Ahh, Friday. Only seven more days until the weekend. I’ve made a lot of progress this week, and feel as though I’m ready for a break. But this weekend isn’t going to be much of a break. Saturday looks like a trip to mom’s, popping by the Saints Training Camp if it’s not raining, and a party in the evening. Sunday there’s the photowalk, flipping the calendar to a new month (with the associated bills to pay) and collapsing in a heap on the couch once it’s done. It’s all stuff I want to do, but I think I’m going to need to schedule a weekend day with absolutely nothing sometime in the near future. Just not this weekend. Or next. Sigh.
|Me at Oktoberfest 1980|
It almost makes me long for the days when I could spend the best part of three days walking around Munich with giant litre mugs of beer. Here’s a moment when I seem to have lost the beer and paused to prop myself up against a pillar. Given that I was almost as tall then as I am now, but weighed less than half as much, I was a much cheaper drunk. Not a prettier one. But the main thought I’m struck with when looking at this photo is
Eric Forman could have kicked my ass, and was much cooler too. I’d like to think I’ve grown since then, and not just physically.
I don’t have all that many pictures of me through the years. Yeah, there are a bunch from when I was a little kid that I should scan someday. And there are yearbook photos from school. But from the time I graduated high school until today, I’d be lucky to find even one picture per year. I sometimes think I should try to correct that, but I’m a lot more comfortable on the side of the camera that doesn’t steal your soul…
- As the Minnesota Senate hits a wall on stadiums, my state Senator seems to be putting a lot of political capital on the line. Larry Pogemiller may be
trying to put the heat on the governor, but he’s suggesting totally new ways to finance the three stadia that the legislature have concerned themselves with. I continue to think that John Marty is showing better leadership here. [press-patch]
- With a headline of Let us spray, the Observer takes a look at PT-141, an aphrodesiac that might actually work, on both men and women. And unlike Viagra, which seems to have mostly physical effects, the new drug goes straight to the brain. [fark!]
- Would these Japanese Mortgage Refinancing ads convince you to borrow money from these folks? Flash required. [turly]
- Mental note: travel insurance isn’t that good of a deal: Canadian in Mexico falls through travel insurance loophole because he was drunk when he got injured, so now he’s not covered. Hell, why bother buying the insurance at all if it’s not going to cover the majority of a vacation? [fark!]
- The next Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is this Sunday, April 30, 2006. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing I was already planning to go out taking pictures or not, since I suspect I won’t have time to make a pinhole lens before sunday. [photoshop news]
- Hmm. A May 1 immigrant boycott aims to ‘close’ cities with illegal immigrants walking off their jobs to demonstrate. I wonder how many are going to demonstrate against the employers that fire them for not showing up to work. As for stirring up resentment in middle America, which the article mentions, it’s already too late if the conversations at work are any indicator. Today’s Day By Day has a bit of commentary, too. [fark!]
Yesterday was Wednesday, and if you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that’s meeting day at my new job. Some weeks (like last week) the meetings get cancelled, but yesterday I got nearly the full complement. I was definitely dragging by 5:30 when I headed out the door from work. As a result, I didn’t get out to take some new pictures like I’d planned, so this morning I went digging in the archives.
|Basilica of St. Mary|
The result is the large stained glass at the Basilica. This was shot off from the side and below, so I did some tweaking to get the perspective looking (nearly) right. The Camera Lens filter in Photoshop was not my friend this morning, but I managed to get pretty close by just doing a free transform. And a minor bump to the both the lightness and saturation of the reds, and here you are. The sharpness isn’t quite what I’d like, but I think the effort to correct the perspective was worth it.
I’m finding out about more of the tools available in Photoshop over time, and some of the ones I never would have touched a year ago are turning out to be pretty darned handy. Hue/Sat was very imposing, but once I’d seen examples of it in use, I felt confident enough to give it a try. I recommend Bruce Fraser’s Real World Photoshop CS2 if you’re in the same boat I was in. There’s an awful lot of good information in there.
On the other hand, I’d prefer not to need to do extensive edits in order to have a photo I want to post here. I’d rather just get it right in the camera in the first place, and that’s one of the reasons I wish there was a perspective correction lens that would work with my camera. As it is, I find myself tempted to get a Nikon D-200 just so I can use the PC-Nikkor 28 and Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 PC lenses. Of course the price tag for that camera-bag full of stuff means that it’s just a dream for now, but maybe one of these years…
Which brings me to the last bit of the update for the day. The surveyors were out yesterday, and there are new markers on the corners of my lot. The reason I didn’t find the old ones was that I was looking on the street side of the sidewalk, not the house side. Oops. But hey, they’ve been found, which means that as soon as the weight restrictions come off the roads, the landscaping work is ready to go.
- Yesterday, the Twins score[d an] easy House victory, with only one small setback. If the team is sold, 18% of the revenue from a sale goes back to the public. And the Twins continue to insist that if a referendum is required, they’re done trying for a new stadium. Interesting how they’re sure they would lose if the people who will have to pay the tax actually got a chance to vote on it, but they’re happy to have 86 other counties vote to raise taxes on Hennepin County taxpayers. And I know that three cents on $20 is no big deal. And yet somehow it adds up to over half a billion dollars. That’s a big deal, indeed. [press-patch]
- Scott posts about an Awesome triple play that could just as easily have been a couple runs due to poor “situational awareness” by both the catcher and third baseman. Luckily, the pitcher was paying attention and got a strikeout and two assists. With Saints training camp opening this Saturday, I’m looking forward to seeing some goofy plays myself. [scottk]
Running a bit late this morning. Allergy season is in full swing, and an extra hour of shuteye just seemed like a darned good idea this morning.
