Friday, April 24, 2009

Days gone by

Someone emailed me recently, requesting a copy of a story I wrote for Virtual Voyager Season 8. Must have been 7 or 8 years ago now. I had forgotten the title of the story or even what it was about (actually, that last isn't so surprising -- I regularly forget what my stories are about). I wasn't even sure I had a copy, but luckily I did. Those were fun days. Yup.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'll be out of pocket for the next 10 days or so, but in the meantime, entertain yourselves with Etiquette Hell. There are some classic stories on the forum, as well as on the website itself. Much fun.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea party

Seriously cranky as they made me late for my abs class. And then stood in my way when I was trying to get to the post office to pay my taxes. Maybe that was their point, but seriously. It's especially ironic that these protesters were using public gathering places, funded by taxpayer dollars, for their gathering.

Taxes are taxes and I honestly have no feeling about them one way or another. Certainly not enough to spend precious working hours when I could be proving my value to my employer and earning money to pay the taxes that provide for our brave armed forces, our roads, our schools, public servants including law enforcement, and help those who have lost their jobs somehow make ends meet when times are tough.

Do I wish sometimes my tax dollars were spent differently? Yes. But in the end, when I drive down our beautiful new 16-lane highway, I can only be grateful for what taxpayers bought that makes my life so much easier. It's an honor and a privilege to pay taxes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazing Performance

I can't embed the video, but you really have to check out this video of Susan Boyle. Absolutely amazing rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. And a good lesson on how/why not to judge a book by its cover, so to speak.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Annual ritual

I just realized, in the middle of "The Amazing Race," that I need to make my annual pilgrimage to the US Post Office on the 15th. So now it's that last minute scramble to check and recheck my work (I actually did my taxes back in late January/early February), print out all documents, make sure they're labeled correctly, etc. I don't mind the actual prep; it's the post office bit that makes me a little bit insane. No fun at all. No wonder so many people conveniently "forget" that they owe taxes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Baseball link today -- unassisted triple play. I'm actually looking for a triple play in which no one touched the ball. It's a question in George Will's most recent column and I just can't think of how on earth this is possible. Any help would be most helpful and welcome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My A-ha! moment

So I'm working some freelance webdesigns and I can't believe, in nearly 12 to 13 years worth of doing this, I never figured this out -- have two index.html pages, one labeled index and the other index2, and work off the index2, and use that as the browser preview/experimental pages. See, in the past I've always just worked off the index page and then I'd find something nutty, would change it, save it in order to preview, and then realize, dang it, I can't undo. By doing it this way, I was actually able to preview, see if I liked it, and then if it worked, save it over the other index file, without losing hours worth of work.

I'm sure this has been obvious to everyone for years, but man...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Must have

Three must-haves I carry in my car trunk: a flashlight, jumper cables, and an air compressor for the tires. All pretty self-explanatory, and it just seems incredible to me to not have them. I once got stuck out late at night on a freezing winter evening (pre-cell phone days) with a dead battery because I forgot to turn off the car headlights. Luckily there was someone there who could jump my car and I was able to get home, no problem. Since then, I've always had jumper cables in my car and I've probably jumped about a dozen cars or so. They're not expensive -- maybe $20 to $30 -- but what they give you in peace of mind is so much better.

I also recommend an air compressor. These things are definitely not expensive -- I bought mine for about $20 at AutoZone. This is one of those items that you pay upfront for, but then really appreciate. Previously, I used to have to either go to the garage to get my car tires inflated or search out a gas station to fill my tires. I don't know about you, but the gas stations I always stopped at were either broken or missing a gauge (I have one of those in my car now too). Plus, you always had to have quarters if they didn't give you free air with purchase of gasoline. Now, with my air compressor, it takes about two minutes to fill up the tires in the comfort of my own garage.

I calculated it costs me about $1.50 to fill up all four tires at the gas station and when gasoline cost $4/gallon, it was about 70 cents to travel 4 miles to the gas station. So it's about $2.20/month to fill up my tires. I've owned the pump for more than a year now, so I've easily made that money back. Plus, it's just *convenient*. I can justify cost all I want, but really, it's just the convenience of knowing I can plug this thing into the cigarette lighter in the safety of my own garage and it's just all around better situation.

So, I definitely recommend just having jumper cables and air compressors for tires. It's an up-front investment, but I think worth every penny. Adding a flashlight and a tire pressure gauge for kicks isn't a bad idea either.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rant o' the day

I really dislike, when you're looking for a service, how some vendors make you call them to get the price. I like vendors who put their prices online, easily accessible, so I can figure out whether they're in my budget or not. If they're not in my budget, I move on and I don't waste their time or mine. I know why they want me to call -- so they can convinced me that regardless of whatever they're charging, it's worth it. And vendors want that personal contact so they can keep track of who's interested -- a semi-anonymous hit on their website isn't particularly sexy. But since I only have so much time in a day to research and make phone calls (read: lunch hour), I automatically skip over anyone who doesn't publish their price points on their website.*

The key here, vendors dear vendors, is that your website isn't about YOU. If it doesn't have what I'm looking for on it, then you don't get my business automatically, even if you're the most awesomest awesome ever. Other people might fall so in love with your product, they'll call you and be okay with whatever you quote, but those of us who have a specific dollar amount in mind don't want to waste your time or ours. So please, please, put your prices on your website and save us all some time.

* Excluding car mechanics, though it's nice for routine maintenance like an oil change to know how much it's going to cost up front..

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who are all these people

Line of Succession to the British Throne.Countess Wilhelmine von Wuthenau-Hohenthurm probably has just about the same chance of being queen of England as Prince Charles has becoming King. I can just hear the introduction now: "I'm Countess Wilhelmine von Wuthenau-Hohenthurm and I'm 1,596th in line to the throne of Britain. Nice to meet you."
jemima made me do it

Between 50 and 100 monkeys

I'm most like Between 50 and 100 monkeys.