Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week 17: a little family, mostly football

Why haven't I posted in over a month? Am I channeling Princess? Nope, it just turns out that I have been busy. First we had to clean the house and reorganization of stuff. The my parents and brother came out for a visit. After my parents left, I made sure that I wouldn't have any more children. Then my brother stopped by for one last weekend and now I am here. It was good having family visit. It nice for the extra hands with Miranda. It is nice seeing family.

But what I want to complain about is the Detroit Lions. I sorely wish that they will win today. I don't see it happening. They have not won since their win against the Kansas City Chiefs back before Christmas last year. So now it has been over 12 months since the fans (myself included) have seen your team win. It is different than when the Buccaneers went 24 straight losses since they were an expansion team and had yet to have a firm fan base. You have a large (shrinking) fan base with tons of history. Filling the stands no matter how many losses we have had (minus this year). You have a set of fans that drooling for mediocrity.

So if we lose today, I will buy a Lions jersey to commemorate the occasion. I will make no list of things that the Lions need to do to improve. Why bother? Ford Sr. will do what he always does. He will keep the majority of his front office and grab a weak GM to head the organization. Marinelli will leave as the scapegoat that he desperately wants to be. The curse is a hoax. Its supposed end will not change this organization. Now these are not things I want to happen, just things that are likely to happen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Godel, Escher, Bach book review

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

I knew the book would be interesting when the prologue of the book starts out where the author is looking back 20 years ago when he wrote the book and tries to describe the book. He rambles for a few dozen pages and still doesn't seem to describe it. I think what makes this book hard to describe is that it uses multiple different angles to try and find the point of intelligence or identity. It relies heavily on math but adds in doses of music, art, psychology, and quirky dialogues, in order to describe the idea that self-reference, which breaks many formal systems.

I always lie.

So, is that statement true or false? It is a valid statement in terms of structure, but its inherent meaning in not valid. It can then be put in terms of math where if you create a system where there are a series of functions. Each function is defined by a unique mathematical definition.

f1(x) = x
f2(x) = x * 2
f3(x) = log x
f4(x) = (x + 1) / (x ^2)

Then you create another function g(x) = fx(x). So g(1) = 1; g(2) = 4; etc. But in theory g(x) would exist in the set of function, but because there is no way to write this self-reference.

So how does self-reference apply to intelligence? It is the ability to step outside of a well-defined system and have the symbols necessary to describe the situation.

I do recommend this book to computer scientists and just folks looking for a quirky math book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All hail our robot masters

Ok, that was what I once thought. I mean I work for Amazon Personalization which is really about empowering these robotic intelligences. But I have had a change of heart.


As seen on Gizmodo

Brought to you by the letters K, I, and L and the website Vorpal Kitten.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Over the last couple of months there has been quite a bit of talk about various bailouts everywhere I go. Suddenly everyone is an arm chair economist, and I figured it was my turn. Sarcastic Weasel posted an excellent look at the events leading up to the problems. The basic core statement is that any set of stocks or investment not based on some form of production or direct service is really an investment in nothing. And you should really expect to get nothing in return for investing in these things.

So I am really looking primarily at two different bailouts. First is the bailout of the financial institutions. I understand that the government is putting its money into these banks in order to continue to keep the flow of credit intact, but we have seen that this is not what has happened. There is still some credit to be had but most institutions have overreacted and cut credit below levels previous to the current problems. I do have to say, I happy that the government is not buying up toxic assets as this would likely cause some additional problems. I listened on NPR the other day of an individual that had created a company that was creating a market around these toxic assets. This type of company would have made said individual rich, but if folks could invest in this, they would and again you would be investing in nothing.

Instead we see our government buying into stocks in these companies to bolster the assets they have to work with. This is a sound strategy if the company is being run correctly. At least if these companies can recover then the government would gain money back plus more. Hopefully we could pay down the enormous levels of debt that we have with other nations. Some level of debt is healthy, but we are far from healthy. Not all banks and financial institutions made really dumb mistakes, maybe we should invest in these institutions and let them grow as they obviously understand some of what was going on. And then they should honor FDIC commitments for people with the failed banks and then they can reinvest in intelligent companies.

The newest bailout idea for the automotive industry failed, but that is not the last time we will hear about it. The automotive companies are carrying their own form of toxic asset in pensions and health care for employees and retirees. What we need to do is rewrite the rules of retirement. I respect that these companies were creating a package of benefits that would help employees and gain employees given that it was so attractive of an offer. But I don't respect the fact that besides creating package that is not sustainable and they have hidden how poorly these retirement accounts were doing and deferred costs till later dates like last year. These companies are unhealthy and no amount of injection of government funds will make these companies intelligent enough to survive. Why were they not saving money in the good times? Did they even have good times? Right now, not many consumers are spending that type of money and it will be a while before they do.

So what do we do about it? There are millions of jobs at stake. Money spent on these companies will be wasted money, a gain in debt, with no way out. Instead, if you want to spend money, I would create a series of incentives for new industries to to move into the area. You have an area of the country with good access to both coasts, plenty of space and loads of people. What really is lacking is the diversity of jobs to create a stable area. Really you need to create some form of safety net for the folks that's jobs will be lost when these companies fold, instead of helping a company that has no idea how to stay in business and its set of executives.

Executives and socialized health care are big enough topics that are both pertinent hear, but I have avoided for the time being...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks to our veterans

My thanks to the true citizens of the United States.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Geez oh pete.

Alright, I have been a bit under the weather and so has the rest of the family. After fighting off a round of the common cold, we followed that up with a round of the stomach flu. Everyone is back to healthy though, but just trying to catch up with stuff around the house for the last week or so.

Election was very interesting. Hope everyone voted and voted their mind. I know I did via mail in vote. I am interested right now so see what things get changed in the next 2 months and then see what happens in President-elect Obama's first 6 months. This will be a test of both a Dem legislative branch as well as Dem executive branch.

Really don't like talking politics. That and religion are just fast ways to alienate people and tax friendships.

So, I feel like I should drop some pics and a video of Miranda and call it a post.

miranda 033

miranda 009

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rock Band 2: Gaelic Fishwife on hiatus

While my friend Ish was staying with me out in Seattle, we created a fake plastic band called Gaelic Fishwife. And now with Ish heading off to complete some testing and look for bigger boats to sail, it had to come to pass that the band needed to be retired. That doesn't mean it is over and we will have some reunion shows whenever he is up for it.

Good luck Ish on your tests, and keep rocking!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Various Game reviews

Well I haven't been doing many reviews as of late, mostly cause things have been a bit busy. As for books, I have been reading Godel Escher Bach for the last 2 months. It just takes a while to get through it, but I am looking forward to putting up a post about it. I also recently picked up a blu ray player in the Sharp Aquos BDHP21U. I will probably review that as well once I have used it more. So far, I have not been impressed. The menu system is no intuitive and the boot time on it is horrendous.

Rock Band 2

Wow. What an improvement. The basic mechanics of the game has not changed. What has improved is single player mode, calibration, and online band mode. First off the calibration mode is much improved in that now you calibrate the video separate from the audio. It really makes it easier to find your timing while playing when both the video and audio are in sync. The single player mode is essentially band mode. You can go on tours or invite your friends in to help. Also introduced is challenges which are reminiscent of the first Rock Band's single player mode. Complete a challenge to open up more challenges and new songs. And best of all, the online band tour mode which should have been in the first one comes together so well in this release. I got the chance to play with Skidge who is in Germany and everything ran super smooth from my side and it sounded like it ran well on his side as well.

This is the game they should have made in the first place, even when the first one was fun. Get it.


Again, wow. GTA IV is another spectacular installment in the GTA series. The story telling is absolutely fantastic and by the end it really bothered me that the situations I was in, put Nico in such bad situations. The game play is well done. Player control is easily done and combat is very strategic if you want it. The cover system of combat is very well done and just makes it fun. None of the plot missions were painfully difficult. The side missions and support characters are full of flavor and fun. This is however *not* for kids. In fact, I couldn't even do Taxi missions while my daughter is around due to the swearing.

