Monday, February 28, 2005
Cast your mind back to the 1980's. Kenneth Branagh made a version of WIll Shakespeare's Henry V. It was a good movie. It was up for one or more Academy Awards. It was shown on PBS sometime between its theatrical release and the voting deadline for the Oscars. Fine, you're saying, so what? Well, I read an article in the paper by some movie maven about how its broadcast would give it an unfair advantage against the other movies in its category(ies) because it meant that more of the voters would have actually seen it. That statement made me stop watching the Oscars. It's a bunch of people voting for an award based on the buzz around movies that they probably haven't even seen. So who gives a crap about the Oscars?
Friday, February 25, 2005
I hope not.
YW is reading the ever popular Fuzzy Yellow Duckling while YA takes a break from his Finding Nemo board books to play with his Dragons Fire and Ice dragon.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
So who cares what the leader of some inbred group of professors thinks?
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
That said I like the camera quite a bit. The 10X optical zoom is great. The picture quality is, to my eye, superior to the Minolta.
One of the consistent raps I read in reviews of the camera was that it doesn't focus well in low-light. The Minolta certainly did no better than the Kodak when the Kodak is in 'Auto' mode. But the camera does have a huge number of operating modes. One of which is designed for dim subjects with a back light. I find that this mode does fairly well at focusing in a normally illuminated room at night.
The camera can't save uncompressed pictures, neither TIFF nor RAW, and it only has two compression settings. The one that generates the largest JPEG file (ie, least compression) still makes a 5 Megapixel picture in a smaller file than the finest setting on the 4 Megapixel Minolta. But, again to my untrained eye, the pictures from the Kodak look better than the ones from the Minolta.
Shorter Hank's review: While I would rather have not had to spend the money to get a new camera, I do like the new one better than the old one.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
YW has been learning the Sign Language Alphabet. His rendition of the "L" isn't exactly correct, but I think the meaning comes across.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Here are a couple of pictures of YW. The first is his 3-month portrait. The other was taken on Monday at the Valentine's Day party at school. And yes I searched a long time to find a Jimmy Neutron shirt. Not one with Jimmy on it, but the same shirt as Jimmy hisownself wears.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Update #1: I'm willing to concede that Condi is not congenital liar. It is possible that she is so profoundly stupid that she was incapable of doing her job in the months before 9/11 and is telling the truth when she says that she had no clue that such a thing could occur.
Update #2: Another factor in the waning of American influence must surely be that while we can beat any standing army in the world, we can't subdue one of the weakest nations on the planet.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
YW is in the first grade. His teacher is a young woman fresh out of school. In her class each week there is a Student Of The Week®. There are various privileges and responsibilites that go along with being SOTW: you get to be line leader for the whole week, you must make a poster about yourself, etc. Due to the vagaries of the alphabet, YW was the first SOTW. His teacher made a poster about herself as an inspiration for an acceptable SOTW poster. One of the details on it was that she grew up in Encinitas, CA. During my nomadic childhood (can I get a hooya! from all the military brats out there?), I lived in Encinitas for two years. I told her this and said I had gone to Ocean Knoll Elementary and Oak Crest Junior High. She also attended those schools. Insert various Small World comments here.
A month or so later it was her birthday and all the parents contributed for a present. On her birthday I asked her age. "25" she said. I did the math. While we did go to the same schools, I attended them a few years before she was born.
So, no, I don't think we had any of the same teachers.
Friday, February 11, 2005
I think it might be just about time to get him his own big bed.
I was entertained by his predicament, though. He wanted out, but wouldn't commit to the drop. I don't remember escaping from my own crib, but I'm pretty sure that if you hang on with your hands and let your feet go first you probably won't be hurt too badly. YW got to the stage of being able escape at will when he was about this age so the big bed clock is ticking.
Here's a shot of the boys walking on dirt during the hike where the vista two posts down was snapped.
Do you really think that Iraq, the Medicare debacle, the Social Security scam, dismantling environmental laws, etc are the actions of a group of people that really believe they're going to be in power for the couple of generations?
