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May 2005 Archives

May 9, 2005

Kaitlyn strikes again

Tracy and I went out to dinner last night for Mother’s Day, and had our nanny come in to babysit. She brought her fiance, some dinner, and a DVD to watch (the munchkins go down kinda early, and then they can settle down to watch the movie).

When Tracy and I came back from dinner, Ryan (the fiance) was wearing a pair of my sweat pants.

“Uh oh,” I thought. “This can’t be good.”

It turns out that Kaitlyn, a.k.a. Vomitous Maximus, had struck again. Shortly after finishing her dinner, she pulled her famous zero-warning-turn-your-head-and-barf maneuver, totally drenching him, the sheer volume of which necessitated washing his pants. Specifically, there are “accpetable” and “unacceptable” levels of baby vomit on clothing. “Acceptable” usually means that you can just wipe it off and go on. “Unaccpetable” means … well, a bit more than that.

Kaitlyn is famous for pegging the vomit-o-meter well into the red zone (i.e., the “unacceptable” zone), artificially inflating our water bill due to all the additional laundry.

Well, at least Ryan now has a better understanding of Bethany’s day job. ☺

May 13, 2005

"world wide web in the air"

Too funny not to share — from Katie S.:

I was at a hotel last night in St. Peters, Missouri - the reason I picked the hotel was because it was new and mentioned free wireless internet on the hotel website. When we got to the hotel, my laptop was not picking up any networks. So I went to the front desk and asked what the SSID was. The guy behind the desk tried to explain to me that the “world wide web is in the air,” thus I did not need any “IDs.” I then explained to him that my computer did not see any “world wide web in the air.” Finally, the manager’s son came in and told me the SSID was DSL. This sounded fishy…after grilling the two guys a little more I found out there was no “world wide web in the air” - it was all in “plastic holes in my room.” Ahhhh… after I had them give me an RJ-45 from one of their computers (I don’t carry these anymore…but I should), I was finally able to access the web from the plastic hole. Woohoo for technology on the road!

May 14, 2005

Crammed!

Grr… yet again, false charges have appeared on my phone bill.

I got two bogus charges this time:

  • The first was from Nationwide Connections, Inc. — a supposed collect call for 7 minutes from Rockton, IL (apparently a pay phone).
  • The second was from Nationwide Voice Mail, Inc. — a voicemail-to-email service.

The voice mail was charged to my home phone; the collect call was to my fax number (which is how I know that no one accepted a collect call to it). Both companies had contact phone numbers, and I called them both and asked for a refund. The agents were nice enough and said that I would be credited within 1-2 billing cycles.

Googling shows lots of other people who have apparently had similar things happen to them (bogus collect call charges and voicemail-to-email setup fees) from these, and other, companies. Slimy, slimy, slimy. Apparently, this is known as “cramming.”

Bell South was quite the good sport about it — I called and told them that I was disputing the charges and had already spoken to both companies about it. The attendant told me that she sent the charges back to the company because I was disputing them, and that I didn’t need to pay the contested charges while they were being investigated — 1-3 billing cycles.

So — hypothetically, I’m out 30 minutes of my time (which I feel like I should bill to someone… grrr…), but at least I didn’t have to pay the full bill, and therefore “loan” these slimy companies money for 1-2 months with a question as to whether I’d actually ever see the money refunded.

JeffJournal email rides again!

Guess what?

I finally figured out how to get JeffJournal to send an e-mail every time I file a new entry. Well, ok, Rich figured it out, but I’m basking in his glory.

If you want to get an e-mail every time I post a new entry, subscribe yourself at https://lists.squyres.com/mailman/listinfo/jeffjournal

May 20, 2005

Weird trip

I just returned from a pretty weird trip. Here’s some of the things that happened to me:

  • My luggage got lost on the way to Toronto (it got stuck in O’Hare, of course). Note to self: try to avoid O’Hare at all possible costs. Even using the Wicked Witch of the West’s new “Flying Monkeys” airline would probably be preferable. There’s nothing like the feeling of giving a tutorial in front of a room of 20+ people feeling slimy because you’re wearing yesterday’s clothes.
  • The hotel I was staying at stole a paperback book that I was reading. No names are mentioned, of course (cough cough Holiday Inn in Guelph, Ontario cough cough). I checked in Saturday night (with no luggage). Sunday morning, a colleague (Thomas N.) and I were working on slides in my hotel room when a maid unlocked the door and walked in without knocking. Needless to say, all parties were fairly surprised at the presence of each other. She said, “Oh… you’re still here!” “Er, yes. I don’t check out until Tuesday,” I replied. So she left. Thomas and I finished the slides a little while later and left to go give the tutorial. The only thing left in that room that belonged to me (remember: I had no luggage) was my paperback book on the nightstand. When I returned that evening, the book was gone. I suspect that the hotel somehow had my name on a “this person is checking out” list and thought that the room needed to be recycled, and therefore that I had left the book there. But the hotel could never find it. And I was 50 friggen’ pages from the end, too. Sigh.
  • John M. was obsessing about bed bugs in the hotel for the entire trip. This was exasscerbated by Thomas N. secretly taking a red pen and making 3 dots on his elbow and then loudly proclaiming “man, it itches so bad” all day on Tuesday.

