Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Eggbert!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

R.I.P. Aaron Lastname

When Son was leaving his last foster home, the foster family fussed over him while he was getting ready to join our family.  One of the family told him that when his adoption was final, he should change his name to Aaron Lastname from Son Oldname.  While I am eternally grateful to that family for caring for my son for a year before I met him, I am a bit put out that their parting thought was that he should change his name.

For a day or two into his new home, Son wanted to be called Aaron.  GPop, in an effort to be accommodating, filled out one of those "fill out this form and get a free lunch bag" forms with the name Aaron Lastname.  A day or so later, Son wanted his name to stay Son.

That form caused Aaron to get on all sorts of teen-oriented mailing lists.  He gets mailings from Great Educational Opportunities and Awesome Youth Activities on a pretty regular basis.  I decided a while back that I would write "RTS - deceased" on every one of those mailings.

Recently, we started getting calls from someone asking to speak to Aaron Lastname's parents.  The first time they called, I was in the shower, so they were not able to talk to me.  I told Son that if anyone ever called for Aaron, it was OK to say that Aaron had died.  In the meantime, I did a *69 to find out that the caller was this scam company who browbeat parents into purchasing unneeded testing software.

The next time they called and asked for Aaron Lastname's parents, Son told them, rather cavalierly, that Aaron died a few months ago.  I laughed.

A few weeks later, I received a call asking if I was Mr. Lastname.  I indicated that I was, and the caller started a nonstop spiel about how Aaron's education was of paramount importance, and I would be remiss in my duties (heh - duty) if I did not purchase their software.

I took a deep breath and made my voice catch.  "Aaron died [sniff] a few months ago [gasp]."

"I am so sorry, Mr. Lastname.  We'll take your name off our list and never call again."

Telemarketers are not my favorite people.

Friday, February 26, 2010

La Petite Mort Blanche

We're getting more snow again, just in time for the weekend.  Thanks a lot, Canada.

Nous recevons plus de neige à nouveau, juste à temps pour le week-end. Merci beaucoup, au Canada.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


At our happy hour this evening, we decided that you could buy fancy flannel (fla-NELL) at Target (Tar-zhay).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
    --Woody Allen

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Pizza Party

My mentee had a pizza party for being on the "Super Honor Roll" for the first semester.  He had a 4.0 GPA for the semester.  He was so tickled that I was able to be there that he introduced me to every adult that walked by.  I made sure to puff him up a little in front of the teachers, and he just ate it up.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Day

A couple of weeks ago, I scheduled today off so I could have lunch with a good friend I haven't seen for several months.  I figured today would be good.  It's a Monday, the schools are in session, the weather wasn't awful any more, and GPop was working.  That gave me the whole day off.

Just to make the day a little more productive, I scheduled a doctor appointment for myself for the morning.  I have a couple of minor complaints, and since the doctor's office now has a policy of charging $10 per prescription renewal when I don't have an appointment, so I was actually going to save a little out of pocket by going in for the appointment today.

When I got out of my appointment, I checked my voice mail on my new Android phone.  GPop had called.  The nurse from Son's school had called GPop to tell him that Son had white spots on his tonsils and was complaining of a sore throat.  Now to jump back in time a bit, Son was complaining last night at dinner that he wasn't feeling well.  I advised him then that I was not buying it, since it seemed like he was setting me up to let him stay home sick from school today.

I went back in the office and scheduled an appointment for Son for 45 minutes later.  Since I needed my doctor to look at something on my leg, I had worn gym shorts underneath some garish lounge pants to allow easy access to my knee.  I am not especially concerned about embarrassing my teenage son in public, but showing up at his school dressed this way was a little over the line, so I went home to change into a pair of jeans.

Let me just vent here for a second.  Son has this uncanny sense for when I am sick or when I schedule a day off to run errands or just take a day off to relax.  He manages to make himself sick nearly every day that I have off for some reason.  I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've had a sick day or vacation day during the past three school years where Son hasn't claimed sickness.  For those of you with kids, I can already see you nodding in agreement when I say that this bugs the cr@p out of me.

