The first round of home improvement is done, I guess. I had to write a check yesterday, and that’s as good of a sign as any. The fireplace is almost done (still need sealer on the grout) and the bedroom work is done. Sometime next week, I’ll get the new windows, and can start worrying about carpeting for the bedroom. In celebration, I rearranged the furniture in the living room to make curling up in front of the fireplace more inviting.
Overall, yesterday definitely had a monday kind of feeling to it. I spent the morning putting out various metaphorical fires, and then the afternoon with more of the same. Because of the timing of Thanksgiving, two clients are paying me late this month, which means I don’t get paid until those checks come in. I should have expected it, but somehow it still came as a surprise.
So being a good American, I decided the only solution is more debt. I went off to the bank to apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit. If nothing else, I think that keeping all the home improvement stuff in one account will help me plan so I don’t take on too much at once.
- Here’s a headline I just couldn’t pass up after yesterday: Optimists Club Calls It Quits. That pretty much says it. [fark!]
- Kim du Toit has a rant on Police States and why the PATRIOT act should not be renewed. Good stuff. [kim]
- In a related note, Mitch, who usually praises PATRIOT, comments on the Lack of Intelligence in the new Intelligence Reform Bill that failed to pass the House. I agree that this is a bill that should not have passed, but the same criticisms can be (and have been) applied to PATRIOT. The problem is not that we don’t have enough laws, or haven’t banned the right things, or don’t have enough bureaucracy. It’s precisely the opposite. [mitch]
- As a follow-up to yesterday’s ranting about airport security, Mark is Home again, and has a tale of stupid airport security in San Jose. Remember, Mark, travelling in a speedo might get you through the checkpoints more quickly, but it’s going to be a bit nippy when you arrive in MSP.
- When the government sticks RFID chips in passports (sometimes in the next year), will there be any Privacy Protection? Nope. If you don’t want someone reading your passport data remotely, you’ll have to stick it in a tinfoil bag. [wired]
- The Web Won’t Let Government Hide, as lots of pajamahadeen post documents the government would rather not make quite so available. [wired]
- There’s a Rough Reception for DNA Law in California which will collect DNA from everyone even arrested for a felony. Hey, just a few more laws and we can all be felons! [wired]
Well, it’s definitely after Thanksgiving now, and I’m starting to feel the crunch. I’ve got two strings of lights that I plan to put on the front of the house, but need to figure out how to get power to them first. I’ve got no tree, and am still wondering whether I’m going to get one this year or not. I’ve got cards to send out, and rather than getting them done this weekend, I still haven’t even gathered the list of who needs to get cards, let alone written the update that’ll go in them. I did get one present bought, but there’s more than one person on the list for presents, so more shopping needs to be done, too. Oh well, at least my to-do list isn’t feeling neglected.
Yesterday I had a successful home-improvement project of my own. The bathroom sink has leaked on and off since I bought the place. The problem is that the lines feeding the faucet were short enough that they were under tension all the time, and would loosen up periodically. I’d just been tightening them when they started to drip, but yesterday I’d had enough, and went out and bought a longer, more flexible feed line, and replaced the old one. Now I should no longer have the special joy of stepping in a puddle first thing in the morning.
While I was working on plumbing, I also replaced the sprayer on the kitchen sink. Easy job, but I managed to jab myself while trying to remove the retaining clip from the old sprayer. That covered my home-improvement injury quota for the weekend.
But I think I’m getting better at this. While I did stop by three stores in preparation for the job (local hardware store, then Home Depot, then Target), when I got home, I actually had everything I needed to do the job, and didn’t have to run out again for one last part or tool. That pleases me.
This morning, the guys from Finer Surroundings will be stopping by to finish things up, so I’m up extra-early so I can be ready when they get here. I’ve also got some phone calls to make, payroll to get done for the first of the month, and plenty of programming work to do, so it promises to be a busy day. For that matter, it’s going to be a busy week — I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that subject.
- One last entry from last Tuesday. After all the other excitement, Bill & I went to the Town Hall Brewery. For some reason, I always forget how much I like the place. The beer is good, and reasonably priced during their 9-midnight happy hour. They keep the music low enough that you can have a conversation. And while smoking is allowed, the ventilation is good enough that the place is seldom smoky.
- People are Tracing two paths to tragedy in the case of Chai Soua Vang shooting eight people in Wisconsin last Sunday and killing six. The story still sounds confused, but some of the details are clearing up. In any case, it’s abundantly clear that someone drastically overreacted to what should have been a pretty simple exchange. [strib]
- The light rail will be going Full Throttle this Saturday when the rest of the line opens and you can get to the airport and the Mall of America. I don’t expect to be on it anytime soon for a couple reasons. The first is that for the first year in a long time, I’m not planning a vacation over the winter, so I won’t need to go to the airport unless a business trip materializes. The second is that the stored value cards that work on the buses don’t work on the trains, which is a pain. [press-patch]
- Speaking of flying, or not, You Have Papers? looks at the TSA and invokes Godwin’s Law. [endwar]
- The GeekWithA.45 has some thoughts With Respect To The Question of The Unwanted Laying On of Hands… and aikido.
Failing to protect the aircraft is not acceptable, but neither is groping, personal x-rays, or the current incarnation of the TSA.But I kind of like the idea of more people knowing aikido, especially if it could be used to
accidentallybreak the wrist of someone who’s doing some
inappropriate touching. Then again, maybe I should just buy a ticket to somewhere. A good groping would be more of a sex-life than I’ve had in quite a while. [endwar]
- Schneier’s Behavioral Assessment Profiling offers what I think is a better solution than the current regime: look for people who are acting suspicously, and check into them. [schneier]
When I woke up this morning, there was snow on the grass. That’s a first for the season. I may decide to go out for a walk with the camera later on in the day, but I guess we’ll see.
That out of the way, it’s time for more pictures from last Tuesday. First is the sign that mars what used to be a somewhat wild triangle of land between the Stone Arch Apartments and the U of MN Steam Plant. It’s been an abused piece of land over the years, but now it’s been turned into a parking lot for the apartments. Of course the developer promised that they would have plenty of parking in the garage under the apartments, so I don’t see why they should need any extra parking. Unless of course they lied, but that would never happen, right? My take is that the parking lot is probably better than the townhouses they originally wanted to build there, but I’d prefer to see no development at all on the river side of Main St. SE. Then again, there are a lot of things I’d prefer that aren’t going to happen.
|U of MN Steam Plant|
Next up is the University of Minnesota’s Southeast Steam Plant (also known as the Twin City Rapid Transit Company Steam Power Plant). It’s been under renovation, and is also looking to change the permit they have so they can burn alternative fuels, so a number of neighborhood sorts got a tour of the building.
It’s a historic building, having first gone up in 1903, as a backup power sourt for the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (it became the main power source in 1905). It was owned by NSP between 1953, when the streetcars were torn out, and 1976, when it was transferred to the University. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places ten years ago in 1994.
|U of MN Steam Plant|
Our tour was supposed to begin at 3:30, but we started a bit late, and many people had questions, so we didn’t get outside until the sun was just about setting. It gave the building a nice warm glow that wasn’t completely wrecked by the auto-white-balance feature of my camera that I couldn’t figure out how to turn off. No pictures were allowed inside, for security reasons, but I did get a chance to take a couple pictures of it from right next to the river as the sun was setting, and I think they turned out okay. Before the tour, I heard from a couple of the people there that my previous picture of the building was being used either as a screen-saver or background on their computers, which is kinda cool. These pictures were taken from right in front of that tree down on the left end of that earlier picture.
It was an interesting tour. We got to see most of the inside of the plant, including the three new boilers, the backup, and the backup to the backup. The newest boiler is a seven story monster CFB boiler that’s so efficient that they don’t actually run it full-time. It produces too much steam to use in times of less than peak demand, so they end up running the somewhat older boilers instead. The other cool thing about the new boiler is that it’s suspended from above. When they fire it up, it actually grows about a foot in height, and that expansion is a lot easier to handle when the boiler is hanging.
