White Lightning Axiom: Redux

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Meme Filler #1

How much are you worth?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Swimming with predators

Nothing really going on here. Just getting psyched up for our trip out to Minnesota to reunite my inner being with my ancient ancestorial stomping grounds. There is one thing I have to mention though. I saw this on the news the other night ....
BRYN ATHYN, Pa. For the second time in a week an alligator has been captured in Pennypack Creek. Officials are concerned more reptiles could be lurking in the waters.

Animal control officers are warning parents to keep children away from the creek after discovery of the dangerous animal on Sunday.

Animal Control officers said the two and a half foot long gator is slightly smaller than the five foot long one captured in the same area on June 21.


Officials said the gators most likely fed on fish, frogs and snakes while in the creeks muddy waters. Because the cold-blooded creatures are able to submerge easily, authorities said they could be a threat to small animals and children.

"If threatened they'll certainly do damage to pets or small children which is definitely the public safety concern," Claycomb said.

Animal control officers are advising parents to keep their children away from Pennypack Creek as they check the region for more of the sharp toothed creatures.
Good grief. Now that I've taught the twins to swim, they cannot go near the water for fear of being eaten! I'll have to bring them to Gators which used to be in the Mall of America to show them that it tastes just like chicken.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Cheese Meme

Linda tagged me for this Meme ... she shall wail and gnash her teeth.

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

1) Meaning of Loaf/Cherry Ride (I got tagged twice-I feel SO popular!!!)
2) I'm Not Carrie Bradshaw
3) Behind Blue Eyes
4) BrainCheese
5) White Lightning Axiom: Redux

Select five people to tag:
1) MsShad
2) Maggsbunny
3) MS Not Just A Diary
4) Some Nameless Chick
5) Sancho Knotwise

Q:What were you doing 10 years ago?

Wondering when the Honeymoon was going to end and trying to fill a fairly large and empty Manor.

Q: What were you doing 1 year ago?

Spinning, upside down, in a minivan, with my family watching my life flash before my eyes as glass, gasoline and metal showered down around me.

Q: Five snacks you enjoy:

1) Animal
2) Vegetable
3) Some minerals
4) Pencil Erasers - chewy & gritty, like sandy clams!
5) Twinkies

Q: Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:

1) "Manamana" by Muppets/Sesame Street Puppets
2) "Little Bunny Fu-fu" by various artists
3) The wheels on the bus go round and round.
4) Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar
5) Ring of fire (heh ...) Johnny Cash

Q: Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1) Begin a campaign to impeach BrainCheese
2) Engage in 1$ bill paper cut mortal combat with George Soros
3) Use interest to top off my ONE BILLION DOLLARS
4) Corner the polyurethane market
5) Only eat beef jerky, spam and ramen noodles ... so I can be called 'eccentric' instead of just plain 'weird'.

Q: Five bad habits:

1) Pride
2) Avarice
3) Lust
4) Envy
5) Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, ... Aw heck, just say 'TV'

Q: Five things you like doing:

1) Splitting Wood
2) Civilization III - Warlords Edition
3) Tooting ... in elevators, and blaming my wife.
4) Propping up the broccoli and peas in my mashed potatoes and pretending I'm Godzilla eating a forest.
5) Using the EZPass lanes on toll-roads and gloating about it.

Q: Five things you would never wear again:

1) More than 7 thing attached to my belt.
2) Boxers ... agoraphobia?
3) The shackles of fascist Oppression
4) Conductive materials
5) Velvet pants

Q: Five favorite toys:

1) Fireworks ... I still have enough fingers left.
2) Compound circular miter saw ... see above.
3) Electricity ... again, see above
4) Lawn mower ... trending?
5) The Mrs' credit cards, how do you thing I get all these toys?

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Colorless solid hydrocarbon mixture: CnH2n+2

Just a few things to banter about, the greatest of which is the gobsmacked state I'm in due to me laying down coat #2 on the floor in Jovial Jake's room. A little splash of mineral spirits, a daub of paraffin based oils ... wheeze! My noggin is swimming in an ocean of synaptic discombobulation. This leaves only one more coat to apply ... this Thursday after sufficient time for drying. Then, while we are on vacation, the final coat should coagulate into a high-gloss shine. Slap up the wall-paper and call me Susan! It's fortunate that I did manage to find those last 4 cans of finish ... the only ones left in existence. I used two on this coat so I should have just enough for the last layer. Looking forward to that ... like an enriched uranium enema.

I called the water company, Aqua PSW, yesterday. I asked for them to send a 'technician' out to put my seasonal meter back in so I can start up the summer sprinkler system that I so meticulously installed. After going through voice mail hell TWICE, I finally get a rep who tries to sort out my account. She hems and haws about various inconsistencies about my account and makes a comment about a meter shutoff request made in 1985 ... yeah. I was living in another State at that time and most assuredly did not make that request. So, she confesses that she is not sure how to proceed and needs to ask her manager (I'm expecting another hang-up at this time). She actually comes back online and says that she will be able to do this, but there is a 50$ meter transaction fee. WHAT!? Yes, 50$ to install or remove a meter. So, here are my choices: I can pay 100$ a year to have my seasonal meter removed/installed or pay 20$ a month for a minimum usage fee. Dammit, what kind of nonsense is this. They want to venerate myself before their billing department for the privilege to pay more for nothing? Gha! Every one wants a slice of my pie, and they have no problem laying out mendaciously specious tales to get it. I've threatened to have a well drilled for the singular purpose of feeding my sprinkler system due to their horrific billing practices and inability to keep accurate records. Now, I'm on the precipice of doing so. Double argh.

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Monday, June 25, 2007


Weekend in the Rear View Mirror

It's been a few days since I've sat down in front of the old teletype and rattled off some nonsense. Of course, it's been busier than an ADD bee hive in coffee plantation around the Manor of late. Let's step WAAAAYYYY back to Thursday night and start from there. You see, my support phone duty was in it's last 24 hours so by the nature of things, 100% of the calls should come in in the last 12 hours or so. And such was the case. Worst thing bout these calls is that they went from being a minor inconvenience that could be worked on in the morning to a total system failure because people could not leave well enough alone. After resolving the first of these man-made disasters, I was so tweaked I went up and finished sanding the floor in Jakes room. This leads to another interesting twist. Now that the room is nearing completion, Jake is OVERJOYED and Alexis is upset. She does not want to be alone. Or, more likely, she does not want to be left with nobody to boss about.

Thursday night, Attila ... err, Alexis was rather grumpy. She has had a really nasty case of allergies of late and the energy expended on clearing her throat and getting a decent deep breath has exhausted her by the time I pick her up in the evening. On top of that, the Tyrants are no longer put down for naps in the afternoon. The synergistic effect is crushing. Once I had powered down the Light Fission Plant in the POS Super Saturn, I told her to go right to bed. She pouted and stomped her feet the whole way into her bed ... then about 2 minutes later she was sawing wood like Paul Bunyan had always dreamed he could. So, I let her nap and we skipped Karate while Jake played his little heart out in the Sand Pit and on the Driveway. No lack of sweat matted hair there! Later that night, Alexis wandered back down with her own version of bed-head and dove into her dinner plate with much gusto. The sleep was much needed and adjusted her attitude greatly.

