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Defragmentation Wednesday

My friend Mike came over last night to help me uninstall an antivirus program that had become virus-like itself. It's called AntiVirus Pro and, according to Mike's research, it had become "corrupted." I believe this is approximately the plot line of "Terminator."

Though I refrain from hyperbole, I'd go so far as to say that the corrupt program had turned literally evil. Antivirus Pro kept hurling warnings onto the screen, shrieking of doom and horror from various trojans, spyware, worms, viruses, scum and schmutz that had infected the computer. But the warnings themselves were worse than anything, rendering the computer virtually useless.

But there were complications in fixing this thing, notably the fact that the program the computer recommended for removing Antivirus Pro was, in fact, Antivirus Pro. It was like I'd have to pay money to make this thing go away. A total shake-down. The disease is the cure, the cure is the disease. Kind of like the Republican Party turning now to Karl Rove for advice on how to rebuild. [Spot the wildly gratuitous Rove reference.]

We decided to use a Norton Antivirus progam to kill the Antivirus Pro and whatever else was in there. But I already bought a Norton Antivirus program, stuck it in the CD drive, and ... it jammed. I have tried every kind of screwdriver, paper clip, etc., to unstick the drive. You're having bad computer luck when your antivirus software physically destroys your hardware.

Solution: Download another Norton Antivirus program. This worked great, though it took all night for the thing to scrub all the digital germs from the computer. The next step is to defrag the computer. Then it'll be time to start going through the various programs that the kids have downloaded over the past three years, tossing out the ones that aren't needed. I'm setting aside the month of December for that.

This has inspired me to come up with a strategic plan for 2009, which is that it will be the Year of Deletion. I could easily spend the first quarter just cleaning out My Documents. Occasionally I would take a break to clean out my real-world, extremely analog garage.

Deleting, spiking, tossing, discarding, mulching, burning, burying: These are the great joys of an organized life.

We've all heard that Obama is unorganized, or disorganized, or whatever the right word is, and I hope that Rahm Emanuel ensures that the new president has at least one hour a day to delete stuff and get his defragging done. Rahm needs to have the courage to tell people like the visiting prime minister of France that he must wait in the outer chamber until the president finishes killing his spam.

When I finish deleting stuff I will send off my application to the White House to be the Spam Czar.


But maybe this guy Ed Burnette should be the Spam Czar:

" It turns out the bug in Android I wrote about yesterday was worse than we thought. When the phone booted it started up a command shell as root and sent every keystroke you ever typed on the keyboard from then on to that shell. Thus every word you typed, in addition to going to the foreground application would be silently and invisibly interpreted as a command and executed with superuser privileges. Wow!"


If you need to know about personal tech, the guy who knows everything is Walt Mossberg, at the WSJ. My new goal in life is to buy Walt lunch in exchange for him debugging my laptop. (I guess that's kind of like asking the Secretary of State to come to your house to settle a dispute with a neighbor.)

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 12, 2008; 9:31 AM ET
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Sorry, Joel, spam czar is already taken and just taken down according to another story on the front page of this site. . . vigilance is eternal, isn't it?

Mudge, clear and cold, thanks.

Yoki, I highly recommend alligator paraphenalia from New Orleans. I have a little sterling alligator bracelet--when the mouths are facing out, it protects me from colleagues, Jehovah's Witness Protection members and my neighbor who's the Republican block chairman.

My boss brought back alligator necklaces from NO last year, they seem to work just as well. That one's on the monitor. (Let's not get into the beanie baby chickens I used to keep on servers I ran. We jumped Catholics are superstitious).

Best wishes on getting the project done, and please take care of yourself!

Posted by: -dbG- | November 12, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Wow, dbG, that's some powerful mojo, to protect you from all that!

Posted by: Yoki | November 12, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness you are back in the world of science and technology, Joel. I hope this experience doesn't keep you from your Inner Geek for now; I for one need a break from politics, although I know I must be especially watchful now, because so many others are feeling similarly. For example, the Alaska and Georgia senate recounts must be watched like we are hawks. And by the way, the Rove analogy was not gratuitous,it is perfect. That's why you make the big bucks.

The thought of a new computer literally makes me cringe. I foresee 40 man-hours just to get one up and running the way I like. I hope this one lives long.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 12, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, when I think of Obama, the words "unorganized" or "disorganized" do not come to mind. There's a good article in the New Yorker about how the Obama team won the election.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 12, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, FTB. No way does a campaign win like Obama did by being disorganized. Even if the man himself isn't well organized, he has the supreme gift of finding people who are to work for him and keep the trains running on time. It makes me hopeful for the future.

Posted by: slyness | November 12, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh man, have I ever been there. I once ended up with a Trojan Horse whose sole purpose is to get you to download another program that will do Grave Damage to your system. Although I didn't fall for this, simply getting rid of the original beast required me to go to a trusted site and download a program designed to do nothing else but remove this particular menace.

As I am sure the School Nurse has told you in frank terms, good Computer Hygiene can help prevent such things. But, you know, stuff still happens.

Of course, this experience was nothing compared to the mischief my son has caused, especially when he was a freshly-minted teen.

Let's just say I'm not at all sure how he ended up with the entire system frozen and my browser locked onto a Russian Website featuring remarkably friendly-looking women. Fixing this basically required me to re-install the entire operating system.

After that we had "The Computer Talk."

There are advantages, you know, to just having daughters.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 12, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I see that with this new Kit, Joel's Gone Viral.

As far as going through my old work, my old papers, my old computer files, etc., personally, I liken it to a personal Archeological dig. You're pretty much on your own in the middle of nowhere (like a basement, garage, or the wilds of your D: drive directory structures), in an adventure of emotional and intellectual self-discovery and reviewing memories; just this side of navel gazing, but with a bigger pile of lint when you're done.

There is that sense of satisfaction when you're thoroughly finished, which I've heard likened to, er, a good #2, but I personally think more of the peace of mind of a freshly clean bathroom compelte with shining surfaces and that crisp eye-watering snap of bleach in the air.


Posted by: -bc- | November 12, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'll see if we have an extra one hanging around that I can liberate er send.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 12, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution."

Interesting in science that in the effort to flee bad science (such as Lysenkoism
and also the original Catastrophism),evidence modifying the countervailing theory is always suppressed for a time, until it can be made completely clear that the scientist does not mean THAT inheritance of acquired characteristics, or THAT Flood, or whatnot.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 12, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle! Excellent poem Mudge, and I'm not much taken by babies. I'm the auntie least likely to be asked to hold the baby, and most likely to take the 5 year old to NYC to see a show and tour the MMofA.

The kit is a nasty reminder that between work and home I have two laptops and a desk top computer in grave need of reorganization. Never mind the garage, or the storage unit wanting emptying so we can quit paying rent to house stuff that would be better sent to Goodwill.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 12, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I like the Mac... appears to be virus-free unlike the PC.

Posted by: MissToronto | November 12, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I have remained remarkably free of these problems. Perhaps this has something to do with my affection and adherence to an operating system that is excellent, yet strangely under-popular. I would like to encourage 85% of you to continue to stick with Mr. Gates' product so that the remaining 15% of us, by virtue of our off-the-beaten-path choices, may continue to be ignored by virus-writers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 12, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Joel, the great Spamahoochie

Posted by: Braguine | November 12, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Joel, Antivirus Pro isn't a true security progran; it's a scam, and it didn't "become corrupted": it was defective the day it installed itself. It's goal is to scam money from people, not protect computers. I had it a few months ago and had to remove it. If you Google it, you'll find a lot of stuff on the Internet about it (and also how to remove it).

For instance, see

Unfortunately, it has the same name as a "true" antivirus program from Panda (whose software I have, and used to use quite well before I recently abandoned the Gates empire and went to Linux). I can warmly recommend the Panda stuff; it works pretty well and is easy to use. But the Trojan that infected you isn't theirs.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Morning all
Mudge your poem was great,really great.I hope my asking that question about babies didn't keep you up too late,but it was well worth it to all of us to have that poem.

cp this was simply great too"....more coffee and then off by bike to the shiny-faced young kittens, who will lap up at the knowledge placed in white porcelain bowls at the sunny table of knowledge "

I too seem to attrack every virus known to the computer world.I haven't been able to afford Norton this year,but my computer has a system restore feature that usually wipes out any virus.

Not much on the wildlife front,but i am happy to say most of the leaves are down and have been put in their proper place.I checked the roof this mornin and there were only a few dozen leaves left up there.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 12, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

First, some odds and ends.

Mudge, great poem.

kb, thanks for sharing your opinion. I respect your opinion and the article cited. The main contention I have with the article is that the debate is framed as a choice between loyalty to one’s own children and the impersonal state instead of considering other people’s children.

On-kit, this is my segue for a question I’ve been meaning to ask the all-knowing boodle (AKB) about. I diligently create back-up CDs of digital photos, but rarely get prints anymore. I also haven’t deleted any photos off the hard drive, so now have less than 15% space left. So I gotta do something.