The plant’s main purpose is to generate steam to heat the University (both east and west banks), Fairview University Medical Center, the State Board of Health, and the Cedar Riverside People’s Center. The plant can produce up to 15 megawatts of electricity too, but that’s done with the same steam that’s sent out to the world, so the generating capacity is limited by how much steam can be used to heat buildings. When we were there, it was making about 5 MW of electricity, and using half of that for running the plant. Apparently pumping a MW or two into the grid is a fairly typical average.
The recent renovation was a $120M project. That seems like a lot, but my impression after the tour is that it was money well-spent, especially since it includes the new boiler which can burn darned near anything you throw at it, plus restored the exterior, which was in pretty rough shape.
The plant burns about three train cars of coal per day in winter, and has two coal bunkers. The one right next to the plant can hold about twenty-five cars worth of coal, and the main one by the old main plant can hold more. Since coal is sold in 110-car loads, the plant partners with Xcel when buying coal, and typically gets a quarter-load at a time. They also burn natural gas and wood.
|The Guthrie & Gold Medal Flour|
As I mentioned earlier, they’re looking to get a new permit to allow them to burn more biomass. The permit application listed a big laundry-list of different possible types of biomass, including turkey manure, which got the neighborhood a little excited. According to the guys running the plant, they don’t actually want to burn manure, but wanted as flexible of a list as possible, since their current goal is to burn oat hulls from General Mills (there’s a lot of oat hulls left after making Cheerios), but in the time it’s taken them to get approval, other folks have stepped up, and the price for the oat hulls has risen dramatically. They want to be able to switch to new fuels more quickly, and I think that’s a reasonable request, as long as they strike manure from their list.
After finishing the tour, and on my way out, I took one last picture of the Guthrie construction with the Gold Medal Flour sign blinking nearby. It’s a view you don’t often get, and my only regret is that I hadn’t brought my mini-tripod so I could have been steadier on the ¼ second exposure. I guess I did pretty well for hand-held, and I got the composition I was after.
- On the way home from the tour of the Steam Plant, I saw the sales office for the Mill Trace Condominiums, right across the street from the 8th St. Market. Hrm. Convenient location, and if I hadn’t bought a house last year, I’d probably be looking into them. Looking at the information on them, I guess that maybe half of the condos are suitable for students. More growth for Marcy-Holmes, and I bet it won’t hurt Jim’s business having fifty more units of housing right across the street from him.
It’s time to post the pictures of the work around here that I took on Wednesday. This still leaves the steam plant pictures in the backlog, but hey, I should be caught up by Monday, and you’ll have a whole slew of things to look at when you get back to work, right?
We start with the fireplace. A half inch of floor leveller, some mastic, and the tiles are in place. They still need to be grouted, but that’s a pretty quick job on Monday morning, and then I’ll be able to burn things up in there. I don’t expect the fireplace will do much in the way of helping to heat the house, but it’ll make for a nice cozy feel in the living room, which is not to be sneered at.
Next up is the kitchen. The wall is patched and painted, and the pot rack has been hung on the wall. That one wall of orange makes the entire kitchen feel brighter, and I like the way the white pops out from the orange. They only sell pot racks like this in black and stainless though, so I bought a stainless one and got it powder-coated white. I’m glad I spent the extra $50 for the powder-coating. Of course I’ll need to get a white fridge (that’s already on the list, as this one is showing its age) and stove and paint the other walls to complete the effect, but this is enough to make me happy for now. Oh yeah, and I’m sure someone will tell me I need to buy all new pots and pans to match the new wall and rack, but I’m not going to worry about that just now.
Finally, the bedroom. The colors are enough there that you can see where I’m going with it. It’s brighter and more intense than I expected, but not a ton, and I think the look will change enough when I get carpeting and furniture in there, and I’ll be happy with it.
|ceiling fan detail|
I’m thinking that the carpeting is going to be a cream or a beige that will be close to the ceiling in color. That’s far from certain, and I’ll probably be pondering the various choices for a while as I try to save up the money to pay for that. Then again, maybe I’ll take advantage of one of those “no payments for six months” deals to get the room finished sooner so I can give myself a present of a completed bedroom.
I like the ceiling fan, and Jon’s idea of putting the plate thing behind it, and painting that blue was a very good one. It really makes the fan pop out, especially when the neon is lit up. It’s not really a bedroom feel, but what the hell. I’m also going to have some trouble finding furniture, I expect. I can imagine the bed I want to put in front of that dark blue wall, but I haven’t seen one like I want in any of the stores, so I’ll probably end up buying a pedestal bed and building a headboard for it.
What remains to be done in this round? Well, the guys from Finer Surroundings will be back on Monday to grout the fireplace tiles and put on another coat and touch up the paint in the bedroom. There are a few bobbles on the edges that need to be cleaned up. And then they’ll be back about a week after that to put in the new windows on the ground floor to seal up the piano windows that currently let cold air into the house. It feels like a lot happened on Tuesday, after the last photos I took, and I don’t expect any more days that make as big of a transformation this year.
- Yesterday morning, I posted photos from the 2004 Saints Season on Flickr. I’ve never used it before, and I’m curious to see how it works for folks. I’ll probably continue to host most of my photos here, but I wanted to try it, and this seems like a good set of photos to experiment on.
- I keep hearing (in my neighborhood, it’s hard not to) that George W. Bush is a fascist, but is it the left that’s bringing about Pseudo Fascism? [endwar]
- Bill Whittle gained a little perspective from history 18 months ago, and Monica pointed to it earlier this week. Bill’s post wants to be read. [monica]
- While you weren’t watching DC, Congress Funds Mandatory Psychological Tests for Kids. It’s mandatory in the same way the 55mph speed limit or drinking age of 21 was, but all kids going to public schools will probably get screened. [fark!]
- In the spending bill approved last weekend, Lawmakers OK anti-piracy czar, or rather a Copyright Enforcement Czar. Sigh. [boing boing]
Well, yesterday was quite a day. Guys working on the house, me reorganizing big chunks of the website (more on that later), a meeting that was rescheduled so I couldn’t go to it, some work, then a tour of the U of M’s main steam plant, home to see how the work had gone, dinner, then out for beers with Bill. A fun day, and I hope I get around to writing about bits of it in more detail.
As for this morning, last night’s beers slowed me down, but so did a bunch of other little things. Nothing I want to talk about at the moment, but I’m awfully glad there’s a long weekend just around the corner (it started last night for a lot of people, from what I could see). I’m planning on at least one day of complete couch-potatodom over the weekend, and maybe more.
- As I mentioned, I finally finished the project to partially rework the archives that I started last month. The latest update is in About Dave’s Picks, and as always, if something breaks, shoot me a note. These changes, by themself, don’t really get me toward having all the features I want to around here, but it was a really valuable exercise for me nonetheless. I got the organization that’s visible to the outside world a little closer to where I think it should be, and that’s nice. But the most valuable thing to me is that I changed where every single bit of content of the blog portion of this site lives, and as far as I know, broke nothing.
- The Brand of Sky Blue Waters talks a lot more about the effect the Hamm’s Bear had on my generation of kids in Minnesota. [lileks]
- Speaking of beer, a study says Alcohol lowers men’s restraint more than women’s. Damn. No wonder cute chicks so seldom have a problem getting me drunk and taking advantage of me. [daily]
- Says here T&A not off-limits for TSA: Women, too, face hands-on security. So if you’re flying, expect to be groped. But hey, it’ll make you safer, right? [fark!]
Well, progress was made yesterday. Things are moving, and today should see even more changes around here. In the bedroom, the mount for the ceiling fan is in, the hole is patched, and two walls and a ceiling are painted. In the kitchen, the hole is patched. In the living room, the tile and over ½″ of mortar have been removed from in front of the fireplace in preparation for actually fixing things right. Apparently there was so much mortar because the firebrick in front of the fireplace are nothing like level, but it meant that once one tile popped loose, all the rest of them came out pretty easily, so it’s going to be a complete replacement there.
