Sunday, August 28, 2005

CDFFL 2005 - again

So it seems that when I pasted the email into my last CDFFL post, Blogger did something very evil to the link. It was dead, and none of you told me. Shame on you! Shame!

It's been corrected, and here it is again, just because.

Proof I'm A Parent

Our current favorite video store is closing its doors; Emma and I ventured in today to rent something, and were sorely disappointed. But wait! DVDs at $7.50 (even the brand-new, never-been-watched ones) -- and the second one at half price. Disappointment abated.

You'd think I'd be laden down with adult-friendly movies. You'd be wrong. We left with four DVDs: the first "Harry Potter", "Princess Diaries 2", "Lilo & Stitch" and "A Series of Unfortunate Events". They're all movies I could actually stand to find playing in the living room. ("PD2" is borderline; I'd have preferred the first one, but they were gone.)

I may still go back for something more me-friendly.


Pronunciation: 'lü-n&-"tiks
  1. The new Kids' WB "Innovative, High-Octane Comedy-Adventure Series" spun off from the Looney Tunes cartoons you grew up with (spelled "Loonatics").
  2. The insane people at Warner Brothers who came up with this idea.
The series features futuristic, re-imagined Looney Tunes characters as an X-Men-like group of superheroes. Brilliantly original concept.

The leader was originally named "Buzz Bunny," but they dropped that name because they forgot to Google it first; it's the name of a "female stimulator", if you catch my meaning, if you get my drift. So they switched to "Ace Bunny," but decided to leave subtle clues to their original idea in their press release:
Ace Bunny (descendant of Bugs Bunny), voiced by Charlie Schlatter, the adroit and quick-witted, action-driven leader who galvanizes his crew for each mission, boasting infrared laser-lock vision and marital arts ingenuity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

CDFFL 2005

What appears below is an email sent out to some very lucky people today. If you didn't receive it, it's not because I don't like you; it's because you have an overly aggressive spam-blocker. I promise, I sent it to you. I swear. In fact, I didn't send it to anybody else until I'd sent it to you twice.

It'll turn up eventually, but in the meantime, you can read it here.

If you're the happy recipient of this email, it probably means you've
  1. played CDFFL in the past;
  2. politely expressed some vague interest in it while I was hitting on you at a post-project-release happy hour; or
  3. tried to run away from me while I was talking up its virtues in the men's room.
No matter what your level of prior participation, though, I think you're going to find this year a whole new ball game.

Once safely contained behind West's iron-clad firewall, CDFFL has broken loose! It's now free to roam the Internet, to destroy Tokyo with its laser-beam eyes and fiery breath, to raise the prime interest rate, to nominate itself to the Supreme Court ...

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, right. This freedom means that anyone with $10 and an internet connection can play CDFFL. Fired from West? Not a problem; you can play. Short-term memory loss? Doesn't matter; you can play. Short-term memory loss? Yes, you can play too! Whether you're in Eagan, Stillwater, Dillsburg, Pasadena, Wichita, or (heaven forbid) Fresno -- we don't care, you can play.

Whether you can win or not is, of course, a whole other matter.

Please visit CDFFL at its new home,
. There's a "visit the site without becoming a member" option on the login screen; use it to poke around. If you're an old-timer, you'll find a few new features -- and more will become evident as we move into the season. If you've never played before, they're all new features; visit the Rules page for an overview of the whole thing.

hen register for the league, dig deep in your wallet and fork over ten hard-earned dollars (and please, don't tell me how you earned them; I really don't want to know) for a season of fantabulous fantasy football fun. And invite your friends -- especially the stupid ones with money to burn. You know who they are.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Snow Business Like Snow Business

Saint Paul, my adopted home town, is quite proud of its Winter Carnival. And yeah, some of the ice sculpture is quite beautiful. But after seeing this, all I can say is: keep trying, Saint Paul.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Outside of Wausau we noticed a distinct grinding sound coming from the front brakes. We debated -- drive straight home (and hope we don't have to actually brake for anything), or look for a mechanic on a Saturday afternoon in an unfamiliar town? We went with Plan B.

The first shop we found, Horak's, was closed; but the owner was there, and he directed us downtown to Olson Tire with the caveat that they might not be able to fit us in. His directions were perfect; we found Olson Tire doing major remodeling/expansion, but still open for business. The owner, Kent Olson, said he'd take a look at the car ASAP and call our cell phone, and we wandered a block to the downtown mall, where we bought Emma a new pair of sneakers and windowshopped Waldenbooks.