Ferns again, this time in color. I actually spent an awful lot of time on this picture with photoshop, mostly because I had a much larger photo and discovered this cool little bit of fern in the corner. But the whole was marred by the shadow on the wall of the garage behind it. Much effort spent playing with adjustment layers and such, but I like the result. I just wish I’d seen it when I was still holding the camera, so I could have captured it full-frame, rather than having to snip out a tiny corner of the frame I shot. Do you think it was worth the effort? Let me know. I don’t get much feedback on the photos, and find myself wondering if they’re worth the effort sometimes.
Dinner and drinks last night with some ex-cow-orkers. Good time, and Barley John’s was a darned good location for our group. Both of the seasonals were yummy, but I ended up switching to the wild brunette for the long-haul. Brown ales just seem to work better for me over the long run, even when they’re 7.5 percent alcohol. And that’s it for today. Time for me to get to work.
- A Wisconsin Bill would prohibit mandatory microchip implants. Y’know, it’s sad that such a law is needed at all, but it seems it is… [fark!]
- Turns out endorsing nuclear power isn’t all that weird among greens after all. Both Jared Diamond and Stewart Brand have raised hackles by saying that nukes are the answer. [karl]
- Karl has more on Diminishing Nutrition, pointing out that pretty flowers have less scent than they used to, too. Karl’s been digging deeper into a few different topics I’ve mentioned in passing, so if you like what’s around here, you might want to check him out. [karl]
- State Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) says you should Follow the Money for Stadiums that sports teams are asking taxpayers to buy them. Among his revalations is the fact that the Pohlad family has given money to candidates from both sides in the 2002 elections. No matter which “side” won, the Pohlads had bought their candidates.
Yesterday morning, cloudy but pretty reasonable temperatures for this time of year. By the time I left work yesterday, it was down to 50 and feeling decidedly chilly. And it looks like it’s going to bottom out this morning at 33°F. No actual frost, but darned close to it. Makes me glad I didn’t get all excited about the garden yet.
Pictures? Yeah, I’ve got some again. Yesterday’s ferns were one of the few I’ve taken recently that had strong enough lines that I thought it worked better in black & white. Today, just a bunny who lives in the neighborhood, and apparently sees me often enough that it’s not very frightened. I managed to walk up to within ten or twelve feet to take this picture. I like the way a guy can see the individual hairs in the rabbit’s coat. Looks warm to me this morning.
There’s a new development in the landscaping. I called in an actual surveyor. It’s gonna run between six and seven hundred to get my property mapped out, but I’ll get new markers placed at the four corners of the lot, and a drawn map which shows everything on the lot. But yesterday the city came by to grind out the tree stump that was on the boulevard of my neighbor’s lot. The wood chips are currently covering the property line I’m most concerned about for the landscaping, so I hope the city comes and picks them up before the surveyor gets here.
- Up in New Hampshire, They really don’t like Real ID. Good! I don’t expect it to stop the program, but I’m encouraged by a little noise along the way. [claire]
- A tiny bit of good news for privacy: Tennessee Supreme Court Overturns ID Roadblocks that were operated in the name of “safety.” [fark!]
- Jim says he’ll leave it up to me to decide if Ben and Jerry’s apologizing for “Black and Tan’ Ice Cream is political correctness run amok, but he never orders the drink “Black and Tan” just because of the name. Me, I’m less concerned about the name, and was just happy about the possibility of beer flavored ice-cream. But apprently not happy enough to actually go and try some. [jim]
- Today Ben & Jerry’s is giving away free ice-cream cones at Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops. Except for the Grand Ave. and Airport locations, which are apparently run by people too cheap for that sort of thing. [metro mpls]
- Kim looks at the records of Replublicans since 2004 and gives them Failing Grades across the board. And they’re worrying about passing laws requiring posting warning labels on websites. Keep digging guys. [kim]
No call from the contractors last Friday. That’s not a huge problem, but a little disconcerting, especially when I keep reading about all the problems Lileks is having with his water feature. But I remain confident I’ll hear back from them soon. Also no return-call from the appointment I’ve been trying to schedule. Sigh. I’d be tempted to just drop that one, except that I’ve paid for the work already, and just need to stop in to finish things up. Apparently pre-paying wasn’t the best plan.
Friday and Saturday were fairly sedentary. To bed early on Friday, and out of bed late on Saturday. Over ten hours of sleep. Out to the range on Saturday, where a friend and I put a couple hundred holes in various pieces of paper. We both, apparently, need more practice. Once that was done, I napped a bit, and then did some work in the basement. One of these years I’d like to make my basement habitable, but the fact that I can’t walk around upright down there is a powerful disincentive. I imagine that will eventually push me to replace the furnace, but not this year. Saturday night was spent staying up far too late reading a book. It’s been too long since I’ve done that.
Yesterday was yard work. I cleared out the last of the pile of blocks and bricks from beside the garage. Moved the smaller pieces to the trash, and the larger pieces near the trash. I hope I haven’t misjudged how much I can dispose of in a single week, since too much means no trash pickup at all. Plus I filled in the resulting bare spot with grass seed. I also went out in the yard with the metal-detector, attempting to find the posts that mark the edge of my lot. Unfortunately, they’re either buried more than a foot deep, or I have no freakin’ idea where my property lines are. I guess that’s not a huge deal until the contractors get here, but now I need to decide whether we’re just going to wing it, or I call in professional help. Wish me luck!
Thinking ahead to next weekend, there’s the Flickr Twin Cities April Photowalk on Sunday, and Saints Training Camp opens on Saturday. Looks like a busy weekend coming, so I guess I’d better get started on the work-week.
