January normally seems like a long month. This year, it’s seemed even longer. We didn’t get hit with the real cold until the end of the month, but it’s here now. Add in the fact that today will be the fifteenth day in a row I’ve been in to work, and it just doesn’t seem as though month-end will ever get here.
Which isn’t all bad, either. I’ve still got lots of stuff to do before I can call this month done. Moving rapidly to the top of the list is filing all the damned paperwork for my business. I’ve been trying to wrap things up, but it turns out my payroll service, since I didn’t pay them for a full year last year, didn’t file anything for me. That means about ten different pieces of paper to be mailed in to various government agencies, except that a couple of them have to be done online. Did I say
|Breakfast with the squishycow|
At least there are a few little pleasures still. Even if I’ve had to go into work on the weekends, I’ve managed to cook up yummy breakfasts for myself. I haven’t had a ton of time to go out taking pictures (which I find myself missing a lot), but I have at least kept the camera skills from gathering dust, even if it’s something as simple as using my phone to snap a picture of one of the various joints where I eat lunch (though I often forget about that until we’re back to work, where my cow-orkers get to hear me say
D’Ohh! as we’re walking from the cars and I remember).
The ABE show on Saturday was fun, too. A lot of the regulars weren’t there—I suspect because they’d seen three sets just the Sunday before, but there were a couple cute gals to sit with me, and I enjoyed the show and got to talk to Scott a bit both before and after. I don’t especially like parking around O’Gara’s on a weekend evening, but it all went well, was a fun show, and a darned good break from thinking about code. And it sounds like Scott and the guys have enough new songs to just about be ready for their fifth CD, so I’ve got that to look forward to. And while poking around on the web yesterday, I found MPR’s pages on the ABE and on The Crops. If I find myself with a bunch of spare time anytime soon, maybe I’ll go add some stuff there.
- PopPhoto’s The 15-Hour Photographer is a good idea to get to take more pictures. They’re also having a contest. I wish I had the time to even think about entering. It sounds like an outrageously fun way to spend a day. [holy schmoly]
- Watch that prime-time medical drama with the cranky doctor? You might be interested in these Medical Reviews of House by a doctor. [flutterby]
- This essay titled Why Is My 50mm Lens Equivalent to 80mm on a 35mm Camera and Why Is There More Depth-of-Field? gives a VERY good look at the realities of shooting with digital cameras. And after a few back and forths, the discussion on Luminous Landscape finally pointed to a tutorial on Diffraction Limited Photography: Pixel Size, Aperture and Airy Disks. Playing with the calculator that’s include on that web page, I found what I’d suspected, when shooting with my D-50, any aperture smaller than f/8 doesn’t gain me any sharpness. With my D-200, it’s just about f/11. Yes, stopping down further will increase the depth of field, meaning I can screw up the focus a bit more, but at the expense of blurring the image a little bit with diffusion effects. It continues to make me think that
f/8 and be thereis still a pretty good mantra. Unless it’s night photography, in which case it’s f/8 and be there for about ten minutes. [luminous]
- Want to buy a bit of computing history? Joey’s got a Symbolics XL1200 Lisp Machine for sale. I never could really wrap my brain around lisp, so it’s not for me, but I know a few folks who might really dig that sort of thing… [accordionguy]
- Finally, Kirsten’s got an opportunity, perhaps, that she writes about in When Opportunity Knocks, Don’t Vomit on Its Shoes When You Open the Door. Why do I point to this? Well, I had a part (with the help of friends) in making this possible. Which leads me to think to myself
Cool. I still have the power to make women want to throw up!It’s not much of a super-power, but I’ll take it. [kirsten]
This past week has definitely felt like a long one. Monday went pretty well, but on Tuesday, as I was heading to work from a care conference for Mom (just one of those once-a-year things), I got side-swiped by a semi. Dumped a fair amount of adrenaline, and screwed up most of that afternoon. Once the garage near work had put on the spare and had sawzalled part of the bumper out of the right wheel well (for a whopping $13 - I’d heartily recommend them if they hadn’t lost the lock that goes on the spare so someone doesn’t steal it off the rear rack), I headed home, and promptly felt my head stuff completely up with a cold.
I don’t remember a whole lot from Wednesday or Thursday. Went to the insurance adjustor and the body shop, and set an appointment to drop my truck off tomorrow to get repaired, and I guess I did some work, but I was in something of a fuzz both days.
Friday, I thought things were going pretty well at work until lunch, but my lunch didn’t sit especially well, and I took off early. Stopped by Target for some food and Nyquil & Sudafed to get me through the cold, and spent 45 minutes trying to find everything in the store that I shop in all the time and know where everything is, then came home, threw up, and went to bed early.
