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.