Wednesday, March 31

life in the fast lane

I had a breakfast meeting at Charlie D's Cafe in Richardson. Only about 4 tables were busy when I arrived (7:15a) but they were up to about half full when I left (8:45a). I tend to disagree with the GuideLive posting: when the icewater was gone, the inattentive waiter made no attempt to refill it. Also, despite asking for 7 separate checks, we were given one. {sigh} Such is life in the fast lane. Having said that, the food was good and I'm sure I'll return.

Tuesday, March 30

more stuff to make me go hmm ...

After reading Sunday's entry, The George advised that there are many running events on Hmm .. indeed, there are local events listed there, which are not listed on the local websites .. what's up with that?

Also, Roger-Bob emailed me about (where you can find out which of your neighbors have contributed to which political campaigns). Yeah, I read about them in the DMN a few days ago but hadn't visited the site before R-B's reminder. I only recognized one person in my ZIP code in the listing, but was really shocked to see that donations as small as $25 were public information. Hmm.

other stuff that I noted in my PDA to check out in addition to (in no particular order):; Texas Auction;;; (in far north Dallas .. a long way from the Dallas Art District); and the Plano House & Garden Show (oops .. that was last weekend).

and finally (in the fantabulous column) I located a Waffle House less than 10 minutes from home. I stopped there a few nights ago for a 7pm breakfast of pork chops and eggs .. and hash browns with diced tomatoes, and toast with strawberry jelly. And a juke box with about forty (yes, 40!) songs about Waffle House. Does life get any better?

Sunday, March 28

run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run ...

The George advised she'll participate in today's Shamrock Shuffle (Chicago). Only 15,000 participants; I hope she doesn't get agoraphobia.

I wondered what races were taking place in my part of the world, so I did a little web searching and wandered across the Cross Country Club of Dallas site. I like their caveat: "Don't let the name fool you. We are a club for ROAD runners and walkers." I searched for related sites and found Run On! (a local specialty store); Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers and North Texas Trail Runners.

Those led me to listings for the Texas Marathon (today); the Flapjack Best of Times Club Race (next Saturday); the Tyler Azalea Run (17 April); the Hound Dog Hustle (24 April, Grapevine); Run the Bases (24 April at the Ballpark in Arlington); and the White Rock n'Roll Race (1 May) ... and then there is The Half (7 November). Wow: lots of running, running, running ...

A few years ago, I attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® at the JC Penney campus in Plano (I was requested to take pictures of my company's participation).

Friday, March 26

u 2 can b a Big Boy

I wasn't thinking about Route 66 when I was left Vicksburg, Mississippi .. driving west on I-20 through Louisiana, in the fog. Somehow Louisiana takes on a new persona in the dark. Being very tired, I decided to stop for breakfast (coffee; steak and eggs; hash browns; toast and jelly) at the Waffle House in Rayville, Louisiana at 5:45am. The chef (working a 10pm-7am shift) commented that the first column of music on the jukebox includes everything on the "The Waffle House Jukebox Favorites Vol. 1" CD. I have since purchased my very own CD - now in my car (this just goes to show how much Fine American Culture I have). That's one thing the upstart Huddle House (1964, Georgia) lacks: kitsch.

There are many websites which document US Route 66 (the Chicago-Los Angeles road that came online in 1926), including National66 and The Mother Road; Route 66 Museum. Sadly, that road is now (mostly) a distant memory, having been replaced by the various Interstate highways, with their I- designations (except in Hawaii, where the roads are labeled H-1, H-2, H-3). I've driven what remains of Route 66 through parts of Arizona and California, and have even been to Meteor Crater (one of the World's Biggest Holes).

I noticed this on National66 : "The National Historic Route 66 Federation, a non-profit organization devoted to saving the legendary road, has selected Tulsa (OK) as the site for its annual Festival on 10-13 June 2004." Hmmm.

Maybe it was that early morning stop at Waffle House, which made me think about all the restaurant chains that have disappeared over the years, starting with Howard Johnson's (aka HoJo's, now a motel chain). Growing up, I remember the every-Friday dinner at the Howard Johnson's restaurant with the orange roof. Online, there are numerous sites that detail the decline and fall of the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain:; hojoland;;

I remember Jerry's restaurants and of course the ever-present Big Boy Restaurants (Bob's, Shoney's and Frisch's were all part of the Big Boy Empire). It's not difficult to find the history of these places on the web: Frisch's Big Boy (1948, Ohio); Bob's Big Boy (1949, California); Shoney's (1959, Tennessee). One thing you won't find (due to the watchful eyes of the Food Protection and Education department) is any sign of insects, which you will find at the (Plano, Texas) Cockroach Museum. If you don't believe me, look at the Dallas Food Inspection Scores or (if you're really bored) the Plano Food Inspection Scores.

