Archive of November, 2001
November 30, 2001:
While I was visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my father was kind enough to point out that I've started losing my hair. Great. Heredity is such a wonderful thing.
November 29, 2001:
The new season of X-Files started recently. I think it's season 10, maybe 45 or 50. I just don't recognize the show any more. It's no longer interesting. In fact, I couldn't watch the whole episode; I was clicking back and forth to the football game. And Sunday's episode featured Lucy Lawless swimming around naked -- OK, "apparently naked" since it's network TV and they can't actually show anything. Anyway, the idea is, if I can't even watch to satisfy my desire to see attractive women without any apparent clothes on, how am I supposed to watch a regular episode?
So, basically, I'm saying let the show die already. Let it go out while it's still kind of on top, and before it really starts to suck.
November 28, 2001:
Some scientists announced over the weekend that they had successfully implanted the DNA from an adult human's tissue into a woman's egg cell. In other words, a clone like Dolly the sheep. They ulimately failed -- all the cells died before anything useful could be done -- but that hasn't stopped the most technophobic members of the Congress from doing their Chicken Little routine.
The Republicans (who I voted for in 2000 simply because they weren't Democrats) have decried the latest experiment as "creating life to destroy life" and as the work of "mad scientists." Ugh.
These "clones" are alive in the same sense as the fertilized eggs in a fertility clinic. Nobody complains when would-be parents decide they no longer want their embryos, and those cells don't even get used to prolong existing human lives. That's what these cells are for. Scientists want stem cells -- cells that exist in a body before differentiating into heart cells, bone cells, etc. -- that can be used to find new treatments for genetic diseases like cancer and (maybe) Alzheimer's. In theory, the cells could be "convinced" to grow into a new organ to replace the original human's failing body systems.
And this is what the Republicans want to stop. God forbid we offer someone a heart transplant years from now that doesn't require someone else's death and carries no risk of rejection.
Now, there is the possibility that these stem cells could be made to grow into a fully-formed human being, and that human would be a clone of the original DNA donor. (OK, not a perfect clone -- the DNA in the cells' mitochondria would be different, but that doesn't really affect anything.) There are significant problems with that though -- Dolly the sheep, for example, like any other cloned animal aged quickly because some of the aging process is tied to the age of the DNA -- and those problems don't look like they're going to be overcome any time soon. Until that day comes, I don't think cloning will be anything more than what the scietists say they want it to be: A means of saving existing lives, not creating new ones.
November 27, 2001:
Contrary to the mostly negative news about my attempt to lose weight, it's actually going fairly well. My clothes fit me better now, and that's always a good start. So I figured that maybe I lost five pounds or so. While I'm visiting my mother and stepfather over Thanksgiving, I step on the scale, and it says I've gained five pounds or so.
Now if I'd been exercising, I'd be able to accept this. But I haven't been. Any ideas?
November 26, 2001:
Jason's Truths of Life, #536: People who are trying to watch their weight shouldn't visit their family for Thanksgiving. After spending four days in the Akron area stuffing food into my gaping maw like there's no tomorrow, I feel like a less-wrinkly Jabba the Hutt.
Time to start drinking those Slim Fast drinks again.
November 24, 2001:
Note to self: Stuff I think is funny after I've been drinking isn't really all that funny.
November 23, 2001:
I'm working out how to implement a site search. I could probably go dig one up and repurpose it, but I want to program the thing myself. I'm not saying this will go in immediately -- I'll be surprised if I finish before mid-December since I don't like doing more Web stuff when I get home from work -- but it is the next thing on my plate.
So keep a lookout for it.
November 22, 2001:
The Browns once again beat Art Modell's Rat-birds, this time in Baltimore, 27-17.
November 21, 2001:
I'm going back to Akron for the Thanksgiving weekend, thus I will not be here. I have just enough entries stored up here to keep BF running though. So before you drop into your turkey-induced coma, go ahead and give a look.
November 20, 2001:
With a little more preparation time before my (hopefully) second interview at W&J, I took a drive to Washington to make sure I'd have time to get there. With no traffic, it takes 45 minutes. With traffic, I'd have to give myself an hour and a half.
And maybe I'd show up disgustingly early. But I definitely prefer it to showing up late. That's embarassing. "Hi, I'd like to take this job that requires a great deal of responsibility. But I can't even figure out how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B." Ugh. I can deal with some of my flaws (the beer gut, my smart-ass attitude, etc.) but I hate being late for things. It just seems amateurish to me.
November 19, 2001:
OK, so the last few months there have been multiple impulse buys. It's not my fault that I got entertainment system envy.
Oh yeah, actually, it is.
