picture of Amelia
the Great never look back

[something clever and obscure here]

The chronicles of Amelia's post road trip adventures

Thursday, September 30


The debates are about to start!

welcome, Tucker 

I'd like to welcome Tucker Wilson Gray Mayo into the world. [insert wrinkled, red-faced newborn photo here]

Nikie is an aunt! Words of warning to any and all of Nikie's suitors. Babies are contagious.

I was a Thursday's child, too, Tucker. We have far to go.

getting freedom back, one step at a time 

I saw this on the news last night, but forgot to post about it until my fellow liberty crusader emailed me the link. A US District Court ruled in favor of civil liberties yesterday and against a part of the Patriot Act which compels ISPs and telephone companies to release certain records to the FBI.

You see, under current law, the FBI can issue a special subpoena to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or telephone company (or bank or library, but we can discuss that later) saying that they must disclose certain private records. These could include the phone calls you make, the contents of your email, or the sites you've visited. The person who receives this request can't tell anyone that they've received it. Anyone. Theoretically, you'd at least be able to confide in an attorney about the matter, but the law states that you must tell no one. Ever.

In criminal cases, telephone records are seized with a warrant. I've seen Law and Order, so I know all about it :) . Occasionally, the government is allowed to set wiretaps. They can photocopy they outside of your postal mail. Why is this law different? Why was it struck down?

It wasn't struck down because your private records should be kept private, or because it's a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights when the FBI thinks your personal records will help them win the "war on terrorism." It was struck down because the person (at your ISP or telephone company) isn't allowed any recourse. They can't tell anyone that the FBI is making them give up their customer records. The court ruled this unconstitutional because it "effectively bars or substantially deters any judicial challenge" to the request for records.

It's sloppy law, is what it is. It's full of holes and questions. The Patriot Act was passed in a hurry. The Senators and Representatives in Congress didn't even read what they were passing and they acknowledged that on record. Fortunately, there are some courts which haven't sold out, and are doing their duty to keep the laws of this land in line with our Constitution.

[for the full text of the court's opinion on Doe v. Ashcroft]

for information about the Patriot Act:
lifeandliberty.gov, supplied by the US Department of Justice (dispels those horrible myths spread by the ACLU)
ACLU's Patriot Act Information (dispels those horrible myths spread by the DOJ)

Wednesday, September 29

my jedi heritage doesn't pay the bills 

Ben Mack tells me today that my readership is about to increase tremendously. Well, actually, he said there's some guy in Vermont who's going to pass my website address around on a flyer. I hypothesized that it would mean increased readership. I haven't felt like I've had anything interesting to write lately! I can't handle the pressure of more readers!

[Ben is the author of Poker Without Cards. He calls himself a shameless self-promoter, and others, like myself, feel at ease when they shamelessly promote him. Go download his book or something, that'll make him happy.]

I've now just found out that the reason my name will be on a flyer is that I'm going to be co-starring in a performance next weekend. I think I may have agreed to that at one point. Actually, I know I never agreed to it, but it doesn't bother me that someone wants to put me in front of a captive audience. I've been practicing my Jedi mind trick all week.

Obiwan and my uncle, Robert Smith: separated at birth?

I've really been spending most of my time with a MySQL database and some PHP programming. One does need income, doesn't one?

Speaking of shameless self-promotion, perhaps you know of someone who needs a custom built database or website. I can do that. In fact, there's not much I can't do, provided I've got enough time.

implicit in the word "enough"

mom: debauchery. I love that word.

Tuesday, September 28

home, despite AirTran 

I'm home in NC, and currently on the phone with Nextel Wireless Broadband Customer Support. I'm trying to find out how to monitor my broadband usage each month. This is sort of analogous to checking your cell phone minutes during the month. I'm no longer paying for an "Unlimited" plan, because I'm rarely around here, my mother doesn't surf the internet very often (yet), and I could use the extra 15 dollars a month. Their "lite" plan is very, very lite, indeed. Only 150MB of data transfer a month [half of which you'd use up just downloading Windows XP Service Pack 2] is allowed on the lite plan. I only switched to the cheaper plan last month, so I don't actually know if 150MB will be enough. I've let Nextel know that I think that they should increase this. ;)

Customer Service is pretty clueless, but nice. Apparently there is no way of monitoring data transfer online. My best alternative is the meter that's on the modem. The software that came with the modem, the "Mobility Manager", lets me know the number of Kb's I've sent and received, and I can reset that manually at the start of each billing cycle. This is not the solution I was looking for, but it will do for now.

