Too Funny Not To Share

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:34 pm

I’d say something pithy about Obama’s killer speech last night (and McCain’s hapless second-banana counterspectacle today) but I’m too busy. What I’m not too busy to do is share this little goodie that came to me by way of friend Laura:

Bacon Flowchart

Oh, and if that’s not sufficient, here’s a picture of Pogo in a classic “Oops I farted” pose:


Not Much Going On Right Now….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:25 pm

I’m concentrating very hard on getting our Winter catalog out the door, so my spare time is taken up largely with pampering myself with wife, food and cats, necessarily in that order. A fair amount of TV fits in there somewhere as well: we got Season 2 of Dexter on DVD and burned through it in less than a week. Not bad, not bad. It started off pretty limp, but by about the middle of the season it really came together. I hope that subsequent seasons will not follow the same basic model of the first two; namely, that a secondary character who proves to be as/nearly as fucked up as the title character comes in and shakes Dexter’s foundations. It worked well for the most part so far, but I’d like to see the plot take a different turn in Season 3. Which I won’t be catching until it comes out on DVD in about eight months, by which time I’ll be so Dexter-deprived that I’ll take just about anything. Oh well; at least the final season of The Shield will begin airing next week….

Right now I’m sitting here listening to Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Firstly, I find myself almost swooning, listening to a true orator wielding the spoken word with a craftsman’s skill. Makes me feel the intellectual vacuum left by the Clown Prince even more strongly. Obama is an excellent speaker as well, no doubt about it. But he seems to waver in his speaking style between sounding like a preacher and sounding like a social studies teacher. Bill seems to find just the perfect middle ground between policy wonk and back-country lawyer. He always sounds like he’s talking individually to every one of the audience.

Bill is setting just the right tone here: no question about his (pragmatic) allegiance to Obama. Is he super-pissed that his wife didn’t get the nomination? Sure he is. But like Hillary he is God-damned if he will take his ball and go home, leaving the election to McCain. Good on both of ’em. Now if we could just get the rest of the delegates she won over to be that grown up. I swear to God, if those big babies manage to somehow lose us this election I’m gonna—um—be very downright upset, lemmetellyou.

Among the many things I had forgotten about raising cats in the interim between our last two and this year’s models is the fact that they only exist in as many dimensions as they feel are necessary at any given moment, in order to maximize their ability to get into spaces and situations they ought not. Need to get behind the VCR? Cincherino! Simply shed an unwanted dimension and slide into the three-inch gap in the entertainment center. Feel like seeing what’s on the top of the six-foot-tall wire shelving unit in the basement? No problem! Just drop yourself down to a single point without space, at which point you are both nowhere and everywhere at once, one of those places being the top of the shelf. Then slap a couple more dimensions back on, just in time to knock some canning jars off the shelf. Oh, and being able to adjust one’s relation to the fourth dimension comes in really handy when a human has just gotten up to go find the source of that gawdawful racket.

Since my former IIS box is no longer doing duty as both a Web and a camera server, I’ve decided to slim things down a little bit. I’m moving the CPU, RAM and drives over to a Shuttle SG31G2 Small Form Factor barebones kit. With half the power supply and a third of the fans, this thing should be much quieter than the leaf-blower I’m currently running, which was originally built around a replacement motherboard that I got when my gaming rig’s mobo went foop right in the middle of Bioshock and I couldn’t wait for the warranty replacement to arrive. Also, it helps to fill that deep inner need to be tinkering with some computer or another, now that my new blog server’s fully up and running and I finished fleshing out an old blue-and-white Power Mac G3 for some friends who needed a word-processing computer. I’ll let y’all know what I think of the Shuttle when I’m through gussying it up.

That’s about all the news that’s unfit to print, much less read, for the moment.


