White Lightning Axiom: Redux: August 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



Yes, yes, once again I have abandoned you in petty preference to my own puerile interests. Something about chopping wood and cooking for the hungry masses. In any event, I will do my very best to relay every minute and mundane detail. Every kernel of corn in the Hounds poop. Every blistering pimple on my oh-so sassy behind. Every ... oh, yeah. TMI eh? No matter, it's my blog and I'll spew if I want to! Heh, let's roll back the sands of Chronos's ever dwindling sand pile and recount the events of the past few weeks.

On my last day at my previous company, pretty much everyone was on vacation. No 'fond farewell' party or luncheon of any sort. That is ok. I did get to have a Spledorifious Sake Splurge with on of my more interesting conversational co-workers: Dead-On Dan. The 'kid' started in a rhetoric field and found that CS had the money in it. Pretty bright guy, I hope he does well. Given that, I got out of the office with my last plant and then got to wait in awful traffic. Mmmm, traffic. Last time I'll have to drag my weary rear through the standard 'Bumper Sucking Love Fest'. Or so I hope.

That night, in a fit of insanity I signed myself up for Karate. Yep, I'll be entering the class with my children. I'm going to try to inspire the tyrants a bit. You know, if the old man can do it, so can they! I took the rest of the week off to take care of a few things around the Manor. Especially the Master Suite. A bit of sanding, spackle, paint and such. It's such a slow go at it. I did spend quite a bit of my time chopping wood in spite of my strange pain in my side. Later on, in the week I started to get excessive mucus production and then, for no good reason, my foot started to hurt. The Mrs and I decided to make an emergency call to the Doctor and I got an early morning appointment. Something about chest pain motivates them. I guess it's like a farmer tending to his herd. You don’t want any of your livestock to drop dead. Then the only people who will buy it are McDonalds. Anyways, it turned out to be a bunch of unrelated stuff. My blood pressure was ok; 110/78 and the EKG turned up nothing. Just too much abuse of my body and the Doc Lady told me to cool my heels for a bit. Now there is advice I can heed!

The next week at the new job. Well, let me put it this way: I WILL NOT BE DOOCED. Nope, not a word about it. One thing though, it is certainly a different experience. I think I'll grow nicely here.

Let's talk about the Labor day weekend, eh? We drove up to spend the weekend with the Grandparents and the kids were absolutely NUTS about it. To the extent that they have not stopped asking to go back every day since we returned. They have been plotting even. I know it. They think they can defeat me with their faux wailing and then switch to a double-monkey pincer attack, but my kung-fu is strong! Anyways, it was a fairly standard visit. We went to the state fair in Syracuse and watched the Belgians and Clydesdale horse competitions. Damn. Big. Horses. Jake sat perfectly still the whole time and was fascinated by their exquisite grooming. Alexis was a bit tired and thus, was very difficult at times. We visited the 4H pavilion and did some arts-n-crafts. It took some of the edge off. We did all the standard stuff. Cows, chickens, pigs, goats, etc... I threatened to buy a set of small hens with a rooster but the Mrs put her foot down. Waking at the crack of dawn to the crow of a puffed up rooster was not on her agenda. Nuts. I'll have to be content with my wood chopping and garden for now I suppose. Later, after the fair, we went to a picnic that my Big Little Brother's friend was having at his Farm. Smoked Pork and a load of other goodies. Fireworks courtesy of BLB. Apparently, he can obtain said pyrotechnics in PA with a NY license while I, a resident of PA, is forbidden to do without a class 1 fireworks permit or some other such nonsense. Jacob enjoyed them quite a bit and was attempting to describe them with simulated exploding noises and grand sweeps of his hands. It was cold enough that most of the insects were held at bay (except the Mrs managed to get bit) and the smoke from the slow-cooker or the fireworks deterred the insect feast. Not too bad. The next day, we washed the dogs and drive home. 'Nuff said. I'll try to be more eloquent next installment. And perhaps, a bit more loquacious.

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I'm hoping that this over at HomelandSecurityUS.com is baloney, but I'm thinking it may not be:


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Sneeze your lungs out

Went swimming with the Tyrants last night. Last chance before the club drains the pools for repair. This will take a week and then some I imagine. They'll probably scream bloody murder when we have to skip a few trips. Not that I have not warned them every time we go to the club that it'll be drained like their bath-tub for a bit. I'll distract them with Karate Practice (5 Punch Death Blow Training) till the next week. Then they can go back to their quest of reaching the bottom of the pool. Jake can do it one out of every 3 attempts. Alexis will be right on his tail soon enough. Kooky amphibians.

The Mrs was out late last night ... and expects the same for this evening. The last two days at my current job. I think this was deliberate so that I would not be out, getting all liquored up and wreaking havoc across the eastern seaboard. Yeah, I'm nearly positive. Might be for my own good though. Anyways, I was in charge of keeping the Twin Tyrants out of trouble last night, which given the tools at my disposal, is not entirely difficult as it used to be. Right up until I had a brain-blasting sneeze. You see, there is this flat muscle that is supposed to be layered over my rib cage ... but is tied in a wretched knot at the moment. The explosive deflation of my lungs really did a job on me. Felt like Mola Ram had done an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom move on me. I was incapacitated for nearly 30 minutes. Couldn't breath or whimper. This was the opening the kids were waiting for. All the yogurt they could handle was theirs for the taking. Except ... they needed Daddy to open the end of the sleeves. The universe is starting to take notice of my kids ... and thwart them. Excellent.

