Seems this morning as if that’s what I’m doing. I’m making progress on a lot of things, but in many cases, that progress just maintains things the way they were. I actually worked through my normal afternoon break yesterday, and got something done for a client, but then looked at the result and find myself wondering if it was all wasted effort. We’re trying to give them a clickable map of the US so a customer can pick a state. I got a version that looks pretty, but the HTML alone is over a meg (due largely to Photoshop’s lame imagemap support, or my lack of understanding thereof). I don’t think it’s a workable solution.
And it’s the end of another week, and I find myself asking “What did I get done?” I don’t have a good answer, other than figuring I stayed alive. Some weeks I guess that has to be enough. But hey, I found some fun links for you to click on, so let’s get to them, eh?
- The Twin Cities Marathon starts this Sunday at 8am. I wonder whether I might have fun hanging out at the big hill on Summit around noon watching the stragglers. [strib]
- Hey, Needless Markups is selling a freakin’ flying car that gets 21 mpg at over 350mph. Only problem? I don’t have the $3.5 million on hand, and even if I did, delivery is not included. Dangit. [fark!]
- In case you hadn’t noticed, Serenity opens today. I’d like to go, but don’t have any plans to yet. Anyone else up for it?
- Not getting enough of the deep ones in your diet? Go watch A Shoggoth on the Roof, a fine bit of Lovecraftian theater. [boing boing]
- Want to be a grammar geek? PainInTheEnglish.com might be the place for you. [chaz]
- I’m not sure that I’ve pointed to This Is Broken before, but it seems like something I should have pointed to, if I already haven’t. [flutterby]
- The BBC’s Visions of Science are the best scientific photos of the year. Cool beans! [fark!]
Yesterday was warm enough in the early morning while it was still raining. But once the rain stopped, it got chilly out. And overnight? Well, it didn’t get much below 40 according to the thermometer on the side of my house, but that still felt pretty chilly, and there were frost warnings out for the outlying ’burbs.
Also yesterday, during my mid-afternoon break (which is going to be one of the things I miss the most if I take a full-time job again — I really enjoy taking an hour or two off from thinking and doing something), I started putting down the carpet tile in my bedroom upstairs. I got half-done before I cut myself with the carpet knife and decided that was enough. I’d hate to start out with blood-stained carpeting. Things didn’t go as quickly as I’d hoped, mostly because I discovered that the room is 3.4 meters wide, rather than the 3.5 I’d estimated. With half-meter square tiles, this means that I need to cut about an inch off every tile along the long walls of the room. I didn’t expect an exact fit, but I was hoping it would be close enough that I could just cut one side, but it’s enough that doing that would make the room look lop-sided. With twice as many cuts as expected, I got half as much done as expected.
Today, it looks like pretty decent weather (though nothing like the 80s predicted for the weekend), and I’m not sure if I’ll stay inside to finish up the carpeting or not. There’s plenty of other stuff to do, some of it outdoors, and with the chill last night, I may work extra-hard at getting outside to enjoy what warm weather is left this year. It really feels like fall now, and there may be some pretty colors on the trees this weekend.
- Today’s the day that Minnesota’s Tobacco fee faces day in court. It’ll probably be a while before there’s a decision, but this article lays out the background information. [strib]
- Tired of opening Kryptonite locks with ball-point pens? Make yourself a Beer Can Padlock Shim and start going after padlocks instead. Security by obscurity doesn’t stand much of a chance with a billion monkeys trying things and then posting the results on the web. [boing boing]
- It’s not really news, but Fraud Sinks Subway’s Sub Club. The problem is that it was too easy to find counterfeit Sub Club stamps. Sheesh. The replacement will be some electronically-tracked database gathering
consumer informationthat I probably won’t bother signing up for. Oh well, Jimmy Johns has better subs, anyhow. [schneier]
- Haven’t donated to hurricane relief yet? Want to ask Brian Wilson a question? Donate more than $100 through his site, and he’ll not only give you a phone call, but he’ll also match your donation. [boing boing]
Woke up this morning to dark. Followed by grey. Followed by dark. The rain that was supposed to have hit sometime yesterday evening seems to have been delayed somewhere in western Minnesota, and is still lingering with us this morning. I know, I know, I said yesterday that the nice weather was making it hard to concentrate on indoor work, but I’m still pretty sure I’d rather have that than another rainy day.
Then again, I don’t have to get out and water the grass today. I guess that’s something.
- This CSS Techniques Roundup–20 CSS Tips & Tricks looks like a handy thing to keep in my list of references. And so shall it be. [holy schmoly]
- A List Apart has an article on doing Multi-Column Lists with CSS. None of the solutions look much better to me than the way I’ve done that with PHP for a few clients. There really needs to be a better solution. [zeldman]
- Is it too early to start thinking about who the 2008 GOP presidential candidate will be? If you think it’s time, go participate in the September Straw Poll. Tim Pawlenty is on the list, even though he’s made a point of raising taxes, and then insulting our intelligence by calling it a fee. As with Clinton and Bush, It’s not that I’m upset about the lies, but rather that they insulted our intelligence by thinking we’d fall for them. [vodkapundit]
- John Dvorak wants to Decentralize and Network the Federal Government Now. And it sounds like a pretty good idea until you realize that it’s too good to work. [vodkapundit]
- Investor’s Business Daily says Congress should Start Saying ‘No’ to Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation. [instapundit]
- As someone who’s voted for the GOP in the past (for many of the same reasons as I have), Warren has more on The Death of Small-Government Republicans:
The Republicans are lost. Combine this kind of spending with their Patriot Act and Sarbabes-Oxley driven Big-Borther-Is-Watching intrusiveness, luke-warm committment to free-trade, and bizarre obsession with pornography, and I find nothing at all attractive about the party. Only the economic insanity of the opposition party continues to keep Republicans in power.
