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January 30, 2004


Okay, boys and girls, we are flying wireless with broadband. We had two issues. First, the cable hardware guys who don't support Airport (although they seemed to try to avoid saying that very clearly) plugged the network cable into the wrong hole on the base station. There's one hole labeled with a sort of a horizontal icon and one with a circular icon. I'm sure some of you know what they are. Fortunately, my iBook could tell that was wrong and told me what to do. Fixed that, then performed the Byzantine ritual to reboot. Voila, I am now able to vomit forth a hundred times as much stuff while sitting out on my warm, dry piazza.

All my Mac friends who I left phone messages with yesterday can now stand down from Orange Alert. One called me to point me to supprt.apple.com which was very helpful. Really guys, when I ask for help that is the sort of basic simple stuff I need. Sometimes when I think I'm drowning, somebody just needs to point out that the brown stuff under my feet is the mud at the bottom.

Filed under Web/Tech | permalink | January 30, 2004 at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004


I had been putting off getting cable and broadband because I dreaded dealing with their customer service. Bit the bullet earlier this week and after barking at the rep only a little I got her to drop the BS and talk plain. Today the hardware guys showed up to do the installation. They were fast and as a closing act I had to sign a couple of papers, both of which basically said the same thing: that I had received and agreed to the Time Warner "Cable Modem Subscription Agreement separately provided to me." I hadn't been provided this thing, and the two hardware guys didn't have it, so I called customer service and the first person had never heard of it, bounced me upstairs. They had never heard of it, bounced me over to somebody else. He said he had never heard of it, and insisted there is no such agreement. I didn't make the hardware guys sit through all this, but finally signed and sent them on their way while I continued to annoy customer service.

Besides the imaginary subscription agreement, I think T-W ought to provide their customers with a leetle card with just a leetle bit of info on it. The card might cost 'em about a nickel, but would have saved me several calls just to get basic info from an expensive human being. The card would include the required ritual for turning off the modem and the computer and turning them back on so that a connection can be established. I spent an hour trying to get a connection before calling them and being let in on this secret. It should also point out that the customer's email handle and password are buried on the work order, and that even though it's all printed uppercase, it really should be lowercase. It would be nice if they also told you the addresses of the pop and smtp servers, but they'd probably say you could get that from their web page. Oh! Their web page! Yeah, they should put that on the leetle nickel card too.

I still haven't gotten the airport base station working, but I haven't re-tried it since learning the proper reboot ritual. Right now I'm just connected by wire and experimenting with Safari and the Mail program. Speaking of which, the address book (I think maybe "Address Book" is more proper), is a totally separate program from mail, it seems, and is so complex I smell Microsoft in it. You can get an address in Mail into the Address Book, but it isn't simply and certainly not intuitive. I'm used to my e-mail program (Agent) where I can just right-click an address and one of the options is simply "Add to Address Book." I want that.

And scripts. Am I missing something in scripts? I have only ever a script twice on the iBook. Once I tried importing addresses, the other time I tried to use a script to create a new mail account (the roadrunner one). Both scripts ended with an inscrutable Microsoft-worthy error message and error number along with an offer to edit the script. I decline to edit and it all ends there. Anybody got any insights on why these Apple scripts are not working on my new, not yet very altered iBook?

Filed under Web/Tech | permalink | January 29, 2004 at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2004

Palm Desert, really

My recent post entitled Palm Desert would have been more accurately called Rancho Mirage. Sometimes I'm a bit fuzzy on when I've crossed the line. In that earlier post I am in Rancho Mirage, but you can see all of Palm Desert. Today's panorama, though, is definitely all Palm Desert. It's taken not far from the Desert Crossing shopping mall.

Desert Crossing

I was surprised to discover the Coachella Valley Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in an obscure spot on one corner of the intersection you see in the left part of the photo (Route 111 and Painter's Path). I got the poor quality photo below, but will return with a better camera in better light so you get a better idea.

Vietnam Memorial

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | January 28, 2004 at 11:30 PM | Comments (2)


Yes, I am still working on those photos from my trip to the Getty Museum. Here's one:
Getty entrance

Filed under Architecture,Photography | permalink | January 28, 2004 at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2004


Photobucket is a website that currently allows users to display their photos without charge and without advertising! There is a 100 Mb limit, but that's pretty generous. No telling how long this will last. The creator is either a naive young man who will quickly discover he has opened his doors to a tsunami of images, or a genius who has finally discovered the secret to free, unlimited bandwidth. We hope for the latter.

If you try it out, let me know how it goes.

Filed under Photography | permalink | January 27, 2004 at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

Voter Registration

Went searching for info on how to register to vote in this glorious Republic of California. I started with the city's website only because cities have the responsibility for registration back in Massachusetts. Of course it makes more sense out here for it to be a county responsibility, but I mention my error only so I can point out that the City of Palm Springs website has been revised since I last looked at it. It seems ALL the links on the first page are java, which I don't like because often they don't work well and blind users may be unable to use the site. It can also block search engines. Bad enough for any website, but triply bad for a government website that's obligated to be available to EVERYone, not just those with the latest version of IE.

