The day after

America is one of the few countries that has an explicit body of law defining what, exactly, constitutes disrespectful treatment of the flag. Not only is using the flag as an item of apparel explicitly covered, it also implicitly breaks several other guidelines, if you wear it while it's raining, or when it might get dirty, or at night, or if you throw it in the laundry with all your other dirty clothes, or if you throw it in the garbage rather than taking it down to the VFW to be disposed of properly.

So, everyone out there who's wearing a shirt like this*, or this, there are basically two explanations:

1) You're deliberately making the statement that the flag is just another piece of cloth, and shouldn't be afforded any more respect than any other pattern. This is constitutionally protected (and rightly so), and I approve of anyone choosing to exercising their right to free speech in this way.

2) You think you're being patriotic and respectful, but you've never bothered to go to the effort of finding out what that would actually mean. Ironically, this accidental disrespect seems to be far more common in America than in countries that don't explicitly define how the flag should be treated, and leave it up to the individual's judgement.

*Side note: Someone unfamiliar with WalMart brands might think that the legend "Faded Glory" under the flag is some kind of political comment.

I'm back

I know, every so often I say I need to try and keep this better updated. Let's see how it goes this time.

I lost my job about a month ago, due to economic downturn type things. I've done a couple of weeks of contracting, working for a local chain of hospitals, so I've been keeping busy. And there might be another job coming soon - I've had some nibbles on

We're going to Florida in a month or so, and meeting up with my family. Among other things, we're going to have breakfast with the Disney Princesses, which Isabella will probably like.

I've been watching Life After People, which is moderately interesting. Last week they featured an abandoned amusement park just down the road from here, so maybe while my days are less filled with work, maybe I'll try and sneak in there to take some photos.
magical trevor, beans, ever so clever, cows, flash animation

Hacking for the win!

I have successfully built an iPod using no more than twigs and string!

And by "twigs" I mean "an old, broken iPod that a friend sent me".

And by "string" I mean "components I bought off the interwebs".

I've not got iPodLinux installed yet, but RockBox is on there and working fine. I can't say I like the interface much, yet. But maybe it will grow on me.
jewellery, love, i'm getting married!, gold, the one ring

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Last night, as a St. Valentine's day thing, Amy and I went to a ballet. Specifically, a rock-opera ballet. Specifically, The Who's Tommy. Neither of us had been to a ballet before, and Amy hadn't seen the movie, so we weren't really sure what to expect. But it was really amazing, and we both had a wonderful time. I could really see myself getting into ballet, you know.

And this morning, we exchanged presents. I got Amy a book of Don'ts for Wives from 1913. I also got her serious gifts too, but I gave her that one first, because I thought it would be funny to make her think it was her only gift. And she got me a I ♥ Zombies T-shirt, which is awesome!
nature, darwin, animals, evolution, darwinfish

Happy Darwin Day!

Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Erasmus Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

The fact that all life is interconnected in the great bush of common descent is an amazing and humbling concept, and one of the most profound scientific discoveries of the age. Origin is a wonderfully-written book, drawing together a dozen different lines of evidence, and anticipating and rebutting many arguments that might be made against his theory. It's excellently readable, and really leaves little doubt about its correctness; Darwin may not have been the greatest genius ever to live, but he was probably the finest science write of his generation (and it didn't hurt that he spent 30 years polishing the manuscript, rather than publish and offend people).

If you've not read it already, you really ought to; it's even available free online.

Anyway, have a wonderful day, everyone.
unique, biometric, i am, identity, fingerprint

Playing Catch-up

Yeah, I know. I need to spend more time keeping up with this. I hope nothing exciting has happened that I missed out on.

Isabella finally had her 2nd birthday this weekend, a mere two months late. Because he birthday is just before Christmas, we decided to move her party back a month so people wouldn't have to miss Christmas parties to be there; after all, it's not like she's going to know the difference. So that was going to have been two weekends ago, but something came up at the last minute and we had to reschedule. And then about midweek, we discovered that Isabella was possibly contagious, so we sent out emails warning people that they might want to keep small kids away.

Unsurprisingly, there wasn't a huge turn out, but everyone had fun, and Isabella got yet more toys.

She's doing really well, generally. She's talking more and more, putting together two- and three-word phrases. Her favourite right now seems to be "mean daddy", but that's hardly unexpected, is it?

