Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Wonder...


Echo (Dollhouse episode)

I am thinking of getting a crew cut... Wow, the news this week is real grim. Not so much shattering, just kinda all bad... I might be getting old, or at least Republican... I'm going to rename my folks cat: Lurker Von Fuzzybutt... Can't really commit to Dollhouse... PAGE TWO (RIP Paul Harvey)... BSG was cool, really have to keep your 8's straight this week... Wesley Crusher really put an end to the Kindle "read aloud" arguement. Be nice if people noticed... Getting ready to head out to Vegas and looking for plans, got any? Let me know... Upon further thought, pre-apocalyptic science-fiction might be harder to pull off than post-apocalyptic. At least after you have the possibility of being uplifting, before: less so... Smokey Bones isn't a bad lunch... Wondering a lot this week about institutional mission. Seems with tough times organizations ought to shrink back to their mission... I had a Shamrock Shake today, green flavored goodness... The floor of my home office needs a mop, damn cats... Late at night I am blazing through the final season of The West Wing. There's quite a bit there I don't recall... The Pittsburgh Mills Mall is still kinda odd. I never would have thought you could have a mall without really selling anything... My new boss made a good impression out West. That's a good thing... Still really just hovering at like 60%, but it's starting to get old... For reasons I do not understand I have migrated almost totally from NPR to Sports Talk... Coming around to the conclusion that clutter is a real debilitating factor in my life... Getting to be the time of year to be thinking about summer work. Nothing could be further from my mind...

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  • 11:24 Studiocraft - CAD: minsert, point, node, divide, measure, & wblock #
  • 14:16 Thought about a half day, but caved #
  • 14:33 @PunkyPicc like the punctuation, or the organ? #
  • 17:50 Some things just bring out the Gordon Ramsay in me #
  • 23:17 Dumpling House might actually be better as take-out #
  • 01:28 Only three episodes left. Frak. #
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Friday, February 27, 2009

20 Possible Battlestar Galactica Endings, All of Them Hideously Depressing

Topless Robot: "11) The ship runs out of algae. Order breaks down as the remaining humans turn to cannibalism to survive. Adama is forced to eat Roslin, and cries while eating her. It is revealed that the only difference between humans and humanoid Cylons is that the Cylons have a delicious 'ranch' flavor."


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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where Has All the Blogging Gone?

If you've been reading for a while (and thanks so much if you have) you've probably noticed things dropping off quite a bit of late. While much of that has to do with just general lethargy and my ongoing family situation I actually do think there are a few other influences that have had a significant impact. In the naute of blogging I thought maybe you'd like to know what they are.

1. iPhone

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Blogging for me usually turns out to be a late in the evening thing. Since I got a smartphone and can check my email without even lighting up a computer I've found myself sitting in front of this screen less and less. Less computer time is just going to translate into less blogging posts. I haven't done a blog post from the phone. I guess if I make that happen it might start to be less of an issue.

2. Facebook

Facebook, Inc.

So this hasn't been as big an issue as I suppose it could be. But, without argument the other site has nuked out a couple of more regular blog posts: the "link of the day" and the meme. More often than not now if I do a meme or if I see a site or an article I want to make people aware of I post it to my facebook wall. So if you miss those kinds of posts you should friend me inside Facebook's little walled garden. If you never liked them in the first place - well you probably don't miss them then, even if it has made for less overall posting.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

In that same vein, Twitter and LoudTwitter have impaced things a little too. I think sometimes the Twitter feed steals some of what eventually might have wound up in "ellipses..." posts; even even though it all eventually works its way onto the site, it's not really the same. Sometimes I consider dumping the "Shorties" posts from LoudTwitter - but lately it feels like that would leave nearly nothing at all.

Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword

#3 Civilization IV - Beyond the Sword
I've always been a fan of the Civ game series. Actually my favorite was Alpha Centauri, but they haven't released that for a contemporary OS. I've got it down to where I can play a complete game in less than two hours. Still along with that, I often don't feel like going on to spend time writing. It's a lame excuse, but it's true: blogging has taken a backseat to gaming more often than once.

