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March 30, 2001

Wings of Cotton


I give Kelly her bath as often as Jean does, and it was last night that I realized that Kelly and I had more or less drifted into a post-bath ritual. After the wash, she climbs out dripping, as I stretch the towel out behind her like wings.

Kelly backs into the towel, and I wrap her in it, enclosing my arms around her. Then I pick her up into my lap, and I hug her dry. My shirt and pants usually get wet, but that doesn't matter.

I don't know which of us enjoys this ritual more.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:26 PM

March 29, 2001

Sharp Lifestyle


This is my day to catch up on posts, it seems. Jean and I went out on
Tuesday afternoon, before picking up Kelly from daycare, and
visited Sears, with an eye to replacing our ailing microwave. Before we
left for Vegas, Jean detected a funny plasticky smell, and assumed it
was the microwave. So we got an older back-up model out of the closet
and began using it, with the intention of shopping for a new one when we
got back from our trip.

After we got back, Kelly and Jean went to bed early, and I was futzing around in the kitchen in the dark. I looked for the light switch over the stove, and hit the fan switch by accident instead. I immediately heard a strained humming, but no air movement. I got the light on, and popped the filter off the hood over the stove. Out of the hood fell a strip of wood, looking somewhat beat up. The fan started to creak around. Turns out that the dang thing was jammed by the strip of wood stuck between the blades!

So my new operating hypothesis is that the smell that Jean detected was coming from the fan. Coincidentally, our back-up microwave decided to stop working just then, so I plugged in our main, supposedly broken microwave and tried it out. No funny smell. Jean agrees that it might be okay, but with no back-up microwave, and the fact that we hardly ever use the stove, we agreed to make this microwave the backup, and buy a new one.

So we made it to Sears, and found the microwaves just fine. We looked them over and narrowed it down to a couple of models. One of them, a Sharp (our current one is also a Sharp), had a metallic finish (burnished aluminum such as you see in professional kitchens) and it really appealed to me. By this time there was a sales lady hovering around asking if she could help us. Jean asked if there was any unit I liked, and I said "that one. I want that one. Let's get it now." "qbullet.smiley"

Jean was dumbfounded. She said later that she'd never seen me react to an appliance that way before. But I was adamant. I wanted that microwave, and said so in no uncertain terms. So what did the sales lady do? She started giving us a sales pitch! "This feature is fun. Just enter a number and punch this button..." "Uh huh," I said. "We'll take it."

"I think you'll really like it. Look at what else it can do..." This went on through three or four exchanges, with me always saying the equivalent of "can I buy the damn thing already?" But she was a sales bot, determined to walk nonchalantly through her sales brochure, pertaining to the sales of microwaves, Sharp brand.

Finally she agreed to actually find the model for us in the warehouse, and it turned out that they'd have to order one, not available until mid-April. At this point I was unwilling to negotiate the sales bot routine on yet another model, so I just said "please order it for us, then." I believe that the microwave we have will last at least that long, so cross your fingers. Oh, by the way, did you know you can now scramble eggs in a microwave?!! "qbullet.smiley"

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:14 PM

Viva Las Vegas


Last night I fired up Napster and
searched for "Viva Las Vegas" (as sung by Elvis Presley). When I
searched on Elvis Presley, I found nothing. Those RIAA filters
are working overtime. So I searched on 'Viva Las Vegas' and got
tons of matches. I found one accredited to 'Elsiv Presley', and
downloaded it. Sure enough it was Elvis. Guess those filters aren't up
to snuff just yet.

Anyway, what prompted this sojourn was that I wanted to commemorate the trip to Vegas by playing the song for Jean and Kelly. Maybe I'll buy the album some day, but to be frank, I'm not that big an Elvis fan. If the RIAA would get off their butts and sell songs online ala carte, I might be interested, but they are a bunch of crooks and cheats, so I Napstered this one (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of calling them crooks as I download a bootleg of Elvis).

My memory betrayed me again, as I recalled the opening bars following a sort of brisk samba pace, "dot dot Dot, dot da-Dot-da-da". But when I actually played it, it was much livelier, almost manic, "da-da-Da-da-da-Dadada", practically twice as fast as I'd remembered it.

I told Jean that I was downloading it, and she looked at me with a "are you crazy" look while saying "okaaaaay." I asked what the big deal was, and told her I just wanted to play the song for her and Kelly, and she said "OH, the song! I thought you were downloading the MOVIE!" "There's a movie?" I said. More cluelessness from Daddy Wakefield.

Today I drove Jean to see Dr. Ma, the opthalmic specialist she sees due to her eye problems (no problems today, just a regular check-up, which went okay). I had to drive because she was going to get her pupils dilated enough to park an SUV in, and couldn't drive back home herself. So after we returned, and before I went on to work, I played the song for her. She agreed that it was pretty manic, and noted that Ann-Margret was in the movie.

