Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: October 2004 (page 1 of 2)

The Man with 22 Clocks Hates DST

I really don’t care for daylight savings time. There are a couple of things I appreciate. The balance of getting more light earlier and later is a give and take. Mostly I really dislike how it disrupts my sleep pattern. It always seems to take a full week for me to get used to it. It’s like mini-jet lag without moving anywhere.

My method for dealing with it is very specific. I like to make sure I change every clock before I go to sleep, and then I wake up somewhat unaware that anything changed. I forgot to do that last night so I had to run around first thing this morning before I became cognizant of the time. As I was changing the 15th clock it dawned on me that we have household clock proliferation.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • Digital cameras all have clocks. Had to change two of these. Let’s see, there is enough computer in here to do amazing stuff with imaging but no ability to automatically change the clock?
  • Remote controls!? You bet. Two Philips Pronto’s with their own clocks. They can learn IR codes and do all sorts of gymnastics that make them worthwhile. Dealing with DST is not one of them.
  • One Polar wristwatch. It can tell me what my heart rate is and theoretically my VO2 Max but no clue about handling DST.
  • Microwave and ovens both have clocks, two more. I’m not going to blame them a lot since the electronics are so basic. But it sure would be easy to fix.
  • The phones have their own clock. Kudos to them for taking the time of the master unit so I don’t have to change it on every phone. But it has date and time, it’s trivial to adjust for DST as well!
  • I count at least 10 good ole’ clocks that I had to change. Can’t blame them, it’s just a AA battery with a clock mechanism.

Only devices to deal with this on their own are the computers and our TiVo. There has to be a better way.

Circus Juventas Boo Ball

Tammy and I volunteered at the Circus Juventas Boo Ball last night. I think it’s a fairly common thing that volunteering for small to medium sized events is generally a somewhat chaotic and unorganized event. We were initially given the task of “walk around and just help out with things” which was quickly turning into “you just get into the event for free” which I felt a little bad about. After all, didn’t seem like volunteering to me. In the end though we were asked to help direct people as they came to the event to get them into the right line — will call, cash or credit card. In short, we had a job that would have been done better by some moderately decent inanimate signage.

Some observations from our evening of volunteering…

The Boo Ball is a 21+ event and working the door we did get to check out all the costumes as people came in. The men didn’t really have any rhyme or reason to their costumes. There was a really good mummy and some notable scary looking costumes, but no prevailing theme. However, for the women the theme was clearly, shall we say, revealing? It seems that Halloween events must really be an excuse to look as trampy as you can without worrying what your girlfriends might say. I’m not complaining of course, this is just an observation.

Additionally, you would expect that queuing people into the right line would be a fairly simple task. And in fact, early comers to the event were fairly observant. However, you could tell the few drinks at the bar before hand as people arrived later significantly degraded their ability to comprehend anything quickly. A couple of times I thought I was explaining particle physics to someone looking for an answer to “Do you have tickets already?”.

The event was pretty cool. I’d recommend going to the Boo Ball as a participant in the future. If you are curious how the heck we ended up volunteering at Circus Juventas it is because Tammy and her sister are taking their adult circus classes. She loves it. I keep telling her to write something about it here, but she is shy. :-)

Got The Xbox

After vowing to never buy another video game system ever again after dumping more money than I care to even think about into the Dreamcast a few years ago and before that into the cutting edge 3DO I finally broke down and bought an Xbox.

Why did I buy an Xbox then?

Mod Chips. The Xbox has proven to be one of the most modifiable consoles out there. For not a lot of money I can get a mod chip that snaps onto the board and replace the hard drive with a whopper 200G drive and instantly I’ve got a really fun, media center type PC.

You can FTP files to it, it can play music, photos, videos off of your network. You can copy entire movies to it, even entire Xbox games. How cool!

I just got the unit last night and am getting myself a mod chip now so I can rig it up with everything that I want. Out of the box it’s not all that exciting. Homebrew apps on your Xbox — very fun!

Electronic Voting Software

I’m sitting here watching 60 Minutes tonight and they are doing a piece on electronic voting. If there is one place where I would say that open source would make a lot of sense, how about this? The software that these systems run sounds horrible and has almost no security mechanisms included in it.

This problem can be solved, these companies just seem to be pathetic.

