Monday, October 31, 2005

kissing your sister

Played hockey last night -- ended in a 3-3 tie.

I played D, but I got one goal and two assists, which was nice.

Toward the end of the game, I got in an opposing player's face because it looked to me like he took a cut at the back of our goalie's glove after our goalie had covered the puck. This is a big no-no in hockey -- the goalies are pretty vulnerable in their bulky pads, and you could break their hand if you hit it right with your stick.

Anyway, it's the defensman's job to protect his goalie -- when I'm playing center, for example, if I'm messing around with their goalie in any way, I expect to get roughed up and shoved around by their D.

So the point of my long and boring story is that the other player and I ended up shoving and yelling into each other's faces (it's part of the game -- a little intimidation sometimes helps your side) and we both got penalties for unsportsmanlike behaviour. The other guy was still mouthing from the penalty box, and then one of our guys said something, and the ref thought it was me saying it, and he gave me a 10-minute game misconduct. Which was annoying since I hadn't even said anything after getting sent off.

So then nothing else happened, and after the game we all shook hands and went home. The End.

dog days of summer

Sage was a dog who belonged to a couple my dad worked with. He was the size of a small pony, but he was very friendly. When I was in Jr High, they used to hire me to feed him (the dog, not my dad) when they went out of town. Sage ate a large bowl of dog food and two heartworm pills every day. Sometimes he also had other medicine I had to squirt onto his food. I was very conscientious.

Except one time, when I was supposed to feed him for the weekend, and forgot all about it.

Where I was when I realized it: biology class, Monday afternoon
Sinking feeling in pit of stomach: yes

After school, I raced to their house and quickly fed Sage. Then I pondered what to do. If I didn't say anything, they'd never know - they'd feed him again when they got home that evening, and he'd probably eat it all, since he was bound to be really hungry. I briefly wondered if getting double heartworm pills that day might kill him, but I dismissed that as paranoia.

The problem was the money. I really didn't have a problem keeping the information from them that he'd gone Sat & Sun without food -- after all, what's done was done, Sage was fine, and they'd be happier not knowing. But I couldn't handle the idea of taking the money -- that seemed over the line for me.

So I left them a note explaining that I'd forgotten, and that Sage had already been fed once that day, and that I didn't expect to be paid.

Amount they paid me: zero
Number of words they spoke to me about the incident: zero
Number of times they mentioned the incident to me: zero
Number of times they asked me to feed Sage again: zero
Number of times I thought about it upon seeing either of them during the subsequent 25 years: all of them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I blog, therefore I am (self-aborbed)

Scott Adams, author of the comic strip Dilbert, writes this about his new blog:

When I see news stories about people all over the world who are experiencing hardships, I worry about them, and I rack my brain wondering how I can make a difference. So I decided to start my own blog. That way I won’t have time to think about other people.

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought process much like this:
1. The world sure needs more of ME.
2. Maybe I’ll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
4. I know – I’ll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn’t involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? It’s called a blog? I’m there!

The blogger’s philosophy goes something like this: Everything that I think about is more fascinating than the crap in your head.

The beauty of blogging, as compared to writing a book, is that no editor will be interfering with my random spelling and grammar, my complete disregard for the facts, and my wandering sentences that seem to go on and on and never end so that you feel like you need to take a breath and clear your head before you can even consider making it to the end of the sentence that probably didn’t need to be written anyhoo.

If that doesn’t inspire you to read my blog, I don’t know what will. You can find the Dilbert Blog at

Friday, October 21, 2005


Samantha & David leave for the bus stop. It’s in the mid-to-high 40s and it’s still dark; David’s wearing a leather motorcycle jacket, Samantha’s in a T-shirt (and flip flops).

Me [to Samantha]: You’re gonna need a jacket, hon, it’s cold out there.

Sam: Well, I won’t be out there very long.

Me: Well, it's your choice, but you’re going to be cold.

[Samantha goes outside…]

Sam [sarcastically]: Thanks, Dad.

Me: What?

Sam: For telling me I needed a jacket. Now I’m going to be all cold while I’m waiting.

Me: Ah. You mean, it was me saying you needed a jacket that made you cold? Nothing to do with the actual temperature?

