Hit Coffee is the story of Will Truman (trumwill),
transplant in the mountain west with an IT background who bides his time
substitute teaching while his wife brings home the bacon.
This site is a collection of reflections
on the goings-on in his life and in the world around him. You will probably
be relieved to know that he does not generally refer to himself in the
third-person except when he's writing short bios on his web page.
Greetings from Callie, Arapaho, a red town in a red state known for growing
red meat. And from Redstone, Arapaho(Aw-RAH-pah-hoe), a blue city with blue collar roots that's been feeling blue
for quite some time.
Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though
if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character
and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.
This website is maintained by Guy Webster (web),
who also contributes from time to time.
Web hails from the midwest and currently lives
in Truman's home city of Colosse, Delosa. He works as a utility IT person at
Southern Tech University, their alma mater.
Also contributing is Sheila Tone (stone) a West Coaster, breeder, and lawyer
who has probably hooked up with some loser just like you and sees through
your whole pathetic little act.
In my life, I’ve known a few vegetarian-ish people, of varying degrees. In the Southern Tech University dorms, there was one girl (a cute redhead who’d had anorexia, who became an absolutely STUNNING redhead when she got treatment and regained about 50 pounds) who’d done enough to her body that she sort-of, kind-of became “vegetarian” because she’d destroyed her body’s ability to digest meat properly (go without for too long, you stop producing the enzymes necessary for digestion, you lose the helpful intestinal flora that assist in the digestive process for meat, and you might even get food poisoning because it can then rot in the intestines).
Two others I know currently I’m interested in dating. One has food allergies galore; peanuts (thankfully not the “it can’t even be around me” kind, but bad enough), pork, and a couple less annoying ones. The other is a partial-vegetarian who doesn’t eat “meat” (in the pork/chicken/beef/etc sense) but still eats fish and dairy products.
The odder question from my angle is: at what point does one start altering habits (should it manage to turn into a full-blown, exclusive dating relationship) to coincide with this? Admittedly, in the one case it’s a matter of real danger (plus the whole idea of “congratulations, you ate something I’m allergic to, now go brush your teeth or else no kiss”), while in the other it’s a semi-moralistic/semi-health-conscious thing. Also, in the one case it’s obviously going to need to be one-way (hard to “compromise” on allergies) while in the other?
And, can I really manage to give up my traditional bacon-and-eggs sunday breakfast?
Web’s mention the other day of our rail system reminded me of two pet peeves of mine. The first is arrangements that get to rotate between profitability and public good whenever it’s convenient for them. The second is the absurd lengths that some places will go in order to be considered “World Class”.
It is by far the most ambiguous, empty goal that a city can have. Colosse has it, as did Santomas and I’ve read many articles in other cities talking about it. It’s essentially a blank check. It’s saying that we have to spend all of this money on stuff until we’re New York. And since Colosse will never be New York, the spending need never end! When you can’t justify something on the merits, you simply say it’s necessary to become World Class and suddenly all of the big pockets will spend money on campaigns to make people vote for a bond to make it happen.
There are honestly some drives that have been undertaken under the rubric of World Class that I liked and supported. Colosse’s temporary (and since lost) success at cleaning up downtown and making it a place to go was pretty cool. Mixed feelings about the sports stadia and smoking banss. Not so much on the light rail or some of the public park initiatives or so-called “Smart Growth”. Doesn’t matter, though. I support or oppose things things on the basis of whether or not they are good for the city. Others disagree with me and that’s fine. But any time you make any sort of headway opposing any initiative or that, you’re told that if you love the city you have to support it because if we do this the we can sit at the cool kids table with New York City and London.
Except that first it’s futile. Cities like Colosse will never sit at the cool kids table. Santomas gets to sit there on the basis of charisma and not stature and definitely not because of the light rail system that it doesn’t even have. The only way Colosse gets taken seriously is by being its best self. Taking what makes it successful and expounding upon it. Taking what is unsuccessful and correcting it. Bringing in business thus jobs thus people. Good government. Livability. Clean air.
Available jobs will bring in ten times as many people as will a little toy train that runs from one place most people can’t afford to live to another place that most people can’t afford to live. Pollution and crime will drive far more people away than the absence of that fourth greenbelt around the downtown area. The “World Class Cities” are barely even growing (if they are at all). Colosse is. Santomas is. Phoenix is. Boise is. The cool kids will only take the Colosses of the world seriously when they have to. Bike trails (while nice!) won’t do that. People and money will.
Ever have a case where you’re watching a movie or reading a book or something and you’re finished with the piece before it’s finished with itself? I don’t mean that you don’t like it and don’t want to finish it, but rather you are satisfied with the story at a point prior to its conclusion? And as the pages or minutes roll on you get a sort of disjointed feeling like you’re not supposed to be in the character’s lives anymore?
It’s the sort of feeling you can get when you go to a sporting event that goes into overtime or extra-innings. On one hand, for you to still be there at the end of the game it must be of something interest to you. Who can argue with more of what you’re enjoying? Besides, any game that goes past the buzzer is by definition a competitive game. I suppose it could be a boring defensive game, but good fans appreciate those, too. But whenever I’m at a game that goes into overtime, I never think “Sweet! More game, no extra cost!” Instead, I start going through my mind for the things that I should be doing and getting anxious. A sort of feeling like it’s wrong to leave a game before it’s open. If you don’t care how it ends, why go?
