Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ear We Go

GPop had to take Son to the doctor yesterday. Son came down in the morning and said he couldn't hear very well and that his ears hurt. After the appointment, GPop called me to say that Son needed some antibiotics to treat an ear infection, and that there was some fluid behind Son's eardrums.

Son texted me a few minutes later with the message, "Did you hear about the water behind my eardrums, because I didn't."

Funny kid.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today's Observation

When you work in IT, you get used to working with people who don't like to make eye contact.

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Work Done

Linda Carter looks pretty much the same as she did when she was Wonder Woman. Wonder, indeed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Son had several homework assignments to do over the weekend. I always make myself available to help him if he needs it.

Partway through his precalculus assignment, he said, "I should have done this on Friday, when I would have remembered everything the teacher said in class."

I asked him, "Is this somehow my fault that you didn't?" I was fully expecting him to lay responsibility for this everywhere but at his own feet. He had asked to go to a marching band party before the game on Friday, and then had the band performance to attend. He'd had a couple of hours before he needed to be at the school.

I think he read the tone in my voice, because he answered that he guessed that it wasn't.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Family Trip

Five year old niece starts kindergarten Monday. She is very excited.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Foto Phriday - Accolades for Eloquence

Lotus Notes is our corporate e-mail and calendaring program of choice. Every few years, there are people who examine our needs vs. the capabilities of enterprise-level programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, and others. I wonder if Notes will win the "bake off" again.

Here's a message that recently appeared thrice on my screen. Click to embiggen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Morbo Will Destroy You!

Today was Small Town High School's first day of class. Son is now driving to school, because he's of age to drive, and because he has blossomed into participating in some after-school activities that make driving a much more convenient choice than whatever else.

He got up this morning and get himself ready. GPop has to work early on Thursdays, so he left. As we were finishing with the breakfast detail, I asked Son, "Do you want me to stay here until you leave, or have you got it covered?"

Son looked up at the ceiling for a second (The answer is always written on the ceiling in our house.), and said, "You can hang out here if you want." So we sat down on the couch together for a moment.

Son turned on the teevee. Now that he's a Driver, he wanted to watch the morning news for the weather and traffic reports. Keep in mind that the school is about one-and-a-half miles away as the crow flies, but six miles as the traffic engineers have decreed. Of course, none of this is on any freeway large enough to be noticed by the traffic report, but nonetheless, Son was quite interested in finding out where the downtown Capital City traffic snarls were.

After a moment, the newsbots behind the anchor desk came back on. GPop likes to watch that woman on HLN. I find her nattering to be irritatingly inane. This morning, the TiVo had tuned to the local FOX affiliate during the night for some reason, so we saw the vacant stares of Polly Ethylene and Sal Uloid looking directly into the camera. Storms had come through during the night, so the top story was the weather.

Sal: It's the first day of school for many schools in the area, but the storms coming through have caused two-hour delays for three local school systems!

Polly: [long pause] And those school systems are....?

Sal: [pause] Oh! Littleton, Smallville, and Nanoburg.

Son: Why on Earth are we watching FOX?

GDad: You're the one who has the remote.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wolf Gang

Some years back, I told my team about the famous Wolf Shirt. A few days later, I was no longer a manager. As a parting gift, my team bought me a Wolf Shirt and we went out to a happy hour, which has been a monthly-ish recurring gig.

Hooray for half-price appetizers!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Need New Glasses

I was looking at an online org chart (with very small print) a moment ago, and I saw someone whose job title was "Team Lead."  I completely thought I read "Time Lord."

Monday, August 22, 2011


I need an adjective that means, "describing circumstances or an action that to most people would seem risible, but to those most closely observing seems predictable and saddening."

How about adding another meaning to the word "corporate?"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Four Word Movie Review - Captain America

Option One:
Get to Avengers, already.

Option Two:
We ♥ Hugo Weaving.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foto Phriday

A cloud with a mustache.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week of Medical (S)care

Son called me this morning about the time he should have left the house for marching band practice. "My knee really hurts." He had been complaining the night before, and he's not really a planner, so I figured he hadn't set this up to miss practice. I called the doctor to get an appointment for the afternoon.

The doctor asked him a few questions, made him bend and extend his knee, poked at him for a moment, then pronounced that he had patellar tendinitis. Take ibuprofen, rest, and it will get better.

So of course, Son found out that friend Daniel from band has Osgood-Schlatter disease, which also causes knee pain in teens. Son is convinced of some kind of cosmic conspiracy, especially since it's THE SAME KNEE OMG!!!11!!. I tried to explain that similarly situated teens are more likely to experience similar injuries than, say, a male infant and an unrelated 44-year-old woman, but he was having none of it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The good news:
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Communist.

