Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Yo, I've been remiss in spreading the word, but jemima's Mac is on its way. Currently, it's sightseeing in Taiwan, and should shortly make the swim across the Pacific and then cross-country to jemima's East Coast abode. But shhh... the old Mac doesn't know the new Mac is on its way. Check out jemima's blog (link in sidebar) for all the latest on the Arrival of the New Mac.

Also, my friends Andrew and Elizabeth are expecting a baby any day now. Check out their blog here.
Probably only of interest to Sarah, but a RL friend, Sheetal, is doing a journalism internship in New Zealand. You can find her blog here.
Census Finds Many More Lacking Health Insurance.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

No matter how much time has passed since you've last been to the salon, inevitably whoever is working on you will say something like, "Been long time, huh?" I could have come in two days ago and they would say, "It's been too long since you've have your eyebrows taken care of."

Not only that, whoever worked on you last? Complete moron. Should have been reported to the Cosmetology Institute already for bad, bad, bad eyebrow work. You can always hear the horror in the beautician's voice when they realize just how long you've been running around with those awful eyebrows in public:

"Who did that to your eyebrows? And when was this done? Two months ago? This is terrible! Terrible! You should always come to me! Tsk, tsk. I don't know if I can fix this. Okay, I do my best, but from now on, you come to me and only me."

Same thing with hair. Now, I'm all about the $4.99 haircuts -- have had two of them in the last 6 months and I honestly see no difference between that and the haircuts I've paid $45-$60 for (yes, yes, I'm ashamed but now, now I'm reformed!). But my favorite moment was when the person who had given me my previous haircut took a look at my now shaggy locks and said, "Whoever did this doesn't know your hair type. I know it. You should come to me from now on and no one else. Call me at home if you have an emergency."

Do people really have hair emergencies? My hair emergencies are solved by a rubberband, a barrette, and two bobby pins.

In no universe -- alternate, mirror, or otherwise -- can I even fathom calling a hairdresser at home for an emergency. How would that phone call go?

"My hair... it just-- it just collapsed! I think it had a humidity attack! Help!"

I'm now having visions of David (pompous hairdresser who insists he's the best guy for the job but invariably messes it up to the point that me, a person who really isn't picky about what she looks like, usually has to go back to the salon for a do-over) driving up in his SUV with some kind of red-blue-white siren going on, screaming, "I've got a hair emergency! Let me through!"

Okay, so I'm amused. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Two can play this game

Le jeu de cartes du régime Bush: Les 52 plus dangereux dignitaires américains .

A French guy has turned tables on the US and spoofed the card deck used to identify and capture the more important people in the Iraqi regime and created one with the most dangerous Americans.

The site says not only did Bush steal the election, but is also leading the conservative revolution to destroy the United States. The crimes against Bush are quite extensive: George W. Bush s'est emparé du pouvoir avec la complicité de la Cour suprême et malgré les suffrages des électeurs ; un système de surveillance de chaque citoyen a été mis en place avec l'USA Patriot Act ; les militaires ont été autorisés à intervenir dans la vie politique intérieure ; un appareil de propagande a été constitué ; le pays a renoncé au droit des peuples à disposer d'eux-mêmes et s'est engagé dans des campagnes coloniales en Afghanistan et en Irak.

While I think the above paragraph is a little over the top, I don't disagree that Bush stole the election with the help of the Supreme Court and that under his command, the United State has engaged in colonial imperialism.

I haven't got time to translate the rest of what's going on, but some of the faces on the cards are Condeleeza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfield. More later, if I get a chance to translate. Thanks to Liz Logan for the head's up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

If I owe you email, am very sorry. I'm way behind. I blame the Microsoft virus thingy for clogging up my inbox and generally making me allergic. Now that the stories are in the mail, I'm going to slowly get caught up on all of the email I've ignored for the last three days.
The person who wrote the 'Microsoft Internet Patch' virus thingy? My newest least favorite person on the planet. This morning, my Yahoo! inbox was 110 percent full -- and I had cleaned it out to about 70 percent full yesterday night around 11 pm. I'm thinking a sand hill in West Texas and fire ants might be too good for virus writers.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The printers never called me when they were finished so around 2 pm, I phoned them and said, "Is my order ready?" And they said, "What your name?" I told them and they said, "You're the one with the book, right?"


The completed manuscripts look beautiful. Really. I carried them so carefully back up to my desk and laid them down ever so gently. Then there was some anxiety in putting them in the car, but put the jumper cable box on top of the pages and it was all good.

The .htaccess file my brother provided me (see link below) works beautifully. Jemima has been testing the script for me and so far it works beautifully. Between this and the robots.txt, I think I'm pretty well-set now against bandwidth thieves (who rank up there with people who write viruses -- gah. Get a hobby already, people! Oh wait...).

