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Y aconteció en aquellos días…
las aventuras de David Santiago del Bosque
tehuatzi
My recommended Memorial Day reading:

http://www.leesandlin.com/articles/LosingTheWar.htm
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tehuatzi
I never post on here anymore, but I do occasionally read my friends page... at some point, someone said a while back that the presidential race is only close when viewed through the lens of the media, who have staggering financial incentives to portray it as such (advertising dollars).

Looks like this is rather well supported by a group of CS and poli sci students at one of my almae matres, who put up this site forecasting the outcome of the presidential election based not on popular vote, but Bayesian estimators of Electoral College outcomes based on continuously updated state-by-state poll results.

You can select various political climate scenarios, from "Strong Democratic" to "Strong Republican," which artificially slants independent voters +/- 10% for either Obama or McCain.

At present, under the Neutral scenario, the model predicts a 1.00 probability that Obama would win, if the election were held today. Under the Strong Republican scenario, that probability drops to... 0.99.

EDIT: Going back through the archives shows that McCain did get a major post-convention bump, and was the predicted winner the week of 9/15 - 9/19. But the overall forecast history from 7/31 to today show Obama winning handily.
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tehuatzi
Ran the Cat Power 5K this morning in 22:53 = 7:23 pace. Pretty happy about that, considering I just started running in January. If I can hold a 7:30 pace for the Steamboat 4mi next month, I'll be even happier. Thinking about running the Indy half marathon next year.

Last Friday I got back in email contact with Ed & Denise Aulie, missionaries in Puebla/Veracruz whom I worked with for a few years in a previous life. I found out that, last week, Ed was approached in Texhuacan by a Nahuatl man (poor, marginalized, illiterate, barely even speaks Spanish, etc.) whose wife had just died in childbirth. The village clinic told them that the mother died of tuberculosis, and that the baby (who was born at 3 lbs) had TB and HIV. So now this illiterate subsistence farmer was asking for help with the baby. So Ed, naturally, says, "We'll take her." I mean, that's what you would say, right?
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: impressed impressed

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tehuatzi
All three toilets in our house have been slow - we've been getting by with occasional plunging. Sammy (& Nathan?) has discovered the joy of dropping objects in the toilet and flushing them away. Ha ha, what fun; let's do that again. We learned about this from finding toothbrushes, coins, spoons, etc. in the bottom of the toilet bowls - items that don't easily get up over the trap wall. We of course explained to Sammy in very stern terms to Not Do That Anymore, but with, shall we say, questionable success. So, lately, the frequency of plunging has been annoying enough that I bought a couple of drain augers - something I should've done much earlier. Yesterday morning, from the downstairs bathroom, it extracted a Leapfrog educational game cartridge - about the size of a PCMCIA card. Wasn't able to get anything out of the master bathroom, but it did clearly dislodge a clog - the toilet sped up considerably, but there's probably still something in there.

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tehuatzi
So, my little family's been sick for most of the last, oh, couple of months. Respiratory illnesses, flu-like symptoms, and... we've been throwing up, shall we say, more than usual. All four of us.

For example, about a month ago when Monica was particularly sick, she took about three different cold symptom medicines and washed it down with a large glass of Crystal Light... and promptly threw it all up. Weird medicinal interactions, we figured.

Day before yesterday, I got up, went downstairs, drank a glass of water from the tap, and had the last of an old bag of raisin bran... and promptly threw up. I remember thinking the cereal tasted kind of moldy.

Then, this morning, on a hunch, I went down to the basement and checked the water softener tank, inside which I found a dead mouse. Floating in the water. That we drink everyday. It had obviously been there for quite some time, given the exquisitely delicate, fibrous mold structures that were radiating up from it, like so much van der Graaf cotton candy. I'm sorry I didn't have the presence of mind to snap a picture for you, but I was too busy saying omigod omigod. And thinking, It's been at least a couple of months since I last added salt or checked that tank.

