May 31, 2003

Cool and not cool.
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Things that are cool:
1. The way anytime my neighbor refers to his wife, he always refers to her as “my supermodel wife Erin”.
2. The fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Starlight Express” is not only still alive, it’s actually coming to my state.
3. That about twenty feet from our property line lies a sixteenth-century Indian burial ground.
4. The fact that whenever Matt passes a kid playing a video arcade game anywhere, he sticks extra quarters on the console.
5. As it’s now summer, the fact that I can feel totally justified having a Klondike bar whenever I want.
6. As a Hitchiker’s Guide fanatic, my birthday, February 11, is the 42nd day of the year.
7. Ice cubes.

Things that are not cool:
1. The way it’s state law that cars have to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, but there is no law that the state has to repaint those crosswalks every year.
2. Wasps.
3. Seeing a dog in a car on a really hot day.
4. The fact that when I sit on the deck, I’m so short that the top of the deck blocks my view of the road.
5. Those debit card-swipe diagrams. No matter which way you face the card, it’s always the wrong way. Now try being a leftie and looking at that diagram.
6. Trying to make mechanics believe my car is a three-year old lemon.
7. An oven at 200 degrees.

May 29, 2003

The queens I use would not excite you...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

I’ve been listening to Ben Fold’s Five “The Battle of Who Could Care Less” over and over again. The lyrics are so down to earth, it made me think. This sounds like real life. Then it made me think of more songs that sound more like real life than a made-up one.

If your life was a movie, what would be your soundtrack? What songs do you relate to? And more importantly, out of all of them, which one is your “main theme”?

These are all songs I love.
My soundtrack might go “a little something like this”: (pun intended.)

Rush - Virtuality
Once I discovered BBS’, I wasn’t away from the screen long enough to type ‘brb’.

Stone Temple Pilots – Sour Girl
Bad relationship. Can you tell?

Blues Traveler: All in the Groove – Main Theme song!!
Lay back and enjoy the groove. That should be my motto, because it’s certainly how I live.

Murray Head – One Night in Bangkok
Cerebral fitness. In the dorms at URI, I was introduced to chess. Hooked from the start.

Harry Connick Jr. – Wink and a Smile (our wedding song)
Matt and I definitely go together like a wink and a smile. There’s just no question about that. And I really did trade in my old jalopy for a Pontiac*. ;-)

Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
Hey, everyone loses themselves now and again.

Phil Collins – True Colors
…and then discovers that it really is ok to be yourself.

Dave Brubeck – Take Five
…So sometimes you just gotta sit back and take a break.

John Cougar Mellencamp – Your Life is Now
…and see what you have.

Poe – Walk the Walk
Finally, moving on, it’s time to see if I can walk the walk and talk the talk.
I definitely want to walk to the beat of my own drum.


* Okay, I TRIED to trade it in. They didn’t want it!

May 26, 2003

Ferrets in the spotlight...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

We went to a party on Sunday. (an unexpected invitation from a new friend… the best kind!) It was at a house right next to one of the state beaches, so there was lots of fields, sands, and an adventure playground.

Somehow the topic of ferrets came up. As we live close by, we ended up driving back home with a friend, put Scooter and Chloe on their leashes, and brought them back to the party. The combination of sand on the playground/beach and lots of people and kids would lead to the little rugrats having a BLAST.


Well, a blast they had. I’ve never been so proud of them, they were so well-mannered. Their day consisted of having a romp on the playground in the sand (and down the slide a few times, Scooter loved that), and then back to the party to see all the people.

They were patient when children of all ages came up to them wanting to walk them, pet them, hold them, etc. They patiently sat cradled in our arms (rare as it is) while we explained to people when they said “what is THAT?”


Most people were surprised when we said they were ferrets. They were surprised when Chloe leaned in to give them kisses. They were surprised when we told them how they were litter trained, how they don’t bite, and how they don’t carry “the plague”. And they were definitely surprised to see them out on leashes!

Our ferrets lasted five hours out there in the spotlight. They got tired and each took a nap (one in Matt’s arms, the other cradled in another guest’s arms), and then woke up and got their second wind.

