taco shop psychic
mincing is for garlic, not words...

Monday, April 29, 2002  


posted by Tacoshop | 1:57 AM

64. Eh...

a. My birthday party was today. My birthday was a week ago, but this evening was the party. My birthday presents were a cookbook and a batch of cookies. The cookbook I asked for, the cookies were a surprise. Next year I will be the age my parents were when my brother, my brother who is eleven years younger than myself, was born. To say that is a bit distracting is an understatement.

b. I have a toenail that is turning into white powder and disappearing. Also a disconcerting item.

c. My hair is not turning into white powder and disappearing. Some of it is turning white. Most of it is disappearing.

d. My high school had a separate office for attendance. Did yours? We had a separate principal for that too. He would get on the train and go downtown to bust kids that were skipping school. It wasn't difficult. Gee, I wonder if that youngish-looking person wearing the oversized yellow on black with yellow letter sleeves with the words "Frankfurt Germany" on the back and the eight-inch high 'F' on the front could be a kid skipping school?

So when we were late or missed school, we would have to bring our notes to the Attendance Prinipal's secretary. She kept the best ones in a special file to be guffawed at later. Because my mother thought this was particularly idiotic and beneath her, I had several notes in this file.

Please excuse Chad for missing school yesterday because.

No reason, just because.

Chad was late for school today because while he was delivering his papers this morning, his shoe was under the car.

That one was good, but this one is better:

Please excuse Chad. He's not such a bad kid, really...

posted by Tacoshop | 1:50 AM

Friday, April 26, 2002  

63. Erfurt.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:41 PM

62. ...

I want to write something. I just wish I knew what it was. I'm in a period of not caring about much of anything.

I think I got here by getting riled up over the Seattle School District being forced to stop considering race as a factor when making school assignments. I'm opposed to this decision for all kinds of reasons, the least of which is that the initiative that put it into place was a crock, written largely by interest groups from outside the state. Immediately after this decision I stumbled across a blog where the writer gloated about how the initiative he helped write was upheld.

I've been mad and depressed for days. Mad at him and his ilk and depressed over the fact that I really want to hurt the man. I want to beat him to a bloody fucking pulp. I want to wrap my hands around his throat and make his eyes bulge out and his face turn blue while I slowly crush his larynx.

I suspect that this desire is a bit of an overreaction on my part. I expect that the resultant lethargy I've experienced is a defense to prevent things like that from bothering me so much that I want to hurt anyone.

As far as the affirmative action thing goes, I think that the attempts to treat all races equally under the law is a noble one. While it sucks that we have effectively over the last thirty years been formally discriminating against the white male (a demographic I belong to), this is an instance where two wrongs do make a right. All we do when we 'level the playing field' is bring things closer to the way they were in the bad old days. To be succinct about it, the level playing field is far from level, and the lawsuit itself is proof of that. After all, the parents that brought the lawsuit against the Seattle School District were suing because their kids didn't get into the whitest school, not because anyone was denied enrollment to the blackest.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:11 AM

Wednesday, April 24, 2002  

61. I'm Still Alive

And my Tueday Too is here.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:53 AM

Thursday, April 18, 2002  

60. Miscellany

a. The Pirelli building in Milan was struck by a tourist airplane. Terrorism or accident? Some people have already attributed this to terrorism, but I'm holding out hope it's a freakish accident.

b. This bit is thanks to inspiration from reading Helen: Yesterday I went to the Department of Licensing on 85th and took my number. I was rather surprised at the lack of line -- the facility at 85th is renowned for them. When my number is called, I went up to the woman and asked, "What do I need to do to renew my license?"

Note I did not say, "I need to renew my license".

I waited for her answer hoping that I had suitably stacked karma in my favor for this endeavor by not showering for a couple of days and looking like a complete wreck for any potential photos. So when the lady responded that I needed to pay thirty-five dollars, I was higher than high, absolutely elated, walking on clouds...

"No, wait, let me check something." She peers at the computer screen quizzically and starts typing furiously. I'm busted. I'm lower than low, just waiting for the next line that I know is coming. "I'm sorry, you're going to have to pay your unpaid parking tickets before we can issue you a new license."

Do you remember private-eye shows from the seventies where the protagonist walks out to his car to discover a parking ticket which he quicky retrieves and tosses into his glovebox which contains nothing but unpaid parking tickets? That's what we're talking about here. I got all of them by parking in front of my house.

