Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gas, Again

A while back I theorized that that price of oil and the price of gas are actually unrelated. One of my readers with extra time on his hands did a longitudinal comparison and found that they are in fact related. I guess what I should have said was that really there is no direct causal connection.

Anyway there's a long article here that leads me to believe its actually more something like a passive monopoly and price fixing rather than the crazy market speculation and Huttesque profit taking.

Features: Why Is Gas So Freakin' Expensive? - Consumerist: "As gas costs rise to $4 a gallon and oil companies earn around $100 billion each year, it's a good time to question what really goes into the price of gas."

So maybe a profits tax isn't the answer. Perhaps its about breaking up some companies so there can be competition.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Impeach Gonzales

Impeach Gonzales: "We, The Undersigned, urge the House Judiciary Committee to begin the process of impeachment of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in accordance with Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides for removal of the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States. We believe the process will prove that Atty. General Gonzales has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, including the abuse of power and violation of the public trust, both impeachable offenses."

Click through and sign it. He's abrogated any remaining respect I might have for the office.

99 Words You Should Know on the Blog, 99 Words You Should Know

ab·ro·gate (br-gt)

tr.v. ab·ro·gat·ed, ab·ro·gat·ing, ab·ro·gates
To abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Better Learn Chinese

The technology material covered in the first year of a four year degree will be obsolete by year three...

180 Days

Getting a new job? You have 180 days to determine if your new employer is discriminating against you in the figuring of your salary. So says the highest court in the land. If it goes on for more than 180 days, you are only entitled to recover for 180 days worth of remuneration.

What kind of crap is that?

People on the radio today were saying how it isn't fair to hold an employer responsible for a decision they made more than 180 days prior and that asking people to be able to remember why they made a decision over that much time is an unfair burden.

How about the unfair burden they placed on their employee by systematically underfunding?

I don't think I have ever worked anywhere under a circumstance where I knew what the people around me were making. In the few instances where it did happen it was by mistake. People don't get around and whip out paystubs to measure all that often. That would be bad form. We all know that they pay what they have to pay and that we're all hired under differing circumstances. Now the court is telling us that we have to figure out what everyone around us is making within a matter of weeks if we want to recover 100%.

This is most definitely crap.

If the government really does mean for an employer to be able to abjure all responsibility for their decisions on compensation then one of two things would need to happen. Either everyone's pay must be public record and accessible to all new hires upon their start date (not prior for negotiation, just after to be sure of no discrimination), or there needs to be some kind of independent watchdog compensation relief board to monitor all new agreements.

Both of those seem like crap ideas as well (there may be no bad ideas, but apparently there are crap ideas).

How about a business has to be responsible for a decision they make. Period. If they decide to discriminate against a class of employees then they should be held to account - for as long as the behavior continues, not for 180 days.

With a 180 day horizon all the incentives point the wrong way. Its in the businesses best interest to keep things secret for six months, and after that there is absolutely no compelling reason for them to stop behaving illegally. That would seem to be an important distinction here. We're not talking about something that's bad form, we're talking about something that's illegal.

What'd they say on Baretta? Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, no, no don't do it.

Apparently this is something that has been shuffled back to the Congress to solve. The wording of the law is outdated or sloppy and the court had little leeway as the legislation was crafted. I guess that's alright, as long as that kind of non-interference directive is applied to all their decisions. What do you think the odd are of that?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go break into some offices to do some salary comparisons. The longer I let it go, the more money I am pouring down the drain. So says the Supreme Court anyway.

100 Words We're Supposed to Know

The people at the dictionary have decided they know 100 words we're all supposed to know. As a public service we're going to go through them here. Please feel free to practice using your words in the comments section or on the tagboard.

ab·jure (b-jr)

tr.v. ab·jured, ab·jur·ing, ab·jures
1. To renounce under oath; forswear.
2. To recant solemnly; repudiate: abjure one's beliefs.
3. To give up (an action or practice, for example); abstain from: "For nearly 21 years after his resignation as Prime Minister in 1963, he abjured all titles, preferring to remain just plain 'Mr.'" Time.


Definitions will be coming from The Free Dictionary.

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency | The Progressive

The Progressive: "ith scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.
In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.”

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”"

Shoe Voting Ends Soon

Just two more posts until the shoe contest rolls off the page. Get your votes in quick!

Last Resort of the Blocked

You are .c You have potential, but are often the source of problems and frustration.  One misplaced word and you get stuck in an infinite loop.
Which File Extension are You?



Deadly, Abhorrent, Villager-Injuring Demon


Get Your Monster Name



71% GeekMingle2.com - Free Online Dating

But David, Why no Blogging?

The muse just isn't working.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Think I Must Go

Creation Museum: "The Creation Museum, opening May 28, 2007, presents a 'walk through history.' Designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director, this state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life.
A fully engaging, sensory experience for guests. Murals and realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, over fifty exotic animals, life-sized people and dinosaur animatronics, and a special-effects theater complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats. These are just some of the impressive exhibits that everyone in your family will enjoy."