There's also the small problem of XenoTactic, which you might be familiar with if you follow the Twitter feed. Having been pretty much stymied by level six I haven't spent as much time with that particular diversion as of late. But it has taken a toll.

But not as much as this next thing.

#4 RSS Feeds - Google Reader

Really, REALLY BIG RSS feed button

So, back in the day you'd have a few blogs you followed and once a day or so you'd blow open the page and see what was up. No more. Now most pages have feeds that you can set to all accumulate in one place and check in a feed reader. Whenever they update the piece is there automatically, no checking day after day and finding nothing. Maybe a week ago, if I left my feeds alone for 24 hours they would pile up north of 2000 entries. Even jamming through without looking that carefully, 1000 stories takes for-f'in-ever. So last week I ruthlessly culled through the subscriptions and cut it down significantly. Now I think on a normal day we're at about 600-700 stories and I can go through like 300 in a half hour or so. It's gone from being like slave labor to like reading the paper - but it definitely takes time away from the blogging.

Still, I certainly miss the blogging. So maybe there will be some re-balancing over time and the posting will pick up again. At least I hope so.

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  • 16:03 office - email, feeds, page, you know: churning #
  • 20:10 sometimes you just can't get away with masonite - even in theatre #
  • 21:20 Unos, waterfront. Waiting. #
  • 00:11 Not twittering the Top Chef winner for those who might be time shifting #
  • 00:12 @mipow we should talk after #
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Monday, February 23, 2009


  • 10:18 Sunday morning interviews #
  • 11:49 looking at scans, photos of drawings on a computer screen is a new and interesting challenge - can't see "hand", need a scale reference... #
  • 13:33 Mad Mex Monoeville #
  • 20:46 Booking Vegas for Spring Break #
  • 20:47 @aerdin it's only a bath*room* if it has walls and a door #
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Saturday, February 21, 2009


  • 11:35 Studiocraft - polyline, pedit, array, block, insert #
  • 17:45 Blue Sky Technology Meeting #
  • 17:48 @bpeoples I am admittedly often teaching acadR13. Someday I'll learn. Still, basics are the basics, and, some of the brains were melting. #
  • 19:24 time for home #
  • 01:29 @scoutfinch2271 trudat #
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Friday, February 20, 2009


  • 11:05 Snow. Swell. #
  • 11:06 Dead stop on the Parkway East. Who is surprised there's a tunnel? #
  • 13:20 Basic PTM - Critical Path Method #
  • 15:49 Greenpage Top Five: #
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Thursday, February 19, 2009


Too cool for school.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rough All Over

I've seen a couple posts lately about the bottom falling out of Dubai. One even said thousands of cars are being abandoned at the airport as people leave the country. I found this one on BoingBoing:


  • 15:36 late lunch #
  • 15:37 @mipow you Victorian tramp #
  • 18:44 and all of a sudden, it's 6:00 #
  • 02:13 and now bed time #
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Monday, February 16, 2009


