Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My favorite feature on Christie and I's fridge is that the trays on the door will hold no more than 11 bottles of beer, which means that when I buy a 12 pack, I'm forced to open one right away to save it from the elements.


It started easily enough, with the the desire to be sure Christie's tires were full for her trip to St. Louis today. It ended with me finally lurching up the stairs at midnight, having had to change a tire, drive to the gas station, come home, and change the tire again, all because of a broken air pump that let the air out of a tire instead of filling it up.

Christie: You want half a bagel?

Me: Thanks. I'm starving.

Christie: You know you're my hero, right?

Me: Yeah, but I don't feel entirely comfortable getting credit for, well, kind of-

Christie: Getting credit for staying up late and working your ass off basically just to fix your own screw up?

Me: Yeah, that.

Christie: You get credit. Come on; it's bedtime.

I've got the best wife there is.

Monday, February 26, 2007

In the last week, Dick Cheney has said two things about the Democratic Congress: 1. That they are supportive of and helpful to Al Qaeda when they criticize the Bush administration. 2. That they are much more likely than the Bush administration to demand results in the hunt for Al Qaeda.

No comment.

Getting Things Done

NextAction is an easy way to keep track of your projects if you're using Getting Things Done. I'm rereading the book right now, and I was laying in bed last night envisioning how I might fit all my to-dos into a database, then control the display so I only saw what was directly relevant. NextAction doesn't do everything I envisioned, but it's got an incredibly small footprint, and it lives in my browser, but is purely local, not on a server somewhere, which means not only can I access it easily when I'm not online, but also I don't have to worry about who has access to my data, which I would if it were actually online.

I mean, it's not like I work for defense contractors or the NSA, but I do sometimes work on stuff we'd like to surprise to our competitors with, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Holy Shit. Three robbers, one with a gun, two with knives, attacked a group of senior citizen tourists in Costa Rica. One of the tourists, a military vet in his 70s, killed the gunman with his bare hands, and the other two robbers fled. So I guess I don't get to complain about feeling old anymore.
Comedy, tragedy, and surrealism? That's war. (via The Sandbox)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A question of motivation

I've been thinking about Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari. For you non-clickers and non-political junkies, he's the major Republican donor who just got busted for donating to terrorist organizations. I can think of three possible motivations:

1. He's giving to the terrorists because he thinks it'll help the Republican cause,

2. He's giving to the Republicans because he thinks it'll help the terrorists' cause, or

3. He's giving to both because of some end they both support. Could be theocracy, could just be anti-gay.

What bothers me is that all three are plausible.

Molly Ivins had a regular feature called "Crow eaten here", where she talked about things she'd gotten wrong in the past. What's the opposite of crow? I'm asking because I remember tons of liberals over the past few years talking about how bad the Iraq things was because sooner or later, we might actually face a real problem (like Iran, North Korea, aliens, rabid bigfoot, whatever) and that the President would have so little credibility left that we as a nation would be unable to intelligently act.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tech support for books.

This is just to say

I have used
the tablesaw
sitting idle
since November

not without
but I was
very careful

and there is
nothing like the
smell of sawdust
to banish fear.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I've often joked about Republicans being flat-earthers, but now there's an actual Republican (in the Georgia State House) distributing propaganda from fixedearth.com about evolution and the Big Bang as a kabbalistic conspiracy. In his defense, though, you have to follow the URLs he lists before you start seeing stuff about the sun moving around the earth (and that anyone who says differently is secular humanist Jew, or has been deluded by them). The memo was in support of an effort to declare the teaching of evolution a religion so they can boot it out of schools.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bangkok 8

It's not often you run across a book that's a complete surprise while being completely enthralling. There are elements that might turn some folks off, I admit, but John Burdett's Bangkok 8 is the most original mystery I have ever read, well-written, human, global, and I was absolutely unable to put it down.
Just a quick housekeeping tip: After all these years, I'm ditching my Yahoo mail account in favor of gmail. If you've gotten email from me in the last couple of years, it's come from my gmail account, so you've already got my address. I don't know if Yahoo will let me keep my old free account, or it that'll die along with my Yahoo Pro account, so if you get a bounce when you use my old email address, that'll be why.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

If you're not a reader of political blogs, then you probably don't know that the Edwards campaign is under attack for things that two of its staffers wrote on their personal blogs long before they became Edwards staffers. Both women were, in the best sense of the words, mouthy broads, unafraid to say what they thought about the religious right, the right-wing spin machines, and the moronic silver-spooned posers currently running our government and media. At least one of the women had been looking for work for sometime, and the job with the Edwards campaign was a dream job that dropped out of the sky for her. She was in the process of relocating her household for it.

