Friday, March 26, 2010

Web Stuff Friday: Publishing Ponies

The Future of Publishing video is clever. You have to watch it to the end (at least a bit over halfway) to really get the cleverness of it.

Singing Ponies is fun. Reminds me of one of Boy/Girl Kid's Reader Rabbit games.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Quick Push-up Update

I have heard that after reading this post, a couple friends of mine are trying the 100 push-up thing. As I have documented a couple times (including this post), push-ups are great for you.

Try the Push-up Challenge to see how you can do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Memory of My Dad-in-Law

Mrs. Kid's father passed away last week, so we had a memorial service today. Here is a copy of what I read on behalf of the children (Mrs. Kid, her sister, and brother-in-law).

Scotty was the cool one.

In our family, Scotty stood out not just because of his Scottish accent, but also because he made a living with his hands and his wits. The rest of us are over-educated academics who get to work jobs with air conditioning and soft chairs. Scotty stopped school at age 15, but managed feats many of us can only aspire to. He started and sold a company and helped put two girls through college.

Through the course of his diverse work history, Scotty was:
  • in the British Navy and the US Army (82nd Airborne)
  • a postal worker (where he met Mary)
  • a manager for an apartment building and for a bike shop
  • a salesman and a licensed hypnotist
  • an entrepreneur who started and sold a company that fixed the damaged tile roof of a tunnel near Norfolk
He was also a handy man who made toy boxes we still use and built a screened in porch that provided many hours of enjoyment. It always seemed to me that he knew how to do anything with his hands.

About the same number of people know and use Scotty's real name as know and use the real names of Sting and Bono. Only his siblings back in the old country called him Freddy.

Scotty was ornery from the beginning. He weighed just over two pounds when he was born at his home on a farm in Scotland in 1935, but still survived to be a strapping man. It still amazes me that such a small baby back then in Scotland could make it. The determination that made that possible showed up many ways through his life.

When he was in the hospital for congestive heart failure in 2001, the single nicotine patch the nurses put on his arm wasn't enough, so he hid two or three more on his inner thighs. Not only that, but he would constantly try to get outside so he could have a smoke. To keep him from getting outside for a smoke, the nurses posted pictures of him at the nurses' station saying "do not let this man on the elevator." It was like a wanted poster at a post office.

Scotty lived life on his own terms. He was fond of sailing his radio-controlled yacht at the marina, and he also had a real sailboat and a kayak. Still, he was no granola-eating outdoorsman. He was fond of Glayva (a Scottish liqueur), but Mountain Dew was his drink of choice (he'd even let Boy Kid sneak a sip). When he was being good, he switched from regular Spam to Spam Lite. His wasn't the healthiest lifestyle, but he kept living it his way nearly to the end.

As a father, Scotty was the cool one. When I was in college and it was finals time, my parents would send me a big tin full of popcorn (which was much-appreciated). When Mrs. Kid was in college, Scotty would drive down with a couple cases of beer and have a party with her and her friends. Her college friends all knew Scotty and would ask "when is your father coming back?"

This coolness was great for Mrs. Kid when she was in college, but leaving him in charge of the kids was a little scary. I was always a bit worried that he'd let them drink Mountain Dew and skip their naps. Still, he loved his grandkids and they loved him. He always had such energy and passion for them.

Scotty was great. Our family is much less cool without him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Music Monday: What Is That From? Volume 2

My new favorite thing to do with my Moto Droid phone (of which Mrs. Kid is getting jealous) is to keep it nearby while watching TV so that when I hear a commercial with music I like, I use the Shazam app to identify the song. This often leads me to discover music by artists I have not heard of.

The Hours: Ali in the Jungle
This song makes me smile. The only tough part is that the version on the album has a couple F-bombs, so I can't listen to it with the kids around. Honestly, I like the version with "damn" in place of each F-bomb because the sound of it works better with the preceding lyrics. Anyway, I like The Hours, but this song has a particularly strong ability to stick in my mind.

Bajofondo: Pa' Ballar
After getting the album with this song on Mrs. Kid's iPod Shuffle, I went for a run. Much of the album was great running music -- I felt like I could run forever.

And here is a song by an artist I know, but enjoy listening to any time:

Lou Reed: Perfect Day
This is really bad running music, but great anyway. This is the type of stuff I want to crank up nice and loud while sipping a nice glass of red zinfandel. Lou's voice with the piano and strings behind it just beg to fill a room.

If you can identify the products for which these songs are being used, then post it in the comments. First person to do it successfully gets to pick the next set of songs.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Friday-Monday Mash-up: Some Music Blogs

So, Friday is supposed to be the day for Web Stuff and Monday is for Music, so here is a day devoted to some Web sites devoted to music.

My musical self is like a shark. If it doesn't keep moving forward, I feel like it dies a little. These sites help me move forward musically.

Useful Noise is a blog about music of the aughts. I know the music isn't actually new, but much of it is new to me, so it counts.

Chris Hanaka has a blog that regularly opens my ears to great music. Tons of embedded songs, so I spend most of my time on the site actually listening to music--not reading about it.

Music Uncovered and Covered is basically a sub-site by Hanaka that focuses on song covers. I love covers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Funny Combine Clip: Rich Eisen's 40

I watch the NFL Combine. I know it's stupid, but I like it anyway. Here is the funniest sports clip I have seen in ages.

Rich Eisen runs the 40-yard dash at every combine. When you watch this video, it starts off slow, but once he runs the 40, the fun really starts. Watching him "race against" the future NFL players is the best part.

Why do I find this so funny? Probably because Rich is just a few years younger than I and seeing this normal (but remarkably fit) guy get crushed by such sublime athletes invokes great empathy. There is no way I could run a 40 in under about 8 seconds, but I find the videos of him "racing" the athletes quite amusing. Wearing a suit is a really good touch. If he were in Under Armor performance clothes, it would be kinda pathetic. Instead, with him in a suit and tie, it is hilarious (and impressive).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the Mind of an Engineer

T. Brian Jones has written some interesting stuff. For instance, check out:
I agree with him on most of this. In some ways, I behave like a quasi-engineer, but not entirely. Still, I have known several engineers in my day and many of his observations seem pretty spot on.

Another Jones article, Meetings & Multitasking Can Kill You And Your Kids, has some interesting ideas. In it, Jones includes a couple interesting links.
Finally, here is a bit of fun from Silvergames. Multitask is a Game that tests your ability to multitask. I scored a 22, then a 46, and need to see how far I can get.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Music Monday: A Few Hatchet Jobs

Back in the olden days of radio, some songs were shortened for radio play. Every once in a while, the edit was minor, but often, the result was a hatchet job that frustrated me. Here are a few examples.

Edgar Winter Group: Frankenstein
When this rock instrumental was released as a single, the record company hacked it back to a paltry 4 minutes. This radio version pales in comparison to the full nine-minute version. I also like the version by Marcus Miller's group.

The Chambers Brothers: Time Has Come Today
Compare the short radio edit to the original longer version (this is actually a bit shortened, but not much). The long version is one serious psychedelic trip, which is totally missing from the short version. I had no idea that this longer version existed, and after listening to it, I feel like I just walked through the Haight.

Yes: Roundabout
When I heard Roundabout on the radio back in the 70's, I often heard a version that was about 3.5 minutes long (which I can't find online now). This hacked up version stank when compared to the full album version. Every time I heard the song, I held my breath when it got to the cut point.