Friday, November 03, 2006

A Weekend for Parents

Last Friday, I managed to sneak out the front doors at 2:00 to wend my way down to the booming metropolis of Belton, Texas. The Eldest Aardvark Child goes to school in Belton and it was Parents Weekend.

Last year the whole family was there, but since the Youngest Aardvark Child had a band competition on Saturday, Mrs. A and I decided the best strategy was to divide and conquer. So, this year it was just me and the EAC. Or, more accurately, me, the EAC and her good friend she hangs out with a lot – who’s parents weren’t coming for Parents Weekend and so we just kind of adopted her. I guess that would make her the Adopted Aardvark Child, or just the AAC for short.

The first order of business when I arrived was to hit the registration table to pick up the stuff I had already paid for, mainly a dinner ticket, a breakfast ticket and a ticket to the football game Saturday afternoon. Naturally, they were selling assorted merchandise, and just as naturally, I had to buy some – a hat for me and a matching hat for Mrs. A. Then we had to stop in and see the EAC’s advisor, who also happens to be her boss for her work-study job. He seems to be a nice guy, even if he has an 18” pony tail (Art department), and somehow I managed to work that usual Aardvark magic and turn the whole encounter into a string of uncomfortable chit-chat punctuated by awkward silences.

“Sooooo, well. It’s nice to have met you. I guess we’ll be going on to dinner now, right girls? Right, well, ummm, anyway, it really is nice to meet you and, ummm, well, we’ll be going now. Right.”

At least there’s no question where the EAC gets her social graces. (hint – not from me)

On to dinner. And, unsurprisingly, the decision was to NOT use the ticket for the meal I had already paid for. We piled into the car (with me wearing my cool new hat) and headed North to Temple, Texas which is just a mile or so up the freeway. On the way to Temple we decided that IHOP was a place that would satisfy everyone’s cravings. Mmmm…pancakes. We walked in the door in front of three senior citizens and managed to get seated at a table by the slack-luster staff. He managed to mumble, “Your waiter will be with you shortly,” and shuffled off. A couple of minutes later he did manage to find his way back to take our drink order, though he made it clear that he was only doing that to help out. As he sat the drinks down, he again mumbled, “Your waiter will be with you shortly,” and then promptly disappeared a second time.

As we sat and waited, I noticed several things. One was that the place really wasn’t that busy. There were only about six or seven tables containing about 20 diners. There was a teenaged girl waiting on some tables and a mid-thirties guy, who I pegged for a manager type, was helping a table in the corner. Add to that the slacker that seated us and brought our drinks and the kid that was chit-chatting on the phone at the front, and you’d think that you might have some decent service. HA!

I really should have seen it coming, and even after I did, I never really thought that it would actually arrive, you know? What really set off the alarms was the posture and speed of the manager. He led by example and unfortunately his example consisted of a hand-in-the-pocket slouch combined with a what’s-the-point-to-it-all-anyway shuffle and a stare-at-the-floor point of view. Now, I know it’s not reasonable to expect that everyone who works in a SERVICE industry, like say – a restaurant, to actually be enthusiastic about service 24/7, but I do know that if you can’t at least muster up a little pride in what you do, you’re probably not going to have too much success in delivering at even rudimentary levels. Yeah, you might have to serve up Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity’s all day long, but that was the gig you signed up for and if that beats you down, brother, it’s time to move on.

(steps down off soapbox)


We waited. And waited. And looked around trying to make eye contact with someone, anyone. And waited. And waited.

Now part of that time waiting was spent in conversation and giggling, so it wasn’t all bad. When I saw the seniors who had been seated after us get their food, I knew it was time to go. I threw a couple of bucks on the table to pay for the drinks and we got up to leave. Still, no one working even noticed. I’m convinced I could have pranced around the room in a spotted leopard-print leotard and no one would have called 911 to report the crazy man. I sent the girls on to the car and went back to find the manager. He was standing, slumped against a register.

“Excuse me, are you the manager,” I asked.


“I just thought you might want to know that we’re leaving. We’ve been sitting waiting for someone to come take our order for 20 minutes and this young man here,” – points to slacker standing nearby – “told us twice that someone would come take it shortly, and shortly never came.”

