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Month: October 2001

Whoa, Nelly!

Whoa, Nelly!

Well. Holy Mother of Whoops in the world of my computer. Here’s the story: I was getting a bus error, sporatically, on start up. So we thought, hey, maybe it’s time for a partition. And a revised OS.

I dropped off my computer baby at Jason’s and went to work. He installed OSX. That’s cool. So I went to get it, and went home…and OSX didn’t seem to include OS 9.2, which meant….I couldn’t open a damn file, or get online. (Weep weep weep!) Now, you have to understand, my computer is an extension of my brain, and I keep all phone numbers on it. Which of course is DUMBER than DUMB. So now I have no connection, and no phone numbers to get help. I felt like I had been left on a deserted island. Then I found a message from emma on my machine, so I could retrieve at least her phone number…and then she gave me Jason’s number…

Weep weep. I called him, we made plans…and I went to work getting ready for my 9am meeting.

And THEN…there I was, on the phone with emma, and my power cord started sparking. Blue sparks. Unbelieveable. I was so shocked I just laughed, I didn’t even unplug it first. I’ve had this happen before, but not this part of the cord…an ibook has two parts to it’s power cord (don’t most lap tops?): one part is an AC adapter, which looks like this:

And then there’s a second part, just a regular cord, that plugs into the wall. My AC adapter (aka the puck, the yo yo) has exploded twice…there’s a defect in the cord, apparently…it turns green inside and then BANG, it goes.

But that’s not what happened this time. This time it was the other cord, the normal cord. The outer casing the cord bubbled even.

So the next day, now we’re at yesterday: I went in at 9am and had a meeting with one of my advisers, which was extremely fun. We talked about Latin America, and I had a really great time. I hope I covered all the important bits…I got to talk about all kinds of interesting stuff. More about that later. After the meeting I nipped over to the computer store with my pathetic bubbling power cord. I saw the same tech guy…the one I terrified when the leaf off my apple popped off. He didn’t need any prelimiaries. I guess I’ve got a reputation…he just gave me a new cord.

And after that I started on the LONG day of trying to fix my computer. We pulled off OSX, and then tried to copy a version of OS 9.2 off Jason’s computer and onto mine. That seemed to work well. So off I went home, exhausted, it took us…sheesh, we worked on it all day. And I kept working on it all evening, while I was still working on my next meeting. Now, at home….

I can’t open Eudora. I can open a browser, but…it’s as if the whole internet is written in wingdings. Gobbledeegook. Jason sounded scared, something is terribly wrong. My control strip is gone. I didn’t even try to print anything at that point…I knew I was lucky enough to have a telnet app open. And I can’t find my system disk. Jason sounds like he’s on the edge. I tried to reinstall 9.2, but got a error message about ‘big morsels’. (I had no idea my computer had morsels.) So basically I have an OS hanging on by its fingernails, and it doesn’t like to be trifled with. Meanwhile, Jason finds a proper system disk, tests, and burns me a copy.

Today: reading my heart out in preparation for a 9am meeting tomorrow, and hoping against hope that that disk will fix my problems. I picked it up at 4pm, hit a couple of libraries, and meandered back home again. I did a clean install of 9.1, with great success, and then upgraded to 9.2. I reinstalled the Sympatico access manager, the software that interacts with my dsl modem, restarted and….got a bus error. Yes, I think after all that I can say that the bus error seems to be the result of….the access manager. Oh yes. The fact that I need (yes, need) to be online may well be the cause of my grief…(sympatico, sympatico, why do you hurt me so?)

So Now I’m back. I’m running IE 5 again, I’m running eudora again (minus the 15 zillion email messages I had saved in there, which is probably a blessing), and I didn’t lose and serious data. WOOOOOO!

I did miss a panel of papers I had been completely looking forward to…just because I couldn’t get my email for two days and I forgot it was yesterday. (Weep weep.) Oh, I can’t tell you how sad I am about that, but at that time I was reading and wrestling with software, so I didn’t actually have the time to spare. Still.

