Thursday, January 31, 2013

more fun with canned meat products

so if you were following this story, you are perhaps surprised to learn that even after i told him i was a teapot, the spammer for some reason still contacted me.

if you would like to read the full body of text of his lengthy and bizarre explanatory email, i have put in in a googledoc that you can read  here.

but here is his shorter email:

Thanks for your response, I will need the exact address during 20th April 2002 because that is what we are going to use in the documents in our office. please send it as soon as you can. Thanks for everything once again.
and my reply:
most excellent nematode. thanks for your response to my response. i am very épinard to happlily work with.
very sorry i am to hear of you domicilary investment predicament and decease of decedent CATER ALLEN PRIVATE BANK client customer very sad mustard CATER ALLEN PRIVATE BANK just tell me how to apply for the funds and i will most sure to tell all my friends of your great generosity and trustworthiness. surely you are a great humanitarian and cephalopod.
the informations with which you seek of course to help you in our beneficial aims CATER ALLEN PRIVATE BANK totally legal of course are that i, mr. fabian fabian SURNAME during the period of during from 20 april 2002 to time ending have many places (BOCHK) lived but for sure my address have been exactly
133 State Street (this is the street address for the vermont department of taxes)
Montpelier, VT 05633-1401

Äyritie 8D, 5th floor (this is the address of the finnish office of a norwegian arms manufacturer)FI-01510 Vantaa, FinlandPhone: +358 (o)50 3499864

354 Hunter Street Ossining, New York 10562 (this is the street address of sing sing prison)
happy for your document assist do brasil.
i look forwared to hearing how next APPLY FOR FUNDS in mutual benefit of.
you are my large squishy potato for good everything #1 champion mayonnaise. 

i sort of hope this is the last i have heard from him.

then again, i sort of hope he still thinks i'm a good prospect for his scam, because that would be even funnier.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


today i thought i would like to download and test a new piece of video editing software.

well, new to me.

because i've really outgrown imovie (who hasn't?) but i was looking for something free and useable and     of course i spent some time on the interwebz reading about it, and i found videopad.

their tutorial can show you what it looks like.

so far i like it. it isn't the robust full-featured intuitive interface i'd like in editing software, but it is VERY nice for free and in an hour or so i've figured out enough of the basics to know i can do some cool things with it as i learn.

my test project (which i will show you later) is the video of my cache hunt for the day.

i may or may not have told you that i'm trying to fill in the days on my calendar for which i have never found a geocache and 28 january (yes, i am writing my posts a day or two ahead) is a blank day.

...but i wanted to go skiing!

so i checked the geocaching website and darn if there isn;t a cache just a little ways off the top of the vista chair.

so i went.

later on i will tell you about it.

and there will be video.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


so. you guys will rememeber that i posted a thing in which i promised to tell you if anything fun happened on the front of the spamscammer.

i haven't heard from him, but yesterday i got an email from a different scammer and i fired off a response and gueswhatguesswhat?!!?!?

today he wrote me back!

so for your amusement and/or horror:

  I am a banker with Bank of China. I have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense benefit to both of us. Although this may be hard for you to believe, we stand to gain eleven million five hundred thousand united state dollars between us in a matter of days. Please grant me the benefit of doubt and hear me out. I need you to signify your interest by replying to this email.
 Most importantly, I will need you to promise to keep whatever you learn from me between us even if you decide not to go along with me. I will make more details available to you on receipt of a positive response from you. Do contact me only at my private email address: (redacted)
Warm regard.

and my response:

i am  a teapot in the bank do brasil. i am very interested in interesting things, especially things of immense benefit. it is not hard for me to believe at all that we stand to gain eleven million five hundred thousand united state dollars between us and i think you will wish to ausipicious know we also stand to gain many happy calendar dropping. i am replying to this email most gratefully to signify both interest and moistness.
i know you very importantly ask me not to share with anyone our secret but with such good fortune i share with my aged grandmother who very much enjoys wealthy and our stffordshire terrier also await available details positive response.
blistering observation.

and he sent me a reply today!!!