This is important mainly because Ann-Margret has a body of work in musicals where she dances in the most frantic manner imaginable, and Jean pointed out that this song would definitely kick that style into overdrive. As I was leaving for work, she said that Ann-Margret was a "hysterical seductress". I laughed nearly half-way to work.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:46 PM

The Agony and the Ecstasy


The other evening I was having dinner, and Kelly had not yet eaten. For
the record, I had (among other stuff) some 'baked beans' which were
homemade, from Great Northern beans, by Jean. I also had some homemade
whole wheat bread sticks.

As I ate, I asked Kelly if she was hungry yet. She said no, and I told her to bear in mind that 'the kitchen closes at 7:30 pm.' This is a rule in our house to curtail foot-dragging come bedtime. So Kelly wandered over to see what I was eating. I offered her a fork-full of beans, and she wrinkled her nose.

If that was all she'd done, that would be the end of this note. But she cranked herself up and began a rant, purely for dramatic effect:

Eww! That's disgusting! I can't believe you're eating that! I think I'm gonna be sick, yuck!

This rant is notable because it is the same one I give her, whenever catch her putting paper into her mouth, especially tissue. It really does gross me out, but I add a lot of drama because it seems to give her pleasure. So here she is doing the same thing to me, over beans.

After a short while, I finished a mouthful of beans and reached for the bread stick. I took a bite, and offered the end to her. Kelly walked up, looked at it for a moment, and then said "that looks appetizing." My five-year old daughter just flashes on the most adult phrasing sometimes. So Kelly had mostly bread sticks for dinner. "qbullet.smiley"

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:00 PM

March 27, 2001

An Entirely Personal Reference


I've linked to Greg Knauss' An Entirely Other Day before (see "In the Name of Halloween..."), and I think that time too was one which had more personal impact than general humor. Still, I gotta inflict this one on you, as it had me stifling chuckles for a whole minute.

The Harlan Ellison references will be lost on you if you didn't grow up reading his early belligerant stuff, as I did, and of course it's these references which got me chuckling.

I stumbled across this one while reading Kottke.org. He pointed to it and I followed. I don't read Greg Knauss' site regularly, but I should. EOD is sort of like a fortune cookie for the weird, or Suburban Snot-nosed Humor on Steroids. Perhaps I'll put it on my regular link rotation

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:52 PM

March 26, 2001

Picture == 1024 words


Do you think pictures capture memories in a way that eludes the mind? After a decade, many events have completely left my fragile braincase, and it is not uncommon for Jean to go into intricate detail describing some event which for the life of me I cannot recall. If she'd taken a picture, would it have lasted longer?

I've got a digital camera, a geek toy really, which I use when the mood suits me, or when a holiday arrives. Lucky for you I don't use it more often. But the point I guess I'm trying to make, is if a picture is worth a thousand words, why don't I take more pictures?

I just realized that what makes this weblog work for me is that I don't think in pictures. I think in words, inner monologues, sometimes inner dialogues. Images figure into things, and when I need to diagram some complex interaction, I'll draw something or visualize it. But I don't visualize life. I write my novel in real time, with words, well chosen or otherwise.

That's probably why I've been so taken with this web logging phenomenon. I've always been an avid reader, and even though parenthood has taken my book consumption down an order of magnitude, I'm always reading something. Now I'm frequently writing something as well. Will it clear up that foggy window into the past ten years hence? No, it won't embed my memories any more firmly, but I'll be able to browse the words the way some folks browse photo albums, and since words are my sea, I'll swim here more readily.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:31 PM

March 25, 2001

Trip Report


Well, we're back from Las Vegas, and the threatened back spasm didn't happen, at least not yet. We had a great time, and I took a couple of hours to jot down my impressions of the trip, recorded in "Las Vegas Diary".

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:52 PM

Las Vegas Diary

Las Vegas Pilgrimage

The Orleans' formidable restaurant line-upWe are back from our vacation, a mere four day jaunt to the desert climes of Las Vegas. No horrors occurred, many experiences were had, and in general, everybody had a good time. Jean realized her dream of taking a vacation with the family for the first time since Kelly was a little baby. Kelly had great fun greeting many strangers, and cleaned up in the souvenir department. For my part, I sought out the two or three gems in the trip which would distinguish it from a tourist junket.

This then is my 'diary'. It wasn't written on the trip, or it would fill several dozen more paragraphs than exist here. Instead, highlights, impressions and stream-of-consciousness reign freely. I'll do my best to recall all the interesting items from my point of view. Jean and Kelly will have to write their own accounts if they want to be heard "qbullet.smiley".

