Sunday, August 31, 2008


  • 12:26 Oh my aching back! (stress maybe?) #
  • 17:44 binder printing #
  • 20:40 going for Sushi - probably Yokoso! #
  • 22:56 Sushi accomplished #
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Saturday, August 30, 2008


  • 13:44 Cut Washing ton spending - Vote Republican - Save 30% on VP Salary #
  • 22:04 Wii Star Wars - fun fun fun #
  • 00:10 @aerdin woohoo - 26 week vacation! #
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One Week Back - Observations

So we've got one week of class under our belts for the 2008-2009 academic year. Some observations:

  1. I hadn't realised it, but it's been a long time since I taught Tech Design.
  2. The shop is never cleaner than it is for the opening BBQ.
  3. The opening BBQ is not a BBQ.
  4. The kids are even younger this year.
  5. No matter how much planning happens, something will jam up the schedule just before things get started.
  6. I am in deep, deep denial over my tenure submission.
  7. My office needs a refrigerator.
  8. Unfortunately, Facebook appears to be a real good resource for keeping touch with alumni.
  9. I miss several people who have moved on.
  10. No matter how many times through, it isn't really the same.

Friday, August 29, 2008


  • 14:23 Just finished another iteration of "Spit-Balling & Why I Hate Zebras" #
  • 18:38 I have four days to print my renewal submission. I better get to work. #
  • 21:07 man this is a dull steelers game #
  • 23:03 hmm, shoulda realized - outside=no balloons. Fireworks are cooler anyway. #
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Thursday, August 28, 2008


Twenty-Second Amendment

Seeing Bill Clinton last night got me thinking. Was the 22nd amendment a good idea? I sat there watching him thinking he could still be President now. Were it not for the two term limit I am fairly certain he would have successfully defended himself against Bush/Cheney. I mean Gore beat Bush, so had Clinton been able to run, even with the Monica scandal I think he would have easily managed a third term.

And that's where the gears start turning on this little fantasy. There was all the talk at the time about what would have happened had Gore been President on 9/11. I wonder what would have happened if Clinton had been President. Actually I wonder if 9/11 would have happened at all had Clinton been President. There's the idea that they were already looking at Bin Laden and the Bush administration dropped the ball, and then I just wonder how much the Bush family and oil forced the hand of the extremists. Whether it would have happened or not, I am fairly certain a Clinton administration would not have taken us into Iraq.

Here's another wrinkle. How about Senator Giuliani? Without Hilary to run against him, do you think Rudy would have been the Senator from New York state on 9/11 rather than the Mayor of New York City?

So the 22nd amendment... I would really have rather had a third Clinton term, and maybe a fourth instead of the first and second George W. Bush administrations. He could line interns up at the Oval Office door as far as I am concerned, at least I wouldn't have to worry about people being waterboarded in our custody, or more insidiously moved through extraordinary rendition to other custody so we can say our hands our clean.

Which is worse: I did not have sexual relations with that woman or The United States does not torture.

It's not all peaches and cream in this world though. No 22nd amendment for Clinton also means no term limits for Ronald Reagan. It's also fairly clear had it been possible there would have been a third Reagan administration - if he could stand up that long. In hindsight though I am not sure that would have been that much worse than the George H. W. Bush administration we did get. That election was much like this one, where the next term is really much like the administrations prior two. Essentially we did have a third Reagan administration, except it came with George I.

Which makes me think about Iraq again. One has to wonder what would have been Gulf War I under a Reagan administration. Would someone without oil in their veins run our troops out into the desert to defend the national borders of Kuwait? My recollection is that the Reagan administration really preferred insurgencies, economic pressure, and defense spending over actual military action. And thinking about the Bush relationship with oil, I can't help but wonder if Saddam would have even moved against Kuwait had Reagan still been President.

Now yes, this is rampant 20/20 hindsight and speculation, but really it does make me wonder if the 22nd amendment might be a mistake.


  • 11:57 ANother stellar day of Technical Direction #
  • 17:29 nope, can't afford three character flying effects, not gonna happen. #
  • 20:54 Melissa has been better. But I still love her, and she looked great. #
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Earlier this evening the Democrats declared Barak Obama their candidate by acclimation. I guess they didn't want to have the whole roll call for two reasons. The first is that there was still a possibility he might not win, although that was really just about math. The other is that were it close they would have to listen to four months of "45% of their own people didn't even want to nominate him."

So I get it, in this age of political theatre it made sense not to run through the entire exercise. I have a question though. Does this mean that many of the "superdelegates" never had to pick one candidate or the other? If so, that seems pretty weaselly to me (Firefox is saying "weaselly" is a word and is spelled correctly - who knew.) For those of us who are process junkies and were really kinda miffed at the media for annoiting Obama as "presumptive nominee" before he had all the pledged delegates he needed, this forever shrouds the answer of who the primary process really selected as a mystery.

I thought the primarys were supposed to promote openness and defeat the "smoke filled rooms." In this case, that's exactly what we got. Without the full roll call the victory is a back room deal, and the margin will never be known, and manyDemocratic power brokers will get to go on playing both sides without ever having to stand for something.

