Saturday, September 02, 2006

862 Oh, yes. I Recognise It!

Saturday, September 2, 2006

It might have been my napkin, back about June....

(Adults only, please. Perhaps not suitable for the office, depending on your office....)

(And don't click on any of the links on that screen, unless you want to get some interesting popups at potentially awkward moments.)

861 Commenting, A/C, and Searching

Saturday, September 2, 2006

I read a lot of blogs and journals. (See the list on the right.) I don't read all of them every day. I had been voraciously reading the middle eastern ones until I got too depressed. Actually, it wasn't depression, it was anxiety as I watched the moods shift. I got seasick from the rollercoaster, and had to take a break.

I don't read most of them directly. My PC is old and slow (how slow? I'll tell you how slow. I push the "on" button in the morning, and then come back 20 minutes later, and it might be up by then. I'm not kidding. As soon as I get the finances straightened out and the den clean enough to let someone else in, I'll do something about that), and I have a very slow dial-up connection (when I click on a link, I play a few hands of solitaire or hearts while I wait for it to load), so I use Bloglines.

Bloglines gives me the entries since the last time I looked, all in one place, without the pretty graphics and long text pages that take forever to load. And without the sound and animations some folks have that can lock up my machine.

But, I can't leave comments through Bloglines. I have to go to the actual journal to comment. So, I don't much comment. Not as much as I'd like to, anyway.


I switched over from A/C to heat today, and got a bit of a surprise. Actually, two surprises.

I had turned the A/C off at the thermostat about two weeks ago, which should have shut off the water flow, but when I went downstairs, I could hear water flowing through the pipes into the heat pump. The water should flow only when the A/C is actually blowing air. That means maybe the well pump has been running steadily for who knows how long. The actual pump is in the well in the front yard, so I don't hear it. I've had well men tell me that's ok, running steadily is better than off and on, but I still don't like it. If nothing else, it's a waste of electricity.

The unknown is that if there was just a dribble getting through, then the pump wasn't on steady, but was going off and on for a long time. Which is BAD. And having the pump pulled and replaced is a minimum of $3,000. We've done that twice already in the 12 years I've been living here. It's not in the budget!!!!

I have to turn the water on and off to the A/C when I switch to and from the oil furnace. Somewhere along the line I must have fiddled with the shutoff valve up near the ceiling. It was almost off. That's why all summer the A/C wasn't getting enough water. Well, one reason. I suspect it's still pretty silt-clogged, but it sure might have worked better if the valve had been all the way open. My main problem is that with this left/right problem I have, I can never remember which way valves, lightbulbs, screws, everything else, goes.

Too many unknowns. I've got to replace that heat pump, no matter what. Just if it was inadequate this summer because it wasn't getting enough water, then maybe I have a little more time.


A while ago, I mentioned to Roman that the college ought to offer a credit-free course in searching. With SiteMeter (click on the icon at the bottom of this page), I can see who got here through a search engine, and what they were searching for. I can even click on the search engine results page url and see exactly what hits they got. A lot of people have no idea how to select search arguments that will find what they're looking for.

Like, someone got here a few weeks ago by searching for I love you. I don't know what they were looking for, but that's going to get them hits on every page that contains the word "you", and the word "I", and the word "love", whether the words are anywhere near each other or not. If they wanted to narrow it to the exact phrase, then it should have been in quotes.

Some search args are mysteries. Like the person who was looking for logic problems eye color island ferry solution. I'd love to know what they were looking for! That's some combination. (I would have put quotation marks around the first two args, and around the second two args, to keep them related - " logic problems" "eye color" island ferry solution. There used to be a way to say "Return a result only if these two args are within x words of each other", in which case one might want to say "keep 'ferry' and 'island' no more than four words apart, as in "We took the ferry to Grand Bebop Island", but I don't remember, and I'm not going to look it up now. )

And then there was the person who was searching for and then he put my purse in the other woman's car. This person was obviously searching for a specific page, which they knew contained that exact phrase. But again, without any quotes, they got a gazillion hits, every page that contained some combination of those words somewhere on the page, whether related or not.

No wonder some people complain that searching the internet is useless, that they "can't find what they're looking for".

Besides grouping words into phrases, you have to select the right words. You need to know a little bit about what you're looking for, to know what words to include, and what words NOT to include. That's an art, but it can be taught.

