"Herman’s Head" Roll Call

One of our favorite games to play while watching movies or television is to try and name the actors in supporting roles, or at least where we might have seen them before.

Inevitably, every person that I say "I’ve seen them in something before," Angela will reply "they were on Herman’s Head. Herman’s Head was an early show on Fox (way back in 1991) in which Herman, a young professional, had four people in his brain that represented various base human emotions who would argue about all his decisions. Herman meets a girl and Lust and Sensitivity go at each other’s throats. When Herman has to be creative for a work project, Anxiety and Intellect duke it out. Well, other than Hank Azaria, most of the actors on the show have let a life of guest appearances on ER and Law & Order as well as minor supporting roles in films. That, and fullfilling Angela’s theory of Six Degree’s of Herman.

Happy Thanksgiving

Angela and I have my mother visiting us for a week this Thanksgiving. The three of us went out to the University of Richmond for the annual Turkey Trot 10k this morning. What a great way to kick off the holiday. U of R is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country and, as we will all agree, also one of the hilliest. However, it was cool and sunny and we all had a great time. We also were able to run the hills in time that are even worth posting on the internet:

  • Jason – 56:28
  • Angela – 1:20:00
  • Brenda – 1:32:34

What’s more, we even all finished feeling great. We stopped off at Starbucks for some celebratory coffee and snacks. Now, we’re going to enjoy sitting around the house and hang out in the back yard some before starting some dinner preparations.

Angela's Thanksgiving Menu

Angela’s menu this evening consists of a free-range Turkey, green beans, beer rolls, potatoes au gratin, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Note, that is supposed to be a turkey, as interpreted by Angela.


We all went to see the Christmas lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond’s Northside. The lights were really well done and there was a lot of variety to them; more than you might expect from just Christmas lights. I took a lot of photos, but sadly I still have a lot to learn about nighttime photography. However, you can see some of the better ones in a new photo-set I’ve added on Flickr.

Incidently, if you aren’t already doing so, you should try using the recently added feature in Flickr for ordering prints of photos. I was even able to pick them up at the Target just down the street within an hour of placing the order (although I think you can also have them mailed). The price is great and the quality is really quite good, too. For 15¢, it’s almost as cheap as printing them yourself and might even be less hassle.

2005 Fall TiVo Season

Another Fall is coming, and with it a slew of new shows on our TiVo.

Another Fall is upon us, and with it a slew of new shows on our TiVo. Many of them are me-too copies of last years success stories. I sat down on the sofa one night a few weeks ago to create some new Season Passes in the TiVo. The obvious intention here was to record some shows that I thought might be worth watching this year. Now, I’ve actually been hunting-and-pecking on this post for about two months now (since September), which explains why it’s so long. However, I figured there’s no point in breaking it up now.

Science Fiction

Angela and I recently got the first season of ABC’s Lost on DVD (see also ABC’s site).. I had downloaded the first part of the pilot episode over bit torrent in the Spring to check out what all the buzz had been about1. I was really impressed. It is a very stripped down and elegant suspense drama. While there are no overt sci-fi or horror elements, you get the feeling that aliens from another world, dinosaurs, or zombies are about to pop up from behind a tree at any moment. I highly recommend this DVD set for your next 24 hour obsess-o-thon. So far, the second season is not disappointment, either. In the same vein of The X-Files, one of my all-time favorites, for every answer you get, at least two new questions are raised. Maddeningly addictive stuff. So far, this season has been just as mysterious and fascinating.

This brings me to the fact that sci-fi is seeing some resurgence on television this season, with three (count ’em, three!) alien invasion shows: Threshold on CBS, Surface on NBC, and the subtlety named Invasion on ABC. I’ve set the TiVo to record the first two on their first-run time slots. Invasion is up against Law & Order on Wednesday nights, which is a pretty dumb move in my opinion. Who puts a 120-pound teenager up to fight the 500-pound gorilla of network cop-shows, even if the genre is different? Well, at least they (CBS) have the good sense to re-broadcast the show on the following Saturday evening (or at least they were for a while, and Sci-Fi Channel is re-broadcasting Surface, which is very cool).