I'm fine with the nominee. But once again I am disappointed in our process, and even more disenchanted with our execution.


  • 13:23 second day, running late, not good #
  • 18:15 this two days in a row thing is HARD #
  • 20:46 I need shop names for my "Shop Biography" project. If you know custom fabrication shops, send them my way. #
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What up?

The Dinosaur Post was viewed 113 times today. I wonder what's up with that?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How Do I Vote for the Round Mound of Rebound?

Think Progress: Well, I think that if you’re rich — I thank God I’ve been very successful — if you’re rich, you’re always going to be rich. If we pay more in taxes, I got no problem with that. If you’re making that kind of money, a couple hundred thousand dollars here or there are not going to change your life.


  • 07:32 7:29am on the first day and the schedule is already changing - that may be a new record #
  • 10:23 Technical Direction: The role of the TD #
  • 16:05 coming from Stagecraft orientation, going to Crazy Scheme orientation... #
  • 17:05 coming from Scheme orientation going to cookout - and I finally beat level #
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Monday, August 25, 2008

McCain? Really?

I'm going to make up some numbers here, but you'll get the gist. This weekend I watched This Week like I usually do - recording it and skipping the first half hour or rehearsed sound bites to get to the round table. During that exchange some figures came out about how Obama still hasn't convinced die hard Hilary fans to vote for him, that something like 20% of Clinton voters still say they would not vote for Obama, and that of that group 50% were undecided and 50% would actually vote for McCain.

McCain? Really? What is it they say about a woman scorned?

First, lets spin that number and say that 80% of former Clinton supporters are now Obama supporters. Already it looks like a sunny day with not a cloud in the sky.

Second, I think there are a bunch of people out there lying to pollsters, or perhaps lying to themselves and infecting the polls. My unprofessional analysis of these poorly recalled stats? Of the 50% of the 20% saying they are "undecided" 100% will vote for Obama. These are Democrats who when the time comes know that a vote for Obama is a vote for their party and a furthering of their social goals. Who are they looking at? Bob Barr? Ron Paul? When given the choice they will vote for Obama.

The other 50% of the 20%, the "going to vote for McCain" people? I would wager heavily that 50% of that group will vote for Obama, for the same reasons stated above. The other 50% of the of the 50% of the 20%, I bet 95% of them stay home. They're mad, and they're sulking, but they aren't stupid, and they aren't self-destructive. When the time comes they will get all George Carlin on us and decide they can't criticize what they willingly participate in and they will go to the movies on Election day.

Who's left? 5% of 50% of 50% of 20%? That's 0.25%. I think probably that's well within the margin of error. But if it isn't I believe that if one quarter of 1% of former Clinton supporters do vote for McCain - well, frankly, nobody should care.


  • 22:18 Another "Welcome Back" party in the books. #
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome Back Party

So we went to the CMU School of Drama annual welcome back party tonight. That gave me an opportunity to give Dick his gag-gift:

He seemed to like it and take it in the spirit it was intended. He says the first faculty meeting is spoken for, he has a sweatshirt that says "The job that ate my brain" but this shirt will likely make an appearance at a faculty function soon after that.

Here's a close-up:
You can't see it in the photos, and not so much even in a dimly lit room, but the shirt is COVERED with gold glitter. Guess we'll have to wait until it's in the sunlight to get the full effect. The other people pictured are Liz Bradley, Peter Frisch, Liz Orion, and Mel Shapiro - that's where my memory gives out.

All the other suggestions are on the back which looks like this:
So thanks for those, they are all great and got many laughs. I was only sorry I forgot the one I thought of in the car the other day: "I had a dream I was Head of the School of Drama, and you were there, and you were there..."

Maybe if he does have to do a second year that can be on the next shirt.


  • 11:38 Nothing says "change" like Joe Biden #
  • 15:24 2008 Venti #2 still over budget #
  • 22:43 Bottleshock is pretty good #
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Can't have three "Shorties" in a row, wouldn't be civilized... Twitter and Facebook status are stealing a lot of my ellipses... I really just can't say as I am thrilled with Joe Biden, but then I haven't been thrilled by much of anything in this race... Bottleshock is a decent movie; another movie that might have been better had it not had to be faithful to a true story... My watch is working again, not that I will be any more punctual... iPhone fever is sweeping my house, but I think it will wear off... I tried to watch USA/Argentina Basketball, but NBC defeated me and the online was really hard to watch - no announcers... There do seem to be an awful lot of stories about Freddie Mac in my feeds, could it be there's yet another shoe to drop? I wouldn't be surprised... Yes, Blake, the Degree/Eureka synergy is fairly depressing, not just for television but I think for the whole of American culture... It didn't take long for the movie theatres to go from local moving slides with music to full blown TV commercials. Just what we want for the 20 minutes before a movie, 20 minutes of commercials. Maybe I'll start a seat holding business... All in all I wish I were in Hawaii...

