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:: Sunday, June 29, 2003 ::

Another day, yet more goofy. I haven't had time to update the software so I can blog properly, which is probably ok. I've been spending much of the weekend playing in the sun and not working. So now it's 10pm and I have French homework to do. Because I'm a bad David. *sigh* :: David 10:16 PM [+] ::

:: Friday, June 27, 2003 ::

It appears that blogger.com, the folks who up until recently published my weblog, have upgraded me to the new version, which doesn't work (for me). It seems unable to upload my blog to the website. Since this is really the only thing it does for me, I'm currently evaluating other options (and updating my blog in vi).

Hopefully I'll work this out soon enough. But in the meantime, I'm going to have a relaxing weekend full of studying for my French class (that's the one I've been ignoring up until now).

My friend Tammy is coming out this evening, and we're going to cruise Ann Arbor.

In other news, the quest for an apartment in France is becoming somewhat tricky. Sasha and I have the contract for the lease (at least, we have most of it - I think the fax machine ate a page), but we're still working on how the heck we're going to get a bank account set up. It's kind of like the age old question of how to get a visa - no visa without a job, no job without a visa. In this case, it's no lease without a bank account, no bank account without a residency card, and, of course, no residency card without living in France, which is very hard to do if you've no place to stay.

In addition, Sasha still doesn't have the letter she needs to get her visa. Overall, I'd say it's all crazy! :: David 10:16 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 ::

Done. MA. Kinda anticlimactic. Or perhaps I'm still in shock.
:: David 1:16 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 ::
I applied for another job I am amazingly qualified for today. You can read all about it - it's for a job with EQECAT. Will I get it? I don't know. Unlike previous applications I addressed the question of where I live versus where I want to work. Hopefully that will serve me, because this is a cool job.

And, let's face it - FedEx isn't calling me back. Dammit!
:: David 12:45 PM [+] ::

...and then you realize what a normal life you lead compared to some. The following is a quote from Where is Raed:
I think I was in a car with a loony-suicide-[expletive] last night. I wanted to ask why he wanted to hide a hand grenade in his car but I was really really scared. He just might decide to stick the hand grenade down my throat, because it is Halal to kill those who are agents of the infidel occupier.
What do you do when you are in a car with someone who asks you about the best place to hide a hand grenade?

:: David 2:30 AM [+] ::
The results are in...

...and they tell us nothing at all.

When I was in a group discussion on race relations at Eastern Michigan University this spring, one of the members of the group brought in a chart which showed the points system they (used to use) at the University of Michigan for undergraduate admissions. It was clear that the system was set up so that race was 'one factor of many' and in fact if you scored a certain number of points in other areas (such as, if you had parents who had went to U of M) then race counted for zero. So I felt the system was well set up. But now the supreme court (in a surprisingly wide margin) has struck it down. Sort of. They let the law school method of admissions stand. One commentator this evening pointed out that one of the justices of the supreme court had stated the ruling 'raised more questions than it answered'.

Outside of that, wacky crazy stuff in my life. Back in 1994 I went with my then girlfriend Shannon and her father to a Pink Floyd concert. While there, I acquired the de rigeur t-shirt, which I wore to the store today. Which was kind of fun, as it turned out, as the guy behind me had been to every Pink Floyd concert since 'Dark Side of the Moon' and was keen to talk about all of them. It was bizarre, but actually fun. I had been complaining to Misty earlier that I was going to have to stand in line for half an hour to check out, but this guy, with his stories of random women coming to sit on his lap so they could be closer to the band, was a heck of a lot of fun.
:: David 12:16 AM [+] ::

:: Sunday, June 22, 2003 ::
Almost finished with the paper! I'm writing the conclusion now, and then it's all about the edit! Not quite 20 pages, but it seems to be a good piece of work, more or less. I'm not completely ashamed, at least.