  • 16:19 Pangea for Valentine's dinner - meh #
  • 19:58 @aerdin one would think they would be more like pains in the arm #
  • 19:58 Laundry day #
  • 19:59 @pennjillette Banks closed, Columbus Day! LOL #
  • 00:47 @aerdin shadyside. In a basement. By the parking garage. #
  • 00:48 Laundry mission accomplished #
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Clearly not writing enough at this address... Sometimes I get the feeling that everyone involved knows the stimulus package won't really help and they're just trying to make the crash take as long as possible... I though Dollhouse was ok, but I guess a few more weeks will be needed to really tell... Do you think the Chicago Tribune has what it takes to clean up Illinois politics? I hope so. It'd be nice for them to have a governor who's term doesn't end with incarceration for a change... My Dad sounded the best he's sounded in quite some time tonight... Gas is creeping up again. Don't let them tell you the price of gas has anything to do with the price of oil... I think maybe the East phoned it in a little there towards the end... US Air is cutting another 50 jobs in Pittsburgh. They will never stop thanking us for how good we've been to them... Sunday night TV is becoming a little bit of a logjam, even with a DVR... I'm still only like 60% up to speed, I can tell at home and at work. It's been a month, not sure how long it will take... Don't let anyone tell you different, six cats is at least one too many... I can't get AIM to work on my iPhone. It seems like an inconvenience, but then, I guess maybe it could also be a good thing... Finally got back to teaching CAD last week. Does anyone know how to make ALL the dialog boxes disappear? How about reappear? See something new every year... Mrs. TANBI and I went to Pangea for Valentine's dinner. All in all we weren't very excited. I think maybe we've been to too many really high end restaurants to be fair to others now... A nice long Vegas vacation is sounding really good right now... I think I have everything I need to do my taxes except the will to go on... I am considering taking a somewhat lower political profile at work. Of course that means haveing to control my mouth. Might not be possible... Should I put my blog on my Facebook? Might make it just a tad too easy to find, but there are people I think might read it who aren't aware of it... Speaking of her, Mrs. TANBI makes a great Valentine... Even with the endless exposition, Friday's BSG was quite good. Now we just need to know what is the deal with Starbuck. I'd be cool if I were right about her like I was right about Ellen... I could have done without the snow this weekend... The SCC episode went all BSG with a "head" Reese. It was ok, but it felt a little done...

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


  • 15:57 snow. swell. #
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Friday, February 13, 2009


  • 13:17 BPTM - Production Phases #
  • 14:47 prepping a presentation on "Lab Review" for the newbies #
  • 19:32 wow, that was a lot of meetings #
  • 11:40 anyone know how to make dialog boxes in CAD come back if someone has made them go away? #
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Thursday, February 12, 2009


  • 01:58 broke my last pair of cheap sunglasses today - time for squinting #
  • 13:17 BPTM - Production Phases #
  • 14:47 prepping a presentation on "Lab Review" for the newbies #
  • 19:32 wow, that was a lot of meetings #
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Note to SI

This is porn:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Essence of Blogging

Turn Until Temperature of Water SuitsImage by Michael Cornelius via Flickr

I have had enough of my shower. I know that many of the things we've seen in Science Fiction over the years are not practicable. Nobody thinks a hover car that folds into a briefcase is going to happen anytime soon. But I think that we can do better than the shower technology we have right now.

Why can't I set a dial to a temperature and then press "on" and have the shower be the temperature I want?

I mean, I don't think right now I could tell you what the temperature I want is, but the trial and error, turn it up, turn it down, wait for the water to change temperature is just stupid. Not just stupid, but also wasteful. Shouldn't it be more than possible to have the water recirculate until the temperature matches a thermostat? Right now you turn it on, and then you have to let it run to see what it is, and then you turn it up or down, and then you check again, and then you turn it up or down, and eventually it gets to the spot you're looking for and then you get in. It's not like you can trickle it up to the right temp though because for most showers the flow volume and the temperature are interconnected.

This is just stupid. I bet if I do an online search I will find the thing: a thermostat controlled shower valve. I also bet it's like $300, when the standard valving is like $40; and I bet if I get the thing I would have to re-tile part of my tub to install it - if I can install it (there's be electrical and plumbing in one package - anyone else hear "ZAP" in their head?)

Even if it is there I bet there isn't one with a recirculating circuit. Maybe someone could get on that. Then maybe we could get someone working on a plumbing system that takes water from the shower drain, runs it through a filter and then uses it to flush toilets, maybe even something that also incorporates a rain collection system. I'm not in the home improvement business, but if I were I think I'd be looking to sell these kinds of products. It's certainly something I would look into buying.

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  • 13:12 office - figuring out what else we need #
  • 15:23 cranking out estimating assignment #1 - lots of Rocketflat pictures #
  • 00:58 nine hour until the 9 am meeting :-( #
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Monday, February 09, 2009


  • 12:21 Off for brunch with the university president #
  • 23:56 reading feeds #
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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Movie Night

A small flat buttonImage via Wikipedia

Mrs. TANBI and I went to the movies last night. She sorta wanted to see Slumdog Millionaire and I sorta wanted to see Gran Torino, so we saw Coraline.