Speaking of attitude ... mine was fairly piss poor by Friday Morning. I had already passed on the support phone of pain but the case I had handled the previous night went from mundane to China Meltdown Critical. The technical staff ... well, they really screwed the pooch earlier in the day. Every time they tried to fix what they had done, it got worse. In the end, I made a recommendation that they get things back in operation before resuming pursuit of the original issue. It turns out, that my suggestion of making sure that the programs were set for execution (made runnable) was the correct path. Saved us a day of nonsense. This, of course, belayed my departure by hours and I did not get to do all the things I wanted to complete that afternoon. That whole 'land war in Asia' thing ... had to let it go. Pissing into the wind got knocked off the list too. I did, however, get a haircut. I strolled on in, sat down in the chair, the barber walked up and with a single twist of his hand, enshrouded me in that barbers bib and went to work. No question, he knew what to do. Quarter inch on the sides, half inch on top; flat-top. It's the little things in life that can turn a day from utter crap to a glowing field of serenity. I'm fortunate that I'm simple minded enough that this is one of my key-stones. Having someone know what kind of haircut I like and doing it correctly. It's a bizarre scene right out of Atlas Shrugged.

On to other grand events; the Mrs ordered the wall paper for Jovial Jakes room. Sketches of trains ... oh, his head will explode for certain. On Saturday, she vaccumed up all the sanding dust and I proceeded to get down on my hands and knees to ... (no, not worship her, that's not noteworthy or unique) ... scrub and clean the floor with mineral spirits. Ghaaa, talk about a contact high. Then I put the 1st coat of polyurethane on ... now there's a quick way to kill a few million brain cells. Or at least, make sure that my efforts to do the wash is scuttled by 'The colors .. the colors...'. I also wrapped up the molding and chair rail work in the garage along with the last of the door jambs that needed to be coated. Getting this work over the last yard has been a real hurdle for me. Of course, having Attila and Genghis pinging me every 5 minutes to see if I was 'done' does nothing to bring the task along. I was so distracted at one moment that I turned about sharply and knocked over the hand-bucket of polyurethane I was working with and splattered about a quart of it all over the floor. Fortunately, it was the garage and I intend on having the floor coated with a Vulcanized rubber coating some day. After spilling a bit from my 5000 gallon reserve, I found that I was actually almost out of the viscus fluid. So, Off to the Local Home Depot Temple. There, I found, the no longer carry the precious gold coating in 5 gallon barrels any longer. And they only had 4 1 gallon cans left, of which one was rather abused. Scrunched and all, I bought them (friggen 32$ a can!) and shuttled them back to the manor through the rampaging mobs of ethyl crazed DYI shoppers rioting over the lack of glossy finish oil based pro polyurethane. Escaped with my hide, I did. I believe that the remainging 4 gallons should be more than adequate to finish the job.

Sunday came early, and with a massive fumes induced headache. I heaved my languid and torpid body from the warm embrace of the bed and lumbered into full automaton mode. I was taking the Twin Tyrants to the 'early' mass for church this Sunday. It's not truly the earliest mass available ... there is one at 0700. We are attending the 0830 services. We usually attend the 1000 Family Mass. There is a very pronounced difference in the attendees. They were all packed into the front pews with very few worshipers arriving after the last bell tolled. The allure of the early mass may stem from the timing. It lasted a meager 45 minutes. Partly because everyone knew the drill and did not bumble about the communion lines ... partly because the parking situation was much more orderly. When we left, we were able to zip right over to the Dunkin Donuts shop and get our 1000 munchkins before you could say 'Go in Peace'. The children were still trying to shake off the morning sleep so were quite mild ... no frenzied combat in the pews this Sunday.

Since we were home before 1000 hours, I finished up the last of the wood-work in the garage and we all headed off for Sesame Place. It's about 20 minutes away and we have season passes ... the next trip is financially 'free'. Jakes floor was still too wet to sand so this was a much more attractive option. It was a rather enjoyable time. The Mrs and I got sun-burnt, the kids got exhausted. Even trade-off. Alexis even got a little moxie and went down some of the more 'aggressive' rides with me. Getting brave, that little one. While scooting about the crowds, the Mrs and I made some observations: The fellow merry-makers fell into 5 categories:

  1. Individual adults (mostly) with tattoos/language that belong in a bar or adult book-store ( rogue Tourettes Syndrome? )
  2. Adults wearing swimsuits that also fall into category #1 (this one was a primary beef of the mrs, I SAW NOOOTHINK!)
  3. Pouring 5 quarts of mao in a 1 gallon jug - some ppl should not wear spandex suits (see above, my eyes melted)
  4. Selfish Parents
This last one needs a bit of explanation. The first 3 are annoyances and somewhat of a minor moral deprecation. The final one is not that the parents are selfish in trying to provide the best for their own progeny at the cost of others, but rather, they are not interested in immersing themselves in parenting at the cost of their own children. The Mrs watched to adults argue over who should be changing the diaper of a 2 year old. The father, with a dirty diaper in one hand and a wipe in the other was bickering with the Mother. After a few minutes of this, the child got up and ran off. When the father turned to complete the task, the child was gone. He ran off to the mens room thinking the little one had escaped there, only to emerge from the building empty handed. He then had to prod the Mother to abandon her pressing activities to enter the womans rest facilities to search in what was forbidden territory for him. When the Mrs relayed this tale to me, we could only shake our heads. I do not recall an instance where we dithered about changing soiled clothing. It HAD to be done and finger pointing never got it done faster. I fear that a relationship proceeding so roughly at such an early stage is in dire need of a positive interjection. Going to public places like this makes me feel better about myself, but I weep for society.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


More of the same, less of the different.

So, the new stuff: I got older, I got a support call and I've eaten too much fruit this week and my bathroom visitations have increased asymptotically. TMI? I managed to buckle my big toe in karate last night. Caught it on the mat while doing some pretty standard drills. It did not break or anything dire, it just feels like a Chinese bound lotus foot. [ed. I was going to supply a link here to wikipedia, but found the information so disturbing I chose to abstain]

Outside of this, all I can really say is that every day is just another day of sweet, sweet life with the family and very little worries. Oh, and I found an independent gas station nearby that has a posted price of $2.85/gal USD. Charmed life indeed.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007



Unfortunately, I have nearly nothing to report. TSD was mild last night. It was just me, the Master and his son. Yeah, sure, I was huffing and puffing and sweating all over the place, but I kept all my joints in place and no blood was lost. With the heat outside, I was glad for a more 'mundane' experience. The support phone has been peculiarly quiet as well. Either it's a gathering storm (like the weather outside) or I'll escape with my hide intact. I'm hoping for the later, but betting on the former. The agon between the developer and the support phone is legendary here. I've set a record of having the most calls during a stint ... I'm hoping to get the least as well to average it out.