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Here is a vista taken on the hike we took on Sunday. It's a an old road that heads south out of town toward Montara, Half Moon Bay, etc. I think it might be the old route of California Highway 1. The current route of Highway 1 runs right along the water (the infamous Devil's Slide), this no longer maintained paved road runs through the hills in the same direction. There are copious lovely views on just the short stroll up the road that we took, and if we perservere in our attempts to walk it, or bike it when everyone is bike-capable, we should be able to get to the brew pub in Princeton-by-the-Sea. Now there's a goal.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
But first a digression, I've read about half of Behe's book about ID. I would have read it all, but the thrust of each chapter was the same: explain some complex thing inside a body or a cell (the eye, the eukaryotic flagellum (In a previous life I used to do molecular genetic research on flagellar assembly in the bilflagellate alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii), etc), then throw his rhetorical hands in the air and exclaim that it was obviously too complex to ever evolve therefore there must be a Designer. Shorter M. Behe: I'm too dim to grasp this so it couldn't evolve. Oh, and this handwaving in the ID crowd that they're not invoking God, it could be space aliens or some other intelligence, is total bullshit. Let's say Space Aliens came down and kickstarted life on Earth. Where did the Space Aliens come from? Other Space Aliens I assume. Either it's Space Aliens all the way down or else we get to God as the first Designer. A God, by the way, that didn't care enough about humanity to create us Himself.
Our friends in the ID crowd love to point to the eye and say it couldn't evolve because it's too complex; "What good is half an eye?" Based on this criterion, our Designer loves squid more than people. The mammalian eye is built upside down. In order for light to register in our eyes it must travel through the cell body before hitting the pigments that are sensitive to light. The axon of the cell that connects it to the optic nerve travels over the surface of the retina to a spot where they all converge and dive through the retina to get to the brain. The spot where they go through the retina has no photoreceptors and is the famous 'blind spot'. So our eyes suffer from attenuation of the light signal due to the light having to travel through the most of the cell before getting registered and they lack photoreceptors on part of each retina; they are built upside down. Squid eyes are built right side up. The light sensitive pigments are on the surface of the retinal cells and the axons come out of the cell on the underside of the retina. So no attenuation and no blind spot. Based on this observation, I think we need to look for Space Alien Designers that resemble squid more than humans since they took more care designing the squid's eye.
Monday, February 07, 2005
This really bummed me out. I've seen my baby pictures; I was a fat baby. YW was just kind of chunky. This psychic trauma percolated around in my brain for a while and then I had a breakthrough. The Little Old Ladies At The Home (LOLATH) in Glenwood were retired farm wives. These ladies had their babies back before antibotics. In their eyes a fat baby was a healthy baby; if you were a skinny baby back when they had their babies, you probably were sick and had a good chance of not surviving. The LOLATH were paying MLWN and I a compliment. They thought we were doing a good job with our baby. After I figured this out, my response, on every visit, to "There's a fat baby!" was a hearty "Thank you very much! And how are you ladies doing today?"
Saturday, February 05, 2005
I have this total jones for pictures of my boys while they're sleeping. YA takes after his old man and must have a book near him at all times. I don't usually use one as a pillow, but I can understand the urge.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Warning: Naughty words are used in the following post. Read at your peril.
On Tuesday after the boys had been put away for the night, MLWN and I were channel surfing for something to watch. For no apparent reason we paused on HGTV to watch a little bit of a show wherein regular folk were talking about the favorite things in their houses. For example, one woman really liked her African Violets, another was quite proud of the art collection she had acquired on her trips to exotic foreign locales. The last one we saw was a woman showing off her set of fine china. "It's from Bulgaria and there are over 800 pieces." She went on to explain that she had been married for more than twenty years and had never had any really nice china. "But I prayed to The Lord to help me find a nice set at a good price." MLWN changed the channel right after I said, "Fuck you, you cunt, The Lord doesn't give a shit if you have nice plates." MLWN has a strict rule that we don't get to watch shows that make me yell at the TV, especially ones that get me to use three profanities in one sentence. And most especially ones that make me drop the c-bomb.
As nearly as I can tell, this woman's theology derives more from Santa Claus than Jesus.
Santa = brings you things you wish for.
Jesus = amassing worldly goods is bad.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Update: The reported time of tipoff was almost certainly wrong. We were a bit late to the game, but I don't think you can play an entire regulation basketball game in less than half an hour. We were in time to see the last five minutes of the game. Oh, and the Terra Nova Tigers lost to El Camino by a final score of 38 to 52. I promised YW that we would go to another game and watch more than five minutes of play.