Friday, September 29, 2006


I really don't know why I'm posting, but I felt the need to post something. So, I'm going to type for five minutes and hopefully during that time something will come to me. Otherwise, this is going to be a really boring post.

Tonight at small group we talked about the Love Languages and how we experience and/or express love. Using that book's definitions, it's very obvious that I express love in Acts of Service. That is, if there's something to be done, I'm there. I don't like standing around, I don't like being passive. Chairs need to be set out for an event? Great. Tables need to be moved? I'm your man. If I really think about it, it's partially a defense mechanism, a way to avoid having to be social.

But I was trying to figure out how I most accept love and I had a hard time with it. I kind of felt that maybe it's when I feel like someone has my back, someone is standing united with me.

I asked Lori and she thought it was affirmation, and that it sort of tied into where I was going. But the very next question was about what ways we find it hard to accept love. And it was the same thing... I have a hard time believing affirmation, that perhaps I have a self-esteem problem and I'm either humble (ha!) and push off praise, embarassed by it (true) or I don't believe the person saying it, that they're being nice or they don't really know me, or something. So I guess maybe it's an ego thing. For as big as my ego is, it's really not. Or something.

I dunno.

The small group went really long and now I'm kinda tired. We might get to sleep in tomorrow unless the dog wakes us up early or the little one gets up early. Hopefully not the case since she didn't go to sleep at all today for her afternoon nap and was up late while we were at small group.

I was reading tonight about LazyDork and LonelyGirl, two YouTube celebrities, neither of which I've seen. One is real and the other one was scripted and acted, but both garnered big followings, though one is now just a big fraud that most people are annoyed with. I was thinking that I have a couple of cameras, I could record something. But I couldn't even think of a name and I couldn't think of anything, even ramblings that anyone might find interesting. In the end I decided it would be something else that I wouldn't maintain and not keep up with, much like my t-shirt company idea, my publishing company idea, the children's book series idea Lori and I were working on (we both kind of abandoned it together) and my plans to take artistic photos to sell on iStock. Or even my plan to photograph ugly homes near my neighborhood and add to the Flickr map for the world to see. Although that one I still intend to do. Just haven't had good daylight hours to go and find these homes. I don't know where exactly they are because I try to avoid driving through that area. Lori swears it's faster but I just don't like the feel of the area. Not unsafe, just unsightly.

I guess my five minutes is over or nearly over. I don't know if I went anywhere or if my original title held true. Thanks for reading and hope the next thing you go off to read is a little less boring.

Dear Detroit

Dear Detroit,

The Fit is not in. Yaris is an awful name. The Matrix looked like a high-top sneaker. The Element is ugly and every time I see a Scion, I automatically assume its owner is an idiot.

I don't want an SUV and I can't afford a Lexus, though they're kinda on the plain side. It'll be a few years before I buy a car, but if things don't change, I'm probably gonna be stuck with an Avalon.

I want my gull-wings or pivot doors. I want my Delorean. My Intrepid, while not for everyone, is a great car. It has a little bit of styling but it doesn't scream "Pull me over for speeding." (The base for a car seat in the back seat probably also helped the last time I was pulled over.)

Bottom-line, I'm looking for the superhero-in-disguise car. A little bit calm, a little bit cool.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why Zune?

Why is Microsoft creating Zune? Can it hope to compete against iPod?

According to Cringely, no. But Microsoft can't afford not to get its foot in the door. By the time the third generation of Zune comes along (Microsoft's lucky number), it will be a whole different ballgame, he suggests.

By then, people will be wanting convergence out of their device. Not devices, device. A single device that does your phone and your e-mail and stuff not yet even considered, like social networking and location/gps based activities (and ads.)

Should be interesting. Scroll down past the other stuff in his article.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Addicted to Coffee?

