Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Deepwater Kibbitzer Disaster

Because I always try to be constructive, I thought I might pass along a few constructive suggestions I made on Facebook earlier this week for plugging the Deepwater Horizon undersea well blowout, just in case the current plan ("The Top Kill") doesn't work out:

-- I get the feeling that BP has absolutely no idea how to stop their giant offshore leak. At this point I expect to hear, "This week we're going to try the Ham Sandwich, in which we try to plug this thing with several loafs of bread, a nice smoked ham, and some swiss cheese." Or, "The next plan is the Facebook Plug, in which we try to decrease the productivity of the leak by signing it up for Facebook."

-- And yes, I have backup plans beyond those two. I'm especially fond of the one I like to call The Very Large Wooden Badger.

-- I think we better start coming up with a backup plan to that Ham Sandwich plan. What about this? We make an enormous double-decker Reuben...

-- If the double-decker Reuben falls through -- and BP can't book the ShamWow guy -- I'd guess the next suggestion from BP will be a little thing they like to call "Penguin-Mania!"

-- While we await more failed "plans" from BP, can we all at least agree not to buy any more of their gas until they fix the damned leak? (I used the quotes around "plans" because, seriously, calling some of the hair-brained schemes they've floated "plans" is an insult to plans worldwide. What's next, shoving a Giant Turnip down the pipe?)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

And you thought the last post didn't contain much...

Okay, I didn't get around to photoblogging all of my walking tour of the Minneapolis mill district by the Mississippi. Um, so how about one random photo from Minneapolis in the meantime?

What? Not enough?!

Okay, here's a picture of an alert beagle. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hello, Blogosphere. It's been a busy couple o'weeks...

No, Blogosphere, I didn't forget you. It's just that I've been kinda busy the last couple of weeks. You see, I was off last weekend at the annual American Society for Indexing conference in Minneapolis. Yes, Blogosphere, that's the one that my mother once called "The most boring conference ever," after she looked at the list of sessions and workshops.

I did, however, have quite a good time at the ASI conference. Alas, that I only seem to make it once every four years because I always learn new and interesting things, and it's always a good recharge of the ol' indexing batteries to spend a few days around people who take the organization of information seriously. Honestly, so few people genuinely understand what I do professionally that it's just a relief to spend three days not explaining it to people. Or, as I said on a Facebook post last weekend: "I just heard somebody use the word 'polyhierarchical' in casual conversation. Nobody batted an eye. These are my people."

(Now that I think about it, though, I did spend a lot of my weekend explaining indexing. You see, we shared the Minneapolis Marriott with this big series of organizational meetings for some Army and National Guard training exercises, and some of the Army folks were bemused to discover that such a thing as "indexers" existed. You would not believe how much computer-generated camouflage clothing I spent my time with last weekend. I felt I had been embedded somewhere overseas.)

Interesting co-hotel tidbits aside, I had a couple of very nice evenings with friends old and new, picked up a few nifty Cindex tricks, and took a very nifty walking tour of the falls and the Mill district, which I shall try to immortalize in a photoblog entry this weekend.

Yes, I had a very good and full three days in Minneapolis. But it was a long drive out and a long drive back. And other than that I was scrambling last week to wrap up enough loose ends to go to the ASI conference, and this week I've been scrambling to catch up with everything that didn't get done whilst I was away with the indexing elite.

And really, Blogosphere, do you want the administrivial details of my past few days? I think not. I could report on the K12 primary portal indexing XML extract format, the APG pre-publication capital allocation timecards, and the introduction of the village's new revisions to the electrical code compliance building ordinance. But I rather suspect the The Blogosphere doesn't care.

Thus, instead of typing more, I think I shall enjoy a nice Manhattan, turn on the ballgame, and kick back on a rainy Friday night in Wolverine Lake.

Oh, what's that you say, Blogosphere? You want at least one photo from Minneapolis?

Okay, here I am with the ever-spunky Mary Tyler Moore. Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Beagle, My Welcome Wagon

After a long trip,
Petting the beagle's soft ears
Feels like, "Welcome home."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Empire Strikes Doggerel

Esteemed film critic Mary Campbell-Droze kicked off the Summer Blockbuster Sequel season with this tribute on the 30th anniversary of the release of one of the great sequels of yore. Naturally, my response follows....

From: Campbell-Droze, Mary
Subject: The Sequel With No Equal: 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Imperial troops have entered the theater! Imperial troops have ent---BXXXXXXTT

Holy tauntaun! Where to begin?
Just look at the state the Rebellion's in
With rumors circling 'bout who is kin;
The Empire comes out swinging!

So much at once grabs our attention:
Wampas! Walkers! And not to mention
Space slugs enhancing sexual tension
And Scoundrel-Princess clinging!

But never mind Han as Leia's lover,
There's YODA! [cue Weird Al's great Kinks cover]
Who over all will sagely hover,
And speak with strange phrase-stringing!

All hail the Emperor (Ian---Great Scot!
Clive's better in 'Hell House', is he not?),
But boy, Darth Vader: he's just got
To stop all that neck-wringing!

Then...Lando! Lobot! Carbonite!
Luke's duke is severed in a fight
Against---his DAD?! Whoa! Cripes! What might
George Lucas next be bringing??

Till then, the Sibling Smooch debate
And "Hăn" or "Hān" start while we wait,
While Boba Fett becomes a great
Tool for future marketing!

But after 'Empire', 'Jedi' 'd be
The weakest of the trilogy---
Sheesh! I'd just as soon kiss that Wookiee!
(And the prequels? Gaah! I'm cringing!)


From: Magee, John
Subject: RE: The Sequel With No Equal: 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Han in a block of carbomite?
Luke lost his hand in the big fight?
And Vader's his dad?! That can't be right!!

