White Lightning Axiom: Redux: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Say what wha?

A new supplement ... very contentious one at that. Am I to be swayed yet again? Perhaps ... if it means I can push off the eventual shuffling off of one's mortal coil for a score or so years. Some disagree that we should begin the march of immortality with baby steps though. I've snipped out a few interesting parts of the article below. Of course, in an attempt to skew your perception of this 'wonder supplement', I've avoided putting anything critical or negative into the post. Bias, it's a horrible Yellow Journalism curse to which blogging (including mine) is not immune.

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So, given that a great many diseases would be delayed till your 'day of reckoning' (Logan's Run?), would that be so bad? And this business with 'fatal brain deterioration' issues such as Alzheimer's ... hmmm. A lot could be said for that. Imagine having your coffee or morning OJ fortified with the stuff. What do YOU think? (Hat tip to Instapundit for this. Grrr, he gets all the good stuff first.)

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UPDATE: (Already?) Someone significantly more skeptical than me and more versed in pointing out that the king has no clothes has this to say.




On the way home from Karate practice last night, I had about 15 minutes or so to dialogue with the Tyrants. After 60 minutes of swimming and 60 minutes of calisthenics, they are exhausted enough to drop all their usual doomsday threats of my eventual extinction and pronouncements of their eventual dominance of all existence. So, in my innocence, I asked what they did today. Alexis apparently got a nice purple bruise on her temple as a result of a death-smash head-but to an insolent classmate. Good hon, but because daddy blocks punches with his puss does not mean you should try to imitate the behavior. Fortunately, her skin tone is a bit darker than mine so the oxygen-deprived surface blood is not as noticeable as my angry, throbbing rigor mortis settling in my ankle and big toe. My ankle does not hurt all that much (Thank you MS, for this one bonus), but the toe is gout like in pain and is quite the burr under my saddle. When my attention finally came back from the pain on the accelerator peddle and back to the Tyrants, Alexis was starting to talk about a dream she had. Apparently, she dreamed of Grams and Gramps. Specifically, she dreamed that they came down to our neck of the woods and were doing Karate with her. Then Jacob chimed in and asserted that not only were Grams and Gramps doing karate, but also Uncle Paul, Katie and Thor were in on it. Then, not to be out done, Alexis insisted that they were Fighting a giant monster who then shrank to be an itty-bitty little monster. Who, of course according to Jake, got smooshed when it was stomped on. At this time, he lapsed into a 'squishing' sound tirade and all future contributions to the 'dream' were primarily of how the splat sounded. Alexis, being who she is, kept her focus on the subject. The monster, you see, has been squished via Grams and Gramps stomping on it so it now has 'X's for eyes and it's tongue is sticking out. She got this from watching Tom and Jerry cartoons. Classic education.

Some folk may call this kind of thing a sack of mistruths and lies, but I think encouraging the imagination this way has a lot of benefits. Jake is not as far along as his sister mind you. He is all about cars, trucks, trains, planes and seducing adult/teenage women. Alexis, though ... we need to keep an eye on her at times. The other day she was talking to the Maternal Mrs about how she got so much lint in her hair. After a moment of introspection, she deduced that she had fallen into a pile of lint, of course. Not to be swayed, the Mrs asked how she got so many tangles in her hair from dust and fibers. Mom, not understanding the first answer had to be educated. Of course she had fibers in her hair! She had fallen into a pile of fiber. But Mom was not satisfied, where was this fiber pile? Well, DUH! In the pile of dust there is a pile of fiber mom. Sheesh.

I spent the dinner carving out the two pumpkins that we had grown in the Haupertonain Agricultural Sector out in the back 50. We were fortunate to get two given the rough times we had with vines this year. After plunging my hand deep into the mess of sinew, I've deduced that my choice to NOT become a doctor or health care professional was apropos. I chose not to save the seeds this year. We sometimes clean the seeds, salt and toast them but I'm finding that the ROI on this is much too low given that we can just buy 10 times as much product at Wegmans. Greater enjoyment, less time, less mess. I dropped a LED light into each of them and they looked great ... the kids had specified the shape and size of each of the facial features and were thrilled. The LED lights are such a great idea too. No extension cords or stink of burning pumpkin flesh this year. I picked them up at Lowes and are powered by 2 AA batteries. The surface cabinet mount ones are the best.

Final details, the Mrs's internals are not quite right yet. Every so often, her face will screw up and she'll dart off to the rest room, not to be seen again for hours. I wish I could do something for her, but she has a stomach made of lace and tissue paper. She still avoids roller coasters, booze and bad movies with Johnny Knoxville like the plague. Hopefully, she will be good enough to either go out with the kids tonight (it's a long stroll with no potties in sight) or stay at home and defend the manor from all manner of spooks and ghouls ... the hounds bark at every ring of the door bell so they will need to be let out. Last year I let them out into the pastoral expanse and they chased off a large mob of teenagers as they neared the territories ... heh. Good dogs.

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Monday, October 30, 2006


Weekend 20061027-29

Okay, I've been a baaaad boy this weekend. Goes to show you that there is no rest for the wicked. I'll begin this inveterate march though recent history on the ancient evening of Friday. Ahh, yes. Friday; a day of building anticipation and then POOF! It's friggen' Monday and you are getting up late for work. Sigh

So, the Tyrants and I are nearing the end of our day by rounding out our lessons at Karate. First things first, we enter the compound and get ready for the lessons in the 5 blow death punch maneuver when Jake tumbles over while trying to take off his magnetic wall climbing shoes. CRACK! He strikes his mouth right on my elbow as I was also removing my shoes. Blood flows. He starts with that shocked look that quickly morphs into that parental nightmare known as the 'I cannot breath now because I'm getting ready to wail' look. It takes a few moments before the exhale and accompanying klaxon scream blows out all the windows and throws the front fire-door off it's hinges. After he calms down, the bloodied lip is dabbed and the flow is staunched. Of course, this moral injury is used as an excuse for the next 30 minutes as the primary impetus of why he cannot do a pushup or any jumping jacks. Indeed, his lip was in far better shape than my maligned mangled mouth flaps after the Monday Beating. And just to make sure that I keep the title of Gimpiest Haupertonian Combine Elite, I heaped some more injuries on towards the end of the session. I was performing a very tricky and complicated maneuver called the Triple Spin Rear Hook Kick with Upper block double groin/solar plexus punch when I came down on my bad leg and my big toe gave out. I rely on that prehensile digit to keep my swaying body steady and it failed me for the last time. In a feeble attempt to remain upright, I brought down my left leg only to find that the tumbling tower body had set me askew and I placed the instep of my foot a a 45 degree angle. SNAP-Crick! Oh, it gave way with such ferocity I was even more stunned than my Son when he got his lumps. Needless to say, the cantaloupe that once was an ankle held up for another few minutes before the session ended. Bad lip, bad toe, bad ankle ... if the swelling does not go down before too long, my boots will not fit. BTW: I was actually playing dodge ball with the kids at the end of class when I screwed the pooch, but it sounds ferociously more manly if I get battle scars and not weekend warrior abrasions.

Saturday; my ankle and toe are a mess, I can barely hobble down the hallway. The weather outside is miserable, cold and wet. It will be a long day of nothing. I did manage to get the fire started in the wood burning stove. In my miserly Scrooge ways, I have yet deemed it necessary to turn on the heat yet. I'll probably be babbling the same line in a febrile rant on my death-bed to the scores of nurses and life-support doctors: "Turn down that heat, I ain't made of money you know!"

