Saturday, April 29

Draft day analysis

Hooray! The Vikings got Chad Greenway (OLB-Iowa)! Now he better be good! ;-) What's your opinion, Chris?

I'm surprised the Titans, with the third pick and Norm Chow on their staff didn't pick his old student Matt Leinart. Wanna weigh in on this, Desiree?

I will say it's obvious that the Titans went for a younger version of Steve McNair.

Instead, Leinart fell to 10th, Arizona, and Denny Green, who cannot resist drafting offense.

Though ESPN's Len Pasquarelli went nuts in his criticism of the Texans, the wisdom of their pick, of course, remains to be seen.

Buffalo took Safety Donte Whitner. Whatcha say about that, Jaq?

I'm sure Tom will be happy about the Packers picking OSU linebacker AJ Hawk.

And the Patriots picked Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

Nuestro African draft

+ First reaction to President Bush's rejection of 'Nuestro Himno': that's kind of doofy. I know where he's coming from, but I disagree. For my part, I'd embrace a bilingual nation.

Yes the protests still chafe some. At the same time, I think it's true that many Americans do not understand the positivie impact Latino immigrants have in our economy. Will a one day demonstration school them? I doubt it, but, hey, it's a free country.
We'll see on monday. Maybe I'm wrong.

I don't want to see any backlash, so I hope demonstrations and marches are conducted with an obvious respect for America, in the spirit of: "We love this country and play an important role and want to see ways made for us to move toward legal citizenship".

+ What should you not get for the person who has almost nothing? Windows XP cheaper-in-Africa Starter Edition!

+ And, finally, from our Least Significant Desk, the NFL Draft is today. The Texans have already thrown a curve by picking Mario Williams. You can bet your bottom dollar there's a lot of scrambling going on right now, trying to figure out how the projected order might rejigger, who else might be available. And those early pickers, especially, have to decide what to do with someone like Bush available. Can the number 2 picking Saints really pass on Bush, especially when they just signed Brees?

Wonder if we'll see more movement up and down to try to compensate: 'We thought we were getting a D Back, and that's what we need, so give us a second round draft pick and we'll leave Player X on the table for you...'

Friday, April 28

Estrella-spangled, lofted bedroom (Nintendo) Wii

+ Spanish 'Star-Spangled Banner' Draws Ire . Guess what I think about this?

"Would the French accept people singing the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not," said Mark Krikorian, head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter immigration controls.

No they wouldn't, and isn't that part of the point? Do we want to be like the French in this regard? Political name for a think tank that's basically anti-immigration.

Still, the remix sounds pretty sketchy:

A remix to be released in June will contain several lines in English that condemn U.S. immigration laws. Among them: "These kids have no parents, cause all of these mean laws ... let's not start a war with all these hard workers, they can't help where they were born."

+ If I keep linking him, I'll have to add him back to my blogroll:

Having such small apartments, city residents want to make the most of the space that they have. In designing a loft apartment for his son, architect Kyu Sung Woo came up with an interesting solution to the space problem...he fit two stories into a one-story apartment. The result is The Interlocking Puzzle Loft, a surprisingly spacious two-bedroom palace crammed into 700 square feet.

As shown and described in this article from Dwell, the key element in the loft is the half-height bedroom above the kitchen and the bedroom's walkway positioned above the short downstairs hall closet and back kitchen counter, which allows the apartment's inhabitants to stand up in the bedroom. Pretty genius idea. #

+ The new Nintendo, which was codenamed Revolution, and which I wrote about before, now has it's official name: Wii.

I'll tell you what: some editor got that puppy updated fast at Wikipedia!

Thursday, April 27

Repeat after me: 'I don't have a problem'

If you know me personally, you know that I struggle with discouragement. I get down about things.

I've got a customer who's using oxygen to treat a 10 year old girl with ichthyosis.

the characteristic that they each share is that they cause the skin to build up and scale (some medical journals and dictionaries still refer to ichthyosis as "fish skin disease')... The scaling can be very heavy... [and] very painful, as it can restrict the body's range of movement, pull so tightly around the face that the eyelids turn outward, cause deep cracks or fissures at the joints, adversely affect hearing, and more. Your skin is alive; it is your body's largest organ!

