Books

Friday, July 04, 2008

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…


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Jay: Only 64?

My uncle, David Bryant Ellis, would have been 64 today.  Assuming my year of birth data is accurate, anyway.  That means he was but ten years older than my oldest brother, the same gulf between me and my youngest brother.  Talk about generational blurring.

He has been gone now for many years, and even though I knew he was markedly younger than my father, he was very “old” by the time he died.  It was unsurprising almost the way it would be for an octogenarian.

David was amazingly talented at drawing.  I see Sadie’s distinctive drawing and think of him.  He loved science fiction and comics, but mainly of the darker variety.  The glum SF for which the sixties were known was just his thing.  I remember him when I read something he might have enjoyed, or wonder what he’d have thought of something in the genre.

Funny how you can miss someone with whom you had such limited contact.


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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jay: Blargh

I feel lousy this morning.  Got enough sleep, even if much of it was in Sadie’s bed because she apparently decided our bed would be better and warmer.  Well, “even if” makes her bed sound bad, and actually it’s awesome.  I may have gotten deeper sleep there.  I noticed Valerie eventually abandoned her bed too, presumably joining the crowd in ours.

I woke up from one of those crazy mashed up dreams.  It involved starting a job, and the place or aspects brought in elements of multiple past employers and situations.  The place was named Halliday, which is one job.  The lobby was right out of Corporate Software, which later became Stream.  I was supposed to start at $8.00 an hour, which happens to be minimum wage in Massachusetts currently.  I speculated they might start at slightly higher, which Flatley Company did when I worked at Waterford Village.  Minimum wage then was $2.90 and they paid $3.00.  Then minimum wage went to $3.10 and they paid… $3.10, which completely destroyed some notions I had.

I was talking with someone, speculating that the company might pay me a little above the minimum.  Sure enough, it was going to be $8.02, which somehow morphed into the exact same thing as the $12.02 I started at with Corporate Software.  Anyway, even the reference to pay rate is a reference back to prior jobs.

The exterior of the building was some kind of generic cross between places, hard to say one more than another, but there might have been elements of a Christy’s Market, adding another old job.

Later, when I was on the job, there was a scene in an apartment.  Apparently apartments were part of what the place did, which goes back to Waterford Village.  It was vacant, had been mine, still had some of my stuff in it, and was not going to be rented any time soon.  This was like the office I had in Easton, which took me a month extra to move out of after the last official month, with them in no hurry for it.  A guy named Matthew showed up in the dream.  We once shared an apartment in Greenfield, and I was telling him he might soon want to get his stuff out of this one that he’d left it in with me.  He hadn’t even realized I’d moved.  Shades of former partners having left stuff in the office in Easton, which had to go to them, be disposed of, be adopted, or be stored.

Confusingly, in a related sequence, I was showing someone how many bookcases I was going to be able to fit, in a ridiculous arrangement, in just the entryway/kitchen area alone.  The someone was an amalgamation of a former partner and someone I didn’t work closely with at Stream, but who was similarly brilliant.

Very strange.  I also remember thinking that I could crash in the apartment if needed, like if I needed to stay over at work since the place was vacant, I had access to it, and they’d made me welcome to use it, short of actually moving in.

Lots of stuff to do today.  Hope I can remember what it is!  I have some e-mailing and calling and going and researching and writing and food storing and cleaning and organizing and so forth to be done.

We received a book yesterday that we’d order super cheap from Half.com, a used copy of Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.  I need to do more than skim the intro, but it should be interesting.  Sadie is beyond ready.  She fell asleep last night with a book named “Ted” open, pages down on her chest.  She studies and recites books from memory.  She knows the letters.  She has an idea of some words, like the Q thing she identifies with closing a program (Quit), that made he so excited to learn about how q and u go together.

This morning she spent some time on my lap while I didn’t write and I did an impromptu tiny lesson on m and s, which are the first ones covered in the book.  She can point them out on the keyboard (and sound like I’m stupid to ask her) and I had her say the sounds.  The actual lessons take about 15 minutes.  Not a bad amount of time to devote, once or twice a day.  I doubt she’ll need the whole thing or want to be held back to that speed once we’re rolling.

