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:: Monday, June 30 2008 ::

We own a house in Arkansas. The closing happened, and all is right with the world. *dance*
:: David (16:26 in Michigan, 22:26 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[7]

Still no word from the title company. I think that's good news... so far...
:: David (10:54 in Michigan, 16:54 in Paris) - Comment

Unexpectedly, Treehugger has a story on my old stomping grounds in Japan, and how the environmentalists won a round in the fight for the Ariake sea.
:: David (7:38 in Michigan, 13:38 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, June 29 2008 ::

I think I may find the Gentleman's Emporium just a little too entertaining. That said, I finally know what a cravat looks like.
:: David (23:19 in Michigan, 5:19 in Paris) - Comment

Quite a busy Saturday! We went to the Northside Grill for breakfast, then went canoing (where Sasha and I achieved truly fabulous pfarmers' tans), and then back to our place for games and tv.

The game we played was called pandemic, and it was fabulous. Players work together to stop a global outbreak of disease. No cut-throat competition, just us versus the impersonal (but very effective) disease.

Our current TV lineup is Jericho, The Middleman, Charlie Jade, and Firefly, which we didn't watch the first time around.
:: David (0:01 in Michigan, 6:01 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

:: Friday, June 27 2008 ::

Sent the closing docs via FedEx overnight. Now we just have to hope there's no last-minute craziness on Monday.
:: David (17:03 in Michigan, 23:03 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

Mmm. Martian asparagus. The Phoenix lander (which you can follow on twitter) has analysed Martian soil and found it "very friendly".
:: David (14:31 in Michigan, 20:31 in Paris) - Comment

The die is cast...
Date Description Amount
Jun 27, 2008 WIRE TRANSFER OUT $15,045.17
We have received the closing documents, which I suppose are important, but the key is the cash, and that has left the building...
:: David (11:15 in Michigan, 17:15 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, June 26 2008 ::

The supreme court is on a roll, as they have closed out the season with a series of rulings on punitive damages, gun control, and the death penalty. I'm sad about the Exxon ruling, which reduced the amount Exxon has to pay for the Valdez spill to 500 million. I don't know what to think about the ruling on guns, and the death penalty ruling, as distasteful as the subject is, seems to be the right decision.
:: David (13:19 in Michigan, 19:19 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, June 25 2008 ::

Wow - speaking of money making the world go round, there's a bill in Michigan that would grant the local monopolies a guaranteed 90 percent (yes, nine-zero) of the market for energy. It goes without saying that they have a faceless organization dedicated to passing the bill, and it seems the payoffs are working, as near as I can tell, because the reports I could find indicated some form of the rules are expected to pass into law. Thank goodness I'll be gone!
:: David (10:03 in Michigan, 16:03 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, June 24 2008 ::

I ran across this great website called Free the Grapes!, which is devoted to making it easier to order wine from any state, and have it shipped to any state, without interference from laws dating back to prohibition. I have had the sad luck to find myself moving from a state with such laws, to a state with such laws. Wine.com will never be my friend at this rate. The website includes handy information on laws in each state, as well as contact info for your local representatives, and an alert system to let you know when laws of interest are coming up for a vote.
:: David (9:40 in Michigan, 15:40 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

:: Monday, June 23 2008 ::

So over the weekend we went to see 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' performed in the local arboretum. It was, in my opinion, a really well done community play. A preview in a local paper covers the basics (and has a photo). It was interesting for me, because several of the people I went with had opinions on how the play should go, whereas I had no preconceptions, and found the whole thing to be perfectly acceptable. On some level I feel like this is the problem with elevating Shakespeare above where he was - suddenly the slapdash comedy is supposed to be a work of art. Regardless, it was a good time, and the setting was gorgeous - rolling meadows and the like.
:: David (14:29 in Michigan, 20:29 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

George Carlin has passed away.
:: David (7:47 in Michigan, 13:47 in Paris) - Comment