I turned and walked out. No apology, no ‘how can we make it right’, no nothin’. Not that I expected anything. I think they were just glad to see us go without making a big fuss. (Too bad I didn’t have my leopard-print leotard with me.)

We went down the street to Fazoli’s and ate Italian. The service and service staff there were like night and day to IHOP. I’ll eat there again even if I did think the lasagna was a little salty (and for ME to say something’s salty, well…) because the overall experience was such that I’ll give their food the benefit of the doubt.

Next: La Mancha es muy bueno!

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    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Blogging forecast

    Nothing today, but tomorrow should produce some heavy downpours as the high pressure system that has been hindering the front is moving off to the East.

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    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Political thought # 10

    A politician wants to “engage” in problem solving, not actually solve problems.

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    Political thought # 9

    “Earmarked” funds are a concept, not a reality.

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    Political thought # 8

    Candidates always accuse their opponents of what they would have done given the same circumstances.

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    Political thought # 7

    Talent, skill and aptitude are secondary to money, connections and influence.

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    Political thought # 6

    There is a reason so many attorneys are attracted to politics. What they said and what you THINK they said have never been formally introduced.

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    Political thought # 5

    Politicians running for re-election will always campaign on a platform based on what they should have accomplished already.

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    Political thought # 4

    No matter what the facts are or how logical the position, the side with the most emotional appeal will win.

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    Political thought # 3

    There are honest, ethical politicians and there is a term that’s commonly used in association with them: also-rans.

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    Political thought # 2

    The phrase “Politics makes strange bedfellows” is SUPPOSED to be a metaphor.

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    Political thought # 1

    I’m not sure what’s worse, politicians treating us like we’re a bunch of ignorant stooges, or the fact that they’re predominantly correct in doing so.

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    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Waah waah, wahh waa waahh wa ...

    As a kid I always liked the noise Charlie Brown’s teachers made when they talked. There were never any real words, but you still got the idea by listening to the tone and inflection. What I didn’t realize as a kid is that when I got old and talked to my kids, they would hear exactly that when I spoke.

    The Eldest Aardvark Child was home weekend before last. One evening, on the way home, we stopped by the local Braum’s to pick up a gallon of milk. Never being one to let the opportunity slip past me, we also decided to pick up some ice cream (or as she used to call it many years ago - Key Keem). So, the EAC and I are perusing the display case, seeing what flavors are available.

    LittleA: “French Vanilla. Fudge Ripple. Mint Chocolate Chip. Peanut Butter Crunch. Ooh, look. They have Pumpkin.”

    EAC: “I don’t care what flavor we get.”

    EAC: “Ooh, look. They have Pumpkin!”

    I did what any of you would have done. Slumped my shoulders, shook my head and said, “You’re killing me here, you know that don’t you?”

    EAC: “What?”


    LittleA: “Didn’t you just hear me say that?”

    EAC: “I heard you talking, but I wasn’t really paying attention to what you were saying.”

    LittleA: “Waah waah, wahh waa waahh wah?”

    EAC: ::giggle:: “Pretty much.”

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    I’m a little old for teething

    It’s really unusual for me to dream and remember it. It happens occasionally, but not often. So, for me to have four dreams in two days (so, ok I’m old and take naps – plus I need my beauty sleep – I figure if I keep trying it’s bound to work eventually) puts things way beyond unusual and into the realm of the bizarre.

    Four dreams in two days isn’t really correct, though. Really, it’s been just one dream four times.

    I don’t recall what I’m doing in the dream, but as time passes my teeth begin to fall out. One at a time. There is no pain, no blood and no distress and each tooth comes out square-ish, not all pointy with long roots, but rather like small dice. I just spit them out in my hand and keep on doing whatever it is I’m doing. Pretty soon I have the thought that if this keeps up, I’m going to wind up looking like Gabby Hayes. Then I wake up.

    Only to discover I DO look like Gabby Hayes.

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    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Not gone

    Just busy, busy, busy.

    The EAC had a long weekend, so I left early Friday to go pick her up. Mrs. A is taking her back this morning. I have a kajillion things at work going on simultaneously, so I decided to get an early start today and see if I can knock a few out before the interruptions start.

    See you good folks later.

