i have always liked root beer floats. i haven't had very many in the past 20 years. there are two problems. first is corn syrup. it's not too hard to find ice cream made from real sugar. haagen daas and breyers are available in most grocery stores. root beer made from sugar is a lot harder to find. the last drink of the stuff i had i made myself. the second problem is the sugar rush. i guess when i was young i could just absorb a massive sugar spike. now it really makes me feel kinda yicky. and one must worry about how many times one can do such a horrible thing to one's pancreas before it melts. my family has a history of diabetes on both sides. wee. so anywho, this impending diet got me thinking. i could make sugar free root beer. i don't mean sugar free in the sense that it has artificial sweetener. i mean sugar free in the sense that there's no sugar at all. it's just carbonated water and root beer flavor. then make a sugar free root beer float with real ice cream. definitely something i'll have to try before the diet starts.
apparently i need to go on a diet. i'm around 200 pounds. i'd be happier at 190. so i guess that's the goal. course i was really happy at 170. but that seems really far away. the beautiful and talented alisa also apparently needs to go on a diet. she needs to drop 3 pounds. which is about how much my weight fluctuates over the course of a day. anywho, i think this diet will start as soon as the christmas cookies are gone.
buddy of mine just got a mail order dog. strange but true.
i love my kids. the other day b couldn't sleep. apparently he was suffering a serious guilt trip from rampant consumerism. i guess there were a number of gifts he got last year that he never got around to opening. much less playing with. i think this year will be different. pretty sure he's played with everything santa left him. me? heh. well, we needed to make a trip to goodwill anyway. and the toilet seat puzzles will be a hoot at work.
the garage still isn't clean. i can tell it needs to be finished soonly. or else.
the beautiful and talented alisa took the boys skiing. left me home all alone. i *said* i was going to clean the garage. i started that job. but what i really did was finish painting the ceiling. as a surprise. i figured it would be a good time to do it. most of the house occupants were out of town and wouldn't have to put up with the stink. and man, that ceiling paint was seriously noxious. i left the windows open and turned off the heat. there were fewer feet moving around the house tracking dust everywhere. she also seemed so unhappy about this task. i figured it'd be a nice surprise. i stuck a little red bow on the ceiling. the boys and i had a pool going to see how long it would take her to notice. i picked 15 minutes. i lost. took only 3.
when did it become happy christmas? it was always merry christmas when i was a kid. you know. we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year. la la la. but now everywhere it's happy christmas. weird. now whenever someone wishes me a happy christmas i wish them a merry holiday.
g got a new 7 speed bicycle for christmas from grandpa. so now we have too many bicycles in the garage. i hung one. i was all proud of myself for doing it all by myself. ever try to stand on the top step of a ladder while holding a bicycle in one hand and feeding the hangers through the wheel with the other? it's fun! anywho, i told the beautiful and talented alisa all about it on the phone. she's a total sweetie. i had hung the wrong bicycle. sigh. so the next day i pulled it down. and hung the correct larger bicycle. wee.
the beautiful and talented alisa took the boys to play in the snow. along the way they picked up joe's girls. i stayed home to clean the garage. wee. why do i do this? i get really lonely. anywho. i haven't made much progress on the garage. there's a big mess in the middle of the garage. it's all the stuff that used to be crammed onto some shelves. they need to be replaced. that's tomorrow's project. well, tomorrow's second project. tomorrow's first project is to go through the pile of scrap wood to see if there's anything there i can build shelves from. wee.
last week the snow level was some 1500 feet. low enough to paint the hills near my house pristine white. today i'm working in my driveway with no shirt enjoying the beautiful warm day. weather sure has high variance. happy winter solstice. sheehs.
so this problem came up at work. i have an approximate solution to minimizing a non-linear function of six variables. but i need to refine it and make it better. seems like someone somewhere has already solved this problem. my google prayers were answered with a bounty. yes indeed. this problem has been studied ad infinitum. most solutions involve the jacobian, the hessian, conjugate gradients, line search, bingo! whew. i'm sure if this problem came up more often i'd have efficient solvers in my toolbox. but it doesn't. and i don't. i tried some of them but quickly ran into convergence failures. which seems really wrong given the well-behaved nature of the evaluation function. eventually, i threw up my hands. screw academia. i wrote a quick and dirty greedy thing. it converges. not optimally. but the result looks like it's as good as can be. and it's fast enough. which ultimately is the criteria for these proof of concept experiments. sheehs.
