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Really long posts about nothing.

Feb. 9th, 2015

10:34 am - Tax season

It is a minor accomplishment to be poor enough that this year's EIC covered the extra taxes generated by last year's late 1099 filings by others.

Sep. 1st, 2014

08:29 pm - wow, has it been a year?

Had a Laid Back time this past weekend, although bugged out for the Labor Day storms. First time we actually slept in the trailer vs sleeping in a tent. I'm not sure I will go back. Why sleep in a bird-boned lightweight hefty sack when you have better options? Truck bed, trailer, even cots under a lean-to. Years ago, when we had canvas wall tents and had to "pack in", it made sense. But if everything is 100' from a motor vehicle, and made of materials that would be indecent on a pretty lady's torso, it is really a game of "who is tough enough to sleep through the sucky weather?".

So, it was a good time. And web sites are evolved enough that I can tell my conservative friends that I went to the Gaea Spiritual Retreat Center, and it makes sense. Winning!

Apr. 7th, 2013

08:43 pm - Poly, MacDonald style

So, we both have Secondary loveS, but it has gotten Complicated.

Nik's Secondary is Jack, mine is Breanne. But Jack greatly prefers snuggling up to me at Night,and Breanne is always sneaking into nik's side of the bed after We have gone to Sleep. Jack is good about Respecting Our Marital One on One time, but Breanne Wants to share in those private mommy/daddy Moments which can make things awkward. Often, We have to encourage Our SecondAries to play with each other until Nik and I are Ready for the full group Snuggles. we are getting better with having our boundaries known -before- we have to Kick Someone out of bed but only Jack is good about the situational awareness. Breanne Could give less of a care. But she is Young. Ian hopeful that she will learn eventually.

08:28 pm - Summertime planning

oh the things we want to do...
outdoor fire pit
post lamp
Wash and stain the fence
herb garden
blackberry bushes
Rain barrels
Inground Irrigation
trashcan corral

how many things will happen?
only time Will tell

08:39 am - New Phone

I may get to post more now that my new phone is more like a tablet.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Jun. 8th, 2012

10:56 pm - Tools...

There is a certain amount of man-points one can claim when at any point in the day they have the tools with them to fix anything from a car engine to mounting a flatscreen TV. Or, get every last word out of a snitch before you dump them in the Delaware Bay.

Jun. 4th, 2012

10:34 pm - Thug life...

Today was a day of lifting heavy things, getting sweaty, grimy, and sunkissed, and even witnessing a devastating wreck by the Grandview triangle... but the giggle du jour was picking up a marble and mahogany vanity from Home Goods... list weight was 300#, this was after installing a 400# conference table (which includes putting the legs on then flipping it over). The funny part of this was, the manager at Home Goods asked if I needed some help loading. There were a few very pretty boys in the area, but most of them were skinnier than my thigh... and pretty. Seemed like more trouble than it was worth.

Also noteworthy - the Native American College in Lawrence was pretty neat... and I can't just -pay- to send a kid there, you get them registered in the tribe, then tuition (plus board) is $250 a year. Wow!

May. 4th, 2012

11:56 am - It's Garage sale day again!

Third annual? Fourth? I don't do garage sales myself, but the Boy Scouts were having a real hard time keeping the unit budget in the green, so this went a long way towards building a nest egg for them (along with buying a bigger trailer). It takes over my whole yard, and is a huge production, this year we have the Vazquez brothers doing choritzo and eggs for breakfast, and something else particularly Cinco de Mayo for lunch.

The goal this year is to send boys to the Hutchinson Cosmosphere. It's about $50 a boy for the program, plus food, plus gas, plus all the other incidentals of sending 50-80 pre-teens and teens a few hours away and setting up a mini-city somewhere along with all the subdivisions (patrols). It is really neat to see how far they've come since Bryce joined. Once upon a time it was a very barebones troop... in the past five years they've gone from nearly defunct to a unit that camps year-round and has 5-6 long-term camping opportunities a summer. It's a good time to be a scout in Gardner.

Feb. 6th, 2012

11:47 am - ScoutStrong

As part of a Woodbadge Ticket, I was going to promote the BSA Fitness Award. That was a few months ago, a few things have happened since then.

The BSA Physical Fitness Award was discontinued. Apparently it wasn't very popular. Granted, it was like many Scouting awards that were designed in the 1950's, it seemed a bit dated today. Since the Eisenhower era, there have been a lot more fitness initiatives in the United States, I recall being part of the Presidential Fitness Challenge in the 1980's when Nancy Reagan hoped getting kids into Fitness would help them say no to drugs. I'll bet Micheal Phelps broke her poor heart.