The consumerist pointed me to a Forbes article offering wine recommendations for your imbibing pleasure. The list offers 25 under $25, and while I can't comment on how well they've done, it's as good a place to start as any.
:: David (7:23 in Michigan, 13:23 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Friday, June 20 2008 ::

This bodes very well - the town we're moving to, Conway Arkansas, just announced a huge new office to be opened by HP, the IT company. Given that I work in IT, at least part of the time, this should mean good things.
:: David (10:26 in Michigan, 16:26 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Thursday, June 19 2008 ::

The consumerist has a story about a group of people down in Tampa whose apartment complex is being turned into a clothing optional resort. The website of the new resort (called 'Eden' - argh!) is a trip. I especially like the pool scene on their amenities page. Very ... yeah.
:: David (17:17 in Michigan, 23:17 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]


Another human foot encased in a running shoe has been found on the shores of British Columbia in Canada, the second this week and the sixth within a year.
You can read the rest here.
:: David (14:49 in Michigan, 20:49 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[6]

:: Wednesday, June 18 2008 ::

So here's the story:

[Nabil] Fawzi was the first customer at the Comerica Bank [...] Monday when police say would-be bank robber Joseph Webster, 53, of Ypsilanti walked in.

Webster allegedly handed a teller a note demanding money and claiming to have bomb strapped to his chest.

Fawzi [...] noticed his own teller was acting strangely. When he asked what was wrong and she indicated a robbery was under way, Fawzi took action.


Within seconds, Fawzi drew his handgun, racked a round in the chamber and told the man that he wasn't robbing the bank.

"But I have a bomb," the robber told Fawzi.

"I don't care," Fawzi replied. "You are not robbing this bank today."

In the land of 'what could possibly go wrong?' this story has a special place in my heart.
:: David (15:29 in Michigan, 21:29 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

:: Tuesday, June 17 2008 ::

A colleague sent me this story about a man stationed in Okinawa getting his military leave extended an extra week so he could be at the grand opening of the new White Castle burger shop near his home. Seriously. I immediately responded that Mos Burger was way better anyhow, which prompted me to look online and discover they now have an English website!
:: David (11:15 in Michigan, 17:15 in Paris) - Comment

Slashdot pointed me to a study indicating that people who have come to think of their auto as 'private space' are more likely to engage in acts of road rage. "The number of territory markers [seat covers, bumper stickers, special paint jobs, stereos, or plastic dashboard toys] predicted road rage better than vehicle value, condition, or any of the things that we normally associate with aggressive driving".
:: David (9:44 in Michigan, 15:44 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

:: Monday, June 16 2008 ::

Hey! Gas is still getting expensive-er. Just in case you'd forgotten. The Onion hasn't commented on this nearly enough, although they did point out that mass transit use is increasing.
:: David (22:38 in Michigan, 4:38 in Paris) - Comment

I love the EU!

The European Commission says it wants to loosen the rules that prevent knobbly fruit and vegetables being sold alongside more shapely examples. [...] The Commission says misshapen fruit should be sold "with some sort of label for use in cooking".
'This fruit isn't pretty enough to eat as it is, but maybe if you cut it up into unrecognizable bits...' You can read all about it here. This is the trouble with big government - it so quickly becomes beholden to special interests. And cleaning it up after the fact is a mess. The same will hold true here in the US - we'll be decades cleaning up Bush's big government crap.
:: David (11:16 in Michigan, 17:16 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, June 15 2008 ::

Rock Band will be the death of me - we swung past our friends' house last night after a run to Kalamazoo for father's day, and I managed to get blisters on both hands, caused by my mad drumming.
:: David (20:05 in Michigan, 2:05 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

:: Friday, June 13 2008 ::

Michael Arrington is unimpressed with Yahoo:

I don’t believe that there is anything Yahoo could do at this point to further destroy their business that would surprise me.


The deal terms announced with Google appear to be fairly innocent - a non-exclusive arrangement that let’s [sic] Yahoo take Google’s ads if and when they choose to, and put them alongside their own ads, and/or other third party ads. But the truth is that this will cause even more advertisers to flee Yahoo’s platform. Which will drive auction-determined ad rates down. Which will drive Yahoo to take more Google ads. Which will…

It’s a vicious cycle and they will have no choice, as a public company, but to rely more and more on Google as time goes on.

