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Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging 

At The Beach

YA really likes to play in the sand. One of the rituals when I pick him up from Preschool is emptying the sand out of his shoes. But at least the sand at Preschool is dry. The sand at the beach insists on sticking.

Friday Random 10 

  1. Scratch 'n' Sniff Rhino Bucket
  2. Super Sounds Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack
  3. Walkin' After Midnight Patsy Cline
  4. Phantom Of The Opera Iron Maiden
  5. Down And Out In New York City James Brown
  6. The Distance Between You And Me Dwight Yoakam
  7. This Is It The Blasters
  8. Delta Blues Shuffle Iggy And The Stooges
  9. Silent Ways Michelle Shocked
  10. Zaar Peter Gabriel

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


So for work I need to be able to do some statistical analysis using the R programming language (a language optimized for statistics. It is an open source implementation of the proprietary language S. Yes, computer people are weird). But most of what I'm doing is written in Python. There is a Python module called rpy that allows the Python programmer to do stuff in R and get back Python objects. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

But, getting all that set up is non-trivial. Especially if you're doing this all on a Macintosh. The Macintosh is almost Unix but with enough differences to throw the User a few curves from time to time. One of the differences is that the Mac prefers to have programs built as 'frameworks' (don't ask, just accept it). There is a howto on building R on the Mac that gives the direction for doing just that. The main take-home from the howto is the options for configure:

./configure --with-blas='-framework vecLib' --with-lapack --with-aqua
The rest is vanilla make and sudo make install. But to build rpy you need to build R as a shared library. This means, according to the rpy README, that you should add --enable-R-shlib to the R ./configure line.

Building rpy is pretty easy:

export RHOMES
python setup.py build
sudo python setup.py install
But if you do that you pretty quickly fail with
ld: can't locate file for: -lRlapack
error: command 'gcc' failed with exit status 1
If you look in /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources/modules you will find lapack.so which seems like it should do the trick. You can modify the setup.py to look at that lapack.so, but it just won't work. You can then tear your hair out for a while. At some point before you go bald you should note that the setup.py is looking for Rlapack not lapack. At this point you're desperate so you delete the entire R build and start over with this configure line:
./configure --with-blas='-framework vecLib'  --with-aqua --enable-R-shlib
Looking in /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources/lib will show you Rlapack.dylib! Try the rpy build over again and now you succeed! Wahoo!

I'm having a bit of trouble generating graphics, but the basic R functionality seems to be visible from Python. Life is full.

The Backstory 

MLWN and I met because I had a job writing software for an Anthropology professor at UCSB and she was an Anthro grad student. But, you, the internets, ask, why were you working for said Anthro professor, Hank? Well there's a story in that.

I was, at the time, working on my Master's in Computer Engineering. I was interested in having a bit of spending money, but at the same time preserving my study time as well. At the beginning of the school year I applied for a job in the undergrad computer lab. This job involved sitting in the lab for a few hours a week and helping undergrads with the computers. Now these were, mostly, not Comp Sci students. They were random people using the computers to write papers, do their stats homework, etc. Lets just say it wasn't the hardest job in the world and after the beginning of the quarter familiarization, it didn't require a lot of actual work. Can you say, "getting paid to study"? I thought you could.

For reasons that I never really figured out, the guy that ran the computer lab just hated the idea that the lab attendants were doing homework in between bouts of undergrad-assisting. So he came up with a plan. The plan, in all its glory, was that all the lab attendants should write either a review of a software package or tutorial on how to use a software package. Each lab attendant was assigned a package and told to write a review or tutorial. Furthermore, we were to work on our project while at work when we were not helping the Users.

Here's the thing, though, the reviews were of software packages that had already been purchased and all the software in the labs already had tutorials available. It was busy work. I was assigned a review of some stats package that was installed on every PC in the lab. I would have actually done the work if it was for an evaluation copy of a package that the lab honchos were considering for purchase; as it was I did my homework and ignored the assignment.

