Browse Month: February 2010

02/27/2010

A funny quote from a client (not a client of mine):

I’ve decided that the amount you invoiced us for is far too much. Here’s my thinking: We are paying you to come up with an idea– we’re not paying you for the time you take to think about it. The actual idea must only take about 30 seconds to think about as you come up with it. All these visuals, that’s just typing. I can do that in Word. It would take me 5 minutes. So I only want to pay you for 5 and a half minutes work.

02/27/2010

Inspired by Rob, who has two vertical monitors at work, I finally figured out how to change my triple-monitor configuration so the left one is rotated. That gives me a really tall screen which is great for reading documents or even long scrolling web pages.

Now as I write a proposal today, I have plenty of screen real estate for all of the documents I need to reference for the functionality spec. Woo hoo!

02/24/2010

Some cool violets from our friend Christina for Laralee’s birthday yesterday.

02/23/2010

From an article by Harriet Fraad of Tikkun Daily:

France, Germany, and most other Europeans have stringent laws prohibiting any private money in elections. They have a choice of many parties, including several non-capitalist parties. If 12% percent of the electorate votes for an anti-capitalist party like they voted for the Linke Party in Germany, that party has 12% of the seats in the governing body. They can and do influence their government. They are in a democracy. America is now “the best democracy money can buy.”

I must say that it’s frustrating for me to vote mostly Libertarian in every election (local, state, and national) and never see my candidate win. Under our electoral system it’s all or nothing. The minorities don’t really get a voice, and our two-party system is broken in so many ways that I don’t know how it’ll ever get fixed.

An interesting metric might be how much we as Americans talk about reform. It seems like there’s an ongoing political agenda to reform almost everything about our government:

  • Social Security
  • health care
  • taxation
  • education
  • the electoral college
  • marriage laws
  • budgets and spending
  • If we feel like we need to change everything about our government, maybe it’s time to take a long hard look about the system of government itself and consider what might make it more of a true democracy.

02/14/2010

I still need to finish my taxes, so I decided to wander around the house with my camera instead. It’s kind of fun to see how everyday items take on a whole different look when you zoom in enough.

Like a clock:

A miniature magnetic chess set:

My stereo:

Even some parts Zack collected from a few old hard drives:

02/13/2010

Walter Morrison, inventor of the flying disc, died today at age 90.

He came up with the concept of a round piece of plastic to toss around. He originally called it the Pluto Platter, but when Wham-O bought the rights they called it the Frisbee. And of course it eventually formed the basis of the most awesome sport ever.

I wondered why it was called the Pluto Platter until I saw a photo of him back in the 1940’s:

02/13/2010

A couple of weeks ago I bought a pair of “dress” slacks. Actually they’re Dockers, because I just can’t get into the whole dressing-up thing, even for church. I think the last time I wore a suit was in college.

Anyway, I bought them because my current pair of slacks– Dockers in fact– is probably six or seven years old. So I’m definitely due for a new pair. I went to Kohl’s and picked up a pair in a nice neutral beige color, choosing the 32×34 size. The jeans I wear (also by Levi’s, makers of Dockers) are that size so it seemed fine. No need to try them on in the dressing room.

Unfortunately I discovered that my waist is technically 32 inches around, but the pants were super tight across the seat. From the back I looked like some kind of perv 1970’s hipster with butt-hugging pants. If I dared to bend over I’d probably split the seam right up the middle. Ugh.

So today I went back to Kohl’s to get a pair of 33×34’s, but to my chagrin I learned that apparently no one else on the planet has those measurements. There are plenty of 32xsomethings and 34xsomethings, but 33 is elusive. I settled on 34×34, feeling a little depressed because it means I must be getting fat or something.

An interesting observation: the minority of pants have an inseam measurement larger than the waist. Apparently most men are wider in the waist than they are tall in the leg. Upon reflection I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, I’m kind of a thin lanky guy and most of my contemporaries are a little more short and stout.

02/12/2010

I joined a gym.

