Friday, August 31, 2007

Foto Phriday

This picture deserves a bit of explanation.

When someone says, "Will you be Santa for our fundraiser for Sick Child?" you don't dare decline. However, your ego takes a hit, because people seem to think you resemble Santa Claus. I decided to have some fun with it. Several people contributed to the effort, and we were able to provide Santa with a flask that he would take out when "nobody was watching."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mind Control Via Instant Message

I thought this only happened in science fiction teevee box shows. A friend managed to control my mind through Instant Messaging.

GDad... We were already designing eye patches down here for him.
PC Strobe... Oh, geez . . .
GDad... Corporate logo.
GDad... Sequins
GDad... LEDs that flash at random intervals.
PC Strobe... "Mad Eye Moody's eye is available. . .
GDad... Right. And he could have about the same build/hair as Mad Eye."
GDad... Why did I dangle a quotation mark?
PC Strobe... Because I did. . .
GDad... You used mind control on me.
GDad... Stop that.
PC Strobe... My powers are great padawan

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prime

Several people have pointed out, in response to my anxiety about not being able to factor 37 because it's prime that I will be in the prime of my life. Then again at 41 and 43.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alberto Gone-zales

Couldn't help myself with the pun.

Luck o' the Anglogermanoirishfrancofinnish-American

I was mowing the yard on Saturday. Son rides the lawn tractor, and I do the trim with the push mower. He's not quite big enough to get the push mower started from a cold stop, which is where I want him to be to do that part.

While I was out mowing the ditch along the road, I found a $5 bill. That sort of makes up for all the other litter I've found in my ditch from litterers over the years. I have to admit that I did stop and look around to see if there was any more money.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Foto Phriday

One of the butterflies from our vacation.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lepidopterophobia

When we went on vacation a few weeks back, we took Son's friend, Thing 2, along with us so Son would have a friend to keep him occupied, and so that we would have a foursome at the amusement park. Thing 2 is a few months younger than Son, but he is a huge child. At his twelfth birthday, he was probably 5'8" tall (1.72m). He's also at the age where he's starting to be too cool.

We stopped in at a butterfly sanctuary on one of the twists and turns of our little jaunt. There were dozens of varieties of native and non-native butterflies in the building, and some pretty significant measures to ensure none escaped.

Son was fascinated by the butterflies and gently waited for one to land on him so he could examine it more closely. Thing 2, the cool, big kid, was really skittish about them. We asked what was wrong. He answered, "They fly right at you like they're going to land on you."

The Angry Language Guy

OK, people, pay attention.

-You "talk the talk and walk the walk." You do not "walk the talk."

-You defuse a tense situation. You do not diffuse it.

-You flesh out an idea. You do not flush it out.

That is all.

The Unexpected Attributes of Sounds

I was just in a meeting where I heard several people's speech in a very unusual way. I'm not sure if it was just my hearing, or if there were several coincidental speech problems within about a minute, but I heard someone say a word with an H in it where the H became its own syllable, someone whistling an S like Gopher from Winnie-the-Pooh, and someone popping P's.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Geekool

Since Son now shares my family name, and since that is a permanent situation, I purchased a domain for him in the form of SonLastname.com. I helped him put together a web page today while I was home recovering from the randomvirus.

Son thought it was pretty cool, and I was pretty stoked that he decided to put a picture of me on his web page without me guiding him to that decision.

The side benefit is that he gets to tell people his e-mail address is Son@SonLastname.com.

Speaking of Son and the web, Son called me from a friend's house last week asking if he could set up a site on _______.com. (The phone cut out at that point.) I asked again, and I swear he said, Noseberry.com. I was a bit perplexed that there could be a whole site dedicated to booger jokes, and that such a site would require registration, so I told him that he couldn't.

When I couldn't find Noseberry.com, I called him back to find that he wanted to be on Millsberry.com, which is a site sponsored by General Mills to promote healthy eating in the form of sugary breakfast cereals. I helped him set up his account. He now has a house in this granular community.

I think, ceteris paribus, that I would have preferred the boogers.

37

When my birthday rolls around each year (Don't you love the cyclical time vs. linear time constructs in our language?), I tell people how old I am in the form of some kind of math problem. For example, at 32, I was two-to-the-fifth. At 33, I was three-by-eleven.

