Monday, June 30, 2008


Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Remember how I said I wasn't very good with plants. See this plant here? My mom gave it to me a few weeks ago, It is not doing well. Though, I will say it is better now than when I took this picture a few days ago.

The funny thing is that this plant is right outside our front door. I mean right there, I pass it to go to work and to come home. Why can't I remember to give it water after I get into the house? It looks so sad.

Now If ET lived here I wouldn't need to worry about this.

Typing lesson

(Obviously I need them since I sent this out blank.)

First type the word "for". Easy enough, right? Now type the same word, but shift one key to the left for each letter. Done? Did you get "die?" Yeah, I do that very often. Luckily I have caught it every time. I would probably get in a lot of trouble doing that here. Somebody would probably be offended by me telling them to die. Can't say I would blame them.

I should have taken typing in high school like my mom said.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Assignment #222: Phone home

As Blondie says, call me. Call me anytime. Well, don't call me anytime; between 9am and 9pm is best. I need my beauty sleep.

Anyway, Karen wants to know my phone habits for this Weekend Assignment.

Weekend Assignment #221: What do you use a phone for? Do you strictly use it to make calls and pick up messages, or do you take advantage of other technology bundled with phones these days? Which features do you use all the time, which others would you use if they were available and cheap, and which would you not bother with even it they were free?

Obviously we are talking about cell phones here, but I want to mention one thing about our regular house phone. We have one of those sets were you get four cordless handsets and you can put them in various parts of the house without having to worry about a phone jack. The funny thing is that at any one time, three or all four will be in the same room. Oh, and each one has it's own ring. We chose some classical music on each of them. Not because we are so cultured, but the rest of the rings were very ear-piercing. So, since they are all in the same room, when the phone rings it sounds like a very confused, simulated orchestra where all the musicians are playing different music. Oh, and they are all off each other by half of a beat.

My cell phone is an older Motorola Razr. I've had it about 2 years, and it looks every bit that old. I've never been one for cell phone cases, so the phone takes a beating. Most of the wear and tear comes from going in-and-out of my pocket several times a day. It's coming time to get a new one soon; the battery is getting weak, and some times the screen goes blank for no reason. I am a gadget guy, so I'm afraid to go get a new one. I know I'm going to get one with way more features than I need.

Speaking of features, I use the text message feature a lot. My wife and I are constantly reminding each other of things we need to do on the way home. Oh, who am I kidding, she is reminding me of things. It doesn't always work though.

We also use the picture message feature quite a bit. Mostly for pictures of something the kids are doing when one of us is at work. Sometimes for fun things, like the first time Quincy went down the kid's slide.

That is about all we use it for, except as a phonebook. Most of the time we can't find ours, but with the cell phone in your pocket, you don't need a traditional phonebook.

Oh, I forgot, I do play games on it sometimes. I get bored easily. No, not at work, don't be silly. I would never do something like that!

I guess you could say I use most of the features. I don't use the web browser much, but I have an iPod Touch that I use for for that kind of thing.

Extra Credit: Do you still use your land line to make and receive calls from friends or family?

Yes, we have to, our house is a dead zone. It's just like the Verizon commercial that was on TV two seconds ago. I've never seen anyone come in here and check my reception though. Maybe it's because we use AT&T.

What do you use your phone for?

Is it necessary?

If you pay for broadband service, not a cheap amount mind you, and it comes with e-mail, shouldn't said e-mail be free of advertisements? I can understand the free e-mails out there having ads; that is how they make money. I don't think that I should have to look at ads while reading e-mail. I'm talking to you Comcast. If you have a different service that you pay for, does it have ads? Maybe I'm complaining for no reason. I am talking about the ads on the e-mail page, not the main home page, just the e-mail page.

Yeah, I'm a little tired today. Does it show?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Growing like a weed

No, I'm not talking about the kids this time. Sure, they are growing fast, but they don't compare to the speed at which our dog is growing. I mean, jeez, you'd think we are giving him some of those growth hormones they give cattle.

Here is a recent (as in two days ago):

Here is what he looked like a few short months ago:

He's grown a whole tile in length. You can't tell here, but he is also much taller and heavier. Up until the beginning of June we used to carry him upstairs to our room at bedtime. There is no way we could do that now. Besides, he doesn't fit in that smaller crate any more. We should have realized how big he was going to be after we saw the father (sire?) when we picked Quincy up. So, since Quincy is just over 5 months old, how big is he going to get? How old do dogs stop growing? He 45 pounds now, should we expect double? Really, I need to know if we need to build an addition for him...

(For some reason this was really difficult to get these pictures on there. I blame using trying to use two different sources. I should know better).

Friday, June 27, 2008

I have an idea.

Have you ever had one of those days where you come home, the house is
a mess, but you are too tired to clean? Sure we all have. That's why I
am happy to introduce you to Disposa-House.

Just put this new remote next to your garage door opener in your car.
When you come home push the button, and watch as your house disappears
into the ground only to be replaced by a shiny new one. It's just that
easy! No more back breaking labor! No more more sponges, mops, or
brooms! Just press the button and watch the magic! Your neighbors will
be amazed. You'll have more friends. Your dog will like you better!

So call now. Our operators are standing by! If you call within the
next four and-a-half seconds we'll throw in an extra remote for free!
So don't wait, you only have two seconds left.