To all the house guests and dinner guests we've had in the last several weeks, I can only offer my meekest and most heartfelt apologies.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: nauseated nauseated

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tehuatzi
Plows still haven't come. Hopefully they'll make it sometime tomorrow.

Spent an hour today walking around the neighborhood, helping to dig out/push stuck cars, etc. One of them belonged to the friend of a friend of a guy who had rented a backhoe (he owns Illinois Cyclery, and was clearing his own parking lots), who I then talked into doing a quick plow of our street, right up to my driveway at the end of the cul-de-sac. That was great. He was in a hurry, so he did a really fast job of it, but with some more shoveling I was able to make it out to Knoxville with the Outback, if not the Passat.

Made a quick run to Krogers to pick up some staples, and soon realized that was a bad idea. Even on Knoxville (the major N-S surface artery), vehicles were stuck all over the place - big jeeps and SUVs - on the side of the road, in intersections, etc. Traffic was horrible. I couldn't believe how many nimrods were obviously out on the road without a compelling reason, when I realized that, hey, I'm one of those nimrods. When I finally got to Krogers, the parking lot (which, after plowing, was functionally less than half its size) was gridlocked, as well as the access road. I queued up for ten minutes and then gave up, managed to bail out and come home.

I hear the Super Wal-Mart's roof collapsed under the snow weight.

I'd post fortress of solitude pictures of the huge mounds of snow around my driveway, but my D80 is in the hospital - Nathan pulled it down off the coffee table and broke the lens mount. Hopefully it won't set me back more than about $150.

In other news, Buber is less inscrutable than his translator makes out. His writing reminds me of Walker Percy's essays.

Current Location: home

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tehuatzi
Just spent 3 hours shoveling my driveway and front walk, as well as the proverbial little old lady's next door. The snow was up to my knee.

Said little old lady informed me that our street might not even get plowed by day's end TOMORROW. I live on a short cul-de-sac, four streets in from a main artery (Knoxville). A couple hours ago, there was a plow stuck in the snow two streets in.

I mentioned to my neighbor Fox that I was reading Buber, and his eyes lit up. He loves Buber, and he should make a nice conversation partner. I think he likes that I'm his neighbor, here in this world of Bud Light and NASCAR, because I know who people like Gustavo Gutierrez and Martin Buber are (and even occasionally read them).

Current Location: home
Current Mood: exhausted exhausted

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tehuatzi
Well, that was stupid.

Attempted to make it to my 5:30A mens group at Perkins this morning, since nobody had said it was canceled and I didn't bother to check myself last night. I opened my garage door onto about 3" of snow on the driveway, and for some reason I thought, "that's OK; I'll be fine once I get out to the main roads." Got down the driveway but couldn't make it out of the cul-de-sac. That's when I realized that the 3" in the lee of my garage door was more like 5-6" on the street, and it was coming down hard. Then I couldn't get back up the driveway. Uh oh.

I hadn't realized how hard it was snowing, because the wind (20mph?) pulverized what was coming down, making it just look like blown snow. Spent the next hour trying to get my car back into the garage, or at least out of the street, frantically digging out the tires and underneath the car with a trowel, and shoveling, and then trying to get back up the driveway, to no avail. Dig, spin tires, back up, repeat. It was snowing hard enough to fill up what I was shoveling. In the intervening minutes. And what a wind; holy cow, it was cold. Eventually had to drag Monica out of bed, and enlist the help of a friendly neighbor (Fox) to help push my car up the driveway, which we were able to do, to my amazement.

So now I'm gonna sit down to a nice hot tea and comfort myself with some obscure German religious philosophy (since I'm apparently not going to work this morning). Picked up Buber's I And Thou on j3npayn3's recommendation.

From the translator's prologue,

The style of Ich und Du is anything but sparse and unpretentious, lean or economical. It represents a late flowering of romanticism and tends to blur all contours in the twilight of suggestive but extremely unclear language. Most of Buber's German readers would be quite incapable of saying what any number of the passages probably mean.

