Friday, October 31

Apologies To Taylor

To be honest, after I realized a mistake I made this morning, I was just a bit gleeful. In a sort of devilish way. Quite fitting for Halloween.

After awakening him from his peaceful slumber (how you can sleep peacefully in that trash-heap is beyond me), and traipsing downstairs, he yelled up to our bedroom, said "Is it Friday? I don't have school today!!!"

Traipsing again now upstairs and a door slam later, I remembered that in fact, he DID have today off.

Which begs the inevitable question: WHAT is the deal with kids nowadays getting so many days off? I don't remember getting so many days off last century. Sure, we had BOTH Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays off, and two weeks at Christmas, and a full week for Spring break. Now it's all that (though it's just "President's DAY" now), but now there's an extra two for UEA weekend, not to mention what the hell ever today's reason is, and other reasons ad nauseum.

The schedule is in a PDF, available here.


I have no idea what the reflection in this ring is. A lamp? A pole? A plumber?

This is vaguely reminiscent of a photo that was making the rounds several years ago on the internet. Supposedly real, it was a photo of someone trying to sell a teapot on eBay. A shiny teapot. Mirror-finish. And it captured the reflection of the person taking a photo of said teapot.

If you don't believe me, do a GIS for "ebay teapot".

Be happy the ring's reflection only looks like a lamp.

I'm Such The Jewelry Shopper

Got these for Marilee this morning. These are NOT to be confused with my ring critiques; these are actually nice.

QVC, item number J39059.

Wednesday, October 29

Morning Cartoons

"Lilo and Stitch - The Series" is on TV right now. On our TV. Taylor is watching. It's on Disney.

Prior to that, "We" were watching SpongeBob. I suppose it could be worse, he could be watching scantily-clad dancers gyrating on MTV or VH1. But I digress...

At a point in my childhood, a conversation revolved around what we watched on morning television. Black and white television. Yes, there was television when I was young. And we ate rocks.

One such brilliantly-stimulating conversationalist had just asked me what I watched; Sheriff John was the reply. A group of girls said in unison "Oh, we don't watch that any more, we watch Hobo Kelly. OK, so I started watching Hobo Kelly. Just to be part of the group.

Here we are many centuries decades later, and Taylor is watching stuff intended (and rated) for kids 6-plus; the rating is Y7. While Sheriff John and Hobo Kelly didn't have ratings back then, I'd guess the ratings would have been similar. And, back then, I was around seven or eight.

Taylor is 15.

As I said above, it could be worse.

Tuesday, October 28


I have a bluetooth headset for my work Blackberry. It's not like any bluetooth headset you've seen. At least in Utah, anyway, since I bought it in California.

It doesn't have a "boom" - it doesn't have any kind of projection out from my ear. Specifically, my left ear. I wear it on the left so I can still use a conventional telephone handset if I'm at an office or at home; it would "get in the way" otherwise.

I'd tried other bluetooth headsets in the past. Until I got this one, I'd tried four different models - they were either way too uncomfortable or had a boom that set right on my cheek thus covering the microphone part. This one is out of the way such that there are no obstructions and is quite comfy.

But there's a problem with it, but it's not from an acoustic or electronic standpoint. It's a cosmetic problem.

A year or so ago, I had my hair sort of long, and my hair was covering up the earpiece part of the headset. From the side, it still looked like a headset, but from the front...

Back then when my hair was longer, I was on a service call downtown and was riding an elevator with a couple of HVAC technicians. One off to the left and the other to the right. The one on the right was looking at me. Intently, perhaps a bit too intently for a business environment. Becoming a bit uncomfortable with the attention, I turned away. Creepy stuff.

It wasn't until later that it dawned on me what his attention was being drawn toward.

It was a similar encounter when I was wearing a t-shirt Jenn had gotten me last Christmas. From Thinkgeek, it was an internet-savvy shirt with a graphic that depicts someone's ass having fallen off - the acronym depicted was LMAO. Funny stuff, but really only to someone who's internet-savvy. The attention I was getting at a supermarket was from a decidedly lithpy man. At that moment, I was not laughing my ass off, and haven't worn the shirt since.

