Monday, December 29, 2008

Well, that wasn't too horrible

It was actually kinda pleasant, in fact.

You see, I'm not a big holiday person. I believe I have covered this before, but since I have a lot of new readers, I'll do a quick run-through of that.

What I crave most in life is relaxation. My job is pretty stressful, and my childrens are very high-energy, and my wife has never come across some activity that she didn't feel the need to sign The Childrens up for, and I am left with little or no actual relaxation. So when a holiday rolls around, my plan is to mostly just lie around the house and relax.

This plan, however, is the exact opposite of how The Mrs. views holidays. She views them as times of frantic activity. Times where we can decorate the house like a magazine audition. Times where there will be two parents at home so we can sign The Childrens up for twice the normal load of activities and then some, since the parents will be well-rested and thus should be capable of even more childrensing per day than on a normal day.

So, inevitably, these diametrically opposed desires cause conflict. Conflict for which I am the one At Fault, given that my desires are driven by "laziness" whereas the opposing viewpoint is driven by the altruism of making this holiday a holiday to remember for The Childrens. Plus, I am the hubsband, and thus everything is my fault automatically. You hubsbands out there know what I'm talking about.

Anyways, Christmas is the granddaddy of all holidays. One for which preparations start weeks ahead of time and for which absolute perfection is a must. Thus, it is the most stressful of all holidays, conflict-wise, given our differing worldviews. Now, throw into the mix a visit from the Queen Moother, and you have a brew more volitile than Mel Gibson behind the wheel after a night of heavy drinking.

I approached this Christmas with trepidation, to say the least.

However, this year I decided to have a plan. Normally, I just try to hang on and ride it out, but I was pretty sure that the storm on the horizon was going to be too powerful for that. Defensive actions were called for. So, for once, I decided to use my genius to figure out how to make Christmas a time of joy and happiness rather than a time of suffering and strife.

My genius, apparently, has its limitations. But, I would say that The Plan was able to at least split the difference between horror and ecstasy.

Phase one of The Plan was to neutralize the disruptive influence of the visit from the Queen Moother. I carried this out with brilliance, brilliance!, through the two-pronged attack of The Rule of Ones and the documentation thereof within the pages of this very blog. Yes, this caused a great deal of strife and pouting and threats to cancel the non-refundable visit and, "I hate you Daddy! You're the worst dad in the entire world!" but it achieved its goal - to get all the misbehavior and criticism thereof out of the system prior to Christmas. A pre-emptive strike in order to mimize future casualties.

I must say it was a success beyond my wildest dreams. Not only were The Childrens remarkably well-behaved during The Visit (relatively speaking - my genius rises not to the level of miracle-working), but The Mrs. and the Queen Moother got along famously as well, with nary a word of criticism uttered by either against the other.

Though, perhaps there was a certain influence of the establishment of a common enemy going on there. Hard to say for sure.

The second prong of The Plan, and the more difficult of the two, involved modifying my own behavior on Christmas day itself. When your worldview is as perfectly well-developed as is mine, it is difficult to put it into a box in order to accommodate other, lesser worldviews just for the sake of "getting along" even for a short period of time.

But strive to do so did I, though with imperfect results. I find Christmas morning most maddening due to the rules imposed by misguided perfectionism. First, there is the early-rising, a terrible imposition for a late-sleeper like me. Then, there is the requirement to be cheerful and enthusiastic before even having a cup of coffee. Finally, there is the requirement that only one present at a time can be unwrapped, and that all participants must be present at all times to witness the unwrapping. And if one of The Childrens decides to stop to play with a toy, all unwrapping must stop until that childrens' appetite for the new has been briefly sated.

In this respect, my fambly is remarkably like that of the fabled A Christmas Story, with the father clearly suffering through Christmas morning in his bathrobe while contending with an over-excited wife and two childrens. I look to Old Man Parker for moral support as a fellow-traveler on the road of Christmas suffering.

I knew, however, that my worldview would not be so easily tamed by sheer willpower. After all, no matter how strong one's will, ultimately what is it battling? Itself. And the battle against one's self is, despite one's best wishes or the number of steps in the program, a fairly evenly-matched affair with no odds-on favorite at the onset.

So I did what any red-blooded American man would do. I hit the liquor store on Christmas Eve. I did this under the guise of, "we're all out of white wine, and we're having Alaskan king crab legs (the deadliest catch) for dinner," but I also knew we had no socially-acceptable morning drinks, and we were running dangerously low on Captain Morgan which turns out to be the secret fuel behind many of my best posts.

I hear Angry Thespian is a big Captain Morgan fan as well. Which is odd, given that she's not a stewardess. Oh, excuse me, Flight Attendant.

I picked me up a bottle of Korbel* extra dry California champagne. I also picked up a couple of champagne flutes cuz I didn't own any. I know - hard to believe. Honestly, we don't drink that much champagne around here. The Mrs. can't stand it, and I don't like how you have to commit to drinking the entire bottle once you open it. With regular wine, you can always vacuum seal the bottle (with the tool we refer to around here as The Wine Suck) and drink the rest later. But you can't reseal champagne in any practical sense, so you just have to drink the whole thing.

Now, it's not that I'm against drinking a whole bottle of champagne. Or even that I find it the least bit challenging to do so (it is, after all, a mere 4 drinks - roughly equivalent to the alcohol content of the Captain Morgan and Coke I mix up in the 20oz cup before attempting a most triumphant blog post). It's just that I don't like to put up with all the tut-tutting from the peanut gallery that goes with opening the bottle and thus announcing that one intends to drink the whole thing single-handedly. Case in point, the moment I showed up with a glass of the bubbly on Christmas morning, the Queen Moother immediately said, "Champagne at 8:30 in the morning? You lush!"

And it was 5 after 9.

I sipped slowly at the champagne for 3 hours. It was very calming. The morning went off fairly smoothly with The Mrs. and I only sniping at one another a couple times, and the Queen Moother stepping in with a, "Now, Childrens," admonition to settle things down.

I believe I may approach all holidays with a bottle of champagne. I'm wondering why I didn't think of this earlier.


* Just in case any of you cares, I've spent quite a number of years researching different models of champagne, and I have come to the conclusion that Korbel represents the absolute best price/performance in a readily available champagne/sparkling wine. I've tried three of the flavors - extra dry, brut, and brut rose - and they are all excellent. If you're looking for a $15-$20ish champagne for New Years that doesn't taste like sulfites, this is your guy. Otherwise, stick with the Andre swill you guys normally drink cuz you can get it two for $7.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's not funny

Yet for some reason, I cannot get the phrase, "tea and strumpets" out of my head.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, The Anticipation

The Mrs.'s mother, AKA GrannyMooMoo, AKA Fat Moother, is on the final flight of her journey to Fort TomCollins to visit for Christmas. She was supposed to arrive yesterday, but apparently the entire country (except us) got a blizzard yesterday that shut down pretty much all air travel in the Northeast.

The Mrs. has already begun to get anxious, so The Childrens and I are hiding in the basement.

So far, nobody has barfed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Toadus and the capital of Syria

Yesterday was the first day of my vacation. A vacation long enough that I predicted it was likely my marriage wouldn't last until the end of it.

The Mrs. certainly got in her shots on that one a few minutes ago. Let me ask you married womens a purely hypothetical question. Let's say that it was around 10pm on a Saturday night, and your wonderful hubby had spent all day chauffeuring The Childrens around so that you could stay home and wrap presents. He had just rolled in with the older child from a two hour amateur ice skating Holiday Show, and he was down in the basement in his bar loading up the dishwasher while singing Sweet Caroline at the top of his lungs, and had just gotten to the part where you yell out "Bah bah bah", would you pick this exact moment to come down the stairs in the dark and ask him a question?

Then, if he were to stop singing, squint into the darkness, and say, "huh?" would you upbraid him for not paying enough attention to you when you talk? Or would you say to yourself, "Self, my hubby seems happily distracted right now, and he doesn't even realize I'm here. I had best do something to get his attention before I start talking. Like flash a boob or two."

Just wondering. Purely hypothetically, of course.

But anyways, back to the subject. Because it was my first day of vacation, it meant we could chase all over creation buying stuff. One of those places happened to be the pet store, as we were almost out of rat food. To The Childrens, a trip to the pet store is very much like a trip to the zoo, and all of the little critters need to be studied intently before leavings. Well, as luck would have it, there was a woman there buying matching gerbils (or perhaps mice, I really didn't pay that close attention), and so the cage was out and The Childrens got to pet some of them. And then there was another woman there who was researching rodent-family pets for her 9-year-old (who was not there and did not know of this clandestine operation), and so The Mrs. and HannahC had to set in on educating her about the joys of rats vs. hamsters. , which led to the rat cage being pulled out and the rat getting played with.

Meanwhile, our hero was standing around pondering how this morning when he got up, the toad's light was still on from the previous day, yet the cricket light right next to it was turned off. After some questioning, it was determined that Miss HannahC had decided to leave the light on for warmth (the lesson about the warmth-generating capabilities of florescent lamps will follow). Now, standing aimlessly in a pet store, our hero is overcome with the idea that what this toad needed was an electric rock.