Since the universe did not have it's fill of antagonizing the Haupertonain Empire Subjects, it played a cruel joke on me this morning. I get up to let the Mastodon Hounds out to wreck the back-50 and notice something odd down at the end of the driveway. The plastic/glass recycling is spread all about the street. Huh? When I go to investigate I find that someone had run OVER the recycling bin and smashed it to pieces. One giant tire track was imprinted on the largest fragment. Swell. I got to spend a big chunk of my morning collecting the recyclables with the knowledge that they are probably going to end up in a garbage dump anyways. Sigh ... I learned too much from Penn and Teller.

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Monday, August 21, 2006


Car,train,ambulance, no plane

Mmmm, Friday night was full of delicious wood chopping. NOT! I think I managed to fill the wheel-barrow once or twice before I threw in the towel. Of course, it was preceded by running behind a searing hot lawnmower. I should have thrown a couple of burger patties on the damn thing first. At least I would have the feeling that I was in pursuit of a worthy goal. Mmmm, ground red meat. Extra juicy. Ah, but as usual, I digress. In most places, the pastoral expanse looks like a beige carpet of tinder. One stray spark and it would sear millions of acres. Of course, that would mean less mowing ... hmmm. Brilliantly, I lit up my last cigar and went to town. Alas, I was too careful and nothing was ignited.

It's 0230 Saturday morning and Jake is invading our bed again. Not that I would usually mind on the weekend. I need the sleep though. This nagging stitch in my side is making sleep quite elusive and we have a trip planned to NYC. Instead of subjecting my already semi-battered frame to more abuse, I retire to the basement and restlessly toss till the Somewhat Irritated Mrs eventually comes down and kicks me in the chops as a wake-up call. Heh, you can't be noble all the time, you know. Lets move along and speed up the time-line a bit. We evacuate the Manor at 0930, get to the rotting shelter they call a train station by 1000. Of course, SEPTA does not have a train arriving till 1030 so we spend the next half an hour explaining why the train is not here or why passing AMTRACK trains are not stopping for us. Every 30 seconds. Jacob is right on track from admittance to the American Social Populace. Once on the train though, he was dead silent. Completely inert. Ahhh, the fascination of boys with trains. It's magic I tell ya. It took us a bit of time to get to Trenton. Not that we were in any great hurry to get to ... Trenton. Yes, Trenton. What Trenton Makes, the World Takes. Kinda whiny, eh? Switch trains and hear complaints from Jacob that the train is not moving the second we board. Arrive Penn Station, NYC at 1215 and run off to board a subway. Jake is having his BEST. DAY. EVAR! Three trains and no end in sight. It's like he's gone to the promised land. After feasting at the cornucopia of trains, we meet up with the BIL's girlfriend before heading off to the The MIL. She is doing much better now and has been transferred to an assisted living home while she recovers from the cancer treatments. Right now, she is 75 pounds shy of nothing so the process of putting a bit of weight on her is a priority now. She never had much muscle weight so it's going to be an uphill battle. Having the Mrs and Kids stop by was certainly a big morale boost though. The BIL's girlfriend visits her on behalf of the BIL a couple times a week since he is in Boston getting his Ministerial Degree right now. Tough spot for everyone, but, as usual, things in the Haupertonain Realm of Reality is getting better all the time. The kids got to spend a bit of time with both Paw-Paw and the BIL's girlfriend, but what really exhausted them was tramping all about Lower Manhattan. At the end of the day, we took a Subway back to Penn, then a train to Trenton and finally SEPTA (ever notice South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority is nearly spelled 'septic') back to Cornwell Heights. The manor (and the lonesome hounds) greeted our weary souls at 2145. A rather full day. Here are the photo's to prove it:

Jake Marveling at NJ Transit's efficiency

Alexis with Bird's eye view of Penn Station

Jake Admiring the High-Tech Environment of NYC

New Yakers have a funny Alphabet

Where is all the Grit and Grime?

MDMHVONPA ponders bio-sensitive NYC Pothole Patch Technology.

View from Manhattan Mall.

Needful Things

God is Not Dead.

