Last night, I sat with my daughter on my lap after she walked(!?!) over carrying a picture book Grandma gave her for Christmas featuring a lineup of Sesame Street characters. As she turned each page, we played a game where I would point to items and characters on the page and she would tell me what they were in her singsong little voice. The number of things she could name correctly absolutely floored me. She likes the game so much, she’ll ask to play it repeatedly, and each time I taught her a new picture/word combination, she almost always got it right on the very next run-through.

Later, as we drew warm water for a bath, she leaned over the edge and played with the bubbles as the tub filled up. She picked up a duck and dropped it into the water, laughing as it splashed under the bubbles. I caught this out of the corner of my eye and asked her if she could find her turtle and put it in the water too. She looked up at me, then carefully walked over to her toy bucket under the sink, selected the wind-up turtle aunt Christi gave her, and dropped it into the tub with the duck. I asked her to get her boat and her frog, and she knew exactly which item I asked for each time.

I love that little girl more than I could have ever imagined.

Date posted: December 30, 2009 | Filed under finn | Comments Off on Simple Things.

She’s a little blurry, but that’s because she hasn’t stopped moving for three days. Happy holidays, everybody!

Date posted: December 27, 2009 | Filed under finn, life | Comments Off on Merry Christmas!

This is an online diary of a guy who found, bought and restored a 1963 330GT America mostly by himself. All I can say is, wow.

Date posted: December 23, 2009 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on Ferrari rebuild journal

“Delivery” means you get your lazy ass out of the truck, walk the package up to the door, and ring the bell as a courtesy. It does not mean “leave the package leaning up against the car in the driveway where it can be taken by anyone walking down the street.” I shoveled the walk clean three days ago; there’s no ice on the cement.
Merry Fucking Christmas.

Date posted: December 23, 2009 | Filed under humor | Comments Off on Dear Lazy FedEx Delivery Guy,

Last week, before the deluge of snow, I happened upon this gloriously stock Early Bronco (a close cousin to the Scout in offroad capability, spartan utilitarian design, and tendency to rust at the drop of a hat) in my otherwise boring city parking garage. Virginia plates labeled it a one-day tourist, but its condition made me smile: straight sheet metal, clean paint, an unmodified interior of steel and vinyl—an east coast rarity alone for its presence in the face of road salt, but an even rarer example to have escaped a lift kit, fat tires, or cut fenders.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: December 22, 2009 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Bronco.

There’s an article in The New Republic which argues that the decline of American manufacturing is due in large part to the change in management—from people who were trained to build things to people who were trained to count figures.

“…the conglomerate structure forced managers to think of their firms as a collection of financial assets, where the goal was to allocate capital efficiently, rather than as makers of specific products, where the goal was to maximize quality and long-term market share.”

Date posted: December 21, 2009 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Comments Off on Upper Mismanagement

Well, Finn’s second snow has been a righteous one. Mama stocked up on supplies, so we’re waiting out the end of the storm with black bean soup, fresh cornbread and butterscotch brownies, a warm fire, the latest Harry Potter movie, and plenty of cold beer. Page me when the roads are clear—I’m not coming out.

Date posted: December 19, 2009 | Filed under family | Comments Off on Blizzard of Ought-Nine.

Rush geeks, this one’s for you: The song Red Barchetta was based on a short story written in 1973 called “A Nice Morning Drive”. It turns out that the author of that story finally met up with the band after 34 years and went on a motorcycle trip between tour stops together. it also turns out that the author lives about a half-mile away from me.

Date posted: December 16, 2009 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Comments Off on Red Barchetta

Walking back to work from the Safeway on Charles Street this afternoon, I heard a familiar sound and continued south to investigate: a bagpiper busking out in front of the Equitable building, the sounds echoing off the tall brick and steel around him. I stopped to listen, then waited for traffic light to cross the street and drop a dollar into his case.

Date posted: December 15, 2009 | Filed under general | Comments Off on The Pipes Are Calling.

Jen’s been wading through the process of filing for an MBE over the last few weeks, and asked me to take a look at some of the paperwork to help her make sense of some of it. We sat down on Sunday to review the state’s directions, which are about as helpful as a wetsuit in the Sahara. Looking for further clarification, I did some google searching and found a page of directions that were supposedly for the same set of applications we were holding, but were just different enough to cause a splitting headache.

What really made me laugh, though, was the online MBE application. I thought it might offer some more clues as to how she should fill out the paperwork. Once I’d selected one of the six inscrutable options offered (guessing it might possibly be the right choice), I landed on an .ASP page loading a Java applet, and from there things got even worse. I was presented with screen after screen of forms that looked just like this:

Seriously, what is that shit? I’ve seen better forms written by first-week HTML students. Even if I knew what I was supposed to be filling out, I wouldn’t know where to put it because half of the field descriptions are behind the field boxes.

For the uninitiated, the whole point of Java is to be able architecture neutral: that is, to “write once, run anywhere.” Therefore, the fact that I’m looking at this on Safari on a Mac should have no bearing whatsoever. The fact that it’s absolutely unintelligible, and that my tax dollars paid some hack to “develop” this fucked-up system makes me especially angry, as both a citizen of this state and as a web developer. This is the kind of crap work that gives my profession a bad reputation, and it’s also the reason small businesses like my wife’s get a shit deal instead of the tax breaks and coddling large corporations enjoy.

That’s just fucking embarassing.

Date posted: December 14, 2009 | Filed under art/design, humor | Comments Off on My Tax Dollars At Work.