Except she didn't say what I thought she was going to say. Rather, she said, "No, I'm sorry. I was mistaken. You need to pay twenty-five dollars rather than thirty-five dollars." She gives me a slip of paper. "Sign here, please."

c. Inspired (yet again) by reading jf: What did you do on Sunday? I helped an international organization save two lives.

My girlfriend has signed us up to transit animals that need to be rescued throughout western Washington. Specifically, we signed up for the area from Salem, Oregon, to the Canadian border, west of the Cascade range. We got our inaugural assignment almost immediately. It was to transport a purebred Border Collie from Seattle to an agent of the B.C. Border Collie rescue organization in Blaine (last town before Canada). We hashed out all the meeting details and then found out there would be two dogs -- we were rescuing a puppy too. Sunday came and we were waiting for the handoff at Northgate Mall. We were actually the dogs' third leg of the trip -- their journey started somewhere in Idaho. The lady handing off lent us two crates for the two that were not ours (Bear and his crate were also present) and we loaded all of em up into the van.

The two rescues were really good-looking pups, even with the flourescent paint on their foreheads (shelters mark animals this way to show which are in queue for destruction) and they were both well-mannered, even if the big one didn't like men much. By the time the journey ended he seemed ok with me even though we didn't interact the whole trip except for me trying to reassure them when they would start to whine.

We made Blaine on schedule and handed off to the lady from B.C. I've got some black and white pics of the dogs that I hope will come out well when we have them developed.

posted by Tacoshop | 10:59 AM

Tuesday, April 16, 2002  

59. Itching to Piss Somebody Off...

I've been slack in my duty as an American patriot to piss random people off... oh wait, that's supposed to be a secret, isn't it? Oh well, now you all know the real reason Americans are loud and obnoxious. It's a conspiracy, you see...

In all seriousness, I think the last political opinion I issued here was my 'Ted Rall is an Idiot' bit, so now it's time to bash the right. Afghanistan is quiet and we've stopped shooting our allies there, so that's out. I could say something about the Middle East, but that's too convoluted to even think about. Besides, after looking into the history of the West Bank a bit, I've decided to say 'screw it' and throw in with Israel. Their claim to that piece of land is as valid as anyone else's. So what else...


This is a cheap shot, but hell, I'm bored. I think it's a cheap shot because I'm not particularly certain that the majority of the right cares about or supports our statements and actions in recent months regarding the country in general or the ouster of Chavez in particular. On one side, it was nice to see that we were at least honest about it -- W. and his oil cronies don't like Chavez (but then, I don't either), but the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine does not mean we should support an unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected official. Democracy in Venezuela, despite Chavez' flaws, is much more paramount to American security and interests than oil -- at least at this time. Chavez may be a dork, but he is not sufficiently dorky to rate any Monroe Doctrine interference, at least not yet.

Dumbass W.

posted by Tacoshop | 11:37 AM

58. Tiw's Day Too


posted by Tacoshop | 9:07 AM

Monday, April 15, 2002  

57. Virginia Postrel

Virginia Postrel is an interesting theorist. I hang out on her site to see what brainy Libertarians have to say about things. I'm probably going to pick up her book, The Future and It's Enemies when I get a chance. Her best piece of writing, I would have to say, has to do with the design of everyday items -- such as thermostats. I printed that article out and hung it on my wall in my lab at Microsoft and subsequently at my office at Veritas. Here's a link to it. While I don't always agree with her views on things, the things she says usually makes me think. I'll probably link to her scene page at the bottom of my blog here sometime just to make things easier on me.

posted by Tacoshop | 7:09 PM

56. ...

This is probably going to be long and depressing. You might want to either skip it entirely or get a thirst-quenching beverage, if you've not got one already.

Well, I don't quite know what to say here. I've been trying to write the long post I've promised, but I'm not sure exactly where to start. I'm suffering from too much information that tells me next to nothing. It's written in German and English and is interspersed with Latin -- and I have to be honest with you, the stuff in English doesn't even make sense to me. All I get a sense of is that there could be something here but if there is I certainly don't know what to do about it.