I [Heart] Huckabees

Tammy and I enthusiastically went to see I Heart Huckabees last night at the Uptown. We had seen a preview a while ago and it was completely confusing but hooked us in a big way. I won’t try to explain this movie. You can imagine that a movie that is focused around existential detectives may be a little odd. It is. And the cast is great. Highly recommended.

The movie isn’t in general release yet, it will be released this Friday. A hidden bonus of seeing it in limited release were some free Huckabees t-shirts. :-)

Grand Superior Getaway

This past weekend we spent our weekend up on the North Shore just north of Two Harbors, MN at the Grand Superior Lodge. Tammy and I drove up on Friday with a dinner stop at Bellisio’s in Canal Park in Duluth. Tammy’s family joined us and we turned this weekend into the first Olson family vacation.

We had breakfast at the Rustic Inn Cafe just across from the lodge on Saturday and then made our way to Tettegouche State Park to check out the falls. The weather was very cold, just barely above freezing. The hiking was scrapped because of the weather being so cold. We celebrated two brother-in-law birthdays that evening with dinner back in Duluth at Angie’s Cantina.

Sunday morning we went to Gooseberry Falls. A trip to the North Shore isn’t complete without seeing Gooseberry and the weather was much better this day. We hiked out to the shore of Lake Superior and admired the water for a while. Everybody else took off to head back home that afternoon and Tammy and I spent another day at the lodge on our own just reading and watching a movie.

We had a great breakfast at Betty’s Pies, another North Shore staple, and then headed back to the cities. It was a nice time, if a little cold. I put some pictures up from the weekend as well.

Uncivil War

The Uncivil War is not a book I would have typically purchased for myself. It was sent to me along with an invitation to a discussion group. Humorously enough it was sent by a law firm while Lebedoff goes on at some length about how lawyers are one of the specific groups that typically make up his unimaginatively titled “New Elite”. I’ve been particularly interested in the presidential campaign this year and this book showed up at the right time so I decided to give it a read.

Lebedoff’s text describes a “New Elite” that he believes are fundamentally against majority rule, which he ascribes as one of the most important functions of the American democracy. He believes that this New Elite is in the process of trying to take America away from Americans. While Lebedoff proclaims the book to be non-partisan it is somewhat hard to believe as he spends the first 170 pages of the book showing how Democrat = Liberal = New Elite and how the Republican = Conservative = The Left Behinds. The Left Behinds are his name for those that believe that the majority is right.

It’s hard to swallow his naming and categorization of people in these bins. Perhaps any text that tries to take such a simple approach to the American public is bound to have these type of problems. Perhaps it’s also my own personal beliefs that conflict with Lebedoff’s and make his theories seem so conspiracy theorist and convoluted. Of course the author could simply write me off by saying that I were one of the New Elite. As any prejudiced label is bound to do, it makes the argument simple by writing off the opposing opinion. Something that he proclaims the New Elite does all the time.

It took 180 pages and nearly the entire book for Lebedoff to make any reference to a republican agenda or elected official as a member of the new elite. He picks Newt Gingrich and even when he does he pardons Gingrich with temporarily using New Elite tactics. Please…

I do believe there is a “New Elite” but it’s not limited to liberals and educated people. There clearly is a desire to minimize the majority electoral practice in favor of the game of politics. And both parties are equally guilty of this.

As a final note, I found it somewhat revealing that while the author goes on and on about majority rule and how important it is he makes no reference to the fact that Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and lost the election. As Lebedoff even uses this election as an example of the success of the Left Behinds, I find it surprising that there was no reference to an action that flies clearly in the face of what Lebedoff suggests is so critical to the future of America.

Defending the Caveman

Last night Tammy and I went to Defending the Caveman by Rob Becker. I’d heard this was a really funny show and was not disapointed. Becker’s 100 minutes of reflection made me laugh pretty hard.

It’s worth checking out if you have the opportunity.

Team America

This Tuesday we got the opportunity (Thanks Chad!) to go and see a sneak preview of Team America. This is the newest movie from the creators of South Park. The schtick for this is that the entire thing is filmed using puppets. I have to admit that I found the fight seens with puppets banging against each other and strings clearly visible was pretty funny.

Don’t go to this expecting any cerebral entertainment. If you went to anything from the creators of South Park expecting something other than just mindless chuckles you are sadly confused. It’s a funny movie, and the political overtones are humorous. However, I may wait and catch this one on video rather than shell out hard earned dollars for it.

Way to go France!

I wouldn’t say that I’m a Francophile, but blocking cell phone signals in theatres sounds like a great idea to me!

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