February 10, 2018

The pause

This has been a month of porting from a very old server to a new one. Software was long out of date and pieced together over 14 years from an IIS server in 2004 (?) to Ubuntu in 2009 and now to Ubuntu again. What I didn't know was impressive and the conversion from chaos to moderate normalcy has been humbling. This blog was using the wildly out-of-date, insecure, and no longer supported MovableType software, so that goes and this becomes static pages until something new is chosen. (Search and various other features will be broken.)

Bye for now.

posted by sstrader at 6:14 PM in Personal | permalink

November 10, 2017

6 months ago

On May 20th I went for a late afternoon jog while Lisa was out, I then decompressed, hydrated, showered, and went across the street to pick up a calzone for dinner. She met me there and we waited for my order with plans to go home and probably watch a movie. Afterwards, she was annoyed and said I was acting very distracted. We left, walked through our building's lobby and into the elevator. At some point I was in a hospital.

There are fragments and I figure out or am told that I had a seizure. I've had a couple of seizure-like things in the last 20 years or so, and have an odd history of brain event things early in college that had resulted in nothing else to speak of in my present life, so the evening's event is troublesome but not scary. Maybe not enough hydration? They give me an anti-seizure medicine (keppra) and vitals are good so Lisa drives me home. This is Midtown so we're at the Emory hospital across from Shakespeare Tavern. Events are vague, but we pull onto Peachtree Street and I notice that the world--the buildings surrounding us specifically--look fake. Not fake like cardboard as such, but really close and unreal and fake like they're real but reality is fake. Maybe? It's hard to remember the feeling exactly but it was reallyreally disturbing. I suppress it hoping it will go away and we get home. Vague memories and we're in our kitchen and the stressful feelings have not gone away so--I'm reallyreally at the end of my wits and can't keep it together--I ask her to please sit down and I try to explain what's going on. I am feeling unreal. She calmly (?) says we should go back to the hospital, but the rest is fragmentary.

One of the several most horrifying experiences of my life--horrifying simply because I can't displace the imagined from what really happened--was sitting in the emergency room and feeling that my brain was melting and flowing down the center of my skull and bawling I mean really bawling to Lisa that she would soon be gone in my memories because I would soon be gone because my consciousness would evaporate. The evaporation was/is persistent. First bad trip after a libertine college life! She kept it together (I think?) and one of the nurses tried to get me to breathe and soothe my panic. But the dissolving brain thing was reallyreally compelling. It was a whirlpool that I still remember too well. At some point during sanity I tweeted that I was in the waiting room, but when? Was it the first visit or the second? There's a huge blank space, and then at some point I think I've been kidnapped and am in a cell.

This is still a real memory to me. Lisa's there, but my guess is that she's a prisoner too. She is asking me to give her my wallet and to calm down and I'm suspicious that THEY are making her say this. I love conspiracy stories because they're absurd and fun, like Foucoult's Pendulum or The Parallax View or any of the music I've written or dreams I've had. A conspiracy = wacky mayhem + hijinks. What's not to love? But Lisa was standing there compelled by villains to get my wallet from me and then both of us would be subjected to who-knows-what and the hijinks are gone. I remember pulling out my wallet and breaking up my credit card into pieces so no one can use it. And I remember she was upset. And that was the end of that period of remembered time.

The next is me in a hospital bed with the arm-needle-stuff and various other sensors attached. Who knows what this is or what THEY intend of me? I swear the nurse was in and out several times and probably I spoke with her and she was nice. But at some point when she was gone I know that I'd not have another chance... so I ripped the arm stuff out (was it taking my blood? giving me drugs?) and I got out of the bed with the intent of escaping. Not knowing what else to do I stood and watched as my arms bled and pooled on the ground--so much blood--and then I set a cup on the ground and peed into it. When ya gotta go. The nurse returned and was more exasperated than angry but still pretty angry and all that blood on the ground. I was just reallyreally confused. At both my actions and the situation. With the introduction of police officers, this began my period of being strapped, arms and legs, to the bed. This does not soothe the paranoid mind.

At some point it's just a hospital stay. The cops come and give me a hinky look when they decide to take the arm/leg straps off. "Can you be trusted?" I eat bad food. The nurse is soooo nice I want to go back and thank her but don't want to relive that. Lisa stays the whole goddamn time. I'm trying to deal with these memories and writing it down helps? There are fewer invasive memories. I have panicked moments that I know 100% are psychological. Keppra was the cause of the psychotic break and I'm on Vimpat now. My life is so much easier than other who have had real suffering. Maybe this will help I don't know.

Anyway, I get to drive again next Monday.

posted by sstrader at 11:00 PM in Personal | permalink

May 14, 2014

Lucas & Lewellen 2005 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

Purchased back in 2006 during our vacation to Sonoma and down the PCH. Rich apple and a little sweet, but it softened after a couple of days.

posted by sstrader at 11:14 PM in Personal | tagged wine | permalink

May 5, 2014

Rotta Black Monukka Dessert Wine NV

Collected many dessert wines from various wineries and tasting over the years. They get stored away and forgotten. Time to start trying them out.

Rich caramel but with a musty after taste. Maybe past its time? From Wikipedia regarding Black Monukka grapes: Washington State is also home to plantings of some lesser known Vitis vinifera varieties that are used in wine production for some experimental wines and blending. Also have a port made from the same grape.

posted by sstrader at 10:34 PM in Personal | tagged wine | permalink

April 1, 2014

Dealing with hand issues

So part of my tasks for March were to get back to the doctor in order to figure out what's wrong with my right hand. Last July, I went to a hand specialist to make sure nothing crazy was happening. Symptoms: slight difficulty typing and playing piano, progressing over the last nine months, with my 3rd and 4th fingers tending to stick up when I use them. Typing was slower, descending arpeggios with the 2nd or 3rd fingers crossing over was clumsy. He had me wear a brace, take ibuprofen, and make sure my office setup was more ergonomic: stop typing on a laptop and use an external keyboard; get wrist supports for the keyboard and mouse. I followed this for several months and things only got worse. What was I doing wrong?

By February, I tried additional exercises and eventually spoke with a friend who does PT who recommended some stretching and, of course, emphasized that I need to go back to my doctor. The exercises had no effect. Early March, I went back to the doctor to explain the non-change and he scolded me for waiting so long. Off to a neurologist and some not painful but by-no-means-enjoyable test that involved both electric shocks and long, thin needles shoved into muscle. Plus a neck x-ray. His diagnosis: minor carpal tunnel and, unrelated, early degenerative arthritis and bone spurs in most/all of my cervical vertebrae. Options were: cortisone shot, drugs, PT. My preference was PT, but with less than two weeks to our Italy trip, that would have to be postponed so a shot was provided in the interim. No change, but it was nice that the doctor called me the next morning to check on progress.

Days after the shot, my hand specialist finally got the results and his secretary was shocked that they didn't just send me back to them before doing anything. What do I know? Another couple of days pass and the doctor calls me directly (twice in one week?) to convey his diagnosis. Somewhat important, he emphasized that shots, drugs, PT will do nothing since the lengthy period of pressure on the nerve had already damaged it. Dead nerves don't come back, but surgery would eliminate the pressure and, with good probability, get me back most/all of my mobility.

The surgery can wait ("enjoy your vacation!" he says) and will be 15-minute out-patient with results in a couple of days. Insurance--which, around the office, is the biggest point of pain--has been, so far, pretty good. Thee are lessons here. Somewhere.

posted by sstrader at 6:10 AM in Personal | permalink

February 10, 2014

GC (11 Mar 2013 - 9 Feb 2014)

On March 11th of last year, one of the managers at work gave a bunch of us Betta fish to celebrate some product release. Beyond the wildly unwise move of foisting living things on unsuspecting coworkers, I never really thought of fish as an interesting pet-type thing at all. However, some maternal instinct quickly kicked in and I had to take care of the little guy. Mine came in a small bowl, so I decided to go shopping for a more fetching abode. To PetSmart and $90 later he had his new home. Here he is on the first day being frightened by some Girl Scout cookies, and then two days later waiting for his 3-gallon mansion to be prepped:

IMAG0437.small.jpg IMAG0444.small.jpg

The best Java-geeky name I could think of was GC. Not quite appropriate, but it had a nice ring. He would rush to the front of the tank any time I got near and rest against my finger when I stuck it in the water. Every now and then he'd decide to bite at my fingertip. For an uninteresting pet-type thing, he quickly grew on me. After the Snowjam, he started acting lethargic. I got medicine from the pet shop, but I think I waited too long and he was gone when I went in to work to check on him on Sunday.

Here's the last pic of him from Wednesday February 5th. Sadly, by this point he was spending a lot of time at the bottom of the tank.


I really developed more affection for him than would be reasonable, but I haven't had a pet since I was young and maybe needed that. I was sad when he left.

posted by sstrader at 6:06 PM in Personal | permalink

November 17, 2013

Home server upgrade

Servers are a difficult thing.

After running into many maintenance headaches on my Ubuntu 9.10 install (unsupported for 2-1/2 years now) I bit the bullet Saturday and decided to upgrade to 10.04. With it, I'm once again able to get updates to installed software and, of course, get all the shiny new. My procrastination plan was to wait and create a completely new server, but that just wasn't happening.

Upgrade took under two hours and was very smooth. Issues afterwards were all database-related. My user privileges were in some way not compatible with either the new OS or the new MySQL, so my home page, blog, two MediaWikis, RadioWave, and ContentMetrics were all off-line for a while. Once reconfigured, my wikis became borked in different ways. The PHP5 upgrade required me to upgrade MediaWiki from 1.13.x to 1.21.x. Ahh, the cascading upgrade process! What did we do before the Web had all of our answers? I remember, and am grateful.

I'll probably be chasing down minor issues for the next week, but damn it feels good to get my house in order.

posted by sstrader at 10:05 AM in Personal | permalink

October 26, 2013

Ballade, my third rock opera

This week, I finished writing a short rock opera that I started back in 2006, not long after I finished The Silent Spectrum. There were many years of interruption where I was either doing Android programming or working or just simply avoiding music. Creativity can fill you with such self-loathing that I thought I'd never finish it. Then, in a manic mood at the beginning of this year, I recommitted. The melodies have been in my head constantly since 2006, so it's nice to have them out.

Here's the main page with lyrics, downloads, and streaming from SoundCloud. The recording is converted from the score with viola used for the voice part. Apologies for the notable lack of dynamics. I hope to have the time to work up a live recording soon. Here's the story:

From the late 1990s and early 2000s, Robby Todino tried to use the Internet to connect with people in an attempt to deal with disruptive memories from his childhood. To accomplish this--in the period before online social networks--he obtained spam email lists and mailed out thousands of requests. His hope: that those who had the missing parts to his time machine would sympathize and respond. This is what I think happened to Robby and his time machine.

And the songs:

  1. The Ineffable
  2. ... was it a truth that I should have believed?
  3. ... a clear discrepancy between intent and practice ...
  4. ... I hope that there's a dark hole in the sky for me someday ...
  5. ... a mountain up close is no longer a mountain ...
  6. The Calculus

I had originally heard of Robby Todino from a 2003 Wired article titled "Turn Back the Spam of Time". To me, Todino was the perfect metaphor for how people want to use the Internet in particular, and technology in general, to fix their lives. Online connections become a palliative for past shame. Yet within the pathos of Todino's schizophrenic-ish crusade, there's a basic commonality with the actions of most everyone else in the world. And, with all sincerity, you have to envy the madcap passion of his requests. Here's one from a 2001 newsgroup posting:

If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed!! I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!

I need to be able to:

Travel back in time.

Rewind my life including my age.

Be able to remember what I know now so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with again after I go back.

I am in very great danger and need this immediately!

I am aware that there are many types of time travel and that humans do not do well through certain types.

I need as close to temporal reversion as possible, as safely as possible. To be able to rewind the hands of time in such a way that the universe of now will cease to exist. I know that there are some very powerful people out there with alien or government equipment capable of doing just that.

If you can help me I will pay for your teleport or trip down here, Along with hotel stay, food and all expenses. I will pay top dollar for the equipment. Proof must be provided.

