Saturday, May 31, 2008

MOVIE: Iron Man

Liam and I caught an early show while The Girls were at a birthday party somewhere.

a) It is a movie based on a comic book. My expectations were set appropriately.

b) It won't be winning any awards for Best Screen Play or Best Actor, but it should win awards for the special effects. I really didn't think they could do The Suit any justice. But they did. Stunning. Incredible. Heart-warming for aged comic fans like myself.

c) Hollywood still hasn't learned, "One villain is boring!" Iron Monger was interesting, but barely sufficient. More villains (even some clever henchmen) would have been welcomed.

d) Tony Stark's last line nearly ruined it for me.

e) Liam and I were the only people to stay past the credits. And we were the only ones to see the secret scene. First they change The Kingpin. Now they change Nick Fury?

Reviewing the writing, literary depth, dialog and so forth for a movie based on a comic book is like watching a Food Channel review of McDonald's. It's just fast, greasy food for the screen. And we enjoyed almost every fattening bite. Good light-hearted date flick. Great movie for a father & his son.

We'll go see the sequel next summer, for sure.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Favorite Veteran

Memorial Day, 2008. I went to visit the remains of my Grandfather. A.E. Kranz. First time I had visited him since his funeral. I'll try to make it a new tradition. Something to honor his memory.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm Alright

Taking a couple of days off to relax and not think for a while.

Liam is okay. He was released Friday and has made marked progress each day since.

Meg is great. Not a day goes by without a performance from her.

Cindy is good. Surprisingly few woes have arisen from her lately.

I'm alright. Ain't got to worry about me. Just unwinding for a while. Nothing diabolic behind my lack of writing. Just sloth.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Road To Recovery

A much better day for our boy, Liam.

Changed the first set of gauze on his new incision. His initial incision is not giving him any trouble Temperature is down to nearly normal levels. Swelling is diminished. His energy is up. His attitude is greatly improved. And the doctors are happy with his progress. Certainly on the road to recovery. Possibly the best day he's had in a week.

Cindy had to take Meg to ballet practice. Liam and I hung out and watched a couple of movies. Indiana Jones: The Temple Of Doom and Star Wars: Episode III.

Aside from being in the hospital the whole time, it was a good day with Liam. I hope it is all uphill from here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

All His Marbles

Liam's test this morning was bad. Real bad. Instead of a diminished supply of blood to one of his boys, there looked like no blood was getting there. Maybe "torsion" they said. (Which in English means something is twisted in there.) Or pressure from fluid has constricted the blood flow. Something could be dying, or dead.

So Cindy signed a consent to remove what they had to remove. And Liam was rushed into surgery. Again.

Another agonizing wait. This time thinking he could be losing a rather sensitive and critical piece of himself. The appendix isn't needed. Testicles are. I kept emailing updates and texting folks and making phone calls. Trying to pass the time somehow.

Finally, after forty minutes, the urologist arrived.

In thirty five years of practice, he said, he has never seen anything like this. Nothing was twisted. There was no sign of infection in the abdomen. And didn't see any kind of obvious hernia. But his sack was full of purulent fluid. They removed an ounce of it. (For an adult, it would have been like having 8 ounces (a Coke-can sized serving) in there!) And when they checked on his gear, everything was good. Everything was healthy. Nothing had to be removed, except excess fluid that shouldn't have been there. But the fluid couldn't be explained with complete certainty. So we were left with something of a medical mystery, but Liam was left with all his marbles.

They rolled him out of the recovery room. We were all delighted with the good news. He had balloons and presents waiting in his room. He had a ton of visitors. He kept dozing in and out. He had phone calls. It wasn't long before he was back to himself and feeling much better. He won't be walking (to let the swelling go down) but he's already recovering even quicker than last time.

And we're all ready to see an end to this adventure. And have a normal day. Without any nurses or shots or risks of complications.

To be a family again.

