Friday, March 30, 2007

The Zen of Catch

I feel like I'm evolving into a "Dad" blogger, but that's OK. Let me give you a few reasons why.

I like my job. It's extremely dangerous to post about your workplace or your job (if you want to keep it), so even if I wanted to, I wouldn't go there. I offer this as a warning to a few bloggers I've been reading lately. Be careful.

I have strong political opinions, but, frankly, I don't much enjoy the debate in that arena. I'm not good at debating, I don't want to spar over it, and if you disagree with me, you may be right, but I think you're wrong, and I don't want to argue. Not my style.

I'll lay it right out in a few quick words: I am a social liberal, economic and foreign policy libertarian. These are not mutually exclusive. Methinks social freedoms are far too tightly restricted, and shouldn't be restricted at all; we are extremely overtaxed due to a fat, bloated, poorly run, out of control government; and, the current administration's foreign policy is a travesty. There you have it. Once in a while, I may go into more detail, but not very often. For now, let me say I will never be a party line Democrat, but I was happy that they took back the Congress.

So, I'm not getting into my career, or politics (much). I'm a horrible photographer, so I can't do a photo blog. Poetry? I'm trying. You may see some in the future, but for now, it's not very good. I'm no web programming whiz, so I can't offer much there. I do like to cook. Maybe I'll post up a recipe from time to time. Yeah, that might be fun!

For now, though, what I want to talk about is baseball.

Tonight, I brought the TB home from an after school visit with a friend, and he was falling apart cranky. This seems to be a common Friday occurrence among the Kindygarden crowd.

After a hug from Momma, a few minutes of Little Bear, some dinner, and a quick game of basketball, he said he wanted to play baseball. (My boy!)

I pitched a few to him, and threw some curves, which he was able to read. Then I sent the high heat. He put several far over the fence, across the alley, and nearly over the neighbors' fence. A natural.

Then, it was getting cool and nearly dark, so I suggested a catch to wind up the evening. We have played catch dozens of times. TB can catch, but not yet consistently. He wants me to toss wild grounders and impossible fly balls so he can make a heroic play. I told him he just needs to be ready for whatever comes at him. It may be a can-o-corn or it may be a screaming liner.

So I starting whipping the ball right at him. Before, when I was just tossing it to him, he seemed a bit clumsy. Suddenly, with a little velocity on the ball, he was catching them wherever I put it. Well then!

After four or five catches in a row, he held the ball and announced, "Daddy, I know I'm going to catch it. Every time."

And you know what? He did. Not endlessly, but it was like it clicked for him to put his glove out the same way he puts the bat out when he's hitting. He caught more in a row than ever before and hurled it right back to me, dead on. Darkness sent us in, but I could have thrown for an hour.

I love having a catch. Always have. You can talk, or not. You can mix it up with grounders and fly balls, or you can just chuck it back and forth. You get in a rhythm as long as you aren't chasing after the ball. I forgot how that feels. When I was a kid, I would play catch, or have "pitching duels", for hours with my friends.

My boy has always been an athletic little guy, but now, he's ready for a catch. Whatever comes at him, he's willing. He may miss a few, but he's going to dive for it, climb the fence, or otherwise put his mitt right out there and try.

He knows he's going to catch it. Every time. I'm sure he understands that is not so; but he had a moment, I'll call it an epiphany, where it became a reflex to put that mitt in front of the ball, squeeze it, and throw it back. One foot in front of the other, one throw after another.

First steps. First words. First day of school. Those are great, but our first good catch beats all of that. For TB, it was natural. To me, it was like learning to relax again, meditate, appreciate, put everything else aside and just do nothing. Except have a catch.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dang It!

Dang it! My fonts have gone all a'squirrel the last couple of days. Still learning here, so I forgive myself, but forgive me as your eyes cross trying to focus. I'm thinking of a major overhaul of the site, anyway.

My son has decided his new favorite interjection is "Dang It!"

Sooooo, . . . do I correct him and suggest that exclamations of that sort are not appropriate? Do I tell him that it sounds very close to the actual curse word that will offend some people if he says it in the wrong company? Do I tell him to say "Dimples" or something else that Flanders might approve of? Or do I just tell him what the real word is and encourage him to let it fly?

