Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katya Comes to Memphis

Currently Reading: Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll

Well, the remnants of Katya finally made it up here to Memphis last night. Thanks to a front that's been trying to push its way down, Katya slid a bit to the east of us and didn't bring much with her. We got some heavy rain last night and there were some pockets of damage or flooding but otherwise she didn't do much more than knock the leaves out of some trees.

There were some exceptions of course. You have to understand though that most of the time, in Memphis, when there's damage from a storm, it's usually our fault. The flooding here is usually due to clogged storm sewer grates. I've seen that several times, especially in the fall. Tree damage is usually limited to the trees that either aren't supposed to grow here or aren't properly taken are of. Older, larger trees really need to be checked for disease and weak spots. It keeps branches from falling onto your house when the winds kick up.

During this morning's walk with the dogs, I looked around to see what sort of damage we had. There were a few branches down (Bradford Pear trees which NEVER do well in high winds) and some signs of debris flying. A few roofing shingles here and there. In our building, the only damage I know about was to the folks in the apartment below us. They had a leak. Funny actually, we're the apartment with the actual ROOF and it's the one BELOW us that gets the leak. Near as I can figure, the water blew in from the dryer vent (which is missing it's rain-guard cover) and found its way into their ceiling. Oh, and we also had a hanging decoration blow down. I found it in the bushes below our balcony. I'll have to clean that up later and hang it back up.

So, no worries for us folks. We got off pretty easy. It's the folks south of us who really got hit. I also hear that there was some damage to the east, up in Nashville. Nothing compared to what happened to New Orleans and Gulf Port of course. Damn shame what happened to those folks. I try to imagine being stuck in the New Orleans Superdome in August with no power, no AC and a whole lot of other people. Hope those folks can get out of there soon because that's a tragedy just waiting to happen.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunset Blvd.

Currently Reading: Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll

Well, I'm sure we all know about that HUGE hurricane that's heading for New Orleans. Gotta wish those folks the best. They surely are going to go through hell over the next few days. I saw in one report that after everything passes over them, the city could be under 30 feet of water. Another report suggested a possible death toll of 50,000. It's the kind of storm we've only seen 3 other times. It's even stronger than the one that burried Galveston, Texas at the turn of the century.

If you're a religious person, say a prayer for those folks down there. If you're not, well, extend them all the positive karma you can.

Given what happened the last time a hurricane hit down there and crawled its way up toward Memphis, I'm doing my usual Monday blog on Sunday. The last one knocked out power, you see, and by the time it got here it was just a cluster of thunder storms. Last I checked, Katya (short for Ikatarina, Russian for Catharine, source of the name Katrina) was a category 5 so she may still be packing hurricane winds when she gets up this far and yes, we ARE in the path, more or less. It'll probably push east of here but that still means a lot of rain and wind and possible loss of power or phone. But don't you folks be worried about anything. We're quite safe here. Only thing likely to happen to us is we get wet walking the dogs.


Saw Sunset Blvd. tonight. Great movie that one. William Holden, Gloria Swanson. Fabulous picture, great script. I love the way it starts out with Holden floating dead in the pool. You know right up front that this story isn't going to have a happy ending. And you can also tell that it's going to be a very odd trip.

This is one of those pictures everyone should see. Me, I haven't seen it about 10 years and I'd only seen it the one time so it was still pretty new to me. Oh sure, I knew the basics. That woman is NUTS! A bit sad too. So is poor Max. Oh yes, you've got to feel for Max. He's pretty nuts too for that matter.

Not going to get into the details. The folks who've seen it are nodding their heads. Yeah, you know who's nuts in that movie and you know how great it is. The rest of you are wondering why you should bother watching a movie where everyone is nuts or sad. My answer to you is a short one: because there isn't anything better on TV or at the movies.

So go out and grab a copy. Go rent it or buy it at the store or order it and watch it when it arrives. You'll love it. I know I sure did. Going to have to add that to my list of movies to get. No movie library is really complete without it.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Favorite Football Team, BUNday

Finished Reading: Roadwork by Stephen King

Had a bit of a Bun day today. CC's been working some really long hours lately, and some pretty strange ones too, so I sat down last night and came up with a short list of things we might do today to help brighten her mood (I'll let her go into detail on her blog).

