Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rodentia in Absentia

The first couple of years we lived in our house, we had various specimens of wildlife around that would pop up out of nowhere. There were some groundhogs that lived way out back and would scour the back field for whatever groundhogs like to eat or collect. Our old neighbor, who hailed from a state known more for inbreeding than our state once pointed at one and said, "Look - a groundhog. Them's good eatin'." Words to live by.

We also had squirrels, but then the raccoons scared them away. Or maybe the hawks did. Anyway, I miss the fact that the squirrels used to dispose of many of the acorns that our enormous oak tree drops each year. However, when I step on acorns in my soft-soled moccasins, I console myself by remembering that squirrels are just rats in drag.

Bugology 2

We went to an event called (creatively) Fallfest at a local park. There were pumpkins to carve, hay-covered wagons to ride, and games to play. There was a woman there with little display boxes of mounted insects from this area. As it turns out, she knows the guy to whom we used to ask nonsensical insect questions.

It's a Small World, After All...

Newspeak, Spam Edition, 2007

I received an unsolicited commercial e-mail (No trademark confusion here!) today with the first line, "Enlong your schlong." Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for poor use of English.

I wonder if I could enwisen it, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Newspeak, HR Edition, 2007

Our open enrollment period for 2008 benefits is going on right now. The web site that describes the benefits has a graphic at the top to advertise the company that works with our HR department to provide the communications to the employees. The company's name is Enwisen. Since the executive bios and company history have no mention of anyone named Enwisen, I have to assume that this name is to be used as a verb. "Our HR department needs to enwisen the employees about our benefition enrollitude."

I even checked a German/English translation program to see if this is some German verb with which I am not familiar. No dice.



Life imitates art.

I Do Not Envy Roger Ebert

Son was still a bit sick over the weekend, and he was complaining that he had nothing to do. Never mind that our home is filled with books, games, video games, and that he has a number of things he could do outside while sick that would provide a little fresh air without tiring him out.

Anyway, GPop had to work on Saturday, so he brought home a couple of movies from the little rental kiosk in the local grocery store. 1 movie, 1 day, 1 dollar.

GPop called from the store and asked about Talladega Nights (I'm not linking to it.). I told him that he could get it if he wanted, but I really had no intention of actually watching it. He brought it home, and we made it about as far into it as we made it into Anchorman (I'm not linking to this one, either. No use in promoting dreck.) - about 20 minutes. Will Ferrell is no longer welcome in our home. Maybe there's some kind of karmic comeuppance for the obnoxious stupid people in the movie, but I don't think I can make it far enough to be able to tell. Or care.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Foto Phriday

Mrs. Geekina (a.k.a. "I-Married-Into-The-Name") McNerdy's birthday was a few weeks ago. For the party, we went to a local paint-your-own-pottery place on a Saturday afternoon. This is my work.

Mala Vista, Part Drei

Well, Knoppix didn't find the laptop's built-in wireless hardware nor the USB 801.11b connector I picked up when my uncle was throwing perfectly good geekware away. However, Ubuntu did just fine. Neither found the Bluetooth mouse, but at least Ubuntu recognized that there was Bluetooth hardware in the laptop. And, I downloaded the Ubuntu version for AMD64 architecture, so I could feel the greater processor usage through my fingertips. Or whatever.

On the plus side for Knoppix, it's a live DVD, and Ubuntu is a live CD, so Ubuntu has less stuff on it. Also a plus in the Knoppix column is the little menu that lets me save configuration to a thumb drive. Ubuntu didn't seem to have that anywhere I could find it. We'll see what happens later.

Bugology

GPop and I used to be acquainted with a gentleman who had a Ph.D. (or PhD for you Brits) in entomology. Just to confuse him, we'd sometimes ask weird questions about insects interspersed in with real questions.

"So, Doc, was A Bug's Life based on a true story?"

"If there's a worker bee that doesn't pull its weight in the hive, is there some kind of bee welfare, or do the other bees kick it out and make it homeless?"