To me, he'll always be one of those patron saints of the Internet. Sort of an iconic representative of something eternal and eternally true. The Wikipedia page Time travel urban legends has some further information. And--filed under there's-never-an-original-thought--several other musicians have used him as inspiration for their compositions.


posted by sstrader at 1:24 PM in Music , Personal | permalink

August 17, 2013

My new scooter

Last Saturday I embraced my inner Midtown hipster and bought a Vespa:

IMAG0540.small.jpg IMAG0542.small.jpg


Looking very Italian with the Fiat. It's been frustratingly rainy this week, but the little time I've had has been great! Longest drive was up to Holywood 24 to watch RiffTrax do Starship Troopers live. Purchased from Motoretta Atlanta over in Westside. Very helpful, highly recommended.

posted by sstrader at 12:26 PM in Personal | permalink

December 19, 2012

My new Fiat 500 Abarth

At around the end of Aug 2001 I purchased my 2002 Beetle; around five years later I paid it off (not long after I got a surprise in the mail). Even with 6 years of no car payments, 10+ years with the same car is my limit. I went shopping two weeks ago before our trip to Austin, found this 2013 model, and quickly made my decision. My original choice was between a Fiat and a Mini which, one of Lisa's coworkers commented, are often compared in Europe. The test drive convinced me what a solid car the Fiat is, and it's nice not to add to the crowd of 7 or 8 Minis that are already parked near my parking spot at home.

First addition was a bluetooth receiver to stream Internet audio from my phone (found in this thread). Works well. Car-wise, the first week-and-a-half has been great. We have two trips to Knoxville coming up in the next week, so the trunk/back seats will be put to the luggage test.

posted by sstrader at 8:13 PM in Personal | tagged beetle | permalink

March 22, 2012

Einstein on the Thames

Spending five days in London from May 10th through the 14th (more like three days) centered around tickets to a production of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach at the Barbican Centre on Silk Street. There was short internal debate on cost, then Lisa & I decided it was too ideal to pass up and impulse-bought the opera tickets the same night I found out about the show. Grooveshark playlists:

  1. Disk 1
  2. Disk 2
  3. Disk 3

It will be an intimidating work to attend. Although it's only five hours long--reasonable for an opera--it has such a discursive nature that I'm not sure how the absence of narrative will affect us. The music is at times beautiful and others, numbing. Listening to the opening now with chills. It's grouped with Satyagraha (which we saw as a Met HD theater broadcast back in November) and Akhnaten as the Portrait Trilogy. I have yet to warm up to Akhnaten, but Satyagraha is solidified for now as my favorite opera of any composer.

We've had several friends who've traveled once or more to London, so advice will be more than three days can bear. My first trip there!

posted by sstrader at 7:01 PM in Music , Personal | tagged Philip Glass, year of music | permalink

June 9, 2011

The heat

My run last Saturday ended with me passed out on the wrong floor of our condo building (but in front of the right door) and with my mouth covered in blood. Apparently, I didn't hydrate enough that morning and although I've run in the heat before, I seldom run in the middle of the day. After eight hours in the emergency room and four liters of saline, I was right as rain. Back jogging Tuesday and Thursday and, except for feeling a little gun-shy, all is normal.

Picked up some bluetooth headphones for $35 and an arm band for my phone and have started jogging with that instead of my MP3 player. Internet radio plus a GPS jogging app. The radio has been getting pretty good coverage, Grooveshark drops a lot for some reason though, and the jogging app is more annoying than useful. I always forget to stop my route at the end.

posted by sstrader at 11:38 PM in Personal | tagged jogging | permalink

October 8, 2010

PediaPress book for our Thailand trip

We're going to Thailand next year (got a great deal) so I put together a Wikipedia/PediaPress book for our trip:

Thailand book

Not sure how valuable my knowledge of Bangkok taken from The Windup Girl will be. Some friends took the trip a year or so ago and had a great time but warned that the heat will be far beyond what the American South has to offer. We had the option to tack on either Ankor Wat or Phuket. Beaches won out over Hindu temples.

posted by sstrader at 1:52 PM in Personal | tagged pediapress, thailand, the windup girl | permalink

May 1, 2010

Lisa's photos from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

She and Theresa are in NYC for the weekend. This morning's task was to walk the BB and she just sent me a couple of the pics:



posted by sstrader at 11:56 AM in Personal | tagged nyc | permalink

January 28, 2010

Playing around with Google Maps when I should be jogging

I really need to start jogging again. My standard 4.5-mile route:

posted by sstrader at 4:33 PM in Personal | tagged jogging | permalink

October 31, 2009

My drawing teacher, Henry Setter

Just found out that one of my art teachers from the University of West Georgia died earlier this year. He taught drawing, sculpture, and art history. Naturally, I did a search to see what his internet presence left behind. The AJC's obituary page for him is no longer available, but a LiveJournal entry copied it, as will I, there's a short obituary in a UWG newsletter, and the funeral home has it up:

Henry C. Setter, age 79, of Carrollton, Georgia, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, from complications of diabetes. Born on August 13, 1929, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Setter attended Purcell High School in Cincinnati and the University of Dayton. He later attended the University of Georgia where he received his Masters of Fine Art graduate degree.

Since 1977, Setter was a professor in the art department at the University of West Georgia. He retired in 2000. Several of Setter's sculptures are located in Carrollton, including "The Cotton Farmer," University of West Georgia's "Lamp of Wisdom," the gravesite monument of Roy Richards, Sr. and "Pope John XXIII" at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. His works can also be found at the University of Dayton. In his spare time, Mr. Setter was an active member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, enjoyed traveling and watching college football.

Setter is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 32 years, Martha Maggini Stenger Setter, and his step-children Jerry Stenger and wife Leigh of Savannah; Margaret Cash and husband Bob of Roswell; George Stenger and wife Claudia of Carrollton; John Stenger of Atlanta; Richard Stenger of Eureka, CA; and five step-grandchildren: Francisco and Maria Alejandra Stenger, Eleanor Cash, Sally Stenger and Sophia Stenger as well as several cousins and many loyal friends. He is predeceased by his parents William and Marie Setter.

Visitation will be at Almon Funeral Home on Sunday, January 25, 4 - 6 p.m. The funeral will be on Monday, January 26 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of West Georgia Foundation, the UWG Art Department Foundation, Asera Care Hospice c/o 116 West Railroad St., Ste. C, Kingston, GA 30145, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Messages of condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.almonfuneralhome.com

Almon Funeral Home, Carrollton.

Setter was one of a few teachers I had that I still think of today and whose lessons still inform my life. Random information as specific as the physicality of the act of drawing (relax, use every part of your hand, arm, and body) to introducing me to Umberto Eco. I remember the one off conversation in a hallway in the humanities building when he recommended this new book titled The Name of the Rose. He was intrigued--as an ex priest--when I told him that James Bond would play the lead in the upcoming movie. And as an ex priest, he was one of the most "old world" educated men I'd ever met.

I don't keep in touch and so will probably be searching for other teachers, hoping for no surprises.

posted by sstrader at 11:28 AM in Art , Personal | permalink

October 23, 2009


I had this idea a while back to create a tweet reader that speaks your tweets as they arrive (Tweaker...? meh). It would be like having a news radio feed playing in the background. The content would actually be more appropriate as a background feed than something you read periodically. You could "tune in" when you hear something interesting, and then rewind to the tweet of note or go to the web feed or whatever. Could be annoying, but maybe not.

A few days ago I got my Google Voice number. I have no plans on using it--my cell has been my primary number forever--but it may become useful. Everyone seems to love the transcribed voice mail messages. Here's Lisa's first message to me, and I assure you it resembles the actual message only in that both are in English:

Hey it's Jenny, I'm giving you a message on your new girl google voice mail. I guess I should say tinker, and everyone's search for can't find it.

So, I guess it works better for some. This transcription could eventually be used to piece together a voice corpus to have the tweet reader read in the sender's voice. Minor audio stitching and compression would make sure it doesn't sound like an audio ransom note. I suspect Google already has such a back-and-forth/text-to-voice planned for Gmail and chat and such once they get a repository built up.

posted by sstrader at 2:57 PM in Internet , Personal | permalink

August 28, 2009

Killer monkey has begun his trip to Atlanta

My two prints from Giant Robot LA are on their way!

LOS ANGELES, CA, US - 08/28/2009 4:55 A.M. - DEPARTURE SCAN

It took exactly a month for them to be shipped. I. Can't. Wait.

posted by sstrader at 11:45 AM in Art , Personal | permalink

July 15, 2009

Peachtree Road Race

Photos swiped from the MarathonFoto site. I was ~1:02 and Lisa ~1:03.

Lisa_PRR_2009.JPG peachtree-2009.lisa.png Scott_Prr2009_ProofA.JPG Scott_Prr2009_Proofb.JPG peachtree-2009.scott.png
posted by sstrader at 5:16 PM in Personal | tagged jogging | permalink

May 20, 2009

Visa Black

The best aspect of this "economic downturn" has been less credit card junk mail. Today, however, I received my first in a long while:


Yes, that annual fee is $495.

No, I will not be applying to reap the benefits of its 24-hour concierge service and patent pending carbon card.

posted by sstrader at 8:02 PM in Personal | permalink

December 23, 2008


One of the big bosses had what-I-assume-was his 6+ foot tall, adult, developmentally disabled son in the office as I arrived this morning. There's something about the smile of an innocent adult that disarms you. I felt the strongest urge to talk to him and (with honestly no condescending disrespect) to help him out. The faces of the rest of us at work, even when smiling, hide a certain strain, and most of the time don't even hide it. The faces of children often include a bemused uncertainty; I seldom see innocence but instead, simply, pre-adultdom. This person had an unaffected smile with the unfocused, tired eyes of casual vulnerability. Anyway, he looked pretty happy that it was Christmas and that he got to hang out in the office.

posted by sstrader at 8:03 PM in Personal | permalink

December 21, 2008

Two more EOY difficulties

Last Tuesday, I got an urgent call from the front desk at our condos: water was dripping from our condo to the one directly below. I rushed home preparing myself for the worst but found no evidence of damage in our place. Went downstairs and talked to the owner. He said for the past couple of months he'd see minor drips coming down from around where our dishwash/sink is. No damage in his place either, so pretty harmless. I dug around the dishwasher and under our sink but could find nothing. Lisa stayed home on Friday and the plumbers discovered that the garbage disposal was leaking behind the sink and then draining through the floor. A little expensive, but we escaped what could have been Bad News.

While Lisa was dealing with the plumbers, I drove up to Lawrenceville to pay a ticket for an expired tag. I completely bonked a few months back and forgot to renew. I got pulled over on the way to work but the officer was nice and said he'd just give me a warning instead of a ticket. Well, I thought he was being nice until I received a letter saying that I missed my court date and now owed $140. ?!? After a couple of calls, I found out I just needed to show my tag receipt and pay $29. Weird, but not really Bad News either.

Saturday, however, did end somewhat disasterously.

At around 2 AM, returning from a friend's party in Cobb, I got pulled over and ended up being thrown in the klink with a DUI. Lisa was no better and so had to wait for Mason to pick her up and drive her home. Fun! The officers at the jail were, to put it charitably, uninformative when I asked them what I needed to do to get out. Their reply, and, again, I am truly not making this up, was: what do you need to do? don't you watch TV?! I was non-plussed. One of my cell-mates, a young black kid named Antoine, was better informed and (apparently) more experienced with the process. Either way, the evening ended around 6 AM and the bed at home never felt so good. Sorry, no photos of me with prison tats. Impounded car was retrieved around noon (the Beetle has now done hard time). Bonding agent Faith (lover of the Lifetime Television Movie channel) was much more amenable than the officers. Court date's end of January and I'm required to make several scheduled calls to Faith until then. Makin' sure I don't skip out on me bond! For my first call, I'm going to grill her and make sure she hasn't left the state. Wacky!

And this happened just as Lisa and I were starting to use cabs more. Oh well.

posted by sstrader at 10:08 PM in Personal | permalink

December 12, 2008

My brother's father-in-law

Just got news that my brother's father-in-law, Jack Derham, probably won't recover from yesterday's surgery. At 75 he still gets programming contracts, and is always up on technology--sometimes with the very get-off-my-lawn-you-kids attitude of "we did the same thing 40 years ago..." Last I spoke with him was at my brother's for Thanksgiving. He thought the Macy's parade Rickroll was funny (the rest of my family was somewhat bemused by what it meant), and we talked about the culling of social networking platforms. I think he had some difficulty getting work recently (who hasn't) and maybe had some non-ideal experiences working at that age and with his health, but maybe it was OK. I'll miss him.