I took some pictures this morning before the guys show up at 8 and start doing more work. No spiffy composition or anything here, as the bedroom photos were taken in a dark room with no lights, so they’re lit entirely by flash. I’m hoping that the pictures you’ll see tomorrow are spiffier, both due to cooler things to look at, and because I’ll be taking them when there’s some ambient light.
|Fixture in the bedroom|
The old light fixture in the bedroom. Turns out I didn’t need the heavy-duty thingie to hang the ceiling fan from, since the box is attached to a joist. It just wasn’t attached very well before, and now it is. There will be a sort of plastic plate covering the rest of the hole, and it’s going to be painted the dark blue that goes onto the walls today. I really look forward to seeing how the fan I picked out is going to look in here. The picture in my head is pretty cool, but I’ve had cool pictures in my head before that turned out to be pretty crummy in real life.
|Wall and ceiling in bedroom|
Here you get to see two of the four colors that will be in the finished bedroom. This is the wall (blue) and ceiling (yellow). A second coat of each of these goes on today, as the paint didn’t cover quite as well as we expected, plus the dark blue goes on the north and south walls, and the trim should all get painted today, too. And I know it’s crummy to paint the wood trim, but it’s already been painted, and I don’t want to strip it and refinish it just now, so I’ll just be adding another layer to what’s already there.
The fireplace hearth, minus the tile. It’s kinda hard to tell in this picture, but those bricks are horribly uneven. On the right, there’s a full inch between the top of the frame and the brick. On the left, it’s about a half-inch. I suspect this was not an original installation, but rather some do-it-yourselfer kludging something together. I’m almost curious enough to tear out more and see if there’s some nice tile underneath there or something, but I’ll need the height to fit the fireplace doors I want to put back, so no more destruction on this one.
Finally, the kitchen wall. It’s hard to see features in this picture, but they’re not real visible in real life, either. It’s basically white plaster on a white wall, and while it still needs to be sanded, primed and painted, it already looks pretty darned good. You can see the bit of the cupboard next to it that wasn’t finished (there was a microwave shelf on the wall there covering that up) and we’re not sure how we’re going to finish that yet, but we’ll figure something out today.
The guys from Finer Surroundings have been good so far, and things are going pretty smoothly. The biggest problem yesterday was that I hadn’t bought enough paint for the bedroom. I made the mistake of actually believing the manufacturer’s coverage figures for the paint. I should have known better than that from the painting I did with my dad when I was a kid, but apparently that lesson didn’t stick as well as it should have.
- While the guys were working yesterday, I took a look at this tutorial on Writing Lean CSS and simplified the style sheet here a bit. I wasn’t really able to concentrate to get any hard work done, but tinkering with the CSS worked pretyt well. I intentionally ripped out support for some ancient browsers in the process of cleaning things up, so if you spot problems, let me know. The biggest benefit is that I’ve separated the layout from the other bits more cleanly, and gotten a better understanding of how the pieces fit together, and what I’d like to do with them in the long run. Today may see some more changes, depending on what happens with a meeting that’s been rescheduled to an inconvenient time.
- Jim Geraghty takes a look at The Political/Social Dimensions Of The NBA Fight and points out that behavior at games has gotten almost as bad as behavior in the political arena. How about enforcing a little personal responsibility on those involved? Toss the players who charged into the stands in jail. Toss the fans who threw things at the players in jail. Fines for the players are just noise. Hit ’em with something they’ll notice and maybe people will start to realize that this sort of behavior is not acceptable. Mark Cuban thinks that Stern’s rest-of-season suspension of Artest was Perfect, but I’m not sure it goes far enough. [instapundit]
Got my truck back on Friday. It wasn’t quite as happy of an experience as I’d hoped, but I’m not going to go into details just yet. Maybe tomorrow.
On Friday night, someone apparently decided my trees weren’t festive enough, and they needed to decorate them for me. So I got to spend a half-hour on Saturday morning in the front yard, pulling bits of butt-wipe out of my trees with a rake. Makes me miss living in the country, where if someone came into your front yard to commit asshattery like that, nobody would say much if a guy happened to unload a shotgun shell loaded with rock salt into their backsides.
It seems as though this week is going to be even more compressed than is usual for the week before Thanksgiving. Almost everyone I work with is either taking the entire week off, or heading out of town on Tuesday evening,
to get out of town ahead of the traffic. Me, I’m just hoping to plug along and get something done in the midst of the home improvement that’ll be going on around here, but I wonder if maybe Tuesday’s rush-hour will be a killer, and Wednesday will be fine.
A couple weeks ago, I decided that there were a number of projects I just wasn’t going to complete before the snow flew around here, and that I wanted to see done so I can settle in a little better around here, so I called in professional help. They’re starting work today.
The guys are due to swing by about 8:30 this morning, and are going to start by patching up some holes in the kitchen wall, mounting the support for the ceiling fan in my bedroom upstairs, replacing the last few windows on the ground floor that aren’t weather-tight, and other bits that need to be done before the paint starts flying. I expect there will be priming today, too, since they don’t want to work on Wednesday either, and that’s the only way they’ll be able to finish things up tomorrow. I’m expecting a flurry of activity, followed by a shot to the checkbook. Hopefully warm fuzzies will follow.
- I knew this was supposed to happen soon, but now it’s official. For Harry Singh, hopefully the Fifth Time’s The Charm. It sure sounds like he’s got a good location on Nicollet, and the food has always been excellent. The roughest part about dining at Harry’s has always been finding the place, and the new location should help with that.
- Weird. Here’s a full-size desk model GSM cell phone. But it makes a lot of sense if you’re going to go completely wireless, I guess. [fark!]
- Here’s a list of The Top 40 Bands In America Today, according to a panel of bloggers.
- Joey wants to Notify Morgan Spurlock! and Mitch is Feeling Queasy Already about the new Hardee’s Monster ThickBurger (weighing in at 1420 calories, and 107 grams of fat). Me, I didn’t think much of it until I started reading the comments and discovered Dangerous Dan’s Diner’s Quadruple C (no nutritional information available, but here it is on the menu), which includes a generous side order of poutine. The big question is whether there’s a Tim Horton’s nearby so a guy can get a 40-pack of Timbits for dessert. [accordionguy]
- In It’s The “English” Stupid, steveo explains how to use quotation marks, with an emphasis on helping marketing types get them right in ads and on signs. [steveo]
- A tax-returns measure that would have given the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees, or their agents, the ability to examine the tax returns of any American was buried in the thousand page omnibus spending bill and has been called
indefensibleby Bill Frist. Once again, I think it points out that we need some way to ensure that Senators are actually reading the bills they’re voting on. They’re talking about punishing whoever slipped the provisions into the bill, but I think all of the senators who voted for it without reading it share in the culpability. [fark!]
- Finally, jr noticed my blogiversary with Dave Is a God. I’m pretty sure I’m flattered. [jr]
It’s been seven years. Seems like a long time, and yet like it was just yesterday that I started writing on this Intarweb thingie. Heck, it was November of 1995 when I put the first copy of Mead Made Easy on the web. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice. One more year, and I’ll have had stuff on the web for a full ten years, and will have been actively blogging for eight. I went daily in January 2002, after going twice a week in September 1999.
While it sometimes feels good that I’m getting almost four thousand page views per day, for almost forty-five hundred different pages every week (of the about seven thousand total here on the site) from over seventy-three hundred distinct machines per week, those really aren’t huge numbers. I find myself wondering why I keep this up, especially since I seem to spend more time on daily things and less on adding new content to the non-weblog parts of the site. I spend a couple hours every morning reading various sites and updating the links around here, and wonder if that time wouldn’t be better spent going out and doing things worth writing about instead.
Anyway, that’s the thoughts this morning as I look back. The weather has finally changed and we’ve got a brilliant blue sunshiney day outside today, and I may try to get out and enjoy a bit of it before it’s time to park myself in front of the TV to see who wins the Winston Nextel Cup.
