Megnut

The August waste land

April may be the cruellest month, but surely August is the slowest. By which I mean there's just not a lot happening to link to or write about. A waste land indeed! I'm sure September will bring with her crispiness lots of exciting things to discuss. In the meantime, I'm thankful for the languid summer days.

Isn't it ironic?

And yes, in case you're wondering, I'm aware that I wrote there's nothing to say and then followed up in a matter of hours with two more posts. But that's always how it is with me.

Off to join the forefront

I got an email from Tripod today reminding me about their Blog Builder, which apparently is the coolest way to share your summer fun! But for me the best part is the post script:

P.S. "Whatever the reason for the Blog phenomenon, it's not going to go away anytime soon," says tech pundit John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine. So take your place at the forefront of Internet culture -- sign up now and see what the fuss is all about!

I have been wondering what all this Blog fuss is about for quite a while now...

More bluefish grillin'

While poking around online yesterday, I came across further information about Bluefish: Bulldog of the Sea from CapeCodToday.com. In addition to its numerous facts about Ol' Blue, it has a recipe for grilled bluefish with maple syrup (!) that I'm curious to try.

If you're grilling bluefish, I recommend what I did yesterday: Slice up a bunch of lemon and put those down on the grill, then rest your fillet atop the slices. Wonderful citrus flavor will perfume your fish, and the grilled lemons make an attractive garnish at serving time.

Note to CapeCodToday: "bulldog" is not a very appetizing word, no matter how aptly you think it may describe the fish.

A wonderful overheard

Gina posted a wonderful transcript of a conversation on Friendster, break-ups, and the Cure. And in doing so exposed a nightmare I had yet to contemplate, when the "personal network turn[s] into..personal hell." Before when you broke up with someone, you had to deal with maybe bumping into each other at a party, or hearing about your ex from a friend. But now technology enables you to keep informed from afar -- whether you mean to or not -- by exposing you to weblog entries, Friendster testimonials and details, and perhaps the worst of all, real-time tab-keeping via IM (I notice s/he's not online, is s/he out on a date with someone?!)

The horror of modern relationships isn't the confusion about roles, reticence about marriage, or the lived-together-broke-up-who-originally-bought-the-Office Space DVD mystery, it's the technology enabling you to keep in contact with an ex when all you want to do is purge them from your heart.

Iron Blimp

Mark and I are making progress with our Led Zeppelin cover band, Iron Blimp. We practiced Dazed and Confused earlier today and decided that we're going with an all-acoustic approach (Iron Blimp unplugged) and that I'll simulate bass and drums with my as-yet-under-developed human beat box techniques. My HBBTs will also be used to replicate those crazy theremin sounds, and I'm going to grow my hair out, and work on strengthening my scream. Also we'll need to get our livers back in shape for the workout that our rock-n-roll lifestyle will require of them. One Jack Daniels -- attaboy big L! Two Jack Daniels -- keep it up. Three Jack Daniels, push it liver, push it!!

Monday

In which this week gets off to the most craptacular start because the used-to-think-it-was-OK-but-now-think-it's-HORRID project management software I've been using deleted my entire project plan. Yes. The whole thing. All 117 items scheduled between now and the end of the month, wonderfully assigned, beautifully estimated, and all in some stage of % complete. If it weren't for this two-week old print-out on my desk, all would be beyond lost. All still feels lost. I can't face the prospect of re-entering hours of work. And who, I ask you, develops a use case in which the user says, "Yes, I know my trial is running out, please delete all my data."? And worse, a use case in which the user never even has to confirm her intention to delete her entire project database, and somehow is able to do this magic delete without ever seeing any dialog asking if she wants to delete the stupid database in the first place!

A favor?

For reasons I can't really explain, I really would like to listen to Jenny from the Block. If you happen to have a copy of this song that you'd be willing to lend me for evaluatuion purposes, I'd appreciate it. You can email me. Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got... Done. Thanks.

Safe from ax murderers - thanks gov!