Dang, nothing offends me anyway, so it's hard to enforce any of these ideas.

I'm thinking just ignore him and he will move on to the next inappropriate thing. He will anyway, right?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Written Monday, before the cat/bird crisis:

Wow, a five day gap between posts. I’m slipping, but it’s been busy here on Jefferson St.

Thursday night, finally, G’diddy was feeling up to a night out. If you recall, awhile back, he passed out in Kroger and ended up with a few fractured ribs. Since then, he’s been slowly getting better, but is reluctant to go out. He has gone to the grocery twice, but not to church, and not up to our house. We miss his daily visits!

Thursday, LBB coaxed him into dinner out at Abuelo’s. All of us really enjoyed it. G’diddy usually just gets two beef enchiladas (at our nearby Mexican joint). Here, he had a beef burrito, with rice and salad, so to him it was a huge meal, and he took half home. TB likes a taco, but we couldn’t convince him to get one, so chicken nuggets once again. LBB had cheese chile rellenos. Very nice! And I had a big ole’ combo that arrived on a serving platter. Of course G’diddy shouted out, “Oh my goodness, what is that? Whoa! Wow!”

Friday, well, no excuses, I could have posted something up, but we just enjoyed the evening. LBB made some peel and eat shrimp and we hung out on the deck. After the boy went to bed, I did spend a little time downloading and running Clamwin anti-virus (at the suggestion of Roanoke-Found). Norton craps out tomorrow.

I had declared it to be “extreme yard work weekend”, which generally sends LBB scurrying away. So Saturday I weeded and mowed and cut bushes and fertilized, etc. She and TB found other things to do, which was good, because I was able to finish everything except my twice annual washing of the cars. (I’m a horrible car owner. I change the oil get the oil changed, but you won’t find me out there with Armor All very often. Of course, our Toyota has 125,000 miles on it, so I must be doing something right).

Four giant scoops of mulch arrive later this week, so now I’m ready for it.

Sunday morning, G’diddy went back to church for the first time since his hospital stay, so he’s coming along. Still hasn’t walked up to our place yet. It was LBB’s turn for church/Sunday school transport duty, so I lazed around in the morning. Read the paper, lingered over my coffee. It was nice. By this time, it was in the back of my mind that the blog was getting dusty. I still feel like I’m learning my place here. I think I needed my first extended rest and recharge break. Ever need those?

I spent Sunday afternoon rebuilding TB’s basketball goal. We had a cheap one, the kind that you put water in the base and you can roll it wherever you want to put it. The backboard was very thin PVC or something like. It blew over in a windstorm and cracked. I thought I might be able to salvage it, but then another storm finished it off.

I went to Lowe’s and bought some thick plywood, and just attached that to the pole. It seems like it will work, so I primed and painted it, and it’s up and looking good.

This morning, as soon as TB put on his clothes he went outside to shoot baskets. That was good, because last night, I filled the base with water and some puddled up on the ground in front of the hoop. He whined about it and wouldn’t play. That irritated me after the work I had put into fixing it, so it was great when he scurried right out there in the morning.

So, there you have it, a brief synopsis of four missing days.

Back to Wednesday:

So when Henry dragged the bird into the house, it became the prime focus of my energy, and this half finished post was filed away. I just found it tonight, so now you know the whole story.

3 Little Words

This was over on Electric Venom a few days ago, and I thought it looked like fun. The deal is to answer the questions with exactly three words. Here goes:

01. Where is your cell phone?
some drawer, somewhere
02. Boyfriend/girlfriend?
been married awhile
03. Hair?
too long, graying
04. Your mother?
sweet, nurturing, nervous
05. Your father?
resourceful, funny, fading
06. Your favorite item(s)?
maps, books, radios
07. Your dream last night?
odd celebrity references
08. Your favorite drink?
spicy bloody mary
09. Your dream guy/girl?
never considered it
10. The room you are in?
office, Realist headquarters
11. Your fear?
pain, bees, dementia
12. What do you want to be in 10 years?
nearing early retirement
13. Who did you hang out with last night?
LBB, TB, and Brent
14. What are you not?
willing to reveal
15. Are you in love?
yes, for sure
16. One of your wish list items?
red Fender Stratocaster
17. What time is it?
half past five
18. The last thing you did?
cut and paste
19. What are you wearing?
shorts, baseball shirt
20. Your favorite book?
Anything by Hemingway
21. The last thing you ate?
Italian sub sandwich
22. Your life?
Can't complain. Do.
23. Your mood?
relaxed and silly
24. Your friends?
neighbors, old roommates
25. What are you thinking about right now?
rain ruined plans
26. Your car?
tuna can tiny
27. What are you doing at this moment?
trying too hard
28. Your summer?
best season ever
29. Your relationship status?
married with child
30. What is on your TV screen?
basketball, Spongebob Squarepants
31. When is the last time you laughed?
five minutes ago
32. Last time you cried?
shortly after 9/11
33. School?
quit too soon

