Mom was right on this one

In March, Mom wrote me about the movie Shattered Glass, saying:

This is one of the best DVD’s I have received. I had to look at it
twice, I fell asleep last night while watching, so kept it and
watched it during the day. I know it is one you all would like
also. I don’t really know if it is based on a true story or not – do

I wasn’t sure that a movie she fell asleep while watching would really be all that terrific, but I kept the note, and when I took over her Netflix account, I put the movie back on the queue.

I’m glad I did; all of us enjoyed it (Diane and I watched it first, and decided to keep it so that Jeff could watch it, and then we watched it again). None of the characters were particularly appealing (Glass starts out that way, but he seems too good to be true at the beginning, and then by the end, he’s revealed to be a complete liar — and, of course, he grows up to be Darth Vader), but the story (which, apparently, is mostly real, though augmented for the movies) was compelling.

Unfortunately, Glass is not the only “journalist” to have taken liberties with the truth. That never happens on this blog, though, unlike at least one other blog produced in this household:

I just saw a movie called Shattered Glass. It’s the true story about a writer who made up most of the stories he wrote for The New Republic. Anyways, seeing as he was exposed for what he did I think its time I came clean before I get fired.

There are some facts in these blogs that are fictional. As shocking as I know it is to some people, I have been known to make up a few details purely to make things more interesting. I know that the way some of these stories are written there is no way to separate the truths from the lies. I mean, we know there was a shabbaton, but were the skunks really there? We know I have a locker that won’t close but was it ever president? We know Michael Jackson exists, but is he a human? There is just no way to know.

So I must warn you here: some details in these blogs are not nor have they ever been true. I know I have damaged some of my credibility today, and my millions of readers worldwide are shocked. From now on, I will only write true things. Starting with this sentence, every thing here is true.

Except for that last sentence.

Shabbat Shalom!

The best final ever

We just got back from watching Jeff (and the rest of his class) take a final, and it was great. No, I’m not being sadistic (at least not tonight) — the class was Theater 2, and the final was a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (shortened to make it fit in 90 minutes).

It was actually his third performance of the day; first, the improv group at school, Mish-Mosh, put on “Gone in 15 Minutes” during lunch (I asked him what it was about, and he said “about 20 minutes”; accurate, but unhelpful. He has a bright future in politics). Then they gave a first performance of Midsummer at 4:30, right after school, and then a second performance (mostly to parents) at 7:30.

All of the kids were good; I’d be showing my bias if I said Jeff was the best, so I won’t.

Somehow, I doubt his other finals will be as much fun — or that he’ll spend as much time preparing for them.


I’m a Mandarin!

You’re an intellectual, and you’ve worked hard to get where you are now. You’re a strong believer in education, and you think many of the world’s problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. You have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates you when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power. You believe that people can make a difference in the world, and you’re determined to try.

Talent: 38%
Lifer: 31%
Mandarin: 62%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

Which reminds me…I’ve had The Paper Chase on TiVo for over a year.

I should try to get around to seeing it one of these months.

Of pens and spam

The microMBA class continues apace; today, we covered accounting, using a Broadway play as an exercise. Now I understand why TKTS works!

The class has required taking lots of notes, and I’ve been using my Pilot G2 with the adapted MontBlanc refill. I can’t say that I’m really all that impressed by the refill; it writes smoothly, but sometimes it writes rather lightly, which seems pretty bad for a $6 refill used less than one week. I should probably switch back to the G2 refill for a real comparison on smoothness and intensity, but that would require me to remember to change pens in the morning, and that seems unlikely.

While I was in class, this blog was attacked by spammers; I had over 100 comments to deal with when I got home, along with 52 emails telling me about them. I guess I should upgrade to the newest versions of everything, but at least none of the spams made it to the blog as far as I can tell.

Tomorrow is the final day of the microMBA; next week, it’s back to normal work, which is going to be something of a shock.

Relevant comment spam?

