I find two things comforting about the situation. The local fire department responded quickly and professionally. My daughter heard the alarm first, came into our bedroom to make sure that we heard the alarm and then promptly exited the building.
If the alarm ends up being the result of something silly, I think tarring and feathering is in order. Or maybe we should install stocks in front of the building . . .
My mustache befuddles me. Two nights ago, it seems to have grown overnight by leaps and bounds. The end result is that yesterday it began to present itself in every foodstuff that I took a bite of. It's really odd to take a bit of food and taste mustache.
Fortunately, I can still drink out of a cup without dipping. I'm not certain why that is. Somebody could do a very nice paper on why mustaches get in your mouth when eating but not when drinking or vice versa. Objective research is clearly needed.
Speaking of mustaches, mine almost killed my thesis advisor. I have her for a class this term. She didn't recognize me and when taking the role, she was trying to pick out students based on their pictures taken when they received their university ID. She got to me and couldn't place my face with one of the pictures on the print out. Finally she asked who I was in her thick European accent. I said, "I'm lm." Her eyes popped out of her skull, she swooned, almost falling over, and she couldn't stop laughing for five to ten minutes.
Regardless of however deadly it may be, I think it's time to break out the mustache wax. That should keep it out of my food.
This semester looks interesting course wise. A class on William of Ockham (of Ockham's razor fame), one on Ibn Rushd (more commonly known as Averroes in the west) and whether Thomas of Aquinas properly understood his theory of the intellect, and one of the 20th century philosophy of science. In the latter, I'm hoping that the professor that helped me understand Wittgenstein can help me understand Quine. Quine baffles me in an odd way. I think I understand his points but I feel like there is some significance there that I don't quite grasp. And, judging by the remarks one of my professors made on a paper about Quine, my feelings are representative of objective reality.
I also really need to finish my thesis this term. I spoke with the dean of the school over the health problems I've been having. He gave me some sound advice on various approaches to take and informed me that, so long as I keep enrolled for the thesis advisory course, if I need to drop everything else, I'll at least be able to finish my MA.
Those health problems have been preliminary diagnosed as COPD. If COPD is indeed what I have, I have the lesser of two evils, chronic bronchitis. (The greater of two evils being emphysema.) Medically, my best hope is that it is a misdiagnosis and the real culprit is environmental allergies or the like But if the diagnosis is sound, it's incurable albeit treatable at my stage.
In other health news, I'm up to running 5 miles three times a week. For the present, I've given up on running every day. My ankles started hurting a bit. It's not a horrific pain, more like "Hey! Dude! You need to stop soon!" rather than "Hey! Dude! STOP NOW!" Hopefully, it'll fade away as I keep running regularly. Times, of course, blow chunks. I'm doing ten minute, eleven minute miles. If I push myself and do an eight minute mile, I start wheezing hard enough that I can hear it without my hearing aids in.
The weekdays that I don't run (and Saturday), I've been using the weight machines. I'm back up to the weight I was at before I started getting sick in the spring. But I can only do one complete circuit of the six upper body exercises I do. More circuits will come with time. On the flip side, I'm back up to three full sets of 40 sit-ups holding my 5Kg medicine ball over my head.
I finally threw in the towel and gave up on the iPad. I bought a 10" Mac Book Air to replace it. I really liked the iPad but it really boiled down to software problems that de-motivated me to work.
(a) Task switching blows. For example, switching back and forth between a PDF viewer (or a web page) and a text editor is unwieldy and inconvenient. Part of this is the fault of the OS. There is no good gesture (that I know of) for switching between apps and the hot keys that you expect to be able to switch (when using a bluetooth keyboard) don't work. Part of this is the fault of the apps. Most want to reload the document afresh when you switch away and switch back. When doing research (say, being in the middle of page in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) and writing papers, this is highly inconvenient.
(b) Wi-Fi is not as ubiquitous as it seems. Arguably, this is my fault for not getting the 3g version of the iPad. This, in itself would not be so bad except for the next point.
(c) Document management blows chunks. Managing documents on my Palm Pilot Pro back in the nineties was not only more intuitive but also more sophisticated than what is available on the iPad. Part of this is the fault of the software vendors. So far as I can tell none of the text processors on the iPad save files while they are being created like the apps for the Palm platform used to (and presumably still do). But the OS, or at least the dev guidelines, seem to support the status quo rather than encouraging the paradigm of the Palm platform (and Google docs) where the save button is obsolete. The flip side of this is that moving documents back and forth is also non-intuitive and hard than it needs to be.
(d) I can't install TeX.
So in the end, after just over a year of use, I give iOS a C- for being the foundation of a general purpose computing device. I wanted to like it. The hardware is great. Battery life is awesome. But between Apple and its ISVs, it just doesn't make it easy to do what I need a computer to do. And, sadly, all the limitations I've come up against are arbitrary ones. They are design decisions rather than inherent limitations of the platform.
So far, my biggest grip about the Mac Book Air is that Apple doesn't make a smaller version.
Speaking of technology, I have a new phone. I splurged and bought an Android (Sidekick 4g).
On the pro side, that thing is frigging loud. I can't ever recall having a mobile phone that I could hear so well on. Not only that, but I can hear it ring while it's in my pocket.
Also on the pro side, it has a bzillion convenient apps.
On the con side, the system software kind of blows chunks. It's unwieldy and unintuitive compared to iOS. I suspect that this perception will fade over time as I use it more. After all, most perceptions of being unintuitive are really being used to doing something a different way. Nevertheless, I think I'll always miss Apple's iOS policy of apps shutting all the way off after x minutes if you shift focus to another app. It's quite inconvenient to have to switch to the task manager to make sure all the apps are shut down lest they drain the battery.
Also on the con side, the touch screen is difficult to work accurately. And it has some problems, for example, if I put the phone in my shirt pocket with the screen facing my body, I have to wait for the screen to reach ambient temperature of the room I'm in before it will register that I'm clicking on the screen.
Last of the cons is that the buttons are far too easy to hit by accident. In standby mode in my front pants pocket, it can manage to turn itself on which means that something hit the "power" button and then swiped the screen to unlock it. Two days ago, I put it in a rubberized case so hopefully that will fix that because the buttons are now more difficult to randomly press.
Time will tell, but over all I think it's a decent phone.
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