Saturday, August 30

The Rule of Slides

Lame pun.

A week or so ago, one of my co-workers was tap-tap-tapping away at his laptop when I commented that he really, really needed to put the damn thing down for a bit and try talking to people on the phone. Or even sending an email.

And maybe even use an abacus once in a while.

"A what?"

Like from the movie "Sleepless in Seattle", when Tom Hanks says "I don't even want to know what they're not teaching you in school", I don't want to know why he didn't know what an abacus is.

Earlier this week, after the abacus incident, I showed him one of my prized possessions, a '60's vintage slide rule. Dave knew what it was. Blank stare otherwise.

I didn't press the issue. I just rolled my eyes skyward. To the moon and stars.


Empty your mind. Even if you've tried (and liked) hummus, imagine you're hearing the word for the first time. And if you've tried (and hated) hummus, imagine the above as well.

Would you want to try hummus?

Didn't think so.

The word, in and of itself, doesn't conjure up a tasty treat.

Early on, I never wanted to eat or even think of eating yams. Envision yourself as a little kid, and say yeeeeamms. And don't try side-stepping the issue and saying sweet potatoes. It's a different vegetable, after all. But getting a kid to eat a sweet potato is far easier than yeeeeamms.

Same with yogurt. Now I'm a good many years older, and yogurt isn't so bad. Particularly if it's boysenberry yogurt.

So think of all the foods that you didn't like as a kid but now like as an adult. And what the word sounds like.

Just don't mention haggis.

That doesn't sound good no matter how old you are.

Friday, August 29

Reply to None

The root of the word reply is a Latin verb, replicare. From that root, another word, replication is derived. Isn't it convenient that both reply and replication are involved when electronic forms of communication, known as email, remind us that people are stupid?

I and the majority of my co-workers on a planetary scale were victims of one stupid person who doesn't know why a hoax is a hoax. Hoax has nothing to do with replication as a word, but that's the way it turned out today. In regards to this one email, Microsoft and America Online don't care if you are stupid enough to forward an email. And there's no remuneration involved. They want your money, they don't want to give any of it back.

One person sent this sort of email to everyone in his address book. Which replicated when the next person replied to all. And the next person replicated that. And so on. Ad nauseum.

The chain of stupidity stopped when the original sender "recalled" the email. And I'm sure he didn't do it of his own accord - his immediate supervisor might have threatened something else more immediate.

When one of these emails happens your way, reply to none.

Do us all a favor.

People are the Worst Kind

Something occurred to me Thursday, an epiphany of sorts, of why I don't care to be forced to work on, uh, things that I would rather not work on.

When you work on a PC, or a plotter, or even a coupon printer, there's a human touch involved that's part of the whole process.

What totally took me by surprise was that I realized I can't stand people without People Skills. And if you spend your whole life working on impersonal things, don't expect to be able to communicate at all well with others.

It all boils down to one thing: People are the worst kind.

[Note: This blog post is the first one to exemplify my idea of Old Man Talk. This entry came about partly from an email my cousin sent me - she sent me some examples, one of which was "People are the worst kind", something my uncle used to say. Thus Old Man Talk.]

Thursday, August 28

Build a Bridge

So sayeth Diana, my good friend from high school's wife.

That's Jeff, on the left. I hadn't seen or heard from Jeff in quite some time. Measured in years. He and his wife are out to Utah for a family reunion of sorts this week.

A bit of gray, a few more pounds, but still the same Jeff.

Went up to their accommodations in Park City Tuesday night for dinner, prepared by Diana in their room.

It was good to see him after all this time. We reminisced about old times, what the years had done to us. Some moreso than others.

Jeff and I ran around with pretty much the same crowd in high school and thereafter, until I moved from California in 1986. Yes, it has been a good twenty years since we'd seen each other. He had my personal website to remember me by, I just from memories. Then a few weeks ago he found me again through a mutual acquantance. Thanks, Terri!

Another good friend will be happy to see we reconnected - Hi Lori!

Anyway, gotta get off to work this morning... we'll see more of Jeff come December when Marilee and I are off to a vacatrion in California.

Oh, and for you wordies out there - yes, there's a word farther up the page that isn't really a word, but it works in context - "moreso". For those of you who might say I've compounded the error by using it again here...

Get Over It.

Sunday, August 24

Blog Clog

Perhaps you've seen it - a MySpace page with so much, uh, stuff on it that you can't see the content. Then again, to even find a MySpace page with anything even remotely close to "content" is a feat in itself.

