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:: Tuesday, October 31 2006 ::

Proof that crime does pay, I finally got my first check from google from all those ads. I think I'll never see a penny from Amazon (I think in part they've given up on me), but my perseverance in the face of myriad visitors to my France section (and technology section and wine section) finally paid off. I figure this means I've made something like one cent per hour I've spent making the site. Woo hoo! Seriously, though, given the fact that I used to have to let other people put ads on my web page (in exchange for hosting it), it's nice to be doing it voluntarily, and with hope of some small reward when all is said and done.
:: David (23:18 in Michigan, 5:18 in Paris) - Comment


I'm so excited! You may remember my earlier comments about visiting Memphis, and finding out it was the second most dangerous city in the US, or some such nonsense like that. Well, Michigan is trying to catch up, as our own Flint is now in the running:

Flint records 48th homicide in 2006
A masked killer gunned down a Flint man on the city's north side Monday, hours after a study ranked Flint the third most dangerous American city.
This same study, according to mlive, ranked Detroit second, and St. Louis first. But I have faith, both in Flint and Detroit, to capture the 'dangerous' crown for Michigan!
:: David (20:31 in Michigan, 2:31 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]


Six! Six trick-or-treat-ers! Mwa ha ha! It's very exciting to be able to actually give away the candy, as opposed to having it sit around the house.
:: David (19:12 in Michigan, 1:12 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]


Well, either I fixed a bunch of stuff, or I broke things worse. As people use the comments we'll see what breaks (or what doesn't!) Either way, I now know more about chomp than I ever expected!
:: David (0:41 in Michigan, 6:41 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


:: Sunday, October 29 2006 ::

For those lucky enough not to be trapped in the weird wacky world of Daylight Savings Time, please be aware that today was 25 hours long for many of us. Yes, at two this morning, the clock miraculously slipped backwards, giving us an extra hour of weekend, and moving the sunset back towards lunchtime. But on the upside, I have never felt so productive. By early afternoon I had cleaned, rearranged, vacuumed, and half a dozen other things. It has been a wonderful day, and now, when I am starting to run out of steam, I note that it is not even close to being over. So I can continue on my merry way. Even the dishes are clean! The only thing left to do is my Japanese homework, and for that I have several hours left before I need to turn in. So for today, and only for today, I am a fan of Daylight Savings.
:: David (20:41 in Michigan, 2:41 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


Whoa - looks like I did something very bad to the comment module! I'd been thinking about fixing that this weekend - looks like sooner would be better than later!
:: David (0:53 in Michigan, 5:53 in Paris) - Comment


After working all of last weekend, I decided to take this weekend off. It almost worked, other than the hour or so I spent working on the servers this morning, I had a Saturday completely free of activity, which was wonderful. There were several parties this evening, but I found myself unable to bear the thought of going out. Next Halloween I'll party like a rock star, but for now, it's just sleep for me.
:: David (0:43 in Michigan, 5:43 in Paris) - Comment


:: Friday, October 27 2006 ::

Here's some random weirdness - apparently one of those tech repair groups at one of the big retail chains has decided to upgrade their image, and they've recruited Fabio to help. So Gizmodo got in there and did an interview. One of the commenters asserts he was an electrical engineer before becoming a model, so maybe it isn't as odd as it first sounded....
:: David (5:06 in Michigan, 11:06 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]


:: Wednesday, October 25 2006 ::

Lots of random changes right now - I've added a widget from MyBlogLog, which you can see about halfway down the page on the left. It shows recent readers, and allows people to see, for example, what other people read when they're not here. I debated whether I liked this widget or not, but a lot of the big blogs are using it, so I figure it could be a nice thing to have. For the moment, it will be there, and you can join if you like, or not. It will allow you to have a cute little picture of yourself show up when you read a blog, which is fun.

The recent comments thing is still behaving badly, and I'm hoping to work on that this weekend. Anyone out there know lots of perl?

