Saturday, September 22, 2007

Give me a break people

This is really getting ridiculous. You remember the story in Boston where there were a bunch of lighted signs put up as an advertisement, and everyone thought they were bombs planted by terrorists? Yeah.
Here's a new one... from the same city.
This EE student, obviously afflicted only by bad taste in fashion, made a lighted design with LEDs and taped it to her sweatshirt. See below for the picture.

Now, maybe her only mistake was walking into an airport with this, but please people. I have probably 20 breadboards like this covered in much more bomblike circuitry. Am I going to be arrested now for being in possession of a "hoax device"? Everyone says that people need to be more aware, we all need to help look out for terrorists. Fine. How about people also need to be educated on the basics of what terrorist activities really look like?

Here are a few starters:
1) The circuitry involved to make a real bomb that runs on a 9 volt battery will be MUCH more complex than the one pictured above.
2) Terrorists don't scotch tape their bombs on the outside of their clothing.
3) There are a lot of gift shops in the Boston airport that sell cheesy light-up clothing that is scarier than her sweatshirt.

I would put these up on a readerboard somewhere for the general public to see, but I don't want to get arrested for planting a lighted bomb. Oh the irony!

-The Krunchy Krab

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My inspiration came from within...

About a year ago, I bought Family Tree Maker at Half Price Books, and it included a free year of - which is a great value. So, I used it a bit back then, but then got lazy and lost track of it. Then suddenly a few weeks ago, a large debit to appeared on our bank statement... ah yes, I see I now have another year of it.

So I've started my research again, with the gusto that can only accompany a pocketbook that has been emptied. (Translation: I'm getting my money's worth this year!)

I noticed kind of a cool tool built in - when you're viewing the profile of any person in your tree, you can have Ancestry search for famous people related to that person. I was viewing my grandmother's page at the time, so I clicked on it, and got about 50 results. Almost all are relationships like "17th cousin 12 times removed" or other such distant relationships.
There are several famous poets, some presidents and some president's wives, among others.

But one caught my attention. It is a direct link - and Ancestry tells you the authenticity of each link in the chain - only 1 link in this chain has less than 5 out of 5 stars. Do with that what you will.

Anyway, apparently I am a direct descendant of Geoffrey Chaucer. He is my 20th Great Grandfather. I myself had already researched and built my tree back to the third generation below him. Ancestry linked the last three generations. See below for the lineage:

18th Great Grandfather of Shirley Marie Russell

Geoffrey Chaucer(1343-1400)
Alice Chaucer(1369-)(5 stars)
John Manning(1402-1436)(5 stars)
Hugh Manning(1432-1502)(4 stars) (This is the earliest person I had in my tree)
John Manning(1481-1542)(5 stars)
Henry Manning(1501-1583)(5 stars)
Henry Manning(1560-1614)(5 stars)
William Manning(1589-1666)(5 stars)
John Manning(1614-1688)(5 stars)
Jeffrey Manning(1640-1693)(5 stars)
Mary Manning(1663-1692)(5 stars)
Elizabeth Hull(1679-1733)(5 stars)
John Doty(1709-1757)(5 stars)
Samuel Doty(1733-1817)(5 stars)
Anna Doty(1765-1830)(5 stars)
Jonathan Parker(1781-1847)(5 stars)
Anna Parker(1803-1888)(5 stars)
John Albert Allison(1829-1885)(5 stars)
Mary Etts Allison(1874-1936)(5 stars)
Gladys Watchous(1901-1938)(5 stars)
Shirley Marie Russell(1925-)(5 stars)
My Father(1945-)(5 stars)
Me(1978-)(5 stars)

Back in high school, a project in our AP Honors English class was to write our own comtemporary version of The Canterbury Tales. I still have my copy somewhere - I need to look for that. Now I know how I got that A - it was my destiny to write that paper!

-The Krunchy Krab

What Time is it?

As is our usual custom to let our daughter think it's her idea to go to bed, tonight I asked her, "Do you know what time it is?"

She promptly replied:

"It's xylophone time!"

And then she sat down in front of her xylophone and began playing.

-The Krunchy Krab

Monday, September 17, 2007

Growing up

I have become increasingly aware that I am entering a new phase of my life. Both of you who are reading this are thinking, "Duh!" Yes, I know. Three years ago I was in grad school, with no children, and I didn't own a power lawn mower OR a radial arm saw. I also had more hair. Everybody Loves Raymond was still producing new episodes, and everybody knew that John Kerry had multiple Purple Hearts.

2004 was designated the International Year of Rice (by the UN), and Howard Dean let out the scream heard 'round the world. The Patriots were still winning the Superbowl on a regular basis, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won 11 Academy Awards.

The Abu Ghraib scandal was just being exposed, and Oldsmobile was producing "The Last 500" cars of its existence. The pickled heart of Louis XVII had not yet been buried, and the Pistons beat the Lakers 4-1. SpaceShipOne achieves orbit, and Saddam Hussein's trial began. Lance Armstrong won his 6th Consecutive Tour de France, and "Rathergate" enters common usage.

Martha Stewart went to jail, and the Curse of the Bambino is broken. Colin Powell was out, Condoleezza Rice was in. Three years ago, the name Ron Artest had much different connotations. It was snowing in Southern Texas, and tsunamis were crashing into southeast Asia. Three years ago, Julia Child was still alive, as was Christopher Reeve.

Ok, so there was a trip down memory lane, but that has nothing to do with me. Well, I guess as I approach my first 29th birthday, I'm just realizing that I now get more excited about a sale on diapers and grapes than a sale on the newest technology device.

Ok, I'm rambling and not making a point. I guess I've also lost my mind in my old age.

