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  • BrainStream

    A stream of consciousness from the brain of B.K. DeLong

    04/25/2001

    …And another. While this reporter

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 4:12:07 pm

    And another. While this reporter couldn’t get
    “ZOT” right (yes, all caps - see the etymology of the name), he did
    print a good quote from Roddy which says it all:

    “She’s the founder, the CEO, the rainmaker,” said Young. “She’s the heart of the company, the reason we were all here.”

    Another mention of ZOT’s closure.

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 4:04:02 pm

    Another mention of ZOT’s closure.
    I’m not mentioned but it still hurts. The good news is that I have a couple of job offers already. The bad news is that the
    most promising 2 are “hurry up and wait” types. One company is still waiting to close funding (yes, companies still do get
    funding during an economic downturn) and needs to please investors by hiring developer-types while another is so excited to
    have me work with him that he’s offered to find me a job either at his company or at one of their many partner companies so I
    can still be involved. However he is currently busy with family issues over the next month.

    I’m cleaning my office at the moment and working on the resume when I can. I was a bit spoiled working for href="http://sally.editthispage.com">Sally in that she hired me without the need for a strong resume. I think I’ll make a
    full CV and then tailor spin-off resumes based on job opportunities.

    I did get the rest of the house immaculate though I’m finding it difficult to work with a cluttered office. Too
    distracting.

    04/18/2001

    OK, so I have an

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:17:15 pm

    OK, so I have an ego. Yes, every couple of months I like to href="http://www.google.com/search?q=%22B.K.+DeLong%22&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&start=30&sa=N">re-Google myself to see what else
    the search engine manages to turn up. This gem
    is one of the first dicussions from a graduate course I found myself in sophomore year of college titled “ href="http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~abhu000/rp593m.html">Planning and Design in an Information Society“. The professor,
    Bruce MacDougall found himself playing the role of my advisor when I
    choose a “Make your own major” path at UMass.

    RP593M was an excellent course and allowed me to have a first href="http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~abhu000/rp593m.disc.batty.html">taste of the ranting that was to come. And come it
    did, from my work with the “12 angry Web developers” ^H^H^H I mean, “Web Standards
    Project
    ” to my passion for Web accessibility.

    Tonight’s herbalism class was AWESOME.

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:52:43 pm

    Tonight’s herbalism class was AWESOME. The subject was “Beauty &
    the Bath” and the premise was “Spend a delightful evening learning about one of life’s simple pleasures - the bath. Explore
    the wonders of skin brushing. Formulate your own bath salts, sachets, and scented oils.” As a male who showers and has decent
    skin, I didn’t think I’d get anything out of the class. However with my wife gone, I needed to get out of the house or spend
    an eternity in hermitage until she returned. Plus, I know she likes beauty products like the foot salts and massage oil I made
    for her Valentine’s Day.

    Teri is such a fabulous teacher. She’s a lot of fun and very laid
    back. Tonight was very hands-on and we made LOTS of goodies to bring home. We started with a “Feel Good Tea” which has
    lavender, rose, chamomile, hops and comfrey in it. It can be put in a bath and is very uplifting and relaxing…but won’t put
    you to sleep if you’re not tired.

    Next, we made a “detox” scrub with some epsom and sea salts, borax (great for skin - softens without drying), clay and
    sesame oil. We added a few drops of wintergreen and rosemary for scenting. I put a little bit of the scrub in a nice little
    canning jar - it looks a bit like “Sloppy Joes” and smells like a rosemary tree. Next, we made “Foaming Honey Bath” - a little
    oil, honey, some liquid SOAP, and vanilla to scent. Honey is great for the skin. If it crystallizes, it makes a good little
    scrub.

    We also made “Bath Fizzies” which had a little bit of baking soda, some citric acid, and cornstarch. Place in water, and
    the acid/base mixture starts it fizzing like carbonated water or pop rocks. We added some tangerine essential oil to the mix
    which not only revives and makes you alert as a citrus, but is also an aphrodisiac, (my idea - tangerine oil was in the
    lavender/vanilla/tangerine massage oil I made for Valentine’s Day). Then we made “D Nile Milk Bath". Supposedly Cleopatra was
    fond of milk baths and bathing in this you can be in complete “denial” as you pretend to be Cleopatra on “the Nile” ;) - it
    has powdered milk, orange peel, lavender, and rosemary.

