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48 entries from August 2006

Links for 2006-08-31


Buto, perched

Flickr photo sharing: Buto, perched
Buto, perched
Flickr: Don Nunn
Mom’s at Katharine’s apartment and sent me this camera-phone shot of Buto high atop the bedroom door.

Buto’s quite a climber—if no doors or blinds are available, she’ll sprint up the nearest person too. (ouch)


Links for 2006-08-29


Maybe I was in a snit after all

A couple of weeks ago on a Friday I hereby declared that I had not, in fact, been in a snit on the previous Tuesday.

I noted that the post immediately before the no-snit declaration had been an automated links posting from my del.icio.us account; I had gone several days without posting anything of my own.

So I looked through my archives and tried to gibe them with my probably inaccurate, but likely accurate enough, memories of times I really was in a snit, and I’ve noted a correlation.

I am something of a legend within my immediate family (and among some of my close friends) for the heights to which my mood may rise, and the depths to which it will sink, sometimes with little or no warning. I’m probably an undiagnosed mild bipolar or something similar, who knows, but damn if I haven’t experienced some astounding mood swings in my time, and inflicted them on the people around me several times.

And I see from my archives and general posting habits that my moodiness corresponds to periods when I don’t post anything original for a while. When my site is silent, or when it only updates with link lists or other automated or simple-to-prepare items (like iTunes playlists or the like), I probably am in a full-blown fit of pique.

So watch out for the silence. It probably means I’m in a mood.


Another nerdly “huh?” moment

I stopped by Katharine’s to check on her cats one last time before she arrives home later today. I also had to stop at the lab’s off-site storage facility, which is conveniently near Katharine’s apartment and both on the way between my house and the lab.

There’s a little shopping center near there as well, with a Safeway and a Chinese restaurant, Peking Express, that we both like (they know Katharine by her voice when she calls for delivery). There’s also a newer business there with a banner at the edge of the road:

1/2 PRICE POTS

Simple enough, the store sells flower pots and decorative pots and various similar things, all at half off some price, probably an inflated alleged “retail” price. But when I saw the banner, two things popped into my head.

First, I thought: “Half-price pot?!” and I nearly swerved across two opposing lanes of traffic when the unreality of that kicked in.

Immediately after, I thought: “They’re selling Plain Old Telephone Service at half-price via strip-mall storefronts now?”


Dammit, I forgot my wallet

It’s sitting on the kitchen counter where I left it next to my car keys and PDA case so I could grab them all on my way out the door this morning.

Grabbed the keys and PDA, walked out the door.

Shit!


Links for 2006-08-24


Links for 2006-08-23


Amusing T-shirt in Park City, UT

If you breed a Bulldog and a Shitzu would you call it Bullshit?

I really wanted to take a picture of it, but the clerk in the store we were in got quite uppity and said, “Our insurance doesn’t allow photos inside the shop.”


Today’s Evile Chemical Name

Today I’m dealing with an EDD type that has a 40,897-item valid-value listing for the chemical names and CAS registry numbers the data format accepts. Some of these chemicals have truly stunningly long and jawbone-fracturing names, so being something of a mild Microsoft Excel geek, I decided to sort the list by the lengths of the chemical names to see which was the longest.

The winner—such as it is—at 392 characters (with artificial line breaks inserted so it’ll fit):

Cuprate(5-), [.mu.-[2-[[1-[4-[2-[4-[[4-[[4-[2-[4-[4-[[2-
(carboxy-.kappa.O)phenyl]azo-.kappa.N1]-4,5-dihydro-3-
methyl-5-(oxo-.kappa.O)-1H-pyrazol-1-yl]-2-sulfophenyl]
ethenyl]-3-sulfophenyl]amino]-6-(4-morpholinyl)-1,3,5-
triazin-2-yl]amino]-2-sulfophenyl]ethenyl]-3-sulfophenyl]-
4,5-dihydro-3-methyl-5-(oxo-.kappa.O)-1H-pyrazol-4-yl]azo-
.kappa.N1]-5-sulfobenzoato(9-)-.kappa.O]]di-, pentasodium

E. freaking. gad.


Stupid cell-phone game

I was futzing around in Cingular’s MEdia Net—oh, for the days when companies capitalized their product names in remotely normal ways—and I loaded up the New Arrivals page to see what was there.

I don’t play games on my phone, too small and annoying to navigate. I played the trial version of Bejeweled that was installed on the thing when I got it but deleted that after I played through the entire series of demo levels (a whole two screens) the first time I launched it. But I do like to check now and then to see what games are out there nowadays.

The first item on the New Arrivals list today:

Paris Hilton’s Diamond Quest.

The little skank isn’t irritating enough by her endless presence in the media—oh no, now she has a game available for wireless phones? Surely this must be a sign of impending Armageddon.


