20 May 2010


I’ve put up a placeholder page or two and have been hard at work performing a content inventory. There’s plenty of good stuff I never ported from the old WordPress blog (and have recovered, thanks in no small part to the Wayback Machine and no thanks to my own stupidity), as well as some notes and drafts that have been languishing in my queue.

It feels good to have things in the works again!

13 April 2009

Obligatory Easter photo

By far the best shot from another Zora photo shoot, when she came up to me and said, “Daddy, you stay with me”:

Zora in her Easter dress

3 April 2009

Fast runner

Zora and I had a brief photo shoot last night. We got some great shots, and then she decided to turn it into a game.

Zora runs, and how!

12 February 2009

The Amish

Jason Kottke points to a fascinating article about the Amish and their relationship to/with technology. I remember my grandpa Orville telling me about an encounter he had with an Amish man while he was working for the telephone cooperative.

This man had requested a phone installation for his farm. When Orville arrived and asked where the man would like his phone, he indicated a location on the outside of his house, near the front door.

Don’t you want it inside? It’ll be more convenient,” Orville asked. The man replied, “I don’t mind going outside when I need to use the phone. And I don’t want it using me.”

I love technology, especially when it makes my life easier. But sometimes I wonder how much we’ve lost by always chasing after the latest shiny object. Do we control our toys, or do our toys control us?

(Comments are coming—honest!—but in the meantime if you have something you want to share about this topic, try using Twitter to respond; please include #amishebv in your tweet, so we can follow the thread.)

28 January 2009

High fructose corn syrup is really bad for you!

As if the buzz about high fructose corn syrup weren’t bad enough already, it turns out that a lot of it contains mercury. Heckuva job, FDA!

22 January 2009

Zora, who’s the President?”


11 January 2009

Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos,

If you like to search for your own name, I hope you find this. I’ve been a pretty loyal customer of Amazon for over a decade. But your company’s behavior regarding my attempt to sell books on Amazon is as unbelievable as it is inexplicable.

You’ve closed down my seller account with no valid justification. I have attempted to resolve this issue, and your “support” people have been worse than unresponsive. Even if my account is somehow unfrozen, you are unlikely to get any more money from me; and I’ll discourage anyone who asks from purchasing anything from you.

But what’s a little negative publicity, right? Let’s find out.

Erik Vorhes

8 January 2009

Bad Amazon

January 11, 2009: Updated below

Erica and I have been getting rid of some of our excess book inventory via Amazon’s “Seller Central.” Since I’m no longer doing the academic thing and we don’t have infinite space, it seemed the prudent thing to do (and at least a few of my books were too valuable to simply give away).

About an hour ago, their “Seller Performance Team” sent us an email notification that our seller account had been suspended, because they had “significant evidence” that our account was associated with a previously-suspended account. I’m not sure what kind of evidence they have—we’ve never opened a seller account before this one.

I hope whatever “evidence” was a false positive. If not, someone’s using our information illegally. Or it’s that Amazon didn’t like that we finally associated a bank account with our seller profile a mere five hours before they suspended our account. This way they’ll get to collect interest on our seller account balance for an additional 76 days.

Overall I’ve liked the service that Amazon provides—and I like ordering things through them. If there isn’t a positive outcome from this situation, I don’t relish boycotting Amazon; I’ve been a pretty loyal customer for over a decade. But that’s what I most certainly will do. (I’ll also do everything I can to dissuade others from using their service.)

As it stands, they’re banning us on false grounds. I don’t like doing business with organizations that operate that way.

Update: This is quite possibly the worst customer service experience I have had from Amazon. Their response boiled down to: “Thanks for contacting us! Your account is closed. We won’t tell you why. Have a nice day!” Awesome.

9 December 2008

Congratulations, Governor!

A quick shout-out to the (likely former) Illinois Tool-in-Chief, Rod Blagojevich, on his recent arrest: Congratulations! You earned it.

Update: Tomorrow’s G-Rod’s birthday. Looks like he’s getting what he asked for.

Update 2: Looks like Valerie Jarrett would’ve been our next Senator, but Obama wouldn’t bribe G-Rod.

8 December 2008

I am a simple man with simple needs

It’s nearing Christmas. Usually, there’s nothing in particular I want for this annual celebration of covetousness. This year, there are a few things that come to mind:

Notice a pattern? (No!) If you want to go crazy expensive, I suppose you could always pick up a Drobo or Drobo Share or both, plus some 1TB hard drives. But whatever. You’re probably better off giving the money to your local food depository, and I’ll probably be happier if you do. They need it.

Update: You could also get me a Wii—or an Atari 2600!

24 November 2008

Just a note: I’m much more active on Twitter right now than I am here. Things are a-changing, so I’ve decided to try to do a partial content freeze at Drasty Speche or whatever the grawlix I’m calling this place these days.

12 November 2008

Happy Birthday to you!

If you happen to see Erica out and about, please make sure to wish her a happy Birthday. She’s at least as awesome as the day we met.

5 November 2008

This Morning

It is a strange thing:
to wake up and see the sun rise,
to know that its molten metal ascends over the lake,
to know the sun could care less
about what happened here while it was away.
The city rumbles on as if it were any ordinary day,
but the city has changed:
on its streets I see tired faces,
a metropolis of worn out colors.
This morning is different.
The people shine in their weariness and say to the sun:

We are awake.
An obscure man from around here
has stolen our hearts—
and we are overjoyed.”

4 November 2008

Today we elected Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States of America—389 years to the day since the first African slaves arrived on our shores. Today we started healing some of those longago wounds.

Know hope.

Today: Vote Obama!

I hope you have already voted for Barack Obama or are planning to vote later today. He & Joe the Biden have my vote—can they count on yours?

(One regret is that I can’t wear my support: over a month ago I ordered a shirt from the campaign, which hasn’t arrived yet. That’s not shipping I can believe in, but hardly a reason to reconsider or regret my vote—or to dissuade you from supporting Barack with yours!)

Welcome to Drasty Speche, my digital workshop.

I currently make web sites as a senior developer at VSA Partners and do a bit of freelance design & development on the side—see Textivism for more on that. Before all this web-based excitement I was a graduate student in English at Loyola University Chicago.

I live in St. Charles, Illinois, with Erica and Zora.


You can read commonplace book entries from the following years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.