And then there's the wild cards and operators. EBay searching is an absolute art, and I'm pretty much an expert. I can find exactly what I want with very little dross in the list.

But then, with a system as slow as mine, I was forced to learn. I can't scroll through screens and screens of useless hits.

More people should take a look at the "Advanced Search" most search engines offer. It doesn't mean it's for experts, it's quite clear, and will reduce the number of false hits.

Oh, that class? Roman thought it was a good idea and suggested I draw up an outline and sell it to the college, and then teach it. Nah. I'm not that eager to take on more. I was kinda thinking he might do it.

He shuddered.

860 Saturday Joke

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Picked this up on my wanderings:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the internet?

ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.

COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!

ABBOTT: Real One.

COSTELLO: If it's a long movie, I also want to watch reels 2, 3 and 4. Can I watch them?

ABBOTT: Of course.

COSTELLO: Great! With what?

ABBOTT: Real One.

COSTELLO: OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?

ABBOTT: You click the blue "1".

COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?

ABBOTT: The blue "1".

COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w?

ABBOTT: The blue "1" is Real One and the blue "W" is Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: But there are three words in "office for windows"!

ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.


ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left.It pretty much wiped out all the other words out there.

COSTELLO: And that word is real one?

ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even part of Office.

COSTELLO: STOP! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on "START"...

Friday, September 01, 2006

859 Museum Concert

I worked (volunteer) at the Maritime Museum's benefit concert this evening. I arrived at 3 pm and helped set up, then got to sit by the gate to the yard and sell tickets.

The sloop Clearwater was tied up at the dock, and chairs had been set up in the yard facing the boat, right behind where I was sitting. Off to the side was the gazebo where there was wine, and off to the side was a large tent with soda, fruit, cheese, veggies, and all kinds of little sandwiches.

Performers were Rich Bala opening, and then Jay Ungar and Molly Mason (who achieved national recognition for Ashokan Farewell, the theme music for Ken Burn's The Civil War). Their stage was the deck of the Clearwater. When the show started, all I had to do was turn my chair - I was about 30 feet away. The setting was beautiful, with the wooded opposite bank, the creek, the kayakers and sail boats passing, the incredibly high mast of the Clearwater.

The only jarring note was that it being Friday evening, there was music on the Strand, soft rock, amplified, less than a block up the street, and our music had to compete.

I was glad to see Rich. It is his wife who was so good to Jay, who worked so hard to get the invention patented, and was so nice as to keep me informed throughout the process.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

858 Cilantro

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Got nuthin' much to say today, so I'm gonna complain about cilantro.

Jay's favorite salsa tasted like soap to me. He disagreed. He thought I was crazy. Well, it turns out I'm not crazy. For some people, cilantro DOES taste like soap, and for some of them, the taste of soap is so strong it overwhelms the food. It's genetic. Just like some people can smell asparagus in urine, and some people can't. That's genetic, too (not the smell, everyone's urine smells funny if they've been eating asparagus - but that only some people can detect it).

That explains why I don't care for Mexican food. A lot of it tastes like soap. And I'm sorry, but it's not likely to be something I can "get used to".

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

857 Irritations

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Some people are upset and demanded an apology for the Emmy skit spoofing the "Lost" plane crash, which aired within hours of a fatal crash in Kentucky.

That bugs me.

If the Kentucky crash had not occurred, would anyone have been so upset by the skit? Probably not. At least not loudly and publicly. But there have been other fatal crashes in the past. So it must be the timing, right? Apparently a few hours isn't enough. How about a few days? A few weeks? How long? There must be some safe length of time. Maybe it isn't solely the timing. Maybe it's the people involved, too. There are small plane crashes all the time, but nobody would have been upset (except the immediate relatives, probably privately) if the skit had aired right after a few small plane crashes. I guess a few immediate relatives don't deserve apologies? Or consideration?

In fairness, we must never ever spoof or make light of another plane crash on TV or in movies. Somebody might have lost a loved one in a plane crash, somewhere, sometime, and it would be "of questionable taste" to remind them of it in a way they might find tasteless. Not to mention survivors of crashes. And you never know when a plane will happen to go down as you are about to air the piece. Wait a minute - more people die in car crashes! We should never make light of car crashes in any public medium! Oops - even more people die of diseases and old age! We should never make light of diseases or old age!!