Saturday, August 23, 2008


  • 08:59 and now: Grad Orientation... #
  • 00:37 ok, all the grads are oriented #
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Friday, August 22, 2008


  • 14:21 ouch - bad couple of hours at the Olympics, softball and both 100 relays - thank goodness for Phelps #
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Endzone O

One of the coolest things about my office is that pretty much every day there's an ultimate game happening just outside. This is especially neat for me since I played collegiate disc on that very spot oh so many years ago. Many days on my way out I stop and watch what's going on. I guess if I could drop the spare 50 pounds I'm carrying I might even step in, but its been a long time since I've been in an actual game.

Today I emerged from Purnell to see this endzone drill underway. I can only assume it was Yuk, because casual pickup usually doesn't involve drills.

There are so many things wrong with this that I don't really even know where to begin. I might have even said something to them except I remember what I would have told an old buttinski when I was a college player. So I will just rant about it here and maybe it will work its way back to them - or maybe you will learn something about ultimate you didn't know before and that will be the end of that.

Just for starters, cutting off the front of the stack is lousy. It's clogged and doesn't give you much set up. Also from a fairly basic place, lateral cuts aren't great. When you're cutting from side to side you're clogging everyone behind you. This play they were practicing does both of those things, it cuts laterally off the front. It's possible it's set up as an isolation for that one guy, so maybe the rest doesn't matter - I'll get to that in a minute. Additionally here the guys set up for the dump are set up clogging. The feature guy has to cut right into one or the other of his teammates on the wings. It'd be way too easy if you were one of their defenders to just sag into the end zone and poach the pass; doing so is nearly free because if they pick up the poach all they get is a dump anyway. Speaking of the planned dumps, these aren't great. They're too shallow and wide, so if you have to go there all of a sudden you've brought in their eight defender - the sideline.

The way the play is set up, the feature either cuts behind the force or laterally with the force. If he goes with the force, that's what their defense is set up to stop; so the defender is likely in position to make the play. If he goes behind the force, he's making you throw a tough break-mark pass, probably a low righty backhand riser. If you can make the throw it's a decent play, but it isn't an easy throw to get off - if the mark plays wide enough for you to get it off at all. My experience is that the closer to the goal line, the more straight up the mark plays, making that thow that much harder.

The only time any of this is going to work is during the drill, and that's because the defenders willingly play their part. The practicing isn't going to help much for game situations.

But maybe it is supposed to run as an isolation. If that's the case, it ought to look more like this:

This way you clear all the traffic and give your receiver the entire end zone to work with. Also the dumps don't set up clogging and their defenders are in no position to poach (and the dump passes are deeper and more acute so as to keep play more in the middle of the field. This would work, although it's still real congested. Probably the standard end zone offense would work better.

"What's the standard offense?" you ask. I'm glad you did. It looks like this:

The offense sets up stacked vertically in the end zone, shading behind the marker. The true design of this play is to go to option two, cutting off the back of the stack hard for the front corner. You will notice though that it does still feature that off the front of the stack break mark pass in option one. This is there if the mark is sleeping, but the design doesn't require you to depend on breaking the mark it's just there in case it presents itself. If not that cutter continues in the dead space behind the mark and goes for a fairly steep dump. Option three is for if the marker slides over to take away option two. If he reaches across to take away the long open side then you have a fairly easy break mark to the short side. This set up also gives you two dumps without clogging. Option four and option five give you good dumps without bringing you to the sideline.

Plus, if you take the dump pass, you immediately have someplace to go...

This gets a little hard to read because it's showing two possible throwers, depending on which dump the first thrower got. Moving ahead the first primary receiver clears up the line to the dump and the short side receiver clears into the middle with the original thrower. It's possible at this point to get a quick give and go with the first thrower, but that's just sort of normal ultimate and not part of the design of the offense, but if you get it you can take it. As soon as the dump throw is off, the two remaining players who started by clearing to the back repeat each of the two front corner cuts from the first iteration. Once again you should have an open with the force option, an open break the force option, and two dump passes. If you haven't scored by then you've probably either backed up far enough that you can stop thinking about it as end zone offense or you turned it over.

So there it is, standard end zone offense in a nutshell. Now go, and don't clog.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Contest So Far

  • I may not be Pope... But I AM the Head of the School of Drama
  • Head of the School: the absolutely LAST thing I wanted to be when I grew up
  • Second prize: TWO years Interim Head!
  • Dick Block - I AM the School of Drama
  • Dick Block: Kicking ass and taking names
  • The things people will do to get out of drafting class
Keep them coming!


  • 17:05 nope, not getting anything done, nothing at all, zip #
  • 01:56 NBC site making it real hard to tell when the basketball will actually be on. #
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Of Course, The Other Shoe

Michael Conniff: CON GAMES: T. Boone's Doggle: "T. Boone Pickens, you see, may be doing the right and noble thing by the environment, but he ain't not doing it for nothing. His hedge fund has positions in natural gas and emerging technologies that are sure to set the billionaire's cash register a'ringin'. At the Aspen Institute, he admitted to this rather annoying conflict-of-interest only when Casey McConnell, a green friend in the audience, asked him about one of his companies in Canada."