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    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    I missed Teed-off Tuesday

    So, I guess I’ll have to settle for Whiny Wednesday. (Too bad for you)

    Saw where Babs Streisand displayed yet again what a total class act she is. I guess it goes to show that a beautiful voice does not always coincide with a beautiful heart. Charlotte Church, anyone?

    Ever notice that the folks who holler the loudest about not judging people by the color of their skin are the first ones to point out the color of their skin? That’s always confused me.

    There was a local art teacher that got fired (technically her contract was not renewed) recently after taking her fifth-grade charges to the Dallas Museum of Art. Seems that some of them got an eyeful of sculpture as they were passing through to the exhibit they were there to see and their parents complained. Now, I’m not suggesting that we start incorporating nudity into the fifth-grade curriculum, but it seems to me that the complainers should bare bear some of the responsibility. The permission slip they signed indicated that this would be a field trip to an ART MUSEUM. Hello? Anyone? Is there any reasonable person out there who wouldn’t know that there would be nekkidness at an art museum?

    I have four words to predict the success of Robin Williams latest “comedy” vehicle, Man of the Year (no, not THOSE four words...that's the name of the movie, silly!), based solely on the TV ads and previews I’ve seen: Flaming. Pile. Of. Poo. Anyone with a real sense of humor is going to avoid this one. Ooooh, Bruce Springsteen for Secretary of State. Yeah, that’s some edgy stuff all right. Comedy Gold. **Yawn**

    We’ve got a guy running as an independent for governor here in Texas by the name of “Kinky” Freidman. He’s a writer, comedian and musician and his whole platform is basically “I’m not a politician”. (I think that was tried a few years back in Minnesota with mixed results) The other independent is “Grandma” Strayhorn-Rylander-Strayhorn-Keeton-Strayhorn-Rylander (I may have gotten that a little mixed up). Her slogan is “One Tough Grandma”. Yeah, that’s a quality I want in a grandma for sure. “Suck it up, Granny!! This ain’t no church picnic! I want to see you sweat!” Mmmmm. Then again, maybe not. Which leaves us with the Democrat – Chris "Who?" Bell and the incumbent Republican – Rick “The Hair” Perry. Maybe instead of voting this year I’ll just stay home and try out that do-it-yourself lobotomy kit I bought off the internet(s).

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    Monday, October 09, 2006

    I woke up laughing

    I don't normally remember my dreams. But once in a while...

    The State Fair of Texas is upon us. I've lived here for 25 years and the fair is only 30 miles away. For every one of those 25 years, I've told myself, "Not this year, but maybe next year." (Hot betting tip - take the over) Anyway, as is normal, all the local channels innundate us with news segments about the fair. Usually, these involve the reporter eating whatever the newest fried food is. A couple of years ago it was fried Oreos, this year it's fried Coke. (Can Cornatees be far behind?)

    The Youngest Aardvark Child plays the oboe. Except during marching season, 'cause oboes don't march (don't ask me why, they just don't). So, during marching season she's in the "pit". For those of you who may not be initiated into the finer points of marching band, the pit is all those instruments that don't move around on the field, but rather, are stationary on the sideline. Which, for those of you thinking logically, seems to be a perfect place for a non-marching oboeist to play the oboe. Except she plays the mallets. And again, for the marching band neophyte, mallets are a large group of instruments that can be smacked around with a stick. Which, you have to admit, is pretty cool.

    Anyway, the YAC plays the vibes, which is a lot like a xylophone, but with a foot pedal to sustain the sound. The vibes are also a lot like the marimba, though if the YAC heard me say that she would feel the need to correct me. Attached to the vibes are other peripheral things like cymbals and chimes and she keeps something hanging from who knows where that looks like two cowbells attached to a rod that's been bent in half (putting the cowbell thingamabobs one above the other - slightly offset). Again, the YAC would tell you they're not cowbells, but they look like them and sound like them, so what do I know?

    So, what does all this have to do with my dream?

    I'm glad you asked.

    I dreamt I was watching a news segment about a live performance at the state fair. Who should be on the stage but Tito Puente (ok, so he plays the timbales, not the vibes - sue me). And as the camera is panning the crowd and swinging around to show the stage, what should happen to be right next to the stage? Well naturally a full sized billboard with one strangely familiar word.


    You know, it's pretty bad when you get big-timed in your own dream.