That’s my update. What a week.



The Emperor ordered that a group of children be collected, and instructed the foster mothers and the wetnurses who reared them to nurse them, bathe them, and treate them well, but not to talk to them or make the sounds which it was customary to make to infants. He was curious to know in what language these children would begin to speak: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, or possibly the language of their natural parents. The experiment failed, and the children not only failed to speak but died. They could not live without handclapping, friendly and joyful facial expressions, praise, and lullabies.
–Shulamith Shahar, Childhood in the Middle Ages

Beautiful Words

Beautiful Words

I am no different from anyone else who writes: idiosyncratic voice does not come easily. One must contend with academese, for instance, its kafkaesque apparatus of critical theory. But when I become frustrated with my grammar, with my obligation to jargon, with the anxiety of influence, I hand myself a chocolate and a reminder: It could be worse. I could be writing this in Polish, in Poland. I could be having to entrust my whimsy to a language that clatters like a knight burdened by yet another crusade. Instead, I can turn to my computer screen to face the cursor cueing words in a language I play most and lie less in and I think,

I don’t ever want to go back.

Harry Potter Movie

Harry Potter Movie

Well, the Harry Potter movie is fast approaching…I must admit that I’m addicted. I picked up the first one as a lark, since Emma and I were drinking expensive coffee and hanging around at Starbucks on the comfy couches, and I forgot to bring my Lord of the Rings with me. It was cute. I enjoyed it. When I finished I knew I would get the second, and after the second I had to jump into the third. And after that I knew I would die if I didn’t get the fourth one within a couple of hours. So now I’m about a third of the way through that one.

I woke up at an ungodly hour, 5am, completely fretting about nothing at all. I was so restless I had to get up. I didn’t know what to do…so, of course, I started coding. I translated the bot into french (since I’ve already translated it into german), and then arranged some various small logistical matters, and then Jason came to get me to take me to Ikea. Ah, the bliss that is Ikea…we went to the new one in Etobicoke. I got a floor lamp, a shoe rack, a kettle, a fry pan, and some little magnets. That’s all I needed, really. Needless to say I was very very tired when I got home. I napped and woke up just as tired.

And can you believe this, I lost my spinach. I have some, I opened it, I used some of it, and now I can’t find it. How odd is that.

Man, I’m tired. More Harry Potter before bed.

It is not the way to go

It is not the way to go

a few words from John Pilger
Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez lost their son Greg in the World Trade Centre. They said this: “We read enough of the news to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us. It is not the way to go… not in our son’s name.”

The Algebra of Infinite Justice

The Algebra of Infinite Justice

The algebra of infinite justice
America is at war against people it doesn’t know, because they don’t appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an “international coalition against terror”, mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.

The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can’t very well return without having fought one. If it doesn’t find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we’ll lose sight of why it’s being fought in the first place.



If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realise that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign…to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.
–From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

My possible tattoo and other stories

My possible tattoo and other stories

I know I’ve posted this pic of my dream tattoo before. But I’m posting it again in reference to last night. So let’s start from the beginning…

I went over and got apple care finally. It cost me a million dollars (well, $250!!) to be covered for the next two years. But the rest of this story my convince you of why it might be worth it. So I bring in my computer to the UofT computer store. I’ve done this before, their tech folk are great and really nice. But it seems they just hired two new people who don’t have a CLUE.

I came in and said, “Hi, I’m here to buy apple care.”

And they said, “Apple huh?” And they said I needed a receipt (even though I have a sticker on the back of my computer with their barcode on it), and they don’t know if I can buy more coverage, and how much was my computer, because that makes a difference, and blah blah blah…

And finally they brought my computer back to the tech guys. Who know just what to do. And while I’m at it I show them my puck, whose cord has been steadily turning green. The tech guys give me a new one. Anyway, so tech guy comes out and flips my computer over and does some paper work, and flips it back over and….ACK! The little leaf from my apple symbol has popped out! It’s gone! He’s horrified, and searches around desperately.