Saved a few plants from the encroaching frost by carting them into the manor ... still a few more to evacuate from the back mile-long deck. I'll try to dig up some rosemary and lemon grass, but I may not get to it. The lemon grass is starting to spread a bit, would be nice if I did not have to bring it in every winter. The root ball is encumbering and difficult to transplant. I considered it, but in my feeble state, I postponed the heavy lifting for a different day. If I get my way, it'll be raining up till the big freeze and I'll be absolved of the effort. I did manage to get some wall paper up in the master suite with the help of the Alluring Mrs. Of course, the first page we put up was just slightly off from perpendicular so we have the 1/16 inch rise for every successive page. It is not noticeable unless you take out a ruler, but we have to cut the sheets to accommodate it. Hopefully, we'll finish before the end of the week seeing that nearly 50% of the work has been completed. Then tragedy strikes. The Mrs and I get food poisoning from SOMETHING. She spent most of the late evening and early morning with one end or the other plastered to the porcelain. Me, well, I got a bit of gas and some loose stool out of the ordeal. Iron gut constitution for that kind of intestinal flora/fauna is my super-power. All was not well in her digestive tract. Come Monday morning, she will still be a bit mucked up. The kids were fortunately spared so we can only assume that we were struck down by some flavored potato chips or ice tea. Would not be the first time that my gut was invaded via a liquid medium. Ice water was my downfall some 8 years ago. In any event, I start a fire to warm the manor and shuttle the kids off to Sunday school. After that, we head out to Wegmans to spend 200$ on what was supposed to be a 30$ trip. Send me shopping unsupervised and hungry: Bad Idea (tm). I return to the manor with a ton of Jelly Bellies, half a cow in steaks and an orchard of fresh fruit. The Mrs, grateful for the respite, quips at my 'Excellent Shopping Adventure' and leaves it a the "I should have sent the 15$ for 75$ coupon with you instead of the 4$ for 30$ one". Heh, I always wonder why I'm banned from that activity ... so much FUN! I'm punished but being sent outside to chop more wood and fill the emptied bracket from this weekend's heating endeavors. Oh, and I got a migraine for my troubles. Gak. One last thing: gasoline is up to $2.15USD/gal now. The ride is over, but wasn't that fun?[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

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Friday, October 27, 2006



You know, I was going to write a bitter inditement of a nutbag Ukranian woman who had parked her BMW SUV in the HP ramp access to the swim club and her freakshow Ukrainian cohort who blocked off the only two lockers that had locks on them (mine) in the family changing room. I was also going to denounce that later 'woman' for yacking on the phone while blasting through the parking lot in deference to the children walking through said lot. It irritates me too much. So, thanks to Charlie, I have this to offer:

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Thursday, October 26, 2006


Coal powered autos

Well I'll be jiggered and rolled in bacon. Why I never heard of this before is enigmatic to me, unfathomable even. The article is nearly a year old. Apparently, in my own back yard, we are turning coal into oil.

I'm not a really big fan of Rendell. He engages in some really unethical acts and fights dirty. Given that, I have to admit his is one hell of a cheer leader for the Great Commonwealth (notice ... Common Wealth ... urk) of Pennsylvania. If I were him, I would certainly be tooting my horn about this. Energy Independence is a KEYSTONE to the War on Terror. Think about it for a moment, it makes sense.That little clip there makes it look suspiciously like either Rendel is falling in line with Bush: "It's the economy, stupid.". What is the world coming to? Fire from the skies, oceans boiling, Donkeys and Elephants sleeping together! And then there is this:Anyone want to look up how many coal miners die in accidents in China every year? They have some of the best telecommunications technology and are still considered a 'developing nation'. Don't get me started.

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Mundane Entry

I'll get to the point, not much happened yesterday. I slept in again after Alexis snuck into our bed. She wakes in the middle of the night to go piddle on the potty and figures that while she is awake, she might as well practice her ninja death stalk skills. Next thing you know I find her between the Mrs and I snoozing away. She is not as fitful of a sleeper as Jake, but I still end up sleeping within the last 6 inches of my side of the mattress. Sheets? Gone. Eventually, my kidneys start to weep from the pummeling and I push the little bundle of cuddly fury over to the Mrs's side. She is not quite the clod I am when half awake so she'll actually take the child back to their room. I'm quite afraid that I may not even make the trip between the door and bed without falling out a window.

Swimming went well. The instructor, Garrett, is sufficiently impressed that the 4yr olds can swim with such confidence. It was a hoot to see them in action. As the instructor entered the pool, they Tyrants activated their wonder-twin psionic powers and formulated a pincer attack. They jumped in from opposing corners of the pool and swam underwater towards the instructor. Flawless execution up to the moment where he had to make a decision which way to face ... he choose poorly by engaging Jake. Jake put up the nice-and-friendly facade while Alexis sprang forth from the water like a Poseidon Missile and latched onto his back. Poor fellow did not have a chance. I just turned away ... I don't like watching the sharks tear apart a penguin on Mutual of Omaha. Marlin Perkins was one twisted freak.

Other news, Thor decided that he was not going to leave a massive pile of doggie dip in the yard yesterday morning. Not very nice of him since I KNEW he would need to go and that I could not hold it for 12 hours. So there we were, eyeball to eyeball. he was sitting down, I on my unclad tippy-toes. After 10 minutes, I gave up. It was just too damn cold to be standing out in the back yard with nothing but my tightie-whities on. I'm certain my skin was as white as the scrap of garment I was wearing. The Mrs let him out later and he recreated Devils Tower in a 1:1 ratio.

Did I mention gas is $2.11USD/gal here? Holding steady ... beh.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Eat'enst man alive

Because I've lost track of what day it is .... yeah, I've been distracted of late. Some of you out there are saying "Hey, this Manamana guy is just pretending to be a MSer. Like that guy who pretended to be a lesbian girl blogger to get lots of readers!" Yeah! Pshaw. I'm not a lesbian ... Really. I think. In any event, I'm going to set the record crooked like a spine. I had some rough times with MS ... blindness, vertigo, mild paralisys ... little things. But after I gave up on the ABC drugs, things got much better. And now, with a change in life style ... Well durn it, I should have listened to the prescient Mrs and affixed the change ages ago. Which leads me to my diet. Yep, bad segue there, but hey, ptttthhhhtt! I'm starting to accept that diet, exercise and low stress are helping me out quite a bit. Not really my style, you know. I'm a staunch Anti-Granola type of guy when it comes to dogma and ideology. But hey, if you can't beat them ... eat them! After reading up on MS for years and years and getting much too much information, I made a mental leap. The white matter is getting chewed up by the immune system for no real good reason. And for what it's worth, the places that are getting attacked should not be attacked because they are in an area where white blood cells do not belong. They are getting though the blood-brain barrier in numbers that far outstrip the requirements. The blood brain barrier needs to be reinforced and axon damage needs to be repaired. Well, it turns out that 'dark' fruit (hmmm, dark matter? grey matter, white atter?) has components in it that help reinforce the barrier. Why weaken the immune system with ABC drugs when you can just shore up the defenses? Shovel a load of GLA into the works to rebuild damaged shielding and POW! You do yourself a whole load of good without and durned needles!

Given this approach, I've modified the diet a bit. No more 12 pack of donuts with a liter of Jolt anymore. For breakfast, I suck down the following:

Normally, folks would have a bit more wholesome meal, but I just start eating after the vitamins and graze right up until I leave work. Here is my lunch-dump-truck:
Then there is dinner which is mostly leftovers from the tyrants/mrs and bacon fried slices of Trenton pork roll if there is nothing else. On the weekend ... well, its a regular red meat feast. Just walk 'er out and knock the horns off. So no, I'm not much of a vegan. My freezer and refrigerator are considered to be a target rich environment within the theater of operations known as the kitchen. I just eat everything, exercise like a crack-crazed banshee and reserve the meat (chud?) for the weekends.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006



Silly work, making me slack off my blogging. Like they are paying me or something. Sheesh. Monday morning had a rocky start. Getting a late start on Mondays is not entirely a new thing. You know, making the weekend last as long as possible. Yes, yes, I'm a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to this. I always spout about how one should work as hard as possible to make a better world and such. But on a cold morning after the weekend has run you down, it sure feels nice to hit that snooze bar, redouble the efforts of snuggling down beneath the quilt and dropping back into a light slumber. Even better, shutting OFF the alarm clock entirely. Rip Van Winkle was a slouch compared to the Mrs and I.

Eventually, I made the effort to pry myself into the shockingly frigid morning air and get the workweek started. After dropping off the Tyrants and giving them one last kiss/hug/raspberry, I set off to work among the rest of the lemmings in their half comatose state. Go through the regular routine and checking my email when I notice a message sent late last week. Apparently, I was invited to a Sybase Training Session starting at 0900 hours at the other office. URK! I dash off after collecting my materials and show up just as the rest of the DB group is loading the SoftWare for the session. I don't need to do this since I don't have 1GB of memory in my laptop ... just 512MB. Poor Me. That's ok though, I'll shoulder surf instead of junking up my system with rubbish. The down side is that in the training room, access to the Internet is limited and I'm isolated. Most of my brain lives on the Internet so it forces me to crank up the old biological backup unit. The hippocampus is a bit rusty, but gets going well enough to make some poignant observations. Lots of cool geeky type stuff regarding the Eclipse IDE and Enterprise model driven development. One item of interest to me is the ability to import design/req docs right into the Eclipse IDE Plugin and map it to a traceability matrix. The automation facilities are in line with our 6Sigma focus. Downside is that the tool is still a bit raw and clunky ... initial adopters of 'cool' technology run into this all the time. Still, I'm digging it.

