Sunday, November 18, 2007

All I want for Christmas is...a laptop! ;-)

It's poor-man's blog again. (MS Word on a disconnected network.) I could get used to this laptop thing. Of course having an internet connection would make the deal even sweeter, but alas. Maybe when I get big I can get a laptop. When I get real big.

The sweetest part of the whole deal is I can watch the Bears lose while I blog. Of course, watching the Bears lose while doing anything makes it better.

The Pack seems to be for real this year. There isn't a person on the planet that would have picked them to start out 9-1. I would have guessed they'd be 3-7 at this point. It's a long road to the Super Bowl, but is sure would be saweet!

Why do they bother making a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid?

Why do dogs roll in stink?

These are the questions that run through my head.

We took Toby to the Dog exercise area today and he ran like a dog possessed. He had a blast with Yoshi the French Bulldog and with Coco the poodle mix. He was covered in dog slime by the end of the 40 minutes and badly needs a bath. He smells like dog, which fits I guess.

Ben actually got peed on by a boxer/pit mix. He was crouched down and I think the dog was just asserting himself. It's happened before, so maybe there's more to it. Maybe it's the smell of his socks.

It's off to the Northland on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving weekend. Of course the weather forecast is for rain/snow mix. Throw an SUV with bad tires into the mix and it should make for an interesting trek.

Ah, the holidays. It seems like we just left them. It's a little like the yellow pages coming what seems like every 90 days. It's just become such a commercial gorge. Sad, but true. The kids have a great time with all of their cousins and it's always good to see family, so I can't complain. We'll do the NY trek this Christmas, so it' travel until you can't anymore.

We'll my back is starting to spasm and I must direct my coaching skills so the Seahawks can finish off the Bears. What a pre-Thanksgiving treat that would be.

Will blog when I can again; likely after Turkey day.

Happy feasting.

Blogging off.

Jim

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Double Click Here >>>

Now here's a new twist on the old blahg. I'm actually composing this on a laptop in my living room. No, it's not quite what you think. I'm not composing this online using a wireless network. I'm using the poor-mans blog technique of using MS Word and, once complete, I'll cut and paste it into blogger. I've always said I'd write more if I had a laptop, so I guess I'm living the dream; or maybe "dream-lite". Hey, at this point, I'll take what I can get. I figure I'm one step from typing it on a typewriter, scanning it and then doing a cut/paste. Whatever it takes to put pen to paper.

The laptop I'm writing on is actually a happy story. Donna has a friend who was told that it needed a new hard drive. Desperate for any help at all, and wanting simply to save her pictures, she asked Donna if I would look at it. I said sure and figured what is there to lose.

When I started it up on Wed. night, it would freeze instantly after the desktop showed up. It didn't look good even from my perspective.

Now I don't often consider myself a computer guru. I work all day on one and the letters "IS" (Information Systems) are part of my job title, but I just don't often think of myself as technically better than the average Joe.

Donna and others beg to differ. They remind me that when I talk techno-speak to them that they have no idea what I'm talking about. I get a lot of the "deaf nod" as Donna calls it. (i.e. "I hear you talking but I don't know shat you're saying") It always occurs to me the level people are at when I tell them to open windows explorer, and they say "How do I do that?" "Uh-Oh", I think to myself, "this is going to take longer than I thought."

I don't think less of anyone for not being more geek-like. Neither though, do I think of myself as a computer geek…but I think I'm kidding myself. By definition my job requires that I be a geek. It's a little like owning a truck however. Substitute "computer help" for "moving help" in this case though.

Donna and I were talking this morning that I should start up a side business called Last-Ditch Computer Consulting, LLC. My mission statement would be "To help poor technophobes or non-geeks try and salvage their computer when they've no answers for themselves." Like with this laptop, I would offer a "No Guarantees" Guarantee, where I say I'll do my best to restore your files and or get your computer back up and running again.

I would not charge much. Maybe $20.00 or a gift card to Best Buy (read: geek) or something. If I got the computer running, and the person wanted to pay more, hey that's OK. I'd do it more for the challenge. The beauty of it though would be that I would be very honest with the person that if I felt I couldn't fix it, I would let them know and that would be that.

In the case of this laptop, I think the hard disk had a couple of corrupt sectors. Once those were fixed, the thing hummed along pretty good. To be sure, I ran all the spy ware packages and some registry cleanup routines and defrag too, just to make sure it's as clean as it should be. (There's the geek again!)

So my gutters and chimney flashing are on finally. They finished them up yesterday. Lucky for everyone, as it is raining today. A job that is good to have done. There's something about having a good roof over your head.