Anyway, I need to go take care of stuff in the kitchen.  And post the birthday I didn’t know about before I started this.  Sooner or later I’ll have no birthday-free days.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jay: On Today’s Menu

Wow.

I have to run stuff to the post office, as people have been cleaning Deb out.  Like 1/3 of the Etsy shop and several items from the book shop, and there was only one order ready to ship before the post office closed yesterday.  I’m looking at 7 first class or priority packages, and packing slips for a couple more.

That’s first, because it’s about prompt shipping for which the shops have become known.

Then I need to do thank you e-mails.  Lots of thank you e-mails.  Sometime in the next day, I figure.  We’re just… astonished.

I also need to do my planned “hire us” item on the sidebar, which would have been better done before yesterday’s post went up.  I didn’t ask for anyone to link it, and have no idea how the heaviest of hitters knew about it almost as soon as it was posted.  So I didn’t expect anywhere near the traffic or response.

I have an American Idol post to write.

Maybe not today, but very soon there will be an edition of CotC.  While I may still call it a fundraising edition, and if that catches a few more people who’ve appreciated or are attached to it then great, the impetus now is that so many people donated here and mentioned CotC in conjunction.  Plus I’m going to burst if I don’t do something soon with all the links I personally have been accumulating, let alone whatever is in the mailbox I haven’t looked at lately.

It’s a good day to put the resume and/or work solicitations in more places.

I need to look at some information worth knowing in advance of a likely phone screening for the far away support job possibility.  No matter how massive your background, it seems there’s always a “really like you to know...” that you don’t, or have not even heard of.

Okay, off I go.  Just wanted to fix this stuff in my mind and put forth what’s up, for the curious, as something besides birthdays.

Oh yeah!  Need to post about Henry aging a few months yesterday, and how cool that was.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jay: Crunch Time

This is going to be a different post from the one I started the night before last, with the same title.  That one started out on the topic of needing to locate the taxes I’d done, for the partnership and personal federal, and to do the state ones and get them mailed.  I since located the partnership ones and mailed them, along with two books from Deb’s book shop.  One was an advanced computer book from my collection, so went for $17.50 at about the cheapest price available.  For us that’s real money.  When it arrives in the twice a month payout.  I also rewrote the federal to be neater, and did the state, cursing Romney over RomneyCare.  There’s now a form HC, which at 3 pages if you need the whole thing is longer than the main Form 1 at 2 pages.  I had the urge to ignore it, but you are supposed to use it to determine your personal exemption.  By running too low on money to pay the last $1300 of insurance for Deb and the kids to cover October through December, and failing to apply for subsidized coverage, we paid a penalty of $220 in extra taxes.

Anyway, that’s all done.  I have to mail those today.

Looks like the interview last week was a bust, which is fascinating in that it was a temporary gig.  Which I suspect they planned to try to get someone permanent out of, and looked accordingly.  The interview the week before was obviously a bust as well.

I have a possible something in the works with an internet marketing business.  I have someone putting in my resume for a well-paid support job that just happens to be in Lowell, so it’d be on the $25 a day commuting plan.  If I can stop worrying about money and the household long enough to chase an income just slightly harder and keep the household, something - even something great - should come pretty fast.  It’s probably a matter of keeping the balls in the air a few more weeks.

Trouble is, we’re out of time, and while some awesome people have picked up distress, we haven’t been forthcoming on just where things stand.  I’ve threatened to have a fundraising edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, even though I’m too busy trying to raise money to try to raise money.  I’ve pointed out the resume, Deb’s Etsy shop and used book shop, and my availability for side work. 

I haven’t asked for donations, apart from whatever is implicit in making the PayPal button available.  And it feels wrong to do so, much as we get annoyed by unhelpful people who dwell on the fact history ought have been different, rather than acting on (or ignoring) what is.  I could say and rue much about how we got here, but that doesn’t keep us from getting evicted.