Karate was interesting. I say interesting as a nice way of saying I walked into a high-punch during sparring and got popped in the puss for my troubles. Master Ken said, wow, that never happened before. Indeed. One problem with mastering the forms is that you move on to a more intricate and dangerous set of activities. The defense 1-Step Form I got my 'Woopin' in was fairly simple, I was just too aggressive. The opponent was to throw a High Punch and I was to deflect the blow with an inside block and throw a High Punch/Forward Punch of my own while stepping away from the thrown attack. Well, my attempt to deflect was initiated too soon and I deflected the punch with my jaw. Got a nice fat lip with a tiny taste of bitter blood for my eagerness. I'll have to work this to my advantage somehow. Really. Ouch ... it still hurts.

Tuesday morning, slept in again but managed to get to work by 0800. I blame part of this on Alexis sneaking into our bed at 0200 this morning. Something about being a heat-leach to my massive BTU generation. Cursed combination of a hyperactive metabolism and a daughter with heat-sinks for feet. So be it. In any event, I have A bit of time before the second day of the training starts so I have a moment to dredge through the loads of rubbish in my EMail inbox. Speaking of rubbish, I was the unwitting observer/victim of no less than three near-miss traffic SNAFUs. The lemmings out there seem to have brain freeze. First, on the way to work, the pilot of a minivan was making a left hand turn but could not wait for traffic to clear in both directions so too the initiative to pull out into the first two lanes and stop till the traffic in the other direction cleared up to complete the turn. Ummm, not quite what the doctor ordered since the blocked lanes presented no visibility for the approaching traffic and the other drivers nearly plowed into the dolt but managed to swerve behind the van and avoid a disaster. Incident two was me making a left turn at a green light, but a pilot of a Subaru decided that I was not deserving of the green light and went through a red light from my left. Nice! Finally, while parking the SuperSaturn a speeding woman yacking on phone in SUV nearly creams my rear fender but breaks and swerves to a stop. She apparently was late to some meeting and dashes out of her car to check to see if she hit me. Indeed, if she had it would have been due to her 1) going over 10mph in the parking lot, 2) Talking on a phone, 3) Being a lemming. There is construction in the area so I assume she was oogling the construction workers and not oogling the rear of my vehicle as I sllloooowly pull into the parking spot. Urgh.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

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Saturday, October 21, 2006


Weekend 20061020-23

Well, I managed my time rather poorly this weekend. I was expecting to be able to spend a few moments in the morning wrapping up what I was supposed to do over the weekend. Fooled me twice. Friday night was mostly laying flat out on the floor and letting the Tyrants use me as a rather unresponsive trampoline. They don't get quite as tired as I do after an hour of swimming and an hour of karate practice. Go figure, guess I'm getting old. Or just taking on too much ... psha! Perish the thought.

One thing that Friday bestowed upon us was the high winds. Apparently, the gales of pounding winds assailed the back yard door until it was flung open. Since it is the door that leads to the Hound's Kennel, it sometimes is not locked after letting them out. Well, the egress was breached by the unseen hand of a high pressure front at 1430 hours and all hell broke loose. The Alarm went off, the last line of defense droids were activated and the Mammoth Hounds burst forth to slay the intruders, but none were to be found. So, amid the resounding alarms and klaxons, they ran in and out of the manor searching for targets. With that activity, they ripped up a trough through the grass and turned the moist clay permeated soil into a well mixed slurry. This slurry did a nice job coating the floor of the kennel with a light brown veneer. Of course, I spent a big chunk of the evening mopping that up. I could not let it stay since I was certain that a healthy percentage of that slurry was made of dog poo.

Saturday was fairly low key. We slept in till the Hounds began getting irritated that they had not been fed yet. Very schedule conscience of them, to be insistent that the 0700 hour not pass before breakfast is served. Once they had been let out and fed, I noticed a large sluglike green deposit, about 9 inches long, in the corner of the kennel. It laid in its own puddle of au jus. Apparently, one of the Mammoths had spent some of it's outside-time the other day consuming a large quantity of unmowed grass. Yum. So my freshly mopped and polished floor had became soiled within hours of the cleaning being completed. Nice job guys.

With the floor recovered, we packed up and shipped out to Wegmans and Lowes for an early afternoon excursion. Not too stressful other than buying 5 tubs of sour cream instead of cottage cheese. Nothing like cracking open a tub of curdled cheese product at lunch and not finding any nicely formed curds. The creaminess is a bit disturbing when you are expecting something a bit more gritty in texture. No matter, I'll survive. Pick up the truckload of fruit varieties I intend on consuming for the week and off we go. Prior to this, we stopped off at Lowes and I picked up a new shower head with spray wand for the bathroom in the Tyrant's wing. The old shower head had become worn and no longer puts out a decent spray ... more like a gurgling waterfall. When we arrive at the manor, I replace it at an opportune time and tortured the Twins at bath time. They are not entirely enthused about being sprayed with a high-pressure wand. Kinda like in prison ... not that I've been in the penn or anything like that mind you. Nope, not even a Mexican Klink or a Turkish Facility of Incarceration. But I digress (They Killed Paco, man!). The rest or the day is all about chopping wood, stacking wood and picking up the logs that the Mammoth Hounds have left in the yard which were not trampled into oblivion. Oh, since we are finally getting a bit of frost in the morning, I went ahead and started the first fire in the wood burning stove with some of the split stack in the Fleet Port. Oddly, I had no difficulties. No backflow, no wildlife rushing into the manor, no fireball bursting forth from the portal of transdimensional BTUs. I did get a small plague of ash beetles though. They lasted very shortly in the eternal (5 hrs) flames of bug hell. They puffed up a bit like popcorn, but did not have that alluring odor. Something more akin to burning hair with the funk of steamed manure.

Sunday; Up with the 'Bark of Dog' and off to Sunday School. I had intended on abandoning the Twins to perform their usual 'distract and attack' maneuver on the instructor, but the usual helper was out and the teacher leaned on me to provide air support. The usual helper is the sister of the education program director. She is mentally challenged but is quite amicable so seems to fit right in. We've had some quite extensive discussions about her job and her boy-friend. None the less, I filled in instead of attending Mass so was able to issued directives at the Tyrants like: "No slaughtering your classmates Alexis" or "Stop attempting to seduce your teacher Jacob". Anyone ever see the cartoon "Billy and Mandy's Grim Adventures"? Well, Alexis is a bit like Mandy, except with two tone hair. Yeah, Alexis' hair is stark white at the last inch of her mane. The beastly amount of chlorine in the pool has taken the pigments right out. Some people pay a lot of money for this look, she is born with it.

Right after we leave a smoking heap of rubble in place of the parochial school, we stop by the Manor to grab the Mrs before we shoot off to Sesame Place. They have closed down all the water attractions due to dangers resulting from Icebergs. It is mostly a horde of sugar enraged children bouncing around between 8 candy depots and slowly driving the adults mad. Mad as a toothless hound in an unmanned slaughterhouse. I think they called it 'Spooktacular'. I called it 'Parent Death Race 2000'. We managed to go right though with only a few difficulties. Alexis, boggled by the madness drug, decided to go on one of the more aggressive rides (elmo's fish ride) and was actually PLEASED. Must be the brain chemistry being off. The visit ended with a brief hayride with Prairie Dawn where the tractor was driven by Scarecrow Jim. Jake LOVED the tractor but Prairie went over like a sack of dead cats. Speaking of dead animals, we went to Red Robin for a late lunch afterwards and I had a less than satisfactory 'Mouth Buster' burger. They used pickle relish as a condiment. Bletch. I'll eat nearly anything except pickles, whole avocados, raw Swiss cheese and olives. I guess they could have put those on the burger as well, but it was my fault for not looking closely at the menu. I was lusting after the net weight of the beef. So be it, I finished it anyways. Back at the Manor, I lapsed into a food coma for an hour or so. I was whipped ... more so than usual. Running about all day and throw an indigestible wad of carbs, fat and protein into my gut ... you have a major system crash in the making. After an IPL (Initial Program Load), my cpu addendum chip was able to recognise that I had a wife, two children and a whole load of responsibilities. Now where did all THAT come from? I also realized that Family Friend Pete had dropped off the tiller that I loaned him. He also, as directed, took a bit of the stacked wood in the Fleet Port. Barely notice the dent though ... I have about 6 face cords there and I think he took 1/12 of one of the rows. Since I was out there, admiring my stacks, I chopped a bit of wood and started a fire again. Not that I had turned on the heat yet, but I wanted to make sure that if one of the Tyrants got up in the middle of the night to use the facilities, I would not have to chip a hole in the ice formed within the bowl. That makes for a rough morning.

