links when I should be preparing for a meeting
Mood: busy
Posted on 2008-01-09 12:01:00
Tags: links
Words: 36

Star Wars Guide to the Candidates - Tom TanGreedo cracks me up! (via kottke)

Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House? - funny Microsoft "children's book". More things should be explained in terms of children's books!


big day
Mood: nervous
Posted on 2008-01-09 09:18:00
Tags: rant work mortgage house
Words: 89

Big work meeting today after lunch.

We met with our mortgage guy yesterday and everything seems to be in order, so bully for that. After work we're gonna view the house again and then, in all likelihood, make an offer, which is exciting! This just in: the house was not used previously to manufacture methamphetamines (yes, this question is on the seller's disclosure).

Also, $32 per month is a ridiculous sum of money to pay to a homeowner's association, for use of a pool that we'll probably never use.


posthumous blog entry
Mood: moody
Posted on 2008-01-07 15:10:00
Tags: house links
Words: 49

This is the final entry of a blogger who died in Iraq. Sobering stuff.

Some gay-targeted ads which are pretty clever/amusing.

We might make an offer on the house this week or next week. This is exciting!

Pride and Palpitations - an account of seeing Obama win the Iowa primary.


oh well
Mood: annoyed
Posted on 2008-01-05 13:22:00
Tags: house
Words: 44

I think I'll just live in a hotel for the rest of my life. Room service, maid service, etc. It would be a lot less trouble.

Also, does $44/month for water seem high to anyone else? We're not running a car wash or anything...


this is getting ridiculous
Mood: overwhelmed
Posted on 2008-01-04 16:21:00
Tags: house
Words: 23

I know they're just trying to sell the house, but a 2675 sq ft is not "cozy". "Ginormously huge" would be more accurate.


caucus night
Mood: cold
Posted on 2008-01-03 23:20:00
Tags: election essay house politics
Words: 216

The short version: Obama wins, Edwards just barely beats Clinton for second. Huckabee wins on the Republican side.

Back in 2003, I was a huge Dean supporter. I got to shake his hand (this was back in April when he was pretty unknown), went to Meetups for him and wrote letters to voters in Iowa, sent him lots of money, went down to San Antonio for a rally wearing my Dean shirt and hat, etc., etc. When he lost in Iowa and then the whole Dean Scream nonsense, it broke my heart. I did get behind Kerry, not terribly enthusiastically, but what's the alternative, right? His loss broke my heart too, but in a smaller way.

Anyway, I feel a little bad that I wasn't backing a particular candidate, because I don't want to lose my passion...but in the end it's really hard to tell who would make the best President. They're all pretty good, and I'd be happy if any of them got elected. (even Gravel...think of what an entertaining four years that would make!)

Tomorrow night: movie
Saturday: drive to Houston, do a bachelor party
Sunday: drive back to Austin earlyish, meet djedi's parents and look at houses. Maybe decide to make an offer on the one we like. That would be pretty neat.


happy caucus day!
Mood: curious
Posted on 2008-01-03 09:11:00
Tags: election politics links
Words: 154

And remember, caucuses aren't elections nor particularly democratic (with a lowercase "d"), so when whoever wins try not to get too excited even though presumably the media will crown him/her tomorrow morning because it's not like the media has a blatant interest in making the caucuses overly-relevant with their millions of dollars in media ads.

Also, I will say to supporters of Hillary what my mom said to me about Howard Dean in 2004 (paraphrased and mostly remembered): "Son, feel free to support whoever you want, but if Dean wins the nomination and then loses to Bush you're in big trouble".

I heard this interesting story on NPR on the way to work: a study seems to suggest the placebo effect can make you lose weight and lower blood pressure, although there are some other possible explanations. Interesting stuff, the placebo effect.

