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Cut Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Personal Life Update

      It goes fairly well.  My biggest problem is still the way my stomach sometimes decides 'You ate a bit too much,' and insists on returning some of it to me, but it isn't happening as much as it used to.

      K. and I saw Sahara recently, and liked it.  Half-serious, half comic, a lot of fun.

      By the way, can any of you explain to me what the U.S. Postal Screwup (formerly the U.S. Post Awful) was thinking when it invented it's package tracking system?  Here's the tracking info the Postal Screwup gives me:

Apr 22, 2005 04:45:57 PM Fernley NV USA SHIPPED
Apr 22, 2005 12:00:00 AM US ELECTRONIC SHIPPING INFO RECEIVED

      In essence, it's been shipped, and it will get there when it gets there.  There is no way to track the package so you can find out where it is, and estimate its time of arrival.

      This is the way United Parcel Service does it:

Apr 27, 2005 10:33:00 AM EAGAN MN US IN TRANSIT TO
Apr 27, 2005 10:32:00 AM OKLAHOMA CITY OK US DEPARTURE SCAN
Apr 27, 2005 12:37:00 AM OKLAHOMA CITY OK US ARRIVAL SCAN
Apr 26, 2005 09:55:00 PM TULSA OK US DEPARTURE SCAN
Apr 26, 2005 08:47:12 PM TULSA OK US ORIGIN SCAN
Apr 26, 2005 05:33:59 PM Coffeyville KS USA SHIPPED
Apr 26, 2005 02:03:50 PM US BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

      With UPS, I can see that my package left KS yesterday, went to Tulsa OK, left Tulsa last evening and arrived in Oklahoma City just past midnight, and left Oklahoma City this morning.  It was probably shipped by air, and will arrive in the Twin Cities' area sometime today.  I can expect it tomorrow, or Friday at worst.

      UPS's service makes me think well of them.  The Postal Screwup's makes me angry at them.  Why are the idiots mocking me this way?  And I do mean mocking -- the information on the package was downloaded minutes ago; the package itself is in my living room.  Presumably, sometime tomorrow or the next day, they'll tell me they've delivered it.

      Idiots.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Trackback!

      You may notice that I now have it here on Cut Steve's.  I'll have it on Fat Steve's soon too.  All this is due to Artesea of the Haloscan support forum, who helped me get the template code right.

      Nice people like this make the world a better place.

THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED -- AND WILL BE!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Good News and Bad News

      I have good news.  It's been raining a lot in Minneapolis, so I haven't been able to cut the grass.  Great, I didn't want to anyway.

      I have bad news.  It's been raining a lot in Minneapolis, so the grass is growing well, and my beloved K. bugs me about why the grass hasn't been cut.

      Can any of you arrange a draught on my block, so the damned green stuff just stops growing?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

New Terrorist Group

      The following was reported by Jon Carroll of the San Fancisco Chronicle:

      The following is the first communique from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad.  It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an anonymous spam remailer.  I have no idea whether other news organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they have not chosen to print it.  Perhaps they fear starting a panic.  I feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or disgusting, must always be told.  I am pleased to report that the words below are at least not disgusting:

      Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States.  We are Unitarian Jihad.  There is only God, unless there is more than one God.  The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions.  Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

      Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States!  Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought.  Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt.  Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them.  You have a right to your moderation!  You have the power to be calm!  We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

[snip]

      We are Unitarian Jihad.  We are everywhere.  We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath.  We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with.  Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

[snip]

      People of the United States!  We are Unitarian Jihad!  We can strike without warning.  Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere!  Nice people will run the government again!  There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

      Full message available at the link above.  The snipped portions are just as terrifyingly fanatical.

      Worse, they are recruiting members openly here.  Someone needs to put a stop to this.

      Be on guard.

Movie: Fever Pitch

      K. and I went to see Sahara yesterday, and when we got there it was sold out.

      So we saw Fever Pitch instead.  It turned out to be a charming romantic comedy, and we both liked it more than we expected too.  K. said she'd been reluctant to go, because she thought it was about baseball, but it turned out to be about obsession.

      So, two thumbs up here, recommended to all of you.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Now that's service!

      As mentioned previously, I electronically filed my taxes yesterday Tuesday.  When I opened my e-mail today, I found six letter from TaxAct.  Three informing me that they'd received my Federal, State, and Property Tax Refund returns, and three more informing me that Uncle Sam and the People's Republic of Minnesota had accepted them, along with the reference numbers assigned by the gummint, and estimates of when our refunds should be deposited.  Good job, TaxAct.

      And as I said, the fee they charged for electronic filing was more than made up for by the money I saved by their tax tips.  Count me very satisfied.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Varied Blather

      I forgot to mention it before, but on Sunday or Monday K. and I saw Sin City.  We liked it a lot.  Be warned, though: this movie is vulgar, violent, nudeand politically incorrect.  With that in mind, highly recommended.

