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|Friday, March 29th, 2013|
|Law abiding bicyclists
I'll admit to rolling through my share of stop signs when no cars are around or they're heading my way. But I'll slow down at intersections to make sure there's no cross traffic. And I stop if someone else has the right-of-way.
So it confuses me when cars assume that I won't stop for them. Uh, no, you've got the right-of-way. I prefer not to be a hood ornament. Please continue, so we can all move on.
Do we need some kind of sign for law abiding bicyclists? A sheriff's star on the helmet? Current Mood: amused
|Thursday, December 29th, 2011|
|Scrooge on Bad UI
Among tidings of joy and goodwill to all around the world, there's someone that I'd like to get a lump of coal this year. The idiot that decided to map the delete key in a web browser to "go back". When editing forms, it's not uncommon for me to hit backspace if I want to change something. And depending on the control that's selected, "delete" will either delete the selection or will take you back to the previous page. NO! Bad UI! Bad!
Delete is an editing operation, not a navigation operation. But it's been baked into browsers so long that it's always got to be there for backwards compatibility.
Ok, who out there in the browser world will be the next Steve Jobs and be happy to break with previous conventions? I'll happily give you gold instead of coal. Current Mood: cranky
|Saturday, November 26th, 2011|
|The Roomba they really need
So, how come Roomba doesn't have a version to clean up after sick dogs?
I'd pay big bucks for that one. Because that's *really* when you want to let a robot do the work... Current Mood: tired
|Monday, October 3rd, 2011|
|Tuesday, July 20th, 2010|
|How we spent our summer vacation
That's one 20' dumpster filled with stuff from my parent's house. That's after:
- 6 months of mom's roommate clearing out the "easy" stuff.
- 7+ truckloads to the church rummage sale.
- 2 truckloads to Half Price Books.
Ok, we did fit in an afternoon at Wrigley Field. And the Cubs actually won!
And I really want to go back to Memphis to get some more Four Way soul food.
A special note to folks driving black BMWs: looks like y'all missed applied physics. If a pickup with a trailer is moving so slowly that you can easily zip in front of it when queueing up for a toll, assume both are loaded. That means a lot of mass. Which takes a while to stop (thus the slow speed). If you just removed one of the car lengths needed to stop said truck + trailer by zipping in front of it, I can only assume you want my assistance in turning your BMW into an accordion. Which is cool, since I like accordions. I'm sorry I fixed the truck's brakes before the trip, so you didn't get your wish. Current Mood: tired
|Monday, November 30th, 2009|
|Poor Lamar Smith
Just got a phone survey from Lamar Smith's office.
Yes, I'm a registered voter. But you should have also asked if I lived in your district. While I'm glad that some congressman asked for my opinions, you're not mine.
Also, next time don't say how you voted before asking about my opinion. Seems like a push-poll to me.
|Sunday, June 21st, 2009|
Need a good laugh? Here's our summer corn harvest:
Those are the full-sized ears, about a few inches long each.
Lessons I've learned from trying to grow things in Austin:
- Water the corn more, especially in a drought. More fertilizer might have also helped.
- Plant more things earlier, so they're done growing before the hot weather hits.
- Squash can go from thriving to dead in a matter of days. Powder mildew and root critters are not your friends.
- Critters like to "top-off" (chop the leaves off the stems) okra and melons. Even when the plants have been put in wire cages to avoid this.
- Garden artichokes aren't as big as grocery store versions (and nothing like the softball-sized ones found at Whole Foods), but are still quite tasty.
- Tomatoes can indeed take over entire gardens, even down here.
I am so ready for the fall season to try again. Current Mood: entertained
|Sunday, May 24th, 2009|
|Rock Star Parking
Mom was in town for a few days about a week ago. While she was here we used her handicap parking tag to limit the amount of walking she needed to do. So, during her trip we mostly got to have rock-star parking wherever we went. But not all places had enough handicapped parking for their clientele.
