Friday, March 30, 2001

Stupid facts about daylight savings time

[email composed 30 March 2001]

Sunday we will observe the tweaking of standard time by setting our clocks ahead one hour. What this really means is that we all get to perform the exact same tasks an hour earlier for the next six months. And why do we do that?

It saves energy. No, really.

Apparently the D.O.T. has done studies that moving back the sunset by an hour trims electricity usage by... one percent. We turn the lights on later, blah blah blah. (Your tax dollars at work.)

The idea of turning the clocks ahead during the summer months was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, for economical reasons. The actual moving of time in the spring and fall was not adopted until the early 20th century in Germany and England. The U.S. (along with many European nations) took it up during World War I to lower fuel consumption and help the war effort. However, in 1919 this was overturned in the States due to its unpopularity. It came back during WW II for the same reasons, but afterwards there was no legislation to mandate it and D.S.T. was inconsistently observed until President Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 into law. In 1986, the law was amended to state that Daylight Savings Time would begin on the first Sunday of April (instead of the last Sunday) and end on the last Sunday in October. (In most western European countries, it starts a week earlier.)

And in Indiana, where part of the state is in the Eastern time zone and part of the state is in the Central time zone, it gets really complicated. Arizona and Hawaii also think that it's pretty stupid to go pretending it's later than it actually is.

(Source: Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement)

Enjoy the daylight everybody. Turn off the computer and go outside and do something with it.

(who with any luck will be asleep)

Monday, March 19, 2001

Just a moment of your time, please

[email that seemed like a good idea on 19 March 2001]

Greetings everybody,

I have been lead to believe that some people may be a bit... intimidated... by some of these messages I send out. Well, okay: "intimidated" may be too strong a term; perhaps "overwhelmed" is more accurate. Or maybe not. "Baffled"? Yeah, that's pretty certain. "Bored"? Oh, of course. And because of this, some of you may be disinclined to reply, or even to acknowledge that you even know who I am.

I understand.

However, in any case, I wanted to make it clear that I do not want you to feel self-conscious about your what you may want to say back to me. I really do enjoy hearing from you, no matter how short or long the message, no matter how deep or frivolous the content, no matter whether the grammar and/or punctuation is perfect or not, and even if you don't really have a subject or coherent theme. I'm not judging what you write. You should feel free to express yourself in any way that strikes you. And don't worry: I have heard all of your major profanity, and, I suspect, most of the common epithets and slurs and insults.

Take it from me: if you wait around for a great idea before doing something, then you're obviously wiser than apparently I is.

So, as soon as you finish reading this sentence, hit Reply (or if you're daring, or really drunk, Reply All) and take 30 seconds and type the first thing that pops into your head--whatever it is (and I mean, whatever)--and then click that Send button. Do not stop, do not edit, do not revise, do not collect $200: just do it.

Thanks. You're the best.

[Some recipients acted on that Reply All dare. Subsequently I never sent another message where the recipients weren't all bcc'ed, protecting the members of my "audience" from the whims of each other. Editing one's self really is worthwhile.]

Thursday, March 15, 2001

Distractions from your worthless, miserable existence

[email composed 15 March 2001]

Howdy everybody (of course, it's hard to realize you're part of an "everybody" since I've BCCed you all--and why you may ask? so your precious e-mail address doesn't fall into the wrong hands. no need to thank me: just looking out for those I care about. and you as well. ha ha. laugh along with me at that witty remark. okay, don't. fine. see if I care),

I was going to send some attachment that was sent to me where it's a wilderness picture but where there's faces hidden in the structure of the rocks and trees, and there's some sort of scale for judging how observant you are by how many of the faces you can find. But the text accompanying the picture has atrocious grammar, and everybody at work to whom I sent it found all the faces without difficulty, so either we were all amazingly perceptive or the average person is just really stupid. Personally, I think it's both, but I digress. Anyway, rather than waste the valuable time of the people on dial-up modems, I didn't bother including the picture. You would have found all faces anyway, so just go ahead and feel good about yourself.


Okay, here's the lamest e-mail quiz ever (I thought it up myself): Suppose you are a calendar manufacturer--er, printer. Yes, that makes more sense. Anyway, suppose you wish to make up templates for all the possible different configurations of years (not individual months, but the 12 continuous months that make up a year--yeah, I'm having a hard time describing this, but just go with it, okay?). So each template would go from January 1 - December 31. Now, here's the question: how many templates would you need to cover every possibility?

Anybody who made any heads-or-tails of that and wishes to offer a guess should reply to this message. (You're really going to kick yourself if you get it wrong.)


Okay, now here's some upcoming events that I may or may not be attending. I won't waste our time by inviting you, since it is blatantly clear that nothing Doug suggests is in any way, shape, or form of interest to others, and since nothing Doug suggests involves rock bands with Keanu Reeves in them, but as long as you've bothered to read this far, I'll mention them (if for no other reason than to give you proper warning so you can avoid these locations):

This Friday, the day before St. Patrick's Day, if you're in the area of downtown L.A. (and if you're not, just skip ahead to the next one; really, I promise I won't say anything clever for the remainder of this paragraph--yeah, yeah, yeah: like I ever do), there is going to be a FREE lunchtime concert by the Young Dubliners in Pershing Square at 12:30. They're an Irish rock band that lives in L.A., but unlike U2, they still sound Irish (while still rockin').

This Saturday night, I'm considering going to see the Long Beach Symphony perform Dvorak's Symphony no. 9, "From the New World". If I don't go to that, I'll definitely try to catch it when the L.A. Philharmonic does the same piece on April 5. Yes, the observant among you will notice this is the second time I'm going to see classical music in a little under a month. Don't worry: I still have no culture.


Well, I'm not entirely sure what to write here. I could just prattle on, throwing out gibberish: loquacious ubiquity rhapsody off tundra whistle vicar xylophone Euripides. What does it matter? I can't imagine anyone is still reading by this point. Oh, the delightful liberation of social invisibility. Remember, fellows: put the toilet seat down, as the ladies really appreciate it; that's one area where they're never going to be willing to meet us half way, so you might as well accept it. And make a point of washing off soda cans before you drink out of them, because who knows where they've been.

Good night, and have a pleasant valley Sunday. (That one's for you, Mika.)

P.S. No. Stone sober. Why do you ask?