The end of the quarter was fast approaching. One day I was chatting with another lab attendant about the assignment. He was whinging about what a pain it had been to write his. I revealed that I hadn't actually done more than start the stats package one day to see what the interface looked like. He was shocked, shocked I say, to hear this. It turned out that one's employment over Winter Quarter was at least partially contingent on completing the assignment. That put a different complexion on things.

Having about half an hour left in my shift I decided I should write my review. I started off stating what it was I was supposed to do, and then being in a fiesty mood, I launched into 2 page screed about how it was the dumbest thing I had ever been asked to do at any job I had ever had. I further stated that whomever had come up with the idea should be fired forthwith. Then I printed it out and handed it in.

A day or two later I had another shift in the lab. I had been there for a few minutes when the big boss wandered in and asked me to come into his office for a chat. When I got to his office he had my 'review' in his hands. He asked if I had really written it. "Oh my yes," I said. Did I really believe the things I had written in it. "Yes, absolutely," I responded. He was sorry to hear it and fired me on the spot.

Now having a bit of break before my next class I went off campus to get a coffee at the local coffee bar. There I ran into a friend of mine. We chatted. I mentioned that I was currently unemployed. He mentioned that the Anthro professor he worked for was looking for someone to write software for him. Did I want the job? Sure I did. So we finished our coffees and went to the Anthro Department. My interview consisted of my buddy saying, "This is Hank. He writes good software, you should hire him." Chag (for his name was Napoleon Chagnon) said, "OK. Does $8/hour sound good?" It sounded just fine. I started a couple days later.

So I was unemployed for about half an hour and was making more money at the end of the half hour than I was at the beginning. And I was properly positioned to meet MLWN a couple weeks after that. Woo!

The funniest part happened in the Spring. I was at a party and chatting with someone who revealed he worked in the computer lab. I asked if they still had to write those stupid reviews. Yes they did. I said that I had worked there the previous Fall but didn't write an acceptable review and got fired. He was intrigued and asked if I had written something about how it was a stupid assignment and that Big Boss should be fired. I admitted as much. He very nearly did a Wayne's World style "I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy" at me. Somehow copies of my thoughts had been made and were handed around, to much appreciation, to all the lab attendants. I was famous.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Will he see his shadow? 

I had the local news show on this morning as we were getting ready for the day. At one point they showed a live shot of Air Force One on the ground in Beaumont, Texas. The stairs were in place and the door was open, but there was no one to be seen. The News Reader made a comment to the effect that the President is in Texas to see the damage from Rita and that we were waiting for him to come out of the plane.

The first thing that popped into my head was: and if he sees his shadow we'll have another 6 weeks of hurricanes.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday Soccer Blogging 


The boys got their soccer act together on Saturday and did much better than they did on opening day. They scored goals, they defended. It was very exciting. Here we see YW waiting for the opening kickoff.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

You've got to be kidding 

My blog does not have you might call a lot of traffic. This means that I can look at the referring page of just about every person that comes by. The best ones are those that must come from clicking on Blogger's 'Next Blog' button. They are random pages that are often in other languages or have some obscure topic. Today's great one must be a family blog and it featured the following as the entire text of its most recent post along with pictures of a house and a pool
We must have looked at 40 houses before we found our home. None of the others seemed to be the right one. As soon as we saw this one, we knew God had saved it just for us. We have been blessed beyond measure. God is sooooooo good.
As far as I can tell they live in Texas since they evacuated for Hurricane Rita according to a post a bit further down the page. I can't begin to describe how much I loathe the piety that allows someone to think that God takes time out of his busy smiting schedule to make sure some family in Texas has a nice house with a pool. And the gall of bragging about God's love for their living arrangements in the wake of Katrina and Rita is just stunning.

Sunday Fog Fest Blogging 

Fog Fest

Pacifica, for those of you not in the know, is renowned for the number of foggy days it has. So when it's time for the annual fest, the theme was a no-brainer. It's the Fog Fest! Yay! But because festing in the fog isn't actually that much fun, it is scheduled during the time of the year most likely to have clear, sunny days. This year is no exception. The snap shows YW and YA sliding on the giant slide in the kids-having-fun section of the fest.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging 

Homework Time

Now that school has started it's nothing but homework as far as the eye can see.

