Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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October 2003
Oct 28 2003
I'm trying to switch the blog to Moveable Type, but I keep running into the same error. The publishing system appears to be installed correctly, but when I press the button to publish a blog entry I get a server error. I'm stumped. I've asked JByte to take a look at it.

You can get JByte's help, too. He's got a new venture going: On Call Geek - now serving Molalla.

Bush Bingo. Right now I'm listening to W's press conference. I'm playing Bush Bingo: when he mentions 9/11 in connection, however tenuous, to the war in Iraq - bingo!

Oct 25 2003
Lazy day.
Today the tables are turned. I slept in and E got up early. He went fishing with his buddy Tom and Tom's young son Draven. I have no idea where his mother came up with that name. The kid is destined to turn Goth when he hits twelve. Right now he's a sunny little blue-eyed boy with bouncing yellow curls.

I feel slightly guilty (and fat-assed) for not going to kung fu this morning. I should be working out, doing some sparring, getting the blood moving. Instead I slept in. I only had one drink last night. Then the wine with dinner.

Oh what dinner it was. It's been probably a good month since we were at our favorite restaurant Brasserie Montmartre. The head chef said he missed us. I told him if we win the lottery, we'll hire him as our personal chef.

We started the meal with duck crepes with spinach and chevre. Good concept, but execution needs work. The crepes needed to be more tightly rolled. The whole dish would benefit from a light sauce, something that would balance the saltiness of the duck and chevre. For entrees we had the specials: rabbit ragout (E) and monkfish (me). The monkfish was yummy, though for diet reasons I wish it hadn't been fried, however lightly. I love how they prepare the zucchini and summer squash, vegetables of which I am not a big fan. I should just ask how they do it so I can prepare them myself at home. The rabbit ragout was served with couscous which E pronounced "wonderful". The rabbit was nicely done in a flavorful sauce. The whole meal was enhanced by a 1994 Gewurtziminer. Probably misspelled, but do I care?

We enjoyed two desserts: chocolate-orange tarte and pear tarte. The chocolate crust on the orange tarte was a little tough, making it hard to cut. Otherwise it was delicious and orangey. Chris the head chef came out to see how we like the meal. He recommended the pear tarte and offered to pop one in the oven for us. That's how we came to have second dessert. E loves pears and the pear tarte was worth the wait. The pear itself was full of flavor and not overcooked, a risk with baking pears. The crust was a bit tough, making cutting difficult. Vanilla icecream helped balance the sweet sauce.

Oct 20 2003
"The feel-good movie of the year."
Not an exact quote from E, but close enough. We saw Kill Bill last night. E chortled the whole way through. He's got a sick sense of humour. Plenty of highly-stylized violence and gore. One whole section was in black-and-white to avoid an NC-17 rating. I found the movie kind of uneven. Of course, being a Tarantino film the story jumped back and forth in time - that's not what I'm referring to. He devoted only one "chapter" to one character on whom "The Bride" reaks her revenge, but several chapters explore another character. It felt unbalanced. Perhaps the next installment, Volume 2, will rectify this.

On a more domestic front we shopped for appliances. The dishwasher is pretty old and doesn't always do such a great job. I'd rather replace it before it gives up the ghost. The stove is questionable - not all the burners work all the time. We both prefer gas for cooking but we're also looking at flat top electrics. E would really like a convection oven, but I don't know that we could justify the cost.

Oct 18 2003
Everybody loves Tivo.
I am making my peace with the Tivo. I have finally found something I want to record: Mystery Science Theater 3000. It comes on when I'm at kung fu class on Saturday mornings. I've also set the Tivo to record South Park, The Simpsons and Futurama. Plus Mystery!

There was a kung fu test today at one of our sister schools here in Portland. I helped out for a couple hours. I didn't feel like hanging around all day when I could be watching MST3K. Also I'm tired of being "last man standing", staying to the bitter end and cleaning up. I got smacked in the face and have a little bit of a fat lip. But that's nothing. One guy had a nice cut opened up over his eye.

Oct 17 2003
Limping on two legs.
We did a fair amount of kicking in kung fu class last night, but that wasn't the problem. No, it was doing full speed hand technique combinations that I pulled a hamstring. In my left leg. I was limping on two legs. A couple ibuprofen, a hot bath and a good night's rest, and I'm much better. It was kind of funny, though.

Oct 15 2003
The agony, the pain, the disappointment.
We had our hopes up and they were dashed against the outfield wall. The Cubs held the Marlins to no runs for the majority of last night's pennant game. We thought it was in the bag. Then the tide turned. Moises Alou stretched up to catch what should have been the third Marlin out of the 8th inning, when an overzealous fan, anxious to catch a souvenir ball, tipped the ball out of its direct line of flight into Alou's glove. The Marlins went on to score 8 runs in the 8th inning. The Cubs never recovered. The series is tied.

