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Archived Entries from October 2004

Finally Friday

Thank goodness. This has been one hell of a rough week.

The good news is that I got some medicine from the doctor yesterday and now my headache is finally gone. Apparently it was (is) a sinus infection.

Work was crazy busy again today. I had to write part two of the online grant submission stuff, for the peer reviewers. It wasn't too bad, but I had to have it done before lunch and had a mad scramble to get it finished.

Only a few more days until this election business is over with. I sure hope John Kerry wins--I don't know if I can stand another four years of listening to people whine about Dubya. (I just wish the Dems would have picked a better candidate than Kerry--heck, why not Hillary? Even I would have voted for her....). If Bush wins I'm going to need to find another job--one that isn't on a liberal college campus, because I honestly don't think I'll be able to take four more years of bitching, not to mention the silly conspiracy theories.


Homecoming is this weekend. And that means staying as far away from Shampoo-Banana as possible. Actually, I don't have much to do this weekend (especially if the microwave doesn't arrive at Sears today as planned--and I'm not holding my breath...). If the weather is half as nice as it is today methinks I'll be spending the majority of my time outdoors. Which is doubly good because then the kids can be outside as well instead of in front of the damn television.

It would be nice to get some fishing in as well. Hopefully tomorrow morning maybe.

Oh well, I don't have much else to talk about. And I think I've been here long enough for today--time to hit the road and head home.

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2004, 7:57 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Boy have I been swamped this week. I haven't posted in three days. Sheesh.

I've been scrambling like mad the past couple of days with the grant program software. I think I'm caught up now, thank goodness.

I don't have much else to say at this point.

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2004, 7:43 pm
Mood: Swamped | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The Microwave

So my son broke the handle off of the microwave again last week. It has been glued, once again, but is hanging by a thread. I made the decision, as I noted here, to replace the old klunker with a shiny new GE microwave/hood combination deal.

It should (theoretically) arrive at Sears this Wednesday.

And get this: my daughter tried to make a bag of microwave popcorn this afternoon and said the microwave was being weird. I came upstairs, pressed start, and was met with the electrical whining and flashing usually associated with someone putting a spoon or other metal utensil in a microwave by mistake. I opened the door (carefully, of course, because of the lame handle) to find only the popcorn bag. I inspected it, like any dorky dad would, not sure what I expected to find (like a microwave popcorn bag was going to have an accidental metal strip on the side of it or something...). It seemed normal so I put it in and pressed start. Same light show through the door of the thing.

So I took out the popcorn and replaced it with a plastic cup of water. And it still performed like there was a metal fork inside.

Hah! The microwave died two days before the new one arrives. How cool is that? It couldn't have worked out any better.

I am so not the guy that has luck like this. Woo hoo!

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2004, 10:56 pm
Mood: Pleased as Punch | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Happy Monday

Well we seemed to have survived the online grant proposal submission process, and relatively unscathed to boot. Boy am I glad that is over with. And I'm glad I have 11 months to redo everything I need to redo before we have to do it again next fall. Anyway.

I had a good weekend. I took the kidders fishing on Saturday and Sunday for a few hours. We caught one fish. Yay! The lake in town is stocked with trout in the fall, along with numerous other lakes in the state. However, because we're small and out of the way, our trout don't all get fished out in the opening weekend (which was a week ago). Now if only I could get the darn things to bite! Trout on the grill is awesome.

I got caught up with all of my consulting work yesterday, which is quite cool.

My blood pressure is still through the roof. My headache still hasn't gone away. I go see the doctor tomorrow morning. I don't know that I'm going to enjoy this whole "being old" thing.

Well, not much else to report. Well, other than the fact that I have the single coolest wife in the whole wide world.

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2004, 3:25 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Yay! It's Friday!

Thank goodness. I'm worn out. My stress level is through the roof. I'll be glad when this grant submission stuff ends at 5:00 this afternoon. Let's just hope today goes more smoothly than yesterday.

I hope the weather is nice this weekend so we can go to Turkey Run. I can really stand to go there and decompress for a while. Ooh, and I just realized something. Last Saturday was the third Saturday in October. That means trout season at the reservoir has started. Not only has it started, but last Saturday would have been the day filled with all sorts of out-of-towners and nowhere to fish. I think the kids and I may have to make an appointment this weekend to drown some worms. I could totally stand to grill some trout this fall.

Well, the inbox is quiet, the boss isn't here yet, so I'm going to see about getting the on-line quiz that is due tonight out of the way. Here's the 64,000 question--do I actually read the chapter and learn something, or just keep taking the quiz until I answer all 10 correctly and be done with it (we are allowed to take the quiz as many times as we want until we are happy with our score). There are 10 questions from a pool of 30--I wouldn't have to take it that many times before I compiled a rather comprehensive list of the available questions.

Yeah, I guess I'd better get started reading that chapter. Oh well.

New "avatar" image today! It's a courtyard outside of the Library at U of I Springfield--it looked like it would be a totally cool place to sit and study and chill out.

Posted: Friday, October 22, 2004, 12:40 pm
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

And then work got busy

Who knew? Remember than online grant proposal submission system that I built for work? Well, the deadline is tomorrow. Holey moley. My in-box was full this morning. While we do have some people that aren't thrilled about having to submit things on-line (they'll get over it--everything will be this way in a few years), everything seems to be going smoothely. Oop--and we just got another completion! (The system sends me an e-mail anytime someone clicks the final "finish!" button...).

Apparently I'm heading back to the doctor for my blood pressure. I kinda fell off the wagon. I was going great with eating well (well, eating better anyway...) and not drinking caffeine, but a few weeks back the allergies started acting up and I started taking Benadryl tablets, and had a little Dew each day to keep me awake. Add to that a few dietary slips and I'm seeing spots again. I'm sure that headache the other day (that has just now finally gone away completely) was related to this as well.

And Dr. Ingrid is going to get irritated with me, but such is life.

Okay, back to work.

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004, 8:55 pm
Mood: Overwhelmed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Have I mentioned...

...that I'll be happy when all of this election baloney is over and done with?

This morning when I was battling insomnia (not really--I haven't "been right" all week and took a two hour nap from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and of course that was going to mean I'd be up late...) I was flipping channels and came across an image of a bunch of old(er) people in each others faces screaming and yelling, and it made me pause in my channel flipping. Turns out it was people protesting (groan)--both Bush and Kerry supporters. The Bush people were pissed because this was outside a movie theater that was apparently going to show that "documentary" about Senator Kerry--but then cancelled it, and the Kerry people were pissed that the Bush people were pissed (I guess). Like children, screaming at each other from inches away. Totally egging each other on (I have a 9- and soon-to-be-8-year old---I know all about egging someone on...).

