Welcome to my diary... lets hope that sharing the mundane minutia of everyday
existence with a pack of strangers on the web will make me a better person...
Thu, 21 Apr 2005
In Memory of Syd, My First Pet
Im sad to have to write that one of my pets passed away today. His
name was Syd, and he was the first pet that I had as an adult. He was a
textbook cockatiel - grey body, yellow head, and bright orange cheeks. He
also loved sitting on Michelle's head, as you can see in the photo below.
Click on it to see others pictures and video of him:
I found him at the Humane Society. He was, believe it or not, a
stray bird... which is fairly rare, although one of my other 2 birds is
also a stray. They didn't know for certain, but they think he was five
years old when I got him. That would make him 15 this year. I know that's
average for his breed, but it was still such a shock. He was happy and
singing last night, not one sign of illness or age. It looks like he
passed away peacefully in his sleep.
I have 2 other cockatiels, but Syd was everybody's favorite. Not
because he was the nicest of birds, but because he had the best
personality. Despite being completely tone deaf and the worst composer
ever, he was frequently singing. He was also quite sneaky, sticking his
head out of the cage so you could pet him, then pulling it back at the
last second. Then putting it back out again too see if you'd fall for it
again. And when he was out of the cage, he refused to go back in unless I
bribed him with his favorite treats.
He would whistle, and chatter, and chuckle, and bob his head up and
down like a woodpecker listening to heavy metal music.
He was definately a character, and a wonderful pet, and Im going to
miss him a lot.
For our honeymoon, Michelle and I will be speding two and a half weeks in Tahiti! Everbody has
heard of Tahiti, but Ive gotten several questions about where it actually is on the map. I think I
found the perfect map to illustrate its locale:
It reminds me of a great clip from the
They were talking about the Lord Of The Rings, and how its a great boost to
tourism in New Zealand... and John Stewart responded, "you know what else would help New Zealand?
Being closer to the REST OF THE WORLD."
Well, I goaded the Cragmore Crew into all taking personality tests... its the closest we guys
can get to actually talking about out feelings without risking a punch in the mouth. Here are the
results, in order of who is coolest:
I share this type with Haydn, Mark Twain, and Dr. Seuss. Quite an odd
mix... and not a scientist or computer geek among them. I apparently have more in
common with MLK and Ghandi than any US President. I guess I could live with
that... Some quotes:
"Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more
precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice.
Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as
"ENFPs hate bureaucracy, both in principle and in practice; they will
always make a point of launching one of their crusades against some
aspect of it."
"ENFPs have what some call a 'silly switch.' They can be intellectual,
serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance,
they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD"
"They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being
controlled or labelled."
Sounds about right to me... the only thing I disagreed with was the listing of
which professions I should choose. Of the 10 least compatible professions to have, I
have already done 6 of them... and enjoyed them fairly well... hmmm... maybe if I
were 'right' for them, I'd still be doing them?
I took another online test, and it had the same results, except this one said I
was slightly more introverted. Im not sure I agree with that...
Either way, I suppose the lesson is that personality tests can be useful tools,
but they can never really tell you who you are. Or maybe that's just my ENFP
hatred of control and labeling shining through...
Michelle was out of town again this Saturday, so naturally I joined the guys
again for the Saturday night bike ride.
This one was a bit less adventurous... we rode from the Minneapolis U of MN
campus, to the St Paul campus. Yay. We pokes around the State Fair grounds, and
from that moment onward everybody had a yen for fried cheese curds...
We then hooked up with a few other people, and kept heading East. We eventually
hit a trail that could either take us to downtown St Paul, or all the way to dang
Wisconsin. We seriously debated the Wisconsin route... while we waited, one of the
bikers caused a smal ruckus. He didn't bring any food or water, but for some reason
he remembered to bring fireworks. The night sky was lit up... Tim admired his
Eventually we decided to head to St Paul, and we swung by the Capitol building.
