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Independents Day

Saturday, May 26, 2001

     Brother Dave offers another tip for those just starting out with digital photography. One of our readers asked about getting good action pictures in low light situations. Dave's response: Most newer digital cameras have a setting for ISO sensitivity. Just like real film, some digicam's CCD chips can be set so they're more sensitive to light. Also just like real film, when they're on the fast setting the resulting pictures will be a little more grainy than with the slow setting. If your camera has this feature, try setting the ISO to 400; the equivalent of 400 speed film. This should make it much easier to get the results you're looking for. Freezing fast action in low light might simply be impossible in some situations, like catching a cheetah chasing a gazelle at night, but this should help.

     Lynn and I like to travel, but sometimes we can't because of our dogs. If your plans for the upcoming holiday weekend include travel, then you'll want to be sure all members of the family are comfy — and that includes the four-legged variety. Pets Welcome features more than 25,000 hotels, b&b's, resorts, campgrounds, and beaches that are pet-friendly. There's also information about emergency vets and pet sitting. I don't know about you, but I'm lining up a few weekend getaways that include our little rascals.

     I can't wait to hear what the Fedex payload is all about. This should be good.

     Life's little instructions: Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Friday, May 25, 2001

     Quote of the day from my good friend The Head Lemur, "We can out code, out post, and outlink these idiots before they get out of bed. That being said, this is the perfect vehicle for folks like us to share and help each other with making the world a little bit better, whatever our motivation, from amends to paying it forward." Quite apropos when you consider the following:

     According to Forrester Research, we are seeing the death of the World Wide Web and the dawn of a new, application-based Internet. "The problem with today's Internet is that it's dumb, boring and isolated" said George F. Colony, CEO and chairman of Forrester to Internet.com. "Ultimately, the Net hasn't truly become a part of our real worlds." Nor should it ever become our "real world." While Net enabled applications and appliances may flourish over the coming decade, I would simply suggest to Mr. Colony that he's looking for his web experience in all the wrong places. Perhaps if he took his browser off Yahoo he might find it.

     Or maybe I'll buy a cab.

     Looks like June will be Misanthropy Month at Virulent Memes. Should be lively. I've seen Graham dish out the hyperbole with the best of them, so watch out suckers.

     Life's little instructions: Learn three clean jokes.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Thursday, May 24, 2001

     Yesterday I mentioned anger. Today, it is time to act. I am angry at the perpetrators of the hoax, they will get their due. I am also angry with people who simply won't mind their own business. That I can do something about.

     The email and personal vitriol that was previously contained in this placeholder has been removed by mutual agreement. A sincere and genuine apology was received.

     The radio host who decided to tackle the wrong web community has begged for mercy. Said we shutdown his inbox. Imagine that. Maybe he'll think twice next time. Thanks gang.

     Life's little instructions: Have a firm handshake.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

     OK, I'm finally angry now. Don't know what I'm going to do about it yet, but yeah, I'm angry. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Thanks to all who sent thoughtful email.

     The flooding continues. Two more inches of rain today. No rain for two months, now nine inches in five days. Sheesh. My wife is about to kill someone. Hope it isn't me. The Kanawha River was within six inches of flood stage but is receding. Our river has never left its banks in the 39 years I've lived in this area. Three have been killed in our region.

     Life's little instructions: Buy whatever kids are selling on tables in their front yards.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

     People have wondered why those who communicated with Kaycee Nicole have been reluctant to come forward. I was resolved not to comment on the Kaycee mess publicly, even told a friend on the phone I wouldn't. Then the hate mail started arriving. This I understand even less than the rest of it; such is the Internet. The mail isn't coming from those who celebrated Kaycee's life and ideals. Instead, it's from mostly anonymous people who revel in gloating about human gullibility. I'll be the first to admit being reeled in hook, line and sinker by the hoax. Am I embarrassed? Sure, but I'm certainly not ashamed. My humanity was confirmed.

     I looked at Kaycee's site a few times from September 2000 through this past winter, but wouldn't allow myself to become attached because, frankly, it was too gut-wrenching. Convenient ignorance. On March 1st of this year that all changed when I received the first email from whoever was pretending to be Kaycee Nicole. I immediately became enamored with the personality and remained in weekly contact from then on. We exchanged weblog links. Mostly we communicated about recovery from terminal disease, something we shared.

     On March 11th of this year, shortly after Kaycee left the hospital, I wrote about her ordeal as Bluzz of the Week. That page somehow ended up in the top 10 of almost any Google and Yahoo search that included the name Kaycee. It brought more than a thousand information seekers to my site since news of the potential hoax exploded late Friday night. Among them are the hatemongers. Yes, I shed tears when Kaycee died. I was stunned when the rumors started, even asking several friends to confirm it couldn't be true. But my attitudes about compassion, community spirit, and love for our fellow man won't be swayed by insensitivity and hate, or by deception.