With "normal" skin, the skin is constantly renewing itself, dying, and shedding (the average skin cell has a lifespan of 14 days)... With ichthyosis, the skin doesn't follow the life cycle that it's supposed to, and builds up.

There currently is no cure for ichthyosis; only treatments.  Caring for ichthyosis is very labor-intensive.  It means spending lots of hours every week bathing, scrubbing the skin in an effort to shed some of the scales, putting on creams to help moisturize and exfoliate...  Caring for ichthyosis is as much about looking good as feeling good.  For people with severe forms of ichthyosis, the goal (which is tough to achieve), is two-fold: make the skin look "normal" enough that people on the street don't stare, call you names, or always ask you what's wrong with you, and secondly to make the skin feel good, so that your skin doesn't make it painful to move, impair your hearing or effect your eyesight.


Some pictures from their site.

Google Image search (don't look at these if you're squeamish or hyper-sympathetic).

You know, now that I think about it, I have another customer who uses extra-dry oxygen for oxygen facials that she sells to spas. I bet they're doing the same thing (for cosmetic, not health/pain management reasons).

I don't have ichthyosis. My loved ones don't. I don't have cancer or any other major disease. Neither do my loved ones.

It would by psychologically moronic of me to insinuate that big trauma trumps all of life's struggles.

But, on the other hand, sometimes a little perspective is in order...

Wired rant (and SI) and social dance

+ The latest issue of Wired was soooo boring, it made me consider not renewing my only-10$ subscription.

Hello... Worshippers of Marshall McLuhan... Don't you know better than to bore me? Anything but that... Is eMCee Luhan in the house?

Plus, their neo-environmentalist issue was soooo tired. They needed a big, heaping dose of The Skeptical Environmentalist (which our public library does not have so I turned in a request that they buy it).

Which brings up another frustrating thing about Wired: with their postmodern ethos, they can print contradictory cover stories (I suppose many magazines do this). So, they'll have cover stories with Kevin Kelly on The New Economy (network dynamics), the Long Boom That Will Never End and How Hydrogen Will Save The Planet. Then, they'll have Bill Joy Trying To Scare The Stuffing Out of You, Peak Oil, and Al Gore Unnecessary Zoom Planetary Crisis.

Am I becoming a conservative? I hope not ;-) Of course, some of you raving liberals would say I'm already there. And some of you raving conservatives might say 'I hope so' or 'Hmmph! Fat chance', maybe depending on what you had for breakfast.

So, see: I'm obviously a moderate ;-)

+ Couple the boring Wired with the dog days of summer sports, thus weekly dry Sports Illustrateds until august, and we're a little starved for not-too-serious reading material.

+ But, the good news is: my parents are taking square dancing lessons! How awesome is that!?! Mom expressed interest in ballroom dancing, but there isn't as much of that in rural Iowa. But you can get into square dancing in their area most any time. Local dances are held at the implement dealer (Schnoebelen's). They pull the tractors out of the showroom and square up. How awesome is that!

Square dancing is OK. I would really like to take ballroom dance. I took social dance for credit at Wartburg (with my soccer coach). I used to love to dance. But Christine hates it. 1 lover of dancing + 1 hater of dancing = 0.

Wednesday, April 26

I was off fire...

... now I'm on fire again (at least in terms of quantity. You have to be the judge on quality ;-). But I don't know why.

('I'm Robin Leach! I'm yelling! And I don't know why!)

+ I know I don't normally quote this person any more, or link him on my blogroll. But I do still read him, and this one's too good not to copy (the whole thing):

This is going to sound like an Onion article but isn't. David Copperfield got held up at gunpoint after a show last weekend and when the robbers asked him for his valuables, "he pulled out all of his pockets for Riley to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them". Copperfield's got a gun pointed at his head and he's doing an impromptu magic show for the theives! What's better than that? Nothing. (via the superficial)  #

+ Really interesting (but old) post by an Amazon recruiter on why Google's so good at getting the top talent. Nicely honest about how Amazon's running at least a distant second.

Google has established that the smartest people work there. If you want to work with the smartest people...

And the amazing perq(uisite)s add up.

