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Archive for May, 2003

What does this say about me?

May 29, 2003 Leave a comment

I saw this over on ‘s LJ, so I thought I’d give it a shot with my name.

F – Everyone loves you.
L – Love is a hard word for you to comprehend.
O – You are very open-minded.
U – You feel like you have to equal up to people’s standards.
N – You like to work, but you always want a break.
D – You have trouble trusting people.
E – You are a very exciting person.
R – You are a social butterfly.

I was going “OK, maybe accurate, though a couple are a bit far off the mark…” then I hit “E” and “R” and concluded “This thing’s worth jack-all when it comes to describing me.” At least, it is when it’s describing my alias. ;-)

Time for fun with my real name.

You are not judgmental.
You have a bad temper sometimes.
You are a social butterfly.
You definitely have a partier side in you, don’t be shy to show it.

Sticking with the “Jack-all” judgement.

Moment of Zen
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Bad Trip Ahead for Dutch Joint Joints

Categories: Personal

To get an all-in-one, or decrease the odds of something failing and taking everything else out….

May 29, 2003 Leave a comment

Decisions, decisions. Always tough, when it comes to me spending my money on something my subconcious is tempted to label as “frivolous”. To wit, I’m buying a new TV, DVD player and VCR. Or I’m buying a combo deal, where I get a TV/DVD/VCR all in one. After moving twice in one year, I tempted to go with an all-in-one (less to pack up again, for one thing,) except for the seductive cry of “Something will break! Something will breeeak…” The money’s not helping either, since I’m able to find combo deals that come out to about the same money as buying them all separately.

On top of that, like I said my subconcious tends to label most expensive entertainment equipment as “frivolous” and demands to pay absurdly low prices for them. (Same tends to go for computer equipment as well, which is why I have mostly older computer equipment. Which is fine, as long as I have my lovely, lovely PowerBook.) Most vendors aren’t down with this approach to shopping, so I generally don’t get stuff that I can’t justify to myself. This is why I don’t have an iPod. Or a G4. Or a gigantic plasma screen. OK, the last is because if I had $7,000 to spare, it’d go towards paying off the car or the downpayment on a house. On the other hand, I had no problem whipping out the charge card to pay $350 to get my PowerBook’s LCD screen fixed after it got smashed last month.

Current frontrunner to “I want to be Flounder’s next TV!”: Emerson 27-inch TV/VCR/DVD Player Combo – $357.00

Moment of Zen
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Dogs You Shouldn’t Name ‘Lucky’

Categories: Personal

It's a large apartment complex, you'd think the friggin' electric company would have heard of it.

May 27, 2003 Leave a comment

I was trying to sign up my apartment’s utilities tonight around 7PM. Verizon’s closed (no biggie), Comcast was closed (also, no biggie), got signed up just fine for my gas and then I tried signing up for my electricity. No go. “Is your complex new? Are you in a house?” No record could be found for my place. Gah. I’m going to have to get the electric meter number (or rather, the maintenance guy is) so that I can call back and get myself hooked up. I can live without a phone, or cable, or even gas temporarily (its for the range and heating) but I can’t live without electricity. Gah. Gah. Double gah.

The apartment complex will be getting a call tomorrow. It’s no big deal, I just wanted to get it finished.

Moment of Zen
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Sign of the Times: Love on a Billboard

Categories: Personal

My car is a wonderful car….

May 26, 2003 Leave a comment

Because it didn’t snap in two today. I loaded it up with about five hundred pounds worth of my stuff and drove it from Knoxville, TN to Germantown, MD. I also got a garage to stick my stuff in, so I don’t have it cluttering up my guest suite plus I didn’t have to carry anything more than a few feet before I could put it down. Since I had some *really* heavy boxes as well as a 78 lbs. 20″ computer monitor, this is a Good Thing.

My replacement Airport base station also showed up today. Yay! No more wires! loaned me her dial-up info, so I’m hooked up to the internet and happy. Tonight I’ll be watching “Russia: Land of the Tsars” on the History Channel. Blood, idiocy and Romanovs. My day is complete.

Moment of Zen
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Mother Fined for Child’s Fear of Dentist

I worry about the Germans, some days….

Categories: Personal

Exploding newspaper machines at NIH.

