Thursday, January 29, 2004

You can get to this UPC Database via Google as well: either way, type in all of the universal product code digits you see.

WCVE reported this morning that the CNB building was condemned only in the sense that the current owners have to stop having parties and functions there: it doesn't meet appropriate codes. Whew, one of my top five favorite Richmond buildings is not in immediate danger.

Capital City weather: sunny and 40 degrees
Muzak at Ukrop's: "Drive My Car"

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


What was that? I turned off the faucet. It sounded like a smoke detector trying to tell me it wanted a new battery. I didn’t hear it right away, so I started messing around again. Beep. That sound is too distant to be the one on this floor. I sat down at the computer, to finish some things before driving to school.

Beep. That was definitely not the one behind me. I think. Could I hear an alarm in the neighbor's house? I stood up, turned around an stared at the one at the foot of the stairs. Does that little light always flash red? Beep. No. Not you. It doesn’t really sound like it’s coming from upstairs, but that must be it.

I laid down at the top of the stairs and kept a keen eye on that detector. Bleep. Also no? How can that be? I don’t have another one. Do I? I remember having an extra, but I thought I tossed it.

I started down the basement stairs. BEEP. No way. Oh, look here’s one, in a bin of duct tape, extension cords and the like. I opened it up and looked at the connecting wire hanging battery-less, then jumped to hear another beep. Holy cow, do I have, like, a detector on my water heater or something?? Is the house gonna blow up?? I zigzagged around, frowning at the furnace, water heater, and the beams above me. BEEP – I spun around – caught it! It’s not hanging parallel to the floor; it’s perpendicular, on a big beam by the stairs. I had my back to it the whole time I was downstairs. I laughed and pulled out the Duracell.

CNB wrote to tell me about a different kind of emotional day, at her practicum:
“I'm listening to audio clips of speeches from the likes of Churchill, multiple Roosevelts (Teddy, F.D. and Eleanor), Macarthur, multiple Kennedys (Jack, Bobby and Ted), MLK, Einstein and Barry Goldwater. Some of them have moved me
to tears. I know we are living in a time of turmoil, what with this war on terror. Somehow, the speeches of Dubya and Blair cannot compare and pale in comparison to these great people.

“. . .my quote of the day: ‘You must do the thing you think you cannot do.’Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘You Learn By Living’, 1960.”

Sunday, January 25, 2004


We've had a lovely, steady, dry snow falling since about two o'clock. I took a broom to the inch or two on my front steps, to make tomorrow's work easier. One prediction called for a layer of ice. Wheee.

In reference to "functionality," C writes, "Yes, it's a real word, a good word, even a functional word, but like all words, it should be used only where appropriate. I am bothered (as I'm sure you are) when I see "functionality" when a better choice would be:

Perhaps you've noticed (especially if you've read any student compositions) that some people seem to believe that more syllables invariably mean a better word, sentence, paragraph and page?"

Friday, January 23, 2004

Jargon, or No?

Is "functionality" really a viable word? One text for my last required library school class ("Information Systems in Library and Information Centers") uses it quite freely. Example: "Library applications software includes some of the functionality that we mentioned earlier, including circulation control, . . . ." Why not "perform some of the functions"? I know "does stuff like" is no good, but for the moment, it's how I explain it to myself.

I know that jargon is called for when it elicits or represents a very specific, maybe new, meaning; I know that it is no good when we use it to set ourselves apart and seem to know more than others. (Douglas Adams even suggested that without jargon, "the man in the street would have said 'Oh, yes, I could have told you that.' [So] some phrases like 'Interactive Subjectivity Frameworks' were invented and everybody was able to relax and get on with it.") Stay tuned until the end of the semester to see how often I use "functionality," to learn if I decide it has a real meaning; if I relax and get on with it.

Feel free to discuss "utilize," too.

Capital City weather: cold and clear, again, after a sunny day well into the 40s.
Muzak in Ukrops: "Hotel California"

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Hot damn, channel 57 came back! (Cable TV subscribers never lost it; the malfunction had to do with WCVE's ability to send a free broadcast signal.) It's our second-shot PBS: nearly all of the same shows, run at different times, so one stands a better chance at catching This Old House, say. City Council meetings air on it, too, heaven help us. I once bought a lunch with then-Mayor Kaine at a charity auction. On a hot summer day -- when a day camp bus had broken down, or failed to show, or something ultra-stressful -- we met for a meal at the Tobacco Company. We talked about his commitment to making meetings available on free TV: one more reason for my crush on him. That, plus the fact that J and I once saw the mayor and his kids at an R-Braves game in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I-95 Stream of Consciousness

Can I make it home for West Wing? Are we supposed to be having so much fun in grad school? Am I doing the right thing taking 295 when 395 came to a halt in the tunnel? Am I doing the right thing with the classes I am taking? The other kids all know when they’ll take comps and the dates of summer sessions and I don’t. Where are all these people going? Do “oldies” stations have play lists? They seem to play the same tunes over and over. If it’s supposed to snow three inches, why do I see Orion so clearly? Are we there yet? Was that a cop? What did he just say? I’m listening to The Great Gatsby, now: a train conductor asks, “Hot enough for you?” – have we been stuck on that phrase for 80 years?? If I’m in Caroline County at 20 til, will I make it home for West Wing?

Thursday, January 08, 2004


1 day til I go see "Return of the King"
5 days til classes start
1 paint by number completed: thanks for the calendar B&E!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Browsing for a good computer wallpaper for the new year, I found this fascinating view. I believe the DMV is on that factory site. It certainly fits with the other factories in that area, some of which are due to become lofts, I hear. (The website shows Richmond postcards held by VCU, and is always worth flipping through.)
How freakin cool are these Mars Exploration Rover Mission pictures? Fresh views from Mars, on the screen on my lap. It's no jetpak, no universal use of the metric system, or other promise of my youth -- but wowza!, a whole 'nother planet.