31 October 2007

Jamaican goat stew

Two observations about authentic Jamaican goat stew:

1. Goat meat has exactly the same appearance, taste, and texture as corned beef.

2. It has bone fragments in it. So do a lot of authentic Chinese soups and stews, some of which I've been invited to eat at the takeout where I work. Not only are there bone fragments, there are also bits of skin, blood vessels, and other assorted tissues. It makes the stew taste outstanding as long as I don't look at it too closely. As it requires both hands, napkins, and a discard receptacle, it's not so good for eating while working.

The Trials and Tribulations of a Sunday Coder

Yesterday, with some detailed help of a friend of a friend, I finished writing my very first (of three) PHP scripts that will put actual data into the database! (Up to that point it was lots of short scripts to put ancillary info into it, such as home institutions of cruise crews, funding agencies, the serial numbers and calibration dates of every sensor we've ever used to measure anything, etc.). Yay! I'm totally awesome!

Then I started work on the second script. Right away I noticed two things: PHP isn't going to like reading this dataset, and the haphazard way I was processing the data before has just come back to haunt me. It's going to be an organizational nightmare that will take ten times more code to accommodate than if I'd known what I was doing in the first place. Augh! I hate myself and want to die!

The friend of a friend comes to the rescue again and talks me past the problems. Yay! There was much rejoicing and happy-dancing!

I code and code and code some more. It suddenly occurs to me that I've been doing it wrong the whole time. The better way would not have required me to learn quite as much PHP as I just did. Augh! I'm a total idiot!

But I'm in luck, because most of what I just coded for PHP from the command line is still going to be the same from the web browser. I just need to ... code even more. Some surrounding bits, plus the scripts that will make all the pretty buttons. But I know how to do HTML forms because that's what all of those short scripts from before are. Yay! I'm totally awesome! The second script is almost finished!

I wonder what tomorrow will bring when I debug the second script and then start working on the third script. Special thanks go to my new best buddy Randi Mitchell, for being willing to sit around handholding a total stranger through some excruciatingly detailed material. :)

29 October 2007

Bloons Tower Defense: A Study in Poverty Economics

Being Poor in Bloons Tower Defense 2 is knowing exactly how much everything costs. It's having to buy 30-point road spikes and 40-point monkey glue because that's all you can afford and you need something Right Now, instead of saving up for the 600-point cannon that you know you need. Being Poor on "hard" is always being exactly one level behind where you need to be. Being Poor is having no margin for error - make one mistake and you're doomed.

At least in a bloons game, you can just keep playing over and over until you know what's ahead, where to put every tower, and which upgrades to bother with. And then on Round 50 at the end when you suddenly don't need money anymore, it's disproportionally hilarious to cover the entire track in monkey glue.

26 October 2007

In Pursuit of a Landscape in Oils in the Wilds of Indiana

Finding good scenery to paint is a lot harder than it sounds. First, it has to be close enough to a road for bringing in all the art supplies. Second, it has to have good composition potential. Third, the weather has to be good. My brother and I went looking for such a place in a couple of Indiana's state parks.

McCormick's Creek runs through a canyon, which makes it sound like it would have nice paintable scenery - but unfortunately we didn't find any. There were lots and lots of trees, but not enough clear spaces.

Brown County State Park has many tall, steep hills and it's possible to see a skyline above the trees in there. Unfortunately the places we passed lacked any good foreground subjects to put as the focus of a painting. Stahl Lake, the smaller of two lakes in the park, was the closest we came.

I was there to see trees in their full autumn glory, but the leaves mostly hadn't turned yet. My brother was looking for a wide, slow-moving creek with a rustic wooden bridge. Such a place exists - we went there many times in our youth and have the pictures to prove it. It just wasn't where we were looking. We think it's at Turkey Run State Park. By the time we thought that, though, it was too far to visit.

I took a bunch of photos of mediocre composition from the expedition. My brother ended up doing a still life at home instead.

25 October 2007


They say that online relationships aren't "real" because people can disappear at any time without notice, never to be seen again, and nobody knows what happened. This is no different from offline relationships. Every time someone graduates from a school, changes jobs, leaves a social club, or moves to a different city, people lose touch then, too. The number of people one stays in touch with when leaving any community, online or offline, is about the same.

They say that leaving an online community is like flipping a switch. Turn off the computer and it ceases to exist. This, also, is no different from offline communities. People can walk away from those, too, and never look back to see how their absence affects the ones they left behind.

