Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Serious question

And I would actually like some serious answers. I know, it's tempting to be sarcastic; but please keep it serious.

Situation: A person you are around a lot (say a co-worker who maybe sits near you) drinks several drinks throughout the day. When the drink is almost empty, there is a slurping sound from the straw - admittedly an annoying sound. With the drink empty, the moment is over.

Response: What, if anything, do you do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm with ya', Chuck

Peanuts

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Free Music: "When the Saints"

This week, iTunes has selected Sara Groves' new song "When the Saints" from Tell Me What You Know as its Discovery Download. You can download it for free here.

Trust me, you want to download this one. The album releases November 6th

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Participating in the Disney Excess

Disney-MGM Sorcerer's HatAnd lovin' it!

Mrs. E, Lil'E and I have been in Disney World this week. Fully indulging in the excess that Walt instigated. For those coming here and not bringing a trailer of food to sustain yourself for the stay, I suggest the Disney Dining plan: you get one counter service (burger/sandwich/etc. with side, drink, and dessert), one snack, and one table service meal every day. The table meal (at Disney prices, usually about $30 per person) easily covers the cost of the plan and leaves the other meals "free".

Lines at It's a Small WorldThey say that the British have perfected waiting in lines, but Disney has taken it to a new level. Maybe that's why we've heard so many European accents this week. Here is the line to get in to ride "It's A Small World".

Lil'E and Dan ZanesSo, anyway, we're went trick or treating in the Magic Kingdom tonight. Yesterday afternoon we got to sing and dance with Dan Zanes (of the Del Fuegos) - good music, which happens to be for kids and families. Here is Lil'E getting his autograph. Confidentially, she liked seeing Johnny and the Sprites on Sunday more; but Dan Zanes has funny socks.

Night MagicToday we're off to Epcot, going to have some dinner with princesses tonight, and breakfast tomorrow with Pooh and friends. If the weather participates (in question) we will head for home and see our Lil'er E tomorrow night.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

What are you doing?


Coming October 24th! Read more here.

(Side note: this is my 200th post. I think it's a great thing to talk about for #200, don't you?)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things not conducive to a worshipful experience

Having teens randomly throwing candy for ten minutes while you and others attempt to worship.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

busy . . . can't talk now

Life's crazy right now. No time to talk. Brief update. Out of breath from typing so fast.

  1. At conference last week. 14-hour days. Dry weather parched my skin. Nice weekend after I got home.
  2. Begin two papers from collaboration with rheological big-wig at MIT. Catch up on background info.
  3. Review patent. Late on that. Must finish by Thursday.
  4. At intra-company conference this week. Presenting paper and receiving group award for new technology.
  5. Just requested to attend meeting tomorrow at which several people likely to have their posteriors masticated by VP. Not me (whew). Not pretty.
  6. Preparing for Inspired to Action to launch next week. I'm editor for articles and interviews. I'm crazy to add this, but feel its important.
  7. Family vacation to DisneyWorld next week (Sat - Sat). Crazy good times to be had by all. Not taking a bit of work with me! Ha! Take that, you people who have more than quadrupled my travel time this year!
  8. Preparing to be humbled by the ridiculous work load on my desk when I return from vacation, ending essentially three weeks out of office.
  9. Wondering how babies survive teething.
  10. Wondering how adults survive baby's teething.
So, are you up to anything?

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Things to remember to survive a conference

High everybody! Greetings from Salt Lake City, home of a bunch of Mormons, a big salty lake thingy, and the 79th Annual Society of Rheology Conference. (Sorry, Seth, but no Alps.) While I'm away from Humid-ston and enjoying the cool, dry Utah air, I thought it might be nice to share a few of the more important lessons I've learned over the years when attending a conference.

  1. Wear heavy clothes. This one is potentially the most important thing to remember. Even if the meeting is in Death Valley, they will manage to chill the conference rooms to sub-Arctic conditions. I've actually seen the foolish and unprepared end up like Ötzi, the frozen Stone Age hunter. So, watch out.
  2. Johnny 5
  3. The opening plenary lecture will be esoteric. It will be over your head. It will also interest only 1-2% of a crowd of people in that field. Be careful of this opening lecture: if not prepared, you brain will short circuit and the rest of the conference will be worthless.
  4. Similar to #2, pace yourself. There is only so much a human brain can process in a single day before it begins to ooze out your ears. If you fail to pace yourself, expect the label of "vegetable" to be attached to the rest of your career.
  5. (For men only.) Even in a scientific society such as this, there will be one or two ladies who look and dress like porn stars. Don't let them distract you - they are probably also smarter than you, and will make you look like a fool. And, married men, you shouldn't be going there anyway.
  6. Inevitably, you will run into former colleagues at these things. Some are happy folk, who love their life. Others are bitter. Be nice to the bitter ones, who tell you the same stories of woe every year. They need an ear to hear their stories. Plus, this keeps you from being labeled "the jerk I used to work with" among your peer group.
I hope these little tips will help you survive. They are also equally applicable to business meetings, school reunions, and ping pong tournaments.

