Friday, April 29, 2005

Heavens, it's a busy Friday!

I'm dealing with a thousand bits of administrivia, downloading STC reports and paperwork, digging the surface of the desk out again, and phoning people. So thank heavens for this bit of stress relief sent to me by Sheilagh M.


Pavan Madhira: The Evolution of a Programmer

Funny stuff early in the morning for those of a geekish persuasion: Pavan Madhira: The Evolution of a Programmer.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Quick recommendation: the Charging RINO blog

I stumbled on the Charging RINO blog and I want people who are interested in contemporary American politics to go take a look at it. It's run by Jeremy Dibbell, a moderate Republican (you know that this must be something good if I'm recommending you go read a Republican's blog). His motto is "A voice of moderation in a period of extremism." I was very pleased to read intelligent, thoughtful, and well-annotated points by a moderate Republican. Just the lack of demagoguery and ranting alone is worth the price of admission. :)


Grant Fuller and book reviews

I took a look at the Amazon listing for Firefox and Thunderbird Garage to see where it was for sales rank (no longer in the top 1%, alas, but it's still in the top 2% or so, which Just Ain't So Shabby!). There were several nice reviews, including a lovely one by Grant Fuller, a painter in Victoria, B.C. I took a look at some of his prints. I like 'em! The pictures I saw were pleasant, sunny, colorful depictions of Victoria and surrounding areas. Go take a look at his website and if you've never been to Victoria, B.C., these are a good indication of the type of place it is for a long weekend vacation.


Posting on the fly....

I've got a moment or two so I figured I'd add something to the blog.

The yard guy's here at the moment mowing and the like, so I'm not going to go out and plant until after he's gone--too noisy. The peas are breaking ground in a lot of places, though the sweet peas up against the fence may have been slowed or killed by an application of casoron granules a couple months ago for weed control. I hope not--sweet peas are gorgeous additions to the garden. I'll give it another week or so and if necessary, replant. The yard guy's going to bring by a bunch of large pots (that trees are shipped in) and I can use those for some container planting of tomatoes and melons. I think it's going to be a good year for melons.

Dick the Amazing Handyman (and a really nice next-door neighbor, too) came over yesterday and the day before and repainted a section of wall that we'd made some changes to and sanded and stained some new floor boards. I need to hit the floorboards with a little fine steel wool, but it's looking pretty nice!

Been getting a bunch of things set up for being the STC Region 7 Director, mostly downloading files and reading them. Going to be a ton of paperwork. I'll need to dedicate a couple file drawers just to this, I'm sure. Oy.

I'm baking a couple chickens and a bunch of large potatoes for dinner and the house smells wonderful.

I'm reading Lawrence Block's "The Burglar in the Closet." I got turned on to this series a few weeks ago and I recommend it for pleasant, light, fresh mysteries. They're written in first-person and have deal with the quiet adventures of Bernie Rhodenbarr, a burglar who runs a bookstore by day.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Election results: Region 7 Director or actually just "Director"

Got the news that I was elected to the position of Region 7 Director in the Society for Technical Communication. For those of you who aren't aware of the STC, this is a fairly big dog deal. I'm on the Board where I can wield ruthless power and so on... except there's no power to wield and no-one on the Board is ruthless--they're actually all very devoted to making the organization a better place, even though there is some difference of opinion on how to get there. But the common motivation is key: everyone's a volunteer (oh, there are minor compensations for some expenses, but it doesn't begin to add up for the amount of time you spend on the job to do it well) and everyone is spending all this time because they believe in the organization. That gives us all a basis for agreement.

The title of the job I signed up for and was actually elected to was "Region 7 Director," the director for the Rocky Mountain Belt, the PacNW, Western Canada, Alaska, Singapore, Rebublic of China, and Tokyo. It's always been true that directors were representatives to every member in the organization, but the sponsorship duties had them focusing on their respective regions. A referendum was passed in this election that makes all of us just "Directors" without any regional focus at all, so the job title's changed even though most of the job has not.


Susan the Demon Child needs a new name!

I am enormously fond of Susan the Demon Child. She's the youngest of three and she's very good company. She's also a good writer, has been excelling at journalism, and can type almost as fast as I can, all of which are endearing traits. She's pleasant, fun, and we can take her to lots of things we enjoy and we all have a good time. Having her around is a Cool Deal.

Unfortunately, her days as "Susan the Demon Child" are almost over. She's going to turn 21 soon and it just doesn't seem right to call her the Demon Child anymore. She's earned her stripes as an adult and I think it's only fair to treat her with the respect her new position requires.

So I'm going to have to come up with a new appellation.

Suggestions are welcome.



I took Susan the Demon Child to see Pilobolus this evening. She'd never seen them before but was very impressed. I've seen them once or twice before in concert and several times on PBS (the first time was in 1977 and I was enthralled) and I've loved them every time. It's difficult to explain them if you've not seen them, but their style is based on phenomenal combinations of people and lots of movement. It's rather acrobatic at times, but that's hardly all of it. You should look through the website to see the pictures that are there and then realize that everyone's moving all the time. I didn't see anything in the way of videotapes, but there are a few films of them that appear on PBS and Ovation and so on every so often that are a pleasant hour of your life spent watching amazing dance.

(Note: The dance troupe is named after the Pilobolus mushroom, which is a fascinating thing. The connection's a bit tenuous, but wotthehell, wotthehell.)

If you like Mummenschanz, you'll also like Pilobolus... but for very different reasons.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sunday evening and we're tired

Busy day that started early. We got up very early to make 8:15 rehearsal and sang at both services of church this morning, which took us to 11:30am. We then moseyed out in the direction of Fred Meyer for the purpose of buying some box-sized clear plastic storage containers and a bunch of flats of impatiens for around the trees in the planting boxes. We bumped into a co-worker who aimed us at the Johnson Brothers Greenhouses out in Coburg. The weather was good and a small road trip (very small; it proved to be only 4 miles away) seemed like a good idea, so off we toodled.

And lo! it was well worth it! We picked up lots of impatiens and a big Martha Washington geranium and a bunch of other plants for the last barrel and a half a flat of portulaca for the front in front of the lilies. Total cost was a little less than $50 for most of a backseat full of plant trays.

The hanging fuchsia baskets were the most impressive I'd ever seen. I wasn't quite sure how we'd get one of them home they were so full, but with a car full of other plants and the trunk full of a floor lamp and sodas and things, it wasn't going to be today. But I know we're going to go back; it was far too cool a place to visit the once. Besides which, they gave us a half-off coupon on up to $20 of plants, so we just gotta go back to redeem that.