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Where's Halloween, B?

I took the bus to work yesterday, and in the afternoon I took the #163 from work that I normally take. Just before leaving the office, an email thread was developing among friends about a group meeting for a drink. I had to get moving to catch my bus, to make it anywhere on time. So I continued my correspondence from the bus on my phone. It was decided that we'd meet at Charlie Hooper's in Brookside, which was really easy for me. As the bar is within about twenty feet of one of the stops for the bus I was riding, I was the first one there by at least a half an hour.

I was amazed by the crowds in Brookside. It was 5:15pm on Halloween afternoon, and costumed children were out in droves. I guess I should have expected the trick-or-treat crowds, but I hadn't. Two things struck me as strange about the crowds. First, the sun was still lingering in the sky. Darkness wasn't even possible with squinted eyes, and what appeared to be the bulk of the trick-or-treating appeared to be happening then. These kids looked like they'd be done with their annual candy sojourn by dinner. What happened to Halloween?

I don't have much of a memory of this, but I can only assume that at least when we were really little, we were accompanied by one of both of our parents, or a neighborly equivalent, as we giddily held pillowcases toward our eager neighbors for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But when I was older, but still young enough not to draw inquisitive looks for trick-or-treating, my brother, sister, and a couple neighbor kids would take the neighborhood on our own, the oldest of us being no more than ten or eleven. Many kids of this age were out and about in Brookside yesterday, and they all had adults in tow.

Maybe I just grew up in another town, but I don't think that's it. I think I just grew up in another time.

Anyway, I grabbed a seat at a comfortable low table, ordered a 90 Shilling, a bowl of chili, and a basket of waffle-cut fries. I had completed my first glass of beer, eaten my dinner, and read a chapter by the time Terra walked up. We sat and talked until Erp arrived. Matt joined us for a while, and an all-around nice time was had. I was home by 9pm.

8:22 AM, Nov 1, 2006

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More Comments

I just finished rewriting a big part of the backend of this site. You should see little difference, though it might be a little faster. I don't know. The principal difference you should definitely see is that there are now over a thousand comments indexed on the comments page. My little reformat job in the background succeeded in digging up the old comments. Enjoy.

Also, stop bothering me about the party pictures. They'll be ready when I'm done.

3:28 PM, Nov 2, 2006

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Comments Feed

It's something I've wanted for a while. I don't know about you, but frankly, I don't care. You can access the new xml feed for comments at http://bahua.com/replies.xml, or you can grab it when it's automatically detected when you load the comments page. If you want to use it, feel free. I wanted it, so I wrote it. Enjoy.

5:07 PM, Nov 2, 2006

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And At The Top We Fly

Yesterday was a good day. I was able to sleep until almost 8am. I got to work and got a lot done, and even had enough time to finish my personal project of reformatting the backend of bahua dot com. I rolled out the change, and even implemented a new feature or two. I had an easy drive home, because of the new route I found. It involves a street that I won't reveal to you scumbags that I will henceforth refer to as CHAMP Street. It's named as such by me, because it works like a frigging CHAMP, as opposed to Broadway, which has taken to serving as a slightly mobile parking lot as of late.

Anyway, I got home, made some dinner, and got dressed for the evening. I have been selectively picking clothes from the hamper full of clean clothes and from the dryer. Last night, I pulled a pair of boxers from the dryer, and found a twenty dollar bill crumpled up in the lint trap. Score!

I went outside to catch the bus at about 6:38pm, and walked a block to a spot where I thought the 51 had been rerouted in these heady, construction-rich times. I was right. It rolled up four minutes after I got to the stop, and at 6:58, it dropped me off exactly across the street from my destination: Fitz's Blarney Stone. Fitz's is a great bar. Kansas City loves its dive bars- Midtown especially loves them- and Fitz's is a great dive bar in Midtown KC. Exposed brick, bars on the windows, wobbly crappy old tables, unfinished unpainted drywall, partially painted segments of wall and floor, and most importantly: $6 pitchers of Flying Monkey. The men's room has no door, but a pair of swinging saloon-style shutters that don't swing shut. I love Fitz's.

