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On The Media [Jan. 27th, 2011|10:47 pm] I hate you. Egypt is shutting off the internet to the entire country to shut down mass protests, and what do we get to read about?

A serial killer (who killed 2 people) in New York. A school experimenting with 'segregation'. A dog getting a prosthetic paw. Oh, and the effing Kardashians. Wait, what's that? There's a tiny headline, buried in the center of the page, about "What Arab Protesters Have In Common".

Unless, of course, I manage to find the "International Edition" … but I'm coming from a US IP address … surely I don't want to worry my pretty little head about international affairs. Here, have some more Kardashians. (Who the hell are the Kardashians, anyway? (That's a rhetorical question. (Don't answer it.)))

Once upon a time, CNN, you were one of the best news sites on the internet. Now, would you please do us all a favor and just unplug your servers and go home?

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Eli [Jan. 12th, 2011|09:27 pm]
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The Grey BeastieSo much for that whole "posting every day" thing.   No real excuses, just too much going on.  The week has had it's ups and downs – unfortunately the ups are not something I can share yet, so we'll talk about the down.   Monday night, I went out to the garage to feed the kitties, and noticed that they hadn't eaten their food from the night before, and Eli (a.k.a. Grey Beastie) was looking extremely sad.  I decided to bring them in and let them hang out in the basement, since it was supposed to get down in the single digits, and while their kitty condo in the garage stays reasonably warm, it was still going to be pretty cool.

As soon as I set Eli down in the basement,  I could tell something wasn't right, but it was already 11:30 pm, and driving all the way across KC to the emergency vet in south Overland Park in 6 inches of snow just wasn't in the cards, even for Eli.   So, we made him comfortable in the basement, and made sure he had food and water, and set an alarm for early in the morning.  First thing in the morning I took him to the vet – at first, he though it was just an infected bite from a tiff Eli had had with a neighbor cat, but then he noticed his bladder was extremely full – the chronic urinary problems were back, and worse. "In cats this age, the prognosis is – not great – but we'll sedate him, put in a catheter, and see how things go."

I leave the vet, head home, try to sleep a bit since I'd hardly slept at all the night before, fail at that, and head to work. Shawna calls the vet that evening to check in, he says it's hard to tell at that point, and to call back in the morning. This morning as I'm taking Ian to school, Shawna texts me to tell me we may need to make a decision – this morning's call yielded the news that he's still dehydrated, and his kidneys may be failing, but he'll run some blood tests and find out for sure. But wait – the blood tests came back saying that his kidney function is fine, so the vet wants to give him another 24 hours to see how things go.

So here we wait, hoping for the best. Eli is a good kitty, and I feel terrible that over the past few months we've had such disagreements with the cats over the definition of a litterbox and the definition of our bedroom carpet that they've had to learn to become outdoor cats. (Especially since I know the arguments were related to the UTIs in his case.) But Eli is the one who adapted to the outdoors relatively happily, as opposed to Tom, who spends most of his time looking pathetic. (But he did that anyway – he's just more pathetic now.) Hopefully we'll call in the morning and he'll be feeling better, and can go back to bringing us mousies on the step soon … but I'm accepting that that may not be the case, too, and we may have to make a hard decision.

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On Tap KC [Jan. 5th, 2011|05:10 pm]
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Live in the KC area? Like good beer? The guys over at KC Beer Blog have a new app for you: OnTapKC. Keep tabs on where to find your favorite craft and micro brews in Kansas City, and report your sightings (or drinkings).

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Urban Exploration [Jan. 3rd, 2011|09:07 pm]
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Decaying buildings, closed off tunnels, forgotten bridges – the places that were created by people, and then abandoned for whatever reason, or where people rarely go … these places hold an incredible amount of fascination and intrigue for me.   Unfortunately, for those of us who don't really want to get arrested, most of these places are closed off, and there's not a way to see them legally.  On the other hand, thanks to the Internet, there are a gazillion image galleries, websites, and forums where those whose taste for danger is more refined than mine share their experiences, photos, and descriptions of their visits to these places.   This recent NPR story is merely dipping a toe into the depths of UrbEx.  There are hundreds of other in-depth resources available on the internet. contains thousands of meticulously-cataloged pictures and stories about the NYC subway system.  The abandoned stations list is one of my particular favorites – check out City Hall stationBoing Boing frequently posts  links to galleries of abandoned places, such as amusement parks, hospitals, missile silos, and nuclear wastelands.