There is no understanding such an uncomfortable and sad collection of Jack, my dad, and Lisa's dad passing away. I want to say f-you to fate or whatever, but that doesn't even feel correct or true. I hope Betty and the nieces hold up OK.

Gone. A little after 2. The certainty was helpful for me; hope it's the same for others.

[ updated 15 Dec 2008 ]

Obituary from the AJC:

DERHAM, John John (Jack) Spellman Derham died of surgery complications at 2:11 PM on Friday, December 12, 2008 at St. Joseph's Hospital. Jack was born in Worcester, MA and lived for 18 years in Uxbridge, MA. He went to the public schools of Uxbridge until completion of his freshman year in high school at which time he attended St. John's Prep. He graduated in June, 1950, just a few days prior to the beginning of the Korean Conflict. He then attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. After graduation Jack served 4 years, 3 months and 11 days in the United States Marine Corps. During his service he became involved with electronics which set the tone for his future career. His first job following his discharge from the USMC was with the Philco Corp where he began his studies in computer science. He would continue in this profession working for a number of different companies before establishing his own company, Direct Systems, Inc. He was a computer software consultant until his death. Jack leaves his wife, Betty Landrum Derham, of Marietta, Georgia; daughter, Lisa Strader and her husband, Bob, of Alpharetta, GA; daughter, Julie Jbara and her husband, Greg, of Los Angeles, CA; four wonderful grand-children, Caroline, Sarah, Zachary and Aidan; his sister, Rosalie Gittler of New York City, NY; and nieces and nephews. The family will receive visitors at H.M. Patterson and Son, Canton Hill, 1157 Old Canton Rd, Marietta, GA 30068 from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM on Monday, December 15. Funeral services will be held at Mt. Zion UMC, 1770 Johnson Ferry Rd, Marietta, GA 30062 on Tuesday, December 16 at 11:00 AM followed by a military burial at Cheatham Hill Memorial Gardens. Everyone is invited to a reception following the burial services which will be held in the Family Ministry Center at Mt. Zion UMC at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers please make a memorial donations to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in memory Jack. JOHN (JACK) SPELLMAN DERHAM

Visitation will be from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Monday 15 December:

H.M. Patterson & Son Funeral Home
1157 Old Canton Road, NE
Marietta, GA 30068

Services at 11:00 AM on Tuesday:

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
1770 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30062

Military burial following:

Cheatham Hill Memorial
1861 Dallas Hwy., SW
Marietta, GA 30064-1945

posted by sstrader at 12:15 PM in Personal | permalink

November 25, 2008

Lisa's dad

Lisa's dad died of a heart attack yesterday morning. Coming a month-and-a-half after my own dad's death makes this both cruel and weird. Her and Mason are on the road this morning heading to outside of Memphis (where he lived and worked) and to meet their mom there. Yesterday they notified friends (email + FaceBook) and phoned between Atlanta and Memphis and Knoxville to arrange what will be done. We're anxious for the end of 2008.

Obituary from the Knoxville News Sentinal:

FOLEY, JACK OTIS - a resident of Mason, TN, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Flight Instructor for Federal Express Corporation in Memphis, passed away on Monday, November 24, 2008. Colonel Foley was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 27, 1942 to Anna Mae Berry Foley and the late Tyler Otis Foley. He attended South High School and was a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, receiving his Degree in Animal Husbandry. After participating in the R.O.T.C program he entered pilot training at Moody Air Base on April 21, 1965 and served his country with distinction for 28 years retiring as an Air Force Colonel. At his retirement he was the Director of Tanker Operations, World Wide at Offutt Air Force Base. Colonel Foley also served in a command position with several military units including Commander of the 922nd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Hellenikon AFB, Athens, Greece and Wing Commander of the 306th Strategic Wing, European Tanker Task Force, Mildenhall AFB, England, the first unit into Desert Storm. He was a command pilot with over 7,000 hours flying time. Other units with which he served are the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron piloting the E4 (747 Presidential Airborne Command Post); the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, the first unit of KC10 Tankers brought on line; and the 68th Air Refueling Wing at Seymor Johnson AFB, North Carolina where he served as Director of Operations. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, flying the RF-4C Phantom II and had 85 missions over north Vietnam and 123 over South Vietnam. Among his many commendations are the Distinguished Flying Cross the Silver Star, and the Air Medal with 23 Oak Leaf Clusters. Colonel Foley is survived by his wife, Deborah LaPierre of Gouvernuer, NY; daughter, Lisa Marie Foley and her husband Scott Strader of Atlanta, GA; son, Mason Wade Foley and his wife, Danice of Kennesaw, GA and their mother, Mickey Mallonee; two step-sons, Marcus Law and Michael Curico, both of Gouvernuer, NY; three brothers, John Foley and William Foley of Knoxville and James Foley of Santa Clarita, CA and three sisters, Dorothy Saulsbury of Hueytown, AL; Margaret Rector of Middlesboro, KY and Myra Sue Ferguson of Morristown, TN. A memorial service will be held at Berry Funeral Home on Chapman Highway, Monday, December 8th. Visitation of friends will be at 12 noon with services to follow at 1:00 p.m. The family requests that Memorials be directed to any Chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Obituary from The Commercial Appeal of Memphis:

Fayette County - JACK OTIS FOLEY, 66, resident of the Braden Community, DC-10 Flight Instructor for Federal Express in Memphis, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and husband of Deborah Foley died November 24, 2008. Services with Military Honors will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Peebles Main Funeral Chapel in Somerville with private interment. Visitation from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Peebles Main Chapel. A Christian Scientist and Knoxville native, Mr. Foley was educated at the University of Tennessee. Also survived by children: Lisa Marie Foley, Mason Wade Foley, Marcus Law, Michael Curcio; his mother, Anna Foley of Knoxville; four siblings and two grandchildren. Memorials requested to any Chapter of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Peebles Fayette County Funeral Homes--Main Chapel Somerville, TN 901-465-3535 peeblesfuneralhome.com
posted by sstrader at 8:48 AM in Personal | permalink

November 9, 2008

Old photo found with a bunch of garbage in the basement

Third and second from the right are my Mom and Dad. Photo is maybe from the late 60s. Yes, his hat is a patchwork of Budweiser logos. Third from the left (in front) is Jerry Fabec and his wife. Dad's coworker who I only kinda remember.

posted by sstrader at 7:42 PM in Personal | permalink

November 7, 2008

On a host of issues

Watched the Obama Flickr slideshow from election night. It's deceptive to be moved over beautiful pictures of well-dress and well-composed people. However, I can only imagine how black people felt to have this moment and have it with such a composed and intelligent politician and family (us whites had to skulk along with Bush or McCain as potential leaders; they don't inspire racial pride and even go so far as to bring up questions about humanity as a whole).

Brooke Shields in the new VW ads is very middle-aged-sexy. I think she just got on the list. The ads are not at all good though.

Embedding streaming audio in a web page: (1) works for Firefox and Opera using standard HTML, (2) works for Opera and IE using IE hack, (3) works for all three in some manner I have not yet divined. Fuck you, Microsoft.

Last Sunday went to buy DFW's The Broom of the System since I finished Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and needed a novel-not-short-stories. The pieces in Brief Interviews were not as good as Oblivion. Stand out items: The Depressed Person (virtuoso execution!), Octet, and Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko (an inexplicable story of 1980s TV decadence written as Classical history). Before even finding BotS, impulse buy of Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise (I read his blog, now I can read his book! I expect to pass it on to Lisa as the introduction to modern music), Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man (first Hugo Award winner, 1954, s/b short and punchy pulp sci-fi. I vaguely remember the title as one of those passed over during my teen years.), and Bad Monkeys (a Lisa impulse buy, 20 pages left right now and about to finish it, fun and light but maybe prepping for a Big Finish).

Re-hearing the Barber Violin Concerto made me fall in love with it again. Need to revisit his Piano Concerto. At some point in college I purched an ELL PEE with both and wore out the grooves listening to it. Perfect concert piece last night with Joshua Bell: short and catchy and well proportioned as a concerto.

posted by sstrader at 11:30 PM in Culture & Society , Music , Personal , Politics | permalink

October 11, 2008


Personal memories before I forget. Lisa's out watching the LSU game, so I have some time alone while I think I should remember...

Continue reading "Down"
posted by sstrader at 11:21 PM in Personal | permalink

October 6, 2008

RIP Molly the Dog

Maggie (the black one) disappeared a while back. Her sister Molly just passed away. They were my brother and sister-in-law's dogs. This is at our parents' house when he first got them (how many years ago?):


Molly was notoriously skittish. I think she only ever let me pet her once.

posted by sstrader at 5:03 PM in Personal | permalink

October 1, 2008

Updates to Twitter

My biggest fear with Twitter was that I could never get my full archives out (others seemed to be able to though). Mine would end at page 10 with 20 items-per-page. Any higher numbered pages would jack out to page one. Their update resolved that, giving me access to my coveted First Tweet: Test from IM... 11:33 AM September 14, 2007 from web. You can see the pressing importance of this feature.

Anyway, now I also have access, via their search page, to my keyworded tweets too:

For the obsessive, this is invaluable. I'd love to have a navigable, horizontal timeline too.

posted by sstrader at 7:34 PM in Personal | permalink

September 19, 2008

Pirate + Rum = ?

Talk Like a Pirate Day and I get this in the mail:

From: "Capt.Brian Morgan" <chadmark@sympatico.ca>

Subject: United States Marine Corps In Iraq

I am desperately in need of assistance to evacuate the sum of $10,570,000: capt.b_morgan@hotmail.com

Captain Morgan?! Pirating money?! And we're headed to Miami and The Keys tonight?!?! Oh I have to follow up on this one...

posted by sstrader at 10:10 AM in Personal | permalink

September 10, 2008

No thanks

posted by sstrader at 1:56 PM in Personal | permalink

September 4, 2008

Fortunes from Sunday


Your charm has inspired an [sic] secret admirer. (For Lisa!)

Your troubles will cease and fortune will smile upon you. (For me. Not too shabby.)

posted by sstrader at 6:31 PM in Personal | tagged fortune cookie | permalink

September 3, 2008

Small effort, at least

Very short and unfocused practice last night, but I feel good that I didn't go completely lazy and blow it off completely. Working on a section with left-hand chromatic runs that--when I'm not completely focused--just don't fall right and I end up stumbling over every measure, with no advance by the end of the session. Blargh. The runs don't have the obvious structure of tonal sections, and so finding their structure w/r/t the right hand melody and the intended harmonic rhythm becomes the block. Sometimes bad is interspersed with good, so tonight will be the breakthrough. ?

posted by sstrader at 8:42 AM in Personal | permalink

August 11, 2008


Trying to listen to internet radio and it keeps coughing:

[003] - 19:08:46 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:13:51 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:24:01 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:29:05 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:34:07 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 19:59:20 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:12:19 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:17:22 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:36:57 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:48:27 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:50:25 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:52:59 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])
[003] - 20:55:36 - 08/11/2008 - IP changes ( > [automatic])

I will be so happy to be rid of fucking Earthlink on Wednesday.

posted by sstrader at 8:59 PM in Personal | permalink

August 8, 2008

Tech changes

A few changes to the web site here. First, I had to block hotlinking after I was trolling through the logs and wondered why a certain Watchmen image was getting loaded every few seconds. Who knows how long it's been going on. ?!? And it took me too long to figure out the correct combination of httpd.conf and .htaccess configurations (my httpd.conf was in kindof a mess from previous changes...), but blocking has finally been acheived. Then, I decided to take the plunge after four years of blogging and add Sitemeter. I like the world map view. Someone in Dubai is visiting me? Really?!

On the how-am-I-connecting-to-the-internet front, I'll be switching from Earthlink (nee Mindspring) to Atlantic Nexus next Wed-nes-day. Same price. Higher speed. Much higher ratings on DSL Reports. I was thinking about going cable, but it's easier to swtich to a different DSL provider first to try to solve my connection woes. Lisa 'n' I will be keeping our @mindspring email addresses 'cause she insisted and it's only ~$30/year, and also, let's face it, I'd really miss all of the spam that accumulates from an 11-year-old email address. After the internet switcheroo, I cancelled a bunch of stupid phone features and cut $20 off of our bill. Holy shit we've been wasting some money.

posted by sstrader at 12:02 PM in Personal | permalink

July 21, 2008

Movies and weekend

WALL-E [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] (5/5). Went to see Wanted and ended up at WALL-E. We were planning on going to see it anyway, but really didn't expect to be so taken in by the sweet-but-not-sappy story. A few times during the movie I had somethinginmyeye. The dialog-free opening was silent film genius and ultimately more beautiful than the spaceship sequence in the second half. With no people, the Earth scenes held to their own almost-real reality. The people we were introduced to in space were depicted more cartoonishly. And really, the movie is all about WALL-E and EVE's relationship; the people just get in the way. Definitely a movie to purchase.


