Friday, October 31, 2008

Whee! I Mean, Wii! 

The Girl has been advancing in her computer skills. She takes digital photos and uploads them to Flickr. She joined Facebook and added her info and profile photo. AND - she figured out what to get for my birthday, tracked it down online and ordered it! She was then dying to tell me what it was, as she is still not very good about keeping surprises. So when it arrived yesterday (my birthday is still a few weeks away), I gave in and let her give it to me then and there.

Wii! With sports! Whee!

Guess what we'll be setting up tomorrow?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:58 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If We Lose on Tuesday, Then You Betcha! 

Various media and commentary sites are reporting Sarah Palin has broken the unwritten (or maybe it is written somewhere) rule that you never talk about the L word, especially not six days before the election. Not only that, but she has apparently expressed an interest in being at the top of the ticket in 2012. They also report that when questioned about this, the McCain campaign was "speechless."

I'm reading the quote, and while it does run along her usual vein of half thoughts and folksy g-droppin', I don't really see it.

But if that is what she was trying to say, oy - what a nightmare.

And what a fucking idiot.

Oh yeah, and the Phillies just won the World Series. Biggest Sister, her husband and father-in-law are doing backflips.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:57 PM

The Bowling Gear Video 

No, we're not yet ready to have video of ourselves actually bowling, but per the request of TCU, I bring you the movie mix of candlepin bowling gear!

Score update: Tonight I scored an 84, 94 (53 on the first half) and 83. The Girl brought in a 78. On one string she had 48 in five frames.

And now, the gear:

And for an added feature, click here to Mischief in action on his cat tower, and also on catnip.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:47 PM

Red Sky at Morning 

...driver take warning.

Originally uploaded by RSLS

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:17 AM
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Office Done (Mostly) 

After a full day of work and with the timely arrival of Middle Sister just when the big moving portion of the day came, the home office is ready for use. Below is the whole story, as recorded on the Mino:


Progress 1 - Credenza pulled out, lots o'junk gone:

Progress 2 - credenza and kitty condo relocated:

Progress 3 - Mischief finds a spot:


Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:46 PM

Home Office - The Baseline Recording 

The introductory video to the mess that is my office took over a minute, so I figured I'd just load that one to flickr now. The flickr max is 90 seconds, so that's that. Longer stuff will have to go to YouTube. Anyway, so you can see what I'm starting with, I bring you the story of my home office:

Oh, and I forgot to point it out, but that folded up pipe-like contraption by the door is a Gazelle Edge. Which has been folded up in that location since this year's Oscar Party. In February. Yep.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:43 PM

Flip Mino! 

I've got a new gadget! It's a little tiny camcorder with really simple operation and easy download and software - the Flip Mino. I have the cool black version. Just push the big red button and it starts recording. Touch the up or down buttons to zoom in and out. Touch the big red button again to stop.

Flip a switch to pop out the USB plug, connect it to the computer and use the built in software to download, edit, mix, add music, etc. They also have a feature that compresses it from avi to wmv if you want to email or upload it. I stick with the avi for uploading to flickr, since it's better quality and still within my upload range.

Below is a little video in the kitchen, going from the semi-dark spice rack to the brightly lid kitchen herb garden and then down to Mischief's dining area. The mino automatically adjusts for the changing lighting conditions, and the built in microphone picks up my steps as I move around the kitchen.

Next up is a mix I made with the software, using two vids of the backyard. First is just the yard, and you can hear some of the birds in the trees. Then there's Mischief and some footage of what he's watching. I can also add music if I want, but I didn't.

I can also pull out stills from the videos. They're smallish sized, but it's a nice feature to have. Coming later this weekend - a mix of my home office redo! I'll be working on this today, and will video the progress.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:08 PM
Friday, October 24, 2008

Sure, NOW Space is Vital 

Now that Senator McCain is scrambling for every last vote he can scrape together, especially in Florida, he's talking a different story about funding for space-related programs. Unlike the three times during debates that he ridiculed Obama's support for a Chicago planetarium where the future astrophysicists of America would first discover their passion for science, McCain now supports increasing funds for NASA:

