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Why have you come here?

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(note: You may need to allow pop-ups for the poll to work)

I thought I would test drive a poll that has been sitting in my drafts for that past two years.  Now, on to the show.

It is a wonderfully cool 57° this morning.  I have all the windows open and I am waiting for the milkman to show up with our weekly supply of milk and cheese.

I generally dislike talking about the weather.  It is one of the more banal topics, usually reserved for awkward moments, ice breakers or when you’ve exhausted all other possible conversations; however, this time I use it to boast.

We lived in Las Vegas for seven years.  The weather, as many know, it generally hot and dry during the summer.  Here is a snapshot as of 6:09 AM:

My first thought was that it is not really that hot in Vegas today.  I remember in July of 2002 the high was 116°.  Then it rained.  The rain did almost nothing for the temperature, but it did raise the humidity to 100%.  My dad commented that it was like he back in southeast Asia during the summer.

Here is what it is like where I am:


I will say that there are really only three things I don’t miss about Las Vegas.  The weather, the ads for strip clubs and rapid construction (though I think that has abated now).  The people, my job, the abundance of oyster bars: all very cool.

And so it goes.



Relational Database

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Happy Father’s Day to dads of all kinds.  Speaking of fathers…

These glasses belong to my father-in-law, Pete.  We hit the farmers market this week and I noticed Pete’s glasses.  I haven’t seen a pair of Vuarnets in probably 20 years.  A picture of my brother immediately came to mind.  This picture is of him wearing a blue and gold rugby shirt from the high school rugby team, his long blonde hair, his high school acne, his car, and his Vuarnets.  So to summarize:

  • Rugby
  • Long blonde hair
  • An aqua-blue ’65 Chevy Super Sport Impala
  • Vuarnets

What struck me was the way I remembered this picture.  It was not just a flat picture, but more of a multi-dimensional picture, a welter of imagines cascaded until what I was remembering was only related to original subject by implication.  Here is how that original list panned out:

  • Rugby
  • Blue and gold rugby shirt
  • Rugby shirts have a single piece u-neck so they won’t tear when someone grabs your shirt
  • They also have rubber buttons to protect the players eyes in case one comes off
  • Long blonde hair
  • Biffie refused to cut his hair for a long time
  • My great-grandmother had very long brown hair, much like Biffie’s
  • Acne
  • Biffie took Accutane to help with his acne
  • Accutane can result in deformed bones or cancer
  • Biffie used to give his Accutane to Brett because he also had acne
  • Brett played in a death metal band and I bought their first (only?) album
  • Accutane also causes dry lips
  • Biffie used to carry Carmex with him all the time.  We still find old containers around the house 20 years later
  • An aqua-blue ’65 Chevy Super Sport Impala
  • My mother bought this car brand new in 1965 after graduating from nurses school.
  • Pop (my grandfather) wouldn’t let her get the big motor, just a 283
  • The car had a black interior because Pop wouldn’t let her get white
  • A garbage truck backed into the car and dented the quarter panel
  • That dent let to a complete rebuild of the car
  • Vuarnets
  • Vuarnets have V inscribed on the lens
  • Biffie scratch the bottom of his frames so he could identify the glasses if they were stolen.  And they were.  I don’t know if he ever got them back…

(The format of this just didn’t turn out quite right.  It is supposed be hierarchical, but wordpress doesn’t support that bullet style to well.)

Most of that came to me with 10 seconds of seeing the glasses.  I titled this posted ‘Relational Database’ because I feel like my brain built a giant query and sent me the results.

What would be really interesting is to know how much of what I ‘remember’ never really happened…

And so it goes


Father of Daughters

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I have the pleasure of being a father to four girls and a boy.

Our oldest, known here as the Alpha Child, is joyful, eccentric and can be, um, difficult.  She is a natural performer.  This past year she sang, ‘A Few of My Favorite Things’, from The Sound of Music at her schools talent show.  Did a great job for a nine year-old.  My Facebook friends can poke around on my wall and find the clip.  When she was researching saints at school this year, she had to say what cause she would be the saint of.  I suggested that she could be the patron saint of dramatic little girls.  Note to self:  Dramatic little girls don’t like to be called dramatic little girls.

Our second daughter, Julia Grace, died when she was very young.  She still looms very large in my perception of the world.  She would be turning five about this time of year.  The kids have a cousin that is her age and I often watch cousin Izzy and wonder what Julia would be doing now.  And so it goes.