Caution: Make sure your family is not in the house when you use
Disposa-house. Including your annoying uncle. Make sure no animals are
living under your house. Seriously, you don't want that. Disposa-House
is not available in Canada. I don't know why. Disposa-House is not
responsible for damage to underground pipes, cables, power lines,
phone lines, gas lines, ancient burial grounds that may end up
haunting your Disposa-House. Basically, anything that breaks because
your are too lazy to clean you own house, we are not responsible for.
Got it?!

Call Now!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We have a problem

That was the text message I got from my wife as I was on my way home from getting a hair cut. (From The Hair Cuttery if you must know. What?)

Then I received this photo a few minutes later

That is the kid's bathroom. While the room isn't always clean, this is not a normal scene. See, the kids were banished to their rooms, while they were up there my daughter had to go to the bathroom. We never got the whole story, but let's just assume quite a bit of toilet paper made it's way into the toilet. Said toilet then overflows, and chaos ensues.

My son came down to tell Jenn what was happening and our daughter started freaking out. She thought the whole house was going to flood and that I would make her leave our house. She told Jenn she wanted to wait in the car at one point.

After much plunging, and many times asking what went into the toilet, we got things under control. But my daughter still thinks the toilet, any toilet, is going to overflow.

Thought for today

Nine minutes for a meal in the microwave is not convenient. Especially at work.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekend Assignment #221: What Are You Drinking?

With the warm weather upon us, Karen wants us to talk about what we drink to keep hydrated for this Weekend Assignment.

Weekend Assignment #221: What do you like to drink? Do you prefer Coke, or Pepsi, or neither? Do you start your days at Starbucks, or end your days with a nice cup of herbal tea? Are you a connoisseur of beer, or do you like to keep a pitcher of lemonade on hand? Do you carry a bottle of water around, and refill it as you go? Tell us about your favorites!

For me, it depends on where I am and what I am doing, as I guess it would be with most people. At work I drink water for the most part. I usually buy one bottle and refill it over the course of a week or two, rinse and repeat. Most people at work wouldn't dream of drinking the water out of the drinking fountain, but I don't find it to be bad. If I get some kind of heavy metal poisoning, I'll just sue. That's what we do, am I right? I'm just kidding of course. (Anyone know a good injury lawyer?)

About two or three years ago I got on a Mountain Dew Code Red kick. It started innocently enough when I was working a midnight shift, then it got out of control. I finally had to stop because I was drinking too much of it and it was making me sick. I'll still have one on occasion, but I find it too sugary, and I get an instant headache.

I also had a short thing with Cherry Coke, I'm pretty much over that too, but sometimes I am tempted when I walk by the soda machine at work. She's a very beguiling soda, always promising a nice sugar rush, but then you crash at your desk at 3pm and she is nowhere to be found.

Now I will have Dr. Pepper when I need a caffeine kick. I usually drink the cherry vanilla or berries and cream variety. They seem to be a little more soda-like and less cough medicine tasting than the regular Dr. Pepper. I'm trying to cut out caffeine all together, but it is a work in progress.

I love the smell of coffee, but I have never liked the taste. I think if I went to Starbucks I could probably find some hyper-sweetened variety that I would like; that is why I stay away. We have one just up the street from my house, I don't want to live at their drive-thru.

Lastly, I like beer. But, as my wife says, I'm kind of a beer snob. I don't like Bud, or Miller, or the basic domestics. Some of my favorites are Sam Adams Summer Ale, Fat Tire and Leinenkugel's Big Butt. In college I was just like everybody else, whatever was the cheapest was my favorite. Except Milwaukee's Best, I could never handle that. Then one of my friend's introduced me to Sam Adams, and eventually I got hooked. Good thing it was near the end of college, I was able to finish my time with the cheaper beers.

Extra Credit: Have you ever invented your own drink sensation?

Never a sensation, but in college I would drink Southern Comfort and orange pop. Most people thought that was disgusting, but it wasn't bad. Really!

What do you like to drink?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why self destruct?

Why does every spaceship in the movies have self-destruct? I get that they have some kind of highly volatile, magical powered core that allows the ship to travel through space in some warp-type way, but why does it need to be blown up? Take The Enterprise from Star Trek, it can eject its warp core if it becomes unstable. So why do you need to blow it up? Even if you couldn't eject it, you are in space, the materials in the core aren't going to harm some planet's environment. Not that blowing up the ship wouldn't spread the harmful components around anyway. Think about every science fiction movie you have seen. How many had a ship, or other vehicle, or even a building with a self-destruct mechanism? I bet it's a high percentage.

Now, I understand it is a plot device to raise tension, but can't we find something else? Please? Or, how about this; the self-destruct has to be ridiculously hard to activate. Like you have to light 10 fuses on ten different decks, but one guy can't find a match, or something. I'm just throwing out something off the top of my head. (See, the fuses would be totally retro. A cool retro, don't you think? No? Just me?)

Four hours!

That's how long it took the kids to clean their rooms. Four hours!
Mind you, the actual cleaning time was approximately 20 minutes, the
rest of the time was filled with whining and crying. And crying, and
whining, and 'it's no fair' and 'it's boring', and...I think you get
the point.

Luckily Jenn came home at about the 2 and-a-half hour point; any
longer and I would have lost my mind. Completely. I was half way there
before she came home.