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    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    If I had any sense at all

    I’d never have anything to blog about. Or if I did have something I could blog about, I’d know better than to tell.

    Lucky for you…

    There have been several crises this past week involving un-locatable items and the YAC. You don’t have to be in the same room to know a crisis is at hand. The rising decibel level gives it away.

    The delicious irony of it all is that in every instance, Mrs. A has been able to walk in the YAC’s room, stir around the top layer of crap and uncover the missing item within seconds.

    I do believe I’m the only one in the house that’s amused.

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    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    LittleA is in the hizzouse

    YAC: “So, Girlfromschool asked Boyfromschool ‘where were you this weekend?’ and Boyfromschool said he was at his aunts house.”

    LittleA: “Hizzants house? Fo’ shizzle?”

    (I crack me up)

    Now for the truly scary part

    Mrs. A laughed.

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    Monday, October 02, 2006

    Home is where I want to be

    Homecoming at the high school Friday night. Mrs. A had dolled up a stuffed lion for the Youngest Aardvark Child to take to school on Friday. Since the YAC is in the band, she couldn’t take it with her to the game, so Mrs. A took it. I kept expecting her to hand it off to the YAC after halftime, but the lion stayed with us the whole game. I’m still a little confused as to why Mrs. A needed a stuffed lion with ribbons and cowbells (MORE COWBELL!!!) and such, but I find it’s best just to do as I’m told and not ask too many questions.

    Since Mrs. A is still using the crutches when she’s out and about, we sat down low in the bleachers right next to an entrance/exit. The metal bleachers are poorly designed and as a result the first step is out in the walkway. I wish I had $1 for every time someone tripped over that step – then I could pay for someone to extend the handrail down another foot to keep people from tripping over it.

    Sitting by the entrance like that is always entertaining. Especially amusing are the folks that show up mid-way through the second quarter – of Homecoming, mind you – and expect there to be four open seats on the 40 yard line.

    Our boys played well enough to win. Too bad our coach is confused about the role of time-outs in clock management. Mostly, when it’s under a minute and the clock is running and the other team needs to score to win, it’s probably not your best move to call time-out and stop the clock. Twice. Naturally, with OUR two time-outs and their two-time outs, the other team had just enough time to score and win. In pondering it, I’ve come to the conclusion that when you’re a small-time school you should only expect to attract and retain small-time coaches…and there are good reasons these coaches are small-time. The only up-side is that the other small-time schools we play are similarly blessed.

    I was handed the camera and instructed to go take pictures of the band. I pointed out to Mrs. A that she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in this week’s pictures from the ones taken last week. She was not amused. Rubbing the bump on the back of my head, I went and took pictures. They turned out pretty good too.

    The redneck is alive and well in Texas. Shoot-fire.

    I was amazed and appalled by the number of lips, eyebrows, tongues, noses and cheeks that the young folks are sporting hardware in these days. To which, I might add (though I shouldn’t), I can only say thank goodness they weren’t showing ALL of their hardware. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know if they’re doing it to stand out or to blend in. I will tell you that it disgusts me while simultaneously fascinating me. Like a train wreck, you don’t want to see, but can’t look away. Then there’s the eight year old boy who has a nice diamond stud in one ear. Makes me want to smack his parents. I can hear my Dad’s voice in my head and I’m not going to share what it’s saying.

    Two words of advice for the teen-aged boy:

    1. When being presented as part of the Homecoming Court, it’s not a good idea, while all eyes are on you, to take the opportunity to spit.

    2. If you must spit, at least make it worthwhile. Do not attempt that little pathetic dribble thing where you have to wipe your chin to make sure none of it got on you. I’m just sayin’.

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    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Honestly – I don’t know WHERE she gets it

    Scene: LittleA in his bedroom, headed out the door to the living room, when suddenly, out of nowhere he … well, he … uh … finds a squeaky floorboard steps on a barking spider.

    LittleA: “Nobody heard that, did they?”

    Family: !!!

    YAC: “Maybe if they lived in New Zealand.”

    LittleA: !!!

