Tuesday, November 30, 2004
You too can be a corporation
Under section 861 (I believe that is the correct number), you are liable for income taxes, if and only if you are
a) An US citizen generating income from a foreign source.
b) A foreigner earning income in the US.
c) A US corporation earning income from a foreign source.
d) A foreign corporation doing business in the US.
If you are not one of the above then technically you are not liable for income taxes. That is what Joseph Banister has been saying for some time. It would also explain why an FOIA would show an individual as a foreign corporation.
If I am a foreing corporation then I want to see my articles of incorporation.
I wonder if they have a category for "Mass consumption byproduct generator".
Monday pt 2
Ended up going to bed about 2330 ... not a reasonable way to ensure a good nights sleep. No self control, at all. I did manage to wake up at 0500, 0515, 0530 and finally at 0545. Each time, I could hear Jacob complaining and asking for the Wife and I to come get him. I wish he did not have my 'Morning Person' sleep habits. These days, I would really like to sleep in. We lounged around the bed for a bit, and then finally got underway after Jacob had enough cuddling with Mommy and Daddy.
I did remember another dream this morning. Something about living in a small house that had one large room. More of a cabin I suppose. The sun would rise in the back that seemed to be entirely comprised of windows and would heat up the house. A bed was situated against the North-Western corner. I was living there with the Mrs. When the room got too hot, we would open the front door to let the wind blow through the house. She was upset because it was hard to get any privacy to change with the open front door. She did not seem concerned that the back of the house was all windows. Weird. Discarding the other nonsense dreams, I went down to let the dogs out, fed them and then returned to check on Alexis. Still asleep. I ran inside and showered up while Mommy changed and dressed Jacob. Just as I was finishing up, the Mrs headed downstairs to make lunch for the Twins. Jacob just sat there in the mile wide water bed watching Bear. Apparently, this episode had trains, he was fixated.
I finish and the Mrs jumps into the shower. Jacob escorts me to the nursery to fetch his sister who is patiently waiting for me to get her and all her paraphernalia. She is happy till I start to change her, then things go south for a bit. While I was locked in mortal combat, Jacob ran off to the guest room to crawl into that bed too. He apparently noticed a box of Kleenex in the room and after a bit, brought it back to the master suite. After pulling out a couple for me, he surrendered the box. After mostly finishing off Alexis, I went down the grand hall to shut off the entertainment center in the guest room. Did I say 'Guest Room'? I ment .... Presidential Suite, yeah. Anyways, I get there and the floor is CARPETED in Kleenex. Hmm, I guess Jacob discovered the magic Kleenex box of never ending tissue. Nice. I show the wife so she can have a good chuckle. I bundle up Alexis in her quilt and cradle her on a pillow as I carry her downstairs. She seems content. What a diva. I got going at 0710 and quickly found that traffic this morning was a bit more congested than expected. When I got onto to the turnpike, I found that some of the toll gates were closed, further complicating things. Stupid strike. I was going down to onramp to get into traffic when a semi truck went blasting down the left most lane. This always tweaks me. There are signs every quarter mile on overpasses and on the shoulder specifically stating that trucks and busses are prohibited in this lane. When I passed him before the 309/Fort Washington interchange, I noticed that there was an email address on the truck as well as phone numbers and the company name. On a lark, I wrote it down in my PDA. I got to work at about 0755 and did some of my morning routine. I was going to write down my arrival time and activities in the PDA for use in my timesheet when I noticed that snippet of info that I wrote down in 'displeasure'. What the heck, I'll send off an email and see what happens.
This morning at 0725, one of your trucks was using the left most lane on the PA Turnpike between Rt 1 and Rt 309. This lane is restricted and has signs posted frequently indicating that trucks are specifically prohibited. The license plate on the trailer was NY AJ96224. Please inform the driver that respect of local regulations and his fellow motorists is important when driving a large advertisement for the company he is representing.
Within 30 minutes, I get this:
Thanks for taking the time to advise us of this situation. We will certainly follow up and take the necessary steps to correct this.
Once again thank you.
BALDOR SPECIALTY FOODS, INC.
511 Barry Street
Bronx, NY 10474
Direct Tel.: 718-304-4503
Direct Fax: 718-304-4579
And then this within minutes:
Good morning Mr MDMHVONPA,
I appreciate you taking the time to email us regarding this situation. Rest assured the driver has been identified and will be warned upon his return today that continuing to drive illegally will lead to further discipline, suspension, etc.. It is not our policy to violate any laws and we apologize if it caused any inconvenience to you or other motorists.
I think I just ruined someone's day.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Post Vacation Blues
It's an early start to the day. Jacob wakes up early again only to drink his milk and fall back to sleep in mommy's arms. Lucky guy. I stumble down the stairs
and let the dogs out, then give them their food. Back in the mast suite, I doze off only to be woken hours later with the sinking feeling that I will be a bit late to work this awful Monday morning. I had a series of semi-lucid dreams again. One where my boss is a disassembled robot and a set of that I cannot remember now. Hmm, I wonder if I was the one who smashed the machine. I got Alexis and she insisted on bringing everything from her crib to the mile-wide water bed. I could tell that it was going to be on of those mornings for her. She was not happy about vacation being over and just wanted to snuggle. After the Mrs and I managed to get her changed, I had to coerce her into coming down to the kitchen, to no avail. In the end, I had to wrap her in a small comforter, cradle her in a pillow and lug all her plush toys along to the kitchen where I set the Queen on her throne to watch television ... very cranky queen indeed. Diva perhaps?
Now the fun begins. The frost is heavy on the windshield and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove. The scraper is in the trunk. When I pop the trunk, I notice that rear tire low on air again. Very low. About 20psi short of 40. It takes some time to pump up, but I am not in the mood to schedule a repair right now. I just need to keep on top of it till inspection when I will have it fixed. I get work by 8:30 and find no skymall orders since the 24th when they found out that they were not encrypting the evening files for the last ummm ... month. Ooof, hope that none of these were overnight shipping! In other news, my knee hurts, and my ankle ... for no good reason. Stupid MS.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Today is the day that the Horde will be given the dubious honor of commuting back from whence we came. Our family migration to base is rapidly coming to an end. Hopefully, the trip will not be the 6 hour ordeal that it was to get to Ithaca. It's an early start to the day. Jacob wakes at an absurd hour. Its sometime around 0515 and he is already complaining. I stumble down the stairs to the kitchen and warm a bottle of milk. The dogs immediately get excited at the sight of me so I need to let them out the front door so they can wreck my Parental Units' front yard instead of the carpeting. I wander back up the ominously steep and dark stairs to deftly retrieve the contentious complainer. I put him in bed with bottle and he snuggled up to mommy. It I doze off only to be woken minutes later with an empty bottle. We sleep in a bit later than yesterday, but early enough to make the 1st of two mass times that this ecumenically challenged city has to offer. To make the last day even more morose, it is raining quite briskly. A cold evil rain that is just hard enough to get through to your scalp when it strikes your head. It's odd, this rain, should be happening this morning. When we had settled down into an observation perimeter pattern around the twins, I noticed that there was a baptism, no, 2 baptisms happening this morning. Hmmm, lucky little ones, their water is heated.
