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04 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Nothing says Conservative Republican like a state where it’s legal for stores to simultaneously sell both liquor and guns at drive up windows
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How odd that one of the most beautiful states in the nation is filled with some of the most politically backward yahoos to roam the face of the earth.  Ah, Arizona.

Really good things about Arizona:  almond cream-cheese Danish the size of a dinner plate, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, 75 mile-per-hour speed limits, handsome Forest Service employees, county fairs and ancient rock art.

I have a new railroad journey to share shortly (including the fabulous homophobic snub 
offered us by the staff), along with some other great photos of Arizona.

First, however, I’m moving to a new server.  It’s technology update week here at Sister Betty central.  With the successful installation of both DSL and a wireless network, I’m ready to tackle moving the site to a new location, too. 

Tomorrow night is the monthly installment of Ba-da-Bingo.  Sorry, no live webcam this month.

09 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

My intention on Saturday was to complete numerous updates to numerous sites.  An invitation to sail with Monty and Daryl trumps any idea I may have had about spending the day with the laptop.  There was a time in my life when I would have held out the only proper way to ply the ocean included a nuclear reactor and steam turbine.  I’m willing to concede sail power is a strong challenger. 
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Returning from a beautiful day sailing, I went to work on my latest web endeavor.  It took two days and some research to find the right bits of java script to make it work. I’m happy with the results.  Take a look at

10 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

In the meaningless gestures category, we have this suggestion from the Mayor of San Francisco.  It is an idea void of significance, rife with potential for angering the populace, and a good way to waste city dollars in a time of reduced revenue. 
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I suspect there will be a great many meaningless gestures tomorrow.  Faced with mortality, fragility and insecurity in such a manner, meaningless gestures may be all many have to fall back upon.

12 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

The MINI has a flat tire.  If I owned any other car, this wouldn’t be such a problem.  But I own a MINI, which makes it an expensive problem which is not easily solved. 
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The MINI Cooper has turned out to be an expensive piece of re-engineered nostalgia.  I loved this car when I first purchased it and I still enjoy driving it on days when it is operational.  Given the opportunity, I’d consider trading it for a new Honda or Toyota if they had sufficient headroom.

I thought about taking a MINI on the road trip next year.  I’ve let go of that idea.  If obtaining parts and service represents a serious obstacle when the dealer is just two miles away, what will it be like when I’m stranded in North Dakota?  Anyway, The likelihood that the MINI Cooper would be operational for 30 consecutive days is so low that getting to North Dakota is probably not something I have consider.

On the upside, since I was stranded at home today, I got to work while sitting in my comfortable recliner with the cats lounging about the room.  I rarely mention them, but I love these little beasts. 

My last note for the day:  Enough already with the World Trade Center videos.  Replaying these videos ad nauseam does nothing for the survivors or the rubber necking public who get a thrill from seeing them.  As an Australian acquaintance of mine says:  “The problem with the American media is that it fails to know the difference between what is in the public interest and what the public is interested in.”

12 September 2002 - Continued from earlier

I thought the MINI Cooper would simply need a tire repaired.  While writing up the service ticket, I learned it is subject to a recall.  The linkage between the gear shift and the transmission can fail, leaving the car stuck in gear or neutral.  Had I not had a flat tire which required me to go to the dealer, I wouldn’t have known of the recall.

I mentioned to the dealer that I had another small problem with the car that might require some attention.  The MINI stalls when idling at a light with the air conditioner running.  Apparently this is a slightly larger problem that requires the onboard computer be removed, sent to New Jersey, and reprogrammed.  Bottom line:  for this repair the MINI will be in the shop for several weeks.

Percentage of time I’ve owned the MINI Cooper during which it has been inoperable:  29.6%

Percentage of time during the five years I owned a Chevrolet Metro in which it was inoperable:  0.3%

BMW and MINI, I must say, I am not impressed.

