Friday, March 31, 2006

Top 25 Things TV Taught Us

Top 25 things you wouldn't know if it wasn't for TV.

1. If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing parade - at any time of the year.

2. It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

3. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off - even while scuba diving.

4. The ventilation system of any building is a perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty.

5. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

6. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.

7. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

8. When paying for a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note - just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

9. If you lose a hand, it will cause the stump of your arm to grow by 15cm.

10. Kitchens don't have light switches. When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.

11. Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though the husband and children never have time to eat them.

12. Cars and trucks that crash will almost always burst into flames.

13. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.

14. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

15. Although in the 20th century it is possible to fire weapons at an object out of visual range, people of the 23rd century will have lost this technology.

16. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

17. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at one. Note the A-Team variation is almost inverted; no matter how many people are shooting, enough ammo to start a small war will be expended but no one will be killed and is virtually never even hit by a bullet. Walls, cars, trees, the ground, and other items will take the brunt of the damage.

18. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involved martial arts - your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessor.

19. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your room will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

20. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

21. If there is a deranged killer on the loose, this will coincide with a thunderstorm that has brought down all the power and phone lines in the vicinity.

22. Many musical instruments - especially wind instruments and accordions - can be played without moving the fingers.

23. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

24. It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

25. Guns are like disposable razors - if you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. You can always buy a new one.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A day in the life

It was good having the kids overnight! I ended up taking Scott to school to because he missed the bus, and he made my day as I was walking him in telling me it was nice being able to spend the extra night and see me before school in the morning. He was miffed the bus did not come on time and anxious to get the for the pancake breakfast they were having. However, when he came home this afternoon I discovered the pancakes were sub-standard; he only ate 10 of them!

Chris stayed home sick from school, and was still in bed when I got home around 3:15. I got him up, made him drink something and prepared him a couple of frozen waffles.....noe hw wants peanut butter bread...

It was the usual insanity at work today....but now the day is over and Danielle will be home briefly before she heads off with Grandma and Grandpa to see Disney on Ice in town (they call it the city, bit it's not, I've seen cities before). The X will be meting them there as she (more thank likely) drives like a fiend trying to get up here in time!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ramdom Ramblings Resume

My mom, rest her soul, often used the phrase "Running around like a chicken with its head cut off!" I miss my mom! She's been gone now 18 years. She died on the evening of my first wedding anniversary. The textbook perfect first anniversary evening, which was later marred for years, for me anyway, though I tried to not let it affect me my thoughts were drawn back to my mom, who the X never knew well because when she came on the picture my mom had already been very sick for a few years......

Anyway...that phrase perfectly describes the day of work today. To suffice it was an incredibly busy day, with barely the time to get a soda from the machine, and yet I feel little was accomplished. I sent my boss an e-mail asking if he had days like that. All too often, it seems he does!

And the workday fun is far from done! I've already spent well over two hours on work from home, save a quick dinner break with the kids. I have them over night because the X had to go to some training seminar out of state. Good for me as I get an extra overnighter with the kids, some I get far too few of, in my humble opinion, during the school year.

When Scott arrived at 3:30PM he wanted to immediately head out to pick up a video game, I told him we had to wait until 4:30 when his sister got out since I would have to take them out anyway for dinner. He was impatient but OK about it once I explained my rationale about not wanting to burn extra gas at 2.69 a gallon!

We hit Bennigan's for dinner, stopped for kid snacks (snack for the kids not snacks made OF kids!) and now all three kids are downstairs playing or watching the game Scott got. That gave me time to do MORE work e-mail and make a quick post to the blog!

The temps today are in the 50's, for here, that is warm! I also talked to my brother in New Jersey a few minutes ago. He is having as much fun at his job as I am at mine! Sigh! I have it up on him though, at least at my job I am not treated like a second class citizen! I was worried calling him though. His message sounded so monotone and down that I feared perhaps my Dad, whose health has not been good for many years, was in the hospital...or worse! Seems he was just overtired and hoarse. His band played their annual charity gig today at the hospital where his wife works. They went over incredibly well, with much applause and accolades. SO I was glad to hear that and relieved nothing was wrong!

I can't wait until mid-summer when they are supposed to come out and stay with us for a week!! Yay!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random Ramblings

Yesterday after the Gas Company dude left I scrounged around in my parts bins in the garage and got the optical out on my PC's Sound Blaster card fed into one of the digital audio inputs on my Onkyo receiver. I then disabled the PC's DA conversion to let the superior circuitry in the Onkyo take over. FANTASTIC! If I thought MP3's sounded great before on the PC using the Onkyo's analog audio inputs it sounds much better now!

No, not my house, but the show House on TV. My Daughter and I watched an episode yesterday after she got home from school. Her choice of having a snack (A pink Lady apple sliced with some peanut butter to dip it in) was not a good idea as this episodes has (as she put it) lots of gross stuff in it! We enjoy this show though and usually the episodes are not so bad that you can't eat while watching.

I had a bit of a situation with my 14 year old Sunday morning as we were getting ready to head over to his mom's to drop him and his sister off. To make a long story short I asked him to do a simple thing and he flat out refused (and later told his Mom it was an understanding; if you call sitting on the floor and refusing to do what you were asked a misunderstanding, then, I guess I am at fault here). As I believe in the "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" philosophy, I told him not to ask for anything extra in the future if this was how he was going to behave.

I have often felt my kids have nowhere near the responsibility or chores that I (or the X for that matter) had growing up as kids. I remember on Saturdays not being able to go off and play with my friends until yard work and other fun chores were done and this was in addition to daily chores. Sunday's too often had these same restrictions. So, it made me sad that a simple request could not be fulfilled and he did not give his mom the correct story of what happened. It also makes me sad because this is the first time anything like this has happened between him and I and I fear it has opened a small rift between us. This pains me! While I understand this type of behavior is normal and expected as children mature, they do need to understand sometimes chores need to be done, and that their elders need to be obeyed.

I love my kids deeply and this episode, while seemingly simple, reminds me again kids grow up way to fast!

YUM! - Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles

Well, last night I was hungry for something good, and while my friend Steve had sent me the recipe for the Cold Noodles in Sesame Sauce I did not have the ingredients, or the time involved to drive to several different stores to get them! I made a compromise! I went to the local store and picked up some frozen Tyson diced chicken, which is excellent, as it is grilled with a light lime marinate, and I picked up some frozen baby peas.

I headed back home and while some spaghetti was cooking I added a bit of cocoanut milk to a sauce pan in which I added peanut butter, a dash of Schezuan hot oil, and some chili garlic paste.

I heated the frozen diced chicken and peas and tossed them with the sauce and let it simmer about 5 minutes.