In spite of applying additional BTU's to the Manor, I still had a rough time sleeping. Stupid nap, messing with my REM Cycles. End up sleeping in for an hour or so and getting to work a bit later than usual. That's Monday for ya ... the bucktooth red headed step child of the Italian family Week.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

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Friday, October 20, 2006



I got nothing. It's raining here again so I've got the PECO number out for when our power fails. Jake is much better today and he is not suffering from the typical 'loose stool' symptoms that he usually gets from his SuperBug Antibiotics. That's always a good sign. I guess he got his daddy's iron gut. Karate went well, swimming went well. Oh, yeah, Jake's girlfriend Steph came over and played with him for a bit. Damn, that kid is smooth. He has a real ken for enticing the pretty ladies to his side. Yep, that's about it. The Tyrants are having a PJ Day at the ReEducation/Day Care Facility today and were quite enthused about it. They have some of the sharpest night clothing these days. I remember mine as a child. SuperMom made them so they fit fairly well but the fabric was certainly not of the style and quality you see now. Some day, I should get out the Mrs's Sewing Machine and bone up on my seamstress skills. It's not fair for me to heap the mending on SuperMom every time she comes down for a visit. Yeah, yeah, I know how to knit too. Sometimes a manly-man needs to be a bit epicene and effeminate to keep the balance.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006


Fallout Shelters are in.

Lately, I've been watching a show called Jericho. It's not my usual fare mind you, but since I managed to get in at the beginning, I'm stuck with it. A bit more realistic (for now) than Lost, but it's still a 'what if' type of drama. Now, back in the day when 'Duck-n-Cover' was a sure-fire way to foil them Damn Pinko Commies and their stolen atomic bombs, Fall-out shelters were the right thing to do for every respectable Suburban Middle-class family. You know, you have to tow the line and fight the good fight against the Rising Red Tide, you bet-cha. And then Regan had to go and scare the living bajeepers outta them poor Reds by telling them that we are ready and we will survive whatever you got. Ooooh, and throw in a DeathStar Orbital Platform just for kicks. Yep, that turned all those shelters into storage rooms. Well, except for the Mormons. And Where I lived for a bit in Utah, what they were doing made perfect sense. Have some water stored up for a goodly spell of need. A bit of food for you and your 36 children ... one wife though and boy was she pooped!

Well, it looks like the disappointment of Y2K has left us with a whole mess of supplies and it might not be such a bad thing to be prepared. Like a Boy Scout ... or a Michigan Militia member. Of course, there is some logic to this. Look at the folks who got knocked about by Katrina. They never really had to deal with that kind of disaster. The Florida folk go through that drill a couple times a year. Ever been to the MidWest during the annual Twister Festival? And now there is this. Even my Minnesota Brethren are in on the fad.

Yes, it's time for me to come clean. I've got a good amount of water in the basement stacked upon the top of the wine racks (mostly empty wine racks). We have a LOAD of nonperishable canned and dried food in the root celler too. Heck, because of the nearby nuclear facility, we even haveNukePills for the kids .... but I'm not this paranoid yet. However ... shouldn't we really consider the more mundane natural disasters? Acts of God like, say ... flood, fire, wind, snow, earthquake. The times when you really cannot run out to the local corner store to horde milk, bread and toilet paper. Quick side trip here; ever notice it's cheaper to get a case of beer than a case of bottled water? Just something to remember. In any event, be you a fully capable survival freak or one of the segment of society who will need a hand, shouldn't we take this sort of thing a litle more serious? When was the last time you saw a Civil Defense arm-band? Just saying, you know.

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A scout is alway prepared ...

You know it's that time of year when the Day Care Influenza starts to rear it's ugly head. At about 1515 hours, the Mrs gives me a tingle on the mental interconnect. Those cybernetic implants are pretty nifty, but all the EMF and RF radiation leaks in the lab make a clear channel hard to maintain. The call, it seems, was an effort to relay a message that Jake was running a fever. But of course! It's the first day of his swim lessons. She was going to set up an appointment with our battalion of pediatricians and would call me right back. Somehow, she manages to get service from various 'appointment required' offices at a mere growl. Must be the "don't mess with momma bear" thing. All is seem to get is derisive laughs. Thinking about that, I wondered why the Day Care/ReEducation Camp never calls me about this stuff. I AM the parent who drops off and picks up the Tyrants. I'll have to drop an anvil on their heads one of these days.

So, we are at the doctor's office and the waiting room is PACKED. Not a seat to be found and most of the seats are occupied by the parents. No room for a very feverish and child, languishing in my arms. All I need now is for some inn-keep to come out and tell me there is no more room, that I should go to the manger down the street. So I cradle my dearest son in my arms and wait ... and wait ... and wait. My focus is on him so Alexis is wreaking havoc like there is no tomorrow. Targets of opportunity abound. And then, Jake tells me he needs to go to the bathroom to throw up. Okay, you bet. Usually, he just wants to spot in the toilet, so I humor him and stride over to the restroom door. Locked. Ummm, ok. I set Jake down and tell him to wait while I get the key from the receptionist. She ignores me while typing away at her console. Alexis flits about the room, getting underfoot as only a 4 year old can. As I desperately, but politely try to attract attention (I'm getting to the point of growling "HEY, YOU, OVER HERE!"), Jake begins exorcising his last meal from his gullet. On the Bathroom door, floor, coat ... and it is voluminous. Apparently he was not digesting anything since his body systems were in revolt. Now I shout at the oblivious attendant "HEY! My son is vomiting in your waiting room full of children because we cannot get into the bathroom!" She gives me an entirely too vapid glance and then scurries off to the bowels of the office. I dart off to aid my son who is continuing to seriously get into vomiting. A woman ... a mother ... near-by is consoling him and asking if he is feeling better. Nice enough woman, she has been in this predicament before obviously. The quantity and volume of semi-digested matter is rising to about ankle level when an office assistant comes out with a spray bottle and a handful of paper towels. Yeah, and Noah brought only a life preserver ... it ain't going to help lady. I run back to the front desk and say as best I can without snarky sarcasm "Can I please have the key to the bathroom so my son can finish vomiting in a toilet instead of your floor?" She torpidly replies, "Oh, we don't have a key. Sorry." Say what wha? Okay, I'm not going to hammer on her about this because I KNOW they have a key to this room, I've used it before. They will just have to call FEMA to mop up the mess when the levies break and millions of deciliters of bile mixed with putrid milk start pouring into the examination rooms. Enjoy!

An hour later, we are admitted to one of the examination rooms not yet submerged. Within minutes, we are attended to by a physician. AMAZING! He is a very personable chap and we talk about where we all come from, live and our professions. His is a bit obvious but his predilection for all things technical is a focal point of our discussions. Turns out he is just as much a tech-head as the Genius Level Mrs and I. Well then, this could be a wonderful relationship of barter opportunities here! We eventually get down to the matter at hand: Jake's malaise. The Doc peeks in his ears ... nope. Look at his throat ... hmmm. Swab the back of the throat, Jake gags ... but no spewing forth of ichorous fluids. Doc takes swab, puts it into a tiny well situated on a strip of plastic and within minutes, a diagnosis: Streptococcus. Urk. PROGNOSTICATION: one week from this evaluation, I will have strep. The test is actually quite fascinating. It's like an ept so type test ... amazing. We used to have to wait for days for this kind of diagnosis back in the old days. You know, the OLD days ... the 1900's. Yep, back in 1996, we had to bang two rocks together for entertainment. Them were good times.

