Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Going home 

Ah, home again. To once more stroll the land of brick buildings, open skies and broad leafy trees that tower over you. (As opposed to the trees you look down upon from the hilltop.) As I rode from the airport to my folks' house, it was the subtle details of the world around me rather than the larger landmarks that caught my attention. But it still felt like putting on an old, comfortable jacket.

Anyway, so far vacation has been busy. Every day has had some sort of event and while Noodles and the kids will just be taking it easy tomorrow, I won't have a fully vegatative day until next week, if then. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Gotta enjoy it while I can. I'll probably have a few contemplations come out of it all, but if I post it, 'twill probably be after I get back. Unless a really funny anecdote comes up....

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Time keeps on ... dragging, dragging, dragging 

24 hours until the work week ends and less than 36 'til we embark to visit the clan back in Illinois. I've been fairly good on getting things prepared this week. The one exception being doing some planning for genealogical research. I like to do at least some research when I visit the land of my ancestors, but once again I'm just going to shove a bunch of notes into an envelope and figure out where and what I want to research when I get there. Part of me is tempted to cruise around and try and find tombstones, but since I'll be borrowing the car and won't really learn all that much from the exercise, I'll probably pass. Anyway, since I've abandoned genealogy planning, the only tasks left to do is to make sure the bills are paid, the checkbook is balanced, the paycheck is deposited and my stuff gets packed.

In past years, a vacation back to Illinois meant a vacation from the computer and the internet, but I think this year'll be different. Not only do my folks now have internet access, but, as we discovered last year, the Roselle Public Library offers internet access to the public during the day. Since I'll be taking along my trusty, all-purpose steno book, I'll probably be tempted to journal and then post it from the field. Then again, I may get caught up in rambunctious games of Uno and totally forget about it all. We'll see what happens. One thing's for sure: I won't be whining about work.

Today In Alternate History 

Hey it's a test of the "Blog This!" button on the Blogger bar atop the page. Today In Alternate History is a site I definitely need to check out when I get the time. The Slumberland blog clued me into this.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


I noticed that Blogger made some changes. Instead of the ads up on top we've now got a little search bar. It's just as well. My post on bovine literature had the thing stuck on cow merchandise. I do like the "Next Blog" button which takes you to another Blogspot blog. (Whether it's random or not, I haven't figured out yet. It's too much like work to research it.) It's always fun to see what else is out there, even if it is yet another blog that is better than mine. Of course, the last time I tried it I got a blog that was in some foreign language. (Which language, I know not. It shows the weather in the Netherlands, but based on my extensive experience of stripping up CD labels for Dell, the text looks more like Czech.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Stay the course 

Well, I checked out that job opportunity a bit more, despite the fact that vacation is approaching and my mind is already there. I decided to take pass on it. It sounds like a good employer with good benefits, but if if I were to actually get the job I'd be going back to 2 weeks of vacation time and we'd have to switch to a different HMO. (That would be fine with me, as I've had two "primary care providers" leave the system since I've been insured there, but Noodles would hate to leave her doctor behind.) If I were looking for a long term change, I'd go for it. But since we're looking to start Noodles' career change next year, I'm just going to hang onto the extra vacation and (probable) higher salary. So farewell to the short commute and the weekly free pound of coffee.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The odd world of advertizing 

I'm working on a catalog image of some bookshelves right now. All of the books on said bookshelf are color co-ordinated and of near uniform height. Yeah. Right. Like how many book lovers have a bookcase like that?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

There goes the neighborhood 

We've got new neighbors across the back fence. Renters, actually. Either their arrival or the departure of the previous renters inspired the landlord to spruce up the place. Y'know, when it comes to yard care, there are four types of people. First are those who live for their yards. If it's a sunny day, odds are they are out in the yard--pulling weeds, tending plants and just generally getting dirty. Their yards are showplaces and it's a joy to live in sight of one of these homes. The second level of landowners are those who want a nice yard but pay others to do the work. With this type, you only get a showplace yard when they are really rich, but even in the poorer neighborhoods, second level yards are nice and neat. The third level of landowner is a do-it-yourselfer, like the first level, but they don't get fancy. The yard is usually mowed, the trees eventually get pruned and the flower beds are weeded, but overall the design of the yard is simple. Then you have the fourth level. A fourth level landowner might mow the yard if they need to get a part from the junked car that's rusting in the front yard. They've got a commitment to nature, to see our urban and suburban communities return to their primeval state. That, or they're just too durn busy to mess with a stupid yard. Either way, they are the lowest of the low on the yard care spectrum.

