Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where Have I Been?

I realized this morning that I hadn't posted in a rather long time. I can't even tell you why. We haven't done anything or gone anywhere except work over the last week. I guess I've been too busy catching up on all the South Park episodes I've missed over the six years we haven't had cable.

Speaking of work, the bakery owner gets a little scarier every day. Her swings from manic to depressive get wilder by the day. She seems to be trying to suck up to me lately, which is just creepy. I've had the "privilege" of being at the bakery alone with her a couple times over the last week and it is definitely not a comfortable situation. At least I've been getting more hours over the last week than I have in a while. We have been more consistently busy since last Thursday than since I started working there, which is a bit of a relief to everyone. At least there won't be a stampede to the bank to cash our paychecks tomorrow.

Well, I need to catch up on some reading.

Now They've Gone and Done It

President Bush has just signed legislation guaranteeing the continuation of the current financial melt-down indefinitely. Of course, Obama wants to nationalize everything. Yea, that always works, except every single time it has been tried.

Meanwhile, the latest bank failures have hit rather close to home. None of this has affected us personally; we use two of the too-big-to-fail national banks to stash our cash. Not that we are 100% safe, but if there is a run on either of our banks, it won't matter any more. It will just be Game Over.

Ah well. We are closing in on a deal for the property. That severs the last tie we have. What have you done to make yourself small and fast?

[Update: More details over at KipEsquire's blog. And here's a great idea: use tax dollars to buy brand new homes and blow them up. That will fix everything for sure!]

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Energizer Bunny Buys Playtex

At least a dozen jokes related to this news story are running around in my head. None appropriate for a family blog, of course.

I'd love to have been in the board room when some corporate drone was illustrating all the possible product synergies with his Power Point slides.

Batteries and tampons. Ye flippin' gods....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Land Sale

Well, we are thinking of selling the rest of our property in Michigan. Any family member want to make us an offer? We have 17.05 acres left, valued currently at $29200.00. Remember -- no electricity or well on our property. It does have a cabin (with a self composting toilet!) and a shed. Ric can tell you more about things if you are interested.

When we were back for our family reunions in July, we headed over to the cabin to check things out. Nothing got damaged -- some tree limbs all over the place and one stuck up bracing the door of the shed. We forgot to bring our "Michigan keys", so we couldn't get into the cabin to peek around inside. We talked about not getting back that often and not having the time to make the improvements we would like to there. We both decided it didn't make sense to hold onto it. If we win the lottery and could fix it up and rent it out most of the time, that would be another story. (Hmmmm...I guess you have to BUY a lotto ticket for a chance to win)

The good news is the people that bought the house and 100 acres at the real estate auction want it. But, if any family member wants to make an offer --- let us know asap. I would rather see it go to family. Pass the word. The guy offered 24K, I countered with 27K.....we will see what they have to say Monday or Tuesday.

I probably will be making a trip home to finish emptying out the shed and cabin after I call in several favors. Guys -- be ready for my call!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lost Gems

I was just digging around in the office trying to find the top of the desk that used to house the laptop (which is now in the living room connected to the TV), and I found some notes we made during our cruise/tour. These were just random off-hand comments people made in our hearing.

When we landed in JFK, there was some sort of snafu at the gate. The pilot came on the intercom; "Well folks, we've found the airport, but the airport hasn't found us."

In Europe, bottled water comes plain and fizzy. When we ordered water in the hotel restaurant in Florence, the waiter asked if we would like our water "with or without gas." Um, I'm thinking without....

Cruise comedian Al Branson: "Why did Disney build in Japan where nobody is tall enough for the rides?"

Delta: Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive.

OK, those were funnier when they happened....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dropping Like a Rock

Supplies are up and prices are down. (I never thought I would be talking about oil going down to $125 a barrel or gas going down to $3.50 a gallon, but after the last few months, we'll take whatever good news there is.) Prices went up, consumption dropped in response, prices went back down. No politicians needed. It's almost like there is some sort of invisible hand....

Huh.

A robotic Rubik's Cube solver built out of Lego NXT:



Instructions for building one yourself. I thought it meant I was smart when I solved a Rubik's Cube in Jr. High. Turns out the process can be done by a computer with less intelligence than an earthworm.

