Friday, September 28, 2007

A real book: Mime Ministry: An illustrated, easy-to-follow guidebook for organizing, programming and training a troupe of Christian mimes
If you're dieting and going to be setting goals, check out this Photographic Height/Weight Chart. It doesn't really deal with body type, which can be a big issue (Christie and I are both mesomorphs), but it's still useful to get an idea of what 5'8" and 160 lbs looks like, since that's my goal. (Luckily, I'm already 5'8", so the hard part is taken care of.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interesting Article: Songbirds, Knot-Tying, and the Evolution of Language
Given that I was vastly entertained by listening to two college friends start a conversation with the premise that the Mafia manufactures LSD for use by the FBI, and then move on from there, you can understand why I find this list of weird conspiracy theories very entertaining.

Personally, though, I think the last word on conspiracy theories should belong to Molly Ivins, who said that people find them comforting precisely because they posit that someone is in charge of all this whole mess, even if they're evil.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Patrick, Wyoming Libraries has some interesting marketing ideas.
Welcome to all the folks linking from Moreena's place. This is a pretty casual joint, so if you spill beer on the sofa, just throw a towel over it, and I'll clean up later.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This story (Vicente Fox: "Cowboy" Bush Is Scared Of Horses) raises an interesting question. Has anyone ever seen a picture of Bush on a horse? I know I haven't.
A recent Cook's Illustrated review of oven mitts prompts me to tell you that these oven mitts are awesome. They're from Crate and Barrel, and whereas most silicone mitts are awkward and hard to use, these have a thin layer of silicone for waterproofing and ribs for heat-proofing, with a layer of cotton underneath. There's even a magnet so you can hang it up.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I believe I might have mentioned that Christie and I joined a gym. And we've actually been going! (Except I tweaked my foot on Sunday, and the more I walk on it, the more it hurts, so I've been spending my evening with my foot up, holding down the couch. But Christie's still going.)

Some of our motivation is about fitness, and health, and that sort of thing. When I look in the mirror, I see more gut than I'd like, and a general sort of softness that just isn't how I want to look. And there's a hint of a nascent double chin that really, really bugs me.

Ah, vanity.

As part of this process, I set a weight goal for myself and put the Google 15 widget on my iGoogle page so I could track (by running average) my weight over time. For the first few weeks, it sort of wavered up and town, but the trend was distinctly horizontal. This was, alas, not working. Change was called for. But what to do?

Over the years, Christie and I have looked at a lot of diets and rejected almost all of them for the simple reason that diets don't work. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you've got to change your lifestyle, and I'm simply not willing to live a carb-free existence, or eat only tribbles, or whatever, for the rest of my life. Besides, I have enough limitations on what I can eat as it is. We did try South Beach for a while, but with my allergies, I was very, very limited as to what I could actually eat, and the Phase 1 diet was pretty much impossible for me.

In the end, we settled on simplicity: burn more calories than we eat. Christie and I each figured out our base metabolic rate, and we aim for about 1-200 calories per day below that. Working out is a bonus, but it also earn us the right to eat more if we so choose. Frozen dinners help a lot, but Target sells a digital kitchen scale that can track nutritional info as well. That's a huge help. With a bit of math, I was even able to figure out the approximate calorie count in my homemade turkey chili (about .75 calories per gram).

The result? I'm down 2 pounds from my max weight of two weeks ago, and Christie's seeing similar results. We're eating (more or less) what we want, and enjoying our food. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Eureka occasionally has funny ads for fake products during the show, but this is a picture of my TV from an actual ad, for an allergy medicine called Veramyst. The caption, if you can't read it, says "The way VERAMYST works is not entirely understood."


Uh, yeah, that's reassuring.
An honest auction, brought to you by the University of Missouri: Disturbingly Hideous Desk Lamp: "Very Ugly Desk Lamp. Ceramic; unfortunately this is not broken and is in working condition."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't you hate that feeling, when you're working on a report and it's a real pain in the ass one and you start to wonder when you're about an hour in and you think 'before I put all this time in, I better be sure I'm working on the right thing', and you look at the tables that drive the whole thing, and something doesn't look right, but this is the same set of data that you've been running a series of weekly reports on for like the last 3 months and if it's wrong now, then it's been wrong all this time, so you start thinking maybe you're better off not checking, but now that you've started to think about it you've got this pit in your stomach and if you hand off this report with a pit in your stomach ... well, you just can't. You can't hand off a report feeling like that, but you think you must have checked it, right, back when you first started this? You must have. Because you always do. But you don't remember doing it, so you take the time and you dig through your email and you find the lists, and, yeah, it's okay. The data's right, and you must have checked it, because you're working off the list they sent you, and if that's wrong, well, there's not much you can do about it.

