Wednesday, September 29, 2004

12-Step Voting?

Courtesy of Wonkette, we learn that Diebold voting machines are now getting drunk in bars and passing out on the streets of Baltimore. Really, guys, I know you've gotten a lot of bad press lately, what with the whole "can be hacked by a monkey" thing, the "being sued for fraud" thing, not to mention the whole "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year" thing. But pull yourselves together! Our president allegedly stopped drinking and snorting coke; so can you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Recovering from a computer failure is painful. Really, really painful.

Thankfully, my hard drive didn't crash; every single byte on it (with the exception of the all-important Windows registry) was recoverable. But I was left with the task of restoring it myself from an archived copy, from a tool called Norton Ghost Explorer. NGE takes approximately 20 minutes on startup to read the image of my hard drive, after which it takes approximately 30 seconds to lock up if I make the mistake of choosing more than a single file or directory at a time to restore. It took me three days to figure out how to use the thing without crashing the program (and incurring another 20-minute startup delay). Finally, though, I think I'm done.

Oh, but wait. I'm not done. Because restoring installed program files isn't the same as restoring installed programs. They're not in the registry! They don't have environment variables set! I have to install them again! This isn't a problem, really, for the Java stuff that doesn't use the registry anyway; a big fat hairy complex beast like Oracle JDeveloper 10 runs directly from its restored folder without hassle or setup. And of course, Perl is happy with an environment variable for the web proxy and a mapping of the .pl extension to the interpreter.

No, it's the Windows-native stuff that's a nightmare. Want to install SharpReader? Sorry, you need to install .NET framework 1.1 first. Want to install and run PVCS Tracker? Sorry, you'll need to install SQL Server Client Connectivity Tools first.

And even where it should be fairly straightforward, there's the problem of not having licenses -- not even for stuff that I did have licenses for. If DSG says I don't have a license for, say, SQL Server Client Connectivity Tools, then I can't install it; I have to wait for somebody to get around to adding me to a group that has access to it. Same for Visio, and UltraEdit, and WS_FTP. And that somebody is in no particular rush.

Have you ever tried to read a 50 megabyte XML file using Notepad? Don't.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


Saturday morning, mom and I took Emma to the Children's Museum. There she got to see how Ming grew up; apparently, this is a typical Malaysian home:

We learned a lot -- for instance, that Ming fishes using a magnet at the end of a piece of string. I never knew that.

After the educational trip, we picked up Kristi and drove to Lake Maria State Park, outside of Monticello. The DNR website led us to believe that Lake Maria would be our best shot at fall colors in the greater Twin Cities area this weekend. Color-wise, it was disappointing, but it was very pretty.

We picked out a shaded picnic table next to the lake and spread out our lunch. Within a few minutes, we were joined by a bee, which settled on my shoulder. Oh, good; another educational opportunity. I told Emma that if I didn't bother the bee, it wouldn't bother me. Emma looked unconvinced. The bee, underscoring my point, left my shoulder and settled on the side of Kristi's nose. (Why didn't I take a picture?) Kristi started laughing uncontrollably, and Emma, sensing impending disaster, put about 50 feet between herself and the table. I tried blowing the bee off of Kristi's nose, but this only drove it closer to her nostril, and by now we were all laughing (except for Emma, who was busy explaining the crisis to another family picnicking nearby).

The bee finally decided left Kristi to settle on mom's apple, which we moved off of the table. Emma was eventually persuaded to rejoin us.

After lunch, Emma and I took a short walk up a nature trail. She saw what she called a "fairy house," a knothole in a tree at ground level, and wanted to show Kristi. So we went back, and I stayed with mom while Emma and Kristi took their walk. Just as they returned, the bee did too, and stung mom on the finger -- apparently without provocation. So much for the "don't bother the bee, it won't bother you" lesson. One antihistimine and an icepack later, we were on the road for home.

We spent last night eating and watching "The Princess Bride". Rented, damn it; you guys aren't helping at all.

Took mom to the airport early Sunday morning. She seemed very sad to be leaving, which I guess means the bee sting wasn't too terrible.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Damned Annoying

Mom has never seen "The Princess Bride". Or so she claims; I find it hard to believe, since I know Dad had seen it. But never mind that. We were all prepared to sit down to dessert and a movie tonight. I popped open the DVD box, and ... nothing.

