Definitely got the mid-winter blahs lately. The temperature hasn’t been horribly cold, and it was only a week ago that it was warm enough that snow was melting and forming puddles in my alley. But at this point it’s feeling like winter has gone on long enough, and I’m not the only one who could do with some warmth. But that’s at least a couple months off. And I don’t have any real plans to get out of town until March, if then.
Until then, it can be a struggle to avoid cabin fever. In previous years I’ve sought out the comfort of bars in mid-winter, but that doesn’t seem as attractive this year. Or I’ve run out to things like the Winter Carnival, but this year I’ve got a “been there, done that” feeling about the whole thing. I need to find a new winter-time activity, preferably one that not everyone else is doing.
Meanwhile, I’m amusing myself with facebook, posting about the huge excitement of the successes and failures of my Roomba to successfully complete its cleaning chores (it’s made it back to the base station four days in a row, which of course I’ve now jinxed by mentioning it). And I’m unbothered by the fact that its made by a company that also manufactures robots for the military (one reader commented that
The only thing worse than a government thug is a government thug you cannot kill, which made me think someone’s been watching too much of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Or should that be not enough?). Anyway, this too will pass. We’ll get some warm weather and I’ll get back outside enjoying things and pointing one of my cameras at them. Or I’ll just say to heck with it and get on an airplane to somewhere warm for a long weekend. Maybe spring training — February 14th is when pitchers and catchers report. It helps to know that’s an option when you live in Minnesota in the winter.
- The series 33 1/3 sounds like good books about music. Each looks at a single album, with a chapter about each track. Here’s how to find them at Amazon. [boing boing]
- This big jpeg has LOLCats acting out the lyrics to Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Not quite as enduring as the Viking Kittens, but still… [metafilter]
- If you’re hard at work in your garage machine-shop, or just know someone who is, this list of tools explained will probably ring true to you. Not sure where it originally came from. It seems to have been forwarded around a lot. [endwar]
Some big political event going on in DC today has people all riled up. Me, I’ve got a more cynical take. We’re getting a new politician. And while he says some things that make people squee, my expectation is that just like almost anyone else who spends a significant amount of time in the fever swamps, he will not be spared by the corrupting influence.
And I think the cynicism is pretty justified. Look at Keith Ellison, our local savior who was going to make Washington a better place. He’s already being accused of being a sell-out. That’s not to say I completely agree with Ron Paul, either. Dr. Paul seems to believe in a non-violence principle. Me, I’m more for a zero aggression principle. Agression, or starting violence, is wrong. Finishing it, on the other hand…
- As Matt Ridley points out, we make technological advances because people trust each other (which makes specialization possible). And there are three classes of people who screw up that trust: Chiefs, Thieves, and Priests. The savior that people see heading triumphantly to Washington today wants to be a chief, and that makes him immediately suspect in my book.
- Joey posted about A Question Worth Pondering. My answer? Yes, I’m better off now. [accordionguy]
- The Buffalo Beast presents The Beast 50 Most Loathsome People In America, 2008. I don’t entirely agree with the list, but I can’t find a lot to argue about, either. [boing boing]
- In local (and somewhat stale) news, Star Tribune files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This coincided with someone sending me a note about Buy A Newspaper Day which I initially took to mean buying more than just a single issue. [sportsshooter]
- Finally, here’s a fine article on How the city hurts your brain. [scalzi].
Seems I haven’t had much to say lately, and what I have, I’ve been saying via facebook statuses. I guess I’m finding it useful, or at least diverting, after all.
New on the home front, a Roomba 560. I got it on Thursday and it cleaned three times on Friday (I started out with it restricted to a single room on the first two passes) and once yesterday. Yesterday it actually finished for the first time without making its "Uh-oh!" sound, which was kinda cool.
I did have to move things around a bit upstairs. I discovered that one of my rocking chairs has its legs too close together for the Roomba to fit through, so I moved it around to that area would get cleaned. And I consolidated all the boxes in the library (that aren’t books and are waiting for me to figure out where they go) into one pile so all the rest of the floor could get cleaned.
So yeah, it’s taken some getting used to. And the upstairs still has enough hairballs hiding in various places that I need to empty the bin every time the Roomba runs, but I’m generally liking it. The 560 transitions from the hardwood floor onto the oriental rug I have in the library, and onto the carpeting in the hallway and bedroom with no problems. It can climb a half-inch bump if needed, and it hasn’t fallen down the stairs yet. And it hasn’t tried to eat that tassles on the end of my oriental rug or any of my extension cords. Seems to be capable enough for the job.
So I’ll probably be buying a second one for the ground floor in a few weeks. Between now and then, I’m going to be working on picking up the clutter and trying to make the downstairs more robot-friendly.
And that’s what passes for excitement in my life lately. So you can see why I haven’t been blogging a lot.
- Bummer. Mystery author Donald E. Westlake dies at 75. No more Parker or Dortmunder novels for me to read. [metafilter]
- As I was ripping my backlog of CDs over the holiday break, I kept being frustrated by classical music. Then I read this article on Classical Music on the iPod and iTunes and saw that if I joined the tracks before importing, all was well. Yay!
- This Letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that the reason he’s been losing weight is because of a hormone imbalance that he’ll be correcting by eating different stuff. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought SJ should have a steak. [boing boing]
- Wanna compare type-faces? flipping typical has a cool browser-based way of doing it with your fonts. Their about page explains. [nack]
- Smashing Magazine has The World From Above: The Beauty Of Aerial Photography, which includes a photo from our very own MNKiteman. Pretty pictures from above.
- There’s also this photo gallery of freezebubbles, i.e. bubbles that were blown upward on a cold night, and then photographed as they froze in the air. It’s supposed to be cold enough this week that a guy could try making freezebubbles.
- According to Mike, This is no joke, and they’ve got to be saying “Oh Shit.” ATF is running out of form 4473s, and has authorized FFLs (dealers) to photocopy their existing forms. Seems demand for firearms has been running a little higher than expected since the election. That matches what I’ve seen first-hand at gun shows around here. Nice to know it’s not just a local trend. [endwar]