Monthly Archives: February 2003

Oof

It’s a little after six in the evening, and I am just getting out of bed. Some bug or another really konked me out today. I guess it’s a touch of the flu or something; I’m all achey and tired.

I think I could use another nap right now…

More on Tolkien

I read through the appendices for The Lord of the Rings tonight, something I have never fully accomplished. In particular, the section concerning languages caught my eye. I skimmed the parts pertaining to the Elvish languages, but what really caught my eye was when Tolkien started talking about how the story was ‘translated’ from the common speech into Modern English, and that since the Riders of Rohan spoke a more archaic form of common speech, their dialogue was liberally spiced with Old English words and syntax. The Hobbits also spoke a variation on this archaic tongue, and most of the names Tolkien supplies for his characters are in fact translations. Interesting idea, probably something a linguist would think up. But then he starts producing examples of this common speech, and the corresponding translations. That’s when the depths of Tolkien’s language fixation struck me. Not only did this guy whip up several languages like Elvish and Dwarven, provide detailed etymologies and orthographies; he concocted an entire language which is never mentioned in the trilogy, and then translated names and locations into the appropriate English and Old English words. That’s just twisted.

Prophecy

A couple weeks ago I mentioned some ways that GovGuam could cut costs. I suggested trimming non-essential agencies like CAHA and the library. Seems somebody was listening – here’s a quote pulled from the front page of today’s PDN:

“Our concerns are going to deaf ears. What is the government’s priority? I cannot see the existence of Mass Transit, CAHA, Parks and Rec over DOE… The Legislature and administration have to look at the resources of this island. This department is dying.” – Jose Nededog, Education Policy Board Member

Nededog’s comments concerned the Department of Education, which is in dire straits and cannot meet its payroll tomorrow. DOE owes millions to vendors and utilities, and more millions to the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The entire educational system is teetering and ready to collapse.

An Oldie But A Goodie

When you’re climbing up the ladder
And you hear something splatter
Diarrhea
Diarrhea

When you’re walking down the hall
And you feel something fall
Diarrhea
Diarrhea

When you’re sliding into first
and you feel your stomach burst
Diarrhea
Diarrhea

When you’re pants are full of foam
and you’re heading into home
Diarrhea
Diarrhea

Tolkien Revisited

I finished reading The Lord of the Rings last night. It left me a little cold. I expected to experience the story differently; after all two decades passed between my readings. Middle Earth is still an intricate and finely wrought world, but the actual story telling by Tolkien is a little bland. I find it amazing that he could flesh out languages, histories, geographies, different races and a panolply of ancient and puissant artifacts, but still fabricate such one dimensional characters. The stark light of Middle Earth’s manicheistic struggle between the forces of good and darkness drains the characters of depth and motivation. But Tolkien’s primary mode of storytelling is legends and histories, and the trilogy fits squarely into this style. At any rate, the storytelling in The Lord of the Rings is positively verbose compared to The Silmarillion. The Silmarillion is a dense compendium of edited histories and myth, with very little dialogue or character development.

Newsfeed Added

I just popped in the newsfeed from KUAM that I mentioned last week. It looks pretty good – I am pleased with myself. Now if only the PDN would provide a feed I would be totally happy.

In other news, the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, is on Guam for a couple days. I think I will run down to the port and take some pictures of her today or tomorrow. These aircraft carriers are the largest warships in the world, and I’d like to take a gander at this gigantic projection of US military force. Apparently the Carl Vinson is headed to Okinawa, replacing the USS Kitty Hawk (a frequent visitor to Guam) while it is deployed to the Persian Gulf for young Mr. Bush’s glorious little war. Make no mistake, the Carl Vinson is a newer, bigger, more capable ship than the Kitty Hawk – could Dubya be sending a message to North Korea?

Cultural Enrichment

The past weekend offered me a chance to spend time in Tumon with my guest and absorb some culture. David’s visit gave me the opportunity to finally view the terra cotta warriors from the Q’in dynasty on display at the DFS Galleria. I only regret not alloting more time for the exhibit – security guards ushered us out before I viewed everything. I guess I need to return again in a few days and absorb the entire show, maybe pick up a catalogue. The exhibit is a quality production, with incredible artifacts on display, plenty of informative displays, and excellent additional materials available in the gift shop.