Subway Experience Fulfilled

Sunday, as nearly every Sunday should be, was nominally dull. Right, who am I kidding? Everything went well till the Wonder Tyrants were separated. Initially, I was in charge of Jake while the Maternalistic Mrs when shopping with Alexis cum Attila. It was all fun and games for Jake and I as we pounded in unison on the keyboards. Jake at Disney/Nickelodeon and myself at Civ/Blogger. All fun and games I tell ya. Him printing a dozen pictures (how did he learn that!) and me letting the XP virus melt my brain. Then the Mrs arrived home early. Alexis had tossed her lunch of MacDonalds sawdust and Soylent Green ... in Target. The girl has taste, I tell ya. No upchuck for Wallmart or KMart. Save that for the upscale establishment worthy of a good regurgitation. Bath, polish and switch-a-roo. Jake goes off with Mommy to scout out some 'Race car yogurt' while the littlest tyrant and I fend the Manor from the barbarian onslaught of 'civilization'. Jake had to have the yogurt with the new Pixar movie characters from 'Cars', you know. Completely different than the Scooby Do yogurt. Yep. Brand loyalty at 4 ... there are mind control drugs in those yogurt sleeves I tell ya. I'm jealous I did not think of it first. So, I wave the Mrs and Jake off, making sure that the Anti-Missile/Idiot Defense System with cold-fusion ECM package is enabled before they hit the Mean Streets of Bucks County. Then I see it ... taunting me. The yellow handle of the splitting maul jutting up, as to infer that I have a cowardly yellow streak. No, that will not stand I say! So I amble over and yank it from the block of stubborn wood that I embedded it into ... right next to the singing sword Excalibar. Chop ... chop ... chop ... time fades into the background. Then, be it 30 seconds or 30 minutes I cannot say, I hear the rattling of the airlock latch. Oh, yeah, Alexis has figured out that I am AWOL. With her best practiced Abandoned Orphan look, she beseeches me to allow her to say outside with me and help. Okay, sure. Here is a 2 lb hammer, go beat on that lump of wood over there while Oblivious Daddy finishes up this load. Then we'll go in and do some computer hacking. Pull on my gloves, (thonk) ... she hits the wood once. Lift up the maul, (Blood Curdling Scream of horror) ... what? Instead of hitting the wood, she has laid the full force of her blow on her index finger. Oh, God. She is screaming as if it were the end of all bunnies in the universe. For daddy, it was. Her finger was misshapen and immediately starting to swell. Broke? Mangled? No, wait. I drop the maul and sprint into the house ... to grab a paper towel and a few cubes of ice. Quick ... methodical ... it's all you now Dad. One bit of ice for the misshapen digit, one for the sobbing mouth. Into the Car ... buckle, double-check ... Emergency room route; mental pre-programmed destination; contingency plan Alpha; engage. The Higher brain shuts down and Animal brain moves to take control. Time distorts, space bends ... speed limit OBEYED and we are exiting the Super Saturn POS at the emergency room. Keys in ignition, engine running ... we are already inside negotiating admission. Panic Rising in daddy ... Alexis; Cucumber is a hot tamale in comparison. Her right index finger is purple and has an impossibly engorged 'fat belly'. I want to vomit. Two hours later, we are playing 'whisper' and she is getting the lion's share of "aw, she is so CUTE!" looks from the various medical denizens of Abington (read: Government experimental lab-52) Emergency Center. I'm thinking that I need to call the Mrs before she gets home, but we are escorted to the Radiology (XRay) ward where three shots of her impossibly small hand are taken. Daddy holds the lead vest over her and sucks up all the extra gamma radiation. I can take it. We watch as the images pop up on a screen much too quickly. A quick glance from one of the technicians give me a lift ... there is no saddend look or grimace of "oh, that one is going to have to come off". At worse, it appears to be a simple crushing bruise. Within a few minutes, the Attending confirms my conclusion and fits Alexis with a splint to keep her from banging it about. My need to call the Uninformed Mrs rears it's head as I reach for my phone only to realize that I had left it in the now conspicuously absent vehicle. Talking to the Valet Staff (Yes, the emergency room has valet parking. High-Brow!), they know who I am and will bring the car around ASAP. Which means about 3 days because they parked it in Toledo. Along with the cell phone that has been ringing non-stop with calls from the Mrs. She had, again, come home earlier than expected. There are about 2000 missed calls on the phone and I check NONE of them before calling the Panicked Mr's phone. She picks up on the 1st ring, like she was expecting a call or something. I blurt out that everything is ok and we are all ok. 'Where!?', We are just leaving the Hospital, Alexis hurt her finger. We are heading home as I speak. 'Why!?' It's a long story, we'll be home shortly. 'Oh, good. I have the emergency room on the other line and they don't know if you are there or not.' Heh ... who could miss us? It was a rough day for Alexis, but she got some of Jake's Race-Car Yogurt.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006



Linda at BrainCheese (hmmm, Quantum Leap?) is trying to flank me. Ohhhh, I hates them Mices to pieces when they do that! It's ok though, I'll get her and her little kitty too! You see, her Quote-Fu is strong, but no match for my Passing Winds Triple Oral Flatulance of DOOOOM! And frankly my Linda, I don't give a damn. You'll certainly need a bigger boat to take me on! Game over man, GAME OVER!.

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Friday, August 18, 2006



It's a political writing. Not for the weak of stomach. It reminds me of November 8, 1965. It's subtext scares the living shit out of me.

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More Swimmin' wit bowlegged wimmen...

More tales from the Kingdom of Dulldom. Yesterday, I spent enough time with the victim of my knowledge transfer (here forth referred to as the Brain Puke). He was appreciative to a creepy degree. I pointed out examples and potential pitfalls. I incurred the wrath of the spirits of hard-core programming by elaborating short-cuts and invoking 'It was hard to write, it should be hard to read' incantation when asked of the state of documentation. When you have finished coding the same module more than 4 times in various configurations before the dust has settled around the user requirements you are bound to have some artifacts lingering about.

Afternoon Escape: Swim with kids for an hour or so. Flippers, fins and gills are starting to emerge as we start to evolve (devolve?) to water-bound creatures. We had to get out of the AcidPit of Doom after the Water Aerobics Ancients showed up to purge the pool of all below the age of 65. Damn AARP. The lap pool was freezing cold and we only lasted about 30 minutes before the blue lips parted to display chattering teeth. The Tyrants jumped right in but it took the old man a few minutes to wade into the iceberg infested waters. We tried our hands at diving to the bottom to retrieve objects, but it was a hit-or-miss endeavor so the frustration cut the activity short. I got a bit tired of searching for the durned sunken Greek Trimere myself. Out of the pool, dry, dress and head home for pizza. Mmmm, American Cuisine.

I attempted to split wood but found myself floundering in my own sweat and exhaustion. No good could come of my half-hearted attempts so I just took what I had already split and stacked it behind the Manor next to the Kennel Entrance. That will be the first batch of wood to be burnt so I'll need to cover it with a tarp ASAP to give it a chance of drying out. Once winter rolls in (Late Nov, Early Dec in Pennsyltucky), it should be just right. The remainder of the unsplit wood will end up at the perimeter of the Outer Wilds of the Haupertonian Empire. I'll get the Mrs to snap a few panoramic pics of it so I can show the extent of it. It's a bit like the Great Wall of China, except the wood stacks are actually visible from space.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006


Late Blogging 'Effort'

Okay, the POS Super Saturn got a 7th chance yesterday. After replacing nearly everything that I drove it in with, it is now some sort of pseudo-cyborg Super Saturn. I'm pretty sure there are 17th century wooden cogs in it now. Right next to the hyper-kinetic cold fusion drive with the duct-tape containment chamber. The steering is done by wire, like the 1950's aircraft. Noisy as one too. No doubt, I'll be driving this car for the next 10 years ... augmented with solar panels and a veggie-oil converted.

