Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quick Notes

Another assortment of quickies in lieu of a longer, better thought-out entry. I like doing these because they make me feel like Andy Rooney.

I've been quiet lately for two main reasons. First, there's a big project going on at work, and staff were offered two hours of daily voluntary overtime. There weren't many of us who accepted, and even fewer who did more than a handful of days. I've stayed for the extra time almost every day since late January.

You wouldn't think that a mere two hours added to the end of the work day would have such an impact, but it definitely has. I haven't even mustered up the energy to do my tax return yet. Since I'm expecting a sizable refund, that's saying something.

The second main reason for my radio silence: Gamehouse Sudoku. I normally play level 8, and my average time is about four minutes. I thought that the Automarks would make me lazy and actually atrophy any Sudoku skill I once had, but they only remove some of the grunt work. You still have to do your own thinking, which is the fun part anyway.

Rebelangel has been posting lots of interesting stuff lately, trying to make up for the days she missed during her recent computer problems, and get back on track for her Blog 365 target. When there's nothing going on here, check over there. (When there is, check over there afterward anyway.) I'd be posting comments on some of her articles if I didn't have so many important video games to play. Maybe once the overtime wraps up (supposedly soon).

Pastor Derek and Homeschooler's newborn twin boys are still in the hospital. This article has an update and some new pictures. Poor Henry looks so sad in the first and last pictures. He looks like he's far more aware of his discomfort than he should be at this age. Those are spookily wise eyes.

On to less personal stuff.

The attorney representing child-killer Christopher Pauchay (remember him?) says that he was "surprised by the judge's assessment that Pauchay lacks insight into his behaviour."

Over fifty criminal convictions and decision-making skills that led him to carry his daughters outside in a blizzard to freeze in a snowbank, and his attorney is "surprised" by a suggestion that Pauchay might not think too much about his actions.

Maybe an IQ test should have been administered before the bar exam.

The pictures I post here should start looking much better. I use Irfanview for most of my digital image manipulation, and recommend it highly. As I demonstrate on a regular basis, I'm not much of a photographer. My shots tend to come out with a yellowish tint. I've played with the colour balancing tools in Irfanview (Image - Enhance Colours), but all I've ever managed was to replace the yellow tint with a red or blue tint.

The other day, just for the heck of it, I clicked the Auto Adjust Colours option in that menu for the first time.

Wow! Never again will I mess around with manual colour balancing. With a single click, that button makes my shots look clear, colourful and vibrant. I'm tempted to repost some of my old shots with that option applied, especially the pictures of my wife's crafts. She does much better work than you would think from looking at my washed-out pictures.

My local supermarket has Pringles on sale for $1.99 a can. The regular price, plainly visible on the sign announcing the sale, is "2 for $4.00."

I thought this was entertainingly idiotic and/or idiotically entertaining until I thought it over. You may laugh at a savings of a single penny, but think of the big picture: if you bought a million cans, you would save $10,000. When's the last time you had an opportunity to save that kind of money by buying vaguely potato-based snack foods?

I may need to rent a storage space.

There are currently nine books in my "finished reading this - now write a Reading Log entry" pile. I finished some of them as long ago as last summer. I may not remember much about them now. I've also bought five more books in the last couple of weeks, all of which will join that pile soon enough.

My MP3 player, which I listen to much of the day at work, has had Bob Dylan's Infidels album on it for a couple of weeks now. Since I normally rotate its contents every day (usually two albums / concerts daily), that means it's holding my interest pretty effectively. I had never heard it before. A friend at work is a big Dylan fan, and after we discussed the three "born again" albums, he brought it in for me. I may write an entry on it in the future. I already have draft notes.

Today's other selection was "Beatle Mash" by "The Liverpool Kids", a no-budget and no-name exploitation released circa 1964 to cash in on Beatlemania. It's not awful, but it's certainly not memorable. Generic early sixties R&B, with one Beatles cover (She Loves You) and one "original" that's such a knockoff of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" that the producers would surely have been sued for plagiarism if the album had been noticed at the time. It's a closer copy than "My Sweet Lord" is of "He's So Fine" - and that's pretty darn close. This album won't be held over.

In the mid-eighties, the writers of Spider-Man comics did a storyline that tied into the much-maligned Secret Wars II (which rocked my barely-pubescent world, despite being sheer crap in retrospect). The Beyonder turned an entire Manhattan office building, and all its contents, to solid gold.

Hijinks ensued as Spidey had to rescue its occupants and neighbours (a solid gold building apparently cannot support its own weight; I'm sure the writers had engineers check all the math), the Kingpin tried to steal it, and finally the government stepped in to confiscate it and get rid of it (I don't remember how, and I'm not subjecting myself to re-reading a Secret Wars II tie-in).

The writers showed some real economic insight here. It was explained that the sudden ex nihilo introduction of all that gold would destabilize the world metals markets, and ultimately the entire global economy. You can't just suddenly flood the market with a previously scarce commodity without doing far more harm than good. An inflationary spiral, followed quickly by economic chaos and collapse, invariably ensues.

This goes for a government introducing large amounts of previously nonexistent currency into the economy, whether by actually printing bills (remember Germans needing wheelbarrows of cash to buy bread under Hitler's economic stimulus package?), or by giving large amounts of money that only exists as numbers on a screen (most "money" doesn't physically exist anymore, it's all abstract) to... well, anyone.

How sad is it that Spider-Man writers of the mid-eighties were smarter economists than anyone in the Obama administration?

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my son doing his absolute best to hold still. Check out that sharply-defined colour!


RebelAngel said...

Nice to know somebody is reading. The fact that you call it "interesting stuff" scares me and might want to back off the overtime.

Just kidding, it is nice to see there is someone still out there with a work ethic.

RebelAngel said...

And, umm, who is Andy Rooney?