I now have an iPod! A 30GB 5.5th gen, if you're interested. cowgirlheather broke hers, so she (finally) sent it to me to play with. At the moment, it won't power up, or acknowledge that it's been connected to a computer, but once I've got the tools to open it up, I hope to get it back in working order before too long. Maybe I will install linux on it? I understand the hard drive was starting to fail even before it died completely, but that's easy enough to replace, I think. I'll try and let you know what happens with it.

Amy and I collaborated on a new dice bag for me, made out of one of my old t-shirts. It came out pretty awesome, which I credit entirely to Amy's mad skillz. I'll get to show it off for reals this weekend.

Work has mostly been training for the new ERP system that we're going to be switching over to, soon. The development environment has its quirks, but I think it's the first visual environment that I've actually liked. It manages not to feel like it's just getting between me and code in an attempt to make things difficult. Quite an achievement, really.
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happy birthday, birthday, getting older, celebrations, cake

It's been a while...

For one reason or another, I've not been keeping up with LJ for the last few weeks. Sorry. I'll try and do better. In the mean time, if anyone has any exciting news they think I should know about, leave a comment.

Isabella is two years old today, which is fun. We gave her her presents yesterday afternoon, which included Duplo and Stickle Bricks, as well as various books, a princess dress and a little table and chairs from Ikea. We're going to have a party for her in January, because everyone's calendar is too full right now.

Also, Isabella had a bit of a tumble, this week. Monday, I think. She was at day care, having lunch, when she kicked her chair back from the table, as she sometimes does, and she went over backwards and got a big bump on the back of her head. There weren't any symptoms of anything more serious than a bump (every so often she'd very sadly say "bump", so I'm pretty sure it hurt pretty badly), but we took her to the hospital, anyway, that evening, and she was a very brave girl, and behaved well for the doctors and nurses. Of course, it probably helped that we were only there for 20 minutes, and everything happened so fast that we didn't get a chance to sign the consent forms until everything was finished. Long story short, she was fine and the bump went down slowly over the next couple of days. I don't think it's even tender any more.

The heater died yesterday afternoon. And our bedroom is, for some reason, always the coldest place in the house. I've lit a fire, for the moment, and we're likely to be spending a fair amount of time at my mother-in-law's, but I'm really just hoping we can get it fixed or replaced before it gets really cold.

I've been catching up on the US version of Life on Mars in the last couple of days - I've seen the first three episodes so far. It's hard for me to judge how good it is because so far it's almost identical to the original, so I keep getting distracted by minor differences, like the fact that Ray Skelton doesn't look anything like he should. And the Mars Rovers, which are a little bit too literal for my taste. But I'm still enjoying it, so it must be at least partially good, right?

I'm about 2½ terabytes through copying my DVD collection to hard drive. In terms of shelf-space, I'm about two-fifths of the way through, I think. I've had a little trouble getting it to output to the TV, which is annoying. But I've ordered a couple of new adaptors, which might help. Hopefully, it'll take pride of place in the living room before you know it.

I think that's about everything. What about you?
killing things, dwarves, axe, pain, murder


Two things:

One: The new USS Enterprise looks freaking cool. I'm not entirely sold on the short engineering section yet, but overall, I like it a lot. Better than the 60's version, anyway. Best feature? The chromed-out warp nacelles.

Two: I'm pretty sure I saw Stardust in the cinema, so that would have been back in August last year. And I remember that almost as soon as I saw Tristan's sword, I fell in love with it; something about the proportions, the detailing and the utility of it combine to make it the most beautiful sword I'd ever seen. Anyway, earlier this yeah, I discovered that it was actually going into production, made by one of the finest armouries in the world. But, it was expensive, and swords and toddlers are probably not a good combination, so I sighed greatly and resigned myself to not getting it. Then, on Fathers' Day, Amy told me that she'd bought it for me, but it would be a month or so before it arrived. Oh, right. I mentioned this at the time, so if you have the memory of an elephant, this is old news to you. Anyway, they were (apparently) just going into production at the time, so I didn't get them right away.

In fact, it finally arrived yesterday! I got #24 of a run of 1,000, and it's even more beautiful in person than it is on the screen. Bloody heavy, though.

You have no idea how happy this makes me.