A few days ago, jf mentioned on Testzone her penchant for exploring abandoned buildings. I confessed a similar desire, exploring buildings undergoing renovations. It's something I still do if I can get away with it, but the most recent time was this time two years ago when the company I was working for was moving into the second floor of the building we were already in. It was fun because the engineering staff was moving from cubicles into their own offices and I was quite proud of my office. While it was an interior office, it was the third largest on that floor and the (I think) fifth largest at the site. I still had some cachet there then.

I could explore those offices because I belonged there. But when I was a teenager in Frankfurt, I used to do the same thing, even if it required a little B & E or second-story work to do it.

Most of the larger military communities overseas are not one large monolithic base but rather small installations scattered throughout an area and lumped together by geographic concern. Today, the best example of this that I can think of is the Marine Corps in Japan where one entity, Camp Butler, is actually made up of small installations scattered throughout the country. The Frankfurt Military Community was in actuality a series of postage-stamp size installations, individual buildings and housing areas throughout the city. The largest parcel of land in the Frankfurt MilCom was Platen Housing, a place I went to once and never returned to because it's sheer vastness in relation to anything else in the military community absolutely frightened me, although I (of course) wouldn't have admitted it at the time.

Platen was within walking distance of Von Steuben and Huegel housing. Living there had it's advantages; near the Commissary and PX, the high school and the nucleus of the milcom. I lived in Edwards Housing which was not quite the hinterlands. Although I was in Frankfurt still, you could walk out the front door of my building, face left and see farms and a rather unobstructed view of the Taunus Mountains (more like the 'Taunus Really-Big-Hills, but that's another story).

Shortly after our arrival, we found out that they were going to renovate all the military housing in Frankfurt. This, of course, was an exciting thing as the last time the housing had to have been renovated had to be before 1977, the last time we were there. And it looked old in '77.

The plan for our half of the housing area was that three buildings would be under renovation at any one time. I suppose I should describe the buildings a bit. Each building had twenty-one apartments across three stairwells. The center stairwell had eight apartments while the other two stairwells had either six or seven, depending on which building it was. My stairwell had six. Of those twenty-one apartments per building, eightteen were described as 'permanent housing'. The other three were of course then 'temporary housing'. Temps were kind of interesting -- the one temp unit that was not in the center stairwell was a three-bedroom unit, the other two (and I am not making this up) were eight bedrooms apiece. How many apartments have you seen that had a back door?

Each building had a basement. Each basement contained storage rooms for each permanent residence, plus two laundry rooms. Off of each laundry room was a drying room where you could drip-dry clothes out of the elements. Next to the drying rooms were doors leading to the back of the building. The basements were not completely underground and the laundry rooms had these tiny windows covered with wire mesh or grating to prevent break-ins.

Well, as you can guess, I was pretty familiar with how the buildings were laid out. I was going to tell you all the sneaky things I did to break in to the buildings that were under renovation at any given time but I've had an epiphany (think opsec) and I've decided that information does not really need to see the light of day. Suffice to say, I was damned good at it.

My two favorite times to snoop was right after they had torn everything out and right after they had finished everything. When I say they tore everything out, I mean everything. I could walk unimpeded -- because there were no interior walls anymore -- all they way from A stairwell on one side of the building to C stairwell on the other. I never did this above the first floor because of the chance that I could fall into an unseen hole, lurking there in the darkness waiting to catch an unauthorized interloper like me. I always explored early in the morning without a flashlight (because I might have been seen, and I really did not need to get caught) and they even removed the stairwell ballustrade so if I was not where I thought I was it would have been really easy to break my neck.

And after the apartments were done, everything was so new and clean! And the new house smell was intoxicating. Sitting in an apartment listening to the echo was an exhilarating feeling. We were going to be moving into apartments just like this! It was quite an odd thrill.

We were the third building to move into the newly remodeled apartments. I think that was 1985, but it may have been the beginning of 1986, an otherwise unpleasant time in Frankfurt. Being bombed was always at the forefront of people's minds then. It was quite amazing to watch my brother's and girlfriend's reaction to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, because they felt so much more emotion than I did. My theory is that living in mid-eighties Frankfurt made gave me some desensitization towards that tragedy. That is not to say I felt nothing, but I certainly didn't feel what my brother did.