The Twins have graduated. Last night was the last swimming class for the session and they have moved to Super Secret Code Blue Level 3 Aquatic Combat Training - Stealth Mini-Frogmen. Yes, the 4 year old battle hardened buggers have shown that they could swim the river Styx, blow Beelzebub's fortress all to smithereens and get away without being detected. Next class in a few weeks will be later in the day which will give me a bit of breathing room before I need to whisk them off to the pool. For more combat training ... with extended underwater mine-planting techniques. I'll have to check the shower from now on to make sure they have not snuck in under cover of darkness. Probably a good idea to check the toilet bowl and tank too.

Last few days of work: sucky. Lots of non-destructive and mundane work assignments. Documentation and software design engineers mix like Sunnis and Shiites. Read: not so good. Throw in a Wahhabist or two and it's a real party. My work usually does not involve high explosives, gunplay or beheadings ... but that would certainly make it easier.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006



I was going to blog about how we went swimming last night since the Karate Classes were cancelled for the week. I was going to talk about how the family ate out last night and Alexis nearly ate everything on the table. I was going to talk about how I stayed up much too late last night. I was going to lie about how wonderful I felt this morning and how I could not possibly have the flu or some sort of Lyme Disease. Then there was the idea that I could spin a tale as to why it took me over an hour to get to work this morning in the rental car since the POS Super Saturn is still in the shop. I'm just not in a good frame right now to be titillating. How disappointing.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The house of 6 work days

Standard Dull Monday Evening. Other than dropping off the POS Super Saturn at my Uber Mechanic's shop, nothing of real note. The Mrs did show up at swimming just as the lessons were starting. That gave me the opportunity to drop off the car and walk back to the manor. It's a short walk ... just under a half mile or so. It's nice to be able to make that kind trek if need be. I should really get out and walk/jog/run in the morning. Yeah, right, and monkey will fly out of my butt. It's not that I don't like physical exertion or have any disdain for exercise ... I just don't have the bandwidth. If I could squeeze an extra hour or two into my days, I would probably spend it sleeping. Yeah, even I can be a real slug sometimes.

After dinner, we let the kids play on the Sublevel-A7 Supercomputers for an hour or so. Crafty little buggers, the Tyrants. We'll have to keep an eye on their activities with the computers ... don't want to have to admit to anyone that I, a 15 year Computer Consulting Veteran, was outsmarted by a Pre-K youngling. They are not going to get the best of me yet. Well, at least not until they are through Kindergarten.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006


Weekend Update 20060812-14

Saturday morning, 0730. I'm on the road to go to an appointment. A pre-screen for my new job. A drug test. Yeah, you know, because I'm a HUGE crack-heroin-pot consumer. Really, I have not had a cigar or a drink in days. Just a formality and all, my new job involves some work with the government. Don't they all? Anyways, I finally found the place where the test would be administered at roughly 0815. I got a bit lost along the way because I forgot that Bustleton Pike is NOT the same as Old Bustleton Pike. They do cross and I had apparently driven on OBP for 2 years straight many moons ago. Unfortunately, the location where I was destined to end was not accurately marked with street signs. At this location, OBP is also known as Welsh Road. Whatever. I made my grand entrance with a rather full bladder only to find 30 other folks haplessly doing their own versions of the 'Pee-Pee Dance' while awaiting their opportunity to show the end results of a healthy lifestyle. Let us flash forward TWO HOURS. Yes, 120 minutes of me desperately trying to think of something else other than raging waterfalls of bubbling aquariums. Reading the Ayn Rand book 'Fountainhead' was not much help. They finally call my name (mangled pronunciation, but yet, every other Indian, Chinese and Outer Mongolian was uttered with precise diction) and I scurry to the back room. By that time, my molars were floating and my eyes were a malaria shade of manilla. I was about to start crying tears of urea when they handed me a thimble and asked me to 'Fill this to the 1/10th line if you can'. Lady, I'll give you 50 decaliters if you want. On a divergent topic from a previous comment to a previous post: this. Back to the pee test: I spend a whopping 5 minutes in the back room and wrap up by signing, initialing and such with my usual nom de plume-de-plume scribble. Off and out. Two hours to take a 5 minute test. I would be 'pissed' if I did not arrive back at the manor to find the Mrs and Tyrants happily munching away at the kitchen table still in their pajamas. I chuckle at the absurdity of my disgruntled attitude and go out to chop wood.

All in all, it was a nice Saturday. The kids played in the sand pit while I stack/chop wood. Every so often, the Tyrants come over and administer my stacking efforts. I learned that I was picking the wrong pieces of wood to stack and that my stacking was much too high. Oh, what a fool I have been! In the process of showing me how to perform my task, Alexis got a tiny sliver in her hand. When Asked to show me her wound, I quickly plucked it from her skin as I was feigning a kiss. My fingers may be numbed and bumbling but the chompers are quit nimble. Looking at her hand, Alexis saw that the sliver had melted away through the magic of Daddy's healing kiss. She looked up at me in astonishment and, when realizing that the boo-boo was gone, broke into a wide grin and traipsed off to the sand-pit leaving Daddy to his sliver-endangered work. Ahhh, it's the 15 seconds of Hero-Worship that makes the hours of soul numbing admonishment worth it.

Sunday morning, church. I got through an hour+ service and the kids did not get out of hand for once. Must have been the Grace of God because I was certain that I would pay for my arrogance. I wanted the Mrs to have the freedom to go get a haircut while I juggled that Tyrants ... knowing full well that I was tempting (taunting?) fate. Later on, she did a bit of shopping after we had returned from Mass. She got a good 2+ hours of 'alone' time and that is always good for the soul.

