Relax. Life's too stressed out.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A quick peek at Grace's life ...

Posted: 2005-11-13T11:13:46Z

Recent developments:
/>My Tandem partner bailed (too busy) so I got a new one. Small drawback: she's in London till the 21st. But we've made plans to meet on the 23rd.

I met up with some very nice horseback riding people and was told where the barn was. Lessons are actually cheap, compared to New England and UK. I've emailed the barn but they haven't written back ... maybe I'll go out there sometime this week.

We're getting ready for Dan's visit starting Friday.

It's actually gotten cold (kind of) and is supposed to freeze Wednesday night.

We bicycled over the border to Bernrain (pilgrimage chapel) and Castell (old fortress) yesterday. The chapel wasn't particularly exciting but the castle was very atmospheric, all overgrown with ivy and big trees, especially since it was still extremely foggy (we need to remember that you can't see anything before 1 pm in this part of the world). As we had only the most rudimentary idea where things were it's astonishing we didn't get lost. Or rather, more lost: the Swiss need to signpost their bike paths a LOT better. But we actually managed to find both places without ending up in France, which was impressive.

Josh cooked trout last night, which turned out quite yummy. And we had brownie pudding for dessert, yum.

We went to an ecumenical church service for the "Konradifest" (week of observance of Konstanz's patron saint, a 10th-century bishop). Not very exciting, but nice music, and Orthodox clergy in cool robes. Josh talked to the Old Catholic priest afterwards. Memo to the Altkatholische Kirche: you don't have to do anything as tasteless as actual evangelism, but it might help if you put a sign up indicating when the services were. On the outside of the building. Also at the reception for this event they were selling various holiday-themed tchotchkes, including stuffed "Tiger-Enten"*. We were amused.

MY COMPUTER REFUSES TO BOOT UP AGAIN. And getting tech support in a different country from the one where one bought the machine is ... complicated. And I can' t remember any of the helpful things the guy who helped me fix it in August said. And if I wrote down a reference number then, I can't find it.


Gotta run ...

*Complicated German cultural reference available on request. Or Myra can elucidate it in a comment.

From one African bishop to another ...

Posted: 2005-11-10T09:12:30Z

Confidential, from St. Augustine to Peter Akinola:

"Sometimes we also do things which have every appearance of being sins against nature or against our fellow men, but are not sins because they offend neither you, the Lord our God, nor the community in which we live. ... But when you suddenly command us to do something strange and unforeseen, even if you had previously forbidden it, none can doubt that the command must be obeyed, even though, for the time being, you may conceal the reason for it and it may conflict with the established rule of custom in some forms of society; for no society is right and good unless it obeys you."

If even the Prude of Hippo could write like that, it does leave some room in the tradition for the movement of the Spirit, no?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'm also against BODY-SURFING!!

Stop Right Where You Are. Now Back Up

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 15:47:53 -0800


That's the metaphorical advice from PR guru Morgan McClintic when it comes to blogs.

It's a good idea to back up your blog. If you use Moveable Type or another server-based blogging platform you can easily backup the files yourself. For all those with hosted blogs such as Blogger or Typepad, that's not so easy. Typepad recently deleted several blogs beginning with the letter 'S', so disaster can strike. You don't want that to happen to you, your company or your client.


LifeHacker recently had a great post which suggests creating a local mirror of your blog on a regular basis. Mac OSX users can use WebGrabber and PC users HTTrack, both of which are free:

Sounds like a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way.


Re-name token.

Posted: Mon, 03 Oct 2005 17:02:41 GMT

Source: I know I've done polls like this before but I can actually afford a rename token now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Group Trains Air Force Cadets to Proselytize

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Source: A private missionary group has assigned a pair of full-time Christian ministers to the U.S. Air Force Academy, where they are training cadets to evangelize among their peers, according to a confidential letter to supporters.

Right. Dwarfs.

Posted: 2005-11-10T10:53:04Z

When we arrived, Konstanz was full of dwarfs.

The German word for "dwarf" is "Zwerg" which is just an inherently amusing word, and it seemed to be a nice public art project, like the bears in Sankt Gallen. Unfortunately, some stupid people were unable to resist doing things like throwing rocks through the "Dream Dwarf"'s beard and knocking "Emperor Constantine" off his stand, so the dwarfs got rather battered. Stupid people. And now the local free rag that gets stuck in our mailbox twice a month has run an unexpectedly touching article on the departure of the dwarfs (apparently, they're going to be removed and sold on EBay this month - phooey!), including "interviews" with several of them ranging from one who can't wait to go back to his family, to one who regrets losing the nice view and interactions with people from all over the world, to one who just asks to be taken to the doctor, to one who says, "well, Konstanz is very nice for people, not for dwarfs" (he's the one with the hole in his beard) to one who, on being asked how he feels about leaving, says, "Leave? What? Why do I have to leave? Where would I go? I'm the Konstanzer Zwerg! I'm staying right here!" It's all very cute, and features a cartoon of the bandaged, beat-up dwarfs marching sadly away while Imperia (the statue on the wharf) watches. On the front page there's also a picture of a dwarf holding a sign saying "Keine Gewalt gegen Zwerge!" (Stop Violence Against Dwarfs!)