Two other things:

Hey ... it could happen!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Monday ... is good, next ... Tuesday

Fast Friends
So, just one day after the Grandparents retreated to the FOB, Jovial Jake has been exhibiting severe symptoms of Post Grandparental Withdrawal Syndrome. We had a rather rough time in Karate last night and his solution to being called onto the mat for regular attitude adjustments was to just IGNORE anyone calling out his name. We had a little 'come to Jesus' talk later on and an agreement was made. The Emerald Accord. Every time his name is called he needs to look at Daddy or Mommy. If he chooses to ignore it, he can either skip one day of vacation or do 20 push-ups. The gig is up. This recent spate of insubordinate behavior is partially to be blamed on the lack of naps in kindergarten. He is sleeping much better at night however. He's a little boy yet, and he will make a fine young man. Much like his nick-name's namesake though; Genghis's formative years are always the trickiest.

Speaking of kindergarten ... the Tyrants have a field trip to Build-A-Bear today. I weep for the bulkward teachers and paladin chaperons ... much carnage will lay in the wake of Attila and Genghis. Teddy-bear stuffing EVERYWHERE. I already paid the $9000 billion for the expenses ... let's just hope that they do not try to charge me for the FEMA costs as well.

Alexis has been coughing up a storm of late. At first, we believed it to be a standard summer cold. With all the cruft and crud they haul back to manor every night, it was a rational expectation. When the usual cough suppressants and expectorants failed to lighten her load, the Mrs made a visit to the local pediatrician and we got the diagnosis we have been trying to ignore: Allergies. We had a lot of rain last week and the humidity laden environment has provided an excellent bed for fungus, mildew, non-photosynthesizing growths and other assorted eukaryotic single-celled or multinucleate organisms. This is something that was expected. The gene pool has benefited from the filtering of mostly icky flotsam between the Mrs and Myself ... but a few bits made it through. Let's just hope the MS/Cancer thing was eliminated. So, after the first tablespoon of Claritan (OTC), she has been doing significantly better. The rejoinder to the question of 'Should we medicate our children?'; yes. In this case. We will probably discontinue later in early summer when she has her first visit to an Allergist and we determine what is giving her such a rough time. Silly histamines.

Finally, the local township failed to pick up the dead hulk of the hot water heater that failed over Memorial Day weekend. So, we bought the sticker, put it to the curb at the designated time ... and nothing. There it sits. So I call, and as expected, they are closed. You see, they are open from 0830 till 1630. Yeah, all the hours we tax-payers are at work. So, I call this morning to complain and ask what they are planning to do. Oh, you see, the truck broke down so they had to leave some things behind. Huh? If the truck broke down, how is it that you knew to leave behind the heavy things exactly where they sat (she admitted that they did not pick up 3 things) but everything else got taken away. I'm not in the mood for confrontation so I just ask for advice on further action. I'm instructed to just leave it at the curb and call back before 1600 if it is not picked up. Ummm, yeah. I work so I'll not be sitting on the curb monitoring the status of my trash. I ask if it is ok to call the next day and I'm greeted with silence. After some hemming and hawwing, it is explained that I will not be home at that time since I WORK a full day. Egads. It must be systematic that once you enter into the office of civil service, you must abandon any concept of the real world. Almost like academia!

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Monday, June 18, 2007


dull boy walking

There is a whole bag of goodies I get to share with you all from this past weekend. Friday night included! Well, Thursday too if you want the dull details of me sitting about and drinking beer after beer from 1615 hours till 0015 the next morning. Yeah, that's a lot of beer and It's hard to keep a good buz going when your super-accelerated metabolism burns through everything you put in your maw before it even gets to the gut. Either way, I pretty much bumbled through the next day half aware and partially uninterested in doing anything but making it to quitting time. You have to abuse yourself every once in a while so you realize just how 'glamorous' this kind of lifestyle really is. Fabulous! I did get to talk to some interesting people while I was there though. Yep, I can almost remember their names too!

Speaking of toxic lifestyles and products, I've gotten a few emails from friends and family about Jovial Jake's collection of Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Apparently, putting arsenic in tooth paste and substituting paint for baby formula was not good enough for the Chinese export fraud ... they now go the extra mile to find paint with lead in it for children's toys. Trying to find paint WITH lead in it is like trying to proselytize the joys of Jihad to the Buddhists. Futile here in the States and other industrialized nations. Indeed, we are getting our just deserts. Ok, ok ... off the soap-box. We went through the 1000 or so items that Jake has and found about 5 or 6 items that were on the list. Fortunately, they were recent acquisitions and were barely out of the box so no 'chewing' had occurred. He's over that behavior, but sometimes things are too tempting. Going to have to introduce him to chewing gum, but the Ever Patient Mrs knows that he will end up doing the same thing I do .... swallow it. Yeah, I know, 'ick'. It HAPPENS!

Speaking of parental oversite, the GrandParentalUnits came down from the FOB on a resupply mission. You see, they were running low on hugs-n-kisses from the grand-kids. The Tyrannical Twins immediately began clamber all over them the minute the Big Black Truck came to a stop and the cab portals opened. Fortunately for me, This meant that I would get an extra few sets of hands to help wear down the twins over Father's Day weekend. Gramps went to town and sanded nearly all the 1000sq foot floor that will be Jakes room and helped me set up the polyurethane containment work-room for the chair-rail and molding in the garage. With all that out of the way, we got to kick back and sit in the shade for a bit while the Twins engaged in mortal combat to see who got to sit closest to Gramps. Ok, have I ever mentioned that my Dad is my biggest Hero? No? Are you sure, I'll have to have the team do some research on that. You know that Gramps is the Shiznaz when you wake up at 0915 on Sunday to find that the Tyrants are happily eating breakfast and are already dressed for church. 0915 already!? But, but, the Tyrants usually start pounding on my head at 0515 on Sunday morning! So yes, Grams is a Hero figure that is a suitable role model for my children AND can get them to sit still while he tries desperately to give a disquisition on opening gambits in chess involving Knights, Pawns AND Bishops with the Queen as an anchor. Kinda like family life, where the queen is both revered and feared for she is the gateway to the King. King Dad.

This week, I'm on the Russian Roulette pager duty of 'on call' 4th level support. I could get no calls, I could get 3 a day. Sun spot activity could cause massive network failures and the switch-board will light up and klaxon alarm will sound out proclaiming that the beleaguered public is no longer able to view Girls Gone Wild : Blondes at their leisure. Yeah, that happened once before. Priorities folks ... not predilections for strolling Piccadilly. In any event, if I actually post ANYTHING, it will be due to the whims of fate. As an upbeat ending, I'll give you this: I was demonstrating the first staff form in TSD for my parents and for giggles, I gave Jake a walking stick (about 3 foot tall) so he could 'play' along. He did his best and darned good job of mimicking my every move. Some of the more complicated maneuvers were short-circuited, but he was about as happy as a puppy with two peters. Damn sharp of him.

