Good weekend all around. Ellie announced to NA570 this afternoon that her weekend was "fantastic, the year's best" and I'm not ready to make that kind of statement, but it was really good.
That being said, Friday night's CCHA ice hockey game between UM and NMU was not a great starting point. Everyone's favorite goalie (where were the chants of 'Al Montoya!' this week?) let in some softies and the 'Cats rolled 4-1.
After that, though, things were good. Lazy day of haircuts and some browsing and trying like mad to brush Oliver and watching "Dodgeball" on Saturday, followed up by another lazy day of pancakes and bacon and a walk around Hawk Island Park and homemade pesto and "Garden State" and work and picture framing.
Today I had Graduate Student Forum (as I was reminded via email) and some classes, but mostly I've been working and trying to move forward on a couple of projects - GSRA stuff and a website for the Quarterdeck Society here in the NAME department.
posted at 3:03 PM - comments
Friday, January 28, 2005
It is the end of the week and a busy day.
A new restaurant opened before Christmas in the north lobby of 2200 Fuller Court (The Garden Cafe) and I haven't thrown much patronage their way, but this morning I woke up just cah-raving the fruitie goodness of a smoothie, so I was a company man and bought a strawberry-banana breakfast in a cup and headed to school. After class, there was skating at Yost - today skating felt natural and easy and fast and fun - in between classes. One interesting part of being at Yost during the noon hour on game day is that the opponent for that night is usually lingering after their morning skate. Today, my man Nate'sKittyCats from Northern were hanging around. An ominous note from Director of Hockey Operations Michael J. Stephenson may tame the taunting that NMU's skaters have to endure from the crowd, but hopefully the Michigan hockey team will take care of business.
Yesterday I got a picture via email of one of the last boats that I worked on back in the day at MPYD; the 42' patrol boat for Victory Team. Even though I'm excited about the road ahead and wouldn't change things, part of me will certainly always miss the nautical eye candy generated at 47 S Palm.
posted at 2:38 PM - comments
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Presentations were a formality as an undergrad, but I've noticed over the past five months that as a graduate in mixed-background company they are something to sweat. Today's went fine, I suppose, but somehow that professional snap is missing. Put four Webbies behind a dais and you get 'well done, thank you' from the audience. Here, "well, uhhh, okay" is the standard response.
I haven't really gotten on the Firefox soapbox too much, but today I was reminded that it is solid. Remember back in the day when there were HTML tags to make things ? Every web developer hated them, just as we hated frames. Now, though, as it is increasingly hard to stand out and I look back with some nostalgia, it is refreshing (haha, just some browser humor there!) to have a stable platform that remembers from whence it came. Well done Mozilla, thank you.
posted at 5:57 PM - comments
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
My rant for today is with the uneven playing fields that exist everywhere. I'm working on this presentation for my IOE/ME/MFG 583 "Science Base for Reconfigurable Manufacturing" course, with three graduate students and one fifth-year senior. Generally speaking, our levels of engineering competence are fairly similar, but when it comes to preparing a presentation, we're all over the place. One person did their slides in straight black and white, plain white background, and one font size. Another used no background but made up for it with clip art at the rate of 2-3 per page and included entire paragraphs of text. I made a template and used some pictures around straightforward text. Who knows what the fourth person will do? My point is this: if four upper-level engineering students have such different standards, how on earth can NCLB ever hope to bring everybody up to one set of standards? The goal is simply unachievable; Hitler tried it and we all know how that went.
posted at 3:38 PM - comments
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
This has been a week that started productively and kept on rolling. I feel like I'm getting a whole lot done, but part of that is due to the smallness of the tasks at hand. Somehow getting a 90-minute homework completed should hardly count towards having a successful day, but I suppose that if you do a number of things like that it starts to add up.
I shot some hoops yesterday at the gym and wasn't horrified at how bad I've gotten after having not touched a roundball in about 37 months. The rim did seem much farther than it used to be, but I can see myself getting back into that sport. I gather that Ross has inter-section competitions in football, soccer, and basketball, so I'm hoping that the years ahead will be a bit more IM-sports-laden than this year has. Somehow it is just too intimidating to walk into a central campus gym and say "hey pick me for your IM team." Plus, who wants to play games at 11:30 on a Tuesday night?