Erp and Terra arrived soon afterward, and we grabbed a table. Maggie, who we hadn't seen in ages, arrived a little later and we got to some serious Skipbo. In short, Erp and I got owned by Terra and Maggie. As the pitchers came and went, our tongues loosened a bit, so we started talking about politics, religion, the war, art, architecture, transportation, infrastructure, with smattering of beer talk. It was awesome.

In the later moments while the crowd was starting to form, people started feeding the jukebox. Somebody played, "In My Dreams," a song by REO Speedwagon that I don't think I had heard in over fifteen years. Terra had left by then, but Erp, Maggie, and I all sang along with it very enthusiastically. I was in third grade when that song came out in 1987, and I loved it then too. I downloaded it when I got home and listened to it over and over again on my way to work this morning, belting it out in falsetto while pumping my fist.

Enthralled by the rapport the three of us had unexpectedly struck in conversation, we hesitantly called it a night by around midnight. Erp and I went over to Pancho's for some excellent burritos, and Maggie went straight home. It was a great Thursday.

9:32 AM, Nov 3, 2006

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Halloween Pictures

At long last, I have completed the pictures from the awesome party we had for Halloween. Have a look-see, if you so desire.

4:08 PM, Nov 3, 2006

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Last Night Killed Tonight

On Thursday night, I had no plans at all for Friday. It was First Friday of course, so that provided something to do, but I still had no concrete plans. At about 3pm, I was talking with Chris over IM, and he told me that he was meeting up with Nick that night, I started IMing with other people, and quickly saw that it was going to be a big night. It was.

From Bulldog at 6pm to a smoke-fest at Harling's, to being a fifth wheel at Blayney's in Westport until closing at 3am, it was a long but fun night. I had promised another friend that I'd meet her at one point in the night, but it never really worked out. All told, I hung out with about fifteen people last night, and drank too much all the while.

We thankfully did not get any late-night food on the way home, because if we had I probably would have vomited this morning.

I ran a few errands this afternoon, but other than that I don't see myself leaving home again today.

3:25 PM, Nov 4, 2006

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Opera Mini

For an established period now, high-speed internet technology called Evolution-Data Optimized(or EV-DO for short) has been available on certain phones from certain wireless phone carriers. My carrier is Sprint, and their version is called "Power Vision," and is available on exceedingly expensive phones. As I usually do when I want a new phone, I opted for ebay, and put in a winning bid for this little beauty.

I received my used phone in the mail on Friday. On Saturday I went through the motions of getting a usb cable for it, charging it up, and switching my account over to it. After everything was all properly set up, I decided to see how fast the internet connection on the phone was. I also noticed the brilliant high-resolution screen, so I was hoping to see what kind of graphical abilities it had with the web. I loaded the page for the pictures from the Halloween party, and was very disappointed. Every single one of the pictures was distorted beyond recognition, and the page never appeared to stop loading, so I had to "cancel" loading to even scroll down the page.

I was distraught. Even Sprint's own web content that they want you to use is terrible. Dead links, never-ending pageloads, and worthless content at the end of it all. It then occurred to me that the problem may have been with Sprint's horrible, horrible web browser. I figured that since I have a relatively advanced phone now, maybe I could download a new web browser for it. I recalled that Opera had claimed to make a web browser specifically for wireless phones, so I loaded up their site and sure enough, they do.

It's called Opera Mini, and it is hands-down the best wireless web browser I have ever seen. Like their already excellent desktop web browser, it loads things lightning-fast, and renders pictures perfectly. If it weren't for Opera's wireless-aimed browser, I think I'd probably have regretted this service upgrade.

4:36 PM, Nov 5, 2006

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All At Once

I just made a couple more changes to the site's backend. One change you should see is that the latest comments thing lists ones from the last 24 hours, instead of the comments from "today."

Don't mind me. I'm just tinkering.

10:39 AM, Nov 6, 2006

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I Voted. Did You?

