Monthly Archives: June 2008


A co-worker yesterday commented that I looked like I’m getting beefier. That’s always good news. I think I’ve lifted regularly enough for a while now that the growth hormones are starting to kick in.

Had a half-hour panic attack yesterday while I was leading a team call. Very embarrassing. I just rebooted on Zoloft last week so I guess it’ll take awhile for that to take effect but I’d even taken a Xanax yesterday morning and that didn’t seem to take the edge off – or maybe it did and kept me from having a one-hour hot flash. Came home and read some more of ‘Angels & Demons’ and went to sleep.

I’m captivated by Dan Brown’s writing style. Continue reading

Rapture Ready SysAdmins Assume They’ll Be Rapt

For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when — according to Christian end times dogma — Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist. The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site’s five Christian staffers "scattered around the U.S." fail to log in for six days in a row — a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.

Of course these staffers assume that they will be assumed to heaven with the rest of the faithful. Wouldn’t it rock it we had the rapture and they were all still here?

Hitler’s Descendants Forego Parenting: This Bloodline Dies With Us

From MeFi:

"’Uncle Adolf’ referred to William Patrick as ‘my loathsome nephew’." Willy Hitler, the son of Adolf Hitler’s half-brother Alois Hitler, Jr., is one member of Hitler’s extended family, although he wasn’t easy to track down. After WWII, he changed his name and tried to live a private, secret life in the United States. Now, his three sons, relatives of Hitler living normal, regular American lives, have decided to never marry and let their family line die with them.

Moment of Truth TV Show

I’ve had indigestion all morning. I was up at 3. I think our trip to CPK followed by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream might be the culprit. That or God is punishing me for watching Moment of Truth. I like how the audience sounds so mortified when the contestant humiliates his or her family on national TV for money and then applauds when they ascend the money ladder to a new level. You get to be disgusted and self-righteous at the same time.

Money Matters

And it is Wednesday. Our money discussion went well last night. I’d created a budget for us that outlined how much we both contribute to the joint account, how much we each have in our separate accounts and how much we have left after we pay rent and utilities and all the other things that have a fixed monthly price that isn’t going to change.

RON: What about shoes?

ANDY:What *about* shoes?

RON: What if we want shoes?

ANDY: We can buy shoes. How many pairs do you want to buy a month?

RON: I don’t now. One each? Or underwears?

ANDY: Are these like $130 Nordstrom shoes or $50 gym shoes or BOGO..?

RON: I don’t know. We just have to have a place for shoes and clothing.

ANDY: Yes, that is under entertainment.

The great joy came when Ron found an error in my spreadsheet where I’d been calculating by pay period instead of month – meaning we actually had twice the amount available. This was after he’d started talking louder and louder and eventually forced me to come to the dining room table and write all this out by hand and go over it line by line. As he punched it into the iPhone.

RON: Do you see what you did now? You’re just confusing yourself with that thing. (the spreadsheet)

I’m not going to give it to him this easily.

ANDY: I understand where the error happened. I’m glad we found it together.

RON: You would have turned this in like this if this was a math test.

ANDY: That is why I wanted to walk through it with you.

RON: Do you see what you did wrong?

(a long pause – I make Ron beg for it)

ANDY: Yes, honey. I was wrong.

(he tries not to smile)

ANDY: Stop smiling! I’m wrong! Just add it to the list of things I’ve been wrong about. Then hold on to it tight until you’re ready to lash out at me.

I can never remember the list of things Ron’s been wrong about. Nearly all of this is in jest.

I imagine our kids’s math homework:

RON (on the phone to one of our kids): Okay honey. Yeah go ahead and send your math homework. I’ll look at it when I get into the hotel. Just fax it to the front desk. I’ll make corrections and send it back.

The good news is rent it the biggest chunk of money and we’re hoping to reduce that by a quarter if possible by the end of the year. And Ron’s union contracts get re-negotiated this year so by 2010 he should be making what he would have been making before 9/11.

US Gov’t Detaining 26,000 in Secret Prisons Without Trial

“By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.”

YouTube Self Taught En Pointe Technique Could Cripple Young Girls

I’m not a huge ballet fan. I took several years of it as part of my theatre degree and found it completely unsatisfying trying to force your hips and ankles into shapes assigned to be beautiful. The grace and athleticism of ballet when done well is not to be denied but I find the art form very boring to watch (but nothing is as boring as modern) and even more boring to learn (disclaimer: Ron is a former ballet dancer). Give me tap or give me death!

En pointe is the familiar technique where a dancer is balancing on the toes of her feet. With toe shoes, crammed full of padding and laced like a corset, the entire body weight of the dancer is perched atop the toes – not the front sole – but the toes. Dancers take years to learn how to execute these moves successfully under the guidance of experienced instructors. Enter YouTube:

"The person who teaches themselves how to dance en pointe has a fool for a dance teacher," says William Hamilton, a New York orthopedic surgeon specializing in ballet injuries. Eleven-year-old Baylee Errante says she had been dreaming about what it would feel like to dance on the tips of her toes ever since last December when she saw "The Nutcracker." She begged her parents to sign her up for lessons, but her dad said she needed to finish basketball season first. She typed onto Yahoo: "How to Make Pointe Shoes." Then, she jerry-built a pair with soles made of thin plywood, and the rest consisting of cut-up socks, glue and cotton balls. Then she started dancing, copying videos she had seen online.

On Their Toes and Asking for Trouble, Self-Taught Ballerinas Go Online

This reminds me a bit of whenever the Diva of the Day comes out with a big song – in high school it was Whitney, Bette and Celine – and all the sorpranos battle it out at the spring recital trying to mimic the techniques of their idols, simultaneously belting themselves into vocal nodules.

Granted, I think that the advent of YouTube and similar video sites has probably helped millions of people watch hours of dance routines and archives they never would be exposed to (with degraded detail of course).

Bacterium Found in 120,000-Year-Old Ice


"A team of Penn State scientists has discovered a new ultra-small species of bacteria that has survived for more than 120,000 years within the ice of a Greenland glacier at a depth of nearly two miles. The microorganism’s ability to persist in this low-temperature, high-pressure, reduced-oxygen, and nutrient-poor habitat makes it particularly useful for studying how life, in general, can survive in a variety of extreme environments on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the solar system."

Walter Koenig to be George Takei’s Best Man, Nichelle Nichols as Matron of Honor

Every trekkie’s head just exploded:

The 71-year-old star, known for his role as Sulu in the 1960s sci-fi series, will wed partner Brad Altman this summer, after California state authorities lifted the ban on same-sex marriage last month. Takei will marry his partner of 20 years on September 14 and has invited his former castmates to the ceremony. He tells, “The best man is my colleague from Star Trek, Walter Koenig, who played Chekov, and the matron of honor is Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura). And Leonard (Nimoy) and his wife Susan are on the (guest) list.”

Chinese Earthquake Comics


Shattering set of manga comics about the Chinese earthquake. Artist Coco Wang writes:

I have been crying my eyes out in the past three days, I have never felt more proud of my country and people… their love, courage and kindness rock me to my core! I have decided to tell these touching stories by drawing comics. I am going to send you comic strips almost everyday from now on, I hope you could know something about the earthquake in China, although you don’t have to do anything, but I hope you could feel our love and hope.