July 21st, 2005


Dull life

Not much happening right now. I spend some time every day on estate stuff. Sometimes very little time, other times a couple of hours. Putting together things to mail is the most satisfying to me, gives me a sense of accomplishment.

I found the probate case online at the Santa Clara superior court web site. Very cool indeed. It seems like I could just refer people to that site to verify the situation. Of course they won't accept that. They want certified papers.

I created a sim the other day who has become my most successful so far. She married a "townie" - a sim that comes with the game that doesn't have a home, just wanders by and can be invited in, or works in some job and comes home with a sim sometimes. Both she and he are "fortune" sims, meaning all they want is to make and spend money. So they do. Just about everything they want is related to these goals. Fortunately, they do care about their children when they have them, and are ambitious for them as well. This couple has had two children so far. One just turned teen and the other just turned toddler, and everything is going rather swimmingly with them too.

These fortune sims push themselves to get ahead, and so I was able to bring her - her name is Lorna Legacy - to her ultimate goal, to the top of the athletic career (she's a "hall-of-famer"). Because this was her lifelong wish she is forever platinum in the mood department now.

I have gotten quite carried away with this family. Last night I went to other neighborhoods and to a particular family that has not been doing so well, and I was unable to improve their fortunes. They just keep going down. I think I may have to separate them so I can work on them more intently on an individual basis. Being with this fam reminded me of how frustrated I sometimes get, wanting to slap them all. I am going to have to ask the game makers for that option. The "Get used to it" option.

In other news. What? I've been on a few hikes lately, but not for the past three days. I did some yard work. I cleaned a bird feeder after paul bought a large bag of good bird seed. I helped mary do some math study for her real estate exam. She's taking the test on August 6 so we need to do more math before then. It doesn't come naturally to her.

I don't care about the supreme court nomination...my main concern, one I don't see addressed, is - is he a good jurist? Does he follow the law? If so, his personal convictions don't mean that much.

The Know-it-All

I am reading a book called The Know-it-all, by A.J. Jacobs. As I recall, the J in AJ actually stands for Jacobs. This kind of thing bugs me.

It isn't the only thing about the book that bugs me.

It seems like this is a new format for personal journey books. Choose a "quest" and then write while you are on it. The rats book was of this type (but that one was better). This particular quest is the reading of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. AJ thinks it will improve his brain if he reads the whole thing and tries to absorb the information as well.

Of course the theory is flawed. Most of the people he mentions it to can see no point in it. And just about everyone is annoyed by Jacobs' constant references to obscure facts.

True to the nature of a confessional-quest book, Jacobs intersperses his factual journey with tales of his own life, in particular the efforts he and his wife Julie are making to have a baby. There is also the father-son competition. These tales provide a different thread to follow if one gets tired of the Napoleon references or the discourse on units of measurement.

It could be a terrific book, even given this ridiculous formulation. But there are problems. One is that, from the first page, there are the occasional improper uses of grammar or punctuation, which it seems a book on being smart should not have. There are also some interesting factual errors, which I admit come from the encyclopedia itself. One is about blue moons. AJ says the term comes from an atmospheric condition that colors the moon blue. Actually, "blue moon" refers to the second new moon in a month, according to no less of an authority than NASA, as well as many others. I don't know what the hell the atmosphere thing has to do with it.

Finally, AJ's sense of humor is wanting. The reviewers who are quoted on the back of the book found it "hilarious". I think I have laughed once and I am over half way through. Most of the time it seems like the humor is trying too hard. It doesn't flow right. IT also is clear that AJ is self-obsessed. SUre, he jokes about this. Doesn't make him any more likeable. Not like some self-obsessed writers I've read.

So I am irritated by it. Not enough to put the book down and not finish it. I usually finish books. But enough so that I read it and grumble or grind my teeth every couple of paragraphs. I will admit I have learned a few somewhat interesting things. But, unlike AJ, I won't be trying these facts out on the next unsuspecting person.

I bought two paperback books at the market yesterday. Junk reading. AJ will be getting less attention.

and the steamer

Every day I try to steam milk with my espresso machine. I have reached a certain level that I don't like but that I can drink. I watch carefully and move the pitcher around and adjust the wand location but I'm not getting better, haven't gotten better for about three days. I keep thinking I need a class in this.