Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another weekend

Yes, I was busy supervising the Titanic exhibit this weekend. I'm relaxing for a bit now, and I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of the evening. I was going to have a nephew stay over for the night, but he lied earlier in the day and was sent to bed early. :( I suppose I might just spend some time reading. Then tomorrow I'm planning to take some of the nerfs to the museum to see Holiday Junction (the Christmas-time train exhibit) as Monday is its last day.



~Matt





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Friday, December 29, 2006

Geography is very important

Don't make a mistake like this German tourist.  He meant to visit his girlfriend in Sydney, Australia.  Instead he purchased a ticket on-line for Sidney, Montana (population 5,000).  The best part (and I'm assuming he speaks English, because his girlfriend lives in an English-speaking country) is that he didn't realize his mistake until after he landed in Portland, Oregon, flew to Bozeman, Montana, and was about to board a commuter plane for Sidney!  Compounding the problem was his packing--it was all for a four week trip Down Under in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere's summer.
 
This is why you should pay attention to geography.  I can understand how a typo could account for the initial mistake.  But I find it quite strange that he didn't notice the error until the point at which he noticed it.  I suppose he didn't know US geography very well and might have supposed that taking several flights through the US could be standard procedure before heading on to Australia.
 
"I did wonder but I didn't want to say anything," Gutt told the Bild newspaper. "I thought to myself, you can fly to Australia via the United States."
 
Still, this is sad.  I'd like to think that were I in that guy's shoes I would know when I'd arrived in Spain rather than Peru...
 
~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Language

Yes, this is an older article, but I was reading it recently and was quite frustrated by some of the language. No, it wasn't cussing, or anything like that, merely a misunderstanding of the English language (possibly deliberate). The article compares Google and Wal-Mart, both good and bad (though with more emphasis on the latter). The last section is entitled "Allegations of censorship:"

Wal-Mart: Won't stock magazines with racy material (Maxim, FHM and Stuff) and partially conceals the covers of certain women's magazines; won't carry music albums with explicit or profane lyrics, or albums that contain lyrics critical of Wal-Mart. (One famous example: In 1996, Wal-Mart refused to sell a Sheryl Crow CD containing lyrics that heaped scorn on the company for selling guns.)
• Google: Blocks users in Germany, France and Switzerland from accessing sites that contain potentially racist content or hate speech. Amended terms and conditions to bar criticism of the company's AdSense service terms and conditions. Allows advertising for beer and wine but not for hard liquor, and won't accept ads for guns. Amended AdSense policy so that affiliates are barred from criticizing Google on their sites.


I might agree with labeling the first practice listed for Google as censorship, it is limiting access to information. However, it is most likely in accord with national laws such as those prohibiting Holocaust denial. We may not always agree with such laws, but they are the law of the land in those countries (for the record I don't deny the Holocaust, but I believe that it is dangerous to make non-dangerous speech illegal--and you must decide if Holocaust denial constitutes dangerous speech).

The Wal-Mart allegation is ludicrous! Wal-Mart isn't prohibiting you from buying those racy magazines at all, you just can't purchase them in their store. You can still go to your nearest adult (I hate that term as it is applied) bookstore or corner grocery-store and pick up the same material. The store simply chooses to be family friendly and they are accused of censorship. Is it censorship to refuse to carry a certain product for whatever reason? Or is it only censorship here because Wal-Mart doesn't like the content?

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I forgot to mention

But Christmas night was a good night. I watched Lady in the Water (a DVD Christmas present from Chris) in my apartment with two of my nephews while two of their younger siblings slept in the back room.

The younger nerfs have been begging to stay over at my apartment ever since I moved in there, but work hasn't allowed it yet (or if it did things weren't cleaned up). So this was the first time that any of them were able to stay over--and they enjoyed it. We cooked breakfast Monday morning (just eggs, toast, and pancakes), but it was still fun. Perhaps this weekend another one or two will be able to stay over.

~Matt

PS I'd seen Lady in the Water once before in theaters and I did enjoy another viewing. I know many didn't like it but I especially enjoyed it. And thankfully it was from Chris, so there were no worries about format--it is widescreen.





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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Double Standard

The Massachusetts Supreme Court likes speaking out of both sides of its mouth. See this recent CNN article for more.



As you may know, back in 2003 the same court decided that the state constitution "guaranteed gays the right to marry." Then they required the state legislature to make this happen through legislation. I believe that they clearly overstepped their bounds. Now however, on the opposite side of the issue they refuse to intervene.



The court agrees that when voters sent a marriage proposition (to be included on the 2008 ballot) to the legislature that the legislature should vote on it. However, the "Supreme Judicial Court determined it could not force a vote."

"Beyond resorting to aspirational language that relies on the
presumptive good faith of elected representatives, there is no
presently articulated judicial remedy for the Legislature's
indifference to, or defiance of, its constitutional duties," the court
wrote.

I call that judicial activism hiding beneath the skirts of liberalism. They (Legislative leaders and jurists) are afraid that the people might not support their illegal usurpation of power. Perhaps the justices shouldn't force the legislature to do anything (such as follow the constitution?), but then they should have done nothing in 2003!



~Matt





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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Electronics

Apparently they aren't very profitable these days. The bigg's store where I work (Florence, KY) is shutting down its electronics department effective the end of January. A few components (accessories) will remain, but all DVDs (save perhaps new releases), CDs (same caveat as DVDs), and game systems will go. Apparently the store makes more money on a X-Box 360 controller than it does on the system that costs ten times as much to purchase.

I can certainly understand this in business terms, though it is somewhat unfortunate for those trying to do "one stop shopping." Of course other departments have already been downsized or eliminated over the years, so you'll mainly get groceries and other items at the bigg's Hypermarket. One item really stood out. One recent DVD release was purchased by the store for $19.50 and sold for $19.99 leaving a profit margin of $0.49!! One stolen DVD could wipe out the profit from almost forty more.

~Matt

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Too busy?

Well I wasn't busy until all hours yesterday, but I did forget to blog. I have access to e-mail on my PDA at the Museum (I love free wireless networks!) but it just slipped my mind. Tonight I was over at my sister's place to eat and watch It's a Wonderful Life (their family tradition every Christmas Eve). It was a good evening. I'm looking forward to the morning, even if I've already unwrapped all my presents from my parent's when I was at their place last weekend.



~Matt





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Friday, December 22, 2006

Mary

I came over to my sister's place to go on-line and do my laundry. Then I came downstairs to find my nerfs watching a Rudolf movie (one of the old stop-motion ones). Now we've started watching Mary Poppins. It has been years since I've seen this movie, so I'm looking forward to it. I don't think I've seen a young Dick van Dyke play in anything in years.



~Matt





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Where have all the bloggers gone?

I realize that forcing myself to post at least once per day I am setting a schedule that most others I know never intend to meet. However, it seems that all around me blogs are dying. Mark used to be the gold standard that I aspired to, faithfully blogging three days a week. Lately though he has trailed off.

I tried to get my mom to type a blog, even explaining that she could post via e-mail, but it died a long time ago. Other blogs have trailed off or died. My nephew has gone through a couple blogs, then stopped updating his current one once the holiday season hit at Thanksgiving.

Then of course you have post like I promise never to bug Matt about not posting again from Julie, ;-). Now don't get me wrong, I'm not making fun of any of these people or ridiculing them. I'm just slightly depressed that I don't have blogs to keep up with, at least not like I used to. Oh well, perhaps some of it is due to the holidays and it might get better in January.