I was extraordinarily patient with Customer Service. This will surprise you if you spoke to me earlier today, because I woke up on the impatient side of the bed. Fortunately for Nextel, I'd used up all of my impatience with AirTran airlines today when they cancelled half of my flight home. It all worked out in the long run, but it was one of the few travelling days when I was actually trying to get to my destination by a certain time, and I didn't.

Most of the reason that I was coming home today was to accompany my mom to a doctor's appointment. She's been having some back and neck pain and numbness in her arms, and it was thought that she had a pinched nerve. The doctor doesn't think that now, after looking at MRI results and x-rays. They're going to do some more testing.

It was great to see her again. I forget how much I miss her when I'm away. These lovey-dovey mom feelings are sure to dissipate as I'm sure we'll both get on each others nerves pretty quickly.

We went out to Lilly's Pizza for dinner. Our server was adorable and I told her so.

Aside from the travel-trauma, it's been a good day of enjoying each moment, but I'm exhausted and going to bed. 'night.

Earthquake hits CA.

Monday, September 27

I've got power.

I don't feel inspired, so I'm waiting until I do to write more. That may be soon.

Sunday, September 26


in florida...'nother 'cane...no power, no internet! The eye is crossing over now...I'll update you more later...

Friday, September 24

Jimmy Carter is cool.

Thursday, September 23

an off day 

I spent some of my morning writing an essay entitled, "All I Really Needed to Know About American Infidels I Learned From Internet Porn," but it turned out to be lifeless drivel. I guess some days you've got it and some days you don't.

Oh, no, HO HOs 

Interstate Bakeries, the maker of Twinkies and Ho Hos, just filed for bankruptcy! (press release)

They make Wonder bread, too!

for my overseas readers 

Wednesday, September 22

Happy Birthday 

Not so great things about turning 26:

You're the same age these musicians were when they died: Otis Redding, Nick Drake, Gram Parsons (Byrds), Paul Kossof (Free), Randy Rhoades (Quiet Riot)

Australian outlaw Ned Kelly was 26 when he was hanged.

Poet John Keats was 26 when he died of tuberculosis.

Alexander the Great had already completed his greatest military achievements before he was 26.

The Death Clock says you're going to die Wednesday, July 3, 2052.

What's special about turning 26:

You're no longer square.

You're twice as old (and more than twice as smart) as you were when you first became a teenager.

You're half a deck of cards.

Alan Rickman
didn't start acting until he was 26.

Charles Lindbergh got married at 26.

Bo Diddley was 26 when he made his first record.

Shakespeare was 26 when he wrote Romeo and Juliet (probably).

Angel became a vampire when he was 26.

Sir Tich Freeman, the only cricket bowler to take 300 wickets in a season, was 26 when he took his his first first-class wicket.

Phil Zimmermann didn't create PGP until he was at least 36. You've got time.

You're the same age as someone great.

Happy 26th, Harry.

a pleasant post pertaining to Python 

This is a post for Rick "I'm not really a Republican" Ratzel, a Python pal.

Purportedly, programmers who program in Python are better than programmers who program in Perl. At least that's what a pod of personable Python programmers postulated when I pondered, then posed, "Which programmers prevail?"

"Python programmers are the pinnacle."

"Prove it. Perl's pretty popular."

"It's no prank. The proof is in the pudding."

They pulled a page from a Python program for me to peruse. It was patently pretty. It was possibly poetic (and apparently powerful). They didn't have to pontificate. I perceived perfection, and I was persuaded by what the Python programmers proffered.

"I see your point," I proclaimed.

Personally, I think that Perl programmers can be pompous or pretentious, though Python programmers are often peculiar (but very polite). I'm probably being presumptuous, especially since there *is* a prevalence of proficient programmers who prefer Perl, for the present. However, I predict a pending proliferation of programmers who will promote the potency and palpability of Python.

Perplexed? It's not my purpose to persecute Perl programmers, just present my preference for Python.


PS. I presume a few Perl programmers might be plenty pissed and potentially polemical when they pore over this post which praises Python, but Perl programmer Alan Hoyle is not perturbed: "Pithy Perl programmers pity Python's programmers' petulance." Let's not be peevish...

Tuesday, September 21

while waiting... 

