Thursday, January 31, 2008

I first saw this article about the Spectrum's possible future a day or two ago. I know that the official party line is, "no decision has been made'.

Still...

This article demonstrates that there are greedy, Oedipal-tending male offspring of deity-accursed fornicating female dogs among the people involved in the decision-making process. If greed wins out, the good guys lose.

The attempt to steel myself for bad news has been causing medical issues. I can see the way the symptoms are tending, and I fear what those issues will turn into, should bad news actually arrive.
We originally thought that my mother-in-law would go home from the hospital on Wednesday.

No such luck. Instead, on Thursday she's going to transfer to a rehab facility for two days of PT and go home from THERE.

If I understand correctly, there is no MRI scheduled because the medical insurance corporate cheapskates haven't approved it.

My blood is boiling about this. She's been gettng PT for these symptoms for a good 10 months, with no resolution in sight. WTH are two more days' worth of physical therapy going to accomplish? Inpatient or outpatient, I don't see the point of doing more PT without a better understanding of the cause of the problem.

They should just let her have the blankety-blank-blank MRI, and get a better idea of WTH they're trying to treat. Why is this not obvious? If PT were enough to manage the problem, she wouldn't have spent the past three days in the freaking hospital.

Corporate bean counters = pinheads.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I check the One Laptop Per Child news site, olpcnews.com, regularly. Today, there was an article from a Guest Poster that I absolutely have to share here:


Posted on January 29, 2008 by Guest Writer in Use Cases: Community

I am Dale Hubert, the creator of the Flat Stanley Project. For those not familiar with it, children make paper Flat Stanleys (or Flat Suneelas, Flat Andrews, Flat Achmeds, Flat Marias...) and send them, along with a cover note and a blank journal to a recipient.

flat john
Flat John and I in Russia

The recipient treats the Flat Stanley as a guest, takes it places, does things with it, then returns it and the completed journal.

Pictures and souvenirs are often included. The recipients can be selected from the List of Participants that includes tends of thousands of students from 47 countries.

Children also send Flat Stanleys to celebrities, scientists, politicians, musicians and people of interest. The Picture Gallery has pictures of Flat Stanleys with Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, prime ministers, presidents... and the list goes on and on.

One of my favourite replies was from the legendary musician and social activist Pete Seeger who wrote:

"Kids- if YOU keep your sense of humor, and reach out to other kids in ALL the world, and get them to reach out to you in their own way, there may be a human race here in another 100 years!"
Communicating through penpals and electronic penpals is a great idea, but children often don't know what to say when writing to a stranger. Somehow, when a Flat Stanley is included, it's as if we have a mutual friend and communication becomes easier.

We can write about what Flat Stanley sees. We can say, "Flat Stanley was surprised to see all the snow!" or "Flat Stanley didn't know he would see so many camels," or "Flat Stanley was frightened by the sounds he heard in the night."

Writing through Flat Stanley's eyes opens the door to imagination and enhanced communication. The Flat Stanley Project is totally free of charge and children from around the world have become part of the Flat Stanley community.

I think it would be a wonderful idea to have the Flat Stanley Project pre-installed as a bookmark in the OLPC browser. I would be delighted to create a special blog or forum on the FS Project for recipients of the XO laptop. I would also include images that were sent from XO owners or do anything else that was requested in order to support the OLPC initiative.

Have your own idea for One Laptop Per Child? Then submit a Guest Post to OLPC News today.

Tags: | | | | | | |



I couldn't help but post a comment on the article. I love this idea. I'd love to see the people around the world who have XO computers -- be they participants in the "Give One, Get One" initiative or the students in the schools that the OLPC project was created for -- take Flat Stanleys around and use the XO's onboard camera to photograph his adventures. Then the pictures can be put in an online photo album that everyone can share. How great would that be?
So there I was, in the waiting room of a headache treatment center, waiting for my friend to finish with the doctor so we could go eat.

