Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 19 November 2001

I struggled out of bed at 3 am; my purpose was to view the Leonid meteor shower. For the third, possibly the fourth time, there was nothing to see. All the sky was veiled with cloud! Piffle!

Yesterday was cold and wet. The Point to Peak footrace to the top of Mount Wellington had to be called off -- the road to the top of the mountain was impassable because of snow. My good friend Peter Marmion's birthday barbecue was called off because of the weather. Summer officially starts late next week. It's a long time since we had such a late start to warm weather.

Thought for the day:

The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything... or nothing. 

Lady Nancy Astor


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Tuesday 20 November 2001

Too tired to write...

Thought for the day:

... or think.


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Wednesday 21 November 2001

I awoke early this morning and while reading my email, heard what I thought were the sounds the Seagate Barracuda III hard disks had been making shortly before they died. I booted the machine with the Seagate Diagnostic tool, but the drive reported OK. After having two of them die on me, it could be that I am just paranoid.

The display problems with my Matrox G400 under Win2k Pro have not gone away. So I downloaded the latest BIOS and updated for the third time. I already have the latest Win2k drivers. Will this fix the problem? Probably not!

Thought for the day:

There's always one more bug. 

Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology


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Thursday 22 November 2001

Updating the BIOS on the Matrox G400 has brought back a particular video corruption that went away when I loaded the latest Win2k driver the other week. Now my cursor often has a shadow, a thick black line slightly below and to the right. It's intermittent and goes away, or returns when switching to another window. At least the M and N characters in Outlook are no longer changing to speckled illegible rectangles.

One of the problems troubleshooting this issue is that a reboot seems to send the problem away for several hours or days.

Rabbits are in almost plague numbers this year; they have even been eating Marguerite's lavender plants. I put a possum trap over one that had been chewed away to a short stump and shortly I will go and see if it has worked. Gardening and rabbits tend to be incompatible.

The soil has exceeded the magic temperature of 15C for the first time this season. This is the temperature needed to germinate seeds of warm season crops such as pumpkins and French beans. I also prepared a bed for a substantial amount of carrots. Ricky the Wonderdog has taken a liking for them, possibly because we like them, too. The carrots I sow now will stand over the winter until they become woody in October next year.

Thought for the day:

History is a vast early warning system. 

Norman Cousins


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Friday 23 November 2001

Yesterday I downloaded and installed the latest Via 4 in 1 drivers and that has sent the cursor problem away. For how long, I don't know.

After a hard morning and early afternoon working on The House of Steel, I went to the local for a few refreshing beers.

Thought for the day:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. 

H. L. Mencken


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Saturday 24 November 2001

Today we had the heaviest downpour of rain in living memory. Water was running over the roadway adjacent to the driveway entrance for The House of Steel. The cottage roof leaked in several places, but the new house shows no sign of being in the least bit stressed by such events.

I discovered today that the Bacillus thuringiensis that I use to control caterpillars in my Brassica crops is the same species as B. cereus (causes food poisoning) and B. anthracis, the very same bacteria, anthrax, that has been exercising the imagination of journalists everywhere of late. Given how closely related these three bacteria are, it seems that anthrax poisoning by mail may be less of a concern than poisoning by the inclusion of Bacillus thuringiensis genes in genetically modified crops. It is not beyond the realms of imagination that the minor variations between the three could happen to the same genes in a food crop!

Thought for the day:

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. 

P.J. O'Rourke


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Sunday 25 November 2001

Giving Thanks

We don't have Thanksgiving here in the land of Under. Nevertheless, I often pause and count my blessings (in no significant order):

For those not in this list who might feel left out, be assured that you are in my heart.

Thought for the day:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie


 

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Jonathan Sturm 2001

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Jonathan Sturm 2001