Me? I don't have a MySpace page. Or a Facebook page. I have a blog. A personal website, too, but we'll save that for later.

My blog is quite a spartan affair. I have a few ads so as to bring in a bit of revenue - hopefully, anyway - and a webmap of sorts so I can see where my visitors come from. And an ad for the stuff I created for myself at Cafepress.

Sure, I've been tempted to add a few "gadgets", but all they do is pull you away from the content I've so carefully put together. Like this text. And, unfortunately, click on any of those ads and you leave my content. But that's the trade-off for having ads.

There's a long held truth that a website - even a blog - should be treated like a destination, and not a stopping-off point.

So hang around for a bit, and come back often.

You won't need to search for the content - it'll be here in plain sight.

Three Months...

...and thirty-five thousand miles.

In the past, I'd drive the Rodeo three thousand miles in three weeks. And an oil change shortly thereafter. But since I've been driving the "company vehicle", for the first time in recorded history, three months happened first.

The Rodeo's a 2001 model; when Marilee and I bought it a year ago last March, it had 51,000 miles on it, and I drove it (well, the kids helped out a little) over 35,000 miles. In one year. It doesn't have overdrive, but you get the picture.

Now, three months after its last oil change, it has only seen 2,000 miles. Of course, the miles that would have been on the Rodeo were instead put on the POS 2005 Impala and the 2008 Silverado. And far more miles, what with a trip to Kanab, Nephi, Logan a couple times, Corrinne more than a few times, and Rowley too many times to mention.

The Silverado's OK, but I miss driving the Rodeo. It fits me better. Had a service call in Vernal yesterday and just about broke my back; it's not comfortable at all.

At least I'm not paying for the gas.

Thursday, August 21

Not Stirred

Just shaken.

Got into an accident today. Truck. No injuries, thankfully. But first a question: If you're in reverse, what is the effective speed? Is it negative?

Backed into another vehicle. Both he and I were under power. He at about two MPH; myself at negative two.

It was in a 7-11 parking lot - not surprising. But didn't know that if an accident like this happens on private property, the police can't give you a ticket. Fortunately for me.

I haven't been in many accidents in my life; but there was one that was quite memorable. Fun, too, in a perverse sense. You haven't lived until you've been in an accident with a police car.

I'll tell you about it sometime...

Wednesday, August 20


I so hate it when Micro$oft decides it's in the best interest of the populace that they should change something in an operating system for "security reasons".

Then they get away with calling the change as being "by design".

I recently had to "upgrade" the server the CAWS database is hosted on. Replaced it with an entirely different PC. The database app had been running on a gig of memory; that proved to be far too little for the number of animals in the database - now beyond 2,500. We're up to four gig of RAM, and a 2.4-gigahertz processor.

And an operating system change.

Was the OS change necessary? Not really, besides, everything should just fall into place once I copy everything from the old server to the new one.

Three days and some choice words later, everything has finally fallen into place.

Oh, it only took about fifteen minutes to copy everything over. The rest of the time was getting Windows XP to stop messing with my head to get the batch files to work like they had on Windows 2000.

The CAWS database server runs MySQL; the client app runs on top of Java. No, not that Java, the other Java. No, the other other Java.

It's a really neat app, don't get me wrong. It's called Animal Shelter Manager (ASM), and was written by a guy in the UK for his local animal shelter. Quite a robust app. If you're a rescue group or know of one, take a look. Oh, and the app's price is hard to beat.

So anyway, after ASM does all of its cool stuff in the background, a bunch of batch files manipulate the data to create the CAWS website and make backups of the database. And they worked pretty dang well. But on Windows XP they came to a grinding halt.

The problem for three days? Coming up with the correct keywords that would produce the correct outcome at Google. That's what it's really all about.

It boils down to this: Getting a batch file - any batch file it appears - to work in Windows XP, the user starting the job as a scheduled task cannot have a blank password.

In earlier days that would be called a "bug". Now it's called a "feature".

Tuesday, August 19

Priceless Speed

Went to Price on a service call yesterday.

From outward appearances, it should have been a fairly quick call; of course it didn't work out that way. Thankfully it wasn't an all-nighter - it was during the day - but didn't get home until 9pm.

There's not much to look at going to or coming from Price. There's no red rock, but the beige-ish rock formations high up the canyons are a sight. That, and the giant wind turbines at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon.