~Matt





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Thursday, December 21, 2006

This is depressing

Read this article from the UK and you'll see exactly what I mean!



Police killer suspect fled Britain in a veil

A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.





Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

...

In October The Times revealed that a male suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation evaded capture in Britain for several days by dressing in a burka. He was eventually arrested and is awaiting trial.

The full-face veil has regularly been used as a disguise in Iraq and Afghanistan by Islamist fighters, including several suicide bombers and at least one senior al-Qaeda leader.


If they want to wear the veil in private, fine (though knowing as I do that Islam is a false religion that will send you to hell I believe it is just a means to oppress women), but this should never be allowed to happen again. If women don't want to remove their veil then they should not drive or fly. They should avoid all security-compromising situations. Yes, that would be tough, but it would be their choice and necessary for the security of everybody else.



"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." -Spock



~Matt





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Revelation

According to the BBC, JK Rowling has announced the title to Harry Potter VII. Read no further if you don't want to know, but I doubt you'll be able to avoid it for long.







































Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.



I'm not quite up to speed on BritSpeak, but Hallows doesn't show up as a noun in a Dictionary.com search. I'm not sure how to exactly explain the title. I'm sure information will be forthcoming--though I'll avoid certain places (like Wikipedia) as I'm sure that eventually spoilers (if available) will abound. Hopefully regular media outlets will avoid turning spoilers into headlines and front page news.


This week Rowling revealed how she has gone back to writing in cafes - as she did 13 years ago when starting to write about the boy wizard.


She has also admitted how she has been dreaming of the character.


Writing on her website she described it as an "epic dream" where she was Harry and the narrator simultaneously.

~Matt





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Podcasting

No, I'm not about to start podcasting, though that is an interesting idea. Rather I've started listening to podcasts on my PDA. They make great listening along with Old Time Radio when I'm busy working on items that allow me to listen. Right now I'm listening to BBC news that I downloaded last night. It is a good distraction as I catalogue parts.



~Matt





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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

O Movie, I Found Thee!

The music was great--who doesn't like the Soggy Bottom Boys? The characters were fascinating--I've never seen Clooney quite like this. (I think that Everett's wife is also Mrs. Incredible--she sure sounds the same--Edit: yes, she is)

One warning, DON'T SEE SPOILERS!! I didn't watch the movie preview until after I was done watching, and I was quite glad. I'd only known about the film from mentions by fellow students in college (never anything specific) and soundtrack songs that I'd heard.

The preview gives away too much about the movie, so ignore it if you've not seen it, and try to forget it if you have. Other than that definitely go and enjoy this loose "adaptation" of the Odyssey set in Depression Era Mississippi (or is it Alabama?). Ulysses Everett McGill and two other prisoners (initially chained together) Pete and Delmar escape from their chain gang in search of treasure. Yes, that is them escaping on the cover image.

Also as I mention above the music is great. Man of Constant Sorrow is quite well done and along with a few other tracks is a highlight of the film. One item I didn't notice until watching extras was that the colours had been altered. You may notice that most scenes are somewhat brown and dry or sepia toned. This is intended to evoke thoughts of the Dust Bowl era setting. Apparently all of the editing was done digitally and then turned back into film for distribution. The behind-the-scenes talking heads seemed to imply this was the first movie for which this was done. I'm not sure (it was released in 2000), but whatever the case they did a great job. Especially view this section on the Extras if you get the DVD.

~Matt


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

O Tannenbaum

Yes, I have my Christmas tree up in my apartment, though moved from its original location. At first I had it on the floor in a corner since I had no table to place it on. After I received the generous gift of furniture from the friend of a neighbor I suddenly had another option. You can see from this picture that the tree (3") is on a table right next to my couch. I think that it looks much better there, and it is much easier to plug in the lights. I also have my village set up and hopefully will put up pictures of that later. I only wish I'd been able to put up some of this stuff earlier so that I could enjoy it longer. Christmas is almost here!

Speaking of Christmas, I had quite a bit of fun in California. Not only did I go with one nephew to the bookstore at the library (and bring back a dozen books) but I helped my nerfs make Christmas cookies! The only bad thing was that we didn't have time to finish decorating all of the cookies, but we had fun with those we could get to. You can see some of them here.

This was always one of my favourite parts of the season growing up. For many years we couldn't get the sugars in the west so one of my uncles used to procure them in Michigan and send them to us. I always delighted in decorating weird things, like purple and orange shirts on gingerbread men. :-) I also had fun with many different shapes because each year my parents would give me a cookie cutter in my stocking. I brought all of those back home with me at the end of the trip as well as other items.

I think I mentioned that my Grandma is visiting with my parents now. Whenever she is staying at their house she loves to enjoy fires in the fireplace (that will be one of the things I'll miss most about my parents moving--leaving the wonderful fireplace). Needless to say we enjoyed several fires over the weekend, including the one that I snapped below. I've tried taking pictures of fires with a flash before and it just washes out, so I have to hold the camera extremely steady and turn the flash off. There is a slight trade-off with clarity and crispness, but on the other hand I'm not sure how important those are when documenting open flames. I just think the pictures are fun.

~Matt

Monday, December 18, 2006

I told you

It was a strange weekend.  Temperatures in Northern Kentucky have been quite warm recently, in the sixties.  On the other hand in Southern California weather systems have "...dropp[ed] [Monday]'s pre-dawn temperatures into the 30s across Orange County..."

Thanks to the Orange County Register.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Can I redo that?

Lunch didn't go so well today.  As I only had a few minutes in my apartment to change before I left for work today (thanks again for picking me up Chris) an hour late (but I leave an hour late as well) I decided to shower instead of packing a lunch.  I instead took some leftovers out of my freezer--a chicken and rice casserole dish that I'd saved for use as a meal when I didn't feel like cooking, or didn't have time.

The problems started when I got to the break room at lunch time today.  The food was still frozen, so I read my book while I put it on defrost.  Perhaps ten minutes later it was finally defrosted and heated up--but I'd had to test and stir it several times while readjusting the microwave settings.  Then just as I was carrying it back to my table the container slipped out of my hands and the food spilled all over the floor.  A guy looked up and asked if I'd lost my lunch.  When I replied in the affirmative he pronounced that it "must be Monday."

Now, after spending five more minutes cleaning up the mess on the floor I had to turn to the vending machines.  I had a slice of apple pie from my parent's in my lunch container, but I wanted more.  I ended up spending most of the cash I had on me (which is unusual, I don't usually carry cash) on a chicken sandwich and chips.  *sigh*  It wasn't bad, but it didn't have ketchup!  :(  I would rather have eaten the chicken that I didn't have to pay further for, but I didn't have that option.  Oh well...

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

100 lbs.

If you count both of my carry-on bags you have the approximate weight of my luggage, though it might have been just a bit more.  Limits for checked baggage are 50 lbs, and I was just under with one in the low forties and one at 47.  I was bringing back many things, including my Christmas presents from my sister Erin, my parents, and my grandma.  It was somewhat strange to open them early, but I did like seeing my nerfs open their shirts from the Museum.  The best present though was being home.

It was great to see my parent's house--probably the last time I'll see it in person, :(.  I also brought back presents for my nerfs here that my mother sent and of course I bought some books at the library bookstore and had to bring them back.  :-)  I'll have more details later, hopefully...

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Night Flight

Here are my notes from the flight last night.

