Chattering-Magpie-blog

Crime in the 'hood.

Posted Mon Feb 09, 2009, 08:42 AM by Tracy | |

I used to say that we lived in a no-crime zone. You could look at a map of my city that shows where crimes are reported. There’s a little blank square where nothing happens. Our house is inside that square.

This morning as I prepared to scrape the frozen frost from the windshield I noticed my driver side door was slightly ajar. I was sure I had closed it, I thought, as I opened the door.

Immediately I saw that my coin holder was missing. Not just the change it contained, but the entire holder. Plus the few random dollar bills I would occasionally tuck into the another holder between the seats (do those things have names?)

Damn punks got into my car and took my change. Now I’m mad. They didn’t take anything else, not that there was anything of value. I’ve been very lax about security, neglecting to lock my car as it sat in the driveway. I’ll be locking it from now on, I suppose, for all the good it will do.

Now what do I put my loose change into?

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Some days I shouldn't be allowed to have a computer.

Posted Wed Jan 21, 2009, 19:39 PM by Tracy | |

I was all set to demo a piece of functionality to an internal customer this afternoon when my laptop computer suddenly shut down. I rebooted and it immediately began shutting down again. I begged off and went in search of IT.

Just for the heck of it, I docked the laptop and tried rebooting again. Sure enough, it shut down just about as everything had completely loaded. Everyone in IT was off helping other people, so I took my laptop to the “Vault”, a secure room where the programmers and QA work.

Let’s take a look at it. What’s it doing?

I start it up and it immediately shuts down, I say.

Fire ‘er up.

The laptop started up and loaded my startup apps.

I’m going to run the command line to abort the shutdown process. Oh. It couldn’t abort because it’s not shutting down.

I explain that I can’t even shut off the sound and reach out to press the sound on/off button.

Why are you pressing the power button to shut off the sound?

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Snap and double snap.

Posted Tue Jan 20, 2009, 18:00 PM by Tracy | |

From today’s inaugural address.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Oh snap.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

Double snap.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Not the "Magic Negro."

Posted Mon Jan 19, 2009, 12:57 PM by Tracy | |

Early in the campaign, in 2007 in fact, Rush Limbaugh (no referring-link love here) tried to claim the phrase “Magic Negro” and attach it to our now soon-to-be President. He pulled it from an LA Times editorial, which I understood to be about public perception and expectations of Barack Obama.

The Magic (or Magical or Mystical) Negro, a stock character of film and literature always subservient to the needs, goals, and personal growth of the white (usually male) protagonist, is a racially-infused construction of the older mythic tradition of the Companion.

As the Hero sets out on his (or her) journey, he often acquires up to three companions, frequently possessing magical powers, who assist him on his quest. The Companion may be a dangerous wild man or talking animal, or even a wise though non-magical servant.

Barack Obama does not fit the construct of a Magic Negro. He is not a companion to a protagonist, he is the protagonist. It is as the Hero that he carries the hopes and expectations of the nation. His quest is to lead the nation.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

I come home to an empty house.

Posted Fri Jan 16, 2009, 20:06 PM by Tracy | |

A couple three times a year, E goes off for a weekend with his buddies. I’m welcome to come with, I just don’t want to.

Typically I take myself out to dinner in the Pearl, for sukiyaki at an upscale Japanese restaurant. I have sufficient leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

It’s just me and the cats. I don’t know what to do with myself.

What will I do when he’s gone?

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Extended Christmas.

Posted Tue Dec 30, 2008, 16:49 PM by Tracy | |

We did make it to the coast for Christmas eve after all. Our days of shoveling the drive to keep the accumulation down paid off. The tricky bit was getting up and down our dumb little side street. Once we got to the main road we were fine.

The drive on Highway 30 was exciting. Packed snow all the way through Scapoose. Horrible piles of slush through Clatskanie. Heavy snow from Rainier Hill to Bradley Hill.

Most amazing, snow on Christmas Day in Astoria. I never saw that in all my years on the coast.

We had Christmas dinner with E’s family on Sunday after Christmas, so our Christmas got extended. Christmas.

As per usual, we gave each other books. Lots and lots of books. I still haven’t read 1/2 the books from last Christmas. I try to come up with at least one “3rd world” author. And something suitably gruesome to suit E’s morbid taste.

Books I gave E

Books E gave me

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Home for Christmas.

Posted Wed Dec 24, 2008, 09:03 AM by Tracy | |

We’re just not sure where “home” is going to be. I am still hopeful without reasoning that we can get to the coast. I’ve got reservations at a nice hotel that I’ve been looking forward to for a month.

We had the driveway all cleared out and now it’s full of snow again. ODOT is requiring chains on all vehicles in Portland Metro area. We only have the studded tires. My little Toyota doesn’t have the clearance to make it through the big snowdrifts.

It’s supposed to warm up a little later. If I can’t get on the road by 2pm, we’ll stay here.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Winter Robin.

Posted Sat Dec 20, 2008, 14:12 PM by Tracy | |

click for closeup view

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

My first snowflake.

Posted Sat Dec 20, 2008, 06:50 AM by Tracy | |

It’s snowing, quelle surprise. E cleared our driveway of snow and ice yesterday during a warm patch and now it’s all white again.

I saw my first snowflake. For real. I’ve seen plenty of snow, but this was the first time I saw an individual six-sided ice crystal, up close, no magnification, just sitting pretty as you please on the porch railing. It was utterly perfect.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

The slowest car on the road.

Posted Mon Dec 15, 2008, 17:21 PM by Tracy | |

Is not me. It’s the person I’m behind.

The freeways are actually in pretty good condition. Enough packed snow has been worn away by combined traffic and sublimation. It’s the little side roads and the freeway exits that are tricky.

I do okay in my little front-wheel drive Toyota with studs all around. The best piece of advice I got was from someone from Montana. He said his mother taught him to drive as if there were an egg between the pedal and the floor.

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