I said, “OH NO! Without that little thing, my DSL won’t work!” He looks at me, terrified.

I said, “Oh, I’m just kidding!”

He said, “Don’t do that, you SCARED me!!” He took my number and told me that he’d keep looking for the piece, and order me a new one if he couldn’t find it. I asked for a pink one. (My ibook is graphite. I always wished it was pink.)

So then I went to buy apple care, from these people who still don’t think I bought that computer there. And they don’t know that they sell apple care. The tech guy comes back out with his coat on.

He said, “Really, you can just buy it, go ahead.”

I said, “I’m trying.” I probably made a these people don’t know what they’re talking about face, so he hopped over the counter and showed them where the apple care packages were. I think based on his ease about the whole thing, they let me plunk down my $250. But, you know, this way I can get a puck every 6 months for the next two years, and I can get my little leaf back. Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

So then I trundle down to the Duke of York, where the folks from the CRRS gather on fridays after work, and there was all of ONE person there. Shocking. I was late, too, and it was just me and Jim Carscallen (retired UofT prof). We chatted about ESP and ghosts and stuff. And then a very sweet French woman arrived and told us that she had just arrived from Paris for the Renaissance in the 19th century conference, which I completely forgot about. After that a few others shuffled in, included my buddy Crane. (aka, Mark.) It was roughly then that, having my computer with me, I showed him my possible tattoo:

Crane thought this was a good tattoo to get. He thinks it would lend itself well to tattooing. And he thinks it’s beautiful, and I agree.

So then we went out to Gabby’s on Bloor for eats and drink, mostly because it was pouring rain and I didn’t want to walk any farther. It’s always a good time with Crane, let me tell you. We determined that we will go shopping in the market together, because he’s a much better cook than I am. Fun!

Needless to say, I had a brutual headache this morning. Bah.



Speech given by a commercial pilot to his passengers after September 11th
“I just wanted to drop you all a note and let you know that I arrived safe and sound into Dulles Airport tonight [9/15] at about 6:00. It was an interesting flight.

The airport in Denver was almost spooky, it was so empty and quiet. No one was in line for the security check point when I got there so that went fairly quickly, just x-ray of my bags and then a chemical test to be sure nothing explosive was on them. Then I waited 2 1/2 hours to board the plane. What happened after we boarded was interesting and thought I would share it with you.

The pilot/captain came on the loudspeaker after the doors were closed. His speech went like this:

“First I want to thank you for being brave enough to fly today. The doors are now closed and we have no help from the outside for any problems that might occur inside this plane. As you could tell when you checked in, the government has made some changes to increase security in the airports. They have not, however, made any rules about what happens after those doors close. Until they do that, we have made our own rules and I want to share them with you.

Once those doors close, we only have each other. The security has taken care of a threat like guns with all of the increased scanning, etc. Then we have the supposed bomb. If you have a bomb, there is no need to tell me about it, or anyone else on this plane; you are already in control. So, for this flight, there are no bombs that exist on this plane.

Now, the threats that are left are things like plastics, wood, knives, and other weapons that can be made or things like that which can be used as weapons.

Here is our plan and our rules. If someone or several people stand up and say they are hijacking this plane, I want you all to stand up together. Then take whatever you have available to you and throw it at them. Throw it at their faces and heads so they will have to raise their hands to protect themselves.

The very best protection you have against knives are the pillows and blankets. Whoever is close to these people should then try to get a blanket over their head — then they won’t be able to see. Once that is done, get them down and keep them there. Do not let them up. I will then land the plane at the closest place and we WILL take care of them. After all, there are usually only a few of them and we are 200+ strong! We will not allow them to take over this plane.

I find it interesting that the US Constitution begins with the words “We, the people” — that’s who we are, THE people and we will not be defeated.”

With that, the passengers on the plane all began to applaud, people had tears in their eyes, and we began the trip toward the runway.