Me, I'm a definite level four. Pavement is forever and that suits me just fine because that means it doesn't need mowing. (Fortunately for my neighbors, Noodles is a level three and keeps the yard relatively suitable.) Until the last few weeks, the house in back also sported a level four yard. (An oddity, because the owners live down the street and their home is almost a level two.) But bit by bit they've been cleaning up the place--replacing the dilapidated picket fence with a clean, new chain-link, chopping away the ivy and blackberry vines, and even chopping down the cherry tree which gave shade to my six foot wide back yard. (And my bathroom. I really don't like having the morning sun brightening the whole room. I prefer to have my morning sun about one in the afternoon.) Like I said, I don't know the entire rationale behind this transformation. The disappearing tree, I've discovered, was due to the machinations of the new renters. Two of the three work for a landscaping company and they took out the tree for free. But they only moved in this week and the improvments started a few weeks before that. It's probably just a case of things coming together for the betterment of all. (Bright bathrooms notwithstanding.) Oh, well.....

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Hamlet time 

I just got word tonight about a job opportunity that's much closer to home than Bloatmeal. I'd be willing to bet that they're not asking for continual 10 hour days. Dare I pursue this? Or should I just stick it out here for another year or so and see how Noodles career plans work out? Hmmm, looks like a marital conference is in order for tomorrow.

Get with the program! 

I'm a very poor activist, but I sometimes do contribute to the cause. Unearthed Ruminator has set his mind to taking on the big G and getting them to conform to html standards. You can read all about it here. I realize it's kind of hypocritical for me to support this, seeing how I haven't bothered to make Hamburgerland in any way standards complaint. (Hey, I can't understand half of the code that makes up the template.) But if the Ruminator says it's important, I believe him. Besides, I always like to have a smiley when I'm browsing with iCab.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I flashed an answer, "Neon!" 

I'm not into any sort of astrology--I'm not even interested in reading the horoscopes for fun any more.* But as a graphic arts professional, I just had to follow the link from 42 to Pantone's Colorstrology site. However, since my color turned out to be Light Lilac (Pantone 12-2903), I don't think I'll be getting into colostrology, either.

*Trivial note: I can tell you the Western astrological signs of my parents and siblings, and the Chinese astrological signs of my wife and children, but not the opposites of either family. Just goes to show when in my life I took interest in such things.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Radio, radio 

My favorite station, KBCS has just shuffled their evening line-up. Up through last week, the typical evening was news and public affairs programs from 5 til 7, one or more music programs until 10 (each day featured a different show) and then some sort of jazz program from 10 til midnight. Since I don't care for modern jazz, I would usually listen 'til ten and then switch to some other station. Now, all the jazz shows have been moved to Monday night, which means I switch stations at 7. (I should point out that not all of the evening jazz shows have been moved. At least one got axed, along with a few other programs. The jazz I won't miss, but I might pine a bit over the syndicated Sound & Spirit. And I do lament the loss of The Blues House on Sunday night. Goodbye, Oogie. sniff.) Anyway, tonight I switched to KMTT the station I used to listen to before I sold out to public radio. It hasn't been on my post-10 pm lineup, since they play a show called "The Chill Side of the Mountain", which just doesn't tickle my ear. So tonight I listened, but of course later jogged over to KZOK when the "Chill SIde" started chillin'. Of course, then at 10, they dedicated the hour to playing Pink Floyd songs. I thought about changing the station, but lethargy had set in and I just left it there. Nothing against Pink Floyd, but a whole hour of their stuff grows rather tiresome. I suppose my next choice of stations, travelling up the dial, would have been the Phil Hendrie Show on the Buzz. But then All Comedy Radio would come on at 11 and I'd want to switch again. Oh, well. I suppose I'll figure it out. Tomorrow, I can just leave the dial at KBCS and not worry about it.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Teach your children well 

