December 02, 2004


November email spam: 3543, blog spam: 5375.

Still going up...

Posted by Mike at 07:17 PM

December 03, 2004

We're off

It looks like the baby is coming soon. We're flying off to Utah tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Posted by Mike at 10:21 PM

December 04, 2004

Ticket machines inside the security zone

Here's something I don't understand: why, after 9/11, airports still have those machines that let you print your own boarding pass located past security. It made sense before, because you didn't need a boarding pass to get through security. But now, in theory, you can't have gotten that far without one.

So why are they still there?

(Also: we are in Salt Lake City now.)

Posted by Mike at 05:52 PM | Comments (4)

December 05, 2004


I keep seeing ads on TV for the current Survivor series (Vanuatu). I should note that I've never watched Survivor -- except for 20 minutes of one episode in the original or second series of Survivor. In those 20 minutes, I decided that if I were on an island with people that annoying and stupid, I would slay them all. This told me that I would not want to keep watching.

But anyway -- Survivor is always in these warm places. Islands near the equator, the Australian outback. etc. I think Survivor would be a lot more interesting someplace that is freezing. "Your first job is to start a fire. Unfortunately, all the trees are frozen solid. Have fun." At least that would be more of a challenge.

But it'll never happen. Why? Because then you couldn't have all the men running around with no shirts on and the women running around in bikinis.

Posted by Mike at 05:04 PM

Sony Vaio Type U

So Sony has a new tiny Vaio out -- the Type U has a mere 5" screen, is only 1.2 pounds, and basically looks like a cross between a PDA and a laptop. No built-in keyboard, but it has a touchscreen. It runs Windows XP Home or Pro.

Not Windows Tablet PC Edition.

What was Sony thinking? This device looks perfect to run the Tablet software. This would seem to rank right up there with Sony's decision to release a music player that played only their weird Atrax format, and not even MP3.

Posted by Mike at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2004

Sweet nothings ... or something

My wife suddenly said tonight, "You look like Dick Cheney."

I am pretty sure that there is no good way to take this. I think I will go to bed now.

Posted by Mike at 12:21 AM

December 11, 2004

No news

We're still in Utah, waiting for the baby to be born. The birth that seemed so immenent a week ago when we flew out here now seems somewhat less so, although it could still happen any day. Or in another week. Or so.

Meanwhile, we are poking around Salt Lake City, trying to find things to do while waiting. The weather's been cold until yesterday, so we tried to drive out to the Salt Lake today. Unfortunately, the smog was horrific -- we couldn't see anything. We think maybe the giant smokestack on the other side of the freeway might have had something to do with the smog, but, hey, you never know.

Things we have found:

  • Ruth's Diner -- a little outside of town, with a delicious brunch. Yummy :)
  • Cocoa Cafe, which, according to the hippie magazine Meredith found, has the best hot chocolate in Salt Lake City. Meredith concurs.
  • Squatters brew pub. Good beer, good food. Also, Utah has the strangest alcohol laws of any place I have ever been. You can't buy normal beer in grocery stores -- only alcohol-reduced beer. As I recall when I tried this years ago on a previous trip, it tastes like what you might get if you took normal beer, boiled it to reduce the alcohol, then refrigerated it again. Yecch.
  • The Christmas lights at the Mormon temple downtown.

Waiting sucks.

Posted by Mike at 04:24 PM

December 13, 2004

MSN Desktop Search

The MSN team today announced the Beta release of their new Desktop Search tool.

This tool is great. I've been using internal builds of it on my laptop for a couple of months now. Being able to instantly find anything on my computer, whether it's a document, a note in OneNote, or an email, is fantastic.

What's also great is that after the inital index is built, it uses notifications to watch for new updates. So whenever you edit or create a file, or get a new email, or move an email from one folder to another, the search engine instantly gets the notification and updates its index. So the index is always up to date.

Posted by Mike at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2004

The latest in horrible TV ideas

Fox is airing a show where a woman given up for adoption as an infant tries to guess the identity of her birthfather for $100k. 

What a horrible and exploitive idea for a television show.