Friday Random 10 

  1. It's a Shame about Ray Lemonheads
  2. Mink, Schmink Eartha Kitt
  3. Cat Video Blue Man Group
  4. Congratulations Paul Simon
  5. Here Comes President Kill Again XTC
  6. Antenna Church
  7. Master & Slave Cherry Poppin' Daddies
  8. Five Little Frogs Raffi
  9. Radar Morphine
  10. Lose This Skin The Clash
Raffi?!? That's what happens you rip to MP3 without paying attention to what you're putting into the drive tray. But it is offset by Eartha Kitt.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Hi internets, how are you? Imagine you're on a whitewater rafting trip. You're having a good time and you think the guide is a nice person and you're curious about him/her so you ask what s/he does in the off season. Now lets flip it around. Imagine you're a whitewater guide. You've met the people who are going to be in your boat for the next few days, you've chatted them up a bit, you've explained the intricacies of paddling at the word of command. It's not the first trip of the summer and it's not the last. You wait patiently and then it comes, "So, what do you do in the winter time?" Now I was pretty mellow about it. I almost always told the truth, "I'm an engineering student at UCSB." But I had friends that, from time to time, would snap: "I live off my tips." or "I club baby Harp Seals."

I didn't mind the getting-to-know-the-guide questions. I took them as compliments; the folks wanted to get to know me better. But I did get a bit tired of the questions that could be answered with perhaps an entire second's thought. Things like, "Do we get out of the boats where we got in them?" "Does that rock go all the way to the bottom?"

I confess that I did laugh out loud at the Dad who, showing his young son some swallows' nests on a highway bridge we were floating under, said, in all seriousness, "Look son, barnacles."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The Chron has an article this morning about how the entire state of California uses fire hydrants with 2.5 inch hose connections while The City uses 3.5 inch. This is bad because in the event of a major earthquake in SF all the fire engines rushing from other cities to the scene to fight the raging fires will not be able to connect their hoses to SF hydrants and will be unable to help. The SFFD has a plan, though, they have adapters that can be used to step down the 3.5" connections to 2.5". Problem solved. But wait, you say, is the SFFD going to have someone standing at the gates to The City handing out these adaptors to incoming fire companies? That's just ridiculous, you continue.

The reason SF is the lone hold-out against the 2.5" standard is that instead of their hydrants running off the local water mains, they have a dedicated, high pressure fire hydrant water system. This system allows them to run more hoses off a single hydrant before requiring a pumper truck to boost pressure. They argued, back in the day when the standard was worked out, that it would way too expensive to go back and replace all the custom (read very expensive) hydrants to meet the standard.

Now lets think this through a bit further. In the event of a Katrina-style disaster in SF, there will be no "rushing" of fire engines to the scene. The roads will be quite blocked by debris and collapsed bridges, etc. And it's not too likely that there will be a lot of pressure in the pipes feeding the hydrants, what with the buckling of the ground and the shattering of all manner of whatnot.

The SF hydrant system is going to be useful for that happy medium earthquake that knocks some stuff down but doesn't really do a lot of damage. In the event of a cataclysm the PGE crews closing valves on gas mains are going to be what slows down the fires. Anything that really gets going will have to burn itself out. I think its time to do some fear-mongering on a topic that where it might do some good.