The Terrorists Win

philosecurity » Blog Archive » Flying Without a Wallet: "A lawyer friend of mine commented that “if TSA marked ‘SSSS’ on a person’s hand rather than a piece if paper…the airport’s security would at least be as good as a bar’s.”"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Math

A mathematician explains the genius of the new gymnastics scoring system. - By Jordan Ellenberg - Slate Magazine: "Figure skating ditched the perfect 6.0 after crooked judging in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics embarrassed the sport. The old scoring system already had many discontents, most famously great French champion Surya Bonaly, who showed her disdain for the judges at the 1998 Olympics by landing a backflip on one skate. It was illegal, it carried a mandatory deduction, and she was the only woman in the world who could do it."

Not All Fun and Games?

Beijing blog / Perhaps it's time to cancel the Olympic Games - Haaretz - Israel News: "The main goal is no longer playing the game, but winning it. Globalization and ruthless capitalism are ruling the Games, which have long since lost their true value. I now wonder, whether things continue as they are, whether we're better off without this sham."


I need help coming up with a concept for a gift for Dick. I want to give him a shirt this weekend; something that riffs on the idea of "Well I AM the head of the School of Drama." You can change the wording, add graphics, a picture, glitter, whatever... Email me ideas or post them in the comments. Contest ends Friday so I can make the thing - SO HURRY UP!!!


  • 13:32 working, its fun working, yes? #
  • 14:41 oops, glad I'm not dean of the Heinz School: #
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Monday, August 18, 2008

So What is Rich?

The other night, during a debate/town hall that almost nobody watched (I think maybe swimming was on), both the presumptive nominees were asked how much someone has to make to be "rich." Obama said a family income of over $150,000 per year is rich (although I have seen it reported as $250,000 too). McCain sort of flippantly said $5,000,000 per year - and that's now being spun as having been a joke.

Joke to who? Blog for another day.

We need some new language, or maybe some new math. Certainly someone making $5,000,000 each year is rich - from my perspective really fucking rich. Does that mean that the McCain philosophy says that someone making $4,250,000 per year is "just getting by?" People say McCain is out of touch. They may be right.

I have to say that I struggle with this concept of wealth measurement. I mean, when there are people pulling down say $30,000 per year that have kids and a mortgage - well then I guess Obama's $150,000 per year figure makes sense. Certainly there are many many people getting by with less than that. But what is the criteria for "rich?"

I would think that someone who is rich never has to be concerned about food, housing, retirement, transportation, communication, education, insurance, & health care. Since "rich" I think should imply being beyond that threshold I guess there ought to be some amount beyond that that counts as discretionary spending money.

I'm not sure how child care should fit into that list.

Here's the rub. I think I can see a family with a couple of kids that earns $150,000 per year and really can't legitimately cover all those bases. Also, I think when you look at that list some people might respond that if there's no money to use for making money - no investment beyond retirement savings that those items constitute what it means to be middle class, not rich. Maybe the difference between middle class and rich isn't a dollar amount so much as a quality issue: where you live, what you eat, how you retire...

But even without a great neighborhood and many meals out I think I can see that $150,000 going away quickly, especially when you start looking at higher education.

Or is higher education just for people who are rich?

So maybe we shouldn't use a number. Maybe we ought to look at the various needs and say that if people cannot meet those needs that they aren't rich - regardless of how much money they make. I mean right off the top the dollars for a family of six should be different than a family of three, yes? Or just a couple? Shouldn't it be easier to get rich without kids than with? Or, under this analysis is having children a luxury - a discretionary expense people decide to undertake foolishly without first taking care of the basics?

Certainly that can't be what we mean. Although after a point there does seem to be some logic there (says the guy with 5 cats - and 5 annual vet bills).

This whole issue came from a discussion of taxes I think. Both candidates go out of their way to say they're not going to tax "middle class families." Clearly that rhetoric is meaningless. If Obama means "people making over $150,000" when he says "tax the rich" I think he needs to look at his math again - maybe even if its the $250,000 figure. If McCain intends to protect people making over $1,000,000 per year while "protecting working families" he needs to check his math.

When there are people out there like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who have actually said they think they should be paying more taxes I don't understand why there's so much concentration on people that are just getting by, regardless of what level they are scratching to get at.

But none of that helps me understand how much it really takes to be "rich."


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Neighbor Cat & Trike

I keep hoping to catch a deer, but this will have to do for now.


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

TV Vertical Integration - A Bad Thing

Project Runway : Slutty, Slutty, Slutty!: "Last night's episode of Project Runway featured special guest star Brooke Shields, who was forced to pimp Lipstick Jungle, a TV show brought to you by NBC Universal, the company that happens to own Bravo. Synergy! The challenge was to design an ensemble for Brooke's character, Wendy, to wear from day to night. The contestants were given dossiers on Wendy because, you know, no one actually watches the damn show. (Last season they had Sarah Jessica Parker, an actual, you know, style icon. Poor Brooke Shields just felt like forced product placement.)"

Food meme From Ellen

I know, I know; I just couldn't resist the Food Meme.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
2a) Italicize any item you'll never eat again.
2b) Asterisk any items you'd be willing to try but have not yet.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.
4b) Add a question mark to the items where you have no idea what they are.

