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Archive: March 2001

Thursday, 29 March 2001

Kat and I just returned from the company retreat to Curaçao, which was quite lovely and very warm but also lacked Internet access.  There was also a distinct lack of stuff for me to do besides sit around, read books, and swim.  Sounds like heaven, right?  Wrong.  My head was in danger of imploding, to reference Babylon 5 once more, and frankly the island pace doesn’t suit me.  I don’t care how relaxed life is down there: it should not take fifteen minutes to screw up an order for three scoops of ice cream in a bowl.  I expect that level of incompetence to consume no more than five minutes, tops.

On the other hand, I did at long last learn to snorkel and got relatively good at it, so I was able to enjoy gliding over coral formations, minor shipwrecks, and brightly colored fish while the sun warmed my (SPF45 and T-shirt protected) back.  So I can’t say the trip was a total loss.

Monday, 19 March 2001

Not much new to say this week.  We had an out-of-town friend visit us over the weekend, which was really nice, and Kat and I have been discussing plans for home improvements this spring and summer.  It isn’t so much what we want to do as what we want to do this year, and what we want to put off for following years.  I’m also starting to assemble my thoughts on the subject of renegotiating my home finanacing, what with interest rates as low as they’re about to be.  Hey, if we’re going to be forced into a downturn by (insert your preferred scapegoat here), we may as well benefit from it in some fashion.

Monday, 12 March 2001

At the risk of making myself sound like a fanboy, I’m going to quote Babylon 5, specifically the end of the last episode of the third season:

All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments of revelation.  This had the feeling of both.

And so it is for me, at the moment.  Life is a continual surprise to me—not in the sense it is for golden retrievers, thank you, but just in terms of how it never unfolds in a predictable way.  In the last few days the surprise has deepened into a strange species of wonder and a muted sense of surreality.

Thursday, 8 March 2001

The lead story on CNN.com had the following lead-in:

As the House of Representatives debated, President Bush said today he was “confident they’ll do the right thing” on a Republican tax bill that will reconfigure the tax rate structure.

Somehow, I think the President and I have a very different vision of the outcome of the House doing “the right thing.”  (How like a conservative to assume that there is only one “right thing.”)  If you’re at all interested, one of my co-workers did an analysis of the effective raise people would receive as a result of the competing tax plans.  Note that the x-axis is logarithmic, so each major tick is a tenfold increase in yearly income.  It turns out that (if you believe these numbers) the very poor get a 5% raise, as do people with an annual income of $600,000.  While I can’t absolutely guarantee the accuracy of this chart, I dug through the numbers and they seem right—plus, the lines are more or less what you’d expect from each party’s position.  Of course, the beauty of this kind of chart is that each side of the debate sees it as ringing support for their position.

Gonna be a long four years.

Monday, 5 March 2001

I surfed past Molly’s Web site and found that I’d landed (as had Kat) on Molly’s new “Famous People I Know” page (thanks Molly!), so I started wandering through some of the other sites she has listed.  Some people I know, some I don’t.  I came across a striking contemplation from a person I do know, Leslie Veen: “Is [this] what being a part of a democracy means—taking turns at cringing at the one who occupies the oval office?”  Amen, sister!  Can I get an ay-men from the audience?  Thank you.

The HWG class is settling down into some sort of interesting groove.  Week 2 went much better than Week 1, mostly because I gave the students something to actually work with, instead of grilling them on theory.  Hands-on learning—what a concept!  So we’re going to stick with that mode for the remainder of the course.  I’ve heard from a few students that while they’re struggling and sometimes confused, they’re really learning something and enjoying it.  On the other hand, roughly half the students have yet to send in any of their homework, which is a little bothersome.  Well, I’ll deal with that in a bit.

March 2001
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