Wednesday, December 25, 2002


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2002


Our VCR started malfunctioning tonight. We put in a tape, and after playing a few seconds, the VCR promptly began eating it. We put in three tapes to convince ourselves that this was a real problem.

Since our daughter watches a ton of videos (most notably the Teletubbies), we couldn't bear to have a day without a VCR. So at 8:45PM, I trudged out to Circuit City to buy a VCR.

Our old VCR, a Sharp H942U, was originally purchased in September 1995. I was astonished to find out it was that old. The new VCR, a Panasonic PVV4522, was $70.00. While I don't have the receipt for the Sharp VCR, I can bet it was close to $100. In fact, at Circuit City, it was hard to find VCRs over the $100 range.

The new VCR has the ability to set its own time (!) and it has A/V jacks on the front (no more fishing around the back). I installed it in one shot. It was short but dusty work. I played a tape (crossing my fingers), and it played fine. I went through the menus, and jogged forwards and backwards through a tape. The auto clock setting was somewhat disconcerting. The old VCR wouldn't let you into its menus unless you set the date and time first.

I like the new VCR. If it lasts as long as the Sharp, I'll be pleased.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Perl's Anniversary

December 18 marked the 15th anniversary of the Perl computer language. My pictures of Mia web pages are generated using Perl.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Boston Catholic Crisis

The past week's news was dominated by the church scandal. Since I live in Greater Boston, the center of the controversy, it's the lead news. Cardinal Bernard Law's trip to the Vatican last week was closely watched. Of course, it has come to an end for him. Bishop Richard Lennon has been assigned to the Diocese of Boston as the apostolic administrator, until the Pope appoints a new archbishop.

Over the past months leading up to the past week, I have quietly accepted the difficulties of the Catholic church in Boston. As a practicing Catholic, I was just hoping it would all "work out." While others sought to join groups to make changes, I quietly attended mass. When I read last week that Fr. Francis Daley, the pastor of my church, was one of 58 Boston priests who signed the letter asking Law to resign, I rethought the issues again.

At Sunday mass last week, the Eucharistic Prayer was amended: Bishop Lennon's name was used in place of Cardinal Law's name. The changes are occurring. Today, the Vatican approved the sex-abuse policy proposed by the Bishops of the United States. The changes are slowly happening.

I believe it will be many years, perhaps a whole generation or two before the scandal recedes in memory. So much has been hidden for so long. I have commented earlier that Cardinal Law shouldn't step down, but after months of assault from the media, from the faithful, from the priesthood, and from the many disparate groups who have disavowed him, I'm beginning to think that perhaps his leaving will start the healing process. His leaving will allow the church "to move forward." At least I hope so.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Lack of Hair

I got my hair cut yesterday. I don't have a lot of hair, so the last few times the barber has shaved the bald part of my head, and cutting the rest in a regular cut. My brother Ron has completely shaved his head, and he looks good! My youngest brother still has a full head of hair.

I never worried about my hair. Neither has my wife. But I do get wistful when I see old photos of myself with the shock of black hair.

Monday, December 9, 2002

Despair, Inc.

I really like the spoofs on Despair, Inc. One of the authors of those despairing missives is a man named Ashleigh Brilliant. What a delightful name, and what an imaginative person!

Sunday, December 8, 2002

New Cell Phone

I officially lost my cell phone, a trusty old Audiovox CDM 4000. I've owned it since September 25, 1999. After realizing that my phone would never be recovered (Jenn and I went to Target, and that's where I last remembered handling it), I promptly purchased a new phone, a Nokia 3285. So far, I'm enjoying the new phone. It's got so many more features than my original phone, including a few games, a calendar, and an alarm clock. And it can receive short e-mail messages.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

fdisk /mbr

I just finished cloning my old 20 Gig hard drive onto a fresh 80 Gig hard drive. It took me the last two evenings. I'm woozy from the effort, but it went relatively smoothly. I had the benefit of seeing an IS person (Cameron Symonds) do this for my work PC's 6 Gig drive (he cloned that drive to a 40 Gig drive).

Here's the scariest command I had to use tonight: fdisk /mbr.