I can't wait for this week to be over - a whole weekend where I've nothing to do except hang out. Wooo hooo!
:: David 4:06 PM [+] ::

For those who have commented that the website seems to die fairly regularly, you will be pleased to know that my hosting service has switched ISPs, so hopefully there will be less of the "I can't find your site" stuff.
:: David 10:47 AM [+] ::
You know what I love about France? It's currently 7AM on Sunday, and yet there is not a single job posted on monster.com after Friday. Now those folks know how to take the weekend off! Yeah!
:: David 1:28 AM [+] ::
I have determined that my life, if not a movie or a sitcom, is close. Today my landlord and his 'my big fat greek wedding' mother were hanging out in the front yard. He asked me how my weekend was so far and I responded "Productive." which sent him into a speech on how he hadn't been productive in five months. I swear I've got the depressed robot from "The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" as my landlord.

So I say my life is a sitcom because it has the recurring character who has a single function (in this case, to utter some variant of "woe is me"). It's bizarre.

In other random tidbits, Lindsay gave me a "How to make your resume in French" booklet, which I will be using to great advantage as soon as I'm done with classes. Always gotta have some kind of work to do, right?
:: David 1:14 AM [+] ::

So Saturday was a run of paper writing and cooking and friend visiting (Lindsay came over from Livonia to say hello) and Trading Spaces (which has a new, sexy carpenter!).

The paper is mostly finished. Sasha called it "a good undergraduate paper", which tells you that I haven't exactly written my best work here. I'm hoping to polish it up some tomorrow (along with finishing the section on the commodification of sex, the reference for which I left in Ypsilanti, and as such had to drive across town to retrieve). In addition, I've got a test on Tuesday to review heavily for, and then, come Wednesday, no more grad school for me! Woo hoo!
:: David 1:06 AM [+] ::

:: Friday, June 20, 2003 ::
I just listened to Ludacris' "You's a ho". Now you may ask yourself "why, David? why did you listen to 'you's a ho'?"

Amusingly, I was thinking of a friend of ours, who has gone home for the summer, and that made me think of the song. Sometimes seeing someone enjoy a song as much as she clearly enjoyed this one forced me to download it. It's funny. It's damned funny.

Associated songs are great - for example, the song 'back that ass up' always makes me think of China, and the crazy K-college students I went clubbing with.

Clearly, I spend too much time in my room today.
:: David 2:11 AM [+] ::

Made it to ten pages. A little bit at a time, my paper is coming together. And I have a three day weekend to work on it (and spend time with Sasha! Yay!)

Tammy sent me another chapter in her book. Actually it's a revision of a chapter I already read, which may be a bad sign - perhaps she'll get bogged down in revisions and *poof* no more book. Just endless rewrites.

I've been spending a lot of time in front of the television (because my computer is in front of the television), and as such have been taking in a lot of random "I can't write anymore" television. Anime and news channels, mostly. I saw a Fox News 'reporter' get snippy when he was called a Republican. That was surreal - his denial was so emphatic, and yet so pathetic.
:: David 12:10 AM [+] ::

:: Thursday, June 19, 2003 ::
I crashed out last night at 8pm. It seems my body objected to my lack of caffiene - I was out of coffee filters yesterday, so I didn't have any. By noon I had a roaring headache, which didn't get better as the day wore on. It's mostly cleared up by now, but I'm going to give my body a few more days to adjust before I drink anything caffienated.

I was reading on Shelby's blog that she was in a car accident which damaged her bumper. Back several years ago, I had damage on the left front side of my car, and I was too lazy to repair it for a while. Which was good, as Lindsay took the opportunity to run into my car one morning, in the exact same place the damage had been. So I was able to kill two bits of damage at once.
:: David 4:28 PM [+] ::

My friend Nikki sent me an article about the library situation up in Cheboygan (Michigan). It seems two years in a row now the voters have turned down funding to make the library bigger. In point of fact, from the sounds of it the library hasn't had a funding increase in over a decade.

