Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jackson's Room...almost done!

Here are some pics with our latest projects for Jackson's room. You can see the completed dresser, a wall mobile, and some wall art have been added. I think we're almost done...

Jackson's roomDresser & Wall ArtWall Mobile

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pregnancy Update

I'm in my 38th week of pregnancy now, which means Jackson is considered full term! We had a doctor's appointment today, and for fun the nurse practitioner brought the ultrasound machine in the room to see if we could get an idea about his size. We knew he was head down, and that was confirmed today. However, when she measured the head the first time she just gave us a funny look and decided to measure it again. She measured it 3 times, and every time it was the size of an average 41 week baby! The rest of him seems pretty normal, but it sounds like he's going to have a big head...a little scary for me, but hopefully, he'll be as smart as Ross with all that extra brain capacity. ;-)

I think we're as prepared as we can be at this point. I still need to pack a bag for the hospital, but we have all the necessities that we know to get. Ross finished the dresser last weekend, so it's now in the room and filled with clothes and diapers and other good stuff. We'll try to post a picture of the dresser soon. Now that all of the major pieces are in the room, we're turning our attention back to the walls. Aside from having some color, they're pretty bare...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Buy your shoes at Zappos.com

My dad introduced me to Zappos some time ago and E and I have bought a few pairs of shoes from them. Every time, I am impressed with their service. They offer free shipping and return and usually the shoes show up faster than you expect, often overnight! Today, I read about one of their hiring techniques that leads to their amazing service.

About a week into a new hire's employment, they are offered $1000 to quit! Why? It insures that employees are committed to the company. You can read more details here. Also, read amazing story about one customer' experience with Zappos.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Carnegie Mellon Trip

I took a trip to Pittsburgh last week for work. I am working on a project with the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute on a lunar rover called Scarab. It is a pretty cool rover that carries a drill for sample collection as well as the equipment for processing. Anyway, Neptec is providing our TriDAR sensor for drill site selection, drill site inspection, and navigation. I was there with a coworker, Adam, to do some testing and observe some of CMU's testing.

As an added bonus, I got to ride on an offroad Segway! It was pretty fun. Here is a picture of me on the Segway next to the rover and there are a few more in the album.

Ross on Segway with Scarab

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting lazy...

I've started getting lazy in the last couple of weeks. Since the crawfish boil I've managed to do just what's required each day. I guess my body is trying to tell me to slow down, but in the process I didn't make time to do a post about the wonderful "coed" baby shower some of our work friends hosted for us. From adorable cupcakes to yummy food and drinks to adorable and useful gifts to great company, we couldn't have had a better time. Of course, there are pics in the album, and here's a pic of the cupcakes (minus 1 that had already been eaten).


Now we're just counting down the days until Jackson's arrival! Ross is almost done with the dresser for his room, so expect to see an update with the finished product soon.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Presidential Candidate Charitable Giving

The democratic party is generally considered the party of social responsibility. By this, I mean that democrats support welfare, social security, etc. Given this and all the press about candidates releasing their tax returns, I wondered what kind of charitable giving the candidates had. This makes sense, right? You would expect the socially responsible ones to have high giving percentages. The table below tells the tale...

Clintons Obamas John McCain**
Year AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%)
2007* 20 400 14.7 4 140 5.8 387 27.3
2006 15 858 10.0 984 6.1 339 28.6
2005 18 056 9.7 1 655 4.7 *** ***
2004 19 996 12.7 208 1.2 *** ***
2003 7 935 5.2 238 1.4 *** ***
2002 9 467 1.2 259 0.4 *** ***
2001 15 950 5.1 273 0.5 *** ***
2000 357 9.8 241 1.0 *** ***

* Estimated
** Married filing separately
*** Not released

I must commend the Clintons; they have a clear track record of charitable giving. I'm happy to write off 2002 as a fluke and besides, if you go even further back you will see some years at a whopping 50%! The Obamas, on the other hand, are less than impressive. The national average for giving is ~2.2% which is higher than the Obamas until the last few years. A campaign spokesperson, Bill Burton, said that they gave all that they could afford. What can you expect with a measly $250,000 income? I'm surprised they could eat! McCain only released his taxes (not his wife's) and only for the last 2 years. While the numbers are impressive, it is hard to really make anything from this little bit of data (especially since his wife is loaded).