1. Venison*
2. Nettle tea?
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding?
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper?
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda?
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi?
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea?
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Does accidentally while biking count?)
43. Phaal?
44. Goat.s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more *
46. Fugu*
47. Chicken tikka masala?
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi?
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald.s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine?
60. Carob chips
61. S.mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin?
64. Currywurst?
65. Durian?
66. Frogs. legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini*
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost?
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu?
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong?
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum?
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky?
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant*
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare*
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate?
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa?
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor*
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

There's No 100 Meter Backward Run

Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history - Los Angeles Times: "Three of swimming's four strokes -- everything but the breaststroke -- might as well be the same. Otherwise, how could backstroker Matt Grevers say he barely trained that stroke before winning an Olympic silver medal in the 100? Nearly every good freestyler can be a good butterflyer, and vice-versa."


  • 16:58 Little House the Musical? The things you learn from NPR... #
  • 19:46 after trying two gates, multiple times, I can confirm my CostCo card will not open the CMU parking lot - that kind of day #
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Friday, August 15, 2008


  • 10:56 Back to the working. Vacation apparently over. #
  • 19:00 My office is too cold #
  • 21:29 @aerdin mo money mo money mo money! #
  • 23:39 Watching DVR'd USA Basketball #
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Thursday, August 14, 2008


The copier is already broken, so there's no anticipation for the weekend before classes... We're going to get Dick a shirt that says "Well, I AM the Head of the School of Drama"... Today my finger is swollen... I'm just saying, but the last time I saw someone win a race at the Olympics by that much it was Ben Johnson... I have my first migratory dinosaur, in Ben Avon... Today Bean got himself trapped in a space he couldn't get out of. I wonder if that's a humbling experience for a cat... Those girls, no, they aren't 16... I half expect Putin to tell us to go fuck ourselves, maybe even use those words... Add to never ending list: find scholarships for girls in male dominated fields... Someone hit the *rinse* button in Pittsburgh again today... I'm kinda bummed the Dino post worked it's way off the front page... The woman doing the synchro diving commentary should listen to herself a little more carefully... I folded, I have a Facebook page - and Twitter, but you knew that... I am seriously considering a staff of three for the green page this year... Today I picked up yet another syllabus to write, maybe I can just become a professional syllabus writer... We're deferring the bedroom set, taking our money to Vegas instead... I think I will never get used to athletes wearing makeup for something other than women's gymnastics... My sister and brother-in-law both landed Broadway gigs... I know people are excited about school starting, but I could really use another couple of weeks... The project we hung in the shop hasn't fallen, guess my ETCP certification is safe for another day... My office is too cold, not to be confused with my wife's rapper name: 2-Kowld... The Obama people never did call back... I am going to watch the USA/Spain basketball game, even though I know who won... I had ribs for dinner tonight, I ate two. Listen to your mother and don't fill up on bread... There is so much feed in my feeds that I haven't done anything but star and delete for three days, undoubtably more deleting in my future... Mrs. TANBI watched the Project Runway without me, guess she may be over me... I still can't get passed level four... So far I've seen (on top of the regulars) badmitton, ping pong, team handball, and field hockey. I think if they're gonna play ping pong they migh as well add pool... The Fourth Anniversary Post is coming up. Go through the last 12 months posts and nominate your favorites...


  • 12:41 Dino clean up day - woohoo #
  • 19:56 Big dinosaur, RIP: #
  • 19:57 Is it possible to break your finger while sleeping? I think I may have. #
  • 01:21 #
  • 01:22 @scoutfinch2271 Mrs. Boevers says "if it were broken it would be all swollen, it's not broken" - so I guess it's not broken #
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Final Resting Place

Perhaps to be unearthed by archeologists many years into the future...

There's a trim issue and a level issue, and maybe even a little composition issue. We may need a notes call down the line, but for the time being it's out of the way and on display. Now if we can just manage to keep it out of the Christmas show and convo and outreach and, and, and...

We bolted on the cheater bar that was clamped, shot a few staples into all the joints, scabbed the two major joints - one with glued & screwed ply and the other with a bolted steel plate. Overall not much prep. The lifting turned out to be no big thing at all as we managed to employ the bull winch from the Chosky in my first non-counterweight system application. I'll have to remember that for the future because it worked real well. In the end we needed to modify the sling attachment up front to keep it from pitching over, sort of like side-arming a pipe to keep it from rolling. A nice project actually for rigging and carpentry.

I wonder if it will still be there tomorrow.


  • 10:48 @technovinci blogspot - but I feel like I ought to use Wordpress #
  • 10:49 too late for breakfast, too early for lunch, guess I have to work #
  • 16:31 I have a calendar, we must be starting #
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sorta Sad

Still Won't Move a House in My Neighborhood Worldwide: "Prices fell on a year-over-year basis in 140 out of 165 markets, Zillow said. Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City and Austin, Texas, were among the markets that saw rising home values, the company said."

And So It Begins...

I always get a nice start to the year with a coloring project. Of course it means I have to wait until the calendars come out - which typically nobody tells us about. I've learned to ask for it. Then I go back to my office and try to stay inside the lines. I made a few mistakes this time around.

Now I can do class schedules. Too much fun.


  • 14:41 Someone did take that dino I was hoping would be leftover :-( #
  • 16:22 Woohoo! We made Toolmonger again! #
  • 00:34 I successfully got through today without accomplishing anything. #
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Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm Famous!