- Another photography weblog has started up: Still Life With… covers food (and other still-life) photography ideas.
- Remember, Photographing Architecture is Not a Crime. Good anecdote. [boing boing]
- Interesting. In Swanni’s 2008 HDTV Presidential Forecast, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani are the big winners for how they look on HDTV. Will this affect the 2008 presidential election? Almost as much at the first televised Nixon/Kennedy debate in 1960, says Swanni. [colby cosh]
- The Geek With A .45 has some musings On Really, Really Basic Business Etiquette. Good story. Might even call it a parable. I’m tempted to send it to the folks who haven’t called back when they said they would. [endwar]
- Bayer, the maker of Alka-Seltzer severs ties with International Federation of Competitive Eating, and will no longer sponsor speed-eating contests. [colby cosh]
- Why are Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago? Because farmers have selected for varieties that grow faster and bigger, but not for more nutritious varieties. Unintended consequences of selling food by weight? [jwz]
This morning I decided to sleep in an extra two hours. Which is going to get me in to work later, which means I’ll be coming home about the time they take away the freeway near my house this evening. I’m already planning alternate routes.
I guess the good part of running behind today is that I’m going to still be at home late enough that I can call to make an appointment I’ve been putting off for a few weeks. Nothing major, but the office is only open when I’m at work or driving to and from, and I never think of calling from work. So I’ll try and schedule that a bit later this morning, and then I’ll be able to cross one more thing off the to-do list. Between that, and hopefully hearing from the contractor today with a bid, I think I’ll feel like it’s been a productive week, no matter how work goes. The only dark cloud on the metaphorical horizon is that two of my meetings that are normally held on Wednesdays got moved to Friday this week. Wednesday went great because of that, and I guess I’ll pay the price today.
- jr has a long rant about why he thinks Scrum is Crap. I like. Part of the project I’m working on at work is using the scrum system, and it’s not really any different from development projects I’ve worked on in the past. The big difference is in my attitude. I came into this job with a huge backlog of stuff to do, and I’ve just taken the attitude that I’m going to get as much done as I can, in the priority order they tell me, and what’s undone will be undone. And when I go home at the end of the day, I leave work at work — that’s been one of the nicest benefits of having a “real job”. [jr]
- A columnist at ESPN asks How do you really feel about Barry Bonds? We talked about something related to this at lunch yesterday. I just don’t follow Major League Baseball closely enough anymore to care. I’m a Saints fan, and MLB lost me in 1994. The whole stadium brouhaha here in Minnesota mostly has me thinking about how I’m going to be robbed of more tax dollars to finance rich guys who are too cheap to build their own facilities. But I’m not exactly excited about it. Hell, it’s just one more case of government stealing from me to give money to someone else. [scottk]
- The Story of marching ants and hamm’s beer is interesting and combines two of my loves. How could I not link to it?
- Speaking of beer, Miller beer to be first to use (Cold Can) Technology. Chills the beer by 30° F in 3 minutes. That won’t take it from hot summer to ice-cold, but I bet I still try some when they come out. [fark!]
- Hmm. On this list of 59 Things a Man Should Never Do Past 30, I’ve done a fair number. Let’s see: 25, 28, 37 & 38, 40, 41 and 50. Does doing seven out of 59 make me immature? Just where is the line? [fark!]
- The MoOM is the Museum of Online Museums looks like a good way to spend a day. Perhaps one of the days this weekend.
Dinner Club last night was at Vino 610. I had a good time there. The company was good. The wine was reasonably priced. The appetizers were good. And my dinner was good on the second try. When the waitress looked at the sad, gray slice of steak I’d cut off the first attempt, she said
That’s way overdone, isn’t it? and took it back. I’m sure it didn’t hurt my case that when ordering, I’d asked whether medium-rare meant a red center. The next attempt arrived just right:
Red warm center and will have a springy firmness. It’s a common failing, and we’d slammed the place by having a dozen people order entrees all at once, so I wasn’t upset — I know how easy it is to forget something on the grill for the extra minute or two it takes to go from medium rare to medium well, especially when things are really hopping in the kitchen. But I also wasn’t going to spend $20 for a steak that wasn’t done the way I’d asked for.
The downsides? Well, as I hinted at above, they don’t seem to be set up for getting a large group all at once. Our food arrived in waves, leading me to suspect that a table of four would be fine, but larger groups may be disappointed. Understandable, but it would have been nice to know that when Kat phoned ahead to see if they could handle twelve people.
The biggest problem was the noise level. The room is hard. Hard concrete floor, hard wood walls, hard glass windows, and a high hard ceiling all contributed to a loud room. On top of that, the sound system was turned up high enough to require everyone to raise their voices to be able to converse over the music. If you’re expecting a quiet romantic dinner, this might not be the place for you.
So I’d rate it pretty solidly in the upper middle of the pack. The service and food were good, but the ambience could use something to soak up the noise. And be clear that they’re a wine-bar with food, not a restaurant with a good wine list. If you set your expectations that way, there’s a lot to enjoy. The staff were friendly and patient with us, and the prices were reasonable for the quality of the food and drink. Call it a seven out of ten.
- First off, here’s a very good chart of Steak Doneness. I wish more cooks and chefs would take a look at it.
- If you’re in the Twin Cities and don’t hear something at 1:45 this afternoon, you may want to ask yourself Where are the sirens? [press-patch]
- The St. Paul Art Crawl is this weekend. Friday 5-10 pm, Sat noon-7 pm, and Sun noon-5 pm. Thanks to Rose for the tip.