Next down the line is The Cuteosaurus.  The running joke with her was to pick an adjective or action and add ‘osaurus’ to it. Burposaurus, screamosaurus, eatosaurus, etc.  The CS has steel in her.  She is four and half now.  When she was 1-2, she would scream this piercing scream to get what she wanted.  It drove my wife to go back to work.  Seriously.  It took a lot of work to get her to stop screaming and start asking, but we got there.  Now she is the easiest of the kids to manage.  She just wants to make you happy and has a mostly sunny disposition.  The screaming will return on occasion, but nothing beyond the scope of what one would expect from a kid her age.  The CS is the most driven of our children and I expect that she will be the one to go into the business world.

Finally, we come to LJ.  (That not a nickname or anything.  Her nickname has her actual name in it and I’m one of those paranoid types who tries not to list his kids names on his blog.)  LJ is two and half and knows the exact moment when my wife and I are too busy with the others to pay attention to her.  She can switch between ornery and sweet very quickly and I never know quite what to expect.  I got her out of the bath the other day and she put her head on my shoulder and said, ‘I’m so happy to see you daddy.’  It really get’s you.  Five minutes later she was screaming at me because she didn’t want me to put lotion on feet.  That really gets me, too.

So there you go.  With summer around the corner,  I expect things to get a little hectic.  We put in an offer on a house last month, so if all goes well, our summer will include a move.  Four kids and a move?  No sweat.  (end delusional statement)

I’ll cover Biffie (the boy) later.

And so it goes.



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I love a good mystery.  There are always thing that I don’t understand and love the anticipation in finding out the answer.  The plant above is a great example.  Alpha bought the Venus fly-trap at our local farmers market.  We fed it random flys and it did well.  Each of the fly-eating leaves die after the fly is digested, so we are patiently waiting for it to grow new leaves (one of which you can see if you look carefully).

Included in this plant was a very small, two leafed sprout.  That sprout kept growing and is the much larger plant in the pot.  I don’t know what it is or what it could be.  We bought the plant from a booth that sells all sorts of neat herbs and such, so maybe I have some kind of herb on my hands.  Maybe it is just a weed that sprouted, as weeds do.  In any case, I look forward to transplanting it soon and seeing what it grows into.

Nature is so cool.

And so it goes.


The Tenth Eighth Month

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Good morning!

First, happy birthday to my big brother (pictured (sorta) above).   Second, today is my engagement anniversary.  I am probably one of the only guys around who remembers the day he proposed to his wife.  I picked today for a special reason:

It is my brother’s birthday and I don’t usually forget that.

For any given day, there are a nearly infinite number of other occurrences.  Depending on how you view time, there are an infinite number of occurrences.  Things happen today (like miners being rescued) that every one knows about and other things (like a grandfather passing) that will only be noticed by a handful of people.

Today is also special because I got my latest Bag of Crap from Woot!  I am taking it to work tomorrow to allow everyone to share in the opening.

I think that is it.  I have taken so much time off of posting that I don’t want to strain myself by attempting to write a manifesto of October 13.

And so it goes.



The Other Brother

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My third brother, Bob, came into town last night.  He showed up at the door wearing what could only be described as a dress.  He said it was a Kaoptaria that he picked up when he was in New Zealand last year.  I didn’t believe him.

I should point out that I have not seen Bob in nearly 17 years.  I don’t talk about him to anyone.  Unless you have known me over 15 years, you have not heard about Bob from me.  I only bring it up now because I think he will be around for a while I wanted to get the word out now before he did.

Bob and I had a falling out about 18 years ago.  I had to do with a girl.  It always did.  Bob was always the ladies man and I, well, I wasn’t.  I had been dating this girl named Lisa Promalleckr (Greek and Polish, I think).  Lisa and I were hitting it off in the way that high school freshmen do when Bob showed up.  ‘Hey there, how’s it hanging!’  And that was the beginning of the end.

Lisa was a sweet girl who had a slight problem.  Her earlobes were large.  Her nickname in primary school was Dumbo.  She immediately thought that Bob was talking to her.  She stormed out leaving me with my brother and a libido in over drive.  I tried to explain what he had done, but he didn’t care.  He never did.  I called Lisa five or six times, but she never called back.  If it weren’t for the fact that my mother begged me to stay close to Bob, I would have cut ties right then and there.

