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Who has time for a journal? Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "zipperbear" journal:

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July 8th, 2008
12:05 pm


Bath Hat
At the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel this weekend, the toiletries had pretentious names. The "hair wash" was shampoo, the "boot buffer" was the shoe-shine sponge, and the "bath hat" was the shower cap. That made me think of ass-hat, a term for someone with their head up their butt (i.e., wearing their ass as a hat).

For those who are sufficiently circumflexible, "hat" also means symbols with diacritical marks (like "Â"), as used for normalized vectors:
A unit vector is often denoted by a lowercase letter with a superscribed caret or "hat", like this: {\hat{\imath}} (pronounced "i-hat").

I assume a bath hat is what you need if you've got your head up your tub:

As always, I enjoyed seeing everyone. There were only minor weather-related delays for us flying home. Other folks at the airport were delayed even longer, so we got a chance for a bit more chatting.

Oh, and I'm pleased to see a growing assortment of electrical outlets and USB charging stations in the airports.

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June 6th, 2008
12:56 pm


Review of Beowulf (not the movie)
Thursday night I saw Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage. It was inventive and artsy in staging. In particular, there was quite a bit of microphone choreography, which was sometimes clever, but sometimes seemed forced.

The music was an interesting assortment of operatic and modern, including some poetic lyrics reminiscent of the traditional epic, and the story touched on existential philosophy, too. The eye candy was only OK, about on par with the Berkeley audience.

Overall, it was interesting, but not everyone would like it.

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May 28th, 2008
05:28 pm


NSFW? What were they thinking?
I went to a presentation about using FedEx in our purchasing system. They handed out containers of cute little paper clips, shaped like airplanes. How clever! How darling! And how phallic they look when they're actually being used!

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April 15th, 2008
01:05 pm


Diet of Worms?
I gave some weight-loss advice here: http://daved010.livejournal.com/208311.html?thread=927671#t927671
The whole comment-thread is here: http://daved010.livejournal.com/208311.html

It's mostly just a bunch of common sense, but we all know that common sense is never common, and rarely scented.

I was thin as long as I can remember, and I never seemed to gain weight until after I was 30 years old. I was 120 pounds, and 5ft8, just a bit thinner than the low end on the ideal weight charts. Then the pot-belly started forming. By 40, I hit 135 pounds, and I needed bigger pants and a bigger belt. So I started watching what I was eating, and I'm staying around 125. A few weeks ago, I finally got down to 120, so my diet goal has officially been reached, even though that one weighing was probably low due to dehydration.

I seem to be following the same pattern as my dad. He wasn't able to bulk up for playing football when he was young. After age 30, he started putting on weight, and now he has to watch what he eats.

The ideal weight charts are based on mortality rate. Small people tend to live longer (like the stereotypical "little old ladies"). But many illnesses cause sudden weight loss, which can be fatal in people who have no spare weight to lose. For me, 125 pounds seems to work.

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March 30th, 2008
04:23 pm


After a pleasant and relaxing weekend of fun, dancing in the Poconos at the Independence Squares Fly-In, I'm stuck in Allentown because of weather conditions in Chicago:
Read more...Collapse )

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March 23rd, 2008
07:26 pm


Graphical song meme
All the cool kids are posting these, so here's mine:

(no title)

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October 4th, 2007
08:43 pm


"Seven Interests" meme
In a friends-only posting, allanh did a Seven Interests meme:
If you comment on this post, I will choose seven interests from your profile and you will explain what they mean and why you are interested in them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so that others can play along.

Since I've got only 2 interests (gardening and square dancing) listed in my profile, I replied: "Oh dear. I think I'll be quite a challenge for you. You might have to resort to people instead of interests."

So here's the seven things he picked:


What's there to say? My first copy of Bear Magazine was sent to me by someone else. I've still never been to the Lone Star (and bars are out of my comfort zone, so I'm too shy to go by myself).

Clark Baker

Hey! I don't think he's on my Friends list. Is he even on LJ? He's an interesting person, an entertaining caller (if you like that sort of thing), and one of the nerdiest people I know.

He has a very clear technical approach to dancing. I don't always agree with his opinions (really, the word "Women" is avoided in square dancing, because it's hard to hear, and nobody uses it except Clark and his circle).


One of the first square dancers I ever recognized outside of a dance. I think he was dropping off flyers at The Dance Store for the Quads Hoedown, as I was just starting my addiction to square dance dictionaries. Some people seem limp-wristed, but he always looked hipless, as if his spine were balanced alternately on one leg or the other, with no pelvis. That's not the same as being tragically un-hip. It was to be a couple more years before I ever danced at any Quads event, but I was often mistaken for a Stanford Quad, because I was college-age.