    (At least there were no comments about El Diablo and the lingering smell of sulphur)

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    Tuesday, September 26, 2006


    I freely admit to not being the most graceful of men. I wouldn’t say I was accident prone, per se, just clumsy and inept. Maybe it’s my size, but I don’t think so. Even as a kid I could never have been accused of being coordinated. Frankly, I consider it no small miracle that I can walk. Period. I’ll leave chewing gum to those more talented.

    Saturday night, the Youngest Aardvark Child asked if she could watch the show I had taped for her on Friday night. I had to tape the show Friday because it’s marching season for the band and the YAC and Mrs. A were off to the game. It being an away game, they left before I got off work, so I just headed home for a night of solitude. Being the geeber child that she is (she IS mine, after all), one of her favorite shows is Numb3rs – where the math freaks (not that there’s anything WRONG with that…) manage every week to stop the bad guys by using their ginormous brains to calculate exactly how many tribbles could be contained on board the Enterprise and how many nanoseconds it would take to reach that capacity. Which naturally causes an argument whether or not to consider the impact to the reproduction rate of running a tachyon burst through the main dish while reversing the polarity of the shields to counter the effect of the deep space energy beast sucking the antimatter out of the warp drive, while Spock rampages out of control, deep in the throes of the Pon Farr - at which point the bad guy’s eyes have either glazed over so they are easily cuffed and carted off to jail, or they are begging to be shot to be put out of their misery. (And at this point, the true believers among you are scratching their chins, nodding and saying, “Yes. It just might work!)

    Anyway, I had taped the show and she wanted to watch it on Saturday. Now, being a parent of a teenager, I have learned that the number of levers left to pull that actually will influence them grows smaller each passing day. Therefore, when presented with such a lever, it is imperative that it be used.

    “If you will spend the next 20 minutes DILIGENTLY picking up in your room, you may watch the show.”

    Yes, I am evil.

    “Ok. But first I need to go to the bathroom.”

    Ah. The old bathroom ploy. Always was a favorite of mine too. I can see the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. The force is strong in this one…

    “Ok. But your 20 minutes doesn’t start until after you get out.”

    Your move, Tonto.

    “I know.”

    I love the smell of victory!

    She spent the 20 minutes of picking up bringing one piece of paper out of her room at a time to put into the recycle stack.


    Ok, maybe not victory but at least it was progress.

    Fast forward to Sunday afternoon.

    “Dad, can I get online?”

    “Well, how does your room look?”

    Instant attitudinal reaction. Gee. I didn’t see THAT one coming. Much.

    After some calm discussion (at least on my part) we reached a consensus that perhaps the best course of action would be for me to go examine said room to see if it was up to (down to?) an acceptable level of craptivity. The YAC, you see is a keeper of all things crap. Old McDonald’s toys, stuffed critters, scraps of paper, beads, gauntlets made out of duct tape, packaging from whatever has been opened, more paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, POGS, trinkets, doodads, gewgaws, school papers, musical instruments, rubber bands, books, wrappers, shoe laces, buttons, bows, jewelry, puzzles, games, church papers, cards, dolls, magazines, coloring books, drawings, sand art, posters, CDs, headphones, erasers, cut out comic strips, more random bits of paper…and then the clothes piled here, there and everywhere. “I didn’t hang that up because I was going to wear it again.” “I keep my boots there because I can’t find them if I put them in the closet.”

    Anyway, we headed to her room to let me take a look around. You could tell that she had been working at picking up. There was definitely less clutter, and you could actually see some carpet in the middle of the room.

    “What’s this?” I said, pointing to a half-dozen stacks of paper, some books, writing utensils, backpack and jacket laying on the floor just inside her room.

    “That’s my school stuff. I’ll pack that up in the morning.”

    “Oh. What’s this then?” I said, pointing to some flotsam on the floor by her bean bag chair (that she NEVER sits in, by the way – but heaven forbid we should bring up getting rid of it).

    “That’s my music stuff.”

    ”Does it have to be there? Can’t it be stacked up into one neat pile?”

    “No Dad. I know where everything is now. If I put it in one pile I’ll never be able to find anything.”

    I have to tell you that the YAC is very much defined by her things. She has a sincere emotional attachment to them. If you’ve ever heard of the Five Love Languages, hers is the language of Gifts. She associates objects with feelings. Separating her from her objects is a very emotionally draining experience. That’s not to say that she’s completely materialistic or can’t share or give to others. When she gives you something, you’d better appreciate it because she has given you part of herself in the process - which explains why I still have some of the scraps of paper she gave to me years ago. You probably know someone like this.