Anyway, I was looking most forward to Threshold, which centers on a super-secret government team which was put together following a protocol for the event of an alien invasion. The author of the protocol, Dr. Molly Caffrey (played by Carla Gugino), is the commander of the Red Team. Very early in the show, we learn that the aliens mean us harm and it is up to the Red Team to stop them, but if only they new how. I was excited about Surface, if for no other reason than it has an ensemble cast that included Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent), Brent Spiner (Star Trek TNG‘s Data), Charles S. Dutton (Roc and Alien 3), among others. All things being equal, an ensemble cast lends itself to much richer and more complex plot lines and an nearly endless supply of sub-plots. Further, those are some damn fine actors. Of course, that all then depends on the writers. So far, after watching four or five episodes of Threshold, I’m not so impressed with the writing. The techno-babble jargon feels like just that; just a bunch of words that neither the writers nor actors seem to comprehend the meaning of (which was always my problem with Star Trek2). Also, the whole plot-line seems to have a less gritty feel than I would prefer for this sort of show. One reason for perhaps all of this is the fact that Brannon Braga, producer of the past few Star Trek incarnations, is the Threshold‘s producer (although he’s recently announced no more Trek for him, for now). This might explain why it has some of the feel of Deep Space Nine or Voyager, which aren’t a couple of my favorite shows. Lastly, while a two-hour series premiere was great, since then I can’t help but feel like that was setting up the formula for the rest of the episodes: aliens are loose, tune in each week as the cast captures the next one. That sort of thing may work for Law & Order or a sitcom, but not on a drama. The plot has been developing somewhat, but nothing that is really making me come back each week. I’ll keep my hopes up and keep watching, but I think this show’s got a short lifespan.

So far, Invasion is my pick of the three. The show is the story of a small Florida town in the Everglades recovering from a recent hurricane, which brought with it some mysterious lights. A large portion of the town’s citizens begin to act slightly differently after the storm. Focusing on the lives of the extended family of two ex-spouses, the show is full of mystery revealed in increments just large enough to believe and just small enough to make you want more. The show has a cast of mostly as-yet-not-known actors. The only actor I was at all familiar with was William Fichtner, who plays the stone-faced Sheriff. The characters here seem to have so much depth and personality. This, along with incredible cinematography, gives the show has a much more appealing and realistic tone when held up to the light and compared to Threshold. Also, I enjoy the slowly unfolding plot line here, as opposed to the dumped-in-your-lap-and-clean-up style of Invasion. Each episode leaves me more interested than the last and dying to know what’s going on.

Over at the once drama powerhouse that is NBC, there’s Surface, which is a story about a series of individuals who have each, in different ways, come to realize that the world’s oceans are now host to remarkably large sea creatures. The show focuses on a marine biologist from Carolina (Dr. Laura Daughtery, played by Lake Bell), a good ‘ol boy from Louisiana (Rich Connelly, played by Jay Ferguson), and a teenage boy in South Carolina (Miles Bennett, played by Carter Jenkins). These characters, along with the rest of the cast are excellent in the show. While Bell seems a little uncomfortable with the scientist role, she handles the jargon better than most on Threshold. The CG effects for the creatures are sometimes a little goofy and I get the impression that these things are really just Falkor from The Neverending Story. However, the writing is good, the acting engrossing, and the score by W.G. Snuffy Walden, who wrote the theme to The West Wing, is some of the best music on any television show. I’m sure to tune in each week for this show.

Smallville is hands down the best Superman on film (with add due respect to the late Christopher Reeve, it wasn’t his fault, it was the directors’). Shows why television is a great medium for comic book style serialization. The new film is going to have a rough time convincing people that Tom Welling and the rest of the cast shouldn’t have been in it. Plus, as Angela keeps reminding me, this show has some really good looking people on it.

Back for one last season is my generation’s favorite TV-girl kicking butt on Charmed. (Yes, me and many of my friends discovered that we really did like girls by watching Allysa Milano on television.) This season, so far, has been one of the best yet. Angela got me hooked on this show and as much as I hate to admit it, I really do enjoy it. Of course, sometimes the girly-ness gets so bad that I just have to grit my teeth and hope that they’re wearing tight clothing. Yes, the estrogen flows strong with this one. Oh, in case you had ever wondered, Angela’s Flickr I.D. is a play on "the Charmed Ones."

