Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrappin' it Up

Good-bye, 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cool

I was in the mall with Big Gay Al the other day, and I realized that I had a $25 rewards card for Men's Wearhouse in my wallet. If you've ever shopped at Men's Wearhouse, you'll know that everything is marked up about 100%, so it's not real likely that I'd find anything like a shirt that I could wear for $25 or so.

I did find a two-for-one sale on bow ties, though, so I bought two for the card plus five dollars. The salesman helped me tie one of them.

Today, I learned to tie them on my own. Bow ties are cool.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TSO

My dad and stepmom got three tickets for GPop, Son, and me to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra this winter. We went recently. Let me start off by thanking my family for thinking of us and springing for floor seats in row G right in the middle of the section. I don't think I could have asked for better seats.

We started our preparations by stopping at a local drug store to buy a couple of sets of earplugs. I'm a bit sensitive to loud noises and bright lights, so the TSO was going to be a bit outside my comfort zone, what with the "lasers" and all. I recall when I was in my early elementary school days, and my parents took me to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at a nearby venue. At one point, the noise and lights were so overwhelming that I put my coat over my head to reduce the stress. My dad was irate, and I got a bit of a swat and a chewing-out that I was so inconsiderate as to close my eyes to this spectacle that my dad had paid good money for, and godd@mn it, I was going to enjoy the godd@mn elephants and clowns if it killed me!

Breathe in. Breathe out. OK.

We arrived near the performance hall for the matinee show with enough time to eat a late lunch. That was fun. Son got to eat bison.

Once we were in the theater, we all put in our earplugs. Before the show started, one of the band's guitar players (not sure which one; they all looked like Steven Tyler) presented a check for $22k to a local organization that works with kids who have severe behavioral issues. Go, TSO! The stage cleared, and soon the show started with some kind of medley. Since I'm not really into heavy metal or whatever, I really didn't have a good sense of what the medley was, but I did catch some elements of a few Christmasey songs in it.

The audience cracked me up. There was a family in front of us where the dad and son both wore camouflage Marines baseball caps. The dad was rocking out, and the son looked slightly embarrassed. The mother had enormous hair. There was a guy at the end of our row who was a dead ringer for Arnold Schwartzenegger in The Terminator. There were a few older couples who probably rocked out back when heavy metal was still in formation in the Population III stars. Many of the people in the room were excessively perfumed, though.

The Christmas part of the show was a series of songs loosely tied together by a narrative. The story was about an angel sent by God to the Earth to gather intelligence and report back on what was going on. The narrative was a series of "rhyming" couplets. Enough of them rhymed properly for me to get caught up in trying to predict the second rhyme.

Narrator: ...and the angel did take note / That the thing that was found in the darkness was...

GDad: [sotto voce] ...a goat! Come on, a goat!

Narrator: Hope!

GDad: [not so sotto voce] D@mn!

There was one song where images of nutcrackers were marching on the screens, ad infinitum, toward the audience. GPop and I were a bit aghast at the swinging arms, because they looked especially phallic. Son was laughing silently in his chair.

In another song, which was played right after the narrator said something rhymey about Darfour and maybe Somalia, there were images of a bald eagle, the space shuttle, a rocket, a bomb, a wolf, a tank, the space shuttle from a different angle, another bald eagle, Old Glory, another tank, another rocket, and Old Glory again.

After an hour and a half, I noticed GPop looking at his watch, and Son kept indicating with his eyes that he was interested in heading toward the exit. At an hour and forty-five minutes, the story about the angel drew to a close. One of the Stevens came out on stage and thanked us for supporting TSO. Then he introduced the soloists, who were young, attractive women and otherwise men.

Then he said, "And now, the second half." I looked at GPop. He sank down into his chair as though someone had deflated him by about 10 P.S.I. Son turned to me with a slightly panicked look in his eyes.

GPop said, "One more number. Maybe it will get better."

The next number started with flames shooting up from some equipment. The flames moved in a wave from left to right, then right to left. Repeat about 10 times, like a tennis match. Then I heard the familiar strains of "Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum, bum bum bum, bum bum bum" from In the Hall of the Mountain King. I shouted, "WOO! Edvard Grieg!" GPop gave me The Look.

The Stevens were at the front of the stage, exhorting people to stand and get down with the music. Evidently, the Capital City matinee crowd was not as head-bangin' as the Stevens would have liked. As the young, attractive women began doing some kind of cheerleading poses, we took our opportunity to exit.

On the way home, Son told us that the music was uncomfortably loud, and the musicians were not going to be his preferred role models. All in all, though, I was impressed by the technical proficiency of the musicians, especially the first chair violin, and of the spectacle of the show. If hair bands are your thing, TSO would be a great show.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going to Show

We're going to see a Christmas show this afternoon at the huge arena. It should be fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Got the Boy

Son spent some time at my dad's. He now has the experience of "Get me a screwdriver. No, not that one! I need a Phillips!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happiest Holidays

Back home, and all is well.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry


Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let It Float

It is 26 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are two hot air balloons in the distance.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drumline

Son is in the drumline. He got promoted to bass guitar.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Forgot

Oh, crabapples! I forgot to wish you all a happy winter solstice. Or summer solstice for Mel Keegan.

Winterfly

Yesterday, on the way home from work, something splatted on my windshield. It did not have the color of a blob of slush or snow, nor did it have the consistency or size of bird droppings from the flock overhead. Instead, it had the red smear of a bug.

There has been a couple of inches of snow on the ground for about a week and a half, and the weather has hit the single digits for several days running in the same period. I am confused.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DADT No More

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal passed the Senate on Saturday. I recall the feeling of betrayal when the law was enacted 17 years ago. Let's hope the process goes quickly and smoothly.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Funny

Because of years of economic growth, Hill City had grown larger than just the one side of the big hill. It now covered hill and dale for a couple of miles. This was all well and good, but traffic became a bit of an issue. The wise city planners decided to use three dimensions, and they made some tunnels through the eponymous hills of the city.

These new tunnels were great, because they cut commute time in half for people who had to travel across town. Again, the city managers found themselves basking in the goodwill of the populace.

With continued growth, though, the commute times for the people started to go up from increased traffic. People responded by driving in groups. This solution saved gas and time. This town was rocking!

But, in the tunnels, danger awaited. People who were driving several to a car started getting headaches and nausea, where the people who were driving singly in the tunnels were not experiencing these symptoms. The city's doctors studied the issue and discovered that people who were riding together were using just that much more of the oxygen in the cars, and the ventilation in the tunnels was such that the exhaust fumes were causing these issues. They called it Car Pool Tunnel Syndrome.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Past the End

Rusty called yesterday to tell us that Pops had passed quietly late Friday evening. It actually was on his wedding anniversary. Recquiescat in pace.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Foto Phriday - Oddly Specific Edition

This is a sign I saw the other day. I wonder when this became a problem.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quote of the Week

I don’t want to start my day angry and befuddled!
--Project Manager on my current projects, after reading the first e-mail of the day

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Near the End

We just got back from Rusty and Kath's house next door. As you may recall, Kath's father lives with them. Earlier this evening, Rusty called to tell us that Pops had been in a hospice this week, and that he had come home, but that today may be his last day with us. Rusty asked if we wanted to come over to see Pops for a last time.

