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The Indefinite Article.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

2004 07 31

Todd has been here for a week and the local coke machine is already out of Dr. Pepper.

Saw The Manchurian Candidate. Despite a serious flaw in the plot-line, I recommend it to all viewers.

Rails Kicks Ass

Today a co-worker and I spent many hours checking out Rails. It is pretty darn amazing. Adolph, you definitely should spend some time looking in to it. It could be just the rapid web development framework you are looking for. I mean, one can literally create html forms to insert, update and edit records in a database without writing more than 5 lines of code.

I recommend following along with the movie that I linked to in my comment to your post. It gives you a great introduction to how Rails works.

This is pretty interesting

It is Rails, a web application framework that provides the basis for Basecamp, and looks like a versioning content management system:
Home Page (Rev #57) in Rails

Google Search: west wing of the hospital kerry

This morning on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, the NPR news quiz, the listener was asked who said this week ". . . I was born in the west wing of the hospital . . . ." When Kerry was in the wind-up to this statement I remember thinking, "okay, this is harkening back to Dean and the democratic wing of the democratic party, so it must have been the left wing of the hospital." And I was wrong, it was the west wing. However, this morning I realize that I was right, the west is to the left, from a traditional map perspective.

Google Search: west wing of the hospital kerry

Grow, baby, grow

I think we set a new record -- a 9' sunflower grown in a 2' deep container on our terrace -- it looks like we're out in the country somewheres. yee-haw!!

Friday, July 30, 2004

United States Secret Service: Employment Opportunities - Uniformed Officer

United States Secret Service: Employment Opportunities - Uniformed Officer

One of the interesting points of Fahrenheit 911 was that the Secret Service was guarding the Saudi Arabian embassy. However, from the Secret Service's website, it appears that they do a lot of that and also provide protection for foreign heads of state/government too. I wonder how many embassies are guarded by the Secret Service?

?? ??????????

I saw this link on Engadget and even though I can't read it, it has some pics that demonstrate why the iPod is still on top: ?? ??????????. The site has side by side pictures of the new Creative MP3 player with a current and 1st (or 2nd) generation iPod.

Yesterday I had two different office-chit-chat conversations with people about the iPod and it is remarkable how capable it is. You'd think that some clever people out there would have come up with something better, but the unbadness of the music management software, the magic of the scroll-wheel, and the relative open-ness of the device itself are a winning combination.

It will be interesting to see how Apple manages the current DRM (digital rights management) challenge by Real. It is kind of a pity that Apple feels a need to respond at all, since it doesn't seem like Real has an actual shipping product. And whenever Real does ship something, you can be certain it will be some nightmarish advertising engine that makes iTunes look really good.

Al Quaeda Loves NASCAR!

StrategyPage.com has a gallery of concealable knifes including this NASCAR Helmet Keychain Knife.

O'Reilly: Make

Teh Radness! A magazine from everyone's favorite book publisher: O'Reill: Make Magazine

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Looks Like Fine Protest Weather

Yahoo! News Photos
- DNC Protests

Trial Lawyers

I'm overhearing a conversation elsewhere in my office about a wreck and a lawsuit and wanting to sue the lawyer who filed the lawsuit and the answer that lawyers don't sue one another. Over this election season, we're all likely to hear a lot about lawyers, as the Dem VP candidate is one and as its one of the things increasing health care costs. I'm wondering, how often are lawyers sued for malpractice? Do lawyers buy malpractice insurance? When was the last time a lawyer was sued for sleeping during a murder trial or operating a class action lawsuit that benefits themselves more than the claimants?

You Know Colin . . .

Don't Blog For Me, Argentina: corporate whore: "If you can give them a story that they can give to the next guy, and that guy can give to the next guy and so forth down the line, that is infinitly more importnat than what the graphics look like."

. . . I once read an article about Nike and how the company was all about the transmission of corporate stories. This article was from back in 2000 and I'm certain a lot has changed since then. However, the basics still apply: strong organizations typically have a distinct culture or set of shared values and the parable is the best way to get those across to other people. Jesus had it down pat. If I remember it correctly, he didn't typically say, "do this." More often he told a story and people discovered why they wanted to "do this."

Ultrasonic Squirrels!

Discovery Channel :: News :: Ultrasonic Squirrel a Mammalian First: "The finding is of interest because it is the first time an animal has been found to use ultrasonic frequencies for communication. Other animals, such as bats and dolphins, use ultrasonic frequencies to locate obstacles or pursue prey."

Blog Reading for the Blind

So Tuesday, my office-mate Ethan says to me that he wants to make something like a conservative NPR. Ethan is a self-avowed conservative--Killy, remember that guy at First USA that was studying economics? Ethan is kind of like that. I'm not sure what he means by conservative. So I say, "Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?" and he acknowledges it but says that he likes the format and information but not the liberal spin.