I'm sitting around waiting for my computer to process something. I had a series of numbers mixed in with text and I needed to reduce every number by 17.something percent. I decided that I could write a script, or use Microsoft Excel. Excel would take more clicking and less thinking, so I went with that. Now my computer sounds a bit like a jet engine as its temperature slowly rises to the point of lap-melt.

what to surf when waiting:
The Usual:
Slashdot: News for Nerds

The Unusual:
Oedipus, the movie, starring real vegetables
Fantastic Fractals
The Dullest Blog in the World

[an hour and a half later, Excel becomes unfrozen, and I've moved on to bigger and better things]

crawl in a hole 

I've already read the graphic description this morning of how the American hostage in Iraq was murdered. It's before 7AM, which means it's too early to read about beheading. At such an early hour, I can't be as rational as other times of the day. I've got a voice that tells me that it's not real, how could it be real? How could people be so cruel? This voice also tells me to ignore all the nastiness in the world, because it just makes me nauseous. Until my own life is directly threatened, I should go about my business, and pretend that everyone follows my rules.

I am really shaken up. I have done my best to ignore our Iraqi invasion and occupation [or liberation], and not form too many opinions about it. It's not exactly apathy which propels me in this direction, but helplessness. I don't think that I know all of the facts, and I don't think that I can know all of the facts, so I'd rather not waste my time making up my mind with half-truths. I look for solutions to problems, and I don't know how to solve this. I don't know how much aid you have to give to people before they love their neighbor. I don't know what it takes to make a person forgive and forget that they've watched their parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins die. I have no idea what it's like to have a monster of hatred within.

But I'm learning. As I read about the murder of Eugene Armstrong, the monster of hatred rears its head. The propaganda is working. "This is not an enemy we can reason with or negotiate with or appease," said Dick Cheney. "This is -- to put it simply -- an enemy that we must destroy." It horrifies me that I even entertain the thought that he may be right. It horrifies me that I'd ever think that murdering thousands [tens of thousands?] of people would solve anything. It makes me need to take a long hot shower to wash off the slime of near-agreeing with Cheney, the frightening puppeteer.

What's next? I'm going to go crawl in a hole and pretend we never had this conversation. I'm going to put the paper down, or flip to the crossword, and try to get the pictures out of my mind. I'm thankful that I have the luxury to do so.

This week, the part of Coward is being played by Amelia Smith

Monday, September 20

This week, each of you has a homework assignment. You're gonna go out and pick a fight with a total stranger. You're gonna go out and pick a fight with a total stranger -- and you're gonna lose.

I'm taking a forced break and Fight Club is on TV. My brain was leaking out of my ears, and I've managed to put a stop to that. I should probably quit programming for a while.

Fight Club is good.

today's word of the day is
traveling from place to place; especially covering a circuit

Computer Programming is good, but it sometimes make me forget to eat. I don't understand why I can't think straight, until I realize I haven't had anything to eat or drink for half the day.

and no time to post to my website, either. I'll try to change that.

I've been up so long it feels like Tuesday

Sunday, September 19

Not much is going on this Sunday. I took apart my VCR to punish it for not giving me a tape back. It won't do that again. It also won't do anything else again either.

It was garbage anyway. None of the buttons worked (or the display or the remote), so once you put a tape in, you had to watch the whole movie until the end: no pausing or rewinding or stopping or ejecting. When it got to the end, it would auto-rewind and then eject. It practically begged me to take it apart.

Saturday, September 18

Is stepping on acorns like performing oak tree abortions?

Hardware stores make me happy.

fire theme 

It's Saturday morning. I'm working on a large web application project and reading about homemade flame throwers. Yesterday, Ben Mack gave me his book on fire-eating[sorry i don't have a better link than amazon, i'm not feeling very imaginative today]. Well, that should hold you for a minute, let me get back to work.

Friday, September 17


I can feel my hair turning gray while I sit here in traffic, but at least I can blog.

Thursday, September 16


Thank you, Cameron, for entertaining my readers. I can and should take over now.

What does it mean when you dream about driving the wrong way down a one way street? I dreamed that they changed the traffic pattern for the street where I grew up (which is silly, because it's a two lane road in the middle of nowhere, and doesn't have a "traffic pattern") and I missed the turn-off and was heading into oncoming traffic.