I like to say I've "slept" with him, technically, since we shared a room at Extrav. We share a liking for redheads. I somehow missed inviting him to my 21st birthday party, so he's the reason I had a 2nd annual 21st birthday party. I can't remember if he even attended (all those 21st birthdays run together), but I remember flirting with Bill, whom I soon started dating. Bill and Frank apparently had been housemates successfully before, so going in together to buy a house seemed like a good idea.

That's why Frank's house was the first place I ever lived other than with my parents, when I moved in with Bill. I've also never been single since. I should ask Bill what the copy of Bear Magazine meant; we weren't speaking at the time.

There's also a strange feeling, having formerly lived in a house, and visiting it again. I think of the way vampires can't enter a house without being invited in by a resident. When do I stop being able to invite vampires in? Could I ever? I never registered to vote there, but I wish I had a copy of San Mateo County's 1988 Measure A (which is too old to be readily web-available). In the news, embattled SF Supervisor Ed Jew might really be a resident of San Mateo County -- all he needs is a vampire, and he could prove his residency.


I'm not sure, but I think I'm responsible for the name. I'm the one who was bringing OtterPops to ECR. If you pack them in the styrofoam 6-packs that isopropanol is shipped in, and freeze the whole thing, along with cans of salt-water, then wrap everything in more insulation, it's possible to keep them frozen all day in the trunk of a car, along with an ice-chest of soft drinks, so they're nicely slushy by evening.

Men With Long Hair

What's there to say? It's the natural state of things (along with facial hair). Why waste time and money with razors and barbers?

Square Dancing Guru

Addiction to square dance dictionaries -- reading Burleson's Encyclopedia with the late movies until dawn -- dancing C-4 at the age of 22, when I was already getting gray hair!

The PACE newsletter needed articles, so I offered to write an "advice" column, with a bit of humor. Later, the Internet provided a new forum. Really, there are no new questions, just new dancers since 1996 who haven't Googled with the correct phrase.

The lucky tummy-rubs are just a convenient perk.


Really, there are no new questions, just new zippers since 2002 who don't bear up to Googling.

I need to add links to zbear20 (who I finally met, at allanh's housewarming) and zzbear.

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January 4th, 2007
10:51 pm


Without policital cynicism, would I still be a blogger?
The tour of Costa Rica was fun, but the trip back on Friday was bad. Our flight to DFW was diverted by bad weather to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the plane sat on the ground for 5 hours, then back to DFW. By the time we made it through customs (including secondary inspection for carrying food), it was nearly midnight, and all connecting flights had either taken off or been cancelled. The AA rep announced that vouchers for available hotel rooms nearby had already been exhausted.

I called David Richey, thinking it was 10pm for him in California, so he could check Hotwire for someplace with available rooms (although it was 1am for him in Vermont). I called 3 places he found, and finally the 3rd one answered, and they had plenty of rooms, 30 minutes away. A rental car for $50 until Sunday morning sounded better and more flexible than a 30-minute taxi ride. When we arrived in the car-rental line, the agent announced that 1-way rentals to nearby states were not available, and people behind us asked about San Diego, to which the answer was "Maybe" -- I hope things worked our OK for them, because highway closures to Albuquerque were mentioned in the newspaper.

On our way to find the hotel in Dallas, we passed a big clump of other hotels, so we tried the Best Western, which had a fine room for $56, breakfast included. I hadn't brought a cell-phone charger, but my phone had been off most of the time, since I didn't have service in Costa Rica anyway; I didn't trust the battery when it claimed to be fully charged. After 20 minutes on hold (with the hotel room phone), American offered to fly us to Sacramento on Monday, January 1, but we could be wait-listed for San Francisco.

The next morning, we were confirmed on an evening flight to SFO, so we visited a public library, where we used our 1-hour limit on the internet to check email, then the art museum and the sculpture center in Dallas (but we didn't opt for the 45-minute wait to get into the Van Gogh exhibit). After lunch, we headed to the AmericanAirlines C.R. Smith Museum, but it was closed until January 3. Instead, we visited the historic Stockyards district in Fort Worth; I don't ever need to go back (although they did have quaint shops selling western wear, and later, when the rental car shuttle bus showed a promotional video of Ft. Worth, I recognized the signs for several nightclubs and steakhouses).

At the airport, everything was late by an hour or two, and we tried for stand-by on 2 flights to SJC. I think we were 17 and 18 out of 30-some on the stand-by list for the first SJC flight. On the next one, we started at 2 and 3 out of about 20, and the gate agent said it looked like 3 people had either already missed their incoming connecting flight or were on flights that wouldn't arrive before our boarding time. Unfortunately, our SFO flight was about 20 minutes before the SJC flight, so we had to choose a bird-in-the-hand vs. 2 stand-by. Then the agent told us that people with higher priority had joined the list, so we hurried to the SFO flight, which was otherwise unremarkable.

