Update, 9 Nov 2016:

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

The political ascendancy of Donald Trump would be a fascinating and mildly amusing study in American celebrity culture, were it not such a potential threat to my safety and quality of life. Really no surprise that after years of a party defining itself through ostentatious wealth, belligerent ignorance, racial hatred, conspiracy theories, and loveless religiosity, they would end up nominating a wealthy and belligerently incoherent conspiracy-spewing racist TV celebrity backed by xenophobic white supremacists, able to con supporters with sheer bombast combined with just the thinnest and most pathetic of religious veneers. It’s made for some interesting reading, at least: (List updated as more good content becomes available)

For my amusement I have my own conspiracy theory: Trump is actually a Clinton agent tasked with boosting Hillary Clinton’s campaign by wreaking havoc on the GOP primaries, but ended up doing his job just a little too well, and now is frantically attempting to terminate the mission, only to find that every increasingly outrageous thing he says to self-sabotage his campaign is only met with greater cheers from an all too suggestible fan base.

In any case, perhaps a foreign exit plan in case of a Trump win would be prudent. Seems returning to the Philippines is not an option.

Farewell, Barry

The old Navy ship Barry (DD-93), long a fixture at the US Navy Museum in Washington DC as a display ship, departed Navy Yard this morning for a final voyage to the Philadelphia NISMF for disposal. I didn’t even know the ship was leaving till Steven Schwark posted about it, and Joseph Gruber suggested I go down to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to catch it — so we drove over to Jones Point Park with plenty of time to catch the ship’s passage under the bridge.

Barry (DD-933) passing Jones Point Park
Display Ship Barry at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge

(I never did get to board the Barry, but I know someone who served aboard it in the Navy: Richard Hay (aka @WinObs), who I met at the NASA Juno Tweetup.) I was glad to at least see the ship sail by as she departed DC.

More photos in my “Barry Departure” photo album.

Self-Portrait as Messy-Haired Rembrandt

I’ve been letting my hair grow out for several months and Amy commented that when messy my hair looked a bit like Rembrandt’s in his famous “surprised” self-portrait. I tried mugging the same pose:

Comparison to Rembrandt Self-Portrait

(Sadly I have had to cut my hair since then; with the weather getting warmer and a baby on the way, a crew cut makes life generally cooler and more efficient.)


Cats on the bed before and after hearing a can opener sound:

Cats on Bed, perking up

(You too can test your cats for this effect with my first Soundcloud upload, a recording of a can opener titled “Summon Cat.”)

Family Visit

Dad, Mom, brother, and sister-in-law came to visit last weekend. We did a lot of shopping, ate a lot of food, showed off the townhouse to Dad and Mom. Uncle and Aunt who live in NoVA joined us.

Brunch pano with Francis and Ayna
Dinner with family at Wood Ranch

Sister-in-law was nice enough to assemble the IKEA STUVA crib for us, so our child will sleep in a crib built by his aunt, a worthy legacy.


Meanwhile Amelia Cat really liked Mom’s shoes.

Amelia Cat likes Mom's shoes

Fun visit, was glad to see them all again. And the next time they come over there’ll be an additional kid in these pictures! (I mean, he’s already there, just still inside Amy at the moment. Next time he’ll be visible.)

House Stuff

Been in a very “home repairs” kind of mode for the last couple of weeks: having the upstairs primed and repainted and recarpeted to get rid of a lingering cigarette smoke smell left by the townhouse’s previous tenants, brushing multiple layers of sealant into a stinky kitchen island cabinet that was previously used as a garbage receptacle, installing a standing bathroom cabinet for the half-bath (and sawing the corner trim cuts myself since very few of these cheaper bathroom space savers go flush against a wall with trim), installing and caulking bathtub splash guards, replacing an HVAC return vent grille, and getting nursery furniture for Project Wallaby, now due in just 7 weeks.

Sawing trim cuts for bathroom standing shelves #throughglass

The third floor repainting was the most strenuous part, even though we hired painters to take care of it. Furniture had to be disassembled and moved into the future-nursery (already repainted back in December) and the cats were locked downstairs to keep out of the way. We lived out of the guest room (really still mostly a post-moving storage room with a bed) in the meantime. At the end of it the master bedroom looked great, with no more cigarette smell, a new light fixture replacing an old unused ceiling fan, and soft blue walls, definitely an improvement over the old default off-white.

Bedroom before Repainting
Bedroom Repainted and Recarpeted

In the process we had to clear the clothes out of our closets and dump a bunch of them on the couch, which of course became a new cat bed.

Amelia #cat on my clothes stack

Most important is that the nursery is ready for its new resident, coming this summer.

Future Nursery

After all this work on a relatively small 3BR/2.5BA townhouse, I don’t know how anyone handles having anything bigger.


Here’s Martha cat!

Martha #cat
Martha #cat Martha #cat

And here’s Amelia cat!

#cat want food
Amelia #cat yawning Amelia #cat

Light March Snow

Some light March snow
Some light March snow

Got some snow this morning, just a wet inch; enough to make the woods look picturesque but not enough to mess up the roads. By afternoon it had melted away, a far cry from the Jan 2016 blizzard. That’s probably the last snow we get for this winter.

OK Go in Zero G

Alt rock band OK Go — already known for conceptually daring and technically complex music videos involving things like treadmills, self-stabilizing unicycles, optical-illusion installations, stunt driving courses, marching bands, and massive Rube Goldberg machines — has now shot a zero-gravity video aboard a cosmonaut training aircraft in Russia for their song Upside Down and Inside Out.

It’s an impressive feat of logistics and choreography, with the song slowed down and split into zero-G-parabola-timed segments to be sped up, stitched, and synced in editing later; plus a grand finale of piñatas, paint balloons, and disco balls termed “Thunderdome.” The extensive Behind the Scenes documentation show just how much work went into this production.

(All this of course makes me want to try a zero G flight, though I doubt I’ll have the thousands of dollars necessary to spare for the experience any time soon.)