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December 2003

42 entries from November 2003

Thanksgiving 2003

Salt Lake City, just after 01:00 on Thanksgiving Day 2003. Turkey's in its brine, I'm already feeling the first effects of a hangover as I get ready to climb into the hide-a-bed in my old room at my mom's house, and I decided to dial up on a Qwest ISP account I had deactivated in March 2002 (uh huh, right) to make this quick post.

If you celebrate this holiday, may your day be joyous and bright, a reminder of the good times you've enjoyed through the years.

More evidence that Darwin was right article.

Participant at KKK initiation wounded after shots fired into sky

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (AP)—A bullet fired in the air during a Ku Klux Klan initiation ceremony came down and struck a participant in the head, critically injuring him, authorities said.

Gregory Allen Freeman, 45, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in the Saturday night incident that wounded Jeffery S. Murr, 24.

About 10 people, including two children, had gathered for the ceremony. The man who was being initiated was blindfolded, tied with a noose to a tree and shot with paintball guns as Freeman fired a pistol in the air to provide the sound of real gunfire, Sheriff Fred Phillips said.

A bullet struck Murr on the top of the head and exited at the bottom of his skull, authorities said.

Freeman fled the ceremony but was arrested near his home, authorities said. He was released on $7,500 bail.

It's not even Thanksgiving yet!

Christmas-tree lots already appearing...!

A DONNA'S TREES lot appeared overnight at the intersection of SRs 527 and 524 in Bothell. It wasn't there when I drove home at 22:00 yesterday, but was fully set up (with fences, lights, the trailer for the office, etc.) when I drove by a couple hours ago.

I think there oughta be a law about Christmas stuff in general. Nothing allowed until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest, and in fact Dec 1 oughta be the cut-off under penalty of death.

The inscrutability of Puget Sound-area drivers

We had over 2" of rain on Tuesday, set records for one-day rainfall for that date.

On Tuesday I spent nearly four hours stuck in traffic, out of a total of 7.5 hours on the road.

Yesterday we woke up to snow, anywhere from a trace to several inches the further north of Seattle's N 145th St. I had a couple of inches on the lawns and on my car, a layer of gooshy slush on the sidewalks and pavements. In Marysville some people reported 4", with higher accumulations toward the Canadian border.

Yesterday I was on the road another 7.5 hours, during which I was stuck in slow traffic a total of 21 minutes.

Today I woke up to wet ground, a light rain falling. I drove for another 7-7.5 hours, from Bothell to Tacoma, and encountered rain and snow—heavy snow from Federal Way to Tacoma—and nearly everything in between, including sun breaks and clear weather from 15:00 on, in the downtown Seattle and Georgetown areas.

I spent 48 minutes stuck in traffic today.

I have this theory that somewhere there's a Rule Book that defines the S 320th St exit from I-5 in Federal Way as the Official Weather Demarcation Line. Tuesday, the rain ended abruptly as I drove under the overpass at that exit; today, the rain changed to heavy wet snow as I drove under that overpass, and back to rain as I drove under it on my return to Bothell.

And the snow had the kind of snowflake that's big and wet, a single flake splatters across your windshield like the entire contents of a 5-gallon Home Depot neon-orange bucket. But traffic blitzed along at 60-70 mph the entire time.

How's that work?

More road work

Turns out the lab's full-time courier has strep and is out again today. So I get to make more trips to Tacoma and Kent, two of my favorite cities on the planet (!), but then I know where the stops are and where exactly to go at each location now. So shan't be that big a deal.

I must say, however, that I'm really starting to hate the Chevy pickup we use as our courier vehicle. It has absolutely no power whatsoever. Even downhill with a tailwind, it struggles to reach 60 if there's more than the driver in the truck. Yesterday, when I left the lab with about 15 ice chests full of sample containers and gel-ice packs, the truck really REALLY didn't wanna go anywhere.

Off to plot today's driving route!

Finally home from work

What should have been three hours of driving to client offices and a few sampling sites turned into 7.5 hours with today's record-breaking rainfall.

And since I couldn't do any of the administrative things I'd planned for today, and several of them HAD to be done today, I spent a few hours on those tonight.

Damn, what a long day....

My cell phone is dying. (Sort of)

My Nokia 6200 just shut itself off for the sixth time today. The sixth time of which I'm aware, that is, since most times it also turns itself back on immediately.

This most recent was in the middle of a call just now, goddamnit. I'll get a credit from AT&T Wireless for the dropped call, of course—that doesn't bother me specifically. But when the phone turns off at random whenever I even look at it, probably time to check into a different model.

On the plus side, this phone has lived through several drops and has functioned well despite the two chunks of plastic missing from the case, one on the left side under the volume control and the other on the back at the junction of the case and the battery-compartment cover.

A new phone would be the fourth phone I've used just since January, for crying out loud....

More joy of apartment living

This complex is reasonably well-constructed, but the walls and ceilings do leave a bit to be desired from the sound-proofing point of view.

To wit:

Someone in this building is watching When Harry Met Sally.

I know this because I just heard the Sally-fakes-orgasm-in-the-diner scene quite clearly through the wall.

