i used a stamp yesterday. yep. i sent a letter to my mother. i can't remember the last time i used a stamp. not even for bills. i pay them online. i don't know how much postage costs. fortunately i didn't need to. we bought some forever stamps, well, forever ago.
yay! summer is here! or was. for two glorious days. it's been nice here. very nice. too nice in fact. it didn't get hot enough for the tomatoes. they've been struggling to turn red. poor things. this year's salsa crop was late. the weather seems to have gone back to cold again. sigh. sorta makes the what did you do over the summer report ritual kinda short. the first day i played baseball. the second and last day i played baseball again. not quite a year without a summer. but certainly a year with a two day summer. where is global warming when you want it?
a few years ago gasoline prices around here went up to nearly $4/gallon. i predicted (wrongly) they'd be there for good. but it didn't take too long for gas to drop below $3/gallon. hrm. i chalked it up to demand dropping faster than supply. but now i'm not so sure. i want to get an electric car. everyone knows they're much cheaper than a gas powered car. right? i mean that's such obvious thing that i didn't even run the numbers. imagine my surprise when i did. my gas powered car costs about 12 cents per mile. google facts estimate that an electric car would cost about 10 cents per mile. yeah, it's better. but it's not gob smacking better like the marketing of such things has lead us to believe. that's at current prices. if gas were stable at $4/gallon... maybe electric cars would be able to break into the market. which would make the oil companies very unhappy. therefore gas is $3/gallon. and will be for as long as the oil companies turn a profit undercutting the electric companies.
there's an implicit assumption by people who favor tax cuts for the rich. that is that the rich are the primary drivers of the economy. right now the economy is hurting. so where are our rich people? why aren't they driving the economy? they've got plenty of cash as a result of 10 years of bush tax cuts. but they're just hoarding it. they're not doing anything with it. why not? simple. they don't have to. they don't feel the need to leverage it and create more wealth for themselves and by assertion for everyone else. in a sense, they have too much cash. which suggests that we should take some of that cash away. by raising their taxes. then they'll get their fat asses off their mountains of gold and get back to work. and by assumption, so will you.
why aren't you rich?
let's do a thought experiment here. survey people in the middle and upper middle class. why aren't you rich? why don't you have a net worth of $10 million or more? you'll get lots of answers. no one will pay me enough. my business hasn't taken off yet. the right opportunity hasn't come along yet. but absolutely none of them will say, i'd be a rich person except the taxes on rich people are too high and i choose not to pay them. i'd be rich. i just don't want to pay the taxes of being rich. riiiiight. it's an absurd position. yet it's one of the more valid arguments in favor of cutting taxes for the rich.
there's a company that expects to ship do-it-yourself solar panels that you just plug into the wall sometime next year. it's a pretty cool idea. it seriously reduces the installation costs of solar panels. but they look like they're still about $4 per watt. which will take us 18 years to break even. which is way too long. and way off the marketing hype of the product which claims 3-4 years. if you count the california rebate and federal tax credit it drops to 11 years. which is still too long. and in my opinion, not a good idea. we currently pay 12 cents per kWh on average. which oddly, is some of the most expensive electricity in the southwest. if we consumed twice as much electricity, then our per kilowatt cost would double and the payback time would be 5-6 years. which is getting closer to good. course i'm assuming we want to generate all of our electricity from solar panels. if you only replace the top tier expensive stuff that kicks in at 200% of baseline, then yeah you can get payback in 3-4 years. which means, if i get an electric car, i'm also getting solar panels.
i want a t-shirt that says, robert pattinson has ruined everything.
i'm getting old. on thursday i showed the major fall ball players how to pitch from the windup. part of that was showing them how not to pitch. ie with a twisting motion. it's really hard on your knee. and sure enough. my knee got really goddam sore. which made hiking around the sand and hills that are camp michigania rather unpleasant. hrm. there are stories about people who can predict the weather because their joints ache. it was pretty humid. much more humid than i'm accustomed to. so maybe there's some wisdom in that folk. cause as soon as i got home, my knee suddenly magically started behaving itself again.
