Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sigh

Plenty-big-heap-busy today.

On top of that, I just got off the phone with Mrs. A. She managed to get to the hospital early enough (5:30) this morning to catch the doctor on his rounds. Her Mom (hereafter referred to as "Mom" for the sake of clarity) has been in the hospital since Saturday and this is the first time she's actually been able to talk to the doctor. He confirmed what we already suspected - she won't be released until late in the week (at best) and will have to stay with someone while she recuperates. That would mean either Mrs. A's brother or us. Which really means us.

It's not that they'd be unwilling to do it, just that they both work and it would be more difficult for them to arrange things.

(Not to mention the years of bad blood/hurt feelings between Mom and her daughter-in-law...seems that SOMEone stole the affections of her boy, or something. Or nothing. It doesn't seem to make much difference. We just try to stay out of the cross-fire as much as possible. They could tell each other "good morning" and then spend the rest of the day wondering what the other one "meant" by that.)

Anyway, when Mom is released, she'll be coming to stay with us for an indefinite period. Mrs. A says she's still not coherent, and doesn't always know where she is or how long she's been there or why she's there. Other times she's fine. Mrs. A seemed to think that she wasn't too pleased to hear that she couldn't go home by herself.

When she comes to visit, we always give her our room since it has it's own bathroom and she isn't forced to get up at O:Dark-Thirty when the rest of the family begins to stir like she would sleeping somewhere else. As a result, she won't stay for more than just a couple of days at a time because she feels she's "inconveniencing" us. It doesn't matter that it's the best and most practical arrangement and we really don't mind a bit. She's a stubborn woman. I figure it's her loss if she doesn't want to accept our hospitality.

So what's she say when she learns that she'll be released to our house?

"Well, I guess you could stick me on an air mattress in the garage."

(The garage isn't. That is, it's been converted to a room. Second refrigerator, washer, dryer, bookshelves X 3, old computer, vacuum cleaner(s), folding tables, filing cabinet, sewing machine, knicks, knacks, knick-knacks, record collection, jigsaw puzzles X 100, etc. I think the last time we saw the floor of this room unencumbered was right before we moved in ten or eleven years ago.)

Did I mention that Mom can play the martyr?

I won't repeat my response to Mrs. A when I heard this. Let's just say it involves large quantities of used oats and hay.

Anyway, I cancelled my hotel reservations in Missouri since it looks like I'll be staying close to home until such time as Mrs. A can wrangle Mom up I-45. Now I just have to call and tell my Dad that I'm not coming.

Say, you wouldn't call for me, would ya?

No, I didn't think so.

  • |

    Monday, August 30, 2004

    JOLT!

    You know that feeling you get when you see something or hear something that's totally unexpected? You're stunned for just that fraction of a second that it takes your brain to assimilate what's happened (or longer than that for some of us).

    Happened to me Saturday morning.

    I had gone to get my hair(s) cut. Mrs. A and I go to a small shop run by a husband and wife team. They're about eight years older than us, and I usually have a pretty good time teaming up with Steve (my barber) to pick on his wife Regina (Mrs. A's stylist). A couple of months ago, they moved the shop out of the storefront and into their home. They had to put in another door and a separate bathroom, and all that other code junk, but they're saving a ton of money on rent so I think the payback is pretty quick. Anyway, it's a very small space, just big enough for two chairs, which makes it easier to keep tabs on what's going on next to you.

    Steve was working his usual magic on my overgrown, oversized head and Regina was working on a young lady who I estimate to be in her early twenties. She was there with her mother and their conversation was focused on wedding invitations that had been sent and how many RSVPs had been returned and where the reception was going to be and that sort of stuff. You know, the kind of stuff that makes guys eyes glaze over. I wasn't paying too much attention to the ladies as I like to keep track of where Steve has the scissors at any given moment, but I glanced over as this young lady had her hair dried and brushed out. I'm thinking she's about done and begin to talk to Steve about Solving The World's Problems® and World Peace® when I take another glance at the chair next to me.

    I know NOW that she was getting her hair highlighted and was wearing the appropriate headgear to perform such a process. However, I had a huge JOLT ("ZOT" as Grog would say) when I saw her with what looked to me like the same type of cap worn by the synchronized swimmers. All I could think of was that must be the headgear favored by the Space Cadets or maybe the Junior Birdmen. Either that or it was some kind of tribute to Weird Science.

    Once I realized that there were a number of holes in the cap to pull strands of hair through, the real reason for the headgear became obvious. But by this point, I had become greatly amused at my earlier reaction (what can I say, I'm easily amused) and it was all I could do not to start laughing out loud. I managed to keep it bottled up, though, as I didn't want to have to explain my stupidity to the rest of the world.

    So what do I do? I document it here for posterity. Don't ask me how, it's just different, that's all.

  • |

    Mayhem for the Missus

    Plenty of mayhem for Mrs. A this weekend. And this time it's not my fault.