When GPop came home, we made our way over through the snow to their house. Rusty told us that Kath had been looking at some documents and had found that tomorrow would be Pops' wedding anniversary. Kath's mom had died some years back. I spent some time playing with the grandson. He's three.

After Pops finished his mashed potatoes, GPop and I went in to say, "Hello." Really, we were also saying, "Good-bye." Pops was pretty lucid, compared to the past six months or so. I told him that we were glad he was home, and that we were happy to see him. He waved and held out his hand to shake ours.

He made some noises that sounded like, "How are you?" We answered, and said a few more words. There wasn't much more to say. We told him to stay warm, and went back into the living room. Rusty put the oxygen tube back on Pops, then came in to join us.

We sat and talked to Rusty and Kath for a bit, and then we came home. Good-bye, Pops.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

After School Special

Son let me know that he wants to join the Small Town High School Drum Line. It sounds kind of neat. He observed them after school yesterday, and he will try out on Thursday. Let's wish him luck.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Voted For...

Scene: GDad is cooking dinner. Son is in the other room.

Phone: RINNGGGG.... RINNGGGG...

GDad: Hello? [pause] Hello?

Phone: This is the College Republican Presidential Survey. Please follow all prompts to make sure your vote is counted.

GDad: [chuckles]

Phone: Looking forward to the Presidential election in 2012, which candidate would you like to see on the ballot? For Mitt Romney, press 1. For Mike Huckabee, press 2. For Newt Gingrich, press 3. For Sarah Palin, press 4.

GDad: [presses HARD] 4.

Phone: Thank you. If you would not like to receive calls in the future, please call 1-800-...

GDad: [click] Ha!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Schmoctors, Part 2

Dad called. He's fine, and I should stop worrying, and how do these rumors get started, anyway?

Schmoctors

My dad is one of those old-fashioned kind of guys. "I saw a doctor in 1977, and that's all I need!"

Evidently, he's going to some doctor for some heart issues (rapid pulse, light-headedness, etc.) this afternoon. Film at 11.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hear the Bells Ringing

Son's school holiday concert was very nice. The kids progressed well. I'll post some video soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Lights

We put up our tree and lights today. We went a little light on the lights, but it looks really nice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Foto Phriday - Expressions

Please solve this math problem I found on the whiteboard in a conference room*...




*For those of you who started, I'm tricking you. There's nothing to solve, since this isn't an equation or inequality.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No More Potter

Along with many of the other reasons I won't support the Salvation Army, I heard about this. According to this news article, the SA will accept toy donations, but will throw away toys which don't align with its Christian principles. The SA isn't telling people up front that it doesn't want those toys, nor is it sending them to another agency. It just accepts them and throws them away.

Of course, I'm sure that not every SA location does this, so your mileage may vary.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Presentation

I spoke for more than an hour and a half on various topics. Keep in mind that I no longer report into the department that requested this favor. I hope they got what they needed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Week

On Saturday, I just happened to log in to my work e-mail. I found that I've been invited to help with a presentation this week to a panel that will help determine some strategic direction for something or other. My role is to demonstrate some of our technological capabilities for a couple of roles in the business processes for... Oh. I see your eyes glazing over.

In any case, the idea I had was that I would show up for an hour long meeting on Monday so I could find out which features I was to demonstrate. When I arrived, I found that the expectation was that I would work 12 or 16 hour days all week to put together a presentation that will last probably 2 hours on Thursday.

This would have been a great week to have been out of town.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Epic

Son had an assignment to write a short story. The minimum length was five paragraphs of three sentences each. His first pass was a story that started off, "My name is Alek. I will tell you the story of how I died." It was going to be a tale of a ten-year-old boy in some fantasy realm whose village was raided by the bandits, etc., until he became a knight who sought revenge on the leader of the criminals.

Five paragraphs, mind you.

He asked for my help. After going down several paths of how such a story would play out in a page or two, I led him to the realization that perhaps he wanted to write a novella in his spare time.

Instead, I offered him the idea of the time he found a singing mouse under his bed. At first, he was wildly disappointed in not being able to write his LotR tale, but then he kind of warmed up to the idea, and he ended up with a cute little story. And, since the assignment is due tomorrow, the important thing is that he got it done.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Perfect Gift

It's Christmas season again. I was singing Christmas carols and winter songs to myself in the car on the way to work the other day, and this line in "Let it Snow" made me tear up a bit: "And if you really hold me tight, all the way home, I'll be warm!"

Then I sang the mother of all sad Christmas songs, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The killer line is "Through the years, we all will be together / If the fates allow."

It ALWAYS makes me sad.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Do NOT Mess With Grandma

This is a picture of the solution Grandma came up with to keep her front door fully closed to prevent drafts. The weather stripping was holding the door slightly open. Plus, this acts as a second lock.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Foto Phriday - Cars

This is a Corvette I saw recently. No Photoshopping necessary or done.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Town / Big City

Small Town now has enough people living in it to qualify to be a city. We got a new city charter in the mail a few months back, and we voted on the changes in the election. Can't stand in the way of progress.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10 or 12

December 1 - the day of first snowfall in Small Town. This is a picture of snow on the top of the gas pump where I filled my car this morning.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lending a Hand

On our Thanksgiving travels, we stopped for a potty break in a small town in Midwest State that evidently never experienced any year past 1990. The gas station where we stopped was hopping with activity. There were three other people there.

One gentleman asked GPop how to get to "Route 25." GPop was doing the pee-pee dance, so he directed the guy to me. I offered to get the GPS, but when I returned, I had a hard time getting the guy to understand that I needed a street address of some kind in order to generate a map on this specific GPS. I decided to take a different approach. I went out to the car and got an old-fashioned map that we'd picked up at a tourist information center.

I brought it back in and opened the map. The map was at a high enough level that I could see that Route 25 went through the next small town over. They guy asked me if I could help him find Route 19, instead.

I found that Route 19 passed through the small burg where we were, but the map wasn't detailed enough to show how to get from here to there. In years past, though, I had driven through this small town enough to know that the tall building with the dome was on the town square, which is where all of the main roads converged, so I pointed there and told the guy that if he headed to that building, I was confident that he'd find Route 19. Then I offered him the map.

He took the map with his left hand, and then made a gesture with his right. He was missing a right hand. Of all of the things to offer to someone with one hand, I offered him an open road map. I know people with two hands who can't fold the things. I muttered something about taking care of the folding and handed him the smaller bundle.

