Sunday, May 29, 2005

Julia, with her mouth open

Julia, with her mouth open
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
Julia's husband, Brian, was a professor of biophysics. Then he got Huntington's Chorea -- Woody Guthrie's disease.

Technically, I suppose he'd had it all his life, but just didn't know. Huntington's is a single-gene, dominant, neurodegenerative disease, with a post-reproductive age of onset.

Julia is now his round-the-clock, live-in nurse.

If you're from a Huntington's pedigree, you watch one of your parents die from it, and spend forty or fifty years waiting to see if the flip of the coin has given it to you.

By the time you find out, you already have a family. Then, you know what's in store for you, and you know you've also passed it to half of your children.

Julia had a birthday party for Brian in the park. I went, not expecting to know anyone, but happy to give her whatever support and help I could.

I did see one guy at the same park that I'd worked with, years before, and went over to say hello. It was nice to run in to him.

As I watched him leave, throwing a football to his kids, Julia came over.

"Oh, you know Aiden, too! That's so sweet. He's Brian's son."


Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
I often ask myself the same thing.

Bill & Crystal

Bill & Crystal
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
Bill's from Oklahoma and once was Dr. Bill, the physicist. Now he and his wife, Crystal, live in a little cabin in Gold Hill and raise turkeys and guinea fowl. Sometimes, they come down and play on the Boulder mall for donations.

The big crowds flock the fire eaters and unicyclists. Usually, all you see in front of Bill are another musician, or a family that's been dragged over by the smallest child.

The crowds flocking to the unicyclist have no idea what they're passing by; how really good he is.


And here's what he looks like at 8500 feet. Photo from sister Jo, who says,

What you get when you take a French Chevalier and turn him loose in the rockies. I especially love the Coors baseball cap. No surprise that the shirt and hat are brother Jeff's.

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

Our Dinner with Andre

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
"Hello? This is Andre Royer. Calling from France."

Think Maurice Chevalier.

Andre met my father on a ship, sailing from France, after WW II. His father had sent him to America to learn English, to help prepare him to run the family business.

My father, who had done his post-graduate work at L'Ecole des Beaux Artes and the Sorbonne, took Andre under his wing, taught him to say, "Where is the little boys room?" and introduced him to New York.

The were lifelong friends, and he named his oldest son, Alain, after my father.

Oh, and the family business? Cognac.

"I will soon," said Andre, "fly to New York, with my son Bruno and his wife. I think after that I will fly to Denver and visit with you. If you will be there."

We quickly determined that he could fly in at roughly the same time I was returning from Indiana and both my sisters were flying in from Oregon. We could, I realized, actually meet in the airport.

"And, how long shall I stay?" he said.

"Well, Jo and Nan are coming in to go to a music and dance festival in the mountains. Would you like to go to the mountains with us?"

"Oh, that would be lovely."

An 82-year-old Frenchman at 8500 feet?

It was lovely indeed.

Here's Andre surrounded by three, completely charmed babes: Nan, the opera diva, Jo, the tattooed lady, and Lyn, the girlfriend. Mine, not his. I'm pretty sure.

My Kinsey Report

Week before last, I went to the midwest to play for dances, in Cincinnati, OH, Louisville, KY, and Bloomington, IN. My friend in Bloomington said, "Tuesday morning, we have an appointment to visit the Kinsey Institute."

Our hostess was the curator of the art collection, Catherine Johnson-Roehr. I bought a polo shirt, with "The Kinsey Institute" across the breast, but I'm sure people think I ordered it from

Here's the picture proving we went.

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Wink looks like it'll let me do screencasting.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Beer Hunter

Jeremy Hinegardner
Originally uploaded by goyishekop.
Jeremy, the Geezer's webmaster, discusses his early beer-consumption history.

this is an audio post - click to play

The Secret Sharer

David Aitken points us at PostSecret, and it's worth it.

My secret is that I want to be Les Nessman.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Daisy, Daisy

I've been on the road, and haven't had a chance to blog. Seems like if I'm going to start up again, I might as well do it with something cool. Well, here's a test of Audioblogging.

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Microsoft is Doomed. Doomed, I say.

Glen Reynolds says protest babes signal a successful revolution.

Andy Rudoff says erotica signals a successful technological revolution. Printing? Boccacio. Agriculture? Love apples. Pottery? Fertility goddesses.

Well, looks like Bill Gates can just hang it up now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Memes Are Us

Here's something fun to do next time you're near a fax machine.

One nice thing about MFPs (multi-function printers) is that you can print a form and fax it using the same machine.

Monday, May 09, 2005

When Mice Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Mice.

The nanny state makes me look for a new hobby, here.

(Oh, okay, the activity's a bit tacky, but don't legislators have anything more important to do?)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Speed Will Turn You Into Your Parents

This post's for B.A., an old fist who'll appreciate this result: Morse code trumps SMS in head-to-head speed texting combat.

Five Uses for Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [Intro]

I got a phone call earlier this week from my cell phone carrier, T-Mobile.

You know that recording you get when you call to ask for customer assistance, that says, "Your call may be monitored for quality purposes"? Well, we monitored one of yours and it wasn't clear to us that you got the help you needed. Did you?