Quite uneventful otherwise, though I had a scare about halfway back from Price. A mile or so off in the distance, in twilight, I saw one of those speed signs that shows your speed. It's yellow text if you're under the speed limit, red if you're over, and...what the?

There was a damn police car off in the distance, too! Probably caught someone who was mesmerized by the technologically advancerd sign. OK, so Price isn't Podunk, but you'd think someone would have figured out this was a techy-speed trap.

I slowed way down until I was in the yellow, then got up closer to the speed sign. And started laughing hysterically.

Not only was the sign capable of displaying yellow and red, but blue as well.

Every ten seconds or so, the sign would switch out of speed mode and flash red and blue flashing lights.

Just like a police car.

Sunday, August 17

Grand (Am) Savings

"Is there anything you can do about my mirror?"

I'd dealt with this travesty of the auto manufacturing industry before, though most of the time the mirror itself cracks or just falls off. And the car dealer says "No, you can't replace just the mirror, you have to replace the whole $250 assembly". This particular time the flimsy plastic bosses that support the heavy mirror decided to crack at the most inopportune moment. Dangling for some time like a broken appendage, it was time to do something about it.

I'd tried using super glue and/or epoxy, but those solutions were either too messy or didn't cure quite right. This time, I decided to try a different tack - what about attaching it from the other side?

It's not pretty, but it's really sturdy. And will likely pass muster when inspection time rolls around.

"You're so smart" is all Marille said, which brought a smile to my face.

I call it inventive.

She's Got This Covered

A few months ago, on a pet food run to Petsmart, I bought the duck below for Bambi. She'd eviscerated uncounted toys in the last few years, and it was time for a new one.

Within a day, she'd bitten into the poor inanimate object and removed the squeaker, and not long after that we tossed the squeaker.

Most of the toys she'd had, she removed the squeaker, and subsequently removed all the stuffing. But not with this one. She'd left it mostly intact. Carried it around, shook it from side to side to be sure it really was dead, several times a day.

She loved that duck.

Then came Lexie.

Lexie has claimed the duck. She de-stuffed it a bit more than Bambi had, then started doing something I'd never seen a dog do with a stuffed toy - she started sucking on it. Or rather, she started suckling it. Now why she does it, well, the best reason is that she sees Bambi as a mother figure and it smells like Bambi. Or maybe that she was taken too soon from her mother. And maybe, just maybe, that duck reminds her of her mother in color.

And maybe we won't dwell on any of the reasons - we'll just stick with the fact that she's darn cute when she does it.

She's got that covered.

Friday, August 15

See? A Penny!

I picked up most if not all of the euphemisms I use on a regular basis from my parents and their siblings. Otherwise known as my aunts and uncles.

Though they were all different ages, they were, for all intents and purposes, from the same generation. The eldest member of the family was my aunt Loretta; she was the first born, in '03. That's 1903. Later, my Dad was born in '10. Same century as above. The youngest was my uncle Gene, born in '26. Yes, quite a spread there. Word is that my Grandfather said "It was the best afterthought we ever had".

Needless to say, I grew up with old people. I don't mean to be disrespectful by saying that, but it's the truth. But the interesting thing about growing up with all these great people, is that because they were from that generation, I was never really a part of the generation my friends were in. As an example, Marilee's Mom was 25 when she was born; my Mom was 38. Not a whole generation, mind you, but considering my Dad was 46, now that is a generation.

Early in life, I remember hearing swing music. Because that's what my parents grew up with. Even today, all the day, I enjoy listening to Tommy Dorsey as much as The Beatles.

I was lucky to have had that experience - hearing all those great sayings. The sad truth is that many of those sayings are disappearing. Words, too. The "youth" of today aren't even aware that words from earlier decades were colorful without being profane. And phrases - even rhymes - can appear in the least likeliest of places.

OK, so I've put in my two cents' worth.

Look for more Old Man Talk in the future.

Thursday, August 14

Suffer Much

At least that's how work has made me feel lately.

As in "Not seeing any way out of this ordeal." I really miss loving my job. Actually looking forward to a day working on the stuff I've worked on for thirty-plus years. In fact, I've been saying "Suffer Much" quite a bit lately.

Try it yourself, just don't say "Suffer Much" out loud - look in a mirror and just "lip-sync" the words.

You may just start saying "Suffer Much" yourself.