Now, I have to confess, I haven't used the library that often - I don't know why - I suppose it's because I enjoy keeping the books after i've read them. But I do use them (I even used the Saga Prefectural Library when I was living in Japan). And when I was younger (i.e. before I had money) they fed my reading habit, making me the smart guy that I am today (no comments from the peanut gallery).

So I guess the long and the short of it is, if someone asks you for money for a library, you say YES! It's simply the right thing to do.
:: David 9:50 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 ::
I have been informed that Gulf News does not suck for information about the Middle East. I shall have to add it to my list of world news sources.
:: David 4:36 PM [+] ::
Yummy yummy rasmalai! I am so fortunate to work with friendly people who bring in tasty foods! And it allows me to have conversations about the availability of halal pizza at pizza hut, keeping me from going to sleep at the terminal.
:: David 2:27 PM [+] ::
So have you ever wondered what sort of crazy positions I apply for when I ramble on about applying for jobs? Well I have! I tend to send a CV and forget about it unless they actually contact me, at which point I scramble around trying to figure out who they are and why in the world I applied to them (OK, actually, noone ever calls me back, so it doesn't matter).

So for my own amusement, and yours, I'm going to start keeping track of all the jobs I have applied to. So far my Job Search Page only has one entry. But don't worry - I'm sure it will grow....
:: David 11:30 AM [+] ::

Well, the due date on my paper moved forward another few notches, so I'm even more busy than I thought. On the upside, I have written about ten pages or so, so all is not lost. And another upside is that next Wednesday I'll be done. My final is Tuesday night, and after that it's all smooth sailing. Lord only knows how I'm going to get everything organized for the exam, but I'll figure something out. My goal is to finish my paper by Sunday night and send it off/take it in on Monday, then spend Monday studying for the test on Tuesday. Somewhere in all this I have to study for French, but frankly I think that's going to suffer a little in favor of the stuff that gets me a Master's degree.
:: David 10:23 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 ::
I cannot wait to have broadband! Trying to get those damned photos posted to the website is taking a year and sixteen days! Rumour has it we will have broadband in Paris, which is kind of a shame, since I would prefer never to be in the house if I can be out on the streets or in the cafes....
:: David 3:35 AM [+] ::
I went through my website again, looking for broken links and somesuch. It took me all of about thirty seconds to find some. Apparently all of my photos of Okinawa simply didn't exist. So I went on an uploading spree, and in the process, naturally, looked at the photos.

I cannot believe I lived in a place like this:

Of course, if it has not already occurred to you, this is simply another method of mine to avoid doing work on my paper. And I have all of eight days now....
:: David 1:52 AM [+] ::

:: Monday, June 16, 2003 ::

Another movie today, I caught it just as I was leaving for class so I had to record it and watch it later. TCM is doing a retrospective on Gregory Peck's life, and this was a great example (not perfect, but lots of fun). The title was Designing Woman and it had Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall as a couple who met and got married immediately, and the chaos that follows. Fun fun fun.
:: David 3:40 PM [+] ::
So here's an idea for a movie: older woman, younger man (yes, already it is groundbreaking!). Older woman has friends who are also single, and they have developed a solid life together, doing things single friends of a certain age do together (smoke, drink, and gossip, mostly). So the friends become jealous of her new love (who is too young for her, anyway, and is probably just playing around). So one of the friends attempts to seduce him, and the female lead walks in as he is rejecting her advances (but still in a compromising position). Of course female lead and male lead fight, male lead is thrown out of the house, and while walking down the road towards town is hit by a vehicle and killed. Now let's review - her best friend caused, directly, her lovers death (with a little bit of help from her for not believing him when he said nothing had happened). How does this movie turn out? With the three women friends happily reconciled. Sound stupid? I thought so. Since I've told you the whole plot, I'm not going to put the movie title up, but I will link to it. If you follow the link, make note of the working titles in the UK for this film!