A Long Comment

I found myself writing a long comment over here. The idea seems worth setting down here as well. There's talk about a live action Star Wars TV series. The blogger that got the comment was talking about how the second trilogy was a let down and how to make the TV show better they should go way back in the Star Wars timeline and set the story around the origin on the Sith. I think this would be cool, but I am not sure it will help it not suck...

Isn't this less about writing and more about audience? I too am of (what I term) the Star Wars generation - so much more expressive than "GenX" and I have a deep affinity for the original trilogy and the same take it or leave it indifference or worse to the second trilogy. But when Star Wars came out I was 9. By the time we got to Phantom Menace I was 31. As much as I feel like my generation OWNS Star Wars, the second set of movies wasn't written for us. It was written for our children and although I don't think they made the impression on the youth of their day that the earlier movies did on my friends and I; I also don't think the average 9 year old was nearly as disappointed with the newer films. Some of those kids actually liked Jar-Jar. That's because they were the audience.

So, will a live action TV show be good? There's certainly enough material to work from. The original storyline has been fleshed out to no end in comics and books. But will those of us that adored the original movies like it? That'll depend on if it is written for us.

If I could give George Lucas one instruction for the new venture it would be this: Make this series for the Star Wars generation. When I have kids, I will explain it to them.

Blog Homework

Watch this. We'll discuss it later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Trees? Check.

Final assembly and a second coat of paint - for those keeping track the sprayer kept going today. The secret long term storage maintenance that everyone was so on about is: oil the parts.

So some pics:


Plywood forest.


and a little walk-'round...



I hope they like it. Maybe it won't look so spooky when the kids start putting the leaves on. Now, on to the next item.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Painting Day


I can now officially recommend the Wagner Paint Crew #770 Airless Sprayer if you plan to use it for one day. If you plan to use it for more than one day you'll have to ask me after the next project.

Perhaps It Can Be Thought of as Conservation

This is sort of a post for the TANBI Elder. If it were completely for the Elder, it would be titled "And You Thought Zen Had the Big Pantograph" or perhaps "Gas is off, Compressor's off..."

I stated work on a side gig today. I am making some tree cut outs for an activity at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Kids are going to cut leaves out of paper and then they need a form of a tree to pin them on. I have to say there was a certain amount of irony involved in taking perfectly good sheets of plywood and doing this to them. Even more irony if you figure once upon a time a person harvested a perfectly good tree in order to make plywood that I could ruin by making a tree.

Here it is, the circle of life...

First you use Google images and find yourself a tree. Perhaps this tree, the "Council Oak Tree":


Then, using an incredibly expensive Computer Aided Design program which you temporarily dumb down to an Etch-a-sketch you painstakingly take note of the Lord's creation and commit the path to digits, like this:


After that, you take your tracing and make it into something you can sell:


From there you use two more very complicated pieces of software and a very, very expensive tool to keep you from spending days projecting and tracing an image and then wailing away at it with a saber saw. This could be the new John Henry project for next year's Tech Design class. Anyway, here's two poorly shot videos to show the process:





You get the idea. The whole thing actually takes like 28 minutes. I suspect I could go faster, but with only the one bit in the shop, a small mistake could turn into a long break to run to the home center.

Here's what the sheet looks like after the router table does its thing:


And here, with the waste removed:


Here, a grove of parts:


And then, a couple of views of where we left off today. I am fairly certain it will have fallen over and cracked when I get back to it, but I can hope not:




Ah the circle of life: Tree, plywood, tree. Now all I have to do is assemble and paint.

Gas is off, compressor's off... (or actually in my case: power's off, dust collector is off, tool room is locked, doors are locked, lights are off, gate is locked...)

It Had to Happen...

...Sooner or later.


Thinking back, I believe it was Professor Hines who first said "Well, its the worlds largest game of ring toss."


Prophetic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ellipses...