First on our list was to see a movie. She wanted to see Brothers' Grimm. No objection there. Looked ok from the previews but after I learned it was a Terry Gilliam movie I was able to overlook Matt Damon's presence :-)

On the way home from the movie, we stopped at Target. In the shower, well, like most showers, there just isn't enough shelf space, at least not if there's a female in the house. As a guy, eh, one bar of soap, a shampoo, maybe a liquid soap, but that's about all we really need. CC, on the other hand, has a rather large collection of soaps in various scents and uh, well some of em do different stuff I suppose. I'm a guy, cut me a little slack here :-)

Anyway, we've gone through two shower caddies already. They just don't seem to last very long. You stick em up, they stay just fine for a while, then BAM! And usually that BAM comes right in the middle of some quiet part of a movie or when you're just starting to drift off to sleep. SO, new shower caddy today.

We then stopped at the little gym here at the complex. Treadmill for me, stair-climber for CC, then we both hit the weight machine. Yes, that's right, you read it correctly, I actually did some of that physical fitness stuff. I don't actually mind it much when CC is there. It's a bit boring otherwise and I'd have to take a radio. Besides, I get a decent amount of energy just tending to the two hellhounds of mine :-)

And then home :-) I was in need of a nap by then so I took one. CC decided to make dinner. We had a filipino dish, sort of a pork stew with potatoes. Came out great if you ask me. Somehow she's managing to find these filipino dishes that DON'T involve really gross stuff like steamed duck eggs (complete with duck embryo inside) or recipes that call for animal parts I've never seen outside of the biology lab :-)

So, a rather busy day was topped off by a great meal and some general laziness. I had a great time and CC looked to be in a MUCH better mood as she slipped into slumber. She'll sleep well tonight I'm sure :-)


People keep asking me this so I decided to give it a little thought: What is my favorite football team? Tough question actually. I'm a football fan, that's for sure. Of the sports out there, I enjoy watching football first, then baseball. Now, this doesn't count playoffs. Basketball finals are pretty exciting and so is the Stanley Cup. I'm talking about just during the regular season.

10 years ago this was an easy question to answer. Dallas Cowboys, no question. Hell 5 or 6 years ago it was still Dallas. But you know, this will be me 6th season living outside Texas and because of that, I've lost touch with the boys a bit. We don't get to see all the games like I used to. Now I only see the ones that are the national game of the week and given the way they've been playing lately, that's not many games.

Worse, they haven't really gotten any great players anymore. Guys like Testeverde and Bledsow don't count. They're old vets on their way to retirement. I'm talking about the younger, energetic guys that a team is built around. Back during their most recent peak, you had Aikman and Emmit and Irvin. Ok, Irvin was a bit of a jerk, but the other two, great guys, plus you can't leave out Moose Johnson and Jay Novechek (I know that's not how it's spelled). But those years have long passed. Moose and Troy are in the booth now and Emmit will be soon.

So, who is my favorite team? I really don't have one anymore. What I've got instead is a sort of informal list that I use to compare teams on the basis of which one I like the least. It's a conditional thing that determines which team I'll pull for in any given GAME but not necessarily the whole season.

I like the Colts. They seem pretty decent. The Patriots are pretty ok too. The Packers, of course. You gotta love the Packers. But even so, conditions exist were I might pull for other teams instead. For example, Patriots vs Colts? Pull for the Colts. Colts vs Cowboys or Packers? Tough call. Might pull for whoever happens to be playing the best that day.

What's easier is to pick the teams I DON'T like. I don't like the Eagles. Never really liked the Eagles. Never been all that thrilled with McNabb and his AMAZING ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Don't much like Atlanta either. Too many people with big heads down there. Still can't bring myself to cheer for the Titans. When they were in Houston, and still the Oilers, they were a HUGE source of frustration. They don't seem to have changed much. New players, new jerseys, different name, new location, same old Oilers.

So there you go. I don't really have any favorite team at the moment. This is good and bad. Good in that it allows me to enjoy more games every week rather than grumbling when my chosen team looses. Bad though because I don't have a foundation really to work with. Should I go into a store and that store has t-shirts from various teams, which one should I pick?