    She got the call Saturday morning that her mother was in the hospital in Houston. After much scrambling and chaos (Mrs. A HATES scrambling and chaos) I drove her over to her brother's house in Dallas. Took her bag straight out of our car and put it into his. He did let her take a few seconds to use 'the necessary', but they didn't waste any time getting on the road.

    They called late Saturday evening and gave the report - her mother had been nauseous for the better part of a week and hadn't been able to keep anything down. Between that and the many different meds she takes, she wound up getting dehydrated, blacking out and falling - hitting her head in the process. We think it happened Friday night, but it could have possibly been Thursday. At some point she was able to crawl to the phone and dial 911. Needless to say, her Mom isn't much help in putting together what happened as she is only semi-coherent, has no sense of time and has difficulty separating what's real from what she's seen in her delirium. She claims to have seen Jesus at some point.

    The doctors have been treating her nausea and her dehydration, but now she is beginning to experience the aches and pains associated with taking a fall. She hasn't been up and around yet and her foot has started to swell, so they're going to take X-rays of that today. Her doctor is concerned about her hip since she fell and broke that last year. Mrs. A seems to think that the hip isn't a problem gauging from what her Mom has said and the fact that she doesn't seem to be experiencing the same level of pain as before.

    There is still no indication from the doctors when they will let her go home which, as you can imagine, is causing Mrs. A some degree of frustration. Mrs. A is all about having a plan and a schedule so this waiting around for indefinite periods of time is killing her.

    Needless to say, the rest of us are also experiencing some Mom withdrawal pains and the effects of having no one around to tell us what we're doing, where we need to be and what time we need to be there.

    I did (finally) remember this morning to feed the fish. Then I remembered that I was supposed to feed the turtles on Saturday. Hey, Saturday, Monday ... close enough, right? They do eat bugs and stuff, so it's not like they're totally dependent on us. (Maybe if I could teach them to bark or something, they'd get more attention...)

    Fortunately, because Mrs. A was able to ride to Houston with her brother (she's using her Mom's car while she's there), her car is still here and available for the EAC to use. We've worked out an arrangement with one of our friends (who's also one of the YAC's teachers) for the EAC to drop the YAC off in the morning at her house, since she has to be at school much earlier than her sister. The EAC will be able to pick the YAC up from school, at least for the next couple of days. I'll probably have to leave work early on Wednesday to pick up the YAC since the EAC works that night. All in all, I think it can be done without me missing too much work.

    Of course, my plans for going to visit my Dad this upcoming weekend may get turned all sideways before we're through, but I talked to him yesterday and warned him that that was a possibility.

    Other than that, things were pretty quiet this weekend.

  • |

    Friday, August 27, 2004

    LittleA - Social Vampire

    Y'all know what a Social Vampire is, right? Someone who can suck the life out of any conversation.

    It happened to me the other night. Sometimes my weirdness just gets the best of me.

    So, the waiter is at the table taking our drink orders, and the lady a couple of seats down says, "Bring me a ..." followed by a long pause.

    Pop Quiz. What NATURALLY comes next?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    "Shrubbery" says I. (hint - highlight with your mouse to see)

    I don't know what was worse, the looks I got or having to explain it. It's not NEARLY as funny when it has to be explained ... trust me.

  • |

    Have a Coke

    I can't let Terry be the only one to complain about commercials...

    Saw the "I wish" commercial (again) last night. The one where the girl is walking down the street, pulling Cokes out of her bag and handing them to people. She's singing the whole time she's handing out Cokes.

    Two things that freak me out about this commercial and then a critique.

    Freak-out #1. The Cokes she's pulling out of her bag are ALREADY OPENED. Who walks down the street with a bunch of opened Coke bottles in their bag? And what person in their right mind would accept an opened Coke from a complete stranger they pass on the street? That just ain't right.

    Freak-out #2. As she walks towards the camera, the folks behind her turn to look watch her pass by. Maybe it's just me, but several of them seemed to be focused on parts of her that are below the camera shot. Which leads me to think, "Is she not wearing pants or are they just pervs?"

    Critique. I think this commercial is supposed to invoke shades of the "Hilltop" (I'd like to buy the world a Coke) commercial from the 70s. If so, it's successful in making the connection. The only problem is that once they're connected in your head, you can't help but think about how THIS commercial doesn't really do much for you. The girl sings nice and she has a pretty smile, especially at the end, but the song she sings is really quite forgettable. The first commercial worked so well because it evoked joy in people who saw it. It gave you the feeling that life was good and if you added a Coke on top of that...well, you might as well die and go to heaven 'cause it just doesn't get any better. The song is what made it work - it was light, catchy, simple and VERY singable. This new commercial has none of that.

    Then again, maybe it's just me.

  • |

    Cowabunga, Dude!!!!

    Just felt that needed to be said...

  • |

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    Say what?