Comedy

On the funny-front, I’ve set messieur TiVaux to record The Office, both the original on BBC America (re-runs) and NBC’s Americanized version. I was impressed that the American show captured the humor in the English show. A lot of that credit goes to Steve Carrel (The Daily Show). He’s made a career of playing the foolish ass that Ricky Gervais wrote and acted so well himself. If you haven’t given the NBC version of this show a chance yet (possibly because of the whole Coupling debacle, you’re missing out. I’m also recording NBC’s My Name Is Earl, mainly because I’ve been willing to give Jason Lee a chance at entertaining me. So far, the show has been one of the better half-hour sitcoms I’ve seen. The premise is fairly unique and the aforementioned Jason Lee has really found a great character. The supporting and guest cast also help to make the show very funny and interesting. I was concerned that the show was going to be overly formulaic, but so far, each week has given some variety and also furthered an overall plot line (you know, that thing that most half-hour comedies lack).

In the same vein as my Lost discovery last Spring, I also decided I’d check out Fox’s Arrested Development. Okay, it being Fox and having seen some commercials that the network put together, I had very low expectations. However, I gave it a chance because people who’s stuff I read online seemed to hold it in high regard and usually that many award nominations don’t go to completely worthless shows. Well, I only wish I’d started watching the show sooner as it is one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen. I typically find situation comedy somewhere between uncomfortable and annoying, but this show strikes some sort of perfect cosmic balance. I really fall for shows where the characters are just a notch over-the-top; just too much "character" to be for real but not so ridiculous that it seems forced and Development really hits it on the nose. I’ve actually mainly been catching up on this show via Netflix and it is like some sort of sick addiction. A new disc comes in the mail and I can’t do anything for the rest of the day other than watch the show and every last deleted scene.

Sadly, as I’ve mentioned, the fate of Arrested Development never looked very bright. Just like so many other great shows, it seems to have never been given much of a chance (think Firefly here). It seems as though Fox as nixed the show during it’s third season. I can only say this: if this show were to be put over the internet, in DVD format only, or film, anything; I’d buy it. It’s just that good.

Drama

Will the new season bring about a new administration on The West Wing, possibly Republican? The show is starting to show some age by reliving some of the former season’s plot lines (what, crisis in the middle east, Donna and Josh have trouble communicating, people are running for president?). Of course, isn’t that just like life: same news, just different faces? Sometimes the plotlines that echo the headlines feel a little shoe-horned into this show, especially since Aaron Sorkin quit writing on the show. However, I will continue to watch as long as they keep bringing on the incredible acting talent and writing that has made this show the powerhouse it is. This season, particularly the two presidential candidates played by Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda, have lived up to previous seasons. The live debate episode left Angela and I wondering why couldn’t real politicians act like fake politicians?

Law & Order is still around, of course. The show has a great cast, as always, and manages to produce some really great episodes playing on the latest scandals and tragedies. However, as my mom pointed out, it would be nice if they would actually let the females play the lead on more episodes. I mean, after so many years, they’ve got the room to experiment. However, the most formulaic show on television seems to just not want to play with what works. Of course, that may be why Invasion now gets recorded on Wednesday nights while Law & Order gets to wait until Spring re-runs.

There is no one left on the show of the original cast on ER, and I’m still interested. Okay, so that mostly has to do with my long time crush on Maura Tierney (big Talk Radio fan, here) as well as my fan-boy attraction to Parminder Nagra. The new talent and the writing is still consistently some of the best drama around and the show is willing to take risks and mix things up sometimes (but not enough, in my opinion). However, Angela takes some real offense at how pharmacists get portrayed on the show, and I can’t really say I blame her. It seems like there some as-yet untapped subplot lines to be found there, but no, they seem to just get ordered around by the doctors and nurses. If they can have social workers guest for episodes, then why not a pharmacist character? In all seriousness, the writers really should look into having a real character in the hospital pharmacy or possibly a pharm student doing some rounds on the show. If you write for E.R. and are interested, please contact Angela. Seriously.

Numb3rs makes me have hope for America that a drama about math could be so popular. The shows back for it’s second season with a slightly different cast but also with some more developed plot arcs which run from show to show. I wouldn’t mind if they even showed some faliability in the hero mathematician at this point. After all, we’ve all figured you can do anything with math, so let the guy screw up for once.