Thursday, March 25

beware of the Spelunking Canadian Spotted Nerd -- Home of Eccentric Technology; Planet Sun (list of blogs); Mike Rowe caved into pressure and settled with The Evil Empire. Details may be found in this story: Teen Microsoft Foe Donates Fund to Charity

Note to self: must watch the DVD Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

GeneBob's first-ever Great Name Award: Cops Donuts (somehow not listed on

Tuesday, March 23

F U Cn Rd Ths

One of the guys on my virtual team (of 250+) at work pointed me to his after-hours interest: RR Daddy - Dads Who Can Still Rock and Roll which led me to which doesn't explain why they are called South 71 Cruisers. Is there a road in Kansas City, MO called US-71? There should be a law that a site cannot go online with a well-written "about" page. There, I said it. I can feel the controversy fuming now.

I've had a lot on my personal plate lately (let's call it a family illness) so sometimes I don't catch obvious stuff. One guy opined something like "can you no longer read a cc: line?" to which I forwarded this inspired hyperlink from Wired News: F U Cn Rd Ths, So Can Translator which talks about how SMS-speak is going bidirectional. Heck, I've been writing in Palm Graffiti on whiteboards for years, must to the consternation of those who don't ack that alphabet, so perhaps I should combine the two? y should i not 3volv3 2 th3 n3xt plan3?

.. and then, there is always the text-free zone: The Untitled Project which has nothing to do with CLI.

Monday, March 22

Miss Cellany

My high school newspaper advisor was a teacher named Miss Mullaney. While there, I was the photographer and sports editor (not because I knew Jack about sports, but because I could edit like a wild prairie dog). I never found out what happened to Mary Jane after I went onto college. I suspect she's still in therapy somewhere, trying to overcome years of dealing with me and my ilk. Me .. I'm still trying to forget the days of bulk 35mm Tri-X film in my basement darkroom.

Of random interest to me in the past few days: Alzheimer's Association; the MIT Technology Review article Internetworking discusses the social-networking startups (such as; the fascinating Mississippi Department of Archives and History; and finally : Why Daddies Don't Ask Directions.

Sunday, March 21

Encore! Oncor!

the power went out for about 22 minutes tonight .. no clue why since there were no storms today. When I called to report the outage, I absent-mindedly called TXU even though I switched to Entergy a long time ago. When you call their repair line, you get connected to Oncor.

It was a bit windy, so I finally got around to installing a spinner I got at last year's National Polka Festival (Ennis TX, Memorial Day weekend). I got the spinner from the gent behind the Spinners & Kites website.

an article in MIT's Technology Review entitled Sketchy Information talked about the gnooks search engine .. hmm. I've grown so used to Yahoo! and Google that I almost forgot there are dozens/hundreds of others.

Friday, March 19

sauve AND debonair

Went out to get the newspaper this morning, and discovered why Beta The Wonder Dog was barking last night .. I'd been flamingo'd!! As with all good things in life, the perps (perpetrators) have a website: Pink Flamingo Signs.

As luck would have it, today's the day my yard service guys arrive to mow the lawn, rake the spring leaves (live oaks) and do the yard stuff. As such, they'll have to move My New Pink Friends before doing their work. Oh well, I'll always have my pictures!

Wednesday, March 17

fingerprints, retina scans, you name it ...

I spotted an interesting item on about what good some of the security measures are having. For the specific item, see Identification and Security. Another article about fingerprinting is more about combating welfare fraud: Texas Tests Fingerprinting System For Medicaid Recipients is on

Finally, I saw the article: Google Rolls Out System To Improve Local Search Results which made me laugh. When I tried this a few weeks ago, it failed to find about 80% of the stuff in my neighborhood. Oh well .. gotta start somewhere.

