Marauder is a Jelly Doughnut

Marauder is undertaking to teach himself and his daughters Esperanto.
I’ll admit to a small curiosity about it. The main thing I gained from two years of Latin in high school and two semesters of Spanish in college is a healthy respect for anyone who can communicate in something other than their native tongue.
The key points I remember from Latin are, agricola is “farmer”, poeta is “poet”, insula is “island” and nautica(?) is a sailor (and also a brand of clothing). These are the only masculine nouns which end in -a, all the others end in -us. Also, there are a number of cheap phonetic jokes to be made from the verbs “to make”, “to give” and the number six. Their Latin counterparts are “facio”, “dixit” and “sex.” I’ll let you work out the approximate pronunciations on your own.
Likewise, in Spanish, when you wish someone a happy birthday, be darn sure to pronounce the ñ in “cumpleaños” and no matter how badly you screw up, never claim to be “muy embarazada” unless you’re due to give birth in the very near future. Aside from that, I can ask important questions such as “Donde es el baño?” but it’s not at all certain that I’ll understand the answer.
A few weeks ago, MC encouraged me to learn enough Chinese (I think it’s the Mandarin dialect) to say hello to her children. They speak Chinese at home, but it takes the kids by surprise to hear the language from a non-Chinese. I learned the equivalents of “Hello” and “My name is Blair” (the latter is phonetically similar to “Watch Out, Blair” which some number of people would doubtless point out is a fair warning) and when I said Hello to the children, I did well enough that they understood me and were suitably surprised. But when I later told MC that I’d also learned how to ask “What is your name?” and demonstrated, she collapsed in laughter.
So although I wish Marauder and the girls much success in their linguistic endeavors, for the time being I’m going to let someone else be the pastry chef.

Big Bucks

I thought maybe I was just being silly, but today I was able to confirm that I’m definitely not making the big bucks.
I’ve been suspicious for a while now, but kept coming back to the fact that I’ve been in the workforce for slightly more than 20 years, and on top of that, the software industry is supposed to pay well. So you’d think, the odds were pretty good that I was making the big bucks.
But nope, it turns out that when I get money from the ATM, the bills that come out have the exact same dimensions as when anybody else gets money from it. That was quite a surprise.
So I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Blair, it’s not the size of the bucks, it’s how many bucks you have!”
Well if that’s the case, then I’m really in trouble. I’ve never once gone hunting. The only time I’ve ever had any venison at all was when someone else shared some with me.
I’m so disappointed.

The Dark Knight

This weekend’s outdoor temperatures and humidity were both unbearably high, so rather than do any yardwork on Sunday, I decided to spend the afternoon in a nice air-conditioned movie theater.
A lot of the commentary I’ve encountered about The Dark Knight has been about Heath Ledger as The Joker. Although some of his movies (most notably, Brokeback Mountain) got a lot of attention, I haven’t heard much talk about Heath Ledger. So I figured all the chatter now was probably due to some sort of “posthumous Ledger-mania” and didn’t pay much attention to it.
Going in, my expectation was that this would be “just another Batman movie”, and to a certain extent, that’s exactly what it was. What makes this one different though is that Batman wasn’t really the movie’s focus. Sure, there’s a lot of attention to how the Batman operates and all that (and lots of cool gadgets), but I really think this one was more about the Joker, Harvey Dent, and some of the other typically smaller characters and what motivates them. (Alfred, of course, has most of the best lines. “But I bloody well did tell you.”)
Definitely worth seeing.

Shocking Photo

Something like 99% of the time (and possibly even more often) when someone forwards an email that was forwarded to them as part of a long chain of forwards, my reaction is one of annoyance. Even if it isn’t a chain letter, it tends to be something that 100 other people have also forwarded.
But still, there is that very small but non-zero number of times when the stuff being forwarded is actually good for a grin. I’ll probably be sick of this one too in a week or so, but for now, here’s one Mom passed along.

You might remember when this accident happened 8 years ago this March.
This Southwest Airlines flight from Vegas overshot the runway at Burbank
The plane smashed past the airport fence, careened across the street and ended up with a collapsed landing gear, right next to a gas station.
But that’s not the amazing part!!!

Only $1.79 for premium!?!?!

Floor Installation – Day 1.5 (Camping)

At the end of the first day of the floor installation, my bed was scattered across three rooms. I unrolled a foam pad from camping, laid some sheets across it, and that was my bed (and as expected, I slept quite well).
On the one hand, no camping experience is complete without a campfire, but on the other hand, I’m not quite dumb enough to build a fire in the living room. (Besides, isn’t that what the kitchen is for? I’ve certainly had enough smoke come out of there!)
I don’t know if anyone realized it at the time, but the report on Day 1 was written that evening. And not from a coffee shop either. (I don’t much care for coffee and although they do have other drink options, I really didn’t feel a need to drive somewhere at 10:30 PM just to post an update.)
When I moved everything to the basement, I very deliberately left my wireless router set up and connected. My plan for that entire period (and it ended up stretching over several weeks) was to use my notebook for everything.
My experience has been that the notebook is a very capable computer for a number of tasks, most particularly email, word-processing, and most online activities, but typing with the keyboard so close to the monitor for prolonged periods tends to cause a stiff neck. To solve that, I have an adapter that lets me plug a regular keyboard and mouse into the notebook through its USB port. Just elevate the computer a bit, and it’s a bit more comfortable than it might be otherwise.
So that evening, I stacked up some of the woods scraps that were laying around and used the computer as a replacement for a campfire. The only thing missing was a video clip of a fire, but there are plenty of those available on You Tube.
Computer "campfire".
Day 1 Photos
Day 2 Photos (Coming Soon)

Another Drop in the Bucket

After getting home from Shore Leave on Monday, I stopped for groceries at the store just up the road. While I was there, I discovered that the store will be closing permanently on Thursday.
I’m blessed to live in a part of the world where although this is inconvenient, it’s not a huge deal. It’s not like I have to drive 40 miles to the next town for my groceries or walk a day each way. The store that’s closing is part of a fairly large chain which seems to have a location in every strip mall in a 100 mile radius. And there’s a lot of strip malls in this area – the two nearest alternate locations are both less than three miles away.
So although it’s inconvenient, it’s not a huge disaster for me. Of course, the 100 people who likely worked there may have a somewhat different perspective.
I’m sure glad we’re not in a recession!

Here's Looking At You

Most of the photos sent to me for use on Shore Leave’s web site are scanned at a high enough resolution that they fill up the screen. But every so often a photo comes in scanned at such a high-resolution that the only thing that fits on the screen is the eyes.
Several people tried to guess who last year’s set of eyes belonged to (not just the comments, there were a few emails too).
So here’s this year’s batch:

So, can you figure out who they are?
Last year’s eyes were:

Google Insecurity

I’ve recently switched to the new 3.0 version of Firefox, among my reasons, I was interested in some of the new security features. Logging into my Google account this morning, I got a first hand demonstration of how well it works.
Google Failed Security Certificate
Taking a closer look, the problem arises because I didn’t include the “www” at the beginning of the address, but Google could have fixed that a couple ways — probably the easiest would be a simple http redirect. (For example, try to visit I don’t have that set up everywhere, but it’s doable.)