Two hours and 15 minutes after my posting last night, there was a comment waiting in my moderation queue from someone purporting to be a user at Yahoo. The comment read, almost verbatim:


Do you know you can get an American idol coin which will feature 2 finalists on 2 sides? Well, I got mine from [redacted]

C ya

I decided not to approve the comment, but I was impressed at the relevancy. So I did a little more digging.

I ignored the purported email address as being trivially spoofed; instead, I did a WHOIS lookup on the IP address from which the comment had come. It was in the 59.95.x.x range, so I had to go to the APNIC Whois database, which told me that that entire subnet was run by an outfit named Sancharnet, whose homepage describes them as “Sancharnet is a country wide Internet Access Network of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, India. It offers Dedicated and Dialup (PSTN & ISDN) Internet Access Services across all the major cities in India”.

I then checked my logs (well, actually, the SiteMeter summary) and found that my only recent connection from 59.95 came though this referral:

and that the user had visited several pages and been on the site for about 4 minutes.

This is, of course, an example of the globalization of services. Whoever sells the coins being flogged (“Abundant Marketing”, in Boynton Beach, Florida, according to the WHOIS database for the URL they were trying to promote) appears to employ people in India to do frequent Technorati searches for relevant terms and then post spam comments. I say that it’s likely to be humans at work rather than bots because of the location, and because the HashCash plugin requires JavaScript and most bots don’t support that.

I must admit to being tempted to go ahead and let the comment post because it was, in fact, relevant — but, of course, I didn’t. Wonder if they’ll try commenting to this posting? It does, after all, have the magic “American Idol” phrase in it!

I feel so…common

We had our house reroofed this week, so I had to make sure that our TV antennas were still properly lined up. The only way to do that, of course, was to turn on the TV and watch something — and I needed to check both DirecTV and OTA.

So I spent the hour between 8 and 9 tonight flipping back and forth between “Deal or No Deal” on CNBC (DirecTV) and “American Idol” on KTVU-DT (OTA). I’d been introduced to both shows on our vacation trip East — “American Idol” at my brother’s house, and “Deal or No Deal” at the Omni Shoreham while I was alone in the room for a few minutes.

Of course, I could have just flipped through the channels and turned off the set, but I have to admit to being fascinated by both shows; I suspect “Deal or No Deal” would be far less interesting without the excitement-building music, though. And I could have done without most of the music on “American Idol”; I am clearly not in the target age group. One of the finalists, Elliot, is from Richmond, and so while I was there, I got indoctrinated into rooting for him, so after the show ended, I spent a while voting for him, too. I wonder how many votes they’d get if they used a 900 number?

In class this week

I’m taking a “microMBA” class all this week, which keeps me offline during the day, which means that I need to at least perform triage on my email at night, which means that I don’t expect to have a lot of time to blog (nor, to be honest, a lot to blog about) this week.

At least not so far.

Don’t put it off

Susan writes, “I know there are a whole lotta bloggers and blog-readers who are getting a sudden moment to reassess the value ‚Ä”and fragility‚Ä” of life….” She suggests taking advantage of Mother’s Day (or any other opportunity) to ask your mother/father/grandparent some open-ended questions about their life.

I wish I’d asked more questions when I visited Mom in early April.

(And thanks, Susan, for your comment of condolence.)

Maybe the tartar sauce would have been a good idea

I decided to make something different for dinner tonight, and looked to Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals 2 for a recipe, and chose her “Grilled Halibut Sandwiches with zesty tartar sauce”. But I decided not to make them as sandwiches. And none of us particularly like tartar sauce, so I omitted that, too. And we’re not big asparagus fans, so I didn’t make the asparagus pasta salad, either.

In other words, I made grilled halibut with seasoning and lemon butter, accompanied with rice and salad.

It wasn’t a hit. Jeff didn’t eat most of the fish (and it was $19/pound!!), and neither Diane nor I thought it was particularly worth repeating. The fish itself was pretty bland, except for the surface, which was probably over-seasoned a bit. The lemon butter helped, but lemon butter does not a meal make.

Oh, well…at least we have plenty of chocolate in the house for later.