100 things we didn't know last year from the BBC (via kottke)


mortgage-hunting around done
Mood: good
Posted on 2008-01-02 14:42:00
Tags: mortgage house
Words: 206

I think we're finally done mortgage-hunting. Which is good because it's starting to drive me bananas. I went to Bank of America today to cash in some savings bonds and (after the guy miscounted them which would have shorted me some hundreds of dollars) the guy asked me what I was doing with the money. I let it slip we're planning on closing on a house soon(ish) and his eyes literally lit up1 and he got very excited and started talking quickly and pulled up a web page with mortgage numbers. At one point he actually jogged across the room to ask someone something.

Then on the way back from that, another mortgage person possibility called me to make sure I had gotten the estimate he emailed back this morning.

I think if I wore a shirt saying "About to buy a house" I would be crushed by the mob of humanity coming to offer me a mortgage, is all I'm saying.

1 - I hate it when people say "literally" when they don't mean "literally", so here's my justification: his eyes opened wider, therefore exposing more of the white of his eyes to me, which is brighter than the rest of his eyes/his skin. (back)

1 comment

A brief moment of panic...
Mood: relieved
Posted on 2008-01-01 12:18:00
Tags: house
Words: 66

when I saw this listing for the house we're interested in - notice the big Sold! at the top. Luckily I'm pretty sure the listing is old, as the backyard doesn't have the deck in it and the asking price is quite a bit lower than the one we saw.

On the plus side - it's a David Weekly home, which I've been told is a good thing!


last links of 2007!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2007-12-31 15:40:00
Tags: links
Words: 26

Minesweeper: The Movie - this is awesome. Just awesome.

The HDMI cable scam - I was just grousing about this at Fry's a few weeks ago! Digital > analog...

1 comment

-1 for working on New Year's Eve
Mood: contemplative
Posted on 2007-12-31 13:06:00
Tags: elevator work
Words: 77

The worst part is that I'm actually getting work done. I plan to party even harder for the holiday in exchange for this. The second worst part is that there was a great elevator timing I could have taken on the way up (1->3->5->8) but I couldn't get my cell phone out of my pocket in time. Still taking data, though.

Managed to reschedule my meeting so as to not conflict with the wedding. Hooray for that!


The next two weeks
Mood: stressed
Posted on 2007-12-30 10:00:00
Tags: phone work mortgage house
Words: 230

Here's what has to happen in the next two weeks:

- New year's party (fun!)
- Shuffling money around in anticipation of making a down payment
- Picking a mortgage broker/company and finishing that paperwork
- Next weekend: Drive to Houston for djedi's brother's bachelor party.
- Next weekend: Probably with djedi's parents, looking at the house we're interested in again (and talking to neighbors about mosquitos?), as well as looking at a house we probably aren't interested in
- Figuring out whether a drainage ditch behind a house is bad or not
- Maaaaaybe, if all our ducks are lined up, making an offer on said drainage ditch house
- Holding the big proposal meeting for my big big feature at work (probably the most important meeting in my professional career thus far), attended by my former boss, boss, and boss's boss (and other people) which I stupidly scheduled for the day before...
- djedi's brother's wedding in Houston, for which I will have to drive down right after said meeting unless I can reschedule, which is unlikely given the number of people attending

After all that I'm gonna get me a new phone, the idea of which will hopefully get me through all of the above. I'm thinking either a Nokia 6133 or a Nokia 6263.

I'm declaring it's OK for myself to get very little else done as long as the bullet points above are hit.


one christmas down, one to go!
Mood: optimistic
Posted on 2007-12-28 10:57:00
Tags: pictures links
Words: 66

Here are pictures from the first Christmas. (not the first Christmas ever, mind you...)

From Daring Fireball, why 6 megapixels is the sweet spot for compact digital cameras and anything more than that just creates noise.

Why Starbucks actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses - that's kinda cool!

Why having a new programming language created every week for the last 50 years isn't necessarily a good thing.

1 comment

home again, home again jiggety-jig
Mood: tired
Posted on 2007-12-26 17:41:00
Tags: movies
Words: 644

We're back home. Christmas was nice but there was surprisingly little time to relax. And I was OK about going back to work two days after Christmas, but I'm decidedly less excited about it now.

