Friday, August 31, 2007

The Novel

A long time ago, back in 2005, I wrote that there were three books I was working on: a book on Christianity, a novel, and a book about Microsoft Word. And then, later on, I wrote that the book on Christianity is pretty much done. Or… Or maybe I didn’t write that. But it is. I just have to make some final decisions, and then put it online. (I won’t seek to have it published.)

Then, later on, I decided that there were way too many books about Microsoft Word, and that it might be more useful to make that book about Writer, instead. And I did, indeed, start work on that. (I was basically taking the Word book, and rewriting it for Writer, since many of the concepts are the same—just not similar enough to do a copy ’n paste. I’d had 196 pages written on Word, and I got up to 33 for the Writer book. For you math fans out there—and I know there are math fans who read this blog—that’s about 17%. That being said, there were a lot of screenshots in the Word book, that I hadn’t yet done in the Writer book, so that 17% number is kind of meaningless.)

Which brings us to the novel, which I eventually just stopped working on altogether. But for that one, there was a good reason: There is another budding author in the household, and I didn’t want to step on any toes. At the same time, though, I never stopped thinking about my novel, and every once in a while, I had visions of going back to work on it.

Then, when I booked myself a two week vacation, I had all these grandiose plans about how I was going to spend my vacation writing. I would wake up first thing in the morning, brew myself some coffee, and wake up in front of the TV, watching last night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report. (My PVR is set to record them every night, and then I watch them the next day—or whenever I get a chance.) That done I would pour myself a second cup, sit down at the kitchen table with my laptop, and write the morning away.

As it turns out, I didn’t do that. (In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to say what I did do, for much of the time I was off.) But that’s not to say that I neglected the book altogether; I did manage to sit down with it, and do some writing. And I was pleasantly surprised. Looking at it with a fresh eye, the writing is better than I’d been thinking. (With all the time that had past since last I looked at it, I’d been worrying that I’d sit down with it and realize it was awful.)

I think it was Sunday, when I first sat down and looked at it, fearing the worst, and being pleasantly surprised. So I did some work; not so much writing, but reworking. I moved some chapters around, and combined some together, to help the story flow. Then Andrea went back to work, this week, and Monday–Wednesday I was on my own, so I decided to go home and visit my folks for a few days. And I brought my laptop, and had more grand visions of how I was going to do a bunch of writing: I’d take a stroll down to Tim Horton’s in the morning—or whenever I woke up—to grab a coffee, and then walk back home, and write the afternoon away. I even had some romantic notions of sitting in the coffee shop, with my laptop, writing.

This time, it did actually work out something like that. I didn’t do any writing in the coffee shop, but Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, I did some fairly major writing. And last night, after work, I did a bunch more.

So, all this to say: I may actually finish this novel!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Web 3.0?

As we all knew would eventually happen, people are starting to get tired of Facebook. Remember all the myriad people I wrote about, who kept inviting me to join—along with the select few who really pestered me to join? So that we could all “keep in touch”? Well, a good half of those people have told me that they’re now bored with Facebook, and it sounds to me like it’s just a matter of time before they’ll be deleting their accounts. (It’s already too late, of course; “they” already have your information. Suckers.) Even if they don’t delete their accounts, they’re using the site less and less, and it won’t be long before they’re not using it at all. So much for keeping in touch, right?

This would be a great time for me to say “I told you so”, except that

  1. When I predicted that people would get bored of Facebook, and stop using it, it’s not like I was being particularly brilliant or anything. Anyone I mentioned that too instantly agreed with me, because that’s what they all assumed would happen too.
  2. There really won’t be much time to dance on Facebook’s grave, because just when people are deleting their accounts in droves, there will be something else that people will start pestering me to join.
So I won’t bother with an “I told you so” post.