Tonight we are going to celebrate the safe return of our Guatemalan Mission team. It is at a team member's house in Brookfield. I'm looking forward to meeting some of the women that made the whole trip happen. Donna is busy making 76 quarts of Peppian for the occasion. Can't have enough of that, eh?

Well, I'd better blog off for now.

Jim

Friday, November 16, 2007

Puppy Love...Yeah, That's It!


Ben is having a friend over tonight for a sleep-over, and so I managed to steal away while they're watching a movie.


We got new phone books the other day. Is it just me, of does this seems to happen about every 3 months now? I really don't know. I don't remember getting phone books this frequently as a kid. Of course, back then we had 2 books, yellow and white. Now we have "Waukesha Yellow", "Waukesha White", "Milwaukee and Surrounding Yellow", "Milwaukee and Surrounding White", "Business to Business Yellow", "Upper Midwest Yellow", "Planet Earth White". It's sheer madness.


So, I'm left wondering why we seem to be getting so many books. Is it that I'm getting old an unaware of how fast time is passing? (This is the one I'm hoping to answer No to.)


Or perhaps it's that the phone companies are making too much on advertising and can afford to spend it on publishing books before the last ones make it out of the plastic bag. I mean really, I look in the phone book maybe 3 times a year. Divide that by the 6+ books I get a year, and I figure I owe a few carbon credits to Mother Earth. Or maybe the stupid phone company does.


It could be that enough people out there actually request that books be published at an insane rate and the phone companies are listening.


Whatever the case is, I wish they would deliver me a Yellow and a White once every 3 years or so. That's all I need. Most of my phone information comes from the www anyway.


Enough ranting.


I passed a tree today that was shedding leaves at an absurd rate. It was really something to see actually. It was snowing leaves. Very strange for some reason. When I passed it later in the day, it was still losing them, but at a believable rate. What is that about?


We're making headway with Toby using some new-found tactics.


1. The "Shaky-Can". This is a soda can with a few coins in it covered with duct tape. When he bites or is naughty, shake the shaky can. He hates it.


2. The spray bottle. This is a big squirt gun basically. No one I know of human or animal, likes getting hit with a squirt gun. They're maddening, but in this case highly effective. And no, you cannot put bleach in instead of water. I know, I checked. (I'm kidding! Don't sic PETA on me!)


3. We got him a cone-thing that you put a treat in and he tries to get the treat out. He spends hours trying to get the treat. Can you say down time?


4. The Bacon-Flavored Nyla bone. He devoured one within 3 days of when we got it. Now his cholesterol's out of site, but hey, he's occupied.


None of these tricks prevented him from furthering the damage to an existing hole in the carpet tonight while I wasn't looking. He got a nice seam and was working his way toward lifting the entire seam across the living room. I'm running out of furniture to cover this stuff with. Oh the love of a puppy...


Well, I've shirked my parental duty for 30 min. now, I must go feed and water and de-louse.


Until tomorrow. Blogging off.


Jim

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scary Passport Photos

Wow, I just got a good look at the photo on yesterday's post. Wooo, scary stuff. I needed to add it to my post in order to be able to add it to my profile. So from this day forward, I'll look like a man who's just seen a ghost, or discovered he left the baby on top of the car when he gets to work.

The picture reminds me of the old joke that if anyone actually looked like their passport photo, NO country would let them in.

Part of the reason I look so scared in this photo is because it was clipped from one of my Canada pictures where I'm holding a 32" northern. In other words, I am a bit scared in the picture, actually. Not of the fish's teeth particularly as much as whether it is ready to flop at the moment or not.

If you know Northern Pike at all, they're slimy fish to begin with. Throw into that mix the excited/nervous energy resident in the "catcher" and it makes for a tenuous mix, at best. Picture two grown men thrashing around a boat trying to save a slippery fish from flopping itself into a concussion or worse, a coma. (Fish Coma...Hmmmm...That's a good title for a book. Note to self.)

If anyone is interested in a free radio service that asks you a few of your favorite groups/bands etc., and then, as new songs come on, you can rate how you like them. Based on those ratings it uses over 200 criteria to try and tailor more of the music you like. It's an intriguing concept. Check it out at;

http://www.pandora.com/

Well tonight's blog was a bonus (Any weeknight blog is.)

I've gotta run for now.

Blogging off,

Jim

Sunday, November 11, 2007

News from the engine room


A beautiful day in Milwaukee today. Mid-50's and no wind. Not bad for the 11th of Nov.

