Essays, Blather, and Pontifications

Yes, you will probably find most of these essays highly opinionated. Why on earth would I take the time to write them if I didn’t get to stand on a soap box and dish attitude? In most cases, people have already had a chance to reply to these opinions in some forum or another, so no, I’m not especially interested if you disagree with them now. Feel free to write a counterargument and post it on your own web site.

A Computer Gaming Wasteland

I cantankerously pontificate on the sad state of computer games in 2020. September 2020

Vonda Wins a Nebula

Ms. McIntyre’s 1998 Internet Relay Chat transcript of the event. With funny. December 2018

Merry Christmas*

My 2018 holiday card. December 2018

Casaba Jelly Redux

As of 2018, still the only place on the internet you’ll find this recipe! August 2017

Foolishness In The Bathroom

The “modern” bathroom is anything but. October 2015

The K40 Laser Cutter

Holy cow. Has it been five years since I last wrote an essay? Dang! And this one’s just a detailed review of a ultra-bargain-basement Chinese-made laser cutter. July 2015

My Adventures In Pharma-Land, or, Dave Gets A Cold

How am I supposed to choose the right cold medicine if I’m sick enough to need a cold medicine?? November 2000

Cons And Pros: Why Comping Isn’t An Entitlement

If a convention expects you to sit in front of a room of people and talk for a couple hours over a weekend, the least they can do is buy your membership to the convention, isn’t it? February 1998

They’re the Exact Same Thing, Except This One’s More Unique

Dismaying proof that “more unique” and “exactly the same” are completely proper English. February 2003

Why the Metric System is Kilo-Better Than Traditional Units of Measurement

Feet, pounds, and gallons vs. meters, grams, and liters. It’s like Barney vs. Godzilla. March 1997

The Lord’s Prayer for the 21st Century

Inspired by example, I humbly re-interpret the Lord’s Prayer in contemporary terms. March 2000

Why I’m Getting Married This Summer

So much sound and fury over such a simple idea. February 2004


An illustrated travelog of an exceptionally pleasant trip from Seattle to Chicago via Amtrak. December 2006

Kool-aid In The Swimming Pool

Another forgotten essay (with research!) to answer somebody's question about dying a swimming pool using Kool-aid™. May 1998, posted February 2020

Pied Type

I unearth a long-lost post wherein I provide a window into one of the more unusual web searches I’ve ever run. March 1997

Why I Hate Unix, Part IV

More ranting about why Unix/Linux is not the best thing since sliced bread. Writing this made me feel better, but, really, nobody else needs to read it. September 2005

Why I Hate Unix, Part V

If you're a masochist . . . otherwise, see above. May 2005


There are also a number of entries on my LiveJournal blog. Alas, they really don’t have much in the way of a decent table of contents system; it’s a pain in the . . . neck . . . to find older entries that I want. So I decided to hand-assemble a table of contents here, pointing to some of the more interesting entries.

Why I Hate Unix, Part V

A preposterous amount of effort to do, well, nothing! May 2005

Mangoes for Christmas, and the Complexity of “Simple Syrup”

Wherein I lay down the first of what turns out to be many many posts about cooking. Or in this case, canning peaches. July 2005

No, not in the lard!!

Wherein I find myself chased by trans-fat Heffalumps who sing about lard. August 2005


In which I gasp in awe at the least well-known Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. November 2005

Kitchen of the Fuuuuuuuture

A particularlarly entertaining (according to friends) collection of observations prompted by a Food Network show, in which I laugh and point at the silliness that even current researchers are indulging in, while trying to improve the modern kitchen. April 2006

Levi’s are Dead to Me

Everybody thinks they have trouble finding clothes in their size. I have yet to meet the person who has more trouble than I do. July 2007

Dry Ice is Cool

I discover the exciting world of “cryoblasting!” June 2007

A Microwave Mystery

More about cooking. Yes, you can actually cook with a microwave, not just reheat. June 2007

Not Getting It

I explore issues of gender, race, health, height, and Hollywood, and admit that I’m not as cool as I’d thought. October 2007

Feline Engineering

I talk about Building the Perfect Cat. January 2008

Mac Laptop Scam

I think this is my most-commented post, where I talk about the remarkable efforts some sleazebag expends to try to trick me into sending them a bunch of money. February 2008

Skis for Less

Where I relate the tale of how I “endanger life and limb” by foolishly figuring out how to keep using my really kick-ass older ski bindings on new skis, even though the manufacturers are certain that I’d be much better of with some cheap newer bindings. ‘Cause those old bindings couldn’t possibly still be safe to use, no no no! February 2008

Worst Mistake? I think not.

A meme that I’ve run across many times goes something like “the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered.” In this essay, I pull together the evidence that shows this idea to be complete and total nonsense. April 2008

Cupid Squeezed my Disco Stick

Ruminations on the phenomenon of Lady Gaga, and the problem of finding studly macho dancers. July 2009

A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

A completely different perspective on the musical arts from the previous essay. This one’s about the unique qualities of a non-school-based choir. November 2009

What the Web Doesn’t Know . . . About Itself

I reveal Deeply Held Secrets about the *.us domain. Yes, the very one that this web site lives in/on. Oooooo! January 2010

Off the Rails

I go from “I can’t wait to play with Ruby on Rails” to “Ruby on Rails Sucks” in the blink of an eye. Why? May 2010

Rhubarb Sauce, and Rhubarbsauce

Because it’s been far too long since I did a blog entry about food, of course. Including the notable footnote that explains why rhubarb is a fruit. June 2010

Snipers stole my Beanie Baby, boo hoo hoo

If you buy, or plan to buy, anything on eBay, you’ll probably learn a lot of useful things from this essay that explains the theory and practice of sniping. August 2010

How to Be a Tech-Support Genius

I reveal invaluable secrets of a technical support guru. Amaze Your Friends with your newfound powers. January 2011

But I Don't WANT To Be Innovative! (Casaba Melon Jelly)

As far as I can tell, after extensive internet searches, I appear to be the first person in the history of the Internet to have made Casaba Jelly. Which is a crying shame, because it's delicious! June 2013