Wednesday, February 28


Have you seen this sport? What if slight, Asian Peles took up volleyball? Some crazy stuff in here...

My new job! :-)

Today is my first day of the interregnum between my old job and my new job. We are really stoked!

I am the new (official title) Project Editor for Aviation Week's Defense content on the web. More specifically, I was hired by Defense Technology International. We do our weblogging at Ares. I will be working with Aviation Week's reporters to get more content on the Internet. I will also be doing some original writing myself.

I'll be working from home, which should be great. I will continue to work with Tom, which continues to be great. Christine is quitting her part time job, which will be great :-)

I start, officially March 12th. A little down time 'til then and a little family fun (which I'll likely write more about later).

Hmm, I feel like there's more to say, but it's not coming to me right now. Any questions? Anything I'm leaving out?

It's true, but is it sad?

I'm pretty sure that, in our current job environment, you have to be thinking about what your next job might be, pretty much from day one. That's what I'm planning on, ie, planning.

This hit home with me especially when I got the official offer letter from my new employer that, basically, said 'We make no commitment to you about length of employment and you make no commitment to us.'

What do you think?

Sunday, February 25

Iowa wrestling

The Iowa City West wrestling team beat Waverly-Shell Rock at state. I spent 4 years in Waverly, but my heart belongs to IC ;-)

Plus, do you know I wrestled up through seventh grade? Can't remember when I started, though. Second grade?

Further, U of I was once a wrestling powerhouse and Wartburg is currently.

Check out this quote:
"A freshman techs his guy in the finals at 130," older brother Nate Moore said. "That's pretty studly."
Bonus points for using 'tech' as a verb and 'studly'. Way to go, West.

More tweaks

Hmm. I didn't post this week. Too busy with my last week of my old job, which also had inventory this week.

I really need to write about my new job. But later...

Ok, I didn't find the Shared from Google Reader very much, so I moved it up to just a link from my profile section. Was anyone even using that or watching it? Should I keep sharing the odd song?

Also added links to me on Facebook and MySpace.

Liked the Recent Comments widget so much on Kith and Kin that I put in my own.

Also, I'm trying the coComment widget for showing my comments elsewhere. We'll see how we like it.

Sunday, February 18

The Potter Method

kottke had an interesting post about strengthening a foreign language by reading Harry Potter in that language.

I sent it to Christine and she liked it, but she said the original, which I hadn't clicked through to, was better.

Pretty good. I know some of you would like it...

Of course, another way to strengthen a foreign language is to read familiar parts of the Bible. There are, however, some prerequisites like interest in and familiarity with the Bible...

Blogger search

By the way, the new Blogger search is totally awesome. You just type your search into that little Blogger toolbar up there and you get the results within your own template.

Eg, here are the results from when I typed 'Tim Keller' for my last post.

Another good reason to migrate to the new Blogger if you haven't already and, subsequently, to the new templates.

For your spiritual edification

I'm still listening through all of the Tim Keller files I downloaded a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday and today I'm watching through these videos.

In them, Tim mentions one article in the NYT that they've cooperated with (They normally eschew publicity).

Hadn't really thought about the timing, but, if my math is right, Tim started Redeemer when he was 37.

I guess there's still hope for me ;-)

But seriously, even on the eve of a new job, I'm open to more pastoring in my future, especially teaching, preaching and meeting with people.

It's the programs, administration, finances, politics, etc. that still strike fear into my heart. Not that they are necessarily bad. But I have some neuroses related to them.

Another tweak

Because I love you, dear reader, and because I am SO responsive to your suggestions, and because I want to ENCOURAGE interaction (!)...

I'm changing the comment configuration again.

Last time I changed it so I didn't have to approve comments: less work for me and they post quicker.

This time, in response to Jim's comment, I'm going to turn the 'word verification' off and see how it goes. If I have to delete a few comment spam, that's not so bad. I get an email with every comment ( as Jaq recommended), so that shouldn't be hard to monitor. If the spam gets bad, I'll have to tweak again.

I am still very aware that Kathy doesn't like Blogger comments. It's not that I don't want to respond to you, Kathy, just that I don't see a really good solution without going back to YACCS, which I don't really want to do. Anybody else have this problem? If so, why?

Orwell's writing tips

Since I am on the verge of becoming a full time, professional writer (more on this soon!), I thought I'd share these writing tips I saw from George Orwell.

The widespread totalitarianism Orwell feared has not (yet) come to pass. Fear Huxley's predictions more. But these are some pretty good suggestions for writing. I may have to go back and read some Orwell as an illustration of these ideas. 

 A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 

  1. What am I trying to say?
  2. What words will express it?
  3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
  4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And he will probably ask himself two more:

  1. Could I put it more shortly?
  2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.   

From "Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell


Thursday, February 15

Little weblog change

I've decided, for the sake of better commenting, to turn off comment moderation but turn on 'word verification'. Hopefully that will keep the riff raff out. We'll see...