- - -

Maybe it was the stress. Maybe it was wishful thinking. I don't expect Liam or Cindy or anyone to ever believe me. But during the surgery, something happened to me. While we were in the Waiting Room and fearing the worst, a wicked chill swept across me. I lost my breath. A panic attack? A stroke? Amid all the voices and the noise from the TV and the echoes off the concrete walls, I could feel Liam's presence in the distance. Like hearing your child's voice in a crowded room, he was there. I shut my eyes. Clenched my hand against my temples. And it felt like I was turned completely horizontal. And my head was being dragged back toward the guts of the operating room. I was filled with a vision. Blurring down the hall, into the operating room, with Liam on the table, a breathing tube taped to his mouth, the lights illuminate him and the doctors around him. I could see one of them nodding and turning to the assistants. I could see they weren't removing anything. They were putting him back together. Something in those nods and the lack of any cutting made me relax. I took another breath, and it was over. I wasn't cold anymore. I thought then and there that he was okay.

It wasn't a panic attack. Or a stroke.

I don't know what it was.

But I didn't say anything.

Nobody would believe me if I did.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back To The Pediatric Ward

Just when I thought it was safe to go back to work, Liam ends up back in the hospital.

His wound from the surgery is doing better. But he's got other issues. Mainly fluid and swelling in a place men don't like to have fluid or swelling. And such affects are most uncomfortable.

So around 3PM the doctor advised Cindy to take Liam to the Outpatient center at Memorial Hospital, and get an ultra sound of the swollen area. I arrived around 4:30PM, just in time to wrestle him during the test. The technician saw plenty of fluid around his left marble and some constriction of the blood flow to it. They tested for a hernia, but that was inconclusive.

The pediatrician and the radiologist and the urologist all had a conference call and wanted to admit him back to the hospital. The plan is to have him off his feet and do another ultrasound in the morning. There is a thought that either a slight torsion (ie: twisting) to a "skin tag" in the affected area, or excess fluid in the area, or a hernia. But they won't know for sure until more tests tomorrow.

On a good note, aside from the swollen area, he is feeling much better, sounding better, and finally eating better. We're hoping to get past this hurdle, and move on to a fun-filled summer.

(SIDE NOTE: This picture is from last year. I can tell because that hideous red paint and the wood panels are in the background. That's the OLD living room.)

Once more into the breach, dear Son...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Return Of The Kid

Liam woke up this morning and said, "I feel 100% better."

When Cindy asked him what he thought he could do today, Liam said, "The sky is the limit."

That's my boy.

As his attitude returned to normal, so did his temperature. He dipped down to 99 degrees and some change. He was able to hold down some Fruit Loops. And he was all smiles.

His Aunt Judy called and told him for every long trip down the hall, she'd give him a dollar. Cindy said she'd match that money. All of which he took as a challenge.

Couple more visitors today. Meg, Gigi, and cousin Alex stopped by after church. Bobby White (a friend from school) visited. Pawpaw Raybourn and his wife, Granny Pam, swing by. And after lunch, Liam's teacher, Miss Davis, made a surprise appearance.

By the end of the day, the doctors were all happy with his progress. His temperature had normalized, and he'd racked up four long trips down the hall.

And by 6:30PM, he was back home. Where he belongs.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Liam's Next Day

Plenty of surprises today. Both good and bad. No rest for the weary, on any fronts. Would be nice to have a dull, uneventful day this year. Could use the time to catch up.

Good news is that Liam had a ton of visitors today: Nana (my mother.) Great Grandma (my grand mother,) Pawpaw Raybourn (Cindy's day,) Gigi (Cindy's mother,) Darby (Cindy's niece,) Amy (Cindy's sister-in-law,) Miss Rachael (Cindy's friend / Pastor / mother of Liam's friend,) and Pastor Andy (from the Methodist church Cindy and the kids visit.)

And, just after they took of Liam's bandage, Meg came to visit. They had a good time, catching up and talking about Liam's adventures of the past couple of days. Turns out that one of Meg's favorite dolls, Madeline, also has a scar in the same spot. And Meg's able to relate a lot better to what's been going on, now.

Bad news is that Liam's fever returned, with a vengeance. Neither the doctors nor Nurse Cindy liked the fever. It hit 104.4 degrees at one point. So they all agreed to keep him another night, for observation.