Posted by Mike at 04:44 PM

December 19, 2004

It's a Boy!

Welcome to Nathan Michael Dodd.

Born December 17, 2004 at 8:49 AM.

7 lb, 1 oz and 19 1/2 inches.

We are still in Utah. The birthmother signed the adoption papers yesterday, and we got to bring him home from the hospital today. We are staying out here another week-ish to spend more time with the birthmother before we return home -- hopefully on Christmas Eve.


(Click on the thumbnails for bigger pictures.)

Posted by Mike at 09:38 PM | Comments (5)

December 22, 2004

More Nathan pictures

Click for pictures from Nathan's first few days.

Posted by Mike at 08:47 PM

December 27, 2004

Trillian is disappointing

I paid for Trillian 2 Pro a couple of years ago. Trillian 3 was just released, and I downloaded it hoping it would fix some of the problems I was having.

It's pretty disappointing. My two big complaints:

  • It still doesn't support the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) for the Tablet PC. TIP is the feature on a Tablet PC that lets you open a pop-up input panel for handwriting when using a Tablet in slate mode. I was always disappointed that Cerulean never released an update for Trillian to support this, but releasing Trillian 3 without TIP support is just inexplicable.
  • Still no support for MSN Alerts. MSN Alerts lets you sign up for various notifications that are sent to an MSN Messenger account. I get stock price updates and Xbox Live notifications this way. For the last year, I haven't been able to use Trillian for my MSN Messenger account because of this. Still not fixed with Trillian 3.

My other problem with Trillian 2 is that file transfers on AIM are completely unreliable. They work occasionally. They often do not. I didn't try with Trillian 3, but I've read reports that file transfers aren't any more reliable -- or, in fact, are even less so.

Honestly, I can't really figure out what's better with Trillian 3. The UI is certainly different. I suppose it's better in some ways, although the new preferences panel gave me a headache trying to figure out how to navigate it.

So, at this point, I think that I'll just give up on Trillian and use Messenger and AIM separately. I don't really care for AIM (the UI is lame, and the ads are annoying), but at least it supports TIP and file transfers work.

Posted by Mike at 12:35 AM

December 28, 2004

Updated pictures of Nathan

In the hospital

In Salt Lake City


(some of these were posted earlier, but these versions are hopefully cleaned up a bit.)

Posted by Mike at 02:58 PM | Comments (1)

December 30, 2004

Some perspective

Some perspective on the relief efforts for victims of the tsunamis in Asia:

  • Microsoft has pledged $3.5 million (source).
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: $3M (source).
  • Pfizer: $35M ($10M cash, $25M in drugs) (source).
  • Coca-Cola: $10M (source).
  • Exxon Mobil: $5M (source).
  • Random people who gave through to the Red Cross: $5.4M (source)


  • The US Government: $35M

Not so much.

One last piece of perspective:

Oh well.

Posted by Mike at 11:06 PM

December 31, 2004

In The Night Kitchen: not a cookbook

Al came to visit today and meet Nathan. He told us his story of trying to buy Maurice Sendak's "In The Night Kitchen" at a local Barnes & Noble.

Al: "I'm trying to find In The Night Kitchen by Sendak."

B&N clerk in the children's book department: "Who?"

"Maurice Sendak"

"Who? ... In The Night Kitchen? That's probably downstairs in cookbooks."

"No, it's not a cookbook."

(looks book up on the computer) "Well, it says we have one, but I don't know where. Maybe it's in the children's cookbooks section."


Posted by Mike at 04:44 PM

End of year

I copied this end-of-year meme from Dawn at This Woman's Work.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
-- Adopted a baby

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
-- I've never really done new years resolutions. My family always did, but I could never get into it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
-- My college roommate's wife, a friend from church, and Nathan's birthmother.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
-- There were people I knew who died, but no one that I was very close to.