Last night, on my last service call of the day, a cashier at 7-11 was giving me that same elevator look from a year or so ago. And yes, I need to get my hair cut.

Because from the front, my oh-so-cool bluetooth headset looks like an earring.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

[Yes, Marilee loves this story]

Monday, October 27

It's NEXT Weekend, Folks

Taking Taylor to school this morning, the roads were strangely devoid of 7am traffic. A holiday I wasn't made aware of? A school holiday?

Then it dawned on me: traditionally, the news media is always aware of and 'remindful' of Daylight Savings Time. Not this year - yet. But this year, as was last, the date that happens has changed.

Traditionally, it was always the last Sunday in October. This year and last - and all future years - Daylight Savings Time ends on the first Sunday in November. And Standard Time begins.

Methinks some kids are going to be late for school.

And the big kids are going to be late for work.

Sunday, October 26

Please Drive To Highlighted Route

Marilee and I confused the hell out of Jill yesterday. At first it was funny, but after a while, her condescending "Recalculating" refrain got downright obnoxious.

Marilee and I went on our yearly pilgrimage to the Anniversary Inn in Logan. We go up there every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary; this year, due to work considerations and lack of time and/or money, we didn't make it up there until a full five months after the fact.

As a bit of a treat, I took her for a drive on Legacy Parkway. I'd driven Legacy even though we'd said we wanted to experience it together - there was a slow-down on I-15 a week or so ago and I had to take the new route. It worked out, though - going on new routes had become a tradition in my family and I wanted to continue that tradition with Marilee.

My Dad probably started the tradition long before I came along - back then in the mid-60's as each new section of highway was completed in Southern California, we'd go take a drive just to see where it would lead us. As an example, it was a real treat to finally be able to drive the Pomona Freeway (Highway 60). the 605 was a real treat as well. I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that stick in my memory.

I'd always thought it was the adventurous spirit that got us to go on those new routes, but as I realized yesterday by driving Legacy, he was driving those routes for a different reason - not so much to see where they went, but if he could use those routes to his advantage.

My Dad sold power tools for Skil Corporation back in those days, and drove nearly as much as I do now. Guess it's in my blood. And finding a quicker way to get from Point A to Point C without touching Point B was something you always tried to do.

Sure, I've got Jill and have veered off the beaten path only to have her steer me back to where I'm supposed to go. And even though Jill doesn't know about Legacy (yet), I'll likely use that new road to my advantage.

Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, October 25


There's a scene in Sleepless in Seattle that partly sums up the relationship Marilee and I have. The little-girl friend of Jonah has just ghost-written a letter from Jonah's Dad to Annie in Baltimore. And Annie's friend asks what a certain acronym stands for. You know the scene.

So I was just this morning telling Marilee about the new feature I've added to my blog, that of critiquing rings on shopping channels' web sites. Yesterday's CityScape entry was the one I showed her, and she nailed the same description I'd come up with.

Yep - I'd say Marilee and I are Made For Each Other.

Friday, October 24


When I first saw this ring, it looked like something out of Star Trek a la Voyager. You know, that initial shot where they're showing the overhead view of a city with humanoid beings milling about.

But to wear a cityscape of some far-off city on some far-off planet in the Delta Quadrant?

Don't think so.

Handy Quote

Heard of a great quote this morning while listening to NPR.

Harry S. Truman, when asked about the economy:

"All my economists say, 'on the one hand... and on the other hand...'" Truman once cried. "Someone give me a one-handed economist!"

[Quote from Anecdotage]

Thursday, October 23

Meme (n)

There's a term bandied about on the internet that at first glance is easy to define. The term is "meme". Just the sound of it conjures up something that is prevalent, that is easy to identify. The definition, on the other hand, is tricky to lock down. [and for you wordies, I'm defining meme here as it applies to the internet, not as it exists in the real world.]