May 25, 2003 Leave a comment

A newspaper machine, singular, if you want to get fussy about it. The first I knew about it came as I was walking back from Building 50 and heard this loud metallic-souding *THUD*. It scared me because I didn’t know what it was. Looking around, I didn’t see anybody running around screaming or carrying on, so I figured that it wasn’t anything (yet) to worry about.

When I got back to the office, I discovered an email informing everyone that the Medical Center Metro station was closed “until further notice.” Crap. I have no way home now. In subsequent emails, I learned that a suspicious package had been discovered and had been blown up. The rumor mill (as always, operating at speeds exceeding light) said that one of the guards had seen a package inside one of the newspaper machines and had immediately cleared the area. Once it was cleared, the bomb squad came in and blew the guts out of a Montgomery Journal newspaper machine……and the bag of garbage someone had stuffed in it. Once they reopened the Metro station at 5 (just in time for me to go home), I walked past the newspaper machine. It looked like a pirate ship had sailed by and sent a cannonball straight through it.

On the plus side, no bomb.

Moment of Zen
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Miniature Dogs Chase Off Flasher

Categories: Personal

Moving. Again with the packing and the stuffing and the "What is this?"

May 22, 2003 Leave a comment

Moving myself and all my stuff. This is the second time I’ve done this since last September, you’d think I’d be better at it. You’d really think I’d have an easy time of it, since I’m leaving a lot of my stuff for charity (the big things, like my scarred bureau and my dismasted canopy bed that I inherited from my sister) and only taking the things I can realistically load, stuff, trample and mangle into my car. I mean, I’m buying a lot of my stuff all over again. I’m moving into a smaller place. Why is this hard?

I think it’s because I’m feeling a little rootless. Work, I feel rooted. The commute’s becoming that thing I do in the morning easily enough. But I’m living in a guest suite. I think I’ll feel more stable once I’m moved in, settled, signed up for various utilities and can get wireless broadband and my server going again. My books too. Once I get my library moved, that’s when a house becomes a home for me.

Of course, I still need to get all that stuff moved. Fun. Good thing I’ve been buying mainly ebooks lately, I’m probably saving myself about fifty pounds.

Moment of Zen
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They’re Flocking to See ‘Python Boy’

Categories: Personal

No more Buffy? Jords is disconsolate.

May 20, 2003 Leave a comment

I admit, I’ve never really been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a fun show to watch. My favorite character in it is probably Xander (poor guy wound up a bricklayer with no superpowers. And he lost an eye.) But a fan? Nah. That being said, I will be watching the final episode tonight because I know my sister will be. I’ll be doing it because it’s a good feeling that, despite the fact that I’m now seven or so hours away from Jords, we can still do things together.

The current rumblings I’ve been following from the blogsphere involve this report from John Kampfner of the BBC suggesting that the Jessica Lynch rescue was “like a Hollywood film. They cried ‘go, go, go’, with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital – action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan.” In short, that evil US military faked it.

Bollocks.

First, why on Earth would anybody, especially Special Forces, enter enemy territory with blanks? Even if your intel tells you that there’s absolutely, positively, you-can-shoot-me-if-I’m-wrong-I’m-so-sure, no enemy around, you’re still going to bring live rounds. If you didn’t, you don’t belong in the military, much less Special Forces. Then, if the enemy is there, you’ll have to switch from the blanks to the live rounds ( which takes some time with American infantry weapons.) The enemy, having cleverly brought bullets that kill people, will probably shoot you while you’re switching. Or do something else nasty. That’s why he’s called the enemy.

The second thing deals with how the American M16 is able to fire blanks. In short, it can’t; not unaided. Blank ammunition, when fired in the M16, is not powerful enough to force the weapons mechanism through its full cycle of operations. Because there is no live projectile, the build up of gas in the barrel is much less. When the weapon fires, there is no way that the mechanism will re-cock and chamber a fresh round. The same problems firing blanks go for the other two main infantry weapons used by US troops, the M4 carbine (a shortened version of the M16) and the Minimi Light Machine Gun.

So how does the US military use blank rounds in training exercises then? With the aid of an attachment called a BFA. The BFA is a box that attaches to the muzzle of the M16 that doesn’t allow the gases from the blank round to vent, which provides enough force to allow the rifle to go through its cycle. It’s also large and brightly coloured. It’s a safety feature; a visible way of proving in training that no one is pointing live ammunition at you by mistake.