5. What countries did you visit?
-- Does Utah count as a foreign country? OK, probably not. So I guess none.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
-- Some stability. With one failed adoption in 2004, then the paranoia of whether or not Nathan's would work out, 2004 just felt like a living hell most of the year. People keep telling us that 'now that [we] have a baby, the hard part really begins!' While I realize that in the typical case, the first 12 months of a baby's life are not considered the most stable period of time for the parents, I really believe (or at least fervently hope) that it can't be worse than 2004.

7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
-- 12/17 when Nathan was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
-- Hmmm ... I don't think that having Nathan counts as an achievement. So I don't know.

9. What was your biggest failure?
-- Well, the failed adoption comes to mind. Except that, really, that wasn't a personal failure -- it's not like we caused it to fail; the birthparents just changed their mind. So I guess I'd have to see that my biggest failure was at work. And I can't talk about that here.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
-- I had the flu that knocked me out for two weeks, which is the most sick I've been as an adult. But, really, even that wasn't so serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
-- My Tablet PC -- I love it. Except that I didn't buy it; Microsoft did. In terms of things I bought, nothing really stands out.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
-- My management at Microsoft has been incredibly supportive of the weird schedule that the adoption saga has created (trips out of town, time off when the first one failed, time off waiting for Nathan to be born). I've really appreciated that. I am lucky to work where I do.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
-- Three way tie:

  • John Kerry. He had so many opportunities to score points in the presidential campaign, but just floundered. You really have to be a chump to make W look well spoken.
  • The Bush campaign. At some level, I admire the thoroughness with which they pursued every possible avenue for victory, without letting trifles like ethics or morality get in the way. But, ethics and morality are, in fact, good things.
  • The anti-gay rights forces. I can't really tell sometimes if the people leading the charge against gay rights are really this opposed to homosexuality, or just cleverly exploiting prejudice to score points with voters. Nor can I decide which of those two is more depressing.

14. Where did most of your money go?
-- The mortgage for our house. Followed by adoption expenses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
-- Nathan!

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
-- Beats me. I doubt I could name any songs that came out this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
-- Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?
-- Same, I think.
iii. richer or poorer?
-- About the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
-- Spend time with friends. (pokes meriko...)

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
-- Been stressed by work.

20. How will you be spending New Year's?
-- Melissa (my sister-in-law) is flying in New Years Eve to meet her new nephew, so we'll all be spending New Years Eve at home together.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
-- Did I mention Nathan?

23. How many one-night stands?
-- ahahahahahahaha. That would be zero.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
-- Nothing really comes to mind. The Daily Show was probably the most consistently entertaining.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
-- Nope.

26. What was the best book you read?
-- I read some interesting books, but no one book completely stands out. Most of the books I read this year were pretty technical.

27. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
-- Beats me.

28. What did you want and get?
-- Nathan (sounding like a broken record yet?)

29. What did you want and not get?
-- The first adoption to work. Don't get me wrong; I'm thrilled that we got Nathan. But I could have done without the pain of the first one falling through.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
-- Hero. I loved that movie.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
-- I turned 32 in February. I spent it in Reno visiting the birthparents we were matched to for the first half of the year.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
-- Right now, I'm feeling pretty good about how it ended. I can't help but think that parts of it could have gone much better, but it all worked out in the end.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
-- "Hey, this seems to fit. And is clean."

34. What kept you sane?
-- Friends. And Halo 2 for stress relief ;)

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
-- uhhh ...

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
-- Gay marriage. It's scary to me how fervent people got in their opposition to this. I was sad when my denomination (the United Methodist Church) continued to take a stand against it at General Conference this year, but was encouraged by how many voices spoke in favor of equal rights for gays (including my local church). And I was sickened by how gays were used as a wedge issue in the elections. What's so disgusting about the notion that gays are human beings, and deserve human rights?

37. Who did you miss?
-- I'm sorry that my mom isn't around to meet Nathan.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
-- Did I mention that Nathan is very cute :)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
-- I feel like I've learned this before, but 2004 seemed determined to drill into me some more the lesson that no matter what choices you make, sometimes you just have no control. You can choose the path, but not what happens on that path.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
-- Most of this year I felt like we spent waiting. So:

"And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death."

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

Posted by Mike at 06:26 PM