Where is who?

A somewhat controversial idea to consider: The world would be exactly the same as it is now if there had never been a Scooby-Doo show, except people wouldn’t think to do the “Rut-Roh” voice. I would tentatively suggest that the hypothetical world with no Scooby-Doo would be a better one then the world we live in today – not remarkably better, just marginally better.

Val-U

Amazon is following Google’s lead, scanning printed catalogs and integrating them throughout the website.

It’s a totally backwards idea of course, though it makes sense in the end.

The search-engine for scanned text is pretty neat – I’ll give them that. In a reasonable world though, someone who could put together a printed catalog, would be able to dump all the data from the catalog into an easily parsed flat-file that could then be handed over to any E-commerce company that wanted it.

Sick and wrong as it is, the concept makes sense. Amazon is finding a way to do business with vendors with whom they have a technology gap (or they’re finding an easy way to enter a market more quickly without having to bridge the technology gap first?)

Maybe Amazon will be able to learn something from the way customers browse the print catalogs that would be helpful in the designing their own pages.

My thesis is starting to wander, so I’ll just finish up by delivering the punchline that I’ve been meaning to squeeze in here:

These catalog companies are all a bunch of shills. They know nothing about quality or value, so instead they offer Val-U. [That wasn’t it. Here it comes.] Take, this catalog from Google’s collection, for example. [There it goes.] Blah blah blah. I didn’t blagedy blah blah four years blah blah blah!

Greyish Grey

The night’s cloud cover is lit up by the city’s light pollution. It’s a greyed-out something, washed out by the rain – a tone that your eye would only be able to catch if there were another color held up against it. I’m leaning towards orangish, but I’m not really confident about that. Maybe it’s that beige color-of-the-universe.

Frazier and Three’s Company are the same show.

Ingrid, lighting a cigarette, tells me, “I’m going to quit.”

“You are?”

“Yes.”

“When did you decide?”

“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.”

“I didn’t know that. . .”

“Yeah. It’ll be in a month at the latest.”

“So soon? What are you going to do?”

“Well, I need to prepare myself, mentally and physically, first.”

“Okay. But what are you going to do after you quit?”

” . . . I don’t know.”

“When’s your next vesting date?”

” . . . For my stock options? I don’t know. I don’t really pay attention to that.”

“You might want to figure that out, and make sure you time it right.”

“Okay, I guess so. . . Are we talking about the same thing?”

Love, Sharon

Letter found near a park:

7/4/94

Dear Forrest,

You’re probably still in Georgia but here’s your letter just like I promised. Finally. So how was your vacation? Did you bring me back anything? Just kidding! So how’s everything in Kent? How was your Fourth of July? Mine wasn’t shit. I worked 2-11. It was just like any other day. I still remember that one Fourth of July that we spent together. We were at my cousins house and my dad was so drunk that when I asked him for money for fireworks, he emptied his wallet and pockets and gave me like 40 dollars. Those were the good ‘ol days.

I went to court on the 1st. Nothing really happened. The district attourney made a deal of 1 felony count and 6 months in county jail but I didn’t take it so now I have to go on trial. Cool huh? Yah – I can’t wait!

Not much else is going on. Work sucks and I gotta figure out what classes I want to take this semester. I’m actually half way to graduating. That makes me happy. Well, I’m gonna go because it’s 2 AM and I’m hella tired. So I’m gonna go throw this in the mailbox. Write back soon.

Love,
Sharon

Since I can’t leave to come visit you, you should come down here to visit me . . . . Soon!

Call me.

Thinly Veiled

They’ve decided they don’t like the silly politics that others play at, they prefer straight talk. So it comes as a surprise when they realize they’re in the midst of one of the silly games they’ve rejected. They interrupt the game for a frank discussion, deciphering the situation in complicated inwardly spiraling conversation. Soon they find that their neuroses have been aired and their motivations are now understood. They laugh ironically at their folly, their belief that they might be immune to those reindeer games. One settles in, waiting for the other to finish the game. The other settles in too, erroneously believing that identifying the resolution of the game was the same as delivering it. (Go back to start.)