Now they are asleep, their rooms are clean and I'm going to enjoy some
ice cream my wife bought for me. And maybe a beer.

How was your day?

I forgot. I burned the pizza I was making for dinner while I was
arguing with them. Luckily, we had some Spaghettios. I had the least
burned part of the pizza. Mmmm, good

Where is my post?

I wrote a post and sent it through e-mail last night, but it has dissapeared. Actually that isn't right. I sent it and it never got here. I sent it three times. I checked the address, I know it's right, but nothing shows up here. Very frustrating. I'm not on my computer so I can't cut and past the old message. I'll have to do it later. So, if you see a post here three times in a row, you know why. I'll fix it as soon as I can.

Thank you for your understanding.

Update: It appears the post has decided to show itself below. I don't know why it thinks the post was here yesterday, but it wasn't. But, now you can read it, and it kind of makes me look loony if you did come here before. I could delete this, but where is the fun in that?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm an idiot.

I had to catch a 6:30am flight this morning. I don't know why, but I
got up at 4:45am. By the time I got out of the shower it was 5:00am. I
had to shave, and de-wrinkle my pants in the dryer. I finished
shaving, and realized I need to check-in for the flight on the
computer. I turn the computer on, which takes an hour to boot up, and
check on my pants. They are a mangled, wrinkled mess. So, I search the
house for some Downy Wrinkle Releaser. I find three bottles that are
too empty to spray, so I have to combine them. I spray the pants, get
the wrinkles out the best I can, and check in on the computer, and
leave the house. It is about 5:25 at this point. I need to make some
awesome time. Luckily there is little traffic until I get to the toll
booth for O'Hare. I get through, find a parking space and head inside.
I find out I'm at a 'C' gate, which is on the other side of the
terminal. It is 5:50 now. I run through the terminal like a 1980's OJ
Simpson, manage to get through security quickly and get on the plane
at 6:15am. Plenty of time!

It was a stressful morning. I didn't compute the time I needed to
get up correctly. I should have left the house the time that I was
getting out of the shower. I don't know what I was thinking. Hitting
snooze twice didn't help either.

But, it all worked out. I made it home early, got a late lunch, picked
up the kids from school, fed them, then we all went to swimming
lessons. The kids took lessons, Jenn and I watched. You know what I

No, I'm not tired (yaaaaawn) at all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Like running in chocolate

That's what it felt like. I went running for the first time in a
while. I'm not sure how long it has been. I don't think I want to know.

It wasn't easy. As I ran I could feel every bag of M&M's, every Oreo
Fudgie, and every hamburger dragging me down. Either that, or the
earth has gained more mass so gravity is stronger. Which seems more
plausible? Yeah, I was afraid of that. I cursed every bad meal and
snack I had eaten the last month or so. Really, I was cursing at
myself. I was doing well at the beginning of the year, then I turned
into my usual sloth-like self. No more I say!

But I ran. I feel good, for now, I just need to keep it up. I have a
9.5 mile race in September, and if I don't want to be dragged off on a
stretcher, I need to keep going. No more excuses! Except for tomorrow.
I have to get up at 4:30am for a quick round trip flight and the kids
have swimming lessons. I plan on being exhausted. After that it's all
about getting in shape again. I swear!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gift receipts

I had to run out and buy a gift for my dad today; a belated Father's
Day gift. Before I left my wife said, "Don't forget a gift receipt."

So, I go to the store and start looking around. All the while, in the
back of my head I'm chanting, gift receipt, gift receipt, etc. I find
a shirt I want to get, but I call Jenn to ask about the size. She
reminds me about the gift receipt.

I get the two things I want, pay and leave the store. Did I remember
the gift receipt? Of course I did -- when I was getting in the car. I
was laughing so hard at myself that people probably thought I was crazy.

I had to run to Target to pick up a few things and I was going to buy
something for Jenn to make her forget about the gift receipt. I
couldn't find anything, so I just went home. I went in to admit my
mistake like a man, "The lady confused me. She started asking about a
rewards card. I'm not felling well, remember? I think I need a nap."

Yeah, I'm pathetic.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Something bit me

Yesterday I was walking through the kitchen and I stepped on something very sharp. I thought it was a piece of glass at first, but it was Quincy's first tooth. Well, first that we found anyway. I think he swallowed the rest of them. Mmmm, teeth.

Right now he looks a little weird because he has his adult canines coming in, but he little teeth are still there. So he has two teeth in a row. He's like a little, fury great white shark.

Doesn't the tooth look a little like a floating iceberg?

A question about The Karate Kid

Let's look at "The Karate Kid" in the real world, in the current time.
A young teenager hangs out with an old man, does odd jobs around his
house, the man gets so drunk he passes out, and he gives the kid a car
for his birthday. If this happened with my son I'd tell him to stay
away from the guy. Is that wrong? Or have times changed too much?

On another note, I think my son would really like the movie. He's
really into Karate.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why didn't they have this when I was a kid?

It's been a quiet day so I don't have much to say. But, this is awesome:
I would have loved this as a kid. Heck, I would now. The only problem is that I am very bad at building things and this thing has over 3,900 pieces. It would take me about 6 or 7 years to finish. That includes the time I'd have to wait for some small pieces to work their way through my dog's intestinal tract. You could probably build a real Death Star in the time it would take me to build this thing. I am not very good with my hands.

