Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Things nobody cares about

1) We won our second-round playoff game tonight, 4-2. We beat the Ironmen, who had finished first in our division by a healthy margin -- I think they had 4 losses all year. It was a strong effort by all concerned. Two assists by me (that's #16 on your program, #1 in your hearts...) ;-)

2) My L.A. trip was cancelled, so that makes a total of 7 days of consulting cancelled (out of 14 scheduled) this month. It's part of what happens in this business, but this isn't a very good month to have my paycheck cut in half...

3) Heading for San Antonio for a conference this week -- then 5 days in Austin next week. Since Austin is only an hour from San Antonio, I won't bother flying home for just a piece of the weekend. Will miss my kids, but at least the cancellations gave me almost 3 wks at home with them.

4) The word in Spanish for handcuffs is "esposas", which means "wives". That has nothing to do with anything, just thought you should know.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Take that, grammar nazis

I have a lot to say about grammar, and our need to mellow out about grammar rules. But for now, since I'm really busy, I'll let the Cavalry Guy do it for me...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Some people in the comments were discussing whether you can end a sentence with a preposition. Of course you can; who says you can’t? Some meddling parson called Robert Lowth made up these rules in the 18th century, but his rules are not true. Otherwise "people worth talking to" must become "people with whom it is worthwhile to talk". You'd need to be a real horse's arse to talk like that.
(See Fowler).
And there is no such thing as a split infinitive. "To" is not part of the infinitive, any more than the article is part of a noun. If "to boldly go" is a split infinitive, then "the happy cat" is a split nominative.
No sane man cares about such things.


Friday, March 17, 2006

death cab for cutie(s)

If you don't like sad stuff, instead of reading this post you may click on this link.

If you're still here, it's on you.

There was a stray cat that took up residence in our garage. At the time it was a real mess -- I could never catch her when she decided to crawl behind the junk.

Then one day I picked up a crumpled-up blanket and a bunch of newborn kittens fell out.

Since we are soft-hearted, I made them a bed (a towel in a box) and gave her some food. She crawled in an nursed them. It was sweet.

Except then the next night I went downstairs and she was taking her kittens out of the box and shaking them and leaving them on the cold garage floor.

Two of them were dead, one was missing, and three were still alive. I put the three back in the bed but she wouldn't have anything else to do with them. By the next day they were crying constantly from hunger.

I figured it was more merciful to put them to sleep than let them starve to death, so I put them in a box and hooked it up to the exhaust pipe on my car. I ran it for about a half an hour. Then I opened up the box.

One of the three was dead. The other two were hot and sweaty, but other than that you never saw a happier pair of kittens. They were crawling around on each other like this was the best thing they'd ever experienced.

I think at that point I chickened out and called the Humane Society, who came and picked them up. I'm sure they gassed them later, but I'm guessing they were more successful at it.

The missing kitten turned up in my hockey bag two weeks later. (No, Mom, he was not miraculously alive.)

I didn't say you wanted to know about this.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Art by David

David draws, too -- not as much as Samantha, but some of his stuff is surprising. This is a picture of X-men (?) character Gambit; the color one is professional pic from Google Images...

More art from Samantha

Most of Samantha's art is very fanciful. A lot of it is pretty dark. She only shows me about 10% of what she does. I usually get what she throws away. I would say she does between 2-6 pictures a day -- mostly sketches -- on cardboard boxes, envelopes, scratch pads, the wall above her bed, etc...

in other news

First playoff game was last night. We stepped up -- short shifts, skated really hard, everyone brought good attitude -- we won 5-0 against a team we had tied 1-1 last time we played. Much celebration ensued.
I was exhausted, having been up till 6am the night before, but still managed to have a great time. Also, I scored one goal -- if my humility were not entirely fake, I wouldn't have even mentioned it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

some things are just not okay

If you think this is an acceptable way to open a bag of macaroni, then cursed be thou and thy seed forever.

