dander grammar up — plural or emasculated husbands

Are we too afraid to admit that our husbands are male in English?

The article Times Square confetti to contain New Year’s wishes at CNN.com says:

“Another person wrote that they wanted their husband to get a green card so that they could join them here in the states,” Tompkins told WABC-TV.

Look, I know we’re all squeamish about gender-specific pronouns (let alone common nouns) in English. But this article is about husbands — people who are necessarily male. Hello, English speakers? Speaking on behalf of all husbands (I feel I’m qualified here), it’s OK for you to refer to us using pronouns indicating our gender. In fact, we like it and encourage it.

I don’t know if I can really blame CNN here; presumably this awfulness came directly from Tim Tompkins, the Times Square Alliance spokesthem.

yeah, I’m writing about a computer thing again

So sue me.

I’m so begeistert of this Mac. I managed to rescue our iTunes music off of our dead Windows machine. I bought a cheapo webcam which works with Skype (thanks Tammy, Matthias, and Uncle Bernie for helping me test it) after installing a plug-in called macam.

The gripes: that camera together with macam and iChat don’t all play nice together. But it works with Skype, and I’d rather pay 15€ at a local Saturn store than 80€ at the German Apple online store for a Logitech QuickCam thingie.

That might be the only gripe, surprisingly. Or not?

this mac mini is pretty sweet!

For Christmas and our birthdays, Sarah and I got ourselves a cute little Mac mini. As previously noted, our main Windows machine recently refused to start (I suspect power supply failure), and even trying Cristi’s approach to trick the BIOS didn’t work.

So, really, we were forced into this.

It sure is easy on the eyes — all aspects of this computer scream “nice design!” at me. Assimilating myself mac-wise is going pretty smoothly. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

  • I was about to gent bent out of shape due to firing it up and finding OS X Tiger installed — didn’t notice the extra OS X Leopard DVD in the package, which I appreciated.
  • Keyboard things are a little weird when you’re coming from Windows hardware (that’s what the mini is — just the case and some components and an operating system. You’re on your own for keyboard and mouse and a monitor). I’ve learned pretty quickly how to do these characters on my German keyboard aimed at the Windows market:
    • ~ (Alt Gr +n, then a deadkey space) – need that all the time in a unix derivative, don’t we?
    • | (Alt Gr + 7)
    • ^ (thankfully, just the caret key followed by a deadkey space)
    • the control key (strng on a German keyboard) doesn’t work like I expect it to — but the superfluous Windows does behaves like the control key
    • emacs keystrokes for cursor positioning seems to work using the real control keys in a lot of applications (^A to take you to the beginning of a line, ^E to take you to the end). Learning those keystrokes back in the day for PINE on vela.acs.oakland.edu seems to have paid off (of course, some of them work in vim too).
    • [ and ] are on the 5 and 6 keys when used with Alt Gr
    • { and } are misleadingly on the 7 and 8 keys when used with Alt Gr — the keyboard has labels that indicate those characters should be on the 7 and 0 keys
    • € and µ (does anyone ever really use that outside of The Even Dorkier, out there measuring µFarads or masking µProcessors? I mean, c’mon).
    • I still need to find some way to get used to not having keyboard commands for selecting or jumping to/past whole words at a time, or find a way to actually do it under Mac OS X. School me?
  • OS X Tiger was frustrating as I tried to set up the wireless network here in the apartment. The simple setup wizard just wasn’t cutting it. I had to go into the network diagnostics wizard and specify a 40-bit ASCII or hex key for it to work. Not sure if that’s related to my network or the OS, but after erasing and installing OS X Leopard from scratch this evening, the simple setup under *Leopard* worked just fine.
  • I have *got* to remember to look for application menus always way up at the top of the screen, and not at the top of the application window. In desperation, I right-click, hoping to be able to unhide some critical menu item, like “File” or “Edit.” That usually doesn’t help me much. That is killing me at the moment. For the truly dorky, I’m sure this clearly explains to why I picked KDE over Gnome on Linux.

got a new computer!You might think I’m all jazzed up about this new computer, staying up late and whatnot. Well, it is late, and I am jazzed up, but I think it’s really the jet lag that’s done it to me. At least the only thing on the docket for tomorrow is cleaning up my desk and making some stuffed peppers using the sauce from this recipe. That’s OK. By the way: tomorrow’s the last day of the Christmas market on Neupfarrplatz. Here’s what we did today for lunch:
Wurst! Wurst!

headache prevention

I’m pretty sure at least part of the reason people feel so crappy after long flights is the drone of the engines and air rushing past and internal cabin systems. So when I saw a pair of noise-cancellation headphones before our most recent trip over at woot.com — purveyor of geeky stuff at can’t-bear-to-pass-it-up prices — I knew I had to try it. Especially because it was not a several hundred dollar pair of the big-name headphones. In fact, even amazon.de wants 170 € for the same set.

Nope, these cost a mere 60 bones that day on woot.com. I’d say they were worth it, because we could watch the in-flight movies without having to blast our ears with volume to overcome the ambience, and just generally talk to each other without having to yell. These were great: carrying case, adaptor kits for various jack formats, and they were even pretty comfortable for a couple hours at a time.

I should have bought two of them.

got home OK

United almost screwed us up again with about an hour delay on the one-hour flight from Detroit to Chicago, but with a little airport aerobics, we caught the 767 from Chicago directly to Munich — and even our luggage made the trip too (hadn’t figured on that). We even snagged a couple seats on the AirportLiner shuttle bus to Regensburg (without having reserved in advance), got home, and I started working while Sarah started sleeping (she didn’t catch a wink on the plane, whereas I got at least 4 hours).

But now I’m hungry. And I measure that hunger in half-meter lengths of sausage and baguettes with horseradish AND mustard.

Time to hit the Weihnachtsmarkt. Yum.

wrapping up the December 2007 U.S.-Mexico trip

So, today we fly back to Germany. This past weekeend my sister got married in a big ol’ fairly traditional Catholic wedding ceremony and reception afterwards. It was a lot of work and stress leading up to it, especially with added tension due to my gramps’ health, but with a lot of cooperation from everyone involved, it came off beautifully (click that).

the requisite last-day-sunsets post

And so our Puerto Vallartan vacation draws to a close. We’ve actually done much less here this time compared with previous visits, but we’re treating this as the calm before the coming storm awaiting us in Detroit. Brian and Mikey got home to their critters OK and we’re clearing out tomorrow morning early. Really not looking forward to leaving this weather, though it will be nice to visit the Detroit peeps and get Carolyn’s matrimony on. You can view all the photos from this set here.

Got the WLAN working!

pool by nightMan, I don’t know what it was those first couple of days, but it’s working now and I’m pleased as punch. We got here on Saturday with (in retrospect) only a minor oh-crap moment thanks to United and American Airlines, but all was well when we got through customs and saw our pals waiting for us.

It’s really, really good to be back here. More later!