I have just emailed you with an introduction to the project I wrote about in my first email to you. The email is quite lengthy and your email system might easily mistake it as junk or spam email. So I need you to check your bulk, junk or spam email folders for the email. Its subject is “Thank you for your response to my email/Further information about the project!” and it’s from this very email account. Please read and understand it in its entirety. Then, be sure to reply with your full names and address as I requested. Cheers.

so i IMMEDIATELY wrote back:

yes! i have just immediately received your fingerpainting and there was no mistake!!! i was waiting up all day and all night hopping up and down on one foot to hear how our new partnership will proceed!!! i shall buy a new hat to wear for this special occasion which is more awesome than the time i was elected lord high topiary to his majesty carl.
i am so excited to have my tortoise read to me the content of your project and i will be sure to understand every word plus the secret transmission for which you have specially chosen me.
it is from this very email account but i am sending it through brain waves so the toaster will not overhear.
chicken fans! in the stands! dance! and sing tonight! stamp your feet and raise your hands! we.... gonna be all right!
goooooooo, chickens! goooooo, chickens!
chickens #1 champion going to win!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

midnight rain

i'm still catching up on my cache logs from october because i've never been able to just write TFTC. no, i have to tell the story of it. with links. and pictures for nearly every cache. and sometimes video.

and some people think that finding a lot of caches somehow excuses them the basic courtesy of writing a few words because, after all, they're so busy finding lots of caches that they have no time to do anything but write one log and cut and paste it everywhere.

someone mentioned once that not all caches merit more than "found it, thanks" but how will people know the difference if every log is the same cut and paste?

anyway, i'm all about narrative so for me going caching is about going to see and also telling what happened. and showing pictures.

and because that takes time to sort out properly, i'm often many months behind in the writing.  and i don't always remember what it is that i took pictures of or what i said at the time until i go back and look through my pictures and my notes and sometimes there are some surprises.

like this video:

you may wish to just watch it unexplained, but you also may wish to know that i am sleeping in my car with a bad cold. and that even though i have not clocked any photos for my thirteen project in a long time, i still take a picture every thirteen hours.

i say that as if is explains everything.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

burying beetles

well, since your sunday morning just isn't complete without some footage of insects having sex, here's a little video i took of what appear to be a pair of north american burying beetles in flagrante delicto.

while i was at that location i also took some pictures of a shoe and a rusty golf club because they seemed interesting to me at the time.

you know, because i went there to look for a geocache.

the fact that the beetles are mating apparently suggests that there is a small carcass nearby, which makes me happy that i was wearing gloves.

and that i remembered to wash my hands before dinner.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

oh, the horror!

yesterday i wrote about my short adventure with linkedin.

it was cute, really. but that thing is scary. it just links you and keeps linking you as if you had asked to contact people.

today i got an acceptance of my "request" from someone i have very carefully cut out of my life. at some personal sacrifice. i actually left a circle of friends i enjoyed just to get away from her.

she wrote to me last sumer with this long rambling email about how she'd really like to get back in touch with me and how much she LOVES my friends and parents and i simply did not answer but apparently i should have said "do not contact me again for any reason" because now she thinks i requested her through linkedin.


Friday, January 25, 2013

adventures in networking: linkedin

ok, so yesterday it was cold out. i wouldn't really care about cold because i LIKE cold weather, but when it's 40 degrees one day and -10 the next it doesn't really give you time to get used to it. i had an appointment in town and i wanted to find a geocache because it was an empty day on my calendar but i think what i'm telling you here is that it was cold out and instead of playing outside i messed around at my desk.

and there was somebody or other with a linkedin profile i wanted to look at, which means you have to sign up and i was feeling jaunty so i went ahead and signed myself right up under the name flask ehrlenmeyer

-because what the hell? as far as you're concerned, it's my name-

and they ask a lot of professional questions.

now, i'm not looking to be all professionally network-y. i just want to look at a profile, you know?

so i tell linkedin that i live in richmond, VT, which is the closest town to where i live where i can order pizza. i say i am self employed in the field of arts and crafts.

yes, i did. these are options on the drop-down menu. they are. i swear.

and for job title, i say that i am chief cook and bottle washer.