The trip down was uneventful, and anybody who has travelled anywhere at all can 'insert experience here'. I'll just observe that we had no traffic on the way to the airport worth worrying about, and we made our flight with plenty of time. With Spring Break commencing, the plane was full, but no drunken rabble rousers were on board, so it was a pleasant flight. That said, let us commence with my diary, or Las Vegas: Carnival of the Senses "qbullet.smiley".

The Arrival

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas by plane knows that as you enter the terminal you begin your acclimatization to the world of chance. Before we even left the gate, we heard the sound of bells, chimes, ratcheting gears and computer bleeps. As we disembarked our eyes were assaulted with the flashing lights of slot machines, arrayed in the center of the concourse. Welcome to Vegas, indeed.

We claimed our luggage after a brief amount of difficulty, then caught the shuttle to the hotel, The Orleans, themed after New Orleans, as you might guess. Every hotel has a gimmick in Las Vegas, from mimicking the New York skyline, to reproducing the canals of Venice. In our case, every day was Fat Tuesday, as Kelly seemed to accumulate cheap plastic beads and necklaces (some with faux crawfish attached) faster than she could break them.

As we walked into the hotel, our senses were assaulted again. This time, in addition to the chorus of slot machines clamoring for attention, there was another sense assaulted: smell. In Nevada, they seem not to have discovered the 'no smoking' laws. Yuck! Many was the time during our trip that I traversed the casino barely able to keep my eyes open. And there are people who sit in that casino for hours on end, pushing buttons, pulling cranks, feeding quarters, shuffling cards, and breathing, breathing, breathing smoke. First hand, second hand, thick, thin, omnipresent. We had a no-smoking room, and it smelled of smoke. As I write this, all our clothes are undergoing a rigorous washing. When I finish this, I will undergo a rigorous washing.

Another complaint, while I'm whingeing. The water was rather unpleasant tasting. If I hadn't needed to rehydrate frequently to deal with the desert air, I'd have found some other way to imbibe fluids. Since the hotel had on the order of five bars, I could easily have pickled myself. Instead, I chose to drink lots of pop. That might not have been healthy, but the water certainly drove me to it.

The final culture shock was the presence of a sales tax! I know, in most states, that is the norm, but I've gotten so used to living in Oregon, and venturing outside of the state so infrequently, that I constantly had to correct my expectations during purchases to factor in the sales tax. Okay, enough culture shock, on to the trip...

Thursday

Here we have a not-too-interesting day. We checked into the hotel around noon, but had to wait around until three to get our ostensibly no-smoking room. So we wandered the casino, watching people play the various machines and games available. I was interested to see that the roulette tables were manned by no less than three employees. One ran the wheel, one was the croupier, and a third kept a running tally of activity on a clipboard. Is this normal? I don't know.

Eventually we got our room and unpacked. Kelly immediately began clamoring for a trip to the hotel pool, so Jean and I escorted her outside for her swim. I wasn't in the mood for swimming, indeed I had not packed a swimsuit. Jean was too tired to go paddling about either.

But Kelly dove in, and began her routine, which was to continue all weekend, of greeting any and everyone. She is so extroverted that I don't know who her actual parents are, since Jean and I are both introverts. I think she may have gotten it from my own mother, who was also an extreme extrovert. This went on all through the weekend, and was a constant source of amusement to me.

After the swim we checked out one of the restaurants in the hotel, of which there were several, and more being built. The one we chose was called Bones, and was a barbeque ribs joint. Given that it might surprise you that we ordered pizza (for Jean and Kelly) and a fish fry for me. I dunno, I'm just not into ribs. In any case, after dinner, we just rambled about for awhile, let Kelly play some games in the local arcade, then retired to our room to read books and prepare for bed.

Friday

Friday saw our first day on the 'Strip'. We concentrated mainly on the South end of the Strip, or Las Vegas Boulevard, as it is officially labelled. The owner of The Orleans also owns two other hotels, The Gold Coast and The Barbary Coast. The Orleans and The Gold Coast are off the strip by about a mile, but shuttles are available between the three hotels, so you can catch the shuttle to the Barbary Coast and find yourself on the Strip without blowing a ton on cab fare.

So we grabbed a shuttle and hit the Strip. Initially we wanted to hit the MGM Grand, but we knew Kelly would not be able to walk the length of the Strip, which runs over two miles. So we hunted around for the fabled monorail, which covers a large stretch of the Strip. We found out that it starts at Bally's, and runs directly to the MGM Grand. This has the effect of partitioning the Strip into a North and South end, with a hazy middle which we never visited.

Before discovering the monorail at Bally's, we had to wander around in the immediate area of the Barbary Coast, passing through Bally's, Paris and a few other places we didn't catch the name of. This jumbled journey had the effect of baptizing us in the sometimes gaudy, sometimes exotic, sometimes highbrow atmosphere of Las Vegas. By the time we had found the monorail, we had seen at least three distinct architectural styles and three different casino layouts, each attempting to lure and entrap the passing gambler.

