Notice that the archives links on the right now go back to September 2003. The migration of my old posts from HTML to SQL is moving along pretty quickly, I think. For reference, I won’t be correcting the internal links within the posts until I’m done. I’m also consolidating the rants and road trips into the journal entries so everything will be nice and chronological, but I’ll still have a page that links to them directly as well.

I’m hoping to finish up this project before all my school-related stuff gets too nasty. I fear I may have overcommitted myself a bit this semester.

The Week

It’s been a week of insanity, complete with 18-hour workdays, augmented by homework and one big family gathering on Sunday. I’m pretty well worn out and not really ready to start the whole thing over again this morning. This week should be slightly calmer, though. I think.

A few weeks from now, when I’ve lost all brain function, someone please remind me of how all this extra stuff I’ve taken on this year is really good for my career, OK?

Photos from our annual “It’s the Weekend After Labor Day” cookout, held Sunday in the lovely subterranean 1968 Room of MurderingStream Estates:

Dogs and Websites

Don’t you hate it when the damned dog won’t get off the bed?

Should you be getting bored with the lack of any meaningful commentary here lately maybe you should visit the hubby’s nicely-remodeled site. He’s saying more than I am these days…

Randomly Friday

Randomly Friday:

  • Since one of my primary professional passions is making old newspaper archives available online, this is pretty exciting to me. I’m a little disappointed that the demo suggests there will be no built-in mechanism either for printing or saving the content in question, but it’s still better than nothing. I assume the print and save restrictions are part of the copyright agreement wit ProQuest and (presumably) with the original publishers.
  • Warning to candidates: don’t mess around with librarians. We will fuck you up. Or at least cause you mild embarrassment in a relatively polite and professional manner.
  • Speaking of libraries (sort of), I ran across this interesting book in my local one the other night. It’s a good read; the author derides such modern “geniuses” as LeCorbusier, Sert, and Gehry among others not merely for having needlessly expensive and  ridiculous-looking buildings that don’t integrate with their surroundings, but also for designing buildings that don’t even serve their stated purposes well, either because of generally bad design or through astronomical maintenance requirements. It might be worth owning, methinks.
  • The crazy week is over. I still have a lot of work hanging over my head, but I may be able to sneak out for a little drive this weekend, assuming gas prices don’t jump a dollar or so over the weekend like they did during Katrina.

The Gas Panic Has Begun

Since there obviously will be no gas anywhere on the planet by the end of the weekend, the lines have started to form here in the Triad. The Texaco station on Silas Creek Parkway where I bought gas on the way home last night for $3.59 was up to $4.19 by tonight. I think I’ll probably skip that little road trip tomorrow.

I just heard some guy on CNN say that “the Gulf of Mexico has become very agitated”, which struck me as a rather odd turn of phrase. By the way, Larry King’s is not really the voice I want to hear leading live team coverage of a crisis. And isn’t it time CNN got some new dramatic hurricane music? They’re using the same stuff they used during Katrina, and frankly I’m ready for a change.

Videolog: El Gato y Yo

Amanda Miguel
El Gato y Yo, 1984

I usually don’t include these “fake” videos from YouTube, but I heard this song the other night on La Preciosa, and I really liked it in a “Nina Hagen on pop overload and in Spanish” kind of way. The only legitimate videos I could find were assorted live versions with crappy sound quality, so there you have it…

Randomly Monday

This one definitely gets the “coolest abandoned house we saw in a microscopic North Carolina town this weekend” award. I crave it. It’s sagging in many of the same places I am, so I feel a certain kinship. Mark was home for the weekend, which is an increasingly rare treat these days. Until you don’t have the opportunity to do it on a regular basis, you forget how nice it is just to sit around watching TV and sitting on the living room floor playing with your toys with the boy you love. This nightmare commute is going to have to end soon, because I won’t be able to stand to seeing him (or me) so miserable for very much longer. More random Monday stuff:

  • Notice that the old journal entries are migrated into WordPress as far back as August 2002 now. I haven’t worked on this project for a week or so because life has been so hectic, but I envision a few free minutes on Tuesday in which I might tackle some of the older stuff.
  • Spent a few hours in Asheville on Saturday. I was sort of surprised when Mark suggested it, seeing as how he’s not a fan of the place. Maybe he wanted to give it a second chance. If so, it didn’t work. He’s right, though. It’s a pretty place and all, but it’s annoying as hell.
  • Sorry. We might have stopped by, but we thought you were still hurricane-watching in Houston.
  • Just out of curiosity, has anyone out there used iWork? Any thoughts on the spreadsheet application?
  • Off to one of my five jobs now. And that means off to Greensboro for the second time today.