The woman who was with him lit up her cigarette and started to chug her coffee, got in the driver side of their car, and drove off in some direction that was not especially likely to get them to the domed building in the town square. Oh well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Virus Redux

The stomach virus is back. Son, GPop, and I are all feeling a little off.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Closing the Weekend

Son is in bed reading. GPop is in bed sleeping. I am slowing coming to terms with going back to work.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Guitar-Zan

Son spent a day with Brother 1. This is a Big Deal, because if Brother 1 could have his druthers, he druther everyone just leave him the heck alone. I'm hoping that this will happen again, because Son had a great time. Brother 1 plays guitar, and he and Son have bonded through this activity.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just Desserts

On Tuesday, I was running a bit late to my mentoring program. I sent a quick text message to the mentoring coordinator, Jack, to let him know that I was on my way. He replied to alert me that he'd let my mentee know.

Later that day, I was running about with Son to get some groceries. I took out my phone and sent a text to tell GPop that I was getting the ingredients to make my annual Thanksgiving contribution - pineapple upside-down cake. Since we were hitting several relatives' houses, I wanted to make sure that I was making enough.

GDad: Making pineapple upside-down cake. 2 or 4?

Mentoring Coordinator: Sounds yummy!

GDad: Sorry. Sent to wrong person. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HTG


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Opt Out and Up


I propose that travellers opt out of the full-boy scans and that male travellers take a Viagra two hours before going through security.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The News Cycle is Collapsing - Apologies to R.E.M.

It's conventional wisdom these days that if a conservative public figure rails against something, he or she is probably doing that very thing. The liberal public figures have their share of scandals and such, but they don't seem to have the same soapbox moral outrage thing going on right before they get their hands caught in the cookie jar. I think more analysis is needed on this issue.

This guy just went on a very public rant about how social media leads to marital strife, and lo and behold, it's the real truth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Four Word Movie Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Dreams. Action. Acting. Scenery.

Now I'm in Trouble

Person: Is this pimple noticeable?

GDad: Only if you look at it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I was reading a trade magazine while I was waiting for a script to process something, and I glanced at a sub-header in an article about IT innovations. I thought I saw, "12 Marriott International Inc. - The global holier-than-thou..." What I really saw was, "12 Marriott International Inc. - The global hotelier saves thousands..."

I like the first one better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Accident

Son texted GPop and me today.



Son: Got in carcrash be home soon I am fine

[moment of sheer panic]

GDad: Did a car hit the bus?

Son: No bu hit car we had sub today

GDad: Yikes. Ok, as long as you are OK. See you soon. Call me if you need me to pick you up.

Son: We have to stay on the bus state law.

GDad: I would like to see the section of state law in question, but OK.

Son: Lol


He just got home, and all is well in the Lastname household, but I hear that one student injured her neck and left in an ambulance.

Also, GPop called after the first text and demanded to know if everything was OK with me and the car. He didn't realize that it was the bus, and not our car, which crashed. I advised Son that perhaps a bit more detail would be appropriate for such announcements in the future.

Foto Phriday - X(Mas) Files

Son's feet and last year's Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holmes


I know I'm not getting through these very quickly, so the reviews are sparse.  it seems A. Conan Doyle's earlier misses are redeemed in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Google Ads

I noticed that Google now puts ads on its Blogger interface where I post these entries. I may have to do some research to see what kinds of ads get served up by some very bizarre topics. Keyword manipulation is FUN!

Banana porcupine hypersensitive aircraft lunchbag Kyoto.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Homes

A good friend of mine, who went through a bad 2009 and 2010, just made an offer on a condo. Here's hoping that everything goes well.

On a semi-related note, my aunt and uncle have a little vacation cabin that they call their "condo-minimum."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Elevators

I work on the 25th floor of one of our high-rises at Mega Corporation One. There are 26 floors in this particular building. Because I like to use my time wisely, I take the elevators. We could argue whether that's a wise use or not, but there it is.

One of my hobbies is creating backstory and conclusions for conversational snippets. Today, I heard this exchange:

Her: It must be hard.

Him: Yes, I see her when I go to that department.

Her: She is still my friend on Facebook.

Him: It's hard to completely disengage.

Most people would create a "breakup" backstory. I decided to create a backstory where she is an alien who used a faulty mind control device on Him.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Phone

I just got a call (wrong number) from an internal extension that read "Annie Hall."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Units

I was helping Son with some algebra homework the other day. He was looking at a problem that asked him to figure the average speed of an object moving in a straight line according to the formula t-to-the-third minus t-squared plus six t, from time t=2 to t=x.

In order to establish a baseline of understanding, I reminded him that speed is change in distance over time, such as miles per hour, or feet per second, or inches per year. We talked about things that occur at those kinds of magnitudes, like car travel, walking, or something at inches per year.

GDad: What could occur at inches per year?

Son: Rainfall?

GDad: Well, that's not... Um... Huh. The units check out. Weird.

Son: [laughs]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Foto Phriday - Melanin

Here's an albino squirrel from our back yard.

The Bionic Man

GPop's father had a knee replacement about six weeks ago. We haven't been over to see them since the surgery, but we're heading there today. Son will be driving, and this will be the longest trip Son will be responsible for driving so far.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fly Me to the Moon

In my dream last night, Neil Armstrong showed up at our vacation cabin and tried the "pull my finger" routine on Son. Son didn't fall for it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Raff

I was asked to be Riff-Raff at the off site today. We did the Time Warp.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All Day

We have an all-day off site meeting scheduled for today AND tomorrow. We doing strategery. What fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Travel Bug

I'd like to go farther afield next summer. We've been to California, Florida, and Ontario. Where next?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Report Card

Son's report card came with a shiny silver seal on it. He made the honor roll. And there was much rejoicing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In the House

GPop and Son are sick. I guess we just stay in today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali

दीपावली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं

About half of the floor on which I work is Indian. We had a big Diwali celebration today. I think I'm a big fan. There's lots of food, and you celebrate the triumph of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance, and of light over darkness. Go Good!

Foto Phriday - Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Distemper dismember
Toe griffin staff member
My corn chowder easing a dot.
Rye glow have dough season
Writer fun louder knees on
Wood clever tea nor tot.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not Very Useful

I can't figure out how someone would read this bumper sticker when the statement on it is true. Also, it seems to be aimed at a fairly niche market; it's not really a political statement or anything.



For those of you who can't get to the picture, the (fairly small) text is

I'd answer your QuickBooks question, but I'm driving.
--Intuit QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last Call

Today will be the last political calls for a while. Thank goodness.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Best Costume

The best Halloween costume I've seen so far is a toddler in a stroller with a pointy orange felt hat, a little brown felt jacket, dark orange felt pants, and a white felt beard. He was a gnome.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pavlovian

There's a development near a road I travel about once a week or so. The development is called Abby Trails. I can't help but start singing, "Happy Trails to you until we meet again," every time I drive by it.

Also, there's a Hudson Street in Capital City. I will usually start humming, "Oh, Mrs. Jones is the lady on Hudson Street. She sent her dog to bark at my brother and me. I gave her dog a big fat bone, and now he barks at Mrs. Jones, yeah... Mrs. Jones is the lady on Hudson Street."

Nouns. Ha!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Foto Phriday - Halloween Costume Edition

I'm an Elvish impersonator. Click to embiggen.



