Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Weekend of Planting

Spes Messis In Semine
Friday I drove Kiara to the airport, then took the bus to work. The rest of my weekend was cleaning and planting (with barre on Saturday, of course). Instead of participating in the local garage sale week and adding to my possessions, I found a home for the piece of pink granite and posted for sale some surplus items here.
What I most enjoyed was planting. I planted the lilies I'd gotten to cheer the place up. I planted miniature yellow roses that I stumbled across while shopping groceries. But best of all, I planted the giant sunflower seedlings that I'd started from seed. I like all those plants but I especially like the ones I start from seed!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Star Gazing Dog

This deservedly popular manga book is both about a dog and about the human condition. The dog "Happie" does not really understand what is going on, but loves his human ("Daddy") and they each take care of each other to the best of their abilities. So often, that's all we can do, is it not?
The "Star Gazing Dog" concept refers to a longing for the unattainable, as a dog may gaze at the stars. There are philosophies that teach desire is the root of suffering and so it is better to free oneself from desire. However, a star gazing dog is not unhappy; it is better to love something even if it is unattainable. We all die in the end, as does the dog and his "Daddy", but in the meantime why not enjoy desire even if it remains unfulfilled?
NOTE: Medical science suggests that star gazing in a dog - an extended neck and raised head with subsequent staring at the ceiling or sky - may be the result of an esophegeal pain curable by medication. (see ) If your dog does this, see a vet. However, don't stop loving the unattainable; it is not bad to be a star gazing dog.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Found It, Fixed It

GOOD NEWS: When this telephone pole near the Y got tagged. I reported it using Seattle's convenient "Find it, Fix it" app.
You submit a photo of graffiti, pothole or other problem, the location and your email address. The City emails you when they take care of it (as you can see, they took care of this one just fine.) It's nice to have a simple tool like this that works!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

3 Learnings on Refreshments

I learned a few things running refreshments for the Toastmasters Division D Spring Contest April  12, 2018.
  • Cloth tablecloths not only dress up the serving tables and reduce the noise of clinking dishes, they make cleanup go much faster. You don't have to wipe down the tables - just roll up the tablecloths to be laundered later.
  • Scissors-style salad tongs speed up service a lot.  The classic fork-and-spoon combination is fine when you're eating at leisure but when there's a line of people, every time someone sets down a plate to pick up two utensils adds more time to everyone else's wait.
  • Caesar Salad is much, much more popular than kale salad. Perhaps this should not have been a surprise but I went through two Caesars, while the kale was barely picked over. It was also a good idea to have an "undressed" option for our no-carb customers!
Running refreshments was fun, and while I would have preferred to be on stage, "There are no small parts, only small actors". But next year I'll skip the kale!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

I don't like DC movies

I'm systematically working on catching up on contemporary movies, in part so I can understand modern thinking and referants, in part because why not?
I've been working on superhero movies because, again, why not? and discovering a pattern. DC movies are sad and angry, for the most part, and leave me feeling much the same. The recent Marvel films are much more entertaining.
Now I haven't see the whole set yet and perhaps I will change my mind. Wonder Woman was the best of the lot, but Justice League was not very interesting and Batman vs Superman was just plain boring. In the latter, Batman has a problem: how to protect the world from Superman. His solution: kill a lot of people standing between him and Kryptonite. This is just stupid, both from a strategic standpoint and from an innocent-bystander standpoint - his Gotham City or Metropolis are terrible places to live. At least the Avengers face consequences when their superhero battles go wrong - that's the backline of "Civil War" and it made the story more interesting than "Batman vs. Superman"'s Doomsday fight. (And what's up with Lex Luthor anyway? He gains access to information from 100,000 worlds and instead of going, cool, I'm gonna be rich! he throws it all away on a crazy plan to kill Superman. He's not so smart).
But perhaps DC will take a lesson from "Wonder Woman". Perhaps not.

Monday, February 19, 2018

I'm Floored

I'd always been taught I was no good with tools. Dad yelled at me whenever I made a mistaken, and the first time you do anything you make mistakes, so I solved the problem by never doing anything he was interested in - which included anything to do with hand tools.
Now that I'm a homeowner there are things that have to be done. My choices are to pay someone else to do it or do it myself. I don't like spending money so I'm learning to do all sorts of things.
This weekend I finished up the flooring in the downstairs kitchen. I'm very pleased with the result. The only downside is now the walls look worse in contrast; I'll have to do some so I can at least put baseboards on. But still, this is progress both on my house and my skillset.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Not Mocking Mock Trials

Today I had the pleasure of spending at UW as a presiding judge at a mock trial contest. This was very interesting and, I hope, useful.
The contestants were undergraduates (not lawyers or law students) who were arguing either side of a mock criminal case. My job was to make clear and understandable rulings on motions and objections (everyone *loved* debating hearsay!) and to keep things rolling along, which I was well equipped to do. Attorneys with actual trial experience did the scoring - a wise division of labor.
I went away feeling very good about the next generation. They had obviously worked hard and struggled to do well, and if their strategic choices were not always the best they seemed willing to learn from mistakes and move on.
I would recommend mock trial judging to any lawyer with a little spare time. It is of course part of our job as members of a civilization to help the next generation move up, but it is also personally satisfying.