Sam: Yeah, now I’m going to be thinking about it.

Me: Well, now that you’re thinking about it, why don’t you take a jacket?

Sam: I don’t have a jacket.

Me: You don’t have a jacket. Well, how about a sweater? A shawl?

Sam: I can’t fit it in my backpack, and I don’t have time to go to my locker. Bye.

[Wanders down the driveway clutching her upper arms.]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

and just in case I was bored...

Today I got a jury summons! Yay!

want some cheese with that?

I’m not sure what my point is (are we in a contest to decide who’s the busiest, or the biggest martyr?), but my week has been challenging, and since this is my blog, I get to whine about it here.
Or at least, list some of the things I’m trying to do, or work around…:
- Samantha needing to be picked up sick from school
- remote support for Texas client
- remote followup work for California client
- toilet stopped up
- Hannah to hospital for CAT scan (esophageal ulcer)
- David needing to be picked up from school for arm X-ray (4 hrs later: not broken)
- Truck in the shop ($1000)
- Fix David’s bike
- fix temporarily-defunct laptop
- change ISP's
- fix business website (current ISP lost it)
- return calls to importunate clients ;-)
- Replace headlight on Hannah’s car
- Meetings with accountants
- to finish 2004 taxes
- get new health insurance (stacks of forms)
- refinance the house (more forms)
- spend a little time with Samantha since I’ve been gone a lot and just spent a whole weekend with David
- set up wireless network for the house (problem with CenturyTel’s DSL modem)
- Clean mouse turds out of the dishwasher (apparently I’m the only family member qualified for this job) so Samantha can do the dishes
- Dry and re-pack the camping gear
- Hannah gone to school and taking some evenings of deserved time off
- Cat peed on the carpet in the hallway, sealing her doom – this is not the first pee incident, or even the 10th – have to arrange for taking her back to the Humane Society (or doing away with her myself – messy, unpleasant, and sure to bring recriminations)
- All the standard business stuff I always do on my weeks home: tax deposits, invoicing, pay Amex for travel, trip reports, personal bills & bank acct reconciliation, client communications, quarterly reports & taxes, printer/fax maintenance, order a replacement for worn-out Amex card, figure out why mortgage debit didn’t go thru this month and make phone pymt to bank, blah blah blah
- Find a little personal time to blog, get a haircut, exercise, trim my beard/toenails, take an occasional shower, whatever

And just so you know that I have SOME perspective, a disclaimer: this is not “challenging” in the real-life-serious-issues sense – I’m not paralyzed, blind, or on chemo, or watching a family member die, or battling schizophrenia (AFAIK), or bailing my daughter out of jail for prostitution, or dropping my son at rehab, or or or or…
This is merely challenging in the sense of having a million things to do and not being able to organize and accomplish them all. Actually, building the Serious Issues list immediately above (which is just a few of the hundreds of difficult things I COULD be dealing with and am not) makes me not want to post this at all. But now that I’ve taken the time when I s/h been working to write this stupid post, I’m going to put it up anyway. So there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The emperor's new clothes

If you could wear whatever you wanted without fear of social ostracism or ridicule, what would your favorite outfit be?
My answer: Knee-high leather boots, blousy pirate shirt, big floppy hat with a feather, elbow-length gloves, and a cape. In fact, pretty much like the Three Musketeers.

whinny the poo

I loathe Winnie the Pooh.

Okay, I don't loathe him -- I wouldn't actually waste that much emotion on something that doesn't affect me -- but I must say I find him... really annoying and stupid.

I think the problem is that I don't believe I ever heard of Winnie the Pooh until I was about 10 or 11 yrs old, so when I DID hear about him and all his lame friends, I thought the whole thing impossibly stupid, saccharine and babyish.

Which is the point, of course -- it's for little kids -- but if you don't grow up loving bouncing Tiggers and whiny Piglets and Prozac-deprived donkeys, you're not going to be too impressed at 11 when people start going on and on about how great the whole Pooh world is, and get dorky smiles on their faces and giggle in a disturbing kind of way and in a baby voice say things like "What do Tiggers do? They bounce!" or "It all comes of liking honey too much", or worst of all, sing the song, which as far as I can tell consists of the words "Winnie the Pooh" repeated one million times, or until someone runs amok with a hatchet.