-The Krunchy Krab

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The easiest transition ever

This is a big weekend for my daughter. This is the weekend when she gets to sleep in a "big girl bed" Ok, it's not a completely different bed, I just took the front rail off her crib so it's like a daybed. I wanted to do it on a weekend to take the pressure off my wife, because that way I would be here at bed/naptime to help.
So, when she woke up from her nap yesterday (Friday) I removed the rail. As soon as she found it, she started using the newly accessible bed as a play table, all her toys were soon on the bed. I was convinced that as soon as we put her down and shut the door, she would just get up and play on the bed again. Boy was I wrong.
My wife completed the bedtime routine, said goodnight, and walked out the door.

Not a peep.

1 hour later...

Not a peep. We go in to make sure everything's ok. Sound asleep.

The nice thing is, now we don't have to go in there during the night when she drops something on the floor and wants it back.

Of course, we were both interested to see what would happen this morning... figuring she'd either sneak out of her room when she woke up and terrorize the house, or she come flying into our room, jumping on our faces to wake us up.

Wrong again. She stood at her door and gently knocked to be let out. She didn't yell, didn't pound on the door. Just went tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

Now if potty training could only be this painless...

-The Krunchy Krab

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's all over :(

Well, that's it. The powers that be in my fantasy baseball league decided that the best tiebreaker to get into the playoffs would be points for, instead of division record. Thus, my final standing is this:

My team is the third line down in the top section... slightly highlighted in yellow. My record was 11-12.

So, since only the top two teams go to the playoffs, my season is finished. Rats. I had just beat the team directly ahead of me this last week, thereby establishing my dominance over him forever. It turned out to all be for naught.

-The Krunchy Krab

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do I have to have a title?

A lot of photography books will tell you to adjust your aperture so your depth of field keeps all the flowers in focus. I really prefer it this way - the few that are at the focal length really "pop" while the rest are more soft and muted in the background.
Yesterday's picture was taken with my old point and shoot Nikon Coolpix 885. Today's photo was taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XT.
These flowers were in the backyard of one of my wife's former co-workers, who had us over for dinner just before they moved out of the house they'd lived in for something like 40 years. They had a cool house, full of vintage decorations. Anyway, this was in their backyard - the photo was taken one of the last times I was there.
-The Krunchy Krab

Monday, September 10, 2007

Photography and Me

I aspire to be a good photographer someday - I think I've got a knack for composing shots. Without a lot of training in the mechanics (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc) a lot of my pictures leave something to be desired, but I do have a sizable collection now that I'm fairly proud of.

Someday, I'd love to set up a site like this, but not having the time right now to take my camera with me everyday, I'll have to settle for posting some of my favorite shots from the past. I tend to pick some abnormal subjects - things most people wouldn't think of shooting. Anyway, here goes:

This shot was taken several years ago now, from the window of our (cheap) hotel in Vienna. I was a graduate student at the UW, and had been invited to lecture at the 2004 Eurosensors conference. How can you pass up a free trip to Europe? We quickly bought a ticket for my wife and went. As crummy as this hotel was (half the time we had to walk up the stairs, because the elevator didn't operate if someone didn't latch the door properly upstairs) I'll always have fond memories of my time there. Vienna was a beautiful city to explore, I hope to return someday.

-The Krunchy Krab

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm ... semi famous

Click here to see a great video

Yep, that's me in the black fleece vest.

So the story goes like this:

A guy named Jubal, who is a producer for the Jackie and Bender morning show on KISS 106.1, made an announcement that "Justin" would be performing live, for free, at Gasworks park this thursday morning. Since Justin Timberlake is coming to the area very soon, everyone assumed he meant him, but he really meant a guy named Justin who also works for the radio station.
The hoax stayed active for several days, people took time off work, made travel plans, etc, to come see the free Justin Timberlake concert. Then everyone found out the truth, and the radio station suspended Jubal for an unknown number of days.
However, the show must go on, so for the next few days, they tried to get the word out that the concert would still happen, but would NOT be Justin Timberlake. Angry callers flooded the studio, "I took the day off work!... My mom called in sick!... That's just mean, ohmigosh I mean, like, really really mean, like you know what I mean?"
I work about 100 yards from Gasworks, so I was actually worried that parking might be an issue, assuming that either a lot of people didn't get word that it was a fake concert, or a lot of people showed up because it was a novelty. There were plenty of spaces.
So, around 8:50, I get up from my desk, and say to our intern "Want to go to a free concert?" "Sure!" We headed down the stairs to Gasworks.

When we arrived, it appeared that a small crowd had formed, but it quickly became apparent that everyone that was there besides us worked for KISS. We were the only people who showed up at 9:00.

Two guys were singing on a single speaker PA system. They ended up singing about 5 songs, and Jackie and Bender joined us live during their show several times.

About 9:20AM, the Red Bull folks showed up. By that time we had attracted a crowd of about 6 people. Everyone got free Red Bull!

Everyone except us left, and then these two people came. They took the day off and drove up from Tacoma. From what we could tell, everyone who came besides us thought Justin Timberlake was supposed to be there. A group of 4 high school aged girls came, very obviously dressed for a big concert... and looked totally disgusted with what they found.

In the end, we all had a good time, and I got to get out of my cubicle for awhile. Yes, my eyes are closed. When I get a copy of the picture taken with our intern's camera, I'll post that. My eyes were open in that one.

-The Krunchy Krab

Monday, September 03, 2007

Just what you want to hear

I was at a get-together yesterday with some friends from highschool. When I called home to see how things were going there (our daughter has been especially 2 lately) I heard her run up to my wife in the background: "Mommy mommy! Elise wants to play with knives!"

It was a tad worrisome...