Friday, June 29, 2007

The problem with reading a book like Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven : Story of Violent Faith is that when it's a nice night and you're out for a walk with your wife, and a couple of tie-wearing guys on bikes ask you, "Are you familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?", you're likely to say something like, "Yes, I'm entirely too familiar with your religion. But y'all have a nice night, alright?" and walk firmly away.

I felt kind of bad about it, but Christie pointed out a number of things I could have said that would have been much ruder. Funnier, though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quirky discipline rules that work - CNN.com

These remind me of some of the rules my parents had when I was growing up, particularly, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit." My parents' version was "And where did you get the idea that life is supposed to be fair?"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Good tree service in Columbia

If you're local and have trees that need work, I highly recommend Arthur Ratliff Tree & Stump Removal. I called them on Monday afternoon about a half-rotten tree that was not only right next to the house; it was actually in the middle of our deck! He came out that night to see it, came back the next morning to see it again and make an estimate, and he and his crew were back the next morning to take it out, along with a branch that was rubbing on the roof and an old dead tree that had just fallen. They were fast, clean and efficient, and it cost less than I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a budget outfit, but they're reasonably priced considering the quality of their work, which was important, given the location of this tree. But I very much think it was worth it.

BTW, I heard about them through this article in our local paper, which is proof if proof were needed that PR is more effective than advertising. And Christie and I have both recommended them to friends with tree problems, so word of mouth is obviously a big part of how they do well. Which is why I'm passing this on.
Jack Chick + Etsy = Awesome!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More pics of the entertainment bench


entertainment_bench_17
Originally uploaded by Litcritter
There are a few alterations I'm thinking of making already. For one thing, the receiver sticks out too far, but I think I can fix that by removing one of the supports in back. But it's all wired in and everything seems to be working properly.

Christie would like me to note that the cushion will crush down some over time, and she thinks it's too poofy right now.

More pics here.
I just had a really good customer service experience with Amazon.com. See, I ordered something for our upcoming Michigan trip and went for the Super Saver Shipping option, thinking there was plenty of time. But, no, the confirmation came back with an estimated delivery date of July 2-9th, which would be too late. And it was also too late to change the delivery method on the web site.

So I googled their customer service number and called. The guy on the phone confirmed that it was too late, but assured me that since it was shipping early, I'd get it in plenty of time. And then he suggested a work around just in case it doesn't get here in time. So my stress is twice-relieved, even though he didn't actually do anything, which is often the essence of customer service, in my book.

I know people complain about how hard it is to find a phone number for Amazon, but all it took was a Google search for "Amazon phone number", and I had it. If there was a phone number plastered all over their web site, I'm sure I would have been on hold all day. So life is good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Entertainment bench



And this is my contribution to the new living room arrangement. We'd been wanting to put the TV on the mantle, but the windows flanking the fireplace meant there was no good place to stick the receiver, VCR, Tivo, etc. My solution was to build a low bench to fit under the window, with storage for the electronics. it's got adjustable shelves on each side, and a vertical section in the middle for storing DVDs, or maybe someday a Wii. The slats on the back are so I can run the wires, and the back is recessed about 3 inches to make room for the surge protector and give me space to organize all those wires, which Christie's dad has compared unfavorably to the guts of the space shuttle (and he would know!).

Christie's already made one cushion, which we'll use either for this bench or the other one I'm making for the dining room. Oh, and now you know what my workshop looks like when I'm in the middle of a project: a total friggin' mess.

New Laundry Area



It was Christie's idea to reuse the tabletop from the trestle table, and fill the gap at the back with some kind of tray or easy to clean surface. It was Lowe's idea to carry melamine shelves in exactly the right length to fill the gap. And the new washer and dryer are so quiet we've taken the doors off permanently.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Columbia Missourian's Crime Watch feature is a good mashup of Google Maps and news reports. If only the Trib did this with garage sale listings...
Weekend spent making lots and lots of sawdust = Happy Mike.

The best part is that I realized late Sunday afternoon that I was reaching the point of being stupid-tired, so I stopped working. I'll finish it tonight. Well, I won't finish it tonight, probably, but I will complete it, if that makes sense. I'll ease the edges and sand it. Finishing will come later. Unless I'm feeling ambitious.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Drove into work behind a guy with one of those Truth Fish eating a Darwin Fish stickers. It occurs to me that the word Truth means different things to different people.

That seemed very deep to me before I had coffee.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Christie and I met a guy in Madison who told us a Neil Gaiman story, and I thought as soon as I heard it, "I'll send this to Neil and totally get on his blog!"

Well, it worked, but now I have to cope with the inevitable letdown that comes with achieving a major life goal, not to mention the fact that I spelled Roger Avary's name "Avery" in my question.

I guess I need a new goal. Maybe I should try to get quoted on William Gibson's blog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Christie and I are back in Madison, this time for business. We were sort of stuck in a hotel out in the suburbs, but it was a rainy weekend, so no real harm there. Now we're stuck in the airport, but it's still rainy, so it's not like we really want to be walking around downtown.

People at the trade show kept using the phrase "free family vacation" to describe Christie and I being here together, but that's beyond silly. I mean, yeah, it's a lot better being at a trade show with my wife than being at a trade show by myself, but I'd much rather be at home with my wife than at a trade show.

It's interesting, though. I think I'm going to recommend that the company always send Christie with me rather than send me alone. I'm naturally kind of shy at these things, and she pushes me to interact more.

Of course, y'all are used to me having some kind of witticism to pass on, but all I've got is this observation from our forays through various airports in the last few days: "Emergency Defibrillator" is perhaps the world's most redundant phrase.