That's about the same time that my mother went nuts. Due to everything else and compounded with undue stress at work, she suffered from extreme paranoia. She's still a bit bonkers. The mid-eighties marked a big change for me too -- the quiet reserved wallflower of a person I was in 1984 was completely obliterated and replaced by the gregarious, loud and sometimes overbearing person I've become. My high school theatre troop was undoubtedly the catalyst for this change. I also suffered some minor nagging health problems too. In 1986, my hair started to fall out, and once or twice I was able to run my hand through my hair and wind up holding a good chunk of it when I pulled my hand away from my head. I was chronically under the weather, all the way until I enlisted and left Frankfurt in 1990. Not real sick mind you, but Actifed was my best friend, because otherwise I would never get rid of the sneezyness or running nose.

So there are obviously a lot of memories attached to these buildings. When I went looking on the web for pictures of Edwards Housing, I didn't find any. I did find what happened to the buildings I had lived in, however. In 1995, after we handed all the land back to the Germans, the apartments were rented out. This was a great thing for many families in the Frankfurt area who were able to afford decent apartments at moderate prices (and even then, the one price quote I've seen tells me that the one-bedroom apartments in Frankfurt rent for double or triple what they do in a similar neighborhood in Seattle).

In 1996, the new residents of these apartments started getting sick. The ailments that I found specific mention were asthma, headaches and something that did not translate well. Some of them had the bright idea to have their house checked for pollutants. They found elevated levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (a suspected carcinogen and mutogen), DDT, Lindane, and PCBs. If you're not familiar with any of these, let me spell out what these are.

~Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons -- everything I've seen on the net that refers to this tells me that there are over 200 varieties of PAH, they are the result of incomplete burning of organic matter, and that PAH (in the form of Benzo [a]pyrene) is found in cigarette smoke. At least one internet site refers to this as a tumor-initiator. Dioxin is also a PAH, and at least one type of dioxin is the most poisonous synthetic substance known. Some PAH's can combine with DNA and cause genetic mutations. Exposure can supress the immune system.

~DDT is an organochlorine pesticide. It is highly effective at killing bugs, but it also appears to be highly effective killing other species too. One of the reasons it's very effective is that it does not break down easily. In humans, DDT is stored in fatty tissue and some believe that if the conditions are right for it a person can poison themselves simply by going on a crash diet and burning off their excess fat. DDT is widely regarded in Western populaces to be the worst thing ever, but recent studies have discredited some (not all) of the cancer risks associated with DDT. DDT also seems to be an immunosuppressant. DDT has been banned in the US and Europe since the 1970's, I believe.

~Lindane is an organochlorine pesticide used to kill headlice. It used to have a signifigantly greater role, but concerns about it being a carcinogen has diminished its use. Symptoms of acute Lindane poisoning include conjunctivitis, nausea, restlessness, headache, dizziness, and vomiting with muscle tremors, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Severe poisoning symptoms include convulsions, seizures, coma and death. Long-term exposure to Lindane and other organochlorines can result in apathy, headache, uncontrolled mood swings, depression, confusion, and irritability.

~PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a class of chemicals that are found in a lot of things like electrical equipment, batteries, coolants, lubricants and pesticides. They're blamed for liver damage in acute cases of PCB poisoning and chemically induced acne. PCB's have been linked to "neural and developmental changes, lower psychomotor scores, short-term memory and spatial learning effects, and long-term effects on intellectual function."

So now I'm left wondering if any, many or some of the problems that I've had throughout my life have had something to do with the stuff that were in the housing areas overseas. I don't want to self-diagnose, but on the other hand this is kind of hard to ignore. I have no idea where to begin trying to find out any of this stuff or even if I can be reliably tested for poisoning of any of these or other chemicals.

The Germans living in the housing areas have fought every step of the way with the company that now owns the buildings trying to get them to admit that their environmental testing was inadequate before they allowed the buildings to be occupied. It seems they've had some success, although it's really hard for me to decipher exactly what that is. It sounds like they're getting the floors replaced as well as the built-in cabinetry and some tax relief.

Meanwhile, the US government is renovating at least some of the housing units that it still has left in Germany. I wonder how much of the decision to renovate was because of the problems uncovered by the German tenants of the buildings we handed back and if they knew or suspected anything, did they just decide it was too hard to track the thousands upon thousands of former tenants down to notify them something might be amiss?

posted by Tacoshop | 9:09 AM

Friday, April 12, 2002  

55. Friday Five.

My Five is here.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:45 AM

Tuesday, April 09, 2002  

54. Tuesday Too

My Tuesday Too is up here.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:06 AM

Monday, April 08, 2002  

53. Confessions of a Crummy Web Designer

Anand and I have been trading compliments on web design. Judging by the compliments left on Nidhi’s and my own blogs, I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to live this down if it goes much further.