May 21, 2005

"Gucci", "bikini", and "Oprah" do not belong in the same sentence

This is the second time in recent history that I’m referring to someone else’s story in JJournal, but again, this one is too funny not to share. From Renzo’s blog:

http://landlmartinez.blogspot.com/2005/05/gucci-bikini-wearing-oprah-roadies.html

May 22, 2005

Fruit loops are a food group

In my weekend errands, I had to upgrade some software on all the computers at my church. This entailed physically logging into each machine, doing some work, waiting for it to complete, and then moving on to the next machine. While sitting at our pastor’s workstation, I saw that he had a candy jar on his desk.

Mmm… candy…

But — stealing from a priest? Isn’t there some designated ring of hell for this?

I couldn’t resist — there were Tootsie Rolls in there, and I have a special weakness for Tootsie Rolls. So I ate 4-5 of Fr. Bill’s Tootsie Rolls. And they were good!

As I was driving away from the church to continue on with my other errands, I passed Fr. Bill’s house and saw him trimming his lawn. Overcome with guilt, I pulled over and waved at him.

“Hi Jeff!” he said.

“Hey Fr. Bill. I was just over at the Church upgrading some computer stuff. But I have to make a confession to make,” I said, trying to evoke his priestly “It’s ok, son” persona. “I stole several Tootsie Rolls off your desk while I was upgrading your workstation.”

He looked at me with an exceptionally blank expression.

“I’ll probably say a few Hail Marys later as pennance,” I offered.

There was an awkward, pregnant pause as he continued to look at me with a singular blankness, much like the result you get if you try to order 2 tonnes of reinforced concrete mix for delivery to a construction site at a McDonald’s drive through.

“Really?” he asked incredulously.

We both burst out laughing.

So I guess I’m not going to hell (at least not for stealing Tootsie Rolls from a priest).


The munchkins had their 9 month checkup the other day. The peditrician suggested giving them multivitamins — either crushed up Flintsones or drops. Needless to say, I opted for the drops. Who wants to crush up pills? That just seems like too much work. After all, the drops package advertises “Berry flavor!” — so it must be good.

Well, it’s apparently icky-berry, because the girls hate it. They faces that they make when we put it in their mouths is similar to the faces you make the first time you see the ABC Sports Agony of Defeat clips. Classic stuff.

Speaking of bad eating experiences, the peditrician also suggested hard-boiled egg yolks — lots of vitamins and other good stuff. So we tried that today, too.

Kaitlyn and Kathryn both got new spitting distance records.

Yah, it didn’t go so well.

Crushed-up Flintsones it is…

May 30, 2005

By the way, the Latin word for "yam" is diosporia

I just bought iLife ‘05, the newest version of the Mac photo / audio / movie / DVD creation software suite. It’s got some nice new features — and I’m actually pretty happy with it — but it seems to be a little buggy. I used to to make a DVD of all the little video clips that we’ve been making of the munchkins over the last few months, and made up 2 photo slideshows too. The end result was kinda nice. But I have a couple of quibbles:

  • It would be nice if there were tigher integration of iMovie and iDVD. As it is now, once you make the movie and export it to iDVD, you can’t really do any meaningful edits to the movie. You can’t add or delete anything to the timeline, you can’t edit the DVD chapter markers, etc. An example of where this matters is when you “finish” the movie, export it to iDVD, spend the several hours it takes to render the DVD, burn it to a DVD, go view it, and realize that there are now some more edits that you need to make. So you fire up iMovie again, make the changes, but then realize that you have to re-import it to iDVD, replace all your pictures and themes in iDVD, etc. #$%#$%
  • When you make DVD chapter marks in iMovie (in preparation for exporting to iDVD), there seem to be cases where they “stick” to an absolute point in time. That is, if you add a clip or a transition, the DVD chapter markers don’t move with the video — they stay stuck at time N, whereas the frame they used to be associated with moved to time M. This means you have to delete all the chapter marks and put them back in again, which is fairly annoying. This page seems to have a bunch of details on this — some of these issues are clearly bugs.
  • I found an interesting bug in the iPhoto slideshow transitions — when you use the “droplet” transition from a vertically-oriented picture to a horizontially-oriented picture, it doesn’t seem to work right. That is, before the transition starts, the vertically-oriented picture is shown on the screen with a lot of black background on the left and right of the picture (which makes sense — the picture is taller than it is wide). When the transition starts, you can see the droplet effect happening within the boundaries of the vertical picture, but the black sides are immediately replaced with the next picture (i.e., no transition).

OTOH, there’s a bunch of features that I really do like in the new version:

  • iDVD now recognizes my LaCie DVD burner (read: a non-Apple-native DVD burner), so I don’t have to do whacky workarounds to get my movies to burn to DVD — it works straight from iDVD.
  • The slideshows in iPhoto are pretty cool. Even Tracy liked them (she made the second slideshow on the Munchkin DVD).
  • Some of the themes in iDVD for the menu screens are pretty technically impressive. You can drag your own pictures in there and the themes move the pictures around — with lighting and shading. That’s pretty neat for a templated feature.
  • iDVD now shows you where it is in the rendering process. This may sound like a minor detail, but given that the process can take several hours, this is really handy.

Tracy was so impressed by the whole thing that she even brought up the topic of getting a mac for her to manage all the family pictures, movies, etc. Plus, right now, I’m doing all this stuff on my IU-owned Mac. While Lummy really doesn’t care (as long as it doesn’t interfere with my work — which it doesn’t), it would be nice to get a machine that is a) totally owned by us, b) a little faster, and c) has a much bigger hard drive. A Mac Mini or iMac might be in our future…

About May 2005

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in May 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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