White Lightning Axiom: Redux: June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005


not soo smooth

The software roll out went pretty poorly yesterday. The SA was late coming in, the engineer responsible for the other part did not write the release notes, nothing worked right. All the groups here work in silos where one group has no insight or understanding of what the next group does or knows. Frustrating if you have to work across the domain of several of these fiefdoms. To top it all off, one of the components could not be deployed till 0400 the next morning. Then I found that my stuff was not going to work due to a surprise requirement created by the customers inability to include a promotion id in a place where I needed it. A quick patch fixed that ... took 15 min to debug, 15 to code, 15 to qa and then seconds to deploy. Still, there was a bug and now I'm going to be the target scapegoat for the whole poorly managed roll out. Fine, blamesultant is the career choice of those with thick-skins.

Since things went so poorly at work, I got going late and had to go directly to pick up the kids and the pizza. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to put the phone number for the pizza joint in my cell phone under 'Pizza'. I could order it on the way there and it would be ready for pickup when I arrived. They usually can have it ready in 15 minutes so I typically call just as I get off the Turnpike (OF DOOOOOM). This time, the call went out as I hit the turnpike exit, but was quickly thwarted from making my 15 minute hence rendezvous with the pizza and children. Someone on the turnpike commission had the great idea that we should only have 3 exit lanes open and all three will be EZPass or pay-ticket combined. What a disaster! Well, disaster for me in that it tacked on 5-10 minutes to my commute, great for the idiots who don't use EZPass in that they would not actually have to wait as long as if they were in a lane where EVERYONE was going to pay. ARGH. The same thing happened this morning at the KOP exit. The most frustrating thing was that the non-EZPass lanes were empty, but people were still going into the EZPass lanes to pay! ABSURD! What ... how ... why ... ARGH! But I digress (with unmitigated rage). The Mrs had a doctor's appointment last night ... she had a sinus infection and that resulted in her hacking cough. He cough is starting to abate now, but it'll take some time to clear out the damage. Our doctor told her (the same thing I was told) that she needed to get more exercise, lower her blood pressure, increase her HDL and lower her bpm. Heh, right. Between work and home I suppose we could slow the rotation of the earth plus move the orbit out a bit so it takes longer for the year to complete. That way, we could slip in a few extra hours during the day, right? I'll talk to the boys down in research to see if they could attach booster rockets to the north and south poles to get this done over the holiday weekend. Hey, with the extended distance from the sun, I've just solved global warming too! Ain't I nice, I try to take care of the Wife AND the global population mass.



Toni alerted me of this earlier today. Not something I needed to wake up to of course:

Okay ... first impression I get is that setting bail at $250,000 is probably setting no bail for this scum-bag. Second off, since the girl did not identify Cockerham as the animal, how did the police know to check him? Any bets that he was the mother's boyfriend? Any bets that he told the girl that if she ratted him out that he would kill the mother? No takers, eh? How about a pool on how long it takes this guy to get a taste of his own cruel medicine in jail? Ten years old. What is it? How can you look at a child and see a sexual object?! I just cannot get my head around it. I look at my daughter, at other little girls, and see a treasure that needs to be protected and kept innocent, naive and pure for as long as possible. When you loose your child-hood, it's gone FOREVER. The most blissful days of your life are so few and short, why would you deprive another of that?! For a few minutes of sexual release. My head is exploding. And this poor child is now a mother. AT TEN!


Seven Day Itch

It rained, and got warm, then rained again, and got warmer ... YETCH!. It is supposed to be in the 90's here today in the Jungles of arboreal Pennsyltucky. Sweltering heat and 102% humidity. Just what the Dr ordered. If the winters were not so dastardly, I swear I'd strong-arm the Mrs into agreeing on moving to Nova Scotia.

Oh, and since it was raining out, Thor refused to go outside. He would go out for a couple paces, then turn right around and waltz back in. Well, last night he discovered that not going 'potty' outside could be a bit uncomfortable. He found the pressure too great and left me a little gift on the tile floor. Jerk. He knew he was in trouble but I chewed him out anyways. It's my fault too although, I should have stood outside in the rain and compelled him go poop.

Nothing like feeling the hot acid rain trickle across your scalp and down your neck. The slow crawling tickle it bestows to me as it creeps across the inflamed patches of Ivy Blistered skin on my forearms ... ARGH. Damn that ivy. I'm going to have to go visit the local army surplus supply depot and see if they have any agent orange left over. That or napalm. Yeah, burning ivy will just make the oils airborne, but if it's hot enough ....

The software patch rollout is going pretty well this morning. We'll see soon enough if the process is as flawless as I think it is. So many chefs sirring the pot here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Sporadic work flurries

Monday evening and Tuesday proper were fairly mundane. The trip back to the Manor on Monday evening was a drag. Since it was raining all day, the mood was eloquently morose and the other commuters on the turnpike had dampened attitudes about getting their collective acts together. One lucky break, the weather cleared for just long enough that the Mrs and I could pick up the kids without getting soaked to the bone. Standard Philly weather too. It's hot, it rains, then it gets hotter with the added bonus of 101% humidity. Niiiice, if you like having your clothing cling to your body even AFTER you take it off. That, and toilet paper ... ghaa, let's not go there right now. Of course we need the rain. The trees and greenery around here are still recovering from that drought we had a few years back. I just wish it would stay in the ground instead of clinging to the air like some sort of crack-addict clutching at it's last methadone treatment for the week.

Jake has been a stinker of late. He refuses to go to sleep at night and then refuses to get up in the morning. Damn, I wish I was a 3 year old again. He just lays there on his bed till I drag him into the temporary master suite and prop him up in front of the TV with the Disney Channel going. He doesn't resist in the morning like his sister, who fights the idea of going to school tooth and nail. He's a slug at this hour, gets it from the Mrs.

Work has heated up recently. With all the overhead from ill prepared processes, how events are supposed to transpire is becoming quite obfuscated. I spend my days standing on peoples heads or waiting for external clients to respond (vaguely) to information requests. Ahhh, American Business practices at their best!

I picked peas last night. One gallon of pods yields about 1/2 quart of peas. The kids LOVED husking the peas and throwing the husks to the dogs. Some of the peas never made it to the collection container, which does not concern me much. In fact, if the kids want to snack on peas, that is just fine by me. Of course, after a while the dogs got a bit tired of eating coarse, fibrous pea pods and just let them pile up. The kids just kept dumping them at the gate though. A bit of a mess to clean up, but I'm not going to take the chance that if I admonish the kids, they won't like peas anymore.