And thus, with much fanfare, an electric rock was installed in LexieT's terrerium that afternoon.

The directions stated that it would take 6-8 hours to reach its final temperature, and sure enough, 6-8 hours later the glass was so steamed up that you couldn't see inside. So I opened the hatch in the lid to let out some of the humidity. HannahC closed it. This went back and forth all day until, at night, we were turning out the lights, and we had a discussion:
Me, CherkyB: "We need to leave the lid open so that she gets some air and doesn't boil.

HannahC: "Nooooo! She'll escape!"

Me, CherkyB: "She'd have to jump 1 foot straight up. Toads doen't really jump that well. LexieT has certainly never jumped that high. And she can't climb these sides."

HannahC: "No, Daddy. She'll escape."

Me, CherkyB: "OK, well how about we just leave the lid open a crack? The she can't jump out, but she can still get some fresh air?"

HannahC: "Are you sure she won't get out?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yup."

HannahC: "OK then."
I used a piece of some broken clay project to prop the hatch open about 1/4".

The next morning (today), I came downstairs and turned on the lights for the crickets and toad.

No toad.

Uh oh.

I dig around in the coconut bedding, cuz she likes to bury herself. No toad.

Uh oh. I search all around the bar area, then expand my search to as much of the rest of the basement as I can. No toad.

I tell The Mrs. She says, "Of course toads can jump really well. Duuuuuuh."

I know she is saying this just to make me feel bad cuz, you know, that's just the way she is. After all, she has never owned a toad in her life, and I have had about 15 pet toads. And none of them could jump worth a damn. Frogs, now those things can jump. Toads, well, there's a reason their primary defense mechanism is to pee on you.

The Mrs. also searched the toad habitat and found no toad. Then she searched the basement as well. The rest of the morning and afternoon, when I was home, I was lifting furnature and searching under things with a flashlight, all very surreptitiously.

HannahC had a busy day planned. 4-H club community service board in the morning. 4 hours of ice skating holida pagent in the afternoon, and 2 hours of watching another ice skating pagent in the evening. I didn't want her all flustered, so we kept her busy upstairs and out of the basement.

I called The Mrs. every now and then from ice pagent rehersal to see if the toad had turned up. It had not.


At 4:00 when we finally got back from rehersal, she wandered downstairs. The Mrs. and I heard her exclaim, "Where are you?" and then heard what sounded like the toad terrarium being moved around.

The Mrs. asked if I had informed her of the loss, and I said, "No." A little bit later, I decided it was time to deliver the news and listen to what a horrible father I was because I had assured her that toads couldn't jump and had thus let her pet escape.

When I got downstairs, the top of the toad terrarium was off. As I rounded the bar, I saw HannahC down on the floor playing with her toad.


So then what must have seemed like a very strange conversation with HannahC occurred.
Me, CherkyB: "Where did you find the toad?"

HannahC: "In her cage, of course."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. I looked in there for her a little while ago and didn't see her. Was she hiding?"

HannahC: "Yeah. She had completely buried herself."

Me, CherkyB: "I had dug around in there and not found her. How did you find her?"

HannahC: "Oh, well, cuz she likes to completely bury herself, what I do is lift up the aquarium and look on the bottom, and I can see her tummy. "
Stupid toad.

How my Art doth make me Suffer

I bought the toad an electric rock yesterday.

I have a lot more to say, but my foot is killing me, and I don't like to blog sober.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Parenting with CherkyB

I was clearing the dinner dishes from the table tonight and loading them into the dishwasher when HannahC ran up and started clinging to me:

Me, CherkyB: "Gaaaah! What are you doing!?"

HannahC: "I looove you Daddy."

Me, CherkyB: "If you loved me, you'd help me." I handed her a dirty dish.

HannahC: "Why?"

Me, CherkyB: "See, telling someone you love them is like giving them permission to take advantage of you."

HannahC: "Why?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, it's like if you're buying a car, and after the test drive you really like it, you don't go and tell the salesman, 'Oh, I loooove this car,' cuz then he's gonna jack up the price. You go, 'Yeah, I dunno. It was OK.' Then, you get a good deal. If you tell him you love it, he'll take advantage of you."

HannahC: "But I loooove you Dah."

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah, well, go get the rest of the dishes off the table."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh My Goodness

It's freezing here. It has gotten me very worried about the global cooling period we have been in for the last roughly 10 years. Will I have to use my beloved snowblower a lot more, thus shortening her life? Will I end up not having to add that second central air conditioner for the top floor? Will beautiful Colorado soon become a godforsaken arctic tundra similar to Wisconsin?

I don't know what to do. But, since that is no reason to stop an activist, I have begun to eat a lot of mixed nuts.

I hear that methane is a greenhouse gas.

I'm trying to start a "movement" of concerned citizens fighting global cooling through the increased production of methane. I've even got a slogan - "Nuts to you!"

Try to keep your teabag and/or Roman Soldier Helmet jokes to yourself. I do the jokes around here. You want to be funny, get your own blog.

On another topic, The Mrs. was apparently offended by my little hypothetical from yesterday, in particular an obscure reference that may have been made to paper towel rolls. I 'splained to her that I was using hyperbole in order to make a humorous point, but she retorted, "You called it 'Hypothetical Me, CherkyB,' not, 'Hyperbolic Me, CherkyB.'"

So there you go, folks. Proof positive that The Mrs. thinks you're all a big bunch of morons.

If I were you, I'd be offended.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't know what's wrong with me.

I was in Super Target on Friday with HannahC buying celery, bleu cheese dressing, and English muffins (the first time I've ever bought groceries at a Target), and I saw a young couple shopping, and the woman was holding a little, dinky baby boy all wrapped up in a blanket, and I thought to myself, "Awwww...a baaaaaby."

Somebody get me a doctor.

Somebody give me a shot.

Today is the day I got to learn about white spa mold. I'm telling you, a hot tub is more work than a swimming pool.

We also went to see Santa. This was the first year ever that MaxieC wasn't too afraid of Santa to talk to him. They both asked for things they aren't getting, so I imagine this will be the last year of magical Santa and the beginning of a life of jaded cynicism.

Welcome to my world, Childrens. Stay a while. Can I interest you in a big plateful of taken-for-granted while you're here?

The Childrens are in some Christmas-on-ice pageant. I don't know why. HannahC is playing three roles, my favorite of which is the one she calls, "Party Girl," though it's probably supposed to be referred to as "Girl at Party." MaxieC must suffice with but two roles, though one of them is the little brother who breaks the nutcracker. I can't remember the name of the character, so I call him "Hans," after the guy in Die Hard.

The Mrs. took The Childrens to rehearsal for four hours today. I was assigned many many tasks during that time, lest I enjoy my weekend or time away from The Family. One task was that I had to go to The UPS Store to buy 2 cu. ft. of styrofoam packing peanuts. I took the dog with me, since he was hanging around looking all bored.

The moment I set foot back in the garage, my cell rang. It was The Mrs. She was at the rehearsal, and MaxieC was done, so she wanted my to deliver her a Starbucks, cuz there's a Starbucks inside the Safeway next to The UPS Store. We had a delightful little chat about how I wasn't going to drive all the way back into town, pick her up a Starbucks, then turn around and drive in the exact opposite direction to deliver a Starbucks to the ice rink.

She got all pouty and everything, but I still hadn't tackled task #2: run the carpet cleaner on the basement and family room carpets, making sure to move all furniture and not just clean around it.

I suggested a Moxie Java, since there is one literally one block from the ice rink. The Mrs. spent some time trying to convince me to drive from our house, past the ice rink for a block, pick up a Moxie Java, then deliver it to her. I was almost going to do this until she told me to get her a half-caffeine/half-decaf coffee. I'm like, "I can't order that. I'm a man. They'll laugh at me." It's like being sent to the store for tampons. Super size ones, not the slender.
Hypothetical Me, CherkyB: "Excuse me, ma'am. Just how big are these super-size tampons?"

Hypthetical Clerk: "Oh, they expand quite a bit."

H M, CB: "Like how big?"

H C: "I dunno. Like an inch. [holds her fingers apart about 1/2 inch]"

H M, CB: "An inch? My son wears a size 3 hat, and he's only 4 years old."

H C: "Ummm...I think they'll be, uh, OK."

H M, CB: "What aisle are the paper towel rolls on? I'm not making two trips."
The Mrs. finally asked me where exactly Moxie Java was. So I explained that it was in the gas station on the right, not the one on the left, as she headed towards the highway from the ice rink. "Oh that's really close. I guess I could go the myself."

Ya think?

So, she needs directions that are in excruciating detail because, like pretty much every woman, she lives her life largely by reflex and not through any sort of conscious, ongoing thought. (Though I'll probably get Angry Thespian bitching at me about the evils of "linear thought" and how "logic" is a patriarchal construction designed to oppress womens but, you know, I really am not too concerned about taking criticism from someone who lives in Nevada.)

"Turn into the gas station. Then, if you circle around the right side of the building, there is a drive-through window. Don't go around the left, cuz that goes to the carwash."