I'm trying to dream up some trivia questions for my 3rd grade Boys Club gym activity this coming Tuesday. I'm in charge of games and have come up with an "intellectual" relay. Combining physical strength and speed with team-based trivia question answering. It's not dodge ball, but I never professed to be a gym teacher. The kids would likely prefer bashing each other in the heads with dodge ball anyway, but we're discouraged from falling back to that every week. So trivia racing it is!

I do love leading Boys Club, but it really is one of the most functionally disorganized organizations on the planet. There was a classic case of this last week. I heard nothing about what we were doing that week. The schedule we were handed out at the beginning of the year had what we were supposed to do, but we had done that the week before.

So, thinking logically I figured we would be doing the prior weeks lesson. So, I prepared for that on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, I get a one line e-mail that we're doing a lesson that is not on any sheet.

It is all very well intentioned, and I love the messages at most meetings, it's just that at times it seems that the kids drew up the agenda and the adults are trying to decipher the chicken scratching.

My daughter got an IPOD for her 12th birthday using mostly money she had saved or been given as gifts. It likely means I'll be heard less and likely be hearing less from her. Neither of these are good things. It was the only thing she wanted though and I have to admit they are kind of cool. As a music lover, I'd like one for myself, but can't see spending that kind of green on something no bigger than a wallet. Now, maybe a shuffle...

Well, I'm whipped tonight. Feel like a truck ran over me. So I will keep this brief in hopes that tomorrow I am more inspired.

Blogging off...

Jim

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ever wonder?

Ever wonder why it is that every time I go to the blog start page and sign in, I click the "remember me on this computer" box under the password, but it never does remember me? What's even weirder is that I continue to click it. Like it will magically fix itself and actually remember me. They say a sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, I'm no Pavlov, but...

As I'm walking the dog tonight I'm thinking, you know I'm interested in the people driving by, what they look like, the cars they're driving, but you know what? Toby doesn't care about any of that. He only cares about the residual dog smells on trees, tasty leaves and trash tidbits that tend to be in his path. He cares nothing about the tricked out Chevy Impala SS burning by, or the ghetto-mobile blaring hip hop/rap (what's the diff?) Dogs are so shallow that way.

It's my daughter's 12th birthday tomorrow. She's having a "sleep"over tonight with 5 of her friends. That would explain my being able to blog uninterrupted.

To say that the least, the giggling and chatter is mind numbing. If I had a nickel for every time they said "like" I'd retire early.

12 years ago tonight (3:20AM) was the beginning of one of the happiest days of my life. To witness her birth from behind home plate, so-to-speak was quite an awesome experience. God gets all the credit for the miracle of childbirth that's for sure. I can remember holding her for the first time and thinking she was the most beautiful thing alive. (Still is...Ben too!) Later that night I got to drive home in a blinding snow storm in my little Civic all while balling like a baby. A great trifecta there. One not recommended by the National Traffic Safety Board.

The weirdest part of that whole first child experience was when we were loading her into that same Civic the next day. (Actually the hospital meal they gave Donna was pretty weird too, but I'll save that story for her.) When I had to move the seat to load the baby seat into the back of the car it was just so strange. I thought, hmmm, it's not just us two anymore, is it? Well, I've been sweeping up goldfish crumbs and extracting sucker sticks from door handle wells ever since. Lets just say the mystery has diminished a bit.

The movie must have ended at the "sleep"over because the rattle and hum is increasing. This can only mean that I will be either interrupted soon, beckoned to help with something or too distracted to think coherently. So, I'll blog off for now. It's the weekend though so I plan to blog tomorrow and Sun. with a little help from God. ;-)

Happy birthday Sarah Jess!

Jim

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A dim light, but light nonetheless

Just wanted to post for post sake. Ben is reminding me that I am "past due", so will keep it very brief.

My Small Life:

I had to "charge" an .88 cent cup of coffee today at PDQ using my debit card. I thought I had a couple bucks in my wallet, but alas I'd been pandered of that the night before at church by my daughter for a couple of sugar cookies.

Needless to say, I didn't make the poor clerk punch my free cup card because I figured she'd already cost the corporation a good chunk of change sending my .88 cent charge to Visa and back.

Moral: Never travel with at least 1 dollar in your wallet. This I learned in kindergarten and have since forgotten.

Gotta go.

Jim

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oh the dogmanity!