Reality Television (?)

Jamie and Adam of the Mythbusters seriously make me consider changing careers. I’d love to get to hang out with them, at the very least, anyway. I have a hard time stomaching most reality television, but this show gets it right. There’s enough of their personalities in the show for that "good television" aspect, but also enough science and wacky inventions to entertain your inner geek. I was really glad to see the "build team" also getting some billing on the shows title sequence, as well. They’re also great television personalities.

The Daily Show is pretty much the only reason I haven’t fled to Canada since last November. Now, Steven Colbert has his own show, The Colbert Report, which is equally entertaining. However, I still love Stewards disarming sense of humor. He really seems like the guy in college that we all wanted to be friends with. Colbert is sometimes a little bit too much like Bill O’Reilly; that is to say, a total jack-ass.

Angela also has gotten hooked on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I have to say, given my total disgust with reality television, it actually does seem to be the best of the lot3. At least they promote health and personal responsibility.


  1. I downloaded the first part of the pilot of Lost several months back. I had read good things about the show and thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t want to see one of the episodes from the middle, knowing that the show built upon all the previous episodes. So, I got to downloading. Angela got into the show after a little bit and we decided we’d like to see some more, thus buying the DVD set of season one. I hope ABC understand that even though I broke the law, they and their advertisers are now making revenue they would have never gotten otherwise. []
  2. Okay, perhaps it’s unfair of me to single out Star Trek for this. However, they always seemed like the worst offender in all of science fiction. Have a problem with your warp drive? Well, just have the engineering staff build a quad-dimensional, time-shifting confabulation out of their communicators and some chewing gum. You’ll fix the flaky plot device with an equally goof-ball gimmick. The best science fiction doesn’t use techno-babble for plot lines. I mean how often interesting would a period film be if all they dealt with was technical []
  3. I also hear really good things about CBS’ The Amazing Race, but I’m really not that interesting in getting into the reality competition scene any deeper. These are gateway shows that lead to things like American Idol and The Real World. []

Mash-Up Culture

Some of the best works in human history have been remixes and mash-ups.

The BBC reports that George Clooney has admitted to stealing ideas from other directors. He told the crowd at a press conference that he had "stolen from every other director." This sounds less like admitting plagerism and more like being humble, which just seems odd coming from such a well paid star. Kind of like man-bites-dog.

A recent Wired Magazine article gave many different aspects of the mix and mash-up culture. However, is this anything new? The Wired piece touches on the idea that we (humans) have been doing this for a very long time. Didn’t Shakespeare (or whoever wrote those plays) write every major plot concievable? Aren’t all rock ballads simply G-C-D with goofy lyrics? Isn’t photography just reproduction of prior art, be it man made or other?

I haven’t seen director-Clooney’s second film, "Goodnight and Good Luck," which revolves around the hunt for communists in Hollywood. I couldn’t tell you if it is more like "The Godfather" or "Gigli." However, I argue it should get to stand on it’s own. Artists, engineers, scientists, and creators from all walks of life should give credit to sources of inspiration. This should in no way reduce great works of any kind. If we determined today that Michaelangelo had just seen a statue of some naked man and went home to work on his "David," would we think that statue is any less magnificent? What if the Declaration of Independance had been hashed out by other and just edited by Jefferson? It is still an amazing piece of both history and literature.

Be humble. Give credit. Share in the wealth. Most of all, don’t be afraid to create just because the influence or idea came from elsewhere. Some of the best works in human history have been remixes and mash-ups.

Here Are Some Of My Examples

Got any of your own? Post them in the comments

  • Pretty much anything John Williams scored for a movie (i.e. "The Imperial March" is just Mars: Bringer of War from Holst’s The Planets.)
  • Orsan Scott Card’s novel "Ender’s Game" is a mix-up of several sci-fi classics, such as Robert Heinlein’s "Starship Troopers".

iBook Insanity – Part II

Here’s what I have to say about the national attention, though, as well as the blog coverage I’ve read so far.

[You can read Part I here]

super_structure on NBC 12

super_structure featured on the local NBC affiliate, for about 1 second.