+ On the other hand, here's a post about interviewing at Google, getting an offer, but turning it down.

+ Comparing the two accounts, I wonder if Google has changed some, a little overrun by their own success...

Not that I wouldn't still work there! I would!

Oh Mighty Google,

I know you're reading
(and, moreover, algorithm-ing) this. Please pick me, though I have not applied (recently) for any of your jobs! I am your biggest fan.

Very respectfully,


(on blogspot, via Blogger, via Gmail, etc.)

Pig Latin

Two thoughts on this subject:

1. The kids listened to an ok book in the car about a dragonslaying school. The best part, for all of us, by far, was when the wizard cast a spell on the pet pig, Daisy, and she started to speak... pig latin. 'Ellohay Yglafway.'

2. If you didn't know the gist of the famouse epigram from Juvenal 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?', you might translate it as 'Who cleans up the janitors?'

(It actually means 'Who watches the watchmen?', wherefrom Alan Moore took the name for his famous series.)

The farm team, the draft, and proxy-handwriting

+ Iowa's like the farm-team for the stinkin' Big Time. Not that I'm real attached to him, but now the AD's leaving for Stanford . Will WE ever be the Big Time?

(Get it? Iowa. Farm team. I crack myself up.)

+ Here's hoping the Vikings don't move up to draft a quarterback. As I've said before, I think it's a crap shoot. Plenty of great quarterbacks got drafted lower and developed (eg, Tom Brady), or found in free agency, or something. Take the best player available, with one eye toward linebacker (especially Iowa's Chad Greenway).

+ Today's sign that the apocalypse is upon is: Scratch n Scribble

Choose, write, and post a real card (we're not talking e-cards!) to someone in minutes. A real person will handwrite your card (or print it if you like), stamp it, and post it off for the next day or any date you choose.

Scratch n Scribble: When you care enough to have someone else write it for you.

I'm blocked in China

(Though they love me in Japan ;-)

I keep forgetting that I'm (Blogspot is) blocked in China. I was reminded of this when I emailed the link to my post to Jerry in gratitude for the Writely invite and he said he couldn't read it because of the GFW (Great Fire Wall).

I thought of it again looking at Sun Bin, which has a mirror at MSN and instructions for reading from China.

Tom often says of the USSR and Iran that 'The leaders pretend(ed) to rule and the people pretend(ed) to obey.' This is also somewhat true of China's internet policy. They might ban some things, maybe those are the high-profile things, but the workarounds are pretty easy.

Again, as Tom says: let the Party rule and open China up to markets. Democracy will come later.

Also on the subject of China: I saw on Sun Bin something I hadn't seen reported elsewhere: Hu Jintao gave copies of 'The Art of War' as gifts on his visit, including to President Bush. Either they want to be friends, or they're really confident they can still beat us weak occidentals, even when giving us the playbook ;-)

Tuesday, April 25

I HATE it when that happens!

This poor draft has been languishing for at least 4 days!

+ Notice from the Department of the Obvious: Study: Distractions Cause Most Car Crashes

+ Cubs 1B Lee Out With Broken Left Wrist. Man. The Cubs were only a half game back from the NL Central lead! Dogbite!

+ Note to self: must stop saving so many posts from Lifehacker in Bloglines. If it's something I think I might need someday, I just need to remember to go search Lifehacker for it.

Revenge of the flyover people!

My buddy, Bryan P, sends in this map color coded by the price of gas.

Y'all in NYC/LA can keep your 'cultural influence'. Hope you've got subway tokens! ;-)

Tuesday twistedness

+ Ok, I'm certifiably sick. The picture for this t-shirt is gross. But I sure do find the title funny: Mermaid, It's What's for Dinner.

+ Take the Machiavelli test. My result:

The Machiavelli personality test has a range of 0-100
Your Machiavelli score is: 59
You are a low Mach, you reject Machiavelli's opinions.

Most people fall somewhere in the middle, but there's a significant minority at either extreme.

Thursday, April 20

I'm into Writely

I decided to take this Writely business into my own hands.

I Googled writely invitation/s and left my name a few places. The one that worked was Jerry Wang. Thanks, Jerry. You are awesome!