This blog is done on a modified design from Pyra Labs. I simply took their most basic design and modified it. My modification consisted of adding a whole two tags: tt at the very beginning and /tt at the very end.

I’m gonna be posting a bit more sporadic than usual. Because of something jf and I were talking about, I may have something big to blog. I’m doing some investigation into it, we’ll see if anything pans from it.

posted by Tacoshop | 11:35 PM

52. Monday Mission.

My answers to today's mission are here.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:57 AM

51. Meet Anand.

I've added a link for it is my life at the bottom. Anand is a Bangalore high-tech worker with some interesting ideas on site design. He also has some interesting writings, and I heartily encourage you to go through his archives.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:34 AM

50. Just Doing It For Themselves

As many of the people that regularly take time from their busy schedules to read this know, I used to be a Marine. In 1995, I was stationed on Okinawa and I worked for a fellow named Jerry Engelhaupt. Jerry said something I shall never forget, “Corporate America is going to get hold of the Internet and turn it into shit. Absolute shit – you can see it, it’s happening already!” He said this with a look of disgust that was not frequently present on his long, thin face.

Specifically, Jerry mourned the loss of the human aspect of the net. The net he craved to return to was one where human interaction was not the exception but the norm. Where the people on the net knew something about someone else that they had never met and were a genuine community. While this is something that has never gone away from the net’s existence, it is something that has completely taken a backseat to commercialism. I don’t think that commercialism is bad, per se, but there is such a thing as too much, as we’ve seen within the last few years.

Jerry didn’t live long enough to see the dotcom bust, as he died of lung cancer in 1998 (which I think I mentioned on my old blog). I don’t have the foggiest idea if there’s an afterlife. If there is, I’m thinking he was probably rather amused by the economic downturn of this spate of fake companies and the companies that pandered to them at the hands of the monster that the net became.

In the late nineties, much ado was made of the high-tech gender gap. Because of the historical whatevers that have led to the glass-ceiling in corporate America computer equipment, high-tech gadgetry and whatnot, -- including most anything on the Internet -- was not geared to make women comfortable or welcome or in many cases feel like they should even be customers.

It’s kind of the curse of the (usually) white American high-tech executive, I figure. He can’t figure out what makes women tick – probably not even his wife and/or daughter, so he has no idea how to tap the vast untapped market of women that are potential consumers of his product. Because of the dominance men have had in the high-tech arenas from their inception onward, most of the people he deals with daily are white men, his boss is a white man, and his engineers are white men. Typically he has seen women only in the non-domestic roles of marketing, administration, project management and technical writing – if he has seen any in those last two fields at all. But most of all, because he’s a him, and there’s so many clones of him, everything is geared towards him – even down to the columns the pundits of his industry spew.

Which gets me to my point. Earlier on my blog here, I mentioned Alex Beam and his blathering in a Bostonian accent about blogging. Over on a small victory, Michele posted a link to John Dvorak’s latest piece of… work, for lack of a better word. Older white men, writing columns on technology whose target audience is older white men. Should it come as a surprise that they do not have a clue about weblogging? Granted, Beam’s not necessarily a tech writer, but his dismissive position on weblogs is certainly unsurprising.

Blogging is not white male territory. When I first started exploring blogging, I noticed that there was a distinct absence of something…men. To put it another way, when I bounced the ideas for this piece off of my brother, he asked me, “What, how many men in the world actually blog? Something like three – you, Andrew Sullivan and that fruitcake from Star Trek.” Such esteemed company, but he has a point. When I first started looking at blogs, I discovered the Blogs By Women webring. I stopped and asked myself, “Is there any other kind?”

So this morning, because of the two articles I’ve mentioned but also out of curiosity, I hopped on BlogSnob for a huge trip across fifty weblogs. I had wanted to do one hundred, but quite frankly after fifty my eyes were crossing. I made a little demographic survey and I had annotated that there were thirty-nine females to twenty-five males represented. I was rather surprised at the number of men represented, as I had anticipated it to be much lower. It seems significant to note that many of the men represented blogged with other men (and sometimes women) on the same page (group blogs are, of course the reason I had fourteen more people than I should).