Finally, I got around to getting a new hosting company, just in time for me not to need one. My current hosting company was charging me lots of fees for bandwidth, so I decided to get a company that wouldn't. But, this weekend, google changed their formula again and now my France section doesn't get any traffic at all. Easy come, easy go. But I'll go with the new hosting company anyhow, and we'll see how that works out. It'll be nice to pay in US dollars again, as the strength of the pound was really making my UK hosts expensive.
:: David (11:44 in Michigan, 17:44 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


:: Tuesday, October 24 2006 ::

There's a t-shirt which is printed to look as if you had explosives strapped to you. You can buy it at the terror t-shirt website. Why does it matter? It doesn't. But it showed up as one of the most watched stories on CNN.

I commented to a colleague over the weekend that I don't really think the democratization of news is a good thing. He commented that some were really good, like memeorandum, tailrank, and, of course, Google News. I've bookmarked them, and I'll give them some time, but other than Google's automatic news search for key phrases, which I like a lot, I haven't seen anything thus far that amazes or impresses. But I'll try them for a while.
:: David (1:07 in Michigan, 7:07 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


:: Monday, October 23 2006 ::

An interesting juxtaposition in the news today - Jeffrey Skilling, the former head of Enron, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in driving Enron into the ground.

Also in the news today, you may remember there was a plot a while back to steal the secret formula of Coke and sell it to Pepsi. well, those two have plead guilty, and according to the article could fact up to 10 years in prison.

I'm not exactly sure what conclusions I am drawing from this, but it seems to me that 'selling a secret formula' and 'bankrupting a company and sending tens of thousands into unemployment and/or poverty' should have a somewhat higher difference in their punishment level.
:: David (21:36 in Michigan, 3:36 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


:: Sunday, October 22 2006 ::

Well, I survived another business trip. I'm waiting in Portland to board a plane to LA where I shall board a red-eye (i.e. overnight flight) to Detroit. Arriving tomorrow morning at 07:30. Bleah. But I'm pleased to be heading home.

I did have a really great time at the conference - there were an awful lot of really bright people saying really interesting things, and I appreciate that. It's good sometimes to have your brain really stimulated.
:: David (23:29 in Michigan, 5:29 in Paris) - Comment


The conference wrapped up today, but we stuck around a bit after to see Kathleen Fitzpatrick. My colleague Bryan blogged her talk, so I don't have to, but I do want to say that it was darned interesting, all about the intersection of blogs and literature.
:: David (17:33 in Michigan, 23:33 in Paris) - Comment


MMmmmmmm. Mornings. I think I slept somewhere between three and four hours last night. That, combined with the red-eye flight this evening should make for a very interesting Monday morning. But between now and then there are a lot of presentations, and half a day where I don't exactly know what I'm going to do - maybe I can find a nice park bench to sleep on.
:: David (11:48 in Michigan, 17:48 in Paris) - Comment


I'm trying really hard to stick to my 'work on the blog while I'm out west' but the folks I work with seem to like waking up early, which makes it tough to have those late nights. I'm due to wake up at 05:45 (local time) again tomorrow. It seems I'm going to be finished at noon, and then I'll have something like eight hours to kill until I need to be at the airport. We'll see how it goes. The hotel is pretty far from the city, so there's a logistical aspect to consider as well. I'm sure something will work itself out....

I went out for a mini 'night on the town' with some of the other conference people this evening, which was nice - I like getting out of the hotel, and away from the suburbia we have found ourselves in. There was a funky bar with loud music and a funky coffee joint with soft music. Fun all around.
:: David (3:53 in Michigan, 9:53 in Paris) - Comment


:: Saturday, October 21 2006 ::

Made it safely to Portland last night, then got up early this morning to prep. Spent the day doing conference-y things. Met many people, some of whom I had encountered previously in the blogosphere. Now it's evening, and my brain is so far past conscious it is tough to describe. But it was a good day. And I even made a change to the blog software (you'll see it on the left). It isn't what I originally had in mind, but I decided to accept what I could get, and consider any progress better than none.

