Thursday, March 22, 2018

when life gives you rainbows

Share them.

The second one shows the double rainbow more clearly.

While this one reveals a portal to a magical world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

don't go breaking my top

Santa Claus brought me a Whirl-o top

It has an LED that lights up when it spins. 
It has a tin gizmo that you flick with your wrist to get the top spinning. 
It launches itself from this gizmo when it gets going fast enough. 

Until today, the LED lit when the top got spinning and went off when the top slowed down. 

After a spectacular launch earlier today, 
the LED started lighting when the top was stationary and turning off when it got moving. 
The top glowed on the kitchen table for a few hours. 

Soooo, after trying to fix it by launching it a couple score times, 
I decided I would have to put on my big engineer glasses and 
take it apart. 

After locating it online so I could show y'all, 
I noticed an 800 number on their website. 
I decided to call and ask, 
expecting to get a bored order fulfillment clerk who would think I was a Class A Idiot 
for thinking they might care to help me fix a $10 toy. 

Instead, I got an excited person who was quite interested in what had gone wrong. 
He explained it to me in some detail and told me 
what I needed to do to get the top functioning again. 

The second hardest part was finding a tiny Philips head screwdriver 
(which appears to have gone missing from my eyeglass repair kit.
 I decided to go ahead and use a tiny flat head screwdriver. 
Don't faint.) 

I got the three tiny screws out. 
After some fiddling and a few test drives 
(cleverly NOT putting the screws back in until I had verified the fix), 
I found the middle spot where the guy had told me the tiny spring fitted. 
The top then returned to its customary behavior. 

Then came the hard part, 
which was getting the screws back in properly. 

This top has always worked amazingly well 

(the all-tin ones spin longer, but the LED model is way cooler). 
It has had hard daily use from most of the members of my family, 

who are a little jealous that I got the coolest toy for Christmas this year. 

I can now say that they have wonderful tech support. 

The Retro Space Blaster is coming out soon, 
and will certainly be on my wishlist to Santa this year. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ta da!

A few weeks ago, I was looking to update my celery spread.

I'd been spreading plain tahini on celery, but I wanted something that spread more easily. I also wanted a little saltiness.

I mixed the tahini with a little lemon juice to brighten it, and thinned it with a little water to make it a nice, spreadable consistency.  I added salt bit by bit, tasting as I went. I added more lemon juice, more water, more salt and stirred and stirred.

When my new spread was pretty tasty, I thought I could do a lot with this basic sauce. I could spice it up. I could add parsley and olives. I could cut the salt, thin it, sweeten it a bit, and serve it over fruit.

I was really proud of my invention.

Right up until the moment I realized that I had just painstakingly reinvented hummus.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

warning: may cause clipping

The Overton window is outside the bounds of the Overton window. It's a rhetorical device masquerading as political theory. It attempts to put bounds around the acceptability of political discourse. You can try to move or stretch the window if you don't like where it is, or try to figure out where it is and meekly stay within it. If you're in politics, you'd like to control it, keep your opponents within it, and move it in your direction.

The idea and expression of where the Overton window is seems to sharply depart from what Actual People (tm) think and say about the issues. As a box, it's far too small to be useful.

Let's deprecate it and move on to more fluid ways of thinking about public discourse.

Monday, February 26, 2018

swinging your fist

You don't have the right to:

  • Take another person's life.
  • Shoot a human being.
  • Hurt anyone.
  • Assault someone.
  • Coerce anyone.
  • Touch another person without their permission.
  • Harass anyone.
  • Bully another person.
  • Threaten a human being with bodily harm.
  • Interfere with someone else's bodily integrity or self-determination.

If you do any of these things, you are not exercising your rights. You are violating the rights of another human being.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

how parenting is like management

You're responsible for everyone and everything.

You know that one person can't do it all herself, so you form support networks and delegate responsibilities to the kids.

You know that a well-organized, well-cared-for crew is both more pleasant and more effective, so you plan ahead to keep things running smoothly.

You're a master of logistics. You can organize a tricky release schedule or a 3-week camping trip for 10. You have a clear sense of the effort required to pull off a venture, and you can scale preparations to both the task and resources available.

You're flexible and think quickly on your feet. Life tosses you a lot of curve balls, and you have the grace and the experience to hit the sweet spot when it does.

You've honed your set of priorities so that you spend your energy on tasks that are worth the effort. You have a good sense of when an  emergent issue needs immediate attention and when it will distract and dissipate energy from more important goals. 

You remain calm and centered even in difficult circumstances.

You know that people aren't difficult on purpose just to annoy you. They are difficult because they need something they're not getting. You have the understanding to cut through the crap to get to the essential issue and the tact to solve the problem so that people feel good about the solution.