I’ve been listening to a good, albeit long, audiobook on my commute. The story concluded about an hour ago, listeningtime. But it just kept going on. I have no complaints with where the story is going. It hasn’t stopped being interesting. But my interest in it has become distracted by the idea that in my mind it should be over and the idea that I should be listening to the next thing on my queue. and I can’t shake it. The last time I felt this sort of tension was the movie The Departed, but in that case not only did the story go on longer than it needed to, but I didn’t like the developments. In this case, it’s character-focused stuff which is usually my favorite part. And would be my favorite part… save for the fact that there are no super-speedsters in red costumes running around in the story like there would be in the audiobook I’d be listening to if the story would just end already.
Finally, I went forward just to see how much time was remaining and discovered that the story that should have ended an hour ago had over two hours left on it. So I decided that if I was going to spend the whole time in an agitated state that I would just go ahead and take the CD out, put in The Flash, and listen to the rest of the audiobook over my next couple lunches at work or something. That way I can enjoy it without the sense that I am supposed to be listening to something else.
In Delosa, Deseret, Estacado, and probably Cascadia and 46 other states there is a law that prevents you from re-filling a glasses or contact prescription if the prescription is more than a year old. This law has always annoyed the living crap out of me. I know when my eyesight is getting worse (I tell myself!). I shouldn’t have to do this! It’s the darn nanny-state putting its jackboots in my eyes! Vote Browne/Badnarik/Barr (or not)!
I talked to The Best Eye-Doctor Ever about this several years back. I call him Hu because I can’t remember his name, but he was of Asian extract I call him The Best Eye-Doctor Ever he was particularly special because he was one of the few doctors to actually convince me to do something that I didn’t want to do (in this case, take my contacts out ever). I told him that I would know when I needed to refill my prescription and that they shouldn’t make me do it.
He asked me how I knew to get my first pair of glasses. I skipped the whole story about how I attempted to con Mrs. Nelson) and flashed forward to my being unable to read the chalkboard from the back of the classroom. He asked if I’d noticed anything prior to that. I said that I hadn’t. He asked what the probability was that my eyesight went all bad all at once. I said that the probability was low. He asked me again how certain I was that I would recognize gradual deterioration of eyesight.
I told him that he had a point, but that a law stating that we had to get our eyes checked less frequently would take care of that. Kids do have their eyesights checked to some degree whenever they try to read from a chalkboard and adults when they drive. I didn’t mention the whole method by which I belatedly resigned myself to wearing glasses whenever I drove, which involved a bunch of near-accidents. I didn’t need to. Like the whole joke about prostitution, he said that agreed on the necessity of such a law, we were only negotiating time-frames.
If it weren’t for the next thing he told me*, I would drive back to Colosse and tell that doctor that he was wrong, wrong, wrong. I have discovered how wrong he was in the last year. My glasses are inadequate for my left eye. I discovered this the same way that I figured that people would because I can’t read things at a distance as easily from my left eye as my right. Hu may respond that it only works if degradation occurs only in one eye and that if it had been the other I wouldn’t have notice a thing, to which I would have responded, “Stop being right, Doctor Hu!” But I don’t know his name, I’m not quite petty enough to drive back to Colosse, and I know that he would find a way to best me so I want to avoid that confrontation and will not be driving back to see him to tell him how wrong he is.
So where was I? Oh, yes. Regardless of what the everwise Doctor might tell me, the problem is not even one of eyesight degradation! I know this because I was stuck with a pair of old glasses from a prescription back and discovered, lo-and-behold, the left-eye problem did not exist! In other words, my eyesight got worse with the new prescription! Had his law not been in place, I would be wearing better glasses!
The same is true for contacts. I got a prescription for a new pair of contacts shortly before we left Estacado. I got the contacts up here. The vision in my right eye is awful. It’s better than if I weren’t wearing anything, but worse than my glasses and, get this, worse than what happens if I put my left contact in my right eye! Which is my solution to this whole mess. I know that Doc Hu would not approve, but tough luck.
So to sharpen the point I am trying to make here, I have to go back three prescriptions to get good eyesight. The previous prescription was only for contacts so it was unrelated to the eyesight problem. The prescription before that was for both, but I remember even the contacts being problematic on that prescription. I attributed that to having to deal with Toriqs, but if my astigmatism was so bad then you think I would… notice it… the same way that I noticed how much tougher my new contacts were than my old ones. And of course the glasses from that prescription have the bum left eye.
So then I have to go back to the one before that. That would be the prescription made by… Hu himself! So maybe I do need to take a trip back to Colosse after all… if I could only remember his name.
* - The next thing he told me was that one of the pressing reasons for the law was that it forced people to get their eyes examined for more serious problems such as glaucoma. In other words, it’s not all about updating the prescription. I’m told it’s the same sort of thing for women and The Pill. They don’t get open-ended prescriptions because that forces them to get checked for other things. Also forces us to give doctors money, it’s worth pointing out.
I have a chick-like appreciation for a sale and a good deal. I can’t bypass a 25c coke machine to save my life. I don’t care if it’s a crappy house-brand, it’s 25 cents! Who can pass that up? Even now, as I get all the free coke I want at work with most of my favorite brands in stock, I can’t help myself when it comes to a 25c Dr Cheapo or Mountain Moisture or whatever. It got pretty ridiculous when I used to go to thrift-shops and it’s one of the reasons I try to stay away from places like Woot or 1saleaday.com.
