Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Here's a great tutorial on how to make your own LED bulbs. We've got a number of light fixtures in the house that use that same kind of halogen bulb. Maybe when they burn out, I'll take on this project (which will include learning more about electronics).

Monday, July 30, 2007


Except that, like most electric scooters, it can't handle hills, which makes it useless for me, unless I want to drive it around in the garage.

Guess I'll have to get one of these two instead.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

That's me in the corner, losing my religion

It's late, and I should be heading for bed, but Christie's out of town, and I never can sleep right when she's gone. So instead I'm staying up and playing with the new cable. Some dude from the phone company dropped by the house a couple of weeks ago to pimp their new IPtv service. They're rolling it out slowly in Columbia, since only a few neighborhoods actually have the necessary wiring for the fiber optic.

I'd love to say it was all about the features, and there are some cool ones, but I really signed up because having all our data from one source is going to save us about $30 a month, all told. What's weird about it, though, is that for less money, we're also getting unlimited long distance on the phone, and three DVRs from the phone company. And our rate is grandfathered, not just an introductory thing.

All these are good things.

But there I was just kind of farting around, channel surfing and digging through the menus, and I realized that the DVR was recording two shows at the same time while I was surfing around. Definitely not something the Tivo can do. At least, not the 2nd generation Tivo we have. And then, just when I was questioning my faith in the cult of Tivo, Christie called. And the callerid info popped up on the TV screen.

I guess you could call this a crisis of faith, but, if so, why am I smiling?

Please don't take this as a negative recommendation for Tivo, though. After all IPtv is awesome, but it's not exactly widely available.

Update: Christie's home and the DSL is down, but the modem is something their usual customer service people have, of course, never heard of, and can't figure out how to access remotely. Which means no Internet and no TV until they can get a repairman to us, which will probably be tomorrow. No longer smiling.

2nd Update: Smiling again, but tentatively. Everything's working again. Like so many technical problems, it fixed itself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What goes through my head when the service isn't very good...

Me: Wouldn't it be weird if the Rapture happened, but only waiters and waitresses got into Heaven, and it happened on the lunch hour?

Christie: You are so odd.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not really a spoiler, is it?

In the Doctor Who episode The Shakespeare Code, the Doctor says of Harry Potter, "Wait till you read book seven! Oh, I cried."

My thoughts exactly, and that's all you'll get out of me till you've finished the book. Those who have and want to discuss the ending can email me. Melissa, do you have an email address Jack doesn't read? Christie and I would love to talk about the ending.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Does this new Executive Order mean that the Treasury Department will be seizing the Bush family assets, as well as those of major donors to the 2004 campaign? Because they'd certainly qualify.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I just got back from the eye doctor. We had a nice long talk about Harry Potter. His big worry is that he's got guests coming in this weekend, so he won't be able to read. He's particularly afraid he'll overhear someone in the waiting room talking about it.

Me: Just put a sign up in the waiting room: "Harry Potter spoilers will be severely punished!"

Him: No: Dilated! With the really nasty, long-lasting stuff!

Me: That ought to do the trick.

Him: I probably couldn't get away with that, though. Too bad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This post on the Wall Street Journal blog (Are Dads Less Handy Around the House?) questions the dichotomy in many men's mind between fixing things around the house and spending time with their kids.

I know I sometimes have to remind myself to shift gears when I'm working on a project with other people. The other night, Christie and I were over at Michael and Lorie's, and one of the possible items on the to-do list was putting together their new grill. There's at one step in the process that requires two people and works best with three, so it was a good thing that Christie and Michael started helping. But Grant, being as in love with tools as he is, was desperate to help.

He's three.

I'll admit, it was a bit of a relief that it took him so long to realize what we were up to, and I was a little glad Lorie was keeping him distracted. But once the heavy lifting was done, it was a blast watching him "tighten" screws with a wrench, having him fetch tools, and so on.

One of my dad's catchphrases when I was a kid was "I would have been done sooner, but I had help." There was a bit of that in this project, sure. But it always takes longer to teach than it does just to do, and the world needs more people that like to fix stuff.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Because it's Friday the 13th, Christie and I are going to see that witchcraft movie tonight.

Speaking of, I've been rereading the books in preparation for next week, and I'm halfway through Goblet of Fire right now. I think I'm seeing evidence that Snape is a good guy.

All the Death Eaters (that I can think of) in the series go out of their way to be nice to Harry until such time as they 'come out', at which point they try to kill him. Even Draco kissed up to him when they first met. But Snape has been consistently contemptuous of him literally since day one. If he was a bad guy pretending to be good, wouldn't he suck up to Harry at least a little?
Another reason to want a Wii: WiiFit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I did take the camera to Michigan, but never actually got it out. I think it's good for the soul to be somewhere that every single sunset is so beautiful that it's picture-worthy. But if you're snapping pics, you're missing the sunset, really. Art vs. experience, blah, blah, blah.

I guess this is just my way of saying that I don't regret the lack of pics. Except that I really would have liked to have video of Kelyn loudly insisting, "I'm Spartacus!" That was pretty awesome.

But kids are kind of like sunsets in that respect.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Home again, home again

I love my friends, I love the cottage, and I love the cool breezes blowing in off the lake. There's magic in stepping out of life for a while. But there's magic in coming home again as well, and it's good to be back in my own house, showering with really, really good water pressure, and just generally getting things done. I've already caught up with email, know what I have to do in the morning, watched a little Doctor Who, and I'm on the verge of going on a walk around the neighborhood with Christie, now that the temperature is becoming reasonable again. Oh, and I've had a beer. Vacation or no, I don't want to shock the body with sudden changes like, um, not having a beer.

Apart from the news that life is good and that turning off the news for a week does wonders for the psyche, the only real insight I can convey from the past week is this tiny bit of profundity: If you ever have the chance to watch fireworks with a three year old, don't pass it up. It's one of the seven wonders of the emotional world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm briefly online, but don't get spoiled and expect much of it. Christie and I are off on our annual media fast. Except that Christie and I both have to keep up with a few things at the office, so we're taking a bit of time each day to break the fast to check email, at least. But I want to keep it short so I can get back to staring at the lake and reading old books.