posted at 1:17 PM - comments
Monday, January 24, 2005
A few more reflections on the car show, now two days out. Ford, I think, may be in big trouble. A huge number of Ford-UAW bags were distributed at the show with the nearly-forgotten slogan "Buy American" emblazoned on them. Ruh-roh. Next, Robin correctly summed up the world of high-perf coupes with her bored pronouncement that "they're all the same." With the exception of the TT and Corvette, virtually every two-door at the show was the same. Finally, a comment on the General. For all the hype, media blitzing, and "commotion," the so-called revolutions of Chevrolet and Pontiac are not too convincing. Chevy's Cobalt is a decent car, but the Pontiac G6 was pure disappointment. Mr. Lutz, if you want to regain market share with new models, they have to be good cars. I continue to be amazed that GM doesn't just break down and import the Adam Opel AG product line, slap some bowties and arrowheads on there, and be done with it.
Monday bloody Monday here, with school and homework and project proposals and blah de blah blah blah. The snow is also melting a little bit, which stinks. I hit the NCRB gym this afternoon (for the first time, gasp/sigh) and played some hoops, which was nice, and that kinda saved my day.
posted at 4:53 PM - comments
Sunday, January 23, 2005
The Great Blizzard of 2005 roared through this weekend, which was fine by me. Friday was as beautiful as a day can be, as is today. In between, almost a foot of snow fell, leaving the world white and bright.
The weekend recap is thus: Friday afternoon business turned to a little house-cleaning ahead of Robin's arrival. Then I was off to a meeting that lasted and lasted, home to eat a slice of pizza, and back on the road again down to IM for substitute duty on the NAME innertube water polo team. Maneuvering competitively in an inner tube is not a life skill I've got down, but I spelled some people who seemed more proficient and that's good. Everybody needs a sidekick, right Snoop? Afterwards, Robin and I had 'computer-fun-time' except that it wasn't much fun as the installation of Windows XP kept crashing. So, we bailed and watched "The Shawshank Redemption" and had root beer floats and kept an eye on the snow fall.
Saturday morning it was up early and into the Jimmy, which I put in 4wd and pointed towards Detroit. It took some doing but we made it to North American International Auto Show without event. Once inside Cobo, we scoped out the trick new rides and the lame-duck other models and the shiny, impossible concepts. Favorites: Saturn Aura, Volvo V50, Cadillac CTS- and STS-V, and, impressively, Subaru Legacy GT wagon. Of all the vehicles at NAIAS, it was the Subaru that we talked about on the way home - the near-flawless interior, the catchy but not overdone exterior styling, the functionality, the realistic price all contributed to a strong impression. After we'd seen the show, the four of us (including Scott, who came down from Auburn Hills in his new wagon) had a late lunch at Greektown Casino and then headed home, where Robin and I got the computer situation taken care of before she headed back to East Lansing.
Sunday (so far) has been mostly about the work, but there should be time for a nice walk in the sunshine-drenched Arb this afternoon.
The big event yesterday was Peter Swift (Managing Director of Intertanko)'s Peachman Lecture on the "Oil Shipping Today." While it sounds like a bit of a dull topic, Mr. Swift raised some very interesting points; why are tanker disasters responded to with hardware-changing legislation while aircraft disasters are responded to with practice-changing suggestion? He spent a fair amount of time discussing the dichotomy between air travel dangers (acceptable even though people die) and oil transport dangers (unacceptable without fatalities), between the amount spent in investigation, recovery, and resolution of the cause (millions for aircraft, billions for tankers), and between media coverage of firey jet crashes (3-5 days) and shipping wrecks (6-9 days). I think shippers make an easier scapegoat: virtually no one relates to ships while a figurative everyone has been aboard a plane, and in this unknowing we have created a gulf between the two means of transportation. The effect of this is measured in dollars - the dollars we're willing to spend to get around. If tanker owners built new ships right now (possibly averting disaster), gas would go up around $0.15/gallon. What would the cost increase in airfare be if all new planes were required? Zoinks. So, shippers have to upgrade hardware while airlines get a memo from the FAA.posted at 1:16 PM - comments
I slipped on the blog yesterday because the day simply got away from me - between working on school work, a presentation for the upcoming ASNE conference, starting to put together bachelor details for a May party, tracking down potential scholarship information, and going to 150 minutes of class my day pretty much disappeared.
