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Saturday, April 28, 2001

     Silicon has been the basis for manufacturing processors, memory and other computer chips for years. However, it is expected to reach its limits within the next decade. A development by IBM researchers in the field of nanotechnology will allow Big Blue to more easily create groups of transistors from tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes. Microscopic cylinders of carbon that measure about 10 atoms across, are 500 times smaller than today’s silicon-based transistors and are 1,000 times stronger than steel bode well for the indefinite continuation of Moore's Law.

     Jumping the Shark refers to that defining moment when you know your favorite television program has reached its peak ... from that moment on, the program will simply never be the same. (The term is coined from the 1977 "Happy Days" episode when Fonzie water-ski jumped over a shark tank.) So the site is filled with TV shows and the moment(s) when those shows jumped the shark. You can browse by program or see what's listed under the various categories.

     National Geographic on the Web has added a new feature — Photo of the Day — culled from their vast archives of legendary photography. Download the exceptional pictures as wallpaper or e-mail them to a friend. While you're there, participate in the mapXchange community where you can download free maps for use with TOPO! CD-ROMs, or post your own map files so that others can use them on their adventures.

     Internet Storm Watch® gathers more than 3,000,000 intrusion detection log entries from the SANS Institute's Consensus Intrusion Database (CID) project every day. It is rapidly expanding in a quest to do a better job of finding new worm and DoS storms faster, isolating the sites that are used for attacks, and providing authoritative data on the types of attacks that are being mounted against computers in various industries and regions around the globe. Internet Storm Watch is a free service to the cybercommunity.

:::::

     Ain't it great not to read me whining about my health for a change ... to get back to the original plan of finding and linking interesting sites on the web for all of us to enjoy? As I'm putting this post together, I feel wonderful. Hope y'all are too. Can I have an Amen? Story at eleven.

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Friday, April 27, 2001

     The 2001 Webby Award nominations have polluted the websphere again. Out of respect for Mark I won't link, just suggest there are some deserving sites, but mostly the same tired reruns. What raised my eyebrows though, is the ego explosion coming from all those supposed A-list™ phenoms. These folks are presumed to be friends, right? Talent is being wasted and creative energies misguided in this twenty-something snark fest. C'mon children. Put away your switchblades and play nice. Btw, since they aren't likely to ask me, my vote for finest personal site goes to Dr. Z. Just two problems. He isn't among the finalists, again, and he's got substance. Speaking of Jeffrey, his new book got plugged on NewMedia last week.

     Tired of the same ole web stuff day after day? Joe Jenett has always been a great promoter of the independent web as well as discoverer of hidden jewels and unusual destinations. Why not resolve to look for something different today? A good jumping off point is Joe's Cool Diversions.

     My brother has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. He's fun and adventurous, a risk taker, a talented artist with the camera, and just great to be around. There is nothing in this world I wouldn't do for Dave and there's nothing in the world he wouldn't do for me. In fact, we've gone through life together for nearly half a century doing absolutely nothing for each other. (P.S. He has a great sense of humor too.)

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

The Look of Depression      The Look of Depression. When we see ourselves in the mirror each day, we may not notice the subtle changes in appearance. The same is true when we haven't taken a photograph for some time. Friends and family have been telling me for months it's quite obvious I'm not well. They can see it in my eyes. The usual steely blue iris has given way to an emptiness void of color and emotion. Small reflections from the lens implants inherited in last autumn's cataract surgery don't help. The sunken hollowness betrays nearly non-existant upper eyelids. Deep, dark circles below conjur images of a pugilist rendered by the artist with charcoal. The digital photograph showed me what I have become. I don't know who this is.

     Should brightening one's own day be considered a waste of time? The Center for the Easily Amused calls itself "the ultimate guide to wasting time online." You may find the hours passing much more quickly as you explore the many amusements and general fun including jokes, animated funnies, pop culture trivia, newsletters, games, humor and advice columns. Definitely a keeper.

:::::

     Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret.

     They met, they fell in love, they married, they raised a loving family, they worked and sacrificed much to create a caring home. Finally, they retired to a wonderful little house in Arizona. But their dreams were shattered when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She struggled the best she could, but finally she had to place him in a nursing home.

     The years of his illness had taken a toll on her — she was down below 100 pounds and badly stooped from arthritis. Yet every day she made the trip to the nursing home to feed him his midday meal. Every day she would go through the same routine.

     "Who's this?" she would ask, lifting a framed photograph of their daughter from his dresser. He would stare at it, then shake his head. It was the same with the pictures of their son, their grandchildren, their old dog. She would then lift his hands from the arms of his chair, hold them in both of hers, and ask, "Who am I, dear?"

     At first he would look confused. Then his face would brighten and he would look like the man she fell in love with. "You love me," he would say. Most days they would be the only words he would speak. But they were enough. — from Connections newsletter

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

     Off the southwest coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, sit two little islands or keys, Sanibel and Captiva. When I was last there about fifteen years ago, they hadn't yet lost the simple charms of the undiscovered getaway. That's subject to change, as most Florida property has succumbed to the tourist trap in the past decade. The islands have been a bird sanctuary through most of the 20th century, attracting many of the exotic water fowl common to the southern wetlands. The beaches are nice, the fishing and boating superb, but that isn't why I'm writing this. I wanted to tell you and you about an eccentric little restaurant on Captiva Island called The Bubble Room.