- Kerbey Lane (if I'd realized we had the magic ticket at that point the spot was ours)
- North by Northwest
- Amy's Ice Cream/Phil's Ice House
- Sun Harvest
Other places with plenty of empty handicapped spaces that I noticed after mom had left:
- Sears (ok, the whole lot was mostly empty)
- Costco (on a busy Friday night with a mostly full lot)
- The Grist Mill down in Gruene
- The Oasis (on a Friday night: 8 spots??? -- Seemed like an excuse to push the valet parking)
My conclusion: On Friday nights, handicapped people are much more interested in margaritas than buying in bulk. I mean, why wouldn't they be? Current Mood: curious
|Wednesday, May 6th, 2009|
|Avast ye orderly marchers
We had a belated anniversary celebration down in Corpus Christi this last weekend. While driving around on Saturday we saw folks lining up for a parade during the day. Hey, a night parade on our vacation. Why not?
It was the strangest parade. Things I'd never seen before:
- A night parade. I'm a yankee. Nights are for fireworks, which were apparently canceled due to high winds. Note to politicians: take a hint from the rest of the floats and get some light on your name. The signs on the side of the pickups weren't visible *at night* without help.
- Rented porta-potties. Rented by a family for their pre-parade picnic/BBQ. For their private use. Marked "private." The public porta-potties were separate (and apparently very clean - hat's off).
- Volunteers asking if folks needed trash bags before the parade. Some of the volunteers in embroidered jump suits. These folks are serious.
- Motorcycle cops flying jolly roger flags. It was the Buccaneer Days Parade after all.
- So much space between acts. Yeah, we were at the end of the course and things can stretch out a bit. But what's the point of having the cops clear the course just to have it fill up again before the first floats? There were a bunch of times where people started looking around to see if that was the end, just to have another set of floats come around the corner a few minutes later.
- So many bands, with color guards, with people old enough to be my parents. Or older. Where did they come from? Does Corpus not have any high schools?
I'm sure that all this would have made more sense if I was a local. As a tourist it was fun to see an unexpected parade. The floats were colorful. The low-riders were cool. The Shriners kicked ass. All in all it was a very nice parade.
And hat's off to the Blackbeard tavern for still serving dinner after it was all over. Current Mood: perplexed
|Wednesday, March 4th, 2009|
Got up early this morning. Watered the veggie garden. Trimmed Jacques' bangs so he can see.
Does that make me a farmer-barber?
As for the getting-up early department, Boo got himself stuck under the bed twice between midnight and sunup. It sucks to be an old dog.
|Tuesday, September 16th, 2008|
|Give 'em shelter...
After having become a "Certified Citizen Volunteer" for the city after Katrina, I figured I should help out with the Ike shelters even though I'd just gotten back from an overseas work trip. So on Saturday I went through the Red Cross volunteer signup. I got a 6pm-6am shift at the Canyon Vista shelter that night. [Hi honey, I'm home -- see you tomorrow!]
With so much happening, of course things weren't running as smoothly as possible. The constructive criticism I'll give back to the Red Cross is:
- Please coordinate better with the city (or to the City of Austin: please coordinate better with the Red Cross). All of the signup and the criminal background checks I'd done for the city had to be re-done with the Red Cross's systems.
- Please give more information to the folks signing up. The handouts were good, except you took one back from us as part of the signup process. The web site listed shorter shifts, but when we got through the training and started signing up for shifts you were asking for 12 hours straight.
- Please re-think the whole "won't accept donations at the shelter" thing. I can understand not coming within a mile of cash and check donations. But what's up with asking shelters to turn away blankets, pillows, etc.? I'd rather have more people on busses than bedding. And it's not easy for folks dropped off at a shelter away from public transportation to fend for themselves. I can understand wanting to encourage self-sufficiency. But if it means that an 80-year old woman is sleeping in a chair since she doesn't have bedding, something's not quite right.
- Please re-think the whole "code of conduct". First of all, I never had to sign one of the sheets in the packet. Secondly, what was listed in the slides was much better than the written material. The focus should be on helping the evacuees. The printout form only covered Red Cross covering it's ass.
- When asking for volunteers, please ask up-front for bi-lingual volunteers and those that can cover weekday shifts.
- Please review the contract with the folks doing your criminal background checks. The only woman I saw that read all of the fine print left because of it.
