What's New? 2003-05

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What's New? 2003-05

 Monday 26 May 2003 - Memorial Day
  Having kids who were up late last night, we slept in and missed the Memorial Day parade. We dragged Neil's tiny Weber grill over to Bubbe & Zadie where I made a faux picnic BBQ (from the French, meaning "from beard to tail" (of the goat being grilled)). A variety of grilled things, along with potato and macaroni salad, made the day.
 Saturday 24 May 2003
  I lost my cell phone.

I feel so foolish that I didn't have our home number engraved on it.

We were faux cross-country skiing through the Powell and Montgomery MUNI stations a few days ago and I guess it popped out of my pocket. How annoying. The lost-and-found department doesn't return phone calls. Great service.

What to do? Buy a really cheap phone, like I did before we switched to this carrier? Or get something more my style?

I jumped over to eBay and picked up a Handspring Treo 180 for a tiny fraction of the retail price. It'll be here in a few days. In the meantime I've read a dozen reviews, gotten the updaters from the company, found pointers to places which have free (and for-cost) ringtones, etc. I didn't want to pay full price for it when Devin and I spoke about it ages ago; I'm thrilled to have one coming now. Yeah! And it's a world phone, so it'll work overseas.

 Thursday 22 May 2003
  Scotland I've been on the phone most mornings this week, chatting with folks in advance of our 2003 Scotland & Germany trip.

So far we're planning on spending three weeks in Glasgow, Ft. William, the Isle of Skye, Inverness, and Edinburgh.

Then we're off to Münster for another three weeks with Omi Marga. Whew!

This was the trip that she wanted to do for her 90th birthday, but Mom and sister Felicia vetoed the idea. So we planned it with her, but just a few days ago she begged off for medical reasons. I'm hoping she changes her mind, at least for a bit of the trip, but I'm afraid she'll only see Scotland through our pictures. We'll be taking a lot and giving her another slide show on my PowerBook.

 Friday 16 May 2003
  Suspected al-Qaida terrorists exploded four bombs in the coastal Morrocan city of Casablanca late today, killing at least 24 people and damaging the Belgian consulate, a Jewish center, the Café España (a Spanish restaurant), and the Hotel Safir. Sixty people were wounded. It being the Sabbath, the synagogue was empty.

I understand why a Jewish center would be targeted, and I've read that the Belgian consulate is in a building across the street from a Jewish-owned Italian restaurant (which seems to be a stretch at this moment), but a Spanish nightclub and an empty synagogue?

I'm guessing this story will develop. Especially as three have been arrested, included a suspected would-be suicide bomber.

 Thursday 15 May 2003
  I had the unmitigated pleasure of seeing the Matrix Reloaded today. What a joy. Obviously not as surprising as the first film, but still wonderful.

Agent Smith


lunar eclipse

It seems that the view of the lunar eclipse from Santiago, Chile, was similar to what we spent the evening enjoying. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia)

 Wednesday 14 May 2003
  It's early morning. The kids and Rose are off at a playgroup. I'm taking a short pause before tidying up the office. The dishwasher is doing its thing.


google.com has said they'll be breaking blogs out of the regular search engine domain and put into one of their own; you'll have to do two searches to find that for which you're looking.

The big question on the boards seems to be 'what constitutes a blog'? Does this site? All of it? The static parts which deal with professional and technical matters?

We're all looking forward to finding out.

I suspect this is not a good thing.

 Tuesday 13 May 2003
  While raising the children I use the word "mindful" where my parents and their peers used "careful" or "watch out". Coming from years of sitting zazen (mostly at home, sometimes at the San Francisco Zen Center or the Hartford Street Zen Center), I probably use the word too much. We never used the word in Aikido class. Why am I telling you all this? Well, because I came across the word while surfing fark.com:
The narrowest lapse in mindfulness is wide enough for a sword's point.
 Monday 12 May 2003
  Shill bidding on eBay is almost impossible to stop soley because the company doesn't want to hear about it. Of course, since they get a bit of dosh from each auction, they have a vested interest in running as many auctions. It's very frustrating. They've removed all the complaint email addresses, hidden the complaint forms under as many layers of "help" as they could, and made the forms reasonably useless. Damned monopolies.
 Sunday 11 May 2003
  I guess when there's neither seriously bad nor good news the fluff rules the roost. I have no idea why this has made the rounds of on-line news services, other than Halle Berry is a popular actress, but here it for you to ponder:

Halle Berry

Academy award winning actress Halle Berry throws out the opening pitch at the Expos game against the Los Angeles Dodgers ( news ) at Olympic Stadium in Montreal today. Berry is in town to film a new movie. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

 Saturday 10 May 2003
  Man, we are sick, sick, sick, sick! The kids have been enjoying the whole no-fever runny-nose congestion cold, but it's really been bothering Lila's sleeping. Last night I went to sleep at about 2000 and rose at 1300 today! Rose felt really bad earlier in the week; now she's coasting slowly to feeling merely miserable.

I did stumble across the best thing ever written about what it's like living in San Francisco.

 Friday 9 May 2003
  The kids are sick. Rose is sick. I'm fighting it off so far.