This is way cooler than any LEGOs we had as a kid. I don't remember anything tied to movies or TV shows. They were only generic cars, planes, and people. Again, not that I was able to build any of these things, I only remember what my brother built.

Anyway, go buy it, and let me know how long it takes to build. Start saving some money , though. It costs 400 big ones. More pictures over at the Lego store. Go. Buy. Now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weekend Assignment #220 : Beautiful

Yes, I know it is Wednesday, but I can still do my Weekend Assignment today. Karen said so. So, with out further delay; this weekend assignment.

Weekend Assignment #220: Tell us about one person, place, concept or thing you find particularly beautiful, and why it affects you in this way. If you can demonstrate its beauty with photos, great, but as always, the primary emphasis for the Weekend Assignment is words. Extra Credit:Does something threaten to disturb or destroy that beauty?

I'm going to skip over the easy answer, my wife, besides, she doesn't want me plastering pictures of her all over here.

Instead I will talk about something inanimate, outer space. Yes, it is kind of general, but it is beautiful! Even our planet looks better from space. From the rocky, inhabitable Mercury to the giant Jupiter, our own solar system is an amazing bunch of rock and gasses that came together to circle our sun.

If one of those planets were not there, would the solar system by the same? Would Earth be what it is toady? I don't know, but it's possible it could be very different.

Beyond our solar system you have out galaxy, the Milky Way, with billions of stars circling a densely packed center of stars, dark matter, and a giant black hole. Looking at a galaxy from far away can make your worries feel small and insignificant.

Can't it? It makes me wish we could get out there, see what lies beyond our solar system. It won't happen for a very long time, if ever, but it would be great if humans could really get to other star systems. Maybe, if we are extremely lucky, find some other intelligent life.

When you see clusters of galaxies like this, it makes you think it is possible. Unfortunately, these are so far away we could never reach them. Still, it is fun to look at these images and just wonder, what is out there that we don't know about yet?

Extra credit: I don't think anything is threatening the universe. I think things will be fine for several billion years. Earth only has about 4 billion, based on the sun's life cycle, unless we mess it up first.

All images from go check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So close to the pot of gold

Small rainbow
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
I bet if I had run about a block east I would have found the pot of gold. Too bad there was lightning in the area. I didn't want to die looking for something that might be a myth. What? You mean it's not true? How do you know? Nobody has ever found the end of a rainbow. Oh, now I see... Oh well, it's a nice picture anyway.

Watch out for the giant killer bees!

I had a weird dream last night. It started off normal enough; a bee
was in the house and I was trying to get rid of it. Then it got weird,
I noticed a very large bee. I'm talking the size of my 4 year-old
daughter. It was not happy. I think it was mad because I killed the
little bee. I know, I think the dream had a moral.

Anyway, I had to get rid of the giant bee. It was behind the bedroom
door, that was made of glass for some reason, so I doused it with bug
killer. I think it took several cans before it died. That's all I can
remember. I wonder how you would dispose of a dead bee that large? You
can't toss it in the garbage.

When I have dreams like this, I like to try and figure out why. What
kind if things triggered it? I can think of a few things; on the radio
they were talking about bugs, I saw part of a new show called
"Verminators", and my kids hate bees. That's my guess. I put that all
together into a nice sub-conscious stew, and had a weird dream. What
do I know? I majored in Psychology, but that was a long time ago, I'm
not qualified to analyze dreams.

I don't like how this formatted at all! Sorry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Somebody slap me

I'm so tired. You know when you were in school, and you were taking notes and your drifted off to sleep and your writing slowly turned into illegible scribbles? (When you read that last sentence, does Chris Farley's voice pop in your head?) That is me today. Usually I don't have to write much by hand, but today I do. I think I am using my quota of white out for the month in one day. At least my scribbles aren't turning into some sinister sub-conscious messages.

Anyway, I'm tired. Did I mention that? I know right now my sister is reading this and laughing, thinking I don't know the meaning of tired. I don't, but not her meaning. She works too much; more than I could, or would. But, I still get tired, some of it due to staying up later than I should, some of it due to my diet. Not that I'm on a diet, just the foods I eat. Too much junk food, not enough veggies, that sort of thing. I try to change, but it never lasts long. I think I need a personal chef. Someone who will work for cheap; like free. Anybody know someone like that? Maybe I can borrow Oprah's chef. How often is she home to get a meal? Maybe they could just send over some leftovers.

I will announce it now; I am going to bed early tonight. There, now that everyone here (all 3 or 4 of you) knows that, I have to live up to it.

I wish I was home right now, sprawled out on the couch, watching the US Open playoff. I am reading the live blogs, but it's not the same as watching it on TV. I should have set up the TiVo to record it. I'm sure I can see a lot of replays tonight on the Golf Channel. Again, not the same, but at least it is visual.

Enough rambling. Back to work!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

I just tried calling my dad but there was no answer, so I thought I'd say Happy Father's Day to anyone who stops by here. Well, anyone who stops by that is a father, the rest get a "Hi!" There, nobody is excluded now.