I recall that the City of Boston Water and Sewer Department's website started up with some flash thing. There was NO way provided to bypass it, and the coding made the usual mistake of assuming that since I used Opera I didn't have flash, which isn't true at all. I checked it out in IE and saw that the flash display added NO useful information, and once you got past it you found a fairly routine website with static html.

Anyway, the Palm Springs website seems to have zero information on voter registration. I Googled "voter registration" california and to my great pleasure discovered that the very first hit was the page for online voter registration operated by the Secretary of State. How glorious! I fill it out. They mail it to me...and they actually allowed me to use my PO Box address. I then submit it to the county. That means I can sit on my ass for another week or so before doing anything about it. So long as I'm registered before Schwarzenegger's proposal to destroy California's economy for the next 30 years (or 40? or 50? what's the term of those bonds?) comes to a vote I'll be happy.

While poking around at the website for the County of Riverside I didn't see a link to lead me to voter registration, but I found it using the search function. And there I found a handy little table telling me that of 656,845 registered voters in the county, 3366 of them are registered as Libertarians (big "L"). Without even using my calculator I can see that's about ½% and more than the Green Party with only 2589. As for the big parties that have such a glorious history of defending our rights, promoting peace and maintaining fiscal integrity, there are about 1.4 Republicans for every Democrat.

| permalink | January 27, 2004 at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2004

Liberty Fashion

According to this interesting article, fanny packs are still quite popular in France. Can anyone point me to a retail site for men's fanny packs in the French style?

| permalink | January 26, 2004 at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Some Palm Springs History

An article in today's Desert Sun is about how the Indians are proposing re-zoning "Section 14" as an entertainment zone. Now if they were proposing something like Austin's entertainment zone, I think that'd be pretty cool, but no. They're wanting "high-rise hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and a recreational facility." I've no idea what they mean by "recreational facility." An amusement park? They certainly want to enlarge the casino. But my concerns are with (1) high-rise hotels, and (2) lights. How high-rise is high-rise? We do have a 4-story hotel in town. Is that what they mean? Anything higher begins to obstruct views of the mountains. And the Indian casinos are certainly the best-lighted areas in this generally dark valley. A square mile of Vegas lights is gonna ruin the nighttime view of the mountains. Mountain views are my concern, obviously.

But that's not very interesting compared to what they bury at the end of the article:

This is not the first time Section 14 has been targeted for redevelopment or the focus of controversy.

In the 1950s and ’60s about 1,000 people, including many Hispanics and nearly all of Palm Springs' black residents, were removed from Section 14 by eminent domain and their homes destroyed.

In 1968, a report by California Deputy Attorney General Loren Miller found that there was nothing criminal about the demolition, but he did call the action a "city-engineered holocaust."

Well, well! This is the first item I've heard about the history of the nearly non-existent black population in Palm Springs. Not long ago I did discover this little neighborhood very close to me in north Palm Springs that looks pretty ragged (tall chain link fences and pitbulls abound) where all the residents seemed to be black. Is that where they moved after being removed from Section 14?

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | January 26, 2004 at 07:42 PM | Comments (4)

Palm Desert

Did some hiking in the hills in Palm Desert yesterday. Left me exhausted, which is why I didn't have a lot to say here yesterday. Just as the sun was beginning to go behind the mountains I got myself up on a hill overlooking Route 111 and took a series of time lapse photos to produce an animated GIF of dusk racing across town. It's not too bad, but it's over 4 Mb, which seems to be more than Fototime will tolerate, so it will be awhile before I figure out how to share it with you.

It would have been a better shot if I stayed past sundown long enough to see the lights come on in the town below, but I was dressed in nothing more than a t-shirt and shorts (and hiking boots). I didn't even have a hat. That was fine in the windless, sunny day, but as it became dusk a small breeze began to blow across the hill and I began to notice it was only in the low 60s.

Which brings me to another subject. I hope my readers are aware of how I try to hold my snotty tongue in check (hmm, "snotty tongue" sounds something like a badly mixed metaphor). I don't make a point day after day after sunny day that the weather here is better here than just about anywhere else north and east of here. I can't help but notice today's news about more snow and ice and freezing drizzle in areas where I have dozens of friends. So I ask, doesn't somebody back there want to just forget the snow and ice for a week and come crash at my place? I know several of you can afford the flight even at short notice. Come on out and sit in the sun. No snow to shovel. No windshield to scrape. Don't have to kick the muck off your boots every time you come indoors. It's just an idea. Or, you could wait for July.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of static panoramas from yesterday's vantage point.

Palm Desert vista
In this one you can see a couple of specks on the sky
. Those are the tourist hot air balloons that you can see cruising across town late every afternoon.

Palm Desert vista
I've added labels to this one so that you don't miss another look at my truck
. Plus I pointed out the top end of the drainage channel (correct term?) that I photographed from the opposite direction a couple of weeks ago, as shown here.