Ok, well maybe we need another word instead of "famous" - something more like "famous within a specific sphere of tool geeks." Anyway, Toolmonger picked up the latest DinoWorkshop photo I put in the photo pool for an article...

And this time they linked direct to my page within the article. Way cool.


  • 11:09 Guys - STAY HOME - double teaming just gives them open threes - there's nobody there that earns a double team #
  • 18:31 Laundry day, well it was the day several days ago, but today I am actually doing it #
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Something I Said?

This morning someone from the Obama campaign call our house, polling I guess. The call didn't exactly end the way I thought it would. She starts out with "hi my name is" something I didn't hear, I really wasn't listening yet...

caller: I'd like to ask you some questions about the election.

me: ok

caller: How are you this morning?

me: We're peachy thanks.

caller: What?

me: fine, we're fine.

caller: ok, do you think you know which of the nominees you're going to vote for?

me: I was unaware there are nominees.

caller: yeah, it's Obama or McCain.

me: but the conventions haven't even happened yet.

caller: (silence)
At this point I was a little afraid I'd broken her, so I was going to give her a little rope before I tugged again. I started to say "we're probably going to vote for Obama." The next sentence was going to be "but first we have to find out if Nader is on the PA ballot, and we're going to be looking into Bob Barr."

Except I didn't get to, because she hung up on me.

Mrs. TANBI says I got what I deserved. I think that all they had to say was "candidates" instead of "nominees" and I wouldn't have had my switch flipped (you just KNOW I'm going to be one of those "of course you can go to the bathroom, the question is may you go to the bathroom" parents). Also, in any case I don't think you just hang up - that's rude.

If only there was ANYONE else to vote for...



  • 13:43 @renelae I KNEW there were people in those boxes! #
  • 17:02 shopping for bedroom sets #
  • 17:07 @scoutfinch2271 got to love the mail in Chicago. Maybe they're all watching the Olympics. #
  • 01:39 @aerdin sounds fairly epic. #
  • 02:48 3am - enough putzing around #
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Shopping Shopping...

I think it might be time for a new bedroom set. The one we have now is from two apartments before we bought the house and is frankly a little mismatched.

Today we went to a local "UNCLAIMED FREIGHT" kind of place and saw a few that we thought we could get behind.

There was this:

although we're not sure we're into the four-poster thing.

Then there was this:

but then we think that maybe the upholstered headboard thing is a little not us. This set also has the upright unit that is really an entertainment center.

And then there was this:

another with an entertainment center. The headboard for this one is sitting in the back, the detail is like the top of the mirror.

We're also partial to this set from IKEA:

the stuff we have now is from Ikea - it isn't awful. This line would be a step up in Ikea quality I think.

Finally there's this set from Costco:

We've been looking for a while now, on and off. I've seen so many sets I can't remember what I like anymore. We've been to Room Full and to Levin's and gotten their pitch. The real stores seem to be a lot higher priced right now and the quality of the workmanship doesn't seem a whole lot better. I may be stunned. Got any thoughts?


  • 09:11 more carpooling, more interviews #
  • 13:47 Pittsburgh got a rigorous rinse, no everything is shiny #
  • 18:40 truth be told, I think everyone stayed home from work today, more road for me. #
  • 18:41 precollege is over, we had a good crop, now time for printing tenure binders - big fun #
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Friday, August 08, 2008

And Knowing is Half the Battle

It's The Muppet Show!

Featuring special, guest star Kevin Hines!

Kenny did muppets with the prekies. One of them found their inspiration in Professor Hines. You can almost hear it saying "Buy cheap tools, get cheap tools."

Maybe we should put this with that other muppet from crits:

Perhaps this year the audition tour will feature interviews conducted by alter-egos - that'd break up the day.

Comedy Writing

Somewhere there's a Daily Show writer saying "You can't make this shit up!"

The Nation - Election Shocker: "Biblical scholars in Colorado Springs have uncovered startling evidence that Senator John McCain may be the Antichrist. Their conclusions, while highly controversial, may have a dramatic impact on the 2008 elections, since many Bible-believing Christians have already expressed doubts about McCain's fealty to Christianity."

What Was Wall Street Drinking?

236 - The Room: "That's right. Bush said that Wall Street got drunk, and now it's hung over. And it's waking up next to China. And in the morning light? Uh-uh, it don't look so good. But now China wants to get brunch and everything's all weird because Wall Street just wants to go home and catch The Dark Knight finally."


  • 09:11 carpool today - saving that gas #
  • 11:58 Meeting with a parent, not my favorite #
  • 15:06 entire afternoon of interviews - good time to run spyware and virus scans on my desktop #
  • 21:18 If the Large Hadron Collider destroys the planet, it's been nice knowing you all. #
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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Energy Policy

Have you noticed the press the last few days showing the McCain people misrepresenting Obama's thoughts on energy conservation? Senator McCain and his people are saying Obama's policy is for people to properly inflate their tires. They're even handing out tire gauges to try to drive home the point of how stupid it is.