We had an early dinner/lunch of turkey and 'dumplings'. I think SuperMom calls it deep dish turkey pie, but I usually loose myself in the meal and forget the name. Jacob and Alexis had some of the turkey and a bit of the rigatoni from the previous night. They seemed to have a good appetite and ate more than enough to fill their voratious little bodies. We hit the road shortly thereafter since I had already packed up the Family tank. On the road at 1330, stop for gas at Gibson, get home by 1715. ZOOM! I think I left a sonic boom at the Wyoming Valley interchange. The traffic was swift and sparse except for an accident in the north bound lanes at Lansdale. Not my problem. Got to the manor and disembarked. Unload, Unpack, Unwind. The only thing that surprised us was a message from my college buddy and best man Sean. They were expecting twins and got them a bit early. Lucy delivered a boy and a girl at 35 weeks. Boy: 4 lb, 10oz, Girl: 4lb, 8oz. They came out the day after Thanksgiving. I would blame her mom's cooking, but I think that they probably just wanted some leftovers before Sean got the all. Congratulations to the McGranahan McGran-a-horde.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Saturday Evening Post
Today, we went out to get a small Christmas tree for the kids to decorate. We drove down the road a few miles where there is this tree farm that we have been going to for a bit. The man who owns it, is a relative of a man that I used to work for many years ago. The ex-boss in question is Mark Haage, who incidentally passed away quite some time ago. He and his wife were smoking fiends and it is was no surprise to hear of their individual passing in so much that it did not happen sooner. We drive over the hills of Upstate NY and through the stark, leafless forest. There is still some snow clinging to fallen trees and patches of leaves. There are old homes cobbled together in small groups with adjoining compounds of sheds that look like stacks of weather beaten cardboard boxes. We veer up a steep driveway that is barely apparent from the road. It is muddy and rutted from the late November rain that has been pounding the region lately. We come upon a clearing after our caravan bursts out of the forest primeval. There is a rustic home to the North and a garage/barn to the south where a tractor and wheeled sledge is parked. The old Akita is wandering about the parking area. The dog, Sasha, has been here for years and is familiar with the nuances of children. Once we disembark from the Family Tank, Jacob and Alexis immediately charge the poor old canine who just looks on in jaded indifference. I pull the kids away and show the grizzled outdoor dog my palm, "Sniff, Sniff, Hmmm, ok, friend, not foe." Content, Sasha walks off and we proceed to the barn. We all tumble inside and greet the two young girls at the cash register and the snack-table. Alexis and Jacob shed their coats and begin preparations for their TOTAL DESTRUCTION FRENZY as they try to grab every decoration off the display tree. I manage to extract Alexis from the decorations awaiting oblivion and seat her on an old rocking horse much like the one she got for Christmas last year. Jacob is raiding the cookies from the snack table much to the amusement of the dark-haired woman watching over it. The owner walks in and in a thick Nordic accent, briefly speaks with Hero Dad about what kind of tree we are looking for and what size. He tells us that he knows exactly in his many fields of trees where we could probably find exactly what we are looking for. We re-swaddle the kids and load them into the sledge. The Tractor sputters and then rumbles to life. Its and old orange Komatsu that looks the world like it has seen a century of use. We slowly creep across the soggy ground, bumping and jostling each other as every one snaps photos of the kids giggling and shrieking in delight from the ride. Their cheeks are rosey red from the cold, sharp wind. I look behind at the trail to see water welling up into the tracks left behind the wheels. The vegetation is thick and keeps the soil in place so that only the clear water makes its way through. No muddy slop or rotten vegetation. The tractor suddenly lurches to a halt as we reach a small stand of neatly groomed trees. They look like white spruce. Some are no bigger than the kids and some that tower over the adults. The kids waddle about in their winter dress, following grandpa with the saw in hand. After a little debate, we settle on a tree that is a hair under 6 feet. Alexis and Jacob look on as Gramps brings the saw to bear against the base of the trunk. With a few powerful strokes, the tree neatly crumples to the ground next to Jacob. His eyes light up as the realization of what this is all about comes to him. The owner turns the tractor around as Gramps hauls the tree onto the Sledge and we all clamber back onto the hey bales. Back at the barn, money and niceties are exchanged as the children raid the snack counter. I mention to the Mrs to leave some cash in the tip jar before we leave. As the Wife and I are performing our best non-verbal communication routine about the tip and how much we should allow the kids to eat, Alexis secretly starts feeding bits of cookie to a very grateful and pleased Sasha who has followed us in. Sasha has been here before and knows to gently take the proffered gifts ... food, not fingers. Everyone is happy today.
The trip home is quick. Gramps hauls the tree inside and puts up some lights while the kids are busy tormenting the hounds. When Jacob sees the twinkling lights, he is fixated. His eyes are open as far as they can be as he tries to take in the whole scene. He points to the lights and tries to name each color as they blink on and off. Alexis joins in and correctly classifies each light by color. While the kids are preoccupied with trying to pluck the lights from the tree, Grams starts to set up the cookies that she had baked previously with three bowls of frosting. Green, Red and Blue. When it is ready, we bring the easily distracted Toddlers of Tree Termination to the table and sit them down in their restraining seats. After a brief tutorial, they learn that the colorful pasty material that they are eagerly smearing on the shaped cookies is PURE SUGAR. Soon enough, not only are the cats, trains, turkeys and pumpkins frosted, but so are their hands, shirts faces and hair. Osmosis may have worked here for the direct assimilation of sugar into their bloodstream. A near perfect release of energy shortly followed. The wife and I are debating the potential of issuing a patent on our combined DNA as a potential clean, renewable, cheap energy source. I can see it now, bio-engineered dynamos. My envisioned legacy was soon corrupted by the inevitable sugar-crash as the prototype dynamos started to become cranky and had to be shut down ... nap time. I myself was exhausted and tried to coax Alexis to take a nap by letting her snuggle up to me in bed. She resisted. Fervently. I myself nodded off a few times only to wake up to the pain of little impacts on my skull, neck or trunk. At one point, she had removed her pants and socks so she could use them as some sort of primitive flail. Those little snaps hurt. Eventually, the Mrs came up and extricated my little vexation and put her in the crib where she fell asleep quietly. So did I.
Two hours later, the Mrs walks into the room where I was sleeping lightly and her mere presence wakes me. She indicates that it is time to get the kids up so we can go to the science center in Ithaca. Mmmm, ok. I shake off the heavy fog of slumber and attempt to get my wits about me. It is not working as planned. Ugh, I feel even more sluggish and groggy than ever. The center closes at 1730 so we need to get going soon. The kids wake a lot easier than I did. In no time, we are speeding off to the other side of town with a semi-lucent cripple at the wheel. Against all odds, we make it there safely without any wrong turns. This place is a reclaimed sewage treatment plant that now is basically a giant play-room for kids. It is a lot like the 'Please Touch' Museum in Philly, but smaller and a lot less ... commercial. The kids fixate on the water based displays and take a great deal of water with them as sopping wet sweat-shirts. Jacob eventually finds the wooden train and spends a the most time with it after we tear him away from the water-works. Alexis does her best to visit everything and nearly manages to complete her quest. It is hard to extract them, but we somehow manage to trick them into leaving when the announcement that the center is closing for the night gets broadcasted. We zip back home since I am now fully awake. Only took a few hours. Our last activity of the day is to put up the ornaments on the tree. This takes a great deal of time and is sufficiently enjoyed by all parties involved. Specifically Grams and Gramps. We bring over a small step ladder so that the kids can get some of the decorations beyond the first 3 feet of the bottom. It's been a long day. Time for bath and bed.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Last night I had a dream that I actually remembered again. I suppose it was disturbing enough that it stuck in my mind. I think it is the unusual or exceedingly vivid dreams that stick with me. I don't have the time to review them when I wake up so most of them go into the bit bucket. Here are the details that I can recall. I'm at a home with gravel driveway out in back. On this driveway, there appears to be an old Buick, maybe a truck. It is parked there next to a cement block wall that borders the driveway. I get a feeling through 'flashbacks' that I am familiar with people in house. Suddenly, I find myself with another person and we are surrounded by money and receipts blowing about. I'm not sure if they are there because the truck exploded or if they fell out because a door was opened. We start collecting the receipts from the ground so we can 'analyze' them, whatever that means. I get the feeling that we are some sort of officials or government agents. I wonder if we are here because the people in house criminals. When we go inside house, it blows up. It comes to my attention that my companion is female. The explosion slices her up pretty bad, but there is no blood. Despite the catastrophic injuries, she shows no sign of pain and is coherent. Then I wake up. Good thing, this dream was going south fast. Vivid.
Since I am awake and it is near 0600, I can hear Jake making a bit of noise. I get his milk ready and bring him into the smallish bed that the Mrs and I are sharing. He sleeps for about an hour and a half. He then decides to slither out of bed and wanders off to the Grandparents room. I let him go and fetch Alexis to get her day started. The rest of the day pretty much involves the kids running about, eating breakfast and generally having fun. Later in the day, Hero Dad & I go out for a walk with the kids. Its 26 degrees outside, most of the snow has been vaporized by the sun. The kids only want to throw gravel and stones into the gully next to the road. It's not too deep, probably about three feet or so. We let them do this for a bit, then put them on our shoulders and walk the rest of the way around the loop. They got a bit less exercise than Dad and I. They still eat a good lunch, which is always nice to see. Little buggers are getting a lot better about eating, probably because of all the love that grandma puts into her cooking, eh? Later in the evening, Jacob and Alexis compete with each other as to who gets to help the Grandparents make noodles. It is a touchy situation since Alexis is getting a little grumpy. Either one of them cannot be in the room or Grandma needs two noodle makers. After dinner, we bathe them and send them off to bed. Alexis is quite cranky by now and definitely needs to sleep. More for my sanity than her well being. Sounds like a boring day, but it is certainly one of those family moments that will be impressed in our memories.