When the pasta was cooked I drained it and tossed it with a bit of sesame oil, and then mixed with the sauce, chicken, and peas I had prepared. It was SO delicious! So good in fact that talking about it now has pretty much determined I may have it for dinner again this evening! All I will require is more chicken!

Oh! I nearly forgot, Steve said it will be OK to post the Cold Noodle recipe here, so, next time I am thinking of it I will so do, if anyone wants to see it, let me know!

Lunch Break for Chris

My work day has been so hectic I actually decided to take a lunch break! Not for sustenance, no, but for sanity's sake! What better way to spend this time than to gripe about the work day!

Typical scenario that happened today and seems to recur on a frightening basis; I'm running with several hot jobs, go off into the Data Center (which is a secured area and a bit of a haven from interruptions if you can handle the background noise), and then back to my desk about 30 minutes later. First off in my e-mail is a query from a program manager wanting to know when some work was going to be done. Under that were 40 (FORTY!) other messages! Flashing message light on the phone! Someone stopping into my cube every few minutes as I work to get past the 40 messages in my work e-mail! Some days it is a wonder I can actually get anything done! Gack!

So, I decided today to kick back for 15 minutes and make a post or two! I find that relaxing.

You've got GAS

No, I am not talking about the fallout from dinner last night, but, my heat is once again fixed. However, the gentleman that arrived to do it informed me that there were two other parts in my particular furnace that can cause this issue! It might have been my imagination, but, it seemed I had more heat coming out of the bathroom register (farthest from the furnace) this AM than I have seen in weeks. We shall see! I have had two parts replaced thus maintenance contract has paid for itself already for 2006.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Getting nowhere fast!

I felt like posting a picture, so, here's one from one of the many state parks in Michigan. This is a LONG walk to get to the sand dunes.......
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Noises from The Furnace Room

Well, I hear banging, hammering, and assorted noise, maniacal laughter, and guttural moans coming from the furnace room downstairs!

I wonder what it will sound like AFTER the repairman gets here!!??

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday AM at The Ice House

Last night the gas company showed up around 8PM, at 8:30PM we had heat. The kids and I zipped off to Hollywood video and rented "The Pink Panther Returns". We stopped for a treat (frozen custard and French Fries) on the way back home.

Of course when I woke up this AM the furnace was blowing cold air again. The gas company will be back 'sometime' today. They also ordered a pressure sensor yesterday which should be in early this week. The repairman who came said they should have just ordered that a couple of visits ago after the first cleaning of the sensor did not permanently fix the problem. Sigh.

When the hour is more reasonable I will be calling the X's mom as I was supposed to go down there this morning and help her with something on her PC.

The electric heaters are on and there is a large pot of water on the stove, covered, and with a very low flame under it. This gives off a good amount of heat once the water is just about at the boiling point. It also adds a bit of humidity to the dry air.

Last night for dinner Danielle and I had the left over pasta bake, and for Scott I made some regular pasta with meatless sauce. The pasta bake was even better the second time around!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Return of Hell House!

Well, considering that the heat is out AGAIN, Hell House is probably not that descriptive! The Ice House might have been more descriptive!! Called the gas company about 90 minutes ago....lucked out as they said someone could get here today!

Just what I needed after working 7 hours on a Saturday!

It will be good if they do come, as the X will be dropping off Scott and Danielle for an extra sleepover this evening around 4PM. If the heat is not fixed by bedtime they will have to go back to their Mom's.

I have two heaters, a big baseboard that before bedtime is up here in the Living Room, and a small fan driven one which is downstairs in the Family Room in case the kids want to play down there. At bedtime the small one goes in my room, and the other goes out in the basement where all the water pipes are to prevent freezing! There is not enough heat for anyone else to sleep except me. AAARRGGGG!!!!!


MediaPortal .vs. Windows Media Center

For those of you who are not familiar with Microsoft's Windows Media Center XP Operating System which is installed on Media Center PC's, a brief explanation follows:

Media Center gives you a PC that is at home in your living room, family room, etc. Your TV becomes the display device and you can watch and record TV, view your digital pictures and movies, listen to your audio files, surf the web, burn DVD's with video or music, and more. This can also be called a Home Theater PC (HTPC)

BUT what about those of us who have a great PC that COULD be a Media Center PC but just has XP Pro or XP Home on it? Well, MediaPortal is the answer. An OpenSource project (which means FREE) which brings Media Center functionality into an XP PC. It supports all the basic Media Center functionality (including the use of a remote control with your PC) and also has a variety of plug ins including RSS feeds, Weather, TV Program Guide, Instant Messaging, Web browsing, E-mail, and more. Check it out! I found the link to this project at the Volleynerd Knowledge Base blog.

Note there are thousands of OpenSource projects and programs out there! If you own a PC this is an avenue you should explore.

Fun at Work

The higher the stress at work, the more I answer some e-mails with a rhyme at the end. Earlier in the week we had a network issue which caused me to spout forth with the following short rhyme

If the network sees a NACK
it tires to send the packet back
if instead it sees an ACK
no need to send the packet back!

IPSEC is kind of wasteful
Extra bits, it's not real hasteful
IPX a pain it's true
to let Novell from down south through

bits and bits zeros and ones
network packet sniffings fun!
It seems the networks quite a mess

from here to there
from there to here
oh tell me is my packet near!
From reading this it's just not clear!
Perhaps received by late next year?

Today at the job, I am working on our high density Blade servers. This lets you put forty high end servers in a space roughly the size of a telephone booth. This cabinet has 7 rows across, five of which hold the servers and network switches, and two rows that hold redundant power supplies. SO that is 7 rows, and each one has a management module which I had to upgrade today, ONE at a time. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to do this, so, to my boss I sent the following so he could share my joy:

Updating Blade Management Module firmware is like:

Watching someone watching paint dry
Watching grass grow (after planting 10 acres one seed at a time)
Watching them build ALL the great Pyramids
Watching one person cleaning the moss from between the stones of the
Great Wall of China
Waiting for the half-life of plutonium to pass
Counting the grains of sand in the Sahara dessert with tweezers
Jumping into a vat of honey and then teasing the bears
Waiting for backup to restore a large volume (inside joke)

Links of the day

Chris has two links for you this morning!

I mentioned A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in my first post of the day. Below is a link to an on-line version for those who have never read it or those who have and may want to revisit it. It should be noted there are many other books available at this site.

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

For those technical folks out there (though there is other content) I came across a blog yesterday that has some excellent information on a variety of computing subjects.

Volleynerd Knowledge Base

Dinner fit for a King!

