Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mission Accomplished

At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to have at least one post per day for the whole year. I did it. I need to think about my 2009 resolution. Maybe something to do with health.

I will keep writing in 2009. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Sadness

Within the space of a week, two men here at work who sit in adjacent cubes have lost a grandchild. The first loss was a newborn who had some complications and surgeries. That boy was three weeks old when he passed. The second loss was an eight year old with neuroblastoma, a kind of cancer.

My heart goes out to them.

Ex-poo-sion

In the men's room right now, in one of the stalls, the toilet seat appears to be covered in what looks like the sort of soot you see when Daffy Duck tries to hold onto a stick of dynamite for too long. Someone's @$$ exploded.

New Hobby

GPop is directionally impaired. We've recently been going to some classes, and when we drive together, and he wants to drive, I have to navigate to get him there in a reasonable time. We've now explored several ways of getting to the Children Services building.

For Christmas, we decided not to get each other individual gifts. Instead, we bought a family GPS. We got the Garmin nüvi 205W. It is a fairly basic model, but it does have support for geocaching. We've already gone out and found a couple that are very close to where we live. We may have a new family hobby.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Four Word Movie Review - Burn After Reading

Bad people. Worse events.

Family Health

GPop's mom has been in and out of the hospital for a couple of weeks. She has some kind of infection in her lungs and heart that are causing pain and exhaustion. Some tests reveal that she may have had a minor heart attack at some point in the past, so she's due for several weeks of rest to recover.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Need New Glasses or Something

I was glancing through my work e-mail to catch up before Monday, and I saw an e-mail from our legal group telling us that the "Worker Retiree and Employee Recovery Act of 2008" was signed into law. Maybe I'm precaffienated or something, but at first glance, I saw "Wookiee Employment Recovery Act of 2008."

blink. blink.

Oh.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Illustrated Spoonerism

GPop was drinking a Diet Coke the other day, and he mentioned something about The Pause that Refreshes. I saw this pose a moment ago and thought of this phrase: "The frosh that reposes."




DISCLAIMER: Son is actually in eighth grade, but he will be a freshman soon enough.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family Time

GPop's mom has been a bit under the weather for a couple of weeks, so we are spending some quiet time with his parents today. Hope your holidays are peaceful and bright.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Favorite Carol

This carol almost always gets me a little misty-eyed. Whether or not you celebrate a religious holiday at this time of year, have a safe, warm, and happy time with the people that are most dear to you.

Through the years, we all will be together, if the Fates allow...

If I send Clothos, Lachesis, and Atropos a little basket of cookies, will they allow us to be together? I can only hope.



Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We the People

Son's social studies teacher is offering extra credit to any student who will get up in front of the class and recite the Preamble to the Constitution. Son really wants the extra points, so I got out my Schoolhouse Rock DVD and found The Preamble.

Reading through the Preamble led me to a deeper appreciation of what the founders of our country were trying to accomplish. The language may seem a little florid to contemporary readers, but one could easily make it into a Powerpoint slide, if Powerpoint weren't one's mortal enemy.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the People of the United States
The government of the United States derives its power from the people. This power isn't conferred by a foreign or higher power. Neither king nor god gives any permission for the governed to govern themselves. The government exists because of the people.

in Order to form a more perfect Union,
The founders of this nation were writing a new plan for the government to supersede the plan outlined in the Articles of Confederation. The new plan was intended to be better, or more perfect, than the old one. Yes, contemporary use of "perfect" implies an absolute, but there is some beautiful poetry in this prose.

establish Justice,
The early Americans had been treated unjustly by the British king for years, and this explicit call to human justice is really inspiring.

insure domestic Tranquility,
They seemed to be tired of conflict and war, and wanted the interactions between the people of this nation to be peaceful.

provide for the common defence,
But, knowing that it was unreasonable to assume that there would never be conflict, we needed to be prepared to defend ourselves against people and nations that wanted conflict over peaceful relations. I'm interested that this clause mentions "defence" but not war. The founders seemed to want mostly to be left alone.

promote the general Welfare,
I love this. Am I my brother's keeper? In the sense that we live by the social contract, and that our government has a vested interest in providing some basic services for the people of the nation.

and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
I got a little verklempt here. This isn't just about us, but about what we can do for future generations. If we make the world better now, maybe our children can make it better than we were able to.

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We declare this to be so, with the authority granted us by the people of the country that was already called the United States of America by virtue of the Articles. And then we wrote it down.


Whether other people read this the same way, or whether we've done an A+ job of living up to those ideals as I read them is another discussion, but the sentiments expressed are very well thought out and inspiring to me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reader Questionnaire

Was yesterday's Ellen DeGeneres picture too obscure or just not funny?

People Puttin' People Down

The latest nuttery from sunny California is that the Yes on 8 coalition that fooled people into thinking they were protecting marriage have filed a lawsuit to annul the legal marriages already performed in California.

Nothing about this has anything to do with protecting marriages. In fact, they're intending to rip apart about 18,000 marriages that already exist. Of course, by their definition, the relationships they're severing aren't really marriages, but rather an abomination in the eyes of God, so they don't count.

But the people who don't fit
Get the only fun they get
From people puttin' people down

Monday, December 22, 2008

Return Fire!

Today is the last day that I can reasonably be expected to get a Christmas card in the mail and have it get to the recipient before Christmas. We sent out our Christmas cards last week, but if we get any today from people to whom we didn't send on our first round, I'll have to make a quick run to the main post office in Capital City to get the retaliatory card in the evening collection there.

All the Fuss?

Yesterday's post made me wonder why that woman was so afraid of the sinister rampant lesbianism she perceived. It doesn't seem all that scary when you really look at it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Your're not Tolerating my Intolerance, You Bigot!

We attended yet another training class yesterday. GPop and I sat at a table at the front of the room. At the table behind us, there were two couples. Some of the classroom exercises required us to get into small groups and discuss some topic or another.

One of the topics was "Surprising Statistics Taken out of Context." GPop took the lead and mentioned the statistic that 89% of teens use the Intarwebs. I would have thought the percentage was higher, but maybe I'm not accounting for the Amish.

The woman in the older couple rambled something to the effect of, "My foster kids hate me, because I have a little plug-in thing that keeps them off the internet when they download that music and filth onto MY hard drive. I raise these kids in a strong Christian home. Even if I weren't, I'd raise them the same way. I just unplug that thing, and that filth doesn't come into my computer. They get enough of that in the schools with the lesbians in the halls."

I made eye contact with GPop, but then the teacher spoke up and ended the exercise before either of us could respond. I don't think he heard the woman speaking, so his timing was simply coincidence. I'm a little upset at this woman's outrageous statement, but I'm sort of amused at the repeating meme of lesbian gangs terrorizing our country. Thanks, ignorant jack@$$3$.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guided Imagery Owie

Take a couple of deep breaths. We'll explore a situation together that will only take a moment.

Imagine you're in your kitchen. You bend over to open the bottom drawer to get something. Oh, now your hands are full. You stand up and turn around. You touch your heel to the drawer and push the drawer closed with the back of your foot.

You know those muscles in your butt that you just used to push the drawer closed? Those muscles started hurting A LOT yesterday evening for no reason I can think of. They still feel a bit owie. No, I have no idea.

G Might Stand for Geek

GDad to the rescue!