13 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Two years ago, I created the Sisters’ Economic and Social Justice Scholarship Fund.  I had two ideas when I created this fund.  First, I wanted to create a project which would reach beyond San Francisco.  Those of us who live here sometimes forget we live on an island of relative tolerance.  The second was to help fund college education for students dedicated to improving our society. 
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Last year we awarded ten grants to a diverse group including the first transgender person to attend Rutgers University, a working mother of two returning to the workforce, a documentary filmmaker and a person with AIDS hoping to start a new career.  I gained a renewed sense of hope for our society when I read through the applications of so many well intended people.

This year we’re increasing the number of grants to fifteen.  These cash grants are available to any college student in the United States regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Applications are judged primarily on financial need, community involvement and a demonstrated commitment to economic and social justice.  You can learn how to apply for a grant by clicking here.

Cash for the grants is supplied by Ba-da-Bingo, the train-wreck of an event which miraculously continues to grow in popularity.  Miracles, it seems, do come in many forms.

I try to say this as often as I can:  Projects such as the Scholarship Fund and Ba-da-Bingo only happen because a great number of people give generously of their time, energy and money.  If I were a better writer, I might more eloquently express my gratitude and pleasure for these gifts.

Tomorrow I begin a five day business trip to Vancouver.  If I am silent for a few days it only means I’ve failed to negotiate a dialup connection from the former Commonwealth nation.

24 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Originally planned for five days, my business trip to Vancouver expanded to cover seven.  Vancouver is beautiful, the weather was perfect, the people are friendly.  I may venture north during winter to evaluate if Canada might someday be a candidate for a future permanent change of address. 
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I love San Francisco.  There are other bits and pieces of the United States which are mildly amusing.  However, the insanity of our government has become so overwhelming that it becomes redundant to comment on the absurdity of the situation. 

Rather than rant about the toxic spew of politicians, I’ve a number of photos from Vancouver, including a very nice rail journey, which will shortly be available for public viewing.  Folsom Street Fair is this weekend, Ba-da-Bingo is next week (complete with oozing eyeballs and two real life judges – but you’ll have to wait to hear more about this), it’s likely I’ll be involved in a nationwide television production in October, and another exciting rail journey is planned for the near future.

If you’ve sent me email recently and I’ve yet to respond, it’s likely your message is safely tucked with 408 others I downloaded on my return.  I’ll be round to you shortly.

26 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

An excessive workload, coupled with lack of sufficient sleep, makes for a very tired man.  If I didn’t have a dinner meeting scheduled in half an hour, I’d be in bed right now.  Don’t call me on Saturday, I won’t be awake.
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30 September 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I spent entirely too much time today working on the photo gallery of Folsom Street Fair for one of my other websites.  In the process of doing so, I learned more JavaScript and can now create those annoying pop-up windows I loathe so much.

A well-intended Quaker put me in an awkward position this week.  One of the core Quaker beliefs is one of peace and nonviolence.  Most Quakers are given to believing we should have no military, and some actively campaign to prevent people from enlisting.  Knowing I spent a significant amount of time in the Navy, the well-intended Quaker gave my home telephone number to a woman who is upset because her nephew is considering joining the military, hoping I might persuade the young gent to change his mind. 

It would require a lengthy piece to fully describe the Quaker position on the military and war.  Generally, I find myself in agreement with these principles.  At the same time, I believe we live in a world that is not always amenable to peaceful solutions and reasons exist which justify the existence of a military organization.  Further, while my experience in the military certainly had moments I’d rather not recall but often do, it also provided me a view of the world that fundamentally changed who I am and what I believe.  Oddly enough, had I not joined the military, I would not have ended up a Quaker.

When I was 18, it was unlikely anything anyone older had to say would have changed my mind about joining the military.  I suspect anything I might say would have little impact.  Even if it would, I find myself unmotivated to attempt such a conversation.  Whether or not this kid joins the military or not, we are still be faced with a government which wages wars we don’t need to wage and builds a military larger than what we need.  Facing such large challenges, it’s easy to forget the big picture and focus on the small details such as convincing one child he should stay at home. 

I’ve managed to navigate the disparity between my beliefs and those of many of my fellow Quakers by simply staying silent on the subject.  Quaker do silence well, it’s a cornerstone of our faith.  We utilize it both when we agree and when we don’t.  Tomorrow I have to break my silence on this and talk with the well intended Quaker.  I suspect she may be surprised I disagree with her.


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