Last night after I had visited with the kids at the X's house on my way home from work I made a nice pasta bake consisting of Rigatoni pasta, Ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and ground sirloin sauteed in olive oil with fresh basil and garlic.

After the pasta was cooked I mixed it with a quick tomato sauce I had whipped up and the ground beef mixture. I made a layer of this on the bottom of a Pyrex baking disk (which had been rubbed with olive oil), then a layer of Ricotta cheese, followed with another layer of the pasta mixture. I covered with foil, baked for 25 minutes, then added more sauce and a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese to the top. Back into the over for 5 minutes and it was complete! On top of a serving I added freshly grated Romano cheese and some freshly ground black pepper, and a bit more sauce. It was awesome and there is plenty in the fridge for leftovers!

The kids had yesterday off, so, I did spent about 45 minutes with them at their Mom's house after work yesterday. I was supposed to have the afternoon off as vacation time but there was just too much to be done so I worked my normal day. I also chatted with the X's brother (who lives with her) a bit and we compared horror stories of our jobs. I think I won! On the way home I popped into Forest Hills Foods to get the needed ingredients for the pasta bake. After my sumptuous repast I did some computing and watched two episodes of Invasion off my DVR followed up by Dr. Who which I just posted about.

No Kids Fridays Suck (but Dr. Who was good!)

Well, there is no other way to say it! Fridays without the kids suck! Fridays when you are working the next day suck too! At least physically I am feeling better, though my mood when the kids are not around has not really improved, but, easier to deal with than when I am sick.

At least the Doctor Who episode last night was very entertaining! They went back in time to 1869 and met Charles Dickens (whose "A Christmas Carol" is one of my all time favorite stories and movies, though I hate to say these past couple of years I have been rooting for Scrooge!). It was an excellent episode!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

To sleep...perchance to dream.....

I was not going to post today, because my mood is still not good, and then I decided what the heck. I intended my blog as a method for me to chronicle my life, such as it is, good or bad. So....not too much happening other than way too much work and politics at job. I'm still not feeling the greatest. Barely slept 3 hours last night, had a nightmare and awoke shaken (not stirred) at 3:30 AM and could not get back to sleep for almost two hours. I have not slept well since I moved into my own house almost two years ago...seems like just yesterday. Part of my sleeplessness is due to sadness, part due to my back pain. I notice I do sleep markedly better when there are kids in the house. I dislike when I am physically sick, the sadness always seems much more pronounced. Sigh! Normally I do not have nightmares. I usually dream of happier times when we were a family of five. They are great dreams though very sad to awaken from.

Tonight I dropped Danielle off at a friends house where she is spending the night and then going to that friends birthday party tomorrow. The kids have off and it's the X's weekend, though I will stop in at her house on the way home from work so I can spend a little time with them. The X called on her way from Danielle's parent teacher conference; no surprises there, Danielle has an A average and is doing well in class. The boys report cards next week may be a different matter.....

After we left Danielle at her friends, we hit KFC for dinner....just not up to cooking yet. Besides who can reset that extra-crispy, extra greasy KFC recipe?? We came back here at watched some selected scenes from Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail because somehow we got started quoting a few lines from it on the way home. The boys love The Black Night, The Brave Sir Robin Song, the Nights who say Ni, the killer rabbit, and quite a few others. It was an enjoyable end to our time together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chris is Sick - The Poem

Was feeling pretty poorly yesterday and even worse today; must have been crazy to go into work, but, there is just so much to do. One of my co-workers e-mailed me to see how I was doing so I replied back with this:

My head is pounding
My head it aches
My throat is sore
them's the breaks

My tummy's churning
more and more
I hope not to make
a mess on floor

I'm dizzy too
though that can be fun
though I'm real careful
to walk, not run!

My mind's affected
as you can see!
My rhyming rhetoric
won't let me be!

Oh! Now I'm resting
on the floor
I won't be typing

How I got there
Don't have a clue
Chair fell over?
And I did too!

So now I'm crawling
towards the door
(It's cold down here
on the floor!)

Driving home
will be such fun
I guess for now
this poem is done!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chris' Digital Pictures - Circa 2001

I've been in a very bad mood today, however, rather than comment on why I decided instead to post a picture from my collection. As mentioned before I've taken over 11,000 pictures over the years. This is an F-4E Phantom II taken in September of 2001 at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. If you're ever in the Michigan area this is an excellent place to go. If anyone is interested I have a shot of the information plaque for this aircraft that details all the specifics about it.

Weekend Bits

Sunny Sunday
While still congested Sunday morning at least Danielle had lost the nasty cough she had picked up. It's amazing how quick kids can recover from most sicknesses. I was not feeling the greatest (must have got a bit of the same bug) so other than some cleaning up around the house I spent most of the morning watching TV with Scott or Danielle. Danielle and I zipped out around noon to pickup some butter and sausage for the afternoon meal. I made home-made French toast with turkey bacon and sausage on the side. Scott headed off to a friends house around 4:30PM, Chris and Danielle to their Mom's at 6. Later that evening Uncle Tim stopped by to pickup Scott's back pack and coat which Scott had! :)

Mom's PC
Mom had called Saturday and Sunday wanting to know if I would look at her PC; with Danielle Sick and me feeling poorly I offered to come over next weekend since during the week I have the kids after school and really don't want to give up any of that time to make a house call!

Saturday Night
We all watched Men in Black II (which also features on of our favorite shorts on the DVD entitled "The Chub Chubs") Saturday night which was quite enjoyable. Well, let me amend that to say we all sat in from of the TV, Scott was playing a game in his DS on and off while the movie was on, but, all the kids in one room is a good thing! Right before this I ran Chris over to his Mom's so he could pick up something he needed for the evening and then he and I stopped at Forest Hills Food for some movie snacks.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Customized Fenders and Mother-In-Laws

My bother asked me for a picture of my Son's POS car which was purchased with over 200K miles and leaks oil. I had mentioned to the X (who arranged the purchase of the vehicle through one of her friends who owned it) I thought it was a bad move. She disagreed. Subconsciously though perhaps she did agree because a week or so later, while driving the same friend's SUV out of her garage, she backed into my sons car and 'customized' the fender as shown in the picture. Talk about Karma, huh?? OK, in all fairness I must mention that about a year ago I was backing the mustang out of her driveway and her mom was on the hill below my field of vision getting out of their car, and I backed into her! At least the car did not need stitches! (And I do still feel bad about that incident with the X's Mom and once again state that it was an accident! :)
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Ah the little things in life

Danielle had a bit of a cough yesterday, this morning it has grown into a nasty cough with scratchy throat. Danielle is not good at taking medicine so for the cough I got her these new couch strips which are like those Listerene strips that melt on your tongue. She still did not like the taste but remarked it was better than icky cough medicine!