In other news, Samantha indicated to me that it was just too difficult to remember to do her chores every single day.

I said that chores are eminently rememberable if one wants to, and that if she was unable to figure out a way to remember them, I would help her, and that I was sure she'd prefer her way to my way.

Then I made macaroni, and had to deal with the incorrectly-opened bag above (how long, O Lord?). ;-)

Okay, that wasn't too bad, really -- I got over it. But while I was in the act of pouring the macaroni into the water, Sam -- sitting on her bum less than a yard from me -- asked if I would get her a soda out of the fridge. I said "Get your own d*** soda, you little parasite." No, actually I didn't, but I did try to make her feel foolish, lazy, and self-centered so she'd have something to live up to.

Couldn't find the cheese grater, but in a drawer I found a Pampered Chef rotary one, which is approximately the same amt of trouble as nibbling the cheese into little strings with your teeth. Plus you have a 16-part contraption covered with smeared cheese when you're done. So you have that going for you.

When macaroni was ready, I indicated that part of Sam's learning-to-remember-chores program would be that she could eat when the dishes --two days old in the sink -- were done. She said "That doesn't make any sense. You're just opening your mouth and random sounds are coming out..."

I'd be mad at her, but she makes me laugh.

now i think that's funny too

from http://www.thingsmyboyfriendsays.com/ *

On His First Million
me: So you're going to buy me a pony, right?
e: No, I'm going to buy ME a pony. Made of gold. With rockets.
me: And then with the rest you're going to buy me a pony, right?
e: I don't think there will be anything left after I get my gold rocket horse.

Bunny rabbits.
e: I'd get a bunny if they weren't so stupid.
me: They're brilliant!
e: They chew extenstion cords!
me: So do you!
e: Yeah, but for me it's a religious obligation.
me: What religion is that?
e: I'm not allowed to tell outsiders.
me: How do you know I'm not a member?
e: Obviously, you'd be chewing extension cords.

While watching America's Next Top Model.
"High drama at the whore factory!"

E imitates a hormonal, PMSing woman.

Robots and teddy bears.
e: You know, teddy bears and robots are mortal enemies.
me: Really. Since when.
e: It's been a few years now.

Prelude to an ***kicking.
e: Come here Mustard.
me: Why are you calling me mustard?
e: You said last night that I could.
me: No I didn't.
e: Yes you did. Think back, Mustard.

*vulgarity alert (or as my mom would say, "Too many swears")

In which I am helpful but stupid

This is my friend John waiting in the ER -- he caught a puck in the face during last night's hockey game.

The captain and I took John's truck home for him, then I waited at the hospital to take him home after his stitches.

Unfortunately, sometime between 2am and 4:30am (when he was getting stitched and I was sleeping in the waiting room), I lost his keys. I had them when I came in, so all I can figure is they fell out of my pocket while I was sleeping and somebody swiped them.

I remember waking up to see a couple of bad-looking dudes looking at me -- the keys were probably already on the floor and they were just waiting till I fell asleep again to snag them and walk thru the lot to see which truck the beeper would open. Since John's truck was already at his house, they'd have been out of luck, but it's still kind of annoying. Plus we lost. :-)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Some things are made for some people

I confessed to one of my clients, who’s also a good friend, that as a young person I was very insecure, especially with women.
The last time I was there, she presented me with this “complimentary cereal bowl”…

For Sale By Owner

  • 10 yrs old; 2250 sq ft
  • 3 BR, 2.5 bath, great room over garage
  • on semi-rural .69 acres
  • backs up to the river; view of Mt Si in front
  • located in North Bend, WA
  • 30 min from Seattle
  • 30 min from skiing
  • 5 min from hiking
  • $479,000 or make me an offer

I know it when I see it 2

Came downstairs and found this on the counter with a post-it note that said Fruitly Art by Me :-)
Three guesses who was responsible...

snicker snicker snort

Hannah's week with the kids, so I spent an extra day in Austin, TX. Got invited on a boat outing on Lake Travis with some consultants/friends/friends-of-friends/etc.

