Saturday, December 26, 2009
I am back in the office today after a lovely Christmas. The roads are, for the first morning since Wednesday the 17th, relatively clear and free of ice and snow. At least along my commute, which is not to say it’s the same everywhere around the Sound.
From my diary, December 26, 2009
Everyone was in a foul mood this morning. No water. No heat. A pipe burst yesterday and we had water everywhere, including into the heating and air system. Caryn and Harper went off to wash and dry the towels and blankets she used to mop up the mess(and to keep the waters from flowing into the living room), and I went to the folks and showered. Dad followed me back and we went to work. We stripped insulation from the ducting in the basement, which poured water, insulation under the floor, drained the ducting, ripped out drywall and managed to fix the broken pipe (after three trips to Lowe's) and then I broke the water line to the kitchen faucet, which still needs to be fixed. But we have heat, and water, except to the kitchen sink and dishwasher.
The joys of the holidays! What a difference a year makes.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
In 2006 my daughter served as a Santa's helper and passed out the Christmas gifts that were under the tree. She wore an elf costume that has a history going back to 1973, when I wore the very same elf costume in a Christmas parade. I remember our mothers made these elf costumes from a pattern. My old buddy Chris was in the parade with me, similarly attired, and there are, somewhere, some Super-8 movies of the two of us in our elf costumes frolicking in his kitchen prior to the parade.
I am told that the day of that parade in 1973 was cold and sleeting, but I don't remember much about it. But that was my one shot at playing elf in a parade. And it was good.It was great to see the old elf costume get some use after 33 years packed away with the holiday bric-a-brack. I am surprised it was still around. Perhaps it will last long enough to be worn some Christmas by my grandchild.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
But having family in town was nice, and our daughter, not quite a year old, really racked up!
A day or two before Christmas my buddy Mike (Mixmaster DJ MC) dropped in with his daughter, who was about 20 months old at the time, and they are pictured here with my daughter (11 months) and my sister (age not disclosed).
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Another Christmas in the Emerald City: 1999 was a good year and a memorable Christmas. That year I received from my wife a Weber grill which I still use today. It was on the lanai Christmas morning, along with the appropriate grilling implements.
We developed a ritual of Christmas shopping down town each year, one we kept as long as we lived in Seattle. We would buy a few gifts at the Pike Place Market (pictured) each year, though we would often buy fresh seafood and produce at the market year round.
In 1999 we were two DINKs living in the city in the city without many responsibilities. A year later, my wife would be very pregnant with our first child, and after the baby arrived Christmastime changed, but not in a bad way. We transitioned well from celebrating Christmas as a couple to looking at the season through the eyes of a child. I would not change a thing, but I do recall those Christmases before our daughter was born with great fondness.
That was another life.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The Christmas tree pictured was christened "Leonard," in honor of my friend Chuck.
It occurs to me, incidentally, that the same sad angel atop the tree in this photograph rests atop my Christmas tree this year. She still cannot stand up straight.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
On Saturday, November 28, 2009, the annual gathering of the Brunch Bunch took place in South Carolina. Attendees gathered from all points and enjoyed a nice meal and fellowship with one another. There were even a few laughs, as evidenced here in this video documenting the occasion.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Early on in my eBay experience I was dismayed to find useful items of reasonable (or better) quality that I had listed on eBay end up with no bids after seven days at auction. It’s frustrating and dismaying, particularly in instances where the item was something I myself might have purchased. But I learned that how I listed the items owed much to the measure of my success.
I soon learned that any manner of junk or bric-a-brac could be sold on eBay if I was careful in how I listed the item. This realization dawned on me several years ago after cleaning out the garage and ending up with a box of items destined for Goodwill or eBay. I had organized several plastic bins of cords: power supply cords, telephone cords, RCA cables and all manner of SCSI, mini-DIN and USB computer and printer cables. At last there remained a tangled pile of various cords and cables that I could not assign a function to. They had perhaps come packaged with electronics and remained unneeded or unused or were for cell phones or PALM pilots I no longer owned.
As I was listing a number of items on eBay (children’s clothes, CD’s and books, and unused house wares), I began to giggle thinking about the tangle of mystery cables in my garage, and, if only to amuse myself, listed them as “My Grab-Bag Pile of Mystery Cables,” imploring someone to take them off my hands but warning prospective bidders, “You don’t know what you may get in my Grab-Bag Pile of Mystery Cables.”
