Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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July 2003
Jul 31 2003
Leaving on a jet plane.
I'm off to PAWMA camp tomorrow, Aug 1. Four days of martial arts fun at Sonoma State University campus. So no web updates for a few days. Like I'm so good about updating anyway.

Jul 30 2003
Sticky buns.
Oh my gosh it is hot. We're setting temperature records. This is the first time in a long time I can remember we've had "summer" all summer. There's still August to go.

Dead pool. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm sure, to set up a futures market to help predict world events. After all, orange futures are remarkably accurate at predicting the weather. The problem is, a genuine futures market has an ultimate payout. The DARPA futures market to help predict critical world events wouldn't. It would ultimately be a "new economy" dot-com bubble fiasco. Unless ... one were to manipulate the market to ensure that certain events on which one was trading happened ...

Whither WMD? I was listening this morning to GW's press conference, saying the US had plenty of good intelligence to support the administration's characterization of the Hussein (ever notice how the gov't refers to people it doesn't like by first name?) regime as worthy of overthrow. If they had so much good intelligence, why did they use the crappy stuff?

Jul 28 2003
The truth in truisms.
They say once you replace a lost item, you're sure to find it. A few weeks back I lost a diamond stud earring. I looked everywhere for it. I was sure I lost it at the kung fu school, but a thorough scouring came up empty. I eventually gave in and traded the remaining earring in to get another matched pair. Sure enough, two days later I found the original lost stud tucked into the bedroom carpet.

The funny thing is, I did this a couple years back. I lost a pair of diamond studs E had given me one Christmas. I bought a new pair, then later found the original pair.

Now I've got three extra diamond studs. Time for more piercings.

Jul 27 2003
The most wonderful time of the year.
The last full weekend of July is the annual Oregon Brewer's Festival, my favorite time of the year. I look forward to this weekend all year. Friday is the best day to go, before it gets too crowded, before the lines get too long, before the popular beers are all tapped out. Saturday afternoon is pretty good, too, but after awhile you start getting full beers instead of 4oz. tastes, as the lines lengthen. Sunday is pretty mellow as the beer starts to run out, everyone's tired, and the event winds down.

After this weekend, I'm definitely going to have to go on a diet. I'm looking at lower calorie alternatives. I've decided that light mayonnaise is an acceptable subsitute for regular mayo. We got a sample in the mail of Splenda®. It's kind of weird stuff. It's sucralose, which apparently the body does not recognize and consequently does not metabolize as sugar. The texture is powdery and it has a mouth-feel like confectioner's sugar. The taste is a little different from sugar, but okay. According to the Splenda® web site, sucralose has been subject to over 100 scientific studies over 20 years, showing it to be safe. Here I am, waiting to be told it causes cancer in lab rats.

Jul 25 2003
Pirates of Aberdeen
If you've seen Pirates of the Caribbean, you've seen a piece of American history. The British Navy vessel "Interceptor" was none other than Grays Harbor, Washington's own Lady Washington, along with her captain and crew. This stunning tall masted brig is a replica of the Lady Washington, which along with Columbia Rediviva, was the the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. Columbia Rediviva, you may remember from 8th grade Oregon history class (or not), under the captainship of Captain Robert Gray, first sailed into the mouth of the mighty river of the west we know today as the Columbia. Lady Washington may also be seen in Star Trek: Generations.

Jul 24 2003
Work work work.
Nothin' but work. The last three days I've been formatting these insane charts at the agency where I freelance periodically. I figured it would take me the week and I got done early today. They've got enough work coming in to keep me busy for the next couple months, I guess.

My personal projects have been suffering a bit, consequently, witness the huge gaps in entries to this blog. Time to buckle down and actually get stuff done.

Strokes. A site I worked on has won a Rosey award: I designed structural layout for the Resources and corporate (About) sections, and assisted in content wrangling for the large number of windows and door products.

I think my sifu might have something to say about this:
You are Bruce Lee.
Which Martial Arts Movie Star Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Jul 19 2003
Blue screens are gonna clear up, put on a happy face.
Skies, not screens, should be blue. Knock on wood, I think my blue screen troubles are over. I owe it all to Louis, he's the best. Louis spent a couple hours with my computer on Monday. What did he find? A loose wire. Fancy-schmancy computers with their delicate electronic components, and what are they all hooked up with? Flimsy cheap wiring with pathetic little plastic connectors.

That wasn't quite the end of it, though. After he left I got blue screened again. Louis did some research and forwarded me a couple newsgroup posts that seemed relevant. He also told me a couple things to try. What I ended up doing was going into BIOS and slowing the RAM speed to 133MHz. That did the trick. Everything that previously would trigger application errors and blue screens has worked flawlessly. Plus, Louis showed me how to convert my disks to NTFS, and explained why it's preferable to FAT32.

This heat has scorched my little porch plants beyond belief. Only the geranium are thriving. The gladiolus in the garden are doing wonderfully, as are the roses.

It was so hot today that no one was moving very fast in sparring. I got a couple good bruises, nice and deep, anyway. Sparring is just the best when it clicks. With one guy my blocking was dead on spot. Anything he threw at me, my hands were right there to block. It felt great.

