Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Showing that I have a sense of humor and really do love my wife:

Everyone should have back surgery at this particular outpatient clinic in Memphis. Here are a few reasons why:


I have never had such an awesome IV!!!111notreally!!11!


You too can rock such awesome leggings.


Again, I know you're so jealous of those leggings.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm alive

Surgery went well. Anesthesia sucks. Post-op drugs do not.

So, how bad did I mess up?

We finally built a fence. We've been wanting to do it since we moved here a little over a year ago. We ran out of money doing this little repair and that little replace when we first moved in and we've been regretting that ever since. However, having a land-shark that goes by the misnomer "beagle" served as an impetus to get that thing put up. So, "What's the problem?" you ask. Follow along.

This rather dated aerial shot (Google maps rock, but Live.com's maps have a very cool bird's eye view tool) is my house. As you can see, fence to the left of me, fence to the right, but none for me. Worked to my advantage though, I only had to have the fence built into their fences.


This crude outline shows how I contemplated building the fence and how my wife wanted it to be built (starting to sense the problem here?). But apparently, I did not pick up on the fact that this is the absolutely correct way to have the fence built.


So, this is how I decided to have the fence built. Apparently against all common sense.


This is how the fence looks. See, I like the way it marries up with the neighbor's fence.


This right here is the problem. According to J-mom, I just made our backyard smaller. I don't know why this didn't occur to me when I was laying out the fence with the builder, but it didn't.


This is what it looks like from the inside (yeah, yeah, it's a mess, shut up).


So my question, er, questions ... How bad did I screw up? Is this really that off-of-the-wall a way to do this? Seemed intuitive to me.

J-mom is having a hard time figuring out how to get over this. She's gotten over being angry, but it still bothers her. Any advice on how "to accept the things you cannot change?"

I will say this, regardless of innie or outie L-shape, putting the dog out whenever and not having to put it on a chain is such a very cool thing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Metallica's back

Wow. It's been 20 years. I never thought I'd say something like that, but they've released one hell of an album again. Good job guys. Now it's time to retire.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The dichotomy of my nature

I know that things are worse than they make them out to be. However, inside, I am optimistic that they are not as bad as they make them out to be.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I should plan to be out of the office more often

I am getting so much stuff done this week.

My surgery is scheduled for this coming Monday. It's outpatient but I'll still be out of work for the next two weeks to recover. So, I'm tying up all my loose ends and finishing up some projects before I'm off. And I'm kicking ass.

If I could be this productive all the time ... well, that's just not going to happen.

But it's nice to really knock some stuff out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bizarre non sequitur of the day

The dog get my peanut!

This one requires some context to be really funny.

My boy is 3 and is still working on speaking well. We have him in speech therapy in fact (going great, thank you for asking) but like many kids his age he substitutes some words for similar sounding words.

We're also in the middle of potty training, which is also going great. Recently, I asked Bo to sit up on the potty and go potty and he climbs up (he likes using the big potty, not the one we bought special for him). So, he gets up there and is about to go and I say to him, "Bo, you better hold down your willy there."

Without skipping a beat he says, "Hey! It not willy, it's a peanut."

So, when he is done taking a bath, and is naked running around the house, and he sees the dog, he is liable to put his hands over his, erm, peanut, and say the above statement. Which, honestly, is a pretty logical fear because that damn beagle will chew on anything.

Heroes S3E1

Pretty good, no? I always reach the end of the show withouth realizing that it's close to the end. Good editing makes everything speed along.

I'm very happy with the plot set-up if not so happy with some of the ways they took to get there. Specifically unhappy with:

Mohinder. What the foxtrot? Take the most levelheaded guy in the show, the most compassionate, and turn him into a fool for power. We never saw any intimations of this desire in the earlier two seasons. Maybe I missed something by not watching the webisodes. I don't know. I just felt that everything he did in last night's episode was out of character.

Fast chick vs. Hiro. Um ... stop time does not equal slow down time. I could understand, MAYBE, if she was moving in slow motion, but the casual walking around and talking really bugged me. Why not have another teleporter. Just flash in and, "Yoink. Mine now."*

Again, the stories set up look like there going to be great. They just sacrificed a good bit to get there. But I'm still anxious for next week.

*A line shamelessly yoinked from The Amazing Screw-On Head which is completely awesome and if you didn't see on Sci-Fi should really rent via Netflix.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bizarre, out-of-context non sequitur of the day

I work with a bunch of interesting people. Add to that the things my wife and kids sometimes say and you can come up with some pretty interesting things. I've decided to, as often as I can get around to doing it, start a new feature here where I take an out-of-context comment and post it here for your amusement. I've got a few stored up.

Today's comment:

The sink traps, those are the cannibals!

My wife is amazing final (for now) ...

Fourteen years ago today J-mom became my bride.