No, wait, strike that.

I do not now have, nor ever have had, heart disease.

There. That's better.

The slightly less good news:
When you complain of chest pain when are 40, still overweight, and have a history of heart attacks and heart disease on both sides of the family, and you have diabetes and hypertension, "they" don't like to let you go without taking blood from you several times and making you recite the health history as many times as you have fingers. Plus, you have to run on a treadmill after "they" painfully rip out areas of hair on your chest with clippers that were sharp when Clinton was President, then "they" inject you with a substance described by the manufacturer as "lipid-coated microspheres filled with octafluoropropane gas", then "they" make you run on a treadmill until you hate them. Once all that is over, "they" tell you that you're fine and that you should go home.

"But what was the chest pain?" you ask.

"Heck if we know," "they" say, then "they" tell you to talk to your family doctor.

Then you go home and sleep, secure in the knowledge that your ejection fraction is 65%, which is evidently good, and there is no immediate danger of collapsing on the floor, clutching your chest and shouting "I'm comin' to join ya, honey!"

As soon as the IV spot on my hand stops hurting, I'll be just fine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Testing for Stress

Evidently, thousands of dollars of tests say I'm healthy. I didn't sleep well last night, so I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What a Day

I am in the hospital. I had some discomfort in my chest, and because of my family history, I was whisked off in an ambulance to the ER.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cleaning the House

We're cleaning in preparation for a Family Visit next weekend. What fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


We're in another adoption class today. This time it's "How Caseworkers Make Their Decisions." I thought it was going to be a class about how adoption workers choose a match between families and children. It should be a happy occasion.

Instead it was a class on how caseworkers decide to remove a child from an abuse or neglect situation and what would be a good point to reunify the child with the birthparents.

Not so happy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Surprise Lilies

More of the Surprise Lilies this year. Two years ago, we thought we moved these to another spot, but only two sprouted in the new area. I'm not entirely sure what we moved, then.

Foto Phriday - Drawing Day

A comic I drew. Click to embiggen.

I thought of this joke while driving through the country. Oddly, the animals I saw right before I came up with this were sheep.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Am Hennery the Eighth, I Am

Henry VIII's armor. (Click to embiggen. Heh heh)

When we were in the Tower of London, Son pointed out that this armor has a word that rhymes with "loner." I told him to shush, because we were in a Room of Great Historical Importance. Not three seconds later, a woman with two elementary aged grandsons walked up. The older of the two, who may have been eight years old, stated gleefully, "Look gran! The armour has a [same word Son used]!"

Evidently, every person who has seen this armor in the past 500 years has thought exactly the same thing. Even Henry VIII.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

E-Mail Exchange with Brother 1

Setup: Brother 1 is an Eagle Scout.


The kid I mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and Capital City Public Schools just got all the approvals for his Eagle Scout honor. I'd like to give him a card and gift. In your experience, is there something that would be appropriate for the situation? If you say "pocket knife or pistol," I will have to go with Plan B, given that this is a program through the schools.

Oh, and I saw an episode of QI while in London.

Brother 1:
A genuine stuffed bald eagle is the appropriate gift.

This site cracks me up:

LEGO people are cute.

Seriously, though, I have no idea what an appropriate Eagle Scount gift would be. If you earned the rank of Eagle Scout, presumably you already have a pocket knife and a backpack and all other necessary scout-related paraphernalia. How about some baklava? I love baklava.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It's hilarious (to me) that a famous swimmer has the surname "Nyad."

Monday, August 8, 2011


Five years ago today, we picked up Son at his foster home and moved him into our home. His "accessory pack" was a duffel bag, a 10-gallon tote with toys, a small bicycle, and a trash bag full of clothes.

He is turning into a fine young man. He could not fit his accessories into the back of our pickup truck at this time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

RIP, Aunt Jo

Feb. 5, 1926 - Aug. 3, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Festival Days of Summer

We went to a Neighboring Town Festival today. It was one of those "just because" annual festivals with no particular theme.

They had the Neighboring Town Queen, and they imported the Tomato Queen from down the highway, the Strawberry Queen from the next county, the Old Fashioned Days Queen from upstate, the Ice Cream Queen, the Beef Queen, the Rhubarb Queen, etc.

The most disturbing was the Moonshine Queen and her junior counterpart, Little Miss Moonshine. I have video proof (pun intended) of this.