Nice. I've been impressed with T-Mobile's customer service. Maybe this is one reason it's good.

When the supervisor got done, he asked if there were anything else he could help with, I said, "Yes, actually. I don't have text messaging on my plan, but I've been trying to figure out why I'd want it."

"Well," he said, "if you're fifteen, it's really useful."

I laughed, said I wasn't, but said I was genuinely curious: if you both have phones, why use text messages when you can just call?

He said he didn't know either.

On a whim, I said if he'd give me free text messaging for a year, I'd play with it and send him five uses for geezers, like me.

To my surprise, he said, "Hmm. I can do that."

The posts that below are the five I sent him yesterday.

Your turn.

Five Uses for Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [Part 5]

Five Uses For Text Messaging
If You're Over 15
(Or Even If You're Not)

(5) Regular, Automatic Reminders

Want an alarm clock every morning? Don't want to pack it in your suitcase?
Don't want to fiddle with those tiny buttons on your watch? Don't want to fuss with the keypad on your cell every night, setting its "Organizer" to ring the next morning?

Have your computer send email to your cell at 6:00 every morning that says, "Wake up!" You don't have to take your computer with you -- just your cell. Wherever you are -- at home or on the road -- it'll ring you at 6.

On Linux (or, surely, the Mac) use your favorite graphical interface to the reminder service to set up periodic reminders, and have those reminders send you text messages, by email.

Or you can get a command prompt, type "crontab -e", and add a line that looks like this:
00 06 * * * mail -s "Wake Up!" < /dev/null > /dev/null 2>&1

You're done!

[You may be able to do something like these on Windows, too. You'd have to ask someone who does Windows.]

Try it out.

Set an alarm for lunch time. Once you see it works, you can modify the time to be whenever you want.

Of course, it doesn't have to be daily. You can use this for any regular event: monthly, weekdays, every other Tuesday, .... Anything you can set up your computer to do regularly, you can get sent to your cell.

300 text messages a month is about 10 a day. I can spend one of those -- a penny a day -- on a daily reminder, like an alarm clock without feeling like I'm wasting it.

Five Uses for Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [Part 4]

Five Uses For Text Messaging
If You're Over 15
(Or Even If You're Not)

(4) Deliver Some Reminders Through Mail, Others To Your Phone

What if you want some Backpack reminders to go to your cell, but others just to go to your email?

To show you what you can do if you're creative, here's how to combine Backpack, Gmail, and text messaging.


(This mails all your reminders to your gmail account.)

  • Next, in Gmail, click on "Create a filter"
  • In the "From" box, type in "riley.haemer+backpack"
  • In the "Subject" box, type in "[cell]"
  • Click on "Next Step >>>"
  • Click the checkbox "Forward it to:"
  • In the box next to it, which says "email address", type in your cell phone's email address,
  • Click on "Create Filter"

You're done!

Now, every Backpack reminder will go to your Gmail. Gmail will forward every one that says "[cell]" somewhere in the subject to your cell phone as a text message. The rest will just stop at your Gmail mailbox, there for you to read the next time you're at a computer.

Try it out.

Go back to Backpack and set a reminder called "+5 This is a [cell] test". Your phone will ring in about 5 minutes.

Five Uses for Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [Part 3]

Five Uses For Text Messaging
If You're Over 15
(Or Even If You're Not)

(3) Make Temporary Text-Message Addresses

Want to let someone send you alarms for a while, but not forever? You can use Gmail and TMobile to do this, too.

Follow the steps above to set up another Gmail filter, and give it a special Gmail "plus" address: say "". Have those emails forwarded to your cell, too. You'll get them immediately, wherever you are.

When the crisis is over, just delete the filter. After it's gone, notes from the doctor will just go to your Gmail.

If it's the boyfriend you just broke up with, instead of the doctor, you can even get Gmail to automatically throw his messages away.

Ignoring all text messages from someone, step-by-step:

  • In Gmail, click on "Create a filter"
  • Click on "Edit current filters"
  • Find the filter for that vendor and click on "Edit"
  • Click on "Next Step"
  • Unclick "Forward it to:"
  • Click "Move it to the Trash"
  • Click on "Update Filter"
You're done!

So is he.

Five Uses for Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [part 2]

Five Uses For Text Messaging
If You're Over 15
(Or Even If You're Not)

(2) Make it easy for friends to send email from their computers to your phone.

Gmail, <> is Google's free, web-based, email system. The features mean you never have to delete, clean up, or file your email, and there's nothing to install: you can use it from any computer with a browser.

Gmail lets you forward some, or all, of your Gmail to another email address -- why not your phone?

For example, if your Gmail address is <>, you can have Gmail forward a copy of any email addressed to <> to your phone as a text message.


  • Go to <> and sign up for a free account
  • Click on "Create a filter" (up next to the "Search the Web" button)
  • In the "To" box, type in "gillian.haemer+cell"
  • Click on "Next Step >>>"
  • Click the checkbox "Forward it to:"
  • In the box next to it, which says "email address", type in your cell phone's email address,
  • Click on "Create Filter"

You're done!