1. What do people consider “safe enough” with respect to photos? I’m leery of just having one back-up CD, but I’m not sure if I should feel any better if I create two back up CDs without an actual print as well. I fear the dreaded “corrupted file”. I would also like to not have to make prints of every digital photo.

2. The standard program with Windows XP copying photos always asks questions about converting to HIGHMAT and “additional information” that may be lost. Do others have this issue and what do others do (I always let the program convert).

Posted by: engelmann | November 12, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

That's it. I'm going back to bed and pulling the covers waaaay over my head. I just read the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Among the articles on the front page are

Post-election gun frenzy

Gun dealers say they've never seen anything like the run on weaponry they've experienced since Barack Obama's election.

AP Interview: Ex-congressman Foley breaks silence 2 years after resigning amid sex scandal

Navy wins Supreme Court fight over whales

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 12, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Jumper. PZ Meyers is suspicious of the claims made in the article you linked to.

"Prediction: self-promoting hype meets interdisciplinary ignorance"

"The other problem that often occurs is that one of the investigators opens his mouth and reveals that he is completely out of his depth, and that the team has absolutely no conception of how evolution actually works.".....

..."Dear gob. Is this an indictment of Princeton, of chemists, or is Chakrabarti just a weird, isolated crank?"

As to suppression, I think it's a little early to claim that a paper that hasn't been published is being suppressed.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 12, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Good morning! I am very pleased to say I have not yet had to defragmentize a computer. However, I wholeheartedly support the Year of Deletion and I want to start now. I have a shop that needs cleaning out, closets to sort through, bookshelves to cull, files to shred, and it all must be done immediately. If Joel or some other highly persuasive soul can convince my employer to give me several days off, with pay, to accomplish this, I'll start today.

I have begged Ivansdad to give me just one hour with his computer so I can delete or rearrange the 900-plus emails which he never gets around to sorting. I am not convinced all those messages are necessary, but if they are, they should be organized in neat files where he can find them.

Mudge, that was a lovely poem. Thank you.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 12, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

President Obama should have no problem erasing his spam, since emails in the White House seem to delete themselves quite ably, and with little to no trace they ever existed.

If only Rove could invent us a system that does this with viruses, he'd be on Santa's "nice" list for the first time since, well... ever, actually.

Posted by: Gomer144 | November 12, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

englemann, if your question about converting to HighMAT is "Should I?" then I'd argue that you don't want to do that, if only because Wikipedia sez this in its article about HighMAT:

"NOTE, this format has been discontinued. There is no .hmt reader support from Microsoft or other manufacturers who originally created it. Many people seem to be stuck with photos formatted in the HighMAT format (.hmt) and there is no reader available to view them."

At the very least save the pictures as JPEGs or, if you originally uploaded your pictures in a higher-resolution or uncompressed format (like TIFF, PNG or RAW files), in the original format if you can, even though the files are bigger.

You could always make another copy in HighMAT format and cross your fingers that your XP machine will still be around or that you can find a reader on the internet the next time you need it.

(That article, BTW, is at

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 12, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear Joel, Your story is a tremendous publicity against Microsoft, as an Apple and Linux user, I feel your distress, here is a remedy. To end your nightmare, save all data ,install Ubuntu or SUSE, and say goodbye to viruses and harddisk-cluttering for ever. Hasta la Vista.

Posted by: supporter | November 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I never use a program that only stocks one type of vowel.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Beware of the Norton monster Joel. It starts nice and efficient but its memory footprint never stops to grow. Eventually all the computer does is taking care of old Norton and doesn't work for you anymore. Surfing becomes swimming in molasses.

SoC, I went along the path Mrs. Denizen's labe went. They do official forensic science that MUST be preserved for a long time. A few years back they were keeping multiple coopies of their pitchers of raid-5 hard drives arrays. It's safe but very inconvenient to maintain multiple arrays. They were also making copies of digital movies on archival quality tape even if the life expectency wasn't up to their standard (50 years vs 100 yrs). Now they have found a system that makes them happy : dvd+r (dee vee dee plus arrr) format on special archival quality blank single-layer DVD. They use blank DVDs from only one qualified source as well (Taiyo Yuden of Japan), but I don't think that is necessary for your pooch's pics. Verbatim has archival quality DVD that works fine with me, but again my own oldest DVD is just over a year old...
I want to add that you want to stay away from DVD-R (dee vee dee dash arrr) writers, they are carp; totally unsuitable for archival stuff.
As for the format of the pics I download them as JPEG from the memory medium so JPEG it is. The pros and "annal" retentive guys like my older brother used the native TIFF format of the camera, to make sure every bit of info is kept befor ethey start cropping and improving the picts. The lab even keeps the "finished" pics in TIFF but it takes a lot more space.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 12, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Couple of quick comments in passing - there is no data backup system that is completely 100% perfect and/or foolproof to my knowledge. You pays your money and takes your chances, y'know. I agree about not converting to HIGHMAT and that you should archive images in their original format as much as feasible because file compression adds an extra risk factor to data/file recovery.

I'd add to Gomer's point that the WH (and Rove) seems to have some experience in wiping unwanted data. I wonder how long it will be before some of those folks who are let go at the end of the Bush Administration open a hush-hush IT consulting firm?


Posted by: -bc- | November 12, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I still have some pictures stored on floppy disc when I bought my first digital camera. Also there are many place to keep pictures online,my space,face book,flicker can even rent space on a server for fairly cheap I would think.

And while we are on the subject of pictures.The one of Yoki the warrior that was posted on the last kit was great.But I met Yoki at the MBPH and she is much prettier then warrior Yoki.

Off to work

Have a Great Day Everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 12, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

For you hard-core political types like me, there was a show on Frontline about Lee Atwater, the prototype who mentored Karl Rove and his ilk. This morning the producer, Stefan Forbes, had a chat, at

I didn't see the show (it probably saved my life; I despise Atwater, and would have burst a brain vessel), but reading this chat, it seems to me Forbes displays a distressing lack of moral outrage, that he himself seems to approve of Atwater's amoral "do anything to win" tactics and ideas, simbly because "they work." And he is much too quick to spread blame around (to all of us) rather than to its identifiable sources.

But see what you think.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

About Obama's disorganization -

Al Gore is the same:

Desk and mind clutter may be inversely proportional. Although both of mine are cluttered.

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | November 12, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

About 15 minutes, bc. Maybe less.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So, who's got their inaugural ball tickets already?

I say we have an Inaugural Boodle Ball right here that day. I'll even wear my best Alohawear!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | November 12, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Teaser on the front page: "Six others wounded in altracation that reportedly stemmed from an argument with Iraqi soldier."

Gotta watch them altracations, dude.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

And, I gotta figure out a way to get the Alohakids to the next Congressional Youth Leadership Council so they can see Obama's second inauguration.

Looks like these kids get some great once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | November 12, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

dbG, to answer your question from the previous Boodle, I am thoroughly enjoying the post-election non-news. The last month or so prior to the election really frazzled me, what with Joe the Plumber, $150,000 of clothing, etc.

The increase in gun sales is due to people thinking Obama is going to draft young people into national service to go door-to-door confiscating guns. Or it's gun dealers wanting to make money before the economy collapses.

Posted by: seasea | November 12, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

That article is a lot of hype over nothing. DNA, protein, almost everything in the body has self-correcting and repair mechanisms to regain a balance.

It is one of the things that make us alive and rocks, say, not alive. Without it, we'd fall apart as soon as a tiny thing goes wrong.

The key point is that despite a high level of fidelity in copying, and self-repair, things eventually change; it's statistically required when you consider the trillions of cells in a single body, never mind the spread out all over the earth.

Epigenetics is an exciting field, but does not disprove evolution.

Rather it, and other aspects of molecular biology help us understand more of the details of development and how an organism might "save" life with say, a key mutation or two by adapting for it by using its endless feedback mechanisms.

If you want to feel this is a divine miracle, I'm fine with that. I think such complexity and striving for continuity is pretty amazing, far more so than the idea that life might beget different forms of life.

I quote Walt Whitman:

"And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

ScienceSpouse's desk at work is very tidy. The desk at home is a different matter.

My desks are piggy in both locations.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 12, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I think I have a desk here somewhere...

Posted by: omnigood | November 12, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Messy desk! Here. Here. Very hard to desk share at work, so scTim and scSp, I am neat at work due to socialization but hurricane-like at home. Never missed a deadline ever.!

Obama MAY be ENFP, in Meyers-Briggs parlance. Me too.

Read this Slate piece that speculates about Hillary, John McC and B Ob

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 12, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Re: "nape of necks" being enticing...

Er, only for picking disobedient puppies up by the scruff of their neck.

For true odorous pleasure, may I recommend the other end, right under the nape of the tail?