Our bags were checked to San Jose. At SFO baggage claim, we had to wait for bags to finish arriving before they'd take our information. Then, after midnight, we caught a shuttle van home to Milpitas, and were in bed by 2am. At 9:30 the next morning (Sunday), the baggage delivery service called to say the bags would arrive between 12 and 4 (but actual arrival time was 10:30am), so we started doing laundry.

On my way down the 2 steps into the garage, my knee started hurting. It didn't hurt to walk, but I couldn't bend it and bear weight. I tried to favor it, and I took ibuprofen to fight inflammation, but by Monday night it seemed to be getting worse, and I couldn't drive comfortably. I called Kaiser's advice nurse, then we visited the emergency room (since the urgent care was closed for the holiday). After a $50 co-pay, I got 2 x-rays (which don't show soft tissue, like a torn meniscus or an inflamed tendon) and an ace bandage, with instructions to take ibuprofen and come back if it's not better in 5 days. The bandage does seem to help (since I can't bend the knee accidentally). With any luck, these $50-ish things only come in threes, and we'll be safe for a while.

President Ford's death meant an extra day of delay in postal service, so we got 17 days worth of mail on Wednesday. When rfrench complains that the financial markets were closed for 4 days, I can't help wondering who it helps. I'm cynical; I think the banks and credit-card companies would love to have an unplanned day without mail delivery, because some payments will be late, and they can collect late-payment fees.

Similarly, I'm bothered by the huge bond measures that were passed by California voters in November. Bonds are a way to convert taxpayer money into interest payments for investors in the bond market. What better way to boost Big Business and wealthy investors at the expense of the average citizen?

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December 9th, 2006
01:14 pm


My early years in Silicon Valley
I was inspired indirectly by http://allanh.livejournal.com/347206.html to post this story (and also some comments about "central California").

When my family moved to California in 1968, my dad had 2 job offers, one at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, and one at IBM in San Jose. An out-of-date dictionary had entries like these, but with smaller populations:

city W California WNW of San Jose population 131,760

city W California SSE of San Francisco population 894,943

(I checked the 1948 New Century Dictionary. It has San Jose in southeastern central Calif., pop. 68,000, and Santa Clara valley, northern Calif., both noted for prunes, and San Francisco in west central Calif., population with suburbs about 1.4 million.)

My parents met in high school in Prairie du Chien, WI (population now: 6,018), and they knew the small-town inconveniences, like only one movie theater, and not many grocery stores, although nowadays with cineplexes it's not so bad: http://movies.yahoo.com/showtimes/showtimes?z=53821

San Jose sounded like a better-sized city, and IBM had a good reputation. The housing developments near IBM were so new that there weren't many stores or schools yet, so we always lived in or near Campbell, and in 1971, while their friends expected a drop in home prices ("$30,000, for a used house?") and mortgage rates ("6%? Outrageous!"), my folks bought a nice 1950's house on a street with full-grown trees (but they almost bought a house in that_dang_otter's area). As it turns out, the man next door to us worked at Lockheed, so Sunnyvale and San Jose weren't far apart at all!

Local maps showed the future Hwy 85 running to IBM, but it wasn't built until the early 1990's, just in time for my dad to take IBM's early-retirement incentives.

Also of note, the neighbors diagonally across the street were Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan's brother and mother, but I don't think Amy ever lived there.

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July 6th, 2006
12:00 pm


Following up on conversations in Anaheim (after a comment thread ranting about Gee Whiz):

Chatting with Barry and Pam/canseefour, etc., and the temptation to work Cross on a Run Away: My C-4 singing call "Only You" lyrics are now on the web. The combination "The K and Run Away" can be replaced with "and then Cross Run Away" (since they are equivalent), but I like the sound of "The K" better. It also gives people more rope, on a silver platter. "The K" is strongly associated with "Cross" in most people's minds, but not usually because of Run Away.

Also, my C-1 singing call figures (c.1986) that I mentioned to someone (but can't remember who) are on the web:

Firefox seems to be weird about sometimes (for a URL pasted into the address bar? XP but not Win2K?) wanting to download .txt files and open them with Notepad as an external application. On the other hand, I accidentally discovered that the HTTP server will look for the .txt file and send it as text/plain if the URL has no extension, and Firefox seems happy to display it:

A quick Google search (html .txt "no extension") reveals bloggers using a similar trick, changing the server default to text/html in order to get a shorter and cooler-looking URL.

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