"Same question, only replace bees with ants, and hive with hill."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sicko, Part N, Where N is... Oh, You Know the Routine

We had a bit of a scare today. Son didn't feel well yesterday, and last night his fever spiked to 101.2° F. He was shivering, cold, and had a headache, a stomach ache, and other... issues. We addressed the symptoms and put him to bed.

This morning, he still had a fever (101.4° F), so I took him to the doctor. The doctor looked concerned enough to draw blood. The blood test came back with an elevated white blood cell count, so the doctor advised me to take Son to the emergency room to look for appendicitis RIGHT NOW.

OK, so I guess I don't work from home all day today. Anyone who's ever been to a hospital can probably predict that about 15 people came in to look at the scared kid, but most of them had a very good way of dealing with kids.

No appendicitis yet, but Son is on Appendix Watch for the next day or two, and we're trying to keep him entertained.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mala Vista, Part Deux

A friend who reads the blog asked me whether I really hated Windows Vista that much. I iterated the problems I've had.

Just to establish credentials, I have been using DOS and Windows computers for 20+ years, and in the Good Ol' Days, I would routinely edit CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT just to squeeze out a few more bytes of RAM by changing the order in which device drivers were loaded. I've run several machines on a dual-boot Windows/Linux configuration, and I once had BeOS installed and running for a while. I've used Macs in an academic setting, and I've been the alpha geek in my family for decades, as well as having stints as alpha geek in a professional environment. In the past 10 years, I've coded as a hobby. Computers do not intimidate me.

That being said, the Acer laptop that we won in a contest is, as near as I can tell, possessed by technodemons. Its issues include the following.

  • The wireless connection on that laptop randomly drops, even when all of the other wireless devices in the house are still connected and going strong.
  • The bluetooth connection for the wireless mouse seems to randomly turn on and off, so the wireless mouse suddenly stops operating unless I toggle the little bluetooth switch on the front of the machine.
  • The system came with Symantec protection products (antivirus, firewall, spam fighter, spyware protection). They worked fine for the trial period. When I uninstalled them and chose to install the stuff that comes with my ISP connection (Computer Associates protection products), the firewall got all flaky, and I still haven't figured that out.
  • Every time I want to make some interesting change to the system (update a system setting, reconnect to my dropped Internet connection, etc.), Vista interrupts me with an "Are you sure?" dialog box, even though I am logged in with administrator privileges.
  • I've seen several software packages that I wanted to install that are not supported under Vista, including Family Tree Maker version (Current), PDF Creator, and some Disney games that Son wanted to play.
  • When I tried to diagnose a network problem by disconnecting the wireless router and connecting my laptop directly to the cable modem, I got all sorts of trouble connecting the laptop to my cable modem directly. It should have been a simple "plug and play" operation. It took about 40 minutes for me to reboot everything enough times to make it work.
  • My XP laptop connects to my XP desktop with very little fuss when I want to send a document to my printer that is connected to my desktop. The Vista laptop worked for about a week, then I haven't been able to make it connect to that printer since then. When I attempted to connect it directly by a cable rather than over the network, I got some kind of stupid driver install problem.
  • When the network connection drops, the "Diagnose Problem" feature seems to forget how to diagnose the problem. When there's no problem, the connection can easily diagnose that there are no problems.
I have downloaded the Knoppix DVD ISO, and I want to see what happens when I boot the machine with that and my thumb drive as the writable space.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Son of Mariofinger

Again, Son's version.


video

Mariofinger 1 & 2

You've seen Linkfinger. Now behold Mariofinger.


video


video

Combining Contexts

Picture of Son in his Legend of Zelda costume. He is not sincerely dead; he is only merely dead. Geeks will groan. A lot.

The Turtleheads are Coming, The Turtleheads are Coming!

There is an annual Renaissance Festival within a two-hour drive of our home. I suspect that is true for at least 80% of the residents of parents' basements the United States. We try to attend every year. It gives us our exposure to big Arts & Crap shows, and it has a bunch of people in costume. How can you go wrong?