(I don't really get this human aversion to going straight for the motherlode of scent.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Secret Service has assigned code names for the first family-elect:

President-elect Barack Obama: Renegade
Michelle Obama: Renaissance
Malia Obama: Radiance
Sasha Obama: Rosebud,0,7865884.story

Posted by: kbertocci | November 12, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, the desk at work is very tidy, but my mind is cluttered both at work and at home. To paraphrase CP: Never made a deadline ever!

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | November 12, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

That's pretty cool kbertocci,I was wondering does the Obama family have any pets and what will their code names be?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 12, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Hi ScSp! Always nice to read you here. I always chuckle at the "Please come home now, dear" post you made a number of months ago.

The boodle is so many things, including a reminder service.

ScSP knits, she does, dr, I hath seen it wit me own two-en eye-ens.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 12, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ah dun took mah daddy's words to heart...

A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 12, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

There is a magnificent full moon rising in the East, against a quickly darkening sky. Gonna be cold tonight.

My desks are known as disaster zones. But I have to defer to 2 or 3 even worst offenders within spitball distance. One guy is making piles high enough to be used as ramparts against attacking enemies. One other guy, a writer-lawyer type has at least 6in. of documents on every single surface of his cubicle, including tht coveted spot on top of the monitor. I still have free space and I don't make piles.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 12, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

When I had a desk (cough, cough), I'd let stuff pile up till it drove me crazy, then I would clean it all up. That happened, oh, twice a year.

Now I don't have a desk, and it's rather inconvenient. I have the space at the computer desk, but there's not room to write. The bills are on the secretary, but the writing space there is only a couple of square feet, so it's pretty cramped. How did I ever get through grad school with only the secretary? I guess I used the floor a lot.

Posted by: slyness | November 12, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is supposedly Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ENFJ, according to Polar opposite of mine (ISTP). Maybe that's why I voted for him - unlike poor Sarah, I *know* I'm incapable of running the country.

I get different answers on each of 3 online tests, with weak preferences in each type. Who knew I was so well-balanced? Or maybe that's just wishy-washy.

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | November 12, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

My desk is perfectly organized, as is my entire cubical. This is because my brain is not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 12, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Here at work we don't have desks. We have "modules." You guys know me well enough to know what I think of that.

Started working on another pome a little while ago (while I was supposed to be working). Don't recollect writing two pomes in one day before. I think it might turn out rather well.

Running for the bus in a few minutes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

My son got a virus on has MacBook because he was running Windows under emulation without virus protection. It was from playing rogue Flash games, not anything prurient. That's his story and I tend to believe it. He has been the picture of discretion ever since I caught him ogling naked Sims at the age of twelve.

I run AVG Free which protects my computer from both viruses and rampaging elephants. My computer hasn't been attacked by either since I installed it.

I have some vestigial portions of Norton Systemworks still installed that keep wanting me to let Norton AV back into the fray, but I refuse to pay the subscription fee.

I am very proud that my motherboard transplant went off without a single loss of datum. The only side effect is that Firefox now crashes randomly. Since it restores quickly and completely it is more in the category of highly annoying quirk rather than fatal problem.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 12, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I assume Maverick and Mooseburger have been permanently retired.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 12, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

All day it has felt like a Monday. I want to go home and watch a football game.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Definitely on the messy desk side of the spectrum. And it's hereditary. We never had any problems finding my son's desk on parents' night.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 12, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

My pick for the first dog's code name: Rudolph!

Gotta go work like a dog for another half a hour before I punch out the clock.

(I'd really rather puncture the clock with my teeth, I must say).


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Messy desk at home and at work, unless I'm teaching. When I teach the first thing I do is get rid of the teacher desk. If I need to sit I take an empty student desk-freaks them out, and you'd be surprised what you hear when they look around the room and only see heads at student level. It's the closest I've ever come to having my most desired super power (invisibility).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 12, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Central Michigan vs Northern Illinois
8pm espn2

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 12, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Do I detect a boodle-pattern?

Messy desks?

Sciencey thingies
Food as opposed to food products?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 12, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

When I work, my desk model life itself; growth and decay; waste product and energy evolving and coexisting at the same time.

I never call my desk a mess. I call it insufficient deskspace to adequately model a 4-D process in 2-D.

I'm sticking to that story.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod you are funny and right on this one.
Frosti, if only we could bottle you! So many children need a teacher like you.

Chilly, here, 60 which is what we leave the -stat to rummage for the hot water bottle and cozy stuff.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 12, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I am highly reliant on the Reverse Chronological System, also known as the Archeological Method. I can usually easily find something I need despite the apparent clutter unless I have recently tried to actually organize it.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 12, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope he doesn't accept anything that Cheney serves.,0,7865884.story

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I can be slow on the just occurred to me, maybe that's why I get so lost in thought -- there's just too much clutter. Let's see what we can get rid of here...well, this has been overtaken by events -- toss it. What's this? Haven't seen this in forever! Have I used it in the past two years? Five? No? Will I need to yank it out on a moment's notice so I can appear to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time? Probably not. Toss it. And this over here...I can't even remember why I got it in the first place. Hey! Look at this! I've been looking for this.....

Posted by: LostInThought | November 12, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Okay. Fine. I'm the freak. I'm the one with the meticulously organized cubical. The thing is, I simply cannot think clearly in a cluttered environment. I start to feel overwhelmed. It isn't a pretty sight.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 12, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Not that anyone much cares, but when I say I can't stand clutter, what I mean is chaotic clutter. My cubical is loaded with stuff. Plants and knick-knacks and many, many little wooden boxes. But it is all according to a plan. I need the stimulation of lots of stuff, but I need the discipline of careful order.

Make of this what you will.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 12, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I think pretty wooden boxes to hide piles of paper clutter is a great idea, RD. All those ugly black ticked white papers are so un-chic.

It just means you have an artistic sensitivity to your surrounding and distressingly good peripheral vision.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

That would explain the autographed photo of Gil Grissom above your monitors, RD_P...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 12, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I am in the organized clutter group. Drives me nuts if I cannot find something and spend untold time looking for it. Now, those of you who function well in clutter probably can lay your hands on what you need in a hurry. I can't. I almost have to go through a visualization of where I saw it last on the desk, the table, the shelf, etc. Once found, peace of mind is restore and the project continues on.

I must say Joel took his dust up with the laptop in good humor. When mine goes beserk, I take it too personally, really can be a downer, so frustrating when I don't know WHY this dear little box is sick, ka-poot, done for.....

Posted by: VintageLady | November 12, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I think "organized clutter" is how most people see their clutter, vintagelady.

When waging battle against entropy, the entropy of memory is the major enemy.

For some, "what did I need to do anyway?" is the memory issue. For others, it's "where are the things I need?"

Visualize somebody walking around, ready to write everything, but-- he has forgotten what he was supposed to do. Once duly reminded, everything falls in place and the work begins.

Some of us function that way; our mental filing cabinets are completely torn asunder from our mental calendars.

Thus, we need to have things irritating us to jog our memory on what is to be done. Of course, we COULD learn how to keep appointment books or calendars, but we keep forgetting to use them...

(I myself find a computer very helpful for this, because hey, I sit and look at it everyday. It's the perfect organizer, since I can't forget to look at it, even when I try.)

"where did I see it last" vs "What did I need to do anyway?" syndrome is why things tend to wind up in piles.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. If I need a desk, I suppose I could get the Geekdottir could build me one. She and Mr. T built one for her about a year and a half ago, and she's started a cottage industry in desks for family and friends. The biggest problem she has is moving a desktop in the Galante. She made her own so large that it wouldn't fit, and I had to take it to her in Chapel Hill.

Posted by: slyness | November 12, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Wibrod, I suppose you have a perfectly organized calendar/todolist/appointments on your computer. I just don't bother to take the time to set it up and depend on my scribbled paper calendar to keep me going. And a pile of little scribbled notes.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 12, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, we used two end tables with a board accross stained in the same finish as the tables. It's got plenty of room and is easily disassembled when need be.

Of course, we've got a storage room full of old furniture, so we have learned the art of conversion.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 12, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Remove the "perfectly organized" from that sentence and you're almost right. I often e-mail myself reminders what to do.

It saves me losing paper reminders in the not-clutter on my desk.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I think I may have floored Wilbrod.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 12, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

It's just that when I clean up, at least I won't throw out the computer by mistake...

(Yes you did.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, it's because you are trying to have a conversation with a little old lady, about as ungeek as you will find. To give you an idea, I used a primative butler's tray with stand for my laptop station....that may help you with the visualization. :-)

Posted by: VintageLady | November 12, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I need a butler with a computer

Posted by: Braguine | November 12, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I AM a butler and I wish I had a computer too. Opposable thumbs and minimum wage would be nice too.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Er, I've been advised that butlers don't have any relation to napes of tails or whatnot. But I think I'm still under that definition, you know, because I get the door and tea, and definitely fetch stuff...

I'm all confused now. Should I be working on a British accent?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I remembered posting something on my desk 'way back when:

"I don't think of my workspace so much as, well, a workspace as much as I think of it as providing a treasure trove for archeologists.

