Book Ratings

Book ratings explained:

* I didn't like it | ** It was OK | *** I liked it | **** I really liked it | ***** I loved it

Monday, August 30, 2004

Just another manic Monday

Last year, in July, I attended a week long SQL class in Houston. On the third or fourth day of class, I got a frantic phone call from the HEL. There was something wrong with the SQL server. It kept crashing. She was going to place a service call to Dell and she'd let me know later whether I needed to leave class or not. Dell had her run their diagnostics which either didn't report a problem or kept changing its mind about what the problem was so Dell overnighted us just about every part on that server that could be replaced. The parts arrived as did a technician the next day. He swapped out just about every part that Dell sent before the silly server finally came up and stayed up.

Anyway, last week, while attending a week long class in Houston, on the fourth day of class, I noticed that the SQL server had stopped emailing me status reports on the jobs I have scheduled to run overnight every night. I emailed the AKYM and the HEL to ask if something had happened to the server. Knowing them, when I didn't hear anything to the contrary, I assumed the server was OK and there was just some sort of hiccup they would deal with by rebooting the server since every time this had happened in the past I had kicked everyone off the server and rebooted it. Well, we all know what happens when you assume something. Come Friday, there were still no status reports.

So anyway, I get to work this morning to a SQL server that had crashed sometime after 10 p.m. but before 11 p.m. Saturday night. And the silly bugger wouldn't boot up without intervention. Whatever the Embedded Server Management is wasn't loading. The New Guy and I got it up and it ran happily all day with nary a complaint from anyone about performance. Since the New Guy is here, it's no longer my responsibility to figure out what ESM is and get it fixed. It's his job now. Small comfort since I'm the one who's been babying that server since it was installed last year. And it has needed babying. That is the most temperamental computer I've ever worked with.

Which brings us to the New Guy. As I said, he started today. He was supposed to start last month but personal issues prevented him. Technically, he is our Network Admin. He walked in this morning and I hit him with the temperamental SQL server and the fact we have no BDC (backup domain controller) because ours died a couple of months ago and neither the HEL nor I have any idea how to build an NT box to replace it. And then there's the web server that decided it didn't really want to be one. And let's not forget the three laptops we suspect are broken though we don't remember what's wrong with them because too much has happened since they were turned in and we honestly forgot we had them until we went looking for something else and found them instead.

So I spend time getting him set up and squeezed in because the HEL is on vacation this week. And I have to catch up with what I missed being out all last week plus the stuff I left sitting on my desk the week before along with the new stuff that cropped up today.

As I said, just another manic Monday.

Blue Skinned Woman

The Enlightened

More artwork from I don't care for the eyes, but the rest of the piece is very appealing.

Telegraph | News | Cuddles the red 'shaggy shark' makes her debut

There's a small picture of Cuddles here. I had no idea there were 405 species of shark.

Homeland Security T-shirt

It would be interesting to know if any protestors were wearing this shirt.

Charley Reese | Don't Waste Blood

Finally, someone who has the courage to state the obvious.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Classic songs retooled for the aging Baby Boomer

Paul Simon -- "Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver"

Carly Simon -- "You're So Varicose Vein"

The Bee Gees -- "How Can You Mend a Broken Hip"

Roberta Flack -- "The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face"

Johnny Nash -- "I Can't See Clearly Now"

The Temptations -- "Papa Got a Kidney Stone"

Nancy Sinatra -- "These Boots Are Made For Bunions"

ABBA -- "Denture Queen"

Leo Sayer -- "You Make Me Feel Like Napping"

Commodores -- "Once, Twice, Three Times My Back's Out"

Procol Harem -- "A Whiter Shade of Hair"

Steely Dan -- "Rikki Don't Lose That Clapper"

Herman's Hermits -- "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Walker"

Credence Clearwater Revival -- "Bad Prune Rising"

Marvin Gaye -- "I Heard It Through the Grape Nuts"

The Who -- "Talkin' 'Bout My Medication"

The Troggs -- "Bald Thing"

The Value of Time

To realize the value of ONE YEAR
Ask a student who has failed his exam.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH
Ask a mother who has given birth to a pre-mature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK
Ask an editor of a weekly.

To realize the value of ONE DAY
Ask a daily wage laborer.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE
Ask a person who has missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in Olympics.

To realize the value of ONE NANOSECOND
Ask a Hardware Engineer!

If you still don't realize the value of
time, you must be a Software Engineer !!!

RollingStone | Politics | The Curse of Dick Cheney

Should George W. Bush win this election, it will give him the distinction of being the first occupant of the White House to have survived naming Dick Cheney to a post in his administration. The Cheney jinx first manifested itself at the presidential level back in 1969, when Richard Nixon appointed him to his first job in the executive branch. It surfaced again in 1975, when Gerald Ford made Cheney his chief of staff and then -- with Cheney's help -- lost the 1976 election. George H.W. Bush, having named Cheney secretary of defense, was defeated for re-election in 1992. The ever-canny Ronald Reagan was the only Republican president since Eisenhower who managed to serve two full terms. He is also the only one not to have appointed Dick Cheney to office.