I sat next to the window, where the climate-controlled air vents were.

The air coming out of the vents smelled STRONGLY of some sort of chemical. It reminded me of the glue that's used to affix carpet squares to office floors.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for whatever patients in that waiting room whose headaches get triggered by chemical smells. I wasnt even a PATIENT, but after sitting there for an hour and a half, the chemical smell was enough to give ME a freaking headache. The people who were there to have headaches treated must have felt like their heads were about to fall off.
What an excruciating morning! File it under "a bad-morale day if ever there was one".

Thank God I'm with Jean and Joe J. this afternoon.

Monday, January 28, 2008

HA HA HA HA....

So here I am, absent-mindedly noodling around on one of the XO's three :) music programs. Tam Tam Mini allows the user to click on any of a LOT of sounds, from various musical instruments to animal and human voices to various noises like a car ignition, a trash can lid, water droplets, etc. I have a few melodies that I can play practically in my sleep, when my goal is to practice a familiar piece of music on an unfamiliar instrument.

As I sit here watching television, only halfway paying attention to what I'm doing with the computer, I abruptly realized that I was playing one of my standard tunes, "When the Saints go Marching In," with a moo cow as my instrument of choice. I've heard of sacred cows before, but this lends that concept an entirely new dimension. So I figured I'd use a different instrument instead.

For what it's worth, the song sounds better being played on the rubber ducky. :)

Captain, who is sitting on the back of the sofa, above my head, and reading over my shoulder, thinks I'm nuts no matter what instrument I'm playing. But he perks up a lot when I play the sparrow sound. :)
I found another candidate for the Stupid Criminal Tricks file.

Seems that an employee who saw a "help wanted" ad, and thought that it meant she was about to be fired, deleted $2.5 million worth of her company's data.

Paranoia strikes deep

Published Thursday 24th January 2008 19:14 GMT

A Florida woman who believed she was about to get fired has been accused of deleting $2.5m worth of computer files to seek revenge on her employer.

Jacksonville Sheriff's officials say Marie Lupe Cooley, 41, used her own account credentials to access the server of Steven E. Hutchins Architects and delete seven years' worth of drawings. The firm's alarm company said someone entered the premises at 11 p.m. on Sunday and was there for about four hours.

Cooley went on her silent rampage after finding a help-wanted ad placed by her boss. It described an open administrative assistant position that sounded remarkably similar to hers.

"She decided to go and mess up everything for everybody," a spokesman for the sheriff's office told FirstCoast News here. "She decided to be spiteful and go in and sabotage the records. And she did a very good job of that."

Firm owner Steven Hutchins said he was able to recover the files. "It was not a sensationalistic amount of money," he told El Reg, referring to the fee he paid a consultant to dredge up the discarded architectural drawings. He declined to say if he had stored backups of the files, which were valued at $2.5m.

Cooley was charged with damage in excess of $1,000 to computers and was released on bail.

As it turned out, the help-wanted ad listed a position available in the office of Hutchins's wife. Cooley's job was never under threat, though it probably is now. ®



My first thought was, "What happened to maintaining backups? What happened to maintaining OFFSITE backups?" I mean, if it had been a case of the building burning down or the Hardware Failure from H*ll, instead of corporate sabotage, those files could very well have been lost without anyone's malicious action causing the damage. Heck, last time I checked, Mother Nature has a tendency to visit Florida with hurricanes and other assorted severe weather. That right there should be enough to inspire a company to maintain an OFFSITE backup of all data -- so in case the building where their computer resides suffers catastrophic damage, and their computer system takes a hit as a result, their offsite backup will allow them to start over with a minimal amount of aggravation. Obtain new computer, load offsite-backup contents onto it, and restart operations with little or no data loss.

So if the company's backup process is lacking, responsibility for that part of the company's woes lies squarely on their IT department's policies.