The Assimilation Begins

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:08 pm

I’ve spoken/written at length regarding my desire to shed my meat-based intellect conveyance device (my body) in favor of something longer lasting and, hopefully, a little closer to the current ideal for body-mass index. Barring the cloning of a factory-fresh superman chassis on a bed of shark-collagen polysaccharides, the next best thing would be to have my more troublesome parts swapped out for after-market stuff as they degrade; either new or gently-used cellular models or, preferably, something more mechanical or cybernetic in design.

It looks like I might finally get this project off the ground with the introduction of a mechanical pancreas, otherwise known as a subdermal insulin pump.

This is the main tool in my doctor’s plan to help deal with my current and prospective renal problems. After three different MDs looked at my biopsy, the consensus as to my diagnosis was diabetic nephropathy, with some unusual characteristics. The next step in treatment is to try to keep the condition from worsening. The three main ways to do that are 1) keep my cholesterol levels low (done that), 2) keep my blood pressure in check (done that too) and 3) keep my A1C, or glycohemoglobin levels as low a possible. Mine are already quite low—my blood sugar control is excellent, which is what made the diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy so unusual in my case—but they could go lower. This is where the pump comes in.

Like many folks, I had no real concept of what an insulin pump was or how it works. The term “subdermal” made me imagine a device that was embedded completely under the skin via a surgical procedure, possibly anchored to a bone somewhere; the iliac crest of the pelvis, say. Turns out that was a complete misinterpretation. The only part of the pump that’s subdermal is a tiny bit of catheter that’s embedded about seven milimeters into the skin. The rest of the unit stays outside of the body. It’s a small wafer of electronics about the size of pager (kids: go ask your parents what a pager is). It stores about three days’ worth of both basal (long-acting) and short-acting insulin, which is delivered via a hair-thin plastic tube into the body. The pump’s electronics decide—with input from the wearer—just how much insulin you should receive, of what type and over what period of time. The idea behind the pump is to provide a continuous stream of just enough insulin to manage blood sugar. In doing so, the diabetic patient greatly reduces the peaks and valleys of normal day-to-day blood sugar levels. Even with a low overall A1C (say, 7 percent), one’s actual blood sugar levels can reach dangerous highs or lows at any given instance. These fluctuations are thought to stress the kidney and make damage more likely or more pronounced. So smoothing those bumps out as much as possible is considered crucial to maintaining good kidney function in a patient exhibiting nephropathic symptoms.

There are certainly some things to get used to regarding the day-to-day operation of this doohickey. For one thing, I’ll have to wear it at night, which means finding some way to clip it to my body so that it will ride out my frequent tossing and turning and yet survive the experience. I could try leaving it on the headboard shelf or something, but I’m terrified that I would end up garroting myself with the feeder tube in the middle of the night. I’ll have to remember to remove the thing and cover the port with a plug during my daily soaks. I’ll also have to remember to swap out the insulin packs as they deplete, about every three days. Mostly I’ll just have to get myself used to a whole new set of weird ablutions revolving around my new hardware. It’s not noticeably harder than getting used to the routine surrounding the cycle of testing/injecting/occasionally overshooting/crashing/eating everything in sight/retesting/reinjecting that I do now; just different. Different’s not my strong suit, but I’ll manage.

I’ve been in contact with various reps from the manufacturer of the device who have been helping to get me all set up as regards my insurance, payments, supplies, etc. These things take a fair amount of consumables: along with the insulin itself you need to swap out the catheter and the port (the interface between the inside of your body and the outside) every three days. All of this is going to run into some money. Thankfully my insurance is going to cover the bulk of it, but even what remains is nothing to sneeze at. Certainly it’s a lot more expensive than the cost of my current regimen of pharmaceuticals to treat my insulin deficiency. On the other hand, it’s a lot less trouble than dialisys. 😯

More on this story as it develops.


Illiteracy Can Be Fun!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:01 am

I’ve not been paying much attention to the Olympics. I guess the scales finally fell from my eyes a few iterations ago and I can now only see this august event as a rich nutrient bath for corruption, graft, contrivance and unfettered, culture-obliterating supercommerce. I’m not a fan of any of the sports being showcased, hate the sound of sports announcers, and mistakenly called that Phelps guy “Brian” for the last month (in fact, I had to Google his name just now to make sure I got it wrong).