As to missing the little things I had to go out to Forest Hills this morning to do the weekend shopping for the kids. Normally she would have been at my side, offering a smile and help with the shopping, something simple that was sorely missed!

Returning home I medicated her, made her a bowl of double-noodle chicken soup, and did my exercise bike session.

It is a lovely day outside, sunny and bright, though only 32 right now with the high of they day not going past 40.

I must once again agree with the wisdom of my friend David, who said the it's easier (and more accurate!) to forecast the weather by looking outside. Twice the forecast nay-sayers have foretold the coming of quantities of snow that would have required the snowblower this week! This did not come to pass! Sigh!

To sleep, perchance to.....sleep!

It's after midnight, I've been up 19 hours, and I just can't get to sleep. What a day! Wish there was someone to talk's after midnight. Was just running some numbers for the fourth time this week. The budget is going to be so tight without the OT. Gack. What a day, what a freaking week from hel*! Death, almost death, financial troubles, least I have the kids this weekend!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Life, Death, and Lost Love

A very somber today which started with a clear blue sky and sunshine. Around 9:30 AM the exodus from work began to head for the funeral of the woman who died this week from where I work. It was over an hours drive out into the country which reflected the somber mood; empty lifeless fields, trees with no leaves, barren farmland, a gray pastel of a landscape.

We arrived at the Catholic church where the funeral mass was to be. It was packed. Literally standing room only. As I had mentioned this woman, and her husband, who also works where are work, are the traditional stereotype of "Good People". The priest speak an incredible thought provoking eulogy, stating among other things that Easter was already here for this woman, who would be resurrected with the Lord.

The husband, too emotionally wrought to speak, had a close friend read a letter he wrote, summarizing their lives together. A typical heart warming almost storyboard tale of two people who met in high school. His wife knew, his letter said, the first time she saw him that they were destined to be together. The broke up in senior year and were apart for a few years, though she kept tabs on him through his brother, and they met again when he went to the hospital to visit his Dad. They were married that fall, and lived in a small trailer on a 10 acre farm. Their love grew, they persevered, and over the years increased the size of their farm and had three children. Their marriage was not perfect, that had their problems together, but they managed to work through them and felt that their marriage, their love, their family were stronger than ever. The last three years she spent courageously fighting cancer, and she literally died in his arms earlier this week. The funeral mass was in the same church they had been married in back in the late 80's,.

There was not a dry eye in that overcrowded church, and his words made me cry...I felt his sense of loss, and hoped he and his family took comfort in the service, and the priests words that she was now with god, and with them in spirit.

I also envied the love this couple had had. Their love was strong enough to get them through their marital problems.. The love my x-wife and I had evidently failed this test. I kept thinking over the remainder of the afternoon after the body was interred, could I have done things better in my marriage to make it survive. I am sure my X and I could have. I took comfort in the fact that I still had my love for her, which has not diminished, and I have three fine children. I still miss my X, each and every day. I would have thought after two years this would have diminished. It was though, after all was said and done, a very somber day.

Tremors and Cash Flows

Well, the last of the tax money arrived yesterday in the form of a subwoofer for my home theater setup (had I know when I ordered it I was going to lose my overtime pay at work I would have not ordered it). The speaker weighs over 50 pounds so I basically rolled/slid it into the house. I removed the old subwoofer (a piece of junk really that came with my all in one home theater setup I bought almost two years ago and installed this one and recalibrated the speakers using the receiver's microphone. In test mode you place the microphone where you will be setting and test sounds are sent through each speaker and then the receiver calibrates the optimum settings for everything.

This done I queued up on DVD Star Wars: A New hope. I sat in awe as the Star Destroyer rumbled overhead right at the opening and the walls shook when the Death Star blew up Alderon.

All in all, an excellent last fun purchase for quite awhile! Between child support and loss of OT I'll have enough for bills, food and utilities (and the luxury of satellite TV) but not much else.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Afternoons off are GREAT

Today, tomorrow, and Friday I have afternoons off. I have vacation time from last year that must be used by the end of April or I will lose it. By taking two hours each day, I can work from 6:30AM though 12:30PM and be out of work!

I stopped at Costco's on the way home, where, with my membership card I scored some gas at an amazing 17 cents a gallon cheaper than any of the stations in my area!

I then hits Tommy's which is one of the quick oil change & car wash places. For $80 I got my oil changed, fluids topped, etc and they cleaned my fuel injectors. I felt sorry for these guys! One of the phases involves injection of fluids into the injector intakes. "You may want to close you windows for this!" they cautioned me. I did so just as huge amounts of gray smoke came billowing out of the Mustang's exhaust which was revving at 2,500! The three bay interior of the oil change bay was quickly reduced to a scene from the movie "The Fog"!

"Quick, open the bay doors I heard someone gasping from within this deadly cloud! All six doors cranked open as one and the smoke began clearing out.

"Boy, they cannot be paying you guys enough to work in this environment!" I said. "You better believe it!" was the quip I got back along with the comment that my injectors must have been sorely in need of the treatment since they had never seen that volume of gray smoke before! This could be because most of the driving I do is 3.5 miles between work and home with the occasional highway trip.

I headed home, rode the exercise bike, checked my e-mails (work and personal), talked to the gas company about my complaint which has not been resolved, dropped the Michigan courts an e-mail, and then did some blog posting.

Danielle will be here soon and off to Forest Hills Food we will go!

Pasta from Heaven

Due to the reasons detailed in Triple Bah! below I kept Danielle and Scott for dinner. Chris had stayed home sick from school and a quick call to him at his Mom's house confirmed he could handle making something from the freezer there. Danielle and I had already done our often daily ritual of going to Forest Hills Foods so I had meat, sauce ingredients, and cheese. I made a quick meaty pasta sauce (consisting of lean ground beef sauteed in extra-virgin (that phrase always makes me chuckle!) olive oil that already had garlic sauteed in it) along with basil and oregano, plus some freshly ground pepper.

I made some Dreamfileds Pasta and tossed some with the meat sauce for Danielle and I. For Scott, I thawed out a bag of meatless sauce from a batch I had made last year and tossed a portion of pasta for him with this; he hates meat in his sauce! All of us enjoyed freshly grated Romona cheese on top!