The Mrs. queried, "Oh. Where the Sandy's is?"

"Yes. I think there's a Sandy's in there, too."

The Mrs.: "I had a hard time finding Moxie Java."

Me, CherkyB: "Why? It's in the gas station right where I told you it was."

The Mrs.: "It's in the Sandy's."

Me, CherkyB: "The Sandy's is in the gas station, too."

The Mrs.: "No. It's in the building."

Me, CherkyB: "There's only one building. It's a gas station, and in it, it has a Sandy's and a Moxie Java. Did you circle around the right of the building like I told you to?"

The Mrs.: "I expected there to be a big sign."
Oh, for fuck's sake.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

DrinkPact #6 - Blitzin'

At long last, I got to practice my art. The Mrs. wanted something chocolatey and cherry to fit in with the Christmas season. I don't know when cherry became a Christmas flavor, but I do what I'm told. This one is very tasty. I'm not kidding on that. If you are at all a fan of black russians (and who isn't?), you should give this one a try. Even The Mrs. likes it, and she doesn't like anything I make.


1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1/2 oz. Grenadine
Splash of Peppermint Schnapps
1 tsp. Chocolate Syrup

Stir with ice and garnish with a cherry.

Drinker's Impressions:

It's like a chocolate-covered cherry candy filled with alcohol with an Andes Candy hint-of-mint finish. This is the potato chip of mixed drinks - no one can have just one. Well, I had just one, but look in the picture - that's a hell of a lot more than 2 oz. of drink in that glass. A great drink for you and your honey to snuggle up by the fire with while watching DVDs of Rankin/Bass Christmas classics.

Trust me. I'm a professional.

Update: Oooo...a testimonial.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Not Everyone Can Marry CherkyB

But for the rest of you, there's always this.

I, of course being substantially more advanced in my CherkyBdom, have this one instead.

I would note, however, that after replacing everything that could possibly leak on a toilet, and still having the floor around the toilet wet all the time, it was root caused to being, "the boy is peeing on the outside of the toilet, not into the bowl," and that wasn't covered in the book.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I have largely abandoned my art. It has been almost an entire year since my last Drink Pact. I think I may have even promised Rhonda a new one a few weeks back and forgotten about it.

I have found the my ability to keep up with all the various blogs that I have to write is very stretched at times when my actual "career" work is in crunch mode, so I am trying to concentrate on just this one, as it is both the first of the bunch and the prime money-maker blog. Plus, I haven't had all that much non-specific angre of late.

Tomorrow is the day the vice president of our division at The Company will yell at me again about the lousy job I am doing with that thing that I don't own. There will be quite a number of both technical and managerial layers between the VP and Me, CherkyB who will be present, so I've vowed that this time, I am not going to tell him what I think if he starts to get all up in my face, and I'll let these guys lay down the cover fire.

It is, after all, not my job to throw bombs. Though one could make an argument that it is my job to catch them.

They're wearing me down with their constant begging for 50 more millivolts. I'm ready to give it to them just to shut them up, though today I asked whose decision it actually was, and no one had an answer. Maybe it's mine. Buwaaaahaaahaaahaaaaa!!!!!

Oh, the power, it corrupts. I demanded a cabinet appointment today in exchange for the 50mV. I didn't get one.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh Fudge

Last night, my whole body hurt. Mostly, my back hurt the worst, followed closely behind by me left foot, and then just the normal contingent of everything in pain after that. I'm not sure why. It could have been that nap I took on the old couch, or it could have been all the sledding I did with The Childrens in the morning, including the one time MaxieC and I hit the ramp and flew through the air about three feet before crashing down on the hard earth.

So I declared that I was going to soak in the hot tub. It was the first reasonably warm day in a while (it was about 30), so I was willing to brave the snow and ice despite the increased level of pain. The Childrens, of course, followed. The Mrs. eventually showed up as well. We were all in there for a while, then MaxieC started to get sleepy (it was 9:30 at night), so The Mrs. took him in to put him to bed.

After they were gone, HannahC turned to me with a very serious face:
HannahC: "Dah. I'm going to ask you a very grownup question."

Me, CherkyB: "Uh. OK."

HannahC: "Now, if you don't know, I want you to tell me you don't know. I don't want you to just make something up. If you say you know, I'm going to ask you to tell me how you know. You understand?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yup."

HannahC: "You know in A Christmas Story when Ralphie yells, 'Fudge!' and gets in a lot of trouble, only he didn't actually say 'fudge', do you know what the word was that he actually said?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yes, I do."

HannahC: "What was it?"

Me, CherkyB: "I can't tell you."

HannahC: "Why not?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, you're just a little kid, and it's not a nice word to say, and I'm not going to teach it to you. You'll learn it soon enough."

HannahC: "What does it mean?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, it actually has an awful lot of different meanings. Like when Ralphie says it, it mean 'Drat', but if you use it with 'up' it can mean 'mess', like 'mess up', and it has a lot of other meanings, too. It's very versatile."

HannahC: "Do you ever say it?"

Me, CherkyB: "Oh yeah. I say it all the time at work."
On an unrelated note, I think I finally got my tire chains sized properly so that they don't fall off when I'm running the snowblower. I had to remove parts. I learned how form a YouTube video.

Friday, December 05, 2008

HannahC, My Biggest Fan

HannahC: "Hey Dah, how come you had to go to work today?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, there was something important that had to be done by today, and I was hoping the other guys could handle it mostly without me, but it turns out they couldn't."

HannahC: "Why?"

Me, CherkyB: "It turns out I'm the brains of the operation."

HannahC: "Hmph. You're the weirdo of the operation."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Track is Laid

The author is perhaps a different story.

Today, I gave up. Normally, I am known for my tenacious fortitude, but I just couldn't take it any longer. I postponed the rest of my vacation and went back to work.

You see, it all started when I checked my calendar this morning and realized I was booked for 5 hours of meetings (actually, 5 hours of the same meeting scheduled as two blocks) that I simply could not skip on account of I'm kind of in charge of this aspect of our project (and by "kinda", I mean it is officially owned by someone in a different department, the analysis is run by someone in a different division, the manager under whose charter it falls is at a different site, and my only official responsibilities in the area according to our roles and responsibilities charter is "quality", which means I take responsibility for the accuracy of everyone else's work, which means that I'm the only one required to actually understand the whole thing, though truth-be-told there are at least 4 other guys who actually appear to care about the quality of the work, not of this should be construed to imply that I am a quality assurance engineer, as I am not, because the jobs of assuring quality of the analysis and assuring "quality and reliability" of the product are two distinctly different roles, and it is, in fact, part of my job to assure that the quality assurance people do a quality job of their analysis). So, given that we want to give a high quality update tomorrow, I couldn't skip the final-final warm-up, strategy meetings.

Both the sessionss went 1 hour over. So I had 7 hours of one meeting today. But, hey, we did a quality job.

At the end, we boiled it all down into a 1.5MB powerpoint foilset with one cover page, three pages of update, and 18 pages of backup material explaining all the bajillion things we looked at in order to reach our recommendation. And at the very end, I axed what I figured was an innocuous question, "Who is going to read the foils?"

I figured that the logical choices would be either (a) the guy who wrote them, or (b) the guy whose job it is according to our roles and responsibilities charter to roll out the recommendations of this team to the rest of the world. But, nooooo.... Mr. (b) chimed in that "CherkyB is the face of this group. He should do it."

Then the manager guy said to (b), "Isn't that your job as the chair of this team, you know, to roll out our recommendations?" And he replied, "It's not my job to throw bombs. CherkyB seems to like throwing bombs. He should do it."

Translation: CherkyB is the chosen one to deliver bad news. I wonder if I'll also get to deliver good news.

I'll probably never find out.

I need to find a new line of work. I hear there may be a job opening up managing the construction of a boiler making plant down near the airport.

But I promised you pictured of the train setup, and I always keeps my promises.

This first photo is pre-train, from the day after Thanksgiving when we set up the tree. I call it, "MaxieC, what the hell are you doing?"

Here's a side shot of the train setup under the tree. I don't have the electric switches hooked up yet, but the track is all in place and the rest of the electric accessories are wired. You may note how the layout is unbalanced with the left side larger than the right. This is because the right side would block the entrance to the room if it went farther. You can also see the seam where the two pieces of the base slide together eminating from the center of the circular cutout for the tree base. This lets you put up and take down the tree withought having to have the train layout down to get trampled on.

A shot from above. Notice how this angle has a slimming effect.

The business end, containing a pneumatic log loader, a gravity fed log mill with lever-actuated dumper, and electronic log dumper, an electric train whistle, a railroad crossing with pressure-activated crossing arm, an Arco petroleuom storage tank with flashing airplane warning light, and a model hotel. All of this stuff I have had since I was a kid.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Is it just me?

Or are other people also annoyed by restaurants that try to make it seem like the wait staff is paying rapt attention to you and really, really cares, and they try to make it seem this way by making the waiter/waitress memorize the order rather than write it down?