The last one to watch it was Kristi's mom, when she was visiting a couple of weeks ago -- but Kristi assures me her mom wouldn't have taken it out of the DVD player. Considering that Kristi's mom rewinds VHS tapes by scanning backwards through the entire film, I hope that's true. But that doesn't really address the question of where the DVD is.

I feel like Heather when she lost her glasses. Ideas, anyone? It's not in any of the other DVD boxes, so don't bother suggesting that. Nor is it in the DVD player, or in either drive of the computer.

And please remember that this is my favorite film; disrespect it and you disrespect me.

Tour Guide

Mom's visiting from California. This trip she wanted to see some stuff she hadn't previously had a chance to see. Circumstances have prevented us from doing a lot of it, but one thing we did get to do was pay a visit to the St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse. It's an amazing art-deco building. According to the official history, a bonding measure for it was passed just before the stock market crash of 1929. As a result of the crash, materials and labor were much cheaper than anticipated. Instead of spending the extra money on, oh, say, feeding and housing the poor, the city instead spent it on exotic materials and extra craftsmanship in the construction of the building. Same as it ever was.

Naturally, I didn't have a camera with me. But never fear; the Internet comes through, sort of. The main floor is dominated by a long, narrow, very dramatic three-story atrium walled with black marble, dominated by an amazing 30-something-foot-tall Mexican Onyx statue of Native Americans at one end. The feeling you get is that you're standing in the grand hallway of the Wizard of Oz (only I suppose that would be green marble, not black).

The building is 15 or so stories tall. Each floor seems to use a different exotic wood and/or marble as its primary decorative motif. But to get there, you have to take the elevators, complete with bas-relief bronze doors, each one different and beautiful.

Eh. I can't do it justice with the few pictures I can find online and the time I have to write about it. Information available here.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Brain Dead

So yesterday afternoon at work my PC just sort of had a stroke. Of course, this happens right when Jen Simonds is on the phone asking me to do something, and the computer just locks up. Tight. So tight that the Task Manager is inaccessible; Ctrl-Alt-Delete does nothing at all. And of course, on a modern computer the power switch doesn't work when the machine locks up, because it's not really a power switch at all, but a momentary-contact switch that routes power to some semiconductor on the motherboard that tells the computer that it's time to shut down.

Anyway, I was stuck. Jen's on the phone with something important I have to take care of before I leave on my two-day vacation that should have started an hour earlier, and I can't take care of anything because my computer's vacation did start. So I did what any sensible person would do. I pulled the plug, counted to five, plugged it back in, and hit the power button. The Windows 2000 boot menu comes up, I tell it to proceed with the normal configuration, and then ... evilness. A complaint that some essential operating system file can't be found, and a suggestion that maybe I want to boot from the recovery disk that I don't have because they don't trust computer professionals with things like that. So now I have to call the help line and wait for a desktop support guy. Which I do. The support guy shows up, calmly assesses the problem, and reveals that he didn't bring the recovery disk with him. But no problem; he's just going to boot to a command prompt and run CHKDSK with the repair option while he goes to get it. So he does, and wanders away.

So now I'm sitting cube-bound, waiting for CHKDSK to finish. But you know what? CHKDSK is unbelievably slow. Before he left it had zoomed up to 24%, but then it slowed to a crawl, only doing another 3% before he returns with the recovery disk. He looks at the 27% indicator and says, "Well, I can't stop it now; we'll just have to let it run." Crap.

So this morning -- on my vacation day -- I got up and went to work to see what he'd accomplished. Still no boot. But voicemail from the support guy, who says he's going to have to mirror my data and rebuild the OS. Great. Great great great. How do I explain to the support guy that 45 people, including my manager and a director, are depending on me to have the friggin' football pool up and running?!

Long story short, 24 hours later it's still not fixed, and Support Guy isn't promising me any particular time that he's going to have it done tomorrow. If he even will.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Compare and Contrast

Personally, I think they're both a scream.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


This poster showed up at work last week, and my friend Renee interpreted it for me.

This must be Tuesday. I never could get the hang of Tuesdays.

Yes, it's a misquote. It's a conscious misquote. Because it's Tuesday, see?

Courtesy of Slashdot: starting tonight, and repeating on Thursday, the BBC is airing brand new episodes of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" radio series, featuring most of the original cast. No access to the BBC? Don't panic! Each episode will be available for one week after the Thursday repeat as a Real Audio stream.