    We finished the class off by making a simple Peppermint Bath Powder. A little bit of cornstarch and both some peppermint
    and tea tree oil. The peppermint is mostly for the scent, and the tea tree is an anti-microbal. The “smell” you get when you
    perspire actual deals with microbial build-up. You can use this powder as a deodorant. We discussed how a lot of deodorants
    are actually anti-perspirants. I never really thought about how when you perspire, you’re cleaning out a lot of the toxins
    from the body. Heck, we are roughly 70% water as-is, right? Toxins that can’t be handled by the liver have to go somewhere.
    This is often why we get rashes and acne. So when you use an anti-perspirant deodorant, you’re stopping potential cleansing of
    your lymph nodes -since they have no other means for removal of toxins. Interesting stuff.

    Anyway, because the Bath Powder has tea tree, it can also be used as an anti-fungal for things like athlete’s foot.
    All-in-all, it was a great class. I learned a lot and even came home with two books - “ href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805046550/">Natural Beauty for All Seasons” and “ href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805033130/">Natural Beauty at Home“. It looks like I’ll be making X-Mas
    baskets for all the women in our families this year

    I have to admit, I liked this class much better than the soapmaking. I worried incredibly about the lye and how careful and
    precise you need to be with SOAP. This was a lot more lackadaisical and fun. Plus, I can make everything from facial scrubs to
    bath salts to body powder and sprays. :)

    ZOT Group to Close: I

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:06:21 pm

    ZOT Group to Close: I suppose this makes it
    all the more official. *sigh*

    Well, Kirky’s gone out to

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:38:07 pm

    Well, Kirky’s gone out to CA for her sister-in-law’s baby shower. I’m home alone until Monday night. I have this huge list
    of things I need to get done before she gets back including fixing a few things (ugg…I need to find a new plumber to fix a
    toilet), and cleaning the house. Kirky and I haven’t really picked up the house since we got back from the conference. I have
    LOADS (no pun intended) of laundry to do and our house is still covered in a fine layer of horsehair plaster dust from when we
    took the wall down near the stairs. We talked about bringing in a cleaner but I’m going to see what I can get done myself.

    *sigh* I have no motivation, I’m tired and I’m procrastinating.

    I’m still a bit nervous about finding a new job and I’m trying to help Sally with some last minute work to pay off ZOT
    before we close up.

    ah. It’s so nice to

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:28:43 pm

    ah. It’s so nice to have my laptop back. I spent the last week flitting between my old home desktop, the slow machine left at
    the ZOT office, and a desktop at Kirky’s office. I’ve gotten versatile at taking over a machine to get work done but nothing
    compares to the old laptop. :)

    04/16/2001

    Well, hell…I would have had

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 7:08:52 pm

    Well, hell…I would have had more updates recently if it weren’t for the fact that my laptop power cord blew out last
    Thurs. Ok, so the below 2 posts have been made since then but when you have one machine with everything on it, it’s strange to
    do your best posts from someone elses or an older box. *shiver*

    I was hoping to get the cord today - I had it shipped “next day” when I ordered it Thurs. morning but they didn’t actually
    ship it out until Fri which meant today I should have gotten it. Today was the Boston Marathon. Take a gander at what I didn’t
    get. Whith any luck, I should be back online by tomorrow night. The wife will be gone by then for a trip to good ole CA.
    Expect a lot of posts ;)

    04/15/2001

    Ok, ok. I know. That

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:11:43 am

    Ok, ok. I know. That last post beat around the bush. Well, this one won’t. I just had to wait href="http://sally.editthispage.com/2001/04/13″>until Sally announced it.

    That’s right - ZOT Group, Web standards consultancy extraordinare and my employer is
    closing up shop. We’ve gone through a lot in the past year. Clients conducting massive layoffs and canceling IPOs, a CEO being
    diagnosed and subsequently treated with cancer, and like many other companies, we fell victim to the market. When you deal on
    a regular basis with companies that are employing cutting edge technology as their primary means of income, they are more
    often than not dependent on VC funding. When the well dries up, so does the client base.

    Despite what you may think, Sally actually spent a lot of time working while she had cancer. Though href="http://www.zotgroup.com/people/index.html#young">Roddy and I did a lot of the day-to-day interaction with clients,
    Sally was still in the picture, keeping things moving. Her version of “taking a break” is only working 5 hours a day.