Urp... pardon me
The drive home on Friday was awful. I ended up leaving at 1545 from work, and then everything from then on was a comedy of errors. I was going to take my standard route home only to find that my whole commuting world was turned upside down. All my usual routes had been turned into massive parking lots. The traffic on 422 at a standstill going westbound all the way back to 202. It was also backed up at the eastbound off ramp to 202 that I usually take so I was forced to take the 76 ramp and it turned out to be completely jammed just beyond where I could see. By the time I got onto 76, I could see that 76 west was backed up from the KOP interchange all the way down through Conshohocken. The traffic report let me know that it was worse than that ... it was solid all the way down into Philly. The glacial movement on 76 east finally got me to the 476 north exit just as the 76 east came to a complete halt. Since the AM channel 1060 give traffic reports every 10 minutes on the twos, I find out that 476 is backed up all the way through to the Lansdale exit which is important since I would be taking that route to get to Ithaca. I get off at the 276 eastbound ramp and the traffic clears up till the willow grove interchange. On the way, I notice that the westbound a parking lot all the way ... I will certainly not be taking that way to get out of the city. The Willow Grove interchange is backed up from 611N all the way down through the interchange and nearly onto the Turnpike. When I finally get through the unmanned toll booths, I find that there are a lot of motorists driving up the shoulder to cut off traffic later on. This really frustrates me because they block the shoulder when they try to cut people off and people like me who will be turning right down the lane are stuck till they either give up and make the right hand turn or someone is pathetic enough to let them in. In the end, got home in 1 and a half hours. Argh, IM exhausted. The wife is all set to go, but this trip has caused 'Much delay and confusion' for my bladder. I swear that I nearly crack the porcelain when I let forth the torrent of fluids that I have struggled so hard to retain. We pick up kids and decide to keep to the backroads till Lansdale and then head north from there. There is lots of rush-hour congestion, took 1.25 hours to get to tpk. Argh version 2.0. On the turnpike, lots of traffic till hickory run, fog after that till Wyoming valley. Argh version 3.0. At least the last part of trip was ok. We stopped and got gas at Gibson for 1.85 a gallon and the kids were perfect the whole way! We finally got to the Parents Homestead Colony at 2145 ... after 6 hours of driving. My eyes are going to explode, why do you think that is?
At the homestead, Jacob immediately finds the train set and starts asking to play with it. How can we resist, he enjoys it so much. So, I pour the parts out on the floor and start putting the tracks together. Jake was so anxious to get it going that he sat there and gave me each rail to put together. As soon as the rails were in place, he proceeded to grab the power supply and attempted to plug it in. Yikes ... he nearly completed the maneuver without my 'Adult Supervision'. I'm not sure where he picked this skill up from, but that was pretty scary and reminded me of my affinity with electrical outlets as a child. Might explain some attitudes that I hold towards electricians.
We let the kids have some pizza and then we tossed them into bed sans their usual evening bath. We sent the dogs into my Big Little Brothers room to spend the night. It's sad, but since Paul has lost quite a bit of weight I may have to strip him of his title and henceforth refer to him as my Little Brother. Heh, mixed blessings, eh LITTLE BROTHER!? A few hours later, at 0500 on thanksgiving day, Jacob starts to make his usual morning noises and by 0600, he is sleeping in the guest bed between the Wife and I. Snoring away and taking up as much room as possible, that little schmoozer seems to always make his way into whichever bed he feels will be the softest and warmest. At 0700, he wakes up and slithers off the end of the bed. Within minutes, he finds the Grandparents bedroom and charms himself into their bed. From what I hear, he read his Thomas the Tank Engine Catalog a bit, watched some TV and then nodded off for another hour of sleep in yet another bed. I'll have to talk to him about the dangers of sleeping around. Once Alexis wakes up, the game is over and we start in on breakfast. Sausage and Maple Syrup Pancakes all around. Mmmmm, sticky goodness that I .... errrr, the kids could not resist. Nobody cooks like Grandma as far as I ... umm, the kids are concerned. Of course, since we had skipped the bath last night and now the kids are slathered in maple syrup, it was time for a bath. Nothing like a nice warm bubble bath to get you in the mood to snuggle up and watch the Macy's Day Parade and then mosey off to bed for a few hours of napping.
Later on in the evening, it is time for the Grand event. We have a few guests over for Thanksgiving dinner: Sam and his daughter, a 1st grade teacher. Sam has had a rough time later in life and it is good to be able to give him some comfort. I wish I had more to talk to him and his daughter about, but the chance for company seemed to be more than enough. Oh, and the dinner. It was wonderful : stuffed mushrooms, single malt scotch, wine, brined turkey, sweet taters with melted marshmellows, mashed taters, green beans w/ cheese and almonds, turkey gravy, cranberry & raisins, wild rice, salad then pumpkin pie and chocolate mouse with whipped cream. Grandma is the best. We are thankful for her and the tireless way she pours her heart into making the dinner the best it can be. Oh, and for Grandpa's insistence on brining that bird and making the finest gravy this side of Continental Divide.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
The day before yesterdays tomorrows tommorrow... umm, today
I started home-schooling my Tumultuous Twins last night. Yeah, they are only 2.5 and have an attention span shorter than the half-life of a may-fly. You can never start too early. Soooo, I brought out the flash-cards and we started identifying objects and their names. You know, they understand what a present is and how it looks, but you tell them it's a gift and their little heads start to cook. One card has a little cartoon of an ant with four legs and they proclaim that it is a "FLY!". Ok, I think that these flash cards may be a little too abstract for them. We have others that are probably a bit more to their current level. You know, blue, red, up down, square, circle, hexagon, rhombus ... hmmm. Might have to get rid of that one. Rectangle may be a better one. They have left, right, up and down in their memory banks ... I guess Over, Under and Beside is the next logical step. This is a little harder than I thought.
We started packing up for the trip to the Grandparents house last night. This was pretty superficial. I set out 4 changes of clothing and my hospital scrubs. We already have toiletry bags and such put together. The fun part is getting the kennel into the Family Tank. We just need to pop the rear seats and slide it in, but the thing is pretty cumbersome and the Hounds get rather excited when they see me moving their stuff about. They know something is in the works, but are not quite sure what it is. They have been a bit calmer on our recent trips. Sure, they are excited when we bring them to the carport, but Thor is still a big sissy when it comes to the motion part. They will enjoy getting muddy in the backwoods of Ithaca.
Woke up to the sounds of rain striking the window this morning. I roll out of bed and see that it is already 0630. Not that I really wanted to get to work early today. Early in, early out. It would have been nice to avoid the traffic, but the late hour in combination with the rain pretty much means that I have no chance of that. I take care of the Hounds and Kids right away, then pretty much abandon them to the wife's secure hand. My last leveled gaze upon them burns in my memory the three of them, snuggled together in the mile wide water bed watching Bear in the Big Blue House. A scene of serenity that should last me till lunch. Then I will feel the pangs of wanting.
I did get to work by 0745 in spite of a little surprise. I have been hearing rumors of this lately, the toll collectors went on strike today. They chose today, but not tomorrow. Smart move, you jokers. I am not a big fan of the unions in this area. They are the most hollow headed and corrupt organizations I have had the misfortune to come across. Don't get me wrong, I think that it is important to have them, but these guys have risen to levels of inaptitude and out-right audacity that can only be paralleled by the local government here in Pennsyltucky. Now, I do have to commend the TPK admin for doing the best possible thing in this case. They made the turnpike FREE for the day. The strike is over at midnight, but I can only imagine that this will result in a better traffic flow at all interchanges. To tell you the truth, I would love to see the TPK as an EZPass ONLY roadway. You can buy a temp pass if you are from out of state, like a pre-paid phone card. Man, would that make things so nice for me. The toll collectors would be changed to cashiers and that would pretty much eliminate the union. Hmmm, does that make me like "President Cleveland" of the 1894 Pullman strikes? Naw, he was a democrat.
