Monday, February 26, 2007

real live e-mail convo with someone i love

i just got this e-mail. it cracked me up, so i'm sharing it. i (like most geeks) do a little tech support on the side for my friends and loved ones. it's usually rewarding, but not usually entertaining. today, i was entertained.
Huh??? I got VIRTUAL MEMORY?????

Just when I thought Mother Nature and Father Time had depleted all my resources, I find I got virtual memory!!
The resident guru at Office Depot said my computer sluggishness might have to do with me nearing the limit of my virtual memory. He told me how to check it and the instructions went in one ear and out the other (without a lot of impediment I must say). In fact I believe the exit was faster than the entry!!! (instructions have a phobia about wide open spaces and darkness!!)
If you think this could be part of the problem, write me back and give me some intsructions. I remember something about cntrl/alt/delete which I thought was one of the seven venial sins......

first, i had to respond that there are 7 cardinal sins. there are, however, as many venial sins as the human mind and the devil's whispering voice can devise. go-go gadget catholic school education!

then i dispensed boring, but accurate, technical advice. i'll spare you having to read those bits. those of you who know me well might guess from all the asides and parenthetical notes that i'm somehow related to the questioner. and you might be right.

plug and play?

excerpted from a work e-mail containing some instructions for tricking windows into thinking it has a printer when it doesn't. this, of course, does you no good for printing things, but it enables you to send things to the printer in a software demo without getting nasty error messages on your screen.

2) From the Control Panel, Go to> Printers and Faxes

3) Select> Add a Printer

4) At the Welcome Screen, select> Next

5) Select "Local Printer" (the default) and UN-Check> "Automatically detect and install my plug and pray printer"

6) Select Next

note the emphasized word in step 5. that's my emphasis, of course. i don't know if my boss sent me that to be clever or if it was just a typo, but it put my keyboard at risk of a coffee shower this morning. i laughed so hard that i had to come share it with you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

have you ever noticed?

have you ever noticed how people talk about meat that just "falls off the bone"? that's generally considered a good thing, y'know? however, if it happens while you are holding that meat over a pot of boiling-hot water... it can be ugly. i had just fished the chicken out of the soup pot and was letting it drip a little before plopping it into a bowl to cool. (how weird is the phrase "i had just fished the chicken"???) i glanced away to tell my dog to quit trying to insert herself between me and the stove (she seems to think i'm going to drop yummy food on her tongue if she can only get into that magic 2" space) when the chicken began falling off the bone. plop! into the boiling water...
"eeek! hothothot!" i shrieked and hopped away to nurse my scalded hand.
*snurfle*, molly made her move for the sweet spot.

some of the chicken ended up in the bowl (hrmmm, maybe i'm better at basketball than i thought?) whence i flung it as i hopped away from the soup pot. some of the chicken ended up (sans bone) back in the water. luckily for all parties concerned, although molly would argue that this wasn't luck, none of the chicken or chicken stock ended up on the floor. the dog would've much preferred that the chicken had fallen on the floor, even if it did mean burning her tongue on the scalding hot, but yummy, food.

so... my chicken is literally falling off the bone. tonight, there will be chicken and dumplings!

and my hand isn't all that burned. *happydance*

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

yeah, another meme. i'm busy...

Modern, Cool Nerd
82 % Nerd, 56% Geek, 26% Dork For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 88% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 38% on dork points

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


why is it that on days when i really want to crawl into my shell and hide, i get horoscopes like this?

Your emotions are closer to the surface now that the Moon has returned to your sign, yet you may be overly concerned with what others think about you. It's difficult for you to trust your feelings, and therefore you may attempt to hide them from everyone else. Paradoxically, you will be accepted for who you are more easily when others truly know how you feel. Push past your fear of being vulnerable for your own sake.

stupid goat sign.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

meme that's going around...

How evil are you?

yeah, so i'm basically a fluffy bunny. anyone surprised? i didn't think so.

parents vs. the first amendment

i read an op-ed over at the LA Times recently by Eugene Volokh, and it really set me to thinking. Here's the gist of the opinion, quoted from the article:

If the rule is really "children's best interests above all," these results may make sense. Say a dying friend asked you to choose a custodian for his children. Wouldn't you reject candidates who would teach the children harmful ideas, whether racist, pro-terrorist or, depending on your views, pro- or anti-homosexuality?

But the question, which few courts have grappled with, is whether judges, using government power, are allowed under the 1st Amendment to make such decisions. A family court judge is a government official, bound by the Constitution. Orders mandating or forbidding certain kinds of speech pose serious 1st Amendment problems. So does allocating civil rights, such as the right to spend time with one's child, based on a person's speech.

But does the 1st Amendment mean something different when it comes to parent-child speech, especially when the parent is divorced? On the one hand, children are immature and less able to resist their parents' ideological excesses. There may be special reasons to protect children from parental teachings that harm their best interests.

On the other hand, parental self-expression rights are especially important. Many people would trade all their free-speech rights for the right to teach their own children. And government power to constrain how parents teach their own children is dangerous: Restricting the spread of ideas from parent to child can help today's majority, or today's elite, entrench its views for future generations. Also, the power to suppress parents' speech may not stay limited to broken families but might spread to intact families too.