Apparently the high point in the history of the Pooh world is when "Pooh-bear" gets stuck in the doorway of someone's house (or possibly in a dike, but maybe I'm getting my stories mixed up). Then various retarded animals show up to push or pull him or whatever, and then I think... what? I dont' remember what happens, but I know it's not as good as my ending, where the bank collapses and they all suffocate.

And what's a Pooh, anyway, or a Pooh-bear for that matter? Sounds like a lot of crap to me.

then they did this

On the weekend my brother flew up and a childhood friend drove down and the three of us plus my son went ATV-ing.

Now ordinarily I'm more on the side of peace and quiet -- you know, nature pure and unspoiled, etc -- rather than on the side of fossil-fuel-burning machines tearing up the countryside, contributing to erosion and emitting noise and exhaust. In fact, the first day we just went hiking (first pic).

But I do have to admit this: ATVs are a total blast. An hour or so away from us are several square miles of mountain/forest that by general agreement have been set aside for dirt bikes, quads, and four-wheeling. We went tearing around, thru mud bogs, mini lakes, dirt trails, sand/gravel roads, down dry creek beds, up riverbeds with the rivers still in them, everywhere. My son and I have done it a few times before, but this time we pushed it a little harder. And those machines are amazing -- they're durable, flexible, nice balance of power and speed, and they chug thru two feet of water (or more) like they were made for it.

On our last run of the day, we passed a young woman on a pretty fancy quad going the other way. After a few minutes, we ended up going down the same path she had taken. In the middle of a little ravine about 8' wide we found her pinned under her upside-down machine, with her feet poking out one side and her helmet and one hand sticking out the other. She said she just couldn't get the leverage to shift the weight -- she'd been stuck there for 5 or 10 minutes by the time we came along.

We got her out and her machine going again -- she seemed okay, just a little bruised and a lot scared. So all's well that ends well -- she was all right, and we all got to perform manly rescuing maneuvers, which pleased us. A happy ending to a great weekend.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

soccer dad

Today my son's soccer team played an away game against a team from Mercer Island. Their league has enough money to pay an adult referee and two linesmen even at the Boys Under-13 level, which is unusual.

One might be tempted to think that kids from such a high-rent area (average home price: $1.1 million) would have high-class manners. One would be wrong -- they were a bunch of little wretches. They swore at our kids, committed blatant fouls, and stomped and complained when whistled for infractions.

The high point was when my son went after the ball in front of their goal toward the end of the game. Their goalie dived for the ball and collected it. David tried to jump over him, but banged him in the back of the head with his knee. Now, this could draw a whistle if the referee feels it happened because a player was not in control of his body or was playing in a dangerous way. But:
a) it's also part of playing goalkeeper -- that kind of accidental contact happens to David all the time when he plays goalie; and
b) the referee didn't call it as such.

Anyway, the way this goalie dealt with it was to turn around and take my kid by the throat with both hands. (This is the same goalkeeper who 5 minutes earlier chased down one of our players and shoved him in the back after the player beat him to the ball -- no whistle.)

While their goalie was busy choking my son, one of their defenders squatted on the ball two feet from the goal line and held it between his knees, leaving two of our strikers to stand there helplessly, unable to kick the ball for fear of kicking the player.

Eventually, there was a whistle. The referee conferred with the linesman (who later confessed to our coach "I don't know what the ref was talking about"), talked to the goalie who put his hand to his head and pointed at David. The ref called my son over and gave him a lecture, said offhandedly to the goalie "Don't do that any more", and awarded a free kick to their team.

No yellow/red card or free kick/PK for choking my kid; no red card for DOGSO* -- or even a yellow -- for dangerous play (squatting on the ball is illegal, as is any playing of the ball while you're on the ground) -- just a free kick for something it appears the ref never even saw, but called based on the verbal account of the other goalkeeper.

Needless to say, I was not impressed. Even accounting for the fact that my view is bound to be biased because it was my kid, I fail to see how you could come up with such a bizarre ruling.

