December 12, 2008: End of a Very Busy Week

So much for sleeping through the night.  Going to bed so late did not help things and instead of sleeping for about seven hours Liesl barely slept at all.  She was awake all through the night which, of course, kept us up.  Dominica tried to let me sleep some but it isn’t easy when Liesl needs things and Dominica needs me to pick her up for her.

Liesl got up at seven thirty this morning which was close enough to the time that I needed to start work that I just got up, changed her and headed down to the office to get to work.  Six and a half hours of irregular sleep isn’t very much after working a double and I think that Dominica is quite a bit more tired than I am even though she got a great, multi-hour nap in yesterday afternoon without any interruptions.

It is dark and rainy again today.  The rain has not stopped in three days at least.  There is standing water on the patio, in the grass, in the parking lot.  Westchester is saturated with water.

Lot’s of layoffs at the office yesterday.  Some of the first that really impacted people that I know directly and work with everyday.  One person was emailing me in the morning and then just stopped responding to the emails.  Turns out that she was layed off during our email conversation.  I am told that London is being hit very hard with jobs being relocated to low cost centers rather than insanely expensive London itself.  Few people will be willing to relocate out of London so those turn into layoffs rather than relocations.  A handful of people will choose to move, I’m sure.

I found out that I am scheduled to work tomorrow again.  I think that this is three Saturdays in a row.  I’d complain about the amount of time but given the current situation we sure can use the extra money.  Liesl doesn’t really fit into the Mazda PR5 so we are kicking around the idea of buying another car (and trading in one of our two current cars.)

The deals right now are really good but buying a new car is still buying a new car.  We would really like the Mazda 3 but it is unlikely to be enough bigger than the PR5 to make a difference.  The 6 is pretty expensive for a second car.  We don’t really like the 5 and the CX series aren’t what we are really interested in although Dominica did drive a CX7 as a loaner and it wasn’t too bad.  It’s an option.

The problem is that once we start getting past the price of a Mazda 3 then it starts making us wonder if it wouldn’t be better to put the money into a BMW instead.  When I bought my Mazda 6 I got five years with 0% APR and they are not offering that again.  Now they are just offering 3 years with 0% APR and a small customer loyalty bonus.  The deals are good but not as good as they used to be back in 2002.

By late morning we actually had a little sunlight.  This is the first that we have seen in days.

Dominica spent most of the day in the living room watchnig Kate and Allie.  She is up to the third season now.  While I was working I did some editing of Dominica and my footage from Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from 2007 (yes, two trips ago) and am working to get it collected into a finalized video so that I can finally post it.

I discovered, while preparing to compress my home movie of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, that Handbrake 0.9.3 has released.  The new Handbrake is much more flexible and solves a lot of the problems that I have had in the past plus it runs faster and, in theory, produces higher quality output.  Anyone doing video conversion to Xvid, MPEG4 or h.264 (or Ogg Theora) should definitely download it and give it a try.  I have to use a tool like Handbrake becaue Pinnacle does not produce h.264 output, output for AppleTV nor does in dei-nterlace – all which are critical to producing even the most rudimentarily useful output for video today.

I saw an add for the Honday Insight today.  Their first hybrid car is scheduled to return next year and it looks pretty nice.  I would be interested in driving one.  In their add, though, they lead off the add by asking “Who introduced the first hybrid to the United States?”  This got me thinking.  I knew that Porsche introduced the first hybrid ever, in 1901, but I also knew that they didn’t sell it in the US.  So I did some quick research and the answer is The Woods “Dual Power” of 1915 – 1918.  Of course, the Honda add claims that Honday introduced the first hybrid vehicle to the US in 1999.  I have a feeling that there were dozens of hybrid vehicles on the US market before 1999.  The Prius is from 1997 but was not sold in the US until 2001.  My guess is that Honday uses that one, single latecomer to the market as their basis for being “first”.  Rather like South Africa claiming to be the first country to put someone on the moon in fifty years after Russia, China and the EU have already done it but before Ethiopia does.

I worked until around eight this evening. Then Dominica and I spent the rest of the evening watching The Dick Van Dyke Show on Hulu via PlayOn on the PS3 in the living room.  It was around midnight when we finally convinced Liesl that it was time to get off to bed.

The video turned out pretty well.  It is about twelve minutes long and is just footage from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Savanah.  Kind of boring but it is also a pretty amazing sales pitch for the Animal Kingdom Lodge considering the entire thing is shot from out hotel room balcony and a few shots from the central observation platform by the restaurants.  Now I just need to figure out how I can get it posted online for people to see.

My work starts tomorrow at eight in the morning.  This should be the last busy weekend for a while.  At least busy from a work perspective.

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