They say those things and they are wrong, because we do still exist, and we do still care. Even if the one who leaves never does come back, we still have to wonder why.

We're allowed to be mean to gays here

The University System of Georgia has just put out its new, improved anti-harrassment/anti-discrimination policy. It prohibits us from being mean to each other based on "race, sex (including sexual harassment), ethnic or national origin, religion, age, disabled status, or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era."

I understand that those in charge of figuring out the wording did get asked about "orientation." Since it's not mentioned despite that, I can only conclude that the omission is deliberate. Especially since the previous version (marked "effective July 2006" at the bottom) did include sexual orientation.

24 October 2007

Night Guard: Keeping danger out? Or keeping the kids in?

So for the past two nights, I've been skulking around a dorm full of schoolchildren, here to visit the aquarium and learn some marine science. Their teacher claimed they were all "little angels" ... yeah right. The girls were trying to sneak into each other's rooms so they could chat all night, and the boys were probably planning wee hour expeditions into the woods. Hence the need for a skulker.

I walked around the building every twenty minutes or so, making sure to pass each room slowly and that my shadow fell across their windows. I kept no particular pattern, and would often stop right after reaching the end of the row to see if anyone came out after my passing. Then I would sometimes go back the other way. At erratic intervals, I would stop in the middle and peer into their rooms to check that they were actually in their beds (the second night, many more of them had their blinds tightly closed...). Thusly did they all know that I was right there the whole time... lurking in the shadows... waiting to strike should anyone try to escape.

It was very quiet both nights. The kids thought I was awesome and thanked me for keeping them safe. The teacher wants me to do it again for them next year.

22 October 2007

The entire range of my cartooning abilities

I used to draw this horse in large quantities in grade school. I could do it standing still, walking, running, rearing, with a saddle and reins, with a rider, with wings, with a unicorn horn, by itself or in a herd. Sadly, it's the only thing I can draw. Also I can only draw it facing to the left - they look as crummy as my human figures when facing to the right.

1. I drove 800 miles again yesterday and am too tired to say anything profound just now, so I'll just doodle a quick pony...
2. To the Whatever readers: yes I know it's a few days after the nick of time. No it's not throbbing, sorry. If you want, you could always bang your head into the wall a few times until it looks like it is.

20 October 2007

The herding of cats

Tour guide (a current student): "This is where some of the faculty have their offices..."

Alumni: "That used to be the computer lab." "Are any of the teachers I knew still here?" "What's over there now?" "Didn't the mailboxes used to be on this wall and not that one?" *people start wandering off in different directions*

Tour guide: "This is where we have our dorm rooms..."

Alumni: "Oh hey! This was my room! And this was yours!" "I want to go over to the other wing where my room was." "Do the bathrooms look the same too?" *more people wander off*

Tour guide: "Uh, and this here is what my room looks like..."

Alumni: "Wow, the furniture hasn't changed in 15 years and it even still smells the same!"

*half the crowd has disappeared*

Alas poor tour guides. I guess they taught us well to be independent thinkers and explorers.

One of the event organizers: "I'd show you the renovated auditorium but I don't have the key to it."

Alumni: "Oh, well. The door hinges are on the outside, right?"

Event organizer: "... please don't."

Alumni: "We used to disable the door alarms with magnets."
Fellow alumni (who is now an electrician): "I unscrewed the plate on the door for my wing and disconnected the wires."

Ahh... good times.

18 October 2007

Cars have body language

Freeway driving is a bit like playing asteroids, especially when there are four or more lanes to each side. Fortunately, despite the fact that it sometimes seems otherwise, cars only go in a few specific directions rather than every which way.

Unfortunately, unlike asteroids that only move based on inertia, they can slow down, speed up, and change direction, sometimes for no apparent reason.

Fortunately, this doesn't generally happen without warning. Even when they aren't using turn signals, cars have body language. By watching how they slow down, speed up, tailgate, drift, or "lean" to one side of the lane or the other, it's possible to know what they want to do (or are about to do). And by watching all of the other cars around them, it's also possible to know why.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to read car body language. Most people probably aren't even aware of it - it's not exactly required knowledge for obtaining a basic drivers license. Even people who do know aren't necessarily always paying attention at all times. It's therefore good to assume that everyone else on the road is oblivious until they prove otherwise (or are a professional trucker).

