The Outside View

Here's a couple of photos taken looking outside. Pretty view, dont you think?

Dirt Compactors at 7:30am

There is a road going in right outside our house. The equipment is 50 feet or so from our bedroom window. What awoke me was the dirt compactor used to make a stable surface for the rocks and asphalt to be put on. It was causing the walls to vibrate making a particular picture on the wall "very loud." So much for sleeping, though as you can see my daughter is still crashed...

High Fructose Corn Syrup Is Evil

This is something I've pretty much managed to eliminate from my diet, though I know other members of my family eat things that have it.This article from the Seattle PI gives a brief explanation why it's bad. More medical details can be found on the UltraMetabolism blog. Bottom line--nobody should be consuming the stuff.

PacMan in Play-Doh

Something Jaden and I did.

Why Do I Need Another Blog?

I don't need another blog, but I managed to get an invite to Vox, so I figured I'd give it a shot and set up a blog here. It might be a good place to put items of a more personal nature, which is what I'll think I'll focus on here.

What Happened to Sesame Street

I was trying to remember all the words to "Dee Dee Dee," which Istarted singing to my daughter at some point and she loves it. IGoogled, of course, and it eventually led to this treasure trove of Sesame Street clips on YouTube.I watched several of them--more than I probably should. Of course Iwatch Sesame Street today. My kids are of that age. It's inescapable.But if I had a choice, I wouldn't.

Sesame Street today is sodifferent from the way it was back when I was a kid. Sure it hasMuppets, occasional "guest stars," and it tries to educate the kids.But there's something missing. It's toned down. Ernie's lessmischevous, The Count is less scary, Cookie Monster is less gluttonous.It's homogenized. It's structured. The show follows a basic "schedule,"so you pretty much know what's going to happen in what order.

SesameStreet used to be more random. On any given episode, beyond the "mainstory," and the fact the show was sponsored by a couple of letters anda number, you didn't know what you were going to get. You got a mix ofstory, animated segments, random Muppet skits, flim shorts aboutanything and everything.The show was more whimsical. More zany. Moreserious. And more educational. They weren't afraid to use big words. Orbring up big ideas. Or address serious issues head on. Even today, theclip where the grownups explain to Big Bird that Mr. Hooper is dead still makes me cry.

The commentary on the Internet suggests two big changes happened that had a profound affect on Sesame Street: the rise of Elmoin the 1980s, and the death of muppet creator Jim Henson in 1990. Manyof the "fun" incidential characters on Sesame Street were retired whenJim Henson died along with many of the funny segments they entailed.The other important thing that happened in 1989 was the death ofcomposer Jim Raposa, who wrote many of the songs heard on SesameStreet, including the theme.

I can't think of a single thingthat's entertaining from the current Sesame Street, though at least mytwo year old daughter still watches it. My son will occasionally, butat six, I think he's growing out of it. My son likes the stuff from theolder Sesame Street we have on VHS tapes. Some of his favorite bitsare: Cookie Monster and FOOD, Rhyming Words, and Monster in the Mirror. He also likes Mnah Mnah (this is from the Muppet Show, but it also appeared on Sesame Street in a slightly different form). And my daughter loves the Dee Dee Dee song (as well as Mnah Mnah).

Oneof my favorite bits? There's so many good ones. I have to admit toexposing my kids to those particular bits (and others) because, quitefrankly, I like them. I was, however, most happy to find the Alphabet Chat oneson YouTube. Even today, they could be viewed as educational (thevocabulary these guys used was a lot smarter than today) yetlaugh-out-loud funny.

I guess Sesame Street, like everythingelse, has to change with the times. It's a pity they had to take out alot of what made Sesame Street fun to watch. But at least I can show mykids the real Sesame Street on YouTube, at least until they get served with a Cease and Desist. :)

Random Thoughts from June

Once I started keeping a paper day planner, I decided I should gothrough the notes I wrote in my day planner once and highlight anythinginteresting in my blog. I probably should have done this a couple ofweeks ago, but oh well.

Voxilla: Early in June, Iofficially "left" Voxilla. Interestingly enough, so did Carolyn Schuk.That being said, I still have a small ownership stake and have helpedout with little things here and there, though interestingly Marcelohasn't called me in several weeks. I haven't been watching the Voxilla Forums all that closely, but it looks like they are continuing to move forward. I've also tried to send business their way.

