Filming on the way to school

May 26, 2008

Last week I was thinking about how different my daughter’s life experience is at 5 compared to mine. The things that she sees routinely growing up in New York and the places she’s been really blow me away when I think about it.

Growing up in Milwaukee, if we heard that someone was shooting a movie in our city, that would be a big deal. Here you routinely see No Parking signs on various streets to facilitate movies.

They’ve been shooting something on the streets on the way to Danielle’s school in the morning. And we’re just completely blasé about it. Danielle is shy, so when I asked her if she ever wanted to be in a movie she said “no way”.

The filming has been going on for weeks, which is pretty long. Lots of times it’s just a commercial or something small and it’s one day. The No Parking signs all say “Pelham 123”. That meant nothing to me, so I finally Googled it. Holy crap, this is a big deal. The church that they mention is where they are doing makeup is three door down from our place.

I guess I need to keep an eye out for Travolta or Denzel…


Memorial Day with the girls

May 26, 2008

Our niece graduated from Yale this weekend (smart girl, got a full scholarship), so we didn’t have any big plans. On Saturday we all went up to see her. That was partly because the actual graduation was early on Monday morning and there was no way we were going to make a 1 and 5 year old sit through a Yale graduation (strangely, Tony Blair speaking holds no interest for them).

So on Monday my wife took the train up to New Haven (it’s her niece, I’m the in-law) and I had the girls. The day couldn’t have been more beautiful. Cool morning, high around 78, nothing but sun.

So we spent the day in the park. Of course for city folks, “park” means “playground”. There’s something about city parks. I don’t know if this is true across the country, but around here when I drive in the suburbs I see these gorgeous park/playgrounds with wonderful brand new equipment. The only problem is that no one is actually there.

I didn’t grow up in New York, so city parks are a relatively new thing to me. I love them. Sometimes we have pizza delivered right to the park so the kids don’t have to stop playing. And of course the ice cream truck drives right up.

So that was our day. Wake up. Park. Lunch. Different park. Home. Though actually, since it’s Memorial Day weekend most people have left the city. So the parks were actually very quiet. The city is kind of peaceful on holiday weekends.

Before hitting the park I picked up water balloons. Danielle had a field day. (all pictures via phone, my wife had our camera at graduation)

IMG00070 Stocking up.

IMG00073 Getting ready to throw (at me).

If you aren’t a city person, the blue thing behind Danielle is one of the sprinklers. There are four around that blue circle on the ground. When the weather is hot, they will spray throughout that blue circle.

Tori wasn’t exactly sure what to do with a water balloon. She got one with a tiny hole in it and thought it was the best.


Tori wanted to try the big girl swings


And Danielle had fun taking her down the slide


Sidewalk chalk is always fun at the park. Tori is eating cantaloupe and drawing (thankfully not eating the chalk)


I have no idea what Danielle is making…


Of course there was ice cream and Italian ices. Danielle rode her scooter all day and everyone was exhausted by the end of the day. Since my wife wasn’t back yet and we don’t have a grill, Memorial Day dinner was Chinese food. Not exactly traditional, but yummy all the same. And both were asleep by 7:30. A very nice day.

Funny English

May 23, 2008

Apparently with the Olympics coming up, China is trying to post many more English versions of signs. With mixed success. I spent some time in Japan and saw some very similar amusing “English”.

My favorite sign from that web site:


Excellent advice…

Old but still cool

May 22, 2008

The Brooklyn Bridge is celebrating its 125th birthday today. Of course I’m biased, but it’s my favorite bridge. They are celebrating in style. I love some of the old stories about it. Apparently when it had just opened, P.T. Barnum had all the animals in the circus walk across it.

It’s just a cool bridge…


Political humor

May 20, 2008

I try to keep politics out of this blog for the most part (most of you know my politics, but I’m not trying to push my political preferences). But this post on The Economist’s blog was hilarious for two lines:

You do have to wonder: Has anyone told Mr Kristol about this crazy new invention called “Google”?

and a sarcastic comment to the blog:

Mr Kristol has a debilitating handicap which causes him to be completely unable to see Mormons, and I will thank you for not mocking him for it.

The latter just cracked me up…

Google Search vs. Microsoft Windows

May 13, 2008

Here’s an interesting article about the two most wildly profitable monopolies around…

Predictive Markets

May 12, 2008

I’m somewhat fascinated by predictive markets. As a bit of a political junkie, I’ve followed InTrade during the primaries.

If you don’t know what a predictive market is, imagine that instead of trading a stock, you are trading on whether or not something will happen. If the thing actually does happen, then your share ends up being worth $100 and if it doesn’t happen your share ends up being worth $0. So the current stock price represents what people think the likelihood percentage of that event happening. For example, on InTrade you could trade on the likelihood of Elliot Spitzer being indicted on felony charges before June 30th. It is currently trading at 17.5, so the market doesn’t think it’s very likely (17.5% likely). However the contract on Hillary Clinton winning the West Virginia primary is trading at 97.6 so the market considers that a virtual certainty.

It’s interesting because on the actual day of a primary, often the networks really know who is going to win based on exit polls. But they won’t announce anything until the polls close. Clearly the people who actually trade on InTrade have some level of inside information, because you can watch the movement in real time and get a sense for who will win. It’s day trading for political junkies.

Predictive markets have been shown to generally be more accurate than polls. They aren’t perfect, but they are currently a very hot topic these days.

What’s really fascinating is when a company uses predictive markets to forecast internal business objectives. This is done at a small percentage of companies, but with real success. Google and Best Buy have used predictive markets extensively. The logic is that the folks “on the ground” really working probably have better information than one or two “experts”.

This is something I would love to do some experimenting with…