Amen. [coyote blog]
- Mitch had his Retail Rage on Monday. For me, it was yesterday. I popped in to Target after grabbing some lunch. I had store-coupons for a half-dozen items, and also needed Mountain Dew. Aside from finding out that I can’t buy any more Sudafed this month (you can’t get a full month’s supply of Sudafed from a single store, due to the stupid laws in Minnesota — as I calculate it, you can get about 25 days worth per month — maybe Phyllis or Larry will invite me over to drip snot at their houses for the other five or six days of the month), Target has rearranged the damned store again. Two of my coupons were for ziploc bags and trash bags, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the plastic bags section of the store. I complained to the gal at the checkout counter, who explained that
they move the stuff you want closer to the cash registers so you go by everything else first and buy more.I replied that I had come in looking for eight things, and was leaving with five, and perhaps she could mention to the management that if people can’t find things, they might buy less. I know I did. [mitch]
Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day. The high was near 70, and the overnight low around 50. Perfect sleeping weather at night (with the windows open just a bit), and a nice day to be outside during the day. About the only thing marring the day was the need to stay inside to get some work done during the day. But I still found time to walk over to Dinkytown for lunch, and then took a break in mid-afternoon to mow the lawn, and stand around outside talking to my neighbors for an hour or so.
One of the outdoor things I was hoping to get done was pulling the old TV antenna down from my roof. I don’t use it at all, and it’s just sitting up there waiting for a strong wind to mess it up and maybe damage my roof in the process. One of the neighbors has a 28 foot extension ladder, which is maybe just long enough to reach my roof, and he’s offered to let me borrow it whenever I need, but when I actually looked at the roof, and looked at the ladder, I’m not sure it’s going to reach. So I put him off, saying I’ll get to it some other time.
I think if I tackle that project, it’s going to be when I’ve got some additional help (and moral support) around. I really should have just had the DirecTV guy pull it down when he was up on the roof almost two years ago, or when I had the chimney sweep out last year. Both were professionals at climbing around on roofs and had ladders that definitely reached all the way up there. The last thing I want to do is borrow the ladder from the neighbor, set it up next to the house, and then discover it’s a couple feet too short to reach the roof, which will suck all the motivation out of me.
Today’s supposed to be just about as nice as yesterday. Perhaps a little warmer, but also a little windier. The last two “nice weather” tasks for the fall are pulling out the air conditioners and cleaning the outsides of all the windows in the house. I’m not sure about cleaning the windows today, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be needing the A/C anymore, so I’ll probably pull those out of the windows and haul them to the basement for the winter. And with any luck, things will go smoothly enough that I’ll want to take a walk afterwards. Maybe an evening one so I can check out the new lighting on the Stone Arch Bridge, if this evening’s rain holds off long enough.
- Friends of the Mississippi River has added a Mississippi River Field Guide which looks pretty darned useful.
- A Minnesota Crackdown on speeding starts with higher speeds. The first roads where the State Patrol will be strictly enforcing the speed limits will be those where the limit is going from 55 to 60 mph. For the stretch of 35W they’re talking about, that will be about 10 mph slower than many currently drive on it, but all roads will be subject to the new enforcement. [strib]
- Tom Delay
Having compiled a long record as a conscientious fiscal conservativesays Republicans will defend taxpayers. I believe it when I see it. This, after all, is the man who said there was no more pork to be cut from the federal budget. [instapundit]
- Does anyone find it surprising that the worst of Louisiana’s Looters are in Washington? [instapundit]
- Steve Green’s Friday Recipe from last week is Coq au Vin for Four. Sounds yummy. And mostly crock-pot-a-licious for a friend who’s thinking of remodeling her kitchen soon. [vodkapundit]
- Brian’s Belly has an interview of sorts with Alton Brown. Cool. [fark!]
It was a pretty good weekend. Friday, after griping about the clothesline pole in the back yard, I stopped by a nursery on the way home from lunch. Came home with 120 pounds of black dirt (ten dollars worth) and a bag of grass seed. The weather was nice, a little cool, and I only worked up a little sweat horsing the nearly cubic-foot of concrete out of the ground and hauling it over to the corner of the yard where it can sit until I deal with getting rid of it.
Filled the hole with half of the black dirt, set the hose on low right in the middle of it, and went and filled a few other holes in the yard with the rest of the dirt. Came back and the dirt in the big hole was wet enough, so I raked it around a bit, and hit it with the grass seed. Walked around and hit the other new dirt with the hose and a little seed, and one project was crossed off the list with about one hour of work and one hour of standing around with the hose. I probably put down the grass seed dozens of times thicker than you’re supposed to, but the goal is to get some grass in those spots quickly, and I figure there’s got to be some amount of spare for the birds to eat, too.
Saturday, during the rain (no watering needed), a friend stopped by to go shooting, and we snapped the chalk lines for the carpet tile in the bedroom, a project I’ll tackle next time a rainy weekend keeps me indoors. Took just a few minutes to get that roadblock out of my way.
Then to the range, where we both discovered what a great training aid LaserGrips can be, as we watched each other pull the little red dot down to 5 o’clock on the target before pulling the trigger, pre-compensating for the recoil (flinching). A little mental work and practice corrected that problem (for the afternoon), and I noticed that the little red dot dancing around on the target actually made it easier for me to concentrate on the front sight after a quick peek downrange. I’m still not focusing on just the front sight like you’re supposed to, but I got a lot better pretty quickly. After a while with the pistol, and a while with the carbine (which didn’t like the batch of handloads my pal had brought), we both got tired, and decided to call it a day before we developed any new bad habits. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a little less in the way of bad habits on the next trip out, and that’s encouraging. Plus the rifle range out there should be opening today, which means when it’s time to sight in the deer rifles, we don’t need to worry about the weather. Cool.
After some dinner, beers, and catching up, we called it a day. Sunday? I slept late and spent the afternoon and evening watching TV. It was still rainy and gloomy outside, and I was perfectly happy to leave all the projects around the house for another day.
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington lists the 13 ‘Most Corrupt’ in Congress, but nobody seems interested. Politics as usual. [fark!]
- So what do you do when you’re a pilot and get put on the government’s no-fly list? You lose your job, apparently, and there’s really not much you can do about it. [claire]
- It took a while, but Federal Judge Halts New Orleans Gun Seizures on Friday. The Second Amendment Foundation and NRA got a restraining order. [war on guns]
- Shelley has a long essay on The Clean Industry and your online ID. I don’t mind having to have my browser remember a different password for each of the umpty-jillion online shopping places I’ve used (computers are good at that sort of thing), and don’t see a need for any sort of unified ID. It just collects too much information in one place.
