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Pro Toilet Bowl

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Quote of the Day: “All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.”

- Unknown

Doesn’t count!

I never really noticed it before but it makes sense, even though it disgusts me.

The “Pro Bowl” is a weak sister excuse for a professional football game.

Logically, I know why this is:

- God forbid that a high quality player should get hurt while playing what amounts to an exhibition game.

- Performing in the Pro Bowl is not the big goal here: it’s GETTING to the Pro Bowl so that forever and a day, the player will have the “Pro Bowl player” tacked on to his name.

- There are not really two teams: there are just a bunch of good individual players which means the game is going to suck.

Now, I am a mid-level fan, as opposed to a hardcore, paint-your-face and curse your existence if your team doesn’t win, fan. And even to ME, the reality that the football season is coming to an end brings a certain desperation.

The Pro Bowl, normally played AFTER the Super Bowl, is that last morsel of football before many long months without the pigskin being snapped.

This year, they moved it, squeezing it between the playoffs, or what I like to call the Blood-Letting since big, mean dudes are throwing themselves around wrecklessly and creating violent Gladiator-style entertainment that is almost unparalleled, and the Super Bowl.

So right off the bat, they pumped the pooch. Yes, yes, they threw us a bone between the playoffs and the Big Game but speaking for myself, I would rather have that little nugget AFTERWARDS when I’m staring down the barrel of many barren months without football.

Second, the lameness that is the Pro Bowl performances are somewhat overlooked when the game is the last football to be seen in months. When you move it between between the arguably most intense played games of the year, it makes the Pro Bowl seem like the soap-dropper.

On top of all this, they moved it to Florida.

I don’t know how I feel about that so I will split my personality on this one:

Con: the players always use this as a free trip to Hawaii each year, upping the spoils of getting to the Pro Bowl. After many months of long, arduous schedules, the family gets to reconnect in the paradise that is Hawaii.

Pro: Cry me a river, you rich bastards. You earn MILLIONS so use some of that to go to the friggin’ moon, as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure one trip for you and your family to Hawaii isn’t going to even show up as a blip on your financial radar. And you are allowed to be in the PRO BOWL, and forever be known as a PRO BOWL PLAYER. You haven’t the room to bitch, my friends.

But since I do have male chromosomes, I watched the game because it is football and the party will soon be over.

How disappointed I was.

They were hardly hitting each other! They were helping each other up, smiling, and patting each other on the butt.

On one extra point attempt, they didn’t even make CONTACT!!!!!!

It is sad to watch defenders give up at the end of plays, rushers give half-assed efforts to get to the QB, and to see the general lethargy. Why even play the damn game? I want to see the blood, violence, and career-ending injuries I’ve come to love and expect from professional football.

Sheesh, what is a violence-addicted gorilla to do?

Free Advice for Today: “Watch a video on CPR and emergency first aid with your family.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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We’re Cool

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Money doesn’t always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars.”

- Hobart Brown

Today, we watched our niece and nephew.

OK, my WIFE did most of the watching.

It’s nice to have a household again. To have a place where you can have family over. To have a place where family can drop off their kids and go do stuff.

We have waited so long for this. We have been travelling around for a couple of decades and the last decade or so is when we feel we’ve really missed out. Our nieces and nephews are edging toward their teen years but we still have a few left before hanging out with their cool uncle is no longer cool.

And our place is the cool place.

We always have all kinds of good treats.

And we have a stupid dog that most of the kids aren’t afraid of.

And we have a trampoline.

We have 3 different video systems.

And best of all, we are the cool aunt and uncle who let the kids pretty much run wild as long as they stick to the most basic rules of good behavior.

If I were a kid, this is the place I’d want to hang out.

And isn’t that the ultimate test?

Free Advice for Today: “Offer to say grace at holiday meals.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Clowning Around

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”

- Charles Austin Beard

As long as there have been kids and parents, there has been the debate about spanking.

But I don’t think anyone could fault me for the following sentence: my daughter’s basketball team got spanked once again.

I won’t assign blame because it is a team so a loss is a team loss just like a win is a team win.

But I WILL bitch about the refs. Not that I would ever want to do what they do because they are almost universally hated. Some of them take it in stride and then some of them, well, seem to feed on this and take on an omnipotent self-image.

As the announcer, I have to stay neutral and call the game fairly. This becomes more difficult when my daughter is actually playing but I manage.