    ZOT was a phenomenal place to work and Sally was an amazing person to work for. I love recounting how we hooked up with
    each other - I had just gotten married and Kirky and I had closed on the house. Kirky had been very supportive as I spent the
    year after my graduation technical editing books and picking up some consulting here and
    there. But now we had a house, and I needed a job. So I started looking through the job sites and editing my resume. A few
    days later, I went to my maildrop to pickup whatever would be waiting for me. I flipped through my copy of Mass High Tech
    before throwing it out and saw that the first page profile was
    that of one Sally Khudairi
    . Skimming through it, I noticed she had recently moved from the W3C to Cambridge Technology
    Partners and that her job at CTP had recently disappeared in consolidation and she was starting her own gig - a Web standards
    consultancy called “ZOT Group".

    A few Google searches later, I discovered where Sally was located and on August 3, 1999 I emailed her, letting her know how
    excited I was with Web standards and my involvement with the World Organization of
    Webmasters
    , and Web accessibility knowledge. A few days later, I was meeting with her at the href="http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archive/food/98/05/14/BRISTOL_LOUNGE.html">Bristol Lounge in the Four Seasons Hotel and
    that Monday, I found myself immersed with client work. It was fantastic!

    My first official day on the job, Sally was in the midst of moving from Southie over to Watertown. We spent the day getting
    my cell phone (which became my business phone line), eating lunch at Joe’s, (meanwhile one of Sally’s feet was slapping around
    on a broken but brand new sandal she had just gotten), then a stop off at the new place to yell at contractors doing a
    multitude of things wrong, and a French movie at the href="http://www.westnewtoncinema.com/">West Newton Cinema.

    Working for ZOT was always extremely flexible - I could work from home at any hour, I always had my business line (cell
    phone) with me, my laptop was my desktop, so I could work almost anywhere. I couldn’t ask for a better job.

    As we got deeper and deeper into a client base, we began working with companies that had actual products. It became my job
    by default to check out the software, examine what standards it was implementing and how it was implementing it. I also became
    intimately familiar with the product and made sure I was able to use it and understand each nuance. This lead to beta testing
    by default as well as suggestions for improvement from everything including UI and performance. I then took what I knew and
    worked with Roddy and Sally to include that knowledge in marketing and communications.

    That was one of the big reasons for ZOT’s existence - communications and marketing without the bullshit. If you href="http://www.zotgroup.com">look at our Web site, you’ll see some of the marketing phrases that disgust us. If you’re
    going to use the buzzwords, at least know what they mean and whether they truly apply to the product.

    I got to work with some amazing groups - Mozquito Technologies, href="http://www.dublincore.org">Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and Endeavors
    Technology
    were among the few. They all have software and standards that STILL haven’t broken out into the mainstream, yet
    they all can do some phenomenal stuff. I also saw a lot of products that did some really cool, practical tasks…but never hit
    the market.

    So where to from here?

    Well basically, I’m looking for another job. As Sally’s post
    mentions
    , Roddy and Carl will be moving to href="http://www.camelot-com.com">Camelot Communications, producers of the top industry conferences href="http://www.apachecon.com">ApacheCOn and XML DevCon. I had that option but
    choose to take another path.

    I want to stay in the standards space. I want to have a job that will let me continue to do work with the href="http://www.webstandards.org">Web Standards Project and Attrition and all the
    little projects that make me, me. I would like to stay in the Boston area and even work out of the house, if possible. I’d
    love to do some more writing about standards whether it be on online or offline publications and more book authoring and
    technical editing.

    But most of all I want to play with emerging technology. Yes, ZOT has spoiled me. I want to start working with the href="http://www.sciam.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html">Semantic Web, and all the “X” related standards proposals
    being worked on (XPath, XLink, XSL, XSLT, XHTML, XForms, XPointer, XPath), I want to manipulate P2P and the href="http://www.knownow.com">2WW. That’s where the next generation of technology is. I can already grok most of it, why
    not put that to use by working for someone.

    I also want to give BACK to the community. Lance Arthur’s recent post really got to
    me. I want to continue the education that have creeped out in my WaSP-related rants and bring this new technology to the
    masses. Very few people grok all this new stuff coming out of the W3C. I want to take that, retain the core teachings of it,
    and explain it at a basic level so more than just the early adopters will see the benefits and begin to use it. That’s, after
    all, how HTML got out there.

    I’ve had the honor to work with some great people, help some good companies and glimpse technologies that will be commonly
    used in our future. I’d like to continue to do that. If you have a place for me, send
    me a note
    - I’ll have my resume online as soon as I can figure out a way to quantify all I did at ZOT; for href="http://www.zotgroup.com/about/name.html">to have great ZOTness, one must wear many hats.