William Donahue, the head of the Catholic League, a man so dedicated to measured and reasonable discourse that he asked Mark Foley why he allowed himself to be molested by a Catholic priest when he was 13 (god forbid we blame the priest), dug through years of posts until he found something sufficiently incendiary, then he went to the media and called the women "Anti-Catholic bigots".

I would very much like to like Edwards, but it's dismaying how derailed his campaign seems to be by this. If you're going to run against Republicans, you ought to know you're going to have to deal with this kind of crap, and you ought to be ready. And it's not like Donahue is a paragon of virtue. It doesn't take long to come up with a catalog of dumb, bigoted things he's said (lesbians belong in asylums, Hollywood is run by Jews and loves anal sex, and do I really need to list more?). The man lives in a glass house. This is a kindergarten playground fight compared to what happen in the general campaign, and it's nothing compared to the fights you'll find yourself in if you actually become president. Senator Edwards, if this fight has you scratching your chin, you're not ready. Hit back, support your people, then change the subject to William Donahue. Force him to defend his bigotry, divisiveness, and seeming desire for a theocracy.

Of course, Kung Fu Monkey says it better, and he's a humor blogger, not a politico.

If you don't actually care about politics, though, this abstracted map of the interstate highway system is pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

From Whole Food's CEO John Mackey's letter to his employees:

"The second part of today's announcement has to do with my own compensation.... The tremendous success of Whole Foods Market has provided me with far more money than I ever dreamed I'd have and far more than is necessary for either my financial security or personal happiness.... I am now 53 years old and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money, but simply for the joy of the work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart. Beginning on January 1, 2007, my salary will be reduced to $1, and I will no longer take any other cash compensation...."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What's there to say? Not much, really. I've got the usual home maintenance stuff that needs doing, like laundry, and dishes, and juggling cats. And then there are the elective projects, like the baseboards we need to pick out, buy, stain, chamfer, and install. There's also a little shelf thing I want to build. Both of those last two require the table saw, and I admit to a little apprehension.

Then there's the work project that was already behind schedule when it dropped in my lap, and the usual sort of stuff that does to my stress level, my other work projects, and, well, everything else.

There's nothing much dramatic in any of it, really, and if there is, I don't have the spare bandwidth to tease out the good story from the standard middle-aged angst. There is one thing, though, that's been really bugging me. Today, I found myself at a website where Lost had done a huge ad buy. They'd stuck this Flash banner ad that expanded to cover half the screen any time you moused over it. I'm used to that, sadly enough, but this one had some kind of bug in its programming that treated that entire space as though it was always expanded, even when it wasn't, so none of the links in the top half of the page worked. It was really, really annoying.

As for why that's supposed to be more interesting than the laptop shelf I want to build, well, your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Theron: How's the finger?

Me: Really good. No bone damage, the flesh has mostly come back, and it even looks like I might end up with almost a full nail. It's pretty amazing.

Theron: You always have healed pretty well. You've got that healing factor thing going for you.

Me: You know, I never have broken a bone.

Theron: Hey, maybe the blade did hit bone, but it just bounced off your adamantium skeleton!

Me: It's a possibility I've considered.

Theron: We should test that. I've got some ideas.

Me: I think I'd rather live in the mystery.
I've been a Molly Ivins fan since Ryan introduced me to her writing back in high school. She was brash, funny, smart, and she regularly devoted space to admitting mistakes she'd made in previous columns (could you imagine how much thicker the paper would have to be if all the opinion writers did that?). She frequently told a story about her first editor, who told her, "Tomorrow morning, 3 million people will be reading your column. The day after, it'll be lining birdcages." That seemed to be about the right level of responsibility and humility.

Her last editor ("most recent" sounds better, but, alas, "last" is more correct) has some remembrances up, and this is my favorite bit:

"For a woman who made a profession of offering her opinion to others, Molly was remarkably humble. She was known for hosting unforgettable parties at her Austin home, which would feature rollicking political discussions, and impromptu poetry recitals and satirical songs. At one such event, I noticed her dining table was littered with various awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat. When I called this to her attention, Molly matter-of-factly replied, 'Well, what else am I going to do with 'em?'"