Still, blogs are overwhelmingly the bailiwick of the fairer sex. It should be noteworthy that of all the things the Internet has to offer, women (young women in particular) have embraced personal electronic publishing in such a big way. Dvorak (Beam as well, if I recall correctly) raised concerns that this medium can be corrupted by the great marketing machine. I’ve already discovered an instance of this, albeit in a mild, non-surreptitious kind of way. I suspect if a blog is ever found out to be a clandestine advertisement, it will grossly backfire on the manufacturer of the product.

The irony, of course, is that Dvorak’s piece appeared on ZDNet’s Talkback site, which in this case acts like a corporate weblog and includes the ability to comment on the piece issued by their columnists. Some respondents whole-heartedly agreed with Dvorak, but most did not. From what I saw, none of his supporters were female, although many insisted that his opinion piece was obviously tongue-in-cheek. I tend to disagree, because this is the second time in two months he’s bashed weblogging. Further, it did not seem tongue-in-cheek to many of the people posting contrasting opinions, such as the CEO of Pyra Labs. Unless of course I completely missed something and all of the people that were filing posts against his piece were simply being tongue-in-cheek as well.

So unless reality has indeed gone all Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on me (after what I’ve posted in the past here, some of you may feel that may have indeed happened, but I digress), Dvorak and Beam simply do not get why blogging works and why people blog. It is somewhat simplistic but I think that men blog to show how clever they can be about contemporary issues (such as this very article you’re reading) and women blog because they like to talk about and share pieces of themselves. Yes, this is not a rule set in stone, but I think this is the trend. It seems to be that all Dvorak, Beam and their ilk really need to know is that bloggers predominantly are women, and they’re just doing it for themselves.

posted by Tacoshop | 12:52 AM

Sunday, April 07, 2002  

49. Thor.

Inspired by one of Gina's posts at netgrrl.org.

Back when my girlfriend had snakes, we wound up with all kinds of new pets because either Thor wasn't hungry enough to eat them all and she occasionally developed an attachment to the snake food.

Except for one.

When we couldn't get mice for Thor, her ball python, we would settle for baby rats if it had been awhile since Thor had last fed. This one particular time it had been months since we could find mice for Thor and he was looking kinda thin. We bought a momma rat that was about to have babies. She gave birth a few days later, we raised the rats to a decent size, and Thor ate the whole lot of em.

The problem was he wasn't hungry enough to eat the momma rat, and we had no place to keep her, other than with Thor. Well, when he got hungry again (that would be about a month) all that would be settled.

After a week, the rat decided she'd had enough of Thor. I came home to find poor Thor beaten bloody by the rat. The poor snake had gyrated so violently within his enclosure he knocked it off of the table it was on. He was covered in scars for the rest of his life, because he could not kill in defense or anger, only out of necessity.

Thor was a good snake. I miss him (he died a few years ago, of bad food -- parasites in the mice).

I dropped the rat into the den of the largest feral cat in the neighborhood -- he lived in the shrubs in front of my parking space, and I knew him well. He was heavy enough to leave a dent in my car's hood. I expect that rat made a nice new feline friend that night.

posted by Tacoshop | 9:39 AM

Friday, April 05, 2002  

48. Frankfurt

I have a book that I'm transcribing into electronic form. It was written by the government (no copyright issues, yay!) in Occupation-era Frankfurt ('46 I'm guessing). Here's a link to my piecemeal efforts.

posted by Tacoshop | 6:10 PM

Thursday, April 04, 2002  

47. Finally...

Blogger finally woke up and allowed me to publish my Friday Five here.

posted by Tacoshop | 10:59 PM

46. Another Animal In the Road

This time, it was a real animal, I'm quite sure of it. My brother saw it too. Last night, about ten blocks west on the same road I had that dog absolutely vanish on me a few days ago, a mostly-white calico darted across three lanes of traffic in front of my van. I was going about forty and the cat was travelling from my left to my right -- I was in the rightmost lane. I first really noticed the cat when it was more or less about four feet in front of the passenger wheel of my 1995 Ford Econoline. The cat, I'm guessing, weighed about ten pounds; the van weighs just shy of three standard tons.

