Friday, February 29, 2008

Lying as a Developmental Milestone: looks like I've got a couple of years at least before we start having to tell lies from truth, thankfully.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm easily offended by bad datamining, and work hard to avoid it at the day job. I didn't think anything would ever top the letter I got advertising renters insurance, sent via the bank which held my mortgage, but I just got an email from Turbotax reminding me that I need to do my taxes less than 24 hours after I got an email from Turbotax telling me that I was done with my taxes, and thanking me for the business.
Better than recycling, but not actually for sale yet as far as I can tell.
I woke up in an implausibly good mood this morning. I can think of a few possible reasons, though:

1. A long-term, intractable plumbing problem is starting to feel tractable, thanks to some work and some research. I removed the leaking diverter valve and took it around town to see if I could get a replacement. Not easily or cheaply, as it turns out.

But I've routed around the valve and tracked down some possible sources. Ebay may end up saving the day here, allowing me to get a $200 part for somewhat less than $90. And my successful work around means I've got time to shop around.

2. Complicated queries working as designed. More seemingly intractable problems, more seemingly workable solutions. The details would bore pretty much anyone, so I won't go into them, but I'm getting closer to that magical point where I pull a number out of the air and say "That's it!"

3. Christie.

Nothing new there or anything, but I can't do a post about being in a good mood without getting mushy about Christie.

4. OCD. After Happy Fun Plumbing Time last night, I spent a little while battling the forces of entropy in the workshop. The trash and recycling bags are hung on the wall, the stereo is set up, and I tested out the small parts sorting system. It's extraordinarily satisfying to dump out a plastic bin and sort out the contents between nails, screws, washers and nuts, then divide out wood screws from machine screws, countersink from pan head, course thread from fine, rustproof from not, phillips from flathead, etc., ad ecstasy.

The fact that #4 is so plausible is slightly disturbing, but I yam what I yam.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Don't Talk Back To Darth Vader" - A three year old sums up Star Wars.
I don't think there are a ton of Clinton supporters reading my blog, but just in case, I want to point out that she won't release her tax returns until after the primaries are done, so her supporters don't get to know where her and Bill's wealth has come from (they were broke when they left the White House) until it's too late to factor it into their decision.

Not cool, man. Not cool.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It drives Christie nuts that every time I take something apart, I keep the screws. Or the nuts. Or pretty much any small part that looks like it might be useful. And it drives me nuts that between that habit and all the times I've bought a ten-pack of machine screws when the project only called for seven, I've accumulated several pounds of unsorted miscellaneous small parts in my shop. (and scattered among various junk drawers)

I saw this shop tip a few years ago with plans for a small parts sorting tray, but I'm a little short on workshop time these days, so building something to help me sort screws just wasn't going to happen.

But that tray looked a little familiar, so when I went into my pharmacist to pick up a refill today, I told them about my mass of unsorted screws and asked if they knew of any place in town that sold pill sorting trays.

They did not.

They did, however, have a number of freebie trays left behind by friendly drug reps, and gave me one. Problem solved.

If the drug companies catch on to this, I expect they'll start putting ads for OCD medication on them, but as it is, I'll be looking at the name of a cough-suppressant while cleaning up the workshop. I would definitely call that a missed marketing opportunity.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You might not have heard, but Christie and I are expecting a little girl in June. And I'm a little nervous about being a dad, so I went out on the web looking at parenting sites, magazines, etc., to see what sort of resources are out there. Every woodworking magazine on the planet, for instance, lets you sign up for regular emails about woodworking.

And I signed up for quite a few, but I found it just a bit disheartening, because every single one was called something like "Mail for Moms", "Mommy Mail", etc. Now, I understand the allure of alliteration as much as the next guy, but are there really no resources like that for dads?

At least BabyCenter had a checkbox for "I'm a Dad" on their email sign up. Just beneath the checkbox for "I'm trying to get pregnant." It's not much, but it's something.

And then I get my first email from them, and it starts with, "As a BabyCenter mom, you now have access to..."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just a follow up on the previous post: Maybe it's all those pregnancy hormones crashing through my body (if Christie can use that excuse, why can't I?), but hanging out with my niece and nephew this weekend was fantastic. They're both becoming fantastic adults. Logan's smart, funny, and accomplished, but humble and quiet at the same time. And he has a kickass fast break.

The same is true of Dylan, except for the quiet thing. And, yeah, she rolled her car. But she clearly recognizes the chain of choices that led to her hanging upside down by her seatbelt and seems primed to learn from that experience.

If she ever gets to drive again.
We were in Kansas City this weekend to congratulate my nephew for getting his Eagle Scout and to tut tut at my niece for rolling her car. While we were there, my dad made the observation that Roger Clemens showing up to lie to Congress is a bit like some 80 year old Representative volunteering to throw fastballs at Clemens.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

With all the talk of delegates and superdelegates and fighting dirty vs. fighting clean, I want to throw something out there. It seems to be an accepted truth out there that Gore lost the 2000 election because he insisted on staying true to his principles.

First off, if by "staying true to his principles", they mean accepting the ruling of the Supreme Court, well, yeah. Like it or not, they are the Supreme Court. I wouldn't want a President who didn't accept the constraints placed on his (or her) power by the Constitution.

But let's flash back to Florida in November of 2000. Gore and Bush both tried to game the recount, fighting for the result most likely to get them elected. In other words, they both fought dirty, and Gore lost the fight. That made it hard to then make an argument from principle.