Wanted [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] (4/5). Crazy shooting sexy Jolie with the loom that tells the future and secret societies attacking each other. The first 20-30 minutes had a perfect mix of humor a la Office Space with the protagonist schlub narrating his hate for cubicle hell (I hear ya, brother). Second third is his training as an assasin (we need a montage!), which had its moments. Finally there's the twist (not that twisty) and a nice, non-Hollywood resolution. Overall, it was like The Matrix with a sense of humor.

Friday night dinner at Six Feet Under in Midtown West. Fried fish gets a +1, valet parking gets a -1, so it was a wash. Saturday was dinner and drinks at Cypress Street Pint and Plate until 3 AM. Sunday was a late lunch at Noche then late night pizza delivery. Weekend's not a weekend unless you overindulge.

Best part of last week was the birthday dinner at Straits where we saw the owner, Ludacris and had a great meal, plus, Lisa gave me a Garmin GPS unit for my car. I can't drive anywhere now without having it show where I'm at.

posted by sstrader at 10:33 PM in Cinema , Personal | permalink

July 11, 2008


Using a common image as your online icon (IM, Twitter, etc.) always holds the risk of being non-personal and non-unique. You may associate with "Brian the dog," but so might thousands of others and so thousands of others might pick the exact same icon. Bugger!

So, I was reading an hi-LARIOUS story about yet another Republican (known for his attacks on gays) getting outed as a ... well, you can guess the rest of the story. Looking at the comments in the story, I was stunned that I had already commented on it! What the fuck?!? Right there, waving to me, was my Felix the Cat icon:


Apparently, a user known as wonderfulwonderful had not only chosen Felix as their icon but had chosen the exact same pose.

I don't know when I first picked up Felix, but it's been at least four or five years. I needed something and he was the first thing that popped into my head because he had a bag of tricks. I thought that was a good metaphor for what programmers do: tough coding problem? Just reach into your bag o' tricks for the solution! I've used it for so long, it was an odd feeling of identity theft when I saw it next to someone other than sstrader. Alas, it's my own fault for nicking a (relatively) well-known cartoon character.

posted by sstrader at 11:00 AM in Personal | permalink

July 5, 2008


Lisa finished the Peachtree in 1:05. Even BIFF agrees:

         | L15A  |
         | R00LZ!! |
       o +---------+
      o/|  .~    ~.
  |\__/|  .~    ~.
 /o=o'`./      .'
{o__,   \    {\ 
  / .  . )    \} 
  `-` '-' \    }     
 .(   _(   )_.' 
'---.~_ _ _|
posted by sstrader at 11:58 AM in Personal | permalink

June 25, 2008

It's rant time again

Websites, stop putting your copious JavaScript ad embeds at the top of the page so that delays in the crappy ad site stops the page from loading. You want me to not use adblock when I look at your content? Well, stop having your ads block the content.

Search engines, now I know who to blame for my Apache server crashing every few days from overloaded requests. Yahoo! Slurp is virtually a DoS engine for small sites. You suck.

Creationists, you, along with flat-earthers and climate change denialists (although I feel that I'm insulting flat-earthers), need to crawl into a hole. Stealing from the recent Lenski imbroglio on Conservapedia: Why do people who believe in something with no evidence require so much evidence for evolution? Mason read the talk page for the article; I couldn't stomach more than a few entries. After such railings against science itself those people shouldn't be allowed to use a computer or to benefit from modern medicine. Make that any post-Enlightenment medicine. The god of the gaps has become angry and small. If you thought people who updated the Wikipedia pages on ancient Jedi and video games were losers, introduce yourself to the dementia of Conservapedia's entries.

posted by sstrader at 5:36 PM in Personal | permalink

May 19, 2008

Twitter down art collection via Dembot

I've only seen a few of these. Staring into nothingness now, although how often can you say you've been 552ed? Weird ...

My favorite:


[ updated the next day ]

Coding Horror just stole my stolen image!!

posted by sstrader at 5:08 PM in Personal | permalink

May 16, 2008

Greetings from the Columbia River Gorge!

posted by sstrader at 11:05 AM in Personal | permalink

April 20, 2008

The most fucked-up things I've heard recently (short, enumerated rant)

  • Even if the debates don't ask important questions, I still watch them to judge the candidates on how they react. (co-worker) - Media corporations have a unique and potentially rich access to our presidential candidates. Joe Blow can't gather the candidates together at his home and compare their answers to (hopefully) pithy questions. Our country's fucked up if not only do media corps cheapen their access by asking what's-your-favorite-color questions but viewers actually appreciate that they get such little information and are happy to base their vote on the resulting banalities.
  • You people need to understand how completely biased Frontline is. (co-worker) - Ignoring the truism that any statement is biased, how the fuck does someone even come to this conclusion? The show's had a few questionable episodes. Considering they've been on since 1983, and considering you practically can't watch a single episode of a show on Fox News without running into deep factual and ethical infelicities, Frontline has an outstanding record. Again, what the fuck?!?
  • Schools should teach religion and ID in science classes because evolution can't explain the origins of life. (Bill O'Reilly interviewing Ben Stein) - Where to begin with this eyesore of logical thinking and basic intelligence? First fuck up: the misunderstanding that evolution has anything to say about abiogenesis. Second: the idea that the lack of complete success discredits a theory's partial success. Third: that religion and ID even qualify as a science and should be placed next to rigorous theories instead of next to philosophy. Why the fuck isn't architecture taught in English class?!? Fuckhead.
posted by sstrader at 5:02 PM in Personal | permalink

April 12, 2008

Om nom nom nom

Found on a gate in a parking deck near the Omni...

posted by sstrader at 8:33 AM in Personal | permalink

April 3, 2008

Power out in Peachtree Lofts

Let's see how long my UPSs are really rated for... 15 minutes?! What was I thinking when I bought that thing?!?

posted by sstrader at 8:12 AM in Personal | permalink

April 2, 2008

Marathon woman

Or, at least, 5k woman. Lisa finished 290th out of 1188 in the Knoxville 5k. w00t.

posted by sstrader at 3:10 PM in Personal | permalink

March 31, 2008


On Saturday the 19th, Lisa and I will be jogging up the 1,378 steps of the Bank of America building to help the American Lung Association. The BofA building is the 27th tallest building in the world. It is also the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicago and New York City, and the tallest building in any U.S. state capital. If you want to donate, go to their donation page and look up either my or Lisa's name to offer up a few Shekels. I started training up and down the eight floors of our humble Peachtree Lofts building today. Hrm.

[ Updated 6 May 2008 ]

Finished in 12:39. Lisa never got her time.

posted by sstrader at 11:23 PM in Personal | tagged jogging | permalink

March 23, 2008

Daisy hearts Lisa

This possibly needs a gilded frame...

posted by sstrader at 9:13 AM in Personal | permalink

March 14, 2008


Crazy, although it really didn't sink in until my mom called us. We were watching TiVoed episodes of Jerico and eating Friday night pasta and only sort of noticed the lightning going on. Impressive vertical lightning AND THEN impressive horizontal lightning right above our building. Very neat, but no photos. I'm sure you all lived through it anyway. We canceled our reservations for Cuerno because we were out drinking late last night, but now it seems like a wise decision (canceling, not necessarily drinking) (although it would've been fun to be out in it....).

Oh, and my server is still up, so I rock.

posted by sstrader at 10:16 PM in Personal | permalink

February 14, 2008

Things to do/purchase

Get the Daydream Nation reissue. I hate reissues because they usually tack on B-sides and alternate versions immediately after the original tracks. So you're going along nicely, listening to the familiar track order, and BAM! Some weird alternate tracks appear and fuck your head up. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the extras, but I just don't want them to make the original all topsy-turvy.

The reissue of John Coletrane's A Love Supreme (purchased at the record store in Asheville a few years back) is a good example of how-to-do-reissues-right. First disc is the original album, remastered; second disc is a bunch of alternate takes.

SY also has a rarities album called The Destroyed Room. Release at the end of 2006; how did I miss that?!? It includes a 25+ minute long version of "The Diamond Sea" if the 19+ minute long version on Washing Machine was too terse for you.

Get the two Onion books: Our Dumb World and Our Dumb Century. Reddit was on a tear recently with some Onion posts, and the comments brought these up. Should be hi-fucking-larious.

Dave Sim of Cerebus fame has been active on the internets recently. Well, as active as you can be by proxy. He's got a bunch of interviews and dissertations on religion on YouTube and is coming out with a new comic called glamourpuss. I remember in one of the phone books where he was drawing a lot of women from fashion magazines (from the Woody Allen story-line?), he commented in the back that he'd love to spend all his time drawing from fashion magazine photos after Cerebus was complete. I really have to look that quote up, because that's what glamourpuss looks like. I don't have high hopes, but I'll still pick it up. Notable links: The Man himself taking a rare online moment to anounce the first issue, and again, and again, an early review of glamourpuss.

posted by sstrader at 11:03 AM in Personal | permalink

February 5, 2008

My vote cownts

Overseen at the exit polls: (90% going to Obama) I say: oh my ..., Pollster replies: yeah! ...

I'm so fucked up that Clinton's winning right now. I'm even more fucked up that Huckabee won GA. OK. So maybe it's something I could expect (winning the "I'll vote for 'religious' over 'honest'") but still could not accept.

posted by sstrader at 11:49 PM in Personal | permalink

January 2, 2008


[ updated 23 Jul 2014]

Years represent New Year's Eve year!

Our various New Year's celebrations (how come I can't remember more?!?):

  • 1998 (?) - Dinner with Lisa and my brother and his wife at South of France (closed)
  • 1999 - Millenium fun at Pricci, private room with around 15 friends
  • 2000 (?) - Romantic dinner at home
  • 2001 (?) - in New Orleans for a bowl game and craziness on the streets
  • 2002 - Big party at the Georgia Tech Conference Center with multiple DJs and craziness
  • 2003 - Big party at our pad
  • 2004 - Dinner at Nakato with friends
  • 2005 - Party at Stacey and Alby's
  • 2006 (?)
  • 2007 - Charleston, SC, dinner at Cyprus with Lisa

    [ updated 23 Jul 2014]

    Lisa found what we did in SC:

    Hotel: The King Charles Inn: http://kingcharlesinn.com/ Not "inexpensive" but worth it. We hung out in the pub every night, before we struck out for the evening and upon our return from the evening.

    Dinners: Two great dinners... We rang NYE in at Cypress; one of 3 sibling restaurants that all get great buzz (Blossom and Magnolias are the other two; Cypress is the newest): http://www.magnolias-blossom-cypress.com/

    Another night was spent at 82 Queen: Nestled into an old home with a huge magnolia in the courtyard: http://www.82queen.com/

    Brunch before we left: Poogan's Porch, tucked away in a very quaint home: http://www.poogansporch.com/gallery/

  • 2008 - Palate and Feast with Shelby and Robert

[ updated 23 Jul 2014]

Later years:

posted by sstrader at 9:22 PM in Personal | tagged new orleans, new years | permalink

December 24, 2007


Our tree decorated with my niece Sarah's ornament:

xmas-2007.tree xmas-2007.presents-tree-cards
posted by sstrader at 1:24 PM in Personal | permalink

December 22, 2007


Valet ticket:

posted by sstrader at 11:45 AM in Personal | permalink

December 1, 2007


OK, I am officially a 12-year-old girl. I teared up at the end of GitS:2ndGIG. I have a soft spot for AIs.

posted by sstrader at 8:48 PM in Personal | permalink

November 18, 2007

Offensive/stupid sidewalk grafitti on 10th St.

When I looked down and noticed this, it reminded me of the hang gliding scene at the end of Harold and Kumar:

posted by sstrader at 1:32 PM in Personal | permalink

November 10, 2007

Software utilities for my parents

My parents recently got a nasty trojan called Troj/Dloadr-AQG that installed ldcore.dll and attached it to all (?) running processes. Even after following the otherwise excellent advice of Coding Horror and using Sysinternals invaluable tools, it was too much for me and they had to go to professionals. The fact that the professionals had a tough time cleaning it up made me feel a little better. But not much. Serendipitously, Titus had recently set up a page on his blog aggregating links to software he uses on a new system, so I thought it'd be a good idea to set this page up for my parents.