So we bat ideas back and forth for a bit until I have this idea: Blog Reading for the Blind. The basic concept is that a modest number of people (say, 30) commit to reading 5 minutes of blog posts into their computers every few days and each day's recordings are put into one mp3 of about an hour that would be downloaded through Bittorrent (a distributed downloading system that would take some of the bandwidth burden off the central server).

I imagine it would be something like Houston Taping for the Blind, a service that is directed toward the blind but is freely available to all. I was first exposed to Taping for the Blind through KTRU, where sometimes I catch the Houston Chronicle being read.

To demonstrate how easy it would be to record, I pulled out the trusty Belkin Voice Recorder and read a few minutes of an article and imported it into iTunes within seconds and played it back. It worked pretty well. To learn more about hot Houston Taping for the Blind works, I applied to be a volunteer there.

Back to the blog

So, we got back Saturday and I'm feeling this obligation to blog the stuff I wrote about while I was there and also write the stuff I thought about but didn't get around to writing down and so forth, but it just isn't going to happen, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. It was a great trip.

My verdict on Belize is that it was a really nice time and the accommodations were very inexpensive but the overall value didn't seem better than Mexico. This may have been different if we had spent more time in the interior looking at Mayan ruins, although that would have really meant going to Guatemala. For folks without a comfort level in Spanish, Belize may offer a better value proposition (ignoring travel costs), but since I love honing my pigeon espagnol, that doesn't apply to me.

Our choice of Belize came out of wanting to use as much of our travel vouchers as possible. Round-trip for each of us was about $450, which was under the $500 travel vouchers we both had. We budgeted about $100 a day and ate pretty well but did not take any guided excursions and didn't buy a lot of junk to bring back.

One of the big hassles is that Belize doesn't have the ATM network that Mexico has. In Guanajuato, you can just walk down to the ATM any time and pull out pesos. In Belize, you have to bring a stash of traveler's checks--the bank (and there was only one) only offered cash advances on credit cards and charged a fee to do it. Fortunately, most places seem to be cool with traveler's checks.

A & A

I love the pictures of Belize...
I'm dying to get out of Texas for a week or two.
Those shots were pretty inspirational-I need to get Tag and I passports for Christmas.
Then we'll have to get out of the country. Maybe Belize, Costa Rica, Argentina, Equador, Italia!
I love to dream, as long as it's about travelling and not syringes coming out of my head.

Second weirdest dream ever

I haven't remembered my dreams in a long time. And with all these wierd clinical schedules, I've been sleeping wierd hours. Like until 10:00am. I haven't done that since SWT! So anyways, I have a 5 week rotation on the oncology floor, and it's all cancer patients getting chemo, recovering from chemo, trying not to die. Just about all of them have central lines, like Jet, with a port under the skin on the chest and a tube going strait to the heart.
Well, one pt. had a central line, an IV in his left arm and one in his right arm. You walk into the room and there are tubes everywhere. One for pain meds, one for antibiotics, one for blood, one for antivirals, one for fluids, and one of IV nutrition. This is who I dreamt about last night. But I must have been him. Talk about empathizing with your patients.
It starts out with a surgeon saying he needed practice, so he grabbed me and intubated me. Then he started pushing on my temples. Then I looked in the mirror and saw syringes coming out of my head. Needless to say, I'm creeped out and this can be categorized as a nightmare. I will spare y'all the rest of the details.
I otherwise love this rotation and want to do oncology forever-wierd dreams or not.
I love wearing pajamas to work.
Liz-on Taggart's desktop

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

corporate whore

I have to remind myself on a constant basis not to be so acidic in my evaluation of my work enviroment.

I am suprised and not so suprised to see exactly what is entailed in the full time corpoate gig. The meetings are....well they give one some appreciation of the dilbert comics.

As a designer here, I thought my job would be to make designs that are cool to look at and intriguing in a visual sence. But as it turns out, I am a sales man and what gets approved by the merchandising morons has little to do with being visually compelling, but has everything to do with the B.S. you can spin around it.
If you can give them a story that they can give to the next guy, and that guy can give to the next guy and so forth down the line, that is infinitly more importnat than what the graphics look like.

Well...every Mon - Wed - Fri at 11:45--I grab my shorts, shirt, sock, shin guards, cleats, and ride my bike over to the soccer field and play. All year round.

2004 07 27

Michael Moore In the "No Spin Zone" with Bill O'reilly

saw Bourne Supremacy, like it. Glad vengeance was not wrought at the hands of the hero.

Also, Eleo gone back home. Had swell time here. Now got to get used to the negative space.

Also, Todd has moved in. He is clean.

Also, been watching the DNC on C-Span (webcast). Some good speeches, particularly Gore's, Mr. Clinton's and most recently, Obama's.

Also, watched Outfoxed. Reaction? Foot Oreilly's Nuts Kick.