    While standing in the check-out line, I glance over at the magazines and see this headline from the current issue of Cosmopolitan
    Your Secret Sex Cycle
    Three thoughts that immediately pop into my head:

    1. I wonder how many wheels that has?

    2. Where would you store that - does it fold up and fit under the bed?

    3. YOU SAID YOU'D NEVER TELL!!!!!!

  • |

    I know it was only 24 hours

    But yesterday sure seemed like a long day.

    The meeting started at 8 AM and I was among the first to leave the dinner at 9:45 PM.

    Surprisingly enough, the meeting was meaningful and worthwhile, not just a bunch of people sitting around who like to hear themselves talk. At no time was I tempted to end my misery by sticking a fork in my eye. I actually sat (reasonably) still and listened. Hey, there's a first time for everything.

    Dinner was a bit much, though. There were about 40 of us around 4 large tables in the back room of the restaurant. Of the four, my table was the quietest. I'm not saying the group was loud and rowdy, but I've been to professional sporting events that were quieter. I guess I'm just too much of a fuddy-duddy, but I thought making paper airplanes out of the menus and throwing them around the room was juvenile and annoying. Which is deliciously ironic, I guess, coming from me.

    Why, yes, they were serving alcohol! How ever did you guess?

    I realized (again) while I was sitting there that I really am not cut out to run in the social circles where this type of event is common. Which probably means that I'll never make it beyond my current position.

    And that's ok by me.

    It was enlightening to realize that these people, with whom I am fairly compatible in a work setting, are at the opposite end of the spectrum socially. I think they were too ... busy ... to notice. I tell you, I really AM shy. Or maybe it's just a well developed sense of awkwardness in social settings. Or maybe an overdeveloped sense of self; never really feeling like I'm IN the group, other than geographically.

    Well, that turned into a steaming pile of armchair psychology, now didn't it? Where was I? Oh, yeah.

    Anyway, I finally got home and got to bed, but this morning seemed to get here awfully fast. It's Meet The Teacher night tonight, but I'm thinking that as soon as that's over, it's off to bed for me. Now, if I can just keep from falling asleep at my desk ...

    (Not only is falling asleep at your desk a CLM - Career Limiting Move - but the drool will short out your keyboard)

  • |

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    Not much time today

    And I'm out all day tomorrow with meetings scheduled from 8 AM to (potentially) 10 PM.

    Thursday will be busy catching up from Wednesday and who knows what'll come up by Friday.

    In other words, things are getting back to normal.

  • |

    Jenuhsaykwa

    Jenuhsaykwa ...

    jenuhsaykwa ...

    jenuhsaykwa ...

    jenuhsaykwa ...

    jenuhsaykwa ...

    Shoot.

    I love this new word. I just wish I'd have thought of it. Instead I stole it from here.

    Maybe it's just me, but I find that jenuhsaykwa has a certain je ne sais quoi.

  • |

    Monday, August 23, 2004

    All I ever want from you is ...

    Music! Music! Music! (cue flappers)

    Several amusing anecdotes from the weekend church services.

    Anecdote 1.

    Mrs. A sometimes has to tell me to behave in the middle of the song services. And all because I like to add a little dramatic interpretation to the occasional song. I guess if it was just me, it wouldn't be so bad, but one of the guys up the choir always joins me, and then my kids start, and then ... well, then Mrs. A gives me the eye - and not the one I like getting, either.

    We sang "The Solid Rock" Sunday morning. The words to the chorus end with "All other ground is sinking sand" repeated twice. So when you get to the "sinking" part you bend your knees ever so slightly to actually sink down a bit. By the time we sang the third verse, the whole pew was somewhat a-giggle.

    Things got really out of hand on Sunday night, though, when we sang "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms". What with all those "leanings" in the chorus just begging for a slight shift to the left followed by a slight shift to the right. She might let me get by with more, but she seems to think that since we sit in the front pews we ought to behave. Hmph.

    Anecdote 2.

    Last night the music minister got up and announced that the song service was going to be a "U Pick 'Em" service where the congregation could select some of their favorites to sing. He no sooner got the words "You can pick" out of his mouth when one of the older gents called out, "410." Of course, he wasn't quite to that spot in the service yet and hadn't expected anyone to be so quick, so it kind of flustered him a bit. Naturally, everybody had a pretty good chuckle at his expense. Young whipper-snapper.

    Anecdote 3.

    One of the requirements of selecting a song, was that you had to give a reason for picking it. One of the songs was selected by a youngster in the pew behind us. I think she may be all of seven or eight. She gave the number and said it was because she liked it and that God was, "a great piece of art."

    The song?

    "How great Thou art" of course.

    I don't think most folks heard her since she was up towards the front and didn't talk too loud. But it was all I could do to maintain a straight face.

    Anecdote 4.

