Chatter #59: January 31, 2002

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

Sebastian News

The baby is still doing wonderfully. It makes me a little nervous. He's almost too cute, and he's doing things he's definitely not supposed to be doing yet. He's eating baby food, and his newest trick is to open his mouth in advance to demand food; he used to wait until he saw the spoon coming toward him. He's very strong—he's taken to punching me now and again, and he's got quite the firm little fists—and when he gets excited, he flails his arms up and down vigorously, sort of like the robot from Lost In Space ("Danger! Danger!").

He's also reached the stage where he can grab things, and of course the first thing he wants to do is stick them in his mouth! Baths have become a source of misery for him, although he might be calming down lately. Oh, and he's been sleeping all through the night every night (except last night) for weeks!

Computer Leap

Hokay. I've ordered the new PC from On-Site. Nervous, of course, but I guess that's normal. I'll be picking it up next Thursday, the 6th. How will it work out? Two years from now, will I be glad or pissed? Who knows? Anyone round here know? I don't know!

Anyway, here's the system. As far as I've been able to research it, it's all very good components. On the other hand, there's a fair amount of stuff listed that's just alphabet soup to me.

  • AMT K-7 T-Bird, -3D NOW 1700+ EPOX 8KHAP+-KT266A Chipsets 384k Cache
  • 512MB 8ns High Speed DDR PC-2100 RAM
  • 60 Gig ATA 100 Western Digital 7200 RPM Hard Drive
  • ATI Radeon 32MB All-In-Wonder video card (not the very newest, but good)
  • 16x10x40 CDRW (burner)
  • 16x DVD-ROM ATA 66
  • Soundblaster Live
  • 5-piece Cambridge Speaker system w/subwoofer

I'm keeping my old 19-inch CRT monitor, since it's still working well. With any luck, this system will allow me to (among other things) convert some of my videos into MPEGs, which means I might be able to put some stuff up online!


I'm becoming more and more anti-TV, but I still like to watch a few particularly amusing shows. One is Futurama. Unfortunately it's a terrible thing to be a Futurama fan, because the FOX network apparently has made it it's personal mission to make it impossible to see the show. First, it's on at 7PM on a Sunday. Prime time shows are never shown in the US until 8PM in my experience. Second, it's on after NFL football—and those overmuscled morons always run late, cancelling the show. Sometimes the show is broadcast at something like 4AM the next morning, but how are you to know? FOX never tells the viewers that it's going to be on! It's extremely annoying.

So I wrote a post to Usenet. Here's a link, and here's the post:

Subject: FOX Places Futurama On "Probation"
Date: 2002-01-28 08:23:21 PST

FOX Places Futurama On "Probation"

The FOX network regrets to announce that the animated TV series "Futurama" has been placed on probation. This action was taken only after careful consideration and extensive evaluation. It has been necessitated by the continuing failure of the show to reach a minimum satisfactory rating.

Over the past several months the show has actually had zero viewers on a number of nights, despite the fact that millions of viewers tuned in to watch NFL football on those very same nights. This failure on the part of the show's creators and writers is unacceptable, and as a forward-looking corporation the FOX network has no choice but to take the following actions prior to cancellation:

1. The show will no longer air in the valuable 7PM Sunday time-slot. Instead, it will be given a place of honor in FOX's new "WW" (Whenever, Wherever) system. Under this system the show will be aired at an undisclosed time on some station or in-house television set at least semi-annually.

2. Through an agreement between the Murdoch family and the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, the show will now reach a market of an additional two billion viewers in the burgeoning Asian sphere. The shows will be edited down to a convenient and compact 30-second format and will be retitled "Long Live the Glorious Revolution! Consume and Invest With Tireless Diligence!" "LLtGR! CaIWTD!" will be sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland and will feature taped inspirational messages by George W. Bush.

3. In the Americas and Europe the show's audio track will now air in an Esperanto translation only for easy comprehension by all.

Viewers of "Futurama" will be sure to love FOX's newest animated offering: "FOX's NFL Babieez", starring the voice of Howie Long as Baby Howiee. The NFL Babieez will dance and rap their way into your heart, and the Baby NFL Cheerleaderz are H-O-T HOT!! "FOX's NFL Babieez", only on FOX!

Effie Rover

Things have been very weird with Effie Rover's Die-Roller's Top 50 list lately. The day I wrote the last installment of Chatter we were #4, but the next day WHAM! Gone! Completely off the list. I'm sure that groups of people get together to vote down competitor sites, but this seems ridiculous. And mildly annoying. I'm considering removing the RPG Gateway link from my page, since the poll seems so vulnerable to cheating.

The thing is, it seems like it would take an awful lot of votes to move a site from #4 to gone overnight. And positive votes would bring it back eventually, I'd think. Unless it were an awful lot of negative votes...and they were repeated every day. I almost wonder if someone has set up some sort of automated thing on a number of PCs to wipe out certain sites.


Although in many ways it's very inconvenient living down in Rhode Island (I won't go into all the reasons), I've noticed that the food seems to be better down here. And one of the best things (apart from Teri and Sebastian) about living here in what is comparatively the boonies is the milk.

Yeah, milk. I loved drinking milk as a kid, but had given it up sometime in my teen years—mostly because it started tasting nasty to me, somehow cloying and rancid. Perhaps that wasn't just my imagination or maturing taste buds, though. I know that most supermarket brands of milk fortify their product with vitamins derived from fish oil, among other sources; I can't help but wonder if that was what I was tasting.

Teri introduced me to a dairy farm that was literally five minute's drive away from our home when I first moved here, and we've been getting fresh milk there ever since. It's been weird; fresh cold milk that tastes exactly as good as it did when I was a kid! It really takes me back. Of course, back then I drank milk from Stew Leonard's Dairy Farm in Norwalk, Connecticut. Which by the way is a really bizarre place these days—Stew Leonard's, that is, not Norwalk. There are animatronic vegetables that sing sings, talking cows, a petting's sort of the Wall Drug of milk (I've never been to Wall Drug, but all of my South Dakota friends have filled me in). I saw much of the evolution of Stew's while I grew up in CT, from a relatively simple place to the strange behemoth- wonderland that it is today. Man, they had good ice cream.

Anyway, the milk at Wright's Dairy Farm is as good, or even better. So now once again I can enjoy a moist chocolate-chip brownie and a glass of cold milk...ahhhh. Which reminds me of another thing that's pretty neat about Wright's: their pastries. They have a good-sized bakery right on the premises, and make some pretty elaborate (but really good) cakes, cookies, and pies. I was surprised to find that they made all that stuff with milk from the farm—even the cheesecake, which Teri gives very high marks. For some reason I'd thought that it was sort of hard to make cheese.

And I'm looking forward to taking Sebastian to see the cows there, once he's old enough to understand what he's seeing...which at this rate might be next month!

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[email protected] Copyright 2002 by Peter Maranci. Revised: March 01, 2002. version 1.0