Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Newsweek has a nice tribute online written by Rabbi Gellman to three actors that have died in the past nine months in his article  Symbols of Our Times:Scotty, Gilligan and Fife were TV characters who showed us the importance of doing our best. He desribes how each character "played as metaphors of our lives in these broken times" :
 Scotty represents all of us who are constantly asked to do theimpossible and to meet unreasonable deadlines by bosses who just don'tunderstand that you can't run engines at warp speed after Klingons haveblasted the engine room ... So many people I know feel like Scotty and so few like Captain Kirk. So many of us say, “I canno give ya more power captain.  The enginesare already overloaded!” And then…we do.

Gilligan represents all of us who are congenitally happy despite our circumstances...Yes he was a buffoon (actually more a schlemiel than a buffoon) but aren't we all?...Gilligan had no desire for promotion and this makes sense to me now.  A truly happy person is already at the highest rung.

Don Knotts as Deputy Fife personified the klutz who is convinced that despite everything he is destined for bigger things. Deputy Fife was all bluster with just one bullet, and that is just likemany of us.  The bullet is self-confidence.  Do you remember when geekswere ridiculed?  Now they run the world and the reason is that they areclueless about criticism and focused only on the road ahead.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dell sues a guy named Dell

Just for fun, assume your last name is Dell. And you design web sites for a living. So when you make your own website for your company, you call it Dellwebsites.com .
(I know, this isn't very exciting yet. I'm getting there).

Let's say you're also into photography, and you want a website for that as well so that you can sell your pics. So you make a site - after all, you're a web site designer! - and call it Dellimages.com
Did you know that Dell (the company this time) can sue you for using your own name?

At first I thought, yeah well, use both names. Ysomething like deborahdellwebsites.com or something - and then I realized that's a little long. And, well, why shouldn't he use his name?
Then I realized that Dell is being completely ridiculous in the amount of money that it's trying to get (from The Register):
Dell America seeks €100, 000 in damages, €50,000 for Dell France, plusanother €500 for every mention of the word Dell on his website.

Did you catch that? €500 for every time he uses his own last name!?!?!
The blog that's been started to help raise money for Dell (the man) to fight Dell (the company) also says that in addition to the above, the company wants  €40,000 for using the name Dell - thats €40,000 for both Dell America and Dell France.
Hmmm...let's see....If all of this monetary information is correct, and we assume that the word 'Dell' is on the website 15 times (which is probably a conservative estimate, since there are at least 5 pages in his site)...that adds up to about €537,500. Luckily, the guy's on an island of the coast of Spain and lives by the euro, cause if he lived in the US that would translate to $638,154.74

For using his own name. That is one expensive surname.

Dell (the company) makes computers. Do they design web sites?  Apparently they had Dellhost.com for a while - but that was sold in 2003 to another company. So why are they so threatened? As Mr. Dell put it:
"Dell does not build Web sites, I don't manufacture computers".

Dell, I love you - my home PC, my laptop, my work PC - they all come from you. You're my first choice. But let this one go. People have a right to use their name, for crying out loud. And if they're not competing with any of your products, let the small businesses of the world thrive.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Goodies

We have more goodies from Google!
    Search Engine Watch reported today that Google has introduced Google Page Creator. Without learning any kind of code at all, you can put text, images, etc. on your personal webpage. It comes with 100 MB of storage.
    I read a  couple more articles about the new tool, and there are differing opinions on this new service. Some think this is a beta version of something that Google wants to eventually put in their much rumored and long-awaited office suite. Then there are those who seem to think that blogs can be used as web pages, and that static web pages are 'retro'. I decided I had to try it out for myself. After all, we all know I am a lover of all things Google.

So, when you go to http://pages.google.com, you have to log in with your Google account. Luckily, I already have one, so I zipped in my username and password, hit sign in, and was ready to be blown away again. What did I see?

"Thank you for your interest in Google Page Creator! GooglePage Creator has experienced extremely strong demand, and, as a result, we havetemporarily limited the number of new signups as we increase capacity. In themeantime, please submit your email address and we will notify you as soon as weare ready to add new accounts. Thank you for your patience."