Note that when I make home-made sauce I usualy make a very large batch! When it has cooled to the warm stage, I pour 8 ounces into a sandwich-size ziplock bag and squeeze out the air and seal it. I then lay this down on the bottom of the freezer. I repeat until the excess sauce is depleted and I usually end up with anywhere from 8 to 12 bags of sauce in the freezer. When using them from the freezer I flex the bags in half which splits the block of frozen sauce, and then put them into whatever I need them in. It is excellent, economical, and saves me the horror of prepared sauce in a jar! (Though the Classico line of jarred sauces are tolerable)

Dinner was very good, and I sent a bowl home with the X since I had made extra knowing she would be hungry after the hospital trip. She too enjoyed it I discovered via an e-mail from her this morning.

Triple Bah!

As if Tuesday was not bad enough already, a bit before the X was due to pickup kids she called to inform me one of her friends was rushed to the hospital via ambulance with all the symptoms of a heart attack. He was released about 7 hours later and went back in for tests today.

It should be noted that this person was the owner of the dreaded, infamous, possessed KERNAL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR PC!!! Which I am happy to say has been out of my dining room for just over a week now.

This was one day I just could not wait for it to be OVER!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Google in Grand Rapids!!??

The nearest city by where I in Michigan live is Grand Rapids. For months now some big hush-hush super secret real estate deal has been going down there and the speculation is that Google may be the company behind this! The lunch time talk I overheard today was heavy on this subject and wonder of the possibility of jobs there!

I believe some sort of public notice is due by the end of the month.....we shall see what happens!

Double Bah!

A friends wife passed away last night. He and she both worked here....They are the perfect example of "Good People" Hard-working, morale, friendly, helpful, caring.......I can only imagine what he and his family are going through. She has been sick for a few years with cancer. I hope he and his can take comfort in the fact that she is out of pain, and in a better place. Though I know that may take them some time, my heart is with them! The mood here at work is very glum and sad. I've been holding back the tears all morning.


60's yesterday and nice and sunny. 20's today, cold, gray, windy with some snow, and with what happened to me at work yesterday the weather is eclipsed by my foul mood!

The wind yesterday made the ride to the chiropractor very interesting, very strong wind, many house lost power yesterday I heard on the news this AM.

Ended up only having the kids until 7:30 last night, but that's still an hour longer than usual for Monday night.

That's about all I feel like writing the weather my mood is foul.....

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays.......

Monday Morning....almost 40, thunderstorms all morning, tornado watches for almost the entire state, temperatures due to climb into the 60's this afternoon with wind gusts in the 50-60MPH range!

Then overnight the temperature will plummet, tomorrow will be 30's and now they are forecasting several inches of snow!

Ah! Spring is in the air in West Michigan! Hope those wind gusts hold off, I have a 2:30PM appointment at the chiropractor today.

I had some extra 2/3 kids time yesterday when the X invited me to go to Olive Garden with her, Danielle, and Scott. Chris was off to a friends, and he hates all forms of pasta. While I am an excellent cook in the area of sauces and pasta, and critical of Italian food out, I can tolerate Olive Garden and I really like the salad there. Scott loves their breadsticks and we had to keep the waitress hopping to bring us more, I lost count after his sixth one.

I watched "The Brothers Grimm" last night. One of those films that was good, but IMHO a bit too long. Had they chopped 20 minutes off of the two hour total it would have flowed much better.

I will also have some extra 2/3 kids time this evening; after dinner the X is taking Chris to a college open house which will easily take a couple of hours.

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Saturday with the kids/SciFi Saturday

As I picked up Scott and Danielle at 4PM, the X came up to the car and let me know Chris would be popping over for dinner and staying for awhile but not the night; this was good news as I had not expected him to come over at all. It made my day in fact.

The three of us headed over to Circuit City (not as bad as Best Buy) where I picked up a component video cable to go from the receiver to the plasma display, and a Game Boy Advance Game (Tales Of Phantasia) for Scott as part of the "Dad got a refund" program; each of the kids was due something.

We paid, headed home stopping at the new 7-11 type store right by my house to pickup snacks for the kids including Chris for when he joined us later.

The kids disappeared to play a bit while I finished connecting the receiver into the system. Danielle and I began watching Star Wars: A New Hope off of DVD to test the new setup (which is incredible!) The DVD using the component video outputs was to drool over......along with the optical digital output....sigh!

Chris arrived at this point announcing hunger, and, as if the kids heard me dissing Taco Bell the other day the wanted to go there for dinner....and there we went.

Returning home Chris and I watched last weeks and this weeks season finale for BattleStar Galactica, which was incredible, spanning over a year of time in the story, and leaving you hanging on the edge of your seat wondering what was going to happen with the Cylons arriving and overflying the new settlement....

Chris, show over and snacks eaten headed back to his Mom's house, and Scott, Danielle, and I watched the first "Pink Panther" movie with David Niven and Peter Seller. The kids loved it. I really enjoy when I can share something I grew up with and enjoyed and have them enjoy it too. That seems so rare in these days.

Snacks at the snack store: $8.12
Dinner at Taco Bell: $12.49
Pink Panther on DVD: $14.99
Kids enjoying it with Dad: Priceless!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Brother Jack

My brother Jack has been away all week Jack is not his real name, but, he and I call each other Jack, and, we are the only ones 'allowed' to do this.

I miss him! Though he lives in New Jersey and I in Michigan we email often (sometimes daily when work is not too crazy) and keep in touch. He reads my blog and this way he knows how his brother and niece and nephews are doing.

I can't wait for him and his wife to return from Florida so the e-mailing can commence again! They will be coming out to stay with me for a week this summer! The kids and I can hardly wait!

Jack is very talented; he can draw very artistically and he plays the bass guitar incredibly well.

I miss being in touch with him! It will be good to have him back!

No SciFi Friday Night

Because my stereo system was in tatters (wiring in a new receiver) and today I need to pick up additional speaker wire, I decided not to watch SciFi Friday last night as without good sound I'd just as soon wait! So, after work today it will be off to Best Buy. I normally do not shop there as their prices over the years have deteriorated. More often than not, they have list price on many items. I would call them Not The Best Buy.....but, I need wire and I have a 12% off coupon. While the price will still be too high, this helps it approach affordability!

I found myself somewhat sad last night as I was going to bed, sometimes I think of the X wife and the times we had together and I get very blue...the best times of my life have been when the five of us were a made it difficult to get to sleep last least this morning I am feeling much better. I try to keep things in perspective....if only I could fall out of love with the X....Ah! If only I could win the lottery!

I get at least 2 kids today! The X is being nice and offered me an extra night with kids so I decided to make it voluntary. I know my older box likes the more spacious quarters at him Mom's house, plus he has his own dedicated PC there, so, I figured only kids that wanted to come would come. Scott and Danielle are coming and Chris was undecided. I will pick them up around 4PM! I CAN'T WAIT!