It's not a long time compared to some, but in the scheme of things, 14 years is pretty substantial.

Sometimes I wonder what I did to be married to such a wonderful person. I am not the easiest person to be around, and yet she sticks it out year after year.

I truly am blessed.

I love you, hon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dumbfounded

I can't follow this logic. If government is the cause of our current economic woes, then how do people think that government is going to fix it?

Sometimes I really don't get the left.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I ate last night

In the tradition of Mr. Bingley I figured I'd throw a quick dinner snapshot out there. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures, but here's the lowdown:

Beef country-style ribs
Getting ribs really tender on the grill is a problem. They like to cook way too fast out there. So, even though it goes against my feelings, I usually wind up cooking them in the oven for a couple of hours and then saucing them on the grill. Here's what I did last night and it works wonderfully:

> Rub the ribs down with your favorite spices. I suggest you use some kind of BBQ spice or perhaps smoked paprika. Since you'll be cooking them in the oven, you need to impart some kind of BBQ flavor here. I don't like using sauce because it messes with the texture of the meat in the oven.

> Place in large, shallow pan, cover with tinfoil and bake at 200-225 for two to two and a half hours.

> When done cooking, place the ribs on a hot grill and coat with your favorite sauce. This step is crucial in getting the grill flavor in the ribs. The temperature of the ribs and the heat of the grill should combine well to get the sauce to caramelize pretty quickly.

Those ribs are going to be very tender so be careful with them on the grill. Use oversize tongs and you probably want to oil your cooking surface very well.

Sirloin steaks

Last time I cooked steaks, I used cast iron and did them in the oven a la Alton Brown. They turned out great, but I can't give up my grill. It's still the best place to cook meat. So, I made sure I had a very hot grill, couldn't quite get it to the 500 degrees that Alton uses for oven cooking, but I was at about 450.

> Rub your steaks with your favorite spice. Alton used salt and pepper for his show. I used Cajun seasoning the first time. This time around I used a Pampered Chef (hey, J-mom is a Pampered Chef consultant if anyone's interested!) cracked peppercorn and garlic rub.

> Let the meat come to room temperature. Another crucial step. If you let the meat come to room temp, it will cook faster.

> If you can, raise the coals as high as they can go and heat your cooking surface really well.

> Put the steaks directly over the flame and let them sear for 30 seconds each side.

> Pull them from the direct heat over to the other side of the grill (oh yeah, make sure to build a fire only to one side) and (with a 450-500 degree grill) cook them about four minutes per side for medium (use a meat thermometer to be sure though).

Yields fantastic results.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Well there's your problem

I caint get no relief.

Like the lyrics suggest, I am in constant pain. You can see in the image, that's one of the images from my MRI a month ago, I have discs bulging in the L4/L5 and L5/S1.

Two weeks ago I had an epidural injection of cortisone directly into the area. It didn't help. I had this done last October and had a lot of relief. None this time.

So, now I'm facing real surgery -- though apparently it's still outpatient. They cut off the part of the disc that bulging to provide instant relief to the nerves. I talk with a neurosurgeon today and we'll see what comes from that. Hopefully I can end this soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2,996 Project: Remembering Benito Valentin

Originally posted 9-10-06

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI never met Benito Valentin, but I have a feeling that it would have been memorable if I had.

He was a father and a husband and was dearly loved by many. One of the most memorable things about Benito was a funny routine he did singing along with a remix of Rapper's Delight.

His wife wrote: To my darling husband, whom I miss dearly, you will always be unforgettable. Your in our thoughts, prayers, and hearts. Your spirit will live thru us always and forever, 'til the end of time.

And his son wrote: Hey daddy its me jay jay. i really miss you daddy.every time i see a picture of you or hear the rappers delight song i think of all the times you made me, danyelle and alyssa laugh.guess what we got a dog her name is baibee,you would like even if poops all over the place.mommy is doing fine so is danyelle,me and alyssa.but we all miss you,and never forget you because you were the best daddy anybody acn evr have.WE ALL LOVE YOU!!!!

Please. Never forget.

Other 2,996 bloggers:

Ken and Emily at Pints.

Lisa

Mr. Bingley

Sheila

Commemoration ain't an easy thing to do

We're at war
Seven years later and it gets no easier. I guess it's because I was not intimately tied to anyone in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. Sure I knew someone who knew someone, but to me, like most Americans, the tragedy was kind of abstract. Something you watched, in horror, unfold on TV.

It took days for the reality and depth of the events to sink in. I think our 24/7 news cycle does us wrong in that regard. We're desensitized to suffering. It takes time to properly appreciate the significance of things -- if we even bother. Thankfully, almost all Americans bothered on 9/11 and in the ensuing maelstrom.

One thing most of us viewing on TV were able to appreciate right away was the fact that we were being attacked. I remember watching the events unfold and my very first thought when the second plane struck was, "We're at war."

