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February 28, 2004

Twenty-four hours until the Oscars!

This is your last chance to sign up for the Oscar Contest, or to edit your predictions if you've already signed up. The ballots will close when the Oscar ceremony starts, at 8PM EST.

By the way, I saw "Mystic River" a few days ago, bringing my total to ten of the nominated movies seen. That has to be a personal record, I'm embarassed to say.

February 24, 2004

Just Checking?

I was not allowed to withdraw money from my own checking account today using what I though was the reasonable approach of handing a completed withdrawal slip to a teller. "This is from a checking account?," she asked. Humph. The teller was very friendly and helpful: she fetched and largely completed a bank check to cash in the same amount, and I was able to leave with the money I had requested. The ATM lets me withdraw from checking, though ... what gives?

Various Notes

Congratulations Mama Yeti and Papa Yeti on your new Baby Yeti!


No further information from the bank yet. And so I wait.


I did manage to purchase a shredder, thereby significantly increasing identity security (provided I run stuff through the thing).


I saw "American Splendor" yesterday, which was remarkable and fun. I have now seen more of the current Oscar-nominated movies in the last two weeks than in all of the preceding period.


There are twelve people participating in this year's Oscar Contest (do we call this the 2003 Oscar Contest or the 2004 Oscar Contest?). Why not join them? You've got five days left to make your predictions!

Update: there's been a popularity spike! Six more people have signed up in the last seven hours. Welcome, all!

On the Varieties of Commuting Experience

Why is it that the same people pushing, shoving, jostling for position, and looking for an edge at the bottom of the staircase after getting off the train all politely hand the open door to those behind them? Myself included.

February 21, 2004

Home Again (another fun meetup, another strange return)

I just got back from a Metafilter NYC Meetup. I'm sure the party is still raging on, but I left early because it's going to be a busy weekend. I only took a few digital photos this time because my perspective on the gathering didn't change from my seat at the edge of the crowd. If they bear sharing I'll post them here shortly (they don't, really, but for those who weren't there...). There were lots of other cameras and I look forward to seeing all the pictures myself! I had a great time talking with sara, troutfishing, nicwolff, muckster, jonmc, and languagehat. The rest of you were sitting too far away at the big table; I was the guy on the other side of the little table.

The last time I went to one of these events (a year ago) I stayed so late that I missed all possible direct trains and buses home and had to settle for getting as far as I could on another train and coughing up exorbitant cab fare for the remainder of the trip. That was rough. This time I left when the group moved on from Veselka and took a cab to the train station with enough time to spare that even the exodus from a Knicks game didn't keep me from my train.

When I got home, however, I found a message waiting from my bank requesting a prompt return call. It turns out that someone may be running up charges on a card of mine. Amidst the legitimate charges were three or four that I did not recognize. I don't want to cause troble for honest merchants if I've just forgotten a purchase (it is, after all, the end of a long day) but I also don't want to get hit with the big fraudulent charge that could be next. My liability is zero, but I could wait a while to get my money back while the bank investigates.

SOooo ... I've asked the bank to freeze the card for a while until more information comes through about the mystery charges. If they're all accounted for then I keep the card, otherwise I replace it. And from now on I'm never throwing out any papers or receipts that haven't been thoroughly shredded. Oh, DAMN IT! How am I going to buy a shredder?

And if someone out there is trying to spend my money, may centipedes breed in your sinuses!

Update: My Veselka Meetup pictures are posted. All three of them!

February 19, 2004

Oscar Contest Reminder - Ten Days Left!

The Oscars will be awarded a week from Sunday, so sign up and make your predictions! Tell your friends, everyone's invited!

I attended screenings of nominated documentary "Balseleros" and "My Architect" this week, bringing my total number of nominees seen to a rather paltry seven. How many of the films have you seen?

Update: I saw "Capturing the Friedmans" today (Friday), bringing me to a slightly less paltry eight.

February 18, 2004

Possible Viking Boat Found in England

Looks like some of my Norwegian ancestors may have loaned a longboat to some of my English ancestors. Archaeologists believe that a cluster of Viking artifacts recently found by amateurs in northeast England may be associated with a boat burial, which would represent the first Viking vessel found in England.

February 17, 2004

The Multiple Intelligence Test

I don't usually go in for things like this, but I ran across the Multiple Intelligence Test at anything but ordinary and I decided to give it a try. If you take the test, post a comment with your scores! Mine follow below:

Linguistic: 8
Logical-Mathematical: 6
Spatial: 7
Bodily-Kinesthetic: 3
Musical: 11
Interpersonal: 5
Intrapersonal: 6

My highest score was:

Musical - the ability to understand and develop musical technique, to respond emotionally to music and to work together to use music to meet the needs of others, to interpret musical forms and ideas, and to create imaginative and expressive performances and compositions. Possible vocations that use the musical intelligence include technician, music teacher, instrument maker, choral, band, and orchestral performer or conductor, music critic, aficionado, music collector, composer, conductor, and individual or small group performer.

Certainly such a simple test is not going to produce a particularly accurate assessment, let alone keenly perceptive insights into one's soul. I found myself second-guessing some of the questions, imagining that my answers would increase one measure only at the expense of another. Nonetheless I found a number of the questions pretty interesting, and worth some future thought. The test makers have more to offer on the concept of multiple intelligences.

I'm very curious what other people think!

Nothing can stop me now—except microscopic germs

This little article will get you washing your hands. Also your shower curtain. University of Colorado Boulder scientist Normal P. Pace identifies everyday situations in which we drag our hands through uncounted billions of little creatures. Time to freak out? Or time to celebrate our microbial brethren? Just don't mention [shudder] the escalator. Please.

Post title borrowed from "$pringfield" (The Simpsons, of course).

Giant Microbes found at Metafilter.

I've Got The Biggest Diamond In The World ... Wanna See It?

Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have come across a
diamond roughly a thousand miles in diameter. Unfortunately the inevitable crash in diamond prices will come after Valentine's Day. Also, the Big Rock is 50 light-years away from Earth.

Post title borrowed from "Belle of the Baaah" (Sheep in the Big City)

Via MonkeyFilter

February 08, 2004

The Oscar Contest Is Live!

Come one, come all, join in Songdog's Oscar Contest!

February 06, 2004

Uh-oh, Oscar

I sent Yahoo an inquiry about their Oscar challenge and was informed that they're not planning to do one at all this year. I'm seeking another forum; stay tuned!

Update: I have arrived at a solution.

February 04, 2004

At the Bagel Store

Two girls, about fourteen years old:

First Girl: Jackie's stalking me. He's the stalker, I'm the stalkee.
Second Girl: How does it feel to be the stalkee? I'm wondering how Kevin feels.