I like it pretty well so far. Still fooling around. This is only my second document and my first attempt to post to me weblog herein.

So now I have Writely invites. Need/want one?

[update: couldn't get it to publish to my weblog yet. But that might be temporary.]

Wednesday, April 19

I love Google, yes I do...

+ The IC tornadoes wiped out Happy Joe's. Blast. We liked that place.

1st 911 call
2nd 911 call (I bet that was one worried dad)

I don't think there were any fatalities..

(Interesting Gmail note: After saving this as a draft and coming back to it, I get all 'pizza' sponsored links. Google figured out Happy Joe's was a pizza place by itself. Amazing! ;-)

+ Jonathan has a pretty extensive review of Google Calendar, if you'd like to read more about it.

Christine and I are still enjoying it. And I really like our color choices of pink and green. They contrast nicely with each other and the background light blue.

+ Now, if I could just get my invite to Writely, I'd be totally satisfied with Google's free services ;-)

If you have an invite, please do send me one!

Zinni on Rumsfeld

I liked General (USMC) Tony Zinni's book 'Battle Ready' (with Tom Clancy). So I'm interested in what he has to say.

Here's his take on Rumsfeld from these notes via Mark .

Rumsfeld's responsible. The military accepts responsibility when things go wrong, trying to apply the lessons they learn. What happened in this case? Rumsfeld discarded 10 years of planning toward a true occupation. We needed to take on reconstruction and to control access to Iraq, both from without and within. It was going to take a long time. But Rumsfeld had a cavalier attitude about it, discarding it all as "on-the-shelf, stale old plans," even though the military is constantly updating its "old plans" so that they do not get "stale." The assumptions in the plans were dismissed by Rumsfeld as too negative. The problem of no planning was symbolized when General Garner's group got lost as they made their way into Iraq from Kuwait. Then came the CPA. And Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army. We had communicated with them for years, (promising them their continued existence if they cooperated).

 A pretty stinging indictment...

Announcement: the Wade Goodwyn fan club

I always enjoy hearing Wade Goodwyn's reports on NPR, usually about Enron. I like his slow, drawlish, fairly flat delivery. If you want to listen to his stories, go here.

And I've really enjoyed his reports the last two days about the cross-examination of Jeffrey Skilling under Sean Berkowitz (great name! ;-). Read some of the WP weblog of the trial...

I said it before, I'll say it again: these turkeys need to go to jail for at least a long time.

Tuesday, April 18

Evolutionist bigots

I was listening to Bruce Sterling's SXSW talk this morning (downloaded onto my flash player). Hadn't heard him speak before.

He's an uptalker. Really smart on tech. Good turns-of-phrase.

And asked the question 'Do you believe Adam and Eve rode to church on the back of a dinosaur?' Proceeded to talk about the shame of creationist beliefs.

Understatement: No believer in creation believes that crappy strawman.

I have long been angered by the fact that it's ok to ridicule people who believe in creation. I do not ridicule people who believe in evolution, though I think it's an intolerable leap of faith. I boil it down to: Do you find it more probable that everything was designed* and initiated and guided by a Creator or happened randomly? I realize there are presuppositions that inform this opinion. I find the first explanation immeasurably more probable.

Still, if you don't, that's fine. Then I argue, *gasp* for civility. Is it such a leap of understanding or empathy to imagine how someone might arrive at a different opinion?

Richard Dawkins is the chief offender I've run across. I refuse to use his word 'meme'. I really hate the things he has written about those of us who believe in creation.

PZ Myers is another person who ridicules those who believe in creation.

I removed Kottke from my blogroll for his frequent pointing to those who ridicule creation beliefs, including all of the crap about the flying spaghetti monster.

Of course there are many.

And now Sterling's added to the list.

How should reasonable people who believe in creation react to evolutionist bigots?

You're reading my response. By having no truck in any part of their indoctrinations. And, for me, by calling them the bigots they are. response may be different.

I don't plan on reading anything by Sterling anytime soon. Don't know how long that'll last. Might be permanent.

* I'm using this word broadly. The human conception would not apply to an omniscient omnipotent.

