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July 17th, 2009

~Friday~ Something I meant to capture last night at Flex: At one point in the evening a girl standing next to me, introducing the guy she was with to another guy nearby, said, "This is my boyfriend. He's gay, but he loves me." Alrighty then.



About five minutes before the bus came, a pickup truck stopped on the side of the road across from the bus stop. Though the truck was not marked with any kind of city identification, I thought it might, coincidentally, be the person to fix the water meter cover—which yes is still not fixed, even after all this time since my email stating what a potential hazard the situation is, and a follow-up phone call a few days later after no results from the email to a different person/agency that went to a voice mail message that said to tell them the problem and someone would call me back and no one ever has.

Whomever it was, he let the truck idle for about two minutes with his window down while he smoked. After finishing, and littering his cigarette butt onto the road—which the wind promptly rolled on the downhill street a little ways before the next car's under-draft whisked it a long way in one fell swoop—he rolled up his window and got on the phone.

Then the bus came.



The latest Google Alert on "John Martin" tells me that "Two Massachusetts men have been arrested" for the murder of my namesake at that New Bedford gas station.

Another one of my namesakes, and this is a little bit creepy-eerie, is a "Communication and IT professional" in India, and the search result on him pointed to his latest blog entry, "JESUS IS COMING SOON...PART1."

And, finally, this search result for "John Martin," contains an interesting mix of communications, being gay, and the church on The Church Mouse Blog posting, "The CMS media machine kicks in." Things that make you go, "Hmmmm."



It's been a while since I've reported of Prudie ripping somebody a new one. I think this selection from this week's mailbag qualifies:

Dear Prudence,

Many years ago, before I was born, my grandfather cheated on my grandmother. It crushed my grandmother, but they were able to work through it and remain married. My grandmother passed away four years ago, and we all miss her.

My grandfather recently rekindled his relationship with the woman he cheated with. After only two weeks of being reconnected, they got married. My whole family hates this woman and this situation, but my grandfather doesn't seem to care. We have met her only once, and now we are supposed to accept her into our family?

To us, this is completely disrespectful of my grandmother and us. To them, they are just two lonely people who are nearing the end of their lives and want to spend that time with somebody. If it weren't for the past controversy, I could possibly understand this. But my grandfather has even given us all my grandmother's stuff to make room for his new wife's stuff. Are we right to not want this woman in our family, or do we need to get over it?

—My Evil Step-Grandmother

Dear My Evil,

You weren't even conceived when your grandfather's affair took place, so the statute of limitations on obsessing about this long-ago episode has expired. Your grandfather stayed with your grandmother, she died four years ago, and now he has found someone to be happy with before he dies. Clearly, when you aren't swimming in your family's bile, a part of you understands this ("To them they are just two lonely people …").

Your grandfather didn't toss your grandmother's stuff; he gave it to the people who loved her. And just imagine, he didn't ask the rest of you if it's all right if his new wife hangs her clothes in her new closet! You don't have to go along with the rest of the family's grudge. You could actually congratulate your grandfather and say you'd like to come by and see him to wish him and his new wife all the best.

—Prudie


You have got to love that line in red.

In Prudie's response to one of the other letters in this week's collection, she ends with this sentence: "So the bride and groom should return the gown and the tux, and wear something more economical and appropriate: sackcloth and ashes." I'd never heard that allusion before. Interesting.



I can't remember the last time I wore my shirt:


without someone commenting on it at some point during the day, but that's exactly what happened today. No one cared about my "No One Cares About Your Blog" t-shirt.



Our office area was really dead today, and at about 1:00, I took a late lunch walking over to the NCSU library and checking out a Kindle. I got one that has The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream on it.

When I got back, I realized that I'd totally missed the only meeting on my calendar today, a webinar I wanted to participate in about using Twitter in education. Damnit!



I smugly read my Kindle book on the bus on the way home. I don't think one person noticed it. No one cares about your Kindle. Also, evidently, No One Cares About Your Water Meter Cover Complaint either. I stepped off the bus right beside that now renowned, persistent, gaping hole. But I bitterly digress...

I'm just going to capture some of my initial reactions to the Kindle, and I'm quite sure some of them are because I'm not yet familiar with the technology. Some things I don't like so far:

  • I keep hitting the "Next page" bar by accident. It's very long, and on the right side of the device, right where I tend to hold the device, and so I accidentally hit it a lot.

  • There is a "Next page" bar on both the left side and the right side of the device. The one on the right side is longer than the one on the left side, which doesn't bother me, but it seems to favor right-handed people and I'm right-handed. However, on the left side there is a "Prev page" bar, but on the right side there is a "Back" bar. The "Back" bar does not go to the Prev page, and so far it's not obvious to me where it takes you.

  • To me, it seems to lack what's called in the usability field "task orientation." That is, it's not obvious to me where I am in the book with regards to the entire book, or more so of a problem for me, within a chapter. Later this evening, after more use, I noticed that there is a "progress bar" type indicator at the very bottom of the device, which I believe is indicating my progress in terms of the entire book.

  • This is related to the previous item, but I don't like not being able to easily flip a couple of pages ahead to see how far I am from the next chapter break, as I like to stop on chapter breaks as opposed to in the middle of pages. I also like to easily be able to see how long a chapter is that I'm getting ready to start to decide whether I want to, or have time to, start it, such as when I'm waiting for the bus or nearing the end of my bus ride.

  • I'm not crazy about the On/Off switch being on the underside of the device.

  • Every time I hit the "Add bookmark," it creates a new one, but doesn't replace the previous one with it. So, when you go to look at the bookmark, all of the old ones are there as well. There's not really anything wrong with that I guess; I just don't see the value in keeping the old ones listed. Also, the list is moving down the screen, with the latest bookmark at the bottom. I'm wondering when it gets to the bottom of the page, if I'll have to scroll to the next page to see the latest bookmark. If so, that will be annoying.

With all that said, what I love about the device is the clarity of the "print," the size and weight of the device, and I think I actually read faster on it than I do a printed book. There are over 30 books stored on this particular Kindle. I like the thought that on a device that's about 4" by 6," I'm really carrying around something like:




When I got home, I went directly to bed for a nap, as I was tired all day due to being out so late last night. I woke up at 9PM thinking I might go out later, but as does happen, the later it got without acting upon the idea, the chance of it actually happening dwindled exponentially. I ended up staying in.

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