What other tips did I miss. Please share them with me.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Impaneled

A few weeks ago, my darling wife acted in the Birth Play (by Karen Brody). After the last performance, the cast and family/friends gathered at Star Pizza to chow down. At that time, the organizer of the play here in Houston noted my "excellent co-parenting skills"; as a result, she has asked me to sit on a dad's panel at this Saturday's Birth Fair. Being a good husband, and of course and "excellent co-parent", I accepted this honor. And so, from 11:25 until noon, me and two other guys will sit and talk about giving birth.

Don't laugh.

Really. Stop it. Now.

Why can't a group of men sit around and talk about birth, expressing their opinions on how it should be and how the system should be different? Without reading from cue cards prepared by his significant other, or being castrated, that is.

Seriously, though; if you think a man only sits the sidelines in this, then the man you're thinking of is leaving his wife out in the cold. From spending nine months of marginal sleep (when one can't sleep, neither sleeps) to running to get a bowl when the chuck comes up. From getting that bowl of pickle gelato from the Kosher/Italian deli she heard about in Parents Magazine, to comforting her through contractions and birth pains. The man is involved. While she may curse us for making a donation and leaving her to do all the hard work (especially when the baby is crowning), a good man is there the whole time to support and encourage. And, despite where the bambino grows, it took two to get there and it takes two to go from there.

So, on Saturday I'll be talking about why we (and I emphasize we) chose to have #2 naturally. Even after a cesarean section. Even after Prudence, the triage nurse, constantly belittled us for our stupid decision.

Empathy BellyMale LactationBut, I only have one stipulation. This ain't gonna be no froufrou panel. Expect a manly belch or fart, if called for. And I may take a fifth of Jack, just to let the newbie dads know you won't have to wear a fake pregnancy belly or induce male lactation to be a part of this experience.

Can I get a boo ya for manly birth and child-rearing?

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Peanut Gallery

Lil'E's Peanut Gallery

The other day, I went up to Lil'E's room. The previous evening's bedtime requests had included that she be allowed to get a couple of her dolls out to take up to her room. Apparently, she meant more than a "couple" and had intentions. Witness what I am calling the peanut gallery: compared to Lil'E, they all have the cheap seats. However, the best seats definitely went to the Care Bears and her elephant, Phillip Johnny Bob. Over the next couple of days the audience expanded, until finally one night most were evicted and the remainder ended up piled at the foot of her bed.

In other news, Lil'er E has been in full teething mode. His first popped up last Saturday. The teething tablets we had been giving him, to ease the pain - do nothing now. He is on a strict diet of milk, oatmeal, and Tylenol. In fact, when I went to give him some yesterday afternoon, Lil'E decided to make up a happy song to celebrate the occasion. In it, the name, pink color, and yummy flavor of Children's Tylenol were extolled. Praises be for Tylenol.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Geek Quotient: 8.7

Okay, I've made no secret of it that I am a geek. I have officially rated my interest in this radio show (that's right, I said radio show) as a 8.7 on the Geek Quotient Scale. Similar to the Richter Scale, the GQS is logarithmic; therefore, a GQ of 7 is effectively ten times geekier than a GQ of 6. Don't ask what the GQ of rating according to the GQS is: it's too high to measure.

But what can I say? I'm a sucker for the tidbits and connections to life that
Dr. John Lienhard offers up in this weekly radio series, Engines of our Ingenuity. A professor of mechanical engineering and history at The University of Houston, he brings an interesting and unique view to how technology has influenced our lives. This has Eratosthenes Measurementbeen a long-time interest, dating back to an undergraduate class I took on the history of science - very enlightening. For example, the common notion that when Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492 the majority of the world disbelieved his notion that the earth was round, favoring a "flat earth" theory. Wrong! The first measurements of the circumference of the earth go back to at least 230 B.C. and Eratosthenes. The only argument Columbus had with scientists was that he was intentionally choosing estimates of the earth's circumference that were small enough to make it seem that sailing west from Europe to reach China would be feasible.

Anyway, back to the radio show. How can you not find it interesting that one of the first computing uses was in the
tracking of tickets of the burgeoning airline industry? Or that marbles in something like a gumball machine was the big step up from acres of chalkboards, before computers came on the scene. Or that TWA spent almost a half billion inflation-adjusted dollars in an attempt to build a reservation system named George - as in "go ask George" - before it had to scrap the project and start over?

Ötzi's shoesConsider shoes. A great study was done on the shoes worn by Ötzi, a Stone Age dweller whose preserved frozen body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. The shoes were complex. The leather on the bottom was from a bear, cured in a mixture of bears brains and fat from its liver. Deer leather formed the top. All this was mounted on a mesh of braided linden bark with bindings made of calf leather, straw for insulation, and moss as lining. Recreations of the shoes prove to be warm, even in cold water, with excellent traction and no opportunity for blisters. In fact, Ötzi may have been better shod 5300 years ago, than we are today!

Seriously, if you've any geek in you - even the slightest bit - you should check this out.
Transcripts are available for all 2273 episodes, along with the audio for each. You can try to find Engines on a local PBS station. Or you can listen to podcasts of the latest episodes.

Now, go geek out for an hour and get lost in the history of technology.

(Maybe I should file this under "Posts that amply demonstrate why it is you should make a point of ignoring me"?)

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