Christmas with David's family was nice, though - we cleaned up in time Christmas morning for the big party, and it wasn't as awkward as I had feared, since I had been introduced to a lot of his family before. Played 42 with family for an hour or two - they're quite good unlike myself, but everyone was pleasant and whatnot. Also ended up playing a lot of Rook while we were there - the rules are similar to 42, except it's with cards, and the play is fairly different.

It looks like we'll be at my folks this coming weekend for Christmas instead of the one after that, which works out better for various reasons but means we'll be in Houston three weekends in a row (all for good reason) which is kind of a lot.

Just checked mail - I got a small package from Gary Madison (from NY) that contains a CD called "Por Vida" which I know nothing about. I'm assuming it's a present, and I'm all for random fun stuff showing up in my mailbox, but does anyone have the skinny on this?

Movies we saw: National Treasure 2, Underdog (the second half or so), Live Free or Die Hard, Stardust. Thoughts below; may contain spoilers.

National Treasure 2: Biased against it from the beginning, because, seriously? It was more or less what I expected - decent action, barely believable plot. There were some major problems in there. For example: the main bad guy (who looks totally evil from the very first scene he's in and I hope it wasn't supposed to be a surprise that he was a bad guy) presents evidence that Nicolas Cage's great-grandfather was the mastermind of the plot to assassinate Lincoln. The story that Cage's family was told was that he was killed because he didn't decrypt a treasure map for a group of Confederate sympathizers to the legendary city of Cibola. Apparently these can't both be true, because Nicolas Cage's plan is to go ahead and find that city, thus proving that...the treasure map was true. So his great-granddaddy wasn't a traitor. Or something. Also, the main bad guy tries to get some of the clues along with way, mostly by shooting the good guys. But then at the end he needs them to decipher the final clue, or explore the tunnel with them or something. So why all the bullets before? And at the very end he heroically gives himself up to save the rest of them. He seems to want his family name to be cleared, but that sure isn't clear until he says so. Blah.

Underdog (the second half or so): Biased against it because I saw the trailer and it looked cookie-cutter talking animal: dumb. I sat down to watch with David's nephews who were supposed to be napping in front of it, which didn't work at all. It ended up being not as dumb as I thought - I certainly wouldn't recommend it, but sitting down in front of it beats working. Jim Belushi and Patrick Warburton (Puddy on Seinfeld, The Tick) certainly help.

Live Free or Die Hard: Biased for it because I liked the first one and I heard it was good. It was awesome. Justin Long is good, Timothy Olyphant is good, and of course Bruce Willis is good. Good good good. Simultaneously made me want to work out more and work on my leet hacker skillz.

Stardust: We watched this lateish last night, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had I been less tired. It's a fairy tale, and it was sweet, but it just felt a little weird. Worth watching, though.


Christmas in Port Lavaca
Mood: tired
Posted on 2007-12-24 00:47:00
Tags: christmas
Words: 193

This year Christmas is with djedi's parents, so here we are! Things have already gotten kinda crowded - his brother and fiancee came in yesterday and his sister and husband + 2 kids arrived today. (other sister and husband arrive tomorrow) And there's only one non-master bathroom to go around, which is why I'm posting and not in bed :-)

It's been fun, although it's been a while since I've been back here and it takes some adjusting to lots of stuff going on, people getting on each other's nerves, etc. Overall I like it, but it's a pretty different feel than spending Christmas with my family. (I'm sure djedi would agree...) We're going to open most presents on Christmas Eve, since Christmas Day in the afternoon a lot of people from his mom's side of the family come over for a big party, which is sure to be peopleful and awkward for me, having met most of them but not enough times to remember who's who. Hopefully it'll be warm enough to play volleyball, though.