First off, it isn't Obama's "Energy Policy." Someone in the audience in one of his appearances asked what private individuals could do themselves, right now. Properly inflating your tires makes like a 6-7% difference to fuel economy - a fairly good savings for doing almost nothing (note to self: check tire pressure on the truck). The Obama people have spent the last day or so rightly chastising the opposition for belittling what is actually a fairly decent suggestion.

I have a better one.

The other night I fired up the DVR and watched myself an episode of MythBusters. On this particular episode, Jaime and Adam were proving that you could indeed tenderize a steak with high explosives (as a side note, the libertarian in me got all riled up when Adam cited a USDA approved scale and apparatus for testing the tenderness of beef. WTF does the US government care about beef tenderness, and why are they spending my tax dollars quantifying it). Concurrently, the farm team was testing yet another fuel efficiency myth.

Their task was to confirm or bust that driving under stress wastes gas. It turns out that it does, and not some measly 6-7% like from tire inflation but anecdotally could be as much as a 1/3 difference. In other words, driving while relaxed can potentially save you 30%+ on gas.

So the next time Obama is speaking and someone in the house asks what we, as individuals, can do right now to help with the energy situation Obama ought to come back with something like this:

Well, last time I suggested that people make sure their tires are properly inflated, but we all know how that went over with my esteemed opponent. So here's another: I understand The MythBusters has firmly established that driving under stress wastes upwards of 30% of gas. So how about this as a personal energy strategy for driving: Relax
I would LOVE to hear what the McCain camp would do with that. Plus, if it were the last question asked (and I mean we know these things are never staged) Obama could then exit to Frankie Goes to Hollywood - coolest campaign song EVER! Plus Discovery Channel might get a sound bite of McCain saying "Who are the Mythbusters" for the opening of the show.

Could be fun.

It's not quite time to let bygones be bygones.

Slate Magazine: "Such contortionism aside, the question for most of us now is not whether laws were broken, but what to do about it. The War Crimes Act of 1996 makes it a federal crime for any American—military or civilian—to cause a 'grave breach' of the Geneva Conventions' ban on inhumane treatment for prisoners. U.S. interrogators have been inhumane. Some of them have not only tortured but, in at least 100 cases, killed prisoners. A smattering of relatively low-ranking soldiers have been prosecuted, but in most instances there has been little or no accountability and none whatsoever at the top."


flyover: "Put another way: The boomer attitude is not collaborative but confrontational. It’s not one of compromise but of conflict. It’s doesn’t begin from a position of pragmatism but of ideology."

That About Sums It Up

Jezebel: "Somehow Jerrell was not kicked off for this carnival of ridiculousness."


  • 15:39 should have known the kids would lose it over "audition slippers" #
  • 17:40 We now know what Grad1 TDs will be taking this fall. #
  • 21:17 no parking at the Coldstone :-( Probably didn't need it anyway #
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Man A Plan Panama

We've spent so much time over the last few years at work on the Undergrad class sequence we really haven't thought much about the Grad thing. Really with the small number of students we've had around it's been easier to let them customize their sequences anyway.

Today, we looked at the roll out of the undergrad classes to see what it made available for a new grad one TD. Here's what we found:

None too shabby if you ask me. Can you read chicken scratches? If not:

  • Technical Direction I
  • Technical Management
  • Structures I
  • Production Electrics
  • Welding
  • Production Preparation
  • Colloquium
  • Applied Internship
Pretty good lineup I think. If I get really motivated, I might look at what their spring looks like sometime before registration. I mean, the fall seems to have worked itself out pretty well. Maybe the spring will be the same way.


  • 12:40 @renelae seems like it - me and the missus #
  • 15:14 fixed my traffic cams, finally #
  • 17:02 Its official, I am working on the fall semester #
  • 00:43 @renelae and in a half hour you'll want to talk more? #
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What Would You Do With Brett Favre?

Talk about a shit sandwich. I am so glad I don't run the Packers. If I did though, I think I would have stuck to my guns too. With camp coming up, if I got the phone call I guess I would have said "well, you're welcome to come back, but we've proceeded with our planning based on your retirement, so you will have to begin the season as our backup." I guess it would be hard to say, but really is he in shape? Have they been working all off season to build something around someone else?

I mean, you have to let him come back, yes?

It sounds like that stance - to come back as the reserve - is not acceptable to Favre. But with the way QB's go down in this league, what's to say that if you do come back on the bench that you're not starting by week three? And this way starting for Green Bay rather than someone else.

I was wondering if he could be in shape and then I remembered that after MJ retired he came back and scored 55 on the Knicks mid-season. Maybe Favre has been working out too.

It's a good thing he didn't take that $20 million dollar payoff to be a front office rep. That would have been a lousy resolution. Still, with the way things are going it doesn't sound like they have much left in the solution column.

It'd be really weird, but I think Favre in a Bears jersey would be interesting. Last few years have been pretty sketchy for the Bears at QB. I wonder what Chicago sports radio sounds like this week. I bet the thought of Favre going to the Vikings makes people in Chicago pissy.

On ESPN radio they played a promo wherein they suggested that they should just give up and cancel the whole season if Favre can't play. Sounds reasonable to me.