One of these days I'll settle on one team again. Hey, who knows, maybe the Cowboys will pull things together, make it onto the game of the week more often and I'll be an official fan again. Right now though, the only team I can honestly say I back 100% is a team that doesn't exist anymore. It's the one with my old buddies Emmit and Troy, who managed to win three Super Bowls. Nice to see they're still doing well in their retirement :-)


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Freeform Ranting

Currently Reading: Roadwork by Stephen King

So many things to rant about, so little time :-)


What the hell is wrong with Pat Robertson? Granted I never was a big fan of his to begin with and I tend to see viewing The 700 Club as a form of punishment but I always figured that was a matter of taste. Some folks like to get their churching from a guy with helmet hair.

Then he goes off on one of the WILDEST tangents ever seen by saying we should assassinate the president of Venesuela. I actually had to read that one a few times myself. Of course, earlier today he claims that he never SAID anything about assassination (wink wink) only that we should "take him out" (wink wink). Right. I'm sure Pat just meant take him out to dinner.

Seriously though, there is something fundamentally wrong with a tv preacher talking about having somebody whacked. That's the sort of thing you reserve for the mob guys on The Sopranos. What's REALLY twisted though is that he doesn't seem to notice the HUGE disconnect between being a preacher and suggesting MURDER. Well, let's face it, we're not at war with Venesuela last I checked so what Pat's advocating is a murder for hire. You know, I've read the Bible and I don't recall there being anything in there saying it's ok to have someone "taken out" (wink wink). Usually when someone tries something like that, God goes all Old Testament and wipes out, oh, I dunno, a city? The first-born? Whatever strikes his fancy at the time.


What the hell is freeform poetry? Sometimes you see it labled as blank verse or free verse but that's not really accurate. They're close though.

I look at these things and what first comes to mind is, "Hell this ain't poetry. This is some guy who didn't have much to say, decides to write it down anyway and hits the 'return' key at the end of each line instead of letting the word-wrap handle things." Then I see someone writing about it saying how POWERFUL it was that the artist (artist???) didn't bother to use capital letters, punctuation, or even correct grammer. What is this hidden, powerful message? That the writer was public school educated and slept through his English class?

Let's face it folks, there's only one form of poetry that can fit neatly in a cell phone text message and that's haiku. Let's put an end to this nonsense.


We're now at tne end of August and so far the "best reviewed movie of the year" is The 40 Year Old Virgin. This is wrong on too many levels to list here.

Now, I don't have a problem with this movie getting such great reviews. Obviously a whole lot of critics out there really like it. I'm sure it's damn funny and hell I may even see it myself one of these weekends. My problem is that we've almost reached September and this is the best Hollywood has offered us so far. Are they planning on cramming in a HUGE cluster of movies during that last week in December so they can all compete for an Oscar nomination? Sadly, I find myself hoping that's the case because right now I shudder to think who would get the nods if they went out today.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Star Craft, Poker, and Other Time Killers

Currently Reading: Roadwork by Stephen King

Oh Star Craft where art thou? I'd been wondering that for a while so last week I finally dug through the boxes in the storage closet we call The Bat Cave and found my CD. I removed Star Craft from the machine a year ago or more because, at the time, I was running out of drive space. Now I've got one of those obscenely huge drives, plenty of space so I loaded it up.

First problem, well, MAIN problem actually, it didn't work. Not sure why it wouldn't run. The machine wouldn't read the CD. I didn't see any problems with the disk itself. Nothing worked so I had to resort to plan B: wait. Well, at the time I tried to load the game we didn't have the cash to replace it :-)

Sunday I finally got a new copy. This one is actually better than my previous one, which was bought for me in Manila and was of questionable heritage. This one actually has all the great sounds, ALL of them, not just some, and it's got the cut scenes that run between battles. Some of those are pretty creepy and they really add to the game.

All things considered, I've got to list Star Craft as my favorite game of all time I think. Previously that honor had been held by Doom, which still ranks a close second. They sure don't make games like that anymore. No, wait, that's not true. The problem is, they ONLY make games like that anymore. When Doom and Star Craft came out, they were cutting-edge amazing. Now, well, how many first person shooters are there out there? Yeah, too many to count. And how many top-down, real-time tactical games? Exactly.