NOOOO!!!! I waited til my lunch break so that I could play around, and now it's too late! I have to be on a waiting list! Agghhhh. webpronews.com reported that this problem happened within hours of the service being available:

Speculation has already arisen that this happens not out of demand, butcontrol. It is possible that Google wishes to admit a certain number ofusers to a service like Page Creator or Analytics, then watch them tosee how they use the service and make adjustments on the fly.
Then, after certain prudent and necessary fixes have beenmade, the invitations would go out to people on the waiting list.Google could observe how well their tweaks scale, make more changes asneeded, and eventually open the registration process up to more users.

What's interesting to me is that The Official GoogleBlog hasn't posted anything (that I've seen) about it.
Oh, and a final note that I got from this article - Page Creator is for web pages not sites. And you only get one. Don't be greedy.
And I love having a job where I get to keep up with this kind of stuff.

More Bush Budget Idiocy

I've already mentioned one brilliant aspect of Bush's 2007 Budget (and if you can't hear the sarcasm dripping - no, gushing- off of that last statement, then get a hearing aid). Here's another one for you: Bush has decided the best way to take care of our environment is to cut the EPA Library Budget by 80%. There's talk of the library closing altogether.
It’s less than a month since President Bush announced his AmericanCompetitive Initiative that consists of doubling “the federalcommitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physicalsciences,” coupled with a permanent research and development tax credit“to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology.” What hedidn‘t say was that to fund these research efforts, he would cut $2million that supports a network of 27 libraries, including anelectronic catalog of holdings within that network, which is used bythose very scientists and corporations whose work he is encouraging.

But what does 'cutting the budget' mean in real terms? Check this out (yes, I the bolds are mine):

The $7.3 billion proposed EPA budget would trim $2 million from the$2.5 million EPA library fund, which, according to the watchdog groupPublic Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), may causemany regional libraries to shut down. The pared-down library budgetwould de-fund the agency’s electronic catalog and pull $500,000 fromthe EPA headquarters library coordination network, according to EPAdocuments released by PEER.

Point #1:  A Network of 27 libraries is only going to get $500,000 a year in funding? I live in Alabama, and we - who have proven over and over that we don't care about even our children's education - have public libraries that are better funded than this! Public libraries that exist to give people thrilling material to read. Now, libraries that really and truly hold information that could save lives is being given less money than ones that buy romances and mysteries? I love me some romance novels, but I think I know what my priority would be if I had to choose.

Point #2: they're going to "de-fund the" the library catalog. Wow. I'm assuming that the EPA doesn't have an old card catalog dinosaur sitting in its basement, being added to on a regular basis. So I wonder if 'defunding' means that only what's available in the catalog would be accessible, or if the whole thing just wouldn't be there anymore. Neither is really a good option.

Point #3: I'm out of coffee and really need to go look something up for this guy at the Pentagon since my break is over.

So....george wants people to do research, so that we can take better care of ourselves in the future. "Be Bold!" he says, riding on his inner high of self-righteousness. "Go and do research! We Will Take Care of You!"
Then he cuts the budget of one of the best sources of material that those  researchers have.

You go, george.  You have absolutely won the idiot's prize for the month. But don't give up yet! The year is still young - you might win that annual prize too! Think of all the idiocies you could commit between now and December 31st!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What The !!!??!

I think someone has hijacked my blog. The post below this one just appeared tonight. I went to decide if I like the new look of things while I was on my lunch break, and this random... stuff had appeared. It's kinda interesting....but it was not written by me. Anyone want to 'fess up? Cause I'm really curious! For now, as long as this doesn't keep happening - and it doesn't get too weird - I'll just keep the post up. Who knows, maybe someone will come around and share the joke. Update: They hijacked the blog that I keep a reading list on. With the same exact post! Did anyone else get this random crap on their blogs?