i came home from camp michigania and discovered that my certificate has expired. this is the thing that allows me to log on to the work network and basically do my job. the solution of course, is to log on the to the work network and get a new certificate.
yay! we're home again. we just got back from our annual trip to camp michigania. a great time was had by all. i went swimming (once), sailing (once), ate some vegetables (once), didn't have a cheeseburger on the beach for lunch (once), went to ropes (once). i didn't ride any horses. ah well. maybe next year. the faculty thing about life after fossil fuels was interesting. the you-are-to-blame-for-global-warming bludgeon wasn't quite as bad as previous years. i cornered the speaker to collect info on the state of the art of fuel cells. they're still pretty useless. cause they all use platinum. but maybe someday. that and they run on hydrogen. and let's just face it, if you have a source of hydrogen you might as well burn it to run your car. which means the only useful thing about fuel cells is to run them backwards. ie make hydrogen (a storable transportation fuel) from electricity. which can in theory be made from renewable sources. but in practice will be made from coal.
the boys were squabbling and off the cuff i made a new rule. don't make the other guy say stop it more than once. i shouldn't have taught them the munchkin way of playing dnd. now when they're rough housing one of them starts repeating stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it. until i yell stop it. then they both get the giggles. and i throw up my hands in mock despair.
we found an english assignment b did last year. hyperbole is a type of figurative languate that exaggerates the truth for emphasis. he was given a question and the beginning of an answer. how boring was the teacher? he was so boring undead would fall asleep.
we are painfully transitioning from a high energy gain society to a low energy gain society. let me explain what that means in terms of a video game: warcraft. your settlement starts right next to a gold mine. you assign one peasant to go mine gold. he produces all the gold you need to build other stuff. but eventually the mine collapses. the next mine is kinda far away. so your peasant has to spend time walking to the new mine. the rate at which he produces gold has gone way down. too low to support your growing civilization. so you assign three more peasants to fetch gold. you now have four peasants producing what it used to take one peasant. your gain has gone down by a factor of four. you now have fewer peasants available to build your empire. so it takes longer. your economy slows down. that's pretty much what's happening in the world today. yeah, there's plenty of oil out there. but it costs more and takes longer to get than our economy has traditionally paid. so just like our warcraft economy, our real world economy slows down. deflation will continue until we develop a new high gain source of energy. if there is one. solar cells are on an interesting curve. second generation nuclear looks pretty interesting too. if only we could get over our irrational fear of irradiation.
usually the christian science monitor posts intelligent well reasoned well articulated positions. usually. recently they posted a piece about how judge walker got it wrong overturning prop 8. specifically what is a marriage and why do we have them. i think most people today would agree that marriage is two people mutually agreeing to share everything. their lives, money, children, responsibilities, bodies, etc. and the government recognizes this agreement in a legal context. now the csm guy argued that the primary purpose of marriage is something very different. it's to keep horny men from demanding sex from single women. and getting it. with or without consent. or consequences. and in some very limited context i would agree that that might have been one of the original purposes of marriage. back when your elders picked your mate for you. and still possibly in places where horny men can demand sex from single women. and get it without consent or fear of consequences. but jeezum crow. we live in a modern society. one that protects those that can't protect themselves. let's just close the book on that archaic definition of marriage. and replace it with one that's somewhat less barbaric.
so did the past few post sound kinda similar? they should. people vote for whoever makes them the most afraid. which is startling actually. it makes one wonder how the heck democracy can possibly work. it's been 150 years since the emancipation proclamation and we still don't have that whole black/white thing fully worked out. women's suffrage went a lot faster and smoother. it's been 50 years since the 60's. and the stoners are finally getting to the age where the anti-drug prunes have all gotten old and died off. up until recently it's been illegal to study marijuana. and guess what? as soon as we did we discovered that this thing really does has medically active ingredients. fuck, we could have had that life improving medicine decades ago. except some politician made you afraid so he could get elected. maybe it's time someone ran on a platform of we have nothing to fear but fear itself. and maybe politicians peddling fear.