Also Great pics adolphs and ambers!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

strangest dream ever.

it was unlike any dream i have ever had before. like most of my dreams it was in two separate, but somehow related parts.

in the first part i was some type of space marine on a jungly planet (type place). i entered the dream in the height of the action, which was a breakneck retreat from some manner of advancing enemy-alien-lizard thing. while i was terribly curious of what exactly i was running from (and shooting at) the wisest course of action seemed to continue to run (and shoot).

the next part was even stranger. my family, at least my aunt and brother, had gone to vietnam for a vacation. nothing out of the ordinary there. except that i was a vietnam vet. i visited places where i had previously fought and kept having grainy, black and white flahsbacks, all quick cut and jerky. they became increasingly protracted until i came to a building where, in the past, my unit had apparently taken heavy fire. in the 'now' of the dream a bunch of teenagers were having a party. well, i freaked out, knocked some kid down as he got out of his car, stole the car, and drove the hell away.

later i met my aunt and brother for a meal, where my aunt accidentaly spilled another diner's milk.

Monday, July 26, 2004

"A More Perfect Union"


Anybody interested in going in on a copy of Outfoxed?
I have purchased a copy. I plan on watching it sometime tonight.

Saturday, July 24, 2004


Last week while we were at Cipollina Ryan was talking about "Outfoxed" the guerilla type documentary about the Fox News Network. For those who dont follow Doonesbury on a daily basis I though I would show you this weeks lines.

Friday, July 23, 2004


As I was perusing Adoph's Itunes Library I saw that most of his albums that he ripped himself were encoded as MP3's. A bit surprised I asked why...."Compatability" was the answer. I have come across this On-line music store for Independant artists.
Audiolunchbox. I realize that this might not have the integration and ease of Itunes but being a Mac user I have been bummed that I cannot shop online for my music elseware. However Audio lunchbox is Mac friendly and it's product is sold as MP3s, and Ogg Vorbis, and you get get both file types without paying extra. I am sure Adolph will be sad that he cannot buy the latest Britney, Jessica, Mandy, J-LO, album there but he can find
American Analog set, Death Cab for Cutie, and They might be Giants there.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

All Points Bulletin.

Due to my corrupted User information I have lost pretty much all of my Address Book contact, vcard yada yada.
If Everyone could send me their vcard to Taggart55@mac.com if would be much appreciated.

necessary addition

You need some colin in there for bad attitude and general sulleness.
and spelling.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because software is so complicated. Beauty is the ultimate defence against complexity

-David Gelernter

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Dont forget a little bit of TAGGART for absssooooolute hipness!!!!!

Super-Wife's Super-Husband

I propose a combination of
Killy, for his general wonderfulness
Todd, for his super-ness
and Adolph, for his brainy-ness 


Not Just Any Toilet Seat...

The best toilet seat in the WORLD!

yes ladies and gentlemen you too can have a nice clean backside after answering nature's most important call (after food and sex)!

no i will be peddling graphic design skills, and maybe knives door-to-door if that does not work out. scaryscaryscary. and killy's right. my boss is a jerk.


Hey Killy, was it just a cramp?

Or did your leg turn into a snake somehow? Harry Potter kind-a-shit.

Are you playing Soccer with a team or someother grassy ball game?

Todd....What are you gonna do as an independent biz man? Graphics, Web Design, Toilet Seat Salesman???

I'll take my answers off the air.


yeah, just imagine, if you could somehow combine my greenthumb with carol's culinary magic and diana's medical brains ... you'd have like a Super Martha, or something ...
i always liked that word doyenne, but i'm not really sure how to pronounce it
"Doy-anne"???  sounds kind of like "doy," as in "der," an exclamation of stupidity, plus some chick named Anne.

baby steps...

well, the first steps have been taken in becoming an independent businessman.

soon i will be the boss of me. i am excited, scared, nervous, apprehensive, and excited again. i seem to be experiencing diminished vocabulary. more reports as circumstances warrant.

"'Bona fide' terrorism is a matter of semantics," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy

Omaha World Herald

Monday, July 19, 2004

An Occurance at Bexar Fields in Houston

(Wednesday July 14, 2004)

The sky is black and then bright blue, and then black again. I'm only closing my eyes because i can hardly believe what is happening. My leg crawls like a snake; the impossibility of that squeezes my eyes shut. Cumulus clouds, bright blue and sunset orange -- i don't feel pain, but i can't walk. A painful spasm shoots suddenly through my legs.

My calf continues to tighten; i turn towards the earth. The grass is nice here, much thinner than the St. Augustine in my yard; i can smell the moisture in the ground, or it could be the sweat that has gathered on my face. We've been playing now for nearly two hours. Once i am up again it might be closer to three hours, but i'm not counting. I am face to face with the grass, but i roll again on my back. I can't stand up.

I reach down and try to massage my calf which continues to spasm - i can't bend my leg. I can't reach it. I rest my hand on my kness but it feels like someone else is touching it. My leg doesn't feel like my own.

They begin to gather.

The long muscle that i call my calf feels now like a ball just below my knee - did i pop a ligament? is this what this is? did i break my leg? i reach for my calf again, i need to feel it.

