Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Took my folks back to the airport today -- very, very early in the morning.
Among other things, they brought me some ties that had belonged to each of my grandfathers.
I used to collect ties, and had 50 or 60. So now I probably have 70 or 80.
In the photo to the upper left are two ties from my maternal grandfather's estate.
Below are some ties from my dad's stash, as well as from my paternal grandfather's estate. My mom made the purple, tie-dyed one a few years ago for some costume for my dad. I wore it to work last week, and got a lot of compliments on it.
As you can probably see, the ties span a fairly broad range of eras and styles.
I think there's 15 neckties in there, plus a bow tie. It's a little deceptive, as the photo below actually belongs to the left of the photo above. So three(?) of the ties appear in both shots.
I'm still wearing a different tie each day to work. Except now I've stopped wearing a tie on "casual Friday" -- which will further prolong my "methodically go through my tie collection by wearing each one once" endeavor.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Are we not men?
Was in Egg Records -- a used CD shop downtown -- today. Perusing the t-shirt wall, and considering once again the pretty-good Devo t-shirt that I'll -- one of these days -- purchase.
Turned around, and happened to see an additional, smaller stash of t-shirts on another wall. Never noticed it before: this is only my third or fourth time in there; somehow, never happened to look in that direction.
AND: Devo tee!!!!!!!!!!!! Brilliant!!!!!
I am pleased.
P.S. The words underneath are "Duty Now for the Future". It's the album prior to the one with "Whip It": if you're truly into Devo, you'll have that album.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Two significant events happened on the bus this morning.
First, I was a bit early (after dropping off the kids at school and daycare), and my wife was running a bit late. So we both ended up being on the same bus on the way to work. Was able to sit next to her. That was nice. :)
And second, the next stop after she got off, two young fellas -- in their early 20s, I'd say -- got on. I was sitting on the window end of the bus seat, and they were on the aisle, across from each other, chatting.
A woman, probably in her early 50s, had boarded at the same time as the two fellas, and was standing in the aisle.
My personal policy is that I'll offer up my seat to women who are older than me, men who are elderly, and people in general who are clearly weak, tired, or infirm. I don't offer my seat to guys only slightly older than me: it's a masculinities thing; the very offer would be an insult to their manliness, and they wouldn't accept.
After a few moments of my assessing that the youngster sitting next to me wasn't going to be offering his seat to the lady, I tapped him on the shoulder, pointed to the lady and said, "Hi! I'm going to be giving that woman my seat." So he got up, I got up, and the woman took my seat.
"Umm -- would you like to sit down?", he asked, still standing.
"No thanks: I'm getting off pretty soon," I said brightly. "Pretty soon" being relative, of course. So he sat down and resumed his conversation.
In my decision-making process prior the transaction, I had weighed up the niceness factor of giving the lady my seat, versus the negatives of making the young guy look like an ass.
But I figured, "eh".
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Remedial St Pat's Day photos
For what it's worth: remedial photos of my St. Patrick's Day getup.
Dim lighting, but: green tie, black shirt (for contrast!), green trousers.
And, green ''gargoyle'' socks (my term for argyle socks).
And, obviously, black shoes.
Considered wearing my green derby or top hat, but decided against it. Maybe next year.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Advice to parents buying a guitar for their child
My tips for parents buying a first guitar for their child:
- If the kid wants an electric guitar, don't get him/her an acoustic guitar as a "starter" guitar -- with the notion that if she/he keeps going with the acoustic, you can "upgrade" to an electric later. The difference between electric and acoustic guitars is like the difference between a synthesizer and a piano: they're too different to be satisfactory. The electric guitar, plus amplifier, will be a bit more expensive -- but you're also more likely to get most of your money back if you sell it used, if the kid stops playing it.
- Getting an amplifier with a speaker that's too small (less than four inches in diameter?) will produce a tinny sound. Playing guitar with a crummy sound **really** poisons the experience -- which makes it less likely that your kid will actually play the guitar. And you'll get most of your money back if you end up selling a "decent" speaker. (Workaround: If you or the kid is at all handy -- use a garage-sale stereo speaker as "the speaker" -- wire it into the teeny guitar amp you bought, and disable the built-in speaker.)