If you'd like to see what people are seeing or saying about the conference, follow the links to technorati or flikr.
:: David (1:12 in Michigan, 7:12 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]


:: Friday, October 20 2006 ::

There's a great comic on Le Monde today, showing Bush pointing at the 'stars' portion of the American flag, saying "See!? Space has always belonged to us!" which I take to mean the French may not have been impressed with the recent Bush pronouncement that the US will defend space from hostiles.
:: David (20:49 in Michigan, 2:49 in Paris) - Comment


:: Wednesday, October 18 2006 ::

Is it bad of me that I love vi with a passion I cannot describe? It's just so wonderful! It does everything you want it to, and it does it all using cryptic character strings that noone else can understand, and that take years and years to learn. What could be more wonderful?

For those who were hoping for a weightier post, I have a wonderful story of our swanky new coffee maker, but words cannot do it justice, so I am waiting until I can post a photo with the text....
:: David (15:55 in Michigan, 21:55 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


:: Tuesday, October 17 2006 ::

Wow! We made another newspaper! First it was one in Bermuda, now it's one in Danville, Virginia!
:: David (15:57 in Michigan, 21:57 in Paris) - Comment


Chicago, day two. We went with Trine to the aquarium, where we spent an absurd amount of time seeing all the fishies, and all the exhibits. We had lunch, and watched the dolphin show, and so forth. It was quite a day. We drove back through seriously nasty weather, stopping briefly for Mexican. And now it's worktime.

The aquarium had an interesting item which is apparently fairly new, based on the fact that it appeared on Gizmodo recently. It's a hand dryer with a video screen built into the face. Perfect for totally annoying you with ads, although I have to say that the aquarium did a great job, only showing you pictures of fishies.
:: David (8:14 in Michigan, 14:14 in Paris) - Comment


:: Monday, October 16 2006 ::

Chicago,day one - lots of shopping, and a visit to the cinema, where we saw South Korea's entry in the Chicago film festival. The film, The King and the Clown, was amazing - a really great movie, and reportedly the highest grossing film in Korean cinematic history. We then made a Korean night of it, going out for Korean Barbecue. Tomorrow we'll do the museums and somesuch, before a nice long drive back.
:: David (0:19 in Michigan, 6:19 in Paris) - Comment


:: Saturday, October 14 2006 ::

A nice day in Kalamazoo with family, and now we're in our hotel in Chicago, for a couple of days on the town. We're doing what we always do when we get into a hotel with cable, taking in an episode of some reality redecorating show, in this case 'trading spaces'
:: David (22:48 in Michigan, 4:48 in Paris) - Comment


:: Friday, October 13 2006 ::

Too funny - how do you translate 'snakes on a plane' into Japanese? no-sword has the answer! (via polyglotconspiracy).
:: David (23:17 in Michigan, 5:17 in Paris) - Comment


From: The IRS
To: Me

This is not a bill
We changed your account

How we changed your account:
Account balance before this change: $11,348.58 Due
Decrease in tax because of this change: $11,208.00 CR
Decrease in interest previously charged: $140.58 CR
Amount you now owe: None

Other actions you may wish to take:
If you do not agree with the changes to your account or if you have questions about this notice, you may call 1-800-829-8374.
:: David (18:57 in Michigan, 0:57 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


I have to say, I am very pleased by this year's Nobel Peace Prize winners. The BBC, citing the Norwegian Nobel Committee, shares the news:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.
The idea is simple - little loans to people to get little businesses going. Generally the people are folks who would not have access to usual financing - for example, "rural poor in developing countries" (again, from the BBC). Economic development has so often travelled by way of governments and huge development projects, relying, more or less, on 'trickle down' theories to get the money to the population at large. Although the idea should have been discredited quite some time ago, it still seems to hold sway at some organizations, resulting in a whole lot of dams, and not a whole lot of development. This year's winners have taken a different approach, and in doing so have shown others that money can be made by providing credit to people they would previously have excluded. Now if only the American providers of credit would get the message....
:: David (14:54 in Michigan, 20:54 in Paris) - Comment


:: Thursday, October 12 2006 ::