I bend my leg with considerable pain but manage to get a hand on my calf. It feels like it's swirling under my skin - some storm or wind swirling about. I immediately think of Eric's boa. It's silky body moved under my fingers the same way my leg is now. I pulled my hand away.

"... my calf..." was all i could manage. Alex, who i was battling for the ball, grabbed my foot, straightened my leg and pushed it forward. As the muscle relaxed, it oozed a slow hot pain. I cringed and looked at the sky (it's much darker now - how long have i been here?)

I limped off the field.

"Pickle juice, do you have some at home? Drink it."

"Pickle juice?"

"Yeah, that will help."

I swallowed down the gallon of water i brought with me. I poured the last of it on my head. With my injury, the scrimmage was called. We were all reminded that the next practice was saturday monring, 9:30.

i see potential...

for a new martha stewart style domestic diva.

amber has the right mix of approachability, and genial uptightness to fill the power vacuum left by the deposed doyenne of domesticity. now we just need to get her to embroider her name on some sheet sets or pillowcases and a megamillion dollar empire will be born.

Seriously amber, thank you very much for your insight and helpful hints. i have been wondering about how to get good soil for my guys, and about better feeding techniques, not wanted to create a generation of sugar junkies.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Healthy Plants

My specialty is container gardens, since that's what most everyone's got here in the city. Here's what I do for organic, healthy, gorgeously blooming and growing plants. I start by creating a rich soil that feeds plants for years and years (and, yes, even container plants should have living, vibrant soil, rather than salty gray dead soil that starts to look like chalk or hard, dried out clumps of peat moss over time):

Every spring, about 1 month before the last freeze (in March for most places), I enrich the soil in all my containers (and I recommend my clients with yards do the same). Here's how:

1) I remove the top 1-2 inches of soil -- where salts build up -- and throw it out so I can add the good stuff (for yards, you wouldn't need to do this step)

2) I add some composted pine bark mulch (for acidity and aeration) and some composted manure (for nutrients -- make sure it's COMPOSTED manure -- plain manure is too strong and can burn plants) to the tops of my containers, tilling it in a little to replace the soil I took out. Compost is the best cure for bad soil -- clay soil, sandy soil, compacted soil, etc.

3) Then I till in a mixture of greensand (for trace minerals), crushed up egg shells (for calcium), and some Epsom salts (for magnesium)

4) After the plants are all planted in the containers and after the last freeze, in late April here - probably early April there, I add a slow-release fertilizer (like Osmocote) to the soil surface. That last about 3 months, so I apply it again at the beginning of July.

5) In May (late April there), all blooming plants and vegetables need frequent fertilization if you want them to keep producing, so I start fertilizing these heavy feeders with an organic fertilizer (you could use a liquid seaweed and fish emulsion mix, or shop around for a water-soluble organic fertilizer, or get that Jerry Baker book and use a home remedy mixture), every 2 weeks. For all other plants (foliage plants, houseplants, non-blooming plants), they should only be fertilized about once a month.

6) Stop fertilizing everything by August/September to allow plants to slow down growth in time for winter -- even houseplants go through a winter dormant period where they stop growing as much

People always ask me why plants in containers need fertilizing. They need it even more than plants in the ground because every time you water, some of the nutrients are leached out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.

If this sounds like too much work, I recommend just trying to do steps 1 and 4 at least -- you can try doing the other stuff later if you find yourself wanting more blooms, bigger tomato yields, healthier plants, etc.

You can find all of these products at a good nursery -- but, if you're lazy like me you can also order them on amazon. Hey, if any of you ever have a question about your plants, post a photo on here and I can probably help to diagnose any ailments you have ... just call me the plant lady ...


I want to wish Adolph and Amber bon voyage on their trip to Belize. I hope that they bring back plenty of stories, fotos and notes!


It's a whole milimeter thinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can almost feel the extract space in my pocket.

New iPod

Sunday morning thoughts

I thought this was pretty interesting. Jihad as enlightenment? I immediately see a stronger comparison in the Crusades; however, wasn't there a certain degree of 'spreading the word' involved in the crusades that isn't present in any current jihad?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Speaking of babies...

Y'all can start calling me Uncle Pablo for now on. Thats right, my sister Susan has announced that she is expecting a bouncing baby gender as yet undetermined!!! The whole family is so super excited, especially my mother who has been praying for years for a grandchild- and now mere weeks after her retirement, her prayers are answered!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

miracle gro ate my baby.

not really, but i must say that amber's post has caused me concern.

Also, to anyone new to gardening: Never, ever buy Miracle Gro or any of those other mysterious little blue powder fertilizers. Why? They have high salt content (which damages plants in high concentrations) and they don't feed the soil. Result? In a few years, your soil will be totally dead and devoid of life, including all the necessary earthworms, soil microbes, and beneficial organisms that make soil healthy, alive, and nutritious. Your plants will be fast food junkies hopelessly hooked on blue powders for sustenance because the soil provides no nutrition to them anymore.

does that go for container plants also? should i encourage earthworms to take up residence in my larger containers?

i must confess to having purchased a bottle of said tonic and have applied it sparingly to my plants. i don't want junkie plants! i want them to choose life!