Can't quite tell from which apartment it originated, but I could probably never turn on my TV or stereo again and be entertained every night anyway.

Bargain price for a luxury SUV?

I heard an advertisement this morning for a Land Rover available for lease at the "special price" of $899 per month, and I wondered....

Is $899/month a bargain price for a luxury SUV? That's more than the rent I pay for my two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment in south Snohomish County, for crying out loud!

I forget which Land Rover model was offered at this rate, but damn, is any SUV worth that high a price on a lease?

Jump into your games

CNET offers a New York Times article describing the EyeToy, a small camera attachment for the PlayStation 2 that allows body movements to be translated into video-game actions.

But it also describes the potential for the techology beyond the ability to wave a sword at the enemy in some medieval ass-kicking game or other.

My favorite quote:

"The funny thing about EyeToy is that the underlying technology was made in America, it was designed in Europe and everybody thinks it's Japanese," said Marks[....]

Exactly what I thought as I read the article before I encountered that paragraph.

Spam weirdness

I'm wondering if Verizon has updated their server-side spam filters in the last week or so, because in that time I've received absolutely spam messages in my "SpamDetector" folder in their web-based mail interface.

I used to get 3 or 4 messages a day that were caught by their filters and moved to the SpamDetector folder, where my POP3 client didn't see them. Now and then a spam message would appear in my POP3 folder, but no big deal; my email software has its own junk-mail filter and caught the occasional message very well.

But since midweek last week, I've had nothing appear in the web-based SpamDetector folder, and a couple of spam messages have made it through to my POP access.

They didn't send out any notices about changes to their filters. Have the spammers decided I'm an unworthy target?

More Joy of Web Search

So I just checked my stats and referrers for this blog, which I do every now and then to see what types of searches are leading to my posts, and I came across a gem of sorts.

On 11/07 I posted about the "P-Spot" marking that's slowly appearing in the men's room at the lab.

Since 03:19 today, I've had 12 hits to that entry on the following query, all from Google:

straight men pissing movie -female -women -girl -girls

The minus signs, of course, tell Google to ignore results with those terms.

There are SO many weird fetishes out there. I'm ambivalent about my ability to serve them in any way whatsoever.

Out on the road today

Everyone in the sample control group is sick today—out of their usual complement of six for the morning shift, only one person made it in—so I'll be out driving around playing courier and client contact person for a good part of the day. Perhaps the whole day, if the schedule board is to be believed.

Been a while since I did the road duty. Too bad there isn't some sort of frequent-driving program for such days....

How to end a trilogy with a whimper

Saw The Matrix Revolutions this afternoon. I’d rented The Matrix Reloaded from Netflix and watched that late last night, reminded the whole time of why I thought it was so lame when I saw it in theater on its opening weekend. But it gave me the bug to get the trilogy over with as soon as possible, so I registered with Fandango to buy the tickets and off we went to a 16:30 showing in Mountlake Terrace.

It was evident from the packed parking lot that no one else had the idea to see a movie this afternoon, so we spent several minutes driving around before I said the hell with it and pulled into a space allegedly, if the faded paint on the pavement and the bent signs posted every third stall were to be believed, reserved for the nearby Canyons restaurant. I figured if my car was booted or towed while we were in the movie, I’d deal with it when we came out.

As it happened, the fact that my car was neither towed nor immobilized turned out to be the highlight of the afternoon. The movie certainly didn’t offer the emotional thrill I experienced when I saw my car sitting unmolested just where I’d left it.

The movie offered little, in fact, except obviously costly special effects which, while visually spectacular, did little to advance the plot. Whatever that was. Obviously it was the wrapping up of the battle between the machines and the humans for control of the Matrix and the planet at large, but the way it was presented was disjointed and made me wonder why anyone cared. Certainly the characters didn't seem to care all that much; they all spoke in Zen platitudes and Cinema Cliché 101 phrases. The characters were cookie-cutter reproductions of just about any action/adventure movie of the past 20 years. There was no reason to care about any of them, because they all fulfilled their character requirements perfectly. The audience knew who would die, who would be the hero, who would suffer the loss of a friend/lover/leader/whatever, from the get-go. No mystery there.

So visually, yes, it was something to see. Nothing much new imaginatively; the effects were mostly things we’ve seen before, but done on grander scale to show the huge numbers of “sentinels” (the octopus-looking things that fly around the real world) and to show the expanded power held by Neo and by Agent Smith during their fight scenes.

I’m glad I saw it, because I’m enough of a sheep to want to know what people are talking about when they discuss a movie such as this. I’m also happy I saw it for a matinée price—I’d have been pissed off had I paid full-price admission for this flick.

For you imbibers out there

A hint:

Don't mix beer and wine in a single sippin' session.

I had one glass of Chardonnay when I got home from work last night, and then had several pints of various ales at McMenamins later in the evening.

From previous experience, I know the mixture of wine and beer within a few hours of each other disagrees with me, but I did it anyway.

Today's been a mild hangover, the most annoying part of which is light nausea that simply won't go away. It's that strange nausea that makes me feel hungry but the thought of eating anything makes me want to hurl, and the sensation builds and disappears within a few seconds, repeating every few minutes.

