Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hmmm, it's Saturday.

That must mean that it's time for The Saturday Six.

1. What’s your favorite kind of bread?

2. As a kid, did you eat more warm sandwiches or cold ones?

3. Which of the following side items do you most prefer with a sandwich: french fries, potato chips, or cole slaw?

4. Take the quiz: What kind of sandwich are you?

5. If you could only use one of the following condiments, are you more likely to use mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard on a sandwich?

6. A question of deli etiquette: do you eat the dill pickle spear before, with or after your sandwich?

1. A nice medium-soft wheat, fresh out of the oven, with butter. I used to make a pretty good one.

2. I had a nice sarcastic reply, but you know what? A hamburger is a sandwich. So...warm.

3. Potato salad. Yeah, I know it's not on the list. Nobody ever serves potato salad anymore, which is a shame. My mom makes good potato salad. Anyway, of those, chips. But really, it depends on the sandwich.

4. Blah blah blah. I really don't like grilled cheese. A good Monte Cristo, okay, but plain old grilled cheese? Nah.

You Are a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You are a traditional person with very simple tastes.
In your opinion, the best things in life are free, easy, and fun.
You totally go with the flow. And you enjoy every minute of it!

Your best friend: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Ham Sandwich

5. Mayo. Depends on the sandwich, though.

6. I do not eat the pickle at all.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Look, it's the Friday Five!

The Friday Five on Friday, too! Go me!

1. What is your all time favorite book? This question is too hard. I can't pick just ONE book. I suppose when you define "favorite" as "every so often you have to pull it out and read it again," it would be "Photon: Thieves of Light". I think there are other books I like better, but that's one of the few in my collection that I actively seek out and reread.

2. What is your all time favorite movie? If we can define "favorite" as "I cannot pass this movie on television without stopping to watch it," then it's "A League of Their Own". But I don't think we'll define "favorite" that way. I think it would have to be "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

3. What are you reading right now? "The Last Templar," by Michael Jecks (a murder mystery), "1635: Cannon Law" by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis (sci-fi/alternate history), and a book on conducting effective interviews. And "The Men Who Smiled No More," a Doc Savage adventure by Kenneth Robeson.

4. What is your favorite show on tv? Heroes. Although I was a little bit disappointed in the apparent motives revealed on the newest episode. I'm also really enjoying the newest episodes of "Doctor Who."

5. What is the last movie you saw in the theater? Meet the Robinsons, which I would highly recommend.

Friday's Feast--on Friday!

Actually doing Friday's Feast on Friday--will wonders never cease?

The spine doctor says that my back is healing properly, that I should still restrict my activity, and that the excruciating wake-me-up-out-of-a-sound-sleep pain I've been feeling lately is normal. I guess I'm a little bit skeptical about that last point, but thankfully, there are painkillers.

Anyway, here's the feast.

Appetizer: How fast can you type? Depending on what it is I'm typing, I can sustain 80+ wpm. I peak somewhere in the 90s.

Soup: What is your favorite online game? Right now I'm still having fun with Desktop Tower Defense. I've beaten it once, but I think that was just a fluke. Sir F. Crisp sent along Mad Virus, which is also quite fun.

Salad: On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are? Ugh. Six or seven? Depends on the kind of intelligence, I guess.

Main Course: Name three of your best teachers from your school years. Wow. This is hard. Mrs. Cano instilled in me an appreciation of the theater that I carry with me to this day, so that at least is easy. But coming up with two others is not so easy. I can remember a lot of teachers who led by negative example, a certain eraser-thrower among them. There are a lot of teachers I liked as human beings, but that doesn't necessarily make them good teachers. Ah, here's another one: I have to admit that despite whatever other negatives there are about him (and the negatives are legion), Mr. Proctor's SAT prep class was incredibly valuable and I learned enough to boost my SAT scores pretty high--so there's two. Can I say Mrs. Cano twice? Probably not. You know, I'm going to say my college adviser and German professor, Prof. Hollender. Not necessarily for anything he specifically taught me, but because I've been fortunate enough to actually use my undergraduate studies professionally.

Dessert: What are your plans for this upcoming weekend? I don't have any, really. I'm going to try to take it easy and rest. We'll go to the library, we'll have lunch somewhere...mostly, I'll sit and try to let my back heal.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Saturday Six

From Patrick, here's The Saturday Six.

1. What's your favorite cold beverage and when did you last have it?

2. What's your favorite hot beverage and when did you last have it?

3. How addicted to caffeine do you consider yourself to be?

4. Take the quiz: What is your coffee personality?

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #96 from De: How do you feel about the candidates who have declared themselves so far for the 2008 election?

6. If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with any single candidate for president, ask any questions you wanted, and really get a clear picture of what that candidate supports, doesn't support, and is most likely to push for, who would you choose and why?