Read the rest: ->


This is another bit of artwork I found at that I really like. Very clean lines. Very simple.



fungible \FUHN-juh-buhl\, adjective:
1. (Law) Freely exchangeable for or replaceable by another of like nature or kind in the satisfaction of an obligation.
2. Interchangeable.

Something that is exchangeable or substitutable. Usually used in the plural.

Fungible comes from Medieval Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungi (vice), "to perform (in place of)."

This is one of those words that doesn't mean what it sounds like it should mean. When I first saw the word, I thought it was some kind of food reference, probably unpleasant, like a poisonous mushroom.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Class is over

Class is over. The instructor thought we'd finish by 1 p.m. or so today. Ha! Fooled him, we did. We finished at 4 p.m., but it was another good day. I don't exactly hate but I'd rather stick with Delphi but that's only assuming the newest version, which is supposed to fit into the .Net framework, doesn't make you do all that extra work that does. Not to mention typing. Hasn't Microsoft ever heard of components for which you provide exception programming and not functional programming? Oh, well. Maybe I'll get used to when I've worked with it for 15 or so years.

Heru nappingHeru The prodigal son, whose leg you can see in the photo at the left, took pictures today of Heru and Muggles and Mouse. I think my favorite picture is the one of Heru looking vaguely bemusedly annoyed at having been photographed. Heru, Mouse, and Miss MugglesHeru I also rather like the picture of the Lion That Roared being put in his place by the Queen of the House while the Empress of the Universe looks on in serene repose. Kittens are such a riot.

You may have noticed that Horatio / Horus has gone through another name change. He's now become Heru which is short for Heru-pa-Khered. I've decided to counfound the vet. I think they need a little shaking up.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Too pooped to be clever

I am so very tired today. Had one of those nights where I slept all night long but woke up feeling like I hadn't been to sleep at all.

Class was good.

Cats are good.

I'm good.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Horatio becomes Horus

The little fart pulled a name change on me very similar to the one that Goblin pulled when I first got her. He'd knocked over a trash basket and was rooting around in it so I yelled at him to stop. What came out of my mouth was "Horus, NO! Stop it!" So there you have it . . . Horatio becomes Horus.

Horus hiding under the coffee table

If I thought our vet could handle it, I would tell them his name was Heru-pa-khered - Horus (Heru) the Child - but I think I'm going to get funny looks just telling them his name is Horus.

Wednesday wonder

Encountered an interesting phenomenon this morning. I was 20 minutes late leaving for class yet I managed to arrive 10 minutes earlier than I did yesterday. I call it the Wednesday Wonder. This isn't the first time I've noticed this. It happened last year when I took classes here. It's like no one goes to work on Wednesday or everybody carpools. I managed to do mostly 70 most of the way here.

I'm not sure if the prodigal son is going to let Horatio keep his name. He - the son, that is - looked at me funny this morning when I told him what the cats name was. We'll see.

Smiley driving a car

Updated: 10:54 a.m. Another good class day. Almost everybody has given up being dressed for success and is now dressed for comfort. More class discussion. More laughing at funnies. I might actually be persuaded not to despise

Fuzzy Smiley giving a thumbs up

Updated: 6:41 p.m. I've been home just over an hour. It only took about 50 minutes to get home today. I took 610 to 288 again and there were hardly any slowdowns.

It was a good day in class. It was really fun. I enjoyed it and I'm feeling decidedly less hostile toward

The prodigal son left all five cats alone while he went off with friends. All five of them are still alive so I'm going to assume they're working out their territorial differences on their own. I stopped by WalMart - yes, that evil place - and picked up another litter box. This one comes with two pans and a strainer so that you can sift out the used, clumped litter to dispose of and recycle the leftover litter into a clean box. I'm not sure how it will work out but the idea seemed nifty.

I'm pooped today. The driving is getting to me. I'm going to go watch "The Lion in Winter" remake, feed the cats, feed myself, and then go to sleep.

Updated: 9:48 p.m. Didn't watch the movie but I did feed myself and the cats. Watched the kittens play instead. They've been chasing each other around the house and having a grand ol' time. They're pooped now.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Roseunicorn, don't look!

Trust me. You don't want to see what I've got here. It will only make you mad.

