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Timmerov's Blog
Thursday, April 30, 2009
  roof box
i set some stuff on the roof of my car to free my hands so i could get the rest of my stuff in the car. that reminded me of blog worth events from long ago. way back when computer monitors weren't flat, they came in large cubical boxes and weighed 50 kilos. i had just bought one of these things and was trying to get it in my car. i didn't have anything with me to tie down the trunk. i thought i could get it in the back seat. but i had parked in a tight spot and there wasn't enough room to fully open the back doors. so i set the box on the roof. got in and started to back out. some good samaritan saw the box on the roof and just had to save me from destroying it on the freeway. anywho, he's yelling and running and i'm smiling and nodding and waving yeah i know there's a box on the roof thank you very much. obviously, he's not communicating his warning cause i'm obviously still planning to drive away and smash that beautiful expensive monitor. so he runs around behind my car and physically traps me in the parking spot. sheehs. he's yelling and gesticulating and yelling so much he couldn't hear me. i took a deep breath and counted to ten. then i got out and waited for the silence. i started quietly and got louder. this box (i point) is staying on this roof (i point) until you (i point) get the fuck out of the way (i point). by this time i'm yelling. for a moment i thought he was going to maintain his one man barricade. but he moved. i moved. the box moved into the car. sometimes people can be too helpful. way way way too fucking helpful.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
the other day i was sketching one of my crazy inventions on scrap paper. or trying to anyways. i needed to draw a circle so i went looking for a compass. i found g's pretty quick. it was a cheapo thing that didn't work very well. in know bennett has a nice one. so i went looking for it. no joy. the boys were in the hot tub. so i went and asked. b said his good compass was on top of his dresser with his scout uniform accouterments. okay. i looked and looked and looked. no compass. sheehs. i was about to give up. when i had a brain shift. scouts. compass. scouts. compass has another meaning. and suddenly i could see it plain as day. b's good magnetic nsew compass was right there in front of my nose. so i went back to the tub and re-asked the question. oh that compass! that's blah blah blah. anywho. i drew my circle. and i built my prototype obelisk. it's at joe and mary's now if you want to see it.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
  kangaroo god
the story goes, when european folks were first exploring australia they asked their guide, what is that creature. the guide answered, kangaroo. which meant i don't know. so in one round of telephone tag a word changed meaning from i-dont-know to a particular animal. i think the same thing happened in religion a long time ago. god originally meant i-dont-know. or there is no answer. where did people come from? god. who made the trees and animals? god. who watches over me when i sleep? god. who protects us from lions? god. who makes the rain fall? god. why did uncle bob die? god. who's gonna forgive me for killing my neighbor? god. wow, god is a pretty powerful thing to be able to do all that. run it through a few thousand generations of phone tag and poof! religion is born. sure wish i would have realized this when i was a kid. it would have made church sermons soooo much more tolerable. maybe even entertaining. i'd have written down all the really funny things uttered by the yakking ignoramuses. and written a book. i'd be so rich now.
Monday, April 27, 2009
  bush admin
heh. i call it the bush administration. though i don't believe for one minute that george w bush was actually functually in charge of the organization that bears his name. go figure.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
i have mixed feelings about what has happened to senator stevens. he fudged the rules. big deal. everyone does it. and he did it less than most. still, rules are rules. and if you break them you risk paying the consequences. course those consequences shouldn't involve a conspiracy of people cheating at your trial to get a conviction. that's just plain wrong too. and those perpetrators should pay the consequences. like i said, rules are rules. stevens was a powerful dude for a very long time. an essential pillar of a functioning democracy is the sharing of power between various factions. churn in the seats of power is good. that was lacking in senator stevens' case. he seems to be out of power now. in the bigger picture this is probably a good thing. but the ends do not justify the means.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