HOWEVER, by no means do I blame the victim here. Regardless of WHAT their company's backup procedures are, it doesn't excuse the (probably soon-to-be-ex-)employee's taking malicious action. Corporate sabotage is illegal, last time I checked, so if the company throws the book at this person, she brought it on herself. Hence, her actions are the Stupid Criminal Tricks for today.
My mother-in-law is in the hospital. She has been having pain and numbness in her leg for months, to the point where she has been walking with a cane and going for regular physical therapy sessions. However, after a new physical therapist did a massage last week, her symptoms grew so much worse that she went to the hospital yesterday.

It's so frustrating to see that she's going through these symptoms all these months and no one has determined how to provide relief yet. I hope to heck they figure out what to do to knock out these symptoms once and for all. Nobody should have to go through this, particularly not someone nice like her.

Mark is taking a half day today so we can go visit her. He originally thought to go after work, but making that drive during the evening rush hour would probably leave us with very limited time for a visit. I don't know what that hospital's visiting hours are, but most hospitals I've seen tend to end their hours at 8 or 8:30. It wouldn't be good if we spent more time on the commute there and back than we were able to spend actually visiting. So I'm glad we're going up there this afternoon, instead of waiting until the evening.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The article I've been waiting for, the one interviewing Phantoms season ticket holders about their feelings regarding the Spectrum's potential demise, has appeared.

Emotions Swirl in Philly

As a matter of policy, I avoid combining people's first and last names in posts in this blog. However, regular readers here will recognize at least two of the individuals who shared their perspective in this article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another day, another installment of The Roomba Show to entertain the kitties. The cats must have been reading my blog because in their response to the Roomba today, they proceeded to do exactly the OPPOSITE of what I described in a recent post. Rather than find a safe perch from which to observe, Captain sat out in the open, in the middle of the dining room floor, to watch the robot do its work. The only time he moved to avoid it was when it headed directly for him from about a foot away.

Hmm. Maybe there's something to this. Maybe, instead of reprimanding the cats when they get into a habit of misbehaving, all I have to do is make a general statement on their behavior and let them read the blog post. Then they will behave in a way that's the opposite of whatever I described.

Of course, if the cats see THIS post, instead of changing their behavior, they will probably continue with business as usual because, of course, then they would be doing the OPPOSITE of changng their behavior after I make a generalized statement.

Those cats. I swear, you never know what they'll do next. ;o)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The official party line appears to be that the final decision on the Spectrum has not been reached.

I can actually vouch for this, as I encountered none other than Mr. Ed Snider on Sunday afternoon -- he was entering the Spectrum at the same time and via the same entrance I was. (I had something to drop off at the media/VIP entrance, so I was going into the building via that door.)

The second I saw him, the first words out of my mouth were, "Mr. Snider, please keep the Phantoms in Philadelphia". He looked at me in Phantoms jersey and Phantoms hat, and said, with a straight face, "No final decision has been made". Believe me, I was listening with all available senses tuned in full force, and I couldn't perceive that there was a flat-out falsehood being uttered.

We wouldn't even HAVE pro hockey in this city if not for Mr. Snider, so I figured that he was the best person to apply to. The Spectrum is HIS brainchild, plain and simple, and he didn't only put hockey on the map here, IT put HIM on the map here. So I would think he's got a vested interest in maintaning some connecting threads to the past, if it's at all financially viable to do so.

Now, here's hoping that they use the next several weeks to come up with a plan that doesn't completely dispense with the status quo while they're aspiring to build Shiny New Things that are meant to entice people to spend spare cash that they might not even have. Lots of things besides their bottom line depend on it.
The trigger of my current bout with indescribably wretched morale begins to officially take shape. And I still don't know if this new development will cost us the Spectrum, and/or cause the Phantoms to relocate to the suburbs, South NJ, AC, or Delaware... or, worse, to a distance that would make attending weeknight games next to impossible.

