Friday, October 30, 2009

Yesterday, for the first time this season, i rode my heavy winter bike
with its wide knobby tires. There was a stiff head wind and with all
the eating I've done lately I presented a large cross section. A very
large, very cross section.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ganging Aft Agley. Again

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy

My scheme to eat less this week, was a well laid plan. Very well laid, like an egg, a scrambled egg. Karen's birthday was yesterday, and we went out to eat last night, and tonight. And for a couple of days before that I was celebrating Karen's birthday, alone, in the dark with bowls of ice cream.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Machine is the Machine

Also this month in Wired magazine, an article about Demand Media, a company that spews videos onto the internet based on an algorithm that makes the "process ... automatic, random, and endless"
It's robots making videos to be found by search engines. Once they can eliminate people entirely, the middle man, so to speak, the process will be perfected. The singularity creeps closer, documented on Youtube. Or it would have been, if not for the whole singularity thing.

"You Can Sit Here in the Waiting Room, or You Can Wait Here in the Sitting Room"

We watched The Proposal last night. It's probably predictable to say it was trite.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We Are the Machine

A while back I heard about an algae that flapped its little tail in response to light. Ingenious scientists were planning to turn that motion into simple machines. All well and good.
This month, though, Wired magazine has an article about taking the gene that causes the algae to move, inserting it into viruses and inserting the viruses into specific brain cells. Ostensibly, combined with implanted LEDs they can cure Parkinson's or depression. The lame can walk and the blind surf the web. Fine, but just you wait until Monsanto patents it. They'll probably start by curing people's aversion to genetically modified food, and it will all end up with people shambling down the streets eating each other.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some Ideas Have Consequences

Judging by the movies that Netflix is sending me, at one time, I must have had the idea that I was interested in old movies.
This morning after weighing myself, I decided to eat less. So far, it hasn't made any difference in my weight.

Okay, neither of those interested me either, so take a look here for some fascinating statistics.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Can Feel Them Tightening Up

I'm pretty frustrated that I haven't been able to lose these last few pounds I put on last year, and it's not just me; even my relaxed fit jeans are starting to get tense.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Say, What Time Is It?

Last night I was watching an ad for iPhones through the viewfinder of
my iPhone's camera. Or, as Corinne said, "Time to get a life."

Sent from my iPhone

No Happy Endings

There are no happy endings, because there are no endings at all. I've finished listening to the iTunes U lectures from Stanford about the Punic Wars. North African worshipers of Baal, who can be identified with the Roman god Saturn (father of Jupiter) fought the Romans who they considered insufficiently devout in their related religions. Eventually the Romans prevailed and then fell in their turn. Now we are engaged in a great struggle against devout killers from North Africa who consider us insufficiently devout.

Sorry if these are sophomoric observations. I say, I'm sorry, but really if I achieved sophomoric status, I'm doing well; these were freshman lectures.

Today at the post office, I began to argue with my supervisor about being forced to carry a third bundle of mail instead of working the mail into two bundles. It's faster to carry two bundles, but it does take a few minutes to work them together. Eventually I apologized for bringing it up, "I'm sorry," I told her, "I was disoriented by a blinding flash of the obvious." It can happen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm Just Sayin'...

The other day I brought some mail out to an OB-GYN on my route. He said it wasn't very good. Like every baby he delivered was a big success.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Of Course, There's Bad News, Too

Karen is even more lucid and ambulatory today than she was yesterday, and at about 11am FedEx showed up with a brand new working iPhone for me.
Since life couldn't be better, it can only get worse.

Monday, October 12, 2009

News From the Hospital

Karen is home from her day surgery, and it's the same day, so big success. She's up around and lucid, so all in all, a triumph compared to last year.
On the other hand, I've been a little distraught because my iPhone has been getting more and more erratic. It's been starting to click icons before my finger reaches the phone, and today while I waited for Karen it began to click icons when I wasn't even reaching towards the phone. I was watching a movie and it started rewinding it, and when I tried to reach Apple support, it started calling random numbers and composing an e-mail to my sister. It would have been a confusing letter, too, because it was using a Lewis Carroll poem for the body. "A fact so dread, he faintly said, extinguishes all hope."
Not all hope, though. Apple says they'll send me a new phone tomorrow.
Oh, yeah, this was a post about Karen. She's fine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All the Leaves Are Gone, and the Sky is Gray

