Random Update

I’m in an ADD kind of mood, so here’s a matching entry.

Site
I got sick of moderating comment spam so I upgraded to WordPress 1.5 yesterday and chose a new theme. The latter part was way more difficult than it should have been; since getting this 20″ Dell 2005FPW widescreen LCD last month, most webpages are now huge portions of whitespace (i.e. a couple of centered, fixed width columns perfect for an 800×600 resolution, then huge columns of whitespace on either side). Out of the 50 or so available themes I could find, maybe 5 of them are actually variable width, automatically adjusting to the size of the browser window. Out of those 5, only one of them didn’t look like ass.

Work
We gave our first full-time offer to a female developer last week. We’re now also taking bets on which of us will be the first to be sent to sensitivity training.

Car
I swear my car and I must be cursed or something:

  • Last weekend Bonnie and I were changing the tires on my car back to the all-seasons. Apparently one of the rear ones picked up a screw sometime last year, and I didn’t notice when swapping to the winter tires last November. Just like last time, it’s in a place that’s unrepairable. What are the chances, really?
  • A star-shaped, stone chip crack in my windshield also appeared all of a sudden. Apparently some insurance companies will completely waive the deductable on the ~$50 repair because it’s so much cheaper than the replacement option. Not my insurance company. Sigh.
  • My brakes have started squealing, though it’s a very high-pitched squeal. The next scheduled maintenance isn’t for another 6,000KMs or so, but I guess I should take it in anyway.
  • Apparently the natural resonant frequency for my front bumper matches that of my engine when it idles around 750RPM. Needless to say, there’s a lot of vibration once the car has warmed up and I’m waiting at a stop light. It’s apparently a known issue, complete with a technical service bulletin. I guess I’ll get that fixed along with the brakes.

Money Stuff

  • The University of Waterloo is expected to open a downtown Kitchener health sciences campus, consisting primarily of a School of Pharmacy in September 2007. It will be located at King and Victoria, which is coincidentally just down the street from where we’re living right now. Go one stop light south of the proposed campus and you’ll find the abandoned Kaufman Footwear factory, which is being converted into The Kaufman Lofts. Why is this of interest? Check out the expected demographic for the Pharmacy undergrads at the new school. 85% expected from outside of the Region of Waterloo, 75% female, 90% single, 65% over the age of 23. This is practically a landlord’s wet dream: 1) Mostly out of towners that require housing. 2) Single, meaning they are more likely to rent rather than plant roots and purchase housing in the area. 3) Long term leases (the duration of their undergrad program – 4 years?). 4) Females in their mid-to-late-20’s are not likely to seriously trash the place.
  • Since the beginning of March, stock markets have lost roughly 10% of their value. This has the nice effect of weeding people out such that prices drop low enough that they just give up and sell their positions at a huge loss because they think everything is going straight to zero. In the industry they call this “capitulation”, and it is also the best time to buy. People who are not usually wrong are predicting that this will happen in the next week or two, after a further non-trivial drop. Hopefully you’ve “kept some powder dry” to take advantage.
  • My sister bought me subscriptions to RealMoney and Minyanville as belated Christmas presents. The people that write for these sites tend to be more correct than the general media because there is no conflict of interest (you pay the subscription fee to read what they’re really thinking, rather than what someone has paid them to say). The value is not so much any specific recommendations that they make, but rather skimming through the articles to get a general feel for their sentiments at any given time. Hey, if you don’t have the time to do the work yourself, why not stand on the shoulders of giants? :)


Japan
Bonnie and I are going to Japan in May. We’re flying into Tokyo where we’ll stay for 4 days, then we’re taking the train to Hakone where we’ll stay at this hot spring Ryokan for a couple days. After that it’s three days in Kyoto, four days in Osaka, then another two days in Tokyo. No details planned yet though; I say we wing it. 😛

Gay Marriage
There’s a difference between lack of rights, equal rights, and exceptional rights. I think gay marriage proponents are confused about the category for which they wish to belong. Heterosexual married couples are given exceptional rights by the government (and thus society) because they have the ability to pro-create (i.e. create a new taxpayer – special treatment is really all about money). Singles and homosexual couples do not have this ability, so they should not be afforded these rights. I’m all for equal rights, but I’m not a supporter for exceptional rights just because some group wants them. Otherwise, hey, I’m a member of the group of single, 18-34 year old Asian males. There sure are a lot of us, and I think we deserve “equal treatment” in the form of the same tax breaks that heterosexual couples get. See? It makes little sense.

answers.com
Ever notice how if you have a specific question for which you want an answer, Google is almost completely useless? You just get hundreds of hits that may or may not contain what you’re looking for. It’s a lot of work. Well don’t despair, answers.com seems to be better for that sort of thing.