On the other hand I am not looking forward to work today, first off it is Saturday and secondly I am having major issues with our blade environment.....look for a post after work about that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Posting from the road - Part Deux

They served a buffet lunch from Moe's Southwest grill for lunch! They had hard and soft shells, beef (real tender chunks of beef), chicken, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, was excellent! I was commenting how the only Mexican food the boys would eat is from Taco Bell, then I thought about that for a moment and said "Huh, I guess they have never had Mexican food!" Danielle, my daughter, would have LOVED lunch today!

Khan, the excellent instructor, both personable and knowledgeable, is doing a great job presenting the material and answering any questions.

Now working on a Major large lab for the R2 class setting up federated trusts between two companies, munching on the plate of tortilla chips (tri-colored) I brought back, and guzzling down a 20 oz Diet Mountain Dew to keep cool. The only down side of the class is it's about 80, but cooling down a bit since my friend Dave put a fan in the doorway. The air in the hall is pleasantly cool. I think they still have the heat here set for the usual cold temperatures.

Posting from the road today!

40 Degrees in West Michigan this morning! I walked from the car to the class with no coat and loving it!

This post comes to you live from New Horizons training center, where, I have finished the morning labs and have a few free moments to spare!

I am attending a Microsoft event for Windows Server 2003 R2 hands on Lab, which is a cross between a Microsoft commercial and a class as we are having hands on with the new version of the operating system. Some nice features for those of us that manage Windows Environments!

A brief Windows 2003 R2 recap below:

DFS (File and Print Services)
DFS enchantments (drag drop rename multi domain, new management console)
DFS re-written from the ground up featuring Remote Differential Compression to shorten replication times.
16K blocks per file so a large file being changed only the change is replicated not the whole file
supports remote backups
failover with failback
new reporting capabilities through management console
two parts of DFS now
DFS-N (Name space to allow multiple name spaces)
DFS-R (Replication)

Other areas:
remote management of PC (if HW SW supports it ) with remote device turned off
new centralized print management console sees all print servers through enterprise
Storage Management file server resource manager & Storage server for SANs
new sharepoint
much better IIS performance and management features


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Feels like summer here in West Michigan

52 Degrees here in Michigan this morning! If feels like summer after the recent weather of cold, cold, days! Of course they are forecasting two inches of rain for today this evening, but that only complements the rain we had last night (and the single blast of thunder around midnight which woke me so completely I did not get back to sleep until 2 AM!)

I know now my heat will not break down until next winter!

Last night after all three kids were home we headed out to return the movies from Saturday and I decided to take the kids and I to Quizno's for Dinner. I had been hankering for their new Prime Rib Sandwich, yet alas when we walked in there was a sign stating that, due to popular demand there would be none until the next day! Arrrg!

SO instead I had their double Angus Beef which is always good, Scott the usual Roasted Chicken (plain) Danielle Ham, Lettuce, and Mayo, and Chris Roast Beef with a lot of Mayo! If you have never eaten at Quizno's you should try it; while nearly twice as expensive as Subway, they use real meat and the quality of it, the bread, and the toppings is very superior.

We all left out coats in the car as it was so pleasant out (barely 50 but feeling like summer after the Michigan winter weather.

While we were eating my cell went off it was one of my people needing me to identify which Blade servers were for a given function as a service on the public Internet was down. Perhaps that was a harbinger of what was to come because I came in this AM to a communication from the home office wanting to know if I could speed up some server builds....I asked if they had read my mailing of yesterday describing infrastructure problems.......

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Furnace Rhyme

My friend Russ who is still working on the East Coast asked me about my furnace in such a way I had to respond in it is below for your enjoyment!

Here's what happened my friend Russ
Here's what caused my latest fuss!
Those cretins came on Tuesday true
to fix the heat and fix it true!

So well they fixed it let me say
it was hotter than hell by end of day
Out I had gone to do some shopping
I came back home to mercury topping!

Almost to ninety the temp did go
that friend Russ was my latest woe!
I called the gas place to rant and rave
"Tomorrow" they said your as* we'll save!

So yesterday they came back to see
what could have lit my house like a Christmas tree
The last repairman was not too smart
and none too crafty at his art!

When that other guy the furnace did test
he forgot to pack a jumper with all the rest
The jumper he left sends a message you know
to tell the furnace, "Go man, Go!"

With that in place the heat stays live
when I came home it was almost 85!
SO today a manager will call me here
and I'll rave at them until my point is clear!

So four days it took and three folks from DTE
to get my furnace running (I hope) safely!
Let's hope my tale of woe ends here
And I won't see them again all this year!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Identify: Quote of the day

"I'll be honest with you Bob. My name's not Kirk. It's Skywalker........Luke Skywalker"

Really impress me with the source and title....though I suspect if my friend Ben is reading this he will ace it!

Everybody stand back! We've got a jumper here!!!

Well, after spending a fun day at home running upstairs and downstairs every hour to either turn on or turn off the furnace, the gas company arrived at 1PM. The gentleman (a third newcomer to Casa De Falco) went to work and I headed back to the PC. A few minutes later I heard him yell out "Oh Jeeze!" so I zipped back downstairs to see what was up!

He showed me that the technician who was out yesterday had left a test jumper cable in place which basically bypasses the thermostat! That would explain why upon my return home last night the house was about 85 degrees!

He removed the jumper and we tested that the thermostat would now turn the furnace on and off. He departed, and I called the gas company to lodge a formal complaint. Unlike the void of personality drone I talked to last night when I placed the call, this gentleman seems to have a soul, and took my information and promised a supervisor would call me back today or tomorrow.
Four days and three visits from the Gas Company....has it REALLY been fixed this time???

We shall see.......if the adventure continues.....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hot under the collar!

To make a long story short, after the gas company came over this evening and worked on the heat for an hour to get it running, I just discovered at 10PM after returning home it will NOT shut off, even with the thermostat turned off or removed from the wall! I had to use the safety switch to shut the thing down.

SO of course now the gas company can't get here until tomorrow to work on it, so, I am off to plug in the electrical heaters now........

PS - They could have made an excellent audio byte of the conversation I just had with the gas company when I called..........particularly when they told me an overheat condition is not covered under my repair plan and I would be charged......they seemed uninterested in the fact that it did not do that until after they 'repaired' it today.

Teach your children well.........

This picture of my little girl Danielle reading to some of her stuffed animal collection always tugs at my heart strings! Notice she has them covered with the bed clothes so they stay warm, and they are rapt with attention listening to her read to them!
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The PC that possessed the Furnace!

NO HEAT AGAIN! When I came home and went to ride the exercise bike it was working, then after my session I noticed it was not getting any warmer. At least the gas company has promised to come out this evening!