And then I stopped and thought for a minute. How is it unfair to Senator Kerry to show a "documentary" (that's twice I've used it in quotes, of course) about his post-VietNam, er, decisions, yet Michael Moore is allowed to essentially outright lie and deceive in his "documentary(ies)"? And trust me, Michael Moore has that right. I think he's an idiot, personally, and hope most people with brain cells take what he has to say with a grain of salt. But if this is a free country that should be allowing people the right to express opinions, why not show the anti-Kerry film? And they were interviewing some Kerry support who was talking about how they should not show the film because it was filled with lies and mis-truths. But Fahrenheit 911 was 100% truthful. See, I just don't get it. Both sides have an "it's okay for our side to do this and this and this" attitude, but each goes nuts when the other side reciprocates.

One last thing, and then I'll shut up for now. Several of the news channels had nothing to talk about other than some campaign stop that Kerry made where he explained that because of Bush's "failures" in Iraq, we were now off-track in the war on terror and the country is now a much less-safe place. I understand the sentiment, of course. Bush should have been chasing OBL and not Saddam. Again, I don't think Osama is the threat that he once was, and I also reiterate that I would guess that he's in Pakistan, a place where we can't go and he knows it. Anyway. So America is now less-safe than before the invasion of Iraq.

How so, Mr. Kerry? There haven't been any terrorist attacks since 9/11, not to mention since the start of the Iraqi business. No more blown-up buildings. No harbors invaded, ships blown up, toxic gas released, or anthrax sent to Daschle. So how, exactly, am I "less safe?" I don't feel less safe. I don't feel, to be honest, any safer than I did September 12th, 2001, but I don't feel less safe.

So how can it be proven, or even mentioned, I guess, that we are now "less safe" than we were before the Iraqi business was started? Bush can claim that we are "more safe" because no other buildings have been blown up, and I don't agree with that statement either, although it seems to hold more water than "less safe" to me. Again, I don't think we are any less safe, which means we are at least "as safe." Proving that we are more safe might be difficult, but Kerry seems to be trying to prove less-than-zero while Bush is trying to prove greater-than-or-equal-to-zero. Or something. I don't know.

I still can't decide if I want Bush to win to spite my friend Jeff, or if I want Kerry to win so that everyone will just shut the hell up about Bush already and we can put this behind us.

And then when oil prices keep going up, and all of our taxes go up (including those of us with children), and the economy keeps crawling along, and terrorists around the world continue to thrive, and instead of one ugly person that I can't stand to listen to we have to watch and listen to another ugly person that I can't stand to listen to, then where will we be?

Golly, I didn't mean to go on like this. And I actually had other stuff to talk about. So I'll end this here and start a new entry. That's my prerogative, right?

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004, 1:14 pm
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Go Red Sox!

Third inning, 6-0.

I believe!

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004, 1:44 am
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Sasquatch Found!

Woo hoo! 3:30 in the morning and I'm wide awake. Grrr.... Why the heck can't I sleep through the night anymore?

And I'm going to have a busy day tomorrow and it's going to be really tough to get up and get to work by 6:00 a.m. when I'm going to go get back in bed and finally doze off around 4:30 or so...

Other than blogging there isn't much else to do at this time of the day, so I watched a little Headline News on the Clinton News Network.

It turns out that Dan Rather of CBS has found a memo (written using WordPerfect this time, not Word) that claims that the "bump" under Bush's coat at the first debate is a radio transmitter not to his aides, but to an alien UFO circling the moon. Apparently the Zurkons are trying to push their secret agenda through, which entails a hefty tax cut for all three-eyed green dudes from the Andromeda planetary system.

Oh, and in other news, it seems that they have found the Sasquatch as well, and he's voting for John Kerry too. Since only American soldiers were tortured after Kerry decided to start blabbing to Congress and the media about what atrocities they were all committing in Viet Nam, and none of the South Viet-squatch were beat to hell, they figure he's an okay guy.

Okay, I should get back to bed and try to get a few more hours of sleep. I'll be happy when this whole election sillyness is over with. I can't wait to go back to being "smart computer guy" instead of "dumb Bush supporter."

Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2004, 8:54 am
Mood: Grouchy | 4 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

My head still hurts

It's throbbing. This makes no sense. It hurts so bad that it woke me up and I was (I thought) sound asleep. Now it's 2:00 a.m. and I'm awake. Yay.

Today I'm traveling to Springfield to visit my new school for the first time. I'm meeting my advisor for lunch and then sitting in on one of her classes before heading home. Oop. That means I'll miss the Fall Pie Social at work. Darn. I really so much wanted to go help set up for it too because I just love that I am forced to be on the stupid Social Committee.

Listen, I was Social Chairman of my fraternity for 3 semesters when I was 20 years old. I am now quite far beyond the point that I enjoy mingling, especially with people I don't know, and don't want to know. And I think that it is a bunch of baloney that I am forced by my department to be on a silly social committee.

It's too bad that of all the days I had to choose from for my semi-work-related trip, it just so happened that I chose the day of the pie social. Anyway.

Well, heck. Now what do I do? I don't know that I'll be able to fall back asleep if I go back to bed. I already am caught up with most of the news, sports- and non-sports-related. Television will be 69 channels of infomercials. I wish there were a way to set the TV to skip over all informercials. If there are only 5 available non-informerical channels, so be it, but make it so that the up and down buttons skip only to the channels with actual programming.

Oh well. Maybe I'll make something to eat and then turn on the tube and try to bore myself back to sleep.

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 7:13 am
Mood: Grumpy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Holy headache, Batman....

Halfway to lunch today I got a splitting headache. Totally out of the blue. It hurt all through lunch and is still killing me now. I managed to swallow some ibuprofen and a few aspirin when I got back to the office. Hurry up, little pills--I'm dying here....

What a long weekend. We never did get to see Larry play--there were three bands before him and we made it about halfway through the second of those bands before having had enough. I feel bad, but oh well. Then we went to another bar where some college kid sidled up to me and tried to get me to start selling pot for him. What? Yeah, he knows some supplier and wants me to start selling for them. Apparently I could make a lot of money. I explained that I already make pretty good money--I mean, this is a college kid, right? "Dude you have no idea." I still couldn't fathom all of this. How do you know I'm not a cop? "Well, are you a cop?" No, but how do you know that I'm not a cop and am lying to you as well about not being a cop. "Are you lying?" Jesus, kid, beat it! I was totally irritated, and my irritation probably stemmed from three things. 1. I was pretty hammered by that point. 2. I didn't like the insinuation that I don't already make good money. 3. It seemed like this kid was a buzzing fly that you keep slapping and it just won't go away.... Dude, how many times to I have to tell you "no"? Grrr...