  • Read "Flag in Exile" at gate
  • Passenger with severe allergy to peanuts so none served--asked to not eat own
  • Waited for connecting, left gate about 25 min. late
  • Changed device time to Pac
  • Turbulence now writing difficult 19:22 Pacific
  • Read "Good Omen's"
  • Cranberry juice and snackpack--only ate granola
  • Dozed on and off through movie didn't read listened to "delta radio" on ch. 8
21:14 Pac - approaching continental divide anticipating turbulence
fasten seat belt sign for all incl. flight attendants
21:33 Second food/drink service annc.
  • Sun chips, granola bars, cheese crackers, or Biscoff crackers (cookies?)
Reading "FiE", since waking up
21:49 food
  • TV show in Ghana - hut painting like in Shocktober 2005
21:56 fasten sent belt out
  • Crocs souls of ancestors
  • Channel 6 because 8 repeating (for Second or third time minimum)
22:36 Begin gradual descent
22:59 Landed
11:24 deplaned
23:40 Traffic cop ticketed a car for picking people up in middle lane
23:52 105 E

~Matt

PS Timezone is Pacific.

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Our Condition

I was reading my devotions last night when I came across the following
from Spurgeon. I think it especially apt as it describes our normal
condition.

"Wonder at the price that was paid for us when Christ knew what we
should be! He who hung upon the cross foresaw us as unbelieving,
backsliding, cold of heart, indifferent, careless, lax in prayer, and
yet he said, "I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy
Saviour ... Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been
honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee,
and people for thy life!" O redemption, how wondrously resplendent
dost thou shine when we think how black we are! O Holy Spirit, give us
henceforth the hearing ear, the understanding heart!"

So yes I made it to California okay. I'll post about the flight a bit
later. I just woke up and need to get ready for a busy day with my
California nerfs.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jimmy Carter

He isn't one of my favourite ex-presidents.  FDR is one of my least-favourite presidents, but he never got a chance to be an ex-president.  He just screwed up the response to the Great Depression and we have only Hitler and Tojo to thank for our extrication.  But back to the Georgia peanut farmer.  Yes, he is perhaps a nice man personally who has been teaching Sunday School for years, but that has absolutely nothing to do with my criticism.  I don't much like Bill Clinton personally, but I'll admit that he didn't do too badly with some things.

Jimmy Carter first of all cannot get it through his head that everybody doesn't want his advice.  He continually buts in and visits countries like Cuba, pre-invasion Iraq, and North Korea in naive attempts to talk to their leaders.  But the best comes with his most recent book.  You'll find a good column concerning the book here at Jewish World Review.

Apparently Israelis (who have been continually attacked and murdered since 1948) are to blame for the current crisis.  He compares their treatment of the Palestinians (a term which really has no meaning since Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt Gaza after those and other Arab nations invaded Israel in 1948--there NEVER has been a Palestinian Arab state--due to the Arabs, NOT the Jews I might add) to apartheid in South Africa.  Hmm...how does that mesh with the many Arab Israeli citizens and even members of Parliament!

Who is it that deliberately murders innocents (not just as accidental collateral damage)?  Hmmm...oh yes, the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas and their adherents.  Israel has many times offered to work with them if they will renounce violence and recognize its right to exist, but these efforts are always rebuffed.  I guess Jimmy Carter is blind to this and must persist in blaming the Israelis.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Is it all ready?

Not quite.  But I will have everything ready to go this afternoon before I leave.  My plane should leave at 20:55 and arrive at LAX around five hours later, only two hours by the clock because of the time change.  Yeah, I am excited, but I think I would be more so if I had the day to prepare and didn't have to be at work.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rain Ambivalence

Well this isn't all bad news as I do enjoy rain.

Saturday looking rainy, snowy

A Pacific storm will soak the coast and blanket the mountains, forecasters say.

The Orange County Register

A large storm is gaining strength over the Pacific and will drop 1.5 inches of rain on parts of Orange County this weekend and up to a foot of snow above the 5,000-foot level in local mountains, the National Weather Service says.

On the other hand I was looking forward to taking some pictures of Garden Grove while I was home. We'll see how this goes.

~Matt

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

BBC on Creation

I'm actually quite impressed with a recent BBC article about the Creation Museum (being built just a few miles from me). The start the article has the usual caveat from secular sources, but they're not even that bad:
A new hi-tech temple to fundamentalist Christianity is due to open in the heart of Middle America next May, aiming to provide the grandest riposte yet to Darwinian evolutionary theory.

Staff and supporters of the Answers in Genesis organisation call it the Creation Museum.

But secular scientists would take issue with the use of either word to describe the almost completed building...

And here is how it ends:

Despite adopting the structure and technology of the most extravagant science museum, it remains that none of it is remotely plausible without first accepting Genesis.

Without taking that leap and rejecting centuries of scientific reasoning, it all resembles just another Disney-style magic kingdom.
Really it is an interesting read. Yes, there is that last sentence that seems to say that religion is anti-science--but the author recognizes that many of AIG's employees are highly qualified scientists--they aren't just "religious nuts."

It is refreshing to see someone actually take someone at face value. Instead of reinterpreting someone or something within your world view, sometimes you should examine them in light of their view. I look at someone differently if looking from a Christian perspective ("The fool says in his heart there is no God.") where I know others to be wrong or say from a political/American perspective where someone has the right to their own view.

Ah, that was confusing. All I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't try to fit people into the mold of your own world view. Lincoln was quite progressive for his time, but today would perhaps be a racist. The two worlds are so different though, that you shouldn't call the 16th president a racist. In the same way it would be nice if secularists showed respect for Creationists. No, they won't believe us, but they could at least not mock us--much like the attitude here:
[Ken Ham's] attitude towards committed atheist scientists is surprisingly respectful:

"Everyone starts from presuppositions. For example, Richard Dawkins says there is no God: that's his starting point.

"He'll admit that he has an a priori assumption of materialism, and we're saying we have an a priori assumption of the Bible."

I'm quite looking forward to the opening of the museum. It will be refreshing to go through a museum of Natural History and see the truth, not having to think "that's garbage" every few steps as Evolution is shoved down your throat as fact.

~Matt

Long Meeting

Yesterday I had to attend a safety meeting at work. It was scheduled to last from 14:00 to 16:00, my normal quitting time. It wasn't over until 16:45! On the positive side I'll get paid for another hour of work, but negatively I barely had time to rush home, change, and grab some food to eat in my car on the way to bigg's.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Monday, December 11, 2006

3.14

That is the time (or was when I started typing).  It is also my birth date, and next year I turn 25.  I don't think I'm ready to be that much of an adult and 1/4 of 100!  ;-)  But I didn't get consulted when God set up time, so I guess I just have to live with the consequences.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Visible floor

Yes, the floor in my bedroom is finally visible! I'm not done yet, and I won't be completely done tonight. Some boxes yet remain and will be shoved into dark corners, but the vast mess that had taken over my bedroom is now gone. My new couch is moved in place with its attendant coffee table. I told one of my nephews that I would reserve it for LEGO use. If he gets out any LEGOs while he is over and leaves them on the coffee table I won't take care of them. I used to have a large tray (made from an old door) that I slid under my bed. I'll enjoy hopefully working with him to create a new city or perhaps just various models and things.

Right now though I'm headed back over to my place. I just came over to check my e-mail after picking up Ryan at McDonald's. I'm saving other things I need to do on-line for my free time at work tomorrow, or tomorrow evening. I need to get back and finish up my cleaning before I get too tired. ;-)

~Matt

And now?

