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Personal Space

Personal Space -

Last Build Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 22:06:52 GMT

Copyright: NOINDEX

Sat, 27 Feb 2010 22:06:52 GMT

Any blogging software recommendations for those of moderate computer literacy?

Unqualified fashion opinion

Sat, 27 Feb 2010 21:36:43 GMT

I'm pretty sure Uggs are the new Crocs.

impressed by CTA transparency

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 00:01:29 GMT

Sitting on the Orange line, the conductor just announced that we are stopped due to a train losing power at the interchange ahead and followed up with details of work to restore service. Not the biggest vote of confidence for the infrastructure, but I appreciate that customer relations has evolved past a recorded "waiting for signals ahead" message.

Things I Like: Digital audio version of "The Economist"

Sun, 22 Feb 2009 23:20:08 GMT

One of the things I am really liking this year is the audio version of "The Economist." I have been a subscriber to the print edition for some time now, however, rarely have enough time to read it. Also, the print copy often arrives as much as a week late. The audio edition, on the other hand, shows up on the web site at the same time the print edition is released on Friday and is very convenient for listening on commutes or while working out.

Most people who talk with me know that "The Economist" is my primary source of world news. It has a scope wider than its name implies (this may be due to one of those British-vs-American semantic variations relating to the term "economist"), providing good coverage of both politics and economics, with the occasional dash of arts, science, and literature. In my search for unbiased reporting, I find "The Economist" to be adequate and better than most. While a bit left-of-center on social issues and right-of-center on economic issues (at least, from a British reckoning), it is refreshingly candid and self-aware on both counts.

The quality of the readings is excellent, especially when one considers the minimal time that the producers must have each week. The readings are at a good pace; slow enough to digest yet fast enough to not bore. Each issue is read by a team of professional speakers and actors. As an added bonus, they all speak with British accents and therefore sound quite intelligent to my American ears.

The recordings are delivered as individual mp3s for each article and appears conveniently as an album on my mp3 player. Subscribers to the print edition can get the audio edition for free while others can purchase individual issues for 4 GBP.

A day many thought would never come

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 18:00:01 GMT

Yes, there is a White Sox fan in the White House.

Necessity is the mother of proficiency

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 01:33:48 GMT

Apparently, not only have I not lost my abiity to program, I can program in two languages I did not know.

Unstuck in timeFirescape - Still I Try

Tue, 09 Dec 2008 14:38:37 GMT

I'm a bit concerned that I'm starting to think naturally in the GMT time zone. That and my use of the word "bespoke" is way too high for an American.

Practicing safe reps

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 18:08:19 GMT

I fail to understand why so many people in the gym do not use barbell collars. The barbell collar is essentially a clamp placed outside the weight plates to ensure they do not fall off. Plates falling off of a barbell can be incredibly dangerous. The plates that first fall off can seriously injure anyone nearby. On top of that, the sudden shift in weight will cause the other end of the barbell to suddenly drop, spilling the other side's plates and causing the barbell itself to go flying.

Looking around the weight area, I consistently see a large proportion of people do not use collars even when dealing with considerable (at least to me) amounts of weight. I can only think of the following reasons, none of which are very good:

  • Lack of awareness - I certainly did not know to use collars when first starting (with predictable results). However, anyone who goes to this gym regularly could not help to notice their use by others or the explicit rule to use them on signs on the walls.
  • Laziness or apathy - Putting collars on requires an insignificant amount of time and effort against loading weights on the bar. While one might want a "quick release" option to rapidly change weights for low-rest sets or drop sets, it hardly seems worth the risk and should not be safely rushed anyway.
  • Perception that collars are "for beginners" - Quite the opposite, I get the impression that people who fail to use collars either do not know what they are doing or are not serious about weightlifting. While experienced weightlifters will always try to maintain balance while using a barbell, there are always events (muscle spasm, sudden distraction) that can throw off perfect form. With practice, using collars becomes quick and second-nature. They also make it safer to use the kind of weight required to push muscles to the next level. Not using collars for this reason indicates that you are just showing off.

Question of the Day: Multilingual computer generated animation

Sat, 06 Dec 2008 17:53:32 GMT

Is there a technology that allows animation studios to render multiple versions of the same work at the same time with different lip movements for different languages? Increasingly, animation is computer generated and consumed by a global audience. This seems a logical advantage of CGI, unless there is a purist sentiment that the animation for the original language should be preserved.

Crazy like Barack

Fri, 05 Dec 2008 01:19:25 GMT

While this article indicates that the frequency of my workouts may be borderline obsessive, at least I'm in good company.

Homeownership by Error: Lesson 1Your Guardian Angel - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Thu, 04 Dec 2008 19:11:56 GMT

Apparently, that duct from the dryer to the outside does not clean itself. Time to break out the extra-large pipe cleaners.

Testing from my phonehum of HVAC

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 20:49:25 GMT

Trying out a post from my phone.

For those suffering Battlestar withdrawal

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 00:20:34 GMT

The upcoming Battlestar Galactica movie "Razor" does not premiere on television until November 24. However, there will be several theatrical screenings on November 12, including three theaters in the Chicago area. Free tickets will be available at starting Friday. If anyone plans to go to the one in Evanston, let me know.

My father shares his thoughts on MCR

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 04:12:43 GMT

While visiting my dad today, he asked if I had listened to the new CD from My Chemical Romance. He recommended it as the songs are consistently good across the album.

I love my family.