waterboarding is torture. everyone knows that. so obama releases the details on just how evil the bush administration was. or at least that's the standard spin. i'm thinking, wait a minute. some interrogation techniques in general and torture in specific are banned for two reasons. one, they're sadistic. two, they generate a lot of false positives. for example. admit your friends are witches or we'll throw you on a fire and burn you alive to maximize your suffering. what do you do? you rat out your friends. even if they aren't witches. cause it's what the inquisitors want. and you definitely don't want to be bbq. anywho, the allegation is the bush administration wanted to establish a link between saddam and bin laden. so they used harsh interrogation techniques. the interesting part is, no evidence of any such link was found. hrm. there's a few possibilities here. one, the interrogators suck as torturers. two, the interrogators somehow ethically used the torture technique. or three, waterboarding isn't torture. at least, not as i've defined it above. and not when used sparingly. using it 183 times on a single individual strikes off deep into sadism land. hell, 18 times beggars the imagination. a rational person would have to conclude either they're resistant to this form of harsh interrogation or they just plain don't have the information you're looking for. sheehs. heh. in case you've missed the astounding significance of this post, let me explicitly spell it out for you. obama's policy of openness has eroded some of my hate of the bush adminstration. secrecy in government bad.
Friday, April 24, 2009
  new zealand
new zealand is on my list of places to go. if you look at a globe it looks like new zealand is way far south. there really isn't very much between it an antarctica. which is the bottom of the world. its climate is pretty nice though. why? heh. it's actually not that far south. the latitudes are equivalent to portland to las vegas. and it's got some nice warm tropical currents flowing by.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
i'm getting over a really nasty cold i picked up in yosemite. being ill does strange things to me. sometimes i have zero energy. sometimes i have a plethora of nervous energy i just have to work off. at 6:30 sunday morning. sigh. so i went for a walk. the world was pretty quiet. and empty. except for some neighbor dude working on his car stereo. or stealing someone else's. heh. just realized that. good time for it. brains don't work well in a fever induced fog. anywho, as i was walking along i found noticed a stethoscope lying neatly beside the sidewalk. i wondered how someone loses a such a thing. was there a 911 call here? or maybe it didn't work and had become a child's plaything. anywho, my cold got a lot more painful and much harder to breathe. it reminded me of when i had pneumonia to start 8th grade. i even made the beautiful and talented alisa listen to my chest. she couldn't hear any rattling sounds. i thought briefly that maybe i should have picked up that stethoscope. nah. i'd have missed her head pressed up against my naked chest. and her long soft hair flowing against my bare almost ticklish skin.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
  spider fools
the beautiful and talented alisa is pretty jumpy around spiders. usually it's my job to squish em. so it was pretty surprising to me to see her and g with several plastic spiders on the breakfast table april first. they were choosing the best specimen from their collection. and discussing the ways to deploy the prank. huh. while his teacher was passing out practice sat's, g slipped the plastic spider onto her pen. what happened next apparently went like this: teacher, EEK! class, IT WAS G! so much for honor among thieves. anywho, well done. my april fools pranks are usually a lot more fun as mental exercises than as actual honest to goodness gags. course i did get the three of them a few years ago. i wrote slow poke 1 2 3 on masking tape on the backs of their bicycle helmets. the boys didn't notice. but mom did.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
springtime colds are the worst.
Monday, April 20, 2009
there seems to be some trouble deciding what to do with pirates. argh. they should be let go. in the middle of the sea. you want to commit crimes outside of national borders, pay the penalty when you get caught. sheehs. course we're not monsters. they can be given a small caliber weapon with a single shot before they walk the plank.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
we went to yosemite for spring break. it snowed on us. was still fun. kept the disneyland factor down to the level where tolerable was visible on the horizon. sigh. anywho. we took some fun pictures.

