Saturday, June 30, 2012

Derecho vs. Rusty

The power went out last night from about 5:30 to about 9:30.  At around 10:00, Rusty called.  Normally, I don't answer the phone after 9:00, but since the weather was all crazy from the (new word alert!) derecho, I decided to answer.  It was neighbor Rusty.  Please note that this has been a very long week, and I am very tired.

Rusty: Hey, did the power come back on?

GDad: Yes.  It came on about a half hour ago.

Rusty: Kath and I went out to dinner.  No use staying home with no power.  Just wanted to know if we should come home.

GDad:  Everything seems to be fine.

Rusty:  OK.  Hey, while I have you on the phone, can you come over sometime this weekend and look at these electronic things I got at a flea market?  I don't know what they do.  The first one...

GDad: Of course.  Give me a call, and I can swing by.

Rusty:  ...looks like some kind of receiver, but I'm really not sure.  The other one is supposed to be a dewuncillator for grobbing flibbets, but I can't make heads nor tails of it.  I got them at...

GDad:  Of course.  Give me a call, and I can swing by.

Rusty: ...this flea market down by Hicksville last week, and I haven't had a chance...

GDad:  Yep, power's back on.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I have no idea how Twitter works.

I tried to get worked up over this, but I couldn't.

I can't figure out why I need to care what people think in chunks of 140 characters.

It's sort of like my aversion to Facebook.  I'm not sure why I'd want to be in a room with a billion other people.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thought of the Day

The problem with wisdom teeth extraction is that you don't know how the surgery will affect you until that knowledge is no longer useful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I had a dream last night about the Customer Service Games.  They were similar to the Hunger Games, except that the people chosen to take part would have a first round where they would take customer service calls from irate customers.  Those who didn't do well would go into the arena to act as minions for those who remained on the phones.  Each round eliminated more of the phone reps to go into the arena.  I'm not sure what the point was.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


To:  Mr. Aviation Instructorman
From: GDad Lastname
Subject: Class Feedback


I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I am enjoying the class, even if I do have a bit of a lost look on my face sometimes.  I also am very impressed with your ability to field the variety of questions that come seemingly out of the blue.  This class is probably the best decision I have made with what to do with my time this summer; Diablo III certainly isn't.

GDad Lastname

The instructor appears to be just out of college, and we have a class that presents some interesting challenges. There are, among others, some giggling girls over in the corner (OMG!!!1!), a crotchety guy who appears to have an engineering background and calls the instructor out whenever the instructor oversimplifies a concept so as not to present challenging math, a mid-20s woman who has a severe case of know-it-all-ism, and my personal favorite, the high school kid who appears to have Asperger's and who asks some of the oddest questions.  Mr. Instructorman has the ability to figure out what he said three minutes ago that prompted the kid's question, and he is able to answer it and tie to the material at hand.  I am pretty impressed.

GPop was in the instructor's manager's office to get some administrative stuff done just after I CCed the manager on the above note, and she was tickled that someone thought to send Mr. Instructorman such feedback, and she did let GPop know that it was Mr. Instructorman's first teaching assignment.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Our aviation instructor is probably 23 or so.  He is very earnest and quite competent in the area of his instruction.  However, his youth is highly entertaining to some of the people in the class who are past their "late 30s" (or late 40s, or whatever).

Mid 20s Woman:  What did you think of that movie, 2012, where the main character was flying that plane through all those burning and collapsing buildings?

Instructor:  Oh, yeah, right.  Like someone with no experience could just hop in a multi-engine craft and fly it around like that.  That was absolutely not realistic.

GDad:  And that was the only part of that movie that strained your credulity?

Instructor:  [pauses]  Ha!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Son Day

Son's cheeks are puffed out like a chipmunk's.  He's recovering from his wisdom teeth extraction, and he's got a little swelling.  So far, he's almost ODed on Diablo III, and we spent some time playing Mario Party 9.

I expect cabin fever here in 3... 2... 1...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Say It...

Our aviation instructor was talking about the parts of the aircraft that provide stability.  For example, when a plane turns to the right, the left side is exposed to the relative (oncoming) wind, which then sort of blows the plane back a bit like a weather vane.  There are several parts of an airplane that create stability.

The instructor was discussing this stability in terms of the various forces operating on the aircraft.  He told us that the stability controls were designed to help keep the forces balanced when they went out of kilter.

I tried to figure out a way to make him say that the controls "bring balance to the Force," but the moment passed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pre-Apocalyptic Self Help

In case you needed it...



Son is, as I write this, entering the surgery for his wisdom teeth extraction.  Yippee!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Note that Firebunny is a colleague who sings in the Corporate Choir with me.  Also note that he is currently 25 years old.

Firebunny:  I really wish we could sing something that was written since I was born.

GDad:  That might be optimistic.  What about something written since I was born?

Then we found the Secret Drawer of Contemporary Music.  Perhaps we can stage a coup.  Or cage some stew.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Teaching Time

I gave a presentation today on adopting children.  My coworker, Lori, was my co-presenter.  I wasn't sure how many people would attend, but we had a decent turnout.  Supposedly, I need some kind of ability to get up in front of crowds and present material.  Check that off the list.