Also, even though he is walking more, when the painkillers wear off, Liam turns into a werewolf. Either as a side effect of the drugs or the result of the pain, he gets extremely ornery, argumentative, and uncooperative. It gets compounded by his intelligence. I found myself with an incredibly vocal, insulting eight year old. Not that he was cursing, but I couldn't believe some of the stuff coming out of his mouth. And until he finally fell asleep, it was non-stop. I had to just shutup and not look at him. Eventually, he burned out. And sleep a couple of hours.

Once he woke up and had some more painkillers, he was fine. He'd walk, smile, and eat. No sign of the little werewolf.

Finally, around 10PM, I drove home.

Hopefully tomorrow Liam can come home, too.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Liam & The Giant Appendix

What a crazy forty eight hours it has been. It was at least a month's worth of excitement all rolled up into two days. And I'm ready to see the bottom of this particular rabbit hole.

Our tale actually began on Wednesday. I neglected to write about, but Liam stayed home that day. His stomach was upset. He actually threw up twice. But he dealt with it most professionally and didn't make it any worse than it had to be. I took half a shift and watched him. Cindy took the other half. Aside from the vomiting, we didn't think anything of it.

Yesterday morning, Liam said his stomach was actually hurting. He said even walking was difficult. Silly me, I thought he was sore from too many sit-ups at karate. I couldn't have been more surprised when Cindy called me from the Pediatrician's and said the doctor ordered a CT scan. Which is never a good thing.

A few hours speed by. Cindy and I help him through the scan. The doctor reviews the results. And it isn't good. Looks like he has fluid around his appendix. It's classically sore in that area, the fluid isn't a good sign, his pain is getting to the point where he can't walk, and he has developed a fever.

All of the symptoms point toward a ruptured appendix. Which is never a good thing. Actually it is bad enough to require emergency surgery.

Less than an hour speeds by. Instead of the CT room, now we're in pre-op with him. I snap a final photo of him with his appendix. (Click any picture to enlarge.) He's balled up in pain, eyes closed, and not talking. They're going to put him to sleep, giving him a breathing tube down his throat, and cut out his appendix. Good case, 30 min. Bad case, an 60 min.

We head to the waiting room.

(Brief side note: There was another patient in the pre-op. He was in a car wreck. T-Boned. Took 40 minutes to extract him via Jaws Of Life. His femur when through his quadriceps and out the skin. Cracked his pelvis. Concussion. Ruptured blood vessels in his brain. A shunt in there to monitor pressure. So Liam wasn't the only one having a bad day.)

Before the surgeon came out, it was the longest 50 minutes of our lives, so far. She had good news. No rupture. Swollen and inflamed, yes. Ruptured, no. So they didn't have to rinse out his abdomen and flush out all the fluids. And there was far less of a chance of complications.

After that, we had a two hour wait before they brought him back to his room. And then another two hour wait before they brought the morphine. Then Liam chased the dragon.

I drove home around 1AM. Cindy and Liam slept until 6AM. And I was back by noon.

He wasn't having a good day. The morphine wasn't really working. It was only 1mg, anyway.

Cindy went home for a nap. They switched Liam to Demerol. And his smile came back.

I grabbed a photo of him sitting up and smiling for the first time since Tuesday.

Then he got ambitious and started walking on his own. Only a little trip around the bed and back. But it was a good start. And great to see him smiling.

By the time I left, he had taken a nap, his fever had broken, the surgeon said he could likely go home tomorrow, his mother had returned with Meg, and he Liam showed off with another walk down the hall and back.

Hopefully, he returns tomorrow.

Always an adventure at our place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

GAME: Ironman

What an amazingly unimaginative, cludgy piece of boring and unplayable robocrap Ironman The Game turned out to be. It has all the depth and strategic challenge of pong. It is as enjoyable as self-castration. I'd rather chew sandpaper dipped in Tabasco and chase it down with a razorwire milkshake than play this lumbering Crapasaurus Rex again.

I played the first two "levels," and nearly gnawed off my own fingers trying to escape. The game provided absolutely nothing to entertain me. The graphics wouldn't have been impressive even in the 20th century. And even something as simple as flying was impossible on a PC. (The game is obviously a direct port from a console.)