While the Mrs was out replenishing her energy levels, I needed to distract the Tyrants enough to let them forget about their usual destructive/conquest mentality. The first thought was to make the trek across the street and greet our new neighbors. The neighborhood is turning over right now. Older folks with fully grown children (married, kids, divorce, move back in, move out again) are leaving the area for smaller, more tax-friendly homes. Good thing/bad thing. Bad in that we are loosing a 'tax base' and gaining more children to over fill the already burdened schools - good in that we have people moving in with a greater desire to put down roots in the community ... and bring in kids for our Tyrants to play (read: rule over) with. Nice enough folk, the new neighbors. Young daughter of 15 ... upset about the move. Younger son of 8 who is apparently small for his age. Coming back to the area after a 20 year absence ... from of all places, Rochester NY. Heh, the collegic stomping grounds of the Formerly Unwed Wild Mrs and I. Well now, I'll have to break out the Country-Sweet sauce and see if I can cobble up a serving of Speedies ... and make outings to the new Wegmans. That should make the transition a bit more easy for the transplanted neighbor kids. Probably the adults too.

For the rest of the day, I chopped wood and then set up the small pool for the kids. The part they enjoyed the most was spraying the dogs with the hose on the deck. Heh, not much of a bath but it required no effort from me other than pumping up the pool. By the time the pool was full though, they were ready to come in ... both the kids and the Mastodons. The kids were granted access, the dogs not so. They needed to air-dry a bit before the Manor could accept them. Nothing worse than Odor of Wet Dog on a hot summer's afternoon. They were exhausted from running away from the kids so they complained little.

Sunday evening came too quickly. The children spent an awful long time in the basement at the super-computer banks. They are exhibiting a skill level that is quite frightening. I swear that they opted in on the implant program at their ReEducation/Day Care center. I'm just waiting for my first email from either of them complete with 3l337e 56e@k. Fear their skillz. Alexis was rather adept with her mouse control, even if she was using her right hand. Right now, they are monopolizing the computers set up as servers, but as soon as we make some space, well set up 2 more console computers for them and they'll be able to customize them. I'll have to make sure we set up admin accounts to keep track of what they are up to though. Skynet will not be birthed on our network.

It's Monday. My body aches from my renewed lumber-jacking endeavors. I have a migraine from not sleeping well. I'm late to work, whatever it may hold for me today ... and the brakes on my POS Super Saturn are failing. Yep, it sure is a Monday.

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Friday, August 11, 2006


Light Traffic

The universe knows that I pulled a slick move on it. The outside temperature was 65 this morning. Yes, 65 outside, 75 inside. I got going after we managed to pry a still exhausted Jacob from his bed. Neither of the Tyrants got out of bed last night. I was still happily sleeping at 0615 this morning before Alexis cried out for someone to help her with the morning bathroom pilgrimidge. On top of all that bliss, there was a very light traffic load on the turnpike. The universe is trying to lure me back into my old rut. Nope, not going to happen. My path has deviated and I'll blazing a new trail soon enough.

Many of my workmates are being quite nostolgic since the notice of my departure was announced. I dredged the slew of memories from the muck of yesterdays and spun some rather amusing tales. Over the years, about 75 or so folks have worked for the Company. Right now, I have personal knowledge of 73. Now the fact that the legends that I conjure up are half fiction does not surprise anyone. Like all good myths, I like to make sure that there is a seed of truth ... a kernel of fact ... that makes debunking my lore more of an adventure of discovery than a task of proof.

Speaking of tasks, Jake got a little taste of 'Crime and Punishment' at karate practice Thursday night. You see, at the beginning of practice he leaned over and SPAT on the practice mat. Ohhhh, the red flags went up and the hammer came down. For the whole practice, he was paired with the Master's son ... also a Black Belt ... for the explicit purpose of doing calesthenics. The whole hour; jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, sit-ups and running in place. He soon found out what it means to get a cramp. Having a gut full of milk to start with did not help much either. We did not have him burn a phoenix (鳳凰) on one forearm and a dragon (虯) on the other, but Grasshopper is learning what respect and obedience means. Oddly enough, he did not give up at any time inspite of the simpering and wailing. Persistent little bugger, he is. His sister, by they way, was practicing her forms the whole time and seemed rather unpreturbed about his predicicament. That, and she did her forms very well to boot. Salt for the wounds. Later on, she enjoyed telling the Understanding Mrs what Jacob had done when he balked at explaining himself. He's not quite there yet when it comes to the temporal mechanics of cause-effect ... but his sibling certainly does. As long as the pendelum is not swinging above her head!

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Wednesday News - Thursday Mews

I'm a bit addled of late. This has complicated my blogging, as you have noticed. Let me go back to Tuesday afternoon. Back, baack ... waaaaay back. I had just arrived to pick up the Tyrannical Twins from the ReEducation/Interment center for their Ninja/Karate/5 point Death Blow practice. Jake is a bit cranky after apparently having a rough day. Daycare, the toughest job you'll have . Anyways, he was busy coloring when I arrived and I conducted him off to the Boy's room so he would pee now instead of 3 times during practice. After much discussion and a grand flourish of washing one's hands after playing with the septic devices, we returned to find the media and crayons being put away. He immediately melted down. I mean BIG TIME TEMPER TANTRUM. I have never seen him do this. It was surreal. It was as if some strange beast had usurped my son's body and was contorting it into a wretched shadow of his former self. I bent over and picked him up, all the while explaining to him that he could color later at home ... with his own books and crayons. Wow, I caved in. What happened to both of us!?