Neighboring Town is a hotbed of internecine politics. Check out this picture taken by GPop, because I was too chicken to walk up to the house and snap the shot myself. I love the subject-verb agreement issue and "the" "excessive" "use" of "quotation" "marks" and underlining. Plus, they ran out of room for the queen's name, so they had to tack on an extra board, OR they reuse this sign each year. I'll have to come back next year.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foto Phriday - Paris

The underbelly of la Tour Eiffel.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

American Castles

We went to a local "castle" to compare to the ones in London. I thought that for the environment, they compared rather favorably.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Travelling

Monday, July 18

We did a lot of trip preparation, including packing our clothes and toiletries, stopping the mail, arranging with the neighbor kid (for a small wage of $5) to pick up those obnoxious free papers that get thrown on our driveway or attached to our mailbox, and generally preparing the house for an extended absence.

Friend Marcot Ravenswatch agreed to take us to the airport on his way to work, which really worked out for us, and we arranged with Neighbor Rusty to pick us up when we returned. In the past, we've parked in the Itchy Lot at the airport, but due to recent "improvements" at Capital City International Aeroport and Shoe Shiners, the daily rate for parking has increased by about 100%, so treating Marcot to snacks and Rusty to lunch was a much better deal all around, except that we were failing in our patriotic duty as part of a consumer economy.

Tuesday, July 19

We awoke fairly early. We needed to be at the airport around 8:30, so we allowed for plenty of time for the three SH'es, as my late great-grandfather would say, even though he died several years before I was born, so I only have the word of my mother as evidence. What are the SH'es? "Sh!+, Shower, and Shave." From what I hear, Great-Grandpa also was a booze runner during Prohibition. Also from what I hear, about 95% of the country did the same thing back then.

Marcot picked us up exactly at 7:45, according to prophecy plan. We had a nice leisurely ride into the airport, and we arrived about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, which is what I usually aim for, in order to account for heavy traffic. When we approached the head of the line for boarding passes, we found that coach class passengers are pushed into using the self-serve kiosks to print the paperwork. GPop scowled enough that we managed to get a real human. The kiosks didn't appear to have the appropriate configuration to be helpful for international travellers.

Capital City International Aeroport and Shoe Shiners is one of the lucky winners in the Full Body Scanner Lottery. You may recall the hubbub a few months back when these rolled out into production. People were worried about TSA pervs seeing their junk or the scanners causing immediate and terminal cancer. I have fewer concerns about that than I do about the pervasive culture of fear these scanners imply. In any case, the most immediate concern was as follows.

  1. Belts needed to be removed in order not to trip the metal detector, and
  2. Arms go up in the air, which
  3. Stretches out the trunk and slightly narrows the waist, so
  4. Pants are in danger of falling down.

(Click to embiggen)

After a brief flight on a turboprop plane (thank the FSM for noise-cancelling headphones), we arrived in Toronto Pearson airport, a.k.a. YYZ. The Canadians seem very proud that it has recently won the Most Improved Airport award from some body that gives out such awards. The international terminal was quite spacious and decked out with restaurants and duty-free (heh, "duty") shops.

Before we could sample the wares therein, however, we had to pass by Officious Customs Guy. He was probably in his late 30s/early 40s, and his Uniform and Badge made him a Very Important Person. We had our passports out and ready, and we had on the appropriate open and calm faces. He interrogated us about our travel plans in Canada ("here for 6 hours until our connecting flight leaves"), what we were bringing into the country ("clothes and toiletries that will leave with us when we leave on our connecting flight in 6 hours"), then he got irritated and suspicious of our identities. "WHICH ONE OF YOU IS GPOP?" Of course, GPop's picture is right there on the open page of the passport in his hand, but he needed to establish his alpha role. Then he jammed Son's passport at Son's face with a curt, "Take this, Bob." Son's name is not "Bob."

After passing the Challenge of Doom, we picked up some sandwiches and poutine. The barely-post-high-school kids that were working there were still tickled that Americans don't really know about poutine. We told them that since our Canadian vacation last year, we had been wanting to try it again when we next visited Canada. They asked whence we came, and when we told them Midwest State, one of the lads asked, "What food is specific to Midwest State?" Advice to travellers: come prepared to answer off-the-wall questions like this from the natives. All we could come up with was a litany of generic midwestern food.

After six hours of cooling our heels in YYZ, we hopped on the flight to London. If ever you need to fly to the UK, I can recommend Air Canada without reservation, although you'll probably need reservations (rim shot. sound of crickets.) They had on-demand video, a very nice in-flight meal, and seats that were ever so slightly less uncomfortable than most other planes I'd been on.

At some point on the flight, we passed midnight.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to Work

Today is the first day back to work. I'm kind of looking forward to it, oddly.