I went and voted this morning. I voted for a Democrat to unseat the incumbent party yes-man Jim Talent. I voted against a measure to raise taxes on cigarettes by four cents per smoke, to allegedly benefit anti-smoking programs and restocking previously frettered medicaid resources that were squandered by the current state legislature. I voted for a measure to raise taxes to allow for the construction of a light rail system, along with my favorite part: a fleet of sixty electric buses.

I voted for the amendment to authorize and set limits on the use of stem cells, as I could find no convincing reason to vote against it. I voted for a measure that will deny convicted judges of their pensions. I voted against a city measure that proposed imposing fees for the use of the tax-supported fire department. I voted for the increase of the minimum wage to a still tiny six dollars and fifty cents.

I voted for Mike Talboy for the Missouri 37th District, who bought us drinks back in March while he was campaigning, and who apparently ran unopposed in the general election. I voted that a bunch of circuit and appeals judges retain their office. I voted for a bunch of crooked county legislators that ran unopposed. I voted for Mike Sanders to be the next Jackson County Executive. I voted for whichever Libertarian was running against the crooked Emmanuel Cleaver for the US House. I don't recall the name.

4:19 PM, Nov 7, 2006

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Holy Blue!

Light rail passed in Kansas City, last night. Nobody expected it to happen, yet I still haven't spoken with anyone that voted no.

11:28 AM, Nov 8, 2006

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Handling Pans

A group of people from work met for happy hour last night at the Granfalloon on the Plaza. Something occurred to me as I was on my way there. I had never gone there sober, outside of packed-bar-hours, or alone. I was walking from my car over to where I thought it was, and walked to the far end of the Plaza before I called Chris to ask where it was. I finally met up with everyone and we got a table. They just put 2 Below, New Belgium's Winter Seasonal, on tap. It was very tasty.

We talked about work, each other, Wayne's truth issues, and other stupid crap. We ate, played some pool/bowling/pacman games, and I called it an evening. I went home and was in bed and asleep by 9:30pm. It was a record.

I awoke to the sound of the alarm this morning at 6:20am. Whenever I get up at 6:20am, it doesn't matter how much sleep I've gotten. My first instinct will always be to change the alarm for 7:50am, meaning that I mean to drive to work. But after relieving myself as I always do, I am more awake, and the idea of sleeping in seems less reasonable than before. This morning reason won out.

I had an errand to run on the way to work, so I caught the MAX at 6:45am as opposed to my semi-customary 25 at 7:03am. I took the bus down to Main and Linwood and started walking down the east side of the street toward Lamar's. I was late for last week's staff meeting, therefore I am obliged to provide donuts for this week's meeting. The MAX runs every fifteen minutes during rush hour, so my plan this morning was to take the Plaza-only MAX to Lamar's in Midtown, get the donuts, and walk down to Armour to catch the next Waldo bus, expected fifteen minutes after I got off.

I was walking along at a brisk pace as I normally do, and as I passed McDonald's I heard a shouting voice over my shoulder from close behind me. I had headphones on, so he must have really been shouting loud to get my attention. I know from previous experience that people will go to great lengths in Kansas City to get the attention of a possible mark. I half turned my head toward him, waved my hand to him and said, "sorry." I never slowed down or took off my headphones.

The staff at Lamar's took a while, because a woman in front of me in line wanted four dozen donuts. This forced one of the two women working the counter to run back into the kitchen to procure the forty eight donuts that had been ordered. I ordered mine, paid, and left. Right about the time I reached the west(southbound) side of the street, the Waldo bus rolled up behind me. I still had about a hundred yards and the light at Armour to cross before I was at the next bus stop, so I started running. I was running with a backpack over one shoulder, and two obvious boxes of donuts. The bus stopped to pick me up.

I thanked the driver voraciously when I climbed on, panting. "Well you got donuts," he said. The majority of the people on the crowded bus started laughing. Embarrassed by the spotlight, I found a seat. Since the stop at Armour was only a short distance away, the bus stopped again before I even got a seat. As I finally did sit down, the man I had waved away earlier got on the bus. He walked up to me and announced that I was a "cruel dude." Nobody paid him very much heed, and he got off only a couple blocks later.

