Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eight Point Three

My New Year's resolution was to blog at least once per day in 2008. So far, so good.

Turkey #2 and #3

Two more hand turkeys from a while back. Click on images for larger view.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Album Art #2

Just had to...

I Promise I Won't Have Nightmares, Mom!

When I was a kid, maybe 8 years old or so, I had a dream that was so vivid I can still remember it to this day. I was somehow stuck in the middle of a bridge probably 150 feet long over a deep, rocky canyon. The sun was setting, and it was about to get dark. The horizon was on fire from the sunset - orange and pink.

At one end of the bridge was Medusa. I knew that if I looked at her directly, I'd turn to stone. At the other end of the bridge stood the Headless Horseman with his flaming pumpkin head and sword. I knew that he would come after me for my head. I'm pretty sure the magic of the covers over my head saved my life and amplified my little pleas of, "Mommy!"

I saw that Clash of the Titans was on one of the higher-numbered cable channels the other day. It brought that dream back.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random Album Art

Create your own album covers.

  1. The name of the article at this link is your band name.
  2. The last four words of the last quote on this page make your album title.
  3. The third picture on the top row of this page is your cover art.
This is my first one.

School Daze

Son told me over the weekend that his "Adviser/Advisee" person had presented to the class last week. As near as I can tell, this person usually comes in to provide some lecture on a non-academic topic, like treating people with respect or what extracurricular activities are available for students. Son is a reasonably compliant child, but he doesn't display a lot of initiative (understandable given his life circumstances so far), so this sort of thing provides him with a little exposure to things he might not otherwise hear about at school.

This instructor's presentation last week included a reading of a list of absurd lawsuits that has been floating about the Intarwebs for a long time. I've seen the list several times over the last couple of years. The instructor presented the list as newsworthy and accurate. Son is now convinced that frivolous lawsuits are common, and that we need to be prepared to be sued successfully by anyone for any reason at any time. It took me about 30 minutes of discussion, and a trip out to Snopes, to clean up the damage from this school presentation.

I've sent a note to the instructor asking for clarification on the lesson. Any parents or other interested parties have comments?

Mr. Advisor/Advisee,

My son, Son Lastname, told me of a presentation you did for his class last week. He mentioned that you'd presented a list of crazy lawsuits as part of the presentation. Son was convinced of the need for tort reform (my words, not his) as a result of this presentation. I'm concerned about that, though, because that list has been debunked pretty thoroughly in the past. One such debunking is at (

Can you share what the goal of that presentation was? I'm working to reinforce lessons from school at home, and this one has me stumped.

GDad Lastname
Has anyone had this kind of experience before? Am I turning into one of "those" parents?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why I Don't Join Special Interest Groups

I was browsing the back roads of the web the other day, and I found a web site devoted to trilobites. I've always thought trilobite fossils were kind of cool, so I spent some time clicking around and found a Yahoo! group devoted to the little beasties. Since you can barely get by in life any more without having a Yahoo ID, I went ahead and signed up for the group. The group's moderator made me write a short essay about my interest in trilobites, presumably to ensure that I wasn't going to use the group for nefarious purposes like multilevel marketing or casual hook ups.

"Hey, baby, wanna get together sometime and see my trilobite etchings?"

Yeah, right.

Anyway, I wrote my little essay and sent it off to him. "I like trilobites, because they're cool. I also like children and kittens." Or whatever.

The Yahoo! e-mail address I have used to get about 30 e-mails each year. I only used it for very rare occasions. Now, I'm getting about five e-mails each day regarding trilobites. Trilobite fossils, trilobite research, trilobite exhibitions, trilobite kabobs, trilobite etouffee...

In the past, I've sometimes succumbed to my inner fanboy, and I've shown up at fan groups for things like Star Trek or Doctor Who. The people there are usually very passionate about their hobby, and are also generally quite articulate about it. However, too much of a good thing...

Fan1: ...and that's why I think the TARDIS control systems would be incompatible with the control systems for Darth Vader's suit.

GDad: Wow. Hey, not to change the subject, but would you like to discuss something else?

Fan1: Oh, of course. How about episode 34? I have a theory about the leader of the rebel forces on Tau Ceti 7...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not Food

We were just on the phone with GPop's sister last night. GPop's parents are in the sunny south visiting relatives. Sister tells us that GPop's parents were at younger Aunt Wild's house for a party. Aunt Wild has those endearing eccentricities that show up somewhere in every family. Aunt Wild puts the dog's food in table china, because she "doesn't like the way dog dishes look." Aunt Wild asked GPop's mom to put the dog dish on the island in the kitchen so they wouldn't step on it while they were preparing for the party.

A guest showed up early. From what I gather, this guest was one of those folks you invite only because she is part of the social circle, not because you want to visit with the person. After a few moments, Aunt Wild caught Mom's eye with one of those "look over there" glances. Mom looked and saw the guest eating the dog food. They tried to distract the woman to no avail. The only way they finally got the woman to stop eating "these nuts" was to tell her they didn't have any more.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Again With the Eyes

A three eyed pig.