Years ago, the performers and attendees tried to do the m'lord/m'lady, prithee, fare-the-well period acting, but in recent years, people realize that it's kind of funnier to play it straight, but in costume. The actual stage acts still (mostly) act in Renassancish mode, but you'll see people in chain mail talking on iPhones.

So, a couple of years ago, GPop decided to wear his Star Trek outfit (yes, I have one as well) to the festival. The purveyors of musical instruments would see him coming and play the first few bars from the Star Trek theme. Pretty funny. At one point, we had an ontological glitch, when a fellow dressed in a Doctor Who costume approached GPop (in his Star Trek outfit) and said, "Man, you missed it. Last week, the Klingons were here."

Never before, and never again.

Even a Corduroy Pillowcase Couldn't Make a Headline This Good

CNN's RSS feed sometimes has headlines that are way better than the ones on the main page. This one happens to be the same.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Humturbing? Distorous?

There is a gentleman here at work who found out earlier this year that he had a tumor on his optic nerve. He went through treatment that included something called enucleation (WARNING: the squeamish may not want to follow that link.). He has responded well to the treatment, and he's back at work.

Because Halloween is coming up, he's brought in candy to share with the department. I found this on my keyboard the other day.




The consensus is that this is both hilarious and profoundly disturbing.

We Interrupt this Program...

Wow. It's sad that the man died. The headline needs some work not to be hilarious, though.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dumbly-dore, ooh la la!

Author J.K. Rowling just revealed that she wrote Albus Dumbledore's character to be gay, even though it's never specifically mentioned in any of the books. At the risk of strawmanning and possibly ad homineming, I expect that the TradVal crowd will have a whole herd of cows. "Oh, the satan and the gay! Oh, woe! Oh, calumny!"

When Sir Ian McKellen got the role of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's movie versions of The Lord of the Rings, there was a big reaction among the bigidioti (try it a few times, then tell me if it could be a viable word). "Oh no! A queer is playing Gandalf!"

So, a fictional man with magical powers is fictionally gay, after the fact. Another character, who is, in that story, an avatar of a celestial being with no sexuality, is played on screen by a gay man. Hmmm....

TIME PASSES....

I just checked my copy of the Gay Agenda. Sure enough, it's right there between the manicure and dinner at a fancy restaurant: "#47 - Tie together fictional wizards and gay people in the public perception. This will come in handy for our sinister Phase 2 by reducing opposition to the forced training camps."

Oops. I've said too much.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Foto Phriday

This is Son with an ox and a gentleman farmer from 1885, or thereabouts. We were visiting a living farm that tries to maintain itself as though the farm were running in the 1880s. The whole experience was pretty cool. They have several buildings where the kids can explore what farm life was like several generations back, and the animals are all pretty tame. The farm is attached to a big park with walking trails and picnic areas. All great fun.



p.s. That ox was enormous.

Mala Vista

Apple should encourage people to buy computers with Microsoft Windows Vista, take the short term loss, then emerge as a monopoly. If Vista doesn't sour people to Windows, then nothing will.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Parenting

Last night, as I was moving some laundry from the washer to the dryer, Son came up to me, wrapped his arms around me, and gave me a big hug. I hugged him back, and he mumbled, "I just remembered that I haven't hugged you today yet." Then he pulled back, and walked toward the TV room.

GPop, at the sink, cleared his throat very loudly. Son went over and hugged him, too.

There are organizations out there who claim to be supporting the Traditional FamilyTM that would pass legislation forbidding GPop and I from being able to bring Son into our home. In fact, if we lived in Florida, we would not be a family right now. Just food for thought.

One Down, Almost

Sam Brownback is rumored to be pulling out of the Republican primary race. DDTWID.

Maybe Larry Craig should enter. He says he's retiring from the Senate in 2008, and his name has been in the papers lately. BTW, FAUX News claims that Larry Craig already resigned. Fair and Balanced ≠ Accurate.

Search Term

I use Feedburner to track site hits. One interesting bit of data they provide is what people come to my blog from search engines, and what search terms the user had entered. Yesterday, I got a user visit from someone who searched on, "help my son is anarchist freegan."