the history of illegal immigration in america goes something like this. somewhere along the line a politician made you afraid of immigrants. they're going to steal your jobs. and spread disease in schools. and you'll have to pay for their health education and welfare. all evidence to the contrary. didn't matter. said politicians were very successful with this platform. so now you're afraid of immigrants.
the history of mairjuana in america goes something like this. somewhere along the line a politician made you afraid of marijuana. pot's going to turn your children into mindless stoners who have sex with dogs and cats and strangers on the beach. not even for money, but for free. and then they'll get into much more dangerous drugs. like tobacco and alcohol. sheehs. said politician was very successful with this platform. so now you're afraid of marijuana.
the history of homophobia in america goes something like this. some politician somewhere made you afraid of gays. they're going to molest your children. one can even find studies (done at hospitals for the clinically insane) that (in passing) say that all the gay subjects were clinically insane. course such a study would find that all men over 2 meters tall are clinically insane. but i digress. said politician created this platform and was very successful with it. so today, you're afraid of teh gay.
the voter passed legislation that banned gay marriage was overturned in court. yay. basically the judge reasoned that if the government is going to grant special status to couples, it can't discriminate based on gender. appeal seems likely. the judge was careful to base his decision on constitutional grounds. and not impassioned rhetoric. so it's got a good chance of surviving appeal. i'm all for majority rule. but there are clearly limits. can 52% of the people vote that blacks have to ride at the back of the bus? of course not. can 52% of the people vote that women can't vote? of course not. so why should 52% of the people be able to vote that she can't marry whomever she pleases? yeah, that whole these two people are entitled to this special thing. but those two people aren't. it's just unamerican.
we're all familiar with glass ceilings. today i'm going to make the case that a glass ceiling is also a glass floor. talented people can't ascend through the hierarchy higher than the glass ceiling. likewise, talentless people can't descend through the glass floor. the stereotype of the incompetent boss is very strong. how hard is it to make ends meet? you're running into the glass ceiling. meanwhile folks on the other side spend spend spend without a care in the world. you're feeling the recession. they've already recovered. or just plain missed it entirely. think about glass floors the next time someone insists we need to cut taxes for the rich. think about how much you want to smash that glass floor and let them lazy talentless boobs descend into *gasp* middle class.
so the kids were playing dnd with some friends in the big room. it was kinda fun to eaves drop. a typical encounter went like this. you're going along and you're going along and you come to a bridge. when you try to cross the bridge a troll jumps up and says, if you want to cross my bridge you have to either fight me or sacrifice someone. at this point the gm's monologue is interrupted by the players nominating other players to be eaten by the troll. it gets kinda loud for a bit. when the volume dies down someone nominates a different player to be eaten by the troll. and the volume is renewed. this repeats until all players have been suggested at least once. they then decide to fight the troll. and win and collect their treasure. and the game continues. you're going along and you're going along and you come to a bridge...
after dinner, b asked for a math problem. we had pizza and there were two pieces left over. #1 what's the smallest rectangular box by area that will hold both pieces? the pie was cut into 8 equal sized wedges. the pieces cannot overlap in the box. #2 same as #1 except smallest rectangle by circumference. #3 same as #1 except all 8 pieces are left over. #4 same as #3 except smallest by circumference. i'll post best answers as i get em.
so the other day after dinner b asked for a math problem. so i gave him some. #1 you are 50 meters away from a velociraptor. you immediately start running at 10 m/s. the velociraptor immediately starts chasing you at 30 m/s. how long do you live? #2 same as #1 except it's an injured velociraptor that runs at 20 m/s. #3 you're standing at the corner of an equilateral triangle 50m on a side with healthy velociraptors at the other two corners. you take off running in a straight line in any direction. so do the velociraptors. how long do you live? #4 same as #3 except one of the velociraptors is injured. #5 same setup as #4 except if the two velociraptors arrive at you at precisely the same moment, they will fight with each other allowing you to escape. what direction do you run? enjoy.
b and his beautiful and talented mother made tiramisu the other night. it's really yummy. course none of us can stand coffee at all. so they made a cocoa sauce instead. and the only lady finger biscuits they could find were contaminated with corn syrup. so they used slices from a loaf of angel food uh break. twere most yummified. went really well with the home made blackberry ice cream. spoiled? you betcha.