Given that Disney is releasing its film version next year (featuring a rapper as Ford Prefect, an Ewok as Marvin, John Malkovich as (presumably) John Malkovich, and Simon (the original Arthur Dent) Jones in an as-yet-uncredited, probably-just-a-cameo role), this might be a good time to enjoy H2G2 while you can.

Don't Bogart That Joint Session of Congress

Apparently Bill O'Reilly interviewed Jon Stewart on the Factor Friday night, and sandbagged him with the rather odd statistic that 87% of the Daily Show's viewers are, in fact, intoxicated.

One can only assume Mr. O'Reilly was attempting to prove that he is a better comedian than Mr. Stewart, since Mr. Stewart has so effectively demonstrated that he is a more objective journalist than is Mr. O'Reilly.

It's 7:30 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday ...

You'd think that, of all places, would have individual player stats from the Monday night game by now, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him

The garage is basically finished, except for the complete and utter lack of electricity. So it's kind of like a garage from "The 1900 House". We've painted the trim, and Kristi started painting the siding, but the weather and my mom's impending visit are going to keep us from doing more for a while. No pictures; forgot to get one before it got dark. Yes, I know you're disappointed.

Nice Move

Lexis/Nexis is giving away its services to Florida attorneys offering pro bono assistance to hurricane victims.

Is Thomson-West doing anything similarly noble? Gee, if we are, you wouldn't know it from our press-release page.

PlanetDan is the host of the previously-blogged Bad Senior Pictures collection. He's funny, and he's Twin-Cities-based. Check him out.

Am I Cruel?

I'm mean, of course; mean goes without saying. But cruel? Maybe.

Cyn has a brand-new kitten. So does Lisa, though I can't permalink to hers because her template's busted. (The kitten probably broke it. Or the opossum.)

Emma wants a kitten. She wants one so badly it hurts. She collects cats of the inanimate variety. (I'll have to post a photo montage sometime.) She's wanted a kitten her whole life, and nothing in this world would make her happier than a kitten. Except perhaps a pug, but let's not go there.

Did I mention that we have two cats?

Kristi and I each had a cat when we got married. Rambis (top) is 15 now, and Isabella (bottom) will be 13 soon. While Izzy is in fine health, Ram isn't; she has chronic renal insufficiency (kidney failure), and is on a special low-protein diet. In addition to the kidney problem, one of Ram's front legs is somewhat crippled now; a torn tendon, apparently. She limps, sometimes badly. We have to improvise steps for her to get on and off the bed.

According to the vet, it's not a problem for Izzy to eat Ram's prescription food (besides, she gets plenty of regular senior cat food put in places Ram can't reach) -- but Ram's prescription food would be terrible for a kitten, nutrition-wise. In short, there's no place we could put Ram's food where she could reach it and a kitten couldn't.

So, until Rambis leaves us, no kitten for Emma. She understands the reason, which relieves me of some of the guilt, but it doesn't stop her from wanting, which in turn makes me feel, well, cruel.

Besides, a kitten would be fun. I admit it.

On the other hand, Kristi and I have long had an agreement regarding any new feline brought into our house. We've seen enough furnishings destroyed (or, in the case of the beautiful William Morris-design rug we bought and never used because Izzy started pulling out tufts, threatened). But neither of us will pay to have a cat declawed ourselves; it's a cruel surgery. So the agreement: we'd only adopt a cat that was already declawed by a previous owner. And normally declawing isn't done until a cat reaches six months of age, so that precludes a cute wittle fuzzball.

Life is complicated. Why doesn't somebody just breed kittens without front claws that don't require protein? I'd pay extra for one.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Garage Update

But wait! Before I go do stuff -- garage with shingles, doors, trim and siding.

Hammer Time

Caution: pointless post ahead.

When my father died in 1999, I inherited his workshop. The stuff that was easily transportable from California to Minnesota came here; the table saw, lathe and antique Shopsmith stayed with my brother-in-law. My brother David didn't express any interest, and that was fine with me; he got other things.

This is the one thing I would have fought tooth and nail to keep: dad's hammer. Single-piece steel head and shank; nothing unusual there. But the grip is laminated wood. I've never seen another like it. The bottom of the handle was manufacturer-stamped, but it's worn and hard to read. Definitely says "Made in U.S.A." and "16 Oz Head." I think the manufacturer name is "Oxford," but honestly, that's a guess. Not a heavy hammer, ideal for around-the-house stuff.

I imagine that it'd look better if I cleaned it up, but I never will. Every paint-fleck has a story, even if I don't know it.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go use it for something or other.

