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Monday, February 27, 2006

Please Don't Hurt 'Em

It has come to my attention that MC Hammer now has a blog.

Mouse house

So, I just saw a mouse run behind my bed. That's gonna make going to sleep really easy tonight.

Our rat hasn't been around for a month or so (he ate the poison), but we just saw a mouse in the kitchen on Friday, and now he/she/they have moved upstairs. Considering we saw a couple cockroaches in the bathroom last week, we have really hit the vermin jackpot in this house -- ants in the fall, rats in early winter, cockroaches and mice in late winter. Perhaps we'll be overrun by possums this summer.

I certainly hope our cleanliness isn't as bad as this pest surplus would seem to indicate...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Gmaps Pedometer

This Gmaps Pedometer is awesome. If you're just trying to measure the length of a route, using Mapquest or whatever can be frustrating, or even impossible if part of the route doesn't use roads. Or if you're trying to map a bike route and Mapquest wants to take you on the interstate. But this pedometer thingamajig makes it as easy as a few double-clicks on a Google map. The satellite imagery allows you to locate routes that aren't on roads. (Thanks to Andrew and David for the tip-off.)

Another great feature is that the pedometer is somehow linked with an elevation database for U.S. maps. It can display a line graph of the elevation along a route, which is really nice for biking, and would be incredibly time-consuming to do by hand. And you can save your routes, so here's a bike ride that I've posted about before with the elevations shown. Pretty cool.

In other news, I relived my Carleton late-night paper writing this past week, staying up past 3 am writing (different) papers two nights in a row. I slept late today, though, so I'm recovered.

I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my MacBook Pro. Perhaps too eagerly, actually -- I sort of feel like I'm waiting for my wife to give birth or something. I've already bought the crib. Anyway, it's supposed to get here on March 21.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I've always liked this song, and it turns out the video is pretty cool too:

LCD Soundsystem - Tribulations

Single-take, far as I can tell.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blizzard, etc.

To recap a few weekend highlights that I didn't get to post before because the pictures were being balky:

When they said we might get a foot of snow Saturday night, I didn't think it would really happen, since it seems like snowfall predictions need to be put through the formula [prediction - hype - cautionary overestimation +/- uncertainty = actual snowfall]. But it was snowing pretty well when I went to bed on Saturday, and it we actually did have about a foot in the morning. Quite a bit for Baltimore. Two views from our front porch:

And the scene out our back door. The chain link fence on the schoolyard behind us was turned almost solid by the heavy, wet snow.

Amidst all this blizzarding, Reed came to visit over the weekend. He was in DC for 5 days or so, and I went down to hang out there on Saturday, and then he came back to Baltimore Saturday night, returning to DC Sunday. It was great to see him, as we seem to have similar taste in conversation. In a surreal twist, we saw Katy Weinberg (from Carleton) at the Smithsonian American History Museum. She was in town helping with a conference, but we took advantage of the weird coincidence to catch up, and Katy tried her best to convince us to accuse her boss of being a Snuffalupagus (don't ask). We also went to the Smithsonian Postal Museum, which was part interesting and part hilarious. Reed is in the middle of more than a month off from work, which makes me rather envious.

Anyway, now we've had a couple days of temps in the 50s, so the snow is on its way out and my internal calendar thinks it's April...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I heard a guy talking down the hall at work today:

"It was one of those trendy restaurants. I didn't know what to think...kinds of salad dressing you'd never heard of before."

Don't let the whims of fashion get in the way of Ranch, French and Creamy Italian.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A good run

An article in the Washington Post sums up Cheney's successful run as vice president:

Despite a string of political embarrassments linked to Cheney, including not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the indictment of the vice president's chief of staff in the CIA leak case and now the shooting...

Well, at least he's gotten the big things right, like energy policy. Oh, wait...

Oh my goodness

After weeks of hand-wringing, I ordered a new notebook this evening (the less expensive of the two, with an additional education discount). It's sort of a scary investment to make while in school, but my computer is showing its four and a half years of age, and not having a notebook has been driving me crazy in recent months. Anyway, I'm mighty excited.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Good Spam

From my inbox:

Former President Bill Klinton uses Voagra!