I got off in Brookside, and found that the next bus would be along in only about fifteen minutes. Heartened by this, I sat down and talked with another guy who was sitting at the 63rd St bus stop. He asked me if he could have my transfer, but I didn't have one. (Let me also state here that I love having a monthly pass.) We talked about the buses, stem cells, and the upcoming light rail route. He gave up trying to find someone to give him a transfer and started walking for downtown, over fifty blocks away. I wish that I'd had a transfer for him. If I ride again tomorrow, I'll give him the $2.50 change card I have at home that I'll never use now that I have a monthly pass.

Now I'm sitting here in my cube, waiting for the 9:30am staff meeting, with the smell of delicious donuts taunting me.

9:10 AM, Nov 9, 2006

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Wipe It Off

I have been an employee at my new job for a little over a month now, and I am beginning to understand a tiny itty-bitty little piece of what they hired me to support. To support all the crazy numbers of servers, operating systems, applications, and happy hours, I have been given a Thinkpad T42 laptop. It's a really excellent, compact, attractive unit, but it does have one critical flaw: it doesn't have a windows key. None. Since 1998, I have been using keystrokes to open programs using Litestep. I was never a big fan of the win95-style start menu, with submenu after submenu. By the time I learned how to use it and customize it, I'd had my eyes opened to Litestep, and that was that.

But I need the damned windows key to use Litestep. That is, I need it for the keystrokes to which I have become accustomed for normal use of a windows computer. It was when this frustration was on my mind that a little bird told me that my employer allows us to run Linux on our work laptops, and can even run an official Linux version of our horrible, terrible, awful, slow email program. I have seen others using it on their own machines, and it's much snappier than the Windows version to which I've been subjected.

The weeks went on, and I got progressively more and more angry with the wrecked installation of Windows my laptop had. bootup was slow, rundll.exe errors abounded on Windows' startup, and the thing basically freaked out when there wasn't an apparent internet connection. This past Friday I decided once and for all. On the blog-form recommendation of another tortured soul in search of the perfect desktop, I downloaded an ISO from work and installed it when I got home. I made sure to completely wipe the windows instance off the drive prior to doing this, so there would be no turning back.

My initial reaction is that xubuntu is possibly the easiest, simplest install I have ever seen of an operating system. Besides time spent waiting for things like files copying and the drive being partitioned and formatted, I was busy inputting things like the date, my username and password, the name of the computer, and my favorite color for perhaps five minutes. The result on reboot is a very clean, fast, functional desktop operating system. It's certainly not quite there as usability is concerned, but I rather enjoy the command line, and fixing things with it. On the ain't-nothing-wrong-with-that front, the touchpad buttons actually work better in Linux than they did in the previous install of Windows.

A couple of things we do at work require Internet Explorer, and some things just plain require Windows. It's not often, but sometimes it's necessary, and "sometimes" is enough. Therefore, I installed my copy of Parallels Workstation on the system, and a virtual machine for Windows 98. After a bit of tweaking, I had a great linux laptop going. I'm looking forward to trying it out at the office. To help reinforce the machine's role as a powerful desktop, I purchased an extra gigabyte of memory for it today on Newegg to go along with its relatively bare 512 megabytes.

So far, I really enjoy xubuntu linux on a Thinkpad.

9:15 PM, Nov 12, 2006

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Bus Wackos

After several years as a devoted bus rider, I have actually allowed myself to get angry at some of the wackos that ride with me. Last night, I met Jeff down on the Plaza to see the new James Bond movie(which was excellent, by the way), and there were two wackos that really got on my nerves.

One of the wackos wasn't exactly persistent in being annoying, he was just very inconsiderate. He had sheets of paper and old bus transfers that as what I could only presume was a nervous habit, he would rip into tiny pieces and litter all over the floor where he sat. The other wacko had a trait in common with many other bus wackos I have encountered: he wanted to have a smalltalk conversation with unwilling fellow passengers.

Two thirds of the riders, including me, had headphones on and were avoiding explicit eye contact. This is a sure sign that they want to just quietly ride the bus and be left alone. But the wacko either didn't understand this or he didn't care. He had a very thick southern accent, and kept calling the black people, "homey." He further placed the onus on his fellow riders to instruct him which stop to use to get to St. Luke's Hospital.