    The piano player last night wasn't the regular one, but the regular substitute. She's a good friend of the Aardvarks and in fact, gave the EAC her first piano lessons. Because she's a little younger than the other pianist, she has some other stuff in her repertoire. Last night, she had some hymn arrangements with lots of jazz stylings. The hymn she played for the prelude was arranged with some intriguing chord progressions. The tune was still recognizable, but it had a different feel to it. The postlude (that's the going-out song at the end of the service) was jazzy, but more in a hep-cat, be-bop kind of way. Mrs. A and I both happened to be standing close to the piano as she played the last "riff". Without coordinating or even knowing what the other one was thinking, we both said in unison, "Oh, yeah!"

    Maybe you had to be there...

    Anecdote 5.

    The regular piano player came up about that time, and said, "I hear you're going to be singing one of my favorite songs!" Now, I had run into the organist at lunch on Saturday and she had said she wanted me to sing a duet with one of the ladies in choir, and I said that'd be fine and in fact, the choir lady had already given me the music, so we just needed to schedule it (and rehearse it, of course). So, when the pianist said that, I figured that was what she was talking about and so I just said, "I am?" And she said, "Yes. I heard you were going to sing 'I've just seen Jesus'."

    At which point I about choked.

    "I've just seen Jesus" is a Larnelle Harris/Sandi Patty song from about twenty years ago. It's a very dramatic, very moving song about the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning. I've heard it performed dozens, maybe hundreds of times. Of which one, maybe two, were NOT physically painful to sit through. You see, in order to sing this song well, you have to have great range, great tone and great pitch. In other words, great PIPES. Francesca could sing it - I'm not touching it. Because if you DON'T have pipes, it sounds like you've accidentally stepped on the cat's tail or have been possessed by the spirit of a rabid weasel (or both!). I put this song in the same category as songs with "A-a-a-ahs" and "Woh-oh-oh-ohs" in them - leave them to the professionals 'cause when you try it, it just sounds like you're in pain.

    Anyway, I said that she must be mistaken and she said that she thought I was going to sing it with the choir lady. Yes, I said, I WAS going to sing a song with the choir lady, but the name of that one was "In the presence of Jehovah". Oh, she said. Maybe that was it after all and she had just misunderstood.

    Of course, I've had the song stuck in my head ever since ... but fortunately only the Larnelle/Sandi version.

  • |

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Excuses (reprise)

    THIS time I mean it ...

    The dog server ate my homework.

    I believe the military has several "technical" terms for the situation. Believe it or not, I really didn't get too upset. Now, I wasn't HAPPY by a long stretch of the imagination, but I think I surprised a few people by not ranting and raving.

    The problem was related to the replicating software, which when it got out of synch started eating files. They have since deactivated the off-site server and have us linked to the home office through the T-1 line. (a solution deemed "too slow" when we first moved)

    The IT guys were talking Tuesday about getting a second PC for everyone in my department and keeping them in the home office, running us from off-site using PCAnywhere - the advantage to this being the speed between the "real", home office PC and the server. (Probably a $15,000 solution) Another option was to move us off-site folks to a T-3 line. (A $30,000 + solution)

    Everyone seemed happy with one solution or the other, except for me. Maybe it's just that I'm cheap, or maybe it's because when I worked at the Fortune 500 retailer, we never did ANYTHING that cost money as a first option. So, when my boss was telling me what the options were, I suggested a THIRD option - why don't we wait before spending any more money and SEE if the direct connection over the T-1 line works?

    Too slow, says the IT guys - it my take you (gasp) THIRTY SECONDS to open a file!!! Uh, yeah, whatever. That might be inconvenient, but I don't think it's a hardship worth $15,000 or more.

    (Of course, I still remember the dark ages when you had spreadsheets too big to leave the "autocalc" option on, so you entered all your data, hit "calc" and went to get coffee, used the restroom, got a snack out of the machine, chatted with the guy in the next office, and still had to wait 10 minutes after you got back to your office for the "calc" to finish and release your PC so you could do something else.)

    "I don't think program XYZ will even run the way we have it set up now," says the IT guy.

    "Have we TRIED it?" says I.

    "Well, no."

    "How 'bout I call one of my employees (I've been at the home office this week) and have her try it?"

    So we did ... and it worked just fine.

    Miracle of miracles, they decided to hold off for a couple of weeks before spending any more money.

    Now, I wonder if I could argue for a cut of the savings?

  • |

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    It's a blog's life

    Had dinner Thursday evening with a couple we went to church with back when the kids were little (ours and theirs). They’re about 5 years younger than we are but our kids are roughly the same ages. I have expended my normal amount of effort in keeping up with them (none) and Mrs. A, as usual, has carried the load. Actually over the years, Mrs. A and Mrs. R (for lack of a more clever name) have used each other as a life-line. They were doing the "phone a friend" thing long before Regis made it part of his act.