None of us knew a heck of a lot about boats, so I captained going out (bumped the back of another boat getting out of the slip, but no damage.) Someone else captained coming back in (she put the bow right into a huge wake and about a million gallons of water came over the front -- I don't mean just some water splashed in, I mean the bow was covered and the boat was basically full of water for a while). I was glad because it meant someone else was also not perfect.

We stopped off of a place called Hippie Hollow, where there were lots of naked people, so naturally (har) we had to take a picture...

And all's well that ends well. Got a bit of sun, lost my baseball cap, had a swim, learned you need to put someone on the sides to push off when you're at low speed in a tight dock area...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


This is me and my daughter on a date.
She is sweet, beautiful, opinionated, impossible.
She is talented and stubborn, lazy and generous, moody and brilliant. She has a wicked sense of humor.

Here are some things she has drawn or painted.

She plays the piano and composes her own pieces, but she is concerned that Van Cliburn may read my blog and consider her efforts amateurish, so she refused to let me post a recording of her playing.

She grasps most new ideas in a few seconds, which is handy because she typically declines to spend more than 10 (seconds) on any one particular thing. Her favorite book is The ADD Book of North American - Hey, let's go ride our bikes!

She is my daughter and I love her. :-)

I am not dating

I wrote this a cpl of yrs ago, when I was also not dating. But since I dream of someday writing for money, I occasionally set myself the task of writing a page or two about a particular topic. Happily for me, I have an ample supply of opinions on subjects about which I know nothing, so I'm seldom at a loss for words.
Aaaanyway, to make a long story short (too late!), this is about dating. Which I am not. Doing, that is. Okay.


The bottom line is, I hate dating.

Dating is not relaxing. “It’s just an casual evening out,” we say. But we lie. The guy at the bullfight who sticks colored spears in the bull’s neck from a range of four inches is more relaxed than a typical couple on a first date. He knows what’s expected. He knows his job. He knows that the bull will not bore him with him endless stories about his ex-fiance, “who had a great butt, but not a brain in her head, if you know what I mean.” He is confident that the bull will not tell him “You remind me of my gynecologist. He is good-looking, but I am not attracted to him,” and then stare at him expectantly as he searches in vain for an appropriate response.

Dating is an appraisal process. We attempt to hide our own inadequacies, while we silently measure our date against a standard that (if they could meet it) would put them far out of our league. “There’s no pressure,” we say. “If the first date leads to others, well, great. If it doesn’t, then that’s fine, too.” This is also a lie. If a first date is not followed by more dates, it is because at least one party found the other to be a loathsome insect. I mean, let’s admit it: one of the purposes of a date is to find out whether the other person measures up to our standards. Is he romantic/funny/serious enough? Is she refined/intelligent/cheerful enough? And most important for a majority of men, does she have large breasts, and how soon might they be fondled?

Dating is about lying. We spend between five minutes (on the spectacularly unsuccessful date) and several hours attempting to impress someone whose preferences we have only the vaguest idea about. We pretend to be intelligent, well-mannered, witty, and belly-button-lint-free, and find out later that our date was one of eleven Americans with a lint fetish. And at the end of a date, when you know that the only way you would date this person again is at gunpoint, you have to pretend you’re looking forward to next time.

For a woman, this means saying “Thank you. I had a nice time.”

For a man, this consists of saying “I’ll call you.” At some point near the end of every date, there comes an echoing silence into which the man is required to speak these magic words. It doesn’t matter that he would rather cut off two fingers and a testicle than call this woman again -- if he fails to say “I’ll call you,” his dating license is immediately revoked.

To be fair, not everyone lies at the end of a date; experienced daters develop a series of refusal lines for use at the end of less-than-stellar dates. One girl I dated was fairly direct, indicating that she would summon the police if I called her again. I took this to mean that more dates were unlikely. Because I'm perceptive that way.

