How to communicate with Hal so he doesn't hate you

Her: “we need to go do that one activity we both enjoy soon!”

Me, later: “Let's do this activity on this particular day!”

Her: “I may have other plans to be out of town! I will let you know!”

I interpret that statement as: “There is a 50% chance that I will be unable to do that. I will contact you as soon as I know one way or the other.”

She never contacted me again. Here's what she probably meant: “I don't actually want to do that or anything with you, I've been actively lying to you about that out of some sort of need to seem friendly without actually being friendly.” Here is the polite way of saying that: “I can't do that that day. Sorry.”

And in the off chance that she actually wants to spend time with me: “There is a 75% [or some accurate number] chance I will be out of town that day. I'll let you know by the day before if I actually can make it. Otherwise, what about next weekend?”

filling an ebook reader

This week, I finally broke down and bought an ebook reader — B&N's $150 WiFi Nook (ISBN 9781400532629). It's a beautiful little device.

I got the Jonathan Adler Punctuation Cover (978161560062) since it's both very sturdy and cheaper than most.

I've already side-loaded 90 free books onto the device. These books have come from several places. In no particular order:
  • The Lee County Public Library lets you borrow ebooks via Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software. You can use ADE to side-load ebooks onto a nook.
  • Project Gutenberg — the first place to go for books from the public domain. All of their books are now availible in ePub versions.
  • Google Books, Some of the scans availible are in the public domain, and are therefore downloadable. Generally, the Gutenberug editions are a higher quality than the Google versions, since The Gutenberg tries to be an ideal textual copy of the book while Google tries to be a good representation a particular physical book.
  • Many of the works of Cory Doctorow are availible as ePubs on his website, Craphound. I especially recommend Makers and Little Brother.
  • The Baen Free Library — All copyrighted works which you may read for free, and all are availible as ePubs.
  • The Baen CD Mirror — These files are also copyrighted but free to redistribute. The newer CDs have ePub files on them. The older CDs do not, but you can use a program like Calibre to covert file formats.
Places to buy eBooks:
  • http://bn.com/ebooks — of course. Also check the Unbound Blog every friday for the name of a free book that can be added to your B&N library that week.
  • Webscription — A store that sells unencombered ebooks, all of which are availible in ePub format. The prices aren't bad at all.


Six days ago I woke up with a horrible back pain. I must have strained it at work, and I think those magazine recycling boxes are to blame. After taking it easy over the weekend I felt much better, but work exacerbates the pain.

After I let my boss know that my back was still hurting me, she pointed out that we had some lumbar support belts hidden away in the office. So I started using one and found that it helped me put less strain on the injured part of my back. But I look like a dork.


I should blog something interesting about my life, but I am busy living. I'm working on a school assignment having to do with applying algorithms to graph theory. The grad-level graph theory class I failed comes in handy there. I'm going to go hang out with friends in a few minutes. Work is still there; the days are just as long as ever, and the constant barrage of paper-cuts is bothering me today.

food labels

I had a dream that the big food companies had subverted FDA regulations by inventing new chemicals and giving them funny names: "Ingredients: Water, Sweetness and Light (TM), Lovely Hugs (TM), spices, Beautiful Tastiness (TM), artificial flavoring, and natural flavoring."