8:02 am - I read recently that policing was originally the responsibility of those that desired the security. That is, that originally businesses hired private security guards to guard their properties. Eventually the government saw value in it and local police forces were formed to protect not only businesses, but also personal property and people themselves. And then the federal government got involved. And with all things government, a good idea soon became ineffectual and now companies, wealthy individuals hire security guards and our neighborhood has a paid security patrol. I used to see that as a sign that the government wasn't doing its job. Now I wonder if maybe it's a job that the government isn't that great at doing. In all, it seems like government isn't great at doing a lot of things. The more I see of projects where the government acts as contractor and rule-setter and then lets private business do the job with real benefits for a job well done and real discipline for a job done poorly, the more I like the idea of a real small government. If other companies have the skill, expertise and money -- and personal drive -- to make a rocket ship, why not let NASA help fund them? Why not give 20 or 30 universities and private corporations a small amount of money and let them come up with the rest and develop 20 or 30 different ideas of how to create autonomous cars? I think this is the partnership idea and I think there's some real merit to it. To be sure, there are some jobs that maybe the government is better capable of doing, but it also seems like there are plenty of jobs being usurped by, or abdicated to, the government when private business can do it better, more effectively and cheaper.

8:14 am - I might be addicted to coffee. Or I'm just sleepy. I like to get a cup of the office sludge every morning. I like the warmth of the coffee mug, I like the smell, I like the warmth of the coffee going down. Taste is ok. Plus I've been conditioned to feel good about myself as I drink it. Well I got to the coffee pot this morning at the same time as Joy. She said it was hot, but it wasn't fresh. So I had to internally debate while she stood there... instant gratification, or delayed - but fresh - gratification? I finally opted to leave and she promised it would be ready in five minutes. I haven't been back yet, but I'm feeling really sleepy.

8:34 am - I read this morning that NYC is considering banning transfat altogether. This is an awful idea. My former boss used to think that helmet laws were dumb. His argument was that if people wanted to be stupid, they should be allowed to. I guess his commute was already so long that it wouldn't matter much to him if he had to wait longer while the CHP had to wait for the giant spatula to show up so they could scrape people off the ground. While I'm all for legislating safety, I'm not so sure about the same for legislating health. Although that's not entirely true because I do appreciate no-smoking laws. I guess I just see people eating unhealthy food as something that mostly only affects themselves whereas smoking or falling off your motorcycle and getting your head squished by a bus as something that affects those around you. Maybe a heart attack in your car from too many french fries blocking traffic, but that's not something you hear about every day, yet.

1:39 pm - A favorite quote I heard a few days ago from a colleague... "Working with so-and-so is like being handed the owner's manual for a car and being told to go and build the car." Classic.

Completely unrelated, I wrote recently about a two-vision LCD - a screen from Sharp that displayed different things depending on where you were standing in relation to the screen. Same principle as those little things we used to get as a kid where you'd move them back and forth and it looked like cheap animation. You could have one in the car where the driver saw a map while the passenger saw a movie. Or two people on opposite ends of a couch watched different things while wearing headphones. Well, that wasn't good enough and now they're showing off a three-way screen. The driver sees a map, the passenger watches a movie and the kids in the backseat watch The Wiggles. Sounds kinda cool.

2:27 pm - He's just changed it. He now says he's being asked to build the car but has only been given the glossy brochure.

5:05 pm - Time to go home. Very sleepy. Lots of stuff that's still waiting on other people's approval. This is an interesting experiment, keeping a notepad open and occasionally typing into it during the day. I imagine if I did this every day it would become annoying and boring.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Busy World

8:25 am: Hey y'all... life has been incredibly busy lately and I haven't been able to get on here to post, sorry. It's been good, just really busy.

10:15 am: It doesn't help any if stupid Blogger loses something you've typed. We went to Grandma Palmateer's 90th. birthday party this past weekend. It had originally been a much smaller gathering scheduled for the previous Saturday until grandma's twin brother (Lawrence)'s daughter found out. She asked us to push it back a week and got to work. While at a business conference in Europe, she arranged with family to get Lawrence and his wife on a private plane so he could fly out to the event and then fly back home right afterwards. (He didn't want to fly or drive because it would be hard and uncomfortable -- he's more mobile than Grandma, but at 90, he's got his limits, too. The private flight made it physically possible for him to travel the great distance.) She also was able to invite a lot more people, hire a photographer and make these really cool nametags. They listed grandma and Lawrence and their six siblings in boxes across the top. And then our specific branch was listed, allowing us to visually see as we met people how we were connected to them. It was a really neat time and I have no idea when grandma and Lawrence were last able to see one another, so that was really special.