Update:Today's (Thursday) Chron has another article about The City's nonstandard hydrants and how there is some serious head scratching going on about coming up a with a better plan than handing out adaptors to engines as they come into town. Having devoted about 1 minute to the problem, I have the solution. It would cost too much money to replace all the hydrants with new ones with the right diameter connectors. But there are adaptors that can be used. Each SF hydrant has 6 connections. Buy 6 adaptors for every hydrant in the city. Go to each hydrant in the city and screw an adaptor onto each connection. To prevent theivery, weld the adaptors onto the hydrant. Buy new hoses with 2.5" connectors for all the SFFD trucks. Problem solved. My favorite part of the article was about how SF got the exemption to the rule because

...has a one-of-a-kind, specialized system that was specifically invented to work after the havoc of a major earthquake, and that the system has not failed the department yet.
Man that's funny. How many major earthquakes have their been lately? Loma Prieta is the only one I can think of and its epicenter was down by Santa Cruz. The water system has not failed to perform in a situation that has not yet happened. Woo!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Now's Your Chance 

I was going to write about this yesterday but I spaced it out. There was an article in the Chron about the plight of the farmers in the California's Central Valley. It seems that those farmers whose crops need lots of workers to harvest (grapes, peaches, etc.) are really hurting for workers right now. As a result of the post 9/11 border tightening and various other Brown People Are Bad initiatives that have been pushed through, there just aren't that many people around who are prepared to do back breaking labor in the hot sun to harvest our crops.

So all you Illegals-Are-Taking-Jobs-Away-From-Americans wackjobs out there, nows your chance to get yourself one of those good jobs those darn illegals have been hogging. Hie yourself to Fresno and get yourself a job picking raisin grapes or lettuce or something. You owe it to America, or at least the farmers.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Yesterday YW (I should We, since I'm coaching) had his first soccer game of the season. He's playing Under-8, which means that there are a grand total of 8 kids on his team. At game time there are 5 players on the field (including a goalie). Another aspect of the young kid version soccer is that there is no score kept since it's all about having fun and learning the game (which is good since our team got shelled something like 5-nil). Of my 8 players I had 5 show up so there was no worries about who had to sit out when. And since one kid didn't want to play goalie at all I didn't have to disappoint anyone on getting to wear the goalie shirt. Most of the team hasn't played that much soccer and so I haven't been emphasizing things like strategies and set-piece plays so much as what a legal throw-in looks like and trying to pass the ball. But at this level it still comes down to the kids that have either played a lot or a really quick on the uptake to dribble the ball down the field and score.

Poor YW was so hot to play in the goal that I let him play there first quarter. The other team had, I suspect, a core of kids who'd played together before because they seemed a bit more together than the typical group of 7 year olds. My boys hadn't quite realized they were in a game when it all started so YW was left all alone on a few break aways and let four shots into the goal. I think the last couple were hard for him to defend against because it's hard to see the ball through tears (that's the trouble with playing goalie, when all is said and done you're the one who let the ball get by you into the goal). Second quarter they scored once and they only had a couple of shots on goal in the second half. I think YW will have a better time in goal next weekend when he gets a bit more support from the rest of the team.

When I was a little soccer player I gravitated to playing defense. There was something about it that just felt right for me. I think there's a kid on the team for whom that's true as well. He was supposed to play offense for the entire second half but he kept being johhny-on-the-spot taking the ball away from the other team deep in our end of the field. He kept asking if he could attack and I'd say, "You are attacking. You're on offense, go score." 30 seconds later he'd be back anchoring the defense. He couldn't help it. It was adorable.

And not that I'm trying to whinge or anything, but the other coach kept the same kid in the goal for the whole game. And the kid was good. I think 7 years old is a bit young to start specializing on your position. I thought it was strange that during the pregame warmup the other coach spent the whole time working with one kid on goal keeping while one of the dads worked with all the other boys. It all became clear when keeper duties never rotated during the course of the game.


One of the common arguments trotted out by our more stupid friends is that we've never seen evolution happen so therefore it can't have ever happened. They will, if pressed, admit that there are different breeds of dogs. But (and it's a big but, believe you me) they are all still dogs. You can impregnate a Great Dane with Chihuahua sperm and get live puppies. But they are missing a key point about speciation, it's not just the inability to produce viable offspring (think mating a dog with a vole) that makes two organisms be from different species, there's also a concept called Reproductive Isolation. Reproductive Isolation means that even if two species could successfully mate if brought together, they can't, for one reason or another get together. A couple of examples might be squirrels living on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, or two kinds of flowers that bloom at different times of the year.