The Gothic theme of love could be more accurately described as obsession.  The Gothic ideal of woman is young and utterly innocent, whether from the common lack of experience of youth, as with Tatyana and the girl glimpsed by Chichikov, or the conspiring of exotic circumstances to preserve Immalee untainted.  The woman often is consumed by an undeserved devotion, the cause of which appears to be that the target of her affections was - quite literally in the case of Immalee - the first man she saw.
It is difficult to avoid wondering exactly what is the working definition of this love.  Absence seems to play a part - Immalee, even when secretly wed to him as Isidora, sees Melmoth only when he wanders into her garden, Tatyana meets Onegin once briefly before declaring her love, and Chichikov does not even know the girl in the carriage by name.
As Melmoth the Wanderer exemplifies, the idea of romance appears to begin with a conscious ideal in the mind of the female, into which role the male is then somewhat arbitrarily placed.  Pushkin acknowledges this outright:
"Those figures fancy has created
Her happy dreams have animated:
the lover of Julie Wolmar
Malek-Adhel and de Linar,
And Werther, that rebellious martyr,
And Grandison, the noble lord
(With whom today we're rather bored) -
All these our dreamy maiden's ardor
Has pictured with a single grace,
And seen in all....Onegin's face."
The value of this variety of love is weighed according to several factors.  The ideal love should;
-be unrequited
-encompass the lover's thoughts to the exclusion of all else
-end in tragedy
-be veiled in secrecy
-involve as little actual contact between the lovers as possible
(The romance between Melmoth and Immalee fulfills each requirement admirably.)
In addition, this love is an extremely introspective emotion.  The other person is described, not so much as a participent, but in terms of the effect he/she has on the other, though this latter is done through extremes of passionately romantic language.  The love  character feels is an all-encompassing emotion, which one could imagine would be very difficult to sustain over a long period of time.  Aspects of the divine are often invoked, and the state of mind of the character thus afflicted is overwhelmed with the object of his/her affections.  Gogol as well as Pushkin treats this with something of a parody; after describing the girl's "golden hair," the "graceful little oval of her face," and her "delicate little ears," which cause Chichikov to "gaze at her for several minutes, paying absolutely no attention to the commotion with the horses and the drivers," Gogol describes the effect this countenance might have had on a young man in familiarly breathless and superlative language.  The effect on Chichikov, however, being somewhat older and more jaded, is to cause him to sigh at the inevitable changes he imagines
life and her older female relatives will wreak on her, and to spend a moment of thought on the belated regret that he never got her name. 

Be Careful Opening Those Vegetables!

You never know what you'll find in a can of beans these days....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Back to the Real World

Update: I have fixed the link regarding President's/Presidents'/Presidents/George Washington/etc. Day. I originally linked to this, which, although it has some good info, really doesn't have anything to do with the Presidents. I'm sure that if I tried hard enough, I could come up with something snarky about george and toilets, but I don't feel like it. If you come up with a good one, let me know.

Nashville Snow II
Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I spent the weekend in Nashville with some friends from grade school. It snowed the night I got there, and this is a picture of Friend J's front yard. Amazingly, we didn't make time to go roll around in all the white stuff, or even to throw a snow ball at each other.
On my way back into town, I stopped at my brother's new house to ooh and ahh over it. They've got a great house, and they're making it even better with all the renovations they have planned. Best of all, the computer finally has it's own room - as every computer deserves.
I got home Sunday night, and today was a holiday...which means I checked out a couple of President's Day sales (even though you may not really be celebrating President's Day.) Tonight, it's a quiet dinner with StepSon (who is feeling better, for those of you who knew he was sick this weekend) and then a couple of movies. Tomorrow, I get the morning to play again, because I'm working 1-10. But then it'll be back to the real world for me. Happy Whatever-Day-Your-State-Celebrates (see link above for clarification).

Thursday, February 16, 2006


TheLibrarianInBlack found a new online program a couple of weeks ago that willtransform your Word Docs into PDF and vice versa, and I went to try it out.

 www.zohowriter.com not only imports files in one format – html or .doc, for example – but it willthen export them in another format, like PDF. One of my current projects atwork involved a 400+ page Word document that we have printed annually; thisyear, our printing company told us – after we formatted, printed, saved, andhad the thing in the envelope to mail out – that they wanted it in PDF thisyear. So I thought “Hey! I can try out ZohoWriter!.”

So I created a free online account (note: this is still a Beta version) and got started. The first part of our 'book' is an 3 page Word doc, so I imported that. In about 10 secounds, I was staring at it in a WYSIWYG editor. So, it's not as clean as it was originally. Lots of extra spaces had gotten imported - somehow, the one line that I skipped between sections became three.  I exported it as a PDF - very easy and painless: two clicks and you're finished. When the PDF popped up, it almost looked beautiful. Everything had the correct spacing, the font was perfect...but it had problems with dashes. this: -- became this: รข€“

Not good. Since I was looking at a list of subject headings, every single line had dashes in them. The preview screen showed up fine, but once the PDF was created, it got a little messy. Interestingly enough, when I exported it as a .Doc instead of a PDF, the same problem happened. All my dashes disappeared.

I moved on to importing a PDF to try and export it as a document. After ten minutes, the one page PDF still hadn't imported, and I gave up.