Anyway, we had fun nonetheless, although I think my wife got sick of listening to me bitch that some kid had tried to get me to sell drugs.

I slept most of the day Sunday, thank goodness. I did manage to get up long enough to get caught up with all of my consulting work--that was a good feeling of relief. That means tonight I can either watch Monday Night Football or spend the evening playing Star Wars: Battlefront with my son.

I'm not doing anything other than getting in bed if this damn headache doesn't go away soon. Any time now, little pills...

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2004, 6:16 pm
Mood: Uptight | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


So who wrote this crappy blogging software anyway? Oh, wait...

I think the apostrophes-in-comments situation is fixed now. The problem, I think, is that I copied a chunk of code from the administration page (that I use to format my entries) and pasted it into the page that posts comments. There is an extra form submitted (that is, a page in between the page that formats my entries and writes them to the database) so that I can enter a password. Well, going through that step must re-add slashes to the text when the form is submitted again. Since there is no middle-man for the comment posting, the page where the slashes are stripped and the database are written is the same page, so it tries to write the apostrophe as an apostrophe instead of a slash-apostrophe when accessing the database. The database doesn't like that.

Anyway. I think it is fixed now.

Posted: Saturday, October 16, 2004, 8:56 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment


What a difference a day or two makes. Yesterday was much better than Wednesday, although by the end of the day I was still a bit testy, and I'm not sure why...

Today will be a pretty easy day--I was waaay late for work this morning. I got up late, and then by the time I got ready I figured I'd wait a bit longer and take the kids to school to save my wife from having to make the trip (she has the day off today). I'll be leaving early today as well. I'm quite thankful the weekend is here.

It seems the saga of our ancient microwave is about to come to a close. The handle broke off several months back and my wife was able to glue it back on. This morning my son went to heat up something for breakfast and it scared the hell out of him when he grabbed the handle and went flying backwards as it detached from the door. I think the damage is permanent this time.

Sears has a bisque microwave on sale through today for under $300. And no interest financing. Oop! But I'm just going to write a check instead! Woo hoo! I love not having to borrow money anymore. And we've needed a new microwave for so long. Ours is so old that it is pre-turntable. And it's black. Ick.

I got my homework completed successfully yesterday, and once again, it was lots of fun.

Tomorrow night we're going out to dinner and then going to see our good pal Lorenzo Goetz play a show in Champaign. I can't wait.

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2004, 2:49 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

This isn't supposed to happen

I'm grumpy tonight. I've been grumpy since I walked in the door. And it isn't anyone's fault but my own.

And I don't understand. This was supposed to go away. I'm not supposed to be grouchy anymore. What's the problem?

Payday is in two days and all the money stuff is just as expected. And I have consulting money coming too that normally pays off shortfalls but now isn't earmarked for anything. Work seems to be good--I've been busy but not losing-sleep busy. And my web programs seem to be working.

I have homework due tomorrow, but I got most of it done today (and while challenging, it was fun...). And I have all day tomorrow to finish it. I have some consulting to do but got half of it finished tonight and as long as I get the other half done by Friday I should be in good shape.

My car is running fine, and I'm replacing rotors and brakepads this weekend, along with changing my oil, the redhead's car's oil, and hopefully the fuel filter on her car as well to maybe fix the starting glitch it has been having lately. (Run-on sentence, that was, and I don't even care....).

I put a bunch more money in my new savings account today.

The only thing I can guess is that my processor has sped up--either because it is used to a schedule of worry or who knows why--and is banging against the inside of my skull because there isn't anything to be occupied with. I mean, I really have nothing going on right now. There's some mild background noise, but nothing that is pressing.

My therapist and I use an analogy of a glass of water that gets fuller and fuller. The surface tension of the water allows drops of water to literally fill the glass until the level of water is higher than the top of the glass. But at some point a drop becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back (nice analogy-in-analogy, eh?) and the everything over the top level of the glass spills over the sides.

When I signed those papers several weeks back, my glass went from ranging from half-full to over-full, to between empty and half-full. So what's the problem?

I don't understand this. It drives me nuts (aargh). I was a bad dad and husband this evening--I struggled through the entire evening. I am fully aware of this. I'm trying hard to stay in control. But this isn't fair. There isn't supposed to be a problem anymore.

This is troublesome to me. I thought I had an answer to the problem. And my answer apparently isn't correct. And I don't have a clue where to look next...

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2004, 1:45 am
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Sheesh, my homework that is due tomorrow night is pretty brutal. I spent most of today working on a single problem.

My solution was pretty ugly, but it works... Hopefully the rest of the problems won't be too bad.

I need to get some consulting work taken care of and I am so totally not in the mood right now. Oh well. I better get to it.

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 8:45 pm
Mood: Lazy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Adventure Update

While I'm not a fan of frames for web sites, they do have their use when it comes to making an "application" of sorts. For my text adventure game, I have started by making a frameset, where the bottom frame will be a console of sorts, and the top frame will be the output from the program.

I haven't played with javascript in a long time--this is kinda fun. I think I'll even make the top frame black with green writing. Tee hee.

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 1:14 pm
Mood: Pleased as Punch | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Part of my treatment for high blood pressure is that I have to cut down on pre-processed food. That is, things like frozen pizza, fast food, hot pockets, etc. I've been pretty good about it--the biggest threat to my system that was all but removed was fried potatoes--either french fries or potato chips. It was easier than I thought, actually. I've been bad about not having caffeine lately, but I'll chalk that up to being work-related. Or something.

Well, this morning an idea popped into my head. A very bad, sinister idea. I wanted to get a hot breakfast sandwich from McDonald's. Sausage McMuffin with egg. And a hash brown. And a large Coke. Mmm. Grease and more grease--what could be better.

But I'm not allowed to have hot breakfast sandwiches anymore, and I haven't had one since I walked out of the doctor's office several months ago with orders for my diet.

Sure, I could get one today. Sneak one in. Nobody would have to know. It would be dark (I left home around 6:00 a.m. today). Nobody would see me. I could dispose of the trash in the garbage can in the parking garage. It would be my little secret.

Must... be.... strooongggggg........

Turning left on Philo road this morning was one of the hardest left turns I've made in a while. Well, not that I normally have a hard time turning left. Nevermind.

At any rate, I left the path to McDonald's and proceeded to work like normal. And here I am, at work, with my large Coke and my beloved hot breakfast sandwich. Oh wait, no--all I have is my usual large plastic La Bamba cup of cold water.

Mmm. Cold water. Somehow it just isn't the same thing. Not greasy enough or something.