1. Milk. About 20 minutes ago.

2. I don't really like hot drinks. If I have to pick a favorite, I guess I'll say tea (plain old orange pekoe). I can't recall the last time I had it. It's been years since I've had a hot drink of any stripe.

3. Not at all. I stay away from it whenever possible. I kicked that habit over a decade ago, cold turkey--I missed two days of work because I couldn't move. In my opinion, if you need a stimulant to get you going in the morning, you should try getting more sleep instead.

4. Since there is no option for "None" on the coffee-related questions, I figure I'll not even bother to take this quiz. I don't like coffee.

5. Let's see...the Republicans are varying degrees of fascist, and they're all assholes and Bush toadies. Yeah, even "straight talkin'" McCain, who has his tongue so far up Bush' know, nevermind. That takes care of them. On the Democratic side, I have no opinion on Edwards other than to say that he'd probably make a great President because he's the one that the right wing is out to get the most. Obama hasn't done anything but make some great speeches. Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton. I don't think we need to really even consider any of the others. If the Democratic nominee isn't one of those, I'll eat my hat. Not that I have a hat.

6. You know what? I'd choose a Republican candidate and then give my questioning opportunity to someone smarter than me, who can expose the candidate for the asshole he is.

I'd rethink the policy

I wonder what Pele will have to say when she hears that HVNP rangers are asking people not to leave offerings.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I am shocked

In a lot of ways, I am a bad representative of my generation. For example, I have never seen "Pretty in Pink," which is supposedly one of our touchstone films.

I just watched the end.

I have a question.


Desktop Tower Defense

I've had my iBook at work for the last few days, and since I can't sit at my desktop computer at home for very long, blogging has been light.

If you choose to play Desktop Tower Defense, be forewarned that it will eat up a ton of your time. Sadly, I did better when I didn't really understand what each tower did. Now that I do, I've been trying out different strategies that don't work.

Oh well.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Planners in general

As an alternative to the Tablet PC question, does anyone have experience using pen-and-paper planners of any stripe? Day Timer, Day Runner, Filofax, Franklin, or even D*I*Y. I had a Franklin planner Way Back When, but that thing was basically useless to me (I was in a frickin' shipping department, fercryinoutloud).

Basically...I need to organize and I need to find a way to do it. I'd be interested in hearing about anyone's experience with anything like this.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tablet PCs

Does anyone (besides Sir F. Crisp, with whom I have been consulting a bit) use a Tablet PC regularly, either personally or professionally? I'd love to hear about it. I'm thinking of getting one. It seems like it would be perfect for working on, especially in combination with Microsoft OneNote.

OneNote, by the way, is probably about the closest I'd ever come on a Windows machine to my all-time favorite piece of software, Circus Ponies Notebook.

Surprise SURPRISE Surprise...part 2

Shockingly enough, the emails that the Monkey King and His Minions sent through non-official channels have "mysteriously" been "lost".

For better coverage than I would ever muster on this, you really need to read Glenn Greenwald on just a little bit of the Administration's record on "losing" documents that show either their own malfeasance or malfeasance done in their name.

In fact, bubbeleh, if you're not reading Greenwald anyway, you really should be.

(His blog is now hosted by Salon, so if you follow the Greenwald links, you may have to spend a couple of seconds while an ad plays. It is absolutely worth it.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Surprise SURRISE Surprise

The Village Idiot and his gang of crooks were using non-official email accounts to conduct official business, presumably so that they could destroy any evidence of their malfeasance.

Tuesday's Saturday Six

I suppose my back is feeling a lot better, especially during the day. However, I'm still more easily fatigued than I have generally ever been, and by early evening I'm worn down and sore. And it's still impossible for me to turn over in bed.

Here's this weekend's Saturday Six.

1. Do you believe that there is some form of intelligent life on a planet other than Earth?

2. If there was, and we were to encounter it, which do you think would do more harm to the other: the Earthlings or the Extra Terrestrials?

3. If a close friend or family member told you that they had been kidnapped by aliens, how likely are you to believe them if they can offer no physical evidence?

4. Take the quiz: How likely is it that you would be abducted by Extra Terrestrials?

5. If you could fly in a spaceship to get a close look at any of the planets besides Earth, which would you choose and why?

6. If you had the chance to live on a fully-developed colony on Mars, would you do so?

1. I think it's a logical assumption to make, as long as we understand that pesky "is" to mean something a little bit broader than "is currently". The universe is a big place, and an old place. It's inconceivable to think that in the thousands of billions of planets in the universe, there is no other planet that hosts intelligent life. But we'll never know it. The distances involved are too great.

2. If aliens came to Earth, they'd have had to cross huge distances and develop technologies that allowed them to overcome or ignore a huge raft of physics problems involved in inter- or intra-galactic travel. I think we automatically assume that any species so involved in science would have to be peaceful and kind, but who are we kidding? Besides, there's the whole question of "what kind of harm are we talking about" to consider. Even if they didn't intend to, they'd probably harm us a lot more than we'd harm them.

