Archive for May, 2006

respect for tony

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Tony Blair is in Washington DC right now, and gave a press conference with George W yesterday. In the elevator this morning I heard a couple of guys commenting on it. One of the guys said how it’s amazing how articulate Blair is, and that it really shows up George Bush. Here’s what Bush himself had to say

I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know

Of course Blair is not popular in the UK (although considerably more popular than Bush is here, which again puts things in perspective) but you Brits reading this, remember: you could have it much, much worse.

and, he’s

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Not often I laugh out loud at work, but this very short video did the trick. Picture quality is bad, but that’s hardly the point as you’ll find out.

Originally seen on

lookit, continued

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

A few posts ago I mentioned Toby’s use of the command “lookit”. It turns out that it’s not just Minnesotan kids – long-serving Illinois senators use the word also.

bible blog

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Slate magazine is doing an interesting thing right now – Blogging the Bible – in which one of the editors is reading the bible from the start and commenting on the chapters. It’s subtitled “What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?” and background is here.

There was a section I just read which resonated with me due to a conversation Emma and I had on Sunday. I was saying that at church (and life in general) there seems to be an awful lot of thanking God for the good things that happen, but not much accountability for the bad things and I didn’t get why there wasn’t so much of a balance. Emma said that the concept of God being involved directly with human affairs is much more an Old Testament than New Testament idea – in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is (my broad understanding, and by broad I mean likely to be incorrect) supposed to move humans to do the work themselves. However, here’s an interesting note from the Bible blog:

God appears to Jacob in the dream and makes him an even better promise than He did to Abraham and Isaac. Not only will his descendants be everywhere, as He also offered Abraham and Isaac�God also makes this very personal commitment to Jacob: “Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

My wife and I have many evangelical Christian friends, and one thing that strikes me about them is that they have this Jacobian sense of God’s interest in their lives. Like Jacob, they feel that God/Christ is with them, and that God/Christ will not leave until He has done what He has promised them. But I don’t know any Jews who feel this way (or at least who talk this way). The Jews I know don’t act or talk as if they have a personal relationship with God. They pray to God and feel that God works in the world, but not that God takes a personal interest in them. (Of course it could be that I am friends with the wrong group of Jews.) Do Christians have more of this Old Testament sense of God acting in everyday life than Jews do? If so, why?

new toby photos

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

I hope you haven’t been holding your breath for new Toby photos because you wouldn’t be feeling too good after two whole months. Here are a few new Toby pics for your enjoyment. Two of his uncles are arriving here on Friday so I’m sure we’ll be taking more photos then.

really really late

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

OK, so it happened on April 29, but it’s really worth watching the video of Stephen Colbert laying into President Bush. Enjoy.

gator raid

Monday, May 15th, 2006

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post (and an excuse for that headline) about being in Florida – the extensive news about the unusually high number of alligator attacks in the last week. Three women have been attacked and killed in the last seven days, compared with only 17 fatalities from the animals over the past 58 years. I would assume that none will wander up to our hotel…

in orlando

Monday, May 15th, 2006

I’m in Orlando, Florida for a few days attending the StarEast software testing conference which is a little bit fun and a big bit useful. First observation is that software testers aren’t the most attractive bunch in the world, but I think that we’re generally better looking than software developers (and we like to set the bar low). I’m staying in the Rosen Centre Hotel which I guess is one of the many conference hotels around here – it’s right next door to the gigantic Orange County Conference Center and there are plenty more hotels within walking distance. It’s all a bit sculpted and landscaped but quite nice – plenty of palm trees and stuff. The strange thing about the hotel is that about 80% of the guests are software geeks and the rest seem to be Brits on vacation – it’s a slightly incongurous mix.

I had a good learning session on test management today, some of which reinforced and reassured about things we’re doing already, and tomorrow a session in improving test methodology and process. Probably not very exciting for people who aren’t in my line of work, but this is why they pay me the medium bucks and I find it quite interesting. The whole point is to make it so that when you’re building software you do it right first time, and even if you think the subject is esoteric and boring it probably has a fairly major affect on your life if you consider all the computer systems which touch your life every day.


Thursday, May 11th, 2006

One Minnesotan verbal thing Toby has picked up (apart from saying Minnessooodah like a true local) is the command “lookit!” Emma and I have tried and failed at getting him to say “look at it!” instead but it’s just not working. I thought it was just something kids say, but the more I listen to my local friends and co-workers, the more I realize it’s a local turn of phrase I had completely missed until now.

Toby used it quite effectively last night – he came through to our room about 5:30am but didn’t shut the door properly, and after a few minutes it creaked open on account of the windy weather outside (of course it was outside). Toby whispered spookily “Daddy – lookit! Who’s coming in?”


Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

If you live outside the US (or even inside) it is likely that you get a somewhat biased view of what “America” thinks, with regard to politics, at home and internationally. And one of the problems with the way people perceive a country is that they generally see that country through the lens of whoever is currently the leader.

So for example over the years I have spoken with several friends back in the UK about “America’s support” for the war in Iraq, social issues etc, where the impression comes across that non-Americans think that American is full of gun-totin’ yee-hawin’ bigots and there’s nothing much else happening. Well, of course there are a few of those people, just as in most countries – you generally have a spectrum of opinions and attitudes (look at support for the British National Party for example) but on the whole and contrary to many media impressions, America is generally a very sane and balanced place. Otherwise I don’t think I’d still be living here.

It’s certainly a lot more sane and balanced than many of those in power right now, and the people are expressing their disappointment more and more. To see this clearly, take a look at these amazing graphs from a poll out today, where you see disapproval for the President at near record levels. One stat which I think supports my view that this country is generally calm and sane is that more and more are finally “getting” that the Republican party (whose leadership have become more and more extreme in recent years) don’t in fact represent their moral values. In fact only 37% of respondents say that the Repubs do share their moral values, and 50% say that the Democratic party does.