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Three Keys to Successful Parenting

Now that Madeline is two, it seems appropriate to declare myself a success as a parent. Which means it's now appropriate for those of you with kids (as well as those of you thinking about having or abducting kids) to ask me, "Joel, what's your secret?" Which means ...

2013-05-08 06:15 AM

Should you get a Ph.D.?


2013-04-16 08:02 PM

Vegas with a Lap Infant

Madeline is about to turn two, which is the magical age at which kids transition from fly-for-free lap infants to requires-a-ticket-and-some-sort-of-kid-specific-restraint-and-did-I-mention-a-ticket seat toddlers. Which meant we needed to squeeze in one last vacation. And since Seattle weather kind of sucks, we wanted to go somewhere where the weather was nice ...

2013-03-16 11:28 AM

The Hardest Job There Is

One summer during college I was stringing together temp jobs in order to make money so that I could afford to go out with my friends at night and play "Star Trek" pinball. (I would have preferred, of course, to spend my summer developing my idea for a "group couponing ...

2012-04-13 07:40 AM

Why Have You Not Signed Up For BIL Already?

I'm sure you've heard of TED, which is a really expensive, really exclusive annual conference at which famous and/or accomplished people give lectures to wealthy and/or lucky people. Surprisingly, despite my fame, accomplishments, wealth, and luck, I have never been invited to attend or lecture. (Actually ...

2012-02-20 07:04 AM

Google, Plus

If you have been living in a cave without Internet access, you might not be aware of Google Plus, which you might think of as Google's answer to Facebook (if Facebook were a question). After playing around with it a bit, it seems to have several advantages:

  • not operated ...
2011-07-11 07:38 AM

If Trees Could Scream

So far parenthood isn't all that different from non-parenthood. I still eat at the same five restaurants and drink myself to sleep at night and occasionally get peed on. I just now have a car seat wedged into an upside-down highchair, am less discriminating about my liquor choices, and ...

2011-05-05 08:16 AM

Too Much Grope

The last time I flew anywhere was ~~January~~ May 2010, which predated all of the "don't touch my junk" craziness, toward which I've maintained an extremely passive sense of outrage.

Somehow I assumed that only some small fraction of travelers were getting X-rayed, but I arrived at Sea-Tac ...

2011-03-04 01:50 PM

Spreadsheet Book Now Available

One reason I haven't been posting here very much is that I've been scrambling to put the finishing touches on my spreadsheet manifesto. I'm pleased to announce that it's now available:

I'm hoping this means more time to write about non-spreadsheet-related topics.

2011-02-26 09:50 AM

I Hate Running

I hate running. I ran on the Cross-Country team in high school, primarily because I thought it would look good on my college applications. I was totally one of those kids who did things because he thought it would look good on his college applications. (Adopting a Cambodian orphan sounds ...

2011-01-15 04:21 PM

Lessons Forgotten

1. Recently I gave a talk at Ignite Seattle on "How to Be Funny." For the most part the talk went well, although I had technical difficulties. To be clever, I had put an animated GIF on one of the slides. This somehow caused Powerpoint to get "stuck" showing that ...

2010-12-20 08:36 PM

Correlation and Causation

Another day, another plan to spend more money on education:

President Obama said on the "Today" show Monday morning that American students attend school a month less than kids in other countries -- contending that the school-year gap puts them at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. "The idea of ...

2010-09-27 09:24 AM

Using Statistics to Coddle Vagrants

I left Microsoft at the end of May, largely so that I could write my opus magnum book on Excel. At the time I set a September 1 deadline for having the first draft done. That seemed like the right amount of time, but I failed to predict that I ...

2010-09-22 01:02 PM

Reflections on the KTRU Transmitter

I like radio more than most people do. I only ever listen to it in the car, of course, and I don't actually drive very much, but I try to plan trips to coincide with favorite programs like Saturday's "Lunch With Led," Monday's "Think Pink," Thursday's ...

2010-08-17 09:06 AM

Toys "R" Us and/or the Chinese are Trying to Kill Me with Poison Monkeys

For Christmas I bought my girlfriend a matched set of pink-and-purple monkeys at ToysRUs. I thought they'd make a good gift because she likes purple and she likes monkeys.^1^ We named the pink one Gulab ("pink") and the purple one Jamun ("purple") and they quickly became an indispensible ...

2010-08-10 06:33 PM

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