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small red square A terrible headache moved in late morning, one of those horrible, all-encompassing throbs which make me reach for my prescription Esgic. One didn't do, but relief kicked in with the second tablet.

small green square Enlightenment about yesterday's "Ampelmännchen" - check this article from U.S. News and World Report:

East German schoolchildren sang songs about the Ampelmännchen during their school lessons on traffic safety, with lyrics thanking him for so reliably telling them when to stop and when to go.
The "Berliner Morganpost" newspaper uses one for their logo - see him on the English-language "International" section of their web site. I was finally able to locate an image of the universal version, included here for comparison - it leads naturally to this site, which gathers together images of the "children present" street signs from around the world.

small yellow square Speaking of generic-figure signs, what do you make of this one? Project Safe Place logo I see it all over, and my initial (but obviously incorrect) interpretation was it designated places where smaller black people could safely hug big yellow people. Another interpretation was the big school-bus-yellow guys are assimilating the smaller black ones. Maybe just locations where "mixed" couples won't be harassed? Actually, it's my understanding that these signs mark venues where a victim seeking refuge will be kept "secure" while the appropriate local shelter is called (and incidentally, the program's source & sponsor is "Domino's Pizza"). Reminds me of an incident during my time as a volunteer with Travelers Aid at LAX. We got training in assisting the indigent, in addition to handling travelers with problems, since both can be found at airports. One evening in the international terminal I was trying to help a guy who wanted something, but what I couldn't tell as his accent was so thick he was practically incoherent to me. One forceful phrase cut through with clarity, however; in violent reaction to my suggestion that he contact the shelter:

"No!! No Shelter!"
I could tell he'd already had his final shelter experience. I think he figured I was an official with some authority, in the booth there with my red blazer and blue armband, because he offered me identification - his California driver's license; <1> but then he was distracted and faded back into the throng, one of the many unable or unwilling (or in his case, by experience who know better than) to avail themselves of the limited services available to the needy in our now-stingy culture. What made this guy memorable was things got comical for a moment, during our interview - he seemed to have a sidekick of some sort; for a few moments a small, weirdly-attired person was standing next to him and he was saying "Go away!" and it was gone before I could get a firm reading - then back and gone again - and I started giggling; their timing was slapstick.

small orange square The system's still down at work - kinda frustrating when you're all stoked to be productive. They're upgrading our OS to Solaris 2.6 so we couldn't even login to our Sun workstations - now that we can, we discovered that now the all-important "ClearCase" code management application doesn't work, so we lack access to those "views", without which we can't even see the code, much less modify it. This upgrade's taking much longer than planned; with any luck our end-of-month deadline will be adjusted accordingly.

small cyan square Added this further qualifier to the Home page: "Be aware that those rare images are frequently links, but since I turn off their borders you'd have to mouse over to notice." Considering some subtle page redesigns, or possibly even abandoning the project altogether with termination on its upcoming anniversary. Suggestions? Please email.

DMV - Department of Motor Vehicles
LAX - Los Angeles International airport
OS - Operating System
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<1> The name was peculiar - odd, alien pairings of consonants - and it didn't register because this was the first new-style license I'd seen, with the colorful hologram pattern overlay. I wouldn't get my own until YEARS later, when I moved back (and you know what? I was assigned my same number. I guess, of course - the DMV never forgets).