I sold the tangle of mystery cables and received positive feedback.
A week ago I went through a similar exercise in the garage, a seven-year-long process of reducing the amount of junk so that I can actually use the two-car garage for two cars instead of one. (I should admit at this point that it was my wife who, after cleaning the garage while I was on a business trip three or four years ago, managed to squeeze both cars into the garage, a situation which lasted perhaps a week until we started a remodel project. We’ve not achieved two-car status since then). Among the miscellany in the discard box was a small toy that should have been merely thrown out: three-inch high ghost that would waddle a foot or two across the floor when wound up. Most likely it was something that came home in my child’s Trick-or-Treat bucket many years before, and it was now among the miscellany preventing my wife’s Jeep from spending its nights out of the weather.
Instead of throwing it out, I put it up on eBay.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Oh, and George is divorced and is trying to get back with this ex-wife, in case you were wondering.
Monday, November 09, 2009
There was a time when the good captain was truly a man of the sea, rugged and tough, a seadog who knew the stars and could navigate a sloop safely around the Cape of Good Hope with his eyes closed. And he could sniff out a ripe berry on a crunchberry vine from fifty paces and served up a cereal so crispy in milk that he was the envy of every galley on the seven seas. The look in his lined eyes bespoke a dignity becoming a seasoned seaman, and his smile was a knowing one, distinct and mature, suggesting a nobility that few of his peers (Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, the Trix Rabbit, Fred and Barney, to name a few) would ever come close to achieving.
Now he looks like an idiot. His eyebrows are on his hat. He sports a grin that suggests frenzied derangement and an ineptitude and incompetence so pervasive that I hesitate even opening the box. And what's with that salute? The old Captain Crunch would never stoop so low to hawk cereal using a proper naval salute. Sure, he'd salute in the presence of an admiral, or to return a salute from one of his trusted crew. But to him, a salute was a vital part of seafaring decorum that seems now lost upon him.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
• that the House Democrats and its leadership continue to demonstrate an unparallel level of hypocrisy;
• that the House democrats participate in as much hate-mongering as the Republicans;
• and that Grayson, like many of his colleagues on the left and the right, makes headlines telling lies.
It doesn’t matter that the Republicans don’t have a heath care bill up for debate, nor does it matter than this imaginary plan to which Grayson refers supports an American “Holocaust.” (Nice word, Mr. Grayson). But so what? Grayson has as much a right to his opinion as Representative Joe Wilson. And in this free country of ours, he is welcome to express it through whatever means are available to him. And in Grayson’s (and Wilson’s) case, those "means" are the floor of the House of Representatives.
And Rep. Grayson is welcome to lie, if so he chooses. That's fine with me. And in Grayson's case I use the word “lie” because I don’t think Grayson is demented enough to actually believe his own statements. But I could be wrong.
Yes, Rep. Grayson's words are incendiary, far more incendiary than Wilson’s. And perhaps they are stupid, poorly chosen and uncalled-for. But that’s what we get in a country with a constitutional protection of speech. It’s up to each of us to determine whether or not Grayson is an insightful political genius or an utter boob. The media can give this idiot airplay, or ignore this savvy orator all together. Regardless, Grayson has a position, an opinion, and has as much right to express that as anyone. If there are consequences, so be it. That’s something else we take on in a free society—the ability to speak our minds and the responsibility to accept any consequences our words may have.
In light of his comments I am left wondering whether the Republicans will respond to Grayson in the manner in which Democrats responded to Wilson. Will the Republicans work as hard as Democrats to stifle and suppress free speech? Will the right go on and on demanding pointless, meaningless apologies while the work of the people is placed on a back burner? Will the Republicans resort to the sort of ad hominem arguments the democrats got elected on, while the important issues linger on without proactive analysis and debate?
I don’t doubt it for a moment.
Friday, September 25, 2009
This is my toaster. I have had it for eleven years. I share it with my wife and child. It was a gift from my friend Jelly, and his wife, Mrs. Jelly. Thank you!
We make toast on it. It can make two slices of toast at once. It is very versatile. Bread goes in, hot toast comes out. It is not very hard to use.
Once the toast pops out, we apply butter. Also, other toppings may be used.
The toast pops out on its own, when it is ready. There is no need to do anything. If you make it pop out yourself, the toast will fly out of the toaster and (hopefully) land on your plate. Aim is important.
Sometimes it may land on the floor. If so, I am not worried: the dog is right there.
