Dear Adobe Reader Safari Plugin: Die.

If you’re anything like me, you have a strong dislike for all the stupidity that surrounds the Adobe Reader (formerly known as Acrobat Reader.)

I won’t go into the details here (though this guy can explain it in great detail), but because I very occasionally need features of Adobe Reader, I still keep it installed on my Mac, while I use Preview for all my other PDF needs. I’ve gone so far as to install the Firefox PDF Plugin for Mac for when I use Firefox, just to avoid Adobe Reader. And, really, there’s no point in Adobe Reader for most cases where you just want to be able to view or print PDF files. Doubly so, since Mac OS X lets you print any document to a PDF file as a default feature of the OS.

There are, though, edge cases where having Adobe Reader installed and available are useful. So I have it installed, but I refuse to use their web plugin. Adobe doesn’t care, though, and will periodically, sometimes randomly, and sometimes even without my consent, re-install the plugin. Even though I’ve told it not to. Adobe Updater, I’m looking at you, here.

Sadly, my solution is heavy-handed. I created a launchd task that will forcibly remove the Adobe Reader plugin from /Library/Internet Plugins whenever it’s created. It’s fast, efficient, and works.

And, as soon as I can figure out the new wordpress theme, I’ll post it here in a legible form

UPDATE: Thanks to Lynne and Chad on Twitter for suggesting the Preserve Code Formatting plugin!

And now, the Launchd config. Save this as:


/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin


/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin


Dear Adobe Reader Safari Plugin: Die.

We are not all waifs! Nor are we all petite Asian girls!

It has long troubled me that women’s clothing designers have decided that everyone is small, waif-like, and perfectly proportioned. I know about the impact of models on our psychological development and well-being. That is a rant I could easily devote many screens to. However, that is not my purpose here.

I am baffled by the continuation of this trend over time, particularly since we as a society have become somewhat more enlightened. People are more aware of the reality that most of us live every day. We have begun to recognize that not all women are tiny. The reality TV show, “How to Look Good Naked,” is an example of movement toward realistic thinking and acceptance.  The fact that the show lasted less than a year indicates that progress is often faltering and slow.

Unfortunately, globalization and outsourcing have intensified the small clothing size problem. Now that many of our garments are being shipped to us from manufacturing plants in India, China, Indonesia, and other parts of the Eastern world, the already small sizes have gotten smaller. Now, the assumption appears to be that we are all petite Asian girls/women.  It is growing increasingly difficult to find clothes in realistic sizes.

I was very happy to find that at many music concerts there are now more fitted “girly” tees and tanks alongside the usual “Adult” (read male) tees. Women like to show off their curves and more tailored styles are flattering. However, the manufacturers must assume that we were all buying size Small and Medium before. The women’s tees are not cut to fit actual women with real curves.

Even the manufacturers who are producing their products in the United States are failing us on this point. American Apparel is an excellent example. This is a company that I would like to support. They take a strong stand on immigration and have a project called “Legalize LA.” I admire some of the things that they have tried to do. Their clothes are made in downtown LA using vertically integrated manufacturing. These are all things that I can support. However, when I start looking at their size charts, I start running into problems. For example, model #2102ORG. This is an Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T and in 2008 was marked as “Sustainable Edition.” Sounds great. I would like to wear that. I look at the size chart. The largest size available is a XXL. Sounds big, right? Well, it’s not, not really. The chest measurement on that is only designed to accommodate a bust that is 44″-46″ at fullest point.

pure t is a company that specializes in maternity tees.  Given the fact that most women gain weight when they are pregnant and that much of that weight is often in their breasts, I would expect maternity and nursing tees to be amply sized.  When I click on their size chart, I discover that the bust on a Large is only expected to fit someone with a 38″-39″ bust line.  That is also the largest size listed in the chart. Some tees may be ordered in an XL, but no details are given about that size.  Another incongruity is that the Large is marked as being equivalent to sizes 10-12 instead of the industry standard of 12-14.

It is depressing to realize that clothes made for real women with curves are difficult find.  I haven’t even discussed the problem of being amply endowed in the bust but not being correspondingly tall.  It is difficult to find long sleeved tops that will accommodate a large bust without expecting the woman to have incredibly long arms to match.  Shopping in the petites section doesn’t help on that front because if you’re “petite” you’re not supposed to be buxom.

I live in the in-between.  I find it difficult to shop in the regular sized racks because the busts are cut too small and the sleeves are cut too long.  I find it difficult to shop in the plus sized racks and stores like Lane Bryant because I am not far enough into the plus category for their clothes to fit me.  They also assume that the larger the bust line, the larger the waist line and hips.  This is not always the case, even for those of us without breast implants.  To get something to fit my bust, it ends up roomy in the waist and down right huge in the hips.  What are those of us without the budget for personal tailors to do???

We are not all waifs! Nor are we all petite Asian girls!

