Sunday, November 17, 2013

Obama's troubles vs W's troubles—Small Potatoes

Hmm, with all the current furor over the troubled roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (that is, the website for the health care exchanges), i was wondering how it compares to the troubles of the last administration (that of George W. Bush)...

The cost of developing the troubled website (by contractors with problematic histories):
   $600,000,000 (six hundred million dollars)

The cost of the Iraq war (over weapons of mass destruction that were never found):
   $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars)

So how much worse was George W. Bush's bungle than Barack Obama's?

One Thousand Six Hundred Sixty-Seven times worse! (approximately)

Like i said in the title:  Obama's troubles (in terms of his legacy) are small potatoes compared to those of George W. Bush.

Friday, July 26, 2013

rainy Thursday

rain comes down and down today, but i won't let it get *me* down.

am working on some OCR stuff of a scan of a book i recently made—converting PDFs into a Word file that i can turn into an ebook for my Kindle (despite its being expressly forbidden on the copyright page, which of course i'm faithfully reproducing as well).  my kind of wild & crazy civil disobedience!

i own a copy of Eric Baum's What Is Thought? (MIT Press), and there's no ebook version available; so why shouldn't i be allowed to make my own ebook?  there's no reason whatsoever.  to me, it's fair use.

and i've found that the ebook conversion process is a great way to read & study the text!

keeping me company on this rainy day is Paul Oakenfold's DJ Box from May, June, & July 2013 — along with a big pot of strong Colombian coffee.  plus it's still free Thursday at which offers 24 hours of free downloading of DJ mixes each week, from 6pm GMT on Thursday to 6pm GMT on Friday (which i think & hope is 2pm EDT).

enjoy the day, peeps!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Mockery, Pure and Simple

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being charged in federal court today with using "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in the Boston Marathon Bombing — WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT ! ! !

Iraq supposedly having WMDs is why Bush2 took us to war.  Did we find any there?  No.  So Dzhokhar Tsarnaev used something that *Saddam Hussein* didn't have in Iraq???  I think not.

What overblown hype by federal prosecutors, and secondarily by the media.

Pressure-cooker bombs are really nasty, but WMDs they are not.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adult Content

Adult Content — why not?  i suppose i should wish to shield tender youths from the raw & unedited truths of real life.  This is it, kids; it doesn't get any more real than this.

who among us hasn't been disappointed by life?  no, really ... i don't mean that rhetorically:  i want to know if any of us hasn't been disappointed in some way by the way their life has gone.

disappointment is part of life, right?  sometimes things work out the way you hope, and sometimes they don't.  and so people try to focus on the former and let go of the latter (unless they wish to become annoying—hee hee!).

check back for more adult content!  whoo-hoo!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Perfect Day for a Ride!

my good bicycle is back from the shop—finally!—and i took it out for a fast ride this morning down the hills of Lancaster past the golf courses, through Five Corners, and over to Bolton Orchards; what a joy!

(and now sipping on chocolate milk and nibbling on an apple—no coffee, since i forgot my giant cup, but there's always next week.)

wishing everyone a happy day & hoping you can get outside to enjoy the weather a little!

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Free New Ebook - The Fitzgerald Collection - 7 Novels in One!

Hey gang, here's my latest free-for-your-Kindle creation (loving hand assembled by yours truly)—just in time for the new Great Gatsby movie!

The Fitzgerald Collection

And if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free reader from Amazon for your computer or phone.

 6 novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald; 1 by Zelda Fitzgerald — all in 1 volume!

• This Side of Paradise - 1920
• Flappers and Philosophers - 1921
• Tales of the Jazz Age - 1922
• The Beautiful and Damned - 1922

• *** The Great Gatsby *** - 1925 
• Save Me the Waltz (Zelda) - 1932
• Tender Is the Night - 1933

Free, Free, Free!

[just press the download button, and ignore the ads.]