Then again, I’d rather ask individuals for help than use public assistance paid for with stolen money.  Or worse, stolen from the future, given the financing of so much of it through debt, creating a future need for inflation and/or higher taxes.  But what do I know.  I’m just a crackpot who saw the housing/credit bubble vividly starting years ago.

So yeah.  Pretty much asking now, as I prepare to mail the tax returns and then throw ourselves on the mercy of the gas & electric department to avoid having those shut off tomorrow.  When I gave them Henry’s birth certificate, which by itself should give us until August 20, they also wanted an income number.  At the time, I wasn’t sure what I’d made last year.  I would never have guessed it would be low enough for the EIC, or that rent, medical and health insurance technically took 2/3 of it.  There was enough in residual, undrawn funds that it carried us a long time in the shutdown of the business (in which mailing the tax returns yesterday is the last major act, though I’ll have stuff to handle for a while).

If blogging is a bit slow, or you see as much on other blogs as here to keep them up enough to justify their value to advertisers, it’ll be because we’re scrambling.  The ads, the selling things, the found money, the incredibly generous donations we already received, the Etsy sales - nothing to sneeze at but also in jeopardy because you have to have money for materials and shipping - and the bits of side work here and there only go so far.  The fact I tend to stock the pantry as if I’m expecting to ride out the end of civilization - or something like this bad stretch - only helps stretch things so long before real money needs to be spent on groceries and sundries again.

Of course, if we lose power, that’s the end game.  What money we do make is online.  That would trigger a total meltdown of our situation.  I don’t think that should be a problem, but we do have to start paying them Real Soon Now.  We’ve been managing to get $250 or $300 a week to the landlord, staying basically half a month to a month or so behind.  If we miss a week, game over, barring something like working with us because I just started a job and it’s all going to change.  This week we’re sketchy but should manage it.  Next week?  No idea.  I expect to do some small side work early in the week, but not likely enough.

Anyway, if you can hit the donate button, even in small amounts, that would be amazing.  Alternatively, use the address deb at neatlytangled dot com for PayPal, as hers doesn’t have a transfer limit (to get it from there to the bank) and is useful that way.  If we’ve ever entertained you through blogging, given you helpful advice, or even if you think I’m an idiot but want to keep the kids fed and off the street, perhaps it’s worth something.

Onward!  Time to take care of business.  Mail tax returns.  Deal with utility crisis.  Try to shake loose work.  Planning to add Deb’s resume to the ones online and put a “hire us” box in the sidebar where “donate” is now, soon as I get a chance.  So on.  So forth.

Thanks for helping, or even just reading and quietly not saying or doing something unhelpful, no matter what you really think.

Update:

You guys are amazing.  Not to replace individual thanks, but holy cow, we’re just blown away.


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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jay: Shopping List

Don’t mind me.  This is mostly composing aloud of my list of things I need to get at the store, following a quick run to the post office with another sold book.  The budget for the grocery run is $25.  Diapers should take $6.49 of it, unless I buy them elsewhere and juggle other money toward them, which is possible considering how ideal Market Basket is for buying food itself.  I can look at this list here from the store if needed. Hooray for technology!

Besides the errands, I’m still working on the office, and today playing with some web and database code, which may be significantly easier than I had anticipated.  Since working on code, be it that as a possible project, creating a portfolio of what I have done, or trying to dredge out stuff I can complete and make available, or fiddle with to learn more, means needing to hook up at least one additional computer and improve the lab environment, the office rearranging project goes hand in hand.

I still haven’t heard back on the contract I interviewed for.  I need to e-mail the guy there and others.  I did hear from the bank, where my online banking has never worked.  Before they escalated it, they had me try it live on the phone to capture a server log of the attempt.  It’ll be interesting to see what the problem is.  I have to wonder if it’s FiOS or my router the FiOS comes through.

Anyway, what do I need to remember?