one of the problems with this whole global warming fiasco is spin. politicians want you to be afraid. frightened people vote. whichever pol can make you the most afraid wins. the media sells sensationalism. a consensus is boring. peace is boring. no one buys that crap. conflict sells. the more lurid the better. and if there isn't any, create some. and joe public provides his own spin. he'll believe whatever he wants to believe. like consensus means unanimous. like warming and rising mean he should be able to go to the beach and watch the seas rise and feel the heat on his skin. he doesn't want to wait 100 years.
i think one of the problems joe public has with this whole global warming thing is it's a moral judgement. the message comes across like this: if you drive a car, eat meat, or have children, you're a planet killing monster. joe public pays good money for hell and damnation sermons from his religion. which he knows isn't real until after he dies. it gives him god. which makes him better than them godless scientists. it doesn't matter than 90% of scientists are believers. joe public isn't very smart. there's no way he's going to put up with scientists telling him he's a bad person too. totally upsets the pack order. and puts joe public at the bottom. avoiding that position is worth fighting over. vehemently.
my job has entered an interesting phase. i've pretty much been squeezed out of all the production stuff. which is fine by me. and seems to make everyone else happy too. apparently they like doing stuff the stupid way. anywho. now my job is to explore the feasibility of this that or the other thing. which tends to change daily. so far it's been kinda fun. one day i needed to put three monitors on my computer at home. i don't have enough space on my desk. i mean i do. it's a huge desk. with history
. but it has 3.5 years of accumulated crap on it. proof
. so in order to do my job i had to clean my office. the beautiful and talented alisa described it as surgical. and i'm not done yet. heh. i can only do a little at a time. i have to stop when i stir up so much dust i can't breathe. anyone want a mac g5? or a 12" lcd monitor? or a broken dvd player? anywho, i'm looking forward to finding out what my assignments will be this week.
i use thunderbird as my mail program. not sure why. i think it's giving me subtle hints that i shouldn't. when it starts up the title bar says mozilla thunderbird. and it draws the junk folder. directly under the title bar. so for several seconds the user (me) sees mozilla thunderbird: junk. subtle.
g rides his bike to school every morning. unless it's raining. he locks it up to the bike rack. one day after school he couldn't ride it. the front wheel wouldn't turn. he had to walk home. alisa brought it home where we could examine it carefully. one side of the front axle had been knocked clean out of the fork. the other side was seriously dislodged. but still barely in the fork. dang. someone must have crashed into it at speed. probably kids running racing rough housing. but still. that would take quite an impact. i hope they didn't hurt themselves. anywho. i bent the forks straight. and reattached the wheel. which amazingly wasn't damaged. we now lock up the bike at the other end of the rack. this end is protected by bushes. the other end apparently intrudes into a raceway of some sort.
i'm a nice person. the other day i was in the shower at the gym. there was this fat old guy there too. his teabags dipped to his knees. i know i'm a nice person cause i didn't say, sheehs dude, you look like a fark cliche
sorry it took so long to post on the emails data and source files stolen from the east anglia climate research unit. i was busy grepping my hard drives for keywords like "trick" and "fudge". also scanned my emails for the past 13 years for things that might be embarrassing if they found their way into the hands of my worst enemies. specifically the ones that send me death threats. usually with bad grammar and worse spelling. anywho. what does it mean for science? not much. politically the deniers are still in denial. the believers are totally like what emails? and the consensus among scientists is still somewhere in between. many of whom are looking at the trouble makers in the hot seat with renewed expectation, can we see your data and models now? what say we're a little more professional with our critics in the future? sheehs. anywho, i don't recommend any extreme. cause your files could be stolen next. and *poof* there goes your career. anywho, i thought i'd share some views i consider as sympathetic to true believership as i can stomach link
. and as much snarky i'm-right-and-you're-wrong cynicism as i can stand link
i scan the news headlines daily. usually i get the gist of what's going on it the world. i rarely read the actual articles. cause i just don't give a shit about the latest celebrity that od'd or sank a putt on the wrong green. but every now and then context does some funny things. for example. i totally skipped over a rover stuck in sand. cause really, who gives a shit about a toyota in the desert. just get a frikken tow line for cryin out loud.
iced tai chi
it's been cold in the mornings. like close to freezing cold. literally. [and yes joe, i mean literally literally. sheehs.] anywho, g and i ride our bikes past the park on the way to school. there is usually a crowd of people on the softball infield bundled up and doing iced tai chi.