I just found there were last minute changes made to the songs for tomorrow. The person doing the song files didn't get the message in time, so I guess I get to go in and edit things now. *sigh* I might get to sleep before I go to church in the morning. Might...

~Matt

Saturday, December 09, 2006

PDA

I am posting this via my PDA from the Museum's free wireless network.
'Tis fun, but not quite as versatile as a full-sized computer when
on-line.

I'm waiting for catering staff to clear away a table so that I can go
home! So far they're being slow. At least I now can amuse myself
with the internet as well as reading while I wait.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Friday, December 08, 2006

That is the projected wind chill for today.  Brrr...  Thankfully I'm working inside all day, even if a bit late up at the museum.  A last minute event runs until 23:00.  Last night was a different story.  All I was missing was long underwear--I either need to buy some, or borrow some long term from my brother-in-law.

I had two pairs of socks (one pair thick), boots rated as insulated, pants, T-shirt, uniform button shirt, long sleeved uniform pullover, heavy winter jacket, small gloves (nearly skintight cloth), thick gloves.  Then I had my ball cap on my head, wrapped my six foot Pashmina (Christmas present last year from my sister and brother-in-law--he bought it in Turkey) around to cover my mouth, and pulled a knit cap over the top to further protect my ears.  Except for my legs I was actually warm and could function as I pulled carts in.  I'm glad nobody called my work phone as I could hardly have answered it.  I did have a problem with my glasses fogging up though, so I tried to keep wiping them off or looking over them blurringly.  It wasn't great fun, but it wasn't as bad as I'd expected either.

~Matt
--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Not at work?

Aye, I'm not at work this morning.  After several weeks of trouble (during which time I haven't had the time to attempt to fix it) my starter finally gave out.  I had to call into work where by boss told me to get my car fixed and come in tomorrow.  I'll miss the day's pay, but I'm glad he was understanding about it.  I had to borrow my sister's van to drive down and buy a new starter ($113).  Then I spent a couple hours with my brother-in-law coaching me to pull out the old one and put in the new one.

Oh, did I forget to mention that it snowed this morning?  Had I left on time I think I would have been okay and missed the snow as it didn't start until seven thirty (when I clock in).  It is a cold day.  I'm definitely going to post pictures of my old starter and any I can snap of the snow outside.  It also looks as though there might be another event tomorrow evening at the Museum Center.  Fun, fun these last minute deals.  I'm sure keeping busy!

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Last night

It was nice not to be at bigg's last night, but I didn't get done as much as I would have liked.  I spent the entire evening at my sister's place.  It was nice to relax, but I'd had some thoughts about getting some cleaning-up done at my place.  Instead I at dinner with my sister's family (she does a good job with taco salad), watched a movie with the kids (while Laurie and Brett went out to get stuff for St. Nicholas Day which they'd forgotten about until then), downloaded programs for my PDA, and washed a couple loads of laundry.  Because I was busy on the computer and waiting for the laundry I didn't get home until around midnight.

What I really need is next Sunday evening off where I said I could cover for someone at bigg's (though I fervently hope that I don't have to).  I can clean stuff out of my place then and just drop it directly by the street as trash pick-up is the next day.  Any other time it doesn't make sense to move it since I have too many boxes to fit in the apartment building's trash barrel.  Of course until I get my bedroom cleaned out my new couch can't move in there and I'm stuck with a very crowded living room.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Great Quote

To be a book-collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser.
  - Robertson Davies

Mark, can you think of a rebuttal to this?  I sure can't.  ;-)

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

50º

Well I finally turned my heat on yesterday.  With temperatures back down to 20º and showing no signs of warming up too much in the near future I decided it was finally time to bite the bullet.  However, I've only set the thermostat to 50º.  If I'm going to be around for a few hours (such as this evening when I'm not at bigg's, yeah!) I will probably turn it up a bit.  However, when I'm only around to sleep and for a couple of hours before that it is pointless to keep the place toasty.

Additionally I don't like sleeping in a warm room.  It should be cold (or at least cool) in a bedroom in winter.  I'm sure that Mark won't want to visit anytime soon, but I suppose that if he did I would turn the heat up so he wouldn't turn into a human popsicle.

But more about bigg's.  Apparently because I need Friday off to work and event at the museum they only need me to work three days this week.  I'm not going to complain.  Yes, my paycheck will be a tad lower, but on the other hand I've put in many extra hours at the museum for this two-week pay period.  Last week I had 27 hours.  That isn't bad when I planned on just 8 per week!  :-)

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Monday, December 04, 2006

I survived

Yes, the weekend was long, but actually enjoyable. After working for fifteen hours at the museum on Saturday I really didn't feel that tired. I enjoy work there so much that in some ways it really isn't work. If I had been at bigg's for fifteen hours I would have been quite exhausted.

Last night however, went later than I had thought it would. Sunday evening is the night that housekeeping comes through to vacuum the entire exhibit, and I have to stay for that time when I'm filling in as supervisor. I had planned to clean out my bedroom so that I could start to move my new furniture back in there, but I was too tired and it was too cold.

I think that I'm about ready to start turning the heat on in my apartment. Up until now it hasn't been that cold and I've not been home much. I'm still not home much, but it is getting colder and I'm wanting to do more things when I am home. Things that are hard to do if you're cold when not sitting with a blanket. If I just want to read or watch a movie I don't mind a cold room and sitting/laying under a blanket. But if I need to be mobile, I'd prefer it to be warmer. I'll have to say goodbye to energy bills as low as they've been however, but I think I can survive that if I don't turn the heat up to sweltering, ;-).

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Friday, December 01, 2006

Absent this weekend

Yes, I was at the museum until midnight tonight, and tomorrow (Saturday) I will be working a 15 or so hour day, then on Sunday I only work until seven or eight so I get some of the evening to enjoy. I'll be around eventually! ;-)

~Matt

Thursday, November 30, 2006

809 Area Code

Communications Dominican Republic
international: country code - 1-809; 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth station

As far as I know I do not know anybody in the Dominican Republic, but apparently someone there tried to call me last night. I was at bigg's, so I didn't answer the phone. I looked down at my phone when it first rang and was quite surprised to see that I thought it said "Dominican Republic." At first I couldn't believe this, so when I had a free minute I called Chris and asked him to look up the area code 809. He asked my why after he'd run a search and I was curious. "Because someone called me from there," I responded hesitantly.

Then he proceeded to briefly explain the "809 Area Code scam" which he found when entering that area code into Google. See, one of the reasons I had been worried was that my dad called in the middle of several of these 809 calls and left a message, but I thought that this other caller might have left a message as well (until you check it my voicemail doesn't identify how many messages have been left). Thankfully there was only a message from my father.

However, the 809 caller called back several times. I'm not sure exactly what they wanted, but I cannot think that it was anything good. Not that many people have my cell phone number, and I don't know anyone who would call me from the Dominican Republic. Though, if it was part of an attempted scam I'm curious as to why they didn't leave a message and try to get me to call back. Regardless though I'm not going to call the number back--perhaps that is all they wanted, curiosity about a strange number. *shrugs*

~Matt
--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Snow?

Today the temperature is supposed to hit 70ºF!  However, by Friday we might see some early morning snow flurries.  I'm so glad I'm done with carts for the week at bigg's!  :-)

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bread

I finally bought bread this week.  Well, I didn't have time to shop, so my sister did my shopping for me and I asked her to pick up two loaves of bread.  I've been pulling bread from bigg's anniversary sale almost two months ago out of my freezer ever since I moved into my apartment.  However, recently I've begun to get tired of having to slice the small loaves and fix three or four mini sandwiches to equal two normal sandwiches.

