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28 entries from April 2007

I could set my watch by them

Even though I wear my watch pretty regularly nowadays, I still tell time by unconventional methods. This used to mean using my cell phone as a time-keeping device, but now I rely mainly on what have become pretty standard daily text-message milestones:

  • Probably about 05:00 when the first news alert of the day arrives. Almost always economic data released early Eastern time to wake up the roosters here on the left coast.
  • I know it’s 07:00 when my phone chirps with the weekdaily weather report.
  • Good bet it’s anywhere between 07:30 and 08:30 when I get Julie Anne’s dodgeball check-in at work.*
  • route-specific report arrived in my Gmail inbox? It’s 07:45, baby.
  • 17:30 or thereabouts when I get Katharine’s work check-in.
  • Must be 22:00 or so (on weekdays, anyway) if I’m under the onslaught of queued texts for the hours I was sleeping.

* Figures, though, today her check-in was at 07:05.

And when did the currency-symbol/word error become so common?

See Ken Levine’s post again (emphasis mine):

I love the following shows. I really do.


The little Las Vegas police department’s annual budget must be $73 billion dollars. $72.99 billion of it going to the CSI unit. [...]

This used to amuse me when I worked in retail and some customer would write out the word “dollars” on a check, since all personal (and most business) checks I’ve ever seen had the word “dollars” printed at the end of the amount line.

Now, though, it’s become such a common error, it just irritates me. Even made primetime in 2004 with NBC’s $25 Million Dollar Hoax—that page even comments on the title stupidity.

I wonder if this happens with other currency symbols?

Can you tell me why practically no professional writers can spell the word “marshmallow” correctly?

Recent case in point: a post on Ken Levine’s blog. Levine is one of the comedy writers behind shows like M*A*S*H and Frasier and many others through the years—a look at his IMDb entry is a walk down TV Memory Lane.


The dude cannot spell! Also frequently cannot grammar!

How is people who get paid to write often are the worst at the mechanics of writing?

Weekend Update

First weekend living in the City of Seattle, and it’s been happenin’. Cases in point:

Friday saw a late-morning Comcast installation. Second installation attempt in this apartment, in fact. The first one last Sunday came crashing to a halt when the technician couldn’t find a cable with a live signal, but he was kinda sorta sure the cable that went into the house from the line outside the patio door was the live signal. But the outlets inside the apartment, nothing.

Friday’s technician, as he wired up the living-room cable outlet, had a few choice words for Sunday’s technician. Friday’s technician also attempted to route the signal through the wall into the bedroom, but the wiring there is either an endless loop or sub-standard, because the signal drops off to nothing about four feet along the line. So no signal in the bedroom yet, I need to slap the management into doing the wiring. Or get a half-inch bit and do some drillin’.

Friday night brought dinner with Julie Anne’s brother Dave, sister-in-law Kristen, and nephew John for John’s first birthday. I grilled chicken (following a garlic/white wine/lemon juice marinade), and Julie Anne made rice pilaf and steamed green beans. Chocolate cake for the birthday boy, though he ended up having ice cream only, a new taste treat for him.

I hadn’t slept since Thursday night so by about 21:30 Friday I was absurdly loopy. Went to bed an hour later and I didn’t even twitch for 12 hours.

I spent several hours Saturday unpacking books and various other domestic organization tasks. Somehow I have what seems like 4,000 more books in Seattle than I did when I left Mill Creek, so I had to get three more bookshelves and now the books have invaded my bedroom in addition to being scattered about the living room.

Didn’t seem like we had all that many boxes of books when we carted all the stuff in here last weekend, but the unpacking will take another six weeks at the rate they’re reproducing.

Julie Anne asked me to help her put together her new desk last night. We got to Step 6 of the 28-step illustrated instruction manual when I managed to shear the head off one of the major load-bearing screws, which brought us to an instant halt. Their toll-free help line isn’t staffed all the time, of course, so she has to wait until Monday to order a replacement because they also don’t include extras.

So we went to Rock Bottom to play pool instead.

Played nine games, six of which I won. Not by skill, mind you. Most of them involved scratches of one kind or another, a couple involved decent shots that were actually intended. Had a couple pints of Faller Wheat, my fave brew at the downtown location, and we shared the nachos with guacamole and sour cream. Good stuff.

Spent a couple hours at my friend Matt’s house last night, sipping a Smirnoff Ice malt beverage while we talked and watched his cat Buddha chase bottle caps around. First time I’d ever had a Smirnoff malt beverage but I was plenty secure in my masculinity as I sipped at what amounted to a mildly alcoholic lemonade.

And today I’ve been enjoying a beautiful spring day on my patio, and I made a trip to the grocery store a couple hours ago—Fred Meyer in Ballard is busy on sunny Sunday afternoons—and then I locked Flex in the coat closet when I got home, because I was putting the plastic grocery bags in the storage bin. Plaintive mewing an hour later and now he’s out and happy once more, while I try to figure out what to do with myself for the six hours remaining before my Monday shift starts.

Happy Sunday. :-)

Links for 2007-04-18

On Vox: QotD: Nip/Tuck

When I was... 11? 12? Anyway, somewhere around those years, I had a little growth removed from my knee. Looked like a glorified blood blister and I’d had it for a couple years by that point. It had some grand multisyllabic name, the typical jawbone-fracturing scientific gibberish that meant nothing to me. Had it biopsied too, benign.

For a few years I had a light scar, a nearly perfect circular white spot with a whiter ring around the edge. I told everyone who noticed it, which was nearly everyone I was around for any length of time during shorts seasons. Easier to tell people what happened than to have them guess repeatedly.


Have you ever had plastic or elective surgery? Did you tell anyone? Why or why not?
Submitted by Beth Punches.

Originally posted on

Movies I hate merely because of their existence

In no particular order:

I’ve seen none of these, by the way. Flatly refuse. I saw Meet the Parents and hated it utterly, so when they first announced the sequel(s?) I knew I would be avoiding them. The casting choices merely cemented my despite.

Links for 2007-04-11

Links for 2007-04-05

On Vox: QotD: Extraterrestrial

Absolutely. It’s beyond arrogant for us to assume anything otherwise, and assuming there can’t be intelligent life elsewhere because we haven’t encountered it is the stupidest of logical fallacies. Answering:
Do you believe there is intelligent life on other planets?
Originally posted on

Links for 2007-04-02

It’s Opening Day. Again.

It’s the Seattle Mariners’ home (and season) opener today. Game starts at 15:35, when I’ll be blissfully asleep.

Seattle Mariners logoLike last year, I’m finding it a bit difficult to get at all excited about the start of baseball season. This is partly because they had a losing season last year (78-84, 15 GB and 4th in the AL West) and their spring-training stats in 2007 haven’t been all that stellar (14-20 Cactus League). But it’s a make-or-break season for both general manager Bill Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove, so maybe that’ll light a fire under the entire organization and they’ll actually win some games this year.

So yeah. Like last year I’ll probably go to a few games, probably spend those games at a barstool at Pyramid. And it’s time for Pyramid’s Curve Ball, which is among my favorite of their seasonal brews.

Yes, that’s it! Sports seasons are defined for me by the seasonal beers! I knew I could find an approach with appeal no matter what the sport or season.