Tuesday, March 16

you can call me 2003 VB12

I was reading an article about the newly-discovered planetoid, currently named Sedna (easier to pronounce than Quaoar) and thought about a moron with whom I work who also will only accept stuff if it fits his 4-line form (he is apparently too stupid to cut-and-paste). Sedna's official name is 2003 VB12, in case you were wondering. Some people in the Official Naming League objected to "Sedna" because it wasn't submitted on one of their official Planet Naming Form (no doubt officially called a Form 987-stroke-402-stroke-6).

Monday, March 15


Q: what do you call someone from Memphis (Tennessee, USA)?
A: Memphians

I spent 3 nights in downtown Memphis last week. So many downtowns are seeing a resurgance of affluent people moving in, to be near the action and minimize the commute; The Bristol on Union is one of those Trendy Apartments Downtown; another web site is Uptown Memphis. One way to get around is via the trolley line operated by MATA (Memphis Area Transit Authority).

Like every large city, there is Stuff To See in Memphis, including Beale Street (blues clubs); Center for Southern Folklore; Chucalissa (reconstructed indian village); Graceland; the Memphis Belle (a B-17 Flying Fortress); the Pink Palace Family of Museums; Mud Island River Park (made famous in the 1993 film The Firm, starring Tom Cruise); the National Civil Rights Museum (at the site of the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated); the Stax Museum of American Soul Music; and the Sun Studio.

There is much more to see; these sites and more may be found in the Memphis Downtowner (a tourist magazine).

Simon and Garfunkel

There are numerous Scarborough Fairs (or should I say Faire) around the country; the local one is south of Dallas and will be held every weekend from April 10 through Memorial Day (Monday, May 31). You can save $4 per ticket by ordering online before March 31. I've attended this before, but didn't like it as much as the ones in Castle Rock, Colorado (this is a great location south of Denver) and in the Los Angeles metro (I've forgotten the city). The one outside L.A. was most amusing because of all the actresses and actors who participate; their presence is sorely needed at the local Faire (near Waxahachie). If you haven't experienced one with good actors, you may not notice how much they add to the experience.

Sunday, March 14


I had a lot of time to catch up on my stack-of-magazines in the past few days, and made random notations in my PDA to check out:

Lipitor - a cholesterol-lowering medication; the Healthy School Lunch Campaign (the Dallas Independent School District scored 77 of 100 points, for a C+ [average] grade); the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: the PCRM's Cancer Project; the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network; the International HapMap Project ("help researchers find genes associated with human disease ..."); STARBRIGHT Foundation (for seriously ill children).

travel blogs
i read a list of blog sites in USA Today dealing with travel; some promising ones include Sea of Cortez (retraces the expedition that John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts made to explore the Sea of Cortez in 1940); TerraQuest (virtual expeditions); BootBlog (behind the scenes of boots 'n all); (personal travel websites); Christopher Elliott's travel blog; and TravelPod. There is also .. and don't miss Pamela Lanier's bed and breakfast which lists 40,000 locations.

"alternative investments" on Morningstar; Fund Alarm (when it's time to sell a fund);

nerd stuff

Emerging Technologies Conference [ETC] at MIT: 2003 and 2004;
Movable Type - a semi-advanced blog tool; the Eye of Sauron (the all-seeing Red Eye from Lord of the Rings). Bill Joy articles: Why the Future Doesn't Need Us (August 2000) and Hope is a Lousy Defense (December 2003); email client: Ximian's Evolution

i love plants (gardening web directory); Virtual Kite Zoo; Cargo magazine (see Instant Replay) targets metrosexuals, apparently. It mentioned Mixed Greens; Absolute Arts; and the Telly MC1000; US Patent Abuse gets a rare Must Read vote from me.

trucks spotted on I-20: ImageMax; Stanley Industrial Tires; silver lady mud flaps were $8 each @ a truck stop (the so-called "naked woman" often seen on a semi-trailer's mud flaps) .. they are probably available at a Rip Griffin Travel Center among other truck stops. Deep Thought #1: some interstate rest areas have an entrance after you pass, at which point you make a sharp right U-turn. I like those places, since you can see what's available before you commit the turn.

Red Lobster restaurants (the one on Park in Plano recently closed)

Deep Thought #27: Purina's logo reminds me of the nautical symbol for danger

Friday, March 12

medical lingo

The web is very useful for learning about how stuff works. It was useful today when the nurse mentioned a "Foley" (it's a kind of catheter, named after Dr. E. B. Foley). The NHS Direct Online Encyclopedia was useful, as well as their specific page which explained the Foley Catheter (among other stuff). There's also info on CT (Computed Tomography) scans (commonly called CAT Scans).