On the other end of the directness spectrum was another young woman I went out with (once) in college. When I asked if I could see her again the next day, she said, “Why don’t you let me enjoy thinking about the great time I had on this date for a few days, then call me.” Being extremely obtuse, I did call her after a few days. She said she was still thinking about what a wonderful time she had had with me the last weekend. I called again the next week, but she was still reminiscing. I called a few more times during the next few semesters; apparently the magic of that first date just never wore off. I noticed that she went out with other guys, and that one in particular gave her a lot of attention. Her dates with him must have been forgettable in the extreme, since they went out often during our last two years at the university. When I called shortly after graduation, her roommate told me she was on her honeymoon. I hoped the lingering memory of our date didn’t keep her from enjoying that special time to the fullest...

Monday, March 06, 2006

my son played baseball

I wrote this at the end of David's second baseball season...

David’s second year playing baseball – last year was emphatically not enjoyable since he was just learning the sport and his coach spent most of the time yelling at the kids for their mistakes and acting frustrated about how little they knew, rather than teaching and encouraging them.
Because his coach was such a pill and the experience was so negative, at the end of last season I told David he didn’t have to play again. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention this to Hannah, who signed him up. The result was that we resorted to a time-honoured method of securing cooperation in the face of parental breach-of-promise: we bribed him.

Anyway, he’s actually enjoyed this year – to the point where he chafes when he has to play outfield, and longs for the chance to play catcher or infield – he actually wants the ball to be hit to him as much as possible. His coaches this time are great: very encouraging and positive. He’s not really Sammy Sosa -- I would put him no higher than the 30th percentile on the team, skill-wise -- but it’s so cool to watch him having fun.

David’s team is the Athletics – they wear green & yellow uniforms just like the real A’s. Being a Mariner’s fan, normally I wouldn’t permit such a thing in my home, but I figured I’d have to make an exception this year…

The highlights from my POV:

Early in the season, probably his second time playing second base. High pop-up between 1st and 2nd gets lost in the sun, but David picks it up when it’s about 10’ off the ground, and makes a lunging catch from his knees for the out. Much high-fiving in the dads’ cheering section as the other fathers congratulate me on my contribution of such stout and skilled genetic material.

Warming up before the game, David catches a ball just below the cheekbone, which cuts his cheek/lip open inside. Hannah drives him to the ER where they stitch up the inside of his mouth. He doesn’t cry at all, but comes close when he hears the doc contemplating whether or not he’ll be able to return to the game – the coach had promised he could catch, and he doesn’t want to miss it. Eventually the Dr. gives him permission to play, so Hannah drives him back to the ballfield where the game’s still in the first inning. He plays well, blood-covered uniform, swollen face and all.

Two days later the cheek gets infected (they elected not to give him antibiotics for some reason), and he has to go back to the hospital where they take out his stitches and squeeze gallons of pus out of the wound, clean it with swabs and pack it with Neosporin and gauze. He spends two nights in the hospital on IV antibiotics, doing the unpack/squeeze/clean/re-pack thing several times. He misses two games, but a bunch of his teammates come to see him and bring a big get-well card.

Playoff game, David’s in left field, his team is getting shelled. At one point they’re down by as many as 12 runs. Line drive between short and 3rd, David comes in on it and makes a diving catch, rolls over and comes up with the ball still in his glove. The stands explode, and his fired-up team goes on to climb back into the game, eventually winning by a run in the bottom of the last inning.

I guess that’s basically it. David had fun playing, and I had fun watching him. I like him. He’s my son. :-)

I have a new email

my new email is bryantorre@yahoo.com

the quiller999 one is likely to go away soon.

the end.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

And another thing

I'm changing the "I've been everywhere/nowhere" post because the photos are too wide and push the sidebar down to the bottom. Instead of the pics, I'll just put the links...

In case anyone wondered, or cared, or would actually paste in the links to see where somebody ELSE has been. Which they didn't/don't/wouldn't.