     The Bubble Room is Florida's most outrageous and award-winning restaurant — a delicious holiday from the ordinary. The decor is unlike anything you have experienced — unless you normally dine where Christmas, nostalgia, antique shops and Hollywood are all rolled into one. This fascinating American-cuisine restaurant is composed of eye-catching memorabilia from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. Toy trains, twinkling colored lights and more than 2,000 movie stills and glossies of stage and screen legends greet diners curious to see Captiva's famed restaurant.

     Servers are aptly titled "Bubble Scouts," and sport zany hats and khaki uniforms covered in crazy buttons. Outside, the colorful decor of the three-story Bubble Room building makes you smile even before you enter. Once inside, you'll find a 7-foot Mickey Mouse from a 1930 Disney float, an old "Santa's Workshop" from a Macy's department store window, and a toy train that circumnavigates the entire innards of the building. While the food is quite good, the simple joy of "being there" is why I remember The Bubble Room to this day.

:::::

     Somehow this seems highly insignificant today, but people do want to know:

     My psychotherapist nailed one diagnosis. The results from the most recent blood testing are finally back. I do not have a vitamin B-12 deficiency. I tested positive for Epstein-Barr Virus antibodies. Not surprising considering I had mononucleosis when I was 28. Most significantly, and kudos to the counselor for recognizing something the physicians didn't, my DHEA (adrenal function) levels are below normal spec. Typical results are in the 300-600 nanogram range for men — mine was/is 180. Apparently this is not unusual in those who abused their bodies with alcohol for decades. Since my therapist is also a recovering alcoholic who directed a treatment center a few years back, she just happened to know about these things. So I started a natural DHEA supplement today.

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

     So you want to sleep until noon and work all day in your pajamas? Everyone who hasn't done it seems to think freelance web designers have it easy, so Builder.com offers loads of information about how to quit your day job and make a career out of staying at home. Warning: it's not as easy as it seems, but you already knew that.

     On this day in 1954 Billboard magazine, the music industry trade publication, headlined a change to come about in the music biz. The headline read, "Teenagers Demand Music with a Beat — Spur Rhythm and Blues" ... a sign of times to come. Within a year, R&B music by both black and white artists caught the public’s fancy. Oh, and KittyKitty took her first breath. Happy Birthday sweetie.

     Web journal as soap opera. Interesting concept from Raven Lunatique. Don't limit yourself though, there's a whole lot more under the covers, like this: "I could see him looking at me. His eyes the color of stale beer. He didn't know me now. But I knew me. Us. I could remember enough for both of us." Art, photographs, poetry, short stories...

     As mentioned yesterday, I am feeling better. With this gradual return to lucidity comes the inevitable elevation in the irritability quotient. It started when I walked into work and my boss said he had done my morning reports over the weekend. Great, I already have little enough to do with the transitional freeze. This day I would have nothing. The teller at the credit union took 10 minutes to execute a one minute transaction because of computer experience shortcomings. At least she looked nice leaning over in that V-neck sweater. Cleavage mesmerizes me.

     Three stores didn't have the CD I wanted, though the fourth one did. Unfortunately the debit card newbie in line ahead caused two idle checkout clerks to open their registers. No sooner had I switched queues, the push button saga ended in success. Figures. The tomato I specifically asked not be on my sandwich was there nonetheless. The anti-lock brakes did their job and sent that sandwich squirting to the floor as the stoplight at the busy intersection knew I was coming ... followed immediately by the railroad crossing barriers signalling the arrival of the latest lumbering freight. The doc says I need more protein. Wonder if the floorboard carpet fuzz counts? Ptui.

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Monday, April 23, 2001

     Weekend visits with the family are always too brief, especially this one, since Dave flew in for a few days. With a six hour drive on the front and back ends, there isn't much time for just doing what families who don't see each other much do. We did take the opportunity to tour the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Saturday, the first time we've all visited a national park together since 1968. I suppose that's what happens when everyone scatters like dust in the wind. It's tough to get each of us in the same place at the same time.

     The sad thing is I didn't stop long enough to enjoy myself. In a hurry to get to Hendersonville before dark Friday, I saw only the repetition of highway stripes. The hugs from mom, dad and brother awaiting my arrival on the other end were ample reward, but I missed the journey for the destination. The next day in the park, at lower elevations, spring was busting out all over. Did I prance in the bluebells or sniff the holly? No, I talked and listened to loved ones surrounded by the box of the car's passenger container.

     We went to the top — Dave and I, a strenuous climb — Clingman's Dome, the 2nd highest point east of the Mississippi at 6640 feet above sea level. I noticed the trees were all dead, a European insect infestation of some sort, but I didn't really notice. The air was crisp and moist, but I focused on the chill rather than the freshness. I wasn't where I was. Instead, I was where I've been. Then, suddenly it changed.

     There are signs along the parkway, "Quiet Trail." When we stopped later at a photographic viewpoint, I left my family and wandered curiously to the trailhead. The sign said the trail was neither long nor short, steep nor flat; the sign just said, "walk among the forest." And I did, as if called by the siren's song. I didn't know why, I just walked, quietly. There were no majestic vistas or exotic wildlife, but there was a brief moment of solitude, of time correlation, of relief. I found a day old campfire, a deer path and a squirrel's stash. I walked on the pine needles and the mossy outcroppings. I heard the wind and felt the sun, stepped in a mud hole left from the previous week's snows.

     The drive home was different. I was back in the now. The reminiscence with family was just that, reminiscence. Sure we made plans, but that will be then, this is now. The 15 minute walk on the quiet trail cleared a lot of cobwebs, purged months of illness from my shell, restored lost faith and confidence. The stripes of the interstate went by one by one just as they had on Friday, but the wisdom of the revelation filled me with new hope. I am getting well.

     Add some confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

 

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