Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Ford Idiosyncrasies

Jake and H jetted off to San Diego early Sunday morning, leaving us to watch after the Taurus in their absence. Now this isn't just any car, it comes with special instructions. Here is the verbatim copy of the instructional note penned by Jake. (I wanted to scan it but having probs with scanner.)

Ford Idiosyncrasies

1) Front Door Keys
2) Open front door - use outside
3) Gas tank opening open by pulling cord in trunk

The note needs a little interpretation, so here are my comments.

1) Front Door Keys - not sure what the point of this one is?? Maybe S knows?

2) Open front door - - yes, you are right, you have to open the door from the outside. Sounds reasonable, assuming you are outside the car wanting to enter. This rule also applies to those inside the car. The first time I saw Jake pull up our driveway, roll the window down, and open the door by grabbing the outside handle, I just chuckled. Well - I'm not laughing now, since it's presently 0 degrees and windy outside.

3) Gas tank - - This is a fun one. Apparently the gas tank does not open with the little gas tank lever in the car. In order to open the gas tank cover you first open the the trunk, reach inside, and grab some cord ??. Pull the cord, and the gas tank cover pops open.

I have Jake's name for Christmas. He needs a car, but given our spending limits maybe I'll just buy him a bus pass.

Darkmonth 21, 2004

Ann Althouse has a new name for an old month,

We are deeply embedded in the time of year I think of as "Darkmonth." Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the midpoint of Darkmonth, the darkest 30 days of the year. After tomorrow, there is, at least, the knowledge that each day has a little more light than the day before.

Not too bad a year for my SAD. Thanks to the various meds, I keep a little skip in my step. Though I don't have time/energy for the annual Christmas card and letter. Now that I write this I feel guilty. Perhaps you will be seeing New Year's Greetings from the family in weeks to come.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Running Notes

Born to Run,
From our spring-loaded ligaments to our muscular behinds to our ability to sweat, the human body took the ideal shape of a long-distance runner starting some 2 million years ago, the researchers say. The long, lean build helped us scavenge widely scattered kills and could also have been an advantage when hunting down prey over long distances.

A running legend dies,
Arthur Lydiard, 87, a top New Zealand track coach in the 1950s and '60s whose methods revolutionized training for distance runners and helped fuel the worldwide boom in jogging, died Dec. 11 in Houston of an apparent heart attack.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Jose Feliciano - in our bed?

The Dude's under a little stress these days. This afternoon is the Holiday Pageant at his school. He has a speaking role (one line) but I don't expect him to actually say it. He does however, really know the songs. He will sing them for anyone who wishes to listen. In fact, the songs are having quite an effect on him.

This morning around 4:00 a.m. (I think), the Dude crawled into our bed. Half asleep already, he rolled over onto his back, eyes closed, and as he drifted back to sleep was singing Feliz Navidad - a regular Jose Feliciano.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pass the Ibuprofen.

Just returned from a walk and I thought I’d take this moment to comment on my physical condition as of late. Both knees ache, along with my right elbow and my upper spine (sometimes). The knee pain is not the sort of pain I would normally associate with my running knee injuries. That is more of a specific pain on kneecap – specifically the outer edge – consistent with ITB Syndrome. The pain now is more of general achy stiffness combined with an overall feeling of weakness. On Friday, I was walking across the parking lot, turned to look over my shoulder, and it felt as if it wouldn’t take much more to twist my thigh off from my knee/shin. My knees, especially the left, don’t feel too firmly anchored in place – if that makes sense.

Elbow – who knows? On Friday it hurt when I was driving – especially when changing radio stations. I know what you’re thinking – don’t change radio stations.

Spine – Here I’m talking about the area between my shoulders. Overdoing a shoulderstand in yoga class might have caused this pain. The class takes place in a school gymnasium – with hardwood floors. The yoga mat doesn’t provide a lot of padding here.

Not sure why everything aches these days. I recently upped my thyroid meds – now taking 88 mcg a day of Levoxyl. A quick check of PDR doesn’t really include any of these general aches and pains as side effects.

Going on the theory that I twisted my knees somehow in yoga, I’ve taken it easy on the yoga these past few days. That doesn’t seem to help.

Going on another theory – that my knees are truly weak – I got it in my head to try Pilates. I checked out a book from library (good!) and a video (not so good), and gave that a try. Found Pilates to be hard, but fun – however – now my shoulders are stiff. Probably due to all the “rolling” up you do. It’s hard to remember not to lead with the head.

So hear I sit. Pass the ibuprofen.

Bĕ'-bĕ-ka and “Chinese Wave”

Notes on observing the world through 4-year old eyes. This morning we were going to watch one of the Muzzy Spanish Language DVDs. The Dude said to me, “These DVDs are made by the bĕ'-bĕ-ka.”

"Who makes them?" I asked.

He repeated, "The bĕ'-bĕ-ka.”"

I had no idea what he was saying until he picked up the DVD and pointed to the “word” BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC created the Muzzy Language series. Never thought of trying to pronounce it phonetically like a word.

Later, while driving into work he says, “That man in the van just waved at you.”

“What van?” I asked.