40 minutes later, Kent called. As previously blogged, we were metal-to-metal on the front disks. He needed my okay to do the work, but he'd already requested parts from a supplier, and said he could rearrange his other work to have us done by 2:00, his Saturday afternoon closing time (it was about 12:45). We okayed the work, and kept on shopping.

We walked back over to the shop at about 1:50. The car wasn't yet done; seems the pins that hold the pads in place had rusted, and they were taking their time so that nothing broke. We ended up staying in the makeshift trailer/office for an hour while Kent's mechanics worked on the car. We were charged nothing for the extra hour of labor (or for keeping the poor guy and his staff hanging around on a Saturday afternoon), and got to talk to Kent about the future of automotive repair and life in general.

The car was done by 3:00. Kent also informed us that we had a slight transmission leak, some tires we might want to replace, and backup lights that don't work -- none of which were pointed out during our pre-trip "inspection" at Azteca M0tors in Saint Paul. Since he wasn't going to do the work, there was no motive for him telling us about this stuff other than good will.

If you ever find yourself in Wausau needing tires, brakes or any of the other sort of work typically done at a Goodyear dealership, find this place. It'll be worth your time.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Back From Vacation! (This Time For Real)

Yeah, we're back. All of us. Kristi and I resisted the urge to leave Emma somewhere and run away, but it was tempting at times.

We got our usual late start -- gotta have the house in top shape for the catsitter, you know, and Emma tends to slow everything down. So when we got to Duluth/Superior, it was time for a break. Checking the map and tourbook, we settled on Billings Park, which was quite lovely. Emma had some fun at a playground.

Then we walked down around one of the lagoons adjoining Lake Superior. Very restful.

We spent our first night in Ashland, Wisconsin, at a little motel on the shore of Lake Superior. The Bayview -- very unimpressive looking, sitting across the road from Wal-Mart -- has a private beach on the lake, real knotty pine tongue-and-groove panelling in the rooms, and a small but very, very beautiful patch of milkweed by the office that was smothered in monarch butterflies.

Tuesday we drove across onto the U.P. At one point (and I can't tell you where, exactly), we took a break at a rest stop that had a lovely little creek running through it. There was a paved path with a sign promising a view of a waterfall.

Emma, however, didn't want to take the path; she wanted to wade or climb rocks all the way upstream to the falls.

So she tried. After several hundred yards, we talked her into coming back. Then we took the path all the way to the end, which was, apparently, the waterfall. Very impressive. I suppose that's why it's a rest stop, and not a state park.

We camped that night outside of Munising, again right on the shore of the lake. Here's are some pictures at our campspot.

The next day, we took a cruise to view Pictured Rocks. It was lovely. Not much to comment on, though.

Then we drove on toward St. Ignace. We switched to the south shore of the U.P., which gave us a chance to visit our second Great Lake, Lake Michigan.

The next morning, in light rain, we boarded a ferry and cruised across Great Lake #3 (Huron) to Mackinac Island.

Mackinac is lovely, if you don't object to the fact that the entire economy is based on tourism. Apparently everyone on the island makes money off of a very limited range of ventures:

  • Ferrying suckers tourists to and from the island (at inflated prices)
  • Housing tourists (at inflated prices)
  • Feeding tourists (at inflated prices)
  • Renting bicycles to tourists (at inflated prices)
  • Renting horses and/or horsecarts to tourists, or giving tours in same (at inflated -- oh, never mind)
  • Making/selling fudge for tourists
  • Selling "Mackinac Island" t-shirts to tourists
  • Selling "Somewhere In Time" memorabilia to tourists
Still, it's charming not to hear or see cars everywhere. When we arrived, it was raining quite hard; most of the bikes were parked, but the horses were braving it.

We spent the day eating, taking a carriage tour of the southern part of the island, and losing our only umbrella.

We stayed that night at the Island House, one of the oldest hotels on the island. It's truly charming. Emma really enjoyed the indoor pool, and we ate two of our meals at two of the on-site restaurants.

The next morning the weather was much, much better. We rented bicycles and took a ride around the perimeter of the island. Here's Emma with the bikes.

Here's Arch Rock, named after Archie Manning. Apparently he threw a football through it. I had no idea.

Here we are frolicking on the beach. Frolick, frolick.

Finally, paydirt: we ride to the Grand Hotel. This is why everyone's here -- or maybe it's second to the fudge. I don't know. We toured the grounds and public spaces, including sitting for a spell on the veranda and looking out over the water.

I don't have any pictures of me at the Grand Hotel, but Kristi assures me I looked something like this:

Free Image Hosting at

The next day, we decided that the weather had turned badly enough that we'd rather be home. So we drove straight through -- interrupted by an unscheduled stop in Wausau for new front pads and rotors. (We had the car serviced and inspected before we left, and were told the brakes were fine. In fact, by the time we reached Wausau they were metal to metal. Never, ever go to Azteca Motors in St. Paul -- either they don't know a damned thing about cars, or, um, something worse.)