One of my co-workers asked if I was feeling better today. I gave the obligatory 'Much better' instead of my other pithy quips. Sayings like 'Not dead yet' or 'Never better' did not seem to feel right this time. I've been feeling pretty rotten the past two days for no real good reason. Various pains and profound lethargy have been keeping me in the iron grip of the doldrums. Its a good thing that the 'Ever Lovely and Efficient Wife' is staying home to pack up today. I can pretty much believe that I would forget half of what we should bring on our trip to Ithaca tonight if I was doing the packing. I can count on the big things ... Hounds, Kids, Wife ... it would be the little stuff that I would fall down on. Little things like motion sickness drugs for Alexis. Oh, and our 14 lb kosher turkey that we 'earned' through massive purchases at the local grocery store. Cant wait to cook that bird.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Home Schooling vs Public/Private Education
Yesterday afternoon, Alexis woke from her nap in bad mood again, but I was one up on her. She has not quite been the same since the Santa incident. Hmm, hope she shapes up a bit before we head up the Grandparents place tomorrow. That reminds me, we need to get the Car Sickness pills out for her. I don't think we need a repeat of the puke-fest again. She proved her angst was real when she got in a dust-up with Jacob over a set of whistles last night. The whistles work the same, but only the one made in England will work for the kids. They don't have enough lung-power to get the stamped metal one from Taiwan to properly screech. It's one of the whistles you see the typical sports coach dangling around his/her neck. They could tell the difference by just looking at them and whoever did not have it was crying their eyes out. The mouth would curl down and the water-works would go into over-drive. Heart rending wails and sobs would incessantly roll out of them as they laid in a floundering heap on the floor. Eventually, the wife distracted them with the Disney web site activities while I hid the whistles on the top shelf in their suite. Ghaa, won't try that again unless I get a duplicate English whistle. They cost 5$ online with a friggen 5$ S&H charge. Looks like a trip to a sporting goods store is in the works.
This morning was rough for me. The alarm went off at 0515 and all I could do is shut it off. I then had this lucid dream where I was looking at my body laying on the bed and I could see 5 giant lode stones glowing within. There were 2 in arms, 2 in legs, 1 in my torso. They kept me from moving or getting up. When I did eventually get out of bed at 0645, I could still feel the stones. Very disturbing. I was considering calling in sick ... but made it in by 0815 anyways. I made it in and still feel like a discarded hand-cloth.
Got this piece of tripe via The LLama Butchers
The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Very Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Moderate|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Moderate|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Moderate|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Very Low|
Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
Monday, November 22, 2004
Sunday night was pretty much over with and Monday morning came too soon. The fire did not burn all the wet wood from the previous night, so there was a lot of extinguished coals and partially burnt wood scraps left over. I guess I'll have to sift the ash out and toss the 'good stuff' back in tonight. I left Katie out of her kennel and she behaved the night. Hope she can keep it up. Outside of a rough start this morning, things were ok. I got going late and got to enjoy the extra traffic at the 309 interchange and a HUGE bumper-sucking love-fest at the KOP exit. It was backed up for about 2 miles, bumper to bumper, 4 lanes. All because on there was a truck-car accident in the opposing lanes of the on-ramp. Nice. Damn rubber-neckers. Got to the new office at 0800 and it looks like the whole move thing went well. My half-box of stuff is here, along with the pc and other assorted cruft. There is a ton of hp parking spots right next to the building, so that will make life less dangerous. No more dashing across the morning traffic to get to work. I am on the 3rd floor though. Oh well, I guess I could use the exercise.
Work was a crapper. We pushed code to production this morning and apparently we were supposed to put it in the dataz library and not the datax tree. So, I got to move it over which is no big deal. It's just the principle of it. The wrong place is perl/lib/GSI/DataX ... the right place (for production) is perl/lib_test/GSI/DataX ... obvious, isn't it? The rest of the day, the place is a sauna. The bottom floors are cold since the movers have wedged the doors open to do their jobs. So, the chilly 1st floor elite have cranked up the heat ... which rises through the open area in the middle of the building and roasts us to death up here on the 3rd and 4th floors. Damn hot. Not sun hot, but wool sweater in July hot. Swamp-ass hot. Ick. I have a plan though. My solution: take off shirt, bitch a lot. That works every time.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Ahhhh, Sunday, a day of rest. Yeah, mmm-hmm. Good news, the kids slept in a bit. The no-nap, frantic balloon-ducky attack action yesterday really floored them. Good thing, because if floored me too. I had not mentioned this before, but I am nursing a damn cold sore. It started up on Friday morning and was in full bloom by the time I got home. Today, it is on the mend. Barely noticeable to me, which says a lot. I guess the spicy-hot soup I had yesterday cauterized it. I am fighting off some kind of calf cramp today. Soup isn't going to do anything for that. Not sure if it is a real cramp or just phantom pain. Whatever, walk if off soldier. When I got around to starting the fire, I made a mental note that I need to bring in more wood since I have managed to empty both racks that bracket the fireplace. For being wet, the stuff sure does burn quickly.
The title of today's expose' (snicker) may be a bit confusing. We actually went out to get the kids Christmas pictures today. Off to the Mall we go. Not the nice mall or the nearly nice mall, but rather, the rundown, refurbished but still crappy mall with the REAL SANTA. This place is primarily geared towards rebellious youth with their cell phones, odd dress modes and cranky looks. A place I would have enjoyed in my youth. The place was overrun by said youth, stalker ex-youth and mobs of parents with children here to see Santa. The whole gamut of the shallow-end gene pool was there too. I noted to my wife that we could probably spot every negative genetic trait in an hour, she told me to shut up and push the stroller. Yes maam. We get a beeper at 1130 that would notify us when our turn was nearing. The kind you get at some of the more interesting restaurants. The vibrating, beeping, flashing wad of plastic about the size of a small Toyota. We did not get beeped till 1300. We had run out of things to do at a half past noon. The kids were getting restless and cranky. This is all leading up to something. Honest. We finally got to see Santa at about 13:30, but it was too late. Alexis had gone over to the cranky side and she did not look back. Jacob ran up to Santa and gave him a big hug before crawling up into his lap. Alexis though, thought that we said Satan and not Santa. She would not sit on his lap, and when we tried to fake it out by having her sit on my knee, but lean waaaayyy back, she would invariably gravitate towards me and fall out of frame. Of course, the tongue came out and we left Jacob's attention span in the dust before we got her to cooperate long enough to get a shot off. Not the best picture in the world, but it will have to do. I don't think I could take another multi-hour tour of duty at the mall just to buy another 40$ in pictures. I let Alexis know that Santa is a good guy (till she figures out he is a fraud) and he was disappointed that she did not want to sit in his lap. She gave me the 'sorry daddy' look and slight nod at the request to be good. That is enough for now, I like the fact that she is mistrustful of hairy old men in strange clothing. The wife suggested that perhaps Big Little Brother Paul could dress up like Santa, but he has lost 50lb so far so that would just not do. Besides, I don't like the prospect of shelling out 150$ for a Santa rental just to have my kids run away screaming in terror. We had pseudo-pizza in the mall before we went home. Alexis filled her diaper, so I got to change her in the men's room that had no changing table. Challenging.
On the way home, Jacob fell asleep and we shuttled him upstairs so he could nap til dinner. He had a busy day. Alexis, however, thwarted our attempts on getting her to settle down and nod off. We put her in the mile wide water bed and gave her warm milk to no avail. I eventually gave up and wandered outside to split wood in the muck and mist. I saw her in the window waving at me with the Mrs a little while later. I would wave and she would wave back. Eventually, she tired of this and disappeared. Later, I learned that she made it to bed. Just put her in the crib and she went down like an aging boxer in the first round. I spent the next few hours polishing off the rest of my unsplit wood. I even managed to knock down some of the stuff I figured for a lost cause. Dripping in sweat, I loaded up the wheel barrow a few times and restocked the wood racks. I've pretty much given up on a few chunks of wood that will not split. I believe the stuff that my Hero Dad does not want will find its way to the curb with a 'Free Firewood' sign tacked to it. That will give it a half-life of a twinky on a fat farm.
The rest of the evening went well. The kids rolled out of bed at 1800 and we went right into dinner. Jacob did his best to resist, but we managed to convince him to eat what was given. Alexis, on the other hand, pretty much put the Black Holes at the center of the universe to shame. They bow to her mastery of making matter disappear. The rest of the evening was spent doing the balloon-duckie redux dance ... in triple time.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
This was a pretty full weekend. I, of a matter of social norms, start my weekends on Friday night. When I got to the manor, I found that Berkheimer had sent us our municipality highway robbery tax form. I don't like these guys for taking our 1% and I don't trust them with our social security numbers. I think the mistrust started this year with our township telling us that they will levy an earned income tax on its populace in return for a lowered school/property tax. It never happened. The lowered extortion rate that is. I cant wait till the local elections come up for these jokers. So, this private company wants our SS#, but they just won't get them. With all that ranting done, rest assured that they will probably find out what my SS# is, one way or another.