As a side note, while searching for this title on the internet movie database I discovered they now catalog 'special interest' movies now as well as all the regular stuff. Apparently this title shows up in some less than savory movie names....
:: David 3:55 AM [+] ::

When I'm doing work on a particular subject, I tend to make a folder to hold all the bookmarks at the top of my browser. I was just looking at them and I realized the cork links (one to the portuguese forestry website, one to the IMF statistics site) are still there. I hate leaving unfinished projects. On the other hand, I'll never need to do that kind of work again. Perhaps I should try to find a collaborator.
:: David 1:30 AM [+] ::
I've changed the blog layout like six times, and my bloomin' computer shows me nothing. If you see any changes that look wrong, please tell me. I think I increased all the fonts to make them larger, but I'm not sure it worked.
:: David 1:20 AM [+] ::
You know, I finally figured out the secret behind all those silly rebates Best Buy gives out. For example, I have to fill one out to send tomorrow - the CDs were 13 dollars and they're giving me ten dollars back. So effectively I have given them $10 to hold onto for two months interest-free. It still strikes me as voodoo ... ah ... microeconomics. But hey - if it gets them a whole horde of interest free cash, good for them. I'm only earning 2% on it, although I suppose there's the matter of the stamp costing me money.

Clearly I've been writing an economics paper all day. And all evening. And maybe all night if I'm not careful....
:: David 1:11 AM [+] ::

So Saturday night after I finished my laundry, I changed out of the clothes I had worn to the graduation, into my freshly laundered jeans. They were, as jeans often are after laundering, too tight, and I had had a long day. So I left them undone, loaded up the car, and headed out to Tammy's house, figuring I'd do them up when I got out of the car at her place (she lives in the middle of nowhere, so it would be nice and secluded). Well, as I was driving towards her house I realized there was no way I was going to make it without some gas. So I was in a bit of a bind, but I was wearing a long shirt and I figured I'd get out, pump my gas, and get back in the car. Not a good solution, but the best I could come up with, since other people were in the gas station and I couldn't very well stand at my car yanking my trousers up and buttoning them without being conspicuous. So I pull up to the pump, get out, and, yes, there was no way to pay at the pump. So I stood there for a while, pumping gas, and when people drove off I managed to get the trousers buttoned before I headed in to the gas station. So the question is, was I seen by passers by, or by the gas station people. Either way, it cannot have looked good (or normal...).
:: David 12:52 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 14, 2003 ::
Lindsay graduated from Kalamazoo College today. Congrats to her for that. I made it a little earlier than I had planned, so I had to sit through the endless sucession of speeches and honorary degrees. Both of them. And then they called everyone's name, starting with the 'A's. For those that don't know, Lindsay's last name is Vecchio. So I was in for the whole thing. I caught her afterward and we made some silly photos and said hello to her family and a couple of other K students I met while I was travelling around the world (they had been on exchange programs in Thailand and China). After that I attempted to make it to Vicksburg for the big annual car show, but I was too late. With the exclusion of one guy who was in denial, and had his truck parked crossways in the middle of the main thoroughfare,everyone was gone. So I headed home and did some laundry.
:: David 7:46 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 13, 2003 ::
So why in the world would the first ingredient in Barbeque sauce be high fructose corn syrup? This is the question we should all be asking Wendy's, because that is, in fact, the main ingredient in their BBQ sauce. Sugar. And you wondered why it tasted so sweet.

Think about this a little more: we are taking processed, high in fat, chicken parts, and dipping them in sugar before consuming them. It's tough to imagine why Americans are overweight, isn't it?
:: David 2:52 PM [+] ::

Well, it had to happen sometime. I saw a job today working with the OECD in Paris that I really honestly want. It's management and IT. It's systems design, working with clients exploring their needs. It's all the fun stuff I like. It's also well paid.