Insight Into the Mind

I hooked up this blog with Feedburner so I could learn some stats about my readership. I'm proud to say that I've been in the double digits of readers consistently since last fall. Now to implement my sinister phase 2.

"Have any of you ever considered maximizing your income potential?"

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Anyway, it seems that many people find this blog by way of search terms on Google. I've put together a table of the past month's worth of search terms and any remarks I might have about them. Anything with asterisks is something that had multiple instances of the term. The number of asterisks is the number of times I saw the term.

1 corinthians 13:11 video gamesIf you are trying to change your new or soon-to-be husband, don't bother. It will be a lost cause. If you are confused about whether you have become a man, you haven't.
1 eyed kittenHow did I get high enough on Google search results to get a hit on this term?
12th Cylon ModelTrust me. You aren't ready for the truth.
2008 election cycle datesThanks for stopping by. Try CNN.
2008 election office poolsMaybe not the best idea. When I said it, I was joking.
2008 haircutsI'm sorry. My geek outscores my gay. I'm not a hairdresser.
3 eyed coloring sheetWhiskey Tango Foxtrot?
aggressive Wooly mammothB-E A-GG-R-E-SS-IVE!
Angry PooperAwesome! I knew this would eventually happen.
anhydrous ammonia***Sorry, can't help you there.
anthropomorphizationDon't anthropomorphise computers. They don't like it.
article 1 section 2How vaguely specific.
Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3Now we're getting somewhere. Paragraph 3, to be precise.
be kissing herself****This one troubles me on a couple of levels.
beautiful strange part 1I seriously wonder what this person was trying to find.
Best Hand
biscuit kittenI honestly have no idea, but I hope you found what you needed.
blog memeTag! You're it!
born with three eyes****It is disturbing how many times I've been searched for an odd number of eyes.
candom Man woman bedTypo?
captioningAgain, how on earth did I rate high enough on Google's results to get this hit?
chemistry.comWhy didn't you just go there?
cranial cyst, picturesYikes. If you really want fun, look for pictures of skin conditions. Yum!
cranial punchThe drinking kind, or the percussive kind?
cranialhyperossification blogSelf-explanatory.
custom mad-eye costumesPing-pong ball, belt, spaghetti sauce jar lid. Assemble.
Dead Sea Salt, Kiosk***A lot of people must either like or hate this stuff.
describe bearded dragonsYour wish is my command. He look like a man.
dumbly doreOo-la-la!
eaten by a grue, you have been. Delicious were you. Wouldn't it be really obnoxious to have Yoda as the Zork engine?
eating the same thingas...?
enwisenembiggens the smallest man.
funny robert burns storiesThat Bobby Burns was such a card. Or, rather, "Tha' Bobbie Burrrunns wae sooch a caerd!"
funny truism interesting observationDid you ever notice...?
gay family physician(gay family) physician, or gay (family physician)?
GDadAt your service.
guy hair cutparted on the side. short in back.
guy haircutsee above
guy haircutssame one for 20 years.
HD candomnow in HIGH DEF!
how come my bearded dragon went pale in the middle of the nightI'm not sure, but why were you up, and why don't you let the poor thing sleep?
human evolution the next stageI could tell you, but...
hunter fan randomly turns onHeh. One of my friends had a Hunter fan with a remote some years ago. It randomly turned on. It turned out that his neighbor had a similar fan with the same settings on the remote. Hilarity ensued.
kitten pooperA kitten that poops, or something that poops kittens?
larry willardTry the white pages.
Laura RoslinThat's Madam President to you.
Laura Roslin New CapricaShe's not there any more.
likely to be eaten by a grueIf you don't keep your lantern lit, yes.
lizard with three eyesAgain with the odd number of eyes. It's sometimes called a parietal eye.
mall israel kiosk aggressiveYeah, no kidding. Especially around Christmas.
man born with 3 eyes***What is it with the eyes?
man with three eyes***Gah!
mid lifeGoogle must like me, or people must dig down to about page 1368 of 2484.
Mom's birthdayWhew. I thought I had missed it for a moment.
Naughty Santa*****This is also very disturbing.
old school huffy bikeYou know, I wonder if the term "old school" was in vogue when old school Huffy bikes were around.
one eyed dog**OK, this is getting silly.
OOTO meansOut of the office.
pic of wooly mammoth on hind legsSinister rampant on azure field with family motto, "Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc."
plain 3 ring venn diagramsIt's a Venn circus!
premonitionsand tidings.
queen elisabeth lizardShe hides them in her hat.
Section 2 ParagraphSorry. Try Bob Loblaw's Law Blog.
slavering fangs of a lurking grueAre your eventual fate.
spinology**Spine or spin?
squirrels are just rats in dragI agree wholeheartedly.
stories about fathers**Once upon a time...
straczynskiInteresting fellow.
tI completely don't understand how Google got someone here with a search term of "t". Are there only 26 web pages in the world?
taking measurements for pastors robesThis sounds like a job for... ALTAR BOY!
the best haircut of the year 2008Not mine by a long shot.
The Bungalow MysteryAt your local bookstore. Check the young adult/teen section. Keene, Caroline.
the three eyed oneOr, the one eyed three. That would be Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.
this thing devours all thingsIs that a fat joke?
three eyed lizardThe eyes have it.
three eyed manJust fill in your own snarky remark here.
three eyed**I give up.
tongue twister on fameBetter than a tongue twister on crack.
tongue twister paragraphPeter Piper...
truism 13Law of Acquisition 24.
truism on richard coryHe's dead.
Up Spook Hilland through the rocks...
what do want to eat tonightI don't know. What in kitchen?
what is noseberry?I hope this is a non-native English speaker.
you're not funnyI appreciate the feedback. You're ugly.
you are eating about a grueMkay.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Foto Phriday