Tonight is our last chance.
End of the world postponed. The Cubs lost the seventh game of the National League pennant 6-9.

I suppose it's just as well. Skaren said if the Cubs and the Red Sox made it to the World Series, they'd be tied at the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game. The world would come to an end and we'd never have closure.

Oct 13 2003
Progress bit by bit.
I've been very good about not weighing myself too often. That way lies madness. So I was pleasantly surprised to find I'm down a good 10lbs. when I stepped on the scale the other day. It's always encouraging to see evidence of progress. Maybe I'll even get down to my target weight of 130lbs.

I am getting a little tired of doing manual updates to the web site. Perhaps it's time to tackle Movable Type again. JByte says he solved the problem that was getting in my way before.

Oct 11 2003
Party time.
JByte called the party last night to celebrate Cherz's birthday. Hard to believe he's only 25. I was sure these guys I used to work with would be older by now.

We were a bunch of webheads and geeks: Nerdygirl was there, as were Structure Hack and Semaphoria. We shot some pool. I think I won. E kept his eye on Game 3 of the National League pennant. The Cubs pulled it out in the 11th inning. What game!

Oct 8 2003
California über alles.
I don't know why, but it makes me a little edgy when Austrians come to positions of power in governments outside Austria. At least we know here's one actor/CA governor who will never be president.

Does Ahnuld have a clue of what he's getting into? I have no idea of how to run a state government and I figure I've got about the same amount of experience he has. Not to worry, I'm sure there will be plenty of nice lobbyists to help him out.

Po' Cubbies. Cubs lost their first game of the pennant race last night. It was an exciting game nonetheless. Sammy Sosa tied the game with 2 outs at the bottom of the ninth with an amazing out-of-the-park homerun that had the people in the streets scrambling. But the Marlins got their additional run and held the Cubs to 8 runs. Po' Cubbies.

Go Cubbies! I'm keeping an eye on the game on The Cubs are just TROUNCING the Marlins. 12-2, at the top of the 8th inning.

Wild Bill O'Reilly. I listened this evening to an interview of Bill O'Reilly on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The show began with a snippet from Bill O'Reilly's show in which he talks about his interview. From his standpoint, he defended himself against attacks from the liberal media. He claimed the pleasure of "telling the woman off," which he thinks should please his audience. Terry Gross is such a nice lady.

So of course I had to listen. The impression I got is that Bill O'Reilly thinks it's all about Bill O'Reilly. He claimed a book review of Al Franken's book, in which the reviewer cited Franken's comments on O'Reilly was in reality an article about him and the reviewer was guilty of libel against him.

I suspect he saved it up for the last few minutes to create an inflammatory sound bite he could use for his show in order to portray himself as a rightous defender against unfair attack. He claimed Terry Gross spent 50 minutes throwing "every defamation" at him "in every possible way." I listened to the interview. I fail to see how asking O'Reilly how his relationship with his father changed when he stood up to his old man and let him know he couldn't beat on young Billy anymore constitutes a defamation. Or when she asked him about the development of his political beliefs when he was a young man.

Oct 6 2003
Cubs win! Cubs win!
E is beyond excited; he's elated that the Cubs beat Atlanta in game 5 of divisional playoffs to enter the pennant race.

I'm working this week at an agency downtown. They had me scheduled on one project, but other people wanted me on other projects as well. They sorted things out and I'm back to sorting through eyesight-killing charts. The weirdest thing, though, is switching from PC to Mac to PC, and among various programs. I rely very much on tactile sensations.

Oct 4 2003
Go Cubbies.
E is very excited these days: his beloved Cubs are in the playoffs. Last night we watched a great game in which young pitcher Mark Prior shut down the Atlanta Braves to win 3-1. Go Cubbies! Maybe this will be the year they win the World Series. For the first time since Roosevelt was president. Teddy, not Franklin.

Orange kitty, the spare cat, is making progress, insinuating himself into our household. He (I've decided it is a neutered male) crawled all the way into my lap this morning while I did the NYT crossword. That's a big cat, at least half-again as large as my other two.

Oct 3 2003
Flutter of excitement.
A little before 9AM the power went off in our neighborhood. It stayed off for a tad over 1/2 hour. I don't mind so much when the power goes out. I kind of like it. I'm not pulled by the computer or tempted by the television. Everything is quieter. It's pleasant.

Obsession. It's about time I realized that weighing myself three times a day is counterproductive. I'm down a whole nine pounds from my starting weight. It's been about 8 weeks, so I'm right on track. I just get so wigged when the scale goes up a pound. Some variation is natural, I have to accept that.

I have hopes for employment. Two people I know are leaving their jobs. I've asked whether I could have them. Both jobs pay well (one better than the other). I can do either job without too much effort. Still, there's the job application process to wade through. Freelancing is going well, thankfully. I'm starting to be happy with my designs.