So, the big internet usage crackdown happened here at work, and all m ynew pages lie un-updated. Tragic really... well, not really, I just wanted to say tragic. At least the reason for the crackdown is legit. They've been having crazy server problems, one of which has to do with bandwisth clogging, so they are banning all sorts of stuff, like KaZaa (duh) but also FTP'ing. So now I have to dot hose updates from home on the dinky dial up. Mmm... aliteration. On the plus side, we just got a new computer, and let me just say that despite my loathing of Microsoft, XP is sooo much better than 98 I can't even describe my joy. Also, in an effort to keep things running smoothly I am not going to install any extra crap or download extra crap or anything like that. All that sort of stuff goes on my external drive. I am tempted to try MoZilla, but frankly, after my last computer I am wary. The thing got really messed up when I went to install an internal CD writer. It never recovered. And so fixing a 1998 400MHz computer seemed not ver worth while.
Paul Wellstone was running for Senate the first time when I started at Carleton College in the fall of 1990. His campus celebrity was quickly growing, even though I had no idea who he was. But I quickly grew to respect and admire his strong will and audacity. Stories of his clashes with campus speakers and his inability to back down, along with his ardent rejection of PAC money for his political campaign made a strong impression on me, especially when I became disenchanted with Carletons claims at being liberal and diverse despite it's obvious wealth and homogeneity. When he won, he became a campus super star, although considering Minnesota's other strange elected official, it's not really such a stretch. I followed his career, not carefully, but I did follow it. It was filled with great moments like his speaking out against the original invasion of Iraq, and the current debate over Iraq. And there were sad moments as well, as it became apparent that the money involved in Washington had changed some of his idealism. But in a world where someone as centrist, consevative even, as Bill Clinton gets branded a liberal, it's nice to be reminded that a true liberal still had a strong voice in politics. He will be sadly missed.
It's a damn good thing my dog is cute, because I otherwise I might wring his damn neck. I mean, he is a puppy and all, and so much behavior is excusable, but he just pushes the limits sometimes. Refusing to walk is his favorite game. You get a dog and you look forward to leasurely strolls, and what do I get, a dog who is way more iterested in eating everything in site, regardless of gastrointestinal consequences, which brings us to last night's adventures. His dinnertime walk was the usual combination of leisurely walking, infuriating dragging, and removing everything from his mouth, which is made more difficult byt the prepoderance of crap on the sidewalks in my neighborhood. Fine, so the walk is done, stick him in his crate and go out for dinner and to see Wilco, who by the way is way more interesting on record then in concert. The opening band, who's name I couldn't understand, and had serious stage presence problems was musically more interesting, but anyway, we get home and let the dog out and he goes out back and nothing is solid, and this proceedes to be the single most disgusting dog cleanup I have ever participated in. Then, in the middle of the night he pukes, which is always a charmer because he is too dumb to know what to eat and what not to eat and so he proceedes to try and eat the items he just vomited up, which are what made him vomit in the first place. At least he doesn't eat shit. So then when I take him out in the morning it is more of the same. Now he is clearly not feeling well, and his stomach is growling and the noise confuses and scares him, and the worst part is, he doesn't grasp cause and effect well enough to understand that his continuous munching of everything that comes his way is what is causing his distress. At least my dog doesn't do this!
This is some wack shit! Fear Factor eat your heart out! (Courtesy BTTB - a weblog)
As I have revamped my site here, I have struck a problem. My original intention with this blog was to post off the cuff vaguely coherent diatribes about things I found interesting/amusing, as opposed to just "Today I ate peanut butter and jelly... etc. etc..." that permeates many blogs. Needless to say, this is a little more work than posting your daily bathroom schedual, but it is infinitely more interesting to read (that of course begs the question of whether anyone is actually reading this). But I noticed that I frequently would go for long periods without posting. So to fix this problem I decided to be less heavy handed in my approach. Post silly, frivolous things sometimes. Every post doesn't have to shake up the world. Then the shit really hit the fan.
I decided to revamp the site at the same time I came to this content related conclusion. So now I have not posted frequently and the posts have been less substantive in nature. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!! But, the construction is done, and the site looks way more interesting, and it is way deeper (I mean in a structural sense, not in a like I am writing DEEEP literature here). So less futzing around with how it looks, and more long posts about totally useless crap.
Saturday I went to the Poconos for some various and asundry scams that were basically irrelevant to myself but ostensibly the day was to be spent with an old friend I hadn't seen in some time and so we drove up the Northeast Extension of the PA turnpike for like an hour and half, scoped out a really ugly Pocono lodge with all the stereotypical acoutremants and then went to Hickory Run State Park for the more interesting part of the day. The main attraction was the Bouler Field. Basically, it was formed by glaciers, it's shaped like a lake, but it is all rocks from like large mango size up to big boulders, but basically creating a flat surface that you can walk accross, although you have to be careful not to twist an ankle. Very Cool.
Afterwards, we drove home via Jim Thorpe PA.
Had a pretty good weekend. Sorry for the slow pace of site construction. I have been super busy travelin' all over the city, which is actually kind of cool. I grew up here, but there are vast swaths of the city I have never seen that I am now wandering around in. It's pretty cool from a socialogic standpoint. Especially since Philly is manageable. I mean, I used to explore in NYC, but it's so freakin huge that you explore forever and only see small portions of the city. Also, I get paid for the exploring now, which is a dope side effect. It's fascinating to me all the cool stuff here that I never knew about growing up. My favorite discovery is actually not even in far flung places. There is a vast tunnel system under center city. It stretches from Broad and Spruce up to City Hall and East West from 11th street all the way over to Suburban station. It's strange because it is so dank and empty, but it could be such a cool space. If they just treated the air better, improved the lighting and added a whole bunch of retail stuff. You have this prime center city real estate that is just going unused. I mean, I understand why people avoid it now... it's creepy as hell. But, what it could be...
Hooray for Mah Jong! (NY Times) I was first introduced to Mah Jong as this game my grandmother played. A game that was clearly Asian in origin but seemd to played in America almost exclusively by old Jewish ladies. Later, my brother got her old set and got the rest of us interested. It's sort of like a really complicated version of Gin Rummy crossed with Axis and Allies. It was really fun, but took forever to play. Over time, we have gotten quite a bit better, and have had some epiphanies to speed up play, which I think is still at a snails pace compared to real players. Probably the biggest speed up has to do with scoring. Everyone starts with 1000 points, and points are passed from one player to the others at the end of each round. Others in the group, more mathematically minded than myself took on the scoring duty, mostly because they liked it. Their methods seemed confusing to me, but I left them to their own devices, until I realized something significant, and now seemingly obvious. The total number of points must always equal 4000. This seemed like a great way to check your work, until we realized our totals were always a little off. That was when we resorted to the chips. The game comes with a bunch of poker style chips that we had never really investigated. Now, with our scoring methods in a shambles, we switched to the chips, each chip having a different point value. Surprisingly, this increased the speed of play dramatically, making the game much more enjoyable.