What tends to irk me though is this attitude coming from some of the refs. Yes, you are in charge but you don’t have to act like, well, God.

Maybe this is just a reaction to my deep seated rebellion against authority which is strange since I spent 22 years in the Marine Corps, more than half of it an Officer.

Probably, but the conversation I had with one of the refs before the game didn’t help matters.

They have different refs for the JV game, which is played first, and the varsity game. Normally the refs for the second game show up in time to see some of the JV game and this is what happened tonight.

Before each game, I go to the refs and get their names because announcing there names is part of the script I read in the introductions.

When I talked to the ref tonight, he pulled me aside and asked me for a favor.

This is not good because when a ref “asks you for a favor” it’s usually an attempt to politely assert some authority over you. As you can imagine, he couldn’t have known who he was dealing with.

He said he noticed I had done a lot of announcing while the players had the ball and asked if I could minimize that.

Now first of all, the JV girls never get the benefit of an announcer since most schools only do that for the varsity teams. I do it because I enjoy it, my daughter’s on the JV team, and the JV girls get their game treated like a “big game” instead of just feeling like they are allowed to play before the varsity team.

Second, I do my best to make it sound like a professional game, calling names of players coming in and out, calling names of shooters, etc. I think it means a lot to the girls and the parents to hear the names.

I also try to summarize the score and time remaining between plays so I can keep everyone up to speed on the game situation without interrupting the game. My goal is to keep the announcements within the confines of “between plays.”

And I think I do a pretty damn good job at doing this.

His specific “request” is that I don’t announce while the ball is in play.

While the ball is in play? You mean you want me to identify the player number, look up her name, and call out her name all in the time it takes you to recover the ball and have the opposing player throw it in?

Not to mention trying to squeeze the score in or the time left in the quarter.

Have you ever HEARD a game being announced?

Normally I try to get my announcing done before they get to mid-court so it doesn’t interfere in too much of the offense (unless they are full-court pressing when I try to scale it back a little more).

So you can imagine I was both a little amazed and upset that I was having my announcing curtailed. I could see if I was being obnoxious or blatantly for one team or the other. But I was innocent on both accounts and the result was that the girls would have their game announcements all but neutered.

I guess I just will never understand some people. It’s a shame when those in charge can ruin something so potentially good for the sake of exercising a little power.

I will add power-hungry refs to my list of offending personalities. They aren’t all that way and some I really respect. But others… (see graphic at top of this post)

Free Advice for Today: “Pay attention to pictures of missing children.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Damn Puppies and Kittens Can Go To HELL!!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”

- Vince Lombardi

Well, it happened again. Despite having about a trillion little projects waiting in the wings, I found something else to eat away my time like moths in a wool coat.

What is it this time?

Programming.

My programming history goes something like this:

1987: working on TRASH80s in my beginning programming high school class. I could make my name scroll down the screen in green letters in an infinite loop. Yeah, look out Billy Gates.

College: I attempted to go computer science but after a few months in the freshman “weeder” programming class using ADA and a bit of FORTRAN, I was effectively flushed out with the rest of the CS-wannabe turds.

It was also at this time that I started working with HTML which is a pseudo-programming language. To those that care, it is considered a markup language and thus not really programming.

At some point after this, I taught myself how to work with Access databases and unknowingly, was teaching myself Visual Basic.

Graduate School: along with the required classes for IT, I took all my electives in programming including VB and C++.

Since then, I have not had a lot of formal training when it comes to programming so before I went to Saudi in 2008, I picked up a very basic programming book with the intention of using the hours, days, weeks, months with nothing to do over in the KingDumb to reinvigorate my nascent programming skills.

Well, um, I DID take the book but did I actually open it and do any programming?

Well, see, there was this … and I… the time just … OK, I didn’t do jack over there and I have no viable excuse why I didn’t do the programming, or read the stacks of magazines, or the cases of books, or watch the stacks of movies… OK, I think we get the picture so if you are done putting me on trial, we can move this blog along.

So I grabbed the book a few days ago and decided I should fulfill the promise to myself and do the work. My approach was simple: I know the general concepts (variables, arrays, loops, etc.) so I could just brush up on how to do the actually programming.

The book uses a simple programming language that I had never heard of: Ruby. Just like any other language, you have to learn the syntax and use it to make the program do what you intend. The asshole computer only does exactly what you tell it so, obviously, pisses me off to no end.