There's a good article in Wired News today, Data Dump Required Before Flights, about the revised CAPPS II program. Basically the plan is the get more personal information (address, phone, date of birth) from passengers and match it to various databases, including credit reporting services, to ensure a person is who she says she is. Now I'm not particularly comfortable with that idea to begin with, and then when I read this quote -- from an anonymous Transportation Security Administration official -- I was even more annoyed.

"The new provisions are narrowly focused to violent fugitives," said the official. "It's there to protect passengers from sitting next to an ax murderer."

What kind of bogus scare tactic is that? An ax murderer on an airplane? First of all, he wouldn't even have the ax, you can't bring an ax through security! Second, I don't recall hearing about a single ax murder onboard a commercial flight, ever. Those things always happen at girls' camps in the woods, or at remote snow-bound mountain cabins. What we really should fear are nail-clipper murderers, because I hear they're letting you take those things in your carry-on again.

A new plan

After brief discussion, it has been determined that the adjective "foxy" is not used enough. It will be added into the adjective rotation and henceforth, work discussions will take advantage of its saucy, crafty, and animalistic meanings. E.g.

"Mark, that's a foxy class you've written!"

"Did you see the gigabit switch?"
"Ooh yeah! Foxy!"

"...and through inheritance, foxy inheritance..."

Bluefish on the grill

Today's New York Times has an article about Chris Schlesinger (from the East Coast Grill in Cambridge MA) grilling a delicious-sounding dinner of chourico, cherrystones, and bluefish: A Perfect Change-Up With Bluefish, Sausage and Clams.

"Everybody stresses recipes, but it doesn't work that way," he said, piling fresh logs onto glowing coals in the round fire pit he dug into his patio six years ago. "Technique is the whole deal."

"Here's the thing about recipes," he said. "You can follow them as close as you like, but the recipe doesn't know how big or small your fire is, or whether you have a four-ounce fillet or a six-ounce one or even what the temperature outside is." He pulled at the shoulder of his baseball jersey and wiped his brow with the material. "You have got to have the confidence to screw things up," he said.

It sounds delicious, and just the thing to try and make in a few weeks when I'm on Nantucket. And I like Mr. Schlesinger's approach -- if you're afraid of screwing up in the kitchen, you're paralyzed. You need to just go for it, wing it, and just keep your wits about you, whether it's fish on the grill or a mango salsa. (Except baking, don't wing it with baking, baking is all about exactness, and you'll be very sorry if you wing it while baking.) Also, I very much like Mr. Schlesinger's Red Sox jersey. Very much.

From the New Yorker archives

David Denby's got a review of Seabiscuit (the film) this week in the New Yorker, and the magazine's dug into its archives and pulled out a profile from 1937, "detail[ing] the busy life of Man o' War, from birth to stud." Of course, Man o' War is another famous racehorse and "Seabiscuit was a grandson of War Admiral's father, the legendary thoroughbred Man o' War." (Wait, does that mean that War Admiral is the Biscuit's uncle?) Anyway, here it is: Big Red by Arthur Bartlett from 12/18/1937 issue of the New Yorker.

Lazy Girl's Guide to Budgeting

Though we've still got five months before the end of the year, it's never too early (or late!) for financial resolutions, especially with handy articles like The Motley Fool's Lazy Girl's Guide to Budgeting. The Fool reports that,

[H]alf of the 3,136 people surveyed said they do not always stay within their monthly budgets.

And how many people even have budgets? Every time I mention to anyone I have a budget I hear responses like, "Oh, how funny!" or "Wow, I could never do that." I'm here to tell you (along with the article) that yes, you can! And you really should, no matter how much or little money you're making. The more aware you are of where your money goes, the less likely you are to "spend" it unwisely (bank fees, interest payments, gigante frozen latteccinos, etc.) And that means more money for you and your vacation/house/emergency/[insert your fantasy here] fund.

A special treat

Amongst the growing pile of items to read, I think I'm most looking forward to Henry Newman's Tapes: A Modern History, Trends in the August 2003 Sys Admin magazine.

Overheard

Grown, nicely-dressed woman, walking down the street, talking on her cell phone:

"Yesterday I had the greatest day ever, I mean the best day I've had in a really long time. First, I got together with Ross, which was, of course, great. Then I made a prank phone call..."