Orange tabby kitten named Horatio

You looked! Shame on you. I tried to spare you. Well, there's nothing for it now. I guess I'll have to introduce you. This is Horatio. The prodigal son brought him home tonight. According to the son, the person - and I use the term very loosely - who had him decided he didn't want the kitten anymore and threw him - yes, I mean picked him up and threw him like a football - into the street. This upset the son no end and he begged me to let him bring the cat home. I told him he could, but it would be a temporary measure. If the kitten didn't fit into the household, we would have to find another home for him. Well, I believe that about as much as you do and about as much as the son did. Heck, the cat's already told me his name. As you can see, he's a shaggy orange tabby. What you can't see are his green eyes. Other than being a little on the thin side, he doesn't seem to be in too bad shape. He's already wandering around the house and objecting to the girls - ick, cooties - being here. He seems to think he should be king of the hill.

Tuesday turbulence

There's nothing quite like stop and mostly stop traffic first thing in the morning to color your outlook for the day. Fortunately, Houston has a fairly decent classical music station - KRTS - so it was only my hands - from clutching the steering wheel - and my toes - from riding the clutch, the brake, and the gas pedal - that cramped and not my whole body.

Smiley driving a tank

I've already finished a lab that had 45 minutes allocated to it. It took me about 10 minutes. And I've just taken my first swallow of coffee. I don't know when I'll update this post next, but I will pretty it up when I get home tonight.

Computer Smiley

Updated: 9:59 a.m. OK, so I updated a little sooner than I thought and prettied it up before I got home. The class is taking it's mid-morning break so I'm blogging.

Computer Smiley

Updated: 3:11 p.m. Help me! I'm trapped! I've been kidnapped by wannabe programmers and I'm being held prisoner in a frigid classroom in an uncomfortable chair. Save me, Obi Wan! You're my only hope!

Darth Maul Smiley

Updated: 7:16 p.m. I'm home! Hurrah!

Alright, so I've been home for about an hour. I've been catching up on email and bloglines and Shadowmarch and . . . and . . . all that stuff.

I decided to take a walk on the wild side this afternoon and I took 610 to 288 to get home instead of the Tollway to 288. Naturally, since there's been major street work going on and things were not as I remembered them from my last trip up about a year ago, I wound up going the wrong way because I got stuck in the wrong lane. I wound up on 59 but I got off, circled round, and got on 610 as I'd planned. Despite a couple of patches of stop and stop some more traffic, it actually took less time to get home, about 1/2 hour less. I was just a shattered hulk of a woman when I arrived at my door instead of a chain smoking psychopathic alcoholic on a road rage spree.

Alcoholic Smiley

I actually enjoyed today's class. is making a bit more sense and the instructor actually got some class discussion going and there was laughing at funny things. Did I mention there are only seven students in the class and I'm the oldest and the only female and the only one with 'official' programming skills? I'm u-neek.

Green Witch

Monday, August 23, 2004

Monday montage


I'm tired. Pre-rush hour rush hour traffic in Houston is murder. I was privileged to face it twice today. Once this morning without benefit of coffee and once this afternoon without benefit of an armoured all terrain vehicle. And I get to do it four more times this week. I'm taking a course in Houston and I get to drive to the Galleria. I'm not sure which I hate more - Houston traffic or


If the Whole World could vote for president of the U.S. this year, is where everyone would go to do it. Check it out. Last time I looked, Kerry was winning by a landslide.

German flag Smiley

I've gotten a couple of emails that reference some Cambridge University research study on the human mind which did not include any kind of bona fides for the study. Doing a search - not an intensive one, mind you - I couldn't find anything online for it. However, the gist of the research seemed to be that as long as the first and last letters of a word were placed correctly and all the remaining letters of a word are included, it doesn't really matter how a word is spelled for the human mind to recognize it. In other words, it doesn't matter how you misspell a word as long as you misspell it correctly. Take for example the last email on the topic I received:


Don't delete this because it looks weird. Believe it or not you can read it.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!

Didn't really have any problem reading the part that looks like gobblygook, did you? Will wonders never cease?!?

Oriental style drawing of a fish

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sunday potpourri

Got up this morning and discovered the socks had invaded again. My profligate progeny had removed them yesterday and tossed them back in the laundry basket in his room. Unfortunately, he didn't close his door when he left to be dessolute so the Rainbow Monster redecorated the house with them once more. I have actually decided to be grateful it is his socks she favors and not his dirty undershorts.

Mona Lisa Smiley

After puttering around on the computer for an excessive amount of time, I decided to fill my belly at IHOP. On the way out, I caught my dessolute, profligate progeny reading the want ads. I guess this means he's looking for work. Though he's going to have a hard time of it this week. I have to go to Houston to addend a class all week long so he won't have my car to putter around in.

Smiley in flying saucer

And speaking of IHOP, lunch time on a Sunday is not the quietest time to go there, but boy . . . I was trapped next to two tables filled with teenagers who all had to talk at the same time and all but shouted to make themselves heard. And catty corner from me was a table at which a very pretty little girl had to serenade us with "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" over and over and over. Fortunately, I had coffee to keep me from going postal; otherwise, there would have been one really brutal food fight.

