Monday, September 20, 2004

bummed out (and whining about it)

I got my fancy scanner Friday, got home from work eager to scan
some of my best slides, learn a little about photoshop and generally
mess around with it between unpacking chores we still have left
to do...

I put the computer desk together (which counted as a unpacking chore)
read some of the scanner manuals (messing around)
found all the computer parts and put it together (two birds, one task)
broke down and put some of the empty boxes out in the garage (doesn't
sound like much to you, but you didn't have 390+ boxes in your house last
monday, did you?, unpacking chore)
meanwhile, booted up the computer...and the downward spiral began...
computer wasn't quite working right, incredibly slow.
So I wiped out all the programs the kids have added over the four years
or so we've had it, ran spybot etc.
computer got slower...
"How slow?" you ask...
it would take an hour to boot up, maybe 3-4 minutes to show me the
"start" menu after clicking on it.

So I thought about it (can't remember the chores at this point...I think
it was hanging pictures, or maybe the bird cage in the atrium)
and said (in my head), "well I'll just format the drive, go back to the
factory settings, the original software, wipe EVERYTHING bye bye and
start over. It took a LONG time, and when the little XP man started
talking at 2 am Sat morning about a tour of XP, Elesa almost hit her head
on the ceiling.

In the morning (Sat) it was even slower.
I won't bore you anymore with a blow by blow, as to what was
tried, done, not done, checked, run etc.
Suffice it to say that in the end (if I am at an end???)
Saturday evening, I decided to run chkdsk figuring it can't be software
because by now I've pretty much wiped everything out.
I started chkdsk well over 24 hrs ago...its still running...

Elesa is sympathetic, "if you can't get it working right, buy a new one".
(as a guy, I gotta love that attitude (and her!)).
Still, something ain't right with the world when dad has to ask to
borrow the kids' computers. And ultimately, I'm bummed because
all the time I've spent trying to just get the computer running should
have been spent playing with my new scanner.

Now another work week is starting, and I have neither, I'm bummed
and I'm whining.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

my new toy

I have a keen interest in photography...and just the other
day, someone who is moving had a nice slide/negative scanner
for a mere $20, I was already going to get one anyway (and
in fact, I have since placed one on order). But for $20,
I mean it was a deal, especially if it works. Well, after
some messing with getting XP drivers, then getting them
to actually work, I now have a HP PhotoSmart S20 with 2400 dpi
optical resolution...not bad for 20 bucks. I'm hoping to
make my photography a much more serious hobby, something I
have not really forced myself to find the time for when I
was in Maryland. In Hawaii, I tried to spend at least one
evening a week in the darkroom...now I can spend every
evening on the computer...scanning!

a couple of practice photos from my first scanning efforts...I may need more practice with the publishing than the scanner... Posted by Hello


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Terrorist or freedom fighter? and the course of History

Maybe the Chechens, or the Palestinians, or the Kurds, and
certainly the Iraqis, have a legitimate cause, a country or
"homeland" of their own, free from outside or "imperialist"
influence. Where these "freedom fighters" clearly cross the
line and become terrorists, worthy of no one's respect is when
they kill randomly for the sole purpose of causing terror and
chaos.

Children in a school are not a legitimate target,
Clerks and school kids on a bus are not a legitimate target,
A disco is not a legitimate target
A non-military truck driver delivering medicine to a hospital
is not a legitimate target.
A soldier is a legitimate target.
A tank is a reasonable target,
I would even go so far as to say the political leaders of the
"occupying" force are reasonable targets,
To have any hope of success, the freedom fighter needs to be
able to take the fight to the enemy,
so I'd think that a military installation in Turkey would be a
legitimate target for Kurdish "freedom fighters"...you can
extrapolate from there...but yes, that would make the Pentagon
a valid target.
(None of this would legitimize Al Quaida actions against any
target, military or civilian. Al Quaida just basically wants to
kill lots of people because these people aren't like them
and don't want to live like them. Al Quaida isn't fighting for
a homeland, nor for rights, but for hatred of those different
from them)

What has happened to get set the world all askew?...
where mothers and their children have become targets in war?

I think it all began once terrorism began to pay, once terrorists
were rewarded...

In 1972 a bunch of Palestinian terrorists took Olympic
athletes hostage and killed them...the civilized world
did not react by hunting every single one down and
exterminating the disease, no instead, some of that
vermin is now treated as "statesmen"...terrorism pays,
the terrorist leaders are ultimately treated with esteem.

and once the civilized human world began to call actions that
were clearly not terrorism, "terrorism"

Calling an ambush of a military vehicle patrolling recently
captured territory "terrorism" for politcal impact, in an
attempt to leverage the disgust and horror that went with
the word "terrorism", has caused the word to lose its edge....
now anytime an action is called terrorism some are likely to
assume its just another "spin", part of a Big Lie.

What can be done to free the world of terrorists and their acts?
Hunt the vermin down and exterminate them with no mercy.
No negotiation - ever. If hostages are taken, attempt a rescue as
soon as forces can be put in place.
Be clear and concise as to what acts are called terrorism. There
are no shades of gray, if you see gray, you are not looking clearly
enough...look close enough and you will see the pixels are black
and white. The military is a reasonable target and we must
accept that. A children's hospital, even of the enemy or
occupying force, is not.

But doing those two things alone is unlikely to stop terrorism.

It is ironic that the United States and other advanced military
powers have developed incredibly destructive, yet precise
weapons of war, allowing "war" to be fought with minimal
"collateral" damage, minimal civilian casualties. It ironic that
when non-combatants are injured or killed by one of these
advanced military powers, its big news, restitution is sometimes
made, inquiries are held, military commanders lose their job.