Anyway, NOW, the Scouts use the ScoutStrong initiative, which is just a rebranding of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Activity program. Sort of like making things pink and calling them Komen. I've been doing the Presidential Challenge for some time, which is to say I started it as a Cub Scout leader and petered out. How long of a break? Well, let's just say my profile still had me living in KCMO.

But that brings me to the amusing part of my post, when I logged in, the remembered my Bush-era profile and asked me to reset my password because they had been hacked. (This was part of the counter-strike from the DOJ shutting down megafileupload). So now, not only do I need a better password to protect my fitness information, but there were Captchas all over. I understand the concept of keeping bots from trying to guess your password and log fitness information in your name, but i thought it was amusing that we had to worry about unauthorized exercisers. Because that is simply endemic in America these days.

The other amusing bit? The BSA replaced their outdated in-house Fitness award with the Presidential Challenge program, also an Eisenhower-Era program. Granted, it's been updated a bit. Should be fun. Again.

Jan. 13th, 2012

11:02 pm - Holy cow... or, sacred spot.

It's a loong looong story, but between my heads-up GPS and a delivery address being typed wrong, I tried to deliver an elliptical machine to Camp Gaea tonight. I thought the hill of unreasonable steepness looked really familiar, and I knew I was in the right area, but when I got the -right- address I ended up delivering to Jarlboro. Yes, that town that only the 22 residents, 1 cop, and 2500 pagans even knows exists.

I'd love to tell the whooole story, but I'm sooo done. Not sure when I'll catch up on sleep. Partly due to puppy duty, partly due to working AND all the domestic engineering. Hard to keep up with all the things I want to.

Jan. 5th, 2012

10:26 pm - Back in the saddle?

I want to update more, today had two articles I wanted to comment on.

14 year old runaway was 'found', turns out she gave a fake name to police and the name she gave was that of an illegal columbian with a warrant out for her arrest. The girl was deported and has been in a work program in Columbia. Everyone is up in arms about how this poor girl should have been found out before it came to that. But wait, this is a girl who gave a False Name, to the Police, upon being arrested. Three strikes against her, I'll bet she learned a little something about honesty there. And not getting arrested at 14.

Speaking of that, there was an 8th grade boy who was shot three times, and killed, in the act of brandishing a firearm at police. The dad wants to know why such excessive force' was used on his 15 year old boy. Er, 15? 8th grade? Aside from that, the trouble all started when this kid walked into school and punched a kid in the face. By the time the cops got there, he was pointing a BB gun at them, and would not drop it. "He's not a bad kid" the dad said. I do not call any kid who punches people in the face and gets into stand-offs with the cops 'good', but then I'm a hard ass like that. I'm not a fan of 15 year olds in 8th grade either.

And since I like to post in threes, compulsively... I did like todays note about cyber-baiting. The word is stupid, but if it garners attention to a long-standing problem, I'll embrace it. The problem is the unbounded freedom for kids (and adults) to be jackasses in the face of authority. Not enough of us support our teachers and cops and other public servants when kids (or immature adults) make a habit out of baiting 'professionals' until they snap, just so they can post their outburst on youtube. The current spotlight is on kids baiting teachers until the snap, so that the kids can get them fired. It's a game... more live-action than farmville, good on them, right? I'm sure not all will agree, but I think the basic right to education should be like the basic right to food stamps or medicare or any other government-provided welfare assistance. Public education was undertaken to ensure that even those who couldn't afford it could get a basic education. I think 'could' should be the operative word there. I see way too many parallels between the school system I went through, and the jail I worked in. If a kid (and/or their family) does not want to be in school, why are we forcing them to be in the same classes as kids who DO want to be there? If a kid, with all their free time and creativity, is hellbent on disrupting education and 'sticking it to the man', then send them home to their parents to teach them a trade. And by 'kid', I should note that today's news is 14 year olds and 8th graders getting deported under assumed names and having firearm standoffs with law enforcement. Not all 'kids' are created equal. Some are still innocent at age 30... others have amassed 120 felonies at age 12. I saw that kid on Jimmy Kimmel the other night. Mom said that some of those felonies were trumped up... as Jimmy noted, "Sure, only 80-90 felonies were legit, tops. Then he pointed out mom was in a Daytona Bike week shirt. I'll add that she didn't put on a bra for the interview... which shouldn't make her a bad person, but in the Society of Respectable Moms has convinced me that one -should- put on a bra for the TV cameras, even if you're more popular in Daytona when you go free-range.

And there you go... a quick overview of things in my mind. Maybe I won't be up late thinking about that deported girl. Mostly, I wonder if she was happier cleaning houses in Columbia than she was as an American teenager in school with those unreasonable homework demands.