I also dreamed that I was in Daytona Beach [I've never been] and kept seeing people from my high school. While I was there, I saw an old beat-up car that had a NC license tag that said "AMELIA." I had to leave to get somewhere and couldn't stop to take a picture. The car didn't seem like it was going anywhere soon, so I planned to come back for it.

I met a unique ten year-old boy and we talked about freckles and moles and pale skin, and he had a really hairy back, which I didn't realize was unusual for a ten year-old to have until just now as I write this. I was riding the bus somewhere (which I later found out I'd taken the wrong bus for where I was going) and explained to several young women why I like public transportation. There was a cool-looking professional man with dredlocks who was checking his email with his palmtop and was having trouble (all of his emails were deleted) so he asked the people on the bus if anyone could help him. I helped, all the while keeping an eye on my bookbag and computer which was in my seat. When I finished, a guy sitting near my bag said that I should get a better laptop lock, and that he [the man talking] could have stolen everything. I protested, "I don't have a laptop lock at all, and I was watching my stuff closely!"

I think that the last scene transpired because several people have been telling me lately to watch out as I travel and not take risks. I don't take risks that put me in any greater danger than anyone else who drives on American Interstates, but I do talk to strangers. I TALK TO STRANGERS. I don't take candy from them or get in their car. I smile and look them in the eye and say, hello, tell me about you. I stay in public places. I know where the nearest exits are, where my keys are to poke them in the eye if they tried to hurt me, and I order my own drinks. I'm not cavalier with my safety, and I know that there are people out there who don't have my best interests at heart.

I also know that it makes me feel good when someone smiles at me. Someone I pass in the street who knows that they aren't going to be getting anything back for what they're giving. If I can make someone's day like that, by being kind and paying them the tiniest bit of attention, then why not? I know that I can't make everyone in the whold world feel loved and happy (though I'd like to), but I can make a difference to some. So that's why I smile and try to step out of my self-absorption and into someone else's heart [for lack of a better word] every once in a while. You should do the same. It's good for the world.

and if that's too gooey-Hallmark-friendly for you, then pi$$ off!

Wednesday, September 15

hello. I'm Cameron. 

Tuesday, September 14

I've had a headache all day. Not cool. I haven't taken any drugs for it, because I'd rather just complain. :) It's all preventable. I just need to drink more water and less caffeine (or if I'd just drink more caffeine today, it would go away, but I'd rather not develop any more bad habits)

Last night I saw can joann perform for the first time [It wasn't the first time they'd performed, it was the first time I'd seen them]. Cameron, their drummer, is one of the people I love fiercely. Cassie is another one of those people, and I was fortunate enough to see them both last night. I didn't realize how much I'd missed them until I had to fight the urge not to swallow them whole [to ensure that I'd never be without them]. Cassie introduced me to her new boyfriend, which explains why she and I haven't talked much in the last three weeks. I'd love to see her happy with someone, and I gave him advice while she wasn't around. I told him that she was a fantastic lovable person who, at times, was going to try her best to make him stop loving her. I told him not to.

It was so great to see close friends that I could hug.

Monday, September 13

save yourselves 

Here's something that you could do today. If you are a giver, think of it as doing me a favor, and if that doesn't do it for you, then think of it as doing yourself a favor.
Stop using Internet Explorer
I implore you yet again, but this time I'm not coming to you as a bleeding heart, public domain, open-source, freedom fighter, but as a messenger of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (cert.org). This organization (part of the Department of Homeland Security) tracks computer system vulnerabilities and gives suggestions about how to reduce malicious attacks. In a vulnerability note released in June, their advice was to "reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different web browser." [my emphasis] Try Firefox.

I'd still buy Microsoft's stock, though. They're seriously undervalued.

whole lotta love 

I woke up at 7, drank some caffeine [a dangerous combination, because I'm already damn perky most mornings], and started to get tugged piece by piece into the internet. Hmmm, I got lost here yesterday, and I didn't take notes or drop breadcrumbs, so I'm amazed that I found my way out.

I must stop it now before it's too late.

--Noam freakin' Chomsky. Now why couldn't I come up with that name when I needed to two nights ago?

AS: <small> small tags </small>
AS: do they have <medium> tags?
HW: I don't believe so, no
AS: too bad
HW: it would be silly
AS: yes, yes, it would be silly
AS: hehehe

some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend, wife of a close friend

Sunday, September 12

and your horse naturally won 

I can't really get Carly Simon out of my head: ...flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun. Well, you're where you should be all the time and when you're not, you're with some underworld spy...