Smiley darting in and out of a coffe cup

Weather Pixie to the contrary, it's actually quite overcast and drizzling, albeit on and off. It feels more like August than it did a week ago. Very steamy. You can cut the air with a knife which is what you have to do if you want to breathe it. Petit chunks are much easier to inhale.

Smiley with umbrella

Well, I'm off to read some more (up to page 300 already) while I wait for the progeny to clean out the car so I can go grocery shopping. Poor son will have to fend for himself at home next week while I get to eat out on an expense account.

Happy Smiley

Saturday, August 21, 2004

It's all relative, isn't it? | Science and Technology | Gravitational anomalies

To quote just a bit from the article:

“ASSUME nothing” is a good motto in science. Even the humble pendulum may spring a surprise on you. In 1954 Maurice Allais, a French economist who would go on to win, in 1988, the Nobel prize in his subject, decided to observe and record the movements of a pendulum over a period of 30 days. Coincidentally, one of his observations took place during a solar eclipse. When the moon passed in front of the sun, the pendulum unexpectedly started moving a bit faster than it should have done.

Since that first observation, the “Allais effect”, as it is now called, has confounded physicists. If the effect is real, it could indicate a hitherto unperceived flaw in General Relativity—the current explanation of how gravity works.


Invasion of the dirty socks

Oh, my! Got up this morning to discover the living room socked in and Miss Muggles snuggled up with one.

Miss Muggles snuggling with a dirty sock

Friday, August 20, 2004

Random natter

Switching to the Paksenarrion book was a good move. I've polished off 197 pages as of just a minute or so ago.

Miss Muggles has taken to carrying around my son's socks and depositing them all over the house. She croons at them and wanders around with one in her mouth until she finds the perfect place to settle it. I think she wishes he were around more to play with.

I had a couch potato day. Slept, read, slept, ate, read, slept. Wonderful day.

Call me morbid, but . . .

I really like this picture. It's the butterflies that does it for me. I'm into butterflies right now.

I'm barely in my right mind

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (48%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (44%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The perfect avatar for today

I found the perfect avatar for today at Aside from being lovely shades of blue with a hint of tan and a smidge of teal, it's the kind of jumble I'm feeling.

Large blue abstract avatar Large blue abstract avatar

Putting a book on hold and other miscellany

I've decided to put The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon on hold. I've been plugging away at this book since the 15th and I just can't get into it. I made it to page 60 last night, but I kept reading that page over and over. The words just wouldn't sink into my brain. I'm going to try my hand at The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon instead. My omnibus edition arrived a few days ago and I've been itching to read it. Maybe this book will hold my interest.

My errant progeny still hasn't found a job and he spends more time telling me he's looking for one than he actually spends looking for one. He also lost his cell phone which had to be replaced today. We've only had cell phones since December and the one I got for him today makes his third phone. The first went swimming with him back in May or June and had to be replaced then. I'd really like to know what horrible evil I've committed that warrants a son like him. It must have been a doozy. I hope I enjoyed it, whatever it was.

I'm definitely feeling my age today. Everything is just hitting me the wrong way. I've been short-tempered ever since I got up this morning. To be honest, the whole week has been like that. I got up on the wrong side of the bed on Monday and it's been a downhill slide since then. I've avoided answering the phone all week because I don't want to talk to anyone. I just want to be left alone, literally. I'd like to have the house to myself without anyone else in it and no one calling to talk to me. I want to watch Alias S2 D5 and the remake of "The Lion in Winter" with Close and Stewart and read and just be a worthless couch potato. Thank goodness tomorrow is my day off!

Buffy Season 7 news from TV Shows on

According to TV Shows on, Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to be released on November 16th. If you follow the link in the header, they also show the cover of the DVD set. It's basically Buffy and Spike.

The comic side of Dyson

Committed, by Michael Fry

A Dyson vacuum cleaner being displayed as a museum piece

This is hugely funny to those of us who spent a nice chunk of change to buy one of these suckers (pun intended) based on Jennifer Roberson's recommendation in her newsgroup. I have the purple Animal variety because I have four indoor cats and the Animal does wonders picking up cat fur. If one can be in love with a vacuum cleaner, the Animal is the vacuum of my dreams. I wouldn't trade my purple Animal for all the tea in china (that's a pun, by the way, not a mistake).

Ever have one of those days?

Nothing seems to be working today like it's supposed to or like it used to. I'm not sure where the problem lies since several things happened all at once. The first was blogger implementing their new nav bar thingy. Almost simultaneous with this, I moved my blog to its own domain. Since then, the BlogThis button on my IE toolbar has started writing out rubbish for the title and URL when I click it. And using Mozilla 1.7.1 with blogger has gone wonky again. Sometimes Publish Post works fine. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the html pages on my server are overwritten. Sometimes I have FTP in to delete them and publish again.