“That white van back at the street we just passed.”

I looked in my rear-view and saw a white van waiting to enter the traffic. The driver was looking east into the sun. I asked for a little clarification. “How did this driver wave?”

“It was a Chinese wave.”

“A Chinese wave, what’s a Chinese wave? Can you show me?”

When I looked over my shoulder the dude brought his hand up to his forehead, palm out, lowered the hand over his brow and squinted – the Chinese wave. Otherwise known as the universal symbol of drivers attempted to enter traffic while squinting into the sun. It now has a name.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Gift Ideas

I've been told to put out the word on gift ideas. I recently started an Amazon Wish List - for the first time. Today, while going through e-mail, I came across the latest offers from FTD - the florists. (Last month I sent flowers to a co-worker whose father passed away. Now I get marketing from them on an almost daily basis.

One of the mens gift ideas was a traveling cigar humidor. That doesn't interest me, so I clicked on MORE and came across this one.

Get ready for a great weekend experience! This exciting kit includes the book "The Great Sex Weekend", Chocolate Body Paint® and brush. Directions: heat to 98.6 degrees, apply liberally, and let your imagination run free! Award winning chocolate dessert topping made with a cream base flavor with semi-sweet chocolate. 8-ounces.

Whoa - FTD! Think of the carbs!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Judge and the Fossilman

Whoa! - - looking through the most recent issue of the Law Alumni News (from UofMN law school) and found some big news in 1992 - my year. One of my former classmates, Shaun Floerke, who I knew quite well was recentlly appointed judge in the 6th Judicial District MN - Duluth.

Also, another classmate - who I did not know well - recently won the 2004 World Series of Poker. Apparently "the Fossilman" made $5million. That goes a long way towards paying off those law school loans. I mentioned this to my colleagues and they knew of him - - from watching poker on TV. Man - - there is a whole 'nother world out there.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"Bill's Beach Diet" Revisited

Forget the food, "Sleep Loss May Cause Weight Gain".

If you're looking for a better way to control your weight, a new study suggests that getting a good night's sleep might keep the pounds off.

"Bill's Beach Diet" will be revised to include new sleep requirements.

Peanut Butter and Lawyers

This is interesting:
The three owners quit their jobs as lawyers in May 2003 to pursue their idea of a gourmet, multivariety peanut butter sandwich shop.
Read the rest in the Minnesota Daily.

Credit to Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Performance Review Time

It's that time of the year - when employees' thoughts turn to the annual performance review and subsequent merit-based pay increase. By December 24, I will have written twenty (20) reviews!

How do I do that without going crazy? What you may ask is the secret to my success?

Experience - I have been doing this for about six years now. When I'm in my zone the stuff just flows. My early years were spent in politics/government. Combine that with law school and you get a writing machine.

"Special Skills" - Last year I had two employees named Mike. Both were/are star performers. The highlight of the year was when I cut a (very long) paragraph out of Mike #1's review and pasted it into Mike #2's review - - no other editing needed.

This year I have five (5) guys named Jim on my team - - look out!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Lefse Links

Cousin Blair has loads of lefse links.

It's great as a holiday left-over delivery system: Take turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy - roll it up in lefse, heat in microwave, but be sure to dip into some cold cranberry sauce before eating.

Cough Up a Lung? Almost

Our neighbor Mark is battling Hodgkins. Recent good news includes the fact that the tumor receded some, pulling away from his trachea but leaving behind a small hole in the trachea wall (which should repair itself).

Here's a funny (though somewhat gross) story about Mark coughing up part of his trachea. It's at his Caring Bridge site.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Daily Dog Fix?

In order to prepare myself for the addition of yet another mammal to the C-G household, I've been exposing myself to dog info. Found this cool site this afternoon. The Modern Pooch:

Is This a First?

Reading Thomas Friedman's Op-Ed piece today I was surprised to see the highlighting in the first sentence. The NYT is linking to the Washington Post. Do they do this often? It's the first I've seen. Here's the first paragraph:

The Washington Post had a story on Monday that contained possibly the greatest hint to a sitting cabinet secretary to start looking for another job that has ever been printed. The article reported, "One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long."

Read it all, registration required.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Busy Day – Quick Links

Birding in uniform,
Tired of those boring Minnesota birds, here's a National Guard guy who's "Birding Babylon".

Lileks on printers:
Bought a new printer the other day. Ah, once that was a great moment in a geek’s life, back when the improvements in printers were substantial. My first printer I remember well – an Apple ImageWriter II that used the paper with the holes in the margin. The big advance was Microperforations! that allowed you to rip off the margins and leave a clean edge. Coff. Right. All my early manuscripts were as jagged as well-used hacksaws.
Forehead – ticket trick,
So, you’re going to a ticketed event, like a concert or a ball game. It’s out of town. You’re carpooling with four other people. How do you ensure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them?
The car doesn't move until each person takes out their ticket and holds it to their forehead.
Been doing it for 20 years, and you’d be amazed how often it saves the day.

And finally—Some days even the Beatles didn’t do much, from Today in Beatles History,
1965 -Visit at Neil and Mal's flat (16 Montagu Mews West, Marylebone, London).