I actually had several people request follow-up conversations.  I guess adoption is kind of the In Thing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Up, Up, and Away!

GPop, Son, and I are taking an aviation class this summer.  It's through our local Large State University, of which I am all of an alumnus, a legacy, and natural-born citizen (born in the university hospital).  At the conclusion of the class, we will take the FAA written test that is part of the process to become a private pilot.

Ah... homework.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Final Weeks

Mandy is due for baby #2.  We had a party yesterday at Mr. Mandy and Mandy's house.  I suspect this may be the last time for a while that they will be comfortably able to host anything more complex than a diaper changing party.

Best wishes to Mr. Mandy, Mandy, RoBet, and PreRugrat2.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Party Hearty

GPop and I attended a pre-Pride get-together (look at all them en-dashes) at a friend's (Firebunny) boyfriend's (DoubleG) house.  So, the relationship diagram.  Single lines are friend/work relationships, and double lines are romantic entanglements.  There were a lot of Br[iy(ey)][aoe]ns there that night for some reason.

(Click to embiggen)

The next day, we got a text from Firebunny telling us that he was glad we were able to attend.  He's still fairly new to this relationship, so he was glad to have some of "his" friends there.  You know the drill - my friends, your friends, our friends.


Part of the text was the statement that people were remarking on how "nice" GPop and I were.  First, that's a great compliment.  Second, it makes me sad that my normal party behavior is noteworthy for being nice.  Or perhaps it was just a way of saying, "Boy, compared to the rest of us, those two were hideous, but they were nice."

Either way, it was a fun time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The March

This is the first year in probably seven years that we've attended the Capital City LQGTB(etc.) Pride Extravaganza.  We took Son.  He was a bit blown away by the spectacle of the various floats and groups and so on.  Of course, as is customary, it was the hottest day of the year so far.

There were quite a few corporate sponsors, and even quite a few floats being pulled by trucks that had smaller companies' logos on them.  I saw a number of landscaping and home improvement trucks dragging (ha!) trailers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Captain Ruffles and the Secret of Candlelight Inn

GDad: [shaking fist at driver who turned a corner at full speed without stopping for the stop sign]  JACK@$$!

Eggbert Terwilliger:  Someone did that at our development and hit a power pole.  Our power was out for about an hour.  The driver died.

Captain Ruffles:  Well, that was inconvenient for you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is a picture of the nutrition information from those giant gummy bears.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Eggbert Terwilliger:  What's the difference between an agenda and an itinerary?

GDad: One's scalar, and the other's a vector.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Tie

Probably close to twenty years ago, I was working in a mall in a home computer software specialty store.  This was back in the pre-John Hodgeman PC-vs-Mac days.  We had a DOS section, a Windows section, a Macintosh section, an Amiga section, and even an Other section with some Atari ST stuff in it.  Ah, the good old days...

One day, when I was either the assistant manager or the store manager, I was responsible for being present during a store inventory coordinated by the home office.  I got there at 4:00am, or whatever, and waited while the RGIS Borgs with their little keypads to count and record every item in the store.  They finished up around 6:00.  I was to open the store, and I had brought my change of clothes, but I realized when I changed that I had forgotten my tie.

I panicked a bit, because the new corporate policy dictated ties, and because Inventory Day usually meant a visit from the District Manager.  I ran out to my car and drove to the nearest 24-hour superstore.  When I found the men's department, I grabbed the first tie I saw on the rack and ran up to the checkout line.

Made it!

I still have that tie, and it looks as new as the day I bought it.  I get more compliments about that tie than any other tie I own, although my bow tie collection probably gets more remarks as a category.

Monday, June 11, 2012

IMs of the Weird - Return from Vacation Series

GDad Lastname: How was the Griswold family vacation? Any sightings of cryptozoans?
In the "sasquatch" sense, not in the "microscopic animals whose genera and species have not yet been identified" sense.

Tallguy Martialartist: I did spot a little person Mr. T impersonator in Vegas.

We called him mr. t.

GDad Lastname:  HA!

Tallguy Martialartist: That's one of those jokes that only work over instant message or text.

GDad Lastname:  Too bad we don't project visible word balloons when we speak.

Tallguy Martialartist:  Now there's a superhero power that I've not seen before.  Of course the comic book version wouldn't work.

GDad Lastname:  It could. Everyone else could have the word line pointing to words that don't have a border.

Tallguy Martialartist:  The RV we rented was made by hobbits. I hit my head 2 dozen times.

GDad Lastname: We took an introduction to aviation class on Saturday. We have some interest in becoming pilots, provided we can find a funding source that doesn't draw down from Son's education or our nutritional needs.  The Cessna 152 was made by hobbits, as well.  It is theoretically a 2-seater.  I DARE two normal sized people to sit in it.

Tallguy Martialartist:  Flying Hobbits is the name of my new band.
I think the thought balloons would be creepier. 

GDad Lastname: I know MINE would. 

Tallguy Martialartist: But they would have closed captioning for foreigners. 