On the good side, things were much better run than during Katrina. I missed the initial chaos at my shelter as people were admitted and things settled down. By the time Saturday night came around things were running smoothly. The bedding issues had been addressed thanks to the neighborhood's charity. The evacuees had (mostly) figured out how to get around the area (at least those with cars). The kids had things to play with, so folks crashed quickly after lights out. The shelters were not jam packed -- only a few chose to sleep out in their cars instead of inside. The police officers were friendly and helpful. The pets were on-site. The school's maintenance staff and food staff stepped up to keep the place clean and to serve food and water. The principal was on-site the whole time (crashed out on a cot overnight). Evacuees were helping each other run errands and were helping us with translations, announcements, etc.
I'm sorry that folks had to evacuate. The ones at Canyon Vista came from some of the worst-hit areas: Bay City and Beaumont. But I'm glad that Austin has the heart to step when needed.
I'm glad I got a chance to meet some of the evacuees. I'm glad I had a chance to talk with APD and Austin Energy employees as we stayed awake through the night. And I'm glad to have met the shift supervisor. While I probably disagree with her politics, it's good to be reminded that neither political party has a lock on smart, down-to-earth people. Current Mood: thankful
|Friday, August 15th, 2008|
|Visit with Uncle Michael
Ms. J's uncle was working up in Bryan this week. Instead of having him drive all the way into town we met him out in Manor for dinner last night.
Cafe 290 in Manor: Good road food as long as you like it fried. Damn easy to find, as long as you ignored the Google/MapQuest directions (Manor is *not* west of Austin!).
The Oaks, a bar just south of Manor: Great music and very friendly to new faces. Nothing like a litter of puppies out back to keep Ms. J happy. Surreal to have a throwback dive bar just south of the new, suburban housing development.
All in all, a very nice evening. Current Mood: relaxed
|Wednesday, March 5th, 2008|
|Being Part of History
Caucused in our new precinct for the first time last night. Last time they had 13 people. This time they had over 200. The split for Senate District delegates (at the county convention): 15 for Clinton, 20 for Obama. More than I expected for Obama in a neighborhood that seems skewed to the older side.
By the time delegates were selected, things had cleared out to the point that everyone that wanted to be a delegate became one. J and I stayed for the resolutions. But when we got kicked out of the school at 11pm, J went home to rescue the beasts and get some sleep (her mom's coming to visit today). I went on with the group to Denny's to plow through the rest and finally have dinner. We wrapped up around 2:30am (whew!).
The best parts:
- Meeting more neighbors.
- Liking the neighbors that I met, even if they preferred the other candidate.
- Having everything be smooth. After hearing about contentious neighborhood association meetings, etc., I'm happy to live in a precinct where folks were working together cooperatively.
- Having an "iPhone moment" during the resolution phase -- to look up details of an act -- via the Denny's wireless network. It changed our opinion on the resolution from skeptical to supportive.
- Getting educated about state computer systems and alternative energy from neighbors that work in those areas, as we worked through the resolutions.
Next day regrets:
- Realizing that I should have proposed a resolution to help control candidates like Gene Kelly, who perennially run on their names and then do no campaigning. I'd been bitching that "the party" should change their rules to rein folks like him in (his name is enough to sometimes win primaries, or at least cause run-offs, but the lack of campaigning means he's a sure loser in the fall election). It didn't hit me until this morning that the caucus was a place where a party member could bring up the issue to "the party". D'oh! Current Mood: tired
|Friday, January 25th, 2008|
|Mr. Awesome FedEx Man
The dogs started barking when the FedEx man parked across the street.
So I went out to meet him, just to keep the doorbell-ringing and dog-freaking-out to a minimum.
After getting my package and signing for it, he gave me a couple of Milk Bones for the dogs. That rocks. Current Mood: surprised
|Thursday, December 20th, 2007|
Having a dog break a laptop keyboard sucks. (Hey! There's someone in the back yard! Let's lunge on the desk so we can jump and bark and scare him away! There he goes! Life is great!)
Having it happen around the holidays sucks even more. Ask for expedited shipping and get a good laugh from the sales staff.
At least the laptop has a plethora of USB hubs, and my closet has a few keyboards hanging around.
On the good side, we've been nominated for a Jolt award in 2008. [For non-geeks, this is a big developer bragging-rights thang.] Current Mood: cranky
|Monday, November 19th, 2007|
|What's your walk score?