Today, I took my first vacation from work during my vacation this week (meaning, I only talked to someone at work about work on my cellphone for 15 minutes, and I sent an email), and we went out to lunch, then took The Childrens to see Bolt in Real D 3D. The movie was sort of typical Disney animated movie. Kinda thinly plotted, but with great animation and emotion. But, holy smokes, the 3D was incredible!

Really. I've never seen anything like it. This new generation of all-digital 3D using DLP projectors and circular-polarizing filters is jaw-droppingly realistic. They charge $2 extra for the 3D version at my local cinema vs. the normal version, and it's worth every penny. We went to the weekday first showing matinee, so it came to $7/person, which isn't bad at all.

And these Cinemark guys also have this fancy snackpack thing that I've never seen before. (I've only been to the competing movie theater chain prior to this, so I don't know how long it's been around.) They have a snackpack that comes in a box like a Happy Meal box, only there's a spot for a drink inside, and a place to put the popcorn, and a place to put a candy snack, and then you close the top and it has access portals. There's a tilt-out door on the side that lets you at the popcorn. There's a hole in the top that lines up with the straw hole on the soda lid, and you poke your straw through the top and leave the drink inside, and the candy sticks out the top on the other side.

Cool. Everything is self-contained, yet completely accesible. We experienced no spills.

As for the saga with the compooter, that is now solved. I got everything I needed to know from PC Pitstop's Viruses, Spyware, Adware and Hijack This Logs forums. The really cool thing is that they have people who provide support absolutely free. You run a couple programs, post the logfiles, and someone gets back to you pretty quickly with customized directions. I had some dude named Juliet who walked me through the cleaning procedure. I actually went a whole day before realizing that Juliet wasn't a dude's name. I had read it as some foreign variation of "Julian" on account of it was in a peecee support forum, and who would expect to come across a woman in a place like that?

Anyways, I highly recommend these folks if you find your compooter gets hijacked or your virus checker starts complaining about stuff but doesn't actually seem to be able to fix it.

Tomorrow, I think I'll have the train setup finished. The Mrs. picked up some new track sections I needed to get the layout right, and I screwed down most of the trestle risers and started tacking down the track. I didn't quite get halfway through the tacking process before we had to split for the lunch/moovie thing. The train runs much more reliably already, though, as the track isn't all misalinged everywhere. I got through the part that is facing out towards the room, and not the inner arc or the side against the wall. Meaning, I got all the parts that MaxieC bangs into all the time.

I'll post some pictures when I gets em.

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's still there


All it has done now is make it so we can't switch user accounts back and forth. I have an infected DLL (termsrv.dll), and I'm trying to figure out how to fix that. I actually posted to the forum that got me this far as to what to do next. I want to make sure that I get all of it this time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I went to install the new wireless mouse on our peecee tonight, and I noticed that the peecee had recently rebooted. That's odd.

Well, suddenly I start getting all kinds of warnings from Windows Firewall about spyware attacks. But wait, Windows Firewall is disabled! Oh shit. Spoof warnings - a virus or somesuch. I try to google it, but both IE and Firefox both take me to a warning screen that says I am browsing unsafely, and do I want to continue on unsafely or try to remedy the situation?

I say to continue on unsafely. Then IE hangs and Firefox crashes. Shit. If I click that I'd like to remedy the situation, I get taken to, where they try to sell me some anti-spyware software.

So I start googling on my laptop and I quickly learn that is a hijacker that intercepts your internet and tries to sell you something to undo that. However, supposedly all the major anti-spy programs can remove it.

I run my Ad-Aware, top-rated freeware anti-spy program. It comes up empty.

The directions to remove it manually tell me all kinds of files and registry entries to delete - but none of those are there.

And I can't download a new anti-spy program cuz my internet has been hijacked. So I started downloading them on my laptop and burning them to CDs.

The first one that was suggested (Spyware Doctor) immediately tried to download the virus definition files, discovered that the internet was hosed, and then said, "No virus definition files have been loaded. It is not possible to scan."


The second one installed (SpyHunter). It was really big and came with its own virus definition already as part of the install. As soon as it ran, it said, "A Rootkit trojan has been detected. It can only be disabled with a reboot. Do you wish to proceed with the reboot?"

Hell yes.

But just then, my Avast! anti-virus popped up a window saying, "Avast! has detected a trojan infecting svchost.exe. As this is a system file, it is unsafe to use this computer until a reboot and a scan is run before starting windows. Do you wish to schedule a scan to run after the reboot?"

Yes. OK, hopefully those two guys will both do their thingee.

The reboot scan ran for a little over an hour and found 8 infected files with 3 or 4 different trojans.

When it finally restarted windows, things were improved but not better. The internet worked, but the spoof firewall window was still popping up.

So I ran SpyHunter again, since it was the first one to report an error. It ran a bit, found a bunch of spyware, and then crashed.


So Spyware Doctor gets another shot. It found 13 infections, most "low" risk, but three it deemed "medium". I clicked "Fix" and it said, "The free version of Spyware Doctor can only be used to locate infections. If you would like to remove them, you must purchase a license."

$29.99 for 6 months with an automatic renewal clause. Farq that.

Poked around a bit more, and found a guy with a very similar problem who was cured after using MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware. I got that installed, ran the "quick" scan, and it found 13 infections, 2 of which required a reboot. I rebooted, no more popup.

Now, I'm running the full system scan. We are 57 minutes into it, and has found 3 more infections. Good god, will this ever end?

[update: it seems to have ended. The official name of the thing that infected me was TDSSserv.sys. You can google it. It appears to be just a little over a month old.]

Choo Choo

Today, we decided to put up the HO train around the base of the Christmas tree. Last year, I had laid it out on some leftover rigid foam insulation that was blue because it kept derailing when running on the carpet. The Mrs. didn't like looking at blue foam, even though we covered it almost completely with presents. So, this year we did it a little differently.

We made a trip to HobbyTown USA and a trip to Lowe's. Then, I got to use my circular saw, my jig saw, my belt sander, my router, my electric drill, all three saw horses, the circular saw rip guide, the staple gun, a hammer, and really cool 3M 77 spray adhesive.

Tomorrow, we may get the train out of the box.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Touching Holiday Story

MaxieC's globe base had broken off again, and on Thanksgiving, he and I were in the garage kneading up some epoxy clay to repair it. I had just shown him how we had to scuff up the surfaces with coarse sandpaper in order to make sure the epoxy clay had something to stick to - it doesn't stick so well to shiny plastic - and the following transpired:
MaxieC: "Boy, you sure are a good fixer, Daddy."

Me, CherkyB: "I'm pretty good. I do what I can."

MaxieC: "How did you learn how to fix everything?"

Me, CherkyB: "Oh, a lot of the stuff my dad taught me."

MaxieC: "Wow. And now you're teaching me, and when I have a son, I can teach him."

Me, CherkyB: "Yup. That's pretty much how it works."

Later, The Childrens and I were down in the basement watching the marathon of Plastic Surgery: Before & After on Discovery Health. Being that it was on Discovery Health, I deemed it educational as opposed to trash TV like Dr. 90210.
HannahC: "Daddy? What's a 'full C-cup'?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, it's the minimum acceptable breast size."

Me, CherkyB: [doh!]

Me, CherkyB: "I mean, like, uhhh, women who have smaller than C always think of themselves as having small breasts. Not that that's unacceptable. But C is where people start to think they're not small."

HannahC: "No. I mean why is it called a 'cup' size?"
MaxieC: "Dah? Why would someone want their nipple moved up?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, son, a lot of women like their nipples to point forward."

HannahC: "Yeah. Nipples are supposed to point forward, not down at the ground! Duuhhhh!"

MaxieC: "But [redacted]."

Me, CherkyB: "I blame you for that."
Finally, HannahC was going to "camp out" in the basement overnight, and she had snuggled in to the sofa bed and flipped on the tube to catch a little more of the marathon.
Announcer: "...And, after three children, Tracy was ready to do something for herself."

Tracy: "I've chased after three little kids, and now I think it's time for me to do something for myself."

Announcer: "She's decided to get a 'mommy makeover,' an increasingly popular treatment that includes a tummy tuck to get rid of the sagging abdomen and stretch marks, a breast lift to reverse the damage from years of breast feeding, liposuction in the thighs, and fat grafting into the lips."

Tracy: "I want my body back!"

The Mrs.: "WHAT are you watching?"

HannahC: "Plastic Surgery: Before & After."

The Mrs.: "That is not an appropriate show for you."

HannahC: "But it's my favorite shooooowwww!!!!"

The Mrs.: "No. You cannot watch this. It's just all about stupid women getting bigger breasts."

Me, CherkyB: [sigh]

HannahC: "Daddy said I could watch it!"

The Mrs.: [glare]

Me, CherkyB: "It's Discover Health. It's educational."

The Mrs.: [rolls her eyes] "I'm turning it off!"

HannahC: "Nooo!!!! All you ever want to do is be mean to me! I hate you!"
And then it kinda went downhill from there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Observations from Afar

First, let me open with an apology to Granny MooMoo for my last post. It was intended to be a humor piece illustrating how HannahC was blaming her for being required to behave, but I have heard it was instead received as more of a criticism of the Moo herself. Perhaps titling the piece "The Devil Named Moo" had something to do with that, but damn that's a funny title.