So why in the world am I writing all of this about something I'll probably never use? Because it does have some cool stuff. ZohoWriter does more than change files - it also stores them. So if you need some storage while working on something - like a story, maybe? :) - and you don't want to carry disks, or thumb drives around, this will work really well.

You can also post to your blog (if you use Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, or TypePad) through it, which I find very cool. That's one of my favorite features of Flickr. Online programs that let you post to your blog without having to go to the blog's website is very handy. Supposedly, that's what I'm doing right now. I guess I'll find out when I hit 'publish.'

Update: It publishes, but spacing gets a little messy. I fixed some of the words that got squished together, but left others in. Still, when I'm at work, this will come in handy since Blogger is blocked from me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Your Candy Heart Says "Marry Me"
For you, love is serious business. You don't take dating lightly. And even if you haven't met the right person, getting married is something you expect to do soon. Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic picnic in the park Your flirting style: subtle and calculating What turns you off: short term flings Why you're hot: you're a hopeless romantic with each new relationship

Monday, February 13, 2006


Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
When my in-laws came a couple of weeks ago, they brought with them my father-in-laws latest concoction: limoncello. It seems to be the Italian equivelant of bootleg liquor (meaning that it is far more genteel - and drinkable - than moonshine. Probably illegal, but still more genteel).

So here's how Papa Bob told me he makes this liquor:

Take 10 lemons and zest them - don't get ANY white! (he was very adamant)
Put your lemon zest in the bottom of a large container with a pound or two of sugar.
Pour 1 liter pure grain alcohol over this.
Add 1 liter purified water.

close (do not seal completely) and put in the fridge. Shake it every day for a couple of weeks. Strain it, and you now have...limoncello.

I was a little nervous about drinking it. It's basically 100 proof! I could smell the sugar and the alcohol as soon as he opened the bottle. One sip convinced me that while not lethal, this drink is not for the faint of heart. Hubby liked it. Papa Bob loves it. My mother-in-law likes to pour a little bit over sliced bananas and strawberries. I've decided the best way to drink it is to mix it with vodka and make a martini out of it.

It makes a very strong martini. In fact, I don't believe I'd like to deal with the hangover that would surely come if I tried to drink more than one. But the taste is quite good. If you've ever had a lemon drop (the shot that you did in college, not the candy you get in your Easter Basket), just imagine that with a lot more punch.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Another Way to Waste Time

This is another great time waster. Make your own tartan! And if you don't like what you create, just keep re-doing it until you do! You can see below what I made the first time. Thanks to Boing Boing for always finding ways to kill time in the last ten minutes of a work day.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Terrorist Nuns

Well, now isn't this enough to ruffle anyone's feathers?
"Nuns of Holy Name Monastery say "ridiculous" Patriot Act scrutiny led their bank to freeze the St. Leo, Fla., religious order's main account..... "...The order said its account was frozen without explanation or notification for a week in November, causing checks to bounce and taking three months to straighten out. Abbott said she was told the trouble began because an 80-year-old nun, a signatory on the account, did not have her Social Security number or photo identification on file. "Clearly an international spy," Abbott wryly told the newspaper. "...None of the nuns has given the bank that information, Abbott said. "We've been in business 116 years. No one's ever asked.""


From Boing Boing: The new must have breakfast cereal. full of sugary goodness. If you don't mind looking at Johnny Depp first thing in the morning.

Tagged Again!