A reporter from the local NBC affiliate contacted me via e-mail Wednesday afternoon inquiring about information on "all the media interest and hype about the ibook madness." I returned her call, but since she was in route to the studio, we weren’t able to talk at the time. Anyway, she didn’t call back before the story aired on the eleven o’clock news, so my internet fame is limited to brief flash of super_structure on the air. Here’s what I have to say about the national attention, though, as well as the blog coverage I’ve read so far.

Media

I don’t want to write any sort of broad sweeping indictment of the media, be it mainstream, alternative, or blogging. However, my major issue with the story here is that the overall picture of armageddon for some cheap laptops is a bit overdone.

There was a roughly 5-10 minute period Tuesday morning of people getting trampled. Folks acted like animals with a insufficient food supply when lined up at the gate. Of course the problem with just describing the trampling implies how greedy everyone must be; that they’d run over little old men and baby strollers. However, if you have some 5,000 people close behind you and pushing (who cannot see them under you), you’re going forward whether you like it or not. I’m not going to judge people in that crowd because as I’ve said previously, it was all over with before I got to the gate. I just walked in amongst the slowly moving cars while talking to Angela on my phone in order to find her in line (first crepe-myrtle on the left, by the way). All I ever saw was the photos and videos, just like most of the country saw. However, I can say this, I never saw a riot. I didn’t see any violent mobs nor did I see much pandemonium (although I would admit 5 minutes of trampling is far too much mayhem for one day). I didn’t see any stampedes, either. Some headlines actually implied that all 5,500 people present were involved in this stampede. I can only hope that people read a little further to discern the truth. It seems the idea of the story is far better than the story itself.

What isn’t being explained in any way that I can surmise from the news is that there was a line prior to 7:00 outside the gates. When these people saw others rushing in from outside that line, they surged forward. Can you imagine waiting in a line for up to six hours, only to see someone just charge ahead of you? Most people (including those in blog posts who have been pretty quick to judge everyone as uneducated and poor) would be upset and try and get up there, too. People should get a little background on why the trampling occurred, and also realize that it was the beginning and the end of the mayhem of the day. This line outside was just the line to get inside to form another line. People up front realized this and started running, some with no regard for those around them as it turned out. [I want to be clear that I didn’t see this in person, but I have enough accounts of what did happen that I’m pretty confident what I’m telling you is accurate.]

Now, how did a few minutes of mayhem followed by hours of standing in the sun become a national story about (but not limited to) beatings with portable furniture, urinating on one’s self, riots, pandemonium, driving over pedestrians, frenzy, and so on? Well, other than reports who own thesauruses (bedlam was my favorite), it all seemed to start with either the AP story which used the word "riot" or the News Channel 12 video, in which Aaron Gilchrist and TaRhonda Thomas both agreed this was a "riot." Now, I’ve never been in a riot before, but having seen some on the news before, I’m pretty sure this was not a riot. Yeah, people were upset, but I sure didn’t see any of them rioting. You generally don’t riot while sitting on one of those cheap canvas folding chairs from Dicks nor while talking on a cell phone with a friend. It’s bad rioting form. People don’t sell Pepsi from a push cart for $2 a bottle during riots. That’s just not safe. Further, you don’t have the SWAT team stand several hundred feat away under the shade of some large trees during a riot. You get them in there if it is a riot.

What I did see inside the gate was a large crowd of confused and angry citizens who would like to have known more about what to do and what was going on than what they were told. Things got better when more officers showed up simply because there was more crowd control. More officers could speak to smaller portions of the crowd and get them to respond. I’m no expert in crowds or mob sociology (if there even is such a thing), but I know that no one should ever expect over 5,000 people standing in a parking lot to just figure out to form two nice lines. I’m not knocking the Henrico County Police Department, as they did a reasonably good job once the cop:citizen ratio increased over 0.001. To their credit, some unnamed sources in the news media have leaked that the HCPD warned the school officials the five off-duty cops they had hired would be no where enough for an event this size, and that’s assuming they were banking on only 1,000 people.