As for being "not wanted," I'm not really all that annoyed by constant nit-picking criticism. If I were, I wouldn't have married The Mrs.

(Watch this space for the upcoming apology for that remark...)

Second, I would like to say I am really quite tickled at how, as Obama started naming his cabinet, first people starting saying that this "Hopey Change" looks an awful like a third Clinton term, as he just kept naming Clinton cronies to his cabinet, capped with the pièce de résistance of naming Hillary herself as Secretary of State (an appointment that, without some quick action by Congress is unconstitutional due to an esoteric clause in the constitution called Emoluments, and is likely still unconstitutional even with quick action by Congress - though probably in a way that no one will care to enforce). And I am amused at how the one and only thing that Ms. Hillary and the Obamessiah disagreed upon even a teeny little bit was foreign policy, and NOW HE PUT HER IN CHARGE OF IT! HAA HAA HAA HAA!!!!

Change we need! Change we can believe in! Hillary!

And now, it gets even better. He's keeping Bush's Secretary of Defense on, and he's naming cronies of the Bush financial team to head up the financial side of the cabinet. And, oh god I can barely type this because I'm laughing so hard, now people are saying it looks like a third term of Bush!

So, dearest Hopey Change cult followers, I offer you this word of condolence:


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Devil Named Moo

In just a few short weeks, The Mrs.'s mother, Granny MooMoo (AKA Fat Moother AKA Flatulent Granny) will visit us for Christmas. You would think that this would be a joyous occasion, but of course, you'd be wrong. It will most likely be an occasion that will allow me to add to the ever-increasing list of posts tagged as "barf blogging."

However, something other than the non-stop barfing is on our minds today. It is MooMoo's propensity towards non-stop criticism of the parenting skills of the parents of unruly childrens. Now, you might say to yourself, "Why would this be an issue? After all, The Childrens are perfect little angels."

Perhaps. But many of you saying that have never spent a full day with them. Plus, one of The Childrens, the one we often refer to as "Darling Daughter," has some over-excitability issues that cause her to go absolutely bat-shit insane when there are visitors. Now we are all aware of her inability to contain herself around company, but it puts everyone a bit on edge. If we couple that with day upon day of intense criticism from her mother about the behavior of her child, this is a recipe for The Mrs. to go absolutely insane as well.

But, ever the gracious hostess, she of course takes this frustration out on me. After all, what are husbands for if not to blame all of life's shortcomings upon?

I am not saying this as a criticism, as I know that 'Billy gets irate when he senses I am criticising his sister in public, but I am saying this merely to lay out some indisputable facts in order to establish the background for the story I am about to tell.

Which brings us to something I like to call The Rule of Ones. (A takeoff from the medical term "the rule of nines," hence the plurality of the otherwise singular phrase.)

The Rule of Ones is very simple: I tell you what to do once. If I have to repeat it, it is an automatic Naughty Corner. Keeping with the official "rules" of naughty corner, I have to punctuate it with, "Now I've told you once. That's as many times as I'm going to tell you," in order to provide the required warning before invoking a naughty corner, but I plan to phase this out as The Childrens catch on.

I've explained to The Childrens that their behaviour is unacceptable, and that they need to be much better disciplined in general, and that this needs to improve a lot before Granny MooMoo visits or The Mrs. will go insane. And nobody wants an insane The Mrs. on Christmas.

So, last night HannahC was acting up at the dinner table after dinner. The Mrs. was telling her to go do something - I forget exactly what - and HannahC was arguing. The Mrs. was doing her standard, repetitive, "this is the last time I'm telling you, or it's naughty corner," that for some reason never ends in HannahC ever doing what she is told nor ever actually being sent to naughty corner. So I had to step in, pick up HannahC, and deposit her with a pretty loud thump into naughty corner.

I said, "OK. Momma told you once, and you didn't do it. Naughty corner," as I picked her up.

Perceptive little manipulator that she is, she yelled, "Noooo!!!! That's not our rule! That's MooMoo's rule!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Holiday

While the merry bells keep ringing
May your every wish come true

Don't worry, we'll suffer through

Accepting help from your wife is always a dicey proposition. In general, your wife is a woman, so that means that the quality of help you get will drop off precipitously with the difficulty of the task. And so it was with great trepidation that I accepted my wife's offer to help me put up the Christmas lights outside today.

It went a little something like this:

Me, CherkyB: "I'm going outside to put up the lights."

The Mrs.: "OK."


Me, CherkyB: "Why are you following me?"

The Mrs.: "Well, I was going to help."

Me, CherkyB: "How?"

The Mrs.: "You know, putting up the lights."

Me, CherkyB: "Are you going to help-help or make-things-harder-help?"

The Mrs.: "Fine. If you don't want help, maybe I'll just stay inside."

Me, CherkyB: "Great. You know what you can do? You can go into the storage room in the basement and get out the boxes that have the outside lights and timers in them."

The Mrs.: "But you're the one who packed those boxes. I mean, I know where the boxes are, but I didn't pack them, so you're the one who knows what's in the boxes."

Me, CherkyB: "They're labeled."

The Mrs.: "Yeah, but there are a lot of boxes labeled 'outside lights,' and anyways I can't be lifting boxes what with my bad back and all."

Me, CherkyB: "Fine. I know what kind of help I'm going to get now. I'm going to get the, 'I'll do all the really easy, fun tasks, and then you do everything that is hard or frustrating or time consuming,' help. Why don't you just not help?"

The Mrs.: "No. I'm going to help."

Down to the storage room I go. Right in the front in the Christmas box area, I find two boxes: one says, "Xmas - Outdoor lights," and the other says, "Xmas - Outdoor light timers and extension cords." I point this out to The Mrs., and she says, "How am I supposed to know what's in those boxes?" and then mutters something about her back. Then, she stands in the way to block my path as I try to remove the boxes from the shelves.

Yup. That kind of help.

Outside, I grab the big spool of LED lights we picked up from Ace yesterday to light the blue spruce by the pond and head to the back yard with a cigar that I'm having a devil of a time lighting because there is 30mph wind, and despite Zippo claiming to be "windproof," it isn't. The Mrs. is all, "I'm not going to help you if you're smoking a cigar," like this is some kind of revelation. That is precisely why I am smoking the cigar.

So I walk her to the front of the garage, where I place the box of outdoor lights, and I say,

Me, CherkyB: "Why don't you plug these in and see if they work?"

The Mrs.: "Which ones?"

Me, CherkyB: "The lights in this box. Plug them in to see if they work."

The Mrs.: "Where should I plug them in?"

Me, CherkyB: "In the outlet."

The Mrs.: "Which one?"

Me, CherkyB: "I don't care! There's one here [points], there's one around there [points]. Just plug them in and see if they work."

The Mrs.: "In which plug?"

Me, CherkyB: "Fine. Don't help."
I go off around back and start to string up the lights. About two minutes later, The Mrs. is standing on the back deck.
The Mrs.: "Some of them don't work."

Me, CherkyB: "OK."

The Mrs.: "Can you fix them?"

Me, CherkyB: "I'm hanging up these lights right now."

The Mrs.: "But some of the lights don't work."
Then she stands around looking lost.

Yup. That kind of help.

I ran out of lights about halfway up the tree, which is par for the course. This string was $40 [LEDs are cheaper than they used to be, but not cheap], so I decided to get just one spool to start. I headed out to the front.

There were 12 strings of lights in the box. The Mrs. had found that half of the third string she tried didn't light, so she had stopped. Just stopped. Didn't try any of the next nine strings. Nope. Ground to a halt on the very first string that has any issue.

Yup. That kind of help.

We worked our way through all the remaining light strings, and strung them all up largely without incident. We ended up retiring 3 strings because there were too many bulbs burned out to be worth the effort. I'm trying not to replace incandescents anymore, but instead upgrade to LEDs as stuff burns out, but I did break that rule with one string of lights on a front tree. That tree is about 30' tall, and I had such a devil of a time putting the lights on there when we first moved in that I just left them. But one of them got the wires severed, and I didn't want to replace just one string of about 8 with LEDs cuz it'd look funny.

After getting everything wired up, I ran off to Ace to get a second spool of LEDs for the blue spruce. Upon my return, The Mrs. was sitting on the back porch glider. I began installing the lights, but it got high enough on the tree that I needed the extension pole with a hook (fashioned from a bent coathanger and attached with duct tape to a paint roller extension pole). The pole is a two-handed thing, so it helps to have someone to hold the light spool while you're using the hook.

The Mrs., sensing work, had disappeared. I had to go chase her down.

We got the lights up, despite it all, and now one of MaxieC's friends is over, and they're tearing the house apart.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

An Exceedingly Manly Post

Yesterday was Kid's Night Out again, so we dropped the rugrats off at the museum and hit the town for some serious Par-taying. We decided to hit a little hole-in-the-wall sushi joint because The Mrs. just can't get enough of the taste of raw fish and me, well, I appreciate the Japanese culture known world-wide for the startling depths of their perversion (vending machine with used schoolgirl panties?), plus the beer comes in double-sized bottled, so you don't have to keep odering another every five minutes.