     I have genuine concern for online friends who were also victimized by this fiction. Some of them, as well as generous folks I don't know, sent gifts to a post office box in Kansas. That is the very sad side of this unfolding saga. For them, I am continuing research, as are many others, into the genesis of Kaycee Nicole.

     So, you can write me all you want. Realize though, you will simply be ignored. No flame wars from me, just a smug satisfaction on both sides. Call me naive if you like, I don't care. I apologize to anyone who ended up being misled about the Kaycee story because of my involvement or promotion, but I will not be removing any references to Kaycee from my archives. It is an historical record of MY life — my fears, my faith and hope, my recovery. The sunshine remains within me. It's a fire that will burn this legend to conclusion, and beyond.


     Still up at three in the morning pulling your hair out because that new web design isn't aligning just right? Usually it's some aggravation like forgetting to close a </td> tag? Been there, done that. TagCheck tests your HTML or XML code to ensure that all the tags are properly nested and closed. If you check one file at a time, the text is displayed in the main window with the errors marked in red. You can use TagCheck to correct the errors, save it and check again. Alternatively, you can check a batch of files while you water the dogs. Sorry, Windows only.

     Life's little instructions: Compliment three people every day.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Monday, May 21, 2001

     When I was 17, a few friends got together for a trip from our home in Stamford, Connecticut to Saratoga, N.Y. for a concert featuring The Who — without parental permission. Oops. The stage was set in an outdoor amphitheater with grassy, casual, comfortable seating. Local cover bands warmed the crowd all afternoon, but the culmination was obviously the arrival of Townshend's quartet right around dusk. We were stoked.

     A Who concert in 1970 was everything one imagined. They were featuring the Tommy opera at the time ... were their energetic drum smashing, microphone swinging, windmill picking selves. It was my first experience with what was to become a hall of fame act. When the show was over, returning to our car, it didn't take long to realize we weren't going anywhere fast because the crush of vehicles all had to exit the park from one roadway.

     Being the adventurous teen sort, off we went back to the amphitheater to see what might still be going on. Our curiosity was rewarded a bit later when the band exited the backstage pavilion to the excitement of a handful of remaining groupies and stammering teenage boys. Shaking hands with Entwistle and Townshend that night was the new highlight of my sheltered existence. Offering a smoke to a stressed out Daltrey, followed by the unspoken thank you as our eyes met, sealed the memory. The drive home was a complete blur, we were awestruck.

     Remember that oops? We completely lost track of time, arriving home somewhere around 3AM from a place we weren't supposed to be. Greeted by worried, then enraged parents, I managed to postpone most of the verbal flogging until the next day. Nothing could erase the joy of my first ever rock star encounter, not even doing without the car for the next month.


     The rain finally stopped, for a day. The mud is cleaned up and the smells washed away. I can't pinpoint exactly when weather patterns changed around here, about five years ago, but the late spring thunderstorms now arrive with torrents of water. Two died near here Friday. We have flash flooding every week from mid-May to late June. It wasn't always this way — it's like some form of monsoon season has moved further northward and eastward in recent years. The next wave is supposed to arrive overnight. Batten down the hatches.

     Life's little instructions: Leave the toilet seat in the down position.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Sunday, May 20, 2001

     The hottest ticket in town at this yearís Cannes International Film Festival wasnít in competition, wasnít finished and wasnít even a film. But such is the excitement surrounding the Hollywood adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy that even 23 minutes of footage was enough to cast a spell. The shoot finished last Christmas and director Peter Jackson is now busy adding the thousands of special effects needed to bring to life J.R.R. Tolkienís magical world of hobbits, trolls, orcs, elves, dwarves, monsters and wizards. The three films are scheduled for release at Christmas each of the next three years.

     Momma is beaming today :)

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. Things may not always be as they seem, but love is a tie that binds. Relationships have been formed that will last no matter what. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     News of Kaycee's untimely passing saddened many. The outpouring of support from all corners of the web was moving. So many heart felt postings, gathering of a common bond, sharing the human need of relations with one another — all these comprise everything that is good about community and is Bluzz of the Week. The legend of Kaycee will live on through the friendships and love built together over the ether. My lasting memory will be with those I might not otherwise have the opportunity to call friend. To watch people help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow about us, to have a host of friends — this is an experience we must not miss.

     Life's little instructions: Always accept an outstretched hand.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.








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