Whomever developed this steaming lump of digital feces should be sterilized so they can never reproduce and soil our world with one of their creations. I can only pray it was created at gun point, while heavily medicated. Or it is actually part of somebody's revenge upon humanity for years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of sadistic car-building robots.

Please, don't buy this game. It has all the thrill of naval lint, but leaves an even worse taste in your mouth. Supporting Ironman The Game is like paying Richard Simmons to be in charge of wardrobe. Don't do it. Just don't be "that guy."

Fatal Election

A multitude of recent political events have catalyzed a series of micro rants behind my eyes. Thought I'd get them out. I sleep better when my grey matter is rant-free.

I'm fascinated by the fact that Obama has been saying for weeks: Clinton is going to win NC by a landslide. And he's so sure, he only makes three stops in the state before the primary. He told the media over and over that he wasn't going to expend any efforts/money on an obvious no-win scenario. And despite his repeated foreshadowing, after Clinton wins most of the delegates, the Einsteins in the media act surprised, announce that she still has a chance to win the nomination, and try to force the candidates to duke it out in the public stage. Of course the sheeple completely forget Obama's predictions and entirely fall for the media's childish manipulations. The pointless battle between the two candidates serves no purpose other than disenfranchising potential voters and giving the Republicans more potential angles of attack one the Democratic candidate is finalized.

After eight years of plundering the public coffers, bloating the size of the government to elephantine levels, creating a new fearocracy, invading a sovereign nation based on the flimsiest of lies, and doing nothing to stop or even slow the New Mexican Invasion, the GOP is surprised to see that the public has grown wearing of the political sodomy being committed upon them. They're startled that the last three special elections in the US have all resulted in spectacular victories for the Democratic parties. Even in traditionally die-hard GOP territory. And suddenly the Republicans realize the public has lost confidence in them and their so-called "values."How could they not hear this train hurtling down the tracks toward them?

So shaken by the realization that the sheeple are starting to grow numb to the constant Republican alarm cry of "terror! fear! terror! fear!" the GOP is completely abandoning their President and have stabbed him in the side with a veto-proof farm bill. Of course what is truly amazing is that a) When Dubya was running for re-election, he vigorously supported such things, 2) Dubya has the hubris to try to suggest the farm bill is fiscally irresponsible, and 3) In the middle of the highest food prices in two decades, the farm bill affords even more money to farmers to encourage them to leave fields unplanted. Um.... isn't encouraging the shortage of supply in the face of increased demand artificially forcing the price of food higher for the tax payers that are footing the bill for this farm bill? We're paying them to jack up our prices for wheat, corn, milk, eggs, and meat? Greeeeeaaatttt.... Baaaag, sheeple. Baaah. Baaah!

On a less rantified note, I spotted an interesting article: Hilary Clinton - The Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Of The Democratic Party. Which brought me to the conclusion that if Hilary manages to butcher Obama's chances of becoming the next President, we can dub the eventual-Lifetime-movie Fatal Election.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meg's Show

Finally pulled off the pictures of Meg's show from a week or so ago. I've got video of it, too. But it is going to take a while to grab it off the camera and then drip it down low enough to stream it on here.

The first shot is of Meg's introduction. Each child took a turn and announced their name. For anyone who knows her, it isn't hard to believe, but she was quite loud and very thorough in her pronunciation. "Meg McDougal" she said. And then took her seat. Front and center. She was "I." Incredibly appropriate.

Second shot is a close-up. Mugging for the camera. She loves being the center of attention. Loves the limelight. Thankfully she didn't play with her hair. For the longest time, when she should practice and put on a show for us, Meg would touch her hair. Either twirling it with a finger or pushing it behind her ear. Cute, the first time or two. But after that, it rapidly became distracting. And eventually annoying. She finally realized what she was doing after a week or so of coaching. We feared she would relapse. She didn't. Instead, it was a great show. She sang, loud and clear. We could hear her amid all the other voices. And at times she was clearly leading the pack. Everyone following her example when they'd forgot the words. She's known every word for weeks. And has been counting down the days.