Anything worth drinking is worth over-drinking, you know?

We chowed down a big platter of dead fish while the woman prattled on about all the great deals she got on used toys, and I searched around confusedly for the co-eds that should have been packing a place just one block from a major university but were nowhere to be found. Finally I said, "Look, Babe, lemme grab one more big, giant beer, and then let's blow this joint. Why don't you get the check?"

We hopped in the Love Van and hauled ass over to Sears, where they were having a pre-Christmas sale on table saws. The little woman only wanted to shop for clothes, so I ditched her in the shoe department for a while.

She picked up some Sarah Palin-style go-go boots, which I made her wear to bed later.

Release the Hounds!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A crock you say?

It pops up every now and then, but I'm kinda bored tonight, so here you go:

The Gender Analyzer.

We think is written by a man (87%).
We think is written by a man (79%).
There you have it. CherkyB, 8% more manly than Ellie. Just imagine if I did more reps on the erg!
We have strong indicators that is written by a man (96%).
Oh, but 9% less manly than Cavitation. What the hell? I demand a rematch!
We have strong indicators that is written by a man (96%).
Nothing manlier than talking about the weather, apparently. What's that? Cavitation wants a rematch?
We think is written by a man (79%).
Ha! CherkyB, 4% more manly than Cavitation, on average.
We guess is written by a woman (57%), however it's quite gender neutral.
We guess is written by a woman (57%), however it's quite gender neutral.
Well, that's quite a pat on the back for Blargauthor and Nava. Too much Obama propaganda, I imagine. Women aren't supposed to talk about politics, you know.
We think is written by a woman (62%).
But Rhonda outdoes them. I wonder what it takes to be a 96% woman? Rio gets closer:
We think is written by a woman (66%).
But Flatulent Granny has them all beat.
We think is written by a woman (70%).
Didn't see that one coming, did we? Of course, there is one standout champion in all of this.
We think is written by a woman (77%).
Way to go, Carl, Jr.

CherkyB, Manipulator

Me, CherkyB: "Now, I want you to spend the whole night in your bed tonight. Santa won't bring you as many presents if you don't stay in your bed."

MaxieC: "Oh."

Me, CherkyB: "Yup. See HannahC stays in her bed all night, so she's going to get more presents than you are. You don't want Santa to bring more presents for HannahC than for you, do you?"

MaxieC: "That's OK if HannahC gets more presents."

MaxieC: "Yeah. Or if I get coal and coal and coal and coal."

Me, CherkyB: "Really? You wouldn't mind getting nothing but a stocking full of coal for Christmas?"

MaxieC: "No. Cuz I could toss it up in the air and then catch it."
Apparently, I suck at this.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Bad Dad

As noted in yesterday's post, MaxieC barfed a couple days ago. This happened during a time when he had rather suddenly developed a fever. That is to say, he barfed because he was sick, not because he was over-excited or because of a rapid change in altitude on the way to the Continental Divide.

Well, he felt lousy all Tuesday night, and because when he barfed, he had done it all over his bed, and it had soaked through to the mattress, he had to sleep on the couch Tuesday night. The Mrs. made him a cozy bed there with sheets and blankets, and then she slept on the floor next to him on an old couch cushion from a sofa that was too large to fit up the staircase in our very first apartment. We had thrown out the sofa (it was old when I got it in college), but kept the cushion, which The Mrs. affectionately refers to as "little bed".

She attended to him all night, getting him cold water to drink every time he awakened. This was reported to be at least as frequently as every hour during the night.

Tonight little MaxieC is feeling much better, and he is sleeping quite soundly. Except he has decided to move into our bed in the middle of the night. And his nose is gurgling when he breathes.

I poked at him, and he lifted his head up, turned over and went right back to sleep. But then the nose started up the gurgling moments later. Now, I am contemplating putting him back in his own bed, which will surely wake him up and cause a great deal of anger in The Mrs. towards me.

And I know how I should hear his rhythmic and relaxed, though, loud breathing as a comforting sound signaling that a previously-distressed child is recovering from a sudden illness, instead IT IS DRIVING ME INSANE!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!

I am The Bad Dad.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Visitor

The Mrs.'s brother, 'Billy, is visiting us today.

It took MaxieC three hours before he barfed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

MaxieC: The Man, The Mystery

The Mrs.: [first, turning down the music because she thinks she's my mother] "MaxieC has a little boy problem."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh? What's that?"

The Mrs.: "He zipped up his penis in his zipper."

Me, CherkyB: [crossing legs] "Oh. That hurts."

The Mrs.: "Yeah. I need you to go check on it. He won't let me anywhere near it."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh."


Me, CherkyB: "Hey MaxieC, I hear you got your junk stuck in your zipper."

MaxieC: "Yeah. It really hurts."

Me, CherkyB: "Are you unstuck now, or are you still attached to the zipper."

MaxieC: "I'm unstuck."

Me, CherkyB: "OK good. You'll be fine. You just gotta remember to keep your junk out of the zipper."

MaxieC: "OK Dah."
A half hour later...
The Mrs.: "Mumble mumble mumble your help."

Me, CherkyB: "Huh?"

The Mrs.: "Mumble mumble."

Me, CherkyB: "What do you need?"

The Mrs.: "Your help."

Me, CherkyB: "My help what?"

The Mrs.: "Your help."

Me, CherkyB: "'Your help' isn't a complete thought."

The Mrs.: "I need your help in here." [points to the floor in MaxieC's room]

Me, CherkyB: "That's a turd!"

The Mrs.: "Yes. And it's been stepped on."

MaxieC: "No it hasn't!"

Me, CherkyB: "Then why is it all squished flat?"

The Mrs.: "Is there any more poop hiding in here, MaxieC? Like in your pajamas? In the closet?"

MaxieC: "No, that's it."

The Mrs.: "AAAaaaaa!!!! It's all down your leg!"

MaxieC: "No! That's chocolate!"
Oh, the joys of footed pajamas.

Friday, November 14, 2008


As a general rule, I don't like to blog about Fat Camp, but last night one thing in particular was just too hysterical to let slide without comment. There were 7 of us sitting there drinking our very reasonably-priced $2.50 draft beers, plus Carl, Jr. sipping on a less reasonably-priced vodka tonic made with bottom-shelf Popov, and the nice lady who used to be our regular waitress a couple years ago but has since moved up to being a bartender happened by. She was not working but was instead just passing through as a customer with some friends. She stopped at our table to say, "Hi." Then, a little while later, our waitress came over with three free drinks, one for Rico, one for Ice Man, and one for Me, CherkyB, saying that our old waitress/bartender had sent them over.

Now, before The Mrs. gets all upset, the point here isn't that some woman bought us free drinks, cuz she's one of the bartenders and she comp'd them to us without having to pay for them herself. No, the point is that she got only free drinks for 3 of us despite there being 8.

And that, my friends, was a total burn.

Sure, there was a lot of discussion about how some of the guys are relatively new, and so they were never her regular customers. But El Torito and Carl, Jr. have been there from the very start.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A question

It's the morning, you're at work, you've just finished your first cup of coffee, and your first cup of coffee has just finished you.

Which is worse?
The bowel-locking shock of a frigid toilet seat.
The soothing warmth of an unexpectedly hot seat.
Free polls from

Monday, November 10, 2008


Blah dee blah blah blah, new leaf blower. Blah blah blah converts to vacuum. Blah blah junk blah blah blah. Blah choke lever blah blah broke off already blah.

Blah blah blah snowblower on tractor. Blah chains blah blah fall off tires blah blah. Chains blah blah never stay blah on blah blah.

Blah blah dee blah blah Mrs. insane blah blah blah. Blah blamed medication blah blah. Blah says better now blah blah blah. Blah dee don't see blah any difference blah blah. Blah blah still insane blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah gun store blah all sold out blah blah high end AR's blah. Obama! blah.

Christmas blah blah 5 liter beer cooler blah blah. Blah blah bad reviews blah blah Amazon blah blah. Blah don't like blah blah blah Heineken blah blah.

Blah blah zombie frog. Blah blah feed brains blah blah blah. Blah blah fly brains very small blah blah. Always hungry blah.

Blah blah lost back of cellphone blah blah airplane blah. Blah blah eBay blah replacement blah blah, matching blue blah $9 blah blah chrome $4.95 blah blah includes shipping blah. Phone blah very shiny blah blah.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

CherkyB, The Father

Last night, HannahC and I were ripping CDs. It seems to be a never-ending task, as every time I think I have finished it, someone finds some drawer or shelf or box that has more CDs in it. But we made great progress yesterday, as we sat waiting for childrens to ring the doorbell for trick-or-treats. We got a whole three groups all night.

We had gotten most of the way through my collection, up to the W's. HannahC installed a new CD into the drive, as is her job, and then watched for the cover art to appear on Windows Media Player in order to assure it identified the CD correctly.

The CD is question was Whitesnake's Lovehunter.