None of this is to say that I am more enlightened or evolved than my fellow citizens who avidly pursue the Olympics. Anyone who spends his idle time watching DVRed episodes of Iron Chef America has little right to critique the televisual pursuits of others. I just don’t happen to care for sports broadcasting, no matter how impressively orchestrated. ‘S my problem, I’ll deal with it. But of course I am not immune to the fallout that inevitably comes from a spectacle as large and bombastic as this, and something in today’s news managed to catch my eye and tickle my funnybone. Which resulted in my funnybone getting lodged in my eye; a situation that took a trip to the ER to resolve (no, not really, calm down, Dad!).

It seems that the US Women’s Water Polo team won a crucial victory against Australia today, which means they will be facing off against the team from the Netherlands in pursuit of the gold medal. Huzzah for them, I say! Kudos! Felicitations! Solicitations, even, but for the fact that I’m married.

But I would just love to know who was the big brain who decided to serenade their victory via the loudspeakers by blasting The Guess Who’s “American Woman”. A brief encapsulation of some of the more relevant lyrics might be in order:

American Woman, said get away
American Woman, listen what I say
Don’t come a hangin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your face no more
I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now Woman, get away from me
American Woman, mama let me be

This reminds me of nothing so much as Reagan’s infamous “Born In The USA” fuckup, which always puts a smile on my face.

Hey whaddayaknow, I found something enjoyable about the Olympics after all!

Seriously, though; good on the US Women’s Water Polo team. Might wanna fire your DJ, though. 😛


Talk About Timing….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:46 pm

Sometime this weekend, my former blog server shit the bed, big time. My first warning came when I fired up my PDA phone this afternoon and discovered that I had 176 pieces of unread mail. Knowing my average load of legitimate mail—and relative unpopularity—it was immediately obvious that my anti-spam ‘ware was not doing its job. I run NoSpamToday For Workstations, a highly powerful and customizable spam fighter that I would recommend to anyone who has 1) More than one device on which they receive email and 2) a Windows machine that is powered on all the time. Just install and configure the software, then set your favorite mail client to run full-time on the same machine, checking your mail every five minutes. Mail that is flagged as spam can then be easily deleted via the application of a simple rule set of some sort, cleaning the crap out of your inbox for all of your computers. It’s not for the complete n00b, but neither is it overly cryptic. If you know what POP3 and SMTP are, then you can certainly set this thing up. I’ve been using a combination of NoSpamToday and Mozilla Thunderbird to control spam for about a year now, and have been quite pleased with the results. Of course, for optimum performance, it is highly recommended that the machine upon which you use the software actually be running. 🙄

ANYway, so finding a clot of junk mail thrombosing my phone’s inbox told me that my anti-spamware was not running. And as it turned out, some six days after I decided to move Uncle Andrew dot Net to a new home, the old one died some sort of nasty death. Quite serendipitous. Unless, of course, the computer in question twigged to what was going down and decided to off itself in a fit of pique, something I would not put past an inanimate conglomeration of metal, ceramic and petrochemicals; I’ve worked with these things too long to believe otherwise.

I’m using this sad turn of events as an opportunity to field-test my backup software, Acronis True Image. I of course ran backups religiously on this machine (you run regular backups on your important computers too, right? RIGHT?), but until you get to test your backups in a real-world situation, you never know whether you’re truly protecting your precious data or just wanking. Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you today to tell you that, with Acronis True Image, thou dost wank not. My box has been returned to the bloom of health. Still not going to move my blog back onto it, though.