Now here is where it gets real. Consider you have to use a language to do the coding so there are really two things to learn: the language and the logic. Once you are fluent in the language (like profressional programmers), you can concentrate on the harder part: the logic.

If you know the language, you can code at the speed of thought. Just like when you speak, you don’t have to think about the words you are using (unless you are learning the language or are Paris Hilton).

Needless to say, I am not conversant in Ruby so I have to not only do the heavy lifting of the logic but also worry about the syntax, which really sucks when you are beginning.

So let’s talk about this logic. What most people don’t realize (ok, maybe just me, or I just forgot) that the most difficult part (and what makes really good programmers good), is coming up with the way to solve the problem you are faced with.

When you are learning programming like this, you read the chapter which introduces some concept and then you are given a series of word problems and you use what you just learned to write a program that solves the problem (AKA executes as expected based on your programming.) Then you build on that in the next chapter.

Now here is another level of detail you might not realize: there are almost an infinite number of approaches you can use and you might be happy, in the beginning, to just program something that works. While you are struggling with the language and trying to find that stupid comma you forgot that is derailing the entire program, this might be good enough.

But these “good ‘nuff” solutions are very inefficient (one of the Programming Deadly Sins) and akin to walking around the world to get to your neighbor’s house.

The order is tall:

- Learn the language as you go
- Figure out a solution
- Code that solution
- Make it efficient and graceful

Sometimes I get paralyzed because I know how to solve something but I also know there is a more efficient way tha I have not thought of. So should I just brute-force it and work inefficiently just to come up with a solution that works, albeit ugly and wrought with “spaghetti code”?

Or do I try to use brain cycles to come up with a better solution that might never ever ever ever work because I can’t figure out a way to do it without going all the way around the world?

It gets… well, frustrating.

Oh, and I have a double-edged sword situation going on too. You see, I found a blog that has all the solutions. This is good because I have a resource if I get completely bogged and also I can see how the author coded a certain solution.

But the other edge of the sword is the knowledge that it is there. The best motivation to come up with a solution usually comes at that point where you want to pull your hair out, throw things, and curse loudly. These are the worst of times when you hate coding, you hate the world, you hate kittens and puppies. But those are the exact moments that teach you how to code and make the solutions memorable since you nearly lost your mind finding them. It is a brutal reality.

So if the solutions are there for the picking, you never have to hate kittens and puppies but you also never get the lessons seared in to your cerebral cortex.

And one more point: most of you know me. I am very prone to vendetta. So if a program is kicking my ass, I make it a life and death situation to find the solution if it takes until the sun blows up and swallows up this cruel and dark world.

I find it difficult to give in and go to the solution in defeat.

I also find it difficult to appreciate even a clever solution I came up with because by the time I find it, I’m ten kinds of pissed till Sunday.

So my family, to include the dog, is not too happy with my programming as of late. And I don’t think I could do this for a living unless I wanted to spend the rest of my days in a white coat with really long sleeves.

Free Advice for Today: “Learn to paddle a canoe.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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The Big Blue Monkeys at BigO

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I won’t take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.”

- Carl Sandburg

Four words I hate to hear: The tires need rotated.

OK, there are many many worse four-word combinations but the concept of paying someone to do the old tire switch-a-roo a great day does not make.

Almost as bad as getting new tires altogether which, to me, is a lot like a rectal exam. A big pain in the ass, the BEST you can hope for is not much difference before and after, and it costs me a lot of money now that I’m out of the military.

But the wife told me it was needed (yes, she’s the nearest thing to a mechanic in this family) because if it was up to me, I’d let them wear down to the rim and then mystically discover one day what all those sparks were all about.

So I looked up the nearest BigO Tires and called up to make an appointment.


“We don’t make appointments, just bring it in and we can get you out of here in 20 minutes.”

Fine, but I really don’t believe you.

My mechanic/wife told me to have them balanced and rotated but not to fall for anything else because they will try to tell me that the flux capacitor will need changing. I knew better than that, at least. I mean, I had them change the flux capacitor LAST time.

When I got there, the BigO Tire Gal, (lovely moniker, don’t you think, and what is it with women knowing more about cars than me? OK, well, yeah, it’s not a very high bar) took me outside to look at the tires and instantly pointed out there was uneven wear and that was an indication that it was out of alignment.