UPDATE: I read this over at Sand in the Gears and it really should be a required read for all fathers:

I lay awake for a time after the house was completely dark and silent, thinking thank you over and over in my mind, whispering it to God. And he must say I know when we think him for our children, because he is a father too. It is good to be a father. More fathers should try it. If I can get this right, I keep telling myself, the rest of it doesn't matter. Be a good husband. Be a good father. The rest of it fades away almost as soon as we are cold in the ground. Help me get this right. That's what I whisper to God in between the thank yous.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


One burbon, one scotsshhh ... one ... (thud)


Nothing going on today. Really dull. Finally. To make a short story long, I spent some time last night practicing my staff form at TSD. Damn near took my own head off though. Some of the prep and release maneuvers are not something to take as trivial. I'll be cracking my knees on the 'figure 8' turns for certain. No manner of contravention by practice will save my bruised and swollen joints from my inability to differentiate my left hand from my right. Ghaa, I've been a clumsy, oafish clod for years and MS has NOTHING to do with it. Damned ambidextrous genetic markers. The one good result of this is the ability to drink with both fists. Sooo, I'll be exercising this capability tonight at a corporate group outing to a local pub for happy hour. The Mrs will escort the kids to Karate and I'll be warming a bar stool while entertaining the patrons with tall tales of my Intergalactic Feats and Local Acts of Wonder. Heh, I'll have a few nibblets of amusement to share tomorrow.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Horsie takes castle ...

So, Jake wanders into the bedroom where I'm still trying to shake off another restless night of sleep. He comes over to my side of the bed and whispers: "Daddy, I want to play some more chess, please." Ghaaa. My attempt at exposing him to higher strategy has backfired in the most awful way. Monday night, I got out the marble chess set that Big Little Brother had given me as a Christmas Present nearly 20 years ago. I set up the pieces and explained to Jovial Jake what each piece does. He gravitated towards the Knights but he mimicked my standard pawn opening moves. Here is the rough part; I gave him no quarter. After the 3rd loss, he was quite upset that I kept taking all his pieces. He was a bit watery eyed, but I explained to him that if he kept playing, he would get better and better and some day, he would take all my pieces. I want to make sure that he is a gracious winner as well as a good loser. Having nobility in success and failure is something that is not really taught these days. You see, everyone gets to be a 'winner' so nobody gets their feelings hurt. So, I hurt his feelings but explained to him that it can be ok to loose as long as you try your hardest. In successive games, I showed him how he could put me into check so as to force me to give up pieces ... he was quite giddy to have a modicum of power over his father even if it did not involve fists. After a bit, I let him know it was time for bed ... which lead to the morning confrontation. On top of that, I gave him that book; Dangerous Book for Boys ... he was THRILLED. So much so that he insisted that I teach him to read 'RIGHT NOW!'. Heh, let's try the little words first buddy.

We had quite a rain storm yesterday afternoon. If the rain came down any harder, it would have left dents in the roadways from the kinetic energy dissipation. Spot flooding was inevitable, Noah was dusting off his tools. Indeed, this only happened because I left my car windows open a crack so the interior would not be molten. Somehow, the rain radically changed direction to a horizontal vector as it neared my POS Saturn and the drivers seat was completely saturated within minutes. Nothing like driving with a 'moist' seat. When I did manage to pound through traffic and get to the Day Care/ReEducation Camp, I found a woman and her two small children woefully gazing out the front door ... probably watching to see when her car would float away. She was wearing Hospital Scrubs and I knew that the only material more transparent when wet would be one of those Hollywood sheer gowns that the 'Beautiful People' like to flaunt their bodies about in. Not something you want your children to observe though. So, the gracious being that I am, I offered to escort her and her children to their car. It worked out well except she got a bit wet on the back of her blouse. The kids were dry ... mostly. I had to grab her daughter's hand and lift her over Lake Superior when we got to the parked car. There was about 2 inches of standing water in the lot at the time. My boots are still wet. Smelly too. No matter, I did my best to reverse the karmic slide I've been on lately. Maybe I'll get to sleep in this weekend ... fat chance.

Finally, I found this somewhere ... but lost the source. The wise words of Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

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Roundup 20070613

Wow .. 2 in 2 consecutive weeks!? Call the press, levy your wagers and check the heavens for signs of the second coming! Heh, or just consider that I'm due for a streak of on-time deliveries. The postal service should take a page from my book, eh? But enough of this dry and rather entertainingly bland offering ... lets get down to brass tacks. I usually take a topic and try to bend what I find on other MS bloggers postings into a cohesive (in my warped mind) pov. This time I'm just going to lump a bunch of 'New to Me' bloggers together and welcome them to the big tent of the cabal.

I would like to introduce you to Merelyme who has been doing a SPLENDID job of making her rounds and introducing herself to us. Recently diagnosed, she is familiar with the long and arduous journey to gain that dreaded pronouncement of illness. Her freshness of words and views should make for an entertaining and thought provoking discourse.

Jaws, off the coast of Florida, has also come into focus. Big, nasty teeth! Also, his blue motif matches the Rebif box label he is now saddled with. Big, nasty needles! Of course, his 'Suck it up' attitude reminds me of some others here. And as somebody once said, 'Lean into it'. Yep, that pretty sums up Daddy Jaws. Lately, he has been more interested in the sucking of Dyson Vaccumes and not the suckage of MS. Good man, good husband, good daddy. Damn, still cannot figure out who he reminds me of.

Brooke has MS. She will be taking Tysabri. That's from February 26. I'm not sure if she is going to post again, but if we all gang up and give her 'hello' comments, perhaps she will.

Here in the Philly area, Gina at Angst on a Shoestring just got a new symptom. We know it as the 'MS Hug', but she has aptly named it The Girdle. I never knew she was around till I picked her up in another comment thread. Ain't the internet something else? Along the same lines, I happened across an outgrowth of Joolys Joint called Diary of Ms X. A collaboration of 4 different authors just to keep things moving. Hey, if you can have a post titled "Peeing in the wind", you are my kind of blogger!

Of course there is Liz over in GB/Wales recording her every thought on Finding Life Hard. I believe she was previously posting at another location, but has opened up shop here. That or my failing grey matter is making me delusional. Either way, she has a pretty keen eye for the banalities and bromides of life. Yesss, I like that in a blogger. Nothing too shocking or scary. Nice, easy .... zzzzzz.

Finally, but not least of all, there is 'Jammy'. She posts at Jenn's Journey with MS and of all things, is a Mom of six children. I feel like a wuss now. And after reading her posts, I cannot imagine having that many spoons at my disposal. She just plain kicks major MS heinie! Read through some of what she has to say and see what I'm trying to say in a much more erudite and visceral representation.


So, have you hugged your MS warrior today?

Crossposted from Charles's site as a service to mankind!

