Monday, August 31, 2009


  • 15:03 Office, because that's how we roll #
  • 20:13 If you are one of the people I insinuated had my hardcopy thesis without knowing it: I apologize. I found it today buried deep in my office. #
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Sunday, August 30, 2009


  • 16:52 Casting about for a long tack, flexibly drying adhesive for a large area - preferaby water based. Any ideas? #
  • 23:28 @jkrall um, no #
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Architect's Leap

CMU student plunges to death: "Less than 24 hours after his death, university officials removed a poem that had been scribbled anonymously with dark humor on the underside of the concrete stairs, visible to anyone walking down the steps.

The poem, written in black, read: 'If you're feeling like a jerk 'cause your project just won't work, go ahead and take the leap, then you'll finally get some sleep.'

CMU spokesman Ken Walters said the university was not aware the poem was there, and officials had it removed following Mr. Vakharia's death. Mr. Walters said he was not aware of any previous injuries or deaths occurring in the stairwell."
This is really very sad. I only post it because when I was a student in the 80's that poem was spread across several floors and the chalk outline was at the bottom. Interesting that they didn't know it was there. Must have been removed, and then replaced - probably over and over again.

My thoughts now are with the family and friends working their way through this tragedy.


  • 09:20 Driveway Deja vu - trying to escape before confinement #
  • 11:46 Don't walk away from the plotter with files in the que - bad form #
  • 12:50 @speak_true would that I could :-( #
  • 12:50 Scene Designer people. If you've got complete sets of design drawings I would LOVE to have them for my Tech Direction classes. Hook me up! #
  • 13:07 @aerdin like as a source for material to do technical projects - and I might have a backup plan for the other thing if you're not up to it #
  • 15:53 Stagecraft mini one schedule complete #
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Friday, August 28, 2009


  • 11:53 Hmm, leaving the house might be harder than I thought: #
  • 12:19 looking for what's on my list I can do from home #
  • 12:40 @bpeoples was hoping maybe I'd managed to skip that kind of employment #
  • 15:37 Woohoo - Inbox Zeroed #
  • 16:06 Oracle calendar FAIL #
  • 16:42 SRC Meeting #
  • 20:20 Mostly they filled in the hole #
  • 01:12 Eagles game was crazy #
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Thursday, August 27, 2009


  • 11:06 Jackhammers make fine alarm clocks. #
  • 13:46 Technical Direction I - SOD grading policy - TD Overview, estimating #
  • 17:26 Technical Direction III - Grapes current budget projection #
  • 20:04 Well, that turned out to be a rather expensive day at the doctor - even with insurance #
  • 21:34 @aerdin didn't go to the doctor for that, this was something else - and as it turns out could have been completely unnecessary #
  • 00:13 I wanna try the "chips and guacamole macaroon" #
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


  • 13:04 World has it's own plan today apparently #
  • 13:40 @aerdin wanna come teach SketchUp this semester? #
  • 19:05 Finished a bunch of Stagecraft stuff - finally #
  • 23:40 @scoutfinch2271 Fucking pantry. Dammit. #
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


  • 11:39 @scoutfinch2271 until when? #
  • 11:39 Welcome back CFA and Carnegie Mellon students! Good luck as you start your fall semesters! (via @CarnegieMellCFA) #
  • 11:40 Extra cramudgeony today. Who knew? #
  • 12:57 not my best start #
  • 16:59 Stagecraft class, policies, policies, policies - and nobody gets a seventh day #
  • 17:00 @scoutfinch2271 and then there's "God's Flashlight!" #
  • < em>17:00 @mipow I do Blogger and haven't been unhappy, but I always *think* I should be doing Wordpress - those people seem to know more #
  • 17:24 Is this thing on? #
  • 17:25 Frosh intros #
  • 17:57 The buffet is open. #
  • 22:45 Got paid for my DC gig - What should I blow it on? #
  • 01:20 @giantspatula we never use our Wii - somehow Rockband seems like a waste #
  • 01:20 @ aerdin Vegas, might happen. #
  • 01:20 @tcschwa we miss you too #
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Monday, August 24, 2009


