Archive for July, 2007

A good dog

July 28, 2007 - 11:04 am 3 Comments


Cuervo crossed the bridge this morning. He would have been ten years old next month. He was a good dog.

It’s time

July 27, 2007 - 1:08 pm Comments Off on It’s time

Cuervo’s crashing. He went from a relatively stable 26% to 13% this week. Tonight’s the night to say goodbye. I’m heartbroken. Haven’t told the kids yet because they have a friend over to play.

This is hard.

Hooray for the innertubes

July 23, 2007 - 1:43 am Comments Off on Hooray for the innertubes

One thing that’s wonderful about the internet is the fact that you can meet up online with dozens or thousands of people who also share in your esoteric interests, when you might have thought you were the only person in the world who felt that way.

That’s also the thing that’s awful about the internet.

For every wholesome fan group out there, there seems to be a depraved lunatic forum. Yet, who defines what’s wholesome and what’s depraved? What about the case in Germany a couple of years ago where two men met up via the internet with the sole express purpose of one man killing and eating the other? It was consensual. Does that make it okay?

Then again, even the seemingly wholesome websites can cause unhealthy fascination with their readers. I, for one, have spent an inordinate amount of time reading the forums, busy planning for our trip to the House of Mouse. And eavesdropping at the Chronicles of Higher Education forum, where the professors let their hair down and rant about their students.

Each site has its own little sphere of culture. It may not be apparent at first – sometimes it must be grown into – but after the site has taken root and grown, it develops a personality that’s sometimes the best, and sometimes the worst, of its participants. Much like in real life.


July 21, 2007 - 1:29 am 1 Comment

How to describe the Harry Potter phenomenon? The air is full of excitement right now, between the Harry Potter fans anxiously awaiting the release of the final book in the series and those who don’t understand the culture. It’s confusing who so many people expend so much energy insulting the people who love the book. Parties are going on all over town on Friday night – release night – and already the radio stations and internet are abuzz with how “stupid” those Harry Potter fans are, and how they need to “get a life.” What’s it to them? How is it harming them? Those people who aren’t fans aren’t forced to read the books or go to the release parties if they don’t want to, so why do they spend time thinking of ways to pick on the fans?

It’s like this with many subcultures. People roll their eyes at people attending fan conventions, or standing in line for the iPhone, or dressing up as Chewbacca to go see the Star Wars movie. Yet I can find no good reason why they seem to be so offended by the concept. The kids are having fun. The grownups are having fun. So what if it’s a children’s series? There’s no reason to lose the magic just because you’re over the age of 18.

Get off my internet

July 11, 2007 - 1:28 am Comments Off on Get off my internet

In most of life, but especially on the internet, there’s a disparity between those who have been in a community for a while and the newbies. The more established members, fairly or not, tend to look down on those who are still learning the ropes. It’s easy to forget what it was like to be new and confused and to pass the learning curve off as stupidity. And no matter how careful one is about not falling into the trap of being a smug oldbie, it’s entirely too easy to do.

I’m not sure why communities tend to gang up on others like that. I haven’t really seen an online culture where it didn’t happen. Reactions can vary anywhere from “new people are universally stupid” to “you have a low post count, so I’m going to discount what you say.” Maybe it’s a little extension of hazing, that trial by fire which welcomes people into the community. Those who are scared off by hostility don’t belong, anyway? Maybe it’s just a human tendency towards one-upmanship, to feel superior over someone else even though it’s a petty thing. Definitely something to be aware of when designing communities, though.


July 9, 2007 - 1:12 am Comments Off on 1408

1408. Great movie. One of the best Stephen King adaptations; probably the best horror adaptation since Kubrick’s Shining. It was a real tour de force for Cusack; although the director should have reined him in at a couple of points, I think that Cusack might be up for some acting awards for his performance. At one point hub had full body goosebumps. At another, I was a weepy mess. Highly recommended.

Although one quibble: what the hell is a movie in 2007 doing when it prominently displays a telephone number (1-LOW-FEE-1408) and then doesn’t have anything at that real-world number? I don’t care much about the context of the number in the story – having it function for viewers to call in would have been cheap and a great experience-extender. Are you listening to me, Stephen King? I’ll extend your experience! Call me! Resume’s linked on the right sidebar…

Unfortunate events

July 8, 2007 - 4:44 pm 1 Comment

To tell you the truth, I’ve been avoiding writing anything in here because it would seem like all I’m doing is whining. Let me fill you in:

– I was diagnosed with high blood pressure
– It’s summer, which means that the air conditioner broke
– The oven also broke. Hooray for takeout.
– I ordered my first set of bifocals yesterday. Hooray for presbyopia.

On the plus side, the dog’s plugging along. He’s got deep dents on his head (much like my aunt’s dog had when he got sick) which the vet said will never fill with muscle again, so (and I quote the vet), “He’ll look like what he is: a big bonehead.” His blood count isn’t dropping and his foot is slowly healing, both plusses. He’s all skin and bones and is grounded from hunting this season, poor guy.

The doc thinks the blood pressure might just be something I’ll have to live with, especially given the fact that I’ve got a family history of it. They did do a couple of really, really fun tests – one where I had to pee in a jug for 24 hours (and I flew it back to the lab on the Spruce Goose) and one where I had to wear a heart monitor for (a different) 24 hours.

Would you like some cheese for this whine?

Howdy, neighbor

July 4, 2007 - 1:27 am Comments Off on Howdy, neighbor

There’s a man who lives a couple of blocks away from me. I pass by his house quite often on my way to other places. Almost every day, he sits in front of his house on an Adirondack chair that’s worn with use, and he waves at everyone who passes by, whether they’re on foot, bike, or car.

When we first moved here, we thought that was a little strange. The country’s climate was guarded then, being right after September 11. People weren’t really that friendly with strangers. Now, however, we’ve come to look for him as we pass. We automatically wave back to him. Having that little contact with a man I’ve never spoken to in person gives me a warm feeling. I’m disappointed when he’s not there.

I’ve noticed that other people wave to him, too. There’s often someone walking their dog or a jogger stopped at his place to pass the time. The culture in this neighborhood seems totally different from that of the place we moved from. Could it all be from one man who likes to wave at people passing by? Yes, it’s possible. It only takes a spark.