Date posted: July 31, 2010 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: July 30, 2010 | Filed under humor | 1 Comment »

Otakon is in town this weekend. There has been a slow trickle of costumed virgins passing on the street below, but I think things will get weird the closer I get to the Harbor on my way home tonight.

Date posted: July 30, 2010 | Filed under humor | Leave a Comment »

The weather finally broke here in Baltimore, and 90° suddenly feels downright balmy to me. Which is a sad state of affairs, considering the load we’ve put on our air conditioners in the month of July.

It’s been exceptionally busy the last couple of weeks, which means is a quiet place. I’ve been juggling baby duty while Mama is recovering from a monster infection, helping remodel and move my daytime office, and also reorganizing my day to day life in order to be a better husband, father, and employee. No mean feat to be sure, but I think it may be easier to accept sweeping change when everything is in flux.


Mama is recovering from her illness, and I will be giving back the keys to the swanky babyhauler tomorrow (mainly because I have a dentists’ appointment in the morning, not because she’s at 100% yet) but I’ve enjoyed my mornings with the girl. Even when it’s been an hour before my alarm clock rang. She’s getting so big so fast. To see her walk a set of stairs, upright, by herself fills me with an immense surge of pride and a wave of sadness, because there’s no better feeling than to have her reach up for my hand and circle one or two of my fingers with her little palm, and there will soon come a time when she won’t want my help with the stairs anymore.

We’ve just finished remodeling our offices at work after about four weeks of work, and it feels good to be settled again. What was once a large space subdivided into tiny offices has now been expanded into an open-plan area with expansive desks, exposed brickwork (my suggestion), new carpeting, and better lighting.

Remodeling, part 1

In order to keep costs down, we all pitched in to help paint, move, assemble furniture, and organize the space, so I spent much of the early part of this month at the office after hours pitching in. The payoff has been immediate, though; I feel much more motivated and focused on my work being out in the open instead of holed up in my office.

Remodeling, part 2

On that same note, I’m trying a new method of personal organization, which involves a smaller, lighter notebook and a resolution to keep using it. I’m pairing this with my own basic version of the Getting Things Done Methodology that is in a state of kaizen, and I’m really going to work hard to make this stick. I’ve also started using to track my personal finances and start setting some specific long-term goals for the future; I’m hoping to dovetail this in with all the work Jen has done on household budgeting in order to save more money than we currently do.

So, in a nutshell, I feel more optimistic than I have in a while, more motivated, and at peace with a lot of things in my life. The trick will be to maintain that peace and forward momentum.

Tomorrow morning I’ll see the dentist for the first time in ages, which is a good feeling.

Date posted: July 27, 2010 | Filed under design, finn, life, productivity | Leave a Comment »

I found out, through doing some research for a project here at work, that the exact green used for U.S. highway signage is Pantone 342.

Date posted: July 26, 2010 | Filed under general, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Finn sat on the potty, looking intently at me with her big blue eyes. She had asked to use the potty three times in a half an hour, which on one hand is awesome, but on the other hand is a little tiring for Jen and I. We knew she was working up to something but it wasn’t happening, and usually the trick in that situation—much as it is for the rest of us—is to distract her from thinking too much about things and find her inner peace.

I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of her, and tapped the YouTube icon. Doing a search for “Sesame Street” returned a list of clips I knew she’d like, and we started out with a classic Cookie Monster bit. I flipped it over, the picture re-oriented itself, and she smiled while Cookie started explaining numbers. Almost immediately, there were prodigious results, and we watched a few more clips while things sorted themselves out.


There are many excellent reasons to have one of these things beyond a potty training aid. (For the record, we prefer books). Friday night after Jen drifted off to sleep, I stayed awake streaming a Ghost In The Shell movie from Netflix until 1:30 in the morning, something that was inadvisable considering I was on baby duty early the next morning. (Review: The movie was middling to poor, but it was good enough to get me sucked in. The Netflix app has a lousy UI but streams movies very well). I’ve tagged and labeled photos, updated my Mint account, written forum posts, looked for recipes, and checked the weather. It’s so much easier to deal with for certain things than a laptop would be, even with a screen-based keyboard, and it’s much easier to carry around.

Compared to a first-gen iPhone, it’s slicker and faster than a politician at a county fair; everything is immediate and smooth. It makes my 4-year-old MacBook Pro feel like a Mac Classic. I spent two hours watching the movie with a full charge and when it was over, the battery was still at 90%. Even better: the back was cool to the touch, unlike my MBP, which gets blazing hot. The browser is fast and responsive, scrolling and redraw is immediate (unlike my iPhone), and as a pretty heavy-duty internet user, I’ve only stumbled across one or two sites with video I couldn’t watch.

I’d like to say I’m writing this post on the iPad, but because it’s owned by my company I’m keeping my personal login details off the machine. There is a WordPress app available, and many of the things I use our backup laptop for are accomplished easily on the iPad. One thing that looks a little sketchy right now is printing from the iPad, but there are some solutions available and it looks like Apple may be working on something as well. I do find myself wanting to do certain things with it that I can’t (hook up a camera and download pictures, for one) but overall I see this as a no-brainer for our near-term future. I think we will wait, however, for when they put a camera in the next generation—shortly, I’m guessing, given the advent of FaceTime.

Date posted: July 25, 2010 | Filed under apple, appliances, geek | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: July 23, 2010 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

An excellent, excellent link provided by my Illustration professor via Facebook: Everything You Need to Know About Global Warming in 5 Minutes. His postscript:

[Jeremy] Grantham is an institutional investor who other institutional investors read. He invests based on data and is one of the few who does not politicize facts.

People who find themselves on the other side of the argument with Grantham reexamine their conclusions because it’s been a bad idea to bet against him in the past.

Date posted: July 23, 2010 | Filed under life, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Finn handed me this pretty piece of green glass while wading in the lake at my uncle’s house two weekends ago, and I carefully put it in my pocket to add to our collection. She loves the water so much, she spent the rest of the weekend asking if she could go back in and play, even after the stars were out and fireworks were exploding over our heads.

Date posted: July 21, 2010 | Filed under finn, history, photo | Leave a Comment »

Things seem to have sped up around here with last week’s WordPress upgrade. I’m also experimenting with moving my RSS feeds over to FeedBurner, mostly to speed things up and for the built-in reports. So if you may find that your old RSS links don’t work, just use this link and bookmark it. Let me know if it works for you.

Date posted: July 18, 2010 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »