Friday, May 29, 2009

It is not fun to be blowing through an excellent trilogy at the rate of about 2 days per book, only to be brought up short by the news that book three doesn't come out for three more weeks.

Christie'll be glad to have me back, though.
Google Wave looks very cool. Google describes it as "What Email Would Look Like If It Were Invented Today", and they're publishing the standards as open source so anyone can develop apps for it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hellacious Marathon

My brother's getting ready to run a marathon, and he picked one in the Southwest for his first. He told me that he'd looked up the Columbia marathon, and that all the reviews said it was hellaciously hard. So I looked up the course map, and I have to wonder what kind of sadist would make someone run that?!

The course runs from downtown Columbia to the river bottoms and back up, which is an insane amount of vertical for a late summer run in Missouri humidity.
Family battles to keep limit on noise with shooting range nearby.

Appalling local story that's as much about how easy it is to buy a law in Jeff City as it it about anything.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

R.I.P. Sam Maloof.

I expect that, if you asked him what he did for a living, he'd say, "I make chairs." But he was an artist who redefined the look and feel of American furniture. At 93, this is clearly a well-deserved rest. Still, the world is a little bit poorer.

Good Title

I'm not saying I actually want to read Disguised as the Devil: How Lyme Disease Created Witches and Changed History, but it's got a title that made little firecrackers go off in my head, possibly because I'm currently reading (and really enjoying) The Patriot Witch.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Me (singing): All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel, the monkey thought it was all in fun, Pop! goes the weasel!

Her: What does that even mean? What is that song supposed to be about?

Me: Unexploded ordinance.

Her: What?

Me: Yeah. It's from a German post-war children's song, "Boomf Geht Der Weasel."

Her: Really?

Me: No.

Her: Because it does seem like something the Germans would sing about.

Memorial Day

This morning, I ate donuts and shopped, this afternoon I took a decadently long nap with the wife and kid. That doesn't seem like how one ought to spend a Memorial Day, but it's how most of the soldiers I've known would have preferred to spend the day, compared to say, tromping through mud/sand on the way to probably get shot at by someone else who would also rather be home with their family. I'd like to say that I did it all in a commemorative way, but I really didn't.

There are days, and this is one of them, when I feel almost absurdly lucky to have the life that I do. People often say that we're standing on the shoulders of giants, but that's not really the case. All the wonderful things that we have were given to us by mere mortals who came before us who were in turn building on the things given to them by the human beings who came before them.

It's easy to feel like things are going to hell when you watch the news and see the horrible things we do to one another. But when you look back just a few hundred years, it's undeniable that we are freer, healthier, and better off now than then. And I'm not just talking about the developed world, although it's more visible here. There are certainly pockets of hell on Earth, but over all, we've clearly progressed as a race.

So, life is good.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

For Billie

Bald Presidents


Like all Missouri students, I had to take a bunch of aptitude tests when I graduated from high school. It was a decent ego boost, as I tested extremely well in every single area except one: clerical, which consisted of looking at columns of numbers and marking which ones were the same and which ones were different. I tested at about the 5th percentile on that one.

"Fine," I thought, "That's not a skill I'm ever going to want or need anyway."

Guess what I'm spending my day doing?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The most horrible noises just came through the baby monitor and I wondered, as I ran to the bedroom, if there's such a thing as sudden-onset whooping cough.


But there is such a thing as the cat coughing up a hairball on the bed next to the monitor.
As near as I can figure, the new ad put out by Blue Cross Blue Shield attacking the idea of a public health insurance option goes something like this:

1. Single payer health insurance will be a complete nightmare that no sane person would want, and we must do everything in our power to prevent anything that might ever lead to it.

2. If health care reform includes a public option among its various choices, it will be so good that everyone will choose it over private, for-profit plans, and

3. All the insurance companies will go out of business, leaving us stuck with the horrible public option which we all chose because it was so good.

I think I must be missing something.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charles Bolden: Possible NASA Head

Charles Bolden: The man who could lead NASA

I'll have to see what Rob and Mary think of him.

Want, but can't have

The Taga stroller, tricycle combo is terribly cool, terribly expensive, and not available in the US.


I mowed the lawn and cleaned the gutters yesterday, both of which were desperately needed. We have this one door in the basement that's hard to close after a rain, unless I keep a particular gutter on the uphill side of the house cleaned out so that water doesn't press against the foundation. And I swear it was easier to open after I cleaned out the gutter, although that actually makes no sense, as it didn't rain.

