Totally Random

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jay: Woohoo! 248 Going Once…

Won’t really feel the love until I’ve seen it on the scale at least twice, but this morning I was 248, down 2 from my prior low, for an even 60 pounds lost from my high, and 50 lost this year.  Still, I did a double-take, having not expected it, stomach sick or not, metabolism racing from way too much coffee yesterday or not.


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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays Today

Guess I’ll have to figure out what else to post.


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Friday, July 04, 2008

Jay: This Would Also Have Been…

The birthday of my great-grandfather, Arthur Melborne Irving, who would be causing quite a stir at 122 if he were still around, rather than having been gone almost 88 years.


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Jay: Book Meme Thingie Going Round********

Via Sharon and Wayne.  I’d love to know who comes up with these lists.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell******
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien**
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky***
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (this is a must read book if you have never read it.)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding****
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert*****
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett *******
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

* I did sit down and read Revelations once, and maybe poked other parts with a stick, but the whole thing?  No more than I’ve read Dianetics.

** Tried once young and was so bored I couldn’t get far, which delayed my reading of the others.

*** Read part of this for an English class and found it scarily compelling.  I “felt” too strongly what the main character was feeling and it freaked me out.

**** 9th Grade reading, but I liked it almost to the point of underlining, but it’s also a creepy study in human psychology, almost to where everyone ought to read it.

***** So boring I never read another of the series, yet oddly compelling enough I finished it and can see why maybe some were so intrigued.

****** Read this circa end of 1981 in my 1st apartment, resulting in uncharacteristic nightmares, as it has the same psychological edge as the type inexplicably deep-seated fears I suffer from most.  The same thing that made me so horrified of the idea that in the Soviet Union they could call you crazy, look you up forever and torment you for being the rational one, or could easily accuse you of something you didn’t do or essentially invent a silly crime and completely ruin your life.  Oh wait.  It was sparked a deep depression that I got out of by reading Atlas Shrugged and by deciding to go to college and change my life completely.

******* It would be hard to overstate my love of this book, and its influence on me.  Somewhere in a box I have a copy that might be 1st edition but is missing key pages so can’t tell.  Or maybe it was damaged in some other way.  If I still have and can find it.

******** Like some Indonesian junk…


05:05 PM | BooksMusicQuiz or MemeTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jay: Hell’s Dreams

I woke up from a crazy dream in which I’d been tapped to be on Hell’s Kitchen, but as far as I could tell from the orientation, it wasn’t much like Hell’s Kitchen as we know it.  Deb was picked to be on it as well, just so they could use the husband and wife thing promotionally.

I was obviously the most steady, competent person there, no imposter, which of course surprised me.  I was mainly worried, as I’d be in reality, about overcooking stuff and needing too long partly as a result of that.  It shocks me sometimes how quickly they prepare a dish or cook a given item.

We were all given a pack of spices and ingredients, ad I had trouble with mine staying closed, because it was flimsy.  That was part of a pitch for a product of Ramsay’s own design, which used right wouldn’t have that problem.

Then he dramatically told us that, as we might have guessed, don’t be surprised if we’re told a list of who will leave in what order, and just deal if we didn’t like it.  Subject to change, of course, if someone seriously exceeded expectations in their week to go.

Most of this took place in an alley behind the building where the show set was, or just inside, in a delivery and storage area.

Later he came up to one girl, a tall blond with long hair, to tell her she would be the first.  Before we even competed!  She had been picked as first to go, to which she just fell apart, which happened at the same time someone drove a delivery truck into a pallet of butter, sent it flying and smooshed a lot of it.  I tried to organize people to go pick it up and put away it and other things.  That’s when I found out that unless it was punishment, never worry about that kind of thing, as they had crew to handle it.

Then I woke up.


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Monday, June 30, 2008

Jay: I Keep Forgetting

That I haven’t posted anything else today.  I’ve thought of it a few times and meant to, but nope, still the same birthday post.  Nothing about needing to examine and update my resume for a recruiter I talked with today.  Nothing about the need to raise money rapidly for one more major hurdle or still risk being being homeless (and we may have two vehicles now, but the car still isn’t as good as the van would have been for that).  No pictures from the ones pending.  Nothing about trying dairy with Henry to see what happens, starting with Deb, then him if he doesn’t react to that.  I think the dairy thing may have been a red herring, between the cheese being histamines and the milk containing strawberry syrup, which is more suspect than it might be since we know he can’t drink any Kool-Aid flavors due to something in them.  We’re also not convinced beyond a doubt about bananas, which also don’t fit the primary issue and which he loves enough to have begged for by name today.  Which doubles as practice of his mastery of the “n” sound.  As in “no.”

All the quickie items have gone elsewhere, where I can post more easily.  And not even all of those there could have been.