Monday, April 17

Safranski on Rumsfeld

This is the post I've been looking for: Rumsfeld and the generals

In terms of Rumsfeld's performance how one views the war in Iraq seems to have much to do with whether you give Rumsfeld a favorable review or believe he is a disaster.

+ Rumsfeld has done a really good job with transformation, which was sorely needed, despite having to fight the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, and individual, affected Congresspeople.

+ But, Abu Ghraib and the CPA/Jay Garner/the whole occupation were nightmares.

The fact is that in major wars, there are major errors. Many major errors. Tactical, operational and strategic errors are committed before the war comes to a close.

+ And, the killing stroke:

My second thought is that while it is fine for former generals to criticize Rumsfeld's performance as Secretary of Defense - I would say they have an obligation to do so in regard to matters of professional competence - orchestrating a collective call for Rumsfeld's ouster is not. The United States is not Turkey, Guatemala or Pakistan. Uniformed soldiers in this country - and these generals are eligible to be recalled to duty - do not get to pick their civilian chiefs; they do not get so much as a veto. That remains the sole perogative of the President of the United States and the upper house of the legislative branch and no other.

This media campaign sets an incredibly bad precedent for the overt politicization of the American officer corps, one that is now being fed by the generals defending Rumsfeld and both sides need to stop immediately. If a retired general has an itch for politics, then he needs to run for office or particpate openly as a partisan in the democratic process and not attempt to speak as a gray eminence of the military college of cardinals. George Marshall, Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower - men who knew something about separating the roles of military and civilian leaders and which of the two outranked the other - would be aghast.

Friday, April 14

More mashups (All Aliteration Day)

Since I converted Macon to at least one mashup, I'm going to press my luck (no whammies, no whammies), and try to promote a few more. I'll start with a few I posted more than a year ago.

These are not my top mashups, but the low-hanging fruit (in terms of stuff I've already linked that's still online). If I get more positive feedback, I might do more work ;-)

Pick one (and only one) to try. Don't be overwhelmed, fair reader! I want you to try at least one way more than I want you to listen to all four! Then, if you like it, or want to try more, you can.
(You know that you can stream these or download them, right?)

1. The Beatles 'Taxman' vs the Cure 'Lovesong' = Lovetax . (Sounds like it should be a mashup of 'Lovecats', but isn't)

I especially like this song for this time of year . The Lovesong instrumentation adds nice foreboding to Taxman.

[Disclosure: I have not, to my knowledge, ever heard the Beatles' version, unadulterated. A crazy effect of pop culture, when your first exposure is the mashed-up version...]

DJ Prince - Hey We Will Rock Ya (DeNeo Edit) : Outkast - Hey Ya (Instrumental) vs Queen - We Will Rock You (Acapella)

Body MMMBoppin': Hanson vs the Beastie Boys

Push this party started

Enjoy and comment!

Destroy the Dairy Queen, driving away from the tornado, Defend America (and other items that don't start with 'd')

+ Iowa City got nailed by tornadoes last night! My sister (sort of) drove home at that time, but she's fine. In fact, I think there was only one fatality.

Without any disrespect to the deceased or bereaved, the destruction of that Dairy Queen is an improvement. Wish they had that on YouTube!

+ Possible origin of the phrase Great Scott, which I like quite well: General Winfield Scott . He looks pretty great (read:chillin) in that picture, that's for sure!

+ Dan is doing a fun series with taglines like: Defend America. Annex Mexico. I like.

+ I'm in love, again.

First it was Google Calendar. Christine and I got our calendars inputted (word?) and we're live, baby. She's pink. I'm green.

Now Bloglines has a shortcut for 'collapse/expand' left pane. I think I'll be reading more in the fullscreen view, without my mouse, just from the keyboard. Hooray!

The only thing is, it's not as easy to choose my order that way. Might have to retitle my subs ('a-Kith and Kin' or '1-Tom Barnett') to get the proper order.

Thursday, April 13

Alford and Iowa

I appreciate Alford's apparent commitment to Iowa. He did not talk to Indiana. He did not talk to Missouri. He's focused. That's smart of him. He's got a good gig at Iowa. That job, frankly, does not have the pressures of an Indiana job, which would only be heightened for him as a former star. If by some happy chance he could win a National Championship at Iowa, or even build nationally successful program, he'd be the favorite 'son' of two states.