I am so very easily amused today.

sunday funnies 

Dave Barry is always funny. When you are feeling frustration at the state of the American Political Machine, have a few laughs. It won't fix anything, though, but you might as well.

I'm setting up new web publishing software (read: blogging software) on this Linux server I've been fiddling with for days. Now that it is set up, I can finally laugh at how the webpage promises a five-minute installation process. Perhaps if you are a little smarter than I am, it takes five minutes.

Speaking of smarts, here is an article from the Guardian a couple of weeks ago about whether big brain power is needed to be a successful president.

more later...

Saturday, September 11

things are good 

I visited my granddaddy today. He told me he doesn't plan to be around much longer. He doesn't like that he can think about doing stuff and then not be able to do it. He also says that he's going to live to be one thousand, so I don't think he's sure of his plans yet.

He's like a cat, my granddad is. I go to visit him (he's in a nursing home) and he's asleep at two in the afternoon. I ask him if he's practicing for his coffin. Eat, sleep, eat, sleep, be cranky, ogle women...that's quite a busy day. To be fair, he really doesn't ogle women, but he would if he could see any better. He told a woman that she was ugly and she stuck her teeth out at him. We always have a good time.

My cousin Catherine, who is like a sister to me, is getting married in December, and I attended a shower for her and her fiance, David, tonight. The floor was open for toasts, so I said a few words about when I first met David, and how happy I was that Catherine had met her match. She and I both got tears in our eyes, which surprised me. We've got 3 more months to go. I didn't expect tears until the rehearsal dinner [plus a few drunken tears at the bachelorette party].

I also got pestered about my employment status. Luke refuses to believe that I actually do any work. The "so where do you live?" question when I met new people tonight was kind of tough to answer as well. I can tell you where I pick up my mail, but I don't really live there very much. The most constant place that I've been is my Honda, but I can't really tell anyone that I live there.

Speaking of employment status, I was looking online for jobs today, but none were available for geneticist/programmer/road warrior/masseuse. I'd also like to be a midwife at some point. Right now, I'll stick to road warrior/web developer. It's got great benefits.

my September 11 

I was at work in Bethesda at the NIH on September 11th, 2001. They evacuated us all because the campus was a potential target. John and I met at Jamie and Denny's house in Northern Virginia and watched news coverage of the attacks until we got tired of seeing the towers blow up and hearing the same reports. We went out for pizza and waited for the news agencies to come up with more news. The most horrible thing that I remember seeing was in the Time magazine photo spread the next week: people jumping from the towers. I can't get that image out of my head.

John had quit his job a week and a half earlier. My father had died the week before. It was already a memorable month, and we weren't even halfway through.

Use my utterly tasteless September 11th Google search page

Friday, September 10

me vs. copyright law 

Nothing got between me and success yesterday. We were like this [crosses fingers]. Nevertheless, there are still a few kinks in my server that I'm working on.

I was reading this blog, Pop Life, this morning about the legality of music sampling, and I got to thinking about copyright protection. There are several reasons to have copyright protection. It gives incentives to authors [creators] to continue to create new works, because it makes their creation marketable. If you wrote a book of poems and couldn't retain ownership over your words, then someone else could publish and profit from your work and originality. If you can't profit, you can't eat, and you can't create more. The law protects you and allows *you* to profit from your works.

As it stands now, not only can *you* benefit from your works, but so can your heirs and publishing company, for many, many years. Copyright seems to be in a state of eternity. When works from the early twentieth century (several owned by Disney) get close to having their copyrights expire, the law gets extended, so that these works do not enter the public domain.

So what's so important about the public domain? I'm a god-fearing capitalist, you say, public-shmublic. Well, let me explain. Having great works enter the public domain is good for capitalism. It enriches peoples lives, and if you don't care about that, well, then it also makes people money. People can use the works held in the public domain when creating new songs or movies. It is fodder for creativity. Having to pay to use these works stifles creativity and profitability.

US Capitalism is based on the free market, and the 'free flow of ideas, information and commerce'. A copyright term that is lengthy puts in place obstacles to this flow. A lot of the older works have ceased to be commercially viable, and therefore cease to exist. Book publishers can reprint works held in the public domain and make them available at reduced prices, giving them new life. Teachers and libraries can inexpensively share older books and music to children to broaden their minds and feed their creativity. I can share James Joyce with the entire world by publishing Ulysses [entered public domain in 1998] for free online, and I can create derivative works, or sell coffee mugs with quotes ["The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea." or "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."].

