Saturday, April 08, 2006

Project (non)progress report

You may have noticed I haven't posted any progress reports on My Great Office Clean-Up Project lately. That's because there hasn't been any progress lately. I have been out ten out of the last eleven days, and I've got an opera tonight. Most of the rest of the time I've just been trying to keep my desk clear, handling the incoming mail. I haven't even had time to blog about what I've been doing this week. Maybe I'll do a short one tonight when I get home.

Obviously this is going to take a lot longer than the month I originally estimated.

Tomorrow I've got nothing, and Monday just a conference call, so I should be able to get some real cleaning done. Right now, though, I'm going to turn off the computer and see if I can completely clear the desk before it's time to get dressed for the opera.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pajama woes

I'm very picky about what I sleep in. I hate having any buttons, snaps, strings or any other accoutrements interfering with my close connection to the sheets. Also, since I de-haired my arms and legs, I need warmth: long sleeves and long pants, made of a thick material. (It's amazing how cold you can get when you have neither a layer of male fur nor one of female subcutaneous fat to protect your limbs.)

What I've been using for pajamas the last few years is a long-sleeved flannel t-shirt and a pair of flannel men's Nautica "lounge pants." I'm not sure who would ever want to lounge in these things, but they work just fine in bed. They have a simple elastic waist, no fly, and they even have elastic bands at the ankles to help prevent them from riding up in bed, or from my stepping on them when walking (I have relatively short legs).

I've gone through two pairs of these pants. The first one needed to be replaced when the elastic in the waistband failed. The second pair, while the waist is beginning to get too stetched out, has a more serious problem--I've simply worn through the flannel fabric. There are little holes popping up all over the place, and I caught my toe in one of them down by the ankle and made a big hole in the thinning material.

So it's definitely time to replace them. Except Nautica doesn't seem to make that model any more. All they (and the rest of the manufacturers) have now is ones with an elastic waist and a tie string. Sort of like a belt and suspenders. I'll try it with the tie string there, but I suspect I'll end up cutting off the ends at least. (I can't just pull the string out, beacuse it's anchored at the back.)

And there's one more problem: there's no elastic at the ankle--I'm going to have to have the legs shortened, or I'll be walking all over them.

Grump, grump, grump.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Go fug yourself

I have added a link to the blog Go fug yourself. This wildly popular blog is by two young(?) women who delight in pointing out the fashion mistakes of celebrities.

As they put it, "Fug" comes from "fugly," which is a contraction of "fantastically ugly." Their blog is fantastically funny. I can't help wasting time reading it.

Maybe I should start a new category of links: Guilty Pleasures.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Very curious web search of the day

Someone found this site doing a Google blog search for "feingold." They found the snippet I posted earlier today, Leading the race for my vote:. What was very curious was that the searcher's ISP is the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. What is the someone in the Sergeant at Arms office doing searching blogs for one of the senators, especially when they keep going at least to the fourth page of the search results? (At the time of this post I've been pushed down to the fifth page.) Very curious.

Republicans on fast track to oblivion

In Analysis: DeLay Leaves Troubling Legacy a long-time Associated Press Washington reporter quotes political strategist Frank Luntz as saying, "It's hard to believe that in just 12 years, Republicans could end up in the same situation that it took Democrats 40 years to get in." That's a Republican political strategist, one of the people behind the 1994 GOP "Contract On America" oops I mean "Contract With America," admitting the sorry state of the Republican party.

He did get one thing wrong. It's not hard to believe. Far more Republicans than Democrats forget who they're supposed to be working for when then achieve office. Far more Republicans than Democrats are beholden to the big corporate interests for their campaign money. It is very easy to believe how fast so many Republicans found their way into ethics scandals, campaign finance law violation indictments, if not outright bribery convictions. Big Business looks at laws as things to get around, so they can maximize their profits, and their philosophy flows right along with their money going to Republican causes.

Republican politicians, like a lot of corporate leaders, are now finding out the hard way that the laws can't be gotten around, not when the violations are so big. Small, local corruption may escape unnoticed, but when they hit the national stage their misdeeds are much more likely to be uncovered.

Good times for the Democrats.

Leading the race for my vote:

Feingold Says He Supports Gay Marriage

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Another Republican bites the dust

DeLay Announces Resignation From House
Maybe DeLay put on his glasses and read the writing on the wall a little closer. He's got enough trouble just trying to keep himself out of jail, much less retaining his seat in Congress.