I missed the "blog-o-versary" for the blog this year. Seems fairly appropriate... First day of school today, by the end of the day I was clearly more than a day behind. Such is life at CMU... Guess we'll have to see if they decide to do a criminal investigation of the interrogation tactics this time. Probably turn out like last time... I appear to be over whatever it was that I had last week. That's the longest I have been in the house in ages... Missed my chance to get cash for a clunker. I wonder if my truck was a clunker? Be kind of a shame if it was - it's not very old... I got paid for my DC gig. I wonder what I should spend it on? Probably debt, but that's no fun... Not sure why, but I find it difficult to watch games on NFL Network when I know they're tape delayed, I mean, I wouldn't have cared when it was live either, but I might watch... Happy Birthday Mrs. Bogart... If insurance companies hired 50,000 people to send letters and make phone calls to congressmen denouncing single payer do you think the calculus used to determine "the will of the public" might need tweaking? I do... They appear to be adding parking to the inbound side of Forbes in SqHill. Nice idea, I just wish they'd finish already... In other road repair news it looks like repaving may put the kibosh on a Labor Day picnic at the TANBI estate... Haven't called my dad since getting back to Pittsburgh, probably ought to do that... Mad Men was fairly vexing to watch this week, last week too for that matter. I hope it isn't a trend... Our DVR has withered down to almost nothing now that I stopped recording things available on the OnDemand. Got to pick me some new shows... Is it really that hard to tell the difference between "Producing" and "Production?" I guess it must be... I feel like I have a new computer at work, alas it isn't - just scrubbed the hard drive and installed up to date apps. Still pretty nice... 56 units is 56 units. Give it a few days to kick in... Thinking about doing a mass "defriending/unfollowing" purge. I wonder what the downside is? Just seems like thinning things out a little might be healthy...


  • 13:07 May have lost all faith in TV News. #
  • 14:32 Late lunch #
  • 19:22 @bpeoples if yer going that technical, why not mic them and play back at equal volume 180 degrees out of phase.. nah, probably wouldn't work #
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Sunday, August 23, 2009


  • 23:05 well, its just a preseason game #
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Saturday, August 22, 2009


  • 13:52 tired of rest, fluids, and vitamin I #
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Thursday, August 20, 2009


  • 14:06 Would rather be at work #
  • 17:39 Don't wanna jinx it, but feeling a little better. #
  • 19:38 Oops. Jinxed it. #
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We're Not Fine

I heard people on the radio today protesting to Senators at a town hall meeting how they don't want the country to turn into Russia and along the way more than once I heard someone say "we're fine, leave us alone." I don't know what metric they use to come up with "fine" but we're not fine.

I guess if you are just going along, paying your bills and you have decent insurance or you are on Medicare then it might be possible to be kind of myopic and think we're fine. But you don't have to really dig too far to know that we're not.

Other than health care one of the principal problems of this moment in time is job loss. I wonder if those people at the town halls saying "we're fine" think the current state of employment in this country is fine. I wonder if they'd also be surprised to find out that one of the biggest factors weighing on the job picture is the cost of health insurance. One of the primary reasons business owners ship jobs offshore is so that they can save the cost of benefits. Maybe if health care weren't their problem they would think twice about sending jobs to India or China.

Many people complain that even when we are able to create new jobs that they turn out to be part time gigs rather than full time and that someone having lost their old job now has to pick up two or three jobs just to stay level. Don't people know that one of the single biggest factors in deciding to create a full time job is the cost of benefits? Maybe if employers weren't forced to provide health insurance to full time workers they would opt to create more full time jobs rather than cobbling together part timers to stay away from benefits.

