Archive for December, 2010

Bits and Bobs for 2010

Random things to post before the end of the year:

  • I was “randomly selected” to participate in the American Community Survey (ACS). I wonder how many of the “randomly selected” households are the ones that wrote “American” for their race in the general census…?
  • The checkout guy at the grocery store complained to me. In the course of general niceties, I mentioned I was getting ready for New Year’s Day. He responded with “I’m not going to have a very fun New Year’s Day.” What do you say to that? Apparently he is scheduled to work that day. Employee training should teach them to be cheerful in their interactions with people. The store-to-customer interface should be happy, not frowny.
  • I’m no longer the guy who provides food and shelter for the children. I’m now the guy who has the thing that lets them play Angry Birds.
  • Shame on ESPN for being selfish. In the past, I could watch various and sundry bowl games on New Year’s Day. It was football all day, and it was very good. Then a 4-letter cable network acquired the rights to the bowl games and locked them away so that the general population could not see the games. And there was much sorrow.

Now that I’m vaguely familiar with Twitter… these seem like items that would have made good tweets. Now that I have a fancy-pants phone game-and-music-playing device, I might consider using Twitter.

Or maybe not.

Happy New Year!

The heart knows its own bitterness,And a stranger does not share its joy.

Proverbs 14:10

Together Forever and Never to Part

I recently finished a project and tried a new (to me) product: combination stain and polyurethane in a single can.

picture of a can of stain and polyurethane PolyShades by Minwax

It worked as advertised, but I’m not a fan. This happened to be PolyShades by Minwax, but I’m guessing that I wouldn’t like any stain-and-poly-together-in-one product by anybody.

The problem is that the simplicity takes away your ability to manage the shade of the stain.

In other words, you can’t keep sanding and applying poly to get a smoother, deeper finish, because each application results in more (i.e. darker) stain.

Here is what it looked like with zero, one, and two coats:

picture of some boards with stain and polyurethane PolyShades by Minwax

It turned out okay, but there were some spots that were rougher than I wanted, but I didn’t want to add more stain. And there were some spots where the stain had pooled and made the finish obviously darker than the surrounding areas, but I didn’t want to wipe off the poly.

I suppose it’s a fine product if you don’t care much about the finish. I didn’t think I would care as much as I did, but not having the ability to adjust little things frustrated me.

Go with separate stain and clear coat.

or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Matthew 10:10

Christmas Card 2010

Those of you who received a Christmas card from us can skip this post. Everyone has probably already received the Christmas letter (not everyone everyone, just those on our list), so if you have the letter there is no point in viewing the image below.

If you haven’t received our letter yet, then either you’re not on our list or the post office has some explaining to do. If you’re not on our list, the best way to get on our list is to send us a Christmas card or letter. Then we will feel compelled to return the favor.

For those of you interested in what our Christmas letter looks like this year but don’t want to involve the post office, here it is (redacted and blurred version for internet):

Christmas letter 2010

Source (in CorelDraw format) available upon request and for a small processing fee.

Also in those days many letters went from the nobles of Judah to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them.

Nehemiah 6:17

Christmas Chaos

Merry Christmas Chaos!

Tomorrow is Christmas Adam, followed by Christmas Eve on the 24th.

Thanks to some commenters on my guest post for SCL, I learned about Christmas Adam – the 23rd of December.

In order to help you celebrate each day, I put together this calendar. Think of it as a post-Christmas advent calendar thingy.

calendar page for December 2010 showing Christmas Adam


Sledding with Siblings

In honor of our winter weather, I am posting this video I took last year.

No, these were not my kids. We went sledding with some friends and their grandkids. Our kids were just the witnesses. I don’t know why he felt compelled to knock his sister off her sled.

No children were harmed during the making of this video.

Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley.

1 Samuel 15:5

The Save Icon

Kids these days… don’t even know why the save icon is what it is…or even what is it..

For those of you who don’t know the cryptic image that appears in the save button: it is a floppy disk. That’s what we used to transfer files before USB was invented. And back when a 24k modem was impressive.

picture of the save icon using a floppy diskFloppy disk

Since no one uses those anymore, it is time to get rid of it. But when people save files, to what do they save them?

We need to find a new save icon, one that is independent of the medium. Like the open folder for opening a file – the file can be local, USB stick, internet, whatever. Let’s explore our options…

picture of the save icon using a hard driveHard drive
Too vague – no one sees the hard drive, so that’s not going to work.

picture of the save icon using a CDCompact Disc
Not vague, but slightly outdated. When was the last time you saw someone save a file to a CD?

picture of the save icon using a USB driveUSB drive
Not vague, but not the usual destination. This is probably familiar to most people, but most of the time you’re saving locally. Plus it might throw off some less technically-aware people: “How can I save a file without my USB drive? Look, it wants me to save it to the USB thing…”

picture of the save icon using a life preserverLife preserver
Hmm…interesting. Good connection to the concept of saving. Unfortunately, some programs already use this as their icon for help.

picture of the save icon using a crossCross
Perfect! An icon to clearly denote saving a file. And it will help evangelize the masses, right?

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost

Matthew 18:11

All-Haiku Bowl Predictions, 2010

Based on the popularity existence of last year’s article predicting bowl games in haiku form, I present to you this year’s all-haiku bowl game predictions. Still America’s only all-haiku college football bowl game predictions.

These are listed in order of date (earliest first). Some picks are whom I think will win, and some picks are whom I want to win. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide which is which.