People keep talking about something they call “Web 2.0”, which is a nebulous term which seems to refer to all of the social networking sites (like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, etc.), and other collaborative software built on web technologies. See the Wikipedia article for a long discussion on Web 2.0; my favourite quote from that article is near the beginning:

Some technology experts, notably Tim Berners-Lee, have questioned whether one can use the term in a meaningful way, since many of the technology components of "Web 2.0" have existed since the early days of the Web.

My prediction—which may seem a bit too “Big Brother”, but hear me out—is that there will be a Web 3.0, which takes this to the next logical step. (They probably won’t call it “Web 3.0” of course; somebody will come up with a new term.) Let me explain:

The thing that all of these “social networking” sites have in common is that you can link up with other “friends”, so that you don’t lose touch. You can put in as much or as little information about yourself as you want, and so can they, and then you put each other in your “friends lists”, or your “address books”, or whatever they’re called on a particular service, and the idea is that you won’t lose touch with each other. But the drawback is that you all have to sign up for the service. If I sign up for MySpace, and you sign up for Facebook, then we’re out of luck. I can’t be in your “friend list” unless I also sign up for Facebook.

But soon, technologies for data amalgamation will be good enough that they’ll be able to set up a service in which people in your “address book” don’t have to sign up, or be part of the site. If you want to add me to your “address book” on that service, just give it as much information as you have about me, and it will put together a profile about me, based on what it can find.

Picture it: You sign up for the Web3Friends site, and decide that you want to add me to your “address book”. You give it as much information as you have—my name, maybe the town where I was born, any online names you know that I’ve used in the past—and it goes out and starts looking for information. It’ll check it’s own list of users first, of course, to see if I have an account, and then, if I don’t, it’ll start culling the web: “Has someone named ‘sernaferna’ ever signed up for MySpace? Nope. How about Facebook? Nope. How about Blogger? Yep, he’s got some blogs there; I’ll add his blog feeds to the profile. How about Flickr? Yep, he’s got photos there; I’ll add his recent photos to his profile. YouTube? Yep; I’ll put a link to his YouTube videos in his profile. Now, let’s see what I can find on Google… Oh look, he’s written a book! I’ll add that, too.”

You could quite conceivably end up with a profile page about me that shows my recent pictures on Flickr, my latest posts from my blog(s), and even a specialized section on books I’ve contributed to, without ever having to ask. You want to “keep in touch”? You don’t need my permission! Just go to the profile page that you created for me, and you’ll keep up to date on all of my latest blog posts, or see my new photos, as they appear. You might even be able to send me messages, based on any instant messaging services I happen to use, and of course you’d be able to send me an email.

When that starts to happen, social networking sites will probably start to offer you privacy options, like whether you’ll allow them to share your information with these “data amalgamation” services, so if you’ve signed up for MySpace, and someone is trying to set up this type of profile about you, maybe they wouldn’t get your MySpace information. Or, if it’s really slick, maybe you would be asked for permission, first, and when you give it, that information would magically start showing up in the profile they built for you.

This type of service is not actually that much of a leap forward, in terms of the technologies, from what we have now. (Remember, if you’re on Facebook, that they are already making it quite clear: They will share your information. You agreed to it, when you signed up, and they can do whatever they want with that information.) Making the data from the social networking sites available in this fashion would be extremely easy, technologically speaking. A very simple web service could be built to do it—in fact, someone would probably create a standard interface for such web services, so that all of the social networking sites could implement it.

So, again, maybe some of this seems too “Big Brother”-ish, or too conspiracy theory-ish. And there will be some kinks to work out; for example, can you really be sure that anyone who uses the name “sernaferna” online is actully me? Once you start to build a profile about me, you’ll probably have to sift through the information, and tell the service “I think this is him, but I think this is someone else, and I’m not sure about this”—and, of course, you’ll probably make some mistakes, too. And what if you find multiple email addresses for someone; will you list them all, or pick the most likely one? But I’m pretty sure that some form of this will start popping up, at some point, probably not too far in the future.

