Comments are wonky

Hi there,

I’m looking into the inability to leave a comment issue. Seems there’s some sort of inexplicable error cropping up, which I can’t pin down. Oddly enough, if I am logged in, comments work fine. Even more odd is the fact we haven’t really changed anything on this blog.


Catching up

It’s almost the weekend and I still haven’t caugth up from virtually no internet time last week. I have a couple posts in mind but I won’t be getting to them until next week. As a side note, if I read your blog and you are at blogger, I can’t leave you a comment. I think google gobbled up my password. I’m not going to try to get a new blogger id until next week.

Canadian Idol

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Theresa Sokyrka (official site). I have Billy Klippert‘s CD in the player in the car. And, this year, I received a Kalan Porter (official site) CD as a gift.

I realized in the last couple weeks that it’s been 3 years since I’ve tuned into Canadian Idol. And I haven’t watched American Idol since the first CI. One of the things I realized in watching the first 2 seasons of CI is that successful artists in Canada are different than in the US. In Canada, if an artist is going to “make it” in the big time arena they have to be unique. They have to be real. The Canadian judges are all from the Canadian music industry and they know that.

The very qualities that make someone a good candidate for CI makes them a poor choice for AI. It’s the main reason I stopped watching American Idol. American Idol is looking for people who can be manufactured, produced, packaged and marketed. I’m not saying that to disrespect the judges of AI. They are choosing the sort of artist that make it in the industry there. I think it’s sad that many of the million selling artists in today’s industry are as much a result of a technician’s genius as their own talent.

This year I’ve caught peices and parts of a few episodes of CI. I’ve seen 2 whole episodes now. Last night’s results show left 14 remaining. I’ve seen all of the remaining competitors perform at least twice. I’d like to go way out on a limb and say who I think the final 5 will be. If you checked out the links in the first paragraph, you may have noted that only one of them won CI. While I think all the competitors want to get as far as they can, they know from previous years that winning isn’t essential. Pretty much anyone who makes it to the top 10 have the opportunity to have a career in music.

Liam (This is my favourite of the performances I’ve seen this year.)
Carly Rae

All very original, I think. Check ’em out. Let me know what you think.

And he’s back…

Just in time to go away for the weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re having mail issues on the new server, though. We can create accounts and read the mail on the server just fine, we just can’t get it to download from the server to our desktops.

Monday links & pics

How was my weekend? Very good thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

My clowns (you know the drill about clicking on an image):

my clowns

Me and my lawn (I’ve discovered that the best time to rake leaves is in the rain.):

raking leaves

This weekend a round robin conversation went on while I was away (from the internet). It all started with kim and her knitting technique (what’s with the phone ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Knitting is something that I’ve not had time to do in a long time. But, I can knit. Kim has probably given you an idea of my knitting ability. Yes, I drop stitches and do the wrong stitch or stich in the wrong direction on a regular basis, too. And I suck at keeping a consistent tension.

In JoVE’s response, she said:

We live in a society which values that which can be bought and sold. Commodities. If it does not produce a commodity, it seems that our work is worthless. Crazy, even.

While this is a total tangent from the knitting thread (coincidental pun), the ceramic tiles I installed both last and this weekend came to mind when reading Process vs. product. If you watch home reno shows (which we do) you will often see ceramic tiles being part of the reno. And even if it is only a 2 second blip most of the time you get to see a tile cutter. In this pic where ever you see a piece of blue tape is where I cut a tile:


A join without tape:

joined tiles

The tile cutter (with the aid of a carpentry square):


If you have watched those reno shows you will have noted that my tile cutter is a little different from the reno show ones. The ones on the reno shows are machines designed specifically for cutting tile while mine is my glass cutter I use for stained glass. In our case, I don’t know that getting a mechanical tile cutter would have saved us any time. I don’t think that it would have saved the hour that it would have taken to pick it up and return it to the rental place. But that’s not really the point. The tile cutter is all about getting the job done. I enjoyed cutting the tiles. I enjoyed the challenge of trying for a perfect match between the 2 pieces of tile so that if you stop to look at it you can see that the seam is there but at a passing glance you don’t. While our aim in all the renovations we are doing is to make the house attractive in the market, we should enjoy the process. Things aren’t always going to work out like a carefully oiled clock. But that’s not the point in life. At least I don’t think it is.

So, a perfect third party in the conversation is Paradise Found:

I have always said that if my kids grow up to be happy and can provide for themselves, then they will indeed be successful, regardless of whether or not the rest of the world would classify them as such.

I’ve never gotten involved in a discussion of money in this blog (and rarely do outside of it). But there was a period in my career where I made substantially more money than I do now. It was then that I came hard against it that money is not everything and was forced to evaluate what our society considers success. I think what our society views to be success is severely warped.

Over the years what I’ve done (and continue to do) without really intending to has been to show my kids that work is not an evil thing. They see me working at things all the time. Sometimes it’s things like stained glass. Some people would call me a workaholic but I’m not. I’m not working compulsively or because I can’t stand not working. I’m working because I enjoy it.

If at some point I choose to judge my children’s success it will be based on whether they enjoy the work that they do. I’ll be far more likely to judge my success as a parent this way.

The rubber meets the road

Before I get into this post:

Tonight I took down the calendar and counted the weeks I’ve been working over here – 36. In the post of Andrea’s that I link to below she talks about a tentative deadline we have set for ourselves. I’m down to a theoretical 6 weekends. So, what I talk about below may be pressing primarily on me in light of that deadline.

Andrea has been regaling you with the trials and successes of our renovations. It may seem as of late that we are under trial. It had not escaped my attention that this minor setback occurred both within 24 hours of my writing about problem solving and on Friday the 13th. Now, I’m not particularly superstitious and since this is the first intersection of that day and something significant going awry in my life, I’m not about to dig out the aliminum foil hat.