  • Firefox web browser

    Disable cookies - Select Tools > Options from the menu, in the Options dialog click the Privacy icon, uncheck "Accept cookies from sites". This stops any web page from leaving a cookie on your computer.

    Enable cookies for a specific site - Select Tools > Options from the menu, in the Options dialog click the Privacy icon, click the Exceptions button, under "Address of web site" enter the name of the site (e.g. www.mybank.com).

  • ZoneAlarm firewall, direct download here

    Once installed, this will display a yellow popup for each application that tries to access the internet. This will be annoying for the first day or so, but eventually it learns all of your applications and blocks the spurious ones.

    For example, in the popup shown below, "Opera Internet Browser" is trying to access the internet. Because I know that's safe, I would check "Remember this setting" and click the Allow button. For anything you're unsure of, click the Deny button.


Unless someone recommends otherwise, I say don't bother with anti-virus software (the anti-virus software you had didn't stop this ldcore.dll infection...). Two anti-virus application I've seen people use are avast! and AVG. With a more security-minded browser and firewall, you shouldn't need them. The same goes for anti-spyware software such as Ad-Aware or Hijack This. These are useful utilities for cleanup but not for stopping an attack.

posted by sstrader at 6:03 PM in Personal | permalink

October 31, 2007

Jury duty!

Sitting in Justice Center Tower waiting to see if I get called for state jury duty (group 47 is the best, pick us!). What could be better than jury duty on Halloween? Freddy v. Jason?! Frankenstein v. Wolfman?!? This better not let me down...

posted by sstrader at 7:19 AM in Personal | permalink

October 27, 2007

pobeB yobwoC

So I decided to give Cowboy Bebop a chance. I'm hooked on the GitS series and am getting itchy for more Anime. weird. Anyway, first up on the TiVo season pass is an episode called "The Real Folk Blues (Part 2)". It ends very dramatically, and I think the main character dies?! Next up, "Asteroid Blues," episode 1. Yes, I accidentally caught the series in a loop, and I now know how it ends. Oh well.

posted by sstrader at 2:08 PM in Personal | permalink

October 9, 2007

Cursed contraptions!

The dryer that gives money so freely has been dying for the past few months. Shuts off automatically every few minutes and rarely makes it through an entire cycle. Alas, we missed the no-tax-appliance day! Yesterday, the iron died unexpectedly (although it had been dropped on the floor several times...). And last night Lisa's car threatened to not "beep" with the security fob, thus restricting its use to anything but starting the engine. This morning, it carried through on the threat.

If you have a pacemaker, avoid us at all cost.

posted by sstrader at 2:59 PM in Personal | permalink

October 6, 2007

Dryer money!

Sign you're going to have a good day: 10 Dryer Bucks appear in your last batch of laundry!

posted by sstrader at 12:14 PM in Personal | permalink

September 28, 2007

Scott, ca. 1985, with $1421.67 in his account

Found this acting as a bookmark in an old comic book:


That was my first quarter of college, so the money was probably burned through pretty quicky by tuition and books. And beer.

posted by sstrader at 3:10 PM in Personal | permalink

September 27, 2007

Ether Shostakovich visits the Metaverse

I'm officially a dweeb.


Almost finished with Snow Crash and then watched a Dr. Dobb's webinar where Grady Booch pointed out that IBM owns 50+ islands in Second Life and uses them for training, meetings, etc. So I tuned in to Ghost in the Shell radio and dived in...

I haven't spotted any unicorn sex yet though.

posted by sstrader at 5:23 PM in Personal | permalink

September 16, 2007

Smart lad, to slip betimes away; From fields where glory does not stay,

Passport photos from 10 years ago (left) and from yesterday (right):

1997 2007
posted by sstrader at 3:56 PM in Personal | permalink

September 12, 2007

I can't travel, so why don't you!

Our plans for a weekend in London at the end of the month fell through at the lastlastminute. We had Travelocitied our flight+hotel for a very decent price and had high hopes for seeing Wicked and the LotR musical (!?), when we decided to verify the fact that didn't need to be verified, that is, that my passport expires the same month (October) that Lisa's expires, only to find that--fingers hovering over the BuyNow! button--mine in fact expired last month.


So, we rolled with it and went to Plan B: Portland, OR! I had wanted to visit that nice place for a while and now seemed a good a time as any since we had an empty slot in our collection of travel slots. This too was not meant to be as we discovered that, in the eyes of the airlines, going to Portland = going to London. Monetary-wise, that is. I've said it before and I'll say it again: meh.

Plan C: London for Thanksgiving! We need to get goin' on new passports so it's a haircut and passport photo for me tomorrow. It's my work-at-home day, so I'll be able to hit the nearby places. Lisa's beat the travel bug even as we speak by visiting Manhattan for work (and for spotting Dennis Farina in a Duane Reade). There till Thursday-or-probably-Friday. (At which time she may kill me for forgetting to pick up the tickets for the Friday nite movie that I just remembered I needed to do and didn't...)

posted by sstrader at 10:41 PM in Personal | permalink

August 13, 2007


(please ignore, this is to correct a screwed-up account ... Technorati Profile)

posted by sstrader at 9:27 PM in Personal | permalink

August 10, 2007

It never pays to avoid conflict, a short play

Coworker (in front of me and 2nd coworker): My daughter saw several Muslims the other day and got concerned. I told her she was probably safe. I don't know, what do you guys think?

Me (with comedically incredulous look): That's enough for me. I'm going to get some coffee. (leaves)

... I return, only me and 2nd coworker ...

2nd coworker: You're so politically correct.

(End scene. Strike the set. Call for a rewrite...)

posted by sstrader at 8:09 PM in Personal | permalink

July 26, 2007

Happy mechanic story

So, my car has (1) it's check engine light on and (2) it's seatbelt light on. I need to get the check engine thing checked in order to get my emissions test in order to get my tag renewed, and there's some pressure since my b-day was two weeks ago, so I need to go to the mechanic. My nievete got the best of me and I was shocked at the $750 needed for (1), in the form of a new catalytic converter, and the $250 needed for (2), seatbelt sensor. Multiple estimates for the converter thing all hover around $750 even though I find the very thing I need online for $300.

I asked Catherine's if I could bring in my own parts and that took their price down to $175. Nice. Even better: they called me back after the estimate and said that if my car is < 8-years-old and has < 80,000 miles, the catalytic converter is under warrenty. It is, it is, and after calling the dealer I found out that yes, it is. Lisa had a good experience with Catherine's before, but this experience benefitted me so it's more meaningful. YMMV.

posted by sstrader at 2:43 PM in Personal | permalink

July 23, 2007

FS: 80-hour TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner DVR

Along with the DVR itself, this includes the 2 years remaining on the 3-year subscription (expires September 2009) and a wireless network adapter ($60 from TiVo, $40 from Amazon, possibly less expensive elsewhere). If I'm reading their current offer correctly, you would pay $100 (TiVo) + $300 (3yr service) + $40 (wireless), and I am selling it all for $200 (2yr service). That seems fair, yes?

Interesting trades considered. Honest Scott's Blog Sale won't be undersold!!

Following recommendations from the FAQ "What Should I Do If I Sell or Give Away My DVR?"," I will be clearing out the contents and we will need to contact TiVo customer service to transfer the service. Currently, that DVR shows up on my account page. That will probably need to change.

I'm selling it because I just purchased a new one (same model) after they offered a deal to transfer my original lifetime subscription from my long-defunct series 1 model. I've had no problems whatsoever, and it still has all of its TiVoey goodness intact. I'll also be posting elsewhere but will update this page as soon as a deal is made.

posted by sstrader at 11:50 AM in Personal | permalink

July 4, 2007


Back up on Apache.

posted by sstrader at 12:47 PM in Personal | permalink

June 21, 2007


Birds have come back to nest in our dryer vent. I didn't realize this was going to be a multi-generational thing.

posted by sstrader at 11:21 AM in Personal | permalink

June 12, 2007


I am so ready to try out Rare on Piedmont near North across from the Publix. Tapas with a southern flair (crawfish, grits, chicken and waffles...). Beware their need-I-say-annoying Flash site. A co-worker went there and from his description and the photos it sounds like Bazzaar near the Fox. That area of Piedmont has been cursed by its location. We used to go to the average-but-pleasant Tin Roof Cantina (until it turned into some other, more average, bar) and enjoyed the seedy Brit-pub down the street (now closed). It's an odd area for an upscale joint, but we'll do our best to support the effort.

If only for the nice wine menu.

posted by sstrader at 11:38 PM in Personal | permalink

May 23, 2007


As of yesterday, the dryer-vent birds have gone. Hopefully, they won't remember me as the guy who just had to dry his jeans when it was 90-degrees out, but instead as the guy who put two dryer-sheets in to help fluff up their feathers.

posted by sstrader at 8:46 AM in Personal | permalink

May 19, 2007


Our dryer-vent baby birds are starting to fly around. One was just perched on our window all fluffy and out of breath.

posted by sstrader at 4:04 PM in Personal | permalink

May 10, 2007

Work out

So, since I haven't been able to jog, I've had to find a new Vehicle for Physical Health. I heard some co-workers talking about jogging the other day and it got me really depressed. A little while back I dreamt of jogging, and it was nice like the iconic signature of Peter Krause's character in Six Feet Under with his periodic jogging routine.

So anyway, I had been doing the step machine in the workout room at the condos here, but then I recently started sit-ups (crunches etc.). I kinda like it. I miss the real outside aerobic stuff, but this is something I've been needing to do (I have no abdominal muscles). It's a change.

posted by sstrader at 9:09 PM in Personal | permalink

May 5, 2007


Our dryer-vent bird just had her babies. Awww.

posted by sstrader at 5:06 PM in Personal | permalink

May 3, 2007

A plea from another blogger

A Perfectly Cromulent Blog has sent out a plea to any Texas residents to speak out to their state legislature on their dubious and heartless amendment removing financial support for autistic children ages 3-5. His post is informative, eloquent, and unfortunately personal. Read it and pass it on to those you know who may be able to help. We do what we can.

posted by sstrader at 5:25 PM in Personal | permalink

April 27, 2007

Server woes

First, my DNS updater utility (which I actually paid for) craps out and refuses to update DynDNS whenever my IP changes. I reverted back to an older utility and am back up. Then, Mindspring/Earthlink decides that I don't want to even be provided with an IP and my DSL modem just sits and stares into space. Blinking. Honestly, that has happened once before and appeared to be fixed with restarting the modem and router, but last night I was on-and-off-and-usually-more-off for several hours. Finally, once back on, for the first time in the ~1 year since I added my hillbilly captcha to comments, I got comment spam (spom). Theres only been 10 so far on a single entry, but that's how it always starts...

posted by sstrader at 8:32 AM in Personal | permalink

April 20, 2007

Bird, again

So during one of my snooze cycles this morning, I heard the bird again and thought that maybe it's my alarm that's waking her up. What's weird is that I swear she mimicked the tone and repetition of my alarm after it went off. Although, maybe I was just still asleep.

posted by sstrader at 7:55 AM in Personal | permalink

April 19, 2007


Around a week ago, we realized that a bird had taken up home in our dryer vent. The outlet is right out our bedroom window, so every morning (right about ... now) the sound of her floppin' her wings and tweetin' resonates through the metal pipe. It was creepy at first ("what the hell is that?!?"), but now it's kinda nice.

posted by sstrader at 7:44 AM in Personal | permalink

March 18, 2007

Food and drink

Many times, during the weekend, we will order delivery from Chico & Chang's simply because they offer six-packs of diet Coke (whcih we're usually out of). Today is one of those times.

posted by sstrader at 2:30 PM in Personal | permalink

February 15, 2007

Here's a thought

If the bitches at Earthlink would stop resetting my IP, maybe I could get some work done without having to reset my office VPN connection every 5 minutes.

posted by sstrader at 3:05 PM in Personal | permalink

January 4, 2007


Whenever I get in the job market again, I'm going to redesign my resume to be in landscape so that I can turn my work history into a timeline with call-outs containing accomplishments from each job. I would completely hire someone if they came in with something like that.

posted by sstrader at 7:51 PM in Personal | permalink

December 23, 2006


Happy .MAS!

[ via Studio 360 ]

posted by sstrader at 7:00 PM in Personal | permalink

December 20, 2006


Off for the rest of the year. Rock. And. Roll.

