"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast. I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman

:malicious user:

Sunday, August 31, 2003

on becoming stupider

friday i had to open up an application i designed two years ago to see if i could modify it for a new user. mind you, i hadn't looked at this app since it was originally released. to my surprise and relief, the code was well documented, and it only took me a few minutes to figure out how to give the user what she had requested. but as i reviewed the logic in the app, i couldn't help thinking "how did i think of this?" i got the eery feeling that if i had to design the same program today, i wouldn't have been able to come up with as elegant a solution as i did back then.

to the same end, i recently posted some of my old poetry on art conspiracy (see link at right; i'm max) for no particular reason. looking over my poems and moreso my short fiction, i kept thinking "i wrote this?". because i don't think i could write like that these days. if you're bored, then you tell me: three of the pieces on artcon are old; two are more recent. do you see a difference?

i imagine this is the mental equivalent of not exercising. the problem solving and vocabulary mucscles are getting flabby. i guess watching jeopardy each night just isn't enough to keep the brain in shape.
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Saturday, August 30, 2003

bizarrely, traffic was better today than on most weekends, and i only wished for the hood-mounted laser cannon when the idiot in the uhaul decided he didn't have an EZPass ten feet from the toll booth. The kids and i had much fun at the playground, and the rain held off until the end of our visit. for the record, the soundtrack consisted of todd snider, stereolab, and (thanks to cristina and sorin) tangerine dream. it brings me no end of pleasure to see my kids enjoying german electronica in the backseat whilst we commute from burger king to the park.
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Friday, August 29, 2003

in a cheap effort to increase traffic, i may steal an idea from the IA and post a rant about how i hate skinny people, how i used to be skinny so i know all about it, how no one really likes skinny people, etc.

no, that's probably a bad idea...
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and for those who asked, i've started a "100 things" list.
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tomorrow i get to make my bimonthly 61-mile trek to jersey to see my kids for five hours. in labor-day traffic. you just know i'm looking forward to that trip. if anyone's feeling generous, feel free to overnight me that hood-mounted laser cannon.

or, take a look at either list over there under "obsessive behavior" and make a recommendation or two as to what music i should bring along for the ride.
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Thursday, August 28, 2003

i'm having an uptight day. my department and our rival
counterpart IT group are now in the second week of blamestorming about why one
of our applications is not performing at top efficiency. what hits the fan will
not be evenly distributed.


yesterday i fried my lava lamp. after 9 months of darkness, i put in a new
bulb. 40w boils the oil, and the lava in it. it looked like the exploding shark
scene in the finale of jaws. today i replaced it with a 25w. it seems to be
recovering.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

i lied. small blogging.

actual text of an email from a field employee having trouble with the "e" key sticking on her laptop:

"Wow, theee probleem is geetiing worsee as I continuee to typee today. It is unbeliveeeable how many eee's theereee aree in eeach seenteence. Leet mee know how you want to proceeeed. "
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no blogging today. my brain is full.
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Monday, August 25, 2003

5-question interview

My interview questions were posed by hippoblogopus and are answered after the interview rules. The rules for joining in are simple and are as follows:

1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions--each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


1. If you could be the leader of any country outside of Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and Australia, what country would you want to lead?

Probably one of the British isles, likely Wales, since there is Welsh blood in my family. The only problem being that I'd have to give up vowels. But I guess that's Western Europe now, isn't it? Ok, maybe this question is a little limiting...

2. If you were to be inserted into the reality of any television show, what show would you most hate to be inserted into?

Any of the reality tv shows involving voting or dating. i can't stand the proximity of that much human insipidity and shallowness. or maybe cops. or the nanny.

3. If you were a professional wrestler, what finishing move would you be famous for?

The Mad Dog Belly Button Bifurcation Wedgie of Death.

4. If you could instantly become an expert on any musical instrument that you currently cannot play, what instrument would you choose?

This is hard. I love music, and cannot play anything other than the radio. By turns, I am fascinated with guitar, drums, keyboards, and violin. In the end, I would have to go with guitar, wanting to be as versatile as say michael hedges, robert fripp, al dimeola, terje rypdal, john abercrombie, or bill frissell. but even given this wish, i would always look longingly at a keyboard everytime i heard bach.

5. If all landlords can be divided into two categories, the Mr. Ropers and the Mr. Furleys, which would you prefer as your landlord? (If you're not familiar with "Three's Company," I apologize for this question; let me know if you'd like a different one.)