Swearing, Bible Belt Style

Saturday morning, I was ordering some parts from the night before. Actually, since I got done at 1am Saturday, it really was later that morning when I ordered them.

I'd never ordered parts on a Saturday, so was a little unsure of exactly how to do it. Thankfully, the lady that answered the phone was kind enough to talk me through it. But by the time we got to the "Where do you want it shipped?" question, I was starting to wonder about the other part, and said just that.

"Do you want to know about the other part?"

I'd heard the reply in the movie Doc Hollywood, when Dr. Stone (played by Michael J. Fox) had been arrested for various violations - he got a warning from the arresting officer. "Son, you're in the middle of the Bible Belt, you better watch what you say."

OK, I've dropped my share of F-bombs and a few carefully placed BM bombs in my day, but when Dr. Stone let his bomb fly, I was on the floor with laughter. Even more so when I was on the phone with the part-ordering lady.

After realizing that, yes, I needed another part, she hissed "Sshhhhhhhhhhi... ure."

Zefram Cochrane Would Be So Proud

Last Christmas I got something I'd seen in catalogs for decades. I got a Radiometer.

What's that, you say? You've probably seen them, too, just never occurred to you that it'd be a blast to have one. All you do is shine a flashlight on one and it spins. Put it on a windowsill and it'll spin even faster. Put it outdoors and it'll spin frantically.

Looks like free energy - so much so that you'd wonder why there aren't Radiometer farms all over creation, and they'd be a lot less intrusive and/or ugly than a windmill.

But wait, there's more.

I'd had my little Radiometer on the windowsill in the kitchen since December. All winter, through spring, and now in the heat of summer. Spinning most of the time, not so much at night as you'd expect, less so on cloudy days, and on those days when the air conditioning was putting out a bit too much cold, it... I'll let that slide for right now.

Last week, I decided to blog about my little Radiometer. But I wanted to get the story right. Googled it, I did. And stopped. Surely not...

Apparently, Radiometers have been around for far longer than I had thought - since 1892 when the first one was created by William Crookes. Scientific explanations abound as to how a Radiometer works; one such explanation is at the Naked Science Forum. Take a read of that then come back here. I'll wait...

So it's light energy, right? Photons and such. Sounds legit, right?

Going further into my googling, I found an experiment that made sense, and was easy to replicate - don't allow the Radiometer to get (much) light, and just wrap your hands around the globe. With the Radiometer vanes not spinning, nothing should have happened, or so I thought. With just the warmth of my hands, the vanes started spinning. Light? No, radiated heat!

A second experiment made me stop dead in my tracks. If the thing spins not because of light energy, but from heat, then what should happen if you you put a Radiometer in a dark environment, particularly in a freezer?

There will be a quiz.

Wednesday, August 13

Stomachs and Elbows Turn at the Olympics

After finding the goose egg on my knee today, and the hurl rising in my esophagus, it's not surprising that I felt the same thing when I saw Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai's painful ordeal during the weightlifting competition in the Olympics.

Little did I know that staying home from work would reveal such a spectacle for such a great athlete. Imagine how you'd react if it were you, of if you had been in the audience.

[Warning: Graphic video not for the faint of heart. Or stomach.]

Please note - originally in this space I had a YouTube video of Janos Baranyai's oh-so-painful elbow dislocation from the weightlifting competition during the Olympics. After finding the first video had been pulled from YouTube, I then found another. And it was pulled as well.

The video is still painful to watch; if you'd like, google his name and you're bound to find a copy of it.

Beach Volleyball at the Olympics

Today we have a "sort of" guest blogger here with her own style of brilliantly stimulating commentary:

"Bob and I are watching the women's Beach Volleyball competition tonight. Last night, we watched the men's competition. And I have a simple question: Why do the female players wear such skimpy attire when the guys get to wear baggy pants and shirts? Seems a bit sexist, don't you think?"

I plead the fifth.

The Anvil Chorus Would Have Been Quieter

Midnight or so in the household. And Lexie is having another whining session.

Little dogs. Love 'em or hate 'em. Lexie has that little dog voice that you either think is adorable or downright irritating. At midnight, it's the latter.

Lately, Marilee and I have been taking turns letting Lexie out at these times. My turn last night. Got back into bed afterwards; no sooner had I rolled over that the whining commenced anew. I vaguely remember saying out loud "Maybe she's hungry."