Fact: I have three items in my workspace that date to the Reagan Administration. One of them is my USSR (CCCP) Moscow / MCI Global Communications Center mouse pad.

I don't file documents, as much as distribute them into the geological strata on my desk top, for easy substrate (be it parchment, papyrus, or vellum) retrieval.


Posted by: bc | April 3, 2006 12:50 PM"

One of the other things still on my desk book shelves from the Reagan Administration are an employee handbook and in the back of the bookshelves, a can of Campbell's Chicken Corn Chowder with a little tin of Sterno. When I looked back there I found a plastic boomerang, too.

One reason for not throwing anything away is being Prepared for the End Times, should they come while I'm in a project kickoff meeting. A big can of the chowder for some strength (and the sterno to warm it if the power's out), then I begin to make my way home on foot, hunting with the boomerang as necessary.

At least, I *think* that's what the plan was during the '80s.

I think I left myself a Microsoft Project Plan for End of Days somewhere on my desk, with a nice Gantt chart. Hopefully I remembered to *not* set the baseline, so I can update it (I'm sure the file's on my computer somewhere, too). If not, I think it's on a yellow Post-it note (lord knows where I'd be without *those.*).

In fact, when I shuffle off this mortal coil I expect to take some Post-it notes with me; my hand-written notes for Things to Ask St. Peter and the Boss Lady stuck to my eyelids.


Posted by: -bc- | November 12, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

RD, your 'wooden boxes' has me laughing in recognition. Wooden boxes on the office and home desk, plus assorted wire baskets, etc.

At home, many many many wicker (in public space) and innumerable cheap plastic baskets behind closed doors (3 for a dollar at the dollar store!) have everything categorized and in its place. Spices in a plastic basket in the pantry (and *extra spices* in another, so they don't get mixed up), teeth-cleaning necessities in one in the bathroom, moisturizers in another.

For our faults, my mother and I share what she calls "a passion for categorization and organization." Can you say borderline OCD?

Borderline, because it distresses me not at all when other people don't share it, don't indulge me, or when they move my stuff or laugh at me. It's a positive pleasure, because then I get to put everything back *where it goes.* And that's healthy, right?

Posted by: Yoki | November 12, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

When I have a job, my office is usually neat and pretty orderly. Usually just one small pile on the corner of the desk that gets cleaned out every other week or so.

My hard disk at work and at home is the picture of organization.

My house? Clutter, mess, disorganization. I do pick up every two weeks so the cleaners can do their thing. That's why I hire them in the first place... to make sure the house looks neat at least twice a month. Well.. the cleaning is nice, too. :-)

Went to visit the new great-niece today. Precious. Beautiful. Tiny. Sweet. Wonderful. Happiness all around.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 12, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Despite my desk and occasional expansion spaces being rather hurricane-like when a project is in process, other places are neat. Like others here, I have baskets and bags..a controlled and contained chaos.

I learned to live this when in 1983, CPDot1 came into being to teach me that you cannot control it all, and what is that about anyway?

I managed to be sane by letting little things go but keeping to some goals:
complete the freelance project
feed the baby
water the carrots
make simple food
wash diapers
complete the freelance project
fold diapers
complete the freelance project...repeat!

I like my bag system, which the dots are adopting. Hooks help, by the door and in the basement stairwell. My boodle-handle could have been BagLady.

People at work think I am neat because I am considerate of my desk spouses: four of them, all male. They also think I am neat because I am very productive...if they only knew about my packets of potential energy: waves and particles!

Also, I keep a very clean house. When I speak to a client on the phone, I am cleaning. That is why I have a carpet sweeper and not a vacuum.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 12, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Shoving all my computer screens into wherever they go when I go neatly to sleep.

Good night to the graveyard shift. Keep boodling.

Posted by: Braguine | November 12, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

My desks (work, home) tend not to be too awful bad, but invariably near them I have...stacks. Piles. I have piles for this, and piles for that, and stacks of like (or dissimilar) things. The thinmg is, I have one of those minds that remembers where everything is, in what other people might reasonably regard as chaos. And I can find them at will --- as long as nobody messes with my stacks and piles. Which sometimes happens.

I also collect wooden boxes (whereas Padouk actually makes them, a skill of which I am highly frenvious), which are usually but not always cigar boxes. And I have several of them artfully stacked on my desk, as artsy-fartsy kinds of holders of "stuff" -- pens and pencils, small tools, packets of Sweet-and-Low, whatever. I have four on my home desk, and two at work (smaller work area), and two or three dozen in semi-storage. Among the "rules" of such boxes are that no two are alike; all must be in top shape, and each must be attractive in some way, box-wise.

Yoki, my wife is an OCD organizer and labeler, too. And in fact her sideline business is organizing people's closets/kitchens, homes, whatever.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 12, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess cobwebs near or on the desk constitute the desk is not really too clean.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 12, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Carpet sweepers are so marvelous, CQP. I first saw mine while at a Red Lobster once and I got excited to see how you could clean a carpet without beating or vacuuming.

See, I had been assigned to vacuum the living room and the basement using the family vacuum which was a 50 pound monster of a canister vacuum.

When I started doing that chore, I must have weighed less than that vacuum. I told them to get a new vacuum again and again, preferably an upright.

That vacuum was repaired countless times and continued to bedevil me until shortly after I started college and my mom finally had to vacuum herself with THAT vacuum. Then they got an upright.

I rather like my carpet sweeper, it only weighs 4 pounds at the most. I also adore my UPRIGHT (and not too tall) bagless vacuum with a HEPA filter, all at under 15 pounds. I can pick up and carry both of them in one hand without bending down.

THAT is what I call technological progress.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 12, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I love the new-babyness - the smells, the sounds, the touches, and of course when they fall asleep while you're holding them. I'm glad you're enjoying her. No doubt that the new-Mama-san and Dad are, too, though there's always that bit of 'dream sequence' sensation for first timers.

Interestingly, even though I do maintain a desk 'o piles (ahem) at home and at work, my house is reasonably clean and neat all the time. For me, paperwork is one thing, life is another. And life ain't paperwork.

Is it?


Posted by: -bc- | November 12, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

GWE, when the bottoms of the piles starts composting (detectable by smell and thermal probes) you have a problem. Cobwebs? feh.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 12, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm not a labeler but here' my story. I started buying spices from natural food store (can't stand them as people but they keep their spices fresh) and used plastic containers from a T-pyramidal marketing scheme to keep them fresh. I didn't marked the containers initially, for the first 4-5 years anyway even if I do it now, when I remember anyway. I used my sense of smell mostly and specific containers to identify some the stuff. When a colleague of Mrs. Denizen used spices and herbs bags as a identification game to assign Christmas gift I slayed the field.
Speaking of which, is garlic from China as omnipresent in the US as it is here? I don't like it but it's the only game in town. It's harsh and often has rot signs on the ends of the bulbs. Not the best Stinking Rose.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 12, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Worst hard drive crash I ever had was when I lost power while doing a disk defrag. Nearly totally unrecoverable. That was when I bought a UPS.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 12, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

blah blah blah hard drive, blah blah blah dee vee dee dash summat, blah blah blah Ginger!

Posted by: Yoki | November 12, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, worst hard drive crash I can remember was when I used to work in computer room operations (also back in the Reagan Administration).

Used to operate CDC computers with the big removeable multi-disc platter cartridges (14 in. IIRC). Had a head crash on one of those where the heads actually touched the discs while they were spinning. Sent clouds of iron oxide into the cartridge, and it even made it out through the drive's cooling system.

Orange clouds of magnetized bits and bytes, freed from the tyranny of two-dimensional hard disk media, floating through the computer room and carried along by the room's circulation/ventilation systems (talk about a freedom of information act!). Looked very cool - made me think of a Martian dust storm - but no chkdisk /f command was going to fix *that*.


Posted by: -bc- | November 12, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

renaissance rosebuds
regain, reveal radiance
renegades revel

Posted by: Achaiku | November 13, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I am a great deal like RDP -- I am driven to distraction by the untidiness of my desk, plus all the incoming email waiting for my attention. I feel compelled to memorize the location of every little bit of a task that is awaiting my effort. If I can organize the tasks, then I have fewer things to keep track of -- I only need to remember the location of the heap, rather than its individual members.

My problem is that the stuff that needs doing comes at me faster than I can transition between tasks. It's not that it takes so very long to do the work, but it takes significant time to get out of a mindset that has one set of priorities, and into a mindset that has a different set of priorities. The result is that stuff piles up, waiting for me to feel ready to give it attention. I have a large L-shaped desk. I find if I move the heaps of papers and notebooks far enough from where I actually work, then they are out of my peripheral vision and become ignorable. The area where I actually work is static and reasonably tidy. Off to my right and behind me, however, is a growing mountain of Extremely Important Material that Must Not Be Treated Cavalierly. One day, it will avalanche and crush me. I hope to move to a new office before that happens. Last time I switched offices, I put two years' worth of preparatory work into a neatly-labeled box that has never been re-opened. That was two or three years ago.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 13, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

bc, I used to work for CDC - and was an operator at their "Eastern Cluster Center" in Rockville. Yes, head crashes - never had the pleasure of witnessing one like you described, but had to deal with the aftermath.