"It's on 43rd," the driver helpfully said, acting above and beyond his own responsibility.

"You're gonna need to tell me. I don't know none of the streets 'round here."

"The audio system will announce 43rd when we get to it."

"You're gonna need to tell me. I don't know none of the streets 'round here."

He engaged the people around him in smalltalk, and like typical Midwesterners, nobody had the gumption to ignore him or tell him they don't want to talk to him. Midwesterners are too polite to strangers. When a street wacko hits up a Midwesterner for change, the Midwesterner says, "oh, I'm sorry. Can't help you,"(if they without change at all) instead of, "no. I don't want to give you any of my change."

The wacko strove for eye contact with anybody he could find, ignoring their explicit signs of their desire for peace and quiet. These are the same kind of wackos that want to have a conversation with you on a plane when you have a book open.

So, I hereby list my rules for riding the bus:

1) Get on in the front. Get off in the back.

2) If you're going to take a long time with payment(ie: you're paying with nickels, you want to haggle, you think you're entitled to a free ride because you're a veteran, etc), get on LAST.

3) Don't try to strike up conversations with people that don't want one.

4) On a crowded bus, your bag doesn't get its own seat.

5) Don't litter or smoke, and for God's sake, don't talk on the phone.

6) Don't be afraid to say hello to the driver. They like that.

7) Thank the driver as you get off. They like that too.

9:26 AM, Nov 20, 2006

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Surprise Monday

I received an email from Geoff while I was at work yesterday, inviting me to come attend the College Basketball Experience(CBE). The CBE is an annual tournament that's played in KC. Rather, at least the semifinal, consolation, and championship games are played in KC. The games were at Municipal Auditorium, which before last night, I was scarcely aware even existed. It's a gorgeous arena, and a living relic of another time; soon to be forgotten entirely when the ultramodern Sprint Center opens in a couple months.

Anyway, Matt acquired four free tickets to the event from his employer, and needed people to join him. Geoff, Erp and I were quickly rounded up in name. I rode the bus to work yesterday, and tipoff was at 6:05pm. With my bus leaving work at 5:03pm, that gave me basically no time to make it by tipoff. Geoff generously agreed to pick me up at 63rd and Troost at 5:20pm.

He foolishly took the outbound expressway at 5pm on a weekday, and was soon stuck in parking lot traffic, compounded by a wreck at 55th St. Meanwhile, my bus dropped me off at Troost at about 5:15pm, so I called Geoff to find out where he was. When I did, I realized I didn't want to hang out at a busy intersection, so I started walking north to close the distance Geoff had to make to reach me. I got to about 55th St by the time he spotted me and flashed his brights at me.

We made a beeline for Crown Center, swapped cars, and took my secret attack route into downtown. Air Force kept up with Duke pretty well, but in the end, they just didn't make their shots or get the rebounds. For the second game(between Marquette and Texas Tech), it turned out that another friend named Matt was there too, and informed us of seats in his row coming open. Incidentally, his row was three up from the floor.

When we sat down, we could see Dick Vitale across the court calling the game for ESPN, including his animated facial expressions. We could see Bobby Knight freaking out at his Red Raiders getting completely owned by Marquette. We could see the Marquette players and coaches in great detail. Marquette, by the way, played some of the best basketball I've ever seen in person.

On top of these basketball notables, the first game was coached, of course, by Mike Kry5sjh5aj8kgsdsky of Duke, arguably the most famous current college coach. Also on hand to be honored as the founding members of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, were Bill Russell, Dean Smith, Oscar Robertson, and John Wooden. I of course had no idea who any of these people were, but judging by the looks on the faces of the guys I was with, I assumed that they were some sort of basketball illuminati.

Besides the amazing performance by Marquette, my favorite part of the evening was the halftime appearances by the Kansas City Marching Cobras. I know of nothing to which to compare them, so I will make a sad attempt at describing them. They are a group of inner city youth dressed like a marching band who play drums and dance for, typically, parades in Kansas City. They are really exhilarating to watch, and they performed for both halftimes. They took almost the entire second halftime, leaving perhaps three minutes for the teams to warm up for the second half. The ESPN people appeared to be livid. It was awesome.