Simply put, this definition is key: "a viral encapsulated idea, with built-in feedback loop." What that means is that I might put something on my blog that's an ongoing theme and you provide the feedback via comments. Another definition confirms this: "an idea, project, statement or even a question that is posted by one blog and responded to by other blogs".

The best definition is this long-winded diatribe from the American Civil Rights Union: "Leftist pseudo-intellectualese or linguistic affectation, generally used in the pejorative, employed to designate a commonly held position, thought or expression as worthy of or susceptible to attack or denigration by superior leftist 'critical thought' which the employer possesses in abundance."

Oh yeah.

Moving forward1, I'll be including some of the more prevalent internet memes here in my blog, although I've already covered the meme "fail" on a number of occasions.

Check back tomorrow for the first of an ongoing series of meme attacks.

1 I SO hate the term "moving forward". WHEN did "In the future" become less-desirable, and "moving forward" become the norm? HAD to have been the current political climate. If only Obama or McCain could throw in a "henceforth", I'd be impressed.

Wednesday, October 22

Now There's A Good Expenditure

Wonder if she has to give the clothes back on November 5th?

RNC spends thousands on dresses

Tuesday, October 21

Someone Hurled On This Ring

I give other guys a bad name.

I admit it - I look at QVC's and HSN's web sites even when Marilee isn't expecting it. Not necessarily to find something nice to buy for her, but to find really bad stuff. Ugly stuff.

I figure that if I can identify bad stuff, that it will make finding good stuff that much easier.

I verified that ability tonight by identifying the following ring:

Hope whoever did this feels better.


He Scares Me Sometimes

Last week, I needed to go to Delta on a service call. It was first thing in the morning, and though I don't mind the driving, I knew that I'd be out of commission for other calls for the better part of the day.

And a three-hour team meeting. What to do, what to do...

Of course I went on the service call.

But that's not the creepy part of this post.

Beforehand, upon finding out that I had to go to Delta, I commented on the fact to Marilee and Taylor. And while Marilee does get concerned from time to time on the number of miles I drive and has commented on this many times before, it was Taylor that made my head snap:

"Are you required to attend this meeting?"


Where the FAN that came from, I have no idea. Obviously that kind of comment has to come from conscious thought - that's not the kind of blabber I expect. So it is obvious he's listening in his English class - just not showing he knows the stuff.

If this behavior goes on too much longer, I'm gonna need a neck brace.

Sunday, October 19

Is it Sarah Fey?

Or Tina Palin? You be the judge.

Mirror, Mirror

Yes, this is what I look like in the morning. Maybe I should have warned you.

But this post isn't so much what I look like, but that the picture is being taken in a mirror. It's a mirror that has been with Marilee for five years or more. Even BB (before Bob). But I don't "use" it - the one in the bathroom is the one I use. Or not, if I really don't want to see myself like this.

Up until a few days ago, I'd forgotten that the damn thing was even there. That is, until Marilee...

In the photo, I'm sitting on the bed. Marilee is between the mirror and me, in her Big Green Chair. Earlier in the week, at the exact moment I was made aware of the mirror that had been there for as long as I've known Marilee, she did something that...

Sorry, internet, I cannot divulge the exact thing she did. I try to make this blog as family-friendly as I can without making every post a three- or four-letter diatribe. Suffice to say it's what she said rather than what she did:

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"

...I snapped my head up so fast I nearly got whiplash. In the dim light of early morning, I couldn't really see what my head was pointing towards, but I'm sure I was turning several shades of purple and red.

At that moment, who was the most - embarrassed of them all?

In A Rut

For the last couple of weeks, I've tried to capture a certain "feature" of our back yard but the lighting was never quite right; this morning, it was:

ALL of the dogs - Bambi, Princess, and Lexie follow this same path every time they go out for business meetings. I'd never noticed the path in the past, likely since the grass was never lush enough since the sprinklers were installed.

There's another path back there, straight, but nowhere near the depth and definition that this path has.

There must be some sort of magnetic feature back there that makes them follow the path - and it is nowhere near any path that the sprinklers were laid out in.

