Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Planted some tomatoes

Welp, we planted 3 tomato plants today, 2 Romas and 1 Cherry tomato. Hopefully we'll have better luck than last year.

Two years ago we had an excellent results with only 2 plants. We really had more tomatoes than we could eat.

Last year results weren't so good though. I think the heat was too much for them. We had planted them in pots like the year before, but they just didn't produce much at all. I think the combination of the pots and the heat kept the roots too warm for proper growth.

This year, we planted 2 plants in the ground and 1 in a pot, and placed them in different places (hot evening sun, a cooler area, and an in between area). I dosed them up with Miracle Grow, so we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pointless post

I don't really have much to say today, but I'm seeing too many political advertisements pop up on the blog, so I've got to post something completely irrelevant to get them to go away.

I was in the great city of Atlanta most of last week, and helped my brother move into his new house over the weekend, but the real point of this pointless post is to see if you've ever seen a dancing walrus or seen a cat play something called a theramin?

Now get back to your meetings!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More Marcus Aurelius

I was reading on Derek Sivers Blog (founder of something about span of control and your span of influence, and that we basically shouldn't worry about things we have no influence over.

The quotes below from Marcus Aurelius remind me of that observation:

8.4 You can hold your breath until you turn blue, but they’ll still go on doing it.

7.71 It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.

-from Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations", Gregory Hayes' translation. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emporer from 161-180 A.D. Read more from Wikipedia.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New paintings

Sorry for not posting much over the past couple weeks. I've been traveling around and haven't had the opportunity. A couple of new paintings purchased from ebay had arrived in the mail while I was gone. I really like them and wanted to share the images.

The first is "The Tulip Fairy" by Sarah Kinan

The second is "Harp and Birds" by Sam Richard

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Over time, I've read far too many stories like this about a mistaken police raid gone bad. When somebody busts down your front door down without warning, often in the middle of the night, you shouldn't be put in the position of responding rationally and timidly. There's gotta be a better way because it puts alot of people, both police and citizens in high risk situations, and as Malcolm Gladwell points out in "Blink" - forces us to make split second reactions.

I've had my home alarm go off in the middle of the night more than once and let's just say I wasn't thinking clearly either time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Eight Queens

I got sidetracked today when I came upon this game called "The Eight Queens" on Yahoo Games today. The idea is simple. Find a placement for Eight Queens on a chessboard so that none of the eight queens can attack each other.

The solution was a little tough for me. I couldn't keep all the placements straight in my head. If you're having trouble with placements and have Microsoft Excel, I put together a file that may help you find the solution. This is a problem that for me was much easier to crack once I had the right tool to help me visualize the board. Try it a few times to see if you can find the answer without the spreadsheet, but if you need help, click here for the EightQueens.xls file.

Odd Dream

The immigration post below reminded me of a dream I had this morning - one of those early morning convoluted dreams that become very verbal as more parts of your brain start to wake up. I actually awakened after dreaming this as it's somewhat shocking to learn what parts of your mind are thinking on their own when your conscious, singular "mind" isn't in command.

Anyhow, the statement in the dream that woke me up was part of a conversation that went approximately like this:

"You can get upset about illegal immigration all you want, but people are still going to eat at Mexican restaurants."

I woke up with a little smile on my face, because I eat at Mexican restaurants in town regularly, and I've found myself sometimes wondering how many of the mostly spanish-speaking staff are here legally. To make a big deal out of it seems hypocritical because in the end there's no doubt I'm going to keep going back for the Spicy Beef Burrito or the Fajitas Jalisco.


Here's an interesting article regarding the difficulties and dangers long time legal immigrants may face when applying for citizenship.

From the article:

Dr. Pedro Servano always believed that his journey from his native Philippines to the life of a community doctor in Pennsylvania would lead to American citizenship.

But the doctor, who has tended to patients here in the Susquehanna Valley for more than a decade, is instead battling a deportation order along with his wife.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Look at this close-up of the Mars moon Phobos.

Long Term market returns

I got an email from AAII today detailing the long term performance of the market vs. bonds over the past 10 years. If the link is accessible the full info is here:

10 year returns (I assume these are annualized returns over past 10 yrs, but not sure. Also not sure of how benchmarks are defined.)

Large cap stocks 3.43%
Mid Cap stocks 8.48%
Small Cap stocks 5.70%
International stocks 5.60%
Emerging Markets 13.06%

Intermediate Bonds 6.67%
Short Term Bonds 5.70%

It's very interesting to me that bonds have performed comparably to most equity classes over the past 10 years.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I've been looking at getting me a looper to mess around with a bit as I'm writing songs, and I went to YouTube to see what some guys were doing with a few of the loopers on the market.

Here's what one fellow named ricoloop did with the Boss RC-20. Give it time. He builds a whole song over the course of the video.

This one was good too. I like the hollow-body tone

Saturday, April 5, 2008 is a very cool website that presents you with historical stock charts and lets you pick which way the stock should move based purely on price and volume data.

Once you start, it's hard to stop.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring weeds

Well. The lawn was growing like a weed, or maybe more appropriately the weeds were growing where my lawn should be. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to yard work as readers will remember.

The first mowing of the year comes with a bit of suspense because of the silent collusion regarding early-season-lawn-care that everyone on the street takes part in. Nobody likes to mow, and there's really no peer pressure unless somebody else has already mowed. So you never want to be that first mower. The longer everybody puts off that first cutting - the better. Heck, with enough spine we could all probably get used to living in hay fields.

I've been proud of my street so far this spring. No "early mowers" to speak of. Live and let live I say. I'm actually a bit ashamed to say that I was one of the first mowers on the street this year. I feel like I need to apologize to my neighbors who were doing so good - but I had a serious case of shaggy weed going on in the front yard. Unfortunately I've probably set a chain of unfortunate events into motion. I can almost hear engines small engines whirring.

Todays mowing nearly didn't happen though. I got home from work around 6:30 and went out to get the push-mower ready. I had to clean the air filter (I use the mower to mulch leaves in the fall, and the air filter is always clogged at spring), and I rotated out the spark plug - which seems to help the thing start each spring. Put some gas in the tank. I was ready to go.

I pulled and pulled on the starter rope. Pump a little gas in there. Keep pulling.... OK 3 minutes of pulling the starter rope is enough. Take a break. Let it set. Stupid mower. Sometimes letting it sit a few minutes helps. Get some Diet Dew. Go back out. Pull for another minute. Still nothing. Wait a minute? Did I put the spark plug wire back on?

So I pop the spark plug wire on and pull again. By now the wife is watching me flail around trying to get the thing going. Pump a little bit of gas in. Pull again. Bingo! With a puff a black smoke we're off to the races.

The sun is going down before I can get done, but there's still a sense of accomplishment. Because after you've mowed, most people will confuse your mangy yard of weeds with a smooth green lawn. Especially your slacker neighbors who haven't mowed yet.

Here's my wife's take on it.