Oct. 23rd, 2011

12:59 am - Week in the life, Day 4

Someday I'll get that instruction thing up...

Snake woke up on the wrong side of the bed... looked derpy

Started the day with some light work, then we set to repairing units in the Fleet.

Well, some worked harder than others...

Some were better at breaking their bikes than others, TWO had broken this little piece, which you can only get a t a bike shop. Do you know how much gas it costs to go find a bike shop for Gardner?

The equivalent of riding on bad car breaks until the BAD grinding starts...

Later, Stopped down south to prep a GP Medium for some patches and sealant.

Afterwards, there had been beers and griping about the lack of progress on building a foundation for the Scout Shed (currently perched on a flatbed trailer)

So I said "lets take the beers up to the lot and move cinder blocks while we bitch... and voila, now we just have to jack the shed up off the trailer, and down onto the blocks.

I was so worn out, I showered sitting down.

Bed was calling, that's one of the 'PINK' lights from walmart. It really is pink, sets a good mood. Nice to kiss and pet by.

Good night!

Oct. 22nd, 2011

01:16 am - Week in the life, Day 3

Slept in the Bear Chair, Sick kid had my spot in the bed.

4:45 AM, 30 degrees, and I'm taking a kid to band.

I wasn't that excited about it...

But Sadie LURVES band, even at 4:45 AM

The sack of flour I use for bread, 50# bag. I wonder if my sister in Texas would be impressed.

Gonna Make-a some stromboli!

Action Dough!

Easy as ONE,

TWO (made one regular one Kosher)


And Four.

Even the Snake Was Hungry


Halloween'd decor! The pillows were needlepoints from my Grandmother(s)

Oct. 20th, 2011

10:36 pm - Week in the Life, Day 2

Ace Hardware Reopened in town, and now I don't have to drive half an hour away to get solar salt! Got 120# to refill the water softener.

The wife got Bar Stools from the in-town swap and shop. It would have taken years to agree and save up for the 'right' ones, but $10 and in-town wins!

Fi is not having a happy day, got to stay home and warm up the Bear Chair.

Random floormat found in the parking lot solves the dog water on the hardwood floor issue

My ex got the kids an Xbox the other week, it's another DVD player I guess, came with some Madden NFL 2003 games. Also had Need For Speed:Underground, which was sweet! except I couldn't get through mission 4 due to console issues. Kids played with it for a day but mostly it just looks cooler than the PS2. (also not used)

My Daddy knives. A few years ago I cashed in coupons and gift cards and got REAL knifes... that can cut! I still store them in the original box.

Is Wafer Thin! Great for hoagies! the old knife above is what I used to use to cut onions. Or, tear through them in a mostly straight line.

Made Bubba burgers and edememes for dinner, Rowan ate two.

Fi STILL not feeling wonderful, but mom and sister spent the evening gomiting so she got off easy.

Oct. 19th, 2011

11:14 pm - A week in the life, Day one

Because the wife did it, but it's late so i'll add the rules tomorrow.

Started out with the puppy keeping me in bed.

Eventually he moved, and waited until momma would return.

The Book I'm reading... looooong series. Might be done before retirement.

The things I pulled from the washer trap that were not organic...

The City Hall, where I paid to keep my unreasonably high bill so I wouldn't have service interruption today... and found out the extra $400/mo was from the leaky toilet flap

Bad picture (while I was driving by) of the mystery building going up down the street.

Oh look, it's 3PM and I found leftovers from breakfast that someone left out for me.

My work, and why my tiny glasses seem so reasonable to me.

Kids having seconds on Bryce's bday cake.

Dog loading up so I can let him out at 2AM.


Jul. 21st, 2011

10:21 pm - Different stages of a day's work

1) We get in and send a few quick "Thank you" emails or "I'll take care of that" while sipping coffee, letting those who might notice that we are active and engaged... the sooner the better. If we get in at 7 and don't send an email until 10, people might think we're not actually working at 7!

2) Energy and motivation are high, we're picking out the big and problematic issues to work on, sinking our teeth into them early, before the day (or conference calls) zap our enthusiasm.

3) after-lunch lull... cherry picking the easier tasks because we spent half the day on one thing, and our metrics will look like crap if we only do 2-3 things in a day.

4) Life is unfair, why do we have to work anyway, is it 5 yet? I need to pick up a lottery ticket. No longer cherry-picking easy work, we're cherry picking the stuff that we can 'push back' because the ticket isn't in the right status, or we need more information. It empties out the inbox, but nothing is actually getting done.