It is unlikely that the Flyers will allow any decisions that force their farm club to stop practicing in Voorhees. They went to the expense of builidng, from scratch, a training facility that allows their front office to watch ALL players from BOTH clubs at will. The micromanagers in the Flyers front office are unlikely to relinquish that benefit without a fight. So I hold out hope that even the loss of the Spectrum would not be enough to completley cost us access to our team as well.

And as of today's press conference, there was no decision announced regarding the fate of the Spectrum: it could still be included in the development plans, when all is said and done. The details I have read do NOT make a final declaration one way or another.

Still, the mere thought that the ONE thing that I have unfailingly been enthusiastic about in the past 12 years could be rendered difficult or impossible to partake in regularly, has been a morale-destroyer. Out of a 365-day year, I don't think that having 40 Phantoms home games, plus a statistically-unlikely maximum of 16 playoff home games (presuming home ice advantage throughout the playoffs and four 7-game series) is too much to ask of the Universe. It's my ONE outlet that I have always looked forward to, even when the bouts with wrecked morale have sapped my energy and interest in literally everything else. I do not want to lose access to something that has proven to be so therapeutic, nor see my access to it reduced. That Won't Be Good. Even thinking about that possibility for the past ten days Hasn't Been Good. It has resurrected a 24/7 battle with a mindset that I have been waging war on for a lot of years. If the wrong sequence of events occurs, I don't want to think of what that battle is going to look like, so I won't borrow trouble. Just pray I don't suffer a case of battle fatigue. My daily cross, for years, has been the kknowledge that only one loss would render all the years of victories for naught. This latest kick in the proverbial gut is the equivalent of applying poison ivy to sunburn. I absolutely DID NOT NEED this.

When I separate my own personal feelings from my evaluation of this possible plan, I reach a conclusion that is far less rah-rah, confetti-and-streamers than was evidenced in today's press conference. I will refrain from carping about how building all these ways to spend spare cash, when we are heading into a recession, is likely to result in less-than-optimal earnings from an entertainment complex until and unless the economy straightens out.

I know that the Riverview entertainment complex, currently home to the only remaining movie theater in South Philadelphia, has not been able to consistently maintain any of the businesses in the buildings surrounding the movie theater.

People have limited excess cash to spend. PERIOD. I forsee an either/or situation where the competing theater complexes cannibalize one another's patrons, perhaps to the detriment of both.(OK, skip the 'perhaps'. My concern is that they WILL, not MIGHT, do more harm than good to one another.)

Hotel.... say, how about we build the new hotel, then knock down the one at 10th and Packer and put an arena there. I'm not really joking... I dont see a pressing need for two hotels that near to one another, when I wasn't aware that the one on Packer Avenue was filled to overflowing on a regular basis.

Moreover, I don't see why people would travel to Philly and stay in a hotel here, JUST to eat in the same restaurant chains, see the same movies, play in the same arcade chains, and shop in the same chain stores that they could patronize at home, without incurring luxury hotel or travel fees.

I am not thinking that the new complex will stand empty and unused. God, I hope NOT, if they go to the trouble of building things down there. But I think the press conference is all about the New Shiny Pretty Things and not about the realities like our current economy and the amount of spare dollars that people actually have got to throw around.

I won't go so far as to call myself flat-out pessimistic about a new complex, but I can honestly say I do not share the unbridled optimism that was proclaimed during the Happy Happy Joy Joy press conferrence. What it CAN earn, and what it most likely WILL earn, are likely to be very different things.

So anyhow, this is where my mind has been for the past 9-10 days. I hope you're not sorry you asked. ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

I have a couple of Velcro Kitties with me on the sofa. The Roomba is running, and when that happens they like to be in one of three situations:

- under the kitchen or dining room table. They know that the Roomba can't get in there, as I've pushed the chairs close together, so they can watch it in peace. (I don't want it to waste battery life navigating its way out of the forest of legs, as it takes a while.)

- Partway up the stairs or perched on the furniture. They know the Roomba stays on the floor, and they can spy on it from above.

