Archive for September, 2007

Good learning resource

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

The Librarian Chick Wiki.

Kyotanabe, Japan = Fall River, MA?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

There are similarities.

Via Tokyo Mango.

Think we’re a sexist society?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

How about Japan, where it’s embedded in the language?

Will they play 4’33” at the funeral?

Monday, September 24th, 2007

All levity aside, I’m sorry to see that Marcel Marceau has died. A minor note: the linked article is incorrect that he never spoke while in Bip persona – his was the only speaking part in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie.

I never had a misspent youth

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

This person obviously did.

If it’s not one thing, it’s two things

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Well, the laptop can use an external monitor. Not that I’d doubted it, I’d just never done it. Since I work with bringing up new hardware, I’ve grown to expect things not to work until they’ve been tested.

Unfortunately, the laptop won’t boot anymore. Apparently, lsass.exe has decided that the user accounts aren’t set up properly. Since I never set up any, this is disturbing. What’s worse is that the damned thing won’t respond to F8 to boot into Safe Mode, which is the prescribed method of dealing with the problem. The only keys it will respond to during the boot are F2, to get into the BIOS configuration, and F12, to boot from LAN.

Maybe a new laptop is closer than I’d thought.

A bad end to a good day

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Company picnic at the zoo, went to the Titanic artifacts exhibit at the museum, had a nice light dinner (tapas and beer at Tastes). Then, I packed up my laptop in preparation for working today, and didn’t notice the translucent cap from a thumb drive sitting on it before I closed the lid.

I now have about half of the display still working. I guess that means I start saving my pennies again. I suspect I’ll end up going for a Mac laptop – I replaced my WinXP desktop with an iMac some time ago, so it would be nice to be able use common software on both. I could pick up a copy of Parallels Desktop so that I could run the WinXP programs I require, but that’s for another day.

Today, I need to see how well the laptop runs with an external monitor. I know someone who’s been running a laptop with a totally dead display for a couple of years using an external monitor; I may not be in a real rush to replace mine yet.

Fair winds and a following sea

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Cassandra is hanging up her keyboard, at least as far as her website is concerned. I’m sorry to see her go – she’s been one of my daily reads for some time. One thing she added in the comments to her goodbye post really struck me:

Anna, when you move every one to three years, certain things civilians take for granted (like permanent relationships with people) aren’t things you can take for granted. I have become close to people I moved away from and was never stationed with again. Ever.

I have had relatives I didn’t see for years because we were both in the service. And now one of their sons is dead. I didn’t get to watch him grow up – the years between three and fourteen just flew by.

And then it was too late and there were no more years where that came from. So sometimes it is not a question of ‘getting out’, but of making friends where you can. And for me, making a few close friends on the Internet meant that for the first time in my whole life, when I moved, nothing changed in my friendship.

Think on that a bit.

I grew up as an Air Force brat, then went into the Navy. I intended to make it a career, although that’s not how things worked out. There’s a deep difference between the military and many civilians because of this … you tend to presume that people won’t be around for long, because everybody is transient.

One of my friends at the Naval Academy came from a small town in Alabama. Before he entered the Academy, he hadn’t been more than about 50 miles from home. He grew up in the house his grandfather had built, which was three blocks away from the house his grandfather had been born in.

He had roots in his community. I have no doubt that, for the rest of his life, he’ll be able to return there and find people who know him, either directly or through his family.

I don’t have that. Before I entered the Academy, I’d lived in two places in Texas, Colorado (two houses, but only a few blocks apart), Philadelphia, two locations in France, and two in England.

I’ve been living in and around Denver since I left the Navy (over 25 years, now), but it’s not home in that sense. I have nowhere that’s home in that sense. That’s partly because Denver, like any city, is too big. In such a place, you set down roots in a neighborhood, not in the city as a whole.

Apart from the hassle/trauma of moving, I’d have little heartache picking up and going somewhere else. Sure, I have friends I’d miss, but I’ve never set down strong roots here. I’m not sure I’d know how. After growing up moving every couple of years, I haven’t found anyplace that resonates with me. Denver’s fine, it’s comfortable, but when you get down to it, it’s just another place.

There are compensations. I have friends I made over 35 years ago … we don’t keep in touch, but when we get together, it feels like we’re picking things up pretty much right where we left off. I’ve seen more of the world than most people. I consider this valuable for several reasons. There are many beautiful places that aren’t in the US. Cities in other countries don’t look the same as cities here, and that has effects on city life and culture. There’s more history that’s accessible in other places (such as Europe or Japan). I have first-hand experience, not so much as some, but enough to be instructive, that the way people live here isn’t the way they live elsewhere. Antigua is probably the place where that was the most obvious to me.

American life in general has become more mobile over the last several decades, but it’s still American life. Moving every few years is pretty much universal in the military, and exposure to other cultures is more common.

Military life is different from civilian life, for the families as well as the military members themselves. As Cassandra suggests with relation to the effects of military life and the internet on personal relationships, it’s worth thinking about.

Maybe I’d prefer ‘Sing like a pirate’ day

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

I’d have been slightly uncomfortable titling a post anything like, “Arrgh, it do be ‘Talk like a Pirate‘ day, ye scurvy rats!”

Rather than merely note the day, or go into full-blown faux-pirate speech, I thought I’d have a more music-related post.

I like music.

First, I’ll mention a couple of songs related to the subject that aren’t on the list:

  • Arrgh! by the Woods Tea Company
  • The Ballad of Mary Read by Peter S. Beagle
  • Arrgh! is new to me … I picked up the CD when we were in Vermont. It’s quite fun, and I should be able to sing it without help in the next day or so. It mentions Calico Jack, Henry Morgan, and Blackbeard.

    The Ballad of Mary Read is also pretty fun, and I sing that one in the car a lot. Actually, I probably do most of my singing in the car – both by myself and along with the radio. In any case, it mentions Mary Read, Anne Bonny, Blackbeard, and Dancing Jack Duvall.

    Dancing Jack is an invention, I believe … all the others are historical characters, however inaccurately portrayed.

    I also sing Barrett’s Privateers by Stan Rogers (the link goes to Google Music because the official site appears to be down). I learned this one back in the 70s. I had two versions of it. One was from the “Between the Breaks” LP, and the other off the “Fogarty’s Cove” LP. I may still have them on cassette, somewhere.

    There’s plenty more “pirate music” available, but I’ll finish with a link to Music to Maraud By.

    I own a lot of books

    Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

    Significantly more than the average American, in fact. I can’t find the figures now, but I remember calculating that I could bring a couple blocks around my house up to average even if the neighborhood was deserted. My books aren’t organized or displayed properly, however, because I have a fairly small house. Most of my books are in boxes in the crawlspace.

    That just makes me drool even more over these beautiful libraries.

    Via Known Unknowns.