    “Could we at least agree to keep the small piles but arrange them neatly?” I asked.

    “Dad. I’m an ARTIST!”

    Oh, excuse me, mademoiselle artiste.

    “I can see that you’ve done a lot of work in here, sweetie. But it still looks messy. And the thing that makes it look so messy is all the little piles strewn haphazardly about. I can’t tell the difference between your piles and a stack of papers thrown up in the air and landing where they will. Sometimes when I come in here I just want to kick up my feet like this,” as I started kicking my feet like I was moving through a pile of leaves. Of course, my feet were bare and my second kick made contact with her oboe case sitting on the floor. Naturally.

    “I think I just broke my toe” I said, laughing at my clumsiness. Then the pain hit. “Okay” I said, no longer laughing, “I think I just broke my toe.”

    But not wanting to lose any progress I had made, I went back to my point.

    “Can we agree to have you at least make straight piles so that it looks like they’re not completely random?”

    She reluctantly agreed. At which point I said she could, when she finished making neat piles, get on the internet.

    I went to find some Advil.

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    Monday, September 25, 2006

    That's not funny!

    Well, ok. It is really.

    I'll provide greater details later, but suffice it to say, that while attempting to demonstrate how messy the Youngest Aardvark Child's room was I managed to break a toe.

    Or maybe just sprain it severely. Anyway, it's a nice two-tone purple this morning.

    I told Mrs. A that I was just jealous of all the attention she'd be receiving.

    The good news is that it doesn't seem to be broken after all. There is a little pain, but for the most part it looks worse than it feels. Just a sprain...this time.

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    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Brand New Look – Same Old Crap

    It’s all her fault. That’s my story anyway.

    Mrs. A and I were sitting on the sofa the other night, talking. You know, that thing the average spouse only does with the other spouse less than 15 minutes a day? No, not THAT. The other thing … talking, I mean.

    Anyway, she said that she missed me blogging. Funny you should say that. I miss me blogging too. So, here’s what I’m going to try…

    I got a laptop/docking station setup to replace my traditional PC at work. This allows me to bring work home from time to time, but it also gives me some freedom to compose a wad of words during the evenings that I can then take to work, upload and post the next day. And the beauty of it is the Youngest Aardvark Child will think that I am working. Keeping her in the dark about my internet persona is still a good thing. Besides, that way I can blog about her without getting into trouble.

    The Eldest Aardvark Child discovered her mother and my online alter-egos over the summer. I’m not sure what she thinks, exactly. We didn’t do a lot of discussing. I know she reads her Mom’s blog, ‘cause she commented over there not too long ago. I think she’s okay with things. Then again, she has yet to see my spandex and lycra costume.

    My job keeps me busy, busy, busy. And for the most part it’s a good busy. I have managed to leave a (short) comment or two, but for the most part have just had time to lurk here and there. I expect that to continue to be the case, so don’t be surprised if there’s no back in forth in the comments like there sometimes used to be (unless of course it comes from you).

    Work is good. I had to send my boss a list of my goals in-process and completed and I have to tell you, that I was almost impressed. You really can eat an elephant one bite at a time! I have one employee who works in our Portland (OR) office. It takes quite a bit of time to manage by phone. I probably could request one of those STNG headsets, but I don’t know…I mean I’m already a geeber (half geek, half goober), do I really need to advertise? Mmmm…not so much.

    (By the way, you’re well on your way to geeberhood if you knew that STNG was Star Trek Next Generation without having to be told.)

    Well, that’s probably about all I’m good for (watch it!) for now.


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    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Reports of my demise

    Have been greatly exaggerated. Well…at least slightly exaggerated.

    Oh, ok. Fine. They’re all true.

    I think.

    But I’m not sure.

    Or something.

    You see, here’s the thing. I think I’m having an identity crisis. Not in a bad “trade-the-wife-and-kids-buy-a-sportscar-and-lots-of-jewelry-quit-my-job-and-move-to-the-beach” kind of way, lest anyone worry about that. More of a “life-is-changing-and-I-need-to-change-with-it-or-learn-how-to-cope” kind of way.