I guess I'm just feeling my age today. I would rather be just about anywhere other than stuck behind my desk.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Five new moons for planet Neptune

Neptune as seen by Voyager 2, NASA

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The specialized equipment is between his ears

It's the 1990s, and an IT pilot fish at a catalog company hears about this hot new line of servers from the company's preferred vendor.

"Well, of course, we need these," fish says. "So we place two into a cluster with several gigabytes of disk space for high-transaction database queries.

"Shortly after rollout in production, these servers start crashing -- abruptly and without warning of any kind, never the same problem, appears to be really random."

The vendor's engineers come out and replace one of the parts that fails most frequently. Everything tests out fine. The engineers leave, the servers go back into production, and soon the system crashes again.

The vendor's engineers return. Another suspect part is replaced, things test fine, engineers leave, system crashes again. And again. And again.

"This goes on for two months, and things are being escalated to the highest levels within the vendor and our management," says fish. "So the vendor flies in one of its top designers to perform electronic analysis on these servers."

Fish and his cohorts figure the expert will arrive with all kinds of specialized diagnostic equipment, and they prepare to stay the night as he tears the equipment apart.

But when the expert arrives, there's no special equipment, and he doesn't start tearing into the servers. He just settles in to wait for the failure everyone knows is coming.

"Sure enough, about midday one of the clustered servers crashes," fish says. "We proceed to remove the covers and examine the server. After an initial examination, the specialist pulls out a network cable scissors and snips a quarter-inch off a copper ribbon that's grounding the motherboard to the chassis.

"This solves the problem."

Seems the grounding ribbon on these new servers is held in place with the wrong kind of glue. As the server runs, the glue heats up and the copper ribbon curls, shorting out the motherboard at random locations. Which is why sometimes the problem appears to be the CPU, sometimes memory, sometimes the network connection.

The expert packs up his scissors and heads for home.

"After this, they change their manufacturing process for future machines," fish says. "And we never see another problem like this from any of these servers ever again."

And last, but not least . . .

I've added time to my blog. Way at the bottom. That's my time.

Weather Pixies

Gosh, I'm having so much fun. Blogging should be illegal . . . well, no.

I've just added a weather pixie to my sidebar. Now all you poor people who aren't trapped here with me will know what the weather is like in my neck of the woods.

Sunshine Smiley



Cockaigne \kah-KAYN\, noun:
An imaginary land of ease and luxury.

Cockaigne comes from Middle English cokaygne, from Middle French (pais de) cocaigne "(land of) plenty," ultimately adapted or derived from a word meaning "cake."

Trivia: References to Cockaigne are prominent in medieval European lore. George Ellis, in his Specimens of Early English Poets (1790), printed an old French poem called "The Land of Cockaign" (13th century) where "the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing."

Gives one to wonder if this is where "cocaine" derived from.

Free nation

from The Complete Bushisms by Jacob Weisberg:

"See free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." -- Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003"

Dare I ask the obvious question? Better yet, do I need to ask the obvious question?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bemused musing

I have two domains registered -- and -- and neither of them has anything to do with the real me, but they both have to do with my two best D&D alter egos. Seitherin was my happy, innocent, joyful, youthful F/MU/C (that's fighter, magic-user, cleric for the uninitiated) who loved music and Cel. Glynn Garthold is the walled city my cleric Gareth had built to help her friend Achen guard his little bit of the world, and which she named after her husband Garth (Garthold = Garth's Hold). My third D&D alter ego doesn't have a domain and probably never will. I didn't get to play Tris long enough for her to become 'real'. She was a fighter.

And just one more little change

I keep saying that, don't I? But I never stop, do I? Oh, well . . .

I've added a Blogging Buddy -- The Wild One -- and a Link -- Wild Magic Lady. Both belong to my roomie at Shadowmarch where we cohost the Oxygen Bar and Needlework Shop.

One more tiny change

My blog has its own domain now. You can find me at

Otherwise, what's it good for?

This pilot fish works at a big PC company, handling support for point-of-sale systems, when a call comes in from a user who says her store's computerized cash registers aren't working properly.

"They all say Q123," user tells fish.

That usually means that they can't talk to the server, fish explains. Is the server powered on?

"It's not getting any power at all," user says.

Are you sure the circuit breakers didn't trip and the server is plugged in? fish asks.

"I can't really check that right now," user says. "We've had all this rain and it flooded out the store, so I can't really do anything right now. Do you think that you can send someone out?"

Wait, says fish -- did the server box itself get water in it?

"Well, it's still sitting in about two feet of water right now."

What? says fish. How are you able to check the registers?

"They're on these counters that are up high, so they aren't sitting in the water," user says. "But the server sits on the floor so it did get water in it."

And we know the power is on, since the registers are giving you that code, fish says. Ma'am, I would strongly suggest getting out of the store until all of the water drains. You could get shocked by the equipment or anything else that uses electricity.

"Can someone come out to look at it today, since it is down?" user asks.

I can't send someone out until the water drains and the machines have had at least 24 hours to dry out, fish explains.

