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  Random scratch marks in the digital dirt...

January 07, 2009

January 06, 2009

Bon Ami

Went back to work again today after a much needed vacation... Er, VPNed to work today and was glad -- it was cold and wet out there. As my wife says, I'm in geek heaven here in my home office. Four monitors adorn my desk: two in support of this computer, my new 22 inch widescreen for my work PC (love the real estate on the desktop now), and my old trusty 17 inch flat screen for my other two 'puters (connected by a KVM switch). If you haven't tried dual monitors on one computer, don't knock it. But it was a quiet day filled with catching up on email, approving this and that all while trying to get my head back into the game. During one conference call I had to IM a co-worker: "what is this call about and why am I on it?"

After cooking dinner then going out to the store again to pick up stuff I returned to a dirty kitchen. Yeah, the Mrs. had a long day too but I had hopes... Once all the easy stuff was washed and put away I spied the stove. We hosted Christmas dinner and our guests left late in the evening and we were leaving for Colorado the next day so some things had to wait until our return. The stove was one of those things... In its normal, pristine condition it is gloss black. Looks good and it did fit into the color scheme, but one speck of dirt stands out on the surface. Alas, the entire stovetop contained the detritus of a full Christmas dinner prepared by multiple cooks. It was hideous and needed to be cleaned.

It's funny how certain things can trigger memories. I happen to use Bon Ami to clean the stovetop since it is non-abrasive. I first heard about it over 30 years ago from Fay Blaker, the mother of the first woman I ever considered marrying. As I recall it, I was visiting their farm while on leave from Eglin AFB and, the truth be told, I just wanted to be alone with Mary. Young, dumb and head over heels in love! Anyway, Fay kept nattering on about Bon Ami and how it was the best cleaner in the world. OK, I did listen to what some of my elders said back in those days and everytime I take out the can to clean up something I always remember Fay.

So I've finished cleaning up the kitchen and made some progress in cleaning up the web site. I have no idea how long it takes Google to re-index, but it's taking them forever and there are items that have been changed which are not reflected by using certain search terms. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate to throw away anything but deletion was my first option. The second was to password protect certain directories, but that would have defeated one of the purposes of that area but it's still under consideration. Have a good password? Email it to me. ;) So I wound up with the least destructive option I could think of, I just renamed the pages in question. I hope it provides the necessary cover yet maintains the content.

It's so much easier in Facebook though. Having a daughter who is absent most of the year, Facebook has been a godsend. Especially with her being in Italy with school, I can see pictures of what she's seeing, see what kind of mood she's in and know that everything is OK. We almost never communicate via posts on each other's wall since that's for all to see, but it does give each of us a peek into what's going on in our lives. It's also a great way to network - even for those who crave their privacy since you control who can see you by who you allow on your friends list. Of course, I can always be found at mark@sixfootzero.com...

Yikes! Way past my bedtime!!

Posted by mjwoods at 01:31 AM

January 03, 2009

For Hate's Sake, I Spit My Last Breath At Thee

“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee” Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Or for the younger reader, Khan Noonien Singh, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Same difference and same motive...

Today Israel launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, sending tanks and infantry into battle with Hamas fighters who have defied eight days of deadly air strikes with salvoes of rocket fire into Israeli towns. What did Hamas think that they would accomplish by breaking the truce? Their firing of rockets into Israel was met with a predictable response inside the Gaza Strip.

I'm not a "big brain" and don't have the knack for strategic thought but I'm struck by the total lack of intelligence exhibited by the Palestinian leaders. Even I know not to poke a hornet's nest.

The situation playing out reminds me of Ahab (or Singh), dedicating his entire life to the pursuit of his obsession, the killing of the white whale, Moby-Dick. This obsession dooms the entire crew of the Pequod (except for Ishmael) to death. Isn't this the same fate that ultimately awaits the Palestinians?

I'm not sure that any Westerner will ever understand the dynamic going on in that part of the world. I have always believed that reasonable people could cobble together a reasonable peace, but this region seems to be locked into a perpetual cycle of death and violence. How many United States presidents have tried to broker a settlement? How many times has the U.N. sent peace keepers to the region? I wish president-elect Obama the best, but I really don't think that he will be any more successful than those before him.

Posted by mjwoods at 04:53 PM


A very uneventful 14.5 hour drive. The Mrs. is a very poor carpool buddy, but perhaps keeping silence together for that long isn't so bad. Took the path across Kansas hoping that the view would be better. It wasn't. Next time we'll go thru Dalhart again.

Amazingly enough, the house wasn't a wreck from daughter's partying. There's little evidence that anything at all took place. It took us all of 10 minutes to pick up and put stuff in the dishwasher.

Now sleep beckons...

Posted by mjwoods at 12:50 AM

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year


Greetings from 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide in Colorado. IMO, this is the best way to enjoy the snow -- racing along at up to 45 mph up from the base camp to within sight of the summit. It was a totally enjoyable 2 hours for someone who has never piloted a snowmobile before. Brought out the daredevil in me!

Tonight is my last night in Frisco Colorado and tomorrow I return to Texas. I had originally planned on taking the Loveland Pass out of here, but this evening it started to snow again and I really don't want to mess with chains on my tires so we'll probably just take the tunnel out of here and head east thru Kansas until we hit Interstate 35. It will be a long and boring drive, but it will be good to get back home.

My little girl left for Rome two days ago and I won't see her again until the end of January. I'm pleased with the progress that she's making at college and the things that she is being exposed to. Our conversations about the world are becoming more and more interesting as time marches forward.

Well, I've a long drive ahead of me so it's time to get horizontal on the bed. I wish a prosperous New Year for all who read this.

Posted by mjwoods at 11:30 PM

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