Monday, March 31, 2003


I posted pictures of Mia from the past birthday weekend. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Mia Turns Two

My daughter turned two years old on March 28. We had lots of fun having a little party. She didn't seem to like the cake though: she cried furiously when the candles were being lit, and she didn't even want to sit near it. Thankfully, later, she did have some cake for a snack. I'll have the obligatory pictures up on the web site soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Talk To Her

I watched Talk to Her tonight (technically, last night, as I write this). The original title is "Hable con ella". I went to Kendall Square's Landmark Theater, a theater featuring what some would consider "non-commercial" films (foreign, documentary, "art-house").

The director of this movie is Pedro Almodóvar, the acclaimed Spanish director, creator of "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down", and "All About My Mother". "Talk to Her" was the 2003 Academy Award Winner for Best Original Screenplay.

The basic story: two women in a coma; two men who are their caretakers; friendships grow; love grows; in the silence of these women, there are stories, secrets. It's a beautiful movie. I cried (I'm glad I go alone; I make sure never to sit next to anyone). I laughed (despite the captions, you know when something's supposed to be funny). I saw bullfighting. I saw ballet. It moves at a patient pace. It's thoroughly original.

This is the third movie I've seen in the theater this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


ScriptLance is a website that exemplifies the frictionless economy. It's a gathering place where web developers/programmers can bid on "odd jobs" from web sites that need extra work. It seemed like a good way to make a few extra bucks, so I signed up as a programmer. So far, I haven't been able to get to work.

ScriptLance is too frictionless. It's like EBay, but in reverse. The "employer" can always get the "lowest bidder" for his/her job. Here's an example: someone wants to make an auction website. They want it by the middle of May. The lowest bid: $1. The highest bid for the job: $3000. One person out of twenty-two bidders, has deemed their time for this job to be worth $3000. Could this person make a living on this? One 45-day job for $3000?

I know jobs are getting done. Webmasters (owners of the web sites) and web developers are receiving feedback, and presumably web developers are getting paid. But here's another example of how crazy things can get: someone wants to add "membership" capabilities to their web site. This involves personalized pages, auto responders, mailing lists, etc. The web master has listed $10/hour as their minimum fee. At least programmers can put in a reasonable quote here, but the lowest bid is again $1, with the highest being $2500.

Browsing ScriptLance is enticing yet exhausting. There are some nice little odd jobs. Software installations. Code modifications. Things I know I can do. Yet the bidding for jobs is very immediate. And the favored programmers have feedback associated with their IDs. You can't get feedback unless you've done some work. But it seems as if you can't get work unless you have good feedback. What about resume? What about my ten years of "industry" experience.

It's capitalism, of course, in its purest form. It's capitalism made frictionless.

It's easy for me to be shrug off a failed bid because I have a day job that supports me pretty well. I'm just glad I'm in a position not to have to compete for work on ScriptLance.

Saturday, March 22, 2003



Here's the deal. Rumalia seems to actually be spelled RUMAILA. I was reading the Globe and the Times and found the correct spelling there. It's either my ego, or my bad hearing that caused me to see it spelled Rumalia. (I probably should have realized the misspelling when Google only produced web sites that didn't include current news.)


Rumalia, the name for some oil fields in Iraq, contain my last name, in between an "R" and an "A". "R"-"UMALI"-"A". It's odd now seeing the name Rumalia go by in some CNN Headline News pop-up or MSNBC news "crawl".

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Kevin Sites

While crusing for new BLOGs to read, I chanced upon Kevin Sites|blog, a solo-journalist reporting for CNN on the war in Iraq. Amazing: he says that the "huge" number of people using satellite phones is causing connectivity problems. He's trying to BLOG from Iraq...I'm blogging from the comfort of my own home. Our medium is the same web browser you're using to read this. Amazing.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Saddam Hussein

Do you think Saddam Hussein ever googles himself? If he does, he may hit this page, and be counted as one of my "visitors". If so, then I would be remiss not to remind him that he has under two days, as I write this, to leave Iraq. Or else!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003


A woman missing for the past nine months is now found. A man about the executed, was given a reprieve within ten minutes of his execution. A miraculous day.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Two Years of Blogging

It's now been two years since I started writing this BLOG.

I read an article a few weeks ago about Junot Diaz, a writer who is experiencing writer's block. I don't write professionally; this is the only outlet I have for writing, and I suppose if I needed to do this professionally, I probably will encounter days in which I couldn't get it going.

Since March 10, 2001, I wrote 330 entries into this BLOG. Some entries have been as short as a few words. Others were lengthier. I doubt that any entry is as as long as a typical column done by the columnists I like to read. Some of them, like Sam Allis, have columns that appear once a week. Others, like Bob Ryan, have columns that appear two or three times a week.

While at my Mom-in-Law's, I skimmed through Andy Rooney's book Common Nonsense. In it (I'm paraphrasing), he said that people who think writing is easy sometimes equate it with penmanship: the act of writing as the physical act of putting letters to paper (or typing, as I'm doing now). That writing is easy. But the writing that he does, and the writing that Mr. Diaz does, as well as Mr. Allis, and Mr. Ryan, is pretty hard.

Or is it? Billy Joel wrote "New York State of Mind" in an afternoon. Paul Thomas Anderson said it took him a few months to write Sydney, which is the equivalent of speed-writing in Hollywood. But he admitted that it took him a year to write Magnolia. Quentin Tarantino said it took him a year to adapt/write Jackie Brown, and it was already a published book (Rum Punch, by Elmore Leonard).

Bill Weld has now written three books, all after his years as governor of Massachusetts. He said that in school, he learned to write from outlines. He decided one day to make an outline of a book, and go from there. He made it sound so simple. And maybe it is.

For me? Some days it's easy to produce sentences, produce words. Others...well, let's say I'm glad I don't have to do this for pay. Well, it's late. Happy reading! Good night.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Ash Wednesday

Today was Ash Wednesday. I received ashes in the morning. The older I get, the less perturbed I am by Lent, the forty days before Easter in which Catholics are normally abstaining from meat on Fridays, as well as giving up "something". I heard a homily last Sunday in which Lent should be thought of as a period of "feasting" on positive things, and "fasting" from negative things. I found the list mentioned in the homily, and it's a wonderful sentiment going into this Lenten season.

Monday, March 3, 2003


I've been busy with my BLOG actually. I finally added two features that I've been meaning to add for quite some time: links and comments.

Each specific entry in this on-line journal can be linked via a URL to the archive page which that entry belongs to. Moreover, the link contains a NAME field, which will also allow direct the browser to the specific entry. I had a heck of a time getting this to work, and I plan to document it later.

But even better than links are comments. Thanks to Blork's Blog, I found Enetation, a web service for hosting comments you may have about any specific entry. Just click on the comments link, and drop a quick line. Your e-mail and web addresses are optional.