Indeed, the architecture of the various casinos was quite reminiscent of Disney World, where a great deal of 'crowd engineering' is expended to shape the visitor experience, and ensorcel the visitor into staying and spending a few more dollars. In the case of the monorail, each endpoint of the monorail had only one exit, through a lengthy mall under the destination hotel. You simply had to walk past each and every store in the mall to get out of the depths into the casino proper, then you had to cross the greater portion of the casino to hit the street.

To get to the point, we found our monorail, travelled to the MGM Grand, and walked out into the street. Our destination was the Excalibur, partly because Kelly thought the building looked like Disneyland, and partly because I wanted to check out the Tournament of Kings, which is the nightly dinner tournament, where each table in the restaurant has a champion knight, who defends the table's honor on the field of battle--a jousting field, that is. Unfortunately, I got sticker shock when I found out it was $40 per person, so we didn't go this time. Next time, I've sworn to save the entrance fee out of my own allowance before we go, so Kelly and I can have a chance to cheer on the King of England, or some other notable, in battle.

After that, we went back to the MGM Grand and had lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe, which attempts to mimic an actual rainforest, in a lowbudget Disney sort of way. Kelly was fascinated by the animatronic gorillas, and the real 'rain' coming out of the ceiling, as well as the jungle mist. I had the 'plant sandwich', which Kelly had the Jurassic Chicken Strips (shaped like dinosaurs). I confess I can't remember what Jean ate. Afterwards we made our way back to the Orleans, since we'd expended a lot of time in figuring out the shuttle and monorail system, and we wanted to get back and prepare for the evening.

Here's where the vacation turned into a hegira of sorts. Jean has over the last few years had an interest in the comedian Jerry Lewis. She is fascinated with the public/private dichotomy, and interested in his history and development as an artist. So she was immediately taken by the notion of seeing him live when the travel agent offered her a hotel package at the Orleans which included a show with him.

The big problem was what to do with Kelly. We knew that no matter how captivating Jerry Lewis might be, Kelly would tire of him before the show was over, and we'd have to leave. It turns out that the Orleans has a child care facility which is really very well equipped, having a play structure, a small movie theatre, snack area, Nintendo game consoles, and on and on. I checked it out that afternoon, and encouraged Jean to try it out. So that evening we dropped Kelly off at Kid Tyme, with Jean experiencing every motherly pang in the book. While Jean was asking one of the caretakers another anxious question, I watched Kelly enter the play area. She ran into the open space with her arms held high, shouting "hello friends! I'm here!"

So I told Jean to stop worrying, and off we went. We were seated in the theatre for about half an hour before the show started. I don't want to give a blow-by-blow account of the show. I'll just observe that both Jean and I had a great time, and there were moments when I couldn't stop laughing. Most of the time was more low key, and it was apparent that Jerry Lewis was beginning to feel his age. The routines were chosen with a 75-year old comedian in mind, and every few routines, he stopped and showed a 'classic moment' from his career on a large video screen, which we decided was artfully arranged to give him a chance to catch his breath.

Finally the evening was over, the show having run around two hours. We went to collect Kelly, and she had to be called three times before she finally showed up. It turns out she had had a great time, and had finally come to the conclusion that Las Vegas was a really great place "qbullet.smiley".

Saturday

Saturday saw us exploring the North Strip in a more thorough manner. We spent the better part of the day in a single hotel/casino: Caesar's Palace. Here we spent a lot of time walking around two malls, though they were called the Forum and the Agora. Kelly's high point this day was a visit to F.A.O Schwarz, a three-story toy store filled with stuffed animals, Pokemon and every other manner of toy on this earth. We did not get out of there easily, though we managed to do it fairly cheaply, buying her a stuffed animal for a mere $14.

After our visit to the toy store, we went to the central market to await the latest gimmick, talking statues. More animatronic fun, these told a story of the fall of Atlantis, and by the end it was clear that they were shilling for a 3-D simulator ride about Atlantis. Kelly actually backed into a store at one point because the thunder and flames were getting too scarey for her. I gotta give it to her, she knows her own limits well.

We wrapped up our time in Caesar's Palace with a visit to their food court, which was actually not any more diverse than the usual mall food court in Oregon. But the food was good, and tasted better for our having worn ourselves out. After buying a few souvenirs (Caesar's Palace hats in my case), we headed back to our hotel.

Finally, on our way back, I had one of those magic moments. I got to see a 3-card monte game in the wild. I've seen them on television, complete with explanations of all the mechanics of the game, but this is the first time I've actually seen the con in progress. Once I heard the shill and the conman doing their patter, I looked up, and spotted the lookouts at either end of the block. It was really cool. I pointed it out to Jean, and another pedestrian commented on how there were better ways to lose money in Las Vegas.

