We just returned to Seattle from a week at Disneyland. For anyone considering a trip to Disneyland with a toddler, here are some possibly useful notes. Hotel: if you can afford to stay at a Disney resort hotel, you can afford the Grand Californian. It is the only Disney hotel that is reasonably close to the parks (and has its own entrance to California Adventure), and looks to be the nicest of the three.


No home improvement updates because I’ve just returned from a week in Europe for work. I spent two days in Cork, Ireland, and two days in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was really taken with Edinburgh. It is one of those places I’d never really considered visiting, but even after just a couple of days, I’d rank it among my favorite cities. Whenever I travel to the United Kingdom or Ireland, it always takes me a day or so to get used to the fact that everyone is still speaking English.

Even more fun with home improvement

Since my last update, I’ve painted the walls and installed all but one of the new electrical outlets. Now I’m working on installing an IKEA “Tundra” click-together faux-hardwood floor. In a couple of hours this morning, I’ve made it through about half the room (the easy half):                 Assembling the floor is really easy, once you get the hang of it. It took me a frustrating hour of re-trying, cutting pieces incorrectly, and watching YouTube videos before I finally figured out what I was doing.

Twitter, you lie!

I have two Twitter accounts. One of them is a “personal” account that I use primarily to track traffic events and such. The other is an account I set up for an aborted business idea. The latter account has exactly ONE follower: my personal account. The business account occasionally receives notifications like this one. I’ve circled the concerning part:                 Since I am Jeffrey, I can authoritatively say that I never favorited Jared’s tweet.

This week in home improvement

The walls are all patched, and it is time to paint. My local Home Depot only sells one kind of ceiling paint (that I could find), and it comes with a peculiar “feature”: I’m not sure “pink” adequately describes the hue. I removed the lights, so it is hard to see, but:                             Amazingly, after a couple of hours, my ceiling is white.

More fun with home improvement

We’ve lived in our house for almost five years now, and we’ve really done very little to change it. Except for the bathroom remodel and the backyard, the previous owners would find it almost exactly as they left it. So it is about time for us to put our own stamp on it. We have three bedrooms upstairs, one of which is currently my office/junk room. But since we are adding an inhabitant to the house in June, we need to convert that third bedroom into a little girl’s room.

This will go on your permanent record.

Some years ago, I randomly searched the internet for my grandfather’s full name, and quickly found myself sliding into a rabbit hole. It turns out that my family tree has been fairly extensively documented by genealogists, particularly on my mother’s side. Without much effort, I was able to piece together my maternal family tree dating into the 1600’s when Jan Van Cleef arrived in New Amsterdam–today’s Brooklyn, New York. My mom’s family includes Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans, musicians, scam artists, and professional baseball players.


I can’t remember when I started trying to quit smoking. I was listening to the radio yesterday and the radio guys were volunteering to call and check in daily with a handful of listeners who had quit smoking for the new year. As it was just a few days into the new year, pretty much everyone they talked to was struggling with quitting. One of the deejays commented that he’d bet only 50% of them would be smoke-free in a year.

More fun with genetically modified food

“At stake is how to grow healthful food most efficiently, at a time when a warming world and a growing population make that goal all the more urgent.” A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops – NYTimes.com. Despite my usual bleeding heart tendencies, I voted “no” on Washington’s recent Initiative 522, largely because I didn’t (and still don’t) think that a simple label will either educate consumers or change their behavior.


One of my 2014 resolutions was to “do something” to improve my online security in the wake of LinkedIn, Adobe, et al having their password databases stolen by hackers. As part of that effort, I decided to give 1Password a try. It gets rave reviews, and the premise of having a single password to remember (but unique, complex passwords for each individual website) seems like a good one. I want to share my experience thus far in case it is helpful to anyone else.