So it seems the weather in Michigan is not out to disappoint this year. Earlier in the week it was in the high 60s (low 20s for our celciused friends), and this morning we were treated to an intense burst of snow. Very exciting, if somewhat bizarre, given that it's still early October. I think the plants were a bit confused, and I know the kitten was, because we sent her out and she turned immediately around and came back inside. Poor kitten.
:: David (9:56 in Michigan, 15:56 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


:: Wednesday, October 11 2006 ::

Wow. We just watched the first two episodes of season three of Battlestar Galactica. I have to admit, before watching I was a bit concerned they couldn't be as awesome as they had been in the past two seasons. I was very quickly corrected. I commented after the second episode 'they can't keep this up' - the first two episodes were so intense.
:: David (23:55 in Michigan, 5:55 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[5]


Busy, busy week, both in work and out. Sasha and I are having a picnic with my family this weekend, so we're planning for that, and in addition I have my usual Monday and Wednesday classes. I think we've been social (either having people over or going out to see people) for almost a week straight, which is a record for us. I've also made arrangements for our weekend in Chicago, where we will meet a friend of mine who is flying in from Denmark. Actually, I have a photo which shows both the people I will see this weekend, taken on my 2001 trip to Denmark. I'm actually quite looking forward to seeing what my friend's friend is up to as well, as she seems to have a clothing business in Chicago, which looks neat.

But, given that it's only Wednesday morning, I guess I'd better focus on making it through the week, rather than thinking about the weekend. I did do one bit of planning for the weekend ahead of time, though - I acquired a zoom lens for my new camera so I could take it along and see how it does on an urban weekend. By the way, if you follow the link to the zoom lens, let me know if you have a theory about the fellating monkey....
:: David (8:13 in Michigan, 14:13 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]


:: Monday, October 9 2006 ::

Proof that some folks were taken by surprise by the North Korean nuclear test: the folks over at the Korea Herald have the following articles posted, one right after the other:

N. Korea tests nuclear weapon at Hwadaeri near Kilju North Korea today declared it has successfully conducted a nuclear bomb test, cementing its isolation at the risk of a security chaos in Northeast Asian region. The North's official Korean Central News Agency announced the test was carried out safely and successfully. There was no radiation leakage, the agency said, adding that it was a successful operation by its science and research center.

Pyongyang to put off test until year's end: report From news reports North Korea is likely to delay a nuclear bomb test until at least year's end to see if the United States will lift ...

Some news stays good for a long time... other news gets stale fast!
:: David (1:06 in Michigan, 7:06 in Paris) - Comment


:: Sunday, October 8 2006 ::

I honestly thought they wouldn't do it, but according to the BBC, citing North and South Korean sources, North Korea successfully detonated a nuclear weapon. I'm sure by tomorrow morning we'll have verification, but this certainly does put something of an interesting spin on world events. I'll wait and see what people say tomorrow morning before I decide how this will impact things - there are a couple of ways people could spin this, and I want to see where they go....
:: David (23:34 in Michigan, 5:34 in Paris) - Comment


My friend Nikki announced her bid for Governor of Michigan today. Of the given choices, she certainly seems the best option to me. So if you're registered in the state of Michigan to vote, bring a pencil to the booth (just in case they hear about all this and decide to stop handing them out).
:: David (19:08 in Michigan, 1:08 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]


:: Saturday, October 7 2006 ::

A friend of Heidi's called while she was here having dinner last night, and told her that Memphis was burning. And so it was. It was funny to hear, so soon after my visit. I don't really know the geography, nor the level of damage, well enough to say whether it has wrought visible changes on the city. What I do know is that my visit to Memphis this time was quite different than the last time I went, in 1997.

I'm not really sure how I missed, the last time I was there, the fact that Memphis has some issues. Maybe they've gotten worse since then. All I know is that 15 minutes after getting on the road in my rental car, at 8 in the morning on a Thursday, a prostitute was waving to me from the side of the road, having just been dropped off by what I presume was a previous client.

There are times when you think maybe the neighbourhood is a bit run down, and times when you lock the doors and try not to make eye contact. The drive in to town was the latter. I didn't realize that morning how serious the situation was, but that night the news was all about the new plan announced by the mayor to hire 650 more police officers, a response to an FBI report released the week before which ranked Memphis second in the nation for violent crimes. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal from the next day, 150 of those officers would be assigned to schools.