I'm working today, so my Father's Day celebration begins at about 3 o'clock. That's central time, 4pm eastern, 1pm pacific; check your local listings. We are going out to eat around 5:30pm and I plan on wearing sweatpants with an elastic waistband. Sure, people might think I'm under dressed, but it's Father's Day. A day were a man can be a slob, and nobody can say anything. So guys, go out to eat in shorts, sweatpants, tank tops, and sandals. It's your right! Even if you do not have kids it's OK. Who's going to know? I won't tell!

I didn't get to sleep in today, but my wife let me take a nice nap yesterday. It was my early gift. And, she let me watch golf all day! Even the kids let me watch without asking for one of their shows. The dog was not so cooperative. He kept coming over to me with his toys, wanting me to throw them. He doesn't realize what Father's Day is all about. Then again, it was Saturday, but shouldn't Father's day (OK, and Mother's Day) be all weekend? Yes, it should! Who do we write to change that? The White House? Congress? Hallmark? Let's start a petition! I think we could get enough support to get it passed.

I'm all worked up now. Time for lunch!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I need paper towels! Stat!

For some reason Quincy decided to throw up today -- four times. I was
right next to him the first time, so I held his collar so he wouldn't
eat it, and sent my son to get some paper towels. He had some trouble
finding them, but he eventually did, and came running back with them.
He was also carrying the garbage can, which I thought was good
thinking. But, he didn't bring the can for easy paper towel disposal.
He brought it for the dog to throw up in. I had to stifle a laugh,
then try to explain to him why the dog wouldn't be able to throw up in
the can.

It's too bad Quincy can't, he threw up three more times. All on the
carpet. Why can 't dogs stay on the tile when they barf? Did you every
see a dog, or cat, when they get ready to throw up? They will walk to
the carpet to do it. Why? Don't they know it's impossible to clean?
Or, are they trying to get back at us for giving them something that
will make them ill? Either way, it's very irritating.

Now Quincy is sleeping. He seems OK, maybe a little worn out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The service department called

I just got off the phone with the service department; it is not the transmission. He says the problem is due to a bad ignition coil. He says I'm getting a mis-fire and that is causing the problem. I hope he is right. It is a lot cheaper to get that done than replacing or repairing the transmission. Phew! I hope the problem doesn't come back when I drive the car home. I hate when that happens.

I'm happy. Now, when does my stimulus check come in the mail?

The car is in the shop

I dropped off the car this morning. Now I get to wait for a call telling me what is wrong with the car. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my car is doing some funky stuttering thing when I try to accelerate at highway speeds. Maybe my car has been hearing all he talk about hypermiling, and it is trying to save me some gas? I never thought of that.

So what's going to be the problem? Any guesses? Transmission related, engine, computer problem, or the best one; could not duplicate problem. I used to work as a service advisor a while back. I hated having to call people and tell the the technician couldn't duplicate their problem. Mostly because they didn't believe me. Sometimes, it was best they didn't.

Anyway, I'm just waiting for the call. I wonder how much this is going to cost? We had some plans for work around the house this year.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

This is a test

This is only a test of my notebook program. If this was a real post,
you would be given something useful to read. Thank you. You may go
about your business.

Update: I don't like the format; the margins are all weird. It was worth a try.

What? Speak up. I can't hear you. I went to a concert last night!

I hear ringing. All night I heard it, and I still hear it now. That's OK, I went to see Iron Maiden, I expected this. Woo! Iron Maiden Rocks! Up the irons!

Okay, I'm exhausted. Why did they have to come on a week night? They are old enough to know better. All their fans are old now, we (mostly) all have jobs to go to in the morning. I think once a band's fan base reaches a median age of 35 they should only schedule concerts on weekends. Sound good? Who's with me? You need to say it louder, I can't hear you! Scream for me Chicago! I heard that a lot last night.

It was a very good show. I got to relive my high school days for a while; until about 10pm when I was wondering if I could make it in bed by 11pm. The crowd was quite a mix, some older than me, some teenagers, and some who brought their kids with them. I found that very interesting, most kids hate their parents music. It's automatic, it's built into the genes of a kid. Somehow, though, they were able to break through genetic programming and share an evening listening to heavy metal together. See what music can do?

So get this. We were having trouble getting to the main floor. Every time we'd go to an entrance the person there would say we had to go to a different one. This happened three times, and was very frustrating. Finally, we got to the right entrance, I walked in and stood on the landing waiting for my friends to finish their beers. As I was standing there I saw someone walking up to me out of the corner of my eye. I thought he was coming to tell me to keep moving. Instead, when I turned toward him, the guy was holding out his hand smiling at me. It was my principal, and teacher, from grade school! I couldn't believe it. I've known him since kindergarten, and my mom knows him well, but I haven't seen him in a long time. It was very strange. We talked for a few minutes, but he had to check people's tickets. I'm pretty sure he assumed I was drunk, based on a comment he made, but that's okay; I'm legal now.

Anyway, It was a fun night, but I could really use a nap.

Iron Maiden! Woo! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rock and Roll! and randomness

I'm going to a concert tonight, and while I want to go, it stinks that it is on a week day. I'm getting too old to stay up late, then go to work in the morning. I was thinking about trading to an afternoon shift so I could sleep in, but it is the end of my week tomorrow. I want to end it as early as possible. Oh, and we have general admission tickets, so I have to stand the whole time. No chairs at all! The real problem is, I could go to sleep right now. Sure, I'll probably wake up when the show starts, it should be loud, but what am I going to feel like tomorrow? Ugh. I'm old. Eh sonny, I can't here you. You need to talk loud to grampa.

