Confusing names

Santiago’s is our favorite Mexican take out restaurant. 

Frank ran over to Santiago’s for take out on Friday. 

Saturday in the car Jacob asked "Did you go to Santiago’s house yesterday?"  Turns out Santiago is also the name of a boy on Jacob’s baseball team.  He was feeling a bit left out!


She’s 400!

Heard the day after my birthday, through the open window:

Stormy is older than you!  She’s 400!

I know I’m a year older but I don’t feel quite that old yet!

Stuck in DC

I’m in Washington DC and it’s the first time I’ve wanted to go home early and just couldn’t because the flights are all full.  It’s a strange feeling.  (I have been stranded due to snow storms before but the last time that happened I had Frank to keep me company.)

Luckily, it’s not a bad thing to be stuck in DC since I have great collegues to hang out with during the day and my cousin Leif is an excellent city host and has made dinner plans for us.

What are the Netflix bar codes for?

It sounds like the NetFlix bar codes are for sorting the movies that are outbound from Netflix.  From this NPR segment, NPR : Netflix Manuever Draws Legal Fight, I learned that:

  • returned movies are opened by hand and an employee manually checks that the DVD matches the envelope and that there are no visible scratches,
  • the movies are then immediately put in an envelope,
  • the envelopes are tailored for the post office system to ensure speedy processing,
  • Netflix sorts the movies by zip code before they deliver them to the post office.

So it sounds like it doesn’t matter if you line up the bar code with the hole in the envelope.  Which makes sense because it’s not orientated to be the default way you’d put the DVD in.

Always save room for dessert

"I only had two brownies because I was saving room for dessert."
– Jacob at the dinner table

Registering for Gifts: Advice you won’t get in a book

If you ever go to register for gifts, I have one piece of advice that I didn’t hear or find anywhere.  Discuss with your significant other (or whoever is registering with you) what is appropriate to register for and what isn’t.

We knew what we needed – I had read all the books and made a list and Frank had lots of good ideas and advice from first hand experience.  What we didn’t agree on was what was appropriate to register for.  It’s already uncomfortable enough to be making a list – it feels like you are asking for things – that you really should discuss these things before you get to the store.

Here’s some things you should think about:

  • Is it appropriate to register for lots of "big ticket items"?  Will you feel like someone spent too much if they get one of them?
  • Should you select exactly what you want (this pooh-bear hat) or are you just selecting things to give people an idea of what you need or like?
  • Should you register for toys that you don’t "need" but would really like to have?
  • Should you register for all those little items that you’ll need but aren’t typically considered gift items like diaper rash cream and baby soap?
  • How many of each thing should you register for?  Are you going to feel greedy if you register for eight bibs instead of two?

Obviously, nobody has to buy you anything, much less anything you registered for, so it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal what you register for or don’t, but I really felt like we were asking people for something and it made me hyperconsious of everything we put on the list.  At one point Frank said, we shouldn’t register for that thing because we can afford it.  And my response was, we could afford everything on the list! So he said, that’s why I didn’t want to register.  To which I responded but people are going to buy us things anyway and most of them like knowing what we need!  We want to make sure we don’t get 30 bibs!  (Or do we want 30 bibs?)

What a useful but strange and awkward custom is all I can say in retrospect.

P.S.  Did you know you need a swing and a bouncy seat for a baby?  The book said so and I didn’t believe it so I made it a swing "or" a bouncy seat and Frank (who thinks I’m a bit silly for reading all the books) was very adament about the fact that we needed both of them.  Maybe we ought to give the baby our room and move into the smaller one ourselves. 🙂

New Digital Camera! Canon PowerShot SD450 Reviews. Digital cameras Reviews by CNET.

I got a new camera!  I’ve had it for about a week and I love it.  I ended up buying the Canon SD450.  It’s about the size and weight of the Panasonic I was looking at but without the extra zoom (it has 3x zoom) and with a viewfinder.  Now that I have it, I realize that with such a nice screen on the back, I’m not likely to ever use the viewfinder.  So next time I don’t think I’ll make a viewfinder a requirement – that way I could have gotten more zooming power.

What’s nice about having a Canon is that all the menus and buttons work pretty much like my old Canon so it was really easy to get up and running.

If you are interested in how long it takes digital cameras to actually take a picture (remember I was looking for a camera that took the picture when I hit the button, not 5 seconds later), CNET has the best reviews.  Click on Review and then on Performance.  Remember to check how long the camera takes to come on, how long it takes to take a picture without the flash and how long it takes to take a picture with the flash.  (A friend of mine has a little Fujifilm and he’s really proud of how fast it turns on and takes a picture, but if you use the flash, it’s really slow.)

Canon PowerShot SD450 Reviews. Digital cameras Reviews by CNET

A Star Is Made – New York Times

I seem to have a theme lately of "what to do with your life" and this quote resonated.  According to research done by the authors of Freakonomics, practice is more important than talent; you are just more likely to practice what you like so you end up being good at what you like.  (Or vice versa.)  From A Star Is Made – New York Times.

when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t "good" at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don’t possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.

So the key is figuring out what you enjoy doing whether you are good at it or not yet.

Digital Cameras

I’ve been talking about buying a new digital camera for years now and it’s time.  However, comparing the all of the features is difficult.  My primary requirements are:

  • Small.  The smaller the better as I’m much more likely to actually carry it around and take pictures.  (If my cell phone camera were better quality it would work great.)
  • Fast pictures.  I want to hit the button and have it take a picture right then, not 2 seconds later.

Nice to have would be:

  • Easy to use.
  • Lots of optical zoom.
  • Lots of presettings, like outdoor, close up, etc.

So far I’ve found two:

Comments?  Suggestions?  Other cameras you like?  Other places to look for reviews?