This "I deserve an apology" thing has gone too far. I'm sorry for your loss, and you have a right to be offended or hurt if you saw the skit, but NBC has done nothing to be asked to apologize for. That skit was not making fun of the Kentucky accident. There was no intent to hurt anyone. The timing was unfortunate, that's all. Shit happens. Deal with real issues.


There's a local used car dealer who is famous for their "did-it-myself" commercials. They even have a late-night one-hour show about their bloopers and out-takes. Since we know they do cut, edit, and retake, their latest commercial worries me. Rough quote "...and of course it comes with our 10 mile 10 year warranty!"


I just bought some pillar candles. I looked at some trays for under the candles. They all had stickers on the bottom that said "Do not use near combustible materials". (Yeah, I know what they mean, but that's not what they said.)


Speaking of candles, there's a late-night "infomercial" for a supplier of junk that you can sell on the internet, and they'll mail the junk directly to your customers. To illustrate how much money you can make, they show a pillar candle, which they claim you can sell for more than $30, and the cost to you is only $9-something (or whatever, I'm pretty sure the actual retail "value" given was higher). Well, I saw those exact same candles in Wal-Mart yesterday for $6 and less. I bought a package of nine for $7 (on sale, regularly $10. And they're good candles, too, long-burning, nice scent, no smoke, no drip).

I think anyone who signs up for this company's services is going to generate more ticked-off customers than profits.


For any of you grammar hounds out there, I have a puzzle. In a commercial for a technical school, a graduate says "Who I am today is whom I've always wanted to be." Now, "whom" is not a word used lightly, particularly by a tech school grad (he might want to, and know how to, but his buddies would laugh him off the block for putting on airs, right?) So, I conclude that somebody put a bit of thought into that bit of script. "Whom" was carefully selected.

But is it correct? I'm going back and forth on it. Don't go by what sounds right, by what is common usage - I'm interested in the correct application of the rules here. The reflective property of "is", and how it gets applied in this case.

856 Sugar

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I am soooooo tired. It hit me about 6:30 this evening. I almost never take naps, but I feel like it today. I was up until about 3 am last night, futzing around online, and then I worked a Sunday crossword before I went to sleep - but I slept until 10:40 am, so I shouldn't be so tired.

I think maybe it has more to do with my new sugar resolution. I had cut almost all excess yummies out of my life when I decided to lose weight. But I still have this thing for Starbucks frappuccino, and peanut butter cups, and butterscotch-laced ice cream, and Jelly Belly jelly beans. I noticed I was gradually starting to limit the good stuff in order to fit the naughty stuff in. So. Sugar cut. Drastic. I'm on my second day of NO extra sugar (what occurs naturally in fruit is allowed), and maybe I'm in withdrawal.

What I've had so far today:
A well-ripened peach.
6 oz plain yogurt.
A very large salad consisting of mixed greens, 2 oz of chicken, chopped walnuts, white raisins, cucumber, green pepper, and feta cheese, with raspberry dressing.
One small "carb-free" ice cream bar (160 calories).
12 oz white grape juice (no sweetener added).
24 oz made-it-myself-from-teabags barely-sweetened iced tea.
Some water.
For dinner (but only if I get hungry, which I don't feel now) I'm planning a sandwich, chicken-cheese-green pepper grill on sourdough bread (yeah, that's coming out of a box in the freezer - but it's yummy, so leave me alone!).

I think I'm being pretty good, and if I stick to it, maybe I can get off this plateau I seem to be on and lose those last 20 lbs. (If I can stay awake long enough to burn some calories.)

I took a load of stuff to the recycle center this morning. I was worried because they have signs up that if you don't have the paid-for sticker on your vehicle, "you WILL be asked to LEAVE". I have the sticker, but it's on the minivan, which, of course, is in the shop. Suzie (the new name for the Aerio) doesn't have a sticker.

Back when I still had the Chevy, I asked what if you had more than one vehicle, and the town clerk told me I'd have to limit my recycle visits to one vehicle, or buy more stickers, at full price. That seems unfair. Instead of stickers, they could issue cards that you put on the dashboard. I guess maybe they're afraid that more than one household would pass one card around.

There was only one lone kid on duty today, and he didn't look, so Suzie and I distributed our load and got out of there. What bugs me is that no matter when you go, recent rain or not, it seems like the ground at the recycle center is always muddy. They keep dumping gravel, but it just sinks into the mud. Poor Suzie's mats are now all muddy.