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

That's What They Do

Last night, I went upstairs and told my wife that her cat led me to spew a 1300 word post. Her response: "That's what they do." That pretty much paraphrases it in four words.

She's much better at getting to the point.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I have a few posts in the works, one explaining where I've been hiding for the past five days, and some other fun things; but one of our cats just ruined my mood, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

See, we had just gotten home from tee ball, tired, dusty, and thirsty. All I wanted was a glass of ice water, a bath for the boy, and to settle in to my much neglected blog.

Then, as we were trying to nudge the boy upstairs, there was a chilling and unmistakable "YEEEP" from somewhere quite nearby. It was clearly a bird, and it was in our house. Sounded like it was in the basement. That's where I usually find the mangled remains. We have a cat flap that leads into the unfinished half of our basement. In the winter, we will usually leave the door cracked between that side and the finished side so the cats can come and go.

Well, spring is here, but we forgot to start closing the door. Then, we realized it was bad news, because Henry, our hunter, was in the office off the living room, so the victim either flew or was dragged upstairs. Oddly, Henry calmly followed me to the basement. Normally, when he has something cornered, he is reluctant to back away. I think he picked on a pecker, as it were, and he decided to cut his losses. Sure enough, hidden in a potted plant was this fat-ass robin.

I've learned to look around when I go in the basement, especially at dawn and dusk. Sometimes, there's a little gift for us down there. Usually, it's a mole. I don't mind that. In fact, I appreciate the cats controlling those nasty varmints. Occasionally, there is a chipmunk, once a squirrel. But birds are the worst, because when they struggle, they explode. I'm not sure what holds them together in the wind, because when a cat gets a hold of one, it can be gruesome. It's bad enough when they leave the mess outside, but it turns my stomach to see it inside.

That's why I get a little freaked out when the bird is still alive and flying around my house. This one was pretty spooked, but he was still spry, because he was flying around. I had already removed the cat from the scene, so now I just had to chase this robin around the house. Of course, this whole thing got the TB all whipped up, so I had to keep chasing him upstairs and then I would lose track of the bird.

Finally, he perched in a hibiscus and I was able to get him in a box and outside. I set him in a bush, and he didn’t fly away. I think he’s in shock, because I know he can fly. The worst is when they are beyond repair but the little heart is still beating. Then you just have to whack them with a shovel and end it. Wretched business, the whole thing.

I must admit, I have a preference for cats over dogs. Dogs are OK, and I can see their appeal, but to me they just seem sloppy. Somehow, even though cats go and slaughter little creatures, they still seem cleaner to have around the house. But then they go and bring live birds into my house. There’s nothing clean about that. Darned pussies!

At one point, we were a six cat family. One (Walnut) was mine back when I lived alone in Washington, DC. Then LBB had Casbah, Dylan, Bono, and The Edge. When we moved in together in ‘94, that’s when Walnut’s demeanor turned sour. He liked being an only cat, and he never really recovered. He wandered away last year.

Along the way, we acquired Lucas, who showed up in our yard one day with a broken leg. We took him to the vet and fixed him, and of course he never left us after that. So that made six. Good grief.

Then, in 1998, one day LBB and I were at work. G’diddy was at our house waiting for a delivery or something. He called me up and said, “David, there’s something wrong with Casbah, he isn’t moving.”

“Oh?” I asked, “Does he look sick?”

G’diddy said, “No, David, you don’t understand. He’s dead.”

