I try to take pictures looking at changes over time, and realized I’ve got a bunch of them on the website. I added a new category for posts that feature comparisons, and went as far back as 2008 collecting them last night.

Date posted: October 23, 2014 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

I loaded Yosemite onto my work laptop yesterday morning, figuring it would make a great test case for the rest of the machines I run (my home laptop, Jen’s laptop, a workstation under my desk, client machines, etc.) and overall it’s pretty nice. My work laptop is a Retina 13″ with an SSD, so installation took about 10 minutes and everything looks wonderful. It seems to be fast, there’s no performance hit with anything I can see, and all my apps seem to be running just fine (Adobe Creative Cloud, CS6, Office 2011, and a handful of utility apps I depend upon). The real test will be the aforementioned laptops–my home machine is an early 2010 model MacBook Pro which might not like as many of the visual improvements in Yosemite.


If you like data visualization, this book is like drinking from a firehouse.

Amazon delivered my copy of Information is Beautiful this morning, and I can testify, it is, indeed, beautiful. An entire book of charts, graphs, and visuals well-designed and displayed, about a huge range of subjects. Go to the site, absorb some of the work, and buy the book. It’s well worth the money.


Monday night I went out to the garage and started running wire to the ceiling for overhead lighting. Currently it’s a mishmash of plugin fluorescent fixtures scrounged from my old job run off extension cords, and I’ve dreamed of simply having a switch next to the door to light the space since we moved in. I ran wire from the panel to a new switchbox near the door and then started fishing wire up to the ceiling, then stopped because I wanted to make sure I was running the wire correctly. It’s looking like I’m on the right track based on this diagram, so I’ll continue getting things in place in preparation for buying the fixtures and a new breaker.

Date posted: October 22, 2014 | Filed under apple, art/design, geek, projects | Leave a Comment »

After transferring beer the other night, I shifted my gaze to the 4-drawer file cabinet sitting next to my brewing stand. It’s jammed full of files that date back to my house in the city–phone, water, and utility bills I don’t need and will never have to refer to. I loaded up Top Gear USA on my iPad and started sifting through the drawers, making a stack of paper about a foot high, and within an hour I’d winnowed out all of the 620 South Lakewood stuff into two piles: shredding and non-shredding.

I found the final mortgage bill for my rowhome, the details of which still take my breath away: a monthly payment of $515.40 at an APR of 6%. My utility bills averaged about $90 for the month. Why did we move to the suburbs again?

I found an unused registration sticker for Chewbacca. I found a copy of the city-drawn plat for 620 S. Lakewood. I found piles of old illustration mailing lists, including a carefully hand-drawn graph of geographic regions cross-referenced by what postcards they’d been sent and when. I got all of my tax records in order from 1993 until we were married. I found utility bills from 620, some in the name of my old girlfriend.

Then I started shredding in front of the Texans-Steelers game, stopping only when the motor on our little shredder got so hot it refused to run and I’d filled a trash bag full of spidery paper. There’s still about 6″ of phone bills and mortgage statements to go through, as well as some medical bills, and I’m not done culling the drawers. I’ve got a stack of twice-used manila folders to recycle and a pile of rusty paper clips to throw out.

I set aside stack of utility bills for our current house, put them in order, and scanned them into PDFs at work this morning in preparation for the shredder. I’m thinking about entering some of the year-over-year data into Excel to look at trends, now that we’ve been here over ten years: things like our average monthly bill, therms and kWh used, and average monthly temperatures. It would be interesting to see how it graphs out, considering our first couple of bills averaged ~$700/mo. (it’s come down considerably since then).

As I think about it, scanning our old mortgage statements and water bills isn’t a bad idea either, so I’ll probably bring those in tomorrow. (The scanner at work has an auto-feed, which makes life so much easier). As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to organize and scan as much paper in as possible and then shred it. I’d also like to organize an automated download of bank records and mortgage statements, given that our bank only lets us go back a certain number of months.

Date posted: October 21, 2014 | Filed under general, projects | Leave a Comment »

How happy am I that a date I took a pretty blonde on fourteen years ago has turned into a family tradition?

Grand and Finn 1

Guns and Clowns

Jen, Finn and Cathy

Heaven

Race

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under family, finn, photo, travel | Leave a Comment »

I transferred my Session IPA to the secondary fermenter last night, took a gravity reading (4.5% ABV-perfect), and dry-hopped it with twice the recipe’s ingredients: 2 full ounces of Simcoe. I went back and forth on whether I should stick with the kit recipe, which called for one ounce, figuring I’d only had three glasses of it before it was killed on Parade day and I never really got to sample it in detail. But then I said fuck it and dumped the second one in. Let’s see what happens.