My sympathies to that parent, but just remember, he is still your son. If he's hurting people or seriously endangering himself, please get him help. If not, is there a way to embrace your son's life? Who knows, you might need a whole bunch of patchouli at some point.

In all seriousness, if you remain open to dialogue with your son, you may find that he still loves you very much. However, if you go with the ol' "my way or the highway" approach, you may find that the highway is much more appealing. Good luck.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Perils of Wearing a Suit

I was (randomly) selected to eat lunch in the same room as the president of our section of the company. The dress code was business casual, but since I don't get my suits our much, I opted to wear my navy blue pinstripe suit. By coincidence, the president also wore one, but I suspect his was at least 3 to 5 times more expensive than mine.

I was feeling pretty on top of it with the suit, until I found two of those little in memoriam things from funerals. Then I was sad.

Sign at Work

The bathroom lights in one of our building's bathrooms have been burned out for more than a day. Some wag put up this sign.


It is pitch black. You are likely
to be eaten by a grue.

$_

On Getting Older

A coworker told me a while back, "I'm only a few years away from sitting on my porch and yelling, 'Get off my lawn!'"

To My Honorable Senator, Regarding FISA

The terrorist boogeyman is hardly hiding under our collective bed. We don't need to pull the covers up and hide; we need to turn on the lights.

Line From a Meeting


I was in a meeting yesterday where a project member from a... controversial... project was narrating a presentation about the scope and timeline of said project. For some reason, this guy's presentation had a timeline that showed phase 2 ending before phase 1 was complete. In this context, phase 2 shouldn't be able to start before phase 1 is complete.


GDad: I have a question about the timeline. How is it that you have the sign off for phase 2 happening before the sign off for phase 1?

Project Guy: Well, we had some issues with getting all of the stakeholders to agree, so we went ahead with phase 2. [WARNING - This is exactly why we don't overlap these phases!]

GDad: Oh. I guess my misunderstanding arose because I travel through time linearly. I didn't realize other people had different options.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Three Times Fast

Tongue twister = Cinnamon synonym.

Cinnamon Synonym = Cassia.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Linkfinger

Not to be outdone by GDad, Son did this one.


video

Da da da DA da, da da da DA, da da da DA, da da da d da DA

I'm making another Link costume for Son to wear to our local renaissance fair and for Halloween. Last year, I bought a sewing machine and tried to wing it with respect to sewing. I'm pleased with how last year's costume worked out. Basically, my skillz (currently, definition 4) with sewing consist of cutting pieces of cloth in a shape that looks kind of like what I want, in this case, a tunic and a pointy hat, and then attaching the pieces together. As long as any errors are on the inside of the garment, nobody can see them, and I don't care.

Here's a picture of this year's effort so far.



And the video.

video

Friday, October 12, 2007

Foto Phriday

I was at a conference at Capital City's Convention Shack (we hates it, tricksy architectses) this week. I saw something a little confusing. As in many buildings that are open to the public, there were trash receptacles at semi-regular intervals. Instead of the "classy" trash cans made of shiny metal or painted some nice color with an enamel paint, these were the big, grey, plastic cans with handles on the sides. You might see these at the end of your neighbor's driveway on trash day. However, these were covered with some kind of spandex trash can condom (candom?).

Monday, October 8, 2007

Son and the Delayed Family Addition

Son is very involved in the conversations about adopting his older brother. Because of this delay, he's been kind of upset. He isn't displaying anger or sadness, but he appears to have lost control on his mute button. Once he gets started talking, he just can't seem to stop. He's also been waking up the past two nights with severe heartburn and mild nausea. And, I think his nerves are giving him hives.

Da*n it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Metal Band

No, not Led Zeppelin.

The mess with Son's Older Brother has left me feeling like there's a metal band wrapped around my chest. It's hard to face the day.

However, I have the love of my family to sustain me, and they have mine.

Deconversion Chart

Unfortunately, Son Tzu is not joining our family at this time. The deconversion chart is as follows.

Son Tzu is now known as Son's Older Brother.
Son Won is now known as Son.

There may be further developments later.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Da*n You, Robert Burns!