37 is prime. I suppose I could be nineteen-times-two-minus-one, but then people would have to beg, "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally!" for precedence. I hardly think, though, that they will think I'm nineteen.

While we're on the subject of mnemonic aids, which are different from marital aids ("Honey, could you remember to pick up a French Tickler?"), what do we do now that Pluto has been demoted? "My very educated mother just showed us nine..." Nine what?

Foto Phriday, Now on Wednesday!

We're in August, but here's a photo of what it looked like in our yard in the winter. It was icy.

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday falls sometime next week. I will be 37. I anticipate that every day for the entire year, I will be saying, "I'm thirty-seven; I'm not old."

Sicko, Part N, Where N Is an Integer Greater Than 3

Since Sunday, I've had this weird sensation where it seems that the left side of my head is bruised and exceptionally sensitive to touch. There is also a small sore near near tooth 23. Also, my ears feel clogged, and my throat is sore.

I'm getting better, though.

The Unholy Trinity

Marketing, fund raising, and con artistry combined when I received an envelope today in the mail that was from a local arts organization. Right above the address window were printed the alarming words, "STATEMENT ENCLOSED."

I wondered if perhaps GPop had pledged some amount to this organization as I opened the envelope. Of course not. The organization was using that accursed method of lucraliberation that I've seen from magazines and domain registrars. Businesses have found that if you send people something that looks like a bill, some people will pay it without too much scrutiny.

Those businesses run by people that are free of conventional morality and ethics appear to operate under the impression that it's more profitable to deal with the fallout of the people that discover the error and cause a fuss than to act responsibly.

This arts organization will be hearing from me.

Worst. Arts Organization. Ever.

Geneaology R Us

Son's Older Brother was with us again this weekend. They had a really good time together. I took them to a miniature golf outing with a friend from down the street, Marcot Ravenswatch. GPop had to work, and I hadn't talked to Marcot for a while, so we had a nice lunch at a local sports bar/wings joint before we golfed.

I spoke to Son's Older Brother about their family tree. I wanted to document as much as I could without access to that family, so if Son ever wanted to get back in contact with his birth family at some point, we would have names, approximate dates of birth, and possibly a reasonable chance at locale. Son's Older Brother did happen to know a bit about their birth family, so we were able to go back to maternal great-grandparents. I was pretty impressed.

I fired up a copy of Family Tree Maker and put in all this information. I think I hurt its brain by having a child of an unmarried couple adopted by a same-sex couple. Family Tree Maker had to think for a bit, but I think it came to terms with the situation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Bridge Is Burnt

I have been a long-time foe of Wl*Mrt, and I hadn't shopped there for about 10 years. Son keeps getting these Wl*Mrt gift cards and stuff, and I choose to demonstrate why I don't shop there instead of simply lecturing that we don't shop there for political or philosophical reasons.

Son saved up some cash, and he wanted to buy Guitar Hero II, with the guitar, for the PS2. Wl*Mrt had it on their web site for about $3 less that Target had on its web site. When I called the local Wl*Mrt, which is quite a bit closer to us than Target, the electronics clerk answered, "Yeah," to my query about whether they had the item in stock. Reluctantly, I sallied forth with Son to get his new game.

We arrived at the store, and I immediately got the willies from even being in the store. We passed the sewing section first, and I decided to get some fabric to make this year's Link costume. The fabric lady was helping another family, so Son and I looked for another accessory. When I saw the family leave, I took the fabric to the cutting counter, but the lady was off restocking shelves. I approached her, and said, "Good evening, ma'am. We're ready when you get a chance."

She replied, "Ready for what?"

"We have some fabric."

"Hmmm..." She approached the counter, and asked, "How much do you need?"

"Well, how about 3 yards?"

"I don't know if there is that much." She flipped the fabric over a couple of times, and counted out two yards. That was all.

Son said, "It's for my Halloween costume."

"I... see..."

I told her, "I guess that will do nicely. Thanks."

She pinned the receipt to the fabric and pushed it across the table to me without another word. I took the fabric and left her area.