By the way, did you notice that the Olympic opening ceremonies are playing up against a full slate of NFL preseason games? I wonder who missed that little detail on the calendar. Maybe they were too distracted thinking about where Brett Favre is going to play.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


  • 11:44 @scoutfinch2271 yeh, I have drugs - sometimes just doesn't matter #
  • 11:44 I need a haircut #
  • 14:07 and now I have one #
  • 00:02 Anyone going to LDI? #
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Monday, August 04, 2008

It's August

The list of things I was supposed to do this summer and haven't would exceed my blogger storage quota. And now I need to add my prep list for the fall. Let me tell you, it's a long, long list.


  • 16:14 deadly allergy day, damn #
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Sunday, August 03, 2008


  • 11:10 out of shape - hands hurt, feet hurt - I should get a job or something #
  • 16:13 new shoes - excellent #
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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The End of TV?

Eureka: SciFi Channel Sells Out Eureka: "While my kneejerk reaction is just to complain bitterly about this kind of thing, I have to admit that Eureka is maybe the one show on the SciFi Channel that could make it work. But if I hear even a rumor about the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica explaining that the Cylon Menace can be placated by Stride Gum, then there'll be trouble."

Your Government At Work

Wonk Room » House Conservatives Employ DeLay-Style Tactics To Kill Legislation That Would Rein In Oil Profiteers: "Fadel Gheit, Managing Director and Senior Oil Analyst, Oppenheimer & Company testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

I believe the surge in crude oil price, which more than doubled in the last 12 months, was mainly due to excessive speculation and not due to an unexpected shift in market fundamentals.

During the alloted time for voting, 291 members cast “yes” votes – more than enough to pass the bill. Then Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and their minions went to work. Thirteen Republicans flipped and joined the 16 Democrats and 122 Republicans already in opposition. Final result: the bill failed, and profiteers will continue to drive up oil prices."


  • 09:54 out at 9:30, back at 9:30 - a little too much like stock for me #
  • 20:11 Dino proj08 over! Some pics here: - more on my site later... #
  • 23:15 Dino wrap up: #
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Friday, August 01, 2008


So the Dinosaur Workshop is over and a great time was had by all.

We had 10 students and 2 prekie assistants this year and we spread the workshop over a night and a class period the next day. Then it was going so well we took it on the road for another class period and most of the afternoon and evening. It was all that and a bag of chips.

If the *festival project* and *knot dating* were the signature pieces of my early teaching and the *critical path/Rube Goldberg* and the *John Henry* projects are the signature of my current teaching, the *Dinosaur Workshop* is definitely my Pre-College signature piece. This is the second year we've done it. Last year we barely finished two pieces. This year with some excellent drawing revisions we managed to complete seven pieces and add one as big as it can be version.

We'd done the T-Rex, Trike, Spino, and Steg before:

This year we added a brachiasaur, in the same scale:

and somewhat larger:

The somewhat larger version is roughly 17' long and 12' tall. Last year when I did this I got featured on and they posited "How big can he go?" This was their answer. The largest piece in this model is sized to be as big as it can be on a 4x8 sheet of plywood without having to add any seams. The whole model takes seven sheets of plywood, and this variety of puzzle actually has about 1/3 less pieces than the ones we drafted last year.

The scale is too big. The neck is too slender to support the head of the model, so in the end we had to add a cheater bar - we clamped on a piece of 1" box steel. If we do another one, we'll probably double up the thickness of several of the more load bearing pieces. Although this thing would hold itself standing it was decidedly wambly. Going to 1.5" on the spine, hips, shoulders, and legs would probably solve that issue, although clamping on a piece of 1x didn't so maybe it would need to be even beefier.

After lunch we cleaned up the shop and moved outside (cue the legions of slaves - nothing gets it done like the legions):

I thought the kids would have fun taking their small pieces around campus and shooting odd photos. A couple did, but mostly they just collapsed and soaked up the sun. So we wound up with a fairly nice display. First we did the "Mother and Children" picture:

and then something with a little conflict:

and then a great big family photo:

It turned into a little bit of a happening. People were stopping by and snapping a lot of photos. I heard many things like "That is awesome" and one "Why does CMU have to be so cool?" A bunch of Drama faculty saw it and I even had a brief conversation with the Provost - as well as many less distinguished viewers. Probably the neatest group was the pre-school daycare kids who were just amazed at the whole thing, and who amazed me by knowing the names of all the dinosaurs. It was so popular among passers by that I decided to leave it up after the end of class at 3:30 until 6:00 and then at 6:00 to leave it until 7:30; and while we were striking it at 7:30ish someone showed up and asked "Where are all the dinosaurs? I came back from home to take pictures." There were also quite a few "I wonder if this will be up through Monday?" murmurs along the way.

Probably the highlight of my day though was mid-day at the end of the session when I hear "Best, Class, Ever!" from one of my students. Nice to hit the target once in a while.

More pics...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


  • 11:21 If Favre won't take that $20 million over 10 years to not play, tell the Packers to sign me up! #
  • 11:22 @scoutfinch2271 bummer, sorry. #
  • 21:22 One dino done... - six in process - one waiting (it's a biggie) #
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