One point that made me a bit upset was in the last mission you are forced to follow the bad guy who is in a boat while you have a dirt bike. I didn't follow the shore, but cut cross country. I was still able to follow the boat, but failed to initiate a game trigger. I did hit the necessary ramp and would hang in midair from a rpg before the game would lock up. I did this over ten times before realizing you could actually follow the shore.

Either way... get the game.

Madden 09

Look it is time for the annual release of a franchise that owns all the licenses to professional sports programs. This was was heading straight for mediocrity in my book. I have played 5 of the Madden games in the last 9 years and in most cases there has been little improvement (which 2kSports was doing some incredible advancements in the few years before the EA lockout). However the dynamic difficulty setup they implemented really has made it very fun. I haven't tried it in multiplayer but in single season of career mode, it really made the games close and challenging. I give this my seal of approval.

Footnote to NFL

Highlights containing the Lions don't really count.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What is the cost of IP loss?

An excellent article by Ars Technica.

Favorite quote:
In economic jargon, charging anything for pure IP—which has a marginal cost approaching zero once it has been produced—creates a deadweight economic loss, at least in static terms. The actual net loss of IP infringement is an allocative loss that only appears in a dynamic analysis. Simply put, when people pirate IP, the market is not accurately signaling how highly people value the effort that was put into creating it, which leads to underproduction of new IP.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Put down the rusty pipe...

If you don't read Penny Arcade, I forgive you. It really isn't for everyone.

However, I do feel obligated when there is something noteworthy or even mildly entertaining, to give it a bit of linkage for its contributions to gaming society.

DRM is harming your best customers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the firing of Millen

I haven't really said anything yet, as I wasn't really sure what this meant for my sports team. So going into our bye week, the team finds out that their GM has been released. I have seen quite a few different articles but they all seem to take one of two attacks.

1) Bought darn time. Millen has taken a team that was mediocre for decades and transformed it into one of the worst teams in the history of the NFL.

2) Millen is a good guy. Don't grind him into the ground if he couldn't make the team better.

I think that Millen probably is a good guy. He talks straight. He tries to do what he says. The problem is that Millen really isn't the type of leader needed for a large organization. A leader in the NFL needs to know his strengths and weaknesses and then to get folks to help them where they need it.

1) Millen completely fails in identifying talent. Or even correcting this lack ability to find talent.

2) Millen was never in touch with his team. He lived in Philly and commuted into Detroit. If this is not a bad thing, why was there not an effective leader on the ground? Fire the VP of operations and the assistant GM on this one.

3) What is with the hiring process on coaches? Seriously. It seems like they have locked on to a guy and not really evaluating all the options.

There are some other issues as well, but really comes down to an inability to manage the impact of your shareholders (i.e. don't draft Harrington just cause a shareholder says to) as you should know your business and stick to it. The other part is how do you lead from afar?

So now what do we have. The assistant GM and VP of football operations are going to lead through the rest of the year. Stop. These guys should be gone. Get a GM in now. Start interviewing, get hiring. Why? The season is probably a loss. I could be wrong, but everyone is pretty disgruntled in the locker room by the sounds of it. Also that way you can get some folks in, evaluating talent and see what you can get moving before the trade deadline. Also you can get some of the 3rd string players getting some time and see if there is anything down there. Also start dropping some of the folks that don't belong there and take a cap hit early.

Please, if you are going to rebuild, don't waste any time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Buying Rock Band 2?

I bought it. It is a huge improvement over the first one. I just saw that there is a deal on it through October so if you are going to buy it, click over to Amazon and get a free 1600 point card so you can get some more songs downloaded.

Rock Band 2 Promo

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sports Fan Divorce Papers

It just doesn't make sense to me that the Detroit Lions can be doing so poorly. It goes beyond the fact that they are losing, which is bound to happen. Instead is because they lost these games in such a spectacular fashion.

Where does this leave me as a life long fan of the Lions, every year praying that they can start a new path of winning football games. In my lifetime, I have seen a playoff visit (and loss), but otherwise it just painful. This year however might be the worst and we are only 3 weeks into the season.

We have moved to balanced attack and we did have a balanced attack, but you are talking 116 passing yards and 116 rushing yards which isn't going to win you a game unless you have a defense like maybe the Bears or Titans. The defense is just not stopping anything and an offense that is unable to eat any clock to give the defense a chance to rest.

My original guess of 5-11 season is completely off. If I look at the teams that they have to win week to week, I am sure that they are going to lose every game this year, but they will probably win one at the end of the year when some other team doesn't care if they win or lose.

At some point, sports teams are like your family. You can't chose them or divorce them. I got lucky with my family, who are completely awesome, but right now, I feel no pride or love for my team.

Friday, September 19, 2008

ATC: An other girlfriend

I decided I needed to start another series. I am not sure how many of these I will be able to do as they are completely dependent on my train ride. Hence the beginning of Awkward Train Conversations. I might a side series which would be funny train conversations if ATC doesn't supply enough content.

Across from me sat a rude man and his girlfriend. I call him rude as he would ram his knee into mine and not say anything and also spread out way too much.

Rude man across from me(Rudy): Remember when we went to Greece.

GF: I never went to Greece.

Rudy: I could have swore that I went with you.

GF: No.

Rudy: It must have been a different girlfriend.

Awkward silence...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Phone companies are evil

Having to prune who I am following (stalking) on Twitter these days. I had set a number of friends that have generally low volumes of tweets per day as ones I would like device updates on. This however did not pay off as my latest bill showed 119 text messages over my 200 text message plan. Not good.

This however got me a little bit upset as I am paying ~10 cents to transmit 160 bytes. I mean seriously.

I think it might be cheaper to send my messages into space.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bulk August family update

I actually meant to put this into a couple of posts, but things didn't really work out how I had planned. The middle of August we flew back to Snow-town to go to Michelle's sister's wedding. We spent the first half of the vacation prepping the family house for the sudden influx of 300 people and then spent the last half cleaning up after 300 people. Overall it was good seeing family and taking part if an absolutely gorgeous wedding, but boy was it exhausting.

Rehearsal and Christening Set

Wedding Set

Reception Set

After we got back Miranda came down with a cold. We kinda figured this would happen. That many new people and that much time in airports and airplanes that it was bound to happen. She had a pretty high fever on Saturday with no other symptoms so we called the doctor who recommended an ER trip just to check for Strep. We came out with just a case of the Flu and proceeded to catch the same things ourselves.

Unfortunately this also coincided with my favorite event of the year in PAX. So unfortunately I was only healthy enough to go to one day day. I am pretty upset about it actually. There were some things of note during this year. There were TONS of people, lines were incredibly long. Fallout 3 looked absolutely incredible. I didn't think I would buy it, but seeing it in action (as played by other con goers), I ended up pre-ordering it. Wii Music looks like it has some potential to be fun the way Mario Paint's music creator was fun. Rock Band 2 looks like more of the same, which is to say fun. Guitar Hero World Tour's drum set looks to be on par with Rock Band's, but the singer's display was oddly compelling for me. Dawn of War 2 talk was amazing. It looks amazing and it feels like people who are really passionate about it are working on the title. I missed the Keynote because the hall was full. Wouldn't even let me in the door. Wizards of the Coast had a huge booth that was packed. Bought my required PAX shirt for the year. Overall it was fun.

pax 027
PAX08 Pictures by Reverend0

Monday, August 11, 2008

Review: Watchmen

First off, I am not by nature a comic book guy. I have enjoyed the occasional comic book that I have picked up. I have not really read any series regularly. With the upcoming movie for the Watchmen, I decided to take a look at this graphic novel. The trailer to the movie definitely looked interesting, but really what was this all about?