- Next to Meowmy. Nothing bad can happen there. :o)

The Kitty Committee has chosen options 2 and 3 together, as they're curled up on the sofa next to me, and each other, taking a nap.

Yesterday, the Phantoms had their annual Photo Night after the game (a win, thank goodness). To my surprise, Jared Ross was out there with all the rest of his teammates, all of four days after having an emergency appendectomy during a road trip to Syracuse. He looked good, and he said he felt well, but I hope to heck he wasn't regretting his participation in the event today. Poor guy, he wanted to at least attend the AHL All-Star events in Binghamton, even if he can't play, as he WOULD have been on team PlanetUSA if his appendix had cooperated. But I heard over the weekend that the doctors have vetoed that idea. Doggone it, I hate seeing someone's hard work and success not getting rewarded. Here's hoping he earns another selection NEXT season and actually gets to participate. He's a good guy, a talented player,and a hard worker. He deserves it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Project Gutenberg rules. I've seen the free ebooks on gutenberg.org for several years now, but I never had anything that was particularly portable AND had a large enough screen to actually take advantage of them.

Enter the OLPC XO computer and its ebook mode. Suddenly, sites like gutenberg.org, manybooks.net, librarianchick.com, and others have taken on a whole new aspect as potential resources.

I just finished reading A Tale of Two Cities, and I've downloaded multiple other documents that include works by Jane Austen, Benjamin Franklin, and Ludwig von Beethoven.

The OLPC foundation plans to make XO computers available to American school systems sometime this year. Many of the free books I see available on these sites are among The Classics that we studied in either grade school or (more likely) high school. I can easily envision that making the XO available to US students, and having them download free ebooks for study, could save schools some money. Then the school systems can focus on obtaining the paper books and classics that aren't yet available for free online.

It's all good. As are these books. :o) The sensory input of holding a paper book might be absent, but the WORDS are paramount (IMO), and those are present and accounted for. Plus, going the ebook route can be a definite space-saver. I don't expect or want tech to supplant printed matter, but it can, and should, supplement it in such a way that promotes both methods of book distribuiton.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wasn't it St. James who wrote that the tongue is the most dangerous part of the body? He wasn't kidding! And he offered this observation a couple of millenia prior to the existence of Youtube.

There are some gang members who most likely wish they'd had a reminder of that bit of Scripture before they posted a video on Youtube, showing themselves wielding an assault rifle and threatening police.

Unsurprisingly, the police were less than delighted about this. Long story short: the two individuals in the video have been arrested, and two computers and firearms have been seized. Besides being charged with making threats against police, one of these individuals could be convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in Florida State Prison.

15 to 30 years. All because someone thought that posting a nastygram on Youtube was a good idea. St. James was right.
What a week. The tough news continues.

Jared Ross, one of the two Phantoms selected to participate in the All-Star game, had to have an emergency appendectomy this morning.

What a crummy rotten shame. Not only is he a nice guy, he's my personal pick for team MVP, and it's going to hurt us like heck not to have him in the lineup for the next few weeks.

I hate to see him miss the All-Star festivities, too. I'll be surprised if he's not sidelined for that. He really deserved the honor of being there, too, doggone it.

I wish I could hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE and just reboot this whole freaking week. It's been one bout of agita after another since Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ugh. I have never, EVER wanted to put the mal occhio on someone or something before. But I was actually tempted by the idea for the first time last night, upon seeing the local news. I hate greedy corporate [rhymes with plastered]s.

I'll refrain from ranting, since nothing has actually happened yet. But all the "we're considering" and "we're looking at options" sounds like a bunch of corporate happyspeak for "we're going to shove this down your throat, and we're just telling you in advance so you have time to get used to the idea."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ha ha ha! I wish I'd been able to take advantage of this deal. Unfortunately, the offer was only available in Glasgow, Scotland. Can you believe someone was just GIVING these away?