Other than my Windows box’s Lazarus act I don’t have much to report right at the moment. As of late, my life revolves around grinding out my company’s upcoming holiday catalog, my wife and our cats. The actual order of priority depends upon the moment in time at which you happen to catch me. Margaret is leagues more important than either of the other aforementioned, of course. On the other hand, if I’m desperately trying to come up with some scintillating copy to describe a bottle of freeze-dried mushroom capsules and a cat has just jumped onto my keyboard and shut down my page-layout program, my hierarchy of priorities might skew cat-centric for just a minute or two….at least long enough to duct tape it to something heavy. 😉

That all being said, I have a couple-three minor observations I guess I could use to fill some screen time….

Observation the First
I was listening to NPR yesterday morning when I overheard a sponsorship message paid for by Madison Market, a local natural foods store. Said message included the note that the market offers, “sustainable meats and seafood”, which struck me as an odd turn of phrase. Of course, I understand the basic concept of sustainable agriculture, and support the business model both implicitly and explicitly. (When possible: ain’t a lot of sustainably-grown food available ’round the Burien/Normandy park/Des Moines axis, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to burn lots of extra planet-pooching hydrocarbons going out of our way to buy our tuck. Eventually I hope to get over my cultural baggage and start raising organically-grown bugs for protein at home….but that’s a story for another day.) I am particularly in favor of sustainability in agriculture in the face of the current business model for meat production in this country; 100,000 metric tons of manure are produced by feedlot animals every minute in the United States, with no sewage treatment system to manage it. That is a serious imbalance in the food-to-shit ratio, and that bugs me a lot, without even getting into the questions of rampant abuse of antibiotics, propagation of foodborne pathogens, unsafe working conditions and unnecessary cruelty to food animals. So sustainably grown meat sounds great. Unfortunately, that is not the image I get from the phrase, “sustainable meat”. That sounds like a piece of rib-eye that grows back as fast as you can eat it. Which, frankly, would be even cooler. I really should pursue this further with Madison Market, ‘cuz if they have that goin’ on up there, it’d be worth driving downtown to buy my steaks.

Observation the Second
You know those little clip-on display units they sometimes attach to shelves at the grocery store? The ones that stick out into the aisle a little bit and have one or two columns of metal pincers running down them, with which to attach lightweight items so they catch the eye—and occasionally the clothing—of passing shoppers? One would think that, in the case of the two-column models, it makes the most sense for the two items being displayed to serve complementary, even actively interdependent functions for the consumer: toothbrushes and dental floss, say, or kitchen sponges and those red-and-yellow clown-afro-looking plastic thingies for scrubbing stubborn food from your dishes. Based on this presumption, I most definitely do not want to know what the modern consumer is doing with him- or herself these days, as indicated by the two-column display rack in the Health and Beauty aisle of my local QFC bearing Ricola cough drops….and disposable latex gloves. 😯

Observation the Third
In lieu of a more detailed report on our recent trip to McDonald’s (about which I may yet post in further detail), I will relay a single fact regarding same. The Big Mac sandwich has but a single flavor: Secret Sauce, aka Thousand Island Dressing. The rest of the totality of the Big Mac experience consists of textures, and not particularly fantastic textures either. The buns are springy and strangely unyielding, like round slices of upholstery foam dotted with sesame seeds. The “cheese” splays limply across the the two-all-beef-patties like a sloughed skin, and the patties themselves seem to have shrunk over time to almost monomolecular thickness. There is no longer enough bona fide muscle tissue left in these things to cushion one’s palate from the squeaky crink! that occurs when gristle is crushed between one’s teeth. The sloppy mess of shredded lettuce, pickles and diced onions, swimming in dressing, has a bizarre, pulpy texture. The closest I can come to describing the sensation is to say that it is like a mat of hair pulled from the shower drain of a Rastafarian, only Thousand-Islandier. Overall, a ghastly cornucopia of sensual experience. This wretched concoction bears seemingly no relationship to an actual hamburger: a beautiful bountiful bundle of juicy animal bits, gooey cheddar or monterey jack, crisp lettuce just beginning to wilt under the onslaught of heat, slices of cool tomato, maybe a strip or three of partially-incinerated bacon riddled with dangerous but delicious polycyclics, your choice of condiments and a bun made out of honest-to-goodness bread or better yet—oh Saints be praised!—a couple of slices of toasted sourdough. Available in one approximation or another at any of a dozen local roadside rotguts in your neighborhood, or crafted to perfection at a backyard barbecue. To settle for that which can be found beneath the Golden Arches is to express the conviction that you deserve no better. You do. Or at least I do.