Huh.

Flint's Mental Defectives

I see that the mental and moral defectives that were running Flint, Michigan when we moved out are still firmly in charge. These people are just idiots. If I never see that worthless hole in the ground again, it will be too soon.

Spoke Too Soon

Looks like science is back into the realm of politics. I guess I spoke too soon:
Bureaucrats at the American Physical Society (APS) have issued a curious warning to their members about an article in one of their own publications. Don't read this, they say - we don't agree with it. But what is it about the piece that is so terrible, that like Medusa, it could make men go blind?

It's an article that examines the calculation central to climate models. As the editor of the APS's newsletter American Physics Jeffrey Marque explains, the global warming debate must be re-opened.
(sigh)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Geek SF Humor

My parents just came back from a planet where the dominant life form had no bilateral symmetry, and all I got was this stupid FShirt.

Hunger is like a French Fry

My man-crush on Scott Meyer grows bigger every time he draws a new comic.

And You Thought I Was Negative

If you want a real downer about our economic future, read this.

Do I need to say it again?

Media Bias

It's great that our media are so selfless in their service of the Democratic party... er... I mean, the good of all of society.

Why does anyone pretend? Here we have a former Clinton staffer working for the NY Times rejecting an editorial by one presidential candidate (while publishing the editorial written by the other presidential candidate) because she disagrees with what was written.

Not that I would shed a single tear if both these ass-clowns fell off a cliff, but this is just silly.

Blogging on the TV

Yesterday, we did a little stimulus shopping. Well, OK; a little stimulus-plus shopping. Anyway, we now have a bright new shiny TV. It's an Insignia 42" 1080p LCD. We also bought some new DVD's to watch on our new TV after I spent several hours assembling the new TV stand for our new TV. Then this morning, I spent the last couple hours moving all the PC bits out here into the living room hoping to surf the web at 1920x1080, but such was not to be. The highest resolution supported by both the TV and our aging laptop is 1280x1040, so we have a square box centered on our 42" TV. That isn't so bad, but my even-older-than-our-aging-laptop wireless keyboard and mouse has such a weak signal, I have to sit in the middle of the living room in one of our dining room chairs because it doesn't work from the couch a mere 12 feet away from the receiver. Ah well. Next month, I was going shopping for a different keyboard anyway. I'd like something with an integrated track ball so I'm not rolling the mouse around on the couch.

Anyway, once I'm done with this, I will be out Googling around for updated drivers and/or firmware for the video card in our laptop and see if I can get full resolution on this thing. If not, then next month may be some sort of video dongle for the laptop that spits out 1920x1080.

Pictures when I get some time. I still have photos from our trip to Out of Africa (lions and tigers and bears; oh my) and both family reunions. I have got to get caught up, but now I can watch movies on a large enough screen to actually see what is going on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Scientists Acting Like Scientists

APS is now open to debate on anthropogenic global warming. No politics, just science.

"All we want are the facts, ma'am."

Sweet. And long over-due.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unintended Consequences

Jerry Pournelle discusses the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the law of unintended consequences. This time for sure, it won't hurt when we smash ourselves in the face with a hammer.

Scott Adams is spending a chunk of cash to poll economists about how to fix the economy. I can save him a wad of cash: stop thinking that the national economy or world economy is somehow different from everyday life and use some basic common sense.

For example, if you told your children to never go into a certain room, then filled it with their favorite snacks and doubled their allowance when they entered the forbidden room, just what would you expect to happen? See? Now you understand immigration.

If you pay your child to lie to you, pay them more when they don't get caught out in their lies, and punish the kid next door when they do get caught, what would you expect to happen? See? Now you understand the mortgage crisis.

(shrug)

I realize despair is a sin. Guess I'll burn in hell, because common sense has become unknown in our government. We are currently negotiating the sale of the last non-portable asset we own. I'm seriously considering dumping the cash from that transaction into a foreign bank account denominated in something other than US dollars. I know I've been saying it for years now, but I stick by it: Get fast. Get small.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We're Home

And what good news greets us at the door?

Oil prices back into record territory.
Our life savings continues to vanish.
A bank run in California.
Ninety other banks likely to fail.
Prices up.