The color and imagery are vivid. The writing is good. The story is mostly good. I am sure that just pissed off quite a few people on that one... that is if anyone reads my entry. The basic premise of the story is you have a world where masked vigilante heroes exist. They are not super in terms of power, but truly super in their desire, drive and training in their fight against evil. This has created a story where many of the pivotal events in our world have changed since their emergence. The cold war is stronger than ever. The US won in Vietnam. Public riots eventually led to the downfall of these masked vigilante's and the public soon began to fear as there was indirect conflict with the police.

As this world unfolds, the story starts with murder of someone and how one masked vigilante, who refused to put away the mask attempts to track down the killer and determine who is behind it and what it all means. It really is a murder mystery/conspiracy tale at its heart.

I found the story excellent through most of it. It created a world that was interesting. At several points in the story, it is told next to the telling of a popular comic of that universe (Tales of the Black Frigate). Where what was happening to the characters in this book were a reflection and sometimes counterpoint to the actions in the tale of the Watchmen. I am sure many comic aficionado's found this as brilliant, I found this ploy difficult to read. And without given away the end, you feel as if you are building to something brilliant and enlightening or terrible and frightening, when suddenly the story twists into something less interesting and oddly like a forced closure. I felt there was more to explore in the world, but it was closed down because of a print limit or disgruntled artists, or some other reason.

I do recommend this to adults. It is a tad on the dark side. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Date Night

Well, for all my hard work, I was given a gift card at work to take the family out for dinner. Of course we excluded Miranda, instead giving her the treat of running around with a bunch of other kids, since really we wanted the ability to eat a meal and not have to eat as fast as possible cause she is bored.

So on Friday night, Michelle and I went down to one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Salty's at Redondo Beach. Since we had plenty of time, we went about meal at a casual pace. Michelle really wanted the mussels and clam appetizer, we got that. It was steamed and sauced in a wonderful pesto sauce. It was definitely very good. Michelle also got a Mango Alcohol slushie (can't remember the name). For our main course, Michelle got the Salmon with a dill cream sauce and I got the Halibut with tomatoes and capers on asparagus. I thought the dishes were cooked perfectly but were slightly underseasoned. Both of these fish have a strong flavor but need very strong pairings. Still, the dish was very good.

For dessert, Michelle ordered the Triple Chocolate Cake, while I ordered the Ultimate Nudge (coffee drink). My coffee drink was ... potent. The cake was very heavy and dense (and far too large a portion).

Overall, it was very relaxing.

At some point, I am hoping to put together a decent review of the Watchmen graphic novel that I just completed. If I run out of time, I will drop off a half-assed one...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Woodland Park Zoo

Last Saturday, I decided to do something I had yet to do with Miranda. A friend from work suggested a daddy and kids day out at the zoo to let the moms get a break. So, Miranda and I made the 30 minute drive into the zoo to meet Jeff and Nathan. I have to say, I was very impressed by the zoo. Yes the animals looked bored, but that is universal for zoos that I have found. You could see though that the staff really tried hard to make things good, though. The worked with feeding and cleaning. They talked to visitors. Overall it was a nice experience.

Miranda explicitly told me, "No Stroller." I should have overrode her, but generally I let her make all the non-critical decisions. This became critical after about 90 minutes of walking and she was getting tired. We had a bit of a meltdown, but really it was a combination of tired, hot, hungry, and thirsty. We got all that remedied when Jeff suggested a nearby mexican restaurant that had awesome quesadilla. Miranda consumed a lot of the chicken and cheese, but avoided the shell.

So I did get some pictures of the zoo. Feel free to look at them.

zoo 108

Friday, August 01, 2008

Useful widget that may make you a buck or two

Thought I would take a moment to promote the Amazon Page Recommender Widget. First off, as disclosure, I do work for and might have had something to do with the widget. First off, it gets you the power of Amazon Recommendations to try and earn a percentage of the income. On top of it though, will provide recommendations for other pages on your site. Given my traffic here is pretty low, the recommendations for my pages tend to be based on the couple posts before or after the one you are on. It just happens to be how my readers are going through my site. But after crawling through my pages every once in a while something interesting pops up.

That said, if you have a site and an Amazon Associate account, you should try it. Also be sure to check out the helpful FAQ and performance tips.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I hate where I live. I don't know if it because of the economic climate or what, but it feels as if people are getting crazier. A couple months back, at the end of the block, there was a break in. Plus there was a car break in a week later. Lately it has seemed to be quiet, but then I found out that someone had tried to enter one of the vehicles on my property at about 3 am mid-week last week. I also just found out that a neighbor down the block had his gas line on his truck cut to siphon out the gasoline.

The stress of worrying about my family and their safety is starting to get to me. With all this I wonder what I can I do to protect what we have. I can't afford anything better. Is it just Seattle? Is this a city problem? I don't remember this from when I lived in Michigan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stupid laptop

Looks like my repair job isn't holding. It is making if awfully tempting to solder the power cable right to the board. Seriously. At this point, I don't really plan on replacing any of the batteries or doing any serious spending on this thing, but there is a point at which the time I am spending making it work is very detrimental to the actual operation of it.

I would prefer to not buy myself a new on. I mean for the primary case which is to remote into another machine, it just doesn't make sense to spend even $100 on a small laptop. Now the next question would be where would one ever find a $100 laptop. So with that, I am pretty sure that I am stuck.

So probably on Sunday, I will rip it apart again (wanted to reattach the touch pad anyway) and try and do a better job at applying the glue. I figure I want to give it one more change before I start cutting wires and breaking out the solder iron. Which also means I have yet another reason to postpone Ubuntu. But that you can chalk up to lazy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Maybe Ubuntu will wait

Well, it look's like ubuntu is going to wait a bit before I tackled installation.  Reason 1 is that I am still waiting for it complete downloading.  That is blazing fast Comcast for you.  Pay for "Powerboost" and it takes 28 hours to download 650 meg.  Honestly should have take a few hours but seriously... why to I pay the extra.

Second off, part of development effort is taking a look at Microsoft Live Writer and seeing what it would take to put together a plugin that would allow one to add in associate links to their blogs via this tool.  It may work out that the current plugin set that is available is sufficient, or that the services available from Amazon are inadequate and those would stop me.  But, I think Amazon's APIs will be rich enough and the other plugin's to be good but missing features.  The only other thing is that it is likely to take a decent amount of programming time as I am definitely rusty and .NET programming.

My other concern is that I am not getting any sort of funding for this.  Many of web development efforts come with the side incentive that I could make some money via Google AdSense or via Associates.  I know it is delusional, as I have made a whopping $1 off all of my projects.  Granted I don't do many.

Basing this project on many past projects, I give it a 7% chance of survival.  Web based projects usually run in the 70% chance of survival, but I guess you do what you know.

Also to be noted I am working on updating my template to support 3 column again. This time without tables.  Oh how I hate floating div's.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Downloading Ubuntu for Alienware Sentia

A long time ago, I bought an Alienware. At the time, Alienware was one of the edgy companies that was producing high performance machines. I ended up buying what was considered their business series laptop, the Sentia. This was really before they started tacking on numbers after Sentia so as best I can tell, it is a model 223. It's not a terribly fast machine, but it did set me back some serious cash and add on to it the problems I have had with it, I really regret purchasing it.

First and foremost the battery for the CMOS has never really worked. It is always dead. This would be less of a problem if the CMOS settings from no power would allow you to even use the laptop. Nope. Everytime I power on, I have to blindly go through the bios settings and restore to defaults as the LCD screen doesn't work otherwise. I would replace it, but the model number on the CMOS battery is non-standard. I could use a CR1220, but this is a ML1220 which is supposedly rechargeable. I am afraid if I use the CR series, it will burst into flames.

Second problem as of now is the main battery is dead. Although the laptop is now roughly 4 or 5 years old... I guess it is to be expected minus I haven't really used it much.

