Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mia, 1992 - 2005.

Sad to report, Mia passed away last night. She was 13, old but not elderly in cat terms, but had heart problems which finally caught up to her.

I got Mia about 3 years ago, from the friend of someone I worked with. At the time, Mia's name was "Precious" which she wasn't going to keep for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I've read The Lord of the Rings. But then she named herself, as for the first three months she was Missing In Action in the house, hiding under furniture to stay away from the evil person who had kidnapped her from her mother. After that three months, she realized that perhaps I wasn't so bad after all, and maybe I'd feed her something other than dry food if she'd come out on occasion, so she started sleeping in my lap as I watched TV, and on my bed at night.

A very sweet and loyal kitty; I'll miss her. And in her honor, I'll have salmon for dinner tonight.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Don't mess with Texas.

'Cause Texas is more than Lone Star beer, high school football, and evading the draft. Way more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

When is an iBook not an iBook?

When it's a lure to act like a complete idiot.

Today was the day that Henrico County was to sell off 1000 used, 4-year-old iBooks for $50 each. (And by "used," they mean "used by students who didn't have to pay for repairs if the computers got broken.") One per person, Henrico County residents only (and you had to prove it), and cash or checks accepted. Today's sale was postponed from last week, when people actually came all the way from Florida to try to buy one of the iBooks.

So what happened today? Stupidity and greed at its finest. Over 5,000 people showed up. For 1,000 computers. People started arriving at 1 a.m., when the gates were to open at 7 (for a sale beginning at 9). Orderliness and civility went out the window.

I'd actually considered going by the sale. For about 30 seconds. Until I realized that (a) these computers were 4 years old, and (b), even if they worked, they weren't compatible with either my home or work computers, so what's the point? I'd do better putting the $50 towards a new, functional, bare-bones laptop that comes with a warranty.

Pretty simple analysis, you'd think. Even simpler if you add in the cost of taking time off from work to go to it, or even the opportunity cost of standing in line for a long, long time if you're off on summer vacation. But a level of analysis that's beyond some people.

Still, what about the people who showed up late? When there's already 4,000 people in line? Can they possibly be thinking, "Lookit all the people ahead of me! I bet that in each group of 5 people, 4 people are here just to keep the one person who's buying a computer company, so there will surely be computers left when I get to the front of the line!"? Apparently so.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


It's good to see that George Bush is doing to the domestic economy what he's already done for peace in the Middle East.

Gas prices at my favorite local gas station went up 15 cents literally overnight. (And yes, I do know what "literally" means. $2.58 per gallon yesterday, and $2.73 today.) That caps off a 35-cent increase over the past week.

About 20 months ago, I purchased my first-ever $30 fill-up. A week ago, I had my first $40 fill-up. Same car, same capacity gas tank. And at the rate gas went up last week? Next weekend, I'll be able to have a $50 fill-up. And I can hardly wait to see what heating oil prices will be for next winter.

But you know how we can tell that the economy is doing well? Oil companies are making record profits; a reasonable return for their investment in the Sock-Puppet-in-Chief.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Round and round and round he goes.

It would appear that pregnant neighborhood stray cats are not the only ones who can read "soft touch" across my forehead. Organizers of fundraising activities can do it to.

I've signed up for a fund-raising bike ride, the Tour of Hope (sponsored by Bristol-Myer Squibb), with all proceeds going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Tour partners. The Tour is a cross-country bike ride, San Diego to Washington, D.C. Uh, no; I'm not. But there's a "ride along with the 24 riders who are going cross-country" event on the last day, ending up at a rally at the Washington Monument. That's the one I'm taking part in.

It should be entertaining: I haven't been on my bike in six or seven years, so I've got some training to do. (First, of course, I have to find my bike. I'm pretty sure it's in the room with the washing machine.) And at the end of it, I'll be able to say that I've ridden with Lance Armstrong. Way behind him, to be sure, but still somewhere in a peleton with him.

But you've got something to do, too: donate. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

On occasion, he changes his mind.

I've never been a fan of the big book stores; the ones with coffee bars and lounges in them. It's attitude, I guess: the big book stores tend to hire the dimwits who would otherwise pump gas or stock the shelves at Kroger. (Actual conversation: Me: "Could you tell me where the computer book section is?" Nitwit employee: "Uh ... uh ... no?" Give him credit for being accurate.) And, conversely, real book stores tend to be owned and staffed by people who know and love books and who are willing to help you find what you're looking for.

So it was with great surprise that I was in one of those big stores tonight, looking for the Sports Illustrated with Lance Armstrong on the front cover, riding along in the maillot jaune through the French countryside, on his way to win number 7. And with Lance Armstrong on the back cover, as well: in an ad for Nike, with the caption "Just Do It" - a black-and-white photo of Lance from November or December 1996, head shaven, and skull incision prominent. The high and low points of his career, with it apparent that his true victory isn't the one shown on the front cover.

There I was, wandering around the store, where I saw the sign - an official Barnes & Noble sign showing what was in that particular section: "Encyclopedias/Thesauri". Having the courage to get the plural of "thesaurus" correct goes a long way towards forgiving their witless employees I've had to endure in the past.