Maybe we should have stayed in Michigan and hid out in the cabin with a pile of canned food and a shotgun.

Or maybe a killer umbrella:



I so want an umbrella I could beat the living crap out of someone with, then open it and walk away. Sweet.

And the Japanese continue to make Star Trek a reality. So it isn't all bad news.

Ye flippin' gods.

Revenge of the Nerds 2008

If you are a manager, it's a good idea to not piss off the geeks that work for you unless you are sure you know what they are doing.

Trust me; every programmer comes to a point where they seriously consider this sort of thing. And most organizations, especially government offices, are completely wide open to internal attack.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Exactly


One of the reasons I rip movies I own to my hard drives is so I don't have to sit through all the stupid anti-piracy ads and FBI warnings. My ripping software very neatly removes all of that and just plays the movie.

[Note added: F.A.C.T. is the British equivalent of the MPAA. The guy's blog is pretty good stuff as well.]

The Truth is Out There

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Important People and Peons

Just in case you were wondering which category you fall into, it ain't the Important People one. It's common knowledge that we have the best politicians that money can buy. Now it seems we have the best judiciary that Viacom's money can buy.

[Update: Kip has some thoughts on this insane ruling.]

Kick 'Em While Their Down

Anyone that lived in Flint or Detroit during the early 1980's will start feeling a little deja vu. I wonder how long until the government steps in to "help."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Past Weekend

The Prescott parade went okay. It was pretty hot and no breeze to speak of. We had to be in our staging area around 8am. Parade began at 9am. We were entry # 97 --- we didn't get started moving until after 10am. Luckily we had some shade spots from the camper and horse trailers in our staging area. Once we were at the "end" of the parade route -- I headed back to the bakery to see Ric. Since it took so long for us to be in the "parade area", Ric wasn't able to see me and take any pictures of AAA. He had to get to work --- I think when he left, they were on number 40 something! When I got to the bakery and grabbed the camera -- the entry near that corner of his work was around 140. I got to see the last 30 or so entries. I'm not sure if AAA will be in the next 4th of July parade. The rodeo group handles it and charges a higher entry fee (around $350); the Christmas parade is handles by the chamber and the charge is around $50!

Sat night we headed back to the square after dinner. The Jaycees sponser a street dance. They had a stage set up with different live groups -- dancing in the street and a "beer" tent. It was suppose to last until 10pm ---- we headed back to the apartment after 9pm. The last band on at that time was a little heavy for me. The one that was playing right when we got there was more my type. They went off shortly after we got our ice cream cones. Then a sax guy went on. He was okay --- not much to dance to or sing to with him.

Sunday we headed to "Out of Africa" in Camp Verde. It is a wildlife park. We ended up being there from shortly after they opened at 930am until after 4pm (they close at 5p) We chose a day to go that they have the "predator feed" --- in the summer time, that is a very wise idea. Part of the time we spent walking around to see in the habitat areas, the animals were all hanging out in the shade or water sleeping. Shortly before "feeding time" they all got active --- we got some great pictures. (I'm sure Ric will get them posted this month) The best part was the "tiger splash"

We head out Friday morning to Michigan for a couple family reunions. It is going to be a quick trip in and out. When we first planned it --- I wasn't going to have much PTO time built back up after our 3 week cruise tour. Oh well --- life is what you make of it. I'm glad to be able to get home and see as many people in one or two places as we can. We might not get too much "quality time" with many, but will get a chance to see everyone and say Hi. I hope to be able to cut out some time to catch a few church and/or work friends Friday night or Saturday late afternoon/evening. (Hey Tom --- are you going to be around?!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th to you all!

I have today off, but Ric has to work :-(
We may try to figure out how to get to where the fireworks are tonite. Tomorrow morning I am "marching" with the gang from AAA Prescott in the Prescott 4th of July parade. At least the parade is due to begin at 9am and the forecast is not in the 90's or 100's. Of course, who believes the weather forecast?!

We are once again "honorary grandparents" --- one of our youth group kids had a baby girl in May. She just told us last night in an email. We had a few of the kids that we thought of as our "honorary kids" because their parents did not attend the church. We know of two of the girls that now have their own baby girls. We have a picture of our "first" on the fridge. (Thanks Paula!)