      I usually check out my site meter statistics (OK, I'm vain, I admit it), and on Monday I had 17 visits to Cut Steve's!  So I used the referral feature, and it turned out that almost all of them were from spam sites, or foreign language sites that I couldn't read.  Go figure.

      The taxes are done.  I almost made an egregious mistake in filling them out, but caught it at the last minute.  Thank you, Jesus.  We'll get a small refund from the feds, which will just about cover the extra money we have to pay the state.

      Aside from that, I feel the way I usually do after filing: like I've just eaten something foul, and I need to vomit.

      For those of you who are doing your taxes by hand, let me recommend a get a tax program.  I use TaxAct, which is available over the web.  There's a free version, and ones you pay for.  The suggestions it gave me as I went through more than paid for their charge, and in addition I got to file electronically.  Steve Bob says "Check it out!", both TaxAct and others like TurboTax.

      Best to you all.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Just Stuff

      Been busy the last few days, didn't get any blogging done.  But I did dream about blogging, which is weird.  In the dreams, I was reading blog entries, sometimes my own, sometimes others, and finding something important in them.

      Once I wake up, though, I can't remember a thing.

      I have a new fiction author to recommend.  His name is Simon R. Green, and K. and I have been devouring his "Nightside" series.  The novels are a combination of comedy, hard boiled detective, and dark fantasy, set in the magic part of London where it's always 3:00 AM. The hero is a Chandleresque private eye named John Taylor, who's only half human and can find anything.  K. was reading one, and kept laughing and reading me lines, like the moment where the hero steps through a Timeslip and finds himself in the future: 'Damn!  Those things are supposed to be posted.'  The comedy nicely sets off some truly grim happenings, and there were several nice twists I never saw coming. So far I've read two, Something from the Nightside and Agents of Light and Darkness.  They're both very good.  I'll start the third as soon as I go to the library later today.

      And oh yes, it's that time of year when you feel like you got fucked in the ass with a red hot poker again: tax time.  I have a few details left, but I should have our returns filed later today.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Movies

      On Monday, we saw "Beauty Shop," and enjoyed it.  Today, we'll see "Sin City."

      Never let it be said we have narrow tastes at St. Onge manor.

      Oh, "Guess Who" was pretty good too.

Maybe my Stomach's Getting Stronger

      I ate, I overate a little, I got nauseated, and I did NOT barf it back up.

      That's a big change.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Book News

      Finished and enjoyed two from John Ringo.

      Against the Tide is part of the "Council Wars" series.  Set several thousand years in the future, it deals with a time when technology is so advanced, people can change species for the fun of it, elves exist (because they've been created), and enthusiasts race dragons.

      And then, a civil war destroys access to that technology . . .

      The second was We Few, which Ringo co-authors with David Weber.  More conventional science fiction, though also involving a civil war.  Prince Roger, spoiled and worthless son of the reigning Royal family, gets stranded on an uncivilized planet thousands of miles from the only way off.  He and his guards had to hike across the planet, only to find when they got there that the assassination attempt had been part of a broader coup -- his mother the Empress is held captive, his siblings and their families are dead, and he is supposedly to blame for all this.  New mission: rescue mother and clear name.

      Both very good series, I recommend them to all science fiction fans.

      Next up, as soon as I finish a non-renewable library book, is Something From the Darkside, by Simon R. Green, a fantasy/hard-boiled detective novel that takes place in a part of London where it's always 3 AM, and magic works.  K.'s reading it, and sharing choice comic lines (a man walks into a bar and asks for country & western; the bartender shoots him).  It looks to be rather good.

      K. just(12:40) characterized it as "Sherlock Holmes meets Cthulhu."  She also shared a line.  A character falls through a time warp: "Damn!  Those things are supposed to be posted!"

Bad Digestion Days

      Sunday and Monday, i.e.

      On Sunday, I had some chicken and wild rice soup, which has a lot of solids.  On Monday, a wrap.  On both days, the meal came back up over a period of hours.  This is tiresome.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Yesterday was Mixed

      Terri Schiavo died, ending her suffering, and bringing a measure of bitter closure to her parents.  Rest in peace, Terri.

      Otherwise, it was good.  Nice weather.  "If you don't like the weather in Minnesota, wait a minute," goes a saying here.  We had a very warm Tuesday, cold and rain on Wednesday, warmth yesterday on Thursday.

      K. and I went to see Guess Who?, which was at least as good as we'd hoped, and then to Applebee's, where I ate a bowl of soup with no stomach upset.

      Life is good for most of us, and we should remember that, and give thanks for it, frequently.