What would define success? He's been pretty successful so far: 20+ win seasons and 2 (3?) Big Ten Championships. I guess the next level would include going deeper in the NCAA tournament and recruiting stronger. Stronger recruiting means no good Iowa recruits going to Kansas (LaFrenz, Hinrichs, Collison) or Creighton (Korver). The top Iowa recruits should be drawn by Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI. Also, we need to draw more strongly from Chicago, St Louis and, at a stretch, Indiana (with Alford's connection there).

My brother swears that the word around Iowa City is that Alford's not that great a guy. That he's full of himself, etc. I don't know how to factor those rumors from the fish bowl in.

I'm in love!

Google Calendar is here! I had an agonizing time getting on. I worried. I thought 'Who loves Google more than me?! Maybe their servers are getting pounded.

Now that I'm in... there's not much to do. I could start entering stuff, but I've already got most of it in Palm Desktop (you know, birthdays and that type-thing). My plan is to wait and import them as CSV. But I might not be able to wait...

Of course, it's hard to tell if it works well or not yet. It looks good, a lot like Gmail. And, since I basically live and work out of Gmail, if it's tightly integrated, like it's supposed to be, it should be great. Christine and I, especially, are planning on scheduling together between Gmail accounts and Calendar.

I had no idea we were so close to getting Calendar. Hooray!

Wednesday, April 12

Two religious posts... know, in honor of holy week ;-)

+ There are many legitimate criticisms of the Emerging Church movement. But, having listened to sermons from two of those churches this week, I am heartened by their observance of Lent and their connection to the church around the world. Evangelicalism's connection to the historic and worldwide church has often been bad.

+ Gospel of Judas

Brad has a post linking 4 posts by Ben Witherington on this topic. Witherington is a scholar who really knows what he's talking about.

Macon had an excerpt that I thought put this 'find' in the right context.

Suppose that sometime around the year 3,800 A.D., someone wrote a newspaper that began: "According to a recently-discovered document, which appears to have been written sometime before 1926, Benedict Arnold did not attempt to betray George Washington and the American cause, as is commonly believed. Rather, Benedict Arnold was acting at the request of George Washington, because Washington wanted Arnold to help him create a dictatorship of the proletariat and the abolition of private property."

A reader who knew her ancient history would recognize that the newly-discovered "Arnold document" was almost certainly not a historically accurate account of the relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold. The reader would know that the terms "dictatorship of the proletariat" and "abolition of private property" come from a political philosophy, Marxism, which was created long after Washington and Arnold were dead. The reader would also know that the most reliable records from the 18th century provided no support for the theory that Washington or Arnold favored a dictatorship of the proletariat or the abolition of private property.

This Friday's coverage of the so-called "Gospel of Judas" in much of the U.S. media was appallingly stupid. The Judas gospel is interesting in its own right, but the notion that it disproves, or casts into doubt, the traditional orthodox understanding of the betrayal of Jesus is preposterous.

Monday, April 10

I really don't have much to say/write... [updated]

... but you be the judge ;-)

+ The Cubs swept the Cards at home, thanks to a grand slam by the catcher.

+ I recently heard to mashup 'Chariots killed the radio star' by 10000 spoons. I LOVED it! Who thought to mash 'Chariots of fire (1981)' and 'Video killed the radio star (1979)' together? Genius.

Makes it even better that those songs are from the same era.

(Can't find a link for it right now, but if I do, I'll let you know...)

[update: 10000 Spoons stopped by and left the link to the song in the comments: go check it out!)

Sunday, April 9

Eclipse, EU East, and frEE (software)

+ John's got some cool eclipse from space and in Italy pix.

+ The extra-impressive guys over at Coming Anarchy have an interesting post about the EU looking to Russia, comparing it to the realities that stoked Hitler's Lebensraum .