Jake does not go to swimming lessons which, at first, seems like a boon to Alexis ... till she learns that not only am I not swimming with her, but she will need to swim in the Big Pool with the icebergs and STRANGE MALE INSTRUCTORS!!! She would tolerate girls ... even Ivan with his thin covering of facial hair ... but not these fellows. It only took me about 10 minutes to convince her to get in and start the 40 minute lesson ... and then another 5 minutes of cajoling to keep her going for the last 10 minutes. She did well, but she needs her brother or daddy to be there or she gets a bit recalcitrant. That's my girl, impudent rebel cum petulant autocrat.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

Oh, and gasoline is now $2.12USD/gal.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


lost time

Another bromide, barkeep. And keep the platitudes coming. It's a miserable day out there. Rain, rain and precipitation. Fortunately, I convinced the Mrs that we should go on an after-hours Mammoth Mound hunt so we do not have to worry about trying to scoop up slag-piles of that mess. It would not doubt have frozen into Volkswagen beetle sized messes that I would have to pry from the ground had we left it. It was a bit comical though ... her with a flashlight and me with the pooper-scooper combing though the grass looking for treasure. Such a tolerant woman. It was as if I took her out on a date to go giggin'. Her alacrity to support me in even my grandest larks and machinations is treasure beyond compare. To not love her as I do would certainly be an abomination. But I digress (with noble cause though). With the rain, I was expecting our annual power outage. We got lucky last night and we still had full service though the night. Which is to say, both the Mrs and I had access to the power grid and accompanying facilities. Glad I got that cleared up right away. Sheesh.

Yesterday, I neglected to mention that the Tyrants were sent off to the Northern Quantico Satellite Installation Pennypack Conservation Center (as noted here). Jake, in all his wonderment, got his first official bus ride. Buses, trucks, trains, planes ... they are all objects requiring gravitas for him. If you fail to recognize his 'ownership' of any particular vehicle on the road or near the road or even rail-road track crossing the road, you are entered into his mental database and regarded as a member of an effete gaggle of vapid milquetoasts. That said, he quite enjoyed the journey. Even more so, they enjoyed watching their 3 apples being crushed into cider mash. Something not quite right about that. I spout that hypocrisy as I sink my fangs into a crisp Red Delicious.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006



Yes, I'm a bit tardy with this. So sorry ... so sorry. Did you not like my Haiku? Or perhaps found my Ginko Slayer post to ... brainy? Hmmm, yes. I get that sometimes. It comes with the territory of being a recidivist whiner. No matter, I will forge ahead and lay out for you the exquisite theater which is my daily grind. Sit down, feast upon my daily banalities, and should you feel compelled, comment upon my commiseration.

First off, everything went as planned right up till my slated docking procedure at the manor round about 1915 hours. My daily schedule is cast in stone and variations have fallen within the six sigma paradigm. It is at this time that we can expect the minor deviations to occur. Tonight, we were expecting the molded tub/shower enclosure barker to arrive and try to wrangle a sale out of us. Unsuspecting pawn! The sale has already been made provided there are no bizarre pricing schemes or requirements that keep the Tyrant's bathroom unavailable for extended periods of time. The gentleman arrived early. I was out on the Mile Long driveway taking the trash to the curb at the time. Trash and recycling can only be brought to the curb after 1800 hours or the mighty fist of township fascism will descend upon the transgressing offenders and they will be CRUSHED with a warning notice! It will be YELLOW! But I digress (as usual). So I was out with Thor for he had not had his morning BM and I certainly was not interested in shoveling his monster load from the tile floor of his room should he decide that he could not wait a full day. That would be ill advised of me. (Again, digression). The car pulls up and I wave, thinking that it was much too early and perhaps it is someone looking for direction. That happens A LOT. I seem to be the 'Park Entrance Kiosk' where people stop and ask for the best way to get to XXX street near the Waterfall. I keep a small map in my wallet that shows every street in the development. I'm a good boy-scout. Thor recognizes there is a treat. A STRANGER is encroaching on the DMZ! Hackles up, barking and prancing begins. Hush and sit-down is not working so a command to get to the back deck is issued, accepted and obeyed. Good Mastodon. After the Salesman changes hid drawers, we spend the next hour discussing the ins and outs of his product (all ins, no outs). We make decisions on color and other peripherals. No wainscoting, thank you, and we are keeping the spigot that we had installed a few years back. Then the Haggler In Chief enters the negotiations. The Mrs, that perennial NYC-Manhattan Girl, can make a the most hard-core huckster agree to eat his own head as part of the deal. Indeed, I have learned that we are getting all that we wanted along with a healthy slice of the Moon. Light side, dark side was unacceptable. Moon-base Jacob will need the sunlight for the solar panels.

I've come to the conclusion that the Migraine I had this past weekend was masking a minor MS attack. I seem to have developed a numb patch on my shoulder next to my neck. It would normally not be all that annoying except there is a constant phantom sensation of ticking that has replaced the normal tactile input. It is disturbing my sleep quite effectively. The other issue is that we allow the Tyrants to eat their breakfast in our bed and watch TiVo while the Mrs and I busy ourselves with the normal morning activities. I'm certain that the toast crumbs are acting in a synergistic manner to ensure I will not sleep comfortably. Yes, I know. If it hurts, don't do it. Just make them eat their breakfast at the table like a normal family. Except we are not a normal family. Should I attempt that, one of two things will certainly happen. Either they will fall asleep at the table or they will burst in while I'm trying to shower and mock me in my nudity. The second has happened so don't go there. I'm sensitive about my body image. It's tough to be vain. Just ask Carly Simon. She wrote that song about me, don't you know. Except I did not go to Nova Scotia ... it was Utah. Oh, and speaking of dry dusty places where there is oil, gasoline is holding steady at $2.13USD/Gal. (What a train-wreck of a segue.) Looks like we may have hit the bottom of the slide. This spate of cold weather is probably getting people to refill their oil tanks for the winter.

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Haiku 2

Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu
The first form for the 9th GUP
The tyrants know it

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Over the years, I've heard many MS and Non-MS folk lament over the loss of the intellectual acumien. This is blamed on many things: MS, college parties, aging, etc. Of course, we would all like to be as bright and energetic as we were years before. But with age comes wisdom, or horse sense. And along for the ride we find the imp of lost accuity in our mental facilities.

I wanted my ability to balance a spreadsheet in my mind while remembering a half years worth of appointments back. I wanted to be able to pick up highly abstract ideas and integrate them with my higly organized base of knowledge that was once like stacking childrens blocks. Enter stage right, the snake oil salesmen. Ginko is the cure for what Ails you my brothers!!! Just a few pills a day and you'll look down on Oppenheimer like a dullard! Mozart and Bach will be organ grinders! Jefferson, Plato and the rest will welcome your new found brillance as a breath of fresh air. And I ate the tripe up as if it were a feast of the kings. Swill down those energy drinks for they are the abrosia of the gods. Reality hit not too much further down the road but too late to spare me a healthy dent in the budget.

I'm going to pick on one suppliment today. You see, I wouldn't put too much faith in Ginko, the FDA has reviewed the studies and the relationship between memory and ginko suppliments is highly suspect due to the way that the studies have been done. Researchers have been funded by 'interests' that have a conclusion they want to market, but need some supporting facts. Facts they are willing to pay for with grants. And those grants will keep coming so long as the results are sufficient enough to keep the public duped. Given that, a true double-blind test with a sufficiently robust base would be extraordinary in expense and would return only marginal results. Nothing a purveyor of mercury as a cure for consumption would be able to use.

Let's get a rudimentary understanding of how memory works. Essentially, you have short term memory and long term memory. The the hippocampus is understood to be involved in spatial learning and declarative learning ... which is built upon short term memory. Damage to connective white matter in patients and subsequent memory flaws is a indicator of this. It could be that damage to this connective tissue, or to a pathway develope through the damaged region is actually the cause of the deficit.