i am anti-abortion. however, that doesn't mean to me what it means to most people. abortion is a medical procedure that allows one person to exercise their right to kill another human being. we were kicking around the idea of protesting clinics of abortion providers. our signs would say things like: condoms prevent abortions. adoption instead. abstinence stops abortions. education not fornication. the pill doesn't kill.
i like the graphic novel. i liked the movie too. thought it did just fine. the beautiful and talented alisa of course didn't. i think i'll give it a 4 on netflix anyway. even at 2 hours 45 minutes there's not enough time to fully develop the characters. with a graphic novel you set it down and cogitate on it when significant things happen. the movie has to keep movie-ing right along. and yeah, it'd be worth it to watch it again to catch more of the background details.
i've been seeing quite a bit of construction going on. i'm wondering if it's part of programs we committed to years ago when we were rich. or if it's fresh stimulus money. kinda like fdr's public works programs.
i think the most interesting conversations at joe and mary's were the ones we didn't have. namely, the economy and health care. apparently everyone at the party was employed and insured. which given the cross section of individuals seems extremely unlikely. perhaps it's just that things are not as scary in real life as they're made out to be on tv. or maybe people are actually kinda relieved that they finally "have to" give up some of their excesses.
the other day i heard someone expressing an anti-science position. i think it's okay to be willfully ignorant and/or pine for the good old days. however, it's not okay to be a hypocrite. anyone who states they adhere to an anti-science position should give up all the the benefits they get directly or indirectly from science. starting with the keys to their car, their cell phone, the internet, video games, tv, the refrigerator, indoor plumbing, etc.
i recently became aware that a certain personality type has a name: right wing authoritarian. it's a horrible name. because it implies right wing politics. which isn't strictly true. and authoritarian to the layman means needs to be the boss. which also isn't the case. you can take a test to find out your rwa score. statistically speaking, people with high rwa scores have things in common. i suspected so. it's really nice to have scientific confirmation. and now to hint at explaining that joke. rwa's like clean divisions between good/bad, right/wrong, us/them. rwa's support strong leaders even if their actions are unethical or illegal. rwa's have trouble with logic problems that require separating contextual information from external knowledge. rwa's believe one of *us* should be forgiven while one of *them* should be punished fully for exactly the same offense. rwa's live in constant fear compared to non rwa's. heh. i've presented it in a way that sounds horrific. at least to people with low rwa. but really it's evolutionarily sound. as unlikely as that seems. hordes of this type make nations powerful. which is why we fear countries like iran. and they fear us.
we went to joe and mary's for thanksgiving. it's a bit of a tradition. there's usually an interesting cast of characters there. i am thankful for all of the things i have never seen before. some of which are: a pink apron that used to be a cocktail dress, a silver disc encrusted tank top that used to be a handbag, a dog with badger stripes, three women speed tiling a concrete table under a tarp in the hail.
mix up a batch of cookie dough. but nuke the butter so it's quite warm. this'll make the dough nice and runny. don't add the chocolate chips. instead, use the biggest chips you can find to scoop up the melted dough. cookie dough is chocolate chip dip.
one of the arguments against legalizing pot goes something like this. yeah we know that other socially acceptable drugs are way more destructive. like alcohol and tobacco. but that's only the numbers part of the whole picture. communities in need can just be devastated by marijuana. therefore we have a moral obligation to aid them. get their lives straightened out. by criminalizing their vices. that's right. we help poor people by putting them jail.
it's a family tradition to go to joe and mary's for thanksgiving. the beautiful and talented alisa used to host thanksgiving. but now there is school and two birthdays. so joe and mary are the heroes. usually pie is requested. many pies. alisa makes incredibly yummy pies. i made a special pie box to safely transport four pies the 135 miles between their house and ours. this year the pie box was filled with a mexican chocolate meringue pie. i don't know what that yet, but the chocolate glaze is amazingly good. i "accidently" stuck my fingers in it when i was loading the pie box. there are two pumpkin pies with cookie cutter dough acorns and leaves for decorations. and there's the one on the bottom that i'm hoping we don't get to until everyone is really stuffed. it's apple and olala berrie with a crumbly top. oah, it just like something you'd start feuds for.
so i got one of those scary official looking documents informing me i'm going to be on a jury the week of thanksgiving. heh. i promptly forgot about it until that monday. fortunately, i was in group 710. my instructions were always the same. check back in 4 hours. every 4 hours until the week ended on wednesday. don't know why people complain about doing their civic duty. seem to be easy as pie.