Had a rough morning this morning, with snow and ice clogging M-23. Technically, the snow and ice had little to do with it as I sat in traffic for 70 minutes to cover 15 miles and then was peaved to discover that the cause for the delay was rubbernecking at an abandoned ditching that was at least 5 hours old. Drivers seem to have some macabre fascination with things gone badly...personally I'd just as soon drive by and NOT be reminded of the danger of being on the road, but slowing to 4 miles and hour and craning your neck is good too.
posted at 2:18 PM - comments
Monday, January 17, 2005
According to my addition skills, which are pretty decent, it is costing another $100m to get Mssr. Bush back into office. I was thinking all along throughout the campaign that if we just had an autocrat, think of how much we'd save! It also really gets under my skin that the taxpayers (although not the national ones) foot the bill for much of this - and the White House says that they do not. DC police are not, to the best of my knowledge, paid for by Home Depot, Inc.
There's a fine corollary! What in the heck is Home Depot doing donating a quarter of a million dollars to the President? If I shopped at HD much I'd be steamed, because just between you and me I'm guessing that that $250k is going right into the price of 16 (or should we make that 17?) penny nails.
There's a reason that I'm not down at Home Depot that often....I have stuff to do. So do most adults in the nation, unless you have the good fortune to be a DC-area government employee, in which case you can head on down to Home Depot on Thursday because you've GOT THE DAY OFF. CNN said that the pricetag on that portion of the festivities is $66m, which is absolutely outrageous. Plus, how is that not discrimination on the basis of geography? Some HUD worker in Houston ought to sue Uncle Sam and bring this thing to the forefront. Baaaaaaggghhh! I am out.
posted at 1:59 PM - comments
Friday, January 14, 2005
After the much-lamented rain of the past few days, the skiies opened up and it is sunny and snowing ever-so-lightly on this particular Friday...just the way I like it.
In the sleety afternoon yesterday I gave blood at the Washtenaw American Red Cross. They were having a grand opening of the new center, and they invited the day's donors to make their way upstairs (once the pint of O+ is in the bag) and partake. Foremost amongst the attractions was a chocolate fountain. Yip - just hold your fruit, food, or whatever (but not finger or tongue, I was told) right up there under the cascading cocoa and then put the chocolate-covered item in your pie hole. It was, as Jenelle would say, a genius thing.
I was pondering on my way into 'the office' this morning that many - nay, most - of my posts are reflective looks back at things. Where's the foresight, the anticipatory wondering, the crystal-ball-esque predicting of things to come? My internal self-answer was that it's just not worth it. We all know that forecasts are wrong, so why should I stand out there and spit into the wind? Plus, it's easier to reflect and that's more my nature anyway. Nostalgia is simple. Seeing the future, not so much. posted at 1:59 PM - comments
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Zero hour was supposed to be Friday at 12:01 like last year, but waiting that long was going to give me an ulcer, so it was perfectly OK with me when I got home from school and skating and picking up cookies baked by Nancy and sent from Sarasota to find a voice mail from Michele Thompson welcoming me to the MBA program at
After confirming with Michele via telephone where my 'Welcome Binder' should be sent, I did a little dance, made a few phone calls, and headed out to celebrate the way any true Ann Arborian would....thatsrightyouguessedit, Zingerman's Deli. I had j.v.w.'s detroit st bbq, which was not the best sandwich I've had there but was still awesome and a cup of really good tomato soup. Then it was home for the West Wing and more phone calls and that was Wednesday.
Another evening rejuvenated by the Public Broadcasting System. When dinner-making, picture-framing, and picture-hanging had wound down, we found a totally fascinating "American Experience" about the making of the Hoover Dam. Seriously, the networks had "committed" and "nypd: blue" and probably at least one CSI, so the commercial free and interesting programming was perfect. Even Oliver tuned in.
It is raining like a banshee in southeast Michigan this day, which is just killing me. Killing me, like, with an 'ee' instead of an 'i' - keelling me. It shouldn't rain in January, that's what I say.
Article in the Daily today about the chanting at Yost. The man wants the see-ya chant changed or eliminated, and the students want an organized fan group like Maize Rage. I say don't mess with fans like that or you'll wind up with chics on wireless phones and a late-game exodus - just like the Big House.
posted at 3:37 PM - comments
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Beginnings of semesters are a wonderful thing. I'm getting plenty of sleep, staying on top of the tiniest of workloads, and finding time to do lots of random and corolarry things...namely, cruise the internet. My latest find is a site that makes music based on a scale and the digits of pi. pi10k is worth a shot if you have some spare time and are interested in such things.