I think the 1st Amendment should impose some constraint here. The Supreme Court has recognized that the equal protection clause bars courts from considering a parent's interracial remarriage in the "best interests" analysis, even when the remarriage might have led to social trouble for the child. Some state courts have likewise barred judicial consideration of parents' religious teachings, at least unless imminent physical or psychological harm to the child is shown.

The same should be done for parents' ideological teachings. Such "harm" standards are themselves often subjective, but at least they are better than letting judges routinely decide when a parent's ideological teachings are against a child's best interests.

All this having been said, of course situations like Mujahid Daniel's and Mujahid David's remain troubling. Should children be exposed to a jihadist philosophy that may lead them into crime, violence and war against our nation — which could be fatal for them as well as bad for us? Even if their father hadn't been a felon, might his teachings still have been so dangerous that we should protect his children from them?

However we answer these questions, we should remember that the rules courts make don't just apply to jihadists. Any parent whose views may be seen by some as against the child's best interests — because the parent is atheist, intolerant, pro-gay, anti-gay or whatever else — could find a judge curtailing his parental rights and his speech rights.

The spark for this story is the decision in a divorce case to censor the father's ability to speak to the children about his religious beliefs. The father is described as following a quasi-Muslim philosophy, being very jihadist, and exhorting his children to remember their duties as good soldiers. Clearly, the kids need to be shielded from that sort of thing before they end up as the next John Walker Lindh.

I think I agree with the author. Children should be shielded from hate speech from their parents when it's possible to do so. I also think the standards for defining what speech children should be protected from need to be a lot tighter than the judge's subjective definition of "best interests of the child."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Why me?!?!

y'know... i'm about to whine and complain. if you hate it when i do that, you might want to skip this post.

when the year started out, i was asked to sign up for a slate of classes that i would teach and/or attend to learn stuff so i could teach it later on. two of the locations i was really excited about visiting were chicago, il and walnut creek, ca. both of them for substantially the same reasons: because i've got friends there and the cities themselves do not suck like, say... newark. (for those not familiar, walnut creek is a suburb of san francisco. i had to look it up the first time, myself.) so the walnut creek one got shifted to houston. alright, i could understand that given that the other dude who would fill in the schedule lives in cali. it doesn't make sense to fly him to texas and fly me to cali, and i've got friends i could visit in houston, too. i can't scuba in houston, because i have no interest in participating in extraneous limb generation research, but it wouldn't be a total loss if i rode the bike down there. and since i wear a helmet and protective gear, i stand pretty good odds of returning with exactly the same number of limbs i left home with.

well, now my chicago class is being cancelled, too. instead of chi-town, i'm headed to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. yeah, go take yourself a second to look that up on Google Earth or mapquest or your research vehicle of choice.

what's happening in regina? do any of you know anything about the place? because i don't. i'm trying to keep my usual optimistic spin on it, but all i can say at this point is that it rhymes with "vagina" and i'm not sure whether that's a plus or a minus at this point.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

so tired...

hey, i bet you thought i had turned into a clogger, didnt' you?

well, i haven't. i've just been at home sweet home enjoying my fabulously purple living room and my dining room table and my recently-painted office. that, and working my tail off.

some other boring stuff has been going on, too, like researching used fish tanks on craigslist. it turns out that joey is going to get very large. in fact, he's going to grow to about a foot in length, if i manage to keep him fed. he's also going to want some company of his own kind soon, so he can quit schooling with my Flying Fox. so i'm trying to do a better research job on this new tank and build a semi-functional ecosystem that will require little maintenance. if any of you have ever seen me get single-minded about research you know just how much tunnel-vision a quest like this entails.

this week, i'm in phoenix. and let me just say that my travel people are FIRED. first off, i wrote a very nice note with my travel request specifying that although i'd indicated i was flying in on sunday and out on sunday, i was checking out of my hotel on friday because i'd be spending the weekend of 2/3-2/4 in the phoenix area with friends. my first itinerary came back and had me booked into a hotel for ONLY the weekend. and i didn't have a rental car until friday, either. i ask you, gentle readers, did they think i was going to sleep under a bridge and hitch all week while i was teaching a class for the company? and then use a rent car and hotel that they'd booked for me for two days of lounging over the weekend? furthermore, they booked me into a completely shitty hotel. i requested one of two nice chains at which i have frequent-flyer status. instead, i'm in the red roof inn. and let me tell you what the red roof inn, phoenix, az does NOT have:
1) Irons
2) Ironing boards
3) Coffee pots
4) Room service that could bring me coffee
5) Internet connections
6) Bath towels in sufficient sizes/quantities to dry a giant amazon after her daily shower
7) Coffee pots

I may have mentioned the coffee more than once. I'm a little miffed about it. I don't function well without caffeine. Why, in the name of all that is holy, would you want to work in a hotel with decaffeinated guests?!?! I don't even like my own self before my morning coffee, I know nobody else wants to talk to me. Crack-smokin' hotel managers.

I only have the internet connectivity due to the remarkable goodwill and overly-trusting nature of someone named connie. she set up an unsecured wireless network that i can receive if i sit in the superbly uncomfortable chair at the desk in my room. i can't get it from the comfy chair or the bed, however, so this post is about to be cut short by the tingling numbness in my left cheek.

the weather's been pretty nice, at least compared to the sleet and snow they've had in dallas this week. and the food's been outstanding. i recommend Tomaso's Italian on Camelback if you ever find yourself in Phoenix. and get your caesar salad WITH the anchovies. it's da bomb.