Patent 76202230959

An email I received from William O’Higgins of

I read your blog entry of December 17th and said to my wife, "If that was Microsoft they would have filed a patent on hydrogen." You see, Mr. Gates hates to not be in first place, and wants to catch up to IBM for the most patents held (by a technology company). Here's my evidence: a patent on the xor operator. The signatories of the patent work for Microsoft.

Wow, that’s pretty bad. But check out this patent I found with a little research:


How were your holidays? Did you get any good swag for Christmas? Or Hanukkah or the solstice? Or, um … Kwanzaa?

(Do people give gifts for Kwanzaa? Do people even celebrate Kwanza? Or is it like Administrative Assistance’s Day, one of those holidays that no one observes but the guys at Hallmark keep hoping will turn into yet another occasion when people become legally obligated to exchange greeting cards? Honestly, I have no idea, which probably speaks volumes about the monoculture I call a social circle. But I’m inclined to agree with dong resin, that Kwanzaa doesn’t sound particularly enjoyable. 100% true fact: as with computer games, holidays are only fun if they aren’t just educational opportunities in disguise, and Kwanzaa strikes me as the “Math Blaster!” of winter celebrations.)

The Queen gave me a cookie sheet. Like, a really really nice cookie sheet. I was totally psyched. It was one of those things that I didn’t know I wanted until I got it, which are always the best presents.

Because The Queen recently outed herself as a whiskey drinker, I bought her an expensive bottle of Scotch. She took one swig of it on Christmas evening, made the same face she makes when a Celine Dion song comes on the radio, and put it on the shelf where it remained for a week. I chalked it up as a gift-giving failure until Sunday night when The Queen endured a particularly gruelling campaign to get The Squirrelly to go to bed, and I later walked into the living room to find her sitting on the couch with the open bottle of scotch in one hand, the remote control in the other, and Who’s Your Daddy? on TV.

I think the nicest present I gave was to my little sister in 1984. She wanted a copy of the “Like A Virgin” album, and I bought it for her. This might not seem too impressive until you factor in the fact that I was 13 years old at the time, and I had to go through the excruciatingly embarrassing ordeal of taking a record featuring a reclining, bustier-clad Madonna — with bosoms heaving every-which-way — up to the counter and tell another human being that I wished to purchase it. And since I only had enough money for the record, I couldn’t even employ the teenage-boy condom-buying ruse of piling an assortment of miscellaneous other items on top of it at the checkstand and then feigning surprise when the cashier uncovered it. (“What the-? How did that get there?! Well, you might as well ring it up …”).

Several Christmas earlier my sister gave me a package of pencils that she had purchased for me with her allowance, because she’d heard me say I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. At the time I thought it was the lamest gift ever, paling in comparison to the Death Star playset my folks gave me. But, in retrospect, I think that might be the most thoughtful present anyone has ever got me.


Chatting with a friend:

Me: So what’s up with you and T.? Still feuding?

K: Yeah.

M: Come on. You guys need to either patch things up or stop hanging out.

K: I know, I know. A few weeks ago we did try to uhhhhhm … you know, to, uhhh …

M: “Bury the hatchet?”

K: Right, exactly.

M: But it didn’t work?

K: No, because I’m still mad, and I really didn’t want to bury the hatchet. So I made a big show of burying, but it wasn’t really the hatchet I was burying. I was burying something else and secretly keeping the hatchet, like, hidden behind my back, so I could hang onto it for later.


K: Whoa, I way over-extended that metaphor.

M: I didn’t want to say anything.

Belated 2004 Recap

Biggest Event Of The Year: Up and borning a kid.

Second Biggest Event Of The Year: Finally getting “Who Let The Dogs Out” out of my head. ARGH NOW ITS IN THERE AGAIN FUCK!

Favorite Movies Seen In The Theater: Lost In Translation (Yeah, it’s a 2003 film, but I saw it early in 2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (ditto), The Incredibles, Garden State, Shaun of the Dead.

Most Disappointing Movie Seen In The Theater: Didn’t see any real duds this year, although the headache-inducing shaky-cam style of The Bourne Supremacy prevented me from really enjoying it.

Best TV Shows (Seen On DVD): Freaks & Geeks (so great!) and The Office (so great!).

Movie I got on DVD and didn’t watch for weeks because I was scared that it would be godawful and ruin my fond childhood memories of it, but turned out to be pretty good: Ghostbusters. Dan Ackroyd’s delivery of “I couldn’t help it, he just popped in there” is one of the funniest moments in cinema.

Movie I Watched On DVD That Inspired The Aforementioned Dread By Being Awful And Fond-Memory Ruinous: Tron.

Favorite Fiction Books Read: You know, I can’t say that I read any particularly outstanding fiction books in 2004. Recommendations for 2005 in the comments, please.

Favorite Non-Fiction Book Read: The Elegant Universe, The Last American Man, Stiff.

Book I Read The Least Of: Foucault’s Pendulum (text on back, first paragraph)

Favorite Album: I listened to the Garden State Soundtrack a lot, despite owning almost all the CDs the songs were taken from.

Only Show I Went To: Sondre Lerche.

My Review: “The best show I saw all year!”

Favorite Board Games: Ticket To Ride, Attika, Hansa.

Video Game Tried At A Friend’s House That Made Me Want To Devote The Remainder Of My Life To Playing: Katamari Damacy. Exhibit A as to why I don’t own a video game system.

Life Lesson Learned Playing Panda Pang: If you see a bomb on the ground, do not pick it up.

Thing That I Really Like That I Continued To Really Like In 2004: Beer.

Thing That I Really Hate That I Continued To Really Hate In 2004: Powerpoint.

Worst Ramification Of The Presidential Election: Bush wins second term.

Most Astute (And Depressing) Observation Made After The Presidential Election: “I feel rotten for wasting so much of my spare time reading political blogs. It’s like when I got hooked on the OJ Simpson trial — I could have learned a foreign language or written a book in the block of time I allocated to OJ.” — my dad

Best Ramification Of The Presidential Election, And A Direct Result Of The Above Two Items: I haven’t paid a whit of attention to politics since November 2. I’m so much happier! I’m like a born-again apathetic!

Longtime Goal That I Actually Met in 2004: Started riding my bicycle to work.

Longtime Goals That I Failed Meet In 2004: The rest.