Our sources inside Yahoo had interesting things to say about the general state of things at the office today as Yahoo’s stock price fall apart. "Unclear what’s happening" said one vice president. "[expletive] train wreck, total chaos" was the less eloquent observation of a more junior employee.

When I accused Yahoo of playing the crazy card in their negotiations with Microsoft, I never thought these people were actually insane.

I don't really know how this will all play out. I like the yahoo applications I currently have, so I hope they don't fold. But it is true that Google currently has a little too much control of online search and advertising.
:: David (17:00 in Michigan, 23:00 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

The EU seems to be having a little problem with democracy. Ireland has rejected the Lisbon treaty, in what was really the only vote on the subject. You may remember the constitution fiasco, which this was supposed to fix. Oops.
:: David (15:51 in Michigan, 21:51 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Thursday, June 12 2008 ::

Another US Supreme Court case goes to the Guantanamo detainees. For a lark, read pages 110-115 or so of the ruling (pdf), which is Scalia's dissenting opinion, also known as Scalia's fearmongering. How in the world did we get such a nutcase on the bench?
:: David (14:21 in Michigan, 20:21 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

A guy named Josh that I know is spending a couple of months in Chang Mai, Thailand doing development work, and is keeping a blog of the deal. Check it out, if you're looking for something interesting to read.
:: David (13:47 in Michigan, 19:47 in Paris) - Comment

Sasha pointed me to this video on the BBC which is about Lenore Skenazy, who apparently let her child use the subway, which it seems in the states is so vile that children must be protected from it. It appears to have started with this op-ed in the New York Sun, and gone from there. It reminds me in some ways of the story of Anette Sorensen, the Dane who left her baby outside a restaurant (also in New York) and was arrested.
:: David (13:02 in Michigan, 19:02 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Wednesday, June 11 2008 ::

You know what I like? AA batteries. I like them. I like devices that are powered by them. You know what I don't like? Proprietary batteries that cost $60 each. It's why I own a Pentax Digital SLR camera - it runs on 4 AA batteries. Now, I wouldn't mind if someone came up with a new battery, that everyone everywhere sold, and everyone used. But I really mean 'everywhere' when I say 'everywhere', and until that day comes I will defend the AA battery to all who will listen. Like all of you. Suckers! ;-)
:: David (16:12 in Michigan, 22:12 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[5]

:: Tuesday, June 10 2008 ::

Oops! Don't run your expensive race car into a pole - you won't impress anyone.
:: David (8:00 in Michigan, 14:00 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

Truly the way the US has left local government to rot boggles my mind sometimes. Referring to counties where coal production used to be a major economic power, the New York Times notes:

Since most of the mines in the area have closed and been flooded, local leaders have shifted their efforts in recent years to attracting prisons, landfills and casinos to the area.
I'm not faulting local officials - they're probably doing the best that they can, when dealt a bad hand. No, I blame national leaders for leaving areas like this in the lurch.
:: David (7:39 in Michigan, 13:39 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, June 9 2008 ::

I'm thinking of doing the freenet thing, which is basically file sharing for people who only want to share among their friends or trusted contacts. It's designed to allow the dissemination of information that (for example) oppressive regimes wish to keep hidden. I'm not sure how well it will work in that regard, but I'm curious to see.
:: David (14:26 in Michigan, 20:26 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, June 8 2008 ::