"Well, what am I supposed to do until then?"

You need to get out of the store and call your home office to let them know what's happening, fish says. And I can't send out a tech, because he can't do anything with it while it's still underwater. Electricity and water don't mix, and we can't put our tech in harm's way. It's not like you can open the store anyway."

"That's not the point," user says. "We have a 24/7 fix contract with you, and we expect service."

Monday, August 16, 2004

And they say football players are dumb

I love a good chuckle first thing in the morning. It sets the right tone for the day. I spotted this very early in the a.m. and I've been snarfing to myself ever since.

"Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein." -- Joe Theismann



pervicacious \puhr-vih-KAY-shuhs\, adjective:
Refusing to change one's ideas, behavior, etc.; stubborn; obstinate.

Pervicacious is from Latin pervicax, pervicac-, "stubborn, headstrong," from root pervic- of pervincere, "to carry ones point, maintain ones opinion," from per-, "through, thoroughly" + vincere, "to conquer, prevail against" + the suffix -ious, "characterized by, full of."

Being a word snob to a minor degree, I think I'd rather be known as pervicacious than stubborn.

Smiley wearing a red beret

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Another blah day

. . . although this one was slightly more productive than yesterday. I actually managed to do a load of laundry. Guess that means I have to go to work tomorrow. Weeping Smiley

I also watched Hellboy. That was quite a good movie, even on the small screen. This one, as well as Spider-Man 2, show that you can tell a comic book story and make it have plot and character development and not just be a mindless special effects fest.

Hellboy Movie Poster

Hellboy Hellboy Director's Cut Hellboy Director's Cut Gift Set

And after I finished with Hellboy, I watched Out of Time starring Denzel Washington, Dean Cain, and two women I've never heard of. I had the feeling watching this movie that maybe they were going for a kind of noir thing, but I don't know that they succeeded all that well. Or maybe I was expecting too much. I don't know. Not that it was a bad movie. I enjoyed watching Denzel sweat getting caught. It just seemed too easy and too obvious.

Out of Time Movie Poster

Out of Time
The Book of Atrix WolfeThe Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another wonderful book by Patricia A. McKillip. This one is a wonder of language, the way she puts words together to form sentences to make thoughts to tell the story. She paints pictures without rambling on incessantly. In my opinion, Ms. McKillip is probably one of the best fantasy authors writing today. There is nothing typical about her stories and they are not derivative of those fantasy authors who spawned the lot of fantasy we get all to often these days.

This book is the story of a mage who, in pain and horror, creates a horror to stave off an even worse one.

Link to

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Blah day

That's what I'm having. I just can't work up the interest to do anything. I've been playing those silly little games online and listening to music. I haven't had breakfast yet, never mind lunch. No first cup of coffee. I haven't even gotten dressed yet. Haven't combed my hair. Haven't brushed my teeth. Just being blah. Except now my bum is getting numb so I'm going to have to move about.

Sighing Smiley

Another minor cosmetic change

I reordered the sidebar a bit. Nothing drastic, but I wasn't terribly pleased with how it was before. I'm not altogether sure I like the change either. Oh, well, I must be having an artistically temperamental day . . .

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Speaking of the weather

My son said he had the A/C off and the windows open at home all day today. When I got home about 5:30-ish, the house was cool. I got online and checked the weather. It was 88F/31C with humidity of only 42%. I can't recollect ever having the A/C off and the windows open in August. That just doesn't happen here on the coast.

Traveling Smiley

Got bored

. . . so I changed how things look. I've tested the new look under IE 6.0, Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.7.1, and Firebird 0.9.2 running under Windows with the screen resolution set at 1024 x 768 on two different computers. I don't have access to a Mac and I don't know anyone who has a Mac so I have no way to test how things look on a Mac. Ditto for Linux. I'm mostly satisfied with the new look, but I would appreciate constructive criticism.

Witchy Smiley

Almost forgot . . . I call this layout/template Serenity One. The background and colors are based on one I have up at Graphics from Glynn Garthold called, you guessed it, Serenity 1.

Smiley Knight

He says he's looking for work

. . . and I'm going to take him at his word. Short of having my son followed 24/7, I have no choice but to do that. He says he hit grocery stores and all the little computer shops today and put in applications, and tomorrow he plans to hit the mall and the better class of restaurants in the area.

Walking Smiley

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

And speaking of D&D

FoxTrot by Bill Amend . . . snarf . . . no-limit Texas D&D.



arcanum \ar-KAY-nuhm\, noun;
plural arcana \-nuh\:
1. A secret; a mystery.
2. Specialized or mysterious knowledge, language, or information that is not accessible to the average person (generally used in the plural).

Arcanum is from the Latin, from arcanus "closed, secret," from arca, "chest, box," from arcere, "to shut in."

This reminded me of playing D&D . . . remember the Unearthed Arcana manual from TSR? I haven't played in very nearly two years and I've been missing it lately. Not so much the game play as the sitting around and BS-ing. That was always fun.

Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I do wonder who the elf in the woodpile is and what his claim to fame could be. I also wonder who Garth's other siblings are and why the only sister is so much worse than the any of the brothers. And poor Rannith . . . did he ever get his act together? And Jake and the Dragon Lady . . . did they ever . . . well, reproduce?

Well, heck and darn. I miss playing D&D. Sighing Smiley

Eerie reminder

I have an old Yahoo! email account that I set up years ago when I was into bowling. I also used it to set up reminders so that I wouldn't forget birthdays and anniversaries and such. Today I received a reminder that tomorrow would have been my niece's birthday. She would have been 7 years old. That was so strange. I felt . . . well, I'm not sure how I felt. I'd removed the calendar reminders from my Outlook in May when she died, but I just never thought to check that old Yahoo! account. And what's even worse, I just realized today is the 3rd month anniversary of her death.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Anglo-Saxon 'princess' shows face

Reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon woman's face

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Haircut

A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who
was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father
took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You
bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut
and we'll talk about it."

After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they
could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father's study
where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have
brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you
didn't get your hair cut!"

The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been
thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had
long hair, and even Jesus had long hair...."

To which his father replied, "Yes, and they walked everywhere they went!"

Yahoo! News - FCC Clears 'Buffy,' 'Grace' on Charges of Indecency

To quote from the article,

"The commission noted that there was no nudity and there was no evidence that the activity depicted was dwelled upon or was used to pander, titillate or shock the audience," the commission said in a release.

Grow up, people. I can decide for myself whether or not something offends me. I can also decide for myself what, if anything, I will do about it. I can also make that decision for children under my care, and since I believe in holding open discussions with children about topics most people wish vehemently did not exist, I would have discussed the ramifications of the particular Buffy episode the article references if I'd been dense enough to let anyone under 14 watch it in the first place. It was very obvious early on in the 6th season of Buffy that this season would not be appropriate for younger viewers. Heck, it was obvious that it wouldn't be particularly appropriate for any viewers.

The Cheeky Squirrel Network: Squirrel Name Generator

This is just too funny. As Seitherin, my squirrel name is Twitchy Crazy Whiskers. Using my real first name, I become the squirrel known as Furry Nutless.

Laughing Smiley



senescence \sih-NEH-suhn(t)s\, noun:
The state of being old; the process of growing old; aging.

Senescence is from Latin senescere, "to grow old," from senex, "old." It is related to senile. The adjective form is senescent.

Well, doesn't that just make a person feel special? Saw this first thing this morning and it just made this senescent person feel so young and spry.

Granpa Simpson

Monday, August 09, 2004

Kinda back . . .

I'm still recovering from that allergy bout I was hit with last Thursday. I'm still congested, but at that gummy state where it just doesn't go anywhere. (I know. Too much sharing.) I did spend 10 hours at work today and I have caught up with email and all the other minutiae that consumes my on-line life. Well . . . mostly.

Smiley feeling unwell

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sights Milky Way's 'twin'

I can't believe the government is going to let Hubble die. I know a newer, fancier telescope is supposed to take its place, but I'll believe that when I actually see it happen.

Green Alien Smiley Three Eyed Green Alien Smiley Green Alien Smiley

BBC NEWS | Americas | King Kong heroine is dead at 96

I can remember being a small child and watching the original King Kong on TV. I was mesmerized. I would still rather watch it than any remake.

Another legend has gone.

Weeping Smiley - Husband of child killer files for divorce - Aug 2, 2004

I cannot possibly convey the utter contempt with which I regard this man. I cannot possibly convey the utter contempt with which I regard the jury that found his wife guilty. And I cannot possibly convey the absolute contempt with which I regard the district attorney who did not file charges against this man for complicity in his children's deaths.

My fervent hope is that he hasn't already found some poor, brain dead fundamentalist whom he can keep barefoot and pregnant so the world can get a repeat of what has already happened once because of him.
The WildingThe Wilding by C.S. Friedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Link to

Friday, August 06, 2004

Returned from the vet

The kittens are still doing fine. They haven't yet reached the magic five pound weight that makes them 'adult' with regard to the flea prevention medication. Miss Muggles weighed in this time at a hefty 4 lbs 10 ozs. Mouse is lagging behind at 4 lbs 4 ozs. They go back in four weeks for the last feline leukemia shot and their first rabies shot. I suspect both will have hit the magic 5 lbs by then.

Hello Kitty

The truth will out

Yahoo! News - Bush misspeak cites U.S. readiness to harm U.S.

Just in case you haven't heard,

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Don't look now, Mr. Bush, but your Freudian slip is showing.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | The stakes are too high to sit this out

Bruce Springsteen, Vote for Change:

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

Sick again

Just like last time except with the added benefit of having lost my voice. I came home from work just before lunchtime today, had some water and crackers, and then fell asleep. I've only been awake for . . . well, it's been two hours now. I can deal with being sick but the kind of sore throat that makes the insides of your ears itch is driving me crazy.