NEVER MIND — the link is now dead; zippshare has it no longer.  but i'll send you a free copy if you email me at dsm32 [at] cornell [dot] edu


Plus, here's another chance for that old standby...

anomaly - an improbable memoir, by Mary Evans

This version still looks better than the version on Amazon, and it's free!  :-D

NEVER MIND — the link is now dead; zippshare has it no longer.  but i'll send you a free copy if you email me at dsm32 [at] cornell [dot] edu

Thursday, April 25, 2013

morning drizzle fizzled

looking for open source C++ human skeleton models on Google

sunlight coming through the trees on the backyard hill now

went for an early run as fallen drizzle-drops evaporated

Bruce Hornsby on the stereo sounding westernish

the big fan wants to migrate from the attic

dirty dishes call from the sink

finite time in every day

you can enjoy it

if you want

to live



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

country quiet

morning drizzle saves me a trip to the Post Office—will leave the stack of thank-you notes in the box here for the carrier to pick up on her rounds instead of making a bicycle delivery.

my run in early, so that's done:  my morning movement meditation.

found a home in a corner of the bedroom for the wedding dress instead of the hook in the living room where it hung during the honeymoon.

Colin Hay keeping me company via music fed from the computer to the stereo, so it feels sunny despite the grey skies outside.

both sets of curtains pulled back, so what light there is streams through the room, painting it in muted spring colors.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coming to a bar near us? We wish!

[Interesting tidbit from the Summer 2013 issue of American Curves  :-D  ]

[And click on the picture to enlarge it enough to read the text!]

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mary Evans - anomaly - an improbable memoir

Hey peeps, Happy Day To All ! ! !

In case anyone doesn't have, here's a link for a free copy of anomaly by Mary Evans (my wedding present to you all).

(Just hit the "Download Now" button, and please forgive the ads that this site runs—out of my control.)

[ NEVER MIND — the link is now dead; zippshare has it no longer.  i'll send you a copy if you email me at dsm32 [at] cornell [dot] edu ]


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Whatever Happened to 'Sweet Bites' in Acton MA?

Sweet Bites in West Acton is no more.

Ah, the little story of karma catching up with Caitlin & Chris and getting them out of West Acton, much to the joy of the neighbors.

We couldn't take any more last spring and so had to move out before the demise of Sweet Bites, but are still glad to see a change of hands.

Too many times calling the police that Chris was going psycho and pounding on windows & doors and threatening various bodily harms or shouting demented accusations from his balcony.  At the end, the police had come enough times to investigate disturbances of the peace that i could have gotten a restraining order against him (which *would* have been amusing), but it wasn't worth it.  No point in dragging down to his level.

And who knows:  maybe he got some psychological help, and the meds are helping.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

here's the original Greek (and translation) for Easter:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


the first day of spring . . . really?  after shoveling eight or ten inches of snow from the driveway yesterday and scraping a layer of ice from the windshield this morning, it felt more like January.

another day on the wedding production line here (gluing bookmarks and making version 1.0 of the wedding ceremony music CD), and that felt springlike (even though it's a fall-themed wedding ;-).

scanning in Daniel Dennett's Elbow Room for my own personal PDF; only got through Chapter 1, but it's a start.  don't know why, but i really enjoy making ebooks.  wow, an almost job-worthy interest & skill!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Work As Play

What would you choose to do every day if you could do anything?  How long do you think you'd last before you became bored of choosing and wanted somebody else to decide?

Here's to choice, on this 2013 Mardi Gras!!!

We each have some freedom of choice, and how we exercise that freedom reflects on our character.  My only advice for the day is "Think before you choose."

And to that i would add "Enjoy yourself, always."


(P.S.  I found a lot of hits for "shrinkonia" when i did a "work as play" search.  Hmmm. . . .)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

La brea ata ann

Sure, some days i don't manage to write a blog entry when i should; some days i do.  Day before yesterday, i started a new blog, (though it's only just begun); i'm trying to stay true to my intentions and not let my dreams fade away.

Anyway, here's a picture of this morning's sun creeping over the hill behind our apartment — an inspiring view to have before me as i work!