What's pretty amazing about the quality of Star Craft is that you can still buy it. It came out 1998 and produced one expansion set. No sequels so far, but there hasn't been a NEED for them. Oh, there is one spin-off game coming out. It's going to be a first-person shooter I think, based on one of the human army units and placed in the Star Craft world. Might be fun, might not. Doesn't matter to me either way really. I have the original, again, and I'm going to play it straight on through :-)


Ok, what's the deal with poker? This is really getting out of hand. I actually saw results of some poker game posted in the sports section. Since when is poker a sport? And since when is it even worth covering?

Take a trip down the dial of your cable or satellite TV service and you're bound to come across at least one station covering it. Tune in at the wrong time and you'll see three or FOUR stations showing some variation. It's crazy. About as interesting as watching paint dry or grass grow. You're actually getting coverage of a group of guys (with the occasional woman thrown in) sitting around a table, looking at each other. Worse, we can usually see the cards people are holding so we KNOW how the game is going to come out, unless someone falls for a bluff.

On my list of things to watch on TV, poker ranks WAY down there at the bottom along with Barbara Streisand movies and CSPAN coverage of the House and Senate. The only thing I can think of is that these poker games must be really cheap to broadcast. They must be making money for someone otherwise they wouldn't be on the air.

Ah well, that's why there are so many channels on cable TV today. Of course, that's also why there never seems to be anything GOOD on all those cable channels :-)


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Very Slow Weekend

Currently Reading: Roadwork by Stephen King

Well, it's been a VERY slow weekend, as the title says. It's been SO slow in fact that I really don't have much of an opinion on anything at the moment. I'm sort of just floating along, enjoying the scenery as it goes by.

Saturday night we went over to my parents' church for their annual A Night On Broadway show. There were some heavy laughs this year, including one very appropriate Elvis appearance.

Other than that, nothing of note has happened really. Oh, sure I could type and type about every little detail but you'd just get bored and move on to another blog so I'll keep it short for a change.

One last thing, it's DAMN hot out there. You been outside lately? It just hits you right as you walk out the door. No exaggeration here, I work up a sweat just walking down the stairs to the truck. That's how hot it is out there.

Hmm, maybe that's why the weekend was so slow. No one had the energy to do anything worth mentioning :-)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

August Still Sucks

Currently Reading: Dunno yet. Something by Stephen King

I think I've mentioned before how August sucks. Here are a few more reasons . . .

Dead Elvis Day. Yes, it's true, here in Memphis folks celebrate Dead Elvis Day. This is the day when, back in 1977, Elvis died. Yee Hah, watch me celebrate.

It's actually a very big deal. Dead Elvis Day comes in the middle of Dead Elvis Week, which studies the life and death of Dead Elvis. The newspaper has recipies that Dead Elvis liked. It often has fashion stories on the clothes that Dead Elvis wore. And at some point you can always expect a sort of, "What would Dead Elvis think?" story.

You'll note, that this celebration is about DEAD Elvis, that is, the Elvis burried at the Dead Elvis Shrine (Graceland). This day is NOT for all those ALIVE Elvi who get caught on tape pumping gas in some rural town in the middle of nowhere. THOSE Elvi don't get to be a part of Dead Elvis Day until they die :-)


Also about this time every year we talk about the final days of WWII. Mostly this means talking about the Japanese and what they did during the war vs what WE did to finish the war. And every year someone from one side or another gets up and starts appologizing or demanding an appology for what happened 60 years ago.

I look at it this way. The Japanese Imperial Army/Navy did some pretty bad things. No doubt about it. What they did in China, Korea, The Philippines, etc., was just plain horrible. It's the kind of things that only happen during a war, at least on that scale.

WE, the US of A, blew up two cities using atomic weapons. That's something they had to deal with for MANY years afterwards, lots of radiation and cancer and so forth. Very brutal. Damn shame we had to do it but we probably ended up saving more lives by doing it that way.