Sadly, it feels like it should be 4:00 and I have several hours ahead, so it’s shocking to see it turning 9:00.  The girls are fighting on my office floor, while Henry cheers them on gleefully.  Guess I should break it up, but it’s kind of funny.


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Deb: Overheard in our house, impressive connections edition:

Jay: You know, in a way Lee Iacocca invented the modern carseat industry.

Deb: Um, that was kind of random.

Jay: Not really.  I was thinking about ABBA.


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Jay: So 250…

Has been my low twice now, which leaves 2 lbs to go to be down 60, and 20 to go to be where I’d be thrilled to call a stable target.

Since this is happening essentially without trying, except that some changes seem to have kicked even the effects of drug cessation metabolism change along harder, I have no idea where it will stop, or that it won’t plunge right on past any goal I might have decided upon partway through.

If 205 was actually a stable wait that maintains itself on the right diet, but which took work to maintain back when my diet was crappier, perhaps that’s where I’ll land.  I’d expect the process to slow down by then, at least.

Obviously it’d be bad if this is medically induced in a bad if not yet obvious way, but I think it’s otherwise.

What’s weird, besides shirts hanging so loosely and such, is things like no longer being able to sleep on my belly as comfortably, and the baby clearly not being as comfortably laying on me to nap as I lean back in my chair.  Which needs to be replaced, as it’s hopelessly broken, and that’s buried under tons of other priorities, like eating and keeping the utilities on and such.  A shame Valerie destroyed my spare desk chairs.


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Friday, June 27, 2008

Jay: On The Agenda

Herding kids per usual.

Making beans to supplement leftovers.  I love cooking two nights and then having two nights of the leftovers making it easier.

Dealing with bureaucracy.

(Pause for literally hours to do aforementioned herding and post a couple items that were easier or whatnot...)

Nursing my hand that’s too sore to want to use the mouse and isn’t so thrilled about typing.

Work on composing and preparing a bleg, of it can be called that, for work, in context of explaining what we have in mind and why, subject to possible change or serious traditional offers considered, depending how serious and what happens with Deb’s career.

Work on the same basic thing to mass quantities of contacts, some of whom may not know even peripherally about the situation, and many of whom would be well aware my abilities.

The usual dishes and cleaning and organizing.

Work on a more traditional bleg on the possibility there might be any additional sympathy when I explain the next major hurdle we have to get past in order not to be completely screwed.  The PayPal button is still here, in any event, and won’t stop being useful for a long time, or appreciated ever.

Look at the washing machine, which seems to be acting up, and try to find the info for the service plan we paid for, if needed.

Test our electric usage to see if something is draining excess power, including the possibility that something not in our apartment or on our cellar outlet might be tapping it.

Clean the office.  Still.  Again.

Clean the bedroom.

Go through our stuff to purge/segregate/organize for sale more of it.

Run the car before the battery has a chance to fade out again.

Find a plate holder for the front of the car without spending any money, since there is none to spend.  Don’t want to drive it too much with the front plate sitting in on the dashboard.

Backup some pictures.

Reorganize some site hosting stuff.

Post ad info regarding our sites, maybe try to sell more to existing accounts, and pimp that further in any event.

Put together a “back from hiatus” fundraising Carnival of the Capitalists edition, speaking of raising money and advertising.  A couple people donated to us a while back and mentioned it as a thanks or hoping for return of CotC, so it’s partly for them, but also both to let people put their money where their interest is, and help me determine whether that site should remain ad-free or ad-limited, or whether I should load it up or seek sponsorship more vigorously.  In any event, that’s been part of my plan for trying to raise about $3000 in the next six weeks, some of which would be needed no matter how much I can make conventionally.

Update my LinkedIn profile and my resume and extend some of that to other networking-oriented sites.  Update the business site to reflect what I actually intend, until such time as someone makes me a serious enough offer to back off of that.

Probably a slew of other things I’m forgetting or that are trivial or that are implicit.


04:58 PM | BloggingBusinessCarsGeekeryJob HuntingKidsMassachusettsMedicalMoneyTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Epic Fail

Holmes window fan that’s reversible… by physically removing and turning it around.

Ironically, my excellent window fan that is switchable to exhaust is also Holmes brand.

The first one also isn’t as good otherwise.  Because we use it in a window in the kid’s room, at the top of the window, whenever someone burns and stinks up the place, I have to remove it, reverse it, fight to get it back in so it doesn’t rattle or vibrate, and turn it back on so there’s airflow and white noise, but it’s keeping out further smoke and removing what had come in.

The other one is in an office window, also high, and if I need to reverse it I only have to turn it off and change the setting on each of the separately controlled pair of fans.  The other one is all in one.  I only have to remove it for the rare times I operate the AC, which has only been run on a couple of days so far.  We got blasted so badly up front that, say, 85 and humid feels reasonable.