Sis ( has once again tagged me. So here goes. At least it got me through the last hour on the reference desk. current clothing: Denim dress with cream turtleneck. It was supposed to be cold today. current hair: red, straight as a pin current mood: ready to get off work and have a glass of wine current refreshment: Diet Mountain Dew current annoyance: The printers. They refuse to work the way they're supposed to. current avoidance: doing my weekly filing that I promised myself I'd get done this weekend. current smell: Sweet Pea (which does not smell like peas, but fruit. Take that up with Bath & Body Works). current thing you ought to be doing: Um....my filing. didn't I mention that somewhere? current thing or things on your wall: I'm at the reference desk that doesn't have a wall. At my desk it's a picture of me and my hubby and a string of plastic hearts for valentine's day. At home...it's a groovy picture of The Canterbury Tales. current IM/person you're talking to: Ms. J, the other librarian on duty this weekend. current jewelry: Wedding and Engagement rings, silver hoop earrings, silver necklace with a light blue pendant. current book: I'm almost finished with a Victorian romance (your classic Governess-becomes-wife story that still managed to be good). At work, I'm reading Moondust: In Search of the Men who Fell to Earth. current worry: That I'll get home and R will have already finished the bottle of wine that we opened last night. current favorite celebrity: Non of them are real enough to like that much. current obsession: Pandora.com . I have it on constantly. Well, except for when I'm at work. current love: Chocolate. Specifically, the Italian Chocolate truffles that my father-in-law brought me. There are 3 left, and I'm rationing them. current longing: for a weekend that I don't have to work. current disappointment: I ran out of coffee an hour ago, and won't have anymore til I get off of work. current lyric in your head: I've had Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata stuck in my head all day, cause it was the music playing on NPR when I turned my car off this morning. current music: Not allowed to have any at the reference desk. current favorite book: I'm having a craving to re-read Goddess by Mistake. Does that count? current favorite movie: Original Star Wars Trilogy. Preferably The Empire Strikes Back. current wish: that time could fast forward to six weeks from today, when I will be happily strolling the streets of Amsterdam. current happy thing: That I'm going to Nashville next weekend to see some grade school buddies for Mexican Margarite Madness. current undergarments: Hey. Let's draw some decency lines, k? current desktop picture: Well, I have four different computers at work that I log on to, and each has a different pic. Then there's the laptop and desktop at home. I think they are all currently set on pictures from space. current plans for tonight/weekend: work during the day, and drink at night.

Same Old Story

Dateline: January 31, State of the Union Address Topic: our fearless leader says we need to cut our addiction to oil. We are opium addicts with a serious addiction. He wants us to learn to like ethanol. He will get some research going. Dateline: February 6, Washington DC Topic: our fearless leader submits his budget to Congress. He wants to drill for oil in Alaska. He slashes budgets all over the place. He seems to have forgotten most of what he said the week before. Dateline: February 9, New York Times Topic: Energy Department is going to begin lay offs - researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will no longer be researching renewable energy for our nation because their budget has been cut. Anyone see a discrepancy between spoken words and real actions? As WordWhammy put it:
If you haven't caught on yet, when you see our president flapping his gums on TV, he's only making noise. His words mean absolutely nothing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


A few months ago, I was reading Wil Wheaton's blog and found a great music source. He had posted about Pandora.com, and couldn't seem to say enough good things about it. Of course, I had to check it out. And I fell in love. I was hooked - it was so simple to use: put in a song, and it creates a music station for you based on that song's qualities. Tell it what songs you like and don't like as the songs are playing, and it will adjust the play list to reflect that. Or, just let it play what it wants and discover some great music. The only down side of the program, was that it was only free for the first 10 hours - then you had to pay a yearly subscription. So I stopped using it after a while, sad that I had lost one of my favorite online tools. Then, right before Christmas, I went back to the site to see if I had any time left - and the whole kit and caboodle was available for free! No subscription charges! I could listen to music to my heart's content. During the holiday I carried my laptop with me everywhere, letting random songs play. It was kind of like those music channels on TV (good, because neither one has annoying DJs or commercials), but I could steer it myself. So, if you haven't tried Pandora.com, you should. Whatever kind of music you like, you'll probably find it there. And you'll probably find a bunch of stuff you didn't even know existed. And if you want to know a little more about how it works, here's a good article.

