Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New job!!

I'm very excited today... next week I will be starting a new job as a web producer for the National Wildlife Federation! I know it will be a big change going from a tech company to a non-profit, but I'm thrilled to have the chance to get back to my creative side.

I'm probably crazy to even take the position since it pays the same, it's almost twice as far from my house (7 miles instead of 4 miles), and it's only scheduled to be a three month contract, but my current position is just so incredibly boring that I really needed to make a change. Also, they did say a few times in my interview that the position might go longer or they might like to bring the person on full-time. And if not, the job market seems to be pretty good right now and I don't think I'll have any trouble finding something new in three months if I have to. Or if we are able to manage our finances right, I might be able to become a stay-at-home dad in three months! Although I gotta admit, working at NWF really does sound like it will be fun. It's also the most fun I've ever had in an interview, which I'm sure helped me to get the offer.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Because My Parents Said So

Hey bloggy people! Check out this blog for 20- and 30-something Jews (if you happen to be Jewish, that is).

My daughter

Aw, the hell with anonymity! You all have waited long enough... here's a picture of Little Miss.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Supply and demand and the law of averages

Today I got one of the dumbest chain letters I have seen in a while. (OK, they're all dumb, but this one really takes the cake.) It starts off talking about the price of eggs and how the demand for eggs affects the price... and how if people suddenly started buying fewer eggs at a time, there would be a glut of eggs at the supplier and the price would drop. Then it goes on to apply the same assumptions to the gasoline market. For those who haven't seen the whole thing yet, you can read it on Snopes.com.

The proposed scenario is that if people started buying only a few gallons of gas at a time instead of filling their tank, we would cause the stations' tanks to stay full all the time. Even before I read the response on Snopes, I immediately knew that this was a ridiculous assumption because the story completely fails to take into account the law of AVERAGES. And more importantly, the story doesn't talk about reducing consumption, only changing your buying habits.

Let's look at the facts. Let's say I buy 10 gallons of gas once a week from gas station X. Let's say there are six other people out there just like me that all fill up at gas station X. And let's go a step further and say we are the ONLY customers that buy gas at Station X. Maybe we all fill up on the same day (unlikely), or maybe we each fill up on a different day (just as unlikely), but no matter when we fill up, Station X still sells 70 gallons of gas that week, and he needs to order 70 gallons to replace it.

Now the next week all seven of us decide that instead of buying 10 gallons once a week, we'll all buy just 2 gallons at a time. But we still all drive the same amount and consume the same amount, so we now need to stop at the gas station FIVE times instead of just once. So what happens? Absolutely nothing. Station X still sells 70 gallons of gas that week, they just sell it in 35 transactions instead of seven. Yes, there might be a short-term surplus because on Monday the people who filled up on Saturday and Sunday don't need gas yet, and the person who filled up last Monday is only buying 1/5 of the normal amount. But that surplus will be quickly corrected, and by week two Station X is back to selling EXACTLY the same amount of gas per day as they did before.

If anything, the only thing this proposal would do is drive prices UP. Why? Because every time a customer uses a credit card, the merchant gets charged a flat fee for the transaction (usually $.20-$.30) plus a percentage of the sale. Whether the customer buys $4 or $40 worth of gas, that flat fee stays the same. So now Station X has to charge MORE in order to make up for the fact that they now have 35 credit card charges a week instead of seven.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Neat video

This is just about the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. LOL!

Big Box Mart

My blog about immigration the other day eventually turned into a discussion of the evils of Wal-Mart... then today I came across this great cartoon at JibJab. Of course that's just the tip of the iceberg, although it does do a nice job of putting the problem into a humorous, candy-coated nutshell.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Chantilly's Serenity Shattered

Obviously anyone in the DC area already knows
what happened today in Chantilly. Not only did this shooting take place about a mile from where I work, but the suspect apparently lived about 500 feet from the townhouse where Jen and I lived for two and a half years, and where my brother currently lives. Crazy. Makes me glad we moved out of there five years ago.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More on the immigration issue

As I said in my last post, I'm still not sure about the whole immigration issue. I guess it doesn't matter to me enough for me to really research the issue. But what really confuses me is this whole "A Day Without Immigrants" boycott.

I heard that the purpose of the boycott was to show the importance of immigrants to America. I don't think there's a single person out there who doesn't acknowledge the importance of immigrants. After all, we are ALL descendants of immigrants (unless you're 100% Native American). But most of us immigrated to this country LEGALLY. So my question is, why would legal immigrants want to support ILLEGAL immigrants?

I guess I must be missing the big issue here. Is the issue about making it easier to get a work permit or become a citizen? Is it about giving amnesty to those already here illegally? I've heard some stuff about workers' rights and giving benefits to immigrant workers, which is fine if you are paying taxes -- but if you're undocumented, then you aren't paying taxes!

As for yesterday's boycott, I really didn't notice any difference (although I didn't go out for lunch), other than traffic being lighter than usual. Insert your own joke about immigrants not being able to drive!

The President got it right. Did I just say that???

Boy, it's been a while since I've posted to my blog, huh? Well, let's see if we can correct that.

The other day while watching the news, I found myself saying something I never thought I'd say. I a... ag... agree with President Bush on something.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English," said Bush. For once, I agree.

To be honest, I'm still not sure where I fall on the whole immigrant issue. (More on that later.) But I do know that a country's -- any country's -- national anthem should be sung in the country's official language or the language in which it was written when it was approved as the national anthem. I had to add that because, sadly, the US does not have a national language. And we should.

I think it's great that America is known as the "melting pot" of the world, and I realize that ALL of us (other than native Americans) are descendants of immigrants. But this is still one country, united, and we ought to have a national language. You don't have to necessarily speak English to move here, but I certainly think you should know how to speak English to hold a job here. I wouldn't move to France or Spain or Mexico and expect to get a job without speaking the language!

Graduation day

Yesterday LM officially "graduated" from the infant class to the toddler class. Actually she had pretty much moved over the middle of last week, and she had been spending a lot of time over there during the past few weeks. She's been napping on the cots and sitting on a chair to eat, so we were hoping the transition would be fairly easy.

Well Monday was a little tougher than we had expected. LM was very clingly and didn't want me to leave, even when other kids came over to play with her. Monday was also picture day, which we forgot, so I ran home to get a nicer outfit. When I came back, she was crying. I helped get her changed and then calmed her down and took her down for her picture. That went OK once she finally settled down, and we managed to get a bit of a smile from her, but she certainly wasn't herself. I guess this is understandable, coming back from a weekend at home and being dumped in a new class with new teachers. Luckily the toddler and infant rooms are only separated by a knee wall, so she can still see her old teachers and they can come over to comfort her if they need to.

The strangest thing so far is that LM doesn't like to go outside. They've told me that even when she's doing fine inside, she will cry outside unless someone is holding her hand. It's so strange considering she LOVES to be outside at home and is never afraid to venture into the grass or far away from mommy and daddy. And we've taken her to our neighborhood playground and she runs around, completely unintimidated by the other kids. But even when I was with her at daycare, she wasn't happy unless I was holding her hand or at least right there next to her. I know this is just something that will take her some time to get used to and she'll be fine, but it sure is heart-wrenching to see her crying when I leave and crying when I pick her up, wondering if she ever stopped in between!

Side note: today was a little different story. Lately LM has been throwing fits while she's eating. We're not sure if she doesn't like the food or maybe she's just teething. (She's 15 months old and STILL has no bottom teeth and only five top teeth.) This morning she would be eating happily, then suddenly start screaming and throw everything on the floor... then turn around and ask for more. Coupled with the new toddler environment, I'm sure today will be interesting for LM's teachers.