    Interestingly enough, (at least I think so) having dinner with them (sans children) felt completely natural, like we never hadn’t skipped a beat. Of course us guys were pretty content with making guy noises and the like. Since we were eating dinner, we couldn’t REALLY grunt, spit, fart and scratch, settling for the metaphorical equivalent of telling about stupid things we’ve done and how we hurt ourselves in the process. (a topic I seem to have a wealth of material in)

    Mrs. A had mentioned her blog to Mrs. R a while back, but had had no indications from her on whether or not she had read it. She read it. She has it bookmarked and plans to keep on reading it. Uh oh. That means it’s a short hop and step from over there to over here, and now I’ve got to start minding my manners … or not. (can’t teach an Aardvark new tricks, you know)

    Anyway, there’s yet another intersection between my virtual and real world. (I’m confused again, which one is which?)

    Worked all day Saturday and all day Sunday to get one of my projects completed to the point where I could spend yesterday at … jury duty. Not just ANY jury duty, but jury duty for the City of Fort Worth. Now, I’ve been called several times for Tarrant County, and when I got the notice this time, I just noted the date and time and went on about my business. It wasn’t until Sunday night when I actually LOOKED at the summons that I realized, "Hey! This isn’t at the normal place." Good thing I looked.

    So yesterday morning I got the privilege of taking the EAC to her first day of school as a Senior (SENIOR’S ROCK, DUDE!) and then high-tailed it downtown to find a parking spot. Tandy/RadioShack used to have a big free parking area down by the river with subway service into Tandy Center. Then they decided that’s where they were going to build their new campus for their home office. Bye-bye free parking. (Have I mentioned lately how cheap I am? The cheapest lot downtown is $6 a day!) So I went early yesterday to get one of the long-term meters out in the boonies. Found the last spot across the street from the Methodist day shelter and plugged about $1.50 into the meter and was good to go ‘til at least 4:30 in the afternoon. Of course, I had to WALK about 16 blocks to get to the right building, but that was ok.

    So, as I’m walking downtown, it strikes me how long it’s been since I’ve had to do that (outside of the Sundance Square entertainment district anyway). It brought back memories of my FIRST summer in Fort Worth of walking downtown looking for the Federal building and the SSA office. (a long story) Somehow, 23 years later those same feelings came back. (Only without the panic)

    One of the things that’s different is that now I’m looking at the old buildings and cornerstones and such wondering what Lileks would think of them, wishing I had a digital camera so I could snap some pictures to post.

    Then, this morning in that short yet interminable gap between waking and WAKING I had a dream that Terry had had to help his son build something with gears and pullies and motors and such and so he did. And of course he posted for everyone to appreciate. The gizmo basically sent a ball bearing around a closed loop. I woke up just as I left a comment congratulating him on finally creating a perpetual motion machine. (and making a generous offer to split the royalties with him, of course)

    It’s not like I’m addicted to this blog or anything…

  • |

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Yeeeeaaaaaarrrgh!

    Ok, I know it's the middle of the day and I'm not supposed to be blogging, but I couldn't let this one get by me.

    I pulled up Yahoo to check an address and saw this headline - Washington Post says Iraq Coverage Flawed. I'm thinking to myself, "Holy Cow! It's incredible that they've finally come to their senses. I wonder what prompted this about-face?"

    I should have known. I opened the story and what do I find?

    They admit that their coverage ... wait for it ...

    WASN'T TOUGH ENOUGH!

    Makes me want to go all Howard Dean on somebody.

  • |

    Politics

    I think I finally figured out why I have such a negative gut reaction to John Kerry.

    I like pretty things. (No, this isn't going where you might think) I enjoy looking at various forms of art and can appreciate the beauty of pleasing design in architecture and automobiles and electronic gadgets and all sorts of things.

    But...

    Given the choice between something that is beautiful to look at but impractical to use (Frank Lloyd Wright springs to mind) and something that may not look like much but works well, I'll pick the latter every time. Over the years I've had a bunch of pens that looked cool, but wouldn't write worth anything (could be the user). They wind up in the garbage can or at the back of the desk drawer.

    Substance trumps form in my book.

    And that's where John Kerry comes in. He strikes me as all form and no substance. He would be a much more appealing candidate if he could just pick a position (any position) and stick with it. The only position he seems firm on is that he believes he should be President. Everything else is negotiable.

    And that just leaves me cold.

    I laughed out loud at the news a couple of days ago when they asked a Kerry supporter what they liked most about the man and the answer was, "His decisiveness."

    Put down the Kool-Aid and step away slowly.

  • |

    No wonder she didn't eat much

    Long story short: we kept a friend's six-year-old last night.
    Side note: the power was out from 6:30 to 9:15.
    Side note to side note: Oooh. Shiny things!

    What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. So, this little girl (we'll call her "C" 'cause if I called her Cat you'd mistake her for another young lady with the same name) was sitting beside the EAC on the sofa, talking as six-year-olds are wont to do.

    EAC: "Is that your stomach I keep hearing?"

    C: "Yeth. That's 'cause my mom only gave me a thmall piece of Thalt Berry Thtake for dinner."

  • |

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Now, where were we?

    CHECK. Check.

    CHECK one.

    CHECK two.

