Friday, August 10, 2007

Serious Back Pain

I have had chronic but intermittent bad to serious to severe back pain for thirty years now. It returned last Sunday night. I was sitting in the easy chair (known to be dangerous for my back) for much of the day. A little after 10 PM I got up to put the laptop back on the desk and got a flash of server pain in the same place I always get the pain. It almost dropped me to the floor. In fact I would have gone down but for the expensive equipment in my hands.

I had a very difficult night, and was barely able to get out of bed in the morning. There was no way I could go to work. In fact, I was not able to go to work any day this week.

Web 2.0 and stock watching

When my dad died I received a small inheritance from his IRA. It had been all invested in (bad) index funds (see below). I let those ride for 90 days and then sold them. While I had them though, I tracked them manually with Yahoo Finance and Google Docs, by setting up a spreadsheet which calculated the net change month to month of each, and the annualized change. I had to enter the monthly prices of each for the spreadsheet to do the calculation though.

I just discovered Google's Finance blog, which appears to have code that will automate that process (and probably more). It's Web 2.0 also. So it's an opportunity for me to play with one technique to help me track and learn something else. (Not that I've replaced the sold index funds with anything else at this point.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Better Living Through Chemistry

Last night I was able to help Chuck Goolsbee with a little advice about his home chemistry program for converting waste vegetable oil to usable oil for diesel engines. Thanks for the nice compliment!

OmniGraffle Extras

Was reading Global Guerrillas this morning and JR wrote a post saying that he thinks Omni Graffle is
...the best drawing and diagramming tool ever...
Good for the OmniCrew to get the recognition, and it's interesting to observe the ongoing development of somebody else who is discovering how much more useful OSX and its associated tools are than Windows.

But that's not my story here. I thought I'd write a comment about OG Pro and hopped over to the site to get the info. While there I saw a link to Omni Graffle Extras and realized that I've never looked for the extras for OmniGraffle. I dropped into that and found some cool stencils and scripts. Downloaded a bunch of interesting sounding extras (Maps, WorldMaps, AddressBookChart, CashFlow, Periodic Table, Walkthroughs, Origami, etc) and now have to start experimenting with them.

In fact, the first experimenting I have to do is with one of the extras that is a tutorial for how to best use and implement OG and OGP. This could be really helpful and useful, especially for this graphically-impaired word person...

Addition: Graffletopia

Surf report Saturday

Writing on Sunday about surfing Saturday morning. A colleague is here in Santa Monica from
Cambridge and wants to learn how to surf. He dropped into cubicleland on Friday and I showed him some of the important websites (e.g. CDIP) to refer to when prepping for going out. Being an analyst, I also described to him how to analyze the data - tides, swell, time of day, wind - to have a good idea of what to expect. Much of it went over his head, but at least he's not completely in the dark.

On Saturday we went out, 8 AM. He did not have a wetsuit, but the water is warm and so I took him out sans wetsuit. Also, I put him on a boogie board for his first go-out, so I could watch him handle himself in the water and start to teach him a bit about reading the incoming swell. Also, having a first-timer go out on a boogie is easier for them to feel the incoming energy and learn how to adjust to it without the extra problem of going from prone to standing up while the board is accelerating and changing angle of attack.

At about :30 minutes out I switched him over to my long board, and by the end of an hour (he was cold by then) he'd already caught and stood up on two waves. Woohoo!

From there we went back home and showered off, then down to Horizons West where we bought him a spring suit. Since he's here for the next two months on an exchange program, I decided to show him around town a bit. We walked south on Main from H.W. to Finn MacCool's Irish Pub, a block past Ocean Park Blvd., and back. I think he enjoyed the walk and the tour.

I decided to lend him my longboard for a few days while we look for a board for him to buy. (I was not able to go out Sunday morning and he wanted to.) Back to my place and we loaded up the longboard into my car and returned him to his place north of Wilshire.

Being Dutch he is also looking for a bicycle to get around town with, and I've introduced him to the Big Blue Bus as well.

Friday, August 03, 2007

So many movies, so little time...

The new Jason Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, opened at 12 AM last night locally and is playing locally. That's a must-see for me (Salon review). I plan to see the new Harry Potter movie in 3D at the local IMAX theater in Culver City. Also in the "want to see" category...
  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Transformers
  • La Vie en Rose (fr)
  • Goya's Ghosts
  • Knocked Up
  • El Cantante
  • Once
  • My Best Friend (fr)
  • Moliere (fr)
  • The Long Goodbye
  • Paris, je t'aime (fr)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
Some of the above are high priority and some are low, but even the high priority titles are a long list.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Flat City

Surf check this morning and the surf is so small that it was like a lake. I was going to post a picture from the CDIP, but it seems to be down. Waah.