Found at tech blog I read, a website that will calculate the "walkability" of a neighborhood.http://www.walkscore.com/
I've gone from a score of 38 out of 100 (with 100 being the best) to 77 in our new house. While some of the places used in it's calculations are marginal (hardware stores too specialized to really use, unavailable libraries in "state" schools, etc.) the marginal places were far worse in the old place than the new.
First person to blog to austinbloggers with an austin-related post using the site will win my admiration, gratitude, and maybe even some pecans from our yard. It's a cool site, but I'm too swamped with work now to spread the word. Current Mood: tired
|Saturday, August 11th, 2007|
|Poetry Slam Finals
Stopped working long enough to hit the National Poetry Slam finals in Austin last night and tonight. Not some Beatniks out beyond the bend, but real folks spilling their personal demons. And a couple of fun ones. And the winner from last year and the kid-winner this year taking us to..., well, just somewhere else.
Never thought I'd be rooting so hard from folks from *Killeen*, of all places.
Just wish tonight's DJ was local, she'd have been perfect for the wedding. [Props to Ms. Muse, with a treble clef on one arm and a bass clef on the other.] Current Mood: content
|Friday, July 6th, 2007|
An update of what's up:
- We're in the new house.
- The old house is finally on the market. Rain especially sucks when you're waiting for contractors to get a house ready to sell. But it's great for new grass seed. Go figure.
- The current animals are getting along, behind their appropriate doors. Yes, I am currently a cat herder. In between herding herding dogs.
- Ellie's off at a rescue group going through another round of bootcamp, on her way to a new home. She's loved, but the emergency animal vet bills just got too high. Namely the one just hours after she got back from her last boarding/training. And we were scared of her hunting instincts kicking in around running cats. Added to impressed list: Etosha Rescue. Added to not-impressed-list: TripleCrown.
- Jacques continues to be the perpetual motion machine. Even on a day when he was knocked out to have his stitches out. And thus hasn't eaten since yesterday.
- While I have no scientific evidence to prove it, things do seem to be wacky in this period of Mercury being in retrograde. For example, my insurance company can't find my last home insurance payment in among the other $59K paid to it last month by my mortagee. Or maybe I'm just worn out from all the new-home/old-home/contractor stuff and what would otherwise be random annoyances seem to be a pile. [Hey insurance company -- you know my mortgagee's contact information. Can't you be the ones calling their sucky phone support line trying to get an answer to a problem not in their expected list?]
- The best news is that mom's cancer is shrinking. Current Mood: tired
|Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007|
|What's the scoop?
I've been quiet about recent events, hoping not to jinx anything until the deal was in the can. But we've given some hints about a possible house-closing party which theoretically would happen this Friday.
The news is that buying a house is currently much easier than renovating one. So our plans to renovate my place got transmogrified into placing a bid on a house on Shoal Creek and having the bid accepted. As with my last house purchase, the idea was to have a party the evening of the closing. It's much easier to dance when there aren't boxes in the way.
Ix-nay on the arty-pay. The closing is still supposedly on track. Even though I have yet to see papers on the second mortgage (to cover us until the old place is sold). Somewhere there's a mortgage underwriter that's trying to give me a heart attack.
So this Friday we'll head out and see Steve Riley and dance some zydeco. And, assuming the closing does happen, we'll have a "new floor party" in a week when the carpet's been replaced with bamboo. And maybe there will be a new tankless water heater to show off too. And finally a dog run in the back yard with a climb-proof fence for Ellie.
Meanwhile, my horoscope is saying that pressure is good for me. Between the house, good stress at work, and bad stress from the return of my Mom's cancer, I think I'm covered. Now, how much is a margarita machine? And do they come in colors that match the new kitchen?
[And how the hell does "transmogrified" pass a spell check? :-) ] Current Mood: hopeful
|Saturday, May 5th, 2007|
|Why I love the Alamo
We finally got out to see Hot Fuzz last night, at the Alamo Village.
Tucked into the corner of the parking lot was a Spider-Man inflatable jumping, er, thing for the kids to bounce on in celebration of the Spider-Man 3 opening night. The cell-phone picture sucks, but the black wall in the middle is made of velcro and there was a kid-sized velcro suit for sharing.
An unexpected but cool touch by the Alamo folks. Current Mood: amused