I picked up Son, got him to the office, and found that he did, indeed, have some kind of bacterial throat infection that did not appear to be strep.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic, and I had some prescriptions to fill from my own appointment.  We headed to the drug store, with a short stop at the local Starbucks for a coffee and a hot chocolate.

The pharmacist promised our prescriptions in about 20 minutes.  I decided to wait for them, so Son and I sat down.  I opened my book and started reading about the kids who were about to go back to Fablehaven for the summer, when a man who appeared to have equal counts of limbs and teeth sat down two seats away from mine.  My count is only valid if you count the head as a "limb," but not fingers and toes.

The following conversation is a reconstruction from my mental notes.  Some liberties are taken in order to make the flow of the conversation seem a bit more natural.  To properly hear this man's voice in your head, imagine Boomhauer, drunk, after he's smoked two packs a day for thirty years.

Man: Well, it sure is raining out there.

GDad: Yep.  I heard it was supposed to turn to sleet and freezing rain later.  At least the roads aren't too bad.

Man:  Not like last week.  I got about this much ice on my driveway.  I cain't hardly get out.  I cain't work no more, you know.

GDad:  [Knowing that this is the crossroads.  One path, the a-hole path, leads to a quiet time of reading about Fablehaven in peace.  The other path, the sucker path, leads to who knows long (certainly more than 20 minutes) of chatting with this character.]  Really?  What happened?

Man:  Well, fer twenty-two years, I was one o' them guys you see hangin' from the tall buildings cleaning the windas an' fixin' caulk and stuff.

GDad:  Wow, that must've been exciting.

Man:  One day, my boss told me I wasn't looking too good, so I went to the doctor.  The doctor told me I had diverticulitis.  You ever heard o' that?

GDad: That's when your intestine...

Man:  Yep.  But the next day, I was in so much pain, I ended up in the hospital.  I musta passed out, because when I woke up, the doctor asked me if I'd had peanuts or popcorn.

GDad: ?

Man:  They get stuck in your gut.  They told me that I almost died.

GDad:  That's just wild.

Man:  They had to cut me open from chest to crotch and take out part of my guts.  I had a wet bandage on it.  You could see my insides.  It took me nine months to recover.  I dropped seventy pounds when I was there.  I told the doctor that he saved my life at the same time he ruined it.

GDad:  I never would've thought of it that way...

Man:  Yep, my big sister really helped me out and took care of me.  First they put me in a rehab place next to two people who was dyin' and an 800-pound man.  I told 'em I wasn't stayin'.  I called my sister to get me.  Hey, sis, come on over!  [Large woman approaches]  Didn't I lose seventy pounds when I was sick?

Woman:  He sure did.  I'm 62 years old, and I got a six and a seven year old granddaughters who I have custody of.

GDad:  That sounds like a handful.  Two hands full...

Man:  My dog didn't even recognize me.  I had that dog for nineteen years!

GDad:  That sure is a long...

Man:  Nineteen years.  I've had a lot of girlfriends in that time, and every one of them told me that I loved that dog more than I loved them.  They was right!

GDad:  Ha ha.

Man: That dog slept with me in my bed every night.  On Sunday, the neighbors would always ask why I was cookin' up three steaks when it was just me an' my mom.  I told 'em that I was givin' the other one to ma dog.  Yep, I lived with my mom for four years when she had Alzheimer's.

GDad:  I know a guy at work whose mom has Alzheimer's...

Man:  That nursing home that I had to put her in was the worst place I ever seen.  I don't wanna go like that.

GDad:  Well...

Woman:  Yeah, about our grandma, let me tell you a story.

GDad:  Your grandma?

Woman:  Our grandma's sister, she married a man named Entsil.  Well, ol' Entsil wasn't too trustworthy.  Our grandma had a son named Entsil that didn't look like none of her other kids, if you catch my drift.

GDad:  Oh...

Woman:  And then, Entsil and grandma's sister got a divorce, and Entsil married their mom!  Don't that beat all!

GDad:  That's a lot of twists and turns in the old family tree....

Man:  You ever heard about the [unintelligible] murders?

GDad:  No, I don't think...

Man:  My cousin married into an Italian family.  Mafia, you know.  Anyways, her husband was found in a trunk of a 1982 Lincoln Town Car.  The other guy was also murdered, but they'll never find him.  Once you marry an Italian, you can never divorce them, if you know what I mean.

