Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Positive Trend

Perhaps we've won?

Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Three nights. EJP has slept for three nights. In a row.

While I was gone on Wednesday night, RCP had a horrible night with him. When I got home, I took over the bedtime duties, and I guess he must be more scared of me than he is of her.

Last night, he did cry out once, and when I went to check on him, he was in bed with his sister, quiet and asleep. The important thing is that he took care of himself, rather than standing on the landing screaming until someone came.

I think if we get 7 days in row of quality sleep, we're taking away the pacifier.

Firefox Extensions Must Have List

I keep ending up on different computers. If I'm allowed (ie no one is looking), I install Firefox. But then I find that the interface isn't the way I like it. So once I write this post, I can come here and see what extensions and such to install.

Extensions that I've got on a computer or two, but I don't consider critical yet:

  • Greasemonkey - Scripting language that does lots of cool stuff that I don't know about. I don't actually use this, but I like the idea of it.
  • MapIt! - Does something with maps; I'm not sure I've ever used it, but it is installed on one system. Someone hacked in Google maps support, I see.
  • FirefoxView - Put a menu item in IE to view link Firefox
  • Bandwidth Tester - Seems like a useful idea, but why not go to a website instead?
  • Plain Text Links
  • Print It!
  • TinyURL Creator
  • Web Developer
  • WebmailCompose
  • Duplicate Tab

Other tweaks I like to make:

  • Use small icons on the toolbars
  • Download automatically to My Downloads
  • Configure Tabbrowser Preferences to open everything in new tabs
What am I missing?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Soylent Green Is Caffeinated

In my travels, I get the opportunity to visit Starbucks Coffee pretty regularly. My body, however, cannot handle very much caffeine at all; after any coffee, I always sleep very poorly.

So, for the past couple of months, I've been asking them if they have anything cold and not coffee based. This has either gotten me blank stares, or iced tea. But I've wanted a tea based Frappuccino.

Either they listened to me, or I'm on the vanguard of a movement. They now have a Green Tea Frappuccino. It is very tasty; it tastes like pistaccio ice cream. It is bright green, in a mildly radioactive sort of way.

I assumed that green tea is caffeine free. My body tells me that I'm wrong. (I can't find evidence one way or the other on the web.) I also learned that a Venti without whipped cream is 490 calories. Oh, and it costs $4.20.

Heat (Part 3)

I would have expected this article to be about my second trip to Imperial Valley this week.

After all, it was hot. Our crappy Impala didn't have a thermometer, but I think the temperature was around 109. Also, it was humid. A hurricane is running around the Gulf of Mexico, and its influences made Imperial humid and sticky. 109 and humid is worse than 117.

But no, this post isn't about that. Its about Gilroy. Various cars at my house have indicated that it is 108 here today. Its been hot for days here, and its supposed to stay hot for more days.

Fortunately, on very hot days the ocean gets vaporized and that water returns the next morning as fog. A cool night and morning fog makes this much more bearable.

Thank goodness the new house has air conditioning.

Little Girls

Today was the birthday party.

SKGP (Belle)'s friends Olivia (Annaliese from Barbie's Prince and the Pauper), Audrey (Erika from the same), Diana (Belle), Ariana (Snow White), Claire (Cinderella), Brendan (a knight) were here, as well as EJP and Baby Claire. The adults included Gram and Pop, Nana and Grandad, Uncle D, Aunt M, and the moms of the kids (and Crystal, an older sister).

I dressed in my prince costume and announced the kids as they arrived. They then walked on the red carpet into the family room.

The girls ran around and played in the castle tent, played in SKGP's room, and basically ran around screaming. They had some snacks and Princess Punch. They worked on making edible jewelery, with Fruit Loops and Twizzlers.

Next was the pinata. It looked like a nice fairy pricncess, but she was a lot tougher than she looked. Eventually, Granddad tore her apart and stood back as the swarming hoardes dove for the candy within.

The swarm then quickly destroyed the wrapping of the presents. SKGP got an amazing collection of goodies, including a disco ball and a swanky jacket.

The castle cake fell before the teeming masses.

Eventually, everyone went home.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pull up a chair

The red room has been filled. The new dining room furniture is here. It looks great; I really like the table and chairs that we picked out. I think we even get to sit at it tomorrow.