Friday, September 17, 2004

An Inexact Science

At any given moment, political polling tends to be a very inexact science. For example, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said just before the November 2000 election that Bush was ahead by 13 percentage points, and we all remember who won the popular vote then, don't we?

So you'd think that a poll this week by the Minneapolis Star Tribune showing that Kerry is 9 points ahead in Minnesota, this early in the season, would hardly be controversial. After all, Minnesota didn't go for Bush in 2000; heck, it hasn't been carried by a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. And the poll actually showed Bush gaining ground, so that was good news for Republicans, right?

But apparently one lesson Republicans took away from Florida in 2000 was that if you don't like the way the numbers are adding up, you protest.


Wired posts this comforting information for bike owners: those imposing Kryptonite u-locks you and I rely on can be opened with a Bic pen.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

AOL Hell

Scooter points out the seriously surreal. I mean, even the conservative Wall Street Journal is reporting a virtual tie.

When I Was Your Age ...

... everybody's senior picture looked exactly the same. And we liked it that way!

Now you young punks insist on "expressing yourself" or some such nonsense. Well, fine; go right ahead. I get the last laugh.

(Shared with me by a dear friend whose picture, I'm happy to say, isn't in there.)

Rain ...

... has seriously curtailed my garage blogging. I know you're disappointed. Since last report, the door, window and service door have been installed, along with the fascia along the edge of the roof. Still no siding, shingles or electricity.

More news as it develops.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Our World

I saw brief coverage of this event on the news the other day, which is weird, because I never watch the news. It sickened me. More here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Um ... Sorry, Mom

You know how all of those times you've asked, and I've told you that You Can't Get A Virus From Looking At A Picture File Like a JPEG or GIF?

Well ... um ...

Damn you, Bill Gates!


Contrary to expectations, this morning was a breeze. The static CDFFL site for non-Westies is available on Tripod; the far-superior, dynamic, JSP-based site remains behind our corporate firewall. Maybe someday, after all of our remodeling is done and Kristi is pulling down a salary again, I'll be able to afford to use a J2EE-happy web hosting service with database support, and I can really open this thing up to non-Westies.

Or maybe someday I'll just quit running it.

UPDATE: Yeah, I'll quit running it. :) I forgot that the NFL, in its infinite lack of wisdom, doesn't publish stats for kickers who don't have a field goal, regardless of how many extra points they have. I assume there's a good reason for this, like, "It's mandated by paragraph 3:R of the Collective Bargaining Agreement," or, "Oh, um, we're idiots," or something.

Monday, September 13, 2004

But at least there will be good unemployment benefits, right? Right?

I might want to rethink my plan to make my cube an anti-Bush shrine.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


It's probably a race now to see whether Scooter or I can blog the St. Paul Classic quickest. I bet I win.

Scooter arrived at my house first:

Followed by Christy and Sandy:

And finally Ming:

We met Erik at St. Thomas:

A very few images from the ride ...

Ming and Scooter, moving almost faster than the lens can capture:

Climbing the hill out of downtown St. Paul towards Mounds View; notice the bike helmet with Vikings horns. What's taking the rest of the group so long?

The Mounds View rest stop -- roughly the halfway point:

The Como Lake Pavilion rest stop -- 75% done! (Complete with genuine lens flare!)

Done! 30+ miles and one outstanding breakfast later:

Kristi volunteered on the registration/t-shirt desk this year. Next year, damn it, her knee had better be working.

Note: no squirrels were killed in the making of the St. Paul Classic. However, several older squirrel carcasses were ridden over, as was one rather disgusting dead snake.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Garage Blogic

As previously noted, we've got a garage in progress. Blink, though, and you'll miss it.

Thursday morning, a lone framer showed up. It's amazing what one guy can do in a day if he knows what he's doing; here's what it looked like Thursday afternoon.

I don't have a Friday afternoon picture, but I wish I did. The same guy, all by his lonesome, put up 11 trusses and sheathed the walls. I don't even want to think about how he got 11 trusses up on top of the walls by himself.

By Saturday afternoon, it's visibly garagelike -- all in three days by one guy.

Still to go: doors, window, siding, electrical, shingling -- I figure four hours tops.


I don't want to trivialize 9/11. But for my brother's sake, I choose to ignore it entirely.

Long before there was the 9/11, there was 9/11. It's David's birthday. For the rest of his life, he shares his birthday with the anniversary of 3,000 deaths. What fun.