I saw Jhumpa Lahiri today and got my copy of "Interpreter of Maladies" signed. I have some thoughts about Ms. Lahiri's book reading and comments afterward, but am currently too tired to write about it coherently. And since tomorrow is another day, I'll see you then.
Things done before 9 am today

  • robots.txt written and uploaded
  • disk with all SNW files dropped off at the printer's
  • read up on new solution discovered by the brother to prevent bandwidth theft
Due to two instances of bandwidth theft -- one confirmed, the other suspected -- I'm looking for a tutorial on how to write a robots.txt file to keep 'bots away. The confirmed theft was from a directory which my webhost doesn't allow for displaying as it lacks an index page, but if you google for the picture, it shows up. The whole situation preplexes me because the picture was something I'd created for one of Rocky's stories and so basically, someone is using this bookcover as their sig file.

Since I'm not sure whether I can ban direct linking images the way free servers like Geocities have (somehow, from SaRa's recent experiences, I don't think it's something that can be done, but I've got queries out to confirm), I've decided to do the next best thing, which is to prevent google and other search engines from indexing my images. I'm also contemplating disabling right-click -- I don't mind if people save my images to their hard drive (well, I mind with this one, because it took me quite a while to make it and it was a gift to Rocky and not intended for anyone else's use), but right -click also gives the option to copy link location; I use it plenty myself.

Among the articles I found on robots.txt was this one which claims writing such a file is tricky unless one buys this company's software. I was especially amused because it looks like that article is on a link farm and the company's real site has a proper (if not slightly confused) tutorial on robots.txt here. The article here is less wishy-washy. Anyway, I'll probably hit jemima up for help just to make sure I've done it properly.
All manuscripts have been formatted and transferred to disk; this is so I no longer look at any of the stories because I'm a compulsive editor and I will continue to make changes until it's printed. Well, kids, stick a fork in me, I'm done!

Now, I just need to deliver to Kinko's and get this printed. I'll be so glad when this is all over. I was up until 3 am on Saturday working on the third draft and Liz was kind enough to look over the fourth and mostly final draft for typos (Seema's editing process: take old typos out, put new ones in).

I really, really, really wish people would refrain from TMI in their blogs. I mean, seriously. So many things written about that could be just filed under "Did not need to know." Especially the Earth Mother stuff? Did. Not. Need. To. Know.

That is all.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Editors are wonderful, wonderful people. Especially when they are willing to stay up all night with you to make sure the final draft gets done on time and with minimal trauma.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Alex Voy, if you're reading this, can you please drop me an email at seemag1@yahoo.com? Thanks!

Friday, September 19, 2003

Bill Maher has a blog.
SNW Update

I'm sending three stories in. Two are complete -- just need a final look-over -- and I'm still working furiously on the third. I plan to mail these out on Monday morning at the very latest in order to get them to Pocketbooks by the October 1 deadline. So I'm way behind on email and other type stuff just because of the amount of writing and editing involved. I think I've got a total of 60 pages written so far. I'll be breathing a big sigh of relief (exhaustion?) once these babies are mailed on Monday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hello, Pot? This is Kettle

"[France was] noncooperative and arrogant then," before the war, "and they are again noncooperative and arrogant," [House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney, R-Ohio] Ney said. "I haven't seen a huge change."

Full article here.
Ready or not

I have received my emergency preparedness kit from Big Publishing Company. As I may have mentioned in the past, we're on the 38th floor of a 50-storey building in the downtown of a Very Big City. In the event of an emergency, I am to strap on the orange fanny pack and make a run for it. This might also be a good time to note that while the stairwell doors open from our side, once you're in the stairwell, you can't get out.

So, in this orange fanny pack, there is:
  • A face mask
  • Eye goggles
  • A thermal blanket (it looks like aluminum foil to me)
  • Two antiseptic towelettes
  • One antibacterial gel pack
  • One flashlight
  • One whistle
  • One bottle of water

Did I mention it's all packed in this ultra day-glow fanny pack? I feel very safe now.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I came back from the beach to find out J Lo and Ben split. Is anyone surprised?

The beach was fantabulous. The water was warm and the waves were large, so it was a lot of fun. I finally found what happens if you hang out in the hot tub for more than 15 minutes -- you get dizzy and exhausted. Three of us sat in the spa for something like an hour. Getting out was... interesting. Also, there were dolphins. You had to take a ferry over the island and there were dolphins in the water. They didn't leap all of the way out of the water, unfortunately, but you could see the little curve of back and the tail fins, etc. It was nice.