As some of you may remember, I have already applied for a different position with them. As such I contacted HR to enquire about forwarding that application on to the appropriate people. The closing date in July 17th, which probably means I would not hear about anything until August or (God help me) September. On the upside, I wouldn't have to go very far to interview!
:: David 1:01 PM [+] ::

I received an e-mail today from Lindeman's US bottler, in regard to a note I had posted on their site. Apparently, however, they were either using a robot responder or the person to whom I was responding didn't understand at all what I had written. I actually believe it was the latter. I therefore attempted to explain myself more clearly:

Regarding the synthetic cork, my comments were intended to express displeasure at Lindeman's use of this sort of closure. Having recently done research on bottle closures, it is my belief that cork is overall a more environmentally friendly closure than synthetic corks (or metal closures). I am well acquainted with losses due to cork taint, and recognize that your company made a financial decision regarding the type of closure to use. However, the externalities generated by the use of artificial corks are such that I cannot in good conscience purchase wines which use them, nor can I encourage my friends and associates to purchase them.
I would therefore urge a reevaluation of the decision to use synthetic corks in your bottling operations.

:: David 2:09 AM [+] ::

I played around with the layout of the blog, but it got too late and my brain got muzzy, and in the end I gave up and went back to the original. I'll figure it all out later....
:: David 1:44 AM [+] ::
Danger! Blog under massive construction.
:: David 1:29 AM [+] ::
Warning: This is a geek post. Skip it if necessary.

I have noticed something about my old computer: 800x600 is not nearly enough screen space. It's a cute little montor though - I may keep this beast for a spare work computer, because it feels a lot better on my lap - the new Dell I have is just plain heavy, and the P4 in it generates some serious heat. Of course, the 400MHz processor in this computer isn't exactly screaming along, but there's something to be said for half a gigabyte of memory. It makes XP hum right along.

I also downloaded Mozilla's new (ish) browser (Firebird) and mail program (Thunderbird). The best thing about Firebird, you might ask? Favicons. The little picture that displays in your address bar (assuming you have a browser that supports it).

But as I said, the screen space on this machine is somewhat lacking. I'm hoping to figure out why my blog seems unable to make itself fit an 800x600 screen. The code looks like it should work, but when I load it it doesn't fit on the page. Sad.
:: David 1:17 AM [+] ::

:: Thursday, June 12, 2003 ::
Goodness gracious. The first blog typed from my old computer, now running XP pro and actually doing a solid job of it. I haven't put it through any sort of paces, but for surfing the web and showing a powerpoint presentation it's pretty solid.

This fine evening I gave the aforementioned powerpoint presentation to my class on Multinationals. My particular multinational was Monsanto, the mother, father, brother, and sister of Genetically Modified foods and rbST (the hormone they put in cows to make them produce milk). It went well, and assuming I survive the final I shall graduate with a Master's degree in Economics and a 4.0 GPA. Woooopie.

I've been investigating reports that my website went down today - I dunno. Rumour has it there are some weird virii floating about taking out warm fuzzy routers and somesuch. So I'm reviewing the logs.
:: David 11:14 PM [+] ::

I heard the following on NPR yesterday - it struck me as an interesting example of the commodification of something many people feel shouldn't be commodified, which fits nicely in with the work I've been doing recently.
:: David 11:04 AM [+] ::
from NPR:

Illinois Town Turns to Strip Clubs to Boost Budget (Listen)

June 11, 2003

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on a small town near St. Louis that's looking to boost its budget by adding more strip clubs. Washington Park, Ill., already has several strip clubs that lure traffic from the highway. Many residents say there must be a better way to stave off bankruptcy.
:: David 11:03 AM [+] ::

Well now that's kinda funky... I finally got around to downloading the log files for a couple of days (June 10 and 11). On June 11th 16 people read my blog. Now, I presume I know most of them, but there's that one person following my life surruptitiously. Of course, I do that all the time - blogs are great good fun!