- It’s possible to Fly for free on RyanAir. And yet the airline has an
industry-leading 22 percent net profit margin.When I booked a flight recently, I paid $1500 for a flight, even after asking
is there anyone other than Northwest?And from the looks of it, I’m going to be flying in a nearly-full DC-10. I’m pretty sure I’m not getting $1500 more worth of value out of the deal. [flutterby]
- This article on Sleeping on Planes has some good tips, but the most interesting thing I found was a note that
airline seats are inclined at a similar angle to chairs used for torture and to extract confessions from criminals–the theory being that this particular angle will cause enough discomfort over time to exhaust the confessor and make them spill everything.I don’t find that at all surprising. [fark!]
- Did you know there are Few Protections for Migrants to Mexico? If you sneak across the border into Mexico, you’ll be considered a felon by the government, be hunted by police and soldiers at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels, and have to fear detention, rape and robbery. And if the police do catch you, it’s a toss up as to whether they’ll take your money and throw you in jail or deport you. And yet the Mexican goverment complains about how illegals are treated here in the north. I wonder what would happen if we tried to make them feel right at home. [fark!]
Nice thunderstorms last night. I wish I could say I’d gone out and tried to take some pictures of lightning, but by the time the light-show started, I was comfortably at home, digesting my dinner. No metal-detector searching for the corners for my lot, either. My cow-orker forgot to bring it in to work. No hurry though, since the contractor says he’ll probably be back on Friday with some sample blocks for the retaining wall and patio, and I really don’t have to know where the property line is until they start digging.
And I think that’s about it for this morning. As near as I can figure from the conflicting weather forecasts, there’s going to be more rain this week (even if they don’t agree when it’s coming), so there won’t be any fascinating tales of yard work. I guess I’ll just have to do my best to come up with something else to bore you with.
- Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace, makes the case for Going Nuclear. Maybe one day it will become politically possible to build new nuclear plants in the US. I don’t think it’ll be anytime soon, but Moore’s article gives me some hope. [vowe]
- In V for Vulgar Dan has the first negative review I’ve seen of V for Vendetta. I’m keeping an open mind, and am still somewhat optimistic. Since I decided to wait for the DVD, I figure even if it sucks, I’ll be watching it at home, and can always have a beer. But I did watch C for Cookie.
People should not be afraid of cookie. Cookie should be afraid of people.[flutterby]
- In a small fit of sanity from the Republican party, Newt Gingrich warns Republicans Americans want change and are tired of pork.
We were sent here to reform Washington, not to be co-opted by Washington.And you’ll be sent home, at the rate you’re going. [instapundit]
- An English pub sets up in-house tattoo parlour, which makes me think that there are going to be more than a few patrons bringing home something they’ll regret more than a hangover. Used to be you’d have to go to Tijuana to exercise such bad judgement, but now you can do it in the comfort of your neighborhood boozer. And as Rich points out, you don’t want to get a tattoo where you’ll be sagging later in life. At least the robot bartender that makes jokes probably won’t give you grief about your newly acquired tramp stamp (which are apparently known as slag tags elsewhere in the world). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate good artwork. It’s just that I somehow suspect that throwing beer into the mix is going to lead to some unwise decisions. [fark! and jim]
This morning, I’m expecting a visit from the contractor. He’s going to rebid the retaining wall and patio, since concrete prices went up over the winter, and I’ve changed the design on the patio. Fair enough. And I’m excited to get the ball rolling here, even if it’s probably going to cost more than I had planned.
Also today, a cow-orker is going to bring his metal detector in to work. I’ll use that, perhaps this evening, to find the markers for the corner of my lot, so I can tell the contractor how far he can go with the retaining wall. I wonder how many false alarms I’ll have before I find the markers. It won’t be as good as if I’d hired a surveyor, but it’s probably good enough. More information is at Minneapolis’ property line information page.
And I think that’s going to do it for this morning. I figure I should probably make sure I’m not still in the shower when the contractor shows up. Wouldn’t do to keep him waiting.
- A hundred years ago today, a dozen men showed Grace Under Fire in saving the San Francisco mint. It’s a good story. [kottke]
- Rick Prescott’s Ballpark Magic has descriptions of a lot of ballparks in the area, including a special section on those that are gone, but not forgotten. [press-patch]
- It’s that time of year: Garage Sale Season is here–if you can find them. Greg offers tips for people looking for them, but mostly for folks holding garage sales. [metro mpls]
- Here’s a cool Map Gallery of Religion in the United States. Wanna know where all the Lutherans live? Right around here, apparently. [boing boing]
- Fosfor Gadgets rounds up The Top 10 weirdest keyboards ever and they didn’t even list The BAT. [vowe]
- Jr’s hosting the Y! Cool Thing of the Day blog. Cool idea. And a good way to point out some of the cool stuff that Yahoo! has done. [jr]
It was a good weekend. I just stayed home on Friday evening. Saturday I ran a bunch of errands, napped, and visited with a friend who stopped by to take away a bunch of old patio blocks I didn’t want or need anymore. The windows were open all day Saturday for the first time this year, which was nice. Sunday I visited mom and then hid inside with closed windows avoiding the high winds which seemed to be stirring up more allergens than I wanted to be around.
On Saturday evening, we talked about my patio plans. I’m leaning toward the circular patio that she recommended. I’ve got an area bounded by the house and the sidewalk, twelve feet on a side. That’s two sides of the patio nailed down. But putting some sort of circular section for the rest of the patio is appealing (even though it’ll be more of a hassle to mow around). I know I want it to run into the house and sidewalk 12′ from the corner, and I think putting the center of the circular section 4′ up and over from the corner (or 5′ 7¾″ on the diagonal) is right. The math looks like a 9′ radius circle on that point is pretty close to what I want (it’s less than an inch too long). Does that description make sense to anyone but me? I’m betting it’s going to cost a lot more than a rectangular patio because they’re going to have to cut bunches of blocks, but I had already decided I wanted the hex or honeycomb pavers, which meant cutting for a rectangular patio, too. Oh well, I guess it can’t hurt to ask. If the contractor ever returns my calls.