and i hit the "skip this step" button for everything else. no, i do not want to be connected with everyone in my email contact list.

more specifically, everyone i know does not need to be hassled by me through linkedin. but either linkedin is unusually aggressive and predatorial in this regard, or it might have to do with that second browser window i had accidentally opened and started to log in from there, but all of a sudden i was getting a lot of acceptances from people.

really, people? you are accepting network contacts from self-employed crafters who obviously are not serious?

and then, oh.

funny they're all actually people i know in one way or another, many of whom know me by my given name and not my public name, and they're playing along.

it's kind of sweet.

so, hi, professional networking people!! sorry to bother you at work. thanks for accepting me!

carry on.

have a nice day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

more about gun violence

there's a lot of public debate, in the states, anyway, about what to do about gun violence.

the debate centers mostly on the question of whether there should be fewer or more guns available.

...which is all wrong.

ALL wrong.

because the key word in the phrase "gun violence" is not "gun"; it's "violence".

the problem is a culture of violence. guns are not the problem. guns are tools.

a culture in which violence is accepted and applauded is the problem. a culture in which our sports and other entertainment media feature violence is the problem. a culture in which violent acts or threats of violence are near the top of our list of stress responses instead of our last resort, that's the problem.

the problem will not go away by legislation or by angry mobs or, oddly, by more violence. the problem only gets reduced when we stop to think: is there a better way to do this? do i want to support the culture of violence? how can i opt out?

is hunting about meat or the gutpile? when children play cops and robbers, is it a game about crisis and mastery, or is it about shooting? is life about mastery of ourselves or domination of others?

if you are about violence and enjoy violence and accept violence it does not matter one bit if you have lots of guns around or not. violence will get done even with less efficient tools.

likewise if you are not about violence, it wouldn't matter one bit if you kept a working artillery piece on your front lawn and used it to announce cocktail hour every day.

the tools are what you make them. the attitude is yours to choose.

next time you get into the gun violence debate, make sure you are arguing about the right thing.

choose less violence.

once we have done that, the argument over guns becomes useless.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

maybe you shouldn't but i did: spam file

so i was just sitting here at my desk watching a large man walk by with an axe in his hand, which out of context might be alarming, but it's cold today and whoever that guy is (i don't recognize him with the ski mask and all), he seems to be headed over to where my neighbor keeps his firewood.

so i return to what i'm doing, which is casually going through my spam folder.

no, really. there's a thing i wasn't really expecting that might have gotten lost in there and everyone says to check the spambox every now and then just in case.

so i was checking and i found this fine missive:

Good day Sir/Ma,My name is Staff Sgt. Gary Bourland; I am an Americansoldier that served in the US military in Iraq with the army's 25th infantry division, I have some amount of funds that I want to move out ofthe country, e-mail me at (address redacted) for moredetails.Thanks and best regards.Staff Sgt.Gary Bourland

and i know you really shouldn't respond to these things, but i did. here is what i wrote:

good day staff sgt. gary bourland, my name is flask and i am a small brightly colored lizard living in a coffee mug in 25 planes of existence. i have a great interest in moving funds. what funds would you like to be moving? from which countries would you be moving them? will you be moving them back when you are done? will you need a truck? or would a bicycle with a really big trailer suffice? thanks and big wet sloppy kisses, flask

i'll let you know if anything fun happens.

meanwhile, my neighbor is carrying kindling back to his house.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

orange, brown, and tasty.

no, it's not the punchline to a bad joke.

yesterday i had the energy to make an actual recipe of real food. from scratch.

i used to do this sort of this all the honkin' time, but while the Very Bad Thing still takes its toll, having the energy or the will to do it just isn't all that predictable.

but i saw this recipe and decided i should make me some of that.

so i did.

and it is so good that i toyed briefly with the idea of NOT packing even a little of it away to share with my mom, who would love it.

but i love my mom, and she loves things with sweet potatoes, so i did pack her some.

it's good a flavorful and filling. it bakes up all bubbly with savory gravylike stuff on the edges. you should make some. and eat it.

sharing is optional.