Personally, when this starts happening, it’s probably not going to change the way I use the internet; I’ll still keep blogging, and I won’t take down my Flickr or YouTube accounts or anything. There has been a mantra that people have been saying since the internet was created, and when my predicted “Web 3.0” starts happening, it’ll be more true than ever: Don’t ever type anything—in an email, a blog posting, an instant message, a discussion board, or anywhere else—that you don’t want the whole world to see.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Video on Blogger

uploadmoviesThey’ve introduced another Blogger feature that I probably won’t use, but find cool: Blogger now provides the ability to upload movies/video, that you can then show on your blog.

The reason that I don’t see myself using this feature is that I’d be more likely to upload movies to YouTube, instead. But it’s very cool that Blogger now has the option. In fact, if they’d had this option when I started the blog, I probably wouldn’t have created a YouTube account—I only created my account on YouTube to share the cartoon. (Yes, that’s right. In my own mind, the cartoon is so popular that I just have to call it “the cartoon”, and I think that everyone will know what I’m talking about.) But now that I have the YouTube account, I imagine I will continue to use it, if I have further movies/videos to upload.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


As part of the “let’s get away any chance we get” kick we’ve been on lately, Andrea and I took a day trip to Huntsville. (Ontario, not Alabama.) We had planned to make it an overnight trip, but then we couldn’t think of anything we really wanted to see or do the next day, so we came back the same day.

Unfortunately, it was kind of grey and dreary, so there aren’t a lot of pictures, and even some of the ones we have aren’t that great. Oh well.

Photos that have a different border have extra information on Flickr.



















Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another Deployment

Although I don’t blog that often, I think about blogging quite a bit. And every once in a while, I think of ideas for new blogs. “If I ever start doing such and such, I’ll start a blog about it” is the way my mind works, sometimes.

Since I’ve been doing so many deployments, I was tempted to start an “All-Nighter Deployment Blog” to chronicle them. However,

  1. It would be an entire blog devoted to blogging about work, which I try not to do
  2. It would be incredibly boring to everyone in the world, probably including me
So I won’t. But, as I type this, I’m about to start another one, and I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be an exciting one. (Note: Whenever I say that a deployment is “exciting”, it’s a bad thing, not a good thing. You don’t want deployments to be exciting, you want them to be smooth and painless.)

I will say this, though, about tonight’s deployment (because it’s not work-related): before I came, I went out with the family, and we had dinner at a buffet. I’m over-stuffed, and even more in danger of falling asleep than usual.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Movie Review: The Simpsons Movie

Strangely enough, since I’m such a Simpsons fan, I wasn’t actually looking forward to this movie that much. I mean, I definitely wanted to see it, and preferably in a theatre, but I wasn’t overly excited about it. I think I was just looking at it as a very long episode of the show—which is basically what it is.

However, I’m glad I went. Even if it was just a long episode, it was a good episode. I won’t say anything about the plot, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I did notice that the animation was different than it is on the show; it was smoother. I guess when you’re putting it on the big screen—and a wide screen, at that—you have to take the animation up a notch, or, at that size, it would probably look really bad. It’s still The Simpsons, it’s just… smoother Simpsons.

So overall, I definitely recommend the movie. (Of course, if you want to wait until it comes out on DVD or Pay Per View or whatever, you probably won’t regret it. It’s not like some of the action flicks that you really have to see on the big screen.)

In fact, comparing The Simpsons Movie to other movies is very similar to comparing The Simpsons to other TV shows. After watching The Simpsons for the last 18 years or so, it doesn’t seem new anymore; and yet it’s still a quality show, and pretty much guaranteed to entertain, which is not something you can say for the majority of TV shows out there. Similarly, The Simpsons Movie didn’t seem new, it just seemed like another—albeit long—Simpsons episode, but every minute of it was entertaining, which is something you can’t say about most movies.

Movie Review: Little Miss Sunshine

I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while. It got very good reviews, across the board. (I think—I didn’t research it or anything. I wasn’t that interested.)