This evening I have a presentation on Monsanto corporation. I'll be posting slideshow after we give it - the final version is pretty much set at this point, but i might do some last minute revisions before this evening - the timeline on it isn't as smooth as I'd like.

For those that don't know, Monsanto brought you Roundup Herbicide, genetically modified food, and rbST, the hormones they pump into cows to make them produce more milk. Yummy!

Yesterday I went and spoke to my directed study supervisor, asking what sort of work/evaluative material he wanted to see in order to give me a grade. He responded that he'd somewhat expected a term paper. Ah, yes. A term paper. I can do a term paper. I have until the 24th. That's 12 whole days! Plenty of time!

So, for those who thought they might see a lot of me while Sasha was gone for a week, the correct answer is "David who?"
:: David 10:39 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 ::
I decided, based on Kerstin's advice, to post Tweak the Master to the website, for those that really felt the need. For those that don't remember the story, Kerstin said to me during a discussion of our project for our class on multinationals that I could simply 'tweak the master' rather than sending the changes to her. I told her it sounded like the name of a Eurobeat dance number, and to prove it, I went home and made this. And now you all can share in the weirdness that is David.
:: David 12:03 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 ::
Leave it to Misty to track this down:

"I had nothing to do today and thought I'd search for [the jumping jesus on a pogo stick] and apparently someone has gone to the trouble of making it a game! Except you're the satanist trying to stab a jumping jesus on a pogo stick with a pitchfork[...]"

Fear. Fear and suprise....
:: David 11:23 PM [+] ::

Tuesday. Gloomy Tuesday. French tests and Multinational classes and cooking, oh my!

Actually, the cooking was quite lovely. I made some of Sasha's (well, Sasha's mom's, really) pasta with vodka sauce. Yum. The smoke alarm only went off once (after that I pulled the battery). And now I have lots of pasta to eat when I don't want to cook (which is almost always).

I had an amusing conversation with a woman in my French class today. She was telling me all about her boyfriend (sometimes boyfriend - it's one of those relationships) and how he had wanted to watch the stupid hockey game. Here's the amusing part - I realized I knew which hockey game she meant. If I'm not careful I'm going to become a sports fan! Ack!

Finally, today, I have a little wisdom to share with you today from the makers of 'Hot Pockets' - it involves the preparation of their food (I use the term loosely). Please note the upper right hand corner of these 'cooking instructions'

Yes, that's right - product must be cooked before eating. Let me remind you this is a product which comes out of the freezer....
:: David 5:33 PM [+] ::

:: Monday, June 09, 2003 ::
Events are conspiring to send me to Kalamazoo this weekend, which means a crazy day of driving Saturday for me, over to the Detroit airport in the morning and all the way back to Kalamazoo. And here I thought I was going to get a lot of work done once Sasha headed out to see her family.
:: David 11:44 PM [+] ::
Well, the sadness continued, and now the New Jersey Devils have won the Stanley Cup. Such is life.

On the other hand, tomorrow Jon Stewart will be interviewing Newt Gingrich, so at least there's wild and craziness to look forward to!
:: David 11:42 PM [+] ::

So I went to update my blog just now, and I got this message:

Blogger is currently down so that we can perform maintenance on the site.
It will be back up within the hour.

Which seemed fairly diabolical, but OK. The URL for this message?


I was amused.

It's 10pm, and the New Jersey Devils are up 2 - 0 over the Mighty Ducks in the Stanley cup Finals, Game 7. It looks bad for our heros, or it looks like a movie made by the Disney company... who can tell?