Monday, January 21, 2013

mysterious lights

so last night i was sitting on my sofa and i saw this light.

it is not unusual for there to be light there, because, as you can see, there are parking places pointing in the area of the light.

but it looked weird, because none of the cars has their lights on.

so i looked around to see if maybe a car father across the road was shining its lights up there, and no. the light appears to be coming from behind that pine tree. and something is moving in that shadow. i never do see what person is out there, but i see them in the shadow.

the plausible explanation is that they are shoveling snow off of the pond for skating, but it does not seems to me that it has been consistently cold enough for that to be safe to do.

it's a mystery.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

man at work

i told you back in october about going to my choir reunion so there's not much to say about it except that i have finally processed some of that video.

i was there to sing and not to be a documentarian, so i just took a few minutes of video from an unobtrusive angle, just to show and to have a memory of what it looked like to be in that choir.

the best of the work in the choir was not in the concert hall, really, but every day at two.

it's a thing larry says over and over: "every day at two".

because for all those years there was this one monster choir and each of us added our spirit and our work as we passed through it but we never left and we were never subtracted and the work went on.

every day at two.

at when we started the reunion rehearsals, larry got up in front of us and said "it must be two o'clock somewhere" and we all knew our places right away.

this video is just a few rough clips from the two days of rehearsal. there is nothing fancy about it and other than it's larry at the helm of the choir, there's nothing particularly special.

it would have been awesome, maybe, to capture a flashy gesture or an insightful comment, but really most of the work was only ever made of the steady quiet work being done all along.

so maybe it's fitting that there's nothing stunning or dramatic.

but there he is.

and we are there.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

how to create piracy: an open letter to itunes

dear itunes,

i have been a happy itunes user for a number of years now. i love my ipod. i love the spiffy way i can organize my media.

but recently i had to replace my hard drive and when i restored all my data my computer was no longer authorized to play my itunes library.

no problem; you have procedures for that very thing. so i deauthorized and reauthorized. i went to your website to read directions on how to do it to make sure i was doing it right.

i needed to check because i kept getting an error message that said my machine was already authorized. but then when i tried to use my ipod, i got error messages that said my machine wasn't authorized and needed to be.

your website told me that i needed to update to the latest version of itunes (which i did not want) in order to fix the problem.

so i updated itunes, and the problem was not fixed.

so i sent off a note to customer support, since both of those things can't possibly be true.

each time i connect my ipod to my computer (new hard drive just installed and data restored) it tells me that my computer is no longer authorized to play certain songs.
so i deauthorized/reauthorized, rinse/lather/repeat and the outcome is still this computer is nto authorized, but then when i attempt to authorize, i am told the computer is already authorized.
which is it?
'coz either it IS authorized and it's fine, or it's NOT authorized and i need to authorize it.
it is not ok for me to keep getting the "not authorized message' and go through reauthorization every day only to get the message that the compter is already authorized.
any brilliant ideas?
and i got back a very prompt response:

Greetings from iTunes Store Customer Support! My name is (redacted) and I am glad to assist you today.
I'm sorry to hear that you have been unable to authorize your computer to play your iTunes Store purchases, even though you enter the correct account name and password. I know how eager you are to have this issue resolved at the earliest. I will be glad to help you.
(flask), I have some suggestions that should resolve this issue for you.
The first suggestion is to update to the latest version of iTunes, if you haven't already. You may obtain it here:
If installing the latest version of iTunes doesn't resolve the issue, please try removing the "SC Info" folder as described in this article:
iTunes repeatedly prompts to authorize computer to play iTunes Store purchases
If you follow these steps and still are unable to authorize your computer to play your purchases, please reply to let me know. I will be glad to assist you further.
Thank you for contacting iTunes Store Customer Support.
Have a nice day!

of course i had already READ those articles. that's why i was writing to you.  i realize that not everyone who writes to you has read the instructions, but i was still annoyed.

it then came out that maybe the problem is that i appear to have two accounts (what? i thought you guys consolidated them for me five years ago!)

so you asked me to deauthorize my machine entirely (a thing i could now do in my sleep from sheer repetition) and then reauthorize BOTH accounts, using up two authorizations on one machine.