+ When I want to know what the best freeware is in a particular category, or when I just want to browse, I turn first to Gizmo Richard's Tech Support Alert (I get Gizmo's free monthly newsletter with updates), then to nedwolf. I've traded email with both of these guys on small issues, and they're great. Check 'em out. Today I was looking for 'best free html editor' and they both said Nvu. Sold ;-)

PsyOps and Coralville hotel

+ Finally, we get accused of something smart! Iran accuses US of "psychological war"

+ "At capacity, between the hotel and conference space, the Marriott could house a city bigger than the populations of Tiffin, Hills, Oxford, Riverside and Solon combined."

I've gone to school or church in the first 4 of those towns, west and south of Iowa City. Solon is north.

It never ceases to amaze me... creative the twins can get in their play when I tell them they don't get to watch a video or play on the computer until they clean their rooms. Really.

Friday, April 7

A few thoughts on my current practice of G(af)TD

G(af)TD = Getting (a few) Things Done. I'm trying to preempt the psychic pressure before it starts. I'm not trying to get to David Allen level, or even Macon Stokes ;-). I just want to be reasonably productive for my and my family's sake.

The bad thing about Getting Things Done is, if you're easily overwhelmed, like me, you can blow yourself away with your 'to do' list. 'It felt like the right thing to do yesterday, but today... Ugh. I think I'll surf/play video games/otherwise waste time some more.'

To really work, your 'to do' list has to be a fairly strong commitment. We want to keep that.

At the same time, it needs to be flexible. If you don't or can't get to something, it shouldn't lock up the whole system (or your idealistic mores).

Part of the key, at least for me, is to remember to keep iterating. I'm not trying to get The Perfect To Do List (thought the perfectionist part of me would like that. 'Get down!'). In fact, in many cases, hand-rewriting the 'to do' list actually helps. I don't know if it's just the process. I suspect some of it is the (minimally) longer amount of time it takes to handwrite (v. type). The brain has a little more idle time for processing. You get a small version of the driving/showering/mowing-the-lawn effect: the 'idle' brain can remember stuff and make intuitive-type connections. (Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground. Trouble!) I feel more productive after rewriting my small 'to do' list.

Another major key is to use your 'maybe' list a lot. I need the psychic release of this thing. I am an emotional wimp. I get overwhlemed at the drop of a hat. But putting most items on the 'maybe' list gives me psychological space that is ultimately more productive than making the hard commitment of the 'to do' list. I think 'OK, i can manage this 'to do' list. Then I can give myself a break. Then I can cherry pick some 'maybe's, if I want...'

So how does it all work together for me, when it's working right?

1. I only put a few things on my non-work 'to do' list on any weekday, if that. There might not be any on wednesdays, for example, because I pick the kids up after work and have them by myself until their bedtime. 'Feed the twins.' does not go on my list. Nor does 'Work on Tom's site.' These are givens. Most days I don't clutter my 'to do' list with them. Items on the weekday 'to do' list, or even a running, week-long 'to do' list need to get done. For example, I committed to ride bikes with the twins tuesday after supper. I did write that one down.

2. The best thing, for me, on weekdays is to put most things on the 'maybe' list, maybe a week-long, running list.

3. Weekends are different. I have a lot more discretionary time. I still need to lean on my 'maybe' list so I don't feel overwhelmed, but there will certainly be more items on my 'to do' list. Most weekends most of them get done, too.

Bush, Judas, and Dan

+ Allegations that President Bush OKed the Plame leak. If it's true, that's a problem. My bigger concern is that he misrepresented himself to us, launching a probe on the leak. I hope these allegations aren't true.

+ Post from Brad on why the 'Gospel of Judas' is historically significant (cf Gnosticism), but theologically insignificant to Christianity .

+ Why haven't I read The Dan Abbott Experience (tdaxp) more often? Because he's so darn prolific, it's hard to keep up. But he's forced my hand: he added me to his blogroll and even called me Tom's 'blogger-in-chief', which I really like. So I'm adding ya, Dan. And I'll try to keep up ;-)

Wednesday, April 5

Numerology [updated]

I've seen this other places, but my friend Andrew sent it to me first:

On Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

I know might be technically a little late, but I'm going to go ahead and celebrate it this afternoon. ;-)

I dig stuff like this. Number patterns = good. Math = bad. ;-)

Update: I almost missed it, but, because she knows how to party, Christine set the alarm on her phone and called me. <3

Tuesday, April 4

Montana class battleships

Tom recently flew to Hawaii for a couple of briefs. While there, he did a lot of sightseeing, ncluding the USS Missouri.

