Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Cleaning Fairy arrives

Over the years, I have had to go into a lot of warehouses and wire a lot of stuff. That means zip ties, zip ties, and more zip ties. If there is a way for a wire to wiggle loose in a warehouse, it will. Having to do this so many times explains my disdain for zip ties and my incredibly bad luck of having to snip 100 zip ties when a cable somehow self destructs or the entire place gets closed. My disdain for zip ties is why my personal wiring looked a lot like this:

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No, I’m not proud of this or the mummified insects or the multiple knots that had someone self-generated. I’m also not proud of how this wasted the corner of our living room and blocked our one measly window.

I am proud to announce that the window has been freed and the mess of wires have been tamed.

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I also reorganized the home office and I was able to get rid of horribly out of place shelving that had been making my office area look like something out of government surplus.

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Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I wish I could reduce the bulletin board explosion but I picked through all of it and seem to need it all when I least expect it. System shortcuts, Office Max coupons, calendars, etc. – these are the things that make the business world go round.

Tomorrow is Friday and I am exhausted. It seems like something has been happening from 5:30AM to 9:30PM every day and I am so ready for a weekend filled with, well, nothing. We might try to go see the Hop movie at the drive-in. I haven’t been to a drive-in since the early 80’s so that will be an interesting experience. I also recall seeing Saturday Night Fever at the drive-in. I’m hoping Hop will be better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Huuuuummmmmpp Daaaaaaaay

I really need to capture some video from the morning news here so you can see our local weather man go nuts every Wednesday proclaiming that it is ‘hump day’ in his own special style.

HUMP DAY

What a week. Vacation ended and the craziness started. And, so did the cleaning. I am going through a heavy spring cleaning phase. I went through everything in the home office and got rid of everything I no longer use. Papers, gizmos, furniture – all of it. I created a big pile of stuff destined for eBay. I also switched back from my old out of warranty work laptop to my “new” work laptop that has crapped out three different times since I got it. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will keep running. I’ll keep my old one close by just in case.

I’ve had no Nook time since last week and I’m getting edgy not having the time to read. However, I’ve squandered a lot of evening time with Wii Sports Resort. And the kids wanted to play UNO last night. And we ended up watching Happy Days, The Wonder Years, and Doogie Howser on HUB. It was like I was wasting time just like I did 20 years ago.

I’m hoping for a quieter weekend. I am hoping for just enough rain to give me the excuse to not mow the yard.

Let’s end hump day with a very Scott Pilgrim-like music video. This single is also available for FREE just for liking them on the Face Book here. Who doesn’t love FREE music?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend

Ah, another weekend is half way over and that also means that vacation and spring break are about to end. I’ll go back to working at home, alone, in complete and total silence. Silence – I have forgotten your sweet sound.

Yesterday, we went to the movies and dropped a bundle of cash to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. I was amazed at how packed it was. I know the books are popular, but holy smokes. I wanted to reach into the screen and strangle the brother. The bit about the bathroom door was funny. The kid playing the best friend is hilarious. Also, yesterday started the rain which has continued most of the day today also. And, it is cold. Not February cold – it’s not snowing here – but it is still cold. I’m starting to miss the 80 degrees we saw just a few days ago.

We continue to get a lot of use out of Wii Sports Resort so that is looking like a good deal aside from the annoying motion controllers I have to put on and pull off. C’mon, Nintendo! I guess Wii 2.0 will have super advanced mega-controllers. Maybe they’ll out-do the Kinect and Wii 2.0 will be psychic. I’ll just sit still and think about where I want Mario to go.

The only other thing I can remember from today was seeing the Shake Weight for Men commercial and having a laughing fit. I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much. I’ve seen the one for women before but not the one for men. It is pure comic gold and will now be bookmarked for all of those bad days when I need a lift!

Just go to the bathroom before watching this as immature fits of laughter are known to cause accidents!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday

Today, my daughter had a dentist appointment. But, before that, I stupidly took them shopping. We visited a toy store with live bunnies you can pick up and pet. Unfortunately, one of them was nervous and my kid made the bunny freak out and, of course, the bunny felt the need to bite me before I could put it back in its cage. So much for holiday joy.

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Did I mention that they beg for every article of clothing available in every clothing store?

In good news, we finally got a copy of Wii Sports Resort and it is a hoot. It’s very much worth the $12 I paid for my used copy. I already had the motion remotes. I find the extra motion remotes quite annoying and I think Nintendo should be slapped for making us add attachments to our remotes every time we want to play certain games and then having to take them off every time we want to play something else. Bad Nintendo!

That’s it. I’m going to go read the Nook and go to sleep. The vacation is almost over. I just have to get through the movies tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

MSNBC has posted an article declaring that Elizabeth Taylor was ‘the last movie star’ and if we consider what ‘movie star’ once meant, I would have to say that they are right.

When I think of Elizabeth Taylor, I think glamour and there is a certain mystique about her. For most of my life, she has not had a starring role in movies but she not only maintained her status as one of the top members of Hollywood royalty, but watched her popularity soar right up until the end of her life. There was something special about Elizabeth Taylor that even her own messy personal life could not diminish. She was our last true link to the glitz of old Hollywood.