    This sounds like the end, but fear not - It’s only the beginning.

    04/14/2001

    Life changes can be a

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:45:32 pm

    Life changes can be a wonderful thing. My last week at the XML DevCon Conference
    helped me sort out a lot that was going through my head though by the end of it, I was both physically and emotionally
    drained. Upon returning, Kirky and I had dinner (Venezuelan sausage, salmon and some tasty yucca) with a trusted friend who
    really helped me make some tough decisions and is helping me move forward. Regardless, I am happy, relaxed, smiling, and
    rejuvenated - I am moving on to a new stage in my life.

    I spent last night and today buffing up my knowledge of the Semantic Web. I read href="http://www.sciam.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html">a great article in Scientific American by href="http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/">Tim Berners-Lee, Ora Lassila, and href="http://www.cs.umd.edu/~hendler/">James Hendler about the next generation of the Web. Coupled with href="http://www.glassdog.com/">Lance’s push to “be great”, I have a new sense of hope and a challenge to actually DO
    something for a change.

    I’ve taken some time to improve BrainStream and made sure it was XHTML + CSS compliant. Using an href="http://logicerror.com/blogifyYourPage">RSS tool developed by Aaron Swartz,
    I’ve created an RSS feed for this site.
    This makes it a lot easier for people to syndicate my content, though Not that anyone would want to at this point. My next
    goal is to find a good RSS reader and start experimenting with hand-coded RSS.

    I also want to spend some time to get a better understanding of RDF and href="http://www.dublincore.org">Dublin Core. Utilizing both is the first step in giving content on the Web more context.
    Once we have contextualization, it will be easier for the agents discussed href="http://www.sciam.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html">in the aforementioned article to function and carry out
    their tasks.

    Another interest of mine is XSLT and utilizing transformations to take Web sites
    developed in well-formed and valid XHTML plus CSS, and convert the markup into href="http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/08/30/xsltandhtml/">something that will display in various older browsers. This
    solution was originally designed for more forward-moving activity such as href="http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-mobile/2000Jun/0018.html">converting Web sites from XHTML to WML, the markup
    language for WAP-related phones. The goal is to develop a reusable transformation that can take standard XHTML + CSS and
    convert it to HTML that will work in NS 4.x or IE 3.x. I don’t know how plausible this would be, since XML is DTD reliant I
    may only be able to take XHTML and convert it to HTML 3.2 in which case relying on scripting might be the only way to solve
    this issue.

    Other goals include putting the entire archives of the Chicago
    Journalism Review
    online and in-full, designing and implementing my first, functional PHP & mysql solution href="http://www.artemisiabotanicals.com">for an online store, and adding more content to BrainStream including a bio, CV,
    picture gallery, and lots of my old writings & rantings.

    Much to my wife’s delight I’ll also be taking a bit more responsibility around the house. I’ve recently taken over bill
    paying and taken ownership of anything having to do with the cars alongside my other regular duties like cleaning the kitchen.
    I’ve been toying with the idea of getting my Masters degree. I’ve had several thoughts as to what area of study . Library and
    Information Science intrigues me because I’ve always loved research - finding information no one else can in much less time.
    I’ve also thought about criminal forensics title="See number 44″>because my brain works differently than a lot of other people and sometimes I see things
    logical-thinkers don’t.

    At this point, I don’t know what the future might hold for me. But I’m certainly not going to sit still and let it come to
    me. In the meanwhile, I’m going to try to organize a few things in my life and get ready for what comes.

    04/10/2001

    I’m tired. Every year I

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:57:36 pm

    I’m tired. Every year I go to XML DevCon and every year, I try to gather
    together the braintrust of the standards community. This year was no different but this year, href="http://www.brain-stream.com/2001/gurudinner/">I set up a Web site for the invitation and called it “Guru Dinner”. It
    was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to talk with everyone….but everyone chatted with everyone else. I also picked
    a restaurant that was a bit more expensive than I wanted. The original menu I found on the Web was a bit off. Also, we had so
    many people, they split us on two sides of the room.

    I think next year I’ll find a good pizza place or easy, inexpensive, good food place close to the hotel that can accomodate
    a group. I’ll soon have pictures up for all to enjoy.

    The Modularization of XHTML is

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:06:16 am

    The Modularization of XHTML is now a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/#Recommendations">W3C Recommendation.

    I took Kirky out last

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:52:37 am

    I took Kirky out last night for her birthday. We’re at the XML DevCon conference
    at the New York Marriott Marquis this week. She’s attending sessions for
    MIT and I’m running the press room for work.