    All right! This thing still works!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Last night’s dinner table conversation saw yet another appearance of Yoda, or "Green Guy" as he’s sometimes known.

    (My great nephew was about three when Episode One came out and he didn’t follow much of what went on plot-wise, but he was a big fan of Yoda. He would earnestly say to people he met, "You like Green Guy? I like Green Guy too!")

    Over the years, Yoda has appeared to advance conversational plot points many a time. He’s even been known to offer advice on table manners once or twice: "Use the Fork, Luke. Use the Fork." Last night Yoda showed up after the topic of conversation somehow became ‘overly animated wizened little short guys’.

    (Say, that’d make a swell Jerry Springer show, wouldn’t it? Overly Animated Wizened Little Short Guys and the Women Who Love Them. Oh, sorry … where were we? Oh, yeah.)

    Don’t ask me how or why; conversations at the Aardvark burrow generally careen out of control and wind up in one ditch or another.

    LittleA: "Ah. The Farce is strong in this one."

    Eldest Aardvark Child: "Ha ha ha ha … hey. You said ‘farce’?"

    LittleA: "Yeah. Farce."

    EAC: "Oh, heh, heh."

    LittleA: "You know what a farce is, right?"

    EAC: "Yeah. But I wasn’t sure if you meant that or just mispronounced ‘Force’."

    LittleA: "Well, either I meant ‘Farce’ or Yoda is Irish."

    EAC: "He IS!?!"

    That pretty well ended conversation as it took Mrs. A at least a minute to stop squeezing tears out she was laughing so hard.

    I swear, I can’t make this stuff up.

  • |

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    Bloggus interuptus

    Having assessed my current situation at work (including the additional project I was assigned yesterday), I realize I needed to make some changes if I'm going to get everything done a) on time and b) well. Something's got to give, and I'm afraid, dear friends, that something is you.

    I'm not going away completely, I'm just not going to post during the day any more. That means I'll have to do my posting early in the morning before I go to work, or later in the evening. (if I can ditch those meddling kids!) That also means that posting will be more sporadic instead of reliably M-F. You can also expect a decrease in the quantity of Aardvark droppings in your comment sections (quality, however will remain reliably low).

    I will try to be faithful about posting something at least once a week.

    Thanks for understanding.

  • |

    Buddy can you spare a dime?

    Sniff.

    Truly a worthy cause.

  • |

    Traveling Trey

    Now old enough to vote (#18), the Possumblog Thursday Three® can be found this week at Larry Anderson's Kudzu Acres.

    1. Can you name three good things about Southern weather in August? Air Conditioning doesn't count!

    Three things? Ok, how about...

    No wait. That's no good. Ok, how about...

    No. That's no good either. Shoot.

    August, you say? Hmmm...

    I can only think of ONE thing good about Southern weather in August...it only lasts 31 days.

    2. What do you consider to be the best time of the year weather-wise to be a Southerner?

    Late September and early October. It's still bright and sunny, but not hot enough to melt you into a puddle of stinky goo. The nights are cool and crisp. Fall is better than Spring since we tend to have more in the way of thunderstorms, lightning (Hey! I spelled it right the first time!) and hail in the Spring.

    3. Who is the most manic weather person tornado wise? There's extra credit for a good description so the rest of us can get an idea of their work. For example, one of our local prognosticators appears to actually cheer for the tornado and insists in standing outside in the rain to do his forecast of partly cloudy.

    I couldn't tell you. Like I said the other day, the weather reporting just leaves my brain numb. So, instead of answering the question, (surprise, surprise) I'll give you some weather reporter/meteorologist 'best of's.

    Best name - David Finfrock (Channel 5 - NBC) (say it three times real fast!)

    Best schtick - Troy Dungan - always wears a bowtie (Channel 8 - ABC) (No link since Channel 8 is so STINKING proud of their site you can't even look at non-news without registering - and you know much I love registering)

    Best looking - Kristine Kahanek (Channel 11 - CBS) (Noticably missing from her bio is her stint at Channel 8 - they parted ways with a wee bit of animosity if I recall correctly)

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    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    HA!

    And you thought I just made this stuff up!

    Here's proof (with pictures and everything) from the Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady that we REALLY did meet and have dinner! It wasn't some weird dream-sequence thingie after all.

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    Is it just me?

    Or do you hear Tommy Flanagan in your head when listening to John Kerry's stump speeches?

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    You can't make this stuff up

    Sharon Stone (from Ireland Online)
    Halle's so beautiful and I wanted to kiss her. I said, 'How can you have us in the movie (Catwoman) and not have us kiss? That's such a waste.' That's what you get for having George Bush as president."
    Astounding.

    Two things. First of all, I don't recall GWB ever issuing a Presidential Directive or Executive Order regarding lesbian kissing. Did I miss it? And then, since when is the absence of a lesbian kiss in a teen movie a BAD thing?