First NYC this weekend, then X-mas with the 'rents, then kicking it for a week waiting for plans to form for New Year's. January is going to suck, but I'll just have to revel in what I gots now.

posted by sstrader at 7:14 PM in Personal | permalink

December 18, 2006


Went to see the younger niece in her school's production of The Nutcracker. The music was canned, like that in The Fox's production, but tickets were more reasonably priced.

Afterwards, I learned of both nieces' elf dolls and how they come to life at night to eat crackers and drink sugar-water (their favorite drink). Every morning the neices have been waking up to find their elves in wacky places (hanging from the ceiling fan, etc.) with crumbs and empty glasses of sugar-water scattered about. They were wide-eyed about what might happen next. Hilarious.

posted by sstrader at 8:00 PM in Personal | permalink

December 5, 2006

My car

New tires, oil change (overdue, of course), a minor mishap a week before with one of the concrete poles in our parking deck, and this morning at the physical therapist's office I walk back to my car to see that (1) the door is unlocked and (2) the casing around the lock is pulled-out-but-not-broken. My retirement fund of toll booth money was untouched, as were my box of Wet Naps in the glove box. Did I forget to lock the car? Even if I forgot that, I'm sure I would remember trying to tear off the door lock casing. Everything still locks and unlocks (unlike when someone tried unsuccessfully to break into my blue Sundance and I was left with an unopening driver's door for a year or so), so no real etc. done. Still, I'm realizing that Atlanta Medical Center is the Badlands.

posted by sstrader at 1:47 PM in Personal | permalink

November 27, 2006


The first recruit for my robot army has arrived.

The Roomba was to have taken three hours to charge but was up robotin' around in less than and hour. It cleaned for maybe two hours, covered probably 90% of our nasty floors including the area rugs and the kitchen tile, then struggled to find its home base and died only a few feet away. It's been slowly recharging for the past few hours, so hopefully it will be back on its wheels in the morning. This thing's just too cool to have to return it.

Our floors were really dirty.

Anyway, it kind of wanders around with an apparent aimlessness and hums through its tasks. The humming's louder than you expect, but nice. The floor looks muuuuch better. Lots of hair and stuff gunked up the brushes--better them than my socks. I figure a few more passes and it'll be less of a shock to the Roomba's system, and finally I'll be able to justify the not sweeping that I do anyway.

And it's just really cool.

posted by sstrader at 9:22 PM in Personal | permalink

October 21, 2006

(mental note)

Start noticing things you don't notice. Like putting the key in the garage door. I don't know why, but it seems like an important idea.

posted by sstrader at 10:40 AM in Personal | permalink

My leg injury, part 3

Early this week (no, last week?) I had a milestone where I started sleeping through the night without waking up because of my leg. But then, two nights ago I had a charley horse (or a corkie) in my calf and it's still sore today. It's meaningless, but it's like when you're sick and every little symptom is over-important.

And blogged about.

posted by sstrader at 10:38 AM in Personal | permalink

October 12, 2006


Watching Lisa's flight's path via Google Maps on Delta's web site (check here for your flight number and then click the Track link). Depart LaGuardia at 2 PM yesterday, you could see a decidedly circuitous path avoiding the island of Manhattan. East then north then west then finally south over Jersey. The Delta map showed both the scheduled flight path (directly south) and the contrasting actual path.

posted by sstrader at 11:05 AM in Personal | permalink

October 9, 2006

My leg injury, part 2

So much for the magic of self-diagnosis. After some poking and prodding (more poking than prodding), the doctor says that compartment syndrome is unlikely because of the complete lack of swelling. Instead, she thinks my foot drop may be caused by some nerve issue of some sort. Appt. with the neurologist in a month, then maybe I'll get my face on a plastic jug at the local 7/11: "Help little Scotty find a cure for his embarrassing FOOT DROP..."

posted by sstrader at 4:10 PM in Personal | permalink

October 5, 2006

My leg injury

According to my web-diagnosis, I have chronic compartment syndrome affecting my tibialis anterior (while standing, I cannot pivot my left foot up from the heel and have nonspecific numbness). Google was kind enough to add to Wikipedia's entries by categorizing treatment, symptoms, etc. The good news is that I just received a complimentary physical therapy consultation at Body Mechanics Physical Therapy. Coincidence? Like anti-virus companies, they may have been the ones to inflict me with this pain.

posted by sstrader at 8:07 PM in Personal | permalink

October 1, 2006

Vacation (very long)

Back from California.

Instead of a trip to Italy (flights too expensive), Lisa & I went to CA to celebrate her 40th trading Chianti for Zinfandel. The itinerary took us from San Francisco to a few days in Sonoma, then travelling down the PCH making two day stops each in Carmel and Santa Barbara and finally ending up in LA to visit the sister-in-law-in-law and family. Lisa gets all the credit for one of the best-planned vacations yet, and I recommend anyone take the same or similar route. References were the Lonely Planet Napa & Sonoma Wine Country and California Highway 1 guides.


(Our ticket number at Fresh to Order the night before leaving. Coincidence?!?)

[ San Francisco ] [ Sonoma ] [ Carmel ] [ Santa Barbara ] [ Los Angeles ]

San Francisco

On the flight over, I sat next to an FBI agent who was reading Fiasco. He was returning to his home office in San Francisco to check in and attend a friend's wedding in Santa Barbara. We had a nice talk and he gave us a few good recommendations for Carmel. Our rental car was a convertible PT Cruiser. Lisa had hoped for a Mustang, but the luggage and purchased wine would've never fit, so we were lucky.

Fri 22

This was probably the most culinary trip we've ever taken, with excellent meals to be had from start to LA. Our arrival dinner in San Francisco was at 9:45 Friday night at The Slanted Door near The Embarcadero. Expensive, hip, Asian, yet very good. We split appetizers and uncharacteristicly laid low on the wine in order to mitigate the time zone. Breakfast the next morning was at Sears Fine Food. Unless you want to do some heavy-duty breakfast eatin', keep your skinny fucking ass away. Lisa had wanted to go on our last SF trip, but the place was under renovation. We wisely returned by accident after a wrong turn and were not disappointed.


This was our second trip to “wine country.” The first was with the brother, sister-in-law, her sister, and her husband eight years back for a few days in Napa. Very fond memories. This trip to Sonoma, we stayed at the Sonoma Valley Inn: free wifi and an inviting pool that we somehow never made time for.

Sat 23

First wine tastings at Sebastiani: their Pinot was, as always, great as were their two dessert wines. Not overly sweet. The Eye of the Swan white pinot noir, a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, tasted to me like a horrible horrible mistake. The grapes did not blend at all. The servers were friendly and were easy to crack wise with. The first one we had actually lived in Midtown off of Monroe 10 or so years ago. We also saw the preparations for what looked like two weddings on the front grounds. Aww. Gundlach Bundschu had nice wines but we ended up with a less-than-friendly hostess. Although she did have an interesting history: her father worked the winery for 22 years and so she works there now and will probably continue to do so. I can't count how many jobs I've had in my life.

In the evening, we had drinks at the El Dorado Kitchen, a warm modern bar in the El Dorado Hotel off of Sonoma Plaza, and then Lisa's birthday dinner at Girl & the Fig just across the street. The inside is nice, but dining on their patio is a must.

Sun 24

Three wineries close together just east of town: Ravenswood, Buena Vista, and Bartholomew. Ravenswood, of course, is famous for its zinfandels and I definitely fell back in love with them during this visit.


At Buena Vista we tasted and purchased a bottle of their sherry. It, like many wines we ordered, was available only at their winery. Most were worth the purchase; only a few, like Sebastiani's white pinot noir, were better left in limited release. Interestingly, Buena Vista was started by the father of California wines, Agoston Haraszthy. Information on him was to be found in a small museum at the next winery, Bartholomew. Bartholomew was possibly the only one we visited that was completely organic and their wines were 100% varietals with no blends. We were fortunate enough to be pointed to lunch at Cafe Citti in Glen Ellen by our server at Ravenswood. Returning back in town, we finished up the afternoon at the Mayo Family Winery. There, a part-time jazz musician poured and spun tales of wine and music with some Coltrane in the background. The extended stay there knocked us out for the rest of the afternoon. After a “rest” back at the hotel, we went to dinner at Maya. Beware the stuffed jalepenos! They were both the most flavorful and hottest peppers I've ever had. A rare combination. Again, an outstanding meal.

Mon 25

Get up, get out, and we wound our way on back roads to begin our trip on Highway 1. Down through woods and coast and small towns and finally back through San Francisco with a scenic lunch at Cliff House (emphasis on scenery and not lunch). Continue on to our next major stop...


Our hotel was a slight step down (especially since we later found out from one of the locals at a bar that it was the sight of a prostitution ring bust), but what it lacked in charm it made up for in free wifi. Dinner that evening at Grasing's ('gray-zings). I love the freedom of gourmet food and casual dining in these towns.

Tue 26

No wineries! We must pack all of our Carmel-related-stuff in today and save the wineries for our trip out on Wednesday. We started with the Monterey Aquarium, which I have finally come to the conclusion is slightly better than the Georgia Aquarium, fresh in my mind from a recent visit. They had: a diver feeding fish and sharks and monkey-faced eels, a mock wetlands room with sand and reeds and several species of birds, ample plaques with information on the oddities that you're viewing. For me, they really gained points for the extra information. Lunch at Sly McFly's (fried seafood, meatball sammich), fresh-made fudge at a local candy shop, then over to the 17-mile drive to see rich houses around the Pebble Beach Golf Course (meh) and various vistas and fauna on the coast.


Cheese and wine was obtained at The Cheese Shop in town, then we relaxed at the hotel with some internet jazz and a Carmel sunset. Dinner began with drinks at The Carmel Mission Inn, Clint Eastwood's joint, where we enjoyed the 70's radio serenade at the piano bar. As the pianist was noodling around in between songs, me and a local declared in unison “Alan Parsons Project!” (specifically, the opening chord to “I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You”). I'm sure all present were impressed. He then informed us of the illicit history of our hotel.

We went to dinner at Forge in the Forest (both this and the aquarium were recommended by my FBI flight neighbor). Unfortunately, they close oddly early and much of our meal was rushed by a waiter who felt that punctuality at closing time was of utmost importance. The food was only OK but the patio atmosphere was perfect for the weather, which was never not-perfect so that goes without saying. Dinner at The Carmel Mission Inn would have been much better, but I'd still lightly recommend Forge in the Forest. Lightly. We ended the evening on the strip in Monterey for drinks at a local bar where Lisa mistook “Lad's” for “Ladies,” from which we overheard a mocking of her as clever as you'd guess any frat-boy could come up with. I was entertained.

Wed 27

Three excellent wineries on our way out of town. First, Chateau Julien. Although friends had a bad experience, the girl here was very friendly despite having a code in her dose. This was a week of surprising wines for me. I've been off of Zinfandels, Merlots, and Chardonnays for a while yet at many of the wineries these ended up being my favorites. At CJ, it ended up being the Chardonnays. Then San Saba where we spoke with a lady who often visits her mother in Atlanta. She insisted that Atlanta traffic is as bad as LA traffic, but we learned differently. More purchases, this time two unoaked Chardonnays—which had much less, well, oak flavor for lack of a thesaurus. Finally, Bernardus where we enjoyed two blends consisting mostly of Cabernet that they called their Marinas.

On our way to Santa Barbara, we intended to visit Hearst Castle (of rosebud fame) but needed to reserve the tour ahead of time and they were sold out. Their free museum hinted at the opulence and taste of the place. No mention was made of the SLA.

Santa Barbara

Checked in to the Brisas del Mar hotel in Santa Barbara and relaxed a little before going to dinner at Sage & Onion (recommended in our Lonely Planet guide). This, along with the next evening's meal at Bouchon, rated as some of the best food of the trip.