The Mrs came home early, so we both went to pick up the Tormenting Twins for the start of a robust, wholesome family evening with Daddy slaving away in the kitchen and Mommy inducing the little ones to eat their thoughtfully prepared dinners. The Hounds, whining and slavering away in the hallway, made the picture complete. I spent a bit of time making more soup, this time with some of the pitiful carrots from the garden. Every time I see the pathetic harvest this year, I feel ashamed. I have let my farming ancestry down. Next year... next year, it will be different. When the Grandparents called later that night, I relayed my woe to them. They were more interested in chatting with the little ones though. The wife had recently purchased a new phone system for the house and one of the options on the handsets is the speaker phone, to which Alexis interfaced as though the phone was an avatar for the Grandparents. She would hold items up to the phone and ask if they could see said object. Playing along, the voice on the other end would explain that they could indeed see the object and tell her how pretty or nice it was. It was amusing in that I've seen full grown adults behave the same way as Alexis.
The next morning, I was intending on getting out and mowing the lawn as an easy way of getting all the leaves off the ground. It was raining. Nutz, looks like it will have to wait till the week after Thanksgiving. Mowing the lawn in December, how bizarre. I'll need to put some fertilizer down too while I'm at it. So much to do, so little time. At least the whole wood-chopping thing is coming to an end. Speaking of fire-wood, I had a rough time getting the wood-stove fired up this morning. The wood I brought in is still a bit damp, so it took a few tries to get it going. I had to fall back on the fire-starter bricks since the old tinder and OJ-Carton trick did not work. After a few sputters and some hissing, the fire eventually took hold. Its important, you know. Last winter before I got serious about the firewood deal, we paid a 450$ energy bill. Mostly for our gas heat. Our bill from last month was 138$. I paid about 350$ for the firewood that will last me 2-3 years. I think it is a pretty good deal. I did pay a tidy sum for chain sharpening and chain-saw oil, but we wont talk about that. File it under recreational expenses. Hey, playing with chainsaws is recreational, right?
At 1100, we all piled into the family tank to go meet some friends of mine, Lisa Mak and Van Chong. They are married and thus I enjoy appending Lisa's name to Van's. Something about Van Mak just sounds right. We were scheduled to meet at the Vietnam Cafe to try their spring rolls, which I am told are too good to believe. Well, we arrive at the designated address at 1115 and find that it is a residential home. I accuse the wife of getting the wrong address and start to do my ranting homeless act. She calls the restaurant only to find that it is in Sourderton and we are in Telford. About 1.5 miles away. Very strange in that the street names are the same (Franklin, Lincoln, Penn). These Quakers, so imaginative. Flash forward, the address that Lisa sent us was the same one that the Mrs got off the internet (both wrong, including me ... sorry honey, mea culpa). The short drive to the real location took us past a high school that was having the Parent-Teacher conferences that day. Ohhh, that will be fun when it happens. The commute was long enough for Alexis to nod off to dream-land. Jacob, did not. There was an Asian market next to the restaurant, so I stayed in the car with my sleeping rebel princess while the Mrs took Jacob Skywalker into the store where, as the wife puts it, "HAD TO TOUCH EVERYTHING!". Heh, I got the better deal. At 10 of noon, I sent inside to set up the restraining chairs and such since our dining company had not arrived yet. With everything and everyone in place, our guests/hosts arrive and we start in on the feast. Before they arrived, I had ordered a shake. Not any ordinary shake, this was a special fruit shake that I had never tasted before. The name sounded familiar, but when it arrived, I found out exactly what I had got myself into. It was a Durian milk shake. Have you had one? No, well it smelled like fermented cow poop. It tasted worse. Every time I burped (which happened way to often and with greater frequency than normal), the taste would come back on me. Save yourselves, go on without me. Ugh. The upside to this adventure was the company. Lisa brought two hand-puppet ducks that would 'quack' when you opened/closed their beaks from the inside. The kids love them. Well, mostly. Alexis figured Lisa for a stranger and spent most of her time sticking her tongue out. Not a 'Nya-Nya' tongue but a arched shaped tongue which we know as the 'I'm really uncomfortable with these people right now, can I go and hide?' face. Sigh.. We also got a visit of the 'I'm going to throw up' face afterwards when we got stuck in traffic for an hour when we went off to go shopping. Yeah, she lost it on the way to ACMoore. Stupid traffic jam at the 8 points intersection. Nasty.
We eventually ended up at ACMoore and disembarked from the tank. As it turns out, when the have a sale there, it is more of a 'Craft Expo'. They had tables set up ever few aisles with different things to do. Mostly kid type stuff. We got popcorn and went over to the embossing table. Here, Alexis picked out a yellow card and watched as they went through the steps to emboss a white snowflake on it. She was hypnotized. Later, after chasing down the Wife who was trying to navigate the aisles with the stroller and a grabby little Jacob, we went over to the cookie table where we drew smiley faces. They were very anxious to get their hands on the cookies and the cookies in the tummy ASAP. Then the balloon lady strolled by and we got two rather large helium balloons. We picked up some Thomas the Tank Engine toys and slapped down the 50% off ticket. Everything was great until we got back to the car. When trying to get Alexis in the Tank, she got the balloon wedged in the sliding door. This caused the ribbon to come loose and away floated the balloon to Iceland. Acting quickly, I bolted back to the store to search for a replacement. Got to have two of everything to avoid conflicts. She was showing signs of great disappointment even as I ran away. Once inside, I found the balloon distribution employee sans balloons. Not good. I scoured the store, contemplating the potential bribes that I might need to levy to obtain the levitating smile generator. Then I saw it ... a discarded balloon, bobbing along the ceiling in the back and just far enough out of reach so the horde of munchkins destroying the store cannot reach it. Sure, it isn't pink, but it's mine ... err, Alexis's. I delivered it to the end-user promptly and we were on our way to Pepboys.
We were about half way there when a the sound of air suddenly rushing out of a balloon issued forth from the back seat, I looked back just in time to see the last of the helium blasting Jacob full force in his face, his eyes wide with astonishment. He had pulled the plastic clip from the bottom and emptied the contents. In between chuckles, I reinvigorated the latex daemon, but he was no longer interested in being near his inflated tormenter. When we went into PepBoys, Alexis clung to me while Jacob McGrabby-Hands stuck with mommy. After a bit, I began to tire and let the little busy-body walk on her own. As she pranced about my feet with obnoxious levels of energy, she leveled her gaze on the various tools on display. We went through and named each one till we got to the other end of the aisle. My little motor-head. I can live with her being a tom-boy rag-a-muffin till she gets through college. Then she spotted a scrap of waste paper on the floor and immediately fell upon it like a starving wolf on some carrion found by happen stance. She snatch it up and handed it off to me, her prized possession presented as a gift to Daddy. She can be such a neat-freak at times. I'm so proud of her, I just wish she would keep the house-keeping OCD habits at the Manor. Of course, I have been known to get into sorting soup cans at the supermarket when I find them in too much of a disarray. The Mrs found the air and oil filters we needed for the family tank, so we cashed out and headed back to the Manor. We did not get the filters for the Super Saturn since they were several magnitudes more expensive than what we could find at Walmart ... when they had the product available. I still have one set left so I can survive for another 7000 miles.
Jacob dozed off on the way home. So when we docked at the car-port, we were very careful when we shuttled him into the front room. We set him on the Italian Leather Sofa and let him snooze away. Alexis, on the other hand, was not entirely interested on giving up her adrenalin powered high and forged on. Her continuing activity soon woke Jacob who was more than happy to join in on the activities. This was mostly them dancing around like little heathens with their balloons, punctuated with me chasing them down with the Duck Puppets and tickling the daylights out of them. Both activities were exhausting and entertaining. One of those boisterous, rambunctious family moments. We ended the day with a bubble bath (much to the Wifes frustration) with lots of splashing (source of frustration, beyond me) and giggling. A pretty good day, all said.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I MUST HAVE ONE!