So, on the one hand, brutal army stuff. On the other hand, leveled two cities with atomic bombs. Seems to me we're about even. Time to let it go. No more appologies are needed at this point.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Rants and Musings

Currently Reading: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Tonight's football game between the Eagles and Steelers. I've heard quite a bit about it from the online articles. They like to talk about how this is the "Super Bowl that could have been." That's a nice way of putting it. Me, I'd rather call it, "the game between two teams that got their asses beat by New England last season." Or perhaps you could call it, "CHOKE Bowl". Either one works for me :-)

And what's the deal with T.O.? He's a receiver for the Eagles. Yes, the guy is talented, I'll give you that, but DAMN he just got a contract last season that pays him more money than most of us would see in SEVERAL lifetimes and now he's complaining and wants a new contract, more money, or trade him. Hell if it were me I'd sit his ass out the whole season, don't pay him one dime, maybe even sue him for breach of contract, then cut him loose as a trouble-maker. There are already enough over-inflated egos in the NFL, we really don't need another one.


August sucks. Too damn hot and humid. We need to think about getting central air for the entire southern half of the US. I mean OUTDOOR central air. I REALLY hate it when I start sweating just walking down the stairs to the truck.


Why do we hate the French? Here's yet another example. They're crowding the beaches now, while on their one month vacations, and are complaining about how the temperatures have SOARED all the way up to 86 degrees. Hell it was at least that hot in the apartment yesterday.


This business with adware and spyware really is annoying the hell out of me. CC and I had to make another rescue call yesterday to my parents. They'd picked up another one of those "adware scanners". I mean the bogus ones not the real ones. It's the adware scanner type that pretends it's actually doing it's job but really it's just screwing up everything and clogging up your machine. Makes you want to find the people who write these programs and string em up by their toes. Then, just for fun, find the people who actually install these programs in pop-up windows on their site and have them stand UNDER the programmers so that anything that leaks out of the programmer falls directly onto the distributor. That's fair right?


My wife is a pretty damn good cook, for those of you who didn't know. Sunday she started off by making this really great apple dessert thing. It was sort of like an apple pizza which used pie crust for the crust, apples and spices for the topping. Tasted great. It's mostly gone already.

Then for dinner we had these really great ribs. They were marinated in plum sauce and a whole mess of Chinese spices. Damn good stuff there.


Saturday, farmer's market, 8 am. We were walking around a bit and I ask CC what she was hoping to buy that morning. She says she's looking for plums. I tell her, straight face, I'm out here at 8 am on a Saturday. We're getting more than just plums :-)


Friday, August 12, 2005

Nearing Summer's End

Currently Reading: Mars by Ben Bova

So, here we are, fast approaching mid-August and I'm still waiting for the really great summer movies we were promised. Something tells me I may end up waiting until NEXT summer. I'm not going to hold my breath.


That reminds me, the newest must-see shows will be arriving on network TV in a few weeks. Unfortunately there's a problem there too. There isn't much that really stands out and makes me want to rush over to watch. Yes, it'll be nice to have fresh episodes of House and CSI. And who knows, maybe some of these new shows that look entirely predictable will actually offer a few surprises. No one expected Medium over on NBC to be anything other than a Profiler clone and yet it was actually very entertaining.

I do have one hope. It's a bit of a combo hope though. No more Law & Order shows, no more CSI shows. We're going to end up scraping the bottom of the barrel pretty soon at this rate. Ok, we have CSI in Las Vegas. Great idea setting it in Sin City as it were. And then CSI: Miami. Good enough reason to show women in bikinis. Ok, works for me too. The next step? CSI: New York? Yes, another cop show set in NYC. Just what we need. Honestly, it takes out of CSI everything you thought was original and that set it apart from the other cop shows.

How about, instead of NYC, CSI: Seattle? CSI: Portland? No, wait, those might end up a little too much like Twin Peaks. Then again, would that really be such a bad thing? Or, hey just for fun, go to the anti-Vegas cities. CSI: Fargo! Or maybe more ethnic, CSI: El Paso! CSI: Memphis! CSI: Detroit! CSI: San Francisco! That last one could be interesting as they try and deal with the overwhelming politically correct rules of Bay City life. Imagine Grissom trying to get something as basic as the gender of the victim only to run into someone who isn't big on assigning gender roles. Or even better, they can have trans-gender suspects and victims.