Meat. Depends what is on sale. We have none, period, and can use chicken and ground beef, for starters.  Pork or unground beef are valid options.  I could easily buy $50 of meat to restock, before even getting to anything else.  With the dairy ban for Deb, we shoot for high fat more than we normally would.

Potatoes
Carrots (best price is there, or I might skip)
Beans, maybe lentils too (almost out of 64 oz bag of pintos, out of all else but split peas)
Frozen veggies (just a few cheap bags to interrupt the drought)
Cheese
Milk (not out, but cheapest place for it)
Pasta
Spaghetti sauce
Possibly some fresh veggies, sweet potatoes, butternut, or fruit depending on prices or sales
Bread
Yeast
Sugar
Maybe coffee creamer
Maybe coffee
Maybe tuna (goal of kids actually eating)
Maybe tomato soup (ditto)
Butter if still low there (ditto - Sadie can tell the difference, eats bread plain rather than with margarine)

I know I’m forgetting something and I’ll remember as soon as I walk out into the kitchen.  I hope.

There are things low, like ketchup and rice, that can wait.  I can do scratch rather than needing Bisquick.

Vegetable oil (using a lot where I’d put butter or margarine in pan to fry stuff, avoiding dairy)
Honey
Peanut butter, if they have a good price
Oatmeal, ditto

That may actually be it.  It’s just that the innocent entries for meats and veggies could easily overwhelm the whole thing.  Then if there’s a must have sale, that adds to it.  Since I lost the flier, I should see if it’s online the way most are…

Huh.  It appears Demoulas Market Basket supermarkets have no web presence.  Weird indeed.

Anyway, off to it before the day slips any further.

Update:

I found the paper flier for this week.  They have some nice sales, especially on beef and hamburger.  That helps.

The kids are having a trauma over who will go with me…


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Jay: Apparently

I hit just the right food combinations yesterday for the kids.

First, I had bought 3 Bartlett pears on sale, sneaking them into a “can’t get everything I need and must keep it under $10, preferably under $7 in case the debit card doesn’t work and I have to use cash” grocery order, and the girls split one like they were discovering fruit for the first time.  It was especially good, perfectly ripe.

Shortly after, at their request, we had grilled cheese and red soup.  The latter being what they call tomato soup.  Which was Wal-Mart’s house brand, and quite good.  They each devoured completely half of a grilled cheese, made with colby jack, cheap bread and cheap margarine.  Since we can’t afford cheese, but still have to buy some, and are using it slower while Deb avoids dairy, and I’m nervous about my beloved cheddar after the allergy incident in which it’s about 80% probable the specific batch of cheese plus pre-sensitization were to blame (I didn’t know cheddar could be loaded with histamines) and I reacted to it or something too, we’ve settled on that kind.  Wal-Mart’s is good, and it makes great grilled cheese.  One devoured all and the other most of a third or more of the can of soup.  I gave each of them at least as much of it as I had.

Then when I was at a total loss for supper, Deb remembered I’d mentioned blueberry pancakes the night before.  We still had part of a bag of frozen blueberries my father had gotten for Sadie, knowing her love of blueberries.  Most of it went into an astonishingly good blueberry cake a while back, which oddly enough left the kids indifferent.

There was exactly a cup of Bisquick remaining, enough for half a standard batch, without stretching it or making scratch.  I made that up for them, figuring they might not eat it all and that would be part of what I had.  Using an eight cup measure to scoop relatively uniform pancakes, I made 12 of them, heavy on blueberries, ate one myself, and between them they ate all of the other 11.  Sadie ate 5 2/3 and Valerie at 5 1/3 of them, with plenty of cheap fake syrup.

That’s just nuts, compared to their normal, or at least recent, eating, especially Sadie’s.  She’s been doing a lot of living on moonbeams.  And afterward she pleaded still hungry, at least enough for several jelly beans.