I hadn't heard much of anything about the movie except that it was stop motion. When we bought our tickets it was right under a sign alerting us that there was no 3D at this location. I didn't know it had been an option, so we didn't let the admonition stop us.

It's a really good movie, and I think a movie theatre movie - or at least worth seeing in a movie theatre movie. There were moments in the film I was fairly sure were designed for 3D, but not having the effect didn't take anything away that I could tell (although I can't say if having it would add anything). I thought it was a bit hard to watch at first. It took me a little while to stop looking for what was stop motion, what was traditional animation, what were sets and what was rendered - things like that. I'm not sure why, but for some period of time that seemed to matter to me. Also, I kept having the thought that early on in the process I bet this was a live action and animation film, with one technique applied to one world and the other to the other. In hind site I am not sure that would have added anything either.

There were a lot of kids at the movie. We went to a 7:30 show and I had figured that would end later than parents wanted to be out with their kids (this is after all Pittsburgh and not Vegas, where I routinely saw kids in the grocery at 3am), I was wrong. Interestingly, the story is pretty dark for kids. The film style suggests something that a 5 or 6 year old might enjoy, but I think the PG rating is spot on. There was a girl behind us I would be surprised to find was as old as 8 who got 100% out of the movie experience; shouting "No!" and "Don't go!" Toward the end I think she might have quite possibly, actually crapped her pants, I don't blame her, it was a scary moment.

The story is good, the animation is good, the music is good, it's just all really good.

And, I just checked out a lot of behind the scenes stuff on the web site and it would appear that there was very little other than sets and stop motion. Well done.
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  • 16:14 Bored #
  • 16:14 @thespophile covers are my favorites #
  • 18:54 movie night? #
  • 22:20 Bar Louie, Waterfront. #
  • 22:21 @MitchAdler how come your sexy phone didn't fix that? LOL. JK. #
  • 00:32 @aerdin really good movie. Not for eight year olds. #
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Saturday, February 07, 2009


  • 13:55 Need a call for a same day meeting #
  • 16:57 an hour behind all day today #
  • 22:08 I had the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Can I get a do-over? #
  • 00:16 Pretty good BSG #
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Thursday, February 05, 2009


  • 16:06 office - email IZ'd - green page next #
  • 19:41 @PunkyPicc totally cool #
  • 19:41 I love production meetings #
  • 21:15 got the letter! #
  • 00:29 photoshopping for the web #
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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Got the Letter

I wonder what's next?


  • 14:57 Losing my fight with the power that is Freya #
  • 15:56 @PunkyPicc Freya is (probably) our cutest kitten (not named for a bra) and she has the power to make you stay in bed for hours #
  • 15:56 office, big fun, really #
  • 17:42 Lighting candidate presentation. #
  • 23:04 When will it not be cold? #
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009


  • 15:34 and back to work #
  • 23:34 @thespophile not my finest retort - I apologize #
  • 23:35 @scoutfinch2271 happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to you! #
  • 23:36 not getting anywhere on the email backlog #
  • 01:34 Cathching up on Damages - wheels in wheels. #
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Monday, February 02, 2009

Some Thoughts on Driving Cross Country

I guess maybe it should only be "Cross-Midwest" as I didn't really cross the country. I mean "overland," yes?

Illustration of vibrations of a drum.Image via Wikipedia

I got a phone a little while back that successfully pairs with my GPS by bluetooth, so while driving I have a speakerphone. I hadn't used it much as the pairing and unpairing seems stupid when you'll be in the car for less than 20 minutes (I am probably doing something wrong), but for a long trip with maybe four hours between stops it seems like a good idea. I actually wound up using the speakerphone feature this time and discovered something. Since the GPS is fairly hard-mounted to the windshield, the person on the other end of the line gets a nice whooshing sound along with your voice. I am guessing it's the wind on the windshield being transmitted through vibration in the suction mount. Oops.

