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Saturday, July 31, 2004

I Need a Fix! 

I've not bought anything in 3D for quite some time.
I need a fix. I also need some time to go antiquing, if I'm ever going to give in to the fix.
Not that I have anywhere to store the stuff. I cleaned out my display case at home so I could bring much of my collection to the Plantation historical Museum. It should remain on display for another month, or so. I have no idea who has seen it (other than my mom). Even my lovely wife, Terrible T, has not had the opportunity to visit the museum, which is located a few hundred yards from where she works. She's too busy trying to keep our home from turning into something out of a horror film.
It would be nice to have more time and money to spend on this hobby. But the kids and work and Terrible T leave me with little time or money! (Not that I'm complaining).
I do need to save my money for when the National Stereoscopic Association convention comes to Miami. I'll have absolutely no excuse, if I miss that one!
Oh well. Sorry for the bitch session. I'm in one of those moods.

Today is All-American Soap Box Derby Day



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Friday, July 30, 2004

“I read the news today – Oh boy….” 

This is from one of the short main section articles from Thursday’s Miami Herald.

Alabama
Court upholds ban on sale of sex toys

“…In a 2-1 decision overturning a lower court, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the state has a right to police the sale of devices that can be sexually stimulating? …”


Hmmm… I’m a pretty creative guy. I can think of a lot of devices that can be sexually stimulating. Does this mean vibrating muscle massagers, vacuum cleaners, and broomsticks should all be banned? Does a cucumber count as a device? What about those penile prostheses that pump up like expensive Reeboks?

Also in the news…


"Donatella in cocaine rehab.

More bad news for the Versace clan: Designer Donatella Versace is in rehab for cocaine addiction..."


If I looked like this, I’m sure I’d be taking drugs, too!
Of course, it’s probably not easy being a Versace.

Eat like a rabbit - This week is National Salad Week!



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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Pseudo 3D 

    As some of you know, I'm quite a big fan of 3D imaging.  I subscribe to an email list of 3Ders, most of whom photograph in 3D and do really geeky techy things with their computers.  Through this list, I received a link to an interesting site where a programmer offers a conversion tool as freeware.  This application turns 2D pictures into a sort of 3D cardboard cut-out world. Then, it lets you create a short movie where the imaginary camera moves about within the picture.
    Sound confusing? 
Check out his examples.  The "Sample Outputs" should run in whatever media player you have.  It kinda eerie and kinda cool all at the same time.
    I wonder when someone will download the software and convert some of the more interesting pictures like:
The Scream (Edvard Munch) or persistence of Memory (Salvador Dali).
    Also, I finally remembered to add the website for the
National Stereoscopic Association to my Linkzard List.
   
There is no daily or weekly observance of special note, today.
However:
July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month!



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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wow!. Getting Fancy! 

Okay. 
So now I'm adding one of those statistics counters to my blog.

I can check it frequently to ensure that no one is reading it!
 
Today is Rat-catchers Day!



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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

As Promised 

 


Today is National Woodie Wagon Day



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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Gee.... that old? 

Okay. It’s my Birthday.  No big deal.
I’m 45, now, okay?
Of course, I did get a really nice weekend out of the deal.  Not too bad, considering we only had a couple of days to plan it.
Friday Evening: I put together some Tapas for terrible T and I to eat when she got home from work on Saturday.  Tapas are a Spanish tradition: small plates of appetizers to share.  I knew that we would not have time to eat dinner on the way to the show, Saturday.  This way, everything would be ready for us to sit and munch on before dressing and dashing off to Coral Gables.
Saturday Evening:

5:00 PM: Terrible T finished up some ironing before we sat down to eat the Tapas.  I served some edemame (lightly salted soy beans) asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, and eggs with a spicy dressing.  As she often does, Terrible T asked if I wrote down the recipes and I had to answer that I’d just thrown some shit together.  She loved the eggs with a spicy sauce and the marinated mushrooms and she wants me to be able to re-create them exactly. (I finally wrote down the recipes from memory, on Sunday.  That’s why I can include them, here.  Be forewarned.  I’m guessing on a lot of the quantities.)
6:45 PM: I rushed Terrible T into the mini-van and sped our way south toward The Miracle Mile, in Coral Gables.  I didn’t even get to I-95 when Terrible T realized that I’d rushed her out of the house without her jacket.  U-Turn.  Return to home. Run in to get jacket.
7:30 PM: I pulled up to the
Hotel Place St. Michel so T could run in and tell them we’d be registering late.  Not a problem, since July is the slow season and we had a reservation.
7:50 PM: We arrived at the old Miracle Theater, home to
The Actor’s Playhouse.  This building is way cool, with its restored art deco architecture. 
 