Going back to work after such a weekend is going to be hard.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Blogger has gone completely free and we've got all new features gratis. I especially like the option to change time & date, and also the draft feature. I'm sure there are other things to explore, but I can no longer procrastinate. I'm going to the beach for the weekend and I need, need, need to get a draft of the SNW story to jemima, Liz and Rocky either tonight or first thing in the morning. Actually, I'm thinking it's now or Sunday night.
A day without blogging is curiously berefit. I would think of things during the day and say, "I should blog that," but because 9/11 is a blogging 'miss' for me, none of those things will appear here.

Last year, the blog had a 72-hour 'silence' around 9/11. This year, it was just 36-hours. I chose to not update the blog on 9/11 because what is there to say? Being funny or pointing out links or ranting/whining on 9/11 just doesn't work. It's hollow and simply doesn't feel right. I don't want to talk about 9/11 either. I said all I've had to say on it on the days immediately following this horrific tragedy and those journal entries are immortalized in the September 2001 archive or on my 9/11 site. So, for that reason, I said nothing at all.

I have no idea how long blog 'silence' will apply to 9/11. There are tons and tons of horrible events throughout history and I don't mark those. Already, the memorial services on 9/11 were so much more low-key and compartmentalized than they were last year. Over time, memory fades and the ragged edges of pain heal over. There'll be a time when 9/11 is just as distant to some as Pearl Harbor has grown to be.

But for now, the 9/11 blackout will continue annually.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

9/11 Memorial Site.

Blog Rerun: September 2001

I honestly cannot wait for J. Lo and Ben Affleck ("Bennifer" to those in the know) to get married already simply so the media will stop talking about these two. Who cares already? The woman has been married twice before (the cynic in me suspects each wedding is derived from a need of publicity, rather than love/honor/loyalty/committment etc), produces nothing but mediocre movies (if that) and he hasn't had a decent movie since "Good Will Hunting" and previously was best known as Gwyneth Paltrow's significant other. 60 Minutes doesn't care, most of the online people who I speak to don't care (and trust me, if you're ever going to meet people 'into' celebs, we fannish fans got that market covered), so who out there in Middle America is demanding this 24/7 coverage? Please, please, please, make it go away.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


Yo, but comments are back! Celebrate by commenting. Or not. However the spirit moves you, but the option now exists.

Your links of the day, courtesy of of one Very Weird State:

Man ships himself to Texas

Governor 'Hair' calls a third legislative session because the state has got nothing better else to spend its money on.

Last's night nightmare er, dream

I was suddenly back in First Year, surrounded by books and the 50-70 pages a night we'd have to read per class (And Dr. Z! Remember Dr. Z and his 100 pages! Even now my brain is staggering under the weight of memory!). I just remember reading as quickly as possible (trying desperately not to catnap in between pages -- slows it down, y' know -- jotting notes down and going to class thinking, "Please, please don't call on me, I can't remember anything about what last night's reading assignment.") Anyway, in my dream, there were lots of books, all of them $100+ and those packets from Copy Corner and all of them were screaming at me, "Read me now!" I didn't necessarily think at the time I was absorbing anything because we were reading so much and so quickly, but every now and then, I'll get a flash of something -- something that we'd read or just a snippet of information and I'll get all puffed-chested and proud.

In retrospect, the MBA is all a blur -- this swift, blue-read-yellow caped blur, maybe. There are moments I do remember: Dr. S's 5-hour long accounting final, those back-to-back presentations, those finance cases from heck (whatdya mean I gotta use the CI to figure out what a dollar was worth 20 years ago?), group projects from heck (never helps when most of your teammates won't talk to each other), and Dr. C's socratic method of "So I didn't call on you for the question you wanted to answer, but here's another from left field just for you and because I like you today, how about you talk for the next 15 minutes because I'm just going to keep asking questions until you keel over because that's how they do it at Harvard and we're just as good as Harvard" (well, no, but the dream of Harvard certainly inspired him). I remember really, really long days starting at 6 and ending after midnight. And perpetual crabbiness. Especially when it rained and we all had to walk through that lake pooling right outside of Wehner. There is nothing more miserable than spending an entire day in wet jeans and sneakers.

But... it's done. It's over. We did it (::high fives R and V::) and it's really about breaking it down into chunks, not getting overwhelmed by sheer volume or other RL things going on, and taking the time to just have some quiet moments to oneself and letting other not-so-important things go. That first year was an incredible challenge and honestly, my brain and people skills never had to work so hard. Anything else these days seems like cakewalk. Now I realize, that was probably the program was really about. It's not just about two years more of theoretical and practical work; it's about a whole lot more. Any lessons learned that's less than that misses the point.