When I went to work for the very large corporation where I still am, one of the Sunday night duties was changing a whole room full of those removable disks (so the previous week's could be used if they failed). Amazing to realize how little data they held, compared to a thumb drive today.

Posted by: seasea | November 13, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

I was an erily beautiful ride home,we have rain and there is cloud cover,but it must be thin clouds ,because I can still see everything like it is lit when the moon shines.I could see all the details from the overlook,a train was going thru the valley it's 3 lights beconning to me almost if as to say.hey GWE,I waited for you to come by so you could see me.Enjoy

Simply lovely

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 13, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

boko's link to Pharyngula is now on my keepers list.(and while there, Myers's link to this site
proved good reading on reversion of genotype as well) I didn't mean to say this research was "suppressed." It was a general comment about changing scientific paradigms, which by no means is likely to happen because of this one poorly written Science Daily article. Although I agree with Myers's skepticism he ought to have distinguished between the poorly written web article and the research itself done by others. Of which, granted, we can not make much sense.

And Wilbrod's word "epigenetics" piqued my interest so I looked it up on Wikipedia and read that. They are careful to mention the underlying DNA sequences aren't changed. It also linked to this thought-provoking article

I also was reminded of an article I read recently about some theorists invented a new completely theoretical material on their computers. It had weird properties halfway between liquid and solid, and it looked an awful lot like, somewhat late in the game, it took some soil-mechanics scientists to say, uh, guys, you've reinvented dirt.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 13, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh I do agree that Lamarckism was so throughly disproven that research that seems to suggest Lamarck-like mechanisms tend to be met with skepticism.

Truthfully, lamarckism (the inheritance of acquired characteristics) only exists on a molecular level-- mutations, epigenetic changes, bacterial or viral infections-- or prions (deformed proteins that corrupt other proteins), transposons (jumping genes).

It certainly is highly unlikely to produce Lamarackian evolution put as Lamarack put it-- giraffes with stretched necks producing offspring with even more stretched (and longer) necks. That would imply a complex feedback between the soma (organism) and its germline cells.

Even effects caused by pregnancy seem to only affect the progeny from that pregnancy, but the changes to the female progeny may in turn affect the grandprogeny, but those are not inheritable changes in the typical sense, as key genes involved may disappear in future generations independent of the effects.

Remember, mutations nor how inheritance worked were not yet discovered when Lamarack proposed his hypothesis.

Lysenko is a particularly awful example of the folly of championing Lamarckian methods for political purposes. ID would do very well to heed his example; he caused widespread famines.

Likewise, we use the principle of evolution and natural selection to figure out antibiotic and pesticide resistance, and to understand why methods that worked 10, 20 years ago are no longer as effective.

I wish all science writers would be required to study the history of science. (Except Joel, who's already heard it all from the Man in the Basement.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 13, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

bc, they obviously needed some DLC on their heads and platters.

As I've said before, I wrote about the data-storage industry for a couple of years, back when a 6GB, 7200 rpm drive was big news. I shudder to think what all of our desks would look like if we weren't able to wander into BigBoxO'Electronics and buy hundreds of GB or even a TB(!!!!) of storage... :-O

That image TBG posted yesterday? Doesn't hold a candle to our Yoki. :-)

Things remain interesting in the Alaska election, too --

*happy-the-rain-has-subsided-for-increased-Dawn-Patrol-visibility-and-contemplating-a-fairly-full-workday Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 5:02 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Not a lot to report on the front page op-ed columns today. George Will writing about Mitch McConnell? Boooooring.

The Supreme Court is hearing yet another free speech argument from a whack job religious sect, all because somebody thought it was necessary to put the 10 Commandments in a park.

OK, gotta run. Where is everybody? Just Scotty and me so far? (As soon as I hit the submit button I'm sure I'll see four other peeps at Dawn Patrol muster.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Or not.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

'morning Scotty, Boodle. The moon is a halo behind the clouds.
I remember seeing those piles of hard disc on a spindle, but never worked with them. I used 9" floppies though, an old PDP 11 had such a drive back in my college days. I wonder if one could find such a drive today but that probably doesn't matter, the equipment was built to last 20-25 years back then. If they only knew.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 13, 2008 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I discovered a new blog recently that is fairly sciency without being unintelligible to be. Here is one about how fingers evolved as a happy accident from fins.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

VintageSpouse's field is mass storage of data, think UK Met (weather bureau). Since 1961 he has loved his computer work. He should be here instead of me, since I am watching for the cardinals & bluebirds and let's face it, that's not a particularly deep interest for most people.

But, it is, for me.....

Belated happy anniversary to Scotty and his lovely wife.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 13, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, started a new job this week and haven't had a lot of time to follow the boodle (quick backboodling all I can manage).

I am reasonably tidy - at least to outward appearances, usually just a few stacked piles on my desk, however, at both work and home should you open drawers or cabinets you will find stuff placed everywhere - then occasionally I will go and clean out these drawers.

Saw this post by ScienceGirl this morning on the Nerd/Geek/Dork personalities made me laugh.

Posted by: dmd2 | November 13, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, VintageLady... *formal bow* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

When we got our first computer (a Mac, of course) in 1986 it didnt' have a hard drive, just a built-in disk drive and a "portable" disk drive. Remember disk swapping? If you wanted to run a program and save to another disk?

We bought a hard drive a couple years later. Thirty MB for $500. It was huge and LOUD. The other day I saw some 2GB thumb drives for around $20.

Speaking of cheap... last night in Charlottesville I paid $1.97 a gallon for gas. We thought that was great until we saw the gas in Gainsville for $1.88.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

I am all for digital when it helps, but more and more, I like analog. Remember those cool little alarm clocks where the numbers flipped over as time changed? The first microwave I saw had a timer like that. And phones that had actual little ringer bells in the base? And tv signals that come in with rabbit ears. Well that isn't here yet.

If you feel better with analog, is it a sign you are old?

Posted by: --dr-- | November 13, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

According to (who gets news from the MSM anymore?)...

Begich Leads By 814 Going Into Thursday

The Alaska Board of Elections has finally updated. With 17,728 votes counted since the previous update, Democrat Mark Begich has the lead over Republican Ted Stevens, 132,196 to 131,382.

More votes to be counted tomorrow and possibly Friday.

As we've pointed out and has been pointed out elsewhere, the remaining votes come from Begich-friendly districts. Mark Begich is now an overwhelming favorite to win the Alaska Senate seat.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

The Comment Monster just ate my stuff. Maybe because I'm away from home (at a hot springs resort on the Sea of Japan, no less). See if this one works....

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 13, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

OK.. one more post and then I have to get moving...

I was listening to NPR this morning in the car and they were talking with Republicans from the GOP Governors group. They were discussing how to fix the Republican party and gain more support in the country.

The GOP were bemoaning that they had lost support among women and minorities and were trying to figure out how to win them back. All sorts of ideas, but not the obvious one...

Stop supporting policies that hurt women and minorities! Duh.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Buenos dias, Boodle!

Nothing much to report from the six o'clock position.

Except--Things are getting very nasty in Afghanistan-Pakistan. In Iraq getting worse, too.

Posted by: Braguine | November 13, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse


Good morning, Boodle. Let's be up and at 'em, times a'ticking.

I have enjoyed the data-storage discussion. There are a lot of very smart people here!

My project team is highly motivated. Nice to see in a new group, everybody jumping in to do what needs doing, no matter how routine the task may be.

Have a fine day everybody! I find I'm still amazed and celebrating that the new age dawned while I was alive to see it.

Posted by: Yoki | November 13, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Ahh, the monster likes me.

Tonight's Japanese style crab banquet would be a revelation to Chesapeake Bay types. Just lovely, and I'm nearly vegetarian!

Then there's the persimmons. Every country house seems to have a loaded tree, plus some persimmons hanging from the roof. And sasanqua camellias flowering everywhere. Yesterday and the day before, I spotted even more American southern magnolias in gardens (the evergreen ones with huge flowers). Even spotted a big sabal palm in Kyoto on Gojo Dori near the Aeon shopping mall. Oh yeah, they have mums here. Lots of mums.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 13, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Morning everybody. I overslept, but it's okay, because I've worked hard the last couple of days and I needed that extra half hour of sleep! The newly redecorated bathroom looks great!

TBG, W00t had a 15 gig thumb drive for $26 a couple of weeks ago. I didn't purchase but wish I had. My little 4 gig drive is a lifesaver. Of course, *I* remember punching cards to do research in grad school, so I'm really, really old.

