Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gym Time With Boo

Liam went to the gym with me this morning. He wanted to work out. To try the weights. I was doing legs & shoulders. So he joined me. Aside from trying to keep his attention sometimes and trying to explain the weights to him, we had a great time. And Liam did a great job. He listens very well. And takes directions well. Made me very proud to see him put a serious effort into everything and challenge himself.

He had great form on the squats. After I took the photo I helped get his feet under his shoulders and his toes pointing straight ahead of him. He did great with about 40lbs. And he really enjoyed the leg press. The sled weighs about 45lbs. So he was almost pressing his own body weight.

Our first time together. I hope we have more in the future. I'm not going to push him. But if the spirit moves him, I'll be there waiting. And we can tackle the gym together.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bonfire Party

Here is recipe for certain, unrefined chaos: take about twenty third graders to the beach, at night, hype them up on sugar and carbs, then give them fire. My beloved bride couldn't even stomach the THOUGHT of it. So she sent me along to protect Liam from inflammation or decapitation.

It was supposed to be a birthday party. Turned out to be quite the event. Most of Liam's class. A couple of siblings. Very few parents. Dark waves lapping at the sand. A fire leaping taller than any of the children dancing around it. High pitched squeel of girls. Bow Head following in Liam's every footstep. Hotdogs. Burgers. Delicious home-made chili. Smores. Or, would-be-smores, but mainly marshmallows getting broiled in the fire. Two hours of seething moshery with everyone running and screaming in every direction. I laughed all night.

In the end, we sang happy birthday. And the lucky girl decided to decorate her face with her cake. Smeared it around like war paint.

The kids thought it was brilliant. The parents cringed. When did we trade our bright glowing souls for these boring, ragged things we have as adults.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dreaming Girls

Like clockwork, around 8PM every night, the girls drift off to sleep. (Even if they're watching TV on the sofa!) And the house grows very quiet.

Cindy. Meg. And Baby Meg. My three dreaming girls.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back To Life

My PC had a rough couple of weeks. But it is (seemingly) back to life. It is a happy PC.

The first problem involved the SATA controller for the hard drives. I'm fairly sure it quietly died one morning. Dell had to dispatch an entire new motherboard, since the SATA controller isn't a seperate card.

The second problem stemmed from the first one. The MBR (Master Boot Record) was hosed. (That's a technical term we use these days.) The hardware on the PC didn't know how to bootup the PC properly because it couldn't find the bootup files on the disk. It didn't know where to look until I rewrote the MBR.

The third problem was likely related to the first one. Some of the Microsoft Windows files (mainly the HAL.DLL) died when the SATA controller crashed. Unfortunately it took two hours to repair all the damaged files and a couple more to run a multitude of Windows Updates. And then I had to wrestle with a corrupt installation of .NET.

Needless to say, I haven't been keen on working on the computer much. But I'll get back on track.

A Hero Remembered

March 11, 1942: General Douglas MacArthur reluctantly abandons the Philippine Islands. He departs vowing:, "I shall return."

In October of 1944, two and a half years later, MacArthur did return. And he brought my Grandfather, A.E. Kranz. Their new tactic was called it, "Island Hopping."  They rapidly proceeded from one area to another, taking each island as quickly and painlessly as possible. An amphibious blitzkreig by the Americans. My Grandfather was in charge of a "tank destroyer." His longest campaign was taking, "the Great Walled City Of Manilla," in the Phillipines.

Once they finished honoring MacArthur's promise, they packed up and targeted a new island. They were en route to Japan when they heard: we had dropped two bombs on the Japanese. A new kind: atomic bombs. And after the second one kissed the sky, the Japanese politely and quietly gave up.

My Grandfather returned a hero. He fathered three children with my grandmother. They gave him five grand children. And before he gave up the ghost last year, he was able to spend some time with his three great grand children.

Thank you, Doe. Not only for the family you helped create and nurture, but also for your sacrifice for our country. The world needs more heroes like you.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Highland Games 08

Took a trip to this year's Highland Games, today. Been a couple of times. Last time it was freezing. We had jackets and were hudled together for warmth. Better this time. Nearly perfect.  We arrived just as the joisting started. Meg and Liam found a good spot right next to the action. They could reach out and touch the knights. In the picture, there's a boy with a blue baseball cap. That's Liam. To his right is a radiant red-headed girl. That's Meg. They had a great time. Cindy (imagine this) was worried about flying pieces of wood breaking off the shields or lances and slicing through the air into the kids' sweet neck meat. Of course, all that worry was for naught.

Next up on the agenda: sheepdogs and (imagine this) sheep. And these weren't small animals, either. Full grown ones. About the size of the kids. Anyway, the show was cool and the rancher talked about the dogs desire to herd animals. How he whistles at some. Calls in Spanish to others. And calls in English to the rest.

He also said the matriarch of the group, the smartest dog in the pack, was a girl dog. Named Meg.

Speaking of dogs, we caught sight of one of the biggest ones in South Mississippi, if not the world. An Irish Wolfhound. As in: a dog that is gnarly enough to fight wolves in its spare time. I'm betting if it stood on its hind legs, it would be able to slam dunk a basketball. And it probably had twenty or thirty pounds on me. One ungodly huge son-of-a-gun. I wouldn't want to be on its bad side. And I wouldn't want to have to clean up after the hulking beast.

To end the day and further increase Cindy's blood pressure, I found some antique guns for the kids.  Maybe civil war era weapons. Not sure how it fits in with the Highland Games, but there were historically clad dudes there with these wicked cool rifles and pistols. They let the kids fire them. Meg had a little pistol. The report from the shot was like a shock wave, catching us all off guard. And Meg said, "Cool." Liam hoisted a rifle. It stood taller than he did. But he hoisted it. And when he pulled the faux-antique trigger, thunder filled the air. It was gloriously loud. And the kids loved it.

All in all, a good day for Clan McDougal.