HannahC looked at the tiny picture on the screen, and asked:
HannahC: "Dah, what is that kid doing with that snake?"

Me, CherkyB: "Uh, it's not a kid. It's a woman. And she's just sitting on it."

HannahC: "Why is she naked?"

Me, CherkyB: "'s art. Sometimes people are naked in art for no good reason."

HannahC: "It doesn't look like a woman. It looks like a little boy."

Me, CherkyB: "It's a woman. Look, she's got a boob. Little boys don't have boobs."

HannahC: "Well, fat ones do."

Me, CherkyB: "Look, it's a woman. It's not a little boy."

HannahC: "That doesn't make any sense. Why would a naked woman be on a giant snake?"

Me, CherkyB: "..."

HannahC: "Oh, I bet I know. I bet this was designed by men. So they put a naked woman on it."

CherkyB, The Jerk

Apparently, I am all out of sorts today. I give to you a prime example of my nastiness:

The Mrs: "Do we have Microsoft Publisher?"

Me, CherkyB: "No."

The Mrs.: "I have directions on how to do something in Microsoft Publisher."

Me, CherkyB: "We don't have it."

The Mrs.: "Can you come to the compooter room?"

Me, CherkyB: "Why?"

The Mrs.: "Cuz I need to do this thing in Microsoft Publisher."

Me, CherkyB: "We don't have Microsoft Publisher."

The Mrs.: "I know. But I want to do this project, and it needs Microsoft Publisher. Can you come to the compooter room?"

Me, CherkyB: "We don't have Microsoft Publisher."

The Mrs.: "Just come to the compooter room."

Me, CherkyB: "I'm going to need to know why. See, I already know we don't have Microsoft Publisher, so I don't know why I need to go to the compooter room since we don't have it."

The Mrs.: "Yeah. But I want to do this project, and it only has directions for Microsoft Publisher."

Me, CherkyB: "We don't have Microsoft Publisher."

The Mrs.: "Just come to the compooter room, you f'ker."

Me, CherkyB: "You'll have to wait until there's a commercial."

A brief refresher

It has come to my attention that many of you are quite a bit, shall we say, stupider than even I had given you credit for. So, without naming names, I'm going to do a quick refresher on the concept of "They're not all Winners" for The Mrs.'s hillbilly relatives.

You see, the point is that they're not supposed to be funny. That's the point. Really.

But what can I expect from such a backwoods crew? If I were to say it were raining, they'd have to post under seven different names about how, in addition to it raining, there is water falling from the sky. And then copy and paste a bunch of wikipedi entries on the definition of a flood.

I swear, there's some cousins married not to far up that fambly tree.

Friday, October 31, 2008

They're Not All Winners 2

Sometimes I am inspired while mowing the lawn. Sometimes not so much. A couple weeks ago, I was thinking about Chinese yo-yo's, because the kids had gotten some at some party. Not the real kind, but the stupid paper roll kind. It got me to thinking of all the stupid things we call "Chinese." Like the Chinese fire drill and Chinese handcuffs. And, oddly enough, this got me to thinking of Carl, Jr., which then inspired me to make up a new joke.

Now, I'm going to apologize to Carl ahead of time in that him being the inspiration of this is maybe not the most flattering thing that could happen. But he'll understand it when he reads it.

I kept this to myself, thinking it maybe needed development or really just the perfect setup in order to deliver. You know how I am a stickler for timing. Well, tonight I could wait no longer. We had trick-or-treating at The Company today, and The Mrs. was talking about how all the Chinese yo-yo's we had in the treat box were gone when we got back to my cube (we set the treat box out for people to help themselves as we took The Childrens around the trick-or-treating, so this is seen as a sign that they were popular). Hearing her say Chinese yo-yo made me think of the joke.

Sadly, it fell completely flat. Probably cuz I completely f'd up the delivery. But also possibly cuz she doesn't hang with Carl all the time like I do.
Do you know how to make a Chinese jail cell?

You take a guy to Walmart, draw a chalk box around him on the floor, and say, "If you stay in this box for a year, everything in the store is half off."
They're not all winners.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Foot Hurts

I don't know why. It's either foot cancer, or PMS.

Hey, I gotta say, I'm very excited about Barack Obama's plan to eliminate the 401(k) tax deferral for people who save and to eliminate the tax deduction to employers who contribute matching funds. Since those are the only two things that distinguish a 401(k) from a private investment account, that should pretty much kill off my alternative to social security. That should be very exciting depending upon the government to get a good return on my social security investments in order to have money to retire on rather than them just frittering it away on tax "rebates" for people who don't pay any taxes (aka, his welfare plan). Yes yes, every day it is clearer to me how the only reason not to support this guy is because my church told me not to.

If only I had a church.

But hey, I'm young. Why should I worry about the future when the government will do that for me?

On a lighter note, on Monday, our much-anticipated whole-house music system was professionally installed by the good proprietor of Home Smart Home, LLC. See, when we bought our fancy-pants house, I wasn't expecting to have to spread the wealth around, so we bought a nice place. It has 6 pairs of speakers installed into the walls/ceilings in various rooms about the house. The speaker wires all terminate in the cabinet under the TV in the family room, where the previous owners had a 12-channel amp and some misc. audio equipment, all of which they naturally took with them.

I didn't really know much about whole house audio, but my neighbor across the street was a bit of a hobbiest in the field. Until recently when he decided to supplement the income of his day job by opening up a business installing high-end A/V systems in houses, thus becoming the dreaded small business owner whose wealth needs to be spread around.

He set us up with a used 12-channel amp (at about half the price of new), plus a Sonos BU150 along with some accessories, for a very decent price. We the BU150, you get to run two zones independently, so we have the basement on its own zone player, allowing the kids to listen to kid music down there, where the kitchen, family room, living room, master bedroom, and deck are on another zone and driven by the 12-channel amp.

I decided to rip all our CDs on the PeeCee so that we can have access to all the songs from the Sonos without having to put a disc into the player. This has consumed almost all my free time since then. We own just over 300 CDs, I think, and it takes 5-10 minutes to rip each one. I think we've gotten through about 200 of them so far, but we did all The Mrs.'s and The Childrens's first, so we just really got into my collection today.

Last night, we had only gotten through the A's (my collection is alphabetical, cuz that's the kind of guy I am), so while I was in the basement playing Clue Jr. with MaxieC, we got to listen to tons of AC/DC and Aerosmith. Really more than I perhaps needed to listen to right then.

So I flipped over to the "Heroes of Guitar" streaming internet radio station. Little did I know this station plays music (almost?) exclusively from the Guitar Heroes game. But it was still good. MaxieC did air guitar to "I Love Rock'n'Roll". It's interesting that he has already developed the classic white guy dance moves at age four - namely, he stands pretty still and plays air guitar with his mouth wide open and his head thrown back.

I don't know where he got that. I don't do that. I dance like the village idiot.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oh, My Liver - a period piece

Sorry fans. I'd love to tell this story, but I can't. The Mrs. would get angry.

Oh, the power of The CherkyB

Here's an interesting little article on the problems West Virginia residents are having with their touch screen voting machines registering the votes for the wrong candidates. I note that Dr. Fancy Computer Scientist from Rice managed to describe parallax without actually using the word, and then he swiped Blogauthor's ATM example. I guess if you give a million PhD's typewriters, none of them will write Shakespeare, but instead they'll all turn out stuff that is largely identical.
Wallach also noted that, as with all such displays, calibration depends on the angle from which the screen is viewed: A display properly calibrated for a five-foot-tall user might be miscalibrated for someone a foot taller. "Don't take my word for it; go up to a drive-in ATM calibrated for someone sitting down, and try to use it just standing there," suggested Wallach, "you won't be able to hit the damn buttons." The iVotronics system compounds the problem, he said, because its display is locked in place, which "guarantees that some users are going to be viewing it at the wrong angle."
Here in Colorado, we use Diebold, not iVotronics. I have learned that the Diebold machines are actually tilt-adjustable by the poll workers to give everyone the right viewing angle, though no such information was provided to me by the guy who "trained" me on using the machine.

How did I learn this?

Well, I sent in a complaint to the Larimer County Director of elections using the email contact on their web page (though I did it at like 11pm after having written my screed, so she didn't see it until the next day). Much to my surprise, she responded by the close of business that they had received another complaint about the machines at that location the same day I voted, they had discovered that the polarized privacy screens covering the display were not fitting correctly causing this problem, had already removed them from all early voter locations, and will not ship them with the machines they will set up on election day.

Cool. She also threw in that the calibration of the machines was OK and that they are tilt-adjustable for people of different heights.

I guess I should have just told the guys working there about the problem, but for some reason I wanted to get to work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fix is In

OK, I'll be the first to break the story: Colorado (or at least Larimer County) has a serious flaw with its electronic voting machine setup that will ultimately be of great benefit to the Democratic Party. It's very difficult to get the machine to register a vote for the Republican candidate for either president or for the House of Representatives.