On the financial front; Quicken Loans ROCKS!!! They took the perogative to call me when it made sense to refinance. Going from a 6.275 to a 5.625 will pay for itself in 20 months. After that, I can apply the savings to the mortgage principle in addition to the other surpluses I've been rolling in. Yes, yes ... its restarting a 30 year mortgage, but having lower payments is a security blanket and it will give the Mrs and I some breathing room in our budget. Now we could have certainly gone with a low rate ARM or a 15 year, but I really don't mind carrying around this particular debt, it is low enough now so that if we had to sell the Manor, we would make a pretty tidy profit ... not that we are going to be moving any time soon. Probably not for another 20 years actually. If we can help it. Of course, if somebody wants to have our land seized so they can build a nudie bar or an abortion clinic ... not much we can do about that except get elected to the local township governing board and work from the inside. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


PGW takeover (privatization) bill in works

A bit late off the ball on this one, but it's been a damn long time coming.

If these folks are so concerned about the ability of the poor, the wretched, the downtrodden to pay their bills, then how about lumping this under the multitude of charity programs (wic, food stamps, welfare, etc ...) that already exist for this sort of social support. Over and over again, we have seen how privatization works if done right and fails horribly if done wrong (Paging Mr Grey Davis...).These two jokers are just waiting for a state bail-out with the expected $500 million revenue surplus this year. Running this as a business and not a feed-bag by scoff-laws suffering from the habitual exploitation of our less civic minded citizenry would go a long ways to reduce costs and improve service.


Coal mine .. working ...etc.

Once again, busier than a one leged man in an ass kicking contest. Refinancing home loan today to boot. Will tell all shortly. HONEST!

Monday, June 27, 2005


Litigious society bites itself on the ass.

The reasoning behind this ruling is so telling of a culture in its decline:I'm shocked at the ruling and unfortunately jaded about the wicked logic behind it. It seems to fall in line with the Eminent Domain ruling. Then again, I'm waiting for the ruling that firemen are not responsible for putting out fires, judges not sending criminals to prison and politicians representing the will of their constituency. Ok, that last one is crazy talk!



I caught this over at Stephen's flat. If only this were available 15 years ago!Hmmm, the 350,000 MS patients in the US (200 new ones every week) could certainly use news like this. Just think of the savings in needles, alcohol pads, etc...Mitsubishi!? Damn, if GM starts making pace-makers and baby formula, I'm going to be extremely concerned.


Weekend gone Wild

I'm wrecked. Totally played out. This weekend had too many activities and not enough time to recover. I did get the lawn mowed on Friday though. The Mrs managed to pick up the kids at the 11th hour so I did not need to worry about keeping clean. I really need to have my Friday evenings completely worry free in order to get the lawn done. I end up breaking a sweat just pulling the mower out of the garage. Showing up at the Child Detainment and ReEducation Camp covered in dirt, grass clippings and smelling of gasoline is usually frowned upon. The kids and the Mrs arrived at the manor just as I finished the front yard and was beginning to start the back 50. Well, I had to stop. I can't stomach the risk that I might kick up a rock or stick and zing one of my kids. Now the dogs, they could take that kind of hit. Hell, Katie's favorite pass time is seeing how many times she can bite the front wheel of the push mower before Thor sneaks up on her and knocks her to the ground. No, I sat there and helped the kids pick peas until the Mrs became tired of swatting away insects. Speaking of insects, I found 3 large caterpillars munching away at some of my dill and thought it would be a great educational tool for the little ones. They were mesmerized by the 2 inch long pests so I put them in a glass jar and threw in some dill for food. Since then, they have started to form chrysalis and we will probably be seeing some interesting changes soon.

Saturday, oh ... the humanity! We headed up to NYC right after swim lessons. It was an easy trip on the way up. We saw miles and miles of traffic backed up on the NJ Parking Lot, err .. Turnpike. It was the herds of NYC residents heading down to the shore points. You gotta leave in the middle of the night to avoid that mess. We got through the Holland Tunnel and over to the parking structure off Kenmare Street at shortly before 1100 hours. A quick walk and we were at the building where the Wholesome Brother in Law lived. Nice building. Most of the space was used for a Evangelical Christian group that the BIL is associated with. He lived on the 8th floor and the party that was in honor of his 30th birthday was being held on the 9th. Well, it was hotter than ever up on that tar roof. The Mrs and the other could handle it, but I thought that it was hot enough to fry rice up there. The tar was starting to melt and chasing the kids about in the blazing sun started to stress my internal cooling systems. I helped out with some of the food being prepared on the charcoal grills. I probably should have avoided that, but I seem to gravitate towards food preparation for some reason. Attack at the source, I suppose. In any event, I did not consume enough food or drink enough fluids to keep my system from crashing. I was headed for a disaster and I failed to recognize the symptoms. The party came to an end at 2-3ish and we cut out a little later after helping a bit with clean-up. It was nice, but the kids made it a bit difficult. They don't do well in enclosed spaces and were all too fearless when peering over the edge (fenced in, mind you). The visibility from that height in that part of the city is really quite impressive actually. Not many buildings exceed 5 stories so being at 9/10 was a real treat. This is where things get hairy. We went off to visit the Wife's cousin that could not make it because she was at work selling hand-bags and shoes for 500-1000$ a pop. Yesh! So we are going to visit Pretty Peggy with Caring Karen and Coffin-Nail Herbie with their two Micro-Hounds in tow. Well, I'm pushing the SUV-Stroller on the crowded streets of Soho and I'm finding that some people just don't know how dangerous it is to stop in front of a cranky daddy. This one Uber-Urbane Urbanite rushes around me and then stops cold to bend over and look at some knock-off handbag that a street-vendor is hawking. Well, this has happened enough today that I have become frustrated enough to not care anymore. I just keep going and run her down like the vermin she is. Heh, she gets flustered and gives me her best "I'm pissed" look as I mouth a shallow apology and just keep rolling. You know Miss, if you wore something besides flip-flops on the garbage strewn streets of NYC, you may have had a chance of not having your 300$ pedicure tarnished with skid-marks by the hated meat-eating Haupersaurus Reximus Maximus. I felt better after that, actually. Vindictive, petty, small minded ... yeah ... but I still sleep easy.

After our brief visit at the shoe-n-bag store, the Mrs and I said our good-byes and made our way to the parking garage. To make a long story short, we spent the next 90 minutes trying to leave NYC via the Holland tunnel. Grid-lock. We went spent a lot of time looking at a green light and the sides of cars 'blocking the box'. It was strange since all the traffic was heading to the tunnel but once we got through the sub-Hudson viaduct, it was clear as a bell. Virtually no traffic at all! Thank God the kids fell asleep shortly after we got into the Family Tank or they would be repeating some coarse language that is guaranteed to make the most grizzled sailor blush. It was a fairly clear shot all the way back to the Manor. A few crazy/deranged motorists on the roadways, but nothing outstanding.