I knew, she knew, and my wife knew the same thing: the tire rotation and balancing were free since I bought the tires there. So what they try to do is charge you up for anything else they can like flux capacitors and alignment.

For the low, low price of $78, I could get it all aligned which, obviously from Tire Gal’s eagle eye, it was in desperate need.

And not only that but that pesky (and FREE) tire balancing was not needed, according to Tire Gal, because I wasn’t hearing excessive road noise.

So, you are telling me the FREE work is not necessary and the COSTLY work is paramount?

Well, I just had one thing to say to this obvious shyster…


“I gotta call my wife.”

After all was said and done, I made her check the balance of each tire and authorized the alignment. Hell, I’m made of money, right?

While I was waiting, I wandered around Fred Meyer (which I like to call either “Dread Meyer” or “Dead Meyer” because I have to make up names for everything, usually not even that clean). I felt like some kind of perv for some unknown reason. Maybe because I hadn’t taken a shower, needed a shave, and was wearing old wrinkled jeans, wandering around Dead Meyer in the middle of a weekday.

There is only so much cheap crap and office supplies one can look at so I left there on foot and wandered over to Wendy’s (Skindies … hey, I never claimed they were all gold) and had a couple of small burgers for lunch.

Then it was over to Starbucks (The Keeper of the Excelsior of Life), bought a small coffee, A.K.A. “My brown liquid ticket to sit my ass on your couch for as long as I want and read the paper.”

When I finally got tired of that, it had been well past the 45 minutes Tire Gal said it would take and my phone still had not rang. So I showed up and, of course, was greeted with “I was just punching your results in the computer and was about to call you.”

Yeah, and I was just pulling blue monkeys out of my ass and teaching them how to work at BigO Tires.

My question was “Did you balance the tires?”

“Oh, I don’t see that on the sheet, let me ask Julio.”

Julio looked like he spoke as much English as I do Klingon and just about as happy.

I could only see/hear Tire Gal’s side of the conversation…


“Hey, did those tires on the Honda need balancing?”
“…”
“Which ones?”
“…”
“All of them?”

When she turned to me, she seemed a bit embarrassed, as she should be because I think we both remember our little conversation where she tried to talk me out of getting them balanced.

HA! CAUGHT YOU! SCORE ONE FOR THE GROSE MAN!!!

Then I realized I was celebrating the fact that I was paying these people almost $100 for rotating my tires.

Rectal exam complete.

And what’s all this blue fur?

Free Advice for Today: “When visiting a state and national parks, take advantage of all tours and lectures given by park rangers.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Nurse, Hand Me The Sphincter Expander…

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Computer games don’t affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music.”

- Marcus Brigstocke


(click to watch cartoon!)

As most of you know, I am retired.

And one of the things I was supposed to do BEFORE I retired was to get with the VA, as I explained in a recent blog post:

I had mentioned that I made an appointment with the VA.

It was today.

CORRECTION: It was SUPPOSED to be today.

At 7:00 AM (I still refuse to use military time), I got a voicemail from the lady I had an appointment with that said that she was sick and could not make the appointment.

You know, if you think the bad reputation and the clichés are unfair, such as dealing with the VA akin to having a quadruple root canal performed up through your ass, then maybe you should stop reinforcing it.

OK, yeah, people get sick. I get that. But today? After waiting so long to get an appointment. And now I have to make another one for the undisclosed future? Do they not know my tendency to procrastinate such things, evidenced by waiting 6 months to do it in the first place?

Well, whatever the cause, my appointment was cancelled which left, let’s see, …. Nothing on the agenda today.

Hmmm, nothing. I can DO nothing. Nothing it is.

Seriously, on my Outlook calendar where I put everything ad nauseum, it is completely blank other than VA appointment/ quadruple root canal performed up through my ass.

Oh well.

Free Advice for Today: “When you are angry with someone, write a letter telling him or her why you feel that way — but don’t mail it.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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TSTWBN: DEAD TO ME FOREVER

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I’m a godmother, that’s a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that’s cute, I taught her that.”

- Ellen DeGeneres

Here ye, here ye… OK, everyone gather around. I have an important announcement to make.


AS OF TODAY, THE 25TH DAY OF JANUARY, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO-THOUSAND AND TEN, THE COMPANY I WILL RELUCTANTLY UTTER FROM MY LIPS FOR THE LAST TIME, PETSMART, WILL NO LONGER EXIST IN MY REALITY AND WILL RESIDE ONLY ON MY SHIT LIST FOR ALL OF ETERNITY.