17 October 2007

Parodies of parodies

Road trippin' across America
In my station wagon at 80 miles an hour!

Road trippin' across America
Boldly going northward, I think my back's gone sour.

-- parodied from the chorus of Star Trekkin',
which is itself a parody of Star Trek:
The Original Series
by The Firm.

Most people in the U.S. know of the song from Dr. Demento's radio show. For anyone who might've never heard it before, here's a video version that reinterprets it for Stargate: Atlantis (another parody!):

Mmmmm... wraiths. I would so be a wraith worshipper. While I'm waiting for that to ever happen, I'll be driving 800+ miles today. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves while I'm gone. :)

16 October 2007

Some observations on the nature of heated arguments

Those who dish out can never take it. Some can dish out, some can take it, some want nothing to do with either side. But there's no such thing as a person who can do both.

A person who accuses another of being selfish or ungrateful is almost always trying to get something specific from the other that they don't want to give.

The label of stubbornness really means "refuses to do or be what I want them to do or be." This label tends to follow statements that start with "you should" or "you shouldn't."

Cries of "I don't understand!" means that the person wants to rant at length in vehement disagreement against whatever they don't understand. They don't want to actually understand.

Cries of "I get it!" means that the person doesn't get it at all, and is probably so far from actual understanding that they never will. Especially if the followup starts with "but you have to understand..."

Accusations of any character flaw means that the accuser has that flaw. These can be very revealing about the weaknesses of the accuser.

15 October 2007

Food in Cars

The absolute best way to have food for a long roadtrip is to have a small fridge that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Unfortunately, this requires both a large, roomy car and a small fridge that can plug into a cigarette lighter. Many people don't have one or both of these, and nowadays there are many more uses for the cigarette lighter than having it occupied the whole time by a fridge, so the next best thing is a good cooler.

Mine has a flat-top hinge lid, which is easier to open and close while driving than the pushbutton swivel kind. I have a water bottle that screws into the lid, which starts the trip frozen. I also have several small gelpacks that thaw slower and can last up to 12 hours, which I place at either end and along the bottom. They make soda-can-shaped freezepacks meant to be placed between cans, but in my opinion those take up too much room that could be better filled with edibles. The cooler itself is large enough to hold up to eight cans of soda (or juice, or other non-alcoholic beverages) and leave a small bit of space at the top. Usually I bring four drinks at most and fill the rest with food.

The best road food comes in bite-sized pieces that can be eaten one-handed, requires no utensils, and is not too messy. Anything with a runny sauce is right out. Good choices are carrot and celery sticks, bananas, dried fruit (raisins, craisins), most nuts (not pistachios still in the shell), some types of chips that aren't too crumbly, pretzel sticks, popcorn, meat jerkies. (I'm not sure candy counts as "food.") Sandwiches work better cut into quarters and with nothing in them that will drip. Pepperoni or salami are better than other meats because those won't spoil instantly if left in the sun on the dashboard or passenger seat instead of properly put back in the cooler while not actively being eaten. I often bring a bag of pizza-sized slices to eat by themselves instead of bothering with a whole sandwich. Some wet fruits will work, such as strawberries or apples if there is a paper towel to catch any drips. Oranges will not; too much peeling. Yogurt will work if there is a good cupholder to put it down during bad traffic.

Hot food can also be bought on the road. Plain (no sauce) chicken nuggets and french fries are good. If it's something that can't be put down on an unstable surface or in a cupholder between bites, park the car somewhere first.

Aside from the food itself, bring a whole roll of paper towels. They're good as napkins and you never know if you might spill something. Have an empty paper bag for trash - paper because those are easier to reach into one-handed without looking, as they stand open all by themselves. If there will be a lot of wet trash, put the paper bag in a plastic bag. Place the cooler, paper towels, and trash bag all within easy reach of the driver seat.

All of the above, of course, is intended for long road trips with only the driver in the car who is trying to cover the maximum possible distance in a minimum amount of time (that is, no stops longer than 10 minutes). A much wider variety of food is possible if there is someone else to open packages and keep things unlittered, or if meal stops are planned in. Also, much of what I do is geared toward not making a mess in the first place rather than having to clean up afterward.

