Archive for December, 2003

Lessons Learned in 2003

Here are some things I learned in 2003…

Some people will always be pricks.

Hell hath no fury like a tow driver scorned.

DSL is too sweet to give up.

I love snow. I already knew this, but it was reinforced.

Shawnee grads make me so proud.

I’m one of “them.”

The VA Department of Taxation should be the VA Department of Sucksation.

The Olsen Twins bring up a lot of emotions in people.

So does American Idol.

Being interviewed for an article is kind of cool, but having the paper’s typos make you look like a dimwit isn’t.

You’ll find humor in the most unexpected places.

Flattery will get you a good tip.

I will always be Maury.

The one with half-an-ear isn’t always the weird one.

From New York to Taipei, the Veg Blog’s knows the time.

I’m clumsy.

Getting branches cut off a tree is damn expensive.

I could totally be a movie extra in my next career.

I’m in a book on RoboHELP.

If you complain loudly enough and don’t give up, all problems will eventually be resolved.

What, oh what, will life teach me in 2004? Probably something to do with liquid smoke and safety pins.

Love those slow weeks

Thanks to everyone who’s sent me well-wishes for my grandmom. She’s still in the hospital, but has shown a little bit of improvement. Yesterday she was able to eat some solid foods and sit up in a chair. We’re all hoping for the best, but it’ll be a long road to recovery.

This week’s been a pretty mellow week thusfar, which is good because I don’t think I could deal with too much more. We’ll be hanging out tonight at a nearby friend’s place for New Year’s, which should be nice.

Huyen had a bit of a fender bender this morning… the side of her newly painted car was scraped up, one of her tires blew, and one of her lights was cracked. She’s OK and since the other person was switching lanes, the “fault” falls on them (though it was probably more of the fault of nasty sun reflection). Still, what a great way to end the year, huh? The policeman that wrote out the report said, “I’ve seen your license plate (Huyen has a distinctive one) around for years now, and I finally know who it belongs to!”

I’ve having lunch with Rob today. We’re going to eat food, apparently.


Apparently, everybody’s gone LiveJournal crazy. Alex has one titled Winter of My Discontent, Scott just launched The Royal We, and Roberto‘s started one called the Litclique Lounge.

I love having more stuff to read from y’all, but my blogroll’s going to get sloppy because of you troublemakers!

A big boy Christmas

I’m not sure exactly when it happened to me, but I can say for sure that you’ve “grown up” or “matured” is when someone asks you, “How was your Christmas?” and you tell them who you spent it with rather than what presents you got.

Holiday wrap-up

Hope everyone had a good holiday and is enjoying the weekend…

We headed to NJ for Christmas again this year. It was good to see my parents, my grandmom, my nieces, and my sister and brother-in-law. Wigilia went well, too, with oplatek a-plenty. Congrats to my cousin Keith (aka “Keith, who always stood up in front of me during the Wigilia picture when we were kids”) and his wife Sam, who are expecting their first baby.

Unfortunately, it was also a bit of a difficult holiday, as my grandmother is having a really rough time of it right now. She’s undergoing chemo for recently discovered lung cancer while also battling painful sciatica. Near the end of our visit, she also came down with what the doctors think is pneumonia. It was really tough to see her in that position, given that she’s always been so active and on-the-move. It’s been hard on the family as a whole, especially over the last few weeks. She’s in the hospital now, so if you have any spare prayers you can send her way, I’d appreciate it. And if you’re not the praying type, some positive thoughts would help, too.

In other news, my cold has mostly passed, but Huyen’s managed to catch it.

I may have jury duty tomorrow, but won’t know for sure if I have to report until after 6:30 tonight.

And have you noticed that it’s less than four days until 2004? How’d that happen?


Felt something coming on yesterday afternoon… started coughing and felt a bit out of sorts. By the evening, I was drained and went to bed early. This morning: a little bit worse. Chills, a cough, an achy body and head, and a 100 degree temperature.

This is probably not good right before Christmas.

Update: Came home early, hallucinated while I tried to nap, and now I have a 101.5 degree temperature.

Update: Funny how much better one can feel after a little DayQuil and a nice non-hallucinatory nap.

If only I had the time…

I read about’s blog a week or two ago, but I don’t remember where. Aside from its attractive design and nifty content, there’s some über-geeky stuff related to its header graphic. From the site’s Colophon:

The image displayed across the top of the site (for those using CSS compliant browsers) is a 1600 pixel wide panoramic view from the top of my house, in Dorset. The scene was originally captured as a series of photographs, before being traced in Xara X and Photoshop 7 to produce the cartoony version you (hopefully) see here.

There are ninety versions of this panorama, each depicting the same scene under a different weather condition, time of day, and (at night) phase of the moon.

Thanks to an XML feed from, and some PHP jiggery pokery, the end result is a fairly accurate representation of what I currently see when I look out of my upstairs windows.

In addition, the sheep react based on the weather and time of day, there are different layers of fog and darkness, and the stars are positioned in various signs of the Zodiac. And all this is done dynamically. Just awesome.

XF’ing the roll

I’ve made my blogroll XFN-friendly. Stop gasping in amazement, it’s not that exciting.

The dead Nomad

As I mentioned a few weeks back, my Nomad Jukebox has kicked the bucket. The 20 gig hard drive sounded funny during one use and the next time I tried to boot it, the drive started clicking and the unit wouldn’t boot. I got two good years out of it, but I treated it well and am more than a bit annoyed that the drive’s died already. There was no irreplaceable content on the drive and the idea of starting from scratch doesn’t really please me, but as long as it doesn’t take too much money to fix/replace, I can deal.

There’s no question I want to replace it, but I’m struggling with my options here. My plan:

  1. Try to get the drive fixed, because even though the Nomad only had a three month warranty, the drive itself might have a much longer one.
  2. Replace the drive. I’ve taken the unit apart and checked it out inside and I think I could manage it. This would allow me to keep my Jukebox and maybe even replace it with a bigger drive. A 80 gig would run me in the $200 range and quadruple my storage. But I’m also a little sketchy on which hard drive to choose, because there are supposedly some that work much better than other. I’d need to do some research.
  3. If neither of the two above options work out, get a new unit altogether. The problem is, very few of the MP3 units offer a line-in and I actually did use mine for the occasional concert recording and interview. I was hoping to hold off on getting a new one until storage and features dramatically increase and size decreases.

Taking sensitivity too far, even for me

Teacher learns lesson from ‘Klan’ incident

In Tennessee, a teacher is being criticized for allowing a student to dress up as a famous Klansman and give a speech in character. Other students chose “unsavory” individuals, so even though the teacher was a little hesitant, he allowed the student to give his speech. The criticism is that the teacher wasn’t sensitive to a black student’s feelings.

While I frequently agree with “sensitivity” arguments, this one just seems out of line. This wasn’t a “who I do I admire” speech or a “what I want to be when I grow up” speech that was filled with hate, it was an honors history project where students were supposed to give their presentations in character. The student that chose the Klansman only wore his costume in the classroom and stated before he started his speech that “‘I don’t believe or support any of this.” There’s a fine line between being sensitive and trying to block out history, and with a little dialogue after the presentation, something like this could serve as an excellent way to show just how dark that part of American history was.