The Bible

If you never buy another gardening book again, at least buy this one. If you have a yard, IT'S A MUST!!! Here it is: Jerry Baker's Backyard Problem Solver: 2,364 Simple Solutions for Super Soil, Great Grass, Amazing Annuals, Perfect Perennials, Vibrant Vegetables, Terrific Trees, Bad Bugs, and Wicked Weeds

He's got all these kooky home remedies for things, and they really do work. You may wonder why a little soap would be good for a plant?? Phosphates for blooms and root development. Beer???! Sugars for metabolic growth and development. And all kinds of other wacky solutions that will save you money and save us all from dying mysterious deaths from cancer caused by toxic chemicals leaching into the ecosystem in 50 years. I do disagree with him on a couple of things: Bleach -- don't use it!!! I'm also unsure about using ammonia -- sounds toxic for the environment to me. But I absolutely agree on most things, including egg shells for calcium, coffee grinds for acidity, and BIG BEAUTIFUL HELPINGS OF RICH, BLACK COMPOST FOR EVERY SOIL IN SPRING AND FALL

Also, to anyone new to gardening: Never, ever buy Miracle Gro or any of those other mysterious little blue powder fertilizers. Why? They have high salt content (which damages plants in high concentrations) and they don't feed the soil. Result? In a few years, your soil will be totally dead and devoid of life, including all the necessary earthworms, soil microbes, and beneficial organisms that make soil healthy, alive, and nutritious. Your plants will be fast food junkies hopelessly hooked on blue powders for sustenance because the soil provides no nutrition to them anymore.

Okay, that's all the soap box preaching for today .. buy that book!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Way Home

The bus has its own sounds. The creaks and hums and hisses of shifting metal, rubber and bodies are unique to that space �?? that seemingly stagnant time. I am swallowed up the second i step onto the rubber floor (the beeping as the bus drops to allow the old mexican lady behind me easy entrace follows the rhythm of the hydrolic hisses); the engine resonates, the traffic outside becomes nothing more than a hum. I always sit up front in the seats that should be vacated for wheelchairs; wheelchair riders are rare, but i have seen them. Mostly on Montrose, but i remember one downtown not too long ago.

He was an older gentleman, remarkably self-reliant for a guy in a wheelchair. He strapped himself in. The bus driver only had to raise the seat. He left the bus as effortlessly as i might have in front of some assisted living apartments off of Memorial Dr.

A soft bell rings. I never see anyone pull the insulated cord. My eyes are closed. The sweat slowly evaporates off my body. the bus begins to slow down. I shift my body weight forward to keep from being flung off my seat. The bus comes for a jerky stop. From behind my eyelids i can see shadows moving across the bright blood in my eyes. Three people get off. This particular bus idles hard. My legs are shaking shoftly. I am almost asleep.

The bus jerks forward again.. The blood in my eyes is too bright. Summer has arrived. The air condition blows like a long sigh. If i were to open my eyes i would notice the sweaty foreheads and the wet matted hair. The sweat under my shirt has become a cold, itchy layer of salt.

The 50 Heights route snakes through downtown and eventually hobbles up memorial and swings around to washington ave. Today, we stop at nearly every stop, even the obscure stop next to the bread surplus store.

It is 6:05 when i step off the rubber floors of the bus and onto the hot concrete outside. I start to sweat almost immediately. I cross the street staring into the hot reflections of the sun on the windshields of oncoming traffic and think of the brown pelicans that dive bomb into the sheen of hot concrete. I hear that this happens in Arizona.

The further i walk from 43rd, the more muffled the traffic becomes, until it's just a hum behind the sharp shrill of cicadas. I can feel my sweat dripping in between the hairs on my chest. I walk on the east side of the Costa Rica to avoid the sun.

A giant live oak hangs over nearly the entire street right after Libbey. As i walk under it I catch a glimpse of a cicada on one of its low branches. I walk home in as much shade as i can manage to place myself under. I walk in straight lines from one patch of shade to another.

the majority of my yard is shaded, so i decide as i walk up that now is the perfect time for me to cut the grass. I kiss my wife and son, change into shorts and head straight to the shed. The inside of the shed has the wonderful odor of yard work: mud, old cut grass, gasoline, fertilizer, mulch, ant poison, old wood.

I walk the mower through the backyard and am struck by how remarkably quiet it is in my neighborhood. Lovely.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Sushi, anyone?

Stepping off the subway today, I notice a homeless person's grocery cart parked on the platform. The owner is nowhere to be seen, but the cart bears the trademark anonymous lumps, probably clothes and bedding, hidden inside an assortment of plastic garbage bags. But the thing that really catches my eye is what lies on top: A book of sushi recipes. And so I have to wonder what other necessary implements must also lie within the bags: Sashimi knife, bamboo mat, sake. The question that comes to mind is, if you were a homeless gourmet living sans oven or stove-top, wouldn't sushi be the logical choice? I hear fishing in the East River isn't bad this time of year.