I had a scheduled engagement with two people who have become rather close friends (Read: Hard-core drinking buddies) over the years and I was running late. Satish the Lady Slayer, KLG the Personality Collector and I decided to go to a local Japanese restaurant called Ooka that is no more than a 10 minute trip from the manor. Great location, competent staff, one major failing: No liquor license. After a quick but not entirely satisfying meal, we head off to and old haunt I used to frequent when I had nothing better to do (read: raise children). Low and behold, it is shuttered and the grounds have gone back to the wilds. It seems that after I left my stomping grounds, they left me. Oh, how the fickle tides of time have washed away all the endeavors of my youthful drinking and rabble-rousing. Good. That was for naught and taught me nothing but how to hold onto a toilet when vomiting. We go through a string of locations and finally end up at the Keswick Tavern in Glenside, right across from the Keswick Theater. It's loud, smoky, and full of youthful desperation or aging bar-flies. Just the place we are in search of. We talk, gossip, admonish, deride, congratulate, adulate and do all the usual things as we slowly slide into the haze of semi-intoxication. My dehydration, exhaustion, possible bad raw fish and poor choices in liquid libations quickly end my imbibing activities. It is the first time in years that drinking has actually made me dizzy. I was stunned enough to cease drinking my double cosmopolitan. The catalyst was probably my abysmal failure to eat sufficient starches before starting in on the scotch and vodka. It's quickly 0200 and we are roughly reminded that it is time to go by 500 watts of halogen mood-killers.

Fast forward to 0630 the next day. Ugh. Need I say any more than that. A blob of semi-organic proto-plasma would have been more useful within the manor than I. I could not even get up the energy to finish up the laundry duty I started on Friday. And here is the kicker, at 1500 I had another engagement WITH the family at the Victory Brew Pub some 45 miles away. Yes, because I certainly need to put more toxins in my body at that point. We are friends with the Brewer and his Mrs and have not seen them for what seems like years. I also had the chance to meet a bunch of other former associates and their rapidly expanding herd of children that I had not seen in quite some time. All told, there were 9 or 10 youngsters there and for some reason, I looked awfully similar to a jungle-gym to them. Oh yeah, I was feeling it BIG TIME. It was a good time actually. I'm starting to realize how many confederates I have accumulated over time and how many of them are in the same situation as I. We just need to cut loose every so often. Of course, it helps if you don't think you are still 21 and able to drink the world without consequences.

Final items to note: Alexis got car sickness on the way home from the pub. Just as we got off the turn-pike, she lost it. Rats. Second item, I got poison ivy somewhere. Think it is in the garden somewhere ... peculiar. Itchy too, dammit.

Friday, June 24, 2005



I can almost hear Jake talking at a local bureaucrat that he can not seize the land that has been in the family for 4 generations. Public good be damned, build your parking lot somewhere else.


Shot In The Dark, so to speak

I found this nugget over at
Shot In The Dark:Makes me think about the recent call in England to ban 'long kitchen knives'. Since they banned guns, the next thing was to restrict other implemnts that could do grevious harm. Aluminum bats are next for sure.


last yard ...

Monitoring a problem site for a coworker who is out on a 'vacation' of sorts. Blogging will be sparse and sub-par. Stay tuned though, I've got some things to kvetch about.

Okay, last night was pizza preceded by the pea gorging in the garden. Desert was Jello. We slept in this morning. Damn, that is friggen boring! Even stranger, traffic was really light for most of the trip in. It's going to be a busy weekend, perhaps that will give me some material. Outside of my angst about the SCOTUS ruling on private property, I got nothing. Speaking of that, go read this.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Duplicity and perfidious treachery

I'm stunned, not so much as to the fact that this is happening, but that Specter stood up to it!Read the rest ... its fairly important. Actual Act language here.


Eminent domain expanded by SCOTUS

Not good, not good at all:I'm a bit dismayed that this ruling was made even if it was 5-4. Locally, our Ardmore Citizens will be rather unhappy with this turn of events. Here is a current list of state attitudes, we will probably see PA in there some time soon.


Alexis Von BugBane, Slayer of Insects

Another day of hard-fought gains in the battle against monotony. The esoteric machinations of software development professionals become rather predictable after some time. Like passing rows of drab grey Mao Coats at a PRC clothing outlet, nothing really jumps out at you and says "Hey, I'm new and exciting!". Of course, being uneventful can be rewarding too.

The muggy afternoon had a little surprise in store for me. Shortly after arriving at the Manor, the skies started to darken and become ominous. I paid keen attention to this knowing the fickle weather patterns of SE Pennsyltucky in the early summer are not to be trifled with. One of the more important tasks in the 'after-work' hours is the daily release of the hounds ... and the inevitable cleanup. This time, however, they were troubled by the sudden drop in barometric pressure and were behaving oddly. The damn quisling dogs would not poop. They were delaying me till the onslaught of rain would come and wet me to the bone. Just as Thor finally finished his 100 cycle spin before relieving himself, the first warm dollops of acid rain began to fall. This was quickly followed by several claps of thunder and blinding flashes of atmospheric static discharge. The vanguard raindrops were soon backed up by sheets of heavy precipitation. I still have to go on the evening S&R mission to extract the twins and the Mrs will be home late tonight. No help there. Damn dogs.

Every day, the Mrs, the kids and I go over their day to see how well they remember things. Like their lessons and if they had any ethical/moral dilemmas. Like not pushing over your sibling or hitting your classmates. Most of the time, it's Alexis ratting out her brother or describing the damage they did to the flora and fauna in the playground. Apparently they had some encounters with insects today. She was very explicit about the engagements she had with them.

"How many bugs, hon?"
"Really? What were they?" I asked knowing that she only knows the names of a few bugs.
"Snake, caterpillar, spider, and ants and bumble bee and ladybug!" She quipped, "They scared me."
"Oh yeah? What did you do then?"
"I throw mulch on them."
"Okay, so what about tomorrow, will they still be there?", I queried.
She thought for a moment and asserted her position,"I throw much on them again!"
I suppose that I'll hear a similar story this evening when asked. We should see if the USAF has considered a mulch-bomb as part of their armament inventory.

The unexamined life is not worth living. -- Socrates ... Indeed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Lifestyle choice.

A feral animal that needs to be put down:Give him a lifestyle choice: Chair, gallows, injection or firing squad.