b got pretty thirsty at lower yosemite falls.

g got pretty thirsty at vernal falls.

i got pretty mad at a tree that was in my way.

the valley just isn't that big when you're the beautiful and talented alisa.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
income was down again this year. and tax rate went up. to 31%. if that surprises you, you should go re-read a few old posts. that's all of our income divided by all of our taxes. in case you wish to compare to your tax rate. it's sad really. our best play in this game is to quit our jobs where we produce something useful to society and manage our portfolio where we sponge off the labors of others.
Friday, April 17, 2009
if a doctor were a quack, how would they know? suppose i don't like this doctor's diagnosis and/or cure, i go to a different doctor. and i never see the first doctor again. it would be really easy for the first doctor to assume their treatment helped that missing patient. doctors never get negative feedback. only positive feedback. which would skew their world view away from reality. which might explain some of the hubris i've observed in some of the medical profession.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
  complex fracture
ben went to the orthopedic specialist the other day. he came home with his forearm in a massive splint contraption. he has to wear it for six weeks. with follow up appointments every two weeks. apparently the complex fracture of the proximal phalange of his right index finger is more serious than we thought. or maybe it's economics. the opportunity presented itself for the health care provider to bill my insurance company for premium services. so they did. harumph. they didn't teach about complex fractures when i was a cub scout. i guess it's when you take a lobster shell cracker wrench thing to a human bone. anywho, i'm still not convinced that immobilization is best medicine. anecdotal observations from 20+ years in a wrestling room, injuries heal faster and better if you get them into normal range of motion in controlled and protected situations as soon as possible. injuries that are immobilized need to be rehabilitated. a lot. which requires a level of discipline not usually found in normal humans. immobilized incompletely rehabilitated injuries tend to be re-injured and become chronic. anywho. what do i know? heh. i know what i've done to my body. either i've been really lucky, i'm an indestructible mutant freak, or i know what i'm talking about.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
the word impossible has two meanings. that which cannot be done. and that which cannot be done by you.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
  racing chairs
the boys signed up to do a 1 mile fun run for the benefit of an orphanage in zimbabwe. we took some folding chairs so the older folks could sit while the younger folks ran. 30 minutes before b's race he was lounging in one of these chairs. it's got rather short legs and is very close to the ground. he grabbed the sides and tried to scootch forwards. the front legs collapsed and folded under scissoring his fingers between the aluminum pipes. OUCH! worse, the full measure of his weight was pushing down the seat trapping both hands. he could not free himself. he started screaming. his mother started screaming. i picked him up by the armpits and the chair fell away. the knuckle joint between the proximal and intermediate phalanges was crushed to half its normal size. but it articulated okay. swelling quickly restored it to its normal size. and then some. x-rays showed a complex fracture running the entire length of the proximal bone. it's in a split now. he won't be able to play baseball this week. fortunately, there's no baseball next week anyway because of spring break. (yeah yeah, call the pun police.) kids tend to heal fast. oh, his time for the race was 7:42, a personal best.
Monday, April 13, 2009
when i create a new online account i generally use the weak password of the month. so in a few years when i have to re-enter the stupid password, i have to think back to when i created the dumb thing. then i can make a guess at the password. i tried updating passwords of old accounts to the new current password of the month. but that means that now i have to remember when i last updated that account. which is a much much more difficult task for me. i never was very good at history. anywho. most online accounts have a nice forgot your password feature. unfortunately, that means anyone who can read my email can get to nearly any account i have. sigh. it's actually kinda surprising i haven't heard of folks having their bank accounts emptied by this particular avenue of theft. hrm. hrm. i'm gonna be so rich.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
one of the predictions of global warming is rising sea levels. observations say they haven't budged. why not? heh. the first question is, should they? okay. here's a back of the envelope calculation. assume water expands by 0.03% per degree celsius. and assume we're going to raise the temperature of the water by 1C to a depth of 100 meters. let me do the math here... that's uh 3 cm. everybody panic. oh wait. maybe it's melting ice. hrm. if you melted all the ice on earth you'd have enough water to raise sea levels some 66 meters. that's some 200 feet for those of you still not hip to that newfangled metric system. everybody panic. oh wait. it takes energy to melt ice. that energy has to come from the sun. suppose we focused *all* of the energy from the sun that strikes the earth to melting ice... it'd take more than 600 years to melt it all. ergo we can conclude it's physically impossible for sea levels to rise faster than 11 meters per century. the sun is a big candle that burns remarkably steadily. it varies by some 0.1% during the sunspots cycle. if we assume all of that excess energy goes to melting ice, we predict a sea level rise of 10 cm per century. or 0.1 mm per year. everybody panic. yeah, right.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
the headline said, "US in Iraq". heh. as compared to, "Al Queda in Iraq". is that a not-so-subtle attempt by main stream media to associate us with the bad guys? heh. whatever gets people to pause and think. even for a femptosecond.
Friday, April 10, 2009
i go on and on about how economic down times are opportunity in disguise. current manufacturers are all piss and vinegar because people aren't buying what they're making. why not? according to them, it's because the economy is in the crapper and people are losing their jobs and can't afford to buy the product. hah! i call mouse nuts. people aren't buying your products because people don't want your products at the price you're selling them. lots of people have money. make a product they want. sell it at a price they are willing to pay. opportunity.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