The Librarian Is In

"Can I help you?" "I'm looking for a book." (They're always looking for something, but they never want to give you information - as if all information is classified, and they haven't yet decided if the person behind the Information Desk is to be trusted. You have to pry it out of them with a crowbar.) "Do you know the title or author of the book?" "Yes" (I'm not joking - about 50% of the students just say 'yes', as if they expect you to telepathically grab the information from their brain) Sometimes, at this point, I'm very tempted to just look at them without saying another word and see how long it takes for them to voluntarily come to the conclusion that I've left my telepathic link-up at home for the day and they will be forced to verbally communicate with me. Invariably, I remember that I'm in a 'service' profession, that I'm not supposed to treat them like idiots, and that I'm getting paid to be nice. "Well, why don't we look it up in our catalog?" (I turn to the computer and open up our online catalog.) "OK" (They stare at me as I sit in front of the computer, my hands poised above the keys, ready to type in whatever information they give me). Do they think I know how to do Vulcan mind melds? "Why don't we try the author first?" (much more accurate than a title - if you have first and last names - because several books can have similar titles, and people never remember if it's "Tales from Space" or "Tales of Space" or "Tales in Space", etc.) "Ok, his name is Raymond." "Do you know his first name?" (Our catalog has spit out 50 authors with the last name Raymond.) "That is his first name." (I don't even want to know how many books we have by authors with Raymond anywhere in their name - which is how I'd have to look it up, since I can't limit to just the first name - but I look it up anyway. 1449 books.) "Do you know his last name?" (How many libraries/bookstores/any-type-of-establishment-with-books go by author's first name?) "Um, no" (still not a crisis) "Do you remember the title - even just one word will help" (God bless the Advanced Search features) "Yeah!" (he's getting a little more animated) The first word is 'The.' Or maybe the second word." I pause for a moment to take a breath. "The" is not really a word to the library catalog- it's just a filler taking up space between real pieces of information. And the catalog only gets along with 'real pieces of information.' I do the search anyway, and now have 685 records staring at me. I point this out to the student - he can go sit and look through all these, I'm not going to - and try again for more information. "Do you remember anything else about the title? Or what the book is about?" (Subject searching is a little trickier than author or title, which is why I save it as a last resort.) "I'm not sure what it's about - it was recommended to me by my professor - but it's something about American Indians. It was something like The Everlasting Indians. Or maybe The Infinite Indians. Or it could have been The Indians Forever." As he keeps on rattling off variations on this theme, I'm trying subject searches, title searches, etc. Finally I come across "The Ageless Indies" by Raymond Kennedy. Take a minute and look at the difference between the actual title and the titles he gave. He thought the book was on Native American Indians. It's about the Dutch East Indies. When I give him the title, author and call number on a piece of paper, his face brightens. "Oh! That makes sense. We're not studying American Indians, so I was confused. But this makes a lot more sense." I wish there was a shot that people received with their immunizations as a baby that would impart common sense, or at least make a red flag go off in their brain and say "Hey! Write this down if you're going to want to remember this later!" I love my job. And even though this sounds like I'm complaining about patrons, I love the feeling of finding something with almost no information. I don't always succeed, but when I do, I feel like I've just won a small battle. Usually, a small battle against a student's brain. But hey - winning is winning.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Briefer Histoy of Time by Steven Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Warning: I am currently in a state of shock that I understood anything written by this guy. I I never thought that I would be able to read anything written by Steven Hawking. Not because I wouldn't be interested, but because I wouldn't be able to understand it. Then last week, my library received a copy of his "Briefer History of Time", an update to his immensely popular "Brief History of Time" that came out (I think) around two decades ago. I picked up the original book once, thinking it would be interesting, then put it down when I read the book jacket. It just seemed like it would be over my head. This newer version was written with people like me in mind. I started reading it on my lunch break today, thinking to just skim through it since I know less than nothing about physics, calculus, astronomy, or anything else of that nature. Instead, I had a hard time getting back to work. The book is incredibly readable, and just as fascinating. Ok, I could have done with a little less mathematical explanations at some points - but even those are used with examples that I could grasp - like playing ping-pong on a moving train: how fast is the ball moving? The speed of the train or the speed of the ball? Even more amazing - Hawking, a scientist/mathmetician/whatever-he-wants-to-call-himself-is-fine-because-he's-freaking-brilliant - is FUNNY! Ok, not in a stand-up-comedian kind of way, but in that scientific-nerdy-smart kind of way. So instead of reading the 162 pages quickly, I pored over them, trying to understand concepts that I know are beyond me. I only got through about 60 pages - and had to stop reading right when I was getting to the good stuff (the black holes). In case you haven't noticed, I'm amazed that I could understand this book, and actually - for the first time in my life - start to 'get' how Einstein's theories work. I don't understand it anymore, and I can't explain the concepts of the book - but while I was reading it, it all made sense. I'm going to stop now, because the family geekness is shining through. I'll refrain from going into Star Trek memories as long as possible.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Kill! Kill! Kill!