RCP knows her stuff. I was wrong to question her ... :)

When I came home, I didn't notice the new furniture, even though I walked past it several times. I'm kinda lame.

I did notice the red Swingline stapler as soon as I came in, however.

Pay Attention to Me

Hmm... This article might no longer apply, since I'm back at ...

Recently, My Yahoo! made some pretty major changes to their system. Now you can add pretty much anything to your page. Among other stuff, you can add RSS feeds. Blogs publish RSS feeds, so you can see when new posts appear.

So, pretend you want to read the PaceHouse blog regularly:

  1. Log in to your My Yahoo! page (or create one).
  2. Click Add Content which is on the top left of your page.
  3. In the Find box on the next page, look to the right and click on Add RSS by URL.
  4. In the URL box, put in the URL for the RSS feed of PaceHouse, which is
  5. The next page will show you the last couple of stories from the blog. Then hit the Add to My Yahoo! button.
  6. Hit the return to My Yahoo! button, and you're good to go. Hooray for me. The content is at the bottom of the page you were on when you started.
  7. You get a blurb about each of the recent stories as a teaser; click on the blog name to get the actual stories.

Obviously, this can be used for any blog.

Don't know any blogs? Check out Technorati, the search engine for blogs.

Official Google Maps Mania

I mentioned earlier all the cool Google map hacks that are taking place.

Not to be outdone, Google Maps has come back with one of the hacks that I've been waiting for. In addition to the map view and the satellite view, they have now added a hybrid view, which overlays a street map on the photo.

This has the the useful features of TerraXsite for free, except the photos are watermarked.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I feel really good after getting an uninterrupted night's sleep. I didn't get the 8 hours I normally need, but I still feel more refreshed than I have the past bunch of nights.

I hope all went well back at the PaceHouse.

Heat (Part 2)


117 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hot. That's what it was in El Centro this afternoon around 5 PM when we were leaving town.

120 miles later, it was 68 degrees. That's 49 degrees different.

California is an amazing place.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Today, Dad and I flew into San Diego to visit the Imperial Valley. San Diego was full -- we had a hard time getting a flight down, we were unable to get a flight home, we had trouble getting a car and then had to wait about 45 minutes to get it. It seems the trouble is due to ComicCon, which sounds like something I'd like to go to.

Anyway, we finally get the car and head to Old Town for dinner. According to the white Ford Explorer, it was a perfect 75 degrees. While I didn't have the opportunity to get the giant margarita, I did enjoy my meal.

Finally, we hopped on I-8 East and began the 120 mile trek. After a mishap with a tire sensor, we crossed the mountain range and began the descent into the Imperial Valley.

The temperature climbed to around 90 degrees in the mountains. In the desert valley floor, the temperature quickly rose to 100, then 105, then 110, and peaked at 112 degrees. Did I mention that this was at 7 PM? Lord only knows what tomorrow holds for us -- I suspect I'm going to experience a new personal high temp.

Interstingly, once we crossed the first canal which marks the beginning of the agricultural region, the temperature dropped very quickly to 105.

Go To Sleep

EJP has been waking up in the middle of the night and yelling at the top of his lungs and crying until we lie down with him. When we leave, likely he'll wake up and start up again. Of course, he wants mom more than me; often, he yells all the louder when I appear.

I decided I was done with the interruptions in my sleep. I'm cranky enough when I get good sleep.

Rather than letting RCP comfort him, I have been going up for the past two nights. Without saying a word, I would point to his bed (and push him along if he resisted) until he got back in bed. Then I would stand there, still not speaking, until he stopped yelling and went to sleep.

Two nights ago, I did the above routine at 11PM and 4AM. Last night, he slept until 5:15AM and went back to sleep more quickly, with less fuss.

I can't continue the procedure tonight, as I'm out of town, but I told RCP the routine and I hope it works for her. It is my dream that when I return home on Saturday, I'll get a full night's sleep.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Red Room

RCP painted the dining room red. She calls it cranberry; I call it blood red. It is a very bold choice; I'm not certain how I feel about it yet. I'm confident that she knows what she's doing, and its very dramatic. Once the new furniture comes, I'll let you know what I think.

Google Maps Mania

Cool stuff is happening on the Internet this week.

