Rain and Taxes

The weather yesterday was lousy — wet and cold (in fact, it was the coldest March 17th ever in several locations in the area). So it was a perfect day to sit in front of a hot computer and do taxes.

Tonight, Jeffrey and I go to another Sharks game, this time with the Shir Hadash Men’s Club.

And I just found out that BattleBots 5.0 is coming to Treasure Island the last weekend in May!

Too optimistic, perhaps…

And so a day after writing that I get optical effects but no headaches, I got a headache (though it didn’t match the classical description of a migraine headache). Oh, well. Maybe I should write that I don’t win the Lottery and see if that turns out false, too!

It’s been a busy, but mostly unpublishable week. I did finally get around to making an appointment for a physical — which the doctor’s office conveniently scheduled for June (good thing I’m not in any hurry!), and to calling the Saab dealer to schedule an oil change and display replacement (which they can do on Monday — I expected them to schedule me into June!). And I registered for WWW2002 (I have to be there, I’m a track co-chair) just in time to beat the Early Bird deadline and got a decent price on my flights and an upgrade (there goes another 30,000 miles…better than spending money, though).

I’m having problems with upstreaming with Radio Userland; it looks like Norton Personal Firewall gets in the way, but not all of the time. *sigh* If I can ever get that fixed, I’ll probably move my activity to Radio Defenestration Corner, since EditThisPage isn’t always up when I want to write.

Book of the Day

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the books I’m reading; I want to get back into the habit. Today’s book is War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It’s a fantasy, set in and around Minneapolis, about what happens when reality and Faerie collide. I’m about halfway through the book, and it’s excellent — I had to tear myself away from it last night to go to bed, and I grabbed it again early this morning to continue; I hope to finish it tonight. I’m somewhat amazed that I like the book, because I usually don’t like fantasy, other than comic fantasy like the Discworld series — but it’s wonderfully written and evocative. Strongly recommended.

Shabbat Shalom!

A migraine, but no headache

It’s Over

On July 26, 2000, I announced the official availability of the IBM Weblog server. But for some reason, weblogs never took off inside IBM, and I had better things to do with the machine hosting them, so I
turned off the server last Friday. It was a noble experiment, if not overwhelmingly successful.

Book? What book?

While I was looking through the archives of this weblog to figure out when I started the weblog server, I reread the pages I wrote about the fourth Harry Potter book. And that made me wonder if there was any news about the fifth Harry Potter book, so I thought I’d check the http://www.harrypotter.com site.

Silly me. Once upon a time, that site was about the books, but now it’s an immediate redirect to the Warner Brothers site about the Harry Potter movie, complete with a countdown till the North American video release. As far as I can tell, there’s not a single word about the book on the site (except on the discussion groups). And why should there be? Warner Brothers doesn’t own the book! And, more to the point, Warner Brothers doesn’t make money from the book!

http://www.jkrowling.com works better, giving pointers to the publishers’ sites all around the world, and when I looked on the Bloomsbury Publishing site (the British publisher), I found that they’re still hoping for July, 2002
for the fifth book

I’m ready when they are.

Good news on the hockey front

During the first intermission, I called my Mom and got the result of the RPI-Princeton game; RPI won, 6-0, and advances to the ECAC Final Five next weekend in Lake Placid.

The Sharks game was fun, though I wish I knew hockey better — Jeffrey and I will be going again next week with the Shir Hadash Men’s Club. And if time permits, I’m going to try to listen to next week’s RPI games on WRPI.

A new record!

I just checked my work e-mail account; there were 51 new messages waiting for me. 43 were clearly spam just from the subject line (more than half of those were in an Asian character set!) — unless, of course, the IRS is really trying to get in touch with me by e-mail. Of the other 8 messages, one was a (funny) joke from my Mom, one was a bogus and content-free virus warning, one was from a mailing list which I actually subscribe to, and the other four were generated by various automated processes inside IBM.

I remember when e-mail was the killer app. Now, it’s more of a time-killing app.

A somber Friday

I stayed home today to be able to attend a funeral, about which
more anon. But while I was home, I had the chance to chat via instant messaging with a colleague in Israel — we started out talking about business issues, but then I asked her how the situation there was affecting her. I was hoping to hear that the news media was exaggerating the situation, but here’s how our conversation went.

her: wanna hear more about how it is in Israel?

me: Yes. I think.

me: All I know is what I read on the JPost’s web site.

her: well… in general, I sort of gave up on listening to the news – I mean many months ago, I stopped. it seems so hopeless. Even though I know for democracy it is important to “know”, it feels that there’s absolutely nothing we can so anymore, not even during elections – they’re all the same….

me: Have you changed your daily routine?

me: Other than not listening to the news, anyway.

her: however, in the last few days, there’s a war feeling here, and so even I (and I’m not the only one) cling to the news

her: well, we definitely avoid going into crowd places, like malls and such

her: we avoid going to Tel-Aviv if we don’t have to

her: we ourselves don’t have much to do in Jerusalem, but people avoid that too

her: and we’re all pretty terrified – I mean people in military reserve, for instance, are used to getting posts to watch, where they can actually take it easy, and so often they are not fully trained for defending themselves (or don’t remember anymore) and suddenly, they’re out there in the open, being shot at, dying everyday…

me: That sounds horrible.

me: It sounds as bad as the JPost makes it seem.

her: well, yes, I guess with the numbers of people dying, and the way they do – helplessly, in situations that seem avoidable – is terrible indeed

me: I was thinking also of the way you have had to restrict yourself to try to avoid being one of the victims.

her: as for the changes in our lives – we hope that’s temporary… but the effect on our way of thinking is more permanent, learning to be less sensitive to survive

me: I can’t imagine what this must be doing to you all.

her: yes….

her: I think I’ll log off soon

her: the news are on….

me: OK. Shabbat Shalom (I hope).

her: :-) bye

me: bye.

A Funeral With an Intermission

A friend’s mother had died while on an Elderhostel trip in San Francisco (she was chatting one moment, and gone the next), and the funeral was this afternoon. It started out as a typical Jewish funeral — the pall-bearers (including me) carried the casket to the graveside, where the family and friends gathered for a short service and eulogy.

Then the funeral director spoke, telling us that they did not yet have clearance to actually bury the body but still had to wait for a fax from the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office, which was closed for lunch. So we all milled around and talked for a half-hour until the fax arrived; then the casket was lowered and we took turns shovelling in dirt until the casket was covered. Then we recited the Mourner’s Kaddish and formed two lines for the family to walk between, and that was that.

While we were waiting, I asked the Rabbi how often this happened — he said that this was the second time he’d it happen to him. And the funeral director said that it never happened when dealing with the local authorities — but San Francisco was a different story.

It’s always something, as Gilda Radner once said.

Shabbat Shalom!