 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 - 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 - posted at Mon, 20 Dec, 20:04 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 - posted at Fri, 17 Dec, 18:56 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 - posted at Sun, 12 Dec, 18:26 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? - posted at Thu, 11 Nov, 18:45 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 - posted at Thu, 16 Sep, 18:01 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 - posted at Wed, 25 Aug, 17:47 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? - posted at Thu, 19 Aug, 23:38 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 - 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 - posted at Tue, 10 Aug, 20:00 Pacific

Thursday August 5, 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... - posted at Thu, 05 Aug, 18:22 Pacific

Friday July 16, 2004

Are Mac Users Smarter?

Well, yeah...Isn't it obvious? I mean, we use Macs!


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? - posted at Fri, 16 Jul, 23:49 Pacific

Tuesday June 1, 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 - posted at Tue, 01 Jun, 23:40 Pacific

Wednesday May 12, 2004


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 - posted at Wed, 12 May, 18:37 Pacific

Saturday March 27, 2004

A Lilac Flower By Any Color


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 - posted at Sat, 27 Mar, 00:30 Pacific

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 - posted at Sun, 21 Mar, 11:45 Pacific

Friday March 12, 2004

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 - 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 - posted at Thu, 11 Mar, 10:03 Pacific

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 - posted at Wed, 10 Mar, 13:19 Pacific

Tuesday March 9, 2004

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice

I found this interesting tidbit in a Readers Digest Magazine article (February 2004)
...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 - posted at Tue, 09 Mar, 11:18 Pacific

Thursday March 4, 2004

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 - posted at Thu, 04 Mar, 11:47 Pacific

Wednesday March 3, 2004


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 - posted at Wed, 03 Mar, 18:41 Pacific

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 - 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 - posted at Fri, 27 Feb, 14:35 Pacific

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? - posted at Tue, 24 Feb, 09:55 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 :-)

Spring has Sprung - posted at Wed, 11 Feb, 12:25 Pacific

Thursday February 5, 2004

One Reason I Live in Central Coastal California


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 - posted at Thu, 05 Feb, 12:22 Pacific

Thursday January 22, 2004

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 - posted at Thu, 22 Jan, 11:05 Pacific

Monday January 12, 2004

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 - posted at Mon, 12 Jan, 10:50 Pacific

Saturday January 10, 2004

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 - posted at Sat, 10 Jan, 07:11 Pacific

Tuesday December 23, 2003


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 - posted at Tue, 23 Dec, 16:35 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 - posted at Wed, 10 Dec, 13:29 Pacific

Friday December 5, 2003


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 - posted at Fri, 05 Dec, 15:41 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 - posted at Thu, 27 Nov, 22:00 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 - posted at Sat, 22 Nov, 10:54 Pacific

Tuesday November 4, 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! - posted at Tue, 04 Nov, 23:54 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.


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 - posted at Sat, 25 Oct, 22:22 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 - posted at Tue, 14 Oct, 15:26 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?

Conspiracy Theory - posted at Mon, 29 Sep, 21:46 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? - posted at Sun, 31 Aug, 22:33 Pacific

Saturday July 12, 2003

A Spy?!

Too cute not to share.

A Spy?! - posted at Sat, 12 Jul, 11:49 Pacific

Thursday June 26, 2003

Too Darn Hot

It is w*a*r*m in San Bruno today. A little too warm if you ask me; indoor thermometers are registering 85 - 89 depending on the location. Supposedly 85 outside. 97 in the sunroom. 116 on the (2nd floor) screenporch! (and all the windows are open AND the fan is running!). Nobody is out on the screen porch.

The cat thermometers are registering 90. ...
       Continue reading "Too Darn Hot"

Too Darn Hot - posted at Thu, 26 Jun, 14:50 Pacific

Saturday June 21, 2003

I wonder what I did last week

Hmmmm. Looking back over my weblog, I wonder what I did last week. I guess it wasn't very interesting.
I wonder what I did last week - posted at Sat, 21 Jun, 23:06 Pacific

Sunday May 11, 2003

Mothers Day

Mothers Day has its roots in several places, including an ancient Greek celebration of Rhea, mother of the gods. In England, in the 1600s, servants were given a day off on "Mothering Sunday" and encouraged to visit their mothers for the day.

