MARCH 2003

Friday, March 28, 2003
I'm off until Wednesday. Boy, do I need a spring break!

Thursday, March 27, 2003
Between trying to figure out Excel so I can teach it tomorrow, spontaneously deciding to write a grant by tomorrow, and having a full-time job, I am thoroughly exhausted from this week! I need a vacation. Good thing I'm going to Chicago for a few days!

As relaxation, I've been playing old Nintendo game ROMs on my laptop, thanks to I'm once again hooked on Super Mario 2. What a cool game! I love throwing those little onions at things.

I'd Like to Thank the Vatican? Michael Moore's LA Times op-ed defending his remarks at the Oscars. (Yeah, you have to register to read it.) I guess an explanation was in order, but using church as his excuse is kind of dumb. And I'm not sure about his assertion that most of America agrees with him. I am not in favor of our current activities in Iraq, and I certainly support his right to say what he wants to say, but I might not have said it when and where he said it. And yes, Michael, we know you're the voice of the working class.

Monday, March 25, 2003
I'm having one of those weeks when everything is due, I have a million things to work on, and I don't know which one to do first. I'm doing so much that it feels weird when I stop. I should probably get back to it.

Sunday, March 23, 2003
Just got back from the East Lansing Film Festival, and I'm now watching the Oscars. I understand how some people might think that continuing with the Academy Awards is disrespectful of current events and current fatalities, but honestly, I'm glad they're on. I can't watch any more war on tv. It's horrible irony when there's live footage of massive strategic destruction while some pundit is simultaneously talking about freeing the people in the very same place that's being bombed out. I think that not showing the Oscars would be disrespectful to everyone who has looked for something other than war on tv and have come up with nothing. Besides, they're interrupting so much with war updates that we still can't get away from it.

Not even five minutes later: And then Michael Moore opens his big mouth. Using immediate award-winning status to protest Republican politics is so 1993.

Thursday, March 20, 2003
What's wrong with this picture: After work, I was walking through the parking ramp to my car and I passed a woman with a small blond boy. He was about eight or nine, and I figured he was her son. The boy was singing the chorus to Notorious BIG's "Big Poppa," which goes, "I like it when you call me big poppa, throw your hands in the air if youse a true playa."

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Markee, marquee, marquis. I've always liked the look of old theatre signs. You just don't see that many vertical signs like that anymore; usually you see them hanging off old theatres and no where else. So when I was at the Ann Arbor Film Festival this past Sunday, I took a few snaps of the Michigan Theatre sign. I thought this one looked particularly cool.

(And you're right, I am not discussing world events. Thank you for noticing. I figure there are enough sites for those topics. Let this be your relief if you want.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2003
I'm working through this nasty sinus-y cold thing, but it just won't go away. My face literally hurts, right through my teeth.

Monday, March 17, 2003
It's been unseasonably warm here the past few days, and the birds are back. I like birds, but they get up so early and chirpchirpchirp right outside my bedroom window at like five in the morning. A few always come back too early in the season, though, and they really screech in the mornings. Last week was especially loud, and as I lay awake at around 5:30 am listening to them, I imagined that two of them were having a heated conversation along the lines of the following:

Bird One: Goddamn! It's really fucking cold!
Bird Two: I told you we shouldn't have come back north so early! Just because the calendar says it's spring doesn't mean it's warm! You always want to be the first one to come back!
Bird One: All birds want to be the first one to come back! That's where they got the phrase "early bird," stupid!
Bird Two: Early bird, not birds! Just one, and you're it, dumbass! And now we're here! And it's fucking freezing! That's how they got the phrase "bird brain." It's because you're so stupid! That groundhog says six weeks until spring, and you're the only moron who believes him. It's a fucking groundhog, but from the way you follow his predictions, you'd think it were a fucking prophet! And I'm fucking cold!
Bird One: Oh yeah? Well...uhh...some birds don't even fly south! Look at those geese over by the lake. They don't fly south! They've been here all winter! And they're not complaining!
Bird Two: It's because they're fucking Canadian geese! Canadian! They're used to the cold! We're little spring robins! We like warm sun and soft mud with worms, not frozen lakes and subzero temperatures! And yes they do complain! They've been honking nonstop since October!
Bird One: You've been honking nonstop for the past hour, and I think I prefer the geese!
Bird Two: Oh shut up.
Bird One: You shut up!
Bird Two: Fucking make me!
Bird One: You don't want me to make you!
Bird Two: No, really, come over here and make me!
(Continues loudly in this manner until five minutes after I get out of bed.)

Saturday, March 15, 2003
Two nights ago, there was a bat circling my head as I was trying to go to sleep. And this morning, there was a bat -- possibly the same one from the other night -- sleeping in my bathroom sink. My dumbass landlord is upstairs as I write this putting screens over the vents. I don't know if that will help, but after all the crap she's made us deal with and all the I'm-not-going-to-fix-your-bat-problem bullshit I've had to listen to, it's fun to make her do work. I'm not helping one bit.

Thursday, March 13, 2003
Went to the Ann Arbor Film Festival yesterday. It's an experimental film festival, so the films they show are always a little odd, but I usually like at least a few of them. Last night's program must have been the weakest of this year's show, because everything was way too long. Even my co-worker, who usually loves experiemental stuff, thought it was weak. Still, it was fun to hang out in Ann Arbor, and we had sushi that was so good I can't even believe it.