Therefore since I only have one bag of five mini-loaves in my freezer and about half a bag thawed I reasoned it was time to start buying bread.  I will keep using the bigg's bread, but just for toast or when I want a slice of bread with my dinner.

On the lines of food I think I need to come up with a menu list.  Every week I draw up a menu of the meals I'm going to cook and then I buy whatever food/supplies I need to make those meals (beyond what I already have in my kitchen).  I enjoy this, it is cheap, and provides filling meals.  One problem though is that I usually make the list at the last minute and I cannot always think of good meals that I haven't just done in the previous week.  I think that I need to start keeping track of the menu meals I produce so that I can consult this database when making each week's menu/shopping list.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

What is junk food?

Strangely enough I've never really thought about this. I guess I just assumed that candy and high-sugar, high-fat foods were "junk foods" that should be enjoyed in moderation. This can be hard though as they are often the best tasting foods around, ;-).

Yesterday I read a BBC article however that got me to thinking about this simple phrase: junk food.

You can't open a newspaper or switch on the box without hearing about the latest initiative to wean young people in particular off "junk food" and on to healthier foodstuffs.

Last week, the Office for Communications (Ofcom) unveiled plans to ban ads for junk food during TV programmes aimed at kids.

That followed hot on the heels of the government's clampdown in September on the sale of chocolate, crisps, the fizzy stuff (cola, lemonade, etc) and "low-quality meat" in schools across the nation.

This sounds good so far, right? I don't agree with the bans because parents should be able to exercise control of their kid's diets and spending. But this isn't the point as the UK is more of a nanny state though in some areas the US is worryingly fast to catch up.

But what exactly is junk food? It's widely believed that the phrase was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the American Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972.

For most people, the phrase conjures up images of hamburgers, pizzas, chips and sweets.

For the Food Standards Agency - from which both the government and Ofcom got their definition of junk food - it is any food high in fat, salt or sugar.

So why are some fatty foods defined as "junk", but others are not? Government ministers and celebrity chefs look down their noses at French fries (which in McDonald's contain about 5g of fat), and at the same time think nothing of tucking into a dish like duck a l'orange (which can contain 15 to 20g of fat in a single serving).

And why are some food outlets, such as McDonald's or Domino's Pizza, labelled as "junk", while others that serve similar dishes, like posh burger bars or Pizza Express, are seen as being acceptable and trendy, and possibly even healthy?

Would you have thought about this? I think I shared the same preconception that McDonald's and other fast food was somehow different from what you find in other restaurants. This, however, may not always be the case! Read the rest of the article as it is quite fascinating. There are differences with fast food, but perhaps not always the ones that you think.

~Matt

Monday, November 27, 2006

'Tis the Season

Yes, I'm still here, but I was a bit busy this weekend, including filling in for someone yesterday in Titanic. I also couldn't get on-line at all on Saturday due to problems with my brother-in-law's internet connection, hence no posts from that day. I'll be around.

Oh, I bought and decorated a Christmas tree (3 foot artificial from Wal-Mart) yesterday. I have a couple pictures but am not sure when I'll be able to post them, hopefully soon though!

~Matt

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'm back

Yes, I am back, but Chris was back hours ago.  He chickened out because he wasn't first and because he wasn't feeling well.  Then Ryan and his friends hung out with more friends around the corner of the building so I sat by myself most of the night.  I read for a couple hours, but then I was dozing and the parking lot lights turned off at midnight.

Ryan was camping out last weekend for a Wii and found out that the lights have been on a timer for a couple months after corporate ordered it.  I guess they couldn't override it for one night.  Anyway, I was in a sleeping bag at this point because my feet were so cold in my boots.  Once out of my boots in the bottom of the bag they became quite toasty.  I stretched out with my legs on another chair and eventually lay atop three different foldable chairs to form a serviceable "bed."  I think I slept for a couple hours, then at three the lights came on as the first employees arrived.  Many people at that point started taking care of things even though we had an hour until tickets (to reserve your copy of an item until noon) were handed out starting at 04:00 and two hours until the store opened at 05:00.

I kept the sleeping bag until it was nearer to four.  It wasn't a bad night overall, and I did get a couple things.  I bought a 2gig SD memory card for the PDA I think I'm going to get as well as two stacks of 100 DVD-Rs for only $5.00 a stack!  (normal list price of $70.00!)  Oh, and I bought a universal remote so that I can control the volume on the TV I'm borrowing from Chris to have hooked up to my DVD player.  It has been quite annoying to have to walk up to the TV to adjust the volume as the movie goes up and down in volume.

That's all for now.  I'm not yet sure if I'm going to sleep any more or perhaps take a nap later today or go to bed early.  I'm at my sister's and haven't bothered to go home yet.  What is the point?  We entered the store right at 5:00 and were one of the first ones to the registers (we walked through a long queue area but didn't have to wait at all).  Chris is playing Zelda on Ryan's Wii right now and I'm just browsing the internet...

Good morning!

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yes, we're going soon

to Best Buy. This is the third year in a row, but today is warm and tonight promises to be warmer than last year. I will definitely have pictures, and hopefully will be buying several things. I think I like the idea of a stack of 100 DVD-Rs for $4.99, and a 2-gig SD card for $30 will go well with the Windows PDA I want to buy.

More later...

~Matt

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving forecast

Today is my last day at my day job this week. This does mean a bit lower paycheck, but I'm not complaining too much as I'll enjoy the time off. Friday (besides sleeping after staying up all night at Best Buy) will be my first completely work-free day in far too long. Thursday though I do have to work at bigg's since I've already committed to Titanic for Sunday the 24th of December--at least the shift only goes until 18:00. However, I assume I'll miss Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's place (unless she wants to wait for Friday to hold it? *hint* *hint*) as I'll probably head directly to Best Buy from bigg's.

I wish I were flying out to California this weekend though, it would be a good time to enjoy more time out there. Yet I have to keep up the now three year (if nothing goes wrong tomorrow) tradition of Best Buy line camping and I'm also helping to supervise Titanic this Saturday as the supervisor has to fill in elsewhere (like me she has multiple jobs and multiple positions at the Museum Center). I'll just try to wring what enjoyment I can out of the holiday, ;-).

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Cincinnati Skyline


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pdrm2555.jpg

pdrm2555.jpg
This picture of the Cincinnati skyline was taken at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. This glass here is on the upper level of the History Museum at the old taxi (or bus?) ramp exit. ~Matt


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Addendum: Well this didn't work as well as I thought. I didn't like the fact that I couldn't include text with a picture upload, so I thought this could get around that. Apparently it won't work that way. Oh well...

~Matt

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Interlocking - Memory in Bricks


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PortableApps.com

Check this website out if you move from computer to computer. These programs are an excellent way to keep your information private and to save all your settings as you move. You can install these programs (I would really recommend this suite to hold the programs you use). I use Firefox and OpenOffice.org especially. The first is my favourite browser (with all of my favourites and links kept intact from computer to computer) and the second is an open-source office suite. It may not always be as usable as MS Office but sometimes is better and is fully compatible with multiple formats and best of all is completely free. You can run these programs from a USB flash drive, a portable hard drive, a device like an iPod, or even from CD (of course you would lose any editing capabilities with the latter option). Check the site out, it is a fun place.