- In Things you find when checking referers, Susan notes that she’s been nominated for the Deutsche Welle Best of Blogs for having been writing since 1999. Now I think Susan’s probably a better writer than I am, but it’s still a little discouraging that I still don’t get noticed for having been at this forever.
- Was it a Rock ’n’ roll revival at First Ave on Friday night? Dunno. I missed the local news on the TV, and hadn’t thought ahead enough to tell the TiVo to snarf things up. But the club opened, and David de Young has a review, natch, and some additional comments, including a reminder of why the club will probably continue to be called First Attitude. [strib]
- One of the good things about heading to Mom’s on Saturdays is that I generally leave there around 2pm, and get to catch the last hour or so of the Northern Alliance Radio Network on the radio on the drive home. Yesterday they were talking about the proposed leaf-blower ban in Minneapolis, and asked for people to call in suggesting other bans. I called in and suggested a ban on warning labels.
If you don’t think that McDonald’s coffee might be hot, or think that a dry-cleaning bag is a good toy for your kid, well….It got a laugh.
Yesterday I said I wished the weather would change. This morning, it’s raining and promises to for most of the day. Sorry about that, but I’m going to have to be out in it a bunch today, too. Got a lunch to go to, and then later in the afternoon, my truck is supposed to be all better and I should be able to retrieve it from the body shop. Yay!
I’m tempted to believe that getting my truck back is a positive sign, and maybe I’m done with a bunch of the hassles that have been distracting and frustrating me this month. But the pessimist in me wonders what’s going to go wrong next and I think I’m going to wait until after Thanksgiving before breathing a sigh of relief, since I’ve got some workers coming in next week to do some stuff around the house, and if that goes well, I might be able to see clear sailing through Christmas, at least. Wish me luck.
And hey, this sunday will be the seventh anniversary of Dave’s Picks. No promises of anything special for the day, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I spent some of the weekend working on the website.
- It’s on: First Avenue gets OK to reopen Friday, with GWAR! as the band. I’m really hoping to see some of the
local colorreporters calling in a story from a GWAR! show. [strib]
- A friend writes:
Here’s more on the Sally Ann Ban. Me, I’m glad not to have the bell-ringers in front of Target when I’m trying to run in for some laundry detergent or new underwear. In Stifle a Joyful Noise, Mitch disagrees about Target, and pushes hard for the Army. But if you want to get an early start on shopping next weekend, you can schedule a Wake Up Call from Target. [mitch]
Please support Target for their stand regarding the Salvation Army. I’m sure the pressure will be great to reverse the decision. If you shop there over the next two months, please let a store manager know that it’s okay that they don’t have bell ringers in the front and that you will continue to shop there. If you don’t already shop there, well, I guess, just pass the word on!
- Cool. spamtrapd updated to version 2.1, with better and quicker detection of spammers, and routing them into a honeypot. One more thing to do in the server upgrade, but it should make life a lot simpler once it’s done. [openbsd]
- Sam Raimi Remaking ‘Evil Dead’. More from the CBC. I’m not sure whether to be happy about this or not, but I’ll probably end up watching the new version, if for no other reason than it’ll be another BC movie. Speaking of which, I think I might need to do the Bubba Ho-Tep film night sometime soon. [slashdot]
- An FCC Crackdown Could Spread from just broadcast TV and radio to the net, cable TV and other media. The FCC seems to want to expand its powers to censor obscenity. [wired]
- Over at FDA, Vioxx woes just the beginning, and there are at least five more popular drugs that should be pulled from the market. For some reason I don’t feel much safer having FDA overseeing drugs when I hear about stories like this. [strib]
Okay. I’m ready for a change in the weather. It’s been reasonably warm so far this week, but it’s been gray and drizzly, too. I really don’t care whether the change is to some real rain, or a bright sunny day, but I’ve had enough of the gray.
Yesterday, I continued in my battle with my compiler, and I’m starting to get pretty frustrated by it. It may be a poor craftsman who blames his tools, but I haven’t been impressed lately. Add in a late-morning phone call from mom who’d found the bill for her car insurance, discovered that it was due next week, was significantly higher than last year, could I please call the insurance company to sort things out so the policy doesn’t get cancelled if the check doesn’t get there in time, and I wasn’t especially happy in the afternoon. The crisis has been averted, and all will be well, but it was an hour out of the middle of a day when I was trying to make all my hours pay. A couple buck burgers for dinner at the Sporty helped improve my mood, the beers with dinner sure didn’t hurt, and gabbing with Jim and then Chris and the other Chris and Steve was cool, but I find myself with the same problem with the compiler this morning, and no good solution. Oh well. I have three different mediocre solutions, each with its own particular flavor of pain, and will hopefully decide on which is the least sucky in the next hour or two.
- Beginning in March, TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers, but will instead put up a
billboardduring the ad, expecting you to want to thumbs-up to get more information. I guess I’ll wait to see how intrusive it is, but between that and the fact that Congress wants to outlaw fast-forwarding through commercials on DVDs, I’ve had about enough and may have to use the universal remote on the TV and all the associated bits. jr has more in I Guess It Beats Intersticials (def’n), and I suppose I have to agree that it could be worse. [some guy]
- In Norway, Swimming Santas protest early Christmas.
When Christmas celebrations start so early, people are fed up when Christmas actually arrives. That means unemployment for Santas.I actually bought a couple strings of Christmas lights yesterday, but I’m pretty sure they won’t go up until after Thanksgiving, and probably not until after the cards (holiday stamps were bought this week, too) are in the mail. I’m trying to resist the urge to dive into the Christmas thing, but it’s tough when all the stores are in full-on holiday mode already. [fark!]
After a slow start yesterday, I had a pretty good day. Frustrating, but good. I’m currently fighting with my compiler, which is never a great sign, but at least I made some progress in the battle, and have some hope I’ll work out the rest of the problems today. I also made some progress on a design for a client, fixing up some web-stuff for another client, and invoiced all the clients and paid the mid-month bills. Not a stellar day, but a lot more productive than I’ve been most of the rest of the month.
If you didn’t notice the mid-day updates yesterday, scroll down. There’s a bear you might want to look at if you grew up in the upper midwest anytime before the 80s.
- A Ruling clears path for Expos to move to D.C., saying MLB was not guilty of violating RICO statutes. And Christian Guzman becomes one of the ex-Expos first signed players. [colby cosh]
- In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Streetcars [are] an idea that’s coming back. I’d like to see them, but I think the city needs to be careful not to oversell them. Sure there will be development along streetcar lines, but that will mean less development somewhere else in town. And I bet we don’t get cowboys this time around. [strib]
- The OpenBSD Users Documentations projects have kicked off and folks are attempting to document things like getting PHP and MySQL working in a chrooted apache. Handy stuff for a geek like me. [openbsd]
- There’s a discussion on Slashdot asking Is The Lone Coder Dead? It’s sure a lot more complicated, since as a solo programmer, it’s tough to be able to spend the time to make sure you’re clear of infringing any patents. Then again, a lot of the same problems are faced by programmers in larger organizations, since very few large organizations have anything in place to help do due diligence. Finally, due to vagaries in patent law, you’re actually better off knowing less if you’re planning to patent anything you do, and being a lone coder, you’re seldom worth suing. [slashdot]
- Remember the boyfriend’s arm pillow? Well, now there’s a Girlfriend’s lap pillow, too. These pink monkeys. What strange creatures. [boing boing]
Freaky weather again (still). It’s being unusually warm (they said something about twenty degrees above average on the news last night), and that’s got me torn. I’ve got a bunch of paying work to do, and the days are getting shorter, which means that even starting out bright and early in the day means it’s dark before I finish a decent amount of that in a day. But I also feel a need to enjoy every bit of warm weather we have left, and I spend time staring out the window thinking that I should find an excuse to get outside. I think sometime this week I’m going to give in and stick some garlic and onions into the garden before it freezes so they’ll get a head-start on the growing season next spring. They can go next to the ones I missed in the harvest which have re-sprouted in the recent warmth.
|Deli on 15th and Hennepin|
In local news, the deli at the corner of 15th and East Hennepin keeps getting closer to opening every time I go by there. I’m really looking forward to it opening, and have been talking with the owner when I see him outside. He’s hoping to be open soon, but I’m expecting he won’t get the doors opened in 2004. Also, via the rumor-mill, I’ve heard that the old Goal Line Bar location is going to possibly be a full bar, but that’s even farther from completion. I don’t expect that to open before the smoking ban kicks in next March, and more likely not until sometime next summer. It’s good to see that I’m not the only one who takes a long time on construction projects.