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as good as I’d been hoping. Don’t get me wrong; it was good. Especially the acting; everyone in the movie was great, with special mention to Steve Carell, who proved that he is a great actor, when he’s not being over the top.

Unfortunately, being over the top is exactly the problem I had with the movie; things would be going great, and I’d be enjoying the writing and the acting and the everything else that movies do, and then something unbelievable would happen. If they had made some parts just a bit more believable, this could have been a really great movie. As it is, it’s still good, just not as good as it could have been.

In my humble opinion.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pictures of the New Car

Here we go. Some pictures of the new car.

Photos that have a different border have more information, on Flickr.

First, we have some standard exterior shots of the car.






(I couldn’t help myself; I had to put in a picture of the “Hybrid” thing on the back.)

Now, an interior shot (only one, because it’s hard to get a good angle for taking an interior shot of a car):
And finally, some shots of the dash. There are actually two displays; an upper one, where the digital speedometer, temperature gauge, and gas gauge are located, and a lower one, with the other readouts.

First, both together—with a big steering wheel in the middle:

Then the upper, by itself, and the lower, by itself, in that order:

As you can see, by the bottom one, I wasn’t wearing my seat belt when I took these pictures. But don’t panic, the car was safely in the driveway, at the time.


I started my vacation yesterday. So far so good—only one call on my cell phone, so far. (And some emails I had to answer.) I’m not doing anything for the rest of this week; just taking it easy. Mostly because I have to go back into work this weekend, for another all-nighter deployment. But I’m hoping that we can go away next week, for a bit of a trip. To where? Who knows? As usual, we haven’t planned anything in advance. Then again, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself; we normally plan the day before, which still leaves us lots of time.

I am hoping to get back home, to visit the folks, and Jerrilyn, and my god-daughter Alexis, whom I haven’t seen in… well, too long. I’m almost positive that I will get home—but not positive enough that I’ve called my folks, yet, to let them know that I’m coming. (Luckily, I don’t think my mom is “net savvy” enough that she actually reads my blog, so she’s probably not going to start getting the guest room ready until I actually call.)

And, since I am on vacation, I think I’ll probably be posting… well, slightly less than I usually do. I do plan to put up a post with pictures of my new car, though. Probably today, if I can get my lazy butt off the couch long enough to grab the camera.

On the other hand, I am on vacation. Maybe I should just lie here on the couch, taking a lot of naps, watching bad movies, and snacking. Wait… Maybe I should go to the grocery store to buy some snacks, first. Actually, I’ll probably stop by and buy season 10 of The Simpsons, while I’m at it.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Andrea and I have been taking a few weekend trips, lately (such as our trips to Elora/Guelph/St. Jacobs, and Prince Edward County), and we had wanted to do something this past weekend, but we just couldn’t decide where to go. It was too last-minute, unfortunately; we didn’t give ourselves time to plan it. So we finally settled on a trip to Stratford, and maybe taking in a play.

Our first thought was to stay overnight, Saturday night, and come back on Sunday, but then our car buying odyssey started, and we decided to just go on Sunday, instead. (We would have booked a room Saturday afternoon, but by the time we got back the afternoon was mostly gone, so we decided to skip it.)

The main thing we wanted to do was to catch a play. But we had two important criteria for picking one to see:

  1. It had to be playing at a time when we could see it, based on our limited schedule
  2. It had to be eligible for discounts. (Since Andrea’s under a certain age, she can get tickets for $20, and since I’m in a slightly higher age bracket, I can get tickets for 50% off.)
With this in mind, we settled on My One and Only, which is a Gershwin musical. (Sort of; all of the songs are Gershwin songs, from previous Gershwin musicals, but then some time in the 80’s—if I’m remembering correctly—they wrote a new script, with the old tunes, calling it My One and Only.) A Gershwin musical is not really my thing, but hey, I was able to enjoy it for what it is.