Given this, we know very well that once an axion is damaged, it can heal via scarring or die. These cells are not replaced. We are forced to make due with what we have available after an age when the brain ceases growing. Brain development continues into adolescence. Then, cell death begins and we must reroute pathways around the degrading areas as best as we can. So the only salvation we can hope for is some way to help us reorganize our vital information. Now, let's look at the claims:
Here we see some bad news:

    The brain: mechanisms of ginkgo biloba that cause cognitive impairment
    Studies have shown that this extract can affect the brain in four major ways through blood circulatory and neurotransmitter systems, as an antioxidant, and a component of glucose utilization. In both antioxidant activity and in the circulatory system, ginkgo allows for increased blood flow to the brain. In the circulatory system, blood vessels are widened, allowing for increased blood flow as well as reduced risk of stroke. The aggregation of blood platelets and the formation of clots are also inhibited.
But it goes on to say, 'Never mind that sub-dermal hemotoma!':
    Ginkgo biloba extract plays a role in the body’s use of glucose by increasing its absorption in the frontal and parietal cortex. As a result, areas of the brain that are vital for processing sensory information are made more efficient. Neurotransmitters in the brain undergo changes when ginkgo enters the body. The production of norepinephrine is increased as well as the release of gamma-amino butyric acid. Lastly, as an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba lessens free radical activity that can damage neurons and alleviate the effects of cerebral ischemia.
Does it work every time? No.
    Over-the-counter treatments often claim to improve memory, attention and cognitive function. In a six-week double-blind study (placebo-controlled with parallel group), two hundred and nineteen participants over the age of sixty were randomly assigned to receive a treatment of ginkgo (40 mg, three times per day) or a matching placebo. Outcomes were measured by tests of verbal and nonverbal learning and memory, attention and concentration and also questionnaires. After analyzing this sample, no significant differences were seen between the two groups. These results show that ginkgo biloba did not alter the performance of elderly adults on neuropsychological tasks.

    Ginkgo biloba Heath Benefits to those without previous cognitive impairment
    Although ginkgo is known to affect older adults, its effect on those without mental impairments is still questionable. For six weeks, a group of healthy adults was given 40 mg of ginkgo extract three times a day or a placebo. The results showed no difference in memory scores, self-reported perception, or rating by spouses, friends, and relatives after the duration of the trial. Ginkgo provided no short-term benefits in people with healthy cognitive function.

    However, a similar study that was conducted has conflicting results. Again using healthy people, a group received 180 mg a day of ginkgo for six weeks. Compared to placebo, the supplement improved memory score and significantly improved self-perception of memory. In this study, those who received ginkgo rated their overall ability to remember as "improved" compared to those receiving the placebo. This correlates well with previous studies indicating a potential short-term benefit to ginkgo supplementation.
So, if you have damage, this is not going to help. The article goes on to state that after a time, the results degrade and you soon develop a 'tolerance' and your gains fade away.
Then there is the less than desirable effects of the wonderous brain supplement.
    Adverse Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects and interaction with other drugs
    The most serious side effect associated with ginkgo biloba is the increased risk of bleeding as it acts as a blood thinner. For this reason, it is not suggested that individuals taking anti-coagulants, such as aspirin, should try this supplement. In addition, those taking MAOI anti-depressent drugs or pregnant women are in danger. Convulsions are also a possible side effect after consuming a large amount of gingko nuts. The seeds of this plant are toxic and can potentially destroy vitamin B within the body.

    Other side effects of Gingko biloba, it may cause spontaneous hyphema (bleeding from the iris into the anterior chamber of the eye) in rare cases. Restlessness, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can result from taking this supplement. Other severe side effects, although rare, can include headaches and GI tract and dermatology reactions. In a double-blind placebo study, the adverse effects of ginkgo were tested. There was no difference found between the control and experimental group in terms of adverse effects. Although positive effects were seen as a result of consuming the extract, outcomes varied with duration of the treatment.

    Interaction with Other Supplements
    Although very few, there are some possible interactions for ginkgo biloba and other supplements. For example, if used in conjunction with St John’s wort, side effects such as muscle stiffness, rapid heartbeats, fever, restlessness and sweating may occur. The combination of ginkgo and hawthorne can possibly affect blood pressure levels. When taken with products that also increase the risk of bleeding, such as garlic and vitamin E, the risk for the symptom is merely amplified. Oppositely, blood sugar levels can be lessened if ginkgo is taken with a bitter melon supplement. However dosage may have to be altered when taken more than one supplement concurrently.
More warnings of Adverse Effects:

    Ginkgo extract appears to be very well tolerated. Infrequent side effects include mild gastrointestinal disturbances, headache, and allergic skin reactions. Four cases of serious bleeding, including subdural hematoma, have been reported. One case suggests an interaction with warfarin (Coumadin®) and one an interaction with aspirin. In one of the few studies examining a possible ginkgo-warfarin interaction, there was found no increase in the INR (prothrombin time) when volunteers taking warfarin were given ginkgo. Considering the antiplatelet activity of ginkgo and the limited information available, patients should be advised to discuss ginkgo and warfarin therapy when used together with their physician or pharmacist.

    The risks and benefits of taking ginkgo with aspirin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine or other antiplatelet agents (including fish oil and high dose vitamin E) must be weighed carefully and patients should be advised of the bleeding risk.
And the most reputable study, what of that? The FDA thought it was good enough, no? No. In fact, if the FDA HAD approved it, it would have been in direct violation of their own requirements. Here is the skeptic's line:
    But in dozens of published studies, including a major trial in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the evidence doesn't support ginkgo as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease or for boosting memory power in otherwise healthy people.
    One recent study of gingko for Alzheimer's avoided some of these pitfalls-the study published in JAMA in 1997. Hundreds of patients with early Alzheimer's took 120 mg of ginkgo per day for a full year, and were tested periodically. The study suggested that ginkgo delayed the progression of the symptoms for up to six months. These widely-publicized findings influenced many people to take ginkgo in hopes of preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease.

    But when other researchers took a close look, they found flaws-some fairly serious. For one thing, some of the people in the placebo group did not worsen as much as they should have without treatment. "It was not as it ought to be, and it leaves you wondering if these are truly patients with dementia," observes Paul Solomon, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Williams College in Massachusetts. Also, the change in mental skills detected by the study was small-about 25 percent of what would be expected in a patient treated with existing Alzheimer's drugs, Solomon says.

    The real kicker was the fact that researchers could not tell the difference between treated subjects and those on placebo. In other words, the study could not prove that the effect of ginkgo on these people was clinically significant. Based on information provided by caregivers and family members, the researchers did document a difference, although it was relatively small: for every seven people treated with ginkgo, caregivers and family members detected improvement in one person on ginkgo.

    "The outcome measure that is required in the United States is that observers who are blinded can notice a difference in the patients, and no one could notice any difference," Solomon notes. "If that study was submitted to the FDA to have a drug approved, it would not be acceptable."
    Gingko works in some ways similar to prescription anticoagulation medication, and it is thought to enhance the effects of drugs such as Coumadin or warfarin. A few patients on these medications who also started taking ginkgo have been reported to suffer intracranial hemorrhages shortly after beginning the gingko, and it is considered unwise to mix the herb with these drugs.
    Other vitamin and herbal anti-platelet supplements, such as garlic and Vitamin E can also increase the effects of gingko. Therefore it is important to discuss the use of this herb with your physician, especially if you are taking prescription medications or other herbal supplements. There are no data on the safety of gingko in pregnancy, and it is not recommended for use in children or infants.
    This study, together with results from other trials, suggest that the published benefits of ginkgo - improved memory, attention, and mental flexibility - do not persist beyond the first few days of treatment. The authors of this study have reported a similar trial in healthy young volunteers, and found a similar lack of effect on memory and attention after 6 weeks; they also found no effect on mental flexibility in young subjects.

    Clearly the measurable effects of ginkgo are small and fleeting, at best. It seems likely that tolerance to the substance develops; in other words, the body fails to react to repeated doses because the tissues become 'used to' the presence of the molecules and fail to react to it, or the substance is broken down and removed more rapidly by the body over time, which is a known occurrence with certain drugs. Either way, taking ginkgo in the recommended doses has little to recommend it.

    Because ginkgo decreases blood platelet aggregation (stickiness), there is some concern that it may increase risk of intracranial (brain) hemorrhage; in fact, there have been several reports of bleeding complications associated with ginkgo use. It would be unadvisable, therefore, for people to self-medicate with ginkgo at high doses in the hope of obtaining effectiveness.
In closing, don't be fooled. You may get a boost, you may not. It might even be better for you to take aspirin instead of ginko. It's good for your heart, helps with strokes and costs about a buck for a bottle of 100 pills.

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Monday, October 16, 2006



Fast and Furious weekend winding down. Well, not really. The Furious part. It was certainly fast in so much that it is over.The Grandparents arrived Friday night and the Tyrants may have touched the ground twice as they homed in on the Targets. A couple of love seeking missiles they were. Nearly rended Amish-Dad in two! That was pretty much the last I saw of the Tyrants and the Grandparents that night. Of course, since the Tyrants knew that spoilage was about, we could count on them going right to the guest wing in the morning instead of beating our skulls in with 2x4 scrap to alert us it was time to leave slumber behind. Unfortunately, I had other activities scheduled which would perform that task.