If I don't get to post again, everyone have a Merry (or Happy!) Christmas and a safe trip back home.


houses houses houses...I made you out of clay...
Mood: creative
Posted on 2007-12-21 10:22:00
Tags: math elevator work house poll
Words: 408

We went house-hunting again yesterday. The first house we looked at is now our current favorite (which is good, as we heard our previous favorite is already under contract. Stop buying houses, people!), with a nice big kitchen (with an island!) that opens up to a living room which is a little on the small side but could probably fit the TV and computers. Master bedroom is plenty big and the bathrooms are nice. Plus it was built in the 90s and is reasonably priced!

- a bit far from freeways, although the neighborhood it's in is nice (it's off of Duval)
- there's a deck in the backyard which would be nice were it not so rundown, presumably by the current owners' (don't yell at me, there's more than one owner so I'm assuming they both own the dogs) dogs.
- living room is a little small

We have another good possibility that we'll see after the holidays, hopefully.

Now for the important stuff: at work my building has 8 floors and elevators. I work on the 8th floor, so I get plenty of time in said elevators. (fun thing to do: walk in a circle as the elevator is moving and realize that you're tracing out a helix!) Often I have to wait for other people to get off on their stupid less important floors before I get to the top, so I was wondering: let's say it's a given that we have to make two floor stops from 1 to 8. Is it better to have the stops be consecutive or spread out? For the sake of concreteness, let's say one way we stop at floors 2 and 3, and the other way we stop at floors 3 and 6.

I have an idea but I'll cut it: my guess is that, even though the elevator won't get up to full acceleration between floors 2 and 3, the total time spent getting up to top speed will be the same, so it'll be almost exactly the same. Depending on the acceleration versus the height of the floors, it's possible that stopping at floors 2 and 3 will be faster, though. I'll go with almost exactly the same for now.

Anyway, I was going to start taking measurements when I get my new phone, but it looks like the RAZR V3 doesn't have a stopwatch. (can anyone confirm?) That makes me sad. I'll come up with something, though!


getflix revamped again!
Mood: okay
Posted on 2007-12-19 10:23:00
Tags: getflix projects work
Words: 85

So I spent some time updating this script to pull your Netflix ratings and after redesigning the database tables a bit (which was fun since it isn't something I usually do) I think it's about done. Now I need to add in some analysis or something :-)

We had our release party for the new NI smart camera (get yours today!) yesterday at 300, a bowling place that feels clubby. (there were music videos playing on screens in front of lanes and such) It was fun.


whoops, false alarm
Mood: tired
Posted on 2007-12-16 17:58:00
Tags: phone
Words: 178

Apparently all is well between T-Mobile and Twitter (again, confirmed with my phone). Sorry about the earlier bit. Kinda wish I hadn't sent a slightly angry email to T-Mobile and a tip to the Consumerist, but I guess this will teach me not to do crap like that when I'm in a hurry somewhere. Also (as I quickly investigated), AT&T will give me the RAZR for free if I sign up with them, but to get the equivalent plan would cost more per month. So there's that.

Also, T-Mobile finally got back to me and the nice representative pointed out that I had in fact gotten a free phone in March 2006 which I had forgotten about. So, I'll get a new phone on January 13. Fine enough I guess.

Revels was good - the most dramatic part was hearing a loud noise and my mom fall a bit...turns out she was standing on a barrel and fell in the barrel. She was fine, no clothes were ruined, but I believe she will never hear the end of it :-)


T-Mobile blocking Twitter. Egads!
Mood: angry
Posted on 2007-12-15 12:42:00
Tags: phone
Words: 100

So, apparently T-Mobile is blocking Twitter. Confirmed from my phone (I get a "Service is temporarily down. Please, try again later." response) and sent in a customer service request. If this in fact the case, then I'll just switch to AT&T, since they're the other major carrier that uses GSM so my SIM card will work in their phone. Also, it looks like I can get a free RAZR when I sign a contract with them.

Grr. Argh.

Edit: Or maybe Twitter has scheduled downtime now. Or maybe this was happening earlier too.