You ain't nothin' but a balrog, flyin' all the time.
You ain't nothin' but a balrog, flyin' all the time.
You're a thing of flame and darkness,
And you ain't no friend of mine!


Or...

Love Mithlond, o
Gil-galad,
Never let her go.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not a Morning Person

On Thursday mornings, GPop has to get to work early. On the other days of the week, GPop doesn't leave until after Son gets on the bus, so there's some supervision of Son's morning routine - at least enough to make sure Son gets to school. On Thursdays, I take over that task.

This morning, Son's two-part alarm (6:05 = some dipwad radio Morning Zoo type cr@p; 6:10 = loud beeping) went off. Son shut off the beeping after about two beeps. I was already dressed and reclining on the bed, and GPop was getting on his shirt.

GPop: Morning, Son!

Son:

GPop: [Walking down the stairs] Be sure to make your bed before you go downstairs.

Son:

GPop: Love you too. Bye.

Son: [Trudges into bathroom without making eye contact]

From my bed, I can see down the hall. Son's bedroom door and the bathroom door are opposite each other in the hallway. There was a pause, then some pajamas flew across the hall. I heard some stomping, the clatter of a retainer falling into the cleaning device, and a shower curtain closing. I figured it was safe at this point to go downstairs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tip for Parents

An unsolicited stop at Wendy's to buy a Frosty can resolve a lot of parent-child tension.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Golden Oldies

I've spent some time lately reading some of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories about Sherlock Holmes. They're a nice diversion when in waiting situations, such as lunch or whatnot. My phone has an e-reader, and the books are public domain.

I've also been reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. I'd have thought that the prose would be a bit hard to grasp, but except for a few differences in social mores and prices of things, the Nero Wolfe books are as accessible as anything written by Dan Brown.

I did notice, though, that "The Crooked Man," starring our hero, Sherlock Holmes, wasn't really one of Conan Doyle's best works. He must have had a tight deadline.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Dad Says

We gave it a shot, but $#*! My Dad Says isn't going to cut it as one of the top ten sitcoms of all time. And life's too short to waste it on dreck.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Leafing

It's funny how you can rake leaves, and then, when you're done, the trees laugh at you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A-Maize-ing

We have been in two, count 'em, two corn mazes in the past two days. The first was a simple maze, but the second had a challenge where you had to find the textured panels hidden throughout the maze and do a rubbing on a paper with a crayon to show that you found them. All in all, it was pretty neat.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Game Show

I've been playing a fun game most of today. It's called, "What's That Smell?" It appears to be tuna salad left out for a couple of days with a side of kimchi.

I left my desk, and I no longer smelled it, so it's not me.

Foto Phriday - Not Me

We've been told and reminded that today is "Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day." As you may have been able to tell from the number of sports-related posts on this blog, I'm not an especially avid sports fan. My answer to the question, "What's your favorite team?" is usually the Sweetwater All-Stars.

GPop works for a company that is closely affiliated with Midwest State University in Capital City. He has a couple of Official JerseysTM that he wears on days where there is some big university event going on. I borrowed on of these shirts to wear today.

After arriving, I discovered that I was on the distribution list for part of my greater department that lives on another floor. Nobody on my floor got the memo. Now I'm wearing this jersey all by myself. Sports drag is my least favorite kind. I feel like this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

For the past couple of years, I've made our Christmas cards by drawing a picture on the computer and inserting our faces in various places. I'm working on the card now in THREE DEE!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the Renaissance

Here is a picture of a hot dog sold at Ye Olde Renaissance Faire. This item is advertised as a half pound of "meat." I'm glad they weren't more specific, and I apologize for nightmares.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And Poker

I have been getting about eight to ten political e-mails each day for the past couple of months. Perhaps if I told the Dems I was voting TEA, and the GOP that I was voting Green, they'd all leave me alone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mondays

When your company continues operations over the weekend, and your team works through the weekend, Mondays aren't one day later than Friday. Didn't care much for this morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Faire, Redux



Here is Son eating dessert at the Renaissance Fair.  Or, rather, Sonne eatinge desserte at thee Renaissance Faire.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cleaning

We cleaned several "junk drawer" things today. Now we have about a dozen gift cards of unknown value and provenance. Time to go on a limited shopping spree.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Foto Phriday - Phlowers

My late maternal grandfather liked sunflowers. My grandmother does, too.

Since Grandpa died, GPop and I have planted sunflowers for Grandma each year. We plant some next to her garage and some by a decorative windmill in her yard, which she can see from the kitchen. Now that we're firmly in autumn, here's a nice picture of some summery sunflowers. Share and enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fun Vampire

One of Mega Corporation One's stated corporate values is a commitment to employees having fun while on the job. Not the silly, care-free fun of the wild abandon of one's youth, but the measured and nuanced fun of shirts and ties.

I just heard two managers speaking in an elevator. They are people who were peers back when I was a manager, before the presto-change-o switcheroo from a while back. I believe them to be intelligent and caring gentlemen.

One of them said, "I explained 'fun' with regard to expectations and appropriate metrics."

I am glad I have the ability to control outbursts of laughter. That and the ability to read handwriting upside-down have served me well these last several years.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

John and Sylvia

Why did the psychic cross the road?

To get to the Other Side.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Will He or Won't He

GPop and I visited a lawyer today to get our wills done. We had done this before, but we hadn't done a full update since Son joined our family. I know - we're delinquent. In any case, we managed to pick the funniest lawyer on this side of town. He's nothing like the corporate compliance lawyers I deal with. Their body of work tends to suck the fun out of them, even though outside of topical work meetings, they can be fun people.

We mentioned the day that we adopted Son, and mentioned the name of the magistrate that held the hearing. Mr. Lawyerman said, "I didn't know they let him do adoptions. He doesn't exactly exude a kid-friendly vibe. He's more of a CPA."

I replied, "Funny you should mention that. Son is writing a paper in English right now about that day. It's supposed to be descriptive, and he described the magistrate as 'cold and professional."

Mr. Lawyerman said, "I'd go with 'impartial and dispensing justice.'"

"I'll report your edits to Son."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wash Out

The washing machine is dead. Alas.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baby's Growing

Little RoBet was really talking up a storm today. We had a good time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Liking the New Job

Even though I was up really late last night to monitor a software installation as part of my new job, I think I'm really enjoying it. What a concept!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Foto (sort of) Phriday - Satire Edition

Storm Chasing in a Honda Fit



Click to embiggen.

Dear copyright and trademark holders, I believe this is fair use for satire.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Found It!

I found the GPS unit. It was hiding.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Burn!

I picked up a glass candle jar last night and burned the cr@p out of my left index finger. Owie!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Not Quite What They Wanted

You may recall that while I loathe telemarketers, I do have a soft spot for survey takers. Last night, a woman named Jennifer, or perhaps Rashivani, called with a promise of not selling me anything if I would only answer a few questions about current politics.

GDad: Define a "few." Is it ten questions, or fifty?

Poller: It will take between five and seven minutes of your time.

GDad: That sounds fair. OK, GO!