(Thanks Taggart and Adolph for the great feedback on high-speed service ...)


Paul.....could you type your birthday greetings larger....my eyes ain't as good as they used to be. Thanks for the remembering.

As for Carol and Graphic novels.

Check out Hell Boy and any of Mike Mignola's stuff.
that one is easy to find cause of the movie and all.

All of Frank Millers stuff is great.
Sometimes the story is a bit thin but the art is great.

But best of all is...
JIMMY CORIGAN - smartest kid on the planet.
Forgot the artists name but this guy is so powerfully great his ability to organize a narrative it unbelievable. He also has the whole ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY.

good luck.

Manhattan Sunset Tonight!

Hey Amber Frida, check this out:
APOD: 2004 May 28 - A Manhattan Sunset : "Today, if it is clear, Manhattan will flood dramatically with sunlight just as the Sun sets precisely on the centerline of every street. Usually, the tall buildings that line the gridded streets of New York City's tallest borough will hide the setting Sun. This effect makes Manhattan a type of modern Stonehenge, although only aligned to about 30 degrees east of north."


Speaking of "excessively trying to monetize the engagement," this Sunday I had the misfortune to shop at Randall's. I wanted to go to Spec's, but they were closed, so I went down to the mid-town Randall's. The little grocery store in San Marcos was a Randall's when I worked there and the chain seems to have gotten sicker. It was as if everything in the place had two prices, the with card price and the higher regular price. I asked a worker outside the meat department for where the pimiento cheese was and the lady walked me to it, offering me jumbo shrimp at such and so a pound, and after hearing me decline, ran through about five more items with prices. It was insane. I felt like saying, "hey, what you are doing is annoying." Instead I said, "hmmm, that tilapia sure is low." (Referring to something directly as low or high when the intention is to refer to the price of something is a strange pet peeve of mine.)

After enduring Randall's, I got to the checkout and couldn't buy the champagne for mimosas. Can't buy alcohol before noon. Why doesn't the ACLU do something about that?

Cable vs DSL

I've really enjoyed my cable modem thus far. It has been a reliable and fast connection with no tech glitches.

I picked it because there is no contract (my apartment is month to month too), no "activation fee" and somewhat cheaper.

In theory, a cable modem could provide slower service than DSL. The line to a cable modem connects to a larger trunk before it goes back to the cable office. Thus, if all of your neighbors are heavy internet users, then you could see a slowdown. In reality, there is a lot of bandwidth and the cable companies cap their download and upload rates so that there is enough for everyone.

The technical advantage of DSL is that the line in your home goes straight to the telephone company office (a big building with lots of connections and computers sometimes called a "switch"). Nothing between you and the phone company depends on anyone else. However, the electrical requirements of DSL mean that if you are too far from a "switch," then you can't have DSL. In reality, the speed you get with DSL can be lower if you are on the outer limits, distance-wise.

I think the largest advantage of cable over DSL is business model. For phone companies, the connection and data you send are their primary product. They really need to make money from you on the deal. For cable companies, the connection is a commodity component that complements their entertainment distribution model (cable TV). Their bread comes from elsewhere, so they don't seem to be excessively trying to monetize the engagement.

Additionally, while both phone and cable are generally regulated like public utilities, to me cable companies seem more entrepreneurial in spirit and more interested in providing a service. Phone companies seem to me as if they are still coasting along with a monopoly driven bureaucracy in mind.

Comic Books

Graphic Novels anyone?

Fun article in the New York Times. Mentions "Maus", a book I actually finished.

Great FUN!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Hello Amber

From my experience.....there is little.
I think it has something to do with subcontracted providers.
I use road-runner...which is a cable connection.....however my service and money goes to Time-Warner Austin "The Cable Company".
My boss uses earthlink like you do.....and has dsl.....but his service is provided by, plus his money goes to Southwestern Bell.
and he has a contract.
When it gets in to the nitty-gritty of details it comes down to how the information is getting to you....meaning cable or telephone wires.
The company who owns the wires set the details.
Earthlink nor Road-Runner own the wires they just rent the bandwidth....kinda like renting an apartment.
I like my cable modem service and I have no contract and was issued a I.P. address.
I find that my bosses dsl is slower and he is not issued an I.P. address but used PPoe.
I understand how to Finagle and I.P. address so that multiple computers can access the internet on that one I.P. so I am not charged extra.
I know nothing about PPOe.
My vote is that you go with the cable modem.
I am sure Adolph has more info but
would probrably agree.

Happy Big 3-0 to Colin the Flynn...

Ok, so I am a few days late in getting this out and I totally forgot to call as was my plan for days, but thankfully it did not completely slip my mind:

Happy Birthday Viejo!!!

Too Many Options

Hey guys,

Do any of you have recommendations on high-speed Internet service? We have just been getting basic dial-up from Earthlink, but I am increasingly frustrated with waiting for pages to download and Anthony is finding it takes forever to send images to clients, and he can't send the really big files at all. I'd like it if we could keep our earthlink service, since that has also become our primary e-mail address and it's a real pain for Ant to change his e-mail address with all of his clients.