Remember when you were in high school and you went to a concert and wore your shirt you bought to school the next day? All kids did that, right? That was how you showed you were cool. Hey, look at me in my Ratt t-shirt! (yes, I really had one). So, should I do that tomorrow at work? I think it would be cool to wear an Iron Maiden shirt to work. I'm not really going to do it of course, I probably won't even buy one. I did buy a Rush shirt last fall, though.

On CNN right now they are talking to a guy who shot a nail into his head and the doctor took it out with a claw hammer. Slow news day?

Speaking of news. A while back I posted about Wisconsin Dells, well turns out the lake the do the water show in is basically gone. They had some major storms there this past week and the flood waters washed away the dam holding the water back. Once the dam gave way the water flowed into the river, washed away a few houses, and left some fish behind. It's really crazy to see a whole lake gone. It was a man-made, it seems, but still, It was big.

On a lighter note; my wife bought some new cookies. They are Oreo Fudgies. Yes, they are as good as they sound. Maybe better! Go try some tonight. Tell them I sent you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning to swim -- take 2

This is my second version. I started the first version saying I was using a new widget to post from iGoogle, but it crashed and wiped out my post. Now I am doing this on Gmail. I hope this doesn't crash.

We took the kids to their first swim lesson yesterday. They did fine, even though they were nervous. Our daughter even went down the little slide! That's a big deal, trust me. I was a little worried about the weather yesterday. The lesson was at an outdoor pool and it was rainy and cool all day, but the sun came out as we got to the pool. It was a sign I tell you!

I vaguely remember my swim lessons from a very,very long time ago. I remember the first time being in the deep water (4 feet), and I remember the very short swim suit. Yes, it was the 70's, what can I say? I have a pretty clear memory of a particular ride home one time.

I was with two friends in the back of my mom's car getting ready to leave the pool and head home. My mom was checking her mirror to back out, and started talking to herself. Actually she was talking to the lady in the car behind us, but she couldn't hear my mom. The lady driving the other car wasn't paying attention and back right into us. My mom went out to talk to her, but the lady denied hitting my mom. I don't know who you could deny it, but she did. So, my mom left us in the car and went to call the cops. I said it was the 70's, it was OK to leave kids in the car to make a call to the police. The cop came and listened to both stories. The lady claimed there was no way she could have hit my mom's car where the damage was. It was too high. So the cop measured her bumper and where the damage was. I'm pretty sure she said a bad word.

I don't remember much else, but I do know that the little cover over the keyhole on the trunk was never the same.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the kids swimming lessons. I got off track, sorry. They go again Wednesday, but my daughter is saying she doesn't want to go. We may have to bribe her with ice cream again. Yes, the ice cream is for my daughter, what are you trying to say?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rattle, bump, sqeak

I've been paying attention to noises a little closer for some reason. Take our bathroom door for example, when you close it at the right speed, it sounds like a cat. Not a little like a cat, but so much like a cat that you think one walked into the house and followed you in the bathroom. Or one is trapped in the wall. Speaking of which, we did have an animal trapped in our wall in our bathroom several years ago. A guy came out and the noise had stopped so he said it was probably gone now. He thought it might be a chipmunk that found a crack in the foundation. It seems he found the same crack out. Good thing, I've hear stories of how bad it smells when an animal dies trapped in the wall. Think about that next time you go to bed!

The June bugs are out. At least that is what we call them around here. They are flying beetle-like bugs, light brown in color that can land worth a darn. Have you ever watched one fly? All they do is bounce off of things. All night you hear these little popping noises on the windows and walls, it sounds like someone thrown small rocks trying to get your attention. They can't even land on the ground. They just fold their wings and drop to the ground. Very elegant. I guess they taste good, too. At least our dog thinks so.

Now for the bad noise. Our car is having some issues. I think it is transmission related, which is never good. Basically, when driving above 45 mph and you give the car moderate acceleration, it rumbles underneath and won't really go faster. However, if you are light on the gas it is fine. Very irritating. Of course, the car is just about paid off, and out of warranty. Oh well, we'll see what happens. Good thing I don't do a whole lot of highway driving.

Now, about that growling noise I hear under my bed at night...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jim McKay passed away

Sportscaster Jim McKay died today.

I'm not a big sports fan, but I did see a lot of Wild World of Sports growing up. There wasn't much else to watch back then; no cable TV in my area. Besides, the intro with the ski jumper wiping out always caught my attention.

I got to be Jim KcKay. Well, actually I was Jim McShay. In grade school we did a parody of Wild World of Sports and I got to be Jim. It was fun and terrifying all in one. I had to sit out on the front of the stage the whole time and announce what was going to happen. We even had a fake technical glitch. The parents seemed to like that part; unless they were laughing to be nice. It makes me feel old talking about that.

Anyway, it is sad to see him go.

Weekend Assignment #219: Preferred Transportation

Time for Karen's Weekend Assignment. Today we are going to talk about favorite method of transportation.

Weekend Assignment #219: What is your favorite form of transportation, and why? You can choose any means of traveling by land, sea or air, with just one catch: it has to currently exist in the real world, or have existed in the past. No TARDIS, no Star Trek transporter, no flying DeLoreans, all right?