5) A few quick "Thank you" emails or "I'll take care of that" promises after 5, to show that we were here late... 'working'. Even though everyone is just hanging out discussing which bar to hit, or who else might be hiring... DST's cubicles have a nicer shade of 'putty', maybe we should apply there?

Jul. 17th, 2011

05:22 pm - Interesting conversation

I ran into purpledumbass and nottygypsy last night. Purple and I were friends back when we were both more active in the SCA. It was interesting catching up after so many years. Er, well, ok, we were LJ-friends, which meant that he didn't actually know who I was until I introduced myself, and I didn't understand why he wasn't purple. ;-)

May. 21st, 2011

11:22 pm - Beltane Weather

There was mention that this was great Beltane type weather, and all that implies...

Great time to be outside, except for the distracting sirens. And occasional hail.

01:12 pm - Funny note

You don't really need a 'safe word' if your partner instinctively uses an MMA tap-out.

May. 16th, 2011

10:06 pm - Poor snake...

I went cheap and got some chickens.

So perhaps I went 'cheep'.

About the same weight, but they're all ass.

No, really... bobbly head, long stringy neck, narrow shoulders, and then a HUGE ass.

The poor snake, he was making a little coil and trying to shove the end of the bird down his throat for at least an hour, I finally had to leave so I put his feeder cage in the big tank and let him finish while I was gone. I left him in a sad state. He was so worn out from trying to ram the chicken-ass down his throat, he was taking a break and half asleep. With ass and legs just hanging out.

On the plus side, I think I finally found out how to make that snake 'full'. He was putting the teenagers to shame.

May. 6th, 2011

08:33 am - Were-hotties

I did not realize I was in Omaha for Cinco de Mayo... I would have known it in Denver, because the city shuts down out there, but it didn't occur to me out there.

But then, I was done working and went to the Comfort Inn, and the parking lot was PACKED! it's off 72nd, so it's not like a normal place to be packed... I figured some convention had hit town... but all the cars coming in had 'hotties' getting out.

I should define 'hotties' here, since that has many meanings. You know how in sitcoms, a young lady will dress up to "go out", and some older person will see them walk by and go "OMG, you're not wearing THAT? are you? You need to put on more clothes!" Well, that's the sort of people that were filling up the hotel. Those, and the occasional carload of frat-ish looking boys. Turns out there is a bar out there that was having a big Cinco de Mayo party. There were so many 'dressed up' young women going in that I stayed out in the parking lot on the phone with my wife for about 10 minutes, doing a gut-check to see if I wanted to negotiate getting through the lobby. I'm not a fan of parties.

Eventually, I got in, got to bed, woke up, and went down for breakfast. While I normally don't have to compete for breakfast there, this was different. 8000 older men. Turns out that while the evening was stocked with young partiers, there was ALSO some sort of railroad/railway convention, which is decidedly an older man's thing. It was a pretty surreal shift, and I was relating the awe to my wife, who suggested that they were were-hotties, frumpy old men by day, hotties by night.

Apr. 24th, 2011

03:11 am - Puppy Training

Normally I wouldn't suggest that the household dog is very bright, I've seen the snake with more complex thought processes, and the snake has an 8-bit processor. Eat sleep poop. Period.

But the dog HAS learned that when Daddy makes That Sound, and rolls over towards mom, he should probably leave the bed. If he tries to shut his eyes REAL hard and pretend that things aren't happening, he has a 43% chance of getting a surprise leg launching him into near-Earth orbit. So nowadays he just leaves the area and waits for things to be finished.

But there is a new trick now. He has learned that when dad makes that OTHER sound, things are wrapping up, and it will soon be safe to lay down between us again. He even pops up to check on mom to make sure that she's ok. "Are you ok mom? I had a mean dog do that to ME once, it sucked, I hope you're ok... do you need to hold me?"

Ok, he might be slightly smarter than the snake. Or perhaps he just hears better... what with having actual EARS and all.

Apr. 18th, 2011

09:50 pm - Realities of law...

I had a Girl Scout tell me that if I stopped showing up, they would sue me because her parents paid for her to be in scouts.

I told her that Troop Dues would be distributed to anyone who paid them, but her parents paid for her to be a Girl Scout, no one paid anyone to be a leader, I was under no legal obligation, I did it because I wanted to be there, and if they make a Leader's life harder, the leader may not want to be there anymore. (it had been a brutal day)

Her reply was that her parents could sue anyway... I'm not sure where that mentality came from, and perhaps I fed into it... but I replied that they could only sue for documentable damages, and not going to girl scouts because you ran off a leader doesn't count. Volunteer organizations have that nice little protection.

Then there were cartwheels, and bubblegum, because that's really more interesting... but I could tell it was a rough day if I was discussing legal options with a second grader.

