Aug 31, 2006
"A" as in "Amusement"
"A" as in "Apple". "B" as in "Boy". Etc.
You know those useful little ways to indicate what letter you're actually saying when you're talking on the phone? I've never memorized the canon of right words for these, but I usually do OK. Right up until I bumbled into a choice more confusing than I meant.
But what if I meant it?
For your pleasure and maybe someone else's displeasure, some options:
A as in Audience (or maybe Afferent)
C as in Caesar (or Cthulu or maybe the Boston Celtics)
E as in Eulogy (or Elicit, Effete, Emetic, or Excel. Or maybe even Euchre.)
G as in Enough (or Gnostic or Gnome or Germane)
I as in Island (just for the fun of it)
K as in Karat (or Know-it-all)
L as in Llewellyn
M as in Mnemonic
N as in Enmity
P as in Plenipotentiary
Q as in Qat
R as in Rappahannock
S as in Scent (or maybe Sent)
T as in Tsetse Fly (or Tsk Tsk)
U as in Uvula
W as in Wafer Thin (or Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home)
X as in X-husband (or Xta)
Y as in Why Not?
Z as in Adze (or Zamboni, which my cousin Dennis has driven).
Image from FLoW
p.s. if Dave is bored at work he can type out the alphabet story of the German and Japanese guys at the bar talking about an electronics supplier. Or maybe about the time he got to illustrate "uvula" for a bunch of Pictionary players. Or maybe not.
Aug 29, 2006
-- fellow passenger at the Lester Pearson airport in Toronto.
Today at YYZ, everybody got wanded and baggage-searched. One dude nearly flipped when the security guard started to shove his hand into his crotch. Turns out that his button-fly Levis needed to be individually button checked after the wand got noisy. Eventually the passenger let the guy stick his hand all the way down (after loosening his belt) and boy did it look weird. Security today is different from how it used to be, n'est-ce pas?
As to why the security guy didn't suggest/allow the passenger to open his fly before the physical inspection, it's because the security guy is an idiot. I heard him talking with my security guy about how the passenger was being ridiculous. "How else was I going to check?" he said to the other security guy. I would have said something except for I was wearing my riveted underwear that I'd bought in San Francisco.
Speaking of YYZ, can I tell you that I would have been so excited to know that I was in the airport whose call letters were made famous on Rush's album Moving Pictures? Except for I thought that YYZ was in Montreal. D'oh. But here, for your pleasure and mine -- concert footage of Rush performing YYZ in Rio.
Aug 26, 2006
Mt. Edith Cavell
By the lake at Mt. Edith Cavell. Click to enlarge.
The short (1k) hike to this spot was so beautiful that I won't even talk about it. I will post some pix, though, here at Flickr. Or just click on the other link up there, one paragraph back.
Aug 24, 2006
Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park
No kidding. It really looks like that on this small perfect lake. To the right (off screen) there's a half-acre island with benches and much quiet. If I lived in Jasper, I think I'd spend a lot of afternoons just sitting right there.
More Canada pix of various scenery and amusement at -> Phil's Flickr Pix. Come on in, the water's fine.
Aug 23, 2006
Fraser River -- Vancouver to Jasper
This pic an hour or so east of Vancouver. Please pardon the flare. The trip got crazy gorgeous as we left civilization and entered the mountains.
Also, please see the Mill Bay post from two days ago, with an updated pic.
Time for dinner, eh?
Aug 22, 2006
Vrooming through Vancouver
At right, the Canadian -- which I'm going to hop onto in about thirty minutes unless I type too much here and miss the boarding call. The folks and my aunt and I are taking a week to get from Vancouver (which we blazed through in 6 hours today, after coming over on the morning ferry from Vancouver Island) to Toronto.
To mention: Canadians really hate George Bush. Graffiti today: "USA out of Canada". Fortunately, they don't blame all of us.
Something I learned lately: don't pick blackberries close to the ground. They get all the dust and some of the dog piss.
Mill Bay, eh?
On Saturday the folks and I joined our hosts for a progressive garage sale tour of lower Vancouver Island which looks a lot like this pic.
I bought a bunch of pencils and a messenger bag which I later repaired with a new zipper. On Sunday I picked blackberries and made jam. Shipped some of the most expensive jam ever back to the US ($18.50 Canadian per box.).