A few minutes later (or so it seemed), Princess started snoring. Loud. Peeved now, I jump out of bed, sweared a few choice words, added "I'm sleeping downstairs!", and as I come to a sudden stop, my left leg slides out from underneath me, and land on my right knee. Thankfully on the carpet, but still. No, nothing snapped, there were no cracking sounds, but I realized something below my right knee was aching.

Racing downstairs so as to sleep on the couch, with Princess not far behind, I realize that somehow Lexie is also now downstairs, and Marilee is down there, too.

"How'd you get down here?" to no one in particular, and Marilee says "You were right, she was hungry." "How long ago..." not believing it was any more than a few seconds "...did I say that?" "Maybe 10-15 minutes. I decided to come down here with Lexie and Bambi."

OK, so now I'm not only losing my mind, but also any semblance of elapsed time. "Go back upstairs to bed." So I did. And promptly forgot about my bum knee.

Morning came, and though my knee hurt, it wasn't debilitating - I could put weight on my leg - it wasn't really throbbing, but it let me know that it was there.

I had a few extra minutes this morning, so took the extra time to clean out the back of the truck for a bit. And did something that all but made me scream in agony - I crawled into the truck bed and promptly landed on my knee.

My hand flew to the affected area and just about hurled - I now had a knot the size of a goose egg just below my right knee cap.

"This is NOT good." I thought.

I promptly put off my first call of the day and, after letting necessary folks know I wasn't going to be "in" for a bit, went directly to the Instacare.

Patellar Bursitis is what the doctor said.

After an anti-inflammatory shot and a likewise prescription, I'm staying home today, doctor's note included at no extra charge.

And it figures that now it's as quiet as can be. Maybe even reclaim all that sleep I lost last night.

Unclear on the Concept

Wished I'd had a camera - there was one available - but it would have been rude.

So I'm at the aforementioned megastore yesterday where I installed the 32 coupon printers last week. And I needed to get some serial numbers off the self-scan printers. Off to the left I see someone using one of the terminals, and though I tried not to stare, and for that matter kept myself from snickering, I got the numbers I needed and promptly left the store.

I'd never really liked using self-scan terminals at the grocery store. When I go to a grocery store, I like the one-on-one you get from the checker. After all, their salary is what you're helping to pay for just by buying stuff in the store. Of course, you're also helping to pay for the satanic self-scan terminals, too, but I'd rather have the personal touch.

(Note that this doesn't mean I'd rather go into a bank during banking hours to get cash - for that I'd rather use an ATM. It's different.)

Take for example the clientèle that uses the things. Next time you're at Smith's or Albertsons, watch them for a while. Some folks are experts, but a few are either pissed because there aren't enough checkers, or have only a single item that can't wait for a traditional register.

And then there are a few who haven't quite got the concept.

Years ago when CD-ROM technology was in its infancy, it was suggested that the laser should point down so as to not shine into the eyes of the user. Hell, an early Popular Electronics article showed a laser pointing at the platen of a traditional daisy wheel printer. Made it look as if the image was being burned onto the paper. Such was the fear of many as to the concept of laser printing and the technology. Takes the term burning to a whole new level.

Nowadays, we all know the laser on a laser scanner points up, to scan the item being passed over it. And it's a non-destructive laser, not the kind a la James Bond in Goldfinger.

OK, I'm not a spring chicken. And I have to catch myself sometimes when I refer to people as being older. But this one senior citizen is at a self-scan while I'm getting my serial numbers. And she's scanning her items with the bar codes facing skyward.

Normally, the checker (read "sitter") over the self-scans would pick up on this type of error - there's a camera mounted above the scanner - but the sitter was counting money at the time. Don't know how long the poor soul stood there or even if someone came to her rescue. I could have helped her, but it really wasn't my place.

Maybe it really was her first time with a self-scan, or maybe she was doing it that way on purpose so as to get someone to help. In any case, self-scans are only for those who are comfortable using them.

For me, I'll stick to the personal approach.

"Did you find everything you came in for?"

Tuesday, August 12

Optical Delusions

Just had to share - one of my favorite optical illusions: Are the colors in the A and B squares the same or different?

Marilee took a look and said they're different. Chris happened to be here, so I decided a little Photoshop would settle the dispute. Drew a gray line from A to B then from B to A; Marilee still wasn't impressed. Or swayed.

So are they the same or different?