    I took her to The View Restaurant on the 47th floor of the
    Marquis and we had a nice, relaxing dinner. I would have said fantastic but when I made reservations two weeks, I told them it
    was my wife’s birthday and we’d like a window seat. I was told that they would take a note down so the hostess took that into
    consideration when seating us. Guess what? With several 2-person window seats available, they sat us on the far edge of the
    revolving floor. I was not a happy camper.

    The food, as my co-worker had told me, wasn’t stellar but people go to “The View” for, well, the view. I had surf &
    turf and my lobster claw was quite wet and slurpable…while the rest was chewy and rubbery. My “medium” filet mingnon was
    overcooked. The gravy was good though as were the haricot vert and asparagus. Kirky’s meal was decent….and the dessert - a
    chocolate bunt cake with vanilla creme in the center and chocolate malt ice cream on top was decadent.

    The best part of the night was that I got to relax. There’s been a lot going on at work that has me nervous, stressed, and
    disappointed (to be discussed publicly later), and it’s carried over to the conference. It was nice to sit and talk with
    Kirky. But the best part of the dinner was the thunderstorm that descended upon the city right in front of our eyes. The
    entire meal we were treated to a gorgeous light display. We both love thunderstorms so this was definitely a treat.

    Tonight I’m trying my hand at a “Guru Dinner” with several of
    the speakers
    at the conference as well as some of the local New York, non-conference participants. I’ll link the “page”
    with all the details shortly before I head out and I’m sure there will be lots of flashing digital cameras with fun had by
    all.

    04/7/2001

    Jeffrey and Cameron are wimps.

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 3:57:58 pm

    Jeffrey and href="http://www.camworld.com/journal/2001/03/index.html#28″>Cameron are wimps. I have more unread email messages in one
    folder then they have total ;)

    I jest, of course, but only about the wimp part. I last reset my href="http://www.eudora.com/email/features/mailstats.html">statistics generator in Eudora 5.0.2 on Wed, 11 October 2000
    07:40:06am. Since then, I have received 1,016,049 emails - an average of 5697 per day. I just told Kirky and she said that was
    impossible - no server could handle that much email traffic. Well, she’s wrong.

    Why the huge amount? I’m a researcher by trade and naturally nosy by habit. I want to know everything going on in all of
    the circles that I’m interested in. That includes Web technologies, Web development, XML, and, of course, Harry Potter. I’m
    too lazy to spend time browsing Yahoo! Groups or to check out archives from various mailing lists - so I have them all come to
    me. A year ago, I used to make sure all the mail in all my boxes were always marked as read. I gave up doing that when I hit
    3K of messages a day.

    While I can get up to 5 messages a minute some days, it is an interesting study of when various memes and breaking news
    reach which lists. Of course, I don’t READ every single message. Since I’ve been doing the email thing for 7 years, I’ve
    gotten good at thread hunting. If a thread has more then 10 messages then I take a peak at the original note if the subject
    looks interesting. If one message gets multiple replies within 15min, then I also take an interest.

    And I take FULL advantage of the filter-folder system in Eurdora - I have 999 folders and mailboxes and probably as many
    filters. I have almost reached ninja levels of filter-foo.

    Anyway, back to the point. My advice to Cameron and Jeff - take full advantage of Eudora or Outlook mailter filters and
    their related actions. It’s at the point now where it can even tell you who’s sent you mail if you tweak it right.

    Looks like a few other

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 12:14:31 pm

    Looks like a few other href="http://dss.editthispage.com/2001/04/06″>people have noticed Sally’s site and her great news.

    04/6/2001

    Sally, my boss at ZOT

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 8:11:31 pm

    Sally, my boss at ZOT Group is href="http://sally.editthispage.com/2001/04/06″>in Remission. I probably could have mentioned that she had Hodgkins. I
    don’t know why I haven’t talked about it really. Even though she set up a
    Weblog
    to discuss her diagnosis, href="http://sally.editthispage.com/2001/01/26″>treatment and eventual staving off of the disease, I chose to stay
    strangely quiet. Why? Possibly because I was the first person to know something was really wrong.

    It’s October 2nd, 2000 and I receive an email and request from Sally for a ride to a doctor’s appointment at Mass General
    Hospital. Two things, mind you, that make me nervous - (1) Driving around Boston and pretending to know where I’m going and
    (2) Hospitals. I’ve never had a real big problem with hospitals. But like most people, I find them a very depressing place to
    be.

