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small gray square Tried to run this morning, but a pain in my foot made me stop at only 1/3 mile. It hurt like the plantar fascia I developed during my marathon training, but that was only kicking in upwards of ten miles. Scary. So I switched over to the no-impact Versa-Climber, with a view of the television (which is working again). The Tripp-Lewinski tapes released! BFD. Stuck in a deathly dull meeting this afternoon - a contractor (from a company named after a bird) made his final report about some mathematical study using our software. It was the usual format of a presentation of transparencies on the overhead projector, shown in a darkened room with commentary. At one point, shades of Stat or Physics class, the entire screen was occupied with an equation, with integrals and nth-roots and factorials, and I bet one person in the audience of ten could've said anything relevant or even coherent about the expression. This was followed by an endless sequence of graphs, and on each he'd indicate some point and state a number. Afterwards, back to our office with its still-inert computers (no network connectivity!) Probably have something going by tomorrow, they say (the office transition saga continues).

small orange square Yesterday a full-sized two-dimensional Fabio was delivered to our windowless room - someone's idea of a prank. Reminded me of a ridiculous tradition I eventually terminated, two jobs ago. The bubbly (she was Southern) manager of that group had instituted the custom: An inflated cartoon character, four feet tall, was bestowed upon the chosen, said "winner"s selection due to their just accepting (or being made to accept) some onerous but short-term task. It wasn't just inflated, but one of these "punch-me" toys which always bob upright, like a daruma or a very big Weeble - let's say it was Fred Flintstone. Fred would reside in a corner of the lucky recipient's office until, the task completed, he could be passed on, at which point tradition dictated that another decoration be affixed to the thing. He had a necktie, sunglasses, an athletic team's pennant, etc. I hated the whole idea, all aspects, especially the pseudo-ironic angle: it was presented with ceremony, like an award; all chuckled like they thought this was fun (but only to humor the bubbly manager). After she'd moved on to another position, a new guy received the now-ungainly object, just so the person who'd had it last could unload it. One Saturday morning I passed by the new guy's office, and saw it through the open door. Intent on murderous aesthetic cleansing, I entered the room, opening my blade. A quick thrust and Fred began to deflate, slowly, as I made my exit, unobserved. I can only imagine the uneasy circumstances <1> surrounding the removal of the resultant pile of dumb attachments sagging off the collapsed, luridly-tinted plastic. The tradition was forgotten instantly - I never heard another word about it.

small red square Whenever I hear about the cause of the Central American devastation, I'm reminded of "A Streetcar Named Desire": Brando's Stanley bellowing "Miiitch!" and Karl Malden spinning around yelling "Coming!" But Mitch actually stays back there, where he's talking to Blanche (Vivian Leigh). Shortly thereafter, Stanley threw the radio out the window.

small green square Caught this sad little blurb in the local paper, attributed only to their "wire services":

The Royal Greenwich Observatory, Britain's oldest scientific institution, closed Oct. 31, victim of budget cuts. It was founded in 1675 by Charles II to aid navigation. In recent years its focus shifted to technical support for astronomers.
No more Greenwich? How can we have "Mean Time" without Greenwich?

BFD - Big Fuckin' Deal
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<1> Do you suppose he asked somebody's permission? I know, I'm horrible. Hadn't really thought that any negative reaction was possible, until now.