GDad:  Well...

Man:  Man, my head itches.  I turned 53 last week, and I had my girlfriend dye ma hair.  [Pulls off do-rag.  Hair is jet-black.  Beard is not.]  I left the dye on too long, and it burned ma scalp.  [Points to crusty, irritated scalp and ears.]  I ain't never doin' THAT again.

GDad:  Next time, use a Sharpie.

Man:  You know, when I had my operation, them doctors told me that I was lucky to live.  Most people die from this stuff, but I'm tougher than that.

GDad:  It sounds like it...

Man:  I'm just too bull-headed...

Pharmacist:  [over PA system]  MR. LASTNAME!  MR. LASTNAME TO THE COUNTER.

GDad:  I have to go to the counter.

Unfortunately, the pharmacist just wanted some clarification on something.  I had to sit back down.  In the next half hour, I learned the following.

  • Man and Woman were related to the Hatfields of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
  • Woman's best friend died of cancer a month before Man and Woman's mother died.
  • Man has a new dog that he got the day old dog was put to sleep.
  • Man is on five different pain killers for his condition.
  • Man has had five surgeries.  One of which was to correct [unintelligible] hernia.
  • Woman has four Chihuahuas and a Pomeranian.
  • Man self-administers "herb" several times a week.  The nausea suppression is a welcome side effect, but not the primary reason for the dosage.
  • All of Man's and Woman's older siblings died of cancer or black lung disease.
  • Woman is going on a Disney cruise soon.
  • Man's girlfriend is 41 years old.
  • Man used to bring his dog into the room when he was "makin' love", because otherwise the dog (a pit bull/hound mix) would stand in the hallway and howl.
  • Man once bit his dog, which resulted in the dog biting off part of Man's nose.  Man then went to a strip club with a big handkerchief over his face to soak up the blood.
  • Man's old friend has a "taxidermed" goat in his living room.
  • Man has several deer heads in his bedroom.
  • Woman may get a new house from some relative "up north."
  • GDad has entirely too much fun egging on strange people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elmer Season

About this time last year, I noticed a whole lot of dead skunks along the road. Last night, I smelled the first skunk smell of the season. I am hoping for very little animal intrusion into the buildings on my property, but I am probably naively optimistic.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympic Opening Ceremony

The young man on the harness with the projected plains and Joni Mitchell song was named something like Tomas Solgrain.  His name isn't important, but it is interesting that he looks more like an anime character than any other person I've ever seen.  He also had a great performance.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Foto Phriday

From loyal reader and good friend, C, comes this picture of the announcement on the microwave oven in the break room near her desk.  She wonders how one gains the skill to hit it "just right."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time Traveling Advertising

I got this catalogue at work the other day.  I can not figure out why this came to me.  My job has never been related to manufacturing or packaging.  Plus, the catalogue looks like it comes directly from 1978, except for the 2010 date and the URL.  This is awesome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Electrons from Grandmother

My grandma sent me this e-mail snippet this morning.  She's pretty snowed in at the moment.

How are you all and the shoveling?  If you run out, I have plenty here.  The drifts I have are regrouping and turning the other way.  They're going to get confused and maybe melt.  Ha.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Plan 9

We watched the RiffTrax version of Plan 9 from Outer Space last night. I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Son's high school had a production of Twelfth Night this weekend.  It's Shakespeare's third most cross-dressing play.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Assignment

This year, I am in charge of our department's collection of money for the corporate Feed the Hungry campaign.  Traditionally, we've collected money from a variety of sources, but the most well-known source is money for dress-down.  The IT organizations have had some differing rules in the past, but our recent rule was people could pay to dress down every day.

This year, though, the upper management decided to go a little more corporate and allow jeans on Fridays only.  The cost for this went down some, but many people felt this was a reduction in benefits and are embracing this change exactly as you might expect.

In order to make up some of the lost opportunity for money, I'm looking for some fundraising ideas.  These came to mind, but I suspect they are not appropriate for the workplace.