{You have to imagine that those words are being said the same way that Arlo Guthrie did them in "Alice's Restaurant" when he was talking to the shrink and jumping up and down. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go find the song and listen to it.) This is absolutely beyond too much. Now he can kill whomever he wants? Since I don't have time to write a scathing post on it, please fill in the blanks for me. Feel free to put those filled in blanks in the comments, or on your blog - but please, fill in the blanks for me

The Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel

I picked this up because I wanted to explore some of the fantasy genre. I had been looking on the cheap table at Barnes & Noble for awhile, and finally snatched this up simply because it was the first in a series, rather than the "Third installment in the Devil and the Moon Trilogy" or the "Exciting Conclusion to the Outer Worlds Series." It cost me $5 (for a hardback!), so I wasn't going to be too upset if I discovered fantasy really wasn't my thing or the author sucked. This author didn't suck. It took me more than 50 pages to really be drawn into the story - to say I got tired of hearing how Bridget's past effected her present would be true, but an understatement. I understood from the first innuendo that she had had a baby out of wedlock (and no, I'm not giving anything away here). An interesting twist (well, interesting to me) came soon after I started getting bored, and then once she agrees to help the sorcerer that has landed on her door step, the action picks up considerably. From then on, I was hooked. It was a good story - a little clumsy with the language in a couple of places - but I love the concept of 'weaving' magic that is all over the place, and the idea that Bridget doesn't even know the extent of her powers (once she finds out she has them). I'm a sucker for magic. And anytime you have to try and figure out where the truth lies (and the ending left me less sure of one of the antagonists than I thought I would be), it makes for an interesting read. So will I finish the trilogy (because, as with any good fantasy, this is the first in a series)? Probably. I read the info on the other two online, and the third sounds like something I want to read right now! But I also like to read series in order (a neurosis of mine), so I'll read the second one first. That one actually goes back in time and tells the story of Bridget's parents. Writing the second book in a series so that it chronologically comes before the first is not a new writing device, but I can never decide how I feel about it. I want to finish reading Bridget's story now, not after I read another book. Why couldn't the author write the second book first, if that's the way the story really happened? Because she's The Author, and that's her right. And she probably has a method to her madness, one that I will appreciate after I read the next book. Even If I don't appreciate it at the moment, I know that the second book will give background information, so I'll read them in the order they are 'supposed' to be read. Well. That was supposed to be a quick "I-liked-this-book" post, and it ended up being something resembling a half of a book review. At least I feel like I'm putting that English degree to use.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

MP3 instructions

I got an MP3 player off of Ebay, and it arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, after 8 hours of work and 3 hours with my sister's heathens, I was too tired to play with it. But I had an hour this morning before work, so I pulled it out, plugged it up to my laptop and downloaded a few podcasts that I've been meaning to listen to. After I disconnected it from the computer, I went to turn it on or find some other way of getting to the knowledge I now have stored in the palm of my hand. And I couldn't turn the damn thing on. So I went to get the instruction book (yes, I AM a Montgomery, even though looking at instructions could get me kicked out of the family club - but hey, I'm pressed for time!). I absolutely love it when instructions have been translated from Japanes (or Chinese, or Korean, or whatever) into English. I get a huge kick out of deciphering what their trying to say. Check this out:
For you could operate the player comfortable as soon as possible, before connecting operating or adjusting this product, please read the operating manual carefully and keep the manual for reference. The Manual information are changed with no other inform. 1.1 (1) If no use the player long time, please take out the battery from the player and avoid the battery leaking and canker damage.
Ok, I'll stop there. I still have to figure out how to use the thing before I go to work. Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Order of Succession

Get your position here I've already taken an oath of office (all us civil servants have to hold up a hand and swear), so I think I should be moved up in the succession. But I'll wait my turn. Thanks, Karen!

Friday, February 03, 2006

This is the last time

Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I'll post about getting my degree. I promise.
I just had to show off again. ;)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Congress and Wikipedia

The 1st paragraph of the article on CNET is a beautiful sentence:
We already know, of course, that politicians live primarily for re-election and typically view the truth as an impediment to the higher purpose of unfettered self-aggrandizement.
As if Congress and they're staffs have nothing else to do, they've been caught editing entries in Wikipedia. As a result, Wikipedia has banned all Congress IP addresses from their website for one week - and they may extend it. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Because computers have unique Internet addresses, it was easy for Wikipedia to trace most of the changes in congressional entries to House and Senate offices, although it's not known exactly who made the changes.
Well, I think these guys and gals need more work to do. Obviously, if they have time to sit around and find sentences that they don't like on Wikipedia, then they need a few more worthwhile tasks to fill their days. So does the person from the following example in the SLPD: "In one instance, someone from the House wrote that Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia 'smells like cow dung.'" I would expect more maturity from george's twin daughters (Probably not george himself, though). For a list of the edits, look here. They even included IP addresses. Go see if your Representative/Senator has anything on the list.