I''m actually kinda glad that I made it through this temptation, even if I am totally fixating on it right now. I just need to keep focused on the fact that it would be really, really, really stupid to have a brain aneurysm (sp?) and die at age 35 and leave my kids fatherless and my wife a widow all because I couldn't fight the temptation of the hot breakfast sandwich.

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004, 12:18 pm
Mood: Hungry | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Order in the Universe

I'm not sure how to explain it, but the whole money issue is affecting me differently than I thought it would. Initially it was presumed that once this went away, I'd be happy and lucky and carefree and quit being such a crab. And while I do think I'm not quite so crabby, I'm not sure "carefree" is the correct term for how I feel.

I feel more eager to straighten out other aspects of my life now. I have more energy for fixing problems around the house, keeping things neater than I used to, and I think I'm really going to become a whole lot stricter with money than I was when we didn't have any. I've even started with coupons, and totally pay more attention to where the money is going. It's hard to explain.

Remember the movie with Bob and Doug McKenzie, Strange Brew? At one point they are going down a hill in their van when they realize that their brakes aren't working. Rick Moranis lets go of the steering wheel and throws his arms up and says "I guess there's no point in steering now!" or something like that.

That's how I felt. I felt like Bob McKenzie. And now that the brakes work again, I'm ready to start steering again. And I think I'm going to like steering.

Okay, this next part of today's message comes with a disclaimer, on the very, very small chance that anyone from the office were to ever stumble across this silly blog. That disclaimer is thus: I'm not referring to anyone I work with right now.

That said, I have spent a lot of time recently working on a web-based system for folks in our region to use to upload grant proposals. We'll get 60-70 proposals, which include contact names, e-mail address(es), and a brief abstract. It's pretty straightforward.

The system went live almost a month ago, and the deadline to have an abstract submitted was last Monday.

When I was in college (bear with me here...) I had to write a lot of papers for various classes. In every single one of those instances, the professor would list a set of very stringent rules regarding layout, length, how references were formatted, etc. Stringent to the point where it was warned that you'd drop a letter grade if you didn't format the bibliography correctly. It almost felt like half of the effort was made doing the research and writing the paper, and the other half was spent making sure it was up to specs for the professor. Irritating, yes, but that's all part of college, right?

Fast forward to a couple of jobs ago, when I worked as a desktop publisher for the publishing arm of an organization of scientists. They publish two scholarly journals each month. They receive submissions from all over the world, and also have reviewers from all over the world who go through each paper. One of the things that writers are asked to download is a document explaining how references should be formatted, etc.

That is, the last names and first initials are ordered a certain way, and page numbers and volume numbers are put in a certain place, and article titles are c/lc (first letter of each word is capitalized), etc. Like this:

F. Lastname, Second, F., and Third, F. (1999) An Introduction to Really Important Chemistry Stuff, J. Chem. Soc. 34:34-45.

Simple, right? Nope. You wouldn't believe how many of these people don't follow the directions correctly. And it always drove me nuts (aargh) because I remembered how strict things were in college, yet the folks submitting papers aren't held to those same stringent standards. Send the papers back and tell them to reformat their references! Nope. Instead time and money was wasted having them corrected in house. Sheesh.

Now skip forward to this online submission thing. It was made perfectly clear this year that a) abstracts would be submitted on-line with our easy-to-use system and b) that the deadline is October 4th.

We're getting e-mails after the 4th asking to submit an abstract (shouldn't it be half-off the grade for turning it in late?). People are e-mailing their information instead of using the on-line form. Some are still trying to send it on paper. Hello? Please follow the directions. This isn't that complicated.

When I was a drunk 19-year old I may have written some terrible papers, but at least I could follow the directions and format my references correctly (and understood, well, for the most part, what a "due date" was....).

I'm getting ready to add another late-comer to the database. Wouldn't it be more fun to just fire off an e-mail and say "Sorry, you did not follow the directions. Your abstract will not be considered at this time. Perhaps next year you can re-submit following the guidelines we have in place."

Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. Back to work....

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2004, 1:26 pm
Mood: Content | 7 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Text Adventures

I have an odd special place in my heart for text-based fantasy adventure games. I don't play any now, of course, because I don't have the time, etc., etc. But the feeling lingers.

When I was a kid and had my Apple //e, I loved playing Apple Adventure (based on Colossal Cave by Don Woods), and Zork, and especially the open-source "Eamon" games (it wasn't open source then--it was called something like, er, public domain or something...).

At any rate, I wrote several Eamon adventures, and also programmed a number of (now lost) adventures using BASIC on my Apple //e. I love using description instead of a picture.

Well my "special place" is starting to fester (and ONLY a nerd could pull off that sentence without chuckling...). I think I'm going to write a PHP/MySQL system for creating text-based "dungeons." I just hope my son thinks all of my hard work is cool, especially after playing as much PS2 as he does.....

Methinks I start tomorrow on a base program to create "dungeons."

Posted: Monday, October 11, 2004, 11:17 pm
Mood: Intrigued | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

St. John's Wort

In order to prevent the suggestion being made that I go to a psychiatrist and get put on antidepressants, several months ago I started taking St. John's Wort. I would guess that it sort of works, but I also think that so many other things have happened over the past few months that giving all the credit to some herb might be a bit premature.

I will admit, however, that I do experience the major side effect of these silly pills---very, very vivid dreams. Every night.

Well, I took a nap this afternoon for a couple of hours and experienced one of these dreams.

It was weird, of course. I was at an office, waiting my turn to be waited on by some sort of loan officer or some such type of advisor. My "file" was open in front of me and there there were pictures taped to the bottom. On of them was obviously me taken when I was probably five or six years old.

After waiting for this woman to finish up with her other "client" she came over and sat down and said that we were pretty much finished with whatever it was I was doing there, but that she wanted to talk to me about that photo before I left.

When I was a young boy, she explained, I was in Pizza Hut having dinner with my family. Across the room a man spied me and took that picture. Uh, okay.

He knew exactly who you were, she said to me. Your likeness was so striking. He half panicked because he thought he was going to get "caught" being in the same restaurant as you. So he snapped the photo and then left.

It was taken by your natural father....

I was instantly wide awake. I half shot out of the bed when I sat up. Holy moley!

Where on earth did that dream come from!

Of course, I am adopted. My natural father was a married man who was having an affair with a young model. He didn't want to leave his wife, she was single and had no way to take care of a kid. And Catholic Charities took care of the rest.

I never knew either of them, and haven't had any desire to know anything.

In college my dad showed up one day (this was years after my mother died in high school) and took me to lunch. I knew something was up. Well, as it turned out, my natural mother had died as well, in the mid-1970s (she was trying to open a window that was painted shut and ruptured her stomach--an odd way to die that perhaps casts some light on the stomach problem that almost took my life later in my college career).