ROBOT LITTER BOX

I stopped by Katharine’s apartment last night to check on her two Siamese cats, Fezzik and Buto, while Katharine is out of town for a few days. The two cats were their usual devil-may-care selves, an uneventful visit except that Buto would not shut up—she definitely got the Siamese YOWL gene.

Katharine had asked me to check four things each time I stopped by:

  1. Food bowl in the laundry room. It’s one of those self-filling types, you pour in a pound or two of food and it dribbles slowly into the bowl over a week or two.
  2. Water bowls in the kitchen and bathroom.
  3. Protector blanket on the bed. Fezzik has this charming habit of pooping on the bed now and then, so Katharine has a purpose-designated blanket to protect her actual bedding.
  4. The automated litter box, which by its motion-sensor-triggered scraping of the pan after each cat visit is supposed to make the chore of dealing with cat waste easier and less time-consuming.

So I checked things, in that order, and nothing was amiss by item 3. Then I got to the litter box.

When I lifted the lid of its container box, the device’s “something is wrong” indicator was blinking away merrily, indicating the receptacle was full or the device was jammed or something else hideously evile.

It took me 10 minutes to unjam the damned thing, and then since it waits for 10 or more minutes to trigger after it senses no motion within the box, I did a manual scoop job to ensure it wouldn’t jam again the moment I walked out the door.

I’ve often wondered if perhaps the reason Fezzik sometimes treats Katharine’s bed as his personal toilet is because the Robot Cat Pan freaks him the hell out. I know the times I’ve been there and the thing has triggered out of the blue, it’s freaked me out a couple times, and I don’t have to try to crouch down in the thing and rely on its motion sensor to protect my naughty bits.


Katharine travels in her dreams.

I took Katharine to the airport today ahead of her flight to Salt Lake City. On my way back to the lab, she called with news that, as usual, she’d sailed through security in practically no time and thus had over an hour to wait for her flight, but that would give her a chance to angle for a first-class upgrade at the gate.

But that phone call also consumed nearly the entire power supply in my cell phone’s battery, and in the blink of an eye it went from two bars to zero and the “Low Battery” warning and accompanying beeps every minute, because the way to inform me it’s low on power is to use even more power to notify me it’s low on power.

So when I got back to work I sent Kat a message:

I need to charge my phone go the car so if you need to reach me over the next few hours call my desk

I didn’t notice the phone’s incorrect guess for “in” (“go the car”) until I’d hit Send, but no worries. She’d understand.

Plugged the phone into the car charger, locked the car, went back to my desk. Within a couple of minutes my work line rang and I answered in my usual manner: “Good afternoon, this is Don.”

“You’re a dumbass,” Katharine said without any preamble, because we’ve had this same exchange of text messages a few times before.

So I gave my usual reply: “Yes. Yes, I am.” And off she went to finagle her upgrade.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Re the subject of this posting: The woman can (and does) sleep anywhere, on any mode of transportation. She’s made the drive between Salt Lake City and Seattle probably two dozen times over the last 8 years but has seen only, oh, about 100 miles of that trip, because the car is like a soporific for her. So is the plane and the train.

When Kat stepped off the plane in SLC, she sent a message:

Just landed. Slept most of the way.

I was still shaking my head in wonderment as I sent my reply:

I don’t know how you can sleep on planes so easily.

Her reply, straight to the point, as usual:

They are big cars. ;-)

And that single sentence represents her entire travel philosophy. The only real differences between cars and airplanes, in Katharine’s world, is that cars rarely experience turbulence and there’s no beverage service.

But that’s what gas stations are for—nowadays, most of them have mini-marts with nearly endless Diet Coke supplies.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Oh yes, she did get the upgrade. Her early arrival and breeze through security paid off.


Links for 2006-08-16


Mish-mash

Katharine just called me. She was on her way to an appointment but her Google Maps directions were incorrect, and she couldn’t find the location in Bellevue.

I asked her where she was and even as I plugged the addresses into Google Maps myself, I knew the problem:

She got off I-405 at NE 8th St, not SE 8th St as the directions indicated.

Silly girl.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

I’m not a big pill-taker, except with headaches. I have a headache, it’s all I can do to get the ibuprofen into my system, usually in groups of three or four caplets every few hours. And I have to have water.

Recently, though, I was experiencing an allergy attack from hell and though I had an over-the-counter allergy tablet on my person, I had no water.

In that minute I discovered how easy it is to swallow pills without water and I wondered why I’d never done so before.

I think it’s because when I was a kid, in the days before coated tablets or caplets were the norm, I took aspirin to break a fever once. I had trouble swallowing it with water and the tablet started dissolving on my tongue before I took another sip of water. It tasted terrible—from that day on, the very idea of taking a pill without a full glass of water made me cringe.

