Monthly Archives: November 2006

teaching a new PC old tricks

The new computer: an eMachine T5212. (The company is owned by Gateway.) Got it at BestBuy after significant hours spent researching prices. We didn’t need a monitor, so this was the best way to go, with a much faster processor and hugely larger hard drive than our old PC.

Thanks to my friend’s loan of an external 40GB hard drive, I was able to back up everything (I thought) that I needed before we left town for Thanksgiving. When we got home, the old PC started up only after multiple attempts and a variety of ugly grindy noises; it reminded me of trying to start an antique car by cranking it. My husband spent half of Saturday setting up and configuring the new PC — and a good thing, too, because the old one officially died and Refused to Start Regardless of All Efforts at Resuscitation. (We think it may be something relatively fixable, like the power supply; if a local shop can get it running for not much money, we’ll set it up for the kids — in a public, viewable area, of course.)

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Today is Thanksgiving. In an hour or so I’m getting in the car and driving to northern Indiana for a traditional turkey feast. Going with me are the parts of my world that I’m most thankful for: my husband and my two children.

Ask me what I really need, what I could not do without, and I’ll answer without hesitation: my husband. We’ve been married nearly 19 years, and along with all the happy times he has seen me through depression, and the illness and death of my father. We’ve worked each other through college, built a house, and made two marvelous offspring. We’ve never shouted at each other; and we’ve never gone to bed angry. He relieves my most stressful days and gives me my greatest happiness.

Today’s holiday is about being thankful — but every day, not just today, I’m thankful for the fortunate chance that brought us together.

“do I look like I give a damn?”

My computer threatened to eat itself today. I spent the morning frantically copying files onto a whole necklace worth of flash drives, trying to save all the work and email info that I should (but don’t) back up regularly. Now, thanks to a loan from a friend, I’ve copied all our vital files onto an external hard drive, and we’re probably going PC shopping tomorrow.

I’ve run most of the day on adrenaline. I’m tired. But I don’t care. In fact, I’m ending the day happy. Why, you ask? Simple:

Bond. James Bond. As portrayed — perfectly — by Daniel Craig. We went to an early matinee, and the movie is incredible. It’s so far and away beyond any previous Bond (and keep in mind that I thought no one could follow Pierce Brosnan) that this film is in an entirely different class.

You should go see it immediately. I’m going to go again as soon as I have a chance. Action, romance, intrigue, high-stakes poker, gorgeous locations, incredible chase sequences, and — oh, yes:

When asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, this Bond answers, “Do I look like I give a damn?” When questioned about Craig as Bond, many of the faithful shrieked about his blond hair and other perceived faults. Do I sound like I give a damn? They need to see this film and then apologize for all the fuss they made. The Bond franchise has finally produced a movie that’s faithful to the tone of Ian Fleming’s books: Gritty. Real. Sexy. Painful. Exhilarating.

Bye-bye, Pierce. Daniel Craig is James Bond.

Stairway to Heaven, anyone?

Not yet available at the Gap or Hot Topic, but still very cool: the wearable instrument shirt. In other words, a t-shirt that bring your hottest air-guitar riffs screaming to life. from Dr. Richard Helmer (shown in action at right), a research scientist at CSIRO Textile & Fibre Technology in Australia:

Our air guitar consists of a wearable sensor interface embedded in a conventional ‘shirt’, with custom software to map gestures with audio samples. It’s an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music making, even by players without significant musical or computing skills. It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original mp3.

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sign of the day, oh where, was my camera when I wanted it? Today we were in a blue-collar area of Louisville that has a somewhat higher percentage of adult entertainment establishments than most. The entire family was headed to a church to hear the chorus of senior citizens that my mother sings with. As we drove past houses, stores, and restaurants, we approached a strip joint gentleman’s club with the following posted in large letters on its sign:

Limited engagement!
World’s Tiniest Stripper!
3′-7″ Tiny Tina!

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misplaced educational priorities: what good is a kid who doesn’t do sports?

Today I sent the following letter to our local school board, the school system’s superintendent, and the principal of my daughter’s high school. The kind of thing it describes is all too common in America’s schools. We say we want our kids to be the best and brightest in the world; we talk about losing out academically to other countries; and we throw money and laws at programs to boost test scores. But when the rubber hits the road, sports always — always — come first.

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light a political fire to you by the Casual Living catalog: political fire starters!

Just use one of these fire starters and the conversation will be as heated as the fire. Choose Burning Bush or Flaming Liberal, depending on your politics.

I was describing them to my kids, and my 15-year-old daughter immediately responded that we should get one of each. Obama, where art thou?

803 days and counting’m fortunate enough to live in a nexus of Democratic resurgence, where two close races helped the Democrats to victory in the House of Representatives. Last night around 9:30 I let out a whoop that startled my kids, when incumbent Rep. Anne Northup (R, KY) conceded defeat across the river in Louisville. By 10:00 it was apparent that Rep. Mike Sodrel (R, IN) was also going down by a narrow margin to once and future Rep. Baron Hill. When I went upstairs to say goodnight to my daughter, I was so excited that I was literally dancing around her room. I finally went to bed around midnight, once the House was secure, having come to terms with not having regained the Senate. But this morning, with more votes counted, it looks like we may win there, too.

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VOTE! (Democrat!)

I’m nervous about today, because I’ve allowed myself to hope that this election will result in a Democratic majority in the House and maybe, just maybe, the Senate. That the voters will demonstrate to our “president” their disapproval of his war, his my-way-or-the-highway style of governing, and his disregard for the rights and general welfare of the American people. That for the first time in two years, I’ll get to feel as though I’m being represented by my elected representatives. Continue reading