Saturday, December 17, 2005

Good word

"ASCII is where it's at anyway. We suffered as a society when font control was turned over to the masses."

-- Jason Joyce
Woop woop

Did you know that as of this fall, Ereck and I have been together five wonderful years?
Knock wood, but...

As my boyfriend Ereck reported on his blog, this week he had a routine colonoscopy at the UW hospital. Thankfully everything went well, but I got to wondering: if one of us was hospitalized, would the other one be able to visit him, to make decisions, and so forth? I suspect not. As I understand it, married couples have these rights simply by virtue of being married, so this is one of the issues informing the current debate over gay marriage in Wisconsin.

So outside of being married, what do we need to do to make this happen? The answer is obvious, I know: see a lawyer. But have any of you Back With Interest readers looked into this yourselves?
This week's paper

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Original Pancake House, the really excellent chain of pancake restaurants. So I was excited to write a love letter to the chain in the form of a restaurant review in Isthmus newspaper, which is on the Web here.

Also in the new Isthmus is the latest installment of my column covering Madison's nightlife. There are items about beer pong, open mike night and the Pink Party. Peace!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Good word

"Stop telling jokes, Burns, and tell your fucking story."

-- Junkers producer Matt McNeil, on songwriting

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Still with the shushing

Not to beat a dead horse, but as I noted on the Isthmus Web site after I went to the movies a few weeks ago: I'm fed up with rude movie audiences. The most recent unpleasantness was tonight, again at Westgate, when my enjoyment of the excellent and moving comedy The Squid and the Whale was spoiled by the couple behind me, who talked for the first half hour. Just like the last time, I shushed them, and they stopped, mostly.

But it is stressful to have to keep shushing. I don't want to shush anymore. Is it normal to expect people not to talk at movies? Should I give up and stop going to movies?

I suspected we were in for it from the beginning when, at the sight of distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films' logo -- Samuel Goldwyn's signature -- the woman said loudly, "Now that's an interesting signature." Maybe so, lady, but we're not here to talk about it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Madison, Wis. = Satan's Lair

Look, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News says he expects Madisonians to be "communing with Satan." So get to it, everybody!

Wake me up when December ends.
Abort, retry, fail

Most aspects of modern living have been transformed by ubiquitous computing, generally for the better. As a writer I can't imagine not using a computer. People really typed on typewriters?

So how is it okay that PCs are still so unreliable? Even under the best of circumstances, people routinely lose valuable time because their computers are behaving strangely. Under worse circumstances, files mysteriously disappear, hardware malfunctions in ways that are flaky and inexplicable, and viruses and spyware grind computers to a halt. Personal computers have been around since at least the Ford adminstration, but for all the trouble they cause, you'd think the inventors were still working the kinks out -- which, I suppose, they are.

How do you respond when things go sour in computerland? Do you scream and pound tables? Speaking personally, I have, for better or worse, learned to be patient in the face of digital mayhem. After college, I worked for five years at a Chicago consulting firm where I was a sort of jack-of-all-PC-trades. I wrote software, installed computers and networks, and explained to customers how things worked. I also took the despairing phone calls when the inevitable meltdowns occurred.

Here is what I learned in five years: all software has flaws, all computer equipment fails (sometimes it literally bursts into flames), and the only healthy response to chaos is calm -- and, for the guy who is in charge of fixing stuff, a little curiosity: Now I wonder what could be causing that?

Do computer woes make you crazy?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good word

"I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome."

-- George W. Bush, on the administration's claim that Iraqis would welcome the U.S. as liberators