And then this morning I got to sleep in a little bit because we got back late. So I woke up at around eight (instead of six) and took a shower. Then I came downstairs, turned on the tv, and found out -- surprise! -- that all the roads were iced over and school was closed! Yeah! (For Simpsons fans: Everything's comin' up Milhouse!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Watched Bottle Rocket last night. It's Wes Anderson's first film, before Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. I liked it for it's simplicity: no silly catch phrases, no extreme characterizations. Just good characters, funny, subtle, and not overly dramatic. Recommended. Oh, and I now want Luke Wilson to be my boyfriend. I don't know why everyone is so excited over Owen Wilson. He's the male equivalent of a dumb blonde.

Monday, March 10, 2003
I'm not sure if transferring my site to OS X has screwed up any of the formatting. From what I can see, it looks okay in both Explorer and Safari on Mac. (Some color issues in Safari, but I think that's just an quirk with that particular browser.) If it looks weird on any other browser or on a PC, do me a solid and let me know. Actually, I should use this as my push to start playing around with Camino, since I've been meaning to anyway.

From MacSlash: X vs. XP. Who will win? Check the final score.

Sunday, March 9, 2003
Finally transferred the stuff for my site to my iBook. Now I can do this on the couch! (It's much more exciting for me than it is for you.)

A passage from Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything that I forgot to refer to yesterday:

"If a science fiction writer of the mid-century wanted to convey a bleak, sterile, inhuman future, a standard tactic was to describe a world whose subjects would consume all their essential daily nutrients in a few manufactured tablets -- no dirty, irregular, bacteria-filled fruits, no vestigial tablecloths and silver candleholders. We are almost there, and it no longer strikes us as quite so bleak."

I read this as I was sitting down and eating lunch, but it still hit home: I (and probably you too) eat on the run a lot. I even eat in my car, which I said I'd never do when I first drove my car off the lot. A friend of mine jokingly refers to the subs from a local place as "power pellets" because they're so neat and compact. Not quite the same as popping pills, but as author James Gleick notes, we are almost there. And some of us are closer than others.

Saturday, March 8, 2003
You can order A VCD or CHS copy of Duck and Cover, along with three other atomic-age warning films, from I am totally looking forward to receiving mine in the mail. They also have the goofy '40s and '50s dating, sex, and etiquette ("Gee, Johnny, I'd love to go to the dance with you") films for sale.

Just finished reading Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. I am now hyper-aware of when someone is trying to adjust their time usage. Interesting and recommended for geeks and non-geeks alike.

Thursday, March 6, 2003
I'm currently in the midst of my annual March Makeover, an idea that I rooked from a pal in grad school that more or less amounts to me making life improvements here and there so that in a few months, I look good in a bathing suit. My physical shape doesn't actually change all that much, mind you -- it's more psychological than anything. But I usually resolve to start going to the gym more often, since it's hard for me to get motivated to go get all sweaty when it's four degrees outside. I also usually give up fried food for 30 days, and so far I have stuck to it with the exception of a few stolen french fries at lunch the other day. Also during March Makeover, I try to limit my chocolate intake, but this year will be difficult since I am working my way through a big bag of those Cadbury Mini Eggs and I can't stop now. Damn Easter candy industry (but the Mini Eggs are so small and tasty). More than anything, my little March madness is a reminder that all this cold and snow and wintery dreariness is al-most fuck-ing ov-er.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Snow day! Actually, it wasn't all that bad out. We got four or five inches, but they were well timed in that it didn't stop snowing until just after sunrise, so the plows didn't have time to clear the roads for the school busses. The calendar timing was also good; if we had had a day like this at the beginning of December, we probably would have had school because at that point in the year, there's still three or four more months of winter ahead. But we hadn't had a snow day yet, and winter's almost over, and maybe even the superintendents need a day off once in a while too. So...snow day!

Monday, March 3, 2003
Finally finally finally got my iBook back and in working order. They replaced the entire screen. Third time's a charm, I guess.

Today's date can be written 03-03-03. And tomorrow's date is an imperative (March forth!). And Saturday's date was also the name of a failed dot-com. How ever so very interesting!

Sunday, March 2, 2003
As seen on 60 Minutes: What Would Jesus Drive? There is shockingly little on this site, and off the top of my head, I can think of a few things wrong with that question.

As seen in today's New York Times: Defining yourself according to your Netflix queue. I've been holding off on joining Netflix for several reasons, but mostly because I don't have much time during the school year to watch tons of movies. But I'm sure if I did, I'd have a queue about 200 titles long because, as the article points out, thinking about movies begets thinking about movies. And, as the article doesn't point out, the cost of the service is low: 20 bucks a month for as many DVDs as you can watch. It's not cost-prohibitive to realistically want that much stuff (or see that many movies), unlike my Amazon wishlist, which would be much longer if I could realistically expect to buy or receive every item on my list (like that oh so sweet Segway, which at five stacks is kind of a wishlist joke).

Saturday, March 1, 2003
I've been reading The Art of Deception, Kevin Mitnick's book on the human weakness of security systems. Although Mitnick claims to be reformed and no longer interested in being a malicious hacker or in doing anything illegal, his examples of security breaches in the book lay out a step-by-step method of how you can get people to reveal privileged information just by asking for it. It's basically a how-to for getting everything from free cellphones to credit card numbers to top-secret plans for new products.

So as I'm reading this, I am of course thinking of how I'm going to use this information to get all kinds of free stuff. But of course, this takes a great deal of swindling people over the phone, and I am no good at acting, or even lying. I can't even play a practical joke on a friend without giggling. So perhaps this isn't for me. Which is probably good: if Mitnick's time in the hole have taught us nothing, it's demonstrated that hacking can get you in some serious trouble. Still, I wonder how many copycat crimes are going to occur because of Mitnick's book.

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