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April 2001


Sunday, 1 April 2001, 11:20 am

No one, except for those piddling few whose fortuitous choice of ancestors insured otherwise, is promised a rose garden. And maybe that's just as well, since the best I can reasonably hope for is a slower rate of topsoil erosion.

On the upside, I got to follow my grandson around for a day, something which doesn't happen all that often, and it's utterly charming to see youthful exuberance in full swing. I can only hope he does a better job of holding onto it than I did.

Monday, 2 April 2001, 7:10 pm

My eyes open slowly — with Daylight Savings Time inflicted upon us, even more so — but nonetheless, they do open.

The difference between the craftsman and the artist? I've been here even longer than Glassdog, but Lance Arthur is the guy with the vision. At best, I can come up with an occasional revision, a display of some level of competence. Fortunately for me, competence is very much overrated.

Tuesday, 3 April 2001, 5:35 pm

You're running — or, at least, trying to appear to be running — a business. For some reason, you have n positions, and you're trying to cover those positions with somewhere between n-3 and n-6 people. Faced with this predicament, do you:

  1. Make the effort to bring in, if not necessarily six, at least three new people?
  2. Resign yourself to the fact that things will not go quite as quickly as you'd like?
  3. Complain to your people that things are not going quite as quickly as you'd like?

If you answered "1", you're either very rare or not actually in a position to sign the checks.

If you answered "2", you're probably about average.

If you answered "3", you're a relic of the Dark Ages and should be stuffed and mounted in the Museum of Bad Examples.

Fortunately for you "3" types, the Museum is quite horribly understaffed.

Wednesday, 4 April 2001, 7:10 pm

I suppose I ought to be pleased that some people's romantic delusions are even less persuasive than mine, but somehow I don't find it reassuring.

The new thing in dental plans seems to be programs which are happy to bill themselves as "not insurance". My experience with them is limited, but so far the term is apt; most of the individuals on my Preferred Provider list are not taking new patients or not accepting some fee schedules or not scheduling appointments for the next five weeks. Why they don't get Mike Myers (as Wayne Campbell; Austin Powers obviously wouldn't do) as a spokesperson is beyond me.

Thursday, 5 April 2001, 6:50 pm

As a general rule, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to astrologers, but Michael Lutin's comments for the coming month caught me by surprise:

"In a perfect world, you would be carried through the streets on the shoulders of all the nut jobs you've had to support while you struggled to keep yourself from falling apart. In truth, though, you're still alone. When you consider how successfully you've coped with huge personal issues, with virtually no outside help, you've got to pat yourself on the back. Now, however, it is time for some serious 7th-house action, and that means crawling out of the hole of self-absorption and facing your need for a deep, committed relationship. Very, very scary."

Scary indeed. Then again, I've seen my chart, and I've got squares not even Whoopi Goldberg would get near.

Friday, 6 April 2001, 8:00 pm

Sixty hours ago, I reported to one of the landlord's minions that the air conditioning in my hovel was out of, um, condition.

I repeated the report to the actual property manager thirty hours later; she had not heard about the initial report.

Since it's not likely that this problem is going to be addressed over the weekend, I'm looking at a minimum five-day outage. Admittedly, this is April and not August, so temperatures aren't likely to reach the level of, say, Gehenna, but it's still an annoyance, and a sweaty annoyance at that. I'll post the time of the actual repair when it happens, and of course the entire sordid story will sit in a search engine for all eternity, or at least until the NASDAQ drops to 80.

Saturday, 7 April 2001, 6:00 pm

Is it really necessary to remove every last tree from a quarter-section of land to put in a housing development? This afternoon, on the road to No Place In Particular, I traipsed through something called Danforth Farms, where every other street name has an equestrian origin — Oklahoma City insists upon the retention of numbers for east-west thoroughfares, lest the fire department get lost somewhere around 197th Street — and "Farms" notwithstanding, it's about as pastoral as a GMC dealership. Besides which, there's this unwritten Law of the Suburbs which mandates bigger boxes made of ticky-tacky, though they still all look just the same. Somehow I don't remember Framingham looking like this.

The city of Edmond, on the other hand, likes trees. Loves trees. The joke a few years ago was that there was a City Council motion to ban all further street or subdivision names that contained any mention of "oak", before the entire population wound up living on Something Oak Drive. At least, I think it was a joke.