Everybody knows the great sexual scandal known as "Klinton-Levinsky". After the relations like this Klintons popularity raised a lot! It is a natural phenomenon, because Bill as a real man in order not to shame himself when he was with Monica regularly used Voagra. What happened you see. His political figure became more bright and more attractive. It is very important for a man to be respected as a man!

See our Voagra shop to enter upon the new phase of your life.

I'd probably type better if I could stop laughing. Hilarious on so many levels. It pulled me in with that killer subject line, and it got better from there.

The person who wrote this obviously has limited command of English. It also seems like he (I can't imagine it being a woman) wasn't in the US for the referenced scandal. So it's difficult to figure out if it's supposed to be funny, or if it was just a creative earnest sales pitch. I'd opt the latter, partly because it's funnier that way. But what if spammers started making their messages funny in order to make people read them?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Songs of the Moment (An occasional feature)

> Wolf Parade - Shine a Light [mp3]
> Modest Mouse - Broke
> Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Me and Mia [mp3]
> The Reputation - The Lasting Effects
> Hockey Night - Greet the Dawn [Quicktime video]
> Q And Not U - Book of Flags

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Budget Plan Assumes Much, Demands Little

A refreshingly to-the-point headline from the Washington Post regarding the president's proposed budget. Of course, it's a recurring theme of the entire administration, so it's nice of WaPo to finally pick up on it...

Monday, February 06, 2006


So we had a Super Bowl party Saturday. I'd say about 15 people came over, and it was nice to sit around and chat. In years the Patriots play, I'm able to at least pretend that I care about the outcome of the game, but this year there wasn't even any pretense. No matter, it's worthwhile to see as a cultural event. There was lots of atrocious (from a nutrition standpoint) food, and I noticed a general blech feeling as I was going to bed.

Natalie and her husband Gabe had a very fine party on Saturday evening. (They have three kids, which makes that much more of an achievement.) The Natalie makes excellent sangria, and Gabe has a mighty nice DJ setup that he mixed music on. They live a couple blocks south of here (right about where Sarah seized her bike a while back), and I took pride in predicting with great accuracy how long we had to walk there before the thunderstorm hit.

I'm feeling a bit swamped with work already, which is unfortunate, but not in the same drinking-from-a-fire-hydrant way as last term. I've just got to get to spring break in March, when two of my classes will end, and then I'll be golden.

I've sent in my GAO summer internship application. I really want to get it, but it's very competitive, so I'm preparing some others, too. The Baltimore Mayoral Fellowship is another priority. Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

DC Olympic Committee

The Olympics. Voting rights. Curling. This is brilliant.

You might also want to head over to their website to show your support of a good cause.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


We had the State of the Union on in our living room last night, but we ended up just talking over it most of the time. The SOTU tends to be hard to stomach in the first place, and it was made more difficult by the fact that George Bush was giving it. His speaking style coupled with the dubious content makes it hard to sustain forced credulity. Can't say I paid much more attention to Kaine's Democratic response, though. Except that left eyebrow -- that was gripping. (He'd raise both emphatically, and then the left one would just fail to come down in a timely manner.)

I've now had all my classes except one (Implementation). They seem pretty good on the whole. This term stats is using a textbook scarily titled "Introductory Econometrics" -- it's the first time I've ever read the "What is [field]?" intro that every textbook has with the intent of finding out.

I've got 7 classes, which is a lot, but not so bad once you consider that the two at Public Health will end in March and "Mass Media Writing" is only one credit. That course promises to be pretty awesome, as it is taught by Joe Sterne, who was the editor of the Baltimore Sun editorial page for decades.

The first two days at my State Highway internship went well -- I'm glad to have it, both from an experience and financial perspective. One reason I know that I've chosen the right field is that I'm actually sort of excited to learn the arcane (yet consequential!) details about dusty corners of public policy that this sort of job brings me in contact with. And I know it's bad practice to blog about your job (especially since this blog now shows up when you Google me), but let me add that the calculator on my desk at work calls its "=" key the "Answer Bar," which is just funny enough to make me smile when I look at it.