    I guess I'm just having a hard time adjusting to the 'up is down' morality of the day. (Next you'll tell me we've ALWAYS been at war with Oceania) I hope the food is good in the re-education camp.

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    I should have known

    When the day started out the way it did.

    I left the house early so I could swing by the gas station and fill up before work. I got out of the car and forgot to trip the gas release lever. Had a moments confusion over how the pump worked even though I've been using this station since they opened. I'd like to say it's because I was deep in thought, but that would actually require thinking, so that's right out. Once I realized I was out of sequence, I reached into my back pocket for my wallet. Pulled it out and my comb came with it and promptly dropped into the water/dirt/gasoline/oil sludge at the base of the pump. Picked it up and threw it into the trash.

    I don't know if other guys are this way, but I kind of develop a ... fondness isn't the right word ... how about an affinity? ... yeah, that'll work. I develop an affinity for the things I carry around in my pockets. They may be ordinary, but they are MINE, and while wallets and knives and combs and money clips can be easily replaced, the new ones never start out with the same regard as the familiar old ones. They have to be carried a while before they are truly part of the ensemble. It's weird I know.

    Anyway, I felt a moments pang at having to throw away my pocket comb. I LIKED that comb. Sure it's teeth weren't straight anymore and it bore various scuff marks, but it always was there when I needed it. What if my next comb was brittle or stiff or the teeth weren't spaced correctly? All these thoughts flashed through my head before I could realize how stupid they really sounded/are.

    I normally bring a drink from home to drink on the way to work. This morning, since I was headed to the gas station, I decided to just pick one up there. So after completing the fill-up, I went in and purchased a 20 oz. Diet Vanilla Pepsi. (Mmmm...) On the way out of the store I pulled my sunglasses from my pocket and somewhere between there and my face managed to drop them. (Was there some time of nerve agent in my morning coffee?) They're flexible plastic frames, so I didn't think anything about it. I picked them up and smushed them onto my face. Only something was wrong with the left arm. There's a little rubber grip piece that slips over the end of the arm and I figured that had just slipped off somehow. Nope. The left arm had broken in the middle. Man, and I had just bought this pair this Spring. It's not like they were expensive or prescription or anything, but the were mine. See above. I LIKED these glasses.

    Decided I could still wear them for the time being. Maybe some electricians tape is in order? I'm a dork, but not THAT big of dork. Yet.

    Got to work and found the coup de grace. An email informing me that I was going to be the team lead on a new project. A BIG project that'll take a lot of time. On top of my other projects. And during my busiest time of year. Oh, and the first meeting is this afternoon.

    Let me just say this so I can get past it. Waaaaahhhhh!

    Ok, I feel better. I think. Maybe.

    On the plus side, the Diet Vanilla Pepsi was good.

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    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Country muse-kit

    "Muse-kit" - the way the Eldest Aardvark Child pronounced music back when she was the Only Aardvark Child.

    Lenise left a comment responding to yesterday's post about turning off the radio saying
    LittleA, you need to go country.
    I understand the sentiment. In fact, I went through an extended period where I WAS country.

    Growing up (an extended process for some of us), I was not a big country music fan. My older sister (the middle one) was a HUGE country fan, though, and I don't know if that's why I didn't like it, or if it was something else. My guess is something else. Now, we watched Hee Haw religiously, and so I had a regular exposure to country music and I don't recall HATING it or anything. It just wasn't something I would seek out. I do remember laughing at my sister when she liked this "new" song by Conway Twitty (an unfortunate moniker if ever there was one) called "Slow Hand". That was at least a year (if not more) after the Pointer Sisters had made it a big hit.

    Anyway, I was a country music agnostic for many years. (And I use agnostic in its proper sense "a" - without and "gnostic" - knowledge. Or as my preacher says "know nothings") Up until the day I bought my little Toyota pickup truck (around 1994). For some reason, it just seemed ... RIGHT to have the radio on a country station when I was driving that truck. I listened to country regularly until I sold that truck in 2000. And then, since I no longer owned a truck, I stopped.

    In case you had any doubts, that should settle it: I'm definitely weird.

    We attended Mrs. A's niece's wedding on Saturday (ok, she's my niece too, but she's on her side of the family). I found it humorous that most of the music was of the funk/(c)rap variety with some old rock faves mixed in. Until it came time for dedications/special dances. Every one of them was a country song.

    Something about having a real tune and lyrics you can understand I'm sure. Heh.

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    Vindication (sort of)

    Heard the Accountemps commercial again this morning. Only THIS time, it was a little different. It started out the same, but instead of emphasizing the affordability of their people, they spent the remainder of the spot talking about how professional and well-trained their people are (with Microsoft Office certifications even).

    In MY world, they read my critique of their last spot and went back and made changes.

    (In the REAL world, they already had this one in the can. )

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    What's in a name?

    It's important when starting a business to come up with a good name - one that represents what you do and doesn't send a mixed message.