You know, it seems to me that these two could use a bit of counseling and perhaps a change of diet:You know, if I wanted to make a point with the Mrs, I usually set down the steak knife. Additionally, it sounds like a really nice dinner and Mr Gallagher should have been a bit more polite and accomodating to his Mrs.


Tofu IS a girly food!

DOH!Okay, this puts a real crimp in the line that the GM protesters have been spouting all this time. The real danger is overconsumption of ANY food. Balance, I suppose, is key here.



Hmmm, 220, 221 ... whatever it takes Gramps. Perhaps we should measure that one more time just to make sure.


Slogging through the swamp

Yesterday was rough ... lots of work, nothing I can really write about. Standard bane of the contractor business really. Customers not knowing what they want and then complaining that you don't understand their needs when you ask for requirements. In the end, the customer (the client's customer) figured out what they wanted but were unable to make changes on their end to accommodate the transfer of information to us in a timely manner in order to make THEIR deadline. It would be ironic if it did not happen so often.

Home life was a breeze too. The kids stuffed themselves with peas ... made me smile so widely that I thought my ears were going to pop off. I've got to be careful about patting myself on the back about the garden though, might sprain something. This morning was good. Well, not good but good. The Mrs and I slept in ... really late. The kids and dogs did too. It was niiiice. Sure, we had to deal with the usual cruft that comes with sleeping in: Rush to get out the door, late morning traffic, standard accident on the turnpike. It was worth it though. One of these days, we'll need to schedule a half day of vacation on a Wednesday and do things right.


More stem cell victories

Found this over at the Unsinkable USS Neverdock:There is a 'BUT' though, go read the rest.


Bird flu now kills chickens, pigs AND humans with greater efficiency!

This bodes ill for mankind:

And people thought that the capitalist pig Americans would be the ones to destroy mankind. Ironic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Lowered boom

There is something I failed to mention from Sunday that I feel that I should confess. I have a little rodent problem. The vorpal rabbit population here in the Haupertonain Empire has recently seen a substantial increase due to an influx of illegal lepus migration. The vermin are a blight on the landscaping. A few years back, I had planted several asters in locations about the front of the Manor. Within 2 years, all but one had been decimated. This year, the last one was assaulted with such ferocity that only a handful of barren stalks remained. Additionally, last year was a tough year for the agricultural sector thanks to these 'forces of nature'. The lowest mammalian member of the food chain has been targeting my peas, lettuce and carrot tops. Just this weekend I lost 5 pea plants, nearly a quarter of one row. The bottoms are chewed off and eaten up to 3 inches from the ground leaving the rest of the vine to wither and the pods to shrivel in the sun. No, this will not stand but there is no bait I could set for the live trap that would entice the varmint more than the succulent growths that are in abundance. I can't really put chicken wire around the perimeter either ... the cost would be mildly prohibitive. My only option is to grin and bear it I suppose.

I reluctantly held this nihilistic belief till I was out in the garden to collect some lettuce for my lunch salad when I spotted him. One foot of vegetation nightmare busily ravaging yet another pea stalk. We eyed each other as my heart beat faster. My hands clutched at the thin metal bowl that I had brought along with me. Perhaps I could trap him under the bowl and release him 30 miles from here. It would take a lifetime for him to ever find his way back. I slowly take a hesitant step ... he moves over to the next row. I move to the next row and edge a bit closer. We repeat our little dance of brinkmanship over and over till we are several rows over. The green bean bushes are his camouflage. I know he is there, I know exactly where he lays in wait for me to depart. No more than 4 feet from me is my agricultural nemesis. The beast that lays waste to the life-giving peas that my children devour with glee. This ends here and now. I launch my attack with lightning speed and ferocity. Sure, a bean stalk or two my be part of the collateral damage. It matters not now. Man against nature. The bowl comes down and the nuisance invader senses impending doom ... too late. It makes a futile attempt to bolt off but becomes trapped by the edge of the inverted canopy of the metal bowl. What should have been a simple dragnet capture has now taken a terrible turn towards the fatal. His fragile, native skull took the full force of the descending lip. Not one twitch, it lay still. Not the means I would have preferred to end this contest between farmer and foe, but the deed is irreversible. The fruits of my labor now are the exclusive domain for only to myself and my progeny.

With that morose snippet aside, Monday presented a karmic backlash of unparalleled dimensions. Nearly anything that could have broke over the weekend did. Anything that escaped was victim of secondary or tertiary system failure. What a mess. It will take days to sort it all out and this wondrous Tuesday morning was host to a greater evil. The 0700 corporate staff meeting. If you are fortunate enough to not have the joy of attending a meeting at that absurd hour, count your lucky stars. The misery of the worker-bees was compounded by the revelation that the coffee machine privileges was rescinded by our supplier since we were not buying enough coffee. An overwhelming number of coffee drinkers were out in the field, and thus, not consuming. No consumption, no orders, no coffee machine for free. Will the horrors never end!?

Monday, June 20, 2005


Great Right Wing Conspiracy

Okay, here's the plan: you distract Mom-n-Dad while I sneak over and get the cake. If it all works out, they'll have to get another cake for my birthday and we'll be rolling in frosting. Make sure to Pretentend to pee on the floor or we'll all end up in the big house. Ok; on three, we'll break ...

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Father's Day Weekend ... of DOOOOOM!

Saturday was interesting. Not so much in the 'intellectually stimulating' way. Just little events strung together. The morning swim went grandly. The Mrs had bought two swim outfits for the kids that had flotation devices sewn into the torso. This made it easier for the kids to do their strokes without some bulky vest encumbering them. Well, as soon as Alexis figured out that she did not need to have daddy or mommy to cling to, she would have NOTHING to do with us. Little Mrs independent. The upside is that she was kicking the whole time trying to tread water. I was hoping that this would tire her out so she would nap during our drive up to the Hinterlands of NJ. We had pancakes at Perkins as scheduled, but found ourselves saddled with a neglectful waitress. Everything was fine till we wanted to leave. We sat there for 15 minutes as the kids became more agitated. We just needed a bill and a box for the left-over food. After a while, we got tired of waiting and a I grabbed the kids and hustled them out while the Mrs got out her hunting equipment. She was about to track down the errant server when she caught the attention of a bus-boy who got the bill and a box for her. never saw the waitress (Michele) again, but that may have been a good thing. Either we would get a weak apology or none at all. In any event, the Mrs did the tipping and she is not as generous or forgiving as I am.