Son Tzu's situation is now more complicated that I thought. There may be delays. Not really able to discuss. More to follow as events unfold.

====
UPDATE: OK, maybe that was a bit subtle. The linked poem is the source of the line, "The best laid schemes o' mice and men/Gang aft agley."

Captain Ruffles and the Case of the Broken Clock

Once upon a time, when I was much younger and more sensitive to rudeness, a friend of mine named Skip (I'm not changing this one for anonymity for once.) introduced me to Captain Ruffles. Skip said, "Captain Ruffles, do you know GDad?"

Captain Ruffles replied, "Why should I?"

I was pretty mortified. In later years, I've come to the belief that Captain Ruffles actually meant to say something along the lines of, "I'm afraid I don't. Do you, Skip, know of some venue where we would have met before today?" However, I may just be shoring up the ol' self esteem.

Divide Zero By Anything, and You Get....

As near as I can tell, my political prediction didn't come to pass. My career as a prophet may come to a quick close. I don't know whether to be upset or thrilled.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The New Adventures of Captain Ruffles

I've decided to aggregate all of the evil queens I know under the Captain Ruffles oeuvre. It's sort of a Carolyn Keene thing in reverse. Watch for more excitement!

Political Prediction

I cast the bones, and this is what I see.

That White House guy will veto the legislation containing the Matthew Shepard Act this afternoon. That way, it's done on a Friday afternoon, after the news outlets and the public stop paying attention for the week.

So, this is the first prediction. I'll either have a 100% or a 0% success rate by tomorrow morning. None of this moving the goalposts for me.

Foto Phriday

This is Son Tzu and Son Won at a state park about an hour from our home. Notice the reflections of ripples from the water on the underside of the overhang.

A Very Special Moment in Parenting

Several years ago, GPop and I were exiting a mall, and GPop grabbed a Diet Coke from a machine near the door. As we walked out, we passed a man with two little girls coming in. One girl tugged on the man's sleeve.

Girl: Daddy, can I have a Diet Coke?

Man: No, Elizabeth, you may not.

Girl: But I'm Margaret!

Man: I heard you the first time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Angry Language Guy

I watched Pushing Daisies tonight. It was kind of cute. The main character voiced one of my many frustrations. "Why do people say, 'I don't disagree with you?' Why don't they just say, 'I agree with you.'"

Yeah, I know. There are probably people using some pirate torrent that already have season 3 of Pushing Daisies burned to HD-DVD, and I watched it on my teevee box (not even HDTV) the actual night that it was on. Bug off.

Why Is This Funny?

Unless I'm remembering things that never happened, it used to be a sitcom staple for people to stand around a water cooler and discuss events. The punchline was often punctuated by bubbles rising through the clear tank of the water cooler. Why was this funny?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sicko, part N, where N is greater than last time.

All three of us are home with whatever "it" is that's going around. I have been coughing and croaking with occasional bouts of fever. GPop said he was feeling the same, and Son Won has had some kind of stomach thing and a swollen throat.

Stupid Smarch weather.

Son Tzu

Son's Older Brother is scheduled to become a member of our family this weekend. He'll come for a visit over the weekend, and his official placement will be next week. Then there's a six month wait until adoption.

Here's the conversion chart for future posts.

Son Won = The son previously known as Son.
Son Tzu = The son previously known as Son's Older Brother.

That ought to confuse people.

More Fan Stuff

After months of forgetfulness, I finally called Hunter Fans to order the part that causes the fan lights not to respond to the remote control. I was ready to pay ~$60 for the part plus shipping.

I reached Amber at Hunter. She asked for my phone number and fan model number. I was prepared for that. Then she asked for a description of the problem. I mentioned that this was the second time I was having this problem.

She asked for my shipping address, which I provided, then she told me that the part was on its way. I was never that kid in class who said, "Teacher, you forgot to collect the homework," but I do have to admit that I was tempted to do that whenever teacher forgetfulness and my completion of the homework coincided. I asked Amber how I should pay for the part. She told me that she'd send it at no charge.

Hunter now officially rocks.