At the very least, Matt and I were able to dispel most misconceptions those ~200 guests had about ferrets. Most people were under the impression that ferrets bit, were extremely dirty, and didn’t interact with people at all. Oh, we proved them wrong that day!

We all had fun. Matt and I had fun “sharing the joy” with others. And believe me, the antics the ferrets pull are very laughable, especially when Chloe found herself in a gift bag and began hopping around. We also had fun being able to show all the kids what ferrets were, and showing them how to hold them and walk them.

You want to know what I really enjoyed seeing? I saw how gentle the children were petting them, and in return, the ferrets sat patiently and let themselves be pet.

And anyway, how can you resist this face? Meet Chloe. :-)


May 23, 2003

Strange issue...
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

I had an interesting browser issue yesterday.

Matt’s computer and my own are on the same router. Matt could get to with no problems.

Me, on the other hand, had not been able to get there for a week. Whenever I did, the following message appeared instead:

Error type 500: Server too busy


Bizarre. At first I just assumed it wasn’t working, but then after a few days, it was a little strange that I wasn’t reading about it on the other news sites. So finally, yesterday, I started asking around. Everyone else could get to it.

Found the solution... apparently Opera users have difficulty with language settings and They have to go in and change some ini params. So, on a whim I checked out the language settings in Internet Options in IE. For some reason, "English (United States)" was NOT the first choice.

"User Defined" settings were first. So I reordered English to the top, applied the change, tried again, and it worked.


I can only assume that my computer settings got toaster-caked when Matt installed the Japanese language pack on my machine to show me some cool stuff he’s working on. But why it waited all that time to show itself is beyond me. Interestingly enough, there were LOTS of people on Google whose mysteriously stopped working last week. I even found a couple of blog entries surrounding it last week.

I guess I made a change on my machine the same day some engineer made another change on their machine, and then the lunar eclipse happened, which shut off some other solar powered machine which… aww forget it. Can I just blame El Nino like everyone else always does?

May 21, 2003

What's it all about?
Posted by Jess in Announcements

I updated the site a little bit tonight. Specifically, I added an about me section.

It felt kind of weird, writing about, well, ME, so I wrote it in a style I felt a little more comfortable with. :-)

But, I do know that when I read blogs, I am interested in knowing who's behind the writing. So, I might as well extend the same courtesy to everyone else.

Hopefully, Matt can get his page up there soon also.

May 20, 2003

"Gamers". Damn stereotypes!
Posted by Jess in Gaming

Libby has commented on an article she read in which the author discusses whether computer games are considered productive or counter-productive. Thankfully, it seems that the three of us share the same opinion (that games are NOT counter-productive).

What I found interesting was that the author of the game didn't take it a step further by discussing different game genres and the merits of each. Libby, along with the author, mentioned Half-Life and the like, the main merit being the ability to blow off steam and take a break only to focus stronger later (I won't go into bragging rights after making a fabulous shot :-)

I wanted to talk about the merits of puzzle-solving adventure games.

Matt and I play together, discussing the choices and the next step. There's just something amazing about locking ourselves in the house for the weekend, enjoying each other's company, solving the game, and emerging with brains bursting (and hurting) from having to come up with lateral ways of problem solving in order to move on.

Among our favorites:

Zork: Grand Inquisitor (you'll be laughing the moment the credits roll)
The Longest Journey (the story will suck you in. Fabulous puzzles)
The Neverhood (Claymation. Extremely silly, with great puzzles)
Grim Fandango (Based on the day of the dead. It's like a movie)

Now for those like me, that eat up the opportunity to solve a puzzle, you will find no greater thrill than The Stone. Most puzzles are created such that you know what you have to do, you just have to think of a way to get to that result.

Imagine not even knowing that you have to do. The Stone is an online game in which you are given a picture. Sometimes there are mouseovers, sometimes not. You look at what you see, plug them into a search engine, and go nuts. Not only do you have to solve the puzzle, you have to find out what they are asking in the first place. It's solving a puzzle in which the first puzzle is finding out what the actual puzzle is. The link above contains sample puzzles.