I would write more about what we did in Stratford, and the sites we saw, but really, there’s not much to write. We drove around—a lot, since we were way early for our play—and saw the area. We had lunch, and may have gotten mild food poisoning. We had a very good dinner—or rather, I had a very good dinner and Andrea had herbal tea, because of the aforementioned food poisoning. (I wasn’t feeling 100% either, but I was still able to eat.) And we caught our play. It started at 8:00, which meant that we didn’t get back to Toronto until after midnight.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the camera, so I don’t have any pictures to post. Then again, it was raining for half the trip anyway, so there was only a window from about 4:00–8:00 where we could have taken pictures—and by that point, we had already finished all of our driving around and seeing the sites. So even if I had remembered the camera, I don’t think I’d have any pictures to show.

But I have to say, with the amount of aimless driving around we did, I really wish we’d had our new hybrid…

We Bought a Car

I’m hesitant to post this, because we haven’t actually taken possession of our new possession, yet. However, I don’t have enough willpower not to post it.

I’ve posted a couple of times that Andrea and I were looking into getting a hybrid.

Well, on Friday the Honda dealer finally called us back, and told us that a hybrid had just come off the truck. If we wanted to, we could come in and “take a look at it”. He still had to clear a test drive with his manager, though. I didn’t get the call until too late in the day Friday, but I called him back, and told him that we’d be in first thing Saturday morning—and that he’d better get the okay for the test drive, because it would be stupid to buy a car without driving it first.

So we came in almost first thing Saturday morning. We had the test drive, and I was very impressed. It’s a very comfortable car to drive. And, although the main thing I was testing was how the hybrid technology works, I didn’t notice any difference between the hybrid and a “regular” car. Except that when you come to a stop, you can tell that the gas-powered part of the engine shuts off; then, when you take your foot off the brake—and before it gets to the gas—it comes back on. Other than that, it drives just like any other car.

So we were very excited. Or at least I was; I don’t know if Andrea was excited. But the point is, we were ready to make a deal. We went back into the manager’s office, and started talking numbers. And the first number to talk about was: How much could we get for our trade-in? My current car is a 2001 Chevy Cavalier, which has been in some accidents, and which has rust on the hood—so I wasn’t expecting a lot for it. The manager brought it over to the guy who takes care of the used cars, and got a quote for it, which was lower than we’d been hoping. (Not that I was surprised, by any stretch of the imagination.) So we started talking about numbers. And this is where the guy lost the sale.

First of all, right off the bat, I should mention that Andrea did all of the haggling. Neither of us has any skills at haggling, but she at least has more skills than I do, so she did the work. The first thing the manager told us was that he couldn’t give us any kind of a deal on the new car. At all. He said that they just don’t give deals on the hybrids, period. The price on the window is the price you get. So now our only bargaining power was in the amount he’d give us for the trade-in. Andrea had a price in mind, that she wanted, and he wasn’t going to match it. At one point, he left the room, and Andrea and I decided that we had a certain price we were looking for, and if he didn’t meet us there, we would walk. We eventually got about to a halfway point, but he wouldn’t move any further. (And, although I’m not giving our numbers here, he didn’t really move that far at all. We were basically paying full price for the car.)

So we told him we’d think about it, and left. And went straight to another Honda dealership, which was a bit further away, but still fairly close to where we live. We went in and told the salesperson straight away that we were looking at Civic Hybrids, that we’d already done some research, and we were ready to start talking numbers. (We didn’t tell her that we’d already been through this—including talking numbers—at another dealership.) So, again, she went to her used car guy, and they talked about what they could give us for our trade-in. And the number she came back with, to start, was the number we had haggled the previous dealer to. (When I say “we”, I really mean “Andrea”.) So, our initial starting position, with this new dealer, was where we had finished with the other dealer.

