Thursday, November 27, 2008
"Family" is usually the first, reflexive answer. But I know people who would say "I don't have family, I have relatives; and what I'm thankful for is that they're on the other side of the country and don't have my address or phone number." I don't see my brothers and sisters as often as I would like, but it's comforting to know that they're there.
"Health" is another one, although I'd be even more thankful if my joints, back, digestion, waistline, etc, were in the shape they were in when I was 20 years old rather than what I've got a quarter century later. But I don't have arthritis or dementia or lupus or diabetes; I can see, hear and talk; I can pick up the groceries and walk the dog without being in pain with every step.
"Friends" has always been what I'm most thankful for. I am blessed to have friends who are intelligent, decent, compassionate, thoughtful, clever, honest folks--people like Tom Barclay, Barbra Barbour, Adrian Johnson, Zoe Brain, Allan Goodall, Tara Perrone, Mark Greco, Sean Murphy, Mike Kowalski. Friends who are cheerful and courageous despite some tough situations. Friends who are, unfortunately, scattered across three continents, who I don't see often enough. Friends for whom I am, always, thankful.
"A place to work on my cars," he replied.
"Auto shop, okay," I said, and a thought struck me. "Are you going to put a vehicle lift in there?"
"Can I ask you, how tall is that lift?"
He said, "Fourteen feet."
Go back and look at what he ordered.
I have access to my phone records, including how long each call is. So I can tell you that it took me 59 minutes and 58 seconds to get the idea across to him that you cannot put a 14 foot high lift into a 12 foot high building.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The 19 turns out to be a little small for my hand, but a 17 fits about right. So, for $36, I rented one, bought a box of ammo and a target, and went to Bay 2 Lane 8. The first thing you notice is the pistol isn't all that heavy--only two pounds unloaded. The second thing you notice, immediately after opening the door to the range, is that they're loud, even with ear protection on. The third thing is that they take a little figuring out, but only a little. The button to drop the clip is just above your thumb. The clip only goes in one way, and a few seconds of looking at it is enough to figure out how to put cartridges in--although that takes a bit of effort, especially with cold fingers, and the last few rounds take a fair amount of pushing. In future, with a fifteen-capacity clip, I'll probably stop at ten rounds. Another button brings the slide forward and chambers a round. After that it's just point, pull, BANG, and wonder where the bullet hit.
I missed the target low on the first couple of rounds, but once I figured out how much to compensate, I got the rest in the black. The slide locks back when you're empty, so no need to wonder "Was that fourteen rounds, or fifteen?", just drop the magazine, reload, and do it again. When you're done, reel the target in, pick up the brass, and turn the weapon in.
I had a good time. I don't know that I'd want to make it a once-a-week event, particularly with the obligatory weapon cleaning afterward, but as a--pardon me--one shot event, I enjoyed it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Falling from the kitchen ceiling light.
Seems the overflow pipe on the new bathtub upstairs wasn't sealed properly. Fortunately it's an easy problem to avoid--just don't over fill the tub. Plumber will be here Saturday.
By contrast, when Diana gets home, Zoe does cartwheels and backflips.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Judging by the contents of the local game shops, Thirty Years War is not an overwhelmingly popular era around here, so it's a good thing this series rates high for solitaire play. I'll endeavor to set up the Dirschau 1627 scenario this weekend.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
- you pick something, the friend buys that specific item
- you make a wish list, the friend picks something from that list
- you have no input, the friend buys whatever (s)he thinks you'd like
Saturday, November 8, 2008
we require both the original boarding passes and a copy of your partner ticket
receipt. Travel agent itineraries andcredit card statements are not
acceptable. The receipt must contain thepassenger name, flight numbers,
city pairs, dates, class of service and ticket number. Since we are unable
to research yourtravel on partner flights through our system, no further action
can be taken
You are being fundamentally dishonest by offering mile credit and then
failing to make good on your offer. I provided a boarding pass stub and the
itinerary which included the ticket number and flights. I do not have a receipt
directly from TAP, because I purchased the tickets through a travel agent. If
you are unable to verify with TAP that the tickets were paid for, then you
should fire whoever is responsible for airline partnerships since they have
clearly not provided for the most basic and obvious required amount of
EDIT: And their reponse, about 1hr 45m later:
EDIT: I did get the mileage credit.