Well, then. I guess there was something wrong with Casbah. He was fourteen, and a tough old cat. He had a really hard head, and he used to climb up on our pillows at night and smash it into us. His departure was a surprise.

Not two weeks later, LBB comes home from work and tells me there’s this kitten that a doctor’s office is taking care of. Little gray one, looks like Casbah. For crying out loud. So, that’s how we got Henry Rollins (the hunter that brought in tonight’s victim).

Now, we are down to just two, Henry and The Edge.

Dylan was a really fat, cream colored cat. Sweet but really, really simple. LBB told me he once walked off a balcony. I don’t think he was ever quite right. I think he was thirteen when he started to get skinny and sick. He was always LBB’s favorite.

Then Bono, who was a fluffy, grey, lazy eyed cat, got some kind of a tumor. His decline was pretty quick and surprising, but he made it to fourteen.

Lucas was in a sorry state for a good long time, and we finally had to let him go. We probably let it go too long, in his case. He was a mixed color, skinny little thing. He was probably the neediest cat we ever had, in a sweet way, which made it hard for LBB to make the final call. I think he suffered from various maladies throughout his life. He was nine or ten at the end, but we never knew for sure.

Walnut, poor thing, he just wanted to be alone, so I’m afraid he lived fraught with anxiety ever since the others arrived. He was a black, nervous cat. He liked to chirp at birds, but he wasn’t a hunter. He wandered off and we never found him. He was fifteen.

And we still have The Edge, which is amazing. He has never fully domesticated from his feral beginnings, but he’s followed us through several moves, and now, I think he must be at least fifteen. He’s a big strapping black panther, or at least he was. He’s starting to show his age a little. He hangs around, and has become good buddies with Henry Rollins, but literally, the only human contact he has is when we corner him, sedate him, and take him to the vet once a year.

So, that’s more than anyone really wanted to know, I guess. The tale of seven cats. Six named after something musical (Casbah – after Rock the Casbah; Dylan – after Bob, of course; Bono and The Edge – from U2; Lucas – after a goofy song called “Lucas With The Lid Off”; Henry – after Henry Rollins) and Walnut, the nervous one.

I think two, well behaved, indoor cats is a good number. Although whenever Henry drags in something with wings still flapping, I think we should just get a fish tank.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don't Take My Chinese Food Away!

OK, I hear you: eat healthy and exercise more, because everything out there is bad for me. Let's say we all pay attention: when we are skinny, healthy old coots and we are all 100 years old with dementia, what then?

I've had it with being told the obvious: this is full of fat, that is full of bad cholesterol. I know, believe me, I know. Please, stop doing studies about how the good stuff is so bad. When that happens, guvmints start to step in, create ridiculous laws, and screw with free enterprise, and more alarmingly, free choice and my appetite.

Above all, don't mess with Chinese Food! If you have any sense, you know that the quantity alone of restaurant meals is enough to lead eventually to your death. People need to exercise their own self-restraint. Don't let them take away every little fun thing we have left. Can you studiers, and worriers, and government agencies, and flat out meddlers just let me enjoy some cheap Chinese at my discretion? MSG rocks!

A Major Schwopping

Right now, I wish I were a sports writer. They have all those fancy verbs at hand, you know, the ones that are synonymous with "ass got kicked".

Over the past three weeks or so, the Infinite Foosball Tournament has turned greatly in my favor. I hold a two game lead over the TB, but tonight I suffered my worst loss ever. I got spanked 10-1 by the conniving little wretch. This after I took him to Tee Ball, and then out to eat. Well, there's gratitude for ya'.

Just kidding. The boy just likes to play, and so do I.

Now it's bath time, kiddo, because I'm done.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Give Up

Since our major PC meltdown two weeks ago, I have successfully reinstalled Windows XP, Webroot Spysweeper, Microsoft Office, and a half dozen or so other programs, twice. I have added a router for an extra level of security. I have reconfigured my wireless connection to my laptop. The only thing that continues to give me crap is Norton Antivirus.

I have uninstalled and reinstalled it, easily, seven or eight times. I'm through. I think it's all twisted up because our PC was preloaded with Norton Internet Security 2005, but I subsequently bought Antivirus 2006. I still have that CD and a valid product key. In January, I upgraded to 2007, running off the same product key.