    Kirky spent a lot of time in the hospital only a few months after we met - she had to get a hip replacement (another story,
    another time but suffice it to say it wasn’t her first time. She had it replaced in 1989 after arthritis ate away the bone
    starting at the screw holes she had from broken bones of her childhood.). It was very painful, the doctor’s screwed up her
    medication and gave her painkillers she is allergic to, and she was drugged up for a while. Not to mention the patience needed
    while she went from crutches to a cane.

    Where was I? Oh yes. It was to be a relatively routine checkup. Sally had been coughing a lot and it was annoying. So I
    drove her to her appointment that afternoon and spent a lot of time waiting in the….you guessed it, waiting room, until she
    got in. I sat around reading and when she finally came out, she said we had to go to radiology for an X-Ray. After waiting a
    while in quite a depressing, dark room we headed back up to her doctor. Again, more waiting. This time she came out with a
    strange look in her eyes. I can’t explain it really - maybe a twinge of fear, a dash of surprise and a smidgen of disbelief.
    She walked over to me and said “They’re admitting me to the ER.”

    Now it was my turn to experience the aforementioned feelings. I was shocked. She explained that there was some lumpiness
    and because she had been on vacation in India for several weeks, they wanted to make sure it wasn’t tuberculosis. Cancer never
    entered either of our minds. Well, I can only really speak for myself. So Sally and I headed down to the ER and we said our
    goodbyes as I went off to make some calls for her and send email while she shuffled off to the Emergency Room.

    Almost a week later we learned it was Hodgkins. During the next few weeks she had me set up a note saying she was on
    medical leave and we adjusted work processes accordingly. After that I never really approached her about it except to ask “how
    are you doing?” But is was more of a greeting than anything else. Hell, I didn’t know what to do or say. I think some part of
    me thought it was my fault or that in some weird way I could have changed fate by being with her at that doctor’s appointment.
    Silliness, of course, but hey - my brain has a mind of its own.

    Anyway, through her treatment I basically let the other team members offer to drive her to appointments, meetings and
    things. She couldn’t drive while she was getting chemo and she often felt weak and tired. I distanced myself a lot until no
    one else could give her a ride and when I did, I stayed in my car and read while she was inside.

    I never really thought about it or what I was doing. In reality I was probably emotionally buffering myself from the whole
    issue. It was really tough to see Sally ill and she really is an idol in my eyes, as well as a mentor and friend. Now that
    she’s recovering or rather, that there’s more concrete proof of her recovery, I guess I can let all this out. It feels good
    but more importantly I am both happy and relieved that someone I really care about is doing OK for the first time in a
    while.

    Congratulations, Sally. Keep the good work.

    Poor Kirky. She’s downstairs with

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 7:19:36 pm

    Poor Kirky. She’s downstairs with a very cute but screaming 8 month old (?). It’s her cousin’s child and “we’re”
    babysitting while they host a Wedding Shower. Note the qualified “we’re". We tried this before and any time the wee lad would
    get a look at my face and the beard he would scream. So I banished myself into my office.

    So here I am, all alone, catching up on fun stuff and she’s downstairs listening to his pitiful wail. Actually he’s been
    good for the first hour or so…..Kirky temporarily put him in his stroller so she could eat ;)

    …the one time I’d love to practice father skills. Actually, I had the same fear of beard-fright with the href="http://www.brain-stream.com/archive/2001_04_01_archive.html#3054535″>youngest one last weekend. But she must have
    gotten over it.

    04/4/2001

    Kirky’s boss, Steve Lerman, made

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 3:29:47 pm

    Kirky’s boss, Steve Lerman, made the news today
    about MIT offering free courses over the Web. It sounds similar to the PiVOT
    project
    which puts the physics course that all MIT students must take on the Web with interactive video, Java applications
    of physics experiments etc. The MIT statement released
    today mentions her lab’s TEAL project as well as the href="http://web.mit.edu/SMA/">Singapore alliance.

    I slept longer than normal

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:25:57 am

    I slept longer than normal last night and woke up feeling great with the exception of a pulled muscle in my lower back (right
    around the good ole latissimus dorsi and href="http://www.planetkc.com/exrx/Muscles/ErectorSpinae.html">erector spinae). Though I had that pain while typing all
    last night’s entries and hurt it while cleaning house. It’s still pretty tender this morning. I have to admit, there’s NOTHING
    like a good beard trim and shave after a shower to make you feel nice and clean.