Roper easily. I enjoy a good deadpan. I've had a Furley. I once found him suspended from the roof by a rope tied about his waist.
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Saturday, August 23, 2003

three reasons why i am pathetic:

3. today i drove several hours to visit dreesen's excelsior market in east hampton, having seen them on a tv special about the country's best donuts. it was a beautiful day for a drive, and that was half the reason for the ride. j, mouse, mouse-spawn and i braved the summer hampton traffic, passing several giant inflatable ears of corn (how do you spell "tacky"?) and the newest automotive status symbols (cooper mini and hummer h2) along the way, to finally arrive and purchase what were definitely unremarkable donuts.

2. i could not finish my pint of Ommegang Hennepin Belgian Ale last night. it too was not as great as i expected. there are several raves for the fruitiness of this ale. it was good, but damn if my palate can discern any hint of cherry, raisin, or plum. on my defense, i uncorked the pint bottle (yes, it is corked, as are many belgian-style beers) after finishing a Magic Hat Hocus Pocus.

and the number one reason i am pathetic:

1. unable to finish the pint bottle of above-said ale, i used one of mouse-spawn's rubber bottle nipples to reseal the bottle.
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my current nightmare: fran drescher guest-starring on the chipmunks musical bonanza special.
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good god, now they're singing "wooly bully". i may have to kill myself instead.
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mouse has "the chipmunks" on the tube for the baby's amusement. i think i'm gonna have to go kill a rodent soon. or unplug the tv. but probably kill a rodent.
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Friday, August 22, 2003

76% humidity. please lord, let those thundershowers come. a few bottles of magic hat hocus pocus and some belgian style ale from cooperstown are chilling in the fridge. i picked up some red onion to go with the bbq beef, and some yogurt & bananas for dessert. could be a fine evening, gastronomically speaking.

one of the first blogs i visited, and still visit daily, is Squirrels Pinnacle. i find krip's opinions and meanderings entertaining and sometimes thought provoking. i've noticed the majority of male bloggers that i visit regularly are british. i've started to wonder is that because brits are better writers, or do they just represent a larger percentage of male bloggers?

krip has also made me notice that we are indeed two countries separated by a common language. between himself and Scaryduck, i've hit upon numerous occasions that caused me to reread a sentence several times so i could discern the meaning of a word or phrase. i wonder if the brits have the same experience with american bloggers?

it was an experience learning to speak and interpret Southern when j and i met. for example, to put something away in the south is to "put it up", even if you have to dig a three foot hole in the ground to put it there. then there are buggies in the supermarket, whereas up north we have carts - buggies are for babies or for squishing. do denizens of northern england and southern england have the same colloquialistic barriers? maybe krip will see this and let me know. or maybe he'll just call me a twunt.
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it's 85 degrees with a heat index of 92, expected to go up to 94. it is my last friday off for the summer, and the air is too liquid to venture outside for anything more strenous than checking the mail. i think it is time to venture to the beer distributor. dinner is cooking in the crockpot (bbq beef sandwiches with gahhhlic pita chips & salsa). it's gonna be one of those days where going from the chair to the fridge requires a nap afterwards.
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Thursday, August 21, 2003

anatomy of a teleconference:

2:00 c and i dial in. we are the first attendees to do so.
2:10 last attendees dial in. as there is no agenda provided, the project leader starts by asking the consultants to explain the purpose of the upcoming phase of the project, phase X, which we have currently amassed some 700 pages in preparation for. the three consultants begin their explanation.
2:15 the debating begins on who is responsible for what. people remain polite.
2:25 the debate begins to run slightly askew. we are no longer talking about phase X. we are back to discussing phase X-3. conversation moves from discussion of policy to expressing opinions. tones of voice rise slightly. i quietly begin to work on another project. c is shaking his head sadly.
2:35 the consultant proffers an answer to the purpose of phase X. four attendess verbally attack this answer. we are now back at ground zero, except we're 30 minutes older. and a little irate.
2:40 people are now interrupting one another. the word "crazy" is used.
2:55 that deathly silence that characterizes the worst marital arguments descends upon the group for a full 2 minutes. c is flipping through a book of album cover art that i keep in my office for these occasions.
2:57 debate resumes on phase X-3. the discussion has taken on a definite "potshot" flavor.
3:07 i complete my other project. c excuses himself.
3:10 the topic is tabled. all parties excuse themselves admidst nervous laughter and comments with that tone of "i'm sorry i insinuated you are an idiot."
3:15 email arrives scheduling the followup meeting. there is no agenda attached.
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i just used the word "clusterf*ck" in an interoffice email. probably not a good move.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

this just in:

Good Afternoon, Please be advised that on Thursday, August 21, 2003, Facilities will be replacing the rooftop air conditioning for the Bio Lab and the Invitro Lab. We will be lowering the temperature in those areas tonight so that we can keep the area comfortable to work in tomorrow.