Today I was reminded of the importance of paying attention to what your child sees and hears. I went up to Scarecrow Video today and rented a DVD of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Noodles was reminiscing over a particular episode of that series last week and, since we had the opportunity, we decided to rent some episodes to watch after the kids go to bed. But since The Dick Van Dyke Show is so wholesome--we had watched it as kids, after all--we decided to give the girls a treat and let them watch one episode. Now I don't know if it's because our kinder are growing up almost TV free, but man, did those kids soak up the schtick. A bit later Poodlepums was going around saying, in a fair imitation of Mary Tyler Moore, "Oh, Rob!" and Bunnah was responding with a "there, there honey." (Also a recognizable imitation, but it's hard for a seven year old girl to really capture a man's voice.) And this from one episode! (We know they haven't been seeing any on the sly, since they were both balking about having to watch some dumb TV show they had never seen before. They only whine like that before the experience something.) Of course, I really can't point the finger too much because later in the evening, while Noodles was out on an errand, I managed to set some cooking oil aflame while trying to make up some popcorn. I normally don't cook like a sitcom husband, honest! Anyway, it just goes to show that every word, picture and idea has the potential to get in your brain and work some mischief.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Bovine literature 

I had an unexpected opportunity to exercise my rusty Spanish tonight. Bunnah had accidently checked out a Spanish book from the library, CLIC, CLAC, MUU: Vacas escritoras. It was a translation of the book by Doreen Cronin, CLICK, CLACK, MOO: Cows That Type. It's a gripping tale of a labor dispute between Granjero Brown and his cows. I was able to follow the story, using the remnants of the vocabulary that I learned in my year and a quarter of Spanish class, along with the illustrations, logic and a hint from Poodlepums that mantas meant blankets. I was quite proud of myself, and thoroughly amused. I don't know what it is with cows that they make such amusing characters. Denys Cazet's Minnie and Moo series is great and had I read CLIC, CLAC, MUU in English, I'm sure I would have been roaring with laughter. I'm thinking of putting it on my Christmas list. Maybe I just needed a laugh after last month. Of course, there is one drawback to today's amusment. Poodlepums was quite entertained by my attempts to translate the story and is threatening to check out more Spanish books. Oy! If only we lived by the Ballard library rather than the Beacon Hill branch.....

Friday, August 06, 2004

An apology 

If you clicked on the For Myself and Strangers link during the last half year and got the page from January 21st, I apologize. The URL changed and I forgot to update that here. (Perhaps I should make this my home page.) Anyway, Sherri really has written more since the "Rabbi Offers Prayer for Web Porn Browsers". It's good stuff, so check it out. And, again, I'm sorry.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


I swung by Mute Troubador and found that Rev. Doug had taken a quiz in which he found he was most like Seattle: "Your dark exterior masks a caffeine driven activism. You'll take up a cause and you'll get ugly to advance it." The occasional WTO riot aside, that really doesn't sound much like the place I live in. So I checked it out for myself and found:

Take the quiz: "Which American City Are You?"

You are blue collar and Rock n Roll. You Work hard and party harder.

Cleveland? Oh, well, since the quiz doesn't include Chicago, I guess it'll do. I'll leave it to the Cleveland residents to determine if that's an accurate assessment of their city.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The week of small things 

Whew! I survived it. Last week was rather busy. All sorts of little things combining to fill up the time. The big "event" of the week was an Orff Schulwerk seminar which Noodles attended all week. Every morn she would get up at the crack of dawn and make the 45 minute drive down to Puyallup. I was stuck with the child wrangling--undoubtedly the biggest block of child wrangling I've done in my life. Then, since the schedules didn't mesh, I ended up shlepping the kids along with me to work and they had to cool their heels in the lunch room for an hour and a half until Noodles could come fetch them. (Actually, that was a good part of the week, for me. I didn't go parading the children about the shop, but a number of my coworkers naturally ventured into the lunchroom and got to see what wonderful, well-behaved children I have. I refrained from shouting out, "See? This is what my life's really about!") In between that, I squeezed in a trip to Poodlepums' opthamologist on one day and Hiker's funeral on another. (Actually, I missed the funeral proper, which was in the evening, but by taking a long lunch I was able to shuttle Poodles from ballet class to the church and pay my respects to Biker. Hiker's ashes were also there, which for some odd reason kind of creeped me out. Maybe I was just raised to be a burial guy.) On Friday, the kids were spared the Bloatmeal experience as Noodles' class had a recital. It was kind of odd seeing a bunch of adults running about, eagerly introducing their family members to their teachers and then giving a musical performance. But the show was good--or at least the part that I saw. The schedule demanded that I depart early to get to work on time. A lot of driving and rushing about. Normally, I love to drive but by Saturday I was content to put the car in the garage.