Category Archives: Miscellaneous Thinking

A Voice From The Oklahoma City Bombing That Haunts Me To This Day: “Whoever did this, I hope you’re happy”

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Everyone over a certain age probably remembers this iconic photo featuring one of their victims.

According to Wikipedia, “McVeigh stated in his authorized biography that he wanted to minimize non-governmental casualties.”

From the same article: “He parked the Ryder truck in a drop-off zone situated under the building’s day-care center…”

Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking about those dead children who meant nothing to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. I think about the horror the families of those kids experienced as the news reached them and sunk in — and the roller coaster of emotions those families must have endured in the years to follow and I would assume to this day.

If you listened to the radio in the ’90s, you might recall “Lightning Crashes” by the band Live from their album Throwing Copper. Shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, someone — a radio DJ perhaps? — edited the song to include clips from news reports about the attack and this version was played on several radio stations in the days and weeks to follow.

The “Oklahoma City Bombing” version of “Lightning Crashes” is still tucked away on YouTube. The quality isn’t perfect, but if you have a moment to listen, I don’t think you need to like the song to be affected. For me, there are many people in the audio I think about from time to time, but there’s one person I wonder about all the time:

At the very end, a woman says, “Whoever did this, I hope you’re happy” with a current of raw emotion in her voice.

When “Lightning Crashes” turns up on the radio (less frequently these days, but it still gets a few spins here and there) or on my music mixes, I think about that woman.

Sometimes, when I see a Ryder rental truck, I hear her voice.

I wonder who she was and where she’s gone and what she’s done with her life.

This information might be available online, if I really wanted to know, but I don’t.

I don’t know who this woman is who haunts me so, and maybe it’s better that way….

One last thought: Be sure to hug your kids tonight, or sooner if you can, and no matter whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, treat your loved ones as if they might not be around tomorrow.

Because they may not be, and you may never know until it’s too late.

10 Reasons I Think My Samsung Galaxy S Was Manufactured On An Ancient Indian Burial Ground

Based on all of the scientific data I could gather, I think my Samsung Galaxy S was manufactured in a plant built on an ancient Indian burial ground.

Here are some of the features that weren’t mentioned on the box:

burning cell phone because it's evil and I hate it

1) Two to three times a day, it’ll freeze and I have to pop the battery out. When I start the phone back up, it notifies me that the battery is almost dead — even if the phone was just removed from the charger minutes before it froze.

2) It often takes three tries to open a text message because the texting program crashes and returns me to the home screen.

3) Sometimes, when I receive a text message, the phone will freeze, requiring me to remove the battery.

4) From time to time, the phone will ring but nothing will show up on the screen, so I have to swipe down to get to the notifications center where I will find my call already on hold.

5) Clicking on a news story in the news headline app often results in a blank, white page.

6) Randomly turns off. Sometimes it starts up again all on its own, other times it does not.

7) Even when I have a good signal, the phone often fails to dial when I try to make a phone call — the original purpose of owning a phone.

8) When I go to dial a phone number that isn’t already in my address book, I have to enter it in less than ten seconds or the app crashes and sends me back to the home screen. It’s like a game! That I hate.

9) Often, when I try to select a contact in my address book to call or text, the address book will crash and return me to the home screen.

10) When set to “vibrate,” the phone doesn’t do anything when a message or call is received. My old phone, a flip phone from before the days of smart phones, vibrated so strongly that I still had phantom sensations of receiving calls for the first year after it vanished at an amusement park in Ohio, kind of like how someone who loses a limb might still feel their fingers or toes moving.

Today my phone started rebooting randomly during a phone call.

Of course, because I’ve had so much trouble with this particular phone, you can bet on the fact that several of my friends and family have had this model and loved it. Raved about it. Proposed marriage to it.

Normally, this situation is reversed, with me trying to help someone with a piece of technology that has never given me a single problem yet has turned mysteriously evil on them, so I guess I was due for this to happen.

Needless to say, I cannot recommend my phone to anyone except maybe for a friendly neighborhood exorcist.

Spammed By Term Paper Writing Service On My Term Paper Post!

A while back, I wrote a post about a student who basically wanted us to write her term paper for her: A Student Needs Help With A Term Paper

This morning, I was notified of a pending comment in the moderation queue for that post. 99% of the time on a post that old, these comments are spam.

(The only exception is my post Restoring A Mac From A Time Capsule Back-Up Via the Ethernet Port, which a lot of people seem to find thanks to Google searches related to a problem they’re having.)

Normally these spam comments are either super vague and poorly written (“I love your high quality site, it gives me good reads”) or wildly off topic and selling knock-off products for fashion and, um, the bedroom.

So this time I had to laugh when I saw what the spammed comment was promoting:

term paper service spammed my website

It might not be clear because I blacked out their information, but this spammed comment was to promote a service that sells term papers to students. They just promote their service as if they “help” the student through “tips” and “training.”  But when you click on their linked name, it’s clear what they’re really selling.

