Archive for August, 2002

Yesterday, my posse and I

August 29, 2002

Yesterday, my posse and I went to Speedway Raceway, an indoor cart racing track in a warehouse in south Phoenix. For only $16—because I got a membership for $20—I did fifteen laps around their quarter-mile track. Best time: 35.60 seconds. Also, I came in last due to a blunder in a tight turn. D’oh!

The speedway is an awesome place to race small little carts. It’s got a winding, tight track and the carts go about 30-35 m.p.h. in my estimation. Plus, it’s got a tunnel—you’ve got to love a tunnel. One of these days I’ll put up pictures for you, the viewing public.

Looks like the gift is

August 23, 2002

Looks like the gift is a mousepad. Oh yeah, and the chance to stand in line in front of an Apple Store.

I have filled out the

August 23, 2002

I have filled out the entry blanks to possibly win an iMac, so I’d like to believe that this line to drop off the blank. We’ll see.

I’m standing here in line

August 23, 2002

I’m standing here in line near the Apple Store at Biltmore Fashion Park waiting for who knows what. There is probably 200 people ahead of me in line. This is all part of some Mac OS X 10.2 hoopla. Since I’ve already got 10.2 installed (it came via upgraded delivery today instead of tomorrow), I can only chalk this up to general insanity.

Recently, I listened to an

August 23, 2002

Recently, I listened to an audio book version of Dave Barry’s Dave Berry is Not Taking This Standing Up. It reminded me why I stopped reading his column: his humor is entirely based on fantasy and misrepresenting reality.

If you’re not familiar with Dave Barry, he writes about real things but makes up so many of the details that he must insert “And I’m not making this up” whenever he presents a fact. What’s more, the details that he makes up are not subtle.

To a younger or superficial reader, this is funny stuff. I am now neither and I find his columns formulaic and reliant on “humor crutches.” I can read one occasionally and even occasionally laugh, but I will never sit through six compact discs worth of his dreck. The speaker, though, did an amazing job of reading—one of the few positives about the many-weeks-of-commute-time experience.

Over the course of the

August 22, 2002

Over the course of the homeboundedness, I had a chance to read Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Let me start by saying that I love her Hercule Poirot mysteries. I devour them at every opportunity. I think it is strictly because of David Suchet, the English actor who played Poirot on A&E’s series of the same name. Side note: if you ever get a chance to listen to him read a Hercule Poirot mystery on an audio book, don’t pass it up. He does all of the voices for the story and he has an amazing ability to convey their various emotions orally.

The novel takes place on board a train called the Orient Express, which runs from Istanbul to Calais. The story unfolds, though, as the train is snowbound somewhere in Yugoslavia. A murder, naturally, is committed under very peculiar circumstances, also naturally. The story’s twists and turns are too numerous to mention here, as it is rather involved. The ending was surprising and unexpected, though plausible. All in all, it was a worthy read especially if you like mysteries (and haven’t read this one, Christie’s most famous).

Not a particularly insightful review, to be sure. The interesting aspect of reading Murder on the Orient Express was the act of reading it. Two things struck me as unusual and worthy of comment.

  1. Christie inserted a jibe at the mystery genre. As she did in Death on the Nile, one of the characters points out a clue and Poirot is made to remark about how that would be a clue in a mystery novel and thus was obviously planted to throw him off the track. It was interesting because she is consciously pointing out a cliché of the genre and simultaneously saying that she wasn’t going to fail her readers by relying on such pabulum.
  2. She had Poirot explain the method by which he arrived at his conclusions. At one point in the novel, Poirot and several investigators ponder the case while deep in thought. Poirot’s thoughts are hidden, while Christie focuses on the other investigators muddled and rambling thought process. Later on, at the climax of the book, she has Poirot give his amazing account of the crime and then proceed to let us in on what he was thinking about earlier. Admittedly, I haven’t read much detective fiction (Sherlock Holmes and a couple Hercule Poirot mysteries), but I haven’t encountered such an epistemological examination before. It makes me want to read some of her other works and see if this is a regular part of her plots. If it is, I’m sold!

I think I like mysteries for that very reason. They commonly lay all of the facts out before you, the reader, but they obscure the essential facts in a blizzard of noise and circumstance. The astute reader can usually get substantial parts of the puzzle correct, while the layman gets to witness an astute evaluator of facts solve it. I have a book that likens historians to detectives and I am becoming more and more convinced that that thesis is basically correct—except that the historian has a much harder task because more of the facts are obscured or even obliterated.

I’ve been using AdWords Select

August 22, 2002

I’ve been using AdWords Select for the last week to advertise my pottery painting studio and it has been working well. Click-throughs are at 1.5% on the terms I’ve purchased and I’ve spent a little over $1 so far! It helps to buy a general keyword and narrow it through ad copy.

I bought “pottery painting” for example and wrote my copy to say “Our northeast Phoenix pottery studio …” This serves much better than buying “pottery painting phoenix” to achieve the same effect since the former keywords are much more used. Yay!

My longer term strategy is to get rid of the Fuseboxing and use straight CFMX pages instead. Not difficult to do, but time consuming since each page will have to be re-composed. Also, must remember to plan for contingencies—old links, bookmarks, etc.

Ugh, I have to use

August 22, 2002

Ugh, I have to use Internet Explorer to post these entries instead of my preferred browser, OmniWeb. For some reason, OmniWeb’s not posting forms well or not interpreting the JavaScript that Blogger uses.

It’s been a pretty rough

August 22, 2002

It’s been a pretty rough couple of days. On Monday, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage. My life has pretty much been on hold since Monday at 2:15 p.m. when I got her call.

Conceptually, I know that our fetus (which we affectionately called Sunshine) was a potentiality. Emotionally, it’s hard to reconcile that view with the fact that that particular potentiality was going to be an actuality (or should have been, damnit!). One day you’re pregnant and the next day you’re not.

I’ve heard people talk about miscarriages and I always felt for them, but I was always operating on the potentiality premise. Now I truly understand the significance. The important thing is I wanted it to be born. It has left a void in my life. It’s like if someone stole my car (only much, much more)—I was planning on going to work today and now I can’t. Well, I was planning on having a son or daughter in March and now I can’t.

And it hurts.

My friend Larry and his

August 15, 2002

My friend Larry and his friend (I’d consider him my own too, now) Sean just left this morning. (This morning is more of a conceptual notion since this post is technically going out in the morning.) Larry just finished law school and is moving to Washington, D.C. to clerk for a judge.

They were in town because Sean is accompanying Larry on the San Diego to St. Louis leg. Sean is chronicling the journey on his site in his inimitable style. In the Day 2 entry, Sean makes some pretty absurd claims about Laser Quest. Just because the guy gets a lucky game (scoring 1000+ points), suddenly he’s an expert about laser game strategy. He speaks derisively about people who find a “magic hiding place”—that’s me he’s referring to, by the way. You should have seen my spot though. It had awesome views of four different areas and I ranked at second place (behind Sean). All in all, I had a great time shooting my friends and various small kids.