Archive for February, 2007

blogger import to wordpress

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

You may remember through the hazy mists of time that this blog wasn’t always on WordPress – I used to use Blogger but gave up due to “New” Blogger’s non-support of blogs hosted on non-Google servers. When I got WordPress up and running, importing my Blogger blog was quite a chore. Today I saw that an import tool for New Blogger has been released – I’m sure it’s considerably easier than what I went through (it was fun though).

superbowl

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

Just finished watching the Superbowl – for someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about football it seemed to me to be a pretty fun game. The weather in Miami was pretty bad – rain all the way through – but that maybe made me enjoy it more because there was more randomness. I was glad that we hadn’t spent loads of money on a high def TV – the weather meant that rain got on the TV camera lenses so a lot of the pictures were quite blurry; I’m sure our regular old set worked just fine.

Prince seemed pretty good at half time – a tad self-indulgent perhaps so people who weren’t already Prince fans possibly wouldn’t have been into it but I was impressed. The ads – meh – not too memorable (here’s a roundup from Slate).

Seeing the Superbowl always reminds me of the year I visited my college friend Andy in Japan, in 1999 just before I moved to Minnesota. The day of the game we were all pretty wiped – a bunch of us had been out all night clubbing in Tokyo which involved a half hour bike ride to the station, a long train ride into town, trekking around between bars and clubs then the train back at 6am. The game started around 10am – I remember being woken up by the sound of renowned baritone Cher belting out the National Anthem.

poverty in india

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

One of the first things you notice when you arrive in India is the poverty – it hits you very hard. Associated with that is the crumbly infrastructure – even as you get off the plane you don’t see the sleek new air terminals you might expect from news reports of a country which is an economic powerhouse, instead there is flaking paint, confusing signage, haphazard security and dimly lit hallways. After a day or two you could get blinded by the more modern facilities – the hotels, offices and restaurants I went to while I was there appeared to be extremely clean and new, but there’s always the catch and the things which remind you that you are most definitely in a still-developing country.

So I was interested to see this article where the Indian Finance minister aims to “end poverty by 2040″. Obviously that’s a highly laudible goal, and I hope that they make progress in this area. However just “ending poverty” I don’t think is as easy as making sure everyone has more money. With that we’re likely to see more and more people wanting cars, bringing even more congestion on the roads, if such a thing were possible; more people wanting more space to live in; resentment as the country continues to be “new” and lose touch with the past; and more use of energy and therefore more pollution. So it’ll have to be done carefully.

Then there’s what is in my opinion one of the hugest hurdles of all – the quality of water. The reminders I alluded to at the end of the first para of this post were mainly around water. As a visitor you’re constantly being reminded not to drink tap water, keep your mouth closed in the shower, use bottled water for brushing your teeth, don’t eat food which will have been washed (such as salad or fruit you wouldn’t peel). I would guess that locals are more used to the water than occasional visitors, but even so surely water-borne disease must be a huge impact on the health and economic viability of individuals, local communities and the whole country.

toby’s party

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Today we held Toby’s second party for his fourth birthday. Last week we had some non-daycare friends over to the house – in retrospect maybe we should have postponed because Toby had just come down with a cold and wasn’t on sparkling form but we had a pretty good time anyway.

Today was a bit more of an outing and was a joint party with Toby’s friend Patrick, who is just two weeks younger than him. We decided on a bowling party so went to the Park Tavern which is pretty decent for these kinds of things – I organized a work thing there last year for about 100 people which went well, and we’d been to another kid’s party there a few months ago. They have a nice little deal for children’s parties – the kids had a great time bowling too. Actually, being a grownup at that point was kind of stressful – all the little people insisted on not letting go of their own personal bowling balls, so would carry them around or stand at the ball rack holding on to the ball running the risk of getting their fingers crushed (actually that only happened once) or putting their heads into the ball return slot waiting for a ball to come back after a frame. The play was made easier for small kids – the place has ramps they can roll the ball down so they don’t have to actually bowl, and bumpers to stop the ball going into the gutters. With this help Toby got the high score of the day – an even 100.

We had arranged a delicious cake from a great local bakery where they can print any image you like onto rice paper to have on the cake. My brother Richard had helped us out by photoshopping Patrick and Toby into a picture – we used this for the cake, the invitations and I also made them a couple of t-shirts to wear for the party (click on the picture to embiggen):

tobyspace

still cold

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Yes it’s still cold. The temp right now is about -10F, and it’s not forecast to go above -6 for the next couple of days. I believe that’s about -22C. The weather people are basically telling folks not to bother going outside.

continuing cold cold cold

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

It’s cold. Just cold. I guess at least it’s sunny, but it’s cold. In fact the temp isn’t going to get above 0F all weekend:

cold

That’s a high of about -20C. A high.