There, I feel much better.

Here is what happened.

I was not in a good mood to begin with. No particular reason, I just wasn’t. So TheStoreThanWon’tBeNamed (TSTWBN) picked a bad day to perform their jackassery. It cost them my business from now until the Sun swallows up the Earth, and a few eons beyond.

I took Buster in to get his nails clipped because now that he is old and decrepit (welcome to the club, buddy), he doesn’t take as many walks that used to keep his nails filed. Now we have to have it done to the tune of about $11.

So I drive there with Buster in the back seat like I’m Driving Miss Daisy, and get him to the back of the store where all the “Pet Stylist Professionals” were.

OK, first, you clip dog hair, you idiots. You are not “Pet Stylist Professionals” just like housewives are not “Domestic Engineers” or male airline stewardesses are not “stewards” (they are ALL stewardesses.)

You clip nails. You shampoo dogs, You brush their teeth. Don’t make it more than it is.

Anyway, I bring Buster in and the first warning sign I see is a woman shaving some poor little lapdog and she kind of yanks his head sideways and says “Stop it!”

Man, I hope Buster doesn’t get her.

Here is how the conversation went:


“What is your dog’s name?”
“Buster.”
“What breed is he?”
“Half Rhodesian Ridgeback and half pit bull.”
“Have you been here before?”
“Yes, quite a few times.”
“What do you need today?”
“I just need his nails clipped and grinded.”
“I don’t see you in the computer. Have you brought in his records?”
“Well, he has had his rabies shot but we prefer to have him muzzled anyway so since you guys muzzle him without the record, I never bothered to bring it in.”
“Oh, OK, … um, how old is he?”
“About 10.”

Up to this point, it was a friendly conversation. She seemed to be interested in Buster which I thought was a great sign since she would be clipping his nails soon so I thought nothing of that last question.


“We can’t muzzle him.”
“What?”
“Company policy, if they are 10 years or older, we can’t muzzle him.”

OK, the conversation just went from zero to asshole in nothing flat.


“You just did it like a month ago.”
“Sorry, company policy says…”
“Yes, I heard you the first time but it makes no sense.”
“I’m sorry…”

It was at this point that I walked out of there and was so mad, I vowed never, EVER to return.

You don’t understand, when someone wrongs a Grose male (and it takes oh so very little to do so…), it is like a vendetta that tattoos right to the bone. Middle Eastern tensions will sooner be smoothed out before a Grose male ever forgives such mistreatment.

What I should have said was one of two things that probably would not have worked anyway and set me more on fire than I was already.

1. “OK, he’s 8. Now clip him.” : although there is no proof either way of his age, I would have put her in a very awkward situation where she would be forced to deny me service because I had said that he was 10 a few moments before. That would have probably ended with me yelling an explicative and storming out.

2. “Look, he has had his rabies shot. You muzzled him last month. He’s not even actually 10 until July. Can you just clip him and I will make sure that when I come in next month, I will bring his record. I just don’t want to go all the way home right now since I have him right here.”

That second one might have worked but I was too pissed off to think clearly and instead, just walked out without a further word and declared that TSTWBN will never ever ever ever ever ever ever see me bringing Buster in again for anything. I will not purchase ANYTHING from TSTWBN and don’t care if I receive a flyer offering everything in the store free of charge.

TSTWBN, you are dead to me.

So it is said, so it is done.

Dead.

Free Advice for Today: “Call three friends on Thanksgiving and tell them how thankful you are for their friendship.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

11 comments


Maybe Favre Just Didn’t Want To Go To Super Bowl XLIV

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”

- Jean-Paul Sartre

Today I did what all red-blooded males on such an occasion would do:

I went to my brother-in-law’s house, sat on my ass for something like 7 hours, watched football, ate sub sandwiches and pizza, and drank a beer.

A few notes about this wasteful, glutinous existence:

– Scott has a high definition big screen TV

- We watched both playoff games

- I ate a foot long sub (6 inches of turkey, 6 inches of ghetto Cold Cut Trio)

- I actually skipped on the pizza after the sub gut-bombing

- I had a total of one beer because I’m just not a real man, I guess

More notes about this wasteful, glutinous existence:

- Watching pro football in high def, while cool, can show you some things you don’t really want to see. Sweat is not a pretty thing especially when you can actually see the pores it’s coming out of.