In between, they each got a green apple lollipop from the post office when we walked there.  You may remember we have books for sale, and there was an order for one to go priority, rather than the usual media mail.  Not only did the guy at the post office give out lollipops, he had me stuff the original package into one of the “if it fits, it ships” priority folders, to make it $4.60 instead of $7.50.

Too bad having a full belly didn’t prevent a total meltdown by Sadie, for no apparent reason, late last night.  She did make the breakthrough of calming herself enough to be coherent, so that’s good.

And speaking of cheap bread, we fell in love with Stop & Shop’s cheap bread, in 3-packs for $2.69, so it’s the best price as well as quality.  I went in there the other day, read the package and found it has no milk or egg, so bought that rather than making more dairy-free bread myself just now.  But… it went up sixty cents, to $3.29, just like that.  Wow!  If bread everywhere else, in single loaves, stayed that same, that makes them comparable.  I have to assume there was probably a generalized increase.  But 22%??  That’s going to mean the cheapest breads start to approach $1.50 a loaf.  Perhaps it’s not generalized.  I’ll have to look, just to find out.

My next mission will be to persuade the kids that soup is still soup and can still be eaten even if it’s not tomato.  I have three cans of chicken noodle, which they ought to like, if I carefully promote it and make sure they know what it is.  There are some other cans that the three of us can eat.

Speaking of allergies, we tried reintroducing eggs to Deb starting last night.  The two of us had fried egg and ham sandwiches.  Eggs come out odd on non-stick with no source of grease, but it was still good.  Within a few days we should be clear that it’s okay for her to have them, which will leave only dairy, which makes it not too bad.

Henry can now eat oatmeal, rice, butternut, apple, chicken, and carrots.  I really need to hit the store with money enough to buy chicken this week, as it’s on amazing sale, and hello, he can eat it and it’s a nice boost from the veggie kingdom.  I was thinking of trying the pears next, but I doubt they’ll last long enough.  They’re a safe bet, anyway.  We still have sweet potatoes he could try next, and that’ll cover the major orange food group.

Oh, peanut butter and raisins appear to be safe for him, too.  He has sisters.  Apparently the main reason not to give him peanut butter is ability to eat it without choking, because he’s managed to get some twice.

One of his biggest problems seems to be my printed shirts.  Part of it’s an abrasion factor, on the heavier, rougher prints, but the ink can also contain stuff that can bother some people.  Given that we know he is bothered severely by bananas, and that probably means a latex allergy, the ink thing would be no surprise.

I’m rambling.  Need to get more coffee, and at least make it so the girls will wake sooner rather than later.  Last night I was threatening them with an earlier bed time, starting with waking them early today.  I didn’t, but it’s about time even for not so early.


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Friday, March 28, 2008

Jay: Dreams Are Weird

I haven’t seen my stepsister in years, yet she was in dreams two nights in a row.  Night before last, there was a mishmash of stuff that included one of my father’s houses, the dream version of it, which in the dream she’d ended up buying.  Last night’s dreams included a scene in which I was telling my stepsister about the dream I’d had the night before.  Very meta, self-referential, or whatever you want to call it.

The seemingly lengthy end part of the dreams last night involved being somewhere to the north, like NH, ME or VT - the highway I drove down was a generic stretch of what looks like northern New England highway that seems to recycle in dreams where it’s needed - and there being a giant snow storm.  I needed to get home, apparently for work, and was trying and trying to get through it, leaving when I shouldn’t have, getting in shoveling scenarios, trying to bash through a snowbank a few feet taller than the car, that sort of thing.  Eventually I gave up and stayed in a motel, though even that was a matter of getting a room, then continuing to try to flee.

In the motel, which seemed to double as one of those side of the highway tourist rest stops and the offices of some business (for that matter, in part it looked like a miniature section of some airport terminal, in rustic), there was the challenge of getting something to eat.  People were strangely open, but not open, at a lunch counter and small store.  I found my way into the dining area, where someone had just been served a sandwich, but most people were just hanging out, and was told they would be serving starting at a specific time.  An odd time, though I forget when.  It was at the motel where I ran into my stepsister, as I recall.