Getting back to our dog example, if we released a bunch of Chihuahuas and a bunch of Great Danes into some contained range where there were no other dogs of intermediate size (say an island far from any other dog populations), the two groups of dogs would be reproductively isolated and would never never never interbreed even though they could produce viable offspring. So without a gradation of other dog breeds to connect a Chihuahua to a Great Dane, the two breeds are effectively different species.

So there, my stupider friends, you have seen evolution.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Whoever was supposed to send me a Mixmania! The Driving Mix! disc was a bit more timely than I was, but I just now have had the time to listen to it. My CD listening has gone way down since the car I now drive has no CD player. But whoever you are, you rock! Soul Coughing, Cake, and The Proclaimers. Woo!

Jim is being coy this time around and waiting to post the list of players so that everyone should have time to listen before searching out the source of their disk. It's totally working. I really want to know who put this mix together.


In the car on the way to Target. YA is not yet Potty Trained (Yes, we're losing the argument with a three year old. But think about it, why would you want to stop wearing diapers? If you are wearing underwear and you have to go to the bathroom, you have to interrupt whatever it is you are doing and attend to business. If you're wearing a diaper you can keep doing your thing with out interruption until someone comes along and wipes your butt for you. It's a win-win.).

H - (sniffing the air in the car) YA do you have the poop?
YA - No
H - Are you telling the truth?
YA - No
H - You're lying?!?
YA - No! I'm sitting!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Google Bomb! 

Have I mentioned lately that he is incompetent?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Uh Oh 

PZ Meyers of Pharyngula has been perusing the FEMA website to see if the regional FEMA appointees are as hackish as the Washington leadership. Here in region IX I'm afraid it doesn't look too good. Our Acting Regional Director is a woman named Karen E. Armes. Here is her capsule biography:
Karen E. Armes was appointed Acting Regional Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region IX in April 2004. In this position, she oversees the operation of the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities in the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, as well as American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Federated States of Micronesia.

In addition, Ms. Armes continues to serve as the region's Deputy Director, a post she assumed in December 2000. Previously Ms. Armes had served as director of the Operations Support Division and as branch chief of Program Services. She also served as Acting Regional Director from January 2000 until November 2002.

Before joining FEMA, Ms. Armes was director of the Business Management Department of the Navy Finance Center in San Francisco, a position assigned to her after the capitalization of the data automation centers by the Defense Information System Agency in 1994. Prior to that, she had served more than 10 years with that organization being promoted from budget analyst to the director of the Budget and Accounting Division and then director of the Management Support Division. She began there in 1982 as a NAVCOMPT financial management trainee.

Ms. Armes holds a bachelor of science degree in recreation administration from Radford University, Va. She has also completed graduate courses in business administration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

She appears to be good at money, but I see no sign that actual physical disaster has been a big part of her professional life. Dang. I hope we don't have any earthquakes (He says from almost in sight of the San Andreas Fault).

