Monday, April 30, 2007

David on skateboard

Friday, April 27, 2007

No fair!

I remember going thru a stage at about 7 yrs old where I proclaimed "no fair!" whenever something happened that I didn't like. Camila's daughter (6) is doing the same thing right now.

I think we're basically wired that way. When we really really want something, if something stands in our way we invoke any argument we can to suggest that we should get what we want. Alcoholics can be very logical and persuasive about why it's reasonable that they should have a drink, but the bottom line is their limbic system is telling them "DRINK NOW" and the rest is just rationalization.

To me, this also relates to the question of Connected vs Separate Knowing. Separate Knowing is the only way I understand to avoid this pitfall. Without doubt, Connected Knowing is useful for empathizing, for understanding another's feelings, etc -- but when it comes to making useful choices, when it comes to identifying and pursuing the greatest good, I don't see how it could possibly be as useful as a healthy dose of Separate Knowing.

PS. See here what Scott Adams said recently about "the illusion of fairness"...

Two conversations about one thing...


Camila, to co-worker: Say, do you have a boyfriend?

CW: Yes.

Camila: Okay, never mind; I was just thinking about introducing you to a guy I know.

CW: Wait, no, I don't...

Camila [laughing]: Okay, well maybe we can all go out sometime.

CONVERSATION #2, one week later:

CW: Guess what happened to me! I was helping my boyfriend look for a house to buy, and we found one that seemed like a good deal, and when I told him I thought he should get it, he said 'Well, if I'm going to get a house, I guess I need to ask you to marry me, then.' So we're getting married, and his parents are going to buy the house for us, and it's so pretty, I really like it, and it's in such-and-such area, and and and ...

Camila: I'm really happy for you. BTW, what is your boyfriend like? You've said all these details about the house but nothing about him -- Is he nice? Do you love him?

CW: Did it sound like that? Well don't worry, I love him.

Camila: That's good. Love is really important. I was sort of worried because the other day you said you didn't have a boyfriend.

CW: Oh, yeah. I made a mistake.

Camila: Well, I hope you guys are really happy together.

One guesses that last week CW and her bf were momentarily on the outs, or perhaps she was on the verge of leaving him because she'd given up on him popping the question. At least, one hopes that that's the case, rather than that CW is marrying a house. The problem with marrying a house is that it comes with this other person in it...

Camila says CW continues to tell the story to everyone including hotel guests; her latest quote is "It's like winning the lottery!"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I think this is funny...

From The 1995 first quarterly edition of the "Tax Bar Journal" [from an actual trial transcript]

The Court: Next witness.

Ms. Olschner: Your honor, at this time, I would like to swat Mr. Buck in the head with his client's deposition.

The Court: You mean read it?

Ms. Olschner: No sir, I mean swat him in the head with it. Pursuant to Rule 32, I may use this deposition for any purpose, and that is the purpose for which I want to use it.

The Court: Well, it does say that. (pause) There being no objection, you may proceed.

Ms. Olschner: Thank you, Judge Hanes. (whereupon Ms. Olschner swatted Mr. Buck in the head with the deposition.)

Mr. Buck: But, Judge.

The Court: Next witness.

Mr. Buck: We object.

The Court: Sustained. Next witness.

Monday, April 23, 2007

David's new look

Sunday, April 22, 2007

nibble nibble, little mouse

I had a big bag of rice in the garage (remember Y2K?), along with a late 80's soviet jet pilot's helmet and pressure suit that I got in Moscow a few yrs ago for David.

Some industrious mice chewed into the bag, then carried the individual grains of rice across the garage and into the case holding the flight suit. When I opened it today, the entire helmet was full of rice...

Update: yesterday I unrolled a piece of carpet I had in the garage, and...

conspiracy theorist

In boxing, rounds are scored individually. The fighter who wins the round (typically by landing more punches, altho there are other factors also) scores 10 pts. The other boxer typically scores 9 pts, unless he was soundly beaten in that round in which case they may score it 10-8.

What this method does is keeps fights close. A boxer can get his a** kicked all over the ring for 3 minutes -- the punch count could be 40-0 -- and he's only down two points. The next round he ekes out a slight advantage and he's back within a point in the match.

IOW, you could outbox me for 6 of the rounds of a 12-round fight; for the other 6 rounds we're more or less even , but I end each of those rounds with a flurry that leaves the judges with the impression that I won that round. At the end of 12 rounds, the scorecards could be even.

What it really means is that it would be really easy for judges to manipulate the outcome of boxing matches. Luckily, judges are always 100% honest, so even though millions of dollars are bet on boxing, nothing shady ever happens. But I'm just saying that it *could*.

