Very shortly, I will be leaving for the airport to go do one of the things I love best: Show someone around my town. This time, it's my parents. ^_^

Happy Groundhog's Day.

No way. BlogVoices is back! The good folks at Pyra, makers of Blogger, are hosting the service. I love this community. Rock on.

Technical Writer Challenge:

(I'm curious what you'll come up with, and I've been wondering if I can do it.) Without using pictures, explain how to make an origami model of your choosing. You may assume a basic knowledge of paper folding, and so may use terms like "mountain fold" and "valley fold," but not advanced forms like "crane base." (That would be cheating.) Send me your attempts, and I'll try to fold them. You'll almost certainly be clearer than this. (If you need instructions, yourself, do a Dogpile search for "+origami +instructions.") Don't choose the crane, because I can do that model from memory, and I want to be sure I'm following your instructions.

Refrain on NPR this morning:

Who can believe I would have such luck?

I found me a trailer that matches my truck.

There's no feeling quite so helpless as realizing, after the cafeteria has closed, that you did not pack yourself enough food for lunch.

I survived the Change Management interview needed for releasing a new version of my app. Just a few more action items...

Oh, and I signed our new lease last night. The amount was slightly less than we'd been paying. I'm so relieved that it's resolved. Is house shopping next?

Must...resist move the whole...trackball.

I served as toastmaster for the first time today. The role of the toastmaster, in any meeting, is to guide the meeting through its agenda. It's pretty firm and laid out in a Toastmasters meeting. That means you know what all the rules are, but there's also some pressure to dance through all those rules correctly. I think I did alright, but boy, was I nervous.

Dude! You are never going to believe this. I went to Petticoat Fair in Austin and bought a bra that fits. No, I mean really fits. My breasts are up where they're supposed to be, and they're being held up by the bra rather than my shoulders. Now, because it's an underwire, it is bruising me right now, but I think I'll get used to that. I can't believe how much better I look. I knew the answer was to alter the underwear, not the girl. Come to Austin, ladies!

You wouldn't think so, but it is easy to forget that people actually read one's blog. Jeremy called us last night and said, among other things, "Congratulations on your new gynecologist." Er... right.

Blogvoices, the service that powers these discussion threads (under the spiders), is off-line, indefinitely. chrish's webhost told him Blogvoices violates their Terms Of Service. Sigh...


Get this: My apartment is under new management. The new manager, a pleasant-sounding woman, was embarrassed and apologetic that we've been in this weird state of no-lease limbo, we'll have a lease by 5:15 tonight, she took note of the maintenance issues I'd like fixed, and she will honor the original lease terms, duration, and rate (not charging us the extra $10/month that Marc wanted to because we moved into a second-floor apartment) and the $160 credit Marc gave us to cover moving expenses. Whew.

Completely by accident, I found the website of the Austin fanclub of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Just a plug: If you click on the little spiders at the end of each post, you can add comments. If there are already comments on that post, there will be a number in brackets next to the spiders. All this, provided by the very spiffy chrish at BlogVoices.

Watched a lot of movies this weekend. Pitch Black, as horror, was not so bad as I'd feared, though as sci-fi, it fails miserably. Fell asleep during The Usual Suspects, but that's 'cause I was tired. I did think it was really neat, and I intend to watch the last half-hour again, since I missed all the explanation. Through some odd quirk, I cracked the plot in the first five minutes: In the opening scene where our evil mastermind creatively extinguishes the flame running along the gasoline fuse on the ship, I commented, "Hey, is that [actor]? Only [actor] would piss that way." ...I recognized someone's urination style? I blame it on the hour of the evening.

Also saw French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, who are both so cute. Why do we enjoy a genre where we know how it will end? The joy in romances is watching a foregone conclusion unfold. (I think that's why I really disliked Mrs. Doubtfire, since it broke the rules of the genre.) In other genres, that's a failing. How odd.

Spent nice time with various friends this weekend. ^_^

This apartment thing still manages to not be resolved. We are moved into a new apartment, but we have not signed the new lease, and I don't know what our rent rate will be nor how long the lease will last. The manager was going to go see what he could sneak past the corporate owner for us. I told him that that was not how it should be, that they should be trying their darnedest to make us happy, and would he like me to call them? So it's in limbo. But there are enough other dissatisfied customers that we might file a lawsuit. Would that be a class action suit? I don't know what those really entail. Have to do some research...

Went to a new gynecologist today. Three of my co-workers also see him. He's sweet, and he came in to chat with me and introduce himself while I was still dressed. What a gentleman. I am now comfortable with my doctor (though when last I saw her, she was very pregnant, so she may become unavailable), my dentist, and my gynecologist. Seeing these folks is a positive experience, rather than something to dread. How neat.