I’d best hit the sack before Margaret notices I’m not there yet, so that’s all for now. Cheerio!


Memento Moribund

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:37 pm

I had originally meant to write about our recent trip to McDonalds (yes, I know; “this you need to write about?” But it was our first Mickey D’s food in—what, five years? more?), but that all changed when I went out to get the mail and saw—Eloise, I’ll call her—tottering up the road towards me.

Eloise and her late husband were the second of the three families who have inhabited the little single-story house across the street from us since we moved into the neighborhood in 2001. Our first neighbors decided that they needed more space for all their photographic equipment and put the place up for sale a year or so after we moved in (pure coincidence, I assure you). Their house was purchased by James and Eloise, an affable pair of seniors whose son and his wife lived just down the street.

They were your basic classic Old Married Couple, as quintessentially Middle American as a Norman Rockwell painting. They took walks together, worked in the yard together, watched the news on their ginormous projection TV together. Just about the only thing they didn’t do together was die.

A while—a year at least, maybe two—after they moved in, James succumbed to a recurrence of a previous cancer. He died at home, with his family by his side, right around Christmas. Eloise was, of course, devastated. I took to having the occasional long conversation with her out front of her house, and she didn’t try to disguise her feelings. “I don’t know why I’m alive,” she confessed once. What do you say to that? Yeah, me neither? If I were in your shoes, there isn’t the merest scintilla of doubt in my mind that I would be sacked out in a running car in our garage inside a week? That I am filled with a sense of overwhelming relief every time I look at my male, overweight, diabetic self and remember that I am far more likely to die before my wife than after, and will therefore in all likelihood never have to go through what you’re going through right now?

What I said, with all the compassion I could muster, was, “Because it isn’t your time yet.” Pallid, empty, useless platitude. Not that there was anything better I could have said.

Over time Eloise got, if not over, then at least past her loss. She continued to live across the street, frequently visited by her grandson down the road, of whom she was quite fond and fiercely proud. We continued to chat on and off—sweet lady, but both she and her late husband could talk the barnacles off a tugboat’s hull—until she announced that she was putting her house up for sale and moving into the large, well-appointed senior home about half a mile down the highway. I still saw her just about every day. Eloise comes from hardy stock: hard work and (no doubt) clean living have given her endurance and energy to spare. I have no doubt that she could walk my flabby ass into the ground, every day of the week and twice on Sundays—all the while waxing enthusiastic about her grandson’s recent violin recital.

As the months wore on, Eloise’s mind began to fade even as her body seemed to continue to flourish. At first it was just her memory; she could remember all the important moments of her life, but couldn’t hold on to new names or places. I think that she might have become somewhat difficult to work with at her new digs, because soon after I noticed these changes she moved in with her son’s family at the other end of our street. She confided in me at one point during a conversation on her son’s patio that, seemingly overnight, she had lost the ability to read. Her sense of bewilderment and stoically graceful depression took its toll on me. Our chats became less and less frequent over time, entirely by my (in)action.

At this point, Eloise has become something of a figure in the neighborhood. She spends her time walking up and down the street, stopping to survey her old house. Occasionally she’ll stop to talk with the current owner, if he’s out front fiddling with his woodworking tools. Otherwise, she gives the place a brief once-over—what’s going through her mind, I can only imagine—before turning around and trudging back home. She does this numerous times a day. If she’s not heading to or from her current abode she’s often sitting against the low fence out front of her son’s house, picking flowering weeds from the yard or just watching the cars go by. I wave to her every time I pass her, and she always waves back. But that’s about as far as I have taken it recently. Until today.