Third shot is Meg's semi-solo act. They had four or five songs. During one of them, Meg and three others stood up and sung about their letters. Meg being an "I" she stood up with the other "I" kids. And they were vowels, so they got longer parts. And more attention. So, Meg Bear absolutely loved it.

Final picture is Meg's final goodbye. The show ends and all the kids stand up. One of them, only one, starts bowing and blowing kisses. Yes, indeed, it was my Meg Bear.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Liam's Class Awards

Liam had his awards ceremony this morning. Gigi couldn't make it, but my Mom (Nana) and Cindy's Dad (Pawpaw) were able to swing by for the event.

Before the individual class accomplishments, the Librarian gave out a series of awards. These days, kids are aggressively encouraged to read. They get to check out books, read them, and take computerized tests and score points based on their comprehension of what they read. As they accumulate points, they advance in the ranks. And they win special dogtags as they go through the various levels. So the librarian was giving out awards to those kids that scored the most points. For his class, Liam received the top award. He read the most books and had achieved Super Reader 10, Advanced Reader 3. Liam was also tied with another kid in his class for achieving the highest rank. He and one other boy had reached Advanced Reader 3. Only two out of 100+ kids. Puts Liam in the Top 1%.

After the literacy awards, Liam's teacher gave out the individual certificates. When Liam came up, he received The Sky Is The Limit Award. Somewhat obscure, but entirely appropriate. Liam's able to do anything he puts his mind to. He also had two other awards in his folder, but I didn't catch those. Probably related to his reading (what other 2nd grader has read Tom Sawyer, Mody Dick, and The Oddesy?)

When everyone had finished, we all congratulated our Golden Boy and took a couple of pictures with him. He's already talking about winning top reader in the third grade, next year. Yeah, buddy. Strategic thinking. Pick your battles. The sky is the limit for you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day

Started off with a long, romantic mowing of the grass. And progressed to a nice, family-oriented lunch and Gigi's house. My Mom and my Grandmother joined us. Cindy made Mexican dip and banana pudding. I grilled up some burgers and corn-on-the-cob on the grill. Great lunch, actually. Plenty of good stuff and the pudding was incredible. Love it when it is still warm.

Afterwards, the kids (all 6 of them) and the adults (all 7 of us) went outside for a twisted form of soccer and baseball and huddling in the cool shade of the oak trees. Took bunches of pictures. Cindy's side of the family filling the whole frame. And then we swarmed around Grandma for a picture of my side. As an extra bonus, caught a picture of Liam pushing his cousin Tolar around in a baby stroller. Made Mr. T look huge. He's growing like a weed. Sooner or later he'll be competing in the Iron Man triathlon.

And then I spent three hours getting the new interior doors for the house. Other than that, great day. Especially for the Mothers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Meg's Class Awards

Meg's kindergarten award ceremony was today. We went first thing this morning. Glenda (Gigi to the kids) joined us. Cindy brought Liam out of his class. All of us together in the gym, waiting to see what she would get.

Meg's class was second on the agenda. Meg was in the middle of the pack. Pink dress. Pink shoes. Pink bow. 100% Meg.

She received the Outstanding Leader award. That's ironic on so many levels, it borders on frightening. The most notable irony is that two years ago, for his kindergarten award, our boy, Liam, received the exact same award.

And Meg wears leadership like she wears pink clothes. She falls second to no one. We have to hold on with both hands when she's at the helm. And it's always a break-neck pace.

Afterwards, we all took a picture together. Not sure what happened to Gigi's and Liam's neck. I think it was a micro earthquake that only affected their heads.

And then Meg took a snap with her teacher. For posterity.

Very proud of her. Very very proud. Can't wait until next year!

BJJ Revisited

Went to a three hour training session with Master Dring from Little Rock, Arkansas, tonight. Baseball chokes. Grapevine escape. Gi chokes. Pinch the mouse. Side control escapes. Full guard to side control moves. Sometimes he'd go too fast. Sometimes he talked more than he demonstrated. We started late, ended late. And the warmup took a while. Fantastic stuff, though. Taking an all day lesson with him, tomorrow. Hope it goes as well. Or better.