The rest of the world can fret over 9/11's third anniversary. Happy birthday, Dave. I'll be thinking of you today.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Why I Love My Job

Our group is being relocated. In seven years, this will be my sixth cube, so I kind of know how this stuff works: you argue for the best cube you can, they send out a relocation schedule, they drop off the boxes with the moving stickers, and you pack. I picked a cube currently occupied by one Steve H*** (last name changed to protect the innocent).

But wait! I'm not on the relocation schedule! Fortunately, there's a follow-up email from Moanica:
Paul P. questioned when he was moving so I'm assuming others not listed would also like to know. Your moves are not dependent on the reconfiguration of cubes but instead, on the following:
Larry: You are waiting for Steve H***, who is waiting for Missy S*******, who is waiting for Clark K*****, who is waiting for Mitch E******, who is waiting for Todd B*******'s office, who is waiting for Jen S******'s office, who can move into the new office by Dave K***. However, Todd's office and two others need to be flipped to face the other way, so your move is really dependent on that "construction" to happen, too.
In other words, I'm not packing anytime soon. Sigh. Send your Christmas cards to D1-S857; I'll probably still be here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Memo To Self

Take all remaining Allegra. Throw out with used kitty litter.

One Bromfed at dinner lets me sleep at night, and the residual effects, plus an air-conditioned office, leave me relatively symptom-free during the day.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Too Good to be True?

You may (or may not) be aware of the story of the young Republican conventioneer who kicked (or attempted to stomp, or whatever) a protester who had been forced to the ground by police -- and then attempted to deny same to the television crew that had reported it.

There's been an ongoing effort in the left-of-center blogs to find out just who this future Republican presidential candidate might be. And lo and behold -- possible success. Cyn, you'll never guess who his mommy is.

Monday, September 06, 2004


I've been avoiding allergy blogging, because hbomb wants everybody to SFTU about it. But hey, you only live once; pissing off Heather has to be less risky than, say, crossing the street against the light when there's a huge 18-wheeler bearing down on you, and its brakes have failed and the driver is jumping out the passenger door and it's pulling a trailer packed absolutely full to the brim with improperly packed oxygen canisters, leaky cans of jet fuel, and defective safety matches. Oh, and with your shoe untied. Right?

Anyway, arsi and I were just comparing notes in chat. We both have been taking Allegra, and we've both been experiencing an extreme case of the blahs. It's like drug-induced depression. And the really bad thing -- for me, anyway -- is that it doesn't completely kill the worst symptom, which is itchy eyes. So I'm depressed, listless, unable to generate enthusiasm for anything at all, and I'm constantly fighting an irresistable urge to rub my eyes until they bleed.

Today I gave up. I've ditched Allegra and switched to Bromfed. Bromfed seems to control the symptoms marginally better, but makes me really sleepy -- which means I can take it at night, but not in the morning. I'll have to suffer all day, but that's in an air-conditioned office. I'm hoping this means I'll be able to concentrate at work, which has been a real problem with Allegra.

Some would say inability to concentrate was a problem before Allegra; to them I say "go away."

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Can't I Have One Stinking Constant In My Life?

When I was younger, I wore Levi's 501s exclusively. Later, when I got tired of the whole button-fly thing, I switched to 505s. For the past seven or eight years I've been in 'relaxed' 550s, wearing the same size all of that time. It hasn't relaxed me, but at least I'm comfortably stressed.

You'd think that something that stays constant for the better part of a decade would continue to do so, wouldn't you?

I'm not talking about all of the different 'flavors' of 550s available now -- the various degrees of pre-fadedness, the khakis and olives and blacks. They can add colors all they want, as long as they still offer basic blue denim 550s. Constancy.

Some months back, Kristi was going to be at Kohl's, and I asked her to pick up a couple of pairs. She came home with the requested two pairs, each my size, each blue denim. And each completely and utterly different from the other.

It seems that a pair of 550s made in the Dominican Republic is different from a pair made in Honduras, or South Africa, or Egypt, or Hungary. Yeah, they make them in all of those places, and more. The fabric's different, the cut is different, the inseam length is different. And horror of horrors, the trademark 'v' stitching on the back pockets is different.

