Friday, April 29, 2005

First class is the shiznit

Got back yesterday from the far away eastern USA. Got up hella early (4 AM) to drive to the airport in Harrisburg PA, flew to shy-town (ORD) on the little plane, then on to San Jose FIRST CLASS cause there were no other seats when my tix were booked. Let me tell you; First Class > Coach. The food was good, the woman next to me was pleasant, the attendant was attentive, and the seat was Bob sized. I even got some work done.

Next time you have several many hundred bucks clogging up your wallet, fly first class.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Amish bloging

Who says there is no technology in Amish country. I am plucking this missive out in Lancaster PA, wireless no less, and the desk clerk even knew what Firefox was. I about dropped my buggy whip.

Don't get me wrong though, the hotel was built in 1969, and it really shows. It also has many strange smells, and the bar was obviously re-done in the early 80's.

But who cares? I'll only be here until the wee hours of Thursday.

Had dinner with two fellows who spend all their time on the road, and one more who is trying to spend less on the road. Plenty of stories.

Now, I must prepare for the morning visit to one of two printing plants in town!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Smoke gets in your eyes

Just got back from the Orion campout. It rained the first night but the tent, or Taj Majal as one camper called it, kept us nice and dry. The park isn't that far from the house and we only stayed two nights, but we had enough stuff that the Suburban was full without the rear seat and we had about 14 cubic feet of sleeping pads and a bike on the roof rack.

I don't know how these folks with the little Subaru's and two kids manage to survive. Perhaps they know how to say, "No, we are not taking that." And the best part of camping is smelling like smoke. Everything smells like smoke, even your toothbrush smells like the campfire.

But really the woods were mostly quiet and mostly beautiful. We had a good time with everyone, meeting new people whose kids now go to the school our once did. We are Alums now, and the new folks seek the traditions from us. That was nice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Way back before you were born

My dear friend Kate is going to Disneyland to get me a Minnie and Mickey Martini glass set, essentially on a whim because they are apparently having some sort of celebration there. Good thing too since I'm sure the place will be deserted like the time we went there last. Seems my friend Walter is going too at the same time. I'm sure they'll have a fun time.

Last time I went somewhere on a whim was to the 1983 US Festival For some reason after seeing the Day 1 event on tee vee Sharon and I decided to go to. We got plane tickets to LA, rented a car right after the morning flight, drove there (San Bernadino), paid to get in and watched the whole day of heavy metal music we didn't really like. Day 1 (Punk) was the headlined by The Clash, Day 3 (New Wave) was headlined by Bowie. Day one or three would have been great. Day 2 was not that good.

By midnight when Van Halen took the stage it was fricken freezing. All day it had been nearly-topless hot, which led to most everyone being in short sleeves or a lot less. Subsequently people built bonfires in the middle of the audience of about 250,000 people, which kinda helped but which didn't seem all that safe. I went and bought a long sleeve tee shirt which helped a lot.

STUPIDLY we left after sleeping overnight in the rented car. For some reason I thought that missing one more day of my $6.50 an hour job was going to hurt my career, plus it was going to be another $50 for tickets and about that much for food. Just goes to show you how stupid those long haired 22 year olds are.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Star Wars

I just re-read Wil Wheaton's blog about the good people who are waiting to see the "last" Star Wars movie. OMFG what a bunch of winners. The post is the funniest true story I've heard in a long time.

When I went to see the first Star Wars movie with Barbie Jesky on a date, I thought the date and the movie were just the coolest. Barbie was a fox and really tall.

I never heard from her after that date.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Enough with the weeds already

Weed n.weed; A plant that is unwanted, esp. intrusive, unattractive, or noxious.

So out in the back forty and the front 36.5 we have weeds. Now we do get after the little buggers but apparently they are growing the whole time we are working or watching Gilligan's Island or basting tasty meats. At the moment we are up in the battle, due to some Preem preemergent in the back garden. Yet the lawn on close inspection is at least 10% non-grass plants, the front yard had some nasty blackberry taking over right by the street, and the little yard at the end of the house is threatening to burst again as soon as we avert our eyes.

Now, we use that Roundup stuff that kills everything. At least that is what they breathlessly tell you on the bottle, "...wash off IMMEDIATELY is accidentially sprayed on desired plants...". Our experience is that you have to really hose the suckers down, and double strength at that. We tried an Ortho product that is supposed to kill ivy and kudzu; HA! hardly scared most of what we sprayed. I think aliens must be coming down at night and feeding and watering.

What really works is ripping them out by the roots, after you half kill them with chemicals. That or fire.

Friday, April 15, 2005


The weather is improving so much that I am considering actually using my pool. This brings up the touchy subject that we all dread, what to drink poolside. This may sound simple to the unitiated, but it is really complicated.

Now to start with, martinis are straight out. It is simply too sunny by the pool to keep the martini at the right temperature, and since we rigidly enforce the no-glassware-for-the-drunken-swimmers rule, one imagines the martini-in-a-plastic-cup would be tres mal.

Beer? ... puh-lease. Think of the children.

Now rum drinks and chlorinated water have shared a long drippy union. So rum based things could really be where we are going. But I am thinking of the ultimate hot weather drink here...

Mint Julep.

Yes, the call of the southern belle, "Beauregard, I am so drunk and so hot! Ravish me like a southern landowner!" Now, that is what evenings by the pool are meant for.

On the other hand, the Mojito has an even more sultry southerly sway over the old taste buddies. Sitting by the pool with a Mojito has a decidedly attractive feel. Even better, sitting in the pool with one...

OK so it wasn't complicated or touchy. Sue me.