Speaking of taking a long time, the Como Grill (at 15th and Como) still isn’t actually open. It looks ready to go, but the coming soon sign is still up, and they weren’t open when I walked past yesterday evening.
And a note for the kid trying to get someone to do something for him in front of the grocery store on Como: If you’re asking passers-by for money or to do you a favor, or whatever the hell it was you were after, using relatively standard English so they can understand you might help your cause.
Yesterday? Meh. The truck’s at the body-shop. I made it up to mom’s. I got a little bit of work done in the afternoon between phone calls and composing an email to a site that’s ripping off Mead Made Easy, including everything but the copyright and author information pages (if that doesn’t stop soon, I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I’ll probably write the ISP next) Update: The owner of the site yanked the file. Cool. I had a yummy dinner at Mannings. It wasn’t a horrible day, but it did little to improve my opinion of Mondays in general. Given the general lack of productivity yesterday, today feels like a virtual monday.
- Ernie Garvin, who celebrated “sky blue waters” by writing the jingle for Hamm’s Beer, died last week in his Florida home. And strangely enough, he didn’t drink beer. The tom-toms in the song are an empty cardboard box. The wikipedia has a different story, and different authors of the song. The Internet Archive has a collection of commercials including the Hamm’s one here, but it’s a 100M download. Since it’s in the public domain, I’m going to try and snip out just the Hamm’s commercial, but that won’t be ready until later. I’ve got an audio-only version of just the first verse, though. Update: Here's the movie: QT format, 3MB, 1:20 long. [press-patch]
- Note to self: editing a muxed MPEG-4 in QT6 is a non-trivial task, since you have to demux it, then put the pieces back together before you can chop out bits of the movie. The link will probably be useful to me in the future.
- Huh. The Clinton Presidential Center opens tomorrow. The picture of it looks like a bridge to nowhere, and as The Evil Conservative pondered,
I wonder if there are cigars in the gift shop.I’m thinking ScotchGard, too.
- US Airlines Ordered to Expose Data on all customer flights in the US in June 2004 so the TSA can test their snooping. [wired]
I’ve got a ton of things I have to do early this morning, beginning with getting out to the ’burbs by 7am to drop my truck at the body shop. I’m lashing this together in a bit of a hurry, and there won’t be a big rant today. I can feel the disapppointment already.
Oh, and I updated the blogroll over there on the right over the weekend. Another rush-job, so if you’re listed and feel slighted by my commentary, or want something about the link changed, drop me a note.
One final note. The Camaro got towed away on Friday. RIP. I forgot to take a picture.
- First Avenue poised to reopen, probably for the GWAR! show on Friday the 19th (which will might make for interesting pictures on the TV news). There’s more from the PiPress in 1st Avenue ready to rock again. And even more from HowWasTheShow at Judge gives First Avenue’s landlords OK to reopen.
- Here’s more on search-engine funkiness: More Evil Than Dr. Evil? points out google’s results back in 1999. [some guy]
- Well, this brightened my day: TheJohnCleese.com Yep. Silly walks and all.
- The Beeb has a list of 101 years in 101 words, listing one word which came into use in each year. Who knew, for example, that avant garde is almost 80 years old?
- This analysis of The Webmail Wars talks about the pros and cons of GMail, Yahoo!Mail and Hotmail. [slashdot]
I guess when I said
I’ll post some links later in the day yesterday, I meant something along the lines of
I’ll nap all day and give you nothing.
That’s been typical of my life lately, though. I haven’t been real excited about any of the work I’m doing. Nor about much of the “fun” stuff I’ve been trying to do. And it’s when I’m being a slug that I get most annoyed by other people slacking. There’s the lawyer who doesn’t call to tell me what’s up. There’s an employee who never answers emails. The home improvement guys who are stopping by sometime to help me finish off some projects I had meant to get to this summer, but I haven’t heard anything since sending them the signed proposal. The clients whose feedback comes weeks after I send them work to review and then it consists of a two word critique. Hell, I’m starting to wonder why I bother. Maybe it’s time to find a job like driving bus again or something.
More likely, it’s just time to get on with things I don’t want to do, but which will make me feel better once they’re done. I’ve still got a busted Camaro sitting behind the house that needs to go away before I have to pile snow there. I’ve got a busted truck that goes in to the body shop on Monday. I’ve got a to-do list full of other overdue items, and am going to run into a cash-crunch next month if I don’t get some of the work-related ones done, pronto.
- Here are more Election result maps. Nifty pictures. [colby cosh]
- I didn’t really care much about the new MSN Search rollout one way or the other, but when you search for more evil than satan you find they apparently have a sense of humor. [jr]
- Closer to home, Nurses think ‘Minnesota nice’ brings leftovers of flu vaccine. The state still has nearly a million doses of flu vaccine available. Shortage? What shortage?
- The Nikon D70 has been named Camera of the Year for 2004. And Nikon has recently announced a $100 rebate on it that runs through the end of the year. Man, I’ve got a bad case of gadget-lust now. [instapundit]
- In Practical Applications of the Philosopher’s stone. For drunks. some scienticians run cheap vodka through a Brita filter and discover that makes it potable. Mental note!
Well, I set out last night to go and get drunk. I seem to have succeeded.
The night started at Keegan’s. I had dinner, dessert, some shots, and a bunch of Guinness. Mmm. $85 later it was time to move on. Ouch. Stopped at the Terminal, where there was a Pink Floyd tribute (runs every Wednesday the rest of the month) that turned out to be better than I expected, plus I got to see Joel, who used to live next to us at 717 for the first time in a couple years. When the show was done, we headed to the Front, which was dead (we were the only customers) on “Music of Prince and Michael Jackson” night, and I finished the night at Whitey’s, where I bonked my head on the door closer on the way out. Ouch. Got home not too much after midnight.
I took a bunch of pictures at the show at the Terminal that are linked from the picture. Got a half-dozen that worked out of the forty I took. Guess that’s not too bad. I’ll post some links later in the day.
|Window? What window?|
Yesterday started out pretty good. I had a productive morning and was feeling pretty good about life. Then about noon I headed over to my ISP to snarf a 2G file I had sitting on my server, rather than clogging up the DSL pipe all afternoon. Turns out the file was NFG. Strike one on the day. Then a meeting I didn’t want to go to, where one of the attendees was 45 minutes late so we couldn’t start on time, and the results of which I’m not especially happy with. Strike two. Finally, I figure I can head home and relax for the evening. As I’m I stop in line to wait to turn onto the freeway to head home, wham! I get rear-ended. Well, at least these things don’t come in fours, right?
After making sure that everyone’s okay, and checking out the van in front of me that I got pushed into (no damage on that end), we pull over to the side of the road and exchange information and assess the damage. The rear hatch of my truck is shattered and scattered not only all over the inside of the truck, but also on the roof, on the hood, and on the rear bumper and pavement. Lots of expensive glass all over. The bumper’s cracked, and when I swing the spare tire out of the way, I notice that the tailgate is fubar, too. Dammit. Eventually the cops show up and fill out their report and I get to head home with the wind whistling in the back of the truck. At least I had mostly emptied it out so I didn’t have to worry about a bunch of broken stuff in there.