Commencement today, bittersweet as always, and eventually the rain ended. For the record this year I did not robe... I am not now, nor have I ever really been, a fan of Michael Moore, but it sounds like he really hit the nail on the head this time... If there really is this liberal media the righties keep droning on and on and on about, why on Earth are they so opposed to the reintroduction of the fairness doctrine? Wouldn't equal time be bad for the liberal media? Sometimes even with a healthy stretch I can't seem to connect the dots... I've thought about it pretty hard and I think I may disqualify Jillian's shoes from the shoe contest. I shouldn't have let them in from the start. They are the footwear equivalent of stunt casting. I am looking for something that makes you say "Wow! Look at those shoes." not "ooooooooh its so cute"... I start CNCing trees tomorrow. The test tree went very well. Hopefully I will remember to take some pictures for the site... Plaxo says my address book is 41% up to date. It's amazing to me that I can't seem to get it to be much more than 50% ever. Tomorrow I guess I should start looking at the bounces... We're going to Hawaii! I am now accepting recommendations for Maui excursions. Damn zip line is sold out for three months. Last time I didn't SCUBA, maybe this time... Gas is so expensive now I think I wouldn't even want to drive a hybrid. Where is that beaming technology when you need it? Hopefully this will really kick start the innovation. Unless of course all the engineers can't afford to drive to work... If AJ had succeeded I think it really would have been too much... We hooked up the laptop to the new TV the other night to watch LOST on the internet. I believe I have seen the end of television as we know it... Which would you write first: Technical Direction for Theatre, Rigging Scenery, Production Planning, or Technical Drawing for Scenery? I am losing the impulse to try to write four books concurrently... I was watching "Office Space" and they were talking about the question "If you had enough money so that you wouldn't have to work, what would you do?" I think I would make furniture. But maybe I would do what I am doing and just not worry about making enough money... I really do like my new shoes... Ro Laren has become incarcerated. Apparently she needs to be a cat in a one cat house, or to be an outside cat. Anyone want a cat? Figuring out the alternative is unpleasant... Both of my offices are a mess, very sad...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

All David Honor Roll Spring 2007

I've been delinquent with my honor roll posting this semester. Looking at this, I think its the most recognitions I have ever given for a single semester. I'll write that off to having more students rather than a softening of my grading.

The list:

Maddie Regan
Brian Grego

Micheal Cohen
Alex Serrano
Aaron Siebert
Steve Albert
Chapel Folger

Kyle Branigan
Ryan Hewlett
Joel Krause
Maya Nigrosh
Jefferson Ahn
Chris Gabriel
Joe Oneil
Candace Brekka
Travis Chinick
Sarah Hupcey
Ryan Tanker
Andrea Nysen
Jeannie Yun


Congratulations on a job or jobs well done this semester. Keep up the good work.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Semester Reviews Shoe Finals

Semester reviews are all over but the voting...

#1 Jenn


#2 Sylvia


#3 Laura


#4 Jennifer


#5 Jillian



#6 Maddie


#7 Sam


#8 Emily




Poll will remain open for not less than five days. Me or employees of me are not eligible. Winner gets an exclusive TANBI T-Shirt!

Have the big fun.

And Last but not Least

Tuesday, PM Session. The last session. Sometimes I think we could do less days by doing three sessions per day. Then I wake up.

First we have Shellie...


... Joe didn't have to kick her ass even once.

And we finish with Taylor...


... who is leaving by not leaving.

Tuesday PM shoe winner:


Jenn

Seniors, Seniors!!!!!

Last day, Tuesday AM session. Hard group for me, I didn't have any of them in class this year and really anything that needs to be said about production has probably already been said or is maybe better left unsaid.

We begin with Erik...

...who got to finish his strike right after his crit.

Next up came Ian...


...whom I did not call a dick or an asshole, and for the record I never called a moron.

Along came Sylvia...


...who gave us a peek 15 years forward and 3 1/2 years backward.

Bringing us to Dominique...


... who found working with Mladen not as daunting as she figured.

And we finish off the morning with Kathryn...


...who gets to dress substantively different for crits than for every day.

Tuesday AM shoe winner:


Sylvia

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday PM Session

This is the last "jumble" session for the spring. Seniors crit together in a sort of a grad send off.

We begin with Yi-Lin...


...who talked for a long time about costume fittings, and there was something about a dog.

of course, stealth TD Alex...


...who appears to have not aged a day in six months :-P.

And then there's Jenn...


...whom I berated about Cope, Inc.

I berate everyone. It says so on the internet.

Monday PM shoe winner...


Laura

Although I have to say my shoes were pretty cool too...


My first Air Jordans - how many years has it been? Here's a picture for Stevie:

Money it's got to be the shoes!

Interlude

One of the historical Purnell stories we tell at work was how they were going to have more basement in the building than we do. That was supposed to be where all our storage was going to be. However when they did the excavation during the construction phase they ran into bedrock. Legend has it that they would have had to blast to clear the rock and that the addition just wasn't in the budget.

I am beginning to think this story may be apocryphal.


So this is a picture of the space behind the Purnell center where they are currently in the construction phase for the new Gates Center for Computer Science (yes, that Gates). As you can see they have once again run into bedrock, but have gone on ahead as planned - and without any blasting I might add. Just day after day of one of those big machines with a jack-hammer attachment.

I guess the true excavation costs were just absorbed by something else in the construction of the Purnell Center.

Let this be a lesson to anyone out there building their own theatre building. Protect your storage areas at all costs, and make sure you've got some healthy contingencies built in.

Monday Morning Crits

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. It's time for the semester reviews festival to continue.

We begin with Maddie...


...she's trying to be in every year at once.

Then we have Harriet...


...who can get you into Ravinia for free if it isn't sold out (got that mom?).

Monday AM shoe winner...


Jennifer
(Diane picked these)