During a visit to Florida last week, Sen. McCain said he, too, favors an additional $2 billion in spending. Asked by a local TV station, News 13, about his broader pledge to freeze spending and whether that would affect NASA's budget, he said: "Of course not, of course not. It means we're going to move money around....Space is vital."
Sure, now that he figured out that those whacky space nuts actually create jobs, he figures it's important. I think I see his plan now - take away the planetariums and kids will pick up other interests, then no one will want a job in the space industry and they can close it down for other, more sensible industries, like deep sea oil drilling or coal mining or perhaps guiding helicopter moose hunts.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:14 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Girl's Foliage Photos 

The Girl has become quite the little photographer, and is now using her Flickr account that I got her two years ago to go with the digital camera! She has four photo sets from our foliage weekend, which are gathered together into one collection. Click on the lovely photo below to go to the full collection. Have fun perusing!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:31 AM

Tales of Bowling 

The Girl and I have joined a candlepin bowling league for the winter, with some friends from golf. It's been quite fun, and the rust is falling away from my long-dormant bowling skills. Last night was our fourth week, and I got a 104 on my second string! Now, for those of you who have only done ten pin bowling, let me explain that candlepin is a much lower scoring game. The highest "officially sanctioned" score is a 245, as opposed to the occasional perfect 300's that come up in ten pin. Breaking 100 in candlepin is a big deal. So I was quite pleased.

What was really bizarre, though, was how I got to my 104. In this league, we each bowl five frames at a time (in my previous candlepin experience, it was always two frames). In the first half of that string, I got three spares in a row and ended up with a 71 for the half! When I sat down and saw the score, I said, "What's up with THAT?" My friends were more, "What the fuck?"

But reality came back for the second half, when I racked up a whopping 33 and the world was as it should be. But I still got a 104.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:09 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008

"Natural Law" and the Modern World 

Cosmic Variance has a much more thorough and eloquent post that I would have the patience to write on science, morality, "natural law" and the ick factor in politics and marriage equality.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:49 AM

Fall Foliage Photo Fun!!! 

We went up to Argyle, New York, in the Lake George area, this weekend for our 2008 Fall Foliage Tour. Of course, we took lots and lots (and lots) of pictures to share with you all! We stayed at Lant Hill Farm, a lovely B&B on a working organic farm. The views, guest house and breakfasts were all fabulous! Saturday we explored around Lake George, then Sunday we took a meandering back roads route home through Vermont. I'm still working on uploading the pictures, but I've got to quit for now and head to work. I'll update this post this evening when it's done. But here are a large selection of the photos to get you started. Click on the view to get started. Again, I've organized them into several sets within one collection, so you can more easily pick and choose what you'd like to view.

UPDATE: All my photos are now loaded. I'll post another link when The Girl has loaded hers.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:25 AM
Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Foliage Time! 

After work today The Girl and I are off for our annual fall foliage expedition. This year we're breaking new ground by heading to upstate New York and a bed and breakfast located in the guest house of an organic farm surrounded by mountains. The Foliage Network says we've chosen the perfect weekend and that the foliage in that area is "spectacular" this year. Have a great weekend - many pictures to follow on our return. I know you can't wait.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:22 AM

All's Well in 401(k) Land 

Our payroll guy returned from vacation and found a bunch of notes from his manager, who had been handling things in his absence. Among them was a notation about my 401(k) withholding and my check. Turns out the money was funded properly to Fidelity, but the information on the pay stub was incorrect. The stub will be corrected at next payday, and I logged on to Fidelity to verify the funds. It takes a day or two, which is why nothing showed on Wednesday when I first checked.

Ah, the magic of pretax dollars. I'm contributing 8% (with another 2% match), but the total hit in my net check is... six dollars. Excellent!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:19 AM
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Speaking of Bullies 

What's up with the 46-year-old school bus driver accused of taunting a 10-year-old boy on his bus by calling him gay repeatedly and then inciting the other kids on the bus to tackle him on the sidewalk and beat him up? And then joined in the fun! Maybe the kid was eloquent, just like that Obama guy. He must be a little tiny terrorist. And I bet he's gay, too! Get him!


Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:28 AM

Eloquent Eye Rolling 

John McCain acted like a schoolyard bully in last night's debate. Eye-rolling, ridiculing of intelligence, ignoring responses, squeezing his lips together in an apparent attempt to restrain himself from all the outbursts demanding to be released (either that or trying not to vomit, I'm not sure), flamboyantly scribbling all his wicked good comebacks on his notepad, repeating accusations instead of responding to the facts presented, sighing loudly into his mic, and even wrapping it all up with a snort-laugh.

He claims that education is important and needs attention, but he's three for three in his taunting of Obama's support for that planetarium that didn't have functioning equipment in the theater. Apparently McCain is all for education as long as you're not interested in space. Better get those Hubble repairs done now, as there might not be any replacement scientists coming up if McCain has his way.

He said that throwing money at problems isn't a solution. Then he proved to us that he feels strongly about this by calling for a renewal of No Child Left Behind, the failed program that put increased burdens on schools with zero funding to support those mandates. He's right in that just "throwing" money doesn't (always) work, but most programs do need some funds if they're going to implement change.

McCain at least twice, and perhaps three times, said that Sarah Palin knows more about autism than most of us. How's that? Her child has Down syndrome. I've read that Down syndrome kids are at a higher risk for autism, but nothing I've seen indicates that her child actually has autism. Know who knows about autism? A friend of mine who is the single mom to an autistic child who is reaching adulthood. Whose husband divorced her because parenthood just wasn't as fun as he thought it would be. Who has always had to make her job choices based on the health plan and who works from home all hours of the night so that she can give him the attention he needs during the day.

Then there's the Joe the Plumber, to whom McCain called out all evening in an attempt to frighten working people into believing Obama's tax plan will put them into the poor house.

McCain: Joe! Obama wants to spread your wealth! He's going to take your money away and buy overhead projectors with it!
Obama: Under my tax plan, anyone making less than $250,000 per year would see no increase in taxes, and 95% of small businesses fall into this category.
McCain: Joe! Obama wants to spread your wealth! He's going to take your money away and give it to other people!

McCain: Joe! You want to have your own plumbing business, but ask Senator Obama what the fine will be if you don't buy into his mandated single-payer health plan!
Obama: Under my health plan, if you have company insurance, you keep it. You don't have to change. If you are a small business making less than $250,000 per year you will have no fine for not offering health care to your employees. If you are a large corporation who can afford to offer health care and you don't, then yes there will be a fine to help pay for the group insurance plan that federal employees have and that we will extend to other Americans.
McCain: Joe! Congratulations -you're rich! You've succeeded in business and have lots of money and employees, so now Obama's going to fine you for not offering health insurance.

Me: Well, yeah. If he's a success and has lots of money and employees, why isn't he trying to make sure his employees stay healthy?

McCain: We want the facts! Sigh, eye-roll, sarcasm, snicker. What about Bill Ayers? What about Acorn?
Obama: Ayers fact, Acorn fact, everything fact, complete disclosure, fact, fact, let's discuss the issues that people care about.
McCain: But we want the facts! What about Bill Ayers? What about Acorn?

McCain on a few occasions lauded Obama for his "eloquence" but then made fun of that eloquence as manipulation. Because people who use words good is bad for the bullies. Other kids might start to listen. Bully lose control.

If we're all fortunate, bully lose election as well.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:53 AM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congrats to TCU! 

Congratulations to good friend and frequent commenter TCU and her hubby Darth Latte on the much-anticipated birth of Baby Ava!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:43 PM

Extreme Saver 

Today's check had my first 401(k) withholding on the new plan. I verified my election of 8% (with an automatic 2% annual increase) last week. Yep, all set.

Open my check today to verify. Eight dollars. In case you're wondering, I do make more than $100 for a semimonthly paycheck. There's no four dollar corporate match, because it's such a tiny percentage.

Back over to the website to verify my election - yes indeed, there it is, 8%.

Gee, at this rate I can retire when I'm around 300 years old.

Payroll is "looking into it. Sorry for the inconvenience." This after I've already missed out on a full quarter of contributions and corporate matches because HR didn't get my info to the 401(k) people until two days after the deadline for enrolling. Nice.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:25 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008

More Backyard Nature! 