Jul 16 2003
Pirate Johnny or Juvenile Delinquent Johnny?
Booze-and-pills-addled Journalist Johnny or Opium-addled Scotland Yard Inspector Johnny? Mentally-challenged Johnny or ... Mentally-challenged Johnny? Which Johnny Depp role are you?

You Are Ed Wood From "Ed Wood."
You definitely have your name in history, although probably not for the reason you believe. Yet you are very accepting, non-judgemental, and optimistic almost to a fault. You also have a thing for angora sweaters. How could anyone not like you?
Take The Johnny Depp Quiz!

Yep, that's me, alright.

Jul 14 2003
We saw Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl this weekend, like everyone else. Now I've got a Johnny Depp thing going. How can a guy make poncing about look so sexy? He's only a year younger than me, a fellow Gemini. I've always been attracted to slightly bad boys.

Our neighbors on a perpindicular street hosted a block party Saturday. I brought my famous Wasabi deviled eggs to great effect. Everyone in the neighborhood is either older than us, or younger with tiny children.

Jul 11 2003
Too darn hot.
My gosh has it been warm of late. I wouldn't mind it so much, but the incidence of blue screens seems correlated with hot weather. It's illogical - the computer has six fans on the case, one or two on the power supply, and a little one each for processor and video card. It should be cool as a cucumber in there. I know computer performance suffers in high heat, but it's got to be really high heat.

I've called in the big guns: someone who actually knows what they're doing. The fee will be well worth it. I've learned my lesson. Next time I'll buy a Dell or a Compaq or a Gateway. Something that has components that work together.

It's been a learning experience for sure, and I know exactly what is in my computer (was never sure with the original Tiny). Putting together a computer is not difficult if everything goes right and works together. It's when things go wrong that I don't have the experience and knowledge to solve it. Oh poopers.

Jul 07 2003
Party party weekend.
It was quite the weekend of partying. At our age, that's one party a day. We never did get down to the Blues Festival. Etta James was scheduled for Sunday night and E had wanted to go see her - but we were both tired. Something about being over 40. And alcohol. And too much food. And too much sun.

I've had a couple scary moments with the computer lately: disappearing folders. The other day I noticed an entire client directory was simply NOT THERE. Today I discovered files and folders missing from yet ANOTHER client directory. I searched both hard drives and the trash can. What is this? Is XP mysteriously and randomly eating my files?

A more likely scenario is OPERATOR ERROR. If I cast my mind back to when I restored my files from the slave hard drive to the newly reformatted master hard drive, I seem to remember a few hiccups with copying files. I think what happened is not all the files got copied. Since then, in my zeal to have current backups, I cloned the master drive to the slave, effectively wiping out the files that didn't get copied. Follow? Luckily I still have files on CD back up. There's just one I haven't been able to locate though. Hmmmm.

Jul 04 2003
Independence day again.
At the moment, I'd just like freedom from blue screens. Yep, still getting 'em. Maybe I should call someone who actually knows something.

It's Independence day, time for my annual rant. Really, I just don't feel like it. I made a cherry pie and a mess of potato (no "e") salad. E made the macaroni salad and marinated the chicken breasts. We still have to make layered salad. Tomorrow we make "cowboy beans" and my famous wasabi deviled eggs. People start showing up about 2pm. I hope they bring beer. Or hard lemonade. I like that.

As for my yearly July 4 rant, let me just say that more and more I'm convinced that the powers that be in this country would prefer that we be a nation of consumers instead of a nation of citizens. So often I hear "rights" couched in terms of what we can buy. No, you do not have the right to drive a big ol' pollutin' gas guzzlin' monster truck, even though it does make you feel safe, knowing that you would crush my modest little ten-year old Saturn (and me inside it) in a traffic accident.

Previous rants: 2002, 2001. Enjoy my pseudo-liberal ramblings.

Jul 02 2003
Moody blues.
My computer was still giving me conniption fits through last weekend. I was getting blue screen errors up the yin-yang, no discernible pattern. Desperate to check out any remote possiblity, I opened the case to check that the memory sticks were well seated. Huh. Look at that. The video card is loose. I'll bet that's it. Off to Radio Shack for $1.79 worth of nylon tie-downs. I was so proud of myself, thinking I could solve all my computer problems for under $2.

As if.

Back at the end of May when we made the first of several trips to Fry's, E said we should get a new video card, as well as new motherboard & processor. Oh no, I said, the old one should work just fine. I wanted to save what would turn out to be a whopping $30 after rebates.

First thing Monday morning: once again to Fry's for a new video card. At this time I was in the middle of a clean re-install of XP, having decided that my XP install was sufficiently messed up.

Short story long, I got the new video card in (128MB onboard RAM!!), and continued the install with only a couple scary hiccups. Why the freak can't any Windows OS just install right the first time? Plus it renamed my drive partitions so that when I first looked for my backed up files on my second hard drive, I didn't find them. Aah! Thought I would have a coronary. Or just kill myself.

Since then, I've been working without incident. Just one thing: Norton AntiVirus gives blue screen errors when I try a full system scan. Huh. Go figure.