Sunday, August 14, 2005


Back in a week. Please feed the fish, and don't trash the place while I'm gone.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Here We Go Again

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- U.S. President George W. Bush said on Israeli television he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program.

"All options are on the table," Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview broadcast on Saturday.

Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: "As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."

So many memories.

October 16, 2002: "Like the members of Congress here today, I've carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us. If we go into battle, as a last resort, we will confront an enemy capable of irrational miscalculations, capable of terrible deeds.

March, 2002: "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."

Incidentally ...

I tried the Blogger spellchecker for the first time. It doesn't recognize "blog". It also suggested "misogenyst" as a replacement for "Michigan's".

This made me happy.

UPDATE: it also doesn't recognize "Google," "Blogger" or "spellchecker". But it has no problem with "Microsoft". I wonder where it came from?

Back From Vacation!

Okay, not really. In fact, we don't leave until Monday -- but I'm sure the blog looks like we just got back. Sorry about that; I've been busy.

We'll be camping and otherwise enjoying nature for a week in and around Michigan's Northern Peninsula. I'm bringing the digital camera, so expect pictures, some of them dirty. Actually, all of them dirty; apparently campgrounds in the NP don't have showers.

Well, okay -- some of the campgrounds have showers. The RV campgrounds have showers. I won't dwell on the irony of this -- my in-laws have an RV, and it has its own shower.

Of course, the Northern Peninsula, being bounded by two Great Lakes, has no shortage of water, so what the hell are they thinking with the "no showers" stuff? Oops -- I said I wouldn't dwell on it.

I'm sure the situation will look much hygienic once we're there. Anyway, if I post more over the weekend, great; otherwise, see you in a week or so.


"I own a timber company? That's news to me. Need some wood?"

This last week, in a unanimous ruling, the NAFTA Extraordinary Challenge Committee upheld the ruling of another NAFTA panel that the United States had been illegally charging tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber -- to the tune of approximately $4 billion U.S.

The Bush Administrations response was a hearty "Fuck you, Canucks!"
The United States announced Wednesday it would continue to collect duties on Canadian softwood imports, regardless of the unanimous decision by the NAFTA Extraordinary Challenge Committee to reaffirm an earlier Canadian victory in the longstanding trade dispute.
I wonder how our future CAFTA partners are feeling right about now? I know I'd be nervous.

Friday, August 05, 2005

What's Your Humor Type?

I like my results just fine. I like my jokes like I like my coffee: clean, complex and dark.

the Wit
(73% dark, 30% spontaneous, 22% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're
probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You
realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons'
philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most
other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

AND FINALLY -- after you rate my test with a sweet, sweet '5' -- you must take this test next: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Test. It's not mine, but it rocks.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 25% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid


I rode my bike to work today. A long stretch of Pilot Knob was peppered with tiny lawn signs, every 10 feet or so, that read:


This struck me as odd for several reasons. First off, no, I'm not single. Secondly, "Eagan" was spelled incorrectly. Third, I wasn't even in Eagan yet; the signs were in Mendota Heights.

A check of the DNS registry shows that is hosted on a server in Dallas, and that all of its contact info points to Ahmednagar, India. Either or both might explain the inability to spell the city they're target-marketing.

Anyway, I think Christy should check them out, since she's now an Eagan (or Eagen) resident.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Still Alive

Well, the whole blogging thing has kind of gotten away from me for a bit. Work has been very busy, and I've been too busy sweating puddles and debugging CDFFL to get around here much.

I have to talk about CDFFL for a minute, mostly because it bugs Scooter so much. The testing cycle went very well; a bunch of mistakes were caught, and a number of really interesting suggestions made. Thanks again to those who participated. I'll still have a lot of work to do before football season kicks off, at which time I'm thinking we'll have a really cool site to play with. If you're reading this, you're invited to participate; watch this space for info.

One of my new favorite blogs is Dependable Renegade. Watertiger is razor-sharp and very funny, but sadly not very quotable -- her best stuff is done in the form of re-captioning of news photos. (Yes, I know that came out of left field; I'm out of practice at nonessential things like smooth transitions and noun-verb agreement.)

Another non sequitur: a shout-out to Maggie for being such a pal. I've been so wrapped up in my own (trivial) problems, and so cut off from my friends in chat, that I completely missed the fact that she's got real crap to deal with -- and she's spending her time helping me out. I feel like a shitheel, but a very lucky one to have such friends.