Edit again: false alarm, sorry sorry sorry


my head asplode
Mood: energetic
Posted on 2007-12-14 15:02:00
Tags: house worldofwarcraft
Words: 25

House-hunting! Still no email from T-Mobile (36 hours and counting)! Applied to write for WoW Insider! Bought a PS3 yesterday! Christmas party tonight! Other things!

1 comment

the saga of the phone!
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2007-12-13 15:03:00
Tags: phone
Words: 378

(this is what passes for a saga these days)

So after yesterday's post, I decided to go with the RAZR (especially after seeing you can transfer stuff from it to your computer without paying $50 for Motorola's kit, which means I can back up phone numbers and stuff which is wicked cool!), and while I was out running errands I stopped by a T-Mobile store.

The online price was $70, which seemed a little high since I bought my last phone in May of 2005, but I figured if that's the price, that's the price. I got to the store, told the guy I wanted to upgrade my phone, etc. He looked me up in the magic computer and said that it would be $87 after fees and taxes or whatnot (so I'm guessing it's actually the same price as online), but if I waited another month it would only be $20. Said I, "buh?". Turns out I've only had this phone for 21 months, whereas to get the full discount one needs to wait 22 months. I pressed him a little, but he said he couldn't get any more info and to call Customer Care, they may be able to help me out.

Back home, I gave them a call and talked with an enthusiastic-sounding young woman. We went through the song and dance and again she told me that it was $70. I asked about the extra month and said that I had bought my phone in May 2005 and so it had been more than 22 months, but she said that she couldn't tell how long it would be until I got the full discount. She sounded like she couldn't get at that information either - maybe I should have asked to speak to her manager or something? I wasn't feeling very bold at the time.

Honestly, the lack of a working alarm on the phone is pretty bad, but even I can't justify spending an extra $60-70 to get a new phone a month early. I did send an email explaining my situation, saying when I bought the phone and asking whether I could get the discount. The automated email promised a response within 24 hours, so I should hear soon!

The Google 2007 Zeitgest


of phones and data
Mood: happy
Posted on 2007-12-12 13:26:00
Tags: phone projects
Words: 136

Phones: Like before, my cell phone's alarm isn't going on again, except this time I can't figure out how to fix it. I was planning on getting a new phone pretty soon anyway, but this may expedite the plans. My current top choices are the Samsung t439, Motorola RAZR V3, and maybe the Nokia 6133 - anyone have any opinions on these?

I found this awesome script to get your Netflix ratings last night and it's pretty cool. I may improve it some, throw in some analysis and make it my next project.

Speaking of backing up your personal data stored at an online site, LiveJournal was bought by SUP. It sounds like nothing big's going to change, but it might be a good chance to backup your LiveJournal with LJBackup. Shameless plug transmission over and out!


Gore coverage in 2000
Mood: angry
Posted on 2007-12-11 10:49:00
Tags: politics links
Words: 29

Excellent article about media coverage of Gore in 2000. (via kottke) It may make you angry. Remember this when the inevitable trivial stories start coming out about the nominees.

1 comment

craving greek food
Mood: hungry
Posted on 2007-12-10 11:09:00
Tags: food
Words: 13

Does anyone know of a good Greek place nearish work (Mopac and Duval)?


Christmas is nigh
Mood: indescribable
Posted on 2007-12-10 10:09:00
Tags: pictures itunesanalysis worldofwarcraft
Words: 151

I finished my WoW arena rating graph. The neat part is being able to see statistics (we are much worse against teams with 1 mage than teams with no mages, etc.) and select criteria to get specific results.

I put some Christmas pictures up (getting the tree for my parents house and our tree), as well as a puzzle David and Miriam did. (penguins!)

Sunday we went Christmas shopping for 3.5 hours, hitting 8 stores plus the mall. It was crazy. I'm beginning to understand feeling overwhelmed at the holidays. We did get gifts for a good chunk of the people we need to, though.

I added an iTunes playlist containing the first song from every album. It turns out I rate the first song on each album an average of .4 higher (see the analysis - "First tracks" average rating is 3.86, "Music" average rating is 3.47), which I found interesting!


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