But one thing was cruel and much too mean,
As cold as a the ice planet Tatooine,
This thing I heard after Empire's final scene.

I nearly cried angst-ridden tears
When it fell upon my youthful ears:
"You'll find out what's next in just three years."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Contemplating Stress Reduction Techniques

As I sat there yet again in physical therapy a couple of years ago, contemplating my arthritic knee, I came to the realization that although collision sports had provided me with an excellent source of stress reduction for nearly 30 years, they were no longer a sustainable stress outlet. I concluded that it might be time to find an alternative source of stress reduction.

As I stood on my bathroom scale this morning, contemplating my ever-increasing weight, I came to the realization that although eating too much and sitting on my ever-increasing tush watching TV and getting enormously fat has provided me with an excellent alternative source of stress reduction for the last two years, it might also no longer be a sustainable stress outlet.

It might be time to go back to stress-reduction techniques that don't put me on a collision course with 300 pounds.

And so, instead of blogging any further, I think I will shut down the computer, drive home from work, and take the beagle for a nice walk.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Well, other than an obsession with rabbits instead of Justin Bieber...

She sleeps all morning,
Then pigs out. Our beagle is
Like a teenager.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Netflix for the Recovering Knee Surgery Patient

I saw on Facebook today that a friend is due for some knee surgery, and is looking for movie rental suggestions while she recovers. So I took the opportunity to scan our Netflix account from the past eighteen months or so, and to pull out a list of movies that Monique and I particularly enjoyed for one reason or another:

Documentaries - Something for the obsessive, no matter what the obsession.
Helvetica - Pretty lightweight flick about obsession with the "Helvetica" typeface. Particularly interesting if you're at all involved in publishing or graphic design.
The King of Kong - Great flick about obsession with Donkey Kong.
Wordplay - Great flick about obsession with crossword puzzles.
Spellbound - Great flick about obsession with spelling bees.
Trekkies - Great flick about obsession with Star Trek.

Romantic Comedies and Dramas - in order of increasing heaviness
Enchanted - Lightweight and fun.
Julie & Julia - This movie will make you eat.
Once - A really nice musical slice of life in Dublin.
Vitus - Starts slowly, but grows on you.
The Visitor - Another film that starts slowly, but grows on you. Great acting.
In Bruges - Oddly entertaining and funny, despite the violence. Or maybe because of it. I'm not sure.
Milk - Some great acting turns in this one. Especially interesting if you've ever lived in San Francisco or been involved in politics.
Gran Torino - Clint Eastwood is the toughest retiree in Detroit. You do not want to mess up his lawn.
Frozen River - Mesmerizing and tense.
The Hurt Locker - Tense.
Sin Nombre - Pretty tough flick about gang violence and emigration in Mexico.

Animated - Two great recent animated flicks

Short Flicks - Really, any of these short collections are well worth the time. Short film collections might be doubly welcome to somebody who has a short attention span because she's on painkillers.
Paris, Je T'aime - Sixteen short flicks set in Paris.
2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Films
2006 Academy Award Short Films Collection
2005 Academy Award Short Films Collection

Sci-Fi and Action
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - A supervillain musical comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion? Genius!
District 9 - Weird, but fun.
Let the Right One In - The greatest teenage Scandinavian vampire flick of all time!

Holiday - Clark Gable and Katherine Hepburn, directed by George Cukor. Need I say more?
Forrest Gump - If you've never seen it, well worth the time.
The Third Man - Great Orson Welles film noir starring Joseph Cotten.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Weekend Report: Moist

I noticed that a friend of mine on Facebook posted that she hates the word "moist." Honestly, though, there is no better word to describe this rainy and extremely humid weekend. "Damp" just doesn't do the job. It feels as if the air is so thick that if you got tired of walking you could just tread water or move to a swimming stroke.

The ol' WeatherTech STX 70000 backs me up on this front. Earlier today it was 75 degrees with 86% relative humidity outdoors.

Before the weekend got truly moist, though, we had a lovely Friday evening. It was an evening just right for the first good Friday night pontoon cruise of the season: 82 degrees before the sun went down, and up in the 70s well after sunset. Fortunately, our neighbors had their pontoon in the lake already, since the ol' Stealth Pontoon is still under a tarp in the driveway. And so, we had a lovely late cruise with our neighbors and another couple.

Yesterday the humidity rolled in and I had one of the least productive days of the year. The high point of yesterday's productivity came when I took a nap during the baseball game. Other than that, I read the paper, read a bit of a book, fiddled with the add/drop rankings for one of my fantasy baseball teams, watched the movie Helvetica with Monique, and then watched baseball games into the night. It felt very much like a restful rainy summer day. Little did I know that that yesterday's air would be Arizona-dry compared to today.

There's been a bit of puttering on this and that around the house amid today's humidity: a little cleaning here, some making order there, and a bath for Katie the Beagle. But everything felt as if it proceeded with the stately pace of an underwater ballet. Then Monique and I decided to pop out to look at flooring and carpet options. I looked at the weather radar to confirm that all was clear. Since we would only be gone for an hour or so, we decided to leave Katie the Beagle out in the yard.

About forty-five minutes later as we stood in the Home Depot, the downpour hit the tin roof with a thunderous clatter. All of that humidity decided to spontaneously drop at once. We hustled home to rescue the drenched beagle, who had never really dried out after her bath, anyway. (Hey, you try to dry a fur coat in 85% humidity.) And now, it's time for dinner (grilled chicken, asparagus, and rice) while the rain keeps pouring down outside. If anything, it's raining even harder than when we got home.

All in all, a moist weekend.