This post is dedicated to bakho, who thinks I post too much about food, and Rebelcat, who thinks I post too much about cars. :)

14 October 2007

Open House Weekend

"This is the boat's dry lab. Over there is the wet lab. This is where we do all the science on the boat. Different groups of scientists will bring their own equipment on board. The dry lab is where they put all the electronics equipment and computers. The wet lab is for anything to do with seawater samples or chemicals. The idea is to keep them separate from each other.

"Over here we have the computer that controls the equipment out on deck. See that circular looking thing right outside the door? This computer controls that. As we put it overboard and send it down to the bottom of the ocean, we can watch the data come in in realtime on the display. Also, all those tube things are water bottles. When we send it down, they're open at both ends - and when we see some water we want to collect, we can push some buttons on this rack over here, and it'll close up, so we have a sample at the depth we want.

"That display tells us how deep the water is where we are now. It's coming down from the bridge. That's a giant magnifying glass with a light. Those are immersion suits, which are for if the boat sinks. That's just the eyewash. No, they don't actually let
me go out on the cruises. I know nothing about global warming, quit trying to make me say something authoritative."

... is what I did for four hours yesterday.

"Sometimes you have to lose some money to keep the customer. We could've either given him the $25 that the former manager owed him, so that he would keep coming back to buy food and therefore give us more money in the future, or we could make him pay the entire amount for his food now and never see him again. I see we've chosen the latter, and now we'll argue about it for my entire shift."

... was the three hours after that.


... was the rest of my day.

As for today:

I'm 34.

Mmm... sushi.

12 October 2007


New Age instrumental music is like classical music, only better. Kitaro is one of my favorites. His album Kojiki tells the story of the creation of Japan in seven parts. The 1990 release explained the full story in the liner notes; the CD I bought later left it out. There is now also a DVD, which I hope put it back in.

Track 2: Sozo (second half)

Track 3: Koi

Track 6: Matsuri. According to the liner notes, the sun goddess has gone into hiding, the world has gone dark, and everyone else throws a fake party to lure her back out and shine light once more upon the world. She comes out near the end of the piece.

My favorite track is actually Reimei, which comes after Matsuri. It basically says "and everyone lives happily ever after" and sounds like a grander, more epic version of Sozo. Unfortunately nobody has posted that one on Youtube. Maybe I will later, if I can figure out how to turn an MP3 into a video...

edit: Success! Here it is now.

It's amazing how one 8mb song plus one 1mb picture can become 25mb of video. Pay no attention to the psychedelic pulsing flowers - I have no idea why it's doing that.

11 October 2007

State of the Union

I'm watching another beloved crash and burn at the hands of a fool with too much pride. I have been for a long time. There is much I've wanted to say, then and now - but I don't, because I'm afraid.

There are countries where one can get 'disappeared' for expressing forbidden political opinions. This wasn't supposed to be one of them.

My Reunion Blurb ... or, more than you ever wanted to know about me

First, a brief recap for those who missed my 5-year and 10-year blurbs: BS biology and BS geology from Indiana University, MS marine biology with a thesis in fish ecology from University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Got married, got divorced, had one other relationship, now single again, no kids, not particularly looking. Lots of interesting jobs during all that, and now I'm at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO) in Savannah, Georgia, where I've been since 2001. Got big into roleplaying games for a while. Got big into online video games for a while.

In some ways, life hasn't actually changed much since last we left off with the Tale of My Life in 5-Year Installments. I'm still working full time as a staff scientist at SkIO, though I've moved to a different lab. I'm still living in the same townhouse. I still look almost exactly the same as I did when I graduated high school. Life has been very stable for a long time.

But most of the time it feels like everything is moving forward at breakneck speed. I got back into roleplaying games shortly after the last reunion, only this time it was almost all online. From there I rediscovered a childhood love of writing - because online roleplaying is all done in writing. In 2004, a friend passed me the link to Nanowrimo - "National Novel Writing Month", which is a writing marathon where participants write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. It happens every November. I've won the marathon three times now, and right after the reunion I'll be preparing for the fourth. I've been working on a whole series of stories set in a dark fantasyish world, along with a few other unrelated ones along the way. No, nothing is published yet, and at this point it's not even a gleam in my writerly eye, though maybe it will be more than a hobby in another five years. While doing all the roleplaying and writing, I've managed to learn something new almost every day, and I've met some of the greatest friends I've ever had.