If you’ve ever wanted a Smartphone but didn’t want to shell out a few hundred dollars for one (or otherwise get involved in an odious contract or contract extension), there are a couple of phones that you might be interested in. Because of the cheap price, I’m mighty tempted to myself. Except for the fact that (a) I already have something better and (b) they have some hardware limitation that doesn’t suit my purpose. But they might suit yours!
Since I’m unlikely to get one of these myself, I hope to satiate my need to take advantage of a good deal by spreading the word.
The i-Mate JAMA 101 is a little like what I currently have and sells for $137. It has a 2.4″ screen, Windows Mobile 6, and Bluetooth support. Like most keypadless devices, It’s more Pocket PC than phone. It’s supposed to be pretty slick and hand-friendly, which is nice. i-Mate also has a solid brand-name and they make my Dream Device, which unfortunately costs a lot more than $122 and I can’t justify getting it. On the downside, Bluetooth support is limited to 1.2 rather than 2.x. For a lot of people this isn’t a problem, but for me it is. Older Bluetooth’s sometimes have difficulty transmitting non-phone audio over Bluetooth (though they’re perfectly fine when using a Bluetooth headset to make calls and whatnot). There’s also no Wi-Fi, which I don’t care about because any time I’ve ever tried to use Wi-Fi it blows the battery to smitherines. It also lacks 3G capability, which is a little problematic if you want to transmit data. But, if you want a starter smartphone, it’s a pretty good deal. Here is a more complete review and a video (with a cameo appearance by my current model):
If you don’t presently own a smartphone, the BenQ E72 will probably be a little more familiar and comfortable. Cost: $128. With the i-Mate is more Pocket PC, this is more phone-like. It’s got the keypad and feels and looks a lot like non-flip dumbphones. The downside is that since it’s shaped more like an ordinary phone the screen is only 2″, which is kind of small. But I’ve considered getting this because of my frustration with how irritating it is to use the phone functionality of my curent phone and this would be an improvement in that area. The processor is a bit slow, but unlike the JAMA it does have Bluetooth 2.0 capability. And it comes with some UI improvements over the standard WM interface. The processor is slow, though, and the battery life means that it needs to be charged on a nightly basis. On the upshot, it uses MiniUSB for charging so you can get extra chargers relatively inexpensively. BenQ doesn’t have the brandname that i-Mate does, but this model generally has moderate-to-good reviews. So much so that I haven’t completely counted out getting one for myself or a loved one. If you get it, though, let me know how it goes. Here is a more complete review.
Both of these phones share some common drawbacks. They’re somewhat slow if you’re wanting to multitask and use it heavily. They also have 2 Mega-Pixel cameras, which is quite adequate for a lot of uses but if you want to take nice pictures you’ll still need to lug a phone around (the same is true for my 3mp device). No 3G capability, which means that data will be slow if that’s your thing. But you really can’t beat the price and the phones are unlocked so you aren’t stuck with a specific carrier or contract. If I’d known of these devices and weren’t so risk-averse (my current phone was risk-free cause I get to play with a variant of it at work to test interoperability with our product), there’s a pretty good chance I would have gone with one or the other. Really, the only thing that prevents me from getting the first is that it has all of the drawbacks of my (more expensive) current device with fewer of the benefits and the only thing that prevents me from getting the latter is my general satisfaction with what I have and the sense that if I ever need a backup or another one, I’ll probably get another of the same. Unless I can afford The Dream Device, that is.
Phi’s Alpha/Beta post on Jane Austen reminds me of something else I’ve touched on in the past but want to bring up again.
I have a real pet peeve about some romantic comedies (or just comedies with some romance thrown in there cause every movie has got to have it) that can be contorted to fit within the alpha/beta paradigm: Girl is with good, safe guy. Girl meets (or becomes reacquainted with) roguish guy with a rough exterior but a good heart. Guy eventually wins over girl. Audience cheers. Trumwill fumes.
The fact that the first guy is outwardly stable and makes an effort to be pleasant and forthright and honest apparently counts for nothing. The fact that the buttmunch who is a jerk throughout significant stretches of the movie has a glimmer of a good sign to him is super-duper meaningful. The fact that the first guy lacks charisma is evidence that he is unworthy of her. The fact that the other guy lacks class is evidence of… nothing. The calico that toys with the dead mouse is a monster, but the puma whose tail looks like it’s sorta wagging is kind of cute, isn’t it? I’m never good at coming up with examples off-the-fly, but a few examples are below the fold at the end of the post.
What’s a bit interesting in retrospect, though, is how anxious I am to see myself in the position of the fellow getting dumped. In the years since I developed this distaste for this cinematic convention, I’ve discovered that things are a bit more complicated than that. I have been the unhealthy distraction as often as I’ve been the safe harbor being left for exciting waters. I’ve been the guy left for instead of the guy left from. But in those early says, I mostly saw myself in the guy being left because that was what my role in life was at the time. The jerk wins the girl. The nice guy gets the shaft. Whatever I may have in common with the lovable rogue and whatever I may lack in common with the nice guy getting dumped, it was the latter who was my soul-brother.
For the first time since we moved here, I had a package stolen from the back door. The lost items are not the biggest of big deals. It was mostly little things and one slightly bigger thing. Unfortunately, those things were supposed to be one of those nice little things that I do for myself from time to time. One-time purchases that don’t represent any significant upgrades but nonetheless make my life just a smidgen more convenient.