This moment in time

TriBeCa, Franklin @ Church, New York City. Right now. First a siren, then a few more. I say, "Jeez people, get out of the way." We keep working. Sirens continue. Louder. I go look out the window. Gridlock. Back to work. I realize the sirens are still going, really loud. Everywhere. Sirens. Traffic's snarled. All the sudden I get a cold feeling. "Something must have happened," I say. I rush to check Google News, breaking story, Gunman Opens Fire At NY City Hall. Sirens continue to sound.

Ok weird. Now I read that it happened shortly after 2 PM. It's 3:22 PM. Is something else going on? Why are there so many sirens now?

Update: apparently the gunman's still at large. And Brooklyn Councilman James Davis has died. News here.

Update update: Gunman isn't at large. Was never at large. Was killed by security guard at scene. Yay security guard. Boo City Hall security. How'd the gunman get a gun into City Hall? He never went through the metal detector. He walked in with Councilman Davis and wasn't required to.

Seabiscuit misc.

The American Experience episode Seabiscuit will be re-run on Monday, July 28, 2003 at 9pm ET (check local listings). I caught this back in April and it was quite good, lots of information and original footage.

Here are some photos from the premiere last night in LA. There aren't any of any horses though, didn't they get invites too?

And I got tickets to Seabiscuit, alas I had to buy them myself for a Friday (opening night) showing. My experiment in getting tickets through the site failed. Waaaaaahhh! But I also learned a lot, like I should have started earlier because big movies like Seabiscuit have screenings further in advance. But no matter, I don't care. If I survive until the end of the week, it will all be worth it so I can go see Seabiscuit.

Oh, and there's a bunch more stuff about Seabiscuit at EquiSearch's Seabiscuit Central. [thanks Lenny!]

And Seabiscuit director Gary Ross on NPR's All Things Considered, from yesterday.

Buried in work

I'm in heavy-duty work mode for the next few weeks and probably won't be posting much. Just an FYI. Also quick updates: no luck with Seabiscuit tickets yet and I'm quite sure it's birds eating my garden. Also, NYC is weirdly cold but sticky today, humid, gray. I want Mr. Golden Sun to please shine down on me.

How to revive Niagara Falls

Apparently the once-great travel destination of Niagara Falls is in a serious slump. The Independent (UK) reports the city is looking to open casinos to attract more visitors.

The windowless casino is a mark of desperation from the city on the American side of the falls to attract more visitors to its roaring water and hanging mists. The depressed community, stricken by high unemployment, believes the casino may be the only chance to turn around the city's fortunes.

But I've got a better idea. Those familiar with the area know that Niagara Falls sits on the border with Canada, where the government of Ontario has recently legalized same-sex marriage. So rather than build a casino, the city should organize gay marriage packages: help with the arrangements, shuttle people across the border, renovate all those honeymoon suites, and bundle cheap airfare from Boston and NYC into the deal. Niagara Falls was always known as a marriage & honeymoon destination, why not uphold the tradition and revitalize it for the 21st century?

Garden woes

So for the most part, things are going along swimmingly (or should that be sunningly?) in my garden. The tomatoes are ripening, one is even now orangish! My basil is growing like mad, and following the instructions in the wonderful McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container, I've cut the flowering plants back so that only four leaves remain on the stem (thereby creating a "basil factory" as they say, because now it will start growing again). With all the basil, I've been making pistou, a sort of French pesto without nuts, which freezes really well and tastes delicious on the grilled pizzas I've been making (recipes soon). So yes, things are going well. Except something's eating my climbers! :(

I came home a few days ago to find a bunch of my morning glories all wilted and fearing I'd failed to water appropriately, dashed out my window with my watering can in hand. Upon inspection though, I realized they'd been bitten off at the base. By a bird? A squirrel? Also the top of one was bitten off as well, so I lost two morning glories and one cypress vine and maybe the top-bitten-off one will cease to grow too. Does anyone have any idea what could have done this? And how to protect my garden from future attacks? I fear for my luscious tomatoes! And all my other lovely plants.

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