I hate going to the recycle center. Maybe that's why I'm tired.

Well, one more reason - I've been fussing over a situation for four days now, so upset that I was about ready to do something extremely childish. But after talking it over with Piper (in person) on Monday, and Roman last night (phone), and another friend overnight (email), I've calmed down quite a lot. I won't be childish and stubborn, but I'm not going to be particularly nice, either. If I'm not allowed to be immature, I can still be angry.

So there!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

855 They're Back! (800-503-7001)

If you are reading this entry because you searched for info on 800-503-7001, please leave a comment telling us what your experience was with the caller from that number. Help the next person who finds this entry.

I noticed that this past week I've been getting hits again from people searching for 800-503-7001. It had stopped for a while, but has started up again. I guess whoever is making calls from that number is bothering people again. Oddly enough, a call TO that number cannot be completed. Someone told me it may be a "catchall" number, used as a placeholder for calls from outside the US, calls made on a prepaid calling card, whatever. It doesn't seem to be a valid traceable "owned" number.

From past comments, my own experience, and friends to whom I have spoken, it seems that the people calling from 800-503-7001 are running a scam. They target businesses and claim to be able to boost your online search ranking, or list you in online or local hardcopy phone or business directories, or whatever. The websites they mention don't exist. They won't take no for an answer, even when you say no, and they will put their charges on your telephone bill!!

If you've had a call from them, watch your phone bill carefully for the next few months, and contest any unidentified charges. I got a call from them this morning. I hung up on them. (I have not contacted the phone company about them because I haven't given them any information, haven't been caught in any of their schemes, and don't have the time to fuss with them. Be my guest.)

If you searched for 800-503-7001 and found this entry, you have a story to tell. Please comment. Don't worry about the "login" part - you don't really have to log in. Your comment will show up after I make sure it's not spam.

854 Monday

Monday, August 28, 2006

Long day today. I stopped in to wish Piper a happy birthday (59 - he says it's his last), and dropped off the minivan at the dealership. A mechanic then drove me home in the van, and, naturally, it behaved perfectly. The "check engine" light wasn't even on, although the monitor he had hooked up under the dashboard said the cam position sensor was not reporting. That was the fourth and latest sensor to have been replaced. (Um, so far it looks like when the sensors report a problem, the fix seems to be to replace the sensor. I don't understand. I'm pretty certain that wasn't the original design....)

Then I ran some errands. Many. I had to return a top at Wal-Mart, across the river, and since my local grocery store seems to be no longer stocking the tiny boxes of lunch milk, I decided to see if Wal-Mart had them. The total came to $120. Never enter the grocery section when you're hungry.

I didn't get home until after 10 pm. I haven't the faintest idea where the time went.

BTW - Edy's has a new flavor of ice cream. Root Beer Float. Very good. I found it while searching for sugar-free ice cream. It's not sugar free. Bad me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

853 Carnelli

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thinking more about the previous entry's mention of Carnelli. I joined Mensa in Washington in about 1978, and I knew both Jan Carnell and Jim Lange well. I was there for the birth and toddlerhood of Carnelli.

We have a member here in the Hudson Valley who seems to think he knows everything. He likes to make arbitrary descisions affecting the group and membership, he exceeds his authority, and people let him get away with it because it's easier. He's the guy I've complained about before because he won't listen to a complaint or criticism unless it's also accompanied by the solution. So you can't mention to him that the website is broken "and someone should take a look at it" unless you're willing to fix it yourself. (The website has been broken for at least the past four years.) After butting heads with him a few times, I, like everyone else, gave up.

He likes to tell people how Carnelli works. He considers himself an expert. He's wrong. I know he has read the rules, because he likes to quote the line about the "timekeeper/judge whose decisions are arbitrary, capricious, and absolutely final." He quotes it with relish. He probably wishes that rule applied everywhere in his life. But that seems to be the only part he absorbed. He has no concept of the allowed connections - he's much too rigid - and seems to think that it's the timekeeper, not the participants, who challenges the connection.

That's probably why we've never attempted to play it here, in the local group.