Dunno - maybe it's their path to success.

Or cookies.

Three Letter Words

Apparently, the ubiquitous four-letter-words we have in the US are nothing compared to the three-letter-words in Sweden:

While authorities in Sweden have been known to put their foot down when it comes to what parents name their children, the three-letter combinations on Swedish licence plates can also be censored.

[From The Local, October 3, 2008]

And they're not just "dirty" words, though their word for 'poop' (BAJ) is banned from the plates. Some of the combinations are translations: I suppose BAJ is BAJ in English as well as German, for example.

Interestingly enough, some are "sound alikes" to English. For example, FUC is banned, but strangely FUK is not.

And though the article states that the Swedish word FAN is banned because it's a swear word, it does not divulge what it means. It's the opposite of himmel if you're inclined to look it up.

For now, I'll stick with the four-letter words. I won't need to use a Swedish to English dictionary.

Saturday, October 18

TIme Flies

[I'm actually writing the answer to today's quiz Friday night. Long service call tonight to be completed (I hope) Saturday, and I may not have the time to write]

The question was how to make the words:

time flies you cannot their flight is too erratic

...into something that makes sense. Admittedly, it would only make sense if you were into flies and their flight characteristics.

Why else would I mention something that had to do with "Time Flies"? Jenn had an entry on her blog about how time flies. The chronological time - and how, as you get older, time seems to go by much faster. A given day may take forever to pass, but overall, time seems to fly by. Oh, don't I know that.

So the phrase (and answer to the quiz) is:

Time flies? You cannot! Their flight is too erratic.

Flies don't fly in a straight line. Simple.

Friday, October 17

Tempus Fugit

Here's an oldie but a goodie.

Take the following words, in the listed order, add necessary punctuation to make sense of it. Simple you say? Just try it:

time flies you cannot their flight is too erratic

Answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14

BUSH - BS = ?

Oftentimes, when the mind wanders a bit - usually while driving - I'll just up and laugh out loud.

Once today it was the weird guy riding a motorcycle at 36th West and 47th South with a helmet adorned with bull horns and a hide of some sort - you can't make this stuff up.

Or the peculiarly-tattooed individual up by Lagoon. Shirtless. In this weather.

But the best was just thinking about the lame duck in the White House. I was trying to come up with a new idea for MY bs here on my blog, and the duck wars came to mind. Yeah, that's lame. Lame duck. Aha!

SO here's my grandiose idea - maybe I'll put it on a shirt:

If you remove the BS from BUSH, what do you get?


You read it here first.

About That Four Letter Word

There wasn't much sense in taking a picture of the snow that fell day-before-yesterday - it melted quite fast. The after effects, however, are still with us. FROST. Window scraping really sucks in the morning, and there are now three vehicles needing treatment.

At least it's not ice. Yet.

Monday, October 13

The Evening Meal

It occurred to me tonight that there's one thing that really makes a house a home - it's coming home to the great aroma that says food is cooking. And good food at that.

I've been blessed with the ability to make meals called "packet cooking". Not a new concept, mind you - you put chicken or beef in a foil "packet", fold over the edges tight and pop them in the oven. Simple, and not messy. Thankful for the un-messy part.

It was several years ago that Reynolds came out with the packet cooking advertising campaign. I started making them when still a bachelor, and I'd like to think that it was one of those qualities Marilee thought was worth hanging on to - "Wow, and he can cook, too?"

Anyway, it was my "turn" to cook, and we had "Pizzeria Chicken". Simple enough: garlic-impregnated chicken breasts with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and a few choice veggies including chopped green and red bell peppers and onions. I even did the chopping.

It looked like we'd have plenty left over for, surprisingly enough, leftovers, but didn't turn out that way. Chris came over to get some mail that had been delivered here, and when asked if he'd had dinner yet, well, so much for the leftovers. But all was good - in fact, damn it was good.

Every one enjoyed it so much that it made me cry.

Wait - that was the onions talking...

Sunday, October 12

Bless You!