All I can think of is that when the KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR PC was spewing sulfurous red fog which was rolling off the table, onto the floor, and down the steps to the basement that the furnace is now possessed!

I've had 3000 watts of heaters running for almost three hours now and the inside temperature is barely 58.

Sigh! I ended up going with Danielle to Subway (leaving Chris to man the phones in case the gas company called) since I did not feel like making anything. We watched some Pink Panther cartoons while we ate our sandwiches.

In case anyone is REALLY bored I had an Italian BMT (with Swiss because the provolone at Subway is....welll.....lacking at best!), Chris has tuna, Scott Turkey, and Danielle Ham. Chris and Scott just have the meat with Mayo, while Danielle likes lettuce too. I had lettuce, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and mayo. I also got them cookies and some chips for a treat.

Cold and Snowy

In the 20's, overcast and snowing this morning with a couple of inches on the ground, the roads were clear and the Mustang and I had no troubles getting into work.

Should be an interesting day they converted one of our sites on the East Coast to use our Data Center here in Michigan over the weekend, there are, at least, always a few wrinkles to work out!

Warmed weather (60's!) headed here by Saturday!

Brokeback Mountain Misses Best Picture Award!

I was SO pleased that Brokeback Mountain did NOT get the Oscar for Best picture!

While It did pickup the Oscars Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Musical score (Hey, it takes a great director to make a movie this bad, and great writer to convert a book about gay cowboys into a crappy movie, and setting it to Music....well, talent was needed!) it did NOT get best picture!

That made my day Sunday!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's a bird...It's a plane! It's Super Cookie!

Danielle and Scott arrived here Saturday around 9AM, and as posted yesterday I had arisen early to use assorted methods to heat the house. We watched some TV together, they alternated by playing downstairs in the family room. Scott headed over to his friend Taylor's house around 1:30 and around 2 PM the gas company arrived. Unlike the uncaring mechanical drones I had to deal with on the phone the gentleman that arrived was pleasant and cheerful despite the huge workload the gas company had him and the other repair folks under. He was quite a site in his orange outfit with workbooks and a beard, and in spite of myself I chuckled a bit. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work......OK enough of that!!!!!

Suffice it to say that quickly he had found the problem, a clogged sensor, and soon heat was issuing forth from the floor registers. I thanked him profusely as he was leaving and we chatted about unreasonable gas prices and that SOMEONE, not us, was making some money off this!

After the large pots of water on the stove cooled I dumped and washed them,. Now that the house was warm I enjoyed a shave and shower and Danielle and I spent most of the time together until around 4:30 when we headed off to collect Scott after we stopped at an ATM for some cash. Since Scott's friend Taylor lives right by our favorite Chinese restaurant we stopped in and had our usual.

On of the things we had really missed when the five of us moved out here in 2000 from the east coast was good Chinese food. Frankly, most of the places out here were TERRIBLE! We finally stumbled across the FirstWok on Old 28th street after many disappointing Chinese dining experiences! We still have not found any place out here that serves our favorite appetizer which is Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce! Sigh! I must remember to ask my friend Steve back east if he still has a recipe for this! (Steve, if you read this post, send it along! Hint! Hint!)

We frequent this establishment enough that the owner knows me by name and we were quickly seated. Starting with appetizers we had an order of bali-bali beef which is marinated strips of tender beef, along with an order of fried dumplings with their accompanying sauces. We also received a free order of crab puffs and I ordered a bowl of their Hot Spicy Wantons. The Wanton's helped cleared my head and for the first time I could breathe in and out quite easiy!

For dinner there was chicken lo-mien (no vegetables) for S&D, combo lo-mien for me, and combo fried rice for Danielle and I to share. The kids drank diet Pepsi and I enjoyed a pot of their excellent tea! It was an excellent meal, and after packing up the left-overs (and watching Scott make "Super Cookie" which is half a fortune cooking with a fortune sticking out of it like a cape, we headed off to the video store and picked up Zathura to watch. Arriving home Chirstopher showed up and he and I watched an older Battlestar Galactica he had not seen, then Danielle joined us to finish an A-Team episode we had started Friday, and Chris and I watched Stargate Atlantis. He departed for gaming fun and Scott and Danielle returned to watch Zathura which was better than I thought it would be, but, I am glad I did not expend the $$$ to take them to see it in the theater.

It should be noted from talking to Scott late last night on the whereabouts of Super Cookie, that the sugar-based hero was evidently pulverised by a meteor in the video rental parking lot!

SciFi Friday & Recycled Actors

Having watched both Stargates from SciFi Friday now I can comment on how pleased I was with both of them! I have not seen this weeks Episode of Battlestar Galactica yet but will today now that my son Chris has caught up on the three episodes he had missed. On the downside, next week is the season finale for SciFi Friday! Wail! Rant! Rave!!! At least there is Monk to still watch!

All the SciFi Friday shows can be found here on the SciFi channel website.

It was funny though as last weekend SciFi channel ha this cheesy movies about a volcano erupting under New York City! Both these actors appeared (one each) in this weeks Stargate episodes! What was really amusing was that Stargate Atlantis themed a volcano too! I guess by recycling the actors and storylines they can save some bucks on the SciFi channel!

Link of the Day - Zip Code Gas Price Check

Here is an excellent link! Simply enter your zip code to get a listing of all gas prices in your area!

Gas it up HERE!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Last night, as if a scene from "The Exorcist" was being enacted in my dining room, screwdrivers and a new hard drive in hand, I approached the red malevolent glow of the HP Media Center PC......

Ingnoring the rumbling and sulfurous fumes which only increased as I drew closer, I sat myself before this monstor and removed the new hard drive from its anti-static packaging.

Installing the drive was if getting the drive cage and the old drive out was fun....the reverse process with the new drive was worse. I would insert the drive, reach for the screwdriver, and the PC would, as if the PC was possessed, push the drive back an inch or two each time! Sizing the Windows Certificate of Authenticity in one hand, and a screwdriver in the other, I held the certificate in front of the PC and shouted "The power of Bill Gates compels you!" After doing this several more times (and ignoring the moaning and screams issuing from within the PC and the intensifying of the red glow, and pushing the PC case back down onto the table) I was able to get the drive in place and the screws in it.

The drive cage was another matter, but after merely holding the certificate in front of the PC and lightly coughing "ahem!" the cage snapped into place, the red glow disappeared, and the fog dissipated!

The assembly of the rest of the case was not difficult at this point and I then had the fun of loading the 8 CD's that build the recovery process. Windows et al loaded with no errors, I did a quick defrag of the disk, and then rebooted with a Seagate diagnostic CD and re-did the tests that had flagged all the errors. Everything passed. At this point I dissembled the mouse which was gritty and in serious need of cleaning and then I did the same to the keyboard which had a thick layer of dust. A quick reboot to insure all was well, and yes, we had exorcised whatever had possessed the PC! The battle to reclaim my dining room table was won!!!