The computer business is full of terms that we take for granted, so I'm not surprised to see that medicine is the same way. When a nurse explained that she was giving a potassium pill, I assumed 100% potassium, but it may have been KI (potassium iodide - used for anti-radiation) instead. I will probably never know.

Aricept is a drug which purports to help people with Alzheimer's keep their memory and thinking longer. Caveat: you must begin taking it when the first symptoms appear. Another thing I read about Alzheimer's Disease (which has an 8-12 year run) is that it is really only verified during an autopsy (I prefer to categorize that tidbit as unverified). Ouch.

There are self-help and support groups for nearly every medical condition. I easily found ones for arthritis; osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease.

I also read about meningiomas in "Brain Tumors that are not Gliomas". Another site ( had some good information about Dementia of the Alzheimer Type. Another book I read (Virginia Morris' "How to Care for Aging Parents") explained the difference between Multi-Infarct Dementia and Alzheimers. If you're seeking assisted living, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging represents several thousand nursing homes.

Not all stuff in a hospital is technical. For example (in the hospital cafeteria) I was spellbound to see that scrambled eggs were priced by the scoop. I skillfully (by admitting ignorance) negotiated a one-scoop price when I opted for 1.5 scoops. Similarly, sausage patties were priced individually. It made for an entertaining cash-register receipt. When I returned for lunch, I asked for the shrimp stir-fry (rice, shrimp, vegetables) but they ran out of shrimp half-way through my order, so the cook asked if I'd mind if he completed the order with crayfish. "Sure," I said .. so I ended up with a shrimp & crawfish stir-fry. It was yummy.

A pair of curious machines (tucked away in a corner of the cafeteria) were made by Debitek (these allow adding value [cash] to an electronic cash card). This hospital had several full-function ATM machines, in addition to the usual gift shops, etc. While there were no public Internet terminals, there were some in the Nursing Library which I was assured were available to visitors.

In the room, I noticed the 2-person visitor couch expanded into a bed. This one was made by Durfold Sleepchair of Jackson MS (specifically, a model DL-27). Finally, I noticed the patient beds were made by Hill-Rom but I found their website cumbersome. A better explanation of Hill-Rom products is on (among others).

Tuesday, March 9

stuff to do today: vote, eat, go to meetings ...

Well, the polls are open here (primary elections) and I'll have to mosey over to the polling place before 7pm. Most of the time, I go to the Early Voting which started 23 Feb but I just couldn't get excited about it, since the Presidential candidates were finalized on Super Tuesday (last week). Word is that Texas would have been part of that, had it not been for all the delays caused by the shenanigans involved with the redistricting (gerrymandering) last year. For awhile, I wondered why there only seems to be a Democratic primary, before realizing that President Bush has too much money to make any CFRP Member even think of challenging him. It'll be interesting to see if this strategy pays off in November.

One of the funniest sites I've seen so far (this election) is: Intellectual Conservative Politics and Philosophy because they appear to honestly believe this stuff. Some people take themselves far too seriously, and IMHO, this is one of those.

One site led me to where you can buy Democratic campaign stuff. I wondered if the CFRPs had their own site, so I tried which linked to (the "Republican Superstore"). Ah, the Wal-Mart of Politics?


The Luddites rejected technology because it was technology, not for any sane reason. This is what strikes me when I saw the site (which bills itself as ("Verified Voting - Campaign To Demand Verifiable Election Results"). If they are successful here, they'll be demanding that grocery items be marked with paper pricetags again (a throwback to the days of our ancestors). As expected, Luddites do not have a web presence, since that would require the use of a computer. Even so, I'm happy to see that is back on the air, along with their all-wooden computers.

Pop-ups = annoying : really? (can you say "duh?" .. good; i knew you could) : Pop-ups damage brands download - Bunnyfoot Universality - UK usability & accessibility consultants. I used the blocker in the Google toolbar for a long time, and decided to try the one in the Yahoo! toolbar. I prefer Google's because it requires less effort to maintain.

Monday, March 8

blogs, phones, and the British Invasion

Somehow, I wandered across a blog on behalf of the Mars Spirit Rover which amused for a few minutes (I can use some extra amusement/distraction lately).