Friday, April 20, 2007

All about me and how I feel about my rampant narcissisism

This is what happens when you slack off the weights and eat too many tacos de lengua. Pic1 is two summers ago; pic2 is today.
I'm not whining, mind -- I loved every calorie, and I'm extremely grateful to enjoy near-perfect health -- but sometimes it's good to take stock and even possibly decide to give up twinkies and chocolate milk for breakfast...

apropos of nothing

David got a haircut. Will post a picture, if he lets me take one...

Life with Sam is two steps forward, one step back. My conversations with her this week have been of the two-steps-forward variety, which is nice.

My hockey team is still alive in the playoffs -- we have a game Sunday night against a team that has owned us the last 3 times we played. I personally feel it's time for a change.

In Spanish, being "between a rock and a hard place" is described as being "between the sword and the wall".

Quote from a five-yr-old: "My friends Christina and Cooper are in love. And you know what? It's yuck!"

Favorite quote from the internet (from chasemeladies):
"I remember when you could buy a bag of eels for two farthings."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just to confirm...

...that we're all philistines, a thousand or so of us completely ignored one of the most accomplished classical violinists of our day as he played in the Metro station in Washington, DC.
Choose your moral from the below:
* people are in too big a hurry
* context is everything
* the emperor has no clothes
* I-pods are of the devil

Thx to Tim.

Well, now, that was nice.

Psychomama was nice enough to nominate me as a Thinking Blogger, in spite of the fact that I've posted 90% drivel lately. Since I must in turn nominate 5 others to (I assume) avoid bad luck and terrible things happening to my family, I hereby submit:
Dan Agonistes -- Moral issues and more than you could ever need to know about baseball.
The Magistrate's Blog -- I find this fascinating. Your mileage may vary.
Tim Worstall -- No idea who he is, but he's interesting
UK Commentators -- I know even less about this guy, but ditto.
Dilbert Blog -- Don't always agree with him, but I have to admit he thinks...
Yeah, it's a bit UK-heavy, but I figured you might like something besides the standard fare...

Monday, April 16, 2007

toilet followup

There is this...
A couple people emailed me this in response to the scintillating toilet discussion (that generated more comments than anything thoughtful I could have posted). Anyway, thx guys -- you know who you are...

In my day...

Don't remember if I posted this before, but whatever. I'm too lazy/busy to think of anything interesting on my own. Or rather, I think of cool stuff to blog about when I'm on the tram between A and B concourse in DIA, then forget it by the time I get home. Aaanyway...

The Washington Post Report from Week 228, in which you were asked to
tell Gen-Xers how much harder you had it in the old days:

Second Runner-Up:
In my day, we couldn't afford shoes, so we went barefoot. In the winter we had to wrap our feet with barbed wire for traction. (Bill Flavin, Alexandria)

First Runner-Up:
In my day we didn't have MTV or in-line skates, or any of that stuff. No, it was 45s and regular old metal-wheeled roller skates, and the 45s always skipped, so to get them to play right you'd weigh the needle down with something like quarters, which we never had because our allowances were way too small, so we'd use our skate keys instead and end up forgetting they were taped to the record player arm so that we couldn't adjust our skates, which didn't really matter because those crummy metal w...

And the winner of the Velour Bicentennial Poster:
In my day, we didn't have no rocks. We had to go down to the creek and wash our clothes by beating them with our heads. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Honorable Mentions:

In my day, we didn't have mouses to move the cursor around. We only had the arrows, and if the up arrow was broken and you needed to get to the top of the screen, well, you just hit the left arrow a thousand times, dadgummit.
(Kevin Cuddihy, Fairfax)

In my day, we didn't have fancy high numbers. We had "nothing," "one," "twain" and "multitudes." (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

In the old days, nobody asked you to sign petitions. The sheriff just came to your house and told you you was part of a posse.
(Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

In my day, we didn't have dogs or cats. All I had was Silver Beauty, my beloved paper clip.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

In my day, attitudes were different. For example, women didn't like sex. At least that is what they told me. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

When I was your age, we didn't have fake doggie-do. We only had real doggie-do, and no one thought it was a damn bit funny.
(Brendan Bassett, Columbia)

Back in the 1970s we didn't have the space shuttle to get all excited about. We had to settle for men walking on the crummy moon.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

In my day, we didn't have days. There was only time for work, time for prayer and time for sleep. The sheriff would go around and tell everyone when to change.
(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

In my day, people could only dream of hitchhiking a ride on a comet.
(David Ronka, Charlottesville)

In my day, we didn't have fancy health-food restaurants. Every day we ate lots of easily recognizable animal parts, along with potatoes drenched in melted fat from those animals. And we're all as strong as AAGGKK-GAAK Urrgh. Thud.
(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