:: David 11:41 PM [+] ::

I had an unpleasant run-in with the Eastern Michigan University library staff over the weekend. I had reserved a room, and they had lost the reservation and as such would not let me in. Turns out I hadn't reserved it early enough. I quite nearly had a screaming fit in the lobby. There's nothing I hate worse than institutional incompetance. So I'm meeting with the director of the library sometime this week or next to discuss the problem, and offer solutions. Sasha hates me when I get into my little fugue state and keep calling people's superiors until I get what I want. I have to confess it doesn't actually work all that often, but it does tend to make me feel like I've done something. Whether it was something useful... different question, really.
:: David 5:24 PM [+] ::
I heard a fairly amusing commentary on 'the battle hymn of the republic' today. It was actually a really informative piece, but also chock full of humour. Like, recently there has been a schism among the folks who would sing 'die for freedom' (the original lyrics) and 'live for freedom' (the more 'upbeat' version of the song apparently came to be about 50 years ago). And the woman talking said this song was created to draw parallels between regular people, and Jesus. And she commented this was the one time the question "What would Jesus do?" could be answered definitively.
:: David 3:30 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 06, 2003 ::
Well that was unexpected - I leapt over to Neil Gaiman's blog this afternoon, and found an article about Salam Pax (the 'baghdad blogger' linked to by 'Where is Raed' on the left). The article, entitled Salam Pax Is Real was written by a journalist for whom Salam translated during the war. So we have independent verification. And some interesting news that apparently The Guardian has hired Salam to write for their in-depth newsmagazine G2. Wacky. Six degrees of random separation.
:: David 4:08 PM [+] ::
I have been informed by the BBC that web users are going crazy over animated kittens doing rock music. I had not been aware I was going crazy over much of anything, but I have to confess this is funny stuff.
:: David 12:16 PM [+] ::
Winner of today's prize for "most confusing thing when taken out of context" goes to Wil Wheaton for the phrase "Here I am, throwing the goat in a tropical paradise", which works a whole lot better when you see the photo. But I gotta say, for the few moments it took my modem to get the picture down, I was pretty concerned about what people do on tropical islands!
:: David 2:26 AM [+] ::
So it seems my youngest niece, Rachel, broke her wrist recently. From the way my mother described it, it was straight out of one of those movies designed to frighten non-parents, where the child is doing something so completely dangerous as to defy the laws of gravity. In this case, apparently, it involved stacking chairs on top of one another in order to change a television station. Apparently, the chairs, the child, and the television, all came down in a big painful heap. Crazy crazy stuff.
:: David 2:10 AM [+] ::
Dear sir (or madam),

I read with interest your advertisement for a Really Interesting Job Title on EmploymentWebsite.com. I believe I have the skills and experience necessary to be an asset to Company Name in this role.

Once a day, without fail. I'm going slightly insane.
:: David 2:01 AM [+] ::

:: Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::
So here's a thought for you from the Australian tourism minister: "One backpacker is worth the equivalent of 85 tonnes of coal and 22 tonnes of wheat in exports."

Now, I'm not certain if that's a fair assessment of the economic impact of a lone backpacker, but I'm willing to say it's not a horribly misguided statement. The idea is that producing coal is expensive, and its relative price fairly low. The same is true of wheat. Figure in environmental costs on the coal, and you might have a fairly accurate, if somewhat bizarre, statement.

This came as Australia unveiled plans to sell itself as a tourist mecca to a slightly different brand of holidaymaker, like backpackers and eco-tourists.

So suddenly I, as a backpacker, feel pretty darned good about my effect on the world.
:: David 10:02 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 ::
Here's one for you:

"Martha Stewart, the US domestic guru turned lifestyle entrepreneur, has been formally charged following a lengthy investigation into allegations of insider trading." - BBC World

The company, Martha Stewart Living, lost yet more share value when news broke. Looks like stockholders don't believe you can name a company after a person and then not be held accountable for that persons actions. What an odd cult of personality.
:: David 4:24 PM [+] ::

According to Richard N. Katz, Vice President of EDUCAUSE, in a recent SCT publication,"In the past seven years, more than half of all U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities installed commercially vended financial, human resources, or student information systems."