But it's been warmer than normal, and no snow. I've been sort of hoping for some snow since once it falls, Karen won't still be telling me that we have so much left to do in the yard, at least till spring. Finally, we'll be able to turn our attention to all the things that aren't being done in the house.
Tomorrow she's having day surgery.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Or, As Homer Simpson Would Say, MMM, Fatty Trimmings

I've been daydreaming about hamburgers, burned on the outside, rare in the middle with a fried egg topper. According to the New York Times, that's not a menu, it's a suicide note. By the way, if you don't want to click on the link and read the whole article, here's a salient quote:

...confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

By the way, does the Nobel Peace Prize mean anything anymore? Well, not much since Yasser Arafat (“Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”) got it, and then Al Gore for his massive hot air on global warming. But at least Al Gore had done something when he invented the internet. If the President got it for making speeches about peace, then using Walt Kelly's logic, a lot of us should be in the running next year.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Stupidly, I Aspired to Cliches, Wordplay and Nonsense

Chandler: Hey Joey, where do Dutch people come from? Joey: Uh... well the Pennsylvania Dutch come from Pennsylvania. Chandler: And the other Dutch come from somewhere near the Netherlands right? Joey: Nice try, see the Netherlands is this make believe place where Peter Pan and Tinkerbell come from.

The other night that there was a story on the news about health care in the Netherlands, a place where insurance companies compete on service. If only it was a real place.

Theatre of the absurd: "characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense"

A couple of days ago, while I was putting mail in mailboxes, over and over for the 32nd year, I was listening to my police scanner. There was a story about a headless, limbless torso that had been found in a business park here. I aspired to absurdity, and said that it might be suicide. Apparently, there's a thin line between absurdity and stupidity, judging by the response I got. It turned out that the body which was found on a roof was a moose, although suicide hasn't been ruled out.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Let Me Look Into This

A spokesman for Solid Waste Services expects it will take time for people to get used to the new system. As expected, there was some grumbling last year."It's a big change, more for some people than others," she said. "Within a couple of weeks, those calls went way down."

Apparently, if you don't call every week, you must be happy with the system.

In much more interesting news, at least to me, as you'll see, I took a personality test this weekend. It was sort of on a whim, but it turns out I have a recognized personality type. They call it, The Investigator, but, in reading the description, I realized they call it that only because "pathologically self-absorbed weenie" was already taken.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I May Drop Her a Line

Grammar Girl's (her link is right over there-->) episode today was about how to write a complaint letter. She doesn't specifically say not to compare the recipients to monkeys, but you can tell it's not what she would do. It might have helped if it had come a couple of days ago, but probably not. Her point was that you couldn't "get to yes" as easily if you were rude, which is fine, but monopolies don't get to yes, they tell you what yes is, and that you're going to like it. So, we'll bring you junk, SWS will haul it away, and all we need from you is your money.

A friend of mine told me recently that he suspected I wasn't above changing the facts if I thought it would make a better story. I was surprised to hear him say that since we've known each other more than twenty five years. At least, I was surprised to hear him say it now. I'm not saying it's true, mind you. Oscar Wilde has some aphorisms on that, buried in a long essay which apparently was the philosophical basis for the new movie The Invention of Lying. I couldn't say it better myself... or could I?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Small Thorn In The Garden Of Persephone

I've been listening to an iTunes U lecture series from Stanford about Hannibal. Today, in the middle of the lecture, it stopped playing through my bluetooth headset. I tried starting over and the intro would play, but then, silence. We had just gotten to a thrilling point in the first Punic War. Please, if you know, don't tell me how it turns out; I'm still planning on listening to the end.
I mean, I can guess, since looking around, I don't see any Punics, but no spoilers please.

In other news, after my two posts about the new garbage collection system, I saw that the e-mail I had received from them suggested I reply if I didn't want to receive any more e-mails from them. In my reply, I excerpted quite a bit from the blog about the recycling cult and the Bandar-log. So, it was embarrassing the next morning to have to call and ask what day pick up would be. It should have been embarrassing for them, since in their e-mail they said that some people's schedule would stay the same and others would change, and they didn't say who was who. On the other hand, they didn't compare me to a bunch of monkeys (at least not where I could hear them).
By the way, we got two garbage cans so in T9 you could say we got dual service.