We had a house warming event to go to ... near the Pallisades in NJ. Fairly nice area actually. The standard NorthEast sleepy hollow sort of town that has one major intersection that is perpetually clogged. The downside is that you really cannot get anywhere in that region quickly unless you take the Garden State Expressway, which is an adventure in itself. The upside is that they use EZPass. The downside is that you have to stop everywhere to pay tolls. At least in the Northern part, the EZPass readers could handle you going 65+ mph. The shore traffic was going in the opposite direction for both legs of the trip so it only took us about 2 hours on each leg. Given that it was just over 100 miles for each trip, we did fairly well. The kids slept for about 30 minutes the whole time. Recently, they have become less interested in taking their mid-afternoon naps. Ahhh, if they only knew how much I would love to be forced to take a multi-hour nap in the middle of the day. Ohhh, the arm twisting and cajoling it would require (sarcasm alert!). We arrive shortly before 1400 hours and find that we are nearly the first guests to arrive. Perfect, it gives us time to let the kids get settled in and for the Mrs and I to converse a bit with the hosts before they become harried with the standard party emergencies. The kids lasted about an hour before the engaged in the typical mind-rending flurry of demands or actions that strike fear into the hearts of parents. Disappearing around corners, charging at the grill, dashing off at top speed at the salt-water aquarium. Standard stuff. I think my hair-line is receding and it's not the wife's fault.

Later on in the life of the party, some folks show up with lap dogs. The dog that the kids become most attached to is a 'wiener dog' puppy. Jake could not leave him alone and thankfully, the owner was more than happy to be with Jake as he tried to lead it around on the leash and 'take care' of it. Fortunately, I think we have gotten through to him that you cannot treat the smaller dogs like they treat the indestructible haupertonian cybernetic hounds. At 1800, we have had enough of chasing our kids around and slowly initiate a retreat to the Family Tank. We say our goodbyes a couple times as we return to pick up various belongings deposited about the property. That, and we needed to abscond with a few metric tons of rice-crispy bars and chocolate cookies to keep the kids in check till we got back to the manor. The larder at the manor is stocked with all the appropriate vittles fortified with sufficient fuel to keep the kids from lapsing into a nutrient deficiency rage. Here on the road though, we are at the mercy of whatever 'fat of the land' we happen across. The trip back was relatively uneventful. Outside of the standard INSANE driving habits of those around me and the various accidents involving tractor trailers. We manage to zip by those disaster scenes before the rubber-neck hordes had flocked to the scene like a battalion of destruction famished vultures. The usual traffic impedances had cleared up and we got back just in time to give the kids a small meal and then send them off to a severely needed dream land. The frazzled parental units were also longing to dive into bed and let the days events drift away on the wings of dreams. Alas, we were to be sorely disappointed.

When the Mrs and I finished up prepping the Manor for the night, we dove into bed and started to nod off before the waves in the mile wide water bed had subsided. There were the usual creeks and groans from the old frame, of course. I bought the thing back in 1990 when I was working at DEC so it is coming to the end of it's days. I paid no attention to the tiny 'pop' that accompanied the litany of groaning wood and sloshing of water. The noise I could not ignore manifested itself about an hour or two later. It was that steady 'drip-drip-drip' of water going where it should not. I immediately shook myself to a waking state and ran over to the light. I was courteous enough to alert the Mrs so she could cover her eyes. Nothing like waking to the blinding glare of a dozen recessed lights to get you into a cranky mood. I started inspecting the perimeter of the bed and quickly found the origin of the noise. There was a leak in the liner. Which is just a touch worse than finding the leak in the tube because now we must immediately drain the bed since the liner will not hold the water. We have been intending to clean out the Master Bedroom for some time now so I could refinish the floors, it's just that I was not expecting to do it at 0100 on a Sunday morning ... Father's Day morning. It took till 0200 to get things right where the bed was draining into the shower and the leak in the liner was staunched. The rest of Sunday was spent cleaning out the master suite and disassembling various bits of furniture. I did get a card from the kids though, it made the day a bit more tolerable. So guys, How did YOUR special day go?

Friday, June 17, 2005


PolPot Lovin' Nazi Gulag Guard in action.

Found this over at BMEWS:Durbin should have known better.


Daddy's Little Helper.

Pic from last year where my little man is helping out best he can.


Alas, the week is ending

Feeling a bit sluggish this morning. Other than the exceptional event of the kids behaving last night while the Mrs was off at the doctor's office, not much to report. They thought that the hacking cough might be something bacterial so they gave her a prescription for some antibiotics ... should do the trick. Hopefully. Pretty soon, everyone in the Haupertonain International HQ will be on some sort of anti-biotic or tetrionic gamma radiation treatment. Scary.

Bad news about the lawn, won't be able to mow until later tonight even though I got going at 0650. The wife is engaged with a management class till 1700 in NJ. This results in a situation where there is no reasonable chance that she will be able to pick up the kids. The roads will be choked with people heading off to the shore. I need to get to work on that point-to-point worm-hole transmission device. The weather is quite pleasant today to boot ... rats. I'll have to hold off till she gets back. We won't have much time to do yardwork this weekend since we are expected up in the NY area for a house-warming. Actually, it's North of NYC in NJ. The Palisades actually, but what part of North NJ is really not NYC? No, the lawn work has gotta get done tonight before it gets dark. And it looks like I'm going to have to wait till next week to do any edging. So much to do, so little time. Speaking of activities, I think I'll get started on cleaning up/painting the walls before the kids birthday party. Only a few weeks before that calamity laying in wait.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


First it was potholes, now this!

As I'm rocketing down the turnpike going eastbound towards my home and hearth, I have noticed something new since Monday. Near the 309 Ft Washington exit, there is a little 'ramp' across the road. At first, it was a little nudge. The next day it was a bump. Yesterday, I nearly 'caught air'. Today, I'm expecting to attain low earth orbit. What is this? What is causing it? Well, it looks like this interesting environmental artifact is making it's presence known all over Pennsyltucky:Swell, (no pun intended). I just cant wait till the emergency repair begins. Anyone remember the great I95 tire-fire of March 1996? Not that I'm expecting the Turnpike to be fried to a bubbling mozzarella consistency, but with all the recent problems on our regional arteries of late, I am once again concerned about gun-play on the road-way.


Keep your eyes on this one.

This could get ugly, but I think the father is doing the right thing here:



My most terrible vice:

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Rotten Tomatoes

Today is going to be a bugger. I've got several short meetings to attend. It's going to SEVERELY cramp my blogging today. I'll be posting late and probably sub-par.