Well, now, I get an error every time I try to reload the CD. The "help" scripts tell me to go ahead and download 2007, which is exactly what I want. I did, but then when I go to activate the product, it tells me the product key is invalid, even though it clearly shows on my account that it is valid through June 2008. Frankly, I think I have just tried too many times and have run out of chances.

Customer service (in India) tells me that I must have downloaded "wrong". They suggest I uninstall everything (again), reload 2006 from the CD (again), and download 2007 from an email link they sent me. I've done that repeatedly.

I have no doubt that the average customer service worker in India has a far greater education that most any of us here in the U.S. I bet those people trying to help me reinstall Norton Antivirus have well beyond my simple Bachelor's degree. I'm sure they can program me under the table. But have you ever tried to communicate a random 25 character product key to someone halfway around the globe, who has a fine grasp of the English language, but a very, very different manner of pronouncing it? It is exhausting.

When talking to a gentleman from Bangalore, we both had to resort to Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc, to communicate the letters of the alphabet. Well, I don't know all those terms, and I couldn't understand all that he was saying. I was saying "C, as in Corn Cob" and "R, as in Radish", because I didn't know any better, and he was just starting to talk louder. Finally, we both ended up laughing about it, and he put me on hold for 20 minutes to "check my account".

When he returned, he suggested I try again, and if it didn't work, I could always send an email, or call back and ask for a manager.

For crying out loud . . .

I'm finished. I'll milk the next five days out of this product until it shuts itself off, and then I'm going with McAfee.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tee Ball

TB and I had our first experience with organized Tee Ball today, as he and a dozen other first timers gathered at 6:30 for practice. Things went much as I expected, with balls flying every which way, and little scuffles for grounders. Overall, though, these little guys and gals looked pretty good for rookies. Parents were recruited as needed to help in the field, the coaches were enthusiastic, and the kids all had a great time.

I can't wait to see the games. No score is kept, and they all get to bat around each inning. My hope is just that they come to understand where to chuck the ball when it's hit to them. When you think about it, baseball can be a complicated game for a five year old.

I can't tell you how proud I am when TB puts on his Mets t-shirt. You can expect a greater frequency of sports posts once baseball season starts. The Mets are returning with a team nearly intact from last year. I predict a similar NL East finish to last year, with the Mets winning by at least ten games. We'll just ignore the pre-season standings for now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Beware The Milky Pirate

I know, this video has probably been linked a million times. Forgive me if you've seen it before. It's hilarious. I can't stop watching it.

Do you know vhy? Do you know vhy? See for yourself.

Yesterday Was A Good Day

It's after mindnight, and I've got you on my mind . . . "

That was from an old Journey song on the Evolution album. I think the song was "Just The Same Way".

Well, then. It is after midnight and yesterday was a good day. Leprechauns were all over the TB. A little St. Patrick's gelt this morning, a big parade at noon, a fantastic children's party at supper time, and then a friend with Webkins over in the evening.

In between all that, snacks, another game of foosball, and a game of chess.

My boy has a damn good life.

On the other side, I'm watching my basketball bracket fizzle and flop. Last night I was on top of the world, now I have no shot. Winthrop screwed me by beating Notre Dame (not a big surprise), and the BC loss today doomed me. Crap, just crap, I really needed that million.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cricket Chatter

A friend sent this today. Could someone translate?

I didn't understand any of it. This part made me a bit nervous:

"New ball bowler Saleem Mukuddem, who took two for 50 from his 10 overs, calmed early Bermudan nerves when he claimed the prize scalp of Jayasuriya, who hit straight to Oliver Pitcher at point."

It's like they are speaking Pirate. Arghhh, ye' scallawag, ne' scupper the mizzen mustard, I tell 'ee.

I'm The Taxman

Spent the evening crunching numbers. Finally taking care of our taxes. Exciting stuff, or what? Well, it is for us, because we are getting a heftier refund than I expected.

Even so, it's hard to trust the process. I have talked to several very intelligent people lately, all of whom have either screwed up their own taxes, had their taxes screwed up by a professional tax preparer, or had their taxes screwed up by a CPA. I'd rather screw it up myself and save the fee.