Miscellaneous Observations

It may just be the effect of the monorail but it feels as if 'the Strip' is clustered around a North and a South Strip, with not so much in the middle. Looking over the map, I certainly don't feel there are as many recognizable names centered as at the ends. So for us, the drill of shuttle & walk & monorail may have been the most effective way of seeing Las Vegas.

As much as the architecture was responsible for crowd engineering, so too was the ample availability of rich food, the constant smoke, easy alcohol, and skimpily clothed waitresses part of the gambling infrastructure. They each existed as distractions, and helped to reduce the judgement of the players, making the house the easy winner in many more instances.

Pai Gow PokerI discovered a new variation on the game of poker, which seems to exist mainly to complicate matters. It's called Paigow Poker, and requires each player to play two hands at once, a five-card and a two-card hand, where the five-card hand must be arranged in such a way that it beats the two-card hand held by the same player, using the regular poker rules. What follows is an image of some of the rules for Pai Gow Poker:SOME of the rules to Pai Gow Poker

Here's a list of some of the hotel/casinos missed this trip which we'd like to see if we ever go back: the Venetian, Treasure Island, The Mirage, Harrah's.

The Trip Home

Sunday was almost entirely a travel day (and a recovery day once home). So in actuality you could call this a three day junket. We left the hotel early in the morning, and as we were waiting for our shuttle to the airport, a man approached us, seemingly friendly and casual, and commented about luck and winning. Then he leaned over Kelly, and thrust $10 into her hand. He said, "do you know who St. Gabriel is? The blessed St. Gabriel? That's me." At this time hotel security came rushing over and hustled the guy away, and we gave the $10 to them. We don't want to encourage Kelly into accepting money from strangers.

Jean clearly had had enough with Las Vegas' tobacco fascination. As we entered the airport, we approached the security gates where our belongings would be scanned in the X-ray machine. Jean looked at the lines for each gate, then said "let's take the non-smoking security gate." Of course there's no such thing, Jean had just seen an airport sign admonishing 'no smoking' just before the sign directing her to the security gates, and conflated the two. But I wish there really had been one "qbullet.smiley".

A sign of the big city is that the men's and women's restrooms each had needle deposit boxes for used needles. I don't think I've ever seen that at the Portland airport.

I felt slightly nostalgic for my youth when I was walking down a corridor to the gate and saw a young guy, shaved head and sunglasses, backpack at this feet, lying full out on the carpeted floor to one side of the corridor catching a nap before his next flight. He seemed to be able to sleep quite comfortably as people walked by not two feet away.

On the flight home, Kelly shared a theory with us. It seems that the left side of plane is for homebound travellers, while the right is reserved for visitors to the plane's destination. She came to this conclusion because when we were riding down to Vegas, we rode on the right side of the plane, and returning, we were on the left side. I can't find any fault with her reasoning!

So now we are home. The laundry has run several cycles, and I'm typing up my impressions before they fade. Sorry if this isn't very coherent, but it catches the way I feel anyway. Will we go back? Possibly, but before that I want to see the Oregon coast again, and Jean thinks a trip to Vancouver is in order too.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:34 PM

March 21, 2001

Gambling Trip


In short succession I've had the stomach flu, a cold, and periodontal
surgery, the healing of which has taken about twice as long as last
time, so on the eve of our flight to Las Vegas, for what Jean terms our
first real vacation since
Kelly was born (no, Moyer Family Reunions don't count), it is only fitting that I should be receiving warnings
from my back of a potential spasm. I was getting water at the coffee
station this morning when I felt the first twinges, and since then I've
had that 'sensitive' feeling in a band about the lower third of my
ribcage which often warns of worse to come.

So even though we intend to do no gambling on our trip to Las Vegas, we will in fact be doing just that. Most of our heavier luggage now comes on wheels with a long handle, so Jean can take charge of that, and I won't have to heroically horse unwieldy bags around the airport. But the exigencies of travel often stress the body, and I think sitting in the airplane seat alone could trigger an onset if the flight to Las Vegas wasn't so short. In any case, I'll be taking a very hot bath tonight and every night on the trip, which often helps the muscles, and I'll be packing Alleve in the suitcase.

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:57 PM

March 19, 2001

Get Out The Vote

Just can't get enough of that democracy "qbullet.smiley"! Saturday was
"NOVA"'s annual elections, and I actually had a lot of fun. I took tons
of pictures, which eventually got culled down to 12 which I published on
the web. Three of my friends are officers for a year. Poor blokes!

After the meeting, since nobody had had a chance to go out and get something to eat (we were all waiting on the results, which were held up because there was a tie between the two Prexy candidates, and one of them had gone to Kinokuniya's to buy Japanese comics "qbullet.smiley"), we went to Carrow's restaurant. As it turns out, this is the regular gathering place for several "NOVA" members after a meeting. I never knew this, because Tom, Alan, James, John and I typically either take in a movie or go to Tom's apartment to watch more anime or Hong Kong Kung Fu flix.