A day to honor mothers was first suggested in the US in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (writer, reformer, and author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic). However, the founder of Mothers Day in the US is Anna Jarvis, who began an intense campaign to honor mothers after her own mother's death in May, 1905. ...
       Continue reading "Mothers Day"

Mothers Day - posted at Sun, 11 May, 11:52 Pacific

Saturday May 10, 2003

Cell Phone Donation

Do you have an old Cell Phone gathering dust in some corner of the garage because you didn't want to throw it away after you upgraded but never could figure out what to do with it? Consider donating it to The Wireless Foundation's "Donate a Phone" programs:
DONATE A PHONE program recycles used wireless phones to help the environment and raise funds for a variety of charities. Most phones are resold as economical alternatives to new phones. The rest are safely recycled in accordance with all applicable U.S. environmental regulations.
My credit union is currently accepting phones for "Call to Protect: Wireless Phones for Domestic Safety" (no this isn't the Homeland Security thing, it's to help counter domestic violence). Check with nearby credit unions (they're in the same club) or check out The Wireless Foundation's website. Donations are tax deductible.
Cell Phone Donation - posted at Sat, 10 May, 10:26 Pacific

Thursday May 8, 2003

Bowl of Fruit

We have a favorite restaurant we go to most often; it's a diner-style place with really good food. The vegetables are fresh (not frozen); the steaks are as tender as in a "steak restaurant". The service is fun. And they do a terrific bowl of fruit. In fact, many times the question isn't "what do I want to eat?" but "What shall I have along with my bowl of fruit?". We always have a bowl of fruit, at least a small one (in place of potatoes).

This isn't a typical restaurant bowl of fruit. For one thing, the fruit is fresh, unsugared, and hasn't been soaking in syrup or juice for hours getting soggy. A typical bowl of fruit includes bananas,strawberries, orange sections, apples, and cantaloupe. Often, there is grapefruit, honeydew, and/or pear. Sometimes grapes, pineapple, peaches, or plums make an appearance. Whatever's there, it's usually in season, most often perfectly ripe. Very tasty. ...
       Continue reading "Bowl of Fruit"

Bowl of Fruit - posted at Thu, 08 May, 21:28 Pacific

Monday April 21, 2003

I've been dreaming

Under "normal" circumstances, I wish I didn't dream much. It's not that I have "bad" dreams exactly. It's more that my dreams are so... busy! Very High Production Values to my dreams - lots of action, lots of people, crowded sets. Lots of COLOR. When I wake up from a dream I am tired. I have often wished for a pill or hypnotherapy or something that would assure me uninterrupted, quiet, restful, sleep. Instead, I wake up groggy thinking "Who were those people and what were they _doing_?!". Sigh.

Recently, however, my dreams have been a bit more interesting. ...
       Continue reading "I've been dreaming"

I've been dreaming - posted at Mon, 21 Apr, 12:10 Pacific

Tuesday April 15, 2003

Tax Day Humor

I was in the Post Office contract station today, at the shopping center near our house. I wasn't mailing my taxes; I do that electronically; but we'd been talking about taxes.

A woman came in who said she'd been in the Millbrae PO earlier (Millbrae is the next town south of ours) and they were serving orange juice and apple juice and cookies and candy this morning.

I said "Well, that's what they usually do when you give blood". The PO lady and another patron laughed (the woman who'd been at Millbrae didn't get it; the other patron was explaining it to her as I left :-)

Tax Day Humor - posted at Tue, 15 Apr, 15:28 Pacific

Saturday April 12, 2003

It's raining, it's pouring

It may be spring but the winter weather isn't behind us yet, at least not in beautiful Bay Area CA. We had an arctic storm blow in over night. It's raining pretty heavily now (heavily for here; this is no patch on central PA, Maryland, or the southeast USA). We did have some good thunderbooms a little while ago; thunderstorms are unusual here so we take what we can get (Rich & I both like thunderstorms and really miss them from the east coast).