Then I get online to see how the bank account is looking to see what, if anything, I might be able to re-order. That’s when I notice that the check card that’s been piped to my personal account was recently used… in New York City. A whopping $1.48 spent at a newsstand. My guess is that it was a “test purchase” to see if some manufactured rogue card worked.
So in that sense, it may be fortunate about the package because it got me looking at my account which made me notice the charge before any significant amount of money was spent.
I think my greater disappointment in all of this is that I have to go back to paranoia. Picking up all my packages at the shipping center. Checking my bank account activity with OCD regularity. Worrying that something bad is happening with my finances.
It was nice to be able to have a little bit of faith in things working out. Maybe I was fortunate that it was, on the whole, not a terribly inexpensive reminder.
One night in late 2004 or so I was out smoking a cigarette when I saw the strangest thing.
A white, late-80’s model Oldsmobile rushed into a parking space. By which I mean that the driver was going full speed until slamming on the breaks upon parking. A guy got out on the passenger’s side. He was a tan-skinned guy, which in that part of the country is more likely to mean tribesperson as it is Latino, with short hair and a black moustache-and-goatee surrounding his mouth. He wore a chain around his neck (which suggests Latino rather than tribesperson) and a large white shirt (ditto). I couldn’t see what was going on, but somewhere below the balcony he was doing something that made a very loud racket. I thought he was knocking really loudly, but it almost sounded like a whack. Whack, whack, whack. I got an idea of what was going on when I heard the door swing open. That was when I took a step back in my mind and remembered all of the features above. I had a suspicion that it might come up. I leaned over to see if I could see the license plate number.
The driver was a young, white woman with short brown hair. I had a perfect view of me. Of course, she had a perfect view of me having a perfect view of her. She whistled loudly, and Goatee-Dude came rushing back with a handful of stuff. It was when they left that I got their license plate number. I went inside and called the police. While I waited for the officer, I took a loo at what happened downstairs. Sure enough, the door had been hacked open. I was thankful that it wasn’t an apartment over, where my friend Preson lived. The officer got there and I told him what I could recall and the license plate number I had.
A day or so later, Preston stopped by and thanked me for calling the police. He said that he was sorry about my VCR. It turned out that it was his apartment after all. Oh, and I’d loaned him a VCR that was apparently among the stuff that the burglar had taken. The police arrested a guy, but refused to tell Preston who it was. He had an idea. There was a guy from work that knew tha the would be out. But the police wouldn’t confirm or deny. That drove him crazy. Instead, what the officer wanted to do was talk to me and pick him out in a group of pictures. He needed my number. The officer called me the following day and we set something up.
Before there was any forward motion on that, however, the guy from Preston’s job confessed to Preston that he had done it. He promised to pay Preston back if Preston would just drop the charged. Preston thought that getting the stuff back - particularly my VCR which he just felt sick about - was the most important thing. Preston wasn’t stupid, but was just a little too good-natured for his own sake. He dropped the charges with the promise that he could get his stuff back. The next day, his coworker said that he had no idea what Preston was talking about and that he had never robbed him.
I contacted the officer myself. He just confirmed that Preston had dropped the charges. I said that a VCR of mine had been taken and asked if I could press charges. I couldn’t. Apparently, what Preston had done was sign some sort of document that said that no crime had taken place. As such, no VCR was stolen. Whatever Preston’s coworker had gotten from him was technically a gift or something. Not quite getting it, I asked if I could take the guy to small claims court of something. He said that whatever civil recourse I had would have to be directed at Preston. That was a no-go.
Preston felt just terrible about the whole thing. He promised that he would pay me back as soon as he possibly could. His job paid a buck above minimum wage and he only worked part time, though, so I knew that it would be a while before he would be able to. The truth is that I wasn’t worried about the VCR. I had three of which that was only one. And I knew he couldn’t afford it. I was mostly pissed off because he shouldn’t have to pay me back. I should be getting it back as soon as the trial was over. Given that he was caught pretty red-handed, that probably would have been sooner rather than later. Instead, it was gone and I was only going to get my VCR back if I let him face a hardship I was not willing to let him face.
So I never got the VCR back, but to his credit Preston did offer to repay me repeatedly. I couldn’t do it, though, since I knew that money was so much more tight for him than it was for me. Back when it was originally taken, before I’d gotten the job at Falstaff, I would have considered getting $90 in return for that VCR (which I didn’t really need) a superb bargain. But I had a job at that point and didn’t need the money too badly. Unfortunately, Ragweed would inadvertently take one of my VCRs with him when he left and my final VCR would get damaged in the move down to Estacado. Now I have everything I need to rip my VHS tapes to computer except a VCR. So now, five years later, I could actually use it.
Web’s mention the other day of Colosse’s transit system reminded me of two things that irritate the crap out of me. This is one of them.
Every now and again some government organization is created or some private entity gets a contract that is neither strictly for the public good nor pure revenue-generation. Instead, supporters go back and forth depending on what is convenient for them at the moment.
Public transit is one of those things. When it comes to cutting services, public reps will almost always say that they have to look at it like a business where you cut the services that are losing money. Then, when they want to build a project wherein profitability is almost entirely infeasible, any time you point out what a public sinkhole the project is they say that they are in it as a service to the general public and that we shouldn’t worry about such things.
Another example was at Southern Tech University when I was living on campus. Like most universities, Sotech had a contract with a catering service that provided food at a cost to the student body. The fact that we were charged for what we ate is of course extraordinarily reasonable. What irritated me was that we had to buy in to a minimum meal plan that was in the several hundred dollars every semester and it was use-it-or-lose-it. No rollover, no refund.