- And, if your kid wants to play an acoustic guitar, please get the type of acoustic guitar -- nylon-string or steel-string -- that suits the type of music that your kid wants to play. Nylon-string is good for classical music and flaminco-style. All the other styles (folk, campfire songs, folk-rock, pop, rock) really do sound better with steel-string guitars. Yeah, the steel-strings cost a little more: but again, the guitar won't sound right.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I always think it's dicey when a person gets a tattoo in a language of which they're not a native speaker.
Downtown, I see the occasional person with a Chinese character, or some Gaelic saying, written on their arm or back.
It'd be mighty embarrassing, if a misplaced accent mark or pen stroke completely changed the meaning of the word or phrase you had permanently inscribed upon your body:
"Yeah, my tattoo says 'Brave Like a King'."
"Umm -- actually... the tattoo artist missed a stroke here -- and made this one too curvy. So it actually says 'Poops Like a Carp'."
Thursday, March 24, 2011
How could I not
It's the tail end of summer, so it's still pretty warm during the day -- although cool-ish at night. And because it's warm (or, yeah -- hot), a lot of people are wearing shorts and t-shirts or tank tops.
The problem is when you enter an office building, or ride public transportation, the air-conditioning can be jacked up pretty high. You get cold.
So: As I get on the bus on the way home from work, and I notice a young lady (18? 22? 25? I can't tell anymore) who's sitting there with her arms wrapped around herself, looking cold.
I always keep a long-sleeved flannel shirt in my knapsack, just in case I get cold -- although oddly, I seem to have developed a tolerance for air-conditioning. Plus, being Business Guy, during the workday I wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts -- so my skin isn't as exposed.
I sat down a row or two behind her, dug my flannel shirt out of my bag, then approached her.
"I'm sorry," I asked (with a [non-threatening?] smile), "But are you cold -- or is that just the way you're sitting?"
She admitted she was cold.
"Would you like to borrow my shirt?", I asked, holding it out to her.
She demurred -- but I tossed it onto the seat next to her, saying, "That's o.k. Just give it back before you leave." Then I went back to my seat.
So, she put it on; she looked un-cold because of it; and before she got off, she handed it back to me, and thanked me. Which was nice of her.
What's my point? Not that I'm this extra-special nicey-guy. But rather: keep your eye out for people that need help; and if you see someone that needs help, and it's within your capacity to help them -- then do so.
Because, how can you not?
(Modifier: Oh. But avoid losing all your money, or getting beat up, in the process.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Very clever small apartment
I like it.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Gotta ask the right question
While coming back from my lunch break (mostly, just walking around downtown), I saw two tourist-types looking lost. Asked them if they needed help, and they asked me if there was a Commonwealth Bank nearby. I told them there was -- on the ground floor of my office building -- and offered to bring them there.
So, I guided them there -- about five blocks away. Got there -- then they asked where the nearby Burger King was, as they were supposed to meet a friend there.
Ah. The only Burger King I knew of was about a block away from where they **had** been standing -- and about six blocks from where they now were. There might -- or might not -- have been a Commonwealth Bank near that Burger King.
The lesson, I suppose, is to ask the the right question in order to get the desired result. In this instance, to ask for the **primary** landmark -- not the landmark that helps you find the **real** landmark. Especially if the auxillary landmark isn't a unique identifier.
Monday, March 21, 2011
How to say it
One of the interesting things with being around little kids is the occasional need to explain complex things in understandable ways. It really makes you boil things down to their essence.
Two things from yesterday:
1) At church, the pastor mentioned that a long-time parishoner had died a few days prior. He hadn't been at church for the last seven years, due to dementia (he'd been in a nursing home) -- but prior to that, he was very active in doing things for the church, as well as various community organizations. So, I got to explain "dementia": It's a type of getting sick, where you have a hard time remembering things. After a while, you don't remember your friends' names, or your family's names. And you forget how to do things like tie your shoes or get dressed. So you have to go live at a special type of hospital, where people take care of you.