Eloise was just rounding the crest of the hill at about the midpoint of our street when I went out to the bank of locking boxes to retrieve our mail. I felt that rotten little poison blowdart of tension you feel when you wrestle with avoiding someone you really ought not, trying to decide whether they’ve spotted you, whether there’s any chance whatsoever that they might think you haven’t spotted them, that they might interpret your failure to stop and chew the fat as simple obliviousness on your part. No chance of that in this case, so I put on my man pants and waved hello. We met up in the driveway of the next neighbor down and exchanged pleasantries.

It was obvious from the get-go that she had gotten considerably worse. She put up a good front, but obviously did not know who I was. That didn’t really matter, however, because she was desperate to talk to someone, and apparently I qualified. She asked if I was taking a walk and I replied that I had just come out to get our mail. “Oh,” she said wistfully, “I thought maybe you were going to keep walking down that way.” She pointed back the way she’d come. “Nope,” I chirped, wishing a meteor would come crashing to earth that very second and smash me flat—hell, smash us both—”Just out to get my mail and take in my garbage cans. So, how are you doing?”

Bad question. I won’t go into details here, but she began to relay a very distressing story about her children, and their plans to take all of her money. I don’t give the story much credence; the son she’s living with is a successful oral surgeon who would not seem to need the dough, and she kept confusing details—referring to her late husband and her (presumably) late father interchangeably, for instance. I listened sympathetically for a bit, grinding my mental molars all the while, until the neighbor’s car pulling into the driveway broke our conversational continuum and gave me a chance to make a break for it.

“Well, I’ve got to go put my garbage cans away and get dinner on,” I said brightly. I bade her farewell and beat feet.

This is the kind of exchange that leaves me feeling husked-out and utterly vanquished, physically and morally. I’m not a cold person by nature, but in the face of a seemingly endless well of a near-stranger’s tragic need, the chasm yawns before me and I turn tail and run. I retreat to my comfortable home, my cherished partner and my mountains of toys. I don’t know whether I’m selfishly trying to preserve and protect my limited free time from the unquenchable hungers of people who don’t really matter to me and aren’t my problem, or if I’m reflexively trying to stave off acknowledgement of my own inevitable descent into decrepitude by fleeing from someone who desperately needs a little compassion. More to the point, I don’t know which would be worse, would be less understandable, more deplorable.

When I think of the possibility of someday becoming that person, becoming the shuffling ghost on the streets of my neighborhood, I am filled with terror. The way I think now, I would hope that I would find it in me to kill myself long before that ever happened. But I bet lots of people think that way when they’re thirty, forty, fifty years old. Life has a way of wanting to perpetuate itself, even when it has lost much of its savor. And truth be told, I don’t really know what goes on in her mind. How much does she remember at this point? Does she really know her circumstances? Does she continue to mark her passage through time? Or are her days spent in a perpetual twilight of moments, strung together but separate like beads on a choker?

All I really know for sure is that I will never walk down my own street any further in the direction of Eloise’s place than my own mailbox for the rest of her life. That knowledge shames me almost more than I can stand.


A New Development at UAdN….or Rather, a Really Old One

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:54 pm

Various problems over the last few weeks/months have convinced me to try an experiment: I have moved Uncle Andrew dot Net off of a Windows XP/IIS box and onto an old Power Macintosh G4 Cube. I bought this thing off of a former co-worker of Margaret’s a year or so ago, and had been trying to find some use for it lest it continue to simply sit around gathering dust.

As it happens, I am just about fed up with the Internet Information Services experience….at least in the form that exists on the Windows XP Pro workstation platform, as it relates to the implementation of WordPress, my blogging software of choice. There are a cluster of heretofore unresolved issues with running WordPress under IIS 5, and every time the WordPress dev team gets around to squashing one bug, two more seem to pop up. As often as not, the answer to a call for help with an IIS install on the WordPress Support Forums is, “use Apache“.

