Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Here's something those of you who are more technically literate in the ways of computers than I can perhaps explain to me. In the wake of the mini-hysteria over Daylight Saving Time coming early, computers not knowing the fact and trying to operate at the "wrong" time, etc., I simply reset the time on my PC manually. It was very easy to do and I thought, great, now I'm in sync.

Everything worked fine. The next time I logged onto my MIT email account, I got an enigmatic error message, and mail would neither download nor send. I thought nothing of it--the MIT Athena system has its glitches every now and again and, besides, I'd updated my computer's clock so I was in sync, right?

Apparently not. On Monday morning when I got up and logged on, the error message I received was much less ambiguous: "Time is out of phase". I checked and the time displayed on the computer was the proper Daylight Saving Time--could it be that my updating the time had caused this problem? I quickly "fell back" one hour, then clicked the check mail button on my MIT account's control bar and, Voila!--mail came pouring in. So now I'm purposely running my computer at the "wrong" time and everything’s fine again. Thoughts, anyone?

The report on the Open House last Sunday is kind of positive. My realtor said that he had seven parties come through the house, everything from single people who had caught the ad in the Globe to couples brought by other agents in the ReMax network. As I thought, one or two of my neighbors to whom I've never been acquainted showed up to check out who I am and how I've lived. He said they praised the neighborhood and me as a homeowner.

Predictably, reaction to the house was mixed. Comments ranged from appreciation for its condition and period charm to displeasure for the narrowness of the upstairs hall and period layout. This is understandable. The house was built circa 1860 and is a typical New England farm house. It doesn't waste too much space on halls but gets right into rooms with great light and a comfortable layout; each and every room is 11'-6" by 13'-6". The three main rooms downstairs are extended by walk-in bay windows that are 4' deep by 10" wide.

The house went onto multiple listings yesterday and we'll see what kind of traffic that brings. All indications are that the market locally is picking up ahead of the slower national recovery. Roslindale has the reputation of being just about the last area within Boston’s city limits where you can still find something affordable. As for me, I'll keep on weeding out the basement and attic storage room, and continue packing and taking stuff up to Fritz's. By the time I need to contact movers, I may have made as much as half the move myself in my Jeep.

I can tell that on at least one level I'm experiencing stress about the whole transition that's going on in my life. On the surface I'm making it back and forth to New Hampshire for meetings and checking out houses built by the prospective General Contractors just fine. I'm working through my last months at MIT refusing to be taken as a lame duck or slacking away from doing my job although some are saying I'm nuts to keep up my usual pace. I look at it as preserving normalcy in a time of concern about strangers going through my house and preparing to make a huge change in how I live. But I'm sleeping badly. Last night I went to bed at quarter to midnight and was wide awake before 5am. I know that this too will pass, but I'm hoping the house sale phase will pass rather quickly. One aspect of my life is definitely passing quickly—-as of Friday, there will only be two and one half months remaining to my MIT career.

A gay rights story that's blowing up very quickly is the defense of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by Chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Pace declares homosexuality to be an immoral act that he equates with adultery among military families, and which he says must not be condoned by the Pentagon. Pace credits his upbringing for his opinion of gays, which gay/lesbian groups are saying is not an appropriate basis for the formation of governmental policy.

As General Pace appears to be "family values" man, he's going to have problems voting for a Republican in 2008 should any of the current front runners become the candidate. Among the three, Giuliani, McCain and Gingrich, there are seven wives and a known history, at least in Gingrich's case, of adultery.


Here's a link http://silveraj.livejournal.com/71833.html to a blog out of London by a Brit who's living out on several different edges simultaneously. The photos and graphics are never less than interesting and sometimes stunning. AJ (for Aaron Jacobs) reveals self in layers, but clicking the "Who I am and What I Do" button in the left-hand sidebar will lead to a most interesting profile. Be warned: the image that comes up when you get to the site is technically not safe for work but as it's all in the cause of political satire, it might go down well (pun intended) in liberal office environments.

Not too long ago I passed on an opinion piece that had appeared in the METRO. At first I thought METRO was a dumbed-down version of a newspaper because of its extremely short news items that get the basic facts across without going into much if any supportive detail. But I've come to realize that there's some real depth to the paper and, using the T while my Jeep was being repaired, I found this level-headed piece:

My View: Can you say "scrotum"?
by felice cohen

Hey kids, can you say vagina? How about scrotum? OK, maybe "Sesame Street" won't be helping kids pronounce these words anytime soon, but on that same note, does banning these words from kids' vocabularies really protect them? Some folks think so.

But is it protecting or censoring? We're not talking about the f-word that instills shock, nor the n-word that fuels hatred; scrotum and vagina are simply the actual names of body parts.