Anyway, this month's gratuitous waste of money was sent to the Cleveland Browns' team shop for a Courtney Brown (#92) jersey. So I can let all the Pittsburghers know to hassle me when I'm at the bar watching the Browns games on Sundays.
At least it was cheaper than the hockey jersey I bought a few months ago.
November 17, 2001:
Went out drinking with some of my coworkers Friday night after work. One of them is getting married on the 23rd. So on his last weekend of bachelordom, he ... left at 8:00.
November 16, 2001:
The last few nights, I've been watching a Sci-Fi Channel mini-series giving the backstory of the series Lexx. For those of you who know good TV when you see it (and thus avoid Lexx) the series basically revolves around the concept of "Hey, here's a really attractive woman in skimpy clothing on a spaceship." From what I've seen, individual episodes don't have much along the way of plot (probably by design).
But this eight-hour mini-series actually has something kind of like a plot. And it ain't bad. Kinda like the Batman series from the '60s -- schlock, but funny. So I watched all four episodes.
Or maybe I'm so desperate for something to watch on TV that even this will do. I'm sure the attractive woman in skimpy clothes has nothing to do with it ;)
November 15, 2001:
On the block today is Enterprise. A few other people have made comments along the lines of "pleasantly surprised after Voyager," so I'll spare you my iteration of it. (Or not.)
Anyway, better writing and acting aside, here's a few Good Things that I've noticed:
- Earth Views in the opening credits. Notice that when Earth is on the screen you can't see any stars. That's actually the way it works -- Earth is so much brighter than any star that its light drowns them out. Nice touch.
- Human-acting humans are all over the place. The exploring humans offer up a very noticeable dichotomy: They don't trust the Vulcans (and vice versa) yet they rush into any first encounter with open arms, basically declaring, "We're here and we're friendly!" In other words, about how someone from our time would probably act.
- To expand on the last point, there's Terran-Vulcan friction. The two races just met a few decades ago in the series' time, and they don't get along real well. The Vulcans think the humans are arrogant and overly emotional. The humans think Vulcans are overbearing and condescending. And they're both right. You can see where a lot of work has to be done on race relations in the 100 years or so before the original series' time.
So all in all, I think it's a good show. My only real gripe is that the ship is too spacious. The original series' USS Enterprise was fairly cramped -- only the senior officers had a lot of living space. On the 22nd-Century USS Enterprise, everyone seems to have more space in their quarters than I have in my apartment. There are other things like sound in space and "streaking" stars passing by at warp speeds, but I've just gotten used to those.
So to summarize, good show. Watch. UPN needs the ratings ;)
November 14, 2001:
I did a stupid thing Saturday evening. My allergies were acting up and I decided that Sudafed wasn't going to quite cut it. Took a NyQuil instead. And was out cold in less than 20 minutes. I dozed intermittently for another hour or so, then gave up and went to bed.
Oddly enough, I woke up at 9:00 Sunday morning and felt well-rested.
November 13, 2001:
A couple weeks ago, there was an article on ESPN.com about the Cleveland Browns Backers, a worldwide Browns fan group. I did a little digging on the Net and found the Pittsburgh chapter. The group meets at a bar in the North Hills (well, I think it's part of the North Hills) and I've gone to there for the last two games.
And the Browns have ... lost ... the last two games. Hmm. Ah well. Maybe I can avoid going 0-for-3 this Sunday when the Browns play the Ravens again.
November 12, 2001:
OK, that interview Friday probably got off to the worst start ever. I got stuck in traffic on 279 south (at 3:30 in the afternoon!) and showed up 10 minutes late. Then I got lost on the two one-way streets in Washington, PA. Not exactly a stellar beginning.
It did imprve, though. Once I got going, I think I did a good job of conveying why I'd be good for the job (they're creating a Webmaster position, and I'm one of the 7 candidates trying to be the first to fill it) and I have a pretty good idea of what they want to do with the site.
So now I have two things to do. First, send a follow-up e-mail (which may be difficult, since I don't have the address of the person who interviewed me). Then the hard part: Wait a week or so for them to decide.
So, maybe I'll be posting a more upbeat item here in a little while.
November 10, 2001:
Have an interview Friday afternoon with Washington & Jefferson College. Have to get from work to the college, get changed into my suit and make it to the office in one hour. Nothing like a challenge.
November 09, 2001:
I was at the Giant Eagle making my weekly grocery run and was waiting at the checkout line. A guy goes past me into an aisle and -- I promise I'm not making this up -- makes a "vroom" noise as he passes me.
For just a split second I thought he was crazy. Then I realized that I'd probably do something like that myself.