11:07 am: Have to reset my computer, can't get into an important program and hoping this will fix it.

3:46 pm: Again, another day has just flown by. It's not quite over yet, but we're approaching the home stretch. Happily, everything is either (a) in process or (b) waiting for clients. Tonight I get to hang with Rachel while Lori's at Bible Study. I enjoy getting to spend time with Rachel. A little more fun when we get to go places, but we're over budget this month so we'll just stay home instead of using gas. We can still have lots of fun around the house, though often she trails me around while I do chores which I imagine will stop getting fun as soon as she's old enough to figure out what I'm doing and that it's not really a run-around-the-house game.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Humor: The 9/11 Hoax

YOUTUBE.COM --There's a guy on YouTube who's posted at least 120 videos. Of all the ones I looked at the titles and descriptions for, they're arguments to suggest that the World Trade Center buildings that came down were brought down intentionally by trained demolition experts in a massive conspiracy. Very humorous stuff. List of videos...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Boeing's Everett Plant

Satellite Map -- This is a bridge where they tow planes from the manufacturing plant to the north to the painting building on the south. They only tow planes across at night because it's too distracting during the day. The building to the north is the largest building in the world (by volume).


We're currently watching The Amazing Race 10's first episode. It aired last night on CBS, but our stupid Comcast DVR didn't record the first 90 minutes for some reason. (We have bad luck with the first episode of each new season, usually something corrupts the recording or it doesn't record at all.)

So we made the circuits, checking Google Video, iTunes, AOL TV, CBS's innertube and so on. But not one of them actually had the episode for sale. We would have paid.

But what did we find? By mid-afternoon someone who had watched it in Canada had uploaded the entire thing, with commercials removed!

So thank you, unnamed Canadian. Thank you, YouTube. We would have done it legally were that option available to us.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Farewell, Old Friend.

(~1990 to 09/16/06, ours to care for and love since 2001.)

Don't Read This

Her daughter was there all along, on the plane. Jodie Foster was right all along. But why was the daughter still unconscious at the end? Shouldn't someone have been offering her medical attention? Her husband didn't commit suicide, he was thrown from the roof just so that the could put explosives inside his casket as part of some elaborate plot to blow up the plane as part of an attempt to get the airline to pay $50 million into the Air Marshall's Swiss Bank Account. At one point after the plane is on the ground, it devolves into Panic Room II: Plane of Doom for a few seconds. But overall Flightplan was disappointing with enough artsy shots to annoy you while you're trying to understand the convoluted plot.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Solution to Immigration, Genocide and Uppity Small Countries

This isn't a perfect solution because of China, but I had an idea tonight that might just solve the problem of illegal immigration, genocide and put little countries in their proper place.

It came to me tonight as my daughter was spinning the globe around pointing at countries and asking what their names were. I was noticing just how small some of the countries in Europe were. But in the UN, they get the same number of votes as everyone else. So they think they're all big and mighty but they're really kinda tiny.

So, here's my proposal... make the UN representative. The more populous your country, the more seats you get.

It would finally make Mexico take its egression problem seriously. Instead of turning a blind eye while its citizens depart en masse, it would be forced to figure out why and then do what it could to keep them in the country.

And these countries where there's civil war and genocide, they'd realize that it wasn't in their best interest to let their citizens keep dying because it means fewer votes.

