Friday, November 30, 2007


I found out this morning that I've been accepted into grad school.

Pretty much made my day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Me too, kitteh, me too

Yep. I have a horrible habit of jumping in, committing to something full fledged and then, a bit of the way through the process, I begin thinking, "Hmm, wonder if this was the best course of action."

Sometimes not so much. Sometimes it's wonderful.

Guess that's part of what makes life so much fun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cum on Feel the Noize

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer of the popular 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot, has been found dead from unknown causes at his home in Las Vegas, authorities said on Monday.
Man. I don't know what to say about that.

THE band that introduced me into rock and roll.

Just because I wanted something new here

Turkey Day went over well here. I fried a turkey and smoked two pork roasts. We met up with three other families and a couple of stragglers at the wife's church and had a kind of pot luck lunch. Lots of good food.

It was my first time frying a turkey (though not my first time having fried turkey). It was a learning experience. The expense of the process is what has kept me from doing it before. My neighbor here has three fryers and lent me one.

But it was my pork roasts that really went over. I was quite happy with who they turned out.

I'm still off work -- don't have to go back until tomorrow. I hope you are all having a good day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've traveled every road in this here land

You Know Your States

You got 10/10 correct.

You've got a pretty good handle on US geography.
There's a good chance you've visited at least a dozen of the fifty states.

Taken from ALa.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Don't stop believin'

Generally I avoid presidential political debates. I just don't think you see much of a candidate's character or position on issues. Rather, I think we mostly see a controlled: "He called me this!" "Well, she said this!" argument.

I was thinking this morning. What if political debates didn't involve real topics at all, but opponents spoke in lyrics from cheesy rocks songs? Now that would be a spectacle! Just picture the recent Democrat debate:

Wolf Blitzer: Well, we're here in Nevada for another Democrat debate. I open the floor to opening remarks from the candidates.

John Edwards: I think you can see, more so than any of my fellow candidates, that my voting record shows that I believe that you don't have to live like a refugee. Yeah, it ain't no real big secret all the same. You believe what you want to believe. But I think that, generally, somewhere, somehow somebody
must have kicked you around some

Barack Obama: That's all well and good, however, I wear my sunglasses at night ... so I can ... so I can ... Keep track of the visions in my eyes. While she's deceiving me it cuts my security.

Hillary Clinton: Hey, watch your mouth there buddy. 'Cause we've got the right to choose and there ain't no way we'll lose it. This is our life, this is our song. We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore.

Dennis Kucinich: She bop--he bop--a--we bop.

Blitzer: With those fine, sage words from Rep. Kucinich, we close the opening statements.

Well, didn't that make more sense than the actual debates?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I, too, am now one of 'them'

Military personnel and DoD civilian employees carry a CAC card for identification (CAC card is kind of like ATM machine in that CAC means Common Access Card). The CAC replaced the old ID card some time ago. There is a microchip embedded on the card and in the Navy and Marine Corps (though I believe the Army and Air Force are going this way if they haven't already) you use your CAC to log into your computer. There is a slot on the keyboard you stick your card into that brings up the log-in prompt.

This is a security measure and works pretty well. As long as you don't forget your card.

You see, since your CAC is also your ID, you have to have it to access the base. But if you are one of the many who forget it and leave it in your computer, then you have some 'spailing to do to the gate guard in the morning.

I've been a government civilian with a CAC for nearly three years now and today I became one of the many who logged out, but forgot to pull out.

Thank God for understanding gate guards.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mailed in Taiwan?

China is refusing some of Taiwan's mail.

Back at work today.

Very busy.

Hope you're all doing well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Putting a day off to good use

Long weekends often go to waste around the Cullen household. That is, we might get some cleaning done or something like that, but we don't get out and do fun stuff as often as we should. I'm more to blame than anyone else.

I didn't want that to be the case this weekend, so I planned for us to head out to Meeman-Shelby Forest, which is maybe 10 minutes from the house. After getting lunches and snacks packed, we headed out for some hiking fun. There's no online maps of their trails so I didn't know what was in store, but the Web site says they have plenty of hiking.

Once there we saw that we could choose from four hiking trails varying in distances from one to 12 miles. We took the one-mile route that also has a three and four-mile variant. It was out intent to take the four-mile trek.

At the halfway point there was a shelter where we stopped for lunch. Once we went to get back to hiking, we got off on a wrong trail, but still logged in 2.5-3 miles. Where we wound up there was a playground, so the wife and kids stopped to play while I walked on to get our truck. I probably logged about 5 miles total with my road walking.

It was a gorgeous and very fun day. Next time we won't be forgetting our bug spray and will make sure to stay on the right trail.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Long weekend, woo hoo!

