A page from history, originally uploaded by dfb.

My son’s copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever is pretty much destroyed (my fault – long story). In an attempt to make it up to him I bought a used copy. My son’s original copy was printed in the last few years. The new-used copy is from a 1979 printing (the original copyright for both say 1963).
It seemed like a good idea until we noticed that the editors had removed certain pages and images — for good reason — from more recent editions. For example, this is one such page that was not included in my son’s copy. The small text says: “Indian is coming to town to buy a horse for his squaw to ride. Why do you think it would be nice for her to have a horse to ride?”
I’m glad the editors made the choice to remove this page and certain other pictures from more recent editions – this book is intended for babies and preschoolers after all.

Now in Saipan

We moved to the island of Saipan a few weeks ago. I now work as a law clerk clerk for the territorial Supreme Court of the Northern Mariana Islands. More specifically, I am the law clerk to the Honorable Alexandro C. Castro, Associate Justice.

Politically, the Northern Mariana Islands, or CNMI, is a U.S. territory similar to Puerto Rico. It was part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific that was set up after World War II by the United Nations and administered by the U.S. In the 1970?s, CNMI chose to become part of the United States while other parts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific decided on independence. Saipan is the capital island of CNMI.

Geographically, Saipan and the rest of the islands that make up CNMI are part of the same archipelago as Guam (about 125 miles from Saipan) and classified as part of Micronesia. The archipelago is located 2/3?s of the way between Hawai’i and Manila, Philippines. Less than 100 miles east of Saipan is the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest known portion of the Pacific Ocean.


After a long hiatus, I’m back to updating this blog and doing the social network thing (although still a tad less frequent than before).

Catching up

I’ve been a bit too pre-occupied over the past few months to post anything. I am likely to post a few belated posts over the next few days and weeks to fill in the blanks and because they are still timely. 🙂

I finished up my last semester in December and now have a Juris Doctor degree. Or, at least that’s what my unofficial transcript says and the State Bar believes (it let me sit for the bar exam). 🙂

As much as I intended to enjoy myself for a few weeks after the bar exam, colds/flus/other have kept us all sick and miserably inside. This after promising the following to be our theme for the few weeks after the exam. 🙁

Regardless of what happens next, I intend to be the change I wish to see in the world. 🙂

Musical Coffee Shop Chairs

I find it amazing that everyone appears to have a favorite seat at coffee shops. This afternoon, I took a small table with a lone blue metal folding chair. I bypassed the blue chair. Instead, I got permission from a man at the next table to take a well worn but small, comfortable high back chair. Immediately after I sat down, but before I could get out my computer, another man came for that metal folding chair. He chose that blue chair over other closer empty chairs. And in the background, others swapped out the inferior (in their minds) for more desirable chairs.

My next move will be to claim the table from the man who let me take this chair. I think his chair is more comfortable, too. 😉

Sansa: Blue Ring of Death

My Sansa e280 player seemingly died a few weeks ago. It suffered from the dreaded “blue ring of death” – when the screen is black and the blue control ring is lit. I was mad. I still am mad. I was given no warning.

It took hours of head banging and research to troubleshoot, find the cause, and fix it. So if you find yourself with the blue ring of death then do the following:

  1. Get yourself on a computer running linux. It is free and its windows versions operate like a cross between Mac OSX (a linux distribution) and Microsoft Windows. I find it is just as stable as Windows but with a better price tag (free) and just as much software (also free). I currently use the Ubuntu flavor of linux - It is not hard to install yourself.
  2. Open a terminal and run these two commands:
    1. sudo lsusb
    2. sleep 10 && dmesg |tail
  3. If your computer recognizes your Sansa then you likely have a software problem. In which case, those commands will return lines that mention Sansa. A good place to start is and the Rockbox forums (search for “blue ring death”). You will likely need to set the sansa to manufacturing mode.
  4. If your computer does not recognize your Sansa, those commands will not return a line that says ‘Sansa.’ In which case, unscrew the cover over the battery compartment and press down on the little black rubber nub just above the battery. Behind the rubber nub is the flash memory chip. For some reason or another, the flash memory module may disconnect itself from the Sansa. See:
  5. If you don’t have either of those problems post your issue to the Rockbox forums. It seems people are always willing to help. Paste as much detail as you can including the output from the two linux commands above.

For me, pushing the little rubber nub fixed my sansa e280. Its memory chip apparently became dislodged.

BTW: It can get worse. I busted the lcd screen yesterday; now it is an expensive flash drive. 🙁

UPDATE: I spoke too soon. My player still works, even with a broken LCD screen. I installed the Rockbox voice file and presto, whamo, voila! It works again, albeit without any visual menus. The voice option is provided as an accessiblity feature so blind and other sight impaired users can use an MP3 player running Rockbox. Surprisingly, Sansa’s OEM firmware does not provide screen reader or voice capabilities thus shutting out a large, potential market. Next, I’ll need to take some time to disconnect the lcd so it stops draining power. Maybe I’ll even get another few off eBay for a few dollars apiece for backup and to give away.