Frolic on Friday
Ahhhh, yes. It's the end of the week. Today is going to be particularly useless too. We will be moving into a new office building over the weekend and I suspect that much of today's efforts will be taken up by pre-move activities. Boxes in the hall-ways, people carting out their personal belongings, Coffee supplies have been cut off. Urk, no coffee. Good thing I gave that up earlier this week. I have been sleeping much better because of my stimulant curtailment. I even managed to remember a snippet of a dream from last night's rem cycle. Something about one of my teeth falling out. When I looked at it, it was a molar with some sort of grayish white filling where there was a cavity. It was hollowed out and some brown detritus tumbled out of the bottom. Disturbing. Made me brush my teeth a little longer this morning. I woke up a bit later than normal, and had to skip shaving to save a few minutes. Used that time flossing twice. I let the hounds out to wreak their usual mischief on my turf and got their food ready. A little change in schedule is in the works these days. I stay in the kennel room and watch them eat. When Thor the Mastodon finishes, I don't let him bully Katie out of the remainder of her food. He has been getting too much food and tossing it up because he is bloated after drinking a full bowl of water. I do not enjoy cleaning up that kind of mess. So there I stand, eye to eye with Thor while Katie takes her time in polishing off her only meal of the day. Once that is over, I prep the fireplace and head upstairs. Time to take care of the tyrannical twins. Much to my delight, the kids were pretty well behaved too. No howling or complaining. I gave them their bottles and started to change them into their clothes for the day. The Mrs came out of the bathroom after I had finished up with Jacob the Joker so I let her take care of Alexis. By the time I was finished, it looked like everyone was gone from the master suite. I went over to turn off television that was playing the same episode of Bear in the Big Blue House for the zillionth time in a row. Just then, the Mrs came into the room and asked why I turned it off. Well, because there is nobody here. She then pointed out a tiny little face peeping from beneath the quilt in the middle of the bed. Alexis was quietly observing the events and looked up at me with her big brown eyes. Well, jeeze. Why didn't you say something! She almost never sits there quietly after her morning milk. After a few moments, she became herself and slid out of the bed. She darted back and forth between me and the door, insisting that I come downstairs with her with her backward hand wave. That's my girl. When we got downstairs, Jacob was busy eating his Super High-On-Crack +3 Energy BumbleBars of Doom. He should be a handful for the day-care professionals today. Dinner tonight should be fun since we are down to the last of the broccoli soup. I'll make more, but with carrots in the mix this time. Hope he likes it or I will be eating a lot of the stuff for lunches.
In other news ... my eye has been hurting for no good reason lately. Optical Neuritis on the prowl again? More fun and games from my old buddy. Grrr. Perhaps I've been staring at the monitor too much. Speaking of staring, I just noticed that I broke 3000 visits. Thank you all for your patronage and tolerance! Hope I can be more entertaining as the Holiday Season of Cheer and Unintended Consequences progresses.
More NK woes
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Dollar Pint Thursday
NKorea Ripe for Revolution?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
O'er the hump
We get out of bed at 0615, prep the kids and I get to work at 0745. Traffic was a bit messy and the tire was still good, so it was a good morning. This coffee reduction thing might be a good idea for me. On thing that will taint the following few days is a looming issue that I don't want to deal with. The annual Xmass letter. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth shall now commence!
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
On the way home last night, I noticed something amiss as I walked across the 'Frogger' street to the parking lot. The lights on the corner did not seem to be working properly. I had a suspicion in the morning when I was coming in to work that this was the case. Since it was green in my direction and there was a pack of other motorists around me, I did not occur to me that the people blasting through the light in the opposing direction were doing anything out of the ordinary. Everyone runs red lights around here. Scary, but you get used to it I guess. It was about 1600 when I left to get back to the Manor and the sun was just above the horizon. Just in the right place to burn my cornea right out of my eye-sockets. It had the additional boost of being right between the two traffic lights, thus ensuring that I had to look right at the damn thing. There was a bus to the right of me, and since he was going through the light I figured that I would be ok. Can't argue with a bus, can you?
Did the usual stuff at the manor and then went on a S&R mission for the kids. It was pretty dark by the time I managed to haul them outside the Detainment Compound. Then Alexis starts chattering about the 'Moooon!'. I look about, and there it is. A narrow crescent of light, just over the roof of the adjoining building to the south. Right between a light pole and a starkly illuminated tree. Old eagle-eye Alexis strikes again. The whole trip home, we talked about the moon and identified other objects appearing in the sky. The planes, the light poles, the stars and clouds. Curious little sprite. Once at the manor, I had to coerce Jacob to come inside. He seemed more interested in running around the Family Tank and Super Saturn in a little game of 'Catch me if you can'. Nimble little bugger. Took me a few circuits to corner him so I could hoist him along side his sister.
Dinner was fun. Jacob gobbled down his broccoli soup and bowl of oatmeal. This was shortly followed by a 6oz container of banana yogurt drink and a few fish-stick. He was close to exploding. Even Alexis could not keep up with him. I'm so proud of my little omnivore! The oatmeal certainly gave him the mass he needed for his next trick. Yeah, diaper blowout. Mommy was a bit stunned by the volume as well. Not too messy though, which was a blessing. Other than them doing the little 'Happy toddler dance' in unison, it was a typical evening at the Haupertonian Manor. I hit the sack shortly after the kids do. I abstained from coffee today as an experiment, and the sleep seemed to come a bit easier. In fact, I slept fairly well until 0515, and 0530, right up till 0615 when I finally remembered that I had promised D* to be to work early to monitor the DealHaven/MarketWorks escapade. Rush-rush-rush. I manage to help out a bit with the kids and still get to work by 0715. Good, but then D* does not in till 0745. Urg. Run the queries, determine that they are fine and it is the preprocessing that takes two hours. Life is full of surprises.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Working for the weekend.
Time for the standard weekend update. I ended up leaving work late so I could help D* with the inventory problems. Managed to piss off the BA with how the inventory stuff is going. His reputation is on the line and shit ALWAYS rolls downhill. I have no choice here really, and Leave at 1630 to go pick up the kids. I do leave my home and cell phone number with D* so she can call me if she runs into problems. I get two calls that evening. One I could work with, one that I had no chance in hell to solve. The rain and late hour make getting home a bit difficult. Combined with the full bladder that I left work with, the drive was intolerable. I nearly did not make it home in time to recycle the infernal fluids. I raced up to the Manor driveway and did a little jig as I walked across the driveway to get inside. The rain was coming down pretty good and the darkness had completely enveloped the carport. To make a long story short, I could not get the key into the lock to get inside. Too much shaking and dancing. Needless to say, the vines on the side of the chimney got a little extra fertilizer. Furtively looking about, I contemplated about how I would explain any curious neighbor about my activities. After what seemed like an eternity, my relief is complete and I go about the evening activities. Pick up kids (in nick of time), start fire, release the hounds, etc. You know the routine. As what seems to be the norm now, I stay up till 0100 waiting for sleep to claim me. The next day is much better, if not for the early start. I have seven baskets of laundry to process. I also spend the day chopping wood for several hours followed up by washing the dogs and digging up two rows of spindly carrots. The dogs are happy to be clean because that means that they are no longer on quarantine. They are allowed into the living room with the kids. This is a mixed blessing. The kids love to 'play' with the dogs which involves 'horsey' and dressup. The Mrs and I tolerate this to some extent, but the dogs seem to endure it as a matter of receiving attention. Once in a while, a stray toy lofted at them will make contact. They won't make any effort to stop the barrage until I come into the room. Then they will hide behind me or move about to make themselves less of a soft target. Good dogs.
Friday, November 12, 2004
I did not go to sleep after the show ended. I just laid back and listened to the periodic hacking of the children. Eventually, I slipped off into my typically bizarre dream-land from which I obtain no closure on the days unresolved events. Events like what Friday eventually brings. Alexis resisting the change and dress routine in the morning. She does not want daddy to go to work, so she resists and twists. Her bawling and assertion of 'NO DADDY!' is to no avail, but it does not stop her from trying. The rain coming down makes the leaves slick and everyone drives either insanely fast or absurdly slow. Absurdly slow is nice since my head hurts and the Query from Hell awaits me. In short, this Friday could not be over soon enough. I want to be home, chopping wood ... under the dark, cold, rainy skies of South East Pennsylvania. Bleh.
I posted this on Evangelical Outpost, so it's a reprint so to speak.
An atheist walks out his or her door every morning seeing the same world as everybody else.
That they don't find any significance in the sheer complexity of this universe is the most telling point for me. They see all that the universe is, the large volume of evidence of creation, and still they say, "this was not created".
For there to be a creator there would be responsibility to that creator because the creator would be the only being capable of truly holding them accountable for their actions, good or ill.
It's an evasion of responsibility. They wish to only be responsible to themselves and to create their own reality. In effect, they wish to be their own god. But since they know in their gut there is a being greater than themselves they don't outright claim to be a god, they only claim that God the creator of this universe does not exist.
I see it as hubris.
Athor Pel | 11.12.04 - 9:19 am | #
Well said. Hubris is the perfect word that I've been seeking for years to describe them.
I still maintain, after years of debating self-proclaimed atheists that there is no such thing.