Yep, I’ve joined the ranks of all the flabby middle-aged guys who think lifting weights a few times a week will save them from being total couch potatoes. Well, okay, maybe I don’t think that. But my friend Cory told me about an awesome deal at the local gym (right down the street from me, in face) where I can pay $12/month for membership. That’s a fraction of the normal fees, and a deal at any gym.

Honestly I don’t really care about their two pools, multiple Olympic weight rooms, sauna, cardio rooms, aerobics classes, spinning classes (what the heck is spinning?), or even the basketball court. It’s all about racquetball. I love the game*, and since it costs $10 per person to drop in on any gym in town, I haven’t done so for many moons.

So I went down there today with Rob and we both signed up. We’ll play some racquetball on Mondays after work, and then on Wednesdays and Fridays Laralee and I will play (I got her a membership too). Now I just have to find my old racket and dust it off…

* When I say “I love the game” it does not necessarily imply I’m any good at it.

02/12/2010

Sweet. My newest client, as of this afternoon, is NASA.

We’ll be building a web site for them to manage communities of users around the world who work in planetary sciences and astrophysics.

02/08/2010

Six flavors of awesome. Because it’s true.

Credit: Alan Foreman @ poisonedminds.com

02/07/2010

Today we went to the home of our friends the von Niederhauserns for their annual Super Bowl party. There were a dozen adults there– not to mention a gaggle of kids running around underfoot– and the funny thing is, not one of us cared who won the game. There weren’t any Saints or Colts fans, and we were all probably more interested in hanging out and eating pizza than the game.

So it was a great time, and in fact the game turned out to be pretty fun as it went back and forth. Congrats to the Saints.

02/07/2010

Last night Zack’s Cub Scout pack had a fundraiser: their annual Blue and Gold Banquet, which is a chance to get a hundred people together to eat spaghetti or (this year) a Mexican bar, and bid on cakes made by the boys to raise money for camps and such.

So Zack and I made a chocolate cake and coated it in a generous half-inch-thick layer of caramel frosting. Yum! Then we brought it to the banquet and waited while the auctioneer went through about forty cakes.

Finally ours came up, and I screamed “fifty bucks!” and immediately won the cake. Then the kids and I sat around our table and dug in. Awesome.

If I was more cynical I’d wonder whatever would possess me to make a cake, donate it to the Cub Scouts, and then buy it back for about ten times its value. Ah well, all for a good cause.

02/06/2010

I’ve never been much of a notebook guy. Over the years I would grab a legal pad and scribble some notes or thoughts or whatever– some for business, some for my writing and general creative ideas (such as they are). But it never seemed like I could finish a legal pad. I’d get maybe halfway through it, and I’d lose interest. Or lose the pad itself. Or, in one instance, spill water all over it and end up with smeary ink on every stuck-together page.

A few weeks ago I picked up a little pocket-sized notebook (a “memo pad” I guess it’s called) and I’ve been using it for work and some other things. So far I’ve used about ten percent of it. The big question: will I ever finish it?

02/06/2010

My cousin Cheryl found an old photo album and scanned some of the pictures. The results are hilarious.

For example, check out the adorable kid third from the left. Yep, that’s me with my pea green pants and matching olive socks. Oh, and the blue Keds. Everyone wore Keds in those days.

One could argue that Kathy (far left) is much more hip with her multicolored pants (what are those– flowers? Smurfs?).

Sometimes it’s a good thing that fashion changes.

02/06/2010

On the one hand, it’s awesome to have all kinds of food stored in our basement. When we run out of peanut butter or whatever, we just go downstairs and get a new one from the mini-grocery store.

On the other hand, sometimes the food down there has been around a while before we actually use it. Today I’m making a cake with Zack for the Cub Scout banquet tonight. The cake mix was a bit older than I’d like.

We mixed it up anyway, and both Zack and I agreed it still tastes fine.

02/03/2010

Having some fun with my camera…

02/02/2010

The tradition continues: it’s February 2 so we watched the movie Groundhog Day. What a great film– it’s funny, entertaining, and has some great messages in it.

I think this might be the fourteenth year in a row we’ve watched it.