Apr. 17th, 2011

01:15 pm - Penn and Teller are Bullshit!

I've been a fan of Penn and Teller for a while, although more and more I've been unimpressed by them because they tend to use the misdirection and rhetoric that politicians use. Normally there were a few things I would disagree with in an episode, but I would still enjoy it overall, but the ratio has been getting worse and worse.

I caught the Penn and Teller Bullshit! episode on Martial Arts. The whole premise was that it's much cheaper to just hand over your wallet then spend a number of years and thousands of dollars on colored belts.

Now it is true that Martial Art schools are money-generating ventures, and that the crap of breaking multiple boards or cinder blocks is just publicity hounding, but aside from that, I was disagreeing with more than I agreed with. I sort of want to dissect this in detail, but I've got too much to do, no time to blog.

I suppose the biggest thing that got me is when they were going on about how you never read stories about how a black belt stopped a mugging, or a rape, or high school bullying. The reality is that people who can defend themselves, don't end up in the news because opportunists pick easier targets. And I've certainly heard of problems being stopped by people who have the knowledge to kick ass, which gives them the self-confidence to step in and de-escalate problems. There are entire career fields based on this.

And then there was the way that Penn talked down people who were willing to mop floors at their school for free, because we pay them AND serve them. But he also mentioned that people could use all the martial art knowledge for evil as well, the Cobra Kai dojo was mentioned. I don't hear about people robbing banks with their BlackBelts either, because a big part of any martial group I've been with is a moral compass or a belief in something greater than oneself. Whether it was school sports (Wrestling is considered a martial art) or Karate, or the Military... part of the training also includes forms of indoctrination about how we only use such training when we need to. And it's always about being the 'good guy' and giving back to the community.

Granted, the weird Chi lady that they had was certainly a "people of Walmart" type kook, but having seen how they trashed martial arts, I'm not so sure that SHE was as cooky as they made her out to be.

Apr. 9th, 2011

08:33 am - Dreamwidth be damned

I'm staying right here.

Apr. 5th, 2011

03:33 pm - Little Brother has learned a new trick.

We only had the velveteen doggie here for less than a month, but Jack has learned a few new things that are more noticeable now.

See, the velveteen doggie liked to go outside. But she also liked to have people with her. I would open the door, and she would look up with that "I have cancer you know, you should come out and spend some time in the sunshine with me." And most often, I did. Jack tried that trick today, but it doesn't work as well when you don't have cancer, when you look like you're part ferret, or when you're not velveteen.

Another change - we're not having cheese and tramadol sandwiches for everyone anymore. It later became Turkey & Tramadol sandwiches after I realized how bad the OTHER end of the dog started smelling when all pills came wrapped in cheese. Either way, there had been a consolation snack for Jack every time pills were doled out. Today he is sad, because I still pull out turkey, only he doesn't get any! He's been moping about the house, trying to figure out what he's doing wrong. He hasn't licked his junk in HOURS. Poor guy.

Mar. 24th, 2011

08:59 pm - Why does Master Steve Hate Me?

First up, 50 front snap kicks to the paddle, fast as you can, GO!
Next, 50 alternating roundhouse kicks to the paddle, fast as you can, GO!
Now, 100 alternating punches to paddles, no breathing breaks, GO!
50 alternating inside circle kicks, GO!
Now do 10 back spinning roundhouse kicks, GO! ::I thought 10 was a great number, but spin around 10 times fast (and kick) when you can't breathe!::
Sliding roundhouse, 25 each side, no stopping to sweat, GO!
Now put the paddles down, (yay!) and do 50 different kicks, as fast as you can, no stopping, GO! (Boo! coming up with different kicks AND breathing AND counting AND not falling over... that was hard)

The end of class was only 60% as draining, but it -felt- worse because it was after the first kickapolooza.

Wow, best weight-loss plan since acute food poisoning!

Mar. 16th, 2011

10:13 pm - Date night at the dojang.

For those that know saffronhare and I personally, you can imagine how much fun testing for yellow belt together could be.

For those that don't know, I shall sum up...

::sigh:: Nik can add more, but boy was that fun! We went home with all sorts of glee in our step. Let the kids have lentils, we're having steak & cheese & beer tonight! Woo-hoo!

Mar. 5th, 2011

11:48 am - Definitely worth the share...

It's not messing with conservatives, it's a strong voice to those who feel different or oppressed in public schools or other groupings.

Feb. 22nd, 2011

04:10 pm - some Okpik memories, for reflection...

More thoughts as I remember them... I know my memory is not what it once was, so I'm trying to write down highlights. Sort of like a photo album for the brain.