I’m okay, as is the other driver. We even were joking about the accident a little, and it’s all repairable, but I have a feeling today isn’t going to go as planned. Gotta find someone to fix the truck and talk to the insurance agent, and hopefully get the truck somewhere before it starts to rain and snow today, since it doesn’t seem to be quite as weatherproof as it ought to be. And when that’s all taken care of, I suspect I’m going to hunker down and do some drinking.
- In Last Sunday… NY, Mary Hodder posts some behind-the-scenes info about the Jon Stewart appearance on Crossfire. Apparently it was so popular that the in-studio audience wouldn’t leave after the show until the hosts and Stewart left the stage (they typically sit around and talk after the taping is done). [doc]
- In somewhat local news, the Grantsburg, Wisconsin school to allow theories other than evolution. The Independent from the UK uses this as an example of the evils of a Republican victory. But as was pointed out in the New York Times over the weekend,
the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top. This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong.The real money quote comes later in the article:
But the same insularity that caused many liberals to lose touch with the rest of the country now causes them to simplify, misunderstand and condescend to the people who voted for Bush. If you want to understand why Democrats keep losing elections, just listen to some coastal and university town liberals talk about how conformist and intolerant people in Red America are. It makes you wonder: why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?
- In Sunrise in the West, William J. Stuntz says the big shift in American politics isn’t north vs. south, but rather east vs. west. Seems to me he’s got a point. [instapundit]
- Finally, happy third blogiversary, Joey.
|Hockey Rink at Van Cleve Park|
Well. This morning isn’t turning out to be a very happy one so far. After cutting all the stuff I was going to post here out of one file, and pasting it into another, then saving the one I’d cut from, my Mac panicked. This meant that everything I’d written this morning went up in a poof of electrons. Worse, CrashReporter couldn’t even tell me what had gone wrong so I could maybe at least report a bug to somebody. I also tried to grab a picture of the screen, but because everything other than the big annoying black box telling you you’re screwed had gone dim, it’s nearly impossible to read. That’s to be expected with a ¼ second hand-held exposure, but it didn’t help matters, so the commentary is going to be thinner than I’d like. I also find myself wondering whether the 10.3.6 update I applied yesterday is at fault.
Further digging suggests that the problem may be Activity Monitor. Taking a peek in windowserver_last.log, I saw the line Nov 08 06:31:20  kCGErrorIllegalArgument: CGXOrderWindow: Operation on a window 0x28 not owned by caller Activity Monitor at which point things pretty much went to hell. Maybe I’ll run without Activity Monitor going all the time and see if that helps.
Meanwhile, in local news, the ice rinks are up at Van Cleve Park now. A sure sign we’re getting close to winter.
- At long last, Firefox has gone 1.0. [jr]
- Did you know about the strongbad_email.exe DVD? My only complaint is that there isn’t a
Pre-Order Nowbutton to click. [fark!]
- The Beeb offers a Flying taxi vision for commuters and The Register offers Brits roll out jam-busting airtaxi which has more information. [fark!]
- A guy has an online inventory of his Beer Bottles Sorted By Brewery, with comments about each beer, and photos of the bottles. Cool. [fark!]
- The Nov. 2004 Aurora Gallery has pictures from the Northern Lights that were going nuts on Sunday. I didn’t see them at all from here, though. Pfui.
- Over at the Minnesota History Center, free admission is history as they needed to start charging admission to cover costs. [strib]
This week will hopefully be more productive than last. I spent a lot of last week either paying attention to politics or thrashing between three different projects when I should have been working on any one of them and finishing something. On friday I did get to do the neener-neener dance. A client who didn’t follow my recommendation, then later decided I was right after all, now will have to pay extra because I had already implemented it the way they asked for. That felt like a good way to wrap up the week, but I need to actually get the work done this week.
I’ve also got another project that I’ve been holding on the back burner for about a month, and it’s time to wrap that up. It’s probably going to fill up this week, but I’ve had problems getting started on it.
Finally, in completely unrelated (and somewhat icky) news, I sometimes have goofy late-night ideas about websites that should be out there. For some reason, they often appear in my head after a night at the bar. Sometimes they’re good, like the idea to snarf Better Nerds. Sometimes, they’re marginal, like Mental Hygienist (I still like the idea, but don’t have the time to do anything with it — if you do, let me know). Sometimes, like this weekend’s idea, What’s That Rash? I’m not sure. And maybe it should be a .info, rather than a .com. But hey, the domains are available and I’m pretty sure I’ve had worse ideas. I could even see it paying for itself with referral money from the health and personal care section of amazon. Doesn’t mean I’m going to snarf those domains, though.
- Hey, here’s some good news, First Avenue could reopen in a few days, possibly as early as Saturday the 13th. [strib]
- I got the following Press Release which explains more:
November 5th, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: LeeAnn Weimar
First Avenue May Re-Open
Minneapolis - An agreement with the bankruptcy trustee John R. Stoebner, may get First Avenue’s doors open after abruptly closing Tuesday, putting 120 people back to work.
In a meeting that took place this morning, Steve McClellan and Jack Meyers met with Stoebner and struck up an agreement that may get the venue up and running again as early as Saturday, November 13th.
701 Ventures LLC, the company that will run the new business, is set to acquire the name First Avenue along with all of the clubs assets after the former owner The Committee Inc. filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this week.
The arrangement still needs approval from a bankruptcy court judge, who is scheduled to hear the case at 8:30am Friday, November 12th.
- eWeek asks Is Microsoft Ready to Assert IP Rights over the Internet? Specifically, Microsoft is claiming some form of IP rights over 130 protocols which were already described in RFCs. Hard to say what they’re trying to accomplish, but I’ll be looking more carefully at licenses from them in the future. [slashdot]
- In a continuing spread of information you may not want companies to know about you, Retailers turning to databases to rein in customer returns from customers who
return too many things. Yes, it makes business sense in some cases, but I doubt most companies are ready to deal with pissed-off customers who find out about such a database the hard way. [slashdot]
- If you’re going to gripe about a company online, be Careful Where You Complain and be careful about using their trademarks. [wired]
- It was bound to happen…and it did. Mark Cuban got fined for his comments about the NBA’s opening night being on election night. I don’t much care one way or another about the NBA, but I was completely unaware the season had even started, since it got swamped in election coverage. That doesn’t seem like especially bright marketing to me, and I think Cuban should have complained about it. [doc]
Last night was our monthly poker game, and predictably enough politics came up as a topic for discussion. Once again, I found myself biting my tongue. Not only was there Bush-bashing going on, but I didn’t feel comfortable elaborating on my comment that
There are people whom I think less of now because of their attacks on George W. Bush. At least my keeping quiet kept the conversation relatively civil. I wasn’t talking about anyone at the table, but I feared if I went on, one of them would say something to turn me off. Don’t lecture me about how the election was stolen by Republican Evil. It was lost by Democratic Incompetence.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to defend Bush. I wouldn’t have voted for him in this election at all, but I also think that if you’re going to attack him, you should use something that actually has some basis in fact, rather than in Fahrenheit 9-11. Better yet, don’t attack, but criticize in a way that doesn’t immediately alienate those people who don’t agree with you 100%. Saying that it’s
time to check the fire sprinklers in the Reichstag may be cute (once, maximum), but it won’t sway anyone. Preaching to the choir may give you warm fuzzies, but it doesn’t win people over.
As I’ve said before, one of the bigger problems with this election was that the Democrats didn’t offer a clear alternative to the president. There’s a reason I’ll sometimes refer to them as the left-wing of the boot-on-your-neck-party.
With that in mind, I collected some links for today.
- Shelley Powers thinks the Democrats should be Moving Forward, Not Pulling Back. I agree. I’m on a mailing-list where there has been a ton of scorn heaped on
Red Americaand all the people doing that have managed to do is make me think they’re not half as clever as they think they are.
- In Don’t Mourn, Organize, David Grenier has some other suggestions for how to help, but I think he, like the Democratic Party, misses the main point: don’t demonize the opposition. It Just Doesn’t Work. Or at least it hasn’t in the time I’ve been alive.