Saturday, I went into work, too. Got some constructive stuff done, but I still have a bunch to do, so I’m probably going in today, unless the snow picks up. I guess I wasn’t far wrong on Friday when I said
Woo-hoo! Friday! Only seven more days until the weekend! Pretty bummed out that I’m going to miss the ABE show at the Fitzgerald today, but as Scott says, they’ll probably sound better at O’Gara’s this coming Saturday at 9pm, due to the availability of beer.
- Are you a math-geek? Know anything about Mathematica? Is so, Tupper’s Self-Referential Formula might amuse you.
- Donncha pointed to a list of 4 Easy Photoshop Techniques to Make Your Pictures Pop! Looks like stuff to play with sometime. And it reminded me of Digital Photography School, which has an awful lot of good stuff. [holy schmoly]
- Dan is losing head because Apple still hasn’t gotten around to making case-sensitivity the default in the filesystems on Macs (though you can make one if you want). The flip side of it is that some pretty well-known applications won’t run or won’t work right on a case-sensitive filesystem. [flutterby]
- Beginning on January 23, 2007, the New Requirements for Travelers going to Canada or Mexico will include needing to show a passport to get back into the US. [kottke]
- jr’s got some Tool Box Love for
accidentaltools that he didn’t think he’d need, but which end up being really useful. Maybe you’ve got one to add to the list? [jr]
Not for me. At least not in the meaning of “I get a Monday holiday.” But long in the number of events. Last night was Tiff’s going-away-party at the Sporty. She’s moving to California today, and it was good to see her one last time before the move. A lot of people showed up to say goodbye, which was nice, I guess.
Today was the normal mid-winter gathering of the PeTA gang. It went pretty well until about 6pm, when one of the gals in the party got told that she wasn’t welcome in the bar we were in. We’d been there since 3, and I’m not sure of all the details, but apparently she was “involved in a fight” there a couple weeks ago (some drunk chick took a swing at her) and even though she wasn’t kicked out that night, the manager tonight apparently wanted to upset nearly twenty paying customers, so he told her she couldn’t have any more drinks. This was at Ol’ Mexico up in Rosedale, and since I’ve never really been too enthusiastic about the joint, it’s pretty easy to say “I sha’n’t return.” Just doesn’t seem right to me to boot a customer two weeks after whatever the hell happened, especially when the manager on duty that night seemed to be fine with the situation. Most of the group felt the same way, so we left in solidarity. Sure, they’re free not to serve her, but we’re also free to spend our money elsewhere.
As for the work-week, it wasn’t the best. I spent a lot of energy on a project I’m working on that seems to be going nowhere. I’m moving in the right direction, but there’s still that schedule thing, and I’m definitely not ahead of it. Sigh.
- Do you know Why blurring sensitive information is a bad idea? I’d always suspected that machine-blurring things like that didn’t remove enough information to be entirely secure, and sure enough, that seems to be the case. [boing boing]
- This video of the Winds of Change that are blowing through Kodak had me laughing. I have no idea of its provenance, but damn, it was funny. [nack]
- The latest word in Gilmore v. Gonzales is not good:
The Supremes denied his petition. [boing boing]
In his Petition for Certiorari, John asked the Court to decide whether the government may keep secret a law that affects millions of Americans every month, when the government has acknowledged what it claims are the contents of the law, and despite the fact that the government has never enunciated any reasonable basis for maintaining secrecy. This country has a remarkable history of publishing its laws, to give the public notice of the behavior the government demands of them. John has pursued this effort because, as he said on www.papersplease.org,
[u]ntil Americans have the ability to know the contents of the laws being applied to them, our Republic is in danger.
- Philip Greenspun has the same thought about the Apple iPhone as I do. Yeah, it looks pretty cool, but it’s not a flip. And because it’s not a flip, even if it won’t call someone by accident from my pocket, the touch-screen would still get destroyed by my keys or change or something or other. And no, a third-party cover does not address the problem, because it doesn’t flip open to answer. Since my first cell-phone, a Motorola MicroTAC, I’ve always liked the flips better. Meanwhile, Dan thinks Cingular drains Apple’s brand. I nearly ended up with Cingular when I bought my new phone, but the sales guy at the store steered me clear of them. [scripting] and [flutterby]
- Got word on Friday morning that Robert Anton Wilson has died. I was never a huge fan of the Illuminati books, but Jim & I talked about them a bit on Thursday evening. I don’t recall him mentioning the death, so I guess it’s up to me to point out the synchronicity. [flutterby]
- Also for Jim, here’s the story I mentioned the other night: Atlanta cops harass historians. The brownshirts are already here. This is a story I try not to think about, since it just makes me mad, but I don’t know what else to do about it. [claire]
- Oh man! Sweet and sour stamps sound like such a good idea that it must be bad. [boing boing]
- I think I’m going to have to buy a set of COLOR CHANGING SPOONS. They change colors at 120°F, so they’re great for putting into food in the microwave so you can see when it’s hot. [nack]
- People who delete photos from their digital cameras, especially while in the field, haven’t learned The Monica Lesson. [top]
The first week back at work of the year went pretty well. Sure there was a minor crisis or two, and I’m still feeling as though I’m running behind schedule, but I think overall it was a good week. And having a week off improved my mood and motivation a lot more than I’d have thought possible. It makes me look forward to being able to take some more time off again sometime soon!