Doing the entire lawn in one sweep it nothing if not a reminder of how hilly our yard is. I literally hurt from head to toe. I have sore muscles on the soles of my feet.

Clearly, I am very out of shape.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I meant to tell you that Taunton Press (the people behind The Not So Big House and Fine Homebuilding plus lots of other awesome stuff) are having a warehouse sale on their books, but then I saw this book and got distracted. Everytime I see that cover, I hear this voice in my head, saying, "Ayup, that's wood, alright!"

Not dead, just sleepy

The Girl's cutting three teeth at once, which means she's not sleeping well. And when's she's not sleeping, nobody's sleeping. The other night, she went to bed at 11 and woke up at 5:30. So between that, work, and family in from out of town, I'm not finding a lot of spare cycles to bitch about the government, or to do anything worth bragging about, and those two things make up 90% of my blog postings.

Hence the quiet.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Plot thoughts

If I were scripting the Drew Peterson saga, his arrest wouldn't be the big dramatic moment. The BDM would come when he's convicted, at which point his fourth wife would come out of hiding. It would then be revealed that she faked her own death after he told her that he'd killed his previous wife and gotten away with it, and threatened to do the same to her. So she went into hiding leaving just enough evidence to get the cops interested.

Unfortunately, life very rarely works like that.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gorgeous Rocking Horse.

We already have a family heirloom rocking horse, or else I'd be down in the basement figuring out how to make a knockoff of these. Or, you know, just buy one.
Good news: 3-year-old boy recovering after 52-hour trek in woods.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The future of TV

John Rogers' post on future revenue streams of TV is interesting, and reminds me of a discussion I had with Christie's Mom over Christmas when we were talking about DVD players.

It wasn't a particularly long conversation, but I was trying to explain why I didn't much care about Blu-Ray, while I was excited about the new upconverting DVD player she got me for Christmas.

I almost hated to tell her that it wasn't about the picture quality; it was that the new player had an HDMI output, which freed up a port on the back of the TV. I was arguing that blu-ray was doomed because no one cared about picture quality.

According to me (and of course you know I think I'm right), DVD beat VHS because you didn't have to rewind it before you took it back to the store, and you could jump straight to your favorite scene. CDs beat tape because they lasted longer and, again, there was no rewinding.

In my not-even-remotely-humble opinion, convenience trumps quality every time, and I said that I thought Blu-Ray was doomed because it was expensive, but mostly because digital delivery was only a few years away.

Now, with the new Tivo, I have seamless digital delivery, and I've got to say I would much rather have that than fantastic picture quality. Although the picture quality on Netflix streaming is surprisingly good.
Well, I've discovered that I can, in fact, make it to the new Menards across town and back on my lunch hour. I have also discovered that I probably shouldn't. They have teak! And it's only $30 a board!

Looks like I'll be rebuilding the garden swing out of cedar, not teak. Sigh.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Christie spent all day yesterday doing solo baby care so I could get the lawn in shape, which had been nagging at the back of my mind for weeks. And then she demanded that we go out for Mexican food afterwards. After the baby went to bed, she suggested that we watch the Dollhouse episode we Tivoed Friday night, then spent 30 minutes or so discussing the various plot points, including possible plot holes and speculation about what new surprises Joss might have waiting for us. (BTW, we both think that having Agent Ballard say, "My whole life is fake!" so incredulously was probably a hint.)

As if that weren't enough, it was her idea to hand the kid off to Kate yesterday so we could catch a matinee of Wolverine, and we spent over an hour afterward discussing his backstory. I'm going to be honest here: I know more about Wolverine and the X-men than I do about databases, woodworking, shamanism, cryptozoology, the history of the English language, ancient Greek history, comparative religion, or my own family. And I pretty much never get to talk about it. So that was a very good hour.

Yep, I have the most awesome wife ever. You remember that episode of Dollhouse where Topher made a doll of himself, but stuck in the body of a hot babe, so he could have somebody to play video games and hang out with? (I am well aware that you probably don't.) That's pretty much what it's like being married to Christie, only less creepy and solipsistic.

Mother's Day

I'm thinking of getting Christie's Mom Day present from They've got two venues, so today I've got a choice between roses and a USB Nerf missile launcher. That's a tough call. I'm afraid by the time I make up my mind, it'll be too late.