Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ask a Stupid Question

One of my coworkers is putting together an all-division "town hall" meeting where we get together to hear managers pontificate and malcontents question them uncomfortably. There is a "let's have fun" component of the program where the emcee will put managers' responses to selected questions on the screen, and the audience will try to figure out which manager responded. I think there may be prizes involved.

There is a woman, Kathy, in the other half of our newly-combined organization who was given the task of interviewing the managers to get the answers to the aforementioned questions. During a brief meeting for some other purpose, where three of my direct reports, Kathy, and me were present, she took the opportunity to ask the questions.

Poor woman. She knew not what she was about to experience.

Kathy: How long have you been at Mega Corporation One?

GDad: About ten years and some change. About six years in the operations area and four in the IT area.

Kathy: What is your favorite cartoon character?

GDad: I have many cartoon characters that I like, but my current favorite is Philip J. Fry from Futurama, followed closely by his robot buddy, Bender Bending Rodriguez. [My three direct reports start to chuckle.]

Kathy: [looking slightly confused] If you could be a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be?

GDad: Cookies and cream, of course, because then you'd cover me in hot fudge and whipped cream, and then... Oh dear, I've said too much.

Kathy: [looking somewhat alarmed] OK... If I were to ask your coworkers or direct reports about working with you, what would they say?

GDad: You're in luck! These three gentlemen are some of my direct reports. I'll stick my fingers in my ears and hum. You ask them whatever you will. [Sticks fingers in ears and hums. The three gentlemen laugh and talk for a while.] Nod when you're done.

Kathy: [nods] OK.... What is the strangest thing you've ever eaten?

GDad: Hmmm... So many choices.... My mom has told me this one, even though I don't remember it. When I was a wee toddler, my mom found me in my playpen with half of a large bug sticking out of my mouth.

Kathy: What kind of bug was it?

GDad: I'm not sure I know. Mom said it was pretty large. So, I guess the weirdest thing I've ever eaten is "the other half of a large bug."

Kathy: Um... If we put these answers in the presentation, will people be able to guess that this is you?

GDad: Without a doubt.

Three Gentlemen: Yes! I agree! Of course!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Foto Phrday

Today's picture is the cover of a book that I found in a nature park gift shop. While accurate, it's not especially uplifting for a book aimed at children.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I had a dream the other night that was a sort of combination of Office Space, Mambo Italiano, and The Day of the Triffids. I wasn't all that hungry the night before, so all I had to eat was a big bowl of oatmeal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teevee "Personalities"

The teevee news people are practically wetting themselves with excitement that they can stand in front of ice-coated cars and near roads that have snow on them.

Need New Glasses

While we were skiing, there was a sign at the top of the J-bar lift that said this.


My eyes were watering the first time I saw it, and the sun was in my face. At first glance, it looked like it said this.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's A-brewin'

The winter storm alarm industry is NOT in a recession. All of the weather droids are on the radio and teevee exhorting us to DRIVE SAFELY and ALLOW FOR EXTRA TIME TO GET TO YOUR DESTINATION!

School is canceled again. Son is pretty gleeful.

The normally jovial teevee weather people look like they're delivering news to the Niland family during the war. Somehow, if civilization survives, I'll be back again to deliver news of our fate.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Eyes in a Row


We took Son skiing for his first time yesterday. GPop's parents live about a mile and a half from a ski place. I'd say "resort," but that has some connotations that didn't seem really to apply in this case. Those connotations include, in my mind, a distinct lack of children under four feet tall, and at least one fireplace.

GPop and I went skiing once about 12 years ago, and before that, the last time I'd skied was in high school, which, as you may recall was just over 20 years ago. That being said, I found that two minutes on skis, after five minutes of swearing under my breath at the boots and bindings, I was able to get around just as easily as I had in high school, except that hauling my @$$ up that rope pull thingie was a lot easier 50 or more pounds ago.

We bought packages that included equipment, four hours of ski time and an hour of lessons for Son. GPop and I went up to the top of the medium hill, came down, then went up to the highest hill, which was marked as a black diamond. I suspect that ski resorts would have the bunny hills that looked like this particular black diamond, but it was fun, nonetheless.

I've recently grown a bushy beard, and my breath was freezing on the hair. That was really strange. Also strange was this newfangled snowboard thing. Snowboarders do not look as graceful as skiers, but that just may be the old fuddy-duddy in me speaking. They seem to spend a lot of time sitting.