Friday, September 09, 2005

Mixmania! The Driving Mix 

I went a bit overboard with this version of Mixmania. The theme for those of you not playing is a Driving Mix, ie, a CD that would be good to listen to on a road trip. I used to take _lots_ of long road trips getting from river to river, so I want lots of songs on a road trip. This mix fits on two CDs and, yes Jim, I sent one to you to send on to Iraq. The mix is a bit outside my usual style. I've got a couple of bands in there more than once (X/Knitters 3 times and the Rave Ups twice). And I've got consecutive Tainted Loves (Soft Cell and Me First And the Gimme Gimmes).
  1. Panama Van Halen
  2. Jenny Says Cowboy Mouth
  3. Tonite Go Go's
  4. No One Lives Forever Oingo Boingo
  5. Wild Thing (Single Edit) X
  6. Teddy Bear's Picnic Trout Fishing In America
  7. Mexico The Rave-Ups
  8. Good Better Than Ezra
  9. Volcano Girls Veruca Salt
  10. Good Morning Aztlan Los Lobos
  11. Jungle Bells Hoodoo Gurus
  12. My Love Will Not Change Del McCoury
  13. Jesus Built My Hotrod (Short, Pusillanimous, So-They-Can-Fit-More-Commercials-on-the-Radio Edit) Ministry
  14. Like An Outlaw Social Distortion
  15. The Impression That I Get The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  16. The Call Of The Wreckin' Ball X
  17. London Calling The Clash
  18. I Can't Explain The Who
  19. Bomber Bash Ry Cooder
  20. Send Me on My Way Rusted Root
  21. Gimme Three Steps Lynyrd Skynyrd
  22. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction Devo
  23. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow The Soggy Bottom Boys
  24. Rock Island Line The Knitters
  25. Maggie Campbell Dave Alvin
  26. Ring of Fire H-Blockx Vs. Dr. Ring-Ding
  27. Take Me I'm Yours Squeeze
  28. Get My Rocks Off Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
  29. Rack My Brains Huxton Creepers
  30. Santa Monica Everclear
  31. Bikini Girls With Machine Guns The Cramps
  32. Amanda Ruth Rank And File
  33. Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash
  34. I Love You So The Blasters
  35. Kryptonite 3 Doors Down
  36. Drive She Said Stan Ridgway
  37. Pipeline Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
  38. Fast As You Dwight Yoakam
  39. Ways To Be Wicked Lone Justice
  40. Remember (Newman's Lovesong) The Rave-Ups
  41. Knockbacks In Halifax Weddings Parties Anything
  42. Tainted Love Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies
  43. Tainted Love Soft Cell
  44. Gone Daddy Gone Violent Femmes
  45. I Wanna Be Sedated The Offspring
  46. Honey White Morphine

Time for another guide story 

No Shit There I Was, Thought I Was Going To Die...

No, wait, that's not it.

One of the rivers on which I did the Guide thing was the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. It's great, you should go see it. Somewhere in the latter half of the trip, in the middle of a really big, really deep pool there is a huge rock outcrop next the river. It's almost 40 feet straight down from the top into water that is at least 20 feet deep. And there is an easy climb around the back that takes you up to the top of the rock. If we thought we had sufficient time and cool enough people on the trip we would stop and let those who wished climb up to the top and jump into the water.

It took a me a couple of trips up to the top of the rock before I jumped off it. 40 feet doesn't look very far from water but is really really high when your on the rock. But I did it. You're in the air long enough to think to yourself that it was a really dumb idea to step out into the void and that you're not having any fun.

Every trip after the one where I did the jump I would trek up to the top of the rock to see if I wanted to jump again. Here's the thing: I never did.

But almost invariably there'd be some college kid on the trip with Mom 'n' Dad who'd be itching to jump and we'd have a conversation something like:

CK - Are you going to jump?
H - Nope.
CK - I'm going to do it.
H - That's great.
CK - Why aren't you going to jump?
H - I come up here every week to see if I want to and I don't want to jump today.
CK - What, are you afraid?
H - Yup. Now go jump off the rock and I'll row you through a few more rapids.

Friday Kid Blogging 

First Day

On YW's first day of school, YA would not be denied and had to have his picture taken too. As you can see he is proud as can be about being in the picture. The toys he's holding do creep me out a bit. On our trip to SB to celebrate Grandma's birthday the boys were each allowed to pick out a modestly priced item in a toy store. YA homed in on two Boobah dolls in the We're Trying To Get This Crap Out Of The Store bin. Since they were only a buck a piece, I let him get both. He's never even seen the show, but he had to have them. They have contributed to the high standard of conversation at Casa Hank: "YA, get your Boobahs out of my face." "YA, where are your Boobahs?" "YW, leave your brother's Boobahs alone."