We were at Sears today, and I picked through about 15 pairs my size until I found one whose denim was still stiff, and whose cut was the same one I've comfortably fit into for years. Turns out they were made in Mexico. Gracias, amigos.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I Don't Like Tuesdays

I'm the worst kind of sports fan. I readily admit it. To be more specific, I'm not really a sports fan at all. I have two teams to which I'm very loyal in theory -- the Lakers and the Dodgers -- but in fact, I don't really follow them.

This is due in part to circumstance. If I were living in California, I'd probably follow both of them religiously. Here in the upper Midwest, it's a little difficult. The two-hour time difference to the West Coast means that games in California start around the time I go to sleep. Not that it matters, since we don't have cable anyway, or XM, or any of those other newfangled technological whizbang thingies.

Even though I don't follow the Lakers or Dodgers, I at least maintain some knowledge of what's happening during their respective seasons. But football? Eh. You may have noticed that I didn't mention following a football team. Thanks to Georgia Frontiere, I don't have a football team; haven't had one in a long time.

So why the hell do I run a fantasy football league?

It's all Kevin's fault. Bastard stuck me with it when he left West. And it won't die.

CDFFL was fun the first year I ran it. Last year was hellacious; Yahoo stopped providing stats, the site that claimed it would provide stats flaked in so many ways. Getting through the first two weeks was miserable. And after that, I still had to write something every week -- which is hard when you can't even remember what team Michael Vick plays for without looking it up. Tuesday mornings were awful.

This year, I'm thinking, is going to be just as bad. If I seem particularly grumpy (or worse) on Tuesdays, now you know why.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Thanks Again, Scooter!

Thanks to Scooter and his trusty other digital camera, I can share this image of Norm Coleman's plastic log cabin:

Thursday, September 02, 2004

All the Noose That's Fit to Print

I'm sitting here listening to The Replacements, and Paul sings "Anywhere you hang yourself is home," and I flash back to our old garage. There was a coil of very heavy rope hanging in the back of the garage. Kristi and I never talked about it until we were emptying the place out in preparation for demolition, but it turns out we both wondered over the years exactly why it was there, and why no-one had taken it down.

The house was previously owned by Deloris Price and her husband. They're both deceased now; he went first, and we bought it from her heirs. We never heard how Mr. Price died, but we do know that they didn't have an especially happy marriage, and that Mr. Price essentially lived in a shed in the backyard in his later years.

I swear, Dean Kuntz would have loved our old garage. So many possibilities, and yet so little room for actual cars.

I'm IRC'd

I want to chat from work. They block port 6667.

After a little research, the obvious options:
  1. proprietary redirection software, e.g., hopster.
  2. running CGI::IRC or something similar on my PC at home and leaving it running.
I'm guessing the presence of hopster on my workstation would set off multiple alarms here. And I doubt Kristi would be terribly sympathetic to my desire to leave the PC on all day so that I can use IRC from work. For a pagan, she's got a severe dose of puritan work ethic. The fact that the admin chat room is usually dead quiet anyway isn't likely to impress her.


Happy Birthday

Today's my dad's birthday. He would've been 78. He died in 1999, a month before Emma turned one.

Happy birthday, Dad.

Dad wasn't a perfect father. He had a sometimes-fierce temper, and unfortunately lacked some of the self-control that would be a useful balance to that temper. I can remember him getting into a fight with a neighbor when I was a child. He delivered spankings, as well, but I can also remember being hit by him in anger at least once.

Only after he died did I hear the story about him hitting a customer -- dad was a pharmaceutical salesman, a "detailman", and the customer was a pharmacist. Apparently this cost him his job. Later, in his follow-up career as a jewelry store manager and gemologist, he carried a revolver, and drew it more than once in situations that didn't necessarily call for it.

There was also the "road rage" incident, which I witnessed, and which I'll save for another time.

I've never been tempted to hit anyone here at work, and I can't imagine being that close to the edge. It's a good thing. But I think about dad when I'm having the janglies. I wonder if he felt something similar, though stronger. And I try to understand him, and learn from that understanding how to be a better father.

I think he'd like that -- because his anger did not make him any less a good man. (Kristi loved him, and she's not always the easiest person to impress.) He was always quick to volunteer help whenever I needed it, or when anyone else did. Nothing made him happier than fixing things, especially when he was doing it for someone else. And most importantly, he always respected my choices as an adult, and always made clear that he wanted me to be happy.

Thanks, Dad. I'll be thinking of you a lot today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

No comment

Okay, one comment. Bwa-ha-haaaaaa! Thanks, Scooter.