Now, onto more merits of computer games (well, this one isn't really a computer game. It's a video/arcade game). But the benefits just can't be ignored. I'm talking about Dance Dance Revolution.

This game involves techno music, a pad on the floor with 4 arrows in each direction, and corresponding arrows on the screen. Arrows will shoot up to the beat of the music. When the arrow that comes up synchs with the arrow on top of the screen, you have to hit the arrow on the pad.

Not only is this an incredible aerobic workout, the advancing levels of the game can help your reflexes become razor sharp. Even CBS News has noted that some elementary schools have adopted this game as part of their phys ed programs.

It appears I've gone on a bit longer than I intended to, I just can't ignore the fact that I think these "games" have helped me become a better person all around. Productive? I'd say so.

Don't get me started on Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, Matt and I still play, and hope to play this with our future children. Why? Because of the virtues it teaches. What I have I learned from it?

Patience. Turn taking. Chivalry. Teamwork. Problem solving. Comraderie. Honor. Math (yes, really!). Oh, and lastly thanks to Cindy, I have learned that no matter how many orcs you search, the last one always has a precious gem in his boot.

May 17, 2003

Hi! How are you? You’re welcome.
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

When we were en route to drop Matt off at the airport awhile ago, we passed a cop in the breakdown lane. I wasn’t driving, so I peeked at him. He was talking on his radio. Matt slowed down, and I said “don’t worry. He’s not out to pull anyone over.” Matt said “I know, but….”.

Seconds later he said, “I have NO idea why I said ‘I know’ to that.”

And only last week I was at the Mini Super getting supper, and the checkout girl took my debit card, swiped it, and said “Thank you, have a nice day”. It took her a few seconds, and then we laughed and she said, “Sorry, I don’t know WHERE that came from.” I told her no worries, and then asked her if I could help her find something. ;-)

Have you ever done that? Come out with a response without thinking about it first? Or are we just conditioned with canned responses? I know I’ve given someone something, expecting them to say thank you. It never comes. But without missing a beat, I still say “you’re welcome.”

It’s the same principle that when you ask someone how they are, you expect them to ask you back. Therefore, no matter what they say, you say “good”, thinking they asked you how you were. Unfortunately, they DIDN’T ask, and instead, they told you that their dog just died, they are being audited, and the eviction notice arrived yesterday.

We have a kitchen island in our new house. I’m not used to it yet, and run into it at least a few times a week. For some reason that I have yet to discover, I still say “ow” every time I do this. It usually doesn’t hurt enough to warrant an “ow”.
I have no idea why I say it.

May 12, 2003

An Island State of mind…
Posted by Jess in RI Stories

Saturday afternoon Matt and I headed to Block Island, RI, for an overnight trip. Kind of ironic… we’re in the state of Rhode Island, visiting the island of Block Island (which is part of the state of Rhode Island). Who knows. (Most people seem to think Rhode Island is in New York anyway, so I supose it doesn’t really matter!)

Anyway, it was fantastic. My soon-to-be former company runs a 10k race there every year. While Matt and I did not run, we were there with our new digital camera to take action shots of my coworkers crossing the finish line.

I always forget what a great place Block Island is, and it’s so close. The ferry landing is a 10 minute drive, and then the ferry ride is an hour to get to the island. It’s not quite peak tourist season yet, so aside from the locals, we had the island to ourselves.

After the race, it was off to the McGovern's Yellow Kittens Tavern (where we pretty much stayed for the rest of the night). It was so nice to unwind, shoot some pool, and enjoy the night with my coworkers.

I did have some revelations, though, about myself, and why I had to leave my company. It’s amazing what getting away from your usual surroundings will do for clarity, even if it’s just for an overnight trip.

Take your house or apartment, for example. Think of your furniture. Now think of a piece of furniture that you don’t interact with on a day to day basis, but it’s still an integral part of the room. An end table, maybe? It’s been there so long, it’s a cozy piece of furniture that brings the room together. In fact, the room wouldn’t seem the same if it was gone. It might even look a little empty. But you don’t notice it while it’s there… it just blends right in to help form the overall togetherness of the room. This was my place in the company. It was just time to stop being an end table.