It's been a while since I posted a picture of Beardie. We did find out that he is a he once his voice changed, he started wearing his pants way down past his butt, and he started laughing every time someone broke wind.

Here's Captain Beardon J. Beardie of the Twenty-ninth Airborne Beardgade.

Helium Housing

I was checking out this blog the other day. The blogger tells us of real estate in a very limited geographical area that is selling short with probably desperate owners. I got concerned about my own stake in real estate, my home, and looked up the zestimate on My house's zalue is up about 15% over what it was in early December. The housing bust must have some kind of weird inverse effect in very localized areas. Maybe it's that my house, which is "more of a cottage than a house," is rising in value, because it's not ridiculously large.

I'd like to see some kind of map that shows a high speed animation of housing values across the country. It would be a map of the USA that started on some date and did rising/falling landscape effect that showed prices in metropolitan areas compared to that original start date. Or maybe it could be a weather map sort of thing with Walter Weatherman providing the day's wrap-up and forecast.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Elegant, Beautiful, Strange - Dino Edition

A while back, I mentioned how EBS Guy told me that the ancient Greeks hunted dinosaurs. I think I've just recorded the History's Mysteries episode which describes how the Greeks may have found fossils of dinosaurs and such, and how they may have based some of their myths on those remains. I suppose if you fell asleep on the couch, and if you had a pretty good running start, you could leap to the conclusion that the Greeks hunted dinosaurs.

As they say in the old country, "Crikey!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In Which I Reveal That I Am Clueless

Evidently, I suck.

Some of my very good friends have pointed out that my rant about finding true love was flawed, because it was based on my faulty memory or my limited understanding of some of the most basic facts about my friends' relationships.

I need a vacation.

Pending (Mid-Life?) Crisis

WHINING WARNING: After reading this before posting it, I discovered that this post resembles very strongly those existential conversations you have with college friends at 2:00am when you are 20 years old. If you have no patience for such things, TURN BACK NOW. You have been warned. I promise to post another wacky picture with snarky comments to balance the scales.

I was cleaning off the kitchen table the other day, and I found a newsletter from my high school. One of the articles about a member of my graduating class (We are good! / We are great! / We're the class / of 88!) indicated that he's just become the CFO of a successful company, and he's been inducted into some kind of international hall of fame for kickboxing and karate. My memory of this kid in high school was that he was an average student, and he was probably least likely to have been considered to be athletic.

Extra helping of overachievement, anyone?

This year, I will have been working at MegaCorp One for ten years. Prior to that, I worked at Nearly Defunct Online Company for a couple of years, and before that, I worked through college in retail, with several years in Doomed Mall. Most of the jobs I've held have been just a little off of what I was hired to do. I like to customize my work and take on a few additional responsibilities that make it a bit more fun.

At MegaCorp One, all of my jobs have been in one business segment, and my experience has been mostly in the realm of business analysis, communications, and training. I've been in management roles since 2001 here, and I had a couple of years of management experience combined at the mall and at NDOC.

I feel a bit out of phase in my current role. I landed here after a reorg a couple of years ago, and it took me a little while to wrap my arms around the position. I'm performing well enough here. My boss has given me solid feedback, and my direct reports tell my boss that they love working for me. My peers seem to respect my opinion.

I'm not feeling that my contributions are really meaningful to any particular end result. "It's planning time again. It's review time again. It's budget time again. It's planning time again." I think that scamp Vishnu turned me Hindu, but forgot to let me forget my previous lives every time I reincarnate.

MegaCorp One has an array of benefits that, even with some of the ones that aren't as generous as people would like when they're sitting around complaining, are quite a nice package. We have a reasonable health plan, decent matching on our 401(k), and even a defined benefit pension plan. The company has enough opportunities that any non-specialized job I could think of in a Corporate America setting will be somewhere in the great mother ship.

So, what to do? Do I find meaning intrinsically or extrinsically in my professional life? My family life is rich - GPop and I have been together for many happy years, Son is a wonderful child that adds immeasurably to our lives, and my siblings and families have, for all intents and purposes, made it past the pupa stage. While I wish that my grandmother's mobility was increased so she could continue some of her hobbies, she is in reasonable health, and she is connected online. My parents are still young, and they have demonstrated decent health. It's that darn work life that doesn't seem to be all that satisfying.