ANYWAY, this woman's mother was still alive, and living up in the suburbs (only a few minutes from where I grew up--weird, eh?). Knowing that her late daughter had a son that was given up, and knowing that she was probably going to expire soon, she did what anyone in that situation would do.

She wrote to Oprah.

Oprah's people talked to Catholic Charities, they called dad, dad came to see me. It was so bizarre. But I agreed to meet this old woman. I got some pictures of my natural mother, and very little information, to be honest. It was all just weird.

I don't give any of this much conscious thought, but apparently my subsconscious has had this in a memory bank somewhere lately. For what purpose I guess I don't understand. I sure as heck ain't going into a Pizza Hut anytime soon--that's for damn sure.

Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2004, 10:02 pm
Mood: Confused | 3 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Fall has arrived

The green ash in the back yard has gone from big and green and bushy to spindly and yellow, and the deck is covered in leaves. Methinks fall is finally here.

I transplanted a redbud volunteer yesterday from the hosta bed on the side of the house to out by the fence in the back of the yard. It looks pretty pathetic at this point, but I think it will make it.

The sooner it grows bigger than the fence and finishes the task of completely blocking the view of our neighbor D.A.D.*, the better.

I think I'll get the rest of my pile of consulting stuff wrapped up this morning, and then maybe head out to the country lot and get back to trimming the walnut trees. Or maybe I'll just watch football instead.

*No, not my dad--he lives 200 miles away. For the second "D" think female name--same name as a famous cloned sheep. The first "D" stands for "Dumb-" and I'll let you guess what the "A" stands for. And no, it isn't libel if you call someone stupid and they really are stupid....

Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2004, 2:20 pm
Mood: Pretty Good | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

My Manifesto

Lately I've gotten a bit worked up several times regarding the wonderful world of politics. I usually do my best to keep my mouth shut, but after a couple of glasses of wine, all bets are off. I've said some nasty things here in my blog, and gone back and deleted them the next morning after saner thoughts have prevailed. And writing and deleting isn't the way to go. I feel like I'm bulemic or something.

Rather than risk another outburst, and to hopefully not have to come back to the discussion of politics, I thought I'd get my views all out in the open, at one time, and have that be the end of it. 3:00 in the morning the day after my 35th birthday is as good a time as any. So here goes....

I am a married white male with two kids, two cars, a mortgage payment, and am probably smack dab in the middle of the middle class economically. I have lived in both rural and suburban settings in my lifetime. The high school I attended is larger than the town I live in now. In general, I would consider myself a moderate conservative, but the whole point of this manifesto is to get away from simply belonging to some socio-political group.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I attended a private grade school. I was an altar boy. And yes, I had friends that were molested by a priest at our parish.

I do not attend church now. I pretty much disagree with just about everything that "the church" (any of them) think.

Let me put it this way. I was in a fraternity in college. It was a hoot--we had a lot of fun. But do you know what the underlying mission of a campus fraternity is? To get more fraternity members. It's all about recruiting more members to pay more dues.

And that's pretty much how I view church as well. More members means more money. And churches are out to make money like every other organization in the world, no matter how benevolent they appear on the outside.

I'll get into the homosexual stuff later, but I would guess that while the Catholic church encourages Catholics to have lots of kids (hence, more Catholics), part of the reason they discourage homosexuality is because homosexuals won't have more Catholics. But I digress.

Let's start at the top. Republican? Or Democrat? Perhaps neither.

I generally vote Republican. Most of it has to do with local issues, as we live in a rural community and I work for the ag-related arm of a University that gets lots of federal funding from the USDA. That's about where my steadfast alliance with the Republicans ends.

For starters, while I was raised Catholic, I wouldn't walk into a Catholic church now if someone was paying me on a dare. And, as many people are aware, the Republicans are very closely tied with organized religion. I don't like organized religion.

And we may as well get this out of the way as well. I don't believe in any sort of supreme being either. Label me the "a-word" if you wish. It won't hurt my feelings. But I have seen no evidence that such a being exists, any more than I believe that Allah, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter, or any of the rest of them ever existed. Just the thought of "don't beleve in false gods" makes me wonder---each claims to be the one true being, but it isn't possible that any of them are correct if they all exist.

I don't believe in the boogey man. Or UFOs. Or ESP. Or ghosts. Or supernatural beings from anyone's mythology. Oh, sorry, "religion." And unless any of those things appears right here in front of me, in my back yard or on my doorstep, I stand firm in my conviction that they do not exist. Faith is a bizarre concept. And yeah, my middle name is Thomas.

Belief in a supreme being is used as a scare tactic, if anything. "God'll getcha!" Not me. Sorry. Go scare someone else with your ghost stories. I don't need faith.

But I should get back to talking about religion and not the underlying mythology. I think it will be a nice segue into my next not-Republican topic.

The local church here in our little town (where I was married, no less) continues to badger me with propaganda, ranging from the innocuous newsletters to notes telling me that I am welcome to come back to church at any time. These people even sent my kid a birthday card telling him that Jesus, and everyone in the church, loves him. I love my child. Don't you dare think your "love" is more important than mine. And yes, I saw who the card was from an intercepted it out of the mail. How sinister that they have given up on me and are now trying to manipulate my children.

So anyway, there's this guy that is a big wig at the local church. He and his wife are very good loving church members. And they are homophobes. Several times a year he writes diatribes in the little small town paper admonishing homosexual "behavior." He goes the whole nine yards. Immoral, unethical, improper, etc. And of course, finishes by calling it that all-powerful word---yes, it is also a sin.

And I'm supposed to just go along and agree with all of this. He said it is a sin, and therefore I am supposed to hate homosexuals. Hmm. Hate people? Doesn't sound very Christian to me. Would Christ hate homosexuals if he were around? From the way I understand things (and after 8 years of Catholic grade school, I do know a thing or two about what is written in the bible...) Christ liked everyone. Jews, Gentiles, Lepers--they were all his pals. Oh, but in the old testament they tell us that "the gays" are bad, bad people.

Puke. Any single regiously-affiliated person in the world that contends that homosexuals are evil needs a reality check and really, really needs to sit down and try to understand why it is completely un-Christian to think that way.

But they never will. Which is why they go to church with their blinders on, and I stay home and watch football.

What if one of my children comes out of the closet when they are older? Should I hate them? Really. Should I hate my child if they are gay? Should I be embarrassed? Should I admonish them for "choosing" that lifestyle?

More to the point, what if one of this jerk's kids turns out to be gay? What then? That kid will be way screwed up, and be miserable, because he knows that his parents are essentially going to hate him if he comes out of the closet. Can you imagine that feeling? Having to keep something a secret because you know that your parents, of all people, are going to hate you. My love for my children is unconditional. That's what I signed on for when I had kids. Anyone that does not feel the same way should not have had kids.