    04/3/2001

    Since I’m on this “personal

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:22:26 pm

    Since I’m on this “personal update” kick, I figured I’d href="http://www.brain-stream.com/archive/2001_03_11_archive.html#2813029″>update people on the B&B at Chez DeLong
    last month.

    It all started with the fabulous mother-in-law coming up for 10 days and completely organized our house. The first 5 days
    she managed to completely paint and wallpaper the downstairs 1/4 bath and repaint the guest bedroom. We changed the color from
    a dark sea green to a lighter lime-creme. 2 days later, my youngest brother Jon came up with his girlfriend from MD and her
    best friend. They came into work with Kirky and I the next day and went all over Boston. They took the commuter rail back to
    Salem and we picked them up. The next day I worked from home and after a long walk around Salem for shopping, they headed back
    to WMass. Earlier that morning Kirky also left for a conference in Maryland, driving back up Friday with her Father. That same
    friday, my middle brother Nate also arrived with his friend and roomate for a visit.

    We were exhausted by the time they left. The major projects completed included the repaint of the downstairs bathroom and
    guest bedroom, wallpaper in said bathroom, and my father-in-law totally took out the wall against the first-floor stairs in
    the main hallway to move the basement door from the kitchen into the hall. I was going to say “we” but everytime the in-laws
    come up to visit I feel like an incompetant slack-jaw. It’s not their fault but I just grew up not being a very handy person.
    Kirky has taken a power tool class at the college she works at and loves to work with her hands. I do a lot of watching and
    try to help but it’s not my most favorite thing in the world. That’s why I’m so incredibly greatful when I do have a visit
    from Kirky’s parents. I don’t think they realize how invaluable they are to the two of us - who come home from work each night
    incredibly exausted.

    Anyway, in demolishing the wall by the stairs we filled our immaculately clean house with a white, thick layer horsehair
    plaster dust. I feel SOOO bad because when my mother-in-law cleaned the house the previous week she even did the baseboards.
    But since moving the basement door became her husband’s project when he arrived I figure it was between them.

    What I haven’t mentioned was that a good majority of the 10 day visit was spent cleaning out the basement which flooded due
    to the rain we received on top of the fact that the ground was already saturated due to snow melt. The first day of the rain,
    it started flooding when I was at work and an important client was in town for a rare visit. My mother-in-law called me on my
    cell and plead for me to come home. I begrudgingly did and then rushed because my mother-in-law would NEVER call me at work
    unless it was an emergency. Luckily I went into the office early enough that I was able to get back to the house, freak out at
    the 2in of water on my basement floor, run to Home Depot for a pump and huge tarp (water was overflowing from the gutters in
    the backyard causing a lot of the flood, we had to nail the tarp into the house and angle it to move the falling water away
    from the house), make a second run to Home Depot for another hose, come home, get everything stabilized, shower, change and
    get back to work. I had arrived just as the clients were shaking hands and getting their first cup of coffee.

    We spent the next few days running the pump, sweeping the water into the big hole in the floor meant for a sump pump, and
    vaccumming up water with a shop vac, and dumping it in the hole. Some time during this cleanup I made the mistake of dumping
    into our utility sink, clogging it with sand and dirt. Unfortunately this is the same sink the washer uses to drain dirty
    water and we couldn’t do laundry. When we tried to open up the piping to see if we could clear it, the “trap” got destroyed
    because it was made of lead. Freaky. Super Father-In-Law Man managed to replace the whole system with PVC and we were good to
    go.

    We were sad to see our visitors go. It was tiring as hell but a lot of fun. Though I like to have a weekend worth of
    recovery, the next weekend was an adventure on
    babysitting
    and next Sunday I leave for a conference in New York for a few
    days. Ah well. Rest is for the weak! But never take away href="http://www.brain-stream.com/archive/2001_01_28_archive.html#2204094″>my Rest Assured.

    Phew…archives are fixed and updated.

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:48:02 pm

    Phew…archives are fixed and updated. I don’t check the ones
    for this site as often as I do others. But that’s mostly because I
    cross-reference like mad at The Leaky Cauldron.

    This past weekend was a

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:38:34 pm

    This past weekend was a good test of fatherhood. I was off with the wife to the home of her Aunt and Uncle, who were in
    Bermuda, to watch their 3 girls - approx age 2, 6 and 8. I have to admit, when the wife first mentioned it I was all for it.
    But mostly because she said they had a second phone line and promised me I could hide in the room with my computer. Of course
    a week before this live-in babysit occured her story changed. Why am I not surprised. So I groaned and whined a bit because
    the youngest always seems to be crying or screaming when we call and the middle child always demands extra attention.