("La brea ata ann" is Irish for "It's a lovely day")


Friday, February 1, 2013

What if . . .

What if this morning you had stopped your truck in a space across the street from the CVS on Concord Street near Union Ave in Framingham; maybe you wanted a quick soda or a coffee on your way to whatever it is you were doing.  You'd put it in park, shut off the engine, and unbuckled your seat belt.  But you haven't opened the door yet, because you can see (and hear) the massive dump truck coming up behind you, too far over in its lane—maybe you'll crawl across the seat and exit on the passenger side, since you don't really want to step out into traffic.
---Except W H A M ! the dump truck clips the corner of your rear bumper.  Your pickup lurches diagonally forward—stiffly, because the body doesn't softly crumple like a car's—and you're catapulted through the windshield, through the air over an empty parking space in front of you, and into a metal parking meter mounted on a sturdy cement-filled pipe.
---You come to briefly in the ICU, but you won't remember it.  You have multiple skull fractures and severe traumatic brain injury; you probably would not have survived the head trauma, except that Metrowest Medical Center is only a few blocks away and there happened to be some EMTs nearby.  You survived . . . barely.
---You stay in intensive care for a month, running up bills over a million dollars.  Your caseworker puts you on MassHealth, which you'll need during the estimated six months-to-a-year of rehabilitation you'll need.  State and federal funds pay your medical bills, and your health insurance company is grateful they don't have to pick up the tab.
---Who knows if you'll ever be able to work again; you'll be lucky to be able to still walk and speak somewhat coherently.  Most people with your level of injuries would have died.  You'll depend on Department of Transitional Assistance benefits (aka Food Stamps) for at least a year or two, if not for the rest of your life.  And hopefully you won't resent the disability money you'll live on—after all, you've paid into the system all these years.  Maybe you won't see "wellfare" benefits in quite the same way anymore.  And maybe you'll even be able to work a job again someday; maybe not.

Or maybe you didn't stop at CVS this morning after all and just continued on your way.  If you didn't, you're lucky.  Don't forget it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Pop the champagne bottles and belly up to the bar, boys (and girls)—the drinks are on me!  Someone bought a copy of anomaly on Amazon—Hooray!!!—and i'm pretty sure it wasn't my mother (as she hasn't touched a computer, so far as i know, since about 2005).

Looking out the windows at the fog this morning:  a very calm & restful (& humid) view.  Procrastinated with some chores already today (dishes, laundry, putting away holiday lights), so i guess it's time to write again.  Yay grind!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cornell University Suicide Exposé

Well, sort of.  The memoir that Mary Evans wrote in 2001—anomaly— is finally available on Amazon as an ebook.  And some of it is set on the Cornell University campus.  And there is a suicide attempt.  But it's not very sensationalistic or tabloidish.  It's just the story of part of someone's life.  An unusual story, certainly.  And it does expose some of the unfortunate culture of suicide that existed for too long at Cornell.

So far the commercial success of the book has been underwhelming.  But the book wasn't written with commercial "success" in mind.  The book was written because the writer had to write it—that's what writing is often about.

[some appropriate tags for the book:]
mental health
traumatic brain injury
Cornell University

Not the most fun list, except for the last three.  They are the salvation of anomaly.

Friday, January 25, 2013

My First Foray in Amazon Ebook Publishing

well, my first foray into Amazon ebook publishing:  anomaly (2001, by Mary Evans) is now available on Amazon (for $2.99):

interestingly, i don't even get a free download of my own book.  all i could do (for free) is download a sample.  the format came out OK, but not great.  Amazon's conversion process inserted (small) line breaks between my paragraphs; and they indented the first line of *every* paragraph, while the original HTML document i supplied them with had *no* indents in the first paragraph in a chapter or after an inserted empty line (which is the format i prefer).

but when i had converted the HTML *myself* (with the free software Calibre), i could set it to remove spacing between paragraphs and to leave the original paragraph indents untouched.  so with my free software, i was able to produce a better looking Kindle document than Amazon!  a little disappointing.  oh well . . . at least i'll get some royalties now.  :-D