Monday, August 11

Anti-Social Behavior

Somewhere, right now, someone is giving out their SSN. And they're giving it out, speaking it, in some fairly public place, after having also supplied their name, also spoken. And what's wrong with that?

Jeez - you have to ask?

When I first arrived in Utah 21 years ago, I didn't have a job. Yes, hindsight is always 20/20. Even this late in life, I don't suggest going that route.

I admitted defeat at about the end of month #1, and went to the unemployment office. When the young lady behind the counter said "watsyursoshul", I said "My What?"

Suddenly the already dour expression on the lady's face turned to shock, amazement, and something akin to "Have you been under a rock?"

"Don't you have a Social Security Number?!?"

"Yes, I do. But I don't have a 'Social'."

Come on, all you people who work in State and Federal governments. Even (some of) you who work in Healthcare. Not all of we John Q. Public's have been giving out our SSN's to the extent that you need to abbreviate something that, God forbid, already has an acronym.

If you want to know my Social Security Number, then ask for my Social Security Number.

Whether I actually give it to you is another matter.

Majuscular Objects

OK, here's an easy-to-figure-out quiz - and you have a 50-50 chance of getting the answer right just by guessing: Is Salt Lake City the capital of Utah or is it the capitol?

The capital of Utah IS Salt Lake City. The building on the hill is the Capitol.

And Capitol is capitalized.

And so is the word Dumpster. Why? It's a trademarked name. Who would have thought that?

And who cares? just leave out a capital in a term paper and you'll see who.

Other less-than-obvious capitalized names run the gamut - for example, folks who deal in real estate are real estate agents, and become Realtors when then become members of the National Association of Realtors.

Any good style guide will tell you when it is appropriate to use capital letters. One such example is at Connecticut's Community Colleges' web site.

Good style is a capital idea.

Green Green Grass of Home

"Hey Bob... what's s going on with the new sprinklers?"

Back in Journalism class with Mrs. Schreiber, occasionally an assignment would be to gather comments about some issue or other. "Here, Bob, read this out loud." After reading it out loud, she'd ask "May I quote you on that?"

OK, so the ethics of that sort of thing in today's world boggles your mind. Or it's live on Fox.

No one actually asked me how the sprinklers are doing. They're doing fine, thank you very much.

Dave at work commented that a problem with having an operational sprinkler system is that the grass grows better and hence requires that much more mowing.

We've been careful not to disturb the sprinkler heads, though the company that installed them said that would be no problem. And since half of the tree from a couple weeks ago was blocking the shed in which the mower was contained, the grass has been un-cut for more than a likewise long time.

Or laziness. Not sure which.

Anyway, there's a jungle of grass out there, and the weeds are doing really well.

Sunday, August 10

New Family Member

Meet Lexie!

As has become customary, Lexie is a Silky Terrier and Cairn Terrier mix.

The details:

Lexie is most definitely Marilee's dog, though she has an obvious like for me, too. In fact, she slept next to my head Saturday night. Likely since Bambi slept attached to Marilee's side all night.

We've had conflicts of course - Lexie hasn't yet had to deal (much) with Sundance, though Lexie being so aerodynamic, can hurdle the baby gate into Sundance's loft. And at one point Saturday morning, Sundance jumped over and past Lexie.

Bambi is having the most trouble with Lexie, since Bambi had been getting major lovin's from Marilee since Snickers left the fold.

Princess, not so much. Within moments of Lexie coming home last Wednesday, Princess got a major snort of Lexie and that was that.

Lexie is about a year and a half old, needs to put on a little weight, and is a perfect match for the family.

And Marilee.

Saturday, August 9

Triple Threat

OK, Jenn, here we go!

Jenn, Marilee's my daughter, has tagged me to come up with three joys, fears, goals, obsessions, and random facts. While I don't mind a challenge, this is interesting, since it delves rather deep in my psyche.

In no particular order:

3 Goals:
Becoming a Professional Photographer.
Finding a job I love. Again.
Having a gi-normous family reunion, getting all the satellite families back together. California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and Utah.

3 Joys:
My extended family.
Seeing all the dogs stampeding toward me when I get home from a bad day at work.
My best friend EVER, Marilee.

3 Fears:
When BabyDoll leaves. Expect me to be a miserable wreck for some time afterwards. She is, after all, nineteen years old, and she's been a good friend for eighteen.
Money. No, really.
Being homeless.

