Archive for May, 2004

Old E-Mail

23 May 2004 at 10:26 pm
by Berck

Excerpts from email written in 1995 or 1996 by Joanna.

Benjamin wanted to write a secret message in white icing between two
of the layers, so I made him make some cream cheese icing.

Someone just rapped at my window. I pulled back the
partially closed curtain to reveal Nathan peering at me from the other side
of the glass. This might not seem odd, except that my room is on the second
floor. “You gonna elope with someone tonight?” he asked. I pulled back the
curtain further. He was standing on a ladder leaning against the side of the

I was talking to Paul on Thursday about my anxieties about the future, etc. After going through the different possibilities, I said. “And then maybe I’ll just meet this really great guy, get married, and become a wife and mother.” He lifted an eyebrow and replied, “It would take an incredibly wonderful guy… to put up with someone like you.”

I’d also like to take the opportunity to (maybe, if it’s possible) embarass Ben. Here’s what’s probably his first webpage.

In other news, our once blue house got painted “taupe” today. It’s just
kinda tan really. Looks okay.

Joanna adds commentary. “Every house that we’ve ever moved into has been yellow, and Dad has painted it blue. Until we moved into a house that was already blue, and he painted it taupe. And every kitchen we’ve ever had has been green, and he’s wall-papered it blue. Until we moved into a kitchen that was blue, and he wall-papered it green.”

Afterward, mom and I were the only ones left in the living room. She
said, “So tell me about Berck. There aren’t very many people you’d get
up before 8 on a Saturday morning after 3 hours of sleep the night before
to drive an hour and a half to go see.” I nodded as my sun burned face
turned even redder. I told her about walking 7 miles and debating about
DNA and stars. “Does he have a crush on you?” she asked.
“Ah. What do you do about it?”
“Tell him to forget it.”
“Be sure to deal with him gently but firmly.”
I nodded.

Check Ride

19 May 2004 at 6:34 pm
by Berck

I passed my “stage check” yesterday. I was a bit frustrated when we first started because the guy giving me the check got all upset at me over the fact that I didn’t have a syllabus with me. The problem is, no one bothered to mention that I was supposed to carry it. No where in the syllabus does it mention that I’m supposed to carry it.

He vaguely quizzed me over a few things during my preflight and during the flight. He had me take off, track the river, slow down to 50 knots, do some turns at 50 knots, resume cruise. He had me simulate an approach to landing stall. He didn’t like my stall entry, but no one ever told me that an approach to landing stall was supposed to be only just barely nose up. He demonstrated what he was looking for, and I did that instead. After that, a power-on stall. Then he pulled my engine, and had me prepare for an emergency landing.

I didn’t like any of the fields. They all had trees in them. “I don’t like any of these fields,” I said rather hopelessly. “Then pick the best of what you don’t like.”

So I did. It was crosswind, and not a very good field. It didn’t look like I was going to make it after awhile. I went through my engine-out checklist a couple of times, and pronounced that now I would give up and secure the plane for an emergency landing. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to make my field or not. I kept pitching for best glide speed and left the flaps up. Then as I got down to about 600ft it looked like I would make it. At a little less than 500 ft, he pronounced, “Very good, I think we’ll live… Go ahead and recover.”

My landings were pretty bad, and I misunderstood tower, thinking they told me to taxi on Charlie when in fact what they said was exit at charlie and contact ground. Since they’d never, ever, told me anything other than “taxi to park and monitor ground,” I was caught off guard. But it wasn’t a big deal. He told me that he was happy with my performance, and I was doing just fine for this stage.

D. called today to say he didn’t think flying would be much worth it since it was so windy. I deferred to his judgement, especially since bicycling in that much wind is miserable.


19 May 2004 at 2:42 am
by Berck

Now that I have blogging software installed, I have this fiendish urge to make nothing but bloggish posts. That is: things that no one else could possibly want to read. These take a couple of forms.

One of them mimics the Seinfeldish comic routine wherein the comedian says, “Have you ever noticed…” then points out some inanity of daily life which in and of itself has no comic value. But the comedian is certain this his particular blabbering about this observation will be funny.

Bloggers do this, but rather than anything remotely comic, there’s just a strange vacuum.