Brian had a really interesting comment:

For some interesting reading, search the web for the proposed Montana-class battleships. They were going to be much larger than the Iowa-class ships but not quite as large as Japan's Yamato.

To which I replied:

I've always had a softspot for the Iowa class, born and bred in that fair state :-)  

How interesting, Brian!  

Montana-class battleships Google search  

Montana class battleship Wikipedia entry

Man, I might have to post on this myself!

Sadly, I don't have much to say. It was interesting reading (And I tangented off to lots of other naval warship reading). All I've got, though, to pass onto you is this quote:

Interestingly, the cancellation of this battleship class meant that Montana became the only one of the lower 48 States never to have a large capital ship of any kind actually commissioned in its name.

Y'all Montanans need to do something about that. Maybe we should make an exception for them with one of the two new carriers that are in the works.

Cubs, Congress (and basketball)

+ I wrote this yesterday but didn't get it posted:

What if they gave a national championship game... and nobody cared? I don't like Florida. UCLA has won enough. And the day after 'spring forward', I most certainly will not be staying up to watch that game. I'll probably be asleep before the second half!

And could all y'all basketball commentators please stop saying 'long'? Definitely the over-used adjective from this year's tournament...

+ Remember when I predicted DeLay's demise? It's over.

(I thought about lampooning 'Out long national nightmare is over', but decided that would be over the top. After all, this is a weblog ;-)

(This item in no way constitutes an 'I told you so' to Paul, who recommended we wait and see, due process, and all that stuff ;-). Paul's was the better attitude to take.)

+ The Cubs are in first place in the NL Central! ;-)

+ Obama didn't get the memo from Tom that oil independence is not the way to go. Wonder where Tom stands on Obama? Since we both lean Democrat, Obama's about the best we've got, right. Wonder if Tom could brief him sometime or if Obama has read any of Tom's work...

Monday, April 3

Comic gold edition

+ Ask a Ninja

+ MAFIAA - Music And Film Industy Association of America

+ Halley's waitress
Not only are the lyrics funny, but the 70's pop/disco/funk and falsetto vocals are, too. Love it.

+ Dilbert, almost every day.

Sunday, April 2

April Fools Day Edition

+ I did not know until this morning that April Fools Day could also be called National Holiday for First Graders. Bethy started working on her project last night (rocks on our dining room chairs). Unrelatedly, Wil woke up before 6 and would not go back to sleep. So he and I got up at 630. Then Bethy got up. I think she was too excited to sleep any more. So Christine had to get up to get 'fooled', she who stayed up late scrapbooking.

I did put one of my favorite April Fools on Wil before I got up: Did you know it snowed last night? He wasn't aware it was April Fools Day yet. Ha! Gotcha!

But the joke's on them: there will be mandatory naps this afternoon.

+ I hadn't been up long when I started wondering what Google's April Fools Day project would be. I was a little worried I wouldn't see it. Thankfully they announced it on their weblog. I loved it. I laughed out loud. Thanks, Google!

+ Don't remember having seen the 2000 bit.

+ Lifehacker's contribution is zombie-related. I like.

+ I wish I'd come up with some funny April Fools Day idea to post on my weblog, but I didn't. Maybe next year.

Saturday, April 1

More on immigration (and the NIT)

+ Congratulations to the Gamecocks. They won the NIT again. Cock a doodle doo! :-)

+ Interesting question: Should the children of illegal immigrants be US citizens?

+ More of my thoughts on immigration, these commented over at Kith & Kin :

i'm looking for a way to make the law consonant with the economic realities. much as i hate to say it, i don't think it'd be good for our economy for McJobs to pay 10$/hour. wage-deflation is real, but what we really need is to get Americans trained to do the next-tier, better-paying jobs. otherwise we've got the Europe problem which nobody wants, right?

also, i want this to be a welcoming country to immigrants without having those who are here doing 3D labor (dangerous, dirty, difficult, a la Barnett) be 'illegal'.

at the same time, we probably can't just have open borders, right?

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