In terms of targeted spamming, this comment was a home run for the spammer. They couldn’t have landed on a better post to spam their product.

Of course, I deleted it and marked it as spam in the moderation queue so it never saw the light of day.

Having A Little Fun With Telemarketers (How To Open A Clown Hospital)

Telemarketers have started calling my house again even though we’re on the Do Not Call list.

Some people get really upset about this sort of unsolicited phone call, which I understand completely when the call comes in the middle of the night or wakes your baby during the day, but so far these have been normal sales calls during the work day and there’s been no harm, no foul.

Some people get so irate that they swear at the caller, or deafen them with an air horn, or generally vent about the state of the universe, but I’ve never done that because, seriously, it’s just someone trying to do their job — and probably not their ideal job at that. Everyone has to pay their bills somehow, right?

That said, I don’t want to buy anything over the phone, I don’t care to participate in a survey, and I’ve already donated directly to any causes I care about and can afford to donate to, so the calls are kind of a waste of time for everyone involved.

People who have known me for a while will tell you that my sense of humor is a little weird, which is probably why I decided a while back to have a little good natured fun with the caller while asking to be taken off their list.

This morning’s call went something like this:

Phone: Ring, Ring, Ring!

Me: Hello?

Happy Lady: Hello sir! This is not a sales call. We’re conducting market research about a product in your area and would like to send you a free sample, all you pay is shipping!

Me: Wow, that’s very nice, but you’ve reached a business, not a residence. We’re a clown hospital.

sad clown

Happy Lady: Oh… what?

Me: Yes, and we’re very busy, I’m sorry to say. Bozo is on life support and might not make it.

Happy Lady (laughing): Oh, that’s terrible!

Me: Would you mind taking us off your list? There are a lot of sick clowns out there and I just don’t think we’ll have any free time to try a new product.

Happy Lady: Not a problem, have a nice day!

Phone: click and dial tone…

We’ve also been a groundhog rehab center, a home for speaking mimes, the accounting department for the nation’s largest retailer of irregular socks, and whatever random things I think of while the caller starts their sales pitch.

Some of the callers laugh and some just hang-up, but I figure this approach is kinder and it makes me happy, so what’s the harm, right?

My only concern is that I’ve heard of people who have jokingly said, “No hablo Ingles” and before they knew it, all of their telemarketing calls were in Spanish. So I guess there’s a chance we’ll start getting calls from clown related organizations next. (“Save the Clowns,” perhaps?)

That, of course, would teach me yet another lesson about thinking I was funny.

(P.S. Seriously, is that clown photo not the creepiest thing ever? I almost posted just that image without any text to see what people would say, but I was afraid everyone would unsubscribe from my mailing list.)

Man plans and then mice laugh at him

crisis flow chart

Two quotes come to mind when I’m managing a complicated project like a new Stephen King Limited Edition. To paraphrase:

“Man plans and the Gods laugh.”

“The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”

Of course, at the end of the project, all of the stress and averted disasters and new gray hairs are almost always worth it.

Restoring A Mac From A Time Capsule Back-Up Via the Ethernet Port

This is not publishing related at all, but since I can never remember how to do this on the rare occasions I’ve needed to, I thought maybe I’d post it here so I can actually find the steps in the future.

apple time capsule

Whenever we’ve had to completely restore one of the office Macs from the Apple Time Capsule back-up (love that software, by the way, because I never have to worry if the staff is properly backing up), I always want to do the restore via the Ethernet ports instead of Wi-Fi since Wi-Fi could take 50+ hours for the amount of data we’re moving.

But it never seems to work.

Then I remember that there’s something I need to do to make it happen, but I can’t remember what, so I head to Google and I have no luck finding the information I need for some reason.

So then I end up using Wi-Fi and grumbling about it.

Today, though, I guess I finally entered the right combination of search terms because I found the answer: when you’re using the Apple Time Capsule’s Wi-Fi feature for your regular back-ups, the Ethernet ports on the Time Capsule are apparently turned off.

** So if you want to restore a back-up via Ethernet, here is what you need to do:

1) Open AirPort Utility on your Mac (in the Applications folder) — because I was setting up a brand new computer, I just used another computer on our network to do this

2) Click the Time Capsule

3) Click Manual Setup

4) Click the Wireless tab and change the setting for Wireless Mode to “Off”

5) Update to save settings and wait for the Time Capsule to restart

6) Connect an Ethernet cable to the Mac you want the data restored onto

7) Connect that Ethernet cable to one of the LAN ports on the Time Capsule

8) You are now ready to restore your back-up using Ethernet — just follow the regular steps from here

9) When you’re done, just remember to change the Wireless Mode for the Time Capsule to “Wi-Fi” so everyone’s computers can start backing up again.

Instead of taking 50+ hours today, I was done in 45 minutes.  So Future Brian, in case you forget, search for this post!