In the beginning was Google Maps. They had a nice interface to street maps. Then they added satellite aerial photography to the maps. Then they released the programming interface to the world. Then things got neat.

Many people have created cool toys using this maps interface. For example, Gmap Transparancies puts a street map on top of a portion of the aerial. BeenMapped lets anyone point out cool spots to everyone else (like a Stealth Bomber sitting at Edwards Air Force Base). There is also a pedometer and a weather map and a map of WiFi hotspots.

Slashdot just pointed out a project called Greasemap. This uses the power of Greasemonkey, which is an extension to Mozilla Firefox (the coolest web browser in town). Greasemap reads the webpage you're surfing, and if it finds an address, it fetches the Google Map of that location.

For example, when I view this blog entry, I see a map to my old house, which is 352 Henderson Dr., San Jose, CA 95123.

How to roll maps

A wise man recently taught me to roll maps and plans so that the printed side is out. This ensures that when you look at them, they won't be trying to roll up on you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I came across the service AmaBuddy, the Buddy.

Imagine you're shopping for a book (or music) in a store, and you wonder if you should buy an item. You call AmaBuddy and enter in the ISBN number. A robot then tells you the Amazon rating and the Amazon price.

The number is (888) 937-4462. If that's busy (which it always seems to be), you can also call (617) 712-3574, which is not toll free.

Broken Down Cars

The view from my new office window is very pleasant. In the foreground, I've got some flowers and bushes that attract hummingbirds and other birds to frolic. Beyond that are some stately trees that sway gently in the breeze. In the distance, I can see the hills east of town which are golden brown and speckled with brush and trees.

In between, however, is a line of broken down cars. How do I know they're broken down? I see the tow truck drop them off. It appears that this is the place where the trucks clearing freeway problems dump the debris.

Some are quickly removed, but others stick around for days and days. If you own a Toyota Camry (license 3JLH825), I know where your car is. Come pick it up.


Others believe there is a real estate bubble, and it will have long term impact on the US economy.

Since I'm new to the real estate games and have never seen a bust, I likely don't know what I'm talking about, but the market for real estate is insane. How could this not be a bubble? It certainly feels like the tech world did in 2000.

New Stephen King Chapter

Stephen King shares the chilling first chapter of a work in progress with In "The Pulse," a sunny afternoon in the park turns into a scene of terror for a young man who witnesses the beginning of a deadly "event."

Does this seem like a bad idea to anyone else?

According to (the official site): Stephen joined World Series Champion Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo on Bronson's album "Covering The Bases". The album, which includes various cover songs, was released on July 12. The album features many of the top musicians in music, including Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), Leland Sklar (Phil Collins) and Mike Inez (Alice In Chains).

The album also features Red Sox players Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis and Lenny DiNardo, along with Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein.

Stephen contributed additional lyrics and spoken word on the fourth track "Everlong". Check out Bronson's album at

Some Say Housing Isn't A Bubble After All


The AIA "Advocate for Absolute Returns"
From: The Research and Editorial Staff of
The Association for Investor Awareness, Inc.
July 7, 2005

There's no place like the stock market when it comes to finding contrary opinions. Even the hot housing sector looks cool to some analysts.

For example, Richard Maybury, editor of the "Early Warning Report", believes our real estate market only appears overheated when it's priced in U.S. dollars. In terms of the British pound, Swiss franc, New Zealand dollar, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, and gold, U.S. real estate prices only rose 4% in four years.

When priced in gold, most U.S. houses are actually less expensive than a few years ago. For example, it took 519 ounces of gold to buy a median-priced U.S. home in September 2001. Today you can buy the same home with 488 ounces of gold. A similar relationship exists when house prices are compared with many commodities that have doubled in price, or more, in recent years.

The alternative view of our housing market indicates prices aren't going up so much as the dollar is going down. By that measure, housing is becoming a hedge against our weak currency. Many economists believe housing is a textbook example of the free market's ability to rebalance itself when something, like the falling dollar, gets out of whack.

Of course, real estate prices can also go down in terms of the dollar, which is likely to happen if interest rates start to climb again. As we discussed last week, however, low interest rates are likely to remain flat, or even decline a bit for several months. Low rates and a strong housing market will help the U.S. economy remain healthy.