Scripting classes?

Seattle area folks: I need to learn scripting and need a structured classroom setting. Teaching myself via books is not an option. I'm checking local community colleges for possible classes. Recommendations on what to look for? Where else to look?

FWIW, one of the programs that I use a lot at work allows me to run scripts that are based on Visual Basic. I've written some very basic scripts for that program to automate certain text-editing tasks, but I know it's possible to do more. Most of what I need to do involves taking text from one program, manipulating it, and putting it into another program. If I can't find a class in Visual Basic, would a Java or SQL class be a good place to start?


Quick post because I've got a publisher's deadline looming...

Ivy has asked me to let people know how she's doing. Right now she doesn't have access to a computer and has been too tired to get out anywhere. The best way to reach her is via text.

If you have time within the next week or two (this week would be ideal!), stopping in to sit with her and chat for a while is probably the best thing you can do for her.

Don't bring food! There's very little she can eat and what she's able to eat can change from day to day. She doesn't need presents either; there's absolutely no room in her apartment. Sitting, listening and providing some human companionship for short periods of time will do her the most good right now.

This post is unlocked. If you know someone on Ivy's friends list who's not on mine, please feel free to send them this way.

Edit: Quick clarification-- Ivy mainly wanted people to know she's not in hospice or "CVS on tubes." But from what I understand, she's too weak to spend much time out of bed right now. And if she's not up for company at a given time after all, don't take it personally. :)

God plays Vancouver

Several years ago, Benjamin Bagby was on tour with his performance of Beowulf. One of his fans on rec.music.early used to post his tour schedule with the subject "God plays [wherever]" Anyways, Bagby will be performing Beowulf in Vancouver BC on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008. If you have the chance to make it up, it's worth the trip. He's also playing Bellingham the Thursday before.

Thursday October 30, 2008, 7:30 – Bellingham, WA
Heiner Theater, Whatcom Community College

Saturday, November 1, 2008, 8:00 – Vancouver, BC
UBC Recital Hall

For my East Coast friends, he'll be performing in NYC in March.

Sunday, March 8, 2009, 1:00 – New York, NY
The Cloisters

J and I saw Bagby's performance of Beowulf at UBC several years back. We drove up and back the same day. It was totally worth the 3 hour drive each way.

My neighbor knew him when...

My neighbor, Dean, from one block over went to school with Barack Obama. Last week the Tacoma News Tribune ran an article on him along with their fifth grade class picture with "Dean-o"standing next to "Barry" in the back row.

What I find particularly impressive is that, even though they fell out of touch after high school, Dean thinks so highly of his friend based on what he was like in school, before Obama was interested in politics at all, that he's volunteering probably 30-40 hours per week for the Obama campaign. This is on top of his full-time, regular job. That part isn't in the article. That's what I've seen with my own eyes as I've been getting involved with the local Democratic Party. Personally, I think that says a lot about Obama's character that his old friend will work that hard for him.

Portland advice

I'll be in Portland for work in mid-October (Oct. 15-17). Rather than driving down, I'm thinking of taking Amtrak down and using Trimet to get around. All of the B&B/ guesthouses I'm looking at would be about a 40-50 minute commute to the University of Portland campus where my meeting is. That's no problem. I'm mainly concerned with being someplace near interesting things to do in the evenings after about 6 pm.

The places I'm considering right now are:

Portland Guesthouse/Elliston House
425 NW 18th Ave

Everett Street Guesthouse
2306 NE Everett St.

Bluebird Guesthouse
3517 SE Division St

Anyone familiar with Portland have any comments?

iTunes playlist question

Husband (Mac user) got a new iPod that he tried to sync with existing iTunes library on our PC. In the process, his playlists have disappeared. "No problem," sez I, "I'll just replace the copy of iTunes Music Library.xml sitting in your My Music\iTunes folder with a backed-up copy."

So I do that and we still can't see the playlists. In iTunes that is. When I open the XML file in Notepad, I *can* see the Playlists. All 20-something of them. They just don't show up in iTunes 7.6. Any of my geek friends have any ideas?

Thrift store smell

I don't know if thrift stores are doing something different, or if my nose has gotten more sensitive with age, but I'm having a horrible time getting the "thrift store smell" out of clothes that I buy there (multiple chains, multiple stores).

Typically, I run a wash with a second rinse and fill the bleach dispenser all the way with white vinegar. Then I hang the clothes outside for 1-2 weeks. Even so, I'm finding that I have to wear the clothes and wash them again for upwards of 5-10 more times to get the smell out. Ideas? Suggestions?

Estaba la Madre

NPR this morning ran a story on the debut of a new opera, Estaba la Madre (The Mother Was There), in Buenos Aires and Rome. The title references a medieval Latin poem, Stabat Mater, on the sorrows experienced by the Virgin Mary at the Crucifixion. The opera portrays the sorrows of some of the 30,000 Argentinian mothers who lost their sons and daughters (most in their teens and early twenties) to a military dictatorship.

The NPR story comes on the heels of a week of back-and-forth letters to the editor of my local newspaper debating the issue of torture. One point that has been constantly overlooked in all the letters pro and con is the fact that once a government decides to torture the guilty, it ends up torturing the innocent because of human error, avarice and stupidity.

30,000 children. 30,000 lives cut short. 30,000 people who were beaten, electrocuted, raped, burned, shot, or dumped into the ocean while still alive. This is the road where torture leads us. I sat in my car and cried.


E has two weeks off in December for Winter break. This mean I'm also taking the time off. I'm thinking that it might be fun for the two of us to go skiing or tubing or something during that time. I haven't skied since my family left Colorado in 1979, and I haven't paid much attention to skiing in the area. Do folks have any suggestions for someplace that meets the following criteria:

isn't wildly crowded (we won't be going on a weekend, which should help)
has rental equipment
has classes for kids
isn't insanely expensive (lift tickets under $50)
is within a 3-4 hour drive from Seattle/Tacoma
has cross country/Nordic skiing

I realize most of my friends never leave the city, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.