And while I'm rambling, yes the hiking yesterday really made my left foot hurt. It's been a week since the injection of bleomycin and the warts are turning black, as they should. There is a very slight swelling in that area...an area where there is no room for swelling. With good shoes I can walk, but the pain is really bothersome. Ibuprofen helps, as do warm soaks.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | January 26, 2004 at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)


I've gone and signed up for a sort of trainer at the gym. I've never done that before and feel sort of weird about it, since I always thought trainers were for people who either (1) had a lot more money to spend than I did, or (2) were going in for bodybuilding beyond all reason. I'm doing this, I tell myself, because I haven't been able to make myself focus and develop some momentum at the gym, and that I'm in a position with lots of free time, and it's more important here to have a decent body (there's no winter weather where you get to hide yourself under heavy clothes), and I haven't been taking full advantage of this Androgel I've been getting. See what I mean about a lack of focus?

I've signed up for the bare minimum. Just two one-half hour sessions a month, plus they lay out weekly exercise schedules and stuff like that. I couldn't stand to pay money to have one of those gorgeous trainers just stand and watch while I did 20 minutes on the exercise bike.

Filed under Health | permalink | January 26, 2004 at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2004


I saw an IKEA in Covina along I-10 last weekend and realized my one and only prior visit to an IKEA was in '97, I think, probably in Long Beach, or somewhere close to that. Thought maybe I should try another IKEA visit. But then I ran across this site and began having second thoughts.

Filed under Shopping | permalink | January 25, 2004 at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2004

I will not title this "Can-Can"

canned wine
Yes, here you see a photo of what purports to be canned French red wine! I found this page from last April that discusses Australian canned wine.

It makes boxed wine look almost respectable.

Filed under Food and Drink | permalink | January 24, 2004 at 10:21 PM | Comments (3)

BART Party Car

It seems there's a move to make the last car of certain BART trains the party car. Yesterday, for instance it was the 5:30 PM Richhmond train departing 16th/Mission. Go to the link above to see photos. Among the photos I found the one below. Doesn't that look like Ralph Nader? I mean the guy on the RIGHT!
on the BART

Filed under California | permalink | January 24, 2004 at 09:47 PM | Comments (1)

XM goes commercial free

On February 1 XM Radio will be going commercial free, so that it will be the same as Sirius in that regard.

| permalink | January 24, 2004 at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Free After Rebate

A website that lists products that are "Free After Rebate." There are usually shipping charges, but you can still save $$$.

Filed under Shopping | permalink | January 24, 2004 at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Best Western Gives It Away

Best Western has announced it will be providing FREE high speed internet access in ALL of its hotels by September 1!

Filed under Travel | permalink | January 24, 2004 at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2004

I've Been Doing This All Wrong!

The RCC clergy is an endless source of clarifying information.

A Belgian cardinal was quoted Wednesday as saying only five to 10 percent of lesbians and gays were actually gay and the rest were "sexual perverts."

"Real homosexuals don't wander in the streets in colorful suits."

Filed under Religion | permalink | January 23, 2004 at 11:01 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2004

McDonald's Diet

Three meals a day at McDonald's documented in the film "Super Size Me."

Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated.

His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression.

He gained 25 pounds in 30 days.

Filed under Food and Drink | permalink | January 22, 2004 at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

Chuck Palahniuk Comes Out

If you don't recognize the name, Chuck Palahniuk is the author of Fight Club. Why the author of a book like that would be closety I have no idea.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | January 22, 2004 at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

"Da Gubernator"

Just got the following forwarded to me by a Gilbert & Sullivan fan. This was written for a recent Lamplighters gala by Mike Dederian.

When I Was a Lad - (H.M.S. Pinafore)

When I was a lad in Austria
I saw Johnny Weismuller, the movie star
I swore one day I would reach that peak
And the key to my success would be a great physique
I was so dedicated to the oath I swore
That now I am the California governor!

I worked so hard on my muscled frame
That a Mister Universe I soon became
I packed up my trophies and my belts and weights
For a one-way trip to the United States
And the U.S.A. offered so much more
That now I am the California governor!

My first movie role I obtained with ease
In a low-budget picture playing Hercules
I flexed my muscles and I mouthed each word
But they overdubbed my lines and so I wasn't heard
I got such practice being spoken for
That now I am the California governor!

I made "Stay Hungry" and "Pumping Iron"
And a Golden Globe Award was shortly mine
I proved a great disciplinarian
When I hit the screen as Conan the Barbarian
I gave those bad guys such what-for
That now I am the California governor!

My next big role on the silver screen
Was a big strong psycho-killer man-machine
I died a nasty death, that’s true,
But it didn't stop me coming back to make T2!
I was such a tenacious terminator
That now I am the California governor!

By then I was such a famous man
That they took me into the Kennedy clan
I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
‘Cept for Terminator 3, when I was in the nude
So low I'll sink and so high I'll soar
That now I am the California governor!

Now actors all, whoever you may be
If you want to take advantage of democracy
If you rooted for Ronald, if you cheered for Clint
If your money was on Sonny in the government
It’s three thousand dollars -- and a little bit more --
And you all may run for California governor!

| permalink | January 22, 2004 at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)