Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ripped From The Archives

It's amazing what "sticks" in cyberspace.
I started this blog two years ago.  It's just a bunch of random as they hit me thoughts.  I have no real purpose here. I'm just a girl, an ordinary girl who occasionally says what's on her mind.
So two years ago I poked fun at an unnamed family in an unnamed state.  And to this day, I get traffic from folks looking for information on that family.  I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.  But what really tickles me is two years later people actually click through to this blog and leave me little hate notes.  Like this one:
"I was very insulted when my friend told me about a site that critisized my name. My fathers name is not [bleep] and Ive been on this planet for 25 years and what does it matter if there is people named [bleep] or [bleep] or [bleep] or anything for that matter. I have recieved more compliments about my name than insults. At least my parents were not only honoring my grandmothers name but also was creative in doing so. At least they are not commited to maintaining the same names as all other generations. Dare need I say the names that are being used redundently because the lack of creativeness there of. For the one who posted about naming there child [bleep], I hope this name haunts you and sticks with you for the rest of your boring life.
  Why do people take things so personally?  You'd think I stood outside this woman's house and yelled profanities for hours on end.  Honestly, I guess I should be flattered that my opinion meant so much to someone else.  But still.  Get a life.
It's like the stupid eBay forums that I have to peruse as part of my job.  Talk about lowest common denominator.  People are downright mean and petty.  Have they never heard of the old saying "If you can't say something nice, then don't say something at all?"  I posted a question about how to get a buyer's phone number, and while one person responded and actually pointed me in the right direction, two others chose to berate me for even asking the question.  They didn't know my need/motivation for asking the question - and they didn't need to know.  I have an honest question.  If you can give me an honest answer, great.  If not, keep your mouth shut.
There.  I've vented.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mixing It Up

You all know I'm a Survivor fan.  And I've been known to watch American Idol too.  In fact, I've been watching this season pretty regularly, and I have a few thoughts.
I think they should mix it up.  Instead of voting for the person you want to keep in the competition, vote for the person you want to send home, the way they do on Survivor.
It would solve several problems.  First, at this stage of the game, there may be several competitors who you want to keep around for another week.  Who has time to spend calling in for multiple contestants?  It's bad enough that folks can (and do) sit there and hit redial over and over and over and over again.
If you're voting for the person you want to send home, it's one call.  Several if you really want to see him/her go and you have the patience to sit there and redial (hell, I fell asleep before the show was over last night so I didn't vote at all - guess that speaks volumes about how important I really think this is, but I'm going to continue making my point anyway).
The folks over at Vote For The Worst operate on this principle in reverse.  They are using the current voting system to keep the worst contestant around, thereby helping to make a mockery of the process (and yes, many would argue that the entire process deserves to be mocked!).  And in many respects, they are right.  This isn't a talent show - it's a reality show.  It's good TV to keep bad contestants around for awhile.  If they didn't, we wouldn't have anything to debate at the water cooler.
Anyway.  Since I fell asleep last night, I can't venture a guess as to who will go home tonight.  But I'm amazed and impressed with those who can and do predict these things.  And here's a connection that I'm not sure anyone has made.  You know how everyone refers to Kevin Covais as "Chicken Little?"  And how Vote for the Worst is campaigning to keep him in the competition?  It may be having a bigger impact than anyone realized.
Have you seen the sales figures for the "Chicken Little" DVD?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Internet Makes Me Happy

After suffering for far too long, I finally arranged for a service call for my internet connection. I'm happy to report that I have a new modem, a new connection, and blazing fast speed that I haven't had since I don't know when.

Me Happy.

And in other news - The Man may have fixed my laptop! There were all sorts of problems with it, but the primary one was that the screen was, in fact, dead. Being the resourceful guy that he is, he has ordered a new backlight for me and will install it when it arrives. Not that it's easy - Dell doesn't want you to know that you can fix a burnt-out backlight. They want to sell you a whole new screen. But if this works the way we think it will, we will have repaired the screen with a $25 part.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Collecting As A Hobby

First of all, I have been a collector.  I am still a collector.
But it just struck me that as a hobby, collecting is sad.  I'm updating this damn catalog, and one of the items I just checked was a collection of car-related videos.  Yes, somewhere out there, people are spending good money to collect videos (or DVDs or CDs or what have you).
Now, your average every day collector is just fine.  I have all of John Grisham's books in hard cover.  I've read them, I've enjoyed them, and I intend to keep them.  Not a big deal.  I probably don't even qualify as a collector.
But what about the die-hard collector? The person who thinks it is vitally important to have every one of those Precious Moments figurines?  Who collects the limited edition Disney prints?  Who really thinks that that complete collection of Hess trucks is really going to be worth something some day?
I don't know.  It just struck me as sad ... that someone's life could be so empty that they fill it with collectibles.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Me Likes ...