But back to the subject--I have a problem that anyone thinks that homosexuality is a choice. Think about it. Why on earth would anyone want to be homosexual? People shun them. People call them names. Their world is turned upside-down. Now honestly. Someone is actually going to choose that "lifestyle"?

They can't choose it any more than they can choose their own eye color or hair color (or their own sex, for that matter....).

And as long as the Boy Scouts of America continues to preach their version of homophobia, neither of my kids will be involved with that organization, or any of its branches, either.

I sure sound like a good Republican, eh?

I don't like the concept of abortion, but I'm not a woman, and it's not my right to dictate one way or the other, as law or otherwise. So while I think that would make me technically pro-choice, I would consider it more of an abstention vote. And that's all I have to say about that.

How am I doing now in my Republican-ness?

Surely there must be something that the Republicans preach that I agree with.

Let's start with money. I have worked very hard in my life to get to where I am. I am going to have to put two kids through college. I am saving for retirement. And I earn my salary, and it is my money. I understand the need for social services. There are people that need help, and should get help.

But I think over the years things have gotten way out of hand. The government has made it too easy for people to take advantage. I see it every day in our goofy little town. Folks that have no ambition, and are just clever enough to realize that they can survive on public aid. They aren't ever going to do anything more than work a $6/hour job, so why even do that? Claim a bad back, and you'll make more than $6 per hour just sitting home and watching NASCAR. Once again, I don't mean to cast aspersions on those who are truly disabled, but for every legitimate case I would guess there are several that are bogus.

Let's talk health care. Guess what some people on welfare do when they have a cold? They go to the emergency room. Why? Because the emergency room can't turn them away, and they don't have to pay for it. I have a good job and pay extra for good health insurance for my family. I don't take advantage of it, and don't use it when I don't need it, but when I do need health care, I can get it.

I'm not wealthy. I'm no millionaire. Tax cuts for the rich my butt. I get a tax cut because I have a family. And rather than take my money that I need to raise my family, and give it some fat lazy slob that doesn't want to work, the Republicans (for the most part) think that I should keep my money.

I understand the need for many social services. I truly do. There was a point when my wife and I were getting ready to have our second child, and I had just finished college and had a crappy job, and she lost her job while 7-months pregnant, and we got some help. It was only for a few months, and we were probably a little embarrassed about the situation. When my wife informed them that we wouldn't be needing the assistance any more the woman at the office was aghast. "But you still have several more months." Nope. We didn't need several more months. We used what we needed at the time, and nothing more.

And I'd write a check and pay back every single penny of it tomorrow if they would let me. We needed a jump start to get things going and get back on our feet, and it did just that.

But there are those who simply do not want to work. I don't know if they feel entitled or what the deal is. Selling food stamps for cigarettes. Using their subsidy to purchase milk and eggs, but then also buying a carton of smokes at the same checkout.

And there are plenty of bajillionaire philanthropists out there who are happy to donate money to save the whales, or the rainforests, or the rivers and fish. And I think those are good causes. But let me write the check--don't just take my money and give it away.

I can't get out of this without touching on the "war on terror." Or, as my liberal associates call it, the "war for oil." Groan. We get ten times the oil from South America than Iraq, and you don't see us invading Argentina. That's because we don't invade countries for their oil! It's going to cost so much more to get that silly oil business up and running in Iraq than it will ever make in return and they knew that going into the situation. If we sucked all the oil out of Iraq tomorrow and dumped in on the world market it wouldn't put a dent in prices. Most of the holdup, and cause for increased prices in gasoline, is that refineries can't keep up. Oil Shmoil. And when every liberal stops driving a car, then maybe I'll listen to that argument. Democrats drive just as many Hummers and SUVs as anyone else. (And isn't the whole mis-qualification of SUVs as trucks a Clinton-era thing anyway?)

Speaking of Bill Clinton.... If he would have gone after Osama bin Laden the first time that lunatic tried to blow up the WTC we wouldn't be in this mess. So liberals claim that Bush is losing the war on terror because he went after Saddam and not Osama bin Laden. But Clinton spending close personal time with his intern instead of going after Osama bin Laden is okay. "It's not the same thing." Just keep saying that to yourself.

The terrorists started this war--not me. And if it means killing every last one of those bastards, so be it. We don't need another president with his head in the sand and his intern under his desk.

Let me tell you something. Osama is in Pakistan. Bush knows that. John Kerry knows that. And Pakistan knows that. And while we can scour the mountains in Afghanistan all we want, we can't go into Pakistan. Pakistan's government has told us so. And Osama knows that. Which is why he is in Pakistan. So drop it. Osama is so old and sick he's probably going to die soon anyway. There are far more of his minions spread throughout the world that we need to be worrying about instead of him.

I was just watching the news, and in the ticker at the bottom of the screen it said an Arab American group (I can't remember the acronym) claims that hate crimes against Muslims have increased "during Bush's term". Now wait a minute. That sounds like they are implying that because of Bush Muslims are being, er, terrorized (heh). I'm sure 9-11 has nothing to do with that. If the French had blown up the World Trade Center, I'm sure that all the Pierres and Renees and Jean Lucs would be getting their asses kicked instead. Duh.

And speaking of the French... No, I don't care what the French think of us. "Oh, but they are our oldest ally" (referring, I assume, to their assistance during the 1776 revolution). Yeah, and we had a little problem with the British at that time, too, if I remember, and I think we seem to get along with them now. And while we were on the same side as the Russians when it came to getting rid of Hitler, I vaguely remember, well, most of my lifetime when we were involved in this thing called the "cold war." Alliances change. Today's world politics are not necessarily based on feelings from 200+ years ago. If I recall, we saved France twice from a power hungry Germany. Hitler never did anything to us. We could have stayed home and saved countless American lives. Big deal. Everyone in France would be eating bratwurst and drinking beer instead of sipping Champagne now, but so what?

But we don't do that. We save everyone's asses. We dole out money to help earthquake victims around the globe. We give money to inoculate sick kids in third world countries. We send free food overseas (when there are starving kids right here at home--which is a travesty, of course, even when it is because the mom's are selling their food stamps for smokes...).

So why does everyone hate us? They have for a long, long time. Pre-Bush. Pre-9/11. Jealousy? Envy? I'm supposed to feel sorry because the capitalist country we live in invented everything from the telephone to nuclear fission and people made money doing so? People think we're overbearing? The Romans were overbearing.

But the media tell us that the French don't like us anymore, and that their government doesn't agree with us. So what! When the French take over duties as policeman to the world, then they can complain. For now, they need to sit down and shut up.