Again, I let Andrea do the work, and she talked them down a bit more. It was the usual thing that car dealers on TV always do; we would bargain with the salesperson, and then she would go back to her manager. In the end, Andrea got us a pretty good deal. I don’t know if we could have gotten a better deal, if we were better at haggling, but I do know that Andrea did a much better job than I could have.

So we signed the papers, and we’ll pick it up either Tuesday or Wednesday—whenever we can get our finances in order. I sort of wish we could have gotten it sooner; we drove to Stratford in the afternoon, and I spent the whole drive thinking that it would have been nice if we could have gone in the new car instead of the old one, but hey, these things take time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Net Neutrality

If you’ve been following the issues with Net Neutrality in the States, you may be chilled to the bone by this article. (Okay, “chilled to the bone” might be a bit of an overstatement. Maybe just “mildly worried”.) This is another one of those issues where laws in the States will potentially hurt us all the world over.


Although I don’t think it’s a feature I’ll ever use, Blogger has introduced the ability to create polls. (Not in a blog post, from what I can see, but in the sidebar.)

Although I don’t see myself creating any polls—I don’t even encourage comments, most of the time, why would I expect anyone to participate in a poll?!?—I still think it’s a very cool idea. Other bloggers out there, the kind of bloggers that encourage participation, will probably love it.


I’ve found another song that just tends to stick in my head for hours, every time I hear it: Rehab, by Amy Winehouse. Woe to me, if I ever hear it on the radio on my way in to work; I’ll be whistling it to myself for the rest of the day…

I’m just lucky that I like the song. Usually, the songs that tend to stick in my head are the ones that I think are awful.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Geek Post: Books on Security?

I don’t know if any fellow computer nerds still read this blog, but if they do, I have a question: Has anyone read any of the books listed below, and, if so, are they worth the read?

Feel free to leave comments here, or email me.

#SAFE (#7233)

When I got my bill from Rogers the other day, they included an insert about the Assaulted Women’s Helpline. From your cell phone, you can now dial #SAFE (that’s #-7-2-3-3) to call the helpline (which is probably easier to remember than their regular phone numbers).

I read a media release from the AWHL’s website, and it appears that you can also dial this number from other carriers—that is, you can dial #SAFE from a Bell Mobility, Rogers, Fido, or Telus cell phone.

For more information, see the AWHL’s press release that I linked to above, or, for information about the organization, go to their main website. Aside from the #SAFE number you can call from your cell phone, the helpline’s numbers are:

  • In the GTA: (416) 863-0511, or (416) 863-7868 for TTY
  • Outside of the GTA: 1-866-863-0511, or 1-866-863-7868 for TTY
Since I’m on the subject, if you’re interested in helping the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, you can go here, for suggestions on how you can become involved.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


It’s definitely time for me to go on vacation—I accidentally snapped at my clients today.

  • serna Snaps
  • INT: the office. serna gets ready to join a conference call.
  • Client #1
  • (over IM)
  • Are you coming to the conference call? It started one minute ago!
  • serna
  • (joining the conference call)
  • Really? After one minute, you’re paging me to join the call? After the number of conference calls where you’ve all kept me waiting 5 or 10 minutes for you to join?
  • Client #1
  • (chagrined)
  • Sorry serna…
  • Client #2, #3, etc.
  • Sorry serna… Sorry serna…
I know, I know, when I say that I “snapped”, you were probably expecting something a bit more dramatic than that. But they are my clients, after all—what did you expect? Swearing and cursing?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Breathe, serna, breathe…

I know it’s only Tuesday, but so far, I’m far less busy today than I was last week. So I can almost breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, I still don’t really have time to blog. (Except for this post.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I occasionally have to go into work on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, for an all-nighter deployment. And it’s always the same. As much as I’d like to change the pattern, my body won’t cooperate.

The first part is the good part: I sleep in. Maybe not as much as I’d like—I’d really prefer to sleep in until around noon or so—but still, 9:30 is better than 7:00.