Fast forward and I am driving down the highway in the morning, bright, sunny, and not a speck of snow, immediately south of where I had stayed.  I was fuming at having had to spend the money and time to stay over.  I was also alone, but then I wasn’t, because Deb and a kid, presumably Sadie as a baby, were with me.  This would fit with the blizzard when we had to stay an extra night at the Park Plaza for Arisia, when Sadie was less than 4 months old.  On the way, we discussed the state of the credit cards, and which one I’d used for the stay, and how it sucked to have needed to do that because we so couldn’t afford the $40.

Next thing I know, pressed for time, I was driving straight to work with family in tow, which is odd in that we’d gotten almost home when I got onto the highway going north from here.  In reality, I’d have had to pass work on the way there, then changed my mind and not spent an extra 10 minutes dropping them home.  Then there was a bit of fuss about where Deb and the kid would hang out at the office, which was a cross between my former large client, a larger business, and the motel I’d stayed at in the dream.

That was about it.  I woke up, amused at the whole thing, and started coffee brewing.  I certainly hope we don’t get any snow, and that dreaming about my stepsister has no prescient bad significance.  However, this wasn’t like one of those “dreams that happen” dreams, or like when I flashed “this could be the last time I talk to her” out of the blue and sat to converse with my grandmother at length less than 36 hours before she died.

Being Friday and not having had it early enough to mail it, I have to make arrangements to drop money to the landlord.  We may look like we’re sitting around watching soaps and playing with the kids, but each week we have to come up with $250 or $300 toward rent to defer eviction proceedings.  The drop-ins by people who are bringing food donations and don’t care what the house looks like at any random time are welcome but are still disruptions.  Visits that are just visits on a couple hours notice tend to get “well, this is really a bad day” pretty uniformly.  Friday is especially bad with the actual rent delivery, but today I need to make a post office run - a small contribution to our finances a couple weeks hence because someone bought a book, I need to go to Wal-Mart and figure out how to stretch $30 beyond all recognition - including a couple bucks for yarn for a custom order to help our finances in a week or two, stop at my mother’s for a special crib mattress cover a cousin got us for Henry not to be allergic to the crib anymore (she’s allergic to everything herself, apparently), reply to the person who is offering temp work that’ll be great if the interview Monday doesn’t work out, figure out whether I need $8 or $16 for the train Monday and walking directions from South Station to my destination, help unbury and select clothes sealed in the leaky closet for the winter, continue my office organizing project, make banana bread, figure out what’s for supper and start it ahead of time if needed, and probably some things I’ve forgotten.  Like e-mailing someone who might want me to do a computer cleanup Sunday, or Monday evening, and might have others who could use that, if she’s recovered enough from surgery.  A few of those and it’s close to another rent week.

And I still haven’t worked on the giant “we’re back” fundraiser edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, but I should, because that could contribute to groceries or to the rent on the 11th.  Or gas for the truck, because even if you take six weeks to use a tank, eventually you need more.

And with that, off I go, because the day is getting no younger.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jay: The Star

I was pleased to find that quite possible my all time favorite short story is online, by the recently late and great Arthur C. Clarke.

Well worth a read, or a reread, and it’s quite short, no worse than a longish blog post.


02:03 AM | BooksNews • (1) CommentsPermalink

Monday, March 10, 2008

Jay: DST is Evil

I really hate daylight savings time.

People who call a clearly wrong number repeatedly aren’t so cool either.  And if they aren’t calling the wrong number, and somehow have an almost entirely private number for a reason, even though they are in an exchange where I know nobody and know of nobody who could possibly know me or be connected enough to have been given the number, there is no reason not to leave a voicemail.  I just can’t imagine who would be calling my cell from Blackstone.

Trying to force it and being frazzled from the time change weren’t the way to get the resume I am working on the rest of the way done, so there’s a bit more to do this morning.  Then it’ll go to practically everyone I know and to job sites and whatnot.