So that was my moment of truth for the weekend. That, and the fact that even though it’s been months seen we’ve been out anywhere, I haven’t lost my ability to shoot pool. That made me happy. Matt and I are a good team.

At any rate, the next morning, we didn’t even attempt to try to make the 8 AM ferry home, the 11 AM did just fine!

Think of and go by one of my favorite entries in Life’s Little Instruction Book: “wear out, don’t rust out.”

May 07, 2003

Posted by Jess in Day to Day

As per the recommendations of Joe Litton, my parents, and basically everyone, I watched the movie Amelie the other day. The narrator introduces characters in an unusual way. He tells us the little things that the characters like, what they dislike, and what makes them happy… ie. emptying out a purse, cleaning it out, and putting everything back. We discover Amelie herself makes herself happy by skipping stones. She also enjoys cracking the top of crème brulee, and the feeling of sticking her hand into a bag full of lentils. Amelie’s mother hates pillow marks on her face in the morning.

This is the sort of thing one could take off and run with…for example, everyone likes certain things. And everyone dislikes certain things. But have you ever thought about all the minute details of life that just, well, makes you happy?

I like the way my car drives right after I drive out of the gas station when I’ve just filled the tank. I also like the way ceramic tile feels on bare feet, and having all my clothes be dry the first time I check on them in the dryer.

I dislike putting on a shirt over another shirt and having the shirt on the bottom get twisted. I also dislike getting interrupted during my favorite part of a song, and lastly, I dislike that instant the magic leaves when you have been outside all day, and all of a sudden you realize you are cold, it’s dark, and the mosquitoes are biting.

I make myself happy by going through every single old photo of mine. I have a crate full of photos, still in their individual envelopes. Yes, it takes awhile, but it’s very, very peaceful, and it’s usually when I am alone. It makes me forget everything, including how much time passes while I’m doing it.

What are your simple pleasures, likes, and dislikes? What makes you happy?

May 05, 2003

Horse Doves?
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

I was reading a book the other day, and the word “hors d'oeuvres” came across the page. While reading it, I read it too fast for my brain to process, and I thought “horse”, realized what the word was, and had to go back and start all over again.

That just struck me as so interesting, on two levels. The first being that I thought it was incredibly neat that I actually caught my brain red-handed processing something in a slightly faulty way (though I’m sure the warranty expired LONG ago), and then promptly correcting itself.

The second was that I started thinking how many different ways I have seen and heard that very word pronounced and spelled. Let’s see, first there’s Horse Doves. Then, my favorite, Whores Devores, and we can’t forget Our Doovey’s and Horse Duvrey’s.

Don’t get me started on the spelling. Hors D'evoures, Hors Dourves, Or Derves. Harley Davidson’s?

It’s a homonym nightmare.

I say forget the Hoarse Dovers, just bring me some appetizers, please!

From the Department of Respect... Tonight's episode of CSI:Miami will be shown in every state but Rhode Island. It involves investigation of a nightclub fire caused by pyrotechnics. The fire itself occurs in the episode, not just the aftermath. The episode was apparently filmed over six months ago. I found that highly respectful of CBS.

May 02, 2003

So long and thanks for all the fish.
Posted by Jess in Announcements

Today I gave my two weeks notice to my employer. I was so nervous. It was kind of like when you are breaking up with someone, and YOU know you're going to break up with them, but they don't know it yet, and you aren't really sure how to act.

This was the first time I have ever done this, but for various reasons, it is just time to move on. I've been with the company for five years, including while I was still at college.

SO, I'm going to take a shot on my own and we'll see how that goes. It's what I've always wanted to do (including working at home!). I supose that I may very well end up crawling back somewhere, but at the very least, I'll know that I tried (needless to say my resume is going up here shortly. :-)

I also will be going for a Lotus Certified End User Instructor certification. As I'm sure many of you may have noticed from some of my posts, I am on sort of a personal crusade to help educate end users. I love doing it, and hopefully I can continue while doing other projects.

So, wish me luck, we'll see how I do. Here's to following a dream, no matter how small.

I believe my company will let me keep my cell phone number, which is a plus. I'd hate to lose it. The last four digits are JESS. How neat is that?

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