In the afternoon I lie down, either on the couch or in my bed, hoping for a nap that never comes. I get close to falling asleep, but never actually nod off. (This is the part where my body is refusing to comply with my wishes.) I finally give up, and go and have supper, or watch TV, or something.

On the way into the office, I stop in at a convenience store for some snacks. And I mean a lot of snacks; chocolate bars, chips, drinks—whatever catches my eye, as I wander through the store. Sometimes I eat it all, over the course of the deployment, and sometimes I don’t even eat half of it. (Once I bought a box of Crackerjacks, and ate the whole thing. After a couple of hours, I was sick of it, but then I kept finding my hand wandering back into the box for another mouthful…)

Finally, about five or ten minutes before the actual work of the deployment is scheduled to begin, is the time that I start to get tired. Lousy timing, I know. (Another instance of my body refusing to obey my mind.) But I manage to keep my wits about me, and hopefully I don’t get too grumpy.

By the time it finishes, sometimes I’m in fine shape to drive home, and other times I’m a bit more tired than I’d like to be. Once I was way too tired to drive, and yet I did anyway, but I haven’t done that again. (I only lived about ten minutes from my apartment, at the time, so I decided to chance it. But I shouldn’t have. The problem, of course, with being too tired to drive, is that you’re also too tired to think clearly about it.) Unfortunately, these days I’m between a rock and a hard place, when I finish my deployments; Andrea needs the car to get to church, so if I ever get too tired to drive home, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I normally slide into bed right around the time that Andrea is getting up. And sleep badly, and not nearly as long as I’d like. Which means that I wake up, a few hours later, groggy, grumpy, and very much out of it. Which means my Sunday is ruined. Except that I get to complain; everyone likes to complain.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Dear Coffee:

I love you. I’ve always loved you, and I probably always will. In fact, I don’t just love you, I long for you. I YEARN for you.

I know—I know!—we’ve known each other so long; I really should have told you sooner. I don’t know what held me back. Maybe it’s just… well, I love you so much, I guess I was just afraid that the feelings would be one-sided. But I can’t hold it in any longer—I want to shout it from the rooftops! “I love Coffee!”

I spend all of my afternoons thinking about you. I’m only happy when I have you in my hands—by the time you’re in my tummy, I’m already longing for the next time I can hold you, touch you, sip you.

I just… I…


You know what? There is a very good chance that I’ve been working too hard, lately, and I’m slowly going crazy. I think work has broken my brain.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vinegar Redux

I posted a while ago about the fact that I’m switching to vinegar for my cleaning needs, instead of the various and sundry chemicals I’ve been using. I’ve now found another use for vinegar: As a fabric softener.

Like cleaning chemicals, fabric softener isn’t great for the environment. However, I really don’t like doing laundry without it; sometimes Andrea doesn’t use fabric softener, when she does the laundry, and I hate how “staticy” the clothes get when it’s not used.

But I’ve found out that you can use vinegar, instead; use it the same as you would use liquid fabric softener. (I use about a half cup per load, in the fabric softener cup in my washer.) For as long as I’ve been on my own, I’ve been using Bounce sheets in the dryer, for my laundry; here’s how vinegar compares:

  • Static cling: vinegar works just as well as Bounce
  • Softness: vinegar works just as well as Bounce
  • Smell:
    • If you like smell, meaning that you have some kind of scented fabric softener, then Bounce sheets (or your normal liquid fabric softener) work better.
    • If you don’t want smell, then vinegar works better; vinegar leaves no smell in your clothes, whereas even unscented Bounce sheets leave a bit of a smell. (And yes, you read that right: vinegar leaves no smell in your laundry.)
Vinegar also has an added bonus: it helps to break down detergent, which means that there will be less detergent residue in your laundry when it’s done. Some people who have sensitive skin use vinegar in their laundry for this specific purpose, to get more detergent out of their clothes.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, why not experiment with a load of towels? Throw in a load of towels, use vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener (and don’t use any Bounce sheets, of course), and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.