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08:05, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT): Time for a Benjy story


15:28, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT): Finished uploading the tax documents. Taking a break now and skimming some vinyl, hoping that the more relaxing work will help relieve the headache I feel coming on.


22:11, 24 Sep 2005 (EDT): Uploading images of tax documents for most of the day. Spent a little time at the end of the day tidying up the accountings and cross-referencing a few things, e.g. images of checks marked emergency loan.


09:05, 23 Sep 2005 (EDT): Revised draft of my résumé. Spent a certain amount of time patching the commonPrint.css so it would look decent when printed.

11:22, 23 Sep 2005 (EDT): Took some pictures of the stump of the oak tree being removed from #116 up the street. The rings were rather faint, unfortunately, so it may be rather difficult to determine how many years of history were destroyed for no readily apparent reason, but I did get a couple of shots with a tape-measure so we know how big the tree was. Will put up the pics when time permits.


07:27, 22 Sep 2005 (EDT): I processed and uploaded a number of tax documents yesterday; now I need to add them to this, and then scan and process the rest of the documents. Also scanned the photos, recovered from the film-camera, which Livia and Anna took in England last year; haven't processed them yet.

21:32, 22 Sep 2005 (EDT): ...and now it's time for another Benjamin story... (ok, actually that was early in the morning, but I didn't get around to saving this page until the end of the day, so that's the timestamp it got. Feh.)


07:27, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT): Rebuilding "Detailed Sales Accounting" as requested by lawyer.


07:42, 19 Sep 2005 (EDT): Just finished processing the tax forms I found yesterday, for 2001 and 2002. Now trying to work out the best way to transmit them to the lawyers. I tried embedding one in a Word doc, but the resulting file may be too huge and/or unwieldy to be practical. I'll also be uploading them to the wiki, but I don't know if the results will be suitable for lawyerish uses.

But arr, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and curs't be ye scum who have not yet th' knowin' of this day! Shiver me fridge and bloww me airr conditionarrr, lads, there be scuppernongs on the mizzenmast an' a stiff sea nor'easterr 'cross me showerr currtain, arrrrr! <falls over backwards>


08:41, 18 Sep 2005 (EDT): Processing the last of the Dan Fogelberg LPs I skimmed yesterday; a couple of Joni Mitchell LPs come next (Clouds and The Hissing of Summer Lawns -- I never had any Joni records when growing up, but since I'm recognizing so much of her stuff I can only think that WQDR must have played quite a lot of it, and I'm finding that I'm appreciating it a lot more now).

Also working on collecting documents for the lawyer, when the computer is busy processing.

Oh, and I spent most of yesterday tinkering with stylesheets so I could type business correspondence into the wiki and print it directly from there, and it would come out looking reasonable. Do a print preview (with a modern browser – I've only tested it with FireFox, so I don't know how it will look in MSIE) of this page to see what I mean.


06:43, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT): Yet another Benjy story


18:45, 16 Sep 2005 (EDT) Whee, fun things arrived in the mail today. Been feeling profoundly unmotivated to write in general; still haven't done anything with the aforementioned follow-up article. Shipped out a couple of in-stock orders this afternoon, whoop. My lawyer wants me to get some information to her by next Wednesday, and I feel compelled to go along even though it seems profoundly irrelevant to me and she hasn't answered any of the questions in the email which I originally sent her about a month ago so I can only guess how this profoundly irrelevant paperchase fits in with our goal of totally pwning the opposition.


08:28, 11 Sep 2005 (EDT): A new Benjamin story... and yeah, for some reason I totally haven't felt like posting, so I decided to give it a rest. It's probably because I've been posting extensively in Issuepedia, and I still haven't had a chance to write more than the intro paragraph for my follow-up article on red vs. blue. Bleh.


10:07, 7 Sep 2005 (EDT): Just wrote Web Voting Booth. Must pester Tenebram for thoughts.


17:39, 6 Sep 2005 (EDT): Thoughts on the Red-Blue Divide (Issuepedia)

18:06, 6 Sep 2005 (EDT): A couple of questions which occurred to me after reading this: where is it written that you can only be a member of one political party? Where is it written that a political party must require its members not to join another party? Within the answers to these questions might lie the solution to the stupid, broken Two-Party System.


08:09, 5 Sep 2005 (EDT): Another Benjy story

09:56, 5 Sep 2005 (EDT): Memo to myself: do the dumb things I gotta do. Touch the puppet head. Write something for Issuepedia about the "concept of self as global leader-in-exile", and apologize to Islam for the Crusades (see [1]). Put psychoanalyst on danger money... oh, wait, haven't got a psychoanalyst. (That's ok; haven't got money either.)