Jan. 11th, 2011

12:18 am - The odd saga of Dr. Slithers...

So after a near week of Dormancy, Nik was betting that the snake would pop out to poop today. And pop out he did!

It's a funny cycle... eat, hide, poop, come out and look for food again. Apparently my snake is a teenager.

And you have to treat him like a teenager... wake him up before he's ready? OMG he's ready to frack up anything he can... snapping and pooping all over... "F U dad, I'm sleeping in!"

So I learned my lesson... I waited for him to come out, and when he did I would start to go in and change water. But he'd get all jumpy and rattle his tail at me, so I was like "Ok dude, I'm in no hurry, I'll come back when you're in a better mood." 2 tries later, and he was ready to snuggle.

Funny thing about the tail-rattling... king snakes eat rattlesnakes, so it was sort of a Highlander moment where he was exhibiting the super-powers of snakes he had conquered. In reality, many snakes rattle, it's like a cat growling. Sort of cute really, except that they don't really care about looking at your face and recognizing you, but they can smell things.. primitive things... so if you're handling them and you're scared, you will actually -look- (smell) like prey. It's a pretty neat experience so far.

Dec. 23rd, 2010

09:07 pm - Wherein I get my judgment on...

Picked up a *CHEAP* 55 gallon tank for the new snake today. Most tanks of good size are either pretty expensive, or require you to care for the 7-10' ball python in it. I was quite wary of this deal, figured the tank would need some refurb and love... and as the day went on the scenarios in my head were running rampant. I told saffronhare that if I knock on the door and a guy with a helmet comes out, I'm running.

I also pondered whether the tank would have 15 years of garage dust on it, or a dead and dried out snake body in it. So half the deal in getting the tank was the story I would get to tell later. So here it is:

I turned the last corner and it was sort of a scrap yard... "Oh Great!" I thought, "It's going to be cobbled together from lexan and angle iron!" I went down a block and the house was decent and clean, no plumbing bits in the flower bed, no retired bowling balls used as a blue-collar 'gazing ball' in the yard. This has promise... but then I rang the doorbell.

The gal who answered was young, and rather cute, except for the odd face piercing, which sort of told me that I wasn't going to enjoy conversation with her. I'm not sure why clunky lip bars make me judge a person like that, but I'll admit that it's a prejudice. The guy was much more of a show though... he said he had to put a shirt on, and he went by in what seemed to be knit boxers that should have been retired during the Gore campaign. He got a 'shirt' on, or at least what he thought to call a shirt. It did nothing to hide the back-boob fur coat he was rocking... but at least if nothing else, I could tell that this was a guy who seriously liked snakes, so the tank was probably not total crap.

We wove around the dead Prelude in the garage to see the tank. It was the right dimensions, tall, wide, but not too deep. There were also other bits to go with it... reptile light, jumper cables, snake dish, marlboro butts, snake home, speculum... some things got left on the Prelude, as they were not snake related. The 'lid' to the tank sort of told the story of the price though, one half was a 20-gallon econo-fishtank lid with light, the other half was plywood. Just plywood. Huh. Oh, and the tank has an Oakland Raiders sticker on it, which will remind me of the humble origins of the new home for Chaucer.

Oh yeah, I've been calling the snake Chaucer. No real good reason really, the iguanas I had were Amadeus and Aristotle, so it's a thing. I suppose his full name could be Dr. Chaucer Slithers, since Dr. Slithers was his name when I got him, except that Mercedes pointed out that Dr. Slithers is NOT -obviously- a guy, because women can be doctors too. She was RIGHT! That -is- a rather androgynous name, when you're not Archie Bunker'n though life. So I thanked her for pointing that out, and I called him Chaucer.

Dec. 22nd, 2010

02:11 pm - I has a snake!

Thanks to my new friend, julisana, I have a full-time, non-transient reptile in my man-cave. It's a pretty pink and yellow snake, which might be considered slightly less manly than a desert-colored copperhead, but makes up for it's pretty colors by being. . . a SNAKE!

So he's all set up down in the kitchenette, which will perhaps encourage me to enjoy and clean up the cave a bit more during this chilly hibernation season.

In other news, I'm making the jump to 802.11n WiFi. Did you know that routers have 'life spans'?? I didn't either, but since my last firmware update was March of 2006, I did some tinkering with the old router until early this morning, until finally going out and picking up an Xtreme N Gigabit router... which means little other than it is marketed to men (XTreme!) and that it was the one on sale. I'm not going to get crazy since most of the PCs were cheaper than a copy of Windows, but the 802.11g laptops will also benefit from the signal strength. And luckily I talked to the techs who told me I don't need dual-band to run G and N devices together, the last guy I talked to was wrong.