- This Open Letter To The Democratic Party: How You Could Have Had My Vote has a number of good points:
Here is something you could work on right about now: I could not stomach to listen to your incessant hatred of President Bush. Bush is stupid, Bush is an idiot, Bush is Hitler, Bush is a Nazi, Bush masturbates to photos of dead Iraqi babies, I’d vote for my dog before I’d vote for Bush, I’d vote for Castro before I’d vote for Bush, the Rethuglicans are fascists, Bush voters are treasonous, Bush should be impeached, blah blah blah blah blah blah. It was old three months after Bush’s inauguration, and it’s now just tiresome. I don’t hate my President, even though I voted for him with more reluctance than I can express and a queasy feeling in my stomach. Language like this makes you seem immature, needlessly vulgar, and obnoxious.
In my lifetime, the left demonized Nixon, Reagan and GWBush when they ran for re-election. The right demonized Clinton when he ran for a second term. In none of those cases was it a successful strategy.
President Bush won on values, yes, but not hatred of gays or any other stereotype you have in your head about Bush voters like me.
He won because he has values, clearly defined values, and even though I agree with little of what he believes, at least I know what he believes. At least I know that he really does believe in something. At least I know that he will do what he says he will do.
That’s disgustingly little, but unbelievably - you offered me less.
Maybe a better approach would have been to field a credible candidate (who wasn’t a senator) in those cases and pointing out why he’s the better man, rather than running down the opposition or trying to lie about your record in Vietnam or convince gun-owners your their best buddy. Insanity is keep making the same mistake over and over and expecting the outcome to be different.
At the very minimum, saying that people who voted for Bush are
evilis probably not going to win very many hearts or minds. [instapundit]
- On a slightly different, but still political note, one of the places where I find myself disagreeing with just about everyone I know IRL is that I don’t believe The Quest For Cosmic Justice will ever bear fruit. I don’t believe that Cosmic (or Social) Justice is attainable, and attempts (by both major parties, but more traditionally by the left-leaning sorts) to attain it are not only misguided, I think they’re harmful, mostly because of unintended consequences. Further, by seeking Cosmic Justice, you run the risk of alienating ordinary Americans who still have a belief in traditional justice and the Rule of Law.
You cannot redress the myriad inequalities which pervade human life by applying the same rules to all or by applying any rules other than the arbitrary dispensations of those in power.[colby cosh]
I keep telling myself I’m going to quit typing about the election results, and then I’ll get an email (pointing to a site like this) or have a conversation that puts me back on the subject. It doesn’t make me especially happy, and I’m fairly sure it’s not what you want to hear, but I keep needing to vent. Sorry.
On a lighter note, I had fun at the ABE show at the Turf Club last night. One of the bands following them brought toys they handed out to the crowd, including little LED flashlights, hopping frogs, and some sort of noise-makers. Fun toys, and I probably should have figured out who to thank. No pictures from the show, since it was dark enough that I couldn’t hold the camera steady for anything worth posting. Drat.
- Davezilla has some Rules to live by that are more useful than I expected. Of course I had the time to read all twenty… [davezilla]
- In Maine: Welcome to what used to be Centerville, a town that dissolved to avoid higher property taxes. It’s not quite a libertarian dream, since folks are expecting the state to take over things like plowing the roads, but maybe it’s a step in the right direction. [fark!]
- Maciej tells Dave Winer and Glenn Fleishmann to Calm The Fuck Down and that the Republican death-squads aren’t coming for them just yet. Well said.
- Doc has similar words of wisdom in Getting over it, already. It’s not that people who voted for Bush (or Reagan) were stupid, but that they considered other things more important. Doc says It’s the Morality, Stupid, and also points out that it was less than 22% of the land-mass of the US that went for Kerry (I read it as about a sixth, looking at the USA Today map I’ll reference below), and it’s hard to drive more than 100 miles from anywhere in the US without ending up in a sea of red. [doc]
- But in Retaking the “Moral Values” High Ground, the Ornery Liberal points to the fact that Vioxx was known to be harmful eight years ago and asks
what kind of morality says it’s okay for you to watch silently as somebody knowingly kills people for profit?I agree with that, but neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to be able to field a candidate that I would trust to be moral in cases like this where the drug companies are going to throw huge chunks of money at them.
- Looking further into the maps and data, if you look at Minnesota’s Election Reporting and then the county-by-county numbers, like I did the day after the election, not only was the difference in the state the 5th Congressional District, but if you toss out just Hennepin County, Bush would have taken MN.
- But it’s more complicated than just simple geographic divisions. In The Red-Blue Myth there’s a map from the 2000 election showing that the country really isn’t that divided. Here’s the map from 2004. There are only a few counties nationwide that were radically one way or the other.
- I also found, while digging through the election results, that I was one of just four Badnarik voters in my precinct. It might be interesting to crunch the numbers further, but I don’t think I’m going to have the time.
|Sign in Andrew Riverside Park|
The election is past, and I’ve been hearing a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth for the past couple days from folks who are convinced that a second term for GWB is going to be the end of the world. I don’t think that’s the case, but hey, go ahead and rend your garments if it makes you feel better. But I don’t think the world is going to end. The differences between GWB and Kerry weren’t all that large, and we’ll survive. I’m much more worried about the House, Senate and Presidency being controlled by the same party than I am over the specifics of which party it is. My biggest fear for the next two years is that government is going to Get Things Done, and that’s pretty spooky.
|Andrew Riverside Presbyterian Church|
International Peace Park
On a more local note, I took a walk through the old neighborhood yesterday. They needed some help over at the new MHNA office and I used that as an excuse to take a walk on a nice sun-shiney day. A couple things of note. The first is that the triangle of land down by the Stone Arch Bridge has been razed and looks like it’s going to be turned into a parking lot. In spite of a stop-work order from the city, there was a worker out there packing down the gravel. It’s probably too late to do much about it, though. The second is that I finally stopped by to look at the Andrew Riverside Presbyterian Church International Peace Park and took a couple pictures. The wide one is hand-stitched together, but I think I did an okay job of it. It’s nice to see something where that church that fell down used to be, even if it’s a short-term park.
- In Virginia, Two found guilty in first felony spam conviction. Still waiting for sentencing, but hopefully they’ll spend a fair amount of time in the grey-bar hotel. [slashdot]
- In First Avenue outlook bright, blurry, the Strib points out an additional tidbit about the closing of First Ave. The liquor license is gone with the bankruptcy, so unless a new one is rushed through licensing, it’ll be next year before they can serve booze. While McClellan and Meyer had been planning for the transition (something would have happened today in any case), Fingerhut declaring bankruptcy sounds to me as though it’s going to make any transition more difficult. [strib]
- Finally, the Auto Body Experience is playing at the Turf Club in St. Paul this evening. If you didn’t catch their two shows last month, head out to
celebrate a brief respite in the political bickeringand Divisiveness. Or just to hear some good music.
|at the range|
Before I get to the election news, yesterday, Bill and I, to celebrate our civic-mindedness in having voted, (and to get Bill’s deer rifle sighted in) headed out to the Oakdale Gun Club in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. I went out to get my rifle closer to zeroed and work on breaking it in.
I dunno if Bill realized it, but that was the first rounds that have gone through that particular gun. Anyway, the bore-sighting they (supposedly) did when I bought the scope doesn’t seem to have been particularly close, since I was off by over 24 MOA . The set of holes in the lower-left corner were at 25 yards, holding dead center on the target. The set above them was after my first adjustment, and after getting a stool to sit on so I was a little steadier. Of course, on the first couple adjustments, I wasn’t thinking that at 25 yards, I’d have to adjust four times as much as the target indicated, since it’s a 100 yard target, and that frustrated me a bit. The four that are only a little bit to the right of center are when I’d decided I was close enough on the left-right adjustment, and walked the scope up with those four shots. I gave up before I was right on, but I think I should at least be on the paper at 100 yds next time I head out.