When I got to the fire department in 1979, they had an advanced station location program that consisted of two trays of cards representing the street network. It was complicated but fun to work with, except that data processing was in a building three blocks away so we either went there or waited for stuff to be brought to us. That was my first experience with a geography-based system. We thought we were really making progress when that system was converted from cards to an visual file we could see and alter on a green monochrome screen.

Posted by: slyness | November 13, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning all...

Just wanted to pop in and wish Mudge a happy day filled with physician assistants who aced phlebotomy class.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 13, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Have a happy one yourself, LiT!! :-)

And here's a cautionary tale for all those "unnamed source" crazies in the mediea...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Just a note to say that I hope bc is feeling OK.

Posted by: Yoki | November 13, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

SCC: media...

Although Medea would fit right in, these days... :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. TBG, I don't think the Repubs want to go that far in changing their style. Maybe so, but I doubt it.

As for the kit, I am a clutter bug big time. My apartment has so many boxes, mostly books and school stuff for kids, one can hardly walk through the place. I did not start out this way, but I've lost control. We're due for inspections in January so I need to start with the cleaning, now!

Scotty, Mudge, Martooni, and all, good morning to you.*waving*

Slyness, I saw on the news that Easley says he's not interested in a post with the newly elected President. If I remember correctly he backed Clinton? Perhaps President-elect Obama isn't interested in offering him one? Some think he might be offered a post in Education.

Well, time to go. Have a good day, folks. It is suppose to rain here, and be a dreary day. I'm at a health education "thingie" this morning. I hope I don't fall on my face at the table while someone is talking. Rude, beyond words. Yesterday I went to see my 95-year old neighbor. She's in the hospital and just seemed so tired. She was trying to hang in there, but it was hard. Will have to check on her today.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 13, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Tragically on-topic to yesterday's kit: I couldn't have afforded private school for my daughter but even if I'd had the money I would have sent her to public schools for moral and political reasons, and because I think learning to get along with all kinds of people is a valuable lesson best learned young. We took advantage of our county's magnet school program and sent her to an arts-oriented high school in Fort Lauderdale's version of the "inner city." Here's where the tragic part comes in: today's paper reports one student shot and killed another at her alma mater yesterday:,0,7163294.story

Posted by: kbertocci | November 13, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

kb... that is such a sad story. No... 'tragic' is the best word; you're right.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse


I read your linked article and then took the quiz, such an interesting article, we always see others so much more clearly than we see ourselves.

My quiz results:

Joe Normal
48 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 22% Dork

(psst, they knew I was a female, so prefer to be Josephine Normal,) :-O

Posted by: VintageLady | November 13, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

kb, that is very tragic.

tbg, i had the same reaction to the article on republican governors.

another interesting tidbit that i read, probably in the l.a. times but don't have the reference, is that california's distinct turn from republican to democratic had a lot to do with gov. pete wilson's going after illegal immigration in an intolerant manner. the republicans lost the hispanic vote in california. sound familiar? i think the same thing just happened on the national level.

Posted by: LALurker | November 13, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I heard some of that NPR discussion this morning, too, TBG. It weas almost as funny as Jon Stewart's show. Tim Pawlenty was discussing the "Republican Renassaince" that's coming (bwahahahahahahahaha), and that it was a good thing the GOP didn't have any one clear leader, but lots of them all over, and there would be lots of discussion and dialogue. And he totally dodged all references to She Who Must Not Be Named about whether she will be the new head of the GOP.

I actually do think it would be great if Palin took over the GOP. Best thing that could happen to Dems in a thousand years.

Thank you, LiT. G-town generally has some good needlestickers.

Happy belated anniversary to the Scottynukes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

That so-called hoax about the fake leaker of the Palin info is fascinating and the story gets more interesting the further you follow it down the rabbit hole.

The alleged hoaxster is denying it on his blog.

As media pranks go, it is pure genius. How do I join the Harding Institute? I think they could use someone of my talents.

Posted by: PopSocket | November 13, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Pure Nerd
70 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 26% Dork

I'm surprised one of the questions wasn't about how many of these tests we take.

Happy belated congratulations to the Scottynukes!

Posted by: -dbG- | November 13, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Pure Geek
48 % Nerd, 57% Geek, 26% Dork

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' peeps...

The House of M has finally rejoined the civilized world. We now have heat (as in heat from the furnace) and -- drumroll -- running hot water.

This may not seem like a big deal to most people (especially those who pay their gas bills on time) but to the M clan it's no less than a 2001-touch-the-monolith moment. Turn the handle marked "H" and hot water comes out? No way! Way! We're livin' large now... just like downtown!


I, too, remember those stupid punch cards. Nothing like a hanging chad to ruin your day (or eight years). I also remember when Apple came out with their 20MB hard disk and thinking "what the heck does anyone need that for? How could you possibly fill it?"

I miss my TRS-80 with two -- that's right, TWO -- 5.25" floppy drives. And the disks were really floppy then, too.

And a "thumb drive" meant you had power steering.

Ah well... the days of wine and roses and technologically ignorant bliss couldn't last forever, could they?

Posted by: martooni | November 13, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Pure Nerd but forgot to save the percents....something in the 70s.

Another boodle-commonality:


But, not all of us are NerdLords.

HippoVersary to Nukes. Glad to see you, DMD.

Today is the first day of crappy weather for me.
Shall ride to work by bike for a meeting.
Shall wear highly attractive and professional rain gear (not attractive).
Shall hope that the sciencey-hair does not bloom overmuch in response to the rain.
Shall hope that the helmet does not crush overmuch the sciencey blooming hair.
Shall leave the wool off as wet sheep does not strike the odor of knowledge and wisdom.
Shall hope that I am judged today by my content and not my clothing.

Bikers beware: tis the wet leaves that loom.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 13, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Pure Nerd, but bowing to dbG's superior Nerdness:

61% Nerd, 39% Geek, 13% Dork


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Me, pure nerd: 91% nerd, 4% geek, 35% dork. You're right, dbG, a question on test-taking frequency would be revealing. Which category would it measure, though? Nerdiness, since it's all about curiosity? Or dorkiness, since socially ept (that's the opposite of inept, of course) people rely on social interaction for self-revelation, rather than online tests? I'm OK with my dorkiness score, even though it's above average, mainly because I tell myself it's primarily an introversion score. I just hope I'm not deceiving myself.

Posted by: -bia- | November 13, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

That is a truly tragic story, kb. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of the victim.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I blogged the Nerd/Geek/Dork Quiz two and a half years ago:

Back then I was:

Modern, Cool Nerd
73 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 47% Dork

I have no reason to suspect anything has changed.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse


Did you read Marc Fisher's Potomac Confidential this morning? While most states have a little political rest, we of the Commonwealth of VA will have a new governor's election to debate.

I am of the old school, that is, I look at who has worked hard for Virginia. I was hoping for Moran to get the nod. Actually, I'd like to see Deeds as Moran's runningmate.

Totally off topic as far as the opinion piece goes, I'd like to see an effort made to get rid of the NOVA/ROVA chatter. I've lived in most regions of the state and I find that label particularly offensive.

Fisher had a column or two on finding the boundary line for that label, and of course, he could not. Best to leave it as the sweet tea/unsweeted tea boundary and be content.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 13, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Why Bia, i crown thee

NerdLady, her royal highness

(All in a good way.)

Faxing the tiara to you now. Tis a real tiara used in a Miss California pageant in the 70s. I shudder that there is such a thing in my possession. Note: I did not earn this or wear this. And, tis not a costume shop thingie. Have been sworn to secrecy about it. But CPDot2 wore this tiara at a prommy thingie, complete with black high top, as to be ironic. However, I believe that her inner princess from about age 7 was so delighted at this sparkly shiny tree-topper.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 13, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

VL.. I hate the idea of Terry McAullife running for governor of Virginia.

OK, so he's lived here for 20 years. What has he done on a state level? He has absolutely no experience in something as mundane as running a state, and is so far off what most of Virginia could accept as a governor (me, too, for that matter!) that the idea of his running is just as unpatriotic to me as the idea of McCain picking Palin.

I like Creigh Deeds for governor or Moran. I was actually relieved that Leslie Byrne lost her bid for Lt Governor in the last election because I'd hate to have seen her running for Governor.

I don't really know enough about Creeds or Moran to decide yet which to back. I think I will wait to see what candidate Tim Kaine supports. He certainly has been right so far!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse


McAullife = carpetbagger (just my opinion)

Posted by: VintageLady | November 13, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Why, thank you, CP, I accept the tiara with pleasure.

Speaking of tiaras, I discovered somewhat to my dismay that my current institution of higher learning has three separate tiara-awarding events every fall: a Miss University pageant, whose winner goes on to compete with winners from other universities, a Miss university-colors pageant, and a homecoming queen and court. I'm just waiting to see if there are more in the spring. Yes, we're all about the education here.