- It’s not really news, but CEOs say how you treat a waiter can predict a lot about character. On Tuesday last week, one of the things I was talking with my friends about was the shitty tipper database, but there’s also Waiter Rant. As Dave Barry said, though probably not first,
A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.One of the interesting bits of the conversation was a comment that people hiring are checking on the interwebs for you. Not a real surprise to me, but it’s interesting to see how googling someone, which was considered incredibly geeky and paranoid just a few years ago, is now pretty standard practice. [fark!]
- Speaking of bad PR, Apple calls meeting after making little girl cry. They had the legal department write to a 9 year old. Nice work, guys. [fark!]
- Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find it at all surprising that We’re all being wiretapped. Offensive as hell? Sure. Surprising? Not in the least. [claire]
- Looking for other reasons for the Republicans to lose this fall? The GOP’s Betrayal On Speech is right up there, too.
Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech unless speech annoys politicians.[coyote blog]
- Carla Howell talks about Why We Need More ‘Uninsured’ Americans and why government-mandated (or at least sponsored) health insurance isn’t such a good deal. I’ve been in to be treated for the same problem both when insured and when uninsured, and while the difference in cost was significant, if I don’t get sick about twice a month or start requiring expensive medication, being uninsured is a better deal. [claire]
I was thinking that I might try to get up and out of the house even earlier than normal this morning, perhaps getting an opportunity for some nice sunrise photos, but I find myself here typing as the sun is rising instead. I was halfway through the morning reading before I realized that I was hoping to do something else. Guess I’m in a rut. But hey, at least you get a morning update.
- The Wall Street Journal takes a look at The clever GOP strategy for defeat in November:
If Republicans lose control of Congress in November, they might want to look back at last Thursday as the day it was lost. That’s when the big spenders among House Republicans blew up a deal between the leadership and rank-in-file to impose some modest spending discipline.
The Porkbusters may have lost a battle in stopping earmarks this year, but I think this is going to be a huge problem for the Republicans in DC. They’ve shown themselves to be just as free and easy with our money as the Democrats, and there’s a good chunk of the GOP base that won’t appreciate that.
A category five political storm is building in GOP precincts around the country, and it is going to blow Republicans right out of the majority in November if they don’t soon give their supporters some reason to re-elect them.
At the current pace, a Democratic majority in Congress would be preferable, if only for reasons of truth in advertising.
I really don’t see any reason to re-elect anyone currently “serving” in DC. Well, maybe Ron Paul. As far as I can tell, everyone else is part of the problem. [instapundit]
- There ought to be a law protecting intellectual property, right? Unintended Consequences: Seven Years Under the DMCA shows why the current implementation might not be the best idea. For that matter, whenever a post around here starts with
there ought to be a law…you should probably wonder a bit. [boing boing]
- Over in St. Paul, Ford reveals ’08 shutdown of the truck plant. I wonder what will happen with the Ford Dam, since they own that, and most of the electricity is used in the plant. I lost track of the relicensing on that, but if the (typically fifty-year) license hasn’t yet been renewed, that could prove interesting. [press-patch]
- My friend Kari put together a video as part of a grant submission, and it’s now up on MN Stories. [jim]
This morning I spent a few minutes looking at the Saints schedule and realized that there’s just a month left before the season starts. Given the warm weather we’ve had this week, that seems like a long way off, but I keep thinking that this is not a normal Minnesota spring, and we might even get snow again before it turns nice for keeps. I hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
I’ve also noticed this week that I’m already doing things to avoid going out and working in the yard. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Too much time working on the grass and such would mean I’d be tempted to get started on the garden, too, and it’s definitely too early for that. So instead I’ve been doing things like visiting friends or going to the local watering hole, when I really should be cleaning out the garage, or going for a ride on my trike. Perhaps this weekend I’ll make the mental transition.
Spring in Minnesota is generally a pretty good time, complete with college gals throwing off their parkas and showing off their spring-break-tanned bodies. But the biggest downside of spring in Minnesota is that the crazies come out, too. Two weeks ago, there was the guy who thought he was Jesus at the bar. Yesterday, a friend got accosted by the neighborhood “thugs,” a handful of teenagers who are apparently hassling people on the streets.
I’m glad I haven’t had an encounter with such yet this year, but I worry about the day. Not so much because I feel threatened by them (though there is an element of that) as by the fact that it would be far too tempting to “escalate the situation” to the point that someone would need to call the police. I’d rather just avoid the whole mess in the first place.
And that’s the same reason I don’t see “patching things up” from last year’s party, either. I don’t hate ’em, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around. Is it cowardly, or “being an asshole” to avoid people who make you feel bad? Could be, but I don’t particularly care. Life’s too short.
And before this goes any further off the rails, I guess it’s time to get to work for the day. If the weather and my sleeping patterns hold for tomorrow, I might skip the update. I keep seeing beautiful sunrises out the window while I’m writing these morning rambles, and it might be time to get outside and actually enjoy one. So maybe I’ll see you tomorrow, but if not, have a swell weekend.
- It is to laugh. The Rising is, according to Donncha,
a short animation featuring the main players of the 1916 Rising as members of the R Team as they battle today’s politicians and institutions!I found it pretty darned funny, but you’ll probably need some knowledge of the 1916 Rising for it to make sense. [holy schmoly]
- So when you look at a hydrogen-powered motorcycle do you ask yourself Is it still a motorcycle if it’s silent? or not? [fark!]