- Is there actually a Serenitygate? I dunno. I looked at the website for the company offering the free passes to Serentity, looked at where the Minneapolis theater showing the preview is, and said to myself
meh, no thanks. Whenever someone is giving something away, you’ve got to ask yourself what they’re getting from you. In this case, I figured at a minimum they’d have my contact information to spam me with new stuff, and frankly, that’s not the kind of thing I want from a group that’s
Helping Hollywood reach people of faith.Especially when their definition of “faith” seems pretty narrow to me.
A pretty unsatisfying week so far. Business headaches on Monday, followed by a walk and a nap to calm down. Tuesday, work in the morning, followed by some drinking, some more drinking, and even more drinking. Wednesday, dealing with family stuff and the hangover. Plus hot weather. Realized late in the evening that I had missed the monthly dinner club while trying to get everything else dealt with. Thursday, research into ISPs, emails back and forth, and a general wish that the week was just done. Today? Well, there’s a website I should have finished up a couple weeks ago. I probably should tackle it today, but I may let it wait until next week. There’s some followup to be done for the not interview that’s still a not-job. No word on when it might turn into a job, so I should probably find some more work to fill the next few weeks or months, too.
But hey, there were a couple morning glories blooming in my yard the other day. I took pictures of them for you, since they were kinda pretty. I’m not entirely happy with either picture, but I don’t think I’ve turned all the various rules for taking closeups like this into a coherent mental picture of how pictures like this should turn out. So I keep trying, and then try to figure out what I should be doing better.
Finally, this weekend is the start of Oktoberfest, and I’m betting I get out and have some beer while listening to live music and socializing with the other folks from the Saints parking lot.
- In off-season Saints news, Villarreal, Stephens To Return To Joliet to complete the Chad Ehrnsberger trade.
- Another reason to remember that the policeman is not your friend: Cops scheme to frame journalist who criticized photo radar program . They used a database to get information on his car and home, so they could hang out waiting for him outside a bar where his car was spotted. Luckily he was smart enough to take a cab home. [boing boing]
- Yes, the PorkBusters project is basically just chump change when you look at the size of the federal budget. But it’s A Fiscal Broken Windows Policy, and that might just work. [instapundit]
- I’m not the only one with ISP headaches. Steph is Ditching DSL, and another client (who shall remain nameless) pulled their server from the ISP’s colo. We’ve got ourselves a movement. [steph]
- Ooh! Here’s the Complaint letter of the year . I wish I was that eloquent. [fark!]
- Are we facing a “long now” or a Grim Meathook Future? I’m inclined to think the latter. [jwz]
- Mark your calendar for tomorrow: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is having a Community Runway Event, beginning with a 5k run at 9am, and ending at 5pm. It’s one of the few chances to go out and walk on an actual runway. Not everyone’s happy about the party, but I figure since they’re throwing it anyhow, it might be worth stopping out there. [press-patch]
Pretty warm yesterday. Much cooler after the late-evening storms rolled through. As for the small update, I was up until after 2am waiting for the house to cool off from the hot weather during the day, so I probably won’t be awake in time to do the regular morning update. This is what I’ve got now.
In other news, I’m not very pleased by my new ISP at all, but I at least finally heard from them about the bill yesterday (only 11 days to respond), even if their response doesn’t fill me with glee. I’ve sent queries off to some alternatives, and we’ll see what kind of response I get. I’ll probably talk about it all a lot more once things have been sorted out one way or another.
- Wow. Here’s Winnipeg from (almost) every imaginable angle. Lots and lots of pictures. [101-280]
- It sounds as though 400,000 operational ration packs (like MREs, I guess) donated by the UK for victims of Hurricane Katrina are going to go Up In Flames because the FDA says they have british beef in them, and so might be contaminated by BSE. [claire]
- Some of you have noticed that Kim’s offline, but the Nation of Riflemen Forum is back at a new home. There’s some explaination available, but it’ll probably be a while before all the details come out.
- I did put together some tips on Cooking for one yesterday. I imagine I’ll add to it over time.
The update today will be late. Busy with other stuff this morning.
Or maybe the update will be tomorrow. It’s not looking good for today.
Yesterday was not an especially good day. I spent all morning wrangling with various things that I don’t even want to think about. It started with the state. Minnesota has instituted a new Unemployment Insurance website, and requires all employers to use it. The problem is that while I knew the Federal Taxpayer ID number for my business, and my state of Minnesota ID number for payroll withholding, there was yet another number for the UI stuff with the state that my business has had forever, but which I never knew. And to top it off, that number isn’t even what you need to put into the website to log in, you have to enter your User ID, which is something completely different. I’m not sure why there can’t be a single ID for the state, but I suspect the reason is that the people who coded up the website designed it for ease of use by the state employees, and not business owners like me. If they’d been thinking about their actual customers, they would have used an already existing ID.
Once I had that mostly sorted out, I called Paychex. I’ve run payroll twice this month, on the first and fifteenth, and had trouble both times. The problem is a new “payroll specialist” who doesn’t seem to have learned the vocabulary they’ve trained me to use over the past six-plus years, but instead put his own spin on things. I spoke with his supervisor, and explained that the reason I pay them to handle all this payroll stuff is that I’m trying to save time. But when I run payroll, and then have to call back in to correct mistakes, the time-savings is a lot less. I explained that I was trying to be understanding, but between the mess with the state (which was resolved by setting up Paychex as an agent for my business — something I thought should have happened automatically, since they’ve been handling my payroll since 1999 and I’ve filled out plenty of forms for the state allowing them to do that) and the payroll confusion, I was close to the breaking point. So I come out of the deal with a new specialist who’s been at this for a while, and a discount on the payroll processing for a while.