what this means: as the temperature tomorrow is expected to hit 87°, the temperature in the lab will be about 3° when you come in tomorrow morning, and make its way up to 120° by two pm, at which point you will be able to fry eggs on your computer monitor. prepare wisely and dress in layers. wear that nice parka you got from gramma last winter, when we had three feet of snow. it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare biologic samples with your arms encased in four inches of down. beneath that an irish sweater or two, then a flannel shirt, a tee-shirt, a wife-beater shirt, and finally a string bikini. with a little luck, by the time you get to the bikini stage you might have the opportunity to see a sweaty beer-bellied HVAC worker fall through the ceiling from trying to glimpse your cleavage through the air vents. expect to leave early, as the combination of heat stroke and poorly ventilated chemical fumes should have you passed out by 3 in the afternoon.

guys: the bikini part applies only to the women. any guy caught wearing a speedo will be stuffed into the sharps container with a broom handle.

thank you, and have a pleasant day.
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other jobs i'd like to have #978: package designer. my two cents on the inane instructions on commonplace consumer products: i understand that the 'roids-raging-ape-resistant closure (i.e., child safety cap) on your prescription drugs needs directions on how to do the double-back half-gainer under a full moon whilst hopping on one leg to open the bottle. but someday when i am designing the graphics for, say, a baked good company, i am going to create a box that reads "if you can't figure out how to get to the donuts, then you deserve to starve".

oh, and admit it: anything containing sugar does not need to be resealed. just finish the package like you really wanted to.
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so our ireland operation contacts me because they moved an application from one server to another and now it's broken (the app, not the server). i created this app back in 2000, sent it over with my coworker Dog, and it's worked charmingly ever since. until now.
this is low-budget tech support, no net meeting, no pc-anywhere; we're communicating by email. our first q&a volley reveals that the obvious solutions aren't going to work. so i have to bring up my copy from the archives and look around. unfortunately the app is password protected, with the same password that was assigned to the original version sent to dublin. and they changed it upon installing the app in 2000. and i didn't write it down, because i don't write down passwords...the instructions (written by me) give the admin username, but not the password, because i gave that to Dog verbally when i gave him the install disc.
so...what password would i give to the application going to dublin...that Dog would not forget?...


"beer" got me right in.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

this is essential reading.
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thankyousirmayihaveanother?

today i journeyed to speak with esq. kapp, a bankruptcy lawyer. the short version of the story being that i cannot file ch. 7 because my car is worth too much, and i cannot file ch. 13 because i don't make enough to pay my creditors. of course, if i could pay the creditors, i wouldn't have been in mr. kapp's office to begin with now, would i? i came home to find an invitation from d. to see steely dan this friday at the beach. i responded with a thank you, but explained that i can't afford spit or sand right now. i'm thinking a hefty loan against my 401k may be a solution. oh, the consequences of my misspent youth. actually, this is the consequence of my misspent marriage. i can't even say i enjoyed digging this hole. :(

today j and i are mousespawn-sitting whilst mouse is off at ozzfest. actually, j is doing the sitting, i'm just decoration. mushrooms are marinating for their starring role in tonight's dinner (costarring swiss cheese and burgers on kaiser rolls), and that's all i know...
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Monday, August 18, 2003

ok, so i've been doing this blog thing for about 10 days. i've got the blogroll, the random link thing. fine. i'd truly like to allow comments, so that IF anyone ever reads this stuff and feels like telling me how incredibly insipid and inaccurate i am about whatnot, they can. but every friggin' comment service seems to have shut down ten minutes before i click the link to their page. so if you want to play the feedback game, email me.

iamadonut posted from KAZAKHSTAN today, but of course my brain only picked up on his comment about mike oldfield's 30th anniversary version of tubular bells (you know, the exorcist theme). it got me thinking: what is an artist's intent when s/he repeats, virtually down to the last detail, an existing piece of his/her own work? we have sequelitis in books and movies, and now more and more in music (dark side of the moog vol. 9, anyone?). but to completely rerecord an existing work - is this more than self-indulgence; or what happens when the need for income is foiled by the lack of new ideas?