The alarm folks needed to come by the Manor and check all the devices to make sure it was all in working condition. Of course, that included several Red Shirt Security fire teams which were used to exercise the anti-personnel devices. In the end, only the one chief Tech made it to the front portcullis and was admitted. He did the usual 'Cleaning' of the smoke detectors and trigger testing the access detection devices. He did find some grunge on the 3 button on the access panel on the Main Wing of the Manor ... which we rarely use. Fine, fine. Just send me your $5K bill and be done with it. This fellow has been to the manor before and knows the Tyrants/Hounds and was prepared for the experience. Get in, do the job, get out. He did spend a few moments to talk to me about the political sign I had posted outside the front portcullis. It is the other one, not the 'Beware, there be monsters here' or the 'Abandon all hope' signage. The one about Tom Murt. Apparently he is a friend so we had a talk about it for a few moments until Senior Tech was certain I would vote the way I was proclaiming to lean. Funny how these last few weeks are bringing out the low-level advocates.

Rest of the day: Local Fire Station open house, complete with ladder truck, repelling lines and hoses. We even had a PECO display that showed the Tyrants that electricity is NOT your friend. Lots of burning stuff and arcing electric. The kids were mesmerized. I can see the Tesla Generators being abused into offensive weapons now. After we coerced the Tyrants from the wholesome fun of mass electrocution, we went off to do some shopping and to look at shower inserts. I have a scheduled appointment on Monday Evening to have the tub enclosure measured for an insert. The goof-balls who originally built the manor used regular sheet rock for the backing on the tile work. Water got behind the tiles and now there is no sheet-rock. Just one tap on the tiles and in they fall. You only find this kind of malfeasance years after buying an ancient temple turned residence of tyrants. Evil Lairs are not what they used to be. We need a real good one with a bat-cave or something. Nothing is seems to be on the market, and hints out there?

Saturday was a long one. We stopped off at the anti-social wallmart to ... look about. Found out that the EEEVILLL Coke company was having an enticement carnival that included a moon-bounce. This was an activity that the Tyrants INSISTED we stop at ... for what seemed to be forever. The adults got tired watching the younglings burn off 100 Gigawatts of energy. You want to know the secret of cold fusion? Look at the ATP synthase pickup sequence of a child. Biology is surprising that way. Speaking of biology, get this: The Ms and I picked up all the Mastodon Mountains, then I went on to chop wood with AmishDad and followed it all up with a beastly migraine. Urg. Sometimes, Saturdays can start out on suck and end up blow.

Sunday, Tyrants assault Grandparents, we shower and go to Sunday School, Alexis only takes 15 minutes to let me have my leg back. New record. Did all kinds of wonderful Sunday-school type things. Since there are only 3 4yr olds, we are lumped in with the Kindergarten Class and the kids are a little confused about the material. At least they are not throwing crayons at the alter. 'Nuff said. At noonish, we go to the Wegman's Grand Opening in Warrington ... along with the rest of Montgomery county. It was absurdly PACKED. The herd mentality could be felt all the way over in Pittsburg. The neat thing was that some of the less socially conscious folk (Majorly Obtuse Oblivious : MOO) were learning that if you leave your cart in the middle of a busy aisle, it may not be there when you return to it. Heh, hard lessons for the rude. Before we went there, we stopped at a few other stores so I could pick up some wiring equipment for the Manor's infrastructure. The Wireless network connected to the OC48 bi-directional sonet ring was just not cutting it. I need to run about 8 Cat-5 lines to the top floor of the manor and set up a wiring harness in the network room so I do not need to crimp all those damn connectors. Having a patch-panel available will make things a bit easier on me when it comes time to upgrade to a more capable hub.

The rest of the weekend? Chop a bit more wood, let the migraine rise again and render me ineffective (thank goodness the GrandParents chose this weekend to be here) and then supp upon the feast prepared by SuperMom.

Monday morning brought me up through a foggy haze of fading drugs and rising pain to which I ran off to the hall-way pharmacy and downed a fist of pills that would make Elvis shudder. Seeing that there was frost on the fleet in the Auto Port, I curled up under the covers with Alexis who had found that the only remaining heat producers in the Manor were the Parental units. At 0530 she had crawled in between the Mrs and I. Gave me an excuse to sleep in for an hour. Yes, I did feel bad that the Mrs had to let the Mammoth's outside to burn holes in the lawn ... but all I was wearing was a pair of silk boxers and she was clad in ablative armor with carbon-fiber energy dissipation shielding and fully self-correcting exoskeleton assist ... cybernetic interface v4.75-1 ... self contained environmental support ... the works. Besides, Alexis kicked HER out of bed, not me. I'll get my karmic pay-back tonight for sure.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

Oh, and gasoline is holding steady at $2.13USD/gal

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Friday, October 13, 2006


Completed Transaction

It was a busy, but rather uneventful day. First off, it is fire prevention week at the ReEducation/DayCare Center for Developing Tyrants. On this particular day, a fireman in complete garb would show up along with Sparky the FireDog. Not a cute little Dalmatian mind you. One of those Amusement Park/Ball Game type mascot outfits complete with dead staring eyes. Alexis despises these. Disney World, when we go, will have MainStreet running with blood. However, in this case, she stated that she was not irritated and actually let herself be hugged. Well then! I'll wager she was planting a tracking device so her ninja minions could abduct and slay him(her?) later.

The funny thing about this is that one of the long time DayCare Professionals who is now among the staff tending to the Tyrants has a husband who works at the local Fire Department Station. This Thursday, they had an open house which we went to after swimming and karate. In full karate regalia no less. Yes, we got a few looks but as the 1st Haupertonian Karate Regiment, we were feared. One innocent child actually came up to us and asked if we really knew how to do karate. To which I responded, 'Yes, more or less.'. A wide eyed stare and a mouthed 'wow' followed by a quick retreat of the small audience was interestingly humorous. If asked, the Tyrants love to do their First Form for anyone who will watch. Alexis is already bored with her first and is making up 'New Forms'. Heh, I'll have to get her to display these for Master Ken some time. Back at the station, it was windy and cold so convincing the Tyrants that retreating to the Manor is a good idea required little of our typical machinations. It was pizza night to boot so the gobs of treats and candy did not spoil their appetite for a good slice of pie.

Oh, nearly forgot to include my closing salvo at the Petrol Oppressed Seattleites: gasoline is $2.15/gal USD and the Mrs indicated one of the stations she passes has it posted at 2.09. Might be time for another Haiku.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006


Ahh, angst at last

I was wondering what happened to all the frustration in my life. Looks like it was on sabbatical. Yes, just long enough for me to believe it finally expunged from our tiny empire of grace. It all started shortly after 1730. The kids were sitting on the edge of the pool, gouging their eyes out of their sockets due to the high concentration of WMD they used in the pool. I think it was Mustard Gas. In 15 minutes, their lessons were to begin, but I had seen not a hint of any instructors or the swim director. This new fellow, Mario, had called me about 3 weeks back to tell me that the lessons had been delayed till the week of October 9th. Well, it is the week of October 9th dammit. I asked about and the lifeguard on duty did not even know the name of the new swim director. Since the Older Ladies were starting to wade into the pool for their nightly 5:30 water aerobics session, we were compelled to leave at that point. I wrapped up the Tyrants like mummified treasures and we waddled out to the front desk like a troop of surviving lemmings. After inquiring of the equally ignorant attendees as to the status of the swim program, they attempted to get mario on the line with negligible success. The took down my information and promised that the pool manager, charlie, would call us later in the night. I know this line, their alacrity is a ruse to get me to go away.

