Visiting Day
January 28, 2002 +

Dorothy Wertheimer was sitting in her usual spot, where the attendants place her each day, in the far corner of the common room, her back to the television, windows to her right. She had little interest in either, preferring to talk continuously to the quiet women sitting next to and across from her at the table. The discourse, as usual, was a rambling, incoherent stream of consciousness, filled with nonsequiturs that could amaze and confuse unsuspecting passers-by.

I leaned in, very close to her face, so she could see me through the haze of her glaucoma-afflicted blue eyes. "Hi, Grandma," I said, loudly, toward her ear, so she could hear me. "It's your grandson, David."

"My who?" she replied.

"David, your grandson."


"Do you know Marvin and Donald?"

Her face softened, eyebrows raising with recognition. "Of course!" she said, with a slight hush. "They're my sons."

She was in good shape today. "Right! And I'm Marvin's son David."

"Oh! Well how do you do." Unfailingly polite, as always.

"I'm very good, thank you. Do you want to come outside? Let's go sit outside."

Through more meandering conversation I managed to get her ready to go. I unlocked the clasps to her wheelchair's wheels—after breaking her hip as an Alzheimer's victim, she could not realistically learn how to walk again—and backed her away from the table. Grandma, as always, somehow knowing, picked up her feet from the floor to let the wheelchair move smoothly.

I wheeled her out of the dementia ward, through the locked door, and out to the pretty atrium, where I had placed at a table some Butterscotch Krimpets and a pint of apple juice, which she usually enjoys. My girlfriend, understanding and encouraging, sat there, waiting for me. "Thank you so much," I whispered to Amy as I wheeled my grandmother to the table. I spoke aloud when we stopped.

"Grandma, this is Amy, my girlfriend."

"Hi!" Grandma declared cheerfully, as Amy smiled and said hello back.

I helped Grandma eat—two of the Krimpets, a few sips of the juice—as I tried to entertain both her and myself with questions she could answer: Do you know your sister's name? Where are you from? Who is Fritz, your husband?

After Grandma finished eating I wheeled her over to the white grand piano across the atrium and encouraged her to play. Somehow, the basic facts of her existence—her parents, sister, and husband; her good manners; her knowledge of piano chords—have not been stricken by the evil disease that has slowly rendered her world unrecognizable. With a little encouragement, she played, and kept playing, no particular song today but lots of chord progressions and wandering notes, pleasant and peaceful. Rather than talk, I listened, as she played and babbled and played some more.

After half an hour what little attention span exists wears thin, so I told Grandma it was time to go. "Say goodbye to Amy," I said.

"This is Amy?" she asked, as I faced her wheelchair at my girlfriend.

"Yes, that's me," Amy said to her.

"Well!" Grandma replied. "You are a very pretty and nice young lady."

"Thank you!" Amy grinned, as Grandma bid her farewell, as she always does: "Lots of luck."

I wheeled Grandma back through the secure door and to her spot in the common room. "Goodbye, Grandma," I said as I left. I kissed her on the cheek and hugged her, and she thanked me and said goodbye back. "I love you, Grandma. I'll see you soon."

I exited through the locked door and paused. This was the first time I had gone without my father to visit my grandmother in the home. I felt good knowing she was doing well, or at least the best she could in her situation, and that I had the chance to see her. Emotions almost overwhelmed me, yet I was unable to identify what those emotions were. I was just glad I had gone.

Amy was waiting for me in the atrium and spotted my watery eyes. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "Let's go home."

I had not seen my grandmother in four months leading up to Sunday. I resolved on the way to the car not to ever go that long again.


Feels like innovation
January 23, 2002 +

If you've poked around netWert at all you have probably visited the "Feels Like" Forecast, my first moment of personal impact online. When first published in fall 1997, the Forecast struck a nerve; Yahoo! put it in a then-popular category, Entertainment: Cool Links: Fun and Bizarre, and slapped a New! GIF on it. My tiny corner of the Internet was suddenly receiving more than a thousand page views a day. (Yahoo has since relocated the category but the Forecast's link remains.)

Knowing how disappointing it is when early-day Web faves close up shop, and recognizing that the Forecast's prominent Yahoo! identity is, well, fun, I have kept the "Feels Like" Forecast running for nearly five years. I'm not the most diligent site updater, but the five-day extendo forecast setup gives me some leeway, and the page has retained a small but loyal—and vocal—audience. I have even left the design alone, not out of laziness but to deliberately maintain the old-school feel of the page.

This Web site is not far from getting fully databased and moving into the twenty-first century. I have a whole PHP back-end and content management system ready to take on the Ideapad updating (my very own Blogger!). So, starting at the beginning, I used the Forecast as a proving grounds.

As a result, since Monday the "Feels Like" Forecast has been running from a database, and now integrates live voting and instant results, which is the real story here: The voting is netWert's first interactive component and the first change to the Forecast since 1997.

Indulge me, won't you, and go vote. In a few days it'll be all Ideapad, all the time. Unless I redo the whole Web site, that is. But even if I do, the Forecast will keep plugging along, inspiring real forecasts all the while.