The third problem was one I created. The power plug had gotten kicked at some point and the power connected liked to emit blue sparks or not work on occasion. This with the lack of battery rendered the laptop completely unusable.

However today, I decided that I must restore this laptop to working condition. I removed 25+ screws and multiple panels to expose the inner workings. Wouldn't you know it, I had to disassemble pretty much everything to just get to the power connector. When I got there I was expecting a broken solder point so I had the solder iron all ready to go. Not to be the case, as the plastic housing that holds the connector in place was the culprit and cracked good. After applying some Loctite Super Glue, and holding for 20 minutes, I was able to reassemble the laptop. Unfortunately I had one extra screw and the touchpad isn't hooked up anymore. Overall though, it has been restored to usable, I just can't power it down.

So now, I have decided that I would drop ubuntu on it. I have Redhat 9 on one of my desktops but it rarely gets used. Right now I am looking for something that I can do a little development work while I wait for Miranda to go to sleep while I sit in her room. It looks like I have 11+ hours of downloading before I can attempt an install so it may end up waiting till next weekend for installing.

So hopefully, in the future I can share some of the mini projects I am working on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Potential solution to puking

Michelle may have figured out one of our puking problems. Basically Miranda has a tendency to puke. Many things can cause it, but one stumped us. Some nights she would just suddenly start whimpering and puke was going to be coming soon. Well it turns out that if she eats dinner well, and then follows it up with her normal cup of milk, it exceeds the capacity of her stomach. Yup, that's it.


That doesn't stop her from throwing up when she gets too upset so I will likely still be spending every evening hanging out in her room. But at least one mystery solved.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Joss Whedon

So there has been a little bit of a buzz on teh intarweebs about Joss Whedon's latest endeavor, Dr. Horrible. Basically it really hits on one of my personal favorite songs by Jonathan Coulton called Skullcrusher Mountain. What happens when a super genius villian is in love? Well I can say it is terribly interesting. You should definitely check out the video for Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Seriously. First off it stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. Second, the music is good. Third, it is definitely bite sized at under 14 minutes per act (so far as Act III hasn't gone up yet).

I watched some of Mr. Whedon's early TV shows, but I didn't recognize genius until Firefly. But this really is a wonderful work and quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Why" #

I am here testing at work instead of riding the train.

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 7, 2001

So 7 years ago today, Michelle and I were married. That is 7 years, 1 kid, 2400 miles, and countless other things that have occurred between here and there. And in all of that, I am still deeply in love and quite happy. We may not do anything out of the ordinary today (planning with children can be difficult at times) but it will still be special.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

So what does one do the day after the fourth?

Well in my case you make one trip to Lowes to pick up a few minor things (propane included). Second you fix the tonneau cover to the truck which broke off last year. Third you clean the living room and family room. Fourth you play some Super Mario Galaxy cause you little girl is hooked on the fat italian plumber.

So late last year, the pin that hold one of the two arms on my tonneau cover broke off. The single one didn't have the strength to hold it up, and put too much strain on the back of the cover. So after a couple of tries I found a size bolt that worked well. So if this one breaks, I am in serious trouble.

And I was surprised to find that Miranda likes to watch either Michelle or I play Super Mario Galaxy. "Mario Jumping!" "Mario Swimming!" "Mario two eyes." Really cute and fun to see her so excited.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Mucked some more with my template

I am pretty sure no matter what I do, I won't be happy with whatever changes I make. I will likely revisit this on the next rainy day we have in Seattle (no jokes please). But on the plus side, editing all my ridiculous advertising chunks was very easy. Look at my widget, I have a page recommendation, but it does point to the main page . . . from the main page. Sigh.

Work looks to be going back to a reasonable level. Launch pushes always bring more hours to make sure we make it as good as possible for customers, but still meet any sort of obligations we have. So I am very tired, but recovering.

Lately, I have been playing with twitter. I am still not sure about it's use as to me it has always felt like blog light. Right now I am primarily using it to update my facebook status as I really never log into facebook unless someone sends me a message and it emails me. I just don't have much compelling reason to use it. Twitter I worry about as I don't want to fire off tons of this little snippets every day, so I try to keep it to 2 tweets a day at most.

Now that work is slowing down, hopefully I can get back to my two blog posts a week. And also maybe beat GTA IV soon.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't muck with your template at 4am

Well I was doing to testing by adding a new widget for my advertising column when I accidentally clicked save instead of preview. Needless to say, I quickly grabbed a template to use until I get my old one back operational (or maybe create a new one).

Either way, most of my major work project of late is somehow tied into the amazon widget on the right. Which recently released, so that is where I have been.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Jason!

miranda in the midwest 132

Welcome to 30

Now you can't give me crap for being 30 and you being in your 20's :P

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bacon Floss?

Cinnamon? Mint? Nope.

I am not sure how I feel about this. I think I would prefer soap as generally I am looking for a "clean" flavor and feeling when I floss. But it seems I should post something about a bacon related item. If I would have remembered earlier, I would have posted about the 3lb. of bacon in a can.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Thanks Jay for the book recommendation. I will likely grab a copy when it gets into a translation I can read. Although an interesting NPR report I heard recently discussed that some of child behavior problems stem from a lack of unstructured play. The basic premise of the research was that by allowing children to play outside of the control of adults allow kids to develop the skills to self-regulate. This also gives them skills in determining power structures in the groups of kids and learn what is acceptible in dealing with other kids. I think there is something there. At the same point, as parents, we are so heavily scheduled, we end up doing the same to our kids, even if unintentionally. But when I looked at the reasons you put in from the book I thought some just didn't make sense.

Reasons listed:
  1. destruction of the larger family unit, thus loneliness of the parents with the resulting desperate need to connect with the inmature child
  2. pressure to perform makes parents push kids harder than they can actually take
  3. lack of role models for healty parenting, both for parents and for kids
  4. misguided, romantic drive for freedom of mind and action, even in a 2 year old (the Flower Children are reaping a harvest they did not expect with their anti-authoritarian attitudes)
  5. lack of understanding of the healthy development steps of a forming mind

So let's see if I can make another numbered list to talk about them.

  1. Alright, I totally buy this one. Add to it smaller family sizes has led to smaller family groups. And add into this one, the break down of local neighborhood groups. Remember when you knew all your neighbors?
  2. What is meant by this? Is it a lack of giving praise? Honestly I think this ends up only affecting small pockets of parents. I think more likely you get parents that are involved in their prior lives and fail to give the appropriate time to their new lives with kids.
  3. Dysfunctional begets more dysfunctional is the basics there. In the end, we will tend to fall back as parents to the same things that our parents did. Those are our role models. As for kids, it comes down to us as parents.
  4. Yep.
  5. I am pretty sure that we are further along understanding the developing mind than we were 20 or 50 years ago. But the bottom levels of understanding in society are probably at what we were years ago though, is that bad?

Really, I try to compare what society is like now versus 50 years or 100 years ago. Is what we have as a society better or worse than before. I honestly think we are doing better just because we have time to think about these problems. But then we take these things that could help us get better and we blow them out of proportion.

Alright I think talked to long on that topic given I only planned to give thanks :)

To James on the same thread, personally responsibility is not a trait we have instilled in the current culture. Definitely is something we should work toward.

Otherwise, that is all I have for now. Back to work, since deadlines are looming.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I hate Big Media

In case you haven't heard, there was a tragedy in the Akihabara district of Japan. 7 people were killed and many injured when an individual with an unhealthy mind decided to go on a rampage. I really feel bad for those that have suffered.

What has got me a bit irritated this morning, is how it was covered in the New York Times. They have taken this horrible event and then applied a hatred for video games in it. Sigh, why do they feel the need to do this through a time of suffering for the people in that area of the world.