Match Game: While I wrote this down on 7 June, I recently had a recurring thought about it. I've been listening to The Daily Giz Wiz and because Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte seem to talk about Match Gamequite often (Dick was the head writer on Match Game), I am frequentlyreminded how cool it would be if this were to come back. This could bedone as a video podcast. It could even be done as an audio podcast andit would work. I wonder if such a thing happened if Dick would be kindenough to write the questions. (Of course there is the question ofgetting the rights to use the name and/or not upsetting the copyrightholders)

A Clean Desk, Fewer Computers: Something I'vebeen wanting for a while finally happened after I got my MacBook andgenerally cleaned my office. There's one corner of my office I haven'tcleaned yet, but the parts I inhabit frequently are fairly picked upand orderly. Also I've removed my Linux laptop from my desk and so I amdown to two computers: the MacBook and my work laptop.

Who Do I Serve?:My day job is backline technical support (i.e. the next step isdevelopment). In doing that job, I have to represent the customer'sinterests to my employer and my employer's interests to the customer. Ilike to think I am working for the customer, but really it's theemployer that pays my check. Sometimes those "interests" are inconflict, and it is not always easy to resolve those conflicts. I'llhave to elaborate more on this another time.

No Antihistamines:In June, I finally broke down and scheduled an appointment with anallergist. The actual appointment involved getting poked with a lot ofsticks covered in a lot of different substances. What am I allergic to?Most grasses and a few trees. Explains why Hawaii was a good place formy allergies. :) Cat hair came up as an allergen for me, but I've hadcats my whole life and tolerate cats pretty well most of the time. I'mnow taking Allegra-D and Nasacort and all is well.

Ultrametabolism:This is a book I ended up purchasing electronically on amazon.com,though I realize I could have bought it in print. Remind me never tobuy DRMed stuff again. That being said, this book is full of reallyinteresting information about why most of us are not at a healthyweight and what we can do about it. What's interesting is that theauthor, Dr. Mark Hyman says he never tells his patients to lose weight.He just helps their bodies get back into balance and the weight comesoff on it's own. Interesting idea. I'm still trying to find my balance,and I am eating healthier if nothing else.

How Do I Make Money Writing About What I Love?:I'm still trying to figure out the answer to this question, but it's aquestion I wrote down. Sure, Google gives me a few bucks, but it'senough to pay for an extra toy here and there, not enough to live on.I've tried to add some different ad networks to the site to see if thathelps. What I'd really like is to make my full time living writingabout what I love. Kind of like the folks from Dooce.

Shared Experience:I had written this down thinking how television has the concept of a"shared experience." Originally, I thought the Internet might not havethat, but I am starting to think differently about that. While maybethere isn't a single place we all go to get our media online, what youdo have online is the ability to "share" instantly. For example, if Isee something really cool on the Internet, I can send it to my friendsand they'll read/listen/watch it when they have a chance. Instantgratification. On television, radio, or a movie? Well if you weren'tthere to see it, or didn't tape/TiVo it, too bad. What it will beinteresting to see is how people will "find" content on the Internet inthe future. For me, right now, it's subscribing to Digg's Videos section in my RSS reader along with the blogs I normally read. That's more than enough video to keep me busy right now.

Happy Birthday to Me?

Well it was my birthday today. Was it happy? It had it's moments. Butthis isn't quite the right time to be having a birthday this year. Mywife's grandmother past away a few days ago and there is a lot ofenergy and effort going into the funeral that is happening on Monday. I'll leave it at that for now until I can fully process my feelings.

It Comes in Pairs

While I'm not sure it means anything, a lot of important events in mylife seem to happen in pairs--usually within 24 hours of one another.My mother and her mother's birthday happened on the same day. Myfather's birthday and mine are also on the same day. My father-in-law'sbirthday is a day before my daughters. Within a day of each other, Ialso got mentioned on two differentSlashdot articles within a day of each other. I could go on with manyother examples like this. Needless to say, I tend to see a lot ofevents either related to me or people I care about paired up in my life.

Sowhen my wife told me her grandmother was on her deathbed and her deathwas imminent--note she her health had been deteriorating for the pastcouple of years now, so this wasn't any surprise--it occurred to me atsome point that her death was likely to happen either on ouranniversary or my birthday. I realize that's not a very nice thought,but given the frequency of "paired" events in my life, it seemedlikely. And it appears another pair is forming. As of a few hours ago,it's looking very likely that she will pass within the next 24 hours.

Mywife will likely be focusing her energy on her mom for the next severaldays--something I can completely understand under the circumstances. Myenergy will therefore be focused on our kids. I believe my sonunderstands death, but doesn't have much sense of tact yet, so I have afeeling we will be spending a bit of time explaining to my son how"that's not a very nice thing to say right now," among other things.

Family life will be different for the next few days for sure.

Bonus Games for Old Game Shows

The fine folks at FlashGames Squaredhave come with Flash recreations of several popular older game showsbonus round. As someone who digs old game shows--Game Show Networkmight be the only reason I would even consider getting anythingabove basic cable--I have to say these guys have done a good job. I'dlike to know is how someone managed to get a 1.8 second time onScrabble Sprint!

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