Whimper! I want the dwarfs back!

Update: This post has been revised to regularize the spelling of the word "dwarfs" in accordance with the wisdom of the Princes in "Into the Woods" ("DWARFS!!"). However, I'm not going to bother to fix the other posts.

Blogging ... LIVE!!

Posted: 2005-11-09T20:46:32Z

... from the Shenanigans Pub on Bodanplatz!!

Yes, Konstanz has an Irish pub. In fact, it has TWO Irish pubs, only a couple of blocks from each other, and owned by the same people. They have recently both put in free wireless internet. Of course, the first one we went to, Shamrock on Bahnhofstrasse, had a busted adapter. So after Josh gave up and went home, I came over here (I hadn't even known this place existed until informed by the apologetic waitress at Shamrock) and, assisted by the British guy on staff who suggested I move across the room for better connectivity, successfully got my computer connected for the first time in three months. McAfee will hopefully stop screaming at me now.

I have to go home soon, so the dwarves will have to wait, but I suspect I'll be back soon.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add.
-- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court

Gender Identity Confusion

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 15:35:38 -0800


This is sure to confuse the Drudge readers from Alabama...

But we were ready to congratulate TBAiT regular Joi Ito for making this list of the Ten most powerful women in blogging.

There's just one problem, as Joi explains:

Sorry about having a ambiguous name, but I'm not a woman. I've been mistaken for a women by various bloggers, but this is the first time I've made it on a 10 most XYZ Women in ABC list.

The list seems a little bogus to me anywhere. Where's Susan Mernit? Where's Halley Suitt? There seem to be quite a few all-stars missing from that list. Now there's room to add one back.

Perhaps this explains something:

About Our Algorithms:

We want to thank Technorati,BlogShares, and Google for their help. We also wish to thank Jason,Nick,Paul,Darren,Jordon,Ben,Mena,Kottke, and Andrew for turning down our invitation to join our judges panel. It really made it easy to find some unbiased panelists that were affordable.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

if i had a brave face

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 09:59:24 GMT

Source: I'm doing 12.30 til 2.30 today but Richard just rang because he couldn't remember what he'd told me to do today and he thought he'd told me to take the day off, but I reminded him of the right times and he asked if I could stay til 4. I said no and told him I had to go and see my little brother because it was his birthday (well, it was his actual birthday last week but I couldn't see him then becuase I was working, although I didn't say that) and he said how late could I stay til, so I said 3 because I didn't want to say I couldn't stay late at all. My dad's supposed to be picking up at 3 though, and it can't be later cuz he has to pick Arran up from school in Kettering at 3.20, so I shall have to run back from work which should only take a few minutes. And my work trousers are quite nice so I'll only have to change my shirt.

But then I have both Saturday and Sunday off, yay! No idea what my shifts are like next week because I haven't had a chance to look at the rota yet. I wonder if it'll closer to 39 hours like my first week, or 20 hours like this last one. Now that they have another full-time person it probably won't be as much as 39.

Work isn't really stressing me out anymore though. I get tired and pissed off with it sometimes (well, often), but it doesn't really make me anxious, and that's good. Anxiety is an awful feeling and it makes everything twice as hard. I can cope with being tired and pissed off.

I should get paid very soon. I think. I gave them my bank details on Tuesday. The form said "attach ID" though and I have no ID so I just ignored that bit and Richard didn't look at the form when I gave it to him and he was too busy for me to ask about anything to do with it. I think they'll give me a cheque if they haven't got the bank details sorted. But then, they probably want ID before they pay me at all. All this trouble is making me wish the government would give us ID cards after all, although I don't know enough about the issue to really say I agree with it. It'd just make a lot of things easier for me.

I am putting off reading Thud! til I finish my library book. It's Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22. I can't work out if I like it or not. I loved Catch-22 but I don't know if it really needed a sequel. And I'm nor sure if the same themes work in a normal world rather than a war zone. And it's a bit repetitive. I'm not far in though so maybe I'll like it more as I go along. It's probably just cuz I'm rushing myself a little bit.

Two Blockbuster DVDs came today - Shooting the Past, which has Liam Cunningham in it sighing a lot, and Star Trek IV (the one with the whales and time travel in it), which is the only original Star Trek movie I've seen but for some reason I've seen it loads of times and I love it and am going to make Chris watch it. Lucy might be coming over on Saturday to finish watching Falling For a Dancer with me.

Chris and I had a big argument last night because he ate the last of the cheese, not in a sandwich or anything just on its own cuz he was bored, and I was mad at him because I had wanted the cheese in an omelette and I kicked up a big fuss and he made me a plain omelette but he wrote "i love you" on the plate in ketchup and then I stopped being mad at him :]

Monday, November 21, 2005


Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Source: SHELBY, Miss. -- A restaurant owner is under investigation after he apparently tried to sell the meat of a cottonmouth moccasin to customers, police said.

