Saturday, November 26, 2005

Well, we're home. Considering that it took me thirteen years to write a poem about a tree I spotted from the highway, I can't imagine how long it'll take me to digest neighborhood after neighborhood of houses simply scraped away into rubble. I imagine it'd be a bizarre mashup of Sisyphus and Ozymandias, but how do you not end up with an overblown block of pure cheese?

In the meantime, I'm feeling extraordinarily wealthy. Not because I have a house that's standing and a roof that does it's job, or even because of our new hand-me-down reciprocating saw. Nope. I'm feeling wealthy because this week was a reminder of how much I have to give, even if it's just the gift of holding a post while somebody else pours concrete around it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mostly we've been working on rebuilding Christie's parents' deck, and there's not much to tell about that, just hitting things with hammers, driving screws, and lifting heavy things. I've only been down here a few times before, so it's not much of a blow to me seeing the windowless houses, broken trees, and, in some places, foundations scraped bare of house. The scale of it is so huge, that it kind of softens the blow. There's just too much to take in. But for Christie, this is home. We nearly got lost on the way into town because so many of the landmarks have moved or been destroyed. And nothing says "hurricane" like see a house sitting almost in the street, and the address spraypainted on the side of it. Not the address where it's sitting now, mind you, but the place a quarter mile off where it used to belong.

Today, though, we put the tools away and took a drive with Christie's folks. The pictures are up on Flickr

Friday, November 18, 2005

Updates may be a bit sporadic next week, and Christie and I are headed south, lured by the prospect of oyster po'boys, a rented post-hole digger, and a big pile of lumber just waiting to be turned into sawdust and a deck (to replace the one which Katrina so rudely smashed). While we're down there, I'm hoping that a year of marriage is long enough for me to learn the secret of my mother-in-law's legendary stuffing and flaky pie crust.

I'm taking the camera and laptop, and hope to blog the trip, but telecommunications in that part of the world are still kind of sketchy, so there are no guarantees.
Popular Science has an amazing story about a kid's toy, colored bubbles, that has created an entirely new form of dye chemistry. Imagine a dye that provides a rich, vibrant color, but fades to transparency with friction or exposure to heat, light, or water.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mushy Stuff
Last month, I read Moreena's exigesis of her love for her husband and thought "I oughta write something like that", but it just sat there, at the top of my "to write" list, until I read this dating disclaimer from Profgrrrrl, at which point something clicked.

Here's the scene: Christie and I are down in Louisiana, her visiting her folks, me meeting them for the first time. Not only was I meeting her parents, but this was a 4-day out of town trip, which would make it the longest continuous stretch of time we'd spent in one another's presence. Also, our first plane flight together, which is no big deal for me, but Christie doesn't like to fly, nor does she like to show vulnerability, so it was sort of a big deal for her. The four of us are just returning to the house after, well, some thing or another. Might have been dinner, might have been a trip into New Orleans, might have been a trip to Wal-Mart. Could have been anything.

Anway, between the driveway and the front door, Christie's mom says, "Well, Mike, I'm glad to hear you can carry a tune. None of us can, and it'll do the bloodline good."

A little curtain opens in my head, and it's not about the implications Mary just made about our reproductive intentions. I was whistling. And I just skipped up the front steps.

This was at a time in my life when I spent an annoying amount of time Hamletting around the house, bemoaning, well, whatever, and dithering about my future. What did it mean? where was I going? Would I ever be happy again? And here I was, whistling and skipping. It would seem that, when I wasn't messing things up by thinking about it, I was actually happy. Huh.

And that was the beginning of my figuring out, from the outside in, of course, that I was in love with Christie.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ran across a reference to Forensic Linguistics: An Introduction to Language in the Justice System today, and was very disappointed to find that it is a sociolinguistic exploration of the use of language in legal environments, and not filled with CSI-like moments where the geeky but sexy Forensic Linguist holds up a cast-iron skillet in court and asks the defendant, "And what do you call this?"
I can't imagine too many of my regular readers will find this too useful, but for the Googlers out there, here's a word of mouth recommendation:

Ever since Christie and I moved, the cellphone reception at the new house has sucked. So we got new phones. For a whole bunch of reasons, we wanted clamshell phones. The guy at the Cingular store went over the phones with us and told us which ones had a good reputation for reception, and we ended up with Nokia 6102s. Not that we care, but it's a camera phone. Phone dude said we could buy a data cable to get the pictures from the phone to a PC without paying the networking charges, but the 6102 has an infrared port, and my Axim handheld has an infrared port, so why use a cable?

I was able to download pictures from the phone to my Axim 5 with no problem, but I couldn't upload anything from the Axim to my phone. A little quality time with Google told me that this is a "known issue". A little more Googling led me to Conduits' Peacemaker, a nifty little application for my handheld that gets it to play nicely with pretty much anything with an IR port. There's a freeware version that lets you upload contacts, but you'll need the pro version to upload images and such. It's about $15, but there's a 30-day free trial period.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

15 percent of Americans believe the Sun goes around the Earth.

24% believe aliens have visited earth.

28% believe in astrology.

33 percent believe in qhosts.

35 percent believe Bush is doing a good job.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

For a short video with a major "holy shit!" moment, check out Crab vs. Pipe. Basically, an undersea robot is cutting a 3mm slit in a pipe at 6000 ft below sea level when a crab comes along and gets sucked through the slit by the pressure.