I should clarify that Mark Hines of Chicago established this style featured here, and I had the privilege of working with him back in 2003. I still use many of the techniques I learned while working with him!
I hate vacuuming. Right there, I think that’s a good enough reason to get a Roomba. The invention has been around for a while — and I always saw it with a mild curiosity. But recently I decided to give it a serious look after getting really fed up with the amount of cat hair that collects in the house. And with Lucretia’s little day care opening in the imminent future, I felt like the last thing we needed was stressing out about vacuuming the house.
I checked out the iRobot site, did the comparison between the models, and watched their promotional video. Admittedly, I was already half way sold when I began considering the purchase… A machine that promises to do the very job you hate doing — what’s not to like? But I was genuinely impressed with the video, and how intelligent and resilient the little thing seemed to be. I also read some reviews on independent review sites. I was going to get a 530, but then I found a good deal on ABC Vacuum Warehouse — $50 less than Amazon, no tax (they’re based in TX), and free shipping.
I was faking my purchase just to see what the total price would be — then I accidentally submitted my order! Obviously their site has some usability issues, but I must say I didn’t mind the little accident. I was going to buy one anyway, so what the heck, right?
Within 5 days, my little robot arrived at our house. The self-running demo was pretty short, and the instruction booklet is a little lacking, too. I expected much more hand holding for operating a robot! But I guess it speaks to its (hopefully) durability and simplicity. Really, you just push the button in the middle when you want your room cleaned. Sure, there’s more to it if you want to schedule auto-cleaning, or do this and that. But I like that it doesn’t feel like I replaced one headache with another.
I still have to pick up around the house to “clear the way” for Roomba. But I kinda have to do that anyway with a regular vacuum. Maybe I do a little more to clear any potential problem areas that it might get stuck in. But I see it as a good way to clear the clutter on a regular basis, and the trade-off is that I can go off and do something else while Roomba cleans, so I still think it has more upside than down. More than anything, it feels less like a chore. The thing is cute, it’s fun, and it cleans pretty well. So far, it’s very yummy!
Note: I stopped posting to this blog when my daughter Yuuma was born 4 months ago. First it was due to the reality of being a new father and simply not having the time to blog. Then it was my inability to write a post that I felt would sufficiently articulate the story of the biggest event of my life. I felt like it would be inappropriate to blog about anything else before I wrote our birth story. So 4 months have passed, and the draft is still sitting there. Now — I’m over it. Lucretia and I have documented the birth story somewhere else, and we both clearly remember what happened and how it happened. We’re extremely happy with our daughter and each day is more amazing than the one before. I’ve concluded that enough time has passed while I tried and failed to write the most beautiful story for the 2 or 3 people who may be reading this blog — and now is the time to get back to posting about the less important inanities of my life. Yuuma’s birth story is not any less beautiful or memorable because it’s not on this blog. So, with that…
I had never had a staycation before, but that’s what I ended up doing when I decided to take 2 additional weeks off work as the second half of my paternity leave. I forgot who, but I want to thank whoever gave me that advice — to take 2 weeks when your kid is born, then 2 weeks again later when all the visitors have gone home, the baby blues has kicked in a bit for your wife, and the baby has grown up enough to be a little more interesting to watch.
So for two weeks, I stayed at home — slept in, woke up with Yuuma, played with Yuuma, took many naps, read books to Yuuma, fed Yuuma with the bottle, went to see a movie on a weekday morning (Wall-E), watched a lot of TV (Mad Men and Weeds), cooked dinners, had a beer or two, stayed up late, went to Georgetown for lunch, went to a Mariners game, surfed the web a lot, went to IKEA to buy stuff for baby-proofing the house, sat outside in the sun, took a 2-mile walk, and most importantly, got to know my daughter well. And when we went somewhere, we didn’t go far (camping in Camano Island). It was, without a doubt, the best two weeks of my life.
I don’t know what else to say. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a chance to do this. I felt more re-energized than I did after any other vacation.