Wedding plans continue. Zoot suits are likely...

"Family" is not synonymous with—or restricted to—one man and one woman, having sex they don't enjoy to produce children we don't need. These politicians preach religious intolerance, homophobia, racism, and classism in the name of protecting the sanctity of family. You don't need to protect it, y'know. Even if it became acceptable to be gay, men wouldn't flock to the boys' locker rooms in droves. "You know, honey, I thought I loved you these past 20 years, but I realize now that, the whole time, I'd been pretending you were a woman." Have you seen how hairy Jon is? My imagination isn't *that* good. The heterosexual way of life is not in danger.

Now, if you really want to keep society from degrading, take a pro-family stance—real families. Offer support infrastructure for single parents. Protect gay parents from hate crimes. Reduce the production of unwanted pregnancies. Take a broader view of what makes a viable family. Teach love.

Hold it, hold it, hold it. Before you click that [Forward] button, check the veracity first.

Subjects of these email hoaxes, such as charitable organizations (Make-A-Wish doesn't want your business cards, I promise) and police departments (nobody was abducted at the mall in Columbus), have to divert personnel and resources to take care of the unbelievable volume of calls and mail they receive.

Perhaps the reason urban legend debunking was on my mind is the Grimms' fairy tales I've been reading—in all their gruesome glory. But are these abysmally written forwards cautionary tales? They're not teaching much in the way of morals, if they are. Instead, they seem to tap into the same sensationalist part of our psyche that likes afternoon talk shows and reality tv. Plus, "if it's true, I'll be doing a great service, and if it's false, it's not doing any harm," is a compelling rationale.

Not doing any harm? Surely the rash of MS Outlook viruses that use your address book and masquerade as spam show the way we've made ourselves susceptible by allowing this garbage to propagate, lowering our defenses on suspicious-looking email. And what of truth? Quotes, passages, missives are attributed to the wrong people or no one at all (Max Ehrmann wrote the Desiderata), a theft that makes me hestitant to publish my writing online. Politicians are libelously smeared, and then we make decisions about the governing of our country based on these lies. Above all, if you lose your intelligent skepticism, you become just another pillowcase to be exploited by the shysters.

But the biggest reason not to forward junk email, hoaxes, "jokes," and net-drek is that I won't read your messages.

I have too many blogs. But the new Blogger server should allow me to finally publish what I've written. Please excuse the sudden flurry of back-dated posts...

Monday, the high was 29. Today, it is 73. I'm so confused.

I am bored to tears with rich, white, male, old politicians. This representative republic is so not representing me. One has to wonder if George Bush chose Dan Quayle as a Vice-President because he reminded him of family.

So it will cost another penny to haul your mail around. It's astounding, really. I managed to misplace an entire stack of Christmas cards I'd intended to send, not finding them until yesterday (oops), yet for just 34 hundreths of a dollar, the US Postal Service will fling one of those little 4" x 6" pieces of paper all the way across the country and deliver it to a specific individual—in about two days! My father shipped a book to me once, and it took overlong to arrive. When it finally did, I saw why. My father's notoriously bad handwriting made the H in my last name look like an A, so the Post Office couldn't match it with the record of my forwarding address. But there on the label was the handwriting of some postal employee who had deciphered what the letter was supposed to be, allowing my package to be sent speedily on its way to me. They're like code crackers. It's phenomenal. So 34 cents for a first class letter is jes' fine by me.

How do one-handed people wash their hair?

We're moving! The apartment leaked again—after the ducts had been cleaned, the carpet pad replaced, the carpet steam cleaned (which I think was actually "vacuumed"), and the drywall repaired—so the manager is allowing us to move into another apartment. This one is a second-floor in a three-story building, which is what we wanted all along. Our phone number stays the same, and our address is the same except for the apartment number, which is now 1802.

My holidays were spiffy. Over Christmas, I visited my parents in Pennsylvania and stayed in their new house, which is very yummy. My grandparents and some aunts and uncles and cousins and such came up for Christmas dinner. Mom's got a pet gecko named Samantha. Everyone's reasonably well, and we had a great time. Then, right after I got back to Austin, my friend Faith came down from Brooklyn and stayed through January 1st. I got to show her the sights and take her out for barbecue. Our friend Dave took us out for a special Austin day, including tamales and music.

This is unreal.

Hauling luggage into and out of overhead compartments, I banged up a few fingers, drawing blood in two places. Then, a few days ago, I cut myself with a steak knife while trying to slice bread. Yesterday, I sliced open the heel of my hand opening a water bottle that had a vicious pointy bit on the neck. That evening, I raised a blister on the tip of my finger, burning it on a pan.

What on earth?!