I have little to complain about given that this software is provided to the public absolutely free—not so much as an ad or unsolicited  “complimentary” Yahoo! toolbar—so if the developers have trouble with or lack interest in making their ‘ware work with certain platforms, that is my tough titty. I’m sure that if I went out and spent seven to twelve hundred dollars for a copy of Windows 2008 Server, with its massively-revamped and tuned IIS 7, I would find it to be a much more robust and powerful a platform for Web development, blah blah blah. But I’m not trying to build a vast dotNet empire of interlinked Web applications and services; I just want to whine and kvetch from my own personal digital soapbox, with as few obstacles and difficulties as possible. WordPress and IIS 5 don’t provide that; WordPress and Apache do. So, a Cubin’ we will go….at least for the time being.

I’ve found getting back into the *nix swing of things to be relatively painless. I am by no stretch of the imagination a guru at any platform of Web server, but there is something about the straightforward, text-based nature of the Apache system that I find appealing. Just about everything you want to tweak in an Apache Web server can be found in the httpd.conf file, and every possible tweak can be found with about five minutes’ worth of Googling. Fuck something up? As long as you haven’t closed the document you’re editing, you can “Undo” your way back to the point just before the upfucking occurred and re-save it. Nothing much simpler than that. Also, I find that I understand the Terminal better than I do the Windows command line. Other than Windows’ extraordinarily straightforward batch-file scripting language, the Unix command line—and more particularly, the Macintosh iteration of same—just fits me better. Gotta learn more about scripting via the cli though, definitely.

Anyways, I am hoping that this changeover will solve the problems I have been experiencing with my IIS box, both myself in-house and with certain visitors’ ability to visit and use my server. Please let me know if you have any difficulties. We know you have your choice of blogs, and thank you for choosing Uncle Andrew dot Net.


Here I Go Again On My Own

Filed under: @ 6:34 pm

My fourth 3 Day is a little over a month away.
I’ve got two pairs of well broken in walking shoes. I’ve got six pairs of quick drying, heavily cushioned, wicking walking socks. I’ve got high support, wicking sports bras (three crop top, three tank top to be chosen depending on the weather), I’ve got three pairs of elastic waisted, wicking spandex running shorts (the wise wear running shorts as underwear to avoid chafing) as well as three pairs of quick dry elastic waisted over-shorts (I’ve lost some weight in the past three months but not so much that I’m going to parade about in public for three days in spandex). I’ve got light weight, vented, convertible long to short sleeve over shirts. I’ve got sunscreen, a hat, camera, bandannas, bug repellant, sleeping bag, camp mattress, my own blister kit, a folding camp chair…

What I’ve not got is an idea for a t-shirt.

Understand that a t-shirt isn’t a vital part of my equipment, god knows I’ve got plenty of 3 Day related shirts to wear, including last year’s blockbuster which engendered some of the more entertaining conversations I’ve ever had in my life.
But a team t-shirt, even for a team of only one is tradition. And it’s fun. Especially since I know the graphics designer pretty well and we can tart up the shirt as much as the situation, and inspiration, demands.

So any help from any or all of you readers would certainly be welcome. I’m sticking with the “Team Ecccentrica” name, even as a solo walker, mostly because I have yet to have anyone catch on to the Hitchhiker’s reference without prompting and I’m interested in whether or not anyone will.

On a less frivolous note, I know I said it last year and I’ll most likely say it again, and again, and again this year and next year and however many years I end up doing this, but this is a remarkable experience for anyone who cares to participate in it. I’m not, in any way, shape, or form, suggesting that any of you sign up for this year. If you’ve not been doing some pretty serious walking on your own, starting to train a month in advance and expecting that you’ll be able to walk 60 miles without literally terminal muscle cramps and blisters, is foolish.
But if anyone would care to join me in a difficult, painful, and remarkable spiritual journey next year, I’m already planning on doing it again.

