Waiting for people to return my phone calls

A brief comparison of search engines – first hits:

octopus+urinal in Yahoo: The Urinals of the Red Vic

octopus+urinal in Google: South Park S9 Ep10 (“Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” – posted by Octopus)

High End Systems fog juice – any brand – is mostly “food-grade” glycol. And while it will, over time, completely dissolve the 1/4″ Crosby someone dropped in the tank for some reason, rendering both the partially dissolved Crosby and the now blood red fog juice useless, it is not considered hazardous waste. And the ppm of glycol is way below that in anti-freeze. Bottom line: you can dump less than five gallons down the drain if you have to.

If that saves some poor stagehand the two hour internet/phone odyssey I went through to discover that fact – my work here has been worth it. {BTW – the MSDS says “Follow state and federal laws” – which are apparently non-existent.}

Looking up at the stars, do you wonder how many might be looking back down at you? This site tracks the number of people in space right now.

They found a hobbit T-rex in China.

Wired lists the contents of a cup of coffee. I still want another cup.

And this blog is worth nothing. Nothing! How I know…

(Are We Lost Yet is also worthless – if’n you waz wunderin. Maybe if I updated it…)

I have – however updated my Examiner column. Natch. You can’t paste a table into the interface directly from Excel. You need to paste it into Word – and then into the interface. I’m not sure if Alpine is the highest municipality in Arizona (my search was not exhaustive), but I’m pretty confident that Yuma is the lowest.

Now You Know.

Three very different challenges to my sanity

First, some notes from my daughter’s birthday party last weekend:

If you give a seven year old a whistle – you will end up taking it away from her. This particular girl never grew tired of blowing her whistle. At first, we wondered about her sanity, but soon feared for our own.

“That’s a pretty whistle you have. Can I see it for a second?” … [CRUNCH!]

I didn’t really do that to her. But I thought about it – a lot.

There’s probably a good transition into Sunday morning talk shows from there, but the kids do not actually sleep at sleepovers, and most of my Sunday was spent putting out the nmerous little fires when exhausted children try to play with one another – or simply eat breakfast.

On Moday, I learned about bid bonding – the insurance bond contractors must provide to bid on a project. I won’t bore you with the details – but that’s what I learned.

Bidding a project isn’t about the math. It’s not that difficult to figure out the amount of money you’d prefer to get for doing a project. The tough part is deciding how far below number A you’re willing to go to get the bid – and then living with that decision. Isubmt that bid today, and then I’m done with spreadsheets for a while, and I’m back to the part of my job that requires a five-point safety harness.

Tuesday we did taxes. I learned that mileage fr your day job, your sole proprietorship and non-profit activities all use different calculations, and that those calclations changed md-way through the tax year. Even so, around 1400+ miles driven to write the hiking guide. Didn’t wipe out my profit (for tax purposes) but it came close. (I also bought a lot of hiking gear – which is all business expense in my universe).

How did we do our taxes before Excel?

Now You know

Bill Gates Ain’t Scared [10/4/08]

Another brief Sunday morning round up. My ritual is to watch – in order Meet the Press on NBC, This Week on ABC, then Late Edition and GPS on CNN. By the end of GPS, there’s either sports on, or I have to get on with my supposed life.

Typically, though, as I did today, I sleep through most of Meet the Press, and the first half of This Week. But I was on my second cup of coffee by GPS, where the guest was Bill Gates.

Bill Gates is more worried about the state of US high school education than he is about the financial markets. He sees that thing as a short term correction, and believes the actual economy, drive by ideas and innovation, shows signs of recent improvement.

Besides, he did not say, regardless of how you think derivatives should be marked for accounting purposes, you’re still going to do that with Excel.

(Say what you will about Microsoft, for my money, Excel si still the most functional spreadsheet program on the market, and the only reason to plunk down $$ on MS Office. If it doesn’t come bundled with XL, you might as well download OpenOffice.)

Having played around some with Open Office, I can tell you that I have to go back to Excel to make complex character sheets, and the word processor has an annoying habit of trying to finish my words for me. Whatever algorithm they’re using to guess what I’m trying to type has poor luck predicting the syntax of roleplaying game rules. The outline functions are frustrating me too, but that may still be a learning curve issue.

Hey, Pakistan has a new head spy. Amidst all the drama about the financial meltdown and the antics of Sarah Palin, the post which may have the most direct impact on the battle against al Qaida changed hands. Who knew? Well the AP, of course, and the Sepia Mutiny, for those who don’t want to rely upon CNN for the 30 seconds of coverage the most volatile and heavily armed region of the world gets in the average US 24 hour newscycle.