In spite of our feeling poorly, or perhaps because it's a good way to have Lila in a sitting position - she's fitful lying down because of the congestion - I took the family down to Silicon Valley for a geek chore: getting a DVD burner for my Apple TiPB PowerBook G4, picking up a repaired "Pismo" PowerBook G3 (the Ethernet port soldering had come loose from the motherboard) and picking up a replacement "Lombard" PowerBook G3 for Dziadziu.

dvd burner

burn button While I don't have a nice a video camera as pictured, I'm looking forward to converting some of the digital video I've shot into DVDs for Isaac to enjoy (he loves the shorts I've done) and perhaps for family as well. According to the spec sheets, the new SuperDrive "(DVD-R/CD-RW) lets you read and burn music and data CDs, as well as DVDs that can be played in most consumer DVD players. The SuperDrive plays DVD movies -- the kind you buy or rent -- and writes to 4.7-gigabyte DVD-R discs, and it reads CDs and writes to CD-R and CD-RW disks... supporting DVD-Video, DVD-ROM and DVD-R, as well as CD-ROM, CD-Audio, CD-R, CD-RW, CD Bridge, CD Extended, CD Mixed Mode, and Photo CD media."

Apple System Profiler tells me that the unit is a Matshita UJ-815 with the firmware at revision D0C4. (This will matter, as I check out upgrading the firmware....)

I'm not sure if I can make a backup copy of the Wallace & Gromit DVD; the kids play with it so much it'll be too scratched soon to be played. (I see that the SuperDrive is considered a DVD-R general drive, not a DVD-R authoring drive (like the Pioneer 201)).

 Thursday 8 May 2003
  Salam Pax lives! He survived Gulf War II and is blogging from Baghdad. He mentions having a massive Internet withdrawl; I'm deleriously happy that he's able to feel that way. Welcome back, Salam. We were worried about you.
 Wednesday 7 May 2003
  Spike Lee got milk The saga of my acquisition of the personalized "GOT KILT" license plate for my convertible reaches another milestone: the powers-that-be have approved it at long last.

GOT KILT I'd ordered it from the California Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) via the Internet a while back, and then received a letter saying it was denied because it contained obscene or objectionable content. Well, not everyone wants to wear a kilt, but still the text didn't seem particularly unreasonable.

So I picked up the phone, called the number at the bottom of the letter, and had a really nice conversation with a wonderful human being. She explained that the computer kicks out the sequence "KIL", assuming it means 'to kill', and nobody actually looks over the rejections. I explained to her the whole kilt-wearing thing, and the Got Milk? advertising campaign. She suggested I write a bit of it down and try again. I did, and included this photo of me wearing a kilt at the Tower of London.

Plate approved!

 Monday 5 May 2003
  Added notes about [Macro error: There is no glossary entry named "Mac OS X: Creating 'sparse' encrypted disk images with hdiutil"] .
 Monday 5 May 2003
  Lila: Lila neigh-neighk! [means naked] - someone has been tearing off her diaper and running around the house in her birthday suit. She's also been using the potty, which is pretty amazing to me.


Finally updated the "Geek Times" home page, changing it from an outdated journal to a pointer to the content within. Thus it's come full circle, as the whole design of the page-bottom navigation originally (in 1993-4) was a row of icons. (I wasn't able to dig that up (yet) but I did find Digital Jungle (circa 1998).)


I've mentioned that I've been doing a lot of late-night web design work for a charity located in Otse, Botswana; Godisa. I have a geochron show the current state of day and night onto my root window, the Desktop. This is what it looks like early in my morning, mid-day in Otse.

my desktop

Here's a closer view of North America as the daylight terminator sweeps across Canada, heading towards Maine. You can see the simulated city lights in the night-time areas.


Just one of the things I do to keep mentally jumping from here to there.

 Friday 2 May 2003
What he wants you to remember What he wants you to forget
W is a macho pilot W bangs his head
President George W. Bush walks the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln after landing there aboard an S-3B Viking, as the carrier steamed toward San Diego, California, yesterday. From the deck of the carrier, Bush was to address the nation to say that all major combat in Iraq has ended. Bush will spend the night on the carrier, which is stopping off in San Diego before heading for its home port in Everett, Washington. The Lincoln has been at sea for nearly ten months. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) President Bush recoils after hitting his head, yesterday, as he boarded Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. Bush is headed for California where he will fly and land on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as it steams toward San Diego. Bush will spend the night aboard the carrier. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
 Thursday 1 May 2003
  Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains. -- Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Today I roll out work done for my first pro bono client: the web site for Godisa. They design and manufacture solar-powered hearing aids for the folks of Africa. It's an ongoing interesting experience; both sides are learning. I wonder how many frequent-flyer miles I have...


Guess who I had in my car yesterday? A nineteen-year-old princess. Really. Of course there's a bit of a story to the whole thing, but isn't there always?

czar nicholas II family Czar Nicholas II (1868-1918), Nikolai Aleksandrovich, succeeded his father as the Czar of Russia in 1894. As Czar he directed the construction of the Trans-Siberian railroad. His Russia joined the Allies in World War I. Years of popular discontent with his domestic and foreign policies led to the Russian Revolution, and Nicholas II abdicated in 1917. He and his entire family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, the last of the royal Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov line.

crest As it turns out, a woman working in one of our favorite retail establishments in London told us she'd be visiting San Francisco and so we stayed in touch. She's a Romanov. And a very pleasant person with which to hob-nob. And the kids are absolutely ga-ga over her:

Lila: ya! ya! ya!
Rose: [says vistor's name, which ends in a 'ya' sound]?
Lila: hah! [means YES!!]

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