As we began showing up, it soon became clear that there were going to be over twenty people from "NOVA" showing up to eat. We ended up getting the 'banquet room', and constructing a makeshift round table out of the various small tables in the room. I ordered the meatloaf sandwich, and wore my plastic insert to cover the spot in my palette from which the skin graft for my periodontal surgery was taken. It worked fine, and I had fun chatting with various members. By the time I had eaten and paid, it was 11 pm. I got to bed around 11:45.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:49 PM

Age of Dinosaurs


Kelly watched one of Jean's biology shows yesterday evening, and we have evidence that it sank in. As Jean was driving Kelly to Kid Connection today, Kelly asked her if she knew how the dinosaurs died. Jean said "how?" Kelly replied:

"Because red hot lava came pouring out of Russia, and killed a lot of them. Then, when they thought it was over, a giant meteor came crashing down and killed the rest of them, and only tiny animals were able to survive, and they were mammals, and they had teeth, and they changed until they became us, and the world changed until it's like you see it today." So there "qbullet.smiley"

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:38 PM

March 17, 2001

BiWebual


I'm experimenting with a weblogging package called Greymatter. The author is Noah Grey, so the package name is actually a pun. How it works is that it is a suite of Perl programs, which run as scripts on a web server (called CGI programs). I got Alan, the owner of Agora to enable cgiwrap, and installed the scripts. So now I'm writing in two weblogs. If you are one of my friends reading this weblog, be sure to check out the other one as well.

Jean has just handed me a pile of check balancing to do, so I'll post more later.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:59 AM

We're Back!


After several days of monkeying with the Radio Userland "Mirror to Manila" feature, and discovering that it simply couldn't do what I wanted, I've switched the site back to News Items mode. And like a bad dream, all the intervening posts have gone away!

I'll be fiddling with style sheets over the coming weeks, but dont' worry, until this site is shut down by Dave, who has been generous with his servers for far too long already, I'll keep posting news and thoughts. Take care!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:20 AM

Farewell to Flippy Pages

Well I'll be. Yesterday survived! Apparently, RU only wipes the day in which it is posting. So this experiment was worth something, I'm just not sure what, since I'd like to be able to interleave posting methods in the same day. With true mirroring, that'd probably work. Oh well, having found this out, I'll now try to switch back to News Items mode...   7:54:20 AM

Just flipped the home page, now I'm making a post via RU mirroring. Watch all of yesterday's posts go bye bye!   7:51:01 AM

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:45 AM

March 16, 2001

Site Is Shaping Up

I fiddled with the settings for style and whatnot on Terebi II, and after a while realized that the settings were not showing up because Greymatter wants to name all files something.htm, while Agora wants to only recognize files named something.html. That's one of those Windows vs. Unix sort of things.

So now Terebi II is using my layout3.css stylesheet from Bluerobot.com almost everywhere on the site. I just have to figure out why the search results page doesn't work. I'm baffled, and it's too late in the day to wrestle with it. Besides, the referred pain in my jaw makes it a bigger task still.

I don't know if I'll get to it tomorrow either, since Kelly is having a play date with one of her friends from daycare, a girl named Trinity. Yep, "A Girl Named Trinity". I'm gonna have to ask her, "what do they call you?" Sick, I know...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:41 PM

Stitches Out!

I had them removed today and I received reassurances from Erika and Dr. Levin that things were healing beautifully, despite the throbbing pain which had kept me awake one night. It seems that is more typical than my experience last time, when I felt little pain and had healed enough to eat normal foods within a week.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:02 PM | Comments (1)

Farewell to Flippy Pages

Another Post

Support for adding individual articles in Flippy Pages is also limited (just another random post).

Nothing Here

This is my last day of using Flippy Pages. Or rather, I'm going to do one more experiment before switching back to News Items mode. Here is the experiment:

Post via forms for the whole day (just disposable posts). Tomorrow, flip the page, and post only via RU mirroring. See if the flipped page survives. I'm guessing no.

In any case, there is a high probability that I'll be switching back by Sunday. Take care...

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:59 AM

March 15, 2001

Do Not Taunt Flippy Pages

As I suspected, simply changing the formatting of the RU weblog template didn't prevent it from overwriting entries made via the forms interface. This is disappointing, since the only real attraction to using the RU weblog is that I could compose and store a series of posts on my iBook offline, then mirror them to Terebi. When not near my laptop, I'd still be able to use convenient desktop machines to post via forms.