Why am I mentioning the BFA? Remember, it’s large, brightly colored and would have been visible in the tape that US Central Command released. (You’ll need Real Player to watch.) I saw silencers, but no boxes attached to the ends of muzzles.

There’s a lot of other errors in the BBC story that probably could have been cleared up with a couple of phone calls to US Central Command, but since the story was about how US Central Command “faked” the rescue, Mr. Kampfner didn’t call them before filing the story. As a result, he looks like an idiot. He’s backpedaling a bit now too, changing his story from “the rescue was faked” to “the US military milked the story for its own PR purposes.” Well, duh, the military milked it. Not the point. The guy’s now spinning to cover up the fact that he did some shoddy reporting and got busted at it. Wonder if the BBC will follow the example of the New York Times by admitting it?

Moment of Zen
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Baby Broadcast Baffles Pilots

Categories: Personal

Running into Mac users at Starbucks.

May 17, 2003 Leave a comment

I just had an interesting encounter while I was at Starbucks using T-Mobile’s wireless internet. When I walked in, the guys in the corner were discussing iPods and getting a new G4 system to set up their band’s new recording system. Then the guy at the table over asked about my PowerBook. Turns out the guy just bought a new iBook (never had a Mac before.) Huh. It’s strange, how unrelated people can be related by something as prosaic as a computer. Then again, it is a Mac.

Also at Starbucks, I was browsing the Washington Post’s online edition and found this news item. All I have to say is that I feel for her parents. Mom thought I was bad, but I never posted a false threat on a cruise ship to cut short the cruise my family had been planning for two years, to get back to a significant other who ran up a $1500 collect phone bill calling from jail, got arrested for posting said false threat and then announced at the arraignment that I was pregnant (not that I could announce that I was pregnant, whatever the circumstance, but you know what I mean.) At this point, Kelley Marie Ferguson’s poor parents have hit the Nightmare Child Trifecta. I don’t blame them for (at the time of her arrest) saying that they’d refuse to post bail, assuming the judge offered it. (They must have changed their mind later, as Ferguson was released on $5,000 bail.) I’m surprised they agreed to have her under house arrest. If it was my kid, I’d ask for her to be put in solitary in Juvie Hall.

On the other hand, she’s probably right now getting the worst punishment that she can imagine. She’s always going to be known as “Idiot Cruise Ship Girl.” And everybody (on an international scale) now knows what a sniveling, selfish git she is. To add insult to injury, ten bucks says the boyfriend dumps her after this fiasco.

Moment of Zen
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Topless Exercise a Flop for Cop

Categories: Personal

Rain, rain, go away. I want sun!

May 16, 2003 Leave a comment

It’s a cold and damp day here at NIH. It’s the kind of day where the people whose offices don’t have windows, aren’t truly that upset about it. It’s dead too. I haven’t heard the phones ring in over an hour.

I have heard some fascinating news though. Apparently the French government is “the victim of a smear campaign.” The US government denies anything of the sort, though the Bush administration has made no secret that the French government is off its Christmas card list.

Personally, I think that Colin Powell said it best: “I joke with audiences from time to time that the United States and France have been married, together as partners for 225 years, and we’ve been in marriage counseling for the whole 225 years, and we’ll probably continue to be in counseling.”

Moment of Zen
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Miami-Bound Stowaways Take Round-Trip to Colombia

Categories: Personal

Trade shows, and replenishing the pen collection.

May 15, 2003 2 comments

There was a trade show in the first floor of Building 10, so I managed to stock up on free pens and handouts. Prizes of the day: a pen that writes in silver from the Epson table (it actually looks like pencil lead. I anticipate having fun messing with someone’s mind using this pen) as well as a copy of the Apple Solutions Guide for Spring 2003. It’s got all the specs for the products Apple’s currently selling, as well as info about that particular product. The section on the XServe’s was particularly good, as it covered how their RAID software worked. No T-shirts this time, more’s the pity.

On an unrelated note, much love to Jords. She remembered that today was the Parental Units’ anniversary (I thought it was tomorrow.) I also forgot to pass along that they wanted a rose bush. Darling Jords not only remembered, she got *two* rose bushes (one from each of us.) She rules, and I’m putting in a reminder into the PDA to sound an alarm for next year.

Moment of Zen
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Politician Unveils ‘Sex Voucher’ Plan

Categories: Personal
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