I am dying to wave a sign calling for an end to this mess, but every time I think a solution is simple and fair, I realize why it isn't. Simple and fair are in a tug o' war when it comes to our tax system. There's no way Congress can ever figure it out, so I guess we should just appreciate online filing and direct deposit. At least that adds a little speed and excitement to the whole dreadful process.

It's Tournament Time!

Here's my bracket. You know, the one that's going to win the $1 million from Yahoo. I went out on a limb with Boston College, but the rest of my final four is pretty safe.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's All On Hold, Baby

No PC problems, no foosball, no music commentary, nothin'. I'll see you in a few hours, because it's 78 degrees outside. Time to photosynthesize. JSR loves the Daylight Savings Time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Patience, A Virtue, And Next to Impossible

Just noticed my PC finally got the time right. Hopefully, that is a sign that this machine is done torturing me for awhile.

But much more importantly: the Knicks. If we ended the season today, they would be in the playoffs! I knew they could get there, but only by the misfortune of the Nets. How in the world can a team with such a bad season be in the eighth spot for the playoffs? Unreal. With less than 20 games to go, they are certainly coming around at the right time. The Eastern Conference is sad, sad, sad. But I fear the Heat. Miami is looking good.

Prediction: the Mavericks finish with the best regular season record ever, and then lose to the Clippers or some other sad Western team in the first round. The Heat make it all the way in the East, coming from a six or seven seed in the East, and then they lose to the Suns in the finals. Just a guess.

Losing a Whole Weekend

I'm about ready to go back to pen and paper. Only through the kindess of a very good neighbor can I even be online right now.

Over the past five days we have gone from a healthy PC (or so we thought), to one that wouldn't boot up, to one that I restored from a recovery DVD, to one with no protection . . . and thus began the torture of the last 24 hours.

I learned the hard way that a hardware firewall is absolutely necessary. If you are only counting on virus and spyware scanning, and then you have to restore everything and have a few hours before you can reinstall the software, well, you are screwed. It only takes a little tiny window for the demons to pounce. And even then, your anti-spyware software is only as good as what the vendor knows about.

Today, I have taken major steps to prevent this from happening again. Let's hope.

Further update in a couple days. I have a deadline looming ahead.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

10 Things Thursday

I went back over here again, because I felt like I needed to be tossed a softball. Here's the pitch:

10 Things I Think Are Crucial For Me To Be Happy. OK, here's the list of things (not people, that's another list):

  1. Sun - I'm a much better person in the Summer.
  2. Music - I can't sing and haven't played an instrument since high school, but I still like to crank it up in the car.
  3. Humor - Say something funny. Make me laugh.
  4. Weekends - I like my job, but I also like my weekends.
  5. Freedom - I value my right to come and go as I please. If that sounds cheesy, think about it.
  6. Seafood - I'm a foodie. No, actually a glutton, and most kinds of seafood are right there at the top of my list. Everything except the frozen breaded Haddock filets my mother used to buy at the Grand Union when I was a kid. Those things were from some tainted ocean.
  7. Books - because they soothe me.
  8. Mobility - both mental and physical.
  9. Diet Cola - you can't drink beer all the time.
  10. Mayonnaise - the King of Condiments

I'm pretty easy to please. LBB would disagree, but look at my list. I'm good time Charlie!

Now It's A Match

Yes! I finally tied up the tournament. We had time for only one game tonight, which I won quite handily. TB isn't sick anymore, but he was full of clever tricks and excuses. First, he tried convince me that if he slams the ball in the goal so hard that it pops out and rolls back in, he gets two points. Uh, no, that's not how it works.

Then, get a load of this: when I had him on the ropes, he claimed he was losing because his pants were too long. I didn't know you had to have special pants to play foosball.

JSR is on a roll. Now, let's see how it goes over the weekend after I've had a few orange sodas.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Losing a Whole Day

A major PC crash yesterday has consumed the last 30 hours of my life, so forgive the light and weak posting. I'm tired. I promise a hilarious rundown of my conversations with New Delhi, all of which were worthless, hopeless, and left me feeling helpless.

We are back up and running, but lingering small issues remain. Like I can't connect to my workplace, which means fix it, or shlep my tail into the office next time I go on call. And for some reason, after all was well for a few hours, IE just stopped working. I reloaded the software from our ISP, and now, here I am, but what in the world caused that problem?