Given this fact, I think I'll be reverting to the News Items format soon. And since there is no advantage to using Radio Userland to post interactively to Terebi, I'll probably stop using it until Dave Winer makes it a condition of having Terebi on his servers. Then I'll most likely switch over to Terebi II.   8:20:04 PM


This morning I posted an article to Terebi via the Web forms interface. Now I'll post an article from the Radio Userland 'mirror to Manila' interface. I fully expect the forms-based entry to disappear.   7:50:22 PM

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:15 AM

March 14, 2001

Daily Topics Are Weird

Qouted in whole so that I can follow the links and read his article tomorrow at work during long compiles "qbullet.smiley".

I just wrote a story on the XML-RPC site with four sample scripts, that show you how to edit a Manila site's home page using SOAP. Here's a quote from Scripting News:


"We'd like to see two specific projects come from this. An editor that runs on Unix, perhaps emacs or vi, that through Apache, allows a user to create and edit stories and update the home page of a Manila site in the same natural way that Radio works with Manila. The other project is to write a .NET application that allows the CLR to be a great editor for Manila text in the same way...



"All you'll have to do is emulate the functionality in other scripting environments. Then we'll have a very important kind of interop, between writers on all these platforms."

It's important to note that you can do this with XML-RPC too. You're not tied to SOAP. The RPC interface to Manila is identical, no matter which protocol you decide to use.

4:25:22 PM   
   10:04:30 PM


Terebi II

By the way, stop by Terebi II and let me know what you think of it. It's in super-duper beta mode, and will probably change a lot in the next few weeks, but it may be the replacement for this weblog sometime in the future.   9:56:16 PM


Best Andromeda Line

Okay, Buffy is in reruns, so I have to refer to another 'guilty pleasure' show, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. There is a character, Trance, who plays her role like a ditz, but is allowed to transcend that stereotype to embody a different one. The main character, Captain Dylan Hunt, realizes that she is clairvoyant, and lets her pick the escape route in the most recent episode. Unfortunately she picks a dead end.

Hunt: I thought you were clairvoyant.
Trance: Well... That's the thing about guessing, 90% of the time, it's 50-50
   9:51:29 PM

Well, one thing has gotten better. I found a hint by one Slyvain Carlyle, suggesting that the template for formatting within RU was messing up the template for formatting in Terebi. Delete the table row and data tags, they said. So I did, and it appears to have worked!

I'll keep struggling with this model for a little while, but I'm also working on a parallel weblog on my ISP's servers, using Perl scripts and CGI, called Greymatter. It's a pretty cool tool. I like it because I'm still able to log from work, home, where everf, without some funky tool losing posts.   9:38:58 PM

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:37 PM

First Lengthy Entry

Well, I promised to talk about my second periodontal visit eventually. I'll wait for a later article to explore the adventure of having surgery the day after Jean's parents arrived to visit for a weekend. I'll also save for a later post the silliness of worrying what shape my mouth will be in when I finally run off to Vegas with Jean and Kelly next Thursday. No, this post is solely for complaining! Here goes!

I went to Dr. Levin's office on Friday morning, and with the usual caveats about discomfort (needle in the palette, anyone?), it went routinely. But starting about yesterday, I had increasing pain from the 'donor area', i.e. the area from which the graft skin was taken, on the palette. When I looked into the mirror with a bright light, I saw the raw exposed flesh, as expected, but I also saw a whitish patch in the center of the wound. I began to worry about infection.

Since I was having a lot of pain in the donor area, and a lot of refered pain in the jaw, it is hard to tell if there is an infection, or just 'normal' pain. I finally caved today and called Dr. Levin's office to check if what I was experiencing was considered normal. Since I won't be there to have the stitches out until Friday, I thought it would be better not to wait.

The phone was answered by Wendy, Dr. Levin's assistant, and she was very friendly and helpful. She told me that what I was experiencing was normal, right down to the increasing level of pain in the palette. She assured me that it was alright to call any time I had a question, but suggested that I'd be alright until Friday, when Dr. Levin could look at me in person.

So I'm trying to handle leaving out the mouthpiece they gave me, even though every time my tongue touches the roof of my mouth it aches and burns. What a sad tale, eh?

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:15 PM

My Inaugural Post

I'm gonna go with the minimalist format for awhile (just using the layout3.css stylesheet I got from Bluerobot.com) and concentrate on writing a few essays. Maybe one tonight as well. Looks like true essays, i.e. lengthier articles, are going to have to be 'uploaded' and placed into an index on the side navbar. Not sure yet.