Mill Bay is small but with sassy teenagers who have nothing better to do on a Friday night. One asked me what the US has that Canada doesn't (that's desirable, anyway). I got to "some places with temperate weather" and got stuck.
Later, I added:
1. Ethnic diversity that adds to the richness and fun (if not only for the eating and the music).
2. Opportunity and obligation of the world's sole superpower.
...then I got stuck again.
What you got? I promised to send a list to the girl if I ever got to ten items.
Aug 17, 2006
Long Live Talk*
I've spent the last few days hanging out with people whose lives and mindsets are very different from those of my usual daymates. Often, I think of these visits as "good exercises in experiencing diversity." Then I think of some of the quotes as novel or interesting-because-some-liberals-usually-just- talk-about-diversity (without hanging out with any people much unlike themselves). At some point, it finally becomes just living, which is where I hope for it to be.
In any case, some quotes from Jody** who lives at Urban Ministries of Durham at the moment***, and who is doing some work for me:
It doesn't sound right, I know, but the city needs to do a sweep. There've only been three in the US ever -- cops going door to door, checking out houses and rounding up anyone who don't look right. That's what Durham needs to do to clean the damned streets of all the bad elements.
He came shooting up the back porch because he thought he was my brother. I grabbed my two nephews and held them tight (to keep them safe) and that's when the bullet bounced off the Budweiser can and hit me in the back.
What's next on my plans? Peace. Peace, and energy, and getting my sh* together. After that, I can have anything I want.
Drop me off here [at a corner a couple of blocks from UMD]. This is where I stash my stuff so it doesn't get stolen during the day.
Your folks -- I could feel the spirit there. I felt safe.
I keep wondering -- do I get peace and then I can quit smoking? Or do I have to quit smoking before I get the peace?
You wanna do what? Drive around back roads in your van all around the country? You better be careful. I hate to say it but it's the small towns got all the red and black necks doing their drug deals out in the open, and they're damn sure gonna look at you funny. Bring two guys or two girls or something.
My friend's son came into my friend's basement while he was at work -- stole all the copper pipes. Stole all the copper cabling. I was up there until 4 a.m. putting new PVC in there. My friend didn't have no saw. Didn't have no light. And I didn't get no sleep last night, so I'm gonna sleep good tonight.
And from my new neighbor whose wireless network I helped to set up:
Goddammit, I'm gonna kick your ass you don't drink this beer. For real.
On the radio (101.1, I think) -- a modest paraphrasing:
People, it's gotta begin in your churches or your synagogues. The schools have already been lost to teachers who tell your kids not to fight back and to try to understand where the other kids are coming from. That's all well and good if you're living in a crystal ball [sic], but not in real life. You have got to learn to fight back or you will be killed. When you're at your church or your synagogue and the preacher or rabbi starts talking about AIDS in Africa, or tsunami relief in Indonesia -- stand up. You'll get a lot of nasty looks, but stand up and say "We don't need to hear about that. What we need to hear is about how we're going fight IslamoFascism which is the Nazi threat of today."
Today -- car repairs and such for me and Hilary at Ingold Tire, whose staff still refer to me as "the computer guy" because of this entry.
*incidentally, I have a new phone and an email plan. Rockin'.
***was working out of town but got bit by a brown recluse. Lost 50 lbs. in 4 months.
Aug 14, 2006
OK Go -- Here It Goes Again
Raise your hand if you haven't seen this yet. Anybody? Anybody? Because you darned well ought to.
I'm no rock historian, but I peg this video as an excellent homage to the earliest days of MTV, 25 years ago. A bunch of semi-nerdy hip guys dancing, quirky humor, no technology, no budget and no sex. A video like this could well have been Madness doing One Step Beyond* or Night Boat to Cairo. And what about the direct references to the source code for Video Killed the Radio Star -- the rhythm, the riffs, and the synthesized voice filter? Damn, but I enjoy this video. Bonus: I am no longer thirteen.
UPDATE: yet more OK Go vids on YouTube. Go here for A Million Ways to Be Cool (pictured at right). That page also has links to various other performances. The Million Ways video reminded me of the NCSSM lip sync contest of '84 in which Jason D. and I did up Devo's Jerkin' Back and Forth. We choreographed the hell out of that piece and the performance was probably the best thing I've ever done in front of an audience except for my jerkin' back and forth one count past the final beat. (For the record, Jason's performance was impeccable.) I sort of wish we had a video copy. (choreography imaging assist: we started with tennis racquet covers on our heads which stayed on for the opening four beats at which we flung them off with a neck snap.) Of extra bonus appeal -- Jason and I had been best friends the year before but had parted ways badly. It was nice to get back together for a show that made us both happy for ourselves and each other. We didn't turn into friends again but we did restore goodwill.