Poller: I am on the clock. OK, are you or any members of your household employed by a newspaper, television station, political party, political polling firm, marketing research firm, or radio station?

GDad: No.

Poller: OK, Are you registered to vote at this address?

GDad: Yes.

Poller: OK, do you write a politically-themed blog or comment regularly on blogs that have a political theme?

GDad: Yes.

Poller: OK, that's all my questions. Thank you, and have a great night. *CLICK*

GDad; [pouting] Awwww....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Driving the Point Home

Son now has his temporary learner's permit for driving. He's been doing fairly well on the road, but variations on this particular maneuver are a little tricky for him. We're still working on it.


He did drive me over the river and through the woods on Sunday. Grandma was happy to see him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Bit Ironic

We appear to have lost another GPS unit. I have no idea how this happens.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Foto Saturday - Lid Face Again

Another peanut butter container lid with The Pattern. This time, the face looks a bit anxious. Maybe he's afraid of having his secret plan exposed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Foto Phriday - "Religious" Icon Edition

This appears to be the Sitting Lasagna Monster, who is a distant cousin of His Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farmer Joe Bob

Yesterday, Bill suggested that the Lastname family put an apiary out back so we could cash in on the fantastic world of beeswax and honey. I replied that I would respond in today's post.

The other day, Neighbor Rusty approached me and told me that since his kids would be moving to Small Town from sunny Chicago soon, and since our property taxes have gone up significantly recently, he wanted to get his land rezoned to agricultural rather than residential. He figured that he would need to have me come along on this Magical Mystery Tour with him in order to get enough land to qualify for agricultural zoning. This is a picture of the land in question.



The red area is a rectangle that encompasses the back half-ish of both of our properties. The longer sides of the rectangle are about 460 feet, and the shorter sides are about 250 feet. All told, this would require about 1420 feet of fence to enclose about 115,000 square feet, or approximately 2.64 acres. Why would you need to enclose 2.64 acres, you ask?

To raise alpacas, of course.



Alpacas, according to alpaca-promoting web sites, are sort of like nature's accountants. They're docile, undemanding, quiet, clean, orderly, true-hearted, good-looking order-takers who ensure a positive cash flow. They never pose any problems, and they're fully insurable. I think they may also imbue their owners with eternal youth, the ability to emit strawberry jam from their "areas," and an almost overwhelming force of personality that ensures love at first sight, on demand. At least, Rusty seems to think so.

I think I like a combination of Bill's idea and Rusty's idea. I'd like to crossbreed alpacas and bees. Behold the beepaca!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bees' Knees

Something I learned at the Renaissance Faire is that beeswax candles have these properties:

  • They don't produce smoke or soot.
  • They don't pollute the air.
  • In fact, they emit negative ions, which clean the air.
  • They burn for a LONG time compared to other kinds of candles.
  • They smell naturally of honey, and therefore don't have additives, preservatives, or perfumes.

I think I walked away before I could learn that they remove toxins and improve your circulation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visual Pun Again

What's this?



Isn't it apparent? (A pear ant?)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mathematic!

From an idea provided by friend Eggbert Terwilliger, here are a pie chart of my friends' favorite bars and a bar chart of my friends' favorite pies.



Click images to embiggen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ren Fest Again

We went to the local Renaissance Festival. This time, we took Son's friend, A.J. A.J. is also known by several other names.

Pictures and commentary will follow, but one noteworthy comment is that the festival is much nicer at 70 degrees than at 50 or 90.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Foto Saturday

In response to M's comment from yesterday, here is a modified photo of the peanut butter lid.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Foto Phriday

These little peanut butter single-serving cups (Go Environment!) have nearly the same pattern of splashed peanut butter on the lids almost every time I open one. It's frequent enough that it's noteworthy when it doesn't happen. Son and I noticed a similar effect on a different brand when we were in Canada.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old, Old Story

Son is trying to grow up faster than I'm comfortable letting him grow up.

GDad is worried about Son's friends and how those friends could exert a bad influence over Son.

There is a bit of conflict.

====================

Teevee Producer: What is this garbage? After School Specials went out years ago!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Power of Pixels

At work today, there was a giant p!$$!ng match over whether certain text should be 10 pixels high or 11 pixels high. It started to get to the point where I thought people would come to blows, but the kinds of people who argue about pixels are unlikely to land punches, so it seemed OK.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Repair

When I chatted online with the representative from our teevee manufacturer, which I won't name, but which is a two-letter abbreviation rhyming with Smell Me, the representative, who may be named either "Rodrigo" or perhaps "Heather Murphy," depending on whether I trust the chat screen or the e-mailed transcript, advised me that s/he had set up an appointment with a local authorized repair shop for Tuesday, at some point from 8a-noon. I was to call this shop on Monday to narrow down the timeframe to an hour. I was very pleased with Heather "Rodrigo" Murphy's assistance.

I called the local shop Monday morning. The woman who answered went on a two-minute rant about how the manufacturer should not be giving out times and dates, because they don't run the show, the local shop runs the show, and how dare the manufacturer try to give the customer a real answer, and things were so much better in the old days, and my hip hurts, and those kids are too loud, and what about the Russians?

I asked, "So will someone be coming to my house on Tuesday from 8 to noon? I have arranged for someone to be at my house from 8 to noon for this purpose." The lady didn't need to know that GPop works a late schedule on Tuesdays.

She started to launch into another rant, but I reeled her back in with some murmuring, and she calmed down a bit. She told me that their field rep would call my house "sometime between 9 and 9:30." He would then give me a two-hour window where he would be available to come to my house that day, which is defined for their purposes as running from 9 to 5. My guess is that if he calls between 9 and 9:30, the two-hour window will not be from 9 to 11.

At least the teevee is still under warranty, but now I wonder about the service of the big manufacturer. Should they have promised a time and date? If so, then the little shop is offering pretty cruddy service. If not, then the big manufacturer is offering empty promises. Either way, I'm now a little apprehensive about the experience.

More to follow as events unfold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Itinerant. No, Peripatetic

I still don't have a desk at work, but it's becoming less important. And to think... when I was 27, and I had my own closed-door office, I thought I was all that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Android Aplications

Today's effort is a first pass at creating a custom exercise log. The user interface should include:

  1. Start button.
  2. Stop button.
  3. E-mail address entry field (persistent across sessions).
  4. Check boxes for types of exercises (legs, arms, chest, back, etc.).
The back end should have a database and knowledge of the system time and date.

The application should perform these functions:
  1. When the user presses the start button, the application creates a new database record that has the system time and date embedded so the record is unique.
  2. As the user checks the types of exercises, those records are added to the database.
  3. When the user clicks the stop button, the application creates an "end of workout" record and
  4. e-mails the results to the user.

So far, I've created user interface items 1 and 2, and actions 1 and 3. This is kind of fun!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Technology Woes

The new HD teevee has a line on it. Fortunately, it's still under warranty, but it makes me curious to see whether we will see a second defect soon after the warranty period.