2) They also had miscellaneous flowers on a table near the front door of the church, where people were encouraged to take a flower to remember this fella. My daughter said that flowers are beautiful, and I wanted to communicate that flowers being pretty had a reproductive purpose: Flowers are bright and shiny because that makes the bees want to come and look at them. When the bees go from flower to flower, they step in part of the seed, and it mixes with parts of the seeds from other flowers. This lets the seeds become "real" seeds that can make new plants when you plant the seeds in the ground. If the bees didn't step on the different flowers and carry the pieces of seed to other flowers, then the seeds wouldn't grow when you put them in the ground.
Breaking things down to their fundamentals: it's an enjoyable challenge. :)
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Made of Honor
Rented Made of Honor on DVD, and watched it with The Lady.
Patrick Dempsey; a guy's best friend (a female) gets engaged, and he realizes that he's in love with her.
Fairly standard Rom-Com. A few laughs, a few good lines.
Decent enough, but not brilliant. I presume it didn't do that well at the box office.
Rent it if you're a sucker for romantic comedies, and you can't find anything else: Notting Hill was **wayyy** better. ;)
Friday, March 18, 2011
The good of the many outweigh the good of the few
Maybe it's my middle-ageness, but I misted up a bit when I read the newspaper article about the 150 nuclear power plant workers who had volunteered to expose themselves to major amounts of radiation, in the hopes of trying to fix that nuclear power plant in Japan.
They sound like they're all my age, or older: not the young, spunky kids, but the older, seasoned guys who know the ins and outs, and tricks of the trade.
Made me go home and watch the last ten or so minutes of The Wrath of Khan -- where Spock sacrifices himself to bring the warp engines back online. Scenes 15 and 16 on the DVD (my version, at least).
Thursday, March 17, 2011
St Pat Day
I wore very much green today. However, it is rather late at night and I need to be going to sleep, not blogging.
Thus, I can't be bothered to run fetch my digital camera, get the photo, and etcetera. But I will in a few days.
Black shoes, green argyle socks, green trousers, green belt, black shirt (for contrast!), green and white plaid necktie.
Toyed with wearing a green bow tie, instead -- but figured it wasn't "professional" enough for an office setting. Likewise with the green derby or the green top hat.
Also considered wearing one of my two green suitjackets. But, 't'was a somewhat hot day, and didn't want to sweat like a monkey.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Today is Tuesday. Tuesday are cheap night at the local DVD rental place.
Back when I worked from home, I'd pick up The Girl from school, then swing by and rent a DVD. Since starting the new job (downtown), I can't do this anymore. But today I left work early to do the school pickup (The Lady had a meeting).
Flicking through the "surplussing their excess that have dropped in popularity" bin, as I do. As usual, nothing appealed. But then!
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sign of the mind
Saw this sign on the bus.
I doubt that many high school students (or even college students!) would consider themselves "scholars".
I guess this means that professors, people with Ph.D.s, and general eggheads, need to stand...
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
This happened last Friday: Was doing my "music a day" thing of walking to the local park, playing the harmonica (or tin whistle, depending on my mood) for 15 minutes or so, then walking back to the office.
Partway to the park, heard a "flap, flap, flap" sound with every second step. Looked down, and the sole of my right foot was starting to come away from my shoe. So, tried walking more carefully, but -- nope, fell completely off. I was almost all the way to the park, so I just kept going -- carrying my shoe sole in one hand.
Sat there and played the harmonica. Then walked back -- in the drizzle -- with the wet from the sidewalk soaking through my moccasin-shoe. Got back to the office, and talked to the electrician guy who's been working on the new office suite down the hall. Mentioned my predicament, and he offered me a tube of special glue he had down in his truck.
