Archive for the ‘Home’ category

progress chart

August 14, 2010


I found a cool Android app that fits a trend line to weight measurements and predicts meeting a goal.

Getting my weight down is something my doctors have been bugging me about.  I’m using the same technique I used before, John Walker’s Hacker diet, but this time I’m tracking it with another Android app linked to the site.  What neither the site nor the app had was an easy graphing/trendline capability.  Now I have that, too.

Looks like I’ll get down to my goal just in time to ruin it over the holidays.


November 24, 2009

Angie’s List is running a promotion I found amusing, but not for the reason they suggest.

Because nobody puts "re-gifted gifts" on their wish list.

I like the idea of getting something regifted.  It appeals to both my sense of irony and my sense of utility.

My wishlist, if anybody cares, is here.

But, if you have something you’re not using anyway, particularly still in the packaging, that you think I’d find useful or amusing, by all means regift it.  Got a strange kitchen tool you don’t use?  I’m trying all sorts of new things in my kitchen.  Have a set of cool wineglasses, but you quit drinking years ago?  I have a nice Pinot that needs a glass.  Did you misunderstand a DVD title, and it turned out to be some weird science-fiction soft-core porn?  Well.. I’ll give it a look, anway.

It just seems to me that having a gift whose only purpose is to demonstrate that gravity is still working is of zero, perhaps negative, value.  If nothing else, I’ll find it amusing.


Audacious rhyme

January 28, 2008

It’s been a while again, mostly because I’ve been busy.

But this morning I was listening to Antje Duvokot’s Merry-go-round and was struck by this rhyme:

We are slightly scared of death, a little bit afraid
So we celebrate everything we can think to celebrate

I would never have put those two words together.


What it means to be rich.

November 26, 2007

I stumbled into an article in the Washington Post this morning that includes this comment about the aspirational difference between “middle class” and “rich.”

“The middle-class aspirations include a decent home in a good neighborhood with a good school, and the ability to save for college and to make sure that your children have the opportunities to put themselves on a path to match or exceed yours,” Bernstein said. “If you’re upper class, you think about whether you want to move your horse from one barn to another barn.”

There are several things I find interesting about this notion, including one that happens to be purely about timing.

Teela’s riding instructor (I’m Teela’s dad) just decided to move her business to Arizona, so several of her riding buddies are thinking about new barns for their horses. All but one of them probably makes less than I do. For sure, none of them are rich. I wish I could afford a horse for Teela – a good one – because she’s put a lot of effort into her riding, and is at the point where she could start to compete. But I really can’t afford one, and if I could, I couldn’t afford to keep it.

My household income puts me in the top 6.5% of US households. The NY Times defines “rich” as the top 5%, which is a mere $157,176 in 2004 dollars. I live in the third richest county in the richest country in the history of the world, but I still worry about whether I’ll have enough money to cover a major illness or injury; whether I’d be able to find a job before my savings run out; or whether, if I save and invest carefully, Teela can go to a first or second tier university.

We’ve done a lot of things well, and we’ve been very fortunate, but from either an income or an aspirational perspective, I don’t think I’m rich. That puts me closer to Hilary Clinton than Barack Obama on the definition of “rich.”


Things to see with your kids in Baltimore

April 5, 2007

Chris Anderson used my comments about Geek Dad stuff in Baltimore on his GeekDad blog. I love the idea of sharing ideas for seeing “geeky” stuff with your kids, and I’m happy I was able to contribute.



September 11, 2006

This morning I couldn’t decide what to listen to on what turned out to be a very long ride into work. So I set my iPod to Shuffle, and the very first song it picked was Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain.”

My first thought was to run out and get lottery tickets.

Of course, CCR’s music is (sometimes deliberately) ironic on multiple levels. A “Louisiana swamp band” from the San Fransisco Bay area, four middle-class Californians trying to sound like rednecks “Born on the Bayou.” Both Fogarty’s managed to avoid Vietnam despite being drafted, and thus wrote authoritatively about situations with which they had no experience. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” is apocryphally about the use of Agent Orange and its effects on American troops, and inspired a spectacularly good and under-appreciated Nick Nolte movie.

It was in fact written about the incessant rain at Woodstock, where CCR’s sets were all played wet.

Sometimes, however, irony works out.


Cool/amusing nanopeople

June 19, 2006

I just thought this was cool, and rather amusing.

Kind of like smileys on the nanoscale.


FiOS is coming

May 21, 2006

I spent the day finishing up the desk in the living room. Now all that’s left is trim pieces, and the living room will finally be done. Only what, 18 months?

The outside fiber cable was installed today for my new FiOS service. The service guy is coming Tuesday. I’d like to have CAT-5 already run, but if not, I’ll let the Verizon guy run it. Either way, by Tuesday night I should have better, faster, cheaper phone, internet and (best of all) TV service.

No more cable Nazis, as Mary puts it.


A bit of History

May 18, 2006

I wasn’t working today, but took the day off to chaperone Teela’s class trip to Historic Saint Mary’s City. It’s a fairly cool place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

St. Mary’s had two main crops: Tobacco for cash, and corn to eat. Tobacco was both the main crop and the main currency. Getting it grown was mostly the work of indentured servants, and being indentured was both a tough way to make a living and an effective way to get an education. A boy who spent anywhere from four to ten years indenture learned all about growing tobacco, and at the end of his indenture got cash, tools, and a land grant. If you paid any attention to what you were doing (and survived illness, injury, cold and possibly famine) you could grow tobacco and at least your children would be wealthy.

Without local sources of metal, and a very limited middle class, most manufactured goods (and all metals) were imported. The stuff came over by ship, but very, very small ships. They had a replica of a fast trader, and it was a tiny place to spend a couple of months crossing the Atlantic, especially in winter. This was pre-industrial-revolution, of course, so doing simple things, like raising a 350 pound anchor, was hard work.

I don’t think we do hard work anymore. We do difficult things that require a lot of thought, but not a lot of real work, in the personal or physical sense. I don’t quite believe what I do, sitting in front of a keyboard, qualifies as “hard work.”



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