"Cats" in Kokomo

Last night I drive up to Kokomo to meet my father and step-mother at a Japanese restaurant, Tokyo Cuisine. The atmosphere was spot on and the food was quite good, although the edge of my katsudon was hard and spoons in the miso soup were odd, because I've never seen that during 16 years in Japan. However, it's not strange, since the two waitresses and the chef are actually Chinese who don't understand Japanese.

Then we drove to IU-Kokomo to see s sold-out production of "Cats." The students did a very good job although it was occasionally hard to understand some of the lines. It was a very nice show and a welcome respite.

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CHEM 105

On Friday, I took the chemistry placement test at IUPUI. The results were not instantaneous, but I did test into CHEM 105, the required chemistry course for engineering students. I had planned to take CHEM 111 at Ivy Tech over the summer but that is now not necessary.

CHEM 105 is offered during the first summer session at IUPUI. However, that session starts during finals week at Ivy Tech. Summer I's last week is the first week of Ivy Tech's summer session. Considering how much chemistry is to be taught in just 6 weeks, two weeks elsewhere at either end of such a short term will probably create much trouble, so I will take CHEM 105 in the fall at IUPUI.

Now I must look at new options for the summer, since I no longer need CHEM 111.

Kazakhstan to Dump Cyrillic Alphabet

Somehow I came across this article about Kazakhstan considering dumping the Cyrillic alphabet for the Latin. Atatürk jettisoned Arabic script for Latin. Some of the reasons given seem sensible, but I wonder to what extent the change is being made to see off the old Russian and Soviet influences.

A fellow student used to work at the US Embassy in Kazakhstan. I'll have to ask him about this.

Cyrillic is a bit difficult. When a boy, I taught myself Cyrillic because I was interested in Russian. However, I later forgot most of it, because it was never on the curricula of my junior and senior high school.

$2

Today I happened to be at a credit union where a woman was asking to see all their $1 coins. She wanted coins minted in the years her grandchildren were born. That promoted me to ask about $2 bills, since the $1 coins were kept in the back, due to low demand.

They had $594 in $2 bills and were happy to give me $20 worth.

At school, one crony "bought" a $2 bill off me. The cashier to whom I gave another $2 said they are jinky.

I was surprised to see they were still being minted as late as 2003.

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Boston Marathon

I've just gotten news about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Terrible! My heart goes out to all the victims.

My trigonometry and calculus II professor was participating in the marathon. I hope he wasn't harmed!

A Matter of Time

When I bought my Honda Fit in 2011, I chose a manual transmission, because I simply like them. I had joked with some friends that it was also an anti-theft measure, since young people don't learn to drive them nowadays.

That was reinforced during my time on the Subaru production line, where none of the young guys (most were mid-20s) could drive them.

Lo and behold, an aspiring carjacker tries to take a Porsche but can't drive a stick and subsequently gets arrested.

Perhaps I have a career as a prognosticator.

Postal Hoarding

I've been to the post office every week for the past three weeks to send things certified. When I have forms to complete at the post office, I bring my own pen: My nearest post office provides pens, but they seem to get stolen or be empty.

Since I dislike creating delays for others, I try to complete any postal forms in the lobby rather than the counter. However, all the certified forms are gone, and registered firms are scarce as well. The USPS staff say that people hoard those forms when tax season comes around.

The person who dealt with me today said they are running so low on forms that she worries they might not have enough for Monday the 15th, when US taxes are due.

Gone & Back

Two or three weeks ago, my site vanished. It was there earlier one Friday then gone. Since I was sick and had a test coming up, I had more pressing matters to attend to.

After the test, I called my hosting company, GoDaddy. They were able to see the site and ran tests that indicated everyone else could, although Russia was experiencing some Internet slowdown. The hosting firm had me perform a traceroute, which showed my ISP's servers were blocking me.

So I called AT&T, who forwarded me to some office that deals with external issues. They told me that since I can view everything but my own site, it is not their problem; however, for $15 per month or $49 once, they would help me. Since I viewed their blocking my IP address as indeed their fault and my problem, I refused to pay.

A day or two later, I found on AT&T's customer forum that GoDaddy-hosted sites in particular were being blocked by AT&T; friends with other ISPs could see my site but I couldn't. A post in the forum led me to some ISP blacklist lookup sites. Sure enough, one blacklist site AHBL.org had my IP address listed. I went to that blacklist site, used their lookup tool, and confirmed that they were blacklisting me. AHBL.org has an ongoing spat with GoDaddy that results in collateral damage of everyone on a blocked GoDaddy IP address being blacklisted because one site on the IP is bad. AHBL.org says it will not discuss any blocked GoDaddy IP address; a GoDaddy hosting admin must contact them.

On the AT&T forum, I mentioned my blacklisting by AHBL.org. Someone from AT&T emailed me to confirm that was indeed why my site was being blocked by AT&T servers. They said GoDaddy could contact AT&T to have my site unblocked.

A day or two later, I forwarded that AT&T email to GoDaddy's abuse section after explaining my predicament to GoDaddy. Their abuse section, however, tried to say that AT&T wanted AHBL.org to contact them, not GoDaddy; it seemed GoDaddy's abuse people simply did not want to do their job. I explained to the abuse people that, even if AT&T meant the blacklist site, AHBL.org boldly declared they will not speak to anyone but GoDaddy staff about GoDaddy sites that AHBL.org blacklists. It was a Catch-22.

Since GoDaddy refused to contact AHBL.org or AT&T, I called them to ask about refunds. Since I had just renewed my hosting before this had begun, I was particularly upset.

A few more days were killed in a semantic pursuit that ended with AT&T clarifying that, as they had earlier written, they wanted GoDaddy to contact them. That clarification was sent to GoDaddy's abuse section; I never got a response.

Shortly thereafter I read about a record Internet attack that had apparently been going on while I was having trouble. Whether it had anything to do with me, I don't know.

AT&T sent a follow-up email to say that I was no longer on a blacklist; however, when I went to AHBL.org to check my IP, it was still listed. Then I again became too busy to care for a bit.

A few days ago, my site reappeared. Whether due to AT&T, AHBL.org, GoDaddy, the ebb of the record Internet attack, or divine intervention, I do not know. Few people probably noticed this site had vanished, but I now have much less trust in the workings of the Internet and the companies that facilitate it than before.

When my current hosting plan runs out, I might change. GoDaddy's been quite good for me, but their abuse section was greatly disappointing.