~Matt

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Say it ain't so

Apparently New Line Cinema has been involved in a dispute with Peter Jackson and has told "him that the company 'would no longer be requiring [his] services on The Hobbit and the prequel'." I'm not sure what the prequel is unless they mean a film adaptation of the Silmarillion (an interesting venture...)

New Line Cinema, with whom he has been in dispute about income from the first Rings film, was not using him, [Peter Jackson] said.

Jackson had refused to discuss a Hobbit film until the case was settled but New Line said it now wanted to move on as it had "limited time" to make the film.

You can read the entire BBC article here.

Sure, I had a few problems with some decisions Jackson made in the adaptations of LotR, but overall they were fantastic. I hope the management responsible for this decision at New Line realizes what they are doing and doesn't screw up production...

~Matt :(

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm not moving to New Zealand

According to government supporters an anti-spanking (or smacking in NZspeak) law is to become official in New Zealand. Supporters are reportedly dismayed by a compromise that allows parents to physically restrain children for their own safety.

A parliamentary "committee rejected a proposal by National MP Chester Borrows for a different compromise which would have defined, and allowed parents to use, limited reasonable force.
It would have allowed light smacking that did no more than cause "transitory and trifling discomfort" and did not cause bruises, welts, skin cuts or broken bones."


This makes it
obvious that the bill is outrageous and not an anti-child abuse measure. It actively seeks to undermine the authority of parents in the raising of their children and provide for further government intrusion. I wonder how many years away the US is from enacting something like this. I am sure we will see something first in the Socialist Republic of San Francisco or activist judges in Massachusetts. I shudder at the thought.

The bill will change the Crimes Act to remove the defence of "reasonable force" that parents can invoke if charged with assaulting a child.
But the select committee that approved the bill yesterday has forced a compromise which will permit parents to use reasonable force to exercise necessary parental control.
This would include restraining a child to prevent it from harm, or from causing others harm, or to prevent it engaging in disruptive behaviour.
This may include, for example, stopping a child from running across the road, or forcibly removing one from a supermarket.
But the law will say that such force cannot be used for "corrective" purposes.


Akin to hate crime legislation in the US (but I imagine enlightened New Zealanders have enacted similar laws) this is merely another step in a broad (though not conspiratorially conscious) campaign to destroy biblical influence upon society and the family in general. Just look at Elton John's " ban all religion" or Richard Dawkin's New Atheism.

Proverbs 13:24 ESV Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Of course you could take this verse out of context and say it advocates beating your child black and blue, but it does nothing of the kind. Rather it refers to discipline which may include spanking (it does not have to, but the option should be there because sometimes it is what works).

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Culture Fest

One of my people in Evening Events was promoted at her main job and as a result was sent on a business trip this weekend. She found a replacement for the event on Friday (where I supervised), but couldn't find anyone today. As a result I took her place and helped out during the Museum's Latin American Culture Fest.

Each Culture Fest is a weekend long and involves various vendors and performers
occupying spaces in the building's Rotunda. I moved around between several different positions relieving volunteers and filling in where necessary. When I was in the crafts area I made my own paper bag piñata and also the two other crafts. Sure, I'm not a kid, but I like making things that I'm involved in helping others play.

Right now I'm also trying to staff other events at the museum--it isn't all going well. I'm really short for some nights--but I think that some details are coming together. On the second (of December) I will be at the museum from about nine in the morning until probably midnight.
I'll also be making some last minute decisions on the fly that night as to where certain people are stationed. I hope that my boss will have hired a third supervisor by that point, but I'm not holding my breath. I think of it as a critical priority, but he might not because he will soon have two exhibits as well as a third starting soon and his other duties (such as birthday parties). I think things will end up okay, but it is somewhat frustrating having to wait while things come together.

~Matt

Saturday, November 18, 2006

TOS

I don't know exactly why, but I have barely seen any episodes of The Original Series previously. Tonight TV Land has a marathon of TOS episodes and I started watching at 21:00. So far I've watched Where No Man has Gone Before and I'm currently in the middle of The Naked Time.

Yes, they are cheesy in some ways, but they're also good vintage sci-fi. I'm really enjoying this and only hope that I can stay awake along enough to really enjoy things and develop a greater appreciation. I do know that CBS is producing digitally remastered versions of TOS episodes, I just don't know when they are airing or where. I would love to be able to compare the two and see if they are still good or if the enhanced digital effects clash with the props and costumes.

~Matt

Friday, November 17, 2006

What is free time?

The entirety of December I think I will be working a minimum of seventy plus hours a week.  Three weekends I'll be supervising in the Titanic exhibit (2-3, 23-24, 30-31), on weekend I'll be in California (15-17), and there are numerous evening events at the museum as well.  In some ways I don't regret it because I'll be busiest at the museum, the place that I love the most.

On the other hand it will make things like shopping difficult.  I'm really not sure when I'll be able to fit in time to go shopping, especially as I go to one store in particular where prices are cheap.  It isn't open 24 hours regretfully.  I'm sure I'll find some way to make do, I just don't know what it is yet.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Benign

My sister just left the doctor's office and called me.  She had a growth/tumor on her Thyroid and the doctor ordered a biopsy recently.  Thankfully she found out today that it was benign.  She was especially worried because she's known people with thyroid cancer and the fact that my parents have both lived through cancer in the past few years.

This does remind me of a child's medical dictionary.  What is benign?  What you will be after you're eight.  ;-)

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Audio Advertisements

I think these bug me more than anything on-line, though expanding ads might be tied with these for annoyance.  Those are particularly aggravating when I'm trying to read a short news article and the expanding ad blocks the entire article!

I understand that advertising is needed to support sites and that if I don't pay for premium service (where offered) I will usually see it.  I don't have a problem with this.  Using Firefox I can block images from common ad servers so a certain number of ads never appear.  Others I simply ignore.  However, it is difficult to ignore an ad that starts playing sound (typically synced to a video).  It is especially annoying though when you've already scrolled past it and must look through the page to turn it off.

Sounds should be off by default.  I avoid sites that play music which you cannot easily turn off by default.  I would rather tell a site that I want to listen to music rather than have to manually turn it off each time I visit.  And of course these ads are worse because periodically they can refresh and a new one that you have to mute will come up.

Unfortunately there must be enough people that actually click on these ads that they stay around.  I only wish this weren't so... :(

~Matt

PS Have I mentioned that I love Firefox 2.0's new features like built-in spell check?  ;-)

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good night

Well I'm leaving the internet for the night. I'm over at my sister's place. I didn't intend to be here this late, but I just kept watching the shows she was and eventually got hooked into watching an HGTV show as well. Oh well, it wasn't that bad anyway and I wasn't sure what to cook tonight. Now I might just have a bowl of cereal since I can't find my menu...;-)

~Matt

Political Bias?

I see from news articles that Senator Trent Lott is back in power, albeit to the number two position in the minority party. This reminds me of something that I recently connected.

I still remember the outrage that his comments sparked, though from what I've seen it was largely due to interpretation, not what he actually said. People were offended by what they thought he meant, and nothing but his resignation from leadership could satisfy his detractors.

Compare this to Senator Kerry's remarks about the ignrant trups in Irak. Yes, there was an uproar, but mainly from Republicans. Then he issues an "apology" and everything is supposed to be forgiven. However, if you examine his apology you notice that he doesn't apologize for what he said. He merely labels it a botched joke (then why didn't he correct it when he said it?) and is sorry that people were offended. He should have apologize for what he said, even if (which I doubt) it wasn't what he meant to say. Wasn't this the same guy that accused all American troops of being rapists and murderers in Vietnam?