I can't believe I've never heard of this before, and there have been over 23 million views of it.

Sneezing Baby Panda

Totally freakin' cute.

Friday, October 10

Four Letter Word

Forecast for tonight, slight chance.

Saturday, a combination of TWO four-letter words. One not so bad and can be said in mixed company. The other, not so much.

Saturday night, an eighty percent chance of the most vile, despicable word ever created by man. SO vile, coming in piles, you even have to shovel it.

No, not that word. The other four-letter word starting with an 'S'.


Stop The Flashy Thing

To get a picture like this, you have to take a LOT of pictures. This particular day it was close to twenty.

Bambi must be thinking "Stop the flashy thing!"

Or, "How easy would it be to lunge forward and bite his face off?"

Wednesday, October 8

In My Face

Not a tight crop - this is just where Bambi's face happened to be in the frame.

Took this one last week on the patio.

[Taken with Olympus C5050Z, f8, 1/500sec, ISO 200. Your mileage may vary.]

Tuesday, October 7

Sign Of The Times

So it appears that the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) has put off EnergySolutions' intent to bring in Italian nuclear waste all the way to Utah.

How did they think they would get away with such a plan?

Apparently, they have a permit (click for bigger):

The sign is southbound on State Highway 196 off I-80 at Exit 77. Middle of nowhere on the way to Dugway.

Take your Geiger Counter.

Monday, October 6

On The Grapevine?

I'm always fascinated by the stuff in my backyard. Most of the stuff its there by happenstance - there's a strawberry bush near the neighbor's fence that likely grew through the cracks. Are they pickable? Not really - they're tiny things, but obviously strawberries.

There's a full-on maple tree back there as well, and a smaller version of it off in a corner. That small one, however, is there by choice. Several years ago, Marilee picked some mature seeds off the ground and planted three in the front yard and the one in the back. The three in the front yard are beyond yearling status and are well on their way to being landmarks. "The house on the corner with three maples". I've a friend whose house is identified by "the big pine tree in the front yard". You can't miss it.

But on the only "side" of the house is this, well, vine. Growing over from another neighbor's yard. Strong grower this vine is. Tried to pull it down one year and the next, and decided to just let it grow last year and this. It grows on the chain-link gate to the backyard and provides a great visual block.

In years past, it was just a vine. But this year there's a change. Sure, it still vines, but now there's fruit. Real fruit. They're round, they're purplish, and generally have no sheen - they're not shiny.

Yes, they look like grapes.

Sunday, October 5

The Man From Earth

Lately Marilee has (finally) overcome her awkwardness in running her TiVo, so much so that the "Now Playing" menu is overflowing with things she has found to record from basic cable.

I, on the other hand, have been doing searches for things to watch in the area on the TiVo where one can download items to watch over our broadband cable connection. Yes, I know it's a roundabout way to get shows to watch, but it's a lot cheaper in the long run - cable to internet to Amazon to internet to TiVo. We watch enough TV for entertainment as it is; we don't need 300-plus channels to find things to watch by spending more of our salaries on digital cable. .

So once in a while I find something out of the ordinary that takes my breath away, something that's so far off the beaten path that I (or we) would never even know exists if not for the TiVo. Case in point:

I just got done watching a movie that matches that description - The Man From Earth. A movie that made me think - and that doesn't happen very often, at least not in the last few years. I can't even remember a movie that really, really made me think - maybe not since the DaVinci Code. And therein lies a parallel that blows my mind.

I could go into detail but I won't. Just get the movie and watch. Suffice to say that the screenplay was written by someone who wrote for Star Trek: TOS (the original series). And he wrote an episode that partly had to do with DaVinci.

However you see the movie, it'll blow your mind, too.


The last couple days have found Marilee and myself looking not for musical MP3's for her iPod but for nature sounds. Babbling brooks, crashing ocean waves, that sort of thing.

She'd heard of some that Target had, but either because of price or slight mixtures of music, they weren't quite what she wanted. The iTunes store didn't much help, either - that was due more to price anyhow.