Every single one I've encountered is either pissed off at God because they were misled about who He is and have never met Him, or pissed off because they know He exists but He won't introduce Himself on their terms.
digitalcowboy | Email | 11.12.04 - 9:29 am | #
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Break on through from the other side
Forest from the trees
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Last night was uneventful. I never made it out to the Local Home Depot Temple like I wanted to, but I did get out the box fan. Instead of slicing up meat, I set the fan up to point at the wood stove and cranked it up. The heated air burst out of the fireplace like a jet and brought the temperature of the house from 61 to 63 within thirty minutes. Nice. When I returned to put more wood, the brass handle for the door was cool as a cucumber. Not searing of the flesh tonight! The down side is that every time I do need to throw another log on the fire, I have to move the fan and point it away from the fire-box or a plume of smoke is blown out from the over-pressure. One of these days, I'll actually get down to wiring a real circulation fan system to augment or replace the current setup. With that note, it got darned cold last night. It was 55 degrees F when I got up this morning to let the dogs out. That was at 0615. I think it got down to 31 outside. The rest of the week looks like it will do the same. I might have to turn on the heater. For the sake of the kids, of course. Not much else to say. Got to work at 0730. Traffic was thick, but fast moving. I feel my unreasonable irritation at other opportunistic motorists swirling about the back of my mind ... gotta remain calm. That kinda stuff will eat you up if you let it. For some reason, I see the same plain-wrapper police car one the east-bound lanes in the morning. He always has somebody in pulled over. Must be his first kill of the day before he heads over to Starbucks at Plymouth Meeting.
Oh, btw ... tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Give a big 'Thanx' to your protectors, past and present.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The trip home could have gone better, but a great deal of the responsibility for that lays upon my 'Shoulders of Atlas'. If I had gotten my but into work earlier, I could have left before 1615. My drop-dead time. If I don't leave by then, there is a good chance that I will not make it to the Manor or the Child ReEducation and Retention Center by 1800. After that time, the Organizational hierarchy starts charging me a buck a minute, per child. It adds up pretty quickly. If you don't have the cash, they are more than happy to accept blood or organs. Fresh ones. In any event, there were a few hiccups in my commute. Right at the launch-gates for the KOP interchange, a semi had collided with a car. The local police were all over it since it was not in the turnpike itself. This caused a HUGE rubber-neck backup. It's not a good place to have congestion since it is pretty much a 100meter x 100meter paved free-for-all zone. No painted lines, no real curtailments, just the rule that might makes right. Cars and trucks were weaving all over the place in order to avoid the backup and there was bound to be ... issues. I got out my Meson Accelerator and started blasting a path to the right most lane. After dodging several MOABs and a couple DaisyCutters, I managed to break free and shake loose some of the burning debris from the hood of the SuperSaturn. Zipping through the EZPass lane, I grinned evilly as my protagonists shook their fists and launched batteries of ineffectual LAW rockets at my quickly vanishing profile. Ok, that probably isn't quite the way it happened, but that is how I saw it. I had similar experiences once I got down the TPK a ways. Somewhere between the Mid-County Interchange and Ft. Washington, a construction vehicle that was towing a cement mixer had lost it's payload. This was not one of those piddly little ones either, it was about 5 meters long and probably weighed at least 5 tons. A tow truck was feebly trying to pull it up onto the waiting flat-bed but the damn thing was laying on its side. On of the wheels pointing in a very peculiar way. The axle was obviously in a bad way. I felt a twinge of pity as I pass by. It lasts only a moment because of my overwhelming background fury of having to wait so long to get through the gawker-delay caused by an event that was 3 meters off to the side of the road.
I get to the Manor at 1700 and proceed to initiate the evening routine. I am late so some things will have to be done later. The high yield tasks get done first ... Let the Hounds Outside, hunt for poop. If I don't let them out within minutes of getting home, they begin a litany of howling and whining that has not been surpassed by any other in my lifetime. Of course, if you had to hold your bodily functions for ten hours straight, you'd be a bit contentious too. Got dinner ready for the little ones and had a few minutes to spare. Used that time to chop one of Jacob's Hyper-Bumble-Bars of Infinte Perepetual Motion +3 into bite sized chunks. I would imagine that if he managed to get his hand on a whole one, his explosion of activity would flatten any structure within 500 meters. As soon as the Wife arrives, we take off on our S&R mission.
After a successful pickup, we find that Alexis is feeling under the weather and is apparently not very interested in eating. She is more than happy to ask for candy though. A word that she learned fairly quickly and uses as often as possible. She is in a fairly bad mood because of her congestion so the task of giving her an expectorant or decongestant is daunting endeavor. It takes at least two people to do this ... unless you give a dropper of water to Jacob first. If Jacob gets something, she had damn well better get some too! Ahhh, I can see the schism in the troops forming already. Once we get the kids to bed, I hit the sack too and find that my exhaustion from the lack of sleep over the past few day is overwhelming. I fall asleep and don't wake up till 0500. I turn off the alarm before it goes off and roll over for another hour of sleep. Sweet, blissful slumber. I shake it off at 0600 and get ready for the day. The Mrs lets the Hounds out to wreak havoc upon the back yard while I shower up. In this hubris, I forget to give Thor his Ear Drops. I think he can go without the water torture for one morning. In retrieving the kids, I find that Alexis is still in a foul mood and just as congested. It takes the Wife's assistance to get the little spitting wild-cat changed and dressed. Once calmed, she refuses to be set down. The implications are unmentionable. The pharma application is the last straw for her. I spend the next half hour soothing, comforting and getting her to a place where she will not make a big production when Mommy takes her to daycare. The mess that awaited me in the Turnpike was barely noticeable given what I had just went through. The only thing that got me cranked today was the semi-truck hauling a extra-ordinarily large military plow in the fast lane ... not a good thing in rush hour. People are tweaked to start with and then having a truck in congested traffic in a lane where there are signs every half mile say "DON'T DO THAT!" is a good way to set them right off. Baghdad would be Shangrila in comparison. In spite of this vehicular ignorance, I still got to work by 0800. Fine. My tasks today still revolve around diddling with sql queries and testing the extraordinarily overdue B2B processing host. This involves a bit of data-entry and working on an AS/400 system. Ick.
He said WHAT?
"We can deny this crap, but I'm out of the denial. I'm about reality here," Mr. Carville told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "We are an opposition party, and as of right now, not a particularly effective one. You can't deny reality here." He said the party is desperately in need of a compelling narrative to tell voters, rather than the "litany of issues" the party stands for now. He said Mr. Bush and Republicans presented just such a story: "These guys had a narrative — we're going to protect you from the terrorists in Tikrit and from the homos in Hollywood. That's it," he said. "I think we could elect somebody from Beverly Hills if they had some compelling narrative to tell people about what the country is."
Monday, November 08, 2004
Busy and exhausting weekend, rough Monday morning. Getting up sucked, leaving the kids sucked, traffic sucked. My feet are cold. Whaaa.
Ok, did the lameO item list for Saturday and Sunday. Complete and total cop out. I feel dirty. S'allright I guess. I think I should probably do the weekend updates On the Weekend if I want to actually do something that amuses myself. Getting up late today did not help much. Traffic and general malaise sucked the will out of me to do anything really. I do need to give Mom a call about the broccoli soup that Jacob likes so much. Last time I made, it ended up being not quite right and he would not eat it. I'll do anything to make sure he gets his veggies. I know it involves broccoli, rice and some kind of fat. I cant remember if it is butter or milk ... and that's where the problem lies. That, and I need to stop at Home Depot tonight to pick up some furnace filters for my home-made jerky machine. Mmmmm ... jerky.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Up early (too early) ... The Mrs had come to bed late (again) because she was working on the PC from hell.
Played with kids for some time, let them muck about in kitchen
Pack up and go to food show
When we got there, it was a long walk from parking lot to bldg - The lot was up the side of a hill and seemingly in different time zone.
Looked at Granite/Corian counter tops and some really nice gas stoves.
Found that Jacob likes honey energy bar - ate so much if it he kinda freaked out like on someone had fed him a lsd and crack bar.
Go to Alton show, line was out the door but we got to the front of line ... because of the double-long stroller of doom + 3
The Wife got our well used AB books signed right away by the Man himself when he came out to greet the crowd ... sweet.
Fun show ... all about making beef jerky with furnace filters, bungie cords and a box fan. I love that guy.
Seliga's arrived shortly thereafter, we met over in the wine section (hic!)
We tooled around while the Seliga's were in the 3:45 showing.
The Wife got in line for book signing #2 - 10th in line
Alexis falls asleep in the stroller, all fidgeted out
I bought 5 energy bars for Jake, just so I could see his eyes bug out when he saw them.
After the book signing, we went out to nice Italian restaurant: expensive, but good
Jacob passes out on way home, put him right to bed
Play with Alexis for a while and then bathe her, bed.