Gave it a try -- but, didn't work. And now the **left** shoe was starting to come apart, as well (see above; left side wedged open w/ a pen, to show the extent of separation).
How to get to the bus stop: about five blocks?
So, MacGyver time. Raided the office supply drawer, and took out a bunch a rubber bands which I had donated to the office the week before.
Not pretty -- but, functional.
Stuffed a few extra rubber bands into my knapsack, just in case I wore through some of them while walking. Luckily, I did not.
I was going to glue the soles back on, over the weekend, but the store we usually go to was out of the special shoe glue I use. But, eventually.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Best parking space
This is the parking place that I usually get when I park.
Pretty darned good location: No-one to my left (due to the kerbing); no one to my immediate right (due to the pillar). So, no idiots to open their car door into me.
Plus, the spacing is slightly wider than the usual parking space.
Most mornings, I manage to get it.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Search your feelings You know it to be true
Was at lunch today with the guitar guy I mentioned yesterday: he's about 58 or similar. Was eight years old when Buddy Holly died.
We ate at a nifty little obscure place, down a narrow alley, kinda hidden. Neat-o!
I asked him how he'd discovered this place, and he said that his daughter -- who also works downtown, had found it. They sometimes have lunch together, there.
Soon after, we were seated outside the cafe, eating, when he glanced up and -- referring to two young women walking down the alley towards us -- said, "Ah! Here comes my daughter, now!"
When they reached us, I stood up, shook the daughter's hand, and said with a smile, "Hi. I'm not your father." I then shook her friend's hand and said, "I'm not your father, either."
That would be something my dad would've done. ;)
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Music a day
Today is Tuesday. Monday of last week, I embarked on a ''Music a Day'' quest:
I eat my lunch at my desk, while working. Then, when I clock out for my lunch **break**, I take a walk to a park that's ten minutes away; sit on a park bench and play the harmonica (was my grandfather's) or the tin whistle (see photo), depending on my mood, for ten or fifteen minutes; and then walk back to work.
So far, I've done this every day. Good for the soul.
Almost missed one day, due to rain. But, the weather cleared.
Won't be doing it tomorrow, though: will be having lunch with a guy who does the database extractions for another dept. He's about twenty years older than me, and used to play guitar in a local band, back in his younger days. He saw the Beatles in concert!!! Gonna geek out about music stuff.
Although: I guess geeking out about guitar stuff is still "music a day". :)
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Seeing to the future
Saturday, we went to an open-house for the high school that my daughter will probably attend. Kinda weird, given that she's only in second grade: kinda like (for an American) checking out universities when you're still in middle school. But, it's the way it's done around here.
Anyhow: kinda weird walking around the campus and realizing that this is the place your kid will be going to high school.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
How to get started in handtool woodworking
An insightful post on how to get started on handtool-based woodworking.
The best bit, in my opinion, is when he says to just START DOING IT. True for any hobby (fly fishing, songwriting, whatever): don't spend all your time reading about it -- just jump in; you'll figure it out.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
The kids did this a few days ago. I thought it was pretty creative.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
I've been categorizing some Queensland laws at work -- part of the research project I'm working on.
A few discoveries and insights:
-There is a law that specifically prohibits your preventing someone else from leaving a wrecked car (Now **that** is being a jerk!!! "No! Get back in there!!!")
-There's a related law that prohibits preventing someone else from leaving a damaged or unsafe building ("But -- but-- there was an earthquake..." "I don't care!!!")
-It's illegal to assault someone in order to prevent them from viewing a piece of real estate
-That one is part of a broader statute that prohibits using violence to prevent the completion of a commercial transaction
-There's an offense for "murder", for "conspiracy to murder", and for "attempted murder". But there's also one for "attempted conspiracy to murder": what would **that** be? You tried to phone your accomplice, but the line was busy?
-Why does attempted murder attract a smaller penalty than an actual murder? You're just rewarding incompetence, bad planning, and/or equipment failure.
-"Manslaughter" is spelled the same (except for spacing and punctuation) as "man's laughter". Spooky.