8:00 PM: We saw a musical called The Water Coolers.  It’s a light-hearted look at corporate life, complete with jail cell-sized cubicles and the titular water cooler.  The music was hilarious.  Some songs were original, but most were parodies.  The Hallelujah Chorus became the “Paranoia Chorus”.  The tune from just another Manic Monday is borrowed for, “Panic Monday.”  For me, the highlights of the play were a desperate phone call to the automated IT Help Desk and “Who will Buy,” (music, courtesy of the Broadway musical Oliver) where the players appeal to the audience, “Who will buy this blue wrapping paper… only $12.00 for two rolls…. Who will buy these Thin Mints…” and so on.  For those of us with kids… this one really hit home.   
 
10:00 PM: We returned to the Hotel Place St. Michel to enjoy their restaurant’s world-class cuisine (at a big discount, since we were staying over night in the hotel during the slow season).
We started with a thick and flavorful vegetable soup, followed by their crispy duck with some kind of berry sauce (Lingonberries maybe?). The bottle of red had a wonderfully earthy taste to it, reminding me of one of my favorite episodes of Northern Exposure called, "
The Big Feast". 
I finished my meal with a tiramisu, while Terrible T had the chocolate mousse. 
Midnight: None of your damned business.
 
All in all, I must admit that it was one of the nicest  birthday’s I’ve ever celebrated.
 
Today is Special Olympics Day




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Thursday, July 15, 2004

TECHNOLOGY SUCKS! 

I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!
See... I have this split personality. I think that most of us who have to work with the Internet and our respective companies' Intranets feel the same way I do.
In my case, it's great that we can have an entire training course on-line. The training is more consistent and I can sit here updating my blog while the students are running through the course at their own paces.
Unfortunately, as the instructor, I'm at the mercy of the Intranet and how well the course has been updated within the system.
I'm currently teaching a course that was recently updated from a paper and lecture based course into CBT (Computer Based Training). This version even includes some really cool interactive simulations. Of course, like most early versions of a software application, things tend to be a bit buggy.
This version, as I said, is very recent. Final corrections were made Friday for the class that started on Monday. And I'm the first lucky instructor who gets to facilitate it!
The course designer is sitting here in the classroom making corrections (when possible) in real time! She's fixed minor navigation bugs and reworded test questions. Yesterday, her corrections could not be made directly to the files on the training system's server. The corrected files needed to be uploaded.
Keep in mind, we do not work in our company's main facility in Plantation, where the servers reside. We work in Weston, a number of miles away. Unfortunately, the corrected files could only be uploaded at the Plantation site.
AAARGH!
That's one of the challenges of being an instructor. You have to be quick on your feet (or in my case: Quick on your butt).
Not only were we now going to be behind schedule for the CBT, I suddenly needed to find something for my students to do. I decided we would return to the production floor so the students could quietly observe the new processes that they were learning.
That's when Murphy struck.
On the production floor, there were a large number of call-ins. A rather large percentage of the scheduled operators had called in sick. My students were forced to go back to their old jobs, just to make sure we attended to our customers' needs in a timely manner.
This evening, we started our CBT a day behind plan and the students still have not had any On the Job Training!
Yeah... Technology sucks.
Call-ins suck.
Murphy sucks, too!

Today is "Be a Dork Day"



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Monday, July 12, 2004

Mango-Mania 

A few times a year, my family goes down south to visit Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. We even purchased a membership to the grdens to support them and my son's interest in botany.
This past weekend, they held their annual Internalional Mango Festival. Meaning: Mango ice cream, mango candies, mango freezes, a mango auction, etc. It's always fun to visit the gardens, but it was hot as hell and we could only stand it for a couple of hours.
A highlight at Fairchild is "Windows to the Tropics". Spend a few minutes there and you can almost make believe you're stranded in some tropical heaven.
I brought my digital camera and got a nice shot of this orchid. The more I look at it, the more it looks like some intergalactic alien. I think I'll "paint" some eyes on it.




Today is International Town Criers Day



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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Osmosis 

Yesterday, Terrible T was mentioning the fact that Alex seems to have picked up some unusual gestures... from her grandmother. Tillie passed away years ago, so she would have had to learn the gestures at a genetic level.
She also seems to have learned a few other things. By osmosis, perhaps?
Let me explain: I am not at all a fan of any particular sports or sports teams and the subject doesn't generally come up unless I'm with my sister Sue and/or her kids. And God help me if I root for the wrong team! But Alex doesn't seem to pay any attention to these family conversations, when they're happening. And we're only together a couple of times a year (if that).
So how come... when Alex went to dress herself and her teddy, this afternoon, she knew exactly what to wear?