- Not sure about your feelings? Get The Love/Hate T-Shirt and express your ambiguity. Or perhaps this other one. [boing boing]
- Ian’s Shoelace Site shows you How To Tie Your Shoes. There are actually a couple cool knots there. [boing boing]
Tired this morning. I went over to some friends’ house last night and hung out with them for a few hours talking, and generally having a good time. Got home and to bed about the normal time, but for some reason woke up at 3am this morning. Finally decided to get out of bed around 4 because I just wasn’t getting back to sleep, but now, at 6am, as I’m wrapping up the blogging for the morning, I’m feeling tired. And I know that if I go back to bed, I’ll sleep until noon or so, which wouldn’t exactly be a career-enhancing maneuver, since I have a meeting to get to this morning.
So I guess it’s just a matter of powering through the sleepiness with a combination of Mountain Dew and Sudafed. I’ll probably be okay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had an overpowering urge to nap sometime after lunch this afternoon.
- A little baseball news: Saints sign Frost, two others. Jeremy Frost will be back in St. Paul this summer. And it’s just two and a half weeks until training camp opens on April 29th. [press-patch]
- Guy Kawasaki talks about his First 100 Days of blogging. He’s got funny observations, as usual. I’m not really sure why I don’t read him more often, actually. [scripting]
- I’m not exactly sure why anyone would want a machine that could BSOD on Demand, but apparently it’s just another neat feature built into Windows. [flutterby]
- In local news, the Twin Cities Flickr April photowalk will be on the 30th at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Sounds like fun, but I’ve got a hankerin’ to get out with the camera sooner than that. Maybe I’ll head over to the Tax Day Rally on Saturday or something.
- Another ex-cow-orker of mine, brian grivna (who, e.e. cummings-like, eschews capitalization), has had an essay published in Before the Mortgage. He’ll be reading from it at Magers & Quinn in Calhoun Square on April 25th at 7pm.
- Wanna go to an Art Show? Wanna show something in an art show? Who or What is Mpls? is open to anyone. Submission deadline is April 21st, and the show runs May 6-10. Might be worth stopping by to look at. [metro mpls]
Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the Twin Cities. And it was made even better by a power outage at work about 4pm which sent me home a bit early. Came home to a temperature of 79 degrees in the back yard, and did a little more chopping apart of the brick-like black dirt left after last year’s sidewalk work, putting down some grass seed, and hauling out the hose to water it. I also noticed that some of the seed put down last fall has started to poke through the surface, so I have high hopes for having healthy grass there. Of course I’ll be complaining about having to mow it in a month or two, but for now it feels nice.
I’ve decided to take a day or two off from the posting of pictures. With the nice weather predicted for this week (including a chance for thunderstorms — maybe I’ll get a chance to do some lightning photography), I’m going to try and spend more time outside in the evening rather than post-processing up photographs for the website. If this bothers you greatly, you could always drop a note which might encourage me a bit.
- Ladies, here’s news. The Sun helps beat breast cancer. If you want to avoid breast cancer, you should go out more often in a bikini. Science said so. [fark!]
- Speaking of tips for the fairer sex, Ladies’ Home Journal, by way of MSN offers 10 Friendly Pickup Lines for women to use on men. You had me at “Hi.” [fark!]
- Ben & Jerry’s is now offering beer-flavored Black & Tan ice cream. Damn. If you notice me putting on a lot of weight, it will be their fault. [fark!]
- Huh! Butter Pig is a cooking / recipe blog by an ex-cow-orker of mine. Cool. Years of content that I hadn’t noticed until last night when I went looking for folks linking to me.
- Kim notes some Updated Texas Hunting Regs, which are the result of Dick Cheney’s “Sporting Misadventure”. Heh!
Sec 370.05 The willful killing of attorneys with a motor vehicle is prohibited, unless such vehicle is an ambulance being driven in reverse.
He also notes that honest attorneys are protected under the Endangered Species Act. [kim]
Another weekend come and gone. Pretty darned nice weather, and they say it’s going to be around 70 outside today, too. Almost makes a guy wish he had some time off accumulated, but he doesn’t, and it appears he won’t anytime soon, either. This is the part of the year when I suspect the change to a full-time job will hit me hardest. There’s a lot of things I want to be doing outside this time of year, and just not enough hours to do them.
That said, I did get ouside enough to sunburn my forehead a bit over the weekend. Saturday I headed out to Peter’s Billiards to pick up the last two chairs to complete the setup around my dining-room / poker table. For the past couple years, I’ve had only four chairs for a six-person table, which meant pressing others into service. It worked, but this way is better, and I needed something to spend my tax-return on. After that, I spent a couple hours out in the yard. I cleaned all the dead vegetation out of the garden and from along the side of the garage. The result was two trash bags of “yard waste” and another six inches of stuff in the compost bin (which got a good stirring), which needs watering so it’ll be moist enough to start going again for the year. I also loosened some of the bare dirt left over from last fall’s sidewalk project and threw some grass seed into it. Didn’t water it, since I figure we’ll get rain soon enough, and maybe I’ll get some more done before that rain hits. That and the garden hose is currently somewhere in the basement.
|Horse Detail 3|
Sunday I headed over to the Summit Brewery to pick up my Saints season tickets for the year. I’m a little unhappy with the schedule, since they’re doing things like having a Saturday night game on the 6th of May (which is awfully early in the year for a night game, especially on a weekend when folks could go to the game during the day), but generally the schedule looks good, and it was nice seeing the other fans again.
The pictures. These are the last of the carousel pictures that I had meant to post last Friday. There’s another detail of a horse’s head, and a picture showing the interior of the roof of the carousel. The latter shows the big bearing on top that carries the weight of the whole thing. The carousel is entirely suspended and that black thing where all the cables converge holds up everything. Kinda cool, actually, though I don’t think the picture does it justice.