A roughly 20 percent increase in police officers certainly sounds like a good idea, in the face 130 homicides in the first nine months of 2006. However, 2006 is not the worst year on record - and this stat gives away the fact that my younger self apparently wasn't very observant - apparently in 1993 there were over 200 homicides.

I find cities like Memphis such an interesting ... I want to say anachronism, but I think it's my perception that is wrong. I expect they could as easily be harbingers of the future as signs of the past.
:: David (17:43 in Michigan, 23:43 in Paris) - Comment


:: Friday, October 6 2006 ::

Well, it ain't perfect, but Google was nice enough to let me post my wedding to their video site. So, for those of you who've never seen a wedding before, or at least haven't seen mine, here you go:

Now let's wait and see how long it takes before somebody realizes that they're just giving away free bandwidth here....
:: David (15:14 in Michigan, 21:14 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


:: Thursday, October 5 2006 ::

Holy cow! How scary is this: Starbucks to triple store numbers?! According to the BBC, the company has recently increased its long-term expansion goals to 40,000 stores around the world, with fully half being located in the US.

For those of you not in the US, a fairly recent development here has been the opening of small Starbucks counters inside of grocery stores. For example, the place where we do our primary grocery shopping has a little counter just inside the entrance, roughly the size of an airport food counter. I don't really know if people buy the drink to carry with them while shopping, or to take to the car with them after they finish shopping, but one way or the other I assume people are buying. It's also an excellent way for big-box (or even 'fairly-large-box') stores to monetize their floor space. Viva la consumption!
:: David (23:16 in Michigan, 5:16 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


I'm uploading a low-resolution copy of our wedding video to google video, but it's taking forever! I'm using my telephone for my internet connection, so my upload is not all that fast (I think it may be dial-up speed or thereabouts). We'll see if it gets there by midnight, which is usually when we finish up here.
:: David (21:28 in Michigan, 3:28 in Paris) - Comment


If it's Thursday night, it must be WoW and pizza. I've brought my computer with me in the hopes of getting some other stuff done - usually I just watch, but this evening I felt like I ought to get something done other than killing mountain lions and gathering herbs. I feel like I've been terribly busy since the wedding, and haven't done some of the 'real' things I ought to. So hopefully I'll get some of them done this evening.
:: David (19:26 in Michigan, 1:26 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


:: Tuesday, October 3 2006 ::

OK - photos from the wedding, round one: it's a slideshow at the Kodak gallery, and if you really feel the urge you can even buy a print of 'smarmy David' or 'Sasha chasing chickens'.
:: David (22:59 in Michigan, 4:59 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[6]


:: Sunday, October 1 2006 ::

Kitten managed, somehow, to catch a bird out on the back balcony today. It has to have been the dumbest bird in creation, given that kitten doesn't usually climb onto the railing. Therefore the bird has to have thought that landing, or flying near, the balcony floor was a good idea. It was not. So in comes kitten with a bird in her mouth. And of course, she put it down to play with it some more. And it flew away. Inside the house. So now we have a bird flapping madly through the house, with Mina chasing behind. The bird knocked itself cold on the front window, and Mina made to have dinner, which was when I was able to intervene and separate cat and bird. Mina got locked in the bathroom (yowlingly) while Sasha and I decided what to do with the bird. It was determined that we should give her the bird, if it was terminally injured, but on the back porch. So I grabbed a dustpan to put the bird on (I'm not big on handling animals - I always worry I'll hurt them), and made to push the bird onto it. It was at this point the bird decided it wasn't injured after all, and proceeded to flap madly through the house some more. We were finally able to send it on its way, out the back door. We then released Mina from captivity, and she proceeded to stalk about the house trying to find her bird. Some tuna assuaged her concerns for a few hours, but she seems once again quite keen on escaping the house and finding her feathered (slightly less than before) friend.
:: David (17:37 in Michigan, 23:37 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


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