.

July 5-11 is Nude Recreation Week!



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Cleri-Who? 

This is a poem about "Terrible T"
Except she's really not so terrible. You see,
though that name may seem like a bit of bad luck,
it's just a silly old nickname that stuck.


Today is Clerihew Day. Cleri-huh?
Yesterday I found that funky site that has a listing of monthly, weekly, and daily observations. I'd planned on a new twist for my blog - adding a notation about each day's observation (if any) at the end of that day's posting. "Today is Clerihew Day" was supposed to be the notation for today. But I had no idea what a Clerihew was.
So I mosied on over to Google. The answer turned out to be more fun and interesting than I'd expected. You can "Go-Go-Google" it for your own self satisfaction.
Or not.

Today is also, "Don't Step on a Bee Day"



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Friday, July 09, 2004

I Hate Legal Holidays 

Since I work in a department where we are at the mercy of the good old United States Postal Service, the workload can be very hard to forecast.
I think that Monday, July 5th, was a legal holiday. I went to work, but my US Postal Delivery Person did not. At work, we still received mail (nothing seems to stop it completely) however, it was extremely light. We knew... we just knew we'd get hit hard one of these nights. And tonight was the night. We've just started sorting over 200,000 pieces of mail and I suspect that more is on the way. There are entire days where we don't receive that much!

Of course, Saturday's fireworks were fun. We went to the top floor of the parking lot at the Fashion Mall at Plantation. The >booms< were toned down (which suited Alexandra fine) and the view was wonderful. We also didn't have to wait a half an hour to get out. Next year I'm bringing drinks... maybe a grill. Who knows!
BTW:
Are you excited while eating your hot dogs and beans? Bet you didn't know that July was "Anti-Boredom Month," "National Hot Dog Month," and "National Baked Beans Month."
Check out this pretty bizarre site with listings of daily, weekly, and monthly observations, including some pretty wierd ones. Are you celebrating "Nude Recreation Week?" (July 5-11). I'd love to, but I'm still peeling from the nasty sunburn I got after laying on a float in the pool for two hours, about a three weeks ago.

Today is Martyrdom of the Bab day.



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Thursday, July 08, 2004

FOUND Magazine News 

My favorite new obsession has been Found Magazine. Like the contributors to this ongoing project, I keep collecting other peoples' shopping lists and tossed away flotsam. I got in trouble for letting my babysitter see me do it. She made me feel like I was the worst father in the world because I was encouraging my kids to pick up garbage.
Oh well.... I've found some pretty cool stuff and had always wanted to send it in to see if they'd publish any of it in a future issue. I emailed them a few times. I even wrote snailmail. The magazine's editor and crew are on tour, though, and they haven't been very quick to answer my communications.
I'm also trying to get them a new retailer here in the Fort Lauderdale area since the bookstore I originally found it in no longer carries it (nor have they even heard of it. They have new owners.)
The other day, I finally sent them a set of eleven finds that I thought were interesting enough to publish. Some of them are funny just as they are (The shopping list including a Hose Nosel). Some are sorta cute, like the notes written by one elementary school girl to her friends (You kill me if you want). I'll let you know if any of them get published. That would be way cool.
I once had a letter to MAD Magazine published in their letters column when I was a kid. I felt like I was famous. For a second or so. (I'm still waiting for the other 14:59)
I'm also continuing to collect my finds at work. The weird stuff that customers send us in their payment envelopes, along with the usual stubs and checks. I've offered to bring my stuff and display it all when the tour visits Ft. Lauderdale in November. They haven't found a venue yet, and I may help them do that. If they ever get back to me.
In the meantime, you can read this article I posted on my friend Kevin's blog. It's in his archives at Hidden City.net, so you'll have to scroll down to 3.7.2004, since that's when he publsihed it.



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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Long Time No Post 

Why?
Maybe I'm just lazy. Maybe my life's been crazy with too much stuff goin' on. Yeah... I like that answer better.
I have had time to see a few good movies: Fahrenheit 911 and Spiderman 2. I'm not sure which one was more fun. It was great to see Spidey save the day, but I also had a blast watching Michael Moore make our president look like a lunatic!
I've also been learning a new procedure at work, so I can teach it next week. Pretty boring much of the time. It's a balancing procedure, and Terrible T can tell you how much I hate balancing a checkbook. Here, we're balancing millions of dollars worth of payments. And we can't be off by even a penny!
I read Wil Wheaton's book, "Dancing Barefoot." I love the honest way he writes and this guy really seems to have a good understanding of family life. I was a little peeved having to pay something like 12 bucks for a book with only 100 pages or so. But I happy to support my favorite weblogger.



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