I'm not saying that everything should be free, only that copyright law should return to its original purpose: to give incentives to creators to create. The copyright protection of the Mickey Mouse image is not protecting its creator. It's lining the pockets of corporations that donate money to politicians. Copyright protection as it stands today is robbing us of the works of great artists. A rich public domain benefits us all and doesn't stifle the economy in the process.

An excellent source of information: Opposing Copyright Extension

Thursday, September 9


Jeanne, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, Walter

Those are the rest of the potential hurricanes for 2004 [the names repeat every 6 years, occasionally getting replaced]. Terrible Hurricane Ivan looks like it will hit Florida this weekend. I promised stories of the disaster relief efforts, but Frances was very mild in the area around me, and the volunteer organizations are flush with people. My help isn't needed they say! I can only hope that Ivan is mild as well. I won't be sticking this one out, because I'm going back to North Carolina for a little bit.

It's too bad Dick Cheney didn't suggest that a vote for Kerry would guarantee more hurricanes hitting Florida. That would really get the state to vote Republican this time. Mark suggests that the storms are retribution for the screw-ups in the 2000 election. That'll teach 'em.

not making millions 

Yesterday I wore the webdesigner hat, but having no immediate deadlines for today, I thought I would focus on some of my own projects. I'm setting up a Linux [Debian] server this morning and plotting more details of the webdesign/hosting business which will make me millions. Ok, actually, I realize that I'm not going to make millions, but a little passive income from hosting wouldn't be bad. I can't think of a suitable business name, though...dammit.

As far as setting up a Linux box goes, this is the same server that I have through Linode.com that I've been trying to set up for months. I get to an obstacle that's not easily overcome, and then something else comes up which requires my full attention. Linode goes on the back burner, because it's not as demanding as my clients. But, today, my friends, today is the day where I let nothing stand in my way between myself and success...

I feel compelled to enrich your lives with a quote from Emerson, but as I pick up the book of his essays that lays on my bedside table, I find nothing and everything.

Trouble: How was the hurricane?
Amelia: It was a breeze.

Wednesday, September 8

a vote for Kerry 

...means more terrorist attacks, at least according to Dick Cheney. Certainly there are better ways to encourage Republican votes, Dick.

I'm half-listening to CNN, which reminds me that there is a world out there. Here are a few news stories from this week:

"Partial Birth" Abortion Ban Declared Unconstitutional

Nasa's Genesis capsule, which carried three years' of solar wind data, crashes to Earth

The weaker sex no more: the rise of the female terrorist

alright, that's enough news for today.

Tuesday, September 7

play with me 

If you've got the java plugin for your browser, then run your mouse over the boxes below for a graphic treat. If you don't have the plugin then get it here.

[I've moved these boxes to their own page. Play with them here.]

I got these applets from Processing.org. There are more there to explore. Thanks, Stefan.
[if you don't see anything, make sure you have Java enabled on your browser.]


I was hanging out in the HardRock Hotel and Casino yesterday afternoon. My first thought when I got there was that there were an extraordinary number of tattooed individuals around. I didn't actually notice the tattoos right away, it was more the demeanor -- no, that's not it, either. It was more than the ink; it was the stocky bodies, sideburns, long beards, several shaved heads. Many people have tattoos, but just having a tattoo does not grant you access to the "lifestyle." These guys were living the tattooed life. They had the look.

Jeffrey Lewis sings a great song about fashion and personal identity and what happens when you get old and you don't wear the hippie-apparel [or whatever it is that helps define you] anymore. How does that hippie girl that you pass on 8th Ave. know that you have anything in common? If you have a chance to pick up his CD from last year, IT'S THE ONES WHO'VE CRACKED THAT THE LIGHT SHINES THROUGH, then by all means, do, because he's enlightened.

I didn't ponder the origin of the tattooed people for too long because I was more interested in finding wireless internet access in the hotel so I could get some work done. That's when I met Ben Mack, who was on a similar quest. If you haven't downloaded his book, Poker Without Cards, yet, what are you waiting for? He has a fascinating mind, and since I'm a leech who feeds off of the brains of others [did anyone say "mad cow"?], I was captivated in conversation for hours. Needless to say, my work suffered, but I'm getting everything done this morning, so the suffering was temporary.

make it stop! 