And I think that’s going to do it for today. It’s time for me to look through the bills, write a few checks, and then get off to work for the week. Wish me well.
- Radley Balko talks about the most important Supreme Court case you’ve never heard about, which will decide whether when police conduct an illegal no-knock search, any evidence they collect can be excluded. While it wouldn’t stop no-knock searches, it might scale them back a little, and I think the cops should have to follow the rules.
- Michelle Malkin tears into The Mess At DHS and I’m pretty impressed at the rant, and it’s nice to see someone pointing out the fact that hiring your friends, as the President seems to have done, doesn’t always lead to getting the most qualified people. [instapundit]
- Memories of the destruction of Rondo [are] haunting light-rail debate, as residents worry about what the central corridor light rail will do to Frogtown and Summit-University. I think it’ll be a boost in the long run, but the construction won’t be much fun. [press-patch]
- MNBeer.com reports in Surly Vs. Surly that local bike maker Surly Bikes has filed a cease and desist order against Surly Brewing, but if you notice the date on the article, you might be suspicious of how serious it is. [jim]
- I missed the Auto Body Experience show at O’Gara’s over a week ago, but it got reviewed on HowWasTheShow.com. A very positive review. Cool! [jim]
- So it appears V for Vendetta was a box-office success, making back the production costs. I still haven’t gotten to a theater to see it, and have reached the point where I might as well wait for the DVD. [claire]
Had problems with my server this morning. There was some task that was running away and sucking all the CPU. By the time I had the colocation people reboot it, it was time to head to work. And that’s the update for today.
I’m still not feeling 100%, but today it’s time to get back in to work. Not sure what the day will hold, but I’m suspecting that a large part of it will be dealing with email from the days I took off. Wish me luck.
I’m winding down on the carousel photos. Today there’s a picture of the plaque showing who made the carousel. Wikipedia has an article on the company, saying that
The company’s carousels were preferred among discriminating clients, for their elaborate carvings and elegant decorations. Cool.
|Loaded for Bear|
Then there’s the horse with the rifle (is that a Winchester? I bet it is). I thought it was pretty cool looking, if not exactly politically correct in today’s climate. There were pistols on a few horses as well, but this is the gun photo that turned out the best of the lot.
Tomorrow I’ll be wrapping up the carousel photos. Next week? I dunno. There’s a few pictures of critters from Como Park Zoo, plus there’s a bunch left from the downtown walk over a month ago now. I’m betting the week will be something of a grab bag. Or maybe I’ll find something to take pictures of this weekend. I suspect I’ll more likely just stay inside and avoid getting any cold winds in my tender ears, though.
- Hey Jim, better watch out: Man detained for singing “London Calling”. He was released after questioning, but apparently the words were too inflammatory for his cabbie, who turned him in on the way to the airport. Of course Scott beat me to it. Oh well. [tcf]
- Huh. The Porkbusters have gotten Trent Lott’s attention. Good. He ought to be upset that people are calling him on his bull. [instapundit]
- NBC had their plants at Martinsville last weekend. And NASCAR Smacks Down NBC. Good. I wonder if the faux-Muslims will actually be at Texas this weekend or not. [instapundit]
- Apparently Apple Introduces Boot Camp was big news. Their stock jumped 4-6% on the news. Me? I don’t really see what the big deal is, but if it helps Apple sell more hardware, that’s probably a good thing for me in the long run. And I guess it would mean I would need one less machine around home, since on the rare times I need to boot Windows, I’d already have my mac handy.
Went to the doctor yesterday. My ears were screwed up, which confirms what I thought was going on. Then to Target to fill the prescription and pick up a few necessities, and back home to sleep away the afternoon while “watching” a couple movies. The only one I completely slept through was something on the TiVo that I didn’t really care if I saw or not, so that was just fine by me. I’m feeling a little better this morning, but think I’m going to take another day off. My brain still feels fuzzy, and my ears haven’t stopped hurting. No point in going back only to feel miserable and have to head home mid-day.
More pictures of things on horses’ butts today. A grinning cat (?), an Indian Head and an eagle. The first still intrigues me, and I wonder if there’s a story behind it. The toothy grin just catches my eye, I guess. And the crude lines work better for me than it if had been sculpted more realistically.
|No Wooden Nickel|
To the right, a carved Indian Head, similar to that found on US pennies around the turn of the century or that of a Cigar Store Indian. The gold paint around the edges stood out nicely, and it was just visually appealing.
Finally, there’s a gilt eagle. I pumped up the highlights a little to get it to look more like what I actually saw, and I like the way it’s peering over the rump of the horse. Again, it was something that caught my eye, and I think I got a fairly accurate rendering of what I saw almost two weeks ago.
I think that’s going to do it for today. I’m a little light on the links again. At this point, I think it’s as much due to it being a slow news day as to my not feeling well. In any case, you get what you get. Here’s hoping I’m feeling better tomorrow. I’ve used up all of my sick-time at work, so today’s probably going to be an unpaid day off. Kinda sucks, but there you have it. Hopefully this is my one big illness for the year, and I’ll be in good shape once I kick it.
- Glenn talks about NBC and NASCAR and gets more right than I would have figured. The NBC portion of the season generally sucks. The Fox portion, less so, but I still miss the days when NASCAR coverage was on cable and they didn’t feel the need to explain the difference between tight and loose 23 times per race. In any case, if NBC is really going to be planting someone in the crowd to see if fans are racist, it’ll either be a non-story or a black eye for NASCAR, and I just don’t understand why the network would try to give a black eye to one of their bigger draws. [instapundit]
- Matt Cole’s Adventures with Lightning is a fun little read about taking pictures of lightning. He’s also got some pretty pictures and a lot of links to other folks’ pictures.