In the afternoon, I found myself spending the afternoon wondering why I even bother running my own business rather than getting any work done. Lately the headaches involved seem to far outweigh any benefit. I’m not closing the doors just yet, but this camel’s back is aching and it’s not going to take many more straws. When people I haven’t talked to for a number of years wonder why I’ve grown to be so anti-government, this is a prime example of the reason. Every interaction I’ve had with the government in the course of running my business has meant nothing but a big ball of stress. Is it too much to ask to just be left alone to help my customers? Apparently it is.
Finally, while I’m griping, I might as well complain about my ISP, too. I got a bill a couple weeks ago that I think has some mistakes. I emailed their billing department on the 10th, and called in yesterday. I still haven’t heard back from anyone there. And this from a place that says
We believe service has been swallowed whole and replaced by automated disappointment. We want to bring service back, make it new again. Well, if this is the new service, I’d rather have the old guys where I could stop by with a six-pack of beer and have all the problems resolved before we’d finished the first beer.
- Extreme Pumpkins has an example of Carving with a .22 Rifle. 150 shots produced a decent-looking jack-o-lantern. Hmm. Plenty of time remains before halloween… [endwar]
- It’s pretty easy to tell when school at the University starts around here: More than 330 busted in first two weeks of school. One of my neighbors has had his car parked for quite a while, and I was wondering what was up. Turns out he got nailed in one of those sweeps. It’s good to remember that all those extra cops mean an uptick in DWI arrests among older residents, too. [strib]
- Tasty? I’m not so sure: Rotting-in-the-bottle beer The Asahi Super Yeast Draft changes its aroma and flavor through a second phase of fermentation after its basic taste is created in the primary fermentation at factories.
- In local news, Jim has a report of Wobblies in Action last weekend. Just a few weeks ago WFB had his comments on the strike at NorthWest. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of NorthWorst’s bankruptcy, but I’m not really expecting anything positive for anyone. [jim]
No. I don’t plan on doing anything special for Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I figure it’s worth pointing out.
The weekend? Meh. Visit to Mom. Missed two or three different happenings Saturday evening. Mowed the lawn Sunday morning, and rested in the afternoon. Got woke up by rain at 4am this morning.
- The Dean Zimmerman Bribe[ry] case had small beginnings and the St. Paul paper has some more details. [press-patch]
- The St. Patrick’s Four are facing the first and only federal conspiracy trial arising out of civil resistance to the Iraq War, and the trial begins today. They’ve been tried before, almost a year ago, but were acquited by a jury. Apparently since that trial didn’t work out the way the gubmint hoped, now they’re being tried for conspiracy.
- Has enough time passed that talking about how various government agencies would respond to Katrina can be funny? I think so. [claire]
- A little story about Davy Crockett vs. Welfare that fits in rather nicely with GWB’s promise to spend hundreds of billions of dollars rebuilding New Orleans. Crockett was asked
where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?and had no answer. Would that someone could explain that to all (except Ron Paul) of our elected representatives.
The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.reminded me immediately of Paul Wellstone, RIP. [endwar]
- Ron Paul talks about The Coming Category 5 Financial Hurricane that will result from all this taxpayer money being thrown around:
Our spending habits, in combination with our flawed monetary system, if not changed will bring us a financial whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a minor storm.[endwar]
- If you spend 62 Billion here, 62 billion there … eventually it adds up to real money. The proposals right now for rebuilding N.O. are the equivalent of giving every man, woman, and child who lived there $120,000. Just this year. I’m pretty sure it would be a lot cheaper to relocate everyone to someplace that isn’t below sea-level.
- Rivrdog takes a look at The cost of rebuilding, too.
- The Truth Laid Bear has a roundup of Pork that could be cut from the Federal budget in order to come up with the billions promised to clean up New Orleans. [instapundit]
Not a whole lot to say today. I seem to have used up my typing yesterday. Not a whole lot of links, either. Sorry.
- The New Republic Online asks whether New Orleans was Left Behind because of Bush-style conservatism or contemporary urban liberalism.
If New Orleans had not been such an economically polarized city, perhaps more of its residents would have been able to fend for themselves when disaster struck, and would therefore be alive today. For that, contemporary urban liberalism has to take its share of the blame.And why was it economically polarized? Because unlike other port cities that lost jobs to automation, where local government encouraged blue-collar jobs related to trade, New Orleans relied upon the leisure and hospitality sector to provide 13.3 percent of its jobs. Jobs in trade tend to spread the wealth around more. Jobs in the hospitality industry don’t.
Which is why cities that turn to elite culture to fuel their economies tend to generate unparalleled class disparities.
- Cosh gets after a similar question from a different angle by asking if the Katrina aftermath was the triumph of government?.
- Ugh. Government intervention of the worst sort: President vows Gulf Coast will be rebuilt and
a chief aim will be to lure those who fled New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities to return rather than relocate permanently to the places where they sought refuge.If people want to leave and not return, let them. Then again, I guess encouraging people to move back into N.O. so they can get clobbered again is exactly what I expect from government. [strib]
Yesterday brought some pretty darned beautiful weather. It warmed up enough during the day that I got hot and sweaty while working in the yard, but not so hot that it was miserable. Just enough that it felt like satisfying work. There were two areas in my back yard edged off from the lawn by pavers, stuck into the ground edge-wise. One was around a tree I had removed last month, and the other was next to the little shed that’s attached to the garage. I decided both needed to go.
So I started by pulling out the pavers. Given all the rain we’ve had recently, this wasn’t too tough. One set of them, which had been put in the shallow way (they were 6″ by 12″ pavers, and these were set in only 6″ deep) yielded quickly to the shovel. One dig and pry per paver and they were out. The other set, being almost 10″ into the dirt were a little trickier until I got a decent start on them, and then came out with just a wiggle and a pull. No tools required after the first two, since there was enough sticking above the ground for me to get a grip on, and I could wiggle them into the space left by the previously removed paver.
Once the pavers were out of the way, I attacked the rocks. There were almost a dozen rocks, varying from the size of my fist up to the size of my head, tossed into these two areas. They all needed to be removed so I’ll be able to mow through there without pranging the blade on the lawnmower. Again, a quick dig & pry got the job done.