3. Probably not.

4. I'll take my chances, but I'm not stupid. No driving alone in deserted rural areas at night!
You have a 33% chance of being abducted

You have a fairly good chance of being abducted. You may be somewhat skeptical about the existence of aliens, but you know that they could exist… somewhere.

Take this quiz at

5. I'd want to go check out the planets around Alpha Centauri, just to see if they had life.

6. This is a good question. On the one hand, I would love to see Mars with my own eyes. On the other hand, think of the trip. Ugh. I guess I'd have to say "No, but I'd like to visit." Which raises the question of whether there'd be actual tourism. I can't recall right now, but isn't it the case that the launch window for the Earth-to-Mars trip only comes up once every eighteen months?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday 5

From, here's today's Friday 5.

1. What’s your routine when you sit down to read a newspaper?
2. When you fire up your web-browser on a typical day, what’s your browsing routine?
3. It’s time to tidy up your living space! In what order do you normally tackle things?
4. Holy cow! It’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping! How do approach this annual, sometimes-daunting task?
5. What’s your method for paying bills?

1. Ohhhh boy, do I ever have a routine. First, I MUST be the first one to read the paper, lest it get messed up. Seriously. That means nobody else can even look at the front page. I take out the following ads and place them to the side: Best Buy, Target, CompUSA, ShopKo (a Target-like store), Toys R Us, and any other ad which looks interesting. I read each section of the paper (mostly AP and NYT reprints--sometimes several days old) and then place it face down, keeping the newspaper in the same order. That is vitally important. Then I put the ads in order (ShopKo, Target, TRU, Best Buy, CompUSA, with others probably going before ShopKo) and go through them looking for good bargains. (Rare.) After that, they go back in the paper so that the whole thing looks like it was never touched. And no, during this time nobody else is allowed a section.

2. Morning, in no particular order: Slashdot, CNN, Ken Levine, noise to signal (depending on the time of day; if it's early, I look at nts at work instead), and It's Your Turn to see if it's my turn. Evening, in this order: Slashdot again, Joystiq, The Red Ferret Journal, Gadget Madness, Lifehacker, Daily Gadget, and The Rude Pundit.

3. Throw away garbage, organize what's left into piles, deal with the piles, vacuum.

4. I think this year we did most of our shopping online. The hardest part is deciding what to get for people, and we handle that by making The Wife think of stuff. Then I say "no" to everything she suggests until...uh...until I don't say "no". Depending on what it is and where we get it from and who it's for, we either ship it directly or we have it sent here and we wrap it. Honestly, I don't think we set foot in a store for Christmas shopping last year. I know I didn't.

5. "Holy crap, these bills were due yesterday! Quick, pay the ones we can over the telephone and FOR GOD'S SAKE GIVE ME THE CHECKBOOK!" Values of "yesterday" may include "two days ago" and "three days ago." We need a better routine. One of our friends has a hanging wall calendar with little pockets and she stuffs bills into those.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dude, just go somewhere else

I overheard one side of a conversation at the supermarket last night. I couldn't hear what the person behind the bakery counter was saying, but the old man was...well, shall we say, a little upset.

"Do you have any hot cross buns? ... Buns. ... Cross. ... For Easter. Hot cross buns! ... Hot. ... They have an X on the top. ... FOR EASTER. ... Your ad said you had them. ... No, those don't have a CROSS. ... ON THE TOP. ... NO. ... HOT CROSS BUNS. ... ON THE TOP!!!"

He sounded like he was about to have a stroke or something. Seriously, if it's that important, go somewhere else. There are lots of bakeries around; I'm sure something will present itself. I mean, buy some rolls and cut the damn cross into 'em yourself, or get a tube of icing and put your own on. Sheesh.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Monday

My back really hurts. It's very stiff, and it's become impossible for me to turn over in bed without pain. One hopes that this means that it's getting better. The alternative is too terrible to contemplate. We'll see what the doctor says later this month.

Here's The Saturday Six, which this week is about computers.

1. PC or Mac? (You must choose one or the other.)

2. How much do you like one over the other, and what's the main reason?

3. What would be easier to do without for a week: your cell phone, your television, or your computer?

4. Take the quiz: Are You a Computer Geek?

5. What things do you feel more addicted to than your computer?

6. If your computer has to go in for service and you're without it for a week, and you have the chance to log on at a different computer, which are you most likely to do first: check news headlines, check email, or update your blog?

1. Mac.

2. It's not that I actually like it more, but because I'm able to be more disciplined about not playing games on the Mac, I get more done on it than I do on my PC. Also, I like the fact that it's Unix.

3. Cell phone. I dislike the telephone.

My computer geek score is greater than 80% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

5. Television and books.

6. Email. I like reading letters, although I'm pretty crappy at sending them. I even check my work email just to see what's going on. I can go without email for a day, but I start getting itchy.