At Yum Yum

Yum Yum is this ice cream and hot dog joint in Greensboro. I grew up snacking there. In fact, most of Greensboro grew up snacking there; I think the place opened in 1906. Since it’s also located pretty much in the middle of UNCG, it draws a large and loyal crowd of varying ages.

Lately, my schedule has taken me there in the late afternoon, when the crowd tends to be older.  I was watching a couple this afternoon, a man of about 70, and his wife or girlfriend, who looked older but was probably about the same age. She looked very much like the stereotypical retired librarian, rather plain and shy and conservatively-dressed. I got the feeling she didn’t smile very often, and that she felt a little embarrassed about it any time she did. I got the impression that she didn’t get an awful lot of joy out of life anymore, but that going to Yum Yum and having a hot dog and a Cheerwine, followed by some ice cream, was probably one of the few things that completely filled her with happiness, even if only briefly.

I rather liked her, and I felt strangely protective of her, too. It struck me that if anyone were to do anything to cast any sort of shadow over her happy moment, I might have to hurt him. She deserved to enjoy every minute of her outing, and nothing was allowed to ruin it for her.

I’m not sure why I felt so attached to this woman. Maybe she made me think of my own mother, who really doesn’t resemble her in any way, but who seems increasingly sad and depressed herself lately. I wonder where or how (or if) she finds her own happy moments these days. I took her to Yum Yum one night a few weeks back, hoping I could help her find one.

I also wonder if I’ll be the same way later in life — if I’ll get to some dark point where my final days seem much closer than they do right now, and where I can’t find much to look forward to or get excited about myself. I really hope that if I do, Mark will occasionally take me out to Yum Yum and feed me ice cream and hot dogs. It makes the prospect of aging a lot less scary.

Sunday Afternoon

Another Sunday afternoon at my little website factory in Winston-Salem. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on such a big pile of changes that will never be noticed by most users. I’ve spent two days fixing my department’s website, repairing dead (or badly-constructed) links and giving some logic and rationality to the file structure and the stylesheet. At least it will make my future life easier. That’s the important thing, right?

I haven’t really left the house much all weekend. Maybe it’s some ingrained fear, left over from my years in San Francisco, of running into thousands of lukewarm leatherettes outside my front door during the last weekend in September. Or maybe I just had a lot of work to do.

But my friend Duncan did surprise me this morning with a phone call inviting me out to lunch. This was particularly unexpected since Duncan lives in upstate New York. Hell of a commute just for lunch at the cafeteria, huh? And I ventured out for a little while looking at, but not purchasing, some new monitors.

Maybe a Paul Newman movie after dinner…


I hate lawyers.

I don’t, really.  I have in-laws and friends who are lawyers, and I don’t hate them. I guess what I really hate is the sort of institutionalized bureaucracy and down right idiocy to which some lawyers are more prone than are members of the general public. Like today, for example, when I had to drive to Reidsville to pick up a personal item from my uncle’s estate. The firm told me it was much too large to ship, so I had to come pick it up and sign some papers while I was there. I made an appointment for 1:00 today, because that was the least objectionable time for me this week.

Of course they “lost” the appointment, and when I called to say I’d be about five minutes late dute to misjudging my travel time, they asked if I could come later this afternoon instead. I informed them that I’d already driven an hour to get to Reidsville from Winston-Salem, and I had no intention of lurking around for a few hours with nothing to do but sit downtown and watch the rednecks stroll by. So they said I could come on in.

When I arrived, I saw that this “big” item was in a surprisingly small box that would’ve cost between five and seven bucks to ship to me.  The item itself was of minimal value. Thus, I wasted almost three hours, and between fifteen and twenty bucks in gas to complete a transaction that could have been handled for the price of seven dollars and two faxes. No wonder it’s taken fifteen months to settle this relatively simple estate if everything they do is this bloody convoluted. I shudder to think how many hours of this shit they’ll be billing for and how much of the final amount they’ll wind up with.