Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Truly nifty shirts

Tara -- a lady from Texas who is creative, talented, kind, and generous -- sent me a silkscreened t-shirt for each of my kids. My assessment of her is based partly on keeping up on her blog, but also by the spiffy-ness of the shirts -- and her thoughtfulness to include Devo (Top 7 Best Band Ever...!!!) as the subject matter for the boys' shirts.

For all of the shirts, she intentionally made them a touch larger than the kids' current sizes: better to be a little too large (and they grow into them) than too small. The Girl's shirt is only slightly too large: it's a long-sleeve tee, so it'll get worn this upcoming winter (it just became ''Fall'' for us a week or so ago...).

The above photo is the logo for Tara's blog (Lazy Russian Horses Show) -- zoomed in on The Girl, who is wearing it.

This next photo is of B#1, wearing one of the Devo shirts.

And, this is the other one -- B#2, wearing the other t-shirt.

Makes me wish I was about ten sizes smaller... :)

Tara also included two really nice hairclips that she made. Sorry, no pics of those. But The Girl referred to them as ''The bee-yu-tee-ful hair clips''.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lost cat, record collection, Daddy's role

I try to avoid putting multiple posts under one date -- I don't like the resulting formatting -- so here's a combo.

First, a ''Lost Cat'' ad that I found on a coffee table in the Psychology department's breakroom. You'll either think this is hilarious, or you won't ''get it''. Either way is fine. :)

(If the text is too small for ya -- click the image to make it bigger.)

Also, this guy is selling off his record collection of about three million records (poor health, some financial issues). When he reached 160,000 albums a few years back, he had to move it to a small warehouse...

Finally, yesterday when my wife was combing The Girl's hair, some teeth on the comb broke off, so my wife threw the comb away. This morning The Girl was asking where the comb went, and my wife told her it was broken. The Girl suggested ''Daddy fix it?'' So, I'm tickled that that's part of how she sees me: someone who fixes things.

Oh, wait: not ''finally''. Today, I found out two additional commonalities with the mapping guy from work. I'm a Windows guy who's trying to (slowly) migrate over to Linux; he's a Mac guy; but we both use Open (but with group-influence pragmatic residual use of MS Office). And also, he was wearing a Wing Chun t-shirt today, so I asked him if he had taken Wing Chun. Turned out he hadn't -- but had taken several years of Tae Kwon Do, and was (like myself) a lapsed, casual martial arts guy.

AND -- eldest child; family of four kids.

Ahh, the parallels... :)


Monday, February 25, 2008

Babies and a buddy

Been busy, busy, busy -- and thus, no recent blog entries. I have a few "on hold" 'til I take some corresponding digital pics -- which hasn't happened. (This includes the nifty gifties from Tara: apologies for the delay in my public grattitude...!)

My new job is pretty swell. I've taught a fair number of times across two different universities, but this time around I'm feeling disoriented and uncertain. At all the other places, you're given a 3-4 sentence summary of the course, and it's up to you to select the readings, work up the week-by-week schedule of topics, and such. Thus, a fair amount of start-up costs **if** you've never taught it before. But if you have, you just plug in the stuff you've done before, and it's not a problem.

Here, it's the opposite: the courses are heavily pre-structured. The lectures are mostly pre-written; the readings are pre-selected; and etc. BUT -- it means that you have to figure out someone else's angle, catch up on the readings (which may be as unfamiliar to yourself as they are to your students), and generally figure out what someone else did the last time around. Plus, this university is far more "centralized" than what I'm used to.

On the plus side: I'm really getting along well with my co-workers. In all the other places I've worked since moving to Brisbane, I've had co-workers that are nice enough -- but no one I'd want to hang out with after work. One guy, however -- mapping guy -- and I share a fair number of personality quirks. For example, today I found out that he keeps a running list of things that would make a good band name or album title...

Unfortunately, he doesn't really play a musical instrument. So I guess he's not **perfect**.