Now, I realize this could end up allowing China to rule the world, but they'd repeal their one-baby-per-family rule but their country would be ground to a halt pretty soon after that. The only money to be made would be in baby products.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Goodnight, Little Cat

We found Tinsel around Christmastime so many years ago when we were living in Glendale. She was all knotted and she would run up to every car that drove by while we were sitting there petting her after coming across her during a walk in the neighborhood. We took her home, figuring we'd watch for signs announcing a missing cat. The local vet confirmed that she had a hyperactive thyroid which would require daily medication. The condition of her teeth and the look of her, they guessed then that she was between 11 and 14 years old. By the way she acted, we guessed that she either escaped from a motorhome or was dumped by someone no longer willing or able to provide for her care. The princess of the bunch, she was always scrawny and didn't take great care of herself, but she was quiet and endured me shoving pills down her throat once or twice a day. We thought maybe our role was simply to make sure she passed away loved in a warm and safe environment. She's hung on, but as of late, she's taken a turn for the worse. She now requires many pills a day for various ailments and she's not eating. She's wasted away to nearly nothing and we're praying that she'll go quietly in her sleep instead of continuing to starve to death. This is a picture of her tonight. It seemed like the right time to say something about her.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

End of Passion

Lori and I were washing our cars today. Unlike Southern California, there's a serious lack of full service car washes up here. And so the ones that do exist are outrageously priced and not located nearby. Perhaps the rain?

So our cars stay dirtier and don't get the love they used to. Well I was washing my car today and noticed some rather unpleasant scratches on the back door, down towards the bottom. All the way to the metal. I can't imagine what from, maybe a tricycle, maybe some strong bushes, maybe a curb? I'm not quite sure.

Ok, granted, my car isn't perfect. Ever since the paint incident, it's not been a perfect car. But it's 7-1/2 years old, has 53,000 and has been a rather exceptional and reliable car. If not for the seat that fell down and I fixed myself for 50 cents months before they realized there was a problem and recalled them all. Or the window that won't roll up without getting out of its track. Otherwise, I've been pretty happy with the car.

But I look at the scratches and all I can say is "Wow! Look at these scratches." Lori comes over and is at least a little better in saying "That sucks."

But is this what it's come to? Sure, it's an object. Most of the world doesn't have a car and we have two, so should I be lamenting minor damage? Or is that all the more reason? I'm fortunate enough to have a car and so shouldn't I be upset when it gets damaged? I think most people would side with Lori and suggest not seething is actually the correct response.

But I find that hard to accept. This is my car. The biggest, most expensive object I've ever owned. (The bank or my dad owns the house, I'm not sure.) So I should take care of it and be upset when it's been damaged. Where is the passion? Where is the emotion? Should I not be upset, and shouldn't it just be expected?

But all I could do was sigh and think that maybe someday I'll get around to attacking the scratches with a sharpie.

Blast from the Past

Last night Lori and I wanted to go out to eat. We had a babysitter. All we needed was $6 for the valet, which meant a really trying ordeal. Curse you, Wells Fargo. And apparently a reservation. It was 6:30 and they'd happily seat us at 9:45. Curse you, Melting Pot.

So instead we went up to a really cool place called Stanley and Seaforts. Pulling up in the valet, I say "hey" to the guy and he says "hey!" and points at me. Then he says "Where do I know you from?" Doesn't look at all familiar to me. Well, maybe he looks like a young Don Cheadle. I talk about schools and none of those are it, so we depart for the restaurant not knowing each other. The restaurant has a 45 minute wait, but we could eat in the bar or go out on the patio if we want. The view from the patio is awesome. It's glassed in so it's not too bad and they turned on the heaters. It's on a little vista. You can't tell too well from the satellite, but it's sort of on a bluff between two very old and high bridges. Zoom out and you'll see that the view from the patio is of the entire waterfront.. the newly revitalized downtown, the water, the port. Really neat.