Dumbfounded
I was still active duty at the time and was stationed at Fort Polk. September is a sultry month in the deep south and Louisiana is especially wet. I stood outside puffing on a cigarette. There was a small, wooden porch off the side of our building, much like the kind you see built for trailer homes.

I remember hearing thumping. The stairs leading up to the second floor were directly behind the door that joined the porch. You could often hear people walking up and down. This time it was like someone had fell. The door burst open and my boss said excitedly, "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center!"

I tossed out my cigarette and went upstairs to watch CNN with the rest of my unit. It immediately sucked us in. We watched, mouths agape, eyes wide, as events unfolded. My office was the next one over and I went in to call J-Mom and tell her to watch. I think she was already watching, I can't remember exactly.

Shortly after going back to the team room, the second plane hit.

What if...
It's weird to play the "What If" game with national tragedy. I look back on the past few years and I'm not happy with all of my decisions, but overall I wouldn't change anything. I like where I am and I'm quite happy that I'm in a place to grow stronger with my family, spiritually and intellectually. However, that means that I wouldn't choose to change 9/11. I am where I am today directly because of the events that happened that day. When I think like that, it makes me kind of sad. I mean, sad outside of the fact that I'm already in mourning for the people who lost their lives that day. I mean, I'm sad at feeling so selfish and guarded of my particular situation that, given the opportunity, I would not choose to change what happened.

But that's a pretty superficial stab at the "What If" prospect. Honestly, if asked and if I ruminated long enough, I would change the events of that day. How could you not? No one has that power, though. And that's the danger of what ifs -- you can ruminate yourself into some pretty dangerous states of mind.

Remembering
Ultimately, accepting the events is what we all had to do and what many are still doing. What's scary to me, and will get me angry faster than most anything, are those who call spurs to action based on 9/11 rhetoric "false patriotism" or "stupid Americanism."

I don't care what reason one would have to say something derogatory about evoking the memory of 9/11 in relation to patriotism. When they do, they show the true nature of their character. That is, they have none.

Seven years later and there is a lot of political dissonance in our country. I hope we can all put that aside for the day and focus on the fact that we were attacked. We lost a lot of lives. And we have yet to exact our full measure of justice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He's bugging me to customize his tricycle


That's completely untrue. He's upgraded to a bike recently. I just liked the biker gang image.

I guess I should explain. Bo's been potty training. He gets a sticker every time he does #1. He gets a tattoo for every #2. As you can see, he's been a busy boy.

He had another incentive. We bought him a Transformer and he had to go #2 ten times to earn it. He got his toy this morning.

Monday, September 08, 2008

My wife is amazing XXIII - XXVI

Man ... it was a hard weekend. Nothing happened, but I'm struggling with feeling better but not yet feeling well and I just didn't want to have much to do with the internets. Didn't want to have much to do with much of anything.

So, J-Mom struggles on in the face of having a husband whose motivation is depleted by pain. I have so much admiration for what she does on a daily basis.

She is really trying to discipline our dog.

She is really working hard to potty train our youngest.

She is beginning to work with Pampered Chef.

She is always trying. Always struggling. Even when I'm well, I don't have half the drive she does.

The paperwork

My packet has been reformatted and resubmitted (with fingers crossed). I'm pretty certain we've got it right this time around. The big problem before is that we were trying to do something informally and the people at the high end wanted us to do it formally.

The kicker to all of this? This many month-long process is just to get someone to say that it's OK for me to start a process that is going to be just as labor-intensive as this process has been. Just to get one guy to say, "Yes."

Once I have the OK to proceed, I have to submit a mass of different paperwork to a different office and hope that everything's Ok with that stuff.

You know why stuff in the government runs so poorly? Because any time anyone has a good idea to make stuff better, they're bogged down by all the bureaucracy and give up.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bureaucracy and the bureaucratic bureaucrats who bureau

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK. I've been working on a project since February. I'm trying to save my organization a lot of money. Seven-figures a year kind of money. It's not a guaranteed thing, but I'm testing the waters and hoping something will bite.

However, before I put my line in the water, I have to get approval. I've done all the background research, put my ducks in a row and have put together a pretty stellar packet (IMNSHO). However, every time I bring it up to the front office for approval, it keeps getting kicked back. The first time was understandable, but it's getting ridiculous.

Let's look at a timeline, shall we? I got the idea in Feb. I began doing research, complied my compilations, put together my recommendations and sent it out through the chop-chain by mid-April. Took me two months. It took another two months to make it through the various channels before it wound up in the front office for Round 1. Round 1 ended mid-June.

They kicked it back for a legal review.

OK. I got that. Makes perfect sense. Drop off at legal. Wait for an opinion. Nice guys. However, now it's 4 July timeframe and I don't get it back until mid-July. But I get their memo and kick it back to the front office for Round 2. Round 2 ended a couple of days later when they said we needed permission from another office.

