Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This picture probably won't be funny to most of you, unless, like me, you work with a bunch of Linux snobs. They are probably the only thing worse than the Mac snobs. If you are unaware of the internet legend of the man on the right, see here and here for more info on Tron Guy. Also, am I the only one who finds the PC guy actually very likable in a sad way?

The sky here was BROWN on Saturday.

A couple of amusing flash games if you have a little time to kill. The irritating game - aptly named; this is very difficult to do for long. I can't remember my best time, as I haven't played it in a while, but I think it was somewhere over 30 seconds. The game whose name I don't know. Top score here is 185. I don't really play these a lot, but they are nice quick games if you just want to de-stress for about a minute.

For those of you wanting to know about my MBA situation, I am still waiting to hear back from schools. In the meantime, you can amuse yourself with this fascinating site. While this uses self-reported stats and is thus in no way a scientific sampling, it is still interesting to look at which people got accepted or rejected vs where they fell on the GMAT and GPA graph. I wish you could get this kind of data more officially. Of course that would be way too revealing, so the schools would never do it. Another interesting MBA-related link. An interesting article on b-school's potential effects on relationships.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Well, life is starting to return to normal somewhat. I think we sort of turned the corner at about five weeks and seem to be headed in the right direction. At five weeks, with the help of our friend Wendy who was visiting, we were actually able to go out to a sit-down restaurant for the first time with Emily. We also made our big return to church, where Emily has been quite a hit. Yesterday we even went shopping at the outlet mall not far from us, and then headed over to Costco. It doesn't sound like much, but it felt like a big victory.
When we get to Costco, we decide that my wife will pick up a few items and I will keep Emily in the stroller with me while I eat a slice of pizza at the little Costco food stand, as I am getting ravenously hungry from working out earlier in the day. After I finish my pizza, Emily starts to get fussy, so I start pushing the stroller around the store. She loves being in motion of any kind, so this immediately quieted her down. However, I am now no longer in the place where my wife expects to meet up, so I figure I will just call her cell phone and we'll join up with her wherever she is. So I dial her phone, and I can hear it ringing. I think it must be coming from over by the couches, so I quickly push the stroller over there, but I don't spot her before the call goes to voice-mail. A little frustrated that I couldn't see her and that she didn't answer her phone, I dial her again. It seems I am practically right on top of where the ringing is coming from. It goes to voice-mail again! Why can't I see her? Suddenly the light dawns. Her phone is in the diaper bag, which is in the stroller, which I am pushing around...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Statistical Abuse

I just can't handle the misuse of statistics that I see constantly in the media. I know it has always been thus, as one can see by the age of some of the plethora of quotes available on the subject. However, it seems like it is getting even worse of late. I'm not even talking about bending statistics in political debate or somesuch, but in even the most innocuous of things. This article states that women apparently have better relationships with their clothes than with their men.
The study also suggested that clothes often wear better than relationships.
The average woman between 18 and 54 years of age has hung on to her favorite article of clothing for 12 and a half years, a year longer than she's held on to her longest relationship.
Let's talk about a few of the flaws underlying any conclusions that can be drawn from this statement.
1) A girl of 26 could conceivably still have clothes she bought when she was 16, since most women are done growing by then, but there is virtually no possibility she could have been in a relationship since then. They might as well have concluded that 17 year olds like their bed better than their car, since they have quite likely had the bed longer. Idiotic.
2) You can own clothes simultaneously, so you can accrue years with a favorite article of clothing while it is not actually your favorite. Example: A woman buys her favorite skirt at 20 and keeps it until age 32 when she throws it out. When she throws it away, her new favorite item is a shirt she bought when she was 23, meaning her new favorite item has been with her 9 years. Outside of Colorado City, a woman who divorces her husband will be restarting at zero, which really weighs down the averages.
There are other problems here, but I grow weary of this example. Let's move on to the cover article a couple of weeks ago in Parade magazine, entitled, "Is America still No. 1?"
We spend more money per person on health care a year ($5,700) than any country, and a greater percentage of our gross domestic product (more than 15%) goes to health care. But are we getting our money’s worth? Forty-three countries have more doctors per capita, including France, Switzerland, Mongolia and Lebanon.
I hope that a reasonable person is immediately suspicious of any conclusions to be drawn from that statistic, since common sense should instantly ring alarm bells about any claim that implies Mongolia is ahead of us medically. Is having more doctors per person better? Perhaps we don't need as many doctors per person because our doctors are better trained and more efficient. Likewise, most Americans own a car, or live near public transportation, so it's not like we need to have one doctor within walking distance of every group of 100 people. At least that statistic used a per-capita comparison.
Similarly, the U. S. has a greater rate of incarceration (737 per 100,000 people—or 2.2. million) than any other nation, and we perform the fourth-highest number of executions
So.....we're the third-largest nation in the world and we perform the fourth-highest number of executions? Hmmm. What I really hate is that that statistic is thrown out in the same sentence as the per-capita info on incarceration rates, so it's difficult to see how the "4th highest" number wasn't intentionally used to make things look bad. Hard to plead ignorant there.

Those probably aren't even the worst examples of what we regularly read or see on TV, they are just a couple I happened to have handy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Project follow-up

Here is a picture of our newly-installed ceiling fan in the room I'm using as my office.

As you know from the last post, our toilet turned out to need some more work to make it stop intermittently running, so Dad and I eventually ended up replacing every part of the interior workings of the toilet. The good news is that that only cost about $20 total, and that it was easy enough that even DIY-challenged me could do it again in the future. The bad news was that the whole process included one trip to Wal-Mart and two to Home Depot, the last due to the fact that Home Depot had previously restocked the thing I bought and it had a missing part, so I had to go back and exchange. That earned an angry comment in the survey you can fill out after each visit. Dad also tackled the overhead fluorescent light in our walk-in closet, which has had one tube out and the other one working 80% of the time. He seems to have gotten us up to 100% on the working tube, but the other tube is still out. Still, we're better off than we were.

My wife also pointed out that her Dad had fixed a little problem with the crib we bought used off of Craigslist (of course that's where we got it!), and replaced a couple of doorstops for us. We had one that was not stopping the door in from our garage, so I was repeatedly slamming the knob into the wall when I would come home. Not good for the drywall. Those are fixed. We also had a fridge repairman out to work on the annoyingly loud noise that our fridge makes at random times. This is the second repairman we had out. This one did a ton of research and figured out that the problem could be with a fan connected to the ice maker. He ordered the part, and then installed it a couple of days later. That seemed to take care of the first. It reappeared in about three weeks. Very annoying!

I'm feeling pretty tired, so I'm sure this post is barely readable, but would make perfect sense to me even if I read through it 14 times. That's been my experience with tired-typing of late. I hate to think what I've been sending out in e-mails at work.