I gots me a four-day.

Hug a veteran this weekend. Or more, if, you know, it's cool and all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Like, teaching people, not like Henry VIII

This past weekend was my last at Dominos. I just wasn't making enough scratch versus what I was spending on gas. That's the main reason. That and I just didn't like it very much.

But me not moonlighting doesn't mean I don't still need the extra income. So I'm looking around for things that I can do in my off time and I've run across an interesting company. It's a tutoring service. Basically, folks sign up and tutor kids (Pre-K to adult) and are treated as independent contractors.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Do you have or know anyone whose kids are being tutored? Do you or do you know anyone who is doing anything like this?

I'd like to get some opinions before I commit.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dying dead trees

I'm a print guy. I've been one my entire professional life and a little bit before that. That's why stuff like this make me sad. Although I understand that dead-tree journalism will eventually die, that realization doesn't soften the blow.

Newspapers, right or wrong, are a far more elegant form of communication than Radio, Television or the Internet. There's something about having the tactile feel of newsprint and the smell of fresh printer's ink before you. But that's nostalgia. That can be overcome. What I find lamentable is that by looking at readership numbers, you are quite often overlooking the forest for the trees.

My shop puts out to magazines, both of which I edit. A couple of years ago one of those publications went completely digital and a poll was conducted for the other to see if that was also a viable option.

Anecdotally, the first magazine's stint in cyberspace was a failure. It had been a useful tool for readers and suddenly it disappeared. No one was looking for it online, they just expected it to show up in their shops once every quarter.

The poll from the second magazine revealed overwhelmingly that readers preferred to get hard-copy editions. Even those that used the internet frequently said that hard copy was the best way to get that information to them.

What this says to me is that there are still audiences for print products. I understand that time will change these attitudes. In the case of the second magazine, those polled were retirees. Time will definitely have an effect on that audience. Recognizing that print is a dying beast isn't a difficult task. It's like a kicking that dying beast when it's incapacitated. What the print industries need to recognize better is the finite lifespan of their products and how to make them more vital to the public that still desires them.

I'm not seeing this trend in newspapers (though you do in magazines). Newspapers trudge forward with centuries worth of tradition stuffed up their collective fourth points of contact. They need to re-imagine themselves. Newspapers are no longer the home of hard news. Stronger news features and feature stories are needed. More interaction with the community and less AP news is needed. Proactive stances on community events are needed, rather than reactive coverage of things people are doing. That is, newspapers are traditionally things that tell us what people did. They need to focus a lot more on what people could be doing.

Sorry for the rant, but people are quick to put nails in coffins when the body's not dead yet (I feel happy!).

Monday, November 05, 2007

The toofairy heart melt

Daughter number two lost both of her front teeth yesterday. I woke up to a little smiling girl, with a conspicuous one-tooth gap. "Daddy," she said. "Look at this!" she beamed.

Later that day, while I was preparing to cook dinner, she ran into the kitchen and said, "Daddy, look!" Her gap had widened.

Early this morning, after I woke up and showered, I nudged my wife to ask if she had played tooth fairy last night. "Oh, I forgot."

"How much were you going to give her?" I asked.

"Three dollars," she said.

So, I got the money and snuck into her room (as stealthily as a large land mammal can in a room full of creaks). Her and her sister share a full-size bed, the top level of a giant bunk bed. First I had to stand up on a chair to see which side she had her head on. Then I made my way over and gently felt under her pillow for the Zip-lock bag. Bag in hand, I prepared to put the money under her pillow when I noticed she was waking up. She sat up, and before she could get her wits about her, I put the money under her pillow and slouched down where she couldn't see me.

I could hear her checking under her pillow. I heard her rustle the bills as she counted.

"(Daughter Number One)! (Daughter Number One)!" she woke her sister.

"Yes? What is it, (Daughter Number Two)?"

"I got three dollars!"


"You should have one. You deserve one."

"No you should keep your money, (Daughter Number Two)."

"No, you deserve one because of your broken tooth the other day."

"Thank you, but you should keep it."

And that is why my kids rock.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Talk about kicking your own ass ...

I went on my first run in over a year yesterday. A very slow, very easy two miles that has left my body in shards today.

With my back doing better, I decided it was time (again) to start losing weight to 1) reduce the amount of stress on my back and prevent lower back injuries/pain from happening again, and 2) get in better shape.

I have a long-term goal too, one that I won't go into here right now but that I hope will keep me to my plan.

Ass Pie

My Aspie score: 54 of 200
My neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 153 of 200
I am very likely neurotypical

I don't have Aspbergers. So, I got that going for me.

The Aspie Quiz from Nightfly.