Then it was time to clear out the weeds. Rake, hoe, rake, chop, rake, hoe, and I had relatively clean dirt that had been worked a few inches deep. There are still a few saplings out there that will require a hatchet, but I’m going to need that for the stump of the tree that was removed, too. Again, the wet dirt made things easier, and I definitely picked the right day for this work. About a bushel of vines, stalks, and branches now lie in a pile waiting for me to chop them up for the compost bin.
And finally, in goes the grass seed. I had two bags of seed, one half-bag left over from last fall, and one brand new one. I used up the leftovers, and saved the new seed for other projects I hope to complete yet this year (filling in bare patches left after the sidewalk work). Then set up the hose and sprinkler and test-water the area. It didn’t really need much water, but I wanted to get the sprinkler in the right position so I can just turn on the tap and have the sprinkler take care of the new seed. With any luck, by the end of the month, I’ll have fresh grass out there to mow, and a lot fewer obstacles to dodge with the mower.
I feel a little bad about sacrificing the mint that was growing in these two areas, but there were so many other weeds mixed in with it that I never really used much of it anyhow. I imagine some will pop back up in the grass, and I can maybe transplant that another day.
Between the yard work, and still getting a decent amount of “work” work done, it was a pretty full day. I didn’t get the old clothesline pole pulled out (or rather the roughly cubic-foot of concrete that anchors it, which is the bigger problem), but other than removing that, filling the hole left by it, and filling a few other holes in the yard (I blame the bunnies), things are in pretty good shape for the fall. I’ll be calling the sidewalk guys in a week or two, and hopefully I can have everything wrapped up before there’s snow. Maybe today I’ll pick up a bunch of black dirt so I can fill the holes.
- Have you ever wondered If I dig a very deep hole, where I go to stop? (although perhaps more grammatically) Well, this application of google maps will tell you that a very deep hole from my backyard would get me wet.
- Well, I feel much better now: DeLay declares ‘victory’ in war on budget fat. Apparently the Republicans figure government is as small now as it possibly can be. Reason’s Hit and Run comments on DeLay:
It is official. The GOP is now exactly in the same position Democrats were in circa 1993 — the disconnected, unapologetic party of bloated federal government. Only demographic trends and the Democrats’ steadfast refusal to evince a lick of sense will keep 2006 from being 1994 in reverse.[coyote blog]
- I put together a list of the top 100 songs from the year I graduated high-school, which is one of those memes that was running around the ’net about a month ago. As is typical, I’m late to the game.
- Hmm. Am I just engaging in Pointless incessant barking around here? Sometimes I think so. W00f!
- jwz says Tivo 0wns j00, and he’s right. I’m not sure what to do about it, since I get my TiVo service from DirecTV now, but it definitely suxx0rz. [jwz]
- Lunacore has a tutorial on how to Beautify a Face in PhotoShop. Huh! [holy schmoly]
Yesterday’s rain changed everything it seems. During the afternoon yesterday, it was still warm and muggy outside. Once the skies had finished clearing, there’s much drier air (the overnight low got down below 50°F) and this morning, it feels like fall. I’m really glad I sweated a bit on Monday evening and got the lawn mowed between the showers though. My lawn looks lush and green this morning, and it’s one less thing on the ever-growing list of things I should be getting done. But maybe the biggest change is in my head. We’ve had chilly days already, but with Labor Day in the past, and the Saints’ season being done, today’s cool weather is the one that feels like fall to me.
On the digital camera front, a broken display is not covered under warranty, and the repair cost (including shipping), is more than half of the price I paid for the camera almost a year ago. Given the headaches that I expect in dealing with the repair, I’m not sure whether I’m going to even bother getting it fixed or not. I’m definitely going to wait for a slow day before dealing with it at this point. There’s no point in frustrating myself over it today.
- It’s A Sad Truth: Cities Aren’t Forever. New Orleans as a tourist destination may be rebuilt, but as a major port? Ports don’t need as many people anymore, and the other Mississippi ports were undamaged. Is there a reason to rebuild all of New Orleans, especially given the huge quantities of pollution that will need to be dealt with? [boing boing]
- People seem excited about Google Blog Search, but I just don’t get it. The regular search works fine for me, and if the best page was part of a blog, that was cool. If not, oh well. I’m generally looking for information, regardless of the source. Lately, I’ve been going straight to the Wikipedia, since that’s a pretty reliable bet. Heck, I’ve even started an article there.
- Regarding the local election I was blathering about yesterday? The Minneapolis Primary Summary Results and precinct details results don’t hold too many surprises. Dean Zimmerman made it through the primary. Rybak and McLaughlin will be our (nearly indistinguishable) choices for mayor, and only 85 people voted in my precinct. City-wide, 33,532 people cast ballots, out of 228,538 registered voters. Lots more in there if you’re a numbers junkie.
Update: When I voted at 2:30 pm, I was only voter #36 in my precinct. If you’re in Minneapolis, you should go and say hello to the volunteers working the polling stations. Turnout is very low today and they’re lonely. Oh, and you may be able to affect things by showing up today. It’s not often you can say that. (Mark is running under the “Pissed Off Taxpayer” label — if nothing else, you want to see that on the ballot, right?)
It’s time to vote in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The top two vote-getters in each primary will advance to the general election. Especially if you want to vote for one of the fringe candidates, this is your chance. Probably your only chance.
Yesterday, administrivia, running errands, and mowing the lawn. Today, I try to finish the most annoying of those errands (my digital camera broke, and is under warranty, but I need to send it back to the factory for repairs, which means digging up the receipt to prove that the camera is under warranty, even though it has a one-year warranty and wasn’t even released more than a year ago, then bundling it up and shipping it to the factory repair center) and out to vote. And then some actual work. Wish me luck.