At the video games counter, the electronics guy was impatiently and condescendingly explaining to a young woman what she needed to hook up a DVD player to her TV. When he finished talking to her, he looked at us, and asked, "You need a game?"

I asked if he had Guitar Hero II for the PS2. He said, "I need a key." He led us to the display case, then said, "I need a manager. It's in the back." He disappeared for about five minutes. Then he came back, only to tell us that it was out of stock, but we were welcome to purchase the guitar and game separately for only $30 more. Son and I declined, and we ended up putting back the fabric, too.

No Wl*Mrt. EVER!

Rovectomy - I Won't Be the First To Say It

Confluence of humorous factors...



Some wag on the Intarwebs called it "being Schiavoed."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Foto Phriday

This may become a regular feature, maybe not. It depends on ambition, storage space, and opportunity.


GPop, Son, and yours truly at the Harry Potter festival a few weeks ago. We were, respectively, a dementor, Harry Potter (or, later in the evening, after the scar washed off, Neville Longbottom), and Aberforth Dumbledore.



I took this picture in the toy aisle at a grocery store. I'm imagining a birthday party for a six-year-old girl. "Susie gave me a Barbie, Anne gave me a My Pretty Pony, and Lisa gave me an Anhydrous Ammonia Wagon!"



I made some bread a while back. This made the loaf more fun.

I May Convert to Luddism

I stopped to buy gas on the way home from work last night, and I saw this parasitic abomination attached to the pump at the BP station down the street from where I work.

It looks harmless, even festive, but danger lurks behind its deceptive facade. After I selected my grade of gas and started pumping, the device began to play loud music at me and tell me of the benefits of signing up for BP's latest credit card, or rewards card, or whatever.

Fortunately for my sanity, and BP's continued expectation of my custom, there is a MUTE button that shuts the cursed thing off.

How Much Postage Again?

Dear Canada,

Thank you very much for the lovely cooler weather you sent us yesterday evening. We really appreciate it. I hope everything is good for you up there. GPop and Son say, "Hello." Please tell Montreal we said, "Bonjour."

Love,
GDad

=====
Le Cher Canada,

Merci infiniment du beau refroidisseur vous survivent à nous a envoyés hier soir. Nous l'apprécions vraiment. J'espère que tout est bon pour vous vers le haut là. GPop et Fils indiquent, "bonjour." Veuillez dire Montréal que nous avons dit, "Hello."

Aimez,
GDad

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Today Is So Hot and Humid...

How hot and humid is it?

If you could grab a big handful of air, you could squeeze water out of it with just your hands.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

One Year Later

We met Son in July, 2006. After several visits and discussions with him and his social worker, he joined our home on August 8, 2006. That was one year ago, today. In that year, our family has been enriched beyond imagining.

If you are in the United States, please consider supporting efforts to place available children in loving homes. Especially consider the needs of older and special needs children. There are plenty of adoption resources on the intarwebs, but for your convenience, try some of these.

http://www.adoptuskids.org


http://www.adoptionlawsite.org


http://www.davethomasfoundation.org

All kids need a loving family. While the set of loving families includes the Dad-Mom-House-White fence-Dog household, it also includes the single older man, the young same-sex couple, the grandparents who have the energy and love for a second round of kids, and other combinations.

My Wish for Today

Adoption is done.
Son has a stable footing,
So reach for the stars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bitten By Blog Bug, Badly

So I've attached feedburner to this blog, and I just spent about 5 minutes reviewing the stats. Someone came here from a Finnish IP address. Hei, whoever you are. Please come and visit more often.

Speaking of Finland, I was doing some genealogical research recently, and some way-back portion of my ancestry is Finn, so now I'm Anglogermanoirishfrancofinnish-American.

Love the Hat

Hamid Karzai was on the teevee box yesterday. I love his hat.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Dream Theme

Throughout my life, I've had recurring themes in my dreams. When I was a kid, I routinely dreamed of the monster in the basement. He lived under the stairs to the basement in a coffin. As near as I could tell from my dreams, he was some kind of undead creature. He was quite pale, and he wore a black suit with a white shirt and white gloves. His body and face never moved, but his gloved hand would come out of the coffin still attached to his infinitely stretchy arm and pursue me though the house. This was a terrible feeling, but the dreams went away when we moved to our new house when I was five years old.