Updates/uproar/upshot: I'm now taking a class on Wednesday nights from 6 to 9 pm. It should be good and starts tomorrow. Also, I'll be spending the next few days furiously polishing the SNW story so I can send it off either Friday night or Saturday morning for an edit. Right now, it's an unmitigated mess and it's going to take a lot of work to get it in shape. I guess that's what I get for waiting until the very last minute. Allegedly, comments should be coming back today (because I know all of y'all are just clamoring to leave lots of comments ::grin::).

Monday, September 08, 2003

I've spent the weekend listening to Yanni. Yes, I like Yanni. A lot. My favorite piece by him is called "Reflections of Passion" and it really fits the title. What I love about it is the way the music starts out andante, so soft, tremulous and tentative -- there is, at first, no indication of what it is to come -- and then slowly builds into a sweeping crescendo, but all the while, keeping the overall musical theme, with no one instrument overpowering the piano; for once, the orchestra is perfectly complementary. The music slowly builds itself down and it's light, delicate, not at all heavy-handed. In the background, there's the languid bassoon, rather a respite from the previous grandeur. This is why this song works for me, because its structure is so perfect -- building up slowly, pulling the listener in more and more as the music 'gains' momentum, and then the gradual introduction of other elements until you have the full-fledged sweep. It's really, really beautiful, and if you can get your hands on this particular piece, I recommend it.

In Stupid!Seema news, I was at the grocery store this weekend. I really, really should have stopped in the pharmacy aisle. I hear drugs are a good thing when one is hacking up a lung.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Link of the Day

Meet Alfred Meneze. Y'know, just in case you were feeling a bit guilty about the time you spend online and all of the hobbies you could be developing instead. Let Alfred be an inspiration to us all. Today's link kindly provided by Wilkinson.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

This and that

Got an email about our high school reunion today. How scary is that? I don't plan on going of course, though it comes next June which is about the time when I traipse up north for my yearly visit to the Boston area and it would be nice to swing into Burlington and see what the place looks like after all of these years. But the price being having to spend time with people whom I went to high school with? I dunno. The person organizing it though is a very nice person and I always got along with her, it's just the idea of a high school reunion... ::shudder::

Tech news: apparently blog update is working again so you can receive posts from this blog directly in your inbox by signing up using the form to your left. However, the comments are still down; the server they're housed on apparently went down over the Labor Day weekend and they should have been back by today, but alas, such was not the case.

Spammer update: Nothing, nada, zip. I think this little bit of fun has run its course. I'd push it a bit more and spam 'her' some more, but the SNW is right around the corner and what have I done? Nothing, nada, zip. I'm still not feeling well tonight, so I'm going to call it an early night and hopefully get an second wind tomorrow and make some headway on SNW.

That is all.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Seema's Walk

Music for the journey home provided by the Inimitable Miss Barr. So it was me, Tori and the wide open road, black asphalt rushing up to meet the sky. Days like this, with the blue-gray clouds rolling in, the shimmer through of light, the dark green of fields and trees, are best for driving. I noticed C----- for the first time. It's one of those towns built around a gas station and a country general store; you blink and you miss it. Most people don't even realize the speed changes from 70 mph to 55 at that point; they are flying through, not stopping to see the green sign which signifies the town limits, proudly proclaiming a population of 288. A little further, there is a billboard -- white with black lettering -- that announces in addition to 288 inhabitants, C------ also has food, drink, gas, museum and shops.

C----- is like every other town between here and there. The shops are colonial or western in style, run-down, and most have a "closed" sign on the front door. The blinds in the windows are bent out of shape, broken on occasion, and the building sags from the burden of housing beaten up rocking chairs and scarred dining room tables; occasionally, in the middle of the junk, you'll find a treasure, a poster from the 1940s or a genuine Louis Quinze chair. In towns like this, 'antique' simply means 'old.' As you go further down the road, you see the gas pumps resemble aliens; there's no such thing as pay-at-the-pump. There are different nozzles for different grades and the parking lot is kicked up with pot-holes and weeds. All 288 residents are in perpetual hiding.

There is a post office, with a broken down front porch. A faded American flag hangs limply. There is a Mexican restaurant. In five years of driving this highway, I've never seen anyone pull into the parking lot. There is a taxidermist too. A broken down truck adorns the front yard of a one-storey white clapboard house. The next door neighbor has a collection of tractors and that house is in need of serious paint; once it was an orange, now it's a pink. A little further away, the broken down remains of the Jezebel Saloon. The train tracks are a permanent home to Union Pacific boxcars.

There is a sign thanking you for visiting C------ and asks you to come again.