After the game, we went over to Tanner's, where I ran into Marisa, and the rest of us ran into Liana and Amber. We had some drinks and appetizers, and called it a night. It was a very unexpected but excellent Monday night.

10:33 AM, Nov 21, 2006

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Thanksgiving in KC

We use Lotus Notes at work. It's horrible. I hated using it so much that I installed Linux on my machine, in the hope that the version for Linux would be better. Well, it isn't, but Linux deals with resource hogs much better than Windows, so I can push Notes aside and go about my business.

The installer that IBM sent us to get Notes working in Linux was complicated, obfuscated, and not very well-documented. After reading the install method assembled by a guy downstairs, I was able to repackage the installer so that a normal human can use it.

That was my day at work, the day before Thanksgiving. I was let off early that day, so I went home and fell asleep until about 7pm, when I went to catch the bus. I reached the bus stop at 13th & Wyandotte about thirty seconds before my bus arrived. It worked out very well.

I met Becca at her place before heading over to Colin's place, less than a block away. Nick, Anna, Colin, and Jami were throwing a Thanksgiving party, complete with a free-range bird, potluck items, and tons and tons of wine and beer. The turkey was amazing. It was just alive with flavor. Anna made a vegan gravy that went very well with the non-vegan turkey. Becca made some amazing potato dumplings and, well, everybody filled up on dinner.

Becca and I left at about midnight, and I went home from there. I awoke on Thanksgiving morning to glorious sunshine and temperatures tickling seventy degrees. As I sat watching the latest episode of The Office, the smell of cooking turkey teased my nostrils, as I resolved not to eat until we sat down to the real turkey dinner, that afternoon.

I left my place at about 1pm, and found that the Berbiglia in Union Hill was open, so I went there and picked up a six pack of Nutcracker and a bottle of Chianti before running over to Volker to pick up Terra. We made the long, long trip down to 151st and Overland Parkway to join Erik and Sheila for Thanksgiving dinner. I made their poor dog pee on the floor three times just through nerves. I guess I have a relaxing effect on animals' bladders.

Sheila's turkey was wonderful, and her mother and beau joined us to eat it down. After dinner, we cleaned up and sat still as the turkey began to take effect. by about 5pm, Terra and I got going, as we had never seen the Plaza Lighting Ceremony before. So we headed back to civilization and foolishly parked on the Plaza. We grabbed a couple of seats at the bar at Tomfooleries and played photohunt until it was time for the Christmas lights that were strung all over the plaza were turned on.

There was a countdown and everything, but all that happened at the countdown's termination was a bunch of Christmas lights coming on. It was really anticlimactic. Nigh on a hundred thousand people were on hand to count it down, and as soon as the lights turned on, the majority of them got into their cars and drove back to the suburbs. Terra and I hung out at the bar, trying to wait out the traffic a bit. We finally rolled out amid heavy traffic about an hour later, and after we had watched the Chiefs score a field goal against Denver.

We made a beeline for the patently un-plaza Harling's, where we sat and talked the talk of the full stomach and beer-enriched tongue until I was ready to go, at about midnight. Terra got a ride home, and I went home and fell heavily asleep.

It was a very nice Thanksgiving, and I was happy to have someone to spend it with me.

12:37 PM, Nov 24, 2006

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Picture Comments

I have just completed a change to the code of this site that I've wanted to get done for a while. Users can now post comments about individual pictures under the pictures section. Feel free to criticize my lighting, setup, or inappropriate eye. But most of all, enjoy.

5:42 PM, Nov 25, 2006

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Remember the Milk

For a while now, I've been using the excellent online calendar provided by 30 Boxes. It's a well-thought-out, fast, flexible, feature-rich, fun calendar. Its release was the event that brought me to the decision that I'd never use a PC-based software calendar ever again(though I was pretty impressed with rainlendar and Sunbird). That was in February of this year.