I'm also not going to go crazy sending people here just yet. Who knows, maybe the RU tool with the original Terebi will work out. For now I'm a gonna log out and concentrate on work again! Take care all.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:22 PM

March 13, 2001

Daily Topics Are Weird

First Tuesday 'Mirror' Post

Just testing once again. I'll be asking the community for help today, I guess.   7:32:16 AM

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:26 AM

March 12, 2001

Testing Stories

Just to decide how stories show up in a non-News Items site (during my experiment with Radio Userland 'mirrored' weblogs) here is a super-short post.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:18 AM

Daily Topics Are Weird

Well that's super-puke ugly! And moreover, the two posts I made earlier in the day via the forms interface have been chopped off! So now I'm really disappointed. Crap.   10:58:36 PM

Wishin' and Fishin'

Here's the first post from the iBook using RU, after flipping the page and adding a couple of messages via the Web browser forms interface. I don't expect things to just work, especially since there is a bogus reference to Saturday at the top of the homepage that won't go away.   10:54:22 PM

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:53 AM

March 11, 2001

Radio Userland Just Fell In My Bathtub

Getting Over the Shock

I think this is going to take a few days to get used to. I don't like that Saturday is listed as a newsday even if I posted no articles that day. I need to explore how mirroring will work when I post some articles over the web via forms, and others via Radio Userland's Web Server interface on my iBook.

And this isn't really mirroring, as far as I can tell, since I'm only uploading articles from my laptop, but not downloading an image of my Terebi site to the desktop server. More exploration to do...   5:54:46 PM


Can't Change Fast Enough

Looks sorta ugly, don't it? My only hope is that when I get permission to flip the homepage tomorrow, it will clean up somewhat. At this point, I don't believe that I'll be keeping the 'homepage' format. I liked News Items much better.

The consequence of this is that I won't be able to use the Radio Userland Mirror to Manila feature. Since this may be the wave of the future for users of weblogs.com, I may have to find a new home for my weblog, and new tools!
   5:00:48 PM


Changing Modes

In order to work with Radio Userland's Mirror to Manila mode, it seems I may not use the News Items format. Instead I have to switch to the more common Weblog format. So Brenda, Mike, Nami, I apologize for changing things, but if you missed the last few days, you'll have to drill down through the calendar to find them.   4:20:05 PM

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:18 PM

March 10, 2001

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:25 PM

March 07, 2001

More Periodontal Surgery


I'll give a fuller report as things develop, but this Friday (10:30 am
PST) is the date of my second, and hopefully last, periodontal
surgery. The first was a success, both by the assessment of Dr. Levin
(if he does say so himself) and by the assessment of my hygienist and
dentist.

I get to drive out to West Linn, have the surgery, drive myself back home, then sit or lie still for the rest of the day. The next couple of days, it's all soft foods and no conversation. So it is interesting that Jean's parents will be here at the same time, since they are garrulous, and would most likely try to draw me into the conversation so I wouldn't feel "left out". As a result, even on Sunday, I'm planning to camp out in the den or downstairs while they do their various field trips.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:28 PM

Appliance Junkies

It is so nice having our new water heater. The water during
showers is noticeably warmer, longer. Baths can be as hot as one can
stand. The gradual failure of our old water heater had left me with
diminished expectations. But pleasure is never fated to last, alas.

Tuesday evening, after getting used to limited utility from our
dishwasher, again so gradually that we almost didn't perceive it, we
started a load only to hear a high-pitched whining. Clearly the
dishwasher wasn't going to complete the load without exploding, so we
shut it off, and I proceeded to wash things by hand.

As I felt my back begin to ache, I discovered a truism that is perhaps
only so in a house with spouses of radically different heights. The
cupboards are too high for Jean, and the sink is too low for me! My mind
went back to the days in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, when we always
washed our dishes by hand. I'm so glad those days are past. But they are
here for awhile once again.

Yesterday I came home from work to wait for the repairman, as his only arrival window was during Jean's class. He arrived, spent some time examining the dishwasher, called in to request a price quote on a part, and gave me the bad news: $290 to get it running again. Ugh. Given that that was better than half the price of a new one, I opted not to fix it.

We went to Fry's last night, but they didn't have a suitable dishwasher,
so we went on to Sears, and purchased a Maytag 9100
dishwasher. Unfortunately, it won't be installed until next
Thursday. If that doesn't seem too annoying, I agree with you. Normally
it would be no big deal, except that Jean's parents are visiting
starting this Thursday, through the weekend, which would double our
dishload, if Jean hadn't decided to run out and buy a pile of paper
plates. "qbullet.smiley"

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:01 PM

Kelly the Rebel

Kelly's pushed the envelope on rebellion a little too far this
time. We've tried to work with her on getting enough sleep, and on
eating enough in the morning to have fuel for the day. But today, she
chose not to yell or throw a tantrum when disagreeing with a
teacher.

Today, she chose to quietly peel a patch of wallpaper off the wall in
her classroom. The teacher told Jean, and Jean asked her why. Kelly said
that she was mad the Mrs. Wentzell insisted that she do her work like
all the other children, and she pulled the wallpaper off to get even
with her!

Jean and I had a conference in the woods, and the concensus is as
follows:

On top of all this, I'll be letting her know how disappointed I am in
all this, and letting her know how lucky she is that I am not my
dad. Otherwise, it would be 'the belt'. Ugh.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:45 PM