I had a Popular Science in the throne room, and there was an article about using an old wireless router with DD-WRT to make a client wireless doohickey (technical term = thingamabob) that allows Son to connect his XBox 360 to the Intarweb without dragging a network cable across the doorway to the teevee room.

"Hmmm..." I thought. "I have this old router, and it already has DD-WRT on it, so this ought to take, um... about 5 minutes."

Maybe 10 minutes later, I realized that it was ever so slightly more difficult that that, but five minutes after THAT, we have connectivity. Go, GDad!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sadness

I appear to have lost a follower. Au revior, wherever you are.

Foto Phriday - Cafeteria Chaos

The floor in the kitchen part of the cafeteria in our building has those little nubs that are supposed to provide traction when the floor gets wet. Generally, they're unobtrusive, unless one is in bare feet, which would be pretty disgusting, all things considered.



The "back room" in the cafeteria is actually two separate rooms, for reasons unknown. Because of the mechanics of this setup, things need to go from room A to room B pretty regularly. Of course, the mechanism the cafeteria workers use to transport these items is a rickety metal cart with hard casters. Usually, they pile metal and glass on top so they can make the loudest noise possible when pushing this cart across the room.

There is an older gentleman whose job appears to be the stocker for the refrigerated items. He seems to have experimented with the cart so that he found exactly the right velocity to produce the loudest shaking possible. One day, I was getting my morning beverage with Mandy, and he pushed past us with the cart just as I was getting to the punchline of that day's amusing story. The noise was so loud that I stopped and waited. Mandy giggled. When he entered the door to room B, I took a breath to continue, and another worker emerged from room B with a cart that was even more rickety and louder than the first one. Mandy started laughing.

After I finished my story, we went to pay. As the cashier was opening her mouth to tell me the price, the cart passed by again. The cashier rolled her eyes and said, "I swear he does that on purpose."

UPDATE (8:30 AM) - Mandy and I were just in the cafeteria. One of the customers almost knocked something down, but the cashier rescued it. It still made a loud noise. Mandy and I were chuckling with the cashier when the lady said, "Everything in this cafeteria is so loud, like when they push those carts..." I'm glad I wasn't drinking milk, or there would have been snortage.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Voice Response Question

Voice Response Units (VRUs) are ubiquitous these days. In fact, there is a popular web site dedicated to foiling these customer "service" devices. Irrespective of one's feelings on whether these are blessings or banes, there is one question that has bugged me for a while now.

It's become common practice for companies to advise their customers to "please listen to this entire message, as the menu options have recently changed." I've noticed that some companies seem to have this message for a very long time, or even permanently. Just how long should one keep up the "recently changed" message before people stop listening?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Search Terms

I keep getting the "one eyed kitten" search on a daily basis. The funniest one recently was "thank you one eyed kittens". Thank you indeed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Medicine

I heard yesterday that my great-uncle (paternal grandfather's brother) had a heart attack while in church yesterday morning. He went to the hospital, then they transferred him to as hospital in a slightly larger town. All reports indicate that he did have a heart attack, but the event was over by the time they did tests. Further reports indicate that he is "grumpy and wants to go home."

We're invited up to their place Saturday for a Christmas dinner. It's probably touch-and-go at this point.

Party Picture

This is a picture of the top of Baldo McNerdy's head. The picture was taken at the party on Saturday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not Quite Sugarplum Fairies

Last night I had a dream where I was seeing through the eyes of Bart Simpson. The Simpson family was in a position where they had to get a tractor trailer rig from one place to another. The tractor part was broken, so Homer was towing the whole thing with his car.

Grandpa Simpson was in the cab giving advice to Marge, who was steering. He was singing an old trucker's song about how to get past certain things you might see along the road. Some of his advice included the following. In the dream it rhymed.

If you pass by a cliff,
And it has one tier,
Throw ridiculous hammers
Over the edge.

If you pass by a cliff,
And it has two tiers,
Tap it on the side
With your knee.

If you pass by two dogs
Stuck together by their backs,
Get out your stick
And give them several whacks.

I'm not sure if they ever got to their destination, but since the Simpsons episodes usually reset at the end, I suspect everything worked out for the best.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

There'll Be Much Mistletoeing

It's the party season. M&M had a nice gathering last night, and we off to Mandy and Mr. Mandy's this afternoon. Son's Older Brother is coming over tomorrow, and then we've got a birthday party next week.

Quiz Time

Go check out this quiz. I got 31/33 (93.94%) correct.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Foto Phriday - Warm Weather

Here is a picture of some flowers that pop up in our flower bed each year. The plants don't have any leaves. The flowers shoot up, bloom, and die within about 10 days. GPop calls them "surprise lilies." They're pretty, but don't blink, or you'll miss them. This picture was taken on August 14, 2008.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gone By

In high school, I had an English teacher who was either loved or hated by students. I fit in the former camp. He had a policy where he would scan any papers for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors before reading for content. Each of the first three errors counted five points off. The fourth such error gave the writer an automatic 60% (our grading scale was such that 69% was the highest F grade), and he would draw a red line at that point and stop reading.

He had a wicked sense of humor that he sometimes self-censored, given that we were in a Jesuit high school in the 1980s. A couple of years after graduation, I met him for coffee and had a great chat. I found out then that he had spent some time years ago designing and making costumes for adult entertainers. He was really an interesting guy. He passed away around 2000 or so. The obituary said something about donating to the American Lung Association, so I think I can guess what led to his death.

At the time, teachers could smoke in their department offices. In my junior and senior year, I would sometimes hang out in the English office with some other geeks. They had a couple of computers that we could use to type papers or whatever, so I brought in disks with Infocom text adventures and would play during study hall or lunch with my friend John. Sometimes, we'd see this teacher reading papers or the paper. He'd point to his desk at the refreshments and say, "Coffee and cigarettes... breakfast of champions."

Ah, bygone days...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing in Action

In the checkout line at the grocery store the other day, I saw a gossip magazine with the headline

Kevin Federline
MY LIFE WITH BRITNEY.

I think there are three words {qq/my,life,with/} that could be individually surrounded by quotation marks to make this much funnier.

Check out Jen's similar remarks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just Overheard

Coworker 1: ...and I don't know if you know.

Coworker 2: Do I want to know?

Coworker 1: I don't know.

Truth at the Bottom of a Bottle

I had a dream last night where I was with a group of people in a very long museum. The building was about as wide as a normal building, but it must have been more than a mile long. The building was set up so that if you viewed it from the one side, which was all glass, it would look like the people inside were characters in a platform 2D video game.

The big attraction at the museum was the world's largest glass bottle, which had some weird mathematical properties, sort of like a Klein bottle.

Immortal Libertarians

The only certainties in life are death and taxes. Join the Immortal Libertarians Party!
--Unknown

GPop received a letter from our state's tax department yesterday (Motto: "Just like the IRS, only less efficient and less friendly!"). The letter said that GPop had not filed his 2007 income taxes in early 2008. It told him to respond within 30 days with one of these options.

  1. You filed your taxes with a different SSN. Tell us this and we'll look into it. We promise we won't send the state troopers to your house to arrest you for fraud. Really.

  2. You filed your taxes. Everything's cool. We must have lost the paperwork. We're totally ready to accept this option and admit we made a mistake, as long as you send us copies of every bit of paperwork and provide us with a time machine so we can go back and watch you file back in February or whatever, you big pants-on-fire liar.