Map of Northwest IndianaImage via Wikipedia

In Indiana I saw a cell phone tower that had blown over. It was really cool and was gone before I could get out my camera. I mean I love you people and all, but not enough to stop.

I also should give a little shout out to the GPS nav system for continuing to keep my trips interesting. This time we got yet a third (fourth?) route through Northwest Indiana. So far we've used the Skyway and not used the Skyway, so thats 90 and 94 and then this time IN State 912. I cannot tell at all why the thing chooses one over the other. I know it can do real time traffic, but I also know it isn't enabled - because I don't know how and I think there's something I would have to subscribe to. I would say its using the day of the week and the time of the day except it must not know that because it can never seem to tell which way the Chicago reverseables will be open. Still, it did go quickly, and I think it saved me $2 in tolls. So thanks for that GPS.

The phone does other tricks beside the bluetooth. It's got 3G internet, so I could tweet and check email and even Facebook from the road - as well as look things up on google maps. I don't think the experience of driving is all that much better having these things, and I imagine it will cause a fair number of accidents from people Twittering instead of driving, but it's still a little cool none the less.

Energy-dense foods, such as fast food (picture...Image via Wikipedia

I'd also just like to say, to have said it, that two people is not enough to staff a rest-stop fast food establishment, especially during the day. When you go into these places it's not for a relaxing driving sabbatical, at least it isn't for me. If I could pee, get food, and refuel without actually stopping that's what I would want. So standing there for 15 minutes while the two of you grind out value meals is enough to really make a man demented.

More annoying than that though... Coming into PA from Ohio I got stuck in one of these new toll-chutes behind some guy, and his dog, who were digging through the mats of his car to find enough change to pay a $3 toll. It would be ok if when you saw this you could maneuver at all but nowadays once you pick a lane - well, that's your lane. There should be some kind of honk-code you can do to get the attendant to just let the loser go and apply the toll to you. I would have much rather paid another $3 than to have had to sit there for 11 minutes. I mean, like I say above, I am trying to get from A to B.

Maybe I wouldn't mind the sitting around so much if the truck hadn't gotten to smell just a little bit like the monkey house at the zoo. Now I know this is sort of all on me, but two 8 hour drives in a short space, plus leaving the cooler in the car in between. Well, it wasn't a good recipe. Thankfully it wasn't a permanent change.
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  • 13:18 Five Hour National pre-game show? We have lost our national mind. #
  • 19:08 Can't stand the hype - switching to Animal Planet "Kitty Halftime Show" #
  • 19:24 OK ready to be watching the #superbowl #
  • 19:38 lol: gavroche: If Star Trek has taught us anything it's that it's better to wear gold than red. #superbowl #
  • 19:42 I wish twitter was streaming the #superbowl like they did during the debates #
  • 19:48 @PunkyPicc don't you live near a bar? #
  • 20:02 first quarter of the #superbowl coulda been worse, woulda liked that TD though #
  • 20:17 @aerdin um, huge pile of money? just a guess #
  • 20:22 oops - game on #superbowl #
  • 20:52 go 100 yards - come on - 100 yards!!! #superbowl #
  • 21:30 time for part two #
  • 22:05 three down, one to go. still not safe #
  • 22:29 crunch time #
  • 22:50 Ouch, just takes one play. Course, it'll just take one play... #
  • 23:01 BOTH FEET DOWN!!! #
  • 23:04 Well, nobody can say they don't at least make it interesting. #superbowl #
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Sunday, February 01, 2009


  • 18:22 @MitchAdler this is one of the odder dimension of of the twitter experience #
  • 18:22 finish the walk? gonna be 40 tomorrow - maybe take a chance and leave it #
  • 21:54 @pennjillette #
  • 22:16 Cocktails! #
  • 00:27 @KatyK does pile up, doesn't it? #
  • 02:02 too many cocktails, oops. getting old #
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