Monthly Archives: June 2004

“What is this? A center for ants?”

The subject of my post today comes from a movie Becky and I recently watched on TBS, Zoolander| A decidedly goofy movie starring the goofy Ben Stiller, the story revolves around a past-his-prime male model being brainwashed by a clothing designer and used to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia, who is planning to introduce sweeping changes in child labor laws which would aversely impact the revenues of clothiers worldwide. If you like bizarre humor and can stand Ben Stiller, it’s a good laugh.

Becky and I also recently saw Shrek 2|, a very funny computer-animated movie which relies on a different genre of humor. In Shrek 2, the pop culture references and satire are fast and furious, and I’d say they make up about half of the movie’s laugh quotient. The other half is covered mainly by the hilarious personalities crafted by the movie’s leading men: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas. If you liked Shrek, you’ll certainly enjoy Shrek 2.

In other news, my 1994 Toyota Camry just rolled over 193,000 miles this week. That’s almost 20,000 miles per year – well above the national average of 15,000 miles. It is starting to show its age. Last week, I attempted to roll down the driver’s side window. There was some ker-chunking, and the window ground about halfway down and then started slowly sliding down the rest of its way on its own. Now, that doesn’t stop me from driving the car, but it’s certainly annoying to drive in the rain with a window down.

So I took my car in to the local Toyota dealer to have them look at the window. They said it needed a new window motor and regulator assembly, and the cost was a bit more than I was hoping to pay, so I had them just put the window back together in the “up” position. This way, as long as I don’t hit the window button, the window will stay up and protect me from the elements. It is annoying at toolbooths and drive-throughs, but there are at least work-arounds. However, the Toyota dealer also indicated that there were some other problems with my car that should be fixed – CV-Boots and wheel bearings should be replaced, and the front and rear brakes both need some work.

I wanted to get a second opinion, so I decided to take my car to a local shop which Becky has used before, Auto-Dyne| The nice thing about Auto-Dyne is that they are located directly next to our apartment building, so we can actually walk right from our parking lot into theirs. 🙂 They checked my car out this morning, and did agree with the dealership that the brake job was an immediate necessity, but gave me a much lower estimate for the parts and labor. They disagreed, that the CV-Boots and wheel bearings were in urgent need or repair. So right now they’re putting on new pads and rotors in front, and new shoes in back, and I hope to have it back by the end of the day.

The window problem I’m just going to live with for now. Like I said, there are work-arounds and I just can’t justify paying a lot of money for something that isn’t essential to the operation of the car. For example, the front left speaker doesn’t work, the back right window doesn’t go up or down, the dashboard lights for the heating/cooling system don’t work, and half of the driver’s door handle is broken off. All annoying, to be sure, but just not worth my time and money to get them repaired. As long as the car goes when I tell it to go, stops when I tell it to stop, and doesn’t go exploding on me, I’m happy.

I expect the car to perform just fine when, in a little over two weeks, Becky and I drive out to Ohio. We are looking forward to our time out there, seeing my family and having a nice relaxing time in the heartland. We are also going to be stopping in Niagara Falls| on the way back, which should be fun.

In still other news, Microsoft announced today that they will be upping the storage limit on their free Hotmail webmail accounts to 250 megabytes| They join Yahoo!| and Google| in the ongoing webmail wars to bring more resources to users.

Speaking of which, I was recently the recipient of a Gmail account invitation. Sadly, it did not come from any of our faithful blog readers, but rather from my pal rjackson| over at BBR|, who may or may not regularly read my blog. Anyway, I have to say that Gmail is certainly the most responsive and least intrusive of the free webmail services that I’ve tried. As I mentioned in a previous post|, their 1 GB mail limit isn’t particularly compelling, but their Javascript-based interface and innovative conversation-style message grouping deserves some credit. If, for some reason, you’d like to email me at Gmail, my address is peter.r.wood at gmail dot com. On the whole, though, I’m still happy using IMP| to read my email via the web when necessary, and Mozilla’s excellent Thunderbird| mail client to read my email when I’m at work or at home.

I could probably write more, but this entry has grown quite long and unruly… the end!

Sister Rebecca?

Anne of Green Gables once entertained the idea of becoming a nun. She hit a snag because she wasn’t a Catholic. I have two obstacles: I’m not Catholic and I’m already married.

Still, I was thinking today that it might be nice to be a nun. “What brought this on?” you may be tempted to ask. Okay, I’ll tell. As I was leaving North Station today I found myself walking behind a nun. She was wearing a brown robe, white head covering and Birkenstocks. As we made our way through the city I noticed that evey one we passed looked at her and smiled, or waved, or said hello. The smiles disappeared as soon as they were passed her.

I found myself wishing that I was a nun so that I wouldn’t have to be the recipient of everyone’s stone cold stares. It must be nice to be a bride of God.

Summer brings…

…more birthdays!

Today is the Summer Solstice, the start of summer, and the day with the lengthiest amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere.

Today is also a birthday for some people we know!