Sorry, I was talking about why Bush has encouraged all Americans to start beating up American Arabs....

This is part of the reason I can't stand the media. Think about this logically. People of Arab descent hijack four planes and kill thousands of people. And anti-Arab sentiment rises in the coutry as a result. Surprised? Oh, but blame it on Bush. If Kerry wins the election I'll bet there is still more anti-Arab feeling in the country than there was when Clinton, or Bush I, or Reagan was president. Will that be Kerry's fault?

Ahh. The media. Dan Rather should be fired. Period. When reporters are influenced by their own political views enough to make up stories, that's a bad day for the world of journalism. My best friend enjoys pointing out how much he distrusts "his" government. Well, I distrust the media.

We got in a huge fight over the Abu Ghirab prison photos one day at lunch. He brought it up and I got the sense he was going to go into one of his huge, loud, diatribes, so I simply commented that until we know all the details, I'm not passing judgement on anyone. And it totally set him off, as expected. "You think that!!!" Hmm. I'm supposed to believe something just because CBS says so. And I'm the uninformed Republican. Sorry, the stupid, brainwashed, uninformed Republican. Apparently distrust is a one-way street. We must distrust Bush, but anything anyone else says showing Bush in a bad light we must believe without question. That sure sounds a lot like faith to me. And I don't have faith. In religion. In Dan Rather. In George Bush. And certainly not in John Kerry.

Remember, that Dan Rather is the reason the whole Florida election problem was brought to the forefront. He's the one that "called" the state after .5% of the votes were counted. Then changed his mind after 2% were counted. Then flipped back again after 10% were counted. They shouldn't release election results until the next day. All these jerks trying to get "the scoop" muck up the entire process. Yeah, if they are going to announce that the entire east coast has already probably decided the election, and I live in Hawaii, why vote? While I would vote anyway, because that's how I am, I can see the argument that people would stay home if they thought their vote wasn't going to matter.

And I am so sick and tired of hearing how Bush wasn't elected. "Let's not elect him this time either." Grow up. Typical liberal behavior. Keep couting and re-counting until our guy wins. The Supreme Court did not elect Bush. All it did was tell everyone that Florida had counted the votes several times already and that it saw no need to keep counting them again and again and again. Basically they said "will you people give it a rest already! Shut up and go home and get on with your lives!" But I'm the brainwashed moron Republican.

And then, of course, the liberals claim that the entire voting system is flawed. The electoral college should be done away with. Of course, the one time they win the popular vote but lose the electoral college they want to change the rules. Gore couldn't even carry his own state. If he would have carried his own state, he would have won. But he couldn't even do that. He won large metropolitan areas, and liberal college towns. And that's it. Remember the USA today map?

Gore won 676 counties and Bush won 2,436 counties. That's a lot of brainwashed morons....

There's a reason that the electoral college exists--it is so that metropolitan areas cannot dictate the policy for the entire country. I say we go ahead and split up each state's electoral college votes. Bush still wins all of places like Nebraska and Utah but then also wins parts of Illinois and other states that Republicans generally don't do well in. And gee, I'm from Illinois. My vote might actually count for something then!

Yes, I'm voting for Dubya. I don't agree with everything he says or thinks. Until we get rid of the two-party system (which ain't going to happen because the two parties involved won't let it happen....) we're always going to be stuck with the lesser of two evils.

And John Kerry has not once shown me that he's the lesser of the two evils.

And I am not voting for someone just to remove someone else. I think that doing so would be foolish, immature, and irresponsible. And people telling me that I'm stupid for not wanting Kerry to be president just makes me think I'm that much more correct in my convictions.

I'm tired of liberals insinuating that anyone who isn't a liberal is uneducated. Or simply doesn't understand. Or is brainwashed. Just because you have a Ph.D. in fish biology does not lead me to believe that you have any better idea than I do about local or world politics. And I will not follow like a sheep. No matter how badly it is insinuated that I'm not enlightened.

I never flip-flopped. I never blindly followed someone just because I thought they were smarter than me. My ideas have been modified over the years. I never knew any homosexuals growing up. My news and ideology came from a church. College opened my eyes. It also showed me that there are people that are "out there" at either end of any spectrum. But no matter how hard I am badgered by that lunatic fringe, I'm holding my ground. Whether they have a Ph.D. or not.

I don't give a crap if Bush isn't a good public speaker. Most people I know don't speak well in public. I don't think they are dumb based solely on the fact that they aren't as eloquent as some others. "That's why I voted for it before I voted against it." Huh?

I respect everyone's right to their own opinions. I just wish overbearing, non-brainwashed, 'smarter than me because they know about fish," people would respect mine.

Posted: Saturday, October 09, 2004, 10:40 am
Mood: Tired | 4 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Okay, I feel better now

So I turn 35 on Friday. I'm trying not to get worked up about it, but now that I'm not worrying about money and bills anymore, I guess I have to worry about something....

It occurred to me the other day that I'll no longer be in the ideal marketing range anymore--18-34 year old males. Sony Playstation won't be marketing to me anymore. They don't want to know what I think. Neither will Mountain Dew.

Nope. But Buick will. Buick wants me now. They want me to buy a Buick because I'm getting old.

And you know what? I actually like Buicks. I always have. I'm not ready to buy one yet, though. (Not a new one, anyway...).

Although, I guess we do own an Oldsmobile..... (Golly, and I drink Old Style beer as well.....)

Maybe I'll get a Lexus. I'd look cool in a Lexus, right?

Posted: Thursday, October 07, 2004, 12:57 am
Mood: Relieved | 3 comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Fuel Injectors

A few months back I bought an old car to get me back and forth to work. I had finally talked the wife into getting rid of the stupid P.O.S. minivan, and part of that deal was that she would now get my car to drive back and forth to work and I would then get a different car for myself. I didn't want to have a car payment, so my choices were somewhat limited.

At any rate, I found an old beater to get me to work and back, wrote the check to the dealer, and off I went. And then a month later the car started running funny.

As it turns out, one of the fuel injectors started sticking closed, so the engine was essentially running on only five cylinders. The cure is to open the hood and tap on the top of the injector in question (number 6, by the way, in case anyone cares...) for a few seconds and then it unsticks itself. Not a big deal, but somewhat irritating.

Since then I've been dumping one, and sometimes two, pints of Gumout Fuel Injector cleaner in the tank when filling up with gas. In the short run that seemed to almost make it worse, which I took to mean that while it was washing the gunk out when running, after sitting whatever gunk was getting unstuck set up again. But I persisted.