BPA-free 5 Gallon bottles are available in San Diego County!

I am very excited to report that I have FINALLY procured some 5 gallon water bottles that do not contain Bisphenol-A (BPA).  After my October 2008 post about the evils of BPA, I discovered that the 5 gallon bottles I was using at home were made from #7 plastic.  I set about replacing them immediately.  Unfortunately, at the time, I could not locate any 5 gallon bottles that were not #7 plastic.  I found a site that claimed to sell them, but they were out of stock and could not tell me when that problem would remedied.

Pure Flo water company in Santee, CA has BPA free bottles for sale in their water store.  You may also purchase them from their website.  Pure Flo has a self-serve water station at their Santee location where you can fill your 5 gallon bottles.   When I bought my new, BPA-free bottles they came with a free fill-up.

So far,I like the bottles.  They are lighter weight and softer than the crown top bottles I was using but they take the same dew caps.  Gregory did discover, to our consternation, that the no spill top we used to use with our old bottles will fit the new bottles but is then almost impossible to remove when you want to switch bottles.  The bottles are molded AROUND the handles, so there is little chance that the handles will pop off of the bottles.  The handle seemed comfortable enough to use and did not seem to dig into my hand.

I do not know if Pure Flo will deliver water in BPA-free bottles or not but I’m sure they would happily entertain the question.

BPA-free 5 Gallon bottles are available in San Diego County!

Musings on hormones and health insurance

My acupuncturist made me borrow a book from her: The Sexy Years by Suzanne Somers. It surprised me by being interesting and useful. Its really aimed at women 10 years older than I am, but it was interesting nonetheless. I only read half of it and now want to get it back out of my house. It’s become part of the clutter problem and must go. But I digress.

The main thing I want to remember is the concept of bioidentical hormones. When considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bioidentical hormones are best. It makes perfect sense. Bioidentical hormones are easy for the body to process and will have the same effect on the body as its own hormones.

I also want to remember that testosterone levels are important for women and their libidos. In fact, decreased sensation in the genital region and even atrophy of the nerves can be linked to low free testosterone levels. I hope that in 10 years I can revisit this book and more recent research on the topic. I hope that my financial situation will allow me to seek out the right doctors for determining my own perfect balance of hormones if my health insurance won’t cover the treatment.

In fact, I wish that I could get some of that help now. While I was pregnant, I was healthier than I’ve ever been. My body liked the pregnancy hormones — A LOT. Almost all of my little aches and pains and some of the bigger ones, like hives, went away.  They didn’t start returning until a few weeks and months postpartum. Now I am beginning to take the mini-pill, Nora-BE®.  My hope is that it will help with the various symptoms I am experiencing – hives included – that may or may not be part of psoriatic arthritis.

Unfortunately, while I am hopeful that this will help, Somers’ book reminds me that this may not be right way to go about this.  For one thing, I haven’t had any hormone level testing.  I was hoping to do that before beginning any sort of hormone therapy.  I would like to know what my own hormone portrait is without contamination from a hormone pill.  In taking one last night, I have, at least for the time being, ruled out that possibility.  At least I think so.  The fact that this pill’s instructions are extremely strict about ingesting it at the exact same time of day every day suggests that maybe I could get accurate level readings by simply not taking it for a day or two.  Knowing my own hormone levels is important for both future potential HRT and for understanding my bodies hormone cocktail needs now.  Every woman is different, and taking a pill like Nora-BE® without investigating hormone levels ignores that reality.  If it works, great.  If it doesn’t work, it won’t mean that the hormones aren’t part of the solution to my issues.  In that event, it may be that the hormone was the right one to modify, but that the dosage was wrong.

A second indicator that this might not be the best way to go about this is the fact that Nora-BE® is probably not a bioidentical hormone.  Therefore, if it doesn’t work, it may be because my body couldn’t utilize it properly.  I am, after all, trying to trick my body.  It stands to reason that my trickery should be as convincing as possible, and how can it be if I am not using a bioidentical hormone?

I have asked for hormone testing repeatedly.  It hasn’t happened, I believe, in part because the doctors I have seen don’t deal with hormones very much at all.  It is outside the scope of their usual practice.  Somers described this problem at some length in the book.  I also suspect, particularly after reviewing part of my EOB for my health insurance, that my insurance would not cover such testing and that this makes doctors unwilling to prescribe it.

With all of the current public discussion about health care reform, I wonder — where is individuality in it all? Yes, we must ensure that everyone has access to health care, first and foremost. But let’s be real here. That is only part of the solution. For people to reach their full potential in personal, professional, and societal terms, they need access to health care that treats them as individuals with specific individual needs. Modern Western healthcare ignores the personal and the individual in favor of the standard and homogenous. In many cases, that does a disservice to the patient.