Another fair was there, also closed, and also advertising cheese curds. Well, that
fixed it... we blasted down Univeristy Ave back to the Minneapolis campus, to the
only place in the city that sells cheese curds at 2 AM. And there was much
I hope I can ride with these guys again soon, but given my busy pre-wedding
schedule, I dont think it will happen for a while yet. Oh well...
Michelle is back in Seattle this week, so I decided to spend my Saturday night
with Alec on his Saturday Night Bike Ride. Thirteen people showed this week, and
we probably biked around 50 miles around the city... It was pretty high speed
We started at the Minneapolis U of MN campus, we went to St Paul along the
river, blasted through some trails by Fort Snelling, meandered into downtown St
Paul, and crossed the High Bridge.
At that point it was about midnight, and Alec wanted to head back to the King
And I for a cocktail and a snack... but the group wanted to keep going,
to know a great way to Minneapolis. Well, we went along the west bank of the river
for a while, and wound up in Mendota. Not the most direct route Id say... we
didn't get back to Uptown till 2:30 AM... of course, Chuck getting a flat didn't
speed things up any.
Most of the trails were pretty dark. Luckily Alec brought two headlghts, and
let me borrow one. That was a lifesaver, literally! We were really close
to home -
barely a mile - and wouldn't you know it... I took a nasty spill on the greenway. My left leg
and arm are a bit banged up, but that's life when you bike everywhere!
I hope to be able to do it again sometime... but I'll need a bit of time
to heal first...
I finally got some spare time to set up
PyBloxsom on Alec's
site this weekend!
Im still working the kinks out, but I got it to format the blog posts just the
same way that the rest of my site does. I also whipped out a little web based
Python script to allow posting via the web, and output the dynamic data to
static HTML files.
It amazes me how publishing static HTML pages is such an afterthought in so much
blogging software. How else could a small site POSSIBLY handle any traffic?
Anyway, Ive moved some of the news items over to the new PyBlosxom format, and
will hopefully set up the 'articles' section to use the same architecture. Lots of
people out there have nifty plugins for PyBlosxom... maybe I'll find something I
wont need to totally rewrite ;)
I really hate blogging... I do it so often, as you can tell.
I tried several different times to get into it. I tried some of the
free online systems, but there weren't enough options. I also downloaded and tried
out several extensible blogging / web site management tools, from
Zope (Im a Python bigot).
I just couldn't get motivated. Id set up the systems just fine, I
even had a lot of the UI design already done... I'd just suddenly realize
that Im spending WAAAAY too much time setting up a system that I would
probably never use.
I think it probably has something to do with the fact that I spend
most of my day programming, and therefore its the LAST thing I want to
do when I get home. I dont even listen to music or watch TV... I usually
just read... there's nothing more ludicrously tragic than a
I then decided that getting a new G4 laptop and broadband would make me
want to spend more time on the computer. It did, but now Im just a sad
BZFlag addict. Oh well... a couple
more months and it will all be out of my system, and I can get back to
setting up a bigger better web site.
Happy new year! For those who dont know, Im engaged to a wonderful
girl by the name of Michelle Jones. She's the dark-haired beauty with the
great smile in my photo album. The light-haired beauty with the adequate
grin is myself...
Michelle will be moving to Minneapolis this spring, so I'll be going
through some serious changes in my life... namely I think I'll have to
get cable, a TIVO, and internet access to keep her entertained. Ive
been a luddite for so long, I dont know if I can deal with shelling out
$100 each month just so I can STILL complain, "there's nothing on."
And she's not a fan of the huge sythe I have hanging in my living room.
Hmm... I think I'll need people to take a poll on that one. Hands up if you
like the scary blade!
We also just got back from a trip to the Virgin Islands. The photos
for that should be up soon... we chartered a yacht with my buddy
Alec and six other friends, and
spent a week sailing around the Carribean. It was an incredible time.
Swimming, snorkeling, sailing, and just plain doing nothing!
The water was amazingly clear, and blue. You could see the ocean floor
through 50 feet of water! We saw a dozen dolphins, some stringray, a few
sea turtles, and a handful of barracuda lurking about.