Webgrrling with Erin

Erin invited me to attend a meeting of the Big-D Web Grrls this evening. Their mission statment describes them as “a community of women who share your interests”. Wow! A room full cute girls who like computers. What could be more fun than that for a male computer geek? Don’t worry, I behaved myself! (but if I ever go to a LinuxChix meeting, who knows…)

I was amused by the nomenclature – there were two Greeter grrls, a snack grrl, and a something-else grrl. The leader-of-the-group grrl spoke in lots of Dilbertese and did a thing that I absolutely cannot stand: the verbing of nouns. Instead of “having a dialog with someone”, she said she was “dialoging” them. I get really tired of people “officing” and “ideating” but at least those non-words show efficiency in that they reduce the number of words required to make a complete sentence. What I really can’t stand are verbed nouns used when an existing verb would work fine. Like “calendaring” – why not just say “scheduling”? The people who spread this bizzare word usage need to spend more time golf coursing and less grammaring. (and,yes, I know “verbing” isn’t a word but if other people can make up and use bad English, so can I – besides, the phrase “verbing nouns” follows the fine Unix tradition of self-referential names!)

But I digress… I really spent far less time thinking about grammar than it would seem from reading this. Oh well, I’ll report more next time Erin takes me webgrrling.

Another Night at the DSO

It’s been another busy week. We are almost moved into the new building. I will probably be going back and forth between them for another week or two until the new T1 becomes functional and we can move the last of our servers. Even though we’ve still got things going on at the old building, I think we’ll declare Oct. 1st as the offcial opening day at the new place

Last night was DSO night again (Susan bought season tickets this year). The first two pieces were Violin Concertos, which I like only slightly more than piano concertos. Their one redeeming quality was the guest violinist, Midori. She is very talented and quite interesting to watch. The final piece for the night was Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C minor, otherwise known as the Organ Symphony. The organ at the Meyerson is really huge and this is one those pieces of music that really shows it off. It can produce some bass notes that shake the building and can generate more volume than the entire orchestra. Susan and I both agreed that the performance was very good and also seemed very different from the recordings we had heard. I’m not sure exactly how – I guess we need to listen to the version we have on CD and see if we can pinpoint the difference. We find that frequently classical CDs are recorded in a way the emphasizes particular instruments or groups of instruments, causing the recorded piece to sound nothing like the real thing – that could be what’s going on here.

In a completely different genre of music, Steven Van Zandt’s new web site is now online. Check it out.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Nadsat

Susan and I attended our first performance of the DSO season last night. The works performed included Fanfare: Legacies of Honor by Bert Truax, a member of the DSO’s trumpet section. This piece was commissioned by West Point for use in the US Military Academy’s Bicentennial in 2002. This was followed by Beethoven’s Fantasia in C Minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op 80. I had never heard this piece and, while I generally loathe piano works, this wasn’t too bad at all. The final piece was Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The 9th is without question my favorite of the Beethoven works and the DSO did a reasonably good performance of it (better than many I’ve heard). Of course, thanks to Kubrick, it’s impossible to hear the 9th without remembering his film of Anthony Burgess’s book, A Clockwork Orange, and the Walter Carlos version of the 9th that was included in the soundtrack. (ummm… okay, the artist formerly known as Walter Carlos.) Well, my droogs, without a bit of rabbit I can’t prod the pretty polly. So, I’ll have to itty and ookadeet for now. (had to get in at least a bit of Nadsat!)

In other news, we’ve moved back up to third place on the SETI@Home Team Slashdot list.

Grapefest and the Art of Milk Shakes

It’s staying pretty busy here as we get ready for the move so my news entries will probably show up less often than usual for a another week or so.

Susan and I took a little time off this past Sunday to attend Grapefest! 1999 in Grapevine. They had blocked off main street at both ends and filled it with the sort of stuff you usually see at the State Fair. There were corn dog vendors, arts and crafts booths, and an assortment of live music. The music included a stage for rock bands at one end and a stage for country bands at the other. In the middle they had an assortment of other musical styles including a group of musicians from the Andes playing flutes (and other instruments I couldn’t even guess the names of). True to the name of the event, there was barefoot grape stomping for those who dared (we just watched) and for an extra few bucks you could enter the wine tasting area (we were broke this weekend so we just watched that too!).

Off one of the side streets we ran into what appeared to be a low-rider car contest. The winning vehicle had a red velvet interior and etched glass side windows with religious icons on them. Farther on we found a blacksmiths shop with an actual blacksmith in it. He made Susan a tiny horseshoe while he told us about his trip to South Padre Island long before there was anyone living there. Making our way back to Main Street, we got out of the heat briefly in the local ice cream shop where I explained to the counter girl the correct method of making a chocolate milk shake (chocolate ice cream + milk, not vanilla ice cream + chocolate syrup + milk!). This was the first time we had been to Grapefest and it was not a bad little event at all.

Trying out eBay

Sooner or later, I guess everyone sets up an account on ebay. I’ve participated in a few auctions before – both live and on the net but not on ebay. Last night I created an account for myself and bid on a PC-based PBX system that would be ideal for our new office. At the moment I’m the high bidder but with 5 days to go, who can tell.