Posted by: -bia- | November 13, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree, VintageLady.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

As opposed to, say, Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

All this talk about tiaras is making me and bc jealous.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

CP, you made me laugh. Your post made me think of Mudge in the football tiara, and how much bc wants that tiara. Inner princesses indeed!

Posted by: LostInThought | November 13, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

VintageLady & TBG -

I'd been wondering what some of the other VA boodlers thought of the McAullife governor bid. I haven't been a VA resident for very long, 5 years this summer, but I did wonder if McAullife had any history with the state party or working on a local/state level. A quick look at his wiki page suggested not and it's nice to get confirmation of that from long-time residents. I agree with both of you that candidates should have a history of working for the state interests.

Posted by: astromom | November 13, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Kathleen Kent is tall, like her Welsh great-grandfather Thomas Carrier ten generations back, who stood more than seven feet. She is lean but heavy-boned, with large eyes and full lips, and blonde. She claims that members of her family have also inherited the Carrier longevity gene.

Extraordinarily luckily for Kent (and unlucky for me), the family stories were passed down in bits and pieces, carefully treasured like an antique quilt. Lucky for her, she graduated with a major in history from UT Austin. After a career in New York City and a move to Dallas, she decided to give up her executive lifestyle and focus on writing her family history.

And on Halloweens when Kent was a child, her expressive, creative mother--one in a long line of ferocious women--designed all sorts of Halloween costumes for her children, space aliens and whatnot, but was always very careful not to dress her daughters as witches.

Since I was early to Kent's presentation at the Texas Book Festival, I was able to meet the Kent fan club, seated in the second row of the room, including various members of her family, including her mother (with whom I had a great conversation about the research trip they took together to Massachusetts and Connecticut), as well as her agent, who had written, not incoincidentally, her college dissertation about the Salem witch trials. Was it odd that I had just come from the festival's opening panel presentation, "The War over American Ideals," moderated by presidential historian Doug Brinkley, that included Jane Mayer, who recently wrote the best-seller, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals"?

Wasn't Kent's family story about her great-grandmother, Martha Carrier, hanged as a witch in Salem in 1692, the same thread in American history--how hysteria and terror upends justice? I admit that I almost returned "The Heretic's Daughter" to the bookstore because I found the first 100 pages slow--smallpox, battles with Natives, farm animals escaping from their confines. Had I been so rash, it would have been a travesty, since those pages build the sense of place, of personalities, of period. I would have missed the crescendo, the story's engrossing ending, the richness of the storytelling and the horrific tragedies of the trials.

Although Martha Carrier's daughter, Sarah, is the narrator and was only six when she was imprisoned with the other Carrier children as witches, Kent makes her nine when the tale opens. Kent is descended from the middle son Tom.

I'm grateful that Kent is not through with her writing efforts. Thomas Carrier was hiding in the colonies in plain sight, along with others who earlier overturned the injustices of the king. Kent's next book will be out next spring, about her distant great-grandfather Thomas Carrier, alleged to be the hooded executioner of Charles I.

Posted by: laloomis | November 13, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

McAuliffe has a website where he urges Virginians to share their ideas about his campaign...

I think it would be a good idea for us to express our opinions in a nice way, don't you?

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Tommy the Ax, we called him. No sense of humor, either.

Later went into the cutlery business, under the company name of Carrier and Knives, and later switched over to steeel engravings.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | November 13, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

morning all
the test claimed I was Joe Normal which is funny for those of you who know me.

26 % Nerd, 26% Geek, 30% Dork

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 13, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Not in a million years would it occur to me to return a book to anywhere other than the library after I'd read 100 pages.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 13, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I probably shouldn't have taken that test. 96% nerd, 30% geek, 17% dork. Yeesh. I think I'll go read something to improve my mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 13, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

gwe... Maybe we should call you Joe, then?

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I took that test a couple hundred years ago. Results:

28% varlet, 32% wizard, 19% dorque, 20% rapscallion. (Results may not sum to 100% due to poor math skills, missing fingers.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

no I prefer greenwithenvy and really have never felt normal in my life.

I threw out some rotten(or going rotten) veggies yesterday,now there is a herd of deer in my yard

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 13, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Departing now for the butcher shop and stress testing. LiT, you've got the conn.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 13, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, check your fax machine for the royal NerdLady tiara. I wouldn't want to keep something that isn't my due.

Posted by: -bia- | November 13, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Not at all, bia. You should keep the tiara. I'm sure my score was some kind of fluke - inattention in the fingers or something. It's a typo.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 13, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at your spendthriftness. I return all the books I didn't like whether I finished them or not. It's not like any of the words are missing or that someone else with worse taste than me can't buy it. On rare occassions they have forced me to accept a pro-rated refund based on the actual words I read or the percentage that was enjoyable.

When questioned from a legal point of view, I just explain to the security agent or police officer or loss management consultant or the small claims court judge the simple concept of "merchantability of fitness." They sell me a book on the premise that it is entertaining or informative or both. If it isn't, it's not my fault they tried to defraud me under false pretenses.

In some cases, I have threatened to countersue for damages for lost time, wages, and medical expenses (some books are so poorly written they can literally make you sick). And don't think I wouldn't include the writers of those misleading book jacket blurbs as codefendants. They are just as guilty as the writers of the cr@ppy books in the first place. If you can't trust Stephen King or Tom Clancy, who can you trust?

Posted by: PopSocket | November 13, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

'mudge, none of the scores tally up to 100%, so, not to fret. About your missing fingers, my Grandpa Tussey was a cabinet maker, and had joints missing on three fingers, due to machine chewing. I loved to hold his hands and feel the rounded nubs, the other fingers were just...fingers...those three were very special. I have a few of his small pieces, made for various members of the family, long, long time ago.

TBG & astromom, thanks for the website, saved it. For now, I am ignoring him and his fundraising techniques. This may be the primary that Tim Kaine stays neutral. If the democrats want to lose the governorship, they will embrace McCauliffe.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 13, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh.

The quiz said I was Tri-Lam material.

61% nerd, 30% geek, 57% dork

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Posted by: Moose13 | November 13, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Suddenly, I'm dizzy - a lack of O2 perhaps?

Anyway, things are busy for me these days, not nearly enough time for Boodling as I'd like. As with many of you in these, er, *interesting* times, I'm flying with the tray tables and seatbacks up, my seatbelts and chinstrap buckled, and had to gulp down my Bloody Mary when I realized there was Turbulence ahead. I like rollercoasters and I can fly through *anything*, so it's OK. I'd say I were flying by the seat of my pants, except that I'm not wearing any - just the Gladiator action gear, and a nice coating of extra-virgin olive oil.

Anyway, the nerd test is blocked here at work, but I searched for my previous results, and found that I was at least 93% nerd, anyway. If the thread's still going later, perhaps I'll retake it when I get home.

I'm betting I come out part wolf, too. The clogged shower drains and scatches on the back door don't lie. Lycanthropy can be a howl, but it is messy.


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse


Scratches on the back are more a sign of an overly affectionate companion, so stop bragging.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh, scratches on the back door. Never mind.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Please ignore my 12:00 PM in its entirety.

Mudge, try to have a good afternoon, and we look forward to your report regarding "Pincushion as Performance Art" later.


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, bc, if Ivansmom won't accept the tiara, it's all yours.

Posted by: -bia- | November 13, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there's always the Deep Purple hit "Scratchin' at Your Back Door" for a soundtrack, right? :-)


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I neglected to mention how much I admire Joel for refraining from hyperbole, particularly in this Kit. When faced with a literally evil program it is always best to remain calm and level-headed.

I would expect Walt Mossberg to leap at the chance to debug Joel's computer, if he offers to cook him a big steaming pot of meat-based food, appropriate for cooler weather. How could he resist?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 13, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think all this talk of hard drive crashes jinxed me. I came home last night to see my computer rebooting. Then, just a gray screen of death. Raysdad came back from walking Ray and said that the PC had been dead when he came home and that he had rebooted it. He wanted to try again, and I told him no, remembering (probably incorrectly) that the more times you try to reboot, the less likely data recovery from the hard drive becomes.

Anyway, we back up to an external hard drive (although not often) so most is recoverable. Although I'm concerned about the old emails, 'cuz I've never been entirely certain about where they were being saved.

Guess this means a computer purchase and setup soon. TBG, does Son of G do Windows or just Mac?

*off to take nerd test*

Posted by: Raysmom | November 13, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the offer, bia.

Not exactly the Football tiara that Mudge, LiT and I are wrestling over, but I'll take it.

LiT, does Manolo Blahnik, Stuart Weitzman, or Wilson make pigskin FMPs?
And can we find some to go with the tiara?


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

What do those guys that dress up as ladies at the Washington Football Frachise games wear? They may have some fashion tips.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | November 13, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

bc...I was thinking more along the lines of something like this.

or this..

2nd pair is probably more appropriate with the tiara, but 1st pair goes better with the colder season (and I already have a dress they'd go with very nicely).