    Harry's Body Waxing? Not a good name.
    Bubba's Haute Cuisine? Also not a good name.
    Dewey, Cheatum & Howe, Attorneys at Law? A recycled joke for sure, but you get the idea.

    It's also important to not pick a name that's too limiting. If you decide to call your company Joe-Bob's Swizzle Sticks and then later decide to branch out to lingerie and plumbing supplies, you probably aren't going to be the obvious choice for those items.

    Which gets us to the point of this post. (Yes, believe it or not, there is a point)

    What do you make of a company that calls itself Everything's a Dollar and then advertises generic cigarettes on the front sign at $1.29 per pack?

    Or a company called Just for Feet that runs ads for sweats and jogging suits?

    Then there's the ad that I heard this morning for 24 Hour Fitness. Now, based on the name, what would you expect the hours of operation to be?
    All locations not open 24 hours

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    Monday, August 02, 2004

    On the level

    (Rant warning. Proceed with caution.)

    Both sides in this political season have already managed to hit one of my pet peeves (there are many) by talking about the "need to level the playing field". This is one of those phrases that has an emotional appeal to our sense of fair play, but when you stop and think about it is just a fancy way of saying, "WAH!"

    We tell our children all the time, "Life's not fair." And it isn't. There are people in this world who are smarter than me. And richer. And more famous. And more talented. And more well liked. And better looking. (Though that last one isn't too hard to manage.) Does the fact that others have an advantage over me excuse me from being responsible for the outcome of my life? I wish.

    The appeal to level the playing field is simply a ploy to take from the "haves" and give to the "have nots". The underlying assumption is that folks are randomly distributed on the high/low scale through no fault of their own. And who among us would think this is right or fair? But the reality is that we are all born with different strengths, weaknesses, drives and ambitions. And even those who have the same strengths have differing levels of effort and commitment. Leveling the playing field ignores our uniqueness as individuals. It demands equal outcomes regardless of how much time and effort is expended. An appeal to "level the playing field" is at best class warfare and at worst, socialism.

    I have some musical ability. Better than average for the most part. In high school I was first chair trumpet and was in the all district band. I have a decent singing voice. As I told Francesca the other night, I'm not anywhere near good enough to be a professional (like she is), but I can sing without people throwing up, leaving the room or wincing in pain. However, there are others who have had more success than I, either through their hard work, or just sheer raw talent, or more likely, a combination of both. But I think I enjoy playing and singing just as much as they do. It's not fair that THEY should be successful while no one pays any attention to me. Yeah, I know they've put more into it, but doggone it, if we just LEVELED THE PLAYING FIELD, I'd have a better chance at success.

    Ridiculous, right?

    And let's take it to the logical end. Say the musical playing field was somehow leveled. I still have the same level of talent I did before and I'm still going to put the same effort into it that I currently do. How long before things are back where they started? Do we level the playing field again? If so, just how many times should it be leveled? Two? Ten? Once a year? Once every ten years? And who gets to decide how to level it anyway?

    We hear about level playing fields a lot when politicians talk about business opportunities. But the next time you hear someone use the phrase, pay attention to what they bring up as examples. In almost every case, their examples point to a lack of equal OUTCOMES, not equal opportunities. Can unequal outcomes be caused by lack of equal opportunity? You betcha. But can unequal outcomes also be the direct result of the level of talent and ambition and effort? You betcha again. So, unequal outcomes are NOT proof of an unleveled playing field. Yet, more often than not, that's the only proof given.

    You know what I think would be better than telling people that we should be leveling the playing fields of life, that life should be fair and that we should change the rules mid-stream? Tell them to grow up. Tell them that instead of complaining about the rules and about how disadvantaged they are, they should be learning the rules and finding a way to succeed on the existing field of play. It happens all the time.

    You want examples? How about two from the left and two from the right: John Edwards, Clarence Thomas, Barack Obama and Miguel Estrada. None of them had the good life handed to them, yet they worked within the existing rules and found a way to succeed.

    Now quit your whining and get to work.

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    Rhetorical question #352

    Is it evil to tell your daughter that the "Fred" in this song refers to Mr. Rogers and then laugh when she believes you?

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    It's a long time until November

    My morning commute is in the 35 to 45 minute range, depending on traffic. I usually toggle between four or five AM stations: two talk, one news/talk, one news, and one sports talk. (I listen to an oldies FM station most of the time at work, especially since moving into the new office space with the lower walls - it helps drown out other background noises.) This morning, I ran through all the stations a couple of times and finally had to just turn the thing off.

    I've reached my capacity for self-destructive political rhetoric. It doesn't matter what you say, the other side always has a comeback which more often than not is a complete non sequitur. (Smurfs are blue)

    I'm ready to vote now just to get it over with. Not that the election will change anything. (Monkeys are funny) In fact, I think the rhetoric will get worse after the election, but at least we'll know the direction the country is headed. (Nickels are round) And there is, at least, something BOTH sides can agree upon; the losers will claim that we are headed South ... on greased rails. (I like ice cream)

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