Now that I think about it, it was a lot like my impression of rock band reunion tours. Now that I think about it, the same thing happened three years later in college with a parted-ways-wish best friendship that reassembled for a movie announcement / fencing skit to introduce The Princess Bride for the BFS. There is nothing like running off stage with huge smiles for a genuinely ecstatic hug -- with the sound of dozens of screaming and laughing fans to cheer us on.
*the first video I ever saw on MTV, followed by Once in a Lifetime and then (I think) something by Missing Persons.
Aug 11, 2006
It's always been important to me that I have something in reserve for when I need it. Time, money, energy, calm, goodwill... I know I need to keep some in reserve. Because if I don't, unexpected stresses turn into some kind of spiritual deficit spending.
Not that my life is something to complain about, but I've had a few unexpected negatives in the last few weeks: a car crash, some work things that didn't come out the way I thought they should, and now the "invasion" of having some important things lost/stolen (camera, wallet, etc.) that force me to rearrange.
There's good to come out of all this -- I recognize that. And (not "but" <g>) there's some bummer, too. Bummer whose impact needs to be respected.
Aug 10, 2006
Never mind the question of value-add. I just want to know how much time people spend working.
Back in the old days when I was an engineer, I think I spent an average of 50 hours at the office each workweek (not counting vacations and holidays), and an average of 25-30 hours actually working (as opposed to yakking, doing non-work tasks like reading irrelevant magazine articles, or sending emails to friends). As you can imagine, this was a doubly bad situation.
These days I suspect that I spend an average of 30 hours "at the office" (i.e., at the desk or at a client's office with the intention of being productive) per week, of which I suspect I spend an average of 15-20 hours actually working. I'd like to get the actual work hours up to a consistent 24 per week, and wouldn't mind reducing the "at the office" time by 2-4 hours.
For those professionals among you reading this blog (i.e., probably all of you), my work hours might sound either ridiculous or heavenly, depending on your attitude. But I suspect all of us can count our blessings that we're not working in retail service where you have to work pretty much every moment you're there save for a couple of fifteen minute breaks. I have never complained about bad service at a fast food restaurant. And unless someone at Hardee's starts cursing or spitting at me, I doubt I'll change my habits any time soon.
Photo yoinked from Growabrain's jobblog archives, a hilarious "collected hahas of the world of work" blog that I just discovered while looking for a punchcard clock pic.
Aug 09, 2006
Joie de V.
Pal Dave prepares to slam one on the Paris Plage in front of the Hotel de Ville.
I completely dig the idea of a beach along a river in the middle of town.
Aug 07, 2006
SparkCon -- Triangle Creative Class
SparkCon. The Triangle's Creative Class getting together and getting it on, September 14-17. Arts. R&D Innovation. Inclusive Culture. Indy Business. Be there or at least send someone whose work you love.
FYI, yesterday's N&O article on SparkCon indicates a Wake-centric focus for the conference, but it ain't so.
In fact, the excellent Aly Khalifa (event inspirer, chief of Gamil Design, and creator of DesignBox) gave me a bunch of posters to help spread the word in Durham. Are there any blog readers who can help spread the word? In particular, I'm hoping to get the word out to communication firms (e.g., McKinney/) and R&D innovators (e.g., TriVirix) on the 54-15-501 corridor. Anyone out there who can help?
ALSO FYI -- SparkCon has extended its art submission deadline to August 11.
Aug 04, 2006
Math limericks, anyone?
(12 + 144 + 20 + (3 * 4^(1/2))) / 7) + (5 * 11) = 9^2 + 0
I think I first saw this in Games Magazine back in middle school. I thought it was really cool and had it memorized for a few years but then I lost track of a term or two and couldn't recreate it. Fast forward twenty years to the web, and now I've got it back.
Authorship is not clear. Many websites indicate that the author is John Saxon but one website with a more detailed citation points to Leigh Mercer.
In any case, I'll put the English translation in the extended blog text, below. You know, so you have some time to figure it out on your own.
A Dozen, a Gross and a Score,
plus three times the square root of four,
divided by seven,
plus five times eleven,
is nine squared and not a bit more.
