More misdirected mail

A reader writes,

Good evening. I would like to see a house that dropped to $203,000. It's off of Lake Lucerne Dr. The MLS # is 3654518.
Can you meet us tomorrow?

No! I'm not going all the way to Georgia just for that!


Waiting for news

Even though I've been doing this for nearly a decade, I still seem to get nervous with anticipation around the time that a conference is due to make a decision on one of my papers. You'd think that I could be more blase about it by now, yet here I am, checking email fervently, waiting for the results to arrive. Given the scope of the outcomes: either it gets in, in which yay, or else it doesn't, in which case, sigh, and try to fix it up for another spin around, there's not all that much to look forward to (at most one bit of information). Still, here I am cursing every time the email beeps and it turns out to be someone answering a message I sent last week. Can't you just wait to send your silly messages until during the week like normal people?

This yielded the following idea: a more discriminative email message noise. The system could scan for words like "delighted" and "accepted", and emit a "woo hoo!". "regret" and "many high quality submissions" would instead elicit a "doh!". Other messages could trigger "spam spam spam" or "boring!" as appropriate. I haven't really worked out all the details, but isn't that what the internet is for -- I post the big, and it's up to you to sort out all the tedious details.

Update: It was a 'doh' after all, anyway. It always is whenever I get so fixated.

Staying Clean

The landlord is on his way over to show my apartment, and as a consequence I've spent an hour or two cleaning and tidying to a level that I don't normally achieve. And rather than my usual batch approach of cleaning things once every week or so (with the emphasis on the 'so'), I've been wiping down everything as soon as it gets messy. It's a very odd sensation, keeping things so clean. It's quite nice, actually, but I doubt that I could sustain it. And not quite sure why I'm bothering -- does it matter to me so much what the landlord and his visitors will think of the place?


Lightning fast TV reviews

While waiting for the writers' strike to end, I checked out a couple of new shows:

jPod: TV show of the Coupland novel. Haven't yet read the book, and I probably should, but I found the show very entertaining in its idiosyncratic canuck way.

Welcome to the Captain: nothing to write home about. Or even to blog about.

And that's it!



Gosh, but Microsoft Word is horrible, isn't it? You forget if you hardly ever have to use it.

I'm trying to put together a document which refers to a lot of scanned letters. So why is it that everytime I embed a 60KB pdf, the file size jumps by 1.5MB? And why does the action of embedding differ depending whether or not the file happens to be open in Acrobat at the same time. It's a right pain, is what it is.

Hark at this

Watching the 2004 blockbuster cheesefest 'Van Helsing' last night, I was suddenly reminded of an event from my youth. Aged about six, we watched a production of Dracula put on as a school play by the older children. This version, for reasons that I can only speculate on, was in the form of a musical. The only part of it that sticks in my mind is the sinister closing number sung by (presumably) Mina to Jonathan. The refrain was something like "Jonathan Harker, don't look at me so". The implication (to my six year old mind) was that although Harker had vanquished Dracula, it was possible that in the process he had been bitten and was now advancing on Mina with bloodlust in mind. I could be wrong. Maybe he was just randy.

But anyway, history (or at least the internet) offers no supporting evidence for any of this. And all of this was about two and a half decades ago, so some or all of it could be entirely wrong. But if anyone reading has any clue what I was actually witness too (perhaps it was actually a slapstick farce production of The Woman in White), then please make some effort to let me know.


Modern Dilemmas

Rather bizarrely, someone who's not me has the exact same problem that I do:

I have an easy-to-remember email address — my first name and last initial, followed by a common domain. But there's a major downside: I get a ton of messages intended for other people. Am I obligated to reply every time to say, "Sorry, wrong guy"?

However, none of the suggested solutions seem to included my response of choice: simply post the mislaid messages on a public blog, and wait for the intended recipients to collect them. On which note:

Reminder: Class of 1997's Who's Really Counting the Years? Reunion

Hello all,

This is just a friendly reminder to RSVP for the reunion by this Friday, February 8.

If you're on the fence about coming, keep in mind that we're not asking you to spend a week holed up with your fellow alums in a Malibu mansion (although FOX did ask...). It's just one evening, folks!

We're hoping to seeing you all there!




This is not the 21st Century

CSPAN: Your political coverage sucks! I am not interested in your idiotic phone in

BBC: 39kbs for video? 39kbs for video? Are you insane? I have up to 10M to play with here, and you think that it's sensible to fill a meagre 0.39% of it.

Realplayer: I've been using your software for over a decade now, and it's still a cluttered, infested piece of garbage. Why, for example, does it choose to crash everytime I stop a clip? Why do I have to go through a convoluted sequence of actions to get anything to display on my secondary display instead of my primary. And stop trying to steal my file associations!

CNN: Your "live streaming" is a load of rubbish. Make it work.

Joost: Oh, I'm not even going to bother.

This more or less worked in 2005, so why does everything suck in 2008?