Its ironic, for our enemies show us no such consideration, in
fact they purposely kill as many civilians, children and women
included, as they can.

Perhaps we should not be so discriminate, not so precise, maybe
take the fight to their neighborhood like they've brought it to
ours, where it can be their mother, daughter, little brother
threatened in the crossfire.

I'm sure someone is Russia is thinking now thoughts similar to
what I thought after 9/11...why do we have these nuclear
weapons if we can't/won't use them to defend ourselves and our
children? Maybe we should be like King Solomon in the bible
with the dispute over a baby, make it so the terrorists have
nothing to fight for except a nuclear wasteland. The world could
practice with Kashmir, nuke it, then India and Pakistan would
have nothing to fight over. If that works, perhaps Palestine.

Unfortunately, historically it seems that the only victories that
have not come back to haunt the victors, have been the absolute
victories. Romans were victorious over Carthage...they raised it
and salted the earth. We don't see Carthinagens on CNN blowing
up bus stops for a homeland. European settlers of Tasmania,
hunted down and killed all the aboriginals, again the Hobart
chocolate factory has not been suffered a rocket attack anytime
recently. Most everything else has turned out like World War I...
...which basically caused World War II
... which led to the Cold War
which leads to what no one yet knows...
and now a different, longer term cycle based more on religion and
culture (as opposed to states/territory) is again taking the stage on
the forefront of history and perhaps the west (including Russia)
somehow instinctively knows this and dare not give that enemy a
foothold in the Chechnaya's and Palestine's of the world.

Different but the same...

This is another reflection on marriage... 9/4

Background: those who know what Myers-Briggs (MBTI) is,
Elesa and I are polar opposites...especially, when it comes to
the T vs F. I have consistently through the years scored a
perfect T (rational Thought as the basis of my decisions) while
my significant other of the appropriate sex, (I'm told a that's
the new phrase) is a pretty much a perfect F (irrational Feelings
as the basis of decisions). This, of course never causes conflict but...
Sometimes we (as in my wife and I) get into a discussion, it
basically goes like this:
We don't have anything in common
Yes we do
Like what
Well, the kids...
But what happens when they leave.
We like to read
But you don't like the same books I like, and if we both sit here
and read that's hardly interaction
Well, we play games...
and the discussion dwindles away...we're both working on a book :)

Anyway, I've recently noticed that we have way more in common
than we sometimes imagine and that MBTI covers just a small
facet of our personalities.
Over the summer time, a number of families move into/out of
the embassy communities. We came here on the same plane as
another couple. Similar age, family situation, kids, dog, etc.
We've watched them adapt to life here, find a house, get the
kids in school, wait for their "stuff", just as they've seen us go
through the same.
The things that cause them stress, the things they choose to
complain about are so very different from what stresses us,
what we complain about.
Sometimes, after hearing one of their "whines" as it seems to
us, we just look at each other and we're both thinking (because
after 20 yrs, we KNOW what the other thinks, except of course
when we don't) "can they be serious? I mean who could possibly
care?"

Our threshold for what is worth complaining about seems so
different when we're by ourselves, and have a complaint about
each other. Yet, once we look outside our (I'm struggling here to
avoid the 'R' word) ....we'll just skip the 'our'...Yet, once we look
outside, at others, their complaints, stress points etc. are truly
different. In that light, it is easy to see how much Elesa and I
have in common.

Battles others engage in so earnestly, are battles neither I nor
Elesa would ever choose to fight, and I'm sure others look at us
in a similar manner, as we fight battles, or avoid them, there
are other couples are looking at each other, knowing their
partner is thinking..."can they be serious? I mean why let
themselves be taken like that?"

Reversion

catching up, originally typed this up 9/3

We just passed the 20 year mark on our marriage. I'm not sure
which of us should be nominated for sainthood. To last 20 years
at anything, much less living side by side with someone requires
a lot of work and compromise. We've learned to accommodate,
change, ignore, pick our fights (as in is this something to worth
going down in flames over).etc.

Some of the things that didn't meet the my threshold over the
years... (I'm sure Elesa has an extensive list of her own, because
despite my public personna, I'm not perfect)...
squeezing the toothpaste in the middle...
not emptying the car of stuff when she gets out...
half drank drinks left around...

Other habits we changed in the spirit of love, (its easier of course
to remember the habits I've changed, but I will give Elesa her due),
Some that have changed:
toilet seat...DOWN (me)
toilet seat...down quietly (Elesa)
if the gas tank is empty, get gas (Elesa)
if you can't sleep, don't ask if I'm sleeping (I was) (Elesa)

Somethings remain a stalemate, quietly accepted by each,
basically the rule is, if you want the other person to do it fine,
but if you want it done "your way" do it yourself.
trimming bushes is a good example,
(but now we have a gardener)

Now to the reason behind all this blog...we both like ice...
I like lots of ice in my drinks and so does the whole family,
Elesa included.
One of those "irritants" of married life...Elesa used to steal
the ice out of the trays, and horror of horrors, would fail to
refill the tray. Sometime in the neighborhood of our 15th year
together, Elesa changed that habit, perhaps because I
was frequently gone for extended periods of time on business
and if she didn't make ice, she had none. Then we bought a
new house, which came with a refridgerator/freezer with an
automatic ice maker...

Now we have moved again. I think we have an automatic ice
maker, but its not hooked up, the tap water is not potable.
We've reverted to the trays....and Elesa has reverted....
to stealing the ice!