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.