  3. You didn't file your taxes, so you owe us a big pile of money in late fees and interest to help us meet our balanced budget requirements for 2009, since our governor and legislature can't work together to balance the budget, given that they appear to have some kind of partisan blood feud going on.
GPop had done the worksheet part of his taxes in H&R Block's TaxCut program. Then he used our state's free online filing web site to file. We received a refund about three weeks later, and we thought no more about it.

When we were investigating last night, though, it turns out that we were shorted $41 on GPop's refund back in March. I don't think either one of us paid any attention to the discrepancy, since both of our refunds appeared on the same day. Also, we can't find any confirmation PDF of GPop's state filing on that web site. When we went to the site to login, it didn't recognize the combination of GPop's SSN, DOB, and mother's maiden name. Curiouser and curiouser.

We'll see what the department says when GPop calls this morning. I expect that we will receive several rolls of red tape as a holiday gift.

Translations

Would the Spanish translation of Cheez Whiz be "queso rápido" or "queso inteligente?"

Por que?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Season's Greetings

I bought Santa hats for my team and passed them out with holiday greeting cards today. I think everyone laughed and had fun. We're doing our holiday party/lunch on Thursday, and I suggested we wear the hats to the bowling alley.

Grading

I know a couple of academics read this blog. This post is specifically for you. In honor of your first term finals weeks, which may have happened or may be coming up soon, I'm going to bring up the issue of grading on a curve.

There's one kind of straight curve where you take the highest scoring test in a class, then add the difference between that absolute score and 100% to everyone's score. So, if Jane was the highest scorer and received a 94% on an absolute scale, everyone gets 6% added to their absolute score. BORING.

Or you could grade on a bell curve and force the majority of the students to receive some average grade in the B to B- range. TEDIOUS.

Why not grade on the more entertaining French curve? FUN!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Training

GPop and I have to attend a certain number of hours of training each year to keep our foster/adoption certification current. This doesn't affect Son's status with us, but it allows us to adopt another child if we want.

We went to a class called "Building Assets: A Positive Approach to Helping Kids Succeed" yesterday. The class was based on information and research from this organization. Unfortunately, the class was only three hours. The first hour and a half was a persuasive lecture to convince us that children in foster care or in an adoptive placement had suffered a traumatic loss. Duh. The second half was a quick overview and small group activity to come up with ways to help children succeed, like "do activities with them," or "listen to them when they want to talk."

I'm a bit torn by this. The incredibly basic level of the class is almost an insult to me and parents I know, but at the same time, some of the parents in the class appeared to be experiencing some kind of epiphany.

The instructor was a counselor of some kind with a Ph.D. D. Min. He mentioned an intriguing fact that now, more than any other time in history, children are placed with grandparents in kinship fostering or adoption, because the birth parents are unable to care for the children. I asked him if we are seeing the trend continue such that if generation 1 is taking care of generation 3, does generation 2 take care of generation 4, or is generation 2 essentially lost as parents, with generation 3 parenting as generation 2 should have. He got a little flustered and told me that he didn't think we knew anything about that. I stopped asking interesting questions.

Also, during the group session, I took The Marker at the Whiteboard. All those years of facilitating meetings really paid off.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Parents With a Great Sense of Humor

Go here. Click on Cary's Bio. I only wonder if he has any siblings named Terrence or Theresa.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Foto Phriday - Furry Edition

Which is creepier, the Furry Junior or the Corporate Furry Lite?

Notice the American Idol toy in the background of the Furry Junior picture, and also notice the "Total Cost of Quality" poster in the background of the Corporate Furry Lite.



Another One?

We went to an adoption celebration last night. There are a couple of organizations that put together a big party each summer and winter to bring together prospective adoptive parents and available children. We were able to meet and observe some children and speak to some social workers and foster parents about our family and whether some of these kids might be a good fir.

Son is very excited. He really wants a sibling in the home. I know he still wishes that Son's Older Brother had chosen to be adopted into our family, but our current visit schedule does keep the boys in touch.

Anyway, more updates as events unfold.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Stupid Google Ads

The URL says "2 min IQ test". The ad copy says that the test takes 1 minute. I think something is amiss. Click to embiggen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sticker Shock

We took Son to the orthodontist last night for an evaluation of his teeth and a discussion of options for braces. The "sales" lady, named Debi, reminded me of one of the Nora Dunn/Mo Gaffney characters in Drop Dead Gorgeous. Her percussive "HA!" laugh had to be in triple digit decibels.

Son also talked about wanting a dirt bike. After a discussion on good teeth for life vs. recreation for a summer, he backed off a little on that line of inquiry. We may still be open to a used one or something, but the teeth are expensive.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Walmart Bingo

Check out the new little gadget I wrote and installed in the sidebar. It was inspired by a post over at Life on Planet Bill. It's good to know I can still write HTML. I tried to write it as a Google Gadget, using Javascript, but that got too complicated for my attention span on Sunday.

Perfect Comic Timing

At one of the Thanksgiving meals we attended over the long weekend, I was near the grazing table with Brother 1, talking about miscellanea. We were playing a game called "What Will the Dog Eat?" which involves taking small bits of all kinds of food and seeing if the dog will eat it. This dog is the kind of dog that will lick a spot on the floor where food used to be for at least 30 seconds after the food is gone.

One of the dishes was water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and cooked in some sort of magical way until they are bacolicious. Brother 1 dipped a fork into the greasy liquid and let the dog lick the fork. Then he dipped the fork in again to feed the dog more.

I scolded him. "Did you just put dog germs in there?"

He replied that I should just shut up, because a) the things were cold, b) there were only a few left, and c) he had put the fork in the side of the dish where there were no pieces left, and germs don't migrate that quickly. "Just don't tell anyone," he said.

Just as he finished the word "anyone," a relative-twice-removed walked up to the table and asked, "Don't tell anyone what?"

"Oh, nothing."

Relative-twice-removed asked, "What are these?" and popped one of the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts into his mouth before either Brother 1 or I could say anything. I looked out the window and refused to make eye contact with my brother so we wouldn't laugh too hard.

After a few seconds, I told this story about Aunt Wild's dogfood-eating party guest. Relative-twice-removed and Brother 1 both laughed loudly, but I suspect for different reasons. I think I need to do some kind of penance, but I'm not sure what.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bummer

As of yesterday, none of my translations of commonly-searched-for phrases have made a tick mark on Feedburner. Drat.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Four Things

Steven at Green Dads tagged me with this meme. List four things in each category.

Four Things

Four Jobs I've Had

Four Movies I can Watch Many TimesFour Places I've Lived
  • A house on Beach Road


  • A basement (with occasional roaches and loud neighbors) on North Fourth Street

  • An apartment on Forsythe Avenue


  • A house on Bowen Road
Four TV Shows I Love(d)
Four Places I've Vacationed
  • Orlando
  • San Jose
  • Richmond
  • Las Vegas
Four Novels (or series) I have enjoyed rereading
Four Websites I Visit Often
Four Places I'd Like to Be Right Now
  • With my friends on vacation in a cabin in the hills near a lake
  • Montreal in June
  • San Francisco in July
  • NYC in May

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Le Grand Tour

Our Thanksgiving travels are similar to last year's, but the order is 0, 1, 4, 2, 0.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Foto Phriday

Here is a sign in the cafeteria where I work. I don't know why, but it cracks me up.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Meme

Jen at Redhead Ranting tagged me with this meme. I am supposed to list five things for which I am thankful, and why.