Son finished his lessons, and then we spent another hour and a half skiing around on the smaller hills with Son. GPop and I went up the big hill one at a time and the other of us stayed at the bottom with Son to watch. Prior to arriving, Son asked if we would let him ski on the black diamond hill when he learned how to ski so quickly and so well that he could display his Mad Skilz within a couple of hours of donning skis. After his lessons, he decided he'd stick to the green circle hill for now.

Now Son wants to ski all the time. While I didn't fall, I'm not sure if I could take this more than once a week. Nor, I think, would my wallet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Death And...

It's tax season again! Whee!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Foto Phriday - Double Value Edition

Last week's Foto Phriday post never materialized, so here's a double helping to make up for it. Enjoy!

This is looking up at the roof of our barn from the ground. The snow on the tin roof has slid slowly down while maintaining enough integrity to form a curtain. Neat!

The Invisible Pink Unicorn sent her avatar to pay me a visit in the grocery store. All hail the IPU!

Cranky Lit Prof, this is MY unicorn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's Observation

Sometimes doing the right thing means standing with the smaller group or even standing alone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My New Hobby

When I join conference calls, I hear, "State your name, followed by the pound sign."

I've started saying, "GDad, the pound sign."

So far, none of the calls I'm on have announced the names of the people joining, but it is only a matter of time before it pays off.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day

Today, President-elect Barack Obama will speak these words.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Then there will be pie. Oh, and a new POTUS.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Martin Luther King, Jr., died before I was born. I think we see that his work didn't stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Unsolicited E-mail Poetry

To an old woman bending over her flowerpot,
or an evil determination to revenge herself still for the beechams,
and they climbed into the reo your gang and carry out your orders,
or you will 31. Time, measurement of religion, 32. Diseases,.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Jen!

Angry Peer

You've read about my experiences observing the Angry Pooper (here, here, and here (sort of)). A few days ago, I was able to experience the Angry Peer (pee-er? peeist?).

I was sitting in a stall, attending to necessities, and I heard someone clomping in on the tile floor. The noisemaker bumbled over to a urinal and there was a flurry of activity as he prepared to let fly. Amidst the shuffling of feet and zipping noises, I heard a "huff huff Huff Puff Huff Puff HUFF PUFF HUFF PUFF!" Suddenly, the phrase "like a racehorse" came into play.

Then came the muttering.

At the end of the stream (both of muttering and of... other), there was a grunt of "F__K!" I'm lucky I was where I was, because I almost wet myself in silent laughter.

There was another flurry of activity while the guy ambled over to the sink. While he was washing his hands, there was another stream of incoherent mumbling. I tried to make as little noise as possible while shaking with laughter.

Man, people have issues.

Friday, January 16, 2009

BSG Comes Back

It's bittersweet, but BSG is back for a few more episodes, and then it is gone. I've been sitting on this post for a while in the hope that I'll spontaneously gain enough artistic talent to illustrate the couplets in the style of Edward Gorey, but no such talent has emerged. Perhaps I need to wait for an eclipse.

A is for Adama, who leads them all through space.
B is for Baltar, who betrayed the human race.

C is for Cylons, that blur tech and life.
D is for Dualla, the put-upon wife.

E is for Earth, the end of their quest.
F is for Frak, at the censor's behest.

G is for Galactica, the old battered heap.
H is for Helo, with a baby to keep.

I is for Ionian, the cloud of unheard song.
J is for Jump, instant travel that goes long.

K is for Kobol, of days long gone by.
L is for Lampkin, in whose truth is a lie.

M is for Muffit, thank goodness it's gone.
N is for New Caprica, from which the humans are withdrawn.

O is for Opera House, the place of all the dreams.
P is for Pegasus, where Gina sits and screams.

Q is for Quorum, the body politic.
R is for Roslin, whose cancer makes her sick.

S is for Starbuck, who passed through death's door.
T is for Tyrol, who's one of the Four.

U is for Uniform, which is dapper and yet plain.
V is for Viper, the human fighter plane.

W is for Wireless, their word for radio.
X is for Xaviar, from the abominable show.

Y is for Yahren, that never was said.
Z is for Zarek, and all he misled.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Before I Forget for 2008

From the Blog 365 (really 366 in 2008) challenge...