It seems people are still following the age old adage 'bigger is better' despite evidence often given to the contrary. Now, don't get me wrong - integration of data systems is great in some respects - there's never any excuse for typing something into a computer more than once, and if the government, for example, has your name and tax info, and you want to give that to a college, then the college should be able to take a disk from the government and load it into their system, without too much of a song and dance.

But here's the problem - without proper controls in place, information can flow too often in either direction. Colleges offer real-life examples everyday, but for the sake of argument let's go with our previous example: you want to be able to update your college records with data from the government, but you probably don't want the data flowing the other way. If someone from the college accidentally changes your name (maybe mistaking you with someone else), you don't want to have problems filing your taxes and collecting social security. That would be too much integration. Yet very often this is the model people are adopting.

And in adopting these 'bigger is better' models, very often they are accepting a 'one size fits all' approach, where nothing does exactly what they need it to do, because it is designed to work, sort of, for anyone who wants to use it, regardless of their size or structure.

And then, of course, they modify it, and mitigate any benefits they might have had from having exactly the same system as everyone else.

:: David 10:04 AM [+] ::

Ah, kiwis! They make me happy!

I'm actually referring to the nationality, not the fruit.

It seems, according to the New Zealand Herald, that there's a guy building a cruise missile in his garage. The story was picked up by the BBC (where I read it), but overall seems rather plausible. His web site, A DIY Cruise Missile has the diary. I don't really know how long his web server will be able to handle the traffic this is bound to generate, but for the moment, there's the link.

I have to confess it's darned interesting to read about - how much can one crazy guy accomplish on a shoestring budget?
:: David 2:04 AM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 ::
I was all worried for nothing! The book is good!

I managed, today, to not do very well on a French test. Big shock - maybe I should have studied. Class this evening, and meantime I've been trying to clean my messy apartment. I've shifted things around so I would have a more comfortable workspace (somewhat, at least), and in doing so I made a huge mess. That combined with my laundry, which is trying to eat my house, and suddenly the place is a sty. So today has involved getting some things cleared away so I can at least sit down. Seriously.

Still no word on my resumes. Maybe I need to give them more than 24 hours.
:: David 5:01 PM [+] ::

:: Monday, June 02, 2003 ::
Wee hoo! Job applications galore! I think primarily as an avoidance technique to not have to do my French homework, I finished doing my CV today. For those who don't know, a CV is like a resume except longer, and with more detail, and some stuff that one ordinarily wouldn't put on a resume, like you birth date/age. With French companies, very often they want a photo too, but I haven't made one yet - I can't decide if I should crop an old one or what.

Anyway, so I finished my CV, and then I applied to several jobs - stuff I'm qualified for, stuff I'd like to get. We'll see what happens, but meantime I'll keep applying for more until someone gives me a job and pays me to live in France!

Meantime, my friend Tammy finally sent me a piece of her book, so hopefully in the next few days I'll ba able to look that over. I'm kinda scared to read it (just like she was kinda scared to send it to me) because, honestly, what do you do if you don't like it? I mean, there are nice ways to tell people some things, but when it's something they obviously have a lot put into, it's a big responsibility. Yikes!

I have to go downstairs now and check on the hockey game. The Mighty Ducks came back to make the series 1-2, and they were tied 0-0 going into overtime, so I have to take a peek.
:: David 11:17 PM [+] ::

:: Sunday, June 01, 2003 ::
My landlord has shared more of his life with me. This is happening with disturbing regularity. Once a month, I track him down to give him a check, and somehow the conversation always includes more information than I expect. Perhaps this is something about me - my dentist (or Brad as Sasha likes to call him), my landlord, and that guy who was selling car insurance - all telling me more than I expect about their lives.

On the other hand, when you think about it, it's better than never knowing anything about your neighbors. In my opinion.

Saw a movie described (on the box!) as being "The Princess Bride on Acid!" The Price of Milk was a little crazy, but better than a lot of things.
:: David 10:49 PM [+] ::

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