Bob parlayed his little performance into a date with Lisa so he could ‘apologize’.  He apologized alright.  In the car, on the couch, and in the McPlayground at the McDonalds on Madison and San Juan.  It’s closed now.  Poor Lisa never recovered.  The last I head she had been arrested for honking at peoples houses as she drove by…

The worst part was that he never told me what happened.  I had to find out about it from my second brother, Eric.  Eric is a story for another blog.

The final falling out came about six months later.  Bob had a party at the house when my mom and sister were visiting the Holy Lands.  I guess they knelt in the wrong place and were taken hostage.  The embassy said it was a routine hostage taking, but dad had to drive to capitol city to fill out some paper work.  Bob made a few phone calls before I could say ‘Bob is a big fat jerk, the house was awash in beer, girls and desperate guys.

I agreed not to tell mom and dad about the party if Bob let me drink.  He smiled and said of course!  He even made my first drink for me.  Unfortunately he put something in there that made me blackout.

I woke up about 12 hours later in Juarez, Mexico in a hotel room.  I was in a bathtub full of ice with ‘Call for help’ written in lipstick on my chest.  Damn it if Bob hadn’t driven me to Mexico and stolen my kidneys.  As a joke he also took my index finger, the one I use to dial with.  I was reduced to poking the phone buttons with my nose.  Did you know that Juarez does not have 911 service?  911 connects you the Mexican version of Hooters.  Since I was hungry, I ordered some wings and had them delivered.  I convinced the delivery man to call a doctor and then I passed out.  But not before I finished the wings.  Not that it matters, I don’t think they were chicken wings.  Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure they were some sort of deep fired cockroach.

It took around six months of pain and waiting to find two new kidneys for me.  A quick surgery and I was back on the mend.  Bob left, fled if you will, to avoid prosecution.  From my father.  But now he is back.

The funny thing is that he seems mad at me.  You see, in an effort to mend fences, I named I my second son after Bob.  It was a nice gesture I thought.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that Bob is short for Robert.  I named my son William and we call him Bill.  Come on, who knows that kind of stuff.  I’m a guy for goodness sakes.  If it’s not written at the bottom of a beer can, I probably don’t know it.

So my attempt to patch things up has failed.  I now have an angry, slightly neurotic older brother staying with me.  He tried to make me a drink last night, which I didn’t take.  Fool me once…  I just hope he doesn’t try to take my livers.  I could probably get by with one, but I don’t want to.

There is a picture at the top.  Bob is the guy on my left.  I’m the little kid in the middle. Eric on my other left.  My oldest brother isn’t pictured.

And so it goes.



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It is really quiet around here.  Alpha and Beta are staying with Ralph and Ox for the week, and it’s almost like we have no kids.  The girls are very low key when there is no spark around…

So I am sitting in bed writing a blog.  You would think that I would be sleeping.  Alas, sleep is not something I am in the habit of doing.  I’m so used to being up to attend to kids and to study, I have forgotten how to fall asleep before midnight.

I’m listening to my iPhone and writing a blog using Google’s Chrome browser.  I like both, but I am becoming increasing disappointed with both companies.

Apple is showing a remarkable stubborn streak by restricting it’s software to it’s own platforms.  Don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here.  We developed it, and if you really want to use it, you’ll dance to our drummer.  But still, I am finding it annoying.  At the end of my AT&T contract I am going to look seriously at the Droid.

But there is a problem with that too.  Google, for all its glamor, is still a company that is built around advertising.  I like to watch my ‘something blows up’ videos on you tube, but damn it, if it’s not like watching a giant ad.  I was watching a clip from the Discovery channel, and there was a commercial right in the middle of it!  Again, don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here, but I’m accustomed to my internet being somewhat ad free.  I tend to gravitate to sites with the most unobtrusive advertisements.  I know that these sites need some kind of revenue to function, but on youtube, it is totally over the top.  I have some software that will lift a video from youtube without the ads.  It’s a pain to do it, but if I think I will watch a clip again, it’s worth it.

I actually think they are in cahoots.  If you notice the names ‘Apple’ and ‘Google’ follow a similar pattern.  They both start with a single letter, then have the next two letters repeating and end with and ‘le’.  I’m just saying that it’s possible they were involved with the Kennedy assassination.

I just want the free flow of information for free.  Is that really too much to ask?


And so it goes.