3 Obsessions:
Not leaving for work in the morning or before going to bed without kissing Marilee. On the lips.
Photojournalism. I would have said writing and photography, but they're really intertwined.
Not being able to ever delete an email or photograph.

3 Random Facts:
Marilee and I met online, lived within only five miles of each other when we met, and within a city or two when we each lived in California.
I've worked in the electronics and computers field for thirty-two years, even before it was cool.
My family tree goes back to 1512 on my Mother's side.

Chris - tag, you're it. It's bound to be delightful.

Friday, August 8

Teetotaler (n)

Brilliantly stimulating conversation with Dave and Merlin yesterday (Merlin's our new hire to take the load off Dave and I). Got around to that fact that I don't imbibe during the week I'm on call, in case I have an after-hours service call. The Guinness has to wait until Monday.

I knew that Dave partakes of the juice occasionally, but didn't know much about Merlin. And proceeded to ask if he were a teetotaler.

"Yeah, I drink tea."

"No, a teetotaler means..."

I stopped right there. "You've never heard the word teetotaler?"

Suffice to say he never had. Later in the day, I mentioned this to one of our dispatchers, and HE had never heard the word either. Says I "Yeah. I guess there really is "Old Man Talk". Dispatcher: "I was going to say it sounded like an older generation kind of word."

Get off my lawn, dammit!

Thursday, August 7

Just Because You Can...

...doesn't mean you should.

I admit I'm no fashion plate. Nor am I one to criticize anyone's attire. I'll make comments watching HSN and QVC with Marilee, but keep my mouth shut when appropriate.

I'm not stupid.

I spent the last two days installing 32 coupon printers at a downtown store. Tedious and tiresome come to mind, but as one person I commented to said, "You're getting paid for all that exercise, and it's cheaper than going to the gym."

OK, so maybe there is a silver lining. And the store was air conditioned; I didn't need (or want) to go outside, if only for a part.

So it's summer, and you'd think folks would take a long, hard look at themselves before they go out in this weather. Some look like they burn easily, others not so much, but it became readily apparent that some of these folks never go outside. Or have a usable mirror.

So I'll say this as gently as possible:

Tube tops don't work on every body.


Tuesday, August 5

Weather or Not

Here in Utah, we're in that hotter 'n blazes time of the year. I don't have any issues with hot days, just that there are so many of them. I really do like the changing seasons, and can't wait until Autumn. Why? It'll get cooler, that's why.

Lately the crickets in the back yard have been chirping like crazy, but not as much as the lone cricket I heard in Phoenix last year at Sky Harbor Airport. Yes, a cricket. Not in a bush, but somewhere near an exit. Why was he chirping like crazy? He was looking for a mate. Fat chance.

There's an old wive's tale [is the tale old, or were these created by old wives?] that says the earlier in summer you hear crickets chirping the more likely winter will be here sooner. I don't know about that, but I do know you can tell the current temperature by counting the number of chirps. Here's how:

1. Count the number of chirps in 15 seconds

2. Add 37

That's it. The result will be an approximation of the outside temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. And, yes, I suppose that if a cricket gets in your house, then it will chirp the indoor temperature.

Oh, and for those of you across the pond:

1. Number of chirps in 25 seconds
2. Divide the number by 3
3. Add 4

(I just knew metric would be harder)

So there you have it. Just get a few crickets and a Weather Rock and you can be as accurate as the Weather Channel!

Monday, August 4

Slam Dunk

Sometimes I wonder if I lived a sheltered childhood. Food-wise, anyway.

For example, I don't ever recall having a grilled cheese sandwich at home. Maybe one or two at a friend's house or in a restaurant, but never at home.

And it was always cookies and milk, not cookies in milk. And I remember macaroni and cheese but couldn't tell you if it was in a blue box.

And here, many years later, even after being a bachelor for so many years, I only recently learned the joy of dunking Chips Ahoy IN milk. Marilee showed me.

And while I didn't remember grilled cheese sandwiches all that much, now that I've learned how to make them, I'm the family grilled cheese sandwich maker.

Who woulda thunk?

Sunday, August 3

Surpie Stuff

OK, folks, you have to think back on this one. Way back. Like the 60's and 70's.

Way back Middle-America.

Remember mail order? You know, pre e-commerce. When everyone ordered stuff from a catalog. Via the postal service. No overnight delivery. Parcel Post if you were lucky.

My favorite was Sunset House. Weird stuff. They even called their stuff "The most unusual gifts in the world."