FREE AIR GUITARS

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It has not been a good few weeks for people I know with senior-citizen kitties. The day after Thanksgiving, my Cat-in-Law (my sister-in-law's cat), who was approximately 16-18 years of age, went to the Rainbow Bridge. Tonight, Donna H. called to let me know that her cat Tristan, who was nearly 17 years old, had a stroke this morning and had to be assisted on HIS way to the Rainbow Bridge, as well.

Poor kitty. He did have some health issues, not surprising for a cat of his age, but there was nothing that would lead a person to believe that his having a stroke was imminent. Afterward, it was clear that the only medical option that remained was the Final Act of Mercy. I, and pretty much everyone I know who's had a pet, has been through making that decision, and I know nothing makes it easy.

In any event, I was very sorry to hear the news. I'll remember him in his prime as a big, friendly, pretty mostly-Maine-Coon cat. And since at the Rainbow Bridge, old and infirm pets become young and healthy again, he's back in his prime again and not sick anymore.
Hey, all -- if you wouldn't mind sending some prayers and good thoughts in this general direction, I got some distressing news about an old friend this morning and she could surely use it.

A friend of mine, with whom I went to prayer meetings and played in multiple music ministries, etc, since the late 70s, was recently diagnosed with cervical and bladder cancer. She's only five years older than I am. (Chalk it up to the odd things that a person remembers at a time like this -- I remember that her HS ring, from the same school that I eventually went to, was dated the year before I graduated grade school. Hence, she's five years older.) Joe M., another person who's known FD for at least as many years as I have, called me this morning after she called HIM to break the news.

It really doesn't matter to me that we rarely, if ever, see or hear from FD anymore. This is someone whom I've known almost 30 years. It's also someone who hasn't seen her 50th birthday yet. It's an awful shock to hear that her health is in crisis. :o( According to Joe, the cancer is aggressive and they're treating it aggressively.

At least I know that FD is a strong-willed person, to say the least. If determination is of any use in beating this thing, good, because that's one resource she's got to spare. That, and prayers. Everyone I know is big believers in the power of prayer, hence my request to any readers who see this post for prayers and good thoughts. Every bit helps.

Thanks.

Monet's Haystacks
by Stuart Netsky, 1991

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ten years ago

Ten years ago, Mark proposed to me in this church. :o)

The Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch had a free concert at the Kimmel Center this afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thumbs up for the new printer! I just printed out some articles for the Phantoms player scrapbook I'm doing. Our old printer was not working right for the past several months, so I've been sending Mark things to print at work when it's something I really wanted to look nice. But this time, I printed the articles myself, on our new printer, and BOY did they look clear. Even the small print looks great. I'm glad Mark bought it.

This is going to make life a TON easier.
More for the Stupid Criminal Tricks file. I swear, if there an award distributed for idiotic crooks, these guys would win it... and if they didn't win, I would like to see the numbwit that outdid them. Here go a couple of guys who watched the Weekend at Bernie's movies a few too many times, and tried to make Life Imitate Farce.

Two in Hell's Kitchen bring dead man on trip to cash his Social Security check

Two in Hell's Kitchen bring dead man on trip to cash his Social Security check

Wednesday, January 9th 2008, 4:00 AM

Life imitated the movies Tuesday when two dopes wheeled a dead man around Hell's Kitchen in an office chair as they tried to cash his Social Security check, cops said.

The "Weekend at Bernie's" stunt was an attempt to collect 66-year-old Virgilio Cintron's dough less than a day after he died, police said. One suspect is Cintron's roommate.

"They didn't kill the guy. He died of natural causes. But they were all about not letting the situation go to waste," a police source said. "'How are we going to cash it? Let's bring him with us.' They must watch too many movies."

The roommate, James O'Hare, and his pal David Dalaia attempted to dress Cintron's corpse in a pair of pants, a T-shirt and sneakers, police said. When they couldn't get the pants to his waist, the 65-year-old men threw a jacket over his crotch and wheeled him from his W.52nd St. apartment to a check-cashing outlet around the block on Ninth Ave., police said.