- I could give two shits about the Colts and the … whatever the other team was. But I wanted the Vikings to win only because I like Favre and wanted to see him against Manning in the Big Game.

- I am going on record by saying I think Favre will come back next year because I don’t think he can leave it as his last professional play as a quarterback resulting in an interception to lose out on going to the Super Bowl.

- There was like 11 things that, if any ONE of them would have gone the other way, the Vikings would have won.

- I did not share in the whole Saints celebration, first Super Bowl, place still devastated by Katrina, blah blah blah … just white noise to me. It’s not that I don’t care…OK, maybe it is. Things are tough all over, people. And I especially don’t get into the whole French Cajun culture thing. I find it annoying, although I have had some pretty cool supporters of me and my blog, who I figure I will hear from but don’t be too harsh on me. You can hate the coffee-swilling, earth-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing techno-geek grunge scene of Seattle, I will not be offended.

- Scott bought the subs and I had not had a Cold Cut Trio for a long time. I used to buy them when I was strapped for cash but once I realized they contained the lower-end meat my mom used to buy (I’m looking at you, bologna!) when I was a kid and we were broke, I dubbed them “ghetto” and snobbingly ordered the Subway Club exclusively from then on out.

My son, Alex, joined us after the first game and we all hung out at Scott’s house until the evening. It was a great time with Scott and Alex.

It looks like the Colts are playing the Saints in this year’s Super Bowl. As much as I wanted to see Favre play, I guess it is only right that these two should square off against each other since they both went undefeated for most of the season.

And OK, I guess I can give a little love to the Saints. I remember when I was a kid and living in Denver with my mom and my brother when the Broncos made their first appearance at the Big Table. Although they lost to the Cowboys, I will always remember the “Orange Crush” insanity of the city, even though I was really young.

So, OK, OK, OK, congratulations Saints.

I hope Manning hands you your Cajun asses.

Free Advice for Today: “Carry a small Swiss Army knife on your key chain.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Cheesed It

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say.”

- Samuel Johnson

I was supposed to do a 10 mile run this morning with a group of people but after a late night last night, it kinda didn’t happen.

I remember when “having a late night” meant I was out drinking but these days, at 41, it means I was over at family’s house and we just hung out until 2:00 in the morning. Since when did a late night that caused morning plans to go awry NOT involve alcohol?

I guess when you get old.

So what did I do today? Well, a whole lotta nothing.

Saturday used to be all about the cartoons. I would be the first one up in my family, grab my terrycloth blanket, and sit in the dark in front of the color test pattern with the sound way down waiting for the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour to start.

At that was just last year!

Actually, that was when I was a kid. Every Saturday, the same thing. The entire morning shot watching Bugs Bunny back when it wasn’t on 24/7.

In later years, I would still be getting up early but that was to get my papers delivered. Yes, I had a paper route…

… and every weekend morning was the same: wake up, deliver the papers, come back and eat junk for breakfast, and then go back to sleep until noonish.

As my life progressed, Saturday mornings turned into the “Long Run” day. I would spend a good portion of Friday night getting everything set up for the morning so I would be motivated to get my butt out of a warm, comfortable bed in the wee hours of Saturday morning, knowing the rest of the world would be enjoying many more hours of sleep. It wasn’t worth it until I was way out in the middle of nowhere and witness to the morning beauty and solitude only a long distance runner can truly appreciate.

I am trying to get back to those days of getting up for the run on Saturday mornings but lately, they have resembled the sleeping-in variety than anything else.

So since I don’t have much of anything else for you today, I will give you two damn-near-retarded finds from the Web. Happy giggling:

Paranormal Cattivity

Disco Curser

From Tosh.0:

I saw the above image on The Daily What.

…and I did. I did “join in.”

I moved my mouse on top of the picture. And I danced it around.

I did this, I’d say, for a solid 45 seconds. And at that moment, like achieving the highest level of enlightenment in Buddhism, I realized my life is inherently meaningless.

Free Advice for Today: “Contribute something to each Salvation Army kettle you pass during the holidays.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Let The Music Play

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Quote of the Day: “If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”

- J. Paul Getty

My daughter had a basketball game tonight and while I know all of you know that I love my daughter dearly, I have to say, our team sucks.

“A” for effort and all that but the JV girls have a lot of work to do. It just gets depressing to go week after week and see the girls make the same mistakes and get a beat down.