GDad Lastname: I once thought up an invention that riffed off of the "Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired" notice. 

"Plot Captioned for the Thinking Impaired." 

Then the cable news networks started their little "panic ribbons" across the bottom of the screen to tell viewers when to be scared and when to relax as the talking head was blathering. 

They used my idea for evil. 

Tallguy Martialartist: Like you wouldn't have. 

GDad Lastname: Yes, but at least the evil would have been to MY benefit, and I like to think that I would be an enlightened despot. 

Tallguy Martialartist: So did Roosevelt. So did Roosevelt 

GDad Lastname: You know, when you use that trope of saying things twice at the end of a conversation in real life, it sounds really ridiculous. I tried it out once in an attempt to sound avuncular, but since the listeners were all at least 20 years my senior, it ended up sounding creepy. 

Tallguy Martialartist: It was creepy. It was creepy. 

GDad Lastname: Touche. You win this time, Gadget! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Passive Aggressive Notes

This is a handwritten sign from our bathroom.  The issue appears to derive from the fact that someone brought in a bottle of dishwashing soap to clean out coffee cups or whatnot.  There are no other sinks on this floor, with a possible exception of one that might be in a locked janitorial closet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Political Statement

Saw this in a parking lot.  Check out the movie The Mothman Prophecies.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foto Phriday - Impactfulness

Son had a little fender-bender yesterday.  Here's the damage to our vehicle.  This is a 1995 Chevrolet S-10.  Because the damage is touching a couple of parts, just the cosmetic damage could cost pretty much what I'd think the truck is worth, even though it's in otherwise excellent condition.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Neologism from Son

Son's middle school and high school have each had a room called a "cafetorium."  It is a cafeteria with a stage at the end, so the room can be repurposed as an auditorium.

In that vein, Son has labeled the rotunda in his school the "rounditorium."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Season Finale

The Corporate Choir finished the season with not a whole lot of politicking and being upsot.  (Upsot?)  I consider this to be a victory.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Character Sheet Rules for Aging

In the old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules - maybe version 1 or possibly version 2 - there were procedures for modifying your character's "stat" scores as he or she aged.  I don't know the rules for versions 3, 3.5, or 4, because I only spent a couple of hours poring over those books rather than the days and days I spent over the older versions.

For the noncognoscenti, the statistics that defined a character's capabilities were on a 3 to 18 scale (sum of three die rolls on a 6-sided die).  Because of this, the scores tended to cluster between 9 and 12.  Anything above 12 would be above average to extraordinary, and anything below 9 would be substandard to severely handicapped.  I'm OK with that word in this context, because these are fictional characters.

The scores are assigned to six attributes, and each score influences how that person interacts with other people and the world in general.  In order to account for the average guy getting a lucky break once in a while, there is an element of randomness inserted into the game mechanics whereby the player rolls a die or dice and performs  a calculation involving the character's relevant stat score.  For example, a character of average strength may get a great roll of the dice and be able to lift up a very heavy box in order to move it up some stairs.

The six scores are:
Strength - influences feats of physical strength
Intelligence - influences use of specific knowledge, such as number of languages known
Wisdom - influences how well the character knows why things happen as opposed to how things happen
Dexterity - influences how well a person can perform feats of agility or dexterity, such as riding a horse
Constitution - influences how well a character can put up with exhausting activity
Charisma - influences how others react to the character.

As players take these characters on adventures, some groups of players will play by rules where the characters age.  Some scores will go up or down due to age.  Strength probably goes down, whereas Wisdom goes up.  Anyone who is over 40 understands this all too well.

GPop asked me to help him set up a kiosk for his bookstore the other day.  It was in the form of a 16-foot trailer to be parked in a very small parking lot near a busy college building.  While we were moving the trailer around, a college student zoomed up in her car and parked right next to the trailer we were attempting to maneuver around some obstacles to back into the designated spot.  She leaped out and ran into the building.  GPop approached the passenger and told him that perhaps parking next to a large trailer wasn't in the best interest of the car's structural integrity.  The passenger, who was very reminiscent of the character of Vincent from the SyFy show Eureka, moaned that he didn't know what to do.  GPop suggested A) moving the car, or B) finding the driver to move the car.

After some wringing of hands and indecision, the students finally realized they could move their car to the spot across the lot and still get done what they needed to get done.  GPop and I finished our trailer operations and moved on, shaking our heads at the poor dice rolls made by the students' players.

Monday, June 4, 2012


"Friends are always welcome; relatives by appointment only."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Spam

Some of these are works of art.  Thank to "Doris Fee" for this lovely gem.  The subject is from Othello, and the body is from Crime and Punishment.

emilia out and alas that was my ladys voice help


The old newspapers and the tea were brought. Raskolnikov sat down and began to look through them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just A-Walkin' Along

The other day, I was in an outdoor parking lot, and I saw a honey bee out for a walk.  Yes, it was just walking along in the parking lot.  I looked closer to see if I could tell if it was injured.  It didn't appear to be.  Do other people notice these things?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy June

Ah, the month of June.  Everyone's favorite outdoor weekend month.  I said everyone, and I will brook no argument.