"Witnesses observed Mr. Cintron flopping from side to side and these individuals propping him up as they rolled along," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The men left Cintron's body outside while they went into Pay-O-Matic, where Cintron always cashed his checks, police said.

An employee recognized the name on the $355 check, and when he asked to see Cintron, O'Hare said, "He's outside. We'll get him," according to police.

"They were trying to pass the guy off as alive," Pay-O-Matic clerk Mariano Galvez told the Daily News. "They just left the body in the chair outside."

The casual corpse on the sidewalk at 3:45p.m. drew a large crowd, including an on-duty detective who was eating lunch at a restaurant next-door. He reported the incident and called the Emergency Medical Service.

As O'Hare went to get Cintron, an ambulance arrived to cart his remains off to the morgue, police said. Moments later, O'Hare and Dalaia were taken to the Midtown North stationhouse, where last night police were preparing to charge them with check fraud.

A neighbor of the roommates, Jeff Bell, 51, said the pair had lived together for years and that Cintron had Alzheimer's disease.

In 1989's "Bernie" flick, two young pals cart their dead boss around, successfully passing him off as alive.



I'm going to be laughing about this one for a while, for sure.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Closed captions for radio -- an idea whose time is long overdue! :o)
OMG! OMG! I never thought I would see the day!

I am sitting at the Starbucks, waitingfor Joe M., and I just saw a BALD EAGLE circling over the parking lot!

I know that there was a sighting of a Bald Eagle nest down at the former Naval Base (maybe a mile south of here, 1.5 miles tops). But it never occurred to me that I would get to see one of the birds that most likely BUILT the nest.

There is just no mistaking an adult bald eagle for anything else -- dark brown body, brilliant whiet head, brilliant white tail. I never thought I would see the day when I got to witness the hunting behavior of a WILD bald eagle, while sitting in the ZIP code where I grew up.

WOW. What a great feeling!
Mark and I have a landmark anniversary today.

He proposed to me exactly 10 years ago. :o)

We'll go to dinner to celebrate.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The first Philadelphia XO Users meeting took place this afternoon at 30th Street Station. Eight users, with six XOs, met and had a great time. :o)

Update: Here's a link to a group photo taken at the meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmccleary/sets/72157603665076663//

That photo is the one that will be sent to Dr. Durbak, a psychologist who works with the UN and who knows Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the OLPC project. She even was there to see the first prototype machine being demoed to the UN several years ago. The prototype was larger than the final model and had a crank on the back to charge the battery. It was one of those "God provides" moments that she happened to be in Cosi, waiting for a train and checking her email on a Blackberry, when the XO users came filing in one by one for our meeting. She is very involved with educational projects and asked if she could publish the photo in their newsletter.

My Nerd Gene is all happy about these things. :o) We're planning to have monthly meetings in the same place, to help us learn about the device and to help spread the word that the OLPC project exists. The "Give One, Get One" might not be going on right now, but that doesn't mean that people can't help the project by making a donation.

Friday, January 04, 2008

I just had a good XO-related chuckle.

On the XO, users can share the programs they are running with other users.

In my Neighborhood, which consists of the users I can communicate with and the Activities (programs or applications) I can join, I saw this:



In particular, note the little graphic in the lower left that looks like a comic strip "talk" balloon. That icon means there is a shared Chat activity that someone has set up. If you have been in any online chat, you have an idea of how the XO Chat works.

Always glad to network with other geeks, I clicked on the Chat activity and said hello.

To my amusement, the response I got was "Talk to you later -- class has resumed". Looks like someone decided to while away the time during a break in class by getting a Chat activity going. That's definitely sometyhing I would have done, had such things existed when I was a student.