- In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Voters choosing mayoral candidates today. As I mention above, this is probably your only chance (especially in Minneapolis) to vote for someone not from the DFL for mayor. [strib]
- Overnight, Storms batter Minnesota with hail, wind. And some lightning and thunder, too. Woke me up a couple times during the night with lightning strikes less than a mile away. [strib]
- Claire’s new book: How To Kill The Job Culture Before It Kills You is out. Hmm. Timely, given my impending need to decide what I’m going to do with my life. [claire]
- jr got the new phone book, and Returned to Sender. Sounds like a plan. I get yellow pages from two or three different companies over the course of the year. I wonder if they all have local offices… [jr]
- A CIA report on Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky is fascinating reading, if only for the cold-war era tradecraft used. Adolf Tolkachev was arrested by the KGB in June of 1985, and was executed in 1986. The CIA continued to use information he provided until 1990. [schneier]
It’s not a huge thing, but my typical Monday morning tries to pack all the administrivia for an entire week into a few hours, so I can get past it and get on with the productive work for the week. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been all that much productive work for me to do, so entire weeks have felt like Mondays.
And this week, it’s even worse. The Saints’ season has ended, with the team on the road, and not enough of a chance to say goodbye to people. It hit me a little yesterday, but today it seems to hit home harder. I cleaned out my grill for the season last night, which had a feeling of finality to it, but that was tempered by the fact that I’d spent the afternoon drinking beers with friends. Today, there’s no insulating beery goodness in the way.
- Speaking of beery goodness, Gimme another shot of this beer.
A German brewer has concocted … the world’s strongest beer … with an alcohol content of 25.4 percent.The folks at Sam Adams are likely to retailiate and try to get their record back. [fark!]
- In local news, supporters say Accusations don’t fit the Dean Zimmerman they know. They don’t fit my mental image, either. But I don’t think that will really matter. With the primary elections tomorrow, this is a body-blow to his campaign. [strib]
- Bruce Schneier had an op-ed on Katrina and Security.
Katrina deftly illustrated homeland security’s biggest challenge: guessing correctly. The solution is to fund security that doesn’t rely on guessing.Intelligence gathering and emergency response are where he says we should be putting money. [schneier]
- It sounds as though the gun confiscations are continuing in New Orleans, So Where Is The NRA??? [endwar]
- The New Orleans gun confiscation is foolish and illegal and is leaving people Defenseless On the Bayou. [claire]
- Here’s a good story about how an Armed militia protects its New Orleans neighborhood. One of the women in the militia said she still has 42 bullets to expend before she’ll be forcibly evacuated. [war on guns]
- A good story from New Orleans: Marigny music gives New Orleans new heartbeat. Folks who want to stay and help rebuild things, and are keeping spirits up and keeping their neighborhood clean and safe in the meantime. They’d like to stay, but won’t fight:
Remember, if you crack, evac!Let's hope the government leaves them in place to continue helping their neighborhood. [claire]
- Regarding Bill Whittle’s essay about tribes that I pointed to last week, John Sabotta says we should Shoot The Sheepdogs. There's been a discussion over on The Claire Files about this, and many of the folks over there see themselves as “mutts”. [endwar]
The Saints lost game 4 in Gary in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel Saturday evening. Pretty darned good pitching by both staffs. The Saints only had one runner in scoring positiong all game, and that was in the third inning. From the St. Paul paper: Gary blanks Saints, evens playoff series. Game 5 at 2pm on Sunday on 95.9, 1300, 105.5, or on the net. It sounds as if some folks may gather at Midway to listen to the game. Not sure if I’m going to leave the house or not yet.
On Sunday afternoon, Saints season ends with a 9-4 loss, and it wasn’t ever actually as close as that makes it sound. Gary plain clobbered the Saints pitching, and the Saints bats just weren’t there today. It’s always a shame to end the season on the road, and especially so this weekend, since we thought there was a chance the Saints would advance to the final next week, and I didn’t get to say goodbye properly to all the people I wanted to.
Before getting to the serious stuff, the Saints won last night. First story below. There’s also a bit of local breaking-news. And then it goes rapidly downhill.
The main story is the way that that P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police in New Orleans, has ordered the confiscation of all firearms in New Orleans. First the government doesn’t help people in the hurricane-ravaged city, and then it goes door to door, taking away the protection from the law-abiding, leaving the only guns in the hands of the looters and thugs who have experience dodging police. I’d like to be able to say I’m surprised, but I’m not really. Sick to my stomach, yes. Surprised? No.
- The Saints Hang On To Regain Series Lead, 5-4. The Saints’ pitchers, Gaal, Pike, and Hammonds pitched a pretty good game all around, but it was a 5-4 nailbiter, and the Saints’ insurance run in the top of the 9th ended up being the difference as Hammonds’ second inning of work was a little rocky, due in part to a T. Brown error.
- Now Council member took bribes, affidavit alleges. Things are not looking good for Dean Zimmerman. [strib]
- A cartoon that doesn’t lighten my mood: TSHTF: Boston in 1774, New Orleans in 2005. I don’t see a lot of difference. [endwar]
- This week’s Musings of The GeekWithA.45 has a lot more on the New Orleans gun confiscations. Keep scrolling and getting angrier. [endwar]
- They show the National Guard (Oklahoma, as well as other states, I think) in this ABC Video (codec), including one young guardsman who was asked
you would shoot an American?and replied
Yes.The story goes on about how disturbing this is to these guys, but I should hope it would be disturbing to not uphold the Constitution.
- It’s pretty apparent to me that the New Orleans Gun Confiscation is Blatantly Illegal, and one of the hopes that “gun nuts” had was that the National Guard would refuse to enforce such a blatantly illegal order. That hope seems to have been overly optimistic.
- Kim Interrupt[s] This Hiatus to fume about the confiscations. [kim]
- Meanwhile, the NRA is
monitoring this situation very closely.The GOA is expressing outrage, but on their website, the entire news about the situation is a plea to sign up for membership. The JPFO has the strongest statement, but I don’t know what they can do, either. [war on guns]
- Pawpaw’s response to Gun Confiscation? 1–get their names. 2–comply and keep yourself safe. 3–file a civil rights violation suit in Federal Court, and sue the bastards for everything they’ve got.
- It’s been reported that Ashton O’Dwyer, who was refusing to leave in this CNN.com Video has since been arrested. More details when I hear them, but he appears to be a lawyer with Lemle & Kelleher, L.L.P., and I hope he sues the pants off whoever arrested him.
