Scene: Me, Ontario airport, this morning; I've just put my computer and carryon bag onto the conveyor belt for the X-ray machine, and am waiting for the traffic jam in front of the metal detector to clear so I can take my turn.
SIR? SIR? I suggest that you take off your shoes before you go through the metal detector.
Why? I've flown with them and they've never set off the detector before ...
Just in case there's some kind of problem, sir.
[I walk through the metal detector, wearing my ordinary white tennis shoes; nothing happens]
[Immediately after I pass through the metal detector]
Sir, you're going to have to stand over in that area — BEHIND THAT BARRIER, SIR! — until we can get someone over to inspect you; DO NOT touch your posessions or remove ANYTHING from the conveyor belt!
What's wrong? The detector didn't go off ...
You have suspicious shoes, sir. They fit a profile.
Does this make anyone feel safer? As I've said before, I can't wait until we have the Padded Bra Bomber, or the Codpiece Bomber ...
Our Ford Contour marketing onslaught begins with an ad in Craigslist and a couple of big signs posted inside the car itself. Maybe we'll get lucky and the signs will catch the eye of somebody playing in the permanent pickup basketball game that's always going on in the park across the street — they look like members of our target demographic ...
Things removed from the car while it was getting a head-to-toe vacuuming this afternoon:
|I've written before in this space about two of my great candy loves — Haribo and Smarties (both the European and American versions). Now, as yesterday's Valentine's candy fades gently into being today's lingering 75%-off clearance-sale item: candy hearts!|
I know that most people think that they taste like chalk or solidified wallpaper paste, but I can't get enough of them. My favorite is the Necco 'tart' variety, as shown to the left. Unless I exercise self-control, it's possible to eat an entire bag (forget those wimpy little boxes) in one extended sitting. I know that you can buy what's essentially the same candy in its Necco Wafer form year-round, but it's just not the same.
Being an introverted geeky type to whom girls were a mystery, the coming of candy hearts was just about the one reliable thing that I had to look forward to every Valentine's Day. And even now, I still buy a box as soon as they show up in the grocery store.
[Travelogue: Necco used to have their main factory on Massachussetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA, about a block from the MIT campus. (On top of the factory building was a water tower painted to look like a roll of Necco wafers.) When I visited MIT in 1997, the whole neighborhood around the plant smelled like Necco wafers — heaven! Now, though, Necco has moved their operations farther out into suburban Boston, and the old Necco plant is being renovated into a biotech 'campus'.]
|I don't do it as much as I used to, but every now and then I take a look at happybeagle.com's server stats to see what our visitors are looking at and where they're coming from. The following two pictures have been the most popular items on our server for quite some time — and they've even achieved a certain measure of Google-popularity:|
It's been quite the past few weeks. Things all started at 9:30 in the morning on January 27th, when in an unpleasant early-morning phone call, I was told that I would be losing my job.
... in the original version of this entry, I'd followed that opening with a multi-paragraph story about what's happened between then and now — but after some reflection, I've decided that it's better (and more prudent) just to skip ahead to the happy ending: and now I have a new job! I'll still be working from home, and I'll still be working for Adobe. Starting March 1st, I'll be joining a team that's working on the next generation of the PDF file format. It's an exciting move: big problem space, small team, and (if we play our cards right, market forces work themselves out, and blah blah blah) potentially central to a big part of the company's business.
The downside: even though my work will only (for now) have a tangential relationship to Acrobat, and I'm not working on Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, that's not going to stop people I meet at parties from making drunken complaints about Reader as soon as they hear the word "PDF" in my response to "So, what do you do?" So let's get some things out of the way right now: yes, I'm perfectly willing to believe that Reader takes an incredibly long time to load on your (quite powerful, I'm sure) home computer, and no, I don't have any idea at all why Reader keeps asking you to download the upgrade to version 7.0.7, even though you already upgraded months ago. Any others? I've got to get prepared ...