  1. GPop, who has been by my side, and I by his, for more than fifteen years.

  2. Son, who has been part of our family for more than two years, but without whom we would be much less.

  3. My family outside my home, including Brothers 1-3, my parents and stepmother, grandparents, assorted aunts, uncles, cousins, and all of GPop's wonderful family.

  4. My friends that are near me, including all of the characters you read about in this blog.

  5. My friends that I've met in the blogosphere, most of whom I haven't met and may never meet face-to-face, but who are some of the nicest, smartest, and (in my mind's eye) best-looking people out there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Idle Hands

I was in an all-day meeting yesterday, so I didn't get out of work until about an hour later than usual. Son called while I was on my way home and told me that he was BORED. I gave him a couple of options for something fun to do by himself, but he wasn't in the mood to read, play video games, or put a puzzle together, and he twisted his ankle the other day, so outdoor activities are more painful than fun for a couple of days.

Finally, I remembered that I had bought some chocolate chips last week. I told him to get out the bag of chocolate chips and read the cookie recipe on the back. I asked him to figure out if we had all of the stuff for cookies, accounting for the sugar-to-Splenda substitution, and call me if we needed anything.

A few minutes later, he called and told me that we had everything, but that I should pick up more milk for the cookies. "I'll start making them now," he told me.

"Why don't you wait until I get home."

"Why?"

"Um... Huh. OK, go ahead."

I stopped to get the milk, and as I approached the house, I imagined all sorts of horror, ranging from flour-coated walls to missing fingers. When I entered the house, Son was putting away the ingredients and had already set the timer and put the cookies in the oven.

Not bad for a first attempt. I gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was that he took that initiative.

GPop makes pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, I make pineapple upside-down cake, and now Son will be making cookies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Non Sequitir Lad!

On Sunday, we were at Waffle House with Son's Older Brother. Son ordered grits, and he asked how to eat them. After the obligatory "put them in your mouth, chew as needed, swallow" remark, we advised him of a couple of ways, depending on whether you wanted sweet or salty. Then GPop said, "Kiss my grits."

That led to a five-minute discussion of Alice, Flo, and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Near the end of the discussion, Son looked at me and interjected, "Are you 37?"

I replied, "I'm 38. GPop is 37. Are you wondering how old we had to be to remember teevee shows from that era?"

Son drew back for a second. "You were talking about teevee?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Four Word Movie Review for Bolt

Animals journey. Lesson? Love!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Take Care of One Another

One of the drawbacks I see in the fierce independent spirit that popularized and televised culture presents to us is that people come to believe that others don't need or don't want help when times are tough. People will help others that they know, but if the person who needs help is a stranger, they often will pass on by, thinking that the person in need is perfectly capable of taking care of whatever the situation is, or that the person doesn't want anyone to get involved.

This has been documented for years. And it still goes on. Take care of one another. We only get one ticket on this ride.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Foto Phriday - Dollar Short

This is a picture of our nephew on a mission at the state park where GPop's semi-retired parents run the marina.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lorenzo

I'm sitting here at the auto dealership waiting for them to change my oil. Over the summer, I was the protagonist in a short saga where my hybrid lost about 20% of its gas mileage efficiency, probably due to the wrong replacement tires. This dealer, when I explained why I was a new customer here rather than at the old one, said, "I bet they put the wrong tires on it."

I think I'm going to like this new dealer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside

Here's a pic of our snowfall this week. Hey, it's early. We'll get more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Follow the Sun

Here's a picture of a beautiful sunrise over my back yard this morning. My phone's camera makes pink skies a little more orange than they look in real life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Soup Recipe

Here is the recipe from Saturday's gathering.


All measures are approximate. So are spices - add more or less and
use a different variety too. Make it to suit your tastes!

2 acorn squash
1 (32 ounce) package vegetable broth
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
1 large or 2 small onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 - 1 cup half and half or whole milk
white pepper and salt to taste
Sour cream and oyster crackers

1. Cook the squash. (I've found the easiest way is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and strands, then place it face down on a plate. Then microwave it for 7 - 12 minutes or until the insides are tender when poked with a fork or knife. Let it cool for a few minutes, then scoop out the flesh.)
2. While the squash is cooking, chop onions and garlic. Place in soup pot and sprinkle with salt, white pepper, red pepper and oregano. Saute in the butter until the onions are opaque (about 5 minutes). Add more butter if necessary.
3. Reduce heat and add just enough broth to cover the onions and allow to simmer for 2 - 3 minutes.
4. Add cooked squash then add broth to just about cover the squash.
5. Allow to heat through and simmer for about 10 minutes at medium to medium-high heat until squash is very tender.
6. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor and process until smooth. This may have to be done in batches using another bowl or pot to assist.
7. Transfer all blended soup back to soup pot. Add the remaining broth and stir gently until completely mixed. Heat thoroughly over medium to medium-high heat (about 5 - 10 minutes).
8. Add milk or half-and-half and additional salt and white pepper to taste. Heat soup to desired temperature, but do not allow to boil at this point.
9. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and crackers, if desired.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

GPop will be away all week on a business trip to sunny New Jersey.

The Way a Crow Shook Down on Me

There is a dusting of snow on the ground this morning. Some years, this happens just before it goes back up to 70 degrees F.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Language Experiement

Feedburner tells me that people keep hitting my blog when they search for "three eyed kitten" or "one eyed man", among other things. I'm going to try an experiment where I translate these terms into some other languages to see if I get multilingual hits on these terms.

three eyed kitten
tres ojos gatito
drei Augen Kätzchen
trois yeux chaton

तीन बिल्ली का बच्चा आँख

One eyed man
hombre con un ojo
Mann mit einem Auge
homme avec un oeil
एक आँख के साथ आदमी

guy haircut
corte de pelo hombre
Mann Haarschnitt
coupe de cheveux homme
आदमी बाल कटवाने





Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Gathering

We went to the demonstration. With us were Geekina and Baldo McNerdy and Mandy and Mr. Mandy (who is welcome to suggest another nom de blog).

A couple of news crews showed up. One of the crews interviewed a lesbian couple who had gotten married in one of the states that does allow or has allowed same-sex marriage. The other news crew looked a bit crestfallen, since they had come late to the party, so I tapped the On the Spot Reporter Woman on the shoulder. "Ma'am, if you're looking to interview a family with an extremely photogenic teenager, my partner and son are right over there."

She asked me a couple of questions, then came over with her camera guy. They interviewed us for about four minutes. I don't think any of us said anything that could be sound-bitten down to something stupid (even for our local FOX affiliate), but we'll see. If it looks nice, I may go ahead and upload it, which will reveal my secret identity.

Now we're all going to play board games (or video games) and have home-made pizza and some vegetarian soup that Mandy will be making. If she allows me to, I'll post the recipe. We might also sit around the fireplace and sing Christmas carols or whatnot.

Office Politics

There's a guy at work whose title is "Program Leader". We usually call the title the PL (pee-ell). His name is Joe.

Yesterday, I referred to him as Joe the Pl (plə). He was greatly amused. I guess it doesn't take much to be funny when stress runs high.

Today's Agenda

9:00 - start first batch of pizza dough for dinner
11:00 - pick up pizza toppings from grocery
1:00 - head in to downtown for big protest against bigots and insertion of religious doctrine into legislation
4:00 - pick up Brother 3 for a visit
5:00 - have pizza with friends
6:00 - board games and maybe Mario Party 8

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heard in a Meeting

Yesterday, I heard this sentence in a meeting: "This isn't rocket surgery."