Now does that sound like a good time, or what?

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Current Location: home
Current Mood: cold cold

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tehuatzi
I'm in Alice's apartment here in Memphis; the boys are finally napping (as is Alice; she had to work this morning), and as I write this I'm sitting in her dining room, which is furnished with two guitars, a keyboard, a mountain bike, and... no dining room table or chairs. Ah, single apartment life. How the memories come flooding back. :) Although I think I always had some kind of dinette.Read more...Collapse )

Current Location: Memphis
Current Music: fountain outside Alice's apartment

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tehuatzi
Pretty domestic day today. Got the boys up, changed, and fed; read to them, did the dishes and the laundry. M got up in time for me to turn in the rental and pick up my car from the body shop and stop by Krogers. By the time I got back, Nathan was napping, so I took Sam out to Forest Park for a little hike. He loves hiking, and I love that he loves hiking. Today he said to me, 'Wook Daddy, wook at all the weaves! That's cuz it's fall.' I documented his cuteness in the following pictures.

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tehuatzi
Select shots of the boys' costumes this evening.

Current Location: home

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tehuatzi
So much for the Tigers.

This week I read David Kuo’s new book, “Tempting Faith.” If you’ve managed to miss the media onslaught over this book, Kuo is a conservative evangelical who was deputy director of GWB’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2001-2003. Kuo has a longstanding interest in the politics of compassion/caring for the poor. His pedigree as a compassionate conservative is both unusual and impressive – he writes of growing up Methodist, having a born-again experience in high school; being spurred into Christian political engagement, as a liberal Democrat, by Chuck Colson; working on the Dukakis ’88 presidential campaign and interning with Ted Kennedy, before becoming pro-life after his girlfriend’s abortion. He joined the Natl Right to Life Committee in 1990, then worked for Bill Bennett, wrote speeches for Ralph Reed and Bob Dole, and drafted Charitable Choice legislation for Sen. Ashcroft as the religious/social conservatives were taking over Congress. Bush asked him to become his speechwriter during the 2000 campaign, and then brought him into his administration in the Faith-Based Initiatives Office. If you think he has interesting stories to tell in this book, you are correct.

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Current Location: home
Current Mood: pensive pensive

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tehuatzi
M took the boys to StL to watch the Cards play the Tigers with her sisters and dad. Nate Robertson, who's pitching for the Tigers, is a childhood friend of M's from Wichita. By which I don't just mean they both grew up in Wichita; they actually grew up together, playing tag and stuff. M's dad and Nate's dad were high school buddies. So it's pretty cool for her to see him pitching in the World Series.

Ordinarily we'd root for the Cardinals, but... go Tigers!

Current Location: home

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tehuatzi
Ripped Weird Al's video off of fdmts :



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Current Location: home

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tehuatzi
Now that I have a real camera again, I've started a Picasa web album (part of the sprawling technoconglomeration by which Google will take over the earth). Yesterday we caught the tail end of the Fuel Systems PumpkinFest, my department's fall picnic thingy. We didn't get there til early evening, but I did get some shots off before we lost what little cloudy light there was left. My D80's kit lens, a 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, is great for framing, but doesn't stop up wide enough for shallow depth of field, so I bought a (relatively) cheap Nikkor fixed 50mm f/1.8 that both slurps up the available light and isolates subjects nicely. A little too nicely, as you can see in this shot where Sam's in focus but even Monica, who's only a foot more distant, isn't.

LJ's Scrapbook navigation/UI is a little cumbersome, and Picasa Web autogenerates code snippets that easily insert pics and links like this:
From Fuel Systems ...


So I recommend Picasa Web. You can download individual pictures or whole albums at a shot.

Anyway, this will be a nice way to keep family and friends current in pictures.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: chipper chipper

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