It's a good day to stay indoors, read a book, snuggle kitties, take a nap...

It's raining, it's pouring - posted at Sat, 12 Apr, 12:19 Pacific

Thursday April 10, 2003

Jury Duty - Not!

Rich received a summons a few weeks ago for Jury Duty. Today would have been the day he had to report. The good news is that he didn't have to go; he called the number last night and his presence was not required. That happened to me the last time I was "summoned"; I guess we live in a low-crime county.

It's good he didn't have to go; otherwise he would have spent today sitting in a room full of bored people, waiting to have his name called, waiting (hopefully) to be excused. We can't afford to have Rich on Jury Duty right now; he's the only one with work :-(

One thing we noticed that was new on this summons note was that it specified a dress code - no T-shirts! And this for the first day (on which I wouldn't have guessed even "selected" people would actually sit on a case). Weird. But, in any case, not an issue because his presence wasn't required.

All clear for another year.

Jury Duty - Not! - posted at Thu, 10 Apr, 15:11 Pacific

Sunday March 23, 2003

Annual Tax-time Pondering

I did my taxes yesterday (for anyone who does their own taxes, I can't recommend Turbo Tax more strongly. It took me from tears at tax time to almost painless many years ago and I have been a staunch and loyal customer ever since.)

So anyway, doing my taxes, I wondered as I do each year why I can't count the furkids as dependents... they're as much (or more) dependent on me as a human child or "elderly relative" would be. I buy them food and toys and pay for annual vet appointments and medical insurance. They can't go out and get a job (they can't even go out except under strict supervision and generally in a carrier!).

It doesn't seem fair... but then, I guess taxes were never meant to be fair.

At least this year (unlike last year) I get a refund. Not huge, but when you're unemployed, you take whatever you can get!

Annual Tax-time Pondering - posted at Sun, 23 Mar, 14:00 Pacific

Saturday March 1, 2003

Spontaneous generation

Sometimes I can readily understand how the theory of spontaneous generation came into being. Recently, we have had ants on our kitchen counter - the tiny little brown ones. I don't know where they are coming from. The only time I see one is in the middle of the counter. Always one or perhaps two, no trail, never coming from a cabinet or up from the floor. Just one ant, miraculously appearing out of thin air on the counter top.

Spontaneous generation - posted at Sat, 01 Mar, 10:55 Pacific

Sunday May 19, 2002

Warm egg salad

I prefer warm egg salad, just out-of-the-pot. But it's not very efficient to cook new eggs every time, so we're more likely to hardboil a dozen, and then I have to make do with cold egg salad for a while.

So... how many years have I had a microwave? One minute on 3 after adding the mayonnaise. Et voila! Warm egg salad.


Warm egg salad - posted at Sun, 19 May, 21:16 Pacific

Rainy Days and Sundays

Is that a contradiction? It's been wet today; a big Alaskan storm front. Not cold though and the wind has temporarily abated. Actually, a very nice day. Just damp in spots.

Rainy Days and Sundays - posted at Sun, 19 May, 21:16 Pacific

Wednesday May 15, 2002

Sunny Days and Wednesdays

I hope it's as nice where you are today as it is here! The sky is BLUE, the wind is mild, it's in the mid-70's. Bebop and I spent 15 minutes sitting in the garden; I sat, he melted into the ground and let me rub his sides, his back, his head, his tummy. It's amazing how well a Maine Coon can melt, given the chance. All their bones turn into jello. I wish I didn't have so much work to do; I'd rather spend the day in the garden.

Sunny Days and Wednesdays - posted at Wed, 15 May, 13:21 Pacific

Monday May 13, 2002

Gee it's a beautiful day!

A beautiful morning in May! Sun is out, birds are out, little poofy clouds, rhododendron is still blooming. Warm in the sun, cool in the shade and WINDY.

Gee it's a beautiful day! - posted at Mon, 13 May, 15:47 Pacific