you also asked me to determine which songs were purchased on which accounts:

 if you aren't sure which account you used to purchase an item, you can find out by following these steps:
1) Control-click (or right-click) the item in your iTunes Library.
2) Choose Get Info from the menu that appears.
3) Click the Summary tab.
You’ll see the account used to purchase the item. If you have changed your account name, the item's Summary will still show the original account name.
You can also review your entire purchase history. For more information, see this article:

which seemed like an awful lot of extra steps for me.

and i said so:
that seems like a LOT of steps to have to go through.

i only need one account and i do not have anything at all attached to the (redacted) address except itunes, which for some reason simply won't let me use any other account name without losing what i have.

i'm also only using the one computer, so it doesn't make sense to have two accounts and (now) three authorizations in order to connect one ipod and the music i purchased to ONE computer.

and just for the record, everything worked fine until i downloaded this much-ballyhooed lastest version of itunes. ever since i downloaded THAT, nothing has worked properly.

i will appreciate it very much if you can remedy this.

well, it turns out that the nice young man at the other end actually CAN use his back end wizardry to tell exactly which thing comes from which account and he only needs me to do this for one song to verify that it's really my account.


and then it turns out, itunes, that the whole problem is that there are about a hundred songs that simply aren't available through your store anymore even though i bought them fair and square.

and your nice young man very helpfully clears my purchase history and gives my account permission to download again all the songs i have purchased, which, by the way, ARE STILL ON MY COMPUTER.

so now if i want to be able to authorize my machine to play music i own, i have to re-download them. minus the hundred or so that still are on my machine, but the latest version of itunes won't authorize me to play.

ok, let;s recap:
i downloaded the most recent version of itunes which broke my music library.
so i had to deauthorize and reauthorize several times. and i am missing about a hundred dollars worth of music that i already purchased legally and the best you can do is to deauthorize two accounts and then allow me to re-download the music that i already have on my computer?
i am still missing a (roughly) hundred dollars worth of legally purchased music and i STILL can't authorize my computer to play what i already own.
and i STILL have two unconsolidated accounts that are using up authorizations on one computer.
and i run into problems accessing both accounts and every time i go in to the itunes store i have to try to change my password because your system appears not to like that i have two accounts.
the way i'm looking at it, all of this "assistance" has left me with a great deal less than i started with.
so here's what i did:
i restored the old version of itunes that wasn't broken.
i restored my music library as much as i could, including the music that for some reason is no longer available in the form in which i bought it.
i re-located by hand a number of files that itunes couldn't find.
this is what i expect you to do:
i expect to consolidate the two accounts so that i can get into them.
i expect to be refunded for any purchases i can no longer use because your new software severed my access to it.
i expect my account to be cleaned up and left with one authorization to play what i already own.

in the meantime i am examining other, easier to use alternative to itunes.
i tunes used to be easy to used and to organize but i am getting really sick of having the "improved" version break what i already own. i've spent a LOT of hours on this project.
i expect you to fix what you broke so that i can use the remainder of my account balance without having anything else break.
i realize you have spent some time on this, but you have done me no favors and left me a great deal worse off than i was.

did you read that part, itunes? the part about finding other  alternatives to itunes?

this is how you create piracy: you make it much more difficult to buy and maintain legally purchased material than it is to fill my library with easily obtained downloads from illegal sources. i am so sick of this struggle with you that i do not think i will ever again tell my family i want itunes giftcards.

i have downloaded an open source media player and i am learning how to use it. if i can find a way to manage my music library without you, i am done with you now.

i don't want to spend any more money in your store. i don't want to buy things ten percent of which may capriciously disappear simply because you "improved" your software.

there's no reason for me to buy things that you will only steal back.

get bent.