As for other things, I became addicted to Wikipedia last spring, and now help organize articles about songs with some occasional writing thrown in on other topics. I'm working weekends at a Chinese takeout, at first for the extra money but later on because I became quite attached to the family who ran it. They sold it recently and moved, however, so I'll be quitting as soon as the new owner is fully settled in. And I have a blog at http://kayara.blogspot.com where I try to talk about something different going on in my life every day (please visit!).

09 October 2007

Chinese Takeout: An Ending of More Than One Kind

I'm watching a beloved's beloved crash and burn at the hands of a fool with too much pride.

This is much harder than it sounds. Especially when I'm one of the few in any position to do something about it, and I can't do anything. He's not listening. And I have too much honor to leave.


Blue sky, blue sea, blue bow. Taken from the RV Savannah during a research cruise.

08 October 2007

My worries about money are really all health care

The quarterly newsletter from my retirement advisor says that my age group (31-42) worries the most about money - moreso than older or younger people. I worry too. Rising prices and basic living necessities aren't too much of a concern at this point, nor is the ability to weather (smallish) financial emergencies. What I worry about most, which is not a category in the newsletter breakdown table, is funding my old age. I now have a retirement plan (and hence a retirement advisor), started earlier this year the moment I could afford one, which will hopefully take care of basic living necessities after I'm too old to work. That leaves old age medical expenses.

I'm an American. Over here, lots of old people are on expensive daily drugs that they can't live without. Health care, meanwhile, is mainly provided by for-profit corporations; for-profit corporations are by their very nature mainly interested in deriving the maximum possible money at the minimum possible expense with which they can line the pockets of their board members, which is not, in my opinion, in the best health interests of the standard customer in the longterm. In my particular case, there is a lifetime maximum benefit - and I'm not quite sure what's supposed to happen if I exceed that. Do they expect me to just keel over and die and thus stop troubling them anymore? Because if I hit that point, I doubt I'd find another corporation who would want to cover me, as I'd be a major expense rather than a source of income for them.

The other option would be our current governmental non-system known as Medicare/Medicaid. What we have there is a massively inefficient bureaucratic triage that, due to insufficient funds to cover everyone they should be covering, they've used what funds they have to set up a system that discourages people from asking in the first place, and that ensures that people with low chances of survival die as quickly as possible. (People who disbelieve this notion should try needing it themselves sometime.)

Obviously, the only realistic approach for me is to avoid needing expensive daily drugs in the first place. To that end, I pay attention to what I eat and try to stay healthy. I go in for the free yearly physical and dental cleanings. I sank a lot of money into a chiropractor this past year, and more recently a massage therapist; together they're fixing up a bunch of things that have started going downhill and they've shown me a whole lot about how to keep things in good working order. They pointed me to an exercise program that a) even someone as puny as me can do, and b) it seems to actually be working (albeit slowly).

To round this all out, there is supposed to be a government-based alternative option to the retirement plan, too. We call it Social Security. It doesn't provide enough funds to actually cover basic living necessities, and furthermore, any attempts to make up the difference through other income sources are heavily penalized. I consider myself fortunate that I can afford a retirement plan.

05 October 2007

Fun with Frogs

It's been raining all week with no sign of stopping until next week. The frogs are everywhere. Near as I can figure from browsing around the Web a bit, these are Hyla spp. tree frogs. They like to cling to glass doors.

The two on either side are the same frog from different angles. The middle one was smaller. Those are 3/4 inch squares. I also made a fancy artsy arrangement of them.

04 October 2007

The Code of Siram

When my sister and I were children, we made a secret code that was totally uncrackable to people who didn't know what it was - but at the same time was ridiculously easy to read without a cipher key for people who did. First, we started with the letters of the English alphabet:

Notice that some of the letters are crossed out. In my infinite youthful wisdom, I had decided that those are redundant and therefore aren't needed. C can be represented with either K or S, Q is just KW, X is just KS, and as for Z, well, it sounds close enough to S and nobody ever uses it anyway. (Grownupy retrospective wisdom has had more to say about that since then....)

Then, we looked at each letter and asked ourselves, "What does it look like?" For example, A sort of looks like a tepee, E looks like a comb, F like a flag, G like someone sitting at a desk, H is a ladder, etc. We drew those out and tweaked them for a while, until we had:

which became the code base. Because it resembles the actual alphabet, it's remarkably easy to read - which does not make for a very good super secret code. Therefore, we decided that there should be multiple ways to write each letter.