852 Catching Up On Thoughts

Sunday, August 27, 2006

After living most of the hottest summer in ages with inadequate air conditioning, I am now freezing. I was so cold today, goosebumps and all, I considered going down to the basement and flipping all the switches and baffles to put the heat on. Then I checked the thermometer. It was 77F in the den, and 75F in the living room. I guess I've over-acclimated.

I left out some sessions I attended at the Mensa World Gathering. There was Jean Auel, who spoke about the research she had done for the Clan of the Cave Bear books, and one on current and new scams, wherein I learned a quick and easy way to counterfeit a $100 bill, the one on walking tours of Paris, and a talk by the Mensan who was on Beauty and the Geek (which I had watched, and which was a much better show than it sounded like it would be).

Shawn (nerd, maybe, but not geek) said that he had heard that Warner Brothers was looking for intelligent single guys, emphasis on single, for a reality show, and he was on a break and decided to check it out. He was interviewed, was offered the opportunity, accepted, and was told to show up at a mansion with enough clothes for a few days. What amazed us is that until they actually started taping, he had no idea what the show was named, what it was about, or that he'd be sharing a room with a beautiful woman. His most embarrassing moment was when he, listed as the boy scout leader, flaked out on the outdoor challenge, and threw up on camera. He was soooooo sweet.

Something else I forgot to mention, I did an informal survey of toes. Most people's big toe is longer than their other toes. My second toe is longer than my big toe. I gather that most people find it odd, because so many people look at my feet and say "Eeew!", "Weird!", "That's not normal!", "Ugly!" (Well, I find that the middle toe longer gives the end of the foot a nicely rounded shape. Big toe longer is ugly! It makes the foot look all lopsidedly pointy. Especially when the big toe is all bent sideways toward the middle. You deformed your foot trying to make it look like mine! So there!)

At the Gathering, a lot of people were wearing sandals, and I noticed something odd. On five out of six of the literally hundreds of Mensan feet I looked at, the second toe was longer than the big toe! So then I started looking at non-member feet (hotel guests without the badge, and at the Animal Kingdom), and the numbers were reversed! Very strange. Could there be a relationship between the length of one's second toe, and one's score on logic tests? Sort of like the relationship between the size and shape of a man's nose (not his feet, his nose) and his ... um ... wait a minute ... survey not yet complete....

An interesting statistic, the Gathering had members attending from 38 different countries, and from 49 US states. Wyoming provided no attendees. Somehow I'd have thought it would be Utah, but Wyoming isn't a complete shock, either. (Sorry, Wyoming. And Utah.)

Another thing I noticed was the absence of bare skin. Around here, the fashion among young women is extremely low-sling pants and skirts, and short tops, which leave between 1 and 9 inches of midriff bare. With the obvious exception of bathing suit parts, I didn't see any of that in either the resort or Disney World (and no, I don't recall any dress code, certainly not at the resort). The resort had a few thousand guests other than Mensans, from all over the country and the world, and almost all of them were wearing the waistbands at the waist (that's the narrowest part of the torso, just above the hip bones, for those who may have forgotten).

The few who were wearing low-riders were wearing long tops over them. When it was a skirt, especially, it looked odd. The band has to be tight to stay up on the hips, and if the woman had the least bit of excess hippage, it causes an ugly bulge, and without all the bare skin to distract one, the bulge looked sloppy. Especially above a skirt.

So, are our young women locally more daring? More desperate? Or just sadly out of fashion?

The Dodge minivan is still sick. For a few days it looked like it was getting better, didn't stall on the short trips I was comfortable giving it, but last weekend it started stalling again, on Tuesday the "check engine" light went on briefly, and on Wednesday it went on and stayed on. So it has an appointment with the dealership tomorrow. I'm so frustrated. I've been keeping a log, and when I stopped in at the dealership on my way to the fair on Thursday I tried to tell them what I've noticed about when it stalls, and they didn't want to hear it! They said, and I quote, "We'll just put it on the machine and the sensors will tell us what's wrong." Hey folks, we've been doing that for eight months and over $2,000 now, AND IT ISN'T WORKING!!!! Somebody has to do some LOGICAL THINKING about this. Sheesh!

I had mentioned that I didn't see any chess tournaments or even any boards at the Gathering. The other thing I missed was Carnelli. I thought Carnelli was a staple at all large gatherings. Maybe they don't do it any more because people have gotten too familiar with it and have memorized the best sequences? I'm not very good at Carnelli because my memory doesn't work that fast, but I love to watch it.