Also, “weirdo” is a compliment and silly is a virtue.

Dale’s Quiz

Dale is in his 60s, a retiree. He hangs out in coffee shops and plays chess. Sometimes when he doesn’t have an opponent, he talks to me. He’s always fishing for some piece of information, but his questions are too vague for me to figure out what his angle is.

Dale asks me what I think about the stock market. “Are we bound for a recovery?”

“I don’t really know. I don’t follow it, I don’t understand it as well as I should. My brain doesn’t think that way.”

He prods a little more, his face never revealing what he thinks of my answers. “What do you think of the economy in general? Are people you know finding jobs?”
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Saturday

Saturday was just about perfect.

I accompanied Ingrid to a meeting of the Puget Sound Stereo Camera Club (at the Federal Way Senior Center?). We were immersed for three hours in a dark world of 3D slide shows, polarized glasses, and heated discussions about Nimslo and Stereo-Realist equipment. A couple showed some fine 3D slides from a trip to India, which were topped by a beautiful series of 3D images from another member’s six month solo bicycle tour of Ethiopia. At the end of the meeting, someone dusted off their Viewmaster projector and Ingrid showed a couple of her Viewmaster reels. The reel she did for the Turn-ons, classic bored band photos, was met with polite confusion. The landscapes recieved some appreciative nods.

In the afternoon, there was time for relaxing in the sun. The sun! Seattleites shed layers of clothes on clear but chilly days, we walk around trying to talk each other into believing that it’s a nice day. But this was genuinely nice – sunny, hot, blue skies, green grass, blooming flowers, kids picking dandelion and blowing the seeds away. Nice.

And Saturday night, Ingrid hosted a Scotch tasting. We sat in the living room and listened to bagpipe jazz. We didn’t read Robbie Burns to each other, so much as we occasionally waved around a library discard copy of his complete poems. We discussed the subtleties of each bottle: “This one is kind of . . . peaty.” “I think I detect a hint of peat.” “There’s a flavor here that I can’t quite put my finger on . . .”-“Peat?”-“That’s it!” I decided on Saturday night that I like Scotch, though I was a little less enthusiastic about it on Sunday morning.

Glazed Eyes

Picking up a burger at Dick’s. I tap on the window, hello, to a familiar face. She was one of my manager’s when I worked here too many years ago to count (seven), she’s doing something with the cash register right in front of me. I warrant a brief glance, somehow confident and nervous at the same time. It’s something along the lines of: “Yes, hello. You’re tapping on the window at me because that’s what people on Broadway do. That’s all well and good – I’d tap back but I’m very busy right now, and besides, I never tap on windows with strangers.”

A Fine Example of Bad Blogging

I’m going to take the top off my PC and wiggle my soundcard. Then maybe I’ll blow on it. I’ve actually never taken apart my PC before, so I’m excited.

I guess the fact that my PC wouldn’t make any sounds should have clued me in to the fact that my sound wasn’t working, but it took a dialogue box from MusicMatch saying “MMJB Soundcard Problem” to clue me in. I tried Windows Media, which also reported that there was something wrong with my soundcard. It pointed me to a Microsoft Knowledgebase article, which suggested that I change a setting in the control panel.

Ah yes, a software problem. It’s easy to blame Windows, especially when Windows points the finger at itself. The article says my hardware acceleration slider might be set too high. So I follow the directions to access my hardware acceleration slider, but the button that should give access to it doesn’t respond. I can click it all I want – but nothing happens. Discouraged, I think I didn’t install any software or change any settings, so it was just wishful thinking that it was a software problem anyway (ignoring that the control panel isn’t working – pretty much the definition of a software problem). So I’ll wiggle and blow now. Hopefully that’ll work.