David took it well, but after the lecture and subsequent free kick by their team, I could see him blinking tears out of his eyes. Then a minute later, he and another player collided and fell to the ground together -- the referee gave the home team the free kick and lectured my son again. Now, I played this game for 10 years, I have coached and refereed -- I know what a foul looks like, and that wasn't it.

Anyway, when the coach subbed David out a few minutes later, he started to cry. (David, I mean, not the coach ;-) And I felt bad for him -- I could feel his frustration -- but I told him I wouldn't have wanted him to play any differently than he had, and that he had done a good job accepting the ref's ruling and getting on with the game. The coach hugged him and told him he had done a good job.

Afterward, David said that during the handshake he told the other goalie that he was sorry. The other goalie smiled and said "No hard feelings."

No, wait, that's what I wish had happened. What actually occurred was that David apologized, and the other goalie turned around, glared at him, and snarled "***hole".

In other news, we won the game, 3-2.

*Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity

flequent fryers

My seatmate on my flight last night was 8 yrs old and flying from Austin to Denver by himself.
He was not fascinated with everything I did, was not flattered and pleased that I talked to him, was not well-mannered (assumed I would help with with the air, lights, flight attendant call button, hold his drink, etc all without a hint of a please or thank you). He had a lisp and he drooled.
On the other hand, among the many actions he had his stuffed animal perform for my viewing pleasure was the act of eating a booger, which I considered a strong point in his favour.
The flight attendant saw me laughing and when told why just rolled her eyes and muttered "Must be a boy thing..."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

wanna see something gross?

If you'd told me about it, I wouldn't have believed you. And it *would* be pretty easy to photoshop this, but more than one major news source is carrying it, so I'm supposing their people have checked to see that it's not a hoax...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Want more about art?

An article by Tom Wolfe that I liked:

Wolfe's 1975 article about the art world:

And another POV from

Monday, October 03, 2005

I know it when I see it

Nerdygirl's post of 9/27 (the part about art) obligates me to educate the world with the following post, not all of which is original:

First of all, I'd like to say I like Nerdygirl's approach -- just concentrate on the stuff that seems interesting or meaningful to you -- life is too short to
a) try to understand every piece of nonsense museums display under the name of art, or
b) feel inadequate because a certain piece of "art" doesn't resonate with you.

I understand it was Chekov who said "art is infection" -- the metaphor (paraphrased) being that the artist has an idea, a message, an emotion, whatever. The artist uses art to infect you with that feeling/etc. If that process takes place, then it's art -- if not, it's mental masturbation.

I've heard a lot of stupid stuff said by art apologists, much of it intended to make people feel stupid just because they didn't appreciate some piece of ca-ca someone decided should be called art.

Example: Are you outraged, shocked, annoyed? Congratulations, you're experiencing art!
Which is baloney, of course. Just because I'm annoyed doesn't mean you showed me art. I can shock and outrage you by peeing on your couch -- doesn't mean I'm an artist, does it?

Example: Responding to the question "What does it mean?" Someone sneeringly replied, It doens't MEAN anything -- art isn't ABOUT anything. Art just IS.
Again, baloney. If you want to pile your boogers into the shape of the Notre Dame cathedral (or paint an entire canvas blue), well more power to ya. But don't try to say it's art if it's meaningless to everyone else on the planet.

And of course, we've probably all heard the stories: the janitor who cleaned up an installation that looked to him like a bunch of detritus left over from a conversation around a coffee table (empty paper cups, cigarettes, etc). Because, guess what? That's what it WAS -- trash, not art.
Or the painting that was wrapped in burlap, and mistakenly displayed with only the corner showing where the museum had lifted the burlap to identify the painting. The only-a-corner-showing approach elicited much admiration ("innovative", "courageous", etc) from bozos who think the emperor's *supposed* to be naked.

Okay, now your understanding of this issue is on a par with mine. You're welcome.

Oh, and PS:
For funny stuff about art pretension, see one of David Sedaris's books (I think it was in Me Talk Pretty One Day) -- there's a chapter in there about his time at college, taking lots of drugs and pretending that all manner of moronic activity was artistic expression.