Friday Non-Random 10 

It's been a while since I did a Random 10 post and it's not even a little random. A few days ago I read a post that mentioned The Knitters and their new CD. Lo! And Behold! In addition to a new CD they also (finally) had their original LP issued in digital format! So Amazon and I conducted a transaction and I'm listening to them even now. Here are the last 10 songs to play on iTunes:
  1. Someone Like You The Knitters
  2. Poor Little Critter On The Road The Knitters
  3. Born to Be Wild The Knitters
  4. Little Margaret The Knitters
  5. Burning House of Love The Knitters
  6. I'll Go Down Swinging The Knitters
  7. Long Chain On The Knitters
  8. The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball The Knitters
  9. Rank Stranger The Knitters
  10. Skin Deep Town The Knitters

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

You can do it Arnie 

Living in California is such fun. The Governator, who to all appearances has no personal problem with our happier, dare I say gayer friends, is in thrall to the Republican Party. He's pretty happy with the corrupt business wing of the party, but the Know Nothing dumbass end of the party has been feeling its oats lately and they really really really want him to veto the Gays Are People Too bill that is on its way to his desk. So what will he do? I especially like how he said that the Legislature shouldn't pass the bill because they should leave it up to the courts to decide this sort of thing.

Update: He can't do it. I was listening to NPR in the car a little while ago and his office has made it known that he will veto the bill. So the Know Nothing dumbass wing of the Republicans is with him. But that's about it. Given the trends on this issue he has no hope for getting elected to anything ever again. Of course if he signed it he couldn't get nominated for anything ever again either. It's almost as if the California Democrats passed the bill as some sort of Poison Pill. Good for them.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bonus First Day Of School Kid Blogging 

First Day of KindergartenFirst Day of 1st GradeFirst Day of 2nd Grade

One of the advantages of having a digital camera, and of course a good photo-app on the computer, is that you can go back in time to find pictures really easily. Yesterday was YW's first day off 2nd Grade. It doesn't seem all that long ago that he was on his way to his first day of Kindergarten. But through the Magic of Computation we can see that YW has definitely changed in appearance since he first headed off to start stuffing his brain with State Approved Knowledge. We have here his First Day Of School pictures from Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grades.

Friday, September 02, 2005

UC Merced 

One of my new favorite 'Daddy Blogs' is Pops' Bucket (note the proper use of the apostrophe. Who said History degrees weren't useful?). One of the things he points out about himself is that he has degrees from the two least prestigious UC campuses. But that is about to change. UC Merced is going to open in just a couple of days, which will move UC Irvine and UC Riverside out of the doghouse. And, not incidentally, will also incrementally increase the cachet of my own Alma Mater UC Santa Barbara. But you ask (I can hear you internets, don't worry), why are you writing about this? It's like this, I want even fewer people to read this than if I had put it in a comment on Pops' Bucket.

I remember way back when, when UC Merced was first proposed. *(And let's be honest, UC Fresno should be its name, but Merced sounds cooler.) The reason given for building it out there was that there was this terrible coastal bias in the UC system. All the campuses (except Riverside) were either right on the beach or within easy striking distance of salt water. This was just a terrible disservice to those California residents who made their homes East of US 101. It was put forth that they would be much more likely to apply to the UC if only they had a campus where they would feel comfortable. A campus in their native environment. That is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Let's say you live in Blythe, or Barstow, or Bakersfield and you really really want to go to the University of California. Would you rather go to Santa Barbara or San Diego or Santa Monica or Fresno? Lets be serious here, the UC probably does need a new campus and building one in Fresno has to be a lot cheaper than building one in, say, San Luis Obispo, but excusing it as way to ease the tender sensibilities of our inland neighbors is just silly.

And just to prove how important education is to the modern Republican Party, Governor Arnie won't be attending the Grand Opening of the first new UC campus in 40 years. The dink.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Did I Just Hear That? 

I've got the local morning news on. I could swear I just heard the Reader say that the authorities in New Orleans have diverted the police from search and rescue operations to anti-looting duty. What the fuck is that about? Most of the people in the affected areas didn't evacuate before the storm/flooding because they couldn't. I would imagine that most of the looting is people who need food and water. I haven't seen or read any stories about the 'massive relief operations' bringing in food, water and other supplies. And since when are actual living people trapped in the wreckage more important than flood-damaged goods that will be written off whether or not they are looted/found by the people in the wasteland?

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