Foto Phriday

This portrait hangs in an executive conference room somewhere at MegaCorporation One.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Psychic Paper

Last night, I stopped at the grocery to pick up some things on the way home from work. As I was leaving the store, Son called. He was pretty distraught, because he had left some important homework in his locker at school. I told him to call the school, and I would go directly there to see if I could get in to pick up the papers.

When I got there, around 5:10 pm, the doors were locked. I checked a couple of doors, then I saw a school custodian sweeping with a vacuum cleaner. When he shut off the machine, I knocked to get his attention. He opened the door, and I started my spiel, "Hi, is there any chance I could get in to get some homework out of my son's locker? He is pretty upset, because he left it in there."

The custodian stared at me a bit suspiciously.

My MegaCorporation One identification badge hangs from an extenda-doohickey on a chain around my neck. I grabbed the badge and extended it toward him. "I'm a Parent," I said, with a distinctly spoken uppercase 'P'.

He immediately lost his suspicion and told me to come on in.

I need to figure out how to use this newly discovered Jedi mind trickery more often.

Office Observation

I'm a manager of eight people in an IT department at MegaCorporation One. I just discovered something profound.

Other managers can't summarize.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It Made a Whooshing Noise When It Left

I think I may have lost the remnants of my soul this morning.

I was in a meeting whose purpose was to gather the managers in the department together to poll them on what the "word on the street" was. My grandboss asked a couple of times for us to tell him what was on people's minds. He was starting to look a little peeved about the lack of conversation and energy in the room, so I thought I'd take one for the team by raising my hand and asking a question that made us look like we were all paying attention.

I never expected this to come out of my mouth.

"Since we have decided to push off work around the Flimflam-to-Smokeandmirrors conversion from 2009 to 2010, do we have a story around how what we're doing to bring the two sides of our organization together to achieve the strategic goals and vision we laid out at the beginning of 2008?"

I humbly ask for forgiveness. Maybe someday, I'll be able to look at myself in the mirror again.

Nondeterminitive Names

I heard a radio report this morning about a Supreme Court case (Summum vs. Pleasant Grove) regarding the relationship between religion and government. One side claims that a city government may not choose which monuments may be displayed and which may not when those monuments are donated by religious organizations and when the monuments have religious themes. If one monument is displayed, then they all must be. The other side is arguing that a government is not obligated to do anything of the sort. The practical upshot of the second argument is that the government may choose to accept and display donated monuments from one religion at the exclusion of the other.

The American Center for Law and Justice is providing legal services for the city. This organization was founded by Pat Robertson, and its goals have been to represent people and organizations who want more religious accommodation in government. The chief attorney of this organization is named Jay Sekulow. The gentleman's name sounds very much like the word "secular."

Favorite Medical Terms

I love jargon. Years of watching COPS have made me realize that even simple fights can be aggrandized to become "domestic altercations." In my own beloved IT field, we have ideation and exception paths.

Medicine, however, is almost mystic in its jargon. I've started to listen carefully to medical people when I'm in their bailiwick so that I can collect some of the terms. I have three favorites right now.

Myocardial infarction: This just sounds vaguely naughty.

Aphthous ulcer: As near as I can tell, this means, "You have sores in your mouth, and I don't know why. Here, take this mouthwash."

Atopic dermatitis: WebMD has a more specific meaning, but my doctor sort of indicated that this means, "Hey, you have a rash!"

What are your favorite medical terms?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans' Day

Thanks.

Decisions, Decisions

Rusty next door told me last night that he was going to suggest that the Obama family get an Alaskan Malamute puppy and name it Maverick.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Real Meaning of Obama

It occurred to me that Barack Obama* may become the biggest manifestation of a metaphor ever, beating out Christmas and the Titanic.


*I just added "Barack" and "Obama" to my spellchecker's dictionary. I'm surprised I haven't already.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3?

Son wanted to watch the six Star Wars movies "in order." We had a discussion about what "in order" meant to George Lucas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

Those who don't read books are no better off than those who can't.
--?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Missed It

I missed Guy Fawkes Day. Doggone it.

Foto Phriday

This is a funny shadow of me in a hat that makes my head look HUGE.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lucky!

Three of my Pepsi product caps in a row have the buy-one-get-one-free stamp on the inside. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Win Some, Lose Some

The presidential election was pretty exciting.

The voters in Arkansas (ban on LGTBQ(etc.) adoption), Arizona (ban same-sex marriage), Florida (ban same-sex marriage), and California (ban same-sex marriage) who decided that my family isn't worth as much as their families can go sit on it. Seriously.

Our local school levy failed again. We've already cut busing for grades 9-12. The next cuts will have to be extracurricular activities, including athletics, I would imagine. There's one more chance on the ballot before Son goes into 9th grade.

Our U.S. House race went to the least offensive of the Republicans who ran in the primaries. The Democrat won 42% of the vote despite never having run for any office before.

Our State House race went to the person who was endorsed by an HRC affiliate. She ran against a cheeseball who played up his MD degree by wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope in all of his political mailers and teevee ads. She won by 12 votes. TWELVE VOTES. (UPDATE 11/12/2008 - The unofficial count is that she won by 41 votes. The official count isn't available yet.)

Our State Board of Education district race went to the candidate who was endorsed by the state education association. She was pretty clear in her statement that creationism and intelligent design had no place in a science curriculum. She won handily in a three-way race. 55% to 24% and 21%.

No back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Follow Up

To all of the commenters who flocked to the Fox News web site and other bastions of intellectual excellence last night, let me be the first to break ranks with the Army of Darkness and reveal the truth.

Yes, we intentionally elected the actual Antichrist. The real one, right from the Bible. We are now a country with a political and economic system that is to the left of communism. Not only are our borders open to terrorists, but we have put together gift baskets to entice them in. There will be mandatory same-sex marriages in your living rooms, and forced abortions for every single person in the country, both men and women. Democrats, you may now pull off your disguises and let your bat-like wings flap openly in the breeze.

Seriously people... It's time to roll up our sleeves and work together on making this country great.

It's Happening All Over Again

Come on, people, chill.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sort of Liveblogging the Election

We're watching CNN. In the room are

  • GPop
  • Son
  • Geekina McNerdy
  • Baldo McNerdy
  • Eggbert Terwilliger
  • Marcot Ravenswatch
  • and yours truly, GDad
There are five laptops.

UPDATE (8:27) - Baldo McNerdy just told me that he's "sort of live reading" this post.

UPDATE (8:37) - Geekina McNerdy just remarked that in 2004, when none of us had laptops, we were all more sociable during the election night party.

UPDATE (8:40) - We all were blown away by a cool graphic on CNN. It had a percussion soundtrack when it was animated.

UPDATE (8:47) - Geekina McNerdy wondered about a CNN special scheduled for tomorrow morning - "The New President and How He Won". Geekina's question was what would have the title have been if Senator Hillary Clinton had been the nominee. Marcot said that it would have been "...and How They Won", even though that's ungrammatical.

UPDATE (8:58) - GPop just took Son home. GPop will be back soon. It's a mile by car. Shorter if they walk, which they won't.

UPDATE (9:12) - I would much rather have a picture of Anderson Cooper on my desktop than a picture of James Carville.