As for the Law & Order group, what's next? Will they start branching out too? Should we expect Law & Order: Long Island! or Law & Order: Queens! Then again, maybe they'll branch out further than that. Law & Order: Jersey! Law & Order: Buffalo!

Ok, get the point? Too bad TV executives don't read my blog. Might save them a whole lot of money.


Where are the books that were due out this summer? I'm still waiting on them. One in particular is the third book in the Ring series. You remember The Ring don't you? Dead girl in the well, video tape brings her back. The third book was supposed to be translated and published this summer. I'm still waiting, wondering just where the author was planning to take the story. If you haven't read the book, and you like horror, it's worth a look. The dead girl isn't nearly as psycho as in the movies which makes things a whole lot more interesting.

Guess I keep waiting.


Hey, it's the weekend! Been waiting forever for it to get here! No, actually just been waiting 5 days but it sure SEEMS like forever. Lots of shopping head of us this weekend though mostly it's for house stuff. We're running out of damn near everything in the kitchen. So natrually once we've finished shopping CC and I will look at each other and say, "there's nothing to eat in here."

Same as always :-)


Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Currently Reading: Mars by Ben Bova

The dogs are now clean. The bathroom, however, is VERY dirty.

And no more thumping from downstairs.

God in his heaven, all's right with the world :-)


Hearing Things, Bath Time

Currently Reading: Mars by Ben Bova

Do you hear that? No wait, listen close. Can you hear that? It's sort of a low rumbling sound, like thunder off in the distance or maybe a delivery truck right outside. I'm not sure if *I* can hear it and that's the annoying thing. Well, let me be more precise. I can hear it, I just don't know if it's REAL or not. That's one of the annoying parts about losing the hearing. Sometimes you hear stuff that isn't really there. It's just your brain trying to make sense of the ringing. The problem with that is, ringing in the ears in the low range sounds more like a rumble.

No wait, I think I felt the floor vibrate that time. And the chair too. Maybe I'm not just hearing things. Maybe the Howard Dean freak downstairs has his TV turned up too loud. Damn, if it's up loud enough for ME to hear it, he's going to end up deaf too.


Well, I've put this off about as long as I can. Time to face the facts: the dogs need a bath. I've been trying to avoid this for a while now because it burns up about as much energy as running a marathon. Ok that may be a little bit much. More like running a 10k :-)

Katya loves the water. She likes to play in the water. Bathwater is included. Put her in the tub, turn on the water and she's having a ball. That part is fine really, the problem comes in when you decide to add SOAP to the water. She's not a big fan of sitting still long enough to get soaped up. Plus, she likes to shake a lot. Again, not bad in itself but you have to remember, Katya soaks up water like a sponge. When she shakes, she gets EVERYTHING wet.

Guess I shouldn't really put this off. I just figured if I blogged about it, it would buy me a little more time :-)

Right, off I go.

Tell my wife I love her :-)


Monday, August 08, 2005

Damn . . . I Forgot What I Was Gonna Say

Currently Reading: Mars by Ben Bova

I hate it when this happens. All day I knew what I was going to blog about when I got a chance and now that I have a chance, I have no idea what I was going to blog about this morning.

Let's see, what are the potential items: the start of football season? That's very possible though right now I have no idea what I'd rant about. I am happy that it's started, at least the pre-season, but I certainly don't have enough to say about it to fill up a blog entry.

Peter Jennings? Certainly not. Had no idea he was even a story until mid-morning. I'll admit though, it does tend to point out certain hypocracies. Last week at this time he was among the three most hated guys on TV news. Now, well it's the usual butt-kissing story. Yeah, I know, don't speak ill of the dead but on the other hand, don't sell out either. If you didn't like the guy, fine, just give the basics and move on. Let's not gush. I'm also trying to figure out how some of these poorly written headlines made it past the editors. According to one, Jennings was delivering the nightly news for 50 years. That would mean he became an anchor at age 17. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been THAT long. He probably started his career at 17. Makes more sense. You'd think that people in the business of writing would pay more attention to their words.