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Everyone is disappointed sometimes

Hoooo-Doggie! What a day it was yesterday for anyone trying to get from point A to sub-station 011-937B. We had some fairly good thunderheads roll through the area. That let a cascade of rain and electric discharge fall to the ground like a sign of the end of times. Of course, with lightning there is the inevitable closure of the indoor pool. Not that I weep over the missed opportunity of freezing my gluts off in the near zero kelvin contents of the pool. With rain comes the 'instant asshole' aspect of driving about this region. While slugging my way to the day-care/re-education facility, I heard over the radio about 3 overturned trucks and an explosion on the NJ Tpk. I felt a bit of Schadenfreude when I heard, but quickly got my come-uppance. Right at the intersection of Sawmill and Dresher. At 1605, a blue pickup transporting 2 hillbillies made a right on red (in spite of what the sign said about that) just as a blue civic was passing (at about 30mph) a line of cars piled up in the left lane of intersecting traffic. BLAM! The pickup (heavy construction vehicle type) was thrust up onto the berm next to the road and bits of the civic rained down on the wet, steamy pavement. It was obvious that the compact vehicle would not be going anywhere since it absorbed the kinetic energy with a direct impact to the grill by the I-Beam that the truck was sporting. The hood buckled such that it's apex was higher than the roof of the copula. The burly man in the pickup, took a final drag from his cigarette and flung it brusquely to the ground to elaborate the words that were spilling out between his snarled lips. Within SECONDS, a police cruiser and an EMT vehicle pulled up. It was rather surreal that they were within the proximity of the accident at the moment it occurred. Now, this all sounds like a facinating road-show for me, but the arrival of the cruiser resulted in some unanticipated side effects. The intersection is equipped with a sensor that detects the flashes of an on-coming emergency vehicle and overrides the normal program for the signal lights. Yes, it stayed red for 15 minutes till the police realized that the traffic delay was not because of rubber-necker, but rather, because his override signal was still on. Needless to say, I was only 1 car from the light and when I was released from my unintentional imprisonment in Hatboro Gitmo, I could see the horrific results. It was backed up for a mile already and this would only get worse when the local school let out in a few minutes and rush hour would begin in earnest. I could predict much fulmination and gesticulation would be commencing soon. Much of it not from my participation in the local road rage full contact sports league.

It's kindergarten. Yes, only 10 meters away from the other room that the Tyrannical Twins where in, but it might as well have been another planet with an alien culture that ate molten rocks for nutrients. The first day was the worst. The minute we walked in, the children who had been promoted previously and their fellow graduated immediately rushed us shrieking the names of the twins. I thought for sure that we would shortly become beset by a tribe of Comanche Warriors or Bedouin Fighters. Today, we were wary and set up a defensive perimeter before trying to breach the portal to the dark side of Kindergarten. It was a bit smoother, but I still felt the chill of doom about me as we entered. Next week, it's 'summer camp', with is essentially showing up at the same place but they go on field trips every day. To the ice cream shop, or the local pub. Fridays is water-play day though. They even have planned trips to the Lego and Crayola factories. I'm going to see if they are interested in going to Cabela's or Graterford Penitentiary too. You know, just for balance.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007


Kill the rabbit ...

bunny attack
Been a few days since I've had the gumption to sit down and rattle off some tripe about my quiescent life, no? Mostly, the end of last week and the Weekend itself was dominated by my endless battle with the Lupine Alliance. Those little vermin have been doing a number on the agricultural sector. The raiding teams they send in have done considerable damage to the lettuce, green beans, peas and terminally irrecoverable sun-flower mutilation. They left behind scarred green stalks and nothing else. The tomatoes are still ok though. The onions ... gone. Dug up and masticated. I'll have to start reinforcing the border fence to keep these undocumented intruders out. Poison is not an option. F few years ago, I took a metal mixing bowl and rendered one unto it's early demise. Elmer Fudd asked to be my student after that. I'm thinking that I'll try something a bit more conventional this year. I have a ton of fencing material in the garage/warehouse that I could encircle the garden with ... I'll just need a few more support girders and some Belgian boulders to secure the lower quadrant. If that does not work (or I do not get to it), I'll just have to settle for putting stones about the outer perimeter fence and topping them off with claymore mines.

Speaking of explosives ... I took Jake to the movie theater this weekend. 1015 Matine at the Franklin Mills mall. There were 2 other ppl in the theater so no collateral damage to the citizenry was accumulated once Jake realized the the 'penguin movie' Surfs Up was not all that he expected it to be. About 2/3rds of the way thorough the movie, the popcorn and twizzlers ran out and we found that his attention span reserves were depleted as well. With some rather creative manipulation, we managed to hold out till the credits and exited the smoldering remains of the structure. At the same time, Antsy Alexis and the ever Patient Mrs were attending a ballet/play representation of Cinderella. She (Alexis) barely moved and was titillated by the concept of 'intermission'. Indeed, she was not even put off by the epicene nature of men frolicking about the stage in tights. You see, she is used to more Manly-Man types with axes and chain saws. I'm certain that will be her dating criterion later in life. Chop, split and stack that pile of logs and then we'll talk about a night out gigging frogs. Heh, we sound like a bunch of hill-billies! NASCAR, chopping wood, crops ... if it were not for the Manhattan Cosmopolitan influence of the Mrs, we would probably communicate with a series of grunts and community grooming exercises. After the entertainment, we took a drive out to the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant where a former coworker (and fellow multi-ethnic family) was having a birthday party for his children. Magician included. Much happiness for the kids since there was a suitably large playground. They loved sliding down the cooling towers. It was absurdly hot and I started to feel a bit scruummy after a while. Pretty much a continuation of Friday's bletch/heat stroke type wave of nausea. After a while (1600 hours), we had to convince the Tumultuous Twins that it was time to depart since it was an hour drive back to the manor. Of course, they both fell asleep about 5 minutes into the trip.

Sunday. Yeah, I had to mow the pastoral expanse and the back 50 or the grounds would be completely unmanageable. We would be swallowed up by Gnarlwood Forest. Fortunately for me, it only got to 120F in the shade. That was complicated by me FUMING over the state (or maSTICATE) of garden. Maybe I should go out and see if I can pick up a fully automatic 12 gauge repeating shotgun. Good for rabbits AND heavily armed intruders.

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Yeah, that TSD thing ... unintended consequences. I'll get to that in a few paragraphs. But since I did a roundup earlier in the week, I have a few days of material to banter on about. Since it was a sloppy day on Monday and Wednesday, I took the Tyrannical Twins of Turpitude to the pool instead of letting them batter each-other silly on the driveway with their jousting equipment and 'Road-Warrior' bicycles. That was saved for Tuesday. The pool, however, seems to have a broken heat pump. Not fun. I think I was one of the titanic elderly women run up against an iceberg and sink to the bottom of the pool. Not enough life-boats. Horrible tragedy. Even with the fantastic spectacles of swimmers in cryogenic deep-freeze, the tyrants did not last for more than 45 minutes before their blue lips and shivering spats coerced them out of the drink.

TSD (karate) was a different matter all together. Everything was fine in the children's class. I've taken a few turns with leading the calisthenics part. I seem to be a natural fit for that task. I do a lot of barking and drill sergeant type harassing so that the usual offenders don't have enough moxie to start acting up. Got a question for me? Five push-ups for the privilege, 10 if it is a BS question. Complaining about somebody else not working hard enough? 10 pushups for both of ya. Need to go potty? Kleenex? Drink of water ... Yep, give me 10 and the answer is NO. Everyone tends to fall in line and get it over with ASAP. I missed my calling, I tell ya. Either a Marine Boot Camp Drill Instructor or a Kindergarten Teacher. That's all fine and well. The messy stuff happened during an adult class sparring session. I've been feeling pretty cocky of late and I figured I'd go ahead and try one of those legendary Chinese Flying anti-gravity leap-kicks. You know, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Ligament Failure types. So, I fly through the air and start my dumb-ass fantasy maneuver and realize that what goes up, usually comes down at 9.8 meters/second/second. Hmmm, Force equals mass times acceleration and I've got a whole mess-o-mass to work with. Needless to say, I did not get through the pounds to kilogram conversion before I found myself laying on the floor simpering like a school-girl who got jelly on her Sunday Dress. Well, that was the end of my sparring for the evening. Even worse, I had to go back and fess up to the Mrs that I screwed the pooch again. Fortunately, I was wearing my I-Beam reinforced knee brace at the time so the injury was rather mild. That, or I'm getting used to being dismembered.