Unrelated: an article in MIT Technology Review entitled: One Person, One Phone

My company uses the services of AccessLine Communications to direct telephone calls in a non-trivial way (you get a special phone number which can automatically route the calls based on time of day, or even your calendar). Very cool stuff, but I'm not very mobile anymore (since the Economic Bubble burst) so this would be mostly lost on me.

And finally, some guy decided to take out his anger about Britain on his Come To New Britain website (amusing reading). Heard elsewhere that (due to a weak US Dollar) travel to Europe will be more expensive than ever, meaning (conversely) that we may be in for a summer of Europeans coming to America for vacation. Hmm.

Friday, March 5

Friday Five

What was... ...your first grade teacher's name?
Miss Grady

...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?
depends at which age .. I remember Huckleberry Hound and Space Ghost, but there were dozens. Roadrunner was also a favorite, for years. And then there was Rocky & Bullwinkle, and The Pink Panther, and ...

...the name of your very first best friend?
Tannis or Larry (I don't remember who came first). I'm pretty sure that Tufan and Man Hyong came later.

...your favorite breakfast cereal?
Captain Crunch (gimme sugar!)

...your favorite thing to do after school?
Ride my bicycle around the block (about 1.5 miles)

Thursday, March 4

where did I leave the flashlight?

A thunderstorm blew through here a little after 3pm, and a power spike "rebooted the house". This took my Internet connection offline for a few hours, so I attended the DFW Unix User Group meeting (topic: VoIP - voice over internet protocols). The preso was done by 4 speakers from Add-a-line (aka Add-a-Voice) which is a spin-off of (an ISP). Some of the new stuff I learned was IRLP (internet radio linking project); ENUM (Electronic Numbering); SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) compared to H.323 & MGCP, and Vonage. Also learned that SIP is extensible (woohoo!).

Earlier in the day, I stopped at a random bank (not my own) to exchange a $20 bill for some dollar coins. This time, I got a completely different reaction from the teller. Basically: "why on Earth do you want those?" before going from station to station until she found someone willing to part with their collection of Susie Bs (the Susan B Anthony coins that look like a slightly large quarter) and Sacajaweas (which have been marketed as gold-looking). I was amused to see that Susie B's were minted as recently as 1999, apparently replaced by the Sacaja's in 2000.

I've had a royally bad attitude lately, partially due to a cow-orker, who reminds me of a particular Dilbert collection: Always Postpone Meetings With Time-Wasting Morons. He delights in creating arbitrary rules, and bristles when I respond in kind (example: "I will not accept correspondence that is not formatted 72 characters, justified.")

Finally, I'm considering changing my local phone company (it's still weird that I have the option). What finally set me over the edge is the annual increases in their CallerID service, one of the very few options I care about. When the rate went to $9 per month per line, well .. it set me off in the wrong direction. It's time to shop.

Wednesday, March 3

not number one

not only did my car not make the list of Top 25 most stolen, my car color didn't even make the Top 5! Guess I need to consider buying another car, more attractive to thieves? This is explained on the National Insurance Crime Bureau web site.

Huzzah! The International Society for Bayesian Analysis reminds me of Robert Burns, but I'm not sure why. Today, Reverend Thomas Bayes' statistical methods are beng used to combat spammers. Their annual meetings must be Pure Excitement, Frivolity, Giddiness, etc.

GoogL'ost: Buddhist Reading Room led me to the Dallas Buddhist Association - Collected Teachings of Master Chin Kung and the Buddhist Center of Dallas

Tuesday, March 2


today's entries are stuff that i've wandered across in the past few days, which caused me to say "hmm" (out loud):

Other magazine bills itself: "pop culture and politics for the new outcasts" and publishes only 3 times a year. hmm.

Family Tree DNA bills itself: "we do genetic tests for your genealogy questions!". Hmm.

BuzzFlash presents Southern Style: Masterful Machiavellianism. Hmm.

Jakob Nielsen wrote about the fallacy of higher IQs of first-born children: see "Overlooking Covariants" in Risks of Quantitative Studies Hmm.

United Parcel Service: Sticky Fix I must watch for the telltale 2x3 inch label on my next UPS package. Hmm.

Albertsons: A Shot at the Crown describes Wal-Mart's onslaught into the grocery business. I consider Wal-Mart: The Microsoft of Retail. Hmm.

Last, but certainly not least: I have a new screen background: X-Ray Linux Penguin Hmm, hmm, hmm.