Now, unless I already have a glass of water filled and ready to go, I don’t bother with it for pills. Why I had to be 34 when I discovered this is beyond me.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

An idea of how much paper the environmental-laboratory business generates:

I just reviewed and signed off on a data package for a project. The data package contains the supporting paperwork and documentation showing the client’s samples’ progress through the laboratory, from sample receipt to preparation and analysis, calculation, and determination of results.

The analytical report, the document containing the results of the analyses performed on the client’s samples, was 15 pages long.

The data package was 509 pages long—34 times longer than the report that resulted from it.

This business kills me.


German bier (and appropriate glassware!) at Feierabend in South Lake Union’s Cascade neighborhood

I spent an hour or so last night with my friend Matt at Feierabend, a new German-style pub in the Cascade neighborhood of South Lake Union.

Feierabend text logo
Feierabend’s stylized text logo. The name means “end of workday”
This small pub—I think there are maybe 50 seats in the place, though it is due to be expanded soon—serves German biers in traditional glassware, which even for non-enthusiasts is a great way to experience the tremendous range of flavors and textures of the different brews. We arrived late enough that we’d already had dinner, so we didn’t sample the food menu at all; we stuck with a couple brews and then stumbled out.

Feierabend, pronounced (very roughly) like fire AH bend, has posted hours of 11:30-01:00 daily, with happy hour daily 15:00-18:00. Last night was pretty slow, however, so the bartender Amy was preparing to close down at midnight when we arrived right around 23:00. We were the only customers for the first half hour after we arrived, so we had the bar and the ’tender to ourselves for a bit of bier history and bartender war stories. Then at 23:30, two men and a separate group of six people arrived for a single round before closing, the last-minute rush that was virtually guaranteed once they’d decided to shut down early for the night.

The slightly more than one hour we were there was plenty of time to try a few bier samples (served in slightly hourglass-shaped glasses of maybe 6-oz capacity; the sips were an ounce or two at most) and for me to enjoy 0.8 L (served in two portions, a 0.5 L almost Pilsner-style mug and then a 0.3 L tulip glass) of a fine German brew I’d never encountered previously, Spaten Helles Bock (6.5%). A crisp golden color, with mild flavor and almost no aftertaste, Helles Bock goes down pretty easily even though it’s a fairly strong brew for most Americans’ tastes.

Matt tried two beers, each in 0.3 L glassware that resembled exaggerated Weizen glasses, with a narrow base and deeply curved sides rising to a larger rounded space and slightly narrowing to the lip. His first choice was Franziskaner Weissbier, a light-colored wheat with a mildly sweet finish and the mild banana and clove flavors common to wheat beers that are considered “Bavarian-style” in the U.S.; and Erdinger Hefe-Weizen, another mild wheat with the built-in citrus flavor we in the U.S. strengthen by adding a lemon to the beer when it’s served.

The food descriptions sounded quite good, a lot of bratwurst and schnitzel and spätzle and similar German selections. I had the impression the servers would be able to recommend to patrons any combination of food items and biers to match any taste or mood, and as a German-style pub, the tables are all communal—when you walk in, you spot an empty seat and just take it, and the servers rely on their experience and memories to keep the parties and tabs straight.

Amy gave us happy-hour prices so our combined tab was just $17, a nice surprise to end the experience—my 0.8 L alone would have been $9 and Matt’s two 0.3 L choices about the same combined total, so we saved a few bucks and found another place we’ll have to try again.


Links for 2006-08-08


Another sequential date

I’m surprised we haven’t seen a slew of posts at BoingBoing and similar sites about how this post date/time marks another number sequence:

08/07/06 05:04:03

Of course it relies on the mm/dd/yy notation we use in the States. In the day/month order used in most other parts of the world, this sequence happened Jul 08.

Damn. I’m thinking way too hard for this absurdly early hour.


I used to be able to tell time

Until about five minutes ago, I thought it was only 16:30 or so. Then I looked at the living-room clock, and thinking perhaps I’d forgotten how to read an analog clock face, I looked at my cell phone’s digital readout.

They both showed 18:50 or thereabouts. And that explains why every time I’ve looked into the living room from the kitchen or into my bedroom from the upstairs hall, I’ve been blinded by what I thought was an oddly low-in-the-western-sky sun.

Damn, I feel like I’ve lost several hours merely because I wasn’t paying attention to the clock.

Blah.


Storm game tonight

I’m attending the Seattle Storm’s final home game of the season tonight with Katharine and our friends Sasha, Michelle, and Shannae, among others. Game starts at 19:00 but we’re arriving a bit early to get a drink and wander KeyArena a bit before we take our seats for game time.

We’re in section 128, row 20something-or-other—I rarely take my actual seat but prefer to stand at the higher rows just below the suite level so I can walk around without blocking anyone’s views. But if you’re at the game and anywhere near section 128, look for the brown-haired guy in grey shorts and a blue T-shirt and say hi.