... today's Word of the Day.

A Tale of Three Computers

My computer woes continue.
I've been limping along with my laptop since November.  Screen is shot, and I can only boot in VGA mode.  Not ideal.  And whatever mucked it up (some sort of software conflict, I think, because it all came to a head after I re-installed some printer drivers) is slowly strangling it to death.  The system moves so slowly.  I tried to reformat and reinstall, but the computer, which thinks it is smarter than me, won't let me overwrite with an older operating system (I've updated along the way).
Heavy sigh.  So when my brother came to visit a few weeks ago, I asked him to bring a spare.  He brought a big old Gateway computer and monitor for me.  I don't even know what the system specs are on it.  He installed my version of Office XP and left it.  I bought TurboTax on Friday and tried to install on my laptop.  It wouldn't work in VGA mode, so I turned to the trusty backup.
Initially, I couldn't get the CD drive to work, so I couldn't load on the Gateway either.  Time to recall my trusty Mac.  I had given it to Susan, who used it for awhile, and then it was passed on to her father, who used it for even a shorter while, and it was sitting in a basement, so I thought - if nothing else, I can use it to load TurboTax and maybe surf the net.
So I set up the Mac in the back bedroom where the cable modem is located (it doesn't have a wireless card).  Man, it's been a long time since I used a Mac!  I quickly discovered why it was no longer being used.  System 8.6 was great when I bought the computer, and it still worked when I retired it in 2001, but it just doesn't cut it in 2005.  I couldn't even upgrade it if I wanted to.  And I had 64 meg of RAM on it. 
Yeah, so that's pretty much dead in the water.
Back to the old Gateway.  Lugged that upstairs too, and was finally able to load TurboTax (if my brother was able to get Office XP on there, then the CD drive did work - I just needed to fiddle with it a bit.)  But when I tried connecting it to the internet, I still had problems connecting.  I can get an IP address, but it takes forever for a page to load, and more often than not?  Page not found.  When I know damn well it's there.  I've got problems with my cable modem too - but I already knew that.  Need to schedule a service call.
So guess what I'm doing with my tax refund?  Yup, a new laptop.  I'm actually thinking about leasing one.  It makes sense - why pay to own something that's obsolete in 3 years?  Why not lease one (for same amount) and trade it in for a new model when I'm done?  I think it's possible - I've heard about some lease deals through Lenova, a Chinese company that is taking over production of IBM laptops.  We'll see.
In the meantime - blogging will take place On Company Time because that's the only reliable internet connection I have.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Good Things

Went home last night, spent half an hour on the treadmill, read some Harry Potter, and watched Survivor with Mary.  Got a decent night's sleep (didn't wake up until 5:52 a.m.) and today the sun is out.  It's definitely a better day today than it was yesterday.
Was reading a story about a woman who won $17,700 on Wheel of Fortune, but didn't win the grand prize of a Mini Cooper.  And there was a link in the story so I went on over and applied to be a contestant.  Said I was interested in "Best Friends" week - Susan, are you ready for another adventure?  Because I know Wheel of Fortune is going to call.  Remember that piece of the story line in " White Men Can't Jump"?  Rosie Perez's character was convinced that Jeopardy was going to call - and they did!
Anyway, I'm sure Susan and I can do a better job solving the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune than Sally and Dan did on Survivor last night.  Astronaut my ass.  He deserved to be voted off the island.
Just traded a few messages with my sister-in-law.  We have a little friendly wager going.  We're going to see who can exercise more in the next two weeks.  We were both complaining about feeling crappy and not having any energy.  So, we agreed to have this little competition.  She suggested that our goal be to lose five pounds in the next two weeks.  I know it's possible, but for me that is going to mean really working out! 
We'll shall see.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I Must Be Feeling Better ...

... I just succumbed to a chocolate craving.