January 18, 2002 +

I really, really, really love chocolate chip cookies.


Fun with Javascript
January 17, 2002 +

Swiping a link from Evhead, I'm testing this instant-site-referrer thing:

[there is javascript right after this line in my source code]

[and now here we show a table]

And if it works, tah dah! Instant referrer logs.

Why this is more useful than analyzing my stat logs, I'm not sure. But it is still zoom-whee nifty.


Too sexy for my blog
January 15, 2002 +

I am not one to name-drop and cross-link in this space often, nor am I one to mention the occasion of meeting other folks who keep Web sites like this one. But I had a fine time at Breaking Bread with Brad—and a dozen other folks-with-weblogs—Sunday afternoon, and I have gotten a kick out of seeing myself appear on others' weblogs with fun and unexpected descriptors. I need to eat lunch with tablesful of gay men more often.

In case you haven't met me and were wondering what I am like in person, reports from lunch are that I am surprisingly sexy and funny and, parenthetically, (not gay). And terribly flattered and amused.

Monday morning, I asked Anil (also [not gay]), who joined us at lunch, "Who were all those folks yesterday?" To which he answered, "It's the parallel NYC blogging universe." Indeed. Now, which one of them is Bizarro Cam?


It's not you, it's me
January 14, 2002 +

I've been working late and catching up with old friends and going out to dinner and seeing a lot of movies and working on a book to which I (assuming we finish ironing out the kinks of the contract and all parties sign it and my employer finds no legal hang-ups) am contributing a chapter and cleaning my apartment and watching my weight again (mildly, but still) and figuring out plans to go to Paris in the spring (or on the cusp of spring, as it were) and pulling the trigger on sending a deposit to a dog breeder to buy my girlfriend a wonderful adorable rare puppy and buying new music and surfing the Web less and that, dear reader, is why the creative-writing segment of the Ideapad is a little lacking this month.

January is normally the time of renewal for netWert, and should inspiration strike, a fun makeover is in store. I'll probably just activate my content management system, though, and at long last. Geek details to come.


January 2, 2002 +

News bulletin: David Wertheimer is back in New York.

This message presented in lieu of actual content. Read the weblog.



Weblog (no new windows: )

Nerdy fun facts about Manhattan. Only 2.3 miles wide! 6,734 miles of paved road! Scroll past the tourist data. [1/31]

I'll be in Paris, not Austin, during this kickball game. But I love the idea too much not to promote it. Kickball! [1/30]

"Now that's certainly a romantic sentiment. But I can't help thinking it wouldn't work out so well." Joy to you and me. Heh. (via Q) [1/29]

The folks at Google keep giving us more reasons to love them. (I also dig their four-balls branding GIF at the bottom of the page.) [1/29]

I'm told if I really were up to date with music I'd have been listening to Kylie's new single (see below) back in November. Well, fine. I was hearing other things in the fall. Besides, it's pop music, not cool-till-the-masses-find-it indie rock. And it's still a kickin' tune. [1/24]

In all seriousness, it's all about Kylie Minogue these days. "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" is the first great pop song of 2002. [1/23]

What he said. More news later. [1/23]

Why Didn't I Think of That Dept. Of course, if I were publishing this book, Rebecca would probably be my choice to author it too. [1/23]

Mmmmm... kasha varnishkas. [1/18]

Carson Daly once wanted to be a pro golfer; for now, he has to settle for life as a proximity celebrity. I think Carson would look good in polo shirts and khakis, myself. But that stubble would never fly on the Tour. [1/18]

On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor. I should read McSweeney's more often. [1/15]

In his Times editorial last week David Gelernter got the future right, but the present wrong. Yes, we do need a new computer metaphor, but that's not why the iMac exists. Moreover, Gelernter's specifics are all wrong: a raised mouse pad will only exacerbate RSI and carpal tunnel issues, and the "dome-plus-plane" metaphor actually stresses function ahead of form, our expectations of Apple notwithstanding. [1/14]

How David Blaine levitates. Before you click, ask yourself, honestly, if it's more fun not knowing. [1/14]

Death to Casino On-line popunders! No More Popup Ads opt-out clearinghouse. [1/14]

Digital delivery of print content shows its successes and exposes Web pages' flaws. Food for thought. [1/9]

In the New Yorker: an assessment of the New York Times' upside-down sports section from last fall. Well observed. [1/8]

Music addict, meet computer geek: I have an iPod now. Look for a full write-up in a few days. [1/8]

Why the site has been quiet, by by way of explanation. [1/7]

Vacation as weblog, second edition.
~ NJ Transit AirTrain (savvy)
~ Pontiac Grand Am (peppy)
~ Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne (sassy)
~ Rumi, Joe's Stone Crab (yummy)
~ CityPlace (busy)
~ Trivial Pursuit Genus 5 (wimpy)
~ BallenIsles golf (nifty)
~ And, of course, ten days surrounded by siblings and parents and children under the age of 12. Ah yeah.

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Copyright © 2002 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.