But no, there is no bias in the news media that creates controversy around Republicans and lets Democrats off the hook. Nope, it can't be found right next to unbiased coverage of Iraq.

~Matt

PS 2006.11.16
I'm not the only one writing about this. Read this column for more: Lott Avenges Media Double Standard.

It's funny how political missteps can destroy some people, while leaving others standing, even smiling.

Thank goodness Republican Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott -- one of those once nearly destroyed -- proved this week that media's plunging, twisting knives can be extracted.


--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

December Visit

Yes, you read that correctly, a visit is coming up in December.  I will be flying to California on the 15th of December arriving late at night and leaving Sunday night to arrive in Cincinnati around seven Monday morning.

It will be insane, but it was my only free weekend before the end of the year.  My grandma will be visiting and this will be my last chance to see my parents in California before they move.  Furthermore their move to Tennessee will probably take them a while and may involve several months of staying with relatives while their new house is built (unless they buy an existing structure) so I'm also looking forward to just seeing them.

All this is to say that I will be back in the great state of California for the December weekend of the 16th and 17th, though my stay will be confined to Orange County. I won't have the time to travel elsewhere.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Where was I

yesterday?  Busy at work.  Then I didn't go on-line yesterday evening, so I forgot to blog in the morning and didn't have an opportunity later.  I'm trying to get back into the daily rhythm and missing days doesn't help this.  I shall endeavor to be more focused and dedicated.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Relaxing

That pretty much sums up the day today.  I had time to cook dinner with two of my nerfs (spaghetti and garlic bread), then we made yogurt pie.  Later I took them to McDonald's when I picked up Ryan and gave them each a free Monopoly McFlurry coupon Ryan had given me earlier.  We came back and enjoyed those along with some apple crisp while we watched the old animated 101 Dalmatians.  Tomorrow I go back into the work-day grind.  However, I am starting to enjoy Sundays as a day of rest.  I don't work on Sundays unless I chose to (as when I'm filling in as supervisor for the Titanic exhibit a couple days).

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On the Left

Today was a good day at work, though the exhibit was rather busy for a time. Additionally I had a working lunch as I met with my supervisor to talk about an upcoming event and the problems in obtaining staff to work. However, it was the latter part of the day that was the most interesting. I started talking to a fellow staff member. We started talking about TV shows first (she really enjoys Heroes which I have started watching and am addicted to, ;-)) and somehow began to talk politics. She revealed that she is a die hard Democrat (at one point she exclaimed "I like taxes.").

Despite this we had an extensive interesting discussion. We were both calm and rational (though of course I would argue that her thinking was deficiently leaning to the left, ;-)) and enjoyed the discussion. She talked one point about the Republicans that work with her husband and aren't so nice. I think it is sad that people can't always discuss politics more calmly. There have been people I work with that I discover are liberals. Some of them I avoid any mention of politics because I know they won't be rational or willing to hear alternate viewpoints.

Nothing that I heard today inspired me to start voting Democrat but it was fascinating to hear explanations from a liberal--to hear why she thought the way she did. She thinks Clinton was a great president and that not only will the future show this, but that Bush is a horrible president. She also thinks FDR was an awesome president (whereas I think he wasn't that great at all--I think the New Deal really messed up the country). Anyway, it was a new experience discussing politics and I really enjoyed the day.

~Matt

Friday, November 10, 2006

I feel more informed already

I must thank the AP (courtesy of the Jerusalem Post on-line) for such an enlightening article.

Al-Qaida says it has mobilized 12,000 fighters
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
CAIRO, Egypt

A new al-Qaida in Iraq audio tape said Friday that the group has mobilized 12,000 fighters.

It must have been agonizingly difficult to craft that piece of journalistic prose.

But wait, here is another!

Al-Qaida vow to reach J'lem, blow up White House



Al-Qaida in Iraq leader vowed in an audio tape released on Friday that his fighters will never rest until they have reached Jerusalem and blown up the White House.


I have no idea why they bothered writing more than the headlines.  I'm going to assume that either the authors weren't paid by the word or their editors didn't have much funding left!  And no, I didn't cut anything off, you're seeing the entire articles.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Oh, isn't that nice?

Here was my other e-mailed attempt, finally coming in the next day! Blogger must have had some major problems yesterday, or perhaps only hates me. *shrugs*

~Matt

There is always that...

Thanks to Rockwood for some good insight. At least this time the Republicans aren't trying to tie things up in the courts for weeks on end. As much as I'm disappointed about things this does at least show some differences between the parties.

Democrats seem to be so hung up on retaining and gaining power, whereas this might shake the GOP back to foundations of (somewhat) fiscal responsibility and conservatism. One can only hope that two years out of power won't do them any harm. I don't see how they can do worse than they did during the last few years of glutenous spending.

Oh, that was good. I'm using Firefox 2.0 and it has a spell-checker built right in. 'Tis very nice! :-) Okay, enjoy your day at work, I know that I'll find mine interesting at least. And I do enjoy working with the people at work, 'tis a good place.

~Matt

PS Sorry about the image size, I couldn't get it fixed. Click on the image and it will take you to the comic's homepage where it will be easier to read. This is the comic for Wednesday, November 08, 2006. I will direct it to the permanent URL as soon as I can find it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Interesting

If you saw this post this morning it was a double-post. I tried to make my previous voting/Titanic post via e-mail twice, but it didn't seem to take, so I re-sent it. Apparently it finally came through at eleven last night. Interesting...

~Matt
[2006.11.10 07:25]

Your Vote Does Count!

And if only a few more Republicans in Virginia had voted...

We wouldn't be facing the prospect of
Bolton's non-confirmation (or his second recess appointment, which means no pay for him) and an difficult Supreme Court Justice fight. At least the Democrats don't hav
e anything more than the slimmest of majorities (okay, technically a 50/50 split with Cheney casting deciding votes would be the slimmest of majorities, but let's not split hairs) so all they could do would be to keep blocking good candidates. They couldn't force the President to have to nominate a nut like Ginsberg or unknown like Miers to fill an void on the bench. But there is nothing I can do about that now. I voted, but didn't get a chance to cast a ballot for the US Senate. Thankfully my congressman (a Republican) was re-elected (Geoff Davis)!

On the work front I'm really enjoying Titanic (though as of yet I've only worked two days). Tonight I start filling in as a temporary supervisor (I'll do this for a couple weekends in December as well) and I'm looking forward to that. Here is an example of one of the artifacts that we have in the exhibit as well as how it looked on the seabed. You can access these pictures (not specific to any one instance of the exhibit) at the RMS Titanic website.

It is so fascinating to walk through the exhibit and see not only the room and hallway recreations (the boiler room area is awesome!) but seeing all of these artifacts and knowing that they were 2.5 miles down in the Atlantic for over eighty years! This just seems more real than many other artifact displays.


Okay, break is over, I'm back to work.



~Matt




--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

A note on recent posting

Yes I'm back, but I can't spare the time to go to my blog and post directly.  If you see a Cicero quote at the end of the post (such as below) then I'm posting from my Gmail account.  If you see a mention of Givaudan or Maintenance then chances are I sent something from my work account during a break.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I miss TV sometimes

On nights like the last one I really miss having a TV close by.  Without internet access or TV I just went to bed not knowing anything about the election.  This morning I got to work and looked up a bit of news, but it took me a few mintues to piece things together.  It was easy to see that the House was lost, but a bit longer to find out the the Senate is still iffy.