In the more mundane and amusing categories, I managed to enjoy a few quiet moments with the Mrs on the front porch the other night. Over the Memorial day weekend, I purchased a wood/iron wrought bench that took about 25 minutes to assemble. The weather was mild enough and the insects were still recovering from the rainstorms so all we had to worry about was the strength of the wireless hub signal for our laptop systems. Well, her system. I was busy finishing up my 2nd glass of Australian Shiraz for the night (aptly named Jacobs Creek). Earlier in the evening I had polished off 2 Flying Fish IPAs as well. Yeah, I was flying too. So much so that I even got a bit nervous when the police cruiser rolled by for the nightly patrol. Don't need any charges of public drunkenness or lewd behavior tacked on to my name. I still have a pretty good reputation around here. That, or they patrol the neighborhood to see if I'm out in the yard digging holes again after sunset. Whatever could I be doing? Looking for sprinkler system leaks? Planting bulbs? Hiding 55 gallon drums filled with survival gear, weapons and C4? Bodies? (insert evil laugh here).

Finally, the most amusing detail of the last few days. Monday is pasta and meat-ball day for the Tyrants' lunch. They were treated to 2 large meatballs and 2 large cheese and spinach ravioli. You mix cheese, pasta and spinach ... well, you do not notice the spinach so much if you are a youngster. So, when the Tyrants insisted that I relinquish the information regarding their devoured lunches, I acquiesced and revealed the secret ingredient. Jake retorted: "I love spinach!". Popeye never had it so good. Wait till I slip a leaf or two into their salads; I'll be dealing with the request for anchor tatoos on their forearms.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Roundup 20070605


It's been quite some time since I've had any time to make a pass at a roundup. The forces of the universe tend to act against me in ways that are completely undefinable. Whao ... serious déjà vu! But I swear, this type of thing NEVER gets in the way of my hobbies. Heh, I should go back and see how many weekends I complain about how it was too hot or too rainy to mow the lawn. A nice ven diagram of my topics and the bleed between posts would probably be rather pedantic. Weather, gardening, lawn-mowing. I suppose substituting leaf-raking or snow-blowing for lawn-mowing as weather dictates would be ok. The incipient kvetching will continue until further notice.

Speaking of snow, I understand that Linda is having a bit of a heat-wave over at Brain-Cheese. She does mention that her previous life in the warmer climes had given her the steel temper to match that of the demons from the lowest planes of hades, but her new Blue State environs do not usually let the local thermostat vary much between the 45-75 zone. The fact that we here in the swamplands of the Haupertonian Heatsink had 45 in the morning and 85 in the afternoon would have driven much of her fellow Emerald City Edenites swoon. Go over and offer her a glass of mint julip.

Zoom down south a thousand miles or so and you'll notice a slight warming trend. Not that Miss Hot-Hot-Hot Stuff Chris would notice. What? 120 degrees in the shade? The sun wearing Bermuda shorts and whisking sweat from it's brow? Burr, get me a jacket! And just because it's not quite toasty enough for her, she takes a vacation to temperate Las Vegas!? Now granted, most of that town is covered with a gigantic Tupperware lid and air conditioned to preserve the clients in a semi-cryogenic state (just mobile enough to pull those levers and play keno), but JEEZE!? I hear if you stand still on the streets of Vegas, if you wait long enough you will sink into the asphalt and become one with the town. Nova Scotia anyone?

A bit closer to EST, YodaMomma is also in a cooler world, but must contend with the insectoid invasion that comes along with a more temperate clime. I too encountered a tick this past weekend with was quickly pointed out by one of the Tyrants and disposed of in a rather brutal and final manner. Lyme disease; no thank you - I've already got a heaping plate of hurtin'. And I certainly hope that her 'tater bugs stay put up there in the hinterlands. My own taters are doing just fine and have not been exposed to those fiends. Sure, the weather is nice up there, but man, the resident fauna is not to be envied!

Scan a bit more to the East and you find yourself in the back-yard of the FOB (Forward Operation Base: Ithaca, NY). Pat at the MS Companion is struggling under the icy glare of the Glassy corporate eye. Not so much the chill of a bitter NE spring morning, but the even greater freezing effect of a stone-cold corporate entity squeezing a few more drops of blood out of a dessicated turnip. Funny about the printing.paper-media industry, they are all for the little-man so long as the little guy is not working for them. Pat, I'm sorry for your situation there ... some times living on the cusp of a change in the social dynamic just is not fair. Bop on over and give her a morale boost, we all could use one every so often.


So, how is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Crossposted from Charles's site as a service to mankind!

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Monday, June 04, 2007


Lazy weekend

So, it was a fairly laid-back weekend for the Family Haupertonian. The Hazy sun blasting down the unshakable heat and the air, laden with moisture, enabling every item of clothing to stick like RTV adhesive to the flesh. Yep, summer is here. It was even accompanied by the Trademarked philly super-soaker thunderstorms. It's hot and humid, it rains to the point of flooding, then the sun comes out and heats it up even more with the additional hot rain humidity. YUM! In between the environmental weather artifacts, we had a picnic on the deck with the Tyrannical Twins. Chips, cheddar-wursts, carrot sticks and roast Pterodactyl. Delish! After roasting in the sun while trying to imitate the Ever Lovely Mrs broiling herself under the cosmic radiation (Yeah, she looks a bit like this when she does that, except with raven black hair), the retired to the cool darkness of the Manor Inner Sanctum for a nap and a bit of .... NASCAR! My little man loves his car racing. It all goes back to that pixar animation movies; Cars. I'm so proud, he is gearing up to be the best damn red-neck a parent could hope for. Could be a Governator some day! Durned tootin'!

Sunday was more of the same, but a bit less in quantity. Since I swam a mile while mowing the lawn on the previous day, I was not disturbed by the intermittent downpours which punctuated the day like small arms fire on the western front. Church went well and once we arrived back at the manor with a small box Dunkin Donuts, we ran into Gus on his way out to give an estimate for a kitchen job. We talked for a bit and the kids goofed with high-fives till he had to get going. We then put the Mastodons back into the kennel before banging on Gus's back door to pay a visit to his Gracious Mrs; Irene. She is apparently a linguist of sorts and can speak Greek (of course), French, Latin and was learning some Korean. No simple house-wife! We spoke of Cyprus and the Greek Islands while the kids rambled through her well kept home. Soon enough, the Mrs called wondering why there was nobody home but all the doors were unlocked ... and the hounds running wild throughout the manor first floor. So, she came over and we all had a good sit till Alexis became impatient. Not a bad way to burn a Sunday Morning. The rest of the day was spent on laundry, minor perfunctory manor dalliances and shredding all junk mail. I spread this in the garden to keep the weeds down. Did I mention that the tomatoes are forming? I've got about 5 now that are roughly 10cm in diameter. Lettuce is ready for munching and some of the broccoli is good to go as well. In spite of the little green caterpillars (picked them off by hand, little buggers), it looks like the cabbage will be set in a few weeks as well. Time to call in the migrant farm-hands to start the harvest!