I love my van. I love my van a great deal. When I saw that I was about to run over the poor moggie, I violently swerved into oncoming traffic and back again into my own lane. I missed both the poor moggie and the Honda coming the other way - although I would not be surprised if the driver of the Honda wet herself. I'm lucky for not running over either a cat or a Honda; a cat is lucky that it didn't get run over, and a Honda driver is lucky she didn't get run over.

If you have a cat, please remember it is far better for your moggie to be fat then flat. Please think before you let your beloved cat outside - especially if you live near a busy street.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:47 PM

45. Pretending to the Throne of the Great Thinker -or- Forgive Me, This May Be Dull

Say, are you anti-War on Terrorism? If so, are you fed up with people like me (friends of yours maybe) that are stubborn, hard-headed and decidedly pro-WoT, no matter how badly it's run? Maybe you can get those people to read this. If all of your arguments have failed against your friends, maybe that one will work. It is, in my mind, the best-reasoned article I've read yet against the war, as we have defined it.

You may wonder why I would post such a link if I am indeed pro-WoT. I think intelligent discussion is nice and is far more beneficial to the world at large than the preaching that comes from being over-idealistic and unrealistic -- as it seems the loudest pundits of any social conflict are want to be.

But, and you may guess this by reading the article, I am much more enamored with it because of the brief sociology lesson it gives about America -- if a tad on the whitewashed side. I've been telling people for years that the US effectively has the oldest government in the world and have been derided for that comment each and every time I've uttered it.

posted by Tacoshop | 6:05 AM

Wednesday, April 03, 2002  

44. Professionals of the World, Unite!

Are you a 'Professional'? Supposedly, I am. Because of this, I get this email a lot:

This is a very simple test..just four simple questions.

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will
tell you whether you are qualified to be a "professional."

Scroll down for each answer. The questions are NOT that

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
A: The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator put in
the giraffe and close the door.

This question tests whether you tend to do simple
things in an overly complicated way.

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
A: Open the refrigerator put in the elephant and close
the refrigerator. NOPE, Wrong Answer!!!!!!!

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the
giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

This tests your ability to think through the repercussions
of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All
the animals attend except one. Which animal does not

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the

This tests your memory. OK, even if you did not answer
the first three questions correctly, you still have one
more chance to show your true abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by

How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You swim across. All the crocodiles are
attending the Animal Meeting.

This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.
According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around
90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong.
But many preschoolers got several correct answers.
Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves
the theory that most professionals have the brains of a
four year old.

Send this out to frustrate all of your "smart" friends.

My mother is the most recent culprit of this. I responded to her that given the current state of affairs at the Enron Corporation, the Arthur Andersen accounting firm and it's subsidiary, Andersen Consulting, it is hardly surprising that the people running these corporations live in a fantasy world that:
a.) has refrigerators large enough to contain giraffes or elephants,
b.) does not have refrigerators large enough to contain both giraffes and elephants,
c.) an animated character from a Disney feature film really does exist and holds sway over the world's population of animals,
d.) possesses only one way to cross a river.

So I feel pretty smug about this. A little petty maybe, but definitely smug. Besides, how you cross the river is unimportant. That meeting the Lion King called was about retribution against you for locking that elephant in the fridge and leaving him there.

posted by Tacoshop | 7:13 AM

Tuesday, April 02, 2002  

43. Extra! Extra! Bostonian Named Beam Blathers 'Bout Blogs!

Read all about it!

(I'm going to be chuckling to myself about this all damn day...)

posted by Tacoshop | 6:24 AM

42. Third Day of the Week, Additionally.

My Tuesday Too is up here. jf's Dotcomments seem to be not working though, so I can't prove it by her! LOL

posted by Tacoshop | 5:23 AM

41. Meet Nidhi

I had planned to add Nidhi's blog to my list of blogs at the bottom of the page earlier, but in typical Chad fashion, completely forgot. Nidhi, from what I gather, lives somewhere near the Indian West Coast -- I gather this because she mentioned the Mumbai (we silly Americans think of that as Bombay) - Pune (two syllables in Pune, btw) highway. Nidhi's blog is a reinforcement for me that when I think of someone as being Indian, that's really only half the story. In Nidhi's case, she's Marwari -- but I honestly know so little about India, I don't know what else she really could be.