Above is the code in full. When writing in it, we just chose the letter variations at random. It works out well because E is the most common letter of the alphabet and coincidentally also has the most variations. We did discover that Z actually is a necessary letter, and so is C because it's part of CH. In practice, we just substituted SH for every CH and got by well enough for our own purposes.

Our purposes, of course, was to annoy a mutual friend by passing notes to each other in standard teenage "ha ha! you can't read this!" fashion. In reality most of the notes just talked about ordinary things like where we should go for lunch (aka "lunsh"). The friend spent years trying to decipher it and never succeeded.

Later on I went back and added some more symbols for SH, CH, and TH.

The latter two are stolen from the Mandarin Chinese teaching alphabet. (Ever wonder how Chinese schoolchildren learn to read and write all those thousands of characters? Well, there's a cheat code...) By the time I put those in, though, we'd all grown up and moved on to other entertaining pursuits with our lives, and they were never used.

In summary, the code works on two basic secrets:

03 October 2007


At least in the U.S., there is a myth that one shouldn't allow water into one's ears. In truth, rinsing them with soap and water regularly is a great way to keep earwax from building up to the point of blocking the whole thing. The skin inside the ear canal is the same as everywhere else and can be cleaned the same way. Soap keeps the wax crumbly so that it falls out easier - instead of turning into a hard resinous mass that eventually requires outside intervention.

Outside interventions include:
a) Ear candling. A long hollow cylinder of beeswax is inserted into the ear and lit like a candle. The earwax melts, is drawn upward out of the ear, and rehardens in the candle.
b) Shooting water into the ear at high speed and volume, such as with a giant syringe. The wax slug will pop out of the ear with a sudden loud gurgle.
c) Chemical wax dissolvers. This will turn the wax into a dark brown ooze, which means your ears have the runs. Depending on how much wax was in there at the time, it could go on for days.

It is still true that one shouldn't put solid objects into one's ears. Cotton swabs in particular used to be a popular way to clean out the ear canals. However, all that does is push the wax to the back and pack it in tighter. That never ends well. Leave the cotton swabs in the hands of earwax experts with bright lights.

More about avoiding earwax

02 October 2007

The Rise and Fall of Saturn Customer Service

Back in the days of yore, when Saturn was much vaunted for its high quality customer service, oil changes came with red carpets. The complimentary car wash came with RainX on the windshield and vacuum of the entire car, not just the front floorboards. There were donuts, coffee, and popcorn free for the taking. Once, someone left a carnation on my dashboard.

Alas those days seem to have gone. My last oil change came with service staff that did their best to ignore my presence and anything I had to say about my car. They were so spectacularly good at this that they even managed to ignore me while talking to me. The woman behind the counter made fun of my name. The mechanic overcharged me with glee ($90 for a diagnostic of why my key won't go into the ignition? $80 for a new sideview mirror?? $45 for windshield wipers???). I had to dig my car out of their packed parking lot instead of having it conveniently pulled up front where I could leave with ease.

In short, all the reasons why I bought a Saturn in the first place seem to have evaporated. Now I have to go back to demanding that they show me every little car innard they claim is broken, calling around for price estimates and second opinions, and convincing big burly blue-collar-looking guys to take it in on my behalf.

At least the donuts and popcorn are still good. Probably a good thing that those are made by someone else. Not that I'll be enjoying them again.

01 October 2007

Holiness in a bottle

A friend tells me that it's possible to buy Bottled Holy Water from a company in Canada. The first thing that came to my mind:

"When something is sacred, it does not have a price. I don't care if it is white people talking about heaven or Indian people talking about ceremonies. If you can buy it, it isn't sacred. And once you start to sell it, it doesn't matter whether your reasons are good or not. You are taking what is sacred and making it ordinary." -- "Dan" (Neither Wolf nor Dog), Lakota elder [from elexion.com]


My high school reunion is three weeks away. I'm in charge of the newsletter, which consists of blurbs submitted by people about everything they've done since a) they've graduated, or b) the last reunion they attended. I set a deadline for these of October 1.

It's now October 1. Thus far I've done nothing but let them collect in my email while listening to people thank me for my hard work. I received 9 blurbs out of a graduating class of 134 before the stated deadline. I received my first plea for an extension eight minutes after. I fully expect it will be the first of many. And I have no intention of even starting to assemble the newsletter for another two weeks - at which point it will probably take a couple days to lay out and print.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, I need to write a blurb.