In movies today, nothing is left to the imagination and I think that takes away from the stature of those acting. Instead of being larger than life, they are merely a diversion and we seem to enjoy seeing them brought down a notch when their indiscretions are posted on TMZ.

Take us back to the days of Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. Our world is not the same without them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I did on my spring vacation–so far

I went from working for the man to working at the house in the landscaping division.

I bought 10 bags of mulch. That is 400 pounds of the stinky stuff.

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Combine that with my last-ditch efforts to re-seed the yard and I am spending a lot of time outside. All of the rain we had in the last year has torn the yard to pieces. What didn’t wash away appears to have drowned.

These stones are in place to prevent all of this from washing away again this year.

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All three trees are going to bloom this year! My Walmart specials survived the winter!

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In gadget news, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new Nook. I sat at Barnes & Noble and read for my one hour of allotted time on Saturday. You can read any e-book for free for an hour on your Nook in-store. I also sat and read today while the kids were burning off energy at the indoor pool. The Nook is quickly becoming my favorite gadget. I’ll write more about it sometime in the future.

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I have even more excitement planned for today. I’m about to leave for a haircut and later tonight, I will be mopping the kitchen floor. Who needs the beach or Disney World when you be making memories right at home!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hulu alert – 12 more days to watch Square Pegs

Hulu has a message posted for Square Pegs - “Streaming rights for this series will expire on 3-31-11 at 11:45PM PST.”

This means we would have to buy the DVD set in order to enjoy this blast from the past and I’m cheap. And, I saw all of them when they originally were shown back in 1982-1983.

I would recommend starting with the first episode so you get the experience of what seems to be the worst-produced canned laugh track ever. Most of the jokes are completely missed and the dubbed in laughter is so puny that it sounds like four people in a bathroom laughing at a poot. By episode 6, that person must have gotten fired because it does get better.

Episode 18 features guest star Bill Murray. He appears to be ad-libbing his entire part. (Of course, this embedded link will no longer work after March 31, 2011).

I’m not trying to say that Square Pegs was the best thing on TV but it was certainly unique for its time. Hit music is part of the soundtrack (lots of Billy Idol) and several bands of the day are featured (including a very odd Devo performance at Muffy Tepperman’s Bat Mitzvah).

Finally, I had forgotten how the school in Square Pegs looked a lot like my long ago demolished junior high school.

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I even think that the door to the teachers lounge looked a lot like this.

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Finally, in other news, my Blackberry gets turned off at 4PM Central to begin my glorious week of freedom from all things work related!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wings of a Dove – Two songs, same name

Ferlin Husky died today. He sang this version:

In 1983, Madness released this one:

Both songs bring me joy.

So does knowing that I am only ONE day from vacation!

Here’s some bonus Ferlin. Here he is in a recent performance singing his 1957 #1 hit “Gone”. In the last few years, I’ve really grown to appreciate the older country music that they don’t play much anymore. A lot of the classics are in danger of simply fading away.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

“All of a sudden I felt something on my back and shoulders, scratching”

With all of the bad news out there right now, it’s nice to read something a bit more routine.

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Residents report attacks by squirrel

In the personal good news department, I am two days away from vacation. We’re not going anywhere special but the blackberry will be off and the work laptop will stay closed and those two things make for quite a good vacation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

There is no flux capacitor and that is a good thing

No matter how hard you fight it, there are those days when you try to figure out how you got to exactly where you are and you start telling yourself how much better things might be if you had only done this, or had not done that, or had said more, or had not said anything.

Life does not have one of these buttons.

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If life were like my old Atari VCS, I would also set the difficulty switch to B. The reality is that our difficulty switches seem to be super-glued in the A position most of the time.

On Facebook this morning, this was the status of someone I first met nearly 20 years ago - “If I could go back in time, I would do it all differently. I guess everyone says that....”

Here is what I wrote in response:

I would have bought stock in Apple. I would have worn less hats. I would have eaten a lot more food when I had a higher metabolism. I would have listened to The Cure more and Falco less.

I've been through this. Reviewed all of the probably 10,000 things I would have done differently and trust me, there are probably 10,000. I came to realize that none of it matters. The past is over and good riddance. This was also the time that I shredded and threw out a bunch of stuff from the past - photos, journals, you name it. It was the best thing I ever did.

I was in a meeting a few years back and our boss - one of the finest people I have known- came out to go over the budget. I'll never forget what he said. Instead of sugar-coating it, he said exactly what we knew - he said, "We suck. But, you know what? Next year, we're going to suck less." He nailed it.

Now, every day, I just try to suck less.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yard work

So, here I sit after a full day in the yard. Most of the day was spent raking up dead grass and breaking up soil. Then, I spread 50 pounds of grass seed. We’ll see how much of it has a chance to grow before the next monsoon washes everything away.