OK. Get information from that office. Well, I don't get that until the end of August. So, I get it and send the packet back up for Round 3. In what looks like a surprise upset, we are told that all the ducks are in place and all is well. However, they get a TKO because now our packet is not formatted correctly.

That's where I am now. Trying to put everything together correctly. Just to get one person to put their initials in a block.

Ugh.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My wife is amazing XXII

Having three kids and having a pretty active lifestyle means we often get food on the run. I am not great with being frugal at the drive through. I don't think about the overall cost but rather just get what everyone wants. My bills for family excursions are close to or over $20.

J-Mom is wonderfully frugal when hitting the drive through. She just seems to inherently know what to get to feed the crew on a budget. I guess I get anxious at the order screen, worrying about people behind me.

We need to cut down on it, though, and are trying.

Chrome surfing

Anyone else using Google Chrome? I wasn't geeking over it, but I downloaded it to try it out. Ran it around the Web a good bit yesterday and early this morning. I gotta say, the browser is fast. I had read reviews talking up its speed, but experiencing it is another thing all together. I was thinking about some sites that slow during loading and came up with two that I often hit: Weather.com and IMAO. IMAO particularly gives me problems because at work I have to use Internet Explorer and it takes forever to load. Chrome zoomed through both sites.

Ironically, the pages that took me longest to load were Blogspot page (Blogspot being owned by Google).

One thing many people like, which I don't, is the removal of the file menu bar. I hate this "feature." Hate it in Office, hate it IE and hate it in Chrome. It makes it so difficult to get to the options, bookmarks and things like that. It's a minor gripe with the browser (though a much larger one with the Office suite; I got a classic menu plug in and have been fine since then) and the predictive search makes up for a lot.

Pretty good product, Google.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My wife is amazing XXI

I put on a new pair of jeans last night. They were comfortable. They looked good (as good as anything can look on me, I guess). And I probably would never have bought them myself.

Often, I complain about not having certain kinds of clothes or that what I have is getting ragged, but seldom do I do anything about it. If it weren't for J-Mom, it would be ages until I got any new clothing.

Now, I need to get better about her.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My wife is amazing XX

Like any person, I say the wrong things. I do the wrong things. I fall down. J-Mom is always there to pick me up. Whether she realizes it or not, she is. When I fly off at the handle, she doesn't put up with me, but when I am truly down, she's as supportive as I need. Sometimes more supportive than I realize.

I didn't take as good care of my back after getting the spinal block as I should have. The next couple of days were really tough. J-Mom pretty much forced me to stay down since Friday. I got out some yesterday and I've been up more today and that's only because I was on my butt the days before.

Sometimes I fall down. Sometimes I need a lot of help getting up. I'm glad I've got the help I need.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A question for the computer geeks

So, I just bought this new Lenovo (which is a steal, by the way) and I put this video card in. Except, see how that card shows two DVI and one S-Video connections? Well, the card I got doesn't have that. It has one DVI, one HDMI and one VGA. This shouldn't be that big a deal except for the fact that the VGA port on the card is too close to the retaining clip that holds the PC cards in place like most newer computers. If it was more old school and just used screws, it wouldn't be a problem.

For the monitor, this is not an issue. I just run DVI out. However, I play a lot of video on my TV from my computer and I don't have a high-def TV yet, so I can't run HDMI out, I was counting on running the S-video out. Now I have to get a VGA to S-Video adapter, but then I run into the problem of the port being too close to the clip.

So, here's the question, anyone out there know of any narrow VGA cables/adapters? I would rather not mutilate a cable or the clip on the computer.

My wife is amazing XIX

One of my coworkers has a lot of cheesy little knickknacks all over her desk. She used to own a store that sold them, but it went under (go figure). There is one that hangs up and has a saying written on it that I thought was pretty cheesy until I thought about it some. It says, "Dance like there is no one watching."

I guess what it's trying to say, literally, is to dance with abandon. Figuratively, though, I think this is frame of mind to take into all aspects of life. To approach everything with that same fearless abandon. J-Mom is this kind of person. Literally and figuratively. She'll jump up when a song comes on TV and dance with it -- usually trying to get the kids to dance along. She approaches situations thoughtfully, but without a care about what anyone else thinks. That's a hard thing to master.


I know I've never done it.

My wife is amazing XVIII

This is sort of a special one. We are getting Bo-Bo potty trained, finally, so this is an "in memorium" kind of entry.

J-Mom changes/has changed a lot more dirty diapers than I have. Not just because she's home with the kids all day, but because the kids always seemed to gravitate toward her when they needed to be cleaned up.

So, being on the eve of having diaperless children, I am thankful for having someone to take care of so many of them.