If I were to conclude that the setback was somehow connected to my life in general, I would expect it to relate back to what I had been writing about the night before. Because I’ve found life is often like that. And what I said was:

The key to problem solving is identifying the problem.

Andrea eloquently described the symptom of the problem as follows:

I heard the toilet flush.

And then water started squirting out of the hole where the doorbell wiring is.

Andrea also mentioned that she was somewhat upset by the latest development. And that’s quite reasonable given we have been working on the kitchen for a few weeks and we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on the second key room in improving the prospects of a short time on the market when the time comes.

And for me, given the ongoing time away from home and the small windows of time which I have to divide between work on something like this and spending time with them while I’m home, this is one of those times when the rubber meets the road. It’s where theory meets reality. It’s the deciding point where in idea, philosophy or ideal becomes wisdom or platitude.

At the time Andrea told me, I had had a few minutes on the couch after the 3 hour drive home. So, unless it was critical that something be fixed right away, I wouldn’t have done anything about it that night. In this instance I didn’t even go look at it. Instead I mentally collected up all the things I knew about it:

  1. The waste pipe in question is a cast pipe.
  2. The toilet in question is the only fixture connected to the cast pipe above the basement.
  3. Including fittings, there is roughly 30 feet of cast pipe above the basement.
  4. Cast pipe is heavy. (I’ve since come up with a ball park estimate of about 5-600 lbs above the basement.)
  5. Because of the weight most of the cast pipe I’ve seen installed in houses relied primarily on gravity to keep it in place. Our house is no exception.
  6. The hole where the water came out is a relatively small in the wall.
  7. Until the cast pipe gets to the attic all of it is inside walls or in the ceiling/under floors.
  8. The toilet is not above the cavity where the cast pipe goes from the second floor to the basement.
  9. In addition to the cast pipe, there are 3 other unused water pipes (from the original heating system) that use the same cavity to get to the second floor.
  10. When I had the bathroom floor off a couple months ago I noticed that there was a block of wood wedged between the one side of the cavity and one of those unused pipes which might have been near the height of the hole for the doorbell..

Some initial conclusions that I drew were:

  1. It was not a small leak.
  2. Whether there had been a small leak before something had changed on Friday.
  3. The block of wood was likely partially responsible for the leak showing up in the kitchen.
  4. Removing the cast pipe or sections of it was going to be alot of work.
  5. The only way to determine how much work I was in for was to cut a hole in the wall.

And this is what I found:

If you look at the pipe in the picture you can see that it had been repaired before. The piece that is missing is a section of the flange that joined the elbow to the Tee. Given the layers of floor that I removed from the bathroom and what I had to cut through in the kitchen wall, my guess is that the last repair was on or before 1970. When our house was built 100 years ago, most things were made to last. I believe that the cast pipe is original to the house. The short of it would be that of the problems that I thought were likely this one is the best one of all of them to have to solve.

A brief conclusion

to the story in the previous post. I don’t know if you have heard the cliche of a dog chasing its tail or not. When I was growing up, we had a dog that liked to do that. He would run in a circle and succeed every once in a while at getting his teeth clamped onto his tail. But, because he had been running, he needed to pant and it was all for naught. Once he caught a breath or 2 he would start at it again.

This morning I had yet another email which immediately reminded me of the dog. I was polite but brief in explaining the circle we seemed to be running around. And that seems to have worked.

Couldn’t resist

Since we started using Spam Karma it has been doing an excellent job of handling spam comments. But a couple times a week 1 or 2 show up in the moderation queue. This week’s spam comment was priceless. The url of the author lead back to one of those sites written for the naive, written like the scripts of if you follow our simple program you to can lose weight/keep fit/become a millionaire/get friends/influence people/blah, blah, blah.

In this case, the drivel that the site is selling is supposedly the surfire, can’t fail, easy to follow program for parenting infants. It only takes having 2 children to learn there is no such thing. The irony that I couldn’t resist was that the post the spammer chose to associate with the site was How to be a Bad Parent.

I had intended to go on and talk about things that are somewhat fluffy when compared to the above post. But ended up re-reading the things I posted on the above subject. So, I don’t have the heart for fluff atm:


Statistics & IQ

A long comment in response to Carlotta’s post:

In North America most (excluding military which have their own scale) IQ measurement is done with a mean (average) of 100 and a standard deviation of 20 which arbitrarily define a standard bell curve. A standard bell curve is a nice smooth symmetrical hump (a graph) that conforms to the following statistical observations:

  1. The highest point on the curve is the mean
  2. 68% of a normal distribution fall within 1 standard deviation of the mean (34% below and 34% above). So, irrespective of who takes IQ tests (with a std dev of 20) there will always be 34% whose IQ is identified as 80-100 and 34% whose IQ is identified as 100-120.
  3. 14% fall in each second standard deviation from the mean: 14% will be identified as 60-80 and 14% as 120-140
  4. That leave 2% above and below: 2% less than 60 and 2% more than 140
  5. On this scale 140+ is considered genius.
  6. Less than 40 and greater than 160 is pegged at about .1% each

The standard bell curve is a substantial degree just a mathematical theory that is used to box things in. I don’t put much stock in IQ. To an extent it might be representative of the combination of how familiar the test takers are with the way the questions are posed, mentally how fast they are and how prone they are to mistake. Someone could perform consistently on a series of these tests and get varying numerical results because of where their score falls against that average of those who have taken that particular formula of test.

Detachment Parenting

Our experience resonates with what Hailey says here. No playpens here. TBH, detachment parenting gives me the willies.

HT: Carlotta