Partway through dinner I figure it out. There's only two places where I would have been in contact with a young black man now working as a valet in Tacoma... because even when I lived in Tacoma attending college, it was 90 blocks to the south. One would have been high school and another would have been a Little Caesar's. High School would have been an amazing coincidence. Little Caesar's, however, was only 4 blocks to the south and about 8 blocks to the west. So when he brought back my car, I asked him if that's where it had been and it was nice to have that mystery solved. We wished each other well and unless we eat there again (which I hope to, it was my second favorite meal ever after my birthday dinner with Lori and Rich and Christi last February at Twin Palms) I doubt I'll ever see the young man again.

But, it was a good experience. When we were working there, he was much younger, getting rides from his mom to and from work each day, though I might have given him a ride home once, I can't remember. He didn't live too far from PLU, actually. But there were some pretty bad influences in some of the older black men who worked at Little Caesars and this young guy acted like a a gangsta-wanna be. It was nice to know that he wasn't led into those bad influences.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

White Trash Image of the Day

Beater car turns from a neighborhood onto a major street and pulls up behind me. She's got her cigarette in one hand and as her car comes to a stop, I can see in my rearview mirror that she's picked up her rearview mirror (from where it was sitting on the seat next to her) and uses it to check her teeth and make-up. Klassy. She lives in the same neighborhood as the horridly ugly blue house that I posted on here last week.

Movie Downloads

Now you can download entire movies and fill up your hard drive! Yay! launched its movie and TV download service today and Apple is expected to launch theirs tomorrow. The big question is whether or not it will continue to be called the "Music Store" in iTunes.

Two things are for certain... Unbox is Amazon's ugliest website to date and iTunes will continue to have a poor half-baked and annoying search box.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

You Can Go Back

I've spent the past few weekends putting all my CDs into iTunes. All of them. The good, the bad and the really, really bad. I'm guessing I still have about 50 CDs to go, but I've already got over 1,300 songs on there.

I've discovered all kinds of music I didn't know existed. That is, songs that weren't one of the two or three on the CD that I liked and for which I bought the CD and of which I listened to while disregarding the rest of the disc. But to say discovered shouldn't imply "liked" -- there's lots of bad stuff out there that had I not been forced to purchase along with the stuff I like, I wouldn't have. But then there is some good stuff as well.

Velvet Chain is one of those. Velvet Chain is an independent band in Los Angeles. During my Buffy days, I went a concert or two of theirs and hung out a few times with the band at a few other things. They had even given me a copy of their first CD, Groovy Side. I had listened to it a little bit, but never really closely listened to it. But in the past few days a couple of their songs have come up in rotation during my morning walk before work. I've really enjoyed the songs and sorry that I didn't do more to tell them how good their work is when we were running in the same scene.

And there have been plenty of times where I've heard other songs I haven't heard in years, either because they've come up, or because I've searched through the lists until I found it. And to hear those songs is to be transferred for a few brief moments to another place in time. To another time in my life. Sometimes a happy memory, sometimes a really sad memory. But it is really amazing to have that power in my hand instead of at the whim of some station deciding to play an old song. Not to mention there are a lot of good songs that I doubt I'd ever hear on the radio like Utah Saints, Electronic, New Order's "Price of Love/World," old Amy Grants, or even, yes, Nelson. Laugh if you must, and I know you must, because so will I, but there are some tunes by Nelson that are firmly cemented in a place and time and to hear them transcends whatever one must think of the talent or lack thereof of the two blond long-haired brothers of that girl who was on the Father Dowling mysteries.

One thing that bugs me is that I don't know what music defines the move to Seattle. During the drive up, I listened to the Dane Cook CD set that JP gave me as a going away gift and I guess I must have listened to a lot of terrestrial radio, but nothing sticks out. I know what defines the early days of living here, but I don't know what defines the period where we were renovating the house, selling the house, flying here, buying a house, and then packing and driving.

Lori can't think of any, either, but we're hoping we'll hear something and remember.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why I Hate Old Navy

I'd never been into an Old Navy before this weekend. Hated, hated, hated the commercials. Didn't much care for the look of the stores from the outside. The clothes Lori bought herself, Rachel and I seemed nice. Of decent quality and nicely styled. Dexter's cargo pants with a bazillion pockets were always an amazement to me. He'd stock them full of IT stuff and when we'd go talk to a co-worker who needed help, whatever he needed, it was in a pocket but it didn't look like like he was a walking computer repair store.