Worked out at the gym earlier. I believe I'm back where I left off before the six week hiatus. Going to pick up the pace next week. Try to get back to three circuits, instead of just two. Continue with the yoga. Continue with the cardio.

Went to the eye doctor. Wish I hadn't. Seems for the first time in a decade, my vision has degraded. I was in Atlanta, GA from like 1996 - 2005, and it never changed while I was there. The test today suggest I lost another 10% of my vision. Nowadays I see an object 20feet away as if it were 950 feet away. Without my glasses, I can't see my toes. They're pink smears in an ocean of blurs. (sigh) I pray the kids don't inherit my vision, or lack thereof. Nobody should be this blind.

Work work work. Suffered a massive outage on the floor yesterday. Forty five minutes of no tickets going in or coming out. The value of the outage probably exceeds the value of my salary for a year. Times like those usual result in angry calls from irate Vice Presidents and Directors. Thankfully, I failed a database server from one cluster node to the next and the system came to life in its new home. Somebody ran a big report. It horked all the available disk space on a small drive. When the database couldn't write, the tickets stopped flowing. Failing over the cluster forced the report to give up the ghost. And additional space was made available on the drive. The database could write, again. The tickets started to flow. All the kings horses and all the kings men had put the floor back together again. And there was much rejoicing.

Such are my days. I take them one at a time. Play the hand I'm dealt. And be happy I have chips on the table.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

GAME: Fate Of Hellas

Fate Of Hellas lasted about two hours on my PC. After the second hour of rolling my eyes, I uninstalled, hit delete, flushed the Recycle Bin, and didn't look back.

First and foremost, the simple act of saving the game took 5 minutes. It took longer to save the game than it took to install it.

Second, the tutorial was broken and didn't show the correct proceedures for even the simplest thing like sending workers into a gold mine.

Third, the freaking missions took forever, even at the lowest levels.

Fourth, the enemy AI was persistently overwhelming as soon as the level started, then ineffective once I survived the first wave or two. However surviving took mostly luck and a couple of reloads.

Finally, the physics of combat were skewed and my own units weren't able to fend for themselves without my direct involvement. So they'd walk into combat situations where javelins were being thrown further than large crossbows could shoot (right!) and my units would sit there, not returning fire or advancing toward the enemy, while getting slaughtered with complete impunity.

All that from just the first three levels of the first campaign.

No list of good features could out weigh the volume of crapitude listed above. So I won't waste my time listing the one or two things I did like about the game.

It's digital scrap, now. I wouldn't advise anyone for any reason to try Fate Of Hellas.

MOVIE: Chaos

I honestly wanted Chaos to be a good movie. Jason Statham could have proved to be a right proper badass. Wesley Snipes could have been a world class villain, devious and crafty. And maybe, just maybe, it could present some diabolicly amazing creativity that inspired a new genre of fiction.

Unfortunately Chaos was horrible. An ungodly flop on par with Pluto Nash, The Postman, and Cutthroat Island. After 45 minutes, I went to the bathroom, and doused my face in hydrogen peroxide, to chemically scour the stain of this uberturd of a movie from my eyes.

The writing was horrendous. Trite, contrived, and utterly detached from anything faintly resembling reality. That somebody accepted the script for this movie-shaped-excrement is a crime against humanity and only furthers the theory that Hollywood is so out of ideas and has imported a troop of domesticated White Handed Gibbons to bang away on antique typewriters until they produce semi-coherent sentences which can be pasted together into a three-ring binder and called a script.

The acting was only marginally better than George Clooney's performance in Batman & Robin.
Accepting a role in this rancid duckfart of a flick should be a felony punishable by three years hard labor as Rosie O'Donnell's personal sanitary napkin. Another nail in Statham's coffin. And another untaxed unwarranted paycheck for Snipes. I guess nobody called to pick up his offer on Blade IV - Suck It.

Forty minutes worth of plot was fruitless and potentially sterilizing. I may not be able to reproduce now. Nothing was original in the few scenes I suffered through. There was even an extremely bad car chase that served no purpose other than cause my braincells to consume each other rather than try to etch memories of Chaos onto my poor, trembling brain.