Wednesday, February 14

Words, writing, weblogs (and more)

+ Pyrrhic victory was the Word of the Day recently. Embarrassing to learn that it doesn't refer to anything or one about the Trojan War, like I thought. (I think I was thinking of both Paris and Priam, vaguely, neither of whom is Pyrrhus ;-)

+ Embarrassing that I need spell check to spell 'embarrassing' ;-)

+ Did you know:

Bucolic derives from Greek boukolikos , "rustic; pastoral," from boukolos, "a cowherd; a herdsman" from bous, "a cow; an ox."

And also from the Indo-European gwou, the Latin root is bos which we get bovine from.

+ David Shenk is posting the research for his next book on a weblog, interacting with those who care to. I'm convinced this is a good model of future publishing.

+ Another name I like from Hype Machine: Yo Majesty. Right up there with Yo Mama and Not Yo Cheese.

+ Neat way to wrap your earphones so they don't tangle. Must try.

Happy Valentine's Day

OK, the Valentine's Day songs on Hype Machine have inspired me to do a Valentine's Day post.

First of all, let me just say that I agree with Paul's sentiments 100% ;-)

Now, let's look at the songs I've shared with you. Some have already rolled off the bottom of the Google Reader Widget, so you might have to go to my Google Reader Shared page if you want to see them.

1. Let my love open the door. I like the original song. Haven't listened to this version yet.
2. When will I be loved? Pretty Linda Ronstadt song (but not necessarily romantic).
3. Clark Gable is a fun song. (Though I'm sure Ben would be happier if he were willing 'to believe / that there is truth / that love is real'.)
(I'll fly away is on there cuz it's such a great song, not for V-Day.)
3. High and dry works, right?
4. Love cats. Yep.

Well, that's what'cha got. I just picked from what was available.

You know what would make a nice Valentine's Day song? I was made for loving you by KISS!

Tuesday, February 13

Wil's X-Men story

Dad - Professor X

(then the original 5 X-Men, 4 boys and 1 girl, get it?!)

Sean - Cyclops
Kyle - Iceman
Erin - Jean Grey
Ryan - Angel
Cory - Beast

the next generation
Wil - Nightcrawler
Elizabeth - Rogue
Oliver - Wolvenrine (sic. ;-)
Charley Claire - Storm

that's all for now. more later! :-)

(because, Wil says, 'We need to get more Meades!' ;-)

Saturday, February 10

Aircraft carriers, iPod zombies and Gmail ponies

+ This must be the week of cool graphics. David links to a really cool image of all of the world's aircraft carriers to scale. He does it to buttress his argument that we don't really need more ships and bigger ships in our navy. On top of that, the number of sorties we can fly is amazing. I couldn't agree more.

+ We are having an interesting discussion about whether or not it should be against the law to cross the street while listening to your music player.

+ I would like a pony, please. In the grand tradition of requesting more features from free services, 2 things I'd like to see Gmail add:

1. Import contact info. You can automatically add events to your calendar. Why not automatically import contact info from someone's .sig into my Gmail contacts? That would be so great!

1.5 Heck, even creating ways we could share and update our contact information more readily, like Plaxo for Outlook, would be great.

2. Since I compose weblog posts in Gmail, if I could have the ctrl+shift+a universal shortcut for 'insert link', that would be really great.

Thanks, Google!

Thursday, February 8

You go, Jaq!

By the way, I forgot to post the Jaq won the Buffalo News Short Story contest. Congratulations, Jaq!

Interesting story, too. And since it's so... short... why not go over and read it?

One more new feature for you

Since Google Reader is so easily integratable with Blogger, I'm going to try this new sharing function with you. See it over there on the left? I think the main thing I'll share is music - ie, links to other people 'sharing' music I like. I believe in it, but not enough to take on the RIAA. But, who knows, maybe I'll find some other stuff for y'all too. Any comments on this function? See any use in it?

You can always go to my Google Reader sharing page. It even has a feed! (That may be overdoing it, though ;-)

How should we think about the Middle East?

Fatah and Hamas are killing each other and so are Sunni and Shiia.

My unredeemed, gut-instinct: let them.

Tom's got a great post on the ME today, The Big Bang turned in on itself. Let's see if I can excerpt it without just copying the whole thing.

Can't remember which book I wrote it in, but I've maintained for a while now that Iraq works either way: goes well, it scares the region toward change (what we saw deep into 2005); goes badly (since April 2004), it also scares the region into change by raising the specter of spillover (locate the fighters where the fight really is).

In this rather Machiavellian view, Bush gives Osama what he wants (lotsa conflict spreading in the region) but should be smart enough to fear (his cause gets lost in classic Shiia-Sunni fighting). The be-kind-to-my-Commander-in-Chief instincts within me are definitely attracted to anything that, as Bret Stephens (I think) once wrote, essentially "speeds the killing." There are so many unredeemables in the region that simply need to be killed off by history, no matter who pulls the trigger.

