Saturday, May 05, 2012

3525 Elegant, and not

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.
-- Jacob Bronowski --


Elegant.  Elegant is the word I was looking for in the last post.  Everyone who had ever explored code written by Jay described it as "elegant".

The word elegant, in general, is an adjective meaning of fine quality. Refinement and simplicity are implied, rather than fussiness, or ostentation. An elegant solution, often referred to in relation to problems in disciplines such as mathematics, engineering, and programming, is one in which the maximum desired effect is achieved with the smallest, or simplest effort. Engineers, for example, seek the elegant solution as a means of solving a problem with the least possible waste of materials and effort. The elegant solution is also likely to be accomplished with appropriate methods and materials - according to the Elegant Solution Organization, duct tape is not likely to be part of an elegant solution, unless, of course, the problem involves taping ducts.

(A bit of trivia:  Duct tape is, in fact, not suitable for taping ducts, except perhaps on the outside of insulation around the duct.  Temperature extremes will destroy the glue.)


I'm going to Rakkasah Spring Caravan today.  I do not plan to buy anything beyond an entrance ticket and food. We'll see how well I can hold to that.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

3524 Good enough is good enough. Usually.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love is the only game you are sure to lose by declining to play.


The past two days, Daughter and Nugget have come over while I was on the porch with my post-breakfast cigarette.  Daughter says Nugget sees me from the window, yells "Amma!  Amma! Amma!" (Gramma!), jumps up and down and waves her arms and makes it clear she wants to come over.  If the window's open, I hear her.

Daughter escorts her across the street, and Nugget is all smiles.

But I suspect it's not "Amma" she's so excited about. 

I meet them on the porch in front of the door.  I get a quick hug from the Nugget, and then she reaches toward the door, turning her wrist.  She wants the door opened.

I suspect she's madly in love with my house.


Another blogger (RockyCat) was recently distressed by a Craigslist ad she'd found, advertising kittens ready for adoption.  The ad was full of typos and misspelled words.  It was pitiful.  Rocky was sickened by it. (Here.)

I didn't comment because I had to think about it a bit, and now my thoughts are too long for a comment.

Yeah, the failure of American schooling?  But maybe English isn't her native language?  On the other hand, if one makes the necessary spelling corrections, the ad was rather well composed with all the necessary information, which these days is something unexpected and to be admired.

My thoughts eventually led to Jay's perfectionism.  He'd blow deadline after deadline making sure that some piece of code was perfect.  He wasn't satisfied unless it was as tight as it could be, as small as it could be, as fast as it could be, as efficient as it could be, and still handle every possibility, even those never considered by the product design.  He'd fiddle and fiddle.  He wouldn't let go until it was absolutely perfect.  And to do this, he'd blow his own deadlines, the deadlines of everyone down the line who depended on his piece, the product announce and delivery dates, and lose the market advantage.  And then (pure Asperger) he didn't understand why everyone was mad at him.  "It's perfect!  I couldn't release something that wasn't perfect!"

I had to watch over him.  I had to be aware of his target dates.  And as they approached, I'd have to hold his hand, look him in the eye, and say, over and over, "Good enough is good enough.  What are the written requirements?  Does it meet requirements?  Yes?  Then it's good enough.  Maybe it's not perfect, but it doesn't need to be.  You can update it later.  Good enough is good enough."

So, back to the Craigslist ad.

I hate to admit this, but it's good enough.  The reader has no great difficulty understanding what it's saying, and it conveyed all the information.  (I had a bit of difficulty with "they are verry qute", reading it first as "quiet" until "cute" dawned on me.)  The reader isn't left with a lot of respect for the educational level of the writer, but that wasn't a requirement for an ad of this type.

In this case, it was good enough.

It hurts to say that. 


The writings that upset and scare me most the ones I can't read, or can't understand, because they're full of text-speak or acronyms or "urban-defined" words, or when the writer has chosen the wrong word (decimate/devastate)(problematic/a problem)(loan/lend)(lose/loose)(its/it's), or the wrong homonym (to/too)(site/sight), or something like incident/incidents/incidence, or horror of all horrors, incidences, which isn't even a word at all.   The kind of thing that LOOKS like it should be read literally but creates the wrong picture in my mind when read literally, and I have to back up and attempt to figure out what they REALLY meant, which sometimes isn't possible.  I mean, if we could read minds, why write at all?