I don't expect anyone to provide an answer, comment, or even care. Just wanted to vent. If you see future posts on the matter, you can say, "Hey, I knew about this back when..."

UPDATE: I just Googled my high school acquaintance's name and the international karate thing. It appears that "International" means that a there are people of European descent and of Asian descent who have been inducted. Googling the guy's name with "karate" returns just one "where are they now" article from his college alumni association. When I found a (not "the") web page with the organization's inductees, the guy's name wasn't on it, but Chuck Norris' name was. I don't know how I feel about that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

&^*%( Vikings!

As I was donning my work costume* this morning, I noticed that I received an unsolicited commercial e-mail on my freaking cell phone. We are NOT AMUSED.


*I expect at least one literature snob to comment on this.

Dinner Entertainment

If you were of a certain age and temperament in the late 1980s/early 1990s, you may remember Q-Zar or Laser Tag locations where people would don hi-tech costumes, run around, and shoot infrared beams at each other. A computer would keep score, and at the end, you could get a printout showing who won the game.

I had a very vivid dream last night that some entrepreneur had come up with a combination dinner and Laser Tag game that somehow took place in a big empty sphere in zero gravity. After I woke up, I realized that having dinner then spending 30 minutes exercising in freefall may not be the best experience for one's digestion.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Relationship Advice

Several years ago, my grandmother and my late grandfather went on a cruise. They had never before had the opportunity, so they decided it was time. They really enjoyed themselves, and they had memories to share for a couple of years before Grandpa passed away.

On the cruise, the dinner entertainment included an MC that kept things moving. During one dinner, he was talking about relationships and asked the audience who had been married the shortest time. Of course, there were a couple of newlywed couples on their honeymoons, so they worked out who had been married the latest, and those folks came up on stage.

The MC asked the couple what was the most important aspect of maintaining a happy marriage. The newlyweds said something like, "You just need to love each other," or whatever. They were giddy and giggly. The older couples in the audience chuckled about the shiny new couples.

After the MC had sent the newlyweds back to their table, he asked the crowd to help him find the couple that had been married the longest. After a few moments, he determined that Grandpa and Grandma were that couple. They went up on stage, and he asked them the same question. Grandma told him that love and good communication and compromise were critical for a long and happy marriage. The MC turned to Grandpa and asked him, "And what's your secret to a long and happy marriage?"

Grandpa, always a man of few words, cleared his throat and looked kind of uncomfortable up on the stage. After a moment, he took the microphone, held it close to his face, and said, "Keep your damn mouth shut."

The crowd lost it. Grandpa was a bit of a celebrity for the rest of the cruise.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Vacation Day

Cranky Prof brought up an interesting question a few days ago. "What would we do if I visited your locale?" She goes on to tell us many things we could do in Philadelphia and its surrounding area. It sounds like a grand time.

Since I live in Anonymous Small Town near Capital City, Midwest State, I'm not prepared to provide a Trip Tick for the area, although given enough time and assurances of no vicious artistic criticism, I might be able to provide a triptych. I would like to ask a related question to the blogosphere.

If a fellow blogger were visiting your area, would you be willing to meet with him or her for lunch/coffee/dinner and provide a local's perspective on the things to see and do in your area?

I ask this for two reasons. First, I'm curious about how virtual space intrudes on real space. Second, GPop, Son, and I are going to take a vacation this summer to at least one state away, and I might be interested in seeing who's around our trip route. We haven't yet decided the route, though.

Even if your online identity is anonymous, please feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Elegant, Beautiful, Strange - 2008 episode 1

EBS Guy volunteers part of his time to be a clown for an organization that helps children. He gets decked out in a clown outfit and capers about to bring joy to the wee ones. His clown persona changes with his costume, so he has several clown names, like Parsley, Sparkles, Haystack (Parsley + Haystack = Sleestak?), and others.

I heard on the radio yesterday morning that a British hospital conducted a survey of children to find out what kind of decor and activities would keep their spirits up while they were in the hospital. The survey revealed that children do not like clowns.

I'm not sure if I should tell EBS Guy this.

Captain Ruffles and the Clue of the Dancing Puppet

Captain Ruffles was working in a bookstore when former President Ronald Reagan passed away. The bookstore management told Captain Ruffles to put together a display of Reagan-related materials to honor his memory and to increase sales.

Captain Ruffles was not a big fan of Reagan, so his response to a coworker was, "Hmmm.... Two copies of Dutch and an empty gum wrapper ought to do it."

Foto Phriday

I visited another floor in our building for lunch yesterday. They had it decorated with plastic decorations hanging from the ceiling. My research indicates that these decorations are representative of some upcoming sporting event where there is ritualized combat to move a token along a field in order to increase one team or the other's territorial holdings. When the placement of the token indicates that the entire field belongs to one team, there is great rejoicing, and the token is ritually sacrificed by kicking it through a ceremonial gateway that appears to open to the afterlife, or something.