Yeah, I hate it, too. But it turned out all right.
Heroic. I was originally going to describe this as small-scale heroism, but I changed my mind. No, these guys aren't rushing into a burning building to save a thousand orphaned puppies, but they're showing real courage and making their world better.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Warning to Billie (and others): New iPods reengineered to block syncing with Linux.

Actually, it's just that they don't work with non-Itunes. So I guess if you're running windows from within Linux, it's okay.

Update: It's apparently now been hacked. That didn't take long.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I could totally make this: Air-A-Leave Reverse Downspout Blaster.

I just need to remember to wear old clothes when I use it. And a hat.
I was reading something the other day about the maturity level of the average male, and it reminded me to tell you that I found this extremely tasteful, high-brow cereal commercial to be hilarious.
A Gutted 747 could make kind of a cool lake house, if you outfitted it right, and $100,000 isn't a bad price tag. If it includes delivery.
Right up Christie's alley: Toaster-shaped teapot.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Five years ago, I wrote about September 11th through the lens of my divorce, talking about the hole in the sky where the towers had been, and saying to myself, "Yes, that's what it feels like." Since the one and only time I saw the towers in person, I was on a business trip I didn't want to take, scheduled in the middle of my first marriage falling apart, I definitely think there's a poem in there somewhere. The political really is personal, I guess.

Years later, though, I think of someone I saw in some documentary, talking about how much he missed the towers, and then suddenly one morning he realized that now his appartment had a view of the Statue of Liberty. And maybe there's a poem in that as well.

Six years later, it's still all tied up together. I can't believe that there's still a wound on the landscape of lower Manhattan while I'm the happiest I've ever been in a marriage the likes of which I never thought could exist.

That's on the personal side. On the political side, I can't believe Bin Laden is still walking around making propaganda videos and the guy who promised to catch him seemingly could care less.
Finally, a mathematical explanation for my inability to get anything other than a nasty screech out of a fiddle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Must read about the Jena 6 and racism in contemporary America.

On Gay Marriage

Andrew Sullivan married his partner, and their vows were among the best I've ever read:
I, Andrew, take you, Aaron,
to be no other than yourself.
Loving what I know of you,
trusting what I don't yet know,
with respect for your integrity,
and faith in your abiding love for me,
through all our years,
and in all that life may bring us,
for better or worse,
for richer or poorer,
in sickness and in health,
till death do us part,
I accept you as my husband
and pledge my love to you.

Pictures here, and reader reactions here.

Christie and I have always joked that we planned to have a gay marriage this time around, since we both had the other kind the first time, and that sucked. I'm proud to say that we're succeeding in that goal so far.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Free Workout Music. Caveat Clicker: I haven't tried this yet, but plan to tonight.
On the other hand, this is the sort of birthday present that lets me give Christie a present she's been wanting - a new kitchen floor.

It's a cheap knockoff of this tool, but it's $40 vs. $260, and it's fine for a one-job tool, which I suspect this would be.

If I didn't mind sweating a bit, though, there's always this Japanese pull saw, which does the same job and won't quit working on me in the middle of the job.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A three day weekend, whether enjoyable or not, will often provide good blog-fodder. Stories, projects, pictures, maybe a funny line or two. Not so this weekend.

Okay, there was one moment where my heart was in my throat. Christie got stung, and we weren't sure if it was a bee or a wasp. There was some drama, and a lot of pain, but she's fine now and all is well. The only lasting effect on our lives was that we missed one day at the gym, and I didn't get to spend much time in the workshop. In other words, not much.

So, basically, we celebrated the memories of those who gave their lives fighting for the 40-hour workweek by doing jigsaw puzzles, drinking beer, and watching movies. Life is good.