We have received your correspondence requesting mileage credit for one of our airline partners. Your request has been submitted to the airline for verification. Airlines usually respond in 7-10 days. Once a response has been received from the partner airline, you will be able toview it online in your account. If the activity is eligible, the applicable miles for the activity will be posted. If for some reason, the airline does not permit credit for specific flight(s), the reason will be documented in your account. We did this as a one time courtesy, we need original boarding passes when traveling on Star Alliance Partners, we have no other way of verifying flights on other airline carriers. For future reference please keep all boarding passes and receipts when traveling on our partners. Thank you.
I'm annoyed that I had to write a nastygram to get them to take care of it, but at least they are (or say they are) taking care of it, and they responded quickly. When I had an issue with Continental last year, it took Continental six weeks to say (paraphrased) "We won't do anything about the problem. We look forward to your flying with us again!"
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Four jobs I've had
- Radio disk jockey
- Bookkeeper, which the company owner apparently felt I was qualified for because I had a BA English from a good university.
- Sales rep: industrial plastics
- Sales rep: translation and localization
Four films I can watch over and over
- Princess Bride
- Monty Python & The Holy Grail
- Fifth Element
- The Gods Must Be Crazy
Four places I've lived
- Brunswick Georgia
- Carroll County Virginia
- Charlottesville Virginia
- Virginia Beach Virginia
Four TV shows I love. None. I don't watch TV and there's never been anything I couldn't bear to miss. Some of the shows I used to enjoy:
- Firefly (which I've seen on DVD, not broadcast)
- Simon & Simon
- Wild Wild West
- Honorable mention to MacGyver, which I would probably have been fond of if I’d ever seen it.
Four places I've been on holiday
- Lancaster PA, for the annual Ground Zero Games conventions
- Metis sur Mer on the St Lawrence River, Quebec, although that presumes "visiting in-laws" qualifies as "on holiday"
Four of my favourite meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack. But I think the intent was "what are your favorite foods", so:
- Roast beef and mashed potatoes
- Thanksgiving turkey
- General Tso chicken
- Chicken cordon bleu
Four websites I visit daily
Four places I'd like to be right now
- Bridge of a starship
- Pink Beach, Bermuda
- Castle Eilean Donan, Scotland
- Hagia Sofia, Istanbul
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Armchair Economist mentioned Rawls in an essay concerned with how to decide what is fair for a group of people who may not agree. Simple democratic majority rule is not a sufficient system, because it's entirely possible for the majority to decide to plunder, kill or enslave a minority. For instance, in 406BC the Athenians won a naval battle but were not able to retrieve the bodies of their casualties; the city voted to execute the victorious admirals. Rawls' book is described as providing an alternative system of justice in the social contract tradition.
The Ariely book was on the same library shelf. One of the assumptions of economics is that people rationally pursue their best interest; this book promises to examine where we tend to be irrational, and how we can use that knowledge to make better decisions.
Overall, a 4 out of 10. If the preaching had been less in-your-face, it could have been a 7.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Taking the general principle of "don't lie", he cited a study done at University of Virginia in which people reported their conversations. If I recall the numbers correctly, the study found that people on average tell a significant lie in 30% of all one-on-one interactions, and 50% of conversations which last 10 minutes or longer. Men tend to lie to make themselves look better; women lie to make other people feel better; but they both prevaricate at about the same rate. The type of conversation which had the highest rate? College students talking to their mothers.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!
Not so much a book as a series of essays, with insight to how an economist (at least one economist) approaches things. The arguments he uses are not always convincing but he's not pretending to answer everything, and it's easy to grasp--the sort of thing that you can read late at night, or get a page while you're waiting for a green light.
The main character is flat, the writing is weak, you could cut the first couple of chapters without losing anything interesting...I put the book down several times, and kept picking up later whenever I got too curious about why is this on the best sellers list? It's because of the way the writer sees God, and God is not what you expected.
A good day for kayaking. Clear sky, still water, herons, gulls and ducks.