Tonight, there was an extra twist to the beating. We had a chance to win it.

This is not really a testament to the girls’ improvement but a statement on how utterly bad the other team was. I don’t say that to disparage because I support my daughter’s team as one of the few parents who even bother to show up.

I say that because I don’t see a lot of improvement as the season progresses. It’s just sad to see and I guess I can be thankful my daughter even gets to play since this is her first year on a high school team.

But back to tonight’s game, the ending was extra heart-breaking. I’ll set the scene…

End of the 4th period.
Time has elapsed.
The clock shows 0:00 and the buzzer has sounded.
But the opposing team fouled during the last-second shot.
Our player gets two foul shots.
We are down by 1 point.

If she makes both, we win.
If she makes one, we tie.
If she makes none, we lose.

All the players were cleared from the floor so it’s just the girl and the referee.

She misses the first shot.

I am torn between the thought that no one should be subjected to this kind of pressure, especially a young teenage girl and the thought that this is what sports are all about.

She puts up the second shot….

And misses.

Ouch.

I guess if there is going to be the thrill of victory, there must be the agony of defeat.

Poor girl, I just wanted to go and hug her. But I refrained.

“Steph, why was your dad hugging me?” she asks after talking to the nice police officers.

After the game we went over to my brother-in-law’s house and then we all made a trip to Godfathers Pizza, home of the best taco pizza this Earth will ever see.

I learned that the Auburn Godfather’s is not the only one left, as I thought it was. They say there is one down in Federal Way so now I have a back up if the Auburn one shuts down, or gets flooded out like I thought it was going to (and still might!) But now, I have another stay of execution before my beloved taco pizza joins the big Godfather’s in the sky.

You have no idea how important this is to me!

Later on when we returned to his house, I asked Scott about how I would go about installing a connection so I could play my iPod in my car without having to depend on the piece of shit FM transmitter gadget that I’ve been using. Seems I can’t get a usable signal worth a crap so I asked him what it would take to run a connector to the sound system.

This is what he does for a living so with his mouth watering, he hopped on his computer to see how much the kit was. He assured me he could get it 40% cheaper at cost.

It looked like I might have to give something up to make the connection. I have the single disc player connected to the stock radio so I didn’t want to lose that. And Carrie wasn’t about to give up the 6-disk CD player we have it in.

After discussing a few options, he noticed I had a stock tape player and he suggested that I try an adapter that looks like a cassette. You pop it in and then plug the other end to the headphone jack of your iPod or iPhone.

I thought, surely, it can’t sound all that great. I mean, come on, it’s taking an electrical signal and running it through a mechanical medium via a tape deck. I couldn’t imagine this would sound anything short of shitastic.

How wrong I was.

Scott is one of those guys who has a ton of various electronic flotsam hanging around his garage. He installs high end systems so he ends up keeping leftovers to the point that he has boxes of “stuff.”

Need an old VCR player? He’s got it.

Need an adapter that connects this to that? Here it is.

Need a 400 disc changer with its own power supply and hard drive? Over here.

So I was a little surprised when he couldn’t locate the adapter but he remembered he had loaned it to a neighbor who ended up not using it so he called him up and we went over and got it.

We plugged it in to my iPod, slid the cassette into the tape deck, and what came through my speakers was absolutely unexpected: crystal clear, loud music.

The bass thumped.

The high end came through clean.

It sounded better than the radio or a CD.

I would have never believed that you could use a cassette adapter to get that kind of sound but now I’m all set. And I didn’t even have to buy a kit or beg my bro-in-law to install it.

The only minor flaw was that the cord it used was white and Scott suggested to make it less noticeable, I should use a Sharpie pen to make it black. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me but he being a professional installer, the asthetics made a difference to him and he brought me a Sharpie.

“Really? This is how the pros do it?” I mocked him.

“Dude, you would be surprised how many times something like a Sharpie has saved the day on a high-value installation.”

So I spent the next hour coloring a white wire black. It was surprisingly difficult to get every tiny part of it and took me about 10 times as long as I would have guessed. I had to do one little section at a time and kept twisting it to get every little angle. The Sharpie would dry out and I’d have to get it flowing again.

When I was done, it looked, well, like a black cord.

I might have found my calling.

Free Advice for Today: “When you move into a new house, plant a rosebush and put out a new welcome mat to make it seem like home.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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