Just as a point of incorrigible stubbornness, I called the next day to CONFIRM that the front desk did have the signup sheets and that we were there at the correct time on the correct day. They had the sheets and I was correct. Back to the unfolding events; after being glad-handed, the Tyrants and I started back to the changing room to go home. It was much too late to try to go to Karate practice. Alexis took off like a stray photon in an ion stream in spite of being tightly bundled. As she disappeared around a corner, I her a loud twack and within seconds, a simpering moan. Moments later, as I approached the event horizon, I saw her stagger back around the corner with a viscous trail of blood streaming from her button nose. Oh, lord. She had apparently taken the corner too sharply and without the freedom of movement in her legs she went down hard on the concrete floor. She was alerting every defense droid within a mile with a Amplitude Coded distress message in her wails and heads poped out of every alcove in the hallway. When a small child wails and vital fluids are leaking, the gravitas of the moment escalates to immeasurable levels. Ad-hoc emergency personnel streamed forth with ice packs and concerned looks. What we really needed was a tissue. I ended up using a beach towel to staunch the flow. After coagulation had set in and sniffling that accompanies tears had subsided, I took the opportunity to be a heartless parent. You see, this is why we do not run around the pool or run without shoes. You will get hurt and that makes Daddy and Mommy very sad. Jovial Jake was watching on with silent shock at this grave atrocity. He felt compelled to pipe up every so often and let me know that Indeed, he was not running. He was just short of displaying schadenfreude, but seemed quite capable of taking advantage of his sister's torpid state. After mopping up the puddles of my broken heart, I helped her to get into position to lay her head back and allow the clotting to do it's job.

Now, it's time for the blame game. You see, if the swim instructor had been where they should have been at the time that was slated, we would have been in the pool instead of splayed out on the cold, unforgiving, child slaying floor. I wonder if their Mad Daddy alert went off yet. I know my Angst Level is now set at Flaming Hot Pulsating Red ... with Sparkles and Shooting Fireballs.

Back at the manor, the kennel room smells of the funk of musty dog urine. SOMEONE let loose in the dead of night and recreated the Yellow River. No 3 Gorges Dam was available to retain the surging waters and it must have gotten between the tiles. I'll have to mop the floor now to erase the sins of the Mastodons. That reminds me, the mountains of recycled kibble are growing out back and we are running out of open space for them to do their morning constitutional. This miserable rain and the early night-fall does not allow for me to easily remedy this situation. Oddly enough, I'm quite ready for the first winter freeze to arrive. After reviewing the past years utility bills, I find that our expenditures are actually decreasing. We are nearing the payment levels we saw nearly 10 years ago. And with this summer's odd bill structure (our biggest bill was just a pinch over 300$), I'm thinking that the AC replacement may wait a year or two.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

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And now for something completely inane

Gas prices falling
Speculators bankrupting
Bank account growing

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006



It seems as though our friends at BlogRolling are having some ... issues. If you find that your LoveLink on the side bar is missing, it is not that I have become a fickle twit and abandoned you. No, not by a long shot my lovelies. It is merely a small inconvenience. Kinda like having your 25MegaTon Underground Nuclear Test look more like a 4KiloTon TNT explosion.

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Another 24 hours

Okay then. Another day of near mendacity to wrestle with and squeeze a drop of water out of. The good news is two fold. First and foremost, I'm much better now. Seems as though the Andromeda Strain Virus has finally left my body. Not sure why, I usually fight this sort of thing for months. It might have to do with the swimming. Last night, they were putting extra water back into the Club Pool and I swear that they dumped in a few Hectolitres of ionized chlorine. The Tyrants were laid low after only 50 minutes of swim time and complained about their eyes for the next hour. Hopefully, when they have their lesson this Wednesday, some of the brutality will have evaporated. I can still smell it on my hands even now. Alexis nearly has blond hair and Jake's tuft of unruly mane looks like he had highlights done. It's as if they are dumping bleach in the pool. We'll all look like something from the Village of the Damned.

We would really fit in well with all the Swedes from Minnesota then! Boy, would the Mrs be PISSED if I asked her to move to any place colder than the Southern Reaches of Pennsyltucky. Speaking of cold, we just got our utility bill for last month. Something in the order of $128. When our electric drops below $200 you know that summer is officially over. Might as well break out the parkas now. Well, except we wont get snow for months yet. More like golashes and umbrellas. The rain will commence in 10 minutes and continue till morale improves.

Other good news, gasoline is now $2.17USD. I do expect it to level out soon. With all that nonsense in North Korea and OPEC calling for production cuts, I expect the speculators to begin to walk off the whoopin' they just got and dive back into their pissy behavior. Anyone want to lay some bets as to when Japan and South Korea shake them selves out of their complacency and announce that they are going nuclear? Japan has tons of nuclear fuel, they could probably fashion a tidy arsenal within a few months. That, or ask Godzilla to stomp Lil' Kim into the ground. Hmmm, I wonder if the Tyrants are interested in using mind control on Godzilla to further their plans of world domination...

Last bit of anything even resembling that which would be deemed interesting; My exBoss called Tuesday night. I was out with the kids and the Mrs was not home yet so he left a message. He was just checking up on me to see how the new job was going. I think he misses me. I'm one of the old-timers that he could rely on to be not-so-reserved when talking to him. It IS tough at the top, you know. Being a CEO/President even of a little company makes some people think twice about crossing you. Of course, being the King of CLM (Career Limiting Moves), I mixed it up with him a few times. Once when he was about to lay off half the company. I'll have to touch base with him and do lunch out in KOP some time soon. My new job is a bit more PC so my usual personal touch has to be curtailed a bit.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


1010 wins!

Another sufficiently dull day. There was only one thing, outside of gasoline now at $2.19/gal USD. Before I go there, I have been pondering the price of gasoline of late. I know, you barely noticed, eh? I'm friggen OCD on it. Penny wise, pound foolish. At any rate (no pun intended), it's awful peculiar that the deviation of prices here go from 2.19$ all the way up to 2.45$ ... all within a 4 mile radius. Weird. The Mrs tells me she can buy petrol for even cheaper near her place of work while I KNOW that it is also more expensive closer to Philly. I'm baffled about this. Are people made of that much money? Will they not go a couple miles out of their way to save a few dollars. If you drive a SUV or a MiniVan, your tank could hold 20-25 gallons. At .25$/gal savings ... wow. More than any damned supermarket coupon.

Karate practice produced a bit of a shocker for me. Apparently, I've been promoted to the official 10th Gup. Or is that 9th? Eh, I have a stripe on my belt now, I guess it's 9th. I was sufficiently skilled in my first basic form (Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu) that I was awarded my first promotion. Heh, go figure. Of course, behind the scenes I've been studying the next two forms (Ki Cho Hyung E Bu & Ki Cho Hyung Sam Bu) so I'll be able to spend some time with the Tyrants getting them up to snuff with the first. The next two are deviations of the first and they should be able to pick them up pretty quickly. This is for them, but the obvious health benefits for me are starting to show. The big up side to this is that I now outrank the Tyrants and now do not have to bow to them when walking onto the matt. Not like they won't demand it anyways after subjugating the Northern Hemisphere.

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FYI 20061010

Something I did not know:
There are 990,000 words in English.
Oddly enough, there are only 110,000 in French.
In total, there are 340 words in Creole.
Goes to show you that once the French and English get together, they don't have much to talk about.

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Monday, October 09, 2006



It's been asked for so here it is. Years and years ago, I saw a skit on television (cable, no less) about this and it has stuck with me. My education of AI, Differential Equations and Abnormal Psychology have long since been eaten away, but this remains. It is the Story of the Ass Pennies.

Two guys are on a golf course doing their Manly Golf Thing. The first man makes his putt and it goes wildly off from the hole. The next man walks up to his ball twice as far away, takes a lack-luster swipe at it and it zips right into the hole. This is the impetus for the first to ask what makes the second so much better at everything. He works hard, got good grades in college, does everything he is supposed to do but just does not seem to get anywhere in life. The Second tells him that it is all about confidence and there is a sure-fire trick to get it. All you need is Ass Pennies. The other man gives his newly appointed mentor a 'WTF' look, but the former carries on. You see, everywhere you look you see coins. In the 'need-a-Penney' bin, in collection jugs, church coffers, coke machines, tip jars ... EVERYWHERE. Look in you pockets, you probably have just short of a dollar clinking about. And this is where my plan starts. You need to have something on the other guy when you meet him. Something that makes you think you are better than him. My plan was to take a couple of pennies and put them up my poop-chute. Yess, you think I'm crazy? No? But this is how it works. A few pennies is not going to do much, but if you do this every day, pretty soon a whole bag of pennies that have been up your Hershey Highway are circulating among the population. I started with a few pennies, then eventually a whole roll at a time. I now do quarters, nickles, dimes and the occasional Betsy Ross Silver dollar. I've been doing it for years now. Every time I meet someone, I KNOW that he probably has some coins in his pocket or his wife's purse that have been up my ass. And that's why I'm better than him ... he is holding my ass pennies. At this point, the 'victim' dumps the change out of his pocket, turns and slowly walks off the green.[+/-] show/hide the rest of this post

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