Those are the errors that have me blowing stream, especially when made by "professional" writers.

(E.G. - I was reading a post about an acquaintance's hiking trip a few days ago, wherein he mentioned "a beautiful site" he'd seen. I stopped and frowned.  I thought I'd missed the part where he'd said he was looking to purchase some real estate in the mountains.  When I realized it was HIS error, I was pissed at him.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

3523 Jasper says "No room at the inn!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
-- Blaise Pascal --


In my March 26 post, I asked if any rich or famous people had died waiting for a transplant - name one. (See also this post for the explanation as to why rich people rarely wait too long).  A commenter pointed out that Robert Goulet had died waiting for a lung.  I just found out that he died exactly one month after a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.  He very likely wasn't strong enough for transplant within two or three weeks of the diagnosis, and didn't have the time or strength to travel to get on more than one or two lists, so ... I don't think that counts.  My challenge stands.


Contrary to the advice I give others, I almost adopted another stray cat last week.

Three days in a row a young, probably no more than 5 months old, unaltered male tabby visited my front porch.  He was absolutely beautiful!  A rich reddish gold and cream swirl-type tabby with enormous dark gold eyes that matched his coat perfectly.  Pink nose.  He was very friendly, allowed petting, and he was very very thin.  His little waistline was pinched. Otherwise looked healthy.  No collar.

I offered him some dry food, and he gobbled it up.  Three days in a row he visited briefly in mid-afternoon, ate some kibble, sat with me on the glider while I read, and then went off to explore.  I seriously considered adopting him as a strictly outdoor kitty.  I was planning his vet visit and collar color and tag info and everything.

On the fourth day I saw some young teen girls walking up the road.  One of them was carrying MY cat.  He now had a collar on.  He seemed perfectly happy, rubbing his cheek on her neck.

Saved by the belle.


My back is still complaining, but not at all like over the weekend.  I can sit, stand, and walk just fine, but I get warnings when I lift things or bend wrong.  It'll be ok.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

3522 Back

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lying is not a sin.  It’s a business plan.


I hate when you're watching a movie on TV, and you have to jack up the volume to 50 to be able to hear it, and then a commercial comes on and the blast sets off the car alarm in the garage.


I went up river this past week.  I put a lot of heavy stuff in the van on Wednesday, small pieces of furniture and boxes of papers and books.  I was a little worried about the effects on my back of wrestling it all out of the old house, but Thursday and Friday my back was fine.  So Friday I made dozens of trips up and down stairs carrying loads of stuff.  Friday evening my back went out.  I am now wearing the brace off and on, and walking all twisted into a corkscrew.


Daughter and Hercules have set up a measuring board in their kitchen.  Heights of Mommy, Daddy, Gramma, and the Nugget  are now marked on it.

For much of my early adult life I'd been 4' 11".  A decade or two ago I went to 4' 10", and until yesterday that's what I always wrote on forms.  I am now a hair under 4' 9".  Under!

That's downright scary.  I've lost more than two inches since my early 40s, and I've never had that many to spare.  I think I've lost the latest inch just in the past two years, because suddenly things I had hemmed not all that long ago are too long.  Slacks seem to be unaffected, but dresses and caftans are dragging on the ground, which would indicate I've got spinal compression in progress.  (Yes, I do stand straight. I have to, to protect my back.)

This is not cool.


There's not a single cloud in the sky today.  A most incredible blue.  A half-moon is visible directly opposite the sun.  I wish I could enjoy it.  Mostly I'm standing in a hot shower, the massage setting directed on my lower back, or lying on the floor.

It's weird, but if I consciously tell myself to relax my back, I can move easily and the pain lessens.  As soon as I forget, it clenches up and hurts.  I guess the medical community refers to that as guarding.

Relax, relax, relax.