Tuesday, January 30, 2001


Another thing that has been occupying my time is my newly acquired hobby of skiing.

Well, actually I did attempt one other ski trip, back in '94. My friend Ben, who has been skiing since birth, kept encouraging me to go skiing with him some time. With his vast experience, he'd be able to show me how to ski. So a group of us planned a trip to Seven Springs. Unfortunately, due to an illness in the family, Ben had to drop out at the last moment. Not to worry, he assured me, I could just learn from the guys who were going.

So I rented my skis, and while we were going up the lift, I asked my friends for some pointers on skiing. Skiing? No, they only knew how to snowboard. Oops. So I went down the mountain -- once. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Oh sure, the repetition may be annoying you, but at least you're not falling over constantly. I got to the bottom, turned in my skis, and put off the sport of skiing for a while.

Well, the weekend before last, I took it up again. We went to Whitetail. This time I took a lesson. And it made all the difference in the world. I had a certain amount of fear based on my experiences trying to learn how to do other things involving coordination -- like rollerblading. If I tried to learn with a bunch of people, almost everyone else would get the hang of it quicker. The instructor would say, "Do A. OK, now that you've mastered A, here's how you do B. And C. Now try D." Meanwhile, I'm stumbling along trying to figure out A. As a result, I was very nervous right before the class started.

I needn't have worried. I don't know where on Planet Clumsy they found my fellow beginning skiiers, but boy did they make me feel better by comparison. Half an hour into the lesson, we were ready to practice going downhill. A little. We would walk up the hill for a minute, then ski the distance we had just covered. Simple enough. I found myself picking up more speed than I'd like, but I'd turn at the bottom and slow to a stop. Not my classmates. They were constantly falling down, running into each other... After an hour or so of this routine, it was time to inflict them on the rest of the slope via the lift.

After riding up, the instructor gave us coupons for hot chocolate and a $29 return visit. He was doing that, he said, in case we got separated on the slope. After skiing down a little bit, a group of us waited for the rest to catch up. We noticed the instructor heading back up to help someone who had fallen and couldn't figure out how to stand up again. Someone said, "Can we just go? It's not like he can stop us." So we went.

I had fun. If you look at the trail map, I only skiied the two tiny ones on the far left. But I had fun. And I only fell once, getting off the lift. And I knocked over some orange cones. Woo hoo! It was so much fun that I wanted to go back the next weekend...

Sunday, January 28, 2001

The Sims

I realize I haven't updated this in quite some time. What have I been up to? A number of things, but one of them is The Sims. The Sims is a computer game that simulates, uh, real life. Why playing around with an imaginary character, getting him to work, to eat and to sleep is more interesting than doing the same in my life remains a mystery. Nevertheless, I want to share with you some fine moments from the life of Fred Grantham, my alter ego.

Here, Fred practices his big speech...

And here, he goes for a little late-night indulgence of his artistic side...

Finally, here's a picture of the Sim-Grantham house...

Friday, January 19, 2001

Very Funny

Football. Days to delivery, 6. Male postal carrier was talkative and asked recipient about the scores of various current games. Carrier noted that mail must be wrapped.

It's been a while since I posted anything. What I do have to pass along is a very funny article on "Postal Experiments" from The Annals of Improbable Research.

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Name This Story

Ben, Paul and I last year tried to write a collaborative story. We didn't get very far, but I've done a little editing and posted what little we made it through at Name This Story.

Note: I've removed the attributions, butI I'd like everyone to know I'm not the one who introduced the concept of "pants with no ass" to the story.

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

Stick a Fork in Her

Looks like Chavez is done for the Labor post, according to the Washington Post. Well, I'll keep those quotes around in case she gets nominated for something else later.

Another Chavez Quote

I guess everybody's focusing on the Guatemalan "guest" story, but here's another nasty quote from the Senate campaign:

'Puter Patch

I changed most of my web pages today on the old server to re-direct here. I did a google search to see who had pointed to the old pages (so I could e-mail them if necessary) and found a mention of a now-dormant weblog of mine.

"I found another interesting blog today:

Slaves of Karthon -
Basically its a fictional weblog. The author is using it to post his character's campaign journal from some kind of role-playing game. It's an interesting idea and I'm curious to know whether others have done similar things.... "
--the 'puter patch June 6, 2000.

Looks like the 'puter patch is now dormant itself...

Thursday, January 04, 2001

Well, That's Sort of Getting at It

Chavez is well known to many in the Washington area for her 1986 campaign against then-Rep. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) for an open U.S. Senate seat. Chavez accused Mikulski of supporting "Marxist-feminist" and "anti-male" views, suggested she has "a hostility to working with males," and called her a "San Francisco-style, George McGovern liberal."
--Mike Allen and Frank Swoboda, "Chavez Likely Will Face Intense Senate Hearings", The Washington Post, Thursday, January 4, 2001, p. A12.

Wednesday, January 03, 2001

San Francisco-Style Democrat

I'm annoyed that Bush nominated Linda Chavez to his Cabinet. I don't like her. Why? Consider these quotes from her 1986 Senate campaign versus Barbara Mikulski:

  • "We are as different as two people can be," said Chavez. "Barbara Mikulski is a San Francisco-style Democrat -- people are going to reject her brand of liberalism . . . . Barbara can run but she cannot hide."
    --Tom Kenworthy, Michel McQueen, "Schaefer, Mikulski Win in Md.; GOP Nominates Chavez for Senate Race; Turnout Is Modest", The Washington Post, September 10, 1986, p. A1.

  • A political insider says:
    ''Mikulski is the one Democrat who gives the Republicans hope for winning. . . . Her life style, her conduct with the staff is very much on the order of Bella Abzug. That's not going to go very far with Roman Catholics and some other Maryland voters.''
    --John Dillin, "Battle lines set for party struggle to control Senate", The Christian Science Monitor, September 11, 1986, p. 3.

  • Linda Chavez, the Republican nominee in the nation's sole women-only Senate race, said Wednesday she is more in tune with Maryland's voters because she is a mother with a mother's perspective on issues such as war and peace and illegal drugs.
    Talking with reporters later in the White House driveway, Chavez said the fact that she is married, while Mikulski has never been, is not an issue.
    As a mother, she said, "I think that I have a perspective which I think is common to people in the state of Maryland, and I'm not sure she does. ...
    In other comments, Chavez said she merely was using "a political term" when she referred to Mikulski on election night as "a San Francisco-style, George McGovern, liberal Democrat.""I think it was very clear from what I said last night _ and I have tapes of it _ that we were talking about philosophical differences and that she represents the leftward shift of the national Democratic Party," Chavez said.
    --Terence P. Hunt, "Motherhood Becomes Issue in Woman-Vs.-Woman Senate Race", Associated Press, September 10, 1986.

I'll leave it to the reader to decide the connotation of "San Francisco-style" and "life style" in this context. But I was annoyed that my Google search for 'San Francisco-style Democrat' turned up nary a mention of this controversy that I remember quite vividly. I don't think anyone will bring this up in her confirmation, or that it would hold things up anyway. But at least as soon as Google indexes this page, people will be able to search for these quotes.

Tuesday, January 02, 2001

Pseudorandom Thoughts

I had considered changing the name of "Android's Dungeon" for the New Year/new site. I decided against it, but if I did, 'Pseudorandom Thoughts' would be a candidate.

Well, pseudoprime.com is now pointing to the rni.net home page. I sent them e-mail about it.

I wrote a check yesterday and put "1/1/1" in the date part. Fun.