  1. Nap the Day Away for Pay
  2. Punch a VP for $5
  3. Ten-minute lap dance
  4. Vodka chugging contest
  5. Pay toilet Tuesdays
I think I will not be in charge of this next year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hair - Not the Musical

My haircut last week has made the left side of my coiffure rise up like Ed Grimley's 'do. I'd like to see the chain hair places offer a feedback application on the web so we could tell our stylists the results of their labor a week or so out. It always looks fine when I get up from the chair.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy to Us

GPop and I celebrate our seventeenth anniversary this week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still Comin'

The first Eur'pean bore
On America's shore,
That was Snorri.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Freezing White Death, Part 2

We got quite a bit more snow today.  (I keep typing "snot" instead of "snow.")  Here's a video.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Move 2.0

Our second move came over the weekend. This desk is now semi-permanent. I promised my new neighbors that I'd keep the lawn mowed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Post from my New Phone

I am an Android now.

Nightmares Again

In my dream, I was walking up the office stairwell with our administrative assistant.  We were discussing an upcoming meeting.  We passed by a woman in a lime green sweater.  We greeted her and kept climbing the stairs.

The woman clambered over the railing and jumped down the seven stories to the ground, where she splatted on the ground.  This was very disturbing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Dome

There is some kind of weather dome over the couple of miles surrounding where I live.  A few years ago, people in all directions suffered hail damage from pretty good sized ice balls, but our neighborhood got nothing but rain.

The White Death from yesterday dumped some huge amount of snow (I typed "snot" first.) on other parts of the Greater Capital City Area, but we got about 3 or 4 inches.  However, I think we should keep any errands local today.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The White Death

We're in the line of the big snowstorm that's sweeping 'cross the plain.  One of my co-workers, who reminds me a lot of how Kif Kroaker behaves when people do stupid things, has dubbed the snowstorm "The White Death," as a mocking prediction of how the weather drones and other news personalities will react to the snow.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mmmm.... Pie

It was just 3:14 when I looked at my clock.  I said, "Time for pi!"

Nobody got it.

SILA1's Secret Basement

This is from an e-mail I received from my sister-in-law.  She works at a university hospital.  Claudia works with her.

I just got back from an interesting experience. Claudia and I had to go up to the Cancer Center on the 6th floor of the Famous Name building here at the university hospital. We went to the back elevators in Famous Name and hit the up button. After a few moments the elevator arrived and the up button light went off and we got on. Once we were on, the doors shut and we started going down instead of up. The elevator took us all the way down to the sub basement.

Normally, the sub-basement, being 2 stories underground, is a very dark and stinky place. It smells like dampness and rotting vegetables. It is a place of dim lights and hunched over janitorial staff. However, this time when the doors of the elevator opened, the hallway was brightly lit and there was nobody there.

Claudia and I stood there looking out and wondering what was going on with all the brightness when the doors of the elevator started to close again. As they closed the air from the sub-basement wafted in. Instead of the stench of cabbage I was expecting, the wonderful smell of freshly made funnel cakes was there.

I tried to stop the doors from shutting so that I could investigate what the heck was going on down there, but I couldn't stop them and the elevator took us up to our original destination on the 6th floor. I am mildly sad because the childlike part of me is convinced that I missed out on my one chance to go to a magical land.

I am kind of sad, too.  That whole "decide now before the portal to Oz/Narnia/Barsoom closes" concept has to be a killer when it happens.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Candy, Candy, Candy

Yesterday, I was walking out of the building to go to my mentoring session.  I left the building via a back hallway that sort of doubles as a loading dock hallway.  About eight feet from the exit door, there was a small chocolate bar wrapped in gold foil sitting right in the middle of the floor.  As I passed by it, I muttered, "Don't touch it; it's a trap!"

I heard a chuckle right behind me from someone I didn't realize was there.  I turned to see a sales-type guy with a sports coat and nice hair standing a couple of feet behind.  He said, "If you touch it, a piano will fall on you."

I replied, "I don't think you were supposed to have heard that."  He laughed again.

When I got to my mentoring session, I told my mentee about the candy in the hallway.  He exclaimed, "It was a trap!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

What's in a Name

This has no relation to my opinions of or relationships with the people involved, but every time I try to type "Todd" in the To: field of an e-mail address, I invariably type "Toad."  Also, when I try to type "Kevin," I end up with "Keving."