Anyway, these plastic football helmets were hanging. Someone geeked out a bit and modded one.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eerie Premonitions

The science fiction section of the bookstore or library has rarely received the accolades or recognition of the more "serious" fiction and literature sections. I'm guessing that the cover art of some of the classic golden age science fiction (scantily clad alien women; giant monsters) and later works from the 1980s and 1990s (well, basically anything by Vallejo, DKS, or Whelan(and that's just the really good cover art)) caused a lot of readers to pooh-pooh the works, because they literally (wait for it...) judged a book by its cover.

Anyway, science fiction movies, while routinely summer blockbusters, rarely receive any kind of recognition for their artistic or literary merit. Maybe there is some justice there, because it's a rare flick that really engages any part of the brain fore of the cerebellum. Even if you count Blade Runner, you're still not going to get into numbers that are all that high.

Science fiction television, on the other hand, does have a tradition of raising questions to make viewers reflect on social issues, technology issues, relationships, civil rights, and other concerns. Star Trek, in all its incarnations, has done this, as have Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Lexx, Farscape, and Babylon 5, among others.

GPop and I watched Babylon 5 (B5) in its original run from 1994 through 1999, and when the DVDs came out some years ago, we made sure we bought them. The B5 story was designed to be a five-year story arc where most of the episodes advanced the larger story while being self-contained enough to have some kind of payoff for the occasional watcher. Some of the themes of the show include war against a great force, invasion of a small sovereign nation by a more powerful one, xenophobia, erosion of civil rights by a paranoid government under the guise of keeping the peace, and politics poisoning even the best intentions.

Son and I, and GPop when he is available, are watching B5 from beginning to end now. I'm sure that J. Michael Straczynski was not, in fact, prescient, but the fact that so many of those themes are present in the news today really cements for me the value of science fiction as a literary genre. The literature can provide a framework for the discussion of those topics without causing people too much stress from thinking about the reality of the world stage. I recently heard or read that some of the luminaries in the field are seeing the genre suffer from poor sales, lack of interest, bad press, or whatever, but I hope they are wrong.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Computer Time Cave Art

I'm sick at home today with Son.

For those of you old enough to remember phrases like 1200 baud, EGA, and BBS, take a look at this ASCII art of me sans glasses with pointy hair.

/ \\
| o o |
< / >
| " |
| ___ |

Once upon a time, there was an ANSI animation file floating around BBSes about a girl in the future who met a giant rabbit that somehow led her on adventures. It was not Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I remember the word "nu-skin," to indicate some kind of cosmetic coverup, but I can't find it anywhere that Google knows. Maybe it is Beyond the Internet. I do know that I tossed a bunch of 5.25" floppies about 2 years ago, even though it's been many more years than that since I had a drive to read them. I suspect that there are bits that are gone forever.

Twue Wove

GPop and I will be celebrating our 15th anniversary together in about a month. You may wonder how one celebrates an anniversary when one can't marry. Thank you for asking. Maybe that story will come later. This post is, however, about finding one's Soul Mate, or as some people would have it, if not spell it, Sole Mate.

Much of my teevee1 consumption occurs though the filter of DVRs, so I rarely see commercials any more, but I have seen a lot of fast-forwarded commercials for such sites as,, eHarmony.com2, and then the racier commercials that appear later at night. The commercials play to people's dissatisfaction at not being able to find a mate that has similar interests, habits, and peculiarities. "Use our method," they claim, "and find the One True Person who is Right For You."

I've known people who have used these online introduction services. I also know a lot of people who have met their spouses in person at work, in a church, at school, or some kind of social setting. What I haven't found yet, although I have not done an exhaustive search, is a couple who met as a result of one of those online introduction services and then stayed together long enough to count past the cotton anniversary.

It's always seemed to me that the online introduction services are selling the Olestra version of snake oil. While the fine print might disclaim this, their large print seems to promise to deliver to lonely hearts a list of people with whom the user has something in common. The logic seems kind of muddy, though. They're delivering a list, but the message seems to be that they'll find The One. Perhaps the user is supposed to ignore the fact that the service couldn't narrow it down any more than that.

My (untested) hypothesis is that people are likely to be compatible with other people in a sort of bell curve way. If there is really one soul mate for each person, how likely is it that your only soul mate is geographically and temporally local to you? For those who believe that there exists one person out there somewhere that is 100% compatible, and that they have to wait to find that person, how much of a let-down would it be to discover that you, as a 21st century resident of Scottsdale, AZ, are only 100% compatible with some 17th century resident of Osaka, Japan?