UPDATE (1948) - DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN

UPDATE (9:26) - Eggbert Terwilliger just said, "You know... Tom Cruise in a Nazi uniform is sort of hot."

UPDATE (9:32) - Baldo McNerdy is making sound effect noises to "help" the CNN guy. Geekina looks like she is about to smack Baldo.

UPDATE (9:38) - Baldo just remarked that one of the news reporters looked like "that fish from Finding Nemo."

UPDATE (9:56) - We all agree that talking dogs that sell cars are creepy. Baldo thinks Anderson Cooper resembles C. Montgomery Burns.

UPDATE (10:00) - We just switched to Comedy Central with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

UPDATE (10:21) - I'm getting sleepy.

UPDATE (10:39) - Florida seems to be a bit slow today.

UPDATE (11:03) - I think the political ads are over for a while.

Voting - 2008

I arrived at my polling place at 6:10 a.m. The polls open at 6:30 around here. I talked to a very talkative gentleman whose two children were voting with him for the first time. Through the conversation, he told me that his daughter had been in a play with Marcot Ravenswatch last Christmas. He also told me that he had lost his job a couple of years ago when United Airlines had a big financial crisis, but that he was back on his feet (sans retirement fund) at another airline.

When the polls opened, I counted twelve people in line and three machines. The sign-in was split alphabetically in A-K and L-Z, so we ended up in two lines. I was about the sixth person to vote, and when I was done, there were about twenty people waiting to vote and another ten people waiting to sign in. GPop arrived with Son just as I was leaving. We wanted Son to see the process, then GPop was taking Son out to breakfast on the way to school.

Go. Vote.

Best Line from a Trick or Treater

We spent Halloween evening at the McNerdy residence. We had two bowls of candy and gave kids who were well behaved and/or cute a little more. Marcot Ravenswatch watched a kid in a latex mask approach with a pillowcase open for candy.

Kid: [muffled] Trick or Treat.

Marcot: Here you go! [tosses Reese's Peanut Butter cup into bag]

Kid: [muffled] I'm allergic to peanuts.

We rooted through the bag and replaced our peanutty goodness with something a little less lethal then sent the lad on his way.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

It is Baldo and Geekina McNerdy's wedding anniversary today. The specific one is the wool/copper anniversary. I imagine a sheep with copper pipes running out of it.

Literature Out of Time

The following is from Grimm's Fairy Tales. I read this a long time ago in my childhood, and something about it has bothered me for a long time. I think I've figured out some of what's bugging me.



There was once a man who had three sons, and nothing else in the world but the house in which he lived. Now each of the sons wished to have the house after his father's death, but the father loved them all alike, and did not know what to do, he did not wish to sell the house, because it had belonged to his forefathers, else he might have divided the money amongst them. At last he conceived a plan, and he said to his sons, "Go into the world, and try each of you to learn a trade, and, when you all come back, he who makes the best masterpiece shall have the house."

The sons were well content with this, and the eldest determined to be a blacksmith, the second a barber, and the third a fencing-master. They fixed a time when they should all come home again, and then each went his way.

It chanced that they all found skillful masters, who taught them their trades well. The blacksmith had to shoe the king's horses, and he thought to himself, "The house is mine, without doubt." The barber shaved only distinguished people, and he too already looked upon the house as his own. The fencing-master suffered many a blow, but he grit his teeth, and let nothing vex him, for, said he to himself, "If you are afraid of a blow, you'll never win the house."

When the appointed time had gone by, the three brothers came back home to their father, but they did not know how to find the best opportunity for showing their skill, so they sat down and consulted together. As they were sitting thus, all at once a hare came running across the field. Ah, ha, just in time, said the barber. So he took his basin and soap, and lathered away until the hare drew near, then he soaped and shaved off the hare's whiskers whilst he was running at the top of his speed, and did not even cut his skin or injure a hair on his body. "Well done," said the old man. "If the others do not make a great effort, the house is yours."

Soon after, up came a nobleman in his coach, dashing along at full speed. "Now you shall see what I can do, father," said the blacksmith. So away he ran after the coach, took all four shoes off the feet of one of the horses whilst he was galloping, and put on four new shoes without stopping him. "You are a fine fellow, and as clever as your brother," said his father. "I do not know to which I ought to give the house."

Then the third son said, "Father, let me have my turn, if you please," and, as it was beginning to rain, he drew his sword, and flourished it backwards and forwards above his head so fast that not a drop fell upon him. It rained still harder and harder, till at last it came down in torrents, but he only flourished his sword faster and faster, and remained as dry as if he were sitting in a house. When his father saw this he was amazed, and said, "This is the masterpiece, the house is yours."

His brothers were satisfied with this, as was agreed beforehand, and, as they loved one another very much, they all three stayed together in the house, followed their trades, and, as they had learnt them so well and were so clever, they earned a great deal of money. Thus they lived together happily until they grew old, and at last, when one of them fell sick and died, the two others grieved so sorely about it that they also fell ill, and soon after died. And because they had been so clever, and had loved one another so much, they were all laid in the same grave.



When I read the story a long time ago, the blacksmith put tiny shoes on a fly that was flying by, but other than that, the story is the same.

It really struck me that the brothers seemed at first to be perfectly content to compete for the house, but in the end, they realized that family was too important to let the house get in the way. The culture where this story speaks to the reader is a bit removed from suburban professional America.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Are You a Good Geek or a Bad Geek?

"I'm not a geek at all," she says.

Geekina McNerdy told me last night that she thinks she's not a geek like her husband, Baldo, and me. Marcot Ravenswatch was sitting there, too. He sort of chuckled while rolling his eyes just a little.

Then she told us that she had made an encryption joke. That amply demonstrated the lie in her previous statement.

"I called Daisy up on the couch and told her she was a pretty good pup. Heh... PGP."

Nope. No geeks here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Taking a quick break from a big meeting in a convention center. The room has few right angles. Crazy architect. Makes me dizzy. Sent from phone.

Foto Phriday

Since autumn is upon us, and winter draws nigh, here's a picture of a springtime flower from our flower beds to tide you over until the next equinox, or Easter, or Beltaine, or whatever suits your fancy.

Dear Old Golden Rule Days

Son brought home this letter on Wednesday night, October 29. Image is below, then text below that, and I've edited only the identifying parts of the letter, not any of the content.



October 31, 2008

Dear Parent, Guardian, or other family member,

On November 12th Small Town Middle School, along with over 9000 schools in the United States, will participate in Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Mix It Up is a project that supports student efforts to indentify, question and cross social boundaries in schools and communities. The lunch activity prompts students to swap seats in their school cafeterias, break out of their zones and meet new people. Our hope is that students will take a fresh look at their school environments and ask why the barriers that divide groups exist. Students and their teacher allies can help form safe, welcoming schools- places where every students [sic] can grow socially and academically. The goal of Mix It Up is to help make that possible.

In preparation for Mix It Up we ill be showing the video, Let's Get Real. This video depicts middle and junior high school students speaking frankly about their experiences as people who bully, people who are victimes of bullying, and people who intervene in the bullying process to become allies for others. The video will be shown the morning of November 12th to the 7th and 8th grade students.

As we spotlight this topic which is not often openliy discussed in school, we expect students may have strong emotional responses. This film may remind them of their own personal experiences with name-calling or harassment. The students in the film use their own colloquial language to describe their experiences, which sometimes includes words that would otherwise be inapprpriate in the classroom. The inclusion of these words in the film will facilitate discussion about why those words exist, their impact and how to minimize their use in our school in the future.