November 08, 2001:
It's official: This whole trying to lose weight thing is over. I finally said to hell with it and bought a bag of those bite-sized candy bars when I went to the Giant Eagle today. I still have some low-fat stuff (it turns out some of it's pretty good), but I'm no longer going out of my way to slim down. Guess I'm going to just have to live with being a fat-ass for a while longer.
November 07, 2001:
The day has finally come. After spending months silently lambasting webmasters who no longer support Netscape 4, I've become one of them.
Recently, I completed the re-write of my site to be HTML 4.01 and CSS 1 compliant. After spending several hours creating the style sheets that control the placement of everything and making sure that everything worked and still validated, I found out that Brain Farts breaks Netscape 4. I tried for a couple more hours to make it work, but it just isn't happening.
So I had to make a hard choice: Give up my (idealistic) goal of having a standards-compliant site, or give up on Netscape 4? I finally decided to put Netscape 4 out to pasture.
I'm actually kind of conflicted about this. I'm by no means a supporter of Microsoft -- for reasons both political and due to product quality -- but I can no longer spend the time on what is essentially my hobby for Netscape's buggy (and sometimes downright wrong) interpretation of the standards.
So if you're like me and don't want to use M$ products, please go download Netscape 6.2 from www.netscape.com or Mozilla 0.9.5 from www.mozilla.org if you want a good browser that is more standards-compliant than anything released on the PC. (OK, technically Opera 5's a little better -- www.opera.com -- but I've been following Mozilla's progress for a couple years now and I'm kinda rooting for it.)
Sorry for the inconvinience, Netscape 4 users.
November 06, 2001:
Since I didn't get the job I interviewed for (see Saturday's Brain Fart) I decided to take a look at the Pittsburgh Tech. Council's Web site and see what they have on the table. What do I see? Posted on Friday November 11th by the recruiter I was working with, is the job I interviewed for.
This means one of two things: A clerical error (which is possible, I suppose) or something a little more bothersome. That they didn't hire somebody else -- they hired nobody. That they interviewed me and decided it would be better to go on being understaffed. I have this nagging feeling that door number two is the right one.
Well, shit. It's one thing to get beaten out by the competition -- these things happen -- especially considering how tight the job market is nowadays. But this is just depressing. Now it's really starting to look like I'm stuck in my current job. And two people who also see through the bullshit just got canned.
This coming week is going to suck.
November 05, 2001:
An open letter to the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator:
While I'm pleased with the way the defense performed in the first six games of the season, please be advised: If I were the GM, I'd have fired your dumb ass the instant you called the prevent defense. What one Earth were you thinking? Of all the idiotic schemes you could have called, that one takes the cake.
I don't know if you've noticed, but the history of the Browns goes back beyond 1999. And the fans still have a very bad taste in their mouth over another, rather famous, calling of the prevent. You might have heard some people refer to it as "The Drive."
But the fans' feelings aside, I thought you were a professional? It's been shown time and time again that the only thing the prevent accomplishes is losing you the ballgame. You had the Bears on the run for the entire game. Why change? What defective neuron in your brain fired and said, "Hey, let's run the prevent!" How can any coach beyond the pee-wee league even give this strategy any thought whatsoever? You should know better, and Butch Davis should have known better than to let you try it.
So be glad I'm not Carmen Policy. 'Cause you'd be out on the street right now, trying to figure out where the hell your career just went.
Note to self: Don't write an entry when you've had a few beers and you're ticked off about your team blowing an important game. I've toned down the language to something like normal for me. It was pretty silly before.
November 03, 2001:
One of the recruiters called me this afternoon. A company I'd looked at a while ago (they wound up hiring their temp) is looking for people again. She's trying to get me an interview on Monday.
I looked at their site last time, and I like the work they do -- they're even more into accessibility than I am, and it's one of my pet peeves that JBDC does a shitty job of attempting accessibility.
So here's to hoping I can start bitching about a new job soon ;)
Damnit. They wound up hiring someone else. There's a delay of about a week between me writing this and it getting posted, just in case you're wondering how long it took me to interview and get a third-party GFY. Back to the drawing board.
November 02, 2001:
I was watching Emeril on TV just now, and saw something just weird enough to pass on: An ostrich egg would take 45 minutes to hard-boil.
November 01, 2001:
At work, I have to give estimates for my time. How long will it take me to do such-and-such a project. Usually I do pretty well. Some parts take a little longer than my guess, other parts don't take as long as I thought -- it all tends to balance out. Maybe I'll have to work an hour of overtime. Shit happens.
Nothing's gone right on this one. Don't get me wrong; it's almost done. Well, maybe 90% done. But this is after 5 hours of extra work. And there's still more to go. It just seems like everything I do leads to another problem on this one.
Ah, I'm probably just having an unlucky streak. But it's annoying nonetheless.