House from Hell part two

It was a chilly evening last night. After the kids left for their Mom's I took the big heater down to the basement and left it on so that I would not have to worry about frozen pipes and around midnight I retreated to my bedroom with the small fan-driven heater which I placed in the adjacent bathroom. This was the first time I have ever been happy about the small size of my 'master bed and bath' suite which barely fits my bed and dresser in it. Last night, that was a plus!! With three quits on the bed I was able get some sleep without freezing. I got up around 6AM, took the small heater down the family room and turned it on high, retrieved the big heater and brought it up to the living room and put it on high, and on the stove I put two large pots of covered hot water on to boil. When they reached that temperature I put the burners under them on very low, which effectively helps heat the house and provide some extra humidity. Scott and Danielle have just arrived (Chris opted to sleep at a friends house last night) and the house is about the temperature it was when they left last night. As the sun it out and it is warming up a bit, I expect it will be tolerable in here with a few more hours!

This short sleep and cold house has not helped my feeling least today I do not feel any has affected my kid time, and it also made me have to disappoint Danielle by having her have to cancel the sleep over she wanted to have her tonight. I am SO ticked at the gas company. I have their warranty service coverage and evidently they oversell it if they can't get to you house the same day you place a call when the weather is below freezing outside!

NOW I await the mercies of the gas company.....

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hell House (Or Chris just can't win!!!!)

I got home after work, already feeling sick, to discover the heat was out again (it was out in January too). I called the gas company and was told I would not see a repair crew until at least I called a supervisor, told her I had three kids, and still no go. So, for now a couple of electric heaters are holding the temperature at around 55, but, it is 34 outside now and the forecast is for 10-15 tonight! As the X will not be home until 10 PM or so. The kids will stay here until she is on her way, and then I will hole up for the night so someone is here with the electric heaters since I do not want the pipes to freeze. So much for a nice weekend with the kids and a good nights sleep to beat this bug that my system is fighting! ARRRGGGGG
Everyone, have a good weekend!

Cold and sick.....

I've been feeling crappier each day of the week and have been dragging myself to work, today it was a real effort getting up and getting dressed, shortly I'll be headed out in to the 20 degree weather and getting through a day of work when I would just rather be home! However, being the manager of my department and knowing I already have one guy out sick and another on the east coast and a ton of work to do.....well, the beat go on! They do say a warm up is coming next week with temp's up to 50 one day! I'll believe that when I see it!

Mountain of Oscars for Mountain movie

While I normally like to confine my posts to my small corner of the world and things friends and family send my way, I was seriously distressed hearing that the Brokeback Mountain movie is up for 8 Oscars. This just has totally upset This movie winning best picture award and now being nominated for the most Oscars for a picture this year! UNBELIEVABLE! This type of movie is not the kind of entertainment I'd want my kids to go and see! What ever happened to family type films!?? I'd take Pink Panther any day of the week over this Mountain movie!


The evil system from beyond the grave (currently in pieces on my living room table now as, wisely it turns out, I had decided on Wednesday night to disassemble it so I could remove the drive cage! Jinkies! I have worked on cars where it was easier to get the crankshaft out of the engine than the drive cage holding the hard drive out of this HP behemoth! The new drive was supposed to be delivered via DHL (one of my least favorite delivery services since it seems that every DHL package ever sent my was has either been a day late or looks like it has been thrown around like a football) but it did not arrive. Late last night after I types this and headed to bed, I swear I saw a foggy red glow around this system and its parts and heard a deep rumbling malevolent chuckle coming from that area! I shut both doors between the dining room and my bedroom, raced to my bed and pulled the covers over my head!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

You're as cold as ice.......

In the teens last night and 20's this AM and while it snowed north of here (80 schools in the closings and delay lists as I was getting ready for work) outside everything was covered under a solid sheet of ice. A slight tap of the gas pedal to start me out of the garage was all I needed to slide all the way out into the street! The main roads were a bit better but the radio rapidly regaled me with tales of icy sliding accident terror involving those who cannot drive safely!

Stereos, Cars, and Kids (Oh My!)

Some quiet kid time
Wednesday is my longer kid time day when instead of them going to their Mom's house at 6PM I keep them until 8. When Danielle arrived she and I went over to Forest Hills to pick up items for a 'scrounged' dinner (which is what I call it when I am not cooking, ordering in, or picking up take out). Danielle got Red Baron's little pepperoni pizza's, Christopher Jimmy Dean's breakfast Burritos, and Scott a bagel with Cream Cheese. I had a cold-cut sandwich (with sliced onion and tomato). We watched some TV together (including Chris joining Danielle and I for an episode of Monk, and they also played on the computers.

Ride Captain Ride
As I mentioned below my friend had to get to the airport for business travel and the reason we forgot his laptop. While I enjoy my Mustang he has a BMW and while it barely felt like we were doing 50 at points were were exceeding 90 (though he drove quite carefully)

After dropping him off I drove his BMW back here, an excellent experience, it's like a luxury Mustang!

The Mother of All Stereos
I have a very modest surround setup at home, with five speakers and a subwoofer. Since I upgraded to Polk Audio speakers the sound has been much better and I enjoy it with TV, Music, and DVD's.

Yesterday I had the experience of listening to one of my friend's stereo. His speaker wires cost more than all my speakers, and he would scoff at "Monster Cables" being too poor quality to use in his setup. I jokingly refer to his speakers as "Mortgage" quality for the center speaker alone goes for five thousand dollars!!!

We only had a few minutes as I was dropping him off at the Airport so he put on one of the Lord of the Ring's movies and we watched the scene where Gandalf confronts the Balrog in the mines of of Moria .

"YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" thundered out of the 6.1 surround sound stereo. As Gandalf cracked his staff onto the bridge I half-expected all the windows in my friends house to explode......WHAT an experience! What a stereo! Color Chris green with envy!

The Mother of all Taylor Ham sandwiches

While I have not given up anything for lent in years, this year I decided to give up Taylor Ham, so, Tuesday night I made the mother of all Taylor ham sandwiches, thinly sliced Taylor Ham interleaved with slices of cheese in a stack an inch and a half high.....with a fried egg as well....simply delicious!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy(er) Days

I was going through some files on my work PC at lunchtime, and found this in the company picnic archives from 2001. It is a family shot of Happier times past!

Pictured in the back are myself and the X (I assume you can tell us apart!) and from left to right on the bottom we have Danielle, Scott, and Christopher.