Saturday night was also a great chance to catch some excellent jazz at the Fishbowl, an upscale little nightspot in Tumon. Larry Franquez, Carlos Laguana and Patrick Palomo performed a couple sets to an appreciative crowd. Franquez punctuated the music with inspired drum solos that set the audience clapping. Franquez and Laguana are Berklee alumni, and all three are consumate musicians. Both sets were excellent, I just wish we sat a little closer.

I frequently complain about a lack of interesting things to do on Guam. I guess this last weekend proved me wrong.

Sunday Night – Weekend Recap

It turned out to be a pretty good weekend with Dave. He left this afternoon, back to the cold hand of winter in Tokyo. Hopefully he left with some good memories and a full belly! Sheesh – for a skinny guy I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody pack away the food like he does. I was truly in the presence of a master. He truly humbled me at the Outrigger’s buffet Saturday night. And he must have consumed a pound of bacon at breakfast. Cripes.

We caught some good jazz at the Fishbowl, checked out the terra cotta warriors from the Q’in dynasty, and did a lot of sightseeing. He was blown away by the beauty of Guam, something that’s become dulled in my daily life. I hope he returns – I actually enjoyed playing island host for a change.

Mail Posting Update

Well I apologize if anybody saw my first crummy attempt at publishing via email. I forgot about the paragraph of legalese that my company tags onto the bottom of every outgoing email. So the post was riddled with formatting errors and contained this long paragraph of corporate boilerplate gibberish. But the second post worked fine from my oddpost account. I guess I will use that in the future to send posts. And maybe somewhere down the road, my Psion will make a few posts to the blog. That would be cool.

Let’s Try Email Posting Again

I set up blogger to accept email posts, but I haven’t seen any changes so far. It might be that crippled Exchange server at work, so I am trying a different mail account to send this.

Wish me luck.

ARRRGH!

The file share at work is horribly slow – so is the Exchange server. Really, really, really slow.

Newsfeeds Coming

KUAM News is now offering an XML newsfeed, so I suppose now is the time to stick a couple newsfeeds into my blog page. I also signed up for a newsfeed from Moreover a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been too lazy to redesign the front page for just one newsfeed. The addition of KUAM though makes this an interesting possibility…

Juicin’ The Good Times

Did I mention that the problems at the Guam Memorial Hospital, and how it is overstaffed? Well here’s a good example: an administrative assistant at the hospital (who just so happened to be assigned to former hospital administrator and Dr. Davina Lujan) is out on emergency sick leave, for two years. KUAM News ran the story last night, detailing how the new administration was scrutinizing the length of the leave, from September 2, 2002 to August 30, 2004.

Acting Administrator Bill McMillan, said, �We have decided to do an independent review of this sick leave request in light of the unusual length of sick leave.�

Seems the employee had ten months of sick leave donated by a physician at the hospital, under GovGuam’s leave-sharing program. The donating physician was the husband of this employee’s personal doctor.

I hate to pillory this woman, but it points out another example of government waste on this island. Leave and holiday requests are loosely regulated, and rarely enforced. A very good friend of mine worked for GovGuam for five years yet she never took a day of vacation. During those five years, she went on well over a dozen trips throughout Asia and the Pacific. Personal trips, holidays, vacations, but not business trips. Her boss, a judge for Christ’s sake, simply took all her leave requests and tore them up. He never submitted them, saying she would need them someday. Sure enough, when she quit her job she got a pile of cash for all that accumulated leave. I just know I would never be allowed such leniency in my private sector job. This woman at GMH may very well be sick or unable to go to work for a long time, but using sick leave instead of going on disability is doing only one thing – juicin’ the system for all it’s worth.

House Guests

Looks like I got another house guest this coming weekend. I just got David out of the house, and now my high school buddy Dave is coming down for a visit from Japan. Last time I saw Dave was 8 years ago. God – that makes me feel bad since he’s just a 3� hour flight away and I’ve never visited him. So despite the fact that I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, I will put on my entertainer fa�ade and take Dave around the island. Maybe a hike, some time at the beach, a couple bars, a couple restaurants. All the good stuff that makes Guam a ‘pleasure island.’

Working Late

I’m working late tonight, probably for another hour or two. It sucks, but it’s the best time to pull data from the servers in Laguna. Fewer people processing claims means more bandwidth for me. As it is, pulling this data takes ten to twenty minutes per query. I shudder to think what it would be like tomorrow morning when I need to hand in this report.

Since I’m getting tired, I think I will actually prepare the data tomorrow morning. I’m basically just sitting here, making sure the process doesn’t hang. Which means time to surf the web and goof off a little.