For example, here is a bloggish post I thought about posting. But (un)fortunately for you I (almost) had the ability not to post:

Have you ever thought about chocolate syrup bottles? Is there some reason they have TWO caps? Is the first one not good enough? And if not, then why is the second one worthless? It seems as though this entire system exists solely to create muck on the inside of the second cap. Which is good, right, because you get the muck on the cap and not your hands when you close the bottle. But no, then you have to open the bottle again, and get your fingers mucky in the process. Maybe the outside cap should just be thrown away. Surely someone can invent a much better way to dispense chocolate syrup. A method that won’t leave my neurotic tendencies eagerly awaiting a new bottle just so it will be clean even when the old one is still half full.

See. You really were better off not reading that. And not because it was spectacularily horrific. But because it leaves you in this stupendous vacuum that sucks. And keeps sucking you back for more, for some strange reason.

There’s also the sort of endless meta-posts about writing and other posts and such. This, in fact is a meta-meta-post about posts about– oh forget it.

(e.g. I should note that I’ve been using the words spectacularly and stupendously with spectacular frequency lately. I’m not sure why. It needs to stop.)

In any case, I’m sorry. I’m not sure what’s come over me. It’s probably just a phase I’m going through and you won’t have to live with it much longer. It does, at least, encourage me to write. Which I need to do. Because I suck. And I must get better. (And you, dear reader, must cope in the meantime.)

The Platters

19 May 2004 at 2:04 am
by Berck

A few hours ago, Joanna caused my MP3 player to stray from its usual random-order playback and instead play Pink Floyd. This was good. Joanna and I both simultaneously noticed and admired the line, “come on you target of far away laughter.” This was odd, since neither of us had previously paid any attention or consciously processed this line in nearly ten years of listening to this song. It’s only got a dozen lines, which for a 12 minute song is a very low lyrics:length ratio. such a ratio is accomplished by either playing lots of instrumental stuff with occaisional lyrical intervention (e.g. Floyd) or by simply taking 9 minutes to sing a 3 minute song (e.g. Low).

A few minutes ago, I noticed with some consternation that my MP3 player was producing rather unpleasant noise. What was unusual about this was that it had been doing so for quite some time. Often it plays a song I don’t like or am not in the mood for, but it’s just a song and then it moves on to the next song. It has 5,500 songs to chose from. Sadly, many of them are songs I once liked but don’t like any more, or songs that I thought I might grow to like but instead grew to hate. Or, more frequently, songs I like sometimes, but never when XMMS decides to play them. The platters are okay. In that 1950’s way. A song every year or two is enough to keep my sphere large enough. Eight songs in a row is enough to make me murderous.

At this point I realized that after playing Pink Floyd, which was cool, XMMS progressed to playing the Pixies which is cool too. And then the Platters. Which are a lot of things, but not cool. Fortunately for me and any potential victims, I found the random button again.

After so much time trying to get as many MP3’s as possible, I’m working on culling them. I moved several things that I couldn’t bring myself to actually delete which I moved to a separate place so they wouldn’t get played inadvertently. Like Sting. Sting is thrust upon me in enough grocery stores and the like, that I really don’t need to intentionally play sting, ever, in order to hear much more than I ever need to. In fact, I’ve probably heard enough sting for my entire life.

I’m sending out an SOS…

Izzle! Izzle pfaff!

17 May 2004 at 9:22 pm
by Berck

In the midst of my recent poo-pooing of blogs in general, I’ve stumbled across what might be one of the best of the worst kind. It’s not what I consider a “real blog”, something that exists to link to other interesting things on the web, (A good example might be Slashdot.) but rather more of what “blog” has come to mean now– A journal on the web.

And now, even though this isn’t a blog and I’m not a blogger, I’ll do what bloggers do: link to other bloggers. But first, a word of warning. If you happen to either be Sarah Brenner or are easily offended, then click at your own risk. Izzle! Izzle pfaff!

Skot usually just writes about his day or week, but does it in such a way that makes me realize how blogging can actually be entertaining if done quite well. If you want to see what I mean, check out some of his better posts:

He doesn’t know much about cars.

An example of why he hates his condo-neighbors.

This is a slew of posts about his inability to fix his computer. Mostly just the first one is great.

Here’s a particularily surprising account of a day spent christmas shopping.

What happens when Skot cooks