I likely would have walked out of this movie if I'd been stupid enough to see it in the theater. Hopefully I would not have slipped and thrown a disc on the slow, creeping puddles of vomit spewed onto the aisles by other the handful of other horrified patrons. We could have formed a survivors' group. And watched each others teeth and hair fallout over the following months in the wake of exposure to the painful glare.

Not a date flick. Not a kid flick. Nothing an able-bodied, sane-minded human needs to see. I pray for the day I'll be able to forget the not-few-enough moments of theatrical putrification that I unfortunately managed to endure. At least the hydrogen peroxide worked.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Steve's Not Happy

One of the funniest bits of technomancy I've had the pleasure of seeing in a mighty long time. Caught it at the office earlier and couldn't stop laughing. Everyone came over to see what was making me cry.

My favorite parts: Charlie Rose surprising himself by saying, "Radiohead," and the stunning moments of uncomfortable silence which pulls it all together.

Sadly, as he walks away from Yahoo, Steve's not happy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Side

Typical night for me. Wander to bed around midnight, and find Meg. Tonight, she's got Pinky (a Webkinz!) in one arm and the forefinger of her other hand on her nose.

She fell asleep with her finger on her nose? Yup. That's how Meg rolls.

And she is on my side of the bed.

Hips Don't Lie

I'm introducing a new Label. "Woes" is going to be able the numerous aches and pains of the locals around here.

Liam's woes today: hurt shin from playing soccer and a pencil wound at school that caused him to bleed.

Cindy's woes today: her hips hurt from walking on the elliptical machine yesterday. Also, her toes fell asleep because she walked too much.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New Food

This is my girl, Meg. She's six. She is trying something new. Her mother fixed her a modified BLT. Bacon, ham, and cheese. (A BHC sammich?)

She wants them for lunch in the future.

I guess I'll have to learn how to make them, too.

She loves it.

And I love it when she tries new food.

Team McDougal

Don't laugh too hard. Cindy already did.

After watching Liam for a couple of months, I decided to join him in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.

Watching the "basics" wasn't too much different than actually doing them. Though some of the movements are completely different than Aikido. I haven't practiced that in at least 15 years. Closer to twenty since I last wore a gi.

Anyway, good warm up. But dull doing the rest. I'll be patient. And I might be able to get my first degree by the end of the month.

There's a full day of special training on Saturday. A second degree BJJ black belt is coming down from Arkansas to impart some of his wisdom. Hopefully it will be a better workout.

Beach Revisited

Pulled the pictures from the Long Beach Kite Festival off the camera. Good stuff and made me smile to remember what a good time we had. Beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky. The first shot alone has a total of ten kites in the picture, including the Barbie Kite. Easy to guess who that belongs to? (Can't really see the other kites without zooming in a good bit. But there are nine others floating in the background. Trust me. Click on any photo to enlarge.)

However, the second photo brings more clues. Ping hat. (Complete with a scratch-and-sniff strawberry on the front!) And a pair of pink shoes. Lovely, pale blue sundress. My little princess. Couldn't be more girly if she tried. Perfect in every way. Oh, and a beautiful background, too. Times like these I'm glad I came back to the true "South."Not a cloud in the sky. Beaches and cool waves. Life on the Gulf Coast.

Third photo is an action shot of The Boy. Laser-like focus while flying his kite. If there were a prize for unspooling all of their twine first, it would have gone to Liam. That boy had let out all the string in the blink of an eye. And I feared he'd jerk the handle too hard and the kite would pop loose. Didn't happen though. Nothing but good times. But he was eyeballing any other kites that got close to him. Itching for a kite fight.

Next up, action shot of Princess Meg. She's only about ten feet away from Liam, but there are all kinds of kites around her. Liam's flying solo in his own space. Oddly enough, while her brother was running around, trying to control the random movements of his kite, Meg never budged an inch. She happily stood in one place, regardless of any stray winds, and smiled the whole while. That stray elbow? Lady McD. Shapely, yes?

During an interlude, Nanna and Liam swung over to the local firetruck (which was spraying down a slide with its watergun every few minutes.) Liam hopped up on the bumper. Seeing as there were no firemen around, I'm not 100% sure they'd have approved of his photo-op. But we have a motto: "Cop didn't see it, I didn't do it!" Oh. No idea who the woman is on the left. NOT LADY MCD!