Ok, so what else might I have wanted to rant about? Nothing from this morning but here are two items of note. First, rude cell phone people. Honestly, you habitual cell phone users really need to remember that you're out in public when you're on the phone. Seriously, do not give me that look when I'm out walking my dog and she barks. We're all out in the same field. She's a dog. She barks. You're the idiot trying to conduct business from the middle of a field. I've actually gotten the look several times, all from the same field. These are the same people who look at you funny in the grocery store when you happen to be talking to whoever you're with and the person on the cell phone grunts, turns away and mumbles something about rude people being loud. The world is NOT a phone booth. If you decide to make a call in public, expect noise.

Second, and finally, I'm feeding the blog to my website now. Didn't make sense to post to both places. Since I started blogging I haven't updated things over there so I signed up for an RSS feeder. If you're reading this from the site, howdy!


Friday, August 05, 2005

A Long Time Ago . . .

Currently Reading: Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa

I've been working with computer for a long time. I know this is true because I keep coming across these little lists and human interest stories about old computers and programs and I think to myself, "hey, I had one of those!"

Over on VH1 they run shows dedicated to making me feel old. The "I love the " shows are really the ones that hit the hardest. Those ones deal with pop culture and fads. Some of them are pretty damn funny. Remember Slime? It came in a little plastic garbage can. Didn't really have a purpose. It just felt like snot. I had some of that :-)

I love watching shows where they're trying to be cutting edge. You look at the cell phone and it's about the size of a hand iron. They have remote controls that actually make a clicking noise when the button is pushed. And the televistions. HUGE cabinet TV with a 24 inch screen. Big box, small picture.

We still don't have our flying cars though. We were promised flying cars. Remember? Flying cars and flying motorcycles were supposed to be a staple of everyday life. Robots were supposed to be everywhere by now and there was supposed to be a space station on the moon. That's where you'd always stop over on your way to other places like Mars or some science station in orbit around Jupiter.

Yeah, they got it wrong. No moon base, no flying cars, and the only thing we do in space is haul stuff. Let's face it, the whole space shuttle thing is really just a flying U-Haul these days. They carry stuff to the space station or maybe haul something up and fling it into orbit. They run some experiments too I suppose but they always seem like the kind of thing you'd see at the science fair in high school.

Well at least we're doing a little better in some areas than we thought. See that picture there? That's what a home computer was predicted to look like in the year 2004. Pretty impressive isn't it?

Speaking of old things, I came across a list of computer fads over on MSN. Yeah, another sign I'm old. I remeber all of them. Actually, pretty funny, BLOGGER is listed as one of the fads. Maybe they should revise that list. If a site is still going strong after this long, maybe it's not such a fad afterall.

Three good ones popped up that had me laughing again. The first one is the All Your Base video. There was a computer game way back in the way-back and, well the programmers were Japanese and the didn't do the best job translating the text from Japanese to English. The result is too damn funny for words. You can find it here.

Then there's that dancing hamster. I'm sure you remember it. Everyone was sending it or the link. It's still around. You can find it here.

And of course, no list like this would be complete without the Star Wars kid. It's a home movie really, of some kid pretending to be Darth Maul from the first Star Wars prequel. Seriously folks, be careful what you put on video. Good or bad, naughty or nice, there's always a chance it's going to end up being sent out around the world and end up here.

I think I'll add these links to the sidebar in case anyone wants a little reminder.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rear Window Observations

Currently Reading: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

My neighbors can't park. Seriously, I'm sitting here on the third floor looking out over the parking lot and they REALLY can't park.

Oooo, that's gonna leave a mark. Old lady parks her car in slot #2. Silver car in slot #1 gets a tap from her door. Hard to say who's to blame in this one. On the one hand, the old lady DID let her door swing out too far. On the other hand, that silver car is parked more crooked than a Memphis politician and it's riding the line too!

Not that the old lady is perfect. The front of her car is about 2 feet from the curb so it's sticking out quite a bit. And she's not the only one. A few slots over there's another car doing the same thing. Good thing the parking lot is pretty wide.