Update:Here it is:

Lunch was a danger yesterday. I usually chow down on a pint of cherry tomatoes. We got this last batch at BJ's wholesale and I'm starting to think that it was a bad idea. Out of every 3 cherry tomatoes, 2 of them turned out to be a mouth full of putrid rot. An explosion of decay washing over my palate and invading every crevice and nook amongst my taste buds. I tried to vet the less promising looking ones, but alas, my tomato kung-fu skills were not strong enough. Bletch.

Jake had a couple of appointments this afternoon. A dermatologist appt for his eczema at 1700 and a pediatrician appt for his ear at 1740. I had left a bit earlier than normal knowing that if Murphy's law was to be believed, there would be some sort of delay. And sure enough, there was a car-fire on the turnpike right at the Willow Grove exit where I get off. I managed to make it to the first appointment 5 minutes early. Jake is apparently a celebrity at the dermatologists and had a pretty decent rapport with the nurses and doctor. He was great in the waiting room, but as usual, was a twister on atmospheric steroids in the examination room. Anything more than 15 seconds of inactivity is an anathema for him. He was touching every button, knob and switch he could get his hands on while I just chased him about the cavernous room and undid any 'modifications' he implemented. Once the dermatologist arrived, he and Jake had a little one-on-one sparring until Jake plowed his little rock-hard fist into the physicians 'twig-n-berries'. That ended the pugilistic spectacle fairly quickly. Heal thyself, eh?

The second appointment went well too. Jake laid down on my lap and watched a Disney show for a bit till we got into the examination room. Once there, he did the usual 'Turn off the lights' thing. This time, however, I would roar and tickle him till I turned on the lights. The thrill of being unexpectedly tickled in the dark was entirely too delightful for him. Then something shocking happened. Within 5 minutes of the physicians assistant leaving the room, the Pediatrician knocked on the door. I was expecting a good 30-45 minute wait while boxed into the tiny 6 ft by 11 ft interment chamber. In any event, the doctor proclaimed that his chest was clear, but he had the initial stages of an ear infection and that if it did not clear up this time, we should go get his ears fitted for tubes. Urgh. Lets hope that this will be the last of it ... this time.

This morning sucked. Aluminum siding spilled out onto the turnpike right after my interchange ... traffic backed up to France. Police and turnpike officials standing on the side of the road discussing extraction approaches while commuters drive over the stuff at 5mph. Funniest part: The traffic news (KWY) was saying that the owner can come back and claim it if they still want it. Riiiight. Then we would hear of an impromptu lynch mob forming. Talk about trying to incite a riot!

WORK: 3 meetings, 30 minutes each ... all run over to an hour. All three on the 3rd floor, I'm on the first. My ego assails me: "Sure, use the stairs, you out of shape blob of pasty white flesh!". My extended lethargy about exercise and the sedentary job have weakened me. I actually got winded hauling my but up to the meetings. Worst part, the meetings all came to the same conclusion: There is a lot more work here than what we can get done before the drop-dead date even if this was top priority. Great. I knew this was coming and could not do anything to alleviate it. All I can say is that 'This dog wont hunt!'. Someone with authority needs to step up and reign in some of the people making promises that they cannot cover.


Pennies from Heaven

Man, I love living in this state:

Rush hour, cash, on the road. I'm surprised there was not gun-play.


Turnpike strikes back.

Daddy Powered Hybrid Engine
The kids were great last night. I hauled them around the block in their wagon after they had spent a good 30 or so minutes playing with the tricycle and big wheel. They seem to have a little problem getting it going, but after they overcome the initial force of resistance, the zip off like a greased pig on a Teflon slide. The wagon ride did not last that long. Just to the end of the block and back. By the time I got home, I was sweating pretty heavily and starting to overheat. I would have liked to let the Mrs pull them for a bit, but the kids would have none of that nonsense. Daddy does the heavy lifting, Mommy does the finesse. Not even 3 years old and my kids are already sexist!

After an extended dinner complete with a generous helping of 'Eat your dinner or no desert!', we retired to the living room and attempted to stay awake while we interacted with the kids as they dove into their activity books. Math. They got the numbers down, now we just need to work on the concept that numbers MEAN something. Interesting observation: the kids seem to enjoy the 1$ books and flash cards more than most of the significantly more expensive toys they have. Well, except for the twin towers, wagon and tricycles. The kids enjoy outside activities more so than I in this weather. It is supposed to get up to the low 90's today. Lower humidity, but ghaaa! I can see the brick-oven apartments in Philly starting to heat up and cook their occupants already.

The Mrs and I slept so much better last night. Her hacking cough is starting to ameliorate, but I insisted that make an appointment to see our family doctor. Allergy pharma would probably help her greatly to get through this rough spot. She is exhausted from being up all night coughing and I'm exhausted from listening to her. Since she slept better last night, so did I. Over slept in fact, for about 10 minutes. It felt good, but I paid a price for that. There was an accident on the turnpike at 0700. If I had gotten on the road by 0645, I would have got past it before it occurred. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. In any event, I heard about it on the radio at 0712 just before I was at a critical juncture. I went straight instead of making my usual turn and spent 15 extra minutes hunting down an on-ramp that was beyond the accident scene. Sure, it cost me about 10-15 minutes, but I think it saved me 30-45 minutes. They had shut down all the west bound lanes so that they could clear the rubble and burning debris. That part of the turnpike is one of the most congested and dangerous stretches ... and no one knows why. In any event, I made it to work in 45 minutes (sweet), just before the ambient regional temperature hit 81 degrees. I checked again and the record high for today was 96 back in 1957. It's going to be a grueling summer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005



I first read this headline and thought, that perhaps they should stop smoking menthol cigarettes: "More Inmates Suffering From 'Meth Mouth'" Reading on, I learn that it is the hapless souls who have become addicted to crank that are actually having the issue. Different kind of drug delivery entirely.

It seems to me that the war on drugs is benefiting these guys with reasonable dental care more than anything. Needless to say, the choice of destroying your family, future, health and life is not a good trade-up for 'advanced' dental care. This would be a great inhibitor for keeping kids off the stuff. Why you say?That last little tid-bit ... yeah. Tooth brush, paste, floss, water. Not very complicated.


Penn Coal == Electricity?

Hmmm, use coal instead of oil to generate electricity ... novel concept.Apparently though, after years of conglomeration, mergers and downsizing, our railway system will not be robust enough to handle the increased use. Pennsylvania is the abandoned railway capital of the world. We still have a Norfolk Southern line and a Reading RR line that go past the manor.Seems to me that if we convert this to liquid coal at the point of origin, rail shipping might be a bit more effective. A little data point that makes me chuckle, PA has 5 nuclear power plants ... remember 3 mile island? Here are the others:
  • Beaver Valley Duquesne Light co. 17 MI W of McCandless, PA

  • Limerick Philadelphia Electric co. 21 MI NW of Philadelphia, PA

  • Peach Bottom PECO Energy co. 17.9 MI S of Lancaster, PA

  • Susquehanna Pennsylvania Power & Light co. 7 MI NE of Berwick, PA

  • Heh, only second to Illinois with it's 6.