More intriguing to me, however, is the fact that this person was typing on their XO *during* class, in order to respond to my greeting. Does that mean he or she is using their XO to take notes during class? That is most assuredly something I would do right now, given the opportunity. I have already used the XO to take meeting minutes in real time, and it performed admirably.

I should go back and ask that person what sort of class it is (HS, college, etc),and how they are using the XO for it. I'm curious about how other people are using their XOs.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's 5:19 AM... have you been asleep yet today? If you have, that makes one of us. The headcold that Joe M. was battling all last week, and which Mark picked up over the weekend, has made its way to me. At the moment, I have a stupendous earache, and I am so congested that I can't breathe unless I'm sitting up. Phooey on headcolds. Though at least this one was polite enough to wait until AFTER Christmas and New Year in order to arrive.

The good news: my new cell phone arrived yesterday. My two-year contract was up for renewal, so I took advantage of the "New Every Two" equipment discount that my carrier offers. There was also a discount for ordering online, and a discount for renewing my contract online... and, to my surprise, when the phone arrived it came with a form for a mail-in rebate. Wow. They are going out of their way to offer attractive deals on their hardware -- AND the phone plan now comes with unlimited text/picture messaging, regardless of what carrier they're being sent to or from. Good.

The good news took some of the sting out of the bad news, which is that my XO is having some keyboard issues. Some people are reporting that the ALT key or the CTRL key get "stuck". I had seen the posts on the XO forum a while ago, so I knew right where to look for information when my own ALT key started acting up yesterday. I may need to get an RMA number and send it to them so they can make whatever adjustment needs to be made... but PHOOEY. I was learning a bunch of stuff about Linux until this freaking issue cropped up. Now I might have to put those lessons on hold for a while. I don't WANT to put the lessons on hold. ::sulk sulk sulk:: Freaking pain-in-my-rump Gremlins! I'd like to send the Gremlins, AND this headcold, straight back to wherever it is that they came from.

Oh, well. It's certainly not the end of the world. But the Gremlins must have missed my post where I declared that 2008 is MY YEAR. By my count, they've come to the wrong address and they're supposed to be irking some other person right about now. Just what I need... Gremlins that can't read. Phooey.

Anyway... since lying down and breathing are currently mutually exclusive activities for me, I chose breathing and I'm sitting up and reading news stories online. One link led to another, and the end result is that we have a couple of competitors for the Stupid Criminal Tricks award:

Teacher Steals and Ebays Student's Jacket

Man Caught Ebaying Stolen Goods from Work

How dishonest, how greedy, and how FOOLISH does a person have to be to do that? Good, I'm glad they were caught. It gives me something upbeat to think about while I'm trying not to sneeze my head off.

In other news, Captain and Stanley are in for a rude awakening today. Mark is going back to work after being on vacation for over a week. The Stripe Committee has absolutely LOVED having both Meowmy *and* Paw at home every day. I suspect there'll be a couple of Velcro Kitties around here shortly. They'll probably be following ME around when Mark's out, and they'll surely be following HIM around when he comes back. :o)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

HA HA HA HA... check out this shopping site with animated products.

http://producten.hema.nl/

I tip my cap to the clever nutball who designed it. :o)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hegeman String Band (whose theme is "We Will WOK You". :o) In particular, I like how the dragons' eyes open and close.

Durning String Band.
Happy New Year! I have decided that, as this year is '08, and my online ID has been Gabey*8* for 12 years, that I am going to claim this as MY year. So this is the Year of the Gabey, and you all read it here first. :o)

I am at the Parade, as per my usual New Year's tradition, but OMG what a delay there is! We have had the third string band of the lineup, Greater Overbrook, standing in front of us at Broad and Shunk for nearly an hour. I would love to know what the holdup is -- this is freaking insane.

The parade was delayed 3 hours to allow time for the rain to clear up, which it did. So what is creating the logjam?

FINALLY, the band ahead of this one is moving. They advanced all of a half block, but they moved. We might actually see the FOURTH band perform before 2009 comes in.