Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I'm glad that I live in the post- penicillin era.
About five days ago, I was sitting at my desk when I idly scratched my shin, and noticed I had a big ole tick hanging off it. I absent-mindedly pulled it out with my fingers -- then realized that that was pretty dumb: should've used used tweezers, to try to get the head out, too.
The next day, it was looking rather festive: a lovely burgundy color, and in an unusual shape (kinda kite-shaped).
The next day, I noticed a little black dot in the center: when I picked at it, what might have been the tick head came out, with a little bit of white puss. The green arrow shows the resulting little hole.
You can also see, in the photo, how I used a permanent marker to use dots to define its outline: ever the empiricist, I wanted to see if it was getting larger. It wasn't: apparently, the size had reached its equilibrium -- although it was getting ever-darker.
So, I went to the doctor, and he prescribed a course of antibiotics. After a day and a half, here's how it looked:
Rather anti-climatic. Less red; seems to be fading from the bottom, up. The green line represents the top of the red area; the green arrow represents the hole where the tick bite was.
So, good stuff.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Active back yard
My back yard gives the impression that I'm busy with some sort of project. Which is actually a correct assessment.
About two weeks ago, we had a bit of a storm. My next-door neighbor lost two trees -- and he was kind enough to save the trunks for me.
Also, at the university campus where I work (two days a week), I always drive past the end of the parking lot where the maintenance guys dump the branches and lawn clippings, in search of useable chunks of log. (I have standing permission to pick things up.) Last week, I found three decent logs, each of them a nice color and two or three feet long.
So, my current hobby seems to be de-barking various chunks of wood with a mallet and wide chisel, than using a coarse-toothed ripsaw to cut them in half, then quarters, to minimize their splitting as they dry (and thus being less use-able as slabs of wood).
In addition, a few weeks ago my other next-door neighbor's pool and patio deck was completed. He gave me permission to come by and grab whatever leftover lumber was in the discard pile. (Sadly, I missed the first round of discarded lumber: the bulldozer scooped it up and took it off to the dump.)
So: The top photo shows a (labeled) overview of my yard: the three piles of wood from the swimming pool (two need brushing with a stiff wire brush); the various piles of wood to be de-barked; things soaking in the wading pool; and my custom-built sawbuck.
The second photo shows a closer view of my de-barking area. I have the logs up on cinder blocks, to keep them up off the wet grass (it's been raining every few days), and away from the termites.
You can also see the sawbuck, holding up the log that I'm currently de-barking.
The third photo shows a bunch of logs -- both de-barked and to-be-debarked -- that I'm trying to keep wet, so that they don't dry out and start splitting before I'm waiting for them. Again, it's been raining every few days, so the water tends to replenish itself.
Finally, the fourth photo shows a closer view of the sawbuck. I **had** been trying to saw logs in half by putting each end on my wood stumps -- but it was rather awkward: they kept rolling around. I reasoned that a dedicated holder, with a V-shaped holding area, would work well -- and that I'm doing enough of this type of sawing that it was worth the time I'd invest in building it.
The design is based on a traditional sawbuck, which people use for cutting firewood. Rather than use an existing design, I just winged it. I intentionally made the "V" at 90 degrees, rather than 60 degrees, as I didn't want the log to be "pinched" quite that strongly.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Shirts and NonEdible batteries
Today I was working from home, while The Lady had the boys out at B2's pre-emptive speech therapy.
A few hours later, I got a panicked call from her: B2 had managed to get open his hearing aids, removed the batteries (little disc-like watch batteries) - and only one was accounted for! Both boys are only two years old, so you can't really quiz them: when asked where the other battery went, **both** pointed into their open mouths.
Eating those batteries are bad: if they get stuck somewhere in your digestive tract, they start leaking, and destroy your insides.
So: from about 11am to 2pm, we camped out in the emergency room. Both boys had x-rays; neither boy had anything of interest in their insides -- so, the mythical "second battery" must be in the parking lot -- probably wedged in someone's tire tread by now.
We went straight from the E.R. to pick up The Girl from school, and went directly to her piano lesson. So, I didn't get a lot done that afternoon.
