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Political Climate Control

Lots of political stuff going around, and it’s just depressing. Why are we becoming either devout Republicans or bleeding heart liberals? Where did the middle ground go? An election should NEVER be about getting more of your color to beat out the other one in the US map. That implies that someone is wrong. There is no wrong in politics, is there? Every opinion matters, and sometimes you give a little and sometimes it goes your way. I generally vote Democrat simply because I can’t endorse a party that, among other things, believes gay marriage should even be up for a vote, ever. HOW can you not see that severely limits the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness? However, I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed that the parties are coming back in balance, but unfortunately, I think that means the bickering and pissing matches will prevent anything from actually getting done. I guess, what I’m saying is, we’re all doing it wrong.

California Prop 8

I’m not from California, and I’m not gay, but it’s still a shame to me that a liberal state such as California can’t overturn a proposition to hate other people.  You know what, same-sex marriage doesn’t make me treasure my marriage and relationship with my wife any less.  I can’t say that I understand being gay… I understand being in love, but that’s probably the extent to which I could truly empathize with a gay couple.  Then again, I don’t really understand Judaism, but I don’t think Jewish people shouldn’t be allowed to marry.  So, Prop 8 supporters, who are you to tell everyone gay people can’t have the same level of relationship as you?  We’re all just people, right?  We all have the same inalienable rights, do we not?  I don’t care how you feel about the issues personally; your lack of understanding and sympathy must never deny other people their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Quite an eventful day

Today (October 16th, technically yesterday) was a bit of a strange day for me.  Around 11:15 or 11:30 at work, we noticed the not entirely unusual din of sirens were all stopping nearby.  Then we noticed a flood of people coming out of the building next door.  There were cops all around.  The one we could see most clearly was very adamantly stopping people from driving near the building.  Several people attempted to re-enter and were quickly turned around.  We couldn’t really see anything but people outside, though.  Then, maybe 20 minutes later, we hear that we are to evacuate our building (200 South Hanley).  Not a huge deal, a break from work on a gorgeous, if slightly cool, day.

Throng of people lined up along Hanley doesn’t really know what’s going on.  I heard everything from having to do with Barack Obama (who will be in town on Saturday) to an explosion or bomb of some sort.  After about an hour standing around, we hear it would be at least 4 hours to get back into our building, so we should just go home.  I park in the lot under the building where all this is happening, so, I have no car.  By this time, word on the street is that it was a bomb, also heard a description of a pretty badly-injured person.  Several people felt it and heard it, but I did not.  Figuring there was not a chance I’d see my car anytime soon, I hitched a ride with someone that parks in our building.

Turns out, word on the street was pretty much right.  A packaged incendiary device in the parking garage exploded and severely injured one man, though the press release said “non life threatening”.  So, at some point today, I was parking my car in the garage, and someone could have been planting a bomb then.  That is really pretty terrifying!  I parked way down on the lowest level and this all took place on the highest level that I believe is only for tenants of the adjacent condo high-rise, but still.  I’ve heard that anyone parked in that garage can now be escorted to their car, and I would imagine they will still be fairly tight about security tomorrow – I suppose I’ll find out.

I hope I don’t see another day that eventful for quite some time.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Seeing

Ok, so the title is a shameless play on a book I’ve never read.  Be that as it may, back in, let’s call it May, when my blog was down, I saw a bumper sticker on my drive home and immediately wanted to comment on it.  It was yellow and had a little picture of a motorcycle and the text “Start Seeing Motorcycles”.  Perhaps it was all caps, don’t recall.  First, I get the point, and I appreciate that all drivers could pay a little more attention to motorcycles.  I just think it becomes hilarious if you interpret it as “Start ‘seeing’ motorcycles”.  As in, start hallucinating motorcycles!  It’s a directive… these people are telling me, “regardless of what you think you are seeing, start seeing some damn motorcycles!  Now!”

And you know what, I think I do see more motorcycles.  Maybe I’m crazy (Nikki can help you with that one), but I didn’t think we had a motorcycle in our living room before.  Try it yourself.  Next time you are driving, or eating, or counting your fingers and toes for the 80th time just to make sure they are all still there (hey, you’re the one doing it, and yes, it makes you weird), I implore you to start seeing motorcycles (as if you weren’t already… but yes, more).

Music reviews

Just a quick note to let anyone interested know that I’ve set up a music review blog.  I used to post one giant mega-review once a year about all the music I found that year.  It was kind of a nightmare to get the information right, really long, and probably not interesting to family and friends.

It’s called Meine Lieblingsmusik (roughly “my-nuh lee-blings-moo-zick”) which means My Favorite Music.  You can find it at meinelieblingsmusik.wordpress.com.

That is all, thank you.

Happy 1st, Sam!

Today our son is one year old.  Just about 1 year and 15 minutes ago (born at 9:15 am) Nikki and I met our little bundle of joy.  He was perfect.  We still think he is.  Nikki has written more about his milestones and day-to-day activities, so check her blog out if you want to know about that.  I just wanted to write a little about how my life has changed in this first year.  Above all, he has the power to make everything else seem so trivial.  Have a bad day?  I just pick him up and get a smile and then it’s a much better day (Nikki, that’s not to say you don’t cheer me up too, you do).

At first, knowing that we alone were providing for him was scary.  I was pretty nervous-I had no idea what I was doing.  But, I found that it really didn’t matter.  You learn because you have to, it’s not a choice.  Too tired to take care of him?  Apparently not, we always managed to muster enough strength between the two of us to keep going.  And looking back, we must have done alright… he’s just such a happy baby.  I feel very blessed.  I feel almost guilty because we’ve heard of difficult babies, and that just never was Sam.  We’re planning to ride this roller coaster again, so maybe we’ll get that, but I now know we’ll do just fine.

One year old seemed so far off, even just a month or a few weeks ago.  This morning we went out for breakfast, he still doesn’t seem like a one-year-old.  He’s the same Sam we’ve loved all along.  Of course, when I see him pulling up with ease and eating chicken nuggets, I do wonder how we got here so quickly!  Now that we’re at one year, I’ll just go ahead and say that two years old sounds insane.  He’ll be talking and running around, he’ll look different, he’ll probably be excited about his birthday.  What will this next year hold in store?  Let’s find out!

REPOST: Excel Graybar

Repost from my old blog so I can refer to this in a new post:

I really thought I had posted this, but I can’t find it. I like when printed Excel sheets have some formatting to let you scan the page easily, and graybar (or greenbar) is usually the best way to format. If you just need something very simple, probably the easiest way to get graybar in Excel is to use Conditional Formatting. Here’s what you do:

  1. Select the range you want formatted
  2. Click Format | Conditional Formatting…
  3. Change the dropdown to “Formula Is”
  4. Type in the formula: =MOD(ROW(), 2) = 0
  5. Click the “Format…” button and set your formatting – background color is on the Patterns tab, but you can apply any formatting you want… bold, outline, etc.

This will apply the formatting to even rows and not odd rows. If you add or remove rows, the formatting will adjust because it’s based on the row number. If you need the ODD rows to have the formatting, the formula is MOD(ROW(), 2) = 1. You can even click the “Add >>” button and use both formulas to apply different formatting to both even and odd rows.


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Thanks

I would like to thank Mike Hellrich for hosting a couple redirects for me while I sort out my web server problems.