Later in my elementary years, I dreamed several times about three wise old women that lived in the basement of my great-grandmother's home. In my dreams, I could see and hear them through a vent in the floor. They would sit in the basement, sewing and talking of matters of great import. I could only hear snippets of their conversations, and they were never scary, but rather intriguing. I never did figure out how to get to the basement to talk to them directly. My great-grandmother's house didn't have a basement in reality, although I did hear a while back that my great-grandfather, who died before I was born, had built a small secret compartment under the house to store booze during Prohibition.

In the interest of keeping the site family-friendly, let's skip over dream themes from adolescence.

In my college years, and even up to now, I've had a recurring dream that happens several times a year. I'm holding a schedule of final exams for my course load, and I'm hurrying to the next final. I realize with great dread that I've never attended the class, and I haven't dropped it. I'm certain that I'm going to fail, because I don't know a thing about the subject matter, but I have no way to get out of the exam.

Since I graduated college, I have another recurring dream where I get a letter in the mail that recalls me to service as a Resident Advisor in the university residence halls. I spent three years in that role (free room and board!), and I can't imagine cutting down on my accumulated detritus enough to fit back into a single-room apartment without cooking facilities. Plus, I'm way too curmudgeonly to put up with college students again.

The third recurring theme is that I'm about to go on stage to play my part in the opening night of some big production. The panic sets in when I realize that I have no idea what my lines are supposed to be. In high school, I was in a couple of theater productions, and I have had some solo speaking parts in some chorus productions, so being on stage isn't the scary part. The scary part is not having prepared.

The fourth major theme is that GPop decides that he's done with me, and takes off without explanation. This is the one that actually makes me wake up sweating when I have these dreams. Fortunately, they don't happen too often, and they have no basis in reality.

I bring these up, because in the past two weeks, I've had a dream in each of these four adult themes. It's kind of crazy that they line up so much.

What themes do you have?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Small Town Weirdness

We went through a number of small towns during our vacation. We saw this sign in one of the towns on the way to our second spelunktacular. Check out the restaurant's mascot. Is that a disabled rabbit with a helmet on? As usual, click on the picture to see it in its full size glory.



It's also good to know that it's the Home of Home Cooking!

Ghost of Halloween Past

When we took Son trick-or-treating for Halloween last year, we looked through his candy to see a) if anything looked like it had been opened, b) if anything looked inappropriate, and c) if anything looked too good to pass up. As any reasonable parent knows, a) was a bust, and c) would create an argument. So we were left with b).

I found this, and I kept it so that I could someday write about it. Well, here it is. You can click on the image to view it full size. The text is below the image.



Dear BOOtiful lady.
TREAT yourself to a
complimentary Holiday
makeover! Call me today!

*Call me to find how to
receive $75 of Mary Kay
products for only $35*
The other side of the card is the woman's contact information. I am not sure where to begin to start in order to describe how many ways this card is just wrong.

What Goes Up

Check out this change in the rate of return on this account. It's tied to funds that are out there in the market. Wild ride, eh?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hippie Statement Restated In Violation of FISA

Power to the peephole!

Disobedient, Disrespectful Oafs

We visited two caves while on vacation. Son is interested in caves because a) they're cool, and b) they are like dungeons in the Legend of Zelda video games.

The first cave was local. Unfortunately, the cave was quite commercialized, so much of it was paved. Paved cave. Say that three times fast.

The second spelunktacular was a couple of hours away. That cave was less damaged, but still pretty commercial. The guides were a little more careful to explain why people shouldn't touch the stalactites and stalagmites.

Our tour group was listening to our guide explain history of the cave. I was standing near a boy, maybe 9 or 10, when I heard the boy ask an older boy, probably his brother, "Should I pick one of these stalactites?"

The older boy looked disgusted that the younger one would even suggest such a thing. "No!"

"I could do it. Nobody's watching," he said, as I was staring right at him from four feet away. He plucked one from the ceiling.

I cleared my throat. "Excuse me, young man. Don't pick the stalactites!"

"I didn't!"