Well, I'm currently organizing Donna's trip pictures, burning disks, listening to Pandora, http://www.pandora.com/) listening to Ben try and guilt me into playing web-games with him and blogging, so as I see it you have at least 20% of my attention tonight. This whole multi-tasking thing is a bit exhausting. Kind of like the spinning plates, without the cleanup. Why do we do this to ourselves? It used to be that if I went to work for 8 hours and stopped to pick up dry cleaning, I needed a nap. Now, we're expected(?) to do 3 or 4 things at a time and not leave the baby on the roof.


All of this reminds me of the story of Toby a few weeks back. I was taking dirt to the dump in my van. (Yes, that is a lunatic story unto itself. Suffice it to say that a Plymouth Voyager is not a dump truck, yea, nary a pickup truck. It's really a van and nothing more. Even with the seats taken out...Yep, still a van.) So, I'm taking the dirt to the dump and am very focused on finishing the job on that day. Very focused. Donna asks me if I can put the dog out before I go. "Sure", I say as I grab the dog, my hat, sunglasses, and my water bottle. Very focusedly, I put the dog down, because I have many things in my hand at the moment. I proceed to go to the dump and shovel the dirt out of my not-a-truck van.


As I get back on the road to return, Donna calls me and says "Do you have the dog?" "Uh no" I reply not so focusedly. "Where did you put him?" she asks. OK so now the defensiveness sets in. "Why, on the chain of course", knowing full well I had no recollection of ever hooking him up on the chain. Wait, maybe I chained up my hat instead. Or maybe I shovelled the dog into the dirt pile. OH I DON'T KNOW! I admit it I have no idea what I did with the dog. I do know the dirt is done. That much I took care of. The non-living, non breathing no-furry faced dirt is well accounted for. Oh I'm a horrible pet owner. The dog probably followed the van for a couple of miles till he tired out or got "tired out" by a car, if you know what I'm saying.


To say the other end of the phone got a wee bit frantic at this point might be an understatement. "I've got to go and try and find Toby" (the dog I didn't value more than dirt, evidently) she said.


To make a tragic tale turn to good, she called me after several anxious moments in my dirt-smelling van-not-a-truck-thing and told me that the dog was in the corner of the yard. She said he had a look on his face of disbelief and wonder at his new found freedom. Luckily he has a smallish brain at this point and hadn't quite pieced together that freedom with the fact that it extended beyond his back yard. Either that or he actually likes us.


The scary part of this story is that I have no recollection of what I did with the dog. I'm guessing I set him down and forgot about him. Either that or he figured out the opposible paw thing and managed to free himself from the chain. Yeah, I'll run with that story...


So I am capable of great momentary lapses of reason at 45. What the heck is 90 going to bring? Lord help me.


Well, my CD organizing beckons and I need to tend to it before I forget why I logged on. By the way can anyone tell me what my password is?



Jim

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Post Halloween Musings

I hope to get back into writing on this blog, at the urging of my lovely bride, so...here goes. Check back frequently if you like. At a minimum, I'd like to get to it on weekends. More if my kids let me on this 'puter. Yeah right.

I had to run out to get gas, return a movie and get dog food and milk. So I'm at the gas pump today and I do it all using a debit card. I get to the end, and of course I'm in a hurry and it beeps and says "Print Reciept?" I click yes and it reads out "Printer Error". I thought it was funny because I really didn't need another receipt flopping around the car to go with the other 3 old receipts, the peanut M&M wrapper and the 37 cents and two capless pens floating around the console. So to the poor lackey who made a crappy printer for the Speedway pumps, I say "thank you".

So then, I get to the grocery store and that's always like a kid in a carnival for me. I used to go shopping with Donna as our "date nights" back when we were kidless. It was fun, almost romantic. Now she does all the shopping and when I go in it's alone, and not romantic in the least. It's kind of like hunting. Get in, shop to kill, get out. Minimize your time spent in any one aisle.

So I'm looking for dog food. Donna told me Iam's smart puppy was the brand I was supposed to get. Did you know there is dog food for;

1. Aging dogs
2. Large Breeds
3. Puppys
4. Dogs in their "early years" (I wonder if it's early "dog years" or early human?
5. Overweight dogs
6. Tartar control

What's next, food made from organic, free ranging poultry? Sensitive teeth? Food for manic depressive dogs? Dogs with bulimia?

We have far too many choices in this world. It used to be either Kennel Ration or Gravy Train, now we have to take our dog to a shrink to see what kind of food he's comfortable with. This coming from animals who return to their vomit.

Why now, everytime I put on my jacket, one of the pockets has an empty dog poop bag in it? What have I come to?

I'll try and write again tomorrow in between football and walking the dog.

Jim