Friday, January 18, 2013

making tracks

i know back in october i promised to show you pictures and stuff of my day out at shindagin hollow.

so today i was going through those (there aren't that many, sadly) but i managed to go into my GPS and fetch up the track from the day and put it onto a nice spiffy map so you can see where i rode.

i think i'm just going to attach the pictures to my geocache log from the day.

but while i'm at it, i think i'll load up the tracks from the speculator bike loop. i do not think i told you much about that, but i think i wrote it in some geocache logs. yep, i did.

shindagin hollow 15 october 2012

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New York

speculator bike loop

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New York

Thursday, January 17, 2013

facebook, again.

i have a facebook account. this may surprise some of you, but i have one under a false name that i tossed up once when i was trying to contact some organizations who mistakenly thought a facebook page was an acceptable web presence for a business.

it's not.

especially when there are so many free alternatives out there.


i use my facebook account (from which i carefully stay logged out when i'm not actively using it because those bastids will track everything everywhere) - so i use this account exclusively for "liking" articles about why facebook sucks.

outside of the usuals, of of the deep suckages about facebook is that a number of sites i use now have an extra step i have to click through in order to say "no, thank you, i don't want to tell facebook about this" before i go about the rest of my business.

today i went to sign up for a new site i like the look of very much, because it does a lot of the things i like with mapping and makes the maps shareable to your blog or your emails or twitter (which i do not use much but to which i do not object) and i was unable to click on any of the text entry fields.

i could tab through, but not click on anything.


except the "sign in with facebook" button.

i tried it in different browsers. same result.

but i have a collection of little online friends a half dozen of whom happen to be computer techs and none of THEM could sign up either so one of them fired up firebug and spotted the problem: THE SIGN UP WITH FACEBOOK BUTTON.

"The problem is the Facebook button is in an iframe that's 1000 pixels wide and tall, which covers the entire form below.", says my friend.


if you're clever, though, you can enter your information and then reload the frame and if you're quick you can hit the submit button before the facebook button loads and craps all over everything.

because facebook's like that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

january thaw

we have it every year, or at least with enough dependability that we have a thing called "january thaw".

in my early years i lived in places where one hardly noticed the thaw, and spring was on its way, anyway, but here winter is just getting going even though we have a beastly week with wam temperatures that messes up our snowpack.

i'm kind of philosophical in terms of what it does to my snohaus and the hours i spent piling snow: although i lost a lot of mass fromt he structure, the simple hugeness of it means that where in other places the grass is showing, i still have a big pile of snow.

put it in a massive pile and it will stay longer.

and that's how snohaus is built. later on when there is more snow to work with, i have a large base on which to build.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

adirondack museum

last october i was at the adirondack museum and i promised you that eventually i was going to get around to posting the videos and pictures from that, but i did not promise anything along the lines of soon.

so. it's mid january and i'm just managing to get those posted.

there are two youtube videos: one shows part of the cute little movement of a diorama that illustrates travel routes during the gilded age, and one shows why you definitely should NOT put your fingers in the raisin seeder.

 the photographs i have decided to post along with my geocaching logs for the day, which can be found here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

a point a pair

yeah, we all gotta do laundry.

and i have limited energy for it, as well as a limited attention span.

and i have a lot of socks.

a LOT of socks. because there's a right kind of sock for every situation.

so i find myself playing a little game with sock sorting when i do laundry, which just about focuses my attention on it enough to finish the job.

i get one point for every pair of socks i can match without touching the other socks. i lose a point for every sock i have to move by hand and can't  make a pair.

any socks i move because i made another pair = one free move.
any socks i move because i was folding another piece of laundry = one free move.

i don't actually keep track of the score, because that would tax my attention span too much. it only gets really funny if someone else is here and for some reason they are folding laundry with me.

 "THAT IS NOT HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED!",  i have been known to protest.


Sunday, January 13, 2013


at the end of glitch they extended zilleoween and they made glitchmas come early, just so that people could enjoy all the holiday traditions. it was kind of a mishmash, but none of us cared and we all loved seeing all the stuff and playing with all the stuff.

just before my friend norah logged out for the last time, she asked if i would pull a glitchmas cracker with her. she had never done one and i was honored to be called upon for it.

they worked like this: one glitch would buy one or be given it and then activate it in their menu and then anyone else nearby cold pull the end when the animation sprang up. one fo the pair would get a little treasure and the other one a joke and it was traditional to then cut and paste the joke to local chat so everyone could enjoy it; sort of the equivalent of reading your fortunes out loud in the chinese restaurant.

here's the video.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

snohaus 2013

i have been promising to show you pictures of snohaus.

yes, i know i haven't organized the photos from snohaus 2011, but there's no point waiting for those.

i move ten sleds full of snow a day, at an estimated average weight of 40 pounds per sled, depending on snow density.

it's only just now starting to look like anything, because the base is huge and that just doesn't look exciting going in.

come to think of it, this isn't a very exciting post.

but it is going to be a very cool snohaus.