This happened when I was about 11 yrs old…

We left early in the morning, our pockets and backpacks stuffed with flashlights, extra batteries, bulbs, matches, lighters, candles, batteries, food, and batteries. We had canteens, emergency space-blankets, gloves, and extra socks. Also batteries. Dad was big on safety, so we had triple-redundant backups for everything, from extra toques to dental floss, and we had lots of batteries.

There were four of us: Dad, [brother] Ted, me, and my 20-yr-old uncle, Raul. Raul was staying with us in Calgary, on his way to L.A. with his friend Ken Wahl. Ken had gone on ahead, after he and Raul were deported for working illegally (that’s a whole nother story), but Raul had come back up to spend a few more weeks with us.

We pretty much hero-worshipped Uncle Raul. Ken had huge biceps, and had showed me how to light matches with my teeth, which was pretty cool, but Raul had participated in endless rubber-band-gun fights, played street hockey, baseball, and basketball with us, and described the movie Jaws in minute detail, including the gory parts, so he was pretty firmly in first place at that time, uncle-wise.

Anyway, this ice-caving expedition was to a spot the three Torres had been to before, and it was pretty neat. The entrance was maybe 10 feet high, and it narrowed down gradually toward the back. I don’t know how deep the cave was – to my 11-yr-old mind, it went on forever, and the light from the entrance faded fairly quickly. Sometimes we would all turn our lights off and wait for a long time too see if our eyes could adjust enough to pick up any light at all, but it was absolutely, completely dark.

There was also some kind of underground river that ran thru the cave. It was frozen – at least in the winter – and there were huge blocks and sheets and chunks of ice that you had to clamber over or under or around. It sloped up gradually, until it was mostly rock – not much ice.

The cave led back for quite a ways, narrowing down, opening out into little rooms, and narrowing down again. Eventually, we came to a room that seemed to be the end of the line. This was as far as we’d ever been in the cave – at this point it became a long diagonal crack about a foot wide, that seemed to extend for a dozen feet or more, curving gently away.

I imagine having his sons along made Dad cautious; in any case we all agreed that this would be a good place to turn around. But Raul thought he might be able to work his way into the crack a little ways. It seemed to me to be an excellent way to get stuck and spend the rest of your life inside a frozen mountain, but Raul *was* able to slither into the crack quite a ways, and said that it got a little better further on.

Dad cautioned him not to go beyond the point where we could hear each other, and Raul agreed. We shouted back and forth every few seconds for the next five minutes or so, and Raul’s voice got fainter and fainter. Then we couldn’t hear him any more. We didn’t hear anything for several minutes, and Dad was getting worried and (I think) angry. I guess he was imagining having to go back and tell Mom that he had lost her little brother in the ice cave.

We didn’t hear anything for 5-10 minutes, but eventually Raul shouted again, and we could hear him coming back. And not only that, but he seemed to be talking to somebody. A few minutes later he was back with two young hikers. Apparently they had been camping in the ravine below the cave, and had decided it would be fun to explore it a little. Totally ignoring my Dad’s 15-extra-batteries-for-every-flashlight rule, they had worked their way far into the cave until their one light expired. They had then wandered around in the dark until they came to a drop-off; not knowing how far it was to the bottom, they had sat there and shouted until Raul found them.

As I remember it, they were on a camping trip that was supposed to last several days, so one would have come looking for them for quite a while. I think that without Raul, they would have been in serious trouble and they knew it, but by the time the six of us made our way out of the cave and they saw the sunlight again, they had changed from
"Thank you thank you thank you for saving our sorry butts"
"Well, you never know, we might have found our way out eventually, who knows?"

We didn’t believe it for a minute. And Dad never even mentioned this perfect demonstration of the importance of having backups for everything, especially batteries, but I know I got the point.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Where I've been

From Smart Sisters...

i've been to 70% of the states

create your own visited states map


hardly any countries, but the ones I've been to are big ones...

create your own visited countries map