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I just don’t know that all of this work is worth it. I always mulch while mowing but the people on each side of me spray their clippings all over the place. Of course, they end up blowing or washing into my yard. And don’t even get me going on the weed problems all of this causes.

The funny thing is that I don’t think I ever saw my dad buy a bag of grass seed. He just mowed every Saturday and that was it. If it was hot, he never watered it. It is what it is.

Why I have this sick need to have a nice, green lawn is beyond me. All I know is my back is really paying for it right now. Even with the shiatsu pillow and the Aleve, the soreness is in full force. Age is quite the betrayer!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Shut up! I’m watching the movie!

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Why is it that I cannot go to a movie anymore without having to suppress the urge to throw my five dollar coke on either a group of unsupervised teenagers that won’t shut up, a group of kids that won’t shut up who are sitting with parents ignoring them (kids will be kids!!!), or a woman that brings a screaming one-year old in to a cartoon movie that the kid has no business being present for?

I wondered – why would a mother bring an 18 month old to “Rango”? Putting subconscious lizard nightmares in a the head of a baby is a great way to get you the good parenting award.

And, about 10 minutes into the movie, here comes three teenagers running up the stairs to sit right behind me. They are up and down and giggling and snickering. If you could see the way I dress these days, you’d realize that I’m not going to feel embarrassed when it comes to telling some kids to shut up in a packed theatre full of people. Tonight, I waited until the woman and her kid sitting next to me (the theater was nearly full) got up and moved because they could not take it anymore. I got up, walked up the one row to the teenage boys, leaned in, and said “I did not pay all of this money to listen to the three of you talk. Straighten up or you’ll leave.”

Oddly, not only did the kids look petrified (they actually got up and left within 5 minutes) but the other people around us looked at me like I was Charlie Sheen banging 7 gram rocks. I guess most people just endure crap like that.

I look at it like this: I paid for our four tickets plus two of my kid’s friends. That cost me a small fortune. Then, add food. This isn’t a $4.50 matinee in 1985.

When going to the movies costs roughly the same amount as a day at Disney, I’m not going to let someone inconsiderate ruin my night and my family’s night.

Of course, just like when I was a kid, a lot of kids are being dropped off at the movies so the parents can have quiet time. The theater becomes the babysitter and the lousy behavior that makes the parent want to get away is now the behavior I get to deal with. It’s a shame.

Maybe I’m just old and grouchy. Or, maybe I just expect too much. Or, maybe we just have a lot of parents out there who aren’t expecting enough.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rain rules the day

I didn’t build an ark today but I did build a temporary fence all out of stuff that was in my shed.

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I did this to keep the dogs out of the parts of the yard that have been flooding over and over for the past few weeks. Another two to three inches of rain is forecast for tonight and I am just over cleaning up 8 muddy dog feet. We’re supposed to dry out a bit in time for the weekend and I’ll be planting new grass seed all over the yard. We’ve had so much rain lately that the grass has actually been washed out of the ground in many places.

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Much like me, this yard needs a cure for its bald spot. For me, there is no hope.

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So, my weekend will be filled with raking and planting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just add water

I took these pictures last Monday (2/28) but I forgot to post them. I wanted to show what 4 and a half inches of rain in four days does around here.

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I have to believe that the drought is officially over due to the inch and a half of additional rain from yesterday that I just poured out of the rain gauge. I’m also looking into having my property assessed as ‘lakefront’ for future sales purposes.

Just add this to the list of things I hate about owning a house. I also had the roofer out Friday morning replacing the shingles torn off the roof in our storms last week. Another $175 down the crapper.

Ahh, the joys of home ownership.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another day in the rain

The kids had their writers conference at the local university this morning. The rain was pouring as we walked between buildings. It was cool outside and the heat was on inside. I popped myself in the head with the handle of my umbrella repeatedly to stay awake. By 10AM, I was seriously regretting skipping my morning coffee.

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Stupidly, we followed this up with a trip to the local Chinese buffet where, on my one previous trip, I had stated I would never eat again. This happened because the good Chinese restaurant in town was packed, we were all wet, Sara wanted Chinese and nothing else, and I was starving.

My intestines are still suffering. I’ve seen cleaner bathrooms in truck stops so I can only imagine what the kitchen looked like.

You think it can’t get worse than this? We followed this up with a trip to Walmart.

You might call it insanity. I just call it Saturday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good TV: Hill Street Blues

Thanks to the internet magic that is Hulu, I’ve been watching Hill Street Blues starting with episode one. I was curious about the show because I remember it but only watched it once or twice when it was on the air. It’s probably best that I waited. I doubt I would have realized just how good this show is. The writing is superb. The casting is phenomenal.

Anthony Yerkovitch wrote and produced many episodes. He left the show to create Miami Vice. I think season one of Miami Vice has many examples of some of the best television ever created. (To me, the rest of the seasons of Miami Vice were disappointing compared to the first year.) So far, I’ve seen a couple of people from Miami Vice pop up in Hill Street Blues.

I urge you to give it a shot (no pun intended). It holds up quite well against any show on TV today and is much better than most.