Offending article

He also wrote that he liked the popular video games Tales of Destiny, a fantasy role-playing series that employs the distinctive art style known as anime, in which adult characters often resemble children, and Gran Turismo, a car racing game in which the cars can crash and suffer damage but the focus is on racing rather than destruction and human figures are rarely visible.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Review: Maple Bacon Lollipop

Alright, ish was kind enough to send me some Maple Bacon Lollipops due to the fact that we have hypothesized that all things bacon are good. I want to reaffirm that guess as these are quite good if and only if you are prepared for what they are delivering. My first try at the lollipop was not a good experience. I wasn't sure what to expect, but at the same point the lollipop just didn't sit right.

The part the initially surprised me was how not sweet this lollipop is. The maple flavor is subtle, and not overly sweet. It was kinda water down flavor. The second part of the flavor that hits you is the underlying salty, smoky flavor that is there as well. It really tastes like you took your bacon and dragged it through the last bits of maple syrup still on your plate. You can really see the bacon pieces in the lollipop as well.

Highly recommended to bacon lovers.

maple bacon lollipop

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lord Stanley's Cup

Well I was able to watch the NHL finals this year and it offered a great experience for me. The main reason for that is because my two favorite teams were playing for it all, although my favorite is the Wings. Overall I found this cup well played by the Wings, but the Penguins did not until their back was against the wall. Especially in game six when the started having better puck control and being more aggressive as the Wings got the puck. So I am looking forward to next year and I really hope that the Penguins can keep their team together.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Back from the Midwest

Well, I had a bit of an absence from blogging and the web in general as I toured around the portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan visiting friends and family and letting Miranda get acquainted with them. We had a couple of rainy days, but really ran into absolutely lovely weather sitting in the mid 70's most of the time.

Originally we were supposed to go to a wedding on Memorial Day weekend, but in the end the travel was trying and Miranda can be a bit stubborn and exhausting, so we made a quick change in plans and headed to Michigan to let Miranda unwind from being placed in a harness for a long time. This gave us an extra day with my grandma where Miranda could be her goofy self and skin her knee.

Sunday though was a party my parents put together and they were able to get a lot of my relatives together and just have a nice cookout. We were able to get another Aunt and Uncle to visit on Memorial Day, and overall it is was a very fun weekend. Even managed to get a bit of sunburn on the bald spot.

Tuesday, Michelle and I had one of very few and infrequent dates. Went to El Rodeo and caught Ironman. Great food and a fun movie.

We then spent the next 4 days slowly visiting my friends from high school and seeing all of their kids. We also spent a day going to Grand Rapids where we got Miranda's photos done by Sadies. I think next year, we are going to use our friend Jodi as she takes some really good pictures. Either way, once I get the pictures I will be sure to post and share.

Either way, we spent some more time with family and friends, and on some level we were very sad to go. We caught Michigan at a beautiful time and it is good seeing all the folks were are friends with. But in the end, we are exhausted. Miranda was exhausted. So we spent all day today traveling back to our home in the Northwest.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't forget your night vision

Night Vision is really the best way to avoid falling into a puddle.

Bringing back up to date

Not a lot has happened recently, so I really haven't felt like blogging. Football seems to the major source of my blogging material. The other one is reviewing stuff I have read, watched, or otherwise used. This will be a couple of half-assed reviews for a couple of things.

Book: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein

The sequel to Number of the Beast, which I didn't really care for, but I found this one more enjoyable than the Beast. Still not on par for some of his other works however. Again we find ourselves with a bit of Author Masturbation, where he has included many of his past favorite characters, however we do get introduced to a very strong male lead character that is very interesting if not similar to his other leads in previous books. The plot starts out pretty straight forward as a murder mystery and then twists and turns like a snake into a hero story. I won't give away the ending, but heck, I re-read the ending twice and still didn't know what happened. If you like Number of the Beast, you will like this one. For me, I still like Starship, Stranger, and Mistress much more.

Book: Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets by Constantinos C. Markides , Paul A. Geroski
Pretty good business book to read, but with a few caveats. Most of these style books (innovation centric) will tend to have lots of case studies and talk about the hypothesis as to how some companies made it and others didn't. This book didn't have any case studies. Instead, it looked historically at which companies innovated and came up with a new product idea, and which companies had staying power. I know that sounds like case studies, but this felt more like a history lesson to me. The hypothesis put forth is that companies that innovate on the product and create the product are never the companies that succeed. The companies that succeed are the ones that are able to efficiently deploy these product ideas to the market. The authors go on to talk about companies that specialize in bring products to a market are never good at innovating new products, since their culture and skills tend to marketization whereas other companies that innovate really focus on the technology and not how it will apply to the mass market.

Either way I recommend picking this up if you are into big business innovation, as I found it easy to read and insightful.

Phone: Samsung Blackjack II Black Smartphone (AT&T)
So far, I have had this phone for about 2-3 weeks, and I still like it. Given that it is a Windows device I was prepared to reboot it every couple of days like one of my friends runs into with his mobile Windows device, but I can happily say, that it has happened once, but it was mostly my fault. Rather than review every little aspect of the phone, I will give the condensed version.

Pros: 3G is fast and reliable. GPS is cool, but a little inaccurate. Video and picture camera are decent, though not high res. Phone calls are clear. Reception is good even in some nearly dead areas I know of.

Cons: Keyboard is slippery and hard to type on. Battery case is slippery and hard to open. Mobile Internet Explorer is horrible. Wish I had an extra 1/2 inch of screen width.

Overall: I like it, but really anything should have been better than my 4.5 year old Sony Ericsson T637. But battery life is about 7 days idle, or 3 days doing some surfing and texting, or 1 day if you talk alot.

Video Game: Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition

I am about 25 hours into the game and 45% in. I really like a lot of it. The sandbox aspect of the game is just really addictive. The driving is ok, and I think I liked it better than Yahtzee, although I don't think I have played as many of the GTA games as Yahtzee has. The voice acting is superb, and the plot is engaging (at least to me). Some things I can complain about is my "friends" in the game. It feels like they wait till the most inopportune time to give me a ring and want to hang out, and if I turn then down, they like me less. So I have drop everything and go hang out with. Not only hang out with them but pick them up and get them home. Seriously. Can't we just meet somewhere? Give me more than an hours heads up. But in terms of depth of content, I think there is more stuff to read in here than any of The Elder Scrolls games which really says alot. Also would like to note, THIS IS NOT FOR KIDS!

And in conclusion: It seems that Miranda has taken a liking to Rock Band. Frequently we here the phrase, "I rock?" Which lets us know she wants to play the drums.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I have a new phone

I got a new cellphone with a new number. If you want to get ahold of me, you should contact me and ask for it. I still have my old cellphone for a couple of days, but it will be shut off. You can contact me via my old phone too or if you work with me, then it is in the phone tool. Otherwise, I am not posting it.

And the phone is pretty nice. Definitely like it so far. Samsung Blackjack II.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Lions draft... ummm yeah.

The Lions have added a few new folks to their teams but I am not sure what they will really add this year.

  • Gosder Cherilus (OT) - May not start this year, but will be in the rotation. Although honestly after seeing the rotation last year, Gosder will likely be the starter. I think this is a solid pick, but I question moving away from Brendan Albert. This could prove to be letting go of one of those massive guards that could have improved the run game.
  • Jordon Dizon (LB) - Small, but quick. I am not sure this is where I would have spent my round two pick. I think there were more, larger LBs available with strength. I am not sure he will be able to shed blockers in run situations. In passing situations, he has the vertical that can help for his lack of stature. Honest, I think this was a bad pick. No offense.
  • Kevin Smith (RB) - Almost broke Barry Sanders' collegiate records and has lots of carries in a relatively weak conference to show for it. Although, I think this was a good pickup and could see lots of time in the RB rotation.
  • Andre Fluellen (DT) - puts him as an underachiever that lacks passion. Let's see if we can get some work out of him, but he will likely show up in the rotation. I think this was a decent pickup.
  • Cliff Avril (DE) - I expect him to move to LB in the next couple of years and make a significant impact to special teams this year. High motor, large lineback type. If the Lions have some problems at strong side lineback, that is where he will be.
  • Kenneth Moore (WR/KR) - Not much receiving in college, did more work in punt and kick returning with a punt return average of 13 yards. Might get cut.
  • Jerome Felton (FB) - When we lost Schlesinger because of Martz we lost a lot of power in the run game. This could bring some of that back. A couple of fumbles, but should still help the run game. If can develop solid pass catching skills we are in business here.
  • Landon Cohen (DT) - Practice squad
  • Caleb Campbell (S) - Practice squad

I am probably being overly negative here, but in general not all rookies can make an impact. And honestly, after looking at the Lions schedule, I see them potentially winning 5 games, but I really think the last 9 games will be losses. So, come on Lions, please prove me wrong.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2008 Mock Draft

I pray this is the last one I have to do. I wouldn't have taken another stab at but the Kansas City trade of Jared Allen prior to the draft completely scrambled who they would target and all that trickled down and made me spend another hour on this. Sigh. Of course, I love it, but still there is a lot time put in here. So let's see if this one has legs.