...except for the "straight" part.


The elevators in our building have distinct personalities. I've finally gotten to know them well enough to figure out their names.

  • Grumbly
  • Bouncy
  • Squeaky
  • Stealthy
  • Shady
  • Freight

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Two Hour Delay

Our state allows a certain number of calamity days (snow days, but could also be used for tornadoes, floods, the Rapture, etc.). If the schools use more than the allotted number, then they have to make up the time later in the school year, even into (GASP!) the summer vacation.

So, the concept of the two-hour delay was invented. Schools use this pretty regularly when there is visible snow somewhere in the county. The two-hour delay doesn't count as a calamity day, because school does actually occur that day, but the students miss the first two or three classes of the day. Apparently, Son is less in need of Social Studies and Algebra than Gym and Lunch.

Yesterday, our school district was the only one in the county that had a two-hour delay. There was about a half inch of snow on the ground. I'm guessing the administration thought the roads would be worse than they were.

This morning, I checked a few minutes after 6:00 to see if there was a delay posted on the web. The web site told me that all delays would be posted by 6:00. There was not. However, when I left the house a few minutes later, the snow started coming down pretty heavily. The flurries hit right in the morning school bus window.

Two lessons...

  1. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.*
  2. Predicting the weather is hard.

*Except for global warming, but I don't think that's intentional..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Morning Attitude

Just another manic Monday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We watched a neat little independent film last night called Wristcutters. It's about a run-down place people go when they commit suicide. It's subtitled "A Love Story." I thought it was really funny.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


There's a small business near where I live that puts up little quotes on its sign next to the highway about every two weeks. This week's quote is interesting.

You can't make a reputation on what you're going to do.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Foto Phriday

We went geocaching last week, and I saw these ash seeds next to a drain.

Train Tracks

Son gets the first part of his braces today. He's been pretty excited about it, but I'm not sure if he'll be quite as happy this evening.

Plus, braces are EXPENSIVE. You know, in case you didn't already know that.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Birthdays All Around

So with Mom, Stepmom, and Dad's birthdays being in the space of 10 days, we'll be pretty busy this weekend up north.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Stepmom.

Book Recommendation

A while back, I was able to get a signed copy of Cutting Remarks, by Dr. Sid Schwab. Thanks, Doc.

I read some of it and then got seriously sidetracked. I'm pleased to report that the book is a fun read that mixes some historical perspective of medicine in the Vietnam and post-Vietnam era with interesting medical stories and supporting cast. Dr. Schwab's writing is similar in presentation to the famous James Herriot books, except in San Francisco rather than Yorkshire, and with people instead of animals.

For extra bonus points, click through to from your favorite charity or nonprofit web site when you buy the book. (Examples: here, here, and here)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Conversational Detour

"Well, with four cats, you're halfway to crazy."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy birthday, Mom!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Parenting Lecture to Son

GDad: You said you wanted to read your book, so go read.

Son: I don't want to now. I'm all hyper from that candy.

GDad: And whose fault is that?

Son: Yours.

GDad: What?

Son: You said I could have the candy, so it's your fault.

GDad: So you have no capacity to make intelligent decisions on your own? If that's the case, I expect you to stop trying to make any decisions, and I will tell you what to do and when to do it for the rest of your life. Does that sound like a fun time?

Son: No.

GDad: Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. And just because you're allowed to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea. Now go read that book.

[30 minutes later, and several sounds of laughter from Son]

GDad: Are you glad you read it?

Son: Yes.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Unholy Union

If you bred a muffin with a bagel, would you get a Muggle?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

During the Apocalypse

I had a dream the other night that woke me up. We were away from home when the apocalypse happened. You know the one I mean. Not Armageddon, but the one where afterwards, we live in a Mad Max/Blad Runner kind of world.

During the hubbub, I lost track of Son. As I frantically searched for him, I grew more and more agitated until the stress woke me up. I had to go to the bathroom, but I checked in Son's room just to make sure he was still there.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Foto Phriday

Here is a picture of me, Son, and Son's Older Brother wandering through the Renaissance Faire last fall.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Self Test

Check out this test for sensitivity to color perception. I scored 4, where a score of 0 is perfect, and over 1000 is probably severely color blind.

(Via ahistoricality)

Happy New Year

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.

I couldn't have said it half as good myself. Happy New Year!