Later on after a good practice, Jake eats well and runs off to play, completely oblivious to the events earlier in the evening. The Mrs has come back from NYC so all is as it should be in his world. So quickly are transgressions forgotten in his reality. I think that the folks over in the Middle East (and closer to home) should take a page from his book.

Alexis, the Future Adjunct Commissioner of LatinAmerica/Cuba has run into another epidermis issue. It seems that somehow the Day Care Professionals have put the wrong sunblock on her. After a week of absurd heat, the day that was cool enough was the day the rash started. I gave a dictate that from henceforth, she will not have any lotion of any sort applied to her. Her skin is tinted just enough to tolerate a little sun (unlike her Morlock brother), but sensitive enough that a hint of whatever toxic poison they are applying to the other children (agent Orange?) causes her to break out in a horrid itching rash. We do not have this problem when we apply her 'special lotion' so I can only assume that one bottle is used on all the kids no matter what we supply. Urgh.

Wednesday morning, I resigned from my job. Yep, 2 weeks notice. I spoke to the CEO and his Wife, the VP about it and they were sad to see me go. After 10 years at the same company, it was getting to be about that time. The new job pays a bit more, is closer to home, has 401K matching, free use of the executive harem, relaxed dress code, stock options, blah-blah-blah ... and NO TURNPIKE. I would turn in all the other benefits so long as I do not have to sit through another morning of chewing on some-ones exhaust pipe, wailing away as the hours slip by and I sit still on that asphalt purgatory. Even this morning, a semi had turned over on the ON-Ramp that I use, effectively blocking me from getting underway for a good 30 minutes. Not that the truck was blocking the road, just all the mindless lemmings who had to slow down and survey the damage. Stop, get out, take pictures, smell the fumes, taste the oil spilled on the ground. Only then, when satisfied, would they get going and behave like blithering idiots. Fickle twits that they are, they then tailgate and rush about because they are late ... hoisted upon their own pretards! Relaxxx ... count to 10 .... ahhh, yes.

As for the job thing, I'm a bit sad to leave behind the people and accomplishments that have consumed a quarter of my life. The accident last month brought about an epiphany for me though. It was time to move along. To spend more time teaching the kids morals. Helping them build character and skills for use in their lives. All the money we sock away and all the hours I spend cursing at traffic does little for them if I'm not there. No. This life is not mine, it is God's. He gave it not for my enjoyment, but to build a better world for others. It belongs to my wife and children. Should I have another accident, the vaults of cash from the insurance will do little for them when then need to be hugged after scraping their knee. After Alexis meets her first boy, who better to explain why he hit her and ran away. When the Mrs needs to unload after a bad day at work I can absorb the punishment better than the psyche of the kids. And those damn dogs ... who would let them lick a pair of stinky feet. Even worse, if I were left behind with heaps of blood money would it sooth my pain as I remember nothing but a long commute and exhausted evenings. No. Time to move along.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Monday blues, Tuesday dues

The swimming instruction on Monday evening was a trial for the kids ... and myself. Somehow, the club managed to replace the water with .99 Molar hydrochloric acid. The chlorine level was so high, my calloused and grizzled eyes started to sting within minutes of getting in the pool. An awful experience for all, including the instructors. We had arrived an hour before the lesson and was witness to the howls of the younger ones in the previous class as their eyes liquefied before their horrified parents. Half-way through the class, the younglings gave up. Half way though our class, the instructors found that children in pain learn very little. They decided to move to the larger, less chlorinated lap pool. Colder, but not as environmentally hostile. I know why they keep that pool on the EPA superfund list, but I think that the elderly and young have more bladder control than they give credit for.

Back at the Manor, we caught the Mrs before she was about to head off to NYC. Of course, my intention of bathing the kids immediately upon our arrival made her miss the train she was expecting to catch. Alexis was suffering from a rash again and a nice, cool bubble bath was in order. Indeed, her alacrity for the base solution was just what the doctor ordered. Having them bathe before dinner made the evening so much easier for me. The bubbles washed away their machinations, their petulant behavior and the omnipresent combative belligerence. It was a trap into which they lured me and I drank deeply of the cool-Aid. That night, after falling into a blissful slumber, I was up at 0045, 0245 and 0430 before finally heaving my unrested hulk to the hall bathroom to wash the angst of a tumultuous night from my mind. I ended up running 15 minutes late after dropping off the WELL RESTED TYRANTS at the Day Care/Interment/ReEducation center. And yes, traffic at that time had plenty of opportunity to absorb maximum suckiness. Apparently, there was an accident on I76 near the city which backed up going west till it got to the Blue Route called I476. I do not drive on these roads. However, I476 backed up to I276 which I DO use and the backup went right to my friggen driveway. Well, at least past the place on the turnpike that is adjacent (with no on-ramp mind you) to where the Manor is located. Argh just does not cover the bumper sucking love fest that is and will always be till the end of time, the PA Turnpike.

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Monday, August 07, 2006


Weekend Update 20060805-6

I was expecting my parents on Saturday morning/afternoon. When the Mrs asks about the anticipated arrival of our saviors, I tell her the same. As I rest my world-weary head, the phone rings. It's the Grandparents. Apparently they are hurdling down the NorthEast Extension at near light speed and are anticipating being on our door step within an hour. Heh ... best laid plans of men and mice. No matter, we are more than happy to supply the twins with additional targets of opportunity. And so it commenced. The Twin Tyrants were up till 2300 hours and were starting to show it. The frantic hyperactivity was just a means by which they could stay awake. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a kinetic dynamo tends to be a child up past their bed time. Indeed, at a painfully early hour of 0730 the next morning they were busily planning their assault on the Grandparents sleeping arrangement. Ahhh, the vigor of youth. Although, I do feel a bit bad for the Grandparents ... then I fall back to sleep. Guilt? I'll deal with that later. As it turns out, the kids wedged themselves between the Grandparents and went back to sleep for a few hours. Heh, I guess that is what it's all about.

