Untitled Rambling #6

A personal project

I’ve been keeping track of my e-mails, both at work and at home. I found myself curious just how many e-mails I got in an average week, and how they broke down according to category. (That alone should tell you how bored I get at work, thinking up cockamamie schemes like this…) It’s been one whole day so far, and a bit more. Say, maybe twenty-six and a half hours.

Maybe it’s just ’cause I’m paying attention, but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting as much e-mail as I usually get. Or maybe it’s just ’cause things are slow here at work lately.

So far, in the last 26 and a half hours, I’ve received 12 personal e-mails, 11 work, 8 jokes, 2 conservative, 1 liberal, and 68 spam messages.

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing to myself, just to skew the results. I’ll resist that temptation, I guess.

Google Reader

I work on computers every day, day in and day out, all the time, constantly, both at work and at home. Some people think I’m a “computer guy” and ask me technical questions.

“Why am I getting so many popup ads?” asked my boss one day. “It could be because you spend so much time looking at dirty pictures,” I told him. “Use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, it has a built-in popup blocker.”

The truth is, I really don’t know much about computers. I know how to use them in certain applications, but I’m actually pretty confused as to how they really work. Look at it this way… You know how to drive a car. You’ve been driving cars for years, right? You drive a car every day. Wanna come over to my house and fix my transmission for me? No? Oh. Okay. Then why do you think I’ll jump at the chance to go to your house and fix your computer? I have no more idea how to fix a computer than you do to fix my transmission. Honest.

“Does your e-mail work?” my boss hollered from his office. “I can’t get my e-mail. Do something.” “Did the cord fall out of the back of your computer again?” I answered. “Try plugging your computer into the network. That might help.”

I have a basic knowledge of what goes on inside a computer, but just enough to be dangerous. I know that a 1.2 gigahoozit computer is probably slower than a 2.3 gigahoozit computer, but I’m not real sure why. I’m a fan of the Civilization games by Sid Meier. They just released Civilization IV a few months ago, but I haven’t bought it yet. Why? I’d need to upgrade the video card on my computer, and probably add some RAM too. I don’t know how to do that! I don’t even know what a video card does, to be honest… I work on Macintosh’s at work. You never have to mess with a Mac’s innards…

“Our server’s down again,” said the boss. “I need you to fix it.” “I’m a graphic designer, not an IT guy,” I replied. “I didn’t even know we HAD a server… What does it look like? Where is it? I’ll go take a look…” You know, I think the problem is actually with the router, but what do I know?

I’ve been writing in this blog for the better half of a year now, and I’ve had the Radloffs site for over five years (the parent site of my blog). Throughout the years, I’ve designed amateur websites for every band I’ve been in… Big Lizard, Moana Lisa, Hippie Go Lucky, and the Smokin’ Clams. You’d think I knew what I was doing by now, but I don’t. I don’t know how to code this stuff… To blog I simply go to Blogger, enter my password and user name (which I forget half the time ’cause I’m not the kind of person that remembers things like names, phone numbers, birthdates, passwords or what kind of car I drive) and start typing away. That’s what I know.

Today I was poking around the Internet, visiting various blogs, checking to see if people have commented on my comments, and generally just trying to look like I was awake so the boss wouldn’t hand me a broom, when it struck me. “Boy,” I thought to myself. “I wish there was some kind of software that would keep track of all the blogs I visit.” Hmmm… After a bit of poking about, I stumbled on Google’s “Reader.” Two hours later, I’m still struggling, trying to figure out how this works. They toss around terms like “Atom,” “XML,” “RSS,” and “HTML” like they expect me to know what they mean. I have figured out how to subscribe to a few blogs, but other blogs don’t seem to work that way – from what I gather they’re not “syndicated,” or something like that. In any case, Google Reader seems to be a pretty nifty thing, or at least it will be a pretty nifty thing if it catches on in a big way. Check it out. And if you figger out how to use the thing, lemme know.

Oh, and you can click on the little “Add to Google” button on the left up there somewhere to add this very blog to Reader. I think.

“What version of Windows are you using,” asked the Tech Support Guy. I scratch my head. “I’m not sure, I think they’re double-paned…”

Mr. Blouin and Co.