DeLay thinks his exit will cause the donations to his Democratic opponent Nick Lampson flowing in from all over the country to dry up. Ha! I'm sure my inbox will be filling up with solicitations from all the various groups I support. DeLay thinks this is all about him. It's not. It's about removing all the Republicans from the positions of power that enabled them to misuse the public trust. If anything his resignation will make this easier, not harder.

I wonder who the Republicans will choose to replace him on the Appropriations Committee, which they rewarded him with when he had to step down as House Majority Leader. Maybe this time they can find someone who's not under indictment.

New template

So I got home after a nice night out and checked to see what was going on in cyberland before heading to bed. There had been problems all day with the internet connection before I left in the afternoon. I got to my blog, and found it was blank.

After the paramedics finished restarting my heart, I got on to Blogger and found everything was really still there. Something was screwed up with the template, apparently. So I trashed the old one (saving a copy first), and started over with a new one. I carefully inserted my additions one by one, making sure everything works.

So now I have this. In some respects it works better than the old one ever did.

My apologies to anyone who came here and found nothing.

Tomorrow (or I should say, later today, after I get up--I've still got to get to bed) I'm going to back up everything. Then I won't need to call the paramedics the next time my blog disappears.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My new toy

This is a self-portrait of my new toy, a Motorola RAZR V3c camera phone. So now I'll have a camera with me all the time. Which means I can take pictures to put on my blog all the time.

It's thin and sexy (unlike its owner). It was basically free. In fact I also got one for my wife for free. Verizon charges $150 for one with a two year contract. But you get $100 credit when you fulfill your previous two year contract, which I did. So they charged me $50 (plus tax) for the phone. But Motorola has a $50 rebate, so all I'm really paying is the $4 and change tax. Then Verizon is having a two-for-one sale on these phones (I think it ends today). So I got a second one for free for my wife.

Aside from having a camera, the thing I like about it most is that the ringer is much louder than my old phone's. If I had that thing in my pocket (forget about when it was in my purse) I couldn't hear it, even when it was turned up all the way. The only thing I don't like about it so far is that there doesn't seem to be a way of assigning a ring tone for all "restricted" (non-caller ID) calls. You win some, you lose some.

So get ready for more pictures on this blog.


I just noticed the time on the clock above was wrong. I didn't realize it had to be changed for daylight savings time manually. Sorry.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Requiem redux

Saturday night was a regular New York Philharmonic subscription concert: Music Director Lorin Maazel conducting Giuessepi Verdi's Requiem Mass. I just heard this last fall with the London Symphony, the opening concert of Lincoln Center's Great Performers series. Same music. Same hall. Different musicians.

Well, not totally different musicians: the bass soloist, Orlin Anastassov, was the same. This time he was joined by soprano Fiorenza Cedolins, mezzo-soprano Luciana D'Intino, and tenor Franco Farina, a replacement for the ailing Ramón Vargas. All four soloists were making their New York Philharmonic debuts. The New York Choral Artists provided the chorus. They were under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt, who seems to run every large chorus in the New York area, at least the ones that perform with the Philharmonic.

Comparisons with last fall seem in order: Maazel (who seemed to have missed an appointment with his haircutter), was as much in control as Sir Colin Davis was--but seemed more relaxed. He took advantage of a new podium (I think maybe a couple inches higher than the old one). It has a handsome curved wood railing, which Maazel sometimes put his left hand on when he turned towards the violins. The orchestra was as good as ever--even the trumpets stuck up in a rear balcony to play a few bars.

The chorus was good, maybe not quite up to the level of the London Symphony Chorus, but more than adequate.

That leaves the soloists. Anastassov (the only one who did not use a score), was even better than last time. His voice literally echoed in the large hall. If anything Varga was even better than Anastassov. He was great in his small role, with a powerful presentation. Unfortunately the women soloists were not as good. There was nothing particularly wrong with either, but they both lacked that extra something that is the difference between a thrilling performance and a merely competent one. (Both also covered their gowns with shawls for the slightly chilly auditorium. Cedolin's was this thick fuzzy thing, which really detracted from her black, sparkly dress that bared her shoulders and arms. D'Intiro wore a midnight blue gown with a slit that bared her leg well above the knee when she sat--though she did wear dark hose. But her shawl covered the dress so much that it was hard to tell what was underneath.)

The Verdi Requiem is a great piece of music, and I certainly didn't mind hearing it twice in one season. I might give the nod to the London Symphony last fall, mostly on the basis of the chorus. But there wasn't that much of a difference overall, and I really enjoyed both.