25 April 2008

Pet Sounds

Erica’s already posted this, but I just couldn’t resist. Enjoy Zora telling us what sounds animals make!

24 April 2008

Diapers, etc.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. There’s a ton of stuff to do around the house—especially now that I’m starting a new job on Monday. I’m contracting with Tanagram Partners, a small firm of “information artists.” (That’s an apt and fabulous descriptor for what they do.) This prep has also delayed the rollout of this site’s new design and back end—which might have to wait until a couple things are “Newforms Admin” is incorporated into the Django trunk.

Erica and I have also switched Zora’s daytime diapers. We’d been using disposables, with some sense of environmental guilt. It’s a new parent’s catch-22: If we use cloth diapers, we consume extra energy & water cleaning them; but if we add to the landfill problem with trash that won’t biodegrade.

Yesterday we received our first shipment of gDiapers, which have flushable or compostable liners. We had picked up some from the Clover, a “green” store in Batavia, on discount. (The store, alas, just went out of business. It was next to the Trader Joe’s, but ironically in a strip mall whose only real access was by car.) They’ve held up well with most of Zora’s regular daytime waste, though we’re doubtful they’d hold up overnight.

We have at least one remaining concern about them. In the next few weeks, Zora’s going to be in daycare part-time. Since they’re a bit messier than disposables, will childcare professionals be willing to use them?

18 April 2008


Did this really happen? I had no idea.

7 April 2008

Key quote from a Times “article” on death by blogging:

At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong.

Some wonder how many “some” must be in order to be a reputable number of “experts.” In the case of this article, some wonder how close that number is to 1.

4 April 2008

An adventure in usability

Last Friday Zora and I went to the Secretary of State office in Elgin. (I’d been lax in renewing our motor vehicle registration.) When we arrived, we were greeted with two doors to adjacent rooms and a very long line that didn’t lead to either room.

The rooms were poorly identified, but it was clear that the room for driver’s licenses wouldn’t be the right choice. The next room was for titles & registrations. I went in, took a number, and we waited our turn. Zora charmed the heck out of everyone waiting.

While we were waiting, one of the workers kept exasperatedly reminding people that if they were there for titles, they needed to fill out the forms by the wall. There was no other mechanism for informing people about this necessity, and the location for the forms was poorly identified.

When our turn came, I went to the open desk, helped Zora into a chair, and took out my (already completed) paperwork. The man helping me informed me that the long line outside was for sticker renewals—but since I’d already waited, he would process the renewal for me. Thank goodness for cute babies & helpful people!

So, a few words of advice when visiting a facility headed by Jesse White: Don’t trust signs (if there are any) and be sure to ask for help. It’s a good idea to be understanding toward the employees—they deal with the space far more frequently than we do and probably have developed habits to work around usability issues. Most important, though, is to bring a cute toddler with you. Erica & I may even consider renting out Zora for the trip. (But probably not!)

3 April 2008

It’s afternoon somewhere’

Four people got on the train at Wheaton, decked out in Cubs gear. They were getting ready for today’s game by downing can after can of beer. I’m not sure which is sadder: that they were drinking Busch Light or that it was 8:40 a.m.

This is the archive for commonplace book entries that I published in April 2008.