Do the people who say "we're fine" watch the news or read the paper - something other than FOX News or the Limbaugh Letter? If they do they would know that several states around the country are bankrupt or cannot close holes in their budgets. Can they make the connection between the state's budget woes and soaring state employee benefits costs? Do they understand that medical prices outpacing inflation and all the people losing their insurance are a crushing blow to state Medicaid budgets? I wonder if the Governator of California or the Governor of Pennsylvania would say "we're fine, leave us alone?"

I wonder if these people who are so sure we're fine know anyone whose employer recently "revamped" their insurance package. I went through that at work, and hidden deeply within all of the choices and rules and options, buried under the PPO and HMO and HSA acronyms was one startling message - if you dug deep enough to find it: regardless of what you are getting, it is less care for more money than it was under the last package. With costs going up and employers having to continue to broker insurance their only options are to raise employee contributions or diminish the substance of the care.

For a while I worked at a shop where I called the insurance "insurance of last resort." I was lucky to be covered under another plan I had COBRA'd from a prior employer, so I could look at it from the outside. What my co-workers had was basically the insurance an employer gets pretty much just to say they give their employees insurance. No wellness coverage, very high deductibles - insurance in name only; great if you never have to use it. None of them were fine.

We're not fine.
We need substantial (read "single payer") insurance reform now.
We need substantial medical practice reform now.
We need substantial medical litigation reform now.
We're not fine. Please, please, please do NOT just leave us alone.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Can Rebuild Him

Right now, if you pick him up (and the part you're pulling on doesn't come off) his legs and tail will drop off. Not quite "display ready." Still, salvageable I think. Guess we'll see.

Monday, August 10, 2009


So there's this guy on that guy's radio show - the one with the "mega-dittos" - and he's talking about health care reform and how it isn't needed and we're all a bunch of babies and I can't help but think that a normal point that Rush makes about taxes is also a big problem in the discussion of health care in this country. Rush always says that if you had to go and pay your taxes in full, in cash that there would instantly be a tax revolt, but that the practice of withholding covers how much we actually spend.

Not surprisingly he didn't make the point to the guy on the phone.

Excited guy on the phone was all like "We have the greatest insurance through my wife's work, all we ever pay is $20 for an office visit." This guy is a spouse and they have kids, and I guess he is also either ignorant or delusional - or (I guess I do have to include the possibility) his wife's union has negotiated the greatest health insurance plan in existence - one so good that actually nobody has it.

Those $20 co-pays are cool, yeah? Makes you feel like you don't have to pay anything ever. Dude should look at his wife's pay stub. He might see some things that would make him a little less enthused. First thing is he might see an "employee contribution" for the health benefit. Something you pay every month whether you go to the doctor or not. At work we have a plan with $20 office co-pays. My recollection is that I would have to pay $100ish dollars a month more in employee contribution to get it. But since the employee contribution is withheld rather than paid some people might not notice it.

Spouses of some people might not notice it either.

Next thing he might see is that there's a charge to cover him. He doesn't have insurance on his own or through his work, he gets it through his wife's work. Does he think that's free? Ok, I guess I can conceive of a union arrangement that throws in spousal coverage, but my ability to conceive it and the reality of it existing; I just don't know. In all likelihood his wife is paying a fee, month after month to insure him. When I got married, my wife and I discovered that the premium for me to cover her was much more than the employee contribution for her to cover herself at her work. So we have two different insurance plans even though we largely go to the same doctors and pay out of the same bank account.

And even if he's covered for nothing as a spouse there's simply no way his kids are a throw in. So that's an employee contribution, spousal coverage fee, dependent fee, and a second dependent fee. I'm guess that on top of those $20 per visit fees (and don't get me started on how they came up with that number - what could possibly actually cost $20?) this family is paying in excess of $3000/yr in health insurance that he has absolutely no idea he's actually shelling out. That could easily be on the order or 10% of his wife's salary taken off the top.

Do you think people would be less concerned about a rise in their taxes if they were conscious of the amount they were actually already paying?

Would people be open to taking a 5% rise in income tax if their employers could all give them a 10% raise?

