The Bunch of Grapes
A Blog in the Liberty of the Savoy
Saturday, December 20, 2003
10:48 AM
I agree with this that the math and science used in this week's CSI to determine how far away a bullet would have to be fired from to have a certain velocity at impact was total nonsense - it might as well have been fired straight up from next door, rather than from 1800 feet away. My intuition tells me that a bullet falling at terminal velocity would be fatally dangerous, though. It's small and heavy (high terminal velocity) and comes to a point. If coming to a point prevents tumbling (I don't know that it would) then I'm confident a bullet fired straight up is nothing I want near me. Now, bearing in mind that my information and memory are pretty much always wrong as of late, I'd still encourage certain people to refrain from firing bullets up in the air in Tualatin.
10:38 AM
I went to the coast for a short while yesterday. My wife didn't come; she wasn't feeling well enough to go. Just me and our dog Haggis. We didn't spend long; just an hour or two walking on Cannon Beach. The weather was misty but fairly warm and the waves were high. The tide was up, so no beachcombing. I still enjoyed myself; I love the Oregon coast.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
4:01 PM
I just last night finished Doomsday Book, an earlier Connie Willis time-travel novel. It was much better. I guess I'd go ahead and categorize it as a good book.
3:58 PM
So I'm taking three weeks off from work, which you'd think would mean more time for blogging, but in practice means less, because neither my wife nor I really like it when the other one is on the computer when we're both at home. She's napping right now, which is good, because her arthritis pain is really killing her most of the time and her sleep has been very irregular.

Mostly my vacation so far has consisted of taking a bath every day. This is my little reward to myself, a motivation for actually getting dressed after I get out of the bath, rather than spending the whole day scuzzy in pajamas or the world's filthiest bathrobe. I really haven't done much else. A little Christmas shopping, some trips to the bookstore, a little grocery shopping, the regular cooking, and a trip out to the sister-in-law's house for an early holiday visit. Well, that last one was kind of funny.

It was actually a better visit than usual with my wife's sister and her husband, and their four-year-old daughter. Nobody got too stressed out or anything. But the best part was when the topic somehow turned to religion, and I mentioned something about being an atheist Jew. It then seemed that I was the first Jew either of them had ever met. Or something. I actually had the privilege of explaining that no, Jews didn't believe Christ was the savior or messiah, he was just another prophet.

"So who was the savior?"

"Nobody. They're still waiting." I forgot to mention that so were the Christians, for the second coming, which would have made the 3000-year patience of the Jews a little less incredible, I suppose.

The husband thought maybe only Orthodox Jews were crazy enough to not accept Jesus. I assured him it was the case with pretty much all the Jews except for Jews for Jesus, who the other Jews don't think are really Jews. It was a lot of fun. I half expected my head to be felt up for horns.

While we were there, they also engaged in a hearty round of Mormon-bashing. I was curious how they felt about Catholics. They didn't so much care for Catholics either. I love the way Anglicans and Lutherans and their myriad offspring always have such vitriol not for both their father church and for any newer sects that are too successful.
3:36 PM
The worst of all possible things happened today when I read Michael's Blog - it had enough new content to put mine to deep shame. I will now go put a link to it over there -->
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
10:15 AM
Invention idea:

A pocket calculator with keys that can be removed and rearranged. Sell it with a big set of keys (hex numbers, metric conversions, etc.) and let people build their own calculator to fit their pocket-calculator needs.
10:10 AM
It's been too long since I've blogged. This is obviously a sign that I've done absolutely nothing lately. I did finish To Say Nothing of the Dog. It was kind of "eh." Not bad, but not really that good either.

I made some strawberry cheesecake ice cream, not following a recipe. It turned out pretty good, except for freezing a little too hard (the bane of my ice-cream-making life.)

Yesterday the engineers at work were asked to sit in on a presentation by some guy from a workflow corporation that's using our product as a graphical front-end. The entire presentation was B.S. from start to end. Afterwards, my boss was disappointed that I didn't find it enlightening. Ah, corporate life.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
10:24 AM
Evidence that I recently had a stroke:
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
3:51 PM
Sunday morning we were going out to buy a Christmas tree (what you want to do is just stop at the first lot you come to, rather that trying to drive all the way out into the country where the trees are for some reason more expensive) and so I wanted to groom myself a little - can't have the Christmas tree people think I'm some sort of holiday-ruining slob. I didn't want to shave, though. Instead I decided to tackle my four-day-weekend growth with my beard trimmer. I slipped and took a big chunk out of the bottom right of my goatee (as seen when wearing my goatee and facing forward).

I was left with little choice but to shave the whole thing off. I suppose I could have left the soul patch (dorky) or mustache (cheesy cop and/or porn star) but the naked face look is more acceptable.

Now I'm thinking of playing around with some kind of permanent five-o'clock shadow look.
3:45 PM
Burt Reynolds had a guest appearance in Perry Mason, in 1957's "The Case of the Counterfeit Crank." Just thought you might like to know. While we're on the topic, Richard Dreyfuss appeared (as a lad named "Lud" no less) on Big Valley in 1965. He was 18 at the time. Lee Majors was 26.

When you watch a lot of old shows on the Hallmark Channel (motto: "what's the deal with all these old shows?") you begin to wonder about topics just like these.
3:36 PM
I have been reading a lot of books lately. It's as if I were some sort of book-reading cyborg sent from the future to read a lot of books. My wife must be sick of seeing me with my nose in a book.

I read both of Dave Barry's novels, first the second one, Tricky Business, then the first one, Big Trouble. I stayed away from Big Trouble at first because Tim Allen was in the movie they made of it, and that certainly didn't seem like a recommendation. But Tricky Business was amusing enough, so I gave Big Trouble a shot too, and it was good too. They are both essentially comedic crime novels with a lot of wacky characters running around in southern Florida.

I read The Kitchen God's Wife, by Amy Tan. (Only today did I learn or re-remember that there is an Amy Tan / Dave Barry connection. They are both in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a pseudo-band mostly consisting of authors. This may not be much of a connection, literary-wise, but it's something.) This wasn't the Amy Tan book I mean to read, but I accidentally got it instead of The Joy Luck Club. I read it anyway. It was OK. Dragged at times, and I didn't care for the first-person non-dialog based narrative style that made up the bulk of it, but it hooked my into really caring about the characters and taught me some things about China and its history and culture. My wife accused me of turning into a woman.

I'm currently reading To Say Nothing of the Dog, a time-travel novel by Connie Willis. I've never actually heard of Connie Willis. I just went around the Powell's Books sci fi section picking up books that had the "Hugo Award Winner" tag on the shelf under them until I found one that looked interesting. So far, it's not bad.
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