So this morning, after a spelling error while Googling, I found something called PediaSleep. MP3's of "Soothing sounds proven to calm even the fussiest of babies".

After playing just one sample of PediaSleep for Marilee, she was hooked. They had the MP3's in several different lengths; 75 minutes seemed enough, but Marilee said she wanted something that would preferably last all day. And as luck would have it, PediaSleep comes in 12-hour versions. We opted for the mega-pack of seven different MP3's for $24.95,

So admittedly, these aren't real sounds - it's all mixtures of white noise. But if the noise-cancelling effect works for Marilee, it works for me.

Besides, it's noise-cancelling she's interested in.

Saturday, October 4

Watsyursoshul Redux

It had to happen. And local, for that matter.

As I recently said in my blog, some things should never be taken for granted. Like your SSN:

From today's Salt Lake Tribune:

State worker pleads guilty to ID theft
by Pamela Manson

A former Department of Workforce Services employee admitted Friday she used the personal information of the agency's clients to open instant lines of credit or obtain credit cards. Laura Bustamante also said she gave information on at least 33 people to two other people, who also obtained fraudulent credit cards. Bustamante, 34, of Midvale, made the admissions while pleading guilty to one count each of unlawful access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft. She faces up to five years in prison on the unlawful access charge and a mandatory two-year term for identity theft that must be consecutive to the first sentence. Her sentencing by U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell is scheduled for Dec. 15. Prosecutors say Bustamante, aneligibility specialist, picked her victims based on whether she could get access to their home mailboxes. She then filled out credit card applications in their names and either stole the cards from the mailboxes or had the cards sent to the home of her boyfriend's mother. Bustamante said her scheme was carried out from September 2007 to January 2008. The two people who also fraudulently used the personal information of agency clients - Michelle Chapman, 29, and Joshua Smith, 32, both of Murray - have pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing.

Friday, October 3

In The Loop

Marilee and I took a drive this afternoon into the mountains - specifically, the Alpine Loop.

It's been, oh, about twenty-some-odd years since I've taken that drive, and had forgotten how beautiful it is up there. And while the fall color wasn't as vibrant as last year, it was worth the drive nonetheless.

Last year, as you'll recall, we had an especially wet August and September, so the fall colors were about two to three weeks later than normal. The colors just exploded.

This year not so much, but gorgeous just the same.

As it turned out, though, I didn't have much opportunity to take many photos; the great shots weren't near turnouts. The three in this post were, however.

Maybe we'll have one more weekend to take some more pictures, but I'm not holding my breath - snow is forecast for this weekend.

Thursday, October 2

Katy Did It

Out on the patio this morning:

Thankfully, none of the dogs saw Katy.

[Taken with Olympus C5050Z, f8.0, 1/125sec, ISO 200 (full manual). Your mileage may vary.]

Wednesday, October 1

Just Answer The Damn Question

I really try not to get into political debates. After all, I didn't much pay attention in Civics in high school. Or even since.

I've been fartin' around reading this and that these last couple days, and found yet another reason to watch the Vice-Presidential debate tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Seems there's another Palin-Couric interview I haven't seen yet:

Good stuff about which newspapers and magazines she reads at about 3:45.

All I can say is, Thursday night's gonna be a blast.

Whether Or Not

A few months back, Marilee bought herself an iPod. I, for one, never would have bought myself an iPod. I have multiple devices that play MP3 files. My GPS being one of them. Otherwise, I'm happy finding MP3's surreptitiously on the web via, uh, blind luck. Let's not go there.

So this morning, Marilee was all fired up about getting some songs downloaded to her iPod. It didn't occur to me that she had an ulterior motive to do so until just now when she walked out the door on the way to work...

There's been some flak going on in her office about folks who talk more about non-work stuff than what they're supposed to be talking about. Or not. So rather than have to listen to everything else, Marilee will have music to listen to - or not.

The underlying reason for this behavior? Think about all the times when you've wanted to talk to someone and they have earphones on - are they really listening to you or are they listening to music?

Or not?
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