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cold & Busy

ugh, a day of sneezing after a night of coughing; at least i didn't have to get bundled up to go running (since i stayed inside all day).

but i got some work done.  i finished re-editing anomaly and submitted it (as HTML) to Amazon for publication as an ebook (along with labels & tags & descriptions that i pulled out of my ass).  tomorrow, maybe, it will be available on Amazon (unless they take one look at it and decide it's a no-go).  gods help us all.

and i made some inquiries into the restaurant where we want to have our rehearsal dinner.  ugh, again.

now it's time to wash dishes.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Maintaining A Warm State Of Mind

Bundled up for running; had to maintain a warm state of mind, and then it wasn't so bad.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Editing & Cold Outside!

Almost ready to submit anomaly to Amazon in ebook form.  Not entirely happy with the whole e-publishing thing—it's really sort of primitive, the way lots of the subtle print-appearance stuff that i'm used to is stripped away—but it's the future, and has lots of advantages; so i'm on board.  And it gives me more sympathy for the odd errors i see in ebooks, too.

Did some internet sleuthing for an hour or so this morning and found my friend Ginger; i sent her a message & friend request on Facebook.  All of the internet hits were teasers from pay-sites, and of course i don't have the money to pay for that sort of thing, but collectively the teasers yielded the important information—especially her new name.  We haven't seen each other since the mid '90s in North Carolina and Arizona, but i'd really like to know how she's doing (especially since she's now in Ohio).

Also stressing (minimally) some over wedding preparations; but that's par for the course, i expect (and probably only a fraction of what my fiancé is going through).

Cold outside today, so running wasn't as much of a joy as usual.  (Good thing i'm not in Minnesota or thereabouts, whew!)  And the weather will only get colder, it seems, so more layers are perhaps called for.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Struggles With Writing

Reading that proof-copy of anomaly on my Kindle (before i submit it to Amazon) is more troubling to me than i thought it would be; i really thought i'd have enough distance from those events more than twenty years ago to not be overly bothered.  But i was wrong, just the same.

I guess the last vestiges of me believing that i'm mostly (if not purely) rational are gone for good.  Now i can admit that i'm only a little bit rational and that i'm mostly influenced by my emotions.  It makes more sense, i guess; but it's very humbling.  I've always thought that i drew most of my strength from my rational, mathematical side; but that's probably wrong too.

On the upside, it must mean that i have some emotional strength that i hadn't been willing to recognize previously.  And now i know that i can reinforce that strength, with some effort; because i get the feeling that i'm going to need some strength again to write Better Off.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Heh, "Working" :-)

More snow, more shoveling (which is a good thing, since i won't go running on a snowy day).  Watching the birdies & squirrels out the back window—they're glad of the birdseed our landlords put out; i am too.

And that loaf of bread with the coarse flour did turn out all right.  Tonight i guess i'll try making pizza dough with it.

More progress on converting anomaly into an ebook.  Saved it as HTML from Word (after extracting from PageMaker); then Calibre will convert it into a .mobi file for me, plus Amazon wants it as HTML for selling on their site.  Fun, actually, thinking of tags to describe the book; writing the description will be less fun.  Glad it's almost done.  Then on to the next project, Better Off.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Monday — ausdrückliche Nacktheit

Hmmm, what to write about.  Another loaf of bread baking in the machine; this new brand of flour made the dough seem weird during the kneading—if the effort produces a whole wheat brick, i may bring it back to Donelan's and ask if they have any mortar to go with it (or i could just throw it at them).

And i looked at the statistics of views to this blog.  When i include suggestive phrases in Japanese, the number of views goes up—and the U.S. audience thinks it's trendy.  So if i include a phrase like 露出した女性, it might boost my stats.  (Or if i re-translate it back, i'm somewhat mystified.)

Maybe German would be better:  ausdrückliche Nacktheit.  That *is* better.

Or Russian:  порнография и оргии.  That's only slightly humorous.