    There was an extended period in my life that I defined myself through my job. Climbing the ladder and earning the praise of my bosses and coworkers were primary drivers. I like to say that about eight or so years ago, I looked down from my perch on the corporate ladder and got dizzy. Not only did I not want to go any higher, I didn’t want to be as high as I was. In essence, the prize was not worth eating the Cracker Jacks.

    So over the next year or so, I walked away from all that. The new definition of myself was through my family. I have a great wife and great kids and I came to the realization that I was a very lucky man to be so blessed. Spending time with my wife and being a good dad for my kids were worthwhile goals that would yield positive results for years. I can’t say that I’ve always succeeded in placing my family above my job, but I certainly got better at it than I had been previously.

    Now, though, I find myself in transition. Family is still important. I’m still blessed with a loving wife and great kids. But the oldest Aardvark is growing up and becoming independent (occasionally managing both at once!), while the youngest is beginning to test the waters of decision making and responsibility, and I find that I can’t be the all-powerful, all-knowing, "Uber-Da" I once imagined myself to be. Being the parent of adult children is very much different that being the parent of young-uns. Work is different too. I’ve never had a job that was “operations” before. I’ve always been in “support” organizations. I have to say operations is more fun, but it’s also more stress as there are more balls to keep in the air. Having stepped into a new position in a relatively new organization, there are a ton of process improvements to be made. But the work has to get done too. It’s like having two full-time jobs simultaneously (or like concurrent life sentences, depending on your perspective). It would be very easy for me to get sucked back in to defining who I am by my job.

    And then there’s blogging - which I find to be a real kick in the pants. (By the way, that’s a good thing) It’s better than the playground or recess ever was. I can be serious or silly, funny or lame (your mileage may vary), engaged or blasé. Whatever mood strikes. And y’all. Well, y’all (or ya’ll – just for Terry) are the best part. How is it possible to come to care so deeply about folks you’ve never met and hardly know? (And yes, I know I’ve met Miss Janis, Nate and the GOYL, but the principle is the same) For the better part of three years, part of who I am has been this crazy LittleA guy. LittleA is not me completely, but certain parts of me that I let out of the box now and then. (And think we can all agree that there are some VERY good reasons for leaving those parts in the box the rest of the time) But now, I find myself with very little time to blog (see Job, Full-time), and very little will to do so when I do have time.

    So, I’m not Eighty-Hour-A-Week Job-Man, I’m not Uber-Da, and I’m not as much LittleA. Which leaves me with the question: Who am I?

    And leaves you with the burning question: Huh?

    (Thank goodness for the “Back” button – the all purpose solution for dealing with other people’s problems)

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    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Wow! This is COOL!

    Fort Worth, Texas; 04/27/06; For Immediate Release

    Amalgamated Aardvark Industries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aardvark Worldcorp N.A. (not affiliated with Aardvark Sushi and Bait, Aardvark Tattoo and Tea Parlor, or Aardvark Fashion Consulting and Farm Supply), has a product in development that will completely transform the field of written electronic communications.


    How many times have you carefully crafted a missive only to discover that ewe used the wrong homophone, punctuated poor’ly, left words, done made grammatical errors, used wrong words that may of may not have shared betters with the word you thought you were typing, or just realized that what you wrote had another meaning entirely (Honestly, Honey? Those jeans DO make your butt look phat!). And naturally, your discovery is made AFTER the email has left your control.

    Let’s face it, Spell-Check can only do so much. Which is why Amalgamated Aardvark Industries is working so hard on Intent-check®. Intnt-chek®’s advanced algorithms will recognize what you MEANT to say and make sure you have a change to chance your words BEFORE its to late.

    Imagine the peace and prosperity that Entent-cheque® will bring!

    Our software ingeneers are working night and day on this exciting new product and have promised to have it ready to ship by __/__/__ (do we have a date yet?)

    In fact, this very News Releese was produced using our Intint-chek® beta!!!

    Investors interested in funding future Amalgamated Aardvark Industries productucts, should direct their inquiries to: Please be sure to include your bank account number and routing information.