should the government step in and create jobs when the economy is down? hrm. let me rephrase. the economy is in the tank. we can't build stuff to sell at a price people will buy because for one, labor is too expensive. so... should the government step in and create a bunch of high paying jobs to artificially inflate the value of labor?
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
americans don't blame obama for the economy. heh. fair enough. sure will blame him though if there's no recovery.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
so i'm starting this new business. i figure i can rent a nice charter bus. sell tickets online to fat people. pick them up at their homes. take them to these u-pick strawberry fields. the ones that weigh your bucket before and after. and charge you for the strawberries you picked by the pound. anywho, let the fatties out and hand them a bucket of cream. when they've had their fill they can waddle back to the air conditioned bus for a nice snoozy ride home.
Monday, April 06, 2009
  car street
wall street thrives on change. stocks go up, wall street makes money. stocks go down, wall street makes money. change is good. so when the bailouts hit wall street with strings attached, wall street played the game. govt: make these changes. ws: ouch! {bluffing} that will ruin us if we have to hold this toxic debt too. govt: we'll buy it. ws: deal. govt: here's your money. compare and contrast with detroit. manufacturers hate change. they want to sell the same car built in the same factory forever. change means new designs, factory changes, marketing, etc. all this crap is expensive. govt: make changes. detroit: no. govt: fine, go bankrupt. detroit: hey! where's our handout?!?! wall street got one! blah blah blah boo hoo hoo. man, i'd love to see new blood in the auto industry. i've blogged before about how the us car industry sucks at making deals. nothing's changed. they really need new leadership. will that be doom of the us auto industry? no, of course not. the surviving companies will pick up the slack. they'll buy the factories and hire the workers. they'll negotiate healthy contracts with unions. and all of us will be the better for it.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
  first lady
does 'first lady' mean hillary to anyone else? or is it just me? must be just me. so anywho, on slow news days the first lady (the real one) makes headlines. she has an ambitious schedule. of course she does! she's the secretary of state. oh wait. nm. another: the first lady really shouldn't be showing off her arms as much as she does. even if she has nicer biceps than the president. um, what? oh. right. michelle. 'course hillary held her own against bill. not helping. sigh.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
  free spit
a buddy of mine married a girlie girl. he had a few beers and was relating a story about his wife asking why men spit in the toilet when they whizz. he explained, cause it's free. you know. included in the price of a whizz you get a spit. for free! heh. hogwash. must have been some girlie girls present. nope. i spit in the pot before going whizz to make sure the pot is not covered in clear plastic wrap.
Friday, April 03, 2009
so here's a math puzzle. it's a boggler. in the word game boggle, how many different possible ways are there to make a 3 letter word? boggle is a 4x4 grid of letters. letters in a word must be adjacent including diagonals. letters cannot be reused in the same word. i get 408 for the answer. check my work.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
  money goes
suppose joe makes $200k/yr. joe bet this bull run would never end. despite the fact that every bull market before this one ended. anywho, joe has a mortgage on a $2m house. joe loses his job. joe has to sell his house. but nobody can buy his house at $2m. he has to sell it for $1m. joe goes bankrupt. joe liquidates the rest of his stuff for $300k. which goes to the joe's bank. fortunately, joe's bank insured joe's loan for just such an unhappy circumstance. they file a claim with their insurance company for $700k. the insurance company says OUCH! and punishes joe's bank for making risky loans by raising its insurance rates. the insurance company pays this policy by liquidating some of its real assets. by law, an insurance company is required to have a certain percentage of its exposure covered by such real assets. at least, that's how a healthy system is supposed to work. unfortunately, somewhere along the line we gave those insurance policies a new name: credit default swaps. and our lobbyists successfully persuaded the lawmakers that these things weren't insurance and didn't have to follow established rules for insurance. namely, the insuring company didn't have to have real assets to cover their risk. so they didn't. and now all of a sudden it's time to pay the piper. and there's no money. only paper. it's not all bad news. mary didn't lose her $100k/yr job. she's been saving a third of her income. and she just bought joe's $2m house for $1m.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
so our new product is cool and amazing, folks want to know how it works. heh. can't tell you. really. so stop asking. oh alright. since you asked so nicely. the trick is entangled particles. don't ask me which kind of particles. *that* for sure i can't tell you. not and keep my job, anyway. see, we sell you the box. it's packed full with a lifetime supply of these entangled unspecified particles. you plug in your box. when we want to send you data, we twiddle the unspecified particles on our side. and by a fortuitous quirk of quantum mechanics, the particles in your box are twiddled exactly the same way. and poof! data transfer complete. instantly! well, not instantly. it takes a surprisingly long time to validate your request and charge your credit card. but yeah, close enough to instantly. enjoy.
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

blogs of friends
bad astronomy
freedom to tinker

web comics
casey&andy (complete)
cheshire crossing (complete)
middle age
order of the stick

doonesbury (sunday only)
foxtrot (sunday only)
wizard of id

cool science facts (idle)
exploding unicorn
some ex-intern's
hyperbole and a half

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