When I called it a day, I was tired, not from the recoil (I didn’t really notice that at all), but rather from holding up the rifle. It’s a heavy one, and those are muscles I’m not used to using. I suspect the heaviness (and extra layers of fat) protected me from the recoil. I also started noticing the trigger, rather than being surprised when it broke, and that’s something I’ll probably want to tweak in the long-term. It’s heavier than it needs to be, but I’m not going to worry about that until I’m keeping the groups smaller.
I liked the club. It’s a nice location, well maintained, and even though it was one of their few open to the public days, the folks working the range seemed to deal with the hunters not following the range master’s directions pretty well. Nobody ended up with any more holes in them than they arrived with, and nobody screwed up more than a couple times in a row. I think I might look into a membership, but I might try a couple of the other rifle ranges first.
- Stephen Green says It’s All Over But the Lawsuits, and that’s about how I see it. Four more years of the tax-cut and spend Republicans in both houses of Congress and the Presidency. At least it’ll mean more pork! [instapundit]
- In My Day at the Polls, Mitch says it wasn’t just here that MoveOn were too close to polling places, but they got moved back as the day went on. And yes, I would have griped equally about the NRA or Nut-Jobs for Badnarik just as much had they been the ones out there. I was cranky. I also got pretty cranky at the half-dozen phone calls and four different people knocking on my door telling me to get out and vote hours after I already had. [mitch]
- Here in Minnesota, the Election Reporting says that all of the third-party candidates together weren’t enough votes to turn the election. But my congressional district had the highest numbers for the Libertarians (while being such a landslide for Kerry, that taking away this area would have swung the state to Bush).
- Speaking of my neighborhood, Numerous car break-ins afflict Southeast Como last month, often with nothing actually stolen from the cars. Also, while I was outside raking up some leaves yesterday afternoon, there was a guy parked in the alley, peeing on my neighbors garage. When I busted him, he just kept saying
I’m sorry!Yeah buddy. You’re sorry you got caught. [daily]
- Contract disputes, infighting, and finally Bankruptcy closes First Avenue nightclub indefinitely. Allan Fingerhut couldn’t play nice with Steve McClellan and Jack Meyer, and the company that runs First Ave has declared Chapter 7. I’m not optimistic about the club reopening, but I’d like to be surprised and see McClellan and Meyer find a way to make it work. [strib]
Update 0845: I made it to the polling place about 7:30, and there were no problems with lines. That’s a good thing, since it was raining outside, and if the line had extended outside, it would have make things ucky. The folks working said that everything was going smoothly, except it was already very busy. When I actually ran my ballot through the machine, I was voter number 120, which is pretty good for the polls having been open just a little over a half-hour.
Then it was over to Manning’s for some breakfast. Yummy. A mexican omelette with grilled potatoes was just the thing to round out the morning expedition. Finally, as an added bonus, I noticed that while the maples on the north-south streets have mostly dropped their leaves, those on the east-wests haven’t yet, and they looked pretty, so I took a picture for you to enjoy. When I look at it now, I suppose I should have been more off to the side to get an angle on it to make it look better (and maybe crop out a car or two), but I didn’t think of that at the time.
Also of note on the way home, Move On had set up across the street from the polling place. I’m not sure if they were far enough away or not to be legal, but the way the entry to the school works, basically everyone who was voting there was either walking right across the street from them or cutting across the playground.
So it’s election day. I tried to mostly avoid talking about it (other than the first set of links). Yes, I’ll be going out and voting, and hopefully not standing in line forever, but we’ll see how that works out. If you are heading out, turnout is supposed to be high, and waits of a half-hour are projected just about everywhere. 10am to 2pm is the lightest time of day according to a story on the news last night, so maybe you want to take a long lunch and vote then. Good luck.
- If you’re looking for an endorsement around here, I’m with that South Park guy: Matt Stone tells undecided voters to stay home. Or if you don’t want to take advice from a guy who does cartoons, listen to Jeff Greenfield of ABC (at the time), who says that if you’re still undecided at this point, Thank You For Not Voting. But if you’re wondering who’s on your ballot for all those judicial positions and trying to do a little research on them before heading out, and are in Minnesota, check out MyBallot.net. Steph did, and thoroughly researched an issue that interests her. [vodkapundit]
- I didn’t know they’d reopened, but Sun Shines Light on Music History with a restored recording studio that doubles as a museum. I’m thinking that might be a vacation destination one of these years. [wired]
- Cool. TDK has developed a Super-tough coating for cellphones and discs. Based on what the article says taking steel wool or a sharpie to a DVD with the new coating had no effect. That’s pretty darned cool. Of course I also remember when CDs first came out, and there were claims about how indestructible they were, so I’ll wait for a final verdict until I actually get to play with one of the new discs. [slashdot]
- Oh my. I haven’t been reading the WVSR real often lately, but I checked in on it last night, and spent about five minutes laughing and choking after Jeff pointed me to Sorry I Fouled Your Door. Not safe for the squeamish, and also not safe for work because you don’t want to be laughing like that at work. [WVSR]
- Back on Friday, OpenBSD 3.6 released early, and then today, OpenBSD 3.4 was declared end of life. I guess I’m not going to get around to installing 3.5 and should probably order my 3.6 CDs pretty soon. [openbsd]
I normally don’t do much decorating for Halloween. When I lived in the old place, there would be a few kids stopping by, but since it was a four-plex, someone from one of the other units would always stick a pumpkin on the front steps or something. This year, knowing there are a couple kids in my new neighborhood, but not having any idea how many would come by, I figured what the heck, and set up a glowing felt and plastic pumpkin (no, not this possibly NSFW one that jr pointed out) in the front window to advertise the availability of a free sugar buzz.
And not a single kid stopped by. Well, unless you count the two nice young men from Americans Coming Together who wanted to make sure I knew where to vote, and seemed a little offended when I offered them candy. Ah well, their costumes weren’t very impressive, anyhow.
Over the weekend, I got a few things accomplished around the house, plus visited with Mom. I’m almost caught up on laundry. The dishes are clean except for last night’s dinner plate. The bird feeders were filled. The garage got swept out before the first snow hit, and the boxes I brought down from Mom’s now have a clean place to sit until I figure out how to sell off a ton of Avon steins, figurines, decanters, and awards. And I filled my shop-vac twice emptying the ash-pit under the fireplace. That made for one horribly heavy trash bag, and one horribly clogged filter, but I felt like I had accomplished a lot.
Today I get hit with the double-whammy. It’s a monday and the first of the month, which mean I get a doubly-heavy administrative load to deal with today. On top of that, none of my employees bothered to send in their hours from last week, so I’m have to pester folks before I can send out the invoices for that work.
- I’ve been meaning to write an essay on Structured Procrastination for quite a while (without having quite so catchy of a title), but someone else already did that, back in 1995.
- Joey was talking about Blog Anniversaries and that reminded me that I should probably do something later this month to commemorate the seventh year of Dave’s Picks. Sadly, the earliest version of Dave Polaschek’s Homely Page that the Internet Archive has is from 1999. I know I had content there in 1995 or 1996, but don’t have any record of the exact date I first posted something, and don’t have the archived files. Or rather, I might, but it would be on a backup tape, and I haven’t set up the tape drive since I moved. The archive has the first posting here on Dave’s Picks from February 2000. That one’s right, I’m pretty sure. [accordionguy]
- Horst talks about The freedom of movement in the EU. Apparently you’re fine as long as you don’t wear a leather jacket or take a night train. Strangely enough, the last time I got hassled getting onto a plane was when I was wearing my leather jacket. Mental note made — the TSA doesn’t like leather. [papascott]
- Jeff Jarvis writes Questioning power about Howard Stern and Michael Powell. He says that the big problem with journalists today is they don’t ask hard questions like Stern did.
When reporters lose their common sense, they lose their humanity and their credibility and their usefulness.[doc]