The fact that people do find happy togetherness with other people they meet in person leads me to believe that the myth of One Soul Mate is broken, and it's not too far of a jump to see that the online introduction services aren't all they seem to claim. I suppose there could be alternate explanations, such as the idea that there is some sort of intelligent and intentional distribution of people that guides some folks to a mate and leads others in a different direction. However, I would guess that finding someone with similar interests and such depends heavily on a couple of things. First, you need a reasonable amount of self knowledge. Second, you need to be interested in the work/reward return in a relationship. Third, you and a potential mate need to have enough in common, perhaps from shared background or similar experiences, that you have a sense of cohesion rather than simply adhesion.

Of course, since this is simply observation that is very likely tainted with confirmation bias, I invite counterexamples and other hypotheses.

So - 15 years. Here's to a lifetime more.

UPDATE: As Baldo McNerdy points out, some of my best friends met that way. My memory of their courtship differs slightly, so either the storage device is faulty, the original file was suspect, or the retrieval mechanism is broken.

1For those who wonder about the spelling - Doghouse Riley's rants crack me up, and this spelling is an homage to him.
2I'm not linking to eHarmony, because of their not-particularly subtle rejection of same-sex couples. I won't shout, "Discrimination!" because it's their business, but I don't have to give them any positive words.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Doctor Bane and the Case of the Missing Diadem

I finally talked to the lawyer this evening. Our company has a benefit of prepaid legal services, which I was hoping to use to let the lawyer write complaint letters to whomever. I'm not planning any kind of sue-age, since there's too much of that already in the world.

The lawyer told me that he's not familiar with this area of law, but if I needed a will, he'd be glad to hook me up.


Maybe I'm being rather quixotic about the issue, but someone needs to stand up for this.

The Weather Outside Is... What?

The building where I work has some interesting air flows around it. When snow "falls" around here, there is a layer of air around the building that rises, so the snow pretty routinely falls up right outside the window. I'm not sure why I find this to be so funny, but it makes me chuckle to see it.

"Snow go up. GDad laugh."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Foto Phriday - 3 Days Late

This display is in our cafeteria at work. The caption tells us that these are "Smart Choices." I'm having trouble connecting smart choices to the zodiac wheel.

232 Years Later

GPop, Son, and I went to Rusty and Kath's for dinner last night. Kath's dad and stepmom, Pops and Mops, were in from out of town. Pops and Kath are British, so they have some tales from afar to tell once in a while, and Pops is a WWII vet, so he's got fun tales, as well.

We got on the topic of how England is starting to have a problem with obesity. Kath suggested that it's probably from all of the fast food restaurants that have migrated over the Atlantic. I jokingly started to chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!" Then I got The Look from Pops.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Haircut of the Year

I saw this guy...

with this haircut...

at a Taco Bell. That is all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Political Analysis from Apostropher

Apostropher leads us to an interesting political analysis from a geek perspective.

Quote of the Day

Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.
--Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival

Birthdays All Around

Brother 2 and I were trying to figure out what to buy for Dad's special birthday gift. Brother 2 found it online, and he paid for the vendor to overnight the package to him so we can celebrate Dad's birthday today. I talked to him last night, and he said, "Well, the gift didn't arrive. Since they're from Other State, they couldn't figure out how to overnight something."

I suppose it's OK. Brother 2 lives a few minutes from Dad, and Dad doesn't turn 60 until Tuesday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

And Don't Call Me Shirley

I've been invited to an all-day meeting today, which is a Friday if you're keeping track. I'm normally a 7:00 to 4:00 kind of guy. It gets me home in time to spend plenty of time with Son and GPop each night, so we can review Son's homework, run errands, and enjoy each other's company.

So, this all-day meeting is 8:30 to 5:00. On a Friday. After a difficult week.

I just looked at the agenda. Guess what the last activity is before the closing remarks. Go on - guess. I'll ROT13 the answer so you can guess in the comments, then find the real answer.

N sernxva' unys ubhe bs nhqvrapr cnegvpvcngvba va n snxr "Yrg'f Znxr n Qrny" tnzr.

To decode the answer, just go to and copy the coded text above into the text box, then click Cypher!

Special Reserve

Has anyone else noticed that the role of Federal Reserve Chair is very similar to that of Punxsutawney Phil? A whole bunch of people stand around, waiting for him to pop his head out for one of two outcomes. Irrespective of the outcome, there is a lot of prognostication and analysis.

Then we have pie.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vox Erudio vel Viaticus

The department where I work has a need to provide training on our systems and products to external business partners and customers. We provide a mixed model for products and services, which sometimes leads us to interaction with intermediaries and sometimes directly to end consumers. One method we use for training is canned webcasts that users can review on their own schedule.

A few months ago, I auditioned to be a narrator for those webcasts. I made the short list, and this week, I recorded the text of a 44-page training document after my regular day was done. It wasn't quite as long as it sounds, because many of the pages have screen shots that didn't need to be narrated. As it turns out, when I'm narrating user guides, I think my voice could be used as treatment for chronic insomnia.

Back in my college days, I was part of a student organization that did service projects around campus to make the student experience a better one all around. We did things like provide trees for some of the visible, but less cared-for areas of campus, volunteer for awareness campaigns around and events during the local wheelchair games, and other projects. One of our fundraisers was to sell fan-related items at each home football game.