Friday we went to United Noodles for lunch. They have a good little deli there, though seating is in short supply, plus I got to shop for various goodies after finishing my tasty lunch. The best of the batch were some "Gourmet Butter" cookies made by Haitai, except they came in a little bucket and were just small biscuit-shaped cookies. Anyway, they were delicious. I’ll be buying them again.
On the home construction front, not much to report. Between work during the week, and enough other things going this weekend, it just didn’t seem like a priority. Besides, it won’t be until this Wednesday that the trash guys take away the last of the carpet padding, so I’ve got something of an excuse, right?
And that’s about all the news for now. But then this was the weekend that I was expecting would be the time to rest up from the holidays before the post-holiday parties and obligations begin, so I’m perfectly happy to have very little to report. And besides, I’ve got links for you!
- Now here’s a good headline: Conch Replublic Annexes Seven Mile Bridge. Excellent! [tcf]
- Mike Johnston did some Blogging on a Beautiful Spring Day, and hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly why I don’t have comments.
- This list of Easily mispronounced domain names has a couple that made me laugh. [kottke]
- They make it sound so simple: How To Be The Perfect Boyfriend. Well, there it is. [holy schmoly]
- Hey cool. Steveo’s writing That’s My Blog! again. [jr]
- Hmm. The Midtown Global Market Struggles, as they find that not enough customers are coming through the doors. I like the idea of free parking, but I think they could do a lot better just by publicizing the fact that they’re open 7am-8pm (I had to go to their website to find that, and was surprised to hear that they’re open until 8pm. [metro mpls]
- The new HP Z3100 is a printer which contains a photospectrometer and calibrates itself, and will automatically generate a profile for any brand of paper you put in it. That’s something we looked at about ten years ago at LM, and it’s darned nice to see that technology has finally caught up with our dreams.
Yesterday was more and less eventful than I had planned. I started by running up to visit mom and take her out to lunch. It was raining on the way up, and it switched to snow up there while we were eating lunch. The first twenty miles of the drive back home were complete white-knuckle driving, since the slush on the freeway was just heavy enough and slippery enough to mean that while the right lane felt fine, the left (because of less traffic) was pretty hairy, and changing lanes was an exercise in sphincter-tightening of the first order, even with four-wheel-drive. I made it home in one piece though, and it was still just raining here in town when I got home (though we did get almost a full inch of rain before the couple inches of snow).
Just before sundown it switched over from rain to snow. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to Adam & Marcy’s New Year’s Eve party. That was kind of a bummer, since I look forward to the party, but I really didn’t feel like dealing with drunks, crappity roads, and sobriety checkpoints, even if it meant missing out on a possible midnight smooch from some cutie.
Instead, I stayed home, and got almost done with the spare bedroom. All the furring strips are gone, and there are just a few leftover staples and nails that I couldn’t see in the fading light yesterday, and then the baseboards to remove and I can start painting. And then it’ll be time to call in the folks to refinish the floor and build the bookcases. I feel pretty good about the progress I made up there over the break, since it was the one task I really wanted to make sure I got done, and I nearly have. An hour or two this afternoon, and I should be done with the tear-out, and that’s a darned good feeling.
|A half-hour’s work|
Going out and shovelling the snow this morning was another good feeling. Sweaty and just plain hard work, since my snow-shovelling muscles haven’t gotten any work for over nine months, but it was a nice feeling of accomplishment. And I got to wear my new Red Wings for the first time in the snow. They’re not insulated, but they’re enough higher than sneakers to keep the snow out, and not as hot as the Sorel’s (which seemed like overkill with the temp in the 20s). I like having happy feet when I’m in the snow.
There are a few other things I want to get done today before my vacation is over, and a couple things I must get done, but overall, it’s been a good ten days off from work, and I think I’ll be about ready to go back to spending most of my waking hours in front of a computer.
And yes, I know I’m light on links again. Like Claire, I spend a fair whack of every morning on the ’net, but unlike her, I tend to ignore all the bad news I see, rather than linking to it. I’m sure there are happier fun links I could be pointing to, but I’ve been concentrating on not dwelling on the bad crap before worrying about the good stuff. Maybe it’s a backwards way to approach things, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done things in the wrong order. So anyway, of course today’s one link is some of the bad news. Drat.