Aug 03, 2006
Messrs. Vilas and Campbell Have Never Met
But you can please still welcome them here.
The Fallout Shelter is hosted by moved-from-the-west- eventually-to-Durham entity Joe V. who owns more knives than Ron Popeil. He also sees his southern life from a different angle than most -- which is to say, about fifteen inches higher.
Burger eater, baker, and man about town... he also knows a little something about vintage cars, and a lot about knowing that quirky neighborhoods are reason to rejoice. But he doesn't much like the heat:
I remember a summer at my grandmother's, when I saw mold grow on the couch without benefit of anything nutritive besides the couch itself and the water from the air.
When we lived in Wallace, it was usually my job to mow the lawn. I would usually put it off until like 2, which meant I was mowing during the hottest part of the day. We did have a room AC on the first floor; I'd close all the doors to that room and turn the AC on high while mowing the lawn. I'd also buy a quart of Gatorade and put it in the freezer before I started. Then I'd go out and mow. When I was done, I'd come in, get the Gatorade, go into the now chilly TV room, and swill the orang-y goodness. One time, my throat had some sort of bizarre reaction to the temperature extreme and closed up, so I could only take tiny sips.
En Revanche is written by moved-from-Durham -eventually-to-the-north Barry C., my schoolmate from 20+ years ago. A writer and editor for as long as I've known him, he once recruited me to write a piece for our school's mag The Open Mind. The one edit I remember was his substitution of "disseminate" (which I had never heard) for my original word which was less precise (if not less accurate).
Barry continues to write his own material while also bringing us texts from others whom he finds interesting. By the way for Durham folks: he doesn't live in this West Village. He lives in that West Village. A minor (for him) but useful excerpt:
A little tongue action (several tongues, actually)
Beeb has online lessons, free for the asking, in Spanish, French, German and Italian (with shorter courses in Portuguese, Greek, and Chinese) at BBC - Languages.
And if you're studying French or Spanish, there's tons of audio and video for you to practice listening to.
Welcome, fellas. Thank you for writing.
Aug 02, 2006
You Might be a Triangle Redneck
"We have some big boxes full of old New Yorker magazines on our front porch (classy, I know). Apparently, I'm incapable of recycling them as paper products---only as intellectual content. Would anyone on this listserv like to take them off our hands?"
I didn't take the mags, but I did write a crude response:
1. If you've got ten years of old magazines stacked on your front porch but they're mostly New Yorkers... you might be a Triangle redneck.
2. If your front porch collapses (see item 1, above) and six dogs git killed but they're all airedales, border collies, or enrolled in agility classes... you might be a Triangle redneck.
3. If you own more cars that that don't run than cars that do but they're all Alfa Romeos... you might be a Triangle redneck.
4. If you're fightin' to change the law that says you can't marry your first cousin Jake -- and your name's also Jake... you might be a Triangle redneck.
5. If you go to stock car races to watch your favorite car -- the one sponsored by your own dot.com biz... you might be a Triangle redneck.
6. If the schoolmarm takes points off your grade for using words like "y'all," or "yep" or "ain't" in your PhD thesis... you might be a Triangle redneck.
7. If you built a secure website to raise funds to rescue your local Starlite Drive-In Theatre then felt bad about supporting a business that also sells guns but kept going to the movies anyway because they sell such damn good onion rings and hot dogs then felt bad about eating non-free range meat... you might be a Triangle redneck.
8. If you ever punched someone out for talkin' trash about your little sister -- on mySpace, Friendster, or Craigslist... you might be a Triangle redneck.
9. If you love country music, especially the "traditional" kind like John Prine, Iris DeMent, and Tift Merritt... you might be a Triangle redneck.
What you got?
Aug 01, 2006
Pennies for Changing Room
Lovely colors for a changing room, don't you think? This pic from Pennies for Change in Durham (aka World's Greatest Thrift Store). I could have sat there all day reading books. But the other customers would have gotten annoyed.
Throw Your Money Into the Drink
Phil: Even if you didn't die the last time you went diving?
P: So the water is different, now. Air is different. Everything changed.
G: Right. So buy the gizmo or you'll die.
P: I hate equipment-intensive sports.
G: Scuba is equipment-intensive.
P: And you have to get up early in the morning?
Pictured: the "MP3 Digital Underwater Music System" by H2O Audio ($259.95 at Scuba.com). You must buy this gizmo or you will die.