When I would express my irritation with this, the response was always that we had to look at it as a subsidy because they were providing a service to us. It wasn’t about business, it was about serving the student body and that required a buy-in of sorts.
Then they would turn around and do all sorts of things as justified by the money that they weren’t making. At one point it got really bad where the Subway would run out of bread on Thursday and not get any new bread until the next Tuesday and you couldn’t get a sub in between. They got rid of the buffet, saying that it was too expensive and they were losing money. The thing that really pissed me off was when they cut breakfast service. Why? They weren’t making money. They are a business, don’t you know.
These public/private team-ups really lend themselves to this sort of motivation-swapping at convenience. I really don’t know what can be done about it. It really is the perfect way to collect money for responsibilities they can abandon when they later want to save money to spend on projects with higher profiles or large bonds and grants.
A few days back, Kevin mentioned that he prefers comic books that have a definite beginning, middle and end. A few series came to mind that mostly fit into that category and I thought I would write a post recommending them. These series were all ongoings, but they were ones that either had a planned ending or were given enough time to naturally wrap up. Unfortunately, only one is completely available in Trade Paper Back form, but if you’re an eBay guy you can sometimes get them there. That’s what I did. If you don’t mind reading them on a computer monitor, let me know that as well.
Hitman (1990’s) - The story of Tommy Monaghan, a hitman in Gotham City. Tommy first appears in the pages of Demon Annual #2, where he gains relatively modest powers including X-ray vision and light telepathy. Hitman isn’t exactly a hero, but he restrains his hits to criminal-types and other people that have it coming. It’s somewhat quirky in tone and not recommended for people looking for realism even aside from Tommy’s powers, but I found the series to be quite charming and am amazed that they were able to make a series out of it. Very stylistic art that is appropriate for the tone of the series. It’s 60 issues long with the first 28 collected in TPBs (the first of which includes the Demon Annual). If you’re really ambitious, I’d also recommend trying to collect Demon #42-45 and 52-59, which are particularly good Demon stories that involve Hitman. Completely not necessary to enjoy the Hitman series, though.
The Question (1980’s) - The Question is one of those serials that reminds comic book readers that Dennis O’Neil, mostly known for his work on Batman, has a lot of versatility to him. The story of Vic Sage, a news reporter street-level vigilante who has a mask that makes it appear as though he has no face. The Question is the resident hero of Hub City, a dilapidated, run-down mdwestern city that makes New Orleans look like the pinnacle of civic leadership. Saving Hub City from mostly self-inflicted ruin is an uphill battle and one that results in minor victories at best the vast majority of the time. It is sprinkled with philosophy and one of the more thoughtful serials that I have read to date. It lasted 36 issues with a couple of annuals (that are not necessary for the enjoyment of the series itself) and was followed by some quarterly issues that are interesting but take place after the series’ excellent conclusion. There was a Question miniseries that came out a couple years ago. Don’t get that.
Vigilante (1980’s) - The story of various people that take on the mask of The Vigilante, but mostly centering around Adrian Chase, a former DA whose family is killed. Chase first appears in the pages of the Titans, but I wouldn’t recommend tracking that down. Vigilante is oft-cited as DC’s answer to The Punisher and the similarities are there. Chase is not as brutal as Frank Castle, though, and there is a greater sense of actions having consequences that follow Chase around and haunt him. Notably, The Vigilante is the only series here with straightforward art rather than stylistic. There are 50 issues and two annuals and unfortunately none are collected in Trade Paper Back form. You can skip on the first annual, but the second is pretty central to the arc. There have been a couple miniseries since the conclusion of that series, but they are unrelated to this series.
Starman (1990’s) - It’s extremely impressive that they created a Starman series that lasted 81 issues, but it was successful enough that it probably could have gone on longer if writer James Robinson hadn’t wrapped it all up. The series is about Jack Knight, a hero who donned the name that his father and brother once took. Unlike his father and brother, he doesn’t mess with a costume and secret identity. It delves into the history of the DC Universe but in a very accessible way. In fact, it’s a great way to find out about a lot of different heroes from yesterday without having to read long, convoluted explanations. If I were selecting someone to remake the comic book universe, it would be Robinson or Paul Dini. There are a lot of issues to this series, but it is all completely collected in TPB’s so they are not hard to get.
The Spectre (1990’s) - Jim Corrigan was a preacher’s son and a brutal, rough-and-tumble cop when he was killed by mobsters in the 1930’s. He was outraged at God for allowing such injustices to occur. God determined that Corrigan was too sin-stained to go to Heaven but not worthy of Hell, either. So God allowed Corrigan to return to earth as his own Wrath, the successor to the destroyer of Sodom and Gomorrah. Being that The Spectre has god-like powers, he’s a remarkably difficult character to write for, but Jon Ostrander managed to turn in one of the best series in history. So good, in fact, that DC allowed it to mark the end of Corrigan’s career which started in the actual 1930’s. It meanders a bit in the middle during a pointless “Spirit of America” series where Ostrander unloads his personal political beliefs, but that’s the only dark spot on an otherwise remarkable series. Ostrander navigates the tale not as one of physical struggle (since nobody can physically compete with The Spectre, who can level entire nations) but rather one of Corrigan’s personal and spiritual journey as he is left try to comprehend God’s way, the continued injustice in the world, the depravity of man, and what’s left of his own humanity.