But you know what the really bad part about all this is? There are only FOUR cars in the lot right now and one of them hasn't moved since last night. Three cars. 10 available slots. It's not like we're crowded here or they had to dodge anything. These people seem unable to manage a simple 90 degree turn into a parking space.


The kids down in 204 are pigs. We're not sure if they're girls or boys yet. About 2 weeks ago I saw two guys coming out of the place and heading down the stairs. I've also seen a guy hanging out there on the balcony. On the other hand, I just saw two girls heading over to the dumpster with their trash bags and last week we saw a girl over at the car washing area washing her dogs. She also came from that apartment. Lord I hope that doesn't mean there are FOUR of them crammed in that two bedroom apartment but it would explain some things.

CC noted one morning that there were three garbage bags in front of their door, all covered in ants. I guess they were too lazy to cross the parking lot to the dumpster that day. There are also a large number of cigarette butts around their door and in the stairwell outside it too. I'm thinking at least one of them smokes and isn't allowed to do it inside. Fortunately they're on the other side of the building so we don't have to walk past them every day. Never understood how people can live like that. Doesn't take much energy to clean things up a bit.


It's back to school time here. Kids start up on the 8th. You can already see it in their eyes. They know it's coming.

I remember what it was like. The last week of summer you just want to cram in as many things as you can, especially since you didn't do ANYTHING you said you WOULD do over the summer. It gets worse the older you get too. High school, assigned summer reading. Show of hands, who actually did it? Ok, there are a few of you out there who were teacher's pet, the rest of us freaked out that last week and tried to at least get SOME idea of what those books were about :-)


For the record, CC parked WAY better than everyone else in the lot. She just got home.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

CSI: Spike

Currently Reading: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Do you watch CSI? Not the spinoffs, which are pretty good too, but the main CSI, the one from Vegas. Do you watch that? Ever since we got cable I've been watching it a few times a week. I'm not sure what time it's on CBS or what day, but it's always been on opposite something else I watched so I missed most of the episodes when they first aired.

CC and I were watching it last night on Fox and we discovered something rather interesting: the head CSI guy, Gil Grissom, has the same problem with his hearing that I do. You find this out in the last episode of season 2 (I had to look that up). Now, I've seen a few episodes after that when they first ran and characters would remark about him having surgery or if he SHOULD have the surgery. I knew it was about his hearing but I never saw the episode where he was diagnosed so I always wondered if he had the same thing.

Ok, so for those who don't know, Grissom has otosclerosis. Basically it means the bones in your ear harden. Since they can't move, they can't convey vibrations from the ear drum properly and thus you slowly lose your hearing. Fixing it, there aren't many options. You can get by with hearing aids for a while but eventually the bones will get too hard for even that to help. There's a surgery where they actually remove the bones and replace them with graphite. How well it works really depends on the person. For most people you get at least SOME hearing back. Of course, there's also a really good chance that you'll lose it again. The same thing that caused the bones to harden in the first place will go to work on the graphite replacement.

There are risks, naturally. Like any surgery things can go wrong. You always have the risk of infection and since you're dealing with the part of your head that deals with balance, you certainly don't want an infection there. There's also the risk that your head is wired funny so maybe your nerves aren't exactly where they're supposed to be. If the surgeon nicks a nerve you can lose your hearing entirely in that ear. There are also interesting cases where people lose feeling in parts of their face. Not sure what causes that. It's either infection or nicking a nerve.

Pretty interesting isn't it? Me and the main character from CSI have the same problem. Of course, since he's ficitonal, I'm sure HIS surgery was SUCH a success that you'd never notice the difference :-)

It was handled quite well in the show though. Grissom is sitting there consulting with his doctor about it. She tells him the problem and you can see it sink in on his face. Oh I know that look very well. I've tried it on myself. It's the look that tells you that you're going to lose your hearing and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. At best, you can only slow its progress.

-- Somebody hand my wife a tissue please. She's probably about to cry :-) --

I'm going deaf.
I can't stop it.
It's quite depressing.

You know, it's actually a bit of a release typing that out. No tears please, no pity either. I've never been fond of that. I'll be just fine.

Funny how things work out.
It's very comforting to know I'm not alone.
Thank you, everyone, for helping me get through it :-)