Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Thinking that I like talking to people in France and Italy, but I wouldn't mind having someone to Skype with during the day, too.  In English, just random conversations?  How do you find something like that?  Let alone, make sure its not some creepy Find love on the internet thing?

This is probably really obvious, but not to me!

Random Thoughts

I'm making tiny amounts of progress with Italian.  I still can't speak it (more than one or two sentences), but I'm starting to be able to read it.  It helps that I went through this with French, so my expectations are a little more realistic.  Though realizing that realistic means 'don't expect to have a conversation for another two or three months, easy, and even that one will be short' is a little depressing.

I see where women in Iceland are posting pictures of their breasts to protest the idea that they can't but guys can.  I wish them luck, but I honestly don't see that making a difference.

The governor of Indiana is trying to back away from his homophobic legislation.  That laws like that could get proposed and passed makes me shudder. But conservatives like it, and they vote.  Liberals can't be bothered. Yeah, me too. 

Cooking a steak the other night was an adventure.  We don't do that very often.  It really did not turn out well. It doesn't help that I can't say what was wrong with it -- it certainly was cooked through -- but something was.  It just didn't taste as good as I had hoped it would.  This was part of my attempt to learn to like French foods -- this was Steak-Frites, which, disappointingly, simply means Steak with Fries.  I asked a French friend how to say 'medium-well' in French, and she said soignante, which is most definitely not the case; soignante would translate to bloody.  Turns out that bien cuit literally means well cooked, and though some places are aghast at the idea, they at least recognize that people do want it.  And not just tourists.

The Questionable Content comic strip is changing.  I generally like the changes.  For the first time in a while, I've wondered what's goingn to happen to the characters.  Before, I read it but the days were interchangeable. 

We're going down to see the daughteroid for Easter.  My pleasure at seeing her is moderated by her request that I spend some time to 'fix her PC' because she thinks it's too slow.  I have no idea what to do about that, and I resent, a little, that she's asking.  Of course, I'm not too thrilled at her request for a replacement PC, either.

Thinking about the big trip next year.  I really want to see a lot of people; my wife really wants to see three spots in Italy (that happen to be separated by about 2/3 the length of the country.  I would love to just move over there, but that's not going to happen.  My wife's already a little irritated at how often I would go if I could.  She's been generous, I recognize that.  But.

Not reading much lately.  Not to say I don't have several books to read, but it seems that all I want is basic action type novels.  I think my desire for complex books died about ten years ago.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Computer Assistance

Trying to figure out why my daughter's PC is having problems, I listened to a Youtube video.  Here is part of what it said:




Just how freaking stupid ARE some of these people?  Then again, I found this on a different site:

"Windows 8 and 8.1 make it really simple to disable startup applications. All you have to do is open up Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar, or using the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC shortcut key, clicking “More Details,” switching to the Startup tab, and then using the Disable button"

A four step process doesn't strike me as 'really simple'. 

Friday, March 20, 2015


Actually spoke in Italian this afternoon.  Horrible, chaotic, wrong word wrong  tense Italian....but Italian.

Another Snow Day

First day of spring, last (we hope) snow day for the year.  Last year was worse in terms of total days , but this one has been fairly grim, too.

This is an example of why French is difficult:  this phrase appears in something that I am listening to while I read the transcription:

Chaque élève choisit vers 14 ans ce que sa série sera 
(Each student chooses around 14 years old what his focus of study will be)

Its that last part of the sentence that stuns me, because it's pronounced as 'suh kuh sa suhREE suhRAH'.  If that doesn't sound like gibberish when you're desperately searching for any meaning as the sentence rockets past....

On the otheer hand, a new partner tells me that I speak reasonably well, so that's something....

Oh, and the Third Law thing?  Inertia. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


This morning at breakfast my wife and I discussed why it is so incredibly hard to get a lucid non-mathematical explanation of Newton's Third Law.  Neither of us is a science person.  We didn't get very much further than these people, they either don't know or they can't speak English.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

News Night

I'll never see this in my lifetime, but perhaps my children will.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Monday, March 09, 2015

Heads in Beds

Just finished reading Heads in Beds, an autobiographical book about a guy's career in the hotel industry.  Most of the book is only mildly interesting - this is how the desk clerk can really screw you over!  This is how you can empty out the minibar and never pay a dime! -- but the parts at the beginning, where he talks about being a lowest-of-the-low worker at a high end hotel, a place where they stressed and emphasized the value of customer service -

It made me want to find that hotel, and stay there. It's in New Orleans, someplace.  Now, it might not exist any more.  Floods, you know.  Or it might have been taken over by SuperOmniMax, with every flower having to pull its own weight  plus 10%, no more than five in a given location.  And I have stayed in expensive hotels, up around the $350 dollar a day rate (which I know isn't all THAT expensive, these days, but it is for me), and while most of them were worth it, some, not so much.  Looking at you, DC Four Seasons.

But if I could find that hotel....I'd almost be willing to go to that city, just to stay there.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

An Ad....

I see where some French kids' resumes are starting to arrive for 3 week stays this summer. We'd really like to do it, but we're picky: we prefer a kid who is from a small town and has never been to the US. Wonder if we should put an ad in Le Monde? Something like "Habitez-vous en petite ville? Votre enfants ne sont jamais alleé aux Etats-Unis? Envoyez leur à moi!" Yeah, that should do it.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

OK, This is Weird

For the last three weeks or so, I've been in touch with a language partner who's recently gone through a traumatic breakup - trying to restore her confidence in herself, mostly, trying to make her see that she's still a good and decent person whom a lot of guys would like to get to know.

Last night she told me that she was going to go 'hang out', and I thought great, she's getting out of the house, glad to hear it. Today I heard briefly from her relative to two posts on my Facebook account, but this evening, when I tried to ping her, I got no response.  I don't think she saw it, which means she didn't have her telephone with her. 

I find myself worried about someone who really doesn't need me to worry about her!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


I wonder if older people tend to be negative about change because they've seen so many potential good things perverted?  Whereas younger people don't have that experience, so their initial optimism doesn't get diffused?

Sunday, March 01, 2015


Want to strike fear into the heart of a techie?  Let them move files from their PC to a Network Attached Device such as a MyCloud server.... and then have Windows say Unable to find network device.

Instant, blind panic.