There is a certain zen when it comes to the taking in and out of contacts. When I first started taking them as part of a study at the Southern Tech University College of Optometry, I had so much difficulty getting them in that I was almost booted from the experiment. Then, for no real reason that I can recall, I started getting them in. I think that I started doing something differently. Maybe looking away from the big giant finger making near-contact with my eye. I don’t know, but if I thought too much about it, I don’t know that I’d be able to put it in right. That’s the guts of it, much of the time. You can’t think about it.
The same thing is true when it comes to taking them out. Even when I was able to get them in, I had a lot of difficulty getting them back out again. Often, my solution to this was not to take them out at all for week and even month-long stretches at a time.
Then I went to see the eye doctor and he managed to get it out of me that I was pretty relaxed when it came to my eye-care. He brought out a big giant book and showed me what happens when Contacts Attack. One picture of a person with a cloud in the eyes like something from a movie or something particularly stuck out. Not because of the picture, but because the doctor said that her eyes had gone from normal to permanently damaged both in form and function in the course of eight hours after an infection. That was all that I needed to hear. After that, I made a point to take my contacts out on a pretty regular basis.
I guess with practice came the zen, because after a while taking them out was as easy as putting them in. Well, practice wasn’t all of it because logic would dictate at no point was I getting more practice taking them in than taking them out unless I was putting the suckers on top of one another (which you can’t do anyway - don’t ask me how I know). I guess there was some Confucian Way that I was able to do it without thinking about it the same way that I was previous able to get them in.
That being as it is, when things go wrong, it gets difficult to put them right. You can’t think about it! You just have to do it differently without the ability to consider how you did it before and how you might do it differently because, well, that’s thinking, and that’s not allowed.
Unfortunately, I went into a slump last week taking them out. This despite my putting them in and taking them out with increased regularity because of some problems I’ve been having with my prescription. Actually, I can tell you exactly what the Confucian trick was when it came to taking them out. I slid the contact to the corner of my eye and then plucked it out from there, away from my direct line-of-vision and the natural flinching that would occur. But for some reason I kept flinching. When you flinch with a contact in your eye, the contact re-centers around your iris. The result was that instead of pinching the contact for extraction, I pinched my eye.
That, by the way, HURTS! With the pain comes an increased tendency to flinch, which takes the contact back to the center, which leads to pinching your eye again. And, to further add to the problem, this always seems to occur when you found the Way of Confucius for the first eye. It’s not even a right-left eye thing. It’s the dastardly deed of the Little Ghost that puffs on a cigarette in the back of your head to screw you over because when you have one contact in, you can’t get by with your contact nor put on your glasses because no matter what you do, you’re screwed in one eye.
I finally managed to get the contact out and put the contacts away for a week. In addition to avoiding the pain, the glasses drew attention to the fact that the vessels on one of my eyes had expanded and made an entire side of an eye red. Then, after a week’s worth of rest, I put the contacts in and I removed them. Without incident. And once again, my little pocket of optical zen was restored.
Phi has a worthwhile post on Beta-hatred and Jane Austen. It’s difficult to quote any of it without quoting all of it, but the crux is that in the course of the novel, Elizabeth Bennett rejects the advances of the oafish-but-earnest Mr Collins. When Elizabeth finds out that her friend is going to marry Collins, she hits the roof and all but threatens to disown her friend. She doesn’t merely reject Collins herself, but rejects the very notion that Collins is worthy or capable of finding happiness with or providing happiness to anyone.
It is, in short, the perfect example of the hatred that women have for men that do not fit a certain charismatic type or exude a certain presence.
I have a few thoughts on the subject, most that I will share here and one unrelated enough that it gets its own post.
What strikes me about the above situation is that it plays muchly on my paranoid fears but doesn’t jibe with my experience.
On the fear front, it’s never been the case that I have asked out two female friends. I was never good at asking out anybody, but this was unofficial policy. My speculation was that if I asked out Girl A and she said no, there was no way in tarnation Girl B would consider going out with me. Why would she stoop to a level below her friend? My assumption is that Girl A and Girl B and Girl C and Girl D sat around talking about me and how pathetic it is that I had this crazy idea that Girl A might go out with me that whatever nascent interest Girl B, C, or D might have had in my dissipated when she had to laugh at me with everyone else due to the social protocols of girl-talk, which can involve nothing if not talking up hot guys and talking down everybody else.
Guys do this. A guy that is dumped by his good friend is not likely to be asked out for a variety of reasons, but one of which is the fear of “sloppy seconds”. To go out with someone that our friend dumped is to suggest that we are worthy of their left-overs. It’s a pretty brutal way to look at it, and I don’t think that it would prevent us from asking out someone that we were really enthralled with, but absent that enthrallment guys do pay attention to these things. Hubert was in a relationship with an attractive young lady who is exactly the type I would have asked out under a lot of circumstances, but since he dumped her (that was the story, anyway), it was never going to happen. What’s funny, though, is that despite all of these gears turning behind our eyes, I don’t think that I would ever denigrate someone for dating someone that I dumped. I was pleased as punch for Tony when he took up with my ex-girlfriend Julie.
So a lot of this can be chalked up to paranoia.