In England, some toasters can pick up BBC-1. This is not the case in America. I have tried to tune in NPR on my toaster on a number of occasions, but the best I could do was an AM urban adult contemporary station broadcasting out of Biloxi.
I practice safety whenever I use my toaster. I am OSHA certified. Here are a few toaster safety tips, in case you are planning on getting a toaster of your own:
• Never put a toaster in a dishwasher. It will leave your toast damp and colorless.
• Never use a toaster in the shower, for the same reason. Having your coffee maker in the shower with you every morning requires multi-tasking enough without having to worry about getting shampoo in your raspberry jam.
• Never stick a fork or knife into a working toaster for any reason, unless you are attempting to loosen a bagel that is stuck and beginning to smolder.
• Never dry socks or underwear in a pop-up toaster. A microwave oven works best for this particular application.
• If making cheese toast, use an oven, as the cheese tends to melt in a pop-up toaster and will gum up the works. Also, it makes your kitchen smell really rank for about three days.
• If your toaster cord is worn or frayed, or if the copper conductors are exposed, wrap the exposed area with a wet nap and tie securely in place. This will provide you with years of continued enjoyment of your toaster.
I like to keep my toaster clean and shiny. A little Windex does the trick, but Formula 409 works in a pinch. Avoid the use of harsh abrasives, as they may have a tendency of give you hives.
My toaster has many exciting settings from which to choose: ultra-light, light, medium-light, tan, dun, medium, dark, dark and crispy, extra-dark, black-and-crunchy and slightly singed.
In addition to the many exciting settings available on my toaster, its versatility as a small kitchen appliance is second to none. I have put the following in my toaster: white bread, bagels, pop-tarts, apple slices, croissant, sourdough, coffee crumb cake, brioche, cottage loaf, chicken fingers, scones, biscuit halves, naan, toaster strudel, oatmeal raison cookies, matzo, baklava, bologna (sliced), tortilla, Burmese kippers, chapatti, pecan-maple Danish, bear claw and lemon pie.
What makes the best toast? White bread (make it Wonder Bread, please!), multi-grain and Roman Meal.
What makes the worst toast? Barbari bread, olive loaf and sliced Tapir runt bread.
I enjoy my toaster, and recommend pop-up toasters to all of my readers. If you don’t have one, many community banks will provide you one free of charge with an initial deposit of only $100.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
He was, of course, caught by his sergeant, and was duly punished.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
This year I blew it. I bought my wife a Jeep just before discovering that the 11th anniversary gift was steel. I bought a lot of steel just last month, and upon consultation with people who know such things, one cannot retroactively re-give a given gift.
So the Jeep is out as a wedding gift, and I don’t know where to buy girders. Perhaps someone out there has a bridge for sale.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"I was with him then,” she reported, referring to his past incarnation as a Japanese man. “So he would recognize me when I see him and say 'long time, no see!'"
She claimed that she and Cruise, after they are reunited, will star in a film together. “This film will change your values,” she boasted. “I will win the Oscar for sure.”
She did not comment on whether she had confused a "past life" with a screening of The Last Samurai.
Also, no comment from Cruise, who, as a Scientologist, may have traveled to the planet Venus on a triangular UFO while he slept.
The incident is chronicled in her book, Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered.
Failing to mention the crater-mottled volcanic plains, clouds of sulfur dioxide and a poisonous carbon dioxide atmosphere with a surface pressure 92 times that of Earth, she described Venus as “a very beautiful place and very green.” Venusian surface temperatures of over 850 °F apparently failed to affect her pale complexion.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
And what does this mean for Disneyland? Some lame Hulk-themed ride through a dark tunnel?
I have to say I have a soft spot for Marvel comics. I started reading the Fantastic Four in the late 70's, and who doesn't love Spider-Man? Perhaps they'll make a good fit for Disney. Pixar, the animation studio, was a smart acquisition on Disney's part, mainly because over the past few years the family fare released under the Disney banner has been pretty lame.
This is a sad comment: the best Walt Disney movie in the past couple of years has been Hannah Montana.
What might they do for Spider-Man 4?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Near the Alamo is the lovely Hotel Menger, inside of which is a very nice bar which was constructed to emulate the bar in the House of Lords in England. I put my finger in two bullet holes in the bar that were made by Teddy Roosevelt, who recruited many of his famous "Rough Riders" there.
Monday, July 27, 2009
In the photo below, the young waiter fills our lemonade cups next to Taco Tina's one table.