Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2005 > End of January 2005 Edition

End of January 2005 Edition

It seems like a long month has gone by. This entry is basically stream-of-consciousness.

I already wrote about the ice storm in my last entry. The big piles of branches ripped off trees by the weight of ice are still scattered about. And a snow storm swept through the area about a week later, making driving slow and difficult and forcing me once again to take the Interstate to work. However the local power company, American Electric Power, worked and worked to restore power to all but the most rural parts of this area. Props to AEP.

At work on the afternoon of the fourteenth there was a presentation on other projects that LITS was working on. I got to work that afternoon to see this, so I could take Friday off. That gave me a four-day weekend.

I put some cute icons on the library's mobile Web site. I really didn't want to do this. They add nothing to the site; they make the site slower to download; and they make it more expensive for cell-phone visitors to use. It costs 1¢-3¢ per kilobyte to download pages to a cell phone — and those pennies add up. They also make a mess in BlackBerry screens: The icons are inline images, which BlackBerry does not handle well. This last thing is a big deal, because the Dean of Libraries (my other boss) make heavy use of his BlackBerry, by which he views the site.

I also took the list of electronic journal titles; turned it into an XML file; and created a test Web application to display the titles on a cell phone screen five at a time. But it took more time than I thought it should. Microsoft makes this stuff overly difficult.

I knew I would probably blow the four-day weekend doing computer work, reading and other stuff I will not remember doing later. I decided to do something useful with my four-day weekend: I volunteered a couple of hours each on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the book sale for the Friends of the Fairmount Library.

You'd be amazed what you'd find at a book sale from an out-of-the-way library. I found and bought a primer on the programming language Scheme (ISBN 0134546466), which is the ancient language LISP with a few doodahs added. Scheme is used in simulations, AI and other high-level stuff. I also found and bought for my brother Bill a replacement for the 1982 high-school yearbook he lost in a fire years ago.

I got the usual dinner for my birthday: pork roast with fennel, mashed potatoes, green beans and a German chocolate cake with cocoanut icing. I also got money, which I spent on glucose test strips for the next three months.

This past Monday I had lunch with Debbie, one of my coworkers from the Company's computer services department. She and her math professor husband got hit worse by the power outage than I and my folks, because their house was all-electric. They had to make do with a camp stove for two days. Anyway, Debbie is still plugging away at her master's thesis. And I learned something new about her: She has certification in HAZMAT management.

It's tax time, and I just filled out, signed and mailed my forms. I expect some clawback from the feds, but I paid out big time to the state of Indiana. Indiana is desperate for its payout: $600-million budget deficit plus $700 million owed to cities, counties, public schools and universities.

Speaking of Indiana, we have Mitch, the new governor, and the first Republican one in sixteen years. Mitch has been governor for only a month, and already he and his minions have managed to anger just about everyone.

Needless to say, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, even from members of his own party. That is the sort of thing that happens when you try to run a government as if it were a private corporation. Worse, those minions of his don't seem to mind the outcry. But all this means it is likely that nothing will get done.

The results of his actions above:

There are big employers coming into Grant County: A Wallyworld distribution center in Gas City and an ethanol plant in Sweetser. (You'll notice nothing is coming to Marion itself.) These won't be operational for a couple of years, though, so it's likely that the people dumped by the Thompson plant closing won't be around by then.

Marion is teaming with Warner Brothers to hold a big thing at the local airport to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of James Dean's demise. It's not difficult to see why the WB chose Marion (where Dean was born but left while a baby) over Fairmount. The guys who are renovating the old high school tried to trick the WB into donating some moolah to finish the renovations. The WB didn't fall for it, and now likely wants nothing to do with Fairmount. Anyway, I will not even mention this WB/Marion thing in the Fairmount Web Spot since it has nothing to do with Fairmount.

Copyright © 2005 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Written on 30 January 2005.