Thu 28

Similar to Carmel, the wineries in Santa Barbara take you out of town. We drove around 30 minutes to get to Los Olivos (almost running out of gas on the way). All of the tasting rooms are in a short block or two down the main street that basically is Los Olivos—one bragging prominently “as NOT seen in Sideways.” We visited Consilience (the hostess had worked as a paramedic in New Orleans), Longoria Wines, The Tasting Room (where the host, although a character, had some disparaging remarks about Atlanta), and finally Andrew Murray Vineyards. All-in-all an excellent trip. Then to the neighboring town of Solvang to get me some shoes:


And check out a few more wineries. First Lucas & Lewellen, then their sister shop Mandolina where we met some guys who seemed to be Big Shots of some sort. Wine tastings make people chatty. We got back in town and had a light lunch at a recommended dive called La Super-Rica Taqueria where I was quite restive in my new shoes:


Dos Relaxxis! Then a stop at the beach at West Beach to watch the birds and the surf before heading back to the hotel for a quick dip in the pool and hot tub—shamefully the only time we put on swim suits the whole trip. And no, there were no nude beaches. The hot tub cured the pain in my gimpy leg that began on the flight, so I had a short reprieve from my old man syndrome. Shower and dressed to have our next-to-final meal at Bouchon (lamb and venison, both outstanding with a local pinot noir) and our next-to-final drinks out at one of the many and active college bars along the main street in Santa Barbara.

Fri 29

Depression surprisingly doesn't set in on our last real day—with our flight the next morning. After shipping two boxes of wine (a small fraction of the many that we had shipped directly) and one box filled with all of the free glasses from the wineries we visited, we made a quick trip up the tower of the historic courthouse and then had a couple of appetizers at the highly recommended Bogart's Cafe where Nicole was in the weeds but all of the old books and light opera kept us entertained.

Los Angeles

Our final trip down the PCH to LA. More surfers than you can shake a surfing stick at. Experience the thrill of LA traffic and after pulling in to the wrong hotel (“oh, we're sorry, we're supposed to be at the Radisson, not the Renaissance...”) we had time to check in, clean up, and text my sister-in-law-in-law for directions to their place. Over the largest take-out burrito I've ever seen (think alien pod), we got caught up with the kids and the life back in LA after a two-year stint in NYC (performing in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and the massive renovations to their house which made me jealous to live in a bungalow. We talked some geeky talk about bootleg internet radio and I got to see some scenes from DRS that Greg had recorded (maybe see some short, unsanctioned bootlegs on YouTube if they don't get pulled). Along with this little gem:

mel jbara

Here, Greg does is best Crazy Anti-Semite impersonation for an upcoming movie (I'm probably breaking some sort of copyright by posting this). The most uncomfortable part was when he called me Sugartits. On the way back to the hotel that night, although in pain from the freakisly large burrito, we stopped at an In & Out Burger along with the rest of the population of LA:


The trip was only slightly marred by a very post-40 pain in my left leg--appearing first on the plane and then aggravated by a jog in Sonoma to the point that I had to hobble most of the trip. I may try to avoid a doctor's visit, but it would be very unwise. The other mishap involved several days of phone calls and internet connections with the office over unresolved issues. It was one of the most painful times with work in recent memory, and only Monday will reveal what is to come.

Now comes the wait for all of the wine that we ordered. Boxes should start appearing Wednesday or so, so I have until then to purchase more wine shelves. Many more.

posted by sstrader at 7:38 PM in Personal | tagged travel | permalink

September 28, 2006

Mental note

One of the best vacations ever (yes, even better than the one where I solved the murder and came up with an alternative form of energy). Ubiquitous wifi access is mandatory and yet it doesn't mean that I'm going to blog at all. What does that say about blogging? Hotel, restaurant, and wine recommendations to follow, along with the many coincidences along the way. Off to dinner at Bouchon in Santa Barbara...

posted by sstrader at 10:53 PM in Personal | permalink

September 14, 2006

Sight reading

I've decided to go through the volume of Schubert sonatas I have as sight reading execise over the next weeks and months. Slow and deliberate. I've neglected sight reading the last couple of years. The absence shows with misreading of key changes or enharmonic chords.

I'm completely unfamiliar with the material. Beethoven sonatas were not a good option because of that. The Schubert was a purchase, like so many novels, intended for some unspecified future. It's a gift from Scott-of-the-past.

Volume 1, beginning from Sonata #1.

posted by sstrader at 10:13 PM in Personal | permalink

September 9, 2006

It's mine

My final payment just cleared on the Beetle. Woohoo, no more car payments!!

posted by sstrader at 8:54 PM in Personal | tagged beetle | permalink

September 2, 2006


I just lost a subscriber on Bloglines. Apparently, my choice of coffee makers is too controversial for you.

posted by sstrader at 12:24 AM in Personal | permalink

August 22, 2006

Better mileage

The process begins to get my stupid car to do better than 27 MPG. I've dropped down to going a maximum of 70 MPH on the highway to see if that helps. It's agonizing to go that slowly. I've also been hearing mixed recommendations to stop using air conditioning. I, along with The Straight Dope, have my doubts. Wikipedia's entry on fuel efficiency gives a weak recommendation to stop using A/C. Many sites compare using full A/C with none. Who cranks it all the way?

Tires, oil, and air filter are all good. A co-worker recommended some sort of thing called the Tornado for air intake. I think I'll advise him that he should remove the one from his car.

posted by sstrader at 8:30 PM in Personal | permalink

August 10, 2006


That was the first time I ever got caught jogging in a bad thunderstorm. It sucks. Primarily because you have to cut your route short.

And there's the freaky lightning.

posted by sstrader at 7:11 PM in Personal | permalink

July 2, 2006

Happy retirement

The family came over yesterday to celebrate my mom's retirement (her last day was Friday). Lisa was out of town to celebrate her aunt's birthday, so I was stuck with all kitchen duties. The menu:

  • Cheese (Dubliner, Manchego, Emmenthaler, and Chevre) and bread
  • Caprisi salad
  • Stuffed pork chops with a ragout of cipollini onions and tomatoes over basmati rice
  • Ice cream!

It was non-stop shopping and cooking most of the day. Almost everything was timed perfectly except that I ended up over-cooking the pork and was a little short on the ragout--which had a great Moroccan flavor. Otherwise, a very nice celebration.

My older niece left her book, Horse in the House (subtitled: Could it be a ghost horse?), so I'm reading it:

"You'd better come in," Winifred said, leading the way.

Mandy's heart was beating fast as she and James followed him. She couldn't believe it. Winifred had been keeping Matty in the house!

posted by sstrader at 5:00 PM in Personal | permalink

June 26, 2006

Weekend in Bethlehem

No photos! I'm such a slacker.

It was our long-lost friend Diane's wedding this past Saturday, so we flew up on Thursday to spend a long weekend in Bethlehem, PA. We'd first met the groom, Brad, when they came down for New Year's a couple of years ago. A group of us celebrated NY at a Georgia Tech venue just down the street. They had multiple DJs, bands, bars, champagne, etc. Tickets were all-inclusive and the whole affair was actually not sucky like those situations usually are. Brad and I closed out the evening, IIRC, drinking what was left at home and blasting Tales from Topographic Oceans (yes, it can "blast") to the neighbors. Lisa was thrilled.

The wedding was great but it and Bethlehem in general were bracketed by possibly the worst airport delays we'd ever experienced. Leaving on Thursday afternoon should have been uneventful, but we got delayed around 8 hours and had to pass the time with a Gate C Pub Crawl. By departure time at 12:30 that night Gate C had almost kicked our asses. Not to worry: after a quick AirTran Nap we were refreshed and ready for a scavenger hunt through the Newark airport to look for our lost luggage. The seats on our original flight were overbooked, but apparently the luggage compartment wasn't. Luggage found, a Dodge Neon upgraged to a Chrysler 300, and we were on our way.

An hour-and-a-half later, we arrived at the Sayre Mansion Inn. Hello there, 5:30 Friday morning. The B&B was dee-luxe and we were on vacation so it didn't matter how wretched flying on AirTran was (these kind feelings did not return when we had a similar delay on our return flight, getting home around four hours later than expected at 1:30 this morning).

The wedding had some minor dramas involving a DUI, vandalism, and hemorroids (thankfully none of these involved Lisa and I), but the wedding was otherwise perfect and Diane and Brad--apparently favored progeny of the whole of Bethlehem--had a packed reception with enough crazy goings on to last until the next wedding, which is only in a couple of months, but there were still copius crazy goings on all the same.

Some recommended restaurants: we had dinner on Friday night at The Inn of the Falcon, godawful slow service but good food and wine and a great atmosphere; and our last meal was lunch at Billy's Diner, a classic diner with the best breakfast sandwiches and home fries in all of Steeldome. Go Bethlehem!

posted by sstrader at 8:10 PM in Personal | permalink

April 25, 2006


Friday I was itchin' to get out, so Lisa & I went to Pura Vida (always great) then The Star Bar (we didn't really fit in) then The Yacht Club (ah, home). Heading home, we had our first Near Death Experience of the year: an SUV barrelling towards us and a couple of other hapless innocents as it insisted on not only getting ~2 miles-to-the-gallon but also going the wrong way on a one way street. They did quick work of the ozone layer, but we were a little harder to kill and live today to tell about it. Beware Piedmont Ave. on a Friday night.

Saturday was an annual crawfish boil at one of Lisa's previous boss's house. Great time cut short by prior commitments. She fulfilled those commitments while I took advantage of some quiet time to practice piano. Then some programming. Then watched two of the Nacho Cerda shorts. The one praised by Ultra Violent Magazine was very praise-worthy but not really that shocking. Except for a couple of acts of depravity, it was more stylish than sinewy. Finished up with Koyaanisqatsi at around 2.

During my Sunday jog I decided to double my standard route, turning it into a ~10k. My feet were cramping for about an hour afterwards, but it felt good. Evening was Thank You For Smoking [ IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes ] at Landmark. Very sharp.

posted by sstrader at 12:34 AM in Cinema , Personal | permalink

March 28, 2006


Finally got the video when we were at Crobar in New York [ 24-second, 4-meg AVI; stream using Winamp ] in June of last year. Shelby recorded it on her phone. I don't remember it being that chaotic.

posted by sstrader at 8:36 AM in Personal | permalink

March 9, 2006

My crazy niece

Scene: My six-year-old niece Sarah and her mom are sitting in their car in a parking lot. A girl in tight pants walks by...

Sarah: That's some outfit.

Mom: What do you mean by that?

Sarah: She thinks she's all that.

Mom: You think you're all that.

Sarah: No, you think you're all that!

Guy outside overhears them and walks away cracking up.

posted by sstrader at 7:57 PM in Personal | permalink

March 6, 2006


Lisa was out for the weekend for a bachelorette party, back last night, and now in NYC for the next few days for work. I headed over to Django's tonight to see what their open mic night was like. $7 cover for hip-hop, rap and spoken word. It's a cool place but not what I was in the mood for, so I stopped by Landmark a few blocks south of us on the way home and got a gyro. After a weekend of overeating--albeit with jogging on Sat & Sun--this is no way to start the week.

posted by sstrader at 10:18 PM in Personal | tagged nyc | permalink

March 3, 2006

That cat in our neighbor's window

cat in window

posted by sstrader at 8:54 AM in Personal | permalink

March 1, 2006

February 11, 2006

Helping the economy

I've been on a frenzy:

  • Finally upgrading my outdated-yet-inexpensive Audiovox Thera and moving to the Treo 700w. Sexy.
  • After abandoning it years ago, I finally rejoined Netflix (just as a co-worker had abandoned it). First up: The Edukators and The Battle of Algiers. I may try to put my queue on the front page here when I eventually get the time to redesign.
  • Keeping the movie theme, I finally found and purchased the seminal Italian sci-fi flick Wild, Wild Planet. This is Genius Manifest. All nay-sayers are idiots. Also took a chance on the similar Mission Stardust. Viva!
posted by sstrader at 1:01 PM in Personal | permalink

February 9, 2006


Getting photos back from the wedding we went to in January. I think some older Italian men were trying to move in on my wife.

uncle joe


Or maybe the other way around?

posted by sstrader at 11:14 AM in Personal | permalink

February 7, 2006


I've been having dreams about getting on stage and playing piano poorly. The keys get all jumbled together, and I can't see the patterns of the songs or remember their structure. That's funny.

I've been tracking down issues at work with the mod_jk load balancer and the Tomcat Web container. Open source is nice, but I'd still rather be coding than configuring.

I've been putting off filling out my health insurance forms at work even though I reallyreallyreally need to get a checkup. I hate filling out forms.

