Monday, June 27, 2005

Potty training song

STOP do not read below if you are not a parent! (Contains frank language about using the bathroom and really bad rhymes.)

I'm thinking about potty training my daughter. She has other ideas however. She's decided that diapers are the way to go. I made up this song in an attempt to convince her wearing panties will be great. (She, being a bright child, changed the words around to support diapers)

Bye bye diapers.
Hello panties.
When I was a little girl
I wore diapers all the time.
Now that I'm a bigger girl
Panties I'm so glad your mine.

I wear my panties on my bum,
I pull them down with my thumb,
I put them down near my feet,
Then I take a potty seat.


My tinkle likes to come right out
When I'm done I give a shout
I flush it down, down below
where the other tinkles go.


I wash my hands when I'm done
Pottying is so much fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Credit Card Security Codes

The latest thing to prevent credit card fraud is to ask you to enter the three digit security code on the back of the card. According to this NY Times article, only 56% of merchants use it. I'm all for whatever cuts down on fraud. However, I wonder how long this will remain useful. It will stop people who get your number off a receipt or something. It will not stop people who 1) steal your credit card 2) steal your credit card number and security code from merchants who request the security code. The only way this will work is if the merchants who require the security code do not store it anywhere. If they do store the number, in effect, all this security code does is make your credit card number longer.

I suspect it will be effective for a little while, but only while it isn't widely adopted.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Recipes for left over pot roast

Here are some ideas of things to do with left over pot roast:
  • soup
  • pasties (cut up the meat, potatoes, carrots and put them inside biscuit dough and bake)
  • meat pie
  • stroganoff (I tried this the other day and it was very good)
  • sandwiches

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Save PBS

I just read an article talking about a House bill that would cut all public money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with in 2 years. Government money currently makes up about 15% of the money. A lot of the money comes from endowments and from "viewers like you".

This article talks about how loosing government money would be a good thing for PBS, allowing it freedom to broadcast more controversial programs. It suggests allowing the public stations to sell part of the bandwidth that they control to make up the money.

I love PBS. I watch it regularly. My daughter loves Arthur and Cyberchase. I let her watch them because I trust PBS. They teach good concepts and show characters working out problems. I love NOVA and Antiques Roadshow (and the lack of commercials). I like that it shows educational programs that the other network stations don't.

If the government pulls out, where would the missing money come from? I have my doubts that the PBS stations would be allowed to sell or lease bandwidth, and I am sure there are plenty of stations whose bandwidth is nearly worthless. The easiest way to make up the 15% is through advertising. A lot of PBS stations already use this method, but they would probably make it more blatant. Another option is longer telethons where they try to raise money (no!!!!!!!). The final option is to just not make as many new shows.

I don't know if the government pulling out is such a good idea. The Slate article talks about how it will allow more freedom, but I like PBS conservative (at least during children's programming). The government funding keeps it in line with what the current administration likes. In theory, the current administration reflects the feelings of those in America (since we are a democratic republic and all). Having that money tie helps keep PBS more with the public. There was an episode of Post Cards From Buster that was pulled and I was glad it was. Some people will say it is up to the parents to monitor what their children are watching, and it is. But I prefer to avoid major tantrums, and when a show becomes untrustworthy, we don't watch it any more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My advice for cooking reality shows

Here's my advice to contestants after watching a few of these cooking reality shows:
  1. Do not cook lamb unless asked explicitly to do so. Out of about 5 tries on four shows, only one person got it right.
  2. Do what the host asks - if you are given time to cook, cook. If you are somewhere famous, use local ingredients.
I'll add more as I think of them.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hollywood's Boogeyman

I read this article in the NYTimes. Basically it said that 50% more users had video files of over 150 megs and they had 16 or more, an increase from 8 from last year. So apparently the studios are concerned. My question is, why are they assuming these files are illegal?

I have a lot of video files on my hard drive, but none of them are illegal. We have a digital camcorder and make DVDs. We record shows off of TV (still legal last time I checked). We back up some of the VHS tapes we have. All these create big video files.

I have deep-seated miss trust of the Hollywood studios. I don't doubt they will do their best to overplay the pirating problem to try and justify some new laws to take away fair use customs.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


The weather in Utah here has been a little odd. It is June; why is it cold enough that I still have to run my furnace?

Friday, June 03, 2005

One thing I hate about homework...

I read an article on about how assigning more homework doesn't necessarily improve grades (sorry link is down). I got to thinking about all the homework I had to do growing up. I'm one of those people who always did all the homework and reading. Do I think I got a better education than those that skated by? I hope so.

One thing that bothered me about math homework is that the teacher would assign some problems that were very hard. Now making me think isn't a bad thing, but I want it done fairly, so there is some hope of me being able to figure it out on my own. Many times, none of the examples showed anything similar or if they did, they didn't go far enough so I could extrapolate how to proceed.

In college it got worse. I had one computer science teacher (great guy by the way) who assigned problems he thought looked "interesting" before trying to do them himself. These problems tended to be ones that originally were people's master thesis or even their PhD work. How I'm supposed to recreate overnight (literally) a proof that someone else probably spent months on is beyond me.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My (Useless) Pregnancy Advice

I've had 2 children. While this hardly qualifies me as an expert, here's my advice:
  1. It doesn't matter if the hospital you choose has jetted tubs, you won't get to use them. I was so excited to be able to use the jetted tubs during labor at the hospital, however I couldn't because the first time, I was on internal monitors and the second time I was on internal monitors and the hospital was so full I gave birth in the admittance room.
  2. Your baby will choose to come at the same time as every one else's. (see above)
  3. Feed your baby whenever he/she wants (especially if this is your first baby). Some people say, put your baby on schedule. Unless you are exceptionally lucky, your baby won't care about the advice and will just cry until fed. After a few months your baby will settle into a pattern. My daughter was exceptionally bad and ate every hour and a half until she was six months old (this means I had an hour between the the end of one feeding and beginning of the next.) She was born underweight and trying to catch up.
  4. Babies aren't any fun for the first 3 months. Newborns are unattractive (don't worry, you'll think your baby is the exception), don't smile, and mostly cry, wet their diapers, and eat. If you can survive the first three months, things get better from there.
  5. Take your baby on walks if weather permits. Most babies love the outdoors and will stop crying.
  6. A front pack is a great thing, especially if you have a toddler too.
  7. If you like to read, a handheld / PDA is a good investment. I bought a Sony Clie SJ-20 for about $50 on ebay. It was some of the best money I've spent. With a memory stick, I can fit about 30+ books on it. While my baby is eating in the middle of the night I can read, and since the screen is backlit I can keep the room dark. The battery life was great too, I recharge it about once a week.
  8. Get a comfortable recliner. I recommend La-Z-boy. I've slept in the recliner with my babies for the first few months. My babies slept longer on me than they would otherwise and when they were hungry, I was right there to feed them and didn't have to get up. I also didn't have to worry about them getting used to sleeping in my bed. After a certain point, it stops being comfortable, but by then the baby should was used to sleeping his own bed courtesy of day time naps. (This only works if you are a relative light sleeper and don't move around much)
  9. You will probably crave Arby's beef and cheddar sandwiches. They were the greatest thing in the world when I was pregnant. The red ranch sauce is amazing.
  10. If you want, go for a natural child birth, but be ready to take the drugs. I've tried twice and had an epidural twice. If your labor stalls, get the epidural. For me, as soon as I didn't feel any pain, the baby was born with in an hour.
  11. Average labor lasts 12 hours.