Then in April, Google outdid 30 Boxes with its own calendar, which automatically tied itself to my gmail account, consolidating my entire life into one little box. I put our entire kickball schedule into my Google Calendar, sent invitations to parties, and have made it a regular in my internet rotation.

As you might imagine, once I started using Google Calendar, my use of 30 Boxes kind of fell by the wayside. Google did everything I wanted, and very well. In a curious, "oh yeah!" moment, I checked back on my neglected 30 Boxes account, and saw that its developers hadn't been idle. They added a nifty Webtop, which made the whole experience that much more rewarding, but made me equally regretful, knowing that I'd still use Google's Calendar, as I saw it as superior.

One of the really nice features of the Webtop was the To-do List. It was using this very simple interface that I began to really get some previously daunting programming projects done. Usually, when I make a software change to the backend of this or any other site on which I work, I have several files to edit, to accommodate new formatting or improved communication between files. The bottom line is that whenever I'm programming, I'll be working on one file, and I'll notice that a change I'm making will affect something else.

Previously, when that happened, I would have to keep track of it in my head, or at least I thought I could, but even so, when too many things would weigh on my mind as parts of the change, I would usually just set it down and come back later. To accomplish a major task, like the complete reformat back in February, it could easily take weeks.

But with a simple To-do List, changes like this became simple. As I came up with an idea of a problem, I would enter it into the list, finish my current task, and go fix the next problem. Now I admit that it was much more than just an online to-do list that got me more organized with my programming. It was more of an admission that maintaining this site is a lot more work than just adding a couple of lines to a file.

But even so, the to-do list is a great thing for rudimentary programming. Today, I was researching a way to tie my Google Calendar to my online ledger program, and inadvertently found out about Remember the Milk. It's an AJAX-powered site whose entire raison d'etre is to-do lists. The interface is clean, attractive, and intuitive. I love that multiple notes can be added to a single task, making it capable of much more verbosity in my programming plans.

Tagging is a default behavior, along with full access from a wireless device. Entries can be assigned a time and place, bringing up a handy google map within the application. I still have a lot more tinkering to do, but one thing is certain: I have a new to-do list.

11:23 AM, Nov 27, 2006

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Fluid Displacement

I just passed an entirely wretched night. For an unknown reason, I was unable to get to sleep for a while. Then, finally, I settled into a fitful, restless, uncomfortable sleep at about midnight. That was the longest I slept all night. During that time, my dreams were of the tenuous repetitive sort in which there's always a problem, but it never gets resolved. The kind of dreams that you begin to consciously notice after a while, and wish they would change.

At 3am, the call of nature hit me with the ferocity of a bucket of ice water being splashed on me, and with such urgency that I had to actually run the ten feet from my bed to the bathroom to avoid soiling myself.

I was back in bed by about 3:15am, hopefully for the night. Unfortunately, the bad time was just getting started. At about 3:45am, the same call of nature hit me, and I made the same clumsy run to the bathroom as before. After I washed my hands, I filled a glass of water, and a took a gulp or two. I stepped back to my bed, and like a sudden surge of high-pitched music in a horror film, my stomach lurched. It was 4am.

I ran into the bathroom and unloaded my stomach into the toilet. About a third of it, as it always does when I vomit, came out my nose. So I spent the next two hours drifting between one consciousness and another, breathing through my mouth and unable to swallow because my swollen sinuses had completely blocked off my nasal passage. Also, in the next four hours, I had five or six more desperate runs to the bathroom.

Up until it was time to get up, I was of the opinion that I could still make it to work. This was foolish thinking. But I also started thinking about what could have made me this sick, this fast, and a little man in my brain presented a file to his supervisor: "Food Poisoning." I had Thai food for lunch yesterday, without any meat in it, so I doubt that would have caused it. I received a bag of custom trail mix from home that was very tasty, but it sat for for days before I claimed it at the leasing office. But for dinner last night, I used some pretty old wheat bread, and some possibly expired turkey and mayonnaise to make some sandwiches. I think that's it.

By 7:30am, over an hour after I had wanted to get going, I decided that work wasn't for me today. I still feel horrible, but I at least have one nostril.

10:21 AM, Nov 28, 2006

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