Friday, January 11, 2013

eyewire: notes from the glitch diaspora

ok, strictly this isn't an arm of the glitch diaspora, since only a few of us are there, and it's not really a migration.

still i found it while i was looking for games to play, and it has the benefit of being science-y.

apparently one of the problems with using AI to analyze your neural imaging is that the AI isn;t always sure what to do and needs a nudge from a real person.

but real people are expensive to hire.

so the scientists at MIT thought: why not make a game and let hobbyists learn how to identify the neurons in the imaging and thereby crowdsource part of the research?

so. it's a game. AND it's medical imaging. AND you get to help with actual research.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

gear belt

i received a new belt at christmas, which is handy because i have in the past few months lost some weight and a lot of my pants are falling offa me.

i suppose i could just wear the smaller sized pants, but i've lost enough weight that i am not yet comfortable in the smaller size and the larger size just slides right offa me.

i guess i'm just not hippy enough.

so a belt seems like a nice solution. this one is made from recycled bicycle parts and is therefore both functional and sporty-stylish.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


clearing off more tabs and sorting out the stuff i meant to tell you about before:

a while ago i saw vi hart talk about flexahexagons and of course i thought that these would be awesome to make and bring with me to my mom's for christmas dinner because there's nothing that livens up dinner like a basket of toys and gadgets to add to the festive atmosphere.

and my friend barb was coming over to do crafty things anyway, so i thought hexaflexagons should be on our list.

there are a lot of templates available online and i thought maybe that was taking the cheap way out, but it turns out that while you CAN build them all froms scratch it's still a pretty good project with templates printed and everybody at dinner likes them just fine the way they are.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

not without risk

yesterday was my first day of ski season. i don't have the knees or the skills to ski early season in patchy conditions, so i wait until there's good cover everywhere i want to ski. usually this happens right at christmastime, and because of the crowds i will typically put off my skiing therefore until the first monday in january.

i only go for a half dozen runs; early in the season it's all i have the legs for.

and i was talking with someone recently about that point in your ski day when you think you're just about done and you decided to take one more run, and that's when most of your injuries occur.

now, skiing itself is not without risk. i once even broke a hand just getting on the chairlift.

yeah, you know how you sometimes put your hand back to see if the chair is there? well, it was.


there's a reason you should wear a helmet and even if you're a great skier there's nothing to keep a less great skier from plowing into you and requiring you to ride in an ambulance. and if you are a very great skier and you ski backcountry there's nothing to keep you from being swallowed up by an avalanche.

but i was thinking about the economics of it,  that end-of-your-ski-day-should-you-take-one-more-run moment.

if you only buy one or two lift tickets a year, you probably want to get in as many runs as possible because when you compare the risk to the cost you're not losing too much (not counting medical expenses) if you go a little longer and then maybe don;t ski again that year.

if you're a passholder, though, you'll want to protect your investment and quit earlier while your legs are still good so you can keep coming out every couple of days.

at least that's the way i play it.

thighs tired? lunchtime.

they'll still be running the lifts tomorrow.

Monday, January 07, 2013

not paying it

this morning among the usual spam was this message:

Chér(e) Client(e),, 
Nous vous faisons part de ce courrier pour vous informer que nous 
n'avons malheureusement pas pu effectuer le prélèvement mensuelle. 
Afin de résoudre ce problème. 
veuillez vous referez ici
Au cas de l'echec de la regularisation de votre situation, nous procéderons à la suspension de votre 
fourniture d'energie. Cette intervention vous sera facturée. 
Nous vous remercions de votre compréhension. 
EDF vous souhaite la bienvenue et vous remercie de votre confiance. 
Pour faciliter votre emménagement et la gestion quotidienne de votre contrat, 
EDF vous propose des services qui vous simplifient la vie. 
Copyright © 1999-2012.