- But until those lawsuits work their way through the system, there’s a problem. As Lew Rockwell points out:
[people in the Pentagon] are delighted with the lack of opposition to the gun confiscation now going on in NO.Very few people seem to be shouting Molon Labe! which has to be encouraging if you think you might want to grab all the guns. [endwar]
A short week that felt too long. I think that was mostly due to my desire for control, and the lack of it this week. One job I thought was nailed down has evaporated. Two that are active continue to lurch toward completion. One nearly on its own, and the other now firmly in my court, but only since yesterday. The not-quite-an-interview from Wednesday continues to roll around in my mind, as I try to decide whether or not I want to keep my business going, or drop the reins of responsibility and let someone else handle the hassles inherent in running a business. Nothing really taxing, except psychically.
This weekend? Trip to mom’s, party, maybe a trip to the range (too-busy-friend’s schedule permitting), and some more sleep. And hot weather. The yard work I had planned is going to sit on hold a bit longer. I just don’t feel like doing it in the 80+ degree temperatures forecast for this weekend, and it can wait until the weather is cooler. Besides, it already seems as if I have enough on my plate.
- Daring Fireball presents The iTunes 5 Announcement From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal User Interface Theme. It is to laugh. And then you actually look at the new iTunes 5, and it is to cry. [some guy]
- Brent talks more about iTunes 5 and UI trends, but thinks iTunes is headed in the right direction, and has some thoughts on where the UI is going. [scripting]
- Hmm: FBI Raids Minneapolis City Councilman’s House, and it was Dean Zimmerman. He was very near first place in my mental
least likely to get bustedlist of local councilmen, admittedly for no real good reason other than I kinda like him. I tend not to follow city politics outside my ward, for the most part. No word yet on what the FBI was fishing for. [karl]
- The Strib story Minneapolis Council member’s home is searched adds that the search of Dean’s house may be related to the Basim Sabry matter that took down Brian Herron (who was running against Robert Lilligren at the time, as Dean is now. Conspiracy theorists take note). [strib]
- If you have to digitally retouch photos, you might already know many of these 2 Minute Photoshop Tricks. If not, I bet you’ll find them handy. [holy schmoly]
- In regards to confiscation of guns in N.O., interdictor says:
… go ahead and grab your pocket-sized copy of the constitution and tear out Amendment II. It should be the first one on the page, because if you’ve been keeping track, Amendment I should have been torn out years ago. I don’t mean to make this a debate about guns, but what I want is for the law to be the law, and that means if the we don’t like Amendment II anymore, we need to just go ahead and repeal it, not ignore it. If we just start ignoring the Amendments, we never know what rights we’re entitled to and when. That complicates things.
That complicates things, indeed. And it’s going to fall to the National Guard or Army to do the confiscation, I bet. The NOPD has been more than decimated. [endwar]
The rain, it just keeps on falling. Yesterday morning, a steady rain. Yesterday evening, beautiful weather. This morning? Wet out again. The lawn needs mowing, if it would ever dry out. But at least the ground in the back yard is soft enough that I should be able to pull out the pavers used to edge the bunches of weeds that I want to remove.
But I don’t know if that’ll be today. Today I’m getting all the pieces for a website I’m building for a client, and I need to spend some time assembling them and cranking out all the various individual pages.
- Last night’s final: Gary 10, Saints 9, which echoes the version on the Saints website. Eleven batters in the bottom of the seventh weren’t enough to overcome the four errors the Saints had made earlier in the game. The PiPress story Saints’ rally falls short has the most detail. [strib and press-patch]
- Last night, a Fire damages St. Paul brewery. The old Hamm’s brewery was on fire before the Saints game started, and we watched the plume of smoke spread from the parking lot. More in Fire ruins historic brewery. It was the Carpenter’s Shop, the oldest remaining building at the brewery complex that burned. [strib and press-patch]
- Havard is suggesting Using chili peppers to burn drug abusers by mixing condiments with their opiates. No problem if you just take the pill as directed for pain relief, but if you grind it up and snort it, you’ll have one sore honker. And if you shoot it, you’ll get
a widespread burning feeling. That’ll harsh your buzz. [fark!]
- According to an FAA Inspector the situation at Northwest Airlines
jeopardizes life or property. Said inspector was promptly reassigned after filing the report.
Aren’t you glad the government’s there to protect… you?
Oops. I guess I overdid the benadryl before going to bed, since I overslept and need to get out the door relatively soon. At least I wasn’t sneezing! The update will come later in the day.
Update: Well, I’m back, and time for a few quick links. The interview thingie went okay, but wasn’t so much an interview as lunch with the people who might be able to interview me once the position becomes officially open. Apparently bureaucracy is all around me.
- Last night: Saints win playoff opener over Gary. [strib]
- The team’s report Saints Rally For Game 1 Win is interesting in that for some reason Hank Himmanen is mentioned as the starter. It was Hank Woodman.
- The PiPress’ Saints rally to win opener also provides some notes about relief efforts for Katrina at the game. In addition to the money raised by selling jerseys, Billy Munoz’ home run raised $1300 in money, which the Saints matched. That’s a grand higher than we’ve ever collected for Retinitis Pigmentosa. It’s amazing how much better they do at reporting the games when they actually have a reporter there. As for the actual game, Gary sent their best starter to the mound, and the Saints beat him. The Gary fans in the lot pre-game said about as much, pointing out that they had pretty good starting pitching, but not a lot of depth in the bullpen. If the Saints win tonight, I’ll be feeling a lot more confident about possibly facing Fargo (who also won last night). [press-patch]
- Harsh: A simple Magic Marker strategy might have saved lives in New Orleans. [strib]
Another noisy night last night, as a wave of thunderstorms moved through. Flashes and booms during the night as I was trying to sleep kept me awake longer than I wanted. This morning, I need to try to gather up the projects I’ve got subcontracted out and push them through to completion. They’re both pretty darned close, but seem to suffer from repeated “just one more thing” syndrome. I also should hear about a possible new gig for me. Tomorrow? Job interview for a position I’m certainly qualified for, but not certain I want to take, since it would effectively mean shuttering my own business.