I know I'm way off the pace lately in terms of social commentary, and I'm not sure why that is. In my BlogThis! browsing this morning I noticed that (among the minority of blogs written in English) the average blogger must post about 2-300 words per entry, much of which can be slopped loosely into the categories called "Randy Moss Mooning Packer Fans" or "US Foriegn Policy." But are so many opinions shaping any other opinions, really? In my experience an unknown independent news outlet (not to be confused with news source) has a pretty low rate of trust and influence. Think back to high school....where'd your gossip come from? Was it the cutest most popular junior girl or was it the sophomore boy across the hall who's locker had pictures of Lamborghinis in it? Maybe he was cognizant and had an interesting opinion, but his sphere of influence was negligible. So it is with bloggers.
One area where a blog can have influence though, is on soft media - pop culture especially. My musings on the appropriateness of having someone with a judicial background as Homeland Security Director (DOH!) have limited effect, but if I come out and announce that Scorcese's The Aviator is a great portrayal of a forgotten and misrepresented pillar of our industrial rise, I think people will lend an ear. Or they'll go see Meet the Fockers like everybody else, it's a total crapshoot.
posted at 1:43 PM - comments
Monday, January 10, 2005
Tonight was my tri-monthly wondering of the fancier side of websites and blogs, and I came away with an idea: BrownCow swag, powered by the good folks over at cafepress.com. Fuh-ascinating! Imagine wearing an authentic browncow t-shirt or trekking to the 'brary with your "i browncow, therefore i am" messenger bag, or sending out holiday cards on custom greeting cards! My goodness, the mind races, it really does.
posted at 9:03 PM - comments
The weekend wound down with a day of fairly dry reading. I consider myself a relatively speedy reader, especially given the right atmosphere. Yesterday, though, with wee Oliver setting the pace by sleeping all afternoon and 60-some pages of technical blurbage regarding "concurrent engineering" set before me, I hardly broke any records. It was one of those "job will swell to match the time available" scenarios. Afterwards, with meatloaf and potatos and broccoli in our bellies Jenelle and I spread out London stuff on the floor and relived that experience in the name of choosing some black and white photos for her new frames.
posted at 1:36 PM - comments
Saturday, January 08, 2005
A-town has been pretty subdued this week, and I think part of that had to do with the letdown in Pasadena, CA. But, around 7,000 maize and blue faithful got together last night at Yost Ice Arena and remembered that life is pretty good....it's hockey season. The band played "The Victors" and the students chanted vulgarities, and it was fun. Western was in town and we spotted them a couple of soft goals but prevailed 6-4, which was good for my spirits if nobody else.
posted at 2:48 PM - comments
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Yesterday I had some giant beef with the world, but in my eagerness to get away from the flourescent lights in 137 I forgot to blog it. Now I can't even remember what it was and that is telling.
Today I visited a doctor to try and clear up some stuff. I hadn't been to a doctor since my pre-Webb physical in the spring of 1998. A millenium ago, I know. Not much has changed; I got some decent advice but not much action. For now I'm just going to continue to help the Walgreens buy new yachts, so I suppose what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
It's minorly wintry here, which is creating quite the stir. Michigan's Lower Peninsulans are certainly plowing and shoveling fanatics - at no point during the night was the Huron Towers development without snow removal noise of some kind.
posted at 11:28 AM - comments
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Back at school on this the final day of the college football season, with some work to be done but mostly some organizing and the like to take care of. Felt a little odd to be back at Huron Towers after over 10 days away...I felt basically the same driving up this morning as I did so many months ago pulling in after the long haul from Sarasota. Not a whole lot to report, really, so I suppose this will be one of the few times when brevity carries the day.
posted at 2:29 PM - comments
Monday, January 03, 2005
You could call it the winter of my discontent....it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. A really, really, fun New Year's to kick off ought-five with a pretty sizable Webb contingent. But then, on New Year's Day, the Rose Bowl.
Constable put on his "hook 'em Horns" shirt and I donned my season ticket shirt, and we watched the shootout unfold. I was pretty pleased with things, except that Lloyd Carr still hasn't adopted my mantra: GIVE MIKE HART THE BALL!
So, by passing on a short-yardage near guaranteed running conversion and then not managing the clock at the end (has 'icing' a kicker ever worked?) the Blue managed to let a Rose Bowl victory elude them. But my hunch is that we may be going again soon with Henne and Hart and Breaston and Co.
A long drive home with news abundant about happenings in far away places. This part should really be at the top of the post, but it is so surreal that I really don't think I (or anybody else I know) have my head around it.