17:18, 5 Sep 2005 (EDT): Okay, so I've been spending way too much time today reading articles on David Brin's web site (and things they link to, and the sites which host those things...), and now I must make another comment which probably won't quite make sense until I write it out at greater length: Brin says that we far too easily assume that everyone else is a mindless sheep, and we alone see clearly. This naturally sparked the question of why it often seems that way (why, for instance, here in the South -- both Durham and Athens, my two data points of parental experience with public schools -- does it seem like black parents in the public school system overwhelmingly tend to want their kids to be drilled mercilessly, while the white parents want more room for individual differences in the way kids learn, teaching practical skills rather than to-the-test, etc. This may not be the best example, but it's the one which came to mind.) -- and then what suggested itself to me was that we are all relative "experts" in certain areas and relatively ignorant in others, and in any area of decision-making where you rea relatively ignorant, your actions might seem sheeplike to someone who has been paying attention to the various issues in that area.

After a little more thinking, I refined this to "maybe there are different sets of knowledge on the same issue which come into play for different groups of people, and for a group which is steeped in one set of knowledge, the other group's reactions may seem sheeplike. Lacking the knowledge behind the other group's choices, their behavior seems both irrational and strangely cohesive, which is a pretty good definition of sheeplike." Which kind of seems obvious, when put that way. So maybe I just took the long way around to get back to familiar territory.

18:37, 5 Sep 2005 (EDT): ...and this asks a question to which I had already worked out my own answer, i.e. that expressions along the general form of "righteous indignation" are self-reinforcing because they help to maintain certain kinds of Power Structure. Brin's theory definitely deserves examination; it might even be that a natural reinforcing brain-chemical response evolved because of such behavior's beneficial effects to the individual (if not to society).


07:28, 4 Sep 2005 (EDT): Laboriously checking through about a hundred possibly-recovered directories checking to see if they contain anything useful. I may end up attempting to write my own drive-recovery app.


16:38, 3 Sep 2005 (EDT): Chopping onions, attempting to recover files from a messed-up hard drive, interceding between a battling 6yo and 8yo... :-P


07:50, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT): Requiem for New Orleans:

  • "In the Heart of the Night", by Poco
  • "Shattered Visions", by Brides of Jesus (transplanted New Orleans funk band) (MP3 for a limited time)
  • "New Orleans Ladies", by LeRoux (MP3 of live acoustic performance on the late lamented WQDR Rock)

11:57, 2 Sep 2005 (EDT): Ok, so two days ago (the day Katrina hit), we begin to hear about rising gas prices, so I take the Nissan out to Costco to fill up, in case there are shortages by the time the minivan needs a tank. However, I can't get my check card to work (Costo doesn't do credit cards except Amex, but they do take check cards -- which means you need the PIN). So I give up and go home.

Next day, we happen to be in the bank, so I have them reset the PIN to the same number as the other card, which is easier to remember. On the way out of the bank, I suddenly figure it out -- I had the PINs reversed; I was trying to use my personal card's PIN on my business card. So I have just now accomplished exactly nothing, except to have the bank send me an extra card I don't need about 2 months before they would have sent me a new card anyway. (Oops.)

Then today, in the face of continuing news of gas shortages and spiking prices, I decide I really had better get that tank filled, just in case (thus putting myself at the end of a long string of fellow gas-hoarders, I'm sure), so we drive the Nissan over to Costco -- to find that they have no gas of any kind. (Oops)

So we stop off at a Citgo station on the way, the only place we'd seen all morning that had gas under $3.29 (which seemed to be pretty universal, even at places that usually charge more; this one Citgo was charging $3.19). Being a bit out of practice at tanking up at non-Costco pumps, I pull in on the wrong side. (Oops.)

The sign says they're requiring pre-payment due to a large number of drive-offs, so I go in and give them my Citgo card, and then come back out to the pump. I stick the pump in the gas tank and squeeze the trigger -- nothing happens. Then I suddenly remember you generally have to turn the pump on at these non-pay-at-pump places, so I go around to turn on the pump; on the way there, I stumble and knock the hose over a bit, and the nozzle springs out of the gas tank filler hole, spraying a few teaspoons of (increasingly precious) gasoline on the pavement as it does so. (Oops.)

I stick the nozzle back in more firmly, switch the pump on, and it starts pumping. And then I notice that the gas I'm paying for is $3.39/gallon, not $3.19... and then I notice that the pump says "PREMIUM" on it. (Oops.)

I point this out to Harena, who so *very* wittily chimes in "well, guess there's no sense in crying over spilled gas!". About 3 seconds later, gas begins pouring out of the gas tank. (Insert rimshot here.) Apparently the cutoff-sensors at Costco deal with the pump nozzle being at a funny angle a lot better than these ones do -- and this one was, indeed, at a funny angle, because was stretching over from the other side of the car, because I had parked with the tank on the wrong side. (Oops.)

On the bright side, I just now looked at the sales slip, and for some unknown reason they actually only charged me $3.19/gallon. Maybe it wasn't really premium? (I could imagine that they might have decided to fill all their tanks with Regular, anticipating a shortage. That would seem like the kind of public-spirited thing which the lowest-priced gas station in town just might do; $deity knows they probably could have stocked up with premium, overcharged for it, and made out like bandits. But the pump clearly thought it was charging me $3.39/gallon.)

(P.S. "$deity" was copied from today's Schlock Mercenary musings and is a variable used to represent the deity of your choice.)


07:22, 1 Sep 2005 (EDT): I'm being told a story.