I can’t imagine why I keep doing this to myself.

Oh and for those of you who are local and who might wish to show up, I’ll post a list of the cheering stations and times for opening (it’s at 6 a.m. at Bellevue Community College on the 12th of September, don’t bother) and closing ceremonies as soon as I have them.
I promise not to do anything unfortunate to my knees this year.

Donations cheerfully accepted here.



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:46 am

This week Margaret and I are burning off a few vacation hours that we would otherwise not have the time to use. We spent all of our travel budget this year on home improvements, so if we want to take a trip to an exotic locale we have to go sit in our new shower. No biggie: while we love going places other than our home, we also love just sitting around enjoying each other’s company, reading books, watching movies, and serving as slow-moving jungle gyms for our new kittens as they carom throughout the house. Anyway, so if posts are kind of thin, it’s because I’m not turning on the computer quite so much this week. Now on to the festivities.

While we were down in Olympia last week Margaret and I stopped in at Bagel Brothers, a quite-respectable bagel joint in the area, for lunch. Bagel Brothers isn’t a hard-core Jewish deli style bagel place—any comestabulary that offers Cheesy Jalapeno bagels is a bit too goy for that—but they also do not offer, in the parlance of my father-in-law, “round bread”. You know; those puffy, fluffy counterfeit bagels you get at the majority of the chain places or at the grocery store. And they’re a local business, which of course we prefer to support.

This particular Bagel Brothers—okay, the only Bagel Brothers—sits next to one of Washington’s state-run liquor stores. The relevance of this will become apparent in a moment.

As we sat munching our lunches—Margaret a roast beef and pesto and me a bagel with a schmear—an older, overweight man with a red face walked through the door. He sauntered over to the soda fountain, grabbed one of the paper cups used for water, filled it with ice from the fountain, and walked back out the door.

It took perhaps thirty seconds for the scenario to truly register with me….right around the time I remembered the flattish, rectangular brown-paper-bag-wrapped package tucked in the crook of his flabby arm.

This human hemorrhoid had just picked up a fifth of some form of liquor at the package store, then walked into the mom ‘n pop eatery next door to steal a cup of ice so he could go enjoy his refreshing beverage on the rocks. After which, no doubt, he would return via car to his job as a Kindergarten bus driver.

I got up and headed out the door, intending to perhaps confront the man, to at least use my phone to take pictures of his license plate and report him to the police. Sadly my logy neurological pathways had kept me in my seat long enough for him to make his getaway, either on foot or in that presumptive motor vehicle that had now become a loaded weapon.

At that moment I truly hated, hated this man. From the callous inconsideration of his petty theft, through the crushing personal and public burden of his obvious addiction, to the potentially life-endangering felony of his driving under the influence, I wanted nothing more than for him to be obliterated, flensed from the Earth. His hopes, his fears, his sicknesses—none of it mattered; excise him whole and cast him into the void like so much infectious waste. Quickly, before he metastasizes, further jeopardizing the health of the whole.

Of course this was as much a statement of my feelings of impotence and inadequacy for failing to react in time as it was anything about him; I’m not blind to that. But the feeling, much reduced but still potent, endures.

In reflecting on it later, I was forced to come to the somewhat exasperating conclusion that the reason I hated him so much was due to his obvious and all-encompassing lack of consideration for his fellow human beings.

Let’s go over that again, shall we? I hated this man for not loving his fellow Man.

Philosophical and epistemological musings on the subject aside, what I really needed was a term for this sort of sentiment. It took a good half a week to come up with one I thought fit the bill, a kind of doubling-up and folding-over of the concept of hatred of hatred: misanthropistpy.

Better still, a person who practices misanthropistpy is….drumroll please….a misanthropistpist.

I’m particularly pleased with that aspect of the neologism, with its double helping of “pist”. Double-pist is exactly how I felt that day.

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