July 27, 2002

This 'n That

First, update on my last entry:

Annie's mother, who was hospitalized in intensive care, survived and was to be transferred to a convalescent hospital last Thursday.
She'll eventually move in to an apartment in an assisted living facility with her husband.

I had lunch with Annie and she brought me up to date. What she experienced was too similar to what I went through last year and the year before. It's somehow even worse in the remembering.

Annie, who is 53, still has both her parents. Of course that's a good thing but having to lose them sometime in the next ten to twenty years, isn't.
It's life, it's natural but that doesn't make it easy.

Not much further word from my friend in Europe. Well, No word from him at all. I hear from his wife on occasion and get the idea that while his life is not in imminent danger, his recovery is long and difficult.

I hesitate to even begin to complain about this, since it's a lot harder for him and his family than it is for me (duh!) but it is hard when all you can do is imagine what's going on. Especially when your imagination tends to run far and long in the wrong direction very easily. It also doesn't help that I have virtually no family of my own, behind me. (The kids are a different sort of family, in front of me. It's not the same thing. You need both, and I suppose when people outlive everyone this is how they feel.)

Anyway, on to other things...

Update on the music downloading crisis:

I caved to an extent and allowed one file sharing program on the computer.
Kazaa came with an ad server but none of the very most evil programs such as Bonzi Buddy or Gator.
Ads, I can deal with.
I still use ad-aware to screen for new invaders, but none have appeared lately.

So we (Rob and I) are content, for now.

But Rob is never content for long. He recently realized he must have a digital camera.

I realized the same a long time ago (for myself) but haven't wanted to do the research necessary for an investment of a few hundred dollars.
Research, as in what features I want and where to get the best value.

Gifts aren't an option - nobody who buys me gifts (the kids!) spends that kind of money and Rob already chose a comfortable cell phone plan for his birthday.
So instead of me buying a camera for Rob to use, Rob ended up buying a camera which I plan to use.

He did the research and chose the features, which included a movie mode with sound. I wouldn't have bothered with that but he wants to post brief band clips on their website.
His camera has everything else I would have wanted and more, and he paid for it.

I did spring for a battery charger and extra batteries and a case but that didn't even amount to a fifth of what he paid.

And I get to use it.

If I use it much I'll get my own memory card which again will be a negligible amount compared to the cost of the camera.

Having adult offspring with a taste for good things is, well, a good thing.

Did I mention I get to use it?

And finally I'll take a run at the Friday Five:

1. How long have you had a weblog?

My weblog, such as it is, must be about two years old. The intent was to post brief notes more often but it just hasn't worked out. I'm not sure why, I still think it's a good idea.

I'm answering the remainder in reference to my journal as a whole:

2. What was your first post about?

It was about online journalling, what else?

3. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one?

The only thing that's changed (frequently at first) is the design.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else?

My CMS consists of opening the most recent entry in notepad; saving it to the current date; changing the dates including the before-after links where appropriate; deleting the old text and inserting the new; putting in the links and tags; adding the title to the index page and uploading the lot by FTP.

It's simple enough but sometimes I covet a system like Grey Matter or movable type...

(I would have put the "e" in moveable but then again I put the "I" in "inertia" so go figure..)
(Yeah that's a joke. I amuse myself.)

...but I am totally unable to figure them out and quickly realize it's not worth the headache, for me.
It's sort of like home renovations.. you start out only wanting a new sink and before you know it you have a new floor, new cabinets, new tile, and of course your old fridge and stove look awful next to the lovely new stuff... best not to start at all if that's not where you want to go.

But I digress, as usual.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place?

I don't care where their stuff is, if I want to read it, I read it.

Linque Du Jour:   The Wacky World of Japanese Ice Cream
I'm not sure if this is for real but the nausea it induces is...

A photo gallery of seventeen odd (to Western tastes) flavours of Japanese ice cream.

I browsed the main site too, which seems to be an English-language news-of-Japan site.
I say "seems to be" because some of the headlines are rather strange but then again, our news would be strange too, to an alien.

For instance, in today's headlines:

-Tokyo gas attack turns out to be a drunken affair
-Derelict school principal busted for slacking off
-Teen-age 'scientist' lets bomb rip in Tokyo station
-Enraged lover fatally pushes mama-san off building
-Deadly snake escapes exhibit, shuts down resort

I checked the "international news" page and that seemed to be for real (not satiric) so the rest probably is, too.

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