Happy Birthday, Jackie!|ppp

Happy Birthday, Gregory!|ppp

Other notable people born today include conqueror Alexander the Great in 356 BC, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in 1905, and actress Juliette Lewis in 1973.

Wikipedia| has the full rundown on June 21|


You’ve probably heard of, and may have already seen the new movie starring Tom Hanks: The Terminal| (I haven’t seen it yet, but Becky and I hope to do so soon.) What you may not know is that the movie is loosely based around a real person: Merhan Kerimi Nasser.

Nasseri has been trapped at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle| airport since 1988. Expelled from Iran in 1977 because of his political beliefs, he sought political assylum through the United Nations. When he finally received it in 1981, he searched for a country in which he could apply for citizenship. He decided on the United Kingdom, and finally set out for the UK in 1988. But his refugee documents were stolen in Paris. He flew to the UK anyway, but was sent back to Paris, and has been living at the airport ever since.

Nasseri’s bizarre situation has already been chronicled in the 1993 French film, Tombés du ciel|

You can read the rest of his fascinating story here|

Bonanza Part II

What do I do with six hours in the city and a camera? Take photos of course!

The original Boston Photo Bonanza|, happened in August last year with a total of 84 photos kept. This year, I ended up keeping exactly two more than last year. You can see all 86 photos at Boston Photo Bonanza II|! This time around, I tried not to duplicate too many of the locations I visited last time. Highlights from this trip include the Zakim Bridge, the New Charles River Basin, Paul Revere Park, Charlestown Navy Yard, Bunker Hill Monument, and the Christian Science Plaza.

Here are some previews to whet your appetite…

ppp|  |ppp


I don’t even own a Blue Vest!

I am a fairly frequent shopper at the WalMart in Danvers, Ma. I like WalMart because of their resonable prices and I like poking around for deals. This Wal*Mart is not the best one I’ve been in. It is often messy and the employees aren’t always the nicest.

My biggest gripe with this store, however, is that almost every time I am there someone asks me if I work there. Tonight, for example, I was searching around the fabric section looking for some cute skirt material. While poking in the ‘discount remnants’ basket by the cutting table I noticed a woman walk up. She looked at me as she put her fabric down and then just stood there. After a minute or so, she looked at me somewhat annoyed and said, “can you cut fabric?” I replied, “Um, no. I don’t work here. Sorry.” She kind of huffed at me.

I ask you, dear readers, Why does everyone think I work at Wal*Mart? I’ve spent some time thinking about it, and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Any thoughts anyone?


While in Filene’s on Tuesday I overheard this conversation between two old women:

Woman One: Okay. Where do you want to go next? Woman Two: Um…Ahh..Well..


W.O.: You’re a pill, you know that? W.T.: No. You’re a pill.

I found it amusing!

Big Box Brouhaha

All of this recent chatter about Gmail| and Yahoo! Mail| has got me thinking about my own email storage situation. Rather than re-post my thoughts here, I’ll just point you to my recent comment on Slashdot’s article about Yahoo! Mail’s new 100 MB email storage limit:

“Why do you have so much email?”|

It’s got a moderation score of +3 (+1 of those being my own Karma bonus), so I think it’s worth reading. 🙂

More Movable Type License Changes

Six Apart has once again altered their Movable Type pricing and licensing schemes: Six Log: Announcing Pricing & Licensing Changes to Movable Type

I think the changes may appease some people, for whom the Personal Edition may not have been quite worth the price. These people were willing and able to pay $69.95-$99.95 to run a Movable Type installation, but didn’t feel that they were getting enough for their money. Now, for $69.95, you can run a blog with up to five authors and unlimited weblogs. For thirty dollars more, you can have unlimited authors.

I think it may be a good deal for some, but not for me. Here is what I would get if I paid for a license:

  1. The ability to upgrade to the latest version of Movable Type, version 3.0
  2. The ability to have up to five weblog authors, and unlimited weblogs
  3. Official technical support from Six Apart
  4. Extra online resources and help documentation
  5. Optional weblog promotion
  6. Access to custom consulting services
  7. Discounts on future upgrades

Only benefits 1 and 2 would be of any use to me. The rest are unnecessary in my case. I can understand the need to charge for those additional services. But I think Six Apart should separate the first two logically from the rest of the benefits – we should be able to download the software, install it, and run it for free, with as many authors and weblogs as we want. But Six Apart is a business, and they care about their bottom line. While there is no logical reason for them to roll benefits 1 and 2 in with the rest (you can debate whether loss of “potential” profit is a logical reason), doing so will undoubtedly increase their profits and help improve their business by banking on the fact that many users will pay for 1 and 2, even if they don’t need the rest. But I would argue that their business model wouldn’t suffer too much if they restructured pricing to a simple paid support model, which companies like Sun and Oracle use for their software.

In the end, I will still be sticking with our current Movable Type 2.661 installation until such time as I have a reason to switch to something else. It’s working well for us now, and Six Apart is not forcing us to switch, so it’s really up to me as to when and if we will upgrade.