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Friday, June 01, 2007


Gossamer ribbon demarking the finish line

For a Friday, there is not much to really mumble about. Just the standard tripe like mowing the lawn, busting my ass in TSD, laundry, etc. The extra-ordinary elements such as the advent of summer uniform season have already been alluded to. This is good in light of the arrival of the omnipresent humidity which will haunt me till well after labor day. It rained last night and in the spirit of the Atlantic Coastal region, it just got hotter after the rainfall and it feels like someone slapped me down with a heavy quilt saturated with water heated to a point where my skin feels like it is being blanched off my body. On top of that, the weed-killer I put on the front pastoral expanse did not have the time to take effect and now I'll need to get some herbicide that has no fertilizer added to it so I do not poison the grass with phosphates and nitrogen. Gha! And to complicate my Good YardKeeping efforts even further, mowing wet grass is not going to happen. I need a good 4-6 hours of sunlight to dry out the jungle or it will just clump up and make a mess. If it's dry, that means all the hydration has been absorbed into the already supersaturated air. Yeah, this is why you all come here. To listen to me whine about the damned lawn. What was my tag line again? Oh yeah:
Life of the mundane middle class, in painful scrutiny
Heh, true to my roots, eh? Maybe I'll kvetch about the garden next week.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007


down side of the hill

Still in class ... with the additional benefit of having the wireless connectivity in the building gone wonky. Nobody can connect and only us folks near the wall who arrived early managed to get a hard-line. We are now the bourgeois elite. Hated and envied by the chattering hordes who must now depend on sneaker-net usb drive technology. Let them eat cake. More likely, they will rise up and usurp my autoritAH' and make me socialize the connection. We already tried getting a hub with little success. SO ... if I actually get this out it will be another amazing feat. With that said, enjoy if you are reading this. If not, then nobody was in the forest when the tree fell. Come back later when I've got my lumberjacking uniform on.[NOTE: Things got sketchy so this IS late, go figure]

So, my first day back at TSD since before the long weekend was not a journey though hades and across the river styx as I expected. There were just 4 of us in the adult class and we were all pretty much in the same boat. Of course, my MS made the 1000 degree room temperature a nearly intolerable traipse down the road to hell, but my fellow travelers were boiling in their own skins just the same so there was not differentiation between the young ambitious and the decrepit curmudgeons (Yeah Charlie, you count in the later category too). One thing that will help with this is the approach of the 'Summer Uniform Reprieve'. Instead of heavy woolen long-johns with hot fission reverse thermal reflectors, we get to wear the logo-emblazoned tshirts ... much cooler and significantly easier to deal with in the wash. You see, the black tshirts require a lot less bleach because I sweat pure toxic waste. Unpleasant stuff ... let it sit for more than 24 hours and it grows nasty, bitey fangs. June first is the official beginning of summer, there will be much rejoicing in the Haupertonain Manor Laundry and currency-aging department.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Good dog ... SIT!

Well, Alexis was milking the 'tummy grumbles' yesterday and complained that she did not want to go to swimming or karate. I decided that I would let it slide for one more day. I was still exhausted from the previous night's adventures regarding the Niagara Falls Water Heater of Exploding Doom and that Alexis was up at 3am too. My alacrity compliance was of some disconcertion to Jake, but once he found that he would be able to ride his Titan Rocket Powered Bicycle on the MileLongDriveway/TestTrack so his discontent melted away. I distinctly heard a nefarious chortle as he started the ignition countdown while I entered the Manor Decompression chamber air lock. I, myself, decided to skip the Adult TSD Practice as well. I'll pay for that specious decision in spades the next day. I've been regaining weight at an alarming rate over the weekend (5 lb!) and it's time to pay the piper.

Today, I'll be in the 'Advanced' super secret Java Training course ... deep in the lobby level of the main building on the complex. My mind is, by no means, a tabula rasa for this. I have a manner of misconceptions and ignorant conclusions which will certainly vex the instructor. The next 3 days will certainly be a test of patience. Should be fun! I'll update you all should a melee break out.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Quote of the day:

Paralysis sucks.

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SWEET AIR! Yes, it's time for me to pop up and take a sweet lung full of that wonderful stuff. Out with the bad, in with the good. Ahhh, yes; the 'scrum' project if over. I shall now regurgitate the series of insuperable mis-adventures I've traipsed through over the last month for your delectation and satisfaction of innumerable voyeuristic penchants.

Waaay back, before my lapse in blogging, I got the fiat to engaged in yet another karate test. This time, however, I was to be in the good company of the Tyrannical Twins of Tang So Doo. They would be testing up for their Yellow belt and I was going to take my licks and move to the Green Belt level. Short story long, they got their belts and were able to break boards to complete the test. More or less. Alexis had a bout of stage fright that she needed to work though. In the end, the Meticulous Mrs took enough pictures as an effort to document the event so that if stacked, they would certainly reach the moon. Now that I am at the 6th GUP, I'll start to learn some staff forms. My initial attempts were comical at best. I proceeded to vitiate the form with hideous efficiency. I'll need to create a new cheat sheet and get a staff with a giant L and R printed on it so I can readily determine my left from my right. Being borderline ambidextrous can really make coordinated activities like this look as though I'm channeling the Keystone Cops. I'll be promoted to the pantheon of Bombastic Bumblers. I'll be fine so long as I do not crack myself in the brain-pan too often. Maybe I should get a Nerf staff for this.

In the work department, everything is going swimmingly. I'm now the 'go-to' guy with the new java/hibernate/eclipse/weaver/JSF development environment since I managed to survive one of the first scrum projects that the group has been involved in. On top of that, I was awarded a stock option and got a bonus for my efforts. Yes, I was about as stunned as anyone else. I'm not really used to all these incentives. On top of this, I'm being sent off for Advanced Java Methodology training over the next three days. Perhaps they think I am some sort of closet bon vivant who needs the extra incentives to keep my mind on my work. Certainly, the manor kitchen is redolent with scrumptious odors and sapid dishes roll forth like some fairy-tale magic machine borne from the imagination of the most voracious sybarite. However, I do not think that I am any manner of sordid Roman emperor who requires the most fantastic spectacles to keep me distracted. Not that I'm complaining mind you, I was just looking for an opportunity to use a lot of 25 cent words to befuddle you with my linguistic spaghetti.

On the agricultural front, the crops are coming in quite well. I do have a small infestation of cabbage caterpillars to contend with though. They are making short work of the broccoli and cabbage so I'm spending much-too-much time picking them off by hand. Jake seems to take a perverse joy in their capture as I present them for interrogation within the 'viewing chamber'. They are well fed and tenderly fawned over till it is time to go inside. After that, they are left to the magnification of the blazing sun and replaced with fresh victims ... volunteers ... the next day. regarding the non-edible vegetation, much fertilizer and insecticide has been applied and the new key-ignition lawnmower have been in quite practical use of late. The 700 yards of mulch has been spread out across the land and a veritable quilt of blossoming beauty has covered the rolling hills of the Haupertonian empire like the sylvan setting of the Elysian Fields. We expect that the sugar snap peas will be sprinkled with fairy dust and the tomatoes will be tended by unicorns and sprites.