And that’s about it for now. There’s home games for the Saints tonight and tomorrow, and then they travel to Gary. It looks like if we make the finals, the first two of those will be on the road.
- On Sunday, St. Paul Saints win, tie for title with Gary, which means we only get two home games in the first round of playoffs. Then there’s the press release from the team: Saints Tie For Second Half South Division Title, which is strangely identical to the St. Paul Paper’s Saints tie for title in second half.
- A Latino team could be Oliva’s last shot at Hall of Fame, but he has to make the all-time Latino team based on fan votes at mlb.com or Chevy dealerships. I found the story about it on MLB.com, and eventually the ballot. Go vote, up to 25 times per email address. [jim]
- Bill Whittle hasn’t written anything since July, but he felt compelled to write about the tribes of pinks and greys, or wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs after seeing how people behaved in New Orleans. [kim]
- With primary elections next week deciding the shape of the at-large pool of candidates, Is Minneapolis Park Board heading to a more harmonious future? Somehow I suspect not. [strib]
- Minneapolis water will continue to have the Same taste, but cleaner as a new filtration plant comes online sometime this week. Hmm. It would be nice if they could get the rotting fish-guts taste out in late summer, but I guess we’re used to it. [strib]
Thunderstorms much of yesterday and pretty much all last night, with warnings about possible flash-flooding in low-lying neighborhoods here in the Twin Cities. No real problems where I’m at, other than the noise waking me up a few times during the night. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, but tomorrow’s a holiday, so I’ll maybe have a chance to catch up.
And yes, I realize I’m blogging right through the weekend. Not sure why, but between the allergens and rain outside, plus a late night at the bar on Friday, I didn’t get outside to do the yard work I had planned, so I’ve been inside at the computer (rather than working on any of the “inside projects” I could have been tackling).
But I’ve also been working on some of the forms used on my sites. In the past week, I’ve noticed concerted efforts by a few hackers to try and see if they can use my forms to send spam. I’ve found and fixed a couple security holes over the weekend. Sigh.
- A Friday Loss drops Saints into first-place tie with Gary, and Sioux Falls actually won over Fargo, which has no effect on the standings, but offers some hope that Fargo can be beat in the playoffs. [press-patch]
- It’s official. The Saints will face Gary in playoffs, based on the results Saturday night. They’re tied for first going into Sunday, and Sundays games will decide home field advantage between the two teams. A Wild End Keep Saints In First Place Chase explains a little better. And Lincoln Earns Final Northern League Playoff Position; First Round Matchups Set finishes the playoff picture. [press-patch]
- Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book is available online if you want to read it. Spiffy.
- So there’s been a lot of talk about the buses that were left sitting to get ruined in New Orleans. JunkYardBlog has the story. When Mayor Ray Nagin said
I need 500 buses,well, he had them. There were three hundred sixty four city buses and two hundred fifty five school buses sitting in a parking lot within a few miles of the Superdome. Buses already owned by the city. Just keep scrolling. [instapundit]
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people are thinking more about preparedness. It’s the kind of thing I’ve been pondering since before the Y2K scare, and I always try to be at least a little prepared, but it’s time for an audit of things. And sure enough, there are things I hadn’t thought of before.
So today, I’m going to link to other people’s ideas, and also write down my list. Hopefully others will find it useful.
- jr is Preparing For More Than the Worse and figures if he’s going to get clobbered by some natural disaster, he’d prefer an earthquake.
- Evan’s seeing Katrina as full of Teachable Moments.
- Joey’s got a Pop Quiz, Hotshot. It’s a good checklist to get you thinking.
- Dan’s got a Katrina response that looks at some of the mind-set that made things worse in New Orleans.
- Kim’s Grab-And-Go kit is a good example of one thing to prepare.
- Here’s a list of What’s in Claire’s Bug-Out Bag (which is really more of a “bug-in bag”).
- Claire also talks about Ham radio for SHTF times. I had a bunch of experience with ham radio in my teens. The ARRL had regular meetings where the main thing they did was practice emergency response. No idea if they still do that, but they were always really informative to attend.
- There’s SurvivalBlog.com, which covers this sort of thing every day.
The wind from yesterday subsided, but I still spent the entire evening hiding inside with the air conditioning running. I’ll poke my head outside today, but I really don’t like this time of year. Yes there are allergy drugs, but in my experience none of them will do the job for me against a huge concentration of allergens like those flying around in the air yesterday. The most discouraging part is that this happens every year, and I know from experience that I’ll be dealing with it for another month or so. Ugh.
There’s an awful lot of awful news about the mess in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast in general. You can go find them yourself if you’d like. Me, I’m reading some, ignoring others, and occasionally getting sucked into the disaster-porn on the TV. The big lesson I’ve taken from the whole thing is that in a really big disaster, depending on the government is going to leave you either dead or miserable, and I hope others see the same lesson. There are some smaller lessons that involve thinking through what kind of disaster could happen near me, and what that should mean for my preparedness. It’s not that I want to get set up Burt Gummer style, but I think a bare minimum is that a guy should have supplies for a week, either while holing up at home, or getting the hell out of dodge. More on that some day in the future. And a light load of links for today. At least it’s more than yesterday, right?
- Wednesday, the Saints Rall[ied] To Regain Divisional Lead, with Mike Meyer coming off the bench in relief to get the win. Lincoln lost to Fargo, giving the Saints sole posession of first place.
- A loss last night, due to one big inning doesn’t cost Saints hold on first, but Gary’s magic number over Calgary for a wild-card spot is now one, according to the Saints. [press-patch]
- The Adam Savage Interview–Part 2 is just as good as part 1 was. [fark!]
- Scott’s implemented a Map of Reviewed Restaurants on his site. That’s kinda cool if you’re looking for grub in the Twin Cities. [scott mcgerik]
Had a couple meetings this morning, so the update will be an afternoon or evening affair.
Update: There’s a strong wind stirring up all the allergens in the midwest and blowing them straight into my nose. I’ve doubled the dosage of the usual drugs, shut the windows and turned on the A/C and am still miserable. No further update today.