Originally uploaded by RSLS
I have today (Columbus Day) off for the first time in years, so I've been enjoying the peace and quiet of the backyard. I took lots of photos of birds and critters, and have combined them with the turkey photos I got over the last few days. Saturday morning there were EIGHTEEN turkeys in the yard at one point.

Click on the adorable baby turkey and its watcher to get to the full set.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:09 PM
Friday, October 10, 2008

Aspen Belafonte Henderson, 7/15/1989 - 10/10/2008 

Aspen was with me my entire adult life - he was born just as I was finishing grad school (which I started right after college), and I selected him from his litter when he was just a little baby. He came to his new home several weeks later, when he was old enough. That was in Colorado, and he traveled the country with me since then as I moved to California, back to Massachusetts, up to Minnesota, down to Oklahoma, and back to Massachusetts. He was with me through any number of apartments, but he did get to share the benefits of home ownership for a couple of years here in our lovely house on the edge of the woods with lots of big windows through which to keep his eyes on the finches, chickadees, turkeys, deer, cardinals and other assorted wildlife.

He curled up and went to sleep last night and at some point before this morning decided he'd had enough.

He was a good boy, he had a wonderful 19 years, and The Girl and I will miss him terribly.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:58 PM
Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain and Stars - Again 

Wow, John McCain really has a grudge against astronomy. He brought up that planetarium funding foolishness again during last night's debate - twice! He tried to make it sound even sillier by referring to it as three million dollars for an "overhead projector" at a planetarium. I guess he thought we'd think this was another two million dollar toilet seat or something, like, "Hey - you can get one of these at Staples for $450!"

That funding wasn't for a little piece of equipment so the planetarium staff could bore each other with their latest PowerPoints. It was for a planetarium projector (and other related equipment) that is used to display the constellations, galaxies and other celestial sights onto the dome of the auditorium so the staff can teach the visitors about, you know, stars 'n stuff. The forty-year-old equipment was broken and replacement parts were no longer available, so the star shows had ceased.

So, McCain - good strategy. Ridicule your opponent for trying to return an important educational opportunity to Chicago.

Other notes on last night's debate:
  • McCain started making notes as soon as he got to his little barstool. What on earth was he jotting down? "Say something about expensive overhead projectors. Call the audience 'my friends.' Use all your jokes - crowds just love 'em!"
  • McCain sounds like he's talking to a bunch of nursery school kids at story time. And it's kind of creepy when he gets into the personal space of the audience members.
  • Obama - specific, specific, detail, detail, detail.
  • McCain - vague, campaign slogan, my friends, that one, heh heh, I was just joking about bombing Iran - you know, I'm a funny guy!
McCain really annoyed me with his repeated condescending assurances that "I know how" to do this and that. Apparently he knows exactly how to fix social security and it's really easy but he didn't do it during his last 26 years in office and he'll only reward us with his genius if we elect him to the highest office. But fixing Medicaid is more tricky - that's going to take A COMMISSION to sit around doing nothing for a couple of years and then he'll force their recommendations down the throat of Congress because Congress doesn't know how to do anything. And he should know, given his length of time in the legislature.

Did you see how quickly John and Cindy booked it out of the simulated town hall? Oh, and apparently it was simulating a really tiny town. Anyway, Barack and Michelle hung out for quite some time with the audience members who had suffered through an hour and a half of McCain's hooey and rewarded them with handshakes, photo ops and autographs. They outlasted me - they were still doing the meet and greet when I turned off the tv and went to bed.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:07 AM
Friday, October 03, 2008

Flight Delayed 

Too much wind last evening. Going back on Monday.

In other news - Governor Palin, could you please answer the question asked? It's a good thing she's not taking the bar exam. One of the most common errors in the essay portion is not answering the question asked. You can have a perfectly logical, well-reasoned and beautifully written response, but if it's not what the examiners asked, you fail that question.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:54 AM
Thursday, October 02, 2008

Flying a What? 

For some cool videos of trikes in action (aka weight shift aircraft, powered hanglider, microlight, ultralight), go to this page. The most informative one is titled AirBorne XT912 and features a couple who do tours and instruction in Hawaii.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:36 AM
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ultralight Flight 

I'm going for an ultralight trike introductory flight lesson tomorrow. Whee!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:15 AM