Henrico County

Back to that SWAT team comment, I also didn’t see police in riot gear until we were leaving the RIR. There were roughly 20 police cruisers and a SWAT team back behind the set of buildings where the line was formed (again, the line inside the gate, for the laptops). There were perhaps 12 officers and several fire and emergency crew when we were in line. Prior to 7:00, there were reported to be 5 off-duty officers on hand (we saw three directing traffic, not pedestrians). Henrico county officials have since stated they wouldn’t have done anything differently. How is it that they determined they needed the SWAT team and roughly 5x the number of cops for half as much crowd as had been present at 7:00 am, and then twice as many officers inside the gate as for the line outside? [Again, I’m no expert in crowd control] Does it make sense to keep increasing the level of force up to small army for a dwindling and tiring crowd? Perhaps the crowd might get desperate at the end when the supply was gone (as was suggested in a news report), but the one thing that pretty much everyone did know was that there were only 1,000 laptops. How to go about getting in line for them seemed to be the question of the morning; one that no one was around to answer.

Further, if the county didn’t want people coming in during the night to line up, they should have had the police or some security there to prevent it. They should have had staff or police on hand to walk the lines once formed (both the one outside the gate and the one inside). Barriers should have been erected for lines prior to having the public there, not 15 minutes before the laptops were to go on sale and nearly two hours after everyone was already in line. While we all have responsibility to act as decent citizens, we also entrust enforcing security to our officials, both elected and hired officers. The people involved in the trampling certainly are guilty of reckless, if not entirely illegal, behavior. But it is the counties job to make sure that is enforced.

The Story

There are so many things to critique in this story:

  • Why $50 when obviously they sell for more online? They county states it was to sell them to people who otherwise couldn’t afford one.
  • Why not donate these if there’s not much money to be made? I’ve read second-hand the $50 was to go towards the maintenance of the remaining iBooks at the middle- and grade-school levels.
  • Why not use a lottery or numbered tickets? To me, this question has not been answered and these options, or similar options, would have been allowed under the county ordinance for surplus sales. Even if the county didn’t think they were, since they were already changing the laws to their liking, why not write it in?
  • Why ever switch to Dell laptops in the first place? I can only imagine this had to do with money. There are some arguments, however flawed I may find them, that parents were concerned their kids weren’t learning the more common O.S. they might encounter more in the future. Personally, since robots will likely take over in the next decade, that argument will be moot.

I could go on and on, but the fact is, the story is over. The legend begins. After another week, we will all be able to appreciate those t-shirts that felt a little bit like war profiteering on Tuesday. This was just a case of citizens behaving poorly and the local government planning poorly for it. No one was seriously hurt and 1,000 lucky people got a really good deal on a laptop. As for me, all I got was less than one second of fame. Barely enough time for me to recognize my own masthead.

Overlooked

This site is all about branching out and reaching other people. Friends, family, strangers who just happen to share my name.

I got this e-mail Friday, but unfortunately, it was dumped into my junk mail. Damn filters! It was from my own namesake. If I can’t trust a guy named Jason Coleman, who the heck can I trust?

Hey, I am the Jason Coleman at Jason Coleman.info. I was sort of offended that there was no information explaining me on your blog. I have to be the most interesting out of them all :) . I was in the Peace Corps in Gabon for 2 1/2 years, lived in Central America for 4 months, lived in Namibia Southern Africa for 7 months and now work for Peace Corps HQ in Washington DC. I actually have a blog at www.jasoncoleman.info/blog check it out if ya want

To Jason:

That is so cool. I agree, you are in the running for the most interesting Jason Coleman. My wife says I still get her vote, though. However, I can say that since you are the only Jason Coleman who has taken the time to e-mail me about that page (including the ones Google turned up to include on there), you get moved to the top of the list! Just imagine all the hits your blog will be getting now. You’d better go ahead and start paying for the extra bandwidth, becuase you’re going to need it, my friend.

Jason Coleman.net (super_structure)

This site is all about branching out and reaching other people. Friends, family, strangers who just happen to share my name. I’m glad that some folks , in their spare time sitting at work are stumbling their way across here while autogoogling. It brings a warm, fuzzy feeling to my heart. JasonColeman.info, thanks for the e-mail. I’m just a couple hours south, if there’s anything you need. Like, say an I.D. with your name and a less flattering photo. I’m there for you, man.

Our First Apple

Actually, I grew up on Mac’s. That’s right, my family actually owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Angela just recently got an iBook and they’ve changes a bit since then.