I could not fall asleep, up till 0200 for no good reason
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Mrs did not get home in time to assist with Operation Scion Snatch (Twin Search & Retrieval), So I managed alone.
I stripped all the beds and ended up with 6 loads of laundry.
My migrane is trying to stage a comeback, so I stamped it down with pharma.
Brought out more toys for the kids, blocks & wood puzzles.
I finally get to sleep at 0100, insomnia anyone?
The Mrs retires at 2:30 - who is working on her Uncle's PC that is hosed beyond belief.
Mrs up at 0500 to let the howling hounds out, I had to do the ear drops for Thor.
While I was up, I start fire to warm the house ... nice oak.
I bring Alexis and Jacob into the Master suite at 0615.
We lounge around for a while till the kids get uppity.
The Mrs sets up some new toys for the kids.
She then naps downstairs on the leather couch till 0930, I keep the little terrors in the kitchen so that she can rest without fearing the random pummeling.
Do more laundry, leaving kids to their own devices in the kitchen while wife in coma.
Unload dishwasher, reload, restart.
Alexis eats bits of Trenton pork roll ... kinda like spam, she loves it - The Mrs thinks it is an abomination.
Wife showers and then comes to life, I head outside to chop wood - for hours.
In a final act of hubris, I change water filter under the kitchen sink.
Friday, November 05, 2004
The afternoon started out on a dubious path. The rain that was projected for 1600 had stated quite a bit early than that. We could hear it drumming away on the tin roof of the converted warehouse we work in. Lightly at first, then increasing in volume till it became an obtrusive rumble. I had neglected to bring an umbrella, but I did not think I would melt in the quick trip I had planned for today. Fall rain does suck though. The damp chill, the slick layer of rotting leaves. The mud that will never dry and blow away. I'm not a big fan of the East-Coast fall season. I head out to lunch at 1120 to meet up with some folk I worked with back at that big Internet Startup DotCom ... CDNow. Nice bunch of people, I keep running into them at various companies I consult with in the Philly area. The small circle of techies in the area guarantees that you will run across them again in due time. That leads to an important axiom to remember, 'Don't burn your bridges.'. I must have gotten the start time confused because I arrive at Champs around 1130 and the rest of the group does not get there till noon. It gives me time to sit at the bar and knock back a few Grey Goose vodka martinis while I watch the President's first press conference since the election. While watching this, one of the press corps prefixes his question with a statement that Arafat has passed on. I can't imagine the conflicting feelings that were going on in Bush's head. The fact that he managed to squeak out a sympathetic lines was amazing by any standards. It was a reasonable approach but I am pretty certain that he will not spare any barbs for OBL should we find his withered corpse some day (know he is clinically alive, but he is dead inside). I also read that Ashcroft submitted his resignation. This poor guy was beaten continually for the last 3 years and aged considerably for it. Memoir time, a lecture circuit, then retire to some place warm and friendly.
Work? What's there to say. I mucked around with the crontab for C* and did a few odd tasks here and there. The trip home was more eventful. The rain certainly made for a significantly slower and more frustrating trip. That, and there is nothing more arduous than trying to pick up the kids when it is raining. Fortunately, the Mrs arrived home with the Family Tank in time for us to go to the Child ReEducation and Detainment center together. Trying to shoe-horn two squirming and shrieking little ones who are slick with rain into the Super Saturn is no easy task ... in the dark ... it raining ... and cold. You get the picture. Back at the manor, I stoke up the wood burning stove and throw a few chunks of the seasoned oak on the fire. They burn hot, slow and completely. Nice. After reading to the kids while they snuggle up to Mommy to keep warm, we put them to bed and begin our evening tasks. I take care of some sundry tasks like tending to the Hounds and then shuttle myself off to bed where I try to read a book, Generation Kill, that my big little brother had loaned me. It is nearly impossible for me to get more than a paragraph at a time read with the kids around. I begin reading and shortly feel the ache behind my eyes that I get when I try to read without my glasses. Left them at work ... where I use them. After an hour of struggling with the dancing words, I set the book down and roll over. In that time, the Mrs has come to bed and it seems like a good time to snuggle. The book looses once again.
0100 rolls in and I wake up with a grinding migrane. The book ... the damn book. I fumble about the bedroom looking for my Maxalt and a few pain-killers. Ibuprofin would be nice. I settle for the Maxalt and hope that I can get back to sleep before I wake completely and spend the rest of the morning thrashing about in pain. It takes a while for the Maxalt to work, but it is much better than the old days where you needed a friggen injection. Oh, and no. It was not a hangover from my 3 martini lunch. At 0400, the other shoe drops. Jacob is up and he is not pleased. The Wife launches her super-secret-stealth sleepy properties and he eventually falls asleep in the futon. When Alexis wakes at 0630, I find him fast asleep under his comforter. Little devil, just wanted some company. We had forgot to fill the bottles last night so I just bring Alexis into the Mile Wide Water Bed and she is happy to snuggle until Mommy brings up the bottle. She probably could have done without the bottle, but it makes it easier for us to change her when she is distracted. Bad parenting? Maybe, but everyone here is happy ... so shove it. ;) The kids are in a good mood. The wife got more than 6 hours of sleep so she is not akilter. Kids are not grumpy so that makes our morning easier. It's nice to start the day off with the glow of a happy family. The migrane disappears.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I left work around 1600 hours and was greeted with the usual bizzaro traffic mess that KOP has turned into since they re-built the convergence of several major roads in the area. It was still well light out and there were very few clouds so I thought that I would go directly to the Child Detainment and ReEducation center. I could give the kids a bit of time to play on their beloved playset/twin towers. When I get there, they are still playing outside in the exercise yard. When the day-care professionals spot me from the armored guard towers, they unshackle the detainees and let them out. They immediately charge out when they get a whiff of the sweet air of freedom. Jacob runs right over to a retaining wall and does his best swan dive ever ... while I am still 4 meters away. The wall is about 3 feet tall so he would probably do a considerable bit of damage to himself if I do not catch him. I immediately sense impending doom and quickly warp time and space so that I can be within an arms reach to catch the little Icarus before he plummets to the hard asphalt below. One arm catch completed. Didn't think I could do a lateral lift of 30 lb, did you? Super-Daddy-Panic Strength activated. The DayCare Professionals had that look of horror on their faces as they saw him initiate the leap of faith, which quickly faded into relief and dismay as I hoisted him into the air. He balanced himself with his belly on my palm like a sausage-like ballerina in Swan Lake. He was grinning ear to ear at the consternation of his day guardians.
Once back at the Manor, we played outside till it got too dark. I did not get to play with them as much as I would have liked, since I had to hunt around the back yard for Mastodon spore. The pine needles make it hard to find if it is not flagged. After some time, my scion become weary of play time and want to go inside for dinner. I set about dusting the sand off and changing the odorous rear-gear. We have some pizza left from the other night so after jacob eats his fish and Alexis eats her atkins-diet meat-only meal, I give them both a slice. They scream out in delight and proceed to ravage the helpless Italian-American treat. The carbs in the bread make them nearly pass out. Excellent. Just as they started to slip into their carb-coma, the Mrs comes home. I leave the semi-conscious diners in the expert care of my chosen bride and go out to ... chop wood. This time, I have Hero-Dad's secret high-tech maul of splitting doom +3. I ream through several chunks of wood before I start to sweat. I feel a tingle in the back of my mind that something is amiss. I suddenly sense the screams of a billion mommys suddenly finding that their child has had a diaper blow-out. I drop the maul and stumble up to the Manor. It had happened. Big time blow-out through the Jacobionain Rear Guard. I had just changed him a few hours earlier so this is a bit of a surprise. The good news is that my MS had not damaged my Psychic Daddy Powers. The rest of the evening went well. The kids just wanted to sit in our laps and have us read books to them. Much less painful than playing 'trampoline' or trying to negotiate a ceasefire between them when they are playing 'Palestinian and Israeli' over a particular toy.
This morning sucked though. Dogs started moaning and howling at 0515. Uncool. Jacob joined in the chorus shortly thereafter. Alexis woke in a poor mood. Didn't want to get dressed. She just wanted to stay under the quilt on the mile-wide water bed. She didn't want to go down stairs, she didn't want .... anything. Eventually, Mommy picked her up and all was better with a little prompting. I feel for the Daycare Professionals today, they are going to have a real tough time with this. Traffic was slow, but not crowded. No sense of urgency or anything. Depressed Democrats I guess. There was one upside. I finally visited A Small Victory and believe that I may have found my twin who was separated at birth. Naw, she likes Metallica. Perhaps it was nurture over nature?