These are the options Earthlink provides:

DSL Basic Plan - $40/month, plus $99 activation and 12-month contract

Cable - $40/month with no activation fee and no contract

The second option looks better to me because I'm leary of contracts and it doesn't have the activation fee. Is there any reason why DSL is better? Thanks!!!


"As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place."

GMail Spell Checking

Has anyone checked out Gmail's spell checker? Its pretty amazing! Come to think of it, Blogger's spell checker is pretty amazing too... I wonder how they perform the spell check so quickly?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Natural Disaster

This past saturday, i woke up to a limb hanging from my backyard pecan tree. This kinda freaked me out. It took me a couple of days to get it fully chopped up, and out to the front curb. Just my luck that such a thing would happen the weekend before heavy trash pick-up. Sweet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

They Grow Up So Quickly, Don't They?

Well folks, it truly is the end of an era. The last occupant of the San Marcos Artist Incubator (alternatively known as the San Marcos Slacker Incubator, or just the Incubator) has moved out. Thats right, David Fernandez the Third has up and moved out of the house, out of the town, and out of the state. He has gone, in fact, all the way to San Diego to study Video Game Art and Design at the Art Institute of California.
So join me in wishing the best to our good buddy Dave as he bravely embarks on this bold and worthwhile new adventure!

Also, I don't know about y'all but I will miss those lazy San Marcos weekends...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Found It: Curly Extension Cord

I wish it were in a different color than orange (which is strange since orange is one of my favorite colors...).Grainger.com

Kerry Picks Edwards

Thoughts? Reactions?

Monday, July 05, 2004

happy 4th!

i hope everyone had a safe and happy fourth of july. and what is the fourth of july without stuff blowing up?
may be a little loud for work viewing. too tired to reexport.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

when did we segregate the AUT?

at what point did PNG become the favored format for the aumazing image uploader thingy?
not that i have anything angainst PNG, it seems like a damn fine format, and imports nicely into keynote with transparency.
i want to make a t-shirt from this image. not that it may help redefeat the president or anything. i just think its kinda cool.

'Facetop' Blends Screen and Video Images

Check this out: 'Facetop' Blends Screen and Video Images

I consider this a truly innovative use of currently available technology. I'm not certain what the criteria for that feeling is, but this is really cool.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Nothing of Importance Happened Today


I woke up several times last night. I looked up from the bed through one sleepy eye and saw a blurry 2:45 suspended in the black room. Again, at 4:35, still hanging there like a nostalgic apparition, refusing to let go of the room he once inhabited. I closed my eyes twice and forgot about it.

The third time the numbers we're clearer and more precise. Carol got to the alarm clock before i did. I sat up just as she came out of the bathroom. She eased back under the sheets, disappearing under their folds as if she'd never escaped them; the toilet quieted, and the house was quiet as a vacuum.

Every morning i have the same thought when i flip on the massive row of bulbs that line the top of my bathroom mirror, "I'm going to rip those lights out..."

the water from my new showerhead is fast and even. I want to imagine that i actually take quicker showers, now that there is no need to remove the handle and run it along my body to wet myself.

I have to shave too. Four days and i look like a mountain man. Four days and i feel as if i could itch the skin right off my neck - i could stare down at my bloody fingernails dirtied with my hair and skin and say, "ahhhh, that feels nice."

I wipe the steam from the mirror and it instantly appears again. I cover my face in a thin cream and shave quickly with no nicks. I used to nick myself all the time. I always came away with a spot of blood or two. Now, maybe my face has toughened, or my hands a little gentler -- either way, shaving seems to also go quicker these days; although, i don't think i could attribute that to my new showerhead.

I iron in a towel. I take great pleasure in this. I really can't remember where this comes from. If i troll through my most recent memories, i have always loved to iron clothes. Is is the smell? (the same sense that keeps me away from potpourri?) Is it the sound? (my mothers old ironing board used to creak early in the morning as she ironed. Now that i'm thinking of it, this thought gives me some odd comfort.)

why has this become so important to me recently? the control knob on my iron broke. now, just like our toaster, i have to unplug it to turn it off, and it only works on one setting: extremely, mind-numbingly hot. I wasn't too concerned, though, for most of my ironing jobs (pants and shirts) this is pretty much the setting i would use (maybe a little cooler). If carol ever asked me to iron a shirt for her, i would probably have to turn it down to accomodate the more delicate fabirc of her clothing, but it has been ages since she's asked me to iron anything of hers.

I caught myself staring at new irons at target on a recent trip and was immediately drawn to a $40 or $50 dollar iron much the same way many people might be drawn to a new imac: it looked so cool.

All chrome with a nice ergonomic handle with an open back. The name? The SHARK. "oh man, i've got to have this iron," i though to myself. I walked away before i spent the $50 i didn't have. I am the luckiest man on earth, my mother bought me a new iron for my housewarming. The iron's name? The SHARK. Karma, ladies and gentlemen, Karma.