And really the benefit would be even more than that, yes? Because the employer probably is paying something too, if not for the riders than for sure on the base policy for the worker. So that money could go into pay raises (or into price cuts for goods & services - either of which translates into more money in our bank accounts).

And that's without figuring any savings from efficiencies.

I pray that this guys wife doesn't get laid off. He's in for a rude awakening if he has to start making COBRA payments on that insurance. Under those circumstances as an individual you pay the worker and the employer share for everything. I wouldn't be surprised to find their hypothetical $3000 in pay withholding translates into more that $5000 in COBRA payments.

If the administration wants people to be in favor of change, they have to shatter the "$20 office visit" myth. Even if it does help Rush Limbauh make a point about the income tax.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

More Cats

This is Bean and Petra:

After being with us for a little while we think maybe it would be nicer for them to have a home they don't have to share with three other cats.

We found these guys a little while back, just wondering on the street. They've been great for us, but it's time for us to thin out the pride a little. Bean is a boy cat and Petra a girl, they're both fixed, healthy and have all their shots. They are not declawed and have been indoor cats since we found them. They get along with other cats, but I believe they would be happier have a people all to them selves - that they didn't have to share.

Petra is a little shy, but Bean is downright bold.

If you have been thinking about getting a cat, you should talk to me about these.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New Home Desktop

It just spoke to me.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Well, the post frequency is up a little; but I am not sure the content is where I want it to be... It takes way too long to boot my laptop, run the Slingplayer, access the DVR and run a recording. Admittedly some of that is my own equipment & software, but I think in the end we'll just wind up with a TV in the basement... BLOCK. BLOCK. BLOCK. Who are these strange people following me on Twitter? Can't block them fast enough... Are they really going to burn down Torchwood for the sake of Desperate Housewives? I know the guy has a right to make a living, but this doesn't seem fair... Cash for clunkers seems popular. Who knew if you gave people $5000 for a car they'd take it? I just wish they'd made for more of an improvement... I need someone to teach Basic Audio Stagecraft this year. If you know someone, have them email me... The summer is for all intents and purposes over. That's really too bad... We need someone to do some periodic technical assistance with video at school this year, gear and content, filming and animations. If you know someone, have them email me... I had a big time doctor appointment last Friday for some serious tests. Results: normal... I still can't fathom there are "a majority" of people out there "largely satisfied" with their health insurance. Who are these people and more importantly what is it they don't know? Someone ought to be educating them... Dear Rudy: People "just getting by" on more than $250,000/yr have made choices in their lives that put them in that position. It's not on the rest of us to feel sorry for the willful cash-strapedness of someone in the top 5% of the population... We never made up our mind on a getaway for next week. I guess it won't happen. That's a bummer. Maybe I can still find something... The FIOS people are giving us the hard sell. I think we're caving... I had Elk the other day at the Fuddrucker's. At least I think it was elk. Probably I can't taste the difference... I was going to make a list at the beginning of the summer of all the things I was going to do and then tear it up as a symbol of freedom. I didn't make the list, and yet I feel as if I attained the same result...

Remedial Posting

Here's some shots from the storm a little while back.

Anyone that's been over will notice the water a little bit higher than it normally is. I know its dark, but you should still get the feel. The depressing thing is, that down the block, in the direction of the flow this spills into a pipe. That night it obviously overwhelmed the pipe capacity. After the pipe there's a park, the leaves were like 2 feet up on the fences, so I can only gather the park was 2 feet under water. After the park there's a street, with houses, some with garages below grade.

The video isn't much clearer than the photo, but you can hear the sound too. Normally it's a pleasant trickle. Not that night.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Good News Everyone... | entertainment | Futurama cast members ink new deal with Fox: "LOS ANGELES–The Star has learned exclusively that the entire voice cast of Futurama has just signed a new contract with Fox after weeks of intense salary negotiations.

As late as last week, the network was threatening to replace the original voices of Matt Groening's cult-hit cartoon, to the point of actually announcing a casting call for voice actors to replace them.

The Futurama voice cast includes John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille and Katey Sagal."