Try it out.

Have someone send you email, to <>. Your phone will ring. The mail will be on your phone's display.

This "plus address" is easier for your friends to remember than yet-another-email-address, like Plus, when you change phone numbers, there's no one to notify -- you just go back into gmail and fix the filter.

(If your friends can send email from their cell phones, then they can store that address and use it from their cells, too.)

As icing on the cake, Gmail puts a copy of each text message into your Gmail archives. They won't go away if you lose your phone or your computer dies.

Five Uses For Text Messaging If You're Over 15 [Part 1]

Five Uses For Text Messaging
If You're Over 15
(Or Even If You're Not)

(1) Set and Deliver Reminders

Backpack is a free, personal organizer service. You can sign up, make to-do lists, write notes to yourself, cross-link pages, and decide who can see what. Nothing to install: you can use it from any computer with a browser.

You can even set reminders, and get them sent to you as email. Or, you can send
them as text message to a phone.


  • Go to <> and sign up for a free account
  • Click on "Settings" (along the top)
  • look for "Send Backpack reminders via..."
  • check [Mobile phone]
  • type in your phone number, 7205551212 and select "TMobile USA" from the menu of carriers

You're done!

Any reminder you set will go to your phone as a text message.

Try it out.

In Backpack, click on "Reminders" (up along the top), and type in

+1 Test reminder

which will send you a reminder in about a minute.

After you've seen it work, start entering reminders for things that you want reminding of, even if when you're not near your computer.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Good News Bears

Here's a link that I guess I should have put up long ago. Chrenkoff actually publishes good news from places like Afghanistan.

Everyone predicted that as soon as things began going well there, you'd never hear anything more about Afghanistan on TV or in the papers. Well, they were right.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I'm a King Bee, Baby/Buzzin' Round Your Hive

I'll get geeky for a second. If you don't want to read this, just look at the cool pictures.

When hives get too crowded, the queen leaves. A lot of bees follow her. The ones who stay behind feed some of the larvae with royal jelly and make themselves a new queen.

The wandering queen finds a temporary perch -- typically a tree branch but, it seems, sometimes a car fender -- and the rest of the swarm settles down and blankets her. Next, the swarm sends out scouts who look for a good, new home, and come back to report on the candidates. After a while -- usually only a couple of hours -- the swarm picks one of the spots and moves in.

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

Buzz Off

Here's a car that was parked on a residential street, in the middle of the afternoon. Looks like ... uh ... bees.

While I was taking pictures, an ambulance pulled over. The driver wanted to know if someone had sugared the gas tank.

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

Found Art Cars

There's art cars. There's found art. At the intersection of these are "found art cars."

Originally uploaded by goyishekop.

Monday, May 02, 2005

There'll Always Be An England

I still remember the sense of awe I felt, long ago, when I read an article in The Sea Tiger (a Marine Corps publication) about a Marine who beat an attacker to death with a hand grenade.

If you've ever handled hand grenades, you'll realize that this is true, out-of-the-box thinking.

Here's a use for cell phones I wouldn't have thought of, though for other reasons: the new, British sport of Happy Slapping.

The Time Traveler Convention - May 7, 2005

Well, okay. I'll do my part. There's a Time Travelers' Convention coming up. Here are the essential details.
  • May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)
  • (events start at 8:00pm)
  • East Campus Courtyard, MIT
  • 3 Ames St. Cambridge, MA 02142
  • 42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W
  • (42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)
As the brass rats point out, this'll only work if people spread the word through time, so the most important thing is to spread the word. People a couple of millenia from now need to know about this announcement.

More thought behind this can be found here.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Free Wireless

Speaking of new wireless technology, here's one I like. You should at least try the demo.

Remember Pagers?

So, why are cell phone companies up in arms about municipal wireless?

Skype is a de-facto VOIP standard, and free. You install it, and calls to anyone else running Skype are free. Anywhere in the world.

Calling a non-Skype phone costs money, and the price varies with who you're calling. For example, calls to phones in the US -- cell or land-line -- cost two cents a minute.

My cell plan costs $40/month for 600 minutes. Those same 600 minutes would cost me $12 on Skype.

There are apples-to-oranges issues here. I get free weekend and late-night calls with my cell phone. I get free Skype-to-Skype calling with Skype --
as soon as everyone has Skype, all my calls are free.

Then, there's coverage. My cell phone only works where I have cell phone coverage. My Skype phone only works where I have IP coverage. Anywhere there's municipal wireless, everyone in the municipality has IP coverage, everywhere.

Remember a couple of years back when the supermarkets and Office Max stores had pager booths, where you could buy a pager? And how quickly cell phones made them disappear?

Cell phones, now a lucrative market, could be swept away by VOIP just as quickly. The phone manufacturers, like Nokia, would just switch to making VOIP phones, but companies like Verizon and T-Mobile would vanish.

Meanwhile, in the big-fleas-have-little-fleas department, cell phones continue to nibble away at PDAs and everything else. Nokia has just announced the N-series, which will have 40G hard disks, 2 megapixel videocameras, MP3 players, USB and bluetooth. And, oh yeah, they'll also make phone calls.