Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Braylon is a handful, as I'm sure everyone who has ever had a puppy will be all like "duh" about. On one hand, I haven't slept for more than 3 hours since Sunday. But on the other hand:

Sophie continues to warm up to him and even seems to approach him with curiosity. She hasn't eaten nearly as much in the last few days because she's afraid to let her guard down. Today we discovered that she will let him get as close as he wants, as long as she has potential energy on her side.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


(more here)

The timing was right yesterday that Danielle and I decided to get a puppy. She had been talking about getting a black lab for more than a year now, but insisted we get it as young as possible to have it through those precious first few weeks. "We'll get it after school ends" became "the day school ends" became "sometime this week" became "today!" after a breeder in the paper had a male, 7 week old black lab ready to go home. The parents were on site and very friendly and healthy looking, so we decided to go ahead with it.

Braylon was shy and scared at first. We took him on walks outside and he followed right with us, but his independence today made us think that yesterday was just because he was scared. Due either to good timing on our part or instincts on his, he's only peed inside the house twice (at night), so that's a 90% successful "outside" rate. Today he ran around much more free from us and played more aggressively when he was in the mood. We think he's just getting more comfortable with his home.

The nights will be difficult. We're already setting alarms for 2:00 and 4:00 to make sure he doesn't eliminate in his cage. So for several weeks I'll not sleep for more than a few hours. Last night he cried a lot, but we may not have introduced him to the crate properly and did not have it sized right, or in the bedroom. We're learning too. And, heck, we took him away from his parents and siblings and put him in a scary new place; I'd yell all night too.

This is going to be a lot of work, but it's work we're eager to do. I will keep updating this with more information and stories as the little guy grows. But right now, it's time for a vigorous play session so he's absolutely exhausted by the time I go to bed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Notes on the first bike commute

  • Awake by 7:00, out the door by 7:55 (ironed 2 items), 3 red lights, arrived 8:15, ready to work by 8:30. Barely enough time to cool off and be ready.

  • It was 43 degrees outside. This helped me not sweat, but I think I went slower to avoid the icy breeze.

  • About 10 degrees warmer would be ideal.

  • Except for a quarter-mile climb out of the apartment complex driveway, the entire ride is downhill or flat. This means the entire way home is uphill.

  • Burning an extra 300 calories means more food fuel is needed. I need to pack a yogurt or something extra.


  • The ride home wasn't bad despite being uphill. Probably because I don't care how I look or feel at that point.

  • The sidewalk on West River, only on the east side of the road, ends abruptly before the 131 exit ramp. This means I either need to stay on the 45mph road at all times, or dangerously cross before a 3-way intersection and a highway.

  • The last quarter mile being all downhill is nice. I can easily coast to 30mph, and probably higher if I time the light at Ball correctly.

  • Imagine the worst thing each car can do as it passes, then expect it to do just that. More often than not, it will.

Monday, May 19, 2008

biking to work

Tomorrow morning I will begin riding my bike to work. There are many reasons for this: $4 gas, my health, the environment's health, and the short 3.7 mile commute. My only concerns are how wrinkled my clothes will get on the way and whether my incredible sweatiness will stink up the office. I plan to remedy those problems by rolling them and bringing a towel/deodorant, respectively.

It's worth noting that my cumulative work-related commuting is already very small. Even though I have had a full-time job for 21 of the last 22 months, I've only driven a grand total of 1,300 miles to work. By contrast, the average American commutes 16 miles one way, for a total of 14,700 miles over the same 21-month period. Average!

This means for the average American who started a job at the same time as I did, they drove more miles in their first eight weeks of work than I've driven in the 18 months since.

Here's hoping the cool weather keeps me dry.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Obama in GR

Senator Obama is making his first appearance in Michigan in 9 months in downtown Grand Rapids this week. Danielle and I are going to try to get in as soon as I get out of work. I hope we get a chance to see him, but if we don't, I can't complain about too much interest and the arena filling to capacity two hours early.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Michigan Logic

I wondered whether Senator Clinton was going to emerge Wednesday with more negative attacks, race-baiting, and general punch-throwing, or show a more sensible side that suggests that not destroying the Democratic Party from the inside is in her best interest. Of course, it was the former, in the few sentences that didn't mention her heroic victories in Michigan and Florida (those tough contests versus "Uncommitted"). At this point, the only way she can win the nomination is a superdelegate coup. Though the rules don't necessitate it, it's time for her to get out of the way and stop trying to move the goalposts 50/56ths of the way through the competition.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Last month, Facebook rolled out yet another separate, non-standard, not-supported-anywhere-else, no-API chat network to deal with, making the site noisier than ever before (something I hardly thought was possible). Not wanting to be locked into their stupid walled garden, I was excited to hear about Digsby, the first program to include Facebook chat in its multi-chat protocol.

I tried out Digsby this weekend and I think I'll keep it (sorry, Pidgin). Digsby does all the cool things I require in a chat client that Pidgin also offered: Tabbed browsing, grouping contacts' accounts under one alias, inline status display, rollover buddy info display.

But it adds some interesting chat features, including extremely customizable layouts of both the buddy list and chat windows, allowing me to maximize screen space or icon size or whichever I want.

The main draw is its integration with the Facebook chat network. What's cool is how its integration with Facebook goes beyond just adding the chat: It harvests and displays your entire mini-feed accessible via rollover. Unobtrusive pop up windows notify of sign ons and sign offs like usual, but also IMs received. A window with a single-line text input box appears to quickly reply to IMs. Additionally, these windows can notify of Facebook events basically as they happen, and GMail messages too. It would do the same things for Twitter if I had an account.

Its drawbacks are few: It eats up a huge memory footprint, but the developers are aware of that issue. Also, I wish I could pick a different font color to distinguish the screenname from the status line below it. But since I didn't have any configuration options for that display at all before this week, that's hardly something to complain about.

So basically, in addition to being the most comprehensive multi-protocol chat client available, it's a real-time RSS feed reader for your friends' activities. GMail, GMail chat, AIM, and Facebook are all things I participate in daily anyway, so aggregating them into one place - without input needed from me to view updates - will save a great deal of time.