  1. Miami Dolphins - Chris Long DE whoops Jake Long, OT
  2. St Louis Rams - Jake Long OT whoops Chris Long, DE
  3. Atlanta Falcons - Ryan Clady OT
  4. Oakland Raiders - Vernon Gholston DE
  5. Kansas City Chiefs - Glenn Dorsey DT
  6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden RB
  7. New England Patriots - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB
  8. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Ryan QB
  9. Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis DT
  10. New Orleans Saints - Keith Rivers LB
  11. Buffalo Bills - Limas Sweed WR
  12. Denver Broncos - Chris Williams OT
  13. Carolina Panthers - Rashard Mendenhall RB
  14. Chicago Bears - Branden Albert OG
  15. Detroit Lions - Derrick Harvey DE
  16. Arizona Cardinals - Leodis McKelvin CB
  17. Kansas City Chiefs - Jeff Otah OT
  18. Houston Texans - Mike Jenkins CB
  19. Philadelphia Eagles - Devin Thomas WR
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - James Hardy WR
  21. Washington Redskins - Calais Campbell DE
  22. Dallas Cowboys - Jonathan Stewart RB
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Aqib Talib CB
  24. Tennessee Titans - Kentwan Balmer DT
  25. Seattle Seahawks - Gosder Cherilus OT
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Phillip Merling DE
  27. San Diego Chargers - Antoine Cason CB
  28. Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Phillips FS
  29. San Francisco 49ers - Sam Baker OT
  30. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Flowers CB
  31. New England Patriots - Pick forfeited
  32. New York Giants - Erin Henderson OLB

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Draft part 2 (16 - 32) and updates

Whoops. I missed on my first pick and the draft hasn't even started. So suffice it to say, I just going to swap the Longs. Easier and I could see either team take either of them.

  1. Arizona Cardinals - Mike Jenkins CB; With needs at both CB and the D-line, my rough feeling is that they are likely to focus on secondary with a lot of DE going early. The next couple DE that could go would be Lawrence Jackson, Calais Campbell and a couple of others, but I think it is unlikely for them to go after them with Mike Jenkins on the board.
  2. Minnesota Vikings, Jared Allen => Branden Albert OG Chiefs; My guess is this will be the mega trade of the draft where they hand this pick over (and more) for Jared Allen and then the Chiefs will grab an O-line guy with Brendan the most likely person.
  3. Houston Texans - Aqib Talib CB; And David Carr can probably attest, the Texans would like more depth at o-line as they have been injury plagued since they became a team in the NFL. That said, they will likely grab a corner which is also a need and pick Aqib Talib to pick up the nickel slot.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles - Devin Thomas WR; More than likely, if they don't make a strong play for Chad Johnson, they will likely grab a good wide receiver in the draft if one is availabe that warrants the 19th overall, and I think they will find one in Devin Thomas who already look good in their colors.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - James Hardy WR; Tampa suffers from a player surplus in their areas of weakness where no one has really stepped up and taken control of the game. Jonathan Stewart is a possibility, but with injury concerns, I think they will pass. I think they will go toward who ever is the top receiver on their draft boards.
  6. Washington Redskins - Calais Campbell DE; Let's go with someone you know will likely drive who the Redskins pick when they pick one of their defensive coaches ex-players.
  7. Dallas Cowboys - Jonathan Stewart RB; Filling in for Julius Jones with a vacated spot.
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jeff Otah OT
  9. Tennessee Titans - Kentwan Balmer DT
  10. Seattle Seahawks - Gosder Cherilus OT
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars - Phillip Merling DE
  12. San Diego Chargers - Antoine Cason CB
  13. Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Phillips FS
  14. San Francisco 49ers - Sam Baker OT; Call me crazy but I could see the Lions move up and take Brohm. And then I would cry.
  15. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Flowers CB
  16. New England Patriots - Pick forfeited
  17. New York Giants - Erin Henderson OLB

And of course, the teams most likely to bone the draft according to the analysts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Picks 1 through 15

As per this time of year, my football addiction becomes too much and I have to post my predictions for the NFL draft. So far, in my years predicting the first round (sometimes public, sometimes private), I don't have a real good track record. This year though, I think I can feel it... not really.

So without further ado:

  1. Miami Dolphins - Chris Long DE; Likely that the Dolphins will take Chris Long as there is probably going to be some good offensive linemen available later in the draft and an elite end here could mean a big difference to apply pressure and giving the rest of your defense a bit of a break.
  2. St Louis Rams - Jake Long OT; Rams here have a couple of needs being offensive line, wide receivers and defensive line. Given the whupping that Bulger got, I think they are going to put a priority on getting Jake Long here to create a cornerstone for the future of their offensive line. However if he is gone at this point, they will likely pick up Chris Long. If they were to go WR I would put my money on Limas Sweed, but this could be a tad early for Limas to go.
  3. Atlanta Falcons - Ryan Clady OT; This one is just as interesting at the first pick as both the Falcons and the Dolphins are looking at serious rebuilding efforts. I am sure that many will expect them to take Matt Ryan here and get their next QB, I am going to predict that put a little more stock in the offensive line and pick up Ryan Clady.
  4. Oakland Raiders - Vernon Gholston DE; I am sure that Al Davis would love to pick Darren McFadden, but with only 5 picks in the draft and this the only one in the first three rounds, he would love even more to trade it. Unfortunately trading away high draft picks is impossibly hard, here we will see Oakland trying to get a bit more ferocious on defense and pick Vernon Gholston.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs - Leodis McKelvin CB; Chiefs could use offensive line help but will look to later rounds to pick up some guards and a center. Most likely, with the absense of Ty Law, they will pick up what they hope with be a shutdown corner in Leodis McKelvin.
  6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden RB; Jackpot for the Jets here. With Thomas Jones' rough outing last year look for the Jets to select Darren McFadden who probably shouldn't have fallen this far. If he is gone, they could take Matt Ryan or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  7. New England Patriots - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB; High likelyhood here that we will see them draft Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie if available. There was a lot of flux at the corner position and I wouldn't be surprised to see the use of another high draft pick to bolster what they have. That said, they could grab hold of Keith Rivers to add some more youth the the linebacker corps.
  8. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Ryan QB; With McNair a recent memory and Boller or Troy Smith waiting in the wings to fill those shoes, expect the Ravens to take some insurance and pick the best pure passer in the draft in Matt Ryan.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals - Glenn Dorsey DT; Maybe with the bargain of the first round, I expect the Bengals to add another potent weapon to their defensive front. Expect later in the draft for them to address additional LB, WR, and O-line to add some depth.
  10. New Orleans Saints - Sedrick Ellis DT; The Saints are showing some age on the D-line and will like grab a young guy to fill in on the front. Cornerback could also be a need they fill here with Mike Jenkins or one of the other top flight CB.
  11. Buffalo Bills - Limas Sweed WR; Looking to give another passing threat the Bills will likely pick Limas Sweed instead of grabbing Mike Jenkins (another high likelyhood at this spot).
  12. Denver Broncos - Keith Rivers LB; If Keith Rivers is sitting here, that is likely to be their pick. If he is gone, I see them trading down as they could get some of their other targets for DT or LB a little later this round. If they stick it out here, Branden Albert could add to the Oline.
  13. Carolina Panthers - Rashard Mendenhall RB; While Carolina could sign Brian Brohm here, I think they will make a surprise pick and grab the next top rated RB available in Rashard Mendenhall.
  14. Chicago Bears - Chris Williams OT; Here they could grab Brian Brohm (QB), Chris Williams (OT), or Branden Albert (OG) and I really expect them to go after a lineman in Lovie's organization.
  15. Detroit Lions - Derrick Harvey DE; WR last year, another defensive building block this year. Given the lack of LB in this draft that fit the Tampa 2 mold out of the blocks, I expect a high draft pick spent on an edge pass rusher to attempt and give the corners a release of pressure by reducing the time the QB has to throw.