The flight attendant then began the safety speech. One of the things she said is that we are all so busy and live our lives at such a fast pace. She asked that everyone turn to their neighbors on either side and introduce themselves, tell each other something about your families and children, show pictures, whatever. She said “for today, we consider you family. We will treat you as such and ask that you do the same with us.”

Throughout the flight we learned that for the crew, this was their first flight since Tuesday’s tragedies. It was a day that everyone leaned on each other and together everyone was stronger than any one person alone. It was quite an experience.

You can imagine the feeling when that plane touched down at Dulles and we heard “welcome to Washington Dulles Airport, where the local time is 5:40”. Again, the cabin was filled with applause.

Kids say the darndest things

Kids say the darndest things

Kids Say the Darndest Things”

When asked about the attacks on the World Trader Center:

Why are those people so angry? — Michael, age 6

It looked really cool; I bet I could have shot them planes down. — Andy, age 8

Dad says we should kill’em all. Mom says he’s a fanatic. — Josiah, age 11

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. — Carla, age 7 (daughter of parents who own a 1976, diesel, Volkswagon bus)

Invest in the long term. Mutual funds. — Kevin, age 6 (obviously, not the son of Carla’s parents)

I wish everybody would just stop talkin’ about this. It’s enough to make me wanna barf. You know, who wants to see that stuff? — Tammy, age 7

I’d like to know what we did to deserve this; it’s not my fault; I know that. — Greg, age 9

Where’s the gin? I’d like a martini. — Natalie, age 8

When asked if we should go to war against the terrorists:

Do you want my Game-boy? — Billy, age 7

People die in wars, don’t they? — Nathan, age 5

Evil is as evil does. — Jasmine, age 9

As long as they don’t raise taxes or take away my smokes. Got a cigarette? — Cameron, age 6

When asked what it means to be American:

Mom says we gotta go to Wal-Mart and buy a flag. — Daniella, age 7

It means we love freedom and peace, even if we have to kill people for it. — Shauna, age 10

I think I’m gonna move to Paris. Mom says that’s where good people go when they die. — Madison, Age 8

Pappy says it means we’re the best people on Earth. — Timmy, age 6



I’m editing a paper for a friend, and she’s flippin’ brilliant. Here are a choice quote:

The image of the computer as an advanced calculator has gradually been transformed into an image of the computer as a theatre, as a stage for a series of performances where contemporary narratives are being collectively created and played out in ‘real time’. When text-based domains in cyberspace are seen as performance spaces, a literary format insolubly intertwined with the electronic environment is created.

Catsy Says

Catsy Says

Catspaw says, “I’m looking for some resources to set up a substitution for the current education-oriented goal as posessed by the object task #5891 within Project Achieve. Funding such a project would allow this resource to dedicate its overall functional purposes to entrusted functions such as the rapid transfer of data between the communicative cerebral of said task, and the participants in Project Achieve’s virtual online environment. It would also allow for this resource to locate other resource tasks, whose job would be to assist this main resource in basic functions, while allowing it to allocate more of its time to important wetware decaying observation functions on a television frequency. With your funding, we will be able to not only continue the development, but also remove cluttering forked information from this important object task. Thank you.”
Catspaw says, “IE: Give Catspaw money. Then she will MOO. And hire slaves. And watch TV. Thank you.”

Women’s suffrage in question again?!

Women’s suffrage in question again?!

Uh huh….
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A female state senator says she views women’s suffrage as a sign that American society doesn’t value the family enough but she wouldn’t deprive women of the vote.

Sen. Kay O’Connor on Friday confirmed reports that she told leaders of the Johnson County League of Women Voters she does not celebrate the enactment of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.

She says she believes women should have the right to cast their ballot but if men were doing their job of taking care of women andchildren, then women wouldn’t be required to vote.

“The 19th Amendment is around because men weren’t doing their jobs, and I think that’s sad,” she said. “I believe the man should be the head of the family. The woman should be the heart of the family.”