For an illustration of the defect, please see below.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dream Dinner

I dreamt that Bill invited us to dinner. I had a key to his house, so I let myself in. He was out getting some last-minute things. Unfortunately, I did not have the code to his alarm system, so Son and I ran back home to call the police.

In real life, we live in an area that is covered by one major metropolitan area and a smaller metropolitan area, so we get both of those phone books, along with the Small Town phone book, the Neighboring Burg phone book, and the City Over Yonder phone book. I can hardly keep track.

In the dream, none of these phone books had the police non-emergency number listed, and I didn't have Bill's cell phone number. Weird.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dangers of Abbrvtn

I just finished a quick instant message session with a coworker in another building. I usually type complete sentences, but I'm familiar with many of the abbreviations people use. However, "yw" threw me for a loop for a moment or two.

"Yeah, whatever?"

No. "You're welcome."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Eyes

Today was my annual eye exam. Because it's a medical eye exam, and because I've been through it before, I decided to take the day off.

I don't know how he does it, but Son manages to sniff out when I've taken a day off for myself, and he gets legitimately sick. I ended up taking him to the doctor. Negative on the strep, but my throat hurts now.

Grrr....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not with Keith Olbermann

T minus 14 days until Son is eligible for his temporary learner's permit for driving. I just heard his alarm go off. The buzzer buzzed for about four seconds, and he got up. So, to be honest, he is demonstrating maturity. It just makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Four Word Movie Review - Inception

Mind screw? Not really.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Is This?



This is the fruit and leaf from a neighbor's bush/tree.  The fruit is maybe more of a pod.  The penny is to show scale.  Any ideas?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hair

I got a haircut at a new barber school that recently opened in Small Town. It appears that kids who may have been in trouble can find good employment as barbers. The young man who was assigned to me seemed a bit timid at first, but I tried to shore up his confidence.

"This is your free pass. If you don't think it looks right, just put on a #2 guard on the clippers and go over my whole head. No pressure at all, since Plan B is easy enough."

The instructor thanked me for being so flexible.

The haircut was good, but it took about an hour. By way of comparison, I once got a haircut that was in and out in about 7 minutes, according to the timer on the workstation.

It was $4.00.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foto Phriday - Canadian Crosswalk

This picture of a crosswalk in Toronto shows that the little walker is having a great time with his or her jaunty gait. Not like the ones in Capital City, where the walkers look like they are trudging to their doom.


Click to embiggen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Braces Be Gone!

Son got his braces off yesterday. While we were working on his algebra homework, he must have detached and spit out the retainer at least a dozen times. GPop and I made it very clear that a lost retainer is his responsibility to replace at $150. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Algebra II

Son's attitude this school year has improved dramatically. Except for the bit about the skinny jeans.

He studied hard for an Algebra quiz this evening. I see how hard he tries, and when he can't catch onto some topics as quickly as he can to others, it hurts to watch him get frustrated. Fortunately, I think he's going to do well. I hope so, because this new ambition is still nascent, and I hope it grows stronger.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Murphy


As I was leaving work today, I overheard some men talking about the coming storms.  One indicated that he had just washed his car, and "it never fails."

My thought was that the rain could wash dust off my car, and I hadn't washed my car.  Thanks, anonymous coworker with weather control powers!  Bawk, bawk!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moving Out

I moved my stuff out of the desk where I've been since February. The last couple of moves have let me toss some of the more absurd detritus I've collected, but today revealed to me that there was still more to be done.

I found some old files of reports for projects that were cancelled years ago or for people who had moved on some time back. I tossed the project reports and shredded the people reports. I'm down to two bins of crud. I should be able to pare that down to about one small stack of paper that I can scan and keep as PDFs or whatnot sometime.

Some of the training materials that I've kept are for classes that I'm not sure I remember attending, but I got my certificates of completion, so I obviously attended them. I ended up throwing them away. There's not a lot of sense in keeping them at this point.

I'm starting to understand why my grandmother is giving away old photos of people she doesn't remember or places that all start to run together after almost 90 years. Our own memories fade after a while, and those physical reminders almost start to seem like other people's memories.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Android App Builder

Google granted me access to the Android App Builder. I built the HelloPurr application (touch the picture of the cat, and it meows), and started an application that will announce when I am home. This is fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foto Phriday - Duck!



I may send this to ThisPeanutLooksLikeADuck.com.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Teen Shows

I can stomach iCarly. Drake and Josh is OK for up to one full episode. Anything with Zach and Cody should be required viewing in the City of Dis.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It Sofa Knee

My manager set up a "go away" lunch (she called it "going away") today. At the lunch, I kept trying to get people to read this out loud.

Voorhies at Charlie gut fell, hoe.
Witch nope, Eddie candy nigh.

A couple of people did, and I thanked them profusely. Then I tried to make them say, "Kltpzyxm," but nobody fell for that one.

1600, but not Pennsylvania Avenue

Blogger tells me this is my 1600th post.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Other M

Just got the newly-released Metroid: Other M today. The graphics are pretty incredible. So far, it is a combination of platform game and first person shooter. It's pretty innovative.

Monday, August 30, 2010

40

Yappy Smurf Day flew tree.
Snappy turf way shoe flea.
Sappy Earth bay leer GDad.
Nappy worth pay chew knee!

Fan Benny Moore!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

School Supplies

We bought school supplies today. I was reminded, rather suddenly and forcefully, of this comic strip.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

39

In the year of 39, assembled here the volunteers....

This is my last weekend in my thirties.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Foto Phriday - Charged Up

Brother 1 reports that 4-year-old niece was playing with her magnetic letters in the bathtub yesterday when she called for his help.

"Daddy, is this how you spell 'batteries?'"



Brother 1 reports that Niece is a "freaking genius." I'm not biased at all when I tend to agree.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Now I can control the radio waves.

When I got in my car to return from a lunch meeting, the CD in the player started playing the dulcet tones of a local bluegrass band. The song was an original number about some local towns and geographic features. I listened for a few moments, and the music reminded me of the classic tune, "Moon River." I shut off the CD and started to hum "Moon River."

A few minutes later, I bored myself with my humming, so I turned on the radio. The local public radio station to which I subscribe was playing their midday music lineup. Just as I turned on the radio, a very jazzy version of "Moon River" started up.

Take that, CIA!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Expense


The door to my side of the car hole got very heavy last night as I was pulling it down.  There was a loud noise and the sound of things falling over.  Since I really couldn't do anything about it, I let it be.

This morning, as you may have guessed, the spring was gone.  Nowhere to be seen.  Now I get to park outside until I can get this fixed.  I hereby declare that this is NOT an appropriate use of our emergency fund.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Day of Summer

Son's school starts tomorrow. It is the Last Day of Summer. Time for studying and such.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And Speaking Of...



...growing like a weed, here's a picture of a flowering weed growing right at the curb by RoBet's parents' house.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Growing Like a Weed

Little RoBet is able to hold her head up (mostly) by herself. She's also grabbing the little hanging things over her music chair. The speed at which they gain these abilities is astounding.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

News

Since the strange events of last year, I've been a little more assertive on managing my career options. A few months back, I found a situation where a director was losing two people at the same time. This director was someone with whom I'd worked in the past, and whose team worked on projects that I found to be fascinating. The loss of those two people wasn't due to burn-out, but rather promotional opportunities for them both.