Well, anyway I finally went into an Old Navy on Friday night while out mall ratting with the family. I was finally able to put my finger on it. The concrete floors. The large fluorescent lighting. The minimalist fixtures reminiscent of Home Depot.

It's just wrong. While that kind of thing may work for Home Depot -- as well it should -- it does not belong in a clothing store. Unless said store is run by The Salvation Army. To make your stores look like this and couple it with hit and trendy advertising I hate that for some reason resonates with the younger set, it sets a dangerous precedence.

How? It legitimizes Costco and Walmart. It says that it's ok, if not cool, even, to shop at places like this. They're brainwashing people into thinking that concrete and fluorescent are acceptable places to buy food and clothing. Tires, yes. Slacks, no. Mulch, yes. Fresh croissants, no.

Until recently I had been opposed to Lori's shopping at WinCo, even though she didn't make me go with her more than once. Only a few things since then have made me decide maybe it's ok... first, she bought most of the groceries for the entire month for less than $200. Second, they carry Lucerne products. I need to research that to see if there's some tie to Safeway which would really elevate the company in my eyes. And lastly, they have a line of home products there that are Awesome. I don't mean they're just great, I mean they're Awesome. That's the brand name. I guess even I can be swayed.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't let us stop you...

Animal Planet's website has a nice touching thing on the homepage, but by the time you get to the press release, they want to remind you that they do still have stuff you can buy in your store. It would only be tackier if it were Crocodile Hunter items listed.

It's almost as bad as on 9/11 when the promo for Inside Schwartz was stuck at the top of every page of with the pose shown below and the words "Life is good." promoting the upcoming premiere of the show.

History of the World

I finally finished "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some Are So Poor" -- all 500 and some pages. That was a tough read. One night during the reading I wrote down all the words I didn't recognize with the intention of later going and looking them up. I haven't yet done that. The book was an interesting read... I can't really think of anyone I know who would read them with the exception of maybe Kevin, but it was really long.

In the end, I know a lot more about history and how those that have economic power in the world came to attain it. But I really don't know a lot more about why those who never made the leap didn't make it. To be sure, geography, natural resources, etc., could possibly have a small part to play, and now corrupt governments have a huge role to play, but before the colonial times, it's hard to figure out why so many countries weren't advancing into the next age the way the European countries were.

Oh well. If I learned anything, it's that nothing is set in stone. And that those countries who are horribly impoverished now might not always stay that way. Strong stable government, education and the desire to move to the next level are all that's really needed. There will be plenty of foreign governments and corporations ready to come alongside them and help them since it will mean new customers and new low-cost employees. And that may even happen whether they want it or not as the lowest-cost is always sought, companies may yet go into Africa and the Middle East as opportunities to invest and find cheap labor. And all boats will be floated higher. (I like the idea of all boats floating higher. Does that make me a socialist?)

I also learned that our consumerism is the propelling force behind our growth and advancement. That was an interesting notion. Kind of like being in a bucket in a well and pulling yourself up by the rope.

All in all, a rather interesting book. I wouldn't use the word fascinating (though at times, perhaps mindnumbingly dull) but it was an interesting bit of self-discovery to find out this stuff had an interest to me. Sure didn't in any way, shape or form while I was in school.

Why did I read this book in the first place? A book I really admire, "Good to Great" credits this book for the concept, so I was curious to see what it said. It was a very tiny part of the book. Oh well. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you smarter, eh?


Crocs may rule, but I guess stingrays don't. While ironically filming (can something be filmed ironically? You know what I mean.) "Ocean's Deadliest" Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's luck finally ran out. And in a big way. He apparently got too close to a really dangerous stingray whose tail contains a poisoned barb which apparently hit him in the chest, went between his ribs and directly into his heart.