"I just heard you say you were going to, and I watched you do it. You're damaging the cave." The adult male with the boys was standing less than 18 inches away from me. He remained turned away the whole time. I'm guessing it was the boys' father. I walked away and moved to the other side of the group.

The man never did say anything to the boys nor to me while we were down there, but once we got to the surface, I did see him tossing a cigarette butt onto the ground. The tobapple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Son's Future

I was speaking to Rusty yesterday, one of the couple next door who watches Son while school isn't in session. I was mentioning that Son seems to be just a bit calmer now that the adoption is final.

Rusty told me that he had been talking to Son about that, and that Rusty had guided the discussion by saying, "It sure is nice knowing that you have a family and knowing that your future is secure."

Son replied, "Yes. I know that I'm going to college now."

The maudlin side of me is all verklempt, but the analytical side is looking to start a 529 plan.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

Yesterday, Son and I were on a Mission from GodTM to help some friends configure their new Nintendo Wii to connect to the Internet via a wireless network. Son was quite up to the task, since it involved GDad ordering him to play video games. Plus, said friends have a hot tub that Son really likes.

On the way to friends’ house, we saw three college age young people – two boys and a girl – hitchhiking along the highway. Since it was really hot out, and I was feeling like I needed to be entertained, I pulled over and asked the standard, “Where are you headed?”

“Capital City.”

“Well, I’m going to Suburb.”

“Where’s that?”

“It’s on the west side of Capital City.”

“Well, that’s close enough, I guess.”

“Hop in.”

The three of them packed themselves into the back seat. Son, in the front passenger seat, got a look of serious concern as the pungency rolled over us. The three had very obviously been outdoors somewhere without bathing facilities for several days.

They introduced themselves as Haley, Xander, and Jamie. Haley was wearing one of those tight mini-t’s and shorts. Xander was wearing a black sleeveless t-shirt and jean shorts. He also had big dreadlocks. Jamie looked like Shaggy, except with a pony tail, tank top, and shorts. As they introduced themselves, the ol’ gaydar redlined on Xander and Jamie. I imagine that they had me categorized as a harmless suburban WASP on the way to visit my broker or something. I explained our mission, and it seemed to throw them off a bit.

Xander asked, “Where are we?”

“Well, you’re actually just inside Capital City, and I could go around the outerbelt, or I could go through downtown to get to Suburb. Where are you going?”

“The Greyhound station would be nice. We need to get back home to Las Vegas, California, and Chicago.”

“OK, downtown, then.” Son looked like he was trying to hold his breath. “Where were you coming from?”

Xander appeared to be their leader, insomuch as Hippies have leaders. “We were in Medium College Town.”

“Were you visiting Medium College Town University?”

“No, we were camping with a bunch of people.”

“What was the occasion?” I asked. People with exotic agendas fascinate me, and I wanted to see how much they’d tell to someone who didn’t have the shibboleth.

Jamie piped up. “It’s a gathering that’s in a different place every year.”

“So it’s sort of like an itinerant Burning Man.”

“Yeah, only not as expensive.” At this point, I was intrigued. They were being pretty evasive. I figured that it was either a big Hempfest, some kind of anarchist/freegan thing, or a hippie version of a GLBTQ(etc.) Pride March. I was pretty certain that it wasn’t all about Jesus.

We were silent for a few moments, then Xander started to pop his lips. “Pop. (pause) Pop. (pause) Pop. Pop.”

I started to laugh, and I yelled in a faux Scottish accent, “Donkey!”

Haley laughed, “That was a great impression.”

Xander pouted, “I wasn’t trying to impersonate Donkey.”

Haley laughed again. “I meant him.”

Xander continued to pout.

I dropped them off at the Greyhound station. They thanked me and started to get out of the car. I told them, “Have fun storming the castle!”

Xander reached up to shake my hand, but we had one of those awkward handshakes gone wrong. Xander recovered by saying, “Keep picking up hitchhikers.”

As I drove away, I said, “Those kids were nice.”

Son replied, “Man, I wanted to roll down the window, because of the smell, but I didn’t want to be rude.”

“That’s why GPop and I tell you to shower every day.”

“Yeah. I will.”