From one African bishop to another ...

Posted: 2005-11-10T09:12:30Z

Confidential, from St. Augustine to Peter Akinola:

"Sometimes we also do things which have every appearance of being sins against nature or against our fellow men, but are not sins because they offend neither you, the Lord our God, nor the community in which we live. ... But when you suddenly command us to do something strange and unforeseen, even if you had previously forbidden it, none can doubt that the command must be obeyed, even though, for the time being, you may conceal the reason for it and it may conflict with the established rule of custom in some forms of society; for no society is right and good unless it obeys you."

If even the Prude of Hippo could write like that, it does leave some room in the tradition for the movement of the Spirit, no?

The mountains, the mountains ...

Posted: 2005-11-08T10:13:54Z

This weekend, Josh and I departed for a "Huttenwochenende" in a self-catering guesthouse on a Swiss hillside with about 30 history students. This is the closest I can find on the web to the view from the east windows (we were a bit lower down, though):

That's Säntis on the left - the guesthouse is called "Säntisblick" or "view of Säntis". Just imagine most of the snow replaced by grass, though of course there was still a fair amount on the upper slopes, global warming and all. Of course, for most of the weekend it was too foggy to see the mountains, and it rained all morning and part of the afternoon on Saturday, nixing the long hike that had been planned as the centerpiece of the weekend. However, the clouds lifted partway Saturday evening, and when we got up Sunday morning we had a clear view.

Since hiking was out of the question, the other aims of a Huttenwochenende - eating, drinking and carousing - came to the fore. A truly astonishing amount of beer, wine, vodka and Kirchwasser was carted through Swiss customs, evenly distributed among the 10 or so cars in order to comply with statutory limits. Remarkably, though, although people were drinking pretty much constantly throughout the weekend, there wasn't the kind of serious drunkenness and mayhem that would inevitably occur if 30 American college students were put in the same circumstances. Well, apart from somebody urinating in the kitchen, which took place only a few hours after we got there and was strongly rebuked by the leaders. This may have to do with the fact that Teutonic drinking seems to be much more laid-back than Anglo-Saxon drinking, start earlier, so kids first drink around their parents and other responsible adults, and involve less bingeing. Also, the youngest of these kids was 19 and many were in their mid-20s.

Josh and I went for a brief walk on Saturday afternoon when the rain had mostly slackened off, and discussed whether similarities between Swiss and New England farm architecture and technology were solely due to adaptations to similar terrain or had some other connection. The Alpine foothills do look remarkably like Vermont must have a hundred years ago before it was reforested, only of course much more heavily populated. Then a gang of Germans went hiking and Josh went along with them too, while I sat inside and read Gregory of Nazianzus.

The guys cooked dinner: giant vats of tortellini (Friday) and vegetable curry (Saturday), and because a large contingent stayed up till 4 or 5 am, breakfast on Saturday lasted until 3:30 PM, and on Sunday there was a big brunch (müsli, salami, cheese, brown bread, Zopf - frosted braided white bread - jam, honey, Nutella, and Bauernfrühstück - eggs scrambled with onions and potatoes). On Saturday night there were skits - we were divided into five groups and given lists of phrases/characters/objects to work into a five-minute sketch. I was rather terrified by this, but it turned out to be unexpectedly fun - luckily, a fellow group member was visited by inspiration, so I didn't have to worry about coming up with ideas, and all I had to do was pretend to be a penguin while hitting Batman with a pillow (this was funny because the word for "bird" in German is also, in its verb form, a euphemism for "have sex"). Meanwhile, Josh (in a different group) was a "desperate housewife" wearing a towel and with falsies made of apples. And then the leaders did their skit, which involved one of them wearing a condom on his head.

Yeah, we wish we had pictures.

After the brunch on Sunday we cleaned up VERY thoroughly and returned to sea level. Stay tuned for a highly important and heartwrenching post about ... dwarves!

Amy: Worms? Ew, pukatronic!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Some Rare Saturday Blogging

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 15:28:59 -0800


I don't know about you guys (our regular readers/bloggers) but I'm ready to move on from the O'Reilly stuff and dive back into what TBAiT is supposed to be all about... the thoughts of the Bay Area Blogosphere...

I'm not sure if Drudge will leave the link up all weekend, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's 500 comments on that thread eventually. I do see some of our regulars in there slugging it out for SFers...

But what do you say, before I go to dinner in Redwood City, a few minutes of real live TBAiTing...

Who are you?

Posted: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 19:14:46 GMT

Source: The Preston number is now ringing my mobile! :S Maybe we were wrong, maybe it's not a call centre. Maybe it's a real person. Call centres don't usually have your home and mobile numbers, do they?

I don't even know anybody in Preston.

I suppose I could just answer it next time... ;]

Facing Their Memories

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Source: In a sea of military badges and unit patches and medals and faded combat fatigues on the Mall yesterday, the satin purple jacket stood out.