I'm hiding out in the laundry room of my hotel. The fire alarm is going off and this is the quietest place to be. They have assured me that there is no fire, only that someone was smoking in their room. Still the piercing noise penetrates almost every nook of this structure. It's louder than my brain, so I'm having trouble thinking about how databases should be structured. I'm having trouble thinking about anything at all, and when I put my fingers in my ears, it sounds as if the noise is coming from within [and it's very hard to type with my fingers in my ears]. Ack! I'm aurally overstimulated!

It would be hell to be struck with tinnitus.

Monday, September 6

or not.

labor day 

The blogging service that I use to upload my posts to this site [Blogger] is still giving me technical difficulties, so posting is not as easy as it should be.

I'm about to go bowling, but I'll write some tonight about how I spent the majority of my daily ration of social contact in the lounge of a casino talking with the author of this book. There are some experiences that can't be distilled into a simple blog post, but I'll try.

Sunday, September 5

hurricane fake 

Apparently, they're making up this hurricane stuff. It's like Wag the Dog. I've seen all the stuff on TV about transformers exploding and flooding and debris flying, but it's all made up. I'm in the middle of the storm and I've seen none of that [knock on wood]. I'm not on the coast, so I'm sure that it's worse there, but really, I'm beginning to believe that it's all being created on a set in Hollywood.

It's still not very wet.

hurricane frances 

I'm having trouble posting, but here is a picture from yesterday evening

It's pretty windy this morning, but not very wet, yet. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 4

Saturday mourning 

Today is the third anniversary of my father's death. It wasn't the first thing that I thought of when I woke up, but after a few minutes, I remembered. It's an odd thing, an anniversary. Technically, it's no different than any other day. My routine (or lack of routine) is the same. I don't hear anything different on the radio. Nobody says anthing out of the ordinary to me. It's a personal memorial day that I can't really share with anyone. I mean, there is an extent to which I can share it with other people, especially my family, but mourning is a thing that you can only do by yourself. It's like a marathon. You can have your family and friends supporting you, but ultimately it's you alone that gets yourself across the finishline. Only with a marathon, you've only got 26.2 miles to run. When you lose someone that you love, there is never really a finishline. You run until you forget why you're running. You think the race is over, but then you realize you're back in it again, and losing ground.

It's not always that bad, sometimes you gain ground, too.

Friday, September 3

facing Frances 

As most people were deciding to leave Florida this week, I was driving toward it. I spent most of my awake hours on Wednesday in my car driving to Tampa. I've driven over 25,000 miles this year and a 10-hour drive by myself is not the formidable task it used to be. It's not an easy task, yet, but it's getting easier. I'm well on my way to being ready for a career in trucking! Until then, I'll have to keep you interested in other aspects of my life, such as why I'd choose to put myself in the path of a hurricane. Well, why not? --No, don't answer that, because there are definitely good reasons not to be here, like unencumbered access to electricity and water and no risk of damage to my car or myself. Those are good reasons, and after the hurricane, perhaps I'll acknowledge that it was not the most prudent idea to drive here. But what's the worst that could happen? --No, you don't actually have to answer that one, either. Seriously, the chances of my hotel falling down are pretty slim. I'm going to park my car far enough above ground so it doesn't get flooded, and I've got fresh water, flashlights and peanut butter. I'm good to go. And you lucky dog, you, get to hear all about my adventures in disaster relief volunteering. What more could you want?

Wednesday, September 1

your own stamp 

Through the magic of digital imagery and the internet, you can now make your own postage stamp! This opportunity may end soon, so if you've always felt that you could design a better stamp than the guys at the USPS, then get on the ball before the end of September. It's easy to do: go to www.photostamps.com, upload your image, and give them your payment and mailing details. You could have your own stamps in a few days. There has got to be a catch, you say. Well, there are two in my opinion. First, the stamps cost about 48 cents more each than a regular stamp, so it's not really worth doing this for your everyday usage (but you can get volume discounts). Two, your creativity is stifled, because you can't upload images that are "obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable." Menacing? no scary stamps? Who exactly decides what is pornographic? Hmmm. I think an Amelia the Great stamp is in order, but that just may be considered "otherwise objectionable."

Have you run out of stuff to read? Check the archives!

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