I really enjoyed the street vendor experience. I sometimes got to put on the giant seat cushion and sing my little rhymes to get people to buy the home team paraphernalia. People would often remark on my little rhyming couplets or quatrains. It's unfortunate that a sestina or sonnet would be too long to recite just to sell a big foam hand or baseball cap.

One day, at one of those games, a woman approached me with something in her hand. Since I was mid-spiel, I assumed she wanted to purchase something, so I started to recite the price list. It turned out that she was carrying a business card. She told me that she represented Local Talent Agency, and she was in charge of finding talent to narrate the television broadcast of the half-time show for that year's Citrus Bowl. Would I be interested in auditioning?

At the time, I worked part-time in a mall, and I was used to people hitting me up for all kinds of schemes to "increase my income potential" or "achieve untold wealth by working out of the home" or some nonsense like that, so I was a bit skeptical. She assured me that both her business card and her offer were real. If I showed up at Local Talent Agency's recording studio at 10:00 on Tuesday, they'd record me narrating a draft of the half-time show. Even if they didn't end up using my voice, I'd still get $50, which was a good gig for a poor college student in 1990.

I showed up at the studio at the right time on the right day, and I expected to be sent packing by the receptionist, but she sent me to the waiting room, where I read a nice coffee table book on Art Deco architecture and furnishings for about 30 minutes. Finally, the lady came to get me. We went in the studio. I put on headphones and stood behind one of those shielded microphones to read the show. It was about how citrus fruits were so important to sunny Florida. She gave me $50. I left.

A few days later, I called her to see if they wanted me to come back. She told me that they'd picked someone else. Oh well. My "fifteen minutes of fame" clock reset itself, and I ended up with $50 and a nice story. Everybody wins!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Unintended Consequences

I've always been interested in numeric coincidences and "fun facts." For example, when I was 27, I calculated when I would turn 10000 days old. When I figured out the date, I realized that it would be my dad's 50th birthday. Another time, I found that an acquaintance and I shared a birthday, so I was able to surprise him with best birthday wishes without him knowing how I'd found out.

About a year ago, I wrote a little program that displays the number of days until my predicted worst case for retiring, which will be the first of the month after I turn 65. I meant it to be inspirational, but it's actually quite depressing. I decided to add something humorous to cheer me up.

Another 100% Accurate Political Prediction

After the conventions, there will be an awful lot of smug people. Or a lot of awfully smug people. Or a lot of smug awful people.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Truism of the Workplace

GDad: Big Boss gave me an assignment, but he told me to have Boss do part of it. I sent it to Boss, and he sent it back to me. I guess you can try to kick it back uphill, but it always rolls back down.

Mandy: Yeah. And then your shoe is all covered in it. Ew.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sounds of a Whole New Day

The building where I work has three entrances where most people enter and exit. The door I usually use has a narrow window next to it to let light into a little vestibule that has two doors that open in to a stairwell and a hallway. The narrow window's weather stripping has been decaying for a while, and it fell off recently. Because of the building's ventilation system, there is constant airflow through the gap around the window. It sounds like the screams of the souls of the damned that work here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Nerd Art

Once upon a time, I had an idea to have some kind of small reflecting pool (reflecting as in light or as in thought) that would be tiled on the bottom with colored tiles. The tiles would be laid out so that each tile represented a digit from 0 to 9, and the pattern would be the digits of pi up to whatever digit we needed.

GPop, more the implementor that I, took that idea and made this tile-glued-to-tile decoration that we're going to hang in the bathroom.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Follow-up to Mom's Birthday

We surprised her by going over the river and through the wood to Grandmother's house. Mom was there, and she was very surprised.

We ended up getting her a digital camera and photo printer combo. She was very excited.

Brother 1, SILA 1, and Brother 3 were able to make it. Brother 2 and SILA 2 had a previous engagement, but they'll swing by Mom's tomorrow.

Then we had pie.

Much Better Now, Thanks

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye,
An' it looks like it's climbin' clear up to the sky.

Oh, what a beautiful mornin',
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I got a beautiful feelin'
Ev'rything's goin' my way.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Middle

Yeah, still can't sleep. Upset. Feeling maudlin.

The Middle
by Ogden Nash

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.

I'd like to recognize a number of people who are important to me now. Some have been part of my life in person for years, and some have been pixels on my screen for a few weeks. Thanks to all of you for your love, and happy 2008.

Brothers 1, 2, and 3
SILA 1 and 2
Dad & Stepmom
Maternal Grandmother
Paternal Grandparents
Baldo and Geekina McNerdy
Marcot Ravenswatch
Eggbert Terwilliger
M & M
Mandy and Mr. Mandy
Hoji and family
PC Strobe and family
Angry Professor
Cranky Prof
Dr. Sid Schwab

Mea Culpa

Can't sleep. Upset.