An Atlantic Beach, Fla., theater had "The Vagina Monologues" displayed on its marquee until a woman complained. Why? Because her niece asked her, "What's a vagina?" Instead of simply answering her niece, a girl old enough to read (thus old enough to know what a vagina is), the woman complained to the theater. And like good little PC-doers, the theater changed it to "The Hoohaa Monologues." Said a theater spokesperson, "We decided we would just use child slang for it." Child slang? If children already have a slang name for vagina, why not just use the real word? My 2 1/2-year-old niece knows what a vagina is. As she should. She has one.

When asked what the woman told her niece, the woman replied, "I’m offended I had to answer the question." Offended? I’m offended. "The Vagina Monologues" author, Eve Ensler, is offended. What's there to be offended about? Having a vagina? The whole point of the play is empowerment of the female body. Thankfully the cast made them change it back, but the message had already been sent.

On the same note, the new children's book "The Higher Power of Lucky," which just won the Newbury Medal, children's literature's most prestigious award, is currently being banned from school libraries and bookstores across the country because the book contains the word "scrotum." That little sack that contains the key to continuing world population has parents hopping mad. Will knowing the word scrotum cause kids to have sex prematurely? Or will not knowing?

In an opening scene in the new Broadway show "Spring Awakening," a teenage girl asks her mother where babies come from. The mother doesn't say. Later on the girl becomes pregnant and the mother says she should have known better. But how? The mother never explained it. Had the girl known the scrotum carries sperm to the penis that when inserted into a vagina causes impregnation — well, you know the rest. And if you don't, ask your parents.

Ms Cohen is a New York-based free-lance writer

It's not just gays that Peter Pace is opposed to. He said it's immoral for a service member to engage in adultery with the spouse of another service member.

I'm not sure why it's OK to screw around with a civilian's spouse, but not a soldier's spouse; the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes no such distinction.

But there it is.

And he's Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Seems to me we need a person with a stronger understanding of morality in that position.
My computer went to daylight savings on its own, but microsoft outlook moved all my appointments for the rest of march back an hour....

I do NOT enjoy the sight of Tony Blair sucking cock. He doesn't look like he enjoys it.

When we put our old apartment up for sale, the realtor told me to box and store as much of my sheet music as possible. Too cluttered. So I stored, among other things, the vocal highlights from Phantom of the Opera, which I am ashamed to own anyway, thinking oh I'll never need this! Sure enough, I got asked for "All I ask of you" for a wedding a month later and thought OMIGOD do I have to buy ANOTHER? No, I xeroxed one from the library. But packing to show a house is a pain, with all sorts of unpredictable side effects.
As usual, the definition of morality that people like Pace present is slanted at best, a complete lie worst, and definitely not biblically based.

"Time is out of phase" I have to say, that is such a fantastically scifi thing for a computer to tell you. "Well, I wondered why the world is so screwed up. Now I know." Anyway, I'd ask the super-fab MIT IT dept to sort this out - sounds like the problem is on their end.
Yes, "Time is out of phase" is far more philosophical than electronic or mechanical. My other favorite error message is "Address has permanent and fatal errors"--it just sounds so cosmic. In Dante, someone with permanent and fatal errors winds up in one of the circles of Hell.

go to that webpage for help with the outlook time issues.

Will - did you check to see that you have the latest Windows Updates? There was one released a few weeks ago specifically for this time change. I have my machine update weekly at 3 am on sunday so it doesnt bother anything

as for the sleeplessness, bless you you are going thru SO MUCH right now - chamomile tea, hot baths - may help but surely the signs are good for your sale and then you just have your retirement and the move and the ... oh I will stop now! It will be fine - its funny that I know I am amazed that I am stressed when GOOD things are happening - one thinks it would be the opposite- change is change.

Sending good vibes your way!
Will, there is a patch you can purchase to fix the computer. Someone here at work fixed all of the work computers.

You always pack your posts with some much. Thank you.
Personally I think you should blame the problem on MIT... what you did makes sense to me... but I own a Mac, so I'm not privy to many of these problems often ;)

I think it is perfectly ironic that Giuliani, McCain, and Gingrich, all divorcees multiple times and Gingrich even admitting to affairs are the "leading candidates for the Republican Party"... no one would believe them if they start a "sanctity of marriage" tirade... guess the fundies are just gonna have the face the fact that their moment in the nanny spotlight has faded... nice try, it just didn't (and wasn't ever) going to work for the public as a whole... you just got lucky that the Dems ran some pretty lame candidates in 2000 and 2004 against your boy ;)
Well thank you Miss Shenida Weave for the comment and for the link to me on The No-Lye Report. I hope you'll stop by often. When I'm home tonight I'm going to explore your blog in more detail.

J.P.--thanks for the compliment--I try to put a couple of different topics on the blog each time.

SoGal--Interestingly, I've noticed that I sleep longer and deeper when spooned against the husband at his place than I do when I sleep alone at mine.
My office computer keeps changing the time back an hour on its own (I assume it is matching the network). I finally gave up.

It's amazing to me that people are so up in arms about naming body parts. I didn't realize that the change in DST also meant we went back to 1890 as well.
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