Suddenly, I have no confidence in my less-than-a-year-old computer. According to the only person I got on the phone that seemed to have a clue, we experienced the modern version of the "blue screen of death". Not caused by a virus, a hardware failure, or any user dipshittitude, but by a mysterious, as yet not fully documented, bug in Windows XP. Oh, that makes me feel better.

Tied It . . . For About 20 Minutes

Yes! I finally caught up to my wheezing, streptococcal son in the never-ending tournament. It was tied for a few minutes at 26. But then, he just spanked me in the second game. He's pumped up on prednisone, so he's all super-human and emotional. After he lost the first one, the revenge hormone kicked in. Thank goodness he's only taking that stuff for one more day!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Once Again, I'm In For It

Back in the February issue of the South Roanoke Circle, I have a column about how I fear my wife might wallop me over the back of the head with a frying pan.

Well, guess what? It's worse than that. A little background:

Nine times out of ten, she does the grocery shopping , usually on Saturday morning. This despite the fact that I very much enjoy grocery shopping, but her reasons for wanting to do it are valid. First, she takes G'diddy to the store and helps him out. Second, she doesn't like taking our child to the store. I don't mind it so much, but with him and G'diddy, it can be a lot to take. So TB and I usually spend Saturday morning on a bike ride, or something fun to get the day started. Third, she thinks I forget things, or just don't buy much in order to save money, so she ends up going two days later anyway. OK, granted.

I like to get cheapo frozen meals to take for lunch during the week. I'm talking 33 cent burritos, or Michelina's 10/$10. Not a whole lot to them, but they are cheap, quick, and easy, and they get me through the afternoon. Some days, I'll admit, the call of something from the Market Building entices me to leave Michelina in the freezer 'till the next day, but usually not.

LBB sometimes goes off course and buys me Stouffer's or Marie Calendar's, if they are on sale. That's fine. A little more to them, and generally a bit more tasty than the ones I pick out.

Well, four Saturdays ago, unfortunately, G'diddy passed out in Kroger. The rescue squad came, and to make a long story short, LBB called me, I took TB to a neighbor's and I rushed to Kroger. I found the situation under control, but he was going to the hospital. LBB went with him and I finished up the shopping.

[Aside: G'diddy did bust a few ribs and spent a few days in the hospital, but he is home and on the mend.]

I combined G'diddy's piddling few groceries with ours and headed to the checkout.

I was a bit shocked when I saw laid up on top of our cart, two of these:

Good God! Those of you who know me realize that I am no wisp of a man. I have a good appetite but this is just way, way too much! I put these back in the freezer, and replaced them with a few of those burritos I referred to earlier. I never mentioned this to my wife, though.

So, the next week comes around, and LBB again goes to the store. She picked out two more of these things and brought them home this time.

Just so there is no confusion, let me point out that LBB is a vegetarian. There is no way this mess is intended for her or the boy. So this morning, I grabbed one and took it on in for lunch. Usually, I know that looking at nutrition labels will be depressing, but this time I just had to look. You know why? This really caught my eye: there is 111% daily value of sodium in one of these! Have you ever seen a one serving meal have over 100% of anything?

Let's look further: total fat, 60%. Saturated fat, 50%. Cholesterol, 35%. Carbohydrate, 26%. Looking at the finished product, I'm a bit surprised the last two were so low.

So, I submit once again that my wife is trying to do me in. But now I think she truly wants me to suffer awhile first!

Cruel Victory

I made up some ground on TB in the foosball tourney tonight, but I feel a little guilty about it. He's had this cough for a few days that doesn't slow him down, but it's obvious he's not on top of his game. At one point, I thought he was going to hack his bronchi inside out onto the table.

Yeah, he's down, but not out. I took the first game 10-1, which is nuts. Usually we have one or two point victories. Then game two, I won 10-5. I offered to call it a night, but he wanted to switch sides and keep at it. Game three, TB took the early lead and never looked back, winning 10-8, but that was all he had. I took the fourth game 10-4.