My how times have changed. Nowadays, weird can be found by simply googling "weird gifts". Try it. Hope you have safe search turned on.

But if you want safe, there's a real life catalog available from an über-cool website called American Science and Surplus. AS&S for short. All the weird stuff you might remember from Sunset House and then some.

No, I don't get kickbacks from their website. There's no affiliate program. Doesn't matter.

But fair warning - they've got hundreds of great items for next to nothing. Their website is one of the greatest time-wasters on the web.

Really - you need to visit.

Saturday, August 2

The Earth and the Moon

From earlier this week, NASA's Earth Observatory posted one of the most awesome videos I've ever seen. Honestly, I think it's right up there with that first Earthrise photo during the Apollo program.

In the entry on their website, the following image shows the transit of the Moon across the surface of the Earth. The video, on the other hand, is worth saving.

You'll want to tell all your friends about this one.

Yard Sailing

Marilee and I decided early on this morning to hit a few yard sales. Funny thing, yard sales - I'd never heard the term until I moved to Utah. They're garage sales in California.

Generally, we never look in the classifieds for yard sales; just drive around, and you're likely to find more sales than you can find in the paper. But since the News has been dropping off a daily paper for us even though we never asked for it, we figured why not take a look.

Well, what a surprise to find not only a list of sales, but a map to boot! Looked like a "Map to the Stars' Homes" sort of touristy thing you'd get in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. Marked with dots, every sale in the valley was clearly marked.

On the map anyway. I almost get the impression that people who put on yard sales have never tried to find one themselves. Folks, taping a white 4x6 index card written in ball-point pen to a telephone pole is not only not visible to someone driving 25 miles an hour - if that's the only sign you put up, don't expect anyone to visit your yard. Or garage.

Someone should write a book.


The Other Ninety Percent

Dave (from the "office") and I were having a brilliantly stimulating conversation yesterday on our cell phones. After discussing all the "paperwork" we do - it's all electronic nowadays - I mentioned that all I want to do is fix the stuff. He then made a comment that sent me into an uncontrolled guffaw attack that I'm still reeling from.

"And the other 90% we're shoveling it."

Friday, August 1

BM's and AMD's

Years ago, IBM used acronyms for everything, even when there were industry-standard names for the same things.

Of course, IBM isn't alone in this; even today, if you're talking communications protocols, ATM doesn't mean Automated Teller Machine, it's asynchronous transfer mode.

For that matter, an SST is a supersonic transport, or, conveniently, a self- service terminal like an ATM.

So IBM came up with an acronym for a fan. Yes, a fan. Already three characters, but IBM chose to call a fan an AMD. An Air Movement Device.

And though excrement can be referred to as [expletive deleted], it's also known as BM, or bowel movement.

So when something really goes awry, you can bet the BM will hit the AMD!

Keeping Focused

After the Olympus died a year or so ago, I put a lot of the photos I'd taken up until then out of my mind. I found them again last night and shared them for the first time with Marilee.

That's one of the problems I have with having a digital camera. I take lots of photos, since I don't settle. As I've said before, you should take enough photos until you're assured you haven't missed THE photo. The photo of Belle a week or so ago proves that point.

Above is Sundance, Marilee's cat. Yes, I know it's out of focus. Like it matters. Should I have deleted it immediately? Probably. But after Marilee saw it, her "I want that!" remark caught me off guard.

Went to a Popular Photography seminar a few years ago; one of the speakers was a photojournalist who explained what the difference is between a professional photographer and an amateur - the pro's trash can is larger.

A dumpster should do...

It's Right Outside

...but I don't love it.

Jenn and Ramin just got a new truck; I picked mine up yesterday!

It's a 2008 Chevy Silverado 1500. Awesome gas guzzler! Took it to a gas station right away and proceeded to pump $100 of gas. Not that I wanted to check the efficiency of the gas pump - it was accurate - but because that's the limit on the corporate credit card. And at 24 gallons, it turns out it has even more capacity.

OK, so it's my permanent company vehicle. I'd show a picture, but it has this logo on the side, and I'm not willing to divulge that.

Never driven something this big on a regular basis. I tower over cars sitting next to me. It's a bit daunting. And I abhor not being able to see out the sides or the rear. The hard shell top does have windows, but not the same.

Anywho, if you see a white Silverado pickup going down the road with a driver who looks totally out-of-place driving a huge pickup, it just may be me.

Keep on Truckin'...
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