As I filled up this morning it occurred to me--I made it through the entire last tank of gas without the injector sticking once. Maybe we're headed out of the woods, finally. I'll continue with the Gumout each time I fill up, however, but this would be cool if the injectors were now finally clean. Injectors only cost $100 each, but besides the fact that I would probably replace all six if I were going to do so, apparently the intake manifold has to be removed from the engine to get to the injectors, which means this would be in the neighborhood of $1,000 if I had a mechanic or a dealer do the work. $2.39 for Gumout each fill-up seems a lot more appealing at this point.

I told the redhead that once I save up and replace all the appliances in the kitchen that need to be replaced, that maybe then I'll think about getting a different car. For now the Grand Prix will have to do. I sure miss the Aurora's sunroof though. Oh well.

Posted: Wednesday, October 06, 2004, 12:51 pm
Mood: Indifferent | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

The server is still running, at least...

Well the Letter of Intent count is now over sixty, and all is well. No fires (yet) and my inbox hasn't exploded with a flurry of e-mail. This silly thing might just actually work!

And I won at fantasy football this week again too! Woo hoo!

I've spent so long writing code and preparing for yesterday that now it is today and I don't know what to do with myself. I think leaving early today may be in order.

Posted: Tuesday, October 05, 2004, 12:29 pm
Mood: Unruffled | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Smooth Sailing

To coin one of my dad's favorite phrases, I totally "borrowed a jack" this morning. Everything at work was kosher this morning, and I semi-worried for no reason. (Of course, I promised the redhead that "worry" was no longer a word in my lexicon--and I bet she brings it to my attention that this is the second time I've used "lexicon" this evening....).

At any rate, the online grant proposal submission "thing" is working as planned. LOTS of band-aids are attached at this point, but it seems to be staying afloat. We're getting a flurry of last minute abstract submissions (the deadline is tomorrow).

Things on the home front continue to look upwards, which is nice. I haven't done any consulting work in the past few days and it is starting to pile up--sheesh. Maybe tomorrow.

I was too busy tonight getting my butt kicked by my son in "Star Wars: Battlefront." And I was so awesome at video games as a kid. Of course, back then there weren't dual joysticks (sorry, "analogs," whatever the hell that means, because you can't tell me that the PS2 isn't taking the movement of the sticks in as a set of 0s and 1s....). What was I saying? Oh, right. There's dual joysticks, a movement pad thing (that I try to use and it does something else than move and screws me up), a bunch of buttons with polygons on them, buttons on the front of the damn controller, and, oh, the stupid thing shakes all the time! "Boom!" the boy says after he's laid waste to his father with a missile launcher.

I can't tell the Tauntauns from the stormtroopers, yet amid all of this chaos he can pick my ass out in a matter of seconds (after I am "spawned") and blow me away again. It's not fair.

I bet if we played Atari "Combat" with the tanks where you can bounce the shot off the walls that I'd kick his butt. Especially in invisible mode. Hrm.... Maybe I should go check eBay.

Shoulder-fired missile launcher my butt.

Oh, but wait--yay! The online thing is still working! Now that he's better than me at videogames perhaps I should get him started on relational databases....

Posted: Tuesday, October 05, 2004, 1:09 am
Mood: Optimistic | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Monday, of course

I'm going to try really, really hard not to be grumpy this morning, but methinks the cards are stacked against me.

While the weekend was relaxing, having an extra day off just means that there is that much more to deal with upon returning to work. At the last thing I ever need is a bunch of people in my face first thing in the morning.

Of course, I attempt to rectify most of that by getting to work early, so that there's no way anyone is here waiting on me already. It's still dark outside--I figure I have a few more hours before anyone else makes it into the office.

I need to get this grant submission documentation written first and foremost. I guess I had better get started....

Posted: Monday, October 04, 2004, 10:54 am
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Fox Ridge State Park

What a perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Last night the kidders stayed overnight with Papa and Grandma, and the redhead and I went to Decatur to have dinner with our friends Tod and Margaret. We really needed to get out of the house and we had a great time. On the way home we actually stopped and had a couple of beers at one of the taverns close to home.

Anyway, today we took the kids to Fox Ridge State Park, which is about ten minutes south of Charleston. I just love being out in the woods. I love ravines and dry creek beds and fallen down trees and everything else about it! It makes me feel like I'm in the Hobbit and "Apple Adventure" (a.k.a. Colossal Cave by Don Woods) and every other fantasy novel I read as a kid all wrapped up into one. My mind meanders like crazy. It's almost like my internal switches are all being reset. No PHP. No databases. No job, house payment, oil changes, lunch money, homework, presidential race, or anything else. Just trees. Fresh air. It makes me want to write a book again.

Climbing trails is great exercise, and yet so relaxing at the same time. And anything to get the kids out from in front of the television and PS2 is wonderful. They seem happier. They get along (surprisingly) swimmingly. What a wonderful day.

Tomorrow, of course, it's back to reality. I have to hurry off to the office before the sun rises to quickly write the documentation for this whole online grant proposal thingy that I've created (that goes live Tuesday morning!). I'm not looking forward to that tediousness, of course, but after the weekend I've had, I think I'll survive.

Aaack! I turn 35 years old at the end of this week. Groan. I'll no longer be in the marketing target 18-34 year old male group. Oh well. Time to grow up, I guess.


Posted: Monday, October 04, 2004, 12:30 am
Mood: Content | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Apparently I needed some sleep...

I went to bed at 7:30 last night.

And woke up at 7:00 this morning. I feel like a large and growly bear that awoke from hybernation.

Yay! Speaking of Bears, the silly Cubs all but lost post-season hopes with their loss yesterday. Woo hoo! What will the Cubs fans whine about now? Is it a goat? Or Sammy? Or that poor fan from last year? Or simply the fact that, just like my White Sox, they are a lousy baseball team.

Of course, I think all baseball players are overpaid lazy whiners to begin with, which is why I really could care less what happens on a ball diamond anymore.

And no, it isn't because I'm a "computer guy." I'd rather sit through a four-hour root canal that watch a baseball game. The only redeeming quality ballparks have is that you can drink beer there. Of course, I can find all sorts of much nicer places to drink beer and not have each one cost six bucks.

No, I don't give a crap who Milt Pappas is, nor am I impressed that he has a 17-3 record against the Sox. Whiny. Overpaid. Lazy. All of them.

If I were going to have a hero, it would be someone like Woz, not some silly sports "figure." But maybe that's just because I'm a "computer guy." Sheesh.

Whoa. Not intending to rant this morning. Did I mention that I'm in a great mood!

The girls are off getting their hair cut. Methinks some laundry folding and some really-too-loud Star Wars is in order while they are gone....

Posted: Saturday, October 02, 2004, 2:45 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

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