Paranoia aside, though, the above behavior of Elizabeth Bennett doesn’t really seem to fit. Historically, when I’ve made my interest known to somebody that didn’t reciprocate, they’ve been nothing if not thrilled to see me interested in and/or partnering with someone else. By-and-large, few young ladies that rejected me (after the Original Nine, at any rate) actually wished me any ill. Most of the Original Nine didn’t give me enough care to wish me ill. I suspect most wished me well. Or at the very least wished me out of their hair, which my interest in someone else accomplished pretty nicely.
It’s possible that they were outwardly kind while quietly sabotaging any attempts I made at finding romance and happiness, but that doesn’t entirely square, either. I’ve been the friend and confidant of many (ahem… too many) young ladies in my life. They’re rarely hostile to guys asking them out. They really don’t seem to go out of their way to say awful things about them. There’s no real tactful way to say this, but when they do go out of their way to run-down the guy, he’s often got it coming. Sometimes he’s actually a nice guy, but his dealings with her have brought out the petty and embittered parts of his personality that make his behavior towards her seem manipulative and/or antagonistic.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. I think that most of the above is true because, apart from the Original Nine, I have generally asked out nice and good people. If I went around throwing myself at people that were not that way or if I’d befriended them and listened to them prattle on… well then the story might be different.
So in that vein, it could well be said that Collins’s problem is that he was interested in Bennett in the first place.
Does anyone know of a good internal/external card reader for CF and SD cards and the like? What I mean by “Internal/External” is that it can either fit inside a CD or floppy port on a case or can be plugged in from the outside.
This incident appears to have fried my internal USB connections (as well as making my ethernet cards spotty, apparently) so I want to plug it in from the outside and through the case rather than directly from the motherboard, but I’d like it to fit into a CD or floppy spot.
I actually have a device that does this. They gave it to me at my last job at Soyokaze because it was a discontinued model. Since it’s discontinued, I can’t get another.
It doesn’t have to expressly say that it can be used externally if it (like the aforementioned device) has a Mini-USB connection on the device so that I can use a USB-to-mini connection. Unfortunately, everything I’ve found has connectors like this one which more-or-less requires a direct-connect from the motherboard.
Anyone have any ideas?
Update: See? That’s why I ask such questions loudly. So that I can find exactly what I’m looking for minutes after I announce my inability to do so!
The first time I ever saw CSI, I got a date out of the deal. I made a trip to Ephesus to (among other things) finally make my move with Sally. She had recently been emancipated from the relationship that she was in and everything was falling into place. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend Tommy was unconvinced that they were finished. They spent the evening arguing in her bedroom, so I was stuck out in the den with Abby. CSI was on TV and we watched it together. It thoroughly entertaining. We speculated about the twists and turns, got in a conversation afterwards, and she and I ultimately spent Valentine’s Day together wherein I turned in one of the two worst date performances of my life and we never went out again.
Even though that didn’t last, I still have a soft spot for that show cause it helped break a dry spell and prevented me from making a mistake with Sally.
I haven’t seen CSI proper since that episode as far as I can recall. However, after SEC college football CBS would often play an episode of CSI: Miami. That is, I venture to say, the worst cop show I have ever seen. So bad is it that I think David Caruso was better off as a has-been than associated with that show. It’s dreck. It made me think that the one episode of CSI I liked was an outlier or otherwise was only enjoyed because it was a collaborative viewing with an attractive young lady.
Caruso came up in a conversation with Clint when I was visiting him in Shaston a couple months back. I made a comment about how much I hate CSI and he said that it really wasn’t bad and asked which one I had been watching. I told him Miami and he said “Ah-ha. That’s the problem.” Apparently, CSI: Miami is the bad sibling. He said that he liked CSI proper and I think said a nice thing or two about CSI: New York (or maybe a nice thing about Gary Sinese, I can’t recall).
So do any of you watch all three shows? Are they all different? What I don’t like about CSI is that it seems to be built around poses and sweeping visuals at the expense of anything interesting. Are the other two CSIs like that at all? If CSI proper is the more straight techno-procedural and Miami is Sexxy Actors in Sexxy Poses, what’s New York like?
“I don’t know how man and women actually sleep together, you know?”
That was one of the things Clancy mentioned in an offhand way the weekend that we first met. Having developed a mild attraction to her, this statement caught my interest. She was a medical student. Did I really need to draw her a diagram? Of course, she was actually talking about the act of sleeping together.
Prior to Clancy, I’d never lived with a woman. I’d rarely had the opportunity to even sleep with a woman. Julie lived with her parents and I lived in the Southern Tech University dorms during most of our relationship together. Evangeline was reluctant for the same reasons that a guy that picks up a girl in a bar is afraid to be seen for breakfast the next morning. It happened with some others, but none of them had a presence in my life that sustained long enough for me to ever get used to it. So it remained a rare treat.
Why a treat? It’s handy to have a living, breathing bedwarmer. And something to lean against and affectionately into. And a sense of belonging somewhere in some abstract sort of way. Belonging next to someone. Sort of like the holding of hands. The reminder that you’re not alone even if the person that you are sleeping with is not a sexual partner or an officially established relationship partner.
Then I married Clancy and suddenly I had someone to sleep with.
Well, actually not every night, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
To bring me back to Clancy’s infamous quote, there are disadvantages, too. You no longer have domain over the entire bed for your own sprawling pleasure. And, if you snore like I sometimes do, you get periodic pokes to get on your side so that you’ll stop. And if you’re sleeping with a snorer, you have to do the poking. You have to be careful when you get up to use the john.