Finding Somers’ book on my table again was bittersweet because it has reminded me that I am taking the easiest, most cost-effective course of action and that may not be the most effective one.  Unfortunately, this is the road I am on.  I know I am on it in part because I want some immediate results and do not currently have the time, energy, and money to try to force my way onto a more appropriate road even if that road might have better results. It is depressing but true.

While this post is not strictly a review, I feel I should note that I recommend The Sexy Years to anyone with an interest in knowing more about sexuality, hormones, and HRT. I would also like to point out that it is not just a book for women. There is a lot in there for men to learn in terms of themselves and their partners. It is also not just a book for people who are already in menopause or andropause. Don’t make the same mistake I initially did; don’t discount this book because of Somers’ image in your mind.  I am glad I was led to this book and I hope I will eventually find the time to finish it and to apply her advice to action in my own life and health.

Musings on hormones and health insurance

Analogies for IT

I was trying to help explain to someone on IRC (yes, I know, I know) how HTML wasn’t “programming” while javascript was, and the best I could come up with was:

HTML is like bolting a wing onto your trunk lid. Javascript is like bolting a blower onto your motor. One is just decoration, and the other actually does something to your machine.

I amused myself, so I share it with you. Aren’t you so much happier now?

Analogies for IT

Music: Richard Marx & Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Anthology, San Diego, April 24, 2008

This show was part of The Duo Sessions.  I would like to do a complete review of it, but for now I am just recording some notes that I took while there so that I don’t lose them.  I found my notes when I was going through a bunch of papers and things.

Anthology is an amazing, intimate venue in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego.  I was completely stunned to discover, just in time, that this show was happening.  If you ever have the opportunity to go there, I highly recommend it.  I bought a first floor dining room ticket.  Once there, you are able to sit pretty much wherever you like within the class of seat you have purchased.  I arrived early, but not vastly so and I was still able to obtain a table in the front row that was half booth.  Very happy!  There almost are no words for the food.  It was decadent and delectable.  I hope to dine there again soon.

Set list:

  • ?? (Richard Marx song containing a lyric “Dad lying in dirt”. Preliminary searches have not yielded results on this.)
  • “You’re a God” – Vertical Horizon
  • “Endless Summer Nights” – Richard Marx
  • “Sunshine” – Vertical Horizon
  • “Now & Forever” – Richard Marx
  • “Give You Back” – Vertical Horizon.  This one brought me to tears it was so beautifully performed.
  • “Hazard” – Richard Marx
  • “We Are” – Vertical Horizon.  Scannell’s second song on the radio.  Richard Marx loves it.
  • “Through My Veins” – Richard Marx.  New song.  Beautiful piece with piano and guitar.
  • Medley: “One of You” – Vertical Horizon; “Don’t Mean Nothin'” – Richard Marx.  The blending on these two songs was excellent.
  • “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” – Vertical Horizon.  This has been covered by Gary Allen.
  • Sing along: “Should’ve Known Better” – Richard Marx.  Before the song: (Richard) “If you guys don’t sing this with us, you just suck.”  After the song: (Richard) “You guys ruled on that.  For a minute I almost thought I had the mullet back.”
  • “Everything You Want” – Vertical Horizon.  He wrote this song at 4:00 am – woke up and it was done.
  • “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx
  • Encore: “Scarborough Fair” – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Encore: “I’m Still Here” – Vertical Horizon
  • Encore: “Everybody” – Keith Urban/Richard Marx

Early in the show, Richard Marx remarked about his mullet that “Bono started it and I pulled it off not at all.”  I couldn’t resist and called out to him, “You made it sexy.”  He almost didn’t catch it.  Matt Scannell stopped him and said “Did you hear what she said?”  He repeated it for him.  Richard said, “Thanks, Mom.”  and then, in a Mom voice, “You made it sexy, honey.”  It was pretty funny.

They were drinking a tea that was made of lemon, ginger, honey and cayenne.  It is good for the throat and for singing voices.

Be sure to check out their cd, “Duo.” I haven’t picked it up yet, but that’s only because I got really busy.  It is definitely worth purchasing after what I saw at this show.

They sold t-shirts that were made from a sketch that Richard did.  Very cool.

Music: Richard Marx & Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Anthology, San Diego, April 24, 2008

The Little Things

A true mark of good design is the little details that the user discovers over time that reminds them why they picked your product in the first place.

What made me think of this today was the stop-and-go traffic in the rain. The rain was light enough that I had my wipers on long-delay intermittent. I noticed, at first, that every once in a while the wipers would go an extra time, out of cycle with the pauses. A few more times, and I realized what was happening: if I let off the brake at a full stop, the car would trigger the wipers, regardless of where they were in the intermittent cycle.

The car was purposely ensuring that the windshield was clear when you started moving the car from a dead stop.

This may seem like a small thing, but damn, it’s a nice touch. I have to hand it to the Acura people. It’s been six months now that we’ve had the 2009 TSX, and I’m still telling people how much I love the car.

The Little Things