Now all this assumes that you will all be joining me here, at least in manageable groups. Call beforehand, have a designated driver, and bring a towel. See you by in the pool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Argh! Homework!

If you have kids in elementary school you will undoubtedly feel my pain. The 4th grader has a project due. Only one problemo, he doesn't really care about the project, at least not as much as the parents and teachers do. Apparently children are lacking in wisdom and perspective about things like how important it is to practice the skills of organization of information, making a rational argument, and presenting it in a compelling manner. The also seem to lack the discipline of adults, especially high achievers who send their kids to charter schools.

This lack of wisdom and discipline usually seem like character flaws when you are tired and frustrated with your kid not toeing the homework line. But of course they are really just traits of normal kids.

It doesn't seem to improve dramatically until they hit the middle of high school or so. Then they can begin to really take responsibility for it.

Maybe other people's kids don't have this problem with homework. They are the lucky people, just like the people who are remarkably beautiful; rare people.

I have always hated homework. After about 15 years of kids in school, good thing I only have about six more years of it. Wait a tick... ARGH!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Whoa! After a real night's sleep and a day of goofing off I feel like Superman again. I took the doggie for a walk, ate some stuff, got the mail, took some dictation for a school project, drove kids around, bought couple of CD's (Cake: Fashion Nugget & Weezer), you know, Saturday stuff.

Now for something witty(?):

When in The Illinois I saw bu-jillions of The Cornfields. I never imagined that we needed that much corn. Do we? What if we covered up some of these corn fields with solar panels and put wind turbines in between the rows of panels? (It was hella windy there) Would this make corn chips and syrup more expensive and electricity less expensive? Would that make us thinner and less dependent on The Spice Oil?

Oh but wait, that would kill the family farm lifestyle that we revere... but then why does ADM get such support in Congress?

At least in Illinois you can smoke at the table in the restaurant and ride your motorcycle with a naked head.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Yumpin Yiminy!

That was an extra long day at work... Up at 6AM (4 AM for you west coasters), give customer presentation at 8AM, drive 170 miles to airport at 10 AM, get through O'hare security (think Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland without the neat architecture crap), two martini lunch (natch!), fun filled coach airplane ride to SJ (four hours), 30 minutes to get from gate to parked car, ride home. All on four hours of sleep.

I think I need a nap.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

also glargh

Having long week, even though it is an all expense paid trip to Mattoon. Tired like dog.

I promised

Promised I would post every day, and even though it is 2:40 AM for me it is still Wednesday.

Worked real hard today in a very difficult environment. It was like two tech Sundays back to back. Got into the plant at 10 AM, left at 2:15AM. Had two meeting/meals with customer.

I'll probably sleep well.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Things I learned today

When you are showing something to a customer on your laptop, always ask the customer if the viewing angle is good for them. When you are making a presentation that is open ended, allow the presentees to dictate when they have had enough so they don't feel like you are rushing them. When your customer's corporate engineering representative stops you in the hall on your way to go get a nap before you come back to see the night shift operators, make it clear that you were seeking them out.

The customer bought you your lifestyle. Treat them as if that is important to you.

Monday, April 04, 2005

greetings from Mattoon

We got here after traveling all day, I left home about 12 hours ago, but I'm only in Illinois. I could have gotten to Hawaii faster than this. At least the hotel is decent, with free included wireless Internet. But the room has queen sized beds. Queen sized bed = 73 inches long. Bob = 75 inches long. Can you say diagonal?

I porked up my inbound mail settings at home and lost a day of inbound traffic. Pilot error! All in an effort to avoid the evil spambots. Fukkin spammers make me cwazy.

The Fighting Illini (the college basketball team) is at this very moment playing in the final game of March Madness. People take this really seriously here. I better keep my mouth shut about how little I care about sports.

Gotta go and delete answer a dozen work emails that arrived.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Getting it all together for a week on the road... Check all my stuff I am taking, decide on the electric or blade razor, do I need this book, one pair of shoes or two, do I have enough junk, too much, which movies do I take, do I need the big headphones, or just the earbud ones...

Oh and daylight savings time gets harder to cope with every year. Today I am quite discomboobulated from the time shift, and now it's raining. Oh the humanity.

At least I'm flying first class on the way there.
I promise I'll write every day.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Am having drinkie

This was one of those get-a-lot-of-things-done kind if days. Dogs getting shots, shopping, pope dies, gardening, boys having friends over, dinner, and now a martini.

Just because you are an atheist doesn't mean you can't grieve a bit for the pope. He was an energetic and beloved leader for the people of his faith. He really worked hard, harder than most of us ever will, to make life better for millions. The loss people feel now is the loss of a loved one. I hope I can positively affect the world of the people who love and respect me. That would be a great honor.

There are those that disagreed with the positions that John Paul II took. His conservative views were at odds with the realities of the world, at least as I see it. Some note that his teachings cost lives from AIDS, and that women suffered social and religious setbacks in his papacy. Some just disagree with the Catholic Church in general. (Me included)

I disagree with many of those who are in power, and I think harm comes from them too. I find some solace in the reason that JPII took his positions; he did so in the solemn belief that this was for the good of his people, not because it brought him more power or served his "base". Good form John.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Wireless schmireless

So I got a Sony GPRS card for the work laptop and the "Communication Manager" software takes over the control of the built in WiFi gear in the laptop. On the one hand, this is annoying since I'm not sure how to properly configure it to work with my home access point. On the other hand it seems that the paid service covers WiFi connections at a wide variety of locations. Plus the thing doesn't get GPRS service at my office or here at the kitchen table, but then again I don't need it here or there since I'm fully wired up in both places.

I'm so confused.