  This whole job-search thing is tough. It's challenging to decide the type of job I want to do. I have the luxury of not being too concerned about the salary, which leaves me as an educated individual with a particular skill set who wants to get paid something for doing high-value work that makes me feel good about getting up in the morning. This ought to be a non-profit's dream. But that supposes a perfect world in which non-profits have the time to look for opportunities, in which they are relatively well funded and well run. The same should be true for governmental organizations, though I'm not sure working for a government entity would always make me feel good - depends on the entity. And I'm more than slightly concerned about governance, which is funny - usually one discusses these questions vis-a-vis development - countries taking large sums of money to improve the plight of their people. But I think the question stands, just as it stands at a corporation - I've watched Ford Motor Company offering buyouts, encouraging what must effectively be the cream of the crop to leave - I'm sure that's not what they were aiming for, but that's very often the effect. The same could very easily be true for governmental organizations that pay significantly lower wages than the private institutions they compete with. Of course, the lower wage issue exists everywhere, but I feel it particularly acute where I'm headed.
  Regardless, I'm going to have to head back to the job boards with a renewed sense of purpose. I may take up a friend's idea and adjunct - teaching Economics for a while is relatively appealing. But in the end I have no PhD, and I'm fairly certain I have decided I don't want one - the question would have to be profoundly interesting for me to want to spend five years answering it. I'm not saying it won't happen, merely that I'm leaning away from it for the moment. Ask me again another day.
:: David (22:06 in Michigan, 4:06 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Saturday, June 7 2008 ::

The guys at work scrounged up a copy of the Phantom Edit of Star Wars episode II. The 'Phantom Editor' was a guy with a lot of time on his hands, who recut the Star Wars films to make them watchable, more or less. Episode II was still pretty awful, but at least it went by quicker. The BBC did a story on the first recut, back when it was a great mystery who had done it, and the tape was making its way among fans via the old sneakernet.
:: David (11:42 in Michigan, 17:42 in Paris) - Comment

I picked up a copy of VMWare's Fusion software, which lets me run windows in a virtual machine on my mac. It's... a little creepy. Now that my laptop is ubuntu, I'm XP/Vista free, which lets me play with different windows installs. Primarily what I've discovered is that XP x64 is not supported by anyone, anywhere, ever.
:: David (0:32 in Michigan, 6:32 in Paris) - Comment

Jason swears up and down he's blogging again. You can all try to keep him honest by checking in periodically.
:: David (0:23 in Michigan, 6:23 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, June 5 2008 ::

Consumer Reports had a little blurb about wine in their most recent issue, recommending 2007 Pinot Grigios for consumption this summer. Their top two picks were Clos du Bois and Yellowtail (both of these are mass-market wines, which is what CR usually reviews). So we picked up a bottle of each. The Clos du Bois was OK, but the Yellowtail was sharp, and not crisp enough. So there's your Summer 2007 wine quickie.
:: David (7:32 in Michigan, 13:32 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, June 4 2008 ::

The Consumerist pointed me to an article which puts a name on a habit I've had for the past decade or so: the mini-retirement. Basically that's when you quit your job, dump your house, and go travel for a year or so. The idea is to do your retirement when you're young, rather than when you're too old to enjoy it.
:: David (23:41 in Michigan, 5:41 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

Even though nothing, really, has changed, everyone seems to have decided to call the democratic primary in the US for Barack Obama. Which is pretty exciting, really. The BBC was commenting this morning how excited the Kenyans were, and I bet Indonesia is also pleased that someone with a personal connection to their respective countries is a candidate for the highest office in the US. After the debacle that the Bush presidency has been for our foreign policy, having someone with a bit of goodwill won't hurt at all.
:: David (13:47 in Michigan, 19:47 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

:: Monday, June 2 2008 ::

The well known blues guitarist Bo Diddley has passed away.
:: David (13:14 in Michigan, 19:14 in Paris) - Comment

I love this - the New York Times has an article about the fact that the Phoenix lander is twittering. You can follow them on its twitter page - there's lots of interesting trivia and information.

This has been an interesting time for me, as at one point I was looking into a Master's program that would have studied the atmosphere of Mars. Instead I went to Japan. Life's funny.
:: David (0:22 in Michigan, 6:22 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Sunday, June 1 2008 ::

I can't believe it's already June. We close on the new house this month! Sasha defends her dissertation this month (actually, tomorrow!). It's all crazy.
:: David (23:50 in Michigan, 5:50 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

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