log (2008/06/13 to 2008/06/19)

Missed another week of the weblog; where does the time go?

It goes into the end of the little daughter's high school career, deciding just how to pay for her first year or so of college, her prom and related activities (although M bore the brunt of the driving and arrangement-helping for that, and I only had to do a bit of late-night duty when thunderstorms and some worried not-us parents brought their group's planned two-night campout in a local park to an end after only one night), the little boy's first performance in a band in an actual venue (okay, so the music school probably rents the place for the evening and he wasn't of course actually payed or anything, but still), two-plus days of sometimes-actually-interesting Spring Strategy Meetings at work, lots and lots of Second Life and World of Warcraft (did I mention Spennix is level 60?), and even an addiction to one of those vapid Flash games that, after much effort I finally beat (one of the Beginner levels of), and so on and so on.

And not nearly enough sleep. Or weblogging! *8)

Thanks to all kind readers who reassured me that the mysterious white mist coming out of the car's interior ducts (not "ducks") when the A/C is on on very humid days is probably just water mist from benign natural processes, an' I shouldn't worry.

Thanks to the weather for being extremely gorgeous this morning, although I look up with some surprise just now to notice that it's apparently raining outside. This is fine, too, although I would prefer if we didn't return to the horrible humidity sort of thing for a bit, eh?

A piece of reader input I missed last go 'round somehow: What do you see?

I see you at [link]

I'm not sure that that's actually me strictly speaking (well, okay really strictly speaking it is, but you know), but I appreciate the thought.

Cute wordification sites continue to spring up; see for instance the Declaration of Independence (or the Declaration of Independence, or etc etc).

Am in a rather interesting place at work right now, as I can't recall if I've mentioned. Working on a couple significant-sized pieces of the Research Division's strategies and Technology Outlooks, which involves trying to get time with smart busy people and to ask them questions that'll get them thinking about strategies and technology outlooks rather than whatever urgent thing was already on their minds, and then working with other smart and busy people to boil down the result into something that might actually influence the company's behavior in positive ways. And also at the same time officially looking for a technical area to get deeply into and be a leader in and do amazingly wonderful work in and publish papers and file valuable patents and so on.

Most recently I took the bit in my teeth and told my immediate and perhaps-interim (or not) manager that the technical area I wanted to start seriously working in was all this here Virtual World stuff, and notwithstanding that it does involve a certain amount of dance clubs and people dressed as chickens and whatnot, my instincts tell me that there's important stuff there, potentially worth quite a bit to both the company and the world, and the idea of looking for it and developing the ideas around it are exciting to me.

I expected some pushback, some suggestions that there are more serious things I could be doing, whatever, but after some good technical discussion of the science involved and possible research questions and so on I asked as I left if it was okay with him then if I worked on that, and he said "if that's what you're passionate about and your gut tells you that there's something there, go for it!"

Which was really quite nice.

As well as the usual treasured reader input and spam that either the spam filters catch or I instinctively purge, the reader-input boxes on the ol' weblog here have been getting quite a few (well, a couple dozen) odd little comments that seem extremely generic and content-free, but also aren't spam in any particular sense. Things on the order of "This is a very good site. Maybe you could have more pictures", or "A wonderful site, I will visit again", or "Sensitive and poignant, grand". Some of them have odd little misspellings, or an extra letter after the final period, or something like that. Some don't seem to.

I'm guessing, as I have in the past, that these are odd little probes for forms which automatically post what's submitted to the web, and that the prober will eventually come back, see if the words that they posted have appeared on the site, and if so post ads for male enlargement products or pr0n or whatever it is that spammers are selling these days. But I'm not sure. Why, after all, would they bother with the probing step? Why not just post the spam itself to every form in sight, and let what appears appear? Much less effort, same result?

The net is such an odd place.

For reasons that I've now forgotten someone recommended that I watch the "Hush" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer a few years ago, and eventually I mentioned this to M and she put it on the Netflix list, and eventually there wasn't anything above it on the list, and the other day it came. It's the second episode on a DVD with two other episodes, and as is my wont I watched the first episode first, and wow it was silly!

This was the one where Willow accidentally acquires the power to make (well) anything that she says happen (sometimes), and so Buffy and Spike are going to get married, and whatsisname is blind, and etc. etc. I'd forgotten or hadn't realized to what extent Buffy is (was?) a silly comedy. Part of its complex appeal I guess.

Otherwise, hm. I'm sleepy from not sleeping enough. I'm taking my neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitors religiously, and have been a functioning member of society pretty steadily. There's still, somewhere more or less deep down (more deeply buried some days than others), a sort of pain at the notion of existing at all, of functioning in the world, of being out of bed, that seems to be the main thing left over from The Incident a bit over a year ago.

It's an odd pain, not having anything obvious in common with normal pains except that I'd really rather that it stopped, and that "pain" is the best name for it, for reasons that I can't express (at least that I can't express while sitting on the floor of this auditorium pretending to be taking notes or something on this talk that I'm hearing for the third time). In some sense it's made (it's making) my life richer and deeper, less taking things for granted, improving my appreciation of darkness, of being hidden, of rest. But I'd still like it to stop.

Best of warm wavings to all my readers, all your work and play and pleasures and pains. Maybe I'll go not quite so many days before posting here again; we'll see! *8)