One benefit, I didn't have the nasty effect of being able to taste what I'd drunk last night. Hangovers of that type are the worst.

Mmm yeah, pub-crawl

If a single visit to a single pub can be considered a crawl.


Spent 90 minutes at the nearby McMenamins in Mill Creek after my original plans to spend the evening in downtown Seattle fell through around 20:00.

Bumped the Seattle plans to tomorrow, little fanfare involved. Sucks when friends have to work late, but we can work around it.

I feel pretty good right now....

Pubic trims?

Hysterical Savage Love column regarding pubic hair, the trimming thereof, and one horrifying "mishap," as the writer called it.

I freely admit that the thought of nicking a bit of flesh in the pubic region, regardless of gender, made me cringe into the next county.

UPDATE 01/03/04: The link leads to the main Savage Love page, and I don't see any archives for previous columns. I didn't copy the text before it disappeared either, so you'll have to search elsewhere for it.

UPDATE 09/20/05: Column link updated to avoid "not found" error.

Don't know where to put your eyes in the men's room?

There was a Sniglet years ago, P-Spot or similar, defined as the spot on a wall above a urinal where a man directs his gaze to avoid embarrassment in a men's room.

I was just in the men's room here at the lab and noticed, above the single urinal, a small black-ink cross drawn on the wall, about 5 inches below my eye level. Apparently someone had to have this spot defined explicitly, even though the single-urinal layout of our men's room precludes its necessity for anyone who'd be embarrassed by a row of urinals.


got over the headache in time to get the goddamned flu

so the migraine ended overnight saturday into sunday. i felt ok yesterday until about 17:00, and then i felt generally achy and kinda run down, but didn't think anything about it until around 21:00 when my body temp started fluttering all over the map.

i'd be hotter than hell, so i'd take off one shirt (leaving just a t-shirt; i always wear t-shirts under whatever else i'm wearing) and then i'd flash into freezing, so i'd put my top shirt back on and flash instantly back to overheated.

lather, rinse, repeat.

i slept like shit, and when my alarm went off it scared the hell out of me, more so than the usual daily oh-shit feeling i get. i was clammy and even more achy than last night, and i was hotter than hell but damn i was freezing and i thought how soothing a warm shower would be.

i got in the shower about 07:10. i have one of those pole-mounted shower caddies, sits in the corner of my tub/shower and has several shelves to hold shampoo bottle and my bar of soap. about 20 seconds into the shower i noticed i was maintaining a death grip on the caddy, and if i relaxed the death grip i was in serious danger of dropping straight to the tub floor like i did years ago when i had my wisdom teeth out and was still drugged up the next morning but decided a shower would be a good thing.

so my shower consisted of me clinging to a pole at the south end of the tub while the shower sprayed the north end of the tub. i finally got the strength to rush north and realign the spray further to the south so i could continue using the shower caddy as a crutch while i washed.

when i got out of the shower, i had to lean against the wall to dry off, and then i had to sit on the toilet to dry my hair. no way i was going to shave, since my hands were shaking already. today's a scruffy day.

i got dressed using the bed as a combination valet/support system and wandered slowly out to my car. it froze overnight, and i have no ice scraper, so i climbed into the car and started it, and let it sit idling for 10 minutes to heat up the interiour and melt the ice so i could see where i was going.

then i was at my desk at work. i don't remember making the drive to work, only getting to my desk and punching in and lighting up my computer and checking my email, and actually replying to some email messages usefully, and then i had to leave. it felt like only a few minutes, but it was 09:30 when i left.

mercifully i do remember driving home, mainly because i had to stop at the store for some meds.

i curled up on my sofa and immediately got a case of chills, so i fired up the heat (blower's right next to the couch) and instantly i was hotter than hell. had some chicken noodle soup which had absolutely no flavour and then dozed a couple hours, alternating between frozen and hotter than hell, and now that i feel like i'm awake for the rest of the evening, my muscles are crying out in that general achy feeling that happens at the start of a bout of flu.



I'd forgotten how stupid this movie is. I'd also forgotten I'd placed it in my Netflix queue, so even though I didn't want to watch it, I felt a tiny obligation since it arrived in the mail Thursday.

That said, the idea of a recreational vehicle with a missile launcher and various other weapons has some appeal.

Imagine a Winnebago with a gearshift lever, wipers/turn signal control, and weapons station.

Second migraine in two weeks

On Thursday afternoon I had to have one of the eye tests from two weeks ago repeated because of a problem with the electronic-records depository at my eye doc's office. As fate would have it, this was the same test that required a combination of eyedrops that induced the most terrifyingly painful (to that point) migraine I've ever experienced.

So I spent Thursday afternoon and evening in apprehension, but nothing had developed by around 21:00. Two weeks ago I had the aura (a bright jagged line in my right eye) by 20:30; that faded around 21:00 and, like clockwork, the pain stabbed into my head around 21:30. So I figured maybe I'd dodged the bullet this time.

I hadn't taken into account the fact that my appointment was two hours earlier two weeks ago, however.

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