In case you couldn't tell, I voted today, taking advantage of the early voting period that began Monday. I was given a choice of electronic or paper ballot, and I chose electronic, as I found it a heck of a lot more convenient in my old home of California when they switched over. The poll workers seemed a bit shocked that I selected electronic, probably given all the bad press electronic voting has gotten since it came on the scene. The poll location had a grand total of two electronic voting machines, but they were setup with roughly 50 of those little folding booth things for filling out paper ballots.

The guy gave me the quick training on the specifics of this machine (a Diebold, which are supposed to be rigged to fake votes for Republicans, if you believe the MSM), and I was off and voting. With the heady rush of voting for president in a swing state for the first time ever (prior to solidly-Democratic California, I was a resident of equally solidly-Democratic New York), I surveyed the first electronic page of the ballot, found my man at the top of the list, pressed firmly on the touch screen for the check box for John McCain, and the machine registered a vote for Barack Obama (who was the candidate on the line under McCain).


I clicked on John MacCain again, and it beeped at me. Poke, poke, poke, braaap, braaap, braaap.

Hmmm...Where is the clear button? There is none.

Ah, here's the "Back button". I hit back, it takes me back to the intro page, I hit "next" and it takes me back to the presidential candidates with my vote for Barack Obama registered.

So I poke some more, and eventually I find that if I press a little lower on the screen, I can uncheck Obama, and all the check boxes on all the candidates return.

So I much more carefully poke at McCain, using just the tip of my finger to make sure I don't hit both McCain and Obama at the same time. I land right directly on the McCain check box, and my vote is recorded.

For Obama.

Seriously. I'm not making this up.

I poke at it a couple times to get it to clear Obama again, and this time I start at the very tippy top of the screen, in the line that says "President of the United States", and I start poking, getting braapped at, and then poking again a tiny bit lower. I worked my way slowly down until, right on the dividing line between the "President of the United States" box and the "John McCain" box, it actually selects McCain.

Now, as you all know, I am a reasonably bright individual. I work in the high tech field. I work on a computer all day long. I have a PhD in electrical engineering. And it took me three tries and about 30 seconds of farting around in order to be able figure out the trick to get the machine to allow me to vote for the guy I actually wanted.

Well, feeling a great deal of success, I punched the "next" button and got for vote for my congressperson. My candidate was in slot one, and once again, my vote was recorded as for slot two. Having learned the trick, I quickly cleared the result and voted by pressing the line above my candidate rather than the checkbox for her.

None of the other pages of the electronic ballot had this problem. I believe this was because the remaining pages had more than one line of "header" text, so the first voting line was lower on the screen.

I think what was going on here was a parallax problem. "The apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer." The screen was a pretty tall screen, and rather than being upright, it was laid down at perhaps 45 degrees. The end result being that I was looking at the screen from a significantly off-perpendicular angle (similar to sitting on the floor and looking up at a TV from a close distance), with the angle being worse the farther up the ballot screen I was looking, and thus parallax would cause me to perceive the check boxes as being lower on the screen than they actually were when putting my finger on them. This error would get worse as the viewing angle got worse. I'm 6' tall. This problem would be even worse for shorter people.

At least, I hope that parallax was the case, and it wasn't an intentional misprogramming of the touch screen to make it hard to vote for Republicans.

It'll be interesting to see how the third guy on the ballot (Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party) does. It'd be hard to detect a small amount of accidental vote switching between McCain and Obama since it's a pretty tight race here and from the looks of things, most people are expected not to vote electronically. But if Baldwin does mysteriously a lot better than expected, and it just so happens that all his votes come from electronic machines rather than the paper or mail-in ballots, well now then we'd have something to talk about.

Monday, October 20, 2008

OK, I Lied

I didn't actually turn on comment moderation. I didn't need to, because everyone always agrees with me already.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Post of the Beast

This is my 666th blog post to Me, CherkyB (though as we've covered before, I deleted the very first one, so only 665 are publicly available). Ahh, the good times we have had. I still remember the first death threat I got in the comments section. Plus, you know, I've occasionally had to delete a few racist comments from various members of my wife's extended family operating under the cover of made-up names, but not made-up IP addresses.

You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can't shake her family, as they say.

I'd like to note that, through it all, I've kept my comments section open, allowing both sides of the debate a free flow (except for, as I said, the removal of occasional racists comments).

But all that is about to change.

The upcoming election is just too important for me to allow people from both sides to leave comments on my blog. It is, after all, my blog, for which I pay absolutely nothing because Google has found a way to extract money from evil capitalists in order to grant me a free free free blogger account and a free blog (hell, 4 of them if you count just my household), and if you'd like to express your opinion, unless you plan to agree with me, you will need to get your own blog.

By the way, I highly recommend just agreeing with me. I am, after all, the most intelligent person you know.

So anyways, starting now, I will be enabling comment moderation. I will use this to filter out comments from people that I have deeply offended by dismissing their heartfelt convictions as those of the stupid, ignorant rubes who live in places different from where I live and who read different newspapers and go to different churches.

You see, by moderating comments, I will be able to make it appear as though everyone agrees with me. As they should, mind you. I will be able to put the brakes on crazy talk by rabid adherents to discredited political orthodoxy.

And I will, at last, be able to make fun of Canadians without fear of one responding. Eh?

So comment away, and see which ones make it through my filter. See if you are one of the anointed.

Let the civil discourse begin!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To My Loyal Fans

Who have all been contacting me in one way or another to complain about the lack of recent posting, I'd like to issue this official statement:

F'k you. I'll post when I have something worth saying. You should try it some time.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

They're Not All Winners 1

OK, folks. I've decided to introduce a new, recurring installment here that I have called, "They're Not All Winners." Allow me to explain:

As you all know by now, I am a remarkably funny individual. My gift for humor knows virtually no bounds. However, it does in fact know some bounds. I am, after all, merely a human like everyone else, albeit substantially better in most respects.

This feature will document those things that seemed like they'd be funny right up until I said them, and then they just didn't really deliver. I don't expect this to be a very frequently recurring feature because, while they may not all be winners, a man of my talent delivers primarily winners. Plus, how many posts that say, "It was like prom night all over again," do you actually need?

So here you go. Episode one. Save it, it'll be a collector's item some day.

It's garbage night tonight, so I was emptying the garbages throughout the house. I was holding the garbage bag from the laundry room (a bag that is transparent plastic), tying a knot at the top, when MaxieC pointed to it:
MaxieC: "It's not empty!"

Me, CherkyB: "It's not supposed to be empty. That's why I'm taking it out."

The Mrs.: "No. He meant the potato chip bag."

Me, CherkyB: [noticing potato chip bag in the garbage bag] "Oh. It's empty. It just doesn't look empty because Momma filled it with tampons."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Mrs. Loves Me

The Mrs.: "I have something to ask you."

Me, CherkyB: [Uh oh] "What?"

The Mrs.: "If we lose all our money and you get all depressed and you decide to end it all, just shoot yourself. The kids and I will be OK. I've been poor before. We can live through it. Don't feel like you need to end all our suffering."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

FreddyC has lost interest in the bone

The Mrs.: "Yeah, who hasn't?"

Me, CherkyB: "It's like he was married."
And thus ended this afternoon's session of fetch with the squeaky bone.

The Childrens, ever the creative sort, decided FreddyC needed a Halloween costume this year. So they snuck off to the basement and cobbled something together.

Me, CherkyB: "Wow. You dressed him as a clown! That's great!"

HannahC: "No. We dressed him as a Democrat. Do you think we can take him to blue people houses and they'll give him candy? I mean, they won't realize he's a dog, cuz they're sooo stupid."
Certificate of truthfulness not valid on the previous story.

I call this photo, "We're missing a bag of chips, and I don't know who could have taken it."

HannahC passed out invitations to a costume party she was hosting at 6:15pm. She passed out the invitations at 6:05pm, so we didn't have a lot of time to prepare. I think what she did was to check the start time of Sunday Night Football on the DirecTV listing, and then select that exact time as the start time for the party. Someone should really get a beating for that.

HannahC put on one of her numerous princess costumes. MaxieC went with the time-tested Buzz Lightyear costume that he has finally grown into this year. The Mrs., always the festive one, put on a Mexican hat from Chevy's.

It was a dance party, so here is the crowd dancing to one of those kid mixes of popular songs:

I, of course, am an artist. Thus, I can't just show up with a funny hat on (or is it racist to call a giant Mexican hat with a restaurant's name sewed on it "funny"?). No, I had to spend a little time on the old costume.

At first, I had this smashing idea that I should put on one of The Mrs.'s party dresses and some lipstick and go as The Mrs. But, as I looked through her closet, I realized that nothing fit right. Everything was too chesty and too hippy. Plus, she's practically a midget compared to me, so the length was all wrong.

I did enjoy the breeze on my junk, though. I can see why women love dresses so much.

Then, I got a great flash. I could put on a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt and look perturbed! I could use my own sweats, so that they fit.

But, I decided that would be too obscure.

So, instead, I went as Captain Roadkill, the hero who travels the highways of America saving roadkill from rotting and making sure that people have meat for dinner.

Dance like there's nobody watching.

Though, of course, when you're as good looking as I am, everyone always is.