I wonder if that last line is directed at me. I was going to say jet-pack. Did you see the guy who was dropped out of a plane along with the winged jet-pack? Wouldn't that be cool? It would take two minutes for me to get to work! I could drop the kids at school by parachute!

Okay, I guess I'll talk about realistic stuff. I would say car is my favorite. I drive a station wagon right now, but I really want a sports car. A Porsche 911 to be exact. Is that going to happen? No, not unless I win the lottery. Anyway, I like driving because I am in control; I decide direction, speed and music (for the most part).

My favorite drive so far was on the road to Hana on Maui. It is a very twisty, narrow drive with many blind turns and steep drop-offs. Doesn't that sound fun! Okay, so the driving part was a little stressful, but the scenery was great. There are a lot of places to stop and see waterfalls, and the views from the road are spectacular. This is one road where I really need to be in control. There is no way I'd be able to do this in the back of a van, or the passenger seat. I'd probably get nauseous from all the turns. I recommend this drive to anyone who goes to Maui. Just plan for it to take the whole day. You don't get much over 25 miles on hour on the road.

If I knew how fly a plane my preferred method would probably change to flying. I wanted to learn to fly as a kid (my step-dad had a plane) but I never learned. It's too expensive now anyway. But, I know it would be fun!

Extra Credit: What's the most unusual form of transportation you've ever taken?

The only things I can think of are horse-drawn carriage and a cable car in San Francisco. Not that either are unusual, especially if you live in San Francisco.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm exhausted

My son had a friend over for a few hours today, so why am I exhausted? They played nice, mostly in his room, and he was only here for three hours. It should have been a piece of cake. Really, it was, I think I'm wiped out from the week. My wife has been out of town since Monday. You never realize how nice it is to have both parents home until one is gone. Usually, if one of has to get something done, the other could watch the kids for a few minutes. Plus, you can share the wealth on reprimanding. It's not easy to be constantly telling the kids not to jump down the whole flight of stairs, or on top of the dog. I've had plenty of days where I was home during the day with them while Jenn was at work, but I could get that short break after she comes home. The same goes for her when I'm working on the weekends. I'm pretty lucky though, my wife is just gone on business. Some people have to do this all the time on their own. I give them all the credit in the world.

On a lighter note, the giant collar my dog has to wear is driving me crazy. It hurts when he runs into you with it, and he's marking up the walls. At times I can see him get dpressed about it. He'll be running around, playing with a toy, then loose it since he has no peripheral vision, then give up and lay down. It's kind of sad. It's also very dirty. That thing is a major dirt collector. I'm pretty sure it is breeding some kind of major bacteria or something. I try to clean it out, but Quincy keeps trying to eat the paper towel I'm using to clean the thing.

I don't know how he eats with it on either. When he is eating, the cone completely covers his food bowl. At least there is no loose food flying around. I wonder how loud it is when he is chewing his food? He eats dry food, so the chewing must be echoing in his head. Have you ever tried plugging your ears while eating cereal as a kid? ( i know you have). It must be extra loud for Quincy since dogs hear so much better. Lapping up water? Forget it; it must sound like he is under a waterfall. He is supposed to keep the cone of restrictive licking on for 14 days. I may take it off sooner. Don't tell my vet!

OK, time to force the kids to bed early. I need a break...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Something is out there!

Last night I watched The Mist. It was decent horror movie, based on a Stephen King novella, about a mist (duh) that rolls into a town; but not your average mist. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that some very odd creatures were out in the mist and killing those people that were foolish enough to go outside.

These types of movies don't generally scare me after I am done watching them. (I'm choosing to ignore The Exorcist). Sure, I jump when things happen, but when the movies is over, I forget about it. I did have a concern after watching this movie, however. See, there were some giant bugs in the movie. I don't mind bugs for the most part, but when I see swarms of them, I can get the feeling they are crawling on me when I go to sleep. I'm happy to say I was too tired to care last night. Which is good because you know what I saw when I looked out the window before bed? Yeah, fog. We had a dense fog advisory overnight. Sweet dreams! Did I mention my wife was out of town too? Yeah, nobody was there to wake me if something was trying to get it.

Anyway, I slept fine. Tonight I am watching I am Legend. Hmmm, is it mysterious plague weather tonight?

I have the page up for The Mist as I am writing this. I have never looked at the part that lists plot keywords before. This movie lists, spear, run out of gas, person on fire, and restroom. Do people really search for movies were people are on fire? I guess if you are doing some kind of trivia thing. What about restroom? Who searches for that in movie? Do I want to know?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ten on Tuesday -- 10 Changes

This week on Ten on Tuesday, we explore 10 ways the world has changed since you've been in school. I'm going to focus on the time since college, but since I graduated in 1992 and 1998, I get some extra time to play with.

Internet Access: When I was in college the first go around we had 3 computer labs -- for 25,00 people. Internet? What internet. I know you could get a dial up modem and maybe get to some bulletin boards, but in 1992 there wasn't a whole lot to see. By the time I went back things had changed a lot, and now, forget it; I can get on the internet from my iPod.

Digital cameras: I took a journalism class around 1991 that dealt with layout and design for magazines. I remember the professor talking about these cool digital cameras things that were coming out. No film! No color! Extra grainy! Now I can take an great picture and print it up in 20 seconds. Oh, and we also had a scanner that we had to use to import a photo into our magazine. It took 20 minutes to scan and import a 2 inch by 2 inch photo. And it still looked like garbage.