Note: Made correction to typo

Monday, April 14, 2008

Doctor Says...

I am fine. Or good enough.

Either way, that is good news, so now we can have our party for Miranda (although secretly I think it is just to get folks we care about together). Seems that my sinus infections are ok to have somewhat frequently as they are going away. So I guess each one has been a different infection.

As for my foot, it is healing normally and doesn't look to contain any infection. Plus I renewed my tetanus shot, so ten more years till I need another one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Miranda

Miranda hit two today even thought it feels like she has been two for a while (talking back you know). She has plenty of personality and had a good time at her birthday party on last Wednesday. We were supposed to have one today, but I have been pretty ill of late so we decided to not infect everyone. So we will take a look at having it next week after I visit the doc and see "what's up?"

Grandma and Grandpa Dykstra decided to get her a trampoline which I thought I would share a picture of.

miranda 090

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Miranda at the Doctor

Besides the nasty diaper rash, Miranda is very healthy. The big news is we hit the 25 percentile of weight (I am sure Michelle will correct me if wrong). So now she is 35" high and 25lbs. Woohoo.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Attacked by a 2 year old

Well, I wounded my foot as a result of things magically appearing where I would not expect them. One of those hair holder things (sorry don't know the name as I am lacking in hair and it is generally worn by females) was laying on the ground pokey side up. Suffice to say, that is magically got embedded into my heel. Which hurt. A lot.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Direction in Life

Today I am here to announce that I am taking on some new endeavors. When I look at the state of the world today and what Miranda is going to have to live through, how can I not decide to start my own company which has the sole goal of creating a better future and world for our kids.

The real crux of our problems stem from our heavy reliance on energy. We need energy for our TVs, vehicles, refrigerators, and everything in our lives. Now you may be thinking that I will be spending time working on a solution to cheap, safe fusion energy, but that really doesn't hit to the heart of the matter. It still leaves us with a dependence on energy.

So what I propose is to create an army of individuals that will rise up around the world to cut the power. It is easy to start, but I won't say that it is not without some danger. We are currently looking for people with experience with bolt cutters, chainsaws, and cutting torches. We need to bring that power grid down. We need to free up our time from mindless pursuits of video games, music, and TV. Then we will be free to spend our time doing what we were meant to do which is live from the land by raising crops and animals. No more wasted time and our personal fulfillment levels will be higher.

Join with me and remember that only you can truly hate April Fool's Day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Review: You Suck

Recently read You Suck: A Love Story on the advice from Ish and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. This book is definitely not high brow literature. It doesn't fall into the traditional vampire (or vampyre) tales. Instead it weaves a really nice story about two naive vampires just learning what it means to be that. What you give up, and what you gain when dealing with people around you.

The main characters consist of Jody and Tommy but that book is able to create a great supporting cast. The Animals which are Tommy's friends before he turned are just fun and really add to the story (especially for someone who used to work in the grocery business). Also you have the Cheddar princess turned stripper and hocker who really just is about the only purely nasty person in the book. You get treated to the 800 year old vampire Elijah as well and his more subdued view of being pissed on while trying to feed on a drunk. But really the most delightful character is that of Abby who is trying so hard to be goth, but really is just a bubbly, hello kitty type girl.

The story is simple and short, but the characters really bring the fun into it. Recommended.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Misc Notes

So I thought I would drop off a couple quick notes / rants / whatever.
  1. Miranda has now used the potty a couple of times. Woo hoo!
  2. Miranda still hates hair washing.
  3. Miranda now says happy, bubbles, and a few other words and phrases.
  4. Work is good. Tiring but good.
  5. Coffee is good and not so tiring.
  6. The parking garage at the train station should really try to be open in the morning. There really isn't any place to park otherwise.
  7. The Rescuers is a pretty fun movie, but it is weird to feel the different pacing of the show from a by gone era. Very slow and methodical.
  8. Burnout: Paradise City is fun.
  9. Godiva Chocolate Liquor + Chai + Soy Milk = Yummy goodness.

My little rockstar.
mom camera 364

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Co-operative gamer bill of rights

I saw a post on this in a couple of different places and took a stab at what I thought it should be on my gaming clan's blog.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Miranda is not impressed

miranda 062

Lions release Kenoy Kennedy

This one I am pretty surprised by. I really thought that Kenoy had produced good numbers and positively impacted play on the field. I can only guess this is cap related, but otherwise it doesn't make much sense. I can only hope that at 30 he will get a chance to start somewhere and make an impact like he did with the Lions.

The only other Lion thing to note, is I saw that Harrington got re-signed by the Atlanta Falcons. Hmmmmmm. Not sure what is up with that, but Atlanta is a weird place.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Detroit Lions releases....

Detroit recently release Kevin Jones and Kalimba Edwards. To be honest, I agree with Tom's assessment on Kevin. I think he is a great player but the moneyed owed for a player that has been frequently injured is something the Lions can't pay for especially on the final year of a contract. I agree that Kevin will be a phenomenal player. I really hope that the Lions can resign him with a back loaded contract that would bring him back with money to match the amount of games he will be available for this year.

As for Kalimba, best of luck, but I am not sad to see that position get freed up for a replacement. Maybe a move to OLB in a 3-4 will be a better move for him.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update on life

Well, it seems we are mostly back to healthy in the household. The time change made it a little more difficult to get better as it totally screwed with sleep. Plus I think I broken my NyQuil addiction as well. Seems every time I get a cold, I turn to NyQuil to make sure I get my rest just cause it does a good job opening the airways and then making me drowsy. However, after I feel the cold has run it's course, I have to somehow back down from it, which means the first few nights off tend to be me laying in bed till midnight waiting for sleep. Usually I try to go off of the stuff on a weekend, but this time it wasn't possible. Either way, I survived the low sleep and now and back to good.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I hear that 30 is one of the special birthdays that you should celebrate. I guess I missed it. We'll try again in 10 years. But the cold was a mixed blessing, it gave me the chance to spend more time with parents who were in town to see us as I didn't lose the commute, just spent part of the holed up working from home.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Review: Time Enough for Love

I recently completed Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein. Time Enough for Love tells the furthering stories of Lazarus Long aka Woodrow Wilson Smith and his continuing life. At this point in the story (4700 AD), Lazarus has been alive 2700 years and done just about everything. As such he wants to end it gracefully in a run down hotel across town. Things don't go so well as the Howard families refuse to let their key piece of genetics and information die and have resolved to try and find things in life to get Lazarus interested again in living, but the real underlying theme is around love is what makes life worth living.

This book is broken into 4 sections that have their own distinctive feel. Part 1 seems to be a lot of pontification by Heinlein as the members of the Howard families attempt to get something new for Lazarus. Here you are introduced to a planet leader who can be as manipulative as they come, a computer in love with said leader, as well as a couple of lonely rejuvenators. They worry about Lazarus. They talk of manipulating him. They speak with him, trying to get him to share many of his stories from his long life.