Anyhow, I'm a bit tired. Eeach of the twin boys -- once each per kid -- decided to wake up in the middle of the night and cry uncontrollably and for no apparent reason). So, I was wandering around the house in the wee hours, trying to soothe him -- eventually falling asleep in the spare bedroom with a baby on my chest (took them out of our bedroom so as to let my wife
sleep). First one kid -- and then, a few hours later, same thing but with the other kid.

On the plus side: they're starting to do the whole "eye contact" thing, which brings them from the realm of "things" into "real people".


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cute GG as a young child

The following is a response from my social justice activist uncle, to my "string = a little rope" e-mail I sent to my family.

I remember when you were four years old, and it was summertime. You and your dad had been out grocery shopping (especially for watermelon) and stopped by [your grandparents'] house on 52nd street. I happened to be there. You knocked on the front door and you said, "Yep, it's ripe!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Australia apologizes to Indigenous folks

Tomorrow morning, 7:55am Brisbane time, the Prime Minister is finally going to formally apologize, on behalf of the federal government, for forcibly taking away several generations of Indigenous children from their families, to "civilize" them.

I really enjoy living in Aussie-land -- but in a number of ways, Australia is a generation or two behind the U.S. in what's considered "normal" or "right" for race relations.

This "apology" has been a big issue of debate for the last few years. I'm not sure if the U.S. ever apologized to the Native Americans for various things -- but in 1988, Ronald Reagan formally apologized to the Japanese-Americans who were forcibly interned during WWII. (Fun fact: 62% were American citizens.) 1988 for the U.S.; 2008 for Australia. A twenty year lag.

The Stolen Generation took place in Australia from roughly 1869-1969; the U.S. stopped shipping Indian kids off to boarding schools around 1928. So, 1928 for the U.S.; versus 1969 (i.e. nearly within my lifetime!!!) for Australia. Forty-one years difference.

Native Americans finally got the right to vote in 1924. In contrast, a 1949 law allowed Indigenous folks to vote in federal elections **if** their state allowed them to vote (the right to vote varied from state to state); and Indigenous Australians were allowed to vote in federal elections regardless of their state's laws in 1962. So, either 25, or 38, years difference.

And they're now (June 2006) finally looking in to the practice of withholding Indigenous employee's wages "for their own good" -- which occurred from the 1900s right up to the eighties!!! I know that the U.S. used to do this with Native Americans, here and there -- but a quick Google search didn't turn up anything. But, I rather doubt that it was still going on in the 1980s...

So: just a lot of "race and ethnicity" stuff that Australia seems to be a bit behind on.

But -- the wage and employment laws, educational system, and healthcare system are **still** wayyyy better than in the U.S.


Minor child amusement

(I think I've read a variation of this in one of those "Ain't Kids Adorable" columns; so, not shockingly original. But still, an interesting illustration of linguistics and assumptions underlying verbal communication.)

The Kid has a little plastic push-tricycle thing that she rides indoors (you can steer it; but no pedals, ya gotta push).

Somehow, she fell over on it while riding down the hall, and minor-ly hurt herself.

So, she picks herself and the tricycle up, rides back to the living room.

(Sadly) "Daddy, I hurt myself..."


(Pointing back up the hallway) "There..."


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Inspired by Slag's recent post:

I'd be afraid to do this for real, at an actual job interview -- at least, one where I actually **wanted** the job.


You know that old "What's your greatest weakness" (job) interview question? So cliched.

I've always wanted to -- if I was ever asked that question in a job interview -- look around cautiously at my interviewers... look over my shoulder... and in a low, but steady voice, admit:



Thursday, February 07, 2008

A perspective on hospitals

We were at the hospital today, for a check-up for B2. As I observed all the people in the halls, the waiting rooms, at the check-in counters -- everyone who wasn't an employee -- I realized that anyone who's in a hospital is there because their body, somehow, has failed them.

It might have been from birth. It might have been some recent disease. Or, it might just be old age catching up with them. But however -- whichever -- it's their bodies who are letting them down.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Even more of a homeowner

...And, you're even **more** of a homeowner, when your initial repairs don't work, and you have to go **back** into the attic, and **back** up onto the roof, to fix things.