The Mrs was going to make the pilgrimage to NYC on her own instead of with her co-worker/friend ... than again, not. Later in the day, she chose to remain within the security of the Manor. She has the right to change her mind ... and this is why my weekend schedules are highly fluid. Low viscosity is good for the active lifestyle.

The rest of the weekend is fairly standard for most, but quite the accomplishment for me. Super Dad helped me weed, mow, edge and till the garden. I got to pull up a bag of onions that were finally ready. We chopped wood till we have finished nearly half of the load. In the heat we were enduring, that is a monumental task. Oh, and we went to church. Super Mom cooked and cooked and cooked and kept the twins out of way of the lumberjacks. Muchly underrated, that deed.

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Friday, August 04, 2006


Pigeon Hole

I made my daily trek back to the Manor a bit earlier than normal this Fabulous Friday. I had good intentions to mow the pastoral expanse but like hell, the yard was paved with SEARING HOT MAGMA! Nope. Not doing it. Wouldn't be prudent. That and I got a call from the Pleasingly Protective Parental Units of the Grand Variety. They were considering a visit provided that we had no other plans. Wellll, this was a prime opportunity for the Mrs to Escape TO New York City. Snake Pliskin, you are a wuss. She is going to go Stag and leave me back at the Manor and not feel guilty about it. Good for her. It'll give me the chance to do a bit of gardening too. Maybe I'll mow the lawn nekkid ... give the neighbors a show. Naw, Super Mom would lay into me with a hickory switch. Would be justified too. Besides, I would probably end up in the Emergency room with some manner of dismembership.

I'm thinking that it would be an excellent time to dig up a few onions and maybe haul the Grandparents to Sesame Place. You know, because all the skin has not been seared off my body. And because I got lambasted by Lei ... I'm committing to not wearing socks either.

Last night, Alexis woke up for a pee session. I was much too tired to negotiate with her and she ended up in the Good Ship Dreamy Slumber between the Mrs and I. Of course, that immediately reduced the grand liner to a warbling sloop named the 'Bruised Kidney'. Not much later, Jake bumbled in and crowded out the Mrs ... and Me shortly after that. Given that short story made long ... I'm tired and not entirely amusing. I hope to get some sleep tonight though. I'm going to hide in the basement. Probably sleep under the desk ... on a cold concrete floor. MMmmmmm ... cold.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006



Long, dull day trying to get locked files out of source control and fighting with VB.Net data grid style objects. They are worse than Hamas/PLO/Hizbulla when it comes to rational cooperation. Little bastard missiles of error windows, aborting my form. True, False, 1, 0, Null ... argh. A change in the weather would mean a lot to me right now. The Mrs is talking about a trip to NYC soon ... just to meet the grandparents. Mostly, to catch Ghun-Ghun (Grandpa in Cantonese ... Butchered) before He goes to China. It's going to rain this weekend so we might just do it.

When I got the manor last evening, after braving the lemming exodus that the turnpike has become, I found no rabbit in the trap. I checked the device and after loosing a few fingers, I determined that the hair trigger on the laser mincing mechanism was operating within mil-spec. So I moved the trap to were the most damage was occurring and went on to pick some cabbage and tomatoes. The Mammoth Hounds were dutifully overseeing my efforts but were quickly subdued by the heat. Nothing like wearing a woolen coat in 100+ temps. Looking about the back-50, I made a mental note that I need to clean up the mounds of used dog-food. I mark each pile with a little orange flag so I can spot it at night when I let them out. Nothing like planting your bare feet in an ankle deep pile of fermented canine excrement. With all the little flags, I have let it go for the week and now the yard looks like a Bosnian minefield. Little orange flags marking each potential mis-step.

The rest of the evening was committed to the Tumultuous Twins of Turpitude. It's karate night and Jake is none to fond of being told what he can and cannot do. He wants to kick, he wants to punch and he wants to kiss the girls to make them cry. Master Ken is not subject to his wiles. I spoke to him briefly about Jakes recent bad habit of demonstrating his skills on his classmates. Ken laid into him and let him know that it is for DEFENSE. Offense comes later in Ninja Academy. Afterwards, we spoke of other, more trivial matters. Like accidents and the 2 year timer that results in a lawsuit. The full-tort option on PA insurance is a sham in that anyone seems to be able to sue for anything up to 50K ... which forces it to a binding arbitration rather than an actual trial. These ambulance chasers and their fodder use this to hijack the system. We both are reaping the rewards of a cannibalistic modern society populated by looters and opportunistic predators. We both seem to share the ideology of Shakespeare ... "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".

Practice ends. I, learning my lesson from last week, order the pizza 30 minutes early and give them precise instructions as to the time I will be there to pick it up. At 1910, I will get my pizza. Period. It is hot and ready for me when I arrive. Not like last time and there are no excuses. I am there, the pizza is there, the cc reader is working and the transaction is completed. I tip them even though it is not a standard requirement. Just as a elegant way of knowing that good service means repeat business and happy customers. Ahhh, demand driven markets. To assuage my relationship with the universe, the Mrs took it upon herself to remove most of the dog poo from the back yard. This is rare and quite a treat for me. It's sad when the high-point of your day revolves around dog feces.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Boiling again

No less than accidents on tpk going in The other morning .. only took me an hour to get to work though. I'm not sure, but I think that some people are driving slower in fear that they may have to get out of the car. This would cause them to burst into spontaneous combustion, of course.