I must have paid less for the bad version, but I don’t remember it being that noticeably inexpensive.  I just can’t imagine what led to a design decision to promote a fan as reversible and making that a physical rather than electronic feature.


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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jay: Happy Birthday

To my good friend Tom, who was also born in 1961.  We met in 9th grade and hit it off.

Tom is the friend who coined “Jay Solo” as a pseudonym for me.  Every reference you see to me under that name, and perhaps the entire fact that the online world knows me by my middle name?  His fault.  Which includes the fact that I met a wife who knew me up front as “Jay,” and therefore didn’t have cognitive dissonance in that regard when around my family, about the only way I possibly could have.  He also got me hooked on letter writing, though that may have happened anyway, which was the precursor to blogging, which was the logical outlet for a pent up urge to write similarly that burst forth starting in 2003.  Not until then only because I resisted.  I could easily have been one of those who started in 2002.

My life would be a dramatically different thing without his influence, the good outweighing the questionable.  I think.

Here’s to many good years before the game is up.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

For the last time this month, it’s a day with no birthdays to post.  I could have sworn I had one for the 25th, but it’s not in my calendar, so none it is.

This is the first day of what will be Deb’s “permanent” schedule, until next time it changes.  At least from my perspective, since I think Monday through Sunday, while the employer’s week is Saturday through Friday.  Where last week it was Tuesday and Wednesday off, this week and presumably beyond it will be Monday and Tuesday.  Which makes them my prime work days, and days when leaving the house is easiest.  Obviously with a running car the kids fit in, I can go places with all of them, or can get someone to sit while I am able to go if needed.  Part of the reasoning behind two weekdays off instead of at least one weekend day off is that we only have three days to cover during the traditional business week, if I am engaged fully during that at any point, even for short bursts.

Since it’s the first day she goes back after two off, that means it stands to be more… interesting, as the kids have to adjust again.  On the other hand, with hours the same each day, it all works more smoothly than it did with alternating shifts.

Perhaps I can even do something useful today… perhaps even remunerative.  What a concept!


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jay: Addendum

When I did the aspie post I meant to include ABC by The Pipettes.

I’d never heard of the group before, but the video came up along with kid ABC videos on YouTube, Sadie played it, they ended up liking it, and I was intrigued that someone did a song about a classic aspie/geek guy whose romantic attention is hard to get.  The part that drives it from sounding geeky and obtuse to sounding aspie is the part about not being in “any of his categories.”


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Jay: New Benchmark

This morning I appear to be down to 251, after a previous low of 253 and a week or so steady at 255.  That puts me down 57 total, 47 this year, and puts me back, as far as I know, at least ten years in weight.

Go me!

It must have been the supper of kielbasa, eggs and hash browns last night that did it.  Or perhaps the lunch of leftover black bean, corn and beef chili (which came out so good I must make it that way more often).

My favorite T-shirts were a design called Alchemy for Dummies, essentially a wizard working at a computer.  The ones I had were getting old and ratty.  When we still lived in Stoughton, we sought to buy more by mail from OffWorld Designs, only to find they were being discontinued.  We bought some, forget how many, in a size that was available and I might hope to shrink into.  I was in the habit of wearing XXXL, so I guess we got some XXL shirts.  We tucked them away.

Deb recently said if I shrunk into them she’d even hang them dry, as I used to do with T-shirts to make them last absurdly long.

I must fit them, or will soon, even if they run small.  There are shirts I’m wearing now that have never been so loose.  Guess we’ll find out, but I want to wait until I’m good and ready.  Not like I have a shortage of shirts, and some of them are even still good.  Ooh, this means some of the dress shirts will fit better too.  Cool!

Speaking of clothes fitting, that’s the other thing.  I can get into size 38 pants.  I’ve gone from fitting a 42, if loose, through 40 to the point it’s hard to keep them up, and into 38 fitting, if a bit tight depending on the pair.  Good thing IO still have some, even if I ruined a bunch of the best fitting ones painting my apartment in Quincy.


01:44 PM | Food & CookingMedicalTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: No Birthdays

Another day with no birthdays to mention, and so it gets a placeholder post.  Don’t you feel special?

This is a full working day for me, whatever that may entail, as it’s an off day for Deb.  In effect, we both “work” seven days a week, and let it never be said that taking care of the kids - or house, to the degree the kids allow it - is either “not work” or “woman’s work.” I’d like to think we’re a bit more enlightened than that in 2008.  It is 2008, right?  Yeah.

Some of these posts, and the birthdays, have been pre-posted in a batch, dated for the appropriate time, so I don’t have to get up every single morning and post any birthdays there may be, or feel obligated to post something to keep the blog looking lively.  Presumably there’s been some stuff between the batch posts, but if not, well, it’s something anyway.


10:39 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessKidsMoneyTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink
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