But if Gore had said, from the very start, "let's count every single vote", he could have made that argument. And he might well have won.
Kansas HS says female cannot ref boys game. Apparently the ref cannot be "in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs".
Remember when I said that the Republican candidates were all pro-torture, except John McCain? John has taken it upon himself to change that.

Update: I realize this could be read to indicate that he's trying to change the mind of his opponents on torture. Nope. He's voted to allow the CIA to torture detainees. His last bit of integrity is pretty much gone.

Damn You, John Scalzi

I've been reading John Scalzi's blog for a while now, and even reading books he recommends, but I've put off reading his actual books, partly because I've read military sci fi done horribly wrong, and partly just because. But I got The Ghost Brigades from the library the last time I was there, and it's been sitting there taunting me ever since.

Last night, about 9, I started it. I finished it about 1:30. It's one of those. Now I have to go read everything else.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

For your stalking convenience

Where I'll be tonight: Richard Thompson's 1000 Years of Popular Music

Update: Fantastic concert. If you ever have a chance to see this show, I recommend it. I also recommend his ordinary concerts. He's been a working musician for 50 years and is really good at it. But 1000 Years of Popular Music manages to be fun and interesting at the same time. There was an intermission, and we spent it talking about the history of the world, pop culture, human nature, and what professors from college we wished we'd thought to tell about the concert.

I laughed, I rocked out a bit, I learned some stuff, and I remembered things I'd forgotten long ago. And I think I got a bit of insight into what it is to be human through the lens of what we choose to make art about.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another campaign video worth watching.

Another big idea...

that I'm too lazy (and in the wrong industry) to implement:

Frequent visitors to the casino are given a card that they stick into whatever machine they're playing to track their gaming patterns. The casino gives them extra chances to win things in exchange for this data.

Why not do the same thing at the gym? You've already got a card you use to get in, so why not put a magnetic strip on it and network the machines so they record your workouts. Members get weekly emails on their progress, reminders to come workout, etc. The gym can upsell consulting services that are sort of a transitional product between full on personal training and just letting you come in whenever you want.

Obviously, the workout machine people would be the big beneficiaries here, since they'd sell a lot of new equipment, but I bet a lot of their machines could be retrofitted.

NordicTrack, I give you permission to make this happen.

(of course, it wouldn't surprise me at all if this were already out there somewhere)

Friday, February 08, 2008

I've been looking for a picture I saw with some news story the other day, and not having much luck. So I'm giving up. I'm just going to tell you about it.

I prefer Obama to Hillary. I voted for Obama. But the other day I saw a picture of either Hillary saluting a group of soldiers or the other way around, and I got choked up thinking America might finally have a woman Commander in Chief.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I don't mind that the primaries aren't settle yet.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This is clearly total nonsense:

You're Ulysses!
by James Joyce
Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame.

When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.


Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
The history of the Middle East in 90 Seconds.

Super Tuesday Thoughts

I'm fine that it's still undecided, and I don't think the long season is going to hurt the Dems. I think it's great that so many more Ds showed up to vote than Rs; that has me optimistic for the fall. But I wrote about hope on Monday, so today I'm going to tell you what I fear:

I fear a McCain/Huckabee ticket. McCain has a reputation as a straight talker, even though he's moved firmly into "say anything to get elected" land. Except, thank god, about torture. And Huckabee comes off as affable and folksy, even though his policy proposals are either yet another step toward theocracy or economically disastrous. And his foreign policy knowledge is, well, let's call it sketchy.

Why do I care who McCain picks as VP? Because McCain is 72 years old.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I had this really long post in my head about why I'm voting for Barack Obama tomorrow and why you should, too, but I decided to leave it there and say this instead:

Barack Obama inspires me, and he inspires every person I've talked to about him. When I imagine an Obama presidency, I feel hope for our country and our place in the world. I don't think he's perfect, and I don't love every move he makes, but I would never expect that from a candidate.

When I imagine a(nother) Clinton presidency, I don't expect incremental improvements but no systemic changes. And I don't really feel much of anything.

And that is why I'm voting for Obama tomorrow.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Her: I've been pretty easy on you, cravings-wise. No late night runs, and nothing with pickles on it.

Me: That's true. You've even stopped eating my pickle.

Her: What do you mean by that?

Me: ... That when we go to Panera and I get a sandwich that comes with a pickle, I finally get to eat it myself instead of you stealing it from me?

Her: Oh, right. Okay.

In other pregnancy related news, we had the big ultrasound yesterday, and I've already been rebuked a couple of times for telling people the sex of the baby without asking them if they wanted to know. So I'm asking: Do you want to know what kind of daughter we're having?
Saw a Huckabee ad last night. It started with an affirmation that he believes that life begins at conception, then said, "We believe in some things, we stand by those things, we live and die by those things."

This poses a real problem for a political smartass. Do I make some sort of facetious guess about these "things" he claims to believe in? ("Cthulhu fhtagn!") Go the bumper stick route? ("If you believe in things, Vote Huckabee!") Or should I point out the fact that the only "thing" he's willing to get specific about is one that most American's are kind of iffy on? Admittedly, that's not very funny, so I guess not that one.

I honestly don't know what to make of it. I suspect he's trying to go for some kind of dog whistle to the "values voters", telling them he's a man of conviction and strong moral values, but a man of conviction, to me, isn't afraid to name those convictions. This ad just comes across as weaselly and just a little creepy.