Next step - WiFi devices! Wireless printer, file server, rocket launcher... whatever. Someday. I'm still avoiding Blue-Ray for the moment, but at least I'm keeping up somewhat.

Dec. 12th, 2010

05:14 pm - Jack has made it to Corporal.

Just in case anyone was wondering my dog maturity rating system -

Private - Puppies are scared of most everything, from blowing leaves to the feeling of snow on their feet. They're very eager and scamper about a lot, but don't go very far and have to constantly look for approval or disapproval of their leaders.

Corporal - Wants to take on the world, not always sure how, and still runs headlong into the fence when chasing those damned squirrels (pinkos, the lot of them!) but is very eager to kick some ass. At least until the ass presents the fact that it might fight back. then there is a lot of trying to be terrifying from a half-cringing position.

Sergeant - Knows he can take on the world, and will randomly demonstrate this by horking up innards on your carpet.

Staff NCO - Competent at decimating small villages of commie squirrels, but has enough restraint to wait for the command from HQ.

Sergeant Major - sits on the porch and watches the young privates with disdain, and the sergeants with pride. Will not share the porch with another 'Top' dog, they'll spread out to watch the full perimeter.

Nov. 27th, 2010

11:01 pm - Obsessions...

I've been missing the SCA something bad... or at least the SCA I had 'grown up' with. (I grew up more in my 20's than any other time) but time is limited and it's not as footloose and fancy-free as it had been, which equals more work.

But today I took first and third place in an A&S tournament for Amtgard. I forgot quals were happening, but I happened to have beading project I was bringing out to show. I just started beading last weekend, but after 20 years of A&S most new skills come easily.

Now the local group is small... like if I bring my WHOLE family out, I double the size of the attendance small. So I am looking for more of a challenge. It looks like hand-made crafts might work well for Christmas AND taking up to the larger group's A&S competition next month, but longer-term, I'll have to figure out something that meshes well with the time I can spend, and the level I aspire to. Whether it be native american, middle ages, roman, or other.

Nov. 23rd, 2010

02:40 pm - Being a grown up, and logical irregularities.

Got the new (old) car checked - the oil light DOES mean no oil pressure. So now I'm putting in $450 to find out if it will be an $1150 or a $3350 repair.

Oddly, I'm not concerned with that, what bothered me is that for a moment I was planning to downgrade our Turkey from the large size to the medium size. Because $15 is really going to make or break something now, right?? That was a rather irrational moment.

It was also interesting to note the 'standardization' of turkey sizes. At Price Chopper it was either 10-12 pound "young" Turkeys, or the 22# standard size. I've always gotten a turkey-sized turkey, so when saffronhare, worried that I would go Tim Taylor and get a birdzilla, asked that I not go for a bird over 20#. I was willing to look for one, but there is nothing around the 18-20# range. We've managed to standardize nature THAT well.

Nov. 17th, 2010

10:50 pm - Random...

Q: Why do I think Palin has a shot at 2012?
A: Because when you take out the batshit crazy liberals that hate her, and the batshit crazy conservatives that hate Obama, you still have a pretty close split.

Q: Why do I think Kate and William's engagement is such a big deal?
A: William is in rapid decline to toad city. They need to have the wedding before he looks too much like Charles. Perhaps Harry will look god by the time he's on Pension.

Nov. 10th, 2010

07:40 pm - Ooops...

I was making a White Russian for my lady-wife, but while I was gone this past weekend, she had 'organized' things. So halfway into the concoction I noticed that the Kahlua was rather 'pale'. Turned out that it was Canadian Whiskey. ::sigh:: So tonight, I had a Canadian Russian... Bulldog? Root beer was the only think I could think of that might salvage it.

Really though, the best part of it was coming with things like "teryatʹsya, eh?" (Get lost, eh?) and other odd combos like saying "Take off, Hoser" in a Russian accent.

Nov. 9th, 2010

11:12 pm - Final trip to Arkansas...

I know, it's always possible to go back, there are still many decades in my life, but this weekend closed out an era.

For 30 years I've been visiting grandparents in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. For 30 years, I've had grandparents, while many of my contemporaries have already lost theirs. It was nice to have them around, to talk with them on occasion, but more than anything, it's a reality check.

What is the end-goal of life? A nice plot and stone? A good Eulogy? Inheritance to pass on? Stuff?

It has been neat to watch grandparents pass on without regrets. My Last Grandparent, Virginia, had a plot in her hometown in a Masonic-style cemetery where all the people around them were their high school friends from Job's Daughters and Demolay. That was pretty darn neat.