in case your french isn't all that good, the message would have me believe that my electricity provider, EDF, is going to cut off my power because i have not paid my bill and that i should go to this link here and straighten things out right away.

now, outside of the fact that i am not primarily a french speaker and do not live in a french speaking region, neither EDF nor EDF's french division is my power company, so i have a little look at where this email is actually coming from.

turns out that link there leads you to a page that LOOKS like an EDF site and even uses the EDF favicon, but it's part of a domain that belongs to this shady brazilian design firm.
if you do a little googling of that company, you find that google thinks this site may be compromised.

oh. ya think?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

what to wear

these days i don't get out of my pajamas, except to shower.

what i wear for pajamas is actually the same clothing i wear under my snowpants or as longjohns, so i just slip out of bed and put clothes on over.

this time tomorrow my desktop machine will be restored. i will have pictures for you.

today for the first time i used a crockpot. and i am working on snohaus. it's the mind-crushingly boring stage of snohaus, the stage that requires hauling tons of snow and not much else because that main dome needs to be eleven feet high and once you start digging in, you're done walking on top.

maybe i'll get around to posting pics of snohaus 2011.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

holding pattern

the nice young man at the computer store told me to expect to hear from them about what was wrong in about four days. he also said that getting it back repaired was likely going to take ten days. tat was wednesday. today is saturday.

i picked it up repaired yesterday afternoon and it has been sitting on my desk since then getting all its data restored, a process which is it nearly halfway through.

so do i have photos of my snohaus construction from this or any other year? pictures from the geocaches i went to? screenshots of the games i've been playing? any of the videos leftover from the end of glitch?

in a word, no.

meanwhile, why don't you both go read this blog? it's a big favorite of mine.

Friday, January 04, 2013


it is my custom when entering online chats or when others enter to wish people a "pleasant local time of day", which recognizes that the participants in the conversation may be spread out over many time zones.

one of my german friends told me this week "we have a word for that!"

it is "moin".

i think it will be very handy and for sure it takes fewer keystrokes.


nearly unrelated: one of my online friends made a project out of new year's eve, watching the clock and drinking a toast each hour on the hour to the people of each time zone as the day passed. "you don't have to drain the glass", she pointed out.  it is only important to make the salute.

it was a charming project. maybe one year a group of us scattered around the world will make similar observances together.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

technical difficulties

do you guys 'member a month ago wen i was complaining that my computer had crashed and i had to do a full restore?

some of my little friends suggested that this might be the signs of a hard drive going bad. or other scary stuff.

last night my computer melted down.

and i went to run disk utility and take care of it but first it wouldn't verify and ten it wouldn't repair and it SAID i needed to do another restore but then it wouldn't do that even but instead decided to stop recognizing the backup drive and then to top it off it renamed itself from "andy" to "sc-0307" or something festive like that, which i think indicates a problem.

happily, my backups were scheduled hourly so when i get my machine back (or a new machine) in a week or so, i will be able to restore my files.

sadly, i was sort of counting on using those files to, oh, i don't know, process the pictures and videos and stuff that i wanted to do? you know, so i can show you the rest of the glitch stuff or maybe the pics of the new snohaus or even snohaus from two years ago or maybe just catch on my geocaching logs.


all the stuff i need for that is temporarily unavailable.

i am grumpy about it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

new year's eve in burlington

me, my hat, and my scarf
my friend barb and i went into burlington for first night.

the thing about it is that it's so festive and people are so beautiful i get all teary eyed.

we got there just in time for the dragon parade and had some time to kill before the fireworks but then after we went to dinner at mr. crêpe on church street, which was very good.

then there was some strolling around but we ended up at the roxy to take in some of their continuously running evening of old looney tunes and then we saw a couple of other things before we went to contois auditorium to catch the celtic rock band prydein, who are awesome.

later on i will tell you more about my hat and scarf and probably i will tell you more about the band, but for now here are some pictures from the evening.

dragon parade

sd ireland cement mixer

sidewalk sculpture
celtic rock band prydein


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