    I was consistantly surprised throughout the weekend. The little one was always smiling and giggling, able to play by
    herself. The middle child did a little bit of whining when she didn’t get her way but none of the 3 ever shed a single tear.
    Well, actually the eldest did when she took me outside to play football, soccer, and wiffle ball interchangably. I was showing
    her how to throw a football and hit her in the nose. She was more upset that her nose might start bleeding because “the last
    time it got hit it bled for almost an hour” then actually being hurt. A joke or two later and she was all simes and trying
    again this time being careful to tilt her head out of the way.

    I spend most of my time with the eldest between playing sports outside to getting her homework dones through the next week.
    I totally wish I had been driven to get my weeks worth of homework done on the weekends. It would have given me SOO much more
    time in elementary school. I also hung out with her during her piano lesson while the wife and 2 other girls whent to get
    groceries, and sat in the living room while she practiced since I’m not *ahem* tone deaf (I’m going to get shot for that
    comment).

    Through all that I still got my computer time in the evening, had time to make cookies with the girls, cleaned the kitchen
    and washed dishes. I was amazed. Obviously the girls usually have more activities to be driven around to but if kids act like
    that all the time I think I’m a lot more comfortable than I had been. Kirky (the wife) and I couldn’t figure out why they were
    being so good or so happy. We figured it was because of the change in scenery for the girls.

    Surprisingly, I’d do it again in a second.

    I love my mother-in-law. I

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:20:35 pm

    I love my mother-in-law. I think she leaves a little piece of herself lingering about the house when she visits. I’ve been
    stuck in a rut these past 2 days and today I looked over at the messy pile on my desk and decided to straighten it up. You
    see, I have this problem that I get very bored and procrastinate if my surroundings are messy. So after I picked up the pile
    of books, I picked up all the trash and put it in the trash can. Then I walked all the dirty dishes and 2 TV trays down to
    where they belonged. Then I cleaned the kitchen, swept the floor, loaded and ran the dishwasher, and handwashed the pots. Then
    I cleaned and vaccuumed the living room. Then I collected all the trash in the house. Then I cleaned the kitty litter boxes,
    moved them back to the basement where they were before the in-laws visited with the dog, put the cat food and water back in
    the kitchen (not before throwing the drinking fountain in the dishwasher). That lead
    to washing the humidifier and refilling it, taking all the laundry downstairs and washing it (actually, to be fair the wife
    did 2 loads) and finally taking all the trash outside to be picked up tomorrow.

    Needless to say, I’m exhausted…but happy. That little piece of mother-in-law saw me through. When my surroundings are
    clean, I feel satisfied - and I can FINALLY get back to work again.

    The ultimate example of “Payback

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 4:31:32 pm

    The ultimate example of “Payback is a bitch":

    That’s what happened in Missouri. After the Supreme Court ruled against the State of Missouri, the Department of
    Transportation renamed the highway the Klan wanted to adopt. The Klan has paid to clean the Rosa Parks Freeway. That’s free
    speech.

    You may recall the US Supreme Court recently href="http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/03/05/scotus.kkk.reut/">allowed the KKK to adopt a highway in Missouri.

    London Sunday Telegraph Columnist Mark

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 2:40:07 pm

    London Sunday Telegraph Columnist Mark Steyn surmises the
    REAL reason
    Dubya dropped Kyoto:

    “[I]f I understand this global-warming business correctly, the danger is
    that the waters will rise and drown the whole of Massachusetts, New York
    City, Long Island, the California coast and a few big cities on the Great
    Lakes-in other words, every Democratic enclave will be wiped out leaving
    only the solid Republican heartland. Politically speaking, for conservatives
    there’s no downside to global warming.”

    Bush observation of the day:

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:27:14 pm

    Bush observation of the day: “Lou DuBose of the `Austin
    Chronicle’ (and [Molly Ivins] co-author on a Bush book) observed on Fox News last week that most of the Texas press corps had
    the same relationship with Bush that Monica Lewinsky had with Bill Clinton.”

    04/2/2001

    Nice to see the Pagan

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 8:37:30 pm

    Nice to see the Pagan Community in WMass getting some good,
    feature press
    . Though like much of the UMass student community, they tend to be full of wannabees and non-showering,
    patchouli-addicted, “I must be as dirty as the Earth to be one with it” types. Not something I chose to be a part of during my
    bout in higher education.

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