Finally, after an hour or so of flying, we pulled up our stakes and scored some snowcones. Meg and I had strawberry. Mommy had Pineapple + Pina colada. Liam had bubblegum. It turned his lips and tongue blue. Always a good time when you have a blue tongue.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sky Flurries

Typical crash. No real sleep for two days. Tired during the day. Tired during the night. The smallest things wake me. Have to reorient myself in the dark. Moving too slow, like a gray old man. Wash the dreams out of my eyes. Perhaps the lack of caffeine. Three days without a sip of lightning. Probably explains the headaches. And restlessness.

Didn't work out. Too tired. Something in the back of my head whispering, "What if you have a vertigo attack at the gym."

Didn't work on the house. Too mad. About not sleeping. And about not working out.

Mom came over yesterday. We celebrated Tres De Mayo. New Mexican place down the street. Wasn't in the mood, but enjoyed the time with the family. Until the end. Meg started to obsess about getting a gumball. When she couldn't have it, she went into OCD-mode and couldn't stop asking about it. Usual waterworks followed.

Speaking of waterworks, Microsoft walked away from Yahoo, yesterday. Here is the Ballmer letter to Yahoo. Good move, methinks. Ultimately, both would have continued down their own subjective toilets. Slowly, but surely. Together it would have been a franchise sized collapse. An accelerated blowout. And teh GOOG fiddles while they burn. First flames should spark tomorrow. Interested to see how much of a hit Yahoo's stock takes tomorrow.

Today, we took the kids to the Long Beach Kite Fest. More pictures, tomorrow. Don't have the mental reserves to pull the pictures off the camera and edit them, yet. Peaceful sight. A flurry of kites in the crisp May sky.

Friday, May 02, 2008

MOVIE: The Kingdom

Definitely sad that I missed The Kingdom on the big screen. Great sound. Great effects. Impressive action. Fairly creative plot. Good acting. Great dialog.

However, let me state for the record: For anyone who is duct taped and being filmed while a machete is at their throat and a masked man is shouting vulgarities against Israel, there is not going to be a pleasant ending! I strongly advise against sitting there calmly, looking around the room, and trying to figure out what is happening. It doesn't take Hawking or Einstein to plumb the depth of THAT rabbit hole.

The last quarter of the movie barely takes a breath. My heart was literally pumping in my throat during the final scenes. On a big screen with big sound, I probably would have been sweating and screaming profanities.

Anyway, fantastic movie. Possibly a good date flick. I think Cindy could have appreciated it. Not for the kids, though. Waaaay too much of the red red gravy.

A well recommended movie. Glad I picked it up. And actually loved the ending.

MOVIE: King Of Kong

To borrow from Wikipedia: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a documentary that follows Steve Wiebe as he tries to take the world high score for the arcade game Donkey Kong from reigning champion Billy Mitchell.

I grew up with video games. My uncle, Earl, worked in an arcade for many years. Sometimes, if I didn't ask too often, he'd give me a bag of red quarters (the origin of the phrase "one red cent") and let me test out the whole floor. Earl was a master of video games. He'd show me the secrets to Mario Brothers, Dragon's Lair, Joust, or any of a hundred other games he had at his disposal. Unfortunately, I didn't have the skill or dedication that he had. I never achieved any top scores.

King Of Kong is all about ascending to the top of the charts. Through any means necessary. Superficially it is good versus evil, the common man versus the establishment, Wiebe versus Mitchell.

But underneath that well crafted mask is a comment about the gradual decline of Western Civilization. How we have used technology to eliminate the need for skills and patience and determination. We've moved on from the simple things in life at the price of our simplest abilities. But for all its glitz and glamor and long hair and hot sauce, the new fangled self-made monster of technology can still fall to the slow but sure pursuit of a common man.

Phenomenal, well made, well produced, well directed documentary. I don't think it is too much to predict that any male bound within the confines of Generation X will enjoy it immensely. Not a date flick. Not something the kids will comprehend. But something arcade junkies will certainly praise.