Sunday, January 28, 2007

You're So Vain

My rig for the Second Annual Fancy Dress Party at John and Jodi's. New vest, and the purple bow tie from Ryan & Bethany's wedding. Tying it took me 20 minutes. But damn I make it look good.

Also, go see Pete's work at The Diaper Muse.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Under the Black Flag

Last week, Sarah made me extremely jealous at work when she announced that she would be starting a new project. Doing analyzes of pirate attacks. Honestly, I would plunder and kill for this job (like a pirate, one might say). But now, everything is fine. I was lucky enough to get some great birthday presents, which included pirate bath sailboat, and the Jolly Roger shower curtain seen on the left. Sure, it might be like showering in a Hefty Bag; I don't care. It is awesome.

I also got a book (Collected Writings of Thoreau), a new PSP game (Twisted Metal) and bunch of t-shirts. One of the shirts deserves further explanation. Ryan likes to doff his pants around the house; this has been going on for years. I have a "Pro-Pants Policy" in effect. He has countered with an "Anti-Pants Agenda." So now, thanks to Ryan and Bethany, we have shirts to clarify the situation.

I also took a quick photo of the kick-ass insulated blackout blinds Mom made for Christmas. The windows in my bedroom are not well insulated, lights often wake me up or keep me awake at night, and the room could use some color. So Mom took the situation in hand, and consulted her Art History texts to find examples of one my favorite artists, Piet Mondrian. Resulting in a colorful and classy addition to my decor.

I don't have any pictures to share, but I went out to Taqueria Poblano for a birthday dinner yesterday with Steph & Aaron, Jane & Ian, and Dave & Sadie. It was a great time. We had a long wait at the bar while a big enough table opened up, but that just gave us a chance to catch up. Dinner was great, as always. Then we went to St. Elmo's down the street for cake and coffee. I had a piece of Triple Chocolate cake - I highly recommend it.

There was live music, a band made of teachers called Jumping for Strangers. Pretty good. While we were eating, Steph went up to talk to the band, but I didn't pay much mind. Then, as we were leaving, the band said "Wait! Is the birthday guy leaving?" Then they played Happy Birthday to me, with scattered participation from the crowd. It was fun.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Conspicuous Consumption

I caved in to my appetites this past weekend and bought myself a new tv. It is obscene. Soon, I'll have the HD channels turned on. I already have the DVD and the computer running through it. The picture on the right? It looks life size to me as I write this. Well, not really.

To buy such an unnecessary luxury item, you have got to be working, you dig? Dollar dollar bill, you all. Actually, the big meeting I mentioned before went off really well on Wednesday. The higher-ups seemed satisfied, though I foresee trouble in the future. These are only going to get harder, and we've already got some people picking up some bad habits.

Turning aside from work and play, I was reading some ancient Roman proverbs the other day. I'm not one to believe that ancient texts are superior or "the old books are the best books," but I do believe that every book has at least some value. So it's best to be familiar with all books, not just the ones that are on the NYT Bestseller List right now. And I came across one that I particularly liked. "Cacoethes scribendi." It is by Juvenal, and means "the bad habit of writing." Consider that there was a time when getting me to write was like pulling teeth. I have not learned to be a good writer, but I have learned to enjoy it. And to make it a habit. I ascribe this change to my 4th & 5th grade teacher Mrs. Pierce. She made us all write in journals every day, and she would read them over the weekend and give us feedback. She was very encouraging, no matter what I wrote. I often think of her when I write for myself, and the quote brought still more memories of her and what she taught me. So, I say, take Mrs. Pierce's advice, and write something every day. It will make your brain bigger, and other good things.

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Friday, January 19, 2007


After months of working on a new project, I had my first real event on Wednesday. My job in this project is to set up and guide periodic reviews of a 3D ship design. The models are provided by the shipyards to the Navy, and it is my responsibility to make sure that all of the Navy's technical experts are reviewing these models, making comments, and engaging in productive dialog with the yards. That is my primary duty - there are additional elements, like maintaining the design review schedule, liaising with between my counterparts at the yard and the Navy's design managers regarding any non-technical issues, and to some degree supervising my 3 counterparts, since I am the senior engineer in the group.

We haven't been very busy since we started late last fall, since the design reviews hadn't started yet. But my first set are next week, so this week was the start of the actual review process. It has been somewhat challenging. The process is distributed, with reviewers all over the country accessing the models and logging their comments. And many of the more senior engineers are simply not familiar with working with virtual, 3D ship designs. They have been using paper 2D plans for decades, and the change has been difficult. So I am now actually busy, fielding calls from all over, walking engineers through file trees, software functionality, and online file portals. Not really my area of expertise, but I know it well enough to get the job done. I also get to log my own technical issues, so some of the time I actually get to be an engineer, instead of IT and secretarial support. So that is a welcome change from the recent slow months.

Unfortunately, the reawakening of my enjoyment of engineering came a little too late; I missed the deadlines for taking the Ship Design Professional Engineering Exam. I've put reminders on my calendar so I don't miss it again next year. Along with the review course, it will make me a better engineer; arguably, a decent one. It also sets me up for a pay bump.

For humor: Beware the Milky Pirate (via enjanerd).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I made homemade pizza for the first time last night. Well, partially homemade. I've never made my own dough before, and it turned out pretty well, I think. Thanks to Sarah for the recipe.

Jane & Ian, Steph & Aaron, and Sarah were all able to come over for dinner; Paul wasn't able to make it, unfortunately, since he is on travel. Everyone said they liked the pizza, and I think they all had a good time. I don't think I'm a particularly good host, though - I always feel like I'm trying too hard, instead of just relaxing. Forcing it, for lack of a better term. And I'm never quite convinced that my guests are enjoying themselves as much as I hoped. But I'm glad they all came by. Maybe my next focus in Dan's Personal Growth Program will be to have people over more often. That, or learning to like cheese. Either would be good.

In other news, my covetous ways continue. I forgot to mention the other day that I also am thinking about buying an external hard drive and a kayak. Maybe the smart move would be to buy lotto tickets, and hope they pay off so I can buy all this other crap.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I'm debating a number of purchases right now. As often happens when I consider luxury goods, I'm weighing the comfort and entertainment these purchases would provide against the wisdom of saving and planning for a fiscally responsible future. In the past, I think I've been a very bad judge of what will eventually be worth the price. I know I don't need any of these things, and I don't trust my own judgment regarding the cost/benefit analysis. I'm going to try to steal a page from The Wisdom of Crowds and The Tipping Point and see what other folks think.

Westinghouse LVM-47w1 or Vizio GV47LF

Sealy Baltico Firm Full Size Mattress

Blackburn Fluid Trainer (or something similar)

I also need to get new oil and a filters in Stella, and new brake pads by the sound of it. I might try to do the pads for myself, which I've never done before. Maybe I should get a second opinion on that, too. And I still need to get Ryan his Christmas gift - I screwed up the original order back in early December.

And now, thanks to Aaron, I have a deep-rooted desire for an Xbox for playing Halo 2, even though I spent the better part of 6 hours on Sunday getting shot and run over. He snuck up and ran me over with a jet. I clearly need to get my own console and copy of the game, so I won't have to be so embarrassingly bad at it anymore.