I’m downright spaced out from odd and minimal sleep, and I think mine was awesome compared to Deb’s.  At least the girls seem to have slept mostly okay (still sleeping), except one crying incident from Valerie, which seemed to be because she was uncovered and was cold.  She asked not to wear a diaper overnight for the first time, so I thought maybe the crying was because she’d wet, or needed to go and was holding it an refusing, but apparently not.  She finished training before Sadie and has already gotten up dry some days, so she may do just as well as Sadie has been doing.

I did some casual looking up of what some of my more antique books are fetching online.  That ranges from next to nothing to as much as $202, without a lot of rhyme or reason.  The oldest is from 1849 and isn’t worth much.

I’d not be looking to sell it, but the Preston Ellis book on family history and descendants of William Ellis of Biddeford is on eBay for $37.50, and can be had newly printed for $70 and change.  I paid $30 Canadian for mine in, I believe, 1993.  Speaking of which, I realized last week that this is one of the every five years when there tends to be a family reunion.  Whether I ever go to another of those and hang around not knowing anybody and being shy, I’d love ti visit PEI and Nova Scotia again.  This will be ten years since the last time.  It’s sad that it’s going to be so hard to do, even when there’s money and transportation and time.  Passports to go to Canada make me not want to go just on principle.

Anyway, time to get on with the day…

Update:

Valerie made it through the night, and a long one at that.  Yay Valerie!


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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Deb: There’s over 100 items in the half.com shop now.

You could go look, if you wanted to.

Here.


06:03 PM | BooksFor Sale • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jay: I’m Trying to Post but Nothing Happens

Before I thought of writing the AI post, I had another in mind.  Well, also before I thought of writing about Valerie saying “thingamahoobie” this morning.  Sadie says it all the time, for something she doesn’t know or can’t think of the name of offhand, and sometimes just because she knows it’s cute.  Valerie never said it before, and we had no idea she knew the expression, for all her vocabulary challenges Sadie’s and her enunciation blows Sadie’s away.

It’s icky out.  Just the sort of day to run to the post office to mail packages.  I was congratulating myself for not having to go to the store, and being able to return the client’s computer tomorrow.  Not a big deal though, since it’s maybe half a mile.  On a good day with a light load I’d walk.

The computer I worked on yesterday needed a video card.  It seems an unlikely source of spontaneous reboots, but it hasn’t done that to me.  It sat and defragmented the drive from around 4:15 PM or so until the wee hours.  The drive had zero free space, but it had 296 folders full of .CHK files from it spontaneously rebooting and running scandisk.  Those, temp files and temporary internet files gave it 13 GB free.  A DLL needed for MMC was corrupt, which meant being unable to do some things like look at the event log, but that was easily replaced from dllcache and reregistered.  It needs a video driver, so it’ll run at a good resolution and stop griping.  Today I’ll try to get it on our network/the internet to make the driver thing easy, and to backup some files, as I can do that in case, without adding much to the cost.  Other than that and blowing dust out of the power supply fan, it’ll be about letting it chug, maybe running some programs, and seeing if it stays running.  Totally a background thing that doesn’t add to the cost, but does make having it here for a couple days useful.

We’re planning to offer blog-related services at the business, like a special price on a basic blog setup and get you started package.  What I hadn’t thought of until someone asked about it was the potential of other work for people who blog.  I’ve used cPanel in connection with my hosting for years, and have also helped people with hosting that used alternatives to cPanel, manually backed up MySQL data or removed spam comments or such, and probably have enough programming and web background to look at PHP and figure things out.  Haven’t written things with it myself, but when I needed a contact form, I found a sample and modified it as needed.

I’ve seen a draft of this week’s CotC, which was nicely done and will presumably be up soon.  I’d really love to get a host for next week, though I’m resigned to doing it myself, and already have a collection of self-picked posts started.  An odd thing happened this week.  There were 22 submissions and I passed 13 of them along to the host.  Some were maybes, to my mind, but that is a really solid proportion of good stuff compared to where we were for a time.