Irwin could be credited for introducing lots of children to the world of animals, especially his infant child who he took in with him while feeding crocodiles. Other recent events might have suggested he was playing more and more loose with the rules and getting away with it. Until now. I found him somewhat annoying, but I came down to the computer this morning expecting there to be bad news (last time I had an unpaid holiday there was a major earthquake and I got a lot of overtime) and so this time it was the Crocodile Hunter news. Sadly he leaves behind family (bad enough on its own)... who will now forever be torn between their own love for animals and thinking that it was his love for animals (or publicity?) that ultimately did him in.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Universal Cell Phone

from my friend Mike. Roughly translates to:

Have you come to commune with God?
Jesus talks to your heart, not your cell phone.
Kindly silence yours (just press Off).

This Week's Links

Sprint's Suckiness Its Advantage
PBS.ORG -- According to Cringley, the fact that Sprint PCS sucked so bad they had to build so many more towers than their competitors much closer together is now to their advantage, will allow them to offer a much better WiMax experience, should they choose to do so. (WiMax works best the closer you are to the tower.)

Is Cybersex Cheating
WIRED.COM -- An interesting article on why that's a misguided question to ask and suggestions about what someone might really be asking when they ask that question.

You've Got Computer
MSNBC.COM -- AOL begins offering a computer for $199 (plus monitor) that offers a whole host of programs, just nothing from that Microsoft company.

Progressive California
MSNBC.COM -- I always appreciated how progressive California was and again they've impressed me, putting forth new requirements to reduce greenhouse gasses. Again, the federal government is up in arms. Why? Because California has once again dared to make the right move when the impotence of the federal government has been unable to.

Daylight Everywhere
NEWS.COM -- Using plastic (instead of more fragile and costly glass) -- in a fiber-optic type setup -- a company has come up with a way to distribute sunlight throughout buildings. A computerized system monitors the light in the offices and supplements with overhead lighting as needed. Major cost savings suggested.

Help, I've Been Stolen!
NEWS.COM -- A new utility makes it possible for stolen smartphones to start crying out for their owner. Kinda clever.

YAHOO.COM -- Some cool panda photos. (from Lori)

Back to the Moon
MSNBC.COM -- Plans to go back to the moon and the space shuttle's replacement in this article.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Speaking My Language

I overheard this at lunch the other day. I couldn't help overhearing it because the people talking were sitting right next to me. But, I think it's a story I can share.

The woman telling the story had gone to the doctor's office after lunch the day before. She saw a black woman sitting in the waiting room looking very dejected and upset. While she waited, she heard the receptionist on the phone with someone, also getting upset. She was able to overhear enough to learn that the receptionist was trying to find out why a translator hadn't shown up who had promised to be there hours earlier. And that the woman who was sitting there had been sitting there for four hours.

The woman was called to see a doctor and while sitting in the examination room, she could hear that the woman had gone to the counter and was complaining in broken English that she was being ignored because she was South African, not American. The receptionist was trying to tell her that wasn't the case, but it wasn't getting through.

The woman telling the story pulled out her cell phone and called back to her office to talk to a colleague, to ask him if he could maybe translate. Well, he tells her that he's Ethiopian, not South African and that there are over 100 languages on the continent of Africa, but if she could find out what language the woman spoke, he might know someone in the office who spoke it.

She agreed, hung up and talked to the receptionist who went back to the waiting area and then came back with a word on a slip of paper. I can't remember the name now, but she called the colleague back and he started laughing when she told him the language.

It turns out that it had been the language he learned growing up. So she handed the cell phone to the receptionist and she and the woman in the waiting room passed it back and forth, the colleague acting as the translator.

But if that's where the story ended, it'd be a nice little story.

It turns out this colleague had been talking to his wife an hour earlier, lamenting that he never had a chance to speak in the language he grew up using. He wondered if he would even still remember it if he had the chance to use it. His wife said she'd pray for him.

Now, the colleague and his wife are going to go visit the woman from the doctor's office and it may even be an opportunity to witness to her.

I thought that was a pretty cool story to overhear.