Greek might be good:  πολλαπλάσιοι οργασμοί.  Good old dependable Greek.

(Though i did a Google search, and the German phrase yielded a curious number of Sonic The Hedgehog pictures, like this one:
How interesting!  Perhaps a study is in order, correlating video games and ausdrückliche Nacktheit.  ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More Writing

More steps towards making anomaly an ebook.  Put the whole text, with proper indentation via MS Word, into an RTF file; then got Calibre to convert it into a Mobi file (with only a few tweaks for it not to add extra space after carriage returns, et cetera).  And i've previewed the result on the Kindle app for my computer, though not the actual Kindle itself yet—not until i straighten out a few pictures which didn't make it through Word.

I left the text from the original pretty much untouched (despite how much i'd like to re-write the whole thing), and mostly i'd like it to be out there for when i finish Better Off (hopefully this year).  First on Amazon, next on Barnes & Noble; then it'll be more in public.  More writing.

Happy Saturn's day to you all!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thor's day, my favorite

Hmmm, i seem to notice a pattern emerging:  good blog entries on the even-numbered days, and struggles on the odd-numbered.  OK, it's not much of a pattern; really it's just an excuse to not write blog entries every day, which is fine with me.

Had a good day yester, working on the conversion of my memoir, anomaly, into a Kindle document.  Nothing like looking at my old writing to elicit a strong reaction (in me), both good and bad.  Some of it is a memory thing; you may (or may not) know that i struggle some with memory at times; anyway, i wrote anomaly partly just to record the memories while i still had them.

And this morning i started looking at a PDF of a (*non*-crazy difficult) physics book, Halliday & Resnick 8th edition, Extended.  I had started to look at my Kleppner & Kolenkow a week or so ago, but figured i needed a little warm-up before going back to the real hardcore stuff.  I guess it's more of trying to deal with old ghosts.

Hope you're all making the best of it out there; keep it up!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mary Evans resurrected

Another day, another blog entry.  Had some fun today starting to convert documents for Kindle self-publication.  First to convert, a PDF; and then an Adobe Pagemaker document.  Mainly it's a question of extracting the text, eliminating some of the formatting, and then inserting or deleting the necessary line breaks—simple, quick work requiring a modicum of concentration, but enjoyable enough if you like the material you're working on.

The PDF isn't my work; but the Pagemaker document is, a book i finished in 2001, my first one.  Not really publishable, but useful to me as therapy.  It'll give me a laugh to be able to offer it on Amazon (and probably also on Barnes & Noble as an epub) and get to label it with all sorts of relevant tags.  More therapeutic payoff.  No real money in it, but it'll give me a laugh.  Mary Evans will begin to have a presence in e-publishing; quite a step from the books i used to print up for free on the Arizona State University laser printers and then bind & press on homemade equipment.

And hopefully it will motivate me to write more—and have an easy mode of distribution, and even a limited revenue stream.  Heh, me as a writer.  Finally.  Who'd'a' thunk it?  :-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday, arg!

OK, it's Monday and i don't want to make a new post.  So if i just whine and complain about it for a line or two, it will be enough.

And we watched 'The Great Escape' today, too; that sounds like a good enough reason (as if i needed one) not to make an entry.  So there.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

For Educational Use Only

Education and house-husbandry—those sounds like good descriptions of how i spend my days.    (Though i'm probably better at the former than the latter.  ;-)  For education, i both teach and learn.

This is the part i like best:  in education, copyright laws & enforcement are greatly relaxed; so i encounter no problems borrowing, copying, and using whatever works i please.  What fun!  Educational use is fair use, and fair use is legal.  So may all your endeavors be legal.

Support your local libraries!  They have all kinds of media for you to use and delight in—and they're just waiting for you to borrow them.  E-books, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, as well as more traditional forms.  Why buy, when you can borrow?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Why No Entry Yesterday

It wasn't my best day, that's for sure.  In the mid-afternoon, i put on my running clothes, looked at the house-key on a neck lanyard, walked downstairs, and closed the door behind me.  Only i'd not actually picked up the lanyard nor put it around my neck.  So no key.  Just in case, i tried the door—locked, of course.  Argh!  And before leaving, i'd just made double-sure the back door was locked!