Crazy Smiley

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Fiennes named as Potter villain

My, my, my. I guess whatever problems or trepidation Ralph Fiennes had about committing to a recurring role in the Potter films has been resolved. I can't wait for either the new book or the next movie to be out. I'm like a spoilt, selfish child . . . I want them NOW!

Wizard Smiley

Adventure Is the New Boredom

This is a wonderfully scathing, literate review of the movie Van Helsing. To quote from the review,

We'’re in an age, cinematically speaking, in which special effects have evolved into a form of pornography, when the design of a good many movies is merely a series of money shots linked by scenes that (for the most part) crudely seek to build the audience’s anticipation.

So true. Seemingly more often, we get visual stimulation without the benefit of a story.



bloviate \BLOH-vee-ayt\, intransitive verb:
To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

Bloviate is from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.

Trivia: Bloviate is closely associated with U.S. President Warren G. Harding, who used it frequently and who was known for long, windy speeches. H.L. Mencken said of him, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Monster day at work and other stuff

It was another one of those monster days at work where you don't have time to think, never mind breathe. Smiley smashing computer There weren't any new virus infections to fight, but we did have an awful lot of computers that had to be built up. I now know more about Windows 98SE than I did when I was actually using it as an OS on my computer. I've also gotten pretty good at configuring Windows 2000 and XP to play nicely with our network both wired and wireless. About the only thing I haven't done is take one of those babies apart and try to put it back together again. I suspect I would fail miserably if I tried that.

Smiley on computer screen

Nothing electronic or mechanical stopped working at home today so I didn't have to replace anything or send it off for repair. Maybe the solar flares I've been blaming for my run of bad luck have finally diminished and nothing will break for a while.

Rayed Smiley

The unemployed progeny still hasn't found employment though he did go to the dentist to get the last wisdom tooth pulled and the last two cavities filled. He's done until November when he has to go back for a cleaning. I, however, start my stint with the dentist next month. I shudder to think what has to be done to get my mouth in shape.

Smiley missing a tooth

I had the second disk from the second season of Alias waiting for me from Unfortunately, there is some kind of damage to the disk that prevented almost all of the third episode on the disk from playing. Fortunately, I found an Alias site that has a fairly decent episode guide so I read about what I missed. I am really enjoying watching this show. It is definitely one of the better things on the boob tube. It gets three thumbs up from me.

Thumbs up Smiley Thumbs up Smiley Thumbs up Smiley

That pretty much takes care of life today. I'm off to bed . . .

Sleeping Smiley

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

It must be solar flares . . .

I get the car fixed yesterday Clapping Smiley and what happens today? The microwave stops working Weeping Smiley and had to be replaced. Fortunately, Target had microwaves on sale and I got a small one, though bigger and more powerful than the one I had, for only $45 Two Smileys making a toast. I'm putting this run of really bad mechanical luck down to solar flares. They've got to be blamed for something. It just wouldn't be fair if something wasn't their fault.

The Onion | CIA Asks Bush to Discontinue Blog

Laughing Smiley

Ooh, ooh, I almost forgot . . .

The A/C in my car is finally fixed. It went into the shop yesterday morning and came out yesterday afternoon blowing cold air just like it's supposed to. I am such a happy little camper.

Sunshine Smiley Clapping Smiley

BBC NEWS | Americas | US terror plot intelligence 'old'

Not only is it old, but there appears to be nothing going on that anyone has picked up on to indicate that any of those plots are even actively being pursued.

BBC NEWS | Health | Womb flu link to schizophrenia

I found the article interesting. What I wonder is how people conceive the notion to study whether or not something has an effect on something else when there doesn't appear to be a reason to connect the two things in the first place. I guess I just don't have an appropriately inquisitive mind or intuitive bent to make such left field jumps.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Net virus posing as Berg video

OK, this is the epitome of scum. As low as my opinion of virus writers is, this plummets it to new depths. There are not enough bad words in the English language to convey the utter contempt with which I regard these people.

The Lost Balloonist

A man piloting a hot-air balloon discovers he has wandered far off course and is hopelessly lost. He descends to a lower altitude and locates a man down on the ground. He lowers the balloon to within hearing distance and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "Yes, you're in a hot-air balloon, about thirty feet above this field."

"You must work in information technology," says the balloonist.

"Yes, I do," replies the man. "And how did you know that?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "what you told me is technically correct, but of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must work in management."

"I do," replies the balloonist, "how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect my immediate help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's somehow my fault!"

ABQjournal: Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

"You can't come hear me speak unless you're already on my side and you're willing to sign to prove it." Makes sense.

Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer | The Arizona Daily Star

Racial profiling at its best.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Putt's Law

"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."