As soon as i can manage a trip to my mother's house (she forgot to bring it to the party) i'll be ironing up a storm; my shirts, pants, carol's shirts, carol's pants, the baby's shirts, adolfo's little shorts all ironed to a starchy perfection.

I was expecting a fight this morning, but i think he was distracted with a toy he had searched out and become fascinated with. (It would be smart to think that this is what we should do every morning: just give him a toy and he'll be calm as you place him in his carseat. Smart, but mistaken.) It was a mexican toy. the one with a large wooden cylindar with a hole bored into its center attached to a stick by a string (just long enough to allow it to swing up). The object is to swing it up and over and land the stick into the hole. His object is to just hold it and gently place the cylinder onto the stick.

Adolfo, without a fight, sat calmly in his seat and allowed me to lock him in. He was squarely fixed on his toy. I grabbed his lunch, prodded his mother to hurry and started the car.

Traffic was light, mainly because we left early, 6:55. We got to the school about 6 minutes later and dropped him off without a problem. Traffic on the north loop was smooth until we hit 45, but even that moving, albeit, slower.

I made it to the office right at 7:30. David is out for the remainder of the week, Kelly returns from his vacation (straight into Calendar problems i might add) and i have a day crowded with conferences and Dr. Kumar's powerpoint presenation project.

(was it raining?) maybe it's just the air that's wet. i'm wearing a plain white undershirt. maybe i'm hot stepping out of the car; did i begin to sweat the second i stepped out of the driver's seat? My office is hot too. Is the a/c dead in here. The hallway is cool, so i don't even log in to my computer, i walk down the long hallway with my arms raised slightly so the cool breeze will evaporate my sweat. (maybe it was walking up two flights of stairs..) The main office is even colder; brooke is wearing a small sweater while she stares at her computer screen.

Kelly , my boss, is already in a meeting regarding the conference room meeting calendar, which has already seen some problems during its recent implementation. That won't put him in a good mood coming right back into the race, so to speak.

I chat and leave. (my office really isn't that hot, it was just my walking up the stairs.) My office really is warmer than it usually is, but i sit down and forget about it. I begin to like it. I get sleepy, but distract myself with a run to the file room. I pick films up for Neuro-Oncology conference this afternoon. Dr. Silverman zips past as fast as one can walk with a styrofoam cup of coffee. (coffee sounds good).

Sarah, the girl stationed at the film library front desk, helps me sleepily. She had arrived just minutes earlier. I remember that i'm sleepy too. I am on the fourth floor as quickly as i can get there. Here, in the tan zone is a starbucks kiosk manned by an older black lady, i pour myself a Guatemala Antigua, mix in four packets of sugar and a skim milk to the top, and get my frequent coffee drinkers card punched. (two punches, nine to go -- your twelveth is free)

Back at the office, i page dr. kumar, who comes by to re-visit conference cases. He chooses images, i compile them and put them into powerpoint. Donna sends me Dr. Raney's powerpoint file for Pediatric conference which i mesh with the existing presentation. Pat sends me another case for Neuro conference which Dr. Kumar will hate doing cause he's so busy. This month, the neuro staff (Dr's Kumar and Hunter) will get three additional radiologists. A godsend for them. The two of them have been doing 'head' reading for the entire hospital for the last six months or so. To put it mildly, they've been busy.

And the morning flakes away, leaving me in the hallway again, heading to the SBC conference room, where i will load the Pediatric presentations and have lunch. The conference room is cool. Lunch arrives while i am loading the presentation. I eat and fall asleep as Dr. Raney drones on about rare pediatric heart tumors. Does diana fall asleep at these things? I'm sure she does. Dr. H was asleep once. I've seen various fellows sitting there with their bellies full of salad and their eyes heavy with sleep. How much of this is soaking in? Do they retain the statistics?

Back in the hallway to the office. Dr. Kumar and his breath enter once more. He stays in the foyer to my office and reviews the unusally large load of neuropathology cases that are scheduled for review this afternoon. I burn all the pieces to my afternoon conference to disk and wait.

Next week carol and i share a weeklong vacation. Her nephew, alex (isabelle's 14 yr old son) is flying down this saturday for his own vacation. He'll be staying with us. I'm trying to plan some things that won't totally bore him. I wonder if he likes to paint. Carol and i have fantasies of finishing up the kitchen, painting the hallway, bathrooms, and adolfo's room. I've also got ideas in my head to start a woodworking project -- maybe a small bookshelf.

How much we will actually do remains to be seen. I do love to sleep late, i also really enjoy spending time at the movie theater.

the doctors are filing in. some came early and crunched on cookies and sipped diet cokes. others came late, dipped down to avoid blocking the projector view and quickly finding a seat. discussion begins. cases are presented. questions, almost more questions than answers.

the room always fills up twenty minutes after the conference begins.


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It's GIRLS Blog out!