Yesterday I said something about the gubernatorial race here in Iowa. In the few scant hours since then, several things have happened… Democratic candidate Mike Blouin has announced his running mate, Dr. Andrea “Andy” McGuire. Ms. McGuire is a pro-choice insurance executive in Des Moines who used to work at a Veterans Administration Hospital. source Seems like a good choice – we’ll know better in a few weeks, I’m sure.

In other goofy Iowa news, republican Bob Vander Plaats, who is running for Lt. Governor under Jim Nussle, wasted no time in embarrassing my corner of the state. I was worried about him doing that, you know.

“We are going to win, and the Democrats are scared of what Vander Plaats and Nussle are going to do throughout this campaign to win,” – Bob Vander Plaats in the Ames Tribune

I guess they’re planning a dirty campaign. Good to know that ahead of time, I guess… I’m not sure if the Democrats are necessarily scared of what Vander Plaats and Nussle are going to do, but I’m sure they’re a bit worried. And, thanks to the warning, we’ll be able to keep an eye on them.

This tidbit, by the way, was brought to my attention in another blog – Who’s Makin’ Bacon.

Adoptions in Ohio

This is beautiful. Republican representative Ron Hood introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would ban children from being adopted or placed in foster care in homes where the prospective parent or a roommate is homosexual, bisexual or transgender. In response, democratic State Senator Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to his fellow lawmakers saying that he’s going to introduce legislation “that would ban households with one or more republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents.” To quote the Beacon Journal:

“Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that ‘credible research’ shows that adopted children raised in republican households are more at risk for developing ’emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.'” – Akron Beacon Journal


Is it plagiarism if I copy something I wrote myself? Is it bad ethics? I hope not… I truly don’t want to do anything immoral, but I wrote something kinda interesting, and I wanna share it. Lacking a refrigerator to stick it on, I shall stick it on this blog.

I frequently read a blog called “Intellectual Insurgent,” mostly because the people there make me think. The author of the blog posits interesting questions, theories, observations, whatever, and then people jump in with their two cents’ worth. I’m flattered that they let me play – these are some smart cookies. Anyway, today’s post asked whether history is cyclical or linear. There’s a lot more to it than that – the question delves into religion and politics and all sorts of things.

My (slightly edited) response was:

When I read your headline, “Is History Linear or Cyclical” I had several thoughts flit through what I laughingly refer to as “my mind.” The first was the long view – is the universe expanding or contracting? There are those that think that the universe itself is cyclical, that the force of the Big Bang will keep the universe expanding until such time that the gravitational force of everything within the universe will start things contracting again, until, eventually, everything will collapse in a gnaB giB (reverse Bang). Other people think the universe will expand forever. (Which doesn’t take into consideration dark matter or Gamma Ray Bursts, but that’s a whole different thing altogether.) I tend to believe the first view – that the universe is cyclical – it starts from a “cosmic egg,” Big Bangs,expands a while, then will start contracting until it’s a “cosmic egg” again, thus starting over. (I think Einstein postulated that at the point when the universe starts to contract time may reverse itself. I believe that’s been refuted.)

The next thing that zipped through what foggy awareness I possess was the word “epicycle.” Way back yonder in the olden days of yore, Ptolemy tried to describe the motion of the planets using epicycles. The Ptolemaic system accounted for the fact that people could track a planet moving across the sky one direction for a while, then it’d slow down, go backwards for a little bit, then resume it’s course across the night sky again. People thus surmised that the planets followed little itty-bitty orbits within their major orbits, and they called the little itty-bitty orbits “epicycles.”

I think history has epicycles. Cultures, civilizations, people, thought – it all goes forward for a while, then slows down and backs up a little, then continues onward. And, it’s my contention that all the various cultures, people, components of history do NOT have their epicycles at the same time. While one culture goes through a difficult spot, another sails on ahead.

So, I guess my view of history is that it lurches a lot, but it always moves forward eventually. We’re in a lurch at the moment. We’ve been bravely taking a step forward into the past for the past five-six years now…

I’m curious whether that makes sense to anyone but me.

If you’re reading this on Facebook, you can see the original blog at www.radloffs.net, click on “Blog.”

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