Big point: the killing is exactly where it should be, as in over there and not over here. Pull our troops back just so, and there's no antiwar anything in the U.S., because we routinely ignore big wars overseas so long as Americans aren't involved (we are an incredibly myopic nation in that regard--save our military).

I have no desire to side with Sunni versus Shiia, and to conflate al-Qaeda with radical Shiia. I see no reason whatsoever to have a dog in this fight, just to get the fight club rolling.

There are three fights we want to speed the killing (or just the threat of killing) on:

1) Israel versus Iran (the nukes issue must be used to create a strategic relationship there, naturally bad and scary at first, just like ours with the Sovs was);

2) House of Saud (it ain't a country) versus Iran (which definitely is);

3) House of Saud and al-Qaeda.

That's why to me, the trifurcation of Iraq is not a bad deal whatsoever, but an inevitable one (following the Yugo[slavia] example) that we need to exploit to the Big Bang's purposes. The Kurds are saved (and become the place where our troops should be storehoused). The Shiia in Iraq become an effective conduit of change into Persian Shiia Iran (it plays Walesa's Poland to Brezhnev's USSR). The House of Saud is finally forced to grow up and become a real country. Al Qaeda's real dreams of toppling the House of Saud are effectively crushed through that regime's forced rehabilitation.

Bush proves time and time again that he does not listen to his generals, so do not count on that common sense restraining him or Cheney.

Highway to Despair, etc.

+ Have I mentioned before that the Stokes family married into the Sewell family? Paul posts a nice piece in the Austin Chronicle complete with photo of CFO Walter!

+ What a great graphic! So cool! Simplified Interstate Highway system map , kind of like you'd see for a subway. I love this!

+ Great headline: Bizarre NASA love triangle. Must be 35 year-old New Order fans writing for AP ;-)

(But what a jacked up story, aye?!)

+ Lifehacker has a post on Google Reader tips. The 'g' 'u' shortcut alone is worth the price of admission!

+ Is it just me or is becoming less useful. I've put that feed on probation. Do I ever click through anymore?

Wednesday, February 7

I took the plunge

I had a wild hair and decided to redesign my weblog. I like it. I think I've got everything I want.

One thing I've learned in this kind of stuff is 'don't put everything back in'. Things cruft up. Ask yourself 'Do I really want that back? Is it worth the trouble?' Nice lean results.

It took a little tinkering. The places they hide some of these things are non-obvious.

If I could do one more thing it would be to have black margins. Maybe I can dig around and figure that out.

That brings me to my only major complaint: I don't like CSS. I'm sure it's powerful and all. But, for someone like me, it's mostly overkill. I have trouble finding the right combination of simple with some functionality built in and flexible enough that you can get under the hood and change about anything if you want to.

So why did I switch? Why don't I guy with something plainer? I like the added functionality of stuff that's built in to modern Blogger like edit from your page, email this post to someone, the new, snazzy, extensible Archives widget, etc. The trade-off's worth it to me.

What do you think of my redesign? I have switched to Blogger comments, so we'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, February 6

Daddy Robothands

I didn't mean to make Bethy cry.

I asked the twins last night at the supper table if they would still love me when I have robot hands...

It's just a nod to the fact that I use my hands and arms a lot, especially for computer work, and they alternately burn and hurt in different places from the shoulders down (especially across the backs of my hands these days). I think it's a live possibility, if not a certainty, that I will need surgery someday.

And I've said this to Christine before. She said 'yes'. ;-)

But it made poor Bethy cry. Of course, she'd had a big day, so maybe she was emotionally fragile.

She came and sat on my lap for a little while. Poor Bethy!

Sunday, February 4

Super Bowl thoughts

+ Edgerrin James made a bad decision.

+ I feel kind of bad for Rex Grossman. I sort of hate to see all of the doubters and haters and one of the major storylines be right.

+ Peyton Manning is a whiner, even when he's up by 12.

+ I'm sure someone, even many someones have written this, but this Super Bowl is, among other things, confirmation of the ascendancy of the Tampa Cover 2, perfected by Tony Dungy.

+ Simms just said the Bears had to run the football well today to win.

But to do that, the vaunted Bears defense had to get the Colts offense off of the field. And they couldn't at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.

+ Hmm. I don't see a clear MVP. The Colts RBs. The Colts D. I don't know...

+ Let the apotheosis of Tony Dungy begin ;-)

Good night.

Super Bowl Sunday Sunday Sunday!

+ The official, global, scientific consensus on climate change is in. I won't deny it. Tom's willing to grant it, but he's still not worried: In a nutshell, my "problem" with global warming.

+ Whoa! Finally got a Word of the Day I didn't know! Pellucid.

+ Dang! What is this? The Bizarro Super Bowl? Everybody knew Hester was a major threat. Runs back the opening kickoff. Colts miss their PAT. Bears score again. 14-6 first quarter. Weird.

I still think the Colts will come back and win. But I could be wrong...