Honestly in some ways I've been disgusted with Republican spending (they're as bad as drunken Democrats often) so this isn't all bad.  Up front I can only see two bad things (besides Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, *shudder*), 1) Dems might really interfere with the war in Iraq, and 2) they will greatly influence the next Supreme Court influence.

Since nobody in government has the guts to stand up to the Supreme Court and constitutionally limit their power or try to make the system actually balanced (unlike the current system that John Marshall established by fiat), I think it is critical that decent judges like Alito and Thomas (to just name two) are nominated and confirmed to the highest court.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do I yet draw breath?

Aye, I do.  But I've been quite busy.  I'm working between 65 and 70 hours a week.  If I don't have a Museum event then I only have one weeknight a week free (I haven't had one of those for the past 3-4 weeks--only this past Sunday have I had the evening off).  I'm enjoying much of my work (bigg's the least), but I'm so busy.  So yes, I'm alive, but busy and trying to find time for everything critical.

E-mail is the most vital thing I do on-line so I've been active there, and I manage to keep up with web comics (Schlock Mercenary had a great lead-up to Halloween!).  If you haven't heard from me then drop me an e-mail, I should reply.  Other on-line activities I've regretably had to cut back on.  I hope that won't last too long.  I'm in the middle of scrutinizing my budget over the past month and hopefully sometime during this month I'll be able to see if I can afford my own internet access (which I certainly hope works out--life will be much easier amongst its current stress).

For now, adios.

~Matt

--
"A room without books is as a body without a soul." -Cicero

This is only a test, right?


Yes, I am testing this if I have a couple of minutes to spare.  I hope this publishing via e-mail will work.


~Matt

Matthew Graubner
Maintenance & Repair

Givaudan Flavors Corp.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'll be around?

I have everything but my clothes moved into my apartment, and I'm just waiting for the washing machine to finish with them. I'm going to go over there now and start putting more things away. I should be back on-line later tonight to post my long overdue Superheroes episode revisement, and check some e-mail, but after that I have no idea when I'll be on-line next. I work at both jobs tomorrow and so I won't be home until after ten, so I might go over to my sister's to check e-mail, unless I'm too tired. *sigh*

~Matt

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Still no pictures

Yes, I'm sorry. I still don't have any pictures of my apartment to post. I forgot and left my camera over in my apartment. I do have most of my bookcases assembled, and even two new cinderblock and board ones. I have the boards and need to buy the blocks for one more tomorrow along with the rest of my grocery shopping (I bought meat today--and some good stuff on sale!). Then I'll move in everything from over here at my sister's place (oh, yeah, I need to do laundry first as well) and be completely moved in. I don't know how often I'll be posting since, oh yeah, I don't know what my internet options will be like.

Tomorrow I need to talk to my brother-in-law about the booster. I have a bit of extra money from my week of overtime at bigg's, and I'll use it. I could wait to save up money, but I think that is pointless. Just today I tried to put together the songs for tomorrow's service on my computers, but my ethernet cable wasn't working so I had to try to use a flash drive. However, I didn't have all of my pictures available yet as they're stored on my laptop and the computers wouldn't network. Additionally sometimes the pictures come straight from the internet and aren't already ones that I've downloaded and saved. This is hard to do without a computer. And I would like to do this all from my computer. I cannot do it from my laptop because the program refuses to work, so I need to have a wireless connection to my laptop that I can borrow by networking via ethernet with my desktop.

So unless I have to surrender the cell phone if I dare to buy the antenna soon, I'm hoping to be on-line in my apartment by the end of the week. If I'm prohibited from exploring DSL then I'll be making a one-time investment and I see absolutely no reason to put that off.

~Matt

Friday, September 29, 2006

News Flash

Apparently I'm too stupid to make financial decisions for myself. Apparently my family (to be fair not all of them, for now I just know it is my oldest brother, and my sister and brother-in-law here) must conspire behind my back and make demands of me. All my earlier musings about internet access are currently moot. I was stupid (in retrospect) enough to mention that I was thinking about procuring internet access for myself (because I do not want to walk across the street to get on-line EACH AND EVERY TIME!!!) to my brother-in-law.

After cautioning me that "it was my choice" he proceeded to dictate terms to me. Presumably this entire plan is designed to help me save money, which means that it is really about forcing me to do what they want--because letting me do what I want would be "enabling me." If I go and get internet service I cannot keep the cell phone I have under his plan--I have to give it back. This would mean I would have to fork over even more money to procure my own cell phone and plan. With as much as I'm going to be gone during the week I consider it essential to have a cell phone so that I can remain in contact--especially with the museum in relation to events. I also use the alarm on my phone each and every day, very often multiple times a day to remind me of various matters.

Needless to say I am very, VERY upset. First of all there was absolutely no discussion, it was simply a dictate handed out from on high. I must do this, or else! I'm just annoyed that I cannot make my own choices. It should be MY CHOICE if I want to work an extra night a week so that I have the money to pay for my phone bill. Or if I cut back on food, or unnecessary driving--or anything, to pay for internet access. Secondly I can give several good reasons why I would want to get my own landline and internet connection, but again none of them matter because there was no possibility of discussion, just a decree. I would like to have free incoming calls and free calls within Cincinnati, but with my cell phone being my only phone that isn't possible. I don't want to never see my sister's family again, but I do not want to be at their house to make every local phone call or to go on-line every time. I want to start to live more of my life on my own.

Oh, and just as I knew would be the case I cannot get the signal from my brother-in-law's wireless network in my apartment. He has the idea to procure a "booster," to enhance the signal. However, this would cost around fifty dollars, and I would likely need a new wireless card. Plus we'd have to hope this all worked before things were purchased, and that the signal would go through the huge tree in the yard. I'm not incredibly optimistic. Too, I can just see them saying "wait six months to buy the booster, until you're more financially stable."

Well I've cut back on on-line time this week as I'm working like crazy AND unpacking my stuff. I don't like it, and I can't function this way. If I'm this busy (or nearly so) I won't be able to pack up my laptop and run across the street every time I want to go on-line. I need better e-mail access than that for the museum, and I know they don't want me over at six in the morning, or to come over at eleven every night. I know I don't want to leave my apartment at eleven every night after I get home just so that I can check e-mail. I want to do that in my own living room as I fix my dinner or relax and watch a movie. But again, I'm apparently too stupid to be allowed to make that decision myself.

So yes, here endeth a very angry post. No, I don't regret any words that I've typed. In fact perhaps they should have been harsher. I'm very annoyed.

~Matt

PS Besides the previously (in my internet access musing post) mentioned $37.00 a month it would cost me $30 a month for the cheapest Sprint plan--but if I wanted to enjoy the free Sprint-to-Sprint calling that I now enjoy it would cost me $40 a month. :(

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Almost moved in

I'm so busy right now my life is a bit of a mess. My apartment is full of books (most not on shelves) and my room at my sister's is degenerating. I'm not letting it bother me though. I leave shortly after waking up in the morning, and don't spend much time here. Most is either at work or taking care of stuff at my apartment. Come tomorrow night at 21:30 at the latest I should be free of work until Monday. This will give me the weekend to move things over, go shopping, take care of things, and generally get settled in. I don't anticipate too many totally clear weekends, so this will be nice. :-)

~Matt

PS And I'll start parking in my garage once I move over--right now I don't see the point of having to walk that much further when I park my van.