Wed, 20 Dec 2006 17:34:27 GMT

My sister and I will be attending Jewltide at the Empty Bottle this evening. It starts at 10pm and is located at 1035 N Western Ave. All are welcome and encouraged to join us. The show consists of Golem and Socalled. Golem is a klezmer band with a very modern sound ("This is not your father's klezmer band . . . unless, of course, your father was Sid Vicious." - Jewish Week). Socalled is a Yiddish rapper.


Fri, 24 Mar 2006 03:25:40 GMT

(image) kitten_ms and I plan to attend uShaka, a musical about the Zulu warrior Shaka, at Ravinia, Thursday, June 8.  Tickets go on sale April 20.  Would anyone care to join us?

Waiting for Galactica to discover Earth in October

Sat, 11 Mar 2006 05:11:24 GMT

(image) kitten_ms and I just finished the Battlestar Galactica season 2 finale.  I won't give anything away here except to say that everything changes and I like it!  I haven't enjoyed science fiction television this much since the Dominion War on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Now I just have to wait until October for season 3.

If you have not tried Battlestar Galactica, I recommend checking out the miniseries and first two seasons on DVD.  Its relationship to the original series is minimal.  It takes the basic ideas and characters from the original series but plays out with a much higher level of sophistication.  I would characterize it as the Russian Literature of science fiction television, with serious morality plays, complex characters and plots, and a setting that is both fascinatingly alien and hauntingly familiar.

Poverty and Governance in Africa: An Agenda for Action

Tue, 24 Jan 2006 05:06:28 GMT

I'm planning to attend this lecture at 7pm this Wednesday, January 25, if anyone would care to join me. It is a lecture on the impact of aid and governance on poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Random Jake

Wed, 12 Oct 2005 03:20:34 GMT

1. Copy these instructions and post them into a new entry.
2. Open up the music player on your computer (or turn on your MP3 player).
3. Set it to play your entire music collection.
4. Hit the shuffle command.
5. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty.
6. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurrences. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you
can if you'd like.

1. Guns N' Roses - Shotgun Blues
2. Saliva - Lackluster
3. Live - Everytime I See Your Face
4. The Offspring - Want You Bad
5. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Punky Regae Party
6. Firehouse - You're Too Bad
7. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - Hello
8. Spring Heeled Jack - Where I Belong
9. Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved
10. ZAO - The Rising End (The First Prophecy)

A little IMSA reunion warm-up

Thu, 28 Apr 2005 23:07:03 GMT

IMSA people: I can't promise anything, but hypothetically, if a pre-reunion party was held, would you want a lunch/afternoon thing just before (Saturday, June 18) or an evening thing Friday, June 17?

This Friday

Wed, 27 Apr 2005 23:23:47 GMT

Thinking about hitting Uncommon Ground for some folk and rock this Friday night. Anyone else interested?

Taste of Chicago Lineup

Thu, 07 Apr 2005 02:14:43 GMT

Is it just me, or did the city outdo itself with the musical lineup for the Taste this year?

Building bridges on LSD

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 03:47:11 GMT

Another reason I love living in Chicago:

Not only are the designs quite artistic, but all five bridges will be devoted to non-motorized traffic on the lakeshore. I can attest to the fact that the bridge over the Chicago river will be a welcome addition for runners and cyclists.

Last minute TML announcement

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 23:49:35 GMT

Planning to hit Too Much Light tonight and all are welcome to join. Reach me at 312.560.3826 (mobile).

EDIT: Canceled. Of course, next weekend . . .

Meme Pressure

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 23:23:50 GMT

Name: Jake Gerstein
Birth date: September 29, 1976
Birth place: Weiss Memorial, Chicago, IL, USA
Current Location: Chicago
Hair Color: brown/blond sort of color
Righty or Lefty: Righty

Your heritage: Ukranian Jewish, Kashubish (Polish), Undefined Northern European
Shoes you wore today: Nikes
Your weakness: house improvements
Your fears: letting other people down, drivers when I'm biking, bikers when I'm driving, moderate heights
Your perfect pizza: Lou Malnati's with sausage, pepperoni, garlic, and onion
Goal you'd like to achieve: accomplished writer in several genres

Your most overused phrase: "I'll take an action item for that."
Your thoughts first waking up: "The elliptical trainer is just in the next room, but it seems so far."
Your bedtime: midnight
Your most missed memory: Being cool

Pepsi or Coke: Pepsi - can't get into the whole Coke image and Pepsi really does taste better
McDonald's or Burger King: rarely, but Burger King if I have to
Adidas or Nike: Nike
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: I think Nestea - comes in a can, right?
Chocolate or vanilla: Whichever I didn't have yesterday
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee, unadulterated

Smoke: No
Cuss: Only in extreme situations, to maintain effectiveness
Single: Happily married
Take a shower: once a day, twice if I work out late
Have a crush(es): on my wife, even more than before
Think you've been in love: Very much in love
Want to get married: Don't plan to have to ever again
Believe in yourself: Usually - the times I don't are just for motivation
Get motion sickness: Rarely
Think you're attractive: Getting there
Get along with your parents: Yes, I'm more and more like them every day
Like thunderstorms: Yes, except when the gutters are clogged

Drank alcohol: never have
Gone on a date: yes
Gone to the mall: yes, a happy sacrifice for my wife
Been on stage: does a conference call with the global account leadership count?
Eaten an entire box of Oreos: no
Eaten sushi: yes, just a few hours ago
Been dumped: no
Gone skating: no
Gone skinny dipping: never have
Stolen anything: no