I've been cleaning up the code in RadioWave--so that the schedules are parsed more cleanly--only to have the machine that rips scheduled audio lock up every other day. Win98 sucks.

posted by sstrader at 11:20 PM in Personal | permalink

December 23, 2005


At my brother's last Sunday for the in-town X-mas and I got this drawing from one of my nieces:

eek a snake

At first I thought it was coincidence that I had dressed as a monkey for Halloween, but after I saw her drawing of a polar bear for Lisa--who had just finished watching a special on polar bears--I'm not so sure. It's either a scarey Twilight Zone thing or a cool Medium thing.

posted by sstrader at 8:59 AM in Personal | permalink

December 15, 2005

My fortune

Well, I don't really like to brag, but ...

Help! Im being held captive in a fortune cookie factory!!

Almost as good as the one from our last NYC trip.

posted by sstrader at 9:00 PM in Personal | tagged fortune cookie | permalink

November 29, 2005

New work

My current contract (at MedQuist) has ended, and they offered me a position. Well, they offered to offer me a position, and I accepted that offer. The second offer. The offer for the position, that is. So, as soon as I finish the paperwork, I guess I'll get the offer. The offer that I have accepted. I think they hired me for my succinct loquaciousness.

So, one aspect that's nice is that I get to move on to Java development. I've been doing the basic stuff at home (JSPs, servlets, etc. on Eclipse) but will have a chance to get much deeper into the mix at MedQuist. MedQuist is the world's leading medical transcription service provider ... blah blah blah, yackety yackety blah. The bottom line: their products deal with medical transcription through coding (classification) of those transcriptions. They also cover all of the speech rec in between using the Philips engine. I wasn't expecting to be hooked into a permanent position but have met a few others at the company with a very similar development philosophy. It's nice to be in your element and have such a wealth of interesting projects to work on.

And what a great time to start a permanent position: Xmas Holidays!!

posted by sstrader at 10:54 PM in Personal | permalink

November 27, 2005

Today's comments

Standardizing tagging, tags - On the need to eliminate synonyms in tagging systems

posted by sstrader at 1:01 PM in Personal | permalink

November 23, 2005

Local food

I went to The Barrelman beside Eno's with the intent of picking up some Georgia cheese's to bring to my brother's tomorrow. I love that there's a little cheese shop right down the street and that it offers a choice of local produce. We've gone there a couple of times before, and I am constantly making resolutions to support the local shops by making weekly sallies to the cheesemonger. Cheese, Gromit!

It wasn't meant to be. The salesperson was busy with a wine enthusiast--they also sell wines, of course--so I had some time to read over the cheese-names-I've-never-heard-of and decide on a good set based on their descriptions and respective animals. After five or so minutes of reading, I did the eye contact thing. The wine customer seemed to be finished and was making small talk. Several minutes of attempted and successful direct eye contact and nods and raised eyebrows and gestures and such got me no response. No acknowledgement or even a simple "I'll be right with you." Hmm. I was 10 minutes in so just gave up.

Second half of the trip was at Toast where they have fresh loaves of bread for sale. The last time we ate there, I had noticed and asked about the small bakery in the front. Their selection is small but looks very good. I walked out with a ginormous loaf of bread for $4, plus two apple torte things that they threw in for free. Very friendly and pleasant--as was our previous meal there.

Now, I'm not trying to draw any conclusions. Not as such. Maybe I get a little too cranky with waiting and this was only one instance, but the experience at The Barrelman was such an inattentive snub that I will probably not go there again. Eno's an excellent place to dine or sit at the wine bar, so I don't know what's up at the sister shop. I think they're makin' the Big Buck off of wine collectors and probably very little off of cheese eaters. I should've just lined up eight of the rarest vintages on the counter and stood there with my wallet open ... and then walked out.

People love local shops with good food and service--how did they screw this up so badly?

posted by sstrader at 5:16 PM in Personal | permalink

November 9, 2005

I'm a pretty lady

OK, so I never do these dumb-ass quizzes ... wait, more precisely, I never publish the results of these dumb-ass quizzes ... but who can pass up that chance to post an image of a hot cartoon chick in a bra?

Your Hair Should Be Purple
Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.
You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.
What's Your Funky Inner Hair Color?

Not me, that's for sure. I guess it's because I'm "unconventional." Thanks, LC, for allowing me to live out my opposite sex fantasies.

posted by sstrader at 9:54 PM in Personal | permalink

October 31, 2005


MySQL was down on the Ether server most of the day today so by around 2 PM everything was down. This is the second time something like this happened ... I had left Eclipse running on my development machine although I can't imagine that it gobbled up database connections for no good reason. I really don't want to hunt this down, so I'm going to ignore it and blame it on:


Halloween gremlins.

posted by sstrader at 9:45 PM in Personal | permalink

October 13, 2005

Where will I be?

Heading out to Folkston, GA for the weekend for Mason's wedding. Again, we have a huge, carniverous dog protecting the premises, so don't get any ideas.

posted by sstrader at 1:57 PM in Personal | permalink

October 11, 2005

Why should I care?

Got my haircut today (if this isn't the archetypal boring blog entry, I'm not sure what would qualify).

Continue reading "Why should I care?"
posted by sstrader at 11:51 PM in Personal | permalink

October 7, 2005


A very productive week of coding was spoiled on Thursday by a pesky Crystal Reports problem which was unsolved by the Internet! Heavens. Anyway, if you get error 0x80043acc, "IDispatch error #14540," returned from IApplication::OpenReport(), you probably have the wrong version of the DLL registered. It got solved today, so the week ended on a high note.

Aaaaand, driving home in horrible traffic, I got to hear NPR's review of the newly discovered Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane live session (spectacular) and of the new George Clooney directed movie, Good Night, and Good Luck. (also spectacular). A good end all around.

Double-aaaaand, we'll be a-celebratin' Lisa's b-day (late) with friends at Eclipse di Sol tonight.

posted by sstrader at 7:39 PM in Personal | permalink

September 16, 2005

Behold: The absentee napkin

Running very late this week--my body is not adjusting to the work week. This month's question: "There's a natural disaster. You can only save one thing. What would it be?" This month's answers:

the absentee napkin

And for you completists, here are the previous napkins along with a rare image of the current napkin in its natural environment. Ooooh.

My involvement at the APWBWLTGTTD meeting was: Art/Las Vegas discussion with new acquaintance Neon Poisoning and blogger/writing discussion with equally new acquaintance Inside the Perimeter. Faces and names ... got it. And the general geek talk with the rest of the geeks. Aaaaand a knock-down-drag-out political row after hours at Manuel's (Man-WELL's?) with HollisMB and Lady Crumpet.

I am not fucking kidding, I am really fucking worn out tonight. I need a break.

posted by sstrader at 9:34 PM in Personal | permalink

September 9, 2005

Interview, part 2

After a second interview, I'm employed again! Oh sabbatical, I hardly knew you...

And last night I broke the rule of no frivilous spending by ordering some more stuff from Sheet Music Plus (plus what?):

Igor Stravinsky: Three Early Ballets - The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite Of Spring (HL.50481614)
  - Ships from our warehouse within 24 hours. 
  - Qty: 1 at $15.16 each, $15.16 total

Robert Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12 (HL.50252660)
  - Ships from our warehouse within 24 hours. 
  - Qty: 1 at $5.56 each, $5.56 total

Carnaval, Op. 9 (HL.50252630)
  - Ships from our warehouse within 24 hours. 
  - Qty: 1 at $5.56 each, $5.56 total

Papillons (Butterflies), Op. 2 (HL.50259950)
  - Lead time before shipment - 4 to 6 business days. 
  - Qty: 1 at $3.96 each, $3.96 total

Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (HL.50263110)
  - Ships from our warehouse within 24 hours. 
  - Qty: 1 at $4.76 each, $4.76 total

I had gotten familiar with the Schumann stuff a few months back, so it'll be nice to get the scores and nice to get them on the cheap. Sheet Music Plus is having a 20%-off sale on all Schirmer editions. I've been out of the scene for a while, but remember coming across some horrible editions of Haydn Piano Sonatas from Schirmer. Very questionable phrasing. I'm not sure how pervasive those deficiencies were, so I'm not sure what I'll be getting with the Schumann. But a sale's a sale.

And who doesn't love Stravinsky? The piano version of Shrovetide Fair will be scarey and fun to try to play. Or not. I've also always wanted to play Spring Rounds--probably more within my abilities. Either way, good to have around.

posted by sstrader at 12:09 PM in Personal | permalink

August 27, 2005

Last night

Dinner at Soho in Vinings. We hadn't been in a while and it always has a nice, simple atmosphere with good wines. I've been on Pinot Noirs for a while, but was a little unhappy with the Cloudline I started out with. For dinner, we had a very nice Barbera d'Asti (but unfortunately didn't write down the name). Dinner was good enough but we agreed that both of our dishes (her: seafood pasta, me: snapper & veggies) lacked a little in flavor. Still, recommended.

Afterwards we had a battle over either the Star Bar or The Earl. The Earl won out but had people lined up outside, so we ended up at the Flatiron down the street. We eventually got in a music discussion with someone named Bess and a guy I had thought she was with but ended up being just some random guy. He was quite the snob and scoffed at my general question of "what is the 'Stairway to Heaven' of our day?" No answer was ultimately found. Slightly weird: at one point Bess took our picture. I assume everything ends up on the Internets, so look for a picture of me looking ... sauced.

My jukebox plays: Sonic Youth's "Orange Rolls and Angel's Spit," Radiohead's "Myxomatosis" (currently working on a transcription), and a mysterious third choice that I'm sure was equally good (3/$1!). Nice jukebox, also recommended.

Thanks to the detailed reciept, I see that the Barbera was a Contratto Barbera D'Asti Panta Rei.
posted by sstrader at 12:39 PM in Personal | permalink

August 25, 2005

Last Sunday

Almost forgot: last Sunday our dining group (greatly reduced to only four) went to Daily's for dinner during Restaurant Week (now even restaurants have a week?). The deal was that you could get a 3-course meal for $20.05.

I'll echo Matt's review: it was a meal worth $20.05. Nothing special, but they also have a downstairs bar with live, jazz-type music. Daddy-o.

Continue reading "Last Sunday"
posted by sstrader at 3:17 PM in Personal | permalink

August 19, 2005

Villa Rica and Cowtown

Lunch with Kevin at Burrito Jones in Carrollton. Delicious burritos and they separate your beer bottles, et al. for recycling. Notonlythatbutalso, tonight they have a couple of bands playing--for a minimal cover you get music plus $1 PBRs. If I weren't so drained from last night (APWBWGTTD at the Highlander then more drinks at Apres Diem), I'd be there.

posted by sstrader at 9:20 PM in Personal | permalink

Behold: Another napkin!!

We're like an improv group that gets worse the more we work together. This month's poll, "What was your least favorite job?" revealed a marked creative decline not only in questions but answers. I blame activist judges, of course.

the napkin 2: a new beginning

The history:

Someone really needs to start archiving these better...

posted by sstrader at 7:44 PM in Personal | permalink

August 17, 2005

Last night

One of my initial impulses for a blog was to record the when and the where of those many places I go and yet quickly forget. What did I do last week? How the hell should I know. Well, now I will make a concerted effort to know:

Last night: B-day party for a friend at Piebar then more drinks at The Independent. Piebar was not the hipswank type joint that I had feared, and our waitress impressed the geeks at the table with a high-tech method of pre-emptively splitting the check: tear off a piece of paper with a little number written on it and hand it to the person. Voila. Lisa and I were #16.

The Independent was nice enough, but ... well, I had a somewhat humbling experience. So by that time, the b-day crowd of 25-or-so had filtered down to maybe 6-or-so and we were mostly sitting in this living room type area: a couple of couches around a coffee table. Anyway, Lisa was busy getting some kinda scoop on something from some friend, so I tried to talk to this random unknown girl in the group. Well, apparently my conversations are the most boring things in the world. I don't flirt per se (Lisa may disagree), so although I was drunk enough not to remember the specifics of the conversation (something about her job or something?) I remember it wasn't anything as goofy as some of my other drunk conversations have been. Whatever we were talking about, she could not get away from me quickly enough. So either: (a) I'm boring, or (b) I appear to be "on the make" and am a buffoon. Either way it ain't pretty. (a) is actually more upsetting. Why do I even try to talk to people?

I'm staying in.

posted by sstrader at 11:28 AM in Personal | permalink

June 6, 2005

NYC trip

A thrilling tale that includes grand coincidences, delicious meals, odd music with dancing that was abruptly cut short, and a great deal of luck which slipped away near the end but ultimately carried through to our return home.

metro card

Continue reading "NYC trip"
posted by sstrader at 12:30 PM in Personal | tagged nyc, restaurant | permalink