Hideo Nomo is back in MLB. This makes me happy, because he’s one of my favorite athletes.
When I wrote about him 5 years ago, I said that one of the reasons I liked him was because of his insistence on sticking with his unorthodox style. Well, at 39 and having recovered from many injuries, he’s proven his perseverance by doing exactly the opposite of that. He stopped using his trademark windup style that earned him the nickname “Tornado Boy” — and is pitching only from the set position, even when there’s nobody on base. Apparently he has learned that his big windups were putting too much stress on his elbow, so in order to stay healthy he is only using the set position. At his age, he has lost velocity in his fast balls — so he’s relying more on his forkballs. He’s definitely had to adjust his pitching philosophies because he now has fewer weapons.
An ordinary player might decide to simply retire. But with Nomo, it shows that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep doing what he loves doing — playing in the Major League Baseball.
For the past two years he went from one team to another, mostly in minor leagues. He even played in the Venezuelan league, always hoping that he would someday come back to the stage that he believed he belongs. He doesn’t make much money in MLB standards, and he’s now relegated to being a reliever instead of a starter that he was for most of his career.
But Tornado Boy marches on. I think it’s an inspiring story. He would disagree, but I’m certainly inspired by his determination!
Thanks to Kansas, I have won the office pool. I hated Bill Self when he left Illinois to coach for Kansas, but boy, this guy can recruit or what? The title game was an exciting one, too — with the last-second 3-pointer to push the game to OT and all. I just love this stuff.
And not to brag, but this is the third year in a row that I’ve picked the eventual winner of the tourney. And in 2005 I had Illinois picked when they lost in the final — how could I not?
Tonight was the opening night for Wake, a play that our dear friends wrote, directed, and produced. It was a very intense character play about people and relationships. The play was good — very quickly paced and filled with unique dialogues.
Before the play, we met up with friends and ate dinner at Kingfish Cafe. As we were waiting for our table, a couple with two kids finished their dinner and left, and the husband looked really familiar to me. I’m 99% sure he was none other than the all-time Jeopardy! champion, Ken Jennings.
I didn’t even know he lived in Seattle (well, just outside, according to his site). In my world of minor celebrity sightings, this one ranks slightly higher than passing Blago on a street in Chicago.
A copy of this memo was recently mailed to me by my friend in Chicago. I don’t know why he sent it to me — it was not accompanied by any other note. But I can imagine that it’s meant for a good laugh, and nothing else. He’s that kind of a person.
The memo was originally written by a design professor when my friend and I were in college. Let’s call him… Carl. He taught the highest level of graphic design history you were required to take as a foundation-level student. Someone stole his wallet near the end of the semester, and he basically wrote this memo to tell us how sorry he was to not be living in a world where you could trust each other. We all felt shameful, broke down and cried for his forgiveness. Well, not really. If only it was that simple…
Someone at work sent around this story, and it made me want to verify how well these search queries were working. That is not what this post is about. I often use goo along with Google Japan to search for Japanese websites, and as I was trying those Japanese keywords, I wanted to see what other search engines were available in Japan. Not knowing exactly how to look for one, I just searched for「サーチエンジン」(“search engine” in Japanese) in goo. On the results page, goo was — to my surprise — the 9th item listed. I thought it would come in first. So I tried the same thing on Google — this time in English, obviously.
Where was Google? ON THE THIRD FRIGGING PAGE.
Alta Vista came in first, and Google UK beat Google.com by coming in on the second page. Live Search beat out Google UK. Woo-hoo, Microsoft.
I guess it doesn’t matter since I was using Google to do the search, but if more people are able to use the same algorithm on sites other than Google, like through their licensing — doesn’t it become more critical that Google itself comes up earlier in a search for “search engine”? Yes, I’ve seen the “What If Google Was Optimized” page, and ha-ha, that would be ridiculous. But can’t they at least rig something to show Google.com on the first page?