Friday, September 21, 2007


Ugh. I had to post something to get that gawd-awful picture of me off the top of the page. To think, that picture is going to haunt my official record for another 2 years.

Most of the regulars over at the Flight Deck seem to be avid readers and book collectors. I count myself among that number. In fact, I'm a bit of a book geek. Years ago, when my collection was smaller, I actually had all of my books arranged by Dewey Decimal number. When we were looking for a new home in Annapolis, one of the features we (ok, I) wanted was a room to serve only as my library.

Then my buddy Adeodatus hipped me to a nifty online tool called Librarything, which took the geekiness to a new level. Basically, it's an online database where you can catalog your books. They even have an import tool where you can upload a text file of all your book's ISBNs (the ID number above the UPC barcode) and Librarything fills in the rest. Complete with pictures of the covers.

Granted, if you have a lot of books it may take some time to enter them all, but I thought it was worth it for me in the long run. My favorite feature is the ability to see other user's collections and books that you have in common. No matter how obscure a title, there's probably another Librarything member with the same book.

The site is For an example, and you can view my profile and library at

Ignore the one comment about owning a Debbie Gibson book. We were all young and foolish once.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good stuff on the tube

The wife, kid and I had dinner at our neighbor's house the other night. It was nice to get out o the house, even if it was only across the street. The kid was a complete angel, as usual. She sat next to the table and talked to herself while we ate. I also got to try some of the best Scotch I've had in a long time. Lagavulin Single Malt, I believe it was. good stuff.

We got home, put the kid to bed, and turned on the TV. We flipped over to the History Channel and watched a documentary on The Sun, full of completely useless information like: "If the sun were made of wood, it would burn for about 5,000 years."

OK, maybe not completely useless. That may come in handy later.

I quite enjoyed it, not only because it was informative, but it also featured Dr. Holly Gilbert, one of the most attractive physicists I've seen in quite a while. Which brings me to this: Dr. Gilbert is not only a preeminent scientist in her field, but also does a fair bit of work with organizations that encourage girls and young women to get involved in the sciences. My (slightly) older sister and I grew up in a world where we were always told that we could be pretty much anything we wanted to be. For my sister, tho, there was a dearth of real-life examples to look up to. NASA didn't fly a woman into space until Sally Ride in '83, and the Navy didn't get a female fighter pilot until '94.
As the father of a 5 month old baby girl, I actually hope that when the time comes, she won't have the opportunity to be the first woman to do anything. It will already have been done by someone else.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bad News

Actually, it's not all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but the wife, the kid and I are going to have a rough 24 to 48 hours sometime soon.

The kid was diagnosed with Entropian, which is a "very rare" inward cruving of the lower eyelid. It can be mildly irritating to her, but can leat to scratching of the cornea if left un-corrected. The most successful treatment is a 15 to 20 minute out-patient surgery to correct the defect. The results are usually permanent, which means that we won't have to do it again. The doc says its genetic, but I think it may have more to do with her overly chubby cheeks.

From everything we've found out so far, the recovery time is pretty quick (12-24 hours), but that's in "adult time". I can't imagine that a 5 month old is going to be highly tolerant the post-op pain, eye patches, and antibiotic balms and salves. Not to mention there's probably some sort of eating before sugery restriction.

Of course, we know all of this now. There's always that horrible period between the time the doc says "surgery" and you find out that it isn't a really big deal.