is just a way cool picture. makes me think what i'd like to see photographed with the same technique.
the beautiful and talented alisa was taking me to shakespeare santa cruz in the park to see love's labor lost. i couldn't find my phone. it didn't seem to be in the house. it wasn't on. the last time i had it was yesterday at the park. she ran off to get the babysitter at the train station. i really didn't think there was any hope of recovering the phone. but i did as i was told and biked back to the park. i was about to ask a nice elderly asian couple if they found a phone when i had a thought. i challenged the boys to a crab walk bear crawl race. sure enough. there was the phone. just sitting there in the grass. all wet. i raced home. and noticed i had gotten grease on my good pants. so i had to scrub them. and change before we could be off to see the bard. the phone wouldn't just charge when i plugged it in. so i removed the battery and just let it sit. apparently, a good way to dry a wet electronic device is to put it in a bag with rice. fortunately, i didn't need to try that. the phone worked when we got home. and it seems to be holding its charge just fine now. must say. that's the first time i've actually lost my phone. it was bound to happen. given my history with sunglasses. i'm surprised it took so long.
i have a blister in the palm of my hand. and you'll never guess how i got it. cause you have a dirty mind. sheehs. we went to the park for a picnic lunch. and i was playing around on the monkey bars. i was experimenting with ways to efficiently monkey swing from one end to the other. i *think* it should be possible to swing from one end to the other without ever swinging back. the trick is to not let your body rotate. so your hands are always on different bars. and one hand always follows the other. i went with a reverse grip for the leading hand. this meant i was always facing north when travelling east. there's a slow way to go. where you move one hand per swing. there's a more efficient method where you move both hands per swing. the trailing hand releases shortly after the leading hand catches. i injured my palms shortly after i thought of the single swing method. so i didn't actually get to try it. more research required. it also gives you, dear reader, the opportunity to try it yourself. and see if you can beat me in a race across the monkey swings.
as i've mentioned before, this year's anniversary gift is furniture. i started making coasters a while ago. they're not coasters for cups and glasses. they're coasters for the rolly wheels of the rolly cart. we didn't want the thing rolling around marking up the brand new hardwood floor. so i made some coasters out of cardboard. they worked. but they were pretty ugly. that was nearly seven years ago. oi. i finally got around to replacing them with something nice. the outside is composed of 6 pieces of half round oak cut at 30 degrees to make a nice pretty hexagon frame. the inside is laminated plywood. i probably should have stained it. but i'm still pretty new at this fine woodworking thing. i glued them together before i thought about how pretty staining them might be. but i knew the stain wouldn't take well where i had slopped the glue. oh well. urethane it is. some green felt on the bottom completed the works. happy anniversary darling. i love you.
immigration is a complex issue. it's also a low priority issue. all men are created equal. it's not all white men who happen to be born on this chunk of dirt. discriminating against folks cause they plopped out of the womb over there is just as bad as discriminating against folks who plopped out of the womb with dark skin. we mostly rejected one of those ideas. why not the other? what we should do: first we should legalize marijuana. seriously. get the tobacco companies producing a far less dangerous product. it would seriously cut down on cross border smuggling. and all the associated violence. i'd bet we'd see a proportionate decrease in the smuggling of humans. second, we should lower the minimum wage. clearly, there's a supply of and demand for low wage labor. it's already the status quo. making it illegal doesn't stop it. you want cheap food right? third, we need to seriously speed up the naturalization process. currently the wait for law abiding future citizens is like five years. that's ridiculous. apply, speak english, and have no arrests. the government has one year to reject you. otherwise, congratulations. you're a u.s. citizen. then you can begin a lengthy appeal process. fourth, be willing to split up families. leave your kid here with relatives. or take it with you. it's your decision. fifth, non-resident criminals get exported once. and executed for a repeat offense. there's a right way to enter the country and a wrong way. jump the line and pay the price.
most americans think immigrants are lazy good for nothings who steal their jobs by working harder for less pay. hrm. think about that for a minute. apparently, most americans are idiots who should have more than just their jobs stolen.