I applied, and through the magic and quick speed of corporate HR, I am pleased to announce that I will be moving back downtown from Tidy Suburb of Far Away. This will provide me with some new challenges in an environment that I like and with subject matter that I enjoy. I will, of course, miss the people with whom I've developed strong working relationships, but, mirabile dictu, many of my projects over the next couple of years will involve exactly those people. Hooray!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Foto Phriday - Phunny Math

I've already talked about the green waterless No-Flush(TM) urinals at our office building. Here's a photo of a portion of the instruction sign posted near the thing. Notice the claim that it saves about 45,000 gallons of water per year.



Let's do some math, shall we?

(45,000 gallons/year) x (1 year/365 days) x (1 day/24 hours) x (4 quarts/gallon) x (1 flush/quart (est.)) = ~20.5 flushes/hour

So, assuming that my estimate of 1 quart of water per flush is pretty accurate, then the replaced loos would have had to have been flushed every three minutes, all day, every day of the week in order to achieve the claimed savings. Of course, the "approximately" in the claim could be translated to "within three orders of magnitude," but that would be silly.

This building has a fairly traditional 8-hour workday, but the start times are staggered. Let's assume that the bathrooms are in steady use from 7:00am through 5:00pm. So then, if we need to compress the flushes from 24 hours to 10 hours, that means that we'd need to flush about 49 times per hour. Not likely.

Marketing strikes again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manners

The whole marriage debate (Google it if you haven't been inundated in this already.) reminds me of why I adore Miss Manners. I'm paraphrasing here, so others with an English degree, please forgive the quotes.

"The only reason I would be concerned with your romantic attachment status is so I know what other name, if any, to put on my dinner invitation to you. Writing 'and guest' is impolite and imprecise."

To those that want to argue the finer theological points of marriage, have at it. Your internecine struggles should stay just that. Keep in mind though, that manners do still count, no matter what our "role models" on talk teevee or talk radio demonstrate.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camel Squishing

Me squishing a camel at the Toronto Zoo in sunny (and very hot) Canada.



I found two versions of this poem by Ogden Nash. I'll need to check my printed copy on the bookshelf.

The Camel has a single hump,
The dromedary two,
Or is it just the other way,
I'm never sure -- are you?

OR

The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary , two;
Or else the other way around.
I'm never sure. Are you?

Also, check out this pic at ahistoricality.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The British Are Coming

This is a brief video of the prelude to the Revolutionary War battle re-enactment we saw while we were on vacation in sunny Canada.

video

This fife and drum corps is made up of high school boys from the greater Niagara area. They were quite good, and I'm sure they were quite warm in those outfits at 2:00pm on July 31.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two Dreams

I woke up with a pounding headache around 4:00 this morning. It dissipated for a while, but it's back now. Sometime, on one side or another of the 4:00 awakening, I had two dreams.

In the first one, my grandboss was holding court on a raised dais. He was telling the masses the details about how his grandboss had just retired. As he made eye contact with me, he stopped and muttered, "I don't know why I'm talking to you. You don't care; you're not a caring person." I started to respond, but decided that it was ultimately futile.

In the other dream, an old woman had recruited me into an organization that was fighting on the side of the light against some evil shadow organization. We met up at night at a small roadside fruit stand that is down the road from my dad's house. After a few moments of planning, the Phoenix, the leader of the evil orgranization, called the old woman's cell phone. He said that he would be arriving in a few seconds to destroy her. She ran out of the fruit stand just as his car arrived, and he drove after her as she ran down a dirt road. I escaped the other way and had a crisis of conscience about abandoning her.

I still have a headache.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hell

GPop is taking Son clothes shopping for school right now. I love my son, but shopping for clothes with him could possibly lead me to violence.

Laughing, singing, dancing, grinning, morons!
And while we're on the subject!
Kids! They are just impossible to control!
Kids! With their awful clothes and their rock an' roll!

The new thing is these skinny jeans. I suppose they look OK on skeletal androgynes, but my son has a little bit of substance, and he's trying to wear them. While not precisely the sagging look, his underpants do ride up past the belt line of these pants. Also, he claims that ONLY these skinny jeans can be worn with his new school shoes, because the shoes are meant to be worn in such a way that the jeans get tucked into the shoes.

I'm going to have another ulcer before this is all over. I can already feel the bile rising.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Storms

The heat wave should break with these storms. The weather's been hot enough to cause some trouble.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rick, Lime

Try this Prozac or Zanax, they say,
To help us all get through the day.
But the big pharma scheming
Just left us faux-dreaming.
Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recent Son Quote

"If you say yes, I'll stop asking."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation Photos #237

This is a Canadian thermostat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When What to my Wandering Mind Should Appear?

I was in a meeting yesterday to discuss some enhancements to one of the applications on our consumer web site. One of the discussions was around the color scheme of the application, and how some of the colors don't lend themselves to quick understanding of the functions at hand. For example, on one screen, the two tabs at the top are light green and light grey. The user isn't certain whether green or grey is the active tab, so our goal is to improve usability by bringing the color scheme in line with our more contemporary corporate standards.

While the arguments were going on, my mind wandered a bit. I started to think about how colors are represented in HTML. One representation is the English word to describe the color. For example, I could tell my browser to render this phrase in bold red, or this one in italic green. However, this only gives us a few more colors than we remember from our big 64-pack of Crayola crayons that some kids had, while I had the Prang brand 8-pack. My mom was an elementary school teacher when I was a kid, and the teacher supply stores sold Prang. I always lusted after the crayon sharpeners in the Crayola 64 box, but back to topic.

Another way of representing color in HTML is using an ordered triplet of values that represent the amount of red, green, and blue to be painted on the object in question. These values are represented by hexadecimal values: 0=0, 1=1... 9=9, 10=A, 11=B... 15=F. The values can range, in traditional decimal, from 0 to 255, which in hexadecimal is represented by 00 through FF. So, in real mathematical ordered triplets, the decimal values 25, 128, and 217 would be written as (25, 128, 217). You may remember something like this in the ordered pairs you used to draw lines on a coordinate plane in high school geometry. In HTML's hexadecimal representation of the same values, you'd see this as #1980D9. The # indicates that the values coming up are a special hexadecimal value, and the browser knows to break apart the characters into chunks of two. The color represented by our randomly selected values before is this.

So I started to think. What six-letter words exist in the English language that contain only the letters A through F? What colors would they represent in HTML?

At the 10-minute break, after I visited the men's room, I downloaded a file of words used as the dictionary in Unix-like operating systems, and used this script to find the words.

while(<>){
if($_ =~ m/^[A-Fa-f0-9]{6}$/) {print;}
}

The resulting list was pretty short. In alphabetical order, they are:
accede
decade
deface
efface
facade

Here are the colors.








accededecadedefaceeffacefacade

I'm not sure there's any intrinsic meaning to this, but it was an interesting exercise.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Sun - It Burns!

