6904 – Some pictures and Misc.

Well, aside from a few power spikes that caused a reboot or seventeen, I seem to have come through the front end of the storm just fine. It’s mighty moist outside, but wind has settled way down.

Here’s some pictures of the empty streets around the Elbo Room yesterday (as opposed to the first day of the Hurricane season, which featured fembots.)

3 images of Las Olas and A1A / Ghost Town, pre-storm

Saturday, on the Strip, in Fort Lauderdale. All you can see is vehicles high-tailing it, and all the beach front bars boarded up.

Call me greedy, but this is how I like to see the beach. No people, dark skies, wonderful breeze.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a storm without a bunch of news trucks getting ready to report with folks carrying microphones and wearing slickers. I wonder how easy it is to flip over that broadcast truck, considering the antenna on top is very sturdy, even in gale-force winds.

I’m getting more and more in the public eye with my current gig. Kiwanis meetings, getting together with state representatives at a cocktail party. I’m going to have to wear a tie at the latter, but can get away with more casual dress at the former.Site Meter

I’m reminded frequently lately that two wrongs don’t make a right. I see a lot of people acting badly with the excuse “I’m only hurting bad people”. That’s still being hurtful. (That’s a trap I can fall into myself, if I don’t watch it.)

MetaVNC, a window-aware VNC client

as in the screen shot, makes your remote Linux desktop transparent within Windows XP/2000 via

Last speaker of 400-year-old women’s language dies

BEIJING (AFP) – The last native speaker of a 400-year-old language used exclusively by women in China has died, state media reported.

The death of Yang Huanyi on Monday signified the end of Nushu, or women’s script, a language that had been used among women for centuries in some remote areas of central and southern China, said Xinhua news agency.

People in Yang’s home town in Jiangyong county, Hunan province — the supposed birthplace of Nushu — believe Yang was 98 although her actual age was not known, the report said.

Linguists believe Nushu was the only female-exclusive language in the world.

Although some linguists are trying to preserve the language, experts said Yang’s knowledge of Nushu was the purest since she was illiterate in standard Chinese.

Manuscripts of the graceful Nushu script are extremely rare because they were traditionally burnt or buried with the dead. Site Meter

Yet another Freaky Retro Website. I was especially disturbed by the 1985 commercial of a “Cool” Jason Alexander pushing McDLTs. If I ever meet him, that’s the thing I’m going to mention. A full head of hair, white blazer rolled up at the sleeves, and way too much enthusiasm for a hamburger sandwich. There’s a cool theme song section too… should you want to groove to ALF, Fat Albert, Inspector Gadget, The Snorks, or whatnot. (You know dang well that I snagged those, dear journal.)

MM’s plans were canceled due to the storm, so I was released from being on call midday on Saturday. – EN (my new tech) was supopsed to go on call an hour and a half ago, but he’s not answering his phone… it’s dropping right to voicemail.

Ah well, if that’s my biggest problem resulting from the hurricane, I’m way ahead of the game. 939,000 people are without power in Florida.

A Chinese/Asian view of the soul:

Traditional Chinese belief professed the existence of two “souls”: the kwei (or k’uei) and the shen. The kwei (called the p’oh in life) returned to the earth at death, and dwelled in the grave. It symbolized yin, the feminine principle, and connected death, earth and femininity. The shen (called the khi in life) lived on as a spirit in the afterlife, although it could inhabit the grave for a while. It symbolized the masculine principle, yang. In general, it was kwei that became undead; shen undead were rare, and usually encountered only shortly after death. Traditional Korean belief is similar, except that the soul has an additional part that inhabits the funerary tablet or token.

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

Interesting Electoral vote prediction map.

The page has a fairly non-biased comparison between Bush & Kerry’s Track records, too.

I’m surprised.. I thought it was currently a more even race. As of this post, Bush has about 59% (311), and Kerry about 41% (217).

Vampire queen versus Amazon (Confirmation at her Website here)

Writer Anne Rice, whose extravagant fictions about vampires and witches have made her famous and rich, vents her anger at readers who dare criticize her latest book Blood Canticle on the Amazon.com website and ends her lengthy, single-paragraph tirade by giving her home address in New Orleans and promising refunds to the disgruntled.

“And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans La. 70130. I am not a coward about my real name or where I live,” she writes in a message posted Sept. 6 in response to the harsh criticisms and expressions of disappointment from dozens of readers. “And how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.”

Blood Canticle is the ninth and final installment in the Vampire Chronicles, the series Rice began in 1973 with her first published novel Interview With A Vampire. Three books in the series have become feature films.

Blood Canticle is narrated by her best known character, the vampire Lestat, a handsome Byronic bloodsucker who kills only drug dealers and other lowlifes. The Brat Prince, as he is known, is almost 300 years old but keeps up with the times, using e-mail and slang such as “dude,” “yo” and “shove it” — one of the things her readers found jarring.

“The whole book was one long cringe from beginning to confused end,” wrote a reader calling herself Taryn from Auckland, N.Z.

Another Amazon customer who identified himself as Justin Raventhorn wrote, “Rice stopped writing in her glory after Tale Of The Body Thief” and that Mona Mayfair, Lestat’s new love interest (a crossover from another Rice series), is “annoying, irritating and idiotic.”

Deborah Waddell of Fort Myers, Fla. missed Rice’s vivid descriptions and characterizations: “I do not think this book was even written by Anne Rice.”

In all, the book has received 232 customer reviews on Amazon.com since publication late last year. Not all of them are negative but, evidently stung, Rice writes to the negative reviewers: “Your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies.”

Rice praises herself for the effort she puts into polishing her prose and reveals that she refuses to be edited.

According to Patti Smith, a spokesperson for Amazon.com, it is not unusual for hostilities to break out on the site between readers and authors. “We don’t keep track of these things. If Anne Rice chooses to respond, we’ll post it, but the site is primarily for customers to have their say,” Smith said yesterday.

The site’s Canadian version, Amazon.ca, stirred controversy in February when it advertently revealed the real identities of the readers posting reviews, and it emerged that several prominent authors used pen names to post five-star reviews for themselves or their friends.

Smith points out that there are guidelines for reviews and violating them can result in Amazon removing a review, but “in this case no one asked us to.”

The review guidelines ask that readers not give away endings and use no “profanity, obscenities, or spiteful remarks.”

Rice will turn 63 next month, and the death of her husband Stan while she was writing Blood Canticle seems to have hit her hard. She had been married to him for 41 years and she said he was her model for Lestat.

Neil Gaiman’s reply

My Favorite quote?

When you publish a book — when you make art — people are free to say what they want about it. You can’t tell people they liked a book they didn’t like, and there is, in the end, no arguing with personal taste. Different people like different things. Best to move on and make good art as best you can, instead of arguing.

I think Anne Rice going on Amazon and lambasting her critics was undoubtedly a very brave and satisfying thing for her to do, was every bit as sensible as kicking a tar baby, and, if ever I do something like that, please shoot me.

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