Not sure why, but I can't seem to concentrate.  So, I'll dump the clutter in my brain here and try to move on.
The last couple of weeks have been rough for me.  Not totally satisfied with my job.  Not getting enough sleep.  Not getting enough exercise.  Generally weepy.  Nothing is right and everything is wrong.  Cried all over Susan's shoulder last weekend.  Hoping that was the bottom and I'm starting to pull myself up out of the crater.  We'll see.
For whatever reasons, I just haven't felt like detailing things here.
It's raining and every now and then I hear the jets overhead - apparently the landing patterns change in inclement weather and the planes fly over my office.  It's supposed to be a great early spring weekend coming up, so I'm looking forward to that.  Not quite ready to go out and dig in the yard, but I will definitely be out and about.  Even though it's been warmer than usual (fifth warmest winter on record, I heard) it's been a long, hard winter for me.
Here's looking ahead to spring ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Interesting ... Very Interesting

An interesting article appears in the Technology section of today's New York Times titled "Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in Its Public Relations Campaign." I've linked to it, but I know that the link will soon be pay per view only, so I'll have to summarize it for you (which, coincidentally enough, is a good part of what the article is about).

Essentially, Wal-Mart is now using bloggers in its PR efforts. They've identified bloggers who seem to be sympathetic to the company's policies, and they are feeding them exclusive news and information which the bloggers are then regurgitating on their blogs. It raises a lot of questions - are there standards for citing sources? Is it required? Is it optional? What rules apply in the blogosphere?

The folks at Instapundit say that if you reprint something, you should say where it came from.

Glenn Reynolds, the founder of Instapundit.com, one of the oldest blogs on the Web, said that even in the blogosphere, which is renowned for its lack of rules, a basic tenet applies: "If I reprint something, I say where it came from. A blog is about your voice, it seems to me, not somebody else's."

(lifted from the aforementioned New York Times article; further quotes from that article are in this font/color)

Mona Williams, a Wal-Mart company spokeswoman, was also quoted in the Times article saying:

"As more and more Americans go to the Internet to get information from varied, credible, trusted sources, Wal-Mart is committed to participating in that online conversation."

So blogs are now considered credible, trusted sources.

I'm not a journalist, but I do consider myself to be a good writer, and as such, I believe that sources should be cited. Something Mrs. Smith taught me in my senior composition class back in high school. So it was particularly troubling to see this later in the article:

"John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University who runs the Marquette Warrior blog, recently posted three links about union activity in the same order as he received them from Mr. Manson. Mr. McAdams acknowledged that he worked from Wal-Mart's links and that he did not disclose his contact with Mr. Manson.

"I usually do not reveal where I get a tip or a lead on a story," he said, adding that journalists often do not disclose where they get ideas for stories either."

Oh, so now bloggers are journalists. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Regurgitating information without attribution is not acceptable. If it were, do you think Wal-Mart would have distributed this advisory:

"Wal-Mart has warned bloggers against lifting text from the e-mail it sends them. After apparently noticing the practice, Mr. Manson asked them to "resist the urge," because "I'd be sick if someone ripped you because they noticed a couple of bloggers with nearly identical posts."

Wal-Mart. The company that cares.

I don't have a particular stand on the Wal-Mart/Good or Wal-Mart/Evil issue. I'm just intrigued by the whole information explosion and my inability to know which way is up.

P.S. Here are some of the related links that ran with the story in case you are interested - why will I not be surprised if great chunks of the original Times article are copied and pasted here (with or without attribution)?

Crazy Politico's Rantings
Marquette Warrior

Friday, March 03, 2006


Spotted on a Lexus as I was driving down the highway this morning.
That's just wrong.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oops! Did I Do That?

I doubt it, but there is a chance that I may have caused the server crashes last week.
See, I work in this open cube farm, and I can't play the radio.  It is so deadly quiet in here, and most of the time I don't even get a "bless you" when I sneeze.  Really friendly place I work in.  So I've been tuning in to my local radio station via the web.  Yesterday, as I was leaving, one of the owners was at the other end of the room doing some scanning and playing his iPod via a docking station.  I joked with him about keeping it down (he's always coming in and saying "you guys need a radio!") and my boss, who couldn't see that the docking station was in use, calls out "You're not streaming from the web, are you?  Because you know that takes up a lot of bandwidth and causes server crashes."
Um, it does?  Needless to say, I've been sans radio this morning.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Swing And A Miss

I sent out several resumes over the weekend, and I called to follow up on one of them today.  It was an older posting (Jan 17) so I wasn't too surprised to hear that it had already been filled.  They said they would keep my resume on file.  I hope so.
Will make another follow-up call tomorrow; and I have another query I need to send out.  This is it - I'm finally serious about undertaking a real job search.  In the meantime, I'm starting to make note of time I spend in the office doing work that could be done from home.  I've spent just about the entire day updating specials on the web.  Using Dreamweaver and a web browser.  I do not need to be here to do that.