Ice Cream
What ever happened to Beatrice ice cream? Their Tin Roof Sundae and Heavenly Hash were my favourite flavours as a kid. No one else seems to make Tin Roof Sundae anymore, and nobody else’s Heavenly Hash has those trapezoidal shaped chocolate pieces. Sigh.

2 Comments

  1. Warren says:

    The trouble with that argument is that not all married couples can have children, or want to have children. Should couples be barred from marriage (or at least the exceptional rights) if one of them is infertile? Post-menopausal? How about men who cheat on their wives get a tax credit, because they’re increasing the chances of getting someone pregnant? :)

    Non-married couples or single parents can raise children as well. There’s no shortage of kids that would want a nice home and there is no evidence that a gay couple is any less fit than a heterosexual couple simply because of their sexual orientation.

    Gay couples do lack rights that married couples enjoy, which have nothing to do with procreation. Certain states bar gay couples from adopting children, even if one of the partners is the child’s biological parent. Gay couples are denied inheritence rights and pension benefits that are reserved for heterosexual married couples.

    I agree on what you’ve said on two points. Yes, giving more money to parents who raise kids increases the likelihood that they’ll be successful. You can argue that this makes a better revenue stream in the next generation. As for gay couples, they are fighting for equal rights as married couples, not perceived exceptional rights that are conferred to the latter group.

    P.S. How’s the Dell? I’ve heard it’s as good as the Apple Cinema display, without the markup.

  2. Dave says:

    The trouble with that argument is that not all married couples can have children, or want to have children. Should couples be barred from marriage (or at least the exceptional rights) if one of them is infertile? Post-menopausal?

    It’s probably too heartless as a society to discriminate against those with physical problems that prevent them from “creating a taxpayer”. Also can’t discriminate against those that choose not to because they could always lie and say they’ve tried but can’t seem to do it.

    How about men who cheat on their wives get a tax credit, because they’re increasing the chances of getting someone pregnant? :)

    Sure, if they make their child support payments. 😛

    Non-married couples or single parents can raise children as well. There’s no shortage of kids that would want a nice home and there is no evidence that a gay couple is any less fit than a heterosexual couple simply because of their sexual orientation.

    Fitness to raise a child is different than creation of a child (or at least the potential ability). They’re independent things, and both should be independently rewarded by society.

    Gay couples do lack rights that married couples enjoy, which have nothing to do with procreation. Certain states bar gay couples from adopting children, even if one of the partners is the child’s biological parent.

    And I agree, this is bad, it’s clearly a lack of rights. Adoption should be a right afforded to all (single/gay/hetero), not an exceptional right given only to heterosexual couples.

    Gay couples are denied inheritence rights and pension benefits that are reserved for heterosexual married couples.

    Do singles get these inheritance rights and pension benefits? Say a brother and sister live together their entire lives; they share expenses, split the purchase of assets, etc. Do they deserve access to these benefits as well? If not, should gay couples?

    As for gay couples, they are fighting for equal rights as married couples, not perceived exceptional rights that are conferred to the latter group.

    From a high level, the way I see it is society has this list of benefits that they want to bestow on certain portions of the population, because those portions are helping to improve life for current and future generations. It happens that heterosexual couples get a sweet package of these benefits because they are pulling the lion’s share of the weight, so to speak. Singles and gay couples should not be entitled to this exact same package because their contribution is less.

    The key is that the package should not be treated as indivisible; benefits that make sense for single and/or gay couples should be awarded to them. But giving them the exact same package that hetero couples get definitely doesn’t make sense.

    P.S. How’s the Dell? I’ve heard it’s as good as the Apple Cinema display, without the markup.

    No complaints so far; I have one pixel stuck at green, but I can’t see it unless I set the background to all black. I think it’s the same (LG) panel as the Apple Cinema. Got it from the Dell 10 Days of Deals thing last month for only $599.