So i head off for my run, dreading the locked house that awaits my return.  When i get back, i try the doors again—just for form's sake.  What else am i supposed to do?  I look at the windows, which i know are all securely locked.  And even if they aren't, i wouldn't really want to pry off the screen to check.  My landlords are away for the day, and my fiancé isn't due home from work for four hours.  Four hours!

I walk around the house, looking in nooks and crannies, hoping against hope that some former resident might have stashed an emergency key and left it there after they moved.  Nothing.  And i'm not about to break into my own apartment, let alone the landlord's.  So now i get to wait.  And it's January, so it's not warm out, either.

Two things save me:  first, there's an unheated hallway for me to shelter in, closed off from the wind; second, there's the day's mail that i had just picked up.  So i look through a big Pottery Barn catalog—for what seems like hours—and an alumni magazine of a school i knew nothing about.  And i pace, to keep warm.  Because it feels like it must close to freezing out.  So i flex my big muscle groups.  And do crouches and knee bends.  But my hips are really beginning to ache, from an old injury.

Every so often, a car goes by our driveway.  And so i peer out, through the plastic-covered window screens, hoping.  Pace up and down the hallway, peer out, tense some muscles, and go back to pacing.  It's starting to get dark out, and the clouds become tinged with reddish orange.  More cars.  More pacing.

The sounds of a car draw my attention.  Salvation!  I can get inside, finally!  But no, it's just a car turning around in the nearby intersection.  Really, i know it's still way too early.  More pacing.  Now it's full dark out.  I try counting, deliberately, just to pass the time; i finally reach six hundred—ten minutes or so—enough.  More pacing.

Then the sounds of a car in the driveway.  I peer out the window.  Our car.  It's over.  Hooray!

So that's why i didn't have time to make a blog entry yesterday.  Whew!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Money Comes In; Money Goes Out

Ah, it's that time of month.  Money in; money out.  Paid ten bills this morning and thought about the little text file i keep handy (and occasionally revise); it's just a few paragraphs which i recite or email to bank representatives about why i'm not paying more on their credit cards.  Currently, the last paragraph reads:

"i'm sorry that you made a bad investment in my debt.  i made a similar bad investment in an Ivy League education and it never paid off, financially.  i can no longer work; but if i ever win the lottery, i'll be better able to pay."

Perhaps i should add "Wish me luck!" at the end; that would give it a more optimistic sound, i supposeWhat do *you* think?  :-D

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not Yesterday; Maybe Today :-D

OK, so i didn't actually get the holiday lights down yesterday; but at least i unplugged the christmas tree.  This morning, with James Darren serenading on the stereo, i have great optimism for getting things done.  And if not today, then perhaps tomorrow.

New calendars unwrapped and hanging on the walls, boxes waiting to be packed up and put into the attic, and a row of DVDs to be stowed away (and perhaps mailed off to someone who will watch them)—these things set the scene in our cozy apartment.  Dishes to be washed, horizontal surfaces to be dusted, books to be sorted, boxed, & put into a donation box . . . the list goes on and on.

A house-husband's job never ends; but it's a dream come true for me, a joyful world that i never wish to leave.

To borrow a copyrighted phrase (from The Writer's Almanac®, which of course is also copyrighted):
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Advice To Myself

Happy New Year, peeps!  As ever, it's another chance to start over on achieving goals and striving towards whatever perfection you like.  Revel in your time; make the most of your life—it's the only one you get!

Laugh when you can, and smile often.  Choose *not* to be a curmudgeon.  Embrace life.  Find joy; avoid pain.  Be bold, brave, and confident.  Affirm, instead of denying.  Don't give up—try!

Wishing you all a lucky twenty-thirteen!

[and a big thank you to George Takei via Sue Hobart for the picture!]