Normally, I use Lestat de Lioncourt strength sunscreen, because my usual skin tone is "translucent." I managed to avoid sunburn all through vacation, but when we got back, I had to mow the lawn. I sprayed myself down, but my sock must have fallen a bit after the spraying, because this patch appeared on my leg.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Going to the Theater

GPop is staying home, and I'm going with Eggbert and Marcot to the theater. GPop was going to take Son to see a concert tonight, but, as mentioned before, Son is at GPop's parents.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting Ready to Go Back to Work

Day after tomorrow. I still owe you pictures.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What To Do

With Son away, GPop and I looked for some things to do. Dave mentioned in a comment the other day that I shoud watch a movie with subtitles.

We watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Wild.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Son Away

Son is spending some time at GPop's parents' house. GPop and I have several days to ourselves. It's been a while since that happened.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home Again


Safely.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And Today, In Canada...

We will see the Toronto Zoo and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Nous allons voir le Zoo de Toronto et le Musée royal de l'Ontario.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today's Plan

We're planning on Casa Loma and the CN Tower.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Today's Journeys


We visited the Ontario Science Center today.  There was a Harry Potter exhibit traveling  through. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake

More to follow, but we saw a re-enactment of a Revolutionary War battle today as narrated by a Canadian. I'm afraid the good guys lost.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation - Day 2

We saw Niagara. Maid of the Mist, the AeroCar, Walk Behind the Falls, and the White Water Walk. We climbed to the top of a monument that recognized a British victory over American forces in the War of 1812. That was fun. The climb, not the war.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oil Change Picture Again



This is the book where I found the picture of the girl last time I was here.  The picture is no longer there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vacation


Day 1 - prep.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy A-Day

Dear Son,

Three years ago today, we got up early and drove to the courthouse to stand in front of a magistrate. On that day, you became my son, forever and ever. I am so proud of you, and I can not imagine my life without you now.

Love,
GDad



p.s. I'm sure I speak for GPop, too, but he should write his own blog.

Why I Like My Friends

Baldo: [to Son] You've got cat fur all over your jeans.

GDad: What's a cat fur?

Baldo: About five pounds.



Baldo, FTW!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inside (the head) Voice

We went out for dinner on Saturday with our usual group of friends to a local Red Lobster. Little RoBet is the newest addition, and while she was pretty well-behaved, she is only about two months old, so she got a bit fussy. I decided to help out and walk her around out by the front door so she would calm down and not disturb the other diners. RoBet likes me, so she took to this idea pretty well.

As you can predict, if you have been human very long, there was a lot of cooing over the baby. The most common question was "How old is she?"

After a while, I thought about changing my answer from, "About seven weeks," to something like, "I don't know. Maybe nine or something." I didn't, though.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We're a plane done of n dragon some pizza

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

I stepped outside about 25 minutes ago, and it was already almost too hot to be outside. Bleh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm in that she is my favorite oh

Advertising - May the Best App WIn

Both the Kindle and the Nook are now available as applications for the Android platform. I've downloaded them both, but I haven't run a side-by-side comparison. Honestly, though, as far as e-reader software goes, I'm pretty sure I could live with this.

gdadhost:gdad> less <booktitle.txt

However, I'm sure that there are features I will find that I will absolutely love.

Foto Phriday - Everyone's Favorite Vacation Pic

I've seen quite a few that look like this.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mmmm... Approximate Pi

Happy Pi Approximation Day!

Nancy brick and supposed to be

Meat vs. Metal

I was playing with the speech-to-text function on my phone yesterday in a texting conversation with GPop. He asked if we needed anything else at the grocery. I held down the little button and spoke the words, "MIXED FROZEN FRUIT."

The screen showed the progress indicator for a moment, and then the text showed up: "NAMES ROSENDA SPRINT."

Um, no.

So, I have decided that I will occasionally use this feature to post here. If you see a string of nonsense words, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to guess in the comments what the original spoken words were.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gone but not Forgotten


This is Daisy. She was GPop's parents' dog. She is succeeded by Ellie, a black mirror image of Daisy. Sort of like Snowball and Snowball II.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Modern Medical Care


The kid is OK.  There was a "crush injury."  Nothing was broken, although I suspect that Son will eventually turn this into the story of "the time GDad dropped the mixing bowl and broke my toe."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Did NOT Want To Be Here



This is a place no parent wants to take his child.  We had a kitchen mishap involving a heavy mixing bowl and a foot.

Badger badger badger badger



The rain made these pop up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rhubarb

We planted rhubarb last year. We're getting a nice crop this year. Other than pies, though, there's really not a lot rhubarb is good for.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

He's Back

GPop is back after his trip out of town for five days. Hooray!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Foto Phriday - Glad Someone Could Use It Edition

This is an e-mail I sent out yesterday. Someone claimed the mug, but then another teammate got the answer to the trivia question correct.

I got this mug in a drawing, and while I appreciate that Vera Bradley may be a popular designer, I really have no need for another coffee mug, especially one with a ceramic lid. First person to show up at my desk with the answer to the trivia question below can have the mug, the box, and the bag in which it is sitting. I'll even throw in the wadded up tissue paper that was in the bag.



Trivia Question:
Cmdr. Charles "Trip" Tucker III, of the Starfleet ship Enterprise (NX-01), was infatuated with a waitress at Club 620 just off of Starfleet HQ grounds in San Francisco. Lt. Malcolm Reed told Trip that he was probably mistaken about the waitress's interest in him. What was the waitress's name?

Extra bonus geek points if you can point out what mistake I made when I presented the information in the lead-up to the question.

Minus geek points if you just show up and claim the mug without answering the question, which you're welcome to do.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Facebook Proposal

If Facebook allowed me to "enemy" people and causes, I might consider reactivating my account.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four Word Movie Review - Reign of Fire

Son liked dragons before.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Lass, But Not Alas

Mandy and Mr. Mandy had a little girl about six weeks ago. In order to keep weirdos from stalking this lovely child, I shall use the nom de blog of Rosalind Bethany TheirLastName. This is important, because it is close enough to her real name to make the joke funny. To me.

I have decided that the girl's nickname will be "RoBet," which is short for Rosalind Bethany. When you say it, you have to use a metallic robot voice.

"RoBet de-mands food NOW!"

"RoBet's dia-per is full. You will change RoBet IM-MED-I-ATE-LY!"

"You will now pay at-ten-tion to RoBet!"

So far, the parents have been indulgent of my peculiarity. I shall endeavor not to wear out my welcome. The baby is just so darn cute!

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Dreams


I have been having a lot of dreams lately that seem really memorable when I get up at 4:00 to pee, but that vanish by the time I get into the shower at 5:45.

Maybe I should keep a notepad.  Of course, the notes would be something like, "Horse ride anteater sauce.  Makes munchkin engine for the children... Hamish."

What we did today


Sunday, July 11, 2010