We had the week more or less planned out food-wise and are actually ahead of where we expected to be.  Yesterday I made barley lentil soup in chicken stock, light on the chicken put with enough not to be a veggie soup.  Came out great, and was co-supper with leftover spaghetti last night.  And cornbread.  There is more leftover spaghetti, leftover potatoes, and most of the soup available today, when I thought by now we’d be cooking a pot of beans and maybe making tortillas.

Okay, time to get moving.  I can always write another post if I’ve forgotten something.


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Friday, February 08, 2008

Deb: Any John D. MacDonald fans out there?

I’ve got a complete set of Travis McGee paperbacks I’m thinking of letting go.  They’ve been read several times and well-loved, but they’re in pretty good shape for all that.  If anyone is interested, deb at this domain reaches me.

I’m in the middle of adding another batch of books to the half.com shop.  It’s pretty random, what winds up there, but then again my bookshelves are petty random places.  smile


09:18 PM | BooksFor Sale • (0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Jay: Carnival of Meant to Write About That

This is a dump of a bunch of links I’ve been accumulating in Firefox with the idea, when saved, that I would post and write something about each of them, or sets of them.  I may yet.

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

Give your resume a face lift

WaPo “blogs” reflective of bureaucracy in D.C.

New life inside the depressed brain

Web Video: Move Over, Amateurs

Taking Marriage Private

3 simple ways to optimize for Google PageRank

(Skipping the set of four Grapenut pudding recipe links.)

Evolution of Alphabets

Is the United States on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Magma may be melting Greenland ice
(More recently there was buzz about a volcano under the Antarctic being a factor, too.)

The New Year’s Cocktail: Regret With a Dash of Bitters

50 Best Websites 2007

Classic Pea Soup with Ham

Why CNET Is In the Mess They Are In

Mayor Mumbles Menino attacks plan to have clinics in retailers

Chertoff on final Real ID rules: “Reconfiguring our society”

Cutting Through the Katrina Krapola

The Broken Window Fallacy in Software

Cholesterol as a Danger Has Skeptics - New York Times

Best Business Advice - Short and Sweet

New Leisure Suit Larry game announced: Box Office Bust

44 Ways To Improve Your Productivity

Maybe there will be a recession. Here’s what to do just in case

End user training - Whose job is it?

What if the Internet went down...and didn’t come back up?

SmallBusiness Wiki

7 Powerful Steps to Overcoming Resistance and Actually Getting Stuff Done

Who are these people?

The Lazysphere and the Decline of Deep Blogging

Can Their Wish Be the Market’s Command?

Miserable? It must be U

MySpace wins UK domain name that pre-dated its service
(Would be post, summarized: Utterly absurd result.)

KDE 4 for Windows

The Year of Twitter

Terminated

Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomers: Workplace Generation Wars

Online Schooling Grows, Setting Off a Debate

Scientist: All Blue-eyed People Are Related
(Actually, didn’t I post this one? Oh well, it’s still in the list.)

Where the Capitalism Is (Always on Display)

Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers
(Hi Dad!  Hi Wally!)

The Latest Technology

Can Search Marketers Grow Up?

The Wages of HillaryCare
(Well, this one is from this morning, but I had added it to the bookmarks.  HillaryCare = RomneyCare and it impresses me Obama understands the problem.)


02:39 PM | BloggingBooksBusinessFood & CookingGeekeryHumorMassachusettsMedicalMoneyNewsTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Deb: More commerce!  Book Sale Continued!

OK, in order to avoid insane levels of duplication of effort and make it easier on all involved, I’ve gone ahead and started listing books at half.com.  The shop is here:

Books!

For the PayPal phobic out there, please note that although half.com is an eBay company, it doesn’t use PayPal.  Also, it’s set up like a real store, with standard shipping rates and that sort of thing.

I’ll be adding things steadily, so check back often!


05:31 PM | BooksFor SaleMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink
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