On the plus side: I had to occupy the boys for 45 minutes, so we walked down the block and I hit the local op shop ("opportunity shop" - what Aussies call thrift stores). All of my "around the house"/"yard t-shirts" are of about the same vintage, so they're all starting to fall apart at the same time. I **do** have "nice" t-shirts -- but those are for wearing out and about, where people can appreciate their wit.
So, I went in, and picked up four t-shirts, for an average of AU$6 each (about US$5?). Tried to get non-offensive things: so, no bikini babes or "getting drunk is kewl". Instead, one has a car (wearing it now!), one has some sport team name (which I've never heard of), one's a bizarre green, and one's from some boat sales place.
I **could've** gone to some discount clothing store and picked up some new shirts for a similar price. But, these were of good material, 100% cotton, and USED (reuse, reduce, recycle...). Plus, the proceeds go to charity.
Actually, the greeny-brown one with the orange print of a car possibly **does** have a bikini babe sitting on the hood. But the drawing is small, crackly, and just not very good -- so it's not really clear: it could be a skinny lumpy guy in a hazmat suit.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Girl intuitive recording
I thought this was pretty neat.
My 5yo daughter likes playing around with my Asus eee netbook. I let her, because unlike on a Windows machine, most of the settings are hidden away -- so when she thrashes about trying to do something, it's unlikely that she'll change any of my settings (or delete any important files).
Usually she just uses the children's paint program. Today, she was making funny faces in the webcam.
Then, later, I walked by and she was using the sound recorder to record herself. She especially liked singing and yelling loud enough to push the level meter into the red.
I went to her room and fetched her harmonica (each of my kids has a harmonica; doesn't everyone's?) and a maraca (yeah, they each have their own maraca, too). She then started alternating between playing the harmonica, and singing.
Here's the good part: when playing back her recordings, she started shaking the maraca along to her recorded music. Doing that is the basis of multitrack recording: you play back what you already have, then play along with it to record a new track (technical term: overdubbing).
Ahhh -- if only I had my computer set up for recording...
I think she'd have a lot of fun with that. Highly supervised, of course.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I guess I will tag them
Well -- I guess I'll start tagging my posts.
Initially, I'd been reluctant to, as new readers of my blog (I should be so lucky!) would probably assume that the tags represent **all** of the relevant entries on a topic -- rather than just those from October 2010.
But then I realized: two years from now, it won't matter. I'll have a ton of more recent, relevant posts. And if someone doesn't find that one certain post from 2008? Ah well.
That said: I might, on an ad hoc basis, go back and tag some older posts. :)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Chinese fast wrestling
Neat-o! (Fast-forward to about 0:45.)
If that was offered locally, I'd **totally** take a class.
Labels: martial arts
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Interesting kung fu style
Interesting! Ba Gua.
Labels: martial arts
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Finally played guitar
About a week ago, I e-mailed some snapshots of my home office fulla boxes to Guitar Cousin and Rocket Scientist, as a way of illustrating why I never get around to playing electric guitar: nowhere to stand, so I have to drag all my stuff out to the kitchen, set up, and then bring everything back when I'm done. Takes about ten minutes each direction -- which means that if I only have a half hour to myself, then all but ten minutes is taken up with the setup/breakdown.
RS made a passing comment that indeed, it **would** be hard to play guitar amongst all those boxes. Somehow that comment inspired me: so, last night I spent an hour or so shifting boxes around, which resulted in a 4ft x 6ft cleared zone.
Today, during the boys' naps, I actually got to noodle around on the guitar. Nothing serious. Pretty fun, though! :)
Thursday, October 14, 2010
More martial arts smoothness
For whatever reason, I'm attracted more to martial arts that have throws, locks, takedowns, and "controlling" movements -- rather than those that focus on punches and kicks.
This stuff is pretty darned cool.
Labels: martial arts
Monday, October 11, 2010
If I had a million dollars
Oddly, if I had a million dollars, my day-to-day life wouldn't change much. I'd still only be having the boys in daycare two days a week, because we're trying to minimize that. And I actually kinda enjoy my job -- so I'd still keep working. But maybe ten hours a week instead of twenty.