Had a bit of rain this morning, and there was some dripping from the range hood. Not nearly as bad as before -- but it's not supposed to be happening at ALL!!!

Took a peek before work, up in the attic crawl space, and there was indeed water running down the outside. Just a slow drip, rather than a rivulet -- but still...

So, after work, borrowed Next-Door Uncle's ladder **again** -- and another partial tube of silicone -- and did some more squirting.

Later in the evening, it rained again. Went up into the attic -- again -- to verify there was no more water. Just the barest of drips -- but still... So, got the silicone... again... and shoved it into the hole. Hopefully, that's the last of it.

By the way -- as shown in the photo to the left, the person who installed the vent pipe simply lashed it to the roof beams with duct tape.

I would have expected something a little more ''official'' -- like a bracket, or at least some sort of strap. Is this standard (acceptable?) within the building industry? I'm curious as to Builder Cousin or Next-Door Uncle's (former site supervisor) opinion.

I mean, the plastic pipe isn't **heavy** -- but I think the tape is supporting the weight. And given our hot summers, it seems like the gummy stuff on the tape will stretch and slip over the years. Mebbe?


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Real homeowner

You're not a **real** homeowner ujtil you've been up in your roof cavity (i.e the attic crawlspace) -- or in the crawl space under the house, or had to rip open a wall.

Or, until you've been up on the roof to repair a leak...

Last night and this morning, Brisbane had a ton of rain. Curiously, our neighborhood in particular had a disproportionate amount: we received one-third of our annual average rainfall in a 24 hour period.

We noticed water coming in from the range hood. During the course of the day, we emptied out three kettles. And, we noticed water bubbles in the paint. We slit them with a utility knife, to let them dry out. (Once everything dries out, I'll have to sand and repaint it all.)

I climbed up into the attic, to see what was what. Wedged myself out under the ends, to find that water was running down the **outside** of stove vent's PVC pipe: not good.

So, I borrowed a ladder from Next-Door Uncle, plus a caulking gun and a tube of silicone gunk, and climbed up to caulk the heck out of the flashing. Hoping that took care of it.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy with my office

Well, it's the end of the week at my new job. Still ferrying things in from home, with which to decorate my office...

But: I luuuuv my office! Academia is probably one of the few jobs left where you can get your own office without being a manager or supervisor…

My office is on an internal corridor, halfway between the reception desk and the photocopier/printer – and directly next door to the breakroom/kitchen. The “front door” of the corridor is by the reception desk, and the “back door” is by the photocopier. Through the back door and directly to the left is the men’s room (handy!), and to the right of that is the stairwell, where – up two flights – is the breakroom of my old part-time job, with the ‘fridge with the ICE MAKER!!!

My office has a single large window (with blinds) that opens on to the corridor. Folks on the other side of the corridor have a corresponding window that opens to the corridor, plus a correspond -ing window that goes to the outside, providing daylight. Thus, I get second-hand natural light -- from outside, through someone’s office, across the hall, and into my room.

Between the hallway lighting and the second-hand natural light, I don’t bother putting on the fluorescents in my office. However, I usually have a small desk lamp on, just for the warm ambience.

In addition: my extension number is “x33533” – what a **great** sequence!!! (symmetrical; all primes; nice and repetitive!).

The only downside is that the standard allocation for personal server space is only fifty megs!!!! In this day and age, that's just wacky low...

But, I mentioned this to the dept chair, who independently declared that to beridiculously low – so they’re bumping me up to around 600-700MB. For my purposes, that's pretty reasonable. Although: the university bills the department five bucks per 20MB. So, my 600 additional MB will cost the department $150!!! I just saw an ad in the paper where you can get half a **terrabyte** (500 GIGS!!!) on an external hard drive for that price. That's a factor of a a thousand, for the same price (or, technically, "1,024 times").

Oh! And, as you can see in my diagram (**not** to scale!), I've rigged up dual monitors: the flatscreen on top of the PC box, and a huuuuge CRT monitor that I brought in from home to the left. (Easy to do: the flatscreen runs off the DVI video card, and the CRT monitor runs off the built-in VGA port.)

Anyhow, good stuff. :)