March 2006 Archives

Beer ice cream?


No joke; I’m a couple of hours early for that.

Ben & Jerry’s has had their new pints for 2006 in stores for a couple of weeks now, but this evening was the first time I saw Black & Tan™ in the freezer.

The lid describes it as “Cream Stout Ice Cream Swirled with Chocolate Ice Cream.” Now, I couldn’t bloody well resist buying a pint of that.


The beer taste is actually quite subtle—sweet and creamy; the flavor is mostly in the aftertaste. Once you dig down into the chocolate ice cream swirl, though, the chocolate flavor almost completely overpowers the stout. Not bad, but Vermonty Python™ was better.

920 calories. 52 percent from fat. Oh well…eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we diet.

Stupor Fresh

Okay, I haven’t had a really “mundane” post in awhile (although one could argue that a thread of mundanity winds though most of my posts).

Anyway, the local Super Fresh in Plainsboro, which used to be my favorite supermarket, recently eliminated the two things that made it my favorite supermarket.

First, the Super Fresh used to be open 24/7. No longer. Now it closes at midnight. Bleah. Around 2 AM or 3 AM used to be my favorite time to go grocery shopping. No traffic on the road. The aisles were mostly devoid of customers. No lines at the checkout. You could talk out loud to yourself and not have people look at you like you were a crazy person. Grumble.

Second, they just reduced the double coupon threshold from $1.00 down to 99 cents. That penny makes a big difference. I mean, how many 99-cent coupons do you see in the paper? None, that’s how many. Our workplace has a wonderful person who cuts out all of the coupons from at least five Sunday papers and places them in a bin in our break area. Super Fresh’s new policy changes my entire coupon strategy. God help me; I have a “coupon strategy.”

Partially, thanks to these coupons, I had an order at the beginning of the month that I reduced from $44 down to $12. I often wait for items to be on sale then I whip out the $1 coupons for doubling. Two bucks off makes a big difference. I haven’t had to pay for deodorant in about six years.

Screw that. It’s back to ShopRite for me.

Ah, the extravagant life that an an academic salary affords me…


Two posts in two days? That hasn’t happened here in awhile.

Today’s entry is Mac-centric, but amusing in a general “What the Hell were they thinking” sense. A few other sites have written about this, but it bit me on the ass again today, so I figured I’d mention it here.

Mac OS 10.4 Tiger introduced a convenient Dictionary and Thesaurus app that becomes really useful when you set its preference to “Open Dictionary panel,” rather than the default “Open Dictionary application.” You hover over a word, press the keyboard combo, and an inline definition panel pops up.

The default keyboard combination is:


This keyboard combo is dangerously similar to the keyboard combo for sending an e-mail in Mail:


It can be a little embarrassing to think that you are verifying a word’s definition, hit the wrong combo, and prematurely send an unfinished, unedited e-mail off to its intended recipient. Luckily, I never hit those keys during one of those times I started a message, temporarily turned off my self-censorship filter, then thought twice about what I had written.

screenshot from Mail dot app

So, anyway, I immediately went into the Keyboard preference pane and changed the Dictionary panel to launch with the more innocuous F7 key.

Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog

So, what has Michael been up to lately?

A.) Building an 18,000 piece puzzle?
B.) Backsliding 40 pounds, delaying his quest to become an underwear model?
C.) Growing a beard and long hippie-length hair?
D.) Spending hundreds of hours blogging at work?
E.) Racking up credit card debt faster than the national debt’s rate of increase?
F.) Turning procrastination into an art form?

Well, one or more of the above is an exaggeration.

For now, I’ll talk about “D” for a bit. Once upon a time, I reveled that I had job where I could actually blog and get paid for it. Nowadays, I sometimes feel like if I hear the word “blog” one more time, I’ll scream.

Late last fall, I took over administrative responsibility for our university’s Movable Type weblog server. Whew. Running an enterprise-level service is time-consuming beyond my wildest expectations. People at my university are starting to make great use of their weblogs, and I am starting to streamline operations…but it’s a darn good thing I don’t have a sig. o. waiting at home late at night.

The most frustrating part is when I cannot make nagging problems go away. Ever since we rebuilt the server last December, I have been unable to get the ImageMagick Perl module to install. Very, very frustrating. I have spent countless hours compiling, and recompiling, and going over error logs. Bleah.

Sort of related, but not really related, our university is hosting its largest conference ever this weekend. For the past couple of months, I agreed to help our comparative literature department with their website, which happens to be built on WordPress.

I did not do the original site design; however, when I took over the site, I tried to polish the look of the thing the best I could. Would you believe I rebuilt this conference website on top of the K2 template for WordPress? CSS is so powerful. I love that K2’s developers made their template so easily themeable, with full access to the K2 back-end. (I was slightly disappointed, though, that for simplicity-sake, we ended up turning off the AJAX-powered live search feature.) I am currently redoing my alumni class site, using K2.

I really wish an enterprising Movable Type developer could come up with an ├╝ber-template for that platform, similar in spirit to K2 for WordPress. (Yes, I use and love both MT and WP. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.)

When the conference site was originally created, the conference organizers had little idea of the site’s eventual scope. For example, what once was a single “page” in the blog became 125 separate entries, each with about a page of content that had to be cut from 125 Word docs, pasted as raw text, and reformatted. The site just keeps growing, and growing, and growing. And growing.

I do have to give a shout out to Coffee2Code’s Custom Field plug-in. It proved absolutely indispensable. Custom fields really do make MT and WP powerful little content management systems.

Inner monoblog


I didn’t really plan on a month-long hiatus for this weblog, but days stretched into weeks, and so on.

It’s not as if I didn’t have anything to write about during February. In fact, quite often, when I was alone with my thoughts, I scripted elaborate posts in my mind’s eye. However, for various reasons, I chose not to record these compositions, and in time these intricate weavings of words lost coherence and drifted away.

Being alone with my thoughts seems to be the norm these days. It just seems unnatural for me to open up to anyone, even semi-anonymously.

…I look at myself, at my life. Rarely does a person’s existence live up to their own expectations. Yet I wonder how long I can continue drifting along the same currents. Sometimes it feels like I’m kicking up a storm, arms flailing wildly about, yet I make little forward progress, and those times I do travel any measurable distance, the tide rolls back in, and I find myself back where I started.

Something drastic has to change. Who, what, when, or how? I really don’t know right now.

Anyway, I doubt that posts to this site will resume any sort of consistent schedule. I am certain that March will see a few more posts than this single entry; however, I don’t imagine that I will draft an entry more than once or twice a week, at least for now.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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