At work the fire alarm went off again.
A few fire trucks and emergency vehicles showed up. It was the elevator sensors again. Ever since the power outage, the elevators have been a little peculiar. Like some bad SciFi flick, I almost expect them to start consuming the riders. Heh, I'm on the 1st floor so I've never been in them. Nearly 5 years in this building and I've never gone further than the bathrooms down the hall ... unexplored territory. Back to the fire alarm thing ... the inhabitants of this 4 story complex all had to scurry forth from concrete and glass bunker. Our hermetically sealed, environmentally contained habitrail that keeps us from withering in the heat of late. Indeed, as we burst forth like a gaggle of vampires, the sun rained down white hot horror. A grueling 30 minutes later, we slither sluglike off the boiling asphalt to let the cool air of the HVAC enriched ambiance. Just took a few hours to get all the sweat to evaporate. Ick.

I was asked to set up a projector and a server unit for an 0800 meeting ... agreed to do it and remembered that I really could not do that. I forgot that the Mrs is off to NYC and I have dropoff duty yesterday morning. It was all rush-rush-rush. Managed to get it done and then got to sit through a 4 hour meeting .... without coffee. Argh. Later in the day, the Mrs shows up at the bi-weekly swimming session. I got the kids into the drink at 1700 and I messed about with them till their lesson started at 1745. The Mrs looked on and agreed to dress them and bring them home afterwards. I take off when lesson starts and pick up lo-meign for dinner. I love Wednesdays ... the kids eat their dinner with little prompting.

One more mundane tid-bit: I had to scare off a rabbit that was be-heading my carrots and squash. I put out a live trap but I'm not holding out much hope. I think he is trapped in the back-50. I sealed the borders and he may have squeezed in, but feasted upon the bounty of the Haupertonian Agricultural Sector to a point where he is now too corpulent to get out. He better hope I catch him before the local hawks do. While I was out there, dripping with sweat due to the strenuous activity of contemplating a horrible death for the pest, I collected a few undisturbed veggies. Mmmm, fresh carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers ... we will soon have watermelons and pumpkins too.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Bonus Pic

Just Jake, wooing the girls.
Originally uploaded by mdmhvonpa.

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Unmanned attack drones

Once again, I've used up all my spoons a went on a deficit spending spree. Will I ever learn. (That's a rhetorical question, the answer is an absolute No.) In any event, with no further delay or a due, we shall relate the trial and tribulations of a Haupertonain weekend. Another page in the Haupertonain Journals. It is Saturday, ergo, the Twin Tyrants of Turpitude awaken at 0630 sharp. As sharp as their elbows in my solar plexus as they plow into my sleeping hulk beneath the sweat soaked sheets. It's a good thing though. I am to put the 500 lb of prepared raw baby-back ribs on the natural gas grill for their 4.5 hour cooking marathon. You see, we have a little shindig over at YCOP Alex's house today and I volunteered to bring the patented melt-in-your-mouth ribs with a custom mix of 4 sauces. Yes, 4 hours, 4 sauces, 16 kinds of yummy-in-the tummy. That's because 4 squared is 16 for all you numerologically inclined. The 50$ of ribs cook to perfection while I run out and grab 3 (no, not 4) cases of beer and the Mrs preps the kids. Alex has a pool and we expect the little Water-World-Wannabees to be in the drink for the whole 7 or so hours. While I'm at it, I also have my 2 propane tanks filled at the local lpng retailer. Cost me a fortune, which is why I have not removed the 40 year old natural gas grill. It is not much good for much else, but do you really want to use a grill for 4 hours with the cost of lp these days? I would have to sell my kidney and my left nut to do that kind of thing just to afford it.

Flash forward to 1400 hours. We have trekked through the wilds of western Montgomery county to finally arrive at the bridge over the river Styx (Perkiomen Creek). There we find a place called Ott's. It's like a poor man's Longwood Gardens, but so very subtle that I have not heard of it and I've lived in the area for a good decade plus. Oddly enough, it was less than a stone's throw from our destination so I stopped in and took a look around with Jake. We were impressed with the waterfall and I proclaimed that a return visit is in order. Since Alexis had fallen asleep, I was not intending on waking the slumbering dragon. Only bad things could happen.

Okay, cut to the chase: I met up with Alex, his Mrs; Rachel and their daughter Veronica. Later on, the rest of the Great Right Wing Conspiracy stopped in and we had a grand old time snacking on ribs, guzzling drinks and dragging on cigars. The kids did well in the pool and needed little supervision. Ahhh, if it were not blazing hot it would have been nearly perfect. Even the Santorum RV stopped by. My good Friends Chris and Spoog dropped in for a few rounds and all was well with the world. Must have been the constant activity but the kids barely made it out of the development before passing out. Most excellent.

The next day, up early, slum about till everyone is ready to go to Sesame Place. Sure, only 5 hours of unbridled joy but it is all 'free' now that we have used the season pass three times. This time, I wore trunks, a shirt and a pair of sandals. That's it. Towels stayed in the car and we had a cooler of drinks/good eats. The kids did another water world re-enactment and I got the benefit of having the sun flay the skin from my back and shoulders. It was rather crowded for a Sunday so I was happy that we were not there for an extended stay. I would have been crispy. The Mrs got a bit too much sun as well but the kids in their attire seemed to escape many of the negative aspects of the July Heatwave of 2006. Of course, this is what the kids will remember ... the rides and going down the tube slides with daddy ... and the rope nets for climbing. Not the lines and the sometimes rude/uncouth visitors who "Just don't get it"tm.

Monday; it sucked. The pool room was a sauna if you are not in the pool. If I had arrived earlier for the kids swim lessons, I could have gone it. Alas, the turnpike conspired against me. As it did Tuesday morning. Just to make things interesting, I mowed the lawn on the muggy and unparalleled in stifling heat Monday evening. Even as the sun set, water poured down my back as I pushed a raging hot mower engine about the lawn. When I become wealthy, this lawn-mowing thing will need to be done in an environmentally controlled bubble. Like a modern combine or something.

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