I made an excuse that it was dinner time to put an end to the suffering. I think I could have taken two more to get the overall lead, but I'd rather wait till he's at his best and talking trash at his ole' Dad. Then I'll thrash the little shrimp fair and square. Or not.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Something For Everyone

Often I wonder, just why am I posting the dull details of my life on the web for the world to see? Does anyone really care how the foosball tournament is going? But then, something like this reminds me that it really is all about the little things. Someone has actually taken the time to put up and maintain a blog all about West Virginia Hot Dogs, and it's pretty doggone (ahem, sorry) entertaining, too. So people kill time with just about anything, it seems.

Misdirected Fanaticism

This here is absolutely killing me. There was a story in today's local paper with the headline "Critics tear into Pizza Hut's Book It". For crying out loud. My son is in kindergarten, and once a month he brings home a list with six blank lines, and if he reads six books, fills in the six lines, and returns the form to his teacher, she gives him a coupon for one personal pan pizza.

Have you ever seen a personal pan pizza? It's about the size of an english muffin.

So far, since this first started in October, TB has finished his quota every month. He actively seeks out books that he can read aloud to us, and he is rightly proud when he finishes his list. He has earned five coupons, which expire a month after you get them, and we have used only one - mainly because the pizza is dreadful, but also he is barely caring about the pizza. TB is more excited about the accomplishment. So you know what? I don't care if the incentive is a heart-clogging Big Mac. Pizza Hut had a good idea. Sure, it draws people to their product, but it's helping excite kids about reading.

It's our job to monitor our child's diet, not Pizza Hut's, and certainly not the Citizens for a Commercial-Free Childhood. I'm sure they mean well, but they can just back off.

Sometimes it helps to dangle a carrot to get the process moving. In this case, TB's motivation is all about pride. I think he deserves a 4 inch pizza for that.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Pepper Fool

I removed my link to Chile Pepper magazine, because their recipe page has been "Under Construction" for months now. I've lost my patience. But I must have my portal to the pepps, so I put up a link to the Pepper Fool. There is a lot going on in there!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mean Little Trolls

It is rare that I wake up for good in the middle of the night. My sleep pathologies usually pounce the instant I turn off the lamp. Generally, I read myself to sleep: click off the light and snooze. If it isn't going to work, I know immediately. It's like my brain is on an inverse parallel circuit with the lamp and all neurons fire up at once. Light goes back on, book back open, and I try again. This used to torture me often through college and the years I lived alone. Not so much any more.

Last night, everything went well. Lamp off, day over. Then at 4AM, I woke up, had some water, laid back down, closed eyes. But then slowly, very unlike the roar of unwelcome awareness at lights-out time, the worries started to creep in one by one. Each lingered awhile, holding my focus, then slowly backed away as it greeted it's replacement. None left completely. It felt like being at a party where you are involved in a conversation, but you can still overhear and comprehend others. My demons were mingling and the party was starting to pop!

It is too late to intervene pharmaceutically, so I give up on it. So what mean little trolls are blocking my journey across the bridge?

  • Rats! It's the first of March and my car inspection sticker just expired yesterday.
  • Spring is coming, lawn care time. Should I get the mower serviced?
  • I only have six weeks to do my taxes!
  • I only have six weeks to do G'diddy's taxes! Where will I find the six minutes it takes to deal with that?
  • How hot should I make the chili for the cook-off this weekend?
  • Why isn't the Contact Me form I embedded behind the Hotties image acting exactly the way I want it to? Maybe I can try this to fix it. No, that won't work, maybe this will. Should I just delete the code until it works perfectly, or leave it since it is functional? Arggh.
  • Then there is this! I'm not talking about the underlying socio-economic issues, but the sheer biological horror of it!
  • That steak I had for dinner was really rare. How long before E. coli symptoms set in?
  • Damn! I'm out of shaving gel. I have to use soap in the morning and I'm going to shred my face like fresh parmesan.
  • When is the last time I called my mother? Call your mother, you ungrateful, long-distance, visit-three-times-a-year, no good son!
  • Then I started doing work related projects in my head. I won't bore you with that, but it was the signal to give up and get up.

    Nothing too severe, huh? Why would these things keep me awake when I'd give them barely a thought, and little worry in the morning (except the work stuff, of course)? I guess that's a mystery best left unsolved, because in reality, these trolls could be a whole lot meaner.