I've had a sneaky suspicion for some time that one of the many reasons people view Americans with such distaste because these are the kinds of things that we don't bother to learn about other cultures. My experience has been that the contrasts that exist in people that hail from any two places in America are very subtle when compared to the contrasts of people that hail from Okinawa Prefecture and Tokyo; Munich and Frankfurt; London and Cardiff. Much is written about the average American that cares little for events that happen elsewhere, but I think that even the more other-culturally enlightened Americans (of which I hope I'm a part) still tend to view these people as being 'Japanese', 'German' and 'Confusing'. (The 'Confusing' bit is not meant to be an insult, but I suspect that if you were to tell an American you hailed from Cardiff, UK, you'd be assigned to their mental 'Brit' bucket. Can someone tell me, is there an adjective that adequately describes being from any part of the UK? I sure would like to know -- this has been bothering me for years and I've not wanted to show my ignorance before.)

Anyway, I've kind of gotten far afield here. Go to Nidhi's blog, and maybe get an insight to things you may never have suspected ever existed. India is the world's largest democracy, and I know that I for one, didn't learn enough about it in school.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:28 AM

40. Traveller's Alert

Found this piece in my inbox today...

You may need to register at the Trib to see it.

posted by Tacoshop | 3:36 AM

Monday, April 01, 2002  

39b. Take Two
I don't know how my previous post got so borked, here's my vodka link.

posted by Tacoshop | 10:35 PM

39. Chad Likes Vodak -- er, Vodka

Because Jo-Ann asked, posted by Tacoshop | 7:07 PM


38. Oh, dear...

So, who all do I owe apologies to?

posted by Tacoshop | 3:03 PM

37. Yay!

Ignore post 35, the person I was concerned about is OK!

Woo! I'm a happy drunk now!

(God, I'm glad I don't see ghost dogs often...)

posted by Tacoshop | 6:02 AM

36. Hey, I like this!

But you're going to need to register to the New York Times to see it. This is a good article. But, on the other hand, I am really really drunk.

Have you ever watched PetsBurgh USA? I have to tell you, as intoxicated as I am, I want this woman. She hosts it, you see?

Never blog drunk.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:52 AM

35. Being Stupid, Again
You know, the problems with bloggers whose blogs I read is that I become concerned with blogs that all of a sudden have a bad post on them. I've been worried about the physical health of a blogger in the past (the blogger was ok, but I'm not sure I can ever talk to that person again after intruding myself into that episode) but now I'm worried about another. Her last post, in light of the complete absence of anything following it, was really bad. I sure hope she posts soon. I really hope I'm just being stupid about this, like that other time.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:30 AM

34. Tales (Tails?) of the Bizarre -or- As If I Needed More Proof...

It was 4:40 AM when I started to write this. It is signifigantly later now, since IE crashed and I lost what I wrote. If this story seems somewhat incoherent, you'll have to forgive me as I am not quite sober...

So at 4 AM, I was restless. I decided to get some fresh air, and for this reason decided that I should replenish our soda pop supply. I gathered most of the pennies that I could find and went to QFC to make a CoinStar run. I netted $2.91, with which I purchased a six of diet generic lemon lime pop and a two liter of Lemony Fresh Diet Coke and then proceeded back to my place of residence. My humble abode, as it were.

The road between my house and QFC is mostly straight, although there is a bend just after it crosses underneath Aurora Avenue, also known as Washington Highway 99. Before I got to this bend, however, I got to a dog. It was a scared little dog and looked like an Italian Greyhound to me. It was wandering the empty streets of Seattle at 4AM and without a collar. I decided that I was going to stop and grab the dog and see if I could... well, do something. If you look on the rightmost picture here, you'll see where I stopped. The nose of the van was almost under the overpass in the second of the three pics on that site. I had pulled up even with the dog. The only problem is that when I got out of the van, there was no dog! And as you can see for yourself there was really no place for the dog to hide.

I searched a good chunk of Wallingford and Fremont for that dog.

Am I really so nuts that my mind made up a dog running through the streets of Seattle?

posted by Tacoshop | 5:24 AM

33. Yet Another By-Product of W's ANWR Policy


If drilling is allowed in the ANWR, there will be a large amount of Dihydrogen Monoxide created as a by-product. Click on the link to learn more about this clearless, odorless liquid that is a potental killer of both humans and wildlife. Fight the power!

posted by Tacoshop | 1:44 AM