Part 2 has involves Lazarus telling two stories to the computer, Minerva, about his past loves and trying to explain what love is. I found these sections to be much more enjoyable than his random pontifications. Heinlein is able to create interesting characters in very interesting scenes when he actually sits to tell a story.

Part 3 suddenly appears and takes you forward 5 or 10 years. Here again we find ourselves subject to Heinlein's discussions of group marriages and love again. We hear his ideas on raising children and creating happy healthy family units.

Finally in Part 4, we take a look at Lazarus' past through the eyes of an aged Lazarus and how he gets to meet his first family again but as another person via ways of time travel. This he is able to paint another good story of a person really looking out for his skin so much that he again forgets that life is about living and loving and that he has to rediscover that through his family and the ones he cares about most.

Overall a good book, but dreadfully long and over tedious in places. Recommended to the die hard RAH fan. Everyone else need not apply.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Magical Age

I think we have reached a very neat age for Miranda. She seems to be comprehending more of what is going on. Cause and effect understanding seems to be getting better (very crucial in making sure that bad behavior is curbed). Plus she is starting to talk. Her language is not easily translated to english so I have lots of trouble understanding her.

So in the last month, we have had a potty use, which is good, but now she doesn't even want to go near it. Our bath times are getting a little easier. She still doesn't like to get her hair wash, but now it is more of anger as opposed to the straight out screaming her head off. She is not kicking the cat now, which I count as a huge win.

Some of the bad is that she has figured out how the TV works (at least turning it on). She still throws food on the floor and we can't take the food away yet as we are still trying to get some more weight on her. We go through daily tantrums over nap and bed. Cleaning is hard as she still won't put things away and loves to haul out what we put away.

So overall, nothing terrible and many things very cool so she is progressing well and we as parents are a little bit calmer than we were before.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Download the songs of Rock Band

Since I have been playing Rock Band for the xbox 360, I have wanted to download the MP3's so that I can listen to the music and figure out the pitch of the singing or even just learn the songs so it is easier to play. I figured others would care about my work.

But here is the complete list of the ones I could find on Amazon.

Update: I had a link to the Amazon Listmania list, but that list just doesn't work. Must be a bug with Amazon Digital orders and Listmania pages or something on that line. Very, very annoying.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review: Assassin's Creed

Finished Assassin's Creed today, and I am impressed. This is the first of the games that I have played from Ubisoft Montreal. I skipped the Prince of Persia's (at least the semi-recent ones), so I think this is my first introduction to the Havoc engine and other miscellaneous bouncing off the walls that the character is able to do. In Assassin's Creed, you play two roles. First off you play as Miles, the descendant of a famed Assassin clan from during the Crusades. You have limited interaction while playing as Miles and must glide around the room frequently to see if you can interact with anything. It would be nice here if it would highlight so you could see you could interact from a distance. The second character you play as is Altaïr, Miles' ancestor. Basically the game story centers around the fact that Miles is captured and must relive his ancestor's life through some sort of DNA memory. While this is a little hokie, but if you can suspend your beliefs past that part, you are in for a treat. The story is filled with conspiracy theories, alien technology, and ancient battles, not to mention getting to play as an assassin in a critical time in human history.

The graphics and sounds are executed well and give you a very immersive environment. You get the sounds of battles, plus the sounds of merchants hawking their wares. You get to see swirling dust and flying insects along with copious amounts of blood. The cities are beautifully rendered with tons of space to explore and tons of stupid flags to find.

The gameplay suffers from a few things. Many popular reviewers found this game to be repetitive and I can see where they are coming from. Your bare minimum mission consists of:
  1. Arrive at city
  2. Visit bureau
  3. Do 2 of 6 investigations
  4. Visit bureau
  5. Kill target
  6. Visit bureau

But that is the bare minimum. If you want there are high places to explore, and citizens to save. There are also 6 total investigations to do which all lend to the story and enrich it. Plus if you really would like to get into the role it is helpful to do all the investigations so you can see marked guard placements and good routes to the site. For me the most monotonous part was flag hunting. I got it into my head that I should find all the flags, but after trying to do so in Damascus for 3+ hours, I decided I would just collect the ones I could find (as they are save points) and that would be all.

Another clunky combat / gameplay point is that sometimes it can be a tad grabby. If you are running away from the guards sometimes your character will do very non-elite assassin sort of things like just grab onto a wall or accidentally fall into the water. These end up being very bad things.

But bad things aside, they really didn't detract much from the game and I still had a fun time playing it. In fact I recommend it just to watch the story.

Back to healthy

Well everyone is mostly healthy now. Miranda completely healthy and her parents, well, they are recovering. She is eating again and the vocabulary is increasing, we just don't always understand. But that is alright. Now I just need to take more pictures so my parents stay happy :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lions part ways with Shaun Rogers

Reports: Lions decide to part ways with Rogers

It's really hard to say letting go of a pro bowl player is a good thing. But there was also the frustration of seeing nothing produced out of him for 7 of the 16 games this season. See you Shaun, may your next team work out better for you, and may your replacement show up 16 games.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sick kid

Miranda has her first real cold with fever. We have been lucky before this with 1 other light cold, but this one looks to be a big one. So yesterday I spent an hour and a half in Walgreen's waiting for the prescription that was supposed to be faxed in earlier. Either way, that sucked at I would have got home at 5:30, but instead got home around 7pm.

Add that in with Miranda not sleeping well and we aren't sleeping well and you have a barely functioning household.

But the prognosis is ear infection with a secondary infection that seems to be the flu. Antibiotics for the ear infection and lots of fighting to get her to take the meds, take the tylenol, and just eat or get fluids.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bad parent addendum

Well, puking didn't end the day. I ended up getting pooped on to. Sigh.

But it looks like Miranda has the flu. Hopefully get her into the doc today and make sure we can do all we can do for her.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yup. Awful parent award winner for this year too


Who the hell says timeout works? I would really like to know so that I could throw up on them. So my daughter is 20 months. We have been working with her to help understand things and also some of the things that are acceptable and not. So this morning she dumped food all over the floor. Fine. So I ask her to pick up the food and put it back in the bowl. She refuses. So I put her in her chair for a while.

Next I go to clean up the mess and she comes over. She helps a bit. Then when it is back full, she grabs and dumps it. So back in time out, but this time in her room all alone, for 20 seconds. I come in. I try to calm her down so we can talk. She throws up on me. Every time I do timeout with her, I get thrown up on. So how the hell do you do corrective actions when you are doing all you can to get fucking calories and nutrients to her and then have her regurgitate it?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Video Game Review: Open Season

I recently picked up Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle from Amazon for the low price of $20 (although it has gone up) for the reason that it was a great deal. I wasn't sure if the games would be good or not, but I figured that Miranda would appreciate the bright colors and hopefully easy game play of these games. So I finally decided to try Open Season first and what I found surprised me.

I am used to most movie tie-in games and whatnot to be atrocious, but what I found here was something simplistic but at the same point very entertaining. Now this game is used by many "hardcore" gamers to gain achievements or "nerd-cred", but I went in with that as secondary. The basic plot follows that of the movie where you play as both the bear (Boog) and the deer sidekick (can't remember) and Boog transformation from pet to wild animal. The majority of the missions are played as Boog and basically put you "on rails" running through the forest scaring off hunters and loggers. There are a couple of missions that are out of control "river runs" where you attempt to not run into too many things in your path. The controls are good. The camera is not annoying. And in the end, I found that I had fun.

About the only thing that bothered me was what felt like uninspired voice acting. I would hope that they wanted to do this in addition to just picking up a paycheck. But the general storytelling was well laid out and the writing was good and lead to a few chuckles.

In addition to the game, which is 3-5 hours to beat and very, very easy, you also get a number of multiplayer mini-games, as well as slideshows from the movie and various nature trivia facts.