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    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world

    So, let’s say I’m a guy. (So far, so good) And let’s say I have little to no command of the English language (again, so far, so good), but I am fluent in Spanish. (Ok, this is where the similarities start to break down) And let’s say I manage to ingest a sufficient quantity of mood/mind altering substances so that I’m no longer in my normal, controlled behavioral patterns. (Hmmm. Maybe it’s best to jump off this band wagon before it rolls over me)

    Now, just for the sake of speculation, let’s say I wander over to a neighbor’s house where I break in by smashing a window and crawling through. 911 is called. I produce a knife, though whether I had it with me when I broke in or whether I picked it up in the kitchen is not really clear. Not content to open the door and simply walk out, I break another window to make my exit. Extra style points are earned.

    Somewhere along the line, though I can’t imagine where or how, I’ve manage to cut myself. So, I sit down with my knife on the front steps of my neighbor’s house to think things over. For civility's sake, we’ll forgo any speculation on whether or not I’ve managed to retain my pants. Oh, what the heck…I haven’t. Is that so wrong? Hater.

    The police arrive and begin demanding in English and Spanish that I put down the knife. Instead, I decide to walk towards the police, showing them the pointy end of my knife. I fall, but I continue to crawl towards the police while waving the knife about. It’s a good thing I’m not drunk or high or both, because I think I’d really look like an idiot. Oh, wait. I am. I am an idiot. I am an idiot with a knife.

    The police, instead of just shooting me for being an idiot with a knife (too much paperwork involved after the fact to make it worth their while), attempt to taser me, but miss. Since I’m still holding the knife, and I’m still an idiot, I continue moving towards the police. Granted, I’m on my hands and knees, but for some reason the police still feel threatened by my swinging knife. Thinking that it would be A Very Good Thing if, perhaps, I was not holding a knife, they taser me again, this time with success. I drop the knife, though I still manage to retain my idiot status, and I continue to struggle and resist while they put the handcuffs on me.

    Paramedics are called to treat my cuts and as they are working on me, my heart stops and I die.

    Now, the question must be asked: who is logically at fault for my death?

    To which, there can only be one right answer.

    The police.


    At least that’s what my family claims, though if I were the police, I’d blame the neighbor’s. After all, it’s their fault the police were even there.

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    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Ice Age 2

    Saw this on Saturday with the EAC.

    Can I just say?


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    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    In the words of Admiral Ackbar

    “IT’S A TRAP!”

    So, I get to work this morning to find that MY internet is back on, but several of my coworkers still don’t have access.

    Oh, sure, they SAY that they started bringing back up the hiring managers first, but I think they just wanted a smaller pool of suspects.

    As Indy’s friend told him after uncovering a tomb filled with poisonous snakes, "It could be dangerous. You go first."

    (And no, I’m really not that paranoid, but it makes good copy…)

    [Editor's Note - 7 PM

    Ok, I'm not sure this is going to work all that great.

    First of all, they (work) added all the legal gobbledygook to my email and so that shows up, which means I'll need to email to Yahoo or my home ISP and then edit and forward from there.

    And second of all, hard returns are double spacing instead of single spacing.

    And third of all, editing reveals all sorts of HTML code that evidently is embedded in my email (fonts, font size, spans and who knows what else), probably because I have HTML selected as my default style (instead of plain text). Which is all ok, I guess, unless you actually want to, you know, EDIT the thing to remove all the extra lines and legal clauses ('cause I'm OCD about some things), in which case all that HTML stuff makes it hard to find what you actually wrote, so you're more than likely (at least in my case) to delete stuff you didn't intend to.

    Oh, well. It's too early to give up yet. I'll try posting by email a different way tomorrow.]

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    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Test Post

    Does this work?

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    A real Charlie Foxtrot

    It’s been over a week now since we’ve had internet access at work. I’m not sure what the problem is (I have some guesses, but this is one time when I’ve been working very hard to NOT know), only that the solutions so far have seemed to make absolutely no difference.

    My guess is that, once they get the electron bucket hooked back up, they will be doing a lot more monitoring of folks usage and wanderings than they used to. Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but it’s good to remember that, sometimes, even if you ARE paranoid, they really ARE after you.

    Which is my way of saying I’m going to have to figure out a plan B for posting. I think I can do it by email – I seem to recall Nate talking about that some good while back. We’ll see.

    Anyway, I’m sending this to my home email so I can cut and paste and post it later.

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