    (Duplicitous) Lawmakers get into 'high gear' to save (Hated Military) Willow Grove air base

    Hmmm, Rendell ... didn't he want to block the over-seas military vote by proxy?And then our locals get into it ... I trust these folks a bit more than Rummy Rendy.


    The travesty of Tuesday

    My old co-worker Doug has left the client and the Firm. Now, we have a less older co-worker replacing him. Out with the old, in with the old. The replacement, Mr Rockstar, was here before but got out on parole. Parole revoked, immediate incarceration recommended and acted upon. Poor guy. Speaking of poor guys, someone at the client site figured out that I work there and dumped several garbage projects on my plate. Very little coding or design, lots of testing and haggling with other fractious departments for resources and 'permission'. I KNOW that they will all come to a head by the end of the week when certain critical things need to happen. Should be interesting. Yeah, interesting as in 'Oh, the pattern of pustules from your smallpox infection are leaving an interesting scar pattern'.

    Back in my retreat world of home, hearth and family, I was treated to a new development with Jacob. We were playing in the sweltering heat and humidity for a bit until the Mrs arrived at home. With the fickle attention of the twins focusing on the Attentive Wife, I strode over to the agricultural Sector and started inspecting the 4 rows of snow peas. It looked like someone had snuck into the garden and inflated all the pea-pods last night with a bicycle pump. I plucked a few from the closest row and cracked one open. Just then, Alexis (Pea Monger) noticed my actions and insisted that she be allowed to eat some. Far be it for me to deny my kids a natural, healthy and pesticide free snack. She she usually eats the inside and I feed the outside to the dogs or myself, depending on the state of mastication she leaves the husks in. Well, Jacob saw the delight on his sister's face and could not be left out of the activity. Mostly, he just wanted to feed pea-pods to the Hounds. We let him know that he needs to eat the insides first before turning the 'refuse' over to the slavering canines. He was rather enthused about the whole activity and would follow me down the rows until I gave him a pod or two. He would then run back to the Mrs and get her to open it up and help him eat all the peas out. It was an activity that required the whole family to participate: I would search and retrieve, the kids would transport and consume the payload, the Mrs would do an intermediate processing and mediation step and the dogs would do the refuse disposal. So the good news it that we have a pair of enthusiastic pea-eaters on our hands. Today peas, tomorrow brussel sprouts!

    Monday, June 13, 2005



    Sure, it get 70 MPG, but would you drive this monstrosity?Ya'll know what urea is, don'cha? Talk about not having a pot to piss in!


    IQ Junk

    Found this initiallly over at Chuck's place:
    Your IQ Is 115

    Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional
    Your Verbal Intelligence is Exceptional
    Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
    Your General Knowledge is Above Average

    A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

    Yeah, I know ... but my ego needs a boost today, no matter how flimsy the underpinnings.


    Freedom to pee

    This is a few days old now and has been all the rage as a 'nonsense' bill. I find that trying to legislate this kind of thing is destructive and petty:I can see fewer toilets in mens rooms because of this. A similar law/building code is being enacted in NYC-NY.This could cause a lot of problems, but his alternative was completely bizarre.I'm more embarrassed by the idea that legislators think we need this kind of oversight by the government. I'm waiting for the day size, softness and absorbency of toilet paper becomes regulated.


    Minnesota Meat Market

    Back home in Minnesota, what we consider a meat market is slightly different than the etymology in the East. To be honest with you, I perfer the former over the latter as well. You know you are in carnivore territory when the butcher shop has an 'emergency processing' service.


    Ahhh, sweet Monday.

    I am completely tuckered out from this weekend. I do this sometimes. Work a little too hard, a little too long. I guess I just forget that I am no longer in the best shape of my life. I just cannot labor for hours on end on the blazing sun and pummeling humidity. I'm so tired, in fact, that I'm going to do the cop-out list of activities:

    See? Way too much activity. This morning was a hard sell to the body that we needed to get up. I ended up getting out of bed at 0630, right about the time that the kids and dogs started to complain. The kids were slightly less interested in getting going than I was. When I finally got an iota of compliance out of Alexis, she noted that she wanted to come to work with me instead of going to school. Well now, that really broke my heart. You know hon, I would prefer to spend the day with you too.

    Friday, June 10, 2005



    Atlas SMASH John Galt Line!
    Atlas SMASH John Galt Line!

    It was going to be a quick trip to have one last beer with Doug and then I would come back to the office. Nothing elaborate or extensive. Best laid plans of men and consultants. I had brought in a couple of closet bars for one of my co-workers who had just bought a new house. None of the closets had any bars to hang clothes from so I told him I had a couple that I did not need and would bring them in. I figured he would be at the gathering and I could just transfer them to his car. Well, I could not get in contact with him all morning so I figured that he was either out of the office or was otherwise indisposed. Alright, I need to stop off at the office anyways and pick up some of my mail (old pay-check receipts, timesheets, etc...) so I'll drop off the bars in his cube while I am there. Skip ahead to 1120 and I'm zipping along the local roads on the way to Home Base. I use a slip ramp to get off of Rt202 and onto a lane that is not frequently used during the lunch hours. As I round the corner, a car unexpectedly pulls out in front of me. They were looking in the opposite direction for traffic not considering that anyone would come from my direction. My liquid lightning reflexes enabled me to avoid the other vehicle, but my rear passenger tire caught one of those tungsten-carbide curbs that the sharpen to razor thin sharpness. I felt the rear of the car jump a bit as I clipped the curb. In my mind, I knew that my awful automotive luck would manifest itself as a flat tire. The other vehicle took off and I proceeded to the HQ. Once I parked the Super Saturn, I took a look at the tire and sure enough, a large chunk of the side wall was missing. Right down to the rubber inner-tire. A sufficient amount of pressure on a turn would surely cause it to blow out. Looks like I'll be stopping at the Sears Auto Shop upstairs from the pub to get the tire replaced.