Coming back down Covell Road, I happened upon a subdivision that probably should have been called Ashford Oaks, but was in fact called "Asheforde Oaks", with a double helping of that Olde Englishe Codswallope that presumably impels people with ancestors named Martinez (such as, well, yours truly) to look elsewhere for housing.

Sunday, 8 April 2001, 1:00 pm

As this site completes its fifth year online — a virtual eternity, by Web standards — I'd like to thank the hundreds of people who have written in over those 260 weeks to exalt me for providing some necessary piece of information, or to excoriate me for some boneheaded lapse in logic, or whatever the motivation. Without readers, a Web site is just farting up a flagpole; I depend on you guys to help keep me fresh and (relatively) unflatulent.

While we crank up for Year Six, here's a display of truth in advertising I found rather striking.

Monday, 9 April 2001, 5:00 pm

It's possible, I suppose, to imagine a more worthless 24-hour period than the one just ended, but it takes far more imagination than I have.

Item: According to a report by MSNBC, the firm which hosts this Web site was hacked, and the user/password/credit-card files were duly snatched. While no apparent damage was done to me personally — no changes were posted to the site, no charges were posted to my card, and I had both password and card swiftly invalidated — this is not something that adds to my sense of well-being.

Item: For the second week in a row, the firm that recycles our waste paper at work managed to avoid picking up the stuff accumulated by my office. (How much? If you have curbside trash service and the usual plastic cart, well, in a week I generally produce enough chad, chaff and chunks to fill it twice.)

Item: The air-conditioning war continues apace. It is now 128 hours and counting. I informed the property manager's minion that tomorrow I would hire outsiders to repair the unit and send her the bill. (Side note: If you're considering renting on the eastern edge of Oklahoma City, please, please avoid this place. Its proprietors make the Keystone Kops look like quantum physicists.)

Item: On the off-chance that we're actually finally done with winter, the Major Babes have begun turning out in their spring finery, which prompted the geek chorus in the back of my head to chime in with the usual chant of "Why look? You have no chance with any of them and you know it." Yes, I know it. Is it necessary to remind me so often?

Today is the fifth anniversary of this Web site. Big effing deal.

Tuesday, 10 April 2001, 6:40 pm

I knew Cathy Keating hated it here in Soonerland, but I had no idea she hated it so much she was willing to run for Steve Largent's House seat. Of course, this makes perfect sense: Cathy wants to be in Washington, a place hubby Frank hasn't been able to get her to lately, and Steverino has far more ties to that other Washington (the one with Largent's former employer, the Seattle Seahawks) than he does to Beautiful Downtown Tulsa. Then again, Largent is making noises about a run for the governor's mansion in 2002 when the Keatings are evicted by term limits. It all resembles a game of Musical Empty Suits.

Cold front coming through, storms on the way. Was there ever a better time to get the A/C fixed?

Wednesday, 11 April 2001, 7:15 pm

Everyone knows it's windy — this is Oklahoma, after all — and everyone knows that record by The Association. So while this song started playing in the back of my head, I started wondering about Ruthann Friedman, who wrote it, and whatever happened to her anyway?

Well, she did have a career as a singer, turning up at places like the Big Sur Folk Festival, and she cut a mostly-unnoticed album of twelve original tunes for the Warners organization (Constant Companion, Reprise 6363, 1970), which I will now officially add to my want list, right under Damhnait Doyle. "Windy" was written as a paean to her boyfriend of the moment, one of the Ur-hippies of the Haight, and originally, she'd envisioned it as a waltz. Bones Howe, producer of that Association session, reworked it into 4/4, and Ruthann didn't seem to mind — after all, she sings on it. I rather think she probably also doesn't mind the checks from BMI; I'm sure it beats the heck out of, say, selling real estate in Indianapolis.

Thursday, 12 April 2001, 5:35 pm

I am always amazed at how quickly the green returns once the freezing stops. The front of our lot at work is lined with cottonwood trees, which aren't much good for lumber or kindling but do thrive in urban sprawl, and they've gone from barren to fruitful (the females, anyway) to summer green in a matter of two weeks, dropping a load of white stuff on everything in sight and inducing the odd allergy. No matter. I'm talking trees, dammit, and while I'm seldom tempted to hug them, I'm grateful for anything remotely organic out here in the Asphalt Forest.

(No, I don't talk to trees. Sheesh. Go paint your own wagon.)