But once the kids were in school full-time, I'd go up to twenty hours a week -- rather than full time. And I'd take martial arts classes; exercise more; record music a few times a week, probably in three-hour blocks; and do more woodworking.
The biggest change: have Indian or Middle Eastern food -- take-out, from a restaurant -- a **lot** more! :)
Oh: and buy maybe two funky synthesizers. And a really fancy fuzz pedal.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Something that I dinnae like
There's only a few things (I think!) in this world that I dislike. And one is bands, or musicians, who don't write their album title -- or at **least** the band name -- on the CD. Instead, they have some sort of drawing, or photo, or abstract design.
C'mon! Be nice to those of us that use those CD wallets; have multi-disk CD players; or who just like things to be organized. At **least** write it in little letters along the rim -- eh?
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Chad Vader is annoyed
Chad Vader is annoyed by people who dress up like Darth Vader to rob banks.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Actually pretty good
I'm taking a moment from writing my third chapter from The Project That Would Not End (it's currently early October; the original project deadline was mid-July) to comment that in the larger scheme, things are pretty okay.
I'm getting tired of being tired: for the last two weeks, I think there's only been two nights where I've had a decent night's sleep. For the last three (or four? it's all a blur) nights, I had from two to five hours of sleep -- and it's starting to all catch up with me.
I'm getting some interesting findings in my chapters. It's an enjoyable challenge to try to write up the results in a manner that's clear and accessible to laypersons, yet doesn't misrepresent the analytic techniques or the meaning of the findings.
Everyone is healthy (except for a persistent cough with The Lady and Boy #2).
I have a lovely family.
Got a roof over my head; food in the 'fridge (and, as of an hour ago, also in my belly!).
And I have a book and a DVD on their way to me from Amazon (my five in the morning reward to myself for racking up **massive** hours on the ol' timesheet!).
And this draft of the report should be out of my hands by midnight tonight (was supposed to have been Sunday night; and Monday night -- neither of which happened).
So: in the aggregate, it's going good.
Now, back to work. ;)
Labels: happy life
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Wing chun smoothness
Now **this** is just cool!!!
They're doing chi sao -- but usually (as I understand it), it doesn't flow into takedowns.
Labels: martial arts
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Dreamed of Mantis
Over the last week or two I've been reading through selected postings in archives of martial arts blog Striking Thoughts (brilliant blog name!) as I've waited for my data recodes and analyses to run. Interesting stuff: he's enrolled in a joint lock style of kung fu, as well as a Mantis style. Reading his blog has re-awakened my interest in getting back into martial arts -- specifically, to enroll in a class. One of these days.
Still, I found it pretty interesting (when I woke up, that is) when I had a dream a few days ago where I was at some university gym, sitting on the sidelines observing a Mantis style kung fu class. In the dream, my mom was hanging out waiting for me, sitting on a bench reading a book: because even when you're forty-two, it's still cool to have your mom drive you places. (Actually, maybe this indicated that I was visiting Seattle, and thus had to be driven to the campus gym).
For some reason, I was wearing the kung fu uniform from the style I used to do (black pants, black t-shirt), even though the Mantis folks were wearing something else. That's actually an odd thing to do when visiting another school as an observer: unless you're a representative of your own school, it's better to just wear regular clothes.
Frustratingly, in my dream I could only get glimpses of what they were doing, because they kept changing rooms to do different parts of their practice -- and somehow I kept getting left behind, getting lost in the gymnasium. And just as I finally found the room where they'd relocated, they'd be packing up to go to another room. (I'm sure that's all highly symbolic: being left behind; only having tantalizing glimpses...)
Maybe once my work schedule settles out (currently I log most of my hours on evenings and weekends), I can get back into it. My specific direction keeps shifting: currently I'm thinking Wing Chun.
Labels: martial arts
Friday, October 01, 2010
Saw this on t.v.; liked it.
The formula for the volume of a pizza, of thickness "A" and radius "Z"...