Quirky news: I cannot get a tankless water heater due to the exhaust requirements. Ghaaa. It's not worth the risk of having one 'illegally' installed only to have the Manor filled with carbon monoxide just to save a few coins. No, after trying and failing to find a system that will function within the realm ancient of the manor architecture, I was resigned to sticking with the retro-tech of the standard tank-bearing installation. I had planned on calling our local plumber and having him install one sometime this summer, but those plans too were pummeled by the acrimonious assault of the fickle fates. Early Monday morning ... Memorial Day ... the Mrs wakes me from a deep sleep to let me know that there are strange noises issuing forth from the utility room in basement level A17. Mind you, the Grandparental Units were down for a visit and the Twins were sufficiently distracted so I was certain that any gremlin type activity would be at it's nadir for the weekend. I lumber down to the bowels of the manor and begin my decomposition of the issue. Surely enough, the damn thing was gurgling away as if it were constantly being drained. And the floor was wet. Hrmmmm. At 0100 hours, there should be very little pull on the hot water supply so what-ever could be the issue. Oh, look at that, inside the burner compartment there appears to be a tiny rainstorm. Hmm, and the pilot light is extinguished. After a few moments, the facts coagulate and I deduce that there is a major leak going on and I should really turn off the gas and water supplies to this foundering appliance. This, of course, means no hot water for the next morning. Cold showers for everyone! I go back to bed but sleep eludes me and the ramifications of this disaster roll though my addled mind. The next day, Gramps and I head off to the Local Home Depot Temple to pick up a 40 gal tank and a connection kit for 400$ or so dollars. About 3.5 hours later, the hot water was flowing again. It should not have gone that smoothly. Some where, some time, the universe will take revenge on me for having such good fortune so I will try to lessen the blow by not taunting the fates.

Future news; we will be heading off to Minnesota at the end of next month. More on that as events unravel.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Quick Note

I'm here ... I'm ok. Just up to my neck in life. Within a week or so I should have enough breathing room to get back on the horse. My project deadline in the end of next week and my TSD test, as well as the kids test, is this Saturday. I have moe than enough material to 'entertain' you all when the storm finally quells.

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Friday, April 27, 2007


Faster, More, HURRY!

Well, the last few days have been ... gone in a trice. Perhaps it's the TSD (taking a tip from Charlie on the PA Turnpike here) that is shortening my days and giving me the prepotency to ignore the less glamorous aspects of my engagement with reality. Work issues, although oppressive and unending (I am now on phone support duty for the weekend) seem to hold less sway over me. Perhaps it was my unparalleled planning (read: luck) that I mowed the pastoral expanse AND the back 50 last night before taking the kids to TSD practice. You see, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights over the last few hours. That would mean the spring growth would be nearly impossible to hack down to size next weekend and I would be slaving away on the lawn for HOURS instead of concentrating on the garden or flower beds. I could only assume that the genetically altered inhabitants of the blighted jungle would try to usurp the Haupertonian empire and conduct a putsch against me ... probably aided by the Twin Tyrants of Turpitude. Nope, the lawn is mowed so I need not dither with that nonsense. All the Mountains of Mastodon Manure have been leveled so the Weekend Doggie Dip Date has been obviated. Since I'm on duty, I'll not see much of the Ever Tolerant Mrs or the Tyrants. All the better to do lawn work till the inevitable signal flare from the Titanic is sent up. I'll be certainly quite circumspect when that happens.

Going back to the TSD class. Over the last few days, I'm fairly certain that I have punished every sweat gland on my body to a point where they have just about given up hope of ever being the same again. Nothing like a 500% turnover of body fluids. Part of this has to do with the intense scrutiny of my forms for the upcoming test in a few weeks. Yep, the Tyrants are going to attempt their Yellow Belt and I'm shooting for the Green. At that point, I'll start on my staff forms (Korean:bong) and I'll be eligible to be buffeted about the head and shoulders in sparring. Of course, not that I've managed to crack the code of higher kicks (rotate your back foot instead of twisting your knee-cap off, dummy), I'll have a slim chance of dishing out at least a tenth of what I graciously accept (thank you sir, may I have another!) My limbs are still quite stubbornly disobedient in many cases. I just cannot seem to get the precision down and that is more damaging to my unwitting partners. More than once I've given a hearty, swift kick to what I was envisioning as the Solar Plexus only to have the foot firmly contact the 'man junk'. The target is rarely amused. I've gotten two nicknames out of this ... one is the 'Steel Crane' for my jerky, robotic formality in which I grind through my forms. The other, is "Uggghhhhhh!". Well, that's what they usually call me when I'm asking the prone figure grasping their groin after I've walloped them in the twig and berries if they are OK. Yeah, I'm sensitive like that.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Roundup 20070426

It's been quite some time since I've had any time to make a pass at a roundup. The forces of the universe tend to act against me in ways that are completely undefinable. Of late, I've been feeling a bit glum. It took a turn in the weather and a bit of physical activity to snap me out of it. Sometimes, the mountain of responsibilities and unfinished chores crush your spirit in so many ways. Sisyphus seems to have had it easy in these times, he had only one insurmountable task in front of him. With these low times, we all seem to fall prey to the various illnesses and nasties (Read: MS Attack) swirling about us like a gossamer fog.

One of our own, Deb Grey, writes often about the vicissitudes of depression and she has a unique perspective being that she is a fellow traveler on the MS path. Run on over and read through her offerings ... they are quite extraordinary. A clarion of reason amongst the chorus of chaotic klaxon bleating out deafening defeatism and senseless clamor.

Out there in the cabal, there are some of us who could use a boost every now and again. Stephen at 2 Buddhas cum One Life has expressed his general opinion of the impediment that MS has become within his life. We, the members of the cabal, have a peculiar argot when speaking of our affliction. In general, we tend to chant the "MS sucks" line made quite popular by our contemporary bastion of witty quips at Multiple Sclerosis Sucks.

Another bastion of high spirits hit a snag of late. My dear compatriot over at WordSalads needed a boost for when times are tough. And tough times are laid out in front of her like dog poop on a sidewalk. She is not letting her typical gregarious nature become yet another victim of the curse though. No matter how many orifices may be in trouble, she tries to make sure to have a healthy rant every so often. Good lesson in mental hygiene.

Then there is Miss Suzy. If anyone is the antithesis of depression, it is her every bubbly, effervescent attitude in the face of adversity. It seems that no mountain is too high and no valley of darkness can bedaub her belief in the future. Nay, not belief, but faith. No matter what she says, her faith is like a rock for herself, her family and those of us lucky enough to know her. She even goes so far as to pass on her recipe (both written and in deed) to cure what ails you. Personally, I need to confer with her on the potential for substituting the apple cider vinegar with grain alcohol. Talk about high spirits!

Crossposted from Charles's site as a service to mankind!

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