Posted by: LostInThought | November 13, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the first pair is oh so conservative (I see Sara Palin in them, f'shur), but the second pair won my heart. Perfect with the tiara, and they're only $1050!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I concur that the second pair works better with the Fb tiara (for those that have never seen it, it's adapted from a design for a Super Bowl ring).

Yellojkt, I think the Hogettes wear nurse shoes.
At best.

Styistically, they're no Mudge, that's for sure.


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

OMG, Ivan's mom, now I have the big crush.

Tri-Lamb Material
74 % Nerd, 30% Geek, 57% Dork

I'm not too happy being such a dork. Sigh. Probably that means I shouldn't say I have a crush on Ivan's mom, and I'm too foolish to know that.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 13, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Returning to the kit for a moment... I so love the word "defrag."

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Pure Nerd
83 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 48% Dork

I'm sure the Dork factor was higher when I was a teenager. It'll be interesting to see what SciTim's the SciKids' scores will be, and whether there's any Mendelian correlation...

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | November 13, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone still defrag a hard driv? On the tech podcast This Week In Tech they were rolling their eyes at the thought of how long it would take to do a deep defrag on a terabyte sized drive. Their opinion was that drives are so fast and storage so cheap that this was not a time effective practice anymore.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

DaveoftheCoonties -- no purple and green cabbages as decoration yet? Must be too early. How about the tender trees and shrubs wrapped in straw blankets? Persimmons! Please bring some back!

Posted by: nellie4 | November 13, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Yello - I have my computers at home set up to defrag automatically every night - right after they do a spyware scan.

It just makes me feel better.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 13, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, JA went and did the news-writing thing again!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

What prompted me to ask my question was that I don't even have the 15% left required to do a defrag - otherwise I would. Thanks for the comments.

83/27/17 - pure nerd. I suspect a person's Dork Quotient is more of an objective assessment, however, and that low DQ's are probably more of an indication of a self-forgiving nature (why, yes, I AM an above-average dancer)

Posted by: engelmann | November 13, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Engelman dances? Huzzah!

Scandinavian turning dances
Western Square dance
Cowboy Two-step
Irish steps
British Isles contra dances
Electric Slide
Chicken dance
Western Swing
Jitter bug

Dish, SoC, dish sir, if you will.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 13, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't
Live today

Maybe tomorrow
I just can't say

RIP Mitch...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Your solution is a terabyte HD from Costco. Burn the pictures in native format to a CD/DVD, copy the directories to the portable hard drive, delete them off your computer, then do your disk maintenance. If you later want to copy the pictures back, you have two different sources to do it from.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Pictures of planets. I would never have dreamed that would be possible. And they hangs out at the same telescopes SciTim does. Let me know when they can read the "See Rock City" signs.

I have one quibble with them categorically rejecting the possibility of life. Who knows what could live on a gas giant? That statement needs a few more qualifiers like "carbon-based" or "as we know it."

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, speaking of life on other planets, I just finished reading the book "Larklight" with my daughter. (I think bc originally mentioned it long ago.) It postulates an alternative solar system full of cool life forms, including giant gaseous whales that swim in the upper reaches of Jupiter.

Man, if only the real solar system was that much fun.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 13, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hello all. We're practically in the middle of a monsoon here in Tidewater. It's errand day. Sigh. This is a brief respite.

dr - you struck a chord with me in your 7:35 about analog clocks. I only have analog in my house and on my wrist. I can pace myself so much more effectively by looking at analog as opposed to digital. I don't know what that means. I do suspect it means I'm getting old. Another sigh.

TBG and VL - I literally recoiled when I read the news that McAuliffe was going to run in VA. Doesn't set well with me at all. I also will probably go along with Tim Kaine's endorsement. (I was going to tell a little story about Tim Kaine, but I just took the nerd/dork/geek test and I think I'm one of those folks that tells the same story to the same people and I may have already told it at some point in the boodle, so now I'm afraid to...)

That said, I'm pure Nerd. 52% Nerd, 30% geek, 17% dork. I'm going to make the hubby take it.

I hope your day in the hands of medical professionals isn't as ghastly as it usually is, Mudge.

Happy Anniversary to Nukecouple! How is is possible that a year has passed?

The hubby agrees with Mudge about Palin. We were out to dinner last weekend and we were talking about the election on the way to the restaurant. As we lifted our adult beverages in a toast, the hubby said, "Here's to hoping that Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican Party".

Posted by: Kim1 | November 13, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It is, RD, it really is.

Posted by: Yoki | November 13, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I thought you guys might like this link in Andrew Sullivan's blog. Palinonics. Pretty funny.

Posted by: Kim1 | November 13, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

We're not sure, Kim...

Something to do with "while you're having fun," as far as wel can tell.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 13, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

How do you write 'floating gas bag of Uranus' in latin?
Or should ETs be given names in klingon?

Posted by: Boko999 | November 13, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

CqP: Sadly, that was for illustrative purposes. Hey, my sister is getting KL this year for Xmas.

yello: thanks again. I'll have to check to see if my USB 1.0 can work with a large portable drive.

Boko: Cushionis whoopii

Posted by: engelmann | November 13, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I'll drink to that toast, Kim.

Here's Borowitz today.

November 13, 2008

Bush in Race against Time to Wreck Country

Legacy of Destruction at Stake

Confounding the conventional wisdom that he is a lame duck president with no agenda as his days in office dwindle, President George W. Bush is redoubling his efforts to mutilate the country before his term expires, aides confirmed today.
"President Bush has spent the first seven years and ten months of his presidency doing everything in his power to leave the United States in smoldering ruins," said White House spokesperson Dana Perino. "He certainly is not going to let the final days of his tenure go to waste."
While Ms. Perino said that President Bush is proud to have led the U.S. into a "pointless and totally avoidable catastrophe in Iraq" and "the most terrifying financial cataclysm since the Great Depression," he is "in no way prepared to rest on his laurels."
Mr. Bush is "delighted," Ms. Perino said, that the stock market has lost one trillion dollars of its value in the last three days, but "that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the damage he hopes to wreak in his remaining time in office."
Among the targets for destruction that the President is currently eyeing, Ms. Perino indicated that the demise of the Big Three automakers was at the top of his list.
"If the President could preside over the disappearance of the Big Three and the millions of jobs they represent, that would be the ultimate feather in his cap," she said.
For his part, Mr. Bush took few questions from reporters today, saying that he had to return to the Oval Office to order random airstrikes over Belgium.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | November 13, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Potential giant planets (hurray for Joel and science) and giant gaseous space whales. I've decided to believe in space whales today. Life is good.

Aw, Jumper, that was cute.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 13, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It will work SoC, only 20-40 times lower. Check if your motherboard has a Firewire/IEEE1394 connection, you never know. There are plenty of external HD with FW connectivity. This is how I got around to provide fastish backup to my USB1 2002-era clunker.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 13, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

We all have a crush on you. Jumper is just the only one brave enough to admit it.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

My older computer (which may be dead, but I haven't bothered to do a post-mortem) only had USB1.0 (I tried to add a USB2 card but it wouldn't take) but did have Firewire. My new motherboard only has USB2 and no firewire.

Firewire is losing the mindshare battle. The new MacBooks don't have firewire. My new camcorder is USB only. A lot of legacy gear is going to get stranded. I just threw out a box of QIC-400 tapes. Let's hope I don't ever need whatever was stored on them.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 13, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I've been expecting direct pictures of planets for awhile now, as there have been rumors flying around that astronomers had them in hand and were trying to validate data. Think I even mentioned it in the Boodle not too long ago.

Amazing, isn't it?

More on that later after I've had some time to consider...

Retook the nerd/geek/dork test ended up 88% nerd, 31% geek, 17% dork. And yes, it *does* bother me that the numbers don't add up.

RD, I don't remember suggesting "Larklight" to you, but I have read it and did enjoy it. It did seem a bit derivative of -- well, lots of things, put presented in a spunky Brit style that made it a page-turner. Glad you and your daughter liked it. I think there's a sequel, but I never pursued it.

yellojkt, you're right about life in the atmospheres on gas giant planets. Who knows?

I'm sure that The Giant Living Gasbags would look at this planet, and possibly my life in particular, and ask incredulously, "Ya call that *living?*"

Oh, can we *please* name one of those gas giant planets "Mianus?" Preferably after they've done some spectral analysis - it should be the one with the most significant methane signature.


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

74% nerd, 57% geek, 39% dork: modern, cool nerd. It bothers me that the numbers don't add up, as well, bc.

Posted by: -jack- | November 13, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

bc... spectral analysis in Mianus? no thank you.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 13, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC, again: I meant that the direct pictures of extra solar planets was amazing, not me or anything having to do with me.

I can be amazing at times, but more in the shake-your-head-ruefully vein.


Posted by: -bc- | November 13, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, everyone, cocktail hour over at the new kit.

Mudge, you gonna bring those funny-named Brazilian drinks?

Posted by: -dbG- | November 13, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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