For Clancy and I specifically, there are three main issues. One of sound, one of temperature, and one of timing. On the timing front, she and I get up at different times. She likes to straddle the alarm clock. It used to be that she could play that game for an hour or more, but one of the sacrifices she’s made in the name of us is that she has mostly cut that out. She does have a dawn light, though, and if she gets up before me it generally wakes me up. Or if her alarm goes off in the morning even once and I have to be up in less than 45 minutes, I can’t go back to sleep (for the most part). When I get up before her, it usually means that her reading light is on when I want to go to sleep.
The temperature thing is pretty straightforward. I like to sleep in warmth and she likes to be snuggled up into blankets in the cold. Back in Estacado I would turn off the AC in the summer when she wasn’t around and wake up in a glorious sweat.
The biggest thing, though, is sound. When I was single, I had to listen to music when I went to sleep. Not just music, but specific music. It had to be something that wasn’t jarring (no Eminem, for instance) and it had to be something I was familiar with. If I wasn’t familiar with it, I would typically pay extra attention to the music to the detriment of my sleep.
Clancy doesn’t like music when she goes to sleep. At all. This is something that I have more-or-less capitulated on. I’ve learned to sleep without music. In fact, until the move out here I didn’t even have a device with which I could listen to music. When we set up here, I recast one of my pocket PCs into a bedside stereo.
When she’s on a obstetrics rotation, she is usually working the overnight in one of every four nights. This is not a good thing, on the whole. I don’t like coming home and knowing that she’s not going to be here (and that the following night she will be catching up on lost sleep). But it does have its advantages. It is the one night when I can listen to whatever music I want at whatever volume I want. I get to sleep quicker. I enjoy my journey to sleep more (though, to be fair on that front, she doesn’t have a problem with me listening if she is in the bed and I am going to sleep before her).
It also gives me better dreams. I like dreaming. Unless it’s some terrible nightmare, of course. But I don’t just like good dreams, but almost all (non-nightmarish) vivid ones. I like analyzing them. Not so much in the sense of “what does the freight train in the distance mean?” but rather “what were the feelings I had in that dream and how can I use it in my writing. It also allows a certain freedom to feel things that are out-of-place in my life. Sadness when I have little to be sad about in my day life. Lovelorn when I am happily married. Happily attached to someone back when I was alone. It lets me see people that I never get to see anymore and that I will never get to see again.
I think the music helps me remember my dreams at the expense of the quality of my sleep. I wake up more frequently throughout the night so I catch glimpses of more of the dreams that I have. Though I also wonder if part of it is that it attaches my dreams to something in my waking world making it more likely to survive the chasm between sleep and wake and slow down the speed at which my mind drowns the memories of my sleep after I wake.
Really, I don’t care about the alarm clocks and the dawn light and the sock I sometimes wear over my eyes. The dreams and the ability to listen to music as I do go to sleep are about the only real advantages to my fourth-nightly cold bed.
Since getting married, I don’t like sleeping alone so much.
But I do like getting to listen to music when I sleep.
How to Map a Network Drive (from a Windows Share) in Linux
Create a directory within the Linux file-system. Depending on whether the directory is in the user’s area, this can be done either in the GUI (the same way you would create a folder for Windows, more-or-less) or by going into the terminal and typing “sudo mkdir /path/name”. Then type password.
Install an application called WINBIND. Go into a repository and work your way all the way down to “winbind”. Note that typing a search may or may not find it, but it is definitely there. Click on the box to install and click “Yes” and “Okay” as many tims as required.
Update something called the NSSWITCH file by typing “sudo nano /etc/nsswitch.conf” at the Terminal and then, in the document that opens, put the word “wins” prior to the word “dns” on the “hosts:” line. Save document and exit.
Go into the terminal and type “sudo smbmount //servername/sharename /mountdirectory -o username=username,password=password”. You may have to type in your password again.
Update something called the FSTAB. From the terminal type “sudo gedit /etc/fstab” (password may be required). Create an entry by typing “//servername/sharename /mountdirectory smbfs username=userename,password=password 0 0″
For each additional share that you would like to map, repeat steps 4 and 5.
How to map a Windows network drive in Windows 2000 and XP:
Find drive and share in Network Neighborhood
Right-click folder, click “Map network drive”, and assign drive letter.
I just did the math and my initial contract with Mindstorm ended on Friday. I’ve now been there for six months! I never got any formal extension to the full year, but since they didn’t tell me to pack my things I guess I got it. So congratulations to me!
I was really worried several months ago. Mindstorm was scaling back some of its operations in my domain and I was running short of things to do. I was actually at the point that I was looking into Cascadian unemployment compensation laws, but then later that week I got transferred to a different team with different responsibilities. The beauty of it is that when I did the math I realized that when my six months were up, two coworkers would be on their mandatory 100-day break, meaning that they’d be really short-handed.
It’s possible that when one or both return that they will cut me loose. I’m the low man on the totem pole since this is my first go-around. But right now I’m feeling pretty good about things.
On the downside, my contract ends on August 5th. On August 1-8, my family is taking their annual trip to Shell Beach. While I can take time off if I need it, taking it at the end of my contract could be taken as quitting and I could be denied unemployment benefits. It might be a case where I need to stock up on my paid vacation days. I’m not sure whether to ask them about it or not. If I ask and they say that I have to be there on August 5th, then I am going to miss at least half of the trip or lose unemployment. If I don’t ask and take the time off, they could contest my unemployment claim even if I do take vacation days.