[speaking of the dark side of the moon and rerecording, i now have about five versions of that piece, including a dub recording.]

anyway, d met his ladyfriend and they had a good time, so i'm happy for them. mouse took mouse-spawn to the doctor today and he is a healthy 4-month old. optonline is still recovering from the blackout and our tv mostly looks like rainbow sherbert in a blender, and that's all for now.
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Sunday, August 17, 2003

wild sky tonight. there was a late afternoon shower, and afterwards the horizon was a brilliant electric blue; but everywhere else were purple, orange, and every shade of grey cloud imaginable. the streetlights just coming on added a truly surreal touch. i felt like i was in a maxfield parrish print.
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blogs i enjoyed today: Offscourings
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working on this template. the hardest part being content.

happy moments from yesterday:
seeing my kids and realizing they're growing up into happy, cool people despite their parents.
laying on the couch with j watching a completely stupid made for cable movie.

less than happy moments from yesterday:
hearing some guy absolutely screaming obsenities into his cell phone and getting a really bad deja vu from it.
dealing with my kids' mother at the end of an otherwise very enjoyable day with them (the kids, not their mother)
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Friday, August 15, 2003

all is well again; power restored. slsk working.

took j and mouse to dinner tonight, 'cause they'd been stuck in the heat all day and because i didn't quite trust the food in the fridge anymore (furry salsa should cause those little mental alarms to trigger). on the way, we passed a place called Pet Supplies Plus. mouse wanted to know if that was a pet supply store for plus-size animals, sort of a Lane Bryant for dogs and cats. she got a steak that was blue when she cut into it. i know it was the USDA stamp leaching into the fat, but we still teased her about eating Babe the Blue Ox.
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just called home: no power. i'm now convinced we're the only home on long island that LIPA hasn't gotten to yet.
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i apparently live in the 1% area of long island that still has no power. what are the odds?
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still no power at my office, so i've been sent to a different location. had to take the truck, since the honda was too low on gas to make the trip. no power at home either. expecting improvements by noon. check this space.
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the power has been out for five and a half hours now. this is the largest blackout in new york in 25 years. according to mayor bloomberg via the transistor radio, power is coming back on, and should be restored by morning. it's been a very understated affair. the nine mile drive home from work (the work day ended abruptly with a kind of phhhzzztttzzzing sound) took an hour and a half, but there was no horn blowing, no sense of aggression.

i cooked dinner on the kettle grill outside. that was interesting. i had plain charcoal and no lighter fluid. i first borrowed some quick lighting charcoal from a neighbor, who was already dining on grilled chicken; when that proved fruitless, i drove down to the bodega for lighter fluid. i believe this stuff was older than dirt; it certainly had all the combustible characteristics of soil. eventually i sacrified my right thumb to the god of first degree burns, and was rewarded with a tray of grey ash suitable for cooking five burgers.

mouse had slowly been going through civilization withdrawal, with no tv and gasp no computer. she has deteriorated since the last daylong outage in virginia (thanks to hurrican bonnie), when she read an entire book by candlelight. this time she didn't fare so well. eating by candlelight in a very hot livingroom, she degenerated into giggles as the entire contents of the ketchup bottle leapt over her burger onto her plate. after a brief period of rocking back and forth with her arms wrapped around her knees, she managed to choke down dinner.

the lack of power has had the benefit of removing virtually all of the light pollution from the burbs. i spent a while outside enjoying the rare sight of stars and planets - finally, i get to see mars - it's been overcast all month. then a bat chased me inside.

i read mouse and j a tale from an ambrose bierce anthology, which would have been creepier had the ice cream truck not gone jingling by in the middle of storytime. according to the radio, 15 percent of long island has had power restored, and the rest should be done by morning.

i feel bad for d, who was supposed to meet a ladyfriend flying in from texas for the weekend. i have no idea if the flight was cancelled or not. they've been talking by phone, and this was to be the first time they'd met in person. guess i'll find out tomorrow.
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Thursday, August 14, 2003

Called Michael Eisner's office yesterday to complain about Disney's plan to market disposable DVDs. There. Did my part for the environment for the month.
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this pretty much sums things up here in the R&D group. thanks, george.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

i'm at work and i'm not happy to be here at all.
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new template, courtesy of Jason Shellen of www.shellen.com
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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

bloghopping, found this one [ i am a donut ], which i love just for the name. look it up. jfk goofed.
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well, that didn't work this is wonderful.

and in unrelated news, how the hell do you have a "brisk" tea?
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Saturday, August 09, 2003

things not to say if you're a character in a monster movie:

"looks dead to me"
"i'll be right back"
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Friday, August 08, 2003

jeopardy good. wheel of fortune bad.

someone is trying to drive me crazy be rearranging my cooking utensils.
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been trying to figure out the attraction of blogging, more to rationalize doing it than for any sociological reasons. spent a few hours looking at blogs on blogspot. most of what i saw revolved around U.S. politics at home and military presense abroad. i don't see a need for another.

perhaps the draw of a public journal is simply the purging, the catharsis effect. whatever the inspiration, here goes.
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Thursday, August 07, 2003

toe in water...
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i used to be disgusted. now i try to be amused.
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