Students in the film also bring up issues of teen suicide and using violence or a weapon to harm their harassers. We ill discuss these topics and students will know where they can turn-including to you-if they are dealing with simialr feelings in their own lives.

You are invited to come to school on November 7th at 11:00 in room 117 to preview Let's Get Real and discuss some of the activities from the curriculum guide. Our discussion will include strategies for students as well as parents, guardians and other family members on how to deal with name-calling and bullying.

Please feel free to contact me, our assistant principal or one of our counselors if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,


_____ ________
Small Town Middle School Principal


The most interesting thing about this is that the letter fell through a time warp from two days in the future.

The second-most interesting thing about this letter is that it dances, quite adroitly, around the actual topic. When Son handed me the letter, and I read it, my fairy-sense started tingling. The letter was very obviously a way for the principal to tell the parents that they were going to be talking, among other things, about LTBQG(etc.)-bashing, but the principal was hoping that the bland tone of the letter wouldn't cause the whackadoodle spittle emitters in the community to storm the gates of the school. A quick check on IMDB confirmed my suspicions.

I intend to show up for the preview of Let's Get Real and the following discussion. I'm waiting for someone to pipe up that they don't want their kids to be exposed to the homos. I'm pretty damn tired of being a walking wedge issue.

I wrote to the principal last night to tell her that I was looking forward to the preview and that I thought her mastery of euphemism and misdirection was awe-inspiring. She hasn't written back. I suspect she's trying to figure out if I'm a crank or not.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not-So-Angry Language Guy - Reader Survey

Which word sounds better?

Whackdoodle

or

Whackadoodle

From the Mixed Up Files of Brother 1

Brother 1 used to keep a dish of fruit-flavored Tums in his living room. He would chuckle whenever visitors would eat them like candy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Inside, Looking Out

This is what was outside the seventh-floor office window near my desk a moment ago.

The Ds and the Rs

I've been receiving a lot of mailers at home from the Republicans and the Democrats. I'm not sure where they both got our names, but I'd like to point out something that I think is pretty interesting.

Whenever GPop Surname or I, GDad Lastname, get a mailer from the Republicans, the thing is addressed to "The Surname Family or Current Resident" or "The Lastname Family or Current Resident." When we receive something from the Democrats, it is invariably addressed to "GDad Lastname and GPop Surname" or "GPop Surname and GDad Lastname." That simple recognition of our family speaks volumes to me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Trial of Ted Stevens

Guilty on all seven counts.

Weird Texting Joke

This took place over cell phone texting.

Baldo McNerdy: So, two protons walk into a black hole.

GDad: And one says tttttttooooooo ttttttthhhhhhheeeeeee oooooooootttttttttthhhhhhheeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prognostication

A juror from the Ted Stevens trial has been replaced, and the jury will begin deliberations all over again today. Even if we assume that he is found guilty, I would predict that he will be a guest of honor at Pardon-fest 2008.

Quack! [limp] Quack! [limp] Quack! [limp]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How Much?

That puts the whole "lipstick on a pig" kerfuffle in a new light.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Foto Phriday, Day Late

This is an ashtray at a rest stop on the interstate route to my mom's house. How do people get the cigarettes ready for the ashtray if they are not to smoke them?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Doing God's Work

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) has put about $8.4 million into advertising and support for Proposition 8, which is a ballot initiative in sunny California to overturn the recent CA Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage in CA.

Alternately, they could have funded these two charities for a full year. Interesting priorities.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Titles

Here are a few of the odder titles and their explanations. Yes, this is just a filler post.

This Thing All Things Devours - From the riddle that Gollum asked Bilbo.

Those Were the Days, My Friend - A song I sang in an elementary school performance.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur - Means "Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound."

Back to the Futon - A play on Back to the Future, except I had to sit on the couch.

Take it to the Limit One More Time - An Eagles song.

1 Corinthians 13:11 and Giant Alien Robots - The verse from 1 Corinthians is often read at Christian weddings. "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." I wasn't as excited about Transformers as I thought I would be.

We Represent the Lollipop Guild - We played the game Munchkin, the name of which is from the Wizard of Oz, as is that song.

The Importance of Being Scripted - I had recently been thinking about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which Dorian Gray was a character. The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest were both written by Oscar Wilde.

Rejected Lines from Handel's Messiah - The line is "King of Kings!"

The Long and Winding Road - A Beatles song.

Disobedient, Disrespectful Oafs
- A line from the song "Kids" from the musical Bye-Bye Birdie!

A Bridge is Burnt - It's a part of a line (actually "a bridge is burned") from a John Prine song I like.

Valley of the Dals - A misspelling of the movie, and a reference to the Daleks.

Mala Vista - Play on Buena Vista, the Disney production company, which is a trademark of the Disney corp. All hail Disney.

The Turtleheads Are Coming! The Turtleheads Are Coming! - From the story of Paul Revere and a silly name for New Trek Klingons.

Mos Eisley Cheesesteak Sandwiches - Mos Eisley was the location of the cantina from the oldest Star Wars movie, A New Hope.

More to come if I need to do another clip show.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

80.6%

My new year's resolution was to post at least one post per day during 2008. So far, I've succeeded.

Swiftly Flow the Days

This is a picture of sunrise from the parking lot of the building where I work. I took this Monday morning. The photograph doesn't accurately portray how pink the sky was. It seems more orange in the picture.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

For That, of Course, Was the Answer

Since the beginning of September, GPop's schedule has been such that he has either had to work at least one of each weekend days, or that we've had some family event out of town. Or both. This makes it difficult to entertain friends or get work done around the house.

So, if we have any friends left, please know that we're planning to catch up soon.



p.s. The title is a line from The Hobbit, where Bilbo accidentally answers Gollum's riddle correctly by shouting, "Time! Time!" As in, "I need more..."

Angry Language Guy

Dear Media,

When a person has been convicted of a crime, and his or her appeals are all used up, isn't it appropriate to stop using the word "alleged?"

Monday, October 20, 2008

You Are English Types-a

This is a picture of "Sir Timothy" donning his armor in preparation for the jousting event. He was our hero, where the knight in the background, Sir Catain (or something) was the villainous knight from Ireland. Neither of the actors really played it straight, though, and both of them made some comments about being Canadian.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Fest

We went to the Renaissance Festival today. It was a pretty decent time, although it was awfully chilly until about 3:00.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Has Fallen

We had a frost warning. Ragnarok approaches.

Because of some strangeness with recent power outages, I signed up for severe weather alerts and school closings to come to my phone via text message. When I woke up this morning, I saw a frost alert for 2:00 am through 9:00 am sent to my phone at 4:45 am.

Perhaps it would have been more effective if sent earlier?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Foto Phriday

This picture shows some kind of fungus popping up out of the ground near where I work. I was walking between buildings when I spotted this.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Evil Plan

So, after some discussion, the boy and I have decided to rule the galaxy as father and son.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Son's Politics

Son was looking over my shoulder while I was reading this post on Cutting Through The Crap. He pointed to the picture of Senator McCain and exclaimed, "I'm a crazy old man, and I know where you live!"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Open Letter to the Shopper at the Grocery Store

Dear Shopper,

There are several hints you have given me to indicate that you live on the far west side of Bell Curve Town. You also appear to be somewhat intimidated by technology, so that factors into our conversation. I'm glad you thought to make it a trip to this side of town, but I have a little advice for you, which you may find to be useful, even if it is unsolicited.