Saturday playlist

Today’s list is a mix of a few long-term favorites and some of the more recently acquired songs in heavy rotation.

Heavy on the Vienna Teng, of course—I'm still learning the favored songs from her latest, Dreaming Through the Noise. I first encountered David Berkeley when he opened for Vienna’s Nov 2005 performance; bought both his CDs and they immediately got into the regular listings as well.

I first encountered Kris Orlowski and Travis Hartnett in early June at a small gig at C & P Coffee Co. in West Seattle. I’ve found these musicians’ work complements Vienna’s and David’s in this playlist quite well.

    Song – Artist, Album

Continue reading "Saturday playlist" »


PowerBook applications

Flickr photo sharing: PowerBook applications
PowerBook applications
Flickr: Don Nunn
I’d seen references to Todos on a few sites and then a few others’ screen captures on Flickr, and I was geekily intrigued. So here’s my Todos snapshot, all the applications on my PowerBook.

I had Firefox, iCal, iChat, iTunes, and Mail running when I captured the shot; hence the borders around those apps’ icons.

Much easier to see if you click through to the larger-size images available at Flickr, of course.


Links for 2006-08-05


A couple random things

On my way to work this morning I heard a radio advertisement for Sky Nursery. They’ve declared we are now in the season of flummer—that part of late summer where the gardens start going into their fall dormancies.

Stupid advertising gimmick. Though I suppose from the marketers’ perspective, the fact that I’m writing about it means the ad was successful.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

We just had the daily status meeting at the lab, where each lab section head discusses the workload and offers information about the day’s priorities and expected work completions.

Our inorganics section lead was talking about how she’d started up the COD incubator before she came to the meeting.

My first thought was, “There’s a ‘cause of death’ incubator in the lab?”

My second thought, immediately on the heels of the first: “I’ve seen too many episodes of C.S.I.


Links for 2006-08-04


Successful application of Security Update 2006-004

Software Update popped up with notice of Security Update 2006-004 a few days after I knew it had been released, so I went ahead with the install.

Not much to say on this one. I did my usual quick back-up of important documents, then let Software Update run its course. After the reboot, no problems whatsoever; all my apps work still, everything runs at the speed it did before, and so on. I didn’t see any of the problems some other users reported with this update.


Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub in Seattle’s Cascade neighborhood

My friend Matt called me late yesterday afternoon, asked if I had any fun plans for the evening.

“Not a one,” I said. “You?”

“Nothing, but I’m hungry. Want to get dinner?”

So I drove into Seattle (no traffic into the city at 18:20, it was quite nice) to Matt’s apartment in the Cascade neighborhood, just off I-5 at John Street. A new arrival to that neighborhood, he appeared at the car with a small South Lake Union reference map, one of the types put out by business associations to highlight the businesses in a given area.

“This 13 Coins place sounds interesting,” Matt said, “and there’s the Paddy Coyne’s pub nearby.” He pointed at the map.

I was in a pub mood so off we went. We both misread the map slightly, however, and so we ended up driving just one block (!) to the restaurant on the northwest corner of Thomas Street at Minor Avenue.

I was happy we found a parking space. We would’ve had to drive three or so more blocks to get the car back near Matt’s building just so we could then walk the one block we could’ve done initially if either of us had more than glanced at the map.

Continue reading "Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub in Seattle’s Cascade neighborhood" »


Today is actually Jul 27—or it could just be Tuesday

Two indicators:

  1. I received a notice from the apartment management that new decorative bark would be laid down on Thu 07/27. The bark is blown onto the landscape by large trucks; the notice asks us to keep our ground-level windows and doors closed that day to prevent dust from entering our apartments.

    So on 07/27 I closed the dining-room window before I left for work—didn’t bother with the sliding-glass door at the back of the house, it’s a dozen or more feet off the ground and there are no bark areas right around it anyway—and sure enough when I got home, no dust in the house. So up the window went.

    The bark was actually laid down this morning. I now have a fine layer of dark dust all over my dining room and the strong smell of decorative bark pervades my entire house.

  2. In this afternoon’s email I have Apple’s weekly new-music email from the iTunes Music Store.

    Its subject line: New Music Tuesday: Christina Aguilera, DMX, Five for Fighting, and more

    They did this a couple years ago too, got up to several days behind the calendar with the new-music mailings. Maybe this time we’ll stick to one or two days behind.

Links for 2006-08-01

Continue reading "Links for 2006-08-01" »


Happy “Record Year”!

slice o’ cake!My friend Julie Anne celebrates a birthday today.

It’s the first of the Vinyl Milestone years: Thirty-three. She won’t be officially Record Year age until Nov 30, however—that’s when the 1/3 kicks in.

Bwahahahaha!