In my day, we didn't have hand-held calculators. We had to do addition on our fingers. To subtract, we had to have some fingers amputated.
(Jon Patrick Smith, Washington)

In my day, we didn't get that disembodied, slightly ticked-off voice saying 'Doors closing.' We got on the train, the doors closed, and if your hand was sticking out it scraped along the tunnel all the damn way to the Silver Spring station and it was a bloody stump at the end. But the fare was only a dollar.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

In my day, we didn't have water. We had to smash together our own hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
(Diana Hugue, Bowie)

Kids today think the world revolves around them. In my day, the sun revolved around the world, and the world was perched on the back of a giant tortoise.
(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

In my day, we wore our pants up around our armpits. Monstrous wedgies, but we looked snappy.
(Bruce Evans, Washington)

Back in my day, '60 Minutes' wasn't just a bunch of gray-haired liberal 80-year-old guys. It was a bunch of gray-haired liberal 60-year-old guys.
(Russell Beland, Springfield, & Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

In my day, we didn't have virtual reality. If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him.
(Sarah M. Wolford, Hanover)

In my day, we didn't have Strom Thurmond. Oh, wait. Yes we did.
(Peg Sheeran, Vienna)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

some things

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us figure out that when you're in a public place, you should conduct your business -- correcting children, fighting with spouse, telling your friend about last night's party -- quietly.
But not everyone knows this. I think some people think they're on TV, and that we have as great an interest in their lives as they do.
Others think that if they state their side of an argument loudly, people will listen to the details and think "Hmm... sounds like that person is right, and the other person is wrong." When what we really think is "Those people are morons for fighting in public. Especially the loud one."

This week in the airport sundries store, a woman was giving loud directions to her kids -- clearly performing as she taught them all about how the airport worked, etc.
She finished up by saying, "Now, Johnny, you need to look after your sister."
To which Johnny replied under his breath, "Yeah, that's what *she* said..."
I have no idea what he meant -- and I don't think he did, either -- but it made me laugh anyway.

Then the cashier held up my well-worn Amex card, which was refusing to swipe correctly, and said, bold as you please, "How do you expect this card to work if the stripe looks like this?"
Which was so far from the customer-is-always-right attitude I'm used to that it made me laugh again.

So anyway, that's two of the times I laughed recently. Neither translates effectively to a blog, to a conversation, or to any other place besides a person's own memory. So sue me, I'm sorry -- it's been a low-inspiration week...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

i was going to say a ducky and a horsey...

Doctormama pointed out recently that this is a good thing to read if you're feeling whiny.
That is all at this time.

what i did on my easter vacation

Lovely wedding...

David took my jacket and glasses and decided he liked the look...

If your daughter is bored, she might take the petals the flower girls strewed (strawed? strewn?) and do this with them...

Atlanta has the coolest aquarium ever. One of my cousins volunteers there as a diver. That big tank is over 6 million gallons -- it has some big stuff in it: whale sharks, a hammerhead, groupers, etc.

That's David and me and my folks at the bottom, in case you cared...

i'm baaa-ack

Sorry to be gone so long. I missed you all. I know it must have been hard to continue without a new blog post to make you forget momentarily your drab, wretched lives. Or maybe that was my life, I forgot which.

Anyway, the kids & I went to my cousin's wedding in Atlanta. She got married. It was very nice. Her new husband and his family are very nice, in spite of being Norwegian*. The weather was chilly, but very nice. Pretty much everything was very nice. I am rambling now. I should be working because I'm swamped, but instead I'm posting, and not very interestingly at that.

It was great to see a lot of family we don't get to see often enough. Camila and Maribel flew out from Austin, which was great -- I wanted her to meet my mom's family, many of whom are crazy, but great people and a lot of fun.

By taking both my kids *and* C&M, I created a situation for myself where I wanted to see my aunts/uncles/cousins/etc at the same time as being responsible for travel, lodging, entertainment, etc of four people who didn't really know anyone very well. In retrospect it would have been easier to not try to stretch my fun by bringing together everyone I care for all at once, but it all turned out fine. Camila said she liked my family and didn't even mention the part about them being crazy. I was glad my kids got to know my extended family better, also.

Okay, that's not very interesting unless you're me, which you're not, so sorry about that.

As previously stated, the wedding was lovely, the food was delicious, a good time had by all. Some useful conversations with my kids about various things including the importance of a positive attitude, what "first cousin once removed" means, how I could be 42 and have a cousin who turns 12 this year, why more Atlantans are black than Seattleites are, and why Dad will buy you food, but you have to pay for your own in-flight movie.

Maybe if you're *really* bored, later I'll post some pics...

*(that's a joke, relax)