Actually, I grew up on Mac’s. That’s right, my family actually owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Angela just recently got an iBook and they’ve changed a bit since then. They’re still loads of fun to use, although I’m learning some of the kinks. I know, everybody says they’re so easy, how can anyone be confused. Well, there’s still loads to learn. Angela sure is happy, though.

One order of business, and I’m petitioning help here, is to get a new printer than will play well with all our silicon friends. I am having a real pain of a time getting either our HP Deskjet or Canon inkjet (both on network print servers) to work.

I have to say that I’m very pleased with her little computer. Almost as much as she is. I know that I’ll be even happier the next time we get on an airplane and get our own in-flight movie on the iBook. Sure beats lugging her old Dell Laptop around, and I do mean lugging.

Note: I’d really like to say thanks to Jason J. for putting in some hours already, helping us setup the iBook and porting over some of Angela’s stuff. He’s had some really good tips and has been very patient. I’d also like to thank Chris W. in advance. He’s visting next weekend, and though he doesn’t know it yet, is going to be helping a whole lot…

MathML Sucks

I’ve been trying all damn day to get anything (anything!) to render in Mozilla that I’ve written in MathML. Nothing.

I’ve been trying all damn day to get anything (anything!) to render in Mozilla that I’ve written in MathML. Nothing. Even if I copy their stupid example page, it doesn’t render. WTF? Is is possible that I’m actually that lame of a writer? If I can’t figure this out, how is this supposed to be readily adopted by anyone?

And I read today that Microsoft is planning on having all of their Office suite save to XML file types for the next release. Good luck! If this is the wave of the future, I’m going to revert to tables and .gif spacer images. Suck a nut.

Memorial Day Vacation

Maggie Packing – It’s a long hike to TN, Maggie, but well worth the trip!

We (Angela, Maggie, Harry, and myself) had a great trip to Tennessee over the weekend. We drove down to Cookeville and Jamestown to visit with family and friends. I suppose that when you have so little time and a lot to accomplish, you make the most out of only four days. Of course, we were absolutely exhausted today, and I had to go back to work. There are a number of photos on Flickr of the trip, and many more on my hard drive now. Thanks to Angela’s and my family and all our friends for all putting up with our crazy schedule and making time for us. It means so much to get to see everyone, even if we only got to spend a few hours.

Lord of the Race

This weekend consists of Symphonies and Road Races.

Last night (Saturday), Angela and I went to see the Richmond Symphony perform the Lord of the Rings Symphony. It’s not that I wasn’t amazed at Howard Shore’s score already, but I was completely floored last night. Angela and I both decided that this score ranks up as one of our favorites (individually, and collectively). Further, with all due respect to John Williams, who is another favorite, this was all completely original scoring. Williams often uses famous pieces for direct inspiration in movie scores, which isn’t all that uncommon in film score composition as I understand it. Case in point: Carmina Burana is an obvious influence on the Darth Maul theme in Star Wars: Episode I. Of course, Williams has plenty of original compositions to his credit (not the least of which, the main theme to Star Wars). However, I think that Shore has raised the bar in how complex, both musically and emotionally, a film score can be. He weaves in traditional music, pop music, and symphony handily. All this, and it was very nice getting to see the home town symphony play it at the Landmark.

This morning, I ran the Carytown 10k. My goal: to run the race averaging an 8 minute-mile. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the math, that would have been at sub-50 minute race. I had even been running during lunch breaks the last couple of weeks to make sure the heat wouldn’t bother me too much and that I could keep a good pace going. Unfortunately, I can’t keep a steady pace for long enough. After running a nice 7:50 pace for three miles, I dropped off sharply for most of the next mile-and-a-half. I ended up at 51:26, which is whole minute slower than my last 10k. What was the difference? I’d say it was the fact that last month, the larger race had wave starts, so I started with a whole group of people to pace with. This race was a pack start, so I was just with whatever group happened to fall in about the middle of the crowd. The lesson here is that I’m going to have to use the pace alarm on my Forerunner if I hope to be able to train for a certain pace. Then, I think I can break the 50 minute wall and reach my next running goal. After that, I hope to work more on distance than speed. After all, I’m not likely to ever win any of these (which is a stretch of the term "not likely"). However, I can at least have some bragging rights for running farther some day.