First, let me apologize to Bishop Slattery of Oklahoma. He was just the last person in a series of people that spoke factual untruths that finally made me upset enough to spout off. My random spewings weren't up to the quality of snark I reserve for deserving folks.

Second, let me say that I agree wholeheartedly with Bishop Slattery's assertion that the new Oklahoma law against transporting illegal immigrants is unjust.

OK, if you've stayed with me so far, here's the deal. Quite a few people that I've noticed lately have been making statements that are factually untrue. Many of these people are speaking outside their realms of authority, and yet they expect that authority to carry over to the new realm. Doesn't work that way.

Once, an acquaintance of mine made an absurd statement. When he saw that the rest of the people in the room weren't buying it, he appealed to his authority as a holder of a PhD. He actually said something like, "How many people in this room have a PhD?"

Another person in the room called him out by reminding people that the first speaker's degree was in an unrelated area. He said, "In THEATER!"

It would be so tempting, and so very dangerous to one's career to call people out like that at work.

The other danger, and the one that is a bit more insidious, because it hides from us when we are angry, is that sometimes people have great insights in fields where they aren't especially trained. If that never happened, we'd still be living in the trees. Or maybe the trees were a bad idea, and we should never have left the oceans.

In any case, Bishop Slattery is simply the last straw, and no more weighty than any of the others.

Foto Phriday

This is the building from which Easter eggs come.

100% Accurate Political Prediction

I predict that the results of the Iowa caucuses will be sliced and diced by talking heads so much that we will all be sick of it by Sunday. I guarantee that prediction with my 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

You've Got to Hand it to Surgeons

About six or seven years ago, I noticed a weird bump growing on my right ring finger. I thought it might be a zit or something at first, but it didn't go away, and it got bigger and bigger. When I showed it to my doctor, he indicated that it appeared to be a ganglion cyst, which The Intarwebs tells me is "a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone)."

The cyst was ugly, and it started to become painful if I banged my hand against anything. My physician sent me to a surgeon, whom he described as the best hand surgeon in the region. The surgeon was quite the dashing fellow, and very tall. I'm 6'3" without my shoes on, and he and I looked eye to eye. He seemed to agree that it was a ganglion cyst, but he reserved the right to change his mind later.

We scheduled the surgery, and Dr. Dashingtall removed the cyst at Downtown Hospital in Capital City. As part of the production, he told me that he was pretty sure he got it all, but there was a small chance it might come back. He told me that it more closely resembled a sebaceous cyst rather than a ganglion cyst, but he sent it to the lab to make sure.

The lab results came back to say that I should not worry about any malignancy, and that it was just a run of the mill cyst.

Time passes.

Six months later, I noticed that it was coming back. I showed my new family physician the regrown lump, and she set me up to see Dr. Dashingtall again. He seemed a bit perturbed that I had come back, so he set me up for another surgery. This time, he told me that he was being a bit more aggressive with the knife so that he could get the whole thing.

Same experience; same result.

About a year later, my family physician tried to set me up with another surgeon, but that guy wasn't connected to my insurance, so I ended up in Dr. Dashingtall's new office at Boutique Surgical Hospital in Rich Suburb. He seemed kind of honked off that I came back again, even though he was still very polite and professional. I could have chosen to see Dr. Dashingtall at Downtown Hospital again, but Geekina McNerdy was working at BSH in tech support, so I thought it would be cool to visit her at work.

Same experience, mutatis mutandis, same result. At this point, I felt like Herbert's father in Swamp Castle.

About a year or so later, my family physician sent me to Dr. Dashingtall again. He looked at my hand, told me that my cyst had defeated him, and sent me back home. My family doctor looked around and set me up with a new surgeon that was on my insurance.

OK. Here's the kicker. The d*mn thing started to disappear about two weeks before I was to see Dr. Newguy.

And now, for your entertainment and edification, the pictures.

Pic the first. This is after the first operation.

Pic the second. This is after the second operation.

Pic the third. This is after my experience at Boutique Surgical Hospital.

Pic the fourth. This was taken this evening.

UPDATE: I'd like to clarify that I'm not criticizing Dr. Dashingtall. I just think it's funny that my body seemed really to want that cyst. Maybe my healing powers are like Wolverine or Adam Monroe. Supporting evidence for this hypothesis: I had LASIK surgery, and after 3 months, I had to resume wearing glasses. My eyes tried to revert to preoperative state. (NOTE: I do not actually believe that I have supernatural healing powers, in case any readers are exceptionally tired while reading this.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Election Cycle

The 2008 election cycle begins tomorrow in Iowa. I wonder if oddsmakers in Las Vegas are taking bets. I wonder if a political office pool would be fun.


I wish the proprietor of Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing had the time to update her site more often. I just heard of a new arrival named Banjo Mock B(lastname). I truly hope this child grows up to be a noted surgeon or lawyer. That would be something to see.

"Mrs. Smith, I recommend that your surgery be done by Doctor Banjo B(lastname)."


Tuesday, January 1, 2008


My new year's resolution is to have a blog entry for each day of the year.