Since you've demonstrated a narrow cognitive bandwidth, I'd suggest that perhaps multitasking is not your forte. Because of this, you may want to consider HANGING UP YOUR PHONE instead of switching from hand to hand as you SLOWLY scan each item in the SELF SERVE checkout. The long line of people waiting for you to finish will appreciate it.

I will admit that the user interface isn't 100% intuitive, so I'm willing to cut you some slack when you get confused by the "Please wait for cashier" message on the credit card slider. See, the tricky part is that in a self serve lane, the cashier is you! Even if you did have a question about that, which is perfectly understandable, you might want to indicate through some kind of verbal or somatic cue that the high school age lad at the podium should come over and help you. Simply giving an oblivious teenager the oblique stink eye and muttering on your phone that you aren't happy with the service doesn't really help you much, nor does it move the line any faster.

So, my dear lady, in short, HANG UP THE PHONE AND KEEP MOVING. I am

Yours truly,
GDad

What I Want for Christmas

I would like a however-long video created of every right-wing teevee ideologue who has, in the past seven years, claimed that disagreeing with the current administration in any way is tantamount to or actually treason, especially during times of war.

Then I want that video played, picture-in-a-picture style, over every one of those ideologues' teevee appearances every single day during the Obama administration.

Then I want a pony and a million skillion hillion zillion dollars (which equals approximately one fifth of the recent bailout).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Title Contest

"Papa Ate a Rolling Stone"

We were looking at Jupiter.

Zeus (the Greek name for Jupiter) was the son of Cronus/Kronos and Rhea. Cronus feared that one of his children would overthrow him as he had overthrown his own father. To try to prevent that, he ate all of his children when they were born. Rhea didn't like this, so when Zeus was born, Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave the stone to Cronus. Cronus ate the stone, which allowed Zeus to grow up in secret and eventually overthrow Cronus.

A little pop culture reference combined with classical mythology. Enjoy.

The Irony and the Ecstacy

As I was driving home on Friday, I noticed one of those giant banners in the sky that was towed by a small plane. The plane was towing the banner right along the outerbelt at rush hour. Cars were slowing and swerving while the drivers were trying to see what the banner was advertising. I slowed down to give myself plenty of maneuvering room in case of an accident in front of me, and then I risked a glance at the banner.

It was for Geico.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Papa Ate a Rolling Stone

Last night, we got out our Celestron NexStar 114 telescope. We've had it for a while, but this is the first time we've had it out since Son joined our family.

We were able to look at the moon, which was about 3/4 full, and we saw a planet which I believe was Jupiter. We saw three of the planet's moons, which eliminates Mars and Venus. The image looked something like this.



Son says he saw some swirls on the planet, but I didn't.



p.s. Bonus points for tying the title of the post to the contents of the post.

Weird Juxtapositions

I'm still intrigued by how many hits I get for "three-eyed kittens" and "guy haircuts", according to Feedburner. I think I will try some word combinations that draw stranger searches to this blog.

zombie haircut

Obama leprechaun

Palin station wagon toast

Harry Potter steam cleaner

sugar bun dumb man

tegina achina

carbunkle flimflam

jackrabbit reactor

teapot conehead

Please feel free to add more in the comments.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

To See the Young Lady Who Fell from a Star

Today is National Coming Out Day. The day is set up for LGTQB(etc.) people to be out and open and to show closeted people that the fear and dread of life in the closet is much worse than the freedom of accepting who you are.

Because our society isn't really set up to acknowledge GQTBL(etc.) people, please consider even outing yourself as an ally, if you never have before. Every little bit helps.

End of line.

I Am Geeky-Geek the Geek I Am, Geeky-Geek the Geek I Am, I Am....










Take the Sci fi sounds quizI received 92 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Quiz by SheGoddess:


UPDATE: Weird! This was the code I was supposed to copy and paste, but it doesn't show my score. I got 92 credits. I assume that's 9 of 10 or something.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Foto Phriday

On the way to Grandma's house, we usually stop at a rest area about half way there. At the rest stop, there is a small building with the standard facilities, including a snack machine and a soda/pop machine (depending on your linguistic quirks).

This sign says it all.

Friendly Neighborhood GDad

I noticed a minivan in the parking lot with a low tire. Just in case the driver didn't see it when he or she returned to the vehicle, I left a little note with a doodle.

"Your front passenger tire is low. Just an observation from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man."



I would love to see the person's reaction, but I'll just have to imagine it.

Why, Yes, I WAS an English Major

The other day, GPop scored a cool gift for Son. He managed to get a copy of the new Christopher Paolini novel Brisingr. That's not all that exciting, since anyone with $30 or a library card can probably get a copy. The interesting thing is that GPop has some contacts in the book retailing business, and can sometimes get autographed copies of books.

GPop presented the book to Son. "I couldn't get the book itself autographed, but I did get this autographed sticker insert than you can place in the book later. You may not want to do it now."

I was in the other room. I chimed in, "Why don't you keep that sticker as a separate piece? [pause] Heh. Heh heh. John Knowles. Ha ha ha ha ha!"

GPop asked, "What's so funny?"

"Oh, nothing."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You're Stalling

Both Angry Professor and Cranky Lit Prof have posted bathroom poo posts in the past few days. I feel pressure to post something along the same lines.

Yesterday, I was in the gentlemen's room, and I entered a stall. The seat was clean, which was a pleasant surprise, but there was a big glob of gooey liquid on the floor next to the toilet. I can think of only a couple of fluids that can get out of the body without surgery, and it wasn't one of the ones that traditionally issues forth in a corporate restroom. And it wasn't THAT one, either.

Come on, people! Do we have to put out spittoons? This is absurd. I will not toss out the word "unsanitary," because I have observed that people throw that word around almost as wantonly as they throw around the word "terrorist." However, it is pretty disgusting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lovely

This is a picture of water beading on a plant at GPop's parents' house.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Business Casual

GPop and I went into a store to buy some wrapping paper for birthday gifts. The young woman at the register was wearing pants that were so tight, I could tell she had a nickel and a quarter in her pocket. I wonder if that retail chain has a dress code and if so, whether she was abiding by it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Marketing Problem

Last December, we went to the Small Town Holiday Celebration in downtown Small Town. At in addition to all of the businesses staying open, there were people from local organizations trying to raise awareness for their causes. We received the little postcard shown below that, on the other side, exhorts us to attend a local church.


I am alarmed at the message on this card. I understand that it's trying to say something like, "Attending this church will cure what ails ya'!" It seems more like an "opiate of the masses" sort of thing, though.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Geek Question

I don't seem to attract the hardcore geeks to this blog, but if anyone has any experience with ReactOS running in Sun's VirtualBox, drop me a line. I'm running into some program crashes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

On the Road Again

We'll be up at my dad's today fr a visit, then off to my mom's tomorrow. Fun!

Yet More...

Again for the RPG fans...

When your enemy's gone down,
And you sneak to his town,
That's a foray!

Friday, October 3, 2008

On the VP Debate

I now understand why Elvis Presley was known to shoot at teevees.

Foto Phriday

I call this multimedia composition "Cracker With Oddly Shaped Cheese." By "multimedia," I mean "cheese and cracker."



I call this one "Cracker With Oddly Shaped Cheese With a Bite."