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under brewing | Leave a Comment »

Having finally brought wired power to the garage, I thought it would be a good idea to add a battery conditioner to help the Scout make it through the winter. I generally get out and start her up every weekend during the snowy months to keep systems lubed and working (three of the saddest words in the English language are ran when parked) and there have been some days when I’ve needed to pull one of the Hondas up to jump the battery. I found an inexpensive battery conditioner on Amazon and got it a few weeks ago. It’s meant to keep the battery topped off, which is just what I need.

photo

I heard from our friend Mike in Colorado after a long quiet spell, who has been driving his shiny Scout daily after rebuilding it from the ground up. He offered me a spare set of traveltop window seals he’s got sitting in his garage, which is fantastic timing. I’ve been eyeballing my traveltop in the garage, thinking it would be wise to get it back on the truck before things get really cold. It’s got solid side windows but I’ve got a set of sliders from the crappy top I had sitting in the backyard, and the seals they came with are OK but not new. One of my goals before it goes on is to knock down and shoot the rust inside along the bed rails with some Eastwood encapsulator and then cover them with etching primer. It’s in great shape overall but there are a bunch of inexplicable screw holes that need to be welded shut, something I’d like to test out a new welding rig on.

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under friends, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off

pumpkin

This wonderful picture has the honor of being my 4,000th upload to Flickr.

Date posted: October 18, 2014 | Filed under finn, house | 1 Comment »

I shot another video interview this week at work, in less than optimal conditions (about 3 hours of advance notice, overcast weather) and it turned out pretty well. I’m getting the video portion dialed in, having practiced a lot on my own and helping my friend Dave shoot an event last week. The audio is the thing that’s bugging me. I’ve got the subjects miked up correctly, feeding into a high-quality recorder, but the results aren’t what I was expecting.

IMG_5690

The audio I got today was low quality. So bad, in fact, that I was afraid I’d made a technical mistake and was pulling the audio in from the built-in mic on the recorder and not the lav mic on my subject. (In order to boost recording levels on the Zoom H4N, you have to select the input device before changes will stick, and I was afraid I’d switched the inputs). I futzed with the levels in Final Cut Pro but didn’t like the results, and brought the original clip into Audacity to boost the levels, clean the garbage out, and split the signal. Once I’d done that the results were much cleaner and I was ready to sync it to video.

So, I’ve got to run some tests on my recorders to see what the issue is. I have a Roland R-09 as a backup, so I’m going to do a 1-1 comparison on recording levels to see what’s what.

Date posted: October 17, 2014 | Filed under geek, WRI | Leave a Comment »

I got an email a couple of days ago about my Flickr Pro account. It’s time to renew my account, which is fine; I’ve been a member for nine years and I’m very happy overall with Flickr as a service. In years past I’ve been able to renew it with no problem, but 2014 is different. Apparently they’ve gone to some kind of “wallet” construct for their payment services, which means they want to store your payment information (um…OK) and tie it to your account. Mind you, this is a Flickr wallet. Here’s the issue: There’s no way to apply my card to the bill. When I enter my card information (correctly) into the wallet, I get the cryptic message: “There was an error.”

So, tell me what I’m supposed to do, Yahoo. Do I put my credit card in again? (Did that. Twice. Didn’t work).

Do I click on the Order History links? (they don’t do a fucking thing).

Do I go to Yahoo and log in there and attempt to find my billing information and clear it up there? (Ha, that’s a goddamn joke. I can barely find the “Log In” button, let alone any billing information. And when I did find a link to the billing page, after a goddamn Google search, they had all my old invoices but not the new one).

Here are a couple of entry-level, UI 101, common sense suggestions to the wizards at Yahoo:

  • When there’s an error, tell me clearly what the problem is.
  • Don’t fuck with best practices, especially when it comes to important stuff like payments.
  • Give me some information about what I can do to fix it so that I can give you my money.

So I have to call someone and sit on hold and try to clear it up tomorrow. Stupid fucks.

Date posted: October 16, 2014 | Filed under geek | 3 Comments »

Hangover chess

Sunday morning I woke up with a slight hangover to the sound of Finn’s voice. She was asking if we would play chess with her, having set up the board while we were sleeping. We’d had friends over Saturday night for drinks and dinner, with emphasis on drinks, and both Jen and I were feeling the effects in the morning. It was my turn to get up, so I made some coffee, organized the board correctly, and we got to playing. She played four games, trying to make sense of the rules, but quickly got better with each. Later in the day, I started rolling white on the walls in the living room, covering over brown paint that dates back to 2006.

Saturday’s schedule called for a soccer game but it was cancelled due to rain. At the local Marshall’s, we found a raincoat for Jen and I found a down coat for the winter, a new fleece, and a sweater. We used the afternoon to clean up the house and prepare for our guests.


A Conversation with Al Gore

The week at work was very busy, which makes this three-day weekend that much more appreciated. Among other large projects, I found myself about five feet from Al Gore on Wednesday evening, running second camera video for a friend. We launched the US version of the New Climate Economy report on Friday, where I shot stills, and then went across town to attend a lunch seminar on infographics with some very interesting speakers.


The update on my yeast is good. It finally started working on Thursday morning and it’s been burbling ever since. The recipe says it only needs two weeks to be done, but I’ll probably transfer it next week and leave it in the secondary for another two.

Date posted: October 13, 2014 | Filed under brewing, finn, WRI | Leave a Comment »