Portable music: In college my then girlfriend, now wife, bought me a portable CD player to use while walking the campus. It was huge and skipped a lot but I could listen to music while walking for 25 minutes. Now can Carry several hours of music on my Shuffle and I don't even know I am wearing it. WE just need to get some implants in out heads so we don't need headphones.

DVD/HD DVD/BluRay/DVR: We have so many ways to watch TV now. No more forgetting to set the VCR. If you miss something, rent the season of the show on DVD. At least Sony is probably happy since the won the HD format war. They can forget about losing the Beta/VHS war.

Video Games: I had a Nintendo at college. We loved it. You could spend hours playing Super Mario 3, then die and have to start all over again. Now, you can play online with people all over the world with games that are so realistic you almost feel bad about shooting someone in the game. Almost. Oh, and you can be a rock star now, too.

News: It is always on; even when there is nothing to report.

Cars: The cars are so sophisticated they can tell you were to go. Most of the time they won't make you drive into a lake.

Banking: I can do all my banking right here. I don't have to see, or talk to anyone. Driving to the bank to deposit a check before you bounce one is a thing of the past. Just the driving part, not the bouncing part. That is still possible.

TV: Now your TV can be hung on the wall and look almost as good as a live picture. Know you can tell how old Barbra Walters really is.

Computers in general
: I had a computer during my last year of college. It had a 8086 processor running at 8Mhz I believe (It was out of date at this point, but that's all I had). All I could do on it was use the word processing program. I think it was Pro-Write. Now a calculator is more powerful than that, with more memory. Much more memory, the computer had less then a megabyte.

OK, I feel old now. Time for a nap.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Quincy is not happy

poor pup
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
So Quincy had his 'big' vet appointment today. He's not too happy with me right now. It's sad, and funny, to watch him walk around with this satellite dish on his head. Whenever he bumps into something he just stands there and waits for me to direct him away. Can't say I blame him. I don't know if I could walk around with this on my head.

Book Binge -- I guess...

I signed up to be in the book binge because I thought it would be fun to read what I like, tell people what I read, and see what others read. I'm always looking for new authors, or books, to try out. The problem is that I failed miserably. May was probably not the best month to do it. Work was busier than normal because I was working with a new program we are testing out, and the house was busier. The kids had a lot stuff going on and our puppy, Quincy, does not like me sitting still while I read. (Yes, I'm blaming the dog). Enough excuses here are the two whole books I read:

Duma Key by Stephen King. This one was 600 pages, can that count as two? It wasn't my favorite King book. It seemed to drag a little in the middle. I actually put it down for a while while I read the following.

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Vol 2. edited by George Mann.
It's a book of short stories, I hope that counts.
I like most of the stories, but there are a few I'd like to point out. Neal Asher has two stories, Mason's Rats: Black Rat and Mason's Rats: Autotractor, which I liked. I have never read his work before but, based on what I can tell, this is may not be the first of these stories of sentient rats on a farm that, at first, bother the farmer, then they end up working together. The were both fun stories.

The other story I wanted to point out was Evil Robot Monkey by Mary Robinette Kowal. The title itself made me want to read it, but the story was different than I expected, and better for it. It is about a chimp that has an implant that allows him to much smarter than average chimps. He can talk, as well as other things, but the story deals with the struggle within the chimp as he is not human, but not quite a chimp anymore.

There is my pathetic list. I'll do better next year. I wasn't going to post this, but Florinda made me. Go here to see what others read.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I have the attention span of a two month old puppy

I cannot concentrate today. Everything distracts me. For example, there is a kite stuck in the power lines across the street from work. It has been there for about a week, but I keep looking at it. Why? I know what it is. It hasn't moved. Why can't I stop looking at it?

Hey, a bird!

 I have my latest Automobile magazine open in front of me, but I keep going back to Google Reader, too. So far I have only made it to the letters to the editor part of the magazine.

Look a squirrel!

I have found some cool stuff today. I found a new artist. Well, new to me. I was on Bad Astronomy and there was a link to Rob Sheridan's SketchBlog. You try to go there and not spend a lot of time looking at the cool, creepy pictures. You can't! If I had a band I would want him to design my album cover. My favorites on his site are Cereal Mascot Reunion Presents Opening Children, and Follow Me. I set the latter as my background on my work computer. That should keep people away from my stuff! By the way, some images are slightly NSFW.


I also found the Uroclub through Dave Barry's blog. I would like to meet the guy, you know it is a guy, who came up with this. I do not want to meet the guy who would use it. At least I wouldn't want to carry his golf bag. In case you didn't click on the link, it is a club that has a hollow, wide grip that you can use on the course if you have had too many beers and can't find the porto-let. Can you imagine the smell in your garage if you forgot to empty it on your last round of the year?

What is that stuck on the power line?

Check out the new Clarkesworld Magazine. It has a new story by Mary Robinette Kowal in it called Clockwork Chickadee. It is a very cool story. I spent a little while reading that today, and checking out the rest of the magazine, too. Then, because of that, I starting surfing other science fiction magazines and websites. Lot's of cool stuff out there!

I should probably go back to work now. Happy Sunday!