- I stumbled onto Matt’s site via a spiffy article on Using the 35mm Nikon Perspective Control Lens. I find myself thinking that I wish there was a version that would work at least semi-automagically with my camera, but I don’t know if I’d pay the roughly $1000 that such lenses run. After all, I’ve got Photoshop, and can always make the correction in the computer if need be. But I really do prefer getting things right in the camera, which is why you don’t see much in the way of perspective correction in the photos I take. I bet I’d use the lens and enjoy it.
- Tomrrow night, the Mill City Museum will have a Baseball in Minnesota presentation as part of their First Thursdays series. I’m hoping I’ll feel up to going and I’m pretty sure I’ll buy the book eventually, even if I don’t make it over there tomorrow.
So I did decide to stay home from work yesterday. Went back to bed after the morning update and woke around noon. Headed out to do a few “daytime” errands that have been piling up for a while, and got them done, and then back home for more laying about. By the time the day was done, my head-congestion had transformed itself into an ear infection. Ugh. Now I need to decide whether I’m going to take some time off this morning to head to the doctor, or just go to work and hope I can work through the day with some invisible friend driving an icepick into my head-holes.
In today’s pictures, I continue with detail pictures of the horses. Each horse on the outside row of the carousel has different adornments, many in the form of a badge or something on the horse’s butt. Here are two such. The kitty is facing backwards, looking over one horse’s tail. The dog is just a badge on the side of another horse’s hip, but I couldn’t very well have a cat without a dog, could I?
And that’s about all I have energy for today. Sure there are some links, but the commentary on them might be a bit off. I know I’m sick, and it’s quite possible I’m feverish and making no sense at all, but things mostly seem reasonable to me. But then maybe I’m feverish… I think the fact that I’m unsure gives me a clue as to whether I should go to work or not. Programming when I’m not particularly sharp has led to some very frustrating debugging sessions in the past. Usually best in the long run to just not write anything new when I’m feeling like this.
- Heard on the news last night that State Senator Linda Berglin has introduced a bill that would blanket Minneapolis with “security” cameras like those that are already downtown protecting block E. Yeah, what the heck, they’re already working so well, let’s just spread them city-wide.
- When I heard about GM selling off GMAC, I thought something was weird about the deal. Apparently there’s More Trouble Than I Thought at GM, and Warren does the math to explain what it is:
This means that their entire manufacturing business is valued in the market at roughtly -$16 Billion.[coyote blog]
- Bummer. Mars rover’s broken wheel is beyond repair, and now they’re trying to figure a way to get Spirit to a north-facing slope for the Martian winter without having to drive through any soft soils that might hang up the rover. [kottke]
- In a move to make baseball look good, Greenies Get Red Light in MLB. No more speed for the players. Heck, the drugs have only been illegal for thirty years. Baseball’s moving pretty quickly, isn’t it? [press-patch]
- Here’s another blog to look at: Two Cities Two Wheels is about practical cycling in the Twin Cities. It’s a bit slow now, but if I don’t link to it, I’ll forget about it.
|Horse Detail 1|
I’ve been looking forward to April for a few weeks now. It marks the start of spring in my mind, and that’s a good thing. But it hasn’t been much of a month so far. Friday night (still March, but what the heck), I came home from work and never made it out to the Auto Body Experience show that night. I just wasn’t feeling very good. Saturday, a friend that I’d like to see was in town from Duluth, and there was also a party in the ’burbs to attend. Did neither. Sunday, I made it out for another friend’s birthday, but called it an early evening there after a little more than an hour. So what did I do over the weekend? Not a heck of a lot. Mostly went to bed early and slept late, and hoped that I’d be feeling better when it was time to head off to work this morning. Doesn’t seem to have worked especially well.
|Horse Detail 2|
But hey, there’s pictures of horsies on the carousel this week. Today I start with a couple of horse’s heads. Anything especially notable about them? Not that I know of. But they’re something to get the week started. You’ve gotta start somewhere, right?
And “starting somewhere” is going to be a challenge today. I need to get going for the week, both for work and around home. I got something of a start by doing a load of laundry this morning. Next up is a session of bill-paying, hoping that the direct deposit from work actually worked. And when that’s done, I need to decide whether to go to work today or not. I’m feeling cruddy and might just use that one personal day I’ve accumulated. Sorry for the “down” tone of the update this morning.
- If you forgot to Spring Forward yesterday morning, here are some handy instructions on resetting your clock.
- Wired News has what they call Steve Jobs’ Best Quotes Ever. Could be. [kottke]
- The Pentagon Plans Explosion at Nevada Site 65 miles NW of Las Vegas. 700 tons of ANFO. Not surprisingly, Plans for Massive Blast in Nev. Draw Fire. Among the criticisms is that there’s a lot of radioactive dust sitting around in the test area that just might get stirred up by a big kaboom. [boing boing and fark!]
- Last week the US Senate Considered Coburn/Obama “Show Us the Money” Amendment to Put Government Spending on Public Database. Trent Lott shot it down because he doesn’t see how knowing where the pork is going might have anything to do with ethics in Congress. [instapundit]
- Winchester, or U.S. Repeating Arms, isn’t so much going Out With A Bang as with a whimper. I’ve never owned a Winchester, but I keep my eyes open for one. Gotta like something that hasn’t much changed since 1894 and still gives the modern competition a run for its money. Plus it came from New Haven, Connecticut, the
Silicon Valley of the Industrial Revolution.[kim]