It was the last time I got to help clean out a grandparent's apartment. I often learn more about them in death than I knew in life. Pictures and documents I have seen countless times over the years have all new meaning. My Grandfather went to KU in 1959? Really? He served in WWII from D+2 through VE day, and was at all ten major battles? I'm sure it was all told to me before, but it's weird how new things pop out.

I was less distraught this time when leaving Hot Springs Village... despite it quite possibly being the last time ever. 30 years... I know the roads, I know the restaurants, the attractions, the beaches, the places where I threw up, the places where I got a frog stuck in my sandal and screeched like a banshee.

I look forward to the wind-down, passing things on and my world getting smaller. I probably didn't have much time to feel sad about losing Hot Springs Village because I have so many other things to do, other things on my mind. But it is nice to see how we can look back on things and feel satisfied. I look forward to that.

For now, I just need to get my kids through school years. -then- I can worry about after.

Nov. 3rd, 2010

09:31 pm - So, I have been schooled...

Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read and write.

But, since my time, that has changed. I was having a discussion with saffronhare's father... or at least as much as one can 'discuss' a subject with him. But in the end, he was right.

Teaching English literacy in the United States is dominated at present by a conception of literacy that focuses on a set of discrete decoding skills. From this perspective, literacy - or, rather, reading - comprises a number of subskills that can be taught to students. These skill sets include: phonological awareness, phonics (decoding), fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. Mastering each of these sets of subskills is necessary for students to become proficient readers.[31]

In other words, it doesn't matter so much that I have a kid who writes like someone half his age... so long as he can score high in 'decoding skills'.

That's great for NoChildLeftBehind standards, but I think I will keep working with him on basic literacy... the way it was defined before Bush.

Oct. 19th, 2010

01:16 am - From home invader to new friend.

It was just another night of normal exhaustion and wind-down when I heard some odd sounds. A dog-like object had gone supernova, and a very odd tone in my wife's "Matthew, I need you here" had me running upstairs like Bruce Jenner.

As I entered the Living Room, Nik gave me a status report... "There is a man outside that just tried to come into the house"(1). Momentum carried me forward to confront this invader, and I ended up on the front porch not sure if I should be repelling this invader with judicious force, or if I should be crawling out of my skin(2). It turns out that Bill, who was quite a happy if rather confused old man, was pretty damned lost. 15 minutes later, it turns out that local cops were busy with a chase, so we were sort of stuck with Bill... it was cold, I had run out of questions that he could answer, and I had no one to save me. Perhaps I should clarify on (2) real quick -

(2) - Other than falling into an active volcano, probably my biggest debilitating fear is of 'special needs' people. I will donate money, run a marathon, rehabilitate a home... but I leave the interaction with special needs people to those who won't scream and run.

But there's also my humanitarian side... while I wanted someone to come remove this odd man from my porch (he didn't seem like he was going to go anywhere else) I also didn't want to 'wuss out' and have the cops haul him off. So I put him in the car and decided to go look where the GPS was saying his house might be. This guy could barely walk, so I didn't figure he could have come from that far, but it was the first step I could think of.

Turns out, we did find Bill's house. And he's a member of the same Legion post. I was trying to find a picture of -him- in his house to confirm we weren't invading someone else's home when the cops arrived back at my place. Nik sent them to me, as they had been looking for him. He had tried to hail a cab earlier... but there are no Cabs in Gardner. I'll check with the post tomorrow, but I think he's a guy we've been talking about recently. It's all sort of white noise until the older guys end up on your front porch.

(1) - The other fun footnote was the story I later got about how Nicole had 'found' Bill. she was watching football when she heard the screen open. She did a mental check, everyone was supposed to be in already, so she figured it was possibly someone trying to be sneaky, or perhaps I was coming back in from a stealth shopping trip. So she came over to the door, unlocked it, swung it wide open and went "BOO!". But it was not me at the door. I'm not sure who was more surprised, but Bill had come stumbling half in before her rabbit-brain said "DO NOT WANT!" and the dog went supernova. The door was quickly re-closed and re-locked. I can only imagine the looks of surprise all around.

Oct. 6th, 2010

05:00 pm - Math Lesson from the Legion Hall...

I was at the Legion the other night when different stories were going around, and one of them was about how Hunter Safety differs in different states.

In some states, it is more about wearing orange, hunt with a buddy, how not to pull a Cheney, etc.

In Alaska, they give you a math lesson.

Knowing this, bear hunting seems about as bright as bungee jumping. Over crocodiles. With grappling hooks. I'm not sure I would ever see a reason TO hunt bear, because I've not had a bear burger... and the cloak one could wear is not really worth that amount of risk. Yak fur looks cooler anyway.

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