    I settled in to my seat at the pub, the SuperSaturn was in the capable hands of the Sears Staff upstairs. Much to my chagrin, the co-worker that I dropped the bars off for showed up at the gathering. Well, that's a 60$ misadventure. No good deed goes unpunished. Since I was there for at least an hour while the tire was being replaced, I decided to stay and have a few beers AND some beef tips. I had a free-lunch card anyways so what the hay. After a pint of Prussian Pride IPA and a hearty meal of mashed taters with the beef tips, I was full. Not full enough, however, to prevent me from ordering a 24 oz Maximus. This is a killer beer. Imagine ordering a bucket of lead weights with a complementary kick in the gut. It's fairly potent too. Yeah, I would be paying the price (a well deserved price) for this dalliance over the next few hours. The whole outing burned through the 2 hours I had 'banked' this week so I had no moral qualms ... I just needed some coffee to get me to quitting time. Some super-potent coffee would do the trick AND give me terminal heartburn to boot. Ugh.

    Going home was a bit of a pain. There was a huge backup at the KOP onramp to the Turnpike. No good reason, just the usual 10 lanes to 2 lanes kind of BS. People just don't get that if you are courteous and respectful, this kind of thing would not be so difficult. Apparently there was an accident on the Blue Route (476) just before the Turnpike entrance so all the traffic was redirected up 76 to 276 ... it's complicated and messy. Nobody was in a good mood or very tolerant by the time they got to KOP.

    It was pizza night and the kids did very well. Nearly 1.5 slices each (again). I feel a growth spurt coming on ... must be the growth hormones in the beef. While the kids played and then ate dinner, I was out near the property boundary pulling up weeds out of the pacasandra. Ok, they were not really weeds but second year ash tree growth. Super Grandma had gone through them last year and cut them off at the soil line, but they all came back with 2 sprouts. This time, I just pulled them from the soil and threw them aside. It looks much better now, but I think I should go through that whole area and remove all the weeds right up to the electrified security fence. It was rather humid out so I broke into a furious sweat quite quickly. I felt like a titan wading through the fields and plucking the invading parasite humans from my homogeneous plane of green. I had a few moments before dusk settled in so I started to tend to the Agricultural sector. The hot, humid and water-logged nights have been kind to the tomatoes. They are shooting up and bushing out quite nicely. I trying to keep them pinched back to a reasonable size this year so they have been throwing out suckers from all along the base branches. What was a blessing for the fruits was a warning sign of impending doom for the spinach. All 6 of the plantings bolted within the last 2 days and headed for the heavens like a Titan Rocket. Oh well, I still have my 2 varieties of lettuce that is putting out really nicely formed heads. The plantings are nearly done now, but the seeds that I planted before them are just starting to get going so I'll have lots of greens for quite some time now. I'll have to remember this trick for next year ... plant seeds & sets.

    Thursday, June 09, 2005


    Home Alone

    Yet another bit of disturbing news with a happy ending. A truancy officer was making her rounds in Camden, NJ when she noticed something amiss. Apparently, a toddler (less than 2 years old) left in house alone with no AC or electric. The poor abandoned treasure was crying out for her mother and wandering about the row home. The only reason the Officer spotted the child was because she was peering out of a broken mail slot. Dirty and dehydrated, mother has not been found. So far, we have had only one heat related death here in Philly, this could have been the second. They extracted the child and brought her in for observation at a local hospital. Seems to me that someone deserves a raise and a bonus for going beyond the call of duty. Someone else needs a little responsibility counseling.


    More Adult Stem Cell Research

    Well now, it seems that everyone is starting to turn to this research ... with just some pocket change and a heaping helping of gumption:At this rate, you'll be seeing the 'Grow your own Spleen' kits next to the Chia Pet display at KMart by Christmas! Ok, maybe not, but they managed this with $200K and not $6B.Them Australians ... so pragmatic.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005


    heatwave - day 6

    Family Tree

    Over the last few days, I've been putting in some extra time as a buffer. Today, we are going out to lunch with a co-worker for Dollar Pint Thursday. It will be our last Thursday beer lunch since his last day is this Friday. I briefly mentioned this before and could not say much. He asked me to be a reference for his Security Clearance check. That is the only reason I knew about it and really could not say anything to anyone for fear that if he did not clear, he would not get the job and then he would be in a bind. In any event, these lunches usually take an hour or so, but since so many co-workers are going to be showing up I believe that it will be a protracted gathering. My drop-dead time is 1615 (15 minute flex) every day and If I don't get a 40 hour week in, I get docked 4 hours of vacation. Yeah, I'm salaried. Yes, it's a peculiar arrangement. In any event, I plan on having 1 Pint and then getting my caboose back to the client location so I can depart at a rational hour.

    Yesterday was great. I had an easy time getting from the voluntary work-release detention center to the manor. The interior of the manor was not melting or ablaze ... the AC seems to be doing the trick at keeping it somewhere between 85 and 75. At least I don't have to worry about the glass melting in the panes. After I picked up the kids, we decided to play a bit on the towers. The unfinished towers. It grind on me like a pebble in the toe of my boot. Once the Mrs pulled the Family Tank into the Auto Port, I asked her to look after the Twins while I pulled out my various power tools and went to town on the lumber I had stacked against the back of the patio. The kids were intrigued with what I was doing till I fired up the circular saw. Then they began to cheer me on as I cleaved the pressure treated 2x4s like a titan rending the Greek Gods in two. I banged and drilled and screwed and sliced till dusk had settled and the dark began to descend upon my little work camp. The kids and the Mrs were long gone and I had run out of lumber. All I had left to do was the two peak supports and the towers would be complete. The remaining work would be the retaining wall and additional sand. So close ... so close.

    The kids were up late last night, but were fairly sedate. I felt guilty about having to run upstairs and shower off after coming back inside. After I saw them sitting there at the dinner table with their little slack-jawed expressions, I cast off my wet quilt of guilt. I think they are getting a bit tired from staying up till 2100 hours. That, and the hot days are probably draining them when they play outside. It's hard to go through flash-cards or do number/letters when they only want to snuggle and look at the pictures. It's nice to have a mental break once in a while. Traffic this morning, however, was NOT sedate. Apparently there was a small fender bender after the 309 exit westbound that backed up traffic for 5 miles. That chewed up 15 minutes of my day all so people could look at the pretty blinking police cruiser lights. At least the car pulled over to the shoulder instead of sitting in the traffic lanes.


    Local bomber boy a Canook

    Great ... just great. And here I thought our Canadian Neighbors were the calm type.Time to consider home schooling, eh?


    Stem Cell Advances May Make Moral Issue Moot

    I found this over on Instapundit (yeah, like he needs the plug from me). I find this EXTREMELY promising.

    You know, this is really starting to peel back the layers on the whole debate to uncover what the fuss is all about. Abortion and the pressure to call it a lifestyle choice.I'd love to see the 2billion dollar California research grant pool poured into this ... it would put a lot of contentious debate to rest.

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