Just about any locality has a forum dedicated to discussion of UrbEx in that locale, where pros and n00bs alike can post their stories and pictures.  Flickr has groups dedicated to UrbEx, infiltration, and all things abandoned. has an entire category dedicated to the massive number of abandoned places in the former Soviet Union.  Dark Roasted Blend posts collections of abandoned places on a regular basis.  The depth of content available across the Internet for this fascination is amazing.  Someday I hope to be able to see just a few of these sights for myself, but until that time, I could lose hours just looking at this stuff on the Internet.

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Neat! [Jan. 2nd, 2011|10:43 pm]

Quick one tonight.

Was very excited to discover that National Geographic now sells prints from their web-based photo galleries, suitable for framing.

I'm thinking this, or this, or this, or this (or … I could go on for many more "this"es) could make some really nice office (or somewhere) decor.   And I'm not just set on caves, I just happened to get there from a gallery about caves.

Mirrored from jfergspace - blog.


From the ashes… [Jan. 1st, 2011|10:06 am]

Somewhere along the line, LiveJournal basically ended for me.  Not with any great bang, just a fizzle and a puff of smoke that got lost in the rush and noise of being an adult.  Sure, FaceBook played a role in its demise, but I've never really felt that the two played the same role in my life.  It just happens to (unfortunately) be easier to piece together a 200-character status update than a 200-word journal post – not to mention the sheer time-sucking power which FaceBook seems to exert over my mind.

But I do still -read- LiveJournal,  and there are still a -few- people who post.  A few weeks ago, jwz was kind enough to post a couple of writeups on his transition from LJ to WordPress (including transitioning several years of posts), which spurred me to attempt to do the same.   And so, here we are.

It was originally a project in the name of getting my historical posts into a format that I have some level of control over, but a blog to which no one ever posts really doesn't serve much purpose.   Thus, in conjunction with the transition from LiveJournal, I'm going to -try- again to start posting regularly.  At least once a day.  No commitment to length or depth, but least one thing which interests me each day.   So onward, to 2011.

Mirrored from jfergspace - blog.


LusArfest 2009 [Jun. 6th, 2009|08:58 pm]
Anybody who's interested in LusArfest 2009 who didn't get an e-mail from me should go here and fill out the final planning poll.  Stand up and be counted!
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From the "informal research" department. [Nov. 17th, 2008|09:01 pm]
On the behalf of my mom:

I am trying to assemble ... a list of words that college undergrads might need to know during the first couple of years of school. ...

I am trying to sample people's vocabularies for the words they use in their everyday lives, their jobs, their whatever they use words for. They don't have to be four and five syllables long. Keep in mind that my freshman students didn't know what the word "brevity" meant when I wrote it on the board.

Can you each assemble a list of words that you think college students might need to know in order to sound like college students? Please? I don't care if it's 20 words or a hundred words. If you can send it to me by tomorrow night, that would be great.

Suggestions? I have a hard time thinking in non-technical terms - I want to put down words like "hypothesis" and "theory" and "syllogism". Or maybe I've just been reading Anathem.
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Trainwrecks [Aug. 15th, 2008